Wednesday, September 30, 2009

weekend reading

I sadly realized today that my "free" weekend isn't quite as free as I would like for it to be. Elections for Wake County are next Tuesday, meaning I have to read the election official's training manual before then. I think I can skim through it in an hour or two. I intentionally didn't sign up to work the help table, so that's a whole section I don't need to read.

And of course, there's the "love me" book that our ladies are reading at church. I think our first meeting on that one is in 2.5 weeks. I'm actually at the beginning of Chapt 3, so I'm not to worried about having the 6 read in time. Not yet anyway.

AND it's the first Saturday of the month, so I'd like to make a quick trip to the "hazardous" landfill to dump off all these empty and half-empty paint cans that have been hanging out at our house for um, well, several years.

I did wash a few windows and siding today, though I've still to tackle the garden, shrubs, and flowerbeds. But hey, there's always next week...right?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

oh my....

When I had my painting fiasco a few weeks ago (where what should have been a 2 day job turned into a week long nightmare), I used some of the extra orangey-brown paint on one section of the kitchen wall. Yes, just one section. The backsplash area behind the stove was absolutely atrocious and no amount of cleaning was helping, so it went from white to dark. When I pulled the tape away from the outlets and wall edges, it also pulled some of the tape away. :O(
I've briefly looked at the tiles in Lowe's, quickly trashed the advertisements claiming tile is out and tin is in (not for my kitchen!!!) and even briefly entertained the thought of painting something on paper for directly over the stove, covering it with Plexiglas, and then just touching up all the edges with the dark paint. But while we were at the Southern Home Shows, I saw these custom tiles a family makes. The husband creates the ceramic tiles, the wife paints them, then he refires them to finish them. Of course, custom tiles aren't cheap. I looked online at other companies, and the more I saw the more ideas I had. I might still check out wall paper murals, though Bobby's not crazy about anything behind the stove that could be a fire hazard (such as a painting, etc).

They had many tiles like this one. They also had pigs, cows, horses, and just about anything you could imagine.
This is one of their larger works that is embossed (where parts stand out like a sculpture). They had a whole section on display at the show that were small tiles of the vegetables only. (One 4" tile would be a yellow bell pepper, one would be a tomato, two would make up a carrot, or corn, etc). But if you're putting them together, she can do a display such as the one above.

These two I found online by two other companies. While I love the historic kitchen one, (and the brown baskets would match the brown wall on the sides), I think it might be a bit much. And I LOVE the realistic painting of the tomatoes.

Realistically, unless I buy tiles at Lowe's and paint them myself (which wouldn't look anywhere as lovely as these), it will be several years down the road before this home project could be accomplished. I get to fill in at my old job 2 days a week for a few weeks this next month, and a small part of me would love to put that income towards this project, but my head reminds me there are other priorities demanding it. Maybe by the time I finally decide what I want, it'll be time to start!

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Yesterday while we visited the History Museum to see my sister-in-law's cooking demo, then on to the Fairgrounds for the Southern Home Show, approximately 4,000 people gathered in Durham to observe 112 organizations put on the 25th NC PrideParade. After reading the article in the News & Observer, then going on-line to view the PhotoGallery of the event, I went to the group's website where they proudly displayed the parade's sponsors:
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina
  • Capital Chrysler Jeep Dodge (in Garner)
  • WholeFoods Market
  • The Duke Center for LGBT lifes
  • Mitchell Gold+Bob Williams
  • Legends Nightclub
  • AARP
  • Food Lion
  • Chapel Hill Visitors Bureau
  • The Capital Corral
  • Raleigh Greater Visitors Bureau
  • QNotes
  • Weaver Street Market

After tonight's lesson where one of the many points discussed was not only God's love but also his holiness and anger, it was interesting in a sad way to see the number of churches involved as well as the misinformed Jesus impersonator in the parade who claimed Jesus was silent on the matter of GLBT.

Friday, September 25, 2009

not so rechargeable batteries

As a teen, one of the very few things I liked about the Bible verse "...wonderfully made" was that I could be absolutely exhausted at night, and yet when I woke up in the morning I would be totally refreshed. It was as if God had made sleep to be our body's charger for our energy cells. As I moved through college and abused my body with too little sleep and too many work hours, that quickly changed. Maybe it's old age. Perhaps it's simply overdoing it, but regardless, my body no longer recharges overnight the way it used to.

This morning was one of my "owie" mornings where my body whimpered for more sleep and creaked and groan with every move. After sitting through an hour and a half seminar this morning, my body definitely needed some movement. It was overcast, but nice outside, and I figured my hour break before the next seminar was perfect for walking the hilly sidewalks where Wake County holds its election officials training. If I can do 30 minutes on a stationary bicycle or 45 minutes of water aerobics, certainly I can walk for 30-45 minutes! Wrong, wrong, wrong. After five minutes I was hurting. At ten minutes I was almost limping. At fifteen minutes I was wishing I could sit down and never get up again. At twenty minutes I admitted defeat and prayed I would make it back to the vehicle for my binder for the next session. I survived 25 minutes of walking and then gladly quit. Even after sitting for 2.5 hours, my feet were still avidly complaining to my brain on the way to my car.

Maybe I'm just having an off day. Perhaps I'm still so woefully out of shape that I'm just not up to this yet. I like to think my body batteries just need a little extra charging.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

identity theft

When I was a teenager it bothered me greatly the number of "hypocrites" in the church. What disturbed me even more was how sinful we believers were even after salvation. I yearned to be totally sanctified (without dying, of course). I didn't get the whole point of the war with our spiritual and fleshly being, thinking that salvation should not only wash us clean but keep us that way as well. (Yes, I know that's not even possible with clothes, but I'm just telling you some of my thoughts from a few decades ago.)

So imagine my surprise when I get to chapter three of the book being read by the CBC Ladies' Book Club. (Because He Loves Me by Elyse Fitzpatrick) The thought of us stealing Christ's identity was both a surprise and enlightening. On the one hand, it's both neat and exciting that we identify with Christ enough for people to call us "little Christs" (what the word Christian actually means), but at the same time it explains why people get so disgusted when we mess up...they really want Christ. And while we can model our lives after him (or steal, borrow, use, or imitate his identity, if you will), the reality is: we are not him. Perhaps that is why the word hypocrite is thrown so loosely and freely at the church. People are seeing traces of Christ, and mistakenly think they are actually seeing him. When our true broken nature comes out, they are disappointed. It makes you want to hide, which is also a new concept for me.

Hiding is something children do. The very idea of hiding behind someone or something seems cowardly and childish. And yet that is what we are supposed to do with Christ...hide ourselves in Him. It's a very different image from what we're taught as children. Songs such as "Onward Christian Soldiers" come to mind...images of bravely pushing onward despite of everything around you. The prophets of old taking on thousands of unbelievers...but we're supposed to hide?

Books that challenge our focal points aren't easily found. Fitzpatrick has a way of expressing things that is forcing me to re-evaluate some basic principles and assumptions, which isn't a bad thing. How cool would it be if at the end of a year or two of reading and devouring the contents of this book, our personalities were so radically altered that others would think we had a new identity?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


For the first time ever on the Bobby Bryan farm....our chickens laid an egg!
Not that I'm excited or anything.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Wonderful Thing about Parents Is....

parents are wonderful things!!!
One of the blessings of a childless home is the quality time I can spend with my parents as an adult. In college I remember being embarrassed to call and ask for help with things, and now nothing pleases me more than being able to work alongside my parents. The last day they were here I actually felt well enough to work outside, and thanks to Dad and Bobby, the chicken pen is now TOTALLY finished!!!

Dad measuring the open door (which we'd been covering with half a sheet of plywood).

Dad with Mom, the Queen Supervisor.

And the finished product!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

the frog project

A 99% Completed Project!!!
My broken frogs, propped in the corner where they've resided...quite a while.
My multi-use kitchen table (aka workstation).

Cutting the frame for the cement.

The base and feet remnants of the bottom frog. After pouring the cement dust 3/4 into the frame, I pieced poor froggy back together as best I could, then covered him to his calf in more cement dust. Then I added the water, which moved some of his feet pieces. At this point he is still standing. (I haven't painted his frame yet). I fear I may not have pushed him down into the cement mixture far enough, but time will tell.
Who needs to finish a project when you can just start new ones?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

the way to overcome congestion

This has been a week for irritation (in more ways than one!)

First, I'm still fighting this cold.
Second, this on-going health care debate. The left's not going to agree with the right; the right's not going to agree with the left, yet there's a whole lot of middle ground to be covered. And what does almost everyone do? Yell and scream and fight about it!
Third, I had to deal with my one of my pet peeves while sitting in a waiting room this morning...people loudly carrying on personal conversations on their cell phone (even though the sign in the lobby asks them not to do so). Did she really think we were going to jump up and clap because she disagreed with her child's teacher's policy that younger siblings cannot be brought to the school to watch play practice, even if it was ONLY for an HOUR?!
Fourth, the whole Taylor Swift/Kanye West rude can America get?
Fifth, Serena Williams...since when did anger or popularity make it okay to curse authority?
Sixth, I'm 3/4 through mopping the kitchen floor when I hear the sound of motorbikes. I look up and out the window, only to see a motorbike and a four wheeler heading across the dam RIGHT TOWARD THE SOYBEAN FIELD!!!!GGRRRRR!!!! I knew there was no way I could head them off, but I headed that direction, cleared my raspy throat, and started yelling as loud I could that they couldn't ride there, there was crops in that field, it was soybeans, they'd destroy, turn around, blah, blah, blah, blah. They actually slowed down. I kept walking and took a breath. Then they head on and go into the spillway (probably thinking they could escape that way) but discovered they were blocked by the fence. So instead of coming back towards me, the headed right back toward the field. So I started yelling at them. By this time I'm really mad. The kid on the fourwheeler didn't have a helmet (don't kids have parents these days?!), so I started yelling again in hopes at least he would hear. Either they did or they saw the soybeans, because they turned around. The guy on the bike apologized. I asked him who gave him permission to ride here, and he just shrugged and said, "Nobody." I asked him what made him think he could just drive through people's property without permission. He didn't answer for a minute, and then said, "We're just looking for a place to ride. There's trails out there and we thought there might be here, too." I told him this wasn't a good place to ride as it was a soybean field and they would destroy the crops. They nodded and said that was why they stopped. The lead guy apologized again.
I felt sorry for them a little bit. But just a little. There's not a lot of great places to ride, but they (and their parents) should have thought about that before they bought their vehicles. How would they or their parents react if I drove my car in circles around their house?! And I get so sick and tired of looking out the window to find absolute strangers making themselves at home in our backyard.

On the bright side, while yelling didn't make my cold go away, it did make me breath a little deeper. After my coughing spell from walking back up the hill to the house, my chest actually feels a lot lighter.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

intro to money

This morning during a game at the baby shower, one of the objects we were asked to "discover" in our purse was a $100 bill. A teenager actually had one, and joyfully pulled it out. I was telling Bobby about it when I got home, and we were laughing that we were a few years older than her before either of us had ever SEEN a $100 bill, much less touched one.
My first experience with this HUGE bill (am I dating myself or what?) was at the age of 17 as my first job as a grocery-store cashier. A lady handed it to me to pay for her groceries, and for a minute I didn't know what to do with it. Was it for real? Did such a bill really exist? I turned to the older cashier beside me who was training me and as discreetly as possible held it up to her and shrugged. She started laughing and nodded her head yes. I quickly learned that around the first of the month I would receive many of such bills. My mother always payed for groceries with a check, so I was totally clueless people carried around such large bills. I'm still leery of using them, even though my awe of them has vanished.
So what's your $100 bill story?

Friday, September 11, 2009

the important things in life

This past week during a shopping trip at Target, I passed an aisle that had children's stepstools, and it made me laugh.

During the first week we had our little friends staying with us, they were flabbergasted to discover that Mrs. Monica was missing some very important household items. One was a stepstool. "You mean you don't have one AT ALL? Then HOW are we to brush our teeth or go to the potty?" We improvised with some little chairs I have. It didn't turn out to be the safest route, but it worked for the time.

The second week, I was informed I needed a new refrigerator. Ours makes funny noises sometimes, so I fearfully asked "Why?" I get another one of those "Don't you know anything this is SOOO obvious" looks with the response "Refrigerators are supposed to have a place for ice and water on the front. If you had that we could get our own drinks without asking."

It's funny, but they were the second family this summer to inform me we needed a "modern" refrigerator. I had bought a crushed ice machine with a coupon I had at Kohl's this summer, and a family member thought that was crazy. Why buy another gadget when I could just update my refrigerator with one that did the same thing? Hmmm....a $90 ice machine with a coupon that only cost me $50, or a $1,400 (or more) appliance....that one wasn't hard for me to figure.

But it is interesting the things we grow accustomed to in our households and miss when we are elsewhere. I'm guilty of taking our window-filled house for granted until I visit somewhere else and feel almost trapped with so little light.

I think when people are in different surroundings and what is for them, unusual circumstances, people make do with what is there. But I find it interesting that the necessities we tend to take for granted, but it's the tiny luxuries (whether internet or stepstools) we're accustomed to that tend to throw us for a loop when we must do without.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

the last lap

The computer is in; the walls are painted; now I just have to find and load drivers and software...but e-mail and interent is up and running!!!! WHOOOOHOOOOO!!!

Pictures will be soon to follow!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

recipe pondering

It's Wednesday, and the News & Disturber has their weekly recipe section. I've always had a policy if there's more than two ingredients in a recipe that I have never used or heard of, then it doesn't go in my "to try" pile. For the first time ever, today's edition actually has multiple recipes I want to try, but with a set of new questions. If you've never tried a spice before, and it's supposed to be the highlight of the recipe, is it worth spending that much money on a spice that you might not like and ever use again? Bottles or boxes of spices aren't exactly cheap, you know. (Can you tell I don't try a whole lot of new recipes?) AND, if a recipe calls for white wine, how drastically would it alter the taste if you used white grape juice or chicken stock? Answers anyone?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

a joyously crazy life

Sunday night I felt strange. By Monday morning I knew it wasn't anything I had eaten but a bug. :O( Today is better. I've actually done some laundry and made a mess of painting. But that's another story.

When I was a child, one of my uncles would tell us girls that if we talked around a centipede or millipede, our teeth would rot out. And he would then promptly point one out. Needless to say, we not only immediately hushed, but we also clamped our hands over our mouths. Years later, I saw the "See no evil; hear no evil, speak no evil" monkeys, and immediately thought of Uncle Charlie and his prank (which to us 8-10 year old girls was the Gospel truth!). Fast forward 10+ years to the clearance aisle at Michael's, where I found a bird feeder/watering statue whose base consisted of frogs doing the "See No Evil..." motions! It stood in our front yard near Bobby's ramp for several years, and then it became an on-going battle with the dogs. I'd stand it up; they'd knock it over. After a week of rain, I finally went out to return it to its upright position, only to find that my mischievous pups had chewed the feet away from the base!!!! Guess they liked frog legs or something.

So last week I bought a bag of cement, made a rough sort of frame, and have hopefully cemented the frog into a heavy base. I'm not sure I placed it deep enough, but time will tell. I still need to paint the frame, but that might have to wait for another week.

Meanwhile, our computer has FINALLY made it to the factory in Kentucky, is in the process of being repaired, and we hope to have it back next week!!!! It'll be so nice to check e-mail from home again!!!