Yesterday in the middle of the carpet installation, a sweet, rather new-ish friend whisked me away for a late birthday lunch to a favorite restaurant of hers. It's a small Indian place where she eats often and she wanted to share the whole Indian food thing with me. I've eaten Indian food only two or three times in my life, and I've made Indian-like curries a couple of times, but it certainly hasn't been a fixture in my life as in hers. Not knowing quite what I was in for but being game to try, I joined my friend at the India Oven. I was delighted to find that there was a buffet, which gave me a chance to sample a dozen or so different dishes, just a few bites of each, and then go back for some more of my favorites. As it turned out, about eleven of the twelve dishes WERE my favorites! My second plate of food was as full and nearly as varied as my first and I ate until it hurt...savoring every bite. And now I can say I have discovered a new food love--northern Indian cuisine! I'll be combing the internet for dishes that can be made without having to comb the city for exotic ingredients, though I'm not above even that if it strikes my fancy...
And if you're way ahead of me on this and have any great recipes to share, fire away!
(And thank you, Penny!)
I'm delighted with the combination of the wall, trim, and carpet colors. Here's some of the effect:
Okay so I'm confused.
Does this include Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen?
You know what this picture spells?
N O . C A R P E T.
That's right. We woke to another huge rainstorm and read the watery tea leaves. Sure enough, when the carpet guys showed up at 9:30 and saw that we had no covered area for them to lay out and cut the carpet (our garage is too full), they shrugged and got back in their truck and that was that.
I am so disappointed. The week as laid out was perfect. And last night The Papa and Nathan moved loads of furniture and "stuff" to the areas that weren't to be carpeted today, so need I tell you what our house looks like? Let's just say, don't get out in the storm to come over here and comfort me and expect a place to sit down ;-)
While you're there, check out Lauryn's makeover.
They forgot to tell us they'd have to take the toilets out. I'm trying not to drink anything :-)
And now for the master bathroom...
Ah. The flooring folks also forgot to tell us that though they can remove the toilets, they can't replace them. 1-800-PLUMBER!!!!!!!
I love tile.
Really, I do.
In YOUR house.
Six years ago when we built this house, we let the nice lady at the builder's showroom talk us into putting ceramic tile in the dining room and foyer. It wasn't cheap, but it wasn't a very large area and I thought it would be a nice touch. Amortized over thirty years it was only adding about .90 a month to our mortgage so I gave in.
I knew almost immediately that it was a mistake.
First, even though walking on cool tile feels nice in the summer, it also lends a pretty cold feel to a room. What it ended up doing was making sure no one ever wanted to eat in the dining room. The room became a repository for school books, a place for craft projects that were too messy to be done on carpet, and an overflow space for kids to sit during parties.
Second, I hate grout. It's an outgrowth of my hate of seams, crevices, cracks, anything that collects grime. I know, you'll have lots of ammunition for me on this one, but trust me...I've lived with the tile several years now and it bothers me.
Third, during the years when we had 15 people living in this house, two of the 12" tiles in a very visible spot cracked diagonally all the way across them. When I inquired about having them replaced, I about fell over. I could have the room re-floored for that!
And fourth, when I tried to warm up the room by putting a rug over it or carpeting over it, I ran into a myriad of problems that didn't make that practical either.
So, I resolved to have the whole thing ripped up as soon as it was financially possible. Having tile demolished is just about as expensive as having a new tile floor put in, but at least I'll never have to do it again.
And as for "Why vinyl?" I'll say that I am CRAZY about the vinyl we had installed in our kitchenlast year, and I just decided to extend it into the dining room and then we may use an oriental rug over that. We bought just about the best grade of vinyl flooring there is (my flooring man actually tried to talk me into a cheaper version and I wouldn't budge: I knew exactly what I wanted). It has a 15 year warranty, the best in the industry, and it is tough stuff. But it looks more like hardwood than any other substitute I've ever seen, and it's SO easy to care for. NO crevices! And people have walked in here many times and told me they love my wood floors. I quickly tell them they're not "real" but I appreciate the compliment...
So...being very happy with it, I also decided to use it in the downstairs bathrooms as well. Yes, same pattern. I want all the non-carpeted floors to be the same flooring, and I happen to think most of the patterns designed for bathroom flooring are pretty cheesy anyway so I'm using the same hardwood-look everywhere.
Hope that answers your questions. When I come to your house I'm going to LOVE looking at the beautiful tile floors. Here, I'm going to enjoy my hardwood-look vinyl and know that when John or the boys drop a hammer on it, it's not going to break. And nothing is ever going to get "stuck" between planks or in the grout.
As I write, the nimble workmen are scurrying around me, prepping and sanding and measuring. I'll have pictures soon :-)
Destruction is so much fun! (But it's LOUD!)
D for demolition, that is. It's the day when we get to rid ourselves of the hated tile in the dining room and entry.
I say "hated", but there is an exception. Tim, our 10-year-old Baby Prince, isn't too happy. In fact he's downright downcast. To him, tile screams one thing: "DRIBBLE!" He knows it's about to be replaced with carpet and vinyl flooring and that means he loses his indoor practice court and will be banished to the driveway. Ah, the heartaches of childhood...
Anyway, here are the BEFORE pictures:
When Zhou was 22, Japanese soldiers came to her village in eastern China, grabbed her and her sister-in-law and carted them off to a military brothel, she says.
Now 91, Zhou has broken decades of silence to speak of her traumatic experience as a "comfort woman" -- the euphemism the invading Japanese used to describe women forced into sex slavery.
"I hid with my husband's sister under a millstone. Later, the Japanese soldiers discovered us and pulled us out by our legs. They tied us both to their vehicle. Later they used more ropes to tie and secure us and drove us away," she told Reuters in her home village in Jiangsu province.
"They then took us to the 'comfort woman lodge'. There was nothing good there," she said, speaking through a local government official who struggled to translate her thick dialect into Mandarin.
"For four to five hours a day, it was torture. They gave us food afterwards, but every day we cried and we just did not want to eat it," Zhou added, sitting in her sparsely decorated home.
Not only is the term "comfort women" a euphemism, even the term "brothel" does not convey the true atmosphere. These women were not used as prostitutes; they were repeatedly and brutally raped as the Japanese soldiers took out their anger and aggression on the young women. It is truly one of the most shameful episodes in century full of shameful events.
But just as sad to me is this woman's current state:
This harrowing experience has left a deep scar on Zhou's life. She cannot forget, and nor can she forgive.
"If it were you, wouldn't you hate them? Of course I hate them. But after the war, all the Japanese went home. I'm already so old. I think they are all dead by now," Zhou said.
For 60 years this woman has steeped in the bitterness of the months she spent in slavery. Who knows how much this hatred has limited her ability to love her son and others around her...Maybe it's my recent reading of Corrie ten Boom's story in The Hiding Place that put Zhou's story in such stark relief. If anyone ever had reason to be bitter or refuse to forgive, Corrie was a good candidate. And yet she came out of a prison camp that nearly killed her (and was due to "exterminate" her the following week) and spent the next decades demonstrating the love and forgiveness of Jesus to all who would listen to her. Unlike Zhou, Corrie actually had the chance to meet some of those who had held her captive, and so her forgiveness was tested in deed, not just in word. In one of the hardest acts of her life, she extended the hand of forgiveness to one of the cruelest of the guards who had tormented her. And when she died, she had the assurance that her time as a prisoner was not wasted; God used it in ways that would have been impossible without it. Our precious Chinese woman, though, has allowed her hatred of evil to become hatred of the people involved and it has infected parts of her life that could have been priceless gifts to those around her.
What a difference Jesus makes! How thankful I am for His example! How thankful I am for those in my life who daily demonstrate for me what it means to forgive and to live free of the hatred that the world says they "deserve" to harbor. How blessed we are that we can echo Joseph's words even to those who would kill us, "You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result." (Gen. 50:20 NASB)
So this will be the week of the great upheaval. Just thinking of every single thing in this house being moved as we replace all the flooring makes me jittery. On the other hand, I can hardly wait to see the effect and to get everything back in place before we leave on vacation! And at that point I will post more pictures. I haven't wanted to do that yet because the trim is still not painted and much of the furniture and other belongings are still out of place, waiting for the inevitable chaos of the recarpeting.
This week will also be my big push to get the last of the curriculum orders done. I've come a long way since my May malaise, but there's still work to be done!
My heart is heavy for the family of Jessie Davis, the young pregnant mother found murdered this weekend. The circumstances are murky and disturbing, but no matter the situation, a young woman and her unborn daughter are dead, a two-year old is left motherless (and fatherless, it appears), a loving family is left grieving and a community stunned. May God pour out His grace In Ohio.
The odd weather around here continues. Here we are at the end of June, and we have no days in the next seven forecast higher than the 80's, with rain predicted every day. We are still relishing our wildflowers and generous green fields and yards, not to mention the lower electric and water bills!
The Papa has taken our three youngest to the lake this afternoon, renting a boat and planning a relaxing day together. I will enjoy the quiet here, putter, nap, and gather strength for our coming week...
I love food blogs. I've been finding some great recipes as well as thoughts about food on blogs lately. If you are a lover of eating and baking homemade bread, here's one that should inspire you as well as make you salivate: A Year in Bread
And speaking of blogs, if you haven't discovered Lifehacker, go give it a look. It's one of the few I visit every single day, or multiple times if my Bloglines alerts me. It moves fast, with sometimes 30 or 40 posts a day so it's a little hard to keep up with everything. But once you get used to it, you learn how to scan for the things that will interest you and skim over everything else. The contents almost defy description so I won't even try. Just go visit for a few days in a row and see if you aren't hooked. If you aren't already a geek, it just might make you one. (I just bought the book to read on vacation, written by the major contributor to the site. Can't wait! Lifehacker, the book.)
If you have some available slots on your prayer list, I'd appreciate your remembering our three middle kids, CJ, Nathan, and Bethany. All three have important decisions/plans regarding college coming up in the next few weeks and life and health circumstances affect all these. Pray for God to make very clear what they are to do and how we're to encourage and help them.
Here's where I snip the snippets for today. It's time for a nap :-)
Well, after spending a year in the history of the 20th century, I'm MORE than ready to go back to ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. I can hardly wait! Like my friend, I love history, but unlike her, I really get my kicks from the old stuff--the older the better!
But apart from the fact that I enjoy it, is it really worth giving it a whole year every four years? And my answer is a resounding "Yes!"
The roots of most things good about American government and society are found in ancient Greece and Rome. Just as important, the seeds of everything destructive are found there, too. We are living in an age when what is good is being threatened by elements that will probably, ultimately, bring down the American democracy. But we're in the middle of it...we can't see the forest for the trees. Someday, if Jesus doesn't come first, people in a faraway time will study just what happened to us and why. We can't do that now because it is still happening and seems to be happening so slowly.
And only when I can study and understand ancient history in the light of Biblical truth can I impart that understanding to my children, praying that they will absorb it in a totally different way than I did as a child. Otherwise, they too will grow up learning one history in church and family devotions and another from their history books, as though the two somehow occurred on different planets. May God infuse our next study with the fragrance of His presence throughout the ages and with a concrete sense that it is, and always has been, HIStory.
And to my friend who was courageous enough to ask the question, I have left you anonymity, but if you'd like to come out of lurkdom in the comments and add your own, feel free :-) Only when we ask the questions can we gather the viewpoints that help us shape our own!
All the walls in Phase One are painted. This includes the kitchen, dining room, family room, living room, front hall and entry, and both stairwells.
Painting of the trim has begun.
Tile in the dining room and entry will be demolished on Tuesday.
New vinyl flooring matching what's in the kitchen will be installed in the dining room, master bath, and powder room on Wednesday.
Carpet in all remaining downstairs areas and staircases will be installed on Thursday.
New baseboards will be installed the following week.
This schedule accomplishes my goal of having the bulk of the work done and the house put back together by the time we leave for vacation (see ticker above). So I'm a happy Granny!
Now, if I were just as far along on lesson planning....
Tell me how much longer...
I know that a lot of you are very good about checking the grocery store sale flyers and making great use of the week's specials. Lately I've been trying to get back in that habit as well, but am hampered by the fact that I can't stand the feel of newsprint and I hate having paper hanging around.
Ta-Da! I found a site that aggregates all the deals in your area, from all the grocery stores including Wal-mart and Super Target, and lets you see online what the specials are! You have to register once and put in your zip code so they know which stores you're shopping, and then you can set it so that each time you go back it takes you automatically to the sale flyer page. Ain't this a great country??
Three or four years ago, Tami and Aubrey and I went in together and bought a side of beef and filled our freezers. That was a mixed experience for our family, partly because I was still not cooking a lot and it's not practical to do it if you're not willing to put in the work to actually THAW and COOK the meat.
Well, I've gotten interested in doing it again, but this time I've decided to do some research first on all the different ways a beef carcass can be cut up, ground, etc. before I do an order. I am learning so much! For instance, now I understand why it's so hard to find flank steak--you never see a whole display case of flank, do you? There might be two or three if you're lucky. Well, that's because there is only a tiny bit of flank on a cow (about 3 lbs.) compared to the round section, for example, which can be nearly a quarter of the dressed weight of the carcass. Okay, I'm 53 today and never knew that! I guess I thought that flank steaks came from a huge hunk of flank roast somewhere, sliced to order!
Anyway, last night I ran across a real treasure. It's a series of six YouTube videos, roughly seven to ten minutes each, of a master butcher cutting up a whole side of beef. It increased my understanding of this topic much more than any diagram or written explanation. If you want to see a pro at work and at the same time gain a much better understanding of where your chuck roast, T-bones, and brisket are coming from, set aside an hour and go watch these!
And if you've got some real experience in this area that you'd be willing to share, I'm all ears! Have you bought a side or a quarter of beef? What did you like about the experience? What would you do differently next time?
Summer has arrived. Oh, I know that technically it's still a couple of days away, but it gets to us sooner than it gets to you, and it's here. You know it's hot when you're timing the minutes it takes you to get home from the grocery store with ice cream. And when you're rearranging the contents of the bags so the frozen stuff is all by the milk. But you know, it's still so beautiful here from all the rain we've had that the heat is a little easier to bear!
I've moved our vacation ticker to the top of the page...countdown has begun in earnest and we're all in the planning mode. Since this will be a pretty "active" vacation, with lots of things I won't be participating in, I have to devise some things to keep me busy on the days when everyone else is hiking, horseback riding, etc. I'm choosing a few books I've been dying to read, making sure I've got a couple of audio books loaded on my iPod, and thinking about a knitting project to take along. What I won't be doing is blogging, at least not live-blogging, because we'll be away from internet access. If perchance I'm wrong and Red River has moved into the 21st century (which I'm not altogether sure would be a good thing), I'll do some online Christmas shopping. For me, though, the real vacation will be the cool mountain air...
In the background, Josh is wondering what all the excitement is about :-)
Here, John attempts to read the instructions but the old arms just aren't as long as they used to be. This indicates the very problem for which the new TV was purchased: he watched almost the entire final game of the Spurs championship standing right in front of the old TV because he couldn't see the score from our bed. (Shoot, I'm not sure he could see Tim Duncan!) I determined then that the Father's Day gift would be this fairly elaborate visual corrective.
Next, son-in-law (and off-duty pastor and painting contractor) Dirk disconnects the old version, which now looks considerably tinier than it did last night.
The Papa unpacks his new toy, assisted by the hordes of grandchildren without whom he no doubt would never have gotten it out of the box :-)
He forgot to wear his T-shirt that says, "I may not be very smart, but I can lift heavy things."
And the new one goes into place...
There's a joke here somewhere...you know, like "How many Calvinists does it take to plug in a TV..."
It takes up the whole top of the chest, but we can both see the picture from anywhere in the room! Happy Father's Day, my dear!