Friday, February 29, 2008

oddities

Once when touring a musuem, I saw this rusty item that resembled a PVC joint (you know, one of the L-shaped tubes). I stood there wondering why that was in a museum. Then I read the description, and it read something like, "utensil from 315B.C." Yeah, right.

Did it ever occur to the sun-stroked, volunteer-student archealogist, or the loopy college professor who never got fresh air, that the item could be any number of things? It could have been part of a handle on a water pitcher, or a pipe for running water, part of a machine, a spigot, or even a meat grinder! Sometimes I look at the things in my bathroom, and wonder what an excavator might label them 2,000 years down the road. I mean, look at a hairdryer. Would they consider that a weapon? The shape isn't all that different from a kitchen mixer. So how do all these people come up with such stuff?

I don't always ponder such stuff, but my brother's comment about cave drawings got me to thinking. For some bizarre reason I always thought cave drawings were maps or teachings or something. But what if they weren't? What if it was actually some kids drawing on the walls of the house? Or a housewife tired of looking at plain rock?

Speaking of plain things, I've got two projects I had really wanted to finish before the end of February. Seeing as the day is almost over, which means the month is almost over, I had better go get busy.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

artistic concepts

I don't hate sports; I'm just not crazy about them. I'm an Alabama fan, but I only watch one, maybe parts of two, football games a year. (My husband has threatened to revoke my fan status as he claims I only watch the games if he bothers to find out when they are and turn them on for me. He just doesn't understand the depth of fanship in AL.) Sometimes I almost wonder if certain men, like my husband, see sports as an art form. There's something exciting and riveting about watching a bunch of people huddle around a ball of some sort and sweat, grunt, bodily threaten, and exhaust themselves and each other. And occasionally, I don't mind watching or attending a game, and I especially enjoy them if the game is close.

If I had to choose something athletic to do, it would probably be gymnastics, or colorguard, or winterguard. And yes, I realize all of those have something to do with dancing or rhythm. And while most Baptists gasp in horror at the very d-word, I happen to think there are certain forms and styles of dancing that are okay and even appropriate.

I guess sports like basketball and football and volleyball have their own sorts of rhythms and movement, but it's just not quite as enthralling to me. I probably don't hate such events as much as Bobby hated the Nutcracker (I was unfamiliar with the storyline and we left during the intermission thinking it was over, only to learn later it wasn't. I've never been able to convince him to go back. I think he'd like Riverdance better but the tickets sold out as soon as it went public.) but I can't say I've ever looked at an empty Fri night on my calendar and thought, "I wonder if there's a ballgame somewhere?"

So do you think our interests in athletic-type events are much like our concepts of art - it all depends on either what you've been taught or what you simply like?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

deer food

Almost two weeks ago I started my first garden. My husband correctly pondered where I would find the time for a garden and reminded me that the deer would probably eat it. Yet, he didn't say no. When he spent a Friday night and Saturday helping me look at tillers and deciding which one was the most economical and practical for my height and strength, I figured I really had his blessing. Now even though both of my grandfathers had gardens and my Dad did several summers when I was a teenager, the closest I ever came to planting was dropping seeds in the ground. I never had to prepare the soil or weed, though I sometimes had to help pick, and always had to help shell, shuck, cut, blanch, or can whatever came in. Figuring out how to use the tiller wasn't that hard, but identifying the plants as they come up is. I THINK the slightly curled plant growing in the front is a budding snow pea. (Can you tell I'm excited?!!) But I'm not really sure. I know the long green strand in the back of the picture is grass. But I'm not going to pull anything out until I know for sure that it is a weed. I have this horror that I'm going to pull up my carefully planted produce and leave the onion grass.

And unfortunately, for the second time I've found deer tracks in my garden...so my dear old farm boy husband may be right...again...but there's still hope, right?

Monday, February 25, 2008

cold remedies

I've about decided that the subject of colds is parallel to the subject of fishing: everyone THINKS they are an expert.

For whatever bizarre, unnamed reason, I am now fighting my second, nasty cold for 2008. And the unsolicited, repetitious advice keeps coming. For example:

#1: An allergy doctor recommended to a person that they should take 1,000mg of Vitamin C along with an alfalfa tablet every day. I have tried this on occasions when I have an allergy flare-up, and it does help. But for the common cold -nada.

#2: Every night before going to bed, place Vicks-vapor-rub on your feet, along with cotton socks. If you do this every single night, you will not catch a cold. I'll refrain from commenting on this one.

#3: You should take 500mg of Vitamin C every single day to boost your immune system. If you do this, you too will go without a cold for two years. I'll do without, but thanks.

#4: You should wash your hands (or use anti-bacterial gel) every time you touch a door handle, another person's telephone or computer mouse, after touching anything in public, etc. Should I mention this person has had colds this year?

I normally don't mind hearing home remedies, but when I've heard it from the same person every time I get sick it gets a little old. My brother would say, "You're a slow lerner, ain't ya?" and Bobby would smile and say "Well, quit being so hard headed!"

I think I'm feeling well enough now that I can smile instead of cutting my eyes.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

customer service

The three years I lived in China, my teammates and I would often joke/berate/complain/bemoan about the customer service (or lack thereof) in China. Don't get me wrong, the Chinese people are some of the friendliest and most helpful people I've ever met. But somehow that doesn't (or ten years ago it didn't) carry over to the realm of business. Perhaps it had something to do with working in a government owned store where there was little if any incentive to do a job well done. Regardless, it wasn't uncommon to walk into a department store, request to look at an item from the clerks (items were kept in glass cases or behind service desks so people wouldn't pocket them), and be told, "I'm busy." The clerk would then proceede to talk to her colleague, pick her nails, daydream, eat lunch, or whatever else suited her fancy. Or if they happened to be in a bad mood, they would say something totally ludicrous like, "We're out of that item" (there's a whole shelf FULL behind them), or "You don't want that; it costs too much." At which point you can either argue, make a scene, and possibly get what you want, or you could leave the store, cross the road to another government-owned department store which sold almost identical things and possibly have better luck there. I don't think I ever had to go to more than three stores to get a paticular item.

Anyway, after 8.75 years of sharing a trash bin with relatives, we decided it was time to have our own trash disposal service. I called the number, got an answering machine, left a message, and waited two weeks. Nothing. Bobby goes on-line, fills out the form, we wait a few weeks - nothing. So this afternoon I called three times over 20 minutes and got a busy signal. FINALLY got a ring, only to hear a recording that no one is available at the moment to take a message. I just went on-line and re-submitted the application form, but at this point I'm not overly optimistic. If it weren't for the fact I'm sitting in my nice home with heat and adequate water and plumbing facilities, I might wonder if I were not back in China.

As a child I used to get excited when the trash man came in his big truck and waived. Now I think I'll be excited if they just return a phone call.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

food fantasies

If I were heaven's dietician, instead of milk and honey, we would have Dr.Pepper, Sweat Tea, and chocolate with caramel (think Twix without the cookie). The manna thing sounds okay, but I fear it will be more of a cracker than Golden Corral's yeast rolls. And this tree of life that bears 12 fruits...are we going to have caramel dip or something go with it?

If Bobby were to read this post, he would say my tastebuds are definitely depraved and corrupted and that I will have a restored body when I get to heaven so it won't matter. hmm.

Needless to say, we got Bobby's bone density test results in. (For those of you who don't know, I kind of broke his leg 2.5 years ago and we discovered his bone density is atrociously bad - a long story for another point in time.) Once we overlap all these diverse food lists he has, three things emerge from every single one as good for him to eat: fish, liver, and eggs.

I like fish (specifically the salmon, tuna, and mackeral they all suggest). I sort of/kind of like eggs. I like beef liver, and chicken liver (but only if it's battered and fried!). But I don't want them to be the main staples of our diet. (Yes, I was a strong-willed child and hated changed- and still do.) Thankfully I have a ton of cookbooks, as well as an internet at my fingertip which will produce a ton of yucky fish recipes if I just bother to google them.

Wouldn't life be so much more wonderful if God had just said, "The foods of which your body does not like, pour the molten fruit of the coccoa bean, and it shall be healed of all impurities."? I'm still waiting for the day scientists declare chocolate a food group.

Anyway...I've got to go figure out what to cook.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

life and death

This last month I've been to three funerals - my coworker whose child came perfectly formed and stillborn at only 7.5 months; Bobby's Uncle Henry who had fought a long and courageous battle with cancer; and a friend from church whose father passed away. From the casket the size of my toolbox, to the bagpipes and flag-draped coffin, I'm coming to appreciate more and more how each and every day is truly a gift from God.

Along those same lines, this morning's sermon was an "Ouch! Ow! Ouch!" one. From I Kings 19 we looked at a victorious servant of God who became discouraged and saw God's loving response to his pity-party. God kept bringing to mind thoughts and emotions from this past month where I've tried to handle things on my own instead of giving it to Him and looking at the many blessings and opportunities I have. The opportunity to grab each day and fill it to the fullest...an opportunity that for so many has now ended.