Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

Old gross walls

Oscar being ever helpful throughout



The new walls in back (the cats love walking down it!)

We had a busy weekend for sure.  On Saturday we got two pallets of bricks delivered from The Home Depot.  Our intention was to tear out the old rotten, 2x4's that had been holding the garden in along the perimeter of our house and replace them with bricks walls.  SOMEONE (who will remain anonymous) had done the math and determined we needed two pallets of bricks but we built all the garden walls and still had a pallet and then some remaining.  Our next project was to do a garden behind the house.  First all the rocks that had been there had to be hauled away and then we had to level out the front.  Chris is upset that it isn’t in a straight line (the very linear engineer in him) but I told him my garden doesn’t grow in a straight line and I enjoy the more organic look.  I had to keep reminding him the brick is to enhance the garden, not the other way around.  He kept saying “it’ll grow back”....not what I wanted to hear.  He doesn’t understand the emotional attachment to gardening! When the back was done I had the bright idea to build another garden in front.  I have actually been wanting to do this for year so it worked out great.  It was H O T yesterday and it is hard work hauling those bricks, rocks and heavy bags of soil around.  Today I almost enjoyed coming back to work so I can relax!  That’s a lie actually, it’s supposed to be in the high 70’s today and I’d give anything to continue my vacation.

New garden with miniature liliac in the middle

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Friday, May 27, 2011

More Pretty Flowers

I don't know what this is, some annual I bought

Primroses with a strawbery mixed in

Plot by the woods

Trillium in bloom


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Oprah's Last Day

Today ends the Oprah show that has been a part of my life for probably a good 15 years.  I can’t imagine what it’s like to be Oprah. I believe she has made more of a positive impact on more people than anyone else in recent history.  There are many celebrities that are revered for whatever talents they have but I doubt any are as beloved by so many as Oprah.  She can make you feel inspired, uplifted, empowered, encouraged, educated, and entertained.  She can make you think, make you cry and make your laugh.  She can challenge your way of thinking and super-size your compassion.  She has the ability to bring the world and its diverse population into your living room and allow you to see with different eyes and more understanding hearts.

I love what she represents about our country.  That a unwanted baby girl born in into poverty in 1950’s backwoods Mississippi to a single mother could then rise to such meteoric fame and success is a testament to America and all it stands for.   Those are the stories she profiles on her show...the woman in Africa who is beaten for doing her brother’s homework, who has 3 children and an abusive husband  by age 18, yet she manages to get a high school diploma and later a chance to study in America where she achieves a BA, MA and then doctorate degree minus one abusive husband.   Or the two sisters who saw their grandparents murdered after their home was burned to the ground.  The lived as refuges in a camp in Rwanda until adopted by an American family and then went on to achieve their dreams of higher education and then back to Rwanda to improve the lives of people there.

Oprah is a lot of things to a lot of people but what I admire most about her is her heart.  She has such a heart for people and their circumstances.  Her compassion, wisdom and generosity have touched so many lives.  She has truly used her celebrity in constructive and admirable ways. 

 I also love what she has done to promote reading, inspiring legions of readers and making many authors successful.    I love her constant testimony about how God works in her life.  She gives God all the credit he is due and teaches us how to listen for His voice.  One of my favorite stories she tells is about wanting a part in ‘The Color Purple’.  She wanted that part so much she could think of nothing else.  She obsessed about it.  The casting came and went and she wasn’t called.  One day she was running laps around a track and thinking about that part when the song “I Surrender All” came on her headset. 

All to Jesus I surrender; 
all to him I freely give; 
I will ever love and trust him, 
in his presence daily live.  
I surrender all, I surrender all, 
all to thee, my blessed Savior, 
I surrender all. 
In that moment she surrendered her desire for the part in the movie.  She gave it freely to the Lord.  She hadn’t even finished her workout when someone came out to say she had a phone call in the office which turned out to be Steven Spielberg, offering her the part in the movie. 

Peace out Oprah.  Thanks for everything.  My husband is rejoicing but I will miss you dearly.

To God be the glory.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Oh, My Word!!

I may have addressed this topic before but it bears repeating.  My newest addiction, since Christmas when I got my I pad, is WORDS WITH FRIENDS.  It’s a scrabble-like game app with a slightly different board layout than scrabble.  It is both fun and aggravating.  A couple months ago I was watching a Dr. Oz show and he talked about your wenis, the skin that often is dried out looking on your elbows.  He mentioned in the show it is also a great scrabble word and I have been patiently waiting to use it ever since.  Last night, after 5 ½  months of trying I had my chance.  Imagine my anticipation to drop a N I S under a W E, utilizing a triple word square to boot.  I could hardly wait to see my score.  But wait........how could this be??? It would not accept it as a word!!!  Boy do I have an ax to grind with the people at WORDS WITH FRIENDS.  There is just no accounting for their random vocabulary.  Once while desperately trying to make a word with my remaining tiles and the availability on the board I made a very horrible word....I come up with all kinds of combinations while desperate and I automatically press “play” hoping it accepts these words I’ve never heard of and occasionally it does.  This time it accepted this horrible word which I will not name because this is a family blog.  I immediately had to call my friend Susan and apologize.  I was really quite horrified and until the game is over there is that word staring at you.   Juxtapose that to a legitimate body part name that is not accepted and you have an idea of my utter consternation.

Another things that bothers me is it’s not so much about your vocabulary as it is tile placement.  I love words and I like to come up with unusual ones but most of the words I use in the game are pretty common 4-5 letter words.  Both my nieces, however, come up with some doozies.  Recently one played “VROUW” ....it’s a Dutch title for married women.  The other used “SQUEG”....an electronic circuit component.  Okay, for reals, how many of you knew that????

P.S.  My spellcheck didn’t recognize “wenis” either.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Three Cups of Tea

I have been reading Three Cups of Tea for over a month now.  It has taken me so long because I only read it in the tub at night and I haven’t been taking as many baths lately as I once did.  Since the inception of my Ipad I now prefer to read on that.  I really hate straining to read small print but obviously I can’t take my Ipad in the tub with me so I have a tub book on hand.  It is interesting that I am I reading this book while history surrounding that region is in the making -- i.e., the elimination of  Osama bin Laden.  According to author Greg Mortensen the people in that region (Pakistan) knew immediately who was responsible for 9/11.  One of the most interesting thing the author opines is “terror doesn’t happen because some group of people in Pakistan or Afghanistan simply decide to hate us.  It happens because children aren’t being offered a bright enough future that they have a reason to choose life over death.”  Hence his crusade to build schools and educate children, particularly girls, in that region.

Also in tandem with my reading this book is the release of Jon Krakauer's treatise entitled Three Cups of Deceit where he accuses Greg Mortensen of mishandling his charity and outright lying about his accomplishments.  I have downloaded that to my I pad but not yet read it.  I don’t know what happened or how much was embellished but I do believe he accomplished many good things.  It makes me sad that this cloud of suspicion has been planted but I know Krakauer was one of his biggest supporters at one time.  However it evolved, it is an interesting read I highly recommend.  It really explemifies the power of the human spirit to accomplish great things.  He was the hero we all wanted to believe in but unfortunately when people are exaulted they just have further to fall.  I applaud him for what he did actually accomplish...it's still more than most people will ever do.