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Saturday, March 29, 2008

That's the power of wash!

The cleansing of the house continues. We've painted, scrubbed, steam cleaned, vacuumed, hung lights, hung fans, hung curtains, and put away clutter.

Today's adventure had to do with...... Are you ready? a POWER WASHER!!!!!! I've seen the benefits of power washing, but my life has been, up to this point, power washless. This morning I looked at my father-in-law's power washer with anticipation. What was it going to be like? Would it make the driveway and entryway look new? I had no idea, but I jumped into the owners manual and got it ready to blow! Attach the hose, choose attachment, add the detergent, plug it in, and turn it on! Woo Hoo!!!! Here we go!!!!!
A miracle machine was at work. That bad boy started blowing 5 years of dirt all over the place. The dirt splatter on the garage wall and lawn mower was spectacular! (Note to self: NEXT TIME CLOSE THE GARAGE DOOR IDIOT!!!!) I was amazed at how well it was working. Here's a shot of what a difference it was making.

I was having fun watching the dirt and grime melt away from the pavement, but time was short. I needed to meet up with my wife and her family for the breakfast of champions......Pizza! I only had a few minutes to spare and my A.D.D. imagination kicked in. I used the power washer to write a message to anyone checking out my handiwork.

I was having so much fun. I shed a tear as I left for the Reyes home. I had a great meal, did some shopping with Leslie...Ya-dah-ya-dah-ya-dah...three hours later, I was blasting away again at the driveway. For some reason this time it wasn't as "fun" as it was before. The hoses were getting tangled. My forearms and back were aching. The sun was dropping like a rock. I finally got to a point where the only thing left was the porch.

My ever beautiful and wonderful wife made me promise that I would save the porch for her so she could share the fun of power washing. At that point I was happy to pass the torch. Actually chuck the torch is more accurate. Watching her face light up as she blew the mold right off the porch was like experiencing Christmas as a first time parent. Power washing was again fun!!!! Eventually, she too had her fill of power washing and passed that torch right back at me. Her happiness invigorated me enough to finish the job.

I must say, the final product is awesome! The outside of the house looks practically new. I can't wait for our official house warming party, so everyone can see how hard we have worked to make our home so "us".

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Lion Cut

Don't let this picture mislead you. I love my cats. I really do. But they're hairy. And they shed. And I have allergies. So drastic measures were necessary. I hope they forgive me.

Hopes For Jericho Come Tumbling Down

Tonight I'll mourn the end of my most favorite tv show ever - Jericho. If you're not clued in (and, considering that the show was canceled, you're probably not), Jericho is about a little town dealing with the aftermath of nuclear attacks on all major US cities. What would you do if you saw a mushroom cloud in the distance? Could you survive with no electricity? How would you feed yourself and your family? The people of Jericho deal with all of this and more. Throw in a conspiracy to commit the greatest crime in history and you have yourself a television show.

Throughout the short life of this series I've had to ask myself, how would an athletically-challenged computer nerd like me survive? I don't hunt, fish, or enjoy life without my contact lenses. Riding a horse hurts like crazy in the nether regions. And since my livelihood would most likely be eradicated by an EMP (at least for a while), I'd have to get really creative as far as a career goes. But most importantly - what would I do without my laptop or cell phone, spotty service notwithstanding? Don't leave me, gadgets of convenience. AT&T, I'll learn to appreciate you. Comcast, we can fall in love all over again. Even the bug zapper would be out of commission, leaving us to books and conversation for entertainment.

Anyway, Jericho can show us the way. Men become men and women fight alongside them. (But never without beauty products - my one criticism of the show. Where are all those hair products coming from?)

So how could it get canceled? Why is it that American television can support countless versions of Law & Order and CSI, but not one little Jericho? Why does The Bachelor come back season after season to culminate in what will no doubt be a doomed relationship, but the portrayal of Americans surviving after a national disaster doesn't hold enough interest to last even a full two seasons? How can Two and a Half Men actually keep an audience while Jericho is shunned by millions?

BUT I WILL NOT FORGET YOU! Good-bye, Jake - you will always be a hero to me. So long, Bonnie - your sacrifice will be remembered for days, nay, WEEKS to come. Farewell, Stanley and Mimi, you crazy kids - your cooky humor has set the standard for Comic Relief. Auf wiedersehen, Dale - all teenagers should be as resourceful, although maybe not as criminal, as you. Adios, Emily - post-nuclear attack hair never looked so good. Ciao, Robert - you scare the heck out of me, but it hurts so good. Sayanora, Major Beck - Robert sure did play you, but I know you would have figured it (something, ANYTHING) out eventually. And Heather, well, I never really got you, but GIRL, I'm gonna MISS you! OH, THE HUMANITY!

Arrivaderci, people of Jericho. I hope to see you in a movie someday!

(If you're curious, you can go to the Jericho website and watch every episode online. How awesome is that?)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Playing Hangman was FUN!!!

Our Spring Break may have been a break from our work environment, but it was far from turning our brains off and drooling at the television. It was a week of playing hangman.

We hung lights, fans, curtains, and pictures. My tools were being used like crazy. It was a tiring, yet rewarding experience. Our place is getting the "homey" feel that we've craved since we moved in three weeks ago. I still can't believe it has been three weeks!!!! The unpacking and installing isn't completely over yet, but it is definitely going in the right direction.

Once we get things more presentable, we'll post some pics for ya!

Wonderfully Ordinary

Highlights of our Easter weekend:

  • Friday was an open house of sorts with various family members visiting us to check out the new house. Friday night we had another couple (and their cutie-pie baby) over to eat pizza (praise God) and watch a little TV. Specifically, What Not to Wear. And if I were to be completely honest, I'd say that that particular television program was enjoyed by the women and simply tolerated by the men. Real Men Know Fashion.
  • Saturday we worked out in the yard. For the first time. In OUR yard! It made weeding and pruning seem almost fun. But not quite. After all, I'm not insane. But I will go so far as to say that it was a gratifying experience.
  • Saturday night we went to an Easter service at our church.

    Why Saturday, you ask, and not Good Friday or Easter Sunday?

    Because we just didn't want to deal with the crowds Sunday morning. That's why.

    We then got some Starbucks to go (a skinny latte for me, thank you very much) and sat on our back patio watching the glow of the bug zapper and hoping to hear a huge PZZZZZ.

    Now you're asking, why? WHY? Were your computers down? Was your cable out? Did your cars not start, preventing you from escaping to a more, shall we say, MAINSTREAM sort of entertainment?

    The answer - none of the above. We just felt like it. The blue glow of the bug zapper seduced us into dreams of insect-free living. The lure of blog-reading and endless runs of Law & Order and CSI could not compare with the excitement of hearing one annoying bug ZAPPED into oblivion. One redeeming aspect of our patio time (in your eyes, mind you, not mine) was that Garrett edumucated me some on constellations. Isn't that romantic? Having a constellation pointed out to me by my honey by the glow of the bug zapper. The stuff songs are written about. (Maybe a country song. Definitely not rap.)
  • Anyhoo, Garrett and I spent Sunday afternoon at his dad's house eating ourselves into a coma (thanks to the lovely Tana's culinary efforts). Seriously, the food coma was so strong that Garrett was concerned about the hour-long drive back home. But we arrived home in one piece, in time for Garrett to bind boxes and put the latest installment of trash out on the curb. The risen Christ frees us from the bondage of sin, not chores. Then some TV and Ridiculous Laughter (latest topic of Ridiculous Laughter - shiny corners. You had to be there.). And off to bed.

So that was our weekend. Wonderfully Ordinary. With the past year full of engagement, wedding planning, marriage, buying a house, and moving THREE times, it was time for a little ordinary. And it was wonderful.

So family, friends, and lurkers, tell me - what is the most wonderful ordinary thing you do? Bonus points if you also throw in a favorite patio activity (besides The Show of the Bug Zapper).

And lest you think we forgot about the risen Christ during our ordinary Easter weekend, here's some food for thought.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Things I Learned From Pride & Prejudice

My blog friend Tara put up a post about running into the BBC version of Pride & Prejudice on TV. That is hands-down my all-time favorite movie. It was a mini-series, about 5 hours long, but totally worth it in my humble opinion. I’ve made many people sit through the entire 5 hours with me so that they can experience the romance. They’re (usually) glad they did. So I thought I would share with you all some things I learned from this Movie of Movies (with video clips, of course). Beware, THIS MAY CHANGE YOUR LIFE!

  • Getting a little help in the dating department isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Anyone that knows the story of how I met my husband understands how much I believe this. Check out Meet the Bennets and watch a mother go into matchmaking mode. The ending of the movie made me think, “Hmmm, could it be that a set-up could really work?” (Also learned from this clip: snorting isn't attractive. whoops.)
  • A first impression can be a wrong impression. In Mr. Darcy's First Appearance, Darcy puts his foot in his mouth by insulting Elizabeth. Elizabeth overhears (AWKWARD), which puts him on her List of People I Abhor. So they both have a bad first impression of each other, only to fall completely in love later. This clip also teaches me that whispering in front of people is a Bad Thing. But if you're gonna do it (and you know you will), do indeed WHISPER.
  • Going along with the last point, our views of other people may be totally wrapped up in what they think of us. I can think of a time that a woman that I hardly knew told my mother, “We LOVE Leslie.” I was, like, “Really?” I didn’t know why they “loved” me so much, but I have to admit that I appreciated this near-stranger much more after hearing this.
  • Walking can be fun! At various points in the movie you see Elizabeth walking. Not just walking from one room to another, but walking through hill and dale and mud and dirt and just walking for eons. She’s even called a “great walker” at some point. Honestly, I always thought of walking as just a way to get from point A to point B. But after seeing this a few times I thought, I want to be a great walker! (But only with comfortable shoes. I wore some cool-looking Skechers on a walk around Lake Austin with my husband a few weeks ago. My feet looked good, but let's just say that my heels didn't appreciate the shoes as much as I did.)
  • Continuing with the walking idea, I’ve discovered that praying while walking is totally awesome. It’s a common thing for a lot of people, but I always thought, what's the big deal? But it works! Maybe more blood is rushing to your head, I don't know. It’s like the opposite of laying in bed praying. You know how easy it is to fall asleep while praying? I heard of a guy that prayed standing on the edge of his bath tub so that he wouldn't fall asleep. I tried it once. I'd rather walk. Maybe the reason Elizabeth walks so much is because she’s got a lot of praying to do – “Please send me my man! And make him rich!”
  • Not everyone loves a 5 hour movie. Sometimes I’ll ask (beg) people to watch it with me. They always ask, “How long is it?” Clearly wondering how long the torture will last. When I say 5 hours, they usually shudder as if I asked them for a kidney.
  • Wigs really can look like real hair. I always loved Elizabeth’s hair in this movie. I thought the curls were just so cute. But then I read somewhere that she wore wigs because her hair is actually blond. I was shocked, I tell you. SHOCKED.
  • The British really know how to tell someone off. Check out this clip (Professing Love, aka People Say Stupid Things When Nervous) of when Darcy first proposes to Elizabeth. I just love how she tells him that he couldn't have presented the proposal in any possible way…You go, girl! It just wouldn’t have sounded the same in American English. American translation - “I wouldn't marry you if you were the last man on earth!” Just doesn't have the same punch, does it? Sounds immature. So if I'm going to be told off, I want it done by a Brit.
  • Lake water is rather murky. I always suspected as much. This lake scene proves it (Darcy jumps in the lake after being totally rejected by Elizabeth). Can I just say that that's some nasty looking water? Maybe this was a half-hearted suicide attempt??? ("Come and eat me, you dirty little fishies!")
  • A man deeply in love will give The Look. Check out my absolutely favorite clip of this movie. Be still, my heart! I want to burst into tears every time I see this. I'm happy to say that my husband looks at me this way. He actually thinks I'm cute. Don't know why. I consider myself to be more of a dork. And history would testify to that (I'm thinking of the time I walked into a glass door and almost knocked myself out - so sad). All I can think is that God had a hand in it - "And God said, He shall see her as cute. And it was done. And it was good."
  • It's important to put careful thought into what we say about other people - before we say it. I don’t have a clip for this, but there’s a scene where Elizabeth and her sister have a conversation about if they should tell people of something terrible that the villain in the movie did. That was new to me. You mean you don’t just let it come up in conversation? They decide against it. I was very impressed by this.

Anyway, this may be the longest post ever, but I thoroughly enjoyed talking about my favorite movie. Let me know your thoughts. Have you also been captivated by Elizabeth and Darcy’s love story?

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Forgiveness Is Like a Bikini Wax

Don’t you just love a bikini wax? NOT! I don’t know if I should think of it as a valuable beauty regimen or instrument of torture. I can think of arguments for both:

  • The Wax as a Beauty Regimen – will leave you with a sense of cleanliness and ultra-hygienic. Will also allow you to put on a swimsuit. Without shorts. However, since The Trying On of the Swimsuit can also be considered an instrument of torture, we’ll leave that out of it.
  • The Wax as an Instrument of Torture – may bring tears to your eyes, whimpering, “For the love of God…” May also cause untold bathroom mishaps if The Wax is self-inflicted (think Mel Gibson in What Women Want), with the possibility of further injury.

With that said, I have to admit that I have been one of those that has entered the torture chamber willingly, then stumbled away after the end of the process with my head held a little higher. Before my first, I did some research on the pain aspect. I was hoping that it wasn’t as bad as I’d been led to believe, so I interviewed past victims and spent some time with

I learned a few things.

1. As one friend put it, “I’m not gonna lie to you – it hurts.”

2. You can alleviate some of the pain by taking an over-the-counter pain reliever 30-45 minutes before the dreaded appointment. I’m not sure how much it actually helps, but I hang onto that thought as if it were the last under-eye concealer on earth.

3. The more you do it, the less painful it will become. (Why? Does the trauma finally just kill your nerve endings?)

Now here’s where the forgiveness aspect comes in. You see, my mind has a way of connecting random thoughts. It’s a stream-of-consciousness thing (the only thing I ever learned about Faulkner, by the way) – one thought will lead to another, then another, then another, and before you know it the first thought is so far removed from the last thought that they seem totally unrelated. And this can happen within the space of three seconds. I’m sure some of you relate. (Word of warning: don’t do this out loud or you’ll get the “Is she insane?” look from those around you. Believe me, I know.)

In one of my random thought trails, I began thinking that forgiveness is like a bikini wax. Sometimes the pain or hurt inflicted by others is so great that it feels like a physical effort to go through the process of forgiveness. But, if you keep at it, eventually it will become just a bit easier, which will then make it easier to forgive the next person that gives you the opportunity.

But then you get a Brazilian.

One of my sisters shared with me her experience in getting a little more waxed off than normal. She was laying on the table for the usual routine, in pain but still able to carry on a conversation with her attendant. Then the attendant asked her if she would like a little more taken off. My sister thought, sure, why not. I am woman, hear me roar.

She continued conversing until the ripping of the cloth strip from her poor defenseless body. So much pain shot through her that she sat straight up as a stream of profanity spewed from her mouth, sure that blood had been drawn.

No blood.

But only halfway done.

So she reluctantly laid back down, this time gripping the sides of the table like a seasoned veteran in the Beauty Wars as she assumed the position. She gave the now frightened attendant the go ahead to continue.

There wasn’t much conversation at this point.

But the degradation wasn’t over yet. After leaving the torture chamber, she had to endure the laughter of those sitting outside. She paid (heaping salt on the wound, so to speak), apologized for her Tourettes moment, and fled. Only to come across a couple more witnesses taking a smoke outside. More laughter. And a final escape to her car and complete retreat from the premises.

So I began to think, wow, forgiveness really is like a bikini wax. You think you have the forgiveness thing figured out, but then an “opportunity” for forgiveness that is so unexpected and painful comes flying at you, and you respond like you’d never learned the lesson to begin with. The offender rips the cloth of hurt, drawing things out of you that you didn’t even know were there. Which puts you in the position of both forgiver and the one asking for forgiveness for your un-Christlike response.

Because, after all, there is One that endured true torture to provide us with forgiveness. And He did it willingly. Without any sort of pain reliever. So if you’ve accepted the divine forgiveness provided by Jesus on the cross, you can be a forgiver, as well. It doesn’t require a lot of conversation. Just a willingness to lay down that pesky pride and assume the position of humble servant. And you don’t even have to pay – Jesus already paid the price. Then what seemed like the torture of forgiving becomes a way to have a clean heart. That’s a beauty regimen that I can go for.