Sunday, September 29, 2013

Remodeling Week in Review

Or why things aren't happening very fast around here.

It has been a lovely week at our house.  I talked myself down from the ledge on last week's rant and here is this week's progress (or non progress?):

The front room had a bad week.  A few things were 'put' there, and not properly put away.  The table is the staging area for my painting.  Ron went shooting with his friends.  One of the friends wanted to shoot the 50 cal., but failed to move his forehead out of the way of the scope.  Actually two different people did this.  The recoil is a bit redonculous on that gun and if your forehead stays in the way, there will be cuts and blood involved, but luckily no stitches.  And it looks like if I want to get one of my comfy lounging blankets back for this winter, I should go get another case for Ron's father's day present, which he has just wrapped in a blanket.  I took the veep's word when he announced that if you hear noises outside your house you should fire two warning shots out the front door with a shot gun.  I had a semi automatic shotgun made for Ron for a gift.  It needs a case.  Christmas is coming.

I got an email on Friday that the custom doors I had ordered for the cabinets on each side of the fireplace were too large and needed to be reconfigured.  Great.

This is the kitchen.  Cabinet update.  My cabinet guy in town can match and work within my budget so we're going to get together and get an order situated this week.  Only when I told him I'd meet with him this week I forgot I would be gone 3 1/2 days.  Hopefully Friday the meeting can take place. 

Before I leave town, I want to get the ceiling tiles for the kitchen ordered.  Seems like an easy enough task, no?

Ahhh, the laundry room.  Yes it is bigger than most.  But I don't have a garage.  So the freezer and extra fridge have to go in here, not out in the garage.  This room I did get painted to see if I liked the color of the paint before putting it in the front room.  Yes.  I really like it and pictures don't do it justice.  The freezer is hanging out in the middle of the room at the moment, but it gets pushed back in the corner.
 Just another view.  Again, the washer and dryer are pushed out about 4 1/2 feet so they will be moved back and on the left will be a folding table.  I have the butcher block top for that.  I just want it to be a tall work table style with one or two open shelves below for storage.  The walls above the W&D and the folding table will have open shelving.
On this wall here will go a buffet that I bought last Saturday and cupboards above.

 The kids' room received paint on a couple of walls.  That is the extent of my painting this week.

This is a sample of the tile I want to put in the laundry room.  Along with the lovely old concrete and two layers of linoleum that are in there now.  If you are following along with this nightmare, this floor and the remedy sparked the last meltdown.

This is why we can't just put the tile down.  There is a hump right there and see that 3/8" of space at the end of the tile?  It would break the tile.  no bueno.  This happens in several places on this floor.  We will have to pour self-leveling concrete.

Hey- I did get the toilet and sink for the bathroom ordered.  It is at the supplier's warehouse and I need to go pick it up on Monday.  I am in full hunt mode for the right kind of chest to put the sink on.  Help a sister out here.  Under $200.  Ornate.  curves or interesting stuff going with the chest itself but the top has to be rectangle.  34" high and 40-46 inches wide.  No small task but if we all work together we can find the perfect piece out there. 

So as you can see, not a lot got done house-wise this week.  But that's ok.  I was busy with two of the cutest little grand daughters.  Monday night Drew spent the night.  Tuesday night my visiting teachers came over.  Wednesday night we met up with friends for dinner.  Thursday night church meeting.  Friday night I was exhausted.  (plus, I really don't like painting at night, I prefer sunlight)  Saturday I helped with a wedding for the morning & early afternoon and two hours later had another church meeting.  Then dinner with friends.

That was my week. This week has something fun planned too.  I think I can fit a few assignments in and be ready to paint next Saturday while listening to General Conference.  Whoo-hoo!

Have a great week.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Right Brained vs. Left Brained Remodeling

I'm trying to be like Jesus, but this morning, I was convinced it's just not possible.  Jesus, as far as I've read, never went through a remodel.  I'M LOSING MY RELIGION, PEOPLE!!! 

As I've thought about it today, I think I've decided there is a definite right brain/left brain problem with this whole process.  Half of me has had it the other half is trying the talk down the crazy lady.  What set me off this morning was discussing the laundry room, and the fact that there are heaves in the cement floor.  And Ron wants to pour self-leveling concrete to level it out before installing the flooring option. 

This will add one or two days to the process.  And then if we tile, that's like a week (times 3 because the rule is every thing costs twice as much and takes three times as long to do as you originally thought) more to complete tiling.

I just want it done.  Today.  Can we just throw a rug down, over the two peeling layers of linoleum, and call it done?

That's what one side of my brain says.  The other side says, "it's only a couple of weeks, and it will be done right, and when it's done, it's done."

I can't handle the mess.  The non kitchen.  The non family room.  No extra bathroom. 

The decisions are incredible.  I like certain things.  I hate paying the price that they sell those things for.  I really want a bombay type chest as a vanity cabinet in the bathroom.  (I can buy a chest new for around $400, or used on craigslist, then modify the drawers so the sink would fit in - but a new one ready to go, set it in place, over $1,200.  Really? I can't bring myself to spend that kind of money for a bathroom sink cabinet....but it would look so cool. How can I get this look for less?)

I spent an hour and a half looking at sinks online.  And toilets. 

And I went through all this time to pick out tile, because Ron says, "I really don't care what you do."  This whole process has taught me that when Ron says, "I really don't care what you do."  What he is really saying is, "I really don't want to talk about this right now, but yes, I have very definite opinions on what you should do."  So after I've spent hours coordinating and figuring out what to do in a certain room (let's take the bathroom) when he's ready to discuss it, everything I planned on goes out the window.  I had a nice pencil tile picked out.  And now he wants slabs of marble, or whatever, because he saw them in a hotel and he thinks that's a nice clean look.  I think he doesn't want to take the time to install the tile.  Three slabs, a little/lot of goop, and slap them in place. done and done.  whereas tile would be another week long extravaganza, and after tiling the laundry room floor, he'll be done with his tiling quota for awhile.

The walls in the house were going to be ivory.  They're now darker.  I don't know how to describe it, it's in the brown/grey color family.  I actually really like it.  It's just not what I spent hours picking out after he really didn't care what I did.

All of this is enough to make me go crazy. I thought I was ordering cabinets.  I had called this company 3, THREE, different times asking questions.  Then I send in my order and they call me back and tell me the color I chose for the cabinets has a 25% premium.  Really?  That was the first question I asked.

The final straw this morning was realizing that General Conference is in 10 days.  And there is no way I will be laying on my own couch watching conference in the front room and fixing a big breakfast for whomever was invited over to join us.  Nope.  In my bedroom watching conference it will be.

And since the cabinet order was put on hold, I'm scared I won't have cabinets installed for cooking Thanksgiving dinner. Hopefully by the end of the week I will have a different cabinet person or will break down and pay the dang 25% premium BECAUSE AFTER ALL OF THIS I'M GOING TO HAVE GREY CABINETS COME HELL OR HIGH WATER.

So while half of me is throwing a royal fit, the other half is trying to be patient and understanding of: the heat this summer, how busy we are with work (thank you, thank you, thank you), family responsibilities.  We only have so much energy.  Ron leaves at 5 in the morning and doesn't end his day until 6 or 7.   Girls camp, family vacation, YM trips took up several weeks.   Ron refuses to pay anyone to do something he can do (i.e. laying tile). ((I know, I know, his time is worth money and sometimes it's worth it to pay someone to do something, even though you could do it yourself, because your time is more judiciously spent elsewhere, I know, I know.  Tell the other half of his brain)).  I'm trying to be patient.

Maybe this is the "always darkest before the dawn" moment in this remodel extravaganza.   

Rant over.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Vigsel, Födde & Död

Is that handwriting not the most beautiful thing you have ever seen?! 

Oh, I wish I could write my Ns like this.

 I have been staring at this gothic writing for weeks and weeks now as I stroll through digitized images of Sweden's parish records.

Notice how the N in No. 65 reaches over and loops into the T in Torstensmåla.  Simply Beautiful

You can't help but wonder about the recorder of these records.  As years pass by, you see when a new recorder takes over and their handwriting changes.  You also wonder about all of the villiagers.  Siggamåla was a small farming villiage.  There were less than 20 families usually.  As I go through the decades following my family, I find myself cheering on the Larssons and the Johanssons and Nilssons as well, as each of their children move on, join the military, get married.  Their families intertwine as love birds marry their neighbors.  At some point about 30 years in, one of the sons or sometimes a son-in-law takes over maintenance of the farm, and the original parents move down in the record a few lines.  You know the time is coming soon when the word dödd (death) will appear, and the remaining spouse will be referred to as änka or änkeman (widow or widower).  After several nights of following this neighbor's family thru the generations, you realize that this event caused as much grief and sorrow as our own family deaths do to us.

This is the actual church my family attended.
The Swedish records are beautifully written, beautifully accurate, beautifully detailed. Each parish keeps a record of all marriages, births, deaths, who moves in, out, from one farm to another, who's taken communion, who owes the parish money, there is a treasure trove of information...if you know where to look.  Finding the right farm/village area, right parish, etc. can be daunting.

I wondered where my ancestors were from exactly in Sweden for decades.  I kept getting small pieces of the puzzle, starting with Kronoberg Län.  I received another puzzle piece later that said they were from Almundsryd parish.  I did not know the names of parents, brothers, or sisters that were left behind, and finally that piece of the puzzle fell in to place at the beginning of summer.  I have now found them and I'm just busy putting all of the extended families together.  One of Emma's brothers moved to another farm area and I haven't found that yet, but I eventually will.  Even if I have to sit down and page by page read a 600 page ledger book looking for him. 

When I sit at the computer to do research I do several things.  Open my genealogy program.  Open the internet and one tab for familysearch, one tab for the swedish records, and one tab for Google Translate (Swedish to English).  Sometimes I open a second tab of the records because I might see what I think is a death note, so in the second record I can look up and verify that death right then, without leaving the original page I was on.

This is the birth record of my great-great grandmother, Emma Nilsdotter:

 This tells me she was the 51st birth in the parish that year.  She was born on 27 April 1861, she is female.  Name Emma.  Then the next column says Hakansson, Nils (then something beginning with B) and Nilsdotter, Anna Hustra (wife) from Torstensmäla.  Age of the mother at time of birth was 21.  Because of the patronomic naming system at this time she will for the rest of her life be known as Emma Nilsdotter.  (that ended in 1905 when each family had to decide on a family name from then on out) (and it ended for Emma in 1903 when the United States said she would be known as Berntsson, her husband's last name)

The above record is Emma's mother's birth record.  Had a little bit different format during that time.  Under September births, her name is Anna Stina (2nd from bottom on the left) she was born on the 17, Christened on the 24th.  Father is Nils Petersson, mother Elin Svensdotter. from Siggaboda.  Then it lists 3 lines of witnesses to the Christening.  These are usually family members or neighbors, and where they are each from.  Still beautiful writing.  Sometimes there are doodlings around the years and decorations at the bottoms of the pages.    (P.S., see on the right hand column the last child, Benta.  That word under the names means illegitimate birth.)

This is my favorite record.  Whenever someone would die or move, a line was drawn thru their name.  This record shows that their son, Hugo, died on 15 January 1898.  And then the rest of the family, Johan, Emma, Hildur, Esther, and Anna left Almundsryd Parish and moved to Amerika on the 11th  of April, 1903. 

With that penstroke slashing out their names, my life was forever changed.

Emma Nilsdotter Berntsson in Wisconsin, America in the 1930s.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Why you should give a Shi'ite about Syria

I know so many want a “quick read” on Facebook or blogs about where I’m shopping and vacationing, this won’t be that. I have put a lot of thought and research since the President announced he was in favor of U.S. strikes on Syria on whether I thought this was a good idea or not.  I have formed some opinions and just want to share why I feel the way I do – and that can’t be done in a two sentence update. 
If you find yourself busy with every day life, I offer you my primer on what is going on “over there” and why I feel the way I do about any military action on our part.  This is very unofficial list of the cast of characters, in the briefest possible explanations:
Sunnis – Muslim sect that believes that the leader is to be selected or elected.  They follow the Hadith (further expounds on the teachings of Mohammad).  They are followers Sharia Law & Finance.  Since they support Sharia Law they tend to be more rigorous followers.  Nations that are a majority of Sunnis are:  Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and African Countries (approx. 80% of all Muslims).
Shia or Shi’ites – Muslim sect that believes that the leader is both a spiritual and political leader and they are a direct descendant of Mohamed.  The leader is an Imam.  They recognize twelve Imams so far, and the 12th disappeared and will return as the Mahdi who will set the world right with justice.  In order for the return of the Mahdi, the world must be in commotion.  Iran is the country with the largest majority of Shi’ites.
Most countries in the Middle East with ‘uprisings’ going on stem from Sunnis and Shi’ites fighting against each other.

Syria – The country has a majority of Sunnis, but their leadership is Shi’ite.  This is the largest problem in the country and why they are in a civil war against each other.  Recently vast stores of Liquid Natural Gas have been discovered on the shores of Syria.
Russia – Most of the oil that is sold in Europe and China comes from the Russian pipelines and their company Gazprom.  Russia would like access to the Syrian LNG to sell to Europe and China. Russia recently forgave all debt from the island of Cypress on the conditions that Cypress not allow any foreign countries to land their planes and refuel on their island.  Russia is backing Assad – the president of Syria -- so they can form an alliance for the LNG.
China – recently signed agreements for gas and oil from Russia.  They are also letting Russia install production plants in China.  China would like access to the LNG as well.  A new pipeline will allow oil to flow two ways, to Europe or China (controlled by Russia).
Saudi Arabia & Qatar Sunni.  They are working together.  Qatar has large resources of LNG.  Qatar would like the ability to pipe their gas to Europe as well, but the country of Syria is in the way and won’t authorize a pipeline thru their country.  These countries are supporting the opposition or rebel fighters in Syria so that they can throw out the current president, Assad, and install their puppet president that will allow the gas to flow.  This would also undercut Russia’s dominance – therefore Russia is supporting the president Assad and by default the Shi’ites.
Al-Qaeda—getting their backing from Saudi Arabia and Qatar.  Islaamic terrorist organization.
Hezbollah – Shi’ite terrorist group based out of Lebanon.  They are backing president Assad.
Hamas – Sunni terrorist group based out of the Gaza Strip.  (usually you hear about Israel fighting against Hamas)
Exxon Mobil – Exxon Mobil was the largest single donator to President Obama’s Inauguration, at $260,000.  This is after a very rocky 1st term which found both the administration and Exxon suing each other, mainly over the President ending deep water drilling in the Gulf.  But the kicker to me was the fact that in May of 2013, Exxon signed an agreement with Qatar for LNG production and distribution to foreign markets.  It would be so much more efficient if the gas did not have to ship from Qatar to Texas and could just be piped north thru Saudi Arabia and Syria.
So this gives me a few questions: 
  1. Why are they (Exxon) signing agreements for foreign distribution of oil and gas when Qatar cannot get the overland pipelines secured for the delivery?  
  2. Is U.S. military action against the Assad regime in order to facilitate Exxon’s agreement with Qatar? 
  3. Was there prior assurance that the U.S. Military would step in and open a way for a new puppet government in Syria to allow a pipeline? 
  4. Is this a quid pro quo for the Gulf drilling shut down?   
Basically I see the problem as two religious factions fighting between each other on who has the right to rule whom with outside government forces intervening to protect and promote their own interest in the oil and gas in the area. 
“What about Assad gassing his own people,” you might say.  I may have a cold heart, but dead is dead. Does it matter if it is with a bomb, a missile, or gas.  I am not advocating this fighting in any way, I just feel that the media is playing on emotions that this is far worse than what has been going on over there every day.  Why now, after 100,000 deaths, do we all of a sudden care?
I call this Selective Compassion.  If you are going to get upset about governments treating their people unfairly then why wasn’t something said about Darfur?  Or Rowanda? Or… I could go on and on.  The first time I was aware of selective compassion was in the Oklahoma City bombing.  After songs and tributes and fundraisers for all of the remaining survivors, 3 months later there was major flooding along the Mississippi.  It wiped out as many people, disrupted as many lives, yet it was mentioned for a day on the news and people moved on.  Sometimes when I hear even local newscasts about someone whose “life was taken in a tragic accident and you should donate to this bank account because the wife was caught so off guard that they need help with expenses, it just isn’t fair, there are young children, you must help out,” I often picture in my mind some other wife walking out of UMC Trauma where her husband just died wondering how she is going to cover the expenses and take care of her children too, yet nothing will be said for her.
So after years of watching this in the news what I take from it is:  The media is selective in who they want to get upset about and when.
In case you were still wondering where I stand:
  • I do not feel there should be U.S involvement in a religious civil war in other countries. 
  • I certainly don’t think we should be getting involved in a war against Russia, China, Iran and Hezbollah.  
  • Europe will support Assad as well because if they don’t, Russia will turn off their gas. It gets cold in Europe in the winter.  They’ll do what Russia wants them to do. 
And since when do we want to fight on the same side as Al-Qaeda?  Google the You Tube video of Syria rebel drinking the blood from the heart of someone they just killed.  Yeah, it’s pretty gruesome. Those are the people we would be alongside fighting with if we choose to go against Assad.  These are tribal barbaric people.  Stay far away.
And lastly, there have been reports for several years on the number of terrorist from Hamas and Hezbollah that are entering into our country through our southern border.  I believe there are people in place now within our own country ready to inflict damage against us should we militarily strike.  No longer are we warding off ships in the ocean, they are the enemy within.  We haven’t even touched on cyber war possibilities that could cripple us as well.
I certainly do not feel that the U.S. should be in any military involvement if it helps Exxon Mobile and Qatar make more money.  In fact, if this is in any way a quid pro quo, it’s got to be criminal.
I do feel we ought to open up our own drilling on public lands and become energy independent and let those guys all turn their sand into glass in a blaze of glory.
Those are my opinions and why I feel that way. 

Saturday, September 07, 2013

This just about sums it up.  Wearing a Lake Powell t-shirt and making a shark week onesie.
So first off, this week I wish I had the capability to send out surveys.  I know websites do them, I just need to figure out how.  This is for my Sunday School lesson. 
Would you like to talk about:
  • The Saints being stuck in the knee deep mud for a month slogging thru Iowa? 
  • Brigham Young & Co. figuring out a way west
  • Preparations and divisions of responsibilities
  • Are you the family moving ahead seemingly having it all together, or do you feel like the family that was left behind preparing for better days?
  • The Spirit of Prophesy vs. the Spirit of Revelation
There are your choices.  Basically, I'm going with the last one, because face it, we're all going to have periods of time when we feel like our lives are just slogging thru knee-deep mud for a month - we also need to figure out our way through and have a plan.  So what better way to prepare than to have the spirit of revelation and the spirit of prophecy so you individually are guided.  Sometimes you're out front, and sometimes you need to stop and be still for a season of preparation. 
Back to About Me
I am finally, after years of social media, trying to figure out what to say in the About Me section.  I asked for suggestions on Facebook.  Some were too ....flattering?  Some were funny.  Some might need explanations.
My sister suggested : "I know my way around treasure island at Disneyland"  This is a family folk lore story.  As I remember it we were at Disneyland and I wanted to explore treasure island and appearantly the rest of the family just wanted to get from point A to point B.  So now I'm labeled as the one who had us totally lost.  I was never lost, just checking things out.
My mother in law mentioned: "Climbs up and out on top with lots of flair."  This is only because I am so dang uncoordinated that I'm always, always tripping and falling over my own two feet. 
Heidi is a fellow Texan.  Quite honestly I'm going to have to claim dual citizenship. Texas and So Cal.
Lesli mentioned a Gwen Steffani song.  We all know it's, "I ain't no holler back girl."  Except one day I was driving down the road listening to KLUC and a guy calls in and says his girlfriend swears she's saying, "I ain't no Harlem black girl."  He wanted them to clear up this argument on air.  I thought it was funny.  And now I sing both versions of the song.  This ... is bananas!
The most surprising was Elizabeth mentioned that I know how to calculate what Sunday will be Easter Sunday.  I don't know what's weirder, that I can't remember to buy milk at the store but remember how Easter Sunday is set or that Elizabeth remembered this factoid about me.  So that you are all in the loop, Easter Sunday is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox.
A couple mentioned me teaching.  I've taught a lot of classes in church settings.  For every person that likes me as a teacher there are usually two others complaining to someone higher up how they can't stand me as a teacher.  It is what it is.
Several people mentioned my laugh, or me laughing at their jokes.  Here's the scooby.  I'm a wingman.  I cannot tell a story.  Definately cannot tell a joke.  I am not the person you want to invite to your party to liven things up.  BUT I do love being with people who are funny, can tell stories, are everything that I'm not.  You throw the party and invite those people, I'll be there to laugh at them.  It takes both kinds, just doing my job.
Here's a few other facts about me: 
  • I like to be barefoot.  If I have to put on socks and shoes, it's too cold.
  • I like to live in a temperature range of 60-85°  I don't like to be cold and I certainly don't like to be hot.
  • I would rather drive than fly
  • I keep the Dr. Pepper company in business - 10, 2, & 4
  • I am hair handicapped.  I can't fix my hair nice and I can't afford a live-in stylist. 
  • My favorite place to vacation is Lake Powell.
  • My list of things to do, try and see is long enough for 3 lives
  • I am drawn to projects and fix it things.  I'm going with it's a good thing, cause when it comes to people, I'm often able to see through the rough parts to the good parts.
  • I usually always drive faster than the posted speed.
  • I like all kinds of music (except country) including radio-editted rap.
  • I, at 51, recently schooled a 20-something on what the phrase "I'm on a boat" was (see point above)
  • I have had 2 albums in all 5 music formats known in my life (album, 8 track, cassette, CD, mp3) those are Hotel California and Boston. [The Best of Bread came in second.  Never owned that album]
  • I almost got kicked out of being a leader at girls camp for (quietly, ever so quietly) singing the Eagles at our campsite.
  • If only Mo-Tab music is allowed in Heaven, I'm in serious trouble.
  • I read a lot.  But 0 books of fiction. 
  • I am a casual dresser, jeans and t-shirts are as fancy as I get
  • I wear make-up usually on sundays, unless it's the hot part of summer, then I don't even do Sundays.
  • I am amazed when I look at a chart of the Apostles and Nelson and Oaks are near the top.  What the?  Weren't they just called?
  • I have a concealed carry permit
There you have it.  How do you wrap all this up into two or three About Me sentences?