Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Local Pastor

Yesterday, I had lunch with a Local Pastor. A Local Pastor I know pretty well. A Local Pastor who knows me pretty well.

A Local Pastor who I know so well that he even walks my dog!


I even got help him out a little bit in the "Exercising of the Dog Walking Exercise In Order To Get Exercise." (I don't know why I am holding the leash out that far so don't even ask.)

After the dog had been walked and a few household tasks had been accomplished, the aforementioned Local Pastor (since it was his day off) asked if I wanted to go out to lunch with him.

But of course!

Here are a few Manteo sites we sighted along the way.

I love birdhouses because they’re all so different.


And I also love archways. Here is one that leads into a local bed and breakfast type place.


We passed this place before turning the corner onto the Main Drag of Manteo. (Is it legal to call a street as regal sounding as Queen Elizabeth Ave. a “Main Drag?” I sure hope so.)


The Manteo Main Drag.



This is looking out toward the harbor.


We ate at the Hungry Pelican where we split a sandwich and drank water and were able to have a lovely lunch for about $7. (Steve and I love our bargains.)

4393_Hungry Pelican Deli in Manteo

The view from our table.


The place where the Local Pastor and I would have sat for a while after lunch had it been just a few degrees warmer.


The end.

Friday, March 5, 2010

God’s Spotlight

When you’re a photographer, sometimes the oddest things tend to catch your eye.  The pictures below are a case in point. 

I was sitting in my usual chair one recent morning when I glanced over at Nathan’s bed.  The way the sun was falling on it resembled a spotlight shining straight from heaven. It’s a wonderful moment when God’s light shows up--in our rooms, in our hearts, in our lives.


  IMG_1050 IMG_1053 IMG_1054


From The Comments Section

Q. Sue asked,  After the peach dessert baked for 95 minutes, was it still edible?

A.  Incredibly, it was!  It was a little chewy, a little crunchy, but by no means ruined.  It’s nice to have such a “forgiving” dessert.  And yes, Sarah would LOVE a very loud timer for her wedding! 

Q.  Anonymous asked, “What was the restaurant in PA you mentioned that served pretzel cones?”

A.  It was a family owned restaurant in Grove City, PA called Steeses.  Steve’s parents have known the family for many years and every time we went to Grove City (a couple times a year) we could never leave without going to that wonderful restaurant and getting a pretzel cone.

Q  Random asked if the “ice cream/crackers” thing would work with caramel or peanut butter ripple.

A.  Yes, indeedy!  The more ingredients floating around in there, the better  And please congratulate Paul for being on the cutting edge of dessert fashion and dessert eating!

Q.  (On another topic) Lynie said, “I must admit that one of my pet-peeves is hymns and other songs sung during church being projected on a screen! How does one know how the tune goes? When I am sitting in the congregation I hate that people are trying to sing a song that is so beautiful and it is a mish-mash of tunes and timing. I realize that hymnals are very that the only reason more churches are going this direction? Am I the only one with this pet peeve? Probably.”  :o)

A.  Lynie, I also love singing out of a hymnal!  Whenever we visit a church that uses hymnals, Steve and I always get a big kick out of finding the alto/tenor line and singing our parts.  We don’t always get every note but we always enjoy the experience of seeing it all written out.

I don’t think that the decision to use hymnals instead of projected words is based that much on cost; in fact, a church’s projector, screen and computer would cost much more than many cases of hymnals would. I think instead, that the decision is based on a church’s worship and music style 

And since you got my curiosity up, I did a little research and found the following information from Ellison Research:

Five years ago, only 5 percent of Protestant churches used computer graphics presentations at least once a month. Today, projected computer graphics are used in more than one-third (36 percent) of all Protestant churches.

The number of churches using praise and worship choruses nearly doubled in the last five years (from 38 percent in 1999 to the current 74 percent).

I think that hymns have a place in church, beyond any doubt.  In fact, although our church does mostly worship choruses, we do at least one hymn in almost every service, just because we love the history, the heritage and the theology they bring to a service.

The bottom line, I guess, is that we all find a place to worship that speaks to us and changes us and challenges us.  Whether the music is from a book or from a wall, the message being heard is what really counts.

Thanks for the great question!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Snowy Goes to College. (And Graduates.)

I know you’ve all been wondering, “Did Snowy really do it? Did he really succeed? Did he really graduate from college?”

The answers are “Yes,” “Yes,” and “Yes” again. And if you’re wondering what degree I received, it was my Bachelor’s Degree.

Um. A Bachelor’s Degree as in, “I am still a bachelor. I am still single.”

I must say though, that college is a tough place to stay a single man. Gabby Girl could hardly even concentrate on her studies, she was so distracted by my rugged good looks and fluffy physical prowess.

Think I’m kidding? Just take a gander at these pictures!


"Aw, shucks.


This is getting a little embarrassing. Look at the “cow eyes” she’s making at me.


I hate to break a girl’s heart, but I have to say that I’m looking for someone with a bit more motivation, a bit more drive, a bit more focus. I mean, look at her, for crying out loud! Does this look like the kind of woman with a lot of “get up and go?” Does this look like the kind of gal who is going to cook me three meals a day and keep my kennel clean? I think not. Sorry, Gabby. (Although, once again, I do applaud you for so diligently adhering to the College Rule of two paws on the rug at all times. Good job!)


So even though nothing really worked out between Gabby and me (hence my Bachelor’s Degree) I was still thankful she was there because when it came time for us to show everyone what we had learned at college, Gabby’s owner volunteered her to go first. (Thanks, Sarah, for not volunteering me. I would say I didn’t want to go first because I believe in “ladies first” but actually it’s because I wanted to see someone else go through her paces first so I would know what to do. I’m a strong leader, like that.)

Watching carefully.


Closely observing the technique.


Please take note of my complete mastery of the “two paw rule,” even while I’m focusing my immense mental powers on what’s going on in front of me.


And now Maggie is coming to the end of her test which is to demonstrate the “stay” command. I’m pulling for you, Maggie. I’m on my feet for you! You can do it, girl! (Sorry. Got a little carried away there. But the two paws are still remaining. Man, I’m good!)


And now? Now the professor is telling me it’s MY turn. I am one nervous fella.This one demonstration has the potential to decide my entire destiny as a professional man.


The professor starts by laying a treat down on the floor to see if I have the self control to ignore it when walking by. I don’t. I’m a lot like my mom that way. (Um. Did I just say that out loud?)


Looks like I won’t be passing THAT part of the test. Treats just call my name. Loudly. And I wouldn’t want to be rude and ignore them, now would I?


As I listen to instructions as to what to do next, please note how nicely I am sitting and how carefully I am listening. (I impress even myself.)


Showing off my lying down skills. Hey, when you’re good, you’re good.


Waiting for Sarah tell me to “Come!”


And for once (or twice) in my life, I obeyed. (Hey, there were girls in the room that needed to be impressed.)


Did I do good? Huh, huh?


Here are all of us college kids listening to the Prof’s last lecture.


Listening is exhausting work.


And finally? Finally, college comes to an end. It’s time to blow the joint. It’s time to take our degrees and go home. (Speaking of degrees, my mom says I should have gotten an award called, “Most Likely to Improve.” I think that she thinks that’s funny so I’ll humor her.)

However, before we take our little ol’ graduated selves and boogie on out of there, we have to first engage in a little happy talk and a little mingling.


And I have to apologize to Gabby for breaking her heart.


And now it really is time for us all to head out the door for the last time. Time to enter the real world. Time to send out resumes and get jobs. Time to take naps and lick ourselves in inappropriate places at inappropriate times.

Wait. What’s that? My Mom is asking everyone to come back into the room for a class picture? How embarrassing is that? What is it always MY mom who has to create a scene?


Come on back, guys. Er, girls. Let’s move it here!


Get goin’, Big Girl! (I mean, “Lovely Female Canine.”)


Alright! Everyone get lined up! I will be your example! Follow me! Everyone follow me, I say! Oh. Wait. I think I’m pointing the wrong end at the camera. How humiliating. Let me get turned around here.


Much better. Thanks, Sis.


Um. Hello, girls? Look over there! Quick! It’s something shiny!


Ah. Distract the competition. Be the only one posing. Life is good.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Fastest (Peach) Dessert in the West

To continue our lovely dessert theme from my last post, here is a recipe I got from the wonderful Sue G. If you haven't been to her site and signed up to receive updates when she posts, you need to do so. Immediately. If not sooner. Now! Yesterday, even! (And even if she happens to not have a recent post up, go back and read her older posts. You’ll be glad you did.)

Sue is a fabulous writer and editor (she has helped edit several things for me) and a wonderful friend. She is also the person who gave (yes, gave!) a new camera to me when my old one broke. So every single picture you see on this blog is courtesy of Sue. I will never get over being overwhelmed by her generosity and friendship in many areas of life.

By the way--to those of you commented after my last post that pretzels are good in ice cream, as well as saltines, I agree with you, one thousand per cent! We used to go to a (now defunct) restaurant in Pennsylvania which served pretzel cones. All I can say about that is, "Oh my!"

Anyway, here's the recipe from Sue. We made it the other day and it turned out fabulously, even though a certain family member who shall remain nameless (I WILL tell you that she's fourteen years old and very pretty but I won't tell you her name) forgot to take it out of the oven. Even though it ended up baking for 90 minutes instead of 45 minutes, it was still good!

This recipe is especially great if you're in a hurry because you can have it in the oven in under five minutes. If you keep peaches and cake mix on hand, you’re good to go, anytime something quick (and unexpected) is called for.

Amazingly Fast and Delicious Peach Dessert

1 29 oz  can sliced peaches in light syrup
1 yellow cake mix
1 stick butter cut into 16 slices
(I tried using less butter, but it didn't work.)
thinner when spreading it around)
1 cup brown sugar (you can use less)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (I only put nuts on half, since Sarah doesn’t like them

1. Spray 9x13 glass Pyrex dish lightly with Pam.
2. Layer the ingredients starting with the peaches plus
the syrup. Cut the peaches into mixed bite size pieces .
3. Top with yellow cake mix (don't mix it together, just put the cake mix
over the top of the peaches and syrup)
4. Dot with the pats of butter.
5. Sprinkle the brown sugar on top.
6. Sprinkle the nuts on top of the brown sugar.
7. Put in oven! And you’re done! Now how fast was that?

Bake uncovered for about 40 minutes at 350. Best served warm (in huge bowls) with lots
of ice cream.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Real Estate and Life Changing Desserts

One week from today, I will turn forty-eight years old.

One week and two years from today, I will turn fifty years old.

Fifty is not old. But neither is fifty young. And I’m not quite sure I’m completely ready for fifty. Or even forty-eight.

But the alternative to having a birthday? The alternative to growing older? Not so great. So I shall continue to grow older as gracefully as I know how.

And in case you’re wondering how I’m going to celebrate my birthday week? Well, I have several doctor’s appointments lined up. (Never let it be said that this girl doesn’t know how to party.)

Today I’m going to a podiatrist to have a painful ingrown toe nail cut out. Doesn’t THAT sound like so much fun?

The good news is that the doctor’s office is only two blocks away from my favorite Goodwill store. Since I have to drive thirty minutes to get to the doctor anyway, I thought that it would be a horrific and egregious waste of time if I didn’t leave a little early for my appointment so that I could drop in at Goodwill on the way. I mean, I’m all about making good use of time invested and gas burned and since I would hate to be a poor steward of those things, it seems to me that I am actually almost obligated to go to Goodwill beforehand, just to justify the drive to the doctor! (Or at least that’s what I tell myself.)

Next week, I have my six-month diagnostic mammogram scheduled, as well as my six-month pulmonologist appointment. Nothin’ like turning forty-eight with a flourish!

On the happier side of things, Steve’s parents are arriving in town this weekend for a visit. (They haven’t even been inside our new house yet.) Also, very late on Saturday night, Nathan and Meagan will arrive from Florida to spend Spring Break with us. So I’ll have family in town on my birthday, which makes me happy enough to negate all the less-than-happy doctor appointments that are surrounding me.

And since I just mentioned our house, let me give you a quick update on where we stand with our housing situation. Since we changed realtors (about a month ago) we’ve had at least half a dozen showings, as opposed to a total of six or seven showings over the entire YEAR that we were with the other company. That’s the good news—more showings.

The bad news? None of the showings have resulted in anything--no requests for a second showing, no offers, no nothing.

About a month ago, we lowered our house to the rock bottom dollar but guess what? We’ve discovered that there appears to be a rock bottom price below rock bottom. (Amazing the things one learns when selling a house.) In other words, our rock bottom price was not low enough to compete with brand new houses in the area that can be purchased for the same price as our 15-year old house. (The main advantage of our house over a new one is that it is in an established, lovely neighborhood with mature trees and landscaping.)

And so we lowered it another $5,000 and if nothing happens in a week or two, we will lower it another $5,000. In other words, rock bottom is a relative term.

The reason we are getting so aggressive with this is that it has been on the market fifteen months already, and that is a long time. Also, we have several rather important deadlines looming, both of them hitting around April 30.

The first deadline is that our 6-month rent-to-own agreement will be up. We have $2000 worth of earnest money on the line, plus we have no idea if the owner will be willing to extend the contract. If not, we would have to move or somehow come up with a way to buy the house while still owning the other one. (Not extremely do-able.)

The second deadline is that if we can sell our other house and buy the one we’re in by April 30, we will get some sort of rebate of around $6500.

So can you tell we’re getting a bit anxious? A weensy bit antsy?

Because even though April 30 is still eight weeks away, as you well know, it takes a while for paperwork and closings and legal papers to all be arranged. So ideally, we need to sell the house THIS week. Or NEXT week. Um. Even today would be okay!

In closing, I’m sorry that I don’t have a plethora of fascinating, scintillating or even remotely interesting photos to post today. But I do have one picture. One picture that may look kind of strange to you. But trust me when I say that this little picture could change your life. Or at least, your dessert-eating life.


Do you know what you are looking at? No?

You are looking at ice cream. In a bowl.

Has your dessert-eating life changed yet? No?

Okay. Well, here’s the life changing part. In the ice cream . . . that’s in the bowl . . . . that’s on the counter . . . are saltine crackers! All scrunched up and crumbled up and stirred throughout the ice cream.

Yummiest thing imaginable. You have cold and creamy mixed with salty and crispy—all in one dessert.

So. Try it. And report back. Did you love it or hate it?

And now I’m off to Goodwill. (Yay!) And the podiatrist. (unYay!)