Design Star Thoughts

On principle, I hate reality television, mostly because it's oxymoronic. But, I do like to fast forward my way through Design Star every now and again. So now that there's a new season airing, I thought I might offer up a few thoughts on this designer's dining room. The graphic walls/floor design is cool, or cold, rather, but interesting. I wouldn't have done it in the dining room, and I wouldn't have chosen those colors, but OK. I can see it being acceptable in California in a house with 11 design professionals.

What bugged the ever-living daylights out of me? I'm glad you asked! There are 11 people in the house. This is their dining room table. Unfortunately for three of them, there's only seating for 8. A very crowded 8, on two benches. The table is monsterous and hand-built by one of the contestants. Conceptually, the table is cool. Functionally, it's a total flop. If Mr. Dee-sihgner had opened up the ends, everyone in the house could have had a seat at the dining table. Doh! And where are the chairs? Hello. Functionality. Ever tried to get out of a bench when you aren't lucky enough to be the person sitting on an end? Ever try to do it in a skirt? Geesh. And they had the largest budget for decor ever used on the show...why not buy some chairs?

I do like the table--it has a rectangular opening in the middle that allows those monster plants to come up thru the middle. Speaking of the plant life...I hope no one wants to speak to anyone on the other side of the table at dinner. Communicating through a rainforest can present a challenge to conversation. I think the "community" nature of the space--a dining room, afterall, got lost in the spirit of the "design".

I love creativity. I enjoy things that are outside the box. I am turned off by de-sihn-nah snobbery and things that are obviously pointless. If you are doing something for the point of design, you're off base. Form follows function. Otherwise, it's just stupidness for the sake of tv. I like what Candace Olsen said to one of the teams: "You shouldn't have to explain your design. It should speak for itself."

So, now you know.


It was a first. OK two.

Guess what?
I did something tonight that I have never done before.
I. cooked. fresh. fish.
Fresh fish = fish purchased today at the fish counter and wrapped in paper. Not frozen. Fish that didn't come out of a box or a can.

Just so we are clear.
Yes, me.
Fresh fish. Be impressed.
I did it. I overcame my fear of cooking fish.
With a little help from Bobby Flay and this episode of Boy Meets Grill.

On the menu was:
Seared Tilapia fillets with Lemon Butter and Shallot Sauce
Served over Warm Buttered Orzo
Grilled Asparagus, lightly salted
Fresh strawberries, cantaloupe and grapes
Toasted French Bread

We ate "like a real family", as Grey says...and it was very nice. No one spilled anything nor were there any crazy outbursts. Overall, it was very nice. Which is an accomplishment in our family.

For what it's worth, Tilapia is not very expensive and it's a very mild fish. These were my two largest fears--1) that I would "mess up" an expensive amount of fresh fish 2) and that it would be too fishy. I'm picky about fishyness. :) I can't wait to do it again.

Even Grey asked for seconds...which is truly sayin' something.
(photo from Google.)
And for the second first...last Thursday, Joal and I had the pleasure of a different kind of first for us...attending a dinner and show at Chaffin's Barn Dinner Theater. Chaffin's is "just down the road" and is one of those old Nashville traditions that we've been saying we should experience since about 1999. This place is legendary in these parts and now we know why--it was wonderful. Johnny Peppers, (one of Joal's clients) is one of the stars of the current show--"Seeing Stars in Dixie" and he generously offered us tickets to the show. It was fantastic and I can't wait until we can do it again...and take some others with us.
Dinner preceeds the show--a long country-style buffet offers up the usual and the unusual in southern faire, including corn bread muffins that made me blush. During dessert, a local songwriter, Jaclyn Brown, played a few tunes, including a funky little diddy heard here that made me smile. Then the show begins. The stage is in the round (although it's actually a square)...and it was delightful from start to finish.
So, two firsts in one week. Now you know.


Daniel's Note about the past year

Below is the Note Daniel posted on Facebook:

A year ago today at roughly 9:15 my brother was shot in the neck by an insurgent in Afghanistan. I have tried to write this update a half dozen times and not been able to get it done. I don’t know how to sum up this last year. My heart is heavy. It is not out of desperation or hopelessness I think it is more out of a since of enormity of what has been survived. I think that is really the key. It’s what has been survived.

In a few hours I’ll get in my truck and drive to the spot on 155 where I got the call. I will pull that truck over and just sit there. As I look out over that expanse of road, at the loop to my left and the fire station on up a little further my mind will wonder back to the things that I’ve felt, seen and to the people I have had the good fortune to meet. My mind will wonder back to that call, hearing Andy’s voice but not really comprehending what he was saying. Listening to Doc Renolds as he explained how bad Andy was injured. Sitting at the table in the Noonday Fire House trying desperately to make my hands stop shaking long enough to pick up my phone and call our parents and tell them that there youngest son had been critically wounded in combat. Then realizing that I couldn’t actually do it.

Listening to that Firefighter tell me that my brother was a fighter and he was going to be ok, and actually believing him. Picking up the phone, calling Mark then Sherri to pray like they have never prayed before. Actually calling mom and dad who took it well, I thought. Calling my brothers in law, so my sisters would not be alone when they found out. Regretting having to burden those men with that responsibility.

Sherri bringing me a turkey sandwich and then sitting across from me and watch me eat it to make sure I did. Actually feeling a change in my heart from fear, uncertainty, hatred and deep sorrow to peace. Having a tear-filled conversation with Melissa that encouraged her and was a great hope to me.

Thanking the nurse at Walter Reed that handed me a bottle of water when I broke down in the hallway after seeing Andy for the first time. Or Xavier who is maybe one of the best ICU nurses ever. Or Brenda Kelly the first physical therapist Andy had. She gave me a crash course in P.T. and just about adopted him. Or Cpt. Dora Quilty for letting me help make some mods to the PCA pump. Maybe she knew how helpless I felt and how solving one small problem would make all the others seem a little bit more bearable.

I will think about the unwavering loyalty of the men of Chosen (Wanat survivors) as they would literally limp or roll down to check on Doc. Burnett. I’ll be thinking of friends and family that drove or flew ridiculous distances just to check on him. Daniel G., Jon, Mel, Uncle Ron and Aunt Judy--none of you had to come but I am extremely grateful that you did.

I’ll be thinking of the staff and other patients in Tampa. Delgado, Richardson, Ben, Lara, Jennie, Lindsay, Karen, the night nurse trifecta and those mad honey bun cravings, Jessie Lee, Sophia, Ruddy, Picaro, Goodman, and so many other people. Thank you for doing your jobs and being who you are. You helped my brother get his life back on track. Thank you will never be able to sufficiently communicate my appreciation and gratitude. I’m glad I picked the Tampa Polytrauma Unit for Andy you have made a world of difference in his life.

My mind will drift over to Pastor Paul the Robertsons and a little Nazarene church in Wesley Chapel that ministered to my soul through Bucks games, pot luck and a Bush Gardens trip.

Sherri and Ann, I‘ll be thinking about that welcome home celebration. I think only Heaven will top that. Cory, Casey--you have both been great friends to Andy. Thanks!

Leslie, I love you and I wouldn’t have made it this far without you.There are so many people that did so much from concerts and trail rides to driving lessons and food drop offs. The people that God put around us made it possible to survive. Apart from His grace, apart from his plan we as a family would have been swallowed up by all of this--Andy especially. God has seen fit to spare my brother's life for a purpose. What that is, I do not know, but the fact is he has a bright future. Thank you for sharing in that with all of us.

God bless you all,

How's Andy?

On the occasion of the "one year mark" of Andy's wounding, I thought I'd answer the oft-asked question of "How is he doing?"
I never know quite how to answer that question. I know people want to hear "he's doing good" so we can all move on but I don't say that. Maybe it's still too early for the new definition of "doing good" to be clear yet. Every day presents new challenges and life is at a different pace than before. Andy's relatively healthy, he's home in Texas, living with Daniel. Being confined to a wheelchair has altered his methods, but not him. He's still fiercly independent. He's drives his outfitted truck off-road and on, and there's hardly ever a quiet moment at his house--he has friends and family around all the time. He's acquired a new tatoo. Last week he took a little neighbor boy to VBS at the church. I'm pretty sure the little boy thinks "Mr Andy" sits at the right hand of the Father. Life goes on and he does with it what he wants.

Andy's always been the kind of person who moved mountains by the sheer force of his will. That hasn't changed. He's still stubborn as heck and that will carry him--it always has. He's still in the Army, so he still reports to a duty station at the Armory on a limited basis. He misses the brothers of Chosen and he misses actively being "Doc". He's supremely frustrated by the currrent administration and he gets pissy when people assume he was wounded in Iraq. I don't is he? He's home. Nobody's shooting at him in real life. He suffers the bit of publicity that his past has earned him with modesty, embarrasment and a tiny bit of contempt. He says there are certainly other, more important heroes to honor. He was amused at the notion of "Andy Burnett Day". He's has taken day trips to Dallas and an overnighter to Oklahoma to see our sister. Driving is his freedom. He doesn't like to talk about the serious things--or more precisely, not with the girls (mom, Deb, me). He whines like a girl when someone does things for him like fold the laundry.
All I really know is he's working hard and we would expect no less. And that on this, just like every other one, I love him deeply and miss him.
(Thanks Cory for the photos.)


Scrapbooking, no? Surely you jest?

I do still scrapbook, believe it or not. :) Summertime and the usual post-vacation let down is kickin' my ya know...I just can't seem to get out of the funk lately. I'm thinking I might retitle my blog "I need a brownie."
I had 2 items ready to post here--2 layouts that utilized some of the ever growing (exponentially) stamp collection at my house. I posted them at 2peas and within a day was contacted by the editor of about having them used in their next edition. is one of the oldest scrap websites around and I have been a reader since it's inception--way back when Jennia Hart was the owner. It's an online only online magazine, if you will. It's a cool project and I look forward to seeing what they do with my projects.
Anyway, because of that, I had to take the two items down from 2peas and delay posting them here until after the web mag issue comes out.
I're just heart-broken. :)
In other news, I am working dilligently on the NWYC Cruise scrapbook and it is progressing. When it't done, I'll link it up here.
You all know how much I love right. Doug and the crew there are fantastic. I ordered enlargements for the cruise scrapbook from them and they are seriously fabulous...and the prices are not outrageous either. It was a sizable order but I paid for the regular shipping--$2 and they upgraded it to Priority at no charge. I appreciate that more than you know. Scrapbook Pictures wins in customer service in my book!
I am working on the cruise book but I am totally thinking about the Maine scrapbook in my head. I'm thinking seriously about printing all the photos for our Maine book in the 8x8 size. Just let the whole photo take up the whole page...journal on the back.
Speaking of Maine, one of the members at 2peas posted a super cool layout today that reminded me of our Maine adventure. Isn't the crab fantastic?
And finally, based on the ability to create embossed suns, as seen here at Bonnie Sharp's blog from back in May, I ordered this--the Spellbinders Nestabilities Inverted Scalloped Circles (Large). Look at this card...isn't that some hot summery embossing?
Happy Tuesday!