Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A New Car!

After a few months of dealing with trouble from our cars, we bought a new one yesterday. It is a 2009 Nissan Murano that is slightly used. From the CARFAX report, it looks like it was a rental car. We traded in James' 1997 Camaro. Parting with it was a little sad for both of us. It was the car James had when I met him and we left from our wedding reception in it. However, it didn't drive well on the ice and snow (which we have to deal with now in MO), and it needed new spark plugs. James called Firestone to see how much it would cost to replace them, and they said it would be about $500. The spark plugs are in a terrible place, and you have to take of bunch of parts off the car to get to them. So, we traded it in.

Here are a few photos of it.

These were taken in Little Rock, probably 2003 or 2004. We had a nice little snow fall.

These were taken at the dealership as we said our farewell.

This car buying experience was much better than our last experience. The last time we bought a car was in 2001, just a few weeks before we got married. We spent at least a couple of weekends driving around Monroe, LA going from dealership to dealership, pouring over Consumer Reports in print form, & scouring the newspapers. This time was much easier. Monday night we spent maybe an hour looking online at and Using Consumer Reports online is so much nicer than having the monthly mags pile up at your house.

We found the car that we bought at the dealer's own website. James called the dealership on Tuesday morning to verify that the car was still available, and made an appointment with a sales rep for 5 pm. It took about 2 & 1/5 hours at the dealership. So we spent a few hours over 2 days instead two whole weekends and who knows how many hours looking through printed Consumer Reports. The Internet can be a convenient thing!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Lights

This is the first year we have put any Christmas lights up outside, and our lights are pretty meager compared to what our neighbors have up. Imagine living on a street with 3 houses that try to compete with National Lampoon's Christmas. I would rather have money for groceries than to pay for such an extensive light display! We spent $70 at Lowe's on the lights that you see, and they were on sale 50% off!

We were both sick when we were trying to get these up. I was crazy cold outside too - like 20 degrees. Not fun.

We also have a box of lights that match lights that all our neighbors have. They are clear lights that sit in a little posts, and everyone puts them around the perimeter of their yard. We tested ours before we put the out they worked. We spent several hours, in the freezing weather, sniffing and coughing the whole time, putting them up. Then we turned them on. Nothing. Out of like 5 strands of lights, not a single light came on. We called it quits and yanked them up.

I hope we're not sick when we do this next year!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Rockettes

Friday night James and I saw the Rockettes at the Fox theater in St. Louis. It was a fascinating show with amazing costumes, fun songs, and pretty sets. The finale was a pleasant surprise. It was a living nativity complete with a camel, a donkey, and two sheep. There was the holy family, shepherds, and wise men. They sang "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and "O Come let us Adore Him" and ended by reading "One Solitary Life." I so was not expecting that after an hour of dancing bears, Santa, and reindeer.

The theater itself was worth going to just to it. It is on the National Register of Historic Places, and I was awestruck when we walked up to the exterior, only to be even more impressed when when we got inside. It was very ornate.

Before the show, we ate dinner at a great little Italian restaurant called Vito's. James had pizza and I had shrimp scampi. We both had gelato for dessert. Yummy!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Pet Peeve

Why is it that when you are in a store or other place of business, customers calling on the phone take precedence over you - the live customer, wallet in hand, standing a mere two or three fee from the clerk. This has happened to me several times. The Radio Shack on Bowman Road in Little Rock was especially bad about this. Yesterday, on my way home, I stopped by a Chinese take-out restaurant to pick up an order that James had phoned in. I walk up to the counter, then clerk is on the phone and does not acknowledge me. . .a head nod saying" yes, I see there" would have helped. Another employee walks up to the counter from the food prep area. . .he makes eye contact with me, and I think I'm about to be waited on. But no, the other phone is now ringing, and so he answers it. I wait for the 1st clerk to get off the phone and she finally waits on me.

Now, I worked in retail long enough to know that it is important to answer the phone in a timely manner, but I always felt more compelled to wait on the customer who was standing before me before I got to the phone call. Why doesn't the rest of the retail work think like that?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

I went to vote after I got off work this morning at 5 am, and there were already about 100 people in line. It was cold, and of course, I didn't have a jacket. The line moved along OK once they opened the doors at 6 am. Once I got to the counter to get my ballot, I had to wait some more. My name was not in the registrar's book. I had my registration card, and a young man got on the phone with a person at the registrar's office. The office confirmed that I was registered to vote, but they didn't know "what color ballot" to give me because I didn't have a voting history in MO. Well, of course I don't have a voting history in this state because I moved here 6 months ago, and there has not been anything noteworthy to vote on. I don't know why the ballots are colored. You don't register with a party in MO, and this was not a primary anyway, so party couldn't have been the reason for the different colors. Maybe it had to do with what school district you lived in, and thus which school district measures you could vote on. . .but couldn't they ascertain that from your address?? I finally got a "green ballot" whatever that means. James had the same trouble when he went to vote this afternoon.

This election has been a matter for prayer. I don't like either mainstream candidate, and I'm concerned about the direction that either man will take this country. The matter has been in God's hands from the start, and I'm thankful that we serve a Sovereign, Holy God who already knows how the story ends. I am also thankful that this world is not my final destination. Do not loose heart, Christians, we are aliens in this world, citizens of the New Jerusalem.

Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save. Ps. 146:3

It is God who places our elected officials in power.
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Romans 13:1

Pray for the next President. Pray for God to give him wisdom and pray that God would act in his heart and open his eyes to His truth.
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. I Timothy 2:1-2

Some words of wisdom from one of my favorite pastors, John Piper:

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween '08

This Halloween was the first time we booth dressed up for it since we met - 10 years ago. Lily was scared of James. After he put his costume on, she ran under our bed and would not some out. Almost every on out street and their yard decorated, and at about 5 pm, some of our neighbors blocked out our road so no cars could drive down. In front of our house, their were tables with buckets of candy for the kids, grilled hot dogs for everyone, and snacks and punch. I think we gave out about 200 hot dogs. There was music, and some had a skeleton that danced to "Super Freak."

James had fun as the grim reaper. There is a weeping willow tree at the beginning of our street, and he would hide behind its branches and come out when people walked by.

This is a pirate ship that one of our neighbors puts together every year for Halloween. It has moving parts and Christmas lights on it. He hooks it up to his truck and gets a generator to run lights and motors and drives in around the neighborhood.

This was the scene in front of our house. We didn't have a lot of decorations, so we went to the nearest Halloween store and bought some things on clearance to use for next year. I have more pictures posted here.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Way too early

I was at JC Penney's last Friday (10/17) to get some clothes, and was a little depressed and overwhelmed to see all the Christmas paraphernalia out. I enjoy Christmas, but it was much more fun as a kid. As a working adult with my family in one state and my husband's in another, I just don't have the time to spend with everyone that I'd like to have. Every year we have to decide when are we going to see who, when can I get off work, what does everyone want, when are James and I going to exchange gifts with each other, what are we going to do with the dogs while we're traveling. It gets stressful.

Some of my favorite memories of Christmas lately have nothing to do with gifts or traveling or shopping. Some include: walking around the AR state capital with James and Daisy on Christmas Eve - it had snowed, and Daisy loved being out in it - and seeing the life size wooden nativity. . .and singing with the BCRL choir at Tucker prison - and the Christmas concerts at BCLR - what a piece of heaven they always were. . . .and our annual trips to hear Handel's Messiah performed. . . hearing the Christmas story read from Luke before we open gifts at James' grandparent's house. Instead of the crazy-dancing-Santa-blinking-lights-madness that it has become for society, Christmas should be a time to contemplate the God-Man, the brevity of your sin, and the abundance of His forgiveness.

Monday, October 13, 2008

My 2 cents on politics

Well, I'm not excited about this upcoming presidential election at all. I don't want to vote for either main candidate. If McCain wins, (which seems doubtful), I'm afraid we're going to be in Iraq for for more years - and be paying taxes on our health care benefits?? Please explain to me how taxing our health care benefits that we receive from our employers is going to solve the health care situation in the US. And what about Sarah Palin? A heartbeat away from the presidency. Do you really want her to be running the free world if she had to? It makes me kinda nervous to be honest. If Obama wins, I think we'll be paying higher taxes, but we might get out of Iraq. Obama is really liberal, and people are hypnotized by his promises of change. I think you better be careful what kind of change you wish for - because he might really change the face of this nation. After 4 years of an Obama administration we might not think that FDR was much of a socialist after all.

So much talk of change, but there's only one man that has the power to change this country. Christ, and the life changing power of the gospel. The bible tells us that it is God who appoints the leaders of the world. HE is ultimately in control of this world. Do not loss heart, for this election is in the grasp of HIS hand.

I think I'm going to be voting for a 3rd party candidate. I know, I know, throwing my vote away. I just cannot vote for either mainstream candidate with a clear conscience. Here is a list of who else is running if you are also disappointed with your choices this year:

Charles Baldwin (Constitution Party)
Ralph Nader (Independent)
Robert Barr (Libertarian)

Get out and vote, but more importantly pray for God to bestow His wisdom on the man who will be our next president.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Home Renovations part 2

Above is a picture of the vanity in the master bathroom, and below is a closer picture of the old sink. Notice that the drain stopper is missing. Every sink in house except for one, was missing the drain stopper.

After shot:

Home Renovations

None of the cabinets in our house had hardware. After 13 years of hands touching them, they were starting to show some wear. I ordered the new hardware online, which was about $120 cheaper than buying it a Lowe's. It's nice too - I was a bit leery of ordering it without being able to see it in person, but we're really pleased. James and I spent a Saturday installing the hardware.

Below is a picture of our old kitchen sink. We had all the faucets in house replaced today. I was glad to see this go. The sink was rather shallow, and the faucet was short, which made it difficult to wash large pots and pans.

Our new sink. It is 2 inches deeper than the old one. The faucet is from Delta and the sink is from Kohler. The plumber spent about 2 1/2 hours installing the two.

New curtains for the living room. The previous owners didn't leave much in the way of window treatments, so I've been making curtains. I am really thankful for my Mom's help with these.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Al Capone's Car

About a month ago while in Hot Springs, we visited the new Gangster Museum. Al Capone had a history in Hot Springs, and to honor the opening of the Gangster Museum, the Arlington Hotel has his car on loan from another museum out-of-state for a few months. I'm not a fan of Capone at all. He was an outlaw. However, being my father's daughter, I was rather impressed with the car.

The windows are about an inch thick. After Capone was captured, the car became President' Roosevelt's car. The president needed a car, and since it was after the depression, the government didn't want to spend the money on a bullet proof car. Capone's fit the bill. If only the government could still be so conservative with our money!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Book commentary

Think I need to change my "currently reading list", but before I do, a few words about Memory Keeper's Daughter.

I found this to be an intriguing book. It has been well over a year since I read it, and I don't have the book with me know, so this will be brief. It is set in the 1960's. A wife gives birth to twins. Her husband is a doctor, and he delivers them. One is a healthy boy and the other is a girl with Down's syndrome. The father makes a decision that will haunt him and his wife for the rest of his life.

The story made me thankful that society has come a lot way in supporting familes with mentally handicapped children.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Happy Birthday James!

Happy birthday to the man that I'd be lost without! We're going out for dinner tonight, and we'll see our families over the next two weekends. This photo was taken about a month ago at the Gangster Museum in Hot Springs, AR.

Friday, August 1, 2008

What came in the mail today.

I was surprised to find what came in the mail today. I lost my PDA at Busch stadium on the 4th of July. Along with it, I lost my drivers license, debit card, and credit card - I kept all of that in the PDA case.

James went to another ballgame the day after that and looked for it, but of course he didn't find it. So we made the necessary calls and got new debit cards and credit cards for the both of us. Both accounts were joint, so that's why James had to get new cards too. It wasn't that much of a headache. Since I'd had my car broken into and my purse stolen a year ago, I knew what to do. After the break in, I completely stopped carrying a checkbook and cash.

James brought the mail in this afternoon, and handed me an odd looking envelope. It was crumpled up and the handwriting looked like a child's. I opened it, and it was the contents of the PDA case, minus the PDA of course. It doesn't do me a lot of good now. The cards are no good - the account numbers have been changed, I've already replaced my driver's license. Odd that it was sent back - almost a month after it was lost. The PDA is not a real loss either. . .I got while I was a student. It had gotten where it ran very slow and that made it difficult to use.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Not so fond of Wal-mart

I had to go to Wal-mart today. I don't like to go to Wal-mart. They are always crowded, probably out of something that you want, they put mom-and-pop companies out of business, they make there part-time employees work every weekend (at least that's what the lady that usually cut my fabric for me at the WM in BR told me), they were anti-Christmas a few years ago. . .I couldn't even find Christmas cards that said something besides "Happy Holidays." Know why I went to Wal-mart? Because I love my dog that much. It is the only place that I have found near us that sells her dog food. Not because it's just cheaper there. . .I'd rather pay a bit more for it that have to deal with the chaos of Wal-mart. I almost got hit in the parking lot by a man that saw that he had almost missed the parking spot that he just had to have - it wasn't even a good spot either! I was behind him and he starts to back up - closer and closer to me. So I laid down on the horn until he finally decided to drive forward.

I bought 48 cans of dog food so I don't have to go back there anytime soon.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Moving in update

Well, it's been about a month since my last post. We've been busy. Our belongings were delivered on Memorial Day weekend, and we've been unpacking. I've unpacked things that I didn't know we still had - like a book I borrowed from one of my cousins-in-law soon after we moved to Baton Rouge, and three Sports Illustrated from 1993-94 - Razorback paraphanila. The men's basketball team won the NCAA title that year.

The new flooring is all finished. The next thing is the fence. The back yard is fenced in, but some of it is not in good enough condition to keep our little dog in the yard. The dogs are staying the basement while we are at work - and they are getting tired of it. I'm not sure who did it (probably the little dog), but one of them chewed up a marker 2 days ago and today someone chewed up some cardboard. I don't care much about what was torn up - the marker was cheap and the cardboard was trash anyway. It's just the hassle of cleaning it up. Daisy (the bigger dog) has been to the vet 4 times in the past few weeks. She's been drinking a LOT of water. We're waiting to hear the results on some lab work. We at least know she's not diabetic.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

New Flooring

The work on the new flooring began today. I was surprised to see what all the installers had gotten done. All the old flooring had been removed and about half the new floor was installed. They think they will be done tomorrow! We are having our furniture delivered on Friday. I'm so glad. It's been about 2 and 1/2 months since since we've felt at home. Once we got our house in Red Stick ready to show, it didn't feel like our home anymore. In our new house, I've felt like I've been back in college - when the only substantial furniture I had was a bed and a desk that came in the dorm room - we have a bed, 4 fold up chairs, and a card table that I had in my dorm room. I'll be so happy to be moving in.

This is a picture of the entryway taken from upstairs.

The study

The dinning room

The hallway from the dinning room to the kitchen.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Before and After

The painters are done, so here are some before and after pictures of our house.
Kitchen before:

Kitchen After

Dining room before:

Dining room after:

Study before:

Study after:

Living room before:

Living room after:

Bedroom 1 before:

Bedroom 1 after:

Bedroom 2 before:
Bedroom 2 after:

Master bath before:
Mather bath after:

Master bedroom before:

Master bedroom after:

Guest bath before:

Guest bath after:
We are pleased. The house feels a lot more open and peaceful with a simplified color scheme. In case you want to know, the colors we used were Porter Paint in Lotus Flower (light yellow), honeydew melon (green) and Aqua Frost (blue). There was one more bedroom that we had painted yellow. It was just white to begin with. The light green is a little unusual for a dining room, but I wanted something besides beige that would go with our blue and yellow fiesta and our china that has a lot of pink in it. We also had the popcorn ceiling scraped off the whole house. Work on the new flooring starts next week!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

In St. Louis

We've in St Louis for a few weeks now. We closed on our new house 4/30 and we're living with only what we really need for now. We've had the interior of the house repainted. No, we didn't do it ourselves. We hired a painter. James doesn't enjoy painting much, and I only like to paint when I don't have to use a ladder. We're really happy with the results. We're waiting to have our furniture delivered until we get the flooring downstairs replaced. It's half pergo and the rest in really worn our carpet and vinyl flooring. We're having it replaced with hardwood. It'll be at least 2 weeks before that's done.

We have one 2 qt sauce pan, one kitchen knife, and one large spoon. Here's what I've cooked with just those items. (We do have a stove, range and microwave.)

1) taco salad
2) spaghetti with meat sauce
3) hot roast beef sandwiches with au jus.

We have been out to eat twice this week - mostly because I ran out of ideas!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

One more thing about Louisiana

I already miss the Clean Air Act that prohibited smoking in all public places with the exception of bars.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A few thoughts on moving . . .

These past few months have been full of big decisions. It was only the first part of March when we started thinking about moving to St. Louis. It is hard to believe what all has happened in that amount of time. We've found a new house, our house in Red Stick is under contract, James has started a new job, and today was my last day at work. I start my new job on Monday, we close on our new house in just a few days, and the movers are coming to pack our things in next week.

God has opened so many doors for us, and our families have been so supportive. We're both excited and thankful, but there will be some things that I will miss about South Louisiana - like crawfish boils and fresh gulf shrimp and the hundred year old oak trees and Spanish moss. I think I will miss living in an SEC town. But baseball season just might make up for it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Mike the tiger

A couple of Saturdays ago we went to LSU to see the new tiger. James had seen him a number of times, but I hadn't gotten the chance to visit him. He's about 3 years old I think, and he's pretty active. He was pacing back and forth the whole time we were there.
We had some difficulty getting the dogs to pose by the tiger statue. Daisy, who is usually rather brave, was scared of it. She barked at it, and she didn't want to walk up to it or sit next to it.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Houmas House

These are some pictures from our second stop last Friday. It was about 4 pm when we got there. I had gotten so hot at Oak Alley that I was quickly reminded why I do not like the summer here. It's early April, and it feels like late June. It was 85 degrees and HUMID. You don't know humid until you have experienced it in South Louisiana or Miami. It was sunny and raining at the same time. I'm glad we're moving before summertime and hurricane season. It can be hard to sell house during hurricane season because you cannot buy home owner's insurance if there is a named storm in the Gulf.

This house was built in 1857, and had been left to ruin after the Great Depression. It had been restored with period reproduction materials.

The house also had a grand alley of oaks in front of it at one point, but the Corp of Engineers claimed them so they could improve the levee. The Mississippi river is visible from the upstairs gallery.

There was a pair of swans in the garden. They seemed pretty tame - I was able to get really close to them.

This mural decorated the entryway. The plants you see are sugarcane, and there is a a dog pictured who still lives on the premises. The ceiling was painted too. The piece that is framed is a map of Louisiana from the 1830's.
The next two pictures are period items from the nursery. Both surprised me. I thought walker were a rather modern invention. The chair converts into a stroller.