Tuesday, February 28, 2006

more on "a little help from my friends"

It's amazing the support you can get from your Internet friends.

Just in the past couple of weeks, I've found some things in my mailbox (not my AOL mailbox, the real one, outside) from folks I know from AOL.  I've only met one of the senders face to face.

When Carlene lost her husband recently, I sent her my book of poems.  Today I received the pamphlet that was distributed at her Danny's funeral, along with a wonderful letter in her own handwriting.

Day before yesterday, I received a post card from Hawaii.  My friend Wilona is spending a month there with a couple of her dear friends.  Wilona is one of the first "Internet people" I had the pleasure of meeting face to face.  She is one of the wisest people I know, and I'd go to her for advice anytime.

Yesterday I got a package from Robin:  She had sent two copies of a picture of my dog Mandy (the one who recently died on the highway in front of our house) that she had edited a bit,   One will hang in my cabin; the other will be just inside my back door, where everyone entering my house will see it. 

Not too long ago, Barbara ordered my poem book.  Along with her payment, she sent a cassette recording of herself, singing songs she had selected especially for me. 

I love my Internet friends.  Those of you who have propped me up know who you are.  God bless you every one. 

Monday, February 27, 2006

With a little help from my friends

When I got my first computer, a Gateway, I knew NOTHING about computers. 

One time I got a message, "This program has performed an illegal operation", and I swear I expected to hear sirens coming up my driveway, and cops with handcuffs waiting to take me away. 

I'd had that first computer a week or so, and skipped one night of attending the revival that was going on at Church to surf the 'Net:  A message popped up on my screen that said, "Aren't you supposed to be in Church tonight?"

I thought God was talking to me on my computer!  Turns out it was my very first instant message, from my daughter-in-law at the time, Kat.

That's how stupid I was.

My son, who was in the Army then, came for a visit and showed me "Windows Explorer" and taught me how to click and drag.  Amazing!

I found the now-defunct Christian Senior chat room on AOL, and made many friends with whom I still keep in touch.  There was a Virginia man there who had made it his life's goal to know everything there was to know about the workings of AOL, and computers in general.  His screen name was Havok.  He patiently answered all the computer questions so many of us "newbies" had.  I don't know what I'd have done without him.

There was another man who frequented that chat room, a Baptist preacher with the most wonderful sense of humor.  His screen name was WESTBILT.  He taught several of us dummies how to defrag our computers and get rid of cookies.  WEST passed away some years ago, but he'll live in my memory forever.

There's my friend Sue, in Virginia.  She's the one who first introduced me to Google, and so very many helpful websites that I still use.

Even now, there's a message board where I can go with any computer question, and get an answer.  It's run by some computer techies who know their stuff.  I've seen them devote eight or ten pages of replies to help someone who's having computer problems.  Free.  Just because they want to help.

I've been having a problem viewing movies I take on my digital camera.  The movies run just fine on the camera, but I'd take them to Windows Movie Maker and they'd totally mess up.  I was afraid I had something wrong with my computer.  So I e-mailed Nancy, an Internet (and real-life) friend in California who has a camera just like mine.  She's a whiz with computer stuff:  If I want an MP3 song turned into a WAV, she knows how to do it. 

I had been complicating something that was actually very simple.  Nance told me what to do, I did it, and I saw my little movie.

To every Internet friend who has helped me get this far, I just want to say, "Thanks!" 

I get by with a little help from my friends.


Monday Photo Shoot

Monday Photo Shoot: 80s!

Set those cameras for 1985!

Monday Photo Shoot: Got something that screams the 1980s? Get it in picture form! This can include things you currently have around the house that are from the 80s era, or alternately, is a picture that is so very obviously from the 80s itself.

That's Merlin you see me holding (ignore the hairdo; we rode the motorcycle today, and that's what a helmet does to my hair).  It's a game that first came out in 1979.  I believe my daughter received Merlin for Christmas in 1980 or '81.  She used to take it to bed with her, and we'd hear Merlin's beeping, musical noises coming from her room after she was supposed to be asleep.  When she left for school in the mornings, I'd play with Merlin.

  This is not the one she had, though.  I bought it on Ebay a couple of years ago, just for the memories it evoked.  It must have been a well-made toy, because there are dozens of them on Ebay at any given time, it seems.

There are six games on Merlin:  tic-tac-toe, Music Machine, Echo, Blackjack, Magic Square, and Mindbender.

I found a Virtual Merlin online that can be downloaded to your computer.

If you have a photo entry, be sure and leave the link with John Scalzi.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Weekend assignment #100

Here's the weekend Assignment John Scalzi has given us:

Weekend Assignment #100: Share 10 facts about yourself -- from the next five years. Imagine what you see happening over the next half decade and then tell us about it, in interesting fact form. You can be serious, or silly, or somewhere inbetween. But give it some real thought and then take a stab at your future facts. If you find 10 facts too much, just do five. Either way it'll be fun.

1. In September, 2006, I start receiving Social Security.

2.  In August, 2007, Cliff and I vacation in Colorado.

3. Christmas, 2008, I become a great-grandmother for the first time.

4. In 2009, Cliff retires and starts collecting social security.

5. In 2010, Cliff and I celebrate the fact that we’ve both maintained our weight loss for four years.

6. In 2010, we buy a very simple modular home and tear down this old house.

7.  In 2010 my horse, Blue, at age sixteen, is still a dependable ride, and patiently plods around the yard and pasture with my grandchildren and great-grandchildren on his back.

8. In 2011, we still have the old worn-out Honda Gold wing because we wouldn’t be able to get much for it anyway; we take an occasional short ride around here, close to home. Arthritis won’t let us travel comfortably for over forty-five minutes at a time.

9. In late 2011, we win the lottery, tear down the modular home we brought in last year, and build a house back in the middle of the pasture where we can look down and see the river bottoms. Cliff buys a bigger John Deere tractor, and also buys our old Allis Chalmers D-17 back from the guy who bought it six years ago. Now, of course, our children have no more financial worries because we’re sharing our winnings with them. Life is good.

10.  In December of 2011, we foot the bill for our kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids to go with us to Hawaii for Christmas.

Extra Credit: So, who's president in 2011?   Hillary.  Was there ever any doubt?

If you're going to play, be sure and leave the link to your entry at John's blog.

A February Ride

Although one of my New Year's "goals" was to ride Blue at least once a week even in winter, I'm afraid I haven't done it.  The night after Mandy died, I couldn't sleep, so I got up and rode in the dark.  That's the last time I'd been on Blue until today.

I've intended to ride for the last couple of days, but Cliff and I were doing odd jobs; and I have less than an hour from the time Cliff goes to work until the granddaughters arrive from school, which isn't much of a ride.  And in winter, there's not a lot of daylight left when the girls leave for the night. 

Today I made it a priority to ride.  Blue did great, although when the awful wind gusts blew stuff like plastic bags around, he startled a time or two.

I always feel better after a long ride through the countryside. 

Thursday, February 23, 2006

My grand-dog

My grandson, Arick, was here today with his Pit Bull, Dixie.  He had the audacity to go outside without her.  She watched out the door, wondering when he'd return.

The rear end of a dog you see in the foreground is Sadie, of course.

Sadie, what a long tongue you have!

I was sitting in my favorite spot, my poor, worn-out computer chair, when I realized Sadie was behind me at my left side, obviously trying to get some tasty tidbit from between the arm of the chair and the cushion.  (What does this tell you about my housekeeping?)

Yes, I do eat at the computer often.  But how I got food down THERE is anybody's guess.  It amazes me how Sadie could squeeze her whole tongue into such a tight space... of course, the cushion had some give to it.  But still.

AOL is raising its dialup price again?

It doesn't affect me, because I'm on cable.  But I can't believe AOL is raising dialup prices when there are so many cheaper alternatives.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Around our homeplace (Cliff taking care of honey-dos)

When you place a cabin in the woods, you soon find out that others inhabited the woods before you.  And they're intent on making the cabin their own.

I've mentioned having a mouse problem out there; I keep mouse poison out, but of course there's always a new rodent finding his way in.  Some of you have suggested a cat for the cabin:  Well, there's no electricity there, so there'd be no way to keep water thawed.  Besides, in winter I don't go back there once a month, sometimes.  That would be one lonely, thirsty cat.  The cabin is at least 1/4 mile from the house, and I don't think many cats would want to be so isolated (or thirsty or cold).

A couple of months ago on a routine check of the cabin, I noticed evidence that a bird had been inside it!  Now Cliff had put screening at the top, between the roof and the walls, to keep out mosquitoes; and I couldn't figure out how on earth birds were getting in.  On inspection, however, I found three holes on three different sides of the cabin, perfectly round holes that obviously had been formed by pecking!

So today we went back to remedy the situation,and almost got the job done.  Thank goodness for Cliff's cordless drill.

We took Sadie back there with us, although I was somewhat afraid to turn her loose, knowing Buddy was running free.  But I did.  Twice Buddy came running by, and Sadie followed him into the woods in hot pursuit; but both times, my dog finally returned to me, without her friend.  I was very worried, though.  Buddy knows no boundaries, and I was afraid he'd lead Sadie away so far she'd never find us.

Back at the barn, Blue's hooves were getting long, and we were afraid they'd split if we didn't do something.  I hated to call the farrier for a trim ($45) when it won't be long till I want my horse shod ($90).  So Cliff took off some of the extra growth and filed the edges till they were smooth.

I had intended to ride the horse awhile today, but it's just a bit chilly to suit me.  Maybe tomorrow.

Wednesday Diet report

Cliff and I each lost 1/2 of a pound this past week.  Disappointing, isn't it?  But it beats gaining a half-pound.

The really good news is Cliff's cholesterol.  Although his total cholesterol was never high, his good cholesterol (HDL) was too low, and he's been taking Niaspan for that problem.  At one time he was told to double up on the amount he was taking daily, although he never did, because he hates taking pills.

Yesterday we got a call from the doctor's office, and Cliff's HDL is in good shape; the doctor said, "Tell him to keep on doing whatever he's doing."

It's the walking we're doing that's turned things around, I'm sure.  Some of those hills in the pasture are KILLERS!  Cliff's thinking about ditching the Niaspan, and seeing how his next blood test turns out.

He'd hoped to eventually get off at least one of his blood pressure meds, but the doctor told him that's highly unlikely; it seldom happens that a person can get off blood pressure pills.

The theme from Peter Gunn

I found a website where you can listen to Henry Mancini's orchestra playing "The Theme From Peter Gunn".  Click HERE.  I rather prefer The Ventures' rendition (to hear a clip of them, go HERE and click the little green arrow beside number 5), but in any form, I love the song.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Do any of you old fogies remember Peter Gunn?

My cable TV and Internet were down this evening.  My 10-year-old granddaughter, Monica, was stuck on the tune of "The Pink Panther", humming it constantly, and I figured I'd give her something better to dwell on.  I searched the music on my computer and found "The Theme From Peter Gunn".

I was only a little surprised that she and Natalie both loved it.  In fact, Monica kept coming to the computer and replaying it on my Windows Media Player. 

Amazing how I remember very little about the actual show, which first aired in 1958... but I'll go to my grave with that song in my head and in my soul.

my lapdog

Sadie likes to sit in my lap in the mornings.  She doesn't jump up on me, I have to pick her gently up and place her there.  Then she snuggles up against me and soaks up all the hugs I can give her.  I have to dodge an occasional doggy kiss or wet willy, but that's OK.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Monday Photo Shoot

This in from John Scalzi:

Wow, I just had a stellar idea for a photo shoot:

Your Monday Photos Shoot: Take a picture (or find a picture) of something with stars -- the "twinkle, twinkle" kind, not the "famous people" kind. However, they don't have to be real stars: Fake stars -- like the ones on Christmas trees, on neon signs or on the Hollywood Walk of Fame are just fine, too. For example, John's star picture has stars on a dish:

This will illustrate the depth of my cabin fever.  I've resorted to putting a picture of our cheap Walmart shower curtain in my journal.  Now that's sad.

Actually, after racking my brain for a half-hour and being unable to think of a single star in my house, I asked the granddaughters.  Monica immediately suggested the shower curtain.

tagged by Russ


So cliche!!  I know.  But instead of asking what book, movie, album, food, lover etc. you'd want there with you on the sandy beach -- here's a few unique ( I hope) queries:

1.  A memorable dream that you'd like to have every night:  I used to often dream I was finding money; I'd start out finding small change like pennies or dimes, and by the time the dream ended, I was finding $50 bills.  I'd wake up happy and excited at having extra spending money, then realize it was all a dream.  Let's face it, any time you have a good dream, you're going to be disappointed once you wake up.

2.  A pet from your past (no longer living) to keep you company:  That would be Mandy, of course.  I've lost many good pets in my life, but Mandy's death was so recent, I still hurt from it.

3.  A bedtime snack you'd like available to you at 3 am every night:  Cheerios, I suppose.  Psssst, Russ, 3 AM isn't night, it's morning!  I don't know if I ever ate anything at 3 AM in my entire life; but if I did, it was bound to be cereal.

4.  Somebody you had a crush on in highschool (you may make them disappear at will):  Well, I remember having a big crush on a boy named Allen.  He had a twin brother named Dennis, and it took me forever to learn to tell them apart.  But I don't know if I want him on the island with me; I never really got to know him, so we might be miserable together.  Oh yeah, I have the option of making him disappear.  OK.

5.  A stuffed animal that you slept with as a kid.  I don't remember sleeping with any stuffed animals, ever. 

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Saturday Six

Here are this week's "Saturday Six" questions. Either answer the questions in a comment at Patrick's Saturday Six journal, or put the answers in an entry on your journal...but either way, leave a link to your journal so that everyone else can visit! To be counted as "first to play," you must be the first player to either answer the questions in a comment or to provide a complete link to the specific entry in your journal in which you answer the questions. A link to your journal in general cannot count. Enjoy!

1. Take this test: Out of three tries, what is the shortest time in seconds that you can type the alphabet? (Round to two or three decimal places.)  12.3

2. If you could have a vacation home anywhere, what location would you choose and why?  The Rocky Mountains in Colorado, because I love it there.  I haven't been many other places; maybe if I had, I'd choose a different spot.

3. What room of your home could most use an organizational expert?  All of my house could use one, but the absolute worst is the upstairs room I call "the junk room".  Go figure.

4. Take this quiz (if you haven't already!): What temperment are you? (Thanks to Barb!)   Still melancholic

5. What kind of merchandise was sold at the last "going out of businesses" sale you attended?  I can't remember being at any sales like that.  Did you buy anything?

6. Without naming names, what's the most annoying thing about your neighbors?  The way they let their teenage boys do whatever they want, on my property and elsewhere... including bossing my grandchildren around. 

Saturday, February 18, 2006

a poem received in e-mail

  My friend Faye sent this to me in e-mail, and I thought it worthy to share with my readers.  I do hate seeing "author unknown" with any poem, because you know somebody, somewhere, wrote this; and they'll never get credit for it.  Not there's any monetary gain to be had from writing poems like this, but it would be nice just to know the author was getting credit  where credit is due.                                

                                          WHO'S IN HEAVEN?

I was shocked, confused, bewildered
as I entered Heaven's door,
Not by the beauty of it all,
by the lights or its decor.

But it was the folks in Heaven
who made me sputter and gasp --
the thieves, the liars, the sinners,
the alcoholics, the trash.

There stood the kid from seventh grade
who swiped my lunch money twice.
Next to him was my old neighbor
who never said anything nice.

Herb, who I always thought
was rotting away in hell,
was sitting pretty on cloud nine,
looking incredibly well.

I nudged God, "What's the deal?
I would love to hear Your take.
How'd all these sinners get up here?
You must have made a mistake.

And why's everyone so quiet,
so somber? Give me a clue."
"Hush, child," said He, "They're all in shock.
No one thought they'd see you".

Judge NOT.

--Author Unknown

Judge NOT.

--Author Unknown

Friday, February 17, 2006

Check your credit card statements

I have a Bank of America credit card that I use for my cable bill, long distance phone bill, and AOL.  I never carry a big balance on it, and it's paid off monthly.  The same charges are always there.

Today I got my bill.  There were two extra charges, both of them to MSN Hotmail Plus, both in the amount of $21.55.  I did not make these charges.

I called the number for MSN Hotmail; of course I sat here for an hour or more on hold.  The lady who finally answered calmly told me to call my credit card company and have my account closed, and a new one made.  She gave me a transaction number which, she said, Bank of America would want.  And no, she informed me, she could not take the charges off my bill.  That would be up to the credit card company.  Oh, and she closed my MSN Hotmail Plus accounts, the ones I didn't know existed.  I was boiling mad, but I was also terrified.  I've read lots of horror stories about identity theft.

There was another hour waiting on hold before I got someone to help me at Bank of America.  The lady who answered there assured me that they'd take those two charges off my bill, close my account, and open a new one.  I asked her if she wanted my confirmation number, the one given me by the MSN lady.

"No," she answered, "I'm going to transfer this call to our fraud department, and you'll give it to him."

Another half-hour on hold, although a recorded message had said it would be a five-minute wait.  Thank goodness my granddaughters behaved themselves during all my waiting.

The gentleman who finally came on the line asked for my credit card number, pulled it up, and said, "All right, which of these charges.... oh, never mind.  I know.  It's MSN."

"Have you had a lot of this sort of problem with MSN?"  I asked.

"Oh yes, and we're trying to get to the bottom of it."   

I hung up once I was done with him, took a deep breath, and then remembered that the lady at MSN had directed me to a website, which I had written down on the back of an envelope.  Safety.msn.com.  I  went there, clicked to get to this page, and realized there is a BIG problem with this.  The website says it's a debit card problem, but mine is a credit card.  Bank of America had better get to the bottom of this.

So, be sure to go over all charges on your debit and credit cards with a fine-tooth comb.  I always have, and always will.


Thursday, February 16, 2006

Weekend Assignment #99

Weekend Assignment #99: "What do others think they could do to make a difference? It doesn't have to be life-altering, as the smallest conception can bring the biggest results." In addition to things you could do, I'll also add in that if you are currently doing things you think make a difference, you can mention those, too.

Just care.  Care about people when they hurt. 

For an example, when my dog Mandy was hit by a car recently and killed, I was devastated; she was such a huge part of my life.  I've never even cried that much at the death of a relative.  

I was amazed at how much it helped me when I got 62 sympathetic comments on that entry, and also when one of my Internet friends called after reading my journal entry, crying as though her heart would break, unable to say anything except "I'm sorry".  Yes, it makes a difference when people care.

So I'm trying to remember how comforting it was to have people say they were praying for me, and that they understood.  When people are hurting, those little comments in journals can make a difference.

Extra Credit: Name someone you know who you admire for making a difference.  My friend Wilona, the one who called me in tears the day Mandy died.  Not just for that, but she is always sympathetic and caring to everyone she knows.  No wonder she has so many friends.

If you want to do this assignment, be sure and go to John's blog and leave a link to your entry.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

When you need a friend...

Monica still has a fever today; after watching some TV and playing with the dog awhile, she crashed on my bed.  Sadie decided to be there for her.  That's the same spot where she spends her nights, right beside me.

She has decided to use her bed at times.  I guess she just likes a change once in awhile.  I have a dog who sleeps around (all around the house, that is).

Wednesday Diet report

I told Cliff yesterday it would be a miracle if I showed a weight loss this week; well, I got my miracle: one pound lost, so I'm now 168.5 pounds.

The reason I didn't expect to lose is that I've let my daily calorie count creep up little by little, until now I'm averaging about 2,200 calories a day.  Not many women can lose weight and eat that much.

Yes, I'm walking daily; but that burns less than 200 calories, so I'm still pretty high on calorie count.  I'm going to try and get back to under 2,000 a day.

Cliff, after gaining one pound last week, is now down to 252.5; that's 25 pounds lost since mid-December, and four pounds less than last week.  He's consuming at least as many calories as I am, although I don't keep track of his.  For breakfast and lunch, we have the same amounts of everything.  Since he works evenings, his lunch for work is different than my supper here at home.

His blood pressure today is 131/71. 

We still have one sick granddaughter, so we'll take our walks seperately, so Monica won't be left here alone.  The dog loves this, because she gets two long walks instead of one.  She also enjoys having a kid in the house all day.

So far we haven't gotten the flu; perhaps this year the flu vaccine targeted the proper strain!  Statistics say the flu shot is 80% affective, so I'm hoping this bug my daughter's whole family is fighting is in that range.  Every single member her family has now had it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine's Day

Cliff loaded the Gold Wing on the trailer he's been working on, to see if it was going to do the job.  He's going to make a few adjustments, but it looks like it will work.  He'll paint it, of course, when he gets it right.

By 1 PM it was 60 degrees, and I talked Cliff into skipping work so we could ride the motorcycle.  I'd been wanting to go to Olive Garden anyhow.  I told him we'd beat the Valentine's Day rush, but when we arrived at 2 o'clock, there was a fifteen minute wait for a table.

Because it was such a nice day, I locked Sadie in Mandy's old pen outside; when we got home, Buddy was curled up against the pen, as close to Sadie as he could get; he misses Mandy so much.  I'd love to get a picture of him laying by Sadie like that, but he always gets up when he sees us getting home.

My daughter's family is down with the flu.  I'm sure glad we got our shots, and I hope this is a strain for which the shot is effective.

I hope everyone had as good a Valentine's Day as I did.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Money wasted on a doggy bed

Sadie started out here using an old basket to sleep in; it was too small and tipped easily.

On her first night with us, I awoke to go to the bathroom and heard a thump-thump-thump on the floor beside me, next to the bed:  it was Sadie's tail wagging, hitting the floor.  She had abandoned the basket in the kitchen and had come to sleep beside me; because I was grieving over Mandy at the time, it seemed nice to have Sadie there where I could reach down and pet her in the night.  She used the basket during the day, however. 

So last week we bought her a nice, plush dog bed, and she seemed happy enough with it.  At night I'd take it in my room and put it in her favorite spot by my side of the bed.  This seemed agreeable to her.

Last night I woke up and Sadie was sleeping beside her bed, not in it.  Although she had her head on it, using it for a pillow.

Today she hasn't used her bed much at all; nope, she prefers the carpeted floor in my bedroom.

Anybody want to buy a dog bed, cheap?

Monday Photo Shoot

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Love!

Seeing that it's the day before Valentine's Day, let's go ahead and get mushy for this week's photo shoot:

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Show us a picture that represents love to you.
Despite the Valentine's Day thing, it doesn't have to be romantic love: It can be love between kids and parents, between siblings, between friends -- heck, it can even be between you and your car, if you want to go that way with it.

This is probably the mushiest picture ever of me and Cliff, and I like it!  I believe it was taken about two years ago. 

If you'd like to join in on the Monday Photo Shoot, be sure and go to John Scalzi's blog and leave a link to your entry when you're done.

About visiting Cliff's aunts, and sick granddaughters

My daughter called yesterday and said the girls were coughing and running a fever, so no church for them.  Cliff and I decided to take the opportunity to drive down near Lake Of The Ozarks and visit his aunts (his mom's sisters).  He especially wanted to see his Aunt Faye, who is recovering from a broken hip.

We always go to Aunt Gertrude's house first:  It's just tradition with Cliff that you don't set foot out of the car in that town until you've checked in there.  However, she wasn't home, and we knew Church was over by then.  We'd driven past Aunt Lois's house and seen extra cars there; so we figured the three widowed aunts would likely be together on a Sunday afternoon.  Sure enough, we found them there.  There were some other folks there too, but we managed to to have a good visit with the aunts.  I had my camera, but didn't even think to take a picture.  Here's the poem I wrote last night:

                                                        VISITING CLIFF’S AUNTS
                                                                   Donna Wood
                                                              © February 12, 2006
We took a trip (a hundred miles)
To visit Cliff’s Aunt Faye.
Her aging face was wreathed in smiles
When she saw us today.
Two other aunts were with her when
We found them eating dinner.
On every face, a happy grin,
And each face was a winner.
Some years ago, Cliff’s mother died,
But in her sister’s faces
Resemblance cannot be denied.
We treasured their embraces.

The girls are still feverish this morning, so no school for them.  They'll spend the day here.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Saturday Six

1. Do you have a Valentine this year?  You bet I do, the same Valentine I've had for 40 years, in June of this year.

2. How will you spend the big day itself?  Cliff and I aren't big on holidays of any kind, but if the forecast holds true, we may ride the motorcycle.

3. What are you most allergic to? I seem to have allergies to metals.  I can't wear a watch because it makes my wrist break out, and I couldn't tolerate any sort of metal in my pierced ears.  So the ear-piercing was a total waste.  Do you have to take medication or avoid certain medication to stay well?  No

4. Take this quiz (if you haven't already!): What temperment are you? (Thanks to Barb!)

You Have a Melancholic Temperament Introspective and reflective, you think about everything and anything.
You are a soft-hearted daydreamer. You long for your ideal life.
You love silence and solitude. Everyday life is usually too chaotic for you.

Given enough time alone, it's easy for you to find inner peace.
You tend to be spiritual, having found your own meaning of life.
Wise and patient, you can help people through difficult times.

At your worst, you brood and sulk. Your negative thoughts can trap you.
You are reserved and withdrawn. This makes it hard to connect to others.
You tend to over think small things, making decisions difficult.

5.There is actually a town in my state of birth, South Carolina, called Ninety-Six. What's the most unusual place name in the your home state. (For home state, it can be where you live now or where you grew up.)  Peculiar, Missouri

6. How much money would you need to really feel secure?  Not that much, if all my bills were paid.  You know what's funny?  We live on the edge of our finances all the time, but I feel pretty darned secure anyhow.  During some hard times a few years ago, I asked myself, "What's the worst that could happen?"  I realized that, as long as I had Cliff around, nothing is really that bad.  And money can't buy Cliff. 

"Behold the fowls of the air:  for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and yet your heavenly Father feedeth them.  Are ye not much better than they?"  Matthew 6:26

If you'd like to participate in the Saturday Six, copy and paste the questions to your journal, answer them, then go to Patrick's Place and leave the link to your entry.

My readers

When I began this journal, I figured my kids would read it, and some of  my old chat room friends (and enemies).  And so they did.

Never did I expect to pick up such a varied assortment of people commenting regularly here.

Some came because I did a search on Kansas City, hoping to find some local bloggers; then I commented in their journals, and left my link, and they came calling.  (Hi Toonguy and Anne!)  I know lots of my readers are here because I commented in their journals and they came to return the favor.

In the case of many, I have no idea how they found me.  One lady, Faye, said I was the first person she had ever emailed outside of her family and acquaintances.

When I mentioned my book of poems, several of you ordered a copy, which I do appreciate.  I have one reader who seems to be a huge fan of mine, and I think I'll hire him as my agent:  he's doing his level best to see that my book is introduced to everybody in the state of Pennsylvania.  Thanks, Eugene! 

A couple of days ago a lady commented here, and by the comment she made, I realized she lived not far away.  I checked her profile, and she's about fifteen miles from me.  She's a widow and in real estate.

I sent her an email, but she deleted it... no doubt because she didn't recognize my screen name.  I used to live very near where she now lives.

I'm rambling.  But I'd love to know how some of you found my journal, if you can remember. 

A walk in our canyons with Sadie

It was awfully cold this morning, but Cliff and I put on our coveralls and went to the woods, for Sadie's sake.  Running around in the pasture and woods is the brightest spot of her days, and we hate to disappoint her.

This is the most hyper-active dog, outside, that I've ever had.  In the house she's laid-back and sedate, only asking to be petted every once in awhile.  But outside, she runs in circles as fast as any greyhound.  I don't turn her loose in the yard because I'm afraid she'll go off chasing something, or someone; but once we're in the pasture, she is set free.  Buddy sometimes runs past us on his way to hunt forest creatures, but he's gone in a flash.  Sadie will follow him just a little way, then return to us... knowing I'll reward her with a little piece of hot dog for not running away. 

I do think she's calming down somewhat when we're on our walks.  Perhaps she's just now getting used to such freedom, and realizes she'll get the chance to run every day.

She's back to Science Diet dog food.  She eats it with such gusto (about three cups a day, for a 22 pound dog) that I hated to force the Purina dog food on her, although I'm sure she would have done fine.  Sadie's worth the expense, and Buddy will eat up the Kibbles and Chunks, so it won't be wasted. 

I still can't help but wonder what Sadie's previous life was like.  She's one year old and as well-behaved as any dog I've owned.  I'm sure there were children in her life before, judging by the way she adores my granddaughters.  Why would someone have gotten rid of her?  Perhaps they couldn't afford to have her spayed, or maybe they had to move to an apartment and couldn't keep her.  Whatever the reason, their loss was my gain.  And Sadie loves her new life in the country.

10 things

I got this idea from my friend, Toonguy.  It's a sort of "counting my blessings" edition....                

                                     Ten things I love, in no particular order:

1.  The outpouring of love and sympathy I see here in J-Land when one of us has a crisis.

2.  Dogs.  The memory of every special dog who's come and gone in my life, from Cookie, of my childhood, to Mandy.  And the healing little tail-wagger who is right now curled up at my side, so close I can reach down and pet her.

3.  Hearing Iris Dement sing.  I only recently discovered her while listening to AOL radio's folk channel, but I can't get enough of her song-writing, and her singing.  I especially like her duets with John Prine.

4.  Babies.  There is a notable lack of babies in my life right now, and if it weren't for the fact that Cliff and I want to be able to go places this summer and not be tied down, I'd be looking for an infant to babysit right now.

5.  Our forty-plus acres.  I love walking our woods and ditches, especially with an active dog at my side nosing and digging through the leaves, having an occasional bite of cow-poop, and running circles around me.  (edited:  I first typed 20 acres, for some reason.  Maybe because our first little farmette was 20.)

6.  Trains.

7.  Sleeping in my cabin.

8.  praying for my friends.

9.  Waking up in the morning. 

10.  Seeing a journal alert from any of my favorite people.

Thursday, February 9, 2006

Please pray for my friend

Carlene lost her husband recently, and could use your prayers and good wishes.  If you'd like to comment to her, visit her journal here.  As I told her, I don't even deal well with the loss of my dog; I don't know how I'd stand up to losing my husband.


Hey Robin, and anyone else who's interested:  Check out Zio's here.

You get warm bread, and olive oil with herbs to dip it in, but no salad, like Olive Garden gives you.  However, the food is as good or better.  We'll be going there again, for sure.

Oh, I had Spicy Chicken Alfredo.  Yum.

See my new hit counter?

Here's Sadie in another of her favorite spots, under the table.

I finally gave up on AOL's hit counter and went and got my own.  I chose the tiniest one I could find.

It was bitter cold this morning, and since we were going shopping, we skipped our walk, which we rarely do.  I wanted to go back to Pennies and, hopefully, find a bargain-priced coat.  The coats they had left were indeed bargains, but there wasn't much selection after several days of clearance sales.  Across the street at Sears, though, I found a suitable one for $29.  Nothing fancy, but it'll do.

We ate Italian at Zio's, our first time there.  I'd wanted Olive Garden, but it wasn't in the vicinity.

Now, let me share some "fat person" mentality with you:  Cliff and I have been doing great at buying one meal, asking for an extra plate, and sharing the meal.  However, having never been to Zio's, we had no idea what size portions we'd get.  So we both caved in and each got our own meal.  As if we'd have starved had the portion not been enough to fill us up.  I mean, we could have come home and eaten something else if we were still hungry after the meal.  Fat person mentality.

So, we'd both gotten about halfway through our meal (huge portions) and realized it was too much.  In times past, being full wasn't a reason to stop eating, but we've come a long way, baby.  We'll both have Italian for supper tonight.  And yes, the next time we eat out, we WILL split one meal.

Sadie was in the house alone for about five hours, and she was so happy to see us.  Mandy never acted like this, and I'm still getting used to being the cause of such tail-wagging joy.  Mandy, in fact, didn't wag her tail as far as I can remember.

Our morning walks are the highlight of Sadie's days, and I started feeling guilty that she hadn't had her run in the pasture.  So I left Cliff watching "Cops", and the dog and I had our exercise.  She ran circles around me; if I walk two miles, she must get at least double that.

Good news:  My friend Joanna, with whom I spent a week in 2004, is coming to visit  me the first weekend in April!  She's one of the wonderful people I've met on the Internet who has become a real-life buddy.  She showed me around Washington, DC, so I guess it's my turn to show her around my pasture.  Actually she's anxious to see the people and critters I talk about in my journal; and I'm anxious for her to meet them.

Wednesday, February 8, 2006

Wednesday weight loss report

I lost a pound this past seven days, down to 169 1/2.  Woooo hooooo!!!!  I'm below 170.

Cliff gained a pound, although I'm sure if he got on the scales tomorrow he'd show a loss.  The scales can be fickle.  His blood pressure is doing great, though:  124/70.  He's on two blood pressure meds, and is going to ask the doctor next time he's there if it might be possible to do without one.

I was expecting to be the one, this time, to show either no loss at all, or a gain; I've gotten a little careless, slipping in 100 or 200 more calories per day than I had when I started. 

We take our daily half-hour walk/hill-climb in the pasture, and we've started doing a few push ups.  I hate push ups, but since Cliff was doing them I figured it wouldn't hurt me to have a little upper-body strength.  Fifteen is the most I've done, and I really doubt if I try for more.  Did I mention I HATE push ups?  Even the woman kind like we're doing.  You know, where you only push up from the knees.


Life with Sadie

Sadie is fitting into our lives quite snugly.  She's recovered from kennel cough, and has had a huge appetite lately:  picture a 22-pound dog eating three cups of dry dog food a day!  She does have champagne tastes, I'm afraid.  Wayside Waifs send a five-pound bag of Science Diet dog food home with us, and since I had just bought a huge bag of Purina Kibbles and Chunks for Mandy just before she died, I figured I'd switch Sadie gradually to that.  I set a separate bowl of it beside her doggie dish, so she could taste it.

She'd smell it, then go back to the Science Diet stuff in her dish.

So, I mixed a little of it in with her fancy-smancy fare. 

She quite carefully ate every piece of her preferred food, leaving the Purina at the bottom of her dish.

Yesterday we ran out of Science Diet, and yes, she is eating the other stuff.  Not as enthusiastically, though.  She'd been getting up a couple times in the night to eat, before; I don't think she did that last night.

I just can't force myself to pay over a dollar a pound for dog food.  I might compromise somewhat and buy Iams, or some other premium kind, if Sadie doesn't start eating Purina with a little more gusto.

Meanwhile, she has made herself a part of the family.  She loves our daily walks in the pasture, and gets quite excited when she sees Cliff and me putting on our walking shoes and coats.  She loves the granddaughters and is so happy to see them when they arrive in the morning, and when they get off the bus, afternoons.  She's doing better at coming when I call, although she does have lapses from time to time.

She made the choice, her first night here, to sleep beside my bed; so I take her bed in with me when I turn in.  She stays there all night, and if I wake up, I can reach down easily and pet her.

She's not had a single accident in the house.

She's a wonderful dog.

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

OK, this is too cute not to pass on

I do love Walmart.  I feel when people choose to accept any job, they are agreeing to the conditions of said job.  That being said, I find this very pro-union little video hilarious.  Turn your speakers on.


Sunday, February 5, 2006


I really, really thought the new bed was big enough for Sadie.  I guess I should have had her along to test it.  Oh well, she seems contented with it as it is.

Cliff's sister was here today and remarked at how grateful this little dog seems to be.  I told her my friend Lonamay has said the same thing about her rescued pet, a poodle.

It looks like another dog is taking over my journal.  Oh well.

Saturday, February 4, 2006


We took Sadie to the vet, mainly to make sure that her chronic cough was nothing worse than kennel cough.  Sure enough, the lady vet confirmed it.  She said many pets from Wayside Waifs come to her with the malady, which spreads like wildfire among so many dogs being in close confinement.  Sadie had no fever, and her lungs were clear.  She had already been checked for heartworm at Wayside Waifs, and we got her started on heartworm preventive today.  And she had her stitches removed. 

I've never had a dog that enjoyed going to a veterinary.  Most have been terrified, in fact.  Not Sadie!  She saw dogs and cats, and her tail wagged nonstop as she pulled against her leash, trying to make friendly contact.

She also enjoys riding in a car, a wasted skill here, because Cliff doesn't care for hair flying around inside his car.  Sadie looked out the window for awhile, then curled up and slept.

You may be able to tell I'm rather pushing myself to do these entries.  This has been, after all, Mandy's journal as much as mine.  My readers watched her grow up here.  So it's hard to keep going without her, but I'm managing.

Sadie and I have spent a week together dealing with one another's' flaws:  she's had this snotty, sneezing, hacking kennel cough, and I've had a huge hole in my heart from losing Mandy.  We've each put up with our mutual flaws and are becoming rather close as we return to health together.

Cliff and I went to see "Fun With Dick And Jane" tonight, and laughed a lot.  It was money well spent.  It's a silly movie, but a little silliness is good for what ails us.  Then we ordered one meal at a Mexican restaurant and split it between the two of us.

God bless you every one.

Friday, February 3, 2006

Is there a JC Penney near you?

Cliff's mom informed me, before Cliff and I were married, that his T-shirts and underwear must only come from JC Penney stores, and we must buy the Stafford brand (the highest-priced).  I took her at her word, although back in the lean times when our children were growing up, it was tempting to buy something cheaper.  Eventually I even got a JC Penney charge card, which I only used when our money supply gave out at the same time as Cliff's underwear.

Then the nearest JC Penney closed, and we had two options:  Drive 65 miles to the next-nearest Penney store in Kansas, or switch underwear brands for my husband.  Because I don't drive, and Cliff isn't crazy about shopping, driving, or Kansas, we took the latter course.

My mother-in-law was right.  Nothing compared to the old Stafford brand.  But Cliff made do.

A few months ago, we found out there is, once again, a Penney's store in Independence, near where the old one closed.  It's in a convenient location:  Kohl's, Sam's Club, and Walmart are all in the vicinity.  Not to mention Independence Center.

Today, on the way to Sam's Club, I happened to remember the new JC Penney store, and I suggested we make a quick stop for Cliff's essentials.

We were assailed by 75% off signs all around!  As we picked out a couple of $7 shirts for Cliff that had originallly been $40, one of the "associates" (I hate that term) noticed our enthusiasm and pointed to a particular rack of shirts that were 86 cents, once the final discount was applied.

86 cents?  WOW.  So what we did there was to buy a couple of size large shirts for when Cliff has lost another twenty pounds.  Right now he wears extra-large.

Past experience has told me folks should never buy smaller clothes just because they are dieting, but for less than $1, I'll take the risk.

So, all you bargain-shoppers, check out JC Penneys!

Spending money on Sadie

I called the vet this morning, and we'll take Sadie to see him tomorrow at 11 AM.  I was concerned when I called, because her cough and sneezing seemed to be even worse than ever... although she was eating fine, and playing.  We'll also get her started on her heartworm meds, and we'll leave her vaccination records with her doctor.

After the phone call, when Cliff and I took her out for a walk, it was as though she had been touched by a miracle:  All of a sudden she frolicked and jumped, and ran circles around us as we walked in the pasture.  I had to be firm with her because, a couple of times, she decided it would be fun to growl and grab at my pants leg while I was walking.  I'm telling you, she was a totally different dog!  And has remained so.  I guess today was the turning point in her kennel cough problem.

We put her in Mandy's old pen while we went shopping; she's been there three times now, and doesn't seem to mind... just watches until we get some distance away, then crawls on her pillow.

At Walmart I found a bed I figured would at least fit her (Cliffs says it's ugly), grabbed a couple of toys and a box of treats, and hoped she'd like what I bought.  As I told Cliff, you never know what any given dog is going to want to play with.

She liked everything I bought her, but she LOVES that purple stuffed doggy (I was just informed it's a mouse; OK, whatever.).  In picture number three, you see she has it in her bed.  She took it there herself, then laid down and put her head on it.  You can bet I'll buy her more toys, now that I know she appreciates them.

At first she wanted nothing to do with her new bed, but when I put a rug on top of it, one she's been using to lay on, the bed was instantly accepted.

And she is hardly coughing at all.

Thursday, February 2, 2006

To those who bought my book...

If you bought my poem book and are not receiving my daily poem in your e-mail, please let me know.

By the way, you may have noticed I removed my counter.  It kept resetting itself, so it really didn't mean anything.

Sadie's history

This is all we know about Sadie, formerly Joli.  The name Joli was only given to her at Wayside Waifs, so she wasn't familiar with it.  Someone drove 75 miles to get her to the shelter, so obviously they saw her possibilities.  She was listed as a stray.  Except for times when the vet was tending to her, or when volunteers and employees walked her, she lived in a cage for almost two weeks.

I am sure she's had a family at some time, because she is so people-oriented and loves children.

It's hilarious to watch her with the half-grown tom cat, Tiger:  She chases him, he chases her.  If she gets too rowdy, he taps her on the nose lightly with a claw.  But she comes right back.

Folks, I went to Wayside Waifs with every intention of getting a cute little puppy.  But every time I passed Sadie's cage, there was something about those eyes, and her demeanor, that said, "Take me home, I need you and you need me".

You'll see on the above form it's suggested she could use a canine playmate:  Who knows, in a year or two, we might get her a puppy.  But for now, this is the dog for me.  Maybe eventually Buddy will settle down and play nicely instead of trying to lure her out into the woods and fields.

It amazes me how a year-old dog from nowhere, a "stray", came into my house instantly house-broken.  She hasn't asked to go outside yet on her own, but I take her periodically.  There hasn't been so much as one little accident inside.

As soon as I'm out of bed in the morning, Sadie wants to be petted and stroked for a long time; every dog I've every owned has wanted their morning dose of petting, first thing.  This is good medicine for me, and it's working.  Today is the first morning I woke up and didn't cry for Mandy.

Thank you Sadie.

Wednesday, February 1, 2006

today's stuff

After our mis-adventure in Branson last November, Cliff has decided that, for long trips away from home, he'll drive the car, pull the motorcycle behind us, and just ride the Honda around when we've arrived at our destination.  So the motorcycle trailer has been his latest project.

On a different subject:  on the first day of each month, my son-in-law picks me up at 5:30 AM. and takes me to watch the girls at their home.  My daughter has to go in so early on that day that she'd otherwise have to drag the girls out of bed before 5 AM.  Besides, there's a computer in their house with AOL, and many of my friends meet in a chat room early in the morning.  No problem!

Now, on to our new dog:  Sadie has accompanied me and Cliff on four of our half-hour walks in the pasture.  She doesn't stray far from us, unless Buddy shows up... which he often does.  And she wasn't too good at listening to me when I'd call her when he was enticing her away, although I always managed to catch her before she got away.

We found out on her first evening here that she loves "people food".  I don't intend to give her much of it, but I'm using it to my advantage now:  I took a piece of Bologna, cut it into the tiniest pieces, put them in a baggie, and placed it in my coat pocket.  When she'd range too far off, I'd say, "Here Sadie", and when she came to me, she'd get a taste of Bologna.  I started this yesterday, and now she even comes to me when Buddy is begging her to join him in the woods.  That gives me a chance to snap her leash on.

She does, indeed, seem to have kennel cough, but since she's improving, and not in any discomfort, I decided we'd wait until Friday to have the vet check her out; we'll be going then to get the stitches from her neutering procedure removed, anyway.  When she's outside taking a walk with us, she hardly coughs at all.

Wednesday diet report

Cliff lost 2 pounds, for a total of 22 pounds lost.  I lost 2 1/2, for a total of 18 pounds.  Of course, I had the advantage (if you want to call it that) of being sick for a full day with some intestinal plague this week.

I'm now 170 1/2, Cliff weighs 255.  Today his blood pressure is 133/74. 

We're getting there.