Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A tip for local readers... and a meme

I know I have a few readers who live in this area, so I'd like to plug Colonial Nursery at Blue Springs. If you want to plant some shade trees this fall, this is the time to head pm out there: Trees are 25% off. Colonial's employees will bend over backward to help you select your trees, and they'll instruct you on planting and caring for your purchases. You can read more about our experience HERE.

And now, the meme, which I snagged from Mel, which she snagged from "Sunday Stealing".

My favorite age: My forties: I could walk as many miles as I wanted, without pain. My husband and I were enjoying the "empty nest". And I got my first three grandchildren then.

My best friend(s): I'm not one to form a lot of close friendships. My best friend is my husband, Cliff.

My celebrity crush: William Peterson; Anthony LaPaglia

My defining characteristic: I pretty much do whatever I please.

My most evil moment: I was about eight years old and, holding a kitten by the tale, I spun around fast and let go of him. I did this more than once. Even now, it makes me worry about myself.

My favorite food: Pizza

My grossest injury: I'm not sure what qualifies as gross. I had a nasty injury once that required stitches, and I took pictures of the doctor working on it and blogged about it.

My biggest hatred: I usually say it's cancer, but lately it's been politics.

My most illegal activity: Hmmm... I skipped an assembly once in high school. I know, boring. Keep in mind that I don't quite tell everything I know in my blog. I try to "keep it real", as Ree says; but I don't air all my dirty laundry.

My need for justice: My need for mercy is far greater than my need for justice.

My most knowledgeable field: I'm pretty much a jack of all trades and master of none. I know a lot about canning garden produce and raising calves.

My life’s goal: To stop being so self-centered and do something to change the world.

My mother’s influence: Let me count the ways. I owe my Bible knowledge and my values to my mom. She taught me to appreciate my family's history. The older I get, the more similarities I find between my mother and myself; that's not always a good thing, but that's life.

My nerdiest point: probably my love of folk music

My oldest memory: I recall spending a night with my brother's wife's relatives in Iowa and being put in a baby crib, and thinking I was not a baby. With the side rails put up, I didn't know how to get out to go to the bathroom and I wet the bed. I was SO humiliated. I must have been pretty young for all this to happen as it did.

My perfect date: To be taken to a concert performed by any of my favorite folk singers: Iris Dement, Kasey Chambers, John Prine, Loudon Wainwright III: of course, since it's a perfect date, the person who took me there wouldn't make snide remarks about these singers' performances.

My unanswered question: What is heaven like? I'm not really into streets of gold. I'm hoping there's a section for hillbillies, with lots of grass and trees and hills, and plenty of room to roam.

My random fact: I sat in the hot tub this morning while the sun come up and thanked God for about fifty things. And then sang "One Day At A Time".

My stupidest decision: Selling my first Gibson Dove guitar. Cliff and I have made some stupid joint decisions, but I'm not counting those.

My favorite television show: Cold Case

My style of underwear: None of your danged business

My favorite vegetable: butternut squash

My weakest trait: Dear Lord, I have so many. I think I'd have to say laziness. Or we could go back to the self-centered thing.

My X-men power: What's an X-man?

My strongest yearning: To have a purpose and fulfill it.

My moment of Zen: When I'm at my cabin with a campfire going. Or when I'm riding my horse around the countryside.

Monday, September 29, 2008

cows with horses

"Isaiah 11:6 (King James Version)

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them."

OK, so I don't have a lion or a lamb. I've raised a few lambs in the past... never mind, I digress.

I've had several bad experiences, allowing horses and cattle to run together. Many times, horses decide it's fun to chase the cows. This may sound like harmless fun, but horses are athletic and agile, while cows are clumsy and awkward. The cows often lose in this game. They can be injured, being chased into a ravine or a fence.

So I've kept cows and horses separate around here for several years.

Recently, Cliff and I experimented with letting Blue into the pen with our two cows. He actually seemed to enjoy their company.

All three of the horses here have gotten acquainted with Secret and Meatloaf through the fence. That surely has made a difference in their attitudes toward them.

So yesterday evening, we decided to try letting them roam together. We opened the dividing gate.

The horses ran into the lot and began munching weeds as though it were the best food they'd ever had. The two bovines ran out of the lot, kicking up their heels and bucking like month-old calves.

This morning I checked on the animals, and they were all in or near the open shed, apparently enjoying one another's company.

Tonight as I soaked in the hot tub, I saw the horses on one side of the pasture and the cows on the other. None seemed worse for the wear.

Life on these forty-two acres just got simpler.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

My chinquapin

See that red electric-fence post in the foreground? I planted something special there.

It's a baby Chinquapin Oak; the post is there to keep it from being mowed down. I first learned something about this tree when we went on a nature walk at a state park near Branson, and our guide pointed one out. "chinquapin" is anAlgonquian Indian word; the way the ranger pronounced it was "chinky-pin", and I found the word totally delightful. I find excuses to say it. It makes me smile.

This is a picture I snagged off the Internet, so I could compare the leaves to those in my picture and make sure I had the right tree. I do believe I chose rightly.

I got my baby tree from one of my favorite places: the woods right next to my cabin. Now I will feel like I have a part of the cabin right here in my front yard.

Oh, it will grow slowly. But that's OK. It's already making me happy, just being here.

Friday, September 26, 2008


I've spent a good portion of my time this week in a hospital room at North Kansas City Hospital. I've been reminded, once again, that nurses are just like any other segment of society: there are great ones and mediocre ones. And even lousy ones.

My sister had major surgery this week. I'm sure my readers all agree that our family members are special, and we want the best treatment for them.

The day nurse yesterday insisted my sister take a walk with her. She made sure that, with her help, my sister got a nice shower. The wonderful night nurse who followed her explained why she was giving each medication my sister received after she began vomiting, and went out of her way to assist her in any way.

Then the new day nurse came on this morning. She never offered to take a walk with my sister. She never offered to help her shower. The most she did was to stick her head in the door twice and say, "Do ya need anything?"

I wish there were some way to tip good nurses, the way we tip a good waitress.

By the way, I'd say there are at least two good nurses for each lousy one.

My town... in the news


The guy they interview (Adam) keeps his horses here on our property.


The house shown in the background of this video where the news guy is talking? My daughter's house.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Checking in

My sister, Maxine, had major surgery yesterday: after a rocky start to her morning today, she seems to be doing pretty well. She ate a substantial lunch, and is dozing in a chair right now. I brought a "big band" CD I made for her, music that put a smile on her face as she drifted off.

Since she hadn't used her "on-demand" morphine last night or this morning, she'll now be taking pain killers the nurse brings, when she asks for them. So far she has not needed any. I'm thankful that she's not having much pain... except, of course, when she moves or coughs.

I brought the laptop along in order to play the music for her and was surprised to find there's Internet access in the hospital. So if I can't sleep tonight, I can surf away the time.

Wow, I just remembered Pandora radio and created a "big band" station. Maxine can have all the Glenn Miller she wants while I'm here!

Monday, September 22, 2008

old barns

Notice the corn is brown, ready for harvest. We saw a couple of places where the farmers were already out with their combines, getting in this years crop. The house in the next picture goes with the above barn. It's been abandoned, too.

Often, when riding with Cliff on the motorcycle, I keep my camera handy and take pictures of old barns. There are so few of them around, these days; and given another fifty years, there will probably be almost none left, at least in Missouri.

Recently, I noticed that in Wisconsin, those old barns have been well cared for, and many are still in use. I wish that were true around here.

And I wish I'd taken some pictures of those well-cared-for Wisconsin barns. But I didn't.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

cloud pictures

I saw pictures in these clouds.

and these.

Do you see any pictures in these clouds? If so, what do you see?

Friday, September 19, 2008

If you loved Jim Croce....

I got this from one of my AOL journal buddies at My Take On Life.

A skink!

Sadie and I spent a night at my cabin last night. I spent some time taking things out of there that I don't use: cooking stoves and utensils, for example.

When I first planned the cabin, I imagined myself and my dog spending perhaps twenty-four hours at a time there... maybe more. My own little vacation hideaway. My husband doesn't enjoy camping, I do. My husband doesn't want a dog on his bed; I thought it would be a treat for Mandy, the dog I owned at the time, to sleeping with me (and she did enjoy that).

I imagined the smell of bacon wafting through the woods on the crisp, morning air, and drinking strong campfire coffee.

That didn't happen much.

Washing dishes isn't fun in a cramped space with no hot water, I found. And although the cabin is out of sight of my house, it takes only five to ten minutes to walk to the house from there and take a nice shower (to get the campfire smell off me) and make some REALLY good coffee.

Here's how a visit to the cabin usually plays out: I head back there around four in the afternoon; I spend a couple of hours getting a decent campfire started (starting fires is not one of my talents), roast a hot dog and a couple of marshmallows over the fire, read and perhaps play Frisbee or "stick" with Sadie until dark, and go to bed. I'm usually awake before daylight, heading home. This can be quite exciting, considering how much electric fence I have to avoid out there.

Sometimes I just go to the cabin for a couple of hours to hang out, then come home.

So Cliff left a trailer back there and I loaded some stuff on it. I replaced the big table with a much smaller one. I noticed a rug was in need of shaking and tossed it out on my little porch.

Coming back from a trip to the trailer, I noticed a skink, a little blue-tailed lizard that's very common in Missouri. They love to hang out in my woodpile, but I've never been able to get a picture of one. They just move so fast!

This little fellow, though, went under the rug to hide, so I ran for my camera. Sure enough, when I lifted the rug, there he was; he even lay still for awhile, long enough for me to snap a few shots of him.

Isn't that tail a lovely color of blue?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

So, I'm wondering:

I realize driving a motorcycle is much more dangerous than driving (or riding in) a car. No problem there.

Cliff and I try to cut our risks by staying off freeways, out of city traffic when possible, and avoiding night driving. Still, we know we're at the mercy of stupid (or drunk) drivers.

What gets me is this: People tell about their friends or relatives having an awful motorcycle wreck, and say they'd never ride one. And advise others, "Don't get a motorcycle".

Yet, when they have a friend or relative who gets involved in an automobile accident, you never hear them advise folks to stay out of cars.

Somebody help me with this. Would you call this a double standard?

Monday, September 15, 2008

My granddaughter is a Tiger!

Monica and Natalie came to my house to ride the bus to school today, and I did a double-take when I saw what I first thought were mouse-ears (as in "mousekateer") on Monica's head.

"No," she protested, laughing, and turned her backside to me. "I'm a tiger!"

Oh yeah. The school mascot is a tiger. Nice tail, granddaughter.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

An award

Grams, over at Talk To Grams, has bestowed this award upon me.

I discovered this nearby lady in one of those "it's a small-world" moments that led me on sort of a wild goose chase: I typed into Google the names of a former pastor and his wife, and that led me to a comment made by Grams on someone's blog. Upon reading the comment, I realized she lived not far away, in a town where I frequently attend Church. So I looked at her profile, went to her blog, and have been reading it ever since.

Thanks, Grams! I'll bet you and I will meet in person one of these days.

I have many awesome blogger friends, so if you have been a friend to me in any way, consider yourself awarded.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Men's night in the hot tub (plus one)

My husband, the son-in-law, and the brother-in-law. They're being chaperoned by my granddaughter, Natalie.

That's the lovely sunset. There was light rain when I took the picture.

My dog and Cliff's sister's dog wait patiently for people to come back in the nice, dry house. We do have a dog-friendly home.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The flag

I don't own an American flag. I guess I'm so lazy that I'm afraid I wouldn't honor it properly. Lots of people in my neighborhood chose to fly a flag today, on 9/11. Those flags are still out there tonight in the rain.

My sister is a winter Texan.
Every morning when she's living in Texas, she raises the flag outside her home (that's her in the picture). Each evening, she lowers it. You see, her late, beloved husband fought for this country in World War II.

That flag means so much to her that she intends to honor it.
I love my sister.

And I love my country. If I ever decide to display a United States flag, I promise I will display it with due respect, remembering my dear brother-in-law and my Uncle Paul and my son, all of whom fought for this country. I will honor what they gave up for that flag.

I won't deliberately let that flag hang out there overnight in a rainstorm.

Wow, what a day!

We got up this morning to light drizzle outside. According to the weather-guessers, it was only supposed to be light drizzle all day, then tomorrow turn to genuine rain. Later, as the remnants of Ike approached, they said, we might get three to six inches.

We've been wanting to get some shrubs for foundation planting, and Cliff figured since it was too wet to do much outside, this might be a good time to shop for them. Yes, the shrubs and trees at the nursery are outside, but honestly at the rate the sprinkles were coming, you could have stayed outside an hour and still not have been more than slightly damp.

Of course, the minute we got to the nursery, the skies opened up. We attempted to ignore the rain as we looked at price tags, and then we realized we couldn't afford ten of those shrubs anyhow. Geesh, $39 apiece for puny shrubs?

"Let's check Home Depot," I suggested. "Maybe they have stuff like that, since it's fall planting time."

Indeed, they did. Only it was still raining hard, and we were going to get soaked in the process of choosing our plants.

Cliff suggested we go next door to the dreaded Blue Springs Walmart (yes, I was once boycotting that place) and pick up a couple of umbrellas. Hey, when you live in the boonies, you don't want to go back home empty-handed! Desperate times call for desperate action.

Hoping for a quick exit, we went to the garden checkout and saw two checkout lines... one about six people deep, one with only one customer. Obviously, there was a problem at the second one. We stood in the long line until we saw a manager come to fix whatever problem that checker was having, then Cliff and I moved over there, where we were now second in line. Do any of my readers see anything wrong with this move? I've done this hundreds of times, moved to what appears to be a better line.

As it turns out, it was not a wise move, because there was still a hold-up: The customer had some sort of papers that had to be inserted into the cash register. Since this was the garden section, the papers had become damp and the register didn't want to accept them. Meanwhile, a man in the other line gruffly yelled, "Hey, I was ahead of you!" Which he had been, in the other line.

He continued loudly protesting our moving to that line, and Cliff started saying a few things of his own; an example: "Do you want to step outside? I can handle you!"

Yes, my gentle Cliff said that, and more. (No bad words, though!)

They exchanged a few more words until the other guy moved over to our line (still not going anywhere) and said, "Shut up!"

And Cliff let it die.

Now, during this exchange, I was a bit nervous. My husband is sixty-three years old, and he hasn't been in a fight since sometime before our marriage. However, upon sizing up the other guy, I realized Cliff could whip him if need be. I didn't relish the fact that the cops might show up, but I know when it's time for me to keep my mouth shut.

Cliff told me later that by the time he was done confronting that man, he had started to feel sorry for him. The guy didn't look very healthy, and he was shaking all over.

Finally, back to Home Depot. We got out of the car and raised our umbrellas, only to find Cliff's was broken. We weren't about to go back into that cursed Walmart for a replacement: I think it's time for me to boycott the place again; it seems to have bad vibes for me.

We came home with ten Dwarf English Boxwoods and two dwarf Alberta Spruce. The Spruce go on either side of the porch.

I've planted all but three of the Boxwoods; there's considerable rock to be removed in their location, so I'll wait for Cliff to help with those.

Oh, and all those shrubs were under $10 each.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

What's going on around here?

We're getting concrete in our shop/garage while Cliff soaks out back in the hot tub, which was purchased for yours truly... but he found out it greatly eases his morning arthritis pain and stiffness.

Menopause parking

Here's your laugh for the morning, courtesy of Chonda Pierce.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Rain, they say

Today was a gift from Heaven: Lows last night around 50, highs today 70.


Tomorrow may be similar; after that, we're supposed to get rain every day for the next five days, and plenty of it.

I think Cliff and I should go on a nice motorcycle ride tomorrow, before he has to leave for work at 2:30.

After all, it may be the last ride for awhile.

What do you think?

Sunday, September 07, 2008

This just struck me funny

If you've had children, or if you've been around children, I think you'll smile as you read THIS POST by one of my favorite bloggers.

My own little vacation resort

Here you see the most frivolous thing Cliff and I ever bought (and we've bought many). It's my new hot tub. Left to right, that's me, Cliff's sisters Rena and Charlene, and Charlene's husband, Pat. (By the way, the foam is gone now; we purchased some anti-foaming stuff.)

I'm still trying to get the PH lowered to the proper level. I've learned chlorine has to be added after each use. If I ever get all that right, I'll feel like a chemist. Wish me luck.

Charlene and Pat moved to St. Louis a year ago to take advantage of a job opportunity, but they left a lot of their furniture and "stuff" in their farm house not far from here. The house sat uninhabited all this time, but of course the yard had to be mowed, the wintertime temperatures had to be kept above freezing, and so forth. It was a hassle, with them living over three hours from here.

Then they were presented with an opportunity similar to the one we had when Cliff's sister needed a place to live after her divorce and moved to our old house: a gentleman they knew got his divorce finalized and sold his house; he needed a place to live.

The only down side to this (to them) is that they have to get rid of the "stuff" at the farm. Charlene will keep some of it. She's given me every type of shelving and storage item she owns because I need such things for my new back room and for the section of the new garage Cliff says is mine. My daughter has needed a hutch for years, to display some red dishes my mom bought her years ago; now she has one.

I guess all that is not really a "down side", though. If they haven't used it for a year, they probably need to get rid of it. It's just hard for people who work all week to devote a couple of weekends to moving.

Meanwhile, because they're in the area moving things, they're spending the weekend at our house. And what better way to get rid of the aches, pains, and worries involved in moving than to relax in a hot tub? They'll be here next week too, finishing up.

That spot where I'm sitting in the hot tub is a lounge-type seat that massages upper back, lower back (kidney area), backs of thighs and calves, and the bottoms of the feet. It is SO relaxing! When I get out, my whole body feels limp as a wet noodle. My knees don't hurt for hours afterward.

My husband bought this extravagance specifically for me, but he's found out it works wonders on the shoulder and back he abused during his butchering years.

As we sat in the warmth of the hot tub last night with gentle rain falling around us, my brother-in-law sighed and said, "I wonder what poor folks are doing tonight?"

Indeed, we felt rich.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

A face from the past

We had a surprise this morning: a visit from someone we had not seen in several years.

Back around 1969, Cliff was working in a metal-plating place in the city. We became acquainted with a man named Richard who was just going in business for himself: he'd opened up a butcher shop about three miles from where we lived.

Cliff mentioned to the guy that he wouldn't mind learning to butcher, and before long he had a job. He worked at the Country Butcher Shop two different times, for a total of perhaps ten or fifteen years.

Later on, after Richard's kids grew up and the butcher shop closed down, Cliff worked for two of his boys on their construction company.

We've always had fond feelings for Richard and his boys; we've stayed in touch with Tom, the oldest, through the years. But we hadn't seen Richard in a long, long time.

This morning he and his wife were just out for a drive, they said, and decided to stop by.

Don't you love it when someone special out of the past lets you know they remember you?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Our temperatures went from ninety and humid to sixty and rainy, pretty much overnight.

One thing I noticed back when I had a job: every time there's a cool-down this extreme, people make chili. They eat it at home for supper and carry leftovers to work for lunch the next day; they talk about how good it tastes in this kind of weather, and say to one another, "You brought chili too?"

And chuckle, as though the same thing didn't happen every time the air gets a little nip to it.

Anybody else in the Midwest making chili? We had ours for lunch, Cliff took some to work with him, and I put some in the freezer for another day.

Missouri's wine country (and a lovely trike)

After meeting up with our riding buddies last Saturday, we got off I-70 and headed into one of the most lovely areas of Missouri I've seen yet.

We stopped for gas and a pit stop at Crossroads Bar and grill. As with all the bars in that area, bikes were lined up out front. When Cliff and I took the motorcycle safety course, one thing we learned was that, in 45% of motorcycle accidents, alcohol is involved. Come on, bikers... don't drink and drive!

Even from a distance, Hermann, Missouri is quite picturesque.

There are at least a dozen wineries in the area.

We stopped briefly at this one. I'd have liked to go on the tour, but our riding buddies prefer to spend their time riding, not taking winery and museum tours.

There were three artists, painting away.

As we were heading to our motorcycles, we stopped to admire an 1800 Gold Wing trike belonging to an older couple. We chatted with them awhile, and the lady invited me to try it out and see how comfortable it was.

The folks were from the Kansas City area. We learned that the gentleman has had knee surgery and several other operations, and didn't have the strength to ride a regular Gold Wing; so they had their new bike made into a trike. This is an option Cliff and I will consider as we grow older, so it was nice to talk to someone who actually owned a trike.

It seemed a good fit for Cliff, too. Honda doesn't make a trike; it's something that has to be done after the motorcycle is purchased, and the cost of the conversion is somewhere between $10,000 and $12,000. Yeah, it's pretty pricey.

This couple has been to Colorado on their Gold wing, and were highly enthusiastic about their adventures.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Fast Eddie's

Cliff and I rode 850 miles on our Gold Wing over the three-day weekend. One of the places his sister and her husband wanted us to see was Fast Eddie's. It's a bar the likes of which I've never seen. Keep in mind, though, that I haven't been in many bars.

There's a special parking lot for motorcycles, and it was jam-packed.

My sister-in-law pointed out that the cheap prices shown in the picture below are genuine. Here's the catch: There's a long, long waiting line, and it wraps around a three-sided bar. The drinks are NOT cheap. People who indulge in alcoholic beverages would, of course, have to do something to make their two-to-three-hour wait more bearable. I wish I'd taken a couple of pictures inside, but like all bars, it was pretty dark in there, and I doubt they'd have turned out.

I availed myself of their facilities; then we went ahead with our ride north along the Mississippi River, taking time for one more picture in the parking lot before we left.

Does it bother anyone else that all these people on motorcycles are in a bar getting a buzz? Seems like the sensible bikers would wait until their ride is over before they start drinking.