Saturday, September 14, 2013

Dawgs 34 - 24 over Illinois

Great day for a win on the road in Chicago!

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Us with Harry at Solder Field!

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Dawgs in Chicago

We are in Chicago for a football game and thought I'd post a few pics before tonight's game. Beautiful day in Chicago!

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Friday, September 13, 2013

Kitchen Remodel

We have been in our house for almost a full year! It's hard to believe how quickly time flies. One of the very first things we did was hire a designer that we have used before to help us redesign the kitchen. We were going to do it right away after buying the house but decided to wait after the sale of our original house took longer than anticipated. Here is a picture of the original kitchen.

As you can tell, it's the original kitchen from 1939! Although functional it definitely needed a major update. The only difference from Julie's original design was that we decided to open it up to other parts of the house even more. So the wall to the hall is going and the kitchen will be opened up to both the living room and dining room.

The cabinet and wall shelf pictured below is represented on the drawing above where it says "open to living room". The entire unit the wall behind it and the entire wall where the door on the right side of the picture is gone and will be open to the living room area. There will be new cabinets and a large island in its place with a place for stools. I'm going to love it as whenever we entertained I always felt isolated in the kitchen! Not anymore!

We found a great contractor that we really like working with so far. He started the remodel this past Monday and made a lot of progress in a very short time! Here are a few photos of the kitchen after the first day.

We are fortunate that we have a second mini kitchen upstairs. I even borrowed a mini fridge from a friend so other than a range we have all the comforts of home while the kitchen is in disarray!

We have had to make a ton of choices. Hopefully it all comes together like we want. I've been emailing Julie for advice along the way. After much consideration we decided to go with white shaker style cabinets. I really love some of the natural wood but we wanted something that would match the style of the house and I love the classic look of white as well.

The counters will be a dark granite - either honed or satin finish. I've had polished granite and although beautiful we wanted something with a bit less shine and with a little texture.

The flooring we chose is an Italian porcelain tile 12x24 - Superges -Nouvou which we first discovered a year ago while at Lake Chelan. We decided to go with tile since we have hardwood throughout the entire house and wanted to break it up a bit. I love the large size of the tile and the subtleness of the design. The only fear I have is the dark floor, dark countertop combination. I'm hoping the white cabinets will keep it from being to dark and cold.

There is going to be a lot of stainless steel going so there are definitely a lot of cool tones and cold colors. We went with a stainless steel farmers sink which I love! I also debated about one or two bowls but decided on one very large, very deep sink. I hope I like it as much as I like the look!

So here's a question - how do you feel about mixing and matching appliance makers? After talking to Julie I decided to go ahead and mix and match as opposed to entire suite from the same maker. I did this because I liked different things from different makers.

I knew I wanted a gas range. When we bought the house we had a gas line put in as it had oil heat. We replaced the heating unit and put in a heat pump. When they put in the gas we had them put in a gas line for the range. The other thing I wanted was kind of an industrial/professional looking range but still within 30 inches. I also wanted an industrial type vent that went all the way to the ceiling which we added. Finally the old range in the kitchen was original to the house. It was inspected based on the info sheet on the back at the factory on 3/7/1933. Believe it or not its in excellent shape and has a double oven. Well after using the double oven feature over the last year I know I had to have a double oven. We went with the GE Cafe line. I did a ton of research and hope I love cooking on it as much as I like the look and features it offers.

For the refrigerator we went with LG. I knew I wanted a french door bottom freezer model and that I wanted one with tons of room.

The dishwasher is Kenmore Elite. We went with that model mostly due to Consumer Reports rating (all the appliances got great ratings from Consumer Reports) and design. I love the fact that when the door is closed the control panel is hidden.
There are a couple comfort items we added such as instant hot water which we had in our old kitchen and have lived without for the past year! We are putting speakers in the ceiling which I think we will like. We are replacing the door to provide more light in the room. I got a great deal on it at Second Use in Seattle.

The last thing we need to still decide on is the the backsplash. We know we want 3x6 subway tiles. The questions about it include color, material and if behind the stove and vent if we go all the way to the ceiling. I'll keep you posted on our progress. Based on current projections we hope to be done with the entire project in under 4 weeks.

Later - Jim
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Sunday, September 8, 2013

NALT Christians! I love it!

I have many brave family and friends who are NALT Christians. They celebrate their love for Christ and support the gay community. So does the God I grew up knowing in the Catholic Church.

Reclaiming Christianity in support of gay and lesbian rights

Leonard Pitts Jr.
Syndicated columnist

“I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” — attributed to Mohandas Gandhi
As Dan Savage tells it, it began years ago when he’d go on CNN or MSNBC to discuss LGBT issues opposite the likes of Tony Perkins. Perkins heads the Family Research Council, a leading purveyor of the fiction that homophobia and Christianity are synonymous and inextricable.
“And invariably, after I would have an argument with Tony Perkins,” says Savage, “I would get emails from Christians and calls reassuring me that, in these exact words, ‘We’re not all like that. We’re not all like Tony Perkins. We’re not all antigay, all of us Christians.’
“And I would write them back and say, ‘I know you’re not all like that. My mom is a Christian. I have really great friends who are Christians. ... You need to tell Tony Perkins you’re not all like that. He’s the one out there claiming to speak for all Christians. Get in his face. Don’t get in my face.’”
Savage, a gay blogger and author, coined an acronym for those people. He called them NALT — Not All Like That — Christians.
John Shore, a heterosexual author, blogger and Christian from San Diego who has known Savage for years, took that as a challenge. He and cofounder Evan Hurst went live last week with a new website, The Not All Like That Christians Project ( It’s modeled after a site Savage and his partner founded in 2010.
Their It Gets Better Project ( solicits videos telling bullied and harassed gay and lesbian kids that they’re not alone and encourages them to hold on through the torment.
Not All Like That aims to replicate that success. It solicits videos from Christians tired of seeing their faith used as a club to batter gay and lesbian people. The site went online last week with a few dozen inaugural videos.
Shore is hoping — and, one suspects, praying — to see that number explode. He says he feels a “moral obligation to take Christianity back” from those who use it as a weapon. His target audience: Christians who are struggling to balance compassion with the dictates of faith.
“So many Christians in the middle are just in that discernment process right now,” he says. “The best message those people can get is, there are a lot of Christians — and these are real Christians — who have a different take on this matter. And that that take is legitimate, it’s grounded in real scholasticism; it’s grounded in hardcore biblical study.”
The view from this pew can be condensed into four words: It is about time. Indeed, it’s well past. Jesus of Nazareth was the author of a revolutionary love that crossed lines and resolved separations, that pointedly included the excluded, invited the disinvited, touched the untouchable.
Two thousand years later, we’re told that love requires us to demonize and leave aside gay men and lesbians. Worse, many of us who know better have accepted this malarkey in complaisant silence. The NALT Christians Project offers a chance to correct that.
Christians used to get angry at him, says Savage, who is an atheist, for not telling Perkins they are not all like that. “It seems to me,” he says, “that if you’re a Christian and you’re not like that, it’s your job to yell at Tony Perkins, not my job.”
He’s right — not so much about the yelling as about the larger point of standing up and being counted. As LGBT people know all too well, there is something isolating about silence, going along with what you abhor, allowing people to believe you’re something you aren’t.
And there is, conversely, something liberating in standing up, speaking out, saying the truth. To do so is to offer others courage, to give others voice. That’s why we lionize gay people when they come out of the closet.
And why it’s time NALT Christians did the same.
© 2013, The Miami Herald
Leonard Pitts Jr.'s column appears regularly on editorial pages of The Times.

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