Visit Our Violin Shop
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

I find that we tend to just document the occasional adventurous family getaway, or special occasions. So, this page of the journal is going to be dedicated to the more mundane, non-adventurous events of the past month. Because I (KaraLyn) am writing this, these next few stories have to do with me in particular. It seems that each family or person we get to know really well has a certain “brand”. I think this is a good thing, although more than a few might look at some of the ways we do things and say things, and think we are totally strange. Oh well. I decided rather than try to hide our differences, we will rejoice in them, since there isn’t much else we can do about them. So, I guess this is my version of some of the “Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” that has recently gone on in my life. This may be totally boring or too much information for some, so go ahead and skip this page if you feel so inclined.

This first picture shows what a good gardener I must be. I was somehow able to successfully grow a pumpkin plant in the crack of our sidewalk. Actually, if you were to look at our real garden, you would come to find out that I am not really that great of a gardener, although, I really do enjoy it. I just don't have the time to take care of it like I should. I think I have successfully grown more weeds this year than anything. I am pretty amazed at how big those babies can get! But, none of my pumpkins or winter squash will get big enough before it starts to freeze. :(...sniff, I guess there is always next year. Back to the pumpkin in the sidewalk: After Halloween last year, I did not throw the pumpkins on our porch away in a very timely manner. I just kept saying to myself, "Oh, I'll get around to that later." Well, later (as in Spring) came around and what do you know??? A half frozen, squishy pumpkin (One that we didn't carve) had fallen, and was still there on the ground between our bush and our porch. I very sweetly asked Thomas if he would please pick it up with a plastic sack and dump it in our garbage can. (I just couldn't stomach it! Thank goodness for boys!) Well, on his way over it slipped from his grasp and smashed all over the sidewalk. He cleaned it up the best he could (poor kid), and finally I just said, "Don't worry; I am sure the rain will wash the rest of it away." Well, all of it must have washed away except for two seeds, one in the crack of the sidewalk, and one in the dirt between the two trees (one which is totally dead) in front of our living room window. I just had to see how they would grow, so I didn't yank them out like any normal person would have! It's a good thing we don't live in one of those neighborhoods with rules about what you can and can't plant in your front yard. I have a feeling pumpkins wouldn't be on that list!

For a recent family get-together, I was asked to bring a dessert. I was excited to make a Texas sheet cake recipe that Richard especially likes. I hadn’t made it in quite a while, so I was a little disappointed when I looked at the recipe and remembered that I had to first make a mix. Mixes are really handy to have around, but only if they are already made. This particular mix also makes good brownies so I figured it would be worth it, because I could make a few batches of brownies for other occasions. So, I combined all the flour, sugar, cocoa, etc. and put it in a big container to store, then proceeded to make the cake. I guess they call it “Texas” sheet cake for a reason, because it’s pretty big, which means it uses a lot of ingredients –including two cubes of butter! As it cooked in the oven, it smelled great, but when the timer beeped, the toothpick did not come out clean. Not only that, but the cake had sunk. :( I tried cooking it ten minutes longer, but to no avail. The toothpick still came out with dough. The edges were beginning to burn so I went ahead and took it out. I was still optimistic thinking that maybe the toothpick was just not working right, so I went ahead and frosted it. Big mistake, and such a waste of perfectly good homemade frosting. I cut into them and sure enough, the toothpick was right. It was like they hadn’t even cooked at all. It was dough! AAAAH! Then the realization hit me. Not only would the sheet cake go to waste, but also all that brownie mix. I was so mad that I actually threw a fit. It was kind of like the fits that my children throw on occasion, including the shrieking and crying – yes, actual tears. Shocking, I know. I got the knife and just started thrashing the cake with it. Frosting and brownie batter was being flung all over the kitchen. Richard tried to help me feel better, “Well, the edges are cooked, in fact, they are really good. You can just cut the edges out and use those.” Ha! Ha! I laugh now but I did not think it was funny then. I was totally like a four year old. I even put myself in time out. I had to go to my room and pout on the bed until I calmed down. I promise I don’t always do this when something goes wrong. I still don’t really know why I got so upset. It must have just been one of those days.

Come to find out, it was probably the baking powder. I bought this big tub thinking, “Oh this is great! It will last forever!” Actually, only until 2005, then it expired. Oops. Guess it’s time for more baking powder. Maybe a smaller tub this time…

Okay, you are probably wondering why I am including in the journal, a picture of our gross shower. You know how they have those “before and after” shots on the commercials for bathroom cleaners. Well, this would be a great “before” shot, right? Actually, I took this picture after scrubbing for close to two hours one morning. I used two types of cleaners and wore out one sponge and two tooth brushes. (Not to mention myself.) Now, I have to admit that I am not the world’s best house cleaner. I am good at cleaning, but to really keep an immaculate house, I would literally be cleaning all day everyday, and ignoring the kids completely. But, I have tried and tried time and time again to make this shower look clean. I don’t usually spend two hours, but I do clean it fairly often. Some sweet family that lived in this house before us decided to put this shower in the master bathroom themselves. But, it was obvious that they didn’t have a whole lot of experience putting in showers. The silicone caulk was bulging (they didn’t bother smoothing it out) and mold was growing on the caulk. A few years ago, Richard and I attempted to fix the problem by digging out the old caulk and replacing it. We were able to get it smooth, and it didn’t look too bad, but the mold grew right back. We soon realized that the only way we could fix the mold problem is to completely tear out the entire shower and start over. (Any volunteers?) When we first moved into the house, this was the only shower. The family bathroom had a tub, but that was it. We have since had someone come and put a shower in the family bathroom, which we all used for a while. But, it became too much of a burden to walk down the hall to use it, so Richard and I are back to using this one. If one of us dies one day suddenly for no apparent reason, you can guess that it was probably mold poisoning. However, despite the mold, and the very unclean look, I still thoroughly enjoy a nice, hot shower!