Monday, May 31, 2010


I've been going crazy today trying to think of the name of the caramel candy bar that my parents would buy for us kids when we went to the movies in the 1950s. After Googling candy from that era, I finally found it.......the perfect 5 cent candy bar, Snirkles!

Another of my faves was the 7-Up bar. It had 7 different kinds of candy in one bar. Could never understand why they quit making something that fabulously good. It had one big nut in the middle and one of the candies was a jellied something or other.

Gets a person thinking about the things we had fun with as kids, like the candy cigarettes. Don't think I liked eating them, but thought it smart to pretend to inhale and puff invisible smoke in the air like the grownups did and flick the ashes off the red tips. Back then everyone smoked, so it was really a big deal. Wasn't there a pink cigar bubble gum, too? Licorice pipes, wax bottles, and Snaps. Walnut Crush bars in orange wrappers and SloPokes on sticks, root beer barrels and tootsie roll pops with the chocolate in the middle. Cracker Jack gave us toys and Bazooka Bubble Gum jokes.

Well, I've nicely managed to put myself in a tizzy, so think I'm gonna rummage through the cupboard for something sweet to munch on!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Bait Shop, Trotlines, and Fresh Catfish

What started out as a brief stop to buy some "fresh catfish" at a bait shop near the Mississippi River, turned into a really informative experience. The couple who operated the bait shop were busy working on their trotlines when we drove in. My husband is always eager to learn, so he inquired what they were doing. Like anyone with a unique occupation, they were happy to explain the wooden frame, the hooks, the lines, the bait, and how they use the boat to set the lines.

We asked if they had any catfish for sale. The lady said that earlier in the morning they sold over 1,000 pounds of their freshly-caught catfish to a group putting on a local fish fry. But, that they had one package of frozen catfish left in the freezer that she could sell us. We didn't have a cooler along, but she said she'd make us a 'make-shift' cooler and assured us we could easily drive 100+ miles back home and they'd be just fine. And, they were.

We found out how a trotline works. It's a heavy fishing line with baited hooks dangling from it that are attached at intervals by what they call 'snoods.' A snood is a short length of line that's attached to the main line using a clip or swivel, with the hook at the other end. In order to hold the lines below the surface of the water, they use old railroad spikes for the weights. Nightcrawlers work really well for catching catfish. They use GPS to set and find their trotlines. That way no one really knows where their lines are set. Other names for trotlines are tagged lines, throw lines, bank lines, or ditty lines.

We spent the afternoon with dear friends, as they had their RV set up in a Corps Park, and their campsite faced the river. We relaxed and visited under shade trees, watching little boys patiently waiting for a fish to bite. A baby bird fell out of its nest and landed beside our lawn chairs. Poor little thing was crying for help, and its momma was up in the tree chattering her warnings down to us. My reaction was to help the bird, but we left nature take care of itself.

On the way home, the two of us had a picnic supper along the river and watched the boaters and jet skiiers zoom past us. Everyone was sunburned, and we commented that they looked like little red and white bobbers out there. There's this little hamburger stand that has sold special burgers with fried onions for over 100 years, and it's our tradition to treat ourselves to these burgers whenever we're in the area. We like them so much that for our 40th anniversary, we chose to have our celebratory meal alongside the river--and the entrees of choice were, of course, these burgers! Each of us chomped two burgers down before our final trek of our trip home.

The recession certainly hasn't slowed down river traffic, motorcycle traffic, or any other recreational traffic. The weekend was a virtual flurry. It was fun reminiscing about the days we were out waterskiing, camping on sandbars with friends, sleeping in tents, and waving at barges as they crept down the Mighty and how they'd sound their fog horns at us. I can't really believe we attempted some of the things we did in those deep, murky, and potentially dangerous waters. Angels must've been hugging our shoulders to bring us safely to where we are now. Nevertheless, we have fantastic memories of being young and carefree.

One particular time we tented with another couple, with all of us in one tent. In the morning we woke up feeling a zillion grandaddy longleg spiders crawling on us and on all sides of our tent. Just imagine four people trying to get out of a tent opening at the same time!!!!! We still get hysterical thinking about it and can only speculate how in the world those spiders got in there.

So it is that life always gives us something to look forward to and something from our past to laugh about. Now, I simply cannot wait for that skillet of fried catfish!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Pansies and Books

The pansy wagon is planted and in place. Just goes to show that the simple things in life are still the best! Felt good to get dirt underneath my fingernails as I planted the pansies. Bought them on sale and some of their leaves were dried and looked scraggly. So, each one got a haircut before it was planted. The lady that sold them to me hinted that they not be in really hot sun, so the wagon is parked on the north side of our house where I think they will do fine. Actually, I couldn't fit all of the plants into the wagon, so I resurrected a mosaic planter from the garage and filled that, as well, and put it on the screened patio.

I'm reading the classic, "East of Eden" by John Steinbeck. On the first page of chapter 1, he writes, "I always found in myself a dread of west and a love of east." Gosh, that hit me cuz that's exactly how I've always felt. There's something in me that yearns to go to the eastern states. The feeling is almost compelling. Yet, there's no desire like that to go out west. What is that? and, what causes that sort of thing? Steinbeck writes, "It may be that the birth and death of the day had some part in my feeling." Who knows. Just one of the many phenomenons that exist, I guess.

Am also reading, "Miles to Go Before I Sleep." On Thanksgiving weekend in 1985, the author was a passenger on EgyptAir Flight 648 enroute from Athens, Greece to Cairo, Egypt. The plane was hijacked shortly after takeoff, and the plane landed in Malta. Millions of people watched as the hijackers singled out certain individuals for execution. This lady was one of those chosen and was shot in the head at point-blank range, pushed out of the plane, and left for dead on the tarmac. She actually survives, and in the book she tells of her struggle to live and, in doing so, how she found within herself wisdom, hope, strength and courage that she never knew she had.

Life does that to us, I think. When we're given horrible things to deal with, we take them step-by-step and keep putting one foot in front of the other. What else are we to do? But, after time, somehow we emerge better persons. Traumatic events change us, that's for sure. Everyone copes differently and finds private avenues that take us to new places and new people. That's why we have to keep our chins up and hope for the best no matter what. I think this author gives the reader fine advice, because she tells, "Everything in our lives happens for a reason. I firmly believe that. Everything."

Our coffee cups need refilling, so I shall be on my way. The weather is gorgeous where I live. Goody gumdrops!

Ta-ta for now.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Poppy Patch

The first 3-day weekend of the summer is upon us. RVers and tenters are setting up to live away from home, getting the bon fires lit, roasting hot dogs, squishing roasted marshmallows and chocolate between graham crackers, and kids are celebrating the end of another school year. Others will be attending/marching in parades and church services to honor those who fought and sacrificed so we could enjoy these freedoms in America.

Tomorrow we're invited to a family get-together out in the country. Our smooch-pooch loves to go there, because she can wander safely at her own pace in search of scents left by other fur friends, and, of course, leave her own sweet scent for them to follow as well. A person can't help but be amazed at the many times a dog can pee.

Today is lawn-mowing day here at home. We want to get the yard looking nice for the weekend. Yesterday we bought the pansies, so I can plant my pansy wagon today, too. (If any of my blog invitees are looking for beautiful hanging baskets, we highly recommend Lisa's in Lime Springs.)

Memorial Day always had a special significance for us. We would take our mothers so they could visit and place flowers on the graves of their parents, brothers and sisters, and my husband's brother. That meant driving to four towns. Each year they'd ask us when we were going to the cemeteries. Then we'd take them out for supper so we could make a night of it. Our mothers just loved to eat out and go for drives with us. We took them with us wherever we went, and when they passed away, the silence from our back seat left us feeling kinda abandoned. Bless their hearts.

The other day on one of our afternoon drives, we spotted a patch of orangish-reddish flowers in the roadside ditch. Guess what! They were, what a coincidence is that right before Memorial Day!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Blueberry Cheesecake

Happy National Blueberry Cheesecake Day!

I read that cheesecakes originated in Ancient Greece where it was served to Olympian athletes in 776 BC. (Who'd a thunk it?) Supposedly it was made out of crushed cheese, wheat flour, and one egg. When the immigrants came to America, they used cottage cheese to make the cake. The modern cheesecake started in 1872, when American farmers tried to recreate French Neufchatel cheese. But, instead of recreating that cheese, they accidentally made a much richer and cremier cheese, now known as cream cheese.

When I was in Bar Harbor, Maine, I remember going into one of those candy shops where they make fudge in the front window. Well, they had all kinds of chocolate candies for sale on trays behind the glass showcases. I spotted something that looked like chocolate turtles, but they were chocolate-covered blueberries. Do you suppose I could find my will power? Heck no, it was nowhere to be found. To this day I drool over those blueberry yummies. They'd be real easy to make by just pouring melted chocolate over fresh blueberries.

Nutritional experts rate blueberries as the highest in their capacity to destroy 'free radicals' in our bodies. If I was supposed to define 'free radicals,' I couldn't. What I picture them being, tho, is a bunch of naughty little cells chasing around freely in our blood trying to cause trouble. Close enough.

Here's a terrific website for cheesecake recipes: Go kill some free radicals!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Nests and Storms

We found this bird nest with four tiny blue eggs tucked inside an evergreen tree. Isn't that about the sweetest thing ever?
The radar screen shows thunderstorms heading our way, and already we can hear thunder in the distance. Schools are closing early today because of the heat and humidity. The weather conditions are such that it wouldn't surprise me if we would be in for some nasty storms, or even tornadoes. Tis the season, you know. In today's newspaper we read about places taking people on tours actually looking for tornadoes in Tornado Alley. Boy, that wouldn't be for me. If the winds get high, I grab the fur-child and head for the southwest corner of the basement. Why is it that men prefer standing on the porch watching the clouds until a torrent of rain or hail shoves them inside? My dad taught me how to "read" the clouds. When the sky has a greenish look, that usually means someone's gonna get hail. The whispy dark clouds mean high winds.
I remember years ago when bad storms would pass through our area, daddy would load us up in the car and drive around the country roads looking at the storm damage. Trees would be uprooted, crops hailed out, barns and other buildings damaged or destroyed. The crops on our farm were completely hailed out one year. As a kid, I didn't realize the severity of that. But, somehow my parents always put plenty of good food on our table and we had everything we needed. Amazing when I think about that now.
Growing up in the 50s and 60s was a good thing. Of course, we had few toys and less of everything when compared with today, but we were busy playing with friends or cousins, making guns out of tree branches, pretending to be cowboys, and our imaginations took us wherever we wanted to go. We'd dig worms, go fishing with long cane poles, crawl around bogs catching frogs, and have a hi-ho time. There wasn't any room for sissies where I grew up.
The older we get, the more nostalgic we get. Maybe we spiff up our memories to make them feel better than they actually were. But, that's okay. The days we grew up in are no longer here, so it's only natural that we want to cling to all the stuff that made us who we are. We baby boomers are an innovative and resilient generation, and we definitely are going to leave our mark on history.

Monday, May 24, 2010

On the Dock

Our smooch pooch needed food, so we trollied over to the vet. She eats a special allergy diet of Natural Balance duck and rice. It's costly to care for a pet these days. I can remember when we were kids and had dogs on the farm, we never fed them. They scrounged for themselves. I do remember tossing the used milk separator pads out for them to lick on. Now days we are pressured to provide a diet that has been scientifcally researched and developed, or suffer the pangs of guilt for not being a responsible pet owner. At our house there are basically no rules, so she gets people food mixed in with her food. When she stays at home alone for a few hours, we treat her to a McDonald's hamburger. Those she loves, but hold the pickles. Today she scored a bag of Greenies, those green toothbrush-shaped treats that are good for their teeth. She chomped one down in the car, and boy did she have fun.

Drove out to a man-made lake just for something to do. There are an abundance of wildflowers this spring. Guess before we retired we didn't get to see them like we do now. Of course, we stopped to take pictures. While my husband visited with a fisherman, I sat out on the dock, took my sandals off, and splashed my feet in the water. Oooooh, did that feel good in 91 degrees! But, wouldn't you know it.......saw a snake wiggling in the water. Despite my phobia, I controlled myself by not screaming like a wild woman and simply removed my feet from the water and walked back to shore. It's a proven fact that I am a snake magnet.

Stopped at a flower stand to get my pansies. The lady smiled and said she was sorry but she sold the last two pansies she had just this morning. The petunias looked nice, but couldn't settle for anything less than pansies.

The cotton seeds drift through the air and look like the beginning of a snowfall. It amazes me every year how nature renews itself with the same patterns. The wrens, the hummingbirds, and the orioles are contributing to our poverty by eating like little pigs. The price of bird seed is nuts, but who can resist those beautiful little creatures that give us so much joy. I get a kick out of watching the little things fight over food and the vacant perches on the feeders. Then, of course, there are the squirrels who think the world belongs to them. I stay out of that business and let my hubby cope with them. Sad to say, but the squirrels have the upper hand most of the time.

It's time the mama deer will be having baby fawns. We thought we might spot one on our drive today, but no luck. Usually we have deer in our back yard. One summer we had twin fawns that jumped and played on our lawn down by the creek. Toward evening was their time to perform for us.

We have a ham in the crock pot, and we just had a sample. Yummy supper coming up in a couple of hours. It's so hot we didn't want to start the oven and are staying inside where it's nice and cool. I can't help but feel sorry for the animals that are out in the wild or are neglected in this awful heat. But, I tell myself that all I can do is take care of our Bichon. A person can't carry the weight of the world on our shoulders!

Gosh, come to think of it, a nap might hit the spot right now............

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Graduation Party

Went to a commencement today. It was so hot in the gym, we were all fanning ourselves with the programs. For it being only May, 90 degrees is way too hot. My hands were so clammy when I clapped my hands they about stuck together. It's a wonder that no one fainted.

The president of the school board spoke to the graduating class, and she delivered a meaningful message that applied not only to the kids, but to all of us. She talked about how important it is that each one be true to him/her self. How every one of us feels different and thinks different, and we shouldn't be afraid to put ourselves "out there" and give it our best shot no matter what that situation may be.

Graduation parties these days are far different from those of my generation. My parents invited my aunt and uncle over to the house for lunch after my graduation, and that was it. The tradition back then was for the girl to get a cedar chest from her parents, or a 'hope chest' as they were called. It was a place to store linens and towels, hopefully to take into a future marriage.

We ate too much at the graduation party, that's for sure. There were roasters of bbq beef and bbq pork sandwiches, cheesy potatoes, macaroni salad, relish tray, fruit tray, meat and cheese tray, all kinds of chips and dips, peanuts, pretzels, and then a dessert table with three big cakes. Each cake had 3 layers with pudding in between. A vanilla, raspberry, and chocolate cake. Plus all kinds of refreshments. I've got to confess that I had two helpings and enjoyed every single bite. Oh, heck, isn't that what parties are for?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Sweet Surprise

In one of my earlier blogs, I mentioned that I wanted to find a little red coaster wagon in which to plant pansies. My idea is that I could pull it in different places in the yard, depending on my mood. Well, this morning my hubby was buzzing back and forth with the JD mower. He got off of it, motioned for me to come to the front porch, and he was pointing his finger to the side of the deck. There sat a little old coaster wagon with its handle up. My first response was to squeeze him, but then he explained that he didn't put it there. He confessed to noticing the wagon one day beside a house nearby, asked the owner if he wanted to sell it, explained how I wanted one to plant flowers in, and the guy insisted he would sneak it over here one day to surprise me, and wanted absolutely no payment. So, me is like the first little kid to get the coaster wagon.....happy happy happy!

Am not sure if I want to paint the wagon red or let it be its own, worn-out self. My tendency is to leave it as is. The rust shows its years of wear and tear. One can't help but imagine all the kiddies who were pulled around in it. Yup, it's gonna stay rusty. To paint it would be like dyeing my hair dark brown, and at this point in my life----that ain't me! Now my next move is to go buy pansies. Pansies are supposed to represent friendship.

Wonder just how many 60+ ladies are exuberant over an old coaster wagon right now!!!!! I'd be safe to bet not many are. A big hug goes to the young man who gifted me with it. There are some really nice guys out there with great big hearts. Isn't that cool?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Watermelon Seeds

It's been an overcast day, with a light mist. As I sit out on our back patio, the foliage around me is heavy, it feels like a rain forest out here. A mourning dove coos and a couple of owls are visiting nearby. The weather man says warmer weather is on its way for the weekend. The families having graduation parties will be pleased about that.

Tomorrow afternoon I'm invited to a bridal shower. Then in the evening we'll be going to a surprise birthday party. The host is going to provide the burgers, brats, and dogs. The guests are to bring a dish to pass. We couldn't decide what we should take, so we decided on sliced watermelon and cantalope. That can be eaten as either a salad or dessert plus it's easy to prepare. It's always kinda fun to watch people pick out a melon at the store. They tap 'em and then carefully listen. For what? Every melon I've ever thumped sounded the same. Kinda hollow sound. Seedless watermelons are wonderful.
When I was a little girl, my parents told me that pregnant women had big tummies because they swallowed a watermelon seed and a watermelon was growing inside them. This little girl believed everything and anything she was told, so it was with full dread and fear that I ate watermelon. I'd pick and spit and spit and pick before swallowing a chunk. There was one lady who mothered a large family of children, and when she'd walk to the altar for communion on Sunday morning (with a large tummy), I thought to myself, why isn't she more careful when she eats watermelon or why would she eat watermelon at all! Now that my brain has developed, I defy my childhood warnings and purposely chew up the seeds and swallow them. Go figure.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

National Police Recognition

It's during the month of May, that our country pays special tribute to peace officers. My sincere respect and appreciation go to all law enforcement for their continual efforts to keep us safe and for responding to our calls when we need help. How well I remember the morning I was on my way to work and a deer jumped out of the ditch onto the hood of my car, slid up onto the windshield, and over the top. After pulling over to the side of the road, my first reaction was to reach for my cell phone and call 911. Within a minute or two a highway patrolman was there to see, first of all, if I was okay, and then he advised me what to do. Whether it be a serious car accident that may involve deaths or severely injured people, or whether it is a criminal or abusive situation, the men and women in uniform are there to do what is necessary to see that everyone is taken care of. I'm going to say a special prayer tonight that they, too, will be kept out of harm's way.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Pampered Footies

Texting while driving seems to be a front-page issue at present, but I'm here to say that yesterday on my way to the PP party it became acutely clear to me that there is another problem we've got to deal with. Okay, picture this. Me going down the highway listening to channel 105 on Sirius (Family Comedy), both hands on the steering wheel, traffic fairly normal, and here I am laughing so hard I can feel my mascara making its own road down my face! Was my mind totally on my driving???

Gotta report on the PP party. It was way cool. Home parties are in their own universe, of course. We have little time to decide which product we can't live without. This summer my feet will be happy, as they will be pampered with a fig-leaf aromatic creme. For those of us who prefer walking barefoot, our footies take a pretty good beating. They deserve to be recognized for their loyalty and hard work.

In a few minutes I'm going to put supper together, and I can hear my dear mother telling me to 'never try a new recipe on company.' Doesn't crockpot lasagna sound fun? Found the recipe online. Tonight's guests are fun people, and if my crockpot recipe should happen to turn out to be a 'crackpot,' they will tease me till the day I die, and they won't think a thing about it. Looks like it will be a perfect day to picnic out on our screened-in porch, or patio as we call it.

Our morning coffee is delish. My hubby is reading the morning paper. He is an avid reader of local and world news. He keeps me up to speed, and that's a good thing. The funnies, the crossword puzzle, and jumble are what makes the daily paper worthwhile for me. Plus, I'm a headline reader. If the headline doesn't interest me, the article doesn't get read. My great-aunt was as poor as a church mouse, but my memory of her is that she knew more about her world than most Americans. I admired her for that, and it's good to be on top of things. When two people have different interests, that's a good base for depending on one another.

Better get to the kitchen. The crockpot awaits.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pink Papaya Party

Tonight I'm going to a Pink Papaya Party as a friend of an invitee. At first I had no idea what a Pink Papaya Party was, so I checked it out online. The products for sale on the website can evidently "enhance outer beauty, promote inner peace, give new confidence, and will relax, renew, and recharge." Sounds like a miracle product, if you ask me. I had to laugh when my husband reminded me this morning that tonight is my Pink Panther Party.

When I was a little girl, I remember going to Stanley Parties with my Mom. The lady putting on the party would pass around a tray with small kitchen gadgets, and each one of us could choose one. For a little girl, that was a pretty cool deal. Then came the Tupperware parties, and each of us new brides were putting on a party and pretty soon tupperware containers were filling and falling out of our cupboards. Now every garage sale has a table that looks like a tupperware graveyard. The funny thing, though, is all of it is still in good shape. Home furnishing parties were a rage for awhile, and now I see the mass-produced-framed pictures at garage sales and good will stores for a mere fraction of their original costs. Pampered Chef parties were a lot of fun, too, especially when they prepared food. Their products are pretty snazzy. My favorite gadget from those parties is the apple slicer that can slice an apple in pieces in one whack. Can't believe it's still sharp, cuz it's had alot of use.

In a few hours I'll know more about the party. Probably should wear something pink tonight, but I'm just not a pastel gal!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Eagles and Silos

Photos of beautiful nature scenes helps keep those images alive for us. It's interesting which moments we choose to hold onto. We were out driving yesterday. The weather was perfect for a late-afternoon drive. Our fur-baby loves to go for rides just as much as we do. She sits on a pillow on my lap and seems to watch and wonder. Oh, how I wish I could know what is going on in her fuzzy little head.

As our vehicle wound around the gravel roads (getting dusty) we spotted an eagle's nest high in a tree. Something triggered inside me, and I had to take a picture. Off a ways, a bald eagle proudly sat on a tall tree branch. No doubt he's the current resident of the nest. Had to have a picture of the eagle to go with the nest. But, the battery had died on the digital, and so we had to settle for memories.

I have an interest in old silos. Wish I'd have taken pictures of all the unique ones we have spotted on our day trips. One day we saw one that had a tree growing out the top. Standing aside the huge silos the farmers use today, the simple old ones look pretty inefficient. But, their presence helps us remember the way things were.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Yellow Tulips

We have yellow tulips blossoming around the lamp post in front of our home. Besides two peony bushes, they are the only early spring flowers that grow in our yard. Sometimes having only a few makes them more special. After coming back to visit every spring, they become like old friends. We look forward to our huge pink peony blossoms every year, but if we get a hard rainfall, they will surely be ruined in one downpour. The petals fall off and the water weighs down the long stems. The peony fragrance is divine, and I usually bring a big bouquet inside the house. The only trouble with that is that an army of ants come in, too.

Dandelions are disliked by the majority of homeowners, but, to me, they are pretty. What flower looks more like the sun than a dandelion? This spring we did something we've never done before. We picked dandelion blossoms, washed them, breaded and fried them. It was simply something fun and different to try, and we would do it again. Dandelion greens make for a salad base, but they tend to be a bit bitter. The generation before us picked dandelion greens like we pick lettuce from our gardens. It's fun being adventurous.

I'm looking for a used coaster wagon to plant pansies in. Pansy blossoms make for beautiful dessert decorations, and they're edible. What's prettier than a yummy dessert topped with whipped cream and adorned with a pretty pansy!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Spring Green

Hi....this is my first attempt at blogging. For years I've journaled privately, and here I am writing for all the world to see. My fingers are apprehensive knowing that.

We've had four days of rain where I live, but this morning the sun's rays are warming me through the east window of our livingroom. Spring has been edging its way into our lives now for the past month, and the lawns and trees are refreshingly green. Wildflowers have carpeted the timber floors with whites, lavenders, and yellows. The wrens have returned, and last evening I spotted one perched on a branch right above the little green house we hung out for residence. There is nothing like the sweet, innocent songs that the wrens offer to us so abundantly. Mother's Day usually marks their arrival.

For anyone who reads my blogs, I welcome you to my world.