Wednesday, March 30, 2005

I'm off work for a week

I've worked my two days for this week, and next week I'll be there Wednesday and  Thursday.  Wow, a vacation every week!  Co-workers ask me how I like part-time, and I have to say I love it.  The small paychecks aren't even so bad, now that I've toned down my spending.  In retrospect, it seems I mainly used my income for extras.

So, I have adjusted my spending.  We passed up our annual trip to Georgia on Easter weekend; Cliff hates to do all that driving anyhow, and it isn't cheap, going down there.  I won't be going to the Dallas reunion of my Internet friends this year, much as I'd like to.  But it comes down to priorities, when all is said and done.  If Cliff and I are going to take a trip or two this year together, something has to give.

He's mentioned Colorado, and I'd love to go.  But I'd like to go to Branson again, too.  Now I'm juggling expenses, trying to decide if we should do both of these, or just one.  Our necessities are covered.  It's the luxuries for which we must budget.

I have my wonderful horse, and every ride down by the Missouri River is a mini-vacation.

But there's the Old Thresher's Reunion, Labor Day weekend.

I do have the tickets bought to Van's Warped Tour for my granddaughter Amber, my grandson Brett, and myself.

Meanwhile, other things are going through my mind:  Like a local man who killed himself last weekend; a fellow who, as a boy, used to come up here and play with my son.  I can't help but wonder why.

The memory of all my aunts and uncles, or for that matter, my mom and dad, who are gone on to their respective rewards, lays heavy on my soul.  The brevity of life stares me in the face.  Everywhere around me, the children who played in my yard with my children are approaching middle age.  And I watched thier kids playing football in my yard this very evening.

I so appreciate the people in mylife now:  my children; my grandchildren; my wonderful, unique, tractor-loving husband.  My co-workers and my friends and neighbors.  How is it possible to love my ex-daughter-in-law and my ex-son-in-law, and still love my present daughter-in-law and son-in-law?  But I do!  How lucky is that?  And to be able to get along with them all is a miracle.

It just doesn't get any better than this.

But the clock keeps ticking.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

about my previous post

It feels good sometimes to vent, and know that perhaps eight or ten people are reading what I say.  Now, however, I must clarify things:  Nobody MADE me leave that message board.  I hadn't been posting much anyway, lately.  It was my choice to leave it, and I have done that.

I'm not hurting anyone by no longer posting there.  Since I didn't make many entries recently, few people are going to miss me; and there are some who will be tickled to death I'm gone.  When several friends and I first found that forum, we were made aware that some of the old-timers didn't cotton to new folks.  Most, however, welcomed us with open arms.

Anyhow, don't think I've been forced to leave that message board.  It was my choice all the way.


taking offense (a rant)

I read about half-a-dozen message boards on a regular basis these days, and I've run across some wonderful folks on all of them.  I've also encountered a few jerks.  Many public forums have moderators who can ban constant trouble-makers from posting, and have the power to delete posts that are offensive.  This is necessary.

Today I'm on my soapbox.  On what used to be one of my favorite message boards (it's not linked on this journal) people were wishing one another happy Easter.  One lady included a scripture in her Easter greeting.  This offended someone!

This person pointed out a section of the "forum rules", namely this:  " Avoid political and religious ideology debates. They tend to cause inflamed discussions, anger, and hurt feelings, which put you at risk of violating these rules. This is an Almanac site, after all, not a political or religious site."

Debates?  Since when did "happy Easter", "Have a blessed Easter" and "He is risen" turn into a debate?  There's a Buddhist lady who posts on that board who told us she wasn't offended.  By the way, I was not one of the people who posted Easter greetings, so this isn't a personal thing.

I read all kinds of views in J-land.  The beliefs here run the gamut:  atheists, Wicca, Christianity, and many others.  As long as I am not personally attacked, I am not offended.  One thing about a blog:  I have the right to say what I believe.  So does everyone else.  I realize it isn't the same with a message board, which is probably the reason I post more in this journal these days, and less on the boards.

I've posted my last comment on that particular forum.  I'll read from time to time, to see how my favorite people are doing.  But if it's that easy to offend someone, I won't take the chance of doing so.  I've permanently logged off that site, and have no intention of taking part again.  

Monday, March 28, 2005

a walk in the woods

I thought perhaps I'd find a mushroom or two today, since we had some rain last week and it's in the 70's now.  I see on the Missouri Morel Message board that a few black morels have been found (I didn't know there WERE black ones; I've found little grays though, they are usually the earliest to be discovered).  I took a picture of some Dutchman's breeches, but I blurred them.  Violets aren't out yet.

Monday Photo Shoot - "On The Wing"

This from John Scalzi:

"Your Monday Photo Shoot: Get a shot of one of our fine feathered friends (preferably undomesticated). "

Well, I went on a ride this morning hoping to perhaps see some wild turkeys, or an eagle, down by the Missouri River.  I did see a dove, but not close enough to photograph.  And I saw a couple of racoons high in a tree, either fighting or making love (with animals, who can tell?).  But the only birds I got near enough to take pictures of from horseback were some funny-looking ducks down the road from my house... and they're domesticated.

However, I happened to remember my February trip to South Padre Island, so that saved the day.  Seagulls on the sand, and pelicans flying overhead.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Riding lessons

There was a considerable amount of riding done today.  I failed to get a picture of my grandson, Arick, on Blue.  But then his girl friend rode, and after that, seven-year-old Natalie, whose skills are getting better all the time.  Blue performed like a champion.  Arick and Michelle were both nervous at first, until they found out what a big baby Blue really is.

All my grandchildren were at church with me except for Lyndsay, the youngest, who lives in Georgia.  We filled up one pew and part of another.  It's a good day.

About Ole Betsy

Lest some of you think Cliff and I are "gun nuts", I'd better let you know how it really is:  When we bought a pop-up camper a few years back and decided to vacation in Colorado, I worried about bears.  A bear could easily rip through the canvas sides of a pop-up camper, and this troubled me.  Also, we'd seen a story on TV of a couple of girls who were slaughtered by some nut while hiking in the Ozarks.  Around the same time, there were scattered reports of people being overtaken and robbed at rest stops across the country.  So, we went looking for a cheap handgun, just for when we traveled.

In theory, this sounds reasonable.  But here's what would happen:  We'd be drifting off to sleep in a Colorado state park when I'd say, "Where's Ole Betsy?"

"Oh, she's locked up in the car."

Nights are cold in Colorado, and neither of us was about to get out of the sleeping bag, half-asleep, and go get our protection.

Or, conversely, we'd pull over at a rest stop, and I'd say, "Where's Ole Betsy?"

"Oops, she's folded up in the camper," Cliff would answer.

So yes, we do take Ole Betsy when we vacation.  But she is very seldom in the place where we need her to be.  Oh well, we tried.

God will have to help us if an intruder ever shows up.

Meanwhile, if we get pulled over by a highway patrol somewhere along the line in this vast country of ours, we could get cited for having a hidden weapon. 

Saturday, March 26, 2005

family firearms

Since both our son and our son-in-law have been bragging about their firearms, Cliff insisted we feature HIS fine handgun, "Ole Betsey".  She's been in Colorado, New Mexico, Florida and Ohio.

Anyone looking at this entry who knows guns probably can tell this is a piece of stamped-out junk, the cheapest we could get.  But Cliff was feeling left out, with the whole family showing off their fine weapons.  So, here she is.  Oh, the pliers are there so you can see the size of the gun.  "The tools of my trade," Cliff says.

We just returned from a wedding at the winery... the vintner's son, Troy.  It makes me feel old, knowing I used to babysit this boy when he was two, and now he's thirty and finally getting married.

Saturday Six - Episode 50

Picture from Hometown

1. Do you believe that Terri Schiavo should be allowed to die or that she should be kept alive?  I believe she ought to be allowed to die.
2. Has the Schiavo case made you take any action towards creating a living will of your own?  My daughter knows my wishes and has durable power of attorney.  My husband also knows how I feel.  We've discussed this at some length, many times.
3. Let's forget what we know -- or more likely, what we think we know -- about Schiavo's condition.  If you suffered a brain injury that would leave you in a non-responsive vegetative state (whether Schiavo is in this state or not) and your doctors said that there was so much brain damage that there would be no hope of recovery, would you want to be kept alive no matter what?  No, No, a thousand times NO.

4. Has anyone outside of your immediate family ever asked you to be their "personal representative" to make such a decision on their behalf if they ever suffer a severe injury?  No. 

Do you think you could really make the decision?  If I had discussed it with them and truly knew their wishes, I think I could.  The time came when doctors were going to operate on my mom, and my sister and I agreed that, although it might extend her life (she was 91), the pain of recovery would be more than she ought to have to bear.  We did for our mother what we'd want done for us; as it turned out, the condition for which they were going to operate never caused her another problem, so our decision was a good one.  She died a few months later. 

5. Do you have a special outfit ready for Easter Sunday?  No;    
One of my favorite quotes is from Henry David Thoreau:  "Distrust any enterprise that requires new clothes."  I'm not a typical woman; clothes, shoes, and so forth mean very little to me.
   Does your family have any special Easter traditions?  Only that we usually have a big Easter dinner, with ham, deviled eggs, home-made noodles, and yeast rolls from scratch.  We have other stuff, but those are required.  This year the ham is home-cured, from the hogs we butchered recently.

6. What room of your house is the absolute messiest?  Would you ever let a house guest see it?  All my upstairs is pretty much a mess, unless someone is coming to spend a night up there.  We really don't use the upstairs much.  I have a junk room up there that is the absolute worst.  Flylady got me started cleaning it up, but I'm afraid I've lapsed lately (as far as the upstairs, that is).  I'll get back on the bandwagon with the five-minute rescue thing, shortly.  I'd probably rather a guest didn't see it, but I'm pretty straight-forward.  It's me, it's my house; take it or leave it.

Friday, March 25, 2005

I love morels

These things grow in abundance on our 40+ acres from late March through early May.  But they tend to grow in the most inaccessable places.  My knees will allow me to go up or down the slopes once or twice, but to traverse over and over on the slopes (quiet necessary when searching for morels) is impossible.  My good neighbor, Marvin, is likely to get to the mushrooms before I can get back there.  More power to him.

It's like everything in life.  If God wants me to find some morels, I will.  If not, life is so good that I can't complain.  There are, after all, more important things than morel mushrooms.

The little ladies who attend Church with us

I assume the smudges are there because it's by Olan Mills, and it's only a proof.  We purchased one different pose of the two girls.  Below is the picture that will be in the Church directory:

OK, we could all probably look better.  But hey, it's a unique photo, and I'm glad we had it taken.

Strange news items

Reuters' news has a section called Oddly Enough:  Mighty peculiar stories, but interesting, and apparently true.   Pay particular attention to the one entitled, "You Want Fingers With That?"


Thursday, March 24, 2005

John Scalzi's Weekend Assignment

Picture from Hometown

Weekend Assignment #52: Congratulations! Hollywood is making a movie of your life, and you get to choose any actor you want to play you -- yes, even if they're dead (the things they can do with special effects!) Who do you choose and why?

Sissy Spacek will play me; she did great doing Loretta Lynn, so she knows how to properly portray a hillbilly.  My second choice would be Jodi Foster... just because I think she's a superb actress.

Extra credit: Name the musician/band who will play the theme song to the movie.

Sawyer Brown - "Dirt Road"

 Daddy worked hard for his dollar
He said some folks don't, but that's o.k.
They won't know which road to follow
Because an easy street might lead you astray

I'll take the dirt road, it's all I know
I've been a'walking it for years
It's gone where I need to go;
It ain't easy, it ain't supposed to be
So I'll take my time
And life won't pass me by
'Cause it's right there to find, on the dirt road

I have lived life in the fast lane
You gotta watch your back and look both ways
When it's said and done the time we have is borrowed
You better make real sure you're headed the right way

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Old Thresher's Reunion

First of all, you need to realize my husband is NOT a morning person.  That's why he loves working second shift, 3:30 to midnight.  Next thing you need to know is that I AM a morning person.  I'm awake before 4 A.M., and happy about it.

When I work, I leave shortly after 5 A.M.  I like to touch bases with Cliff, so I wake him and chatter about whatever is on my mind.  He mostly just grunts, and often doesn't even remember our "conversations". 

This morning I told him about the Old Thresher's literature we received in yesterday's mail.  I love that annual Labor Day gathering in Iowa, and we've gone a few times.  There's an added incentive to go, this year:  Moe Bandy and Joe Stampley will be singing TOGETHER on Thursday night, and we both enjoy them.  This is what I woke Cliff to tell him.  And what did I hear from him?

"I don't know how you plan to find the money for all the stuff you think we're going to do this year, with you only working two days a week!"


But I remembered, Cliff is not to be held accountable for anything he says at 5 AM.

Sure enough, when I got home he'd left a message on the answering machine telling me he didn't know WHERE that came from, and that we'd do anything I wanted to do this year if we had to BORROW the money.

I love my husband.  (And we won't be borrowing any money; I'm secreting a few bucks away each week for just such purposes.)

New monitor has arrived

I heard a knock on my door and was surprised to see it was the UPS man... with my monitor! 

"Already?"  I asked.

"You know," he responded, smiling "any time people get something from Dell, they ALWAYS say that."

Well yeah, they said three to five business days, but I got notice only this morning that it had been shipped.  I just ordered it Saturday!

Getting the monitor connected to my computer wasn't without incident, but after vainly trying to hook it up to the wrong place for about twenty minutes, I finally looked at the instructions.  Duh. 

Then, when I turned on the computer, my mouse wouldn't work.  Oh no!

Turns out while messing around at the back of the tower, I had unplugged the mouse.  By the way, don't tell Flylady, but there's a lot of dust back there.

So now, I'm in business.  The other monitor is back on the kiddie computer, so the grandchildren will have their fun when they're here.  And all I have to do is pay for this new addition... and pray it lasts longer than two years.  If it doesn't?  I'll buy another.  If I still smoked, I'd spend more than $500 in six months and have nothing to show for it except a chronic cough.  But I don't smoke.  I have this other vice... the INTERNET.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

It's snowing

I worked today.  Inside the distribution center, we're totally unaware of what the weather's doing, except at break, when we can look out the windows.  It was raining at second break.  So I was surprised to see snow when I left the building to head home... nice big wet flakes.  Of course, it's melting pretty fast as it hits the ground.

When I went out to toss Blue his hay, Brat was running the fence begging to be in with his pal, so of course I obliged him.  I usually give Blue an hour on pasture, but this evening it was just too nasty.

Last week my supervisor had told me to come to work Tuesday and Wednesday.  But we are absolutely swamped with freight upstairs, and it's a four-day work week; so she asked today if I could work Thursday too.  I have no reason not to, and I can use a few extra bucks to help me pay for my new monitor.

Monday, March 21, 2005

John Scalzi's photo Shoot #3

Your Monday Photo Shoot #3: Humiliate the Pets!

I'm feeling in a bit of a sporky mood today, so let's have some capricious fun at the expense of dumb animals!

Your Monday Photo Shoot #3: Show your pet in scenario that would be embarrassing to it, if it knew enough to be embarrassed.

I really think Blue would feel rather stupid if he saw this picture that caught him with his tongue sticking out.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Our day at a tractor swap-meet

The pictures pretty much tell the tale.  Cliff and I took the fourteen-year-old twins who live next door and went to Adrian, Missouri, to see what sort of old equipment could be found at the annual swap-meet.  On the way home we stopped at Harrisonville and browsed the Family Center, a HUGE farm store.  I found the saddle of my dreams, Tucker brand, for $1,200.  I don't see me getting it any time soon... I have a monitor coming, you know.

Patrick's Saturday Six

Picture from Hometown

1. You know company is coming:  do you panic and immediately begin cleaning house or do you sit back and relax because your place is already clean?  Now that I've met the flylady, the answer would be that my place is already clean.  But before, it was this:  Company is coming.  If I can stand it like this, so can they.  And I welcomed them into the chaos that I called home.

2. Which was a bigger surprise for you:  
a) Robert Blake was acquitted
b) Martha Stewart did jail time
c) Scott Peterson was sentenced to death
d) The Michael Jackson trial began at all

A.  Robert Blake being acquitted.  And I probably shouldn't admit it, but I was glad.  I don't know why.

3. What was in the last package you received in the mail?  Today I received $30 worth of prints I ordered through AOL.  With the digital camera, I don't have hard copies of my photos.  So I got a whole year's worth at once.

4. What commercial annoys you the most at the moment?  I don't watch enough TV to be annoyed by commercials

5. What charity was the last one to call you to solicit a donation?  The City Union Mission didn't call, but I receive mail from them often because I sometimes give to them.  Did you give them money?  Not the last time; I usually give to them around Christmas and Thanksgiving
6. What common household product do you hate to run out of the most?  Toilet paper (I'll bet this will be the most common answer)

I love my daughter

Rachel and Kevin brought the girls out for their usual Saturday night stay here, and Rachel spent at least an hour trying to get my monitor to work.  In spite of all her efforts, the monitor seems to be dead.  But bless her heart, she crawled underneath two computers again and again, and moved the monitor from the bedroom to the kitchen so her Internet-addicted mom could get her "fix" until the new monitor arrives (three to five business days).   


My wonderful flat-panel monitor quit working.  I'm typing this on the kiddie computer in the bedroom.  Dell, here I come!  (for a monitor, that is)

Thank goodness for a spare computer.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Flylady's zone mission

When you're flying with Flylady, each week you have a different zone of the house to concentrate on.  And every day, Kelly (whoever that is) gives you a zone mission.  It might be to take an old toothbrush and scrub all your faucets, or clean out a drawer... anyhow, today the zone mission was a surprise. 

"Dear Friends:

Today go in to the bathroom, throw back the shower curtain, turn on
the water at a relaxing temperature. Then add some of your favorite
bubble bath or shower gel, set your timer for 15 minutes, take off
all of your clothes and..........GET IN!!!!

Today you are to take a BUBBLE BATH! No cleaning, no decluttering,
just 15 minutes that is only for YOU! If you can schedule this for
thirty minutes you get bonus points!

There is nothing more decadent than a bubble bath for no reason other
than taking care of yourself!!



So this evening, I decided to take her up on it.  I set my timer and got in the tub.  I generally prefer tub baths to showers anyhow, but I found out fifteen minutes stretches out for quite a while.  The water got downright chilly.  Nonetheless, I was determined to last fifteen minutes.  Bored, I began looking around, and realized the bottom sides of the soap-holders in the shower were thick with soap scum.  Yuck!  Laying there pondering that, I remembered how the bathtub mat tends to get mildew-y, and lifted up the edge.  Double-yuck!!!!  I made it the whole fifteen minutes (after adding more hot water) but then I had two jobs to do when I had my jammies on:  scrub the bottoms of the soap-dishes, and bleach the bathtub mat.  Flylady has ruined me; I've started noticing dirt that I used to be blind to.

Time for yearly vaccines

The vet came:  Everything went smoothly this year.  The cows got their shots and de-wormer, plus lepto and pinkeye vaccines.  The horses received all their necessary shots, including West Nile virus and Sleeping Sickness.  Guess which animals' shots cost the most?  The horses, of course!  All told for all critters, $169.  But it's only once a year.  Does it have to be done?  No.  But I love my horse so much, I'm not taking any chances.  And as long as the vet is here ($30 trip fee), we may as well take care of everybody.

It's always an uncomfortable feeling to see three cop cars at your next-door neighbors' house.  Not unusual though; it happens a couple of times a year at this residence.  After knocking on doors and walking around the house, they couldn't rouse anyone, it seems; so they left uneventfully.  I'm still watching to see any signs of life over there!  I happen to like this hapless family.  Problems or not, they're good neighbors.

Van's tickets are purchased!

" That's right, starting today at 10am (local time in your area), you can be amongst the very first to score tickets through our special PRE-SALE SITE. For just under $28, you'll receive a ticket to the show AND the new Vans Warped Tour 2005 CD compilation -- that's LESS than what it will cost you at the show! The price covers all shipping and service fees too."

I not only bought the Van's tickets for myself and two teenaged grandchildren at pre-sale, but I upgraded them so we'll each get a compilation CD of the artists at last years Vans, a twelve-month subscription to some punk magazine, and the right to move to the head of the line at any meet-and-greets at this years tour.  Those extras I paid for don't mean a lot to me, but they'll be great for the kids!

The way Van's Tour works, there are four stages, and there are often two (or more) bands playing at once.  So you take the racuous sound of punk and multiply it times however many are playing at the same time.

Amber doesn't come out much any more, so I'm not current on the latest alternative groups.  Therefore, I've never heard of any of these bands:    

The Transplants
Fall Out Boy
The Offspring
Strung Out
Dropkick Murphy's
No Use For A Name
The Starting Line
Senses Fail
Hawthorne Heights
All American Rejects
Avenged Sevenfold
Matchbook Romance
The Unseen
Bedouin Sound Clash
Tsunami Bomb
The Bled
Strike Anywhere
Billy Talent
The Explosion
Another Damn Disappointment
Valient Thorr
The Matches
Hidden in Plain View
Plain White T's
The Twenty Twos
From First to Last

However, last year I'd never heard of Story of the Year or Sugarcult, and there are certain songs I like by both of those groups.  I'm searching on Yahoo music, checking out videos by some of these groups I've never heard of.  I don't like the songs where they simply scream; I like a melody.  And believe it or not, some punk rock groups have songs with actual melodies. 

If I find some nice melodies by any of these bands, I'll be at their stages (but in back of the young crowd... one mosh pit experience was enough for me).

Thursday, March 17, 2005

my crockpot runneth over

The dogs went with me to the woods; as usual, they found a "treasure":  the jawbone of some long-dead cow.  Probably old Betsy, who died of milk fever some ten or twelve years ago.  Mandy brought it up to the yard, and will no doubt try and sneak it inside with her, next time she comes in.

I went back to the woods to try and decide between two spots for my getaway cabin.  I laid on the ground at both places, and sat looking off across the river bottom.  I think I've made my choice.

Actually, I went out with full intention of riding Blue for a short while; but the wind is so strong today, it blew away my desire to ride.  So I walked instead.

Tuesday night, I asked my daughter if she needed a crockpot.  Indeed, she did.  Since I had three, I told her, she could have one of mine.  Wednesday at work, we played Bingo to raise money for United Way, and I won..... another crockpot!!!  So I'll still have three.

Cliff is still raving about the tangy pork chops I fixed the other day in the slow-cooker.  I'll be making that again, for sure.

I did have a longer entry, but I hit "enter" and it all disappeared.  So, what you see is what you get.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

seen today during a ride

The mailman passed me and my horse as we were getting pretty close to home today.  Then I saw him pull over and get something out of the back of his pickup.

"Must be a big package to deliver," I said to myself.

But wait... it looks like a chain saw.   Yep, when he started it up and began cutting brush along  the road, I had to smile.  Why would he be doing this?

Oh, it's been rubbing against his truck when he delivers mail there.

There's something you city folks will never see!  I love living in the boonies.

I get by with some help from my friends

Years ago, when I was young, people sat on their front porches in the evening and visited with their neighbors.  Housewives shared recipes and cleaning tips and products across the back fence or perhaps after Church on Sunday night, or at a Stanley party.

Now it seems J-land has become the back fence and  front porch for a large proportion of our society.  Thanks to Lois and Celeste, I learned about "buddy stirrups", and purchased a set for Natalie and Monica.  The next time they want to ride, they'll be able to have their feet in the stirrups, and will be much more secure.

Thanks to Bookncoffee (I wish I remembered her first name), Cliff and I had a delicious slow-cooker lunch today, Tangy Pork Chops. 

Thanks to Faye, who doesn't have a journal as far as I know, but comments in mine sometimes, I learned about Flylady.

I read about your favorite cleaning products and rush out to buy them.  I see a good book mentioned in a journal and surf quickly to to search for it.

Toonguy warns me of the perils of corresponding with inmates in prison, and I pay attention.

My senior literature teacher once said, "You won't stop learning as long as you keep reading."

Well, my reading may be on a monitor screen, but I'm still learning.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Concerning comments left on the previous entry

Those of you who think I'm "neat and organized"... folks, I'm a slob by nature.  But I met the Flylady a couple of months ago, and she really has helped me.  I'd encourage any of you to check her out.  Cliff is still telling everybody he knows about the changes around here (and wonders if I'm having an affair, he says).  My dish drainer used to always sit on the counter, full of clean dishes (I don't have a dishwasher).  The sink was usually at least half full of dirty dishes.  Not now!  I have Flylady in my favorite sites, if you'd like to check her out.  I'm sixty years old; if she can teach this old dog some new tricks, she can teach anyone.  Someone else mentioned that it looks like I have a place to eat near the computer... well of course, it's in my kitchen!  This old two-story house has six rooms, a hall, and a bathroom; but we live in the three downstairs rooms.  And they aren't really big rooms.  We had the computer in the living room for awhile, but I prefer it in the kitchen, which was my favorite room long before the Internet came into my life.

While I'm here, let me show you what Cliff's up to, until time to go to work at 2:30.  The engine he's been overhauling is back in the Farmall M, and he took her on a trial run this morning.

 She's not very pretty with her innards exposed like that, but she sounds great.  That's our house and Cliff's shop in the background.

Your Monday Photo Shoot #2: Meet the Computer!

John Scalzi is at it again:

Monday Photo Shoot #2: Your computer is a doorway to the entire world (at least the online parts of it). Show off your computer and its surrounding environment. Describe any interesting details.

I spent extra bucks at Dell upgrading the sound system for this computer.  I think that big box up above is called a sub-woofer.  All four speakers plug into it, whatever it is.  Cliff and I do have our "juke box" going a lot.  I'm listening to music as I type now.

On that top shelf in the left section is a box of floppy disks that I may as well get rid of.  Next to it is a spray bottle of guitar wax that I probably haven't used in a year.  There's a cup with about a dozen assorted pens in it holding up a journal-type book my nephew's son made me, and three copies of my book of poems, Poems That Rhyme.  Behind the cup is a flashlight, just in case I need to go outside after dark and check on a pet.

In the middle section is Mandy's Ivomec (monthly wormer), a pottery vase I bought in Colorado with a tired Indian on a tired horse painted on it, my week-long pill holder (multi-vitamin, an aspirin, and glucosamine for each day), a mechanical cat that meows when you push a button on it (sent to me by my weird online friend, Nachtkommen), and a webcam I hardly ever use.  Behind that is a kokopeli tile, also from Colorado.

In the right-hand section of the top part is a souvenir from Mount Vernon, a model of a round barn George Washington built that has been rebuilt there to see.  Behind that is a 55-year-old can of Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder I got cheap on Ebay, because it's like my grandma used.  It's full, and a whiff of that powder gives me good memories of Grandma, ready to go to Church.  Shoved to the right of that speaker are some greeting cards that are special to me, like one in an envelope that reads, "To the best thing that ever happened to me" and another in an envelope that says, "To my brown-eyed delight". 

OK, down to the real goodies... my eighteen-inch flat-screen monitor.  I LOVE IT!  There's my cable-modem to the right of it, and then my Canon printer, a real cheapie... but it does what I need.  That sheet of paper laying on it needs to be put with my lyrics; it's the words to "The Old Country Church".  Oh, that little thing in front of the monitor is what I put my digital card in, to get the pictures to my computer.  My son set that up for me, since I couldn't figure out at first how to access my pictures!

To the left of the desk, that dark thing with the tissues on top is my CD storage.  Lousy place for it, but it's the best I could do. 

At the request of my husband, here's a picture of HIS view of my desk:


Sunday, March 13, 2005

Van's Warped Tour

One of the high spots of last summer was when I went with three teenagers to Van's Warped Tour.  What great people-watching!  And I found out I really do like some of the alternative-rock sounds.

Well, the dates are being set for Van's this coming summer.  I want to buy three tickets:  one for me, one for my seventeen-year-old granddaughter, Amber, and one for my sixteen-year-old grandson, Brett.  I don't drive.  And Cliff doesn't want our car in the general vicinity of so many wild punk-rockers.  If Amber can talk her mom out of the car that day, I'm buying the tickets.  We're going.  We'll see what happens.


    There's me proudly holding my youngest (man, those glasses are UGLY) in 1969.


                                                                        Age two

And here she is now.  (Had to switch pictures, Tinypic doesn't seem to be working today. 

Happy birthday, daughter.  (Son, your turn is coming in May).

Saturday, March 12, 2005

I'm so proud of my horse AND my granddaughter

The seven-year-old granddaughter, Natalie, is an animal-lover.  She's always begging to ride a horse.  Her mom's horse, Brat (yes, I'm calling him Brat.  He's used up all my patience) is definately not ready for a child-rider.  And by the time Natalie sees me on Blue, he's often worn-out from a long ride.

Tonight she mentioned wanting to ride, and I figured Blue was rested from this morning.  Also, he seemed to be laid-back again after the winter's rest, and used to being ridden.  So I saddled him up, shortened the stirrups as much as possible (not enough for Nattie though), and helped Natalie mount.

We went to his pen first; it's not that big, and there isn't much he could do to get them in trouble.  At first I walked along beside them, explaining the basics to Natalie.  After seeing that he was performing admirably, I opened the gate and let Natalie ride him in the yard. 

"Grandma, can I ride him around the shop?"

"Sure, just don't let him start going fast; and you tell HIM where you're going... don't let him choose his path."

After a few rounds in the yard, we went to the pen where Brat (formerly known as Prince) used to stay.  Natalie did a few circles there.  She and Blue did great.

I love that horse... have I mentioned this before?

And you know, when a little girl wants to ride, she WILL ride.

Natalie's time has come.


Saturday Six, episode 48

Picture from Hometown

1. Have you ever called 911 for an emergency?  No, but we've only had 911 here in the boondocks for about 4 years.
2. Do you spend more or save more?  I'm supposed to save?
3. How many live plants do you have in your home now?  none  Do you give them enough attention?  If I had some, no... I wouldn't.  That's why I don't have house plants.
4. What was the last thing you did to exercise?  As luck would have it, I just got back from a two-hour horseback ride, but I don't do it for the exercise... I do it for pleasure.  How often do you exercise?  I ride my horse an average of three or four times a week, weather permitting.  For over twenty years I walked at least three miles a day, but my knees no longer permit me to do that.
5. Where do you compare with regard to your parents:  do you feel like an adult, or still like the "kid?"  If you feel like an adult, when did you first feel that way?  My parents are both dead, but I always was the kid around my mother.

6. Who is the last person you received a personal card or letter from that wasn't sent to mark a special occasion?  My sister sent a letter with instructions on how to get to her house in Texas, before my daughter and I took our trip there.   

I grabbed another chance to ride.  While I rode, Cliff fenced off an area of the pasture with electric fencing, so the horses have grazing space.  Because of some founder in his past, I limit Blue's time on grass. 

I had to laugh at one of the horse poems I posted yesterday evening... the one where I bragged that Blue doesn't chase cows.  HA!!!  I was wrong.  We have to keep him off heavy pasture anyhow, so it isn't really that much a problem.

Friday, March 11, 2005

poems inspired by my horse

(The Keeper)
© copyright December 9, 2003
Donna Wood

I rode my horse last evening, and what a ride he gave!
He gladly did my bidding, completely well-behaved.
He nickers when he sees me and meets me at the gate:
This time, I have a keeper; this horse has no bad traits!

He doesn't tear the fence down by pawing all the time;
He never chases cattle; his manners are sublime.
His gait is smooth as butter.  He's glad to carry me,
And once he's in condition, he'll be a sight to see.

The local horse professional came by to see my horse:
He smiled his approval, and tried to buy, of course!
He offered me a profit, but Blue will not be sold.
He's sure enough a keeper:  it looks like I've struck gold!


© copyright December 27, 2003
Donna Wood

Why do some people feel the need
To ride upon a noble steed?
A beast at least five times our size!
Why do we feel we've won a prize
When we’ve spent fortunes buying tack
To sit upon a horse's back?
This animal has power to kill...
And yet, we gladly  pay the bill
For farriers and feed and vets
So we can own such gorgeous pets.

It’s been this way ten thousand years:
We’ll mount a horse, in spite of fears.
Why it is so, I cannot tell:     
There's something in a horse's smell
That's habit-forming, I suppose.
And what about that velvet nose?
I watch my horse for signs of love,
Full-knowing, when push comes to shove,
That I'm a servant of his moods,
And all he cares about is food.

© copyright March 9, 2004
Donna Wood

I don't know how to say it;  I suppose you'd have to see
To understand the way my horse communicates with me:
He nickers when he sees me, knowing I am not a threat
And reaches out his pretty velvet nose for me to pet.

This horse is quite intelligent; I let him make decisions.
Cliff says before I know it, he'll be doing long division!
My husband doesn't comprehend the bond we share, of course:
He just cannot appreciate the way I love my horse.

Long ago, I had a horse that almost met my needs...
Affectionate and energetic:  quite a lovely steed!
But I had children growing up, and garden crops to raise;
There weren’t many chances to go  riding in those days.

Now it's only me and Cliff.  I get off work at two,
And there is nothing in the world I really HAVE to do.
There's not a thing to hinder me from riding every day:
Or simply sitting by my horse, to watch him eat his hay.

I took so much for granted back when I was in my prime,
And didn't understand how brief is our allotted time.
Now I treasure every fleeting hour I can spend
With knowledge that, before I know it, life will reach its end. 

Maybe you are wondering what all that has to do
With what I started out with here... my lovely horse named Blue.
I simply want to tell you, have some fun while you are here,
Enjoying friends and family, and things that you hold dear.

And so tonight, if there's no rain, I'll ride the horse again.
You'll know I'm having fun, because I'll wear a silly grin.
Life is for the living:  I will try to stay on course,
And I'll be spending lots of time enjoying my horse.


© copyright February 28, 2004
Donna Wood

This horse knows things.  He's very wise.
There's understanding in his eyes.
He puts up with ineptitude
And isn't insolent or rude.
This horse has heart, and real soul,
Allowing me complete control:
With no agenda, no facade:
This creature is a gift from God!

He is the teacher here, you see.
And puts up with the worst in me
He'll sometimes shake his head and snort,
But he's a gentle, patient sort.
I once owned just this kind of horse
Then sold him, to my great remorse.
This time, I know I have a prize:
Blue has a home until he dies.






the way to salvage a dreary day

It's cloudy and windy, again.  Cliff and I did our shopping this morning, and had some wonderful tenderloin sandwiches afterward (from our home-butchered pork).  After he went to work, I stepped outside and decided it was not too cold for a horseback ride.  By george, I paid $75 to have Blue shod, and I'm doggone sure gonna get my money's worth!  Besides, every time I stepped outside the door, Blue whinnied at me... a sure sign he wanted to go someplace.

I learned long ago that if you wait for perfect conditions to take a walk or ride a horse, you won't go far.  So Blue and I faced the wind and headed away.  It was great!  How quickly I forget the pleasure of enjoying this great land in the company of the best horse I've ever known. 

clearing up common misconceptions about dieting

Another gem received in e-mail:

Important nutrition information everyone must know!  Please read below. . .

The Facts:

Q: I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life. Is this true?

A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that's it...don't waste
them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart
will not make you live longer; that's like saying you can extend the life of
your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.

Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?

A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and
corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an
efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat
chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable products.

Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?

A: No, not at all. Wine is made from fruit. Brandy is distilled wine, that
means they take the water out of the fruity bit so you get even more of the
goodness that way. Beer is also made out of grain. Bottoms up!

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?

A: Well, if you have a body and you have body fat, your ratio is one to one.
If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise

A: Can't think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No Pain...Good

Q: Aren't fried foods bad for you?

A: YOU'RE NOT LISTENING!!!. Foods are fried these days in vegetable oil.  In
fact, they're permeated in it. How could getting more vegetables be bad for

Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the

A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger. You should
only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.

Q: Is chocolate bad for me?

A: Are you crazy? HELLO...... Cocoa beans ... another vegetable!!! It's the
best feel-good food around!

Q: Is swimming good for your figure?

A: If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me.

Q: Is getting in-shape important for my lifestyle?

A: Hey! 'Round' is a shape!

I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets!

Thursday, March 10, 2005

weekend assignment #50

Weekend Assignment #50: Tell us about an artwork -- painting, sculpture or other visual work -- which had a significant impact on you. Note this doesn't have to be your "favorite" piece of art, or the one you like the most (although it can be, if you want): I'm looking for the work that made you think, or affected you in an unexpected way.

Alrighty then:  Click HERE.  This is a fellow with whom I share a couple of message boards.  He's from the great state of Missouri (one point in his favor) and he specializes in drawing native Americans (point two in his favor).

Anyone who's followed this journal, or anyone who's known me for some time, knows about my childhood desire to be an Indian.  When I saw Larry's work on the Kountry Life message board, I just had to have one of those pictures.  Unfortunately, the price of an original drawing was way of of reach for me.  But he had some prints made, and I got to be his first paying customer. 

Extra Credit: Assuming money was no object, how much would you spend on a piece of art?

I'd spend however much it would take to buy one of Larry's actual drawings, instead of just a print.  I believe I could do that for under a couple of thousand dollars... but if money were no object, I'd throw in a little extra change.

Tuesday, March 8, 2005

Suspense novels and Home-cured ham


I took a couple of months to read the first half of this book, with so many distractions; I read the whole second half today, between household chores.  At one point, it got so tense and scary I had to lay it down and do something else.  My goodness, James Patterson has a wicked mind!  This is one of his older Alex Cross novels, but I'd say one of the better ones.

As pictured and chronicled in a previous entry, we home-butchered our two fine hogs recently.  We made cutlets of two of the hams, since Cliff wasn't sure how easy it would be to cure and smoke hams at home, and if we ruined them, we didn't want all four of them wasted.  The hams and bacon lay in the cure solution for two weeks.  Saturday, Cliff decided to do the smoking in a big, home-made smoker he'd borrowed.

We had some hickory chips soaked in water to use, but Cliff didn't think that was enough.  Since there's a hickory tree growing north of his shop, and there were a couple broken limbs on it, he decided to toss bits of those branches in from time to time.  The smoker was going all day long, and into the evening.

The smell was divine, but the green wood made a resinous, black coating all over the hams and bacon.  Nasty!  I had very little  hope of the meat being edible.

However, Cliff trimmed the sooty stuff off the hams, and I cooked one today.  It's delicious!  He scrubbed the tarry stuff off the slabs of bacon, and took them up the road to a butchery to have them slice and wrap it.  I hope the bacon is as good as the ham.

I'll freeze the ham I cooked today in meal-size portions.  Now that we know it's OK, Cliff will wrap the remaining one and put it in the freezer for later.  Anybody for a ham sandwich?

received in e-mail

The Birth Order of Children

Your Clothes:

 1st baby: You begin wearing maternity clothes as soon as yourOB/GYN confirms your pregnancy.
 2nd baby: You wear your regular clothes for as long as possible.
 3rd baby Your maternity clothes ARE your regular clothes.

 Preparing for the Birth:

1st baby: You practice your breathing religiously.
 2nd baby: You don't bother because you remember that last time,
breathing didn't do a thing.
3rd baby: You ask for an epidural in your eighth month.

The Layette:

1st baby: You pre-wash newborn's clothes,color-coordinate them,and fold them neatly in the baby's little bureau.
2nd baby: You check to make sure that the clothes are clean and discard only the ones with the darkest stains.
 3rd baby: Boys can wear pink, can't they?


 1st baby:At the first sign of distress--a whimper,a frown--you pick up the baby.
2nd baby: You pick the baby up when her wails threaten to wake your  firstborn.
3rd baby:You teach your three-year-old how to rewind the mechanical swing.


1st baby: If the pacifier falls on the floor,you put it away until you can go home and wash and boil it.
2nd baby: When the pacifier falls on the floor, you squirt it off with some juice from the baby's bottle.
3rd baby: You wipe it off on your shirt and pop it back in.


1st baby: You change your baby's diapers every hour, whether they need it or not.
2nd baby: You change his diaper every two to three hours, if needed.
3rd baby: You try to change his diaper before others start to complain about the smell or you see it sagging to his knees.


1st baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics, Baby Swing, and Baby Story Hour.
2nd baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics.
3rd baby: You take your infant to the supermarket and the dry cleaner.

Going Out:

1st baby: The first time you leave your baby with a sitter,you call home five times.
2nd baby:Just before you walk out the door,you remember to leave a number where you can be reached.
3rd baby:You leave instructions for the sitter to call only if she sees blood.

At Home

1st baby: You spend a good bit of every day just gazing at the baby.
2nd baby:You spend a bit of everyday watching to be sure your older child isn't squeezing,poking,or hitting the baby

3rd baby:You spend a little bit of every day hiding from the children.

Swallowing Coins (a favorite):

1st child: When first child swallows a coin,you rush the child to the hospital and demand x-rays.
2nd child:When second child swallows a coin,you carefully watch for the coin to pass.
3rd child:When third child swallows a coin you deduct it from his allowance!!

 (The older the mother,the funnierthis is!)

Monday, March 7, 2005

My disappearing friend

I'm overwhelmed with gratitude for the friends I've made on the Internet.  I've met many of them face to face, had some of them in my home, and been a guest in some of their homes.

People who know my Internet habits understand that I don't care for instant messages, unless there's a specific purpose.  So, they don't bother me with IMs unless they have something to say.  There is one person, though, with whom I've spent hours in IM... my friend Sue.  For some reason, I've never minded chatting in instant message with her. 

Sue has a strange habit.  If she gets angry, or hurt, she dumps (deletes) whatever screen name she is using so you can't contact her.  Then perhaps weeks, or even months, later, I'll get an IM from some name I've never heard of, and guess who it is!

She's gone again on one of her "leaves of absence".  She and I are neither one spring chickens, and one day I know she won't show up any more... or maybe I won't be here when she returns.  I accept this.  We must all do what we can to survive, to smooth out the bumps in lifes road. 

I composed this simple poem today.  Sue, if you're reading this entry, I hope you know you will always be my friend.

I have a disappearing friend;
She'll go away, return again,
Pick up right where we chatted last...
And I'll think all the trouble's past.

I do not mind; it's just her way:
Get hurt; retreat; come back one day.
I always pray she shows again,
For when she's gone, I miss my friend.

You know, each time she disappears,
I cannot help but have some fears:
Will she return, as in the past?
Or will this exit be her last?

Perhaps this time she's gone for good. 
I wouldn't change her if I could.
My friend must to herself be true. 
She knows what's best for her to do.

But if perhaps she's reading this,
At least she'll know that she is missed.
Life does go on; I'm doing fine.
I simply miss one friend of mine.

an educational geography game

I found a fun and educational game in my email today.  Play it a couple of times and you'll know a lot more about geography.  Click HERE if you'd like to try it.

We went to look at a couple of Jersey cows yesterday evening.  One is bred to a Jersey bull, one to an Angus.  They're about half the price of the one at a dairy in Iowa, but they are also a lot older, and grade cows, rather than registered.  I am praying for guidance as I try to make a decision.  The thought has also occured to me that I have to squat to milk a cow, and it's pretty much physically impossible for me to squat... and very painful.

It's rather strange anyhow, my wanting a Jersey cow, since they are a dairy breed.  I don't really care about the milk.  I just love the breed!  But like it or not, it will be necessary to milk a cow, at least for the first couple of months; because a dairy cow gives more milk than her calf can possible consume, until it gets to be six or eight weeks old.  Perhaps my praying will lead in the direction of not getting a Jersey at all, although that isn't what I expected.  Maybe common sense will reign.  Or maybe not.   

Sunday, March 6, 2005

nice day for a ride

Rachel and I took not just one ride today, but two, although they were fairly short ones.  Her horse did pretty good, for him.  Don't ask about the rodeo we had catching the two of them for the second ride, though.  And when Mandy saw them running, she joined the party!  I wish I'd had a camcorder.  Cliff and Kevin just watched and shook their heads.  I know Cliff was thinking, "What those horses need is an attitude adjustment!"

Saturday, March 5, 2005

Patrick's Saturday Six

Picture from Hometown

1. What is your favorite color for an automobile?  Is your car this color?  I don't drive, but my favorite car color is black.  No, ours is sort of a gold color.

2. You decide to start a diet on Monday.  What is the "bad food" meal that you must have "one last time" over the weekend?  Pizza!!!  No question about it.  Followed by Cookies and Cream ice cream.

3. How do you balance your checkbook?  In your head, with a calculator, or with software?  In my head, but these days I check my figures at least daily, online. 

4. How many of the Oscar
winner movies did you see before the awards this year?  As far as I know, just one:  "Ray".
5. In what room of the house do you find yourself the most comfortable and why?  It's always been the kitchen, but even more so nowadays, since that's where my computer is.

Scott:  What is the "one thing" that the mere mention of sends shivers down your spine?  cancer

Friday, March 4, 2005

Expect Great Things! (John Scalzi's weekend assignment)

Weekend Assignment #49: Congratulations! You've become famous enough to be courted for product endorsements and/or charitable cause spokespersonhood. Which product or charity would you personally endorse? Incidentally, while the idea here would be a chance to highlight a product/charity you enjoy or believe in, it's perfectly acceptable for the purposes of this Weekend Assignment to make an endorsement purely for the cash. So if you want to go in that direction, knock yourself out (note: the product has to be legal; the charity has to be an actual one). 

Well then, I'm advertising Kohls!  I went in today to buy Cliff some T-shirts and ran into dozens of 80%-off racks.  I left the store with a pair of winter boots (I'll put them up till next year), a pair of Sketchers, two nice dress shirts for Cliff, a pair of comfy slacks that don't quite fit, but may fit my daughter, AND Cliff's six T-shirts... all for under $50!  (Should I mention that Kohl's is my employer, and that I get a discount?) 

Extra Credit: A picture of yourself with your beloved product, looking perhaps a little too enthusiastic (i.e., ham it up).

Sorry about the tractors in the background, but in order to get Cliff to take my picture, I had to go to him... in the shop.  If Mohammed won't come to the mountain, the mountain must go to Mohammed!

Thursday, March 3, 2005

The old Christian Fifties' chat room

BooknCoffee left a comment after yesterday's entry asking what we talk about in our chat room.  First of all, that chat room was closed some time ago.  We do still chat in a private room, infrequently.  But back in the days when our public chat was going strong, we had get-togethers in Dallas, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Tennessee over the years, so lots of us met in person.  And many of us still keep in touch.

That original chat room was unique:  first of all, although it was an AOL chat room, you couldn't go there directly, the way you enter most chats.  You had to go to a Christian web page and enter the chat from there, so the general public never found it.  The last year or two, the website was sponsered by Christianity Today.  But there was another one before that; it's been so long, I've forgotten!

Because the chat wasn't easily accessed, it wasn't as crowded as most.  It was a small enough group that we gradually got to know one another and, for the most part, it was a friendly place.  Toward the end some relationships turned sour, but  I choose to remember all the good times, and the friends I made there... many of whom I still e-mail.  There's still a "reunion" in Dallas each April, which I always tried to attend when I was working full-time.

What did we talk about?  Well, what do you talk about with your friends and neighbors?  Our grandchildren, our churches, our spouses (at least 75% of the people in the room were female).  Although it was "50 plus", we had younger people.  Tinker and Jim got together in the chat room, met face to face in Dallas, and are happily married.  We've lost many of the original members to cancer:  Zulma, WESTBILT, Goodolddys, Phil.  I guess that goes with the territory of an over-50 group.  Some of my dear friends lost spouses, and their heartbreak was so real and thick, you could cut it with a knife.

We had some side-splitting, roll-in-the-floor-laughing discussions in the chat room.  Friends still kid me about the "nekkid chat" (no, it wasn't porn) and the brisket discussion.  I  swear, I was only trying to explain what part of a cow the brisket comes from... the hangy-down thing on their neck! 

Just for a couple of hours, I'd love to go back to that chat room the way it was, before egos and hard feelings split it into factions (yes, my ego too).  Before WESTBILT passed away; dear  Lord, that man had a sense of humor!  Back when Goodolddys sent out a chat room newsletter, with pictures and articles contributed by all the roomies.

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.  I'm so glad I was there to enjoy the season of the Christian Fifties Plus chat room.  And I thank God for all the friends I still have as a result of that room.

Wednesday, March 2, 2005

nice winter day

Since I spent $75 getting Blue shod Monday, I decided to make him earn his keep this evening, and I rode him for twenty or thirty minutes, up the road and across a field.  Then I got Prince out and tried my luck with him.  He's been "balky" lately, and won't go far from Blue; but I ride him in the small area he's willing to traverse.  Eventually, he's bound to get bored and want to venture out a bit.

Tomorrow will be the third and last workday for me, this week.

I'm still reading James Patterson's "Kiss The Girls"; today as I read in the Kansas City Star about the "BTK" fellow in Wichita, I realized the whole thing is exactly like a novel James Patterson would write!  If they'd had Alex Cross (the star of many Patterson books) in Kansas, the guy would have been captured years ago. 

July this year is going to busy but fun.  I'm excited with all the plans I'm making.  July 2, we're having a reunion here with any of Cliff's relatives who want to take part.  All his siblings will make an appearance.  Both our kids will be here.  Cliff's cousins are invited, too.

Then later on in July, some of our old chat room group is going to get together right here in the Kansas City area.  One couple, Glenda and Rob, are from Scotland.  They are quite excited about seeing some of our midwest sights:  Truman Library, the Old Jackson County Jail, Fort Osage, and many other places.  I'm having great fun planning all this.  It's going to be a summer to remember!

Tuesday, March 1, 2005


The first time I went to a doctor with knee pain to find out that I did, indeed, have arthritis, I was given a prescription for Celebrex and a coupon for five dollars off on the purchase of a name-brand glucosamine product.  "We don't know why glucosamine works," said the doctor, "we only know that it does work."

Well, the name-brand glucosamine product cost over $30 a month at Wal-Mart.  I was to take two a day to start, then after a period of time, back off to one a day.  I did this faithfully, but I never could see that it helped my knee pain.  And for that much money, (insurance didn't help because it wasn't prescription) I wanted it to work.

After a year or so, I stopped taking it, and could tell no difference.  Then last year I was talking to a man at church who said glucosamine had really helped him.  And he bought his supply at Sam's Club, $10 for a bottle of 240 pills.

OK, I decided.  I'd give it another shot, if it was that cheap.  I was taking it when I went to the orthopedist who did arthroscopic surgery on my left knee, but still could not see that it helped me.  At my last visit to see that doctor after my surgery, one of her instructions was to take glucosamine.  "It really helps," she said... although she specified glucosamine chondroitin, and the product I take is glucosamine sulfate.  She wanted me to buy the product from a shop up the hall, which is connected to her practice, and from which she gets proceeds, I'm sure.

I did not buy the chondroitin variety, since my family doctor told me there's no difference.  "Just get glucosasmine," he said.  And originally, the first tablets I'd taken were the chondroitin variety, and hadn't helped.  Besides, I still had some of the cheaper kind.

Finally, I decided I was wasting my efforts, and decided to stop taking the stuff altogether.  But because I still had half a bottle left, I decided to let Clifftry the stuff, and put it in his daily-dose pill-holder with the blood pressure meds he takes.  I casually mentioned to him what I was doing.  He wasn't enthusiastic (he hates taking pills and has little trust in doctors)  but acquiesced, grumbling.

About two weeks later, he remarked to me, "You know, my shoulder and neck haven't been bothering me nearly as much, the past few days.  And my thumbs haven't been hurting, either.  (He has arthritis in these parts of his body from years of butchering).

"The glucosamine," I said.  "It must be working for you!"

He'd forgotten all about the fact that he was taking it (just thought it was another vitamin), but agreed that had to be the reason for his considerably lessened pain.  And now he's spreading the word.

So, if you are suffering from arthritis, spend $10 at Sam's Club and see what happens.  It didn't help me, but it's done wonders for Cliff; he's a believer.