Tuesday, November 30, 2004


Sometimes I read what I've written about our old house and wonder if I've give folks the wrong impression.  I hate to hear people "poor-mouth".  You know, "We never get anything."  "I can't afford it."  We'll never be able to... " blah blah blah, fill in the blanks here.

I'd love to have a simple, one-story modular home.  Our credit is good, and we could have one.  It's just that the payments would hinder our lifestyle. 

When we'd been married a little over a year, we found a twenty-acre place with a dumpy little drafty house (that's it in the faded picture), and bought it.  We've never looked back.  Many people don't realize that it's expensive to live in the country.  Propane makes heating very pricey.  Fences and outbuildings must be built and maintained for the (un-necessary) livestock.  It always seemed like doing anything to the house was on the bottom of our list of priorities.  It's about choices. 

Now we're about twenty miles from where we started, in this old, drafty, two-story house.  We finally put siding on it just so it wouldn't be such an eyesore for our neighbors to look at.

Through my children's growing-up years, I chose not to work.  I stayed home and enjoyed my babies and tended my livestock:  in short, I did everything I wanted to do.  As the kids got older, I worked occasionally; I've never had a driver's license, so any job I've had was hinged on my getting a ride with someone; but that's just another choice I made... not to drive.  Cliff worked for a small family butcher shop in the early years of our marriage, and, looking back, it amazes me that we not only survived, but maintained excellent credit.

We've always chosen cows, horses, tractors, and even computers and an expensive Gibson guitar, over remodeling.    

Five years ago we refinanced this place in order to build a shop for Cliff... not because he needed it, but because I felt he deserved it for all the years he spent doing without things  while our kids were growing up.  He spends almost all his waking hours there when he's not out earning a living, so it's money well invested; he's living his dream.  He has a variety of old tractors to tinker with, and a new, rather expensive little John Deere just because, once again, he deserves it.

My point is this:  if a new house had been at the top of our priority list, we'd be living in one now.  Cliff and I just happen to have peculiar priorities!  And every time I catch myself griping about "this old dump", I remind myself of this fact. 

Monday, November 29, 2004

It's a Wonderful Life


Every year at the beginning of the Christmas season, I put "It's a Wonderful Life" in the VCR and watch it... usually alone.  My kids and grandkids aren't interested in a corny old black-and-white movie.  And Cliff isn't usually in the house when I'm watching it.  Today, however, he came in early with a backache;  he was trapped.

It isn't that he doesn't like the movie; he laughs at all the funny parts.  But he's embarrassed to watch a movie that puts him on the verge of tears; and this one does, toward the end.  (He'll kill me for saying that when he reads this entry.)


See, we've never lived in anything BUT an old, drafty house rife with flaws; so when Jimmy Stewart kisses that knob on the stairway rail when it comes off in his hand for the hundredth time, we can relate.  And who among us had not felt like a failure at some time or another; George had big plans, like we all do:

"I'm shakin' the dust of this crummy little town off my feet and I'm gonna see the world. Italy, Greece, the Parthenon, the Colosseum. Then, I'm comin' back here to go to college and see what they know. And then I'm gonna build things. I'm gonna build airfields, I'm gonna build skyscrapers a hundred stories high, I'm gonna build bridges a mile long... "

None of his plans came to fruition.  He was stuck for life in a job he never wanted.  Oh, but when he stands up to Mr. Potter, I can hardly keep from standing to my feet and cheering!

"Just remember this, Mr. Potter: that this rabble you're talking about, they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community. Well, is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath?"



There's sweet, kindly Clarence, working to get his wings.  Sometimes I think perhaps I have the same sort of angel looking after me... a bit clutzy, but well-meaning and, in the end, successful.

"You've been given a great gift, George: A chance to see what the world would be like without you."

"You see George, you've really had a wonderful life. Don't you see what a mistake it would be to just throw it away?"

 Another reason I love "It's A Wonderful Life" is that we once had a banker with a "George Bailey" heart, here in our little town.  We were in our late twenties when we moved here, and up till then, lenders had treated us like inferior beings.  But Larry treated us like equals.  He'd ask how our kids were doing and carry on a light-hearted conversation while he worked out the details of some trivial, unsecured note we needed to buy another Jersey cow, or a tractor.  I'll never watch "It's a Wonderful Life"  without seeing Larry Wims in the role of George Bailey.



Oh, and the closing scene, with everybody chipping in with the money needed to keep Bailey Building and Loan open as they're all singing around the tree.  Then little Zuzu says,

"Teacher says, every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings."  That's when you know Clarence has it made.

I guess I'll always get a lump in my throat during that scene, even though I know it word for word.

Today, as you read this, stop and think of the lives you've touched, and how much the world would be lacking if you had not walked this earth.  Pay attention to these words from Clarence: 

"Remember, George: no man is a failure who has friends."

"One man's life touches so many others, when he's not there it leaves an awfully big hole."

Have a merry Christmas, everybody!

MY JUNK ROOM (and why it never gets straightened)

All my upstairs rooms are pretty much neglected.  We live in the three rooms-and-a-bath downstairs.  When the grandchildren visit, they usually sleep on the hida-bed or the floor.  In winter, there's no heat upstairs.  On summer nights, it's the hottest place in the house.  But there's one room that's especially become a wasteland.  Cliff threatened once to back the pickup up near the house and start pitching stuff out the window of my "junkroom".  One of our more serious fusses in recent years was over that mess in my "junkroom".

I go up there sometimes with good intentions, thinking I'll put everything neatly into boxes and containers.  But to do that, I have to look at everything.  And I can't seem to get past one or two photo albums.  At this season of the year, it doesn't take much to evoke memories, so I'll find a treasure-trove of photos up there and bring them down so I can scan the cream of the crop.  By the time I've done this, I've spent two hours reminscing, and am completely out of the mood of bringing order to my junk room.

That's my mom and dad having breakfast in 1960.  Daddy had canned biscuits and jelly every morning of his life... his preference.  Notice the lack of shoes, a tradition which I have faithfully carried on.  If I'd had a digital camera back then, there'd be lots of pictures like this.  It seemed as though most old folks liked posed pictures, everyone standing orderly and even, with fake smiles on their faces.  I liked snapshots of everyday life.  I received a Kodak Brownie camera of my own one Christmas and managed to take some real-life pictures like this one.

I like this one of Grandma because I so loved going to her house.  I'd visit her for a week every summer.  I can close my eyes right now and imagine walking in that door, through the porch where her African violets thrived, and on into the kitchen, which smelled vaguely of kerosene from the kitchen range, which ran on "coaloil".  In my mind I can walk right over to the shelf to the left where she kept the Hi-Ho crackers, or to the right where a gallon jar held a never-ending supply of home-made sugar cookies. 

Tis the season for memories. 

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Look what I found!


I made an entry in this blog in October (click HERE to refresh your memory) about our first home in Kansas City when I was a child... in Harlem.  Today, while scrounging in my junk room for Christmas stuff, I found one of my mom's old picture albums, with these pictures taken of my cousins on the levee and also on the ASB bridge.  Since I was the photographer, I'm not in any of the photos.  


  Since I cut the top off this shot during scanning, I'll post it alone, in all its glory.  That would be my dad in front, leading the troop of cousins.  I'd know those overalls anywhere.


Cliff and I seldom go to movies.  In fact, given his choice, Cliff would never go anywhere off our 42+ acres; but since a movie theater came to a nearby town of 5,000 or so, eight miles from here, we take in perhaps four movies a year.  When we do go, I try to see that it's a movie we'll both be interested in:  for Cliff's part, that usually means comedy (he's the world's greatest Pink Panther/Peter Sellers fan... geesh).

But as soon as I saw a few snippets of "Ray" on television a while back, I knew we had to see it.  We both have loved Ray Charles' music over the years, and were always interested in this fascinating personality.  I suppose it helps that he's mingled with the country singers we love, and sung their songs, sometimes in duets with them. 

The movie exceeded my expectations.  I laughed, I cried (and I don't cry easily); for the duration of the movie, we forgot we were watching an actor (Jamie Foxx) and believed, heart and soul, that it was Ray Charles on the screen.

See this movie!

Saturday, November 27, 2004

the movie I'm in

When I first started journaling, I decided to see if there were any local folks keeping a blog, so I did a search in AOL Journals by typing in "Kansas City".  I came up with a stay-at-home dad who, shortly after I discovered him, quit blogging; some disgruntled person doing an expose of Kansas City politics (boring); and ToonguyKC.

Toonguy was gay; he seemed to me to be very angry at life in general.  Many of his views were (and are) opposite from mine on important issues like politics and religion.  Somewhere along the line, I left a brief comment in his journal, and in an entry shortly after that, he referred to "my one reader". 

I really have never shared my world with any gay men.  I do have three or four lesbian co-workers (including my supervisor) but we don't share the same circle of friends.  So, after following Russ's blog for awhile, I had questions.  I e-mailed him.  And he politely gave me some answers.  Somewhere along the line, another reader, Simwarford (also a local), started leaving comments in Russ's journal... very long comments:  so long that sometimes he had to make them into two or three entries.  He had good writing skills, and I mentioned to him that he should start his own journal; but he preferred, he said, to simply leave his thoughts in Toonguy's journal.  (Did I mention that Sim is also gay?)

It's a strange and unlikely alliance, really:  Me, the right-wing Christian grandmother, and two men in their thirties who happen to be gay... Russ and Sim.  (My husband just shakes his head and says, "You gotta get outta this house."  LOL)  Have any of my basic beliefs changed?  No.  I'm still the same Republican Grandma I always was.  Neither have their beliefs changed.    

I am enjoying some good conversations with these men.  I mentioned to them one time that the three of us could be the basis for an interesting movie.  So now we've chosen the songs for the soundtrack of our movie, entitled, of course (because it's the name of Russ's journal) "Inner and Outer Demons".

If you're interested in our three-way conversations, our "imaginary movie"... and are not too easily offended... click on the last journal on my list on the left and check out Russ's journal.

Friday, November 26, 2004

John Scalzi's weekend assignment

Weekend Assignment #36: I have a mug on my desk with $70.65 in change in it. What should I do with the money? The only unacceptable answer is "give it to me." Honestly. You can do better.

I'd put $10 with it, or wait till a sale, and buy THIS laser cordless mouse.

I haven't been enthralled with my current keyboard and mouse; they came with my Dell, and I paid extra for them.  But the keyboard quit responding entirely a while back.  I must say that once it died, the mouse began responding better.  But it requires batteries at the most inopportune times!  The mouse pictured above has its own charger, so no need for batteries. 

Extra Credit: If you've got a picture of your own loose change storage device, show it.

John, I'd love to; but I left the digital camera at my sister-in-law's house yesterday!  I'm going through withdrawals, believe me. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Wet, lovely, messy snow

Cliff took this picture earlier today.  Yes, it's lovely.  However, my appreciation for snow lessens with grandchildren here:  I had forgotten how kids go in and out, tracking snow inside to make puddles for me to step in, in my stocking feet.  I had forgotten how they soak their shoes, socks and gloves and expect someone to make them be dry instantly; and how they lose gloves and shoes and wonder why I don't know where they are.  Nobody can enjoy snow like a child, though.  I think I vaguely remember how much fun it used to be.  Barely.

First snow of the year; odds and ends

When I got Mandy out of her pen to bring her in this morning, she stepped out into her first snow.  She didn't think she was supposed to potty in the snow, evidently; so it took a while to get her to do her business.  She really wanted to play in the white stuff, but I didn't want to stay out, and the chain we use to tie her out was buried out of sight in the snow.  Her opportunity came later when the girls went outside to play; Natalie dug around and found Mandy's tie-out chain and stake.

I looked out the window when it was first starting to get daylight and saw Blue, my horse, bucking and cavorting in the snow.  He'd already settled down by the time it was light enough to take pictures though.

Since the grandkids were here, I made cinnamon rolls.  It takes about four hours from start to finish, but that's no problem.  I'm always up by four AM.  The kids enjoyed a breakfast of warm cinnamon rolls and egg nog (could we possible GET any more fattening foods?).  Cliff opted for coffee with his rolls.

Deer season is over here, so all of you who were concerned about my getting shot as I ride or take a walk may now take it easy.

Now that we have pigs, I save any ruined food for them.  Pigs eat anything:  moldy bread, clabbered milk, dried-out food people have left on their plates.  Cliff and I ate at Pizza Hut yesterday, and it was all I could do to keep from going to the other patrons' tables and saying, "Hey, are you going to eat that crust?  I could take it to my pigs!"

Since Cliff got paid early this week, I sent off the payment for our first propane bill of the winter:  $375.  We only use the first floor of this drafty old house, so we're not heating a lot of space.  I'm hoping that just one more fill-up of our 500-gallon tank will get us through the worst part of winter.  It usually takes about 3 tanks-full a year.

I prefer butter to margarine, especially for holiday baking.  However, the price of butter is out of sight.  Even on sale, it's $1.99 a pound here.  This year my family will get holiday goodies made with margarine.  They won't know the difference, but I will.  Up until about10 years ago, I had at least one milk cow, and made all my own butter.  I'd love a Jersey calf to raise for a cow for my retirement years, but I don't want to be tied down to milking twice a day.  I have a plan that may work.  I'll talk about that another time.



Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Thanksgiving Day approaches

We're having Thanksgiving dinner at Cliff's sister's this year.  She's only 15 or 20 miles away, so we won't be doing much traveling.  I'm making my mom's old cranberry salad recipe (it's more of a dessert than most cranberry salads... Cool Whip, pineapple, and bananas are some of the ingredients), home-made yeast rolls, and some pies... probably sweet potato and pumpkin.  One year, with my daughter's family in Carthage and my son living in Georgia, I got downright depressed about spending my favorite holiday here at home, just me and Cliff; so I had Cliff ask his brother, Phil, to invite us to their house.  Phil and Faye have lots of kids and grandkids, so I was quite happy in the crowd that day, and didn't miss my own offspring so much.  There were a couple years after my mom went into the nursing home when we traveled the 100 miles to visit her and took her out to eat Thanksgiving dinner.  Sadly, the last couple of years she was there, she wasn't able to be transported very easily.  The last time I recall us taking her out of the nursing home to go anyplace was when my sister's husband passed away, almost two years ago.  And Mother passed away last January.  At that point it was a blessing:  her eyesight had failed and she'd had a leg amputated due to diabetes.  She was miserable.  See what holidays do?  They make me think about the people who are missing!  No wonder I get depressed during this season.

That's my granddaughter Natalie, ready for a ride with Grandpa on the four-wheeler.  Cliff has a special soft spot for this grandchild because she is so much like her mother (who always was daddy's girl) and he feels like he has his little girl back, just for a little while, when Natalie is here.

Today we'll go to Grandparent's day at Natalie's and Monica's schools.  Tomorrow, both girls, as well as their brother, Brett, are spending the day here. 

In less than two weeks now, I will return to work, after being off since sometime in September.  Wow!  Time marches on.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

A Walk in the Woods

Above are sixteen pictures taken during a walk in our woods yesterday.

Cliff was working overtime, and Mandy needed to work off some energy.  Because the back 1/3 or so of our property is woods, almost every windstorm puts dead branches (and sometimes whole trees) on our fences, so my dog and I "walked the fenceline".  Here at the house I have to keep her on a leash or chain so she won't run to the neighbors' yards.  But in the woods she can run free to her heart's content. 

As you can see in the pictures, there were several trees and branches on the fence.  I found some other, smaller ones that I was able to drag off.

I treasure every painful walk up and down those ditches and hollows, because my knees remind me that I won't always be able to navigate the perimeters of my place. 

Our house sits on one of the highest spots around, on a hill of windblown soil (at least that's what the county agent said it was, and there's not a rock around that wasn't brought here ... so he must be right).   However, the back of our acreage is practically on the River Bottom.  In fact, during the flood of '93, our back fence was under water most of the spring and summer.  Trains, usually loaded with coal, pass along every 20 to 30 minutes...  west to east... just across that fence.

Mandy scared up a deer, which headed in leaps and bounds for the bottoms:  then I heard a gunshot nearby and realized I was crazy to be in the woods during deer season (and with no orange vest!).  Another shot, and I heard the shell "zing" within 20 or 30 feet of me.  "Mandy," says I, "I believe it's time to head to the house."  I wonder if the anonymous hunter managed to kill the deer that my dog sent his way.  If he did, he owes me some venison I'll never collect.

On the way up the hill along the west fence, Mandy flushed a wild turkey, and as it flew over my head I was, once again, amazed that something THAT BIG can fly.  The only reason I don't have pictures of the deer and the turkey is that when I turn on my digital camera, it takes it a few  seconds to get ready for a picture; and most wildlife disappears in that few seconds.  I've thought about just leaving it turned on and ready when I'm in the woods.

1/3 to 1/2 of our land is totally useless for grazing or farming; and yet it's that part of  our place that I love the most.

Oh, I had to give Mandy a bath as soon as we got home, after her roll-in-the-carrion.  She acted as though she were being punished; in her opinion, she smelled perfectly divine after her little escapade.  Silly dog.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Jesus was a Capricorn, hippies, etc

In a previous entry I mentioned how some people make me feel superior and "holier-than-thou".  I'm assuming everyone knew I was poking fun at myself, as well as human nature in general.  Anyhow, it got me thinking about a song Kris Kristofferson wrote back in the days of flower children and hippies and Woodstock (I had a four-month-old daughter at the time of Woodstock, wasn't part of the counter-culture and didn't care for rock music).


JESUS WAS A CAPRICORN     Kris Kristofferson  

Jesus was a Capricorn
He ate organic food.
He believed in love and peace
And never wore no shoes.
Long hair, beard and sandles
And a funky bunch of friends:
Reckon we'd just nail him up
If he came down again.

'Cause everybody's gotta have somebody to look down on,
Who they can be better than at any time they please.
Someone doin' somethin' dirty decent folks can frown on
If you can't find nobody else, then help yourself to me.

Eggheads cussin' rednecks cussin'
Hippies for their hair.
Others laugh at straights who laugh at
Freaks who laugh at squares.
Some folks hate the Whites
Who hate the Blacks who hate the Klan;
Most of us hate anything that
We don't understand


Friday, November 19, 2004

AOL, you've got me

Here you see AOL's old logo, and their new one.

I started out my online life in 1998; my then-daughter-in-law insisted AOL was the best place for a computer dummy to begin... "user-friendly", she said.  I had to have our phone number changed to use AOL, because we're in the boonies here.  It costs a lot more to have a metro Kansas City number.

As I recall, it was my ex-daughter-in-law who first talked me into even buying a computer.  I'd heard all those horror stories about terrible things that happen online; one thing for sure, when I got onto the Internet, you weren't going to catch me in a chat room.  No way.  Never.

Yeah, right.  I would have held onto that resolve, but I somehow found my way into a senior Christian chat room.  You couldn't go there directly from AOL's chat screen, and I guess that's why it wasn't as silly as a lot of the chat rooms.  I began getting to know the people.  They started having "chat reunions", and my husband grudgingly took me to one such event in Dallas, Texas (to make sure an axe murderer didn't get hold of me; otherwise I'd have ridden with a lady from Arkansas).

Those people became like family, even the "black sheep".  I spent far too much time in that chat, I'm afraid.  (I still spend more time than I should on the Internet; what can I say, I have an addictive personality). 

And then our little haven turned to Hell.

I never quite knew what happened, since nobody would say what was wrong; but here's all I could figure out:  People who couldn't make it to the chat reunions got jealous (I guess those of us who had met one another did talk too much about our meetings).  People started slandering and slurring, and huge hate campaigns were waged via email.

By this time I had local cable-modem, and the only reason I kept AOL was that solitary chat room.  Once it was ruined, I dropped AOL and learned to use Internet Explorer and AIM.  It is possible for AIM users and AOL members to create and share a chat room, so I still kept in touch with a lot of the old gang. 

I bought a new Dell, and included in the purchase was six months free AOL.  For the first couple of months I didn't even use it, but finally out of curiosity, I made myself a new screen name and snooped around.  And discovered journals. 

Oh well, there are lots of places outside AOL to blog. 

Then I discovered the AOL-For-Broadband full-screen music videos, which my granddaughter, Monica, plugs into every time she's here.  Pretty nifty.

Oh, and AOL has a place to make picture albums to send your friends, and store them.  Most such sites on the Internet charge a fee.  

Next, AOL gave me a firewall to protect my computer.  Now they've come up with free antivirus protection.  These are things for which I've been paying extra, for years.

AOL, I think you've got me hooked this time.  You've made yourself a bargain; and I never could resist a bargain!

Thursday, November 18, 2004

John Scalzie's weekend assignment #35

Weekend Assignment #35: Tell us something you should be thankful for -- but that you're usually not. After all, it's easy to be thankful for all the things you know you should be thankful for: Your family and friends, your home, the good things that come from living wherever (and whenever you do). So try stretching a little and think about something that you're thankful for -- that you usually don't think much about at all. It can be serious or silly; it's up to you. You just have to be genuinely thankful for it.

OK, here's mine:  I'm thankful for all the people who get under my skin, those who get on my last nerve.  Right now, I'm picturing online acquaintances (hi Jerry and Cranky), but there are plenty in real life too.

Reason number one I'm thankful for them is that they teach me restraint.  I've learned to leave a lot of things unsaid, remembering that behind every screen name is a real, live person with feelings.

Reason number two is that people like this give the rest of us something to laugh about!  The best chatroom laughs I have are at the expense of certain people with whom I've shared this wonderful Internet for years.

And reason number three is that, by their outside-the-box behavior, I can feel "holier-than-thou" about my "superior wisdom".  It's a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it. 

So... this entry is dedicated to everybody in chat rooms who ever got on my last nerve... because they've given me expanded horizens (not to mention an expanded posterior from sitting too long at the computer)!

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

old mementoes, new castles

According to my mom, Grandpa Stevens was carrying that coin purse up to the time of his death (in 1938, I believe); then Grandma carried it until the time of her death in 1965.  It looks like the penny is 1903, the old quarter is 1902, and the silver dollar is 1921.  That quarter at the lower right-hand corner obviously got mixed in later, since it's from 1944, the year of my birth.

My mom sold Avon products and became good friends with most of her customers.  One elderly lady, Mrs. Sherry, gave her this $2 bill when they were first issued.  Most of the general public decided to save these rather than spend them, I believe; so the government quit making them before too long.

Now let's skip a couple of generations, from my mom to my grandson, Brett.  He had to make a castle for a school project this past week.  I think he did great!

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

thinking of the families

Killed in Iraq.

Such a child.

They just want to get back with their comrades as soon as possible.

Here is the reason those faces affect me so much, and why I can relate to how their families feel:  That's my son, Jim, taken during Desert Storm in 1991.  I remember how awful it was to watch the news during that time. 

I pray for all our troops, and also for the moms and dads who wonder, "Will my boy (or girl) come home?"  Because I was once in their shoes.

Monday, November 15, 2004

a fun assignment from John Scalzi

1. Open up the music player on your computer (if you have one).

2. Set it to play your entire music collection.

3. Hit the "shuffle" command.

4. Tell us the title of the next ten songs that show up (with their musicians), no matter how embarassing. That's right, no skipping that Carpenters tune that will totally destroy your hip credibility. It's time for total musical honesty. You can put the list in the comment thread, or write it up in your Journal and then post a link in the comments.

Here's what I came up with:

1.  Sweet Georgia Brown     Doc Watson

2.  I Wouldn't Have Missed It For The World     Ronnie Milsap

3.  He Leadeth Me     Don Marsh Choir

4.  It's All About To Change     Travis Tritt

5. Change My Heart     Acoustic Worship

6.  Your Love Reaches Me     Darren Clarke

7.  Alone     Vern Gosdin

8.  Holding Her and Loving You     Earl Thomas Conley

9.  Right in the Wrong Direction     Vern Gosdin

10.  Church in the Wildwood     Carter Family

Thanks John!  I'm still listening.  I'd forgotten I had some of these songs.  I'm thankful that none of my teen-age grandchildren's songs popped up on that list.  Even some of their titles embarrass me.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

visiting Cliff's relatives

Cliff's relatives all originally come from Morgan County, Missouri.  His parents, as well as his paternal aunts and uncles (except one that nobody's heard from for years), are dead.  But he has three maternal aunts still living in Versailes, and lots of cousins.  This morning his youngest sister and her husband came here for biscuits and gravy, then we all set off to see the three aunts.  All three ladies go to Church, so we went to the cemetary first, and visited the graves of Cliff's parents, brother, sister, and other relatives.

Then we drove a few miles to visit Cliff's cousin, Edna.  It would be nice to see all his cousins, but we were limited on time:  and I'm partial to Edna because she keeps in touch with me via the Internet.  Some of my funniest jokes come from her, as well as a few great old family snapshots!

That's Cliff with Edna.

This is Edna's great-granddaughter, Mercedes, with the most lovable bird I've ever seen in my life.  They called it a Quaker, I believe.  It gives kisses on demand.  I'm not especially fond of parrots or pet birds of any kind, but this one made me wish I had one.

That's Cliff with his Aunt Gertrude.  We were fortunate to find all three aunts having lunch together at Aunt Faye's house, so we got to talk to them all together.  I would have taken pictures of the three, but Aunt Faye had a cancer taken off her nose this week and was self-conscious about the big bandage on her nose; so I hurriedly snapped this picture and let it suffice.  This aunt looks particularly like Cliff's mom.

It was a good day; Cliff was happy that someone else did the driving, and we were all glad to see these dear folks.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

stuff I bought yesterday

That's our new coffeepot.  We've had Bunn coffeemakers for several years now because of the good flavor and the three-minute brewing, but I think this has it beat.  I first met the Hamilton Beach Brew Station at my son's house in Georgia.  WOW!  The coffee stays fresh-tasting for at least two hours after brewing.  And there's no carafe to break.  As luck would have it, Kohl's, my employer, has it on sale for $47.99,  AND I had a 30% discount for using my Kohl's charge, AND when I get my bill, there'll be another 10% taken off as my associate discount.  I love bargains.  Thanks Deb, for introducing me to this wonderful machine.  Cliff loves it too.

Now for my other purchase, which was not bargain-priced, but I believe is going to be worth the money spent:

That, my friends, is the "Good-Dog Collar", which cost $13.99.  My Mandy has insisted on pulling against her lead, even if it chokes her half to death.  I could pop a choke-chain constantly, but it did not deter her.  Now, after just a couple sessions with this device, she's a totally different pup.  It looks more harsh than it really is:  those pointy things are rubber.  I do believe we need to add a link, because it seems pretty snug on her.   Extra links are available at Pet-Smart, where we bought the collar.  I went there intending to buy a harness that would restrain her, but I don't think that would really have taught her what is expected.  The new collar is doing the trick.  This morning, with only her regular collar on, she paid very good heed to my orders (with a tug as a gentle reminder).

Money well spent yesterday, on both items!

Friday, November 12, 2004

a poem

© copyright November 12, 2004
Donna Wood

Musing on my childhood always causes me to smile;
So when I'm feeling down, I drift in mem'ry for awhile,
Reflecting on the "good old days" when Grandma was alive.
(Lord, how can it be?  She died way back in '65!)
The family Sunday dinners, and the holidays and such
(My husband says my family got together far too much).
Uncle Paul would always mention how fast I could grow.
I took those folks for granted then, some fifty years ago.

Christmas in the fifties was a grand and glorious thing,
Imaginations ripe with what old Santa Clause might bring.
Long before Thanksgiving, Mom would get herself in gear
To make the Christmas goodies that we counted on each year:
Fruitcake and divinity; my choice, brown sugar fudge,
Awaiting my approval, as my mom's most favored judge.
One year, Santa brought a sled and God delivered snow!
I can't believe that happened over fifty years ago.

Those were years before my brother ended up in jail.
Who'd have known that alcohol would make his marriage fail?
Problems aren't evident when you're a child of eight:
We just saw him twice a year, and I thought things were great.
Everyone would gather at our house on Christmas Eve.
Peace, good will and happiness were all I could perceive.
I'm glad there were lots of things that I still didn't know
When I was young and innocent, some fifty years ago.




Thursday, November 11, 2004

Lyrics to my favorite country song


 (as sung by Vern Gosdin)  

You ran cryin' to the bedroom
I ran off to the bar,
Another piece of heaven gone to hell,
The words we spoke in anger
Just tore my world apart,
And I sat there feeling sorry for myself.

Then that old man sat down beside me
And looked me in the eye,
And said "Son, I know what you're going through,
You ought to get down on your knees
and thank your lucky stars That you got someone to go home to."

You don't know about lonely,
Or how long nights can be,
Till you lived through the story
That's still livin' in me,
And you don't know about sadness
'til you faced life alone,
You don't know about lonely
'til it's chiseled in stone.

So I brought these pretty flowers
Hoping you would understand
Sometimes a man is such a fool,
Those golden words of wisdom
from the heart of that old man,
showed me I ain't nothing without you.

You don't know about lonely,
Or how long nights can be,
Till you lived through the story
that old man just told me,
And you don't know about sadness
'til you faced life alone,
You don't know about lonely
'til it's chiseled in stone.
You don't know about lonely,
'til it's chiseled in stone.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


Kim, the owner of the horse I was dreaming about in an earlier entry, has decided to keep her Arabian.  That doesn't stop the dreaming, though:  She told my daughter that there are pretty decent horses are selling at the Kingsville Sale for $300 and under.  Of course at an auction, you are buying a "pig in a poke".  But if you ended up with a lemon, you'd just return it to the auction and probably get most of your money back.  So, the "second horse" idea is on the back burner, but not forgotten.

I had a wonderfully peaceful two-hour ride yesterday evening.  I had forgotten the time change, so it was almost dark when I got home.

We humans sometimes attach ourselves to the silliest objects, or at least I do.  I have two essentially worthless items which, if lost, would throw me into a panic.

This poor hat is the only lasting thing that came from my husband's sister's second marriage.  I believe her (drug-dealing) husband's brother was working in Alaska and sent this to them one Christmas, back in the early 70's.  Somehow I ended up with it, and it's the only stocking cap either Cliff and I are comfortable with; you can see a speck of paint there, probably from Cliff's painting one of his old tractors.  I'll bet this hat has, atop my head, been shoved into a warm cow's flank hundreds of times as I hand-milked in the winter.  I check E-bay sometimes, trying to find its match; recently I even ordered a black, Alaska cap there.  But it's like any others we've tried, and crawls around on our heads.  There have been past winters when I couldn't find my "lucky hat", and fell into a panic until it turned up.

This is the checkbook I've carried since about 1971; I would have been twenty-six when a teenage friend, Tom, made it for me when he was into leather-working, putting my initials on it.  Tom's dad owned the butcher shop where Cliff worked at the time, and he's been in and out of our lives often, over the years.  He gave my son his first job in a grocery store he owned, and when RB Rice closed and left Cliff out of a job, Tom put him to work doing concrete construction and odd jobs until he found another job.  As years go by, I become more and more attached to this checkbook.  I once took it outside to pay the feed man and laid it down on my chore-cart; the geese I had at the time got hold of it, chewed on it, and broke the stitching, and I had to ask Tom to re-stitch it.  It almost put me in tears when I saw what those stupid birds had done to my "lucky checkbook".

Does anyone else have some silly, useless possession you can't live without?   

Tuesday, November 9, 2004

inside my left knee

Now I don't have a clue what these pictures show, except that Dr. Strong said that blue one is not me; it's the curtain.  But she pointed to some places where my knee is bone on bone.  She advised me to keep my weight down, and wrote my work release for December 6.  There was a damaged cartilage (meniscus) that she trimmed up, but for the life of me I cannot tell which of those pictures is which.  I feel good.  I'll take one day at a time when I return to work, and we'll see what happens. 


© copyright November 9, 2004
Donna Wood

All I know of politics
Makes me tired, makes me sick.
I vote, on election day,
But it fills me with dismay.

There is really no clear choice:
Who cares if I raise my voice?
They're all liars, every one,
When the whole thing's said and done.

We elect a figurehead
While our soldiers' blood is shed.
Politicians without hearts
Lead us on in fits and starts.

Thank God, in this U. S. A.,
I'm still free to have my say.
So, I’m stating my position:
I do not like politicians!


Monday, November 8, 2004

dreaming of another horse

See the horse on the far right, the one my granddaughter, Natalie, is riding?  That horse is for sale for $900.  And here I sit, like a fool, trying to figure out how I could come up with the money to buy that horse.  He's registered Arabian; not the prettiest animal I ever saw, but he seems to be pretty trustworthy and dependable, for a five-year-old gelding.  My sister-in-law comes to ride, and so does my daughter.  Natalie is beginning to have a strong interest in horses.  It would be nice to have two horses so two people could ride together.

Of course I have to remind myself:  that would mean another saddle and double the farrier bill.  It wouldn't just end with buying the horse.  Here's another shot:  it's the horse in back.

Of course it isn't practical at all, and I'll stop thinking about it. 

Still... I can't help but wonder....


My lovely 42 acres

Mandy and I went out in the back pasture to enjoy this day; here's a shot of the view from my nice sunny spot on the ground.  Whatever those little red berries are on that brush, goats love them!  I used to take my last goat out to the edge of the woods and she'd eat those things till you'd think she would burst.

Some of my friends have inquired about how our calves are doing, so I took this shot.  The amazing thing is, they are two months apart in age; look how nearly the same size they are now.  As you can tell by the milk on the muzzle of the one on the right, I interupted her meal.  To see how small they once were, click HERE.

Sunday, November 7, 2004

My horse's opinion of cameras?

What do you suppose Blue is trying to say here?  Natalie had spent a half-hour out there alone, hugging and petting him, so Cliff took some pictures.  There's another one almost identical to this without the tongue sticking out, but I rather like this.

getting more corn

We picked up more corn yesterday, and it was a so-much prettier day than last week.  We'd had more rain since then though, so it was still about as wet as before.  We had one more boy with us, the twins' cousin, Ryan.  The boys had begged to take the four-wheeler and a little garden-tractor trailor down; I think they just wanted opportunity to ride the four-wheeler, but anyhow, Cliff catered to them.  They took turns bringing the loads of full buckets to the trailer and dumping them in.  Once we got on the back road, all three got a turn at driving our pickup, too.  When we first unloaded the four-wheeler off the trailer, I turned Mandy loose, and she went wild!  I have to keep such close tabs on her here at home to keep her from running away that freedom is a rare treat for her. 

That speck you see behind and to the left of the four-wheeler is Mandy, running for all she's worth to keep up.  We really don't have a lot of storage space for this corn of questionable quality, and we only have two pigs to feed.  So we probably won't get any more.

Shortly after we got home, Rachel's family arrived.  We ate taco salad and just enjoyed the rest of the day.  Brett and Monica kept the two computers hopping in Amber's absence (she was to start work today, I'm anxious to hear how she made it).  Shortly before I went to bed, Natalie, Monica and I IMd and web-cammed Rachel (my daughter, their mom).  All in all, a lovely day.  The only thing that would have made it better would have been a nice horseback ride.  I spent some time grooming Blue, anyhow. 

Saturday, November 6, 2004

Interesting stuff here

 This seemed to be worth passing on.  I'm no genius, and it could be using false information... you can read anything on the 'Net.  But I can tell there's at least a grain of truth in it.

While you're watching the political commercials and listening to the politicians spin their web around unsuspecting and misinformed people...here's a "Reality" lesson in economics from:

David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D, Distinguished Professor of Economics,

536 Brooks Hall, University of Georgia, Athens, GA.


Top 1% earn 21% of all income; pay 37-1/2% of all taxes

Top 5% earn 35% of all income; pay 56-1/2% of all taxes

Top 10% earn 46% of all income; pay 67% of all taxes

Top 25% pay 84% of all taxes

Top 50% pay 96-1/2% of all taxes

Bottom 50% pay 3-1/2% of all taxes

Tax Cuts - A Simple Lesson In Economics

This is how the cookie crumbles. Please read it carefully.

Suppose that every day, ten people go out for dinner.

The bill for all ten comes to $100.

If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four people (the poorest) would pay nothing. The fifth would pay $1. The sixth would pay $3. The seventh $7. The eighth $12. The ninth $18. The tenth person (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that's what they decided to do. The ten people ate dinner in the restaurant every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve.

"Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily meal by $20."

So, now dinner for the ten only cost $80. The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes.

So, the first four people were unaffected. They would still eat for free.

But what about the other six, the paying customers? How could they divvy up the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share'?

The six people realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth person and the sixth person would each end up being 'PAID' to eat their meal.

So, the restaurant owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each person's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so:

The fifth person, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).

The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% savings).

The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% savings).

The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).

The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).

The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to eat for free. But once outside the restaurant, the people began to compare their savings.

"I only got a dollar out of the $20," declared the sixth person. He pointed to the tenth person "but he got $10!"

"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth person. "I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I got!"

"That's true!!" shouted the seventh person. "Why should he get $10 back

when I got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!"

"Wait a minute," yelled the first four people in unison. "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!" The nine people surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth person didn't show up for dinner, so the nine sat down and ate without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up at the table anymore. There are lots of good restaurants in Europe and the Caribbean


Friday, November 5, 2004

mail for my dog

I'm constantly amazed at the folks who read this drivel!  I'm glad to have you all... it's just that the readership here seems so unlikely to me.

I was outside with Mandy on her leash yesterday, and decided to check my mailbox.  Amidst the bills and junk mail I always get, there was a package... addressed to "Miss Mandy Wood".  The return address said it was from "Mr. Jake Miller".  My friend Joanna, with whom I spent a week touring Washington, DC, last June, has struck again!  This is the same lady who sent me Nathan's hot dogs for my birthday (I thought at one time they were gone, but to my delight, I found a few more.  I think there are four left now.) 

Joanna has three cats, but the star of her feline show is a big orange cat named Jakie.  I took this picture while staying at his house.  He is quite a self-centered, conceited fellow, but he ought to be:  he's the boss in Joanna's little castle!  So you can imagine my relief when Jakie accepted me as a guest during my visit.

Joanna mentioned to me Saturday, online, that she was going shopping, so I told her, "Buy a toy for Jakie."  "OK," she replied, "I might get him a squeaky toy."  "Oh, Mandy LOVES squeaky toys," I said.

So, when I saw a package from Jakie to Mandy, I had a hunch it would squeak, and squeezed it.  Sure enough!  Mandy, of course, was instantly at attention.  I handed it to her, and she carried it to the house proudly.  When we got inside, I let her try to unwrap it herself.

That's my knee obstructing a large portion of the picture.  Anyway, I finally helped Mandy open it and gave her the gift... it was a squeaky Jakie, a toy orange cat.  She has had loads of fun with it, and I've laughed a lot, watching her carry it all over the kitchen and hallway, then bringing it to me to throw, so she can fetch it.

Jakie wrote a wonderful note to Mandy, too.  I'm sure my dog appreciated reading it as much as Jakie enjoyed writing it.

Thanks, Joanna, for making my day (and Mandy's too)!

Thursday, November 4, 2004

remember "some folks"

Here's a poem I just wrote.  For you English majors, I realize there's some inproper grammer here.  Sometimes I pass up the King's English in favor of a good rhyme.

© copyright November 7, 2004
Donna Wood

The sky was dark and steely-gray.
The wind was bitter cold.
It was the sort of autumn day
That settles in your soul.

The furnace in my house clicked on
And caused me to remember
That some folks face each coming dawn
With no heat for November.

It's often hard to make ends meet,
And yet, we muddle through,
While some folks live out on the street...
No place to go home to.

My husband kisses me goodbye
And then, to work he'll go,
While somewhere, some folks sit and cry...
No one to love them so.

My knees hurt, when I climb the stairs
There's whining in my talk:
But some folks are in wheel chairs
And just wish they could walk.

Half the world is lacking food
And can't get decent rest.
Dear Lord, forgive my grumpy mood:
Remind me I am blessed.


Getting free corn

I hope my friends all know how to use the above pictures:  Click where it says "view larger" and then click the forward arrow where it says "1 of 11" to see all the shots.  I know J-land folks know this, but I've had a couple of people miss some good pictures because they thought there was only one up there.

We were given permission to pick up the corn left after a fire.  Click here to see the fire.  But we've had so much rain, the field has been a lob-lolly.  Meanwhile, our two pigs are eating everything in sight, and we hate to buy feed for them when there's all this free corn going to waste.  So Cliff, Travis and Tyler decided to wade through the mud and brave the cold wind, and pick up a trailer-load of corn.  I'm sure it's losing food value all the time it lays on the wet ground; some of it is starting to sprout, as you can see in one of the pictures.  We won't be feeding any to the cows or, more especially, my horse:  Pigs have a strong digestive system, and also the good sense not to eat something that will hurt them; but the slightest bit of mold could kill a horse, and possibly make the cows sick. A cousin of mine used to raise hogs for a living, and we once asked him about feeding something to hogs we thought might hurt them.  "You can't hurt a hog,"  he said, laughing. 

The guys gave out before the trailor was full, but I'm sure there's enough corn to do the pigs for quite a while.  If the weather forecast is right, we're supposed to have at least five sunny days now.  It'll be so much easier to pick up when the ground is dry.

This corn is just one more thing for which I owe Blue, my horse.  We've had so many grand rides around the countryside, but who would have thought we'd end up with free corn for our pigs!  The day of the fire was one of my favorite adventures with him, but I also fondly remember the ghost farm ride.  That horse has helped make what was already an exciting year even better.

Wednesday, November 3, 2004

Do you know any veterans?

If you are a vet, or know a vet:  On Monday, November 15, vets eat free at Golden Corral.  It's on the honor system, no need of proof.  Interested?  Click here.


© copyright November 3, 2004
Donna Wood

Let us all enjoy this day
Taking out some time to pray
For troops who've been away so long.
(Who knows if it's right or wrong?)

Let us every one rejoice
That we each can vote our choice
To tell the world what we believe;
Life's too short to mourn and grieve.

I believe a Higher Power
Guides us all from hour to hour.
You need not agree with me:
I've been wrong before, you see.

Terrorists could strike today,
Blowing some of us away.
Once you're dead, it's all the same:
You won't worry who's to blame.

Take my hand, and let's agree:
Me for you, and you for me,
Sharing all our hopes and dreams.
Life is never what it seems.






$65 invested

I hesitated to take this picture because Blue had been rolling in the mud.  Under normal circumstances I'd have had him groomed, and his feet cleaned, for the farrier.  But with my recent surgery, what you see is what you get.  I had originally intended to have his shoes removed and just have his feet trimmed for the winter:  that would have been cheaper, and let's face it, I won't be riding as much in cold weather.  And I don't know when the doctor will permit me to ride.  However, I like the idea of my horse being ready, if and when I want to ride.  For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of owning a horse, let me tell you, they're a money-hole:  Just stand back and throw money at them, and you'll never see it again!  Blue needs shoes about every six weeks.  This farrier is cheaper than my last one... he charges $65 for a reset, which means he takes off the shoes already on the horse, trims the feet, and puts the old shoes back on.  These particular shoes have had a lot of wear, but he said they're good for at least one more reset.  So, they will have lasted about nine months when we retire them.

Blue is exceptionally well-behaved for this procedure, especially considering that this young fellow takes an hour or more to do his job; but I must say, since I started using his services, the shoes stay on much longer and better.  No loose shoes between shoeings.  It looks to me like the job of a farrier would be terribly hard on a person's back!  I'm thankful for this man, because it's really hard to find someone to come to your house and do this, if you only have one horse.

On the right side of this picture is Mandy's pen, where I put her for the night or any time we're gone.  Cliff made her a snug house out of hay bales, which she seems to appreciate.  However, when her roof was only hay bales, she decided that was a good place to poop:  So poor Cliff put a sloped metal roof over the hay.  The things that man goes through for my animals!  He reminds me often that he isn't doing it for the animals, he's doing it for me.   

Tuesday, November 2, 2004

I do miss working

Remember the old saying, "An idle mind is the Devil's workshop"?  Now that I've been at home recuperating for so long, I understand it fully; here's a poem I wrote yesterday along these lines:

© copyright November 1, 2004
Donna Wood

Wnen I worked, I got away from all upsetting news;
I was not caught up in gloomy TV newsroom views.
I was much too tired at night to harbor fears and dreadings,
And did not have time to spend obsessing on beheadings.

Now it seems I doubt the very fiber of our nation
(I can't think that any politician's our salvation).
My workplace was a haven from the grim and unexpected:
Little did I understand how well I was protected.

When I worked, I didn't even know when it was raining.
I could laugh at other people's moaning and complaining.
When I worked, I found the time to have a little fun:
Someone please just wake me up when this election's done.


Free things

Cliff used to work for a fellow named Tom who had several enterprises going at once:  one of these was a small-town grocery store.  The ladies who showed up to buy only the weekly specials, often with coupons in hand, he called "bargain biddies".  Sometimes that term applies to me, because I LOVE a "freebie".

Don, a man in our town, and an acquantance of Cliff's from his present job, recently bought two four-wheelers: a big one for himself and a small one for his little boy; and also a killer dirt bike (motorcycle)... all brand new.  He has no garage space for these items.  He and his son came out to ride in our pasture and hill-climb in our "canyons", and he mentioned his lack of storage space; Cliff told him he'd be glad to let him park his goodies in our shop.  Don was so happy about this arrangement that he told Cliff to ride them any time he wanted; in fact, he said, he'd love to have the dirt bike "broke in".  So, Christmas came early for Cliff and the next-door twins, and didn't cost us a dime.

Another freebie I'm happy about:  long-time followers of my journal might remember the cornfield-fire my horse and I came across in September.  There's a series of thirteen pictures taken on my exciting ride that day HERE.  Well, the cornstalks burned, leaving lovely ears of field corn lying in the field to waste.  I found out who owns that field and asked permission to pick it up; I'm sure there's enough there to feed our two pigs until they're ready to butcher.  We'd only have to buy protein to go with it, so they'd grow properly.  At first the farmer said he intended to pick it up himself.  But I guess with all the rain we've had, he decided he'd have no time to do it, and now he's granted us permission to take it.  Cliff and the twins will be down there to get it as soon as the mud dries just a little.  Oh yes, I LOVE a freebie! 

Monday, November 1, 2004

What does your name say about you?

I got this link from Celeste's journal, who found it in Lahoma's journal:  Click HERE to see what your name says about you.  Here's mine:

"Your first name of Donna has made you happiest when you are expressing in some creative, artistic way, and not conforming to strict routine. In a large group of comparative strangers, you are quiet and rather shy, unable to express yourself, not really wanting to become involved in conversation. On the other hand, among friends with whom you feel at ease, you are expressive, witty, and quite charming. These contrasting natures make it difficult for people to understand you and can lead to friction in your personal life. You are deep, philosophical, and refined, but your extremely sensitive nature causes you to become depressed and self-pitying over any real or imagined slight. If you are not careful, people take advantage of your generous nature. You find the beauties of nature, fine music, art, and literature--all the deeper things of life--inspiring. The reserved, sensitive side of your nature brings aloneness and friction into your life, although you crave affection and understanding. You must guard against emotional excesses, which could result in depletion of energy, creating a desire for quick-energy foods. You could suffer through skin irritations, blood conditions, back trouble, and later, through arthritis. Heart, lung, or bronchial weaknesses could also result."


"Happy, mischievous, worried, silly, surprised, flirtatious, ecstatic, angry, frustrated, loopy, embarrassed, hopeful, anxious, sad, quiet, chillin'."  Those are the moods AOL lets us choose from.  That's why, so often, you'll see my mood as "quiet" or "chillin'" when, lately, "depressed" or "bored" would be more accurate.  I'm not really sure how much I'm supposed to do since my orthroscopic surgery, so I don't do much.  The sheet of instructions they sent home with me after surgery says, "Activity should be confined to walking only until your first visit with the doctor after surgery."  OK, so how much walking?  The day after surgery I was feeling so well that I was up and around doing things when a nurse from the surgery center called and said I was to keep my knee and leg elevated a lot (not mentioned on my sheet of instructions).  I think she meant just that day, but I'm not sure.  So, to be safe, I still do it.  In a week I'll see the doctor and receive more specific instructions.  Until then, I guess I'll use extra caution.  I do plan, however, to go out and groom my horse for a few minutes today.  I miss him!

My daughter's girls spent Saturday night as usual, and we all went to Church yesterday morning.  I was a total grouch, so Cliff was pretty much in charge of the kids.  Seventeen-year-old Amber also came for the weekend; she starts her first job next Saturday as a bagger at a grocery store, so her weekend visits will probably cease.

Here are Natalie and Monica, ready to go trick-or-treating.  It was starting to sprinkle when I took this around 4 PM, and my daughter had to be at work at 5 AM this morning; so she was not in the jolliest mood to take them out in the rain begging for goodies.


As it began to sprinkle, Cliff's sister Charlene and her husband, Pat, came by on their new Harley.  They'd been riding around the countryside all day, but the clouds chased them back home sooner than planned.  So they rode the bike home from here, ordered carry-out pizza, returned in their car, and spent the evening with us.  That was good for what ailed me.

I'll be so glad when the election is over, but I fear it won't really be over for weeks or months, since the presidential race is so close.  At least after Tuesday my mailbox won't be cluttered with junk from politicians, and I won't be getting recorded messages on my phone advising me about my election-day choices.  I'm especially tired of watching people on the message boards and chat rooms I frequent get all hateful and nasty over politics.  Good grief, people, grow up!