Monday, February 28, 2011

Short Blog

This morning I tossed out the possibility of us spending some vacation time this summer inside the Wisconsin State Capitol Building.  Seems as though the public is welcome to do that for free.  BOP......bring own pillow!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Answers Are Everywhere

Mother Nature sprinkles answers to life all around us, with the hope that we'll recognize and learn from them.  This poor little tree, growing inside an old silo, is a good example.
  • Does this tree have the perfect life......safe and protected from man, beast, and harsh weather conditions?
  • Or, has this tree grown faster than normal in order to reach the sun?  leaving it weak and unable to ever care for itself like the trees growing out in the open?
  • Will this tree ever be productive and useful?
  • Is it lonely?  

    Saturday, February 26, 2011

    How would you like to be my guest blogger? 

    I'm inviting my readers to contribute a guest blog for my retirednatureweaver blog site.  You may share your viewpoint about an issue or topic.  Write about what you truly feel and speak from your life experience or simply share a recipe or a tip that might be useful for the rest of us.  My blog is anonymous, so you will need to come up with a "handle" like my Nature Weaver. 

    Guest blog guidelines:
    • The post must be original and must have never been published before on the Internet.
    • The post must not have been published anywhere else (i.e., in your own blog or as a guest post in other blogs).
    If you are interested, please email me at nature.weaver@yahoo.com (notice the "dot" between nature and weaver).  Please consider giving this a whirl.  My blog is very down-home, as you know, and all I ask is that there be no profanity, vulgarity, or discriminating or derogatory comments.  All submissions will be reviewed by Nature Weaver, and between the two of us we will decide when your post will be published so you can tell your friends and family to tune in. 

    My blog is about sharing thoughts, ideas, and insights.....we all see life from different angles, and here's your chance to share yours.  Don't be shy.  Your post will not be published until both of us agree that it's ready to hit the screen. 

    C'mon, let's have some fun!  I'll be waiting to hear from you.  : )

    Ta-ta      Nature Weaver

    "When I see birches bend....."

    Robert Frost's poem, Birch Trees, came to my mind yesterday as we drove past these weary trees, laden with ice.  Can we compare ice storms to life's hardships that get us down?



    Friday, February 25, 2011

    Deployed to Afghanistan

    Just received the first email sent by our niece who was recently deployed to Afghanistan.  She is in the USAF and is nearing her retirement, but had to make one more trek to the Mideast.  We are incredibly proud of her, although I sent her an email back telling her to get her sweet little red head back home to her hubby in Colorado so we don't have to worry about her.

    Along with her email, she attached 12 single-spaced typed diary pages of her first week story so family back home can get a glimpse of what her life is like over there.

    The Mideast is violently ratcheting up its unrest.  What sorrow to send our military over to a place that doesn't know the meaning of peace in the first place.  Isn't it ironic that the supposed birthplace of humanity and religion is a bubbling cauldron of dictatorship, deceit, despair and death for the innocent people living there. 

    We will continue to cling tight to the belief that maybe......just maybe.......one little prayer on our part will hold within it the power to protect the destiny of someone's son or daughter who has been sent over there to intercede for human dignity and justice.

    Please Be Safe, Little Red! 

    Thursday, February 24, 2011

    Sounds

    Ten sounds that I really like listening to (besides the voices and arf-arfs of those who love me) are these.......
    • Wren singing.
    • Coffee pot perking.
    • Piano music.   
    • Daytime thunderstorms (non-violent, of course).
    • People laughing and joking around with one another. 
    • Wind chimes tinkling in a summer breeze. 
    • Mourning dove cooing. 
    • Hot dog roasting on a campfire, bursting open and its juices fizzing in the fire.
    • Champagne cork popping.
    • Silence.

    Wednesday, February 23, 2011

    The Buddy Plan

    A few months back we bought two lots on our church cemetery and picked out our gravestone.  Neither of us want a big fancy marker, so we chose a simple black stone from India.  Today we are going to the memorial company to decide on the style of lettering for our names.  Twenty years ago, this would have seemed a morbid thing to do, but now it feels okay and isn't scary at all. 

    Then there's the decision about burial vs. cremation.  The thought of being locked inside a box with six feet of ground on top of me is enough to make me insane.  Being put in an oven and frying to a crisp is hardly an appealing alternative, but at least it takes away those paralyzing claustrophobic fears.  Besides that, I really don't like the idea of another generation possibly digging me up in a thousand years and putting me on display like King Tut.

    Our wish is for The Buddy Plan, where the three of our ashes (fuzzy one included) will be put in one wooden box so no one has to be alone forever.  My husband is concerned that I may die first and he won't know what to do with my ashes until he goes.  I told him he can just put me and my little wooden box in the closet and I promise to be quiet.....I can see that there are more details we have to work out yet!

    While we're on this subject, did you hear about the man and his ever-nagging wife who went on a vacation to Jerusalem.  While they were there, the wife passed away.  The undertaker told the husband, "You can have her shipped home for $5,000, or you can bury her here, in the Holy Land, for $150."  The man thought about it and told him he would just have her shipped home.

    The undertaker asked, "Why would you spend $5,000 to ship your wife home, when it would be wonderful to be buried here and you would only pay $150?"

    The man replied, "Long ago a man died here, was buried here, and three days later he rose from the dead.  I just can't take that chance."

    Tuesday, February 22, 2011

    Crumbly Pancakes

    My Mom used to make us kids Schmorum, an old Czech recipe for crumbly pancakes.

    3 eggs
    1 c. milk
    salt
    3/4 c. flour
    1/2 tsp. baking powder

    Beat the ingredients together, pour in a hot skillet with a tablespoon oil.  Mix and brown into big crumbles.  Serve with syrup.

    Monday, February 21, 2011

    Sign of Spring

    Guess what we saw yesterday?

    Yup, robins.  Two of them were sitting in our backyard between a tree and the gas tank.  Poor little souls, I felt so sorry for them in the freezing rain that glazed everything over with ice.  I always feel so sorry for the creatures who don't have a roof over their heads like I do.  Too much compassion makes for lots of heartache.

    We are up earlier than usual.  For the life of me, I don't know how we responded to that frickin' alarm clock all those many years, got up every morning at 5 o'clock to get to work by 8.  Sleeping until I feel like getting up is probably my #1 retirement perk. The reason we are up early is because it is dentist day. 

    Before seeing the dentist, each patient must fill out two pages of personal information.  Two blanks will be left blank...social security and driver's license #s.  Having worked in the office environment my whole life, I'm quick to critique page formatting.  There simply wasn't enough room to write in what medications we take.  I had to write small, use arrows and lines to separate one med from the other.  Something so simple just drives me nuts.

    The road crews are out tending to the icy highways.  We can hear the county's large trucks going through town.  Would imagine schools will either be two hours late or there won't be classes at all.  We're skeptical about being out on the roads in this kind of weather and just might call and cancel our appointment.  If it isn't an emergency, it's kinda silly for people our age to be out on the highways.  From now until spring, there will be some less-than-desirable weather days.  The gravel roads get mushy, and mud ruts make driving a real mess.  It's pretty hard keeping vehicles clean. Saturday we noticed the long lines at the automatic car washes.

    The robins give us hope for early spring.  Our Bichon's black nose starts turning pink when she doesn't get enough sunshine over winter.  Bichons are that way.  When she'll be out in the sunshine more, her nose will return to its original jet black color.  Isn't nature fascinating?

    Sunday, February 20, 2011

    February, the Spring of Genius

    Throughout history, February has been a month of some fascinating events and human turning points.

    In February of.....
    • 1884 First volume of the Oxford English Dictionary, A-Ant, published.
    • 1898 First auto insurance policy in US issued by Travelers Insurance Company.
    • 1926 Land at Broadway & Wall Street sold at a record $7 per square inch.
    • 1949 RCA released first single 45 rpm record.
    • 1954 First TV soap opera "Secret Storm" premiered.
    • 1863 Samuel Clemens became Mark Twain for first time.
    • 1892 The bottle cap with cork seal patented by William Painter in Baltimore.
    • 1935 The lie detector was first used in court.
    • 1955 First Presidential news conference on network TV - Eisenhower on ABC.
    • 1959 Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper died in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa.
    • 1982 "Late Night with David Letterman" premiered on NBC.
    • 1991 US postage was raised from 25 cents to 29 cents.
    • 1914 Cub Scouts founded in England.
    • 1690 The first paper money in America issued in the colony of Massachusetts.
    • 1876 Albert Spalding, with $800, started sporting goods company, manufacturing the first official baseball, tennis ball, basketball, golf ball, and football.
    • 1913 the Income Tax was first levied by US Congress.
    • 1877 The piano piece "Chopsticks" was copyrighted.
    • 1957 The electric typewriter placed on sale in Syracuse NY.
    • 1850 Adding machine with depressible keys patented, New Paltz NY.
    • 1870 First motion picture shown to a theater audience, Philadelphia.
    • 1922 Reader's Digest magazine first published.
    • 1969 US population reached 200 million.
    • 1971 Alan Shepard and Edward Mitchell (Apollo 14) walked on Moon for 4 hours.
    • 1978 Fred Newman made 88 consecutive basketball free throws blindfolded.
    • 1935 The board game "Monopoly" went on sale for the first time.
    • 1943 Shoe rationing began in US (could purchase up to 3 pairs in 1942).
    • 1964 Beatles arrived at New York's JFK International Airport for their first American tour.
    • 1879 Sanford Fleming first proposed adoption of a Universal Standard Time, by dividing the world into 24 equal time zones, with standard time within each zone.
    • 1926 Walt Disney Studios was formed.
    • 1863 Fire extinguisher was patented by Alanson Crane.
    • 1877 US Weather Service established.
    • 1969 the world's largest airplane, Boeing 747, made first commercial flight.
    • 1956 "My Friend Flicka" premiered on CBS TV  (later NBC)
    • 1961 Niagara Falls hydroelectric project began producing power.
    • 1752 Benjamin Franklin helped establish the Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation's first hospital.
    • 1852 the first British public female toilet opened on Bedford Street, London.
    • 1943 Ottawa imposed severe wartime gasoline rationing of 10 gallons a month for every private car.
    • 1635 America's first public school was established--the Boston Latin School.
    • 1895 Moving picture projector patented.
    • 1959 Barbie Doll went on sale.
    • 1919 United Parcel Service formed.
    • 1924 IBM Corporation founded by Thomas Watson.
    • 1963 First successful kidney transplant.
    • 1842 Postage stamps with adhesive on the back were sold for the first time at the NYC post office.
    • 1903 First teddy bear introduced in America, made by Morris & Rose Michtom.
    • 1926 Contract air mail service began in US.
    • 1950 Walt Disney's "Cinderella" released.
    • 1838 Kentucky passed law permitting women to attend school under certain conditions.
    • 1878 The Silver Dollar was introduced as a US coin.
    • 1838 "Ladies Home Journal" began publication.
    • 1968  America's first 911 phone system went into service in Haleyville, AL.
    • 1881 Kansas became the first state to prohibit all alcoholic beverages.
    • 1906 W.K. Kellogg and Charles B. Bolin incorporated Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company, Battle Creek, MI.
    • 1913 Prizes were inserted into a Cracker Jack box.
    • 1960 "Family Circus" cartoon strip debuted.
    • 1872 Luther Crowell patented a machine that manufactured paper bags.
    • 1842 First known sewing machine patented in US, John Greenough, Washington DC.
    • 1878 The first US telephone directory was distributed (District Telephone Co., New Haven, CT).
    • 1968 Baseball announced a minimum annual salary of $10,000.
    • 1983 Donald Davis ran 1 mile backwards in 6 minutes 7.1 seconds.
    • 1854 First meeting of the Republican Party, Michigan.
    • 1860 First organized baseball played in San Francisco for the first time.
    • 1879 Frank W. Woolworth opened his first store in Utica, NY.
    • 1935 Airplanes no longer permitted to fly over the White House.
    • 1868 First US parade with floats (Mardi Gras, Mobile AL)
    • 1938 Nylon's first commercial use in toothbrush bristles.
    • 1862 Paper currency (greenbacks) introduced in US by President Abraham Lincoln.
    • 1863 Congress created the national banking system, comptroller of currency.
    • 1879 Two American chemists discovered saccharin (artificial sweetener).
    • 1912 First ever parachute jump from an airplane.
    "Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius."  -Pietro Aretino   

    Saturday, February 19, 2011

    Regrets

    Do I have any regrets in life? 
    • I regret not going to college.  Forty-seven years of my 64 years of life were spent in a workforce environment that openly demeaned me for being "uneducated" because I didn't have a college degree.
    • I regret not moving away from my home town.  I've always wondered what it would be like to be welcomed back home.   
    Those are the two biggies on my list of regrets.  Maybe all of us have regrets that we don't talk about, but it's good to openly admit them and address them.  I think it's common for all of us to say, "If I only knew then what I know now."

    Regrets are silly, really, because they hold hindsight.  Our minds play tricks on us all of the time, trying to make us feel deprived of this or that.  But, just maybe life, for each of us, turns out exactly as it was pre-destined to be.  What we feel deprived of might have been the worst thing for us.  We cannot allow our minds to play the "what if" game with us.

    I sit here in my home of 43+ years, and I am so immensely comfortable within its walls, that I couldn't fathom a life anywhere else.  Every wall, every window, every cupboard, every door, every room holds memories of a marriage between two high school classmates.  We went to high school together, we tagged up and formed a life together, and we worked our butts off to get to where we are today.  Nothing came easy to us, nothing was handed to us on a gold platter, and maybe that's why we cherish our home the way we do. 

    As I look back on each of the decades, I can see myself facing life differently.  When I was in my thirties, I was so immersed in my career that nothing else mattered much to me.  In my forties, I was wound like a kite fighting to stay young and never hit the 50 mark.  On my 50th birthday, I grabbed hold of life's reins and vowed never ever to get old like others get old.  When I reached 60, I found myself retired and enjoying life like never before. What I dreaded most, turned out to be the best.  My job no longer controlled my life.  It was I who decided what time to go to bed, get up in the morning, and how to fill the daytime hours.

    Life has a domino effect.  We knock the decades down, one by one, but we ultimately end up retired, tired, and free to be ourselves and do what we want to do.  We are our own keepers. 

    If I want to entertain the two regrets in my life, well, then, I can sit around and drown in my soup of sorrows.  But, if I choose to erase my regrets, I can slip on my slippers of luxury and thank My Creator for keeping me from a degreed education and keeping me in my home town.  Both of my regrets are actually two of my biggest blessings.  If I had gone away for an education, then I wouldn't have married my best friend, and I wouldn't have been here for my family when they needed me.  I gave much of my life away to stand beside those who needed support and love.  And, now that I'm pushing 65, I am thrilled beyond belief that I stayed near my home base and lived my life with those that fulfilled me as a human being.  Selfishly, I could wish to have done more with my life, but I choose to believe that My Creator needed me right where I am. 

    So often throughout the years I have questioned My Creator's way of doing things, but the older I get, the more I understand the Grand Scheme of Things.  There isn't one situation that hasn't worked itself out for the better.  It may take years to unfold, but it will and it has.  That is where faith enters the picture.  We simply must have faith in the Grand Plan, live out our days as best we can, where we are, and look ahead to when the pieces of the puzzle will all land in their rightful place. 

    When I really think about it, I honestly have to say that I do not have any regrets.  Despite the pains of loss we experience along the way, there is a joy that eventually wins out.  The best strategy is putting one foot in front of the other, taking one breath after another, and forging ahead in whatever life situation we find ourselves in.  There is absolutely no question that we will arrive at the perfect place pre-destined for us to be.

    Friday, February 18, 2011

    How Rich Am I?

    The global economy has America flustered and frustrated.  Every day the media bombs us with new explosions of unemployment, rising food prices, and how people owe more on their homes than the homes are worth.  Budget cuts, job cuts, foreclosures, and increasing costs of education are the big battlefronts for most young families.  Health insurance premiums are taking the middle-class down deeper every year.

    How about we take a few minutes to regroup and look at ways we can be rich without even the mention of money.
    • Rich in friends--if we cultivate and nurture friendships, and if we're fun to be around, we can acquire a large circle of friends.  The longer we have a friend, the dearer they become to us.
    • Rich in health--If we eat in moderation, if we keep moving, and if we avoid the things that cause us stress, we can be physically and mentally healthy.  My daddy used to say that good health was the only real wealth in the world.
    • Rich in strength--If we face life's adversities head-on, we will build up a spiritual strength to deal with what comes into our lives and those we love.  A shared burden is always lighter. 
    • Rich in family--If we devote time to our spouses, children, parents, brothers and sisters, we will be richly blessed with a loving family, ready to stand beside us.  When a family member shoves us to the lions, the shove hurts far more than the lion's bite. 
    • Rich in knowledge--If we continue to read and study, we will become rich in knowledge.  There is no Knowledge Tax, and we can continue to learn throughout life and acquire a huge bank account of knowledge.  It cannot be stolen or taken away from us.  It can be said that perhaps knowledge is the one thing we might be able to take with us to Heaven.
    • Rich in skill--Whatever we practice doing on a daily basis (a skill, a sport, whatever), we will excel in that area.  We all feel good when we are good at something.   
    • Rich in character--If we work hard at being honest and truthful with everyone, we will become rich in character and everyone will trust us. Without that trust, what is there?   
    It's healthy, once in a while, to weigh over our core assets.  One way to do this is to ask ourselves how we would feel if they were suddenly taken away from us.

    Thursday, February 17, 2011

    YouTube Classroom

    YouTube is a great learning tool for those of us who are retired, but want to continue learning new things. 

    The women in my ancestral past were fabulous weavers, and I grew up watching them work their looms turning balls of rags into amazing throw rugs.  So, it comes as no surprise that weaving holds a sacred spot in my heart and my hands.

    Yesterday I watched a YouTube video showing how to finger weave a friendship bracelet.  Using eight strands of yarn and following closely the YouTube directions, I taught myself how to finger weave this red and white bracelet.  The next one will need to be woven tighter, but at least now I know how to maneuver the eight strands of yarn to end up with this pattern.

    When I go to bed at night, it feels so incredibly good knowing that today I taught myself how to do something I have never done before.

    
    

    Wednesday, February 16, 2011

    March Flower: Daffodil

    The daffodils are up.......upstairs, I mean. 

    In our basement, lies a treasury of fabric flowers for all seasons.  A couple of days ago we brought up this sweet sprinkling can of daffies and placed it on our kitchen island. This mosaic sprinkling can charmed me the second I saw it sitting on a thrift store shelf.   Anything mosaic catches my eye, so this was one of those special finds I just had to bring home with me.

    As the seasons change and new years unfold, I take apart wreaths and bouquets from previous years and transform them into entirely new arrangements.  Last year's bouquets won't be recognizable this year, although the flowers will be the same.  I take my trusty little pliers, snip off stems, mix new colors, add ribbons and greenery to create new patches of posies for around the house and patio.

    It's fairly well impossible to be around daffodils and not feel a tickle of joy deep down inside.

    Each time a Guardian Angel
    sees a good deed being done--
    A special springtime kindness,
    or a prayer said for someone.
    She plucks a star from heaven,
    and it floats to earth until
    it blooms in all its glory,
    as a golden daffodil!
    --Author Unknown


    I'm a little daffy dill
    Sent to earth to fill
    A vase upon your window sill!
    by Nature Weaver
    

    Tuesday, February 15, 2011

    Anxious for Spring!

    Boy, the owners of this harbor-front property will have quite a shock when they see what the beavers have done to the pretty tree in front of their summer home! 

    Yesterday we took a trolley along the Mighty M.  The temperature was in the 40s, and at times we rolled down our windows to feel and inhale deep breaths of fresh air.  Felt wonderful.

    Every year when it gets to mid-February, the doldrums hit me.  My bare feet crave the feel of soft green grass, and they want to be dangled off a dock into water.   

    Both of us are chomping at the bit to take our Misty Harbor boat out on the Mighty M or on one of the man-made lakes that are within twenty-five miles from home.  We pack a picnic lunch, bottled water, our poles and bait, and off we go.  The fuzzy one tags right along and is game for anything we are. 

    The first one to catch a fish buys ice cream cones on the way home!  That's another one of those win-win deals, and I'm more than happy to buy!  If the fish aren't biting and we're both skunked, well, we stop for ice cream cones anyway.  

    Monday, February 14, 2011

    Happy Valentine's Day!

    "We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love."  -Author Unknown


    Sunday, February 13, 2011

    Pie Rich in Vitamin C

    Three of the best things in life are:
    1. Peace of mind
    2. Peace of heart
    3. A piece of pie.
    Sitting on our kitchen cupboard is a store-bought graham cracker pie crust.  In its crinkled aluminum tin and plastic cover.  Here are the steps to the cream pie that I'll be putting together here in just a few minutes.
    •  In a bowl, mix up a box of Instant Vanilla Cream Pudding, according to directions (sugar-free, optional).
    • Spoon the pudding into the graham cracker pie crust.  Allow pudding to set.
    • Top with a layer of Cool Whip.
    • Sprinkle generously with chopped Heath Bars.
    • Refrigerate.


    Ta-ta.  Gotta get to the kitchen!

    Saturday, February 12, 2011

    Love Is a Fortune

    Until my last breath, I won't understand the power of the calendar.  How it dictates our human interactions with one another. 

    My personal spin on Valentine's Day is this:  please love me the other 364.  That's the best gift any man can give a lady...and any lady can give a man.  Plain.  Simple.

    Hallmark, florists, and chocolate factories are the February profiteers, because the cards will be tossed, the flowers will die, and the candy will be eaten.  The gestures fade, and everything goes back to how it was on February 13th. 

    In our home, we have always taken the road less traveled when it comes to gift-giving.  When we were first married and money was something we didn't have, on Christmas Eve we would each take a blank check out of the checkbook, write a check out to the other for $1,000, have a big-todo of exchanging them, and then we'd lovingly burn them in our fireplace.  Not only was it fun, each of us could honestly say we got $1,000 for Christmas!

    The gifts that are given throughout the year, for no special reason, are the ones, from personal experience, that outweigh all others.  They don't have to cost a lot of money.  Women just need to feel the love.  Men need to feel the love.  We spouses and significant-others have the responsibility to make sure the other feels that love.  We can't assume the other half knows how we feel.  We have to somehow convey our feelings.  Plain.  Simple.

    In these difficult economic years, if couples don't have extra money to buy a Valentine's present for the other, one sweet gesture can be made with an ordinary jar, paper, and pen.  Take the time to write 365 messages of love, put them in the jar, and each day of the year your loved one can be reminded of the love the two of you share.  (The effort itself will knock the socks off the recipient.)  On the outside of the jar, write/type something like:

    To last throughout the coming year,
    here is a jar of fortune cookies just for you,
    365 folded up inside
    to start the day anew.
    Just choose one to read each day,
    and know I Love You in every way!

    Some examples for sayings could be:

    Even when we're far apart,
    you're always in my heart.

    Wherever I go, whatever I do, I carry with me, a little part of you.

    I love your smile.

    Thank you for being you.

    I love the way you love me.

    Your are my greatest gift.

    Please grow old beside me.

    
    The sweetest messages are the ones that are intimate and hold special meaning between only two people.  Toss in some jokes, a tease or two, being careful to aim for only smiles or happy tears, and repeat messages are okay.  I swear the most loving gifts my matie ever gave me were picked in the woods, carved by his knife, or stemmed from his day-to-day tolerating my silly antics that I'm afraid only he would put up with.  Plain.  Simple.

    Friday, February 11, 2011

    Mother Nature's Amen

    Yesterday a gal was telling me that when she plants flowers in one place in her house yard, the flowers will blossom white.  She said she planted a purple iris in this place, and, sure enough, it blossomed white.  She has tried this with several different kinds of flowers.  Same result.  The flowers retain their original fragrance, but blossom white. 

    What would be the reason for that?  If anyone has a clue, please leave a comment. 

    Pink Peony
    I miss the flowers during our months of winter weather.  Can't wait for June when our two peony bushes in the back yard explode into big pink puffy blossoms.  The peony fragrance is so strong-flavored that it works its way onto our screened patio.  Aroma therapy, that's what it is.  When the peony petals start falling to the ground, I collect them in a small crystal bowl to dry on our living room coffee table.  

    Red Rose Bush
    White Clover Blossoms
    How I remember Gramma H's old-fashioned red rose bush that grew on the south side of her house.  The fragrance was so dizzying, that I remember as a little girl laying my nose onto the blossoms and inhaling one deep breath after another.   I remember, too, how Gramma sat with me on her lawn and braided white clover blossoms into small flower tiaras.  She'd carefully lay the crown of flowers on my head of long brown hair and tell me I was her little princess.

    Looks like I've taken a nostalgic turn here.  That's what is so fun about blogging.  One idea starts a blog, and pretty soon my mind is all over the place.  Most of the time I have to discipline myself to stay on track.  It's kinda funny, actually, that I've grown to be such a home-body, yet my curious mind never stops wondering and wandering.

    We're up earlier than usual this morning, and right now night is switching places with day, so I want to watch this spectacular handing over of the torch.  May today hold something special for each of us.

    Oh, before I close, I wish my "cohort in crime" a beautiful milestone birthday.  Across the miles and mountains, may you hear me singing "Happy Birthday!"  These flowers are for you.....XO

    Ta-ta. 

    Thursday, February 10, 2011

    Write Your Name in Runic

    One thing I find interesting about our retirement routine is how we have settled into a day-to-day pattern.  Once I get myself downstairs and tend to personal care, then my next direct stop is the coffee pot.  From the coffee pot I head to my laptop.  Then I strap on my surfboard and head out into the web to see who has written me an email, check CNN for last-minute news updates, and from there I zip over to my blog dashboard to write my blog. 

    Early Futhark
    24 characters
    Sometimes I laugh at the places the magic mouse takes me.  Just like this morning, I ended up reading about the ancient Rune alphabet.  If anyone would like to check out a fun website and to see how your name would be written in this ancient alphabet, go to www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/vikings/runes.html.
    At the top of the page is a space to type your name, press GO, and your name will be translated into runes.

    Better get my crochet hook and yarn out for my next task.  One more comfort cross to crochet, and then we can deliver ten of them to the rest home this afternoon.  It takes me about two hours to complete a cross, and already the clock has me after the noon hour.  We need to pick up some staples at the grocery store, too.  I see we're out of orange juice, but thank heavens we had real oranges here this morning to supplement our Vitamin C.  We take daily multi-vitamins, but an extra C-boost never hurts.....especially when mixed with a couple shots of champagne.  Aren't there supposed to be healing agents in the bubbly stuff?  I think I heard that somewhere.......

    Ta-ta for today.

    Wednesday, February 09, 2011

    Water Wheel of Time

    My heart dances knowing that this past week my blog has had visitors from the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, Sweden, Argentina, Germany, China, India, Russia, and Slovenia.

    Where I live in the Midwestern U.S., temperatures are frigid.  We tend to keep the temperature in our home on the coolish side.  It just seems smart to add a layer of clothing, rather than sink more money in the l.p. gas tank.  Plus, we feel better physically, mentally, and sleep better in cool air.

    Two days ago my hubby went ice fishing with one of the neighbor guys.  Ice fishing is alot different than it used to be.  He explained how they used a camera and could watch the fish beneath the ice swimming toward their bait.  He had so much fun, and they had just enough luck (I refuse to call it skill) so each household could have a nice big meal.  The guys filleted the fish, removing the bones, and that way they fry up into crispy pieces.  We eat them like potato chips with our fingers. 

    Tonight we're meeting another couple for supper in a small town about ten miles from home.  There's a bar in one room and dining area in the other.  An all-you-can-eat broasted chicken buffet is their Wednesday night special.  Buffets are probably not the healthiest places to eat, but, they sure are an occasional dining treat for us.  The way I see it, life is too darned short to only munch on lettuce leaves!  If my Creator wanted me to do that, I'd be a rabbit.

    This past week, I'm finding myself thinking about springtime, my chatty wrens returning, the crocus and tulips popping out of the ground.  Trees re-budding, kids bringing out their trikes and bikes.  I feel that occasional twinge of patio fever, an urge to stroll beside a trout stream, pick a tiny bouquet of violets, and watch Mother Nature change her clothes.

    The transition is ever so gradual.  One season blending into another.  The Universal Master Plan is jam-packed with amazing invisible intricacies that assure us of a better tomorrow.  The days grow longer, giving us more daylight hours, until we are staying outdoors much longer than during winter.  I can't wait to take my fuzzy one for a walk around town and not have to worry about slipping on the ice and falling. 

    A Michael Russell Painting
    Life is like the old water wheel, turning slowly, until one day we see ourselves having transitioned into someone totally new and different.  We morph like the caterpillar into the butterfly.  When we arrive at this late-life stage, we are free to spread our wings and fly anywhere we choose.  We can hover in one place, buzz off to somewhere else, or sit on a flower and watch the world go by.

    There is no such thing as an ordinary day.  Life is a construction site, always building and tearing down.  Moving forward and leaving behind.  When the time comes for us to go to the next realm, we can be so pleased and proud that we were able to leave behind our unique footprints, knowing they will remain as long as the Earth itself exists.

    And, that's another compelling reason to go barefoot while we're here, I'd say!

    Ta-ta to my cyber friends all over the world.........   

    Tuesday, February 08, 2011

    Hop In! Let's Go For a Drive

    I'll take you on a back-road wintry drive.  We'll go real slow, cuz there's so much beauty to see!

    Two miles from home

    Notice the Tree

    Roadside Whipped Cream



    Snow-Narrowed Lane


    Weary Branches

    Our Creator's Eye Watching Over Us All

    Have a warm-fuzzy day!

    Monday, February 07, 2011

    This One is For Abby

    Hi Abby.......thank you for the delicious wacky cake that you brought over yesterday!  The added pineapple was such a good idea.  Yummy.  Keep up the good work in the kitchen!

    Love, love......

    My Tribute to Christina Aguilera

    Have I ranted about anything lately?

    Whether I did or not, I'm gonna have me a good rant today.  It's about time we Americans stand up for each other and not let the media make fun of us.

    Minutes after Christina Aguilera sang the National Anthem before the Super Bowl game last night, the Internet had headlines about her "botching the national anthem something fierce."

    If I don't get this off my chest, I'll have a cardiac infarction, or whatever it's called.  Why are we Americans so quick to criticize, ridicule, make fun of, and demean one another?  So what if the words were switched around or omitted entirely.  All that really mattered was the crowd standing in honor and love of our country's flag.  The lady was in front of billions of people, doing her best, trying her best, and the last thing on earth she wanted to do was forget the words.  Instead of criticism, she should be getting our human understanding and praise for having the guts to stand up there in front of the world to lead us in patriotism in the first place.

    Oh, I get steamed at stuff like this.  Which one of the media persons has never made a mistake, uttered the wrong word, made the wrong facial expression, or stumbled when walking up or down steps.  Why can't we feel compassion and show compassion instead of throwing stones.  I don't know about the rest of humanity, but thoughts slip my mind faster than I get them sometimes.  I can be in the middle of a sentence, and all of a sudden I have no frickin' idea what I was going to say.

    So, on behalf of Christina Aguilera, I say she did a beautiful job of singing for us, she did her very best to lead us Americans in a few minutes of silence, which is an accomplishment by itself.

    If I want to be 100% in the open, I couldn't explain what the "ramparts" are in the National Anthem anyway and so what if a few words were omitted.  For god sake, Christina suffered enough embarrassment without the media splashing this on the page and screen.  If I could have one wish in this world fulfilled before I pass on to the pie in the sky, it would be that people would be nicer to each other.  Why can't we come to grips that the person standing next to us is a mirror image of ourselves.....a walking, talking, and feeling human being dropped onto this earth like a chicken lays an egg.

    What can possibly hurt us more than unkind words?  I'm trying very hard to think of an answer.............

    There!  I feel better.

    Saturday, February 05, 2011

    Seven Stages of Life


    (Poem written by Sydnii Ray)

    Fresh life
    Soft skin, new baby
    A soft cry escapes from rosebud lips
    Quickly followed by a childlike gurgle
    The first stage, as it was.

    The second stage
    Exploring life
    Meeting new people
    Eyes opening to the world
    School bag in hand.

    The third stage
    That of the infamous lover,
    Heart easily broken
    Vulnerable like a baby bird
    Thinking that they are invincible.

    Stage four
    Oh what a confusing time
    Turmoil of happenings
    Sent off, like a young bird pushed out of its nest
    Flying off into an unknown life
    Leaving home, yet another stage
    New beginning.

    At the fifth stage
    Mid life crisis
    Children fly away
    A sudden stability, a  sense of knowing
    Life plan set.

    The sixth age shifts, comfort becomes the primary priority
    Slippers, sweatshirts, and favorite pair of jeans
    Worry about fashion...a thing of youth.

    The seventh and final stage of this long life
    Cared for by others
    Free of all worries
    Take the days as they come,
    Until they come no longer.


    The great thing about getting older is that you don't lose all the other ages you've been.
    -Madeleine L'engle

    Friday, February 04, 2011

    My New Way To Pray

    After all these years, I've come up with a new way to pray. 

    First off, I'm not a religious fanatic.  Actually, I'm just the opposite.  I'm one who digs deep into the history of my religion, only to find facts that disappoint and discourage me.  With that said, there's another side to the coin of faith.....and that is spirituality. 

    I'm one who wants all cards on the table, none of this tip-toeing around, talking behind the back, that sort of thing.  Each of us must remember that there is a separate line to heaven for each of us.  Mine is different than the guy next to me, and his will be different than mine.  But......we both have a line. 

    Talking to My Creator has always been easy for me.  My way of prayer resembles a one-on-one visit with my best friend.  I don't use beads or a book anymore.  Only My Creator knows what's in my heart.  Only He knows what I've lived through. He knows what I need and what I don't need.  Only He knows how strong my relationship with Him really is. 

    Day before yesterday I was sitting in my comfy recliner, my fuzzy one beside me, crocheting a comfort cross that I donate to a local rest home.  As my crochet hook was going in and out of the stitches, a fleeting voice told me to offer each stitch up as a prayer for someone in the world who is all alone and has no one to pray or care for them. 

    This thought affected me more than I can say.  From that instant, I told My Creator that each crochet stitch is my prayer for whoever He thinks needs it most.  The interesting part of this is that when I offer my stitches up for a lonely stranger, suddenly my crocheting has a dual purpose.  Something actually changed inside of me.

    Our world is in the midst of turmoil like hell won't have it right now.  There has been fighting over religion since the beginning, and that's probably not going to change.  But, what should change is the way we judge others based on their personal spiritual practices that we truly don't understand in the first place.  Where we are born will dictate what our religious upbringing will be.  It's a toss of the faith coin.  Maybe Our Creator designed it to be this way so He could watch us flail around blindly, trying to figure it all out.  I do think, though, that we waste precious time worrying about how others are fostering their spiritual beliefs when we could be doing something to help a forgotten and sad soul somewhere on this Earth, perhaps far far away on another continent.  This new way to pray is a way that I can do just that without leaving my home.

    Of course, the jury is out on all facets of religion, but I do know that the older I get, the more I feel the need to pray.  There's something built into me that is doing this.  It's sort of like my hair turning gray.  I didn't ask for it to turn, it just happened.

    Tata for today.

    Thursday, February 03, 2011

    Lazy Susan Recipes

    Late afternoon yesterday I officially declared war on our lazy susan---the circular food filing cabinet in the kitchen.  It seems lately when we spin it around to find something, all we find is a hodge-podge of cans and boxes piled on top of each other.

    I am a person with limitations.  When I reach my limit, then things start to fly.  I thought to myself there has to be a way to conquer this cupboard catastrophe, so I made up a new game with new rules, rolled up my sweatshirt sleeves, and started playing.  I picked out a large can of Chinese vegetables and a box of Tuna Tetrazzini mix.  Went to the refrigerator freezer and took out a pound of frozen ground turkey.  Three weird ingredients, but that is exactly my game challenge.

    First, I thawed the ground turkey in the microwave.  In a pan, I followed the boxed Tetrazzini directions using the juice from the canned Chinese vegetables for part of the water measurement.  When the turkey was thawed, I fried it in a pan with sauteed green onions.  Then I mixed the prepared Tetrazzini, Chinese vegetables, and ground turkey together, added a sprinkle of grated cheddar cheese, put it all in a casserole dish, and popped it in a 350 oven.

    Forty-five minutes later we sat down to a bubbly casserole that rocked the socks off my husband.  DeeeeLishUs!  My goal is to keep doing this until there's some semblance of organization in the lazy susan and I can put cans on one layer and boxes on the other, instead of having both mixed together.

    After I finish writing today's blog, I'm gonna head straight to the kitchen and play my new game again.  It'll be fun to see what silly ingredients I take out of the susan for tonight's exciting supper recipe that will either wow my husband again or help us to control our portions.  Either way, it's another one of those win-win situations, as I see it.

    Tata for today.

    Wednesday, February 02, 2011

    Rah Rah Best Buy!

    Gotta put on my cheerleader's outfit and get my pom-poms out.......just spent an hour on the phone with a Best Buy member of the Geek Squad helping me with a computer glitch.  When he solved my problem, I asked him if he was married.  There was a pause.  Then a laugh.  Then he said, "I'm single, ma'am."  I told him then that if I lived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, I would insist on taking him out to lunch.  "Thank you so very much, ma'am." 

    We cannot applaud the services of Best Buy Geek Squad enough.  They are johnny-on-the-spot ready to help and solve problems.  I think it's good to set off fireworks in support of those who are out there doing a  good job at what they do.  And, you can bet all the money in the bank that if I lived in Fort Lauderdale, I'd be picking this guy up right now and heading to the best seafood restaurant in town.....and, he could order anything his little heart desired. 

    I asked him what the weather was like down there.  He said he carries a rag in his back pocket.  Hmmmm.....didn't catch on right away.  Then he explained the rag is to wipe the sweat off his face!

    When our phone conversation ended, he wished me a great day and a very good year.  Now, that's what I call outstanding free service of Best Buy. 

    By the way, if yesterday's blog piqued any one's interest as to why pileated woodpeckers don't get headaches, go to www.livescience.com/animals/070108_woodpecker_headache.html.

    Tata for today. 

    Tuesday, February 01, 2011

    A Pecker Project

    Where I live, Pileated Woodpeckers are common. They're about the size of a crow and are the largest woodpecker in most of North America. Their long beaks dig into dead trees looking for ants, leaving behind these huge rectangular holes.

    Near our Home
    Wouldn't you think  the poor bird would have a headache after so much pecking?