Wednesday, October 31, 2007

a visit with an old friend

This morning I mentioned Dona, a long-time friend, in an entry.  Writing about her really laid her on my heart, and when Cliff and I decided to go for a spin on the Honda, I suggested we visit her at the nursing home, less than twenty miles away.  It was too cool for a long ride anyhow.

As soon as we entered the rest home Cliff spotted Dona cruising around in her wheel chair.  When I called her by name, she turned to see us and lit up like a Christmas tree.  I think we were a pleasant surprise for her.

We met Bud and Dona on the CB radio, of all things, back around 1976.  Cliff was coming home from the butcher shop each evening at the same time Bud, a postman, was coming in from Kansas City.  We all ran channel 8 on our CB's, and took turns talking back and forth to our spouses, being careful not to "walk on" one another.  (Boy, that takes me back to the old CB slang!)  Cliff's handle was "Jersey" and I was "Jersey Mama" (for the cows).  Bud was Big Ace, and Dona was Cupid; they called their home base "the funnyfarm".

One evening when I mentioned to Cliff... over the air waves... that I needed a battery for my power mike, Bud (a total stranger) broke in and offered to pick one up for us, since he was in the city each day.  "All you'll have to do is come and get it," he said.

Turned out they lived only five miles from us, and we became good friends.  When we first met, they had a Jersey milk cow and I had two or three.  Later on they achieved what was, at that time, a dream of mine:  They built up a small herd of Jersey cows and had a grade C dairy.

Dona and I both liked to garden, and freeze or can the produce.  We loved all things country:  goats, ducks, chickens, turkeys, geese.  And of course, our Jersey cows.

Often, if she was going someplace interesting during the day, she'd stop and pick me up, knowing I didn't drive and it would be a treat to get out of the house. 

If Cliff had car trouble, he'd call Bud.

During an extended tough financial time we had after Cliff's R. B. Rice job ended, Bud offered to loan us a few hundred (or thousand) dollars to get us through.  We declined, of course.  But I've never been more touched by an offer from a friend.

So today at the rest home, we talked about motorcycles and Jersey cows and our ages and anniversaries.  I inquired about her kids. 

I asked if her sister still kept in touch, which brought her to tears instantly.  "She died," Dona said, sobbing.

She's had some dementia ever since the stroke, but we could tell it's gotten worse.  She told us the same stories two or three times.  She informed us she is saving her money so she can buy another dairy herd:  "Why, I made over $500 a month when I was milking," she said.  "And all I had to do was put the milkers on the cows and then clean up the buckets when I was done."

I'm so glad we went.  We'll be visiting her again from time to time.

Isn't it sad the way we lose touch with people?

"We're dropping like flies!"

That's what I told Cliff the other day, when his cousin Art called to say he has prostate cancer.  I realize prostate cancer is highly curable, but still.  It makes you think.  Nobody wants to hear the "C" word, curable or not.

Does anybody else remember Chef Tell?  He had one of the early cooking shows on television, back when there were only three or four channels on TV.  I still use his favorite phrase sometimes:  "Very simple, very easy." 

I just read that he's dead at age 63:  my age.

Robert Goulet died yesterday at age 73, only ten years older than I.

Speaking of people ten years older than I, a local friend of mine (also named Dona, just spelled different) is now in a rest home.  She was about my age when she had the stroke that made her a semi-invalid.

Cliff's cousin Kenneth, who planned to have a big going-away party
before terminal cancer ended his life, isn't going to be able to throw the party after all; he's too sick.  He recently told Art, another cousin, "Don't ever let them talk you into taking chemo."

On a side note, AOL offered this fascinating "Where Are They Now" story about the cast of M*A*S*H.  Some of them have passed away, but others are still kicking at a ripe old age:  Alan Arbus, for instance, is 89; Harry Morgan, a fellow I've been watching on television since the 1950's (ever hear of a show called "December Bride"?), is 92.

I know, I know; I hit this theme often these days.

It's why I take every opportunity to ride the horse, or ride the motorcycle with Cliff.  Every golden moment we enjoy is a treasure.

By the way, it's supposed to be in the sixties and sunny today.

Now playing: Johnny Cash - Redemption
via FoxyTunes   

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Patches the Horse

Quite a long time ago, my online friend Lori (Lahdee) sent me the link to a video of "Patches the Horse".   I saved it to my computer and have shared it with many people.  For those of you who have never met Patches, click HERE.

Cliff said he happened to see a segment on television recently of Patches water skiing; I can't seem to google that one up on the Internet.

Patches died in September of 2006 at the age of twenty-four, as I learned at THIS WEBSITE.  I also learned there that he left a son to follow in his footsteps.

I'd love to know what breed Patches was.

He was nothing short of amazing.

added later:  I found the water skiing video!  Click HERE.  (Notice they mistakenly call Patches "she".)

Monday, October 29, 2007

a cow video

Tommy's Scotch Highland cattle

Cliff and I went to visit a former co-worker of his yesterday, Tommy.  He recently purchased a herd of Scotch Highland cattle, a long-haired, long-horned miniature breed of cattle very popular with hobby farmers, so I remembered to take my camera.  When I approached to take pictures, though, they headed for the far end of the pasture; obviously they aren't used to strangers.  So Tommy got out some feed and lured them up to the lot.  You'll see on the video that they still don't trust the lady with the camera; maybe they're just camera-shy.

Actually, I don't think they've been around woman at all.

Here's an article I copied and pasted from the Internet, from "Countryside and Small Stock Journal":

Why would you want to own something that looks like that?  

It's a question many Highland Cattle owners have heard in the past. Here are some answers.

Highland cattle are the oldest registered breed of cattle with a Herd Book being published in 1885. The Scottish Highland Cattle Society was formed in 1884 and most of the cattle registered were black. Originally, there were two subgroups of Highland cattle, which today are merged into one. The smaller, mostly black or brindled cattle were raised on the western islands and were known as Kyloes, and the larger red animals of the Scottish mainland. Today Highland cattle may be red, black, yellow, white, brindle, silver, or dun in color. All these colors are recognized by the registry, but only solid colored animals are allowed to be shown in the sanctioned shows.

Archeological evidence of the Highland breed goes back to the 6 th century with written records existing from the 12 th century. The first recorded importation into the United States occurred in the late 1890's when western cattlemen recognized the need to improve the hardiness of their herds. Earlier importations are likely to have occurred since large numbers of Scotch/Irish immigrants came to this country early on, but the absence of a registry precludes any definite proof. The American Highland Cattle Association registry was formed in 1948. The reasons these ranchers selected Highland Cattle are the same reasons why you should consider the breed.

Breed characteristics that make the difference include:

Hardiness and vigor: Highland cattle are noted for their hardiness and vigor. Natural selection over the centuries in the harsh climate of Scotland ensured that only the most efficient animals would survive to breed. The gene pool today remains largely intact allowing them to thrive where other breeds struggle.

Hair Coat: The double coat of hair (long, coarse, outer layer and soft wooly inner layer) is one of the most notable differences between Highlands and all other breeds. The coat reduces the need for expensive barns and shelters. It is not unusual to see Highlands grazing a day or two after a winter storm with snow still melting off their backs as they are that well insulated. The long hair over the eyes (dossan) helps reduce the incidence of pinkeye and other fly borne problems.

According to one breeder, Highlands feed intake does not increase until -18 degrees F compared to 32 degrees F in many other breeds. In addition, the long hair means that the animal does not have to produce a layer of fat to stay warm. This allows the animal to marble naturally on low input forage while producing lean, low fat, high quality cuts of beef. Highlands shed out earlier in the spring and produce less hair in warm climates making them suitable throughout the U.S.

Easy Handling: Highlands have a long, close history of living with humans. Early Scots would keep the cows downstairs to provide warmth for the family on the second story and to make sure the neighbors didn't help themselves to the family's wealth. Highlands tend to be docile and calm, do not stress easily, and are easy to work with despite their long horns. The horns are used primarily for knocking down brush to graze on, predator control and scratching. Horns on females are generally upswept and finer textured than are the males. Male horns are more forward pointing and massive.

Exceptional Mothering-Calving Ease: Highland cows are noted for being highly devoted and protective mothers. They produce a rich milk allowing for steady weight gain in the calf. Highlands are noted for calving ease. Calves are small, 40-60 pounds and birthing assists are rare. Cows may produce into their late teens reducing the need for frequent herd replacements.

Unlike other breeds, Highlands are slow maturing making the meat fine textured and succulent. In a recent study at Manyberries Research Station, Canada , groups of Hereford , Highland , and Highland Herefords crosses were tested. The Highland group produced 2,000 pounds more beef than the purebred Herefords, while the Highland/Hereford crosses produced 6,000 pounds more than the pure Hereford group.

Highland cows will average 900-1,200 pounds when mature. Bulls will average from 1,500 to 2,000 pounds depending on forage conditions. A study by the Scottish Agricultural College determined that Highland beef is significantly lower in fat and cholesterol and higher in protein and iron than other beef breeds.

The British Royal family maintains a “fold” of Highland Cattle at Balmoral Castle and considers them their beef animal of choice. A rare opportunity for commoners to eat like royalty.

Highland Cattle Societies are found in Great Britain ( Scotland ), United States , Canada , Australia , and several European Countries. The animals are referred to as Scottish Highland Cattle, Scotch Highland Cattle, Highland Cattle or Highlanders. Regardless of where they are located today, Highland cattle can trace their ancestry to Scotland . Importations of Scottish stock and semen in the U.S. and Canada have served to assure continuation of the Highland gene pool.

Highland cattle provide the opportunity to produce a premium quality beef with less cost and effort. They fit into a variety styles of operations from small farm to commercial beef operations. They are a multi-purpose animal, producing meat, milk, and fiber. They may be used as oxen, or for clearing land of unwanted brush or you may just want the enjoyment of seeing a beautiful animal on your hillside pasture.

So when someone asks, “why do you want to own something that looks like that?” I generally respond by saying who wouldn't want to?

For a free informational packet on Highland cattle, you may contact the Heartland Highland Cattle Association at 976 State Hwy. 64, Tunas, MO 65764 or call 417.345.0575 or email

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Just a note....

Cliff and I rode horses together this morning!  He on Blue, and me on Libby.  We kept it short for Libby's sake (and Cliff's, since he said his legs felt like they had turned to rubber during the ride); probably twenty minutes, tops.  But it's the first time in at least thirty years the two of us have gone horseback riding together!  So yes, I'm excited.

I wish I had a picture of this big event, but the grandson is still in bed.  In fact, I think the whole neighborhood is still asleep.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Interesting, how things happen


In December of 2006, I was perusing blogs over at blogger and stumbled onto one that was newly begun:  The author was Norm, a Canadian; the name of the blog was "What are you doing with the rest of your life?".

Norm was dying of pancreatic cancer, the same dreadful condition that took my father-in-law many years ago.  If you are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, you know you're a goner. 

I watched Norm, through his journal, grow weaker and weaker, finally becoming unable to blog.  Then his friend kept me posted on how he was doing, in her blog and also in his.  The final entries in Norm's journal were added by friends, right up to information and comments about his funeral.  It was a sad process, watching the man suffer and die.  But once I had started, I couldn't just turn away.

I've always wished he'd blogged before cancer got hold of him, because I know very little about how his life was before the awful diagnosis.   I get the impression he loved the outdoors and solitude, so I think he and I would have gotten along famously as friends.

After Norm died, I kept reading his friend's blog, Put Simply.  She's still going through the grieving process, in a graceful and quiet way.

Her most recent entry led me to a professor some of you might have seen on Oprah; I seldom watch Oprah, so this was new to me.  Randy Pausch, is dying of pancreatic cancer... or perhaps I should say "living with" pancreatic cancer... and has a most wonderful message to the world.

He has a website HERE.  You can see his "last lecture", a Google video, HERE, and I recommend it highly.  Or go to Youtube to see part of his lecture.  You can read the transcript HERE.

The Internet is a fascinating place:  I stumbled onto the blog of a dying man, which took me to his author-friend's blog, which introduced me to Randy's life-changing lecture.

If I ever receive the news that I'm dying within three to six months (or whatever time length), I hope I remember to watch or read Randy's lecture and gain strength and joy from it.

I have a new hero.

A hero I wouldn't yet have met if not for Norm and his blogging friend (and bedside angel).

Rest in peace, Norm.  Your influence goes on.

Friday, October 26, 2007

I'm on AIM

I've done without any instant messaging for quite some time.  I decided to try AIM again.  If you don't see me on your AOL instant messenger, it's because you have me blocked.  When I'm on, that is.

Some of my best friends have me blocked. 

Now playing: Johnny Cash - That Lucky Old Sun (Just Rolls
via FoxyTunes   


Thursday, October 25, 2007

A good horse day

Today was the best ride ever on Libby.  She seems to realize I belong on her back and gives no problem at all.  She's pretty "cinch-y"... doesn't care for the girth being tightened and sorta dances around; unless I give her a treat first, then she doesn't mind at all.

Cliff couldn't believe it when he looked out the window and saw me riding Libby in the yard.  He was absolutely floored at how well she's doing.  I'm still holding the rides on Libby to ten or fifteen minutes; she's small, and I don't want to harm her or overdo it.

This bit of free verse by Veronica Shoffstall is heavy on my mind today:

After a while, you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,
And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t mean security.

And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts,
And presents aren’t promises,
And you begin to accept your defeats
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,

And you learn to build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans,
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.

And after a while you learn
That even sunshine burns if you get too much.
So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.

And you learn that you really can endure …
That you really are strong
And you really do have worth
And you learn and learn …

And with every goodbye, you learn.

And let me add my own line:  After awhile you learn there is a difference between "helping" and "enabling".

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Look what Sadie treed

Well, I sat here awhile waiting for some sort of pain to set in from my tooth being pulled, but nothing happened.  No Vicodon needed.  So I took Sadie for the walk we missed out on this morning due to my early dental appointment.

Sadie often goes snooping in the woods while we walk.  Today she disappeared, and then I heard her barking frantically.

I found her looking up into the treetops, still barking; following her gaze, I spotted the object of her excitement:  a ground hog.  I didn't know they could climb trees.

Can you see him up there?

You just never know what you'll find out in the pasture.

Don't you love dentists?

I have a lot of aging bridgework in my mouth, paid for twenty-five years ago by my husband's then-employer.  It's served me well, because without it, I'd have had to start wearing dentures long ago.  But the bridgework is wearing out, little by little.

Lately I've been having some pain in my lower right jaw while chewing, and I finally went to a dentist yesterday.  Turns out one of the "anchor" teeth had broken off at the gumline.  With that gone, the bridge had to go, and the dentist took care of that.  And billed my insurance.  (Thank God for insurance.)

His office referred me to an oral surgeon to remove the remaining root, and I was able to get an appointment for this morning.  How much fun can one person have?  Two dentist in two days!  I chose to have Novocaine rather than be put to sleep; after all, it's painless either way.  Why take the risks involved in being knocked out?  Not to mention the added expense.

I could not believe all the papers I had to sign, and the instructions I was given before coming home.  Folks, you'd have thought I'd had heart surgery!  I realize it's all because of today's lawsuit-happy generation, but good grief.  I even have the dentist's pager number in case of emergency.   I have some Vicodon here just in case there's significant pain, but so far it isn't needed.

Oh, and I was told not to lift anything heavy or do hard work for four or five days.  It's a little hole in my gum, not major surgery!  Although now that I think of it, I could use this little part of my instructions as an excuse to stay on the computer.  Never mind; I've haven't needed an excuse before, so why start now? 

I found it interesting that the total cost of extracting the tooth today (or I should say the root) was $160.  Some charlatan dentist was going to charge my grandson $300 for an extraction a while back, which resulted in his deciding not to have dental work done.  So now his teeth will rot because of a dentist who overcharges.  Oh, and the quack insisted he bring $300 with him to the appointment, even though he has insurance.

OK, I'm done venting. 

I feel much better.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Cliff's MP3 player

Cliff's place of employment has decided to let their workers listen to MP3 players while on the job, and Cliff is ecstatic about this.  We shopped around and found a not-too-expensive player at Circuit City, the Sandisk Sansa Express.

I loaded a bunch of country songs on it from the computer when we got it home; now Cliff listens to music all night, every night, at work.  It has FM radio, too.  So he's really set up for music.


The player is good for fifteen hours, then it has to be charged by plugging it into a USB port on the computer.

Every once in awhile, nothing happens when I plug it in.  The computer doesn't recognize it.  Then without any rhyme or reason, I'll plug it in later and it decides to charge, after all.  Defective? 

There aren't a lot of instructions with the stupid thing, just a fold-out sheet.  But I decided to read them this morning, after the silly player once again refused to show signs of life.  Since I'm the most computer-savvy person in the house (which is a sad state of affairs, because I'm not that "savvy"), I'm the one who bears the brunt of Cliff's disappointment when these technical things don't work for him.

I read over and over.  I studied all the little buttons, and pushed various ones.  I surfed the Internet for answers.

Going back to the instruction sheet, I noticed the very last item:

"HARD RESET:  To perform hardware reset on the Sansa Express device, press and hold the Select button while pressing the Volume Up (+) buttons simultaneously once."

I figured the worst thing that could go wrong here was perhaps all the songs would be removed from the player.  But I could put them back on if that happened.  So I went for it.

It worked.  And all Cliff's songs are still there.



Branson is the "tourist trap" personified.  There are more frivolous ways to spend your money, per square mile than anyplace else on earth, I'm sure.  So we were cruising the famous 76 strip, gawking at the attractions, and all three girls (yes, even Amber) expressed interest in the go-cart tracks.

Cliff decided to foot the bill for this one:  $9 for each girl.

Natalie started in front, which wasn't so good for everybody else.  Because she insisted on staying in the middle of the track where nobody else could pass, and she was going as slow as possible... even to the point of hitting her brakes when going downhill.  Amber reported seeing some road rage expressed on the part of other drivers, but eventually, everybody was able to pass Natalie.  When it was all said and done, she was a lap-and-a-half behind the others, so some must have passed her twice.  But she didn't mind.

The next day Nattie and Monica wanted to do it again, and paid their own way on a similar track right up the road.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Pringle duckbills

We all know you can learn valuable things from young folks, and Cliff learned a wonderful new skill this past weekend.

You can use Pringles to give yourself a duck-bill, like Monica is doing here.

Natalie demonstrates her technique.

As you see, Cliff handled the task at hand quite well.

Note to Lona:  This is what was going on when you called me Friday night.


Weekend Assignment #188: Pet Weirdness

Since John Scalzi gave us an extension on this assignment, I decided to join in.

Weekend Assignment #188: What is the most unusual thing you've ever done with (or to) a family pet?  Even if you've never taped breakfast meat onto fur, there's a good chance you and your fuzzy, feathery or scaly friend have done something out of the ordinary together at some point.  What was it?  Staging some fun (but humane) activity for this assignment works, too.

We butchered my beloved milk cow a few years ago (yes, around here, milk cows are pets).  See, she developed chronic mastitis, which meant her milk wasn't really fit for human consumption any more; her udder was sick, but the rest of her body was just fine. 

We could have shipped her to an auction where she would have been made into hamburger for some of you carnivorous readers out there, but we decided to spare her the fright of being hauled to a strange place, and the discomfort of being forced into an auction pen and then being shipped to some brutal facility where she might have had to die a painful death.  Cliff killed her so quickly and painlessly that she never knew what happened.  And our freezer was then full of good-quality ground beef.

Not only did we do this dreadful deed, but we'll repeat it in a year or so with Meatloaf the steer.

Extra credit: What's your most unusual picture of a family pet?  May we see it?

As I said, on this place, cows qualify as pets.  In the background of this picture, you see the above-mentioned Meatloaf indicating to us that Secret is in heat.  Meatloaf obviously forgot that he's a steer (neutered, for you city folks who don't know what a steer is).

How's that for unusual, John Scalzi

meeting up with a long-time friend

My friend Lona happened to be in Branson with granddaughters at the same time as we were, so a meeting was planned on Saturday.  We somehow got lost in traffic and arrived at the destination late, but all's well that ends well.  Thank goodness for cell phones.

Cliff, Lona, and I had a great little chat.  Lona has had serious health issues over the past several months, so we were surprised to see her looking lively and well, the only change being that she's shed quite a lot of weight.

My two youngest granddaughters took off shopping with Lona's great-granddaughter while we visited.

That's my granddaughter, Natalie, on the left, and Elise on the right.  They're the same age, can you believe it?  Oh, the blur in the background is my granddaughter Monica.

Lona loves to travel.  When her husband was still living, they went to Hawaii at least once a year.  She worked for a travel agent, and was able to find some great deals.  Since Don passed away, she goes on trips with various friends. 

She's spent time in Florida with a couple of other widows, the last two winters; and they're planning to go there again this year.

I'm sure those travel plans, plus Lona's brush with death last year, were the inspiration for the strange dream she told us about:

In the dream, Lona told us, she was driving to Florida.  Her two buddies, Lorraine and Betsy, were in the car with her; Betsy was in the front seat beside Lona.  The peculiar thing here is that Lona was dead; but she was driving, and could see the road just fine.  Her traveling companions could hear her, but they couldn't see her.  Betsy, the more reserved of the two (having been a minister's wife) kept saying, "This makes me very nervous."

We had to laugh with Lona at the peculiar circumstances of her dream.  I was reminded of an old song, "Texas When I Die", one of Tanya Tucker's hits:

" When I die I may not go to heaven
I don't know if they let cowboys in.
If they don't just let me go to Texas, Boy!
Texas is as close as I've been."

Of course, you'd have to change the word "cowboys" to globetrotters.  And the word "Texas" to Florida.

Reminds me of a dream I had repeatedly when I was a teenager, and I've heard others tell of having the same dream:  I'd get on the school bus, get all the way to school and go into my classroom.  As I sat down at my desk, I's suddenly realize I was naked, and blush with shame.  Then I'd wake up.

As if nobody would point out to me at the bus stop that I was naked.   And as if the bus driver would let me on the bus!

According to THIS INTERPRETATION, my dream means I'm hiding a secret that I don't want to be found out.  I don't recall having any secrets back then.  But who knows.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

What's so funny?

The two younger granddaughters and I spent two hours at the pool yesterday.  We came back to the condo to find Cliff and the oldest granddaughter bonding, watching TV together.

About the time we came back, they seemed to find something on television pretty funny:

This is what they were watching:

Must be a grandfather/granddaughter thing, huh?

Our weekend at a golf resort

Just before we arrived at our "home away from home", we stopped at this scenic overlook.  That's Branson down there behind us.

We enjoyed staying at the condo so much!  There was a television in each bedroom and one, of course, in the living room.  Monica and Natalie slept in the living room, on a couch that made into a queen bed.  We gave Amber her own bedroom... seniority, after all, has its rewards.  And she IS our oldest granddaughter!

She helped out a lot with the dishes.  I had no idea how to operate the dishwasher, and would probably have plugged it up with garbage, without her guidance.

The younger granddaughters tend to get on Amber's nerves; I told her to consider it "birth control" for her future.  And no, the little girls weren't bad at all.  They behaved themselves very well.   Some folks just don't deal with kids as well as others, and Amber is one of those folks. 

More to come.

Have you missed me?

I'm sitting on the balcony of our condo on our last morning in Branson.  It's pitch-dark outside, but I turned a light on, so I can see the keyboard of my laptop.  We rented this place at the last minute, and the owner told us there was no Internet here.  I'm glad I brought the laptop, because the oldest granddaughter and I have been able to get enough signal from somebody's unsecured router to get on the Internet most of the time... if we were careful where we positioned ourselves.

Not that we've had a lot of time to spend surfing, because we've been a busy crew.

Yesterday we spent a short time touching bases with my long-time Internet friend, Lona, who's also in Branson this weekend.  She's had a lot of serious health issues in the past year or so, and it was good to see her looking and feeling so well; I enjoyed meeting her granddaughter (who was her angel during her recovery time) and her great-granddaughter, who's the same age as our Natalie.  Lona mentioned my calf, Meatloaf, and how attached she's gotten to him.  Others of you have said much the same thing.  So I promised her that when the time comes to butcher him, I shall remain silent about it.  He'll just fade off into the sunset.  All I can tell you is, don't ask, and I won't tell.  He'll disappear shortly after Secret has a calf.

We've had a blast here, and I have pictures to prove it, which I'll share when I get home.  We are to be out of this condo by 10 A.M., so I'll be waking everyone by 8 o'clock and we'll get on the road.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Overnight mommy-blog fame

Back in August, someone on one of my message boards left the link to an Ebay item:  a set of Pokemon cards a lady was selling.  That item got so much attention, this mother of five started a blog.  Click HERE to see why her humorous Ebay offer was so popular; She reprinted her offer at the beginning of her blog.

Somehow she got the attention of ABC.  Click HERE to see her featured on ABC World News Tonight.  (Click on "video" to see the segment.)

Now she's getting 4,000 hits a day on her blog and making money from the ads found there.

Check her out HERE.  There are lots of "mommy-blogs" on the Internet, but this one stands out.  You will laugh.  If you've ever had children, you will relate.  If you haven't... well, you may thank your lucky stars.  Or not.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

This 'n that

The third batch of thunderstorms for the day just passed over.  I like rainy days, unless we get too many of them in a row.  The dog and I even sneaked our morning walk in between showers.  Cliff was deterred from going; he was helping out a neighbor.

The grandson went job-hunting today.  His employers tried to get him to go on salary, rather than hourly pay, several months back.  He refused.  He works for a business that supplies meat to restaurants, so right now, they aren't real busy.  Come Thanksgiving, when Christmas shopping starts, the load picks up.

So they're working him four days a week, for six-hour days (making him drive that gas-guzzler of his all that way for six hours burns me up).  Someone sneaked around and told him that their plan is to wait until busy season and then offer him a ridiculously low salary, which he'll be given no choice but to accept... or else leave.  In other words, they intend to make him quit; they don't want to pay him overtime, and they don't intend for him to receive unemployment.  Prayers would be appreciated for his job search.

This means the grandson won't be going away with us this weekend.  He can't afford to miss work Friday after being off today.  On the bright side, at least he'll be here to babysit the dog.  She doesn't require much watching, but the daughter would have been stuck with the job; now she's off the hook.

I've heard through the neighborhood grapevine that our renters are going to be moving.  Picture me doing a happy dance.  Oh, they're great renters.  It's just that we want that eyesore of a mobile home out of here!  I suppose we'll miss the $275 a month, but really, that isn't much money these days.

My mom and dad bought the trailer house second-hand, when Daddy was dying of cancer.  Mother lived there for several years, and when she moved... first to senior housing, then to a nursing home... we decided to try renting it out.  The same people have been here for ten years or so; we've literally watched their kids grow up.  Originally we said "no pets"; but as that trailer got more run-down, and junkier-looking, we realized that we wouldn't be renting it to anyone else once these folks moved.  So they acquired a cat and two dogs along the way.  A couple of years ago, Cliff told them that he wouldn't  raise their rent, but they'd have to do their own maintenance on the place.  Otherwise, any little repair we had to do would take all the monthly rent, or more.  So that's how it's been.

I do think they're in for a rude awakening when they pay three times the rent, plus pay a water bill, which they've not had here.  But I can't blame them for wanting something better.  I certainly would.

I've heard several other things through the grapevine lately about neighbors, but nothing my readers would be interested in.  And nothing I'm free to divulge.  

Rainy days like this make me want to sit at the computer, and that's mostly what I've done.  Over at Blogger I often participate in Wordless Wednesday.  Today I visited at least a hundred of the participants, leaving comments with many of them.  It's a nice way to find interesting journals and blogs to read.

So that's my day in a nutshell.  In about fifty minutes I'll remove my carcass from this chair and head to the Lazy Boy in the living room, where I'll continue to veg out until bedtime.

I remember an expression of my parents "... ain't worth shootin'."

That's me, today.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Hey, AOL... you stole yesterday's entry!

Not that it was a big deal, you understand.  Just my Monday Photo Shoot entry, two cats in a bucket.  But what on earth?  So I went to John Scalzi's, and lo and behold, his Monday entries were gone.  I went to Kelly's journal, knowing she had posted a Monday photo shoot entry.  Gone.  Poof.

According to bloglines, my daughter had done an entry about her youngest daughter's adventures in photography.  It isn't there on her journal.

Give me back my entry, AOL!  Thieves!!!!

I'm editing this to add:  After a bit of sleuthing on my part, I believe comments made yesterday afternoon have ALSO disappeared.  Shades of Twilight Zone (can you hear the theme playing?).

Monday, October 15, 2007

Monday Photo Shoot: Lounging

Here's what John Scalzi suggests for this week:

 "Your Monday Photo Shoot: Picture someone or something in the act of lounging about or slacking off. Naps, loitering, general loafing -- it all works. Show yourself, show friends, show pets. All this shoot needs is to have them not doing much at all."

Well now, I just knew there was some reason I took this picture yesterday.  Cats in a bucket.  Lounging.

Go ahead.  Catch somebody lounging, put it in your journal, and go leave the link at John Scalzi's.

Now playing: Sunny Sweeney - Next Big Nothing
via FoxyTunes   

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Watch Secret and Meatloaf running to get their dinner

The Calves, eating

Secret usually comes running from wherever she is as soon as I shake the feed can at her.  However, since we've been getting rain lately to make the grass green and tender, she isn't in so much of a hurry.  Also, Meatloaf is usually right behind her when she comes running, but today he lost sight of her for a while.

Pay no attention to the trendy way I'm dressed here.  I had my boots on because I was getting ready to work with Libby.  The Lee jeans won't go on the outside of my jeans; Cliff would say, "You look like an 'Arkansawyer' with your jeans inside your boots."  (No offense, Lona.)  And I think the fanny pack around my waist really sets the whole outfit off.  Stay on the cutting edge of fashion, that's my motto.

Some of you might recall my neighbor's house burning in December of 2005.  He's in the process of building a much bigger one now, and you can see that in the background in this movie.  It's going to have five bedrooms and five bathrooms.

Saturday Six

Patrick has Halloween on his mind this week.  Here we go!

1. If you’re all alone on a dark and stormy night when a particularly scary movie comes on, will you watch it or change the channel?  Change the channel.

2. If you could remake any old horror movie, which one would you choose and why?  I generally don't care for remakes.

3. If you had the chance to spend the night in a room that you really believed was haunted by a malevolent ghost, would you?  I don't believe in ghosts; but if I really believed... probably not.

4. Take the quiz: What is your Halloween personality?

The scariest thing on Halloween is you! You definitely don't want any kids in costumes crossing your path - and you're willing to scare away any who do.

You definitely think of yourself as someone who has a dark side. And part of having that dark side means not showing it.

Your inner child is open minded, playful, and adventurous.

You fear people taking advantage for you. You are always worried about protecting your own interests.

You're logical, rational, and not easily effected. Not a lot scares you... especially when it comes to the paranormal.

You are picky and high maintenance. If you wear a Halloween costume, it's only when you really feel like it. And it has to be perfect.

5. Who is your favorite horror writer/novelist?  Thanks to a recent garage sale, I've met a new one who, I think, rivals Stephen King:  Dean Koontz.  I can only take scary books in short doses, though.  So it might take me a long time to read all the books I bought by him!

6. How many years has it been since you last went trick-or-treating?  Perhaps fifty?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Received in email

Anne sent me this little mini-movie; I had heard the story before, but had never seen or heard it in rhyme.

The Watchmaker.

Friday, October 12, 2007

perfect days

This autumn weather is unbelievable.  After a scorcher of a summer, the nights are now in the thirties and forties (perfect for sleeping or snuggling), and daytime temperatures are in the sixties and seventies... crisp and sunshiny!  We've had two inches of rain in the past couple weeks, so the grass is green again.

Any time of day is perfect, now, for a horseback ride along the river. 

Although it's too cool to spend a night at the cabin, Sadie and I often go back there in the afternoons for a game of frisbee.

Yesterday we explored the steep bank below my cabin in search of two Frisbees that have been lost in the treetops in the past several months; I confess that I don't throw accurately, and the wind has a way of catching those expensive "superdiscs" I use and taking them skyward. 

Sadie discovered the den of some wild creature.

"Anybody home?"

I've been spending considerable time with the horses.  I get on Libby for short periods of time.  Because I'm a bit of a coward, when she tries to go faster than I want to, or if she lays back her ears, it makes me nervous.  Yesterday I saddled her and ponied her beside Blue, then rode for  a  few minutes.  When the grandson got home from work, we rode together out in the pasture, me on Blue and Arick on Libby.  He isn't scared by her little assertive  tactics; besides, he thinks it's funny when a horse bucks him off.  We kept the session short, because Libby is young and not very big.  It was her first real "ride", and all things considered, she's doing well.  She seems to take naturally to neck reining, and she understands "whoa".  The only time she really objected to anything, with the grandson, was when he would urge her into her gait:  then she'd lay back those ears. 

It's exciting to see her coming along.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Only ten days til Branson

I wrote on my Blogger site about plans for going to Branson, having made reservations at Fall Creek Resort for me, Cliff, the daughter's two girls, and my son's oldest two kids.  After making the reservations I found some pretty awful feedback from people who had gone there; but I figured we're not real picky, and would probably like it just fine.

Yesterday evening I received an email from my friend Lona, who always has her bags packed to go someplace and knows the ins and outs of travel.  She suggested I check out some places she found on VRBO.

Not only did this information save us $66 over the two-night stay, but we're now going to be in Pointe Royale, a gated community that has nothing but positive feedback!  We'll be overlooking the golf course.  There's the indoor pool that's a must for the girls, and miniature golf.  We may not have Internet (unless somebody has a non-secured connection), but we'll live without that for two days and nights.  I know my oldest granddaughter would have liked it.

The very helpful gentleman I spoke with said several of Branson's stars live there full-time, which is why it's gated.  So maybe we'll look down from our condo and see Mickey Gilley or Moe Bandy or Andy Williams playing golf!

I'm excited.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Riding motorcycles in Kansas

This entry is mainly for my kids, because there are pictures of Cliff's brother (and his wife and ex-wife) and nephews and so forth, that others probably won't find too interesting.

Cliff's brother, Don, bought a used Harley some time ago and has been getting it up to snuff all summer.  He's finally gotten it road-ready to a point, although it still needs a windshield and turn signals.  Cliff wanted to ride motorcycles with Don.  He lives less than four hours away in southern Kansas, which is a nice motorcycle ride.  However, the weather forecast seemed to indicate a strong possibility of rain on Sunday.  So we hauled the Honda out on the trailer; that turned out to be a good decision, because rain fell on us all the way home Sunday. 

We rode twelve miles without helmets (from Independence, Kansas, to Elk City) before we both agreed we preferred using them.  My hair was in knots from blowing in the wind!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

for mechanically-minded men

Probably you ladies won't have much interest in this entry, but if you have grease-monkey, tractor-loving husbands, drag them over here and show them the pictures.

We trailered the motorcycle down to southeast Kansas so we could ride with Cliff's brother, who recently acquired a Harley.  Of course, Cliff always has to look over all the tractors and things that Don is repairing in his shop.  This huge engine was an object of curiosity to Cliff.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Libby loves salt

I don't know if you city folks were aware of it, but horses and cattle must have salt in their diet, unlike us humans who would be better if we never touched a salt-shaker.  We keep a salt-block available for the horses and calves at all times, and this video shows Libby getting her fill.

my horse likes salt

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Just wondering....

What idiot decided to put Grey's Anatomy on at the same time as CSI?

It's a good thing I can watch Grey's online, tomorrow.  Because when I'm forced to make a choice, I'll choose Grissom every time.

drama, every day

The grandson who lives here is constantly losing or forgetting things.  Since June, he's laundered his social security card twice that I know of.  He lost his cell phone in a parking lot at the Lake Of The Ozarks, where it was run over by a car before someone called to report they'd found it. 

A couple of weeks he lost his wallet, with cash and driver's license in it, and never did find it; I imagine it ended up on the ground someplace and was found by someone who kept the cash and tossed the wallet.  He went and got himself a replacement driver's license, which he has decided to keep in his glove box (geesh).  And he now shoves his cash loosely into his pockets.  He figures if he doesn't carry a wallet, he can't lose it.  (Einstein he ain't.)

Today's drama:  I got up at 5 A.M. and the grandson, who should have been on his way to work, was still here. 

"I locked my keys in my truck," he said.  "I used to have a spare key in Grandpa's junk drawer; I don't know what happened to it."

(Luckily, he knew who to call at such an early hour to help him break into his pickup.  Thanks, Jimmy John.)

This is a young man who will turn twenty-two on Saturday.

If I let him live that long.

Looking at the bright side, I suppose I should be thankful that the drama doesn't involve paternity suits or cops.



Wednesday, October 3, 2007

I'm FLYING again

I've blogged about Flylady before; you'll see a link to her website over on the left there.  When I get with the program, Flylady works great for me.  Then something comes along and I get sidetracked or discouraged with my vacuum, my house, my dust... and I throw up my hands in disgust and quit.

Well, my recent purchase of a Dyson vacuum cleaner has gotten me back in touch with Flylady.  Now that I have a sweeper that actually works, I've been inspired to shine my sink (the first step of becoming a flybaby).

One thing leads to another, and I've started de-cluttering for fifteen minutes a day.  With a junk room like mine, it's easy to find things to toss.  For instance, why on earth did I keep my old microwave that only half worked, once I bought a new one?  After months in my junk room, it's now outside the back door waiting to be hauled off.

I've finally defrosted my chest-type freezer, and found garden produce I froze back in the '90's, for pete's sake.  I've defrosted that freezer several times since I first put that spinach in there, and I'm wondering why I kept putting it back, letting it get more freezer-burnt with the years.  Did I think we'd fall on hard times and have to eat it?

Will I keep on FLYING this time around, or will I become discouraged and quit?  I admit I do get tired the hard-water damage on faucets, and stains on floors, and all the other flaws of an old house with only one closet total.  I'm telling myself that at least I'm getting in practice for my next, much better, house.

For now, Cliff is noticing a big difference in how things look and feel around here, and he's pretty darned happy about it.


Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Want to watch my horses eating hay?

Horses eating hay

I went out to take a picture of the pretty sunrise and stopped to watch the horses having breakfast.  Then it occurred to me that perhaps some of you might find this horse-watching as relaxing as I do, and I shot a two-minute video.  If you enjoy bluegrass, make sure your sound is on, so you can "Keep On The Sunny Side".


Check out my sunrise!


Monday, October 1, 2007

Just for Amy

Hey Amy, a little bird told me that you were wondering about Snowbelle, the queen kitty of my barn.  So...

Will the real Snowbelle please stand up?

Snowbelle managed to clone herself with her last litter.  There were three white babies at first, but one took sick and died. 

Of course, every family has its black sheep... here's the other kitten from the litter.

This one is also the wildest, so I can't get real close to take a picture.  I had to snap the picture from about ten feet away, then edit it by clipping, so you could get a good view of the rebel.

Every morning, this is the sight that greets me when I go to the door:  Four cats meowing for their breakfast! 

Historic Sedalia, Missouri

The highlight of our motorcycle trip Saturday was the historic Katy Depot in Sedalia.  Cliff and I enjoy museums of any sort.  We got a bit of a bonus, because there was a fellow showing a display of old bicycles that he had restored to like-new condition.  Cliff saw a couple of them that reminded him of the bikes of his youth.  I never owned a bicycle as a kid, but I had fun listening to Cliff reminisce about how he used to clip playing cards onto his bike so that when the wheel turned, it would sound vaguely like a motor.

I've been through Sedalia many times, since it's on the way to Cliff's relatives and the Lake of the Ozarks.  I've spent lots of fun times at the Missouri State Fair in that town.  But Cliff and I had never been to the historic part of the city.  If I understand the information on the website, that huge church is 159 old.  The parish is 163 years old .

The Bothwell Hotel has been in business for eighty years.  On my blogger site, I shared pictures of the Bothwell lodge, which we plan to visit again when we have plenty of time to take the tour.

Oh, for some information about the Wheel Inn and the gooberburger, click HERE and HERE.