Saturday, July 16, 2011

What TV is Teaching Our Kids

I came across this interesting story about the values that TV taught kids "back in the day" compared to today.

According to the study, classic TV with characters like Lucy, Desi, Andy Griffith, Barney Fife, Laverne and Shirley, and the Fonz promoted values like being nice to and helping others, self-acceptance, and a sense of community and tradition.

So what are The Situation, Hannah Montana, and all the wannabes on American Idol teaching kids these days? Well, the results probably won't surprise you. Here's what the study found as the top 5 "values" (and I use that term loosely) seen on current television: fame, achievement, popularity, image and financial success.

No wonder our parents call the past "the good ol' days." I certainly don't want my kids to think that being famous is more important than being nice.

Here we go...again!

After yesterday's post, I was motivated to haul my butt to the gym. I was so glad that there were only 2 cars in the parking lot when I pulled up. I hate going when it's busy.

I only did the elliptical today... but it felt so good to be back!!

I also spoke with the guy that works there about why we hadn't received our two free months for referring my parents and a lady from our church. I've been assured that we'll get 2 months for free, which is a $100 savings!!!

While I was on the elliptical, I kept telling myself, "Just keep going...just keep going..." Of course, the voice in my head sounded a lot like Ellen DeGeneres as Dory in Finding Nemo. "Just keep swimming..."

When I was done, I was proud of myself. I didn't feel like I was going to die. In fact, I felt better than I have in a long time. I keep trying to remember how good I felt before I gained all this weight. I also keep looking at my motivation pictures. Oh, to be that skinny again...

I know that I have a long way to go, but I'm determined to succeed! I can do this!!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Spinning My Weight Loss Wheels

I know that I started this blog with the intention of keeping track of my weight loss during 2011. Since we're past the halfway point, I have to admit that I haven't lost a pound.*

We tried working out at the gym at our old apartment. We made motivational posters. We danced until we dropped doing Zumba. We joined Snap. We even ran a 5K.

And after all that, I still weigh exactly the same as I did on the day I created this blog. Granted, we haven't been to the gym in a couple of months. We've been so busy that we haven't had time to focus on ourselves. (I know that sounds like a lame excuse, but it's all I've got.)

Well, Jackie and I are once again getting back on the wagon. We're going all out with Weight Watchers. Jackie has already written the points value on every bit of food in our house. She has even created a food journal for me. We are also going to start going back to the gym.

I have to succeed this time. Failure is not an option. There is still a lot of time left in 2011. I'll try not to waste it.

*To be honest, I did lose a little bit of weight (about 7 pounds), but I quickly gained it back.

Friday, July 8, 2011

To Boldy Go...Eventually


Courtesy of NASA
As I watched the final space shuttle launch this morning, I could not help but be saddened by the thought that the USA will no longer be the dominant space-faring country.

America, winner of the Space Race, will now have to bum a ride on Russian rockets to reach orbit. That just doesn't sit right with me.

I am thankful, however, that NASA will be teaming up with the private sector, especially SpaceX, to reach toward the heavens.

I think what also hurts my heart about the end of the shuttle missions is that it is a setback from the future we see in my favorite sci-fi franchise, Star Trek.*
Spock: It is illogical for the US to end its space shuttle program. Kirk: I know! Think of all the space babes they won't meet!
I love the Star Trek franchise's message of exploration and boldly going where no one has gone before. It is a future that I hope and long for. Although in the present time, we appear to be boldly going nowhere.
Capt. Picard wants more shuttle missions! Make it so!

In the movie Star Trek: Insurrection, Captain Jean-Luc Picard, burdened by the busywork of bureaucracy, laments to Commander Riker, Counselor Troi, and Dr. Crusher, "Can anyone remember when we used to be explorers?"

My fear is that the USA may never regain its hard-fought position as the leader in space exploration. We too may one day ask each other if we remember the days when we used to be explorers.

I have no doubt that one day man will live on the moon and on Mars. We will boldly go... eventually. I hope that I one day have the opportunity to go into space. I don't think I'll ever live on the moon, but it might be a nice place to take a vacation. :)

And a final thought, while all eyes are on Atlantis during this final mission, please remember the men and women who have given their lives in the name of space exploration. May their sacrifices never be forgotten.

*For the record, I don't believe in aliens, like the ones that exist in the Star Trek universe. I simply enjoy the engaging, quality entertainment that Star Trek provides and its depiction of a prosperous future for humanity.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Un-Handy Husband Renovates & Celebrates!

A lot has happened since my last post, so I'll try to play catch up.

With the help of our amazing family and friends, we completed our whirl-wind renovation of Jackie's granddad's old place. Y'all know that I'm not that good at being handy, but this experience has forced me to learn. 

So this was the master bathroom before:

As you can see, we had already ripped off the mirror, which was no small feat. The mirror was glued directly on the wall. Other mirrors we took down had a paper backing and came down easily. This one didn't have the backing, so the back of the mirror was stuck straight to the wall. It shattered as Keith Warren (who is Ingrid's very Handy Husband) and I were trying to pry it off, but still wouldn't come down! We ended up peeling it off one tiny piece at a time. It took forever!!!

Next the flowery brass light fixture came down. And this is what went in its place:
Of course, after Keith and I finally got it on the wall, we could only find two light bulbs... and they didn't even match.

Later, I swapped out the itty-bitty shower head for this bigger one:

A couple of days later, Jeff, my super-handy father-in-law, helped me hang the mirror.  You can also see that I swapped out the wooden towel ring for a brushed bronze one that matched the light fixture.
Ta-Da! It looks great!!!
All the renovating took it's toll on Jackie, but this picture gives you a look at the laminate flooring that my Dad, Keith, Jeff, and Matt put down. (I helped, but my contribution was mainly standing on the pieces so they wouldn't move as the other hammered them into place.)
She's napping on a patio chair cushion.
 Like owner, like cat:
Just thinking about remodeling and moving made Smudge tired.
In the kitchen, I swapped out the round, plastic fixture for this chandelier. (FYI: The hardest part was opening and closing the stinking chain links!)

Then I swapped out the doorknobs and deadbolts:
My brother came over and helped Jackie put in quarter-round in the living room and bathrooms. They did a great job. The funniest part was that the piece that gave Zach the most trouble was a small 1 inch part!

After all of the renovating was over, we made a mad dash to get all of our stuff  out of the apartment. On our first day of moving, we had a caravan of 3 cars, 3 trucks, and a trailer. And the forecast that day was STORMY!

After dodging the storms, we managed to get everything unloaded just before the storm hit again. As the winds were kicking up, Jeff moved his truck away from the house so it wouldn't be right under some big trees. No sooner than Jeff moved the truck, the wind roared, and we heard the unmistakable cracks and pops of branches breaking. Matt and I turned around just in time to see a massive branch fall about 60 or so feet right were Jeff had moved his truck.

We didn't know that Jeff was already back in the house, so Matt and I took off toward the truck, fearing the worst. We were so relieved when we realized he wasn't there. Amazingly, the truck suffered relatively minor damage because the branch hit a power line just before it landed on the truck, taking out most of it's momentum.

Where the branch broke off.
The dent over the back door.
The force of the falling branch almost pulled down the power pole near the shed and our house!
You can see the leaning pole at the corner of the shed.
And this is our leaning tower of power. ;)
Alabama Power came out that night and fixed both of them. We appreciate their prompt action!

The next day, we celebrated Liberty Day in Columbiana. It was a much-needed day off from the renovation/moving grind. We had a great time, but it was SO HOT during the day! We met up with our friends that night to watch the fireworks show.

video

The next day, several of Jackie's cousins came to move the rest of our stuff. Dad also brought over a 16-foot enclosed trailer. They moved so fast we were packed up and unloaded at the new house in less than 4 hours!!! We couldn't have done it without them!

After moving, Jackie's cousin Shane cut down several trees that were in danger of falling on our place and on her grandparents. We're still in the process of cutting them into smaller pieces and hauling them off. Here's the video of Shane cutting down the last tree:
video

Jackie and I spent the week rearranging furniture and unpacking box after box after box...

I went back to the apartment today to get the ice packs we forgot in the freezer and to turn in the keys. I was SO glad to climb those 32 steps up to the third floor for the last time!!!

Our new place already feels like home, and we are so thankful that her parents are letting us live here. We have been truly blessed by the Lord. We look forward to spending the next several years here. And I've already laid down the law about our next move: It cannot and will not be during the summer!!!

I am still awed by the fact that we accomplished a total renovation and move in less than a month. But we owe much of that credit to our amazing friends and family. We owe them big time!

I'm also thankful for all of the handy people that helped me along the way. Maybe this Un-Handy Husband isn't so un-handy afterall.