Monday, November 30, 2009

Fresh pasture

Cliff sowed the former alfalfa field with three kinds of grass seed a few weeks ago. Rains have been plentiful, and the grass grew nicely. We've always kept this patch surrounded by electric fence anytime there's a crop growing.

Some time this winter after a snowfall, Cliff will inter-seed clover into the grass that's already established... grass that has grown so tall that he's afraid the little clover seeds might not make it through the dense growth to the earth. So he figured it wouldn't hurt to graze it some. The horses don't need it. But Bonnie could use it, and cows don't nip grass right to the ground like horses do. The problem was this: how to give Bonnie access and yet keep the horses out.

So Cliff fixed up this rather elaborate entryway to allow Bonnie and Sir Loin to safely get into the plot without the slightest risk of getting shocked. It only took one can of feed to lure Bonnie in the first time, and she's been going in and out to her heart's content ever since. The horses haven't even attempted it.

Unfortunately, Sir Loin refuses to enter. He waits patiently for Mom to come back out. By George, it's been his experience that when you get too close to that area, it hurts.

"Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me," he thinks smugly as he chews his cud and waits for his milk source to join him.

Thanksgiving leftovers

Cliff had to go get some filters for his current moneyhole tractor project, and I went along. I needed to buy carrots for our turkey frame soup, among other things. You know I can never resist a bargain.

So when I saw five pounds of carrots for $2.49, I was ecstatic. Do you think eating five pounds of carrots will atone for five pounds of mashed potatoes, gravy, noodles, and pie I've consumed? Please tell me they will!

Back home, I took the big baggie of turkey out of the refrigerator and divided it into manageable amounts. When my children were home, I'd have made a gigantic turkey pot pie with most of that, and we would have devoured it in two meals. Unfortunately, turkey pot pie is as unhealthy as any other food that includes pie crust in the recipe. I didn't freeze all the turkey, by the way; we'll have some for lunch, and Cliff will take a sandwich of it to work tonight. The carcass is boiling merrily away as I type this. Tomorrow, turkey soup!

My mother never actually had me do much cooking when I was growing up, but I did a lot of watching. It amazes me to see how many things I do just like her, since she never actually told me anything about how to cook. I learned mainly from a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, after I was on my own. Of course after I married Cliff, I asked her advice many times.

Pies, for instance: I make the same thumbprints around the edge, and put the same designs in the top crust, as Mother did. She always cut a pie into six pieces, and I did too, until the last several years. Now I make it eight pieces, and that's plenty. By the way, Lloyd's of London wouldn't insure that pie; Cliff and I can't walk past it without looking at it. I'm fairly sure that Mother covered her turkey snugly when she roasted it, and that's what I've always done. Even though all the cookbooks and online recipes say to leave it uncovered except for putting an aluminum-foil tent over it at some point, I've always been afraid to do it that way. This year, I got brave.
It worked! We almost broke into applause when we drew that twenty-pound bird out of the oven; the legs were a little dry, but that's because I left it in the oven longer than recommended. Oh, the stuffing: that's something else my mom did: she cooked the stuffing in and around the bird, not in a separate pan. Of course, she made her own, from scratch. I use Stove-top Stuffing.

So I'm sixty-five years old, and I finally roasted a turkey like it's supposed to be done. The old dog learned a new trick.

Holiday meals get the best of me

Cliff and I have both gained weight over the past year. I still cook the healthy, low-fat stuff most of the time, and we like those dishes. I hardly ever make desserts when it's just us: Cliff has to have something sweet after meals, but usually he just has a bowl (1/2 cup) of ice cream.

The things that get us in trouble are eating out too much (probably only twice a week, but those buffets add up), and cooking for company occasionally.
When it's time for a holiday meal, or when family guests are here, it isn't their fault that I cook unhealthy stuff: I use them as an excuse to cook and eat all that stuff I never make otherwise.

Yesterday's Thanksgiving meal left us with a heap of leftovers, many of which I pawned off on the family members: Granddaughter Amber loves noodles, so I sent those home with her; I'm sure her mother will help her eat them. Of course, I saved out a little for Cliff because I hate to see a grown man cry. Amber also took some pumpkin pie.

Her brother took quite a bit of the Oreo Dessert home with him. My daughter ended up coming back and getting the mashed potatoes (again, I saved out one serving for Cliff) and the broccoli-and-rice casserole.

The apple pie remained. And although I should have, I didn't press anyone to take any. Why not? Because I love it so! Cliff does too, but then he likes all desserts. Nobody else makes apple pie to my satisfaction, so when I've baked one, I can't leave it alone.

Today I had to decide when I would have my daily piece of apple pie. You see, I can limit myself to one piece a day until it's gone. I decided to have it, ala mode, for breakfast. That takes care of a couple of the food groups, right? Fruit and dairy? Ya think?


One thing about it, the remains of the holiday turkey will not go to waste here: I'll freeze it in appropriate amounts to use in my healthy versions of gumbo and jambalaya . The turkey frame and bones are waiting right now for me to make turkey frame soup. Low-fat, low-calorie, and chock-full of vitamins.

Maybe the oldest grandson will drop by at some point and have a couple of pieces of apple pie, or the rest of the Oreo Delight. Somebody needs to save us from ourselves.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

countdown to Thanksgiving dinner

The noodles are drying on the table. If I were serving nothing else but noodles and mashed potatoes, followed by dessert, the family would be happy. I sometimes wonder why I bother to make anything else.
The Oreo Delight is in the refrigerator. Now that the holiday season is upon us, I get at least two Google searches per day leading people to my Oreo Delight recipe. The first time I made it my oldest grandson, Arick, was around three years old; as he sat in the floor eating his piece, he stated, "I LIKE this bezert!"
It's been his favorite ever since.
I'm going to peel the potatoes now.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

What do you think?

When we were leaving Scott's Bargain Barn yesterday, Cliff told me about an item he really wanted, but the price was unacceptable to him: 5/16- (or possibly 3/8-) sized star washers for six cents each. He says they should be sold by the pound, not so much per piece.

"Where else can you buy them?" I asked.

"I haven't been able to find them anywhere else."

"So, how many of them could you use?" I asked him.

"Oh, I probably only need a dozen."

So I'm doing the math in my head. Seventy-two cents. Why would a man not spend a buck or so to get those washers he needs? Especially a man who has spent quite a bit of money buying tractors and motorcycles.

"It's just the idea of it," says Cliff.

Must be a guy thing.

November motorcycle ride

Yesterday the temperature got up near seventy degrees, and Cliff suggested a motorcycle ride to Scott's Bargain Barn in Excelsior Springs; he needed to buy a twelve-pack of glove liners.

We wore our leathers, and it was a perfect ride. Invigorating, not too cold at all.

Now, Scott's Bargain Barn bores me to tears. But we bikers have a saying: "It's all about the ride."
Cliff could stay in this dirty, dark cave of a place for hours, inspecting tiny screws and nuts as though they were gold. When I'm with him at Scott's, I realize how he must feel when he's at Kohl's with me.

He went slowly from one end of the store to the other.

I found some things to look at; a picture of Jesus standing at the door, knocking, for ninety-nine cents...

and some reasonably-priced jackets and shirts, if you don't mind a $5 coat that says, "Bob's Electric, Parumph, Nevada", or a $1 T-shirt emblazoned with, "Granny's Marathon, 2005".

Oh yes, it's quite a place. I didn't whine, really I didn't. My knees complained, but they were fine once I found a chair near the door and sat listening to the guys running the place talk about what a slow day it was. It's Black Friday, people! You think folks are going to be shopping for this junk on Black Friday?

Believe it or not, I did find some things for myself: three Faded Glory T-shirts that had originally been $3 at Walmart for $1 each; a couple of pairs of knit gloves for $1 a pair; and a pair of warmer leather gloves for $5. I was needing gloves for when we take our daily walk. Now I'm set.
By the time we got back home at 4:30, the temperature was already noticeably cooler.
Today is supposed to be another perfect one, but I'll be getting ready for the Thanksgiving dinner that we're having here tomorrow. You folks are all eating leftovers, while I'm just now baking pies.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Pioneer Woman does her second Bonnie Hunt Show

Yes, Ree was there again. She shared on Facebook, "Here's the Bonnie Hunt segment from Wednesday in case you missed my shiny forehead! This is the segment in its entirety...cowlick and all!"
I know not everybody follows her on Facebook, so if you're interested, you'll find the video HERE.

The E.R. Doctor poll

I doubt it comes to a surprise to most of us that Dr. Green won the poll, with nine votes. Dr. Ross (George Clooney) received six votes; Dr. Carter (my personal favorite), five; and the one I consider to be a "hottie", Dr. Kovac, only got two. Oh well, let's face it; his character wasn't always such a nice guy.
I don't know whose blog I was reading when I saw a recommendation for the movie, "State of Play", but I'd like to thank them if I ever figure it out. It was an excellent thriller that had me so wound up at one point, I had to turn it off and wait a few hours before I could work up the nerve to watch the rest.

Learning new things

I'm pretty comfortable with my Mac now; when I first got it, I spent untold hours searching for "how-to" tutorials on one thing and another. Lately I've been able to do about anything I've wanted to, so I've just run with what knowledge I have. The older I get, the less I want to learn new things.
I'd only had this thing a few days when I remembered that the son-in-law wanted me to burn a CD for him. Since my daughter was here at the time, we decided to figure out how to do it. Now, she uses a Macbook all the time, but she's never needed to burn a disc; she's never worked with the Iphoto program, either. These are things I've had to learn for myself. Looking back, it's been good for me.
After a few frustrating attempts, we decided the Mac Mini must not be capable of burning CD's. I seldom burn them anyhow, but it was rather disappointing that I had paid so much for a computer that couldn't perform such a simple task. Kevin brought over an external CD burner that he no longer uses, just in case I ever needed something put on CD. Since all six of my USB ports are filled, I never plugged it in, though.
This morning I went to the Apple site and started perusing information given about the Mac Mini, and lo and behold, I learned that it does have a CD burner! I then searched "help" on my Mac and found instructions on two different ways to burn a CD or DVD; seemed simple enough. I inserted a blank disc and before you know it, I had burned those songs Kevin wanted to a disc.
I was so proud, I even emailed my daughter at work to tell her about it.
I had no sooner clicked "send", though, than I realized I didn't know how to eject the disc. Talk about feeling stupid!
It took another half-hour or so of reading "help" topics, but I finally found the solution. It wasn't hard; in fact, it's ridiculously simple. Most everything you do on a Mac is more straight-forward and sensible than a PC; it's just so totally different, that it takes a little study. If I had an Apple keyboard, I would have clicked the "media eject" key. Since I don't, I simply needed to hit the "F12" key.
My daughter learned from a coworker, and relayed on to me, this simple fact: If you're having trouble figuring something out about your Mac, you're probably trying to make it too hard.
That has proven to be the case, so far, with every difficulty I've had with this computer.
I love my Mac.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving day with Cliff's brother's family

I'm doing Thanksgiving dinner here on Sunday, as I've mentioned before. Cliff's brother invited us to share their day today, and we hardly ever turn down food; I took a couple of pies and away we went. Phil and Faye have eleven grandchildren of assorted ages, which made for good photo possibilities.

While most everybody was in the other room eating, this little redhead looked around furtively, saw nobody watching, and began surfing the 'Net.

That's Miley, the biggest bundle of energy I've seen since her brother was that age. They get it from their father, who somehow didn't make it into any of these pictures.

This is no accident; her cousin tipped her chair back and laid her on the floor. Cliff's brother's branch of the family is a bit weird.

Umm... yeah. Actually, this kid is kinda cute when he loses the hat and glasses.

Grandma wanted a picture of all her grandchildren, so they lined up on the stairs.Sorry about the glare from Chad's head. I babysat him back in the early seventies. He had a lot more hair then.

They kept trying, with Cliff and Darryl saying, "It ain't gonna happen!"

But then came the magic moment when everybody posed just long enough for the picture. You'll hear Cliff saying, "I woulda bet money that wouldn't happen."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My daughter helped with this!

I really don't know how much of this was due to her efforts, but I just think it's so cool! It's a thank-you from her company to their customers. You'll see Rachel early on in the video.

Google Wave

There's this new thing going around called Google Wave. I have it, but have no idea what to do with it; since I'm not crazy about IM's, I'm thinking I don't need it; but I have it, just in case I find some use for it.
If any of you have read about it and would like to have it, I am allowed to invite three more people to sign up for
Google Wave.
Leave your email address in a comment, or send it to me in email (you'll find my email address on my profile). I'll have them send you an invite.

Piecrust memories

My mother loved to cook, and when I was growing up, the holidays were her time to shine. I enjoyed hanging around the kitchen when she was baking: I got to "lick the bowl" in which cakes were mixed; I was allowed to take a taste of brown sugar, or grab a handful of raisins.
When Mother baked pies and trimmed off the excess crust from around the pie pan, she didn't toss the pieces in the trash: she baked them and gave them to me. Those bits of crust were always a special treat, so crispy and flaky, just slightly salty. Sometimes I played church all by myself, pretending the crusts were communion bread; Grandma always used to bake the communion bread for Zion Church, and it seemed pretty much like pie crust to me. When my children came along, I baked the crust-trimmings for them, continuing the tradition.
Today I was baking a pie and, as always, I baked the extra pieces of crust. I still love pie crust trimmings, and when Cliff's around, he'll have some too. Maybe it's just another way of keeping in touch with my childhood. Or maybe pie crust really is that good.
My mom also used to give me a slice or two of raw potato when she was peeling them. I didn't really care for raw potato, but I never turned down that slice she handed me, either. I wonder why?

So many blogs, so little time

Miss Kris posed a question on her blog yesterday: "On the rare occasions I find some time to do any blog browsing out of the circle I regularly visit I am sometimes dazzled by the amount of blogs people will list in their sidebars as the ones they follow. Sometimes those lists scroll down forever. How on earth does anyone find the time to go read so many?!
How much time do we humans spend on these machines?!?"
As a person who links to scores of blogs on my sidebar, I feel very much qualified to answer Miss Kris. I gave her an answer in a comment, but I'm sure some of my readers have wondered about this too; so I'll say it here.
First of all, I do spend far too much time on this "machine". I consider it my hobby. I enjoy it.
Now, about all those blogs on my sidebar.
Many of them are there because they're longtime friends from AOL journals, and I feel I know them. We've been through a lot together.
Some are there because I find them fascinating, and I want my readers to have a chance to discover them. Lord only knows how many people are hooked on Pioneer Woman because of me. Does she need me pimping her blog? Nope, she has thousands of readers. I just want others to have a chance to discover her because she's funny and bright and real.
At this point, I have a confession to make: I do not read every entry on every blog you see on my sidebar. I check in on all of them from time to time, but I probably skip more entries than I read. I go to Google Reader every day, scan over new entries, read a few that strike my fancy, and then choose "mark all as read" and clear the slate.
I do not expect any of you to read every single word I type into the blogosphere, either. This isn't supposed to be a job; it's a fun pastime.
While I'm confessing, I must also tell you that some of my favorite blogs, ones that absolutely make me laugh out loud, are not listed on the right because sometimes they use words and expressions in entry titles that I don't want showing up on my page. A couple of nurses fit in this category. If you'd like to see what I'm talking about, check out Life According to Candice; that is, if you aren't faint of heart. Be sure and read her comment section, too. Just don't come back here griping at me for sending you to an R-rated site; you've been warned!
You see, it isn't that I'm ashamed to be reading that type of blog, it's just that I don't want risque stuff showing on mine!
So that's the scoop on all those blogs you see listed here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

odds and ends

We have a wintery wind whipping about the place. There's no turning back now: Winter has arrived, no matter what the calendar says. Cliff and I did some shopping today for the big turkey dinner. I told him beforehand, "I'm not going to get a huge turkey, even though we always freeze the leftovers and use them; a small one will do just fine."
I went into Walmart north of the river and found no turkeys. OK, there were two small Butterball turkeys no bigger than large hens, $1.49 a pound. I didn't want that small a turkey! Except for those, the cooler was bare.
So we stopped by a local Apple Market in that town and found out they had plenty of turkeys at 39 cents per pound! So much for my plan to buy a smaller turkey; I never could pass up a bargain. They had good buys on other items I needed, too. I wish that store was closer to home; I do believe I could learn to like it.
After getting home and putting up groceries, I looked out the north window that faces the pasture and saw Sir Loin coming toward the house at a dead run, without his mother. First I thought she might have preceded him up here, and perhaps he was coming to join her. But soon I saw him laying down, chewing his cud... all alone. Then I cast my eyes far away and saw Bonnie grazing, way out on the point.
This is not normal cattle behavior, people. Cows are herd animals; they tend to panic when they're away from their friends. It puzzled me, but I decided maybe it was the weather change. Animals often act peculiar on days like this.
Half-an-hour later I saw Sir had joined his mother on the point, and I breathed a sigh of relief. Whatever his problem, it seemed to be solved.
A while ago, I heard him bellowing loudly, and looked out to see him coming toward the barn again, running as fast as he could! Bonnie was nowhere in sight. He went to the salt block and licked it, bawling every little while.
I decided it was time to go take a close look at Bonnie; maybe there was something I hadn't been able to see from a distance. Sadie and I headed out, soon to be passed up by Sir Loin, trotting and bawling as he went.
By the time we caught up with him he had joined his mother, who was grazing happily in tall grass the horses turn their noses up at. She was obviously in good health.
So, I still don't know what possessed that silly calf to throw two running fits in succession.
Things that make you go "hmmm".
I notice most of my commenters like green bean casserole, and that's fine. There's just something about the fact that the sauce tastes like cream soup right out of the can, and I don't care for that kind of onions, either. Believe me, there are very few foods at which I turn up my nose! Oh, I can eat the stuff; I'd just rather not.
The turnips are still in the garden, and at least once a week I'll bring some in and cook a few creamed turnips for myself. I was delighted this week to finally make them taste like my mom's: The secret ingredient turned out to be just a little sugar!

Thanksgiving dinner

I've always loved Thanksgiving, although as I age, it gets to be a little more work than I like to do. However, since it's not the big production it once was, I keep the feast going.
The daughter's husband and their two girls are spending the actual Thanksgiving Day (and two days following) with his family at Carthage. My daughter has to stick around here because she works Friday.
My two oldest grandchildren really, really want the big dinner each year, or else I'd probably skip it; if I scheduled the feast for Thursday, it would only be me, Cliff, Rachel, Arick and Amber. Oh, and Cliff's sister next door. As much as Arick insists I do the annual feast, he also goes to two others on the same day. Which means his heart isn't quite in it, as it would be if he had no other place to go. He has to pace himself.
So I decided to have our feast on the weekend: Sunday, to be exact, since Amber works Saturday. I've asked each person what food item they absolutely MUST have, so I'll be sure and fix their favorites. The son-in-law and his girls should be back by then.
Sunday's menu: turkey and dressing (Cliff), noodles and mashed potatoes (Amber), broccoli-and-rice casserole (Arick and Rachel). Those are the requests. Of course I'll make my home-made rolls. My daughter said Kevin really loves sweet potato casserole, but personally, I don't. It's too sweet; everybody requests it, but I'm always left with a whole bunch left over. I might try a butternut squash version of it, since I'm blessed with lots of squash. Dessert will be Oreo delight and probably apple pie; I might even break down and bake a genuine pumpkin pie.
By the way, am I the only person in the world who hates that green-bean stuff with the canned onions? I've never made it.
As for Thursday? Cliff and I will probably eat soup, or something equally easy.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Free MP3's from

It isn't a trick; I downloaded my free songs this morning.
Go HERE, follow the instructions, and get your $3 worth of music.

Video... Cliff plowing

Cliff's plowing the biggest piece of ground we have available for such a huge tractor to plow. This is supposed to break in the overhauled engine. His local brother is riding with him in the video. They fixed several small leaks today in various places. I posted this on Youtube, which automatically puts it on Facebook; also on Tractor Tales. But I figured I'd share it here too, since many of you don't go to those sites.
Don't judge the poor Oliver by how naked it is; Cliff won't be putting all the tin on until he paints it.

This gave me the opportunity to work with my Mac Iphoto and Imovie, splicing two videos together. My daughter was right: we tend to try and make things too hard on a Mac. Some of the programs are so simple that if you'll let it, it will practically do things by itself!

spam comments and spell-check

I'm still battling the spam comments; at least once per day I get one of the Asian porn comments, but it's always on an older post, so it doesn't show up because I have moderation set for anything over three days old. Since this particular one was always on the same post, one with a peach cobbler recipe from last July, I decided to delete it and see what happens. I occasionally get spam on new posts, but not often. I simply delete them. It isn't real people doing the dirty deeds, it's "bots" set out to troll the Internet (by real people).
I could avoid all this by (a) using word verification for comments or (b) blocking anonymous commenters. Either method loses commenters, so for now I'll keep doing what I'm doing. It's rare that I get a legitimate anonymous comment, but when I do it's very special because it's usually someone saying, "I've read you for a long time" or "I read your blog every day." It's a treat to hear from someone like that, somebody who has never come out in the open before.
On another note, am I the only person whose spelling seems to have gotten worse since spell-check appeared on the scene? In the old days I'd stop and think about how to spell a word; now I just type it in any old way, knowing spell-check will give me the proper spelling.

Wouldn't this be a shocker?

Check out the article HERE.
A forty-three year old man went in search of his birth-mother, who had adopted him out as a baby, and found out his father is Charles Manson.
I believe my first move, if I were him, would be to shave off the facial hair.

Here's Charles Manson as he looks now. You gotta love the swastika tattoo on his forehead.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Happy dog missed soldier owner

I hear this clip has "gone viral", so many people have watched it. The soldier had been gone for six months (I think), and his dog is so happy to see him.
You know what's funny about it? This is how my Sadie acts when my son-in-law shows up. Even if she's seen him earlier the same day.

The sting of defeat

Our local football team, the Tigers, had a great season this year. Thanks to my daughter, I got to go to the playoff game here at home last week, where our kids soundly trounced the opposition. It was great, and made me wish I could attend every game they ever played.
Our school had only one more team to beat in order to go to state competition in St. Louis: The Hamilton Hornets (Hamilton, birthplace and home of JC Penny). I begged, pleaded, and cajoled until Cliff agreed to go to the game yesterday. Granddaughter Natalie went along with us.
We have a friend there who has worked at several different jobs with Cliff; his son John is on the football team. The guy Cliff rides to work with has been going to watch John play, and he warned us that Hamilton is unbeatable. I so wanted him to be wrong. Obviously, so did all my neighbors, because it looked as though the whole town had traveled the sixty miles to watch the game.
Hamilton had three touchdowns by the end of the first quarter; we hadn't scored at all.
It was like watching the Kansas City Chiefs play. Not that the Tigers were bad, just that the other team was so doggoned good! Our guys valiantly tried to make a comeback in the second quarter, and they did some scoring. Alas, so did the other team. The final score was 62 to 27.
So the Hamilton Hornets will go to St. Louis. Well, at least we know John (who is an amazing football player) personally, and that gives us an interest in the team. The games will be televised locally, and I'll be rooting for Hamilton.
Because of the way the game went down, I didn't take many pictures.


Here are our boys, facing the camera before the game started.


You gotta love high school cheerleaders. By the way, when did pom-poms get so small? They used to be HUGE.


Hamilton's marching band, which has won four competitions this year, is amazing. Seriously.


Heading home, we enjoyed seeing that tiny dot of sun disappear into the cloud bank in the west.
And now, it's time for some basketball!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Mainly for my son (and any tractor aficionados)

There are two pieces missing from almost every Oliver 1855 you'll find: The battery cover and the hydraulics cover. Cliff's tractor lacked both pieces, and he spent hours on the phone calling tractor junk yards, searching for these objects.
The reason they've been "lost in the shuffle" is that they are a pain in the patoot to put back on, once they're removed. It wasn't necessary that they be on the tractor in order to use it, so most farmers tossed them in a corner and thought no more about it. They weren't worried about how pretty the tractor looked; they were busy making a living.
Cliff wants his Ollie to have every piece she started with, but no matter where he called, there were none to be had.

So he found a suitable piece of metal and made a battery cover himself; once the Oliver is finished, nobody will be able to tell it isn't original.

Here's a closer work; Cliff's very proud of his handiwork.

However, he was afraid to attempt the hydraulics cover, so he had my cousin do that. Is that guy talented, or what? He restores old cars as a hobby.

To see ourselves as others see us

Yesterday Cliff and I went to visit my cousin and his wife in Cameron, Missouri. Cliff needed a missing piece for his Oliver 1855, and my cousin is a master craftsman in manufacturing things like that from scrap metal, since he's restored many old classic cars in his time. Cliff was beside himself when he saw what Gerald had created for him. He had called junk yards all over the country trying to find the piece, to no avail, and here it was in his hands needing nothing more than paint.
While the guys were in the shop talking tractors, Dee and I fiddled around on her computer; she's fairly new at this Internet thing, and asked me several questions, including some I couldn't answer.
I found out she had not discovered the wonders of Youtube and explained how you can find almost any performer, living or dead, and watch clips of them. I told her Cliff hunts up clips of Oliver tractors plowing and pulling, and she asked me to type in "1955 Mercury". We found plenty of those, and she said, "Oh, Gerald is going to like this!"
She wanted me to help her figure out something on Facebook, and this is where I had an eye-opening experience: Her Facebook page was filled up with ME!
When I type something into Facebook, on this end it doesn't look like I'm saying so much more than anyone else, because I have over two hundred "friends" there; so my remarks are just a drop in the bucket, mixed in with all those.
But Dee only has a few close friends and several relatives, most of whom don't have a lot to say on Facebook. So what I saw on her computer screen was page after page after page of ME. She kept assuring me that was fine, of course, that it didn't bother her.
I have a new resolution: Type no more than two statements per day into Facebook. I'm not counting the applications that show on people's pages, because they can block those; I showed Dee how to do that, too. But I shall try not to be so verbose from now on. If I were Dee, I'd have blocked me long ago.
I'll do my blabbing right here from now on.

*OK, I think I'm still going to be all over Dee's page. Even if she blocks apps like Swagbucks and drawings for Macs and Walmart gift cards. Because when I do a blog entry (at least three times a day, it seems) it shows there; when I write on someone's wall, it shows up.
My Facebook friends are doomed to an overload of ME, unless they totally block me. That can be done, you know.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

the television series E.R.: A poll

I've mentioned here several times that I'm watching the old episodes of E.R. on TNT; I record them on the DVR and watch them in the evening when Cliff's at work.
Keep in mind that I started with the episodes from 1990 or 1991; and I'm just now up to 1993.
But I've fallen in love with several doctors from those episodes, and I've been wondering which ones the longtime E.R. fans loved best.
I was going to make the poll "choose the hottest doctor on E.R.". But I've decided to make it "favorite doctor". This way, men will feel comfortable voting (as if any men other than relatives read my blog).
Now, I'm sure other doctors came along after 1993, but they're not included because I haven't met them yet.
I will tell you that if I had made the poll "hottest doctor", I'd vote for Dr. Kovac; he reminds me of Elvis... with a sexy accent. He isn't my favorite, though.
And now I'm going to set up my poll.

Time is short

I think maybe it started three years ago with Cliff's open heart surgery, this feeling that our time isn't long. His close call made me aware of the brevity of life, so that I look at things from a different perspective. Both of us were affected in this way, actually, and discuss it often.
For instance: When we bought this mobile home, I intended to eventually have different cabinets installed in the kitchen. While I was putting it off, I realized we're not going to be here that long, so why not put up with the cabinets I have?
We moved back here to the pasture because I wanted a view, and more privacy than I had at the old house. I love my view: right now I can look out the window to my left and see the horses and cows grazing. It's been worth the hassle of moving. It was a good move! But remodeling the trailer house? I'm not so sure it would add one iota to my happiness.
Every plan I make these days is weighed against the time Cliff and I have left, and most are discarded. That is, unless it's some foolish-but-fun bauble. Like Cliff's Oliver tractor, or my Mac Mini.
The things on which I'm motivated to spend money are: Computers and the Internet, of course. Things that bring music into my life, like the Bose and the Ipod. Outdoor flower bulbs and plants (I guess I feel I'll be around in a year to see the blooms). And an occasional road trip with Cliff on the Gold Wing.
Clothes? Nope. My wardrobe becomes shabbier and more frumpy every day. Of course, I never was a clothes horse. Besides, I really don't go anyplace that requires much of a wardrobe.
I've even thought about knee surgery in light of how brief my life is, and have almost come to the conclusion that, no longer than I have to live, the pain isn't that bad. It only hurts when I stand too long, or walk too far. Right this instant, sitting at my computer, I'm in no pain at all.
"But you're sixty-five years old; you could live for another twenty years," I can hear you exclaiming.
Believe me, as fast as the time goes these days, twenty years is a puff of smoke, dust in the wind.
I have a couple of pictures and knick-knacks I need to hang. Does it matter whether I hang them or not? Increasingly, I find myself thinking it just isn't worth the bother.
I hope this entry isn't too much of a downer, but this is what's on my mind this morning. Spring will come again and crowd out such somber thoughts, and I'll be outside tending my garden and pruning my roses and taking pictures of the tulips.
Right now, I'm hearing "Autumn Leaves" playing softly in my mind.
"Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away."
The Bible hits the nail right on the head.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What they've done with the "Next blog" button

It was the ever vigilant Mrs. Linklater who alerted me to the change: Blogger has decided to see to it that when we click on the next-blog button up there in the left-hand corner, it will take us to blogs geared to our individual interests.
Now let me say first that anything would be an improvement over two or three years ago, when every third "next blog" at which you arrived was porn. I soon learned to leave that little widget alone.
I'm too lazy to hunt up the original source on Blogger, but Mrs. Linklater quoted them; so I'll just use what she had copied and pasted: "We've made the Next Blog link more useful, by taking you to a blog that you might like. The new and improved Next Blog link will now take you to a blog with similar content, in a language that you understand. If you are reading a Spanish blog about food, the Next Blog link will likely take you to another blog about food. In Spanish!
You might discover a cool blogger who has hobbies similar to yours, has similar taste in electronic gadgets, likes sports that you're into, or has similar curiosities and interests. We will finish rolling out the new and improved Next Blog link over the next week and hope that you will enjoy discovering blogs that are likely to interest you."
There's no more porn, for that I'm thankful. But guess what sort of blogs they think I'll like? Food blogs and mommy blogs. WRONG! I'm bored by food blogs... I don't even read PW's food section often. I'm not much on mommy blogs either. I'm thinking I'll trick them and log out of blogger, then use the next-blog button. Let 'em try and force their choices down my throat then.
Go ahead, you folks who are signed in to Blogger Try it. See what sort of stuff they think you'll like.

*note added later: I logged out and tried it, but Blogger still knew it was me. Food blogs galore.

Good grief! And to think I "knew" her when.

I stole this picture from Pioneer Woman's site; I'm pretty sure that's OK, since I asked permission another time to steal a picture and she replied, "Oh, I don't care about that stuff. Go ahead and use it."
This picture makes me glad I didn't go. Look at that crowd!
By the way, did you know Ree's cookbook is on the New York Times best seller list?
Two of my readers left comments saying they attended Ree's book-signing event. Thanks, ladies, for sharing.
Since I follow Pioneer Woman on Facebook, I was able to find bloggers who shared their PW-in-KC stories.
Coal Creek Farm (she lives out in the boonies of Kansas; I read her blog regularly.)
If you want a first-hand account of the activities of PW day in Kansas City, these are the blogs to read. They made me feel like I was there with them.

A Facebook story: reconnecting

In this dreary, rainy weather we're having, I tend to stay glued to the computer even more than usual. When all else fails, I mess around on Facebook.
On our most recent motorcycle ride (which seems eons ago, but was only a couple of weeks), we were on the back roads and passed through a small, decaying town that triggered the memory of a person in my past.
In the late 70's, my children were both in school and I decided to go to work at Whitaker Cable, eight miles from here. I called around and found someone I could ride with (my friend Carol, the most loyal friend I have; but she was a stranger to me then). For the first time in over ten years, I was going to be earning a paycheck.
The first day, they put me on a conveyor that turned out wiring harnesses. A woman just placed me there, showed me which wires I'd be plugging in and directing around a form with other wires, and left. Within ten minutes I was hopelessly behind. When I was at the point of going around the end of the conveyor, someone would turn off the conveyor and everyone would wait until I could catch up. Any of them could have helped me, but only one person did. The others stood there with smug smiles on their faces. It was quite embarrassing, and if it weren't for the fact that Cliff had told me he was sure I wouldn't be able to keep a job because I'd been out of the work force so long, I would have quit before noon. But I had to show him.
There was that one lady named Sue, a little older than me, working on my right. Until I got to the point where I could hold up my part of the job, she'd reach over and do one or two of my wires: just enough so that I could keep up. Within two weeks I could manage without help.
A couple of years later I heard some of the old-timers at Whitaker talking about how they used to bet on how long new employees would last, and they'd try to see how fast they could make them quit. They were laughing it up reminiscing, and I just had to tell them, "Yeah, I know all about it; I'm one of those people you tried to run off."
Thus ended their little trip down memory lane.
Sue was a quiet woman who lived in Cowgill. While working, we talked about our husbands and children; her husband liked tractors and so did Cliff. One time Cliff and I stopped by their place briefly on the way back from somewhere. But other than that, we only saw one another at work.
Whitaker Cable shut down and both of us sought employment elsewhere. I never saw her again, although someone later told me one of her sons fell while working at construction and was paralyzed from the neck down.
Sue's last name isn't all that common, so I decided to type it in the Facebook search. I knew the chances of someone her age being on Facebook were slim, but I was just passing time; and it never hurts to try.
She wasn't listed, but there were several young folks with her last name who attend high school in Polo, Missouri; that's where Cowgill kids go to school. I figured they had to be related to Sue, probably her grandchildren. Of course you can't see profiles of people who haven't "friended" you, but you can see their faces and ages, and you can send them a message.
So I chose a pretty girl named Tiffany (class of '09) and asked if she was related to Sue. Within an hour, I had this reply: "Yeah that's my grandma she is the best she is doin pretty good she moved to the ozarks about 6 in ah half years ago my grandpa died in 06 I think it was in a simple hernia surgery she had a hard time for a while but she's doin better now."
I told her to tell her grandma, next time she saw her, that I remembered her fondly. She messaged back, "Wouldja like her number?"
Of course this sent me into a cold sweat. Me, talk on the phone to someone I haven't seen in thirty years? What would we talk about? Could I keep up my end of the conversation? I'm a typer, not a talker!
So I told Tiffany I'm not much for talking on the phone, but I'd love to have Sue's address so I could write her a note.
Perhaps she'll give it to me, because she "friended" me overnight.
I'm sharing this so some of you can see the opportunities afforded by Facebook to reconnect with people who helped you along the way; maybe there's somebody in your past to whom you owe a "thank you". You may find them, directly or indirectly, on Facebook.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My loss

Cliff and I went to do the shopping today. For quite a while I tried to give my business to the local grocery (eight miles away) with the noble purpose of giving support to my community. I really wanted it to work. I was willing to pay a little more for my groceries.
Unfortunately, it didn't work out so well: They didn't stock certain items and brands I use all the time, and they'd advertise items on sale they didn't have, and didn't intend to have.
"But it's in your ad," I'd whine.
"Oh, our bigger store at (another town) probably has that."
So it's back to Walmart. I'm sorry, Guy in Oregon.
Since we had to make a stop in Lexington, the nearest Walmart from there is across the river at Richmond.
Cliff gets home from work at 3 A.M. and sleeps till 10 o'clock. We headed out shopping at 11 A.M. I get hungry at noon.
But I was not going to give in, not this time. I wasn't going to suggest the Chinese place or Sonic... I wasn't! Why spend too much money eating unhealthy junk someplace when we have plenty of food at home! Trouble is, I hadn't bothered to cook dinner ahead of time. Cliff leaves for work at 2:30. There's no chili in the freezer at present, nor anything else I can fix without some preparation.
Then I remembered a cooked chicken breast in the freezer. Chef salad! "I'll buy some lettuce and a couple of tomatoes and a cucumber, microwave-thaw and dice up the chicken to toss in the salad, and sprinkle some grated cheese on top," I said to myself. I had to talk to myself; Cliff was off somewhere in the automotive department.
When we had loaded everything into the trunk and were in the car, I told Cliff about my mental battle (it's a common one for me; I love to eat out). Boy, was I proud of myself for overcoming temptation.
"I was thinking about Subway, myself," he said.
"See? We saved all that money.... wait just a minute! I spent $1.39 for a head of lettuce, $1 for a cucumber, $1.95 for three puny tomatoes... and I still have to make the salad when we get home! Subway would have only cost us $5 plus tax.
Cliff found the whole episode humorous. Me, not so much.
At least the salad was good.

I wonder...

Did any of my Kansas City readers meet Pioneer Woman last night? I follow her on Facebook, and it looks like some people were still standing in line to get their books autographed at midnight! Must have been a great turnout. She had her husband (Marlboro Man) and boys with her.
Here are some comments made to PW on Facebook:

It was awesome to meet you! Thanks for visiting KC!
How late did you sign books? We left at like 11:30. I was in an earlier group with one of my friends, but another friend waited too long to get her book and was in the group at 11:15ish! We had a great time though. My 16 year old took the book to school today to use it for a recipe in her foods class (she wants to be a chef). (She was not there last night, I had to use tough love and not let her come even though she really really wanted to. . .)
you were as warm, genuine, and sweet in person as you are on your blog! thank you for stopping by.
Thanks P-Dub! It was great to meet you in person. You were funny and a pleasure to talk to.
LOVED IT! Thanks for coming to KC. It was a fun fun night.
Had a really great time and I love the cookbook!! Hope we see you on Oprah sometime soon!!
t was truly awesome meeting you, MM and the boys ....MM was so gracious with all of us women wanting him to sign our books and have pics taken with him...pls tell him thank you!!! And your boys were so so cute! They def "kept it real"!! Loved it and loved YOU....I drove 2.5 hrs and would do it again tonight if I could!!
Thank YOU Ree, Kate and I had an amazing time! Posting my photos from last night, I even got one of the boys UFC fight, LOL
If you were there, tell me all about it!

Things that make me smile

I've noticed when I'm listening to the literally hundreds of songs on my Ipod when it's on "shuffle" that if it plays for even fifteen minutes, three artists are sure to fall in there somewhere: Johnny Cash, John Prine, and Iris Dement. Obviously I have more of their music on my computer than all the others put together.

I've always been a diehard Cash fan. I listen to anything he ever sang, from his early songs in the '60's right down through the American recordings where you can almost hear death in his voice. All of them are precious to me. One of the best purchases I ever made was the DVD with some of the best portions of The Johnny Cash Show; I watch it a couple of times a year. It's impossible for me to see it without smiling; it takes me back to a time when I was a young wife with two babies and a big garden and several Jersey cows, when anything was possible.

I really don't know why I like Iris Dement's music so much, but even though we once drove three hundred miles to see her and she was a no-show, I still listen. She doesn't make me smile, though. She makes me a little sad.

Ah, but there's John Prine! I'll be on the computer or mopping a floor or cooking a meal, and I'll hear lyrics like these:

That's the way that the world goes 'round.
You're up one day and the next you're down.
It's half an inch of water and you think you're gonna drown.
That's the way that the world goes 'round.

I was sitting in the bathtub counting my toes,
when the radiator broke, water all froze.
I got stuck in the ice without my clothes,
naked as the eyes of a clown.
I was crying ice cubes hoping I'd croak,
when the sun come through the window, the ice all broke.
I stood up and laughed thought it was a joke
That's the way that the world goes 'round.

And I smile.

Then there's this one, which I never understood until I saw John live and heard him explain that he had set out to write the worst song ever, because the guy producing his album insisted he write one more song.

Father forgive us for what we must do
You forgive us we'll forgive you
We'll forgive each other till we both turn blue
Then we'll whistle and go fishing in heaven.

I was in the army but I never dug a trench
I used to bust my knuckles on a monkey wrench
Then I'd go to town and drink and give the girls a pinch
But I don't think they ever even noticed me.

Fish and whistle, whistle and fish
Eat everything that they put on your dish
And when we get through we'll make a big wish
That we never have to do this again again? again????

On my very first job I said thank you and please
They made me scrub a parking lot down on my knees
Then I got fired for being scared of bees
And they only give me fifty cents an hour.

He said after he sang it a couple hundred times, he sorta got to liking it. I just can't keep from smiling when I hear those lyrics. Every once in awhile I chuckle aloud, listening.

On gloomy days like these, any cause to smile is pure gold. Because it seems like the world around us is going to hell in a hand-basket.

Monday, November 16, 2009

thoughts on Instant Messages

Having learned to navigate my Mac Mini well enough to find what I need to find, and do what I need to do (knock wood), I decided to open up my AIM and see what I could do with it... besides instant message people.
It was nice to see there are still a lot of my old friends on AIM, many of them staying signed on all day. I've been keeping myself "invisible", but today I opened up, just for the heck of it. I noticed that I could show what song I'm listening to on Itunes, and I chose that option. Fun stuff on a rainy day.
I then checked to see if Yahoo Messenger has a Mac edition; they do, and I downloaded it.
Unlike my experience with AIM, none of my Yahoo Messenger contacts seem to be online. There are plenty of names on it, and I recognize most of them. None have been online, though.
Now remember, I'm not fond of instant messaging. I do believe my buddies have gotten the message, because nobody intruded in my space.
Unless I stumble across some old memories to share, the blogging well is dry right now: I'm not doing anything earthshaking or exciting. Cliff's spending every minute of his spare time in the shop with the Oliver tractor. Today I did some much-needed housecleaning and played on the computer. I have plenty of stuff on the DVR to watch, but once I've had my daily dose of E.R. (circa 1993), the rest seem to bore me. Tonight is American Experience on PBS, and those of you who enjoyed my mom's memories should be watching it. They've been going through the Depression years, whicht fits right in with my mother's memories.
So there you have it; I've checked in. I'm just fine, enjoying lots of music on the computer and Ipod, and Pandora on my Grace radio.
If this turned out to be my last day on earth, I would not consider it wasted.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Rainy-day thoughts

We're supposed to have four days of rain and clouds, with highs in the mid-40's. We were about due; these past few days probably were the longest span of time we've done without rain all year... all of eight days.
I reinforced my theory that you can substitute butternut squash in any recipe that calls for pumpkin by making some butternut squash bread. It goes down real easy accompanied by a cup of hot green tea.
I was looking over the roster at the high school football game yesterday and was amazed that over half the last names were the same ones that were on the roster when my kids were attending over twenty years ago: Schaberg, Hough, Thilking, Strickler, Lohsandt, Ward, Niendick, Willard, Wieligman, Seitz, Beckemeyer, Bowling, Register, Good, Bryant, Reismeyer, Beissenherz. It's a small town, the size town from which people usually escape in order to find jobs; but we're situated close enough to Kansas City so that many young people choose to stay here. Or, like my daughter, they return. Notice there's predominance of German names on the list. A huge percentage of the old-time farmers were German, and the U.C.C. Church in town held services in the German language until, I believe, World War I.
I took a few pictures of a couple of little boys at the game. They entertained themselves so very well, and I had fun watching their antics. I had every intention of posting those pictures in a blog entry, but I hesitate to do so. Now, if it wasn't in my own community, I'd think nothing of it. But I know some people don't want their kids' pictures on the Internet, and when it's somebody so nearby, I think I'll pass. I found out who they were from Tracy, who sees all and knows all that goes on in my town (you may think I'm kidding, but it's TRUE). But I don't know the parents at all. I'd feel pretty funny calling strangers and saying, "Hey, I have a blog and I took pictures of your kids. Can I put the pictures on my blog?"
I also had a lot of fun yesterday listening to snippets of conversation amongst the teenagers behind me on the bleachers. I wish I'd taken notes.
Question for the people in charge of music that plays over the speakers at local football games? Why are you only playing rock songs from the 80's? Don't you have any Green Day? Geesh. If you're going to play old rock, let's go on back to the Beatles while we're at it. (I kid; I like 80's rock, having had it forced upon me by my children back in the day.)
I'm getting along better and better with my Mac, finding lots of sites to help me with questions that arise. There's even a Mac Mini forum.
The Ipod is on shuffle, playing through the speakers of my stereo system all my favorite songs. This is a good place to be on a rainy day.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Patrick's Saturday Six

It's been awhile since I've participated.

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 at Patrick's Place so that everyone else can visit! Permission is not granted to copy the questions to message boards for the purpose of having members answer and play along there. Enjoy!
1. What is the last thing you purchased for yourself, other than basics like groceries? The Mac Mini I'm using right this minute.

2. What is the last thing you purchased for someone else? Cliff's the breadwinner here, so if "I purchase" something, it's usually his money backing that purchase. Let's just say I pushed him really hard to buy the Oliver 1855 he was lusting after. Does that count?

3. If you were to win a lottery, what is the first charity you’d donate to? They're on my sidebar to the right, where it says "be generous, times are hard"; if you want to bless somebody and are wondering how and whom, choose those. Please.

4. If you won that lottery, what is the first “luxury” you’d buy for yourself? It would be a luxury to me to pay off everything I already have; there really aren't many things I want that I don't already have.

5. Take the quiz: Do You Put Yourself First or Last?

You Put Yourself First

By putting yourself first, you're actually not being selfish. You're just being realistic.
You like to help others as much as the next person... maybe even more. But you know you need to be at the top of your game in order to really give back.

You take good care of yourself, and you have learned the art of tactfully saying "no." It's all about balance.
You try to stay away from people and activities that drain you. You prefer to save your energy for those who really matter to you.

6. When is the last time you spent an entire weekend putting yourself first? Weekend? I put myself first more often than not; I'm not proud of the fact, it's just the way I'm wired.