Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Call me Old Mother Hubbard

I’m not a mother, and I’m not that old, but like Old Mother Hubbard, my cupboard is often lacking. In no way am I suggesting we go hungry. Goodness, no. We have more in our pantry right now than so many unfortunate families have in a month. What I mean is, I don’t always stock well.

I’m actually better than I used to be. I cringe to think about it now, but I used to make a Wal-Mart or Winn Dixie trip almost every day of the week. Talk about planning ahead. I’d decide what to cook ‘round about lunchtime and get the specific ingredients I needed during my lunch break or on my way home from work.

When I realized how much time and frustration I was wasting, I began to limit my grocery trips to once a week, twice if absolutely necessary. But even now, I still only buy what I will cook that week (on average, two meals) and maybe a few frozen dishes for lunch.

I guess when just two people make up a household and don’t always eat at home, it’s tough to buy in bulk. One, it’s hard to make decisions in advance and two, food goes bad before we eat it. I kid you not – when we moved from our house in Andalusia, a bunch of our canned goods had expired…CANNED goods, supposedly non-perishable. At the Akridge house, the non-perishable perishes.

So if I find out at the last minute that I have to prepare a covered dish or have people over for supper, I must make an emergency trip to the grocery store. Two days before Thanksgiving. Because not only did I not have any food to contribute to an impromptu get-together at my house last night, but I didn’t even have anything to drink!

We try not to drink a lot of soft drinks, so I don’t buy them for home. Our sweet tea tastes more like dishwater, so I don’t have tea on hand, either. So what do you get to drink when you come to my house, unless I get to the grocery store? Water, water with Crystal Light flavoring or sometimes milk. One day, I’ll write a book on hospitality.

I do have a few staples in the pantry, not because I planned it that way but because I forgot I had them and needlessly bought more. If I were to stock up with commonly used food, I guess these would be on my list:

Frozen chicken breasts and ground beef
Frozen vegetables
Frozen pizza
Cream of mushroom soup
Cream of chicken soup
Shredded cheese
Uncooked pasta
Spaghetti sauce
Nestle Instant Breakfast
Vegetable oil
Canned corn
Moore’s
Dry onion soup mix


Okay, that’s a good start. What would be on your list?

Monday, November 24, 2008

A cord of many strands

Since I have no time today to post anything else, here's my latest Alabama Baptist Article. Hope it encourages you as much as it encouraged me.

Guntersville youth ministries cross denominational lines

Youth ministries in Guntersville are breaking down barriers — starting with those between churches. Especially during the past two years, unity has not only become the spiritual norm among the city’s young people but also the breakthrough to reaching them.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Happy Monday!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Pining over prose gone by

Reading is marketed to children as a way to be anywhere and do anything by way of a book and their imagination. I grew up on Reading Rainbow. Can’t you just hear the theme song now?:

Butterfly in the sky, I can go twice as high
Take a look, It's in a book
A Reading Rainbow

I can go anywhere
Friends to know, and ways to grow
A Reading Rainbow


I can be anything
Take a look, it's in a book
A Reading Rainbow
A Reading Rainbow

I suffer from literary breakups. I get into a novel, develop an emotional attachment to the characters, feel the highs and lows of their experiences, and then, “The End.” It literally takes me a few days to get over the separation.

I finished a book Wednesday evening. Last night, I reread the last two chapters, just to savor the happy ending one more time.

Like a series of short-lived relationships, what better way to get over the last book than to start a new one? It helps me move on with my life. I started a new one yesterday.

Gunter is somewhere shaking his head right now, repeating his take on fiction: “It’s not real.” “It never happened.” “They don’t exist.”

I know, I know. *sniff*

Maybe it’s the “highs” I’m addicted to. Same thing that draws other people to movies, video games and more destructive habits I won’t mention. I have no desire to escape my life by living out another’s, but I do love a good story.

Time also aids in the attachment. Reading is one of my favorite activities, but I hardly ever devote time to it. I might spend months reading the same novel, here and there when I have a spare minute or while I’m in a waiting room. So by the time I’m done, these characters and I have been together for quite a while.

Maybe it would be safer if I’d stick to non-fiction. Biographies are okay because they’re still stories. I’m not big on what I call “how-to” books. I know they can be used to improve our lives and open our spiritual minds. But I tend to be such a rule-follower (as if I must remember and act on every point), they’re just too much work! I read for leisure, not for labor.

Can anybody else relate to the pang of book breakups, or am I just crazy emotional imaginative and sensitive?

Monday, November 17, 2008

The secret to happy Sunday evenings

I have this problem with Sunday evenings. Round about 3:30, I hit a slump that I sometimes can’t shake until Monday morning. Maybe it’s the weight of the week to come and the knowledge that my happy weekend is waning. Maybe it’s that the sun goes down and I lose that Vitamin D energy.

Or maybe it’s that I’m supposed to rest on Sunday afternoons…meaning no work to keep me busy…meaning that I conk out as soon as I get still...and then as the clock strikes 3:30, I attempt to snap into a chipper, alert state for choir practice, discipleship training and church. If you’ve ever woken me up from a nap, you understand why waking up and coming in contact with people 30 minutes later is a dangerous thing for all parties involved.

To my credit, I’m a morning person. I’m neither mean nor delirious when I get up in the morning. At least I don't think I am.

But the later in the day I fall asleep, the scarier it becomes to wake me up. It’s like Dr. Jekyll becomes Mrs. Hyde. I lash out and don’t even remember what I’ve said or why. After several occurrences last week, I decided I will avoid falling asleep on the couch like the plague because it’s a real detriment to my marriage. And that pretty much means not sitting down at all after about 6 p.m. Sometimes what I say is not necessarily mean but just bizarre. Even after 2½ years of blessed matrimony, Gunter has not gotten used to it.

Back to Sundays. I believe I have discovered the secret to a happy Sunday evening – Diet Coke. It’s as simple as that, my friends. It’s already solved my problem with staying awake in meetings, and now it has become my secret weapon to battling the Sunday evening slump.


Allow me to recount what led to this discovery. Gunter and I had lunch with the Dyes at The Mellow Mushroom yesterday, and everybody knows the greatest drink with pizza is Diet Coke (just like you can’t eat fine Mexican cuisine without sweet tea). So, I downed one Diet Coke at the restaurant and brought home a to-go cup. Gunter had a seminary test to take, so he spent the afternoon at church, and I was left home alone with the sun streaming in the windows...under the covers in bed…reading. With the aid of my handy-dandy Diet Coke, I didn’t come close to nodding off. Miraculous!

So maybe one successful Sunday afternoon is not enough to deem Diet Coke my secret weapon, but it’s a start. And don’t worry, I won’t become an all-out addict. Secret weapons must be used sparingly or they wouldn’t be secret weapons.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Scan results

A quick update... Gunter's CT scans were clean as a whistle! And his blood work looked great.

I'll be working out of town today, so I probably won't get to post your comments until Monday.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Online photo sharing

I realize I'm way behind on this technology. People have sent me invitations to view their photos online through such-and-such site, order prints, etc. Today, my aunt sent me the link to a site my cousin Kim is using to post photos of church events...what a brilliant idea!

Wouldn't it be great to have a site where I and all my church homies could upload and share photos?! If any of you are up on this technology, please help me out. Here are some questions I have:

1. What service do you use? The sites I've seen are dropshots.com and snapfish.com.

2. What do you like and dislike? I haven't tested either one of these much, but it seems as though one benefit of DropShots is you don't have to have an account to view photos. If this also means various people can upload to one account, this is a plus.

3. Is there any way to share actual files, as in downloading JPEGs from the site after they've been uploaded by someone else? We use an FTP server this way at work, but I'm not so sure these photo sites have the capability. Maybe if we could ID who uploaded which photos, we could just request certain ones from each other.

Thanks for your help!

Monday, November 10, 2008

CT scan, check

Just an update...Gunter is done with his CT scans, and everything went fine. He was rewarded for being such a good sport by eating lunch at Moe's with his buddy Adam (a.k.a. AdamAnna, when with his other half). I'll try to let you know the test results by Friday morning.

In other news, we had a great time at TROY's homecoming Saturday. We started the day early by judging the parade and spent the rest of the day socializing with some of our favorite fellow washed-up has-beens alumni, one cool college student and some of the best college ministers turned marriage counselors there are.


We're thinking next year, we might even participate in alumni band. Or at least Gunter will. Does one semester of marching, one semester of concert and one semester of symphony give me enough points to be considered an alumni band member?


Here's us at the game. I can't believe I didn't get raccoon eyes.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Homegoing

Gunter and I will be in Troy for homecoming tomorrow. Anybody else?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

50 words kids think you don't know

Mom tore this article out of the October 2008 AARP magazine. I thought it was hilarious! It also made me feel not so out-of-touch.


*The terms, definitions and usages published in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of this Blogger. This is merely for entertainment purposes.

Let’s make a game out of it! See how many you can define before looking at the definition, and leave a comment about how you did. (By the way, you won’t see all 50 because I left out “Britishisms.”)
Online
crackberry: nickname for a BlackBerry, the addictive phone, e-mail device and general digital gadget
google: to use a search engine, especially Google
vlog: a Web log of video entries
webisode: a video short produced specifically for Internet viewing

Text message decoder
BFF: best friends forever
IDK: I don’t know
LOL: laughing out loud
OMG: oh my gosh
ROFL: rolling on the floor laughing
TMI: too much information

Fashion
bling: sparkly jewelry, often gaudy
tatted out: covered in tattoos
tramp stamp: a tattoo on a woman’s lower back, designed for viewing between low-riding jeans and short T-shirts
scooby doos: good shoes
soul patch: a small tuft of beard under a male’s lower lip, usually with the rest of the face clean-shaven

Love
baby mama: the mother of one’s children, usually not a spouse
boo: boyfriend or girlfriend
cougar: an older woman who dates younger men
cupcaking: engaging in a public display of affection
flirtationship: a prolonged flirtation with an acquaintance, not involving physical contact

Friends
brodown: boys’ night out
bromance: a close but platonic relationship between two men
frenemy: a friend-enemy, someone close to you who often hurts your feelings or competes
noob: a newcomer, especially one in online gaming
peeps: people; one’s closest friends or family

Music
crunk: a hip-hop genre
disco nap: a short nap before a night out clubbing
emo: a softcore punk genre and its subculture of angsty teen fans
mash up: to take elements of existing pieces of music, usually of different genres, and combine them in a new song; also the resulting song

Actions
check vitals: to monitor one’s e-mail, cellphone, voicemail and other electronics
floss: to show off your wealth, often in a car
friend: to add as a contact on a social networking Web site
jump the shark: to have peaked and now be on a downward slide
rock: to manifest greatness
talk smack: to speak negatively or belittle a person, often in the heat of competition

Affirmations
fo’shizzle: certainly
obvi: obviously
totes: totally

Descriptors
the bomb: an ultimate favorite
off the chain: the bomb
ridonkulous: beyond ridiculous
sick: extremely cool
tight: fantastic
wack: unjustifiable

The end
badonkadonk: an attractive derriere

Sadly, I knew what “badonkadonk” means, but I had never actually seen or heard “derriere.”

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tuesday update

I feel as though I’m behind on blogging, even though it’s only been 4 days, so I’ll just offer a brief update in bullet points.
  • We have completely vacated our former residence and are now full-fledged Brocktonites…Brocktonians...By the way, what do you call citizens of New Brockton? I need to know, since I are one.
    We still have quite a bit of unpacking and settling in to do, but at least you can move around our main living areas now. The place is smelling less like cardboard boxes. There’s a clear path to the couch and the guest bathroom, so I think you’d be safe coming to visit.

    We have a cute gray storage building in the back yard, complete with shelves Gunter built himself. Now I have a place to stack all those empty pots, evidence of plants gone by.

  • Speaking of moving (I’m as ready as you are to stop speaking of it), I’ve also moved offices at work. By “office,” I mean the kind with no ceiling, window or door, a.k.a. “cubicle.” I like a change of place, and this new cubicle has lots of storage space. I’m getting used to the new sounds and the brighter lights. So, I’m in store for more finding places to put things. I might even bring some d├ęcor from home that I no longer have room for. I miss my next-door neighbor already, even though we’re still right across the hall.

  • I have spotted a couple more brown, six-legged intruders at home, but their demise was swift and unmerciful. Unless they hide well, we've been pretty clear of them.

  • This week, I’ve been dealing with a different kind of critter, namely, a tiny green lizard living in my car. I would say trapped in my car, but he doesn’t act like he wants to leave. We first spotted the puny reptile on Sunday morning, sunning on the back seat. We tried to catch him, but he disappeared somewhere under the driver’s seat. Gunter and I agreed that I would not drive the inhabited vehicle until the lizard was apprehended, for fear that if he crawled on me, I would injure myself and others on the road. I’m not afraid of lizards, despite how it sounds, but I am afraid of things crawling on me.

    We figured the lizard was dead by now – no water, varying temperatures – but he proved tougher than our estimations. He reappeared twice today as Gunter was driving, managing to escape the first time. Apparently, Gunter’s compassion ran out and the second time…death by umbrella. Sad story, I know.

  • I attended my very first Bethany Baptist Church trunk-or-treat and fall festival/barbecue this week. Had a blast! I wish I could show you how cute some of the kids’ costumes were, but I have a policy against posting other people’s kids’ photos on the Internet without permission.

    Instead, here's a view from our "trunk" -- Bro. Milford is trading us his half-eaten Crunch bar for one of our Tootsie Rolls. He said he didn't bite off the Crunch bar, so I ate the rest.

    What’s a fall festival without a good ol’ fashioned hayride? And what’s a good ol’ fashioned hayride without shivering in the cold, being tackled by phantoms in the woods, dogs hitching rides and broken glow sticks on little boys’ heads?

  • Started my Christmas shopping Saturday! As is tradition, Mom, Grammama, Aunt Pam and I enjoyed the Pike Road Arts and Crafts Fair. As always, it started out chilly and ended up hot. As always, paley got just a little bit of sunburn. And as always, I got some great ideas for gifts I’d like to make but likely will not get around to (and would probably end up spending more than I would have had I just bought whatever the item was). Gunter says people will begin to not want our gifts – and I say, what’s so bad about that?!

  • Today was a new experience, the first time I’ve ever voted without incident. I get nervous every time. Usually, I have to fill out more than one ballot because the machine won’t take mine the first time. “What if I don’t draw the little arrow right?” “What if I mark the wrong one?” “What if they don’t have me on the list?” “What if I get in trouble because they think I’m cheating off the next guy’s ballot?”

    Regardless of who wins each race, I’ll respect those God places in authority over me, and I’ll agree with my pastor, “I already have a King, and His name is Jesus.”