Sunday, May 30, 2010

I spy a finished project...

It's done:

I had the honors of taking the first bath, and a bubble bath at that. I don't take baths in this house, because I have a thing about old icky bathrooms. So it's been a while since I've had a bath. I believe I'm a bit fatter around the middle since my last one. If you're having a fat day, taking a bath is a bad idea. Everything seems to expand in all the wrong places and float to the top like a buoy. And the bubbles didn't help hide it, either. I did discover, however, that a nice soaking bath is a great way to remove paint and caulk from your skin!

The room could use a little decorating, but I'll get to that later. All that matters is we're through, and we're still married. :-)

The porch is also done, minus ceiling paint:

I think if I were an outsider looking in, I'd be thinking "um, big deal." It's just a plain ole porch. But if you had seen it before - the dated, closed-in walls with the siding that was literally falling off, you'd appreciate this as much as I do. It feels so much better.

I don't know what the next project is. For now, my nails are clean and I get to read my book that's been sitting patiently on the couch.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


I've probably said before that I believe in the motto, "if you want something done, do it yourself," as it pertains to women. I think girls/women should learn to be self-reliant. You're not always going to have a guy around, so be able to take care of yourself.

I like conquering (or at least trying to conquer) things around the house: vacuum cleaners, garbage disposals, clogged toilets, etc. And so I'm thrilled that I've finally figured out the new gas-powered edger/weedeater combination thingy we bought. We bought it for ME, so I was really getting frustrated that I was having so much trouble with it. It's so friggin heavy, and although I'm not teeny-tiny, I'm not a big girl either. But I'm proud to say I can now manipulate that power tool like a samurai sword! Although I am worried that by summer's end my right arm will look like Popeye's.

Now this doesn't mean that I don't need a man. I need one in particular and would never want to live without Alan. And I will gladly accept the things he does for me that I could and should do myself. He brings me aspirin and a glass of water. He gets me a blanket (sometimes he throws it at me, but hey - same end result). He pumps the gas in my car and cleans the windows while I just sit there enjoying the breeze. The point is, I can take care of myself if I need to. I just don't always want to.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Food, fondly

Everyone should have a specialty when it comes to cooking. Have at least one dish that you do really well that you can fall back on when necessary. Mine happens to be green pepper steak, and okay my tuna casserole is awesome, too. But neither is difficult to make or requires much finesse in the kitchen. So I don't have a lot to brag about.

Some people have taught me what I consider to be their specialties. I learned how to make beans and cornbread from Mother. In Texas, we say we're "making beans" not "cooking beans." She didn't tell me traditional measurements, but rather showed me how much salt to pour into my palm. When to add the salt is important, too: You wait until the beans' markings have faded, take one out and mash it on the counter with a fork. If it mashes easily, you're ready for the seasonings. And although I feel I make a big pot of beans that are just as good as hers, my cornbread doesn't compare. I just can't replicate it. I think that's fitting, considering she had to make cornbread countless times growing up in a poor family.

I learned how to make chicken fried steak and gravy from my stepdad, Dale. The important part is the gravy - I vividly recall him showing me how to season the drippings and flour with salt and pepper at just the right time, before adding the milk. It's perfect every time, but I'd still rather have him make it. Somehow it's just better.

Banana pudding is my paternal grandmother's specialty (in my mind anyway). Mema made banana pudding for me and DeeBee everytime we visited, it seems. She never used instant pudding but rather made the from-scratch recipe on the box of Nabisco's Nilla Wafers. I use the same recipe today and refuse to try an instant version. Maybe it's more for sentimental reasons, but I hope I always take the time to get out the double boiler and make it slowly.

Breakfast was my dad's specialty, and probably still is. He didn't wait until Saturday or Sunday for a big breakfast. If he was so inclined, I'd wake up on a school morning to a full blown buffet - eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, and my favorite part - he'd add freshly sliced tomatoes and avocados. Doesn't it just make you feel good when someone cooks a big meal for you? I know kids tend to take things like that for granted, but I truly remember loving Daddy's breakfasts. I hope I told him "thank you" at the time.

Funny how memories associated with food are so powerful.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Count to 10

Not gonna lie, I'm tired. As in tired "of" things, not physically tired. I know so, because the other day I posted something on Facebook that sounded quite whiny, and I really don't like to read those whiny, "woe is me" posts.

For the first time in a very long time, I dreaded going to work today. The reasons are varied and don't matter, as they would be very whiny.

Tomorrow I dread because I have to deal with contractors on a project I've grown very tired of. Due to circumstances, I'll likely be irritated by day's end and biting my tongue (if that's possible with me of late).

I also have a parent conference tomorrow that has me worked up. This encounter, among others, has me questioning how long I want to teach. The first job I ever loved, and I'm already considering my staying power.

So I'm not sleeping right now. I'm mulling over how I'm going to handle these things in such a way that I'll still like myself at the end of the day.

I hope I'm not out of Nyquil. :-)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

It's hot in Texas.

It's days like today, 95 degrees in the sun for over three hours:

that I fondly remember days like this:

(This is Alan. I like him.)

And this is one of many students that makes me love my job. She's as sweet as she looks.