Thursday, January 31, 2008

Our tax man

You'd have to meet the guy to understand.

He's probably in his 70's; he's a World War II veteran and a good Catholic.

He calls all the ladies "Honey".

His wife is the sweetest lady you'd ever want to meet.  She told me today that she's recently become a great-grandmother, and showed me pictures of the baby who was born on her birthday.

You can't help but love both of them.

But their house is saturated with cats, and the odor that cats emit.  Not to mention the smell of the cigars Nick smokes.  He had three in his pocket today, so he was well prepared.

Each year, Cliff sits in the car while I take our W2 forms and other essential paperwork into Nick's house.  Because Cliff can't stand the cat smell, not to mention the hair on all the furniture.

Today things went as expected.  Nick and I went over the forms I took in, and he said, "I think you're OK on everything."

When we were done, after making some small talk, I said, "Well then, I'd best be going; Cliff's out there waiting."

"Cliff's out there?"  Nick said.

"Yes, he's reading magazines to pass the time; all this stuff bores him."

"Well I've got to go out and say hello," says Nick.
 
And he did; he noticed Cliff had lost some weight since the last time he saw him (which was probably three or four years ago).

Sometimes it's worth smelling cat odor and cigar smoke, you know?  I rather like having somebody call me "honey", and remembering what Cliff looked like three years ago.


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Answering a chicken question!

What on earth would I do on these cold winter days if not for my journal, and my ever-questioning readers?  Here's the question asked in comment:

Ok then where do all the eggs come from in winter?  
Sandra

Your eggs come from commercial operations where the hens are each kept separately in tiny cages for their entire egg-laying life... which consists of less than one year.   These hens never get to scratch in the dirt  or take dust baths, or any of the things chickens enjoy.  They eat, lay an egg almost every day, and poop.  Nice life, eh?

If you hatch chicks in spring so that they're old enough to begin laying eggs in the fall, somewhere around September or October, they will lay throughout that first winter.  In my experience, they will never again lay in wintertime after that one time.  Which is why the commercial egg-factories get rid of their hens before the second winter and replace them with a new batch. 

Now I've had homesteaders tell me that if you keep a light in the hen-house and feed the chickens certain kinds of foods, etc., older hens will lay through winter.  That never worked for me, but more power to those who can get it done.

You'll find those retired hens in your Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup, or in other canned foods that use chicken products.  Because retired laying hens are too tough and skinny to be used for fryers or baking.

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Now playing: - 08 The Night I Learned How Not To Pray
via FoxyTunes   

The rooster and his wife



I have mentioned before that Cliff took pity on the old rooster who lives here and brought home a bride for him, so he wouldn't have to hang out with the cattle for companionship.

When Rooster first realized he had a lady friend, he did a typical little dance around her as though to claim her as his own.  In fact, he danced several times.  Sadie got a little close to the hen, and Rooster attacked, having become protective all of a sudden.  Well, he would have attacked, except that Sadie moves fast.

But we never actually saw the chicken-marriage consummated.

"Just my luck," said Cliff.  "I went to all the trouble of bringing a hen home, and he's impotent."

This morning it occurred to me that since hens don't lay eggs in winter, perhaps chickens don't have relations except during breeding season; that would make sense.

Using my handy-dandy Google, I found out that this is indeed a fact, and I quote:  "Through the winter, poultry have no interest in breeding. There are sound biological reasons for this because, in the wild, the cold weather conditions and general lack of food would mitigate against it. As spring approaches and the day length increases, it is a different scenario."

You'll find the article HERE, although I doubt anybody except Kelly in Georgia will be interested.  There's more than you ever wanted to know about a chicken's love life.

So I guess when the days start getting longer, Mr. and Mrs. Chicken will at long last have a real honeymoon.  And Cliff will no longer have to bear the shame of owning an impotent rooster.


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Now playing: Nancy Griffith, Iris Dement - Ten Degrees And Getting Colder
via FoxyTunes   

Motivational video

Just a little reminder that life is short:  Click HERE.



I mentioned in an entry that I'd love to have a picture of my grandmother sitting in her rocking chair, and included a picture of her standing, and another one of me as an infant in the chair.  Ryanagi played around in Photoshop and came up with this picture.  As I told her, the picture of Grandma was taken around 1963 and the one of me in 1944, so there's a bit of a time warp there.  Still, it's interesting.

If any of you have time on your hands with this cold winter weather, the annual Bloggies are ending today.  Blogs are nominated, then voted on, in several categories.  I mention it here because I found Pioneer Woman's blog last year by way of the Bloggies.

I've found half a dozen new reads after checking out this years entries in various categories.  None as fascinating as PW, but still. 

This time of year is perfect for surfing blogs.

Check out Bloggies.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Some questions answered

I sometimes get questions from my readers in my comment section.  I always intend to answer them one way or another, but then it simply slips my mind.  Here are some questions asked about recent entries:

About the horses running when the wind was blowing the plastic, I got this question from Pam:   “I wonder why that plastic sheet spooks them so much. What do they think it is?? They sure do RUN to get away, don't they?”
Well Pam, that's just what horses do.  Their instinct tells them to run from danger, and for all they know, that unfamiliar, noisy, moving thing is a threat.  A Wal Mart bag fluttering in the breeze is enough to make my gentle horse, Blue, snort and shy sideways to avoid it.  When I ride along the road, I always keep my eye peeled for anything ahead that might make my horse jump out in front of a car, and adjust my route accordingly.

From Robin:  When do those fancy mushrooms start popping up? 
The morel season can start as early as the end of March and last through the first week or so of May.  I used to look forward to it, but nowadays I get so frustrated with people trespassing on my property and harvesting them before I have a chance, I've gotten to the point where I don't care much.

From lmitc89854:  When you went thru Greenwood, was their bridge still under construction? 
Yes it was, and Cliff made a comment that those guys must be the slowest construction workers since the ones who did the 291 bridge he crosses every day on his way to work.

breakaway1968:  Ok I don't get that it's too cold for a picnic but it's not to cold to drive 55 mph in the cold temp on a bike!?
Here's the deal; I get so chilled riding that when we stop, I stay chilled.  I just want to go inside a heated place and get warm before heading off again.

Kelly asked me if Sadie has learned some manners.
  Pardon me while I roll on the floor laughing.  If you watch the Dog Whisperer, two-thirds of the things he tells people they are doing wrong apply to me.  The trouble is, a lot of the spoiled-brat things Sadie does are funny to me, so I'm not even sure I want to change her.

If you've asked questions about something I've written in an entry and I missed it, either send me an e-mail or comment here and I'll edit it into this entry.

Oh, Kelly sent me a couple of things about Skidboot.  For more video clips, click HERE.  And for a memorial page dedicated to the late Skidboot, click HERE.  For an article telling about his death, click HERE.

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Skidboot

My friend Maria sent this to me in email, and I went hunting on Youtube because I wanted to share it with my readers.  It's eight minutes long, so make yourself comfortable.  Without further ado, here's Skidboot.

Dirt cookies?

Sometimes I just have to wonder how I got so lucky as to have been born in this country, in this period of time.

My main struggle with food is that I have too much of it, and struggle to control my appetite so I don't eat too much; while in Haiti, children are eating dirt to try and ease their hunger pangs.

Click HERE.  And be very thankful.

Wow, I used to cringe when my mom told me how, as a child, she and her siblings sometimes ate lard-and-sugar sandwiches.

I'd take that over dirt, any day.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Do you need a good laugh?

Watch this.  Laugh yourself silly.

I think I have a new heroine.

Plastic in the wind

Our temperatures are dropping, and the wind is still terrible.  We keep finding trash in our pasture and yard that's blowing over from the neighbor's house construction site, and this morning we had some fun with the horses with some trash.

Some of the pictures are a little blurry, and some were so bad I had to delete them entirely; Pioneer Woman I'm not.  But hopefully you'll get some enjoyment out of the horses' antics.

Some of my longtime readers will no doubt remember Buddy, the neighbor's dog who was best friends with Mandy, my dear departed doggie.  When we first brought Sadie home from the shelter, Buddy presented a problem because he'd lead Sadie away from us, and Sadie wouldn't come back until she was good and ready.  Which left me frantic with worry that she might have gotten to the highway and been hit by a car, like Mandy.

These days Sadie has had her fill of Buddy, and try as he might to lure her, she no longer follows him away; he has to do his roving alone.

Anyway, Buddy was hunting in the woods this morning, and I got a couple of pictures for those of you who remember him.

Monday, January 28, 2008



Oh yes, it's windy.  Weather.com says the wind is from "SSW at 27 mph, gusting to 41 mph".

There were times this morning on our walk that it was hard to stand. 

Cliff was working out in the shop today with the door open, and now the floor is covered with leaves.



It's hopeless to try and sweep them out until the wind dies down, which it probably will as soon as the latest cold front is ushered in.  It's coming soon, according to the hour-by-hour forecast for tomorrow.



I'm sure glad we rode yesterday!

Good news; the grandson went in to be interviewed for the job he's been after, and it looks as though he got it.  He told them he'd like to be able to give a week's notice at his present job, and the lady talked like they'll allow that.

Yesterday's ride

It was barely above freezing at 10 o'clock when Sadie and I returned from our walk (Cliff doesn't walk on Sundays).  I told Cliff, "I think we should just bundle up and leave at 11 o'clock, no matter what the temperature is!"

He agreed. 

"So, that puts us on the road at meal-time," I told him. 

"We'll take a picnic like we always do," he says.

"It's too cold for a picnic!"

"Well, we'll eat out someplace."

That's when I remembered we had enough spicy black beans and rice to warm up and serve the two of us; so we decided to eat lunch at home at eleven, then hit the road.

Even with my layers of clothing, it was a pretty chilly ride.  I didn't try to take pictures on the move because I had my leather biker gloves on.  And as cold as my fingers were with them on, I certainly didn't want to take them off!  After leaving Tom, we rode toward the big city, around Lee's Summit, on through Kingsville, Greenwood and Holden, and back home.  (I am naming the towns for my kids; I realize this means nothing to most of my readers.)  At the beginning of our ride we saw very few fellow bikers, but as the temperatures climbed, we saw other brave souls.

Cliff and I were amazed at the mansions in which people live, throughout many of these locations.  I'm talking about homes that are almost palaces.  There is evidently some segment of society that isn't being hurt by the economic squeeze!  Honestly, even if I won the lottery I wouldn't want a house that big. 

In spite of our early lunch, as we headed toward home I realized we were going to be going through Bates City where there's a barbecue place that usually has pretty good eats.  So four hours after having lunch at home, we had mid-afternoon dinner there.  Typical of me, I aimed the squeeze-bottle of barbecue sauce at my sandwich and squirted it all over my thumb instead, then looked up to see if Cliff was watching.  He was, and we both burst out laughing.

Are we the only ones having problems controlling our diets during the winter?

By the time we got home it was 55°, which was the high for the day.

We congratulated ourselves on how tough we are to get out and ride when it's that cold, and retreated into the house for the rest of the evening.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Going for a motorcycle ride

Wish me luck:  I have on insulated underwear (shirt and bottoms), heavy denim jeans, and sweats over the jeans.  I'll be putting the leather chaps over all that.  I have two sweatshirts on over the insulated shirt.

We'll see how long a ride we can stand at 39°.

Cliff said I remind him of the little boy in the snowsuit in "Christmas Story".

Saturday, January 26, 2008

another death

More than three years ago, with Christmas approaching, I wrote in this entry about my favorite movie, "It's A Wonderful Life".  I mentioned that when I watch that movie, I always see our former banker, Larry Wims, in the role of George Bailey.

Never have we found any other compassionate, friendly person in the role of banker. 

We have excellent credit, but I swear that when we go to Lexington to see our present banker about a loan, I end up feeling like a small piece of manure on the bottom of his shiny black shoes; I return home from there with a bad taste in my mouth.

When Larry was our banker, he'd joke with us and let us know he had confidence in the fact that we'd pay what we owed.  He'd ask how our kids were doing (his two were the same age as ours).   He'd make small talk.

Back around 1978 I was riding to work with a recently widowed friend, Carol.  Her husband had died and left her in dire financial straits, and she didn't know where to turn.  I suggested she go see Larry.

That banker with a heart extended her the credit she needed at a time when I doubt if anyone on the face of this earth would have wasted two minutes on her.

Larry passed away this morning, and although I hadn't seen him in perhaps a couple of years, Cliff and I feel we've lost a member of the family.  We're in mourning, in every sense of the word.

Larry truly had "a wonderful life"; he helped make our lives more wonderful, too.

God rest his soul.

Thankful Saturday

The grandson who stays here has a job interview Monday.  If he gets the job, his salary would eventually be over half again as much as he makes now.  He's excited, and I am too.  From what I hear, he's proven himself a quite capable worker at the distribution center where he's employed; but they work a lot of three- and four-day workweeks.  That was great for my situation when I was there, but not so great for a young man who is his own sole support and is trying to save a little money for a place of his own, meanwhile trying to keep enough money in his pocket to impress the ladies.  He still has his part-time job two days a week, but it would be great if he's able to make one job fill the bill.  That business of rising at 3 a.m. twice a week is for the birds!

Cliff keeps getting good news on the work front:  He's been there fifteen years this coming May, so he got to choose a gift for that occasion.  He chose a food processor.  Go Cliff!  It surprised me that he remembered me griping that mine is about ready for the dump.  Also, he now gets three paid sick days, which is a new thing.  Since he's seldom sick, that translates as three motorcycle-riding days.  He'll be getting a raise before long, too.  And he's up to three weeks of paid vacation.  Good news all around.  I guess I'd better stop bemoaning the fact that we have to pay twice as much for health insurance this year.  At least it's good insurance!  I still recall the ten-year period when we had none at all.

Something I seldom think about (isn't it funny how we take things for granted?) is the fact that Cliff has a ride to work, so the rising price of gasoline hasn't affected us as much as it has most folks.  Cliff pays Tony $35 a week, and Tony refuses to take more.  It's seventy miles per day round trip, five days a week, and our car gets 24 MPG; no way could Cliff run all those miles on $35.  Not to mention that he can doze all the way home if he needs to.  On days Tony misses work, I worry about Cliff going to sleep at the wheel coming home at midnight.  He has an awful time staying awake sometimes. 

Meanwhile, both Cliff and I are pining away for a motorcycle ride; there may be hope of this today or tomorrow, as it's supposed to get up around 50°.  If it's too cool for the Gold Wing, I'll guarantee it'll be warm enough to ride my horse.

Another thankful:  I hear our friend JJ here in town, the one who had cancer in his eye, seems to be doing well.  They actually put some kind of radiation thingie behind the eye to kill the cancer.  They'll remove that today, the grandson told me, and JJ can get on with his life before long.  He's one of those people who doesn't take to sitting around, and I know he's chomping at the bit to get active.  I'm sure all prayers would still be appreciated.  He'll be adjusting to the fact that he'll only have vision out of one eye.

Everybody have a great day, and remember to count your blessings!

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Friday, January 25, 2008

.... and speaking of impossible things


I may know an artist who can take the lady in this picture...

and place her in this chair:



which would give me a picture of my grandmother that was never taken.

I hope this entry doesn't sound too strange

I've mentioned that I'm reading my One-Year Bible every day.  And spending quiet time both before and after reading, at those times when I can settle myself; I have a tendency to get antsy sometimes.

During this quiet time, the strangest things come to mind with such an urgency that I can't help but listen.  Like feeling I should get back to card-sending on special occasions, for instance.  Or someone coming to mind that I haven't thought of in months, so that I contact them and find out they've been having problems.

Some six months ago, while I was riding my horse, I began feeling a certainty that we'll get a better house.  I had no idea when or how this would happen, I just felt it was true.  And I accepted it.

There's a double-wide trailer across the road that's been for sale for a long time.  With the housing market like it is, and given the fact that banks hate mobile homes, it hasn't sold.  Not to mention how overpriced it is.

It's on a foundation and doesn't look like a "trailer house".  I've been inside it.  It's a lovely home on a 1 1/2 acre lot.  Just a one-minute walk from here, so if we bought it, it wouldn't be a big deal to cross the highway and take a walk in our pasture.

It sounds ideal for us, and Cliff and I discussed it and agreed it was doable, if we were to make an offer and they accepted.

But I've been reading about Abraham lately.

God told Abraham he'd have a son.  Old Abe got antsy and decided to fix things himself, because God wasn't working fast enough to suit him.  We're still paying for his mistake.  That's why our troops are in Iraq (that and a few other folks' mistakes, but we won't talk about that).

So Cliff mentioned today we might ought to pursue that place, and I had to tell him the story of Abraham, Isaac, and Ishmael. 

Then I told him, "I don't want to give birth to an Ishmael."

Cliff doesn't know the Bible all that well, but he understood.

We'll wait for our Isaac to make his appearance, thank you very much.



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Now playing: Iris Dement - Mama's Opry
via FoxyTunes   

I got rid of that virus

In case anyone was wondering:  I ran my AVG anti-virus several times on the laptop; finally after searching Google for solutions, I saw that somebody suggested running Ad-aware or Spybot after the virus-scan was done.  That combination got rid of the pest.  Those are all free programs, by the way; and recommended by some of the wisest computer techs I know.

The virus I had was a Trojan by the name of Spyshredder.  It disguises itself as an anti-spyware, anti-virus program, and it lied, telling me I had dozens of dangerous things on my hard drive.  Every time we turned on the laptop, it would pop up and start doing a fake scan.  The only way to get out of it was to click and buy an upgrade (oh yeah, I want to give MY credit card number to somebody who invents a trojan virus) or use ctrl/alt/del.  Needless to say, I'm doing a happy dance now that it's gone.

In my daily Bible reading, I finished Genesis today:  I find it interesting that Genesis starts with a grandiose "In the beginning, God...", and creeps quietly out with "a coffin in Egypt".  To me, that's sort of a description of the beginning and end of a human life.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Memories, and it's a small world

Because it's winter and I'm not doing much to blog about, I've been recalling my past over at Blogger, remembering old times.

I've been surfing, too, and finding there are people blogging out there who aren't that far away from me, physically.  I'll see a name mentioned that seems familiar, make a comment about it, and lo and behold... I've found a neighbor!

Some of my new friends come from links on the Kansas City Bloggers site; although I have little in common with most of these folks, I see a couple of them accept me anyhow; even the atheists.  And we're actually starting to converse in our comment sections.

The other day I googled the names of some former pastors, which led me to a comment somebody had made on a blog.  I followed that comment to that lady's blog and found out we have mutual friends.  She lives in Oak Grove.

One of the people she links to lives in Richmond, Missouri, and that blogger knows a good buddy of mine, Shirley, who used to live in that town.  Shirley lives within a short horseback ride from me, these days.

This Internet is starting to feel like a small world indeed.

I like that.

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Now playing: Bill & Gloria Gaither and their Homecoming Friends - Thank You, Lord, For Your Blessings
via FoxyTunes   

sirens



That's a shot out my window in the wee hours of a December morning in 2005 when my neighbor's house burned.

I'm hearing sirens this morning, and that's one of the things that comes to mind.

Another memory stirred by the scream of sirens is that of my mom heading happily to some daytime Church gathering shortly after Daddy died.  She hadn't been gone long before I heard sirens and saw an ambulance heading in the direction she'd gone; I remember thinking, "Lord, I hope Mother didn't have a wreck."

Well, she did, and almost got scalped as she was thrown out the windshield; she had to be life-flighted to a hospital.  Even though she was in her eighties at the time, she made a full recovery.

People living in cities probably don't notice sirens, they're so common.  But when you live in or near a small town, or in any rural community, sirens tend to make a person uneasy.  Because there's a good chance that ambulance or fire truck is going to the assistance of somebody you know.

At 6 A.M. today, a fire truck went screaming past.  My first thought is always to pray for whoever they're going to help, and I did that.  My second thought was, "My daughter may be on her way to work; might she have wrecked?"

At this point, though, I'm thinking there's a house fire.  I've heard several more sirens blaring past, so there have probably been neighboring fire departments called in.

I'll just keep praying for anybody involved, including our volunteer firefighters.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Our doctor rides a Harley

Cliff is supposed to see our family doctor regularly.  Some of the heart and blood  pressure meds he takes could be damaging to his liver; so every three or four months, he gets a blood test and is checked over by Dr. D.

Once a year, Cliff visits his cardiologist, although neither of us could really see the necessity of this:  Dr. D keeps a close eye on Cliff, and if anything went wrong, he'd send him straight to the cardiologist.

Today we asked Dr. D if that specialist was necessary.  He smiled and said no.   Good!

I always go into the exam room with Cliff; I started doing this because he can't hear well, but I've since found that I can ask questions Cliff never thinks of. 

I'm sure all my readers have been through this ordeal when visiting their doctors:  You sign in and have a seat in the waiting room.  Five to ten minutes later, a nurse summons you, and you get yourself weighed and blood-pressure-checked.  Then you're escorted to an examination room; if you haven't been through this as often as Cliff and I have, you might have high hopes that the doctor will be there shortly.

No way.  The nurse makes a timely visit.  She asks questions, makes notes, and takes blood.  But it might be forty-five minutes before the good doctor appears.  At least Cliff and I can converse while we're waiting.  But we always wonder how Doctor D. can be so far behind, so early in the morning.

Finally our short, Italian doctor (our son knew Dr. D's son in school, when we lived in that district) shows up, and we put away our Readers' Digests.  He asks all the right questions:  "Do you have plenty of energy?"  "Any chest pain?"   "Do you sleep well?"

Today when he asked about energy, I said, "He must feel OK; every time the weather gets above 45°, he hops on the motorcycle."

Oh my goodness.  A conversation was launched that lasted at least a half-hour.  Dr. D has a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, and he had to tell us about the times he's been to Sturgis, and Wyoming, and California. 

"Do you enjoy riding with him?"  he asked me.

When I enthusiastically said yes, he said, "Mary (his wife) doesn't really care for it."

Doc often has his bike shipped to his destination; then he flies out and claims his Harley.

All the time this conversation was going on, I was thinking, "There are a half-dozen patients in other rooms wondering why this doctor is so far behind!"

Cliff and I have had a good laugh about this.

Our biker doctor.

Haaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!

Oh by the way, he's about the same age as we are.

Stupid Trojan Spyshredder

Here I sit, laptop in my lap, watching my antivirus run.  Somehow this machine has had a Trojan virus installed.

Unless my PC is down, or I'm on the road, the laptop is mostly used by others:  Cliff, the Grandson, and the granddaughters.

I'm inclined to think Cliff accidentally clicked on something to install it.  He's not computer savvy, and if you've ever gone mouseless on a laptop, you know it's easy to click something without intending to.

Here's what would happen.  Someone would turn on the computer and a program would popup on the screen and begin scanning, listing all sorts of evil things it was finding on the hard drive.  If I wanted rid of them, I'd have to buy their upgrade and they'd clean things up.  The only way we found to stop this unwanted visitor was to use ctrl/alt/del.  After that, I'd go to start, programs, and there would be spyshredder.  When I clicked on it, there was an uninstall option, and I'd click that.  There'd be a message that the program had been removed, and I'd rejoice.

Next time somebody would turn on the laptop, there it was again.

For some reason, my AVG antivirus was having problems with finding it, but today it's done its job.  It's still scanning, but is informing me that it has Spyshredder by the nose. 

Ah, it's done, and says the problem is "healed".  I'll run Spybot Search and Destroy now, and hopefully be done with this mess.

Wish me luck.  I won't know for sure if everything's fixed until I reboot.

Anchored in Love



Anyone who knows me knows I'm an eternal fan of Johnny Cash.  I have been ever since the 'fifties.  On my computer I have dozens of his songs, from his younger days (Don't Take Your Guns To Town) up through his "American recordings", in which, on the later ones, he sounds as tired and ill as he really was when he made them.

I loved "Walk The Line".  I don't purchase many movies, but that's one I added to my collection.  I also bought the DVD set of "The Johnny Cash Show" with portions of the old TV show I watched when my kids were babies.

What I'm saying is, I love Johnny Cash, rest his soul.

I'm also fascinated with the history of Carter Family, who were singing on the radio when my parents were teenagers.



So when I found out John Carter Cash wrote a book about his relationship with his mom, I purchased it post haste!  And read it in record time.  I usually dawdle about reading books, often having three or four going at once and sometimes taking weeks to finish any of them.   This, of course, adds to the clutter and "hot spots" that Flylady often warns me about.  So be it.



This book had me from the first page, and I finished it over the course of the past weekend.

John Carter wrote this book with an honesty that must have been difficult for him, allowing the reader to get a glimpse inside the lives of his parents that no previous biography, autobiography or movie has shown.

The harsh reality isn't so pleasant as it's been portrayed.  There's no "happily ever after" ending, at least not here on this earth.

Thanks, John Carter Cash, for showing me how it really was, and for doing it with love.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The motorcycle we sold

I mentioned in the previous entry that we sold our "extra" Gold Wing.  It's the one we bought after we realized we'd made a mistake in selling our blue bike.  We figured an old one would do:  we wouldn't have much invested and could still have our fun.

Unfortunately, after owning a 1500 CC motorcycle, an 1100 seems woefully lacking in power.  Since Cliff's cousin had a 1500 he truly needed to sell, we bought it.  And there we were with two Honda Gold Wings.

We advertised the older one on Craigslist; one man came to look, but didn't buy it.  I figured come spring, we'd sell it.  I didn't see any pressing need to get rid of it quickly.  Truth be told, we'd probably have been willing to take a little less than we paid, when the time came.



That's Cliff's brother Don on the left and Pat on the right.  Pat's the guy who bought the motorcycle, and I'll explain why I think he bought it.

Pat had several older tractors he wanted to sell last year.  He'd purchased some of them at a good price as a package deal from some farmer who had simply parked them along a fence as he bought newer tractors.  Where these guys live in southwest Kansas, it's farm country.  Real farmers don't have a lot of use for old tractors; they buy great big expensive new ones.

Neither Don nor Pat has Internet access.  When they didn't have much success selling those old beasts, Cliff volunteered my services:  There are two websites where you can advertise farm equipment at no charge:  Tractorhouse and Yesterday's Tractors.  And of course, there's the ever-present Craigslist.  I listed the tractors along with Don's phone number and location, and a couple of them sold. 

In our Kansas City area, there are lots of hobby farmers who are glad to get old used tractors; they only have a few acres and don't want to spend a lot of money on equipment; and there's still lots of use left in those relics from the 1960's and 70's.

So Cliff suggested to Donald that he haul their unsold tractors up here where there's more of a market for them.  I'd list them on Craigslist and maybe they'd  sell.

We had success.



When Cliff called Donald to tell him he had this ugly old propane-fueled tractor sold, Don informed him that we could keep the money; his buddy Pat wanted our 1100 Gold Wing.  Consider it a trade, he said. 

This seemed a little strange to us, since Pat already has one 1100 Gold Wing.   Because the tractor brought $500 more than we had invested in the motorcycle, Cliff offered to at least give Pat that much of the cash.

Nope, says Donald.  You guys have helped us out quite a bit; Pat doesn't want the money.

I think this is just his way of paying us for selling his tractors.

What a nice guy. 

There's still one unsold tractor here.  Anybody want to buy a much-used and abused Massey-Ferguson?



I didn't think so.

Monday, January 21, 2008

I'm back



Is anything more bleak and desolate than a January funeral in Missouri?  But Cliff's Aunt Faye lived a good, long, productive life.  She would have been ninety years old in April.



Cliff's brother has a buyer for our 1983 motorcycle, so we took it with us to Versailles.

They had to figure out a way to get it onto Don's rather high-off-the-ground pickup.



So they took it off our trailer.  Don turned it around...



Put it back on the trailer, backwards?  Huh?  We don't need to take this back home with us.



Why is it back on our trailer?



 Oh, I don't like the looks of this at all.



They're going to drive a 780-pound motorcycle on that narrow metal thing into Don's truck?  Oh no!

Now, there should be an actual picture here of the motorcycle on that ramp.  But I didn't have the nerve to watch it and take pictures, in case something awful happened.  Oh no, I was huddled inside praying, with Aunt Gertrude.



Cliff's brother Phil was watching out the window.  Once he told me the motorcycle was loaded, I went out and took a picture.

By the way, we got $500 more for that motorcycle than we paid a few months ago.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Chicken Cacciatore

Usually the only way I buy chicken is the leg-quarters in those ten-pound bags.  I'm cheap, and that's the best bargain on meat anywhere.  When I get it home, I divide it three ways and freeze it in three-pound portions.  I thawed one of those yesterday thinking I'd make my low-fat version of Chicken gumbo.

Today I realized I have no sweet peppers in the house.  I'm sure the dish would be fine without them, but I don't like leaving out an ingredient.  In fact, it seemed as though every chicken dish I make regularly requires sweet peppers.

So I started leafing through one of my Better Homes and Gardens cookbooks and noticed I had all the ingredients required for Chicken Cacciatore.  I've never tasted it, much less made it, but I figured what the heck, go for it. 

I told Cliff, "I don't know how dinner will be; it's something I've never had.  Says here you serve it on spaghetti."

"Heck, bring it on," says he.  "Anything on spaghetti is bound to be good."

I must say I tasted the sauce a while ago, and it was yummy

This isn't one of my low-fat recipes, but it doesn't appear to be too loaded with bad stuff.

We'll see how it tastes. 

Speaking of things I want...

Can you tell I have cabin fever, creating posts like this? 

Now here's an item we actually do plan to purchase before the summer is out, good Lord willing:



It's a cargo trailer that pulls behind a motorcycle.  We'd like to have it for several reasons:

1.  It would give us a place to stash our leathers when we need to remove them, either because of heat or to go inside someplace.  Ditto on helmets; we plan to buy some pretty expensive helmets one of these days, and then we won't want to leave them just hanging off the handlebars like we do now.

2.  If we end up going to Colorado on the bike, there'll be plenty of room for our stuff.  There is a lot of storage space on our bike, but once you stash the leathers, most of it is occupied.

3.  We could take the Gold Wing when we go to the grocery store.  We already do this a lot, but only when we're not getting many groceries.

Anyhow, this is the cargo trailer we'll get, only in white to match the bike.  It's made by Aluma, and is about half the price of the plastic-looking fiberglass ones we've looked at.  And Cliff prefers its looks. 

It's manufactured in Iowa, and there are lots of dealers not far from us.

I want one of these!

Actually, it's too expensive, considering you can pay for a lot of motel rooms for $6,000 or so, and have a much more comfortable bed.  Not to mention a shower.  But isn't it cute?  You'll probably get tired of watching before the video is done; it's pretty long.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Another post today? Yep.

Random thoughts going through my mind:

1.  Why would anyone let a sibling make them feel worthless?  What sort of sibling would constantly make you feel bad because you are a few pounds overweight?  (No, I'm not talking about me or Cliff; I have no problem nipping THAT in the bud.)

2.  Why wouldn't you TELL said sibling, "You are making me feel like crap and I want you to stop?" 

(OK, Cliff says most people can't be as up-front as I am about this sort of thing.  ::shrugs::

I simply wonder, "Why can't they?")

3.  I'm looking forward to visiting my sister in Texas in about three weeks.  I love my sister, she's the best.  I can't wait.

4.  I talked on the phone today with a niece (my late brother's daughter) with whom I haven't been in touch for ages.  That was nice.

5.  Back in my first days on AOL, I hung out in a wonderful Christian chat room.  They held "chat reunions" here and there across the country.  The first such gathering I attended was in Dallas; the dear lady who has always sponsored this event is holding the very last one, this year.  I had no intention of attending, but now I'm thinking about it.

6.  I'll be attending a funeral Monday.

7.  It's cold, and I'm grumpy.

Good night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.




Angel food ministries: sounds like a good deal

I'm wondering if any of my readers have experience with Angel Food Ministries?

For thirty dollars, you get quite a bit of food.  This isn't a charity thing for poor folks; it's for anybody.  Cliff just talked to his brother, Phil, who has been taking advantage of this for a long time.   He was especially happy with the bacon-wrapped beef fillets they got this month.

You can go HERE and click on the dropdown thingie to choose your state and see what you'd have gotten in January, or what you would get in February if you participated.  There are also meat packages available in addition to the regular unit.  This looks like a real bargain, to me.  The meat, according to the website, is restaurant quality.

I doubt I'll be taking advantage of it; there's too much stuff I don't need this month.  For instance, I'm already stocked up on peanut butter, and that's one of the items.  I also have all the potatoes Cliff and I will use in the next month.  Another problem is that much of the food is highly processed, which means lots of salt.  We try to avoid salt in this house.  And we have quite a bit of pork in our freezer, so we wouldn't be needing that.

If they come up with a bundle that I can live with, I'll surely give it a try; I think it would be a wonderful idea for a family, because if nothing else, it would give some variety to their meals.

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Now playing: Rita Springer - I Can Only Imagine [*]
via FoxyTunes   

Tax rebate coming?

Maybe it's just me, but I feel the idea of a $500 tax rebate is nuts.  Don't get me wrong, I'll take my rebate check with a smile, thank you very much.  But the idea that it will give the economy much of a boost is ridiculous.

Most people I know will just use it to pay the rent that's a month behind as a result of all their money is going in the gas tank.  I suppose the rebate might help somebody keep their home from foreclosure for that much longer.  But once the money is gone, the economy is right back where it started.

The people who aren't hurting from the money crunch (are there any of those?) will perhaps tuck the money away for vacation-time.   Those who are feeling the squeeze will buy groceries and gas.  How long is that little "boost" to the economy going to last?  How much difference can it make?

Just my two cents worth.

I'm editing in one of my comments on this entry, as it's very enlightening, at least to me:

Comment from pudge450 |
I think the idea of stimulating the economy with this tax rebate is more profound than it appears on the surface.  Once a dollar enters the economy, it statistically "turns over" 5 times ( with a bit of deminished value with each turnover).  Net effect of one dollar is about $1.66 in the end.   So, if you and your husband receive the proposed rebate of $1600 for a married couple, your net effect on the economy is about $2656.00 in the end.  Multiply that times the billions of dollars and it is a larger effect than expected.  Even if someone pays his past due rent, the money has been put into play.  And don't forget, some of that goes back to state and local governments as sales tax.  But, of course -- some people will put it in the bank,  and then...... well  little effect."

Friday, January 18, 2008

funerals and MORE funerals

I told in a journal entry last week how Cliff and I went to a cousin's husband's funeral.  And since we were closer to Jefferson City than we'd be again, we went to visit his Aunt Faye in the hospital there.  Cliff just felt like we ought to go see her; and it turns out he was right.

She seemed pleasantly surprised to see us.  Diabetes had turned the big toe on her right foot black, and doctors were discussing whether they might need to amputate.  She'd had pain in her feet for a long time.

This week, she had a massive stroke.

This morning Cliff's brother called to say Aunt Faye passed away.



She's the aunt in the middle, sitting on that swing, in this picture taken last July.

I truly believe she's having a wonderful gab-fest with her mom and her sister (my mother-in-law) right at this very moment.

I'm sure glad Cliff listened to those inner urges that told him to visit his aunt last weekend.


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Now playing: Rich Mullins - Nothing Is Beyond You
via FoxyTunes   

Tags:

Me and Cliff, in another ten years (thanks, MyAnn)

A Florida Biker and his biker babe.


Rich Mullins... and have you ever felt like this?

Rich Mullins was a fantastic Christian songwriter whose career was cut short by a tragic auto accident eleven years ago. 

I love hearing a song and being able to relate to it, thinking, "I know how that feels, because I've been there."

So while listening to "The Jesus Record", Rich's last work, I was transfixed by the lyrics of "Hard To Get" this morning.  What poetry!  It doesn't express how I'm feeling at the present time, but it brought back to me how many times I have been in this frame of mind.  And surely will be again.

Here are the words:


                                           HARD TO GET
                                             Rich Mullins

You who live in heaven
Hear the prayers of those of us who live on earth:
Who are afraid of being left by those we love
And who get hardened by the hurt.
Do you remember when You lived down here where we all scrape
To find the faith to ask for daily bread?
Did You forget about us after You had flown away?
Well I memorized every word You said...
Still I'm so scared, I'm holding my breath
While You're up there just playing hard to get.

You who live in radiance
Hear the prayers of those of us who live in skin.
We have a love that's not as patient as Yours was,
Still we do love now and then.
Did You ever know loneliness?
Did You ever know need?
Do You remember just how long a night can get
When You were barely holding on
And Your friends fall asleep
And don't see the blood that's running in Your sweat?
Will those who mourn be left uncomforted
While You're up there just playing hard to get?

And I know you bore our sorrows
And I know you feel our pain.
And I know it would not hurt any less
Even if it could be explained.
And I know that I am only lashing out
At the One who loves me most;
And after I have figured this, somehow,
All I really need to know

Is if You who live in eternity
Hear the prayers of those of us who live in time.
We can't see what's ahead
And we can not get free of what we've left behind.
I'm reeling from these voices that keep screaming in my ears,
All the words of shame and doubt, blame and regret.
I can't see how You're leading me unless You've led me here
To where I'm lost enough to let myself be led.
And so, You've been here all along I guess:
It's just Your ways and You are just plain hard to get.

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Now playing: Rich Mullins - Man of No Reputation
via FoxyTunes   

Thursday, January 17, 2008

School closings here

Maybe the roads are iced up by the rain we were getting when the temperature dropped, because there sure isn't enough snow to cancel school.  Anyhow, the granddaughters will likely be over sometime today, which means I may plan to fix something a little different than the salad I was planning for me and Cliff for our noon-time dinner.

Maybe tuna-noodle casserole?

Here's something of interest:  One of the wonderful people I've met on the Internet lives in Smyrna, Tennessee.  We've met face to face many times, and I've visited in her home before.  As much as I despise talking on the telephone, I've always loved getting phone calls from Virginia; we've been known to chat for an hour!

Somehow time slipped by, and we hadn't talked in months.  Nor had we e-mailed one another. 

For some reason, right after my quiet time on Monday morning, Jen came to mind.  The feeling was very persistent that something was wrong; it even crossed my mind that my friend could die and I wouldn't know it, no better than I've kept in touch.  So I sent an email, which simply said this:

"
For some reason, you've been on my mind lately.  Is everything OK with you?"

For three days there was no answer, which really concerned me.  Then this morning I got my answer from Virginia; here's what she had to say:

"
Wow !!!!! What a 'God thing' that you should feel this way right now !!!!!!   My only Sister was attacked by some kind of rare cancer that spread all over immediately and she died Monday and today we had her her funeral..........  It was all so sudden and sooooo sad................ Thanks so  much.......Jen"

I have to tell you, this humbles me.  I'm so glad I've gotten back to my morning quiet-time.  It seems to have been my best resolution ever.

There are others of my old chat-room gang that I think of often, but haven't heard from.  Maybe I had better get in touch!


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Now playing: Rich Mullins - Hard to Get
via FoxyTunes   

I've been watching movies

It's that time of year, you know.  That time when the weather is lousy and nothing outside is worth wading in mud or freezing to death for.  So I, who normally watch very few movies, am watching movies.

I wish I'd have skipped the one yesterday about a girl from Columbia smuggling drugs into the United States; it was totally depressing.

Two movies I've caught on TV recently were so similar that while I was watching the second one, I thought I was watching the one I'd already seen, there for awhile.  And yet, they're both excellent portrayals of a man I used to enjoy greatly, on late-night TV.  Hard to believe two such similar movies were made within a year of one another.

The movies?  Capote and Infamous.

Just look at these guys; they both look like Capote, and what's more, they each get his personality and mannerisms down to a "T".



That's Phillip Seymour Hoffman



And that's Toby Jones.

Oh, here's the real Capote:



If I had to choose between the two movies, I think I enjoyed "Infamous" just a little more, but maybe that's simply because I saw it first, or perhaps because I liked Sandra Bullock's portrayal of Harper Lee best.

There you have it:  My cabin-fevered movie reviews.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Received in e-mail

What's really bad about these ads is that I remember a couple of them!  My, my, how times have changed.




















Tags: get-attachment5.aspx href="http://technorati.com/tag/old+ads">old ads

Not much action around here

All my favorite things to blog about... motorcycle rides, horseback rides, the great outdoors... have been put on hold due to the season.  Winter has us in its grip and won't even relent for one day, it seems.  Yesterday the forecast was for temperatures to get into the 40's, which would have allowed me at least a brief afternoon horseback ride; but we didn't make it past 40°.  Looking at what is being forecast for the next ten days, there still will be no nice weather.

Oh, Cliff and I bundle up and get our daily walk in, for which Sadie is thankful.  The pasture is frozen hard, and bumpy, which is rough on old knees; so we walk slower than usual for my sake.  There's always a feeling of accomplishment when we're done, because we surely didn't want to go for a walk under such conditions!

Yesterday the weather-guessers were predicting two to four inches of snow coming in tonight.  I'd welcome it; snow brightens up the world, although I'll admit it makes our walk in the pasture a little more difficult.

As of this morning, I've lost nine pounds of my holiday weight gain; five more would get me back where I started, although it would be nice if I could lose a couple more than that.  This time of year I have trouble in the evening, wanting to munch something constantly.  I solve this problem by going to bed at 7 P.M.  Yes, I do go to sleep that early.  Of course, I'm up by 3 A.M., but I don't have the munchies at this time of day.  I drink my coffee and hold off on breakfast until Cliff wakes up around 7:30.  Cliff is losing his holiday weight little by little too.

I realize that blogging about the weather and weight loss makes for the most boring kind of entry ever; but I figured I needed to blog about something, so there you have it.  If you haven't fallen asleep by now reading this, I bid you good day.  Bundle up against the cold!

Oh, do you want to smile?  Go read "Because I Said So" and see what Dawn's kids got into today.   Makes me sorta thankful for my boring days.

Tags: ,

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

AOL, what have you done to me?

I don't even have AOL software on this computer.  I access all things AOL, including mail, through Firefox.  As of about fifteen minutes ago, I can't get on my AOL home page.  I can't get to my AOL mail. 

Thank the good Lord I can get to my AOL journal to complain!

I even tried it on Internet Explorer with no luck.  Typing in AOL.com gets a strange page I've never seen before, and when I click on any of the links there, I get this message:  "
An error occurred while trying to get the page."


Leave it to AOL to keep me on my toes.  I may have to get on the laptop in order to access AOL through their software.

Added later:  OK, they seem to have that particular glitch fixed.  Everything is (almost) back to normal.

Monday, January 14, 2008

A John Deere like you've never seen

My AOL buddy Nance sent me this link; Cliff said, "Send that to Jim."  (Our son.)

I started to, when I realized lots of people might want to see this video.  It's much more than just an old green tractor!



Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sadie loves to take a walk with us

I mention often how hyperactive my dog, Sadie, is.  I can't turn her loose outside because at the first sight of another dog, she's gone.  I can't bear the thought of losing another pet on the highway.

So the highlight of her day, the thing she lives for, is our daily walk in the pasture.  She gets to run free out there; she's even allowed to run off for a little while, chasing rabbits or deer or ghosts. 

We try never to say the word "walk" around her, and I took a little video to show you why.



Tags: ,

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Libby is home

I don't know if Libby learned anything while she was gone.  I paid the fee to the "trainer".  If it was wasted, so be it.  Meanwhile, Libby was obviously glad to be home, and I'm glad to have her here.  So is her buddy, Blue.

If I seem a bit bummed out, I am.

We got word that Cliff's oldest sister's husband has found himself another woman, so their marriage of 28 years is about to end.

On a brighter note, I went out before noon on Blue and got in over an hour of riding.  I rode to the local graveyard to see the damage done by vandals to several tombstones.  Very sad; why do people think such nonsense is fun?

The wind switched to the north before I got home and turned my nose and toes into ice cubes; still, it was a good hour-long ride.

Yes, I'm bummed out.  But I'm still blessed.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Quite a day!

Cliff took off work today so we could go to his cousin's husband's funeral.

I've gotten acquainted with Edna, Cliff's cousin, through correspondence in email.  It's surprising, really, what you can learn about a person just exchanging emails.  I've learned that Edna is big-hearted, hard-headed, and not afraid to tell you what she thinks.  I can tell you that if you are crazy enough to harm one of her kids or grandkids, she might be dangerous.

As for her husband O.L., I hardly knew him at all.

I knew he worked with a former neighbor of ours, Mr. Jackson, years ago; and that our neighbor thought highly of him.

I knew O.L. was quiet, and always seemed to have a smile.  That's about it.

But today at his funeral, I got to know him better.

One lady stood up and told, in tears, how Edna and O.L. took her in as a troubled twenty-one-year-old.  She said they saved her life, and her soul, at a time when nobody else would have helped.

Two stood and tried to tell through their tears how, if they'd had to choose a dad, they'd have chosen their Dad.

Afterward, I told Cliff, "I didn't realize O.L. was such a great guy."

Cliff answered, "Oh yeah, everybody loved O.L."

After the funeral, we stopped by Cliff's Aunt Gertrude's house.  The woman is, I believe, close to eighty years old, and babysitting several kids.  One little girl is three months old, and I had a blast playing with her and making her giggle.

Then we went on to Jefferson City to see another of Cliff's aunts who's in the hospital there, his Aunt Faye.  She was glad to see us, and Cliff got to chat with three of his cousins who were there to visit.

Before we went inside the hospital, I took this picture of the Missouri State Capital.



When we left, the view looked like this:



Oh, about my mom's pictures and keepsakes.  I'm going to take the advice of some of my readers (I think Ora was one who suggested it) and have a box for my son, my daughter, and my sister (who will make sure her sons and grandsons get what's due them).  I'll sort everything accordingly.  I know there'll be a few things that go to cousins, so I'll probably have a shoebox labeled for cousins in general, and sort that out later.

That should work.

Sorting through my mom's keepsakes

Once again, as I mentioned on my other site, I'm tackling the mountain of keepsakes and pictures my mom stored up before her death.  If the pictures weren't in albums, they'd almost be easier to deal with, because it would be simpler to toss the photos of strangers.  But everybody's in there, all mixed together in no certain order, stuck between those plastic sheets that often stick to the pictures:  People from a half-dozen different churches, distant cousins' children, old neighbors, and so forth.

One thing that makes this task difficult is that I wonder what to do with so many things:  Pictures of my grandchildren that she had hanging on her walls, for example.  I have copies of all the same pictures, so I don't need them.  Yet I hate to destroy them.  I'm fairly certain my granddaughter, Amber, wants all her childhood pictures.

Mother kept certain letters and notes out of sentiment.  There's a letter Cliff wrote her perhaps sixteen years ago, thanking her for all the times she and Daddy had helped us out with "payday loans".  I can see why she kept it, because Cliff is NOT one to write letters.  I'll let him read it, and then what?  Will I destroy it, or save it so he and I can read it again in a few years?

She saved notes and pictures from grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren.  Here are a couple of examples, sent to my dad in 1987, not long before he died.  Wow, that's over twenty years ago!






My nephew's boys sent these home-made cards to Daddy.  I believe they sometimes peek in on my journal, and I'm waiting to hear whether either of them (or their parents) wants these.

There are so many things like these that I hesitate to throw away, just in case somebody else wants them.

Another example, although at least she left instructions on this one:  During the war in Iraq when our son Jim was stationed over there, Mother wrote a letter, evidently, to President Bush (the first one).  I imagine she must have told him all about her grandson being there.  Anyway, she received a letter from the White House.  From what I can tell, it appears to be a form letter, but I think my mom took it as a personal reply, and wrote on the envelope, "To be given to Jim after my death".

So, my son Jim:  at her request I will save it for you.  What you do with it is none of my concern.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

updating my birthday book



My mom had two hobbies that kept her happy as she got older, and kept her from losing her mind after Daddy died:  Quilting, and corresponding with people by mail.  The latter included sending birthday and anniversary cards to, not just family and friends, but practically anybody with whom she had ever rubbed shoulders.

For instance, my first schoolteacher, up in Iowa.  Mother hadn't seen her for at least fifty years, but when she found out her birth date, she was put on the list.  And her favorite weatherman on TV, Gary Lezak.  And the President, if he happened to be of her party affiliation.  You get my drift.

Postage stamps became one of her major expenses, and many people would give her stamps as gifts, on her birthday and at Christmas.  She picked up a lot of her greeting cards at garage sales, and she recycled greeting cards she received by turning them into post cards.

Even though I'm not the thoughtful type at all, for some reason about fifteen years ago, I decided to join in my mom's crusade and start card-sending.  Now, I'm of the belief that a card means a lot more if there's a note or letter sent with it, and I had a brand new word processor at the time (long before I imagined owning a computer).  I wasn't working outside the home; just milking my cows twice a day and raising bottle-calves.  It seemed like it would be a simple thing to do, and it was.

I collected relatives' birthdays and anniversaries, both mine and Cliff's. 

Cliff's Aunt Olive, in Arkansas, would write back every time I sent her something.  I never met her, but I began to feel like I knew her through our spotty correspondence.  She's deceased now.

When my mom threw me a surprise 50th birthday party, one uncle who attended said he just had to come, because I was one of only two nieces who gave a hoot for him.  All I ever did for him was send greeting cards a couple of times a year!

Even though it was a worthwhile hobby, ministry, or whatever you might call it, at some point I lost interest and stopped doing it.  Maybe it was when I got a full-time job, but I think not; I suspect I just got lazy, as I do so often.  Or maybe the time for that was over.  To  everything there is a season.

This morning during my quiet time, I felt strongly impressed that I'm supposed to start corresponding like that again.  So I got out my old birthday-and-anniversary book.

I'd say at least a third of those people have died, so I scratched a line through their names.  (But I left their names legible, so I can at least remember their important days in my heart.)

Probably a quarter of the names are those of  people who used to attend the same church I did, but have moved on to God-only-knows-where.

There are still plenty of folks left, though.  I may have to look up some of their current addresses, but they're still alive and kicking.

I guess I'd better find out the birth-dates of my two youngest grandchildren (yes, I'm serious... I've been that bad).


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Now playing: Talley Trio - It Ain't Gonna Worry Me Long
via FoxyTunes   

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Doldrums

I've noticed, as I travel around the Internet reading blogs and journals, that there are a lot of folks down-in-the-dumps lately, and I've been trying to pin down the causes.

I know this is always a ho-hum time of year:  The excitement of Christmas is over; it's a long time until spring.  Weather tends to keep us all housebound.  So perhaps we can lay much of the blame on Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Then there are the extra expenses of the season.  Many people overspent at Christmas (not me and Cliff, thank God) and are trying to make up for that now. 

Heating costs are skyrocketing.  If yours haven't, try heating your home with propane.

In Missouri, we have personal taxes due January 1.  These have to be paid in order to license our vehicles later on.  If we're late in paying, interest is added on each month.

Here in my county, real estate taxes have been re-evaluated; ours rose by about 66% this year.  This has always been rolled in with our house payment, so it's spread out over the year; however, our amount in escrow was $380
shy of the amount that came out of the bank as a result of the change; I have to make that up by March 10.

Young married folks, and senior citizens on a fixed income, are struggling to make ends meet, with gasoline and grocery prices increasing steadily.  I read an article online that states food costs have risen 4%; I don't know where they got that estimate, but my grocery costs have risen at least 10% in the past year or so.

Cliff and I, thankfully, took steps this past year to pay off most debts.  We figured that would give us plenty of funds for traveling on the motorcycle. Now I find much of that money going for necessities.

I'm thankful that, so far, we're making ends meet.  But I can't help wondering about, and praying for, all those who are caught in this squeeze.

I don't care what the politicians call it; I say we're in a recession.  It's obviously going to get worse before it gets better.

And I think that's why so many bloggers are in a state of the doldrums right now.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Dag-nabbed cats!

The daughter is out of town on a business trip, so yesterday and today I'm here to make sure the granddaughters get up and off to school.  I blogged about their cats yesterday over at Blogspot, and mentioned how one of them decided to use my coat as a bed.  Cliff, by the way, kindly pointed out later during our morning walk that I had cat-hair all over me.

This morning I knew better than to lay my coat on the couch; after all, couches are where the cats like to relax, and I wasn't going to deprive the kitties of their comfort.  Nope, not me.  I tossed my coat on a table in the family room.  A nice, hard table.

So after getting the girls awake and all, I came in here to use the computer.  Lo and behold, the lady cat had found my coat on the table and was curled up on it licking herself happily.  ACK!!!! 

My coat now hangs on a door-handle.  Let's see them use my coat for a bed there.

I've been going through The Country Doctor's Wife's archives and found her singing a song she wrote for her kids in one entry.  She plays guitar quite nicely, much better than my thump-thump-thumping.  If you'd like to listen, click HERE.

Easily influenced

I mentioned before that I've been perusing blogs and journals, checking out new ones.  After all, it's wintertime.  On days when it's too cold and nasty to ride the horse or the motorcycle, reading blogs is as good a pastime as any. 

And yes, my house... at least the part I live in... is pretty much up to Flylady standards... for me, anyhow.

While I did complain about some of the angry local blogs I've stumbled across, I have also discovered some quite interesting folks.

One is "The Country Doctor's Wife".  I believe she's out in the boonies of Kansas somewhere.

Don't think I'm putting her down; she's stashed away in my bloglines to read every day.  But by reading her views, and then following comments left in her blog, I've discovered something quite interesting:  an anti-Pioneer-Woman sentiment!

Now here's what's strange:  After reading a few comments from people who are tired of Ree's sunshine, toe-picking, and hiney-cringing (or tingling), I found myself thinking, "Yeah, maybe she does do a little too much of that!"

Good grief!  I'm sixty-three years old and I'm that easily swayed by others' opinions?  Or did they, perhaps, simply open my eyes to something I hadn't thought of?

Are these folks just jealous of Pioneer Woman's popularity?

I'm off to a corner to pick my toes and think about this one.