Wednesday, January 31, 2007

An exercise, a meme

I did this exercise on my Blogger journal, but I didn't exactly follow the rules.  I'm doing it here trying to follow the pattern exactly.  If any of you want to try it, you'll find the pattern HERE.  I suggest you leave a link to your entry HERE, if you choose to do it.  You might even win a small prize for your efforts.  But the real prize is the way you feel doing it.

I am the first living baby carried to full term born to a couple in Iowa who had been married for twelve years.  Who had the colic for six months, and wouldn’t shut up crying in the evenings unless somebody walked the floor with her constantly, and was potty-trained by the time she was a year old (Mama swore it was the truth!).

I am the child who played cowboys and Indians and was always the Indian, and once in awhile played with baby dolls, but always pretended they were papooses.

Who loved brown sugar fudge and horses and Martin-and-Lewis movies.

Who stored Heidi and the Bobbsey Twins and Hans Christian Anderson in my treasure box.

Who dreamed of owning a pony, and never thought she would be lucky enough to have a man who truly loved her.

I am the teenager who never dated.  Who wore can-can slips and saddle oxfords, and loved cats and hated being so different from everybody else her age.

Who didn’t rebel until she was almost 21, and got married shortly thereafter.

Who dreamed of having a dozen babies and knew she would love being a mother.  She even had a dozen names chosen.

I am the woman who married a man she had only known for six months or so.

Who loves God and her family and country life.

I am the mother who loves solitude and goes crazy if I have to spend too much time with anybody, and whose moments of perfect bliss come when I’m riding my horse, or traveling with my husband who doesn't even like to travel.

I am the housewife and factory worker who loves folk music and avoids housework, and who spends way too much time on the Internet.

I am the woman who is self-centered and hard-headed and wayward.  I am the person who wishes she could change the world and write a thousand songs.

I am the woman who still loves Roy Rogers and Gene Autry, but never thinks about them often.

Who still longs to learn to really play the guitar, rather than just chord.  (But doesn't want to put forth that much effort.)

I am the person who dreams of peace and perfection, and is grateful that God and people are willing to put up with her, and who hopes somebody will remember her with a smile fifty years after she’s gone.

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Hey, our day is getting more exciting!

Cliff is rather lost lately; he has no projects going in the shop.  He has several things he'd like to do outside, but there's nothing he can do with the ground frozen and the weather so cold.  Today he saw that Orschelns (a farm store) had some good sales going, and out of boredom he decided to go buy a few things.   Now, you know Cliff is stir-crazy when it's his idea to go shopping!  I forgot to take pictures at Orschelns, but trust me, you aren't missing anything.

The school bus came early this morning and the girls left so fast, they forgot their lunches; so we dropped those off on our way out.  They could have bought a school lunch, but they were very excited about the contents of their lunch boxes today.  I hated to see them disappointed.

We stopped at Walmart in hopes that I could get enough essentials to head off another trip to the grocery store later this week.  Let's face it, any time we're out, we stop at a Walmart.  Cliff has often threatened to put up our tent camper in the Walmart parking lot when we're on vacation, simply because we're always hunting one up.

The dry snow we're getting isn't supposed to amount to much.  Still, it's sorta pretty.

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18 degrees, and we walked

Ten degrees makes quite a difference; it didn't feel nearly as cold today as yesterday when we walked.  You'd be surprised  how all the bulky clothes slow us down.  But at least we're walking, and after those icy days when we were stranded in the house, I can appreciate getting out.

And that's the big excitement of my whole day.  But have faith, spring is coming!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

never too cold to go for a walk

Yesterday Cliff and I decided to try walking our normal route in the pasture; there's snow on the hillsides, but we're able to pretty much follow our normal route.  When we set out this morning, it was 8 degrees with a wind chill of 15 below, or something like that, but you'd be surprised how fast a person can warm up, walking up a hill.  We were bundled up like crazy, of course, and even had our mouths covered.

Sadie is unbelievably happy to have her little run every morning.

I've written a lot about my fondness for Grey's Anatomy.  Last fall there was a much-publicized feud between Isaiah Washington and Patrick Dempsey; and now I understand there's a feud between Isaiah Washington and T.R. Knight.  I don't normally worry about these silly show-business spats, or even care.   I don't buy "National Enquirer".

But now I'm afraid somebody will quit the show, and there isn't a single character I want to give up!

It's all about me, right?

Sunday, January 28, 2007

I feel so guilty

My oldest granddaughter, Amber, spent the night here last night with her mini-pin, Sophie.  Nothing unusual about that.

This morning, Cliff and I went to the Church I used to attend all the time, since he had no big projects that demanded his being in the shop for hours and hours.  I sometimes miss the lovely sounds of that choir, and it's always a treat to hear them again.  Last time we visited there was Easter, four days before Cliff had heart surgery.  We went on our motorcycle that day.

As we left this morning, I told Amber to feel free to watch my "second season Grey's Anatomy" DVDs.  She's as much a fan as I am.

When Cliff and I got home, she was well into the fourth episode of the series.  I told Cliff if he wanted to watch something on TV, Amber would be happy to turn off the DVDs. 

"No," he said, "Grey's Anatomy is fine."

That was noon.  Amber left around 3 PM.  Cliff and I were still watching until 7 PM, and I was the one who finally cried "uncle".  You can get too much of a good thing.

I do think Amber and I have created another "Grey's Anatomy" fan.  Please don't tell Cliff I said that.  OK?

Why I read on-line journals

I was thinking today about all the journals and blogs I read, and asked myself why I've chosen certain ones for favorites, AOL alerts, or Bloglines.

Of course my kids' journals are first and foremost on my "to-read" list, although my son doesn't update often; blogging seems to be more of a "gal" thing, doesn't it?

When I'm browsing through the Internet looking at different blogs, I tend to look for people with a country or small-town flavor.  I connect with them because of our similar backgrounds and lifestyles, and quickly get caught up in their daily lives; before you know it, I feel as though I've known them forever.

I love people who can find humor in every-day life.   We don't have to have anything else in common  in order to laugh together.  Make me laugh and I'll be the first one on the doorstep of your blog, every time you update.  (That's Remo and Mrs L, for starters.)

And sometimes, I just connect with the writer of the blog for no particular reason.  I know I like them, and that's reason enough.

In my travels through J-land, and now Blogger, I've seen people overcome cancer, and some who didn't.  I've held the hands, so to speak, of people who lost a spouse. 

I felt the caring of dozens of people whose faces I'll never see in real life, when my husband was in the hospital.

I've commiserated with folks who lost a beloved pet, and rejoiced with those who acquired a new one.  I've laughed at the antics of your children and grandchildren, your dogs and cats, your birds and your horses.

If I had to choose one thing about the Internet that I like most, it would be journals and blogs. 

Thanks to all of you who continue to connect with me.

Friday, January 26, 2007


Yep, we got mud.  They say it's headed to 55 degrees, then down in the deep freeze tomorrow.

I think I'll go handle my horses, mud or no mud.


Quite possibly the best blog I've found

I just have to share a journal I discovered while surfing through my vast collection of blog-links.  I found this lady's writings by clicking on a link from another blog, I think.

I was instantly hooked.  This woman is an excellent photographer and has a way with words.  Plus, she's COUNTRY!

She doesn't need me plugging her, because she gets over a hundred comments on most of her entries.  Check her out and you'll see why.  Great reading for those long winter evenings.

Confessions of a Pioneer Woman


Perhaps you've noticed, my entries have been rather boring lately.


Because nothing is happening around here.

I suppose no news is good news, because we haven't had any crises for me to blog about.

I just hadn't realized how much of my journal is about things I do outdoors.  And I don't get outside much lately.  We had the ice and severe cold weather, then the snow, and now we have mud, as a result of all the snow and ice melting.  More severe cold is predicted this weekend and all next week, after we get to a high of 45 today.

That means more mud, before it all freezes back hard as the hubs of hell (just how hard is
that, anyhow?)

My filly, Libby, is getting huge.  I haven't handled her for two or three weeks, except to pet her when I walk past.  Do you suppose she'll have forgotten everything I taught her? 

It would be warm enough today for riding, but the muddy conditions will prohibit that; Blue slips and slides on mud too much to suit me.  It will not be warm enough for the motorcycle ride that Cliff is longing for.

So, that's why my entries lately are about television shows I'm watching.  Boring, eh?

(I now have the full second season of Grey's Anatomy on DVD, by the way... but I'll spare you the details on that.)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I finally found something good to watch on TV

Every day this week, evidently, VH1 classic is re-broadcasting the same series (hours and hours) of "The History of Rock and Roll".

The first one-hour episode goes way back before my own rock-and-roll experience, and I missed that one today. I'll catch it at 2 PM tomorrow, good Lord willing.

The second episode is where Elvis, Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis... all the singers from my own era... come in.

This is good stuff! 


One year ago tomorrow, my dog Mandy was struck on the highway and killed.  I've seen a lot of pets die over the years, but for some reason, losing Mandy was traumatic to me.   I still don't let myself think about her for too long at a time, or grief overtakes me all over again.

Now, my dog Sadie has to pay the price.  I seldom let her off the leash for fear she will suffer the same fate as Mandy.  She is the first dog I've ever had who never gets turned loose outside, unless we're back in the pasture away from the distractions of other dogs, or children.

The picture below is the last ever taken of Mandy.

"I'll be seeing you
In all the old familiar places
That this heart of mine embraces
All day through.

I'll be seeing you
In every lovely summer's day;
In every thing that's light and gay.
I'll always think of you that way.

I'll find you
In the morning sun
And when the night is new.
I'll be looking at the moon,
But I'll be seeing you."

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

getting back to normal routine

The snow and ice is melting a little more each day.   We  walked along the highway again (that's two days in a row), and I've been idle long enough that I realized I have shin splints.  It doesn't take long to get soft.

Cliff was brave enough to take the Mercury down the driveway, and we didn't slide.   We  went to Sam's  Club, mainly to buy the  Simply Naked Pita  Chips we've learned to love:  we can get a six-ounce bag at  Price Chopper for  over  $3,  or we can buy a 22 oz  bag at Sam's Club for under $5.  No brainer, huh?  I bought four bags!  We don't get to Sam's that often.

We split a foot-long Subway meatball sub (Hooray for Tuesday is still going on), and then decided to go by a McDonald's for an ice cream cone.  Now those are supposed to be 150 calories, right?  But they stacked about a pint of ice cream on each cone.  This happened at the same McDonald's another time, but we just thought it was a fluke, a one-time thing.  Seriously, that ice cream was heaped at least six inches high.

So there we were, going down the highway and doing a lot of fast licking, trying to eat all that ice cream before it melted or, even worse, slumped over onto our laps.  I was full before I got halfway to the cone.  So did I toss the rest?

Nope.  I wanted to, but I'd have had to toss it out the window.  If there'd been a trash can handy, I'd have thrown it away.  Honest!!!

Anyway, we agreed that if we go to that particular McDonald's again, we'll ask them not to make big cones.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Now wait just a DOGGONE minute!

OK, now I'm watching Supernanny for the first time.

I see why I haven't been watching reality TV.

I do NOT believe this stuff.

I won't be watching this junk again.


OK, so for the first time in my life, I sat down and watched Wife Swap all the way through.

Does anybody believe this is real?

As if people would act naturally with cameras on them.   Yeah, right.


You asked for it, Judy

I was asked in a comment where the Missouri River is, in relation to my house. 

The yellowish dot is where I live.  The red dots mark the roads where I turn to go to the river.  Often, I'll ride down on one road and back on the other.

I also cross the highway and ride south quite often.  I live in an ideal area for horseback riding! 

The elevation at our house is 864; at the highest spot in the pasture, it's 880; and at the railroad track, it's 751.  So if you walk from the highest elevation to the lowest, you get quite a workout. 

My place, from the sky

Can you see the faint red lines?  That more or less outlines our property.  The red dot at the bottom is where my house is, and the red dot toward the back is where my cabin sits.  The blue dot is where Marvin's house was, until it burned; now there's just a basement there, but Marvin is working on their new house, which they're putting a little farther back from the road. 

The greenest area of the pasture is our mixed-hay field; the plowed-up area is where our alfalfa field is.  The curve at the back of the property is the railroad track.

I love Google earth!


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Pictures taken this morning

I think we got four or five inches of snow.  The temperature is right at 30 degrees, so it's perfect "snowman" snow, the kind I loved when I was small.  As soon as it was daylight, I trudged out to take some pictures for those of you who don't see much snow.  Enjoy!

Joanna, you asked for it

My friend Joanna, who visited me last April, asked me to take a view from the front of my cabin looking down over the Missouri River bottom. 

This is how it looks this morning.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Wow, this is some good writing

Here is some excellent reading; it's a single blog entry done by an oncology nurse.  What an excellent piece of writing!

Friday, January 19, 2007

What does Blue see?

I fed the horses a bale of alfalfa tonight.  Now, Blue is usually the biggest eater of the bunch, and nothing distracts him from his supper.  Tonight, though, he seemed to see ghosts in two different directions.  Notice the other horses are calmly eating; they don't seem to see a thing.

Before I took this video, I stood beside Blue gazing in the same direction as he was, but I never saw any kind of movement.

Mighty peculiar.  And he was still exhibiting the same behavior when I came inside.

(Also notice Libby, my baby, laying back her ears toward Sassy to make her move... she is becoming a bully!)

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Winter storm watch

I think I've shared this picture before; it's me and some cousins with a snow fort we built (I'm on the left).  Some of those cousins still talk about the day this was taken, at family reunions; and I keep intending to make them copies of this picture.

"Winter storm watch" for the weekend, they're saying on the news.  Meanwhile, says, simply, "snow showers".  I'll bet we don't get enough snow to amount to anything.  But I hope we do!

I love snow.  I know, I know... I've griped all week long about being house-bound.  But we've had ice, which is a whole different ball game.  Snow is fun to walk in.  I love the way it muffles sounds, and makes the world look clean and pure.  When I used to milk cows, I even enjoyed doing chores when it was snowing.

OK, so if this "winter storm" doesn't materialize, the next best thing would be for the weather to be nice enough so I could ride Blue.  Wednesday it's supposed to get up to 39 degrees.  Maybe then?

I do hope and pray that this layer of ice thaws completely today, for the sake of the horses.  They need a chance to stretch their legs, poor things.  The ice has kept them stranded in a very small area.  I've worried about them possibly falling and breaking a leg.

Yep, I'll be glad to see the ice gone.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

experiment #2 (Thanks, Celeste)


Here goes nothing:

What next?

I heard a vehicle struggling in our slick-as-snot driveway this morning at 5 AM.  Hmmm, that's to early for Rachel to be bringing the girls. 

Our renter is a truck driver, and he's on the road most of the time.  When he's home, he brings only the tractor-cab here and parks in front of the barn, leaving the trailer elsewhere.

For some reason, this morning he's driving one tractor and pulling another (wrecked?) one.  And he's stuck in our drive.  My daughter will have to turn around in the road when she brings the girls.  And it looks like one more day we won't go anywhere.

We're out of milk, and slowly running out of other essential stuff.  I guess I'll make pancakes for the granddaughters this morning.

Never a dull moment, eh?

(Added later:  Rick got a run at the drive and made it to the top.  Whoopee!)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

God Loves You

If you never know anything else in your life, remember this:  God loves you.  Sing it, Chonda!

Critter report

I bundled up and took Sadie out; poor thing was going crazy, hoping Cliff and I would take our walk.  I tossed the Frisbee for her a few times.  It was hilarious to see her run after it and then slide past!

I walked with her in safe places where I knew I wouldn't fall.  The fresh air and sunshine did us both good, even if it is only 8 degrees.  It isn't the temperature that limits me, it's the ice.  Cliff and I have been known to take our walks when it was below zero, and we handled it just fine. 

Sadie and I were only outside for twenty-five minutes, but she is a much more contented doggie now.

The horses are dandy.  Cliff got bedding out of the box stall and spread it in places where they have to walk, so they won't slip and slide getting to food, water, and the shed.

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another snow-day for the girls

I took this picture out the window over my kitchen sink yesterday evening. 

No school today.  I cook a little differently when the girls are here for dinner (the noon meal).  And yet, I try to cook things that are low-fat and healthful.  These granddaughters really are not fussy eaters, so we do fine.

Yesterday we had tuna-noodle casserole; it's a great comfort food for days like these, and Monica and Natalie can't get enough of it.  I've made the recipe over somewhat, with less salt and fat, so it's good for us.

Today I have chicken breast thawing, and I plan to make oven-fried chicken (which isn't fried at all, but has a coating rather like Shake-and-Bake... without so much sodium, though).  It's another dish the girls like.  I'll make scalloped potatoes from scratch, and have broccoli, I think.  Or maybe glazed carrots.  Perhaps both.

I really miss my daily walk, but with our single-digit temperatures, the ice outside isn't going to melt any time soon.  There's an exercise bike out in the shop that I might bring inside for the duration of this cold snap, much as I dislike those instruments of torture.

It just occurred to me, I haven't been off the place Monday of last week.  No wonder I'm slightly stir-crazy, confined to the three rooms of this house that are heated!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Scalzi's Monday Photo Shoot

An assignment from John Scalzi.

"Your Monday Photo Shoot: Out Your Window, Redux

I did this topic at the very beginning of the Monday Photos Shoots, and I thought it might be fun to do again (or one much like it):

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Pick a window in your home. Take a picture out of it. We're looking at things that are close to home this week."

OK John, here you go.  Monica is outside enjoying the ice-skating in our yard.   She just happened to be peering in my bedroom window at her sister, and I figured this was as good a picture as any.

Go ahead, folks.  Take a picture out of any window in your house, and leave the link to your entry HERE, at John Scalzi's place.

poor horses

Cliff went out to check on the animals and found Blue stranded, downhill from the others.  It's so slick out there, the horses can't walk without slipping and sliding.  Cliff coaxed Blue up with the others somehow, but then he had to figure out what to do about water for all of them.  Even though the in-ground waterer isn't far from where the horses are, there's no way they'd be able to get to it with the ice on the ground; and if they tried, they could fall and injure themselves.

So, my poor husband had to thaw out an outside hydrant, get a stock tank turned right-side up, run an extension cord and a stock-tank heater to the tank, and fill it.  The horses can't get to their big bale feeder, either.  Until the ice is gone, they'll be getting alfalfa, the small bales.

I bundled up and helped him some, but my goodness it's treacherous!  The granddaughters both played outside for an hour or so, slipping and sliding, even though the temperature is 15 degrees.

Cliff isn't going to work today; the guy he rides with is sick, and our Grand Marquis is helpless on wintry roads.


This series of storms started out as just a little bit of freezing drizzle and then changed to sleet.  Not a big problem, since sleet doesn't build up on trees or make the roads slick.  It accumulated harmlessly in our yard, looking like snow, and we didn't worry.

Then we got off-and-on freezing drizzle again, which joined with the sleet on the ground to make a wonderful ice-skating rink, right in my own yard.

I haven't ventured further than just outside the door, where I can hang onto a door handle to keep from falling.

This presents two problems for Sadie, my dog:  First, she feels that the icy, hard surface is not the proper sort of place to potty.  It feels too much like a floor, perhaps.  Second, since I won't leave the door handle, Sadie can't get to her usual potty area.  I have to keep her on her retractable leash because she runs away, given the opportunity.

So when I'd take her out, she'd circle and sniff, semi-squat as if to pee, change her mind, circle again, and return to me, mission not accomplished.

I admire her for her bladder capacity.  Her last potty break was at 6 PM yesterday.  She finally was able to relieve herself this morning at 8.  Once she started, I thought she'd sprung a permanent leak, because she "went" for a long time.

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

What a day

We are truly house-bound today, as a result of the inclement weather.  Church was cancelled this morning. 

Grandson Arick was here with his latest new dog, and I'm hoping he made it back home safely.  I've seen very few vehicles on the highway, as I look out my window.  It's been sleeting off and on for hours, until the yard is a sheet of ice... and yet, there's not been enough freezing rain to build up on power lines and cause problems.

Sadie is stir-crazy, but has finally resigned herself to her fate and is curled up in her bed.

Cliff, being a football fan, is doing just dandy, thank you very much.

We had taco soup for lunch (thanks Sonya) and will have warmed-over spaghetti for supper.  I'm sure I haven't lost any weight today.  Does anyone know how many calories per hour one burns while surfing the 'Net?

Oh, I did work on toughening up my guitar-playing callouses:  I sang "Choices", "Jesus, Lover of my Soul" (there's something awesome about singing a song written in the 1700's), "We Could",  "Fraulein",  and "If  Teardrops Were Pennies".  Cliff, who is tone-deaf, thinks I'm in good voice.  The truth is, I still have a scratchy throat, and a cough from my recent cold. 

I tried to get started reading a book, decided I'm not crazy about that one, and dug out another.

And so it goes.  I certainly am enjoying AOL radio, the folk channel.  It's a good day for music.

What if there were no future to plan?

As I was surfing through random blogs over at Blogspot, I discovered one called "What Are You Doing With The Rest of Your Life".

Upon reading a few entries, I realized the author of that blog has terminal cancer.  He recently started his journal at a friend's suggestion, to have a way to vent his feelings. 

Here in J-land, I have followed journals of some cancer survivors... and one I can think of who did not survive; but she still had hope, even knowing her chances weren't the best.  Hope means you can still plan a future.

This fellow has pancreatic cancer, which I believe is always fatal, and takes its victims rather rapidly.  Cliff's dad died of pancreatic cancer.

Why would I read something so sad?  I seldom leave comments there, because what can you say to a man with no future? 

I can benefit from what he writes, though.  For instance, here's something he had to say:

"How does one orient oneself, when there is no goal?

How does one know what to think or what to feel?

How does one know what to do or what to say?

I'm feeling a little adrift; nothing remarkable planned, indeed no real plans possible, in such a day to day existence in which I find myself.

I suppose it comes part 'n' parcel with the terminal illness thing; one is only expected to hold on, exist. While I've never been one for lofty goals, it seems to me that I should be able to do better than merely exist, yet that is where I find myself."

That got me thinking about how much I live in, and for, the future.  Planning what bills to pay off, planning what toys we might buy when those bills are paid.  Thinking what I'd do if something happened to Cliff, or what he'd do without me.  Making plans for vacation next summer.  You get the picture.

So what if I only had six months to live?  What would I do?

If the weather were nice, I'd spend lots of time hanging out at my cabin, or riding my horse.  But this time of year?  What can you do in Missouri in January, when your time is limited (and of course, a person wouldn't be feeling the best, with cancer invading her body). 

What I do now is read, surf the Internet, watch TV.  But none of that is really living.  It seems I waste a lot of time in winter just gritting my teeth and "getting by" till spring.

What would I do with the rest of my life?

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Hats and horns!!!! Let's celebrate!

Look at my hit counter, would you?  I know it's tiny... I chose it because of its diminutive size.  Anyway, I've actually passed 100,000 hits on this journal.

That count isn't entirely accurate, because after my AOL counter started over for about the fourth time and I got myself a different kind, I had to go from memory on the starting number. 

Also, the counter registers my own visits here, as well as return visits by my readers, I believe.  I'm too lazy to go looking for something fancier.  So yeah, I'm not all that popular.  It amazes me that anybody finds my ramblings all that interesting.

Thanks to all my faithful, regular readers.  And to any new ones.

And especially to relatives and AOL buddies, for whom this thing was originally conceived.

Our morning walk

Cliff and I started the day watching TV in bed; first the news, and then "My Favorite Martian" (the recent movie, not the old TV series).  The granddaughters and I had seen it last week and thoroughly enjoyed it; I knew Cliff would like it too. 

After finishing off the heart-healthy coffeecake we've been having for breakfast for three days, we headed out for our walk.  It's 15 degrees out, so it takes us a good ten minutes to get all those clothes on; Sadie whines the whole time, anxious to go.

I fed the barn cats and made sure there was water in their heated dish; Cliff gave the horses their morning treat of hay, although it was supposed to be alfalfa, and it wasn't.  An interesting note on the horses:  Libby, the newcomer and baby of the bunch, is moving up the totem pole.  She lays back her ears and nips toward Sassy, and Sassy moves!  I was surprised to see one so young getting away with that.  It's all part of herd politics, and I believe pecking order is about to change.

The footing wasn't too great for our walk, and we had to forgo some of the steepest areas.  Evidently, at some point during the night, there was a little freezing drizzle on top of the sleet on the ground, and it made it slick.

Now I sit here with a cup of hot tea almost gone, thinking I'm not going to do much today.  Maybe read, or find a good movie on TV.  It's that kind of day.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

odds and ends

Cliff has finally managed to come down with the cold I tried to give him for three weeks.  I certainly hope he gets rid of it sooner than I did.

My journals:  I have no plans to leave AOL.  After all, it's free.  But I don't expect it to be around forever; I hope I'm wrong.  Back about eight years ago, free Internet providers popped up all over the place, and I took advantage of several; first one, then another, would either shut down or start charging.  NetZero was one of these.  Freewwweb (I think that's how it was spelled) was another.  So I'm apprehensive about any Internet service that goes "free".

As for my health journal, it costs me nothing to leave it there, so I'm going to do that for Magran, if nobody else.  If it helped someone lose weight, then hey, why destroy it.  Right?

We have a cold snap coming in tonight and tomorrow, and weather-guessers think we'll get some freezing rain and sleet... but not much.  These are the same guys who can't predict what's going to happen this afternoon, and they think they know how much sleet we'll get in three days?

Next week looks downright cold, with lows in the single-digits.  There won't be any horseback riding for awhile.

I really do not care for December and January.  We have so many extra bills during that time.  I had plotted and schemed and figured out exactly how we'd pay our $450 propane bill and $500 personal property taxes, and I had it whipped; in fact, the taxes got paid before January 1, as they are supposed to.  I had budgeted for the propane bill and cut back on groceries somewhat, when we got the old double-whammy in the mail:  Our house insurance bill came in.  Looks like the long-suffering propane people will have to wait (they've always been great about waiting).  This spring I'm going back on the level-pay plan, where we'll have the same bill every month all year around.

It's always darkest before the dawn.  In February, we get our income tax refund and catch up on everything!  I know it's supposed to be wise not to get a refund... after all, you are letting the government use your money for nothing.  But I like windfalls, and that's what the yearly refund feels like to me.

We don't live hand-to-mouth in winter because we're poor; Cliff has a great job, and makes a goodliving. 
Between us, we simply have too many toys .

But we sure have fun.

Found on a message board

A Japanese company and an American company decided to have a canoe race on the Missouri River. Both teams practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance before the race. On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile.

The Americans, very discouraged and depressed, decided to investigate the reason for the crushing defeat.

A management team made up of senior management was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate action. Their conclusion was the Japanese had 8 people rowing and 1 person steering, while the American team had 8 people steering and 1 person rowing.

So American management hired a consulting company and paid them a large amount of money for a second opinion. They advised that too many people were steering the boat, while not enough people were rowing.

To prevent another loss to the Japanese, the rowing team's management structure was totally reorganized to 4 steering supervisors, 3 area steering superintendents and 1 assistant superintendent steering manager.

They also implemented a new performance system that would give the 1 person rowing the boat greater incentive to work harder. It was called the "Rowing Team Quality First Program", with meetings, dinners and free pens for the rower. There was discussion of getting new paddles, canoes and other equipment, extra vacation days for practices and bonuses.

The next year the Japanese won by two miles.

Humiliated, the American management laid off the rower for poor performance, halted development of a new canoe, sold the paddles, and cancelled all capital investments for new equipment. The money saved was distributed to the Senior Executives as bonuses and the next year's racing team was outsourced to India.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

This still says it all... thanks, Peter, Paul and Mary

Ever the dummy

There's a problem with being jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none.  Yes, there is.

Take horseback-riding, for instance.  I've never had lessons.  All I've ever done is saddle the horse, get on, and ride.  I really don't care if there's a "right" way or "wrong" way.  I wouldn't know whether a horse has good conformation, or bad.  I figure if it appears that both the horse and I are enjoying ourselves, that's sufficient.

Sometimes I do have horse questions, but for those of us who have never learned the fine points of horsemanship or horse care, this can be tricky.

On horse message boards, I've stopped giving my two cents worth on any subject, because the horse "experts" will step right up and tell everyone how stupid I am.

It's the same with computer-help websites.  I know of a good one, too.  Trouble is, if I ask a question, I end up feeling like such an idiot after they're done with me that I'd just as soon buy a new computer as to ask their advice.

Oh, I read and learn.  For instance, I've seen that computer techies won't use AOL; they say it's a "virus".  They also don't use instant message programs of any kind.  I believe it, and the next computer I get won't have these things installed.

I just won't ask questions of anybody.

I have a wireless thingie I bought so someone could use my laptop at the same time I'm on this computer.  It's never worked.  I don't know why, and I'm not about to try and find out.

This desktop crashed Saturday, displaying the famous "blue screen of death".  It's only six months old.  I didn't want to tell anybody, because as I told Cliff, people will tell me it's my fault.  I'm an idiot.

Well, turns out my only problem was dust in the fan.  Did you know that would cause the blue screen?  At least it didn't cost much to fix it.  I'd love to know where the fan is, so I could vacuum it out from time to time... but I feel stupid asking.

What I'm saying is, if you are knowledgeable about a subject, please be kind to those of us who aren't, when we ask for help.

If I ever happen to get knowledgeable about anything, I'll do the same.

Why so many blogs and journals?

I have too many journals, let's face it:  There's my heart-health journal, with which I've become bored; it's served its purpose, and I'll probably delete it, although I'll do an occasional entry here letting you know whether we're maintaining, losing, or gaining weight.  Then I have my memory journal.  I like it, and I'll probably leave it there even if I seldom update it.

This has been my main place for blogging, and it's served the purpose just fine.

Trouble is, I don't have a lot of confidence in AOL being around forever; if they were losing money when people paid to have them, how are they going to stay solvent by giving away their service?  That's why I started my latest journal on Blogspot.  I didn't want to make the same entries in that one as I do here, so I'm more or less alternating between this one and the new one.

The only reason I don't leave this one alone entirely is that I know once I leave J-land, I will lose some long-time readers.  Some people find it difficult to go anywhere else to read journals, and I've seen a few people take it as a down-right personal offense when folks move to Blogspot!

So, there's your explanation. 

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Random stuff

OK, a few disconnected thoughts:

Poor Cliff has to sleep in a bed reeking of Vicks tonight.  Any time I have a cold, I rub that stuff all over myself.  Vicks was my mom's first weapon of defense against a cold, and somehow I feel protected if I'm slathered with the stuff.  I can still feel Mother's hands rubbing it liberally on my chest and back.

Pots and pans:  I've always been a big fan of stainless steel pans for cooking, and cast iron skillets for frying.  When I was growing up, my mom knew of some doctor who said aluminum leached out into the food and caused all sorts of problems; because that information was never far from my mind, I seldom used aluminum.

When I began limiting oils and fats on some "health kick" Cliff and I were on years ago, I needed something "nonstick", but I really didn't trust teflon.  It chipped off, and who knows where those missing chunks went?  Besides, underneath the Teflon coating was ALUMINUM!.

My then-daughter-in-law liked the T-Fal non-stick cookware, and since it seemed to be one of the cheaper brands, I bought myself a set... even though it was Teflon.  The non-stick part was great, but because of my stacking pans inside one another in the dish drainer and cabinets, it chipped off pretty badly.  When it got really badly chipped and scratched, I tossed it.

Lately I've had a pan shortage, especially if we have company for dinner.  I could spend over $200 for some costlier non-stick pans, or I could spend $99 for a set of T-Fal consisting of four pans and two skillets.  I chose the latter, and cleared off a whole shelf for them so I wouldn't be stacking them.

It's been my experiencethat the T-Fal lasts long enough to be worth the investment.

Oh, I still use my stainless steel pans and cast-iron skillet.  But when I'm making something that tends to stick, the T-Fal is great.

I was going to go to Church this morning until Cliff asked me if I thought people would appreciate me being there blowing my nose, coughing, and sneezing.  I guess he had a point.  I do hate Sundays without Church, though.

Friday, January 5, 2007

upsetting news

Just yesterday, on my Blogspot journal, I wrote concerning the sorrow I felt at the dying of a message-board acquaintance.  I happen to have met him a few years back, but even if I had not, I would have grieved at the passing of such a nice fellow; he was loved by everyone, and his sweetness and good humor showed through on his posts to the forum.

Today I learned of the passing of the husband of one of my longtime AOL acquaintances, and thought about the fact that the more people we know, the more messages of grief we're going to receive.

I never met these folks face to face, but I feel I know them well.  When I was sending out daily poems, Patty said Bob was anxious to read them.   They've made a habit of keeping up with my goings-on, here in my journal.

Such a sad thing, totally unexpected here.  Patty and Bob were active and busy, and I really never thought of losing one of them any time soon.

Then there's the recent illness of my friend, Lona, who is still recuperating slowly but surely.

We'd better enjoy one another, folks, while we can.

Reminds me of  James 4:13-14 in the King James version of the Bible:

"13: Go to now, ye that say, today or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:
14: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away."

Thursday, January 4, 2007

My filly, Libby

I actually cinched up Libby's saddle yesterday and ponied her with it on.  When we were done with all that, I sat on her bare back, and she didn't protest at all.

I've always thought you could start riding a horse at the age of two, but after googling some information, I'm somewhat doubtful.  Read HERE to see what I mean.  And HERE.   These sites suggest that a  horse's bones don't set up until much later than two.

It's a good thing I already have Blue to ride; at my age, I'd hate to have to wait three more years for Libby to be old enough.  Who knows what sort of shape I'll be in by then?

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

concerts I've attended

If it were up to Cliff, he'd never go to a concert. 

Oh, he loves country music.  He'd just rather listen to it on radio or CD.

However, I have this THING about wanting to see my favorite performers and songwriters live.  And Cliff tries his best to keep me happy.  So if he can't pay someone else to take me to see my favorite performers, he can be pursuaded to take me himself.

Some of those we've paid good money to see have been worth it:  Jerry Lee Lewis (in the old days), Dolly Parton and Porter Wagner (also in the old days); Mickey Gilley and Moe Bandy more recently, in Branson.  Travis Tritt seemed appreciative of his audience when we saw him, a few years ago.

Other big country stars would rather not have been there.  We saw George Jones twenty-five years ago, and again five years ago.  Both times, I got the distinct impression he was wishing he were somewhere else.  Merle Haggard was the same.  I love both those old guys and their music, but they didn't appreciate their audiences; and I don't appreciate that sort of attitude.

There's just something about being taken for granted that I resent... whether it's by country singers, or people around me.

I won't stand for it.

I'll buy their music.  I'll accept them as friends or family.  But I won't be walked on or treated like dirt.

Go for a walk with Cliff and Sadie

Cliff and I began taking walks at our little community park over a year ago.  There's a gravel walking track that measures 1/4 mile, around a baseball field.  Trouble is, it got pretty boring, just going around and around.  Add to that the fact that, in good weather, there were quite a few walkers to dodge on that narrow little path.  Besides, we had to drive down there.

I got the idea of walking in our pasture instead, and went out on my own with a watch to see what course I would need to follow in order to get a half-hour walk in.  Before long, Cliff joined me, and we found we were never bored, walking on our own land.  Besides, we could turn our dog loose back here.  The neighbor's dogs have presented a problem at times, and then we'd have to leash Sadie.  But we haven't been bothered by them lately.

There are some disadvantages to walking in the pasture:  If there's dew on the grass, we get wet feet.  There are portions of our walk where you simply can't avoid mud, when it's rained.  But we find the good outweighs the bad.

Put your right hand in front of you, palm down, and you'll get a picture of the layout of the back portion of our land (mostly useless and un-productive).  The point, as we call it, would be your hand itself.  All the paths we walk are the thumb and fingers... we walk down all of them, and back, going from left to right.

The first one, the "thumb", I have nicknamed Lifesaver Hill, because it's the one that caused Cliff to have angina every day until we finally got him to a doctor and discovered he needed heart surgery.

I hope this makes sense, and that so many pictures don't get too boring.

Your Monday Photo Shoot: First Photos of 2007!

John Scalzi asks for our first picture taken in this new year.  I've been rather lax in taking pictures lately, so I grabbed my camera when I went walking yesterday evening and got this shot of Sadie approaching my cabin, with the river bottom in the background:

At 4:45, the sun was already low in the sky, lighting up the fields to the north.  If Sadie looks a bit tired, it's because she'd been chasing and fetching sticks constantly.

Do you want to share your first photo of the year?  Be sure and leave a link to your entry over at "By The Way"!

Monday, January 1, 2007

Here's your laugh for the day

I promise not to keep posting things from  Really, I DO promise.  But this lady is one of the funniest folks you'll have a chance to hear, and I think everyone will enjoy this little snippet I found of Chonda Pierce.  If you do enjoy it, be sure and look for her DVDs.  She sings, too!

Chonda's mother is one of my favorite people in the world, and has given me a lot of laughs herself.  Happy New Year, Jen!  I miss you.  Maybe I'll hitch-hike to Tennessee this year and visit you.  It's been far too long since we've had a good face-to-face talk.