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Friday, December 16, 2011

"I've always wanted headbands!"

It was that simple sentence that brought tears to my eyes today.  I wasn't the only one with a lump in my throat. Several of my coworkers and I chose a few needy families to buy gifts for this Christmas.

I went and got this little girl out of class and told her that Santa had dropped off some gifts for her in our classroom.  She was quite surprised and after she opened the first gift, I pointed to several others I had stacked next to her.  "There's more?", she exclaimed incredulously.  One of the teachers had filled a gift bag with necessities, as well as fun things like nail polish and small toys.  She reached in the bag and pulled out the package of three, brightly colored headbands.  She was so excited!  I'll never forget the look on her face as she said, "Headbands!  I've always wanted headbands!  This is the happiest day of my life!" Who would have thought something so simple and inexpensive could make a child so happy?  These days, most kids are asking Santa for an X-box, WII, cell phone, or iPad.

Sometimes Christmas is so hectic, stressful, and expensive.  In the midst of the chaotic, sugar-laden, last day of school before break, some of us were lucky enough to enjoy a beautiful moment we will never forget.  The spirit of Christmas. The joy of giving. The true reason for this season. 

Monday, July 25, 2011


When Bret was just a little boy, someone told me it was a good idea to pray for our children's future mates as they are growing up.  God doesn't always have marriage in His plan, and some are called to remain single so they can focus completely on serving.  So, often I prayed that if it was His plan for Michelle and/or Bret to marry, that they would be the kind of spouses that would love, honor, and cherish their mates and I prayed for those future mates, that they would be spouses that love God, and that the marriages would honor God and fit His perfect plan. 

Fast forward many prayers and a few heartaches and into Bret's life comes Kallie Jiblits!  I loved her from the very start!  Held my breath and prayed when she and Bret had a couple of disagreements, because I really believed she was the girl for him, but really, with my history of wearing rose colored glasses, sometimes I am really wrong.  Not this time!

July 24, 2011 Bret and Kallie were married!  What an emotional wedding and then an extraordinary celebration!!! While looking for a song for the mother/son dance, I found this song and video that reminded me of all the prayers and how amazingly, and wonderfully, and perfectly God answered those prayers. only did we gain a daughter-in-law, but her mother, Kerry has become my close friend, and her father, Eric, and Randy have so much in common.  We get to know and interact with this other, great big family!!  We have been blessed beyond measure!!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Refinishing Furniture

The Sludge Stage


Half Done

Finished except for top drawer pulls and new glass door.
I took on quite a job.  I started it last fall and finally finished yesterday.  My Grandma Bessie (1908-1981) had a beautiful oak secretary.  It had the curved glass door on the left and the drop down desk on the right. At the top right it had a mirror with a little shelf in front of it.  A beautiful piece of furniture!  This piece of furniture was special to my mom when she was growing up because her pet parakeet (Petey) used to sit on the little shelf and look in the mirror.  My mom asked for it when Grandma passed away and she had it in her house for years.  My youngest brother, Dave (usually the good child) broke the curved glass door.  One of the drawers is missing the handles, one shelf is out because the supports are missing, and I think the finish got damaged when Mom and Papa's house in Sterling flooded several years ago.  When my parents moved from Sterling to their new, much smaller house  in Pierce, there just wasn't room for the secretary and lots of other stuff.  I also took two end tables and refinished them.  These are older, solid wood, well-built pieces.  They had been sprayed with a thick, pecan colored, fake wood finish.  I was so shocked when I got that off and found beautiful, dark, cherry? wood underneath! 

A few years ago I removed a coat of white paint from a chest of drawers that had been Grandma's.  It was quite a messy job, but under that paint was some truly beautiful wood.  The secretary had stain and layers and layers of varnish.  What a chore!  So much more difficult than the paint.  The chemical I used to strip the old finish dissolves vinyl gloves in seconds, so thick latex gloves are a must.  The label says to use in a well-ventilated area and only work on a small area of your project at a time, to avoid excessive vapors!  Even with the garage door and window open I had to wear a mask and/or leave for fresh air every now and then.  Believe me you know when this stuff splatters on your skin, because the tiniest drop instantly begins to burn and continues to burn until you wash it off with water.

The removal process goes as follows:

Brush on stripper
Leave the area and wait
Try to scrape the finish with a putty knife (don't expect this putty knife to ever be clean again)
Wipe the thick, sticky, molasses-like goop off the putty knife onto the edge of a metal can
Repeat MANY times.
Brush on stripper and scrub with steel wool, wiping off product with a cloth (old socks work great) This step requires some serious elbow grease!  Don't follow the instructions on the can.  You cannot dip your dirty steel wool back into the clean solution.  It just turns to sludge and goes back on the furniture.  You have to wipe off the muck with a cloth.  Be prepared to use several pairs of gloves and lots of steel wool (don't use the super fine, it doesn't hold up).
Use a steel brush to get into corners.  A metal pick is very helpful too.
Wipe with mineral spirits to remove the last of everything.
Now that you think you are finished, you will notice many areas that  need more work.
Sand to remove stains and imperfections
Apply several coats of new finish of your choice.  I used Danish oil (light walnut)
Apply several coats of polyurethane to protect the finish and hopefully insure that you never have to do this job again!

The secretary and the end tables are not perfect.  There are a few bits of gunk in the corners and even though I thought I was being careful, some of the polyurethane ran down and dried, leaving bumps.  Still, they look much better than before and are protected and will last longer.  I really should have sanded the last end table down more.  The water stain can still be seen.  As difficult and time-consuming as this job was, I think I'm hooked!  I go to yard sales and see old furniture and wonder what is underneath.  The problem is Bret and Randy don't like me taking up valuable space in the garage.  A place they use for putting new engines in cars and other manly projects.  So I guess for awhile I'll just look.

Working on this project really gave me time to think.  The whole process made me think about what God does in our lives when we put our faith in Jesus and accept his gift of salvation.    I'm not sure I can put these thoughts into words that make sense, but I will try.  Like the old, worn and damaged furniture, we are dirty, broken, full of sin, and incomplete.  He scrapes away our old sinful life.    Like the stubborn gunk in the corners of the furniture, some of it is hidden, hard to see and hard to remove!   Like new drawer pulls and shelf supports and beautiful curved glass, He makes us new.  "2 Cor. 5:17...anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person.  The old life is gone; a new life has begun."  He replaces our greed, selfishness, immorality, envy, pride, etc. with love, joy,peace, patience, kindness, goodness and faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Are we perfect?  Absolutely not!  But we are clean and forgiven!  None of us will become perfect this side of Heaven. We are a work- in -progress.  When we stick close to God, our lives show the results of His work.  When we stray, we start to get tarnished by the cares of this world again, and our sinful ways creep back in.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Airport

This story is really going to expose how naive I am.  Thankfully, I am able to laugh at myself and don't usually mind if others laugh as well.  There is no reason to take yourself too seriously.  In my defense, this was the first time I had flown on a commercial airline.  When I was very young we flew in a small, private plane.  My dad's cousin was the pilot and all I remember is looped-e-loops and feeling very nauseous, but also how amazing everything looked from the air.  My Grandma Bessie used to fly from Colorado down to Tucson about once a year and spend a week or two with us.  I remember the excitement anticipating her arrival and the bittersweet watching her board the plane to go back.  This was back before 9-11 and long security lines and we could go right to the gate with Grandma.  Fast forward to 2006 and Bret and I decide to fly down to Phoenix and look for an apartment for him.  He had enrolled at UTI (automotive).  Bret had only flown once before.  The tickets said we should arrive about 2 hours before departure, so we planned accordingly.  We stopped at Fuel B's in Ellicott for a bathroom break and coffee.  Lo and behold their sat my cousin, Johnny, who I hadn't seen in years.  We talked for a few minutes (ok, I like to talk, so quite a few minutes)  Back in the car and on the road.  I had done my research online and found a place for affordable, extended parking since we would be gone a few days.  Finally, find the place and get parked and Bret and I realize we might need to hurry a little.  We catch the shuttle (had not calculated this wait in the plan)  to the airport.  I am incredibly directionally challenged.  I did not learn North, South, East, West until I married Randy.  Bret, though he says he has improved a lot, inherited my lack of direction.  We ended up at the wrong kiosk and wasted a bit of time trying to print our boarding pass.  Then, on to SECURITY.  The line was like a mile long, weaving back and forth.  Having never flown, I had never been through security.  Again, not in the itinerary I had carefully calculated.  It's 15 minutes before our flight is scheduled to leave.  I called Michelle on my cell and she sounded concerned.  She said she wondered if it was wise for Bret and I to travel together and she suggested we politely push past a bunch of people and get closer to the front.  Those of you who know me, know that I am not that bold!  We finally get to the guy and hand him our passes.  I asked if he thought we would make our flight.  He chuckled and said, "Time will tell".  I thought he was rather rude and uncaring.  Now, for the naive part.  Having never flown, I thought if you missed your flight, you just had to go back home and were out the money!  And to me, this was a LOT of money.  I had no inkling that they could just put you on the next available flight. Next we get on a train (didn't know to schedule for this) that takes us to the concourse.  We get off and hear our names over the P.A. system.  Yvonne Petrie and Bret Petrie please report to gate whatever, your plane is about to depart.  Here I am in sandals with a heavy carry on and Bret and I begin to run!  Talk about embarrassing!  We finally get to the gate and there is no one there!  the door is shut.  I try to open it.  It is locked.  I yell to the lady at the next gate, who along with the rest of the people in the area are staring at us.  She runs down and knocks on the door and someone opens it.  I start to go in and she says, "Wait, they might not let you board."  The attendant comes back,opens the door and lets us walk down the ramp and onto the plane.  My friend who used to work for Southwest told me later that we were very lucky.  They never do that.  This was a Southwest flight.  No assigned seats.  There were exactly 2 seats left and they were not together.  I'm walking down the aisle with approximately 50 seated passengers giving me "THE LOOK" and the attendant points out the last seat for me.  I have to say in all the movies I'd seen, flying seemed so glamorous (must have been 1st class, or Air Force One)  Seriously, did they really expect people to be squished like sardines?  And the noise!  It sounded like the engine was about to fall out and the plane was shaking.  Yikes!  Two hours later we land in Phoenix and Bret and I are completely lost.  We ask a nice volunteer for directions out of the airport.  Now, Bret realizes that the phone number for the person who is supposed to pick us up is in the seat of the car parked back in Denver!  He somehow remembers the number of the UTI scout who got him into this deal and gets the other guy's number from him.  He picks us up and it's June and the thermometer in the car reads 112 degrees!  Wow.  What we learned from apartment hunting in Phoenix in that kind of heat is ICE CREAM is the only way to cool off.  It cools you off from the inside.  Water just doesn't do the trick.  The flight home and every flight I've taken since has been much less dramatic.  I have a fear of being late and being humiliated so I get there with tons of time to spare.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Shot

As promised, here is the story of how I got the calf shot (7-Way or Black Leg).  If you've already heard this story.  It's old news, just skip it.  During the 2004-2005 school year, Bret talked us into taking in a foreign exchange student.  Stijn Agelink of The Netherlands (Holland) lived with us from October to May.  It was wonderful having him here and he became like a son to us.  So it was calving season that year and I was making the rounds with Randy.  There was a new calf and as usual I was going to hold the calf while he gave it a shot and ear tag.  My glass half-full attitude does not apply to momma cows.  I always assume they are "on the hook" as Randy calls it.  Cows have no respect for me.  Even in the corral and without a calf, if I yell and wave my arms and stand in the way to try to stop a cow, she will run right over me.  It hasn't actually happened because I am a BIG chicken and always climb the fence and let them have their way.  So when this momma started pawing the ground and bawling, I headed for the pickup and stood next to it, ready to jump in if need be!  Randy always seems to be able to tell when the momma is bluffing and carried on with the tasks at hand.  HOWEVER, he was in a bit of a bad mood, and in a hurry, so after wrestling with the calf awhile, while keeping one eye on the cow,  he managed to give the calf the shot and then tossed the needle toward the pickup to get it out of the way so it didn't get stepped on.  Somehow the needle landed in my shin, stuck and then the weight of it, caused it to fall to the ground. Medicine and then blood trickled down my leg. Let me just say that this is NO SMALL NEEDLE!  Not like the tiny thing they give you a flu shot with.  Let me also say that this needle is kept in the pickup all through calving season and is only washed if and when it gets clogged and forcing  air through it, by repeatedly pumping the syringe won't solve the problem.  Now, Randy had recently told me about some medicine that, if accidentally given to a human, instead of cattle, will kill a person within 30 minutes.  As I looked down at my bleeding leg, and being a little miffed about his bad mood, and my aching leg, I said in my sarcastic voice, "Great! Am I going to die?"  I don't remember the answer.  We got back to the house and I called the vet.  I could sense humor in his voice (I think he could tell I was a transplanted city girl) as he said, "Even if you got the whole dose, it wouldn't hurt you.  Your only concern is the dirty needle.  You might get a Tetanus shot if you haven't had one in a while."  So, I went to the doctor the next day and got my shot (the human one).  My leg stayed sore a long time, but no infection or lasting ill effects.  Stijn was protective of me as his "American mom" and said, "Randy should be careful with that kind of stuff."  Please note that Randy did not hit me with the needle intentionally. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


     As you all know I'm trying to lose weight and get in shape for Bret and Kallie's wedding.  I tried Yoga for awhile, but it wasn't for me.  I'm just not graceful or flexible.  After so many times trying to turn my body into a pretzel and looking at that woman on the video and knowing I was not even close to the correct position, I gave up. 
     Lately I've been doing the "Classical Stretch" workout.  Kind of a cross between ballet (I need to be more graceful) and Tai Chi and easy Yoga .  So tonight the workout was titled, "Sculpt your legs so you will look better in pants"  (Seriously)  I do have skinny, bird legs no matter how much weight I gain everywhere else, so I gave it a try.  She did some really basic leg lunges and stretches and moved on to arm circles and stretches.  She instructed me to cross my arms, grab my shoulders and stretch.  And then she said, and I quote, "Try to pull your arms out of the sockets"  I have to wonder how THAT could be good for anyone!  I went to get a drink of water (it's important to hydrate before, during, and after exercising).  I noticed my legs felt a little "heavy" but I thought, "pshaw!  that didn't sculpt anything"  When I got back to the living room Ms. Esmonde was doing some serious leg exercises and I then realized I had only experienced the WARM UP!  By now my dog, Daisy (Chihuahua/Jack Russell) is bringing her toys one by one and dropping them on me, hoping I'll play with her.  I am lying on my side with one knee pulled up to my chest and I'm supposed to kick the lower part of the leg I'm holding back and forth.  Daisy is in the way, so I just gently tap her with my foot each time.  The first time she got a "look" and put her ears slightly back.  I tapped her again and she spun around and bit my foot! 
     I gave up the leg sculpting and did some sit ups and push ups. 
     I wish there was such a thing as Gain With No Pain!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Artichoke

Several people asked when I was going to write a  sequel, and I wondered, " How I can write anything as exciting as the last story?"  Then I got to thinking, there are so many embarrassing stories I can tell on myself! 

First, I'll explain the name of my blog, Rose Colored Glasses.  Not only do I tend to see the glass as half-full, sometimes I really believe it will overflow!  This can be a good thing.  I tend to see the bright side of things.  I always look around and think, "It could be worse".  This can also be a bad thing.  Like when I took Michelle to Cripple Creek for her birthday and I only intended to gamble twenty dollars, and then was so sure I would win that I spent every last dollar I had in my purse.  Not a ton of money, but on the drive home I had serious "buyer's remorse" and kept trying to justify it by telling Michelle things like, "Well, I would have spent this much if I had gone shopping for clothes."  to which she answered, "Yeah, but then you would have new clothes to show for it." 

Okay, the artichoke.  I was in the produce section the other day and artichokes were on sale.  I have only had artichoke once, 30+ years ago.  I thought it was so delicious, and thought I would cook one sometime, they seemed complicated, so I just never did.  Well, when Randy and I got married he only ate these vegetables: corn, green beans, peas, spinach, and asparagus. In 30 years of marriage I have introduced him to squash (learned to like), fried okra (likes), broccoli (tolerates), cauliflower (tolerates), brussel sprouts (His exact words were, "Please don't ever make those little green things again."), and beets (tolerates).  I decided to buy an artichoke (I'm a sucker for a sale).  I cooked it like my Betty Crocker cookbook said, except I didn't add the clove of garlic to the water (didn't seem necessary).  I placed it on the plate with pride and explained to Randy that you don't eat the entire leaf, you just scrape the "meat"  from the underside.  He said something like, "What's the point?" and quietly, skeptically watched as I put the first leaf in my mouth.  It tasted terrible!  I said, "Yuck" and oh how he laughed.  I'm sure he was thinking, "Here she is trying to sell me on this weird food and she doesn't even like it!" He did try a few bites, because he is a good sport.  I really don't know if it was a bad artichoke, bad cooking, or what, but I don't think I'll go to all that trouble again.

Michelle suggested I blog about the time Randy accidentally stuck the vaccination needle in my leg after giving a calf a shot.  I've also promised to blog about Bret and I almost missing our plane at DIA.  So stay tuned; those stories are next in line.