Inspiration Needs Prayers...

A teacher from the middle school Kel attended could use your prayers. They had a retirement party for her early this week because it is now obvious that she will not be able to go back to work. I don't know all of the details of where she is with her treatments, but she could use your prayers. Patti's cancer started out as a suspected sinus infection and if you remember, turned out to be a melanoma in her sinus cavity.

You can read about her journey on her CaringBridge site.


HBB's firey hot dinner

I've learned I'm no fireman.

That's okay. Neither is my boss.

Tonight I was having dinner with my boss at a fairly swanky restaurant. It had white linens and low lights and candles. Very classy. They have paper table covers so the wait staff can write their names to make you feel at home.

As we were recovering from a large dinner, my boss leaned back in his chair, wishing he was already in his recliner. Just then, a frantic woman at the table next to him was trying to get his attention. "Sir, sir, SIR!" she was pointing behind him. Just then I noticed flames leaping up behind my boss. He whipped around thinking he was on fire. Actually, the empty table behind us was in flames. The candle had caught the paper cover on fire. The fire was growing quickly.

My boss was closest to the fire, so he started trying to smother it with his napkin. This killed much of the fire, but it started to spread in a new direction across the table. The whole time plastic from under the tablecloth was starting to drip to the floor as it melted. I looked at my glass of water. My first reaction, at a time when split seconds counted, was, "pouring water on it would make such a mess!" GAH! But, my sensible side took over. I grabbed my glass of water and flung it across the table top. My boss did the same with is. A waiter followed immediately with an entire pitcher. We returned to our table with our charred linen napkins.

The smell of melted plastic was terrible. We stayed and talked about how terrible our fire-fighting skills were. I, for one, obviously have no fireman instincts to speak of. We were also talking about how amazing it was that we were so oblivious of a small campfire right next to us in a busy restaurant. It was a little startling. I was also amazed at the speed of it all.

Even as we sat paying the bill, (No, no "fire sale" discount), we were chuckling about the number of tables around us who were asking the waiters what the smell was. They were oblivious of our heroic (albeit unskilled) firefighting.

Have you ever had one of those friends with whom you know some unexpected adventure will always follow? We need to start charging restaurants NOT to frequent them.


Halfbrainboy: The Tunnel

I have to put a picture of this.

All of this summer, I've been waiting with great anticipation as I watched the construction of this pedestrian/bike tunnel outside my window. This tunnel meant access to many things, including the grocery store and my doctor's office.

A few weeks ago, it was completed. It was a thrill to walk through it the first time. Now, I've used this to shop and meet friends and have appointments. I've been able to get to all without needing a ride.

Some may argue that this is an example of huge waste of tax-payers' money. I can understand. I also have problems with money spent on projects that seem to benefit a select few.

But, I also argue that $4 per gallon gasoline, and increasing health problems from our sendentary lifestyles, might add to the argument for easy pedestrian access to things. I know this is used. I can watch the tunnel from my apartment window. It does draw the foot and bike traffic.

This also enhances more than access for just myself. On the opposite side of the road is an assisted living building. I spoke to a resident from that building as she discovered the tunnel for the first time. A whole new world was open to her.

So, I might be bias, but I'll enjoy it anyway, even in the sub-zero of winter.


Another angel.

I cannot believe what I am seeing. I am in complete shock.

Sahara is gone. Please send your prayers to her family.


HalfBrainBoy: My Coffee

I've mentioned that I have in my kitchen at least 7 different devices and methods for making coffee. I guess you could say I have a plethora of coffee toys. Or, you could say I have a problem.

"Coffee, thou are my friend."

I do like coffee. Just a little.

I like the nuances of coffee that is created different ways. I also like the looks of coffee-making devices. Some people collect stamps. I collect different ways to ingest caffeine. Same difference.

Now, I present proof.

I've thought about showing proof for awhile now. Keri suggested I take a picture to show all of my coffee stuff. I agreed. Someday, if I can locate everything, and also locate a bunch of clear counter space in my apartment, I would take a picture.

Then, last week, tragedy struck. I grabbed some mail from the counter. There was an instant frozen in time as I saw the French press start towards the edge. I stood frozen as it crashed to the floor, shattering into an explosion of glass shards and still-wet coffee grounds. What a sad sight. And, damn it, I needed coffee! Right now!

I toyed with the idea of straining the glass from the grounds splattered across the floor. But, I realized the half hour to scoop up the glassy, caffeinated mess would far surpass even the most lenient "5 second rule" concerning food on the floor.

I debated leaving the mess for morning. It was late. Keri texted a stern warning that I would regret that. So, I longingly scoop up the grounds and glass and cleaned up the appliances and cabinets.

So, to make a short story very long, I was motivated to capture my dwindling coffee crap before there was too little to brag about. (errr, rather, to be embarrassed by?)

Without further ado, I present for your consideration, "Keith's coffee collection."

There's the standard brewer that wakes me up each morning. This guy keeps me awake enough to be employable. I guess I owe him a lot.

There's the press pot mug that Keri brought me from her last Badlands trip. This gets me through the weekends. And, it's cute to have matching his and hers coffee mugs.

Next, there's the teeny-tiny French press. This one is advertised as unbreakable. I'm starting to appreciate this feature.

The espresso machine. Keri surprised me with this a few Christmases ago. I love making coffee when it actually takes some skill to produce a palatable result. And, I love the fun accessories I got from wife and daughter two Christmases ago.

Italian coffee maker. It's been used twice. Coffee is good. Kind of fun to watch. But, it's left red paint on two different stoves now.

Single cup filter. This guy I bought to try my hand at making coffee like they make in our favorite Vietnamese restaurant. I even special ordered some Vietnamese beans. If I remember right, Keri thought the results choked down pretty well.

Uhhh. I'm embarrassed. In the effort to be complete, I had to include this. It is, after all, a way to make coffee. I use it as my emergency coffee stash. See that red box? At the sound of the depleted caffeine alarm, rip open the box. Tear the pouch. Place in boiling water. Pace while it brews. Drink very fast. *Ahhhhh*

If I count right, that's 7 remaining coffee-making devices. The 8th *sniff* will need to be replaced someday. As I type this, I realize there is another medium French press that I visit on weekends.

Oh, and those bean grinders. You never know when one might break down. So, it's always good to keep a spare. *Heh* (Keri, missing your burr grinder yet?)

So, now you can stop wondering. It is true. I have at least 7 ways to make coffee.

Have a good, wakeful day. I know I will.


RIP wrap up...

I'm going to do a quick wrap up from Carl's RIP 2007.

I was part of the Peril the First in which I agreed to attempt the following:

Read four books from any of the genre's discussed on Carl's blog and so I chose...

1. The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics) by H. P. Lovecraft and others (because of the movie my family members are involved with)
2. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (because Jen told me I should)
3. Lisey's Story by Stephen King (because I've never been able to resist his work for long)
4. Coyote Blue by Christopher Moore (yes, lightweight, but I think I'll need it by the time I get here, and hearing Mystical laughing out loud at another of his books just makes me want to dive into something totally irreverent and funny just in time for the darkening days of November)

I read these books, plus books two and three of the Vampire series of books by Stephenie Meyer. Because the story by Lovecraft that the movie I have family involved with was not in the book I mention in 1, I had to get another book of stories by Lovecraft. That way I was also able to read the story, The Thing on the Doorstep, which I found delightfully creepy!

I really loved being involved with this challenge. It forced me to step outside of my usual reading rut of NYT bestseller list novels, chicklit books and autobiographies. And I entered the realm of H. P. Lovecraft. I ended up reading several of these short stories aloud, sharing them with HBB. They were even more fun read this way.