Saturday, May 31, 2008

we have hatching!

Yesterday we stopped turning eggs 1-3. One was chirping. And tonight there was the 4-pointed star shape they make when they first break the egg! By this time tomorrow night, we should have a gosling!

craziness

It's been of those weeks. You know, the kind where you have something every single night and your to do list, which you're not at home to do, keeps growing larger. And today was supposed to be our next to last day of extreme craziness. Until I did what I do best...I got sick.

This morning, with help from my brother-in-law, I was supposed to install a new wire for the underground fence. The one we put in previously was breaking, causing the dog's warning signal to disconnect. He had other things to do this morning, so we didn't get started until around 11am. Yeah, the hottest part of the day. So I get a headache, then I get way too hot, and get sick. So poor Tim finished the remainder of the yard, and it took him almost all day.

One guy did show up and helped for a little over an hour. He was returning to Charlotte, had just finished a job here, and the guy didn't pay him. So he was looking for any kind of work to help him buy gas to get home. I think he was our temporary angel.

We were supposed to go to Duke this afternoon to visit Lauren, but I didn't get back up until almost 4pm. So maybe I'll get some laundry done before bedtime. Maybe.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

mousy hair

I have a new hair dresser. Thanks Nancy!

And as always, I left the shop, and my hair had some volume. It looked cool. Then I rode in the car for 15 minutes, walk in the door...flat head. Never fails. I envy people with thick hair or curly hair. (And no, I don't consider envy the same as covetousness. I'm happy for them, and I enjoy seeing their beautiful hair, and when people like Dottie Dunn straighten their gorgeous curls, I accept that as their choice and bite my tongue every time I walk by...your hair does look good, Dottie, in case you're reading this!)

Both of my sisters and all my nieces have a full head of hair. I can blow-dry my hair very quickly. Theirs will take a minimum of 20 minutes. So I guess I'm thankful for my mousy hair. If I had a full head of hair in addition to being a non-morning person, I think there might be problems.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

randomness

do you ever feel
as if your heart is just too full for words?

when a friend is broken and hurting

when the world looks fresh after God gives it a bath

when a child quietly and simply prays

when a little "stinker" starts a round of giggles during prayer time

when you watch a parent suffer, agonizing over their child

when a co-worker shortens her normal hour complaint time to 5 minutes

when I check something off my to-do list

when I'm reminded of my purpose for being

when life proves again, "my grace is sufficient"...

when I not only understand, but also appreciate that the family of Christ is truly a family...even with its bad habits

when your feelings run the gamut of emotions in a day's time,
and yet there are no words to describe your thoughts,
but there's a contented disquiet.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

the fisherman tales

99.9% of the time I like where I live.

This afternoon I was reminded of the .1% of why I don't:
  1. People I don't know (always of the male gender between the ages of 16-70something) drive up, ask to fish, without introducing themselves. Many (like the two shirtless teenagers today) are polite; some are rude. Do they really think that will convince me to say yes?!
  2. People I don't know (always of the male gender between the ages of 16-70something) drive up, ask to hunt, without introducing themselves. Their rationale is that they use: safe guns, arrows, spears, etc. Now, there actually has been two men who were VERY nice, gave me their business card and a list of references and contact information so I could call them back. I actually felt bad for telling them no.
  3. Teenagers (and sometimes their Dads) who 4-wheel behind our house without permission.
  4. a Dirt road...dust, dust, dust, dust, dust. Did I mention dust?
  5. and last but not least, coming home to find people I don't know fishing in the pond, and I'm at home alone.

I guess those are valid reasons to keep my dogs.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

the fuel debate

I am scared of propane. When I was in HS, we felt the neighborhood shake. I thought a train had de-railed downtown, but then a few minutes later we heard sirens heading our way. We went outside, and there were flames and smoke billowing about a block away. Turns out the house had a gas leak. The lady in the kitchen died; the man in the living room had 80% of his body burned, and died several months later. It was never determined whether his smoking or her cooking caused the explosion.
In China, we had to cook with gas. Our propane tanks were almost as tall as me. There were countless stories of them catching fire as people hauled them up and down the many flights of steps, or wrecked their bikes (with the tank strapped on the back bar, of course).
So now we are thinking (yes, we're still discussing it after several years) of purchasing a grill. Several years ago my brother-in-law bought me the cheapest grill he could find so we could have grilled hamburgers while he was here. It was charcoal, and other than cleaning it (and only having one lesson on how to cook on it) it was okay. Now, my father and brother both have invested in gas grills and love them. Bobby thinks it will be easier to clean. But I still struggle with the fact that there'll be this little gas tank underneath where I'm cooking, that they can spring leaks, or get cobwebs in them causing the gas to back up, or I'll have to haul the stupid thing in my car when it empties and haul a FULL tank back home. That just doesn't appeal to me. So the fuel debate continues. Do we purchase a nice charcoal grill like my Dad had when I was growing up and teach myself how to grill, or do we go with the gas and its horrors and the easy clean-up? My brother-in-law is coming back to visit the first week in July, so I ought to make a decision before then. Decisions, decisions.

Friday, May 23, 2008

good news/bad news

Yesterday the dog people came (thanks for calling them again, Bobby!) and fixed the fence. Yeah! But it's still nesting season for the geese. OH NO! I scooped up the one remaining egg from the nest of the diligent goose and brought it inside. I was hoping maybe today I could find another egg (I like to put them into the incubator in groups of two or more.) This morning the dogs were still in the yard, but were going crazy at something down by the pond. Bobby went to investigate, and it turns out they were yelping at a nesting goose. The other geese finally came and pitched in, and held the dogs at bay...for a while. Before we had finished breakfast I see Lucy running around with her jaw almost dislocated. She's got an egg in her mouth. I figured it was a lost cause, but then realized she still had the thing in her mouth. She'd put it down, roll it, pick it back up again and run with it. So I headed outside. She didn't want to give it to me, but she finally conceded - AND THERE'S NOT A SCRATCH NOR PUNCTURE IN THE EGG! It's just slobbery wet. So while I feel bad for the poor goose that was trying so hard, I am thankful there's two more eggs to go into the incubator. I think it's too late to build the nesting pen I had planned, but I might still go ahead and put something up just in case these do hatch. I want them to move freely without the dogs chasing them.
To the left are the eggs from two years ago. I put the eggs in as I found them, and they hatched on different days. It was sad. The one lone gosling would peck at the other eggs and wouldn't get a response. Last year I was a little smarter and put them all in at the same time, and they all hatched within 24 hours. It was almost as if you could hear them encouraging each other on. And I'm hoping the dogs will keep the predators away this year!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

absurd

The other day at work we were discussing the homeless men who frequent 1010/401. One of the three will periodically change his sign to list his various ailments. One day he simply wrote, Please Help. Disabled. It really made me mad. If he's well enough to stand at an intersection for several hours and hobble in and out of the car lanes, he could sit or stand at any of the various dry cleaners who always have a HELP WANTED sign and receive the clothes, throw them in the basket, and pin the tags on them. That doesn't take much more strength than holding a sign all day. While it might not give him a home, it would provide for his meals and basic necessities.

One of my co-workers was driving down Hammond Rd (which turns into Timber Dr), when she saw a homeless man at an intersection. She had just ordered a combo meal at Wendy's, and thought, "I really don't need my fries." She had already taken a bite out of her cheeseburger. She rolled her window down, and handed the man her fries. He looked at her, and said "No thank you. I don't eat fries. But that cheeseburger sure does look good." She stared at him a minute, pulled the fries back in her window, and rolled up her window. He continued to rant, "Must be nice to have a cheeseburger. I sure would like to have a bit of cheeseburger."

Now, I know the Bible says we're to go the extra mile, but somehow I'm like my coworker...that's just plain wrong. I whole-heartily agree with the Biblical principle that if a man doesn't work he doesn't eat, and this extreme pickiness of a beggar just seems absurdly demanding. I told Bobby the other day that in two years of working at MBC, I've yet to drive past that intersection without being greatly disturbed and bothered. And his response was "I hope you never get indifferent to such situations." Maybe he's right, but I think I'd feel a whole better if I just had a reasonable solution about what to do.

Monday, May 19, 2008

the Mommy protectors

One of my co-worker's husband is out-of-country leading college kids on a mission trip to Honduras. She has four kids, and was laughing today about how her children all fight over who is going to sleep with Mom.
I couldn't help but laugh. As a child, we always worried about mother sleeping by herself when Dad was away. When my brother was somewhere between the ages of 10-12, he announced to my sisters and I that he was the boy of the family, and when Dad was gone he should be the one to sleep with Mom. The next morning Mother, after telling us about Andy kicking and squirming all night, informed us that she appreciated the offers, but we were too big to sleep with her, and she was a grown woman and could sleep by herself. We laughed, but agreed.
I don't know where we came up with the concept that Mother had to have someone to sleep with her. Maybe we girls just wanted a chance to share a bed with someone besides our sister, maybe it was the fact that she was alone, but whatever reason, we felt like someone had to be there with her. Dad always found it funny, but I'm not so sure Mom did. The crazy thing is, as a child, I thought my parent's queen size bed was HUGE. On Sunday mornings (before we hit our teen years) the four of us would all get up early and crash on their bed laying different directions and talk and giggle. Now that I'm grown and Bobby and I have a queen size bed, it suddenly doesn't seem so big. Funny how time changes our perspectives, isn't it?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

chicken coops

Yesterday afternoon Bobby and I took a tour of some of the beltline's chicken coops. I think there were actually 20 on the map, but we got a late start and only had time for about 7. And I forgot my camera! I was so aggravated. But here's some of the cool things I learned:
  • chicken coops are designed for either the owner's convenience or the chicken's convenience (and one had both)
  • everyone has their own way of doing things (and their own reasons)
  • other than daily egg-gathering, they're not that high maintenance
  • the pecking order is a problem
  • a chicken "run" is just a penned in space where the chickens can literally run around
  • chickens lay eggs whenever they want to, not just in the morning
  • there's a slaughter house in Orange County for small flock owners that will kill and clean the chickens for you
  • there's actually a listserve for Triangle chicken owners

I don't know whether or not we'll get chickens, but it doesn't seem like as huge an undertaking like cows or horses. I do know if it ever does happen, it won't be this summer. I'm still adamant about not having a rooster. The dogs wake me up enough during the night without having some idiotic cock-a-doodle-do going off all night long. Plus I've heard too many stories about roosters being aggressive. Has anyone out there ever had chickens?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Cantankerous old women

There's absolutely nothing like sitting in the presence of a cantankerous old woman. Even damp humidity gives you a feeling of thankfulness once you've left their presence. DUH (Dear Understanding Hubby) says if I were in their plight then I might be the same way. He may be right, but the prideful, ignorant child in my screams, "No, I WON'T!"
In all fairness, some of their situations are down right pitiful and difficult. But other situations are just normal bumps in the road we call life. I like to think that when I am old I will force myself to find something to do (other than gripe and whine), and that I will always find SOMETHING to be thankful for, even if it is only the shiny floor in the nursing home, or cable television, or a phone that I can handle even with arthritic fingers, or the fact that my room has a window with a real tree outside of it. I like to think that even if I find myself in a mundane job, that I will be like former co-workers I've had and find something to make it interesting. Did you know you can make a game out of timed drive-through windows and the burrito bar at Taco Bell on a Friday night when half your crew calls in "sick" the night a hit movie is to premier?
I like to think that no matter my salary or the importance of my job, that I too will rise to any challenge with a smile. Okay, in case my sister is reading this, we'll settle for my normal Eeyore facial expression with a smile in my heart.
I've always heard that happiness is a choice. Our pastor's wife has a quote that says something like this:
Two decisions on the shelf: pleasing God or pleasing self.
And even though I have never had to live in a nursing home because my children didn't want me, nor feel trapped in a job I didn't enjoy, nor be stuck in a marriage where my spouse has mentally lost it and is either a danger to himself or everyone else, I like to think that if I were in those situations, at least 80% of the time I'd please God by giving thanks. (And the other 20% of the time I'll be a downright ornery, cantankerous, griping old woman.)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

overwhelmed

All this week I have faithfully accessed the internet and followed up on China's story. Tuesday morning I called a dear friend, just to hear her voice and know she was safe. Then today I finally got up the nerve to e-mail a dear and faithful brother who has sacrificed so much for the cause of the cross. Below is his e-mail:
Hi, Dear friends,It was a very big earthquake. We did feel the very obvious tremors. In fact in South Ningxia over 130 houses even collapsed. In the nearby provinces of Sichuan, in Gansu, Shanxi, Guizhou, Yuannan, even quite many people were killed from the disaster. In fact almost the whole country felt the tremors in such large area. We are very well in Him! Thank you for your remembering.
The picture above is from 10 years ago, at the base of the Helan Shan Mountains in Ningxia. The northern part of the country is desert, but is beautiful even in its ruggedness. My heart breaks for the countless piles of paper money being burned now - for the family to purchase what it needs in the afterlife; for the hopeless despair so many are facing. I can't even begin to imagine. Now more than ever before we have a group of loved ones who need intercession to the one who gives all strength and peace, that they will not only find comfort in this time of national tragedy, but that they will also be the beacon of hope and light in this terrible time of darkness.




Tuesday, May 13, 2008

THE CHEESE LOVES YOU!

I am not a morning person. And as far as bedtime goes, I need a routine. Get me out of that routine, and you can almost guarantee the next morning will be really rough -rough enough that even having the alarm on the other side of the bed doesn't help any.

One morning this week I woke up achier than usual, and must have been moaning and groaning quite a bit. I don't remember what Bobby said to me, but I responded with a challenge for him to tell me "just five things good about today." (In case you haven't figured it out, optimism is rarely in my vocabulary before 7am.) I'm still struggling to keep my eyes open. I hear numbers one and two, can't remember #3, but then for #4 he says, "The cheese loves you." That one kind of woke me up. I repeated it back, and he starts laughing at me! Turns out he said "JESUS loves you."

Monday, May 12, 2008

exciting new things!

pecan tassels peaches



grapes pears


the flower on my snow pea plant! There are actually three different miniature snow peas on different plants and I think two more were trying to sprout today. And there's some type of plant poking its head up on another row, but it remains to be seen whether its a cantaloupe vine or a weed.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

my memory flower



When I was small, my grandfather would come and cut part of our grass while my Dad was at work. It always irritated my mother that he would just mow down all her flowers. She would point them out every time; he would nod his head, and the minute she went inside, he'd mow 'em down.

When I was 8, the night my Dad was to preach his first sermon, my mother was diagnosed with melanoma. They had to cut a spot out of her calf that was a little larger than a softball, as well as take a skin graft from the opposite leg to cover the opening. My grandfather, who didn't have a lot of money, bought these HUGE pillows so she could keep her leg elevated to eliminate swelling. And he also bought a whole bag of bulbs and planted where Mom had her flowers. Mother about croaked when she saw the receipt in the bag; she said he paid a fortune per bulb. I don't know what he paid, but I do know that everywhere we have moved, we have transplanted half of the bulbs. They multiply, and we have left some and taken some from every parsonage or house we've lived in. A few years after Bobby and I got married, Mom and Dad showed up with several plants in the back of the truck. Every time they bloom, I get excited. It's my reminder of a family who loves me, and that home is truly where our hearts are. I guess these red & white amaryllises are beautiful to me in more ways than one, and I post them today as a tribute to my Mom.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

spring storm

About 1am this morning, the lightning woke me up, and then we had a few brief moments of hail, followed by a torrential downpour. Above you can see what accumulated on Bobby's back ramp. When we got up this morning, there were still small piles on the front ramp and at the end of every downspout. Three of my tomato plants are now headless, and some of the pea leaves are missing chunks out of them. I've never seen that much hail in all my life. Still, it's nothing like what my parent's neighborhood experienced Thursday afternoon.
Here's a link to the local paper: http://www.mountaineagle.com/NF/omf/eagle/archive_display.html?[rkey=0106564+[cr=gdn
The house with the tree on it belonged to my godparents, and thankfully my parents only had very minor damage (spindles off the ramp, my niece's toys scattered throughout the neighborhood, shingles off the shed, trees down behind the house - oh, and the turtle shell is gone from the sandbox as well as all the sand - 4 year old Carly is very upset by that.) I'm just thankful everyone is safe.

Monday, May 5, 2008

The MONDAY Posts

I'm not going crazy (though my family might say that is debatable). BUT, since I didn't post yesterday, and I won't post tomorrow, and probably not Wednesday, then I hereby declare it okay for me to write THREE posts today.

Post #1: Election Day
When I was 18, I showed up for my first election, only to be told that my name was not on the books and I was not registered. I argued with the lady, telling her that I was registered, and that my classmate who registered the same time as me (in the same classroom at the High School and turned his application in directly behind me) had just voted. She told me she couldn't help me, and I needed to go to the county courthouse where the Board of Elections Office was located, and register again. So I did. Next election: same thing. But this time I had a little card stating my name, address, political affiliation, precinct, and polling location. And being the over-emotional person that I was/am, I showed her my card, and then started crying. I told her this was the second time I had registered, and that I didn't understand why I was repetitively told I couldn't vote. Once they saw my voter registration card, they allowed me to vote and filed a complaint in my behalf. The following year, I filled out the paperwork for an absentee ballot so I could vote in my first ever presidential election, paid the fee to have my ballot overnighted to Bible College in TN, and then - my ballot never came. 18 other students at FWBBC had the same thing happen to them. So when I voted for the first time in NC and saw a request for poll workers, I signed up. I don't ever want another voter to experience the incompetence and rudeness I encountered the first three times I was eligible to vote. And then the night before an election rolls around, and I think about set-up and the 6am-8:30pm day ahead of me, and I wonder if I haven't absolutely lost my mind to do this. But voting is a process I believe in, and I must say I am thoroughly impressed with Wake County's Board of Elections. While the training is often redundant, I would much rather be bored than be uninformed and unprepared to deal with the many dilemmas that come up on election day. Anyway, tomorrow, make sure you go vote!


Post #2: headed in the right direction


For everyone who keeps asking how Bobby's hand is doing - it's healing. Some days I think the thumb area will heal first, and then the next morning when we clean and reapply the burn salve, I think the surface of the hand is healing faster. Either way, every day I can see a big change and new skin and tissue growth, so it's certainly coming along. We've downsized to two small bandages instead of 1.5 big ones, and it now only requires 1/2 a roll of gauze. Yeah for small steps of progress!

Bobby says that after I've posted this, no one will ever want to read my blog again. And he may be right! But our on-going discussion to help us get through the morning hand ritual has been a discussion of what the blister to the right looks the most like. Up until this morning (these pics were taken Sat morning), I thought this blister resembled the continent of Africa. But the top and left side has filled in with more tissue, so I'm not sure what it looks like now. And just in case any family is looking at this and about to panic - the nurse told us all the red/pink spots is new tissue, the yellow is pus, and the green is the actual blister. But as you can see from the whole pink area and the streaks below the open wound, the size of this thing is now half of what it used to be.
Post #3:uncertainties
Political relations between Belarus and America are very uncertain at the moment. About 400 of the 600 visas for the ABRO program had been issued before our US Embassy ceased operations. At this point none of the chaperones or children over 14 have their visas. This past week, Belarus kicked out 11 US Embassy staff personnel (leaving 4). The US is threatening to close the Belarussian embassies in NY and Washington DC in retaliation. This morning Belarus is accusing the exiled US embassy workers and our ambassador of hiring locals to spy for the FBI. They have arrested ten citizens who took pictures of airports and cars and office buildings for America. The US response: laughter, and a reminder that repercussions are coming. Meanwhile Belarus has invited Iran to come and participate in some economic meetings, and are also requiring 1/4 of this year's college graduates to go and live in the radioactive areas of Belarus to prepare them for reopening. There is still a possibility that the chaperones and older ABRO children will be able to travel to our embassies in Moscow, Russia or Kiev, Ukraine to obtain visas for the summer, but no one knows what the cost or feasibility of that will be. Being a plan A, plan B, and plan C kind of person, all this ambiguity is about to drive me crazy. I just wish someone would simply say either A) your kids are coming or B) the kids are not coming. I'm tired of all this political waffle.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Carolina BBQ

Eastern Carolina BBQ is okay - if you like vinegar. I can eat it if it's served, but if it's one of many choices on the table, it is NOT what I'd pick. We have had several "pig pickin's" at our house, and my word of advice to all NC transplants - the home stuff is a hundred and one times better than the mess they serve in the restaurants.

Which leads me to Carolina BBQ - located on Hwy 70 in Garner. It has a down-home country diner decor, they have family style meal plans, and reasonable food prices. But don' t go there on a Sunday or you won't be able to find a place to park. I think their food is absolutely terrible, though most of my in-laws would disagree. Most of their veggies are okay, though they're all fried. Well, their coleslaw isn't, but like their barbecue, it tastes like vinegar to me. And their potatoes are served in their barbecue sauce. I've had a few times where my non-fried vegetables (green beans, brunswick stew, yams) on the vegetable plate were all served cold. So the next time I gave the chicken pastry a try. It was okay. Then the second time I tried it (on a Sunday, of course) the waitress spilled it all down the front of my dress. Thankfully, since they are so popular on Sundays, Bobby can no longer find a place to park there, so his family doesn't eat there on Sundays anymore. (major sigh of relief) I tried their barbecue chicken once, expecting a thick, aromatic sauce, and was quite disappointed when it was delivered with oily vinegar and red pepper flecks.

You want barbecue in NC? If you can't head west, where it is tomato based like the rest of the world, then try Danny's BBQ in Cary, or Holy Smokes in Garner. Both places serve a variety of meats and your choice of sauces - the best of both worlds for mixed marriages!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

my not so favorite things to do

  1. clean the bathroom
  2. clean anything, actually
  3. iron clothes
  4. set up appointments over the phone
  5. balance the checkbook
  6. shop for new shoes
  7. walk the dogs
  8. vacuum the vehicles
  9. talk to telemarketers/salespeople
  10. eat at Carolina BBQ -UGH!

Things I DO enjoy doing:

  1. folding clothes
  2. straightening closets/drawers
  3. gardening
  4. my job
  5. browsing at Target
  6. reading
  7. quilting
  8. cooking (but unfortunately that requires CLEANING the kitchen -ugh!)
  9. taking pictures
  10. playing on the computer