Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Colorado

black canyon

Monday, January 29, 2007

The last two memes I've done

If anyone is interested in doing "I Am" or "Where I'm From", be sure and leave the link to your specific entry over at Owlhaven. Also, you can see links to the others who have done these memes by clicking on "Mr. Linky" there, and it makes for fascinating reading.

I AM... (this is another one of those memes)

I'm the infant born to a couple married twelve years, the first baby her mother was able to carry to full term alive; in fact, the only one.

I am the baby who was so bald-headed when she was a year old that some lady at church told her mom she had better “take that baby to a doctor and see why her hair won't grow.”

I am the child who learned to make believe early in life because there were no neighbor kids to play with. I am the one who wanted a pony more than anything in the world, and pretended to be an Indian every chance she got, hoping that somewhere in her background there was a drop or two of Indian blood.

I am the girl who didn't have close friends in school, and eventually figured out she didn’t need them anyway; after all, she had kittens at home to play with. The one who, when sides were chosen in gym class, usually got picked last because she wasn’t any good at sports... the one who ran the wrong way with the football, and couldn’t hit the baseball when it was her turn at bat.

I am the sixth-grader who asked her cousins what that machine in the school rest room was for, the one that had “Kotex” written on it, and wondered why they giggled and refused to tell. That girl who, a few weeks later, sat in a room with the other sixth-grade girls, trying to understand what the school nurse was telling them about their bodies. The only girl in the group who had never heard these things before.

I am the teenager who dreamed of doing or writing something significant that would change the world, and I am now the old woman who realizes she never accomplished that, and that the world would be exactly the same if she had never existed.

I am the girl who went through high school without ever going on a date, turning down the couple of boys who were brave enough to ask her because she didn’t know what she was supposed to say or do, with a boy. I’m the one who never considered going to the prom.

I’m the girl the driver-education teacher made fun of in front of the other kids because of her pathetic attempts at driving, and said he’d pass her if she'd promise never to drive; he thought he was being funny, but he wasn’t. At least she kept her promise to him.

I am the girl who, at age twenty-one, somehow stumbled onto a man who believed with all his heart she was beautiful and never wavered in his affection for her through forty years of marriage (so far), allowing her all the solitude she required and spoiling her outrageously.

I am the newlywed who wanted a dozen children because babies are cute, and realized after having two of them that she wasn’t that great a mother and probably shouldn’t have had kids at all, so she got fixed.

I’m the woman who tended large gardens, raised pigs and lambs and calves and chickens, finally saw her dream of having a horse come true, milked registered Jersey cows, and loved doing all that; and when a thing stopped being fun, she stopped doing it.

I’m the one who has almost always owned a guitar and longed for somebody to jam with, but for the most part sang and played alone, without an audience, and got by fine.

I am the grandmother who dotes on babies and toddlers, but has a difficult time dealing with children once they are old enough to go to school. Let's not even talk about when they hit puberty.

I am the woman who is scared of motorcycles because of all the statistics she reads about the dangers, but rides often behind her husband
(praying without ceasing) on his “mid-to-late-life-crisis" Honda Gold Wing, because he's so ecstatic when they are riding.

I am the person who has done almost everything she wanted to in her life, and wouldn’t feel a bit cheated if she found out tomorrow she had a terminal illness, because life has been that sweet.

I’m that woman.



Sunday, January 28, 2007

Reasons I won't re-visit a blog

On my AOL journal, I listed various reasons why I choose to read certain blogs.

I'll use this spot to discuss reasons I will not read some.

The number one thing I dislike, and something I never encountered on AOL journals: blogs that advertise things, with no personal content whatsoever. Why would anyone return to read such junk? I have advertising forced upon me from TV, billboards, and yes, the Internet. But I won't choose to spend time on a blog full of advertising.
More power to you if you make money from pay-per-post. It just isn't my cup of tea.

Now, I have found some blogs of interest that include ads on the sidebar; I wish they didn't, but if the content of the entries holds my interest, I will return. As long as there aren't too many ads.

Another thing I don't care for, although I will put up with it in a journal I otherwise like, is a bunch of artificial graphics. You know, cartoon-y figures of witches or angels or vamps holding whips, or homey little "artistic portrayals" of cottages and such. I love photographs. I despise fake-looking pictures of sirens and mermaids that don't even vaguely resemble the author of the blog.

But that's just me.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Cheap horses

I don't know why I'm always reading the horses-for-sale classified ads. I already have two horses, which is one more than I need. But this winter, there are such apparent bargains (evidently as a result of a hay shortage), that I've become addicted to reading ads. Like this one:

NEED TO SELL NO HAY!!! CHEAP!!!!!!!!!!!! $ 100.00 or best offer Description I need to sell 8 of my horses. I will trade for hay as well. All prices are FIRM! I have yearlings to 10yrs old. Some are registered, some are not. Prices range $100 - $650. QH bay yrling stud $100, QH sorrel stud coming 2, $150, sorrel/white yrling filly $250, QH Grey 2yr filly $200, yrling reg blue roan paint filly $500, 3 yr stud pinto $350, 9yr sorrel QH mare in foal to pinto $450, black 10 yr old reg paint in foal to palomino/white paint $650 broke to ride.


Wow. Then there's this one, which even got Cliff's interest, and he has no need for, or interest in, horses:

BOMBPROOF 7 yr Bay Gelding for sale. Description I have a 7 year old bay gelding who I must sell due to a need to downsize. The horse is a great trail horse who doesn't spook at anything. I am asking $700.00 OBO for him, but no reasonable offer will be refused. Must sell. ALso willing to trade for 100 bales of good alfalfa. Lee's Summit Area


We have lots of good alfalfa in the barn, which we've been selling for $4 a bale. That would make this horse cost $400; if he's really "bombproof", that's the buy of the century.

I simply have to stop reading ads, or we'll wind up with a pasture full of horses. This is how I ended up with Libby, my filly. Of course, I've never regretted that purchase! So far she's shown herself to be worth every penny of the $150 I paid for her.




Friday, January 26, 2007

Sadie gets to run

Sadie had not been off her leash in days and days. Cliff and I take her on our daily walk, but we're still walking along the highway, so I can't turn her loose. Finally today I put on boots and took her to the pasture, where she got a half-hour taste of freedom. She and I were down in our deepest gully when she headed uphill without me; but when I called her, she came running back.

Sadie running

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

where I'm from

I am from a switchboard in the living room, from Maytag wringer washers and lye soap and bluing and starch.

I am from the rolling north Missouri hills sweet with the smell of budding, flowering branches in spring, and fields plowed and ready to plant, from wild strawberries growing along roadside ditches in June and kittens in the barn.

I am from the murky Missouri River that likes to escape its banks, the cottonwood trees alongside it shedding their sticky stuff that is carried for miles and lands on freshly-waxed cars, making men curse. I’m from one-room schoolhouses and priming the pump and an outhouse out back.

I am from stubbornness and hot tempers, from Smith and Lacy and Cook.

I am from the gossiping and the caring.

From “don’t cross your eyes or they’ll freeze like that” and “put on clean underwear in case we’re in a wreck”.

I am from “there’s an all-seeing Eye watching you” and immersion and the King James Bible and a capella singing; I’m from learning on my own that nobody’s all that perfect, and that grace covers sin.

I'm from cornfields and pastures of the midwest, from Ball jars containing green beans and home-made pickles, beets and peaches, peas and corn, lined up on shelves in dank, musty-smelling cellars where you always keep your eyes open for snakes.

From the time my parents waded mud in December to get married after their car got stuck; the baby Aunt Ruby lost to pneumonia; and the great depression, when people got together and played cards and made ice cream for recreation.

I am from pictures and old letters tossed in a five-gallon lard can that reveal what life was like in the late 1930's, when mama's baby boy was still-born and my grandpa died of cancer. I’m from stories about what it was like when Mother was a little girl. I’m from finding out after she was long-gone that my grandfather wasn’t as kind and gentle as I had been led to believe and, for some reason, being disappointed about that.

I'm from knowing that I come from people as good as any, and better than many.

If you want to do this very healing and cleansing exercise, you'll find the template HERE.

Wordless Wednesday, on horseback

horseback ride





To sign up for Wordless Wednesday, go here.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Good preaching

When I was growing up, I was taken to Church three times every week. If there was a Gospel meeting (Churches of Christ don't have revivals, they have Gospel meetings), we never missed a night. We'd drive to other towns to attend meetings, too.

So some of my earliest memories are of sitting in a pew listening to preachers, and I learned early on to pay attention to them and ponder what they were saying.

Most were average speakers, but a few stand out in my mind as great. They not only held my interest, but made me sit on the edge of my seat with anticipation. One of them used charts to illustrate his sermons, and in an old childhood Bible of mine, on those blank pages inside the covers , I had copied one of those charts. It has stick people running a race, and was based on Hebrews 12:1. "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us...".

I don't remember the preacher or what he looked like, but I remember the sermon.

There used to be a few television preachers I enjoyed, but so many of those became tarnished, and most of them seem to be money-motivated. So I've given up listening to them.

Years back, my husband was out of a job. It was a very low time in our lives, although, looking back, it brought us closer and gave us a new and better perspective. We learned what is really important in life, lessons we will never forget.

At that time, I watched TBN (selectively), searching for good preaching: I would usually switch channels when that woman with the wig came on, by the way.

Now I've never cared for Jerry Falwell. But one day I happened by his program and saw a black man preaching the sort of sermon I love to hear; his name was Darryll Gilyard, and he was saying exactly what I needed to hear that day. At the end of the program, I found out I could buy a video-tape of this man preaching three or four sermons. Well, they didn't say I could "buy" it... they said I could have it for a certain "donation".

I here and now confess that Jerry Falwell got some of my money that day. I had to hear more of that good preaching. And money was very hard to come by then, with Cliff between jobs.

It was one of the best investments I ever made. I don't know what ever happened to that video tape, but I practically wore it out. It helped me get through a difficult time of my life.

This morning I noticed a headline in the Kansas City Star about a serial killer on trial for murder. His last name is Gilyard, and that caused me to remember another black man with a similar name who did some "good preachin'". Using a Google search, I found that preacher, now in Florida with a huge congregation. And joy of joys, I discovered his sermons right online for download, for my listening pleasure.

He still preaches good sermons.

And I don't have to send Jerry Falwell a dime to hear them!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Today we walked

Cliff and I walk a half-hour daily; it helps us with our weight, and it's actually vital for him, since he had open heart surgery. We walk briskly in our pasture, up and down hills, enjoying the view.

Once in awhile, to avoid mud or snow, we have to drive a mile to our little community park and walk on the track there.


Nine days ago, we had sleet followed by freezing rain, which meant there'd be no walking anywhere.

The ice lingered all week long. School was out until Friday. There was a good bit of thawing Friday, but it promptly froze back into a regular ice-skating rink Friday night. And then we received four inches of snow on top of the ice Saturday.

Now, I did get a little action by taking the dog back in the pasture, tromping through the snow in my boots and trying to avoid icy areas. But it wasn't the regular, brisk, timed walk to which I'm accustomed. Cliff works out during his lunch break at work, in their well-equipped exercise room, but he missed our walk too.

This morning, he said, "I think we'll drive down to the park. Maybe they cleared off the parking lot, and we can walk around there, at least."

It was not to be, for we found there another ice-skating rink, and returned home.

We live just off a little highway that is dry and clear; Cliff suggested we simply walk up that road for fifteen minutes, then turn around and come back.

That's what we did, with Sadie on her leash and halti. Oh, it felt SO good to be walking again. I guess we'll be walking the highway for a few days, because the forecast doesn't look as though things will be thawing any time soon.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Today

We're getting beautiful snow that will supposedly add up to four to six inches. The ice that had me housebound melted enough so that I can walk out in the pasture and let my dog run... as long as I'm very careful where I walk!

Doctor's and nurse's blogs

I'm fairly new to Blogger, having journaled on AOL for years. I set this blog up just in case AOL disappears at some point. However, through this site I've found some interesting new people. Yeah, just what I needed, in addition to the fifty or so journals I already read on AOL.

Some of my favorite new reads are by doctors and nurses; these give me a whole new insight into the lives of people that I normally see only in their professional capacity. I'm enjoying reading their opinions and their patient stories. I like being reminded that they have lives outside their offices.

I'll drop a few links here for those readers who might be interested. All of these have many links to other medical blogs, and you can hop from one to another for hours, if you so choose.

Maybe it's just me who finds these so fascinating.

Nurse Ratched's Place

In My Humble Opinion

Kevin, M.D.

oncRN

NHS Blog Doctor
(He's in Great Britain)

Friday, January 19, 2007

The year I was born

In 1944 (the year you were born)

Franklin Delano Roosevelt is president of the US

DNA, the basic genetic material of the cell, is found by scientists at the Rockefeller Institute

D-Day, the Normandy invasion of Europe by the US and the Allies begins

US forces land at Leyte, in the Philippines

President Roosevelt signs the GI Bill giving education and housing benefits to veterans

A tip leads the Gestapo to a sealed-off area in an Ams
terdam warehouse where they find Jewish diarist Anne Frank and her family

Franklin D. Roosevelt becomes the only U.S. president to be elected to a fourth term

Jimmy Page, Jerry Springer and Diana Ross are born

St. Louis Cardinals win the World Series

Green Bay Packers win the NFL championship

Montreal Canadiens win the Stanley Cup

Pippi Longstocking is published in Sweden
What Happened the Year You Were Born?

This is me, eight days old.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Finally! We made it to Wal mart for groceries!

I know, I shouldn't get so excited about a trip to the grocery store. But we were out of so many things, I was getting desperate.

Oh, there was plenty here in the house to keep us from starving for at least two weeks, I'm sure. The son-in-law brought milk last night, in case the granddaughters needed cereal for breakfast. But I hate to be without fresh fruits and veggies. Both girls have already had grapes and a banana, just since we got home. See those bananas? Eight pounds of them, and I'll guarantee you they'll be gone within five days. No, it won't be only the girls eating them! Cliff and I eat lots of fruit.

School is out yet again. The girls slept in at home, since their big brother was there to watch them. We couldn't take them shopping because we had to take the pickup (four-wheel drive), so obviously there wasn't room for them. We unloaded groceries and then Cliff went to pick them up.

The ice is falling off trees and power lines; hopefully our yard will be thawed before this weekend's projected snow storm arrives.

I read a thread on an equine message board this morning where someone's horse had fallen on ice and broken its leg. That's scary stuff, and I could hardly wait to get out and check on our horses, just to make sure they're OK, after reading that. They've done plenty of slipping and sliding, even though they're staying in a relatively small area.




Wednesday, January 17, 2007

ice-bound, but blessed

These country roads are so slick, the mailman didn't even get here yesterday. What happened to that old oath they used to take... "neither rain, nor sleet..." something like that.

The temperature is around 10 degrees, and the granddaughters are already out playing on the ice. They have black-and-blue bruises on their knees from falling so much on Monday.

I hope I don't give folks the impression that the girls are difficult to have around; actually, they're great. Oh, they have the usual sibling tiffs, three or four times a day, but Cliff and I know how to nip that in the bud, so it doesn't last long.

Honestly, my main problem is I'm such a loner; I like my space, and I hate to share my computer (it's an only-child thing). Add to that the fact that I need to be outside every day for a while to keep from mentally and physically "rusting". And at my age, I don't want to take the risk of falling, so I'm getting pretty rusty.

Funny thing is, it's only about eighty yards from our house to a main highway that is very negotiable now. But our Mercury Grand Marquis is so helpless on ice, eighty yards may as well be five miles.

I'm thinking that if school is in session tomorrow (and Lord knows it had better be), Cliff and I will take the old four-wheel-drive pickup and get groceries. We're out of milk, Kleenex, paper towels, bananas, apples... well, you get the picture. We have plenty to eat, but we really do need a trip to the store.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Waylon Jennings Jessi Colter -Storms Never Last

If you aren't country, don't waste your time with this one.

The saga of Darryl continues

If you're new to this blog, go right here to read about ole Darryl. He's the person who had my cell phone number, before it became mine.

When I first got my cell phone, I'd get two or three calls for Ole' Darryl every day (sometimes in the wee hours of the morning), and it rather peeved me. I considered getting a different number.

But the thing is, I don't get a lot of cell calls of my own. The number of calls for Darryl tapered off, and I began enjoying the ones I did get.

"Is Darryl there?"

"No, I think they put him away for selling drugs," I'd answer.

Or sometimes I'd say, "Darryl's been put away; you'll have to find yourself a new pimp."

(Yes, I do have a mean streak.)


One time I gave this sort of answer and found out it was the Cass County sheriff's office looking for him; I explained my situation to the nice lady. She asked if I knew Darryl's last name. Of course, I did not.

But now I do. Yesterday a female asked to talk to Darryl Walliker. (I'm only guessing at the spelling.)

That name explains, at least halfway, why a guy called some time back asking for Darryl "the licker".

Anyhow. I gave the gal yesterday my stock answer: "They must have put him away for selling drugs."


"Thanks," she said, and ended the call.

Last night I noticed I had a text message on my cell. I wish I hadn't deleted it so quickly, but here's the jist of it: "Stop f***ing with my girl friend's head, or I'll whip your ass."

Haaaaaaaa!!!!!

Thanks, Darryl, for being my own little soap opera.

I wonder if I should call the Cass county sheriff and tell him I now know Darryl's last name?

Remember, this is a cell phone we're talking about, so there's no way anyone other than law enforcement folks could locate me.


Monday, January 15, 2007

ways to spend an icy day



Granddaughters are here today because it's Martin Luther King Day; they'll be here tomorrow too...no school because of icy roads. Monica's outside playing, even though the temperatures are below 20. Natalie was outside earlier, but opted to stay inside watching TV from the comfort of my bed this time around, and was lulled to sleep.















Got any scars to share?


I found a blog that a doctor set up to show pictures and stories of people's scars. Very interesting.

Yes, I sent him a picture of one of my scars. It doesn't look like much, but when my doctor was patching me up, I took pictures and blogged about the whole experience HERE. It was one of my more popular AOL journal entries. Two days later my little accident was quite overshadowed by my husband's being hospitalized for emergency open heart surgery.

If you have scars to share, here's the place.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

the perfect beverage for such a day as this

Cliff and I have become totally addicted to Folgers Flavors. It's a shame, because I had been really trying to limit caffeine for Cliff. We were doing so well, only having caffeinated coffee in the morning.

Then we tasted one of these flavors. And then another. My daughter said she and her husband enjoy these coffees too, and suggested the flavored Folgers need to be a little stronger than regular coffee. After trying her theory, I have to agree.

Cliff has always liked his coffee black, and neither of us likes our brew sweetened... until now. We add a teaspoonful of Coffeemate and a little SweetNLow to this stuff. Delicious. It serves as dessert all by itself.

This sort of day is rough on diets. It's so slick outside I can barely stand up when I take the dog out, and although there are many things I could do to busy myself here in the house, I'm spending my time sitting at the computer. Which is how I came to be reminded of Taco soup over at Sonya's journal. That was just what I longed for, on a day like this.

And as luck would have it, I had all the ingredients.

Good stuff!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Patrick's Saturday Six


Here are this week's "Saturday Six" questions. Either answer the questions in a comment at Patrick's Weekender, or put the answers in an entry on your journal...but either way, leave a link to your journal at Patrick's, so that everyone else can visit! To be counted as "first to play," you must be the first player to either answer the questions in a comment or to provide a complete link to the specific entry in your journal in which you answer the questions. A link to your journal in general cannot count. Enjoy!

1. If you knew you would die the following day, what would you do with your blog: edit some parts of it and leave it up for posterity, leave it as it is, or delete it? I'd leave it.

2. Other than your own blog, what single website do you visit the most? Probably Tractor Tales, on Yesterday's Tractors. Somebody has to keep those guys in line. Country Living would run a close second.

3. How many different email accounts do you currently own, counting work and home? Geesh, what a boring question. Four, I think, but I only use three of them: AOL, Yahoo, and Earthlink

4. Take the quiz: How addicted to the internet are you?

You Are 61% Addicted to the Internet

In your opinion, life without the internet is hardly worth living.
Could be, but you probably need a bit more fresh air and sunshine to think clearly.
Are You Addicted to the Internet?
Just so you know, this test is not accurate. I'm at LEAST 90% addicted.


5. Are you more likely to visit the internet the first thing in the morning or the last thing at night? In the morning

6. Who was the last person you had an email/instant message conversation with? I think the last IM was with an Internet friend, Toonguy, who e-mailed me and said "Let's IM". I don't care for IMs, so this was an unusual situation. I have e-mail conversations with my daughter at work often. That seems less intrusive than my calling her on the job. When was the last time you saw that person in person? I met Russ a year or two ago... only time I've seen him in person.


If you have a Reader's Choice question you'd like to see asked (and answered), click the e-mail link in the Blogger profile on Patrick's blog and send it to him.

A better way to browse blogs

I found a much better way to discover new Blogspot journals, without having to contend with foreign languages or porn.

I start right HERE, and click on "Random blog". Works much better.

Friday, January 12, 2007

An interesting thing about Blogspot-land

My main journal is over at AOL, and shall remain there as long as there IS an AOL.

I've discovered an interesting thing right here, though.

Up at the top, I can click on "next blog" and be transported elsewhere, thus finding some good reading.

It does require patience, though. Sometimes I land on a blog that's in a language foreign to me. I click "next blog" again until I find something in English. Hopefully it's a blog... because sometimes it's an advertisement for Viagra, or nude ladies in suggestive poses. When that happens, I click my browser's back arrow and hit "next blog" again.

There's a lot of trial and error, but I've found enough interesting reading to make it worth my time and effort.

bad weather day



Cliff and I started out for our walk this morning. He put on his coveralls, because a cold front had come through overnight; I did not wear mine because they hinder movement, and make me expend much more energy than is comfortable.

Now we're not wimps. We've been known to proceed with our walks with temps near zero. But there was something about the cold north wind in our faces that made 25 degrees seem unbearable. We hadn't gotten out of sight of the house yet, when I said, "For two cents, I'd go back to the house."

"Let's go," Cliff said.


And we turned around, much to the dismay of our dog, Sadie, whose whole day revolves around being turned loose in the pasture.

It was sleeting, and I got word that school would let out before noon.


When the granddaughters got here, Cliff offered to go to Pizza Hut. A very rare treat for one like me who dreams of pizza, but whose husband had a repaired heart and shouldn't have all that cholesterol and salt. Hopefully, once in a blue moon it won't hurt him.

My son-in-law got off work early because of the weather, so the girls left before 4 PM; Cliff was at work, but I decided to try the walk again, mainly for the dog's sake. This time I wore coveralls, because the thermometer said it was twenty degrees. I took extra time throwing sticks for Sadie, so what is usually a half-hour stroll took forty-five minutes. But we both felt better for doing it. My horse, Blue, followed us halfway out into the pasture.

Back at the house, I took my neglected guitar out of its case and sang as long as my tender fingers would let me strum: "Till Each Tear Becomes A Rose", "We Could", "Dead Little Girl of Hiroshima (I Come and Stand At Every Door), "How Can I Keep From Singing". Yep, that's about it. I need to get those callouses built up on my fingertips again!

bargains


I guess like most folks, I get caught up in griping about price increases: the cost of gasoline or propane; good grief, $3 for a loaf of bread; veterinary services for dogs and horses.

But sometimes there's some good news.

Our microwave oven is getting a bit tired. It tends to burn popcorn before it's all done popping. It's taking longer and longer to cook those frozen chimichangas I keep around for the grandkids.

So, I browsed the Internet to check out prices. Wow, have these things come down in price, or what? The one pictured here is less than $50 at Wal Mart. It even has a turntable, which is a feature I've never had on a microwave.

We bought our first microwave when my kids were still living at home, probably around 1983. I'm sure it cost over $300, and of course we got it on credit. Hey, that was a lot of money then!

Computers are like this. I believe when I got my first Gateway in 1998, it cost close to $1,000; and that was one of the cheapest models to be found. It had a 6-gigabyte hard drive.

These days, the cheapest computer you can buy has at least 60 gigabytes, and you can get one for under $400.

Wow.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Where Have All The Flowers Gone

Peter, Paul, and Mary. This song will always mean so much to me.

Things we discuss when we're getting older

I'm not sure when it started, but I know it accelerated after Cliff had heart bypass surgery, this feeling that death is living in our house, a tangible presence.

Cliff and I have the strangest conversations these days.

For instance: Today Cliff was talking about the furnace filter, and said, "By the way, if something happens to me, you need to know what to tell somebody what to do with the furnace filter, because it's a 'rig'."

"Cliff," I told him, "I don't intend to stay here a month, if something happens to you."

"Really?"

"Really; what would I do, anyhow? I don't drive. I'd have to get me a man really FAST, to get 43 acres taken care of. I'll be moving to an apartment in town someplace, on a bus line."

"Oh. OK."

"After all," I pointed out, "this place is about you and me together. The only thing that would bother me about selling it, even now, is that I'd have to part with Blue... so don't you DARE croak until Blue is dead!"

That's an example, but you get the picture. Death walks with us and talks with us every day, lately.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Lessons learned the hard way

Yesterday was the day I had decided to go to the doctor. Fortunately, it was also the day that I woke up realizing I had gotten my normal six hours of sleep, and I wasn't coughing as much. My temperature was 97, like it was supposed to be.

I'm going to live for another day!

As a result of my being "under the weather", I haven't been outside with the horses much. Friday I worked with Libby for awhile, and got kicked for my efforts.

"Did you yell at her for doing that?" Cliff asked.

No, I didn't. Because it was really my own fault.

Libby has been so laid-back and perfect that I've let my guard down. Not the thing to do with a horse, especially a young one.

Since I've learned that a two-year-old horse is too young to ride, I plan to work harder on gentling her, and on ground work. Somewhere in my Google searches, I read that before you ever think of getting on a horse, you should have her to the point that you can touch her anywhere on her body... including the udder area (or sheath, in the case of a male).

Well, Libby has become pretty numb to my hands on her body, but I had never gotten quite that personal. Might as well go that one step further, right?

I was beside her stroking her legs and under her belly, and when I ventured a reach farther back between her legs, she switched her tail and raised her hind foot in a little kicking gesture. This was her way of saying, "Quit that, I don't like it."

When I ignored her warning and reached for those nether-regions again, she cow-kicked me, striking my upper left leg with a karate blow that was unreal. Once I was done moaning, I got something long enough to reach her udder area and rub while I stood at a safe distance, which is what I should have done to begin with. Duh.

Lesson learned.

I kiss my horses on their noses. Libby didn't like this when I first bought her, and would jerk her head back. I kissed and kissed until not only would she put up with it, she'd meet me halfway for a kiss. Cute, I thought.

Next thing I knew she had her head in my face every time I approached her. So I have stopped enticing her to meet me halfway for kisses, and she has stopped being so pushy.

Lesson learned.

I have always hand-fed treats to my horses with no problem, although many experts say this can cause them to be "mouthy", even nipping at people as they look for treats. I've never had a problem in this regard, but I've always dealt with mature horses. I soon realized Libby shouldn't be hand-fed treats for now; this mistake went right along with my kissing training, and was keeping Libby's face all over me way too much... "in my space", so to speak. It only took a couple days of giving her treat to her in a tub for her to stop that behavior. She truly is a fast learner.

If only I learned so fast.

As I limp out to go for my walk this morning, I will thank the good Lord that Libby's kick struck me on the leg, and not elsewhere. I'm sure such a blow to my head would have cold-conked me!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Remembering Jack Paar

Someone on a message board posted the old joke about the wayside church/water closet, and it reminded me of the time in 1960 when Jack Paar, then host of the Tonight Show, was censored for telling the joke. Then the drama of his resigning, and returning.

Jack was an emotional person, and I remember seeing him cry at sad stories. I also remember him angry, getting in a huge verbal interchange with Mickey Rooney.

He had up-and-coming Fidel Castro on the show, giving him his full support. Oh yeah.

I was in high school back then, and should have been in bed; but I was afraid I'd miss something!

Amazing what can send me on a trip down memory lane these days. I went to youtube.com and found a video of Richard Nixon on the Jack Paar Show that I put in the previous entry.

Richard Nixon plays piano on the Jack Paar show

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Just how long can a cold last?

I'm not sick, really, and don't have a fever. Although I do feel draggy and grumpy from lack of sleep.

Six hours of sleep is about all I can force upon myself in normal times, but in the three weeks I've had this seemingly never-ending cold, I'm lucky to get four hours. I seem to wake up sometime after midnight, either coughing, snotting (sorry for the mental image) or both. I'll lie there hoping I go back to sleep, but eventually I can't stop coughing, and I feel sorry for Cliff and leave the bedroom.

My eyes are scratchy from lack of sleep; energy is nowhere to be found.

I've had this cold for three weeks. I thought colds only lasted for a week to ten days.

Normally, in winter, I'll get two or three mild colds. I certainly hope this one is it for me, because I've paid my dues.

At some point, if this continues, I'll see my doctor.

I hate journal entries like this; I hate to whine. There are people dying with cancer, people with incurable diseases. What right do I have to whimper about a cold?

Oh well, I've vented. I feel MUCH better now.

(Added later:  My normal body temperature is 97 or below; I took my temperature earlier and the thermometer read 98.9; I guess I DO have a slight fever.)


Thursday, January 04, 2007

My crazy dog

We got Sadie at a shelter. Because my last dog was hit by a car and killed, Sadie had to be a house dog.

But of course, we'd have boundaries.

She couldn't go in the living room or bedroom, which are carpeted. That way, there wouldn't be dog hair hiding in the fibers.

Sadie's first night here, I awoke to find her stretched out on the floor beside my bed. When I sat up, getting ready to order her back to her doggie bed in the kitchen, her tail went "thump-thump-thump" against the carpeted floor, and I decided to make an exception. She could sleep on the floor beside me.

She now has the run of our bedroom. What's the harm, after all? A little hair never hurt anybody.

It was about three months after that when I got lonely watching TV in the living room, evenings. Cliff works nights, and I figured it would be nice to have Sadie's bed beside my Lazy-boy, where I could reach down and stroke her. You know, just for company. So she was allowed three feet into the living room... just as far as my chair. That's all.

When I coaxed Sadie onto my lap for the above picture, she wasn't all that comfortable there; she weighs over thirty pounds, a goodly size for a lap dog.

Because she was beside my chair at night when I watched TV, I thought perhaps if I put an afghan over my lap and put the foot-rest of my recliner out, there might be room for her to stretch out on my lap.

Bingo. Sadie loved it! To such an extent, actually, that for a while I could hardly sit down without her plopping herself on my lap. One reason is that she has a good view through the window to the outside world, from my lap. Sometimes she'll happen to see a neighbor dog and bark at him, hackles raised.

Now, there's only about 20 square feet of my living room where Sadie isn't allowed. And I think we're losing that, inch by inch.

While I'm discussing Sadie, I have to tell you what happened today: Cliff and I were eating our nice, healthy fish for lunch, and Sadie was begging as usual (that's Cliff's fault, he's always tossing her tidbits when he eats). So I gave her a bite of my Whiting. This is a dog who would gladly eat her weight in horse-crap, mind you. But she spit out the piece of fish, sniffed at it, and began ROLLING in it!

If I end up with food poisoning, I'll know she was trying to warn me.

In a bit of a funk today


First of all, someone on my Tractor Tales message board passed away unexpectedly... one of the few people on that forum that Cliff and I had met in person, and one of my favorites: a God-fearing, gregarious man who often brought a smile to my face with his posts on Tractor Tales.

Poor Cliff is always hauling me somewhere-or-other to meet people I've gotten to know online. He rarely sits down at the computer, so he doesn't know a thing about any of them; it's just one of many ways he spoils me. One reason I was able to persuade him to go to the Indiana "Taler Reunion" was that there was a huge tractor show going on up there at the same time.

That group picture is from the reunion we attended; "Corny", the fellow who passed away yesterday, is the short fellow in red shirt and overalls on the right-hand side. He was often teased about his being "vertically challenged", and took it in good humor.

Rest in peace, Cornfused.

Although as I said, Cliff doesn't spend lots of time on the computer, he has come to depend on those guys on "Tales" for advice. Last weekend his brother, Donald, needed some information about the John Deere he's overhauling, and Cliff asked me to post a question about it on the "John Deere Forum" over at Yesterday's Tractors. Since I didn't receive an answer there, next day I posted the same question on "Tales", even though it's mainly just a forum for clowning around.

We soon had the information Don needed.

What did we do before the Internet?

The other reason for my funk is that this stupid cold I've been nursing for two weeks has decided to migrate from my chest to my head.

Don't get too close to your monitor. You'd be liable to catch my funk or my cold. Trust me, you don't want either one.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Libby under saddle


Libby has had a saddle on her back before, but today was the first time I actually cinched it up on her. I ponied her for about twenty minutes under saddle, and she did very well, with only a little cavorting when Blue picked up the pace too much for her liking; I imagine the stirrups were moving against her sides..

Also, I surprised myself by actually sitting on her back (without a saddle, while she was tied up). She didn't move a muscle or act as though it bothered her at all.

On the down-side, I tried lunge-lining her; but since I really don't know what I'm supposed to be doing, the attempt was a miserable failure. I decided I'd forget about that until somebody is here to actually show me what to do.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

What a day!

Daughter called this morning; she and her girls were going shopping, and I was welcome to go along.

Good! I don't often get a chance to just wander aimlessly through the aisles of Walmart. We were out of here by 8:30 AM, even though Cliff and I hadn't taken our walk. Temperatures were in the lower 20's.

We shopped a few places. I was thrilled to find out that the Dollar Store's cheap cookies are now trans-fat free, so I stocked up. No more paying $2.99 for a box of Nilla Vanilla Wafers. Nope, I can get the cheapies for a buck.

As we came up the driveway with our purchases, we noticed there was an unfamiliar vehicle parked by the garage; and we all began to make guesses as to whom it might be: Granddaughters thought it was their big brother; I said perhaps it was granddaughter Amber.

Oh well, why not just look and see?

It turned out to be Cliff's late brother's widow... all 400 pounds of her, telling us how she has to eat every two hours, with her diabetes.

Lunchtime approached, and she was still here relating, in detail, all her aches and pains.

"I'm fixing us a salad for lunch," I told her. "Shall I fix one for you?"

"OK, thanks."

::deep sigh::

We ate while being regaled with stories of all the hypocritical churches in the area.

I casually mentioned, while we were eating, that I intended to go for a long horseback ride very soon.

She finally bade us goodbye and left, with only half her salad consumed.

Yes, I really did go for a ride, leaving before Cliff left for work.

Three hours later found me finally back home. Sadie hadn't had a good run around the place, so I figured I may as well take my walk.

::Note to self: Never go for a walk in the pasture right after a three-hour horseback ride.::

I am SO tired!

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year's Day ride

There is a tradition amongst bikers to ride on New Year's Day, no matter what the weather. This supposedly assures that you will ride safely and free from accidents throughout the coming year.

Well, I'm not superstitious, and I believe God is in control of these things anyway. It only got up to 40 degrees today, and I'm just getting over a cold that settled in my bronchial tubes. I don't care to make a popsickle of myself on a motorcycle. (I don't eat black-eyed peas on New Year's Day, either.)

I did, however, do some horseback riding. I ponied Libby for over an hour while riding Blue. There wasn't very good footing in the pasture on hillsides, so I took them up and down our dead-end road several times, then headed onto the highway. Libby got to experience a little traffic and some dogs barking, and she handled it all quite well. There was no balking or nipping on her part either, although this was by far the longest session she's had.

I do believe she's about ready to be ponied with a saddle on her back.

Cliff spent the day working on his mower.