Thursday, April 30, 2009

No poker face here

This is my Little Friend. He's adorable, right? So cute, so smart, so funny. One of his teachers at church said of him when he was just a little tiny guy, "His face is so expressive!" You can read his thoughts on his face, it's true. I'm fairly certain he doesn't know this about himself. I hope he never tries to make a living playing cards.

But it is one of the things I love most about him. His facial expressions add so much to every conversation I have with him.

I love this boy beyond reason.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

If you don't want to tell me...

My Little Friend made this stained glass masterpiece in art class at school a couple of months ago. It's made of black construction paper and clear and colored cellophane.

I think it's cute. I dutifully hung it on the refrigerator the day I found it in his backpack like any conscientious mother would. (And I do NOT want to hear any comparisons of this innocent and precious creation to something like, oh I don't know, the Washington Monument.)

Last week Little Friend asked me why I didn't hang it on the window. I said, "If I had taped it to the window the black paper would have faded. Black construction paper is cheap. They don't use very good pigments when they make colored construction paper. That way they can sell it for a couple dollars for 500 sheets. I like your art and I didn't want it to get ruined."
Little Friend: Why would the black paper fade?
Amydubdub: Because of the sun's UV rays.
AWW: Ultra-violet.
LF: Ultra-violet?
AWW: Yes.
LF: Ultra-violet. (there is sarcasm and cynicism now in that sweet little voice)
AWW: Yes.

At that point I got an eye roll from my Little Friend. And he gave me a look that said, "If you don't want to tell me, why don't you just say so?"

His stained glass masterpiece is now taped to the window. Where it is allegedly being exposed every single day to these "ultra-violet" rays from the sun.

If you can believe in that kind of thing.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What a crazy day

We got over 8 inches of rain last night in a little over 3 hours. The rain gauge only goes to 8 inches and it was overflowing so there's no telling how many inches we actually got. Our own street looked like a river and over near the freeway people were driving into 8' deep puddles and never coming out again. (Why do people do that? When you can see the traffic light dangling only a foot or two from the surface of a puddle isn't a given that your Toyota Corolla isn't going to make it?)
Consequently school was cancelled and lots of roads were closed. I've had the boys and Mr. Dub home all day today. I had lots of things planned out to do today and got most of them done anyway but traffic was terrible with all the lights flashing red and everybody in the free world was at Wal-Mart. With all their kids. Good times.
I had a funny story all planned out to tell you in my blog today but it's already after 4 pm so the story will have to wait till tomorrow. It involves my Little Friend. You're going to love it.

Monday, April 27, 2009

For My Good Friend D

Pink from my garden:

Hibiscus blossoms are big and fancy. Hibiscus blossoms like to show off. Hibiscus blossoms seem to shout, "LOOK AT ME!"

The word "hibiscus" sounds like a body part. As in, "I hurt my hibiscus when I fell after tripping over the curb."

Sunday, April 26, 2009

For Bob

Green hasn't ever been my favorite color. When I was a kid green was my mother's favorite. I remember that that was SO important to me - it was like I had some kind of concrete information about my mom. Some insight into her psyche. Some handle on how she worked. My mother has always been kind of a mystery to me. I wonder if that's true of all mothers and daughters.

Even though green isn't my favorite, there are plenty of outstanding green things. Here are a few:

Green... can...make... life...

Emeralds. Green lights. Tomatillos for green salsa. Money. The cool pattern of baseball park grass.

Saturday, April 25, 2009



also... quite... excellent.

My sister Wendy makes me think of the color red. She's brave. She's intense. She's smart. Today is her birthday. I hope it's very happy, Wendy. I hope you get red flowers, rubies, and red velvet cake on your birthday!

Friday, April 24, 2009







But when I write out the word "purple" I don't think it looks like a real word.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


This is ruellia. I've also heard it called Mexican Petunia. It's perennial, drought-tolerant, heat-tolerant, and essentially foolproof. My old friend Lisa P. gave me several little pieces of ruellia...oh, I don't know...maybe 12 or 13 years ago.
This is the perfect plant for me because my gardening philosophy is that if something doesn't want to live in my yard, I don't want it to live here either. If a plant requires a lot of special attention just to survive, it is not for me. Ruellia hangs out and thrives without any attention from me other than occasional admiration and gets along just fine with whatever water falls from the sky or the sprinkler.
Earlier this spring I thought my ruellia were looking a little bit scraggly and leggy so I cut them all down to basically just above ground level. There were no leaves left at that point, just stems. As you can see they've come back just fine and even bloomed this week.
I like ruellia's spiky green leaves and sweet purple flowers. (It also comes with white, pink, or red flowers. I just have the purple. Purple is the best color.) I like that ruellia re-seeds itself and spreads out in the flower bed where I've planted it. (I don't love that ruellia also seeds itself into the seams in my driveway and sidewalks but whatever. It's a small price to pay.)
I love knowing that later this summer, when everything in my yard is wilting from the heat, ruellia will be full and flowering and gorgeous.
At that point I, of course, will be admiring ruellia from inside the house. Where the air-conditioning is.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Contest Winner IS

( didn't know there was a contest? Oh dear...)


You are the proud winner of a fabulous prize hand-picked by me and shipped to you via USPS. Watch for it in your mailbox, Jennie!

Do you want to know what the contest was? Yesterday was a big day here at AmyDubDub. I wrote my 100th post. Jennie commented, ergo, Jennie is the winner.

Thanks for playing, Jen!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Next Blog>>

Have you ever clicked Next Blog>>? I've found a couple of interesting blogs that way. But mostly I find that pretty much every other blogger in the world speaks (or at least writes) Spanish.

Also, after two or three blogs I get to one that doesn't have the Next Blog>> button to click. Why is that? This keeps me awake at night.
Also, I've never looked up a single word in my Spanish-English dictionary in order to understand any of the blogs I've clicked over to. I wonder if my blog is as visually boring to them as all the Spanish ones are to me?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sunday, April 19, 2009

There's No Place Like Home

I had rather be on my farm than be emperor of the world. ~ George Washington
I've had a sweet weekend at home and I think that nothing, truly, is better than that. Well... the one thing that could be better was if I had a field of bluebonnets out back.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Lazy Saturday

Today it rained in Houston. When I say it rained, I don't mean that dainty little drops splashed down gently from the sky. I mean that buckets of drenching deluge poured down and threatened to drown us. I didn't get the picture while all that red and orange were on top of us, so you'll just have to trust me when I say it was pretty exciting. There is a lake where my backyard used to be.
Needless to say, I stayed in. I knitted, I watched TV all afternoon - the movie Housesitter, and Sell This House and Flip This House - and I did some chores. My house is tidy, clean and quiet and I am at peace. Relaxed. Recharged.

Later when the storm had moved on to Louisiana, it stopped raining enough so that we ventured out for dinner. I took the big boy and the little boy to Philly Connection for some Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches. In the words of my girlfriend Rachael Ray, YUM-O.
Hope your weekend is happy!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Working after Ike

Ike tore up downtown. That black stuff all over the sidewalk in the picture is shattered glass from the blown out windows of office buildings. Lots of trees were uprooted. Downtown was literally closed. People couldn't go back to work for weeks till the mess had been cleaned up and windows replaced and the electricity had come back on.
It will be a long time before the economy in Texas recovers from the blow dealt by Ike. Tourism, agriculture, petrochemical, health care, and small businesses of all types all took a heavy hit.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

More Ike

Can you imagine it: "Kids! Get outside and clean up the yard! Right now!"

Ike made a big mess of things. This photo was taken (Obviously not by me - I'm not tall enough to get a view like that) in Crystal Beach, near Galveston. We used to go there all the time when the kids were little to let them play on the beach.

You can click on the photo to see more detail. Lots of refrigerators, decks, whole walls from other homes, couple of life preservers.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


The above is a picture of Hurricane Ike taken from space - the international space station to be exact. I cannot get over how big it was, or how scary it was to be here during it, or how much devastation it caused. We personally did not suffer great devastation but it was all around us.

So in a continuing effort to process the experience I'm going to share some of it with you.

One of the little things that still bother me is that there are little bits of leaves embedded in the tiniest of cracks and crevices of our house (and probably other people's houses too but that's not my problem exactly). The high winds literally shredded the leaves from off the trees and drove them onward. The shreds were plastered all over the outside of the house and have mostly washed away, but they also stuck into the tiny grooves around the windows and doors. You can't just hose them off - you have to dig and pry them out. The biggest bits of these leaves are about the size of a pinky fingernail. Most of the pieces are smaller. And they are stuck. I mean, STUCK. I'm worried about leaving them where they are because I think they will compost themselves and turn into moisture problems in my exterior woodwork and create damp, open, and perfect gateways for insects to enter the house. Luckily most of our house is brick and concrete siding but there is some wood.

And it looks really unattractive to see all these little bits of dead leaf stuck in the window frames and also the grooves on the garage doors.

It was bizarre after the hurricane last September to see all that misty light green as the bare trees regrew their leaves. You expect to see it springtime, not in September and October.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


"You can always tell a real friend: when you've made a fool of yourself he doesn't feel you've done a permanent job. " ~Laurence J. Peter

This week is crafting day AND book club AND bunco. Three days in a row of friends, friends, and more friends. I love it!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Book Review

A Town Like Alice, by Nevil Shute

I stayed up late last night to finish this book. It is the kind of book that is hard to put down but as I've been thinking more about it I'm a bit disappointed.

The heroine of the book is Jean Paget, a fictional character based on a real person that Nevil Shute met and admired. Jean is captured by the Japanese during their invasion of the Pacific island where she lives and is forced, along with a sizable group of other women and children, to march hundreds of miles in search of a women's prison camp. Jean is the only single woman in the group, and is one of those who survive - about half of the group did not.
After the war Jean returns to England where she inherits a significant amount of money. The money enables her return to the island in order to help a village that had sheltered her group during the war. Jean then travels to Australia for more adventure.

A Town Like Alice introduces many themes and interesting ideas that are never quite completely explored or taken to a logical finish. The book just leaves the ideas hanging out there. The heroine isn't fully developed. The book reads more like an autobiographical book of memoirs, where the faults and shortcomings of the main character are left completely to the reader's imagination -the heroine Jean is always fit for the task set before her and always manages to rise to any occasion.

It bugs me a little bit that equal emphasis is given to her ability to make a town by building an ice cream parlor, swimming pool, beauty salon and dress shop, as to her courage to survive what is essentially a death march and deal successfully with her captors.

It is an interesting idea that it takes courage to lead your life during normal, peaceful times just as it does in time of war, but that theme is just one of many that are never developed in this book.

This book could have been so much more. That it's not leaves me a little bummed. It's romantic fluff, which is fine if that's what you're looking for. But if you're looking for fluff, a WWII death march isn't exactly a fluffy place to start.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

Easter Sunday is the one day of the year that I cannot wait to get to church. The music and hymns are beautiful. The message of the Resurrection is peace and hope and victory. Easter Sunday is a day where I never have to "try" - I already feel it. My doubts and uncertainties are hushed on Easter Sunday.

John 16:33
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."

I am so thankful for the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Early Morning

I'm not a morning person. I don't wake up in a good mood and I hardly ever feel good in the morning. I get up early almost every day to prepare for and teach seminary. (It's really more like getting up in the middle of the night to teach seminary.)

But today's message is not about complaining about seminary. It's not about waking up too early almost every day. It's not about feeling crummy in the mornings.

Today's post is about how sweetly the birds sing in the morning.

Every day starting just before the sun comes up a bird sits on top of my chimney and sings. I know that birds don't sing for joy, or for the sweetness of the sound, or to make my life seem worth living in the early a.m. Birds are wild animals - they sing to mark territory and to communicate with other birds about what's going on. The bird's song is amplified as the sound travels down the chimney into my family room so that it sounds like the bird is sitting right next to me. It's like my own personal concert. I think it's amazing that a thing so creepy as a bird, with his beady little eyes and scaly, scary feet, can make such a lovely sound.

I sit there for a few minutes every morning listening to the bird sing and I feel better. I feel like the world is inherently good. I feel peace and happiness.

Thanks, bird.

Friday, April 10, 2009


"Siblings are the people we practice on, the people who teach us about fairness and cooperation and kindness and caring - quite often the hard way." ~ Pamela Dugdale

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Product Review

Have you seen these Kleenex anti-viral tissues? They're awesome. They block microorganisms from passing through the tissue onto your hands when you blow your nose.

They also block the wetness from passing through the tissue onto your hands when you blow your nose.

I've been blowing my nose since 2:30 a.m.

It's not fun, waking up in the middle of the night and blowing your nose for 4 hours. It makes the night seem very long. Blowing your nose for 4 hours when you should be sleeping will make you tired. It will make you sleepy. It will make your nose a little bit chapped and sore. It will make you want to cancel all your plans for the day so you can take a nap.

But if you have Kleenex anti-viral tissues, blowing your nose for 4 hours when you should have been sleeping will NOT make your hands wet with your mucin+water compound.

Drippy and watery is not my favorite state of being. Allergy season, I'm so over you. Please leave.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Even though it was cold and frosty yesterday morning, Stella d'Oro made her first appearance in my yard. Of all the lily varieties, I think this one is my favorite - such a creamy golden color and friendly, starry shape. There are lots more buds on the plants so I think it will be a good show this year. If only stella d'oro weren't day lilies! I wish the blossoms lasted longer than one day.

In my perfect world the lily buds would all bloom at the same time and stay for a while instead of a handful of new ones each day. I think there's a metaphor for life in there somewhere.

Also in the flower garden yesterday morning:

Did you ever read the children's book Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes? It's cute. "She was a perfect baby and she had a perfect name. Chrysanthemum." Check it out.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Wading barefoot through the stream of consciousness

I don't have much I want to talk about right now so here are some random bits of fluff:
  • It's cold.
  • Luckily Mr. Dub is out of town so I was able to double up with the covers last night.
  • I had to, because, you know, I took the extra blanket off the bed the other day.
  • I hate when I wake up at night because I'm cold.
  • Mr. Dub is in Arlington at opening day.
  • Opening day is the first day of Major League Baseball.
  • His team won.
  • It's weird when his team wins because he doesn't get all happy and excited.
  • It's more like he's just relieved that things are finally going the way they were supposed to all along.
  • I wonder what will happen today.
  • I'm reading a book called A Town Like Alice by Neville Shute.
  • I think that's what it is called.
  • I don't want to go downstairs to make sure.
  • I hope it will be a good book.
  • I only started it yesterday.
  • I hate hate hate when I start a book because somebody recommended it to me and then I have to struggle to get through it.
  • Book Club is next week.
  • I think it is anyway.
  • I should find out.
  • The car horn on my van started blowing full blast for no reason on Sunday morning about 9:30.
  • The sound was so loud and so intense that I couldn't SEE.
  • That is so bizarre because what in the world does sound have to do with vision?
  • I guess my whole sensory system was overloaded.
  • I couldn't make it stop and would any one of the males I live with come out to help me figure out how to make it stop?
  • No.
  • But finally my next-door neighbor appeared and he had a wrench and he unhooked the battery cable.
  • And finally, blessed silence prevailed again in the 'hood.
  • I was a little embarassed because I was still in my jammies with some major bed-head going on.
  • By that time my men had emerged from the house.
  • And since I still couldn't see and my heart was still hammering they took the horn fuse out of the fuse box when I asked them to.
  • And reattached the battery cable.
  • So now the van will start and the horn will not honk.
  • But luckily I JUST had the van inspected last month.
  • So I've got nearly a year before I have to worry about it.
  • And by that time we will have disposed of the van.
  • But all my radio presets are gone.
  • And the clock is wrong.

My toes are getting pruney - I'm ready to step out of the water. Hope y'all have a bee-yooo-tiful day!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Am I controlling the weather?

We are a week into April, and along the Gulf Coast that means it is nearly summer. We're talking 80 degrees by 10 am. By the end of April I expect that we will be into the 90's in the afternoons and mid-to-upper 70's during the "cool" part of the day/night.

Es tropical, gente.

And yet, every time so far in 2009 that I've taken the extra blanket off my bed, thinking that surely "winter" is over, here comes another cold front. It's supposed to get into the 30's tonight. And you guessed it - the blanket came off the bed yesterday. It's been on and off the bed three times already this spring.

On Wednesday the cold front will be moving on. So we get that bizarre combination of 40 degrees when the kids leave for school in the morning, and 75 or 80 degrees when they get home. You know what that means, don't you? All the coats and jackets that my children own will be left at school this week.

Furnace going at night, air conditioner running all day. That means the gas bill AND the electric bill will be high this month. Wonderful!

I'm going to remember my blanket-off-the-bed trick in August when we are sorely in need of a cold front!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I've still got it

Lately, since I turned 44 last month, I've been feeling sort of old. Sort of crone. Old, wrinkled, gray, boring, and kind of used up and worn out. I have some gray hair, some wrinkles around my eyes, and my skin doesn't seem as fresh and firm as it used to be. A couple of my moles (which I've always hated) have inexplicably started sprouting hairs (which makes them even more hateful). My eyebrows don't peacefully coexist with me anymore - they've revolted.


But God is good and has graciously sent me a simple reminder that I'm still young. In addition to the grays, the wrinkles, the sagging skin, the errant eyebrows, I've also got....a pimple. A nice, big, juicy, red, doozy of a zit. Front and center, just above my lip on my right cheek.

It's a wonderful thing to know that my body is still so youthful.

It looks like a trip to the salon is in order. I need hair dye, hot wax, and a facial, and I need it quick.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Words to live by

"What one has, one ought to use: and whatever he does he should do with all his might."

Friday, April 3, 2009

Breaking Up with Bon Jovi

I was personally crushed to read an article a few weeks ago where Mr. John Francois Bongiovi, Jr. was quoted as saying that fooling around on his wife Dorothea was just part of his job as a musician.


I've been letting that information percolate inside my head for a while now and I've decided that Bon Jovi is off my list of secret boyfriends. I have to tell you that it causes me no end of psychic pain. I mean, really, just look at this:

See that furrowed brow? He looks like he's in pain, doesn't he? The kind of pain that can only be healed by the love and admiration of a good woman?

Nope. It's the pain of a guilty conscience. I have no use for you, Bon Jovi. It hurts me to say it, but it's true. You're a low-down dirty dog.

I have to let you go. Maybe you'll come to your senses. Maybe you'll get yourself together. Maybe Dot will kick your sorry behind to the curb. Maybe in time I'll be able to remember you as you were:

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Hopelessly self-centered

Here's the thing about volunteering at the kids' schools:

I don't really like it.

Here's the other thing:

When you say to them, "I can spend four hours doing your work" they say back to you, "Oh...well... can't you make it seven hours? It's for the children."

I'm headed off to volunteer at the school and "chaperone" the non-varsity girls choir at UIL today. All day.
Wouldn't it be great if I could:
  • be a little less self-absorbed?
  • love doing other people's jobs for them?
  • not want to just do my own thing all the time?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

March Mittens

My month of gratitude is over - I'm grateful for that!

The month of March was a little weird. We had Spring Break which is always just super fun, and some crazy bad allergy attacks. I didn't do a whole lot of knitting. I did blow my nose a lot so that should count for something, right?

The number of pairs of mittens hand-knitted by moi in March is 7, with a grand total of 27 pairs. That's 54 mittens if you're counting them individually. Or 53, 857, 892 stitches. (Which, coincidentally, equals the number of times I sneezed 0r rubbed my itchy eyes in March.)*

I got some projects and work done in March. I'm still feeling the urge to do some nesting and spring cleaning - and for me that means purging excess and unneeded items from the house, redecorating, washing down and scrubbing out, organizing and labelling, and generally clearing out and sprucing up. This is always scary to the pack-rat males I live with because it means that nothing is safe and everything has been or will be moved or changed. Watch out men, you've been warned.**

I love it.

*My numbers may be a little off. I actually have no idea how many stitches are in 54 mittens. Or how many times I've sneezed in the last 31 days. I'm not very interested in counting them. I'm keeping myself all hopped up on a lot of antihistamines so I tend to either forget what I'm doing or lose my place or fall asleep right in the middle of something. But I know I knit 7 pairs of mittens in March. I like the number 7. It's nice and low and even somebody like me who doesn't love math and is chronically sleep-deprived and is taking a lot of cold medicine can get to 7 without too much trouble.
**Can you picture Mr. Dub sitting calmly in his office reading these words and suddenly breaking out into a cold sweat, feeling panicky and slightly nauseous, and then rushing home to save the precious tidbits he's left laying around the entire house? I can...