Tuesday, August 31, 2010

M.J. and R.B. Guess Right

Congratulations go out to M.J. and R.B. for guessing Topo Gigio as Ed Sullivan's pet mouse! 

Simple, Sweet Games

Sitting here thinking about the games I played as a little girl.  Simple games that occupied my time, and I remember feeling happy while playing them with other boys and girls who were my friends at Catholic School.  Those simple games made us laugh, and they also taught us how to play together and be nice to one another at the same time.

Hide the Button was a game where we kids stood or sat in a circle facing in with "IT" in the middle.  The button was passed from hand to hand behind the backs of those in the circle.  "IT" then tried to guess where the button was and upon finding it took his/her place in the circle.  The person who was found with the button becomes the new "IT."

Skipping, or jumping, rope was a grade school fave and could get pretty competitive.  The girls wore sandal shoes back then with anklets, and I'm not sure how we were able to do as well as we did.  We got to where we could skip with two ropes going in opposite directions and skipped to songs like, "Mabel, Mabel, set the table, Just as fast as you are able..." There was another song we'd sing, "Skim the milk" but can't remember the words. 

Hide and Seek......getting warm or cold.....depending on how close we were to the one hiding.

London Bridges Falling Down was the game where we chose two kids to face each other. Then they joined hands together and lifted their arms up to form an arch.  The rest of the kids would line up so they could walk under the arch.  We'd sing "London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down.  London Bridge is falling down, my fair lady."  As the kids walked under the arch, the two forming the arch would drop their hands down around the child that was beneath the arch at the last word of the rhyme.  We'd do that over and over again until all kids were captured.

Red Rover was a game with two teams formed in two lines.  The two teams faced each other and joined hands.  One team would start by choosing one person from the opposing team and chanting, "Red Rover, Red Rover, send _____ right over."  The kid whose name was called would run as fast as he/she could toward the opposing side.  If he/she could break through the arms of any two of the team members, he could choose one team member to bring back as he returns, victorious, to his own side.  If not able to break through the arms of any two team members, then he/she became a member of the opposing team.

Ring Around the Rosie was another game we played.  We'd form a circle holding hands and walk around in a circle while singing, "Ring around the Rosie, a pocket full of posies, ashes, ashes, we all fall down."  We'd stop walking and quickly sit down on the word "down."  The last one standing was out of the game and had to sit off to the side while the game continued.

Hours of my childhood were spent sitting on the floor playing Jacks and Pick-Up-Stix.  Jacks was no easy game, but boy did I get good at it.  Probably because I was alone so much of the time.  Bounce the little ball in the air, pick up a certain number of Jacks without upsetting the others.  That game was all about timing and dexterity.  So was Pick-Up-Stix.

Checkers was never a fun game for me, cuz my strategy skills just weren't sharp enough for me to compete with others.  Chinese Checkers was another game board we had at home.  That game used marbles, but I don't think I ever really understood how to play it the right way.

Smashing Caps on the Sidewalk was entertaining.  Sit on the sidewalk with a roll of caps and a hammer and pop 'em by hitting with the hammer. 

Little Lulu was my very favorite comic book.  Isn't she adorable?  When I think about it, Lulu and I were best friends.  I shared  her world, and she shared mine.

We played with tops, where you'd pump down on the spiral top to make it spin.  If you'd let go, it'd spin on the floor by itself. Noise-makers and clicking frogs. 

Sewing Cards made me feel like I could sew like Gramma.  They were small cards with holes punched around a picture.  I'd take my plastic needle and yarn and sew up and down through the holes until I'd sew a border around the picture.  Then I'd take the yarn out and start all over again.

Oh, my beloved Betsy Wetsy Doll.  I fed her the bottle and she'd pee.  My mom and I made diapers for my Betsy Wetsy using snaps instead of safety pins.  Mom didn't want me to stick myself.  Perhaps that was the ingenious embryo of disposable diaper.  All I know is that she was my baby, and I wrapped her in a cuddly blanket, rocked her, and pretended she was real.  Maybe my baby sister that never came to be.

I still have the original box of my old wooden dominoes.  The way I played with dominoes was to stack all of them in swirly rows and then push the first one down.  Then the whole line would quickly fall over, and, to me, that was the coolest thing.  Many of my hours were spent stacking and restacking dominoes.

When the magic slate came on the scene, well, I thought I had the whole world.  I'd write and draw and erase.  Over and over and over again until the top film would be gouged through and badly worn.  They must not have been expensive, cuz I remember my mom would always get me a new slate.

So it is that those days are years and years behind me.  But, isn't it cool that I can still experience us kids playing at recess time?  We didn't dare act up or misbehave, because the Sister Police were standing guard at every angle, some peering through windows of the convent with rifles (oops, maybe I don't remember that.)  Nuns rarely smiled, so we knew their reactions could only go in one direction, and that was not good.  Maybe, just maybe, that discipline is what kids today are lacking.  From what I can see, the teachers are the ones who have to behave, and the kids can do whatever they please, however they please.  Help me out here......what's wrong with that picture......and why aren't the people in education finding an acceptable way to change that. 

Nevertheless, my mind has taken a fascinating and sentimental break this morning, and it's been a fun diversion.  Remembering the antics of my childhood is like spending time in a cathedral.  I'm very careful, tho, that I sift only the good memories for retrospect.  No sense dwelling on the times that perhaps weren't the best.  And, heaven only knows, all of us have had those times.

Trivia Question

What was the name of Ed Sullivan's pet mouse?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Gimme Some More!

According to http://www.oshel.com/, today is National Toasted Marshmallow Day!  Makes me want to have a bonfire and bring out the bag of marshies.

Actually, I find it amusing to watch someone else roast a marshmallow.  The individual techniques vary from poking the marshmallow right smack dab into the flames to blacken it, to keeping the marshmallow away from the flame and patiently allowing the marshmallow to slowly turn golden brown.  This latter way melts the gooey inside, so when it's taken off the stick, the white soft goo turns into a messy perfection.

It's the marshmallow that "pops" the smore and the rice krispie treat and the cup of hot chocolate.  I remember how my mother used to split open a date, fill the center with marshmallow cream, and add a pecan on top.  She usually made those for Christmas.  Yummy, yet nutritious.

We are picnic people.  What in life is more fun that having a picnic by the lake, by the river, or anywhere. We could have a blast having a picnic in a parking lot.  So often we'll pack up a couple of sandwiches, a couple bottles of water and head out the door.  We'll find a peaceful niche in nature, breathe in the fresh air, and ingest the simplest of foods.  Maybe find a wild apple tree with tart apples for dessert.  The outdoors is Our Creator's dining room, you know.  

Roasting hot dogs is another of our favorites.  My hubby was a Boy Scout, so he's adept at gathering sticks and getting a fire started in no time.  (I always tell him that if we were in a survival contest, I'd want him to be my partner.)  A person can have an absolute blast with a pack of 88 cent wieners, a couple buns, and ketchup.  Chili dogs are another over-the-top treat we enjoy.  Plus, we pile on the freshly diced onions, and that really kicks the explosive powers to heights unknown.  But, heck, it's worth it!

Marshmallows originated in ancient Egypt from the Marsh-Mallow Plant, which grew in marshy areas.  What we think of as the modern marshmallow wasn't developed until the 1800s, and it was mallow root sap mixed with sugar, whipped to a light consistency, and then molded.  Today the manufacturing of marshmallows no longer uses mallow root sap.  It's been replaced with gelatin with added corn syrup, starch, sugar and water.  The fluffy mixture is piped through long tubes and then cut into equal sized pieces.  To create shaped marshmallows like Easter Peeps, a special nozzle moves back and forth to cut the marshmallow into the individual shapes.

The weekend of September 4-6, 2010, the town of Ligioner, Indiana, is celebrating its 59th Marshmallow Festival after Kidd and Company which once manufactured marshmallows in Ligonier.  The festival activities revolve around the marshmallow theme.  One of their events is a Marshmallow Roast.  Now, wouldn't that be something fun to go see.  Wonder how big the bonfire will be.


The largest s'more ever made weighed 1,600 lbs. and used 20,000 toasted marshmallows and 7,000 chocolate bars.  The record was set on May 23, 2003.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Is there a vegetable that makes us laugh?

Onions are a food staple in our home, and we tend to buy them at Kwik Star cuz they're sold for 38 cents a pound.  Rarely do we fix a meal that doesn't include the onion. 

The first time we saw the deep-fried bloomin' onion was at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri quite a few years back.  The vendors were frying them in 50-gallon iron vats of oil and couldn't keep up serving the long line of customers waiting and drooling.  The two of us shared one, and that's all it took for me to be a bloomin' onion aficionado!    The chain of Outback restaurants serve them now, so we don't have to drive down to southern Missouri to get one!

As I understand, onions have been around for about 5,000 years.  They're eaten all around the globe and are the second most traded vegetable, trailing behind the tomato.  When I was a little girl, we'd eat fresh green onions out of the garden, and we dipped them in salt.  Back then we didn't know anything about high sodium contents, nor did anyone care.  The salt enhanced the flavor, so we ate them with salt.  Man, were they good.  To this day, I bring home bunches of green onions from the supermarket and cut them up in salads and omelets.   Green stems and all.

Back in the 1990s my pen pal came to visit us from half way across the continent.  I had asked her if any of her family had allergies to any foods.  When she told me that she wouldn't or couldn't eat onions, I about fell backward on the floor.  How in god's green earth were we going to cook without onions! 

Red onions add color to salads, and I use them quite a bit.  Once in awhile a person buys a bag of onions that are awfully strong, to the point of not being very good.  The Vidalia, of course, is very mild and sweet and perhaps the onion of choice.  Some onions make a person cry.  The Onion Police say that it helps to put a teaspoon in one's mouth when peeling an onion, and that will keep one from shedding those stinging tears.  Go figure.

We're going to be baking a chicken at our house today, and we're going to make homemade dressing to go with it.  There will be diced onions in the dressing, of course.  A good old-fashioned Sunday meal.  Oh, how I remember Sunday dinners when we were first married.  We'd go to either of our parents' homes and feast (always had second helpings) on our mothers' meals.......we didn't know what we had until now when we don't have it.  But, we're all grown up and can make our own special meals that were lovingly inspired by those who came before us.

Food seems to be a universal thread that ties humanity together.  All the unique cuisines to share and to experiment and to enjoy.  How appropriate the prayer, "Give us this day our daily bread."


Did you ever wonder what the WD stands for in WD-40?  WD is an abbreviation for Water Displacer.     

Saturday, August 28, 2010

French, elastic, butterflies...........

First, let me applaud Ruthie and M.J. for their swift (and correct) answers to yesterday's trivia question.  The correct answer was Cranes.

I haven't a clue what made me think about this, but why are so many things connected to "french."  Like, the french fry, french toast, the french horn, and the french kiss, french-onion soup, french dressing, french-cut green beans, french bread, and what are the french hens we sing about in the "12 Days of Christmas?"  The french knot, the french manicure, the french poodle, french roast coffee, the 1960s french twist hair style, french vanilla ice cream, and french doors.  Hmmmmm.  If any of my followers can think of more things that are "french," please leave them in the comments. 

We've never eaten in a true French restaurant, so can't opine about the food.  My first thought of a French Restaurant is "fancy shmancy."  Oh, those places are nice, but not for me anymore.  I'd rather go to the roadside tavern or bar that might serve their over-sized signature burger.  It's just fun to pull up a chair, sit down to a simple table, and enjoy the camaraderie of down-home people who are on the same wave length and same level as we.  Share good conversation, maybe crack a joke or two, and turn a stranger into an acquaintance that we may remember for a long time after.

Following retirement, I joyously purged the suits and dress clothes I wore to work.  In their place, now hang only comfy, loose-fitting slacks and tops that don't restrict or bind.  Life is too short for this chick to be uncomfortable.  I worship the Goddess of Elastic and thank her every day for her fine contribution to the female wardrobe.  When I watch teenage girls having to lay down on a bed so they can zip up their blue jeans, I shriek and I hurt.  I won't comment about the tiny underpants (or thongs) that the girls wear now days.  I will say, tho, that I myself wore thongs at one time, but I wore them on my feet!!!!

Have you noticed the yellow butterflies flitting around?  the crickets chirping?  Yup, autumn is creeping in.  The cornfields are turning from green to brown, and soon the combines will be gathering the harvest.  The Pampas Grass has made its regal appearance along the roadsides now, too.

Today's Trivia
Clusters of bananas are known as hands, consisting of 15 to 20 bananas, which are known as fingers. 

Friday, August 27, 2010

Trivia: Something of small importance

I enjoy trivia and have decided to include one bit of it here each day.  The trivia question or statement will appear at the bottom of each of my blogs. Trivia is a fun way to learn silly, actually unimportant things, yet is a neat way to incorporate fresh thoughts into the old noggin'.  Gets us to think about stuff we wouldn't ordinarily think about.   

This morning we're trolleying over to have my coumadin level tested.  The hike into the hospital will count as my walk for the day.  I'll walk from the hospital entrance to the clinic and back out.  Me and my trusty little walker, which I affectionately call my convertible. 

Okay, let's see what else I can jabber about here.  I'm reading the book "Jewel" that I picked up for a $1 at a local "elite repeat" store.  It has the Oprah Book Club stamp on the cover, which made me think it would be a very good read. The story unfolds in slow-paced Mississippi.  Jewel and her husband, Leston, have five children and then they have their sixth child, Brenda Kay, who is Mongoloid.  The author, Bret Lott, does an amazing job of tellling the story through Jewel's first-person voice, weaving the past with the present in a subtle, yet comprehendible, way.  Jewel carries within her scars of a painful past, yet since a little girl she chooses her moves carefully with a determined spirit to overcome anything life drops onto her.  A real page-turner. 

Before my surgery, I bought 5 books to get me through the ordeal.  "Jewel" is the fourth one I've read.  So, perhaps I will go to the local used-store for more.  The original prices on these books have ranged from $14.95 to $24.95, and I buy them for 50 cents or $1, depending if they're soft or hard cover.

Temperatures are supposed to rise again today, but right now we have the front door open and a cool air passes through the screen door making our house quite comfy.  Our little fur ball needs to go to her puppy salon, cuz she's huffing and puffing alot.  Bichons are adorable with long fur, but hers is so thick and curly, that she gets uncomfortably warm in this heat.  Poor little girl has taken the back seat to my surgery.  In the next week or two it will be her turn.

Today's Trivia
According to Japanese legend, a sick person will recover if they fold 1,000 of what type of origami?
Choose One Answer:  (a)  Dragon  (b)  Fish  (c)  Frog or (d)  Crane.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Smiling Faces

Isn't this cool early autumn air a wonderful reprieve from all the heat and humidity we've been dealing with.  This weather could stick around all year long, so far as I'm concerned. Surely is perfect for me to be out on the screened-in patio where I can sit comfortably and heal.  This spring my hubby planted a few sunflower seeds back of the house, and it was ironic how they welcomed me with big smiles when I returned home from the hospital. 

Am doing well, faithfully doing my p.t. exercises, walking, and activity as tolerated.  Those were the instructions from physical therapy and from my surgeon.  Lots of swelling, of course, but my hubby came up with a really slick way of putting ice on my upper leg.  He freezes bottles of water, then wraps them in a zip-loc and light towel, puts a rubber band around that to keep it nice and secure.  The bottle of frozen water stays frozen throughout the night and works alot better than the bags of frozen peas we used to use for ice packs. 

The walker we rented from public health didn't fit through our doorways, so yesterday we took it back and got a different one.  This one has wheels and tennis balls and works a whole lot better for me to get around.  I can negotiate steps with the help of a strong arm.  Of course, I'm only doing three steps to get in the house and out to the patio.  I'm not attempting the upstairs steps, as we don't have railings for me to hold onto.  That's a near-future project we'll be tending to.  The therapist told me how to remember which leg to use first going up and down steps.  Good takes you to heaven (up) and bad takes you to hell (down).  So, I use my good leg first to go up stairs, and my bad leg first to go down stairs.  Works slick. 

Yesterday we took a drive and checked out a new Alco Store that has been built in a nearby town.  My hubby pushed me around the store in a wheelchair so I could see what all they offered for sale.  We bought some fall flowers to spruce up the front of the house.  Guess it's about time I change my pansy wagon into an autumn wagon.  Funny how each season calls for its own distinctive style of decor.  Pansies in September just don't cut it. 

My surgery has been a good lesson in adapting to whatever life deals out in its next shuffle.  The older we get, the more we must swallow our pride and develop a sense of acceptance of what is at the moment.  If we are fortunate enough to get to the sixties, one had best buck up, chin up, and suck up the daily annoyances, aches, pains, and bodily changes that will continue to sneak up on us.  One of the reasons I opted for hip replacement surgery was my determination to be the best I can be and to get the most out of life I can get.  I was more than willing to tolerate the surgery and healing period to restore my ability to take a walk or get in and out of our boat so I can out-fish my life partner here.  (just couldn't resist that little jab)

So many people live in the past and keep dragging it along with them like a piece of toilet paper stuck onto the bottom of their shoe.  I say, to hell with the past.  It's gone, it's buried, it doesn't exist.  The only way it exists is through our own silly thinking.  Like listening to an old record over and over and over again.  Only we drive ourselves crazy with "what was" and we ourselves deprive ourselves of "what is."  I don't care if it's pain of the heart, pain of the body, or any other emotional pain.  We're all big kids, and Our Creator gave us a brain to use and to adjust and adapt to each new deal of the cards.  There ain't a day that one can't find something wonderful to oooh-and-aaah about.  Just like the leaves that are starting to drop to the ground.  Migod, the wonder of the seasons changing.  The miracle of a syncchronized universe that repeats itself over and over again. 

We have an evergreen tree beside our house that needs to be taken down because it's mostly dead.  But, it has stayed in its place only because it's where we have our bird feeders, and we can watch our colorful winged friends fly in for their meals.  To me, feeding the birds is more important than how the tree looks.  Oh, it will eventually get replaced, but I'm just saying that it's how we perceive things and how we allow our lives to be shaped by society's silly ettiquettes.  That tree is like me.  Wearing out, yet has good branches to lend support as best it can.  It still serves a purpose for the birds and the squirrels.  Life isn't about looks.  It's about value.   

Gee, the coffee tastes good this morning.  Am going to have some Cream of Wheat for breakfast to help get my strength back.  One serving supplies half of the daily iron requirements.  A few slices of banana adds a bit of potassium, too.  Gotta tend to my nutritional intake in order to get back to the real me.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sleep Tight.......

Have you read about the increase of bed bugs in the US?  The highly populated cities, like NYC, Detroit, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, etc., are experiencing the worst infestations.  It's my understanding that after World War II the bed bugs were controlled by DDT, but since that pesticide has been banned, the bugs have made a problematic come-back.  It's pretty much impossible to get rid of them without professional exterminators, and we thank heaven for those guys!!!

Sure makes me want to sleep in my own bed where I know the sheets are clean and the mattress is, too.  We used to enjoy going on vacations and staying in motels and resorts, never giving a thought to who slept in the bed the night before or what might me crawling around on the mattress.  Now, I guess my Germ-X Behavior, plus some years of added wisdom, have me toting my sleeping bag for over-nighters.  I nicely lay it out on the bed and sleep in/on it and not even let my skin touch the bed, and I also tote my own pillow.  But, I suppose, the bugs could still come home with me.  I read one article where they're advising people when traveling to put their luggage on a table and not on the floors in motel rooms.

Gotta share the story of our trip out east in 1971.  After a full-day tour of NYC, we bussed back to our brand-new Chevy Nova that we left in Wilkes-Berre, Pennsylvania.  The only place we could find to stay that night was in the nearby po-dunk town of Chinchilla.  We got a room for $15.  The shower was one of those old rusted metal ones, the water was rusty, and the sagging springs in the old iron bed dropped us practically onto the floor.  We were young and adventurous, and we had no choice if we wanted to get some rest after our exhausting day chasing around the Big Apple.  Migod, I cannot imagine what might have been scurrying around on that mattress, yet we slept like babies.

So often we see someone hauling an old mattress in the back of a pickup.  Buying used mattresses is not a smart idea.  I'd  sleep on the floor rather than sleep on some old stained mattress that some stranger slept on.   

It's my understanding that bed bugs have been feasting on us humans for thousands of years.  The ease of inter-continental travel is one reason that the bed bug problem has mushroomed.  Think I'm going to stay cozy in my own beddy-by and sing the song from the flea commercial on t.v.... "There ain't no bugs on me.  There ain't no bugs on me.  There may be bugs on someone else, but there ain't no bugs on me!"

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The new me.......

Am back home sporting a jazzy pizzazzy new hip.  Am pleased to say surgery went very well.  In addition to the arthritic deterioration, the surgeon also removed a cyst from the hip joint that was also a culprit. Now I have to be a good little girl and do my in-home physical therapy exercises and walk, walk, walk.  Before I left the hospital, my surgeon smiled and said, "Go on home and get on with living." 

Needing to use a walker and a cane really punctures my balloon, but I'm so grateful to have been fixed.  In order for me to walk up and down steps, I'm using my mother's cane. Mom was a strong and determined lady, and it's almost like I can feel her energy and spirit coming to me when I use it.

It's so good to be home.  There's no place like it in the whole wide world, that's for sure.  My hubby stood beside me throughout the ordeal, and it's oh so obvious our little fluff ball is tickled pink to have the three of us home together.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Taking a break......

Am taking a short break from my blogging.  Must tend to the pain that has robbed me of many days of active living.  I'm cautiously, and gratefully, putting myself in the hands of a skilled surgeon who has been gifted with amazingly generous talents.  Through him, I hope to get back my pep and energy, my self-worth, and the ability to walk pain-free.  There is no doubt that I am a benevolent host to the debilitating genes from my mother's side of the family.
To the right is a drawing of what my hip replacement device will look like. 

If I have appeared distant or have had to make decisions that disappointed others in the last while, please find it in your hearts to forgive me.  It's not my intention to disappoint anyone, but there comes a time when personal responsibility has to overshadow all others.  My road has not been an easy one, and I have a long road ahead of me in order to reach my personal goals.  I'm simply struggling to do the best that I can.

Please check back in a week. 


Open Wide!

Do other baby boomers remember that awful-tasting potion our mothers religiously gave us in the 1950s called cod liver oil?  To this day, my imagination can pull that experience up from the piles of memories and bring it front stage to where I can taste the stuff, smell the stuff, and still gag on the stuff.

That was back in the days when parents didn't take their kids to doctors unless we were missing a limb or were bleeding so badly there was no alternative but to let us die.  Cod Liver Oil was the elixir that could ward off pretty much most diseases and build strong bones and bodies.  We kids surely didn't have a choice if we wanted to take it or not.  It was a done deal before that despicable squeeze-dropper bottle got itself in the house and was carefully placed up on the second shelf of the kitchen cupboard above our junk drawer.  I can still envision that god-awful brown bottle sitting up there--just waiting to dole out my daily dose of penance.

Boy, hasn't the world changed in a short time!  Can parents today actually force a kid to do something like that?  Without human services coming in and calling it abuse?  Parental guidance was equaled to the guidance of the lord almighty back in the 1950s, and by god, if mother wanted me to take cod liver oil, then the world be damned, this little girl would take it.  Amen.

My kindergarten year, or Primary as it was called back then, I missed 60 days of school, despite the cod liver oil.  Bad tonsils overpowered me, and the oil, and they weren't about to be calmed down with a daily dose of that yuck.  It was then that my parents finally took me to the doctor.  Surgery was immediately scheduled to remove my tonsils and my adenoids.  In a Catholic Hospital, no less, where the halls swarmed with women flitting around in long black dresses, veils, and jingling rosaries in the guise of goodness.   Ether was the anesthetic of choice back then, and I still remember screaming and raising a holy fit on the operating table as the doctors held me down and tried smothering me with that nasty stuff. 

As luck would have it, the Catholic Hospital was jam packed with patients, so after they brought me out of surgery they parked my bed-on-wheels beneath a big statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at the end of the hall, with my head facing the statue.  As I was coming out of the anesthetic, I remember being really groggy, and the first thing I saw was Jesus with his arms outstretched in front of me.  I thought I was dead.  Right then and there I started puking up blood and it seemed to me that the entire hospital exploded into a cacophony of clamoring rosary beads and a flock of black bats flying around me. 

We can laugh and make fun of our childhoods and the way our parents raised us, but mine were a loving couple who only wanted the best for their kids.  We were poor as church mice, and my days as a little girl on the farm were mostly unsupervised, and I roamed  around the place like an untamed banshee.  My little feet were so tough.  I walked on stones like it was grass.  I got bit up by bugs, played in the dirt, stomped my bare feet in fresh rain puddles, picked night crawlers for fishing, and helped seine minnows, made mud pies, and accidentally stepped in more than a few fresh green mushy cow pies.  I was given a bath on Saturday nights, and the other nights I remember sitting on the porch cleaning the dirt out between my little toes before bedtime.

Now, after all that, is it any wonder that poor mother felt she needed to shove the cod liver oil into me?

Friday, August 13, 2010

There's a sleepy little town called Dover on the north shore of Lake Erie in southwestern Ontario, Canada, that will be very wide awake today.

Back in 1981, a biker called some of his friends, asking them to come up to a local bar to have a Friday, the 13th party.  About 25 bikers lined their bikes on the street outside the bar.  They pulled some tables together along one wall, and they had such a good time they decided they should do it again on the next Friday the 13th. 

Word of mouth spread the suggestion to other bikers, and since that day this gathering has grown into an event that draws tens of thousands of visitors and pumps millions of dollars into the local economy.  Local charities set up their services for that one day and can raise all their funds for a year. 

Today is the only Friday the 13th in 2010, and the celebration is expected to be the biggest ever.  Bikers fly their bikes in from Europe.  Extra staff are put on the border crossings at Windsor and Buffalo just to handle the visitors.  To make the east coast trip easier, there's a "Cruise the Coast" map available.  It's a map showing biker-preferred routes through the area, accommodations, events, restaurants, and more.  Go to http://www.cruisethecoast.ca/ to find out how to obtain a copy. 

What a cool way to enjoy this warm weather, and isn't nice to see Friday the 13th celebrated instead of feared!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Bee-Bopping Boogie!

Brain block.  That's what I have.  Maybe--just maybe--my mind is festering away with the heebie-jeebies, don't know.  Regardless, as a way to unlock my badly boggled brain, I asked my hubby to choose one letter from the alphabet and I'd blog about that letter.  He suggested B.

B is the first letter of my maiden name.  This gives me immediate thoughts about getting married and girls relinquishing their family name.  That's a hard thing to do.  One day we're one person.  The next day we're someone else.  Almost like an identity theft.  Nowdays girls can choose to stay with their maiden names.  The rules have laxed big time in most areas of being. 

The letter B is actually quite versatile, isn't it?  There are the insects we call bees.  There are spelling bees.  Quilting bees.  Toy guns shoot BBs.  The word "be" itself lends integrity to many classic quotations, such as "I've got to be me" and "To be or not to be."

Who decided to make the silent b in words, such as:  bomb, climb, crumb, comb, debt, doubt, dumb, lamb, limb, numb, plumber, subtle, thumb, tomb, and womb.  Actually, when a person thinks about it, our brains have to be mega-byted to be able to learn the intricacies of the English language, and imagine those who are multi-lingual like my daddy.  He spoke English, Czech and German.  Baffling!

There's the beloved BLT sandwhich that would really be nothing too satisfying without the B component.  I suppose that would be the vegetarian version.  Quite blah.

It's mind-boggling how the English language is made up of only 26 letters.  And, all the numbers are made out of just 0-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9 numerals.  Kinda cool that the first number that is spelled with a "b" is billion

This blog is silly, but it just goes to show how easy it is to unlock the brain.  I was able to come up with a daily blog by focusing on one of the 26 letters of the alphabet.  And, now the rest of the day my curious mind will be bouncing and bubbling because of that beckoning letter B.

Am going now to butter my banana bread for breakfast and be on my way for the day.  I'll leave with a bright thought......."Beautiful blue butterflies bask boisterously by a babbling brook."

Bye-bye and be careful not to get bit by a bumblebee or get hit by a BB!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Thought for H-o-t and H-u-m-i-d Days!

"Don't you remember? ......

       the snowflakes drifting down

 thick as the petals of wild plums......"

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Zuchinni Hot Dish Recipe

The humidity is dreadful.  There's an eerie stillness to the trees this morning, along with the oppressive mugginess.    

My yesterday's pre-op testing is behind me, and I'm all set for the surgery next Monday.  I've been coached on what to expect, and now the rest is up to me and the doctor.  I'm ready. 

I'd like to pass on a recipe for a zuchinni casserole that we really enjoy at our house.  Tis the season to enjoy this plentiful squash, and it's nice to have a variety of ways to serve them. 

Zuchinni Hot Dish

Saute:  3/4 c. diced carrots
           1/2 c. onion
           6 T. butter or margarine

Add the above to 1 medium zuchinni, diced.
Add 1/2 c. sour cream, 1 can Cream of Chicken Soup, and 2-1/2 c. seasoned croutons.  Bake at 350 for approx. 40 min.


Monday, August 09, 2010

Jitters and cute cukes!

About one inch of rain fell during the night, along with thunder and lightning.  We tend to hit the rack quite late these nights, so we carefully listened first to the thunder in the distance and as it gradually came closer and became louder.  The rain fell in sheets, with enough force to knock down one of our tall sunflowers in the backyard.  Now the morning sun shines, and nature and its creatures are oh so pleased to have gotten a refreshing bath. I think there's chance of heavy rains again tonight.

Today begins my pre-op stuff at the hospital.  I just received a phone call from the gal at the hospital who coordinates surgeries and informs patients of what they can expect.  She will meet with me this afternoon at 3 o'clock, with the goal of easing the apprehension that eats away at surgery patients.  A dear friend has given me a walker to use during this escapade, and I can't help but cringe when I look at the thing.  I can tell already that hip surgery is going to be one frickin' humbling experience. 

There's alot involved with having surgery that one doesn't stop to think about.  Like wearing the stupid surgical stockings to prevent blood clotting.  I'm being fitted for those today, as well.  They haven't said yet how long I'll have to wear them, but if they'll help me not croak, then I'll wear them.  I guess I just want to be able to walk again, and be my old self so badly, that I'm prepared to do whatever is necessary.  Life sucks when the joints wear out.  But, I'm not going to lay down and play dead just because some silly hip bone decides it's worn out. I also have a pre-op exam this afternoon with my family physician to check my blood pressure and my ticker.  For someone who absolutely despises going to doctors, this is no box of chocolates!

Right after we get this medical hooplah over with, then we're heading straight out to the local campground to be with the M's where a good stiff drink will await plus some good old-fashioned joking and laughter and love.  Knowing their company awaits me, I can get through pretty much anything.

To change to a lighter subject, this weekend I was introduced to a new garden goody.  The lemon cucumber.  Now, isn't that about the cutest?

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Stitch and Rock

I'ts early morning and already our outdoor thermometer reads 80 degrees.  Sure to be another hot, sticky, and basically miserable day.  Yet, a good day to burrow indoors, turn down the air conditioner to a lower temp, and read the Sunday Paper and nap.  My boyfriend offered to take me out for breakfast this morning, but it was I who thought the coffee at home tasted pretty darned good and so would a healthy bowl of Total with o.j. on the side.  Good and healthy choices once in awhile do add up to alot of good choices over time.

This morning as I walked past the small table in our livingroom, I glanced down at my mother's sewing  basket.  It is the coolest handwoven reed basket, and inside it I keep needles and various colored threads in case one of us pops a button.  I don't know if the basket was a gift to mom, or how else she might have acquired it. So many things I wish I would've asked my mother when she was alive.

A sewing basket must've meant a great deal to a young girl in the early 1900s.  Our mothers and grandmothers spent hours and hours repairing holes in socks, and knees of denim overalls, and flannel shirt sleeves.  They would rock back and forth in squeaky wooden rockers, quietly stitch and rock, stitch and rock.  What were they thinking?  Were they truly happy?  Or, did they put their feelings on the back burner and do whatever was necessary to care for their husbands and children? 

Mom used to tell me how she and gramma would cut fabric into pieces and sew quilt tops with needle and thread. They would sit in the evenings and do that when there was no television blaring in the background. The only bedspread I remember being on mom and dad's bed at home when I was a little girl was the Lone Star Quilt that she handmade as a young girl. That was their one and only bedspread for many years, and I still have what is left of the tattered and worn legacy that holds the sweet stitches she carefully made those many years ago. Maybe the quilt allows me to feel her touch and her presence, I don't know.

Time must've had a remarkable definition back then.  There were actually gaps in the days and evenings that needed filling with inspiration and creativity.  One generation carefully taught their skills to the next, and that was a beautiful thing.

When I went to high school my freshman year I took Home Ec and learned how to sew.  My parents bought me a very small portable Singer sewing machine, and as I learned in school, I came home and showed Mom how to trace a pattern, sew darts and facings.  For us, it was kinda backward in that I was showing her how.  We had lots of fun doing that, and Mom was a very good student and used that poor little black sewing machine for the rest of her life.  She used black electric tape to repair the cracked base, I remember.  Goes to show how things were made to last, plus that she was satisfied with forward and backward stitching and didn't ask for all the other fancy gadgets that sewing machines are adorned with today. 

Creativity gives life zest like lemon adds to water.  People don't realize that they're being creative when they choose their clothing and accessories.  Or, choose a  hairstyle.  It's all a matter of personal taste and pushing one's abilities another notch.  So often I hear people say they just aren't creative.  Oh, pshaw to that noise!  Yes they are.  Every single one of us is gifted. All we need is confidence in ourselves and to honor ourselves.  I'd rather try something and fail than never try at all.  (Isn't that why they make waste baskets and darkness?)  We can amaze ourselves with what we're able to do if there is even a spark of interest and a dash of enthusiasm.     

Those who came before us did what they had to do to keep on chugging.  These days I fear our generations are becoming far too needy and unmotivated.  None of us are entitled.  We are here to contribute and earn.  We are here to mend and repair the holes in the self-centered society we've unintentionally created.  If only the tools to do that were as simple as a needle and thread.

Saturday, August 07, 2010


"Pianos are such noble instruments --
they're either upright or grand."

Friday, August 06, 2010

Preserving the Goodness

The bounty of the earth is upon us.  Along with the bounty, comes the goodness of sharing.  Neighbors and friends offer the excess of their gardens to others, thereby maintaining and preserving the doctrine of good will.

Tonight we will be supping on wonderful BLTs and sweet corn.  The all-time favorite summer meal.  The tomatoes are ready, the vines sagging with the juices of ripeness.   The best part is preserving them for winter cooking in stews, chilis and casseroles.  I'm a semi-domestic, meaning that I take shortcuts and the least labor intensive process possible.  I simply cut up the tomatoes, put them in the blender, hit the button to smoosh them to a puree, pour into zip-lock baggies, and they're ready for the freezer.  Ever so simple, but ever so yummy. 

We freeze zuchinni, too.  Simply cut it up in small pieces,unpeeled, put in baggies, and freeze.  They add special taste to homemade vegetable soups.  I always think it's excellent for us to ingest home-grown vegetables that we know have not been tainted with harmful and disgusting chemicals. 

When the acorn squash are ready, we like to bake the scooped-out halves, then fill the centers with creamed mixed vegetables, and top with fried strips of bacon.  This makes for a nice presentation, as well as very delicious.  We bake the yellow butternut squash, too, scoop it out, and freeze in baggies. Before I bake it, I add brown sugar and butter.  Simple preparations.

Fresh salsa with chips is a great summertime appetizer or anytime-tizer.  I can make a meal out of that alone and sometimes do.  There are a gazillion recipes for salsa, blending tomatoes, onions, and peppers of varying degrees of heat.  Some like it hot.  Some don't.  I'm one that can tolerate a pretty zippy salsa, but when tears start falling down my face, well, then it's probably a titch too much.

Growing up on the farm, we, of course, had a half-acre garden, or so it seemed.  The garden was up on the hill in the field, so we either had to hike up there or take the car.  When it was time to bring down vegetables, we naturally drove up there because we brought down 5-gallon pails full.  I'd help pick the vegetables and then tip the beans and shuck the peas.  My interest in gardening never grew to proper proportions, simply because of my snake phobia.   Anywhere I was.....they were.  So, I grew up knowing that if I stay out of the weeds or the garden, I won't have to encounter them and suffer the phobic panic. 

It's no fun having a phobia like that.  It deprives a person of doing certain things we'd really like to do.  We have a creek that wanders through our back yard.  When we first got married, it was so fun going down to the creek.....until I realized it was territory that belonged to the wigglies.  I'll bet my neighbors have never seen me down by the creek, and that's the reason why.  Instead of putting myself through the trauma, I stay clear and as far away as possible of any potential encounter.

When I think about the countries where people are starving and children dying from malnutrition, I can't help but wonder why I am so fortunate to live where I live and have what I have.  Our daily frets so often obscure our life vision.  I don't know if it comes with age, but my sense of gratitude is growing by leaps and bounds.  I find myself being so thankful for my friends, for my home, for my family, for the birds that eat at our feeders, for the squirrels that drive my husband nuts, the bunnies that munch on our lawn, and for every single good thing that happens every day.  Maybe it's because time is growing shorter, I don't know.  But, it's critical to my day to say a small sincere prayer of thanks to the Great Spirit who has been so good to me. 

We are all inter-connected.  One kind act sets off a ripple effect, and where does it stop?  Perhaps it doesn't.  Maybe every kind deed creates a ripple with no end.  The simple gesture of sharing garden goodies is one such interconnection.  We nourish our bodies from the soil and toil of another, knowing it was given with love and thoughtfulness.  Now, what in this big troubled world of ours is neater than that!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Missing Hedgehogs

We carefully watch the newspapers and flyers that come in the mail luring shoppers to their store with bonanza sales.  So often those sales are bogus going-out-of-business sales that really don't amount to anything for the shopper.  So has been our experience.

Some years back we bought a livingroom couch and love seat that we felt was earthy, patterned with brown and various shades of green leaves, but after we got it situated it in our home it's attraction diminished quickly and both of us learned to dislike it alot.  So, yesterday we figured, aw heck, let's try again and head to the furniture store with the Lazy Boy sale. 

I'm not a shopper to begin with.  Unlike most women, I'd rather stay home than go to the mall.  But, anyway, we took time to see what was out there.  After browsing the store, each of us picking out possibilities, talking them over,discussing prices and repeating that process about five times, we both agreed on a new couch and chair for both our den and our livingroom.

Our intention was to go with light colors to lighten up our home.  But, once again common sense prevailed and our final decision will bring in darker tones.  Durability won out over glamour, as is always the case with us.  I guess if a person has common sense, you might as well use it.

For a couple of years, our little fur-girl has been missing her favorite toy hedgehog, that we named Harley.  She had it since she was a tiny puppy, and we could tell her to go find Harley and she would run find him and bring him to us in her mouth.  Like a little retriever.  When Harley came up missing, we about ripped the house apart looking for him.  We thought maybe we left him in our camper when we traded it in, so we replaced Harley with another stuffed hedgehog.  Well, it wasn't long before we were looking for that one.  He was nowhere to be found.  The next time we visited the pet store, a third stuffed hedgehog came home with us in the hopes that we could once and for all replace Harley and the four of us could live happily ever after.  Well, the same sprites that steal socks must've been scooting around the corners of our home, cuz hedgehog #3 came up missing as well.  Frustrated as we were, we didn't alert the cops, because we thought this had to be an inside job.

And, it evidently was.  Yesterday the hubby was checking out our double-reclininer couch in the den when he reached down inside of the split cushions and pulled out Harley #2.  Hurrah!  He reached in again, found Harley #3.  Hurrah hurrah!  And, the whole house shook when he pulled out Harley #1 that had been lovingly patched by my hubby's mother.  Now, who do you suppose hid her Harleys 1, 2 and 3?  I kinda think the mystery is solved, especially after seeing the look on her face when her daddy discovered them!

Can't wait for our new furniture to be delivered, and I'm especially pleased with the money we saved.  Surprisingly, it was a true blue sale, and Lazy Boy is a brand well known for its good wear.  Sales like that don't come around every day.  I figure any money not spent, is money earned.  I've learned there's a big difference between labeling someone "tight" and labeling someone a "smart shopper."  As my dear mother would say, "A fool and his money are soon parted."  Having been raised with that sort of guidance in spending, I'm more than satisfied to be the smart shopper who checks prices twice, compares prices, and sometimes decides I really don't need the item after all.

Oh, by the way, we're going to keep a very close eye on our newly discovered litter of stuffed hedgehogs!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Look What I See......

When I ponder the privileges of having been gifted with a human life of my very own, I'm forced to my knees when I think about the significance of our senses.  Sight.  Isn't it absolutely unreal how two small orbs inside our head can give us so much pleasure and guidance during our stay here on Earth. 

Garden Elegance

A Lonely Lily Pad

Our Summer Sanctuary

A Miniature Niagara

Deer Dining at Dusk

"Sight is by much the noblest of the senses.
We receive our notices from the other four,
through the organs of sensation only.
We hear, we feel, we smell, we taste by touch.
But sight rises infintely higher.
It is refined above matter,
and equals the faculty of Spirit."
                     --Laurence Sterne

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

My First Bike

The year was 1953.  Rural America.  First bicycle received for Christmas.  Blue and Yellow.   I was the happiest girl in the whole USA. 

Spring arrived.  Bike parked on front porch of our old stone house.  I didn't know how to ride it.  The rest of the family was too engulfed in farming to listen to my whines for help to learn.  Already at that age, a stubborn spirit was growing inside of me.  

One day something in me popped.  Our house was on the top of a decline, with the farm buildings below the house.  Stones and packed dirt made for a lawn.  Thoughts of not being loved, nobody caring about me swarmed through my tiny brain until I'd had it with my family.  If they didn't care enough about me, I'd manage on my very own. 

Like it was yesterday, I remember guiding the bike off the porch, finding 'the' spot, straightening the handlebars and wheels, confidently putting my butt up on the seat, my hands on the handlebars, putting my feet on the pedals and taking off with my long pony tail bouncing behind me.  Speed built to where I had to take my feet off the pedals, and I got so scared I froze.  No control.  At a good clip, me and my bike plowed right smack dab into the corn crib.

Funny how family members can respond to yelps and cries and screams of terror.  All three of them came flying from different directions to see if I was dead.  For their sake, I wish I had been.  I was skinned up and bleeding, but not bad enough for anyone to pick me up and carry me to the house.  But my beautiful Schwinn was no longer beautiful.  I'd busted out the reflector light, twisted the tires, the handlebars were screwed up, and lord knows what all.  The bike never was the same, because it was merely straightened out to where I could ride it and that was the end of it. 

From then on I turned into a fearless biker who could tackle any of the hills on the farm, could fly down our quarter-mile driveway at defying speeds, and come screeching into the yard with stones flying.  I had more accidents, some that were pretty scary.  But, none of them got the best of me.  Just goes to show the value of stubborn determination.  All these years there's been a little chip perched on my shoulder that I can't seem to brush off.  I still think one of the three could've taken a little time away from doing chores to devote to the preciously adorable, sweet, and loving little piece of sugar that lived with them.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Buck Up, Girl

I've decided to openly share a soon-to-be event in my life.  Recently I turned 64, and as we all know, that's no small number on the life ruler.  I'm also going to humbly confess that there were years that I actually thought I could fool Mother Nature and be the first person in human history to skate through the aging process, remain forever young, and maintain lasting good health.

Well, here I am pushed up against a wall facing distressing reality.  Mother Nature has slapped me on the head as a consequence for my selfish notions. 

With that said, let me share that two weeks from today I will be having total hip replacement surgery done on my right hip.  I've chosen to have the anterior approach, minimally invasive procedure, and the fangs of fear are biting at me like the teeth of a pit bull ripping my leg to shreds. 

I tell myself it's okay to be scared.  After all, my main frame is going to be sawed into and part of it replaced with a couple pieces of metal.  I asked my doctor if my legs will be the same length when it's over, and he smiled and said to me, "Do you have something against changing your name to Eileen?"

Yup, I'm facing the use of a walker for awhile.  Now, that's hurts the vanity within.  But, you know what, if it's gonna help me get me back to where I can walk around the block or walk around the mall without that nasty jab of pain, then I'm gonna be a big girl and do as the doctor prescribes.  Maybe I'm feeling the need to openly admit to fearing the surgery-- fearing that I might need blood, and fearing the realization that this is really going to happen to me, when it should only be happening to 'old' people.  That darned thing called 'fear' can really cause havoc with our heads and our days.  Wasn't it Woody Allen who said, "I don't like to be afraid.  It scares me."

My surgeon was carefully chosen.  I think we occupied his time for over an hour.  That's how long it took him to answer my list of questions.  Prior to our appointment, I'd done my homework and watched virtual and real videos of hip replacement surgery and read every article and forum I could find about it.  Some of my questions piqued the surgeon's interest, like how would I know to ask that.

Thousands of baby boomers are having successful joint replacement surgeries every year, and, so, I'd best buck up and be a brave girl.  It's simply my turn.  Medical science, along with the skillful doctors and nurses who devote their lives to helping humanity, give us opportunities that those of other generations wouldn't have dreamt of.  There were no surgeries available to help my gramma's arthritic pain and suffering.  So instead of harboring anxiety and fear, I've got to get myself tuned to the right station and listen to the music of scientific discovery and let myself be healed by its amazing powers. 

We are having a wedding in the family in October.  My nephew is getting married.  My goal is to be able to take hold of my husband's arm and walk pain-free down the aisle to our assigned seat without other assistive devices (other than the arm of a handsome usher).  It's good to have something like that to shoot for, cuz it gives a person the incentive to work hard to be the very best we can be.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Ali's Suggestion

Awhile back I asked for suggestions about what to call someone who isn't a morning person and isn't a night person......well, I just went through the comments, and found one from Ali......she suggests we call them Bedbums. 

So, another of the world's problems has been solved. 

People who function best in the morning are Morning Stars.
People who sleep late and function best until later in the day are Bedbums.
People who function best at night are Night Owls.

Hey, thanks, Ali.....and, I'm with you.  Nothing like snuggling in and taking a whole lot more winks!!!!!

Fascinating Anagrams

Yesterday I read the book "Bee Season" by Myla Goldberg.  It's a story about a young girl with amazing word-spelling ability who manages to win spelling bees.  On page 170 of the book is the sentence,  "Within EARTH, there is HEART."  Isn't that a wonderful anagram?  That's all it took for my mind to now be saturated with thoughts about words and phrases that have the same letters.  So far this morning I've found some really neat ones....

The eyes = they see

Tom Cruise = So I'm Cuter

Debit Card = Bad Credit

A Decimal Point - I'm a Dot In Place

Clothes Pins = So Let's Pinch

Dormitory = Dirty Room

Statue of Liberty = Built to Stay Free

Astronomer = Moon Starer

The United States of America = Attaineth Its Cause, Freedom

Conversation = Voices Rant On

Saddam Hussein = Human Sad Side

Eleven Plus Two = Twelve Plus One

Listen = Silent

A Domesticated Animal = Docile, As a Man Tamed It

Garbage Man = Bag Manager

Now I'm liked a caged tiger, wanting to sink my teeth into the fresh meat of new anagrams.  What should I do.......GOOGLE?   or   GO OGLE?

Ta-ta and have a sweet Sunday.