Saturday, June 24, 2006

Tim, "the tool man" Taylor and Al "I don´t think so Tim" Borland

This just happens to be one those sit coms from the early 1990´s, that can make me roar with laughter! I just love how the show covers classic issues within marriage, family and parenting, and DIY disasters to "hit the nail on the head" (ha! ha!) with uncanny accuracy. Not to mention Tim Allen´s tremendous talent to envelope it all with his amazing stand up comedy style!

There is a de
finite "dash" of real good, wholesome family values intertwined into each show, giving us all a tender exhortation to make those normal, every day fights and fun, into valueable and treasured moments. I appreciate how "real" the issues are and how positive the solutions are portayed. If you have never seen the programme, I would encourage you to take a look... you might even enjoy it.

Why am I talking about Home Improvement, you may ask?

I am a little bit of a "forced to find a solution due to husband absence!!" home improvement buff and I do enjoy fixing and finding solutions to those everyday technical difficulties. I consider myself, through the genes (both my Dad and brother are mechanics and home improvement profies)by default "gifted" in this area and find great satisfaction when my attempts have successfull outcomes. Sadly as my previous post exposes...this didn´t always come through for me as with the hoover!!! But it does on other occasions, as today confirmed!

It´s those little details aro
und the house that drive us wives nuts like: hooks where the screws have fallen out or made the hole so big that they turn around and no longer remain stable. I had two such hooks in our entrance way. The hooks had consquently fallen off and were awaiting solution in the kitchen drawer. That of course is a dangerous place for them to the classic quote says , "out of sight, out of mind" states, because subsequently the man about the house continues to live in obliviance to the screaming need to put those hooks back on. He doesn't notice of course that the coats, hats and bags are swamping the only 3 remaining hooks on the wall!!!!

So out comes "super DIY wife" to the rescue... because she can´t stand it any longer.....haha (anyone identify?) I have seen DH fixing a hole in similar conditions before: filling it up with wood glue, waiting the alloted time and re-screwing the hook and voilá....fixed. So, I thought, that´s not too hard, I can do that!

So that´s exactly what I did.....and..... it worked good as new..... Man, did my chest swell! Didn´t I wish my Dad could have seen it! Yes! Not only did I fix those hooks, I even did No 3's set of drawers following the same system, and now the handles aren't falling off!

Hey, it´s just a little thing, in the light of eternity....but isn´t it those little things that can bug you to death and create havoc in family life? I mean, people get divorced over the issue of where they squeeze the toothpaste, right? The bible says:

Catch for us the foxes,
the little foxes, that ruin the vineyards,
our vineyards that our in bloom.
Song of songs 2:15
(actually said by the "lover"!!!!)

May we watch out for those little thing
s that want to ruin our "vineyards". It's those small things that steal and maybe not the bigs things, as we often may believe!

Friday, June 23, 2006


A sport where the players
actually enjoy getting hit in the head by a ball.
~Soccer advertisement, published for the MetroStars Major League Soccer team, 1997

Who would have thought that I would be the one in the house to create a frenzy about the World Cup? Amazing....!!!And just to prove it I have my football calendar with the scores all marked up and I scream the loudest when the occasion calls for it. The best part is that I have 4 teams I can rally for:

Spain, Germany, Brazil & England

--- And 4 chances of winning!

There have been some great matches and some really slow, waste of time matches! Now the excitement mounts with the rounds of 16 and narrowing down t
he "to be" winners. The tension and thrill just seems to mount as we close in on those final games.

I can understand that some see it as just a game, 22 men (plus referee) running around after a white ball on a stretch of very well cared green grass! But on closer inspection, one has to admit that there is ALOT more to the world cup than meets the eye.

It´s a question of national pride .. a cultural experience that unites as many as would join together in one cause, one vision, one goal... (ha! no pun intended!!!!). When a team wins.... it isn´t just winning for its´team players, manager/coach or the mere game in itself... it´s winning for the country, defending it against other countries, standing for the nation to which you
were born: the very essence of who you are.

or that very reason, something very deep inside of every spectator rises to the surface when a match that involves their country, even if they usually are not at all interested in football.

The roots of our Soccer Tribe lie deep in our primeval past. ~Desmond Mo

It isn´t so much that sport of soccer is at the heart of the issue, but rather what happens inside of us that makes it so earth shattering. Yes, that sleeping lion, is awakened when our competitive spirit is challenged, making us stand together as one to fight and to conquer. Having one common goal (there it is again) that touches a unique fiber, all too close to every human....that of "belonging." The world cup touches our sense of belonging and makes out of the least inspired football fan.... a warrior who defends his country as the knights of old!
It also makes out of men: beings capable of expressing such unbounded emotion that even they are caught by surprize at letting their hair down.... (hey, this kind of emotional outburst is generally considered "acceptable" among our male counterparts) reminding us that there must be a God and that there is hope of an emotional connection between Mars and Venus after all.......

“I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team,

I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team,

not the individual, is the ultimate champion.”

Just to close:

Passage Philippians 3:14:
14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Our price is not just a trophy but eternal relationship with God and we have NOW the joy of BELONGING to Christ!!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Study Crazy

No student knows his subject:
the most he knows is where and how to find out the things he does not know.
Woodrow T. Wilson (1856-1924) Twenty-eighth President of the USA.

This weeks has been a difficult week of studying, and I have found myself lost in the world of the verterbraes, spinal cords, traffic accidents with paralasis, Parkinsons, Brain clots, Multiple Sclerosis, ALS..... I was up to my eyeballs in medical terms and had the sensation that the words were swimming across the pages, and swirling about in my head and I wasn´t grasping the half!! It´s a tremendously scary and frustrating experience. Am I alone in this phenomenon?

The very act of conscious learning
requires the willingness to suffer
an injury to one's self-esteem.

That is why young children,
before they are aware of their
own self-importance, learn so easily.

~Thomas SAS

So according to "Thomas" I guess I am not alone ....what I am suffering is an injury to my self esteem... kinda of like what you feel when you are in a room of people speaking a different language and you smile sheepishly, somehow acknowledging a conversation you understand absolutely nothing about, all the while feeling as conspicuous as an illiterate person attending a book fair. (Been there...done that!!!)

We learn more by looking for the answer to a question
and not finding it
than we do from learning the answer itself.
~Lloyd Alexander

Man, does this guy Lloyd know what he is talking about!... I have found out more looking up things in Spanish and English dictionaries and on google than in all my text books! But it all takes time and you cant rush through it.

Just like knowing God.... we have moments when we feel overwhelmed by who He is, moments when we feel the "ah ha" and understand, and moments when we think we know what we are doing and want to rush through all the lessons!

Like studying and learning something new, it takes time and God says :

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

Philippians 1:6 KJV


A single conversation with a wise man
is better than ten years of study.
~Chinese Proverb

Anybody want to have a conversation with me about the aged and Dependants? It will take months off my studying!!!!!Ha!! Ha!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Rain (b)

"How often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”
William Faulkner quotes

I think I have to admit that this rain has done exactly what William says.....taken me on a trip to where I spent my childhood......GUERNSEY! I thought you would like to reminisce with me a little while we look at some of Guernsey´s beautiful assets....

How about some more nice pics.....

My favourite Beach
Vazon Bay

And to finish ...a classic Guernsey trait......

Stubborn Guernsey cow!!!



Condensed moisture of the atmosphere
falling in separate drops.

The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

These last couple of days have bought with them showers of very necessary rain. For Spain, this is an answer to prayer!

We have had several years of extreme scarcity of "condensed moisture" falling on our Iberian soil, so when it does occur you will never hear any complaints. With our reservoirs at dangerously low levels, no-one would "dare" voice negative thoughts about this rare and priceless element.

Spain has always been the travellers paradise precisely for it´s infallible sunshine, especially sought after by the Brits and Germans who are drawn to this warming quality(and we can all understand why!!)

“Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain”

But isn´t it interesting to realize, that even too much sun, can have a devastating effect? We see that here in the natural, Could it also be true in our lives? We actually long for sun, constant sunshine, as if it is the only form of happiness and despise the rain because it makes our life gray and sad, it´s always inconvenient, and definitely wet! Haven´t you noticed that it always rains in the movies when something sad or bad is happening?

If sunshine is happiness, then rain represents everything that isn´t. As constant seekers of happiness we despise the rain ... run from it where possible....and we find it hard to see God in our rain, fearing that there is no "dance in the rain" and no song.

Life is like a rainbow. You need both the sun and the rain to make its colors appear.”

We do! We need both rain and sun to be truley balanced and satisfied human beings. Not that anyone of us in the natural (hey there are a few exc eptions, I know!) begs for rain, or to continue with our analogy: challenges and difficulties in our lives. But when we are able to see the effects of too much sun, as we do in Spain, we can then accept the rain without complaining...because we KNOW we NEED it!

“God didn't promise days without pain,

laughter without sorrow,

sun without rain,

but He did promise strength for the day,

comfort for the tears, and light for the way.”

I have to be honest. I dislike rain, and I also find it very difficult to "dance" in my times of hardship..I´m learning to sing in the rain of my difficulties.(to coin a phrase!)

Growing up in Guernsey has given me my fair "share" of rain to suffice my appreciation for rain for the rest of my life...... but I have been able to enjoy Spanish rain and especially electrical summer storms which I find spectacular. I have even danced in them and opened my mouth to catch it.... I guess it´s all a matter of perspective!!!!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Cherry Time - My little House on the Prairie Moment

" 'Fine fruit is the flower of commodities.’
It is the most perfect union of the useful and the beautiful that the earth
Trees full of soft foliage; blossoms fresh with spring bounty; and, finally, fruit, rich, bloom-dusted
, melting, and luscious.”
- Andrew Jackson Downing

I never could have imagined just how much fun it would be to pick cherries off my OWN cherry tree, nor how much WORK would be involved in harvesting it! Our efforts yielded 13 kilos of ripe, rich, red cherries.

I hadn´t grown up around fruit trees, so this really was a"first time" for me. When we got up on Saturday morning and saw how ripe the cherries were, we knew tha
t we had to pick them that very day or we would loose them.

Sometimes life is like that too isn´t it? If we don´
t grab "the bull by the horns" we might miss an opportunity that God puts in our way that has the potential of harvesting alot. It could be the difference between harvesting and just having spoiled fruit. Maybe it is having a listening ear to your son/daughter that "harvests" a new closeness or taking time to visit a sick friend that harvests a new lease of hope of encouragement in them.

Picking the cherries, as the saying goes,
"You can't pick cherries with your back to the tree," means just have to have your whole face in it! I´s the only way to get a good grip!!!

There we were, bowl in hand, pulling the cherries and I couldn´t help but feeling a rush of excitement and contentment. It felt great to be in contact with the earth and it´s law of sowing and reaping.... Yet you know that you are just a "stranger" in this process. I didn´t even plant the cherries and certainly didn´t do anything to make them grow.....that´s God. I think our lives our like that too. God is so good to us,that He allows us to be involved in the process of "harvesting" in our lives and in the lives of those around us . To reap of what we haven´t sown time and time again.

Unfortunately my excitement about this "contact with mother-earth" didn´t quite catch on to Son no 2, who didn´t find pulling little red balls off a tree at all exciting!! At least not until he got on the ladder and started picking off the cherries on
the higher branches. I mean, that provided the element of risk he needed to make cherry picking an "almost " fun experience!!!

Here I am, the proud cherry picker, with "the fruits of our labours!"It is amazing the amount of fruit just one tree can produce! I believe that just Lh and I were left with a feeling of satisfaction at our baskets of fruit......the kids had gone on to other things....But this was just a part of the harvesting process....we now were faced with the next step....De-pitting and storing some 10 kilos of cherries.

We of course gave away the first fruits (haha) and seeing
as making jam was not an option due to lack of jam jars (can you tell this is our first time!!!) we were left with the de-pitting and freezing option.

And here we are around the table, the next day, de-pitting cherries. This time, No 1 was with us and that made for one of those family moments which could be likened too what would have taken place in the old days where everyone gathered around the table and pitched in with the work, while sharing stories and anecdotes.

Our modern version of this tradition involved one family member who continually asked if this was the last batch, and the other who went off in search of m
usic to provide "ambiance" for the occasion!! I am sure the pioneers didn´t have to deal with that!!!!

The cherry juice that filled the trays was an amazing reward to the taste buds for the "blood red" colour our hands were turning! Even today, several days later my hands are still "tainted"slightly!

We had a real production line going of de-pitters and then baggers.... the kids taking turns to bag to stop from de-pitting! And we must have made about 20 small freezer bags of de-pitted cherries or more. We lost count!

For us, this was a bit of fun, and a little insight to help us understand in a small way, what life was like for people in back in the days when they depended on these supplies to make it through long, harsh winters.

We certainly don´t depend on these cherries to make it through the winter, but I am so grateful for the experience, which I hope my kids will remember fondly later even if they can´t now.

“Life is

just a bowl of cherries,

dont take it serious, its mysterious.

Life is just a bowl of cherries,

so live and laugh and laugh at love,

love a laugh, laugh and love.”

Friday, June 02, 2006

My fight with the hoover (vaccum cleaner!!)

Yesterday I decided to clean out my chimney.

I put on old clothes, got the necessary cleaning equipment and faced the job that had been hanging over me for the past couple of weeks.

I don´t know what it is about conquering certain types of jobs that makes any time other than "NOW", the better option! Maybe beca
use it´s going to require some extra effort or simply because deep down you know that it is most likely to look WORSE before it looks better. Or better said, that before it is clean, it usually gets very dirty first. One of life´s great ironys!

I loaded the remaining ashes of past cosy fires, now just reduced to nothing but bothersome dirt, into a double lined plastic bag
checking previously for holes!!!(hmm, can you tell that I have had experience in this!!)

I was quite satisfied with my efforts, as I scooped up mounds of gray dust carefully, slowly laying it down into the plastic bag as if it were a newborn baby, knowing that with just one false move this seemly powerless gray substance h
ad the potential to be all over the place in seconds!!!!!

I just thought of a interesting bit of trivia! While women clean up chimney dust, house dust and any type of dust for that matter, men go to MARS, pay billions of dollars, 2 years of precious time: in search of theirs!!! I rest my case!!!

Anyway, back to my chimney! Things were getting cleaned up pretty well and I figured that the remaining dust could be collected with the hoover. A quick rapid finish thinks me, all proud of my bight idea!

So here I am, hoover in hand, sucking up the left over ashes with ease. Man this was a dream- eve
rything was going smoothly. Life was smiling upon me!

What I didn´t know was that I was on the brink of a technical disaster! All a sudden, bursting out of the vents of the hoover, came streams upon streams of silver dust, like a volcanic eruption, filling the air with a heavy gray mist. At first I didn´t quite know what was happening, and my reaction to turn the hoover off seemed delayed, as if in slow-motion.
"We have a problem Houston!!" During this time you are thinking... boy, am I glad no-one is here to witness this phenomenon...especially my Dad!!!

It looked some what like the picture below, onl
y without the helicopter! Upon opening the hoover, I discovered that the bag inside had ripped open, allowing for a kind of "re-cycling" system: intake ash - outake ash to occur ...... the chimney cleaners nightmare!

At least changing the hoover bags does not require any kind of technical diplomas or expertise, so actually fixing the problem wasn´t complicated. Cleaning up, naturally was another story. Now, instead of just cleaning up the chimney, I found myself with the "worse before it gets better syndrome" and my work expanding to dusting the WHOLE room and washing the curtains!

Is this Murphy´s law in action?
Where is that man? I want to have a few words with him and his so called "law!"

Moral of the story?

Option a) Don´t clean your chimney!
Option b) Call in a professional!
Option c) Discover ways to introduce ash dust into your interior decoration!
Option d) Check your hoover bag first!


There is another perspective on dust that might leave room for thought and inspiration. I discovered this on my travels through google and thought rather cute:

Love, Ally