Saturday, July 31, 2004

the brevity of life, the certainty of death

This is Rooster; he passed from this life today.  I only met him once, but he was a wonderful friend to my son Jim, and I know losing him was like losing a family member for my boy.

Rooster was a redneck in every sense of the word:  he had an arsenal stashed away in his mobile home.  He had money hidden away around his house, but none in banks.  I hear he was good for a quickie loan, if a friend was in need. 

Although he was diabetic, Rooster chose to ignore all dietary restrictions.  Actually it wasn't the diabetes that got him in the end; I understand his liver failed as a result of his heavy comsumption of beer.

I know this Alabama/Georgia man's passing leaves a big hole in Jim's life.  May God rest his soul, and comfort my son in his loss.

Blue, after a ride

Blue gets a bite of sweet feed after a ride...

Then he rolls....

and rolls some more, till he's good and dusty....

and then he's done.

Saturday to myself

I took Mandy out in the pasture a little way, and she had her first taste of cow crap (a true farm dog) and then found a real prize, a keeper:  a piece of horse-hoof the farrier trimmed off Blue last time he was here.  She is very good about pottying outside except in the mornings when the grass is wet with dew.  That's when she hates to leave the sidewalk and do her business.  She is outside with Cliff all day when I'm at work, and does well... alternately plays hard and sleeps hard.   

Cliff went to help his brother add on to a farm building, so I'm on my own today.  I've hoed a few weeds, and will go for a horseback ride soon, before it gets too hot.  Tomorrow there's a family reunion, my dad's family.  For years I've gone to the reunions only for my parents; there are other ways I'd rather spend a Sunday.  But now that both parents are gone, I find myself going for a cousin, Lela, who wants so badly to keep it going.  After my generation is gone, there will be no reunions in my family.  Younger kids really don't care about such things.  After all, they never really knew my cousins.  And the people they did half-way know growing up, my aunts and uncles, are all dead now.  I am going to try and keep our own little 4th of July reunion going here at the house though, for Cliff's siblings and nephews, and for any of my kids' friends that want to come.  It worked well this summer.  It's a lot of cooking and work, and some will have to bring campers if they are going to spend the night; but we'll manage somehow. 


Thursday, July 29, 2004

Weekend assignment #17

John Scalzi is sort of like AOL's "head Blogger", and gives out weekend assignments for all the journal folk.  This is the first time I've participated, but here goes:

Weekend Assignment #17: Through some unexplained miracle, your pet or pets gain the mental capacity for speech for exactly the length of a single sentence. What do you think that sentence would be and why?

Well, if we're talking about my horse, Blue, I believe the sentence would be this:  "Would you PLEASE lose some weight, you're killing me!"

OK, here's the second part of the assignment: 

Extra Credit: You get one question to ask your pet that (presumably) it would answer. What's the question?

I'd ask my pup, Mandy, why she voluntarily goes into Blue's stall and sleeps for hours when the door is open during the day, but cries when I shut her in there at night. 

Life is good

I had a nice ride to the Missouri River yesterday; I discovered a new path on the Gates place that led right to the bank.  It was still cool and lovely, but the mosquitoes are unbelievable down there, both in size and numbers.  Also, Blue doesn't like to have to break a path through  dense foliage that's higher than his head.  I was trying to get through a luxurious stand of Johnsongrass and he put himself into rapid reverse as a protest. 

I must say the soybeans are looking good, on the way to the Big Muddy.  All this land was under water in the Flood of '93.

Mandy is becoming more vocal, and is already learning to bark when I say, "Speak!"  The stall we force her to spend her nights in, the one she so objects to and escapes every chance she gets, is her haven during the daytime.  When she's outside and gets tired, that's where she goes to sleep.  It reminds me of Otis the drunk, on the old Andy Griffith show, locking himself in the cell and saying,  "I'm under arrest."  The only reason we force her to spend her nights in Blue's stall is that we don't want her in the house all night, and we're afraid she'd follow other dogs away if we left her running loose outside.  Were it not for other dogs coming around, I believe she'd stay here.  She shows no tendency of wanting to leave our property; in fact, she won't even follow me all the way to the mailbox. 

Two weeks from today, my two granddaughters and I will be going to the State Fair to camp out for three days.  This summer is too rapidly disappearing.




Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Staying home again!

I keep taking just one more VTO (voluntary time off) thinking there won't be another chance... and so far, I keep getting another chance.  OK, so I'm lazy.  However, I don't intend to take any more this week if they offer it.  I like to get at least three days' work in.

We've been putting Mandy in Blue's stall at night.  She escaped at first and Cliff worked on getting it escape-proof.  For three nights it held her, but this morning at 4:30, I awoke to hear her whining at the door.  She's discovered another way out.  So here she is on a throw-rug she's wadded up, tearing up a scrap piece of paper... with one of Cliff's shoes she dragged over to keep her company.  Notice the chew-toy laying there abandoned.  She'd rather chew on shoes, rugs, and paper.

We seem to have a winner in this mongrel we have found.
She’s smart and fun and playful, and just nice to have around.
There’s something in a puppy that fulfills a need within:
I haven’t laughed out loud this much since God-alone-knows when.

She chews on kitchen chair legs, and she grabs discarded clothes.
It wears me out just watching this small scoundrel that we chose.
My throw rugs are disheveled, for she will not leave them lay...
And yet, in spite of all of that, this puppy’s here to stay.

She’s only had one accident upon my kitchen floor;
Already, when she needs to go, she whines at our back door.
She’s not supposed to be inside, but here she lies, asleep.
If we survive her puppyhood, I guess she’s one we’ll keep.










Tuesday, July 27, 2004

The bull is back

Cliff's brother's bull arrived today for his little stint of service.  He's the same one who sired this year's calves, but he sure looks different from last year; he's matured and grown, and looks like a real BULL now. 

Tyler and Travis, the thirteen-year-old twins next door, went with Cliff to get the bull, and they took Mandy along.  Now I suppose she'll be wanting to go with us every time we leave.  She is gravitating to the outside more and more, and I'm glad of that.  We didn't need a house dog.  Tonight she's just taking it easy, no doubt worn out from her big day of riding in the pickup and bull-rustling.

Here I am getting ready to go back to work again, after four days off.  I expect the workload to start picking up by the end of this week, which would mean I won't have so many extra days off... but I'll be having more money, and that's a good thing. 

Mandy has been in the house far too much, so she tends to think that's where she belongs.  But yesterday morning when I went to the Van's concert, I left her in the shop with Cliff, and she's becoming acclimated to the noises and surroundings there.  Cliff generally has one or more of the neighborhood boys hanging around there, and they give Mandy plenty of extra attention.  She has only made one puddle in the house so far, and yesterday evening she actually went to the door and whined, and as soon as I let her out she did all her business.  I think that's remarkable for one so young.  I do believe she's going to make us a fine family pet.

Monday, July 26, 2004

That's Amber and Arick, my grandchildren, and their friend Lee.  These were my companions at the Van's Warped Tour.  I saw some sights and heard sounds the likes of which I've never experienced before... but I had a great time!  I did get caught in a mosh pit once, with my granddaughter; I'm not sure which of us was the most frightened in that mob, but we wormed our way to the back very quickly!

That's me and Chuck, the drummer with Simple Plan.  What a sweet, soft-spoken fellow he was; Amber and I both loved him. 

There's Amber getting autographs from Sugar Cult... that's the band whose mosh pit we almost got crushed in.

And here's the place where we almost got smashed!  A girl standing next to me said, "So, are you a Sugar Cult fan?"  I said, "No, can't you tell by looking at me I'm country?  I'm just here with my grandchildren."

No, I don't know any of these kids, but don't they look like they're having a good time?  Now, as crazy as it sounds, I would go again.  It's fun to see all that youthful energy in action.

Sick puppies and nature's bounty.

Now, to look at that picture you'd never know it, but Mandy was very sick.  Evidently being wormed at the vet's Saturday, and then being given her first heartworm chewable yesterday, was too much for her little system.  She slept more and more as the day went by until she was nearly comatose.  All of us were concerned:  she wouldn't drink water or eat.  In desperation I offered her some milk, which she lapped up cautiously at first, then with increasing gusto.  She was not her normal self for the rest of the day, but she did perk up considerably.  This morning she is back to her usual puppy ways, attacking every throw rug in the house and retrieving castoff socks from around the place, taking them to her lair under the kitchen table.  She certainly gave us all a scare.

I realize the girl on the right has a shirt that says "Monica", but that's not Monica... it's Natalie.  I had a busy day yesterday.  The girls and I picked green beans and tomatoes in the garden, then picked peaches.  I froze a quart of those, sliced some for all of us to eat, and went back to the garden to dig up my potatoes.  I had planted about three pounds of seed potatoes, and ended up with about a bushel for a harvest (some of which are HUGE)!  Cliff and I had green beans and little potatoes cooked with smoked sausage for our supper.  I didn't ride yesterday, but my daughter, Rachel, gave Blue (and herself) a good workout.  After digging potatoes and pulling weeds in the garden, I was pooped!   

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Van's Warped Tour

I copied and pasted the following from the Kansas City Star.  Tomorrow's the day, and remember, I'm a country fan.  But I think I'll have great fun.

10 years in the Van Warped Tour celebrates a decade of rocking, rolling and bonding

Special to The Star

The Van's Warped Tour celebrates its 10th anniversary this summer, a landmark event that makes it the granddaddy of annual traveling rock shows.

It's a tour that — year in, year out — continues to pack amphitheaters and similar-size venues from coast to coast.

Brian Baker, guitarist for Bad Religion, has little problem understanding why the Warped tour has not worn out its welcome.

“If you're in the crowd, think of the choices (in bands),” he said. “There are so many options and so many cool things to do that I see people really having a good time there. It always seems to be full right until the last moment.

“We also are talking bang for the buck. I don't know what it is —like 32 cents a band, something like that. You do the math, it works out. Yeah, it's just a great time.”

Baker's computations are a little off, but he has a good point about the ability of the Warped Tour to deliver value.

When the tour stops Monday at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Bonner Springs, nearly 50 bands will take to the stages, all for a ticket price of $27.

In a day and age when amphitheater-level acts routinely command $50 or more a ticket — with such premier shows as Sting and Annie Lennox fetching a top ticket price of $125 and Simon & Garfunkel's recent tour having commanded $195 for the best seats at many shows —the Warped tour is easily the best bargain of the summer.

The lineup this year offers a good mixture of critically acclaimed up-and-coming bands (Coheed & Cambria, From Autumn to Ashes and Taking Back Sunday); pop-punk bands that have had a taste of chart success (New Found Glory and Yellowcard); lesser-known newcomers (Amber Pacific, the Bled and Over It); and punk vets (Bad Religion, NOFX and the Vandals).

And while the Warped tour has always been closely identified with punk and the skate and surf scene, the tour has expanded while retaining a strong modern-rock identity and not losing credibility with a fan base that values authenticity.

The 2004 lineup, though, shows just how diverse the modern-rock umbrella has become.

This year's lineup includes a healthy contingent of groups, such as Sugarcult and Yellowcard, whose sound is as much power pop as it is punk.

The impact of emo is also felt on this tour, with groups that are known for open-hearted lyrics, such as Alkaline Trio, Story of the Year and Taking Back Sunday, joining the lineup.

Other bands, such as the Flogging Molly (Irish-inflected punk sound), Coheed & Cambria (a blend of progressive rock and melodic modern rock) and Letter Kills (bringing a metal edge and strong melodies to a high-energy sound), stand out from the pack with their distinctive styles.

Sugarcult guitarist Marko 72 said camaraderie is a big selling point for bands. He noted when his band first played the tour in 2001, it had played only one punk show before opening for the Circle Jerks. It was greeted with boos and flying objects, a reaction Marko 72 said the band actually enjoyed, viewing it as its punk baptism.

“So having done that show and taken some bottles to our heads we gladly obliged to join the Warped tour, thinking, ‘… it's going to be an entire summer of bottles to our heads,' ” Marko said. “At the end of the tour, we play and we look at the side of the stage and all the guys from Rancid are there with, like, video cameras. We get off stage and they're like, ‘You guys are great, man.' So I guess we've sort of been accepted by this scene.”

Beyond the camaraderie, Bad Religion's Baker said he thinks bands appreciate the Warped tour's ethic of equal opportunity.

“It's an entirely egalitarian system,” he said. “No matter how big your band is, everybody still plays a half-hour. And no matter how big your band is, nobody knows when they're going to play until (the schedule) is posted on the big board in the morning. There is no headliner. I think that has a lot to do with (the appeal for bands). It's very put your ego in the back seat and just go play good music.

“Also when you have over a hundred buses filled with these lunatics just roaming around the country, it's almost got this ‘Mad Max' feel in that it makes you bond tighter,” Baker said. “You just feel like pirates. I'm old enough to appreciate what it was like to go to summer camp. And this is summer camp with instruments.”

Sunday morning

We got 1 6/10 inches of rain yesterday; so much for going to the tractor show.  I don't believe I've seen a year with so much rain since 1993, the year of the flood.

Mandy had her first visit with the vet yesterday:  $18 for physical examination, $8 for a three-way vaccination, $32 for Iverhart Plus (heartworm prevention) and $3 for de-worming.  $61, all told.  And we haven't even had her spayed yet!  She is showing a lot of intelligence, and a decided skill as an escape artist.  We put her in the stall while we went shopping, and she found two different ways out of her prison!  Vicki, our renter (and a dog-lover) reported all this activity, and hopefully we have all Mandy's escape routes fixed now.  Funny thing is, when she gets out of the horse's stall, she comes directly to the house, to the back door we use all the time, and starts raising a ruckus.  I don't think she heard me say she won't be a house dog.  So far there have been no accidents in the house, which I think is remarkable for an eight- to ten-week-old dog.  As I type this, she's lying on a rug in the hall, chewing on one of the toys I bought her yesterday.  Two granddaughters, Natalie and Monica, spent the night here, and they're glad to have a puppy around.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Meet Mandy

As you can see, our home will be safe from any marauding bands of dangerous throw-rugs, now that we have Mandy.  She is using her fierce attack methods to properly kill and destroy this one.  Gee, I need to shake that throw-rug, don't I?  Every time the lawn is mowed, I track cut grass in on my bare feet for days... and then it's time to mow again. 

We've been dog-less since May, and when my friend Tracy told us about free puppies a mile from our home, we decided it was time to take the plunge.  Cliff named her Mandy (sounds a lot like Brandy, our last dog's name, doesn't it?).  She isn't going to be a house-dog, but in order to bond with her, I'm bringing her in quite a bit for the time being.  I set her up last night in Blue's stall, since he seldom uses it in summer.  She can't escape there, and if she potties, it doesn't matter.  When I put her in the stall, she sniffed around, went straight to her new bed, which she'd never seen before, and curled up as if to say, "Home sweet home".  I went to check a couple hours later and she was in her bed, but she had found a dried-up road-apple (horse manure, for the un-farmed) and had taken it to bed with her.  A true farm dog in every sense of the word!  Her mother, who looks to be pure Blue Heeler, had been dumped at these folks' house, already pregnant, along with another pregnant female.  Anybody need any Heinz 57 puppies?  We chose this particular puppy because she came right to us, wanting to play.  She was flea-infested, but I applied a little Sevin dust, and that fixed that problem within an hour.  Then I noticed she kept digging at her ears and figured she must have ear-mites, so I used some cooking oil in her ears.  That seems to have fixed problem number two.  We'll get wormer today for her, and before long we'll take her to the vet for spaying, shots, and all the other things a puppy needs.

Friday, July 23, 2004

family ties and tractor shows

That's my husband on the tractor he's used as a workhourse for over twenty years.  Our house is in the background, and his shop (his haven).

I must tell my readers:  the comment my daughter left about yesterday's entry touched me deeply.  Although there were times I questioned my sanity when my kids were teens, it's sure nice to have them in my world now, as adults.  I'm proud of both of them, and I'm glad for the unique persons they turned out to be.  And I thank God for the children they both have brought into this world to touch my life, giving me somone to attend punk rock concerts with, and state fairs.  In other words, I have someone to be a kid with.  Amber brightens my world every weekend, just being here, keeping my other computer warm.  I'm watching Brett change and grow into a fine young man.  Lyndsay, my little Georgia peach, makes me smile incessantly when she visits.  Monica and Natalie are so funny and wise (and sometimes, smart-aleckie).  And Arick reminds me that having teens in your family will keep you praying a lot! 

Cliff and I have made quite a hobby of going to tractor shows, some at quite a distance, and some near home.  But this year we have not attended a single one.  It looks like that will change Saturday.  Cliff had originally planned to help his  brother add onto a shed this weekend, but plans have changed, freeing us up to head to the yearly show at Adrian, Missouri.  We might even run into my nearest Internet friend, BooDotte, and her husband.

We plan to attend a big tractor show on Labor Day weekend:  either the one at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa; or else the one at Rollag, Minnesota.  I tend to favor Mt. Pleasant, but either one will suffice.  They are so much more than just tractor shows:  there are people making sorghum, and others elsewhere making lye soap... all sorts of old-timey crafts.  There are flea markets and antique dealers.  The show in Iowa even has country music concerts.  The campgrounds are extremely crowded, and the lines at the showers are long:  but a general feeling of commaraderie makes up for all of that.  Everybody there is your neighbor.  It's an older crowd, which means they are well-behaved and congenial.  Wow, I can't wait!   

Thursday, July 22, 2004

seedling trees and dreams

All day at work I thought about those seedling pecan trees I wrote about this morning: what if we had assumed they were dead and mowed them?  We’d never have known the difference.  We’d never have realized we killed living trees.

So I got to wondering, Aren’t dreams a lot like that?  You nurture your hopes and dreams, praying they’ll come to fruition, and then so much time goes by, you give up on them.  You just know they’re dead, that there’s not a chance on earth that those dreams could come true.  And you bury them.

But what if they weren’t dead, only sleeping until the right time?  What if you murdered them because of your lack of patience?

Like most little girls, I used to beg for a pony.  I cried and I prayed; my parents pointed out that you can’t have a horse in town, but that made no sense to me... we had a huge yard!  I wrote to Santa, in hopes he’d see things my way.  Back then you could buy Shetland ponies from the Wards and Sears Catalogues, and I wore those pages out looking.  I grew, and we moved to Kansas City.  By that time I was old enough to realize my dream of a pony could not possibly come true.  And I forgot about it.

Fast-forward some twenty years.  My husband and I bought 20 acres in the country (another dream I had long ago squelched) and somebody knew somebody that had a horse for sale for $100.  That was Ginger, the first of many horses I’ve had along the way.  I’ve fully enjoyed every one in its own time and in its own way. 

The trouble is, when so much time passes between the planting of a dream and the day it finally blossoms into something real, you forget that it WAS a dream, if you’re not careful. 

So today, thanks to a couple of little seedling trees, I took count of all the dreams-come-true I’ve experienced and thanked a loving God, to Whom time is no barrier.

Please don’t give up on your dreams; there may still be life there!   

pecans and punk rock

Last fall, I ordered two pecan trees, and Cliff planted them alongside our driveway.  I don't know anything about pecans, but I thought it would be fun to raise our own nuts.  We have plenty of black walnuts in our woods, but they are so difficult to crack and pick out.  And I have a problem with eating them as fast as I pick them out.

This spring I watched the seedling trees and waited, but all I saw was the same two bare sticks we had planted.  Every once in awhile I'd bend down and try to break a piece off the end of one of the "sticks" to see if it was dead.  They always remained supple, so Cliff refrained from mowing them down.

The little peach tree we had planted at the same time grew leaves in April, but the pecan seedlings were bare.  In May, still nothing.  And through the month of June, all we had in the way of pecan trees was two sticks.  We sometimes discussed the matter, agreeing that the little trees had died... but something made us leave them there.

Two weeks ago, with very little hope in my heart, I once again approached our pitiful little sticks, and did a double-take:  Was that a leaf on one?  Yes!  And a couple of days later, the other twig also sprouted leaves.  It's probably just the nature of pecan seedlings not to put on their first leaves till mid-summer, but it was like a resurrection from the dead to me, and I felt like dancing around the yard in celebration.

Now, we're on the northern boundary of the area where pecans grow, so I don't know what sort of crops we'll get.  But at least I know there's a chance of having my own pecans!

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

this and that

My supper last night:  two roasting ears, 3 tomatoes, sliced peaches, and black walnut ice cream.  Cliff's at work when I get home, so I just eat whatever I want.  I froze another quart of peaches.  My little garden is starting to produce!

Some time back, my granddaughter was on the other computer (I call it the "kiddie" computer, it's a cheap one I bought for grandkids to play on) and she was listening to Simple Plan.  I was so happy that she had started listening to songs with tunes, rather than rap, that I said, "You know, if Simple Plan ever comes to Kansas City, we should go!"

Well, after doing an internet search, I learned that they'd be here as part of Van's Warped Tour.  I sprung for four tickets, since I don't drive, and Amber isn't ready for city traffic yet.  I figured Arick, her brother, could drive us... and allowed for the fact that he might want to take his girl friend.  I'm not sure that his girl friend can go (he isn't supposed to be seeing her, but you know how THAT goes).  The fourth ticket will likely be used by his friend, Lee, who is also our backup driver in case Arick can't attend.  This item on the Warped Tour website cracked me up:  "REVERSE DAYCARE:  A tented, air-conditioned area where kids can drop off their parents while they cruise the action of the festival. There will be a masseuse on hand to take care of the parents and movies will be shown in the tent, which will be equipped with "noise proofed" headphones. Parents will be able to get away from the heat and noise, enjoy cold drinks and discuss the triumphs of parenthood as their kids rock out to the music and activities."

People seem to think I'm nuts, but I like to see and experience different things.  I expect to have a blast, and I'll be making good memories with my grandkids.  I hope to have pictures of this big event to share, and yes... I'll buy the T-shirt!

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Home is where the heart is

This is my Missouri.  I don't think there could be a more convenient area than mine for horseback riding.  I own the back roads I ride on, except for the occasional pickup or tractor driven by a farmer.  And if I REALLY want solitude, it's only about a mile to the river bottom, where nobody lives, and the only people you might see are farmers inspecting their crops, or, a couple of times, youngsters racing their noisy four-wheelers... but they are quickly gone.  I spent years thinking I wanted to live in Colorado's Rocky Mountains, but I've come to my senses since I got Blue:  I've finally realized there's just as much beauty here as in the mountains; it's just a different kind of beauty.  I'm starting to see a stark beauty in a dead tree left standing,

 or an old deserted house, like this one down by the river.

I'll still visit Colorado when I can, but I believe I'll keep Missouri as my home.

back to the grind

OK, I've had four days off and it's back to work; actually, I'm ready to return to the old grind.  After while, I start to miss the people. 

My peaches are starting to get ready, and I've been putting them in the freezer.  Fresh peaches sure do make some good cereal in the morning.  And sliced on vanilla ice cream... scrumptious!  The above picture was not taken from horseback; it was taken right here at home, in the pasture.  When I went out to feed Blue, I noticed what a lovely sunrise there was, fetched the digital camera, and went back out in search of beauty.  We have 43 acres, but there are people so near that, to stand on my front porch and look, you'd think we were in town.  Dawn turned to daylight as I admired the bird's songs and rolling pasture, and when I walked back, the cows gave me curious looks, as if to say, "What is she doing out here in her nightgown?"

Look around you, folks.  It's a beautiful world!


Monday, July 19, 2004

I went for another long ride on the backroads, just enjoying the beauty of Missouri farm country.  We've had lots of rain, so the corn and beans are outdoing themselves.  I chanced to look above this cornfield to see Old Glory waving, out there in the sticks, and somehow it did my heart good.  God bless America!


Keep me, Lord.  Protect my horse,
And may we both have fun. 
Help us to work in unison
Until this ride is done.

Open wide our eyes today
To view the things You've made.
And when the sun comes beaming down,
Provide us with some shade.

Bless this war-torn world today,
And creatures great and small.
I'll watch the countryside move by
And thank You for it all.

(c) copyright July 19, 2004

Donna Wood

Sunday, July 18, 2004

just rambling

I had a glorious three-hour ride yesterday morning, although it left me exhausted.  I felt as though I'd put in a day's work when I got home at 8 AM.  I took the camera, but I didn't get as many opportunities for great pictures as I usually do.  The sunrise was rather ho-hum.  Here's a picture I snapped of a Missouri Century Farm, though... that means the place has been in the same family for over 100 years.  Isn't it inviting?

My daughter and her family came, and stayed for dinner; I always expect them on weekends, since they live in a townhouse with noplace to turn the children loose.  I'm glad they live close enough that they can enjoy our 43 acres with us.  My sixteen-year-old granddaughter, Amber, spent the night here as is usual on weekends. 

Four years ago yesterday, I got my job at Kohls, which has absolutely changed my life!  I've been able to travel to so many wonderful places that I couldn't have afforded, had I not been working.  It wears me out, I'll admit; my feet, legs and knees protest constantly.  But so far the tradeoffs have been worth it.  I'm now 80% vested in my little 401K plan, too.  One more year to 100%.

Last night I climbed on Blue bareback and rode him around the yard and pasture.  It was the first time I'd ridden bareback since around the 4th of July, when firecrackers scared him and he tossed me off.  Sometimes I get the feeling he considers himself my babysitter, he's such a gentle soul.  Picture this 60-year-old, overweight woman getting on an upside-down five-gallon bucket, then struggling to pull herself onto a tall horse's back, using his mane to pull herself up with and kicking his flank on the way up.  If I were in his "horseshoes", I wouldn't allow such uncomfortable nonsense!

Saturday, July 17, 2004

do horses get poison ivy?

I stopped in a woods this morning for a bathroom break, and Blue began eating this poison ivy.  I hope horses aren't bothered by it.  I have never been allergic to the stuff, or I'd be afraid to pet him now.

my farm roots

Notice the foamy milk on that calf's mouth?  I love that picture!  The cow's name is Spook, and the calf is Junie.

I was thinking yesterday how, when I was growing up in the fifties, everybody had farm connections.  Perhaps one lived in Kansas City, but most everyone had grandparents or other relatives on a farm.  All my uncles and aunts were farmers, and that made for some great summers for me:  I'd go spend a week with Grandma, and Uncle Leo was right up the road about a mile, with his wife and my four cousins.  So I'd spend lots of time there too.

I've always loved animals, so the farm was paradise for me.  I remember following Grandma around as she fed the chickens and milked her one cow.  Uncle Leo had hogs, milk cows, black Angus cattle, and plenty of kittens in the barn.  There was always something going on.  When it was someone's birthday, the rest of the family would sneak around and make home-made ice cream.  That evening other relatives would mysteriously show up and we'd all have ice cream and cake.  Such simple times, and how I'd love to be able to go back to one of those days for a spell. 

Farms have changed now.  Many of them have no livestock at all.  Hardly anyone has pigs... hog raising is done mostly by mega-corporations, not by family farmers.  The family cow is a thing of the past.  I milked cows by hand most of my married life, just for our own use and to raise bottle calves; but when the kids got grown, I wanted to be able to travel, and you can't do that and milk cows twice a day.  I sorely miss having a Jersey cow around.  We have three Limousin-cross cows, but they're not pets like my milk cows were.  When I retire I plan to raise an occasional hog for butchering, and have a few chickens... just for old time's sake.  Right now, with a job, I don't need the added chores.

Meanwhile, we're waiting for the right dog to come along.  The puppies our renter, Vicki, checked on didn't pan out; but she got my mind on German Shepherds, and I think if I could choose, I'd get a German Shepherd puppy.

Friday, July 16, 2004

home from shopping

We got lots of shopping done today:  We went to Lowe's to get new faucets for the kitchen and bathroom... our hard water is tough on fixtures... oh, and I bought the tickets for the girls and me to have unlimited rides, one day of the State Fair; then to Kohls so I could browse the bargain racks a bit; on to Sam's Club, and finally to Wal Mart.  As we left Sam's parking lot we saw a man selling corn on the cob, $4 a dozen.  That's a little high, but it was just picked this morning, and was our favorite variety... Peaches-and-Cream.  I bought some nice cantaloupe at Sam's, too.  And finally we are eating tomatoes every day.  I fixed dinner as soon as we were home... a baked potato, corn on the cob, sliced tomatoes and (get this) one of my Nathan's hot dogs, cut in half.  As we ate, Cliff and I got into a discussion about the proper way to eat corn on the cob:  he eats in rows, from end to end, and I eat around the cob.  He says my method is messy.  I find no problem with it... what's the big deal about a little mess?

I did not get to ride this morning because more storms came through.  We got exactly an inch, but only twenty miles away, some folks got 4 inches.

rainy morning

Yesterday was a good day for work.  For once, I had freight that made it easy to get good numbers (UPH).  Our new boss, Chris, is implementing lots of changes, mostly ones I like.  For one thing, we won't be working as partners much.  We'll work one person to a mod.  There will be changes in the computer system that will allow for the fact that what you "throw" is hard and slow to work with.  All of this will cut down on the number of people who go to their module, talk for an hour before starting work, and then blame their poor performance on their partners.  I worked with my old partner yesterday, and we did great!  Chris came along a half-hour before quitting time and I told her, "If somebody would open these boxes for us, I think we could finish this PO (postal order)."  "Ya think?"  she said, dubiously,  then opened them all, and we did finish, with five minutes to spare.  I love to work that way, it makes the time go so fast.

I had intended to go on a morning ride today, but it's raining.  It sounds like the storm might be almost over, so there's still a chance; it's an hour till daylight yet.  Which reminds me, if you want a good book to read, get "An Hour Before Daylight", an autobiography by Jimmy Carter, telling of his growing-up years in Plains, Georgia.  You can get it on for under a dollar, plus shipping of course.  Right now I'm reading an autobiography of country singer George Jones, "I Lived To Tell It All".  The facts in the book are interesting, but it's rather poorly written.  And yes, George DID have help writing it. 

Thursday, July 15, 2004

once again, to work or not...

Once again I have the choice of either going to work or staying home.  In fact, the call-in line says we have VTO for today, Friday and Monday.  I already know I'll stay home tomorrow; I don't know what I'll do about Monday yet.  I WILL work today; that gives me three days, which is enough to buy groceries.

I've been enjoying AOL Journals.  There's a potential here to meet new people, and I've already found one I consider a friend.  Her name is Celeste, and she lives in Georgia.  We've spent some time chatting recently.  Check out "My day and thoughts"  to meet my new friend.  Meanwhile, I'm running into new people while enjoying the company of old ones in a chat room I created, Common Ground.  I spent far too much time there last night. 

My daughter's husband bought tickets for them to see Trace Adkins at Harrah's casino, and she's thrilled.  It just happens the show is on the first night of the fair, so her two girls will be safely with me:  no need for a sitter.  How lucky can she get? 

Here's a verse from today's Bible reading:  "A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense."  Proverbs 19:10-12

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

to work or not to work, that is the question

I'll work today, although the call-in line tells me I don't have to.  I might want to buy some groceries next week, and if I don't get in at least three days, that gets difficult.  And I'm really hoping for the opportunity to take Friday off.  If this year is anything like last year, the extra days off will be few and far between starting in August.

If you want to read a brutally honest journal, check out On The Tip of My Wings; the last three days' entries will almost make you cry.

Cliff has had a bum knee for the past four days:  I told him God was just letting him know how I feel all the time.  Of course, God is liable to let me feel Cliff's pain one of these days... his arthritis is worst in his shoulder, from all his years of butchering and meat-cutting. 

The fair is still on my mind; here are some of the free things the girls and I will enjoy:

ADRIATIC SPECTACULAR BENGAL TIGER SHOW - Aug. 12-22. The only display of its type with multi-colored tigers: standard, white, golden tabby, and the extremely rare snow white tiger. Enjoy as these cats are lead through an intricate routine showcasing their beauty and athleticism, featuring the world's only high-jumping tiger.
• BUDWEISER STAGE - Aug. 12-22. Live music from up-and-coming performers, just south of the old Administration Building.
Weekdays at 3 & 6 p.m.; Sat. & Sun. at 2 & 5 p.m. unless otherwise noted
Aug 12-13 Hilljack
Aug 14-15 Bering Strait
• BUTTONS THE CLOWN - Aug. 12-22. For "Miles of Smiles," look for Buttons at our special contests at the Touchstone Energy Stage or cruising the grounds in his 1932 Roadster.   • CHILDREN'S BARNYARD - Aug. 12-22. Bring the kids to see animal friends straight from the farm. Open 9 a.m.- 9p.m., South of Agriculture Bldg.
• COKE FAMILY FUN FEST, Aug. 12-22. Free family sports playground featuring baseball, basketball, football, and bungee run.

• EXOTIC ANIMAL PETTING ZOO - Aug. 12-22. 9 a.m. - 9 p.m., just north and east of the Coliseum
EXTREME CANINES STUNT DOG SHOW, sponsored by Westlake Ace Hardware - Aug. 12-22. Watch these furry stars soar, spin, jump and fly! 11 a.m., 3 & 6:30 p.m. weekdays. Additional 4:30 p.m. show on weekends.
                                                                              Travis Fox  (See also: Hypnomania) - Aug.19-22. Touchstone Energy Stage. Combining the mystic art of hypnosis with a comedic flair, this is a show for all ages. Dr. Fox is a certified hypnotherapist and a true entertainer.
MA PA PA ACROBATS, sponsored by Subway - Aug. 12-22. Witness tumbling, contortion, dance, juggling, chair-balancing and a lot more in this high energy acrobatic show, and even learn a little about the culture and geography of Kenya.
• NEW FREE ENTERTAINMENT ATTRACTIONS - See MaPaPa Acrobats, Nerveless Nocks, Adriatic Spectacular Bengal Tiger Show, The Procrastinators, Travis Fox/Hypnomania
NERVELESS NOCKS, sponsored by MO$T - Aug. 12-22. Witness the climb up the Swaypoles, a breathtaking aerial pole to pole exchange and an unbelievable headfirst free-fall back to the ground. Thrill to the daring Spacewheel, an aerial pendulum, the death-defying Skycycle, and watch the fearless stunt riders journey in the 17-foot steel Globe of Fear!
                                                                    PROCRASTINATORS, sponsored by Ditzfeld Transfer - Aug. 12-22. Experience fast and furious rhythmic fun when 3 outrageous drummers turn five-gallon water bottles, barstools, and pots & pans into musical instruments while jumping, sliding, twisting & stomping!
• PROFESSOR FARQUAR - Aug. 12-22. Gather 'round, as "the greatest one-man show west of the Mississippi" sets entertainment back more than a hundred years to the days of the old-time medicine show... with copious amounts of laughter, the best medicine of all! See the professor strolling through the fairgrounds or daily in the Mo-Ag Theatre.
   • SHOW ME MISSOURI FISH - Aug. 12-22. Live demonstrations at 1, 4 & 6 p.m.
• ZOO (See also EXOTIC ANIMAL PETTING ZOO) - Aug. 12-22. 9 a.m. - 9 p.m., just north and east of the Coliseum  

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Missouri State Fair

I've been thinking about the Missouri State Fair today.  The plans are for Cliff to take me, along with Monica and Natalie, two of my granddaughters, down to Sedalia on opening day.  He'll set up the camper and then come home alone.

I have always loved state fairs, to the point that I can't get enough of them.  I enjoy the livestock shows, the dust and heat, the smells and flavors... it's all good!  Cliff, however, can see all he wants of any fair in about four hours, unless there's a tractor pull going on.  For years I felt deprived at fair-time, until I came up with a brainstorm eight or nine years ago:  what if Cliff took my grandson Arick and me, with our camper, and left us for two or three days?  So about nine years ago, I found out that the only way to REALLY enjoy the fair is to see it in the company of a child.  Arick accompanied me for three years, I believe, and sometimes a cousin or two joined us.  Then he outgrew such childish nonsense, and I once more was deprived of my fun.  Last year I decided my seven-year-old granddaughter, Monica, might be old enough to take in the fair with me.  I had the best time ever! 

So this year, the plan is to take Monica, now eight, and her sister, Natalie, age six.  We'll spend at least three days.  I like to be there for the Thursday opening ceremonies and the governer's speech.  On opening night there's a very affordable concert.  Last year it was Sawyer Brown for $5 a ticket; this year it's Charlie Daniels.  The girls are both huge country music fans, so we'll attend the show.

I do have some reservations about Natalie, though.  She's her mom's baby, and a momma's girl, big time.  I'm wondering if she'll make it that long away from home.  The worst that can happen is, Rachel will have to come and pick her up if she gets homesick. 

Anyway, the fair is my next big adventure (except Van's Warped Tour, but that's just a one-day thing; more about that at another time).

summer heat

I left the house at 5 AM on horseback and took several pictures during my ride.  My daughter said the picture I posted yesterday took forever to load... I made this one smaller, maybe that will help.

It's hot, getting up in the 90's every day.  We are the only people I know without air conditioning, and it's my own fault.  I hate being shut in all year long... there's no choice in the wintertime, but I do feel I have an option in summer.  As I get older, I find my resolve to keep the house open to the outdoors gets weaker.  We even tried out a big window unit last summer, and ended up getting in a quarrel about it:  some of our storm windows are old, and hard to open and close.  And when it got down in the 70's for a high, I wanted to be able to turn off the air and open windows.  With the worn-out storm windows, this wasn't feasable.  Finally Cliff, tired of my whining, took the unit out.  Hopefully in a couple of years we'll get replacement windows that will be easy to open and close, and then have central air put in.  Meanwhile, my brother-in-law loaned us a small window unit that we're using in the bedroom, and I love it!  I headed for bed early last night with my George Jones biography in hand, heaped up pillows to lean against, and enjoyed the cool comfort.

A year or so ago, our then-17-year-old grandson needed a car, and talked Cliff into signing for a loan for him; he couldn't do it as a co-signer because he wasn't yet 18.  I didn't like the idea, but Cliff didn't consult me on the matter.  And I must say, Arick has done well with the payments... so far.  However, he's now out of a job, and I imagine this month's payment will be ours to make.  I do hope I'm wrong. 


Monday, July 12, 2004

bone tired

I took this picture a couple of months ago, and mainly posted it to see if I could figure out how to add a picture.  I did it!

I can't believe how bone-tired I am any more after a days work.  Today there wasn't much to do in pack-to-light, so I ended up in non-con (putting "non-conveyable" items in totes to go to the stores).  I like that work for a change, but it's even more tiring that what I normally do.  As we lined up at the time clock, our superviser, Chris, asked who of us wanted a VTO (voluntary time off) tomorrow, and I couldn't raise my hand fast enough!  I'm hoping maybe I can get in an early-morning ride, before it heats up.  I'll take the camera, of course; I'm hoping to catch a picture of some of the bald eagles that nest along the river.

I'm so enjoying AOL radio.  I mostly listen to 70's country, although once in awhile I switch to 80's.

I'm still playing Scrabble online with my friend Sue, losing constantly.  But for some reason, it's fun anyhow.  I've never been competitive.

Oh, I have five tomatoes ready; I did pick them a wee bit early and brought them in to ripen inside, just because I was afraid something would happen to them.  I also ate a handful of grape tomatoes this evening, and brought in a couple of nice bell peppers.  My only real crops are tomatoes and peppers; I did plant three short rows of corn, and a couple rows of green beans... oh, and one little row of potatoes.  I think my days of massive gardening and canning are over.  I remember when it was so much fun to watch the colorful jars of canned goods accumulate on the shelf, and the sweet corn mount up in the deep freeze.  Now I'm doing good to go out and pick tomatoes to eat fresh.  "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven...", and my season of being enslaved to crops is over.  I have sweet memories of those days though. 

Sunday, July 11, 2004

nice Sunday

It's hard to get a good picture of Blue; he's so dark that any shadow makes him a brown blob.  But I keep trying. 

Cliff went with me to early Church and we were home by 9 AM.  We took some pictures of a couple tractors he's going to try and sell.  I have some HUGE tomatoes starting to turn, but I'm scared to death they'll rot first.  Here's hoping!

We had Nathan's hot dogs for supper last night; Cliff agreed that they are much better than ordinary hot dogs.  I cooked them on my new George Foreman grill.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Blue's shoes

I was going to ride Blue last night, but when I cleaned his feet I found out he was missing a front shoe.  I called the farrier and he showed up today to remedy the situation.  He did both front feet while he was here, and will come back in a couple weeks to do the back ones.  I still want to change farriers, but since I had to have that front shoe replaced quickly in order to ride on the gravel and pavement, I called my usual guy.

Cliff worked for six hours today, to make the payment on the last tractor he decided he just has to have.  He says he'll work one Saturday a month till it's paid off.  (No, not the brand new John Deere he bought a year ago on my birthday... an old David Brown that he has $2,000 in.  ::sighs::)  Is it possible to have a tractor addiction?  Oh well, this will help justify the laptop I'm going to buy in a few months.  (evil grin)

Friday, July 9, 2004

another birthday gift

I received, via UPS, the Nathan's Hot Dogs my friend Joanna ordered for me from QVC, and they were still frozen!  I think I'm going to buy a George Foreman grill before I try them though.  Joanna cooked hers on a Nathan's grill, which is similar to the Foreman.

It's so good to have arrived at the weekend.  I really NEED to ride Blue, both for his sake and mine.  My back is killing me, and when I'm riding regularly it never hurts.  And he'll get out of shape if I don't take him out for some exercise soon.

I thought it strange that the cow whose calf recently died got over her grief so quickly; she bellowed for about 24 hours, and that was all we heard of her mourning.  Cliff figured out why, a couple of days ago:  April, our oldest calf, is nursing two cows... her own mom, and the cow with no calf.  This really turns out well, because April will grow faster with all that milk, and the foster-mom is happy.  It's funny how things work out.

My tomatoes are starting to ripen, but sadly, they're rotting before they ripen.  I guess it's the excessive moisture we've had.  I'm sure I'll eventually get some tomatoes, but it's discouraging to see them get so huge, start to turn, and then spoil.  This isn't blossom-end rot, it's just rot, on the side nearest the ground.

Thursday, July 8, 2004

practicing the presence of Jesus

Several years ago, I read about some fellow from the 1600's called Brother Lawrence.  His goal, I believe, was to think so much about God being always with him that he would never be unaware of God's presence.  When I first got my current job four years ago, this "practicing God's presence" got me through rough days and kept me stable.

I really hadn't thought about this method of keeping in touch with God until today.  I was brooding about how this business of turning 60 has depressed me, and thinking how little time I have left (even if I live to be 100, it's not much time) and then I remembered the "presence" thing, and decided to put it into action again.

As I walked into the door at the DC this morning, I pictured Jesus walking beside me.  When I clocked in at 6 AM, I imagined Jesus timing in with me.  When I opened boxes of freight, I visualized Jesus with box knife in hand, opening boxes alongside me.  He pushed totes onto the line with me, and went to the label machine with me to make labels.

Now this may seem farfetched and even silly, but I felt a sense of peace today that I have not had in a long time.  Even now, I'm picturing Jesus putting thoughts in His journal... maybe comments about me, and how I handled this day. 

Those times when I was sensing Jesus walking beside me today, I saw people in a different way; I had compassion instead of scorn.  When I saw the "catty" ones, who no doubt talk about me behind my back like they do about others, I realized they were talking about Jesus too, for Jesus is in me.  And it really didn't matter any more what they said.  If the assistant supervisor showed favoritism when handing out the jobs, Jesus didn't mind, so why should I? 

Don't get me wrong, I wasn't able to keep this illusion up constantly, probably only about 5% of the time; but it was enough to change my day and my outlook.  And running through my mind at various times was this hymn:


What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield you; you will find a solace there.

My house, my routine

It's nice to have my son visit a couple times a year.  Because he lives so far away, I'd be heartbroken if he and his family did not come for a few days now and then, giving me and Cliff a chance to bond with Lindsay.  If they stayed for two weeks instead of one, it would be fine with me.  Debbie seems to do a good job of not letting her sometimes-grumpy mother-in-law get under her skin.  I am a loner, and always have been... and I tend to get a bit touchy when my space is invaded by others.

So, as much as I love my son and his family (it would be the same for my daughter, or anyone else coming to visit) it's a treat to get my space back after a week of constant company.  I came home from work yesterday evening to a clean and quiet house; Cliff had been very busy!  For those who aren't familiar with my routine, my husband and I work different shifts.  So we don't see one another much till the weekends.  I'm used to coming home to a quiet and empty house where I can do anything I want until my early, 8 PM bedtime.  I was my mother's only child, and my half-siblings were almost grown when I came along; I learned early on to entertain myself and enjoy my own company, and I think it made me somewhat selfish.  Anyhow, my son and his family survived me, and I survived the constant in-and-out stream of visitors we had while he was here. 

About my grandson:  I don't know whether this is right or not, but his sister says Arick did not leave with his girl friend; he says she took HER car (that her mom bought for HER) and ran away, alone.  I have fifty dollars that says Arick knows where she is.  Lord, I'm so glad my child-rearing years are behind me! 

Wednesday, July 7, 2004

things are looking up

The doorbell rang a few minutes ago, and I thought to myself, "Who's here at this time of evening."  I've already gotten comfortable for the evening (that means I've taken off my bra, mainly) and don't feel particulaly in the mood for company.  I went to the back door to see my daughter and her three kids, who started singing, "Happy Birthday to You".  They handed me cards and presented me with my favorite chocolates... Russell Stover.  Everybody needs a daughter!  Oh, and a few grandkids, too.

teenage passions

Cliff got a call today from Arick's girl friend's mom today, and started to tell her off about waking me up in the middle of the night:  Then she dropped the bomb.  Not only are Arick and her daughter missing, but so is her (the mom's) car.  For some reason she seems to think they headed for Georgia.  Arick could be in big trouble for this, since he's 18 and his girl friend is only 16... and now he's stolen a car.  Well, there's nobody to bail him out if he lands in jail, and that may be a good thing.  (happy birthday to me)

On a brighter note, I received many lovely e-cards from Internet friends wishing me happy birthday; and Linda, a friend at work, brought cake for two of us who share this birthday. 

I think I figured out why being sixty is so depressing:  it's because I realize I don't have that much time left!  Especially quality time; I'm thinking about my mom's final ten years, and I don't think I want any of that kind of lingering-on.   What I have to do is make up my mind not to waste this day stewing over how little time I have left.  Maybe I should even start considering each day a bonus, from here on out.

happy birthday to me

Although we had over 120 trailors to unload at work yesterday, most of it was straight-ship, and didn't go upstairs where I work.  I heard a rumor there might be an EQ (early quit) offered for those in my department who want it today; if that turns out to be true, I'd probably come on home... after all, it's my birthday!  And it would be nice to be alone on the place with my husband for a while, after all the company we've had.  Jim and Deb head home for Georgia this morning.

I was sleeping quite well at 1 AM this morning when Arick's girl friend's mom called and woke me, looking for Michelle.  I can't blame a mother for worrying about a lovely sixteen-year-old daughter:  but I wish she'd keep her at home, rather than call me constantly, especially in the middle of the night on a work-day.  Did she really think Arick's grandma would know where he is at that time of night?  He doesn't live here.  Can you tell that it makes me a bit grumpy to have my sleep interupted?  Of course, once awake, I envisioned my grandson in all kinds of bad situations with Michelle, so it was hard to get back to sleep.

I've never minded telling anybody my age, and up to now, it hasn't bothered me to have birthdays.  But somehow sixty sounds so old!  I know it's just a number, but it's not a very happy birthday for me.  Oh, I'm counting my blessings along with the aches and pains, and I'm glad to be alive.  But birthdays have ceased to be fun, and I think I'll just stop having them now, thank you very much! 


Tuesday, July 6, 2004

Back to work

The above picture is my nephew Scotty, my husband's brother Don, and my son Jim, all relaxing in the shop after eating their fill of brats and hamburgers.  It really was a great day, although after two days of cooking and preparation of meals I was worn out.  It was hard to get myself in gear at work. 

Charlene, my sister-in-law, discovered that Blue likes beer; now I cannot afford to buy beer for anybody, let alone a horse!  But he was certainly following her around for another taste.

My son, his wife, and their daughter Lyndsay will head home in the morning, probably after I am gone to work.  We'll hopefully see them again in October, when they come for the big race at Kansas Speedway.


Monday, July 5, 2004

fun with family and friends

Yesterday was as wonderful a 4th of July as I've ever had, although it got a bit hectic at times.  I went to early Church service, which got me home at 9 AM.  Made the noodles so they'd dry before time to cook them, peeled the potatoes, got the yeast rolls rising for the first time, and then went with my son and his family to Wal Mart for some photos.  I got pictures of him and all three of his children (the older two are from his first marriage), a shot of just him and his wife Debbie (both of them sunburned from sitting at the race at Kansas Speedway Saturday), some of the three kids together, and others. 

When I got home I had two hours of work to get dinner done, and we ate at 3; we'd bought 26 ears of peaches-and-cream sweet corn at a roadside stand, and it was sublime.  I took out time for a 6-mile or so ride on Blue, although it was awfully hot.  The kids did little firecrackers off and on all day.  Arick got a call from his girl friend, who works at a fireworks store, and ended up getting us some fantastic fireworks practically for nothing. 

Our friends with the winery and vineyard had already closed, but I called and they opened up for us.  My daughter's mother-in-law hadn't seen it, and neither had Jim's wife, Debbie.  It was worth their while to open for us, because I think they sold about $200 worth of stuff to our group.

Today is exciting:  Cliff's brother arrived early while I was still in my nightie, and his oldest son, Scotty, will come later.  Also a man my son's age that I used to baby-sit will be here.  And of course, my daughter and the girls will be back... poor Kevin has to work today.  The guys will be monkeying around with the old David Brown tractor you see in the picture above. 

Sunday, July 4, 2004

pictures at Wal Mart

I got Jim's family to Wal Mart for some family photos.  Jim and Deb both have sunburns from being at the race yesterday, but they turned out pretty good.  We got all kinds of poses and groupings.  The two here are Jim and his three children, and Jim and his mother (me). 

hectic holiday weekend

I had my daughter take me for groceries yesterday, but had forgotten to put eggs on the list... here I am cooking a big meal today, including egg noodles, and not an egg in the house!  My son happened to awake before six, I told him my problem, and we made a Wal Mart run.  Since we live in the boonies, that was a 17 mile trip, but I got my eggs and am making noodles as I write this, plus boiling eggs for deviled eggs tomorrow with our barbecue.  I went to early church, which worked out well for me.  I have an appointment at a more distant Wal Mart to get some family pictures made of my son and his kids.  Busy day indeed!  My daughter's Mother-in-law will be coming out here with them for dinner later on.  The brisket is in the oven on low, so it'll be OK to leave it.  I'll try to have the rolls rising when I leave, and the potatoes peeled.

We had a lovely barbecue at my sister's yesterday, in Kansas City, North.  Her son, both grandsons, and her great-granddaughter were there.  It's really hard to get all of us together now that my mom's gone, and at that, my grandson, Arick, didn't make it.  It's awfully hard to pin teenagers down on weekends!

Saturday, July 3, 2004

Pass the torch

Celebrating one year of AOL journals!  Pass the torch on in celebration!

If you'd like to help pass it through AOL-J Land, please just copy and paste it into your journal (don't go through the bother of putting it in your FTP space --unless you want to do that).

the holiday weekend has started

A tip for all you Bloggers... don't mess around and hit the wrong key while you are making an entry; I just made three paragraphs disappear!  I'm not sure what key I hit, but I'll be careful from now on.

Cliff set up the camper right outside the back door and he and the girls decided to spend the night there.  Rachel brought Natalie and Monica out.  I love the way cousins bond with one another.  Natalie is six, Monica is eight, and Lyndsay is not yet four; but when those girls get together, it's a regular little hen party.  They use the camper for a playhouse, and talk non-stop.  Sometimes the shrieking gets a bit loud and I have to ask them to tone it down.  I think I heard Lyndsay's little footsteps about 2 AM, going up the steps to join her parents. 

I worked three days this week, and had to throw shoes twice.  Back to school means lots of kiddie shoes.  The plus side of this, though, is that kid shoes aren't big and heavy, so they don't wear me out as much. 

Vicki, our renter, heard about some German Shepherd puppies that her dad is checking on.  Somehow it doesn't "feel" right without a dog around, and I do like German Shepherds, although I dread the uncertainties of getting a new dog, raising a puppie, etc.  I am praying that whatever dog we end up with, it will be the right one for us.

Friday, July 2, 2004

Finally I'll go to work

I wish we had more options where these journals ask for "mood".  Like grumpy, tired, etc.  This morning I'm feeling sorry for myself because I spent yesterday at the zoo walking and now have to work for a whole day today (poor me), when I should be thankful for the morning horseback rides I had on my two extra days off, or the pleasure of having Lyndsay get on my lap Wednesday evening and falling asleep before I could sing all the verses of "Amazing Grace". 

The zoo, when I'm in the company by small children, has never been a lot of fun for me:  I remember talking Cliff into a family outing there, and his complaining because all Jim and Rachel did was poke, prod, and insult one another.  He'd say, "Oh yeah, they're having a hell of a lot of fun now, aren't they?"

This gets me thinking about Cliff's brother, Warren, who never married until he was almost 40.  He used to spend a lot of time at our house, and when I wanted to do something with the kids that I knew Cliff would hate, I'd con Warren into taking us.  He hauled us to visit museums and zoos, miniature golf courses, and all other manner of local activities that Cliff abhorred.  Warren wasn't the brightest candle on the cake, but he certainly saw to it that the kids and I did a few things that Cliff would not have enjoyed being forced into... and all for the price of his admission, a tankful of gas, and a six-pack of beer.  Warren died a few years back of heart failure, the result of a childhood case of strep throat that went into the complications of rheumatic fever, and hospitilized him for months at the age of thirteen.  As a non-driver, I'm still grateful for all the places he took me and the kids.  Thanks Warren, wherever you are.

One memorable thing yesterday at Swope Park: the gorilla was just on the other side of a viewing window, so that we could look at him lounging lazily against a log, about six feet away.  He looked so human that, when he'd glance at us, Deb and I felt like we were being rude staring at him and had to fight the impulse to look away. 

Thursday, July 1, 2004

visit to the zoo

Debbie, Lyndsay, Amber and I made an unplanned trip to Swope Park Zoo.  Good grief, they have it so big and spread out that you walk for hours!  I know it's a nice setup for the animals, but it's hard on little kids and old ladies.  Anyway, that's how I spent my day.  It wasn't too awfully hot at least.  I started this day on a horse and by 1 PM I was on a camel; you just never know how a day will turn out.  I don't think Lyndsay was thrilled with the whole thing, but we all got through it.

Started the day with a morning ride