Monday, February 28, 2005

my mom's library table

My maternal grandfather had five surviving children.  He made each of them a walnut library table that they could take with them, when they married and left home.  He wasn't a great craftsman, and I doubt this plain piece of furniture would be worth much to anyone outside the family, or even to those in my family; but to me, it's special.

I grew up with this thing.  I imagine I first pulled myself up on that bottom shelf, as a toddler.  I recall dusting it as a child, and sometimes using it as a desk.  As far back as I can go in my memory, the library table was there.  I don't know when Grandpa made it, but I know Mother took it with her to set up housekeeping, when she married Daddy, in 1932. 

It used to have a thick coat of varnish; I stripped it many years ago, wanting the beauty of the natural wood to show.  The trouble is, it sat under a chimney upstairs where the roof leaked, so now it has dark stains on it.  And from some years of my own neglect, it began to dry out badly.  But it's responding, now, to Old English lemon oil applications I give it once a month or so.  I suppose, really, the stains just add to its character.

Perhaps we aren't supposed to "love" inanimate objects.  But I confess, I love my mom's library table.  Oh, if it could only talk, the tales it could tell! 

Sunday, February 27, 2005

switchboard memories

That's a switchboard, and one of those was a big part of my growing-up years.  My mom and dad were the operators... "Central", as it was called then... for several small-town telephone companies in Iowa and Missouri.  That switchboard in a corner of our living room was a fixture I almost came to accept as a member of the family. 

If we went anyplace, a girl had to be hired to stay with the switchboard.  Someone had to be available to answer it twenty-four hours a day.  If anyone made a call in the middle of the night, Mama or Daddy (usually Mama) had to get out of bed and put the call through.  My parents even had the privilege of listening to the conversation if they so desired, although I don't know if they did this or not; I do know they were occasionally accused of it, though.

If a house caught on fire, we were the first to know, and the information would be relayed to the proper people.  In one town, the last one we lived in before moving to the city, my parents were responsible for turning on the town siren in our yard.  Mother was usually the one to sit at the switchboard, although when she was gardening and canning in the summer, Daddy did his duty there. 

Sometimes after a wind storm, Daddy would have to uncross lines.  He had some sort of pole with a special attatchment on the end to do this; I believe when the lines were crossed, people could hear other people's conversations, which could be quite confusing.  I recall riding along with him on his rounds, and watching him.  It's really the only time I rode in the car with him driving, since Mother always drove when we went anyplace as a family.  Daddy preferred it that way.

It was around 1955 that modern technology made the switchboard obsolete, and we came to Kansas City, where both parents had no problem finding a job.


Saturday, February 26, 2005

The Saturday Six

Picture from Hometown

1. If a space colony could be built on the Moon or on Mars and humans could live there under protective domes, would you have any interest in living away from Earth?  No way!

2. A commercial for a credit company starts with a man being denied for a loan because of his credit score (619) and then he encounters that same number in multiple places.  Is there a number that holds some significance for you that you encounter fairly often?  No, although I have always liked the number seven, for some reason, and called it my "lucky number".

3. How many items are in your refrigerator door at this moment?  Of those, how many have you not touched in the last six months?  21 in the door, but they've been recently gone through and are all used, or Flylady would have made me throw them away.

4. How often do you buy a movie without seeing it (either in a theater or through a movie rental)?  What was the last movie you purchased without having seen first?  Do you now think that if you'd seen it first, you wouldn't have purchased it?  Yesterday, on Direct TV, they had "The Village" for 99 cents.  It stunk!  But since I paid for it, I suffered through to the end.
5. What was the last thing you purchased at an electronics store?  Our Blackout Buddy, before Christmas.  An office supply store?  Ink for my computer  A department store?  a wedding gift for a former neighbor

6. Do you expect to owe taxes this year or get a refund?  We already got our refund and spent it.   Will this year's debt or refund be greater or less than last year's?  It's a little less every year.

Well now...

Well now, the last two entries have provoked great comments and food for thought!  Possibly some of the best give-and-take I've had here so far.

First, I want everyone to know that Toonguy and I are still friends, at least as far as I know.  After reading the comments and re-reading my entry, I agree that yes, there WAS an element of gossip there. 

I also began to think about the very few people in my town who have a link to this journal (possibly 4 or 5), and realized that it's vaguely possible that entry could have gotten back to the people I referred to, and their families.  And the father mentioned in one of the stories has been nothing but good to us.  Why would I want to slander him or his family on the Internet?

One thing that made me see the true intent of Toonguy (and my own intentions) was a Proverb that was part of my daily Bible reading Thursday.  This is a good example of why Christians need to be reading their Bibles.

Proverbs 10:17  "He who heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray."

Is it coincidence that this verse came to my mind not five minutes after reading Russ's comment?  Before I could get all defensive and angry?

Nope, like it or not, God used Russ to remind me to "not merely listen to the Word and so deceive myself, but to listen to what it says."  James 1:22

And that, my friends, is your sermon for the day... and mine too.

I had wonderful waffles this morning, along with sausage from the hogs we butchered last Saturday.  What a way to start the weekend.  The sun is shining, the highs are to be in the fifties, and I'm going to enjoy this day to the fullest.

about gossip

After reading Toonguy's comment on my last entry, I wonder:   Was I gossiping there?  (Not that I don't ever gossip, by the way... I'm human.)  I don't tell you what town I live in, and I didn't mention names, except one first name, so my kids would know who it was.  Anyhow, I was not trying to spread gossip.  I was trying to let people who live in big metropolitan areas know the kind of thing that makes news in a small-town community.  If that came across as petty gossip, I apologize to the J-land community.

People living in the city have to gossip about their co-workers, and things going on at their jobs, since they don't know their neighbors.

Remember the immortal words of Kris Kristofferson:

"Everybody's gotta have somebody to look down on... who they can feel better than at any time they please.   Someone doin' something dirty decent folks can frown on.  If you can't find nobody else, then help yourself to me!"

Friday, February 25, 2005

small-town stuff

As you can see by the background here, I used to have lovely, weed-free gardens.  In the picture, you see Mechelle, her brother, Troy, and my daughter, Rachel.  Perhaps this was taken around 1982.  The little boy suspended between the girls is getting married in a month.  Troy and Mechelle used to live next door to us, and I babysat them sometimes.  Their parents are our friends who have the vineyard and winery.  When Troy was a toddler, I'd rock him and sing the Jerry Lee Lewis song, "What Made Milwakee Famous".  He'd listen closely as I sang, "It's late, I know she's waiting, and I know I should go home..." and he'd chime in on the word "home".  The neighbor kids would start to sing that song to him outside when they were playing, and Troy would get angry, saying, "No!!!!  Mine song!!!!" 

Is it possible that was more than twenty years ago?

There's something strange and unique about my little community.  Kids don't leave.  Or if they do, they come back eventually.  Perhaps part of the reason is that we're in driving distance of Kansas City, where the jobs are.

I deleted part of this entry, simply because I wouldn't want someone to be hurt by anything I write in my journal.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Weekend assignment

Weekend Assignment #12: Thanks to time travel and invisibility, you can be on the spot for any important event of the last 100 years (1905 onward). Which important historical event do you choose? As a twist, if you actually were at an important historical event, you can't pick that one. Why? Because you were there already. What, you want to be there twice? Think of the paradox!

I'd choose to be at the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963, to hear Martin Luther King give his famous speech.  Even today, when I hear a recording of those famous lines, I get goosebumps (click HERE to listen to it yourself).  Last summer when I stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial with my friend, Joanna, I couldn't help thinking about Martin Luther King saying, "I have a dream!"

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

10 things I've done that you probably haven't

I got this from John Scalzi's journal:  


1.  hand-milked as many as five cows, twice a day, every day

2.  Traveled with a group of clowns on a missions trip with a Baptist Church    

3.  Attended Sunday School in Plains, Georgia, with Jimmy Carter (he was the teacher)

4.  helped butcher hogs at home

5.  rendered lard

 6.  Had some of the songs I wrote recorded and received (tiny) royalty checks

7.  Published a book of my poems

8.  Attended a one-room school and walked two miles to get there

9.  Raised rabbits, ducklings, turkeys, goats, baby lambs, bottle calves, piglets, guinea fowl, goslings, a baby robin, a baby pigeon, a baby sparrow, and a baby squirrel

10.  Made my own butter and cottage cheese and yogurt

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Look outside my back door!

I don't know where he's been, but he's out there now (after receiving a "cookie") waiting for us to turn Mandy loose.

sharing something inspirational

I get these devotionals in my e-mail from the Pupose-Driven Life website, where I signed up.  For some reason, I especially like this one, and want to share it.  (I certainly hope I'm not infringing on a copyright here.  LOL)

We’ll Leave the Light On for Ya’
by John Fischer

Carol, a regular reader of these devotions, sent me her story of an encounter with a homeless man outside of Union Station in Washington D.C., who was mumbling and talking incoherently to no one in particular. As she described it, it was rush hour, and streams of people approaching him on the crosswalk would quickly avert their eyes, look to the ground, and step up their pace as they passed him by. “As I got close to him,” Carol related, “I started to look away and he suddenly whirled around and looked straight up into my face. His face softened, and he smiled and pointed to me and said, ‘Now, that… that is an angel!’”

Now there could be many theories as to what was really going on here, from a schizophrenic with insight to a demon-possessed man who recognized Christ in her, but the point here is that she had an effect on this person without doing or saying anything.

And not only that, the experience had an effect on her. She went on to remark: “The most amazing part of it for me was, I was really depressed that day and the last thing I imagined anyone would see in me was Light.”

Don’t ever underestimate yourself when Christ is living inside you. No matter what is happening to you, God has his own agenda He is working out in your life, and He may or may not inform you about it. No matter. He’s got plans, and He’s got purposes, and He’s got you. That’s a powerful combination.

You’re for real. Your faith is for real. God and His angels and demons are for real. There is a lot happening with our daily routine that is anything but routine. Wake up to this: You have a mission right where you are; your mission is to go through your day believing. And don’t let a little depression stop you, because God’s got something going on anyway. Carol’s story gives us just a little glimpse of this: God’s purposes are always at work in us. God’s got a light on, and other people can see it even when we can’t.

“But this precious treasure—this light and power that now shine within us—is held in perishable containers, that is, in our weak bodies. So everyone can see that our glorious power is from God and not from us” (2 Corinthians 4:7 NLT).

So regardless of what is happening to you, leave the light on for someone else. God may just have something to say, even when you think you don’t.

Monday, February 21, 2005


Mandy has been licking her sore foot a lot.  This shows the gash pretty clearly.  It's such a clean cut, I think it must have been caused by glass or something with a knife-like edge.  Anyhow, she's using all four feet again, when she walks.  And she's acting downright perky. 

I haven't seen her little pal, Buddy, all day.

It's a funny thing about Buddy:  Shortly after we got Mandy, Marvin's kids brought this hound puppy home.  I was trying so hard to keep Mandy on our property... tying her up, putting her in her pen when we left and at night, keeping her inside when I was home.  But Marvin, as with all the dogs his family ever had, really didn't care where their dog went.  So, Buddy was over here a lot.  There was a like-minded puppy here to play with, and he needed that.  I fumed.  I fretted.

And then one day I realized, Buddy was the best thing that could have happened to Mandy.  With a playmate so nearby, she isn't tempted to run far away.  They wear one another out playing, which works off a lot of Mandy's excess energy.

Each morning when Cliff goes out to chore, Buddy is waiting on the front porch, and bounds out to the barn ahead of Cliff so he'll be right there to greet Mandy when she's freed from her pen.

I buy dog biscuits:  pricey one for Mandy, cheap dollar-store ones for Buddy.  I holler at them, "Hey kids, I have cookies," and here they come.  It's cute.  I don't know why it took me so long to figure out Buddy was a gift to us all.  I still don't pet him... but I don't shoo him off.  And he has four kids in his family that will pet him all he needs.

I wonder why I haven't seen him today. 

odds and ends

Ah, memories of  South Padre Island!

Mandy seems to feel better today, and has learned to get around on three legs quite well.  I have a feeling she'll be back to using all four within a couple of days.  Early mornings, one of the first things I do is go out to the barn and get my dog out of her pen, and bring her inside.  I sit in the kitchen floor beside her to do my daily Bible reading, and her head is usually in my lap while I read.  Cliff would rather not pet dogs, he has this idea they're "nasty and stinky".  But Mandy has gotten to the point that she insists he pet her, the first time she sees him each day; she will not be denied.  She is really a loving animal, and seems to be in the process of winning Cliff's heart. 

A ninety-one-year-old neighbor passed away Friday morning, the great-grandmother of the twin boys who hang around Cliff's shop all the time.  We'll go to her graveside service today.  She used to be the guardian of our road here, when the kids were small.  Nothing went on that Marie didn't see and supervise from her picture window.  My daughter and a friend of hers once wrecked our three-wheeler in the road in front of our house, and Marie was the first one on the accident scene.  However, she hasn't been able to do her matriarch-of-the-neighborhood job for years:  old age robbed her of her sight and hearing. 

I had a very brief ride on my daughter's horse yesterday.  He did an outstanding job, and didn't toss his head even once.  Then Rachel got on for a short while, and he continued to behave himself.  He's even getting so he'll stand still while we mount.  He does go through a "dance" every time I put the saddle on him, for some reason, as though he's objecting.  But I'm sure this is just one of the things he'll outgrow before long, once he learns that he's going to have an enjoyable time when we go on an outing.  I never use harsh tones with him, or smack him with the reins.  He's responding nicely to my methods.

Today is the day Flylady and I "bless our houses".  That's just her term for a general cleaning of the whole house, and I almost look forward to it, these days.  Of course, after the weekends, with the thawing that's going on outside and grandchildren going in and out, the house really NEEDS a blessing.  So, I believe I'll take Mandy back out, put on my shoes (Flylady insists I wear shoes), and get started.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

I believe

I believe God sets us up with the right people, the right children (and other relatives), and the right animals in our lives, to supply the needs of our souls.  Simplistic?  Yes.  But with all my heart, I believe it.  I would not trade either of my two children for any others.  I cherish their rights to choose their own soul mates, and raise their children as they see fit.  And I'm thankful for every living creature in my life.  What a good life I have. 

Texas pictures (too many probably)

I finally got the pictures assembled and ready to show.  It's probably more pictures than most folks want!

My dog, Mandy, got a really severe cut on the top of her left back foot, and doesn't feel very well.  I feel so sorry for her.

Thank you, Ryanagi!!! I found my pictures.

A wonderful, helpful person left a comment on my last entry, which sent me to Google, which led me to an inexpensive program that rescued my pictures.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

busy butchering day

We cut the two hogs into meat today.  I took lots of digital pictures.  And when I tried to load them to my computer, I got the message "Corrupted files".  I'm disappointed.  But I'll tell you about our day.

Cliff went out around 9 AM, fed the critters, and got tables, grinders, and other needed equipment ready.  After 10, I went out to help.  Tyler, one of the next-door, fourteen-year-old twins, took over the grinder, I began to wrap, and we were under way. 

Unfortunately, my wrapping skills leave something to be desired.  So when Rachel, our daughter, showed up with Natalie, her seven-year-old, we put her wrapping.  And Natalie, who had announced earlier she was NOT going to look at those poor dead pigs, braved the scene, found it not to be so horrifying, and began writing on the packages of meat according to what cut it was... chops, sausage, ground pork, ribs, roast, and so forth.

The son-in-law, Kevin, came soon after, with Monica (the nine-year-old) and his mom, Linda.  Everyone found something to do, and we were in business.  Monica didn't last long, though.  I noticed a big pile of fat Cliff seemed to be discarding, and said, "What are you doing with that?" 

"Throwing it away," he said.

"All that good lard????  Lard makes the BEST pie crust!"

So, I came inside with the rescued fat and began cutting it in smaller pieces to render.  It's still on the stove, turning into lard very slowly.

We ended up taking the electric skillet to the shop and frying two pounds of sausage and four pork chops, just so we could sample our wares.  Delicious!

It's been a great day.  We were done by 3 PM, and inside eating the chili Rachel brought.  If only my pictures had turned out.  And now I'm wondering if something is wrong with my camera.


I'm not really big on games of any kind; the main reason being, I'm a poor player... I just don't care enough whether I win or not.  So of course, people don't enjoy being my partner, since most folks would like to have a chance of winning.  

But while we were visiting my sister, she brought out this game I'd never heard of, and I must say it was rather enjoyable.  It held my interest, and yet was easy enough that my seven-year-old granddaughter, Natalie, had no problem learning it. 

The board my sister has was home-made by her late husband.  I went to E-bay, though, and found the whole set... cards, board, poker chips and all, new in the box.  It's ordered.  Now let's see if it ever gets any use in this house.  I think it will, on the Saturday nights our granddaughters are here.

Friday, February 18, 2005

life (and death) in the country

The two pigs we raised are hanging in Cliff's shop, chilling nicely.  We'll soon have pork in abundance.

The "boys" are doing fine; I rode both of them briefly this evening.  Life is good.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

There's noplace like home

One good thing about taking a road trip is that you appreciate home when you return.  I had a good time with my daughter and her kids.  We had adventures by the dozen.  But I'm glad now to be home petting my dog (I think she's glad to see me).  I'll wait till tomorrow morning to check on the horses.  Cliff killed the pigs yesterday, so we'll be cutting and wrapping meat Saturday.

I'll get the pictures of my trip all assembled by the weekend and post them, for those who are interested.  Or, you can read my daughter's journal entries for the past few days and see most of them now.  Truly, the trip couldn't have gone any better.  The kids did great, considering we were all crammed in a van for over 2,000 miles, all told.

I think I'll go enjoy the comfort of my own bed.  Good night, J-landers. 

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Greetings from Fort Worth

I'm just checking in with J-landers from Fort Worth, where we spent the night.  We met a couple who live nearby, some of my daughter's Internet friends from her Joke-a-day site.  Nice folks, and they paid for our meals; the guy, David, said, "Welcome to Texas," when my daughter objected to his footing the bill.

Things went smoothly on the road yesterday:  Rachel made sure there were plenty of activities for the kids, and they were well-behaved.  It rained on us most of the way, and when I called Cliff to check in, I found out we're getting plenty of wet stuff at home, too. 

If all goes as planned, we'll be at my sister's by suppertime tonight.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Me? a horse whisperer?

OK, I'm not supposed to try and ride Prince when Cliff is gone.  I didn't intend to.  But I was grooming him, and he seemed so docile.  If he acted up when I tried to mount, I promised myself, I'd jump right down. 

But he didn't act up.  He didn't try to run away as I headed off; he poked along wherever I headed him.  The old head-tossing?  He only did it about three times, half-heartedly... not so extreme that it would have hit me in the face.  When he did head-toss, I immediately turned him in the opposite direction.  He's a smart boy, and learns fast. 

I talked to him constantly.  If I ran out of words, I sang, "Jesus Loves Me" as I rode. 

This horse is amazing.  I am humbled at the way he responds to the Golden Rule.

Thank You, God. 

Rachel, you are blessed.  Appreciate your horse, and love him.  He's one in a million.

I Wish I'd Written That


                               Nobody can sing this song like Tanya Tucker                                              TEXAS WHEN I DIE                             

                            written by  Ed Bruce/Bobby Borchers/Patsy Bruce    

When I die I may not go to heaven
I don't know if they let cowboys in
If they don't just let me go to Texas, Boy!
Texas is as close as I've been.

New York couldn't hold my attention
Detroit City couldn't sing my song
If tomorrow finds me busted flat in Dallas
I won't care, 'cause at least I'll know I'm home.

When I die I may not go to heaven
I don't know if they let cowboys in
If they don't just let me go to Texas, Boy!
Texas is as close as I've been.

I'd ride through all of Hell and half of Texas
Just to hear Willie Nelson sing a country song
Beer just ain't as cold in old Milwaukee
My body's here, but my soul's in San Antone.

When I die I may not go to heaven
I don't know if they let cowboys in
If they don't just let me go to Texas, Boy!
Texas is as close as I've been.

When I die I may not go to heaven
I don't know if they let cowboys in
If they don't just let me go to Texas, Boy!
Texas is as close as I've been.

OK, NOW I'm getting excited

I started packing for my Texas road trip this morning.  I really hadn't thought much about it until now... but I do believe I'm suddenly in the right frame of mind (shall we say a Texas state of mind?).

Cliff and I will grocery-shop today before he goes to work.  I'll get some snack and picnic items for our trip, as well as some frozen, quick-to-fix things for Cliff to eat while I'm gone.

My daughter will be driving all the way, since I don't drive.  We're neither one loaded with extra funds, which is hard for me:  In the four-plus years I've had my job, a big portion of my salary has been spent on kids, grandkids, and my own travels.  Now that I'm down to two- and three-day work-weeks, I'm re-learning the meaning of "budget".

We will have fun, though.  My sister will give us free room and board while we're in Mission, and all the oranges and grapefruits we can eat.  Rachel found reasonably-priced motels in the Fort Worth area, both going and coming back.  We're splitting the cost on that, as well as the gasoline.  And we'll do more picnicking than eating out.  Breakfast is free at both motels we've chosen.  Our trip across the border to Mexico needn't be expensive; we found out last year, you can buy a lot of trinkets down there for very little money.

Yep, I've found my enthusiasm.  The only little problem is, I hate to leave my shiny kitchen sink.  But Rachel promised she'll let me scrub the sink in the motels where we stay, after the girls have spit toothpaste in it.  I'll guarantee there'll be no need to clean sinks at my sister's place:  she's a wonderful housekeeper!  Here's a shot of her taken last February at her winter home.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Weekend Assignment #47: Teenage Crushes

Weekend Assignment #47: Reveal Your Teenage Celebrity Crush! Oh, come on. We all had one. Share yours, and tell us why that particularly celebrity tripped your teenage trigger.

Anyone can SEE why I was crazy about him.  Look at that face!  And he was so cool on 77 Sunset Strip, always combing his hair.

Extra Credit: Tell us: Do you still have a little teeny bit of a crush on that celebrity? Yes? No? Maybe so?

I hadn't thought about him in ages, but I guess I still have a tiny crush on him... as he was then. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2005


Cliff wants to butcher these girls tomorrow and cut them up this weekend; I'm trying to get him to hold off so I'll be here to help wrap meat.  I leave for Texas Saturday.  See the corn they're eating?  It came from the place where the cornfield fire was.  The neighbor boys helped pick it up one Saturday.  Thanks to that, our pork will be really cheap if we get it in the freezer with no problem.

There's Mandy, looking out from her snug hay-bale home next to the horse's stall.  I was feeding Prince his grain and filling up the horse's water tank, and two dogs stayed very near.  Any time you see Mandy, Buddy, the neighbor's dog, is not far away:

I do believe Prince (formerly known as Brat) is filling out somewhat.  His ribs aren't quite as evident now.  I didn't take time to handle him tonight, like I usually do after I feed him.  I'm extra tired this evening.

oh my GOODNESS!!!!


Green day is coming to Kansas City, Kemper Arena, in May!!!  And here I am with only a partial income of my own, and at least four grandchildren who like Green Day.  And, freaky or not, I like them too!  What to do, what to do.  Tickets go on sale later this month. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Snow... mostly hype

For a couple of days, the weathermen have been predicting massive amounts of snow.  Unfortunately for them, Missouri weather isn't that easy to predict:  The bulk of the snow seems to be moving north of us.  We have about four inches, and they now think that's all we'll get.  Of course, I've seen storms like that stall and move back toward us.  We'll see.

FlyLady would be happy with me tonight.  My zone for the week is the kitchen, and I did a fantastic job on my stove and oven this evening, cleaning places that never get cleaned.  But my goodness, I hate the fumes from oven cleaner!  I'm still coughing and gagging, and it's been a couple of hours.  Surely there's a more pleasant way.  I also did the zone mission for today... sorting through storage containers and getting rid of lids with no bottoms, and bottoms with no lids, as well as containers I never use any more.

I went to work this morning, and Cliff made it this afternoon.  He left me a message saying he was feeling fine, and he sounded as though he was.  I could see things he'd done outside, so I know he felt like getting up and around.

received in e-mail from my friend Helen


12. Life is sexually transmitted.

11. Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.  

10. Men have two emotions: Hungry and Horny.  If you don't see him excited, make him a sandwich!  

9. Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach a person to use the Internet and they won't bother you for weeks.  

8. Some people are like Slinkies.    Not really good for anything, but you can't help but smile when you see one tumble down the stairs.  

7. Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing.  

6. Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing.  

5. All of us could take a lesson from the weather.  It pays no attention to criticism.  

 4. Why does a slight tax increase cost you two hundred dollars and a substantial tax cut saves you thirty cents?  

3. In the 60's, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal.  

2. Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.  

1. Many terrorists come to America legally and hang around on expired Visas (some for as long as 10-15 years).  At Blockbuster you're two days late with a video rental and those people are all over you.  I think we should put Blockbuster in charge of US Immigration.  

Monday, February 7, 2005

perhaps snow is coming

Cliff is laid out on the couch with chills and fever.  In a couple of hours he can have more Tylenol.  I surely hope my daughter, her kids, and/or I don't come down with this junk halfway to Texas.


After I convinced Cliff it would be crazy to go to work, and he retired to the easy chair, we decided to watch "Stand By Me", a favorite movie of ours.  It's sad to realize River Phoenix, who was such a great young talent in that movie, died later at age 23 of a drug overdose.

I'm reading a lot of Mark Rashid's advice about horses, in books and on the Internet.  Here's an example of his good common sense.

"For instance, let's say the horse is walking.  That's a simple task in the human's eyes.  But for the horse, especially a young or green horse, or a horse with a light mouth, it could mean something different.  To the horse that may not understand what the person is asking, this could be interpreted as the person trying to confine him.  He begins to get nervous and leans into the pressure, or he starts throwing his head, or maybe rears or bolts.

Soon, the person puts him in a more severe bit to stop him from leaning on the bit or bolting.  To stop him from throwing his head or rearing, the person puts him in a tie-down.  The horse responds by becoming more unmanageable.  The person becomes frustrated and eventually sells the horse.  The horse, from then on, will probably be considered a problem horse and will be treated as such.

Most people treat problem horses with heavy hands, sometimes to the point of physically abusing them.  And that only serves to compound the problem.  The horse then thinks he needs to constantlydefend himself.  So you end up with a horse that not only doesn't stop, but now kicks, bites, strikes, and bucks.  The horse is then considered rank and ends up at the killers.

This scenario may sound far-fetched, but this situation occurs every day.  Stock trucks are full of problem horses on their way to packing plants.

It is a tragedy, in my opinion, that this snowball effect has to happen, when with a little patience and understanding, the whole thing can be avoided in the first place.

Contrary to what a lo of people think, horses do not act mean or ignorant just to get the person's goat.  Horses don't think that way.  They simply don't understand what you are asking and respond the only way they know how.  After all, they are horses and need to be worked with as such.  If your horse is not doing what you want him to, it's probably because he doesn't understand what you are asking.

Stop.  Take your time.  Think about what you are doing.  Think about what your horse is trying to tell you." 

I try to read something by Mark each time I'm going to go out and handle Prince.  I saw the change his methods made in my good horse Blue, who is now almost "bullet-proof".  I'm a believer.

the flu has hit our house

Cliff didn't feel well yesterday:  aching all over, coughing.  Today he has a fever and the cough is worse.  He's not going to work, obviously.

I had another ride on Prince, and I'm figuring a few things out with him that may work.  Meanwhile, he's letting me handle his feet like a champion already.  More later.

Sunday, February 6, 2005

about my ride

OK, I'll tell you about my day with Prince, my daughter's horse.  He's not really great about letting me pick his feet up, and this could cause problems when the farrier comes.  So while everyone was watching the pre-game stuff, I went out and got Prince (formerly known as Brat) and did nothing but groom his wet body (it's rained all day here) and pick up his feet, one after the other.  After a half-hour or more of this, he was doing pretty well.

I came in for a while, snacked a bit, and read a couple of chapters of one of Mark Rashid's books.  Inspired by this, I figured I'd go mess with Prince's feet a little more.  He responded much better than he had earlier.  I tossed his saddle pad on him, just for practice.  I took it off and picked up his feet again, one by one.  Then I tossed the saddle pad on again, and figured it wouldn't hurt to just put the saddle on, while I was at it.

Well, as long as I'd done that much, why not cinch up the saddle and put his bridle on?  Of course, the next logical step was to see if he'd let me mount.

I won't say he was completely willing, but I made it.  He's a chronic head-tosser, and will almost hit a rider in the head as he tosses his head back.  But that wasn't such a big problem.  I rode him around our house a couple of times, and I guess someone in there saw me out the window.  Rachel, my daughter, stepped out the back door, and Prince (formerly known as Brat.... LOL) decided to rear a bit.  Just as Rachel was saying, "He doesn't rear too high, at least..." that horse stood straight up rearing so big, she thought he was going to topple over with me aboard! 

I figured since I'd survived that, I might as well see if he'd tire out, and I rode him up and down our road countless times.  He did a lot of head-tossing, and acted pretty spooky.  But after about an hour, he was doing pretty good.  I had a wonderful feeling of accomplishment by the time I put him up.

I feel like a real cowgirl!  (I kept whispering to Prince, "Remember, I'm an old woman.")

Cliff said he was probably thinking, "OK, who let the OATS bus off here?"

I'm a real cowgirl

Ask my daughter about my ride today on the new horse (whom I have re-named Prince).

my favorite new products

Someone at work was touting this product, but I didn't pay attention to the name at the time.  Then my granddaughter, Amber, later told me how great it worked on pet stains and such for her mom, and that time, I wrote it down.  If you haven't tried it, you must!  It's unbelievable what it will remove from off-white carpets.  Cliff spilled a cup of coffee on our living room carpet, and you can't even see where it landed now.

Cliff heard about this one from a woman he works with.  It's equally as amazing as Spot Shot.  To try it once is to love it.

And by the way, I learned about these before the FlyLady entered my life!


happy times

That's my daughter, Rachel, on her little Arabian, Brat.  He's pretty high-strung, and needs to be ridden every day for a while... but I'm a bit of a coward when it comes to horses with an ornery streak.  If I can work up the nerve, I'll see what I can do with him.  The first thing I'll do is find something else to call him:  Words have power ("Death and life are in the power of the tongue..." Proverbs 18:21) and if you call someone "Brat" all the time, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.  So, I'll figure out some kinder, gentler moniker.  Others may use whatever name they see fit; but he will no longer be "Brat" to me.  For more pictures of our day yesterday, see Rachel's journal.

I'm set for the Super Bowl:  I have cheese ball made, and also the hamburger dip, which I only have to warm up later.  We'll have the family favorite potato soup for our noon meal, and I'll make some gingerbread and Jello salad.  Easy fixin's! 

Saturday, February 5, 2005

My graduation picture

Here's my graduation picture.  Nothing great, but I'd either broken or lost my glasses; otherwise, it would have been worse!

1. What is your favorite restaurant to visit for breakfast and what do you order?

1. What is your favorite restaurant to visit for breakfast and what do you order?  It used to be Shoney's, but they all closed in this area.  I guess I'd choose Golden Corral now.
2. Do you have any unique ability like those who appear on David Letterman's "Stupid Human Tricks?"  If so, how did you learn you had this talent?  I'm just not gifted that way.
3. There are plenty of sites on the internet for pen pals; some of them are specifically designed for communicating with people in prison.  Have you ever or would you begin corresponding with a stranger who was in prison?  No, especially after reading about Toonguy's experience!
4. Name two questions you have always wanted to ask a pair of identical twins.  Can you read one another's minds?
5. If you looked back at your high school yearbook photos, what is more embarrassing?  Your hair, your clothes, your glasses, or your complexion?  My glasses if I'd been wearing them, which I wasn't.  I almost hate to show people pictures of me with my babies because of the stupid glasses.  Here's an example:

Of course, the long hair didn't do a thing for me, either.

6. If you had to change the color of one of the following, which would you change and why:  the walls in your living room, your car, or your eyes.  I don't want to change any of those!  If I had to change one of those, I'd say the car.

Friday, February 4, 2005

busy weekend ahead (but fun)

That's my husband, my son Jim, and Cliff's brother, Donald.  Don will be here early in the morning:  he's leaving home (southern Kansas) at 4:30, and will be here by 8 AM.  He and Cliff will "work" on an old Farmall M tractor.  It amazes me how close Cliff and Donald are... and how much my kids love their Uncle Donald.  Rachel is looking forward to seeing him tomorrow.

I asked Cliff a while ago, "Do you suppose Donald knows how much our kids love him?"

"I doubt it," Cliff said.

"If you somehow get the chance, you need to tell him," I said.

"I will," was Cliff's answer.

As we grow older, we have more conversations like this.  Today we were talking about dying, and we both agreed it would be OK for God to take either of us any time now.  Not that we're anxious to go, but life has been so perfectly complete.  If you should hear of my untimely demise, rest assured that it was OK by me; I am ready.  Meanwhile, I'm enjoying every day!

a wonderful day

I've had the most wonderful day!  Cliff decided, since I was off work today, to play hookey and enjoy life with me.  We usually do our shopping and running around on Friday, but we have to be home by 1:30, so he can leave for work at 2:30 PM.  Today we didn't have to watch the clock. 

My friend Virginia... Jen, to me... inspired me to look for a stool to climb on when doing housework.  She was on a chair some time back, dusting or cleaning something, and fell.  She really hurt herself badly, and I considered it a wakeup call for me to stop using chairs as ladders.  So, we went to Home Depot.  Here's the step-stool I purchased:

I love it!  So does Cliff, who used it already to do a few "honey-do's" for me; although it's only load-rated to 225 pounds, and he exceeds that somewhat. 

While at Home Depot, I found the perfect building for my cabin in the woods.  Cliff and I looked inside, and agreed it would be ideal.  It would need one more window, which can be added; but for under $2,000, I'd be set.  Here it is:

It's the second one down, the "tall ranch" model.  I'd get the 10 X 12 size.  I can't wait!

We ate a leisurely lunch at Olive Garden, and had enough left to bring home for supper.  We need to start ordering one meal for the two of us.  I got home in time to spoil the horses a bit...  I apologize to Flylady for not doing my scheduled things today.  But when I go to bed, I guarantee my sink will be shining.

news and notes

My favorite answer to our weekend assignment is here.  But then, I always know Mrs. Linklater will give me something to chuckle about.

I don't care what the ground hog said, the horses around here think spring is close at hand; they've started shedding their winter coats by the handfuls, when I brush them.  The coming weekend looks promising for a little horseback riding.  The new horse, Brat, has an ugly wound on her leg just above the hoof (she got it before she came here).  She doesn't limp or show signs that it bothers her, but it's so huge it's taking forever to heal.  Each afternoon I spray it with Cut-Heal and pray.  Their lot is so muddy, I'm sure the wound medicine doesn't stay on long; hopefully the prayers stick, though,

I'm still flying with the Flylady.  Cliff can't believe the change in how things look around here, and I'm sure he's holding his breath, wondering if it will last.  So am I, for that matter.  Thanks to Flylady and her uncluttering, I found three James Patterson books I'd bought on (who knows when) and had never read.  So, I'm reading "Kiss The Girls" right now.  I love the Alex Cross series, although these books make me wonder what sort of mind could manufacture such awful serial killers.  This is the second one written, so the Cross children who were teens in the first one I read are barely in elementary school.  No big deal. 

Here's another thing Flylady is responsible for:  A co-worker who has been a Christian for a little over a year is always coming to me with the un-answerable Bible questions (where did Adam and Eve's children get their spouses, for example)  I tell her the theories I've heard, but end up telling her nobody really knows.  In my de-cluttering, I found a book I've had for some time, "Hard Sayings Of The Bible", that adresses many such questions.  Although in the end, the book simply does what I do:  gives the theories and then says, "Nobody really knows."  I gave the book to Paula, and she was delighted to get it.  I'd never have found it, or even thought of it, if I hadn't been upstairs sorting through my clutter recently. 

This was my first week as a part-time associate at work, and I do believe it's going to work well for me.  The only drawback I can think of is that when work is very slow, my supervisor has the option of asking me not to work on a given week.  We'll see whether that happens or not.

Thus far I've stayed with my daily Bible reading resolution this year:  at present, I am wandering in the wilderness with the children of Israel, waiting for Moses to receive the Ten Commandments.  In the New Testament portion, I'm getting very close to Matthew's account of the Crucifixion.  I love the One-Year Bibles, and have three of them in various translations.  It gives you some Old Testament, some new, and a Psalm and a Proverb, all together so you don't have to thumb through the pages.  One day's portion can be read in about twenty minutes if you read it all.  I will confess that I skim over the "begats" these days, and a lot of the Tabernacle stuff.  I've read it all before, and never got a lot out of it.  I always enjoy every verse of Genesis, though.  The people absolutely come alive for me as I read.  That gives me a good start on the year, so I've never "dropped out" of my reading during that time.

Thursday, February 3, 2005

John Scalzi's Weekend Assignment

Weekend Assignment #46: Make one new rule to apply to the Super Bowl. This new rule can apply to any aspect of the Super Bowl, from the game to the spectators, to the halftime show, to the commercials. If it's got something to do with the Super Bowl, you can make up a rule about it.

I'd like the Super Bowl to start at 3 PM.  I go to bed early, and Monday is a work day for most people. 

Extra Credit: Your pick for winner of the Super Bowl. Naturally, don't bother doing the extra credit if it's Sunday evening.

Who's playing, anyhow?  Once the Chiefs are out of the running, I lose all interest in football.  I do try to watch the commercials, though.  That's the best part of Super Bowl Sunday!

Tuesday, February 1, 2005

Texas, we're on our way

Last year at this time, thanks to the Christmas overtime money I earned the previous month, I bought plane tickets for my daughter and myself, and we flew to visit my sister in her winter home in Mission, Texas.  The day we spent at South Padre Island, we kept wishing Kevin and the kids were with us.  We just knew the girls would have a blast with all that sand, the seagulls, and the waves of the gulf rolling in.  That's me, my daughter and my sister on the bridge over the Rio Grande.

Well, Rachel, her three kids, and I are going down there in less than two weeks.  This time Rachel will drive us.  We'll stay at a motel in Fort Worth on the way down, and then again on the way home.  The motel has an indoor swimming pool, so the kids will even enjoy the motel stay.  I really, really wanted my son-in-law, Kevin, to go; but he's changed jobs and just can't get a week off.

We'll actually only have three nights and two days in Mission.  One day for Mexico, and the other for Padre Island.  Rachel has a laptop, and the motel has Internet access.  So we might be making journal entries during our stay.  Cliff will hold down the fort here, feeding horses and babysitting Mandy.  I love a road trip!