Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Folk music

I am SO enjoying AOL radio's folk channel.  Unpretentious, crystal-clear songs that actually SAY something.  Of course, what the lyrics say doesn't seem to jive with my own political preferences, but that's OK.  It's all honest, and easily understood.  Like this one I discovered yesterday:


It's christmastime in washington
The democrats rehearsed
Getting into gear for four more years
Things not getting worse
The republicans drink whiskey neat
And thanked their lucky stars
They said, "he cannot seek another term
There'll be no more FDR's."

I sat home in tennessee
Staring at the screen
With an uneasy feeling in my chest
And I'm wonderin' what it means

So come back woody guthrie
Come back to us now
Tear your eyes from paradise
And rise again somehow
If you run into jesus
Maybe he can help you out
Come back woody guthrie to us now

I followed in your footsteps once
Back in my travelin' days
Somewhere I failed to find your trail
Now I'm stumblin' through the haze
But there's killers on the highway now
And a man can't get around
So I sold my soul for wheels that roll
Now I'm stuck here in this town


There's foxes in the hen house
Cows out in the corn
The unions have been busted
Their proud red banners torn
To listen to the radio
You'd think that all was well
But you and me and cisco know
It's going straight to hell

So come back, emma goldman
Rise up, old joe hill
The barracades are goin' up
They cannot break our will
Come back to us, malcolm x
And martin luther king
We're marching into selma
As the bells of freedom ring


  Or this one, by the man who wrote the M.A.S.H. theme (thanks Kevin):

WHITE WINOS          Loudan Wainwright III

Mother liked her white wine when she was alive
She was desperate to live but her limit was five
Carefully I'd kiss her and send her off to bed
We always stuck with white wine we stayed away from red
Always stick with white wine stay away from...

Mother liked her white wine she'd have a glass or two
Almost every single night after her day was through
Sancerre Chardonnay Chablis Pinot Grigio
Just to take the edge off just to get the glow
You've got to take the edge off if you want to get the...

Mother liked her white wine, she'd have a glass or three
And we'd sit out on the screen porch white winos mom and me
We'd talk about her childhood and recap my career
When we got to my father that was when I'd switch to beer
We got to the old man and I'd always switch to...

Mother liked her white wine she'd have a glass or four
Each empty bottle a dead soldier the marriage was the war
When we blurred the edges when we drank a lot
That's when I got nervous when the glow got hot
I always get nervous when the glow gets...

I still like my white wine and I'll have a glass or two
And when I'm down I'll drink some whiskey it's something I shouldn't do
Every now and then I'll take a drop of red
When I'm with a woman that I want to take to bed
When I'm with a woman that I want to take to...

Mother liked her white wine when she was alive
And she was desperate to live but her limit was five
Carefully I'd kiss her send her off to bed
Thank god we stuck with white wine and we stayed away from...
Mother liked her white wine

Not to mention the old songs you'd expect, from Bob Dylan and Peter, Paul, and Mary, and the Carter Family, and anyone else you associate with "folk". 

AOL, you've got me.  Again.

Just a couple of random thoughts

My granddaughters stayed later than usual last night, so their parents could have a "date night".  On these occasions, I fix their supper.  It's always something simple, since Cliff's at work.  I had planned to fix one of their favorite meals, Campbells tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.  Unfortunately I found myself out of tomato soup, just before time to eat.  They'd have done fine with grilled cheese alone, no problem with that; and that's what they'd have gotten, except that a conversation from back around 1963 came to mind.

I was nineteen years old, listening to a couple of co-workers at National Bellas Hess talking.  One lady had just gotten charge of three step-children, and was finding it hard to go home and cook a full meal for hungry children after working hard all day at our minimum-wage job.  The other lady asked her if she'd ever fixed hamburger and beans.  "No," she replied.  "How do I make that?"

So she got her instructions:  brown some hamburger, then add a can or two of pork-and-beans(or however many, depending on how much hamburger you have) and heat it up.

I remember the lady with the step-kids telling us, the next day, "Those kids ate and ate and ate!"

I lived alone in an apartment, and tried this for myself soon afterward.  Not bad, although I added a little ketchup and brown sugar.  I made it for my kids, years later, when pressed for something easy and quick.  And as my old co-worker had said, "... they ate and ate and ate."

As luck would have it last night, I had about a half-pound of thawed ground pork in the refrigerator; so I browned it and added the beans.

Yep, in legendary fashion, the girls ate and ate and... well, you get the picture.  A memory from my past provided supper last night.  And I don't even remember the lady's name who first shared the recipe.

Now on a different subject:  for those of you who saw, and enjoyed, "Walk The Line", if you'd like to have some of the gaps in the story cleared up, as I did, read "Cash", the autobiography, co-written with Patrick Carr.  It's well-done, and answers many of the questions the movie left me asking.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Your Monday Photo Shoot

Your Monday Photo Shoot: The Letter G

We're getting lexographic for this week's Photo Shoot:

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Snap a picture of something beginning with the letter "G." Because I don't think the letter "G" gets nearly as much attention as it should.

OK John!  Here's a country Gal strummin a G chord on a Gibson Guitar, with a Gibson guitar-case alongside.

Is that enough "G's" for you?

If you want to do the Monday photoshoot, head over to John Scalzi's place.  Leave your link with all the other great folks when you're done.

Here today, gone tomorrow

I believe the first message board I ever read regularly was "Tractor Tales" on the "Yesterday's Tractors" website... a site I had googled up  for Cliff, should he ever find the patience to sit at a computer for more than ten minutes.  I lurked, mostly... and laughed a lot.  It was like sitting in the corner of a men's locker room.  It didn't get too bawdy, though.  The guys would mention how "Miss Kim" would "skillet" them if things got too vulgur.

Kim, it seems, is the glue that holds the huge Yesterday's Tractors website together.  She moderates the many message boards there.  Until recently, she remained faceless, just a somebody who could magically make spam and filth disappear from a screen, and even totally block trolls from the site, if necessary.  She was a mysterious figure in the shadows, holding the skillet, ready to pounce.

Recently she started a blog.  Her picture is there, so she is no longer faceless.  She's been sharing some of the ins and outs of moderating the website, particularly the message boards.

Yesterday I went to read her latest entry and found a touching tribute to her sister... and a wakeup call for all of us, especially during this holiday season.  You can tell by the seventy comments on her entry that she touches many lives.  Please read THIS and let her touch yours.

Monday, November 28, 2005

God Bless The Children

My mother stood watch over me, so nobody ever molested me.  My daddy never got drunk or hit my mother.  I went to church three times a week, and to the First Sunday singings once a month, and vacation Bible school in summer.  My uncles and aunts loved me, and I spent a week every summer with Grandma, and another with Sister.  It was so easy for me.

But now, I want to salute the children who didn't have it as good as I did.

God bless the children who watch Daddy come home drunk and beat their mom, and try to figure out a way to help... and get hurt in the process.

God bless the oldest child, who learns early on to babysit his younger siblings while his parents go out and party.

God bless the child whose parents don't expect him to do his homework; the one who gets a job throwing papers at the age of fifteen, at 3:30 every morning, and finally quits school because it's nice to have money... and nobody really cares whether he gets good grades or not.

God bless the children who have to change schools time and time again because their parents can't pay the rent, so they move; and the boy who has to wear his daddy's overalls to school on the day pictures are taken, because he only has one pair of jeans... and they're in the dirty clothes hamper.  Later, that child grows up, goes to night school, and gets his G.E.D., surprised to find out that he's as smart as anyone.

God bless the children who only get one tiny toy on  Christmas morning, and are tickled to death to get it... while other kids demand X-Boxes and other expensive toys, and still aren't satisfied.

God bless the children who are molested by brothers-in-law and uncles and cousins, and STILL grow up to be useful adults, keeping their secrets deep inside them, paying the price in broken relationships and insecurities, but always able to laugh.

God bless the siblings who go through all these seperate struggles and still love one another, and know that family is the most important thing.

God bless the children.


The last pics of our weekend trip

As soon as the sun was up Friday morning, I went walking in the snow; I'd taken my coveralls and boots for this occasion.  When I opened the front door and went out, Jake seemed to know what I had in mind, and headed for a path that leads into the woods.  It was quite refreshing.  If I fell too far behind that giant of a dog, he'd stop and look back, waiting for me.  At one point I heard something that I thought might be wolves howling; I found out later that the next neighbor on Rena's road has sled dogs, and they often howl in unison.  It was an eerie sound, and I was glad Jake was with me.

Saturday I talked Cliff into taking the walk with me, and once again, Jake was our guide.

Sunday morning the temperatures were much warmer, around the freezing mark... but it was sleeting.  So for our first hour or so, on the way home, Pat drove slowly and carefully.  Once we got beyond that, he went back to his speeding.  But he looked good doing it.  (That's one of his favorite sayings.)  We ran into huge, long lines of traffic, but our journey home still only took about twelve hours.  I do love a road trip. 

Back to life as usual.

The Saturday Six

1. Have you ever had a dream that you felt was a message from some "higher power?"  Only once.   Do you think it's possible to receive such messages through dreams?  Yes, but I believe if you receive such a message it will be for yourself, not for someone else.

2. How much does a person's musical preference tell you about them?  Not a darned thing.  I've seen all kinds of people enjoy all sorts of music.

3. What time did you get up Friday morning? As always, 5 A.M., although I wasn't in my own home.  Were you part of the shopping madness?  No, I was in the wilds of Wisconsin; I did buy a cheap gift for my daughter at a surplus store near my sister-in-law's house, as a thank-you for doing our chores while we were gone.

4. Take this quiz: What religion do you fit in with?

You fit in with:

Your ideals mostly resemble those of the Buddhist faith. Spirituality is the most important thing in your life. You strive to live by all of your ideals, and live a very intellectually focused life.

60% spiritual.
20% faith-oriented.

5. Is the answer you received the religion you feel you really do fit in with?  No; I'm a Christian.  However, in my late teens and early twenties, I took a great interest in Zen Buddhism.

6. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #77 from Globetrotter2: Do you have any special nicknames for your significant other when you're annoyed or irritated with them? If so, give us a few of them (NO PROFANITY, please).  None; I'm not much of a name-caller.

Our stay at Rena's house

Rena has a lovable four-month-old Dachshund.  It's the first inside dog she's ever had, and she's spoiled rotten.  She attacks the faces of anyone sitting or lying down with puppy-kisses.  Now, I like puppy-kisses.  But some others didn't.  We all had plenty of laughs at the tiny dog, anyway.  Puppies do such funny things; Angel was the center of attention most of the time.

We hadn't been at Rena's for an hour before she and Charlene disappeared into the bedroom to fool around with makeup... two middle-aged ladies feeling like little girls for awhile.

Rena and Al heat excusively with a wood furnace, and their house is so snug and warm, you really forget how cold it is outside. 

Going to Wisconsin

We ended up taking Cliff's sister's vehicle, a Honda Pilot, to Wisconsin.  It's a comfortable ride, and would have been ideal except that the co-owner of the vehicle was our driver:  My brother-in-law, Pat.  If you ever want to see road rage in action, ride with him.  His average cruising speed is 82 to 84 miles per hour, and I saw him get the car up to 95 more than once, when passing.  We all figured out that the more we protested, the worse it became.  So we shut our mouths and prayed silently, as he cut in and out of traffic from one lane to the other, practically rode on the bumpers of cars that were going too slow to suit him, and mumbled insults at "idiot drivers". 

We really did laugh a lot as we headed north.  By the time we'd lost a full night's sleep, we were all giddy and slap-happy.  Of course, with Pat driving, we may have been laughing to keep from crying.

The trip went well.  We arrived at Rena's house (not far from Wausau, Wisconsin) around 1 PM, and had Thanksgiving dinner at 3:30.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Thanksgiving snow

I'm back from our Wisconsin Thanksgiving.  I got the snow I wanted, and took a couple of long walks through the winter wonderland.  I'll be back with more.  Right now, I'm tired, and I'm going to bed.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

"The Donald Factor"

Well, I didn't intend to do another entry.  But here's the scoop:

Cliff's brother, Donald, is sort of a "loose cannon".  (That's him in the picture.)  He's been married at least five times, not to mention the women he's lived with in between marriages. 

He's a great mechanic, if he doesn't get in too big a hurry.  If he works on your car, you always keep in mind the "Donald factor".  In other words, if he got restless or antsy while doing the job, it may not work out.

Donald is coming here to take us to Wisconsin.  Or, he was.  We'd go in  his SUV-type vehicle, and the rest of us would split the gasoline costs.

He called Cliff the other day and mentioned that his vehicle hadn't been running quite right. 

Cliff told him if there was a problem, we could take our Mercury Grand Marquis.  Five people will fit in it, and there's a big trunk.  Don told him he'd see how his car did on the way here, but he figured it would get us to Wisconsin.

I got a call from Don about a half-hour ago.  He's in the area, but he wanted me to call some guy for him and tell him to come and get him.  Which I did.

Evidently the guy was expecting a call, because he immediately said, "I'll go get him."

It's the Donald factor.  I love Cliff's family (I mean that with all my heart); there's never been a dull moment.

Now I'm sitting here wondering who is going to sit in the middle, in the back seat of our car, on the way to Wisconsin.

Pray for us.  (We'll have a blast.)

Only One

I listen almost exclusively to the folk station on AOL radio these days.  Most of the time I pay little attention to the lyrics, but sometimes a song will jump out at me, demanding my attention.  Then I google the lyrics and stand amazed at what I've heard and read.  These kinds of songs make me want to write songs again.

Only One                              by John Flynn

One night I had the strangest dream;
A young man came to me
And asked what I had done that day 
To end the misery
I asked What difference does it make? 
What good could I have done?
There are too many people,  He said 
"No, there's only one."

One hungry child  
- the one you did not feed
One lonely soul 
The one you did not need
One dying heart
 The heart that did not bleed
For all the things the day has left undone
You can change the world with only one

Now lately I'd begun to fear 
The turning of the earth
With every lap 
Around the solar system since my birth
I'd see my chances to change my life 
Go from slim to none
How many days are left? I asked
He said You need just one

One single day 
-Lived with all your heart
One single step 
Is enough to start
Wonderful things
Stuff that's off the chart
Happen on the journey once begun
You can change your world with only one

He said Thoughthey mesmerize you 
Like a gold watch on a chain
You're more  than the boundaries you embrace
Reason, thin as angels' skin, 
Will fly to some high shelf when
Light that searches through the 
Endless darkness finds itself...

One hungry child 
Won't be denied bread
One lonely soul 
Won't be neglected... One by 
One dying hearts 
Will heal when they've bled
For all the things that they had left undone
You can change the world with only one

© 2003 Flying Stone Music


Cabin in the fall

I'm thankful for my cabin in the woods.  I'll leave you with this shot, taken this afternoon, as I bid you goodbye for a couple of days.  We head north to Wisconsin at 1 AM in the morning.

I have to confess, I find this time of year depressing.  I love autumn when the leaves are showing off their colors, but once the woods looks like this, it appears stark and desolate.

Deer season ended yesterday, so I felt safe paying a quick visit to the cabin, to see what it feels like in late fall.  The two dogs followed me, of course, and went chasing about the woods while I sat on the porch.  I'm never sure just how alone I am there, since Luke and Tyler go back in that vicinity to smoke their stolen cigarettes.  They showed up once when I was relaxing on my deck there.

I'll bet Luke's mom thinks she is sure smoking more, lately.

Anyway, I'll share my woods with them.  But I'll keep the lock on my cabin door.


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

"You could grow taters in those ears!"

Yep, every time my mom was getting me cleaned up to go somewhere (usually Church), she'd look in my ears and say, "My goodness, you could grow potatoes in those ears, they're so dirty!"

The image this conjured up in my four-, five-, or six-year-old mind was hilarious, to say the least.  I could picture a magician-like man pulling potatoes out of my ears, the way one such man at a carnival had retrieved quarters from them.

Then I'd think of the lush potato vines in our garden, picture such vines growing from both ears, and cringe a little.

Although I never had an earache in my life, I've had some ear problems for the last few months.  If I'd press against either ear, it was a bit painful.  I couldn't sleep on my left side at night because it hurt my ear too much to press it against my pillow.   Otherwise, I didn't think much about it, although I mentioned it to Cliff a few times.

Yesterday my right ear felt strange, and I stuck my finger in my ear and felt.... something!  ACK!  I called Cliff inside, handed him a flashlight, and had him look in my ear. 

"Oh my Gosh," he said.  "There's a hunk of wax... or something... in there."

He was afraid if we messed with it, we'd shove it down where it might cause some problems, and suggested I call the doctor. 

This morning I saw the nurse-practitioner.  Yep, wax buildup.

I won't even talk about the stuff that emerged from both my ears when the lady flushed them out with water (interesting experience; couldn't she have used warm water?), but it almost looked like little new potatoes.  My childhood nightmare come true.  Thanks, Mother!

At least I can hear better now.

AOL is at it again

I had to go to Firefox browser to add this entry, just now.  And my counter is gone.  Who stole my counter?  Not that it matters.  I'm sure at least half the hits on that counter are my own, from correcting entries, letting Cliff read my journal, and so forth.   We were warned by the journals editor that there'd be some updates soon.  I guess we're now in the process of receiving said updates.

Monday, November 21, 2005

saving money on heating fuel

My computer is in the kitchen, which is where I like it.  We moved it into the living room once, but I had to carry all my snacks in there; and when I was cooking, I kept burning stuff because I was in the other room.

Cliff leaves for work at 2:30 PM; my granddaughters are often gone by 5 PM, and always gone by 6.  After that, I stay at the computer (in the kitchen).  Oh, I wash and put away dishes, put the dog out, and so forth.  But I am mostly in the kitchen until time to go to bed.

The thermostat for our furnace has always been in the living room, which would make perfect sense for a normal family situation.  But you see, after the girls go home, my living room isn't used, and it's been deciding the temperature for my living quarters all this time.

I finally talked Cliff into moving the thermostat into the kitchen.  So when everyone is gone but me and the dog, I cover the doorway to the living room, close the door to my bedroom, shut the heating ducts in both rooms, and save a fortune on propane!  I'm only heating the kitchen, the bathroom, and the hall, this way.  You'd be amazed at how seldom the furnace comes on.  When I go to bed, the bedroom door is opened, but I still don't open the vent in there, because we like sleeping in a cool room.  And I turn the heat down to 55 for the night.

Primitive, isn't it?  I love my country life! 

Monday Photo Shoot

Here's John Scalzi's assignment.

Have something you collect? Then this is the Photo Shoot for you:

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Let us see your collection of whatever it is you collect. Thimbles, NASCAR collectables, Star Trek figurines -- what it is, let's see those tchotchkes!

I collect Better Homes And Gardens Cookbooks.  I think I have every edition now except the newest one, and I'm waiting until that one's been around for a few months so I can get it cheaper on Ebay or  There are a couple of Betty Crocker cookbooks, too. 

And  as you see, I collect a few horses.  In order, the horses are:  A Breyer Foxtrotter (like my Blue), a Breyer Tennessee Walking Horse, a wooded carved rearing horse I bought in Mexico a couple of years ago, and a cowboy-with-yearling Cliff bought me when he went to Wisconsin without me.

I also collect dust, but hopefully you can't see that in the picture.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The Sunday Seven

Name the top seven stores where you are most likely to do the majority of your Christmas shopping this year. If you can't name seven, name as many up to seven as you can. You can also include online retailers, too.

1.  2.  Kohls  3.  Walmart  4.  Sears  5.  Barnes and Noble  6.  Best Buy  7.  Circuit City

I've practically quit buying gifts for anyone but the grandchildren (and Cliff if possible).  Especially now that we're a one-income family.  So I doubt that I'll hit all the above stores this year.  I've already ordered two gifts from, though.

This from Patrick, in case you want to play and leave your link there.

Pecking order

All our livestock is getting hay now, and eating plenty of it.  The cows get theirs in a bale ring, so we can give them two or three days' worth at a time.  I hand-feed the horses, though; a half-bale in the morning and a full bale at night.  Because of their pecking order, I don't put it all in one pile.  If I did that, Tude would starve to death, since he's low man on the totem pole, and the other two boss him around.  Blue walks toward him with ears back, and Tude leaves.

I make four piles of hay for three horses, so Tude always has a place to go when he's chased away from his plate.  He's at another disadvantage today, I noticed:  He's limping.  His owners were out today to put his blanket on him, so I'm sure they're aware.

We laugh about the blanket, because the low tonight is only going to be around 30... not cold at all to furry, outdoor creatures.  But at least it shows that Tude's owners care about him.  That's a good thing.  They didn't just dump him here, out of sight, out of mind.

David, Snicker's owner, said she might be bred.  His dad took her to be serviced, and she was put in with a stallion.  However, another stallion in the next pen jumped in and the two males got in a terrible fight.  In the process, one impaled himself on a steel post and had to be put down.  So they took Snickers home, not knowing whether she was pregnant or not.  We're pretty sure she is; the two geldings don't have round tummies like that!

From this morning's sermon



                  Take Your Goat into the Room With You

In Budapest, a man goes to the rabbi and complains, "Life is unbearable. There are nine of us living in one room. What can I do?" The rabbi answers, "Take your goat into the room with you."

The man is incredulous, but the rabbi insists. "Do as I say and come back in a week."

A week later the man comes back looking more distraught than before. "We cannot stand it," he tells the rabbi. "The goat is filthy." The rabbi then tells him, "Go home and let the goat out. And come back in a week."

A radiant man returns to the rabbi a week later, exclaiming, "Life is beautiful. We enjoy every minute of it now that there's no goat, only the nine of us."

George Mikes, How to be Decadent,  Deutsch, London

Our pastor used this story in his Thanksgiving message, and I got such a lift out of it that I googled it so I could share it with my readers.

Patrick's Saturday Six

1. What was the last movie you watched at a theater completely alone? Would you have enjoyed it more or less if you had gone with someone to see it?  I believe that would have been back in the early sixties, and the movie was Lawrence of Arabia.  I would probably have enjoyed it the same, whether someone was with me or not.

2. What was the last non-sexual thing you did around the house completely naked?  I took a bath.  My house is too cold to be running around naked!

3. How well do you know your neighbors? As unusual as it is in this day and age, most of my neighbors grew up in this neighborhood and are now living in what used to be their parents' homes.  I know a lot about many of them, but I can't say I really know them.  Would you like to know them better or not know them?  I like things as they are.

4. Take this quiz: How much of a conspiracy nut are you?  You are 13% Conspiracy Nut.  You are not a conspiracy nut. You trust everything that is said to you. What is the point of discovering the real truth, right? You have better things to do than waste your time with conspiracies.

5. Of the "conspiracies" mentioned in that quiz, which single one would you most like the "truth" about and why?   The question, "Who assassinated JFK."  I know Lee Harvey Oswald pulled the trigger, but I'd love to know if someone else was involved. 

6. If you had to create a slogan that defined your life, what would it be?  Life is short, enjoy it.

If you want to play, copy and paste the questions, answer them, and leave a link to your entry at Patrick's new home HERE

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Walk The Line

I saw the movie.  I loved it.  If you loved Johnny Cash, you'll enjoy the movie.

Another Mandy-and-Buddy story

Mandy doesn't like most of the leather chew-things for dogs, but she does enjoy these.  They're $2.50 or so a box, but there are several in a box, and she'll chew on the same one for days.

I used to give them to her outside, but I finally realized Buddy ends up with them; and he'll chew up the whole thing in five minutes flat.

The thing is, the two dogs have this game.  Mandy will go prancing over toward him with the chewie in her mouth, chomping on it and letting as much as possible stick out, so Buddy can't miss seeing what she has.  If he doesn't notice right off the bat, she'll give it a little toss in the air and let it fall to the ground to lure him over.  That never fails to work, and the tug-of-war begins.  Buddy always wins, which what Mandy has in mind all along.

I do love watching them play their game, but because of the price of those things, I normally make Mandy stay in the house with them.  This morning, though, she wanted out SO badly with her chewie.  I told her no several times, but she kept giving me that pathetic look and walking to the door.

The pictures tell the rest of the story.  If I'm having a bad day, all I have to do to cheer up is give Mandy a chewie, send her outside, and watch this saga replay itself.  It never fails to make me laugh out loud.

The Saturday Six Lives On!!!

Picture from Hometown

No, Patrick hasn't given us this week's Saturday Six yet.  But I was over at his new place, and he says he's going to set up a seperate blog for the Saturday Six and the Sunday Seven, and go on with them.  Read his statement HERE.

In like manner, John Scalzi is not restricting his weekend assignments and Monday Photoshoots to AOL bloggers; anyone can participate. 

As I quoted in a comment in Patrick's journal, "Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God."  Matthew 5:9

I'm not mad at anyone for leaving J-land.  I've found I can keep track of them over there  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~>           

I did make one tiny token protest about the advertisements:  I called AOL and cancelled my account, and when asked why, I told them about the ads in the journals.  They gave me the customary free month.  I won't be leaving, though.  I just wanted to get my protest on the record.  I'll call in mid-December and tell them I'm staying.  AOL costs me $9.99 a month; I listen almost constantly to AOL radio, and I have my free firewall and anti-virus.

Let's get along, shall we?

Friday, November 18, 2005

I remembered a song

Today I got set up to download songs to my computer from  It's 88 cents per song; I won't be downloading that many songs, but when I think of some old tune I just have to have, I can get it legally there.

So after signing up, I was looking over a list of Bing Crosby songs and spotted, "Would You Like To Swing On A Star".  Thinking about the words, I knew my granddaughters would love it, and it was my very first download from Walmart.

I found the lyrics on the Internet, and as soon as Monica and Natalie got here from school, I played the song on Windows Media and we all sang along, reading the lyrics together.  It was a great sing-along, and I expect we'll do it again this evening before they leave for home.


Would you like to swing on a star
carry moonbeams home in a jar
and be better off than you are
or would you rather be a mule

A mule is an animal with long funny ears
he kicks up at anything he hears
His back is brawny but his brain is weak
he's just plain stupid with a stubborn streak
and by the way if you hate to go to school
You may grow up to be a mule

Oh would you like to swing on a star
carry moonbeams home in a jar
and be better off than you are
or would you rather be a pig

A pig is an animal with dirt on his face
his shoes are a terrible disgrace
He has no manners when he eats his food
He's fat and lazy and extremely rude
But if you don't care a feather or a fig
you may grow up to be a pig

Oh would you like to swing on a star
carry moonbeams home in a jar
and be better off than you are
or would you rather be a fish

A fish won't do anything but swim in a brook
he can't write his name or read a book
to fool the people is his only thought
and though he's slippery he still gets caught
but if then that sort of life is what you wish
you may grow up to be a fish
a new kind of jumped up slippery fish

And all the monkeys aren't in the zoo
everyday you see quite a few
so you see it's all up to you,
you could be better than you are
you could be swinging on a star


I don't think I'd go deer-hunting with Cliff again if he asked me to wear a hat like this one.

Robin's Friday Five!!! (Great idea, Robin)

1.  What is the one thing on your Thanksgiving table that you will NOT eat?

You must be kidding.  Me, not eat something on the table?  It won't happen.

2.  Did you ever play in a pile of leaves as a kid?  Yes   If so do you have a picture of you or someone you know playing in the fall leaves? Post it if you do! 

Here are my granddaughters, during our last walk in the woods a few days ago.

3. When you think of Fall what are the three things that come to mind?  paying taxes, paying propane bills, and Thanksgiving

4. When was the last time you had pumpkin pie? Was it last year or have you already had some this year?  My most finicky grandchild, Amber, doesn't like very many things I make; but she loves pumpkin pie.  So does my son-in-law, Kevin.  So I make pumpkin pie year-around.  I'm sure I've made it in the last six weeks sometime.

5. Tell us something really nice about the last person you read an email from.

Most of my AOL mail is journal alerts.  Looking at my old mail, I see the last real e-mail I received was a forward from Beverly, a lady I've chatted with in the Golden Years chat room a few times.  She raises quarter horses and lives in Florida, and seems like a nice lady, although I don't know a lot about her.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Hello, I'm Johnny Cash

I want SO BADLY to see this movie (which, of course, means I will see it).

Johnny Cash was my favorite country singer for years.

One of the first country songs I learned to sing and chord along with on my guitar was "Folsum Prison Blues".

His was the first prime-time country music show on television, premiering in 1969, broadcast from the Ryman Auditorium.  He was brave enough to have people like Kris Kristofferson and Bob Dylan as guests.  And Ray Charles, and Mama Cass.

I tried to teach my two-year-old son to say, "Hello, I'm Johnny Cash".  He'd say, "Hey-yo, I Cay-Cay".  Close enough.

I used to write corny country songs and send them to Johnny Cash, hoping he'd record them.  Of course, they were "returned-to-sender".  I loved him anyway.  I was so naive.

When we visited Nashville, we went to the "House of Cash", and saw the famous "One-Piece-At-A-Time" car.

He and his wife, June, sang and testified at many Billy Graham crusades.

In his later years, Johnny was cast aside and forgotten by Nashville, but he made some amazing recordings, just him, singing and strumming his guitar... an old, dying man, protesting the way he'd been tossed out.

Rest in peace, Johnny.  I hope the movie does your early years justice.

Who, me?

 An old and dear friend made a comment in e-mail that has troubled me.

"but you spend much much time on your journal saying how loving and forgiving you are in spite of how you are hurt by some.."

I think back to past entries, and I can't think of a single one where I presented myself as loving and forgiving.  Those who know me well know I'm a self-centered, spoiled brat.  I don't like it, but that's the way it is.

As far as forgiving, the best I can often do is just treat a person as though I've forgiven him, even though I still hold a grudge in my heart.  It isn't so much that I have problems with someone who hurts me, because I figure that's just kharma; what goes around, comes around.  But if you hurt someone I love, especially the kids, that's when I have to go through the motions and pretend I've forgiven you.  May God forgive me for having to pretend.

Loving?  Please, dear readers, have I portrayed myself this way?  Sure, I'm loving with my grandchildren and my dog and my horse (and of course my husband).  But I'm afraid love doesn't ooze out of my pores.  I've spent my life reminding myself that it isn't "all about me", and still forget it often.  I'm not "huggy" by nature. 

I write about my everyday life in my journal.  My children and my husband read this thing, for pete's sake, not to mention a cousin or two.  Why would I portray myself as something better than I am?  They all know me like a book. 

"... of how you are hurt by some."

What?  I'm trying to think of a single entry where I complained that I've been hurt.  I live the life of Riley here.

I recall the chorus of an old Hoyt Axton song:

"A rusty old halo, skinny white cloud,
Second hand wings full of patches,
A rusty old halo, skinny white cloud,
A robe that's so wooly that it scratches."

That's probably the best I'll get when I enter Heaven.

But I also remember a Bible verse that is very comforting:

"This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief."  I Timothy 1:15



Weekend Assignment #86: Thankfully Remembered

Weekend Assignment #86: Who are you thankful for -- who you won't be able to spend this Thanksgiving with? This is a chance to tell us about the people you care about who will be far away from you this holiday, or who have passed on but remain in your heart.

I'm thankful for my son and the three grandchildren he's blessed me with.

Cliff and I, along with his younger sister, her husband, and one of Cliff's brothers, are traveling together to Wisconsin this Thanksgiving to visit the older sister of the two.  We'll have lots of fun on the road going and coming, as well as while we're there.  We're splitting the gasoline cost, to make it affordable.

However, I'd love to have Thanksgiving with our son in Georgia.  His two older kids live nearby, so I see them fairly often.  But as for Jim, Deb, and Lyndsay, I haven't seen them since last July 4.  And with gasoline prices like they are, who knows when we'll see them?


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I'm not leaving, really I'm not

I've played around with Blogger all day, and it's come up lacking.  It isn't what I'm used to.  I hate change (I think I've said that recently, but it remains true).

Then my baby girl comes up with a pure stroke of genius.  AIM journals use the same format as AOL journals.   Now that AOL journals use advertising, they're identical.

No, I'm not leaving.  But I now have another site prepared.  I may post duplicate entries, or I may use it for different topics.  We'll see.  Meanwhile, I'll delete the Blogger journal I created back in August, because I think it stinks.

Thanks, Rachel!

A corny poem for AOL Journal folks

There's the echo of my footsteps as I roam these J-Land halls.
My journal friends are leaving, and I hear their goodbye calls.
My mailbox sits empty; my alerts are now but few.
I can't say I resent it; folks will do what they must do.

No Patrick's-place assignments.  No more laughs with Mrs. L.
Armandt and Judith Heartsong have abandoned AO-Hell.  
Oh, they have journals elsewhere, but I won't get those alerts.
It's a bitter day in J-Land, as we all compare our hurts.

All the well-known, famous bloggers have shut their journals down;
So many lovely people will no longer be around.
But nature hates a vacuum.  Other folks will come along
To make me laugh, and ponder, and perhaps to right some wrong. 

And maybe, if we're lucky, some old friends will yet return.
Perhaps, out there in cyber-space, a few of them will learn
This AOL community was really not so bad,
And friends are more important than those silly banner-ads.

A song for the folks taking part in the Exodus

When I left AOL for a year or so, some time back, I sang this song as I left.  OK, you exiting J-Landers.  If I can't join you, at least I can supply your marching music... sing it to AOL, with feeling, please:


                    as sung by Travis Tritt

What made you think I'd let you
Go on treatin' me this way?
What made you think I'd let you run me down?
I have tried to keep my cool,
But I will not play your fool;
And it's all about to change starting now

Hey, if you had your way, I'd be crying everyday...
Happiness it one thing you would not allow.
I have listened to your lies, you can't say I haven't tried,
But, it's all about to change starting now

I once believed you cared for me.  Boy, was I ever wrong!
Still you made me love you I still don't know how.
It's a game that I can't win but I'll be damned if I give in,
'Cause it's all about to change starting now

Yes, if you had your way, I'd be crying everyday;
Happiness it one thing you would not allow.
I have listened to your lies, you can't say I haven't tried...
But, it's all about to change starting now

Yeah, it's all about to change starting now!


About the J-Land Exodus

At least two-thirds of the journalers that I have on alert here at AOL are leaving in protest of the banner ads at the top of the journals.  That really does make me sad.  I joked about it in a comment at MrsLinklater's, saying now that all the popular folks are leaving, maybe some of the rest of us can win an award.  But I don't care about awards, and I don't like what's happening.

I can keep the links to the new journals these folks have set up outside J-Land, but without the alerts I'm afraid I'll lose touch.

The main reason I'll stay is because I don't want to lose my old entries.  It's a great walk down memory lane, to click on "View Archives", choose a month, and see what I was writing about back then.  That's what will keep me here.  If AOL ever screws up and loses those, I'll be gone so fast it will make your head spin, since the only chat room I care about is the private one where my old friends gather in the evenings, and it's AIM compatable (most of the time).

Anyhow, I'm sad about all this mess.  At least, thanks to Celeste, I can actually post an entry again:  clearing my cache fixed that problem... I think.  I'll find out right now, as I click "send".

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

It isn't all about me

Our health insurance where Cliff works is increasing in cost, and they're making lots of changes.  I hate change.  But I remember several years ago when we had no insurance; we took out a policy on our own, and the monthly premium took most of one weeks pay; and the premium went up every time we received a bill.  We dropped it after three months because we didn't have that kind of money.  Thank God we were healthy for our six un-insured years.  But I still remember the nagging feeling in the back of my mind, wondering what would happen if we were injured, or came down with some serious illness.  I appreciate having access to health insurance.  Health care costs are rising at astronomical rates, and somebody has to pay the piper.

We now have a choice of three insurance plans; of course the cheapest one has a huge deductable, and the best plan has practically none.  We're choosing the middle plan, which is similar to what we already have, and is only about $4 more than we're currently paying.  Oh, dental and vision are extra now.  We'll pass on the vision, but will pay $6 a week for the two of us, for dental insurance.  All told, when the new insurance takes effect, Cliff's check will be about $10 less.

There are things I'll have to get used to.  For instance, to get the best deal on prescriptions, we'll have to order them online.  And we'll have to ask for generic prescriptions for the lowest co-pay.  I have no problem with that, and in time I'll get used to it.  We'll have to change dentists, because our current one isn't on the new PPO list.

In the same way, I can get used to the banner ads on everybody's AOL journals.  I know how to make the banners disappear:  Just scroll down a tiny bit, and POOF!!!  They're gone.

In the case of AOL, as in the case of our health insurance, it's a matter of a company making money rather than going in the red.  It isn't all about me, and they're NOT all out to get me.

I hate changes.  But I've lived through a lot of them, and I think I'll survive these.

stormy day in J-Land, AND in Missouri

Happy birthday, Monica... future valedictorian!

She's now a pre-teen, according to her sister, Natalie.  I didn't realize "pre-teen" started at age ten; which shows you can learn something even from children.  Monica was the grandchild who, I swear, recognized me the first time she saw me, when she was less than twenty-four hours old.

Thanks to the advice of a fellow J-Lander, I am posting this entry from outside AOL, since AOL won't allow me to post in the usual manner.  The journals are more or less on hold, while AOL adds advertising at the top of all our blogs.  Gee, and I just bragged on them yesterday.  I'm not leaving though; the good out-weighs the bad.

Our weather is a mess!  Winter has arrived, I don't care what the calender says.  We have thunder and fog and cold, cold rain... with possible snow in the forecast.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Monday Photo-Shoot

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Landmarks

Time to look through your photos, because this photo shoot is a bit of a challenge:

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Display a picture you're taken of a famous man-made landmark. Significant buildings, big statues, great walls (particularly in China) -- it people put it together, it counts.

OK John, I've chosen a fairly new man-made landmark.  In June of 2004 I paid my first visit to Washington, DC, thanks to the hospitality of my dear friend Joanna.

If any of you wants to take part in the photo-shoot, make your entry and leave the link to that entry here, at John's journal.

Thoughts about AOL

My first account with AOL was in 1998.  My then-daughter-in-law insisted it was the best thing for someone with her first computer, since it was "user-friendly".  Along the way I learned to use Internet Explorer rather than the AOL browser, and came to prefer it.  There were cheaper Internet providers around, and I would have left AOL except for one thing:  The Christian Senior chat room, and all the lovely people there.

By the time that chat self-destructed, I had gone to cable-modem, so without that room, I had no reason to keep AOL.  I'd downloaded AOL Instant Messenger, which meant I could still keep in touch with my AOL friends, and even make an AIM chat room where we could all meet together.  I had no regrets.

When I bought a new computer in 2002, I got six months of AOL free.  I wasn't even going to bother with it, but one day in a fit of boredom, I signed on and made myself a new screen name.  I'd use it a few minutes a day, then an hour or two; and before long I was using AOL most of the time.  I found out a lot of things had improved.

E-mail, for instance:  Five years ago, my AOL mailbox contained mostly junk mail.  I got offers of Britany Spears nude pictures, chances to enlarge body parts I don't own, and invitations to meet singles.  "Delete" was the main mail function I used.

They've fixed that now.  If I hear, "You Got Mail", I really do have mail, not porn!

Then there's the free firewall and anti-virus.  I was using AVG antivirus before, and was surprised one day when AOL's McKafee caught a Trojan that AVG had missed.

Two years ago, when I first returned, I tried AOL radio and found it lacking; they advertised too much.  I was working at the time, so I subscribed to commercial-free Yahoo Radio.  When I joined the ranks of the unemployed, I gave up Yahoo and went back to AOL radio.  I was happy to find they've cut way back on the advertising.  And there are so many genres, I can find one to fit any mood.  Today I'm listening to folk:  Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul andMary... wonderfully soothing music that takes me back to the days when I first learned to do a C-chord on my guitar.

Last but not least, there are AOL journals.  This is what will keep me with AOL.  I know there are lots of places on the Internet where you can blog, but this is where I started, and I'm used to it.  Besides, most of the new people I've met are right here, in J-Land. 

If I need help with a journal, there are a couple of real people who will answer my questions:  John Scalzi and Joe, of Magic Smoke.  For instance, this morning I decided to unblock some people I long ago shut out of this journal, and couldn't figure out how to do it.  I e-mailed John and received my answer in short order. 

Most computer experts seem to hate AOL, saying it bogs down computers, puts spyware on your hard drive, and causes a myriad of problems that are beyond my feeble understanding.  And don't forget the intellectuals who say AOL is for idiots who are too lazy or too stupid to learn anything else. 

Personally, I feel AOL is making a great effort at improving themselves.  And I hear there are more, and better, things coming.

Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.  AOL feels a lot like home, these days.

Oh, and for you folks I've had blocked, you won't have to switch names now to read my journal.  I do feel honored that people would take such pains to see what I'm up to, though. 

Music with a message

Yesterday my 18-year-old granddaughter, Amber, was here, and asked if I'd accompany her to Van's Warped Tour again next year, if she'd buy my ticket.  (I bought our tickets in 2004 and 2005, when I was working.)  I answered that I'd pay for my own ticket, but I couldn't buy for grandchildren this year. 

I consider it a high honor that my teenaged grandchild wants me to attend a punk rock concert with her, for the third consecutive year. 

Am I going to Van's Warped Tour next year?  You BET I am.  I will take earplugs for Amber and myself, though:  last year her ears rang for three days after the concert.  I learned in 2004 to stay out of mosh pits (thank the good Lord I escaped with no broken bones).  We likely won't make it all eight to ten hours; we never have, so far.  And it will be on the hottest day of the year, like always.  But they do have an air-conditioned tent where kids can drop off parents and grandparents for "babysitting" and free bottles of water or cans of soda.

So this morning I was discussing this in an instant message with my weird friend, Xib.  He/she (I told you she was weird) asked if I honestly like the alternative-type music, and I explained that, although I don't play that kind of music often here at home, I do enjoy the songs that don't have a lot of  screaming, the ones that have a real tune... citing "Story Of The Year" as an example.  So Xib sent me a link to a video by Everclear, a group I've never heard of, thinking I might like them.  I  was quite impressed! 

The lead singer obviously had an awful childhood, and wrote some songs about that.  They're the kind of songs that could work for change, perhaps make someone think about things, and be kinder to their children.

I'm a country music fan all the way.  But I'm glad I've taken time to listen to other kinds of music from time to time.  I've been enriched by the most unlikely types of songs.... and people.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Brett's birthday dinner

All my grandchildren (and children and their spouses, when possible) get to order what they want for their birthday meal at my house.  Thanks to our purchase of a motorcycle, which has kept us on the road recently, Brett's meal is a couple of weeks late.  But this evening, he gets his special dinner.

He ordered barbecued brisket (all done except the barbecue part).  Oreo Dessert  (done).  Home-made dinner rolls (now rising for the first time) and broccoli-and-rice casserole (the ingredients are laid out and waiting).

I added potato salad to the menu, because it goes so well with anything barbecued, and pineapple-upside-down cake, so Brett hopefully will have more Oreo Dessert for himself.

Yeah, there's lots of sugar and starch there.  That's life.

Saturday Six

Picture from Hometown

1. You are invited to spend a night, alone, in a large house that is believed to be haunted.  A close friend of yours whom you trust tells you of his or her own experience, and you have sufficient reason to believe that there may be a genuine haunting going on there.  Without promise of any kind of reward for staying the night, would you agree to do so?

I don't believe in ghosts.  However, if a friend actually had some strange things happen in that house, I'd suspect some person (or persons) was doing things to make it seem like ghosts were there; and I wouldn't want to spend a night there alone.  If I'm going to spend a night in a strange place, it had better be for a darn good reason, such as vacation or a visit with friends. 

2. What do you most enjoy about your job?

My job these days is to see that Cliff is well-fed, and his clothes are washed, folded, and put away.  Oh wait, I do receive some remuneration for babysitting my grandchildren, so I guess that's a job!  What I most enjoy about that is seeing the girls get off the bus after school and come running, full speed, to greet me, with huge smiles on their faces. 

3. Who was the last person you had a conversation with?  What was the main topic of the conversation?

That one is impossible to answer, because we had several people here last night, and I don't recall singling any one person out and talking to him/her. 

4. Take this
quiz:   What kind of "smart" are you?

Socially Smart

As a socially smart person, you are best with others in real-life situations. This type of intelligence is closely linked to being 'street smart.' Theories and suchare not muchconcern: the things that matter tend to be those which you can see, feel, touch - what you can really experience. This knowledge comes to you both out of a natural knowledge, as well as learning from the situations you find yourself in.

60% applied intelligence
20% natural intelligence

5. What was the last food that you totally ruined -- to the point that it was inedible -- when trying to cook?

I can't think of anything in recent years.  The only incident that comes to mind is one time when my mom let me bake a sour-cream chocolate cake (I was about ten years old) and I accidently used salt in place of sugar.  (In those days, housewives kept salt in a "salt-celler", so it wasn't marked.)  Even our chickens wouldn't eat it, and chickens eat anything! 

6. STRANGELY-OBSCURE QUESTION #1:  If you had to do over again, would you change anything?

The only things I'd change would be how I raised my children, because I think they'd both have had an easier time of it if I'd done some things differently.  As for anything else, I wouldn't change one thing, because my actions and choices in the past are what brought me to this point.  And I'm pretty happy with where I am in life right now.

If you'd like to play, just answer these questions in your journal and then leave the link to that specific entry over at Patrick's Place.


Saturday, November 12, 2005

Deer hunting

Cliff had told me to wake him before daylight so he could hunt, on this opening day of deer season; not an easy task, since he doesn't go to bed until 1 AM.  I got it done though, and approached him with my idea:

"Would it be OK if I go along?  I'll be really quiet, I promise."

What was he going to say?  So we bundled up (a little too much bundling, as it turned out.  We both got hot).  I made sure the horses were shut in their pen, because there'll be lots of shooting for the next several days.  I left Mandy in her overnight pen, knowing she'd want to go to the woods with us, and likely scare off any deer that might be around.

We were almost to the woods where Cliff planned to settle in when we heard leaves rustling and looked around to see Mandy's best friend, Buddy.  I don't know how he knew we were back there, but he did.  So much for deer.

We sat tight, hoping Buddy would go away.  In fact, he did range quite a distance from us.  Every once in awhile you'd here his sharp "Bark, Bark... Bark Bark" in the distance, as a squirrel eluded him and taunted him from the treetops.

Once, while Buddy was out of sight, we changed locations.  Maybe he'd forget about us.

It wasn't ten minutes before we saw him, nose to the ground, tracking us to our new spot.  When he looked up and spotted us, his tail wagged deliriously.  He was so proud of himself for finding us.

We didn't see any deer, but it's pleasant in the woods, hearing birds chirp, smelling the woodsy fragrances of autumn.  This time of year, we don't have to worry about mosquitoes, ticks, or snakes.

We did hear other hunters shooting in the distance a few times.  Probably Buddy flushed all the deer out of our woods and into their laps.

Now, after a breakfast of bacon and waffles, I'm ready for a nap.


Friday, November 11, 2005

Our electricity was off today

Here in the boonies, it isn't unusual to have our electricity go off.  I'd say it happens, on the average, once a month.  Usually, it behaves just like it did today:  It winks off, causing every appliance in the house to shudder and grind to a halt, then winks back on briefly, so the most possible damage can be caused.  This always makes me and Cliff groan, because we know it's hard on refrigerators and freezers to have the current interupted repeatedly like that.  Not to mention what it does to the computer.  If it goes completely off the first time, the computer, of course, stays off.  But today it just barely winked at first, causing my poor Dell to go off, and back on.  Then, just as everything was loaded, but before I could turn it safely off... everything went off again.  And stayed off.

Our coffee hadn't finished making.  Cliff wondered if he'd be able to take his before-work shower.  Thank goodness there was enough water in the tank of the commode for him to flush (enough said about that).  We have a well, with an electric pump; so when the lights are off, so is the water.

I grabbed my "Texas Trilogy" book by Sandra Brown (I don't recommend it, by the way); Cliff picked up his two most recent antique tractor magazines.  And we headed to the living room to read, in the comfort of our Lazy-boys.  I finished my book, and then began to wonder if I should report this outage.  I never call, because I figure someone else will do it... someone who is hooked on soap operas, perhaps (as opposed to someone who is computer addicted).

But after an hour without electricity, I looked up the number for Aquila and called. 

A polite lady robot answered, and asked me to punch in, or speak, my eight-digit customer number... or my ten-digit phone number.  I don't know my customer number, so I gave them my phone number.  The robot repeated it (amazing!) and asked for my zip code.  Then my street address.  Of course, each time she repeated it, and each time I had to say "yes" when asked if she had it correct.

After about ten minutes of this, the robot informed me that they couldn't find me in their system.  So could I please give them my eight-digit customer number (isn't that where we started)?  Then she helpfully informed me that if I didn't know my eight-digit customer number, I could find it on my bill.

My bill?  If I still had my bill laying around, they'd be sending me notices for not having it paid by now!

I gave up in disgust.  It wasn't fifteen minutes before the electricity came on, and I went about the too-familiar task of re-setting every clock in the house.

Cliff got his shower, and we lived happily ever after.


Thursday, November 10, 2005

I'm a loser

(Disclaimer:  I put this here as a joke; several others in J-land have used it, and it's our way of having some fun with our non-status in the Vivi's.  I do NOT feel like a loser, I just thought this was funny enough to share.)

Weekend Assignment

Once again, from Blogfather John Scalzi, gives us our.....

Weekend Assignment #85: Magazines, Anyone?

Weekend Assignment #85: What magazines do you subscribe to and why? This assumes you currently subscribe to a magazine or two, of course, but I'm reasonably confident most of us do. If you don't have any current subscriptions, however, you can list some of your most recent subscriptions or magazines you want to subscribe to.

I subscribe to one magazine, Reader's Digest.  I love that magazine.  It fits in my purse easily, and if I'm stuck waiting in the car while Cliff gets a haircut, I can read one or two articles, start to finish.  It's great.

However, I won't be a subscriber much longer. 

Three years ago I got a great deal:  I could give a subscription to two people for a very reasonable price, at Christmas.  So I took them up on the offer, and signed up for my daughter and my son.

The next year, they said if I'd re-subscribe to those same people, with Christmas gift subscriptions, I could choose one more person free.  I chose Tracy, the friend I rode to work with.  It was a great deal.

But last year I got a bill for those three gift subscriptions plus my own, and it was expensive; the price had gone way up.  I didn't return the voucher I got, because I'd practically quit my job, and didn't feel I could afford it.

The subscriptions were all extended anyhow.  And I was billed.

Because I can't stand to not pay my bills, I finally paid up.

A couple of weeks ago, I got a cheerful invoice saying I had subscribed to all the previous commitments YET AGAIN.  I returned that voucher to them with "No, No, No," written all over it.

Yesterday I received a letter from Reader's Digest thanking me for renewing all my subscriptions.


I carefully scanned the information on the letter, and found another address I was supposed to use if I wanted to cancel.

You don't want to know what I told them in the letter I wrote.  (No, there weren't any bad words.)

I did tell them I will NEVER subscribe to Reader's Digest again.  I'll buy it at the store's checkout counter, thank you very much.

Extra Credit: What was your first magazine subscription?

Probably Seventeen Magazine.  That was before I realized I wasn't a normal female, and didn't fit into their mold.

memories of the past

I was chatting with a group of friends the other day; one lady said she wouldn't know what to blog about because her life is so boring.

"The past," I said.  "Write about your past."

This is a lady who, along with her husband, was a missionary (to Borneo, I think).  She's told me about some fascinating experiences there.

Then another friend chimed in to say that she did not want to think about the past.

OK, different strokes for different folks.

But how can I forget my parents, who are gone now?  And my Grandma?  Am I supposed to forget the good times with her?  They are part of my past.  I feel it would dishonor them to never speak of them, or think of them.

How about my children, as babies?  What happy times those were.  Oh, glorious past!  I will NEVER forget how they felt in my arms.  I pity anyone who shuts out such memories.  How can you turn your back on happy days gone by?

Little golden moments, frozen in time.  Like this one:  My mom was living in a mobile home on our property, six years ago; she was getting on in years and really wasn't up to preparing a meal for guests. Her brother, my Uncle Leo, and his wife, came to see her.  I made a huge batch of spaghetti, spread some garlic butter on regular bread, and invited them all here.  We were laughing and talking and eating with gusto; about ten minutes into the meal, Uncle Leo put his fork down and made this announcement:  "This is a meal fit for a king!"  I reminded Cliff of this just yesterday, and we laughed about it.  I love my Uncle.  He lives on in memories like this.

You can forget your past if you like, but I treasure mine... every golden memory, from 1944 up to yesterday.  And my readers, like it or not, are going to be reading about it.

This is how I honor those who came before  me.

Found in e-mail

I tried copying and pasting this into my journal, and it didn't work.  So I'll link to it.  Helen (Madcobug) sent the words to me after reading my previous entry, about my son  I googled some of the words and found it on a  website, with pictures.  I'm sure many of you have seen it, but with Veteran's Day being tomorrow, it's good to have our memories refreshed.


Wednesday, November 9, 2005

A mistake in my previous entry

In my last entry, I said my son went to basic training at Fort Hood.  WRONG!  His boot camp was at Fort Benning, Georgia.  How could I forget?  My daughter and I went that long, long trip to watch him graduate. 

That's the trouble with getting older:  your memories blur, and names and places get mixed up.

At least I caught this mistake before anyone else jogged my memory, although I'm sure my son or daughter noticed it.

It was at Fort Benning, watching the graduation ceremonies, that I realized most of the soldiers who died in all of our wars were just boys!  I mean, these guys marching in front of the grandstands all looked like kids.  That's when it hit me that my Uncle Paul and my brother-in-law, Russell, were kids when they fought in World War II, not old guys, as I knew them to be at that time.

It was an eye-opening experience.


The shirt

I've had a silly, coughing-all-night cold for a few days now, so I'm not getting my full quota of sleep.  Yesterday morning I was having chills, and put my old Army sweatshirt on.

"Nice hoodie, Grandma,"  Monica commented.

"Thanks, Monica.  This thing is twenty years old.  See how the lettering is all messed up?"  And that got me thinking about the history of the shirt.

Am I the only person who gets sentimental about some old article of clothing?  No other sweatshirt feels quite as comfy as this one, and I just can't give it up.  I've worn it when I worked in the unheated apple shed at the orchard.  I wore it to the barn under my coveralls, when I milked cows.  And when I was walking over three miles a day every day, this is the shirt that best kept me warm.

What am I doing with a shirt with such grim sayings on it, you ask?  (or maybe you didn't ask, but if you keep reading, you're going to find out.)

My son went to Fort Benning, Georgia, for basic training in 1985, at the age of eighteen.  Our relationship had been a bit stormy just prior to his leaving, as is common with teenagers and their parents.  But fences were pretty much mended when he left, and I took a great deal of pride in the fact that he was serving our country.  I even wrote a song about him, at the time, expressing my pride.

He was wearing this shirt on his first visit home from basic training, and for some reason, I loved it at first sight.  He had some deep blue sweat pants that he wore with it.  Somehow I just thought the whole outfit was the neatest thing I'd ever seen.

I don't know if I asked him for the clothes outright, or if I simply hinted so much that he gave them to me.  Maybe he remembers. 

But when he left, I had the sweats.  The pants long ago wore out, but the "hoodie", as Monica calls it, seems indestructable.  By the time I die, the lettering will probably be undecipherable, but the shirt, I believe, will last as long as I do.

Maybe it's just a reminder of the pride I had in my son, in 1985.

Here's one verse, and the chorus, of the song I wrote to my son back then:

There's a rough and rocky road ahead, but I know you'll make it through.
Remember, anywhere you go, your mama prays for you.
Though we've had our little problems, I have loved you through them all,
And it's good to see my only son grown up, and standing tall.

To the Pride of '67, my bouncing, baby son.
I can't believe the way you've grown,
Or the distance you have come.
The center of my universe, and Daddy's "little man",
Now the pride of '67 goes to work for Uncle Sam.

Now, to all my friends who say, "I wouldn't have anything to journal about," if I can do entries about an article of clothing, anyone can write about anything!

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Off to the motorcycle doctor

Cliff traced our Honda's problem to the alternator, and made some phone calls this morning, trying to figure out the best way to get it fixed.  His first call was to the nearest Honda dealer, who didn't have any way of unloading a motorcycle out of a pickup.  Good grief!!!  You sell and service motorcycles and haven't made arrangements to unload them somehow?  We won't even talk about how much the guy said they'd charge.

Then Cliff called an alternator rebuilder, who wasn't interesting in working on a motorcycle part.  But he suggested Hub Cycle; every motorcycle owner we've met recommends this place.  We'd been there before; it's where Cliff got his leathers.  We just didn't realize they worked on bikes. 

"Do you have a way of unloading it off a pickup?  Cliff asked when he called.

"Sure, you just bring it and we'll get it off."

That's more like it.  Oh, and when Cliff asked for an estimate, their price was about 2/3 of what Honda had quoted to us. 

Dave, the man who sold us our Gold Wing, has been helpful in many ways.  One thing he suggested was that we join the Gold Wing Road Rider's Association (GWRRA).  For $75 you get a monthly magazine, some insurance, and a list of members nationwide who will help you out if needed. 

The insurance covers towing up to 35 miles or $100.

Our towing bill was $74.

Cliff's been on the phone with them, and yes... we'll be reimbursed for our cost of towing.

So this year's membership in GWRRA only cost us $1.

I'm pretty happy about this deal. 

Monday, November 7, 2005

the riderless horse

That's a picture I took last summer of Adam riding Tude, the horse he pastures here.

Yesterday Adam went riding, and Tude returned alone.

Shortly after the horse arrived, Adam and Jessica drove up the driveway.  What a relief!  A saddled, riderless horse is one of the more scary things I can think of.

Adam had been galloping across a field on Tude when the big horse suddenly came upon a ditch, spooked sideways, and sent Adam hurtling over his head.  Adam said he had seen stars when he hit the ground, but was generally OK.

Once Adam was tossed, Tude came home at a dead run along the side of the highway where he's always been ridden.

He was sweating and breathing hard when he arrived.

Now you know why this cowardly woman never lets a horse run with her; if there's going to be trouble on horseback, it usually will happen when they're at a full gallop.