Friday, August 31, 2007

Me, on Libby

I leave my right foot out of the stirrup, in case I have to make a quick dismount. With the long weekend coming up, I intend to get the grandson on her a time or two. He's braver than I am. She hasn't done a single thing to make me wary of her, I'm just old and cowardly... and I break easily.

She gets a bite of feed when we're done.

I bought a Dyson!

Everyone I've talked to who has a Dyson vacuum, loves it. The price of the things has prohibited me from getting one for myself, but I've schemed, plotted and planned for ages, watching all the sales.

Yesterday I typed the words "Dyson animal sale" into Google and found one ... the D07, animal-hair model... (gotta have that, with Sadie around) for under $400. $396 including tax, to be exact. With free shipping. I got it at Linens and Things; there was a deal where first-time customers could take 25% off any one item.

It's been shipped.

Happy day!

Thursday, August 30, 2007


If you have MySpace, maybe this has happened to you.

You go to your MySpace homepage and see that you only have 30 friends. Yesterday you had 31. So you scratch your head and try to figure out who rejected you.

But you can't remember who it was that left.

Then you realize that if you don't even know who is missing, it shouldn't matter.

But somehow it does.

I think I need to grow up.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Getting Libby ready to ride

I've been getting equipment ready for Libby's use: Arick's saddle had previously been used for riding a draft horse, so the latigo (that's the strap you use to tighten up the saddle) was too long to secure the saddle onto little Libby; yesterday we bought a shorter one. We had to hunt around the barn for a bit that was small enough for her, too. I know you're supposed to use a snaffle bit for breaking, but the two snaffles I have don't fit my filly. Cliff worked on a headstall to get it the right size, and I do believe we're ready to go now.

I bought a ridiculously cheap saddle on Ebay last winter to put on Libby when I ponied her beside Blue, but it really never did fit her right (that's what I get for buying "cheap", huh?). Since Arick isn't using his saddle... except on Libby... this rig will do nicely until I find out whether I want to invest in equipment for her.

While I had her looking so fit and ready, I decided to see if I could sit on her.

Yep. No problem. The only problem was, she wouldn't move, and I didn't have anybody around to encourage her (that's why there's no picture). But at least I can say I've been on her now. I was very impressed at the way she stood still as a statue while I mounted and dismounted. Believe me, that's a plus!

On another horsey note, when Cliff and I were taking our walk, we saw three birds (cowbirds perhaps) sitting on Blue's rump; he stopped grazing once, and looked around at them, then went back to grazing. Of course, I didn't take my camera today.

Monday, August 27, 2007

I love me some junk yards

Best entertainment around, watching this team get rid of our scrap iron.

He picks it up off our trailer....

swings it around...

Drops it on the bucket of the bobcat...

These guys are talented!

(and manly)

and away goes our junk iron.

Be still, my beating heart.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Patrick's Saturday Six

Here are this week’s “Saturday Six” questions. Either answer the questions in a comment at Patrick's Place, or put the answers in an entry on your journal…but either way, leave a link to your journal 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. Considering all possible factors about a person that make us different, like age, appearance, religion, race, origin, sexual preference, etc., with 10 being the most prejudiced and 1 being the least, how do you think you would rate yourself?

I'm ashamed to say it, but probably a 5.

2. You’re having a problem with a product or service and you call customer service. You are finally connected with someone who has a thick accent that sounds difficult to understand. What is the first thing that goes through your mind?

As a result of dealing with this so often (thanks to AOL, Dell, and other computer-related technical phone lines) I simply shrug and strain to understand what they are saying. I expect it.

3. A co-worker you like tells you that his or her church is holding an “open house” and is encouraging people of other faiths to visit. You and your co-worker are of different faiths. How likely would you be to attend?

As long as my co-worker offered to come and pick me up (I don't drive), I'd jump at the chance.

4. Take the quiz: Are you prejudiced?

You Are a Little Prejudiced
You can't help but judge people a little based on your personal biases.
But you tend to be aware of your prejudices, and you fight them the best you can.
Most people are more like you than they'd care to admit... but it doesn't mean you shouldn't change.
Remember to take each person as an individual. It's not fair to judge someone based on their background or subculture.

5. You lose a big promotion to someone who you considered to be less qualified than you are, despite the fact that you are only going by instinct in making that determination. If your boss later pulls you aside and explains that because of a growing effort to promote diversity, the other person was selected over you. What would your first reaction likely be?


6. Your car breaks down in a neighborhood in which everyone is of a different race than you: are you more likely to be uncomfortable?


Saturday, August 25, 2007

My motorcycle DVD

After hours of frustration and much waiting and watching, I successfully put together a DVD consisting of digital pictures I've taken of our motorcycle adventures over the past two years. I'm fairly well satisfied with the music I chose to go with it. It lasts for forty-five minutes.

Watching it and listening to it on TV was almost like going on an actual motorcycle ride. I'm so glad for digital cameras, because back when film had to be developed, I just didn't take many pictures.

Who knows, we may get another Goldwing. Or not.

But I'm glad I at least have the memories.

And now I know how to make DVDs of photos, which may be a handy skill to have. I doubt I'll do another forty-five minute one, though. I am not a patient person.

Friday, August 24, 2007


The grandson and I picked up my new clothes dryer this evening. That's a good thing, and I'm thankful.

Cliff and I have plans to go to Branson in October, taking the daughter's two girls. If the weather is nice, other relatives are welcome to join us, because we'll be in a resort cabin where each added person is only $8 more. If the weather's lousy we'll be in a motel, and then it's everyone for himself.

The resident grandson and I watched "My Cousin Vinny" together. Part of that time I chatted on the phone with Cliff's cousin Edna, but she's more fun than Vinny anyway. Grandson has now gone to do whatever it is that footloose young men do on Friday nights. I don't want to know.

My daughter has a weird neighbor lady who found me outside on the deck last night when I was babysitting. She pointed out to me the fact that my daughter's oldest girl needs curtains over her window because "anybody" can see into her bedroom. The only way the old biddy would know this is if she's been window-peeking. Although I agree, the girl does need curtains. I'm sure she has them now.

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

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I may be in trouble

Daughter and her hubby went to the (losing) Kansas City Chiefs game, so I'm at their house watching the girls. They require very little watching these days, and are presently in bed sound asleep.

Earlier I asked Natalie, "I need chips; are there any chips in this house?"

She led me to a certain cabinet and showed me the meager stash. I could tell it was the day before payday, because both bags were pretty near empty.

"Dad likes these," she said, pointing to the bag with the most chips inside.

I read the label: "Doritos Blazin' Buffalo & Ranch". I sampled a small piece.

Whoa!!! Those things were hot.

But one led to another, and here I sit at the computer with the bag almost emptied.

I wonder if my son-in-law will forgive me.

I'm sorry Kevin, really I am. Chips are outlawed at my house, and once I get hold of some I can't stop!

My latest project

Thanks to digital cameras, I have taken literally hundreds of pictures during our motorcycle adventures.

Using Windows Movie Maker, I'm in the process of compiling the best ones and putting them in order on a DVD, for memories.

It will tell the story of how we got the fever for a Gold Wing from start to finish.

I'm pondering on what music to use as a background sound. I hesitate to choose the obvious "Motorcycle Song" by Arlo Guthrie, because it's seven minutes long and tends to grate on the nerves after awhile. Perhaps I'll use several shorter tunes, depending on how long the DVD turns out to be.

I even have a video I made once of one of our trips to Subway on "Two-for-Tuesday". I may incorporate that in with the still pictures, somewhere.

It's going to take awhile. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

passing along our motorcycle dream

There you see Bobby, the new owner of our Gold Wing Honda. As for what's going on in this picture, he just found out he can listen to the radio VIA his helmet, and he's jamming. Cliff is laughing. We feel bad to see our riding times gone, but we're very happy to see another couple so excited about getting our baby. Bob is 59, about the age most people seem to be when they buy a Gold Wing.

God bless them.

It's always something, yes it is

If everything works out, the motorcycle will leave us today, and we'll pay off a major bill.

Yesterday I was already feeling sad about losing the Honda. Then Cliff decided to break a doctor's appointment he'd had me make last Friday when he was feeling light-headed, because, "I'm all right now; I don't need a doctor."

Well, he's a big boy, and he will do what he's going to do. I've thought all along he's been pushing himself too hard in the heat. It's supposed to be mid-nineties for a few more days, so we'll see if he decides to weed-eat in full sun at mid-day and gets light-headed again. (He isn't even supposed to be outside (or inside for that matter) in any temperatures over 85, according to the heart specialist.)

I washed a load of clothes yesterday morning only to find out my dryer wasn't working. I don't even have a clothesline now, since I never used it when I had it. So I was stewing about what to do with the clothes, and whom to call for dryer repairs.

It took about two hours for me to remember that I have a daughter with a dryer less than two miles away. And I have a key to her house. One problem solved.

As for repairs, it seems that appliance repairmen around here don't work on Mondays. Maybe they work Saturdays and need a two-day weekend? Monday seems to be a popular day to take off for lots of people: motorcycle shops are closed then, and barber and beauty shops.

I called Bruce, the local guy who fixes everything from furnaces to appliances to water-well pump problems. He works on Monday, but was fully booked up.

Once I realized I could use my daughter's dryer, it wasn't so urgent. Just an inconvenience, really. But now I sit wondering how much this is going to cost: maybe I'd be better off getting a new or used dryer?

Let's face it, I'm still just bummed about the motorcycle leaving. I'll be fine.

Monday, August 20, 2007

To everything there is a season

and a time to every purpose under heaven.

That's the Honda Gold Wing, ready to leave tomorrow with the new owner. It does make me sad to lose it, but there truly are seasons in life. One season ends, another begins.

Cliff and I married in 1966, and soon there was a long season of play-farming and raising our babies, of seeing how many varieties of animals we could squeeze onto twenty acres, of raising big gardens and canning the produce.

The "cow-milking" season of my life began back then, and lasted a long time; it really controlled many facets of our existence because, if you milk cows twice a day, you can't travel far. Much butter was churned, and gallons of home-made ice cream were consumed.

The children grew up and left home, and it was time for the grand-baby season (overlapping the latter part of the cow-milking and calf-rearing season). We babysat a couple of local toddlers at times when the grandchildren were too far away to spoil sufficiently, since we were still homebodies. Cliff had some ill fortune with one job and another, and we couldn't afford to go far anyway.

Then he studied for and got his GED, and landed the job he's held for over fourteen years now. Raises were frequent, and he was allowed a week's vacation after only six months of employment. The one thing tying us down was our milk cows, so we soon got rid of our last two... a registered Jersey and a Holstein-Brown Swiss cross.

We went to Colorado, our first real vacation in years. Wow!

I've always loved camping out, and with paid vacation time in our future, we bought a used pop-up camper. Cliff isn't so fond of camping, but he loves tractors and somehow got me hooked on old iron and tractor shows. This worked great, because we saw tractor shows all across the midwest, and I got my camping fix. Never mind that it's usually primitive camping at those shows, which means no showers, and having to use those horrid, stinking portable johns.

So that was our tractor-show/camping season.

Cliff restored several tractors of his own during that spell, and ended up with quite a collection: as many as nine at one time, although they came and went.

In 2004, Cliff's sister and her husband bought a Harley, which gave Cliff the motorcycle fever. We attended a Harley open house in autumn of 2005 where people are allowed to stand in line for a turn riding the Harley of their choice. Cliff rode two with me, and two alone. We started shopping for motorcycles.

And Cliff started selling off some tractors.

We knew we wanted a Honda Gold Wing, and we didn't want to pay the price for a new one. In October, 2005, we found just the right used motorcycle, and we were on the road. There was a nice weekend that November when we rode to Branson, our very first big road trip! Even the fact that we broke down on a busy stretch of highway didn't really spoil things much. Looking back, that weekend is a highlight in my life, and one I'll never forget.

I was always a tad nervous riding; not that Cliff wasn't in control, but running through my mind were thoughts like this: "What if we have a blowout?" "What if somebody going the other direction loses control and hits us?" I shoved those thoughts aside and had fun anyway.

Cliff had a quadruple bypass in 2006, starting another season. He stayed completely off the Honda for three months, then found out he had lost so much strength he could barely handle it. He began working out in the weight room where he's employed and was soon stronger than ever.

But lately, no matter where we go, we seem to see a motorcycle wreck. Every day on the news, we hear that someone was killed or maimed while riding a motorcycle. Our son broke his leg on his motorcycle, this year.

Cliff began to get a gut feeling that we had cheated fate long enough, and that it might be time to sell. He admits he isn't as confident as he used to be.

So yesterday a man and his wife came looking, and they're going to buy the Wing. I've had so much fun during the time we've owned it, I can't help feeling sad. Although Cliff is probably right to get rid of it while we're ahead.

After we bought the motorcycle, if I mentioned being low on bread, milk, or any other essential, Cliff would reply excitedly, "Well then, let's just hop on the bike and go for a little ride!"

The most mundane errand became an adventure.

We've had picnics galore at state parks, roadside parks, and in parking lots. In fact, we've had more picnics on the bike in less than two years than we had the previous thirty-nine years we were married. I'll miss that.

But I eagerly wait to see what the next season brings.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Another glimpse of our day yesterday... and great barbecue!

Before we left Cliff's nephew's house yesterday, his son Trevor wanted me to see some of his cool football moves. He had me say something... three words, but I don't recall what they were (sorry Trevor, and I'm also sorry if I'm mis-spelling your name)... and then he demonstrated his vicious tackle.

Needless to say, I was impressed.

It was after one o'clock when we hit the road: Cliff and me on the Honda, Charlene and Pat on the Harley, and Cliff's brother, Don, with his wife in her pickup (no, she doesn't allow him to drive it, but I won't go there). We were hungry. Cliff wanted barbecue, and asked the nephew's advice on where to find some. He directed us to
Jack Stack Barbecue in Martin City.

No signs on the outside?

I was a bit uncomfortable sitting there with that picture on the wall above the guys, staring at me; must be the founder and his family... or maybe not. The picture looked somewhat threatening, and scenes from "The Godfather" kept flashing through my mind. But I managed to eat my half of the sampler meal Cliff and I ordered. Boy, did I manage!

Oh, Don and Pat got to discussing the movie "Wild Hogs", and that's what they're laughing at.

Must have been a really funny movie. They were laughing so hard, they were drawing the attention of other patrons in the restaurant.

The food was as good as any Kansas City barbecue I've had.

And after a great day, we bid Charlene and Pat goodbye. (No, I don't know what's going on with her mouth in this picture!)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Don't you just love babies?

We needed a motorcycle ride today, and our riding buddies, Charlene and Pat, were in from St. Louis (their new home). Cliff's Kansas brother was going to be at his son's to see the new baby. Since Scotty is a favorite nephew of ours, we decided that would be a great destination; we joined up with our riding pals and off we went.

The town has a peculiar name, don't you think?

I held Halie Marie; she slept through it all.

Charlene held Halie. Still she slept.

Cliff's brother's wife, Mary, held the baby. At least we finally saw her eyes. Then Cliff took her, and...

the three-week-old baby smiled...

and smiled...

and tried her best to coo.

What's Cliff got that us ladies don't?

Friday, August 17, 2007

On today's ride

An ocean of soybean plants.

That may look like a full moon, but it's the sun behind a cloud-cover.

And the sun is getting brighter!

I always end up breaking cobwebs here. Nobody lives on this section of the road leading to the river bottoms, and even if a vehicle comes through, it isn't tall enough to get the pesky webs that hit me right in the face.

Two German Shepherds live here, but only one leaves the yard. This guy acts vicious, but if I point at him and shout, he gets back. Or even if I just stop near him.

This is a sample of Missouri marijuana that grows wild along the roadsides. Before the Civil War, hemp was raised to make rope: A Civil War skirmish at Lexington was called "Battle of the Hemp Bales".

I assume this wild stuff descends from the old hemp used for rope. I've been told it isn't of good enough quality for smoking. I know that Blue, who will eat almost any variety of weed, grass, or tree-limb, won't even taste it. That's probably a good thing!

A few other pictures of my morning ride HERE.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

If you read my AOL journal, you've seen these already. But it occurred to me that some of you only subscribe to this one, and I have a couple of home-made videos you might enjoy.

Both of them have Dean Martin singing; nobody does it like Dino.

Somebody please turn off the heat!

For years it was a point of pride with me that we didn't have air conditioning. In the middle of a heat wave, I loved saying to people, "Oh, we don't have air conditioning at our house."

By their reactions, I might as well have informed them that we lived in a tepee.

About five years ago, we gave in and put a window unit in the bedroom. It was heaven to sleep through the night comfortably, instead of sweating through the sheets with fans blowing hot air on us.

For two weeks now, the daily high temperatures have been around 100. My router has overheated and quit working more than once, and I finally left it disconnected until cooler weather. I know high temperatures are hard on computers. And nowadays, high temps are hard on me. In the evening, I've been pretty much just hibernating in the bedroom in front of the little TV.

So why don't we put in central air?

This old house has lots of problems. We hate to invest any money in it because one thing would lead to another, and we'd end up spending enough to build a new house, in the end. And we'd still be stuck with a house that has too-small rooms, two stories, and other problems with the layout that I'd rather do without.

In two years we're going to do something about the house situation, although I'm not sure what, just yet; we're considering our options. At our ages, something could happen at any time to influence the decision we make. In the meantime, I think another window unit is in order.

I keep thinking the hot weather will soon be over for this year, and we'll buy another unit next summer. But this heat wave is sure taking its sweet time leaving.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

faces and voices from the past

When I met Cliff in 1965, he worked at a metal-plating place. A lot of the guys he ran around with back then were co-workers from his job. When we got married, some of them were getting married around the same time, and on weekends we'd all get together. Our babies would play happily while some of us tuned up our guitars. We'd have jam sessions and out-of-tune sing-alongs until the wee hours of the morning.

As we grew older, interests changed. Boyde and LaDona retired a few years back, bought an RV, sold their home and hit the road, spending winters in Florida. Don D. divorced, took custody of his daughters, and sired another couple of daughters later on that he took in and raised at the same time we were welcoming our first grandchild.

I have LaDonna's email addy, and she'd sometimes update me on their whereabouts. They stopped by to see us perhaps a year ago when they were in the area, driving a little hybrid car. I hadn't received any email from her for ages, until yesterday.

Boyde has cancer in his throat-neck-ear area and is taking chemo (that's them in the picture, a couple years back). What a shock to me and Cliff; we're still not used to the fact that, once you're past sixty, you and your friends all start falling apart in one way or another.

So last night, Cliff was at work as usual. Grandson was attending a Royals game. I was at the computer in my nightgown trying to get in a last-minute bid in on a Dyson vacuum on Ebay, while waiting for "The Closer" to come on TV, when the doorbell rang. Huh? Nobody comes around here that late, during the week!

It was Don D., checking in after a four-year absence.

"Good grief, I simply have to buy some sort of robe or cover-up," I thought to myself as I recognized him and invited him in. We visited until 8 P.M., Cliff's lunch break at work, and I dialed Cliff up and put Don on the phone. While they chatted, I discreetly slipped into the bedroom and put some clothes on. They discussed their respective heart surgeries.

Don has had several heart attacks, and had stints put in; he recently found out he's diabetic. He's taking twelve different prescription meds, and is on disabled social security.

Isn't it strange that we heard from two of Cliff's old runaround buddies in the same day?

My mom always said things happen in threes; will I hear one more voice from the past?

Monday, August 13, 2007

So, how was the family reunion yesterday?

HOT! That's how it was. Unlike the reunion a week earlier, this one includes a larger family tree. My dad's gathering consists of the offspring of my grandfather; my mom's goes back another generation or two. Which means I never did know half the people there, and each year I know them a little less. Oh, I know the older ones' faces each time, but I couldn't tell you how I'm related to them.

Big mistake: I forgot my camera. So I'll have to show you how some of the attendees looked a few years ago.

The person on the left, my cousin Carolyn, was there. (That's me on the right.)

Oh, the guy on the left was there, my cousin Gerald. There's Carolyn again, on the right... at an even younger age.

That's Aunt Mary holding (you guessed it) her daughter, Carolyn. Aunt Mary was with us yesterday.

I have lots of cousins' baby pictures, but the usual cousins didn't make it this year. So we'll just feature Carolyn, who is the driving force behind this particular reunion. She contacts everyone, reminding us it's time for our annual get-together.

It was her son, Bryan, who bought our WC tractor.

Hmmm, maybe it's a good thing I forgot my camera. Wouldn't you rather look at young people instead of old folks?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

reunion day

With the high temperature forecast to be near 100 (again), we'll meet with some of my kinfolk on my mom's side in a city park a two-hour drive from here. I'll try to get pictures so we can do more of those then-and-now comparisons.

Grandson Arick did indeed get his pickup on the road last night in time to go out and do whatever it is young adults do on Saturday night/Sunday morning. He got the brakes put on the thing early on in the day yesterday; it was something else needing work that caused him and Cliff so much grief... something that forced them to remove the exhaust. I am not knowledgeable about automotive issues, and Cliff is still in bed, so I can't ask him.

Silly TV weathermen: Two days ago they promised a letup in these near-100-degree temperatures. Things were supposed to cool off next Thursday. Guess what? They've changed their minds, and these awful highs are now to continue at least through next week.

Now playing: Dallas Christian Adult Concert Choir - What A Friend We Have In Jesus
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, August 11, 2007

How my husband spent his day

Don't even ask me what's happening in these pictures. All I know is that my grandson started working on this project at 8:30 this morning, and it had something to do with brakes. Cliff started helping him around 1 o'clock in the afternoon. It's almost 9 o'clock now, and they're both still out there. Can you tell Cliff REALLY loves his grandson?