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Mary and I are in Branson, Missouri.

We have been on the road for over two weeks. We have visited Colorado Springs; Amana, Iowa; Chicago; Springfield, Illinois; Columbia, Missouri; and now Branson.

We are staying at the Comfort Inn (our favorite hotel) West.

In the hotel room we found a Gideon Bible, on the desk, opened to Esther 9. There is a note on the Bible that looks like this:

To Our Guests

In ancient times there was a prayer for "The
Stranger Within Our Gates." Because we
care about our guests, we pray that God will
grant you peace and rest while you are under
our roof.

May this room and hotel be your "second"
home and may those you love be near you in
your thoughts and dreams.

May your stay with us be an enjoyable one
and may you feel as comfortable as if you
were in your own home. Amen.

Team Members of Myer Hotels

When we found this, we knew we are in the right place.
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Frank insisted I take this
Bible quiz
as amusement while we were driving up to tape group.

Rob said I sure "hesitated a lot" considering that I'm supposed to be
the resident Bible expert. But some of them were trick questions!

Current Mood: accomplished

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Is it really possible I have posted only once in the past month? Many apologies. The floor is 99 percent done, and the few remaining trim pieces are on order. Photos and foibles forthcoming, if you can believe me ...

Meanwhile, for your amusement, a nice Flash presentation of a Tom Lehrer classic, The Elements Song.

Current Mood: mercurial

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Mary started a new job last week. She is working in document control (her old stomping grounds) at a startup company in the biotech field. They apparently specialize in non-invasive delivery of medications. Anyway, here is an article Mary forwarded me about the results of recent clinical trials:

"MAP Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Reports Positive Phase 2 Results for its Inhaled Migraine Drug Candidate"

Here is other news from their company:

And here is their company web site:

Mary is jazzed to be working in biotech. And while she hasn't specifically said so, I think she's pleased to be working in a company that's currently testing migraine meds.
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I have a few photographs, but no time to post right now.

The floor is down in the kitchen and dining room. I need to glue down the very last row where the boards cross the threshold from the kitchen into the entry hallway. The underlayment boards in the hallway are ever-so-slightly higher than in the kitchen, so I can't glue down that last row until some compensation is made. I'm considering planing down the edge of the higher surface so the floor will lay flat without any stress, but that last row will be angled upward very slightly.

I still have to lay down the floor in the entry hallway, but it's very square, about 12-15 boards, and I think it will take only a couple of hours.

I need to buy all the floor molding to go where the floor joins ends in open spaces, especially the doorways but also at the step-downs into the family room and the garage. And I haven't figured out the front door yet. I already bought one piece that will join the wood in the entry hallway to the carpet in the main hallway. My intention was to shop for those transition pieces today, but the rain and cold is leaving me unmotivated to get out.

Mary has already painted all of the wall molding, but we need to cut it to fit with the miter saw, putty over the joints, and touch up the paint. Handyman Hank suggested doing it that way instead of nailing it to the wall first, then painting. My back hurts just thinking about doing it that way.

We aren't going to finish all the trim until next week, because we'll be at a dance this weekend. And we need to leave on the heat this weekend because the floor needs to remain above 65 degrees for 48 hours after installation.

Rough summary of the work so far:
- 1 day to remove the old linoleum flooring from the kitchen
- 1 day to remove the tile and sand down the glue in the hallway
- 1.5 days to install the new plywood underlayment
- 3 days so far to lay down the new floor, with one more day to go

Oh, Mary started a new job this week! Which, as far as the floor is concerned, means that I've been working on it by myself, which is OK because you can really only lay one piece at a time, so two people doesn't necessarily mean faster. But it also means I may get stuck with doing the finishing work, a more artistic endeavor that Mary is more suited for. We'll see what happens next week. And more about Mary's new job later ...

Current Mood: accomplished
Current Music: just the buzz of the disk drive

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An article from the New York Times, February 22, 2007, writted by Andrew Martin.

"Whole Foods Market yesterday he surprised investors by announcing a proposed merger with Wild Oats Markets, a similar though much smaller chain.

"The demand of natural foods has increased sharply in recent years as consumers have tried to eat healthier, and competition has grown as larger retailers like Wal-Mart and Target have aggressively added organic products. At the same time, new competitors like Trader Joe’s have offered the products at lower prices.

"The companies would save money by eliminating corporate duplication and that Whole Foods would gain access to markets where it is now weak, particularly the Pacific Northwest, the Rocky Mountain region and Florida.

"Wild Oats is the biggest acquisition yet for Whole Foods. Started in Boulder, Colo., in 1987, it has 110 stores in 24 states and in British Columbia and $1.2 billion in annual sales. By contrast, Whole Foods, which was started in 1980 in Austin, Tex., has 193 stores in the United States, Canada and Britain and had sales of $5.6 billion in 2006.

"From 1998 to 2005, the organic food industry in the United States grew 15 percent to 21 percent each year, according to the Organic Trade Association. In 2005, sales of organic food was $13.8 billion.

"But the market for natural products is much broader and harder to define. According to The Natural Foods Merchandiser, natural and organic product sales in the United States grew 9.1 percent in 2005, with more than $51 billion in sales.

"Whole Foods’ stock has tumbled by nearly 40 percent in the last year because of increased competition and the chain’s inability to keep pace with its lofty financial goals.

"Whole Foods defined the market for natural and organic foods, but nearly every major retailer has scrambled to replicate Whole Foods’ success, by making their produce more aesthetically pleasing or by offering more organic and natural products."

or search for "Whole Foods Makes Offer for a Smaller Rival"

Current Mood: plagiaristic
Current Music: just the hum of the computer fan

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Today we made much more progress than we expected to. We didn't even start until about 6 pm. By midnight we had pulled up the entire kitchen floor. Mary took this photo of me after the first hour when we'd already torn up about 1/3 of the floor:

You can see the old linoleum on the left side of the photo, and the subfloor on the right side.

Shortly after this, my brother Craig came over with another shovel, crowbars, and other tools. First he helped us move the oven into the living room and the dishwasher into the garage. We were a little worried about the dishwasher because it had a solid copper pipe as its hot water supply. We were worried that in moving the dishwasher we might break the pipe. But the copper is pretty flexible and it gave just enough. We did have to turn off the hot water to the kitchen sink, however, so tomorrow we may be looking for a compression fitting cap at Lowe's.

We pulled up all the nails in the floor, then got down to pulling up the remaining 2/3 of the floor. By midnight we were done, and it was time for margaritas. Here is a photo of Craig and Mary after a blender full:

Tomorrow, it looks like we will be breaking up the ceramic tile in the entrance hallway. Some of it broke when we pulled up the kitchen floor. We have to make sure we have enough flooring for the hallway too, or we'll have to buy some more flooring. Right now, after a few margaritas, the math side of my brain isn't working properly, so we'll save that until tomorrow. We may also take the old floor to the dump tomorrow ... Milpitas has one of two free dump days tomorrow if it isn't raining. We also need to pick up the replacement pressboard at Lowe's, which will be difficult if it is raining. In any case, we hope to start laying the new floor on Monday.

Current Mood: sleepy sleepy

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Today we moved the refrigerator out of the kitchen into the family room. Then Mary made a huge pot of soup while I worked on pulling up all the thresholds and the vinyl edge molding. The strategy is that Mary will make up a week's worth of food that we can microwave piecemeal while the stove is out of commission. I wanted to start cutting out the floor today, but Mary doesn't want all the linoleum dust flying around while she is cooking.

We still have a fair bit to do before we can really get down to it:

- Pull the stove and dishwasher out of the kitchen.
- Make some test measurements to figure out whether we need to cut the first row of boards narrow.
- Test the table saw we set up yesterday.
- Set up the compound miter saw.

We hope to do all this tomorrow, and start tearing out the old floor.

Before we finish, we'll have these issues to address:

- There is ceramic tile on the floor in the entrance hallway. It is glued over hardwood. We're thinking seriously of putting the new laminate floor in that hallway as well. We'll have to pull up the ceramic tile, and it may be difficult to do so without damaging the hardwood floor underneath. Even though we don't intend to use that hardwood floor, it would be nice to preserve it as a future option or for future owners of the house.

- We still have to buy pressboard to put on top of the subfloor and underneath the laminate floor. They don't sell it at Orchard Supply, and the gentleman there suggested we buy it at Lowe's, since what they have at Home Depot is supposedly of inferior quality. But it has been raining and we don't want a new purchase of wood to get wet, as it'll have to dry completely before we can install it. And we won't really know what the pressboard looks like or how it is installed until we remove the old one. So we'll probably have to pull out the old first, then pause to consider the next step.

- We'll need wood or fiberboard molding to replace the old vinyl molding. Mary will probably paint it to match the walls while I'm working on the floor. But some of the molding will go underneath cabinets and it should have an oak veneer to match or complement the cabinets. So we'll have to go shopping for two different kinds of molding before the floor is completely stable and the job done. But I don't want the lack of molding in-hand to block progress tearing out the old floor.

Current Mood: wooden

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It was Mary's birthday yesterday. We were together all day. First we went shopping for quilt fabric at Fabrics 'n' Fun, our local quilting store in Milpitas. Mary got a discount on some items because it was her birthday, and other items were discounted because the store is moving soon and they are reducing inventory. Mary bought fabric for a quilt she is working on, plus she found fabric to start another quilt. She is making these interesting quilts called Nine-Patch Pizzazz. We also signed up for a Log Cabin class in April, and we bought the fabric since it was on sale: 20 dark fat quarters, and 20 light fat quarters. We are going to take the class together but we are going to work together on one quilt.

After we came home Mary made a neat get-well card for David Brandt, who cut his thumb with a rotary cutter while working on a quilt. I'm afraid of rotary cutters although they are a necessary evil. Anyway, David and Kathleen loved the card and it got a lot of attention on Split Coast Stampers. It is made on a background of duct tape, has a duck on it, and contained a package of duct tape band-aids we found at Orchard Supply Hardware.

Later in the afternoon, we went to another quilting store in Cambrian Park, where Mary picked up a missing fabric that the owner of Fabrics 'n' Fun called around a located for her. Then we went to our new favorite sushi restaurant, I Love Sushi in San Jose at the corner of Hamilton and Meridian. (I thought they had a web site, but right now I can't find it or their business card.) Since Sushi Lovers has been closed during the reconstructed of Milpitas Town Center, we've found nowhere else that warranted repeat business, until now. We've been going to I Love Sushi every Wednesday before church.

Calvary Chapel San Jose has been doing a Wednesday night video series called the Truth Project, about the basics of the Christian faith. Since that series ended, they'll run a short series about creation and evolution. The first was Unlocking the Mystery of Life, which presents the case for Intelligent Design. I'd already seen the video previously in another class, but it was new for Mary, and she liked it. We don't know what's coming next, but it will have something to do with science or animals, and the ad-hoc series will continue through February.

When we got home, we had my famous extra-strong homemade margaritas, which weakened our inhibitions to the point where we ate everything in sight (mostly tortilla chips, cheddar cheese, and pistachios) and pretty much blew our chances of a decent weigh-in at WW on Thursday morning. Oh well, birthdays don't come along that often ...

Current Mood: drunk drunk

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Is it really true that "there are only 30 classical stations left in the United States?"

That is sad.


Current Mood: baroque

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