Saturday, July 31, 2010

Social Drama in NY

Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh.....don't say anything.............but, there's a political royalty wedding going on today!  We have to be hush-hush, tho.

I can't believe I get sucked into stuff like wanting to know what's going on with the rich and shameless.  There's got to be some flaw in me somewhere that 'wants to know.'  First thing this morning I googled Chelsea Clinton's Wedding, and lo and behold, I think somebody's letting the cat out of the bag, or else it's a bunch of horse pucky.

Chelsea's dress is estimated to have cost $20,000.  Far less than mine in 1967 at a high end $125.00.  Flowers alone at $250,000.00.  For my wedding I chose gold chrysanthemums, the large ones, and I thought they were beautiful at a price of about $50.00.  The Clinton-Mezvinsky total wedding cost is guessed to be between 3 and 5 million (an inconsequential gap).
 
When we got married, I was Catholic and my guy of choice was Lutheran.  Things worked out religiously.  But, imagine this bash.  Hillary is Methodist, Bill is Southern Baptist, and the Mezvinskys are Jewish.  Now, isn't that a kettle of fish waiting to be boiled? 

The groom is a Private Wealth Management Associate, the son of two former congress members, his father pled guilty to 31 of 69 charges of bank fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud, and completed a federal prison term in 2008. The bride is the daughter of a former U.S. President (with a charming White House code of conduct) and the current U.S. Secretary of State and presidential runner-up. 

Chelsea is a vegan.  Supposedly, the wedding menu consists of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free dishes, but there will be grass-fed organic beef on the menu.  Oh, and the wedding cake will be gluten-free vegan.  My poor parents killed one of their cows in order to serve swiss steak for my wedding, and my Mom did all the baking in one oven.  It's nice nowdays that children have the right and the guts to choose lifestyles like vegetarian or vegan.  My parents would have tarred and feathered me in public if I'd have done that.  We all ate what our farm produced, and my nutrition classes in high school stressed the fact that we need foods from all the food groups if we wanted to be healthy and disease resistant.  And, up until a few years ago, none of us knew what gluten even was.  And, I'm not sure I know now.

Our wedding was held at a church hall a/k/a/ gymnasium.  Chelsea's is going to be held at the Estate of John Jacob Astor IV in Rhinebeck, NY.  The estate is now owned by someone else, who, by the way, was a contributor to Hillary's presidential and senate bids.  (I scratch your back, you scratch mine.)
 
The Clintons must be heartbroken to know that their 'one and only' will have to endure life in a 5th Avenue New York Apartment that the groom bought for a measly $4 million buckos a few years ago.

Perhaps the pulse of my reaction to this affair is obvious from my blog.  But, hey, there's a recession going on.  A double-dipper recession.  Good families are struggling.  Cutting back on things like groceries.  Medical care for their kids.  Husbands and wives are getting pink slips.  No work.  No money.  They don't need to have this lavish wealth pushed into their faces under the guise of hush-hush.  Wouldn't you think that with the Clintons' combined educations, they should know that the more you hush-hush something, the more attention it gets? 

The Clintons are even bringing in toilet facilities for their special wedding guests to the tune of $15,000.00, which really surprises me.  Do people in that caliber really and truly need toilet facilities?  Well, anyway, they're not like the porta potties we ordinary people use at social gatherings, these are supposedly high-classed and will be adorned with elaborate flower arrangements.  (Ooooh, those lucky flowers!)

So it is that a marriage will take place uniting a young girl and young man.  Tomorrow they will be able to relax and go hide somewhere and do what all newlyweds do.  Mama and Papa Clinton will write out checks, the floods of traffic in Rhinebeck will disappear, and life will recede to normalcy.  The next big event for us to watch for is the breaking up of the famous couple.  The Clintons getting their daughter back.  Or, there will be a little bundle of Jewish joy for all of us to oooh and aaah at.  Either way, tomorrow on the television you'll see Bill begging us poor Americans for money to send to Haiti.   

Please forgive me for what I'm going to say next.  It's not meant to offend, but it is what it is.  When we got married, it was customary for wedding guests to wear a silk ribbon with the bride and groom's name and wedding date printed on it, with a cigar tucked inside the ribbon.  Do you suppose Bill is going to do that?

Venting is a good alternative to going to confession!  That's the Catholic in me. 

Friday, July 30, 2010

A Clean Tooth Is a Happy Tooth

On my last visit to the dentist, I was introduced to one of the handiest little doo-dads that I've come across in a long time.  The hygienist who cleaned my teeth gave me a couple packets of "free" plastic bristled toothpicks to try out.  They are awesome, and it was easy as pie to start using them.  Of course, the free ones didn't last long, so I went to Walmart and bought a package of 250 DenTek Deep Clean Picks for $2.50.  They remove plaque, food and reduce tooth decay with fluoride coating.  They come in a resealable package, so they're purse friendly.

One of the things I dread most about getting my teeth cleaned is the one inevitable question.  Do you floss?  When I'm asked that, I simply say no and be done with it, but what I'd really like to say is, 'are you frickin' blind?'  They use that question as a weapon of dental intimidation.  They can't ask us to take our clothes off, so they have to have something to antagonize us with.

Flossing is a nuisance plain and simple.  Hygienists give us on-the-house samples of floss with every visit thinking that we're going to actually use it.  Do you prefer waxed or unwaxed?  bubble gum or mint flavor? 

Then there's the problem of what to do with 15 inches of bacteria-infested floss when we're finished using it.  If there isn't a waste basket around, are we supposed to put it in our purse?  throw it on the ground?  leave it for someone else to pick up?  hand it to the person next to us?

So it is that I'm spouting my hurrahs for bristled picks, which now serve as my tooth cleaning doo-dads of choice.  But, I'm still left with the problem of what to do with the twisted little pick once I'm finished with it.

If there's someone out there who's searching for an invention idea, here's one.....how 'bout a 'pick pocket' to put our used picks in???

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Adventures....One After Another

Was looking through pictures we had taken with our digital camera and came across this one.  How'd they do that?  Or, could it be that a tree simply decided to sprout beneath the car.  Hmmmm.

We don't just absent-mindedly go for drives.  We are explorers and always on the lookout for unusual things--things that a person sees and says, "Hey, did you see that?"  Poor hubby, he's got to be on constant alert cuz he never knows when he's gonna have to put on the brakes and make a U-turn.  Have to admit there have been times I've gotten some mighty quizzical looks from him.  More than likely he'd say that he puts up with a lot having to deal with me!

This is the time of year we both get obviously itchy and antsy to head to the north woods.  We've been researching pet-friendly resorts, but, man alive, they're costly these days.  Makes a person think twice if it's really worth it.  But, it's so much fun to take Misty Harbor, our little boat, out on a small lake, catch some nice blue gill and crappie and go back to a cabin, pour a vodka-tonic-lime, and wait for the fish to fry!   

When I was a kid, cleaning fish was part of life like going to church.  Our family went fishing alot, and I was the family fish scaler.  Daddy didn't want me touching the bullheads or catfish cuz he didn't want me to get stung by their 'long whiskers.'  Now days, tho, I like my fish filleted with no bones, no skin.  When we were kids, we ate the fins, the tail, the whole shmeer.  But, now, I'm a whole lot fussier.

As those who know us could say, the hubby is a master with the knife, and he can fillet a catch in no time flat.  He sharpens knives for people, and has his own stash of daggers that he intentionally protects me from using.  Never once since we were married has he asked me to clean a fish.  He gallantly tends to that sort of stuff, and I'm pretty sure that I've successfully turned into a wiener, and my parents would consider me wimped.

Yup, I think we're going to once again be lured to where the tall pine trees grow, the loons cry out, and the sunsets can make a grown man cry.  Where else would we want to go for our fall adventure!













Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Green Valleys of Silliness

Stormy, stormy night.  Our electricity went out for a couple of hours.  Without the fan and central air, our upstairs quickly converts from bedroom to oven.  Had to be real careful coming down the steps without light.  A good way to break one's neck when half asleep. 

When our luxuries are taken away even for a short while, it's a good reminder of how good we have it.  Migod, the first thing that went through my mind at 4 o'clock in the morning was--no electricity--no coffee!!!!!!!  I thought, okay, we can cook it on the stove like gramma used to do.  But, da-a-h, then I realized we have an electric stove.  The only other ways would be to light our gas grill or start a bonfire on the wet grass out back and get the camping supplies out.  Am pleased to say, tho, that our stint without juice didn't last too long, and by 5:30 we were back on track.  Coast is clear, and coffee is served.

I gotta share a true story.  The electricity had been out in our village overnight and was still out on the Sunday morning of this incident.  I got myself dressed, headed for church, which naturally had no lights, no organ music, and no microphone system.  Father didn't feel a need to cut mass shorter than his usual one hour, but we attendees somehow all managed to keep from snoring or toppling over like pews of dominoes.

After mass, this one little boy was standing by his mother giggling out loud.  I asked him what was so funny.  He looked up at me and said, "Man, I couldn't wait to get here this morning to see what the women would look like with no blow combs and curling irons in town!"  You know, after I got home and thought about that a little more, it kinda bothered me that he was giggling that much when he was looking up at me.  Little snotty-nosed brat.

We keep a candle stash and flashlights scattered around the house for times when the the power goes out.  Battery candles are handy things to have around the house, too, and they're actually pretty cool and look like the real mccoy.  Gotta admit that there have been times that I can find the candles but not a match or lighter.  Doesn't take long for a frenzy to fester.....and a frenzy in darkness is a whole lot worse than a frenzy in light. 

So goes the drama of our days.  Without temporary shut downs and small snags that deprive us of our comforts and without the laughter they cause, life would get mighty stagnant.  It takes silliness to keeps the waters stirred and makes for the best laughter and joke-telling later on.  When we get together with our friends, we assuredly will bring out the memories of something really silly from the past.  Just like the time someone peed in her pants in a motor boat back of our house during high waters!!!!  But, hey, I wouldn't think of mentioning her name because I feel it my responsibility to protect the innocent.  (giggle)

Ta-ta and hope your day is filled with sun beams and sprinkles of silly!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Good, The Bad, and The Funny

Hasn't the full moon been spectacular the last couple of nights?  Last evening my hubby and I commented on its brilliance as we watched that yellow-orange ball appear in the eastern sky.  The Earth's natural rhythms, such as the full moon, give me the warm fuzzies.  It's good to know that our Universe is still in perfect tune.

We're in for more hot-hot-hot weather next few days.  Following very heavy rainfalls, some places up to 12 inches, there are areas of our state where dams have let go, dikes have broken through, and towns and resort areas flooded and some places destroyed.  So many disastrous happenings on the news every day and so many people suffering as a result.  With our powerful media, all catastrophes are brought into our homes for endless on-the-scene coverage.  I remember when that tsunami hit Indonesia a few years ago.  I'm still haunted by the thought of that wall of water coming toward the city and people screaming as they tried to escape its enormous force.   

Every day that passes without something harmful happening to a person is a day to hit the knees.  One can't help but feel the sorrows of those suffering souls who are left homeless or lose their families by these godawful tragedies.  Guess all one can do is tuck them in our night prayers and let the higher powers guard and guide.

Today I'm gonna tackle the stack of envelopes that mysteriously appear on the kitchen cupboard in the matter of a week or two.  Where does all this stuff come from?  We get enough junk mail in one year to save an entire forest.  Is anybody else besides me driven bonkers with the magazine advertising inserts?  When we get a magazine, the first thing I do is go through it and rip out those inserts.  You'd be amazed at how skinny the magazine gets with those ads removed.  And, have you noticed the price of magazines in the grocery store?  Holy shmuck!

Talk about paying bills.  Man, quite a few of them are creeping northward.  Insurance rates are going up, taxes, utilities.......one has to keep a careful eye on this, or the wallet will collapse.  Many times I lift my head skyward and thank my parents for teaching me how to manage my money.  When I notice one bill go up, well, we cut back somewhere else to stay even. 

Other than that, we're gonna take it easy today.  Have to wrap a couple of things that I sold on ebay and get them to the post office.  Small tasks will whittle away my hours.  After our noon fiesta, we like to take a little siesta.  Gotta get ourselves primed for happy hour, you know.     

Oh, by the way, I read that today is National Take Your Pants For a Walk Day!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Gathering of the Goons

There are a couple of things that I don't allow myself to get involved in, one of which is our nation's politics.  When the topic enters a conversation, I will purposely busy my mind with other thoughts, like why fish don't fly.  The political arena is not for me, because the very thought of politicians and their selfish antics ruffles my feathers and makes my heart pound.  And, if we get one more call from a political hopeful right at supper time, well, I'm not sure what will happen.  So, with that in mind, lest we forget to ponder:

"If pro is opposite of con, then what is the opposite of progress?"

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Gardens of Eatin'

It won't be long before the tomatoes will be bursting with ripeness, and gardeners will be washing up canning jars for preserving salsa, homemade ketchup, and all kinds of tomato  medleys for chili.  Tomato time is truly the big gardening event of the summer, isn't it?

I can still see my mother standing by the stove stirring a kettle of bubbling tomatoes.  She used to make homemade ketchup for us.  Her recipe wasn't too sweet, not too vinegary, but just right.  After we took that first taste, we knew she once again nailed it right on.  She'd fry hamburgers in the iron skillet, slice thick slices of raw onion, and then we'd smear spoonsful of her ketchup on the fried burger, and it would drip down outside the bun onto our fingers and hands.  It was messy, but mom's main concern was our enjoyment, not fancy table manners.

Why is it that we never lose the memories of our mother's cooking?  My mother left behind many of her best recipes, and I've categorized them and put them all together in a folding file.  Before that, they were all in a rubber maid container, and if I wanted to find one, I had to dig through the whole stack.  She hand-wrote her recipes and her ingredients would list things like a "handful" of this and a "pinch" of that.  Well, that's good and well, but her hands were bigger than mine!

We love chili at our house, anytime of the year.  My mom's chili was thin with quite a bit of tomato juice, while our other mother made hers thicker with less tomato juice.  Back in 1967 when we joined forces, chili was a culinary clash for both of us, but over the years I passed on the golden spoon to my husband, and now if you're invited to our house for chili, it'll be on the thick side!  And, you'll also probably hear me bragging about it!

Aren't there about a gazillion varieties of homemade chili?  I like to put different toppings on mine, like fritos, raw green onions, black olives, sour cream, and cheese.  And, my chili has to be piping hot, temperature-wise.  For some crazy reason, I've always been able to eat extremely hot foods without burning the inside of my mouth.  When I order a bowl of chili in a restaurant, I always ask them to please nuke it for me so it's steaming!

Just imagine what it was like back in the days when women did their canning in 'summer kitchens.'  There are still some of those little backyard buildings around, but most of them are now used for storage sheds or have been torn down to make room for triple garages, four-wheelers, garden tractors, swing sets and other modern backyard paraphernalia.

Well, I think it's about time I go join the other two out on the patio and tackle the Sunday crossword.  Our friends gave us a loaf of zucchini bread last evening, and I think we'll each have a slice of that garden goody!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Shelter From all Storms

When we go on our day trips, one of the things we're most likely to do in an area is drive through neighborhoods looking at homes, new and old.  If I would have had my brain turned on yesterday, I'd have taken a photo of the stately old home that had two heart-shaped windows.  Talk about cool!

This got me thinking about homes in general.  My preferred style of home is an older one with individual charm and a few flaws.  Our home was built in 1945, is a story and a half, and is all we need to be a family.  It's the house we started out with as a couple, and it will remain so until we move on to perhaps a smaller place that won't require yard work and maintenance.  Something geared more toward geezers!

We Americans are spoiled in that many of us live in the lap of luxury, with amenities that surpass those our parents could not even have imagined.  Every generation gets used to a better standard, and so that standard has kept rising to where now that level of living can quite easily and quickly erode the middle-class wallet. 

Depending where we live on the planet, the resources available to us, the weather and climate, and the location, we have to design our homes accordingly.  The igloo has got to be the most fascinating form of shelter, as are the jungle huts built up in trees.  The tepees used to be portable dwellings that the Indians would dismantle and take with them to another site, and just think what life must've been like for the cliff dwellers way back when.  While thinking about the different sorts of structures, I googled Homes Around The World, and there's a cool website that tells about the world's different and unique housing strategies. 

Overnight we again had a thunderstorm, so I'm told.  I'm a great one for sleeping through, and never hearing, loud claps of thunder.  That in itself amazes me--where do I go that I'm so soundly asleep?  It's like a person shuts off or something.  Probably if I needed to be awake to keep myself safe, then I'd wake up, but I've gotten pretty dependent on the boyfriend to take care of me.  But, there's another side to that story, and that is that our home is built very structurally sound.  If we close the doors and windows, we're pretty much hidden from the elements.  The walls in our house are made out of plaster, and it's very difficult to drive a nail in them without gouging a chunk out just to hang a picture.  We always say it's built like a little brick 'out' house.

Sure, our home is modest, on the small side, and there are those who would turn up their noses at it, but it is our little container that we've filled with memories of countless parties, holiday celebrations, patio picnics, friendly gatherings, our alone times, and I know with absolute certainty that the day is fast approaching when we will have to leave it.  It'll be a tear-jerker for both of us.  But, we'll simply have to buck up and look forward to a new little space that we can make into our final nest.  And, that's exacty what we plan to do.  And, we definitely will take along with us the wooden carving that now hangs on our fireplace.  My hubby carved it, and it quite simply reads, "A Place Where Water Tastes Like Wine."

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Tribute To a Family Pet

Thanks, Ali, for the question you posed in your comment to yesterday's blog regarding what to call a person who isn't either a morning person or a night owl.  In my reply I suggested perhaps "day dreamers," but that doesn't really nail it.  So, I'm throwing this one out there for suggestions from my readers.  What do you think people are called who aren't really morning people or night people?  Let's come up with a name for 'em.  Time to scratch our heads.......

Mr. Coffee is earning its keep in the kitchen.  I'm not exactly sure why the manufacturers of kitchen appliances, like the coffee maker, cannot come up with some way to make them quieter.  Toward the end of its perking cycle, it makes a sound like a kid that won't stop sucking through a straw when he gets to the bottom of a malt cup.

We received sad news last evening that our nephew's family lost their pet Siberian Husky, Z--, who has been part of our family for a good number of years.  My heart aches for them.  The pain of losing a pet is a pain like no other.  The only comfort I can pass on to this gentle little family is to reassure them that they provided Z with the very best life, care, and love that any pet on this earth could ever hope for.  And, that, my dear ones, was very obvious to all of us.  I'm sorry, so sorry, and, we, too, will miss those beautiful chrystal blue eyes.

Our 4-legged friends are just that.  Friends.  Buddies.  Pals.  They're always ready to stand by our side and go along with us wherever we go.  They don't care what we wear, they don't care if our hair is a mess, or about any of our other human silliness. 

Pets leave us with an emptiness that brings torrents of tears and waves of hurt way deep down inside us.  We miss their presence.  Their companionship.  We miss how they walk beside us, communicate with us, warn us of danger, get accustomed to the family routine, and are ever ready to defend and protect.  That is their joy.  That is their fulfillment.  Thank goodness that Our Creator installed in us some sort of mechanism that lets the accumulation of days, months, and years tenderly sew back together the rips inside our torn hearts.

I realize that it's very hard for a sad family to go out and find another pet when this happens, but, yet, after awhile that's the only way to keep that love going--by finding another little canine soul to be the lucky recipient of what I call pooch smooches.  And, heaven knows, this family has an abundance of them!

So, good-bye, Z--, we will all miss you. Your best Siberian friend, A--, must be be lost without you.  You knew it was time to go, as your beautiful life has been fulfilled. In the days ahead, may Our Creator watch over those you have left behind.

Love, Auntie T

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Morning Inspirations

Our front window is splattered with raindrops, and the clouds are floating as though something is chasing them.  Early morning thunder and lightning dropped 1-1/2" of rain and made for the perfect morning to roll over and sleep just a little bit longer.  One's pillow feels softer and the deepest slumber often comes right before it's time to get up.

One of the highlights of retirement is not having to set the alarm clock.  After over 40 years of having that annoying little gadget scream at us every morning at 5 o'clock, it is peace on earth to be able to sleep until we feel like getting up.  The result of those many years of being an early riser molded me into a morning person.  Once I have that first cup of strong coffee to clear out the cobwebs, I kick into gear and my brain functions at its best.  Don't they say we're either morning stars or night owls?

I'm thinking of the many things that we label with the first part of the day.  The morning paper, morning glory,  morning sickness, morning coffee, morning after, morning prayer, morning dew, morning edition, morning person, morning call, morning drive, on and on and on and on.  So much of our lives revolves around the early hours, and we forget just how neat it is to have a fresh start every 24 hours.  Reminds me of the Magic Slate we played with as kids.  We could write on it, and then lift the page up, and the writing would magically disappear and, voila, we'd have another "clean slate." 

I once read a poem about how the morning tip-toes around through the darkness looking for the dawn. Poets are gifted with the talent of phrasing their thoughts in such beautiful ways.  I love poetry, but I'm not particularly keen on the rhyming poetry.  I prefer free verse which, to me, is less disciplined.  I've played around writing my own poems over the years, and sometimes the words mysteriously enter my mind and seep their way down through my arms and fingers onto the keyboard without any effort on my part.  Kinda eerie, actually.  Then when I read it, I ask myself, "where'd that come from?"

So it is that morning is fleeting and our day unfolding.  Best scoot and get busy with something or other now that we've nibbled away a few slices of homemade zucchini bread and emptied a pot of coffee.  More than likely the day will pass in a quiet cadence which is as we like it.

Morning once again sings its sweet song!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Please Read Comment

This morning I received a most valuable comment to today's blog "A Smile Is Always In Style."  I encourage you to arrow down to the comment, and you will find a beautiful story about the Smile that my dear friend has shared.  It will bring tears to your eyes and warmth to your heart.  I thank J.T. for adding to the value of our day by sharing this.  Thank you so much!

A Smile Is Always In Style

The other day we ate our lunch at a local pizza restaurant.  One that offers a noon buffet, including broasted chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, and a plentiful salad bar, besides their pizzas.  My hubby, in his usual manner, held the door open for me, and the first thing I saw was a young man behind the counter welcoming us with the most beautiful smile.  His smile was pleasantly genuine, and his eyes danced along with the happy rhythm of that smile.  When he took our money and gave us our glasses, he asked if we'd care to order a special kind of pizza.  He said they'd make anything we'd like. 

This little old girl was reeling from his smile (wondering what I'd do with him if I was 18), and I blurted out, "would you please make me a taco pizza?"  Omigod, he was a dream boat and I was willing to sail away with him!  He fit perfectly in the proverbial "tall, dark and handsome" category.  We were seated with our salads when the owner brought two plates and the taco pizza to our table, asked how many pieces we'd like, served us, and then put the pizza on the buffet line.

You know, it's service like that one can't help but praise.  But, more than the service, what impressed me the most was the young man's smile.  I would be incredibly honored to have that young man for my son.  I surely hope his real mother realizes what a gold nugget she has in her life.  During the course of our meal, he checked on us a couple of times to see if we were doing okay and to remove empty plates. 

As we were getting ready to leave the restaurant, he thanked us for coming.  I just couldn't leave without saying something to him about his beautiful smile.  You know, my simple compliment made him so happy, that his eyes instantly got watery and he kindly thanked me.  I strongly feel that our young people need to know of our positive observations and approval.  It's tough being a kid these days, and when we see them doing a good job at whatever it is they're doing, it's a good thing to pass on a heartfelt comment.  A person just never knows how critical that bit of respect may be to them. 

Wouldn't it be just the neatest if, when he's an old man, he'd tell his grandchildren the story about the time he worked in a pizza joint and a lady told him he had a beautiful smile and how that one compliment changed his life?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Perspective Is Key

Don't know what's the matter with me today.  My brain isn't kicking into gear, and I'm not in the mood to do anything very exciting.  When this happens, I go into my "turtle mode."  That is, I retreat inside my shell and stay there.  Some would call it a state of depression, but I call it a state of expression.  If I don't feel like doing anything, hey, I'm not gonna.  Sort of like when we were kids, and we'd say, "You can't make me!"

Everyone needs to shut down once in awhile.  I have days where I don't feel like showering, so I don't.  There are days I simply putz with only the things I like to do, and I don't think that's being selfish.  It's more that old philosophy of "Be True to Thineself."  This business of dancing to someone else's drummer, simply makes no sense to me.  Especially in retirement.  This is our one and only chance to be ourselves, and we don't have to prove ourselves to anyone anymore.  We've been there, done that.  Amen.

To be honest, today it feels like my drive has driven away.  But, I'm very content.  Is that another of the life passages that I'm always talking about?  Surely contentment cannot be viewed as a bad thing.  We have to put our brakes on if we really want to see the genuine world we miss when we're accelerating through our days.  Take for instance yesterday.  We took another one of our lazy afternoon drives and meandered our way along the roadways marveling for miles at the Queen Anne's Lace that has highly populated the roadsides.  Of course, perspective has everything to do with one's idea of Queen Anne's Lace.  Is it a weed or a flower? 

Of course, I consider it a beautiful flower.  The underside of the lacy plant is the reason it's also known as "Bird's Nest."  It's absolutely worth one's while to take the time to closely examine the structure of this marvelous plant.  It's commonly known as Wild Carrot, too.  (Not to be confused with the yellowish Wild Parsnip that is becoming a real nasty roadside nuisance.)

Our Creator instilled so many little gifts in us that remain hidden until we reach our 60s.  Anyway, that's what I'm finding out.  I see myself using the "pause button" more often.  I stop and take a second look.   I feel my eyes working harder to capture and hold onto special moments so I can replay them again when I close my eyes at night.

Every day I thank My Creator for giving me my life.  Despite all the trials and tribulations, the losses and the tears, I've emerged vertically and am experiencing a contented acceptance that I couldn't have imagined even existed.  There has got to be a Divine Design that makes a gazillion things happen simultaneously for any one of our moments to occur.  The intricate system of Life on Earth is mind-boggling, and I don't know why I struggle to figure it out when I know it's humanly impossible. 

Come to think of it, this is truly the ideal day to kick back, put my feet up, and count my blessings.  And, let me add that if you are reading my blog---please know that you will be counted among them!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Autumn and Our Bean Pole

Here we go once again......starting a new week!  It seems to me that the week starts on Monday, but the calendar says the week starts on Sunday.  Hmmmm....   

We spent a quiet weekend.  Went for a drive with no special destination late yesterday afternoon, simply admiring the corn that is standing so stately with tassels pointing to the sky.  The oats harvest has gotten under way, and the fields are dotted with the big round bales of amber straw.

A couple days ago we bought a dozen ears of sweetcorn from a roadside vendor, and I questioned why she charged us only $3.  A person almost drools anticipating the season's first meal of sweetcorn, so it was with high hopes we sat down to the table with our bibs on.  All hopes were shattered with that first bite.  It was like, omigod, the most godawful stuff.  The ears were small and the corn was tough and tasteless. When it comes to buying sweetcorn, beware of the low prices. 

The summer is buzzing by, and soon we'll be into August and once again stopping behind school buses with red lights flashing as they pick up the kiddies.  We haven't vacationed yet this summer but are thinking about maybe going somewhere for a few days in September or October when the mosquitoes are gone and the air is crisper.  It's difficult finding pet-friendly resorts, and I can't say that I blame the resort owners.  So it is that we will continue to look online for a place that will accommodate our whole family.

We've been savoring our home-grown cherry tomatoes that are growing in a planter on the patio.  Ooooh, they're so good and juicy.  I'm sharing a picture of our bean pole right beside our patio.  We planted a few sunflowers, too, beside our little smokehouse back of the house.  Don't think our zuchinni are going to be too productive this year.  I like to freeze zuchinni to add to soups and hot dishes in the wintertime, so we'll pick some up at the roadside markets, along with butternut and acorn squash.

Don't you just love the feel of autumn and the harvest time? I guess if I'd have to choose a favorite season of the four, I'd pick autumn.  My hubby and I got married the end of September, and my bridesmaids dresses were hand-sewn by a local seamstress out of brown velvet trimmed with gold velvet.  Very simple, but I thought very elegant and appropriate for that time of year.  My parents were married in November of 1936, and Mom's bridesmaids wore velvet, too.  So, it was no accident that mine resembled hers.

I guess people change the way the seasons change.  Childhood is our Spring, ages 20-50 our Summer, ages 50-75 our Autumn, and 75+ our Winter.  Does that seem about right?  All I know is that  I'm gonna do whatever it takes to make the most out of every blasted minute of my Autumn and hope to high heaven my Winter will be long--but not too long.  I just don't want to have to give Dr. Kevorkian a jingle!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mugs and Matters of the Heart

Our 3-some here had a slumber party downstairs last night because of the heat.  Even though we have central air, the upstairs just doesn't cool down.  The smooch pooch is the one that was most miserable, and she laid on the bed panting until finally we decided we'd let her call the shots-----again!

It's fun to shake up one's routine once in awhile, so doing stuff like camping downstairs, for us, is kinda fun.  We got out bedsheets, brought our pillows downstairs, and we each grabbed a couch.  The smooch pooch is an incredibly loyal little girl, so she slept on the floor between the den and  livingroom, right smack between us.

Right now I'm sipping coffee and hubby is out for his morning walk.  If you'd come to our home, you'd notice that none of our coffee mugs match.  That's because over the years we'd buy mugs to bring home with us from trips.  A mug didn't take up much room in the car, so made the perfect souvenir.

The mug I'm using this morning is one that a former co-worker gave to me before he left the office for another job in another state.  It was the mug he drank coffee from while we worked together, and every time I choose it from among the mix, I think of him. The mug is a 1984 Hardee's Rise and Shine mug.  Wonder where life took P.O.  People who move out of our lives sort of disappear into thin air, and most likely we won't ever see one another again.  Yet, I'm still having coffee with him and his coffee mug.

Storm warnings were in our forecast for overnight, but neither of us heard any thunder.  Am to the point now where I'm waiting for cool fall air to move in so I can bring out my sweatshirts.  Loose-fitting and comfy, that's me.

I've got to boast that yesterday I got my yellow star as an eBay seller/buyer.  That's the first level star one gets, so it's like I've reached the first rung on the bottom of the ladder.  But, for me, that's success.  Three months ago I didn't know how to go about selling, but after I took a local 2-day class I am putting things up for sale and am learning something new with each transaction.  I started with small items that were low-priced, but now I'm stretching out a little bit and putting out some of the things that have been hidden away for years that will bring me a bit more moolah.  Of course, there are eBay fees and postage costs, etc., but I couldn't have a more fun challenge in Life #2 (a/k/a/ retirement).   So far I've shipped items off to California, Florida, Iowa, and Georgia. 

I'm parting with my childhood toys, the few that have gone full circle with me.  I came across a box the other day that had been packed away since forever, and inside the box I found the plastic furniture from my doll house that I had when I was a little girl.  We lived in an old stone house, and it had very thick limestone window sills.  My doll house sat up in the window sill, and I stood on the davenport (sofa) to play in it.  That's how small I was.  Gosh, if only my doll house were still with me.  Hmmmmm.

Maybe it's a life passage when we reach the junction where we are ready to pass on or sell the things that meant the most to us.  If it's a life passage, then I'm there.  Letting go is a great part of life in so many respects.  Maybe there should be an eleventh Commandment, "Thou shalt let go.....when it's time."

My hubby is back from his walk and wants me to join him out on the patio.  So, that's what I shall do.  Sunday blessings to all who follow my blog!  Ta-ta.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Scary How Much We're Alike...

Pokin' a Little Red Neck Fun

While surfing on my cyber surfboard, I ran across some Red Neck Computer Lingo, and it made me laugh so will pass it on.  I think we're all in need of a little humor these days...........

BACKUP--what you do when you see a skunk in the woods.

BAR CODE--Them's the fightin' rules at the local tavern.

BUG - Dah reason you give for calling in sick.

BYTE - What your pit bull did to Uncle Jethro.

CACHE - What you need when the food stamps run out.

CHIP - Pasture muffins you try not to step in.

CRASH - When you go to Junior's party uninvited.

DIGITAL - The art of counting on your fingers.

DISKETTE - A female disco dancer.

FAX - What you lie about to the IRS.

HACKER - Uncle LeRoy after 32 years of smoking.

INTERNET - What cafeteria workers put over their hair.

KEYBOARD - Where you hang the keys to the John Deere.

MAC - Big Bubba's favorite food.

MEGAHERTZ - How your head feels after 17 beers.

MODEM - What you did to the grass and weeds when they got too tall.

MOUSE PAD - Where Mickey and Minnie live.

NETWORK - Scoop out the big fish before it breaks the line.

ONLINE - Where to stay when taking the sobriety test.

ROM - Where the Pope lives.

SCREEN - Helps keep the skeeters off the porch.

SERIAL PORT - A red wine you drink for breakfast.

SUPERCONDUCTOR - Amtrak's Conductor of the Year.

TERMINAL - Time to call the undertaker.

There you have em.  Isn't it amazing how everything has a fence, therefore, two sides?  We can choose which side of the fence we feel most comfortable with.  I'm sorry, gang, but I've gotta say that I'm doin' okay with the Red Necks on this one! 

Have a great weekend, y'all....

Friday, July 16, 2010

Alphabet Challenge

This morning I'm presenting myself with a challenge.  I'm going to write 26 sentences, each sentence starting with the alphabet letter as it appears in sequence.  So, here goes.......

Alexander Graham Bell is not my hero.

Baffled by some people's actions, I still maintain that man is basically good way down deep inside.

Cats simply are not as loving as dogs.

Dental work is a definite pain in the derriere.

Entitlement was not something my generation aspired to.

Frickin' is a fabulous alternative for another word that starts with "f."

Gumby, the clay character, was a flexible little guy.

"Heavens to Mergatroyd" was a phrase from my teenage years.

Intuition is real; it's our built-in sonar.

Jasmine is one of my favorite fragrances.

Ketchup is my favorite flavor enhancement.

Ladders scare me cuz I'm afraid of heights.

Maps have now been replaced by GPS, another one of today's marvels.

Nasty people are just that.

Oatmeal has a weird consistency.

Paper plates were invented by St. Peter, and that's all they use Up There.

Questions are what keep us learning.

Retirement is my heaven on earth!

Sugar supposedly can kill us, so why is it so sweet?

Truffles, tarts, and triscuits are yummy!

U-turns are okay when it comes to how we manage our lives.

Venting is good for the body, mind, and soul.

Wild wabbits wun around in our backyard.

Xrays cause me to wonder when the people taking them go hide behind a wall.

Yup, I'm about to the end.

Zebras are either black with white stripes, or are they white with black stripes?

Ta-Da!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Winner Is...........C.N.

C.N. is the lucky winner of a crate of Fortune Cookies, as he was the first to give the reason for the white knight chess piece on Paladin's business card and holster that I mentioned in today's blog.  C.N. put me onto an awesome website http://www.televisiontunes.com/, where he found the lyrics to Paladin.  The reason for the chess piece is stated in the lyrics, "A chess knight of silver is his badge of trust."

Way to go, C.N........I hope every one of your fortunes adds zest to your salad of life!

Call Me Annie Oakley

Just read that Roy Roger's stuffed horse, Trigger, was sold at auction for $266,500.  A Nebraska cable t.v. network was highest bidder.  Man, did that bring back memories of the old Westerns we baby boomers grew up watching.  I can still hear Roy and his wife, Dale Evans, singing "Happy Trails to You Until We Meet Again."

Richard Boone was the cool dude that played Paladin in "Have Gun Will Travel" and I'm pretty sure I wanted to marry him and keep him for my own.  He wore black and would aim his gun at the audience when the show started.  I can't say for sure, but Richard Boone was supposedly related to Daniel Boone and was a cousin to the singer, Pat Boone.  But, those sorts of rumors can be fact or fiction, depending on the day.  Remember Paladin's business card?  It had a white knight chess piece on it, and so did his gun holster.  Why was that?

And, "Rawhide" starring Clint Eastwood as Rowdy Yates, the young ramrod, and Gil Favor who was the head of the cattle drive.  Wishbone was the old fellow who did the cooking for these cowboys.  The words to this show's theme song are embedded in my brain, too.  "Rollin, Rollin, Rollin.  Though the streams are swollen.  Keep them doggies rollin.  Rawhide."

Bat Masterson was a handsome one, as well, wearing his natty vested suit and carrying the fancy cane that he used to get his point across.  I wanted him, too.  His presence was commanding, especially in saloon settings where bar fights were common in the Old West.  Most westerns had the swinging-door saloon, round wooden tables where cowboys played poker and drank shots of straight whiskey, and girls in can-can dresses flounced down the stairs and sat on the cowboys' laps.  Ultimately a fight would break out, chairs would topple over, and gun shots and fist fights would break whiskey bottles and smash up the entire bar setting.

One of my all-time faves was the early "Wagon Train" series with Ward Bond who played the wagon master, Major Seth Adams, and Robert Horton who played the part of Flint McCullough, the trail scout.  Flint would ride ahead to see what danger lied ahead of them, and then he'd come flying in on his horse with the warnings.  Charlie Wooster was the goofy cook.   The wagon train guided ordinary families through Indian territory out west where they sought a new and better life.  When there was trouble, the wagon master would put the wagons in a circle, and the whole shebang would get their guns ready.  Families lived in covered wagons during these adventures, and once in awhile a love affair would start blooming between the characters, and a new episode would be born. 

I think I could go on and on forever yacking about these old classic westerns, because they influenced us kids who grew up in the 50s.  I miss westerns, and the new programming of the 21st century just doesn't get me all that enthused.  It's another good example of generational gapping.  The human spirit changes and molds each generation differently.  There is a purpose for that, although sometimes it's hard to understand.  Most of the things that I privately criticized my parents for doing when I was a kid, well, I find myself doing them myself now.  I kind of chuckle to myself, especially when I can't stand loud music.  If one thinks about it, balance is needed to keep everything in sync.  So, it only stands to reason that there would be a generational balancing act, as well.  Hmmmmm.

As I've blogged before, I'm on this rampage of downsizing our stuff here at home.  When I say that, I have to highlight that I'm going at a snail's pace.  But, nevertheless getting rid of stuff we've collected during our lifetimes.  Anyway, going through a dresser drawer the other day, guess what I found?  Yup, my silver pistol with pearl handle that I toted in my holster when I fought the Indians in grampa's grove of evergreens.  The pearl handle is taped together with several bands of adhesive tape.  Don't laugh, cuz  I wouldn't be here if it wouldn't have been for that pistol.  I had to be a fast draw to stay alive against my boy cousin who thought he was faster than me.  When I drew my gun and pulled the hammer back, hey, the bad guys shook in their boots.  Once in a great while I purposely fell to the ground, holding my chest, crying out in pain pretending that he "got me" but then both of us would bust out laughing, get on our invisible horses, and ride away to some other canyon.

Our childhood was one of pretend.  We pretended to be anything we could think up.  Having had more boys in the family, I got involved in some pretty down and dirty battles.  I always figured, there ain't no boy gonna double-dog dare me to do anything that I couldn't do. 

I can't close without mentioning that I had one boy cousin who was my very best buddy growing up.  He and I would get to stay overnight with gramma and grampa together, and our families knew we were a match made in heaven.  We played in the grove of trees, we played in the sandbox made out of a big old tractor tire, and we'd talk, and we'd wonder and we'd explore.  Our world of two was safe, and we could trust our lives to one another.  To this day, I love him dearly and the few times we do see each other we revisit those days and laugh until we both start wiping our eyes.  Up until we were about 9 years old we shared the same bed at grampa's house.  Then came the awful day when we were told to sit down for a little talk, and our grandparents told us we could no longer sleep together.  What?  What did we do wrong to deserve this?  From that point on I would sleep with gramma, and he would sleep with grampa.  We were just innocent kids that loved each other but knew not a thing about any of the grown-up business.  Years later we understood why they separated us like that, but we remember our sadness more than anything.  We just wanted to be together.  That was all.

Isn't it amazing how we are born as babies and our days of life turn into years, and we meet others that affect us so much that they stay tucked away in the locket of our hearts forever?  Our Creator was kind when he gave us the ability to remember the times that brought us such intense true happiness.  With that ability, we never lose that happiness.  We can push the replay button and live those times over and over, and maybe add a dash of salt here and a sprinkle of pepper there.  Now, how neat is that!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Crank Up the Fans


Yowza, it's gonna be a scorcher today.  Plus, I think thunderstorms are in the forecast to start around noon.  Dew points to exceed 100.  As I look out the window, the air looks heavy, almost foreboding.  I pity those who must work outdoors in this dangerous weather, as well as the confined animals.  I pray people tend to their pets properly, giving them water and. at the very least, some shade.  Our Bichon doesn't know how lucky she is to live with retired parents who are here to refill her water dish and turn on the ceiling fan to circulate the air.  Her coat is very thick, and in this heat she stretches herself out on the tile floor or the wooden floors downstairs.   

This sweltering heat makes me think of my dad working road construction back in the 60s.  His job was working with the tar kettle for sealing the lines in the highways. He used to call it his tar "kittle."  Migod, how he must've suffered on those awfully hot days. He was one tough cookie, never once complained about his job, but instead would call attention to those mighty fine black strips in the roads their crew worked on.

Nothing too spectacular hovers over our day.  Honestly, in this type of mid-summer weather, we stay indoors where we belong.  One of my complaints when I was younger was how the older folks would be out and about in the worst kinds of weather, in both summer and winter.  So, somewhere along the line I vowed to be smart and not put myself in any line of fire.  Maybe I'll go rummage through the attic and pick out a couple of things to sell on eBay.  Oh, that reminds me, I have a great opportunity to be part of a garage sale this coming weekend, and if all goes right, we will try to do that.  Every object in this house is currently "at risk."

We had friends over for a simple supper on the patio last evening.  Spending time with our friends is #1 on our list of life's best things.  The years we have left are getting fewer, but relationships are growing dearer.  We especially like doing things on a whim.  Last eve we called this other couple at 5:45 p.m. to see if they could join us for supper.  They said, "sure" and were here within the half hour.  We simply set aside our cares and tended to camaraderie.  A couple of cool drinks, a simple meal, a few hearty laughs, and, for us, that's sliding into home plate!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Human Silliness

"I think you're slipping" were the words my husband understandingly said to me yesterday when we were well on our way for a road trip and I realized I hadn't taken my morning meds.  The worst part was that I'd not replaced the single supply that I usually carry with me in my purse.  I felt so bad, but the biggest asset in my life is my husband's easy-going attitude.  He merely turned our vehicle around, smiled at me, and said, "everything is good for something."

So it is that more and more we forget, we misplace, we do silly stuff that probably ten years ago we wouldn't have done.  Maybe it's just the fact that now we're older and our age gets blamed for anything we screw up.  I clearly remember the time when I was much younger that I put a package of new pantyhose in the refrigerator as I was unpacking our groceries.  If I'd do that today, well......you get the picture.

Turning back and getting my meds into my system was far more important than the time we lost.  And, what is time to the retired?  We're all so programmed, I think, to bust our buns flitting  around doing this and that, trying not to get 'caught' doing nothing, and why?

At one point in my life I was a "watch watcher" and that was a bad habit.  The clock ruled my life until one day I said to myself, "that's it....no more!"  That was the day I quit wearing a watch and eased up on my Type A behavior.  And, it worked.  If you see me wearing a watch today, it will be for one of two reasons:  1)  I'm wearing it simply as a piece of jewelry, or 2) I'm going to have to meet someone at a certain time if we're shopping.  That's it. 

I'm living proof that we can change ourselves dramatically if we truly want to.  My high gear has eased down to nearly neutral, it's more like I'm idling.  There's no need for me to fly around anymore trying to have everything the way I "think" it oughta be.  Like I always say, what would happen if I'd die today?  The world will nicely keep spinning and life will go on like I'd never been here.  The wrinkles would smooth themselves out quickly.
While we were driving yesterday, we were visiting about our society's views on human weight.  Let's start with television ads.  At prime times they sprawl before us 2-ply hamburgers dripping with goodness, ice cream sundaes slathered in hot chocolate, and slices of pizza with mozarella strings about a foot long.  They know how to bait us on the one side of the fence.  Then, on the other side of the fence we have the industry that supplies us with diet pills, diet foods, weight control organizations, exercise facilities with high membership fees, and the medical field that makes millions on stapling our stomachs.  Egads, what a swirl of human silliness.

I've been doing a silly survey the last while, and when I'm people-watching, I imagine every person as a little vehicle.  That's all we really are, you know.  Then I decide what category each person would fit into.  For instance, there was a check-out gal in a store that was so short she could barely see the key pad on the check-out computer.  Well, I labeled her as one of the little cars they're making now that's about a fourth of the size of a regular car.  When I see a big stocky guy, well, he'd fit into the "semi" category.  This has been more fun for me, and has put an entirely new spin on the human body.  It's so less judgmental.  After all, our society is supposedly so careful not to discriminate.  Well, what do they call it when they look unfavorably upon the 'flesh-enhanced'? 

So, if I'm categorizing everyone else, I'd best do the same for myself.  I'm probably a 4-wheel-drive SUV and will tend to changing my oil, filling my tank with premium fuel, and getting serviced regularly.  I'll drive the speed limit, watch for oncoming traffic, keep myself between the lines, and will be careful not to park myself under a tree where a bird could poop on my windshield!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Something to Crow About

Another perfect summer morning where I live.  We're having morning coffee outside on our screened patio, and the wrens and our resident cardinal are singing and the crows are cawing.  Some mornings the crows must hold conventions nearby us, because there's literally a cawing frenzy going on.

After listening to all this chirping going on around me, I couldn't help but Google crows and found out some cool things about them that I didn't realize before:
  • A group of crows is called a "murder."
  • Crows are found on every continent except Antartica.
  • Crows have an exceptional ability to remember and pick a single human face out of a crowd.
  • Each generation of crows is capable of building on an earlier generation's knowledge.
  • New Caledonian crows are one of only three species, besides human, in the world capable of making tools.
  • Crows live with a mated pair, their kids, and offspring from previous years in an extended family.
  • Crows have different warning calls--one for cats, one for hawks, and another for humans--250 in all.
  • Crows are omnivores and eat fruits, vegetables, and meat.
Several old sayings we use routinely without even thinking about it involve the crow.  Like referring to a crabby old woman as an "old crow."  A disgusting person as "crow bait."  We reference distance by "as the crow flies" when we measure by a direct line rather than take an established roadway.  "Eating crow" when we've made a mistake and have to take our words back.

There's the Crow Tribal Nation out in Montana.  I read that each year they celebrate Crow Native Days.  Part of the event is a pretty grueling Warrior Challenge, which is a race made up of three members.  The three have a specialty in this three-part race (canoeing, running, and relay horse racing).  The Warriors compete in all these races, kinda like the decathalon of the Olympics.  The only difference is the race starts and ends the same day.   Lots of other events take place during these Native Days that help instill and maintain pride in the Crow culture and its historical importance.  The dates of this celebration correspond with the anniversary of the Battle of the Little Big Horn in June. I think this would be cool to attend.  My heart has a very special place for the Native American people.  I often think about them having walked on the ground that I walk on every day and like always, wonder what remnants of the past are buried beneath my feet just waiting to be unearthed.

Well, it's about time I finish up my blog, and it may as well be with a crow joke.  So, here it is....

Two crows were sitting on a plow handle.  Suddenly they spotted a sandwich in the field.  They flew down and were delighted to find that it was Baloney!  They gorged themselves and flew back to the plow for a snooze.  Unfortunately, they were quickly awakened by a gunshot as the farmer tried to scare away the crows in his cornfield.  Our two friends tried to join the rest of the flock, but sadly they fell to the ground.

The moral of this story is, "Don't fly off the handle when you're full of baloney."

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday Contentment

Sunday mornings I can't wait to get out of bed and get at the Sunday Paper.  The Sunday edition has greater volume, most of which I don't read, but it's that big difficult crossword puzzle that I wait to locate among the many pages.  Maybe I've blogged about this before, but I love doing crosswords now that I have a website that can assist me if I absolutely cannot figure something out.  http://www.dictionary.com/ has a crossword solver that's really quite good.  I think it's got like over 2 million clues, and they keep them updated.  We're a split family on puzzles.  My hubby does the Sudukos and I do the crosswords and the jumble.  It's a great match.

Boy, another gloomy day hangs over us.  Dark and dreary.  We have two trees growing close to our house that are going to get the axe this summer yet.  One is right beside the kitchen window and the other is in the front of the house.  Both have outgrown their good days and need to be put to eternal rest.  We're not quite sure what we'll replace them with, but we'll find something equally as complementary to our home style as these trees have been.  I'd like a bush perhaps that changes to a brilliant color in the fall.  Will need to shop around on that one. I'm not up to speed on the world of landscaping.  Sounds like a mighty fine excuse for some day trips, if you ask me.

Maintenance is an ongoing concern for homeowners.  Always something or other needs repairing or updating to maintain the value of the property.  Now days people mow great portions of their yards, simply because they can with the tractor mowers.  When I grew up, we had one of those motor-less push mowers that cut like a dull knife, but it was all we had.  Back then we mowed only what was necessary and no one really cared what the yards looked like.  Some country farmsteads mow around the barns and other buildings, and their farm yards are neat as pins.  We saw one guy yesterday mowing a roadside ditch, and his tractor was at such a slant it looked like he was going to tip over.  That would scare me.  I'm not so sure if roadside appearance would be that important to me if there was a chance of someone getting hurt.  Tractors these days are humungous and better balanced or weighted to do such stuff, I'd suppose. 

My hubby bought a new-to-us weed eater a couple weeks ago.  His intent was to bring home a new one, but the dealer had this trade-in with few hours of use on it and in really nice condition, at a lesser price.  Hey, a deal is always a good thing so far as we're concerned. 

I'd best scoot and get to my crossword.  Our little family 3-some here is content as bugs.  The fuzzy one is sound asleep on her beddy-by, the hubby is engrossed in the daily news, and I'm blogging.  I'd say it's a perfect morning.....so long as the creek don't rise!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Roadside Splendor

Our roadsides are lined with lotsa wildflowers right now, and a day trip can feel like a visit to a botanical garden.  The Wild Chickory and Queene Anne's Lace are blooming.  Daisies of all varieties, white and yellow, add to the blues and yellows and complete the natural display. 

The last few years I've gotten into photographing wildflowers.  There's something about the flower that incites a sense of awe and makes me wonder, "how'd He do that?"  So many different colors and kinds shapes and sizes.  Our Creator really didn't have to give us flowers, but I think his intention was so we'd keep our heads on track and follow the amazing clues he left for us. 

Digital cameras are the coolest thing.  The old Brownie was the first camera I remember.  Then the Kodak came along.  We had to buy films that took only 12 or 24 pictures, the film had to be mailed in to be developed, and half the time the pictures were either off center, the people had red eyes, somebody's head was cut off, or something or other was wrong.  Yet, the price was the same.  Somewhere amid the stacks of pictures around here are probably 500 snaps of dolphins jumping out of the water at Sea World.  When we were first married and drove to Florida for vacation, I must've looked like a flash of fireworks as I kept flicking pictures of these big gray fish arching out of the water.  Kids now days grow up traveling and seeing other parts of the world, so it's no big deal for them to see a whale or a dolphin.  But, you have to remember, this little girl had only seen bluegill, catfish, carp, and trout before Sea World!

Went for a drive yesterday to a town about 75 miles from where I live, and the corn is tasseling and the oats is turned to gold.  When did this happen?  Crops are on the whole very healthy, and we pray no hail or wind will alter that.  Baffles my mind how the crops that grow right around us end up feeding the whole world.

Our village is quiet and content this Saturday morning.  Hopefully the working couples and their babies are able to sleep later than usual and maybe have homemade pancakes for breakfast.  Here I am in my sixties, and I still salivate at the thought of a platter of mom's homemade pancakes with maple syrup oozing and goozing down from a stack of em.  I seriously don't think I'm ever gonna grow up.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Telly Torture

Did you happen to watch the Oprah Winfrey show yesterday?  Her stage set was made out of Godiva Chocolate.  It was way cool.  After the hour was up, she and the audience were going to dismantle and start eating.  Was that clever or what!

Oprah is probably my #1 favorite talk show host.  She's genuine, and I don't see her as being pretentious even though she has every reason to be.  Maybe what I like best is how she relates to the audience who suffer from excess weight.  I personally like that about Oprah.  She's what she is and goes on being in front of the world despite her struggle with the scale.  She says it's all about liking oneself, and if we are able to do that, then others will follow suit.   

Daytime television is not something I've gotten into since retirement.  But, I was crocheting comfort crosses and the late afternoon programming gave me something to listen to.  After Oprah, then I put on the Food Channel and watched Paula Dean.  She, too, is a gal with an infectious personality.  She made a blueberry tort that had me ready to lick my tongue on the t.v. screen. 

On the whole, the telly doesn't get a whole lot of applause from this household, simply because we're down to a few channels out of about 120.  Don't know why, but I think it's probably because we don't relate to some of the programming.  It's generational gapping.  Public Television is great, Antiques Roadshow, Home and Garden, Food Channel, History, Discovery, Learning Channel, and, of course, the channels that show guys fishing and reeling in lunker walleyes and northerns, petting the flopping fish, wishing them well and throwing them back in the lakes.  Go figure.  Nascar and golfing are usually on during the weekends.  Racing is the one sport that puts my quills on alert.  It's the sound of the race cars more than anything.  Varoom, varoom, varoom for hours on end.  Makes me nuts!

We laugh at each other cuz both of us wait for the other to doze off.  It's gotten to be quite a competitive sport in itself "just-try-to-get-the-remote-out-of-my-clenched-fist!"  I swear my husband has built-in radar.  He senses my hand when it's real close and his eyes open up like he wasn't asleep in the first place.  Maybe after years of living together we find ways to annoy each other.  Tease and taunt, that's what it is.

The remote control is a funny little object, isn't it?  Just let it be lost and the whole household comes off its hinges.  Pillows fly, the recliners and couches start getting shoved around, and sheer panic sets in.  Cuz, wouldn't it be dreadful if we actually had to get out of our chairs and push a button?  How well I remember those days.  The first television at home was a console Zenith bought by my sibling, and so I didn't stand a frickin' chance of ever changing channels.  My time to have the t.v. to myself was right after school when the family was out doing chores.  I'd watch the Pinky Lee Show.  I can still hear him sing and dance, "Yoo Hoo, it's me, my name is Pinky Lee."     

Can anyone tell me why we have to watch Poker on the Travel Channel?  If anyone can shed light on this quandry for me, I'd be ever so appreciative.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Maxine's Back

Wings and Wonderings

Reading in bed is the perfect way to end my day.  For one thing, it gets my mind off of the worrisome chatter that goes on inside our heads and, for me, that sets the stage for a good night's sleep.  And, I love reading short stories and buy any book of short stories I can get my hands on.  Anyway, last night I was reading a story about the Hands of God, fiction of course.  The story told that when God was creating the birds, an angel flew by Him and asked God to put wings on this creature like the wings of the angels.  God thought that was a neat idea, so He did.  This morning as I listen to the birds singing, I can't help but think about that story. 

Yesterday we were in the garage scoping out the huge cleaning project that awaits us one of these days...or years.  Packed away in a corner I spotted an old box of bottles.  We took them out and hosed them off, cuz there's lots of years of cobwebs and gunk in them.  Four were the old-fashioned blue fruit jars with the glass lids and wire tops.  And, a really tall bottle, like a vinegar bottle, that has a wire top and cork-like thing still intact.  I just love finding things like that and wondering where they came from and what they actually were used for. 

There was a television program on one time that featured finding things, like bottles.  They said the best place to search is where the old out-houses used to be.  Because years ago people would throw their empty used bottles down the hole.  Naturally, this isn't the most appealing thing one wants to do, but serious collectors who are adventurous would put on the right clothes and gloves and get to digging.  I'm just a little afraid there's a little bit (or a whole lot) of that in me.  Something inside me wants to look for stuff from the past.  I'm a treasure seeker.  And, just imagine all the treasures that are buried in the very ground beneath us. 

Whenever we drive past an abandoned farmstead where the house is still standing, my mind starts wondering and imagining what might be inside the abandoned house.  I have a metal detector down the basement, but haven't had it out for awhile now.  Metal detecting is great fun, and when it starts beeping, my heart starts beeping in rhythm with the detector.  I've  found old nails, spark plugs, and a dime.  That's pretty much the extent of that hobby.  Now when I think about it, I think I'm going to buy a new battery and fire it up again.

My trouble is that I have too many hobbies, and in order to satisfy all of them I'd have to live at least three or four long lifetimes.  The only thing I can compare this to would be the embers still burning after a campfire and all of a sudden one of the sparks ignites into a fire.  Well, that's what it's like for me if I find something I think I can do or re-create.  I get all nuts about it, buy the supplies, and then have to see if I'm actually able to do whatever it may be.  I'm not one who believes in reincarnation, so I figure if I want to do it, I'd better get crackin'.  If my attempts are successful, that's great.  If they fizzle, who cares.  At least I've tried.

Wonder what label a shrink would put on me.  Would it be Project Enhanced or Project Challenged?  Hmmm.  Another thing for me to ponder.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Clouds, Calm, and Crosses

First, let me thank M.J. and J.T. for their interesting  feedback in response to my fish fly blog a while ago.  My blog host has been experiencing problems with "comments," but this morning I see that all is fixed and the comments are showing beneath my blogs as they should.  J.T.'s comment can be read  beneath "Thanks, M.J."  Also, if you scroll way down to the bottom of this page, you'll be able to read all the comments about my blogsite.  Always feel free to add your input to any of my blogs.  I love hearing from you!!!     

Sure is foggy.  My hip does not like this weather one bit.  Would appreciate some cooler weather.  My husband just came in from his morning walk, and he says it's awfully humid and also thundering.  So, we know what's close by. 

Yesterday we had our vehicle serviced, and had to take it in anyway because we had received a recall notice.  Something to do with the transmission.  Our dealer needed to reprogram something or other, and so they did that, changed the oil, checked it's heart and soul, and now we're good to go.  They gave us a loaner car to drive, and it looked good on the outside but was pretty rickety on the highway.  We did manage to drive it far enough to have breakfast and then brought it back with the "gasoline warning light" on.  We didn't want to stick any money into the jalopy, so we were thankful when we parked it back in the lot.  At one point we thought we'd have to coast into the parking lot!

The road we took to the car dealership was being resurfaced, and so we had to sit and wait.  Sit and wait.  And, then a little chickie poo came flying up with the pace car and led us on our way past the orange cones that protected the one side of the highway.  Why is it that it's so difficult for us to sit and wait?  But, we had an 8 a.m. appointment, and we like to be on time. 

Today we're staying put.  I crochet comfort crosses for a local rest home, and they emailed me yesterday to say that they have only three left.  So, I'm gonna get to 'hooking' here and make some more.  My comfort crosses are given to the dying for them to hold for comfort.  My husband's mother was given a soft cross while she was dying--one that the rest home had purchased--so I decided to design my own and simply donate them.  We have tremendous respect for the facility that cared for both of our mothers, and this is my humble form of appreciation.  There is nothing more satisfying than knowing one's parent is in the hands of loving, caring, and respectful people.  And, ours were.

I see rain falling already.  The East Coast is getting hit with scorching temperatures, too.  Typical summer discomforts.  The leaves on the trees are ever so still.  The calm before the storm.  When I was a little girl on the farm, I remember how the cows used to run with their tails up in the air before a storm, and then they'd huddle together beneath a tree.  Isn't it incredible how animals can sense the elements of nature?  Just like when the tsunami hit the Indonesian area, they felt all the animals were okay because they had fled to higher ground.

Gee whiz, the coffee tastes great.  Here's a cha-chink to all my friends who are having a cup right now.  Have a great day no matter what the atmospheric conditions may be where you live.  Looks like I'm gonna busy myself being a hooker!  Ta-ta

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Thanks, M.J. !

Gotta tell you about the phone call I got today from M.J..  They had been RVing along the Mighty Mississippi this past week, and she called to respond to my earlier blog where I wondered if fish flies actually served any bona fide purpose.  Well, while she and her husband were relaxing in their lawn chairs, they watched robins and other black-colored birds eating the fish flies, and the robins literally stuffed their beaks so full that the flies hung out of their beaks like little beards.  The black-colored birds jumped off the ground up into the air to trap flying ones in their beaks.  So it is that we have concluded that the short-lived fish flies do actually serve a purpose other than being pesky and terribly messy.  The birds like 'em and will devour 'em, dead or alive.

Just wondering, M.J.,.......did you happen to take photos of the frenzied fish flies flying frightened for freedom while feathered fowl feasted on the fish flies?

Flying High

Have you noticed how playground equipment has changed since we were kids?  We didn't have a swing at our home while growing up, but grampa made us kids a swing out of a wooden plank and rope in the grove beside their house.  It was the coolest thing ever and was a wonderful place to simply go with my favorite boy cousin or all by myself.  I never did like swinging high up in the air like some kids did.  In face, I didn't like anyone pushing me.  Guess I was too chicken and was afraid of flying off and killing myself. 

Nowdays, there are playground sets with colorful slides, swings, ladders, tunnels, bars, and heaven knows what all for the kids to crawl around on and swing from.  The children of today are given equipment to help them with their coordination and balance and all kinds of other skills that weren't even thought about 50+ years ago.  Ours were made simply for fun.  We treasured what we had simply because we had so little.

Remember the merry-go-rounds?  The ones we'd stand on and pump and one side would fly higher than the other?  It had a pole in the middle and simple boards for seats.  For the smaller tots, there was the simple kind that our parents would push to make go around alot slower and safer.  And, then there was the see-saw. 

Water parks are a big thing these days, and I know for sure that I'd never make it going through some of those really long and high ones.  Again, I think there's a chicken inside me somewhere.  I never was too daring in that regard, but rather steered clear of anything that might hurt me.  I know I did get pretty reckless with my bicycle, tho.  Our farm was pretty hilly and so was our driveway, and I can remember taking my bike and going so fast I didn't use the pedals.  My legs would be way out to the side as I went flying down the bumpy gravel.  For me, that was as daring as it got. 

If I had a house with a covered front porch, for sure there'd be a porch swing there.  A porch swing is relaxing and, I don't know, has that southern hospitality feel.  Last year when we spent our vacation in a camping cabin, every morning I'd sit and have my coffee on one.  Our Bichon didn't seem to mind it either.

Growing up when I did, there were no helmets or knee pads for us to fasten onto ourselves.  We took the bumps and bruises and each time we got skinned up, we learned a little bit more on what not to do.  So much of my childhood I spent by myself, sitting on a hillside covered with wildflowers.  I'd sit up there and dream about stuff that little girls dream about, but that's what childhood is all about.  Maybe that's how I learned to think for myself and plan ahead.  From watching and listening to my parents and grandparents, I was made aware of the pitfalls that could possibly be ahead of me and so I carefully thought about that as I grew up.  And, the funny part is that I'm still trying to set the stage for my future years.  Planning for what may lie ahead.  We can't know for sure what that's going to be, but we surely can ready ourselves as best we can.  If someone would ask me what was the best advice my parents ever gave me, I'd have to say it was the way they lived themselves.  Mere example.  Maybe I was easily impressed, but I was impressed just the same.