Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tools for Imagination Then & Now - Lego's and Lincoln Logs!

Do ya have any of these laying around your home? We do! Ever since we bought the first Lego set for the boys years ago, we all play around with them.

See? Over time, we have a couple of baskets like this that move around our home. It is full of flat pieces for fortresses, or stations, or planes, automobiles, you name it. We even have some Transformer type stuff too. Its fun to sit around with a few of these pieces and create whatever comes to mind. As the boys get older we don't quite get the time to fiddle with this like we used to.
Here is what Brian and I put together a couple of nights ago. Lately, its been sporty stuff, but not to long ago  it was a star wars fighter plane, and a Lego race car too. We vary!

See? A little soccer stadium.

Remember these? Yes, I still have mine. GO ahead, laugh. I loved Lincoln Logs! I keep these around for "old school" times as the boys like to put it! The box is long gone, but the imagination isn't!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wrought Iron Mirror Re-purposed into a Memo board!

Recently, Best Bud and I went to a city wide yard sale in Kentucky. The townspeople lined the streets selling all sorts of things from socks, to Tupperware, to old and non-used items. It was HOT. We utlilized the shade trees and stayed as hydrated as we could so we could visit as many yards as possible. We didn't pick up much this year, as quite honestly, there wasn't much there we wanted or needed. However, we did come away with a few things. One thing I came home with was this wrought iron frame. According to the owner it had once held a mirror, but once that broke, she decided she was finished with it. When I saw it, I thought 'project!'.  I've seen all sorts of things done with old frames, so I figured an old mirror would work too, right? One of the neat projects I had seen was to string wire from side to side and use it as a memo board.

I bought some wire and some cute little, and colorful clothes pins at Hobby Lobby, enlisted some help from Sweetie, and voila! I now have a really unique memo board that can hold all sorts of things from pictures, and tickets, to a recipe, ect.

Here is the finished project. Pretty neat, huh? I love it when I can get a project started and finished fairly close together! Now, to just get it hung so I can use it!

Monday, July 11, 2011

American Pickers

American Pickers is a show that comes on the History Channel.  Sweetie, the boys, and I watch it weekly. If you haven't watched it before, its about two guys named Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz  who's base of operations is in Iowa.  The show follows them as they scour the country's junkyards, basements and barns for hidden gems. Basically, bringing little bits of history, out for us all to enjoy. They have all sorts of tips and recommendations for the beginner picker.  They will buy a rusty, broken down bicycle for $40.00, fix it up (although sometimes its better left alone), and re-sell it for $300!
A part of American Pickers has come to Nashville, TN. Mike Wolfe just opened a second store here! It's called Antique Archaeology. 1300 Clinton St., Suite 130(Marathon Village),Nashville, TN 37203. There are all sorts of things in there from the shows, although the folks working in there told me that they had lots more, just Nashville keeps buying everything they bring in!


Hours: Mon.-Sat. 10am – 6pm

Sun. 12pm – 5pm

  Mike is coming back to restock the store in the next two weeks, so be watching! I know I am! We plan on going back as I would love to see more things. Sweetie suprised me with this trip! Next time I plan on bringing Best bud too!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Bad Day at the Burger Joint

"Service with a Smile!" A bygone saying as well as an action also, it seems. Now before I get on my soap box here, I understand that there are still a few places that give us genuine customer service from the moment we arrive at their establishment. Thank God for them. Frequent them, and compliment your courteous public servants.   I can also hear excuses. Well, it was busy. Yes, it was. Perfect opportunity to  shine! Why is it we excuse bad behavior? Oh, she must be having a bad day. Okay, what about me the paying customer, who that if I don't come in, you will really have a bad day 'cause you won't have a job! What happened to treat others as you want to be treated?

I've worked several places where they wanted their people all smiling, looking customers in the eye, helping those customers get what they wanted, and not settling until the customer left satisfied. We were instructed to smile even if we had lost our puppy before coming into work. Personal issues were to be left in the parking lot, not to be addressed with our co-workers, much less the customers!
We visited a store where the associate was so busy telling her co-workers about her creep of a boyfriend that she missed two sales I knew of, one that patiently waited awhile, gave up and left, and myself who wasn't willing to waste my time. Finding no one else to help, we left.
Today, I encountered some unhappy people. A local burger joint, during lunch rush. This poor girl and her crew must have struggled to come in today. Little did I realize that amusement was just minutes away as I stood in the snake shaped corral en route to the register. The first gal, well she was upset because her register was running out of tape. Another was stressing vocally because one of her little worker bees forgot a customers order.
Poor starving man - just standing there watching everyone else trickle by him with their food, glancing at his watch. He only gets an hour people - and that includes drive time from and back to the work site. He's gonna choke on those nuggets you just handed him. Wait - you forgot his sauce. Oh he is irritated. Giving up he will just eat dry, dry nuggets. Maybe there is some excess grease in there he can wash it down with. Silver lining (sorta) - the man got his money back. Not an apology, not a I'm sorry smile, just "I'm not the one who took your order, but I'll give ya your money back." SIGH.
Oh! They are opening another register. JOY! Uh- no. This one must have a rash for how many times he tried to inconspicuously scratch. Eww. I feel like I'm in Vegas at those little roulette tables praying my number lands on something other than him having to touch my food.
BAM! Prayer answered, the girl with register tape issues, that yells at the preparers in the back is the one that we get the pleasure of interacting with. I smile..sometimes that's contagious, nope not working. We place our order, (BTW Sweetie isn't smiling either) and a few minutes later our food is plopped down on a tray on the counter. It looks like our order. Could it be?
 No one is addressing us. Well, I only get an hour also and the majority has been used up wondering what the regional manager would think. We took the food and, yes it was ours. It was fine - we got what we expected (the bar was low), but it will be awhile before we venture inside, or visit that drive through for that matter.
What is so hard about cracking a smile? There is some little saying about how it takes less muscles to smile than to frown, so it's not like someone can claim laziness here. A smile is universal. Generally, it is welcoming. Sometimes, depending on the person, it can make ya wonder what mischief they are planning. Don't you agree that your experience is better when folks at least act like they care?
Don't get me started on folks that cannot count change back. Watch a cashier sometime that you give change too, after he/she has in put a certain amount into the register. If they lock up, and give ya the deer in headlights look, prepare for instruction in the basic math principle of subtraction. If they don't have that digital number handed to them, there is a melt down getting ready to happen. The paperwork required, the amount of management staff that has to re-configure the machine, and the basic math called subtraction which is apparently out of reach for some of our youth today, when the amount input into the computer isn't what the customer deserved back?  Oh Where, oh where has customer service gone?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Broken and Beautiful

Stained Glass Windows by Daniel Doss band is one of my favorite songs since Daniel first shared it with our congregation a year or so ago. It talks about how with each of life's blows we shatter, and how God picks us up and makes stained glass windows out of our lives, more beautiful than they were before.
When one hurts and is experiencing the pain of being shattered, it is hard to see the good in it. God moves, and He fixes everything.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sushi class @ Salud Cooking School in Whole Foods

Sushi. In the last 3 to 5 years I have developed a fondness for this food type. Just hearing the word years ago brought raw meat and visions of worm infested stomachs. I know, dramatic. I've seen the TV specials, on the dangers of eating raw sushi. (In this class I learned that in the states our sushi has to be frozen deep freeze style in order to kill off any of the bacteria.)
Now I know that there are many vegetable varieties as well as cooked food variations of sushi. Yummy!
When best bud and I got there, I was anxious. I'm not much of a seafood person, and I wasn't sure just how much of this raw stuff I would have to handle. (Poor Sweetie, who is way less tolerant of fish than I would have just politely excused himself)
The teacher was friendly and chatted with our class of 10. We learned how to cook our rice, what type of rice to use, how to make it sticky enough to adhere to our seaweed wraps. We made vegetable rolls and yep - raw seafood rolls. (and one with cooked crab).
We learned how to assemble and then finally roll them. That was really great to learn. Best bud was kind enough to keep the rolls that I made with the raw stuff in them. We made so much there were to-go boxes for everyone there.
Oh, we even made a roll called inside-out California roll. That was one where we had the rice on the outside of the roll instead of inside! It was fun to see it completed.

The teacher asked me at the end of the course if I liked it, ('cause she learned that I don't like the raw part) and I told her it was great! I like to learn how to make things new - even if no one in my home will eat it with me.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Red, White, & Blue

This is the time of year that the firework stands open up across the city, state, and our country. A couple weeks ahead of the big Fourth of July festivities allowing folks time to get their own "sky show" planned out. Folks gather for picnics, and family gatherings. A fireworks show is so symbolic. I hope that each American this year takes pause to thank God for our country.
Living history as most of us remember September 11, 2001 I will never forget the feeling of horror, sadness, and loss as I watched along with everyone else the tragedies of that day. Our flag still flew! That feeling still comes back to me each time I see our flag waving in the breeze. Such a symbol of strength, resolve, and honor. I also recall in the weeks/months following a renewed determination by all Americans to stand by our flag, our country, our beliefs.  There were millions of flags sold during that time. So many that factories couldn't produce them fast enough.
Since that time, many more lives have been lost, and honoring our soldiers and their families have become all the more precious to us.
The family and I watched a special on the history channel this weekend on Francis Scott Key, the author of our country's National Anthem. I took mental and physical notes so I could share this with you because nothing disappoints me as much as watching Americans on television asked about our country's history and they don't know, understand, or remember  facts. Listening to the laugh track that accompanies such a segment I am even more disappointed. I am sketchy on some things too, so I try to refresh my memory from time to time.
Francis Scott Key:  I remembered studying him in school, but had forgotten that at the time he was watching the battle from behind the British ships that were firing upon his beloved city and home; Baltimore, Maryland.
The back story here is that Francis Scott Key had been asked to negotiate the return of a local doctor and friend, Dr. William Beanes who was being held captive on the British flagship the Tonnant.

Flying a flag indicating truce, he boarded the Tonnant to speak with Gen Ross about releasing Dr. Beanes.  The British agreed to let him go when finding out their comrades that had been captured were being treated well by the Americans. However, due to the battle going on they were guarded and ordered to wait until the battle was over behind the British fleet. Can you imagine, poor Mr. Key having to sit out there helpless in the water, and watch his city being bombarded by cannonballs?  After 25 hours of listening to gun fire and cannonballs imploding, suddenly there was silence.
It was still dark, but daylight was coming. Mr. Key and his friends watched and listened with great anticipation. Still nothing. However, when "dawns early light" first started peeking through the clouds, they could see the huge American Flag flying in all its glory over Ft. McHenry. What a sight to behold! Doing some research I found out that the flag was indeed huge measuring 30 by 42 feet. The British had retreated, and the battle was won.
This moved Mr. Key so much that he took a letter out of his pocket and started writing down the various sights, sounds, and experiences that had and were occuring in these moments. It is told that he finished his poem once he was on land again. Aren't you glad he did?
Since I can remember I have jotted down experiences as they happened to me and my family; little notes all over the place, on whatever I can find to write upon. So, I totally understand Mr. Key.
History books tell us that copies of the poem were distrubed and the popularity of it swelled. It was adopted as our national anthem on March 3, 1931.  This part I had forgotten also as I can't believe how long it took for that to happen! Mr. Key never dreamed that in the 21st century we would still be reading/singing those words that have come to symbolically mean so much to so many. (The Star Spangled Banner)
Happy 4th of July everyone! Best wishes for another safe and happy year, and a heartfelt thank you to all the soldiers who bravely defend our freedoms!

(thank you Google for helping me in my search of how big the flag was that flew over Ft. McHenry,