Saturday, March 31, 2012

Friday, March 30, 2012

A Daily Prayer

Great Spirit,
 please take care of
 the children, the elderly,
and all those in between.

Great Spirit
please take care of
the hungry and thirsty,
the disabled, 
the paralyzed, crippled,
blind, deaf and speechless.

Great Spirit,
please take care of those
 confined to wheelchairs
 hospitals, and
nursing homes.

Great Spirit,
please take care of
the lonely, the suffering,
the sick and the dying.

Great Spirit,
please take care of 
those who stand and fight for
goodness, fairness, and freedom.

Great Spirit,
please take care of everyone.
Please kiss us good night and watch
over us while we sleep.

Great Spirit,
please take care of our
kitties and puppies,
goldfish and guppies.
Thank You.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Smoke and Mirrors

Looking to observe something today?  How 'bout National Smoke and Mirrors Day.

It's a day for us to think about the illusions in life.  Smoke and Mirrors means something is not really as it appears to be.  The source of this term comes from the magician who makes objects and even people disappear by extending or retracting mirrors in a haze of smoke.  The metaphor made its way into our everyday language to describe the act of putting up smoke and mirrors to hide something we don't want others to see.

Ordinary people learn the skill of tricking other people into thinking that they're more than what they really are.  In reality, though, they are jealous, manipulative, and self-centered.  We all know people like this.  They appear like they genuinely care for us as a person, call us by our first name, but beware that while we see syrup drip from their lips.....they're sharpening their knife on our heart.

These people are intelligent and know every trick in the book to hide their real identity.  They work terribly hard at maintaining the illusion, and they really don't care how they hurt others in the process.  They're like the jelly fish that floats and shimmers in the water.  They look sweet and fragile, but underneath their feelers are ready and waiting to strike and to sting.

Eventually we tire of people like this, and it gets to the point where we have to decide whether or not to delete them from our contact list.  I'll never understand why we all can't play nice and be done with it.

"Cunning is the art of
 concealing our own defects,
 and
 discovering the weaknesses of others."
~William Hazlitt, British essayist 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Baby Boomers Downsizing and Simplifying

The last couple of days I've spent time in the attic.  Sorting.....bagging.....tossing.....holding childhood toys for the last time......and wiping tears.  Hubby is tackling the basement.

We baby boomers are facing some heart and gut-wrenching tasks.  Our closets and storage spaces are packed with stuff we don't even know we have.  Monday of this week, the two of us joined forces to tackle the dreaded job of getting rid of 45 years of material possessions.  We've never moved from the house we started out in, so it's all here.  

Having no kids means that we're the sole pilots of our plane.  With the exception of a childhood rocker, a high chair that held three generations, gramma's sewing machine, and a clock.....there's really no family heirlooms to pass on.  The auction arena seems like the most practical place for it all to go.  Every generation has to deal with late-life partings and good-byes.  I just didn't expect my turn to come up this soon.  

The auction business has taken on wings these days.  It's gone global with the use of the Internet bidding, which gives the seller a better chance of making some money from the attic's vintage pieces.  Anyone can go to the local auction, but there may be someone in Malaysia bidding against you.  

The sentimental-sally in me can't help but wonder where my doll house furniture and Goldilocks rag doll will end up.  My doll house furniture was packed away for the last 55 years in my daddy's shoe box.  The price tag is still on the box, with a picture of the shoe style.  Back then the shoes cost $3.29.  Today, a pair like that would cost well over $100.  

Aging holds many fear factors, as we are finding.  We visit every day about it, the two of us.  Our worst fear is losing the other and the fuzzy one.  We are a world of three that won't last forever.  The attic, the basement, and garage are monkeys on our backs.  We're hoping to be around yet for a good twenty more years, but we don't want to carry those monkeys with us.  The ages 60s and 70s have blessings and burdens alike.  The challenge now is getting a grip on the burdens and aggressively getting rid of them.  

The book of our marriage, hopefully, has a lot of chapters left.  But, our friends are losing their spouses.  Whether we like to admit it or not, things could change in a heartbeat.  I'm one that doesn't want to be blindsided by the unexpected if there's something I can do about it.  That's why I'm spending a couple hours each day in the attic......preparing for the next stage of our life.....and Simplicity is going to play an integral part of how smooth that transition will come to be.  The last thing we want is for one of us to be left with the mess.  That just wouldn't be fair.

The trick is being strong-willed, realistic, and upbeat.  We're working hard at looking ahead at what can be.....not backward at what can never be.  And, I feel therein lies the difference between sadness and a new-found source of happiness.    

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Trivia and Adorably Elegant Mature Women

  • Vodka is Russian for "little water."
  • 90% of women who walk into a department store immediately turn to the right.
  • A car traveling 100 mph would take more than 29 million years to reach the nearest star.
  • According to U.S. laws, a beer commercial can never show a person actually drinking beer.
  • All major league baseball umpires must wear black underwear while on the job.
  • At the closest point, the Russian and U.S. borders are less than two miles apart.
  • Male iguanas have two willies......hemipene.
  • Cast iron skillets used to be the leading source of iron in the American diet.
  • The Atlantic Ocean is saltier than the Pacific Ocean.
  • The "g" in g-string stands for groin.
  • Henry Ford, father of the automobile, is also the father of the charcoal briquette.
  • If you flip a coin ten times.......the odds against its coming up with the same side showing each time are 1,023 to 1.
Silly trivia fascinates the heck out of me.  Maybe that's why I save sentences that jump off the page right into my brain.  Someday when I go to 'eat my pie in the sky,' those who will go through my endearments will find scraps of inspiration in drawers, books, under the bed, and probably even in my shoes.  Or, if I stick around long enough I'll shred them, leaving no trail of where my brain has been.  

On a happier note, I invite my readers around the globe to please join me in wishing my girlfriend in Arkansas a top-notch milestone birthday today.  Her captivating personality warms and tickles the hearts of all who are gifted by her friendship.  If I was in Arkansas today, we'd clink our glasses, sip a bottle or two of that little water stuff, and laugh till we'd pee in our pants!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Fill-In-The-Blanks

Let's have some fun with these fill-in-the-blanks.  Readers, please share how you would fill them in.  Let's see how zany and different we all are........
  1. Mondays are ____________________________.
  2. So far today I've ____________ a _________________ and I've _______________.
  3. If it's the last thing I do, I'm going __________________.
  4. I've never ____________________.
  5. If it wasn't for ______________, I would ________________.
  6. There's nothing more annoying than ____________________.
  7. If your ____________ is ________________, I think it's time you see a ____________.
  8. Life is _______________________.
Okay, here's what first popped into my mind..........
  1. Mondays are no different than any other day of the week, now that I'm retired.
  2. So far today I've written a blog and I've downed a half a pot of coffee.
  3. If it's the last thing I do, I'm going to see a male moose Up North in the wild.
  4. I've never liked wearing shoes.
  5. If it wasn't for titanium, I would not be able to walk pain-free.
  6. There's nothing more annoying than spitting.
  7. If your vision is blurry, I think it's time you see an optometrist.
  8. Life is a four-letter word...like food.
Now it's your turn..........

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Legend of the Dogwood Tree


Legend has it that many years ago,
 when Jesus lived on the earth,
 the dogwood tree was tall and sturdy like the oak.

 Because of its strength,
 it was selected as the one
 from which the cross that was to bear Jesus would be made.

  The dogwood was very distressed
 when it heard this and grieved deeply.
  Jesus was sensitive to the sorrows of all persons and things,
 and He understood the dogwood's grief.

  So, He told it that because of its pity of Him,
 nevermore would it be put to such use again.
  Thereafter, it would no longer be rugged and stand straight.

  It would be instead crooked and slender.
  It would bear delicate blossoms
 with two long and two short petals
 resembling the shape of a cross.

  On the outer edge of each petal would be nail prints, 
brown with rust and stained blood-red. 
 The center of the flower would be marked with a crown of thorns.

 Thus, the dogwood tree will forever be
a reminder of Christ dying on the Cross~~
for you and for me.


Friday, March 23, 2012

It's Hot....It's Healthy.....It's Horseradish

Should you find yourself near Collinsville, Illinois, (20 minutes east of downtown St. Louis, Missouri) there's a photo op waiting......the world's largest ketchup bottle.  Officials calculate it could hold enough ketchup to cover 25 million hamburgers.  The ketchup bottle is actually a water tower that stands 170 feet high.

Collinsville is also the self-proclaimed Horseradish Capital of the World. This Mississippi River basin area known as the American Bottoms, carved out by the glaciers during the ice age, left the soil rich in potash, a nutrient on which horseradish thrives.

Since 1988, Collinsville celebrates the International Horseradish Festival.  In 2012, the dates are June 1-3.  Naturally it's not Disney World, but admission is free, parking is free, live entertainment is free, and shuttle service is free.  With $4+ gasoline, maybe we should think of alternatives to the expensive family vacation.  Not only that, but these down-home celebrations can introduce kids to the real America.....like Southern Illinois where 80% to 85% of the world's horseradish is grown.    

Why such a name for this condiment?  The German immigrants brought it to America and called it meerrettich, which means sea radish, because it was grown in the lowland parts of Germany near the sea.  The English understood the German meer (which sounds like mare) to mean horse and translated the word to horseradish.  "Radish" comes from the Latin "radix," meaning root.

Our family has to have horseradish on the table with ham, and homemade cocktail sauce is simple to make by mixing together ketchup and horseradish.  For those of us who like a good kick to our Bloody Mary, well, horseradish will magically do that trick.

Trivia:  Some biblical scholars believe horseradish was the bitter herb into which Jesus dipped his bread at the Last Supper.  The bitter herbs symbolize the bitterness of slavery in Egypt.

It's time for lunch.  Wish I had a ham sandwich.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Disappointment and Silence

Guess I'm feeling disappointed this morning, and that's not a fun feeling.  The reason isn't necessary to reveal, but disappointment seems like a good topic to write about.

As a little girl, I remember being disappointed by the weather.  If our family of four had a fishing day planned and we woke up to a thunderstorm, I was so disappointed.  When I'd come home from school and daddy had sold our lambs, I'd be more than disappointed.  If I didn't get to eat the gizzard out of a fried chicken, I'd be disappointed.  Childhood was one long string of disappointments.

My mom taught me not to make plans and bank on them.....if you don't plan, you won't be disappointed was her philosophy.  There's a ton of truth in this, and maybe that's why I try to leave room for the unexpected to happen.  Still, a person is sometimes let down no matter what.

Overcoming disappointment is not easy.  The way I tend to deal with my hurts is to crawl inside my turtle shell and stay there until I feel better.  Don't talk to me, and don't expect me to talk.  Silence is my therapist.  Oh, I know this sounds like an adult pout, but it works for me.  I'm not likely to mend my heart by going out for a 2-mile sprint or calling a girlfriend for lunch.  I prefer flying solo when I feel this way.

If we share our troubles with someone else, that person won't ever forget what we tell them.  We will.  They won't.  It's best to wait out the adverse emotion and let it dissolve into nothingness.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spider Webs and Twisted Threads

Wednesday already, week is going fast.  We finished our income tax obligations yesterday, so we've declared today a free day.  Hubby is going fishing, and the Fuzzy One and I will stay back and have a girls day planned.

My weaving has taken a new spin.  I went to a toy store and bought a kit with 4 spongy looms and directions for making eight patterns of friendship bracelets.  The kit is designed for kids over age 8.  Would you believe neither of us could understand the directions without watching the online videos?

The kit came with embroidery thread.  Talk about a tangled mess.  My nerves were getting frayed, so I ditched the floss and got out my own threads that didn't knot so much.  It's just fun making things I've never made before.  I love wrist bracelets and ankle bracelets, so it'll be something for me to fiddle with now that Capri pants and sandals are in season.  My nieces like the same funky jewelry I do, so once more they'll be my little guinea pigs.  

Weaving makes me think of spiders.  How in the world do they know how to spin webs?  Guess it's another one of those gifts that insects were given that we weren't.  Poor little spider spins a web so he can catch other insects for supper, and we humans quickly whisk it away out of embarrassment.  Who do we think we are.

I'm feeling fairly humbled right now, thinking that a spider instinctively knows how to weave a web, and here the two of us couldn't figure out weaving instructions written for an 8 year-old.


"The means to gain happiness
 is to throw out from oneself
 like a spider
 in all directions
 an adhesive web of love,
 and to catch in it all that comes."
~Leo Tolstoy   

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Income Tax Time

Tis a special day at our house.......it's the one day of the year we go visit our income tax preparer.  Yesterday we gathered together the 'important tax information' envelopes we've been getting in the mail since the first of the year.  Ours is not a complex return to prepare, because our income and savings are straight-forward and the deductions we can claim are minimal to none.

All of our married life, we've had to discipline our reactions to, what felt like, unfair tax laws in this country.  No kids, no mortgage, no debt.....does not make for a pleasant income tax appointment.  Our friends would be thrilled with their big refunds, while we owed money we didn't have.  We went to the bank and borrowed the money to pay our income taxes, after the maximum amounts had already been deducted from our paychecks all year long. It was a slaughter, but then came along the IRAs.  Instead of giving our money to Uncle Sam, we invested our borrowed money in IRAs, which brought our annual income down and offset the tax owed.  We paid ourselves instead of Sam.  There came a point when enough was enough.  

Down the street from our accountant's office is a down-home cafe with red cracked-vinyl booths and tables for four.  Homemade pies are stacked in see-through cases to tempt the diner, the daily specials are posted on a blackboard, and are absolutely delicious.  The mashed potatoes have lumps of real potatoes and the gravy oozes down over the potatoes and puddles into the vegetables.  It's the kind of meal that I desperately want to lick the plate off when I'm done eating.....it's that good!
 
Did you ever notice that
 when you put the words
 "The" and "IRS" together,
 it spells THEIRS?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Corn Crib Stirs Memories

Corn Crib
Gypsy Wagon


Doesn't the style of this old corn crib look a lot like the gypsy wagon?

We had a corn crib on our farm when I was a little girl, but it was a whole lot bigger than this one.  Farmers had some colorful stories to tell about when they worked in these cribs.  It wasn't uncommon for a rat to run up a farmer's pant leg.  Back in those days, farmers wore OshKosh bib overalls, blue or thin striped.  Daddy wore these pin striped ones.

The first mention of a corn crib was in a 1701 almanac.  These open-slatted buildings were used to store and dry ears of corn. This particular style of corn crib, with slanted side walls was common by the 1860s.  The overhanging eaves and slanted side walls helped prevent the rain from splashing inside onto the corn.

Small farms back in the 1950s had separate buildings for separate parts of the farming operation.  We had a two-story large barn.  The cows were milked on the bottom level, and the hay was stored on the top level.  The bottom of our barn was made of local limestone, like the old house we lived in until I was 8 years old.  The top was made of wood and painted red.  The family barn still stands and is still used.  I'd guess it was built around 1900.

My other favorite small limestone structure was our spring house.  The bottom is where our fresh spring water came out of the ground and where we stored our cans of milk.  The top level is where we separated the cream from the milk with a separator.  It's also where daddy skinned squirrels and rabbits.  He had a board tacked onto the wall with nails that held the hides when he cleaned these animals for the dinner table.  I'd stand beside him when he did this, and we'd talk.  Just him and me.

The brooder house is where the baby chickens first went when we bought them at the hatchery.  They'd be itty-bitty yellow puff balls, and we'd put heat lamps over them to keep 'em warm.  The chicken coop is where the chicken hens and roosters lived, and where the eggs were laid.

The granary was where the ground grain was stored, and another good place to get attacked by a rat or mouse.  I grew up with these critters, so I am not afraid of them like most women are.  I'm not saying I want a rat in the house with me, but I don't go berserk when I see one.

Then there was the hog house and the hog pen where the pigs lived.  The hog floor, where they ate, was cemented.  We had a smaller hog house that was partitioned off into separate spaces, and that's where the sows had their babies.  If there was a runt in the litter, daddy would bring it into the house.  Mom would turn the oven on low, open the oven door where the piggy would lay on one of our bath towels.

Our house was routinely turned into an animal shelter.  The best time, I think, was when orphaned triplet lambs were carried into the house.  Migod, I almost went crazy, they were so soft and cuddly and needing love. I remember holding them in my arms like a real baby, wrapped in towels.  These little sheepoes stayed living with us until they outgrew their big cardboard box and we'd hear their little hoofies click click click on the linoleum.  Then daddy took them outside to one of the buildings to go it on their own.  I wanted to move out to be with them, but mom and daddy thought otherwise.  We farm kids learned early the heartache of being separated from our animal pets.

When one grows up on a farm, one is more likely to be impressed by little buildings like this corn crib.  They're reminders of our growing up years and bring back memories that are comforting to us.  Farming has changed.  It's grown to be big industry....big bucks.  Our family of four made a living by milking 20 cows by hand two times a day.  Now it's not uncommon for a big set-up to milk 500-600 cows three times a day.  We gave our animals one-on-one love and care  We called them by name cuz they were part of our family, working together for day-to-day survival.  I still remember the names of my brother's first Brown Swiss cows.....Polly, Molly, Holly, Dolly, Trolley, and Merily.

Funny how one corn crib can rake up so many memories.  I'd best stop here.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Stone Church

We turned off of the main highway onto a gravel road so we could get a better look at this old stone church.  Just as I was about to snap the picture, a pickup pulled up beside our vehicle.  The driver rolled his window down and asked, "What do you think of the church?"

It was almost as if he knew we had questions, and he appeared out of nowhere eager to give us the answers.

Sadness comes whenever we see abandoned farm houses, barns, and other buildings left to ruin, or when churches like this one are abandoned and forgotten.  We were so grateful when this guy shared his story.

His wife attended church services here when she was a little girl.  A couple years ago, the property came up for sale, and they purchased the ground and the church.  The roof was already falling in, so the first thing they did was replace it with a modern tin roof.  Before their purchase, the church board had gutted the inside and sold the pews, altar, and other contents, piece by piece, at an auction sale for little or nothing.  He said it was the saddest thing you ever wanted to see.

Both of us felt there was a purpose for this chance encounter.  Maybe we were meant to be reassured that there are still good people in the world who truly care about these reverent old structures that faithfully served human souls.  There was a day when men, women, and children put on their Sunday clothes, transported themselves out in the country, walked through the doors of this church, in the hopes of satisfying their spiritual needs. They gathered, they prayed, and they sang.

If our faith in man's goodness was renewed, then I guess this old stone church is still sustaining the spiritual side of those who stop by for a visit.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Is There a God?

Here's a hypothetical scenario:  I am captured by angry, rioting atheists.  They put a gun to my head and ask me, "Do you believe in God?"

NO ...I live.

YES....I die.

A "what if" of such magnitude realistically requires the writing of a book with many chapters,  instead of a blog with a few paragraphs.

Glimpses of Heaven.....like this picture we took the other day.....tells me my answer would be YES.  I'd have to trust that my answer would be the key to opening these clouds all the way, and I would see the rest of what is up there.

What makes me believe?  Well....

Do we (meaning mankind) really understand migration?  How in the world do birds know the route from North America to South America and back to where they started?  The birds know something we don't.

Do we really understand hibernation?  How animals can sleep through the cold of winter?  The bears, gophers, skunks, raccoon, bats and even reptiles and frogs know something we don't.

How about the homing sense that brings dogs back to their masters, traveling hundreds (even thousands) of miles without maps or global positioning gadgets?  The dogs know something we don't.

Do we really understand the salmon runs?  How and why salmon can swim up rivers until they reach the very spawning ground that was their birthplace?  The salmon know something we don't.

Can we really understand how insects and birds instinctively know how/when to pollinate plants and flowers?  How do flowers and plants know when to wake up in the spring?

Can we really understand the complex world of ants?  How does something with a brain the size of a pin head exhibit intelligence that builds cities and organizes its society into social ranks?  The ant knows things that we don't know.

All creatures, great and small, are gifted.  Our Creator uses all creatures to help carry on the creation process.  Do I think that these phenomenal gifts happened by accident?  Nah, no way.

To sum up my hypothetical question......my answer to the atheists would be:

I'll answer your question if you answer mine........

Show me your proof that there is not a God. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tooth Implant

Today at 2 o'clock the dental assistant will place a nasal hood over my nose so I can breathe in nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, before the dentist yanks out one of my lower front teeth.

For a month now, I've been having pain and throbbing in a tooth that has already gone through two oral surgeries. The symptoms worsened by the day, so I folded and called to see my dentist.  One x-ray was all it took to reveal the problem....an infected tooth. I had three choices:  try to save the tooth (chances slim) or have the tooth pulled and then opt for a bridge or a tooth implant.  I opted for the implant simply because it will be a permanent fix.

Having a front tooth pulled is a slam, that's for sure.  The first thing that came to my mind was a corncob pipe.  (giggle)  My dentist kindly assured me that he'll not let me walk out of his office with a gaping hole in my smile.  He'll somehow grind off the bottom of my pulled tooth and temporarily affix it in place so it looks like it did before it was pulled.  The implant process will take a few months to get accomplished.  My jaw bone will have to heal before they go at it again with a jack hammer.  I'll endure anything so long as they sufficiently sedate me.

I'd best not complain.  If I'd be living in ancient times, they'd be replacing my tooth with an animal tooth and binding it in place with cord of some kind.  I'd also be chewing on twigs and roots to clean my teeth instead of reaching in the medicine cabinet for my tooth brush and paste.

A person just can't feel too sorry for oneself, considering how good we've got it.  So, this afternoon at 2, I'm going to lay back in the comfy dentist chair, breathe in the nitrous oxide, and allow myself the gentle buzz that takes me away from reality for awhile.  Yup, it's gonna be okay.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Irish Fun and Faerie Folk

Three Irishmen, Paddy, Sean, and Seamus, were stumbling home from the pub late one night, and found themselves on a road which led past the old graveyard.

"Come have a look over here," says Paddy.  "It's Michael O'Grady's grave, God bless his soul.  He lived to the ripe old  age of 87."

"That's nothing," says Sean.  "Here's one named Patrick O'Toole.  Says here that he was 95 when he died."

Just then, Seamus yells out, "Good God!  Here's a fella that's 145!"

"What was his name?" asks Paddy.

Seamus stumbles around a bit, awkwardly lights a match to see what else is written on the stone marker, and exclaims, "Miles, from Dublin."



Leprechauns are cousins of the clurichauns, who are said to have inhabited Ireland before the Celts arrived there about 700 B.C.  They are a faerie folk, small enough to sit comfortably on your shoulder.  They dress to the 9's in suits with waist coats, hats and buckled shoes.

Leprechauns play tin whistles, fiddles, and other Irish musical instruments.  Many a night they have wild music sessions, known as Ceilis (pronounced KAY-lees), where they gather to dance, drink, and sing.  Their love for dancing puts them in constant need of shoes, and that's why leprechauns are cobblers, or shoemakers, by trade.

There's a story told of a woman who was stolen by the leprechauns and was returned seven years later.....with no toes....because she had danced them off!

Spotting a leprechaun brings good luck, but is far from easy.  Hearing the sound of their hammers is one way to learn where they are.  Every leprechaun has a hidden pot of gold.  If you're lucky enough to capture a leprechaun, he may tell you where his gold is just so he can get away.  Don't count on it, though.  Chances are more likely that if you look away, even for a split second, he'll vanish and be gone, quick as a wink.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Bee Healthy

I know only one thing about my great grandfather (my mother's grandfather).  He was an apiarist.....or, a beekeeper.  He tended to the bees that made honey.

How I wish I could sit down with him and listen to his stories. Something tells me he was a man of gentle, but brave, nature to be able to work with the bees.  I'd have so many questions.....Did your family in Europe raise bees?  Were you ever stung?  What did you wear when you worked with them?  Did you sell the honey?  What were some of great-gramma's recipes using your honey?

Honey is mentioned some 60 times in the Bible as a helpful medicine, a wholesome food, something to be added to delicious drinks, an appropriate gift, and a valued possession.  That's probably because it takes some 60,000 bees, traveling up to 55,000 miles, visiting more than two million flowers to gather enough nectar to make a pound of pure honey.  (Who wouldn't like to receive that cute plastic bear container of honey!)  In the 11th century, German citizens paid their property taxes with honey and beeswax.  That reminds me of the stories our grandparents told about the old country doctor who made house calls and got paid with chickens for his stew pot.

Sometimes we forget that for thousands of years honey was the primary source of sweetener before the production of sugar after the 1800's.  Before penicillin, honey was the most effective antibiotic treatment known to heal open wounds.

Modern-day scientists and doctors cannot dispute the findings of the Greek physician Hippocrates (460 BC - ca. 370 BC), the father of modern medicine who brought honey cures to our attention. It is the only natural substance capable of healing both internally and externally.  That's because honey contains unique enzymes that can only be introduced by the honey bee.  It's truly magical stuff.

In keeping with National Nutrition Month, our household has started a new regimen.  Honey butter is so simple to make.  Just stir honey into butter, using personal preference amounts.  After reading the health benefits of cinnamon, we're stirring a few shakes of cinnamon into our honey butter.  Slather that on a piece of warm toast or a toasted English muffin, and you've just created a delightful alternative to a cinnamon roll.

If we want to tend to our good health, pure honey is so easy to tuck into the foods we eat and liquids we drink.  Simply drizzle some into your cup of tea or coffee, or a cup of hot water with lemon juice.  Pure Honey is wonderful in sauces, marinades, on cereals, and on my favorite peanut butter and banana sandwiches.  In baking, some people replace the sugar ingredient with a ratio of 1 cup of sugar = 3/4 cup of honey.

Note:  If your honey crystallizes, or turns hard, simply place the honey jar in warm water and stir until the crystals dissolve.  I've read this is better than putting it in the microwave.  Honey is the only food in the world that won't spoil.

One word of caution:  Honey isn't for children under 2 years of age.  Honey may be harmful to their undeveloped immune systems.  I'm not a medical adviser...that's simply something I read and want to pass along.

A keeper of the bees, like my great-grandfather, once said.......

"There is no other field of animal husbandry like beekeeping.  It has appeal to the scientist, the nature lover, and the philosopher.  It is a chance to work with some of God's most  fascinating creatures, to spend time and work in the great outdoors.  It challenges my abilities, and I continue to learn.  My hope is that I never become so frail with old age that I cannot spend my days among the bees.  It gives credence to the old saw that 'the best things in life are free.'  I thank God daily for the opportunity and privilege to be a beekeeper."



Monday, March 12, 2012

Oatmeal and Blueberries

March is National Nutrition Month...a good time for us to take a look at the foods we eat.....the foods we don't eat....and the foods we should eat.

The health benefits of oatmeal are touted as significant, and all of us should be eating more of it.

  • Oatmeal.....lowers blood cholesterol
  • Reduces risk of heart disease
  • Promotes healthier metabolism
  • Normalizes blood pressure
  • Helps control weight.
We should also be eating more blueberries.
  • Blueberries.....boost the immune system and help prevent infections
  • Rank #1 in the world of anti-oxidants  
  • Promote urinary tract health
  • Help preserve good eyesight 
  • Heal damaged brain cells and keep sharper memory
  • Help prevent heart disease by dissolving the bad cholesterol
  • Help digestion
  • Fight against colon and liver cancer
  • Act as anti-depressants.  
Remember:  The deeper color of the Blueberries, the richer they are in anti-oxidants and other medicinal values.

Here is a recipe that I found online (www.canolainfo.org) for Oatmeal Blueberry Cookies.  This just might be the answer to my prayer for a treat that will make me happy and healthy at the same time.

1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup non-hydrogenated (tub) canola oil spread
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  In bowl, beat the canola spread, oil, and brown sugar til creamy.  Then beat in the egg and vanilla.  Add the flour, oatmeal, baking soda, and salt.  Stir until combined.  Add blueberries and stir until just blended.
3.  Drop large spoonsful of the batter onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake  from 12-14 minutes, or until set around edges but still soft in the middle.
4.  Cool on a wire rack.

Looks like I'm going to the grocery store for some blueberries.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Signs of Spring

This morning I woke up with a fuzzy little paw on my face.  For a split second, I thought I was in Heaven!

The hour lost to last night's time change didn't affect me one way or the other.  If I pay no attention to the clock, it pays no attention to me.

White Geese
March is giving us gorgeous days with blue skies and warm temperatures.  This morning it's already 60 degrees, robins are hopping on the neighborhood lawns, and rows of red-wing blackbirds are perched on the power lines.  Yesterday we came upon this flock of snow white geese briefly resting on a marshy pond about thirty miles from our home.  Gray Canadian Geese are common around here, but these white ones were surely reason to stop and take a good look.  Our camera doesn't have enough zoom power, but we did have our binoculars.

The warmer temperatures are bringing the neighborhood kids out on their trikes and bikes, and that means we have to be extra vigilant backing out of our driveway.  There's a comfort in seeing colorful balls bouncing in the air, a little boy sitting up in a tree, and a little girl pushing her dolly's stroller up and down the sidewalk.  Even though our winter was one of the mildest in memory, Sweet Springtime is making sure that our souls are once again filled with substance and sparkle.

"To what can our life on earth be likened?
To a flock of geese,
alighting on the snow.
Sometimes leaving a trace of their passage."
~Su Shi 
  

Saturday, March 10, 2012

What We Fear the Most

I'm really not able to write a blog today.  I received word this morning that my childhood best friend was widowed this past week.  The thing we all fear the most is starting to happen.....our friends are dying.  I've got to give myself time to wrap my head around this.

It seems only yesterday that she and I were little girls having sleep-overs and sharing our secrets.  I'm really sad right now, and I think I'm going to cry.

Will be back tomorrow.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

From My Observation Tower


Am I correct when I say that most of us average Americans are sick and tired of the way our tax money is being spent?  Well, here's a situation I read about on the Internet this morning.  A 24-year-old gal in Michigan won the Lottery.  She won $1 million, took it in a lump sum, after taxes she pocketed over $500,000, bought a house and a car.

Before winning the lottery, she was receiving $200 a month in state food assistance.......and still is......after winning over a half a million dollars!

What?

Here's what she's quoted as saying, "I thought that they would cut me off, but since they didn't, I thought, maybe, it was OK because I'm not working."

Help me out here.  Where are the people who are doling out our money?  Are they sound asleep in a cave in Pakistan?  A Michigan resident who's on the state welfare roster wins a Michigan State Lottery and the Michigan State DHS workers don't hear about it? and don't take her off the welfare roster?

When asked if she thought she had a right to public assistance now, here's what she said:  "I kind of do.  I  have no income, and I have bills to pay.  I have two houses....It's hard.  I'm struggling."

No frickin' wonder we baby boomers are all on blood pressure pills and serotonin reuptake inhibitors.  There are a whole lot of people in this country who need one good, swift kick in the ass!

Whew!  Where are my pills..........

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Daffy Dils

This morning I read that Sarah P is backing Newt but is leaving the door open......she may throw her own hat in the GOP ring.....if she's pressed to do so.  

Huh?

If our nation can't find a GOP lineup with more class than Mitt, Newt, Rick, and her ............blah, blah, blah.

Heaven knows I could write a blog that would blow up the Internet if I pursued our political horse pucky.  What's that old saying......if you don't have something nice to say, then don't say anything at all.

Sure feels like spring where I live.  Yesterday's temperatures were pushing 70 degrees.  We took a drive that took us to the Mighty Mississippi that was flowing with white caps.  It reminded me of the time years ago when we were Up North at a lake, took one of the resort boats out fishing, and the wind came up to the point that the resort owners were standing on the sandy beach waiting for us to come in.  Being out on the water is great fun, but not when the wind is blowing, the boat is bucking the waves, and water is splashing in the boat.

We stopped to visit our niece on our way home from the river, and her tulips are out of the ground about an inch.  I'm anxious to see the daffodils, tulips, and itty-bitty hyacinths we planted last year.  Hubby loves daffodils.  In fact, he brought some silk ones up from storage and put them in our front window.

Where do the days go.  Already it's Wednesday again.  We've accumulated a list of errands that need tending, so we'll be heading out of here pretty soon.  Seems there's always a grocery list, supplies we need from Wal-Mart, and meds to pick up at the pharmacy.  I can be pretty cagey when it comes to running errands.  If we go in the morning, chances are way good we'll grab a bite to eat out.

That brings back a memory.  Daddy used to talk about how times changed from when he was a little boy.  One time he said:  "When I was a kid, everybody ate their meals inside and went to the bathroom outside.  Nowadays, people are eating their meals outside and going to the bathroom inside."

Have a dilly of a day!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

A Sap for Syrup

Tapping a Maple Tree
The sap is drip-drip-dripping from the maple trees.

Yup, the daytime temperatures are above freezing, and the nighttime temperatures are below freezing......time for maples to weep their sappy tears.  How cool is it that we saw our first maple drip of the season.....and spotted our first robin.......yesterday!

There's nothing sweeter (in more ways than one) than pure maple syrup.  Besides making killer pancakes and French Toast, it makes a yummy topping for oatmeal and broiled grapefruit.  We use it in our baked beans, sweet potatoes, and squash recipes instead of brown sugar.

Maple syrup is the essence of Nature and makes a healthy alternative to white sugar.  It's 100% pure and natural and contains more calcium than milk, more potassium than bananas, and is fat free.
  • When a maple tree is 30 years old and 12 inches in diameter, it can be tapped.
  •  As the tree grows and increases in diameter, more taps can be added, up to four taps at most.
  • The tapping doesn't permanently damage the tree.
  • It takes 30 to 50 gallons of sap to make one gallon of pure maple syrup.  No wonder it's pricey....but worth every drippy sticky drop.
  • The sap flows the heaviest for 10-20 days in early spring, and this "run" lasts up to 8-10 weeks.
  • Vermont is the largest producer of maple syrup in the U.S.
  • It takes four maple trees, at least 40 years old, to produce enough sap over a period of six weeks to make one gallon of maple syrup.
  • Imitation maple syrups are mostly corn syrup, and they usually contain only two to three percent real maple syrup. 
Sugar on Snow is a traditional Vermont dish where freshly boiled syrup is poured on late winter snow, making a taffy-like consistency.  Supposedly, then the Vermontians eat it with a sour pickle to balance the sweet maple flavor.

Here's an idea:  for those people who are difficult to buy gifts for..... how about making a pancake gift basket.  Who wouldn't love that.

Well, I've done it again.  Every time I think, write, or talk about food, I get myself half crazy with hunger.  I'd give anything in the whole wide world right at this very second for a platter of my Mom's homemade (from scratch) pancakes.  I can still see her carrying the platter piled with 'em to our kitchen table.  I'd stack one pancake on top of the other and then pour oozy-goozy syrup on top till they turned into an island.

Why do I do this to myself!

Monday, March 05, 2012

The Sensational 60's

Back in the '60s, we teenagers had our own 'slanguage,' and we're still using it when we joke around with friends our same age.  Just for kicks, let's take a stroll down the lane.  How many of these slang terms do you remember?  or have you heard?

Blast - a lot of fun
Dip - someone not so cool by teenage standards
Something Else - very special
Fuzz - policeman
Right On - good, okay
Bummer - sudden turn for the worse
Scope Out - to check out, look at
Threads - clothes
Cherry - pristine, way cool
Kook - weirdo
Cool it - discontinue
Ditch - dump someone
Shades - sunglasses
Dough - money
Right On - I agree
Lay It On Me - tell me something
Dude - cool guy
Fake it - bluff
Chick - a girl
Flake off - go away.
Four on the floor - 4-speed gear shift
Bone Yard - auto wrecking yard
Gas - having a  riot
Hang out - gather together
Sock It To Me - let me have it
Hood - juvenile delinquent
Punk - bothersome one
Kicks - doing something fun
Clue me in - tell me
Make tracks - to leave
Bug - bother or annoy
Neato Skoreato - something really great
Out of it - not keeping up with things
Groovy - wonderful
Pipe down - be quiet
Stacked - a girl who is well endowed on top
Candyass - a wimp
Rip-city - great time
Split - leave
All show and no go - A car with pretty chrome, but no speed
Badass - tough guy
Riot - having a great time
Burn Rubber - spin tires
Play Chicken - two cars race toward each other, the first to pull to the side is the chicken
Chrome Dome - a bald guy
Stuck Up - conceited
No Biggie - no big deal
Church Key - can opener
Going Steady - dating one person
Cop a Feel - touch a girl, while acting like it was accidental
Main Squeeze - boyfriend or girlfriend
Crash - go to bed
Fox - cool-looking girl
Razz - tease
Cruising - driving up and down the same street looking for chicks
Daddy-O - a man
Unreal - unbelievable
Deuce - a 1932 Ford.  Remember the Little Deuce Coupe?
Vibes - feelings one gets from a person or situation
Dig - understand?
Flee the Scene - leave
Ditz - another word for idiot
Outta sight - awesome
Don't Sweat It - don't worry
With It - in the know
Drag - to race another car a short way
Main drag - main street
A Drag - Boring
Duck Tail - guy's hair slicked back toward the middle
Fab - fabulous
Raunchy - disgusting
Fink - tattle tale
Hip - Way cool
Zits - pimples
Boogie - to dance, to leave
Flat Top - guy's hair cut flat on top
Scarf - to eat real fast
Flip Flops - thongs for feet, we also called 'em Zorries
Dip Stick - an idiot
Funky - could mean something really cool, or something that's gone bad
Passion Pit - drive-in theater
F***in' A - I agree
Glasspacks - mufflers packed with fiberglass to muffle the sound.
Hacked off - mad or ticked off
Decked Out - dressed up
Square - someone who doesn't understand
Hang Loose - take it easy
Rat Fink - tattle tale
Hanky Panky - mischief
Heavy - deep
Kings X - declare a truce or time out
Skuzz Bucket - a not-so-neat car
Make Out - to kiss
On the Make - looking for another someone
Pad - someone's house
Far Out - excellent
Peel Out - lay a patch of rubber
Flake - an airhead
Ripped Off - to have something stolen
Shag Ass - let's get out of here!
Kiss Up - please a teacher
Brown Noser - one who annoyingly sucked up to the teachers
Shot gun - to ride in the front seat of a car nearest the door
Skag - a not-so-pretty girl
The Bird - the finger
A crock - a lie
Souped Up - car modified to go fast
Kibosh - put a stop to
Wedgie - when someone pulls your underwear up from the back
Swampwater - half A&W Root Beer and half Orange drink
Bent Out of Shape - get upset over something
Swapping Spit - French kissing
Freak Out - lose control
Beats Me - I don't know.
The Most - something that's the greatest
Wet Willie - when someone wets their finger and puts it in your ear
Think Fast - someone's gonna throw something at you!

The 1960's were sensational.  They were my teenage years.....when I learned the reason that boys were put on earth, danced my heart out at sock hops, studied hard to get good grades, fell in love with my classmate, started my career in the legal field, and we got hitched.  How can I not look back, reminisce, and say, "What an absolute blast!"

Sunday, March 04, 2012

President For a Day

163 years ago today, March 4, 1849, the United States didn't have a President.....or, did it?

Outgoing president James Polk's term ended at noon on March 4, which was a Sunday....like today.  Zachary Taylor, his successor, didn't want to be sworn in on a Sunday, and neither did his Vice Presidential running mate, Millard Fillmore.  History holds debatable claims whether that put David Rice Atchison, the Senate President, or President pro tempore, into the Office of  President for that one day.  When interviewed about March 4, 1849, David Rice Atchison himself revealed that he slept most of the day because he was tired after working three or four nights finishing up the work of the Senate.

Atchison was the oldest of six children.  His father came from Ireland, and his mother from Georgia.  He was born in Frogtown, Kentucky, which is now part of Lexington.  He died in 1886, and was buried at his home in Plattsburg, Missouri.  His tombstone reads that he was President for One Day, but notice that it does not have a Presidential Seal.

Atchison, Kansas, is named for him, and the town later gave its name to the famous Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad.  A bronze bust of Atchison is on  display in the rotunda of the Missouri State Capitol.  

Atchison, a Democrat from Missouri, was devoted to farming and to slavery.  He managed a 1,500-acre farm, owned 16 slaves and four slave cabins.  He favored secession from the Union, fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War, resigned his commission after the Confederate defeat at the Battle of Pea Ridge, and then went to live on his farm in Plattsburg, Missouri.

Was he President for a Day?  or, wasn't he?

Guess it really doesn't matter anymore.  But, it sure makes for interesting historical trivia.  Anyway, I think it does.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Deadly Storms Hit United States

We should all be heartbroken today as we watch the remnants of the storm system that hit a good part of our country.  And, to think we are all sitting ducks for the same to happen to us.

May caring souls around the world see our suffering.  I pray that America gets as America gives.

Why is Mother Nature doing this?  Or, are these violent storms the result of something we humans are doing?  Imagine all the satellite traffic that lets us use cell phones, computers, televisions, and other miracles of communication.  Could all these sky beams be screwing up the atmosphere?

There's an old  saying, "Man will destroy himself with his own intelligence."

If we slow down long enough, and take a good look at what's going on, we can't help but see that man is causing adverse affects to Earth.  On land.  In sky. Put those two together, and maybe that's why we're seeing the undeniable changes in our seasons.  The significant weather changes have happened only in the last fifty years, and that's a millisecond in the Grand Scheme.

Is Mother Nature madder than hell?  Trying to get a point across?  Is she trying to tell us that human survival is #1?  That life was never designed for us to live like royalty?  When I was a little girl, a 120-acre farm sustained a family of four, if the kids were taught to pitch in and help.  Now, the little farms have been sucked up by the big boys, and our families are struggling to survive with two paychecks.  Not only that, but the kids aren't learning that work is necessary for survival.  It's not a gimme world and never will be.  It just might be that Mother Nature is wondering just how much it will take before we realize we are on the wrong track.

Let us bow our heads and talk with Our Creator.......

We come together to pray for our neighbors
south-west-east-north
who are suffering from storms.
Yesterday we saw communities face the fury of wind.
May the winds and the rains spare them
from further suffering
as they come to grips with the storm's aftermath.
Today may they know
the kindness of strangers,
the help of neighbors, 
and the courage to continue.
Be our shield in all the storms of life.
Keep us safe.
We ask all this of your Goodness.
Amen.

Plant a tree.

Feed the birds.

Be kind to animals.

Please do something to save our planet.  It belongs to all of us.      

Friday, March 02, 2012

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Crossword Clue

I am not able to patiently wait in the car, or anywhere else for that matter, without keeping my mind busy.  We keep a book of crossword puzzles tucked in the pouch back of the driver's seat for the times hubby feels like roaming the monotonous aisles at Menard's or making a few casts at a trout stream.

The crossword clue was "make a lap" for a 3-letter word.

Run?

That wasn't going to work because the last letter was a t.  What in the world...a 3-letter word ending in t, that means to make a lap.

Once again our English language tripped me up on such an elementary clue.  The correct answer was "sit."  We make a lap when we sit.

One sentence =  two thoughts.

"I am going to make a lap."

Should I run?

or should I sit?

Silly, isn't it?