Sunday, October 31, 2010

Orange and Black - Harvest and Darkness


Once again it is October 31st.....Halloween.  I did a bit of research and come to find that some other very notable events took place on this date through history.

  834 - first All Hallows Eve observed in Rome, Italy, to honor the saints
1517 - Luther posted 95 theses on Wittenberg church - Protestant Reformation
1846 - Donner party, unable to cross the Donner Pass, began constructing a winter camp
1868 - Standard uniform approved for postal carriers
1926 - Harry Houdini, U.S. magician, died in Detroit
1941 - Mount Rushmore was completed
1963 - Ed Sullivan witnessed Beatles and their fans at London Airport.
1968 - President Johnson ordered a halt to all bombing of North Vietnam
1988 - First Monday Night NFL game in Indianapolis, Colts beat Denver 55-23
2006 - Bob Barker, from the Price is Right, retired after 35 years as host.

All of these events represent the magnitude of mankind's powerful passions.  Every special day we honor throughout the year, whether within our families or as a nation or as a world, are critical reminders that we are linked one to the other, and it is that chain of commonality that provides the force to push humanity forward to attain its greatness.  It's so easy some days to stray off onto the sidelines and feel 'down and out,' but whether we realize it or not, the Great Design needs all its components and we just can't let that happen.

Life is an endess stream of amazements.  My biggest amazement is the fact that I was born.  That I live where I live, love the people I love, and simply take part in the drama of it all. Even my unexpected tragedies have been made bearable with the love and support and thoughtfulness of the friends I have made along my way.  There's no scale that can weigh the value of a true friend.  They say that a good friend is worth solid gold.  I say, a good friend makes all the gold in Fort Knox seem like an ounce.

* * * * * * *

Question:  What do you call a witch that lives on the beach?
Answer:  A sand witch.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Going Tubeless

Looks like there's gonna be a change in toilet paper.  Yup, the tubeless stuff is going on the market at Walmart and Sam's Club stores throughout the Northeast, and if the sales take off, then they will introduce it all over the country and around the world.  So, if you're using the cardboard rolls for crafting purposes, you'd best start stashing cuz they may soon be things of the past.  This will be the biggest change in toilet paper in the last 100 years.  It's kinda interesting that Scott would take the lead over Charmin, isn't it? 

Kimberly-Clark (producer of Scott) estimates that the 17 billion toilet paper tubes produced in one year in the U.S. would stretch more than a million miles placed end-to-end.  That's from here to the moon and back--twice.  Just think of that.  Also, those 17 billion tubes are to blame for 160 million pounds of trash.   

There are pesky aspects to toilet paper, as we know, one of which is the last square that's always glued onto the roll.  Just imagine, tho, what our grandparents would have to say if they heard us complaining about that.  Didn't they use the Sears catalog for their personal cleanliness?

I've read that the Romans used a stick with a sponge on one end to clean themselves and, in a communal toilet, when finished with their business, they would pass it to the next guy in line.  If the next guy happened to grab the wrong end he was said to have "gotten the wrong end of the stick."

The other day while my husband and I were shopping for household necessities, he pointed my attention to Cottonelle Kids toilet paper.  What?  My jaw dropped when I saw the price, and the first thing that came to mind was, "what the hell will they come up with next."

Young parents love this stuff because it helps them teach their children how many squares to use.  According to the directions, the kiddies follow puppy paw prints to a puppy, which is the right amount, about five squares.

We pluggers better get used to a flood of this kind of change that seems so unbelievably ridiculous to us, especially when our economy is in a recession and we watch young families struggle to make ends meet.  But, I guess if the new generation wants to buy into these "merchandising ploys" in order to potty train their kids, well, that's their prerogative.  My questions are:  1)  at what age do the children get switched over to t.p. without the puppy paws?  2) are there two dispensers on the wall?  3)  or, is the whole family following puppy tracks?

I'm sure by now, my sarcasm is blatant.  But, that's one of the magnificent parts of aging.  We frankly get to where we are more vocal about what we think.  The world as we knew it is leaving, and in many ways is already gone.  It's like we've moved to a different country and every body's speaking a language that's completely foreign to us.  We, by nature of the beast, get resentful.  But, I guess I'd better practice what I've always preached and look on the positive side.  In order for me to do this, I shall look forward with high anticipation to the day that I'll be a little old feeble lady with a 'greatly challenged' memory, and my caretakers will supply me with rolls and rolls of puppy tracks toilet paper.  Proof positive that we all end up right where we started!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Things that P___ (oops) Tick Me Off

I'm not even going to mention last night's World Series game.  The one where my Rangers once again got blottoed by the Friscos.  Lest we forget, tho, it ain't over till the fat lady sings.  The problem is, the fat lady's  walking out on the stage!

My mind this morning, for whatever reason, is focusing on the things that annoy me.  Just for the heck of it, here's a list of my most irritating gear grinders............

  • Shopping carts with a bad wheel - that's #1
  • Driving with the sun in my eyes, and the visor isn't big enough to block the blinding rays
  • How commercials are so much louder than TV shows
  • Drivers who ride my back bumper when I'm driving
  • Forks with tines that aren't perfectly straight
  • Here's to Pet Peeves!
  • Telemarketers and political campaign calls, doesn't matter what time of day
  • Trying to open a CD and can't break the cellophane that's sealed around the plastic case
  • Junk mail
  • Finding a hair in my food
  • A pen runs out of ink when I'm writing
  • Unclean public ladies' restrooms
  • People who cruise right on through stop signs
  • Hard erasers on pencils that smudge the paper
  • Cracking knuckles
  • When the string on the hood of my sweatshirt goes inside the hood
  • If you pee on the seat, wipe it off, please!
  • Drivers who blast their horn the instant the light changes to green
  • Wobbly tables
  • TV shows and commercials with ringing doorbells and phones, which make me (and the pooch) think the sound is coming from our house
  • When restaurant staff start clearing dishes away when I'm not finished eating
  • Magazine inserts
  • When I don't know the meaning of one of the "new-fangled" words, like bling-bling (which just yesterday I learned is what we used to call gaudy jewelry)
  • Not washing hands after using the restroom
  • Spitting (why do baseball players have to spit?)
  • Drivers who leave their blinkers on.....and, drivers who don't put their blinkers on at all
  • A tall person sits in front of me in a theater and blocks my view
  • Biased and nasty newspaper and television reporting 
  • Embarrassing television commercials, we all know which ones they are 
  • "Made in China" labels or Sri Lanka, or god knows where else -- everywhere except USA!
  • When our cable service goes down, and we have no television or internet
  • Etc. 

We're buddies, aren't we?
Today's Trivia:  In the 1700s, goats were used as companion animals to help settle race horses, keeping the notoriously skittish animals relaxed.  Taking a horse's pet goat away would have agitated and upset the animal, potentially influencing the outcome of a race.  Thus, the saying "gets my goat."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thursdays Thoughts

Well, my Rangers got waxed last night.  Actually, neither team looked like Series material, but they did their best and which one of us can ask for more. Maybe tonight will be a different story.

Our little clan is up earlier than usual.  Still dark outside.  The java has a whomp to it, and that's just as I like it.  If I want weak coffee, I'll drink warm tap water.   Whoever gets up first, makes the coffee.  That's an unwritten rule of the household.  Just like whoever gets up last makes the bed.

I have to remember to send a birthday card to Bill Gates.  He's turning 55 today.  Should have gotten it in the mail sooner, but we've been "so busy."  (If you are looking for something fun to do today, google Video: Virtual Tour of Bill Gates' House.)

"I want my couch."
Still windy outside.  Something tells me that if we want to keep physically fit this winter, we're going to have to fire up the tread mill that's now serving us well as a clothes hanger.  There's enough exercise equipment in our basement to start a fitness club, yet none of it gets used. 

Over the years I've belonged to TOPS (take off pounds sensibly), Weight Watchers, gone to Curves, Anytime Fitness, and have tried every diet from the grapefruit to drinking glasses of chocolate and strawberry-flavored Slender.  Without all those youthful efforts, I'd probably have to be hauled off to the sale barn to be weighed on a livestock scale.  So, it's a good thing that I've always tried.  Can remember my jogging days, my yoga days, my sit-up days, my walking days, but the steam is't quite as powerful as it once was.  Now I'd just as soon settle for the couch or recliner, my blankie, and a good book.  I think it was personal vanity that sparked the fires of my ego when I was young.  Now, staying alive is the only motivator I have left to keep myself moving.

Honestly, I think the media scares us more than necessary.  If they really cared about our health, why do they put the oozy-goozy food commercials on prime time television? 

The so-called experts get us all hyped up with their malarky.  Everything that tastes good will eventually kill us, and the stuff that tastes like crap will keep us alive forever.  One day eggs are bad for us, the next day they're good for us.  Count carbs, count fat grams, eat this, don't eat that.  Everything healthy has a higher price tag, too, have you noticed?  Merchandisers messing with our minds and our wallets, that's what it is.  We get suckered into believing everything "they" say.  Our grandparents lived to be in their 80s, yet they ate fried foods and perhaps drank a bit more fire water than necessary.  Some days I get tired of feeling guilty if I eat a piece of pie or cake.  Why can't I simply let myself enjoy the blessings of delicious!  I'm not going to want to live to be so old that they have to put me in a rest home anyway.  We all know what that place really is.....the cemetery parking lot.   

P.S.  Hey, I believe I read somewhere that today is National Chocolate Day!  Remember that dark chocolate is beneficial to our muscles and circulation.  Now, that's the kind of vitamin this chick likes to take...and will!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Buy Me Some Peanuts and Cracker Jack.......

Ready the popcorn and chill the beer cuz tonight's the first game of the 2010 World Series.  San Francisco is getting the home field advantage, but they're gonna need it.  My money is on the Texas Rangers......for absolutely no reason, except we have friends who live in Texas.  I have a Betting Buddy who's always ready to take on any bet I toss out to him, and vice versa.  If you can believe it, my mother was the one who taught me how to get in there and get gutsy with throwing out a bet.  She was always getting in on Series pools, and real often she took home the moolah!

My daddy was a baseball player, a lefty, or south-paw.  When I was a little tyke, baseball was our Sunday afternoon entertainment.  Going to local ball fields and watching daddy play baseball.  He was the coolest guy ever, and I was his little Chiquita.  Nobody was better than my daddy, and he'd be happy to know that I am  still a fan of his favorite sport.

I'm not a sports person, really, as my friends know.  Baseball and basketball are the two that I like.....unless I have a bet on the table.  I'll take a bet on football, but honestly the game kind of bothers me with all that bashing and banging going on.  Can you imagine those guys when they get to be my age?  Migod, they'll be having every organ in their bodies replaced.  When all those big lugs pile on top of one another, I lay on the couch and practically gasp for air myself. 

I did a little research on the Texas Rangers (not the baseball team), and find that they were the oldest law-enforcement agency in North America.  I've read about them in the Wild West novels but never actually knew very much about them.  Back in the 1820s, the Texas settlers needed protection badly, and it was Stephen F. Austin (the Father of Texas) who hired ten men to act as rangers to protect the new frontier.  The history of the Texas Rangers started with duties that "ranged" over a wide territory scouting the whereabouts of the renegade Indians.  These "ranging" activities is how they got their name.  When there was no immediate threat looming, the rangers would return home to their families.  They were paid $1.25 a day and had to furnish their own horses and weapons. 

The history of the Rangers is fascinating, and I think we're most familiar with The Lone Ranger.  Which one of us wasn't swept up in the drama of the masked man and his devoted partner, Tonto, and the white horse Silver.  I remember playing cowboys and Indians, and I always wanted to be Tonto. Maybe that's because he was an Indian.

Yup, I'm pretty sure those Rangers are gonna kick butt tonight and wax those Frisco boys.  I really really really want that crisp picture of Andrew Jackson in my back pocket!  Did ya hear that, Bobbie?????

Today's Trivia:  According to legend, The Lone Ranger was the last survivor of a group of six Texas Rangers that included two of his brothers. The six Rangers were ambushed in a canyon, and the other five were slaughtered.  He managed to crawl to safety near a water hole where he was found and nursed back to health by an Indian named Tonto.  Tonto remembered that this surviving ranger had once saved his life, and that's why Tonto promised to stay with  the "lone" Ranger and avenge the deaths of the other five rangers.  Tonto supposedly made the black mask from the vest worn by one of the lone ranger's dead brothers.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Water Puddles and Pancakes

It's raining, with winds gusting.  Just as predicted.  I'm sitting in the snuggler watching rain drops splash into water puddles on the sidewalk.  Today is garbage pickup day, so we brought our garbage can back to the garage right after the garbage truck was here.  Otherwise, the cans would be rolling down the street to who knows where.

The roadside vegetation must be extremely grateful for this rain.  The gravel roads are so terribly dusty these days, that some of the foliage looks gray instead of green.  I wish our state would get rid of gravel roads and put in hard-surfaced ones like other states have.  It's just awful to get behind a fast-driving vehicle and be swallowed up in a huge cloud of dust.

Everything these days centers around political influence and the almighty dollar.  There were at least four political campaign brochures in this morning's mail, and I ceremoniously deposited each one of them directly into the circular container under the kitchen sink.  Voting Day has got to get here and be over with, cuz the campaign messages on television are starting to drive me nuts.  One politician bad-mouthing the other one.  After awhile a person just gets this urge to throw something very large at the t.v. screen.  As Maxine would say, the elections are held in November because that's the best time to pick out a turkey! 

The aroma of pancakes is hitting me, so the house chef must be making our breakfast.  What a nice way to start out a rainy day....cup of strong coffee, glass of o.j., and a stack of pancakes dripping with sugar-free maple syrup.  After chowing down a filling breakfast, I suspect a lazy, hazy day will follow. 

Better scoot so I don't miss my place in line.  Ta-ta till tomorrow and don't let the winds blow you away!

Today in History:   In 1949, President Truman increased the minimum wage from 40 cents to 75 cents.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Magnetism of Nature

Overcast sky where I live.  A gray squirrel skedaddled across the front sidewalk and up a boulevard tree.  The little guy must be busy foraging his winter stash of food.  We seem to be teetering right on the very edge of a seasonal change.  Actually, we're under a high-wind alert until Wednesday, but as of yet there doesn't seem to be more than a slight breeze.

Soon we'll be sitting indoors looking out at blustery winds, and there will be blizzard warnings.  Last year at this time we already had snow.  My husband used to go out west hunting the first weekend in November, and without fail the guys drove home in a nasty winter snowstorm.  So, it won't be long before we'll be lighting the fireplace, burning candles, bringing out the afghans, and snuggling in.  One of the fun things to do this time of year is go through pictures.  I would like to share a few of ours that I think are pretty special.

The patio in wintertime

Autumn Apples


Dig Those Eyes!

Who Are You?

Rocks and Roots
Stunning Swan
Smooth Sailing in the Sky

The Congregation

Icicles and Snow

Dew Drops on my Magnificent Irises

"Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the stars.....
and if you have eyes you will be able to see that the whole existence is joyful.
  Everything is simply happy.
Trees are happy for no reason;
they are not going to become prime ministers or presidents
and they are not going to become rich and they will never have a bank balance.
Look at the flowers - for no reason.
It is simply unbelievable how happy flowers are."

Sunday, October 24, 2010

What Are You Going As?

It's the one week of the year that we've all got to be on the lookout.  Lurking around corners and hiding behind doors are all sorts of impish goblins waiting to play their tricks on us.   

Halloween week is here, and soon the trick-or-treaters will be combing the streets, knocking on doors, and begging for candy treats.  Already I've heard one little girl jump up and down saying she's going to be Tinkerbell, and one little boy will be going as Bat Man.   

I have an interesting recollection from the days that I taught third-grade religion classes.  It was around Halloween time, and for the last five minutes of the class the kiddies were to write in the personal journals I'd made for them.  They could write anything they wanted to, and if something was bothering them they could tell it to their journals.  When one shy little girl handed me her journal, she asked if I wanted to know what she wrote.  Naturally, I told her that it was up to her if she wanted me to know what she wrote.  She took me aside, away from the other kids, and whispered, with tears in her eyes, that she's terribly afraid of Halloween and didn't want the night to come.  I asked her why that was, and she said that all the ghosts and goblins and other costumes scare her, but her parents would make her go trick-or-treating anyway. 

Poor little thing, I felt so sorry for her.  Before she shared her fear with me, it hadn't occurred to me that some kids actually dread Halloween and don't want to dress up and go door-to-door.  A good example of how a teacher can be the one who learns from the student. 

The other day I was in Walmart and for the fun of it walked the costume aisles.  I couldn't believe how many "ready-made" ones there were.  Back when I was a kid we were creative and made our own.  Lots of times we would buy an ugly  mask and then dig through closets for stuff to complete the outfit.  The sillier we looked, the better we liked it.  Sometimes we'd cut eye holes in old bedsheets and go as ghosts. 

Anyway, be on the lookout for the little ghoulies romping around the pumpkins we have set out in our front yards.  Those little hobgoblins are having a hi-ho time scheming which mischievous trick to play on which one of us. They're clever little pranksters who have been known to rearrange furniture in our houses and hide things from us.  Especially socks.  They mean no harm, but are only being playful.

Yet, I can understand the little girl's frights about Halloween.  There's something very eerie about someone wearing a scary mask.  We don't know who they are for sure, and the first knee-jerk reaction is fear.  After that one religion class, I cannot help but wonder how many bashful little kiddies are coaxed into dressing up and mingling with the other masked kids when they'd rather stay at home with mommy and daddy and a bowl of popcorn.

Today's Trivia:  Tootsie Rolls were the first wrapped penny candy in America.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Change in Weather

Every year we hear ourselves saying "one-of-these-days-the-weather's-gonna-change."  Well, it has.  Mother Nature decided to flip her calendar during the night while we were all sound asleep.  It's raining here, and snowfall and heavy winds will be descending on the Northwestern states and higher elevations.  I think our area is going to see only rain.  Let's hope so, anyway.

We pulled into our driveway around midnight after our nephew's wedding yesterday.  We know it was the light of the moon that kept us from hitting the deer that jumped on the road in front of our car.  A person has to be so darned careful this time of year when the farmers are harvesting their crops and the mating season of the whitetail begins.   

The wedding was positively sweet.  Our small family welcomed a new member, and from now on J is officially "one of us."  The family circle of life keeps turning.  Some leave, but we pick up new ones along the way.  I lit two vigil lights on a side altar before the ceremony, praying an Auntie's prayer for the bride and groom.  Please, Great Spirit, keep them safe, keep them happy, and keep their hearts tied together as best friends for all time.  We have learned, like every other married couple learns, that we have to pull together or else we pull apart. 

After driving right at 300 miles and getting home quite late last night, I think I'm going to go snuggle in my fleecy blanket and watch t.v. and let myself drift off into a sound snooze.  What an  ideal way to spend a Saturday afternoon, listening to the rain drops splatter against the panes and maybe some thunder for a lullaby.  And, even though the sky is covered with clouds, I must say that things are shaping up for it to be one of those sunny-side-up kinda days! 

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Life is like an egg.
A Good day is Sunny Side Up.
A Bad day is Scrambled.
An Okay Day is Easy Over
A Kinda Crappy Day is Soft Poached
And, a Really Bad Day is Hard Boiled.

Yesterday was Hard Boiled,
And, I feel like Humpty Dumpty.

That's all for today.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Gosh, I Don't Remember That!

Do you ever stop to think back to when we started school and learned how to read?  I can still see the pages with big print and the words DICK, JANE, and SPOT and SEE SPOT RUN.  Our minds have to be mini computers to remember all the words we learn in a lifetime, and isn't it amazing how we can "pull them up" from our built-in dictionaries at will? 

Where is all that information stored, really?  When one thinks about it, our brain is so very delicate and intricate, and thank goodness the Creator encased it in a bony helmet.  Actually, He/She carefully placed our ears, our eyes, our mouths, and our brains inside this protective thing.  No wonder the medical field is getting revved up about preventing injuries to the head, especially sports injuries.

The older we get, the more hype there is about us losing our thinking abilities.  We scare ourselves half to death when we forget, or when we get halfway through a sentence and have no idea where our thoughts were headed.  If we listen carefully, there's a whole lot of joking going on among us boomers with regard to "losing it."

Well, the comfort is that we're all in the same boat, and it is slowly sinking.  But, we can outsmart everyone by keeping our senses of humor.  I figure if we can laugh at ourselves, nobody will have to laugh alone! 

It's interesting, too, how a person does forget things of the past.  Sometimes the two of us visit about some event that happened when we were first married, and for the life of me I can't "bring it up on screen."  Where do those memories go?  Why do some go and some stay?  Why does one brain remember and another brain forgets?  Oh, well, whatever.  The way I figure, what we forget...we most likely don't need.  Why carry that extra baggage around if we don't have to.

I think we humans are fascinating in how all our parts and gadgets work.  And, when we experience a break down, well, we simply pull off to the side of the road to rest, someone takes us to a mechanic to push out dents and dings and put in a new piece here and there.  If they ever reach the point where they will take a brain out of one person and put it in another person, will the new brain give the person a whole new set of thoughts, attitudes, and memories?  I don't know how others feel about it, but if I reach a point where my brain quits doing its job, please don't install a used one cuz I don't want to have to deal with somebody else's problems.

Today's Trivia:  Keep exercising your brain, because mental activity stimulates the creation of new neurons throughout your whole life.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Today's CNN Survey Question

Well, the one thing that I didn't want to happen....has happened.

Today's CNN survey question is:  Do you have a Smart Phone?  Hmmmmm.  Gosh, we have two phones, a Trac Fone and a regular land-line phone, both of which receive calls, take messages for us, and allow us to make outside calls.  I'd say that makes them "smart," considering our first phone was the crank type wooden box that hung on the wall. 

Okay, back to the CNN survey question.  Even though we have two phones, I voted "no."  I don't have a Smart Phone.  To be perfectly honest, I don't know what a Smart Phone is or what one does.  And, that's where my angst enters the picture.  The advances in technology are moving so swiftly that I'm feeling the dust in my face.  The world is passing me by, and I dreaded the day that would happen.

Okay, so this morning I did a little research and am now so thoroughly confused that I decided to lay my ignorance on the table and hope to god somebody else out there will feel as lost as I do.

1.  Unlike the traditional cell phone, smartphones allow users to install, configure, and run applications of their choosing.  (I'm scratching my head trying to think if I have anything around here that I could install or configure.) 
2.  Cell phones and PDAs are the common handheld devices today.  (What's a PDA?)
3.  Smartphones send and receive mobile phone calls - some smartphones are also WiFi capable.  (What's WiFi?)
4.  Smartphones have PIM capabilities (I guess that's personal information management), such as organizing to-do lists, calendar appointments, notes, etc. (Get real people, I can't find a frickin' pencil and a post-it note half the time!)
5.  Data synchronization.  (I really don't think I have any data that needs synchronizing right now........)
6.  Instant messaging (I just want to be left alone).
7.  Video game capability, can play audio and video files in some standard formats.  (Sorry, my eyesight isn't good enough to really need that feature.)
8.  The future promises to be even better when the smartphones will have NFC capabilities (near field communication) so the phone can act as a wireless credit card.  But, that's still in the trial phase of development, thank god.  (Didn't we once have paper money and coins?)
9.  The flexible interfaces and network protocols are appealing, too.  (Hey, I used to be flexible!)
10.  Then we have the OMA (Open Mobile Alliance), which is a 'collaborative organization with the mission to facilitate global user adoption of mobile data services by specifying market driven mobile service enablers that ensure service interoperability across devices, geographies, service providers, operators, and networks, while allowing businesses to compete through innovation and differentiation.'  (I'll be glad when that happens, whatever the hell it is.) 
11.  Then we have the SyncML project that will eliminate the trouble of worrying about whether your PIM devices sync up with your phone and vice-versa.  The project is designed so any kind of data can be synchronized with any application on any piece of hardware (the microwave, too?), through any network, provided they're all programmed to OMA standards.  This includes synchronization over the web, bluetooth, mail protocols and TCPIP networks.

What's a plugger to do!
Whew!  Knowing just this teeny-weeny-itsy-bitsy bit of how quickly my generation is being swallowed by the Smart Sharks makes me squirm and squeal.  Now I know why my parents' generation told us to go fly a kite when we tried to get them to use the computer.  We are officially entering the Plugger Phase of Planetary Possibilities, and I'm going to have to accept the fact that we are Has Beens without Smart Phones.  So be it. I'm going to go mix myself a Bloody Mary.  A very strong one.  With celery.

Today's Trivia:  I went to school with Alexander Graham Bell.
(Just kidding!!!!!!!!)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Painted Arches In the Sky

Gosh, I see that Pope Benedict has canonized six new saints.  What a guy!  According to that, there must be more bureacuracy and hierarchy in the life to come. 

Now that I'm in my 60's, "the next life" definitely gets more daily thought and a whole lot of confusion.  My curious mind continues to dig and search, and I should be smart enough to know that if the Great Minds haven't figured life out yet.....well, how dare I think that I might.  Oh, well, it's what I do and I'm not gonna stop.

I do have to confess that I don't believe in a hell.  I just don't think there's such a place as has been depicted with fire, pitchforks, devils, and all sorts of other horrid and horrible elements.  Personally, I think the concept of hell was conjured up to scare us into behaving ourselves.  It wouldn't be possible for me to trust in a god who would create a place such as hell.  Nope, I couldn't do it.

Two things we know we should never discuss--religion and politics.  Both, to me, go into the same category.  We are told to believe one thing, only to be let down.

The sky is a soft blue this morning, and the air is crisp.  There are combines, wagons, semis, and tractors in the fields trying to get the corn harvested while the weather cooperates.  Farm machinery these days are gigantic, and we watch these metal monsters crawl back and forth, gathering gold dust in their paths. 

Technology has transformed farming from the days I lived on a farm.  Actually, I don't even know what some of these new-fangled huge machines do.  I remember back in the 1950's the day our family got a frantic phone call from our neighbor after he had gotten his arm caught in a shredder.  The four of us dropped everything, piled into our car and flew over to their house, only to find their kitchen floor covered in blood.  My mother shooed me into the livingroom to stay with the kids and keep them away from the kitchen, my dad and brother drove the neighbor and his wife to the nearest Catholic Hospital, and poor mother scrubbed and cleaned the blood off the floor with a mop and buckets of water.  Since that one day, I cannot help but be frightened of farm accidents.  The neighbor lost his arm, of course, but he courageously went on with his life using a hook for an arm and hand.  What choice did he have but to accept and adapt to such a cruel beating of fate.

We can never take for granted all the preciously simple things, because they can be taken from us in one split second.  It's a give-and-take life.  We give and we get and we lose.  I know it's an old cliche, but thank heaven that a window will open out of the blue when one is closed to us.  Don't ask me how or why that is, but it is.  It's one of those mysteries that we can't put a finger on, yet we know is true.  It's sorta like knowing that morning follows night and that rainbows follow the rain. 

Today's Trivia:  It takes 3,000 cows to supply the NFL with enough leather for a year's supply of footballs.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

Thick Slices, Please!
Guess what we're having for breakfast!  Banana bread with butter and orange juice.  Yowza, what a way to start the day!  Food makes me s-o-o-o-o-o-o very happy!!!  The bananas were getting brown and would have gone to waste if my hubby hadn't decided to look for the cookbook and do a little baking.  Also, those little flying bugs appear from nowhere when fruit sits out for too long of a time. 

Our household is masterful in using up leftovers, and we put food-waste into the mortal sin category.  Neither of us were raised in families who had surplus of anything, and we learned from little on that the second-time-around is many times better than the first. 

Not pointing fingers or being accusatory, but the younger generations haven't ever been hungry the way they waste food, pop, and everything else.  Life won't let them get by with this.  Unfortunately, no matter what we do wrong, something will pay us back dearly.  That's just the way life seems to be.  One of the things we, as adults, can do for the younger ones is teach, by our daily example, the necessity of using and not abusing all things.  Creativity can start in the kitchen and can be a whole lot of fun.

I enjoy refrigerator raids, hunting for the little dishes of leftovers (that aren't green and fuzzy), putting them all in a skillet, browning them up, and then scrambling eggs over the whole works.  Top that with some freshly diced onions, a dab of ketchup, and I think the Queen of England would smack her lips over that one.  The Italians call that a "frittata," and the fancy name makes it sound like a real special deal.  Personally, I call it hash.

There's a bowl of left-over chili in the refrigerator, and we can't wait to gobble that down for one of today's meals.  The only problem is that there isn't enough of it.  But, we'll find something to jazz it up a bit so we have enough.  We don't eat by a table and haven't for all the years.  The fact that we didn't have kids probably had something to do with us eating only in front of the t.v.  If there would have been kids, we would have eaten around a kitchen table.  Anyway, we always did when we were kids, and I remember mom coming from the stove bringing the bowls of food and placing them in front of us to eat, of course, family style.

Now our world has a "to-go" mentality.  We eat on the go, we talk on the phone while we're on the go, and it seems we're all on the go.....going actually nowhere.  We flit and fly and land in the same place when darkness sets in.  Silly silly us.  But, isn't it fun to get in line at McDonald's drive-up window and order their creamy-dreamy ice cream cones or thick chocolate malts, to-go?  Man, we just love doing that once in awhile.  We order a cup of ice cream for the fuzzy one, and you oughta see her lap that up!   Then we drive off happy as three little pigs in mud.  Actually, I don't know if it is possible to eat an ice cream cone without smiling.  Maybe I oughta apply for a grant and do some research to find out for sure.  I could go on the road to all fast-food joints and observe how people react to eating ice cream cones.  Sounds like opportunity might be knocking!  (giggle)

We had some frozen raspberries in the freezer that a friend of mine gave to me, and yesterday I treated myself to a bowl of vanilla ice cream with raspberries and their juice.  Now, that was to die for.  But, I'm a lover of raspberries, no matter what form they come in.  My friend knows that, and so she takes some out of her freezer and brings them to me.  She's as sweet as the berries she raises.

Can't wait to get at the Sunday Paper crossword.  It's always bigger than the daily one, and a whole lot more difficult.  I'd like to meet the person who would know all of the answers.  I have to use my computer, and if I'm in a hurry I cheat and find the answers in the paper.  Once in awhile all it takes is that one word to give good clues to others.

Better scoot here.  Let's all think happy thoughts today and be nice to each other.  Till tomorrow, ta-ta.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Thinking About This and That

Our kitchen window sills have become a handy perch for nicky-nacky things, and the population seems to be growing.  To the point where they look a bit junky.  That means it's time for me to put some things away and make room for new.

Any flat surface in our house usually ends up with stuff piled on top.  It takes effort to keep the kitchen island and end tables free and clear of papers, notes, pencils, notebooks, scissors, and god only knows what all.  I do more than my share of leaving things trailing behind, so I can't complain too much.  The fact that our house is relatively small doesn't help matters.  There simply isn't space for all the stuff we use, and so clutter becomes almost a necessity.  Even the daily paper can create a mess in no time.  Do people with big houses have messes? or more stuff?  I always wonder about that.

I've got a couple craft projects going right now, and I can't get myself motivated to finish them.  I've got a rug in progress on my loom and 10 crocheted comfort crosses to stuff and sew together.  Drat.  This gorgeous weather has me procrastinating.  I'm stuck and can't get unstuck.  I'm the best excuse-maker on the globe when it comes to goofing around instead of working.  I've got this carefully-orchestrated attitude that I've worked my beloved caboose off all my life, and now it's time for me to do jack nothing. 

Looks to be another pretty day.  We have the front door open, and leaves are chasing each other down the street.  A slight breeze must be giving them the energy to scoot around on their own.  Some trees are looking pretty naked without their colorful clothes on.  It's amazing how those small branches will survive winter's snow and ice and then in the springtime they'll be all set and ready to push forth brand-spankin' new buds. 

I'm getting antsy to start planning for the December holidays.  With young families all working two and three jobs, it's very hard to set a date to gather the family together.  What works for one, won't work for another.  Plus, last-minute required overtime can throw a wrench in well-intentioned plans as well.  Makes one wonder if the holidays will someday disappear altogether simply because there won't be time for them.

Family Picnics
Rain or Shine!
The two of us visit alot of times about the days when my husband's family would gather for the yearly family reunion.  Aunts and uncles and cousins would congregate at a local park, and the aunts would set out their signature dishes.  One aunt always brought the most spectacular homemade baked beans, made from scratch.  There'd be roasters of fried chicken, bowls of homemade potato salad, pies and cakes, creamy cucumber and onion salads, and ham sandwiches, homemade pickles, thermoses of lemonade made from real lemons, and just everything that a picnic oughta have.  All we can do today, tho, is reminisce about them, because the aunts and uncles are all gone, and the cousins are too busy for family picnics.  We are mighty grateful to have lived at a time when families reunited for the sake of simply spending time together.  We remember those dear aunts for their delicious culinary contributions and the simple joy and pride they took in bringing them to the picnic table.  They were ever so happy to see second and third helpings taken and would coax us all to do so because there was more than plenty.  None of them were rich so far as money was concerned, but they were extremely wealthy when it came to preserving the unity of their families.  My husband's family bettered my life with those strong kindred ties, and those memories will always mean a whole lot to me. They were gentle, down-home, old-fashioned Sunday feasts for the tummy and for the ticker.

Today's Trivia:  The words racecar and kayak are the same whether they are read left to right or right to left.

Friday, October 15, 2010

It's All About the Simple Stuff

Every one of our autumn day trips has been poetry in motion, as we observe nature dressed in its Sunday best no matter what day of the week it is.  When we go for a drive, we don't merely get in our vehicle and buzz down the road waiting for time to pass.  Heck no, we both search for things that are calling out "shoot me, shoot me" ......with a camera, that is!  For instance, this tree with the red vine.  Isn't it gorgeous?  I guess I'm intrigued with vines to begin with.  They add special character to anything they climb up on. 
This old barn was along a hidden driveway as we were venturing out on one of our art tours.  Its structure is worn and weathered, but still trying to stand as stately as the day it was built.  Many artists choose barns as their subject matter, and I can understand why.  A barn tells a story by its frame, the boards that have had to let go of their grip, and by what remains housed inside them.  The darkness inside their open doors make a person wonder what treasures are still stored there and what they'd be worth. 

This next picture we took out of our vehicle, because we suddenly came upon four deer walking nonchalantly down the side of the road, proud as you please, minding their own business and not caring at all that they were being watched.  Can you see them on the right side of the picture in single file behind the yellow sign?

This October rose was nobly blossoming in a Wisconsin rest area, and I had to capture its presence as best a digital can do.  I guess I'm a sucker for flowers, whether they're growing wild or are part of a manicured garden.  Flowers have to be the most marvelous of the artwork that our Creator made for us, with their velvety petals, intriguing colors, and divine fragrance.  They speak to the heart, to the soul, and to that secret place within us that needs to be nurtured when we're sad or unhappy.  As I've said before, we should never grow too old to pick a bouquet of dandelions and put them in a crystal vase.  To me, it seems so silly to propagate the daisy and poison the dandelion that tries so desperately to bring golden sunshine to our lawns in the spring.  Oh, I know I'm probably the only one who feels that way, but that's me nonetheless. 
Don't these white puffy clouds look like dollops of whipped cream?  Makes me want to reach up and grab a spoonful!  Yum....

We have so much fun with our mediocre digital camera.  Man alive, getting pictures developed used to be such a pain in the patooty.  First, we had to send them away, wait for them to be returned, and then half of the pictures didn't turn out or else we had about six pictures of the same thing.  These new cameras are the most wonderful inventions, especially for the average joe who simply wants to fiddle around with picture-taking just for the fun of we do.

Today's Trivia:  The Jolly Roger is the name given to the skull and crossbones flag that identifies a ship's crew as pirates.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pennies Make Dollars

A few minutes ago the man of our house returned from his morning walk and picking up our mail at the town post office.  He accidentally dropped an envelope, and a neighbor was kind enough to pick up the envelope and follow him home with it.  Now, that's what I call a small-town courtesy.

One Coin at a Time
There were no bills in the stack of mail, and goody gumdrops for that.  The other day I was paying our bills online, and I noticed that our cable bill was 1 penny more than usual.  Hmmmm.  What is that all about?  Naturally, a person simply pays the bill and doesn't question the quirk, but if they charge 1 penny to 10,000 of their customers, well, they've just brought in a free and clear extra $100 smackers and have to be laughing like hyenas at how simple it is to screw the penny at a time.  

Our household usually buys a certain kind of bread...Brownberry Oatnut, whole grain bread.  It's darned good tasting and good for us.  Walmart sells it for two loaves for $5, and the usual price at a local grocery store is 3.99 a loaf.  Same identical bread, across town, $1.49 more.  People with lots of money most likely wouldn't mind coughing up $1.49 more, but that's not how it's done at our house.  I learned when I was a little girl how to watch out for price gouging. 

When my mother was able to shop for her own groceries, she would get her cart to the check-out lane and be able to figure in her head within pennies of what the total should be.  That's how sharp she was at calculating what she picked up and what each item cost.  Sometimes the checker's amount would be higher than she thought it oughta be, and without fail there was a mistake made by the store.  Nobody got the best of her, and I was proud of how she watched out for herself.

It helps, too, that my hubby worked in grocery retail all his life.  He is naturally geared to watching for good sales.  And, if we bring home something like a watermelon and it's barely edible, you can be assured the store will get a call and we'll get another one at no charge.  He had to satisfy many of his customers that way over the years, and it helps that he knows the twists and turns of the innards of merchandising.

Also in the mail these days are election campaign brochures, leaflets, and letters.  Honest to god, I know that there are those who want to give us a voice, but what good is a voice if no one is listening?  All wanna-be politicians are fervent in their attempts, I'm sure, but the older I get, the more I understand what my dad always said.....they're all crooks.  He also used to say that the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.

Each household has to fend for themselves, best they can, and live within their means.  That's the secret to it all. We've never tried to "keep up with the Joneses," and it's paid off.  Alot of money is spent on silly things, and the choice belongs to each of us on how we spend our money.  One thing I do know is that both my parents would raise themselves from their graves if they ever saw me spending money foolishly.  Our family had an 11th Commandment.  Maybe what we're lacking in our society today is more showing our kids that they must first "earn" money and then "manage" their money if they want to make it in this world.  Take away the "silver spoons" and see what happens!

Today's trivia:  How "buck" became slang for U.S. dollar?  The term originated from the Old West when buckskin was a common medium of exchange with Indians.  Later as currency replaced the barter system, people still referred to a dollar as a buck (short for buckskin).

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Chile Miners Are Being Rescued

Chile, South America
 We went  to bed later than usual last night....watching the miraculous rescue of the miners who have been trapped in a gold and copper mine in the Chilean Atacama Desert since August 5th.  Reporters are comparing the live coverage of this rescue to man landing on the moon.   

Technical experts from all over the world pooled their knowledge in order to put this rescue operation together, and its success just goes to show what we humans can accomplish IF and WHEN we work together.  The first thought that comes to my mind is this:  why the hell can't our two government parties work together to untangle America's financial knots instead of each party pulling with all their might in opposite directions like a childish tug of war...seeking their own personal power and wealth.  It's obvious that our politicians don't want to fix our problems, or they would.

As I understand, the Atacama Desert is perhaps the driest place on Earth, and the soil there has been compared to that of planet Mars.  It is an opportune place for two major European Observatories, one of which includes the Very Large Telescope, which is so highly sophisticated that it would be able to distinguish the gap between the headlights of a car located on the Moon. 

As of right now, 15 of the miners have been brought out of the mine, leaving 18 yet to be rescued.  One of the trapped miners kept a journal during their days underground, and I can only  imagine that his words will become a huge best seller if he chooses to share them with the world.  Such a book would be one-of-a-kind, that's for sure.

For now, I hope and pray that every man gets brought to the surface safely, and that their families can be left to privately face the psychological challenges and demons that will haunt them for the rest of their lives.  These men have lived through hell on earth.  It's pretty hard for an average person to comprehend what all has been involved in making this rescue possible.   What we see on our television screen is like looking at a drop of sea water and thinking we're looking at the Atlantic. 

Each of us needs our own personal strength and courage to get through today.  Seems there's always a kink in the hose somewhere.  But, watching this Chilean rescue tells me that we should never doubt ourselves, no matter what.  Patience does attain all it strives for, and I really believe that.

Today's Trivia:  In 1894, there were only 4 automobiles in the U.S.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Driving Myself Nuts
Sometimes it's fun to think about crazy things.  The "what ifs" and the "whys."  Nutty thoughts nudge us to ponder, and pondering is a good thing.....I think.  Everyday life flings things at us to worry and stew about, so ponderings give us a whole different path for entertaining thought.  Let me give some examples......
  • If parents say, "Never take candy from strangers," then why do we celebrate Halloween with trick or treating?
  • Did Noah have woodpeckers on the ark?  If he did, where did he keep them?
  • Why do they call it the Department of the Interior when they are in charge of everything outdoors?
  • Why does a round pizza come in a square box?
  • When a pregnant lady has twins, is there 1 or 2 umbilical cords?
  • What do people in China call their good plates?
  • If someone owns a piece of land, do they own it all the way to the center of the earth?
  • Were Mary and Joseph's surname Christ before Jesus was born?
  • If you had a 3-story house and were on the second floor, isn't it possible that you can be upstairs and downstairs at the same time?
  • Why do they call it "getting your dog fixed" if afterwards it doesn't work anymore?
  • Why are women and men's shoe sizes different?
  • How important does a person have to be before they are considered assassinated instead of just murdered?
  • What is another word for "thesaurus?"
  • Why is there a disclaimer on the Allstate Auto Insurance commercials that says "Not available in all states?"
  • Why does caregiver and caretaker mean the same thing?
  • Why is there an expiration date on sour cream?
  • Why doesn't McDonald's sell hot dogs?
  • Why do you put two cents worth in when you only get a penny for your thoughts?
  • You know the signs on restaurant doors?  No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service?  Well, what if someone goes in with No Pants?  Would the restaurant still have to serve them?
  • Why do sleeping pills have warning labels that state:  Caution:  May Cause Drowsiness?
  • Why is it when you're sleeping it's called drool, but when you're awake it's called spit?
  • Why is it called "after dark" when it's really after light?
  • Why is it called a "building" when it is already built?
  • Why do "tug" boats "push" the barges?
  • How does Santa get into a house that doesn't have a chimney?
  • Is Disney World the only people trap operated by a mouse?
  • How come thaw and unthaw mean the same thing?
  • Why do we leave expensive cars in the driveway, when we keep worthless junk in the garage?
  • Is the opposite of "out of whack"..."in whack?"
I'm gonna stop.  My head is spinning.  So many things just don't make any sense, do they?  Like I said, there's whole lot of stuff to think about besides the daily carpola that can overshadow our days and sometimes eat us alive.
Today's Trivia:  What's the difference between a wise man and a wise guy?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Drums and Hearts Pounding in South Dakota Today!

Disagreement surrounds Columbus Day, just like disagreement surrounds everything else these days.  The Native Americans have a good point when they take their could Columbus "discover" America when the Native Americans were already living here.  Kudos to South Dakota for celebrating "Native American Day" today instead of Columbus Day. 

Crazy Horse Mountain
There's no place I'd rather be today than at the Crazy Horse Memorial as the South Dakota Symphony Maestro Delta David Gier conducts a 35-member Chamber Orchestra and the Porcupine Singers, led by Melvin Young Bear of the Pine Ridge Reservation.  Traditional Lakota drums will beat along with other Euro-classical orchestral instruments.  Now, how positively rich and inspiring would that have to be! 

The statuesque mountain carving, the prayerful sacredness of the music echoing through the hills, and the Native American energies will have to reach up to the very heights of heaven and stir the Great Spirit into a pow-wow of his own. 

Each year the day includes educational programs for the public, Native American singers, dancers, artists and storytellers, hands-on activities for children, a "blast" on the mountain carving (weather permitting), and a free buffalo stew lunch for all visitors.  Man alive, would I love to be there!

Today's Trivia:  For the Native American, song is traditionally the chief means of communicating with the supernatural powers, such as for the bringing of rain, success in battle, or curing of the sick.  Singing is nearly always accompanied at least by drums.  Various types of drums and rattles are the chief percussion instruments.  Wind instruments are mainly flutes and whistles. 

Sunday, October 10, 2010


This won't happen again for 100 years...the date 10-10-10, that is. 

The number 10 is all around us, every day, in lots of different ways and places.  Just for the heck of it, I've put together a list of some of the things that come to mind signifying the number 10...
  • The "top 10" lists.
  • The Ten Commandments that contain all that is necessary and no more than is necessary.
  • If we look super good, we're a 10.
  • A telephone number, including the area code has 10 digits.
  • The Lord's Prayer is written in 10 stanzas.
  • 10% tithing represents what is due from man to God.
  • Bowling consists of 10 pins and 10 frames
  • Our counting system is based on 10 because we have 10 fingers.
  • 10% off sales.
  • In baseball, there are always at least 10 players on the field at a time (including the batter).
  • Counting from 1 to 10 before speaking is often done to cool one's temper.
  • Basketball hoops are 10 feet high.
  • A football team needs 10 yards for a first down.
  • In blackjack, 10 is the most common card value.
  • Next time you see an ad for watches, check the position of the hands.  They are usually set to 10 after 10.  This is a marketing ploy to display the watch's logo better and to create a smiley face with the hands.
  • The U.S. Dept. of Transportation recommends the dashed lines on highways be painted 10 feet long.
  • It takes 10 'lunar' months to bring a baby from conception into the world.
  • The numbers 10-10-10 on a bag of fertilizer stand for the percentages of nitrogen, phosphate, and potash.
  • The Texan 10-gallon hat. 
  • The dime that consists of 10 cents, 1/10th of a dollar. 
  • 10 years make a decade.
  •  10 decades make a century....the amount of time before there will be another 10-10-10!
Today's Trivia:  Capers are flower buds.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Don't Scare Me!

What's all this hoopla about a UFO flying over China?  And them having to shut down an airport because of it?  Are those things for real, or are we once again being duped by the media and camera clowns?  How's a person to know. 

It's quite possible for me to really scare myself if I dwell on the subject of alien life and alien visitors.  Some people claim to have been abducted and held hostage by them.  I remember going to the movie "ET" and couldn't stand the sight of that little guy.  I'd have preferred him to be cute and fuzzy. 

Perhaps we earthlings are too arrogant in thinking that we're the only ones clinging to a planet.  Maybe there will come a day when planet people will be able to visit one another, much like we visit Europe and the Eastern countries.  At the rate technology is traveling at present, nothing would surprise me.  I only hope that none of that happens while my heart is beating.  I'd rather only rub shoulders with creatures like myself. 

Crop Circle
There are a whole lot of things that have scientists scratching their heads, like the crop circles in England.  Are they for real, or are they hoaxes?  Or, are these outsiders saying hello to us.  What I do know, is that the crop circle designs are quite impressive, and if aliens are able to leave them behind in one swoop.....well, maybe they're smarter than we are. 

Some of my friends believe, have seen, and continue to see ghosts in their homes.  Their stories I don't challenge, but I myself do not ever want to see one.  That would for sure put me over the edge, and I know that fright would get the best of me and my funeral services would be held shortly thereafter.  The part of seeing ghosts that I don't understand is that they're wearing clothes.  Aren't clothes material things?  Why would ghosts need to wear clothes?  Where do they get their clothes, or do they wear the ones they died in?

The best thing for me to do is avoid these kinds of thoughts and ponderings and go about my simple business.  There's enough to drive me nuts in this world without adding something as silly as extra-terrestrials to the list.  For those that believe and have apparitions, that's wonderful and fine.  Just, please don't disturb my delicate senses.

How many of us kids from the 1950s were warned about the Boogy-Man.  Migod, maybe that's where my fears all started.  I know that I have always been afraid to go down in the basement because of the Boogy Man who lives down there.  Still am.  It's okay during the daytime, but I won't walk down to the basement  after dark without someone being with me.  Now, how silly is that!

Friday, October 08, 2010

Let's Go Somewhere.....Anywhere!

We're sitting here trying to decide what we should do with this gorgeous autumn day.  I'm wholeheartedly opposed to anything resembling work.   

This time of year we are inundated with fall festivals, church dinners, craft shows, leaf-looking tours, kids going to the pumpkin patches, sipping hot apple cider, roadside squash and gourd vendors, and baking pumpkin pies, pumpkin bars, and pumpkin cookies.  Scarecrows and witches and orange wreaths are everywhere, but my all-time favorite decoration is the witch that hits the light pole!

I'm thinking maybe the entire weekend should be spent on the road.  These nice weekends are numbered, and it's my philosophy to "make hay when the sun shines!"  Yesterday my hubby went fishing with a good friend.  He called me about 5 o'clock in the afternoon to see if I wanted fish for supper.  He wanted me to know (once again) that he would be more than willing to stop at McDonald's for fish sandwiches!!!!!  Maybe they didn't bring home their limits, but their day was filled with healthy hikes along the river, scouting out streams in hopes of finding the fishing hole where the lunkers lurk, and just having a good old-fashioned guy day.  Same-gender outings are priceless, good for the human soul and spirit.

Say, did you hear about the couple who goes into an art gallery?  They find a picture of a naked woman with only her privates covered with leaves.  The wife doesn't like it and moves on, but the husband keeps looking. 

The wife asks:  "What are you waiting for?"

The husband replies:  "Autumn."

Today's Comment:  I got tired of looking at all those leaves in my yard, so I got up off the couch and went into action.  I closed the curtains.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Curly Locks

At 10:30 this morning I have an appointment to get my hair permed.  For me, this is not an easy thing to do.  Tucked in the back of my head are vivid memories of some pretty scary things that happened to me over the years while getting my hairstyle changed.

The first such occasion was when I was about 8 years old and had thick, long hair.  Mom sat me up on the kitchen table so she could trim it, and because it was so thick and snarly, she would also use the thinning shears.  She reached down for the thinning shears and accidentally picked up the regular scissors and hacked off a big chunk of my hair right next to my scalp right in the back of my head.  Not only did she drop the shears and start sobbing and screaming, but that was the last time I had really long hair.

So, then my hair was short, and Mom decided she wanted me to look like a little Curly Locks.  She enjoyed fiddling with my hair, and so she would give me home perms, and at that young age there was nothing I could do about it.  In the 1950s, Lilt and Toni were the home perms of choice because they were cheap and easy to give.  I remember the one time Mom got the curling rods tightly in place, squeezed all the appropriate ammonias and other gag-inducing liquids to my hair, then wrapped my head in a dish towel and let my hair dry and curl overnight.  When my head was unveiled the next morning, I thought for sure they'd have to change the ethnic origin on my birth certificate.  But, that wasn't the half of pictures were taken that day!

As I grew older, I took control of my head and went through the phases of sleeping with huge pink curlers, slathering on pink Dippety Do, ratting and teasing, highlighting and more perming, short pixies, French Twists, and shag styles.  One perm, given to me at a salon, fried my hair into a crispy frizz that required the purchase of a wig.  Another time during a highlighting session, a beautician  screwed up somehow, and my hair turned canary yellow.  Yes, canary yellow.  My appointment lasted 5 hours, and the gal called every beautician in town frantically pleading for advice, until finally she got my hair to a color that halfway matched my complexion.  My Mother nearly collapsed on that one.

So it is with apprehension that I go into my day.  I shall request a perm that will hopefully give my hair only a bit of bounce and volume.  But, time has taught me to expect curls....probably more than I want. 

Wasn't Our Creator ever so clever when he designed us humans?  Why he decided to gradually let hairs fall from the head of a man and land on the face of a woman is puzzling, but I guess that's what he wanted cuz that's the way it is.  Actually, there are an amazing number of annoying facets to being human and to this business of those unwanted 'things' that after age 50 start to sprout and take on a life of their own.  Guess all we can do is tend to ourselves as best we can, and the older we get....well, the less we really care.  Maybe that's what our Creator was seeking.....our letting go of our silly vanities.

Today's Trivia:  The saying, Mind your P's and Q's, comes from the time when alcoholic beverages were served/sold in Pints and Quarts.  Thus, to mind your P's and Q's meant to be careful how much you drank.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Our State Park Saunters

State Parks are the storehouses of our heritage....natural, historical, and cultural.  They protect some of America's most beautiful sites, and we all know that once these areas are lost, they will be gone from us forever.

Gull Point State Park Entrance
On our week get-away, we visited the beautiful Gull Point State Park by Lake Okoboji.  The entrance itself was rustic, yet regal.  It was in this park that we ate a picnic lunch of deli fried chicken.  A man and wife were out hiking and stopped by our picnic table to chat.  He insisted on walking back to their car to get an area map for us so we wouldn't miss the hot spots around Spirit Lake and Okoboji.


Orange "Tree Pies"

In Gull Point, we saw wild turkeys, deer tucked in the woods, squirrels chasing each other from oak tree to oak tree, and sap suckers busily sucking sap from trees.  Orange "tree pie" mushrooms growing on a tree caught my eye, so, of course, we had to ram the car in reverse to click a flick.  

Me and the Fuzzy One

Emerson Bay State Park and Marble Beach Rec Area are also beautiful places to camp beside the north end of Spirit Lake.  On Highway 27, a short way up from Marble Beach, we came upon a large U-shaped fishing pier, and just as we were driving by, a guy reeled in a 23" walleye, and he was able to keep it cuz it was over 22" long.  In that particular water, they have a walleye program that you can keep walleyes under 17".  There is a slot of between 17" to 22"  that the walleye have to immediately be returned to the water unharmed for reproduction purposes.  You are allowed to keep one over 22" per day.  This place is so cool, because the lake is divided by the Iowa-Minnesota state line.

We planned on eating fresh fried fish at our little cabin during our vacation, but, because of all those fishing rules, we had to settle for fish sandwiches at Burger King!  Oh, well, they were good, too, and far less work. 

Close-to-home vacations can really be a whole lot of adventure.   We never know what we'll bump into around the next corner.  Just like the evening we were driving down a gravel road in Jackson County, Minnesota, and came upon this sign in the secluded Belmont Park.

Today's Trivia is a useful site for locating our state parks!