Sunday, April 30, 2006

We're doing fine

Cliff is doing amazingly well.  Yesterday he went outside four or five times, and strolled the yard, driveway and shop, although he is determined not to over-exert himself.  He has a good appetite.  His sister Charlene and her husband came and visited with him while Rachel and I did our grocery-shopping.

In researching some of our favorite foods, we've had a few shocks.  One big disappointment for Cliff was learning the amount of sodium in 1 tablespoon of ketchup:  190 milligrams!  That's about 10% of his daily allowance, and he never stopped at 1 tablespoon in his life.  I've seen him douse a burger with ketchup, then dip it in a pool of the red stuff on his plate before every subsequent bite.  Rachel and I found both Hunts and Heinz in a no-salt version; it isn't cheap, but at least it exists.

Another big shocker for me, personally, was the sodium content in all Subway sandwiches.  We'd been patronizing Subway at least once a week since we started our diets in December, but no more.  Most of their subs have almost the whole daily allowance for sodium... and that's for the six-inch! 

We've been advised by the dietician to follow the Mediterranean Diet, which focuses on lots of fruit and vegetables, emphasizes fish and poultry, and includes very little red meat, which I'll aim to serve no more than once a week.  Thanks to Cliff's sister, Charlene, I found out Aldi's has frozen fish such as salmon, catfish, and swordfish, at a reasonable price.  The fillets are individually wrapped inside the package, so I can take out two servings for Cliff and me, leaving the remaining ones frozen.

Thanks to our periods of low-fat eating over the years, I have lots of recipes on which to fall back. 

We can do this!

Friday, April 28, 2006

healthy snacks

Since Cliff isn't supposed to have salt, I'm searching our low-fat cookbooks for something he can snack on safely.  After leaving out an ingredient of this one the first time I made it, I got the second batch right, and Cliff loves it.


6 cups of air-popped popcorn
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons water
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

Spray a cold 13X9x2-inch baking pan with nonstick spray coating.  Place popcorn in the pan.

In a small bowl stir together sugar, water, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.  Add spice mixture to popcorn in pan and toss till coated.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice.

Transfer popcorn from baking pan to a large piece of foil.  Cool popcorn completely.  If desired, store in a tightly covered container.  makes 6 (3/4) cup servings.

76 calories, 2 g protein, 16 g carbohydrate, 1 g fat, 0 cholesterol, 1 mg sodium, 40 mg potassium

If anyone has snack suggestions, leave a comment.  Cliff is going to miss the Chex mix and pretzels he always took in his lunch to work.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Are you sick of pictures of Cliff yet?

The pictures tell the story of how Cliff's day went; it seems neighbors are almost fighting over who's going to help!

Odds and ends

Cliff smoked from the age of 12 until he was twenty-one; a round of Hepatitis caused him to quit, since smoking made him nauseous at the time.

During the last ten years or so, Cliff took up "social smoking" at work.  He'd buy a pack (yes, a pack... not a carton) of cigarettes and smoke on break at work; usually at the end of a work-week, he'd throw away any left in the pack because they'd get so dried out if he kept them.

Cliff and I assumed smoking such a little bit was relatively harmless.

So when the heart doctor asked, "How many years did you smoke?" Cliff included only those early, pack-a-day years; I mentioned, then, his round of smoking "only" a pack a week.

"So, how many years in all did he smoke?"

"You mean even the time when he wasn't smoking much?"

"How many years total did he smoke?"  The tone in his voice suggested I wasn't bright enough to understand such a simple question. 

It turns out that, if you are going to smoke, you may as well smoke plenty; because the doctor said it all counts the same.

After surgery, Cliff had to stay on oxygen longer than someone who'd never smoked, because of damaged lungs... even though he hadn't smoked at all in a couple of years.  Our family doctor recently told him he had considerable scar tissue on his lungs, and I guess that counted against him.

As we were preparing to come home from the hospital yesterday, I asked the nurse who was going over "do's and dont's" with us, "Can he have coffee and tea?"

"Oh yes," she answered.  "Ideally I suppose he shouldn't, but people seem to go home and do whatever they want anyhow."

"Not us," I informed her.  "I don't intend for his new arteries to get clogged up, if I can help it!"

I already have plenty of healthy cookbooks.  I'll be substituing two egg whites for each egg called for in recipes, and letting Sadie have the yolks.  I won't be using salt.  I'm studying up on saturated fat, and will be avoiding it. 

It's sort of a challenge, actually.  Wish me luck!

Home Sweet Home

Don't worry, I'll make Cliff come in and lie down in a few minutes.  Right now he's enjoying soaking up the sunshine and talking to one of "his boys" in the shop.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

We're home!

Poor Cliff suffered a setback Sunday, which wouldn't have been so bad except for the pain inflicted on him when they inserted a chest tube. 

From his first day in the hospital, he was often asked, "On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate this pain?"  He said he didn't know what pain was until that procedure was performed, and then he truly know "10".  He was pretty miserable the whole time the tube was in place, but immediately started feeling better when it was removed yesterday. 

He's worn out, but so happy to be home; and so am I. 

Thanks for all the good wishes and prayers.  I deleted all my mail because there was so much it was overwhelming, but will eventually read all the comments you kind folks left.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

An update from Rachel

To see the latest, check my site, here.  Mom should update soon, so I'll leave the journal master to her work.  Just brief details from me!


Sunday, April 23, 2006

The song I've been singing to Cliff

Lately, I've been listening to John Prine and Iris Dement a lot, both together and seperately.  There's one totally silly song they sing together that I've decided is our theme song, mine and Cliff's (although not every detail applies to us).  When I sing it to Cliff, he smiles, and even chuckles (although it hurts him to laugh right now).  I won't post all the words because somebody might take offense, but here are the lyrics to the chorus of "In Spite Of Ourselves" (Go ahead and google the whole song, if you dare):

In spite of ourselves, we'll end up a-sittin' on a rainbow.
Against all odds, Honey, we're the big door prize.
We're gonna spite the nose right off of our faces;
There won't be nothin' but big ole' hearts dancin' in our eyes. 

A quick update

Cliff had a couple of spells of his heart racing yesterday and again this morning, which seems to be only a bump in the road.  Doctor says the arrhythmia is a temporary thing caused by the surgery, and will be watched for six months, just in case.  Cliff may come home in the morning. 

I'm spending tonight on my cot in Cliff's hospital room again, because he is so much more calm and relaxed when I'm there.  I can't say enough good about Cliff's nurses, especially the day nurses.  Just when I think he has the perfect one, along comes one that's just a notch better.  God bless caring nurses.


Friday, April 21, 2006

Things that make you think

When the first heart doctor handed us Cliff's options on Thursday, he strongly recommended the bypass surgery. In passing, he mentioned that the bypass is good for ten to fifteen years, adding, "... but who knows what they'll come up with by then?"

In fifteen short years, Cliff will "only" be 75 years old.

It's a risk. Even tonight, I could get a call from the hospital saying something went wrong. Like my friend Sue did. Or Cliff might come home and then take a turn for the worse. Like Carlene's husband did (another of my J-land friends). None of us knows what tomorrow may bring.

As my daughter and I left the waiting room today, I got into a conversation with a fellow who'd been hanging out there for more days than my family had; he congratulated me on how well Cliff was doing, and told me he'd had bypass surgery himself, twenty years ago.

Twenty years? What happened to the ten-to-fifteen span?

That must be the minimum.

I'm off to find lots of heart-healthy recipes. I bid you all good night.

Anybody know of a good salt substitute?

Miraculous recovery so far

If everything keeps going well, Cliff could possibly come home Sunday.

Have any of you folks known of a quadruple-bypass patient having surgery on Thursday, then going home the following Sunday?

Isn't God good?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

News about Cliff

This is Rachel, not Donna.

To repeat, this is Donna's daughter, just so nobody thinks Mosie typed this.  I just want to be clear.  Kevin will proof read this before I hit "save", but I'm so emotional and weird right now, I don't trust myself.

I won't go into great detail, since Mom will do it so much better, as she always does.  She's been snapping pictures (yes, even one of the surgeon, who said "Oh NO!" when he saw the camera...but he was OK with it when she said she doesn't post names.) LOL

Dad is good.  Dad is great, Dad is AWESOME.  He is recovering more quickly than anyone expected.  The surgery didn't actually start until 8:45, and they were done at 1:15.  He told us Dad did great.

His lungs were taking a while to take over power from the ventilator, which scared us a bit, but they quickly understood that they were in a very stubborn man.  He went from scaring us to doing better than most, according to two nurses.

I had to leave and head home.  I have since heard that he is awake, and responding.  He even winked at Mom! LOL  When they were kicked out for an hour and a half (shift change and procedures and such) his sister said, I guess these two young ladies want to be alone with you,"  he raised his eyebrows twice.  Dad is Dad again.

I'm so happy, but can't quit crying.  Thanks for the prayers, and Mom will update her OWN journal real soon.

Peace out. 


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

If you don't believe in love....

If you think the Internet is foolishness, or if you think humankind is jaded, please look at the comments on my last entry.  Some folks commented because Sister Sugar sent them.  She has a mission on this earth, and she is fulfilling it.  She was the one who sent so many folks to my journal to sympathize with me when I lost my Mandy-dog.

You might think such comments are meaningless.  But when you are scared or hurting, every comment and every prayer means something special.

If you can't do anything else beyond extending your sympathy and compassion to a friend, sometimes that may all that's needed.

It matters.  Really it does.  Do it.

I'm nervous, I'm scared

When Joanna was here, she said we should go to a doctor about Cliff's "heartburn".  Our GP made us an appointment with a heart specialist for a nuclear stress test.  Cliff had had the other, more simple stress test several years ago; now I wish he'd had this one, because he might be in better shape right now.

So Tuesday morning we got there bright and early; Cliff planned to go to work as usual that afternoon.

The doctor told us, in no uncertain terms, that there was a problem, and ordered an angioplasty right then.  Bad news.  Every artery is blocked.  If they did stints, it would take at least five.  The doctor recommended bypass surgery, and talked to the surgeon who would perform the operation, if that was Cliff's choice.  Cliff stayed at that hospital overnight, his heart being monitored constantly.  Because I could see Cliff was very much affected by this sudden bad news, I opted to stay by his side.  I didn't want to wake up at home and think about him crying alone.

The surgery has to be performed at a different hospital, so today an ambulance took him there.  Cliff's sister from Wisconsin and her husband, and his brother from Kansas, showed up this morning.  Both of my son's older children came to visit this evening, along with their mom.  Rachel and Kevin have been there, and Pat and Charlene (his sister who lives in this area).

I figured it would be best for me to come on home tonight, because I may very well want to spend tomorrow night in the waiting room outside ICU, where I can check in on him often.

Surgery is scheduled for 7 AM tomorrow morning.

I'm scared.  Cliff's scared, especially after the surgeon telling us the risks.  I asked the doctor how many bypasses he'd do, and he said as many as he can.  He won't know until he's in there. 

Everyone in the family is a nervous wreck.  Prayers and good thoughts will be much appreciated.  If all goes well, Cliff could be home in three to five days.


Monday, April 17, 2006

Class - Ann Landers

"Class has a sense of humor. It knows that a good laugh is the best lubricant for oiling the machinery of human relations. Class never makes excuses. It takes its lumps and learns from past mistakes. Class bespeaks an aristocracy unrelated to ancestors or money. Some extremely wealthy people have no class at all, while others who are struggling to make ends meet are loaded with it. Class is real. You can't fake it. Class never tries to build itself up by tearing others down. Class is already up and need not attempt to look better by making others look worse. Everyone is comfortable with the person who has class because he is comfortable with himself. If you have class, you've got it made. If you don't have class, no matter what else you have, it won't make up for it."

I've known a precious few with "class" as Ann Landers desribes it:  My dear sister; my friend, LonaMay; and my dear departed Pam.  Click HERE for the entry where Pam first shares the fact that she has lung cancer with us, her readers.

Lord, please let me live long enough to have THAT kind of class.

answers to your questions

Several questions were asked in the comment section of the previous entry, so I'll try to address them all.

1.  The cut starts about two inches below my left knee, and is less than two inches long.

2.  Pain did not keep me awake last night at all; Cliff said he came to bed about ten minutes after I'd gone, and I was already zonked.  I slept through until 4:30 this morning.  I took nothing for pain, because I didn't feel the pain was that severe.  I usually take aspirin for pain, but I knew it would cause more bleeding.  Dr. G isn't really fond of Tylenol, although I'd take it if I needed to; he says it's hard on the liver.

3.  Yes, they "froze" the area around the wound, so I felt nothing when the stitches were being done.

4.  I'm limping a little today, and the nurse-practicioner suggested I skip taking my walks today and tomorrow, and take it easy; I've had lots worse pain than this, though.

5.  Antibiotics were prescribed and I'm taking them for five days unless some problem arises... in which case I'll go ahead and take them another five days.

6.  Anne, of course my shoes were white in the pictures.  I wear my GOOD sneakers to the doctor's office.  Besides, the left shoe of my old pair has blood on it.

Dr. G quizzed me about whether I'd had any numbness or strange sensations in my ankle and foot (I haven't); it seems there's a nerve that runs down the leg in the injured area that could have been damaged.

Not for the squeamish

If the sight of blood bothers you, don't look beyond picture # 4. 

I had a run-in with a cattle panel when I went to call the horses up last night around 6 PM, and injured myself pretty badly.  Cliff wanted to take me to the emergency room, but our new insurance only pays for emergency room visits if you are subsequently admitted to the hospital.  So I waited until this morning and called my doctor's office.

The nurse's reaction when she first saw the wound was, "I can't believe you didn't go to the emergency room with this!"

My main concern was tetanus, since the accident happened in the barn area; and I did get my shot. 

I think there were thirteen stitches in all.

Dr. G. says I'm a tough old gal.

Just another day in "my country life".

This added later:  John Scalzi's "Monday Photo Shoot" assignment is a picture of "something unexpected".  So I am using these pictures, although I told him to delete me from his comments if it was too graphic for AOL.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

How my Easter Sunday went

Yesterday afternoon I asked Cliff if we could go to my former church, the one where my membership still rests.  He had told a couple of folks to come to the house today, but he got in touch with them and asked them not to show up until after noon.

Then I suggested we ride the motorcycle to church.  He agreed to that also, and I must say it was great fun.

My daughter asked yesterday what we were doing for Easter, and after I told her and she said they'd attend church with us.  (Their membership is still there also.)

There was a roast in the crockpot, and I had peeled potatoes.  So I started the taters cooking, and Cliff's expected visitors arrived.  At noon.  On Easter Sunday.  When we were getting ready to eat.

Well, somehow we managed to have dinner.

One young man came to get the pickup he'd asked us to store for him about four years ago.  Cliff finally realized we'd never get the hunk of junk off the place if he didn't ask the guy to come and get it.  As you can see by the pictures, there were a few problems loading it.

The other couple came to get a sickle mower Cliff gave them. 

You see, Cliff never gave a thought to the fact this was Easter Sunday, a family day.  One weekend day is pretty much the same as another to him.

A highlight of my day was a visit from Arick, our oldest grandchild.  We hadn't seen him for awhile.

We survived.  And I still get goosebumps thinking about the music I heard in Church this morning.

Rest in peace, Pam

I'm sorry to have to say that I'll be removing one of my favorite journals from the side bar before long.  Pam (Hiz1desire), the bravest woman in J-Land, has passed on.

Pam fought so valiantly to keep her spirits up.  She last posted to her journal April 7.  I won't remove the link from the side bar as long as her journal is there, because it's a testimony to a fighter.

Some of her readers will someday have to walk the same lonesome valley as Pam, and we'll remember how well she fought the fight.  And we'll fight too.

And perhaps we'll win because she taught us how to fight to the end.

Here's the message I received in e-mail from Pam's sister:

My sister Pam passed away today.

I don't have other information, as to exactly when, or anything else,
her ex husband called my sister Susie about an hour ago to let her know.

She is at peace now, she's not in pain, she doesn't hurt. We who loved
her are the ones who are suffering now, and i know that my life is
better for having had her in it, so the pain even can be appreciated,
That I hurt because she was my sister, and I got to love her, and be
loved by her.

She told me a couple years ago, that all she wanted out of life, was
to touch one person, and make a difference in someone's life. Then she
would know that she was a success. The last time that she and I had a
long conversation was about 2 weeks ago. And she KNEW that she was a
success. That she has touched so many people, made a difference in so
many people's lives. She knew the end was very near, and she was
scared, but she knew that she had accomplished what she had set out
for herself as her life's goal. How many of us can say that?

Hug your sisters, your friends, your loved ones. Tell them what they
mean to you, and how they've touched your life. Let them know while
you can. Life is so short.

Thank you all for your words, and prayers. Knowing that there are
people all around the world who are grieving for her as we are is a
great comfort to us.

Thank you all

Nancy, Betty & Keith

Saturday, April 15, 2006

pictures from today's motorcycle ride

Cliff's Aunt Faye hasn't been doing well, so that seemed like a good excuse for a 250-mile-round-trip bike trip with his sister and her husband.  For a while on the way home, I thought we were going to get soaked, but all we had was a few sprinkles.  The wind was pretty bad at times.  But we survived!

pictures from an early morning walk

Until Cliff has his stress test (scheduled for Tuesday), we're walking seperately so he can make his walk less grueling:  doctor's orders.  Now, when I walk with Cliff, I walk on his time.  But today I walked at the best time of day, in my humble opinion:  daybreak.  Enjoy my walk with me.

Friday, April 14, 2006

six weird things

Ukeliah (oh, I just found out it's Mel.  LOL) tagged me to do "six weird things about me".  Here goes:


1. I don’t drive, and have never had a license.

2. I don’t like talking on the phone, and try to avoid it.

3. I’m considered blunt by those who know me.

4. I’ve refused, up to now, to give in to air conditioning (except in the bedroom, as of last year). In Missouri, that’s pretty much unheard of.

5. I like to spend a night at my cabin in the woods with my dog, listening to Native American music, then going to sleep listening to a CD of some nuns saying the Rosary.  No, I’m not Indian, nor am I Catholic.

6. I didn’t date until I was twenty years old; I never went to the Prom or any other school social function.



I'm a guest editor's pick!

It's official!  Joe, over at Magic Smoke, has announced the guest editor for this week.  It's Andi, one of the J-land folks I hope to eventually meet.  Check out all her picks over at her journal, "She Said WHAT?"

Gee, she thinks I'm a steel magnolia. 

Seriously, thanks, Andi.  It's an honor.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

funny how friends can make a difference

Last weekend, my friend Joanna was here.  She and I got acquainted in a Christian chat room years ago, and met face-to-face at a Dallas Chat room reunion six or seven years back.

I was telling her about how Cliff gets severe heartburn every time we walk up the steep hills in our pasture, although he's never had a problem with heartburn in his life, before now.  She told me about her brother-in-law having the same problem, and it turned out he had a heart problem, not a heartburn problem.

So today Cliff saw the doctor (we rode the motorcycle, by the way).  He was given some samples of acid controlling meds, but he also has orders not to walk on the hills that cause his problems until he's taken a stress test, which is yet to be scheduled.  I'll keep you updated on that situation. 

Joanna, thanks for the heads-up.  I do listen to my friends' advice once in awhile.

Another thing for which Joanna is responsible is that I find myself watching CSI shows now.  I watch very little TV, but I seem to be hooked on these shows.  Good grief, are they on every day?  ACK!!!!

Then there's the stuffed squeaky toy Jo brought for Sadie:  I am forced to toss that thing at least two dozen times a day.

Oh, and keep your eye on the journal for pictures of me and Cliff in the Honda Gold Wing shirts Joanna brought us.  I had lost mine temporarily, but the lost is found.

Isn't it funny how a two-day visit from a friend can shake up your life?

I think I'll pass!

This from Reuters news:

"London's most expensive sandwich, nick-named 'The MacDonald Sandwich', is seen at Selfridges in London April 10, 2006. The sandwich, which is on sale for 85 pounds ($148 dollars), contains ingredients of Wagyu beef, fresh lobe foie gras, black truffle mayonnaise, brie de meaux, rocket, red pepper and mustard confit and English plum tomatoes."   REUTERS/Paul Hackett

I could buy about ten days' worth of groceries for that price. 

a picture taken at sunrise

Sadie and I spent last night in the cabin; on the way back to the house this morning, I noticed my favorite cottonwood tree is putting on leaves.  The shade of this lone tree has always been a popular spot for livestock to rest in summertime, and many's the time I've sat down in the grass there and leaned back against a Jersey cow with her eyes half-closed, chewing her cud. 

My "older" readers (those in my age group) may recall the old "Tammy" movies, and the line in the song "Tammy" that says, "I hear the cottonwood whispering above...".  Cottonwood trees really do whisper; it's a most comforting sound.  We used to have one in our yard, but Cliff didn't like the little wisps of cotton it shed because they have a glue-like substance that makes them stick to a car, messing up the shine.  Besides, the tree was hollow, and liable to fall down and smash something.

"When I win the lottery" I shall have cottonwood trees in my yard, and hire someone to clean Cliff's car. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

ten things about my dog


1.  She'd rather play frisbee than eat.
2.  She appreciates all the toys and treats I buy for her.
3.  She runs away if she gets the chance, and won't come when I call if there is anything too tempting to chase after.
4.  As hyper as she is during the day, she sleeps like a bear in hibernation at night.
5.  There's something about Sadie that makes Cliff like her better than any dog we've had in years.
6.  Sadie informed me (in her doggy way) on her first night here that she'd be sleeping beside my bed at night; what could I say?
7.  She has never had an "accident" in our house.
8.  She sheds worse than I thought she would.
9.  If she's on a leash, she's afraid of cows and horses.  If she's running free, she chases cows and horses.
10.  When you let her off her leash in the pasture, she runs in circles for a long time, really fast.

Springtime is horseback-riding time

I'm back to going for long rides at least three times a week, and Blue seems to be steady and dependable enough for the girls to start having a turn.  Natalie is quite comfortable with riding, but Monica is really nervous on horseback.  It was late into the summer or fall last year before she ever got her nerve up to ride at all.  We told her she didn't have to ride, and that we didn't care whether she did; but she had a strong desire to conquer her fears.

If I hitch up the stirrups as close as possible, both girls can reach them (barely) with their feet.  So this year we won't have to mess with the flimsy buddy stirrups.

Wednesday diet report

I lost one pound in the past week, which puts me at 160.5 pounds. Cliff gained 1/2 pound, to 243.5.  His blood pressure this morning is 131/73, which is good.

We neither one did well over the weekend.  We were helping Joanna celebrate her vacation, what can I say?  We couldn't send her home without a taste of Kansas City barbecue.  Then, since the Dallas chat room reunion was taking place and we couldn't be there, of course we had to have some Blue Bell ice cream (made in Texas).

Cliff's been having a problem with severe heartburn when we take our daily walk; Tums were helping at first, but now they don't touch it.  He has a doctor appointment in the morning, and we'll make sure it isn't anything more serious; if it isn't, then perhaps the doctor can give him a prescription for something that will help.

Cliff's also having a motivation problem when it comes to eating right:  temptation is everywhere, and it's getting harder and harder for him to resist.  I'm trying to do my part by keeping him on the straight-and-narrow while he's here at home during the week.

sound problems

When I bought this computer, I upgraded the sound system by purchasing a sub-woofer with four speakers.  Cliff and I felt like we had a regular juke box in our kitchen, and we listened to music often.  On Saturday mornings we'd lay in bed listening to Moe Bandy and Mickey Gilley and all our other favorite "has-been" country artists.

Then the strangest thing happened:  I noticed that "full-blast" on the speakers was no longer as earth-shakingly loud as it once was.  It was OK; it was loud enough that we could still hear it in the bedroom.

But little by little, I'm losing my volume totally.  I've turned everything up that CAN be turned up (yes, at the little speaker icon on my screen, and on Windows Media player and on the speakers themselves).  Turned wide-open, the sound isn't loud enough to hear well, even right here at the computer.

It's driving me CRAZY!

There's a message board where I go to ask computer questions, and some of the people there make their living with computer programming.  This has stumped the experts.

I miss my volume!

Learning the names of flowers

Just a note to say thanks to Richard, my Kentucky reader, who scouted around and found the names of all my mystery plants in the last picture entry I made.  I have edited the entry to include the proper names with the pictures.  I'm going to have fun on my next walk, calling the plants by their names.  "Spring beauty".  How appropriate a name for a tiny jewel of a flower!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

my dad


1.  He had a hot temper
2.  He liked a good naughty joke.
3.  If he wanted to cuss, he'd cuss in front of anybody... even the preacher.
4.  He was proud of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
5.  He had dozens of suggestive songs he'd sing at the most inappropriate times.
6.  Having lost his mother and his first wife in childbirth, he worried about the women he loved giving birth.
7.  He could bear more pain than anyone I have ever seen, especially when he was dying with lung cancer.
8.  Daddy was a flirt.  He just couldn't help it.
9.  He didn't care what anyone thought of him; he was just himself.
10.  He was always embarrassing someone.  He seemed to think it was funny.

Oh yeah, and like my mom... he was my biggest fan.

ten things about my mother

I'm going to start this series with my mom.  I do not intend to say anything negative about anyone, nor say anything about them that they would object to.

Ten things about my mother:

1.  She believed that the Church of Christ was the one true church.

2.  She never had anything but good to say about her parents.

3.  She could wallpaper an old run-down house and give it a whole new look.

4.  She worked hard, as long as she was able.

5.  She wrote an occasional poem.

6.  She loved to make quilts.

7.  She wrote letters and sent cards to friends and relatives daily, throughout her life.

8.  She was faithful to my father throughout their marriage.

9.  She loved music, and taught me to sing alto.

10.  She was my biggest fan.

Because of Winn-Dixie

I watched "Because Of Winn-Dixie" this afternoon with my grandchildren.  This movie didn't get good reviews, but the girls and I loved it.  At one point, before the little girl (Opal) figured out that the mother who abandoned her was an alcoholic (heavy stuff for kids to be watching), she asked her dad to tell her ten things about the mom she never really knew.

I asked myself if I could tell ten things about any significant people in my life; it isn't as easy as you might think.  I can do Cliff with no problem, but others?  I don't  know.  Just ten things.  And if I did, could I keep the ten things positive?

Consider it.

looking for morels, finding flowers

It's early yet, but I read where some folks not far from here found some morel mushrooms.  Not wanting my efforts to be totally wasted (and it is EXTREME effort, at my age, with my knees, to scale the hills, hollers and ditches of our place) I took the camera along.

That dandelion picture is so totally awesome viewed at the original size in which I took it that I selected it as my desktop for awhile.  If anyone would like to try it, let me know and I'll e-mail you the photo. 

I think someone recently told me the name of that tiny white flower, but I've forgotten.  Feel free to leave comments if you know what any of the plants are.

Richard, one of my readers, pointed out yesterday that I was referring to Sweet William as violets; I stand corrected.

Monday, April 10, 2006

What a nice day

This is almost a perfect day, weatherwise.  I had a great horseback ride, and Blue was energetic and ready to go; only now, I can hardly put one foot in front of the other.  I'm worn out!  As you can see, Cliff got a lot done on his shop addition.  Now it's time for him to go punch the time clock and make us some money.

Sunday, April 9, 2006

pictures from Joanna's visit

I'm just sharing a few pictures of the "exciting" things we did while Joanna was here. 

Let's see, when I visited her, I saw the Lincoln Memorial, the Arlington Cemetary, and the Smithsonian museum.

When she visited me, she saw my dog, my horse, my cabin, and the muddy Missouri River.  Oh yes, and she met my family.

I'm so glad she came, but I think I got the best end of the deal!

Checking in briefly

This is my friend Joanna, from Virginia, getting acquainted with Blue.  Almost two years ago, I spent a week with her and she showed me the sights in and around Washington, DC.  Now she's soaking in the sights here on my 43 acres.  It's been coolish, so we didn't spend as much time outside as I would have liked.  I took a picture of the two of us and Sadie at the cabin, but the picture isn't the best of Joanna, and I refuse to share unflattering pictures of friends.

Yesterday I had one of our family dinners, so Joanna got to meet my daughter's family (along with Brett's girl friend), my sister, and my son's oldest daughter.

Today I think we're going to take in the City Market in Kansas City before we take Joanna to meet her plane.  I have cinnamon rolls rising for breakfast.  My daughter and her family need to come to my house and eat some leftovers while we're gone, because Cliff and I will get back to healthy eating tomorrow.

Thursday, April 6, 2006

Henbit in rhyme

                                                 Donna Wood
                                                © April 6, 2006

I ride in the fields before planting, each year.
In early March, cropland is brown and austere.
The trees will start budding, and just about then
It’s time for the plains to turn purple again.

I gazed at these weeds, and I made it my aim
To search and ask questions and find out their name.
So I asked a bunch of my message-board friends,
And then in my journal I asked, once again.

Finally, somebody figured it out.
I googled it up and it’s true, there’s no doubt:
Henbit’s the name of this plentiful plant:
They’d like to get rid of the stuff, but they can’t.

I spend too much time at this keyboard, it’s true,
When I could find plenty of work I could do:
My time isn’t wasted; I have this to say:
I found out the meaning of henbit today!


I do believe one of my readers came up with the name of the weed:  It's henbit.  Click HERE to read about it.  You can see pictures of the leaves and flowers.

The plant that turns the fields purple in spring

I have searched the Internet and can't find out what kind of weed it is that turns the fields purple in April.  One farmer up the road said he likes the purple fields so much, he waits to apply herbicide until the plants are done blooming.

If anyone knows the name of this weed... and yes, it IS a weed... I'd love to know.

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

successful horse cloning

Yes, horses are being successfully cloned.  Check it out HERE.

Some other great "Where I'm From" entries

Every one of the "Where I'm From" entries has been amazing.  I'm going to link to some of them:

The journal where I first saw this exercise is HERE.

She found it HERE.

I found a most amusing and unusual entry HERE.

When you read their entries, you can go back to where they found it and spend hours reading.

Some people who accepted my challenge and did an entry after reading mine:





And a private journal where I'm unable to send you; but it was great also.

I truly wish you'd all do this, even if nobody else ever sees it.  You won't believe how good it feels to read and re-read it, once you've finished.  It would be a great thing to pass on to your children and grandchildren.

Once again, if you'd like to do it, the template is HERE

Ten good things about this week

So many journal folks do this weekly.  I always intend to, then put it off and forget it.

1.  Lovely springtime weather

2.  two horseback rides

3.  Blue will be shod this afternoon so I won't have to worry any more about the gravel breaking off his hooves.

4.  Cliff is making excellent progress on his shop addition.

5.  My friend Joanna is coming to spend this weekend.

6.  The alfalfa we planted last fall is growing like crazy.

7.  The pasture has grown tall enough that we won't have to feed the horses hay until next winter

8.  Cliff and I lost weight

9.  Tyler and Travis help Cliff do so many chores around here, and ask for very little in return.  (Someone asked if they are home-schooled; yes, they are.)

10.  Our weaned heifers returned home, and they really ARE weaned.  Last year we thought the calves had been seperated from their moms long enough and turned them out; they immediately starting sucking.  So we hauled them to the sale barn.

Cliff's approval of "Where he's from" and Wednesday diet report

I had to correct two things in Cliff's "Where I'm From":  the measurements of his shop (no big deal anyhow) and the story about the chocolate cherry.  I had the brothers backwards.  It was Donald who took the cherry out of Cliff's mouth and ate it.  So I made those corrections and the rest stands as I wrote it.  Cliff agreed that I did say the right things.  I wasn't in any doubt in the first place, because I used thoughts that I've heard Cliff vocalize dozens, if not hundreds, of times.

I lost one pound, so I'm 161.5, for a total loss of 26.5 pounds.  I'd like to lose twelve to fifteen more pounds, just because I want to be under 150.

Cliff lost two pounds this week, which puts him at 243.  He's lost 34 pounds.  He is looking so much different that the other day he was wearing jeans instead of overalls, and when I looked at him from a distance I thought we had a visitor.  He hasn't really settled on a goal weight, but he has a whole wardrobe of size 40 overalls and jeans upstairs from six years ago, and his main goal is to wear those again.

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Where my husband is from

I did this as though it were my husband doing it.  It has his approval now and corrections have been made.  So these are, indeed, his thoughts and memories.

I am from rusty cast metal and the smell of old motor oil.  I'm from Ford pickups and duct tape and fences built right.

I am from a deteriorating old two-story house with a new 38X40  foot shed out back where the workbench always holds at least one project.  I’m from the heart of rolling farm country where the summer months are marked by how tall the corn is at the time.

I am from the fresh-plowed ground.  I’m from alfalfa in late bud ready to mow, as I scan the sky for rainclouds.

I am from holding a grudge, and cursing those idiots on the freeway who don't know how to drive.  I'm from hard drinking, hard-loving hillbillies, from Luther and George, from Silvey and Bradshaw.

I am from "Wood fits" and worrying, and feeling guilty if I’m not working, and feeling responsible for things over which I have no control.  I’m from being able to fix almost anything with baling wire and pliers because we couldn’t afford to do it any other way.  I’m from knowing what’s wrong with an engine just by listening to it.

I’m from being knocked clear across the room by my dad when my brother and I tried to protect Mom from him.  I’m from the story Dad told, laughing, of me, aged two-and-a-half and my brother, aged one, sitting in the floor eating chocolate cherries.  When I started crying about something, Donald saw the cherry in my mouth, picked it out, and ate it.  Then I cried even harder.

I’m from two years of Boy Scouts and a brief spell of Pentecostalism during which I got baptized.  Then the married preacher ran off with the married pianist and our family quit going to Church for a long time.  I’m from wondering why the preacher has a better house and car than most of the people in his congregation and why he is always begging for money, and doubting that he really does much in the way of work, beyond creating a couple of sermons each week.

I’m from central Missouri, where the Ozarks begin; born at home, my mother’s second child and my father’s first.  I’m from cinnamon flat, and potato soup and cornbread, and sweet iced tea.

I’m from the story about my single mom being pregnant at age 16 and having morning sickness, and her sister figured it out and told their mother.  Granny told my Mom, as she was vomiting, “that baby didn’t git in you thataway, and you ain’t a-gonna git it out thataway.”  I’m from a boy who was messing with the mules when he wasn’t supposed to and got kicked and was afraid to tell because he’d get a thrashing.  So he just went to bed with the pain for a couple of days, and when his parents realized he had a broken back, it was too late to do anything about it.  So my dad was hunchbacked all his life.  

I’m from my childhood school pictures stuffed in a Bible so that when our house burned, those were the only photos we saved.  I’m from keepsakes shoved in a room upstairs by my wife, and a Buck pocketknife forced on me years ago by a friend when he was drunk that I’ve never used because I prefer a cheaper kind; but I keep it anyhow.  I’m from being surprised when I get something I really want because I grew up thinking dreams never come true.

But they do.

Time for a ride in the country with Blue

For those of you who like going on horseback rides with me by way of my journal, here you are:  enjoy!  And have lunch with us while you're at it.

Monday, April 3, 2006

About the previous entry

Folks, do not misunderstand.  Everything in that entry was "where I'm FROM".  It is not where I am now.  And yet, I know I wouldn't be here without all of the things that have happened before.

I challenge every one of my readers to go HERE for the template and fill it out for yourself.  It doesn't matter if you have a journal; something like this might help your children, grandchildren, friends and relatives to understand you better.  And you'll find out you are a poet, after all.

However, if you DO have a journal, I'd appreciate your leaving the link so I can see your answers.

Doing that particular meme was the most cleansing, healing journal entry I've ever done; I love going back and reading it, and I've edited and added to it several times already.

where I'm from

I saw this in Alphawoman's blog and decided to try it myself.  She got it from HERE.  

                                           WHERE I’M FROM  

I am from the farms and small towns of the midwest where chickens roam and scratch about the yards, and roosters start crowing two hours before dawn; I am from Allis Chalmers tractors and Maytag wringer washers.   I am from old two-story houses in the flatlands of Iowa and the rolling hills of Missouri.   I am from dandelions and violets and Maybaskets, from the lilacs and fresh-tilled earth.   I am from annual family reunions and hard-headed people, from Smiths and Allens and Stevens'.

I am from teetotalers and heavy-set women and huge dinners on Sunday; I am from men in overalls discussing farming techniques and the prices of crops and livestock over meals, after church, and at all gatherings. 

I am from Mother Goose rhymes and Heidi and The Brothers Grimm fairy tales.  I am from "no sex education until the sixth grade", when the school nurse told all us girls about it and everybody already knew but me.
I am from the Church of Christ, which believes any instrumental music in Church is sinful, and that no other church or denomination will make it to heaven; where songbooks are shaped-note and everybody sings alto, suprano, tenor or bass; and there is no choir because the whole congregation sings.   

 I'm from the cornfields of Iowa, from noodles, creamed turnips, strawberry shortcake, and cinnamon rolls.  I am from warm, foamy buckets of milk just drawn from the cow, and cream so thick that it stands up on the spoon in a heap.  

I am from a mother who had a birthmark covering her right arm and hand because she was "marked" when Grandma scalded her right breast while carrying her in the womb; from hot-tempered men who were likely to throw things when they were angry, like my paternal grandfather, who hit a draft horse in the head with his fist and put it to its knees, so I’ve been told.  I am from women who died in childbirth...  My daddy's mom, and his first wife.  I am from women who sewed and crocheted and quilted and wore their hair in buns and planted their gardens by the "signs".  

I am from musty attics and old diaries and photographs with the corners nibbled by mice; I am from cool cellers full of colorful jars of home-canned peaches, green beans, pickled beets and jam and jellies.  I am from winding creeks and gravel roads and wooded places, things that are priceless to me because they made me who I am:  a person who has remained a child at heart, who has enjoyed life more than any person has a right to, without a shred of guilt about it.

 I like where I’m from.

Monday Photo Shoot: Opening Day!

Opening Day is here, when all good baseball fans go out of their ever-lovin' minds at the prospect of their team taking it all this year -- yes, even Cubs fans. So here's a natural for the Monday Photo Shoot:

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Present a picture of something baseball related. It could be of opening day, if you happen to be at opening day this year, or it could be a picture from previous years of you enjoying a day at the park, or just batting around a ball with friends.

Take yourself out to the ballgame, snap a photo, post it in your blog or journal, and then go to John's blog to leave a link. Let's get this baseball season started right.

Remember that although this is called the Monday Photo Shoot, posting your pictures on Tuesday, Wednesday or even Thursday morning is perfectly acceptable as well.

Well now John, all I had to do was go to yesterday's entry and pick out one of the pictures I placed there:  This is a shot of several neighborhood boys and girls playing baseball in our pasture.  Any other time, I'd have been out of luck on this photoshoot; I'm not a sports fan, and baseball, in particular, bores me to death.


Sunday, April 2, 2006

pictures from a busy Sunday

It was really windy today, and that made it a little difficult for Cliff and his helpers at times.  But they got a lot accomplished.  The 15-year-old twins next door took turns helping:  Travis, the calmer of the two, was here at the beginning.  Then Tyler showed up, and Travis disappeared.  At one time, they both went to the pasture to play baseball.  Kevin was here to help Cliff, though.

In spite of the wind, I would have taken a ride on my horse; but he really does need to be shod.  He was scheduled to get shoes last Friday, but the farrier called and postponed because the transmission is out of his pickup.  Now we're scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.  I groomed Blue and cleaned his feet.  He always enjoys that sort of attention.

Natalie and I went to the pasture with Sadie, and I scouted around in a couple of places for mushrooms.  I didn't find any, but I really didn't expect to, this early.

This coming Friday, my friend Joanna is coming to visit, from Virginia.  She wants to step into the life she reads about in my journal, and I'm going to try and see that she accomplishes that.  I'm not buying any new appliances, sheets or curtains.  I'm not gilding the lily.  What she sees is what she gets.  (Well, I did sweep the mouse-poop out of the cabin... but other than that).

Knowing Joanna, that'll be exactly what she had in mind. 

My day yesterday... in rhyme

                                                      A FULL DAY
                                               Donna Wood
                                             © April 1, 2006

I woke up early yesterday, content to be alive.
I knew the day was perfect when I stepped outside at five.
We had to go to Kansas for some stuff Cliff’s brother bought;
It was no trouble getting to the lumber yard we sought. 

At nine AM, quite safely home, Cliff worked some on his shed
While I got on my faithful steed and rode eight miles, instead.
We had some quick ham sandwiches; we shared with both the twins,
Since they were helping Cliff on his new project, once again.

While eating lunch, we heard a Harley roaring up the drive.
It seems Cliff’s sister and her husband, Pat, had just arrived.
So we got out the Gold Wing and we headed toward the east
(We lose our cares and problems when we’re riding the “Blue Beast”).

By four o’clock we were back home, and Clifford parked Old Blue.
Charlene said, “Come to our house and we’ll have barbecue”.
We said we’d see them later, so to kill a little time,
We took our daily pasture walk (with all those hills to climb).

We went to Clifford’s sister’s, and the barbecue was great.
We talked of places we could ride... adventures that await.
Back home by eight, “spring forward”, and then time for bed, for me.
As I dozed off, I wondered why I have no energy!