Monday, July 31, 2006

Cliff is back to work

I feel just like I did when I sent my kids off to their first day of school, sending my husband off to work.  I got used to having Cliff around all day.  Oh, he wasn't under foot; once he started feeling up to it, he found something outside or in the shop or barn to work on.  But all I had to do was go outside and hunt him up.

I'm not concerned about his health, returning to work.  It's terribly hot there, but he's used to that at home.  He actually seems to have more stamina and energy than he's had in five years, since he's recovered from surgery.

It just feels strange to be here alone.  Cliff had gotten in the habit of coming inside at six PM to watch CSI with me, so he could make fun of "squirrel-ears" Grissom, and point out how bow-legged he is.

Next week the granddaughters will be here, and things will have a more normal feel. 

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Me? Sell my horse?

That's me and my horse Blue, standing in the sunlight on this 100-degree day.  No, I haven't gone for a horseback ride.  In fact, it's been around a month, I'd say, since I've ridden.  A couple of weeks before vacation, Blue lost his two front shoes, which means I couldn't ride him on gravel or pavement, lest I break off his hooves, or wear them off, and do damage.  Just before our trip to Colorado, the farrier was here and shod my horse.  It was too hot to ride when we returned home.  When it did cool off, Blue had managed to lose a front shoe again (in dry weather, his feet chip really easily and don't grow very fast).  And it got hot again.

Yesterday evening my twenty-year-old grandson, Arick, called to ask if he could come and get Blue for a trail ride with friends.  I told him it would be fine, but Blue was missing a shoe.

Turns out there was an Amish farrier at the place from which he was calling, so Arick said he'd just have the guy put a new shoe on. 

Arick was taking my horse for his friend, Michelle, to ride; she's scared of most horses, but trusts Blue.  Turns out her step-mom was the one who ended up riding him the most.

"Grandma, they want your horse, bad" Arick said.  "But I told them you said you'd never sell him."

I had a brief lapse of "common sense", and said, "Well... maybe if they were willing to pay $2,000...".

Cliff was excited about the prospect of possibly selling the horse, and said, "You haven't been riding him lately, and you always said when the time came you weren't riding a horse, you'd sell him."

It took about five minutes for me to come to my senses.

Sure, it's hot.  But it won't always be summertime.  It would be terrible not to have the option, on a spring or autumn morning, of saddling up and going for a ride.  What was I thinking?

The heat must have been baking my brain for me to even consider selling the  best horse I ever had.

But I'm OK now, and Blue is staying.  Some time ago, the local horse-trader tried to talk me into letting him buy Blue and I told him, "I wouldn't take $10,000 for this horse!"

The only way he leaves is if we have to have a farm sale and move to town.

Farmers market

Cliff and I were up bright and early yesterday morning; instead of taking our walk, we got in the car at 6 AM and went to Kansas City to the City Market.  I enjoyed the little getaway, although it was already hot.  We bought some corn on the cob and bell peppers, and a nice head of cabbage.  Oh, and some sweet cherries at what I thought were a bargain at $1.50 a pound, until we went into WalMart later and found them for $1 a pound.  I hate when that happens.

I bought the tickets for mine and the girls' unlimited rides wristbands at the state fair; Lowe's is the only place you can get them, and they're $20.  $2 of that goes to the Red Cross  The best you can do once you are at the fair is a 15-ride wristband for $18, and I'd still have to pay $8 admission to get in; so it's a bargain.  Even though we'll be paying $15 a day for camping on fairground property, I still have to pay to get in when we walk through to the actual fairgrounds.  Thursday, because it's dollar day, my admission will be $1.  Then Friday I'll get in when I get my wrisband, so Saturday will be the only time I have to pay the full price.  Kids under 12 years old get in free at all times.

It's still unmercifully hot.  Don't even ask how I fared yesterday when I decided to take my walk at noon, with the temperature at 98 degrees.  Suffice to say, I won't be that stupid again.

Oh, someone asked in a previous comment, "What's a 'haint?'"

It's just a hillbilly word for "ghost".  And I don't believe in them, by the way.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Interesting blog

Folks I gotta tell you... if you aren't afraid to read the naked truth, and aren't offended by a little strong language, Mel tells it like it is.  For instance, in this entry.  Which was preceeded by this entry.

This gal knows how to tell her story.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Where's Cliff? (also, an abundance of peaches)

Ninety-five degrees, and Sadie and I had to go check on Cliff.  You just never know what sort of trouble he might be into with that tractor.

This morning while walking, Cliff and I found a beautiful cobweb.  There was dew sparkling on it in the morning sun, and I intended to return with my camera.  However, I forgot about it for a couple of hours, and by then it was just an ordinary cobweb.  Down in the holler awhile ago, I broke through many cobwebs, and have found two spiders crawling around on me since returning to the house.  Ewwwww.

I think I have about twenty quarts of peaches in the freezer.  Don't even ask how many I've been eating fresh every day lately.  They are SO good.  I have to watch for worms, since we didn't spray.  And some of them are bird-pecked.  None of that is a problem to me.  I'll share with the critters.

Robin's Friday 5'er

If you want to play all you do is cut and paste these questions into your journal. (there is no deadline as to when you can do "The 5'er) When you have answered them, go leave a link in Robin's comment section.  On the following Friday she will have a new set of questions! Have fun!




1.  Do you think McDonald's has the best french fries or Buger King?  Have to choose between these two only.

I'm not as crazy about French fries as most people, but I'd choose Burger King if I were going to indulge (do you KNOW how many trans-fats are in those things???  Not to mention calories!)


2.  If you could change the month right now what month would you make it and why?

Last January!  I don't like that month, but I want to get six months of my life back, knowing what I know now (for instance, realizing Cliff's heart was needing repair).

3.  When you put on a pair of shoe which foot do you put the shoe on first?


4.  What is the biggest lie your parents ever told you?

"Your eyes are going to FREEZE like that", spoken by my mom when I crossed my eyes.  She might have believed it, though; who knows.

5.  Do you keep your eggs in the carton they comein or in the special egg spot on the refridgertator door?

In the carton.


Thursday, July 27, 2006

Poor Cliff...

So, there's a feature on the journals main page about the most recent Monday Photo Shoot.  I played along with it, and submitted an entry with Cliff yawning

Click HERE and scroll down to the bottom of the page to see Cliff in all his yawning glory, for the whole world to see.

planning for the State Fair

Cliff will be taking Monica, Natalie, and me to Sedalia as soon as we can all get around on Thursday morning, August 10.  It takes about an hour and a half to get there, and Cliff intends to be back in plenty of time to leave for work at 2:30.  He'll set up the camper for us, and bid us goodbye.

The girls and I will head straight for the fairgrounds, because it's dollar day... $1 admission to the grounds, and corn dogs, Cokes, and other goodies for a buck... all day long!  No cooking for me, that day.  That night, the grandstand entertainment is only $5, and it's Sawyer Brown.  They're a has-been country act that puts on a great show.  Monica and I enjoyed them two years ago... or was it three?

I'll buy the $20 unlimited rides wristband at Lowes this week, and Friday will be ride day, as always.  I should probably just save the $20 I pay for mine, because I do more watching than riding, these days.

Below, you can see all the free stuff we'll be doing; click on the links if you want to see more about them.  Plus the petting zoo and so many fun things.  Yes, we've done a lot of these things before.  But it's always great fun!

CHEF LANDRY’S COMEDY COOKING SHOW, sponsored by Royal Prestige - Aug. 10-20. Great cajun food peppered with the Landry brand of humor. 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. in the Mo-Ag Theatre; 1 p.m. in Home Economics Bldg.

• CONSUMER SHOWCASE, sponsored by Cookbook Publishers - Aug. 10-20. Home Economics Building. Continuous demonstrations 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Features Chef Landry’s Comedy Cooking Show daily at 1 p.m.

GRIZZLY FALLS BEAR SHOW, sponsored by Westlake Ace Hardware - Aug. 10-20. Machinery Grounds. Show and exhibit promoting the preservation of bears. Water falls and beautiful scenery allow the bears to enjoy a wonderful playtime during the day. Shows at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. daily.

KACHUNGA & THE ALLIGATOR - Aug 10-20. See Kachunga wrestle live alligators at 1 p.m., 4:30 p.m., and 7 p.m. daily.

• MOVIE MAGIC: The Science Behind the Movies, sponsored by I-Land Internet Services - Aug. 10-20. Presented by Mad Science... Imagine starring in "Legally Blonde," "Agent Cody Banks," "Pink Panther," or "Rocky!" Enjoy action-packed scenes with state of the art effects! 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 5 p.m., and 6:30 p.m. daily in the Funshine Buildin

• MR. PEDDLESWORTH - Aug. 10-14. If this guy (a former Ringling Brothers clown) makes it down the street without his bike falling apart, it will be a miracle! Check out his trick bikes and bike tricks as he makes his way around the fairgrounds.

PIG RACES, sponsored by Missouri Enterprise - August 10-20. Daily races at 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m., and 8 p.m., just north of the Coliseum.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, sponsored by Toyota. A thrilling spectacle and unforgettable High Dive show. Machinery Grounds, 12 Noon, 3:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m. with an additional 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

PROCRASTINATORS, sponsored by Ditzfeld Transfer - Aug. 10-20. Experience fast and furious rhythmic fun when 3 outrageous drummers turn five-gallon water bottles, barstools, and pots & pans into musical instruments while jumping, sliding, twisting & stomping!

PROFESSOR FARQUAR - Aug. 10-20. Gather ‘round, as "the greatest one-man show west of the Mississippi" sets entertainment back more than a hundred years to the days of the old-time medicine show... with copious amounts of laughter, the best medicine of all! See the professor strolling through the fairgrounds or daily in the Mo-Ag Theatre.

• 2nd GENERATION, Southern Gospel Singing - Aug. 12, at 12 Noon and 3:30 p.m. and Aug. 16 at 12 Noon and 4 p.m. Touchstone Energy Stage.

• SHOW ME MISSOURI FISH - Aug. 10-20. Live demonstrations at 1, 4 & 6 p.m.

• SHOWBOAT MARIONETTES, sponsored by McDonald’s - Aug. 10-20. It’s a boatload of laughs for this "puppet spectacular" from the decks of their own Paddlewheel River Showboat stage. 10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 5:30 p.m.

It's HOT again!

It's difficult to come up with a journal entry when you're not doing much of anything.  Cliff and I tried a motorcycle ride Tuesday, but the heat made it miserable.  It's too hot to ride the horse, even early in the day.  And it's too hot to spend a night in the cabin.

What's left to write about?

The days haven't been totally wasted, since my peach tree has been producing lots of juicy peaches.  I've been peeling them and putting them in freezer bags in the deep freeze.  We eat peaches in our morning cereal, and usually have two or three during the day as snacks. 

I'm making plans for the Missouri State Fair again, with the two granddaughters.  Originally, we thought Cliff was still going to be off work for the fair, and he and I were going to camp there without the girls.  Now, it's back to just us ladies.  Cliff doesn't enjoy camping OR the fair enough to use vacation days for it, and, truth be told, I imagine us girls will have more fun on our own.  I do hope the temperatures stay out of the triple digits by then... we're to be in the 90's for the next several days.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Why I get so many hits on my journal

My friend from Kentucky, Ora, asked how I get so many hits on my journal.  I sent her an e-mail telling what I think is my secret, and then realized some of you might want to know, too.

1.  Join in the Monday Photo Shoots and Weekend Assignments, over at John Scalzi's blog.  He works for AOL, and lots of times AOL features the folks who play his games; if you're featured, you'll get new visitors.

2.  Make lots of entries.  People who have you on alert will usually come back to read each entry you make.

3.  Visit other people's journals, comment, and leave the link to your journal.  They'll probably check you out, and if they like your journal, they'll be back.

I'm sure there are other things, but these are the ones I've learned.

Monday Photo Shoot

This from John Scalzi

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Get a picture of someone yawning and/or stretching. Clearly, pets are eligible for this photo shoot as well.

Now, you may think this may be difficult, but the fact is
yawning is contagious. Just thinking about yawning can make some people yawn. Indeed, with the picture of the yawning cat above, I'm willing to bet you're fighting back a yawn even as you read this. Personally, I've yawned about six times since starting to write this. So, you know, just get your camera and start talking about yawn. You'll get your picture soon enough (warning: talking about yawning may not work on pets).

Also a reminder: Just because it's the "Monday Photo Shoot" doesn't mean you can't do it on Tuesday or Wednesday, or even Thursday morning. I usually post the results Thursday afternoon.

Ok, here's the deal.  Cliff yawns a LOT.  He doesn't realize it, but he does.  When we're traveling, if he starts yawning about three times per minute, I talk him into drinking coffee or Diet Coke, or having a snack.  Because I know he's about to get really drowsy.

So I figured he'd be an easy target.

We were watching the first CSI tonight, and sure enough, he yawned a couple of times, and said, "Dang, I don't know why I'm so sleepy."

That's when I remembered this assignment; I told him about it, and got my camera.

I didn't want to miss that first CSI of the evening because I'd never seen that episode.  But as soon as it was over, I got ready.  And Cliff got tickled at me trying to take a picture of his yawn.

Finally, he gave me a yawn.  OK, it might be a fake one, but it's the best I could do.  Sadie never yawns, and it was too hot to follow Blue around the pasture today.

If you'd like to play along, catch somebody yawning and go leave a link in John's blog.

He survived.

Cliff said he's had enough mowing for today; his neck gets stiff from turning to look behind him.  He headed out to do some more odd jobs, and I asked if he was going to be doing something dangerous, so I'd know whether to check on him.  Nope, he said, he's just moving some lumber around.  That man never quits. But he's happy when he's busy, so more power to him.  Of course, he's racing now to get everything done that needs doing, because of starting back to work next Monday.

I'm praying for rain; it's rather scary to see the pasture so dry and dead-looking.

Oh, about the tomato fairy mentioned in the previous entry... I've been told next-door neighbor Marvin's wife is the one leaving them.

I wish he wouldn't DO that!

Cliff thinks everything must be mowed that he has to look at, including some banks that are really too steep to mow.  What worries me most is that he could easily hit a sudden drop-off that's covered by the brush, and end up underneath the tractor.  All I can do, as always, is pray.  Oh, and I walk back and check on him a lot.

Sadie and I spent last night in the cabin; the weather was perfect for it, cool breezes rustling the treetops and all.  That's the only place Sadie gets to sleep with me, and she loves it.  She brought me a stick to throw, and fetched it again and again, until I got tired of throwing it.  I did my old routine of listening to Native American music CD's until we turned in, then I went to sleep listening to Mother Angelica and the nuns saying the Rosary.  I tell you, that's the most peaceful CD I own; I absolutely love it.  I wonder if Mother Angelica would mind a protestant using her CD to induce sleep.

Time to go check on Cliff again.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Yes, it's a small world

So, Cliff and I ended up coming home after church, eating a salad, and getting right back on the motorcycle.  The Flylady has disowned me, but I don't care.  I'd rather go riding.  Cliff was still pretty tired from yesterday's long ride, and said we'd stay fairly close to home.  When we somehow found ourselves in Oak Grove, a few miles away, I said, "Hey Cliff, we should go see Helen."

Cliff spent some of the best years of his life working at a small, family-owned butcher shop.  His favorite person there was Helen, an older lady; she was almost like a mother, or at least an aunt, to him.  She lives in Oak Grove.

The problem was, we didn't know where she lived, not really.  We knew she was on the north side of the freeway, but that isn't enough.

"If we can find Tom at home, he'll know where she lives," I suggested.

Tom's dad was the original owner of the butcher shop, and after he retired, Tom ran it for awhile.  Then Cliff worked for Tom's construction company for several years after the butcher shop closed.  We keep in touch with him when we can, but he's seldom home.  Today, as usual, his truck wasn't in his driveway when we cruised past his house.

However, he has rental property right up the road, and we soon spotted his very distinctive truck.  There he was, moving big bales of hay with a 3020 John Deere tractor.

We both hugged him, chatted a bit, and got directions to Helen's house.

It was sad to see how frail she is now.  She's 88 years old, a widow, and has to use a walker to get around.  The only reason she isn't in  a rest home is that her daughter is in the other side of the duplex where she resides.

She was so glad to see us, especially Cliff.  Our visit made her day, and when we had to leave, she got teary-eyed.

Later, at home, Charlene and Pat showed up; they'd been riding too.  Then our daughter and her husband came over.  After a couple of hours of visiting, we all realized we were hungry... and I hadn't been home enough to cook today!

So where did we go?  To the same Mexican place where we ate yesterday!

Come on, folks, we live in the boonies.  Our only other option was McDonalds.

So, we walk into the Mexican place, and there sits Pastor Bob and his wife, from the church Cliff and I visited this morning!

He came over to say hello, and I asked him to tell the story of the Harley sitting inside his church.

A widow owned it.  She just wanted it to somehow be used as a Christian witness, and Pastor Bob heard about it and went to see her.  He looked it over, listened to her talk about it, and told her he was interested.

"How much are you willing to pay?" she asked him.

"I'm not going to price it," was Bob's reply.  "You decide what you have to have for it and let me know."

She had other interested parties, but she ended up calling Pastor Bob, and told him, "I feel like you can be trusted; I'll give you the bike."

He puts it in shows sometimes, but the rest of the time it's at rest in the vestibule of his new church, with a Bible open on the seat.

It IS a 1942 Harley, but Cliff said it sure looks similar to the 1948 Harley that was his very first motorcycle.

Rode the motorcycle to Church

About once a year, Cliff and I attend this church, a fifteen-minute drive from our house.  I like it because they are so casual there.  It's OK if you want to dress up, but most folks there do not.  And the Harley riders are present in leather vests, sporting their tattoos and long hair, just as you'd expect.

I've known the preacher, Bob, for years.  He used to attend the same Church I did, back when he simply had a motorcycle ministry.  He has a great sense of humor, and goes on longer that most preachers these days, but he holds my attention.  The man has always seemed to have a genuine love and concern for people.

I wish I'd taken time to read the whole story about the Harley that sits inside the vestibule.  It's right on the wall by the bike.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

On the road again...

It was an absolutely perfect day for a motorcycle ride, and we enjoyed it to the fullest.  Pat and Charlene were here on their Harley when we got back from our morning walk, and as soon as we showered and packed a lunch, we were on our way.

We went to Arrow Rock; all my life I'd read about it, and it isn't even that far away.  What a fascinating piece of history it is.  Cliff and I will return, for sure, on the motorcycle, of course.

Then we went to Rocheport; Pat and Charlene had told us the Les Bourgeois Winery and Vineyards had a wonderful picnic spot overlooking the Missouri River, and that's where we ate our sandwiches.

That was followed by a stop at the Katy Trail; this used to be railroad track, but now it's a bicycle trail that runs the width of Missouri.

I'd tell you the other towns we traveled through, but I don't remember their names.  Except for Waverly, with which we're well familiar because we go there for apples in the fall.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Featured again on AOL journals page

Yep.  You'd think I was on AOL's payroll or something, wouldn't you?  Cliff says I should be, but I'm having fun here; that's enough pay for me.

Well, I'm always flattered when they ask to link to my journal, and hey, maybe it'll help me get up to 100,000 on my hit meter.  I should arrive at 80,000 hits within a couple of days.  Who'd have thought it?  Of course, all those hits are probably from the same dozen or so people, like my friend Virginia, who calls this blog of mine a "ministry".  Whatever, Jen.  I love you.  (Picture me patting Jen on top of her head now.)

Go to AOL journal's main page (click HERE) and scroll down toward the bottom to "Photo Shoot Followup".  There it is, big as can be:  My Country Life, with that negative picture I did for the Monday Photo Shoot linked. 

Thursday, July 20, 2006

weekend assignment #121

Weekend Assignment #121, from John Scalzi: Do whatever you want, so long as it somehow involves the number 11

Memories of being eleven, lists that have eleven positions on them, collections of eleven similar objects -- hey, whatever you want. As long as the number eleven is somehow involved, it's all good. For those of you thinking about being sneaking and using binary notation: no "11, base 2." We're talking binary number 1011 here, pal.


1. Real farms:  these days a farm has only two crops:  corn, and soybeans.  When I was a kid, a farm consisted of milk cows, beef cows, hogs, chickens, and all sorts of garden crops.  (Thanks to Uncle Leo and Uncle Carl.)

2. Babies:  My youngest grandchild is five years old (or is it six now?) and she's in Georgia.  I sure do miss having a drooling, helpless baby around.

3. My family... grandma, mother, daddy, uncles.  Yes, I am in touch with my kids and some nephews and nieces.  But it SUCKS being part of the oldest generation in my family.  All I have of Mama and Daddy and Grandma and my aunts and uncles is memories.

4. Energy.  Why am I tired all the time?

5. A sense of awe.  Oh yes, when I was in the Rockies last week, I felt it.  But in the old days, I was in awe of everything around me.  I miss that.

6.  Lightening bugs.  Yes there are a few around.  But when I was a kid, they were everywhere, and I could put a bunch of them in a quart jar and it would make plenty of light.

7. A church family that really cares about me.  Enough said.

8. Youthful ideals.  Remember when ANYTHING was possible?  Dang, I wish it was like that now.

9. Playing music with a group.  I would love to have somebody to pick and sing with.

10. Home-made ice cream

11. The camaraderie you get from having a job.  My job got pretty heavy at the end, but I miss the people. 

Extra credit: Grab a book, open it to page 11, and write out the 11th sentence.

""She knelt beside the woman Marceline, touched her lifeless hair, bent close."

That's from "Thicker Than Water", by Linda Barlow and William G. Tapply.


adventures with Sadie

Some of you thought Sadie looked like she had grown; she has not.  She was an adult dog when we got her.  The pictures that made her look larger simply had nothing in them with which to compare her size.  Notice her size when she's next to a 3/4-grown kitten.

As soon as Cliff and I are both out of bed, Sadie thinks we should go walking... and I don't mean a "potty walk", because she gets that as soon as I'm up.  She wants our walk in the pasture!  I usually play frisbee with her to settle her down a bit, but in five or ten minutes, she's rested and begging to walk again.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

the boys do help

Cliff doesn't ask the neighborhood boys to help, but they help anyhow.  They know they can use Cliff's shop, his air tools, his welder, and his expertise.  Plus, he sometimes buys them pizza.

Those of you who wondered about Buddy, there he is in the last two pictures. 

Stay out of the heat, the doctor said

According to the doctor, any time the temperature is over 85 degrees, Cliff is supposed to stay inside.  We don't have air conditioning, but the house IS about ten degrees cooler than outside.  And sitting in front of a fan helps a little... at least it dries some of the sweat.

Obviously, Cliff is going to do what he's going to do.  I've given up nagging and worrying (as much as possible) and I just hope the good Lord watches out for him.  There's probably a special angel riding on the tractor with him.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Cliff goes back to work on Monday, July 31, only three months and nine days after his surgery.  He just got a call from the doctor's office; they're mailing his release form today.  The only restriction is that he isn't supposed to lift more than 20 pounds.

Gee, he's been lifting more than that for at least a month, but we won't tell now, will we?

I took that picture this morning as he was raking alfalfa. 

Two things

One of my readers has decided to take the plunge and start her own journal.  Check out her first entry and give her a great J-Land welcome:  Faze Daze.  Leave her a comment... you know how much comments mean, when you're a new blogger.

Also, for those who are interested, I've made a few entries in my healthy-heart journal.  Click HERE.

Back to work for Cliff???

We'd set up an appointment with Cliff's heart doctor for August 1, hoping he'd release him to go back to work.  But in the mountain of mail we received during the week we were in Colorado, there was a notice from the doctor's office informing us that the appointment had been changed to August 10.  Cliff wasn't a happy camper, so I called their office to see if there was any way they could get him in sooner... maybe one of the other doctors could see him.  After searching for an earlier date, the lady said, "No way."

"Is there some way they can release him to go to work without having to see the doctor?  He's living an absolutely normal life now."

I didn't go into detail, but I could have told her he'd been push-mowing and weed-eating in 90 degree temperatures with no problem, and putting up hay. 

"You'd have to talk to the nurse," she told me.  So I was transferred to the nurse's voice mail.

Around 4 PM, the nurse called, and I put Cliff on the phone to talk to her.  From his end of the conversation, it sounded like she was asking him whether he'd been doing therapy (he told her it was too far to drive, but that he takes a walk every day).

She agreed to talk to the doctor and see if they couldn't give him a release for July 31.  So, it sounds promising.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Monday Photo Shoot: Life in Negative

Blogfather John has given us our assignment, and I must say it was fun, and surprising.

Your Monday Photo Shoot: With photo editing tools, take a picture of yours and turn it into a negative. The idea here is not to take just any picture, mind you, but one that you think will look particularly striking with its colors inverted.

I would never have thought of trying this.  Isn't it lovely?  To see the original picture, click HERE.

Thanks, John!

Try it for yourself with a photo of your own, and leave the link at John's blog when you're through.

Sadie's home

Sadie is naturally hyper-active, and she was really excited when we got her home and let her out of her dog-taxi. 

She got used to the air conditioning at the vet's place, I'm sure.  And, locked in a pen as she was, she seems to have put on a couple of pounds.

She'll have to adjust all over again to our lack of A/C.  Anyway, she seems happy enough.  I tossed her the frisbee a half-dozen times, and she was ready for more.  But in this heat, I figured we'd better end it.

She wanted to be out on her tie-out where she can watch Cliff puttering around, so there she is.

Looks like we're headed for 100 degrees again today.  It's already over 90.

The Great Sand Dunes... and heading home

I had always wanted to see the Great Sand Dunes National Monument; it's in an out-of-the-way location, and it seemed we were always ready to head home before we got to go there.

If we ever go again, we'll plan on camping there all night and walking the dunes early in the morning.  I so wanted to walk barefoot in that sand, but do you know how hot sand gets with the sun shining on it?  I tried, truly... but even MY tough old feet couldn't take it.

The Durango-Silverton train

We would have preferred to take the train to Silverton on the scenic side of the open car, and return by bus; that's an option that's available, but you have to book it ahead of time in order to get it.  We bought our tickets the day before our ride, so we took what we could get.

We arrived at the depot before 8 AM, went through the museum, and boarded our train at 9:15.  It was 7 PM when we got back into the station that evening.  We sat between a couple from the Dallas, Texas area, and one from Salt Lake City, Utah... all of them friendly folks.

This was the evening we had planned to camp, but ended up going back to the motel we'd left that morning because we were so worn out.

The lovely Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Black canyon of the Gunnison is one of my favorite places in Colorado. 

my current desktop picture

This dead tree just stood out, begging me to take a picture, when Cliff and I walked at Black Canyon.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The jeep tour from Salida

Check out this ghost town in Colorado:  St. Elmo.  Also a couple of "almost" ghost towns we visited on the jeep tour:  Pitkin and Tin Cup.

We spent two hours going six miles, to get to Tin Cup.  Grueling, to say the least.

Cripple Creek... gambling, and a house of ill repute

Cripple Creek is a lovely little town, so full of history.  If you ever get a chance, visit the Old Homestead Museum.

Prostutition was illegal in most all the mining towns, but that only meant that all prostitutes paid a fine once a month, then went on with business as usual.  The ladies of the night had to do their shopping only on Monday mornings, when all decent women were at home doing their laundry.

Cripple Creek... the Molly Kathleen Mine

I truly enjoyed the Molly Kathleen Mine Tour.  Cliff would have, except the guide didn't speak loudly or clearly enough for someone with a hearing problem.


Cliff, at the rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.  Because I've turned 62, I got my Golden Age passport at the entrance to this park; it gives me and my spouse free entry into all the federal sites... Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain National Park, the Great Smokies, and all others... plus reduced camping fees.  And it only cost a one-time fee of $10!  I found out about it from a lady who stuck up a conversation with me at Cripple Creek, and told me about the whole deal.  I do love a bargain!

Those of you who are wondering about Sadie:  I can't pick her up until tomorrow morning.  I'll let you know how that goes.

Garden of the Gods

We see Garden of the Gods every time we're in Colorado; it's free, and it's lovely.  The very best time to see it, though, is at sunrise or sunset, because during the day it's swarming with visitors.  Early mornings, about the only people you'll see there are dedicated joggers.


I'll get back to the beautiful pictures from my Colorado vacation, but let me tell you why we had steak today.

Yesterday we were heading toward home, and Cliff decided he wanted to get a little way into Kansas, so we wouldn't have so far to come home today.  We made it to Colby, and spent the night in a Motel 6.  We took our walk this morning around 6:30, and were on the road shortly after 7 AM.

Last night we asked the guy working at the motel, "Where's a good place to eat?"

He motioned up the road and said, "Montana Mike's Steak House is about the best."

Steak!  We haven't had steak in MONTHS!  What a way to end our vacation.  But alas, when we arrived at the steak house, there was a line outside, waiting to get in.  We were tired and starving, so we ended up ordering pizza delivered to our room.  Not healthy stuff, but Cliff was worn out, and we were NOT going to stand in line.  And I was in no mood to make us our usual evening salad, which has been our evening meal for the past week.

Once on the road this morning, I told Cliff, "We're going to have to eat someplace on the way home; why not watch for someplace that has steak, so we can get it out of our systems?  After all, it's our vacation, let's end it in style."

Later on, I was reading a novel aloud to Cliff when he broke in, pointing out a sign that had the words, "...voted the best steak in Kansas" or something on that order. 

"It says two miles north of I-70, exit ramp 341."

It's the only sign we saw about the place, and it was a long way to exit ramp 341.  There was absolutely nothing there to assure us that there was, in fact, a steak house anywhere around, but we were hungry, and drove into the sleepy town of Maple Hill, Kansas.

As you can see by the pictures, Puffy's Steak & Ice House is nothing fancy, so we weren't expecting anything great.  Cliff, ever aware of grease, grime and dirt in restaurants, was happy with the place.  "Look," he said enthusiastically, "even the windows are clean!"

Folks, we split a 16-ounce steak between us, and it was superb.  If you're ever crossing Kansas on I-70, Puffy's is worth the little detour.  Cliff said he's just happy it isn't any closer to our house, because he'd be plugging his veins with cholesterol constantly.

So our vacation ended with a bang.  And plenty of heat, because it's 100 degrees here at home.

I'm Home!!!

I'll try to give you some of my vacation pictures in small doses; these first ones won't be spectacular, since they're taken in Kansas.  It isn't that anything is wrong with that state, there's just so MUCH of it to travel across.  We left home Sunday July 9 at 1:30 in the afternoon, and stopped at a motel in WaKeeney, Kansas that night, which was about halfway to our destination.  It was an older motel, and only cost $40; our cheapest motel of the trip.

Friday, July 14, 2006

What goes through a doggie's mind?

We boarded Sadie at the vet's last Saturday, before heading out here to Colorado.  Every once in a while, I wonder what she is thinking.

After all, when we went looking for a dog, and she chose me, she was in a cage at the shelter.

Does she think I've given her to another shelter?  Does she think she's been abandoned?  Does she assume she'll never see me again?

I know we're not supposed to attribute human feelings and traits to our pets, but I can't help but wonder.

I'm beat!!!

We checked out of the cheap motel at 7:30 this morning and went on to the railroad depot.  We were to board our train at 9:15, but we figured to spend the time prior to that in the railroad museum at the roundhouse; indeed, that was enjoyable.

We both agreed we should ride in one of the open cars this time, breathing fresh air and looking straight out upon nature's delights.  Wonderful plan, that:  unfortunately, nobody warned us about the smoke and cinders and soot that speckle your clothing and any exposed body parts with black dots. 

On our trip from Durango to Silverton, we were facing away from most of the wonderful scenery, but when we headed back, we saw all the stuff we'd missed.  It truly is awesome; the only thing is, it lasts about two hours too long, heading back, because the train moves slowly... and the last couple of hours, you're out of the high country, looking at farmhouses and suburbs.

Here was our problem:  We got back at the depot at 7 PM.  Our original plan was to head east and camp someplace, but we hadn't planned on being so tired and dirty, or on getting back so late; the last thing either one of us wanted to do was put up a tent and inflate an air mattress.  We truly regretted the fact that we hadn't booked another night at the cheap, clean motel.

Cliff suggested we go see if they had any rooms left; I warned him that it's the weekend, when prices are usually higher... and rooms fill rapidly.

Thank the good Lord, there were still rooms left, and at the same rate.  We're in the room adjecent to where we spent last night.  We've showered all the soot from ourselves, decaff coffee is making on the propane stove for Cliff, and the TV captions are on.

Life is good. 

Tomorrow, we'll head east for sure.

cheap motels

Because I'm a "bargain biddy", I hate to pay more for a motel room than necessary. 

It's no use Internet-shopping for the kind of motels we are looking for, because they're not there.

It was easy to find a cheap place to stay in Colorado Springs, because there are lots of older, individually-owned places from which to choose.  One of the worst things about these cheaper places is that they don't have coffee pots in their rooms, and most of them don't have coffee or breakfast in the morning.

We have our own cereal, fruit and milk for breakfast; but Cliff and I don't do well without our morning coffee.

At our first place, in Kansas, there was a convenience store nearby, which solved the caffeine dilemma.  Our second night, in Colorado Springs, I told the proprietor we'd keep looking until we found a motel with coffee in the rooms, and he loaned us a coffeepot.  Our third night was spent in Salida, and that was actually in a nice Econolodge, with Internet and all, for under $60.  Because Salida isn't really a tourist-trap sort of town yet, competition keeps motel prices reasonable.

The fourth night was spent in a tent in a campground at the south rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.  We brought a camp coffeepot on this trip, and borrowed our daughter's Coleman stove, so we were set there.

Last night we found this gem of a place.  It's obviously past its prime, but it's clean, and it smells nice.  AND it has Internet.  The one drawback?  No coffee in the room, and no coffee available in the breakfast room until 7:30.  How are we coping?

We brought the Coleman stove inside, and the coffeepot, and are doing just great, thank you very much!  The old gold miners in this area should have had it so good.  Our addictions must be maintained, and where there's a will, there's a way.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Coming to you live, from Durango

We didn't see any bears at the Black Canyon.  I did see a mule deer outside my tent when I woke up this morning, and yes, I did get a picture.  Cliff and I had the most gorgeous views while taking our morning walk.  Oh, and the drive from Ouray to Durango is priceless.  If you're ever in Colorado, you must do it!

After bargain-shopping for motels this afternoon, and threatening to camp out again after hearing the prices, we finally found a motel for $58, plus tax (which made it $63).  That'll be the most we've paid for a night's lodging so far.  And yes, it's a clean room.

Tomorrow we're taking the train from Durango to Silverton; we've done it before, but it's one of those things that's worth doing twice.

I'm not sure when we'll leave Durango, but once we do, we're headed slowly toward home, hopefully going past the Great Sand Dunes National Monument.  Natives around here don't seem to be too impressed with it, but by george, I've been trying for years to see it, and this time we WILL!  I'll let you know if it's a waste of time.

Some things we had planned to do that we missed this trip:  The Coors brewery at Golden, Colorado; Leadville, although we've been there before; and the Rocky Mountain National Park.  But there'll be a next time, good Lord willing.

I got my Golden Age passport, so I get to enter all National parks free, along with my spouse!  Happy birthday to me, right?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Just checking in from Salida

I'm making an entry while I have Internet access, because I expect we'll camp tonight... perhaps near Black Canyon of the Gunnison.  Unless storms threaten, because Cliff and I don't do tents in the rain very well.

Yesterday we took a jeep tour from Salida; we'd done it several years ago, and enjoyed it, so Cliff suggested we do it again.  Only in a jeep can you get to those breathtaking views in the Rockies.  But only in a jeep can you jar your bones and rattle your teeth to the extreme, as we did yesterday, also.  I must say Cliff and I took it with less complaining than the two teens in the family who went with us, though.  In one day, we experienced heat, cold, rain, sunshine, and hail... enough hail to turn the ground rather white, at the top of the mountains.  I'll have pictures to share when I'm at home.

I just hope I don't meet up with any bears tonight.  Wish me luck.

Oh, a message to relatives who might call Cliff's cell phone:  He swears he packed his phone charger, but we can't find it anywhere.  And we haven't been able to find a mobile charger that works for his phone.  So, if you can't reach his cell, it's probably dead.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Hello from Colorado

I can't show you the pictures, because I didn't bring anything to let me download pictures onto my laptop.  But we are having an exciting time here in Colorado.  We left home Saturday at 1:30 PM, and made it 3/4 of the way across Kansas before stopping at a motel.  Yesterday we went on to Manitou Springs (next to Colorado Springs), got a motel, drove around a bit, and settled in for the evening, with rain pouring down outside our windows.

This morning we went to Garden of the Gods at sunup, and that was fantastic!  I have pictures to share when I get home.  

I had never been to Cripple Creek, so that's where we headed this morning.  While there, we toured a gold mine and a brothel (no longer in business), and just for the heck of it, we both gambled five bucks away.  If I'd quit while I was ahead, I could have come away with $7.50.  Of course I didn't quit, just kept on until every cent was gone.  Cliff and I left shaking our heads, wondering what the big deal is about gambling.  That was our first and last experience with one-armed bandits.

Right now, we're in one of our favorite areas, Salida, in a marvelous, clean motel.  The rain, they say, is over.  Tomorrow we'll go exploring.  Don't ask about our getting lost, or ending up here instead of at the Great Sand Dunes National Monument.  At least, don't ask around Cliff.

Bye for now!

Friday, July 7, 2006

I'm a happy camper!

While my son was here, he stayed quite busy:  He helped Cliff work on the big hay baler, put trim on the add-on lean-to out at the shop, and various other chores.  Cliff actually made a list of things to do while Jim was here, because neither of them likes to just sit around and talk; they enjoy projects of any kind to keep their hands busy.

I reaped some big benefits too, apart from enjoying five-year-old Lyndsay (soon to be six).  Jim transferred all the pictures and music from my old hard drive, on the computer that died, to this computer.  So I now have all my "stuff".  I'm going to make a project of putting my pictures on CDs, so that no matter what happens, I'll have them.  Although now that I've seen how easy it is to move them from one to the other, I guess I shouldn't worry about it.  A computer crash isn't necessarily fatal, after all.

I'm sixty-two today, and my birthday present from Cliff will be a trip to Colorado!  I'm excited, of course.  I'm not positive when we'll leave, but now that I have a laptop, if we're in a motel with Internet access, I can keep you all posted.  If it were up to me, we'll leave in the morning, but that's probably a bit soon.  I need to straighten things up around here before we go.  We'll take Sadie to be boarded at the vet's, and be on our way.

Thursday, July 6, 2006

The last day of my son's visit

This has been a wonderful week, and perhaps the best 4th of July ever.  I know grandmothers are prejudiced, but that Lyndsay is a true little southern belle and sharp as a tack.  She puts toys up when she's done with them.  She converses like an adult.  And she understands dogs, and they know it... and treat her with respect.

Here's a sample conversation with Lyndsay: 

"Lyndsay, somebody took out the trash for me!"

"Yeah, my daddy did that because you're his mom and it's his last day here and he wanted to do something nice for you."

"Did he say that?"

"No, I just made it up."

She has kept us in stitches, and I sure wish Georgia wasn't so far away.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

granddaughters today

My son had orders from my daughter-in-law to visit our friends' vineyard and pick up a couple of her favorite wines.  We hadn't seen Tim and Barb since December, and Barbara was shocked to hear about Cliff's heart surgery; the local rumor was that Cliff had retired, and he and I were traveling all over the country on our motorcycle.  How I wish THAT were true!  Don't you love small town gossip?

Anyway, I felt the vineyard/winery was a good photo opportunity, since three granddaughters were with us.  See all the grapevines in the background?  Cliff bought biscotti for all.

About the car Arick was working on yesterday

To answer the question many of you asked in the comment section of the previous entry, Arick drove the girl friend's car to work today, and it's running fine.

The specific problem was the water pump, but this car happened to be one that was exceptionally hard to work on, according to my husband, my son, and other assorted men who tried to give advice and lend a hand yesterday.

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

happy birthday America

Too many pictures of the 4th.  But it was great!

So, where have I been?

This is the longest I've gone without posting for ages, and I've been right here at home with no real excuse not to make an entry.  I have a lovely granddaughter visiting, and my other grandchildren are around a lot:  so there's every opportunity for pictures.  After all, I only see Lyndsay once a year.

But I've been busy wilting.

Remember, we only have air conditioning in our bedroom (our own choice... I'm not looking for sympathy).  Yesterday our thermometer registered 100 degrees ouside.  And, since my son is visiting, I've been cooking and baking a lot.  Take a 100-degree day and turn on an oven and a couple of burners inside, and what do you get?  Wilted Mosie!  And, with all that cooking, I've washed a ton of dishes (no dishwasher, either).  So my knee has been giving me fits, from standing at the sink for hours.

Today we'll have relatives here for a barbecue; my son-in-law, Kevin, will be the chef; the potato salad is already made.  The forecast is for a cooler day, and it's raining outside as I type this.  We desperately need the rain, so I'm thankful for this change in weather.  I feel better already.


Saturday, July 1, 2006

It's nice to have my son and his baby girl here

The pictures tell the story. 

My son and his daughter are here!

That's our son Jim, on the left:  At his side are my oldest grandchild, Arick, and my youngest grandchild, Lyndsay.  Life is good.

received in e-mail from my buddy, Frankye

I've seen this before, but this is an updated version.

Friday Humor - Why did the chicken cross the road?

DR PHIL: The problem we have here is that this chicken won't realize that he must first deal with the problem on "THIS" side of the road before it goes after the problem on the "OTHER SIDE" of the road. What  we need to do is help him realize how stupid he's acting by not taking on his "CURRENT" problems before adding "NEW" problems.

OPRAH: Well I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he wants to cross this road so badly. So instead of having the chicken learn from his mistakes and take falls, which is a part of life, I'm going to give this chicken a car so that he can just drive across the road and not live his life like the rest of the chickens.

GEORGE W. BUSH: We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not. The chicken is either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.

DONALD RUMSFELD: Now to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road.

ANDERSON COOPER/CNN: We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been allowed to have access to the other side of the road.

JOHN KERRY: Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it! It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken's intentions. I am for it now, and will remain against it.

JUDGE JUDY: That chicken crossed the road because he's GUILTY! You can see it in his eyes and the way he walks.

PAT BUCHANAN: To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American.

MARTHA STEWART: No one called me to warn me which way that chicken was going. I had a standing order at the Farmer's Market to sell my eggs when the price dropped to a certain level.

DR SEUSS: Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I've not been told.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY: To die. in the  rain.   Alone.

JERRY FALWELL: Because the chicken was gay! Can't you people see the plain truth in front of your face? The chicken was going to the "otherside." That's why they call it the "other side. Yes, my friends, that chicken is gay. And if you eat that chicken, you will become gay too. I say we boycott all chickens until we sort out this abomination that the liberal media whitewashes with seemingly harmless phrases like "the other side." That chicken should not be free to cross the road. It's as plain and simple as that!

GRANDPA: In my day we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road.  Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.

BARBARA WALTERS: Isn't that interesting? In a few moments, we will be listening to the chicken tell, for the first time, the heart warming story of how it experienced a serious case of molting, and went on to accomplish its life long dream of crossing the road.

JOHN LENNON: Imagine all the chickens in the world crossing roads together - in peace.

ARISTOTLE: It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.

BILL GATES: I have just released eChicken2006, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your check book. Internet explorer is an integral part of eChicken. The Platform is much more stable and will never cra...#@&&^( C .....reboot.

ALBERT EINSTEIN: Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken?

BILL CLINTON: I did not cross the road with THAT chicken. What is your definition of chicken?

AL GORE: I invented the chicken!

COLONEL SANDERS: Did I miss one?

just checking in

The specialist I went to gave me the all-clear; honestly, I feel going there was a waste of time.  My regular doctor could have given me the all-clear.  Oh well.

We are still trying to decide on a vacation destination:  It seems all the places we'd like to go are in a drought.  Colorado, the Black Hills, the Grand Canyon. 

Please God, send rain.  Here, and everywhere else where it's needed.

Hopefully as I type this, my son is headed in this direction from his home in Georgia.  It's been a year since I've seen him, so I am ready.