Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ah, dreams

Patrick, of Patrick's Place, linked to THIS ARTICLE telling the most common dreams people have. That got me thinking back to recurring dreams I used to have. I never seem to have the recurring kind, these days.
Number four on the list is one I had many times when I was in high school: I'd go to the bus stop, get on the bus, get all the way to school and go inside to my classroom... and suddenly realize I didn't have any clothes on! Of course I'd wake from this dream disturbed and embarrassed until I got totally awake; then it struck me funny that I'd make it all the way to school without somebody pointing out that I had forgotten to put my clothes on.

Number two on the list, falling, is a dream I often had when I was younger, perhaps from the time I was four until I was eight or ten. Several times I'd fall for what seemed like ten minutes, terrified; then I'd wake up on the floor. I had fallen out of bed.

As a teenager I often dreamed I was walking along a street or sidewalk; I'd see a nickel laying on the ground, pick it up, and soon there was a quarter. Then several coins, and then paper money. The amounts always got greater as the dream progressed. What a disappointment to wake up from that one. This one didn't make the list; maybe it's not a common one.

The number one dream, that of being chased, only plagued me for a brief spell after going with my mom to see "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein". In this dream, I was chased through tunnels by skeletons. Good grief, no wonder that one scared me; I would only have been four or five years old when it was in the theaters.

Have any of you ever had recurring dreams? Have you had any similar to mine?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Steve Jobs introduces the first Apple computer, 1984

stuff

I learned a long time ago that very few people share my taste in music; that's why I don't have music playing automatically when you come here. There are things you can click on in my sidebar, if you so desire, to hear music I like. But that's your choice.
When I'm blog-surfing, I often have my Pandora station playing; sometimes I have an actual radio or CD player going, next to my computer. So when I go to a blog and some sort of obnoxious music starts without asking my permission, my first impulse is to click off that blog, FAST. Unless it's a REALLY good blog, in which case I'll put up with it. I won't like it, though.
Even if I enjoy the song that's playing, it's clashing with what I'm listening to already.
But that's just me.
If you want a chuckle, go read Heather's latest blog entry. Sometimes I get the feeling she and I are related, because her family sure sounds a lot like mine. Nurses have the greatest sense of humor; maybe they have to, in order to keep their sanity.
I went to see my plastic surgeon yesterday (in a million years, I never thought I'd be using the term "my plastic surgeon); he said I can do anything and wear anything (or not) I want, since I've done so well. He seemed very pleased with his handiwork. I have to go back one more time in six weeks for my "after" picture, once the bruising is gone. I feel like a centerfold.
Oh, here's something interesting: The tissue that was removed was tested for malignancy, and none was found. I didn't know they were going to do that, but I'm glad they did. It makes sense.


The Bloggies

Not that any of us need more blogs to read, but I thought I'd mention the Bloggie awards just in case you want to spread your wings. It's how I discovered Pioneer Woman, in a roundabout way. Someone said to go vote for her there, I started reading. Boy, has she come a long way since then; I used to actually comment there, before she began getting so many comments I figured I'd get lost in the shuffle.
The way they have the site set up, you have to scroll across to see the categories. I'm not too worried about voting, but there are blogs in various categories that I'll check out. Oh, of course I voted for PW in the "Best writing of a weblog" category, and for Coal Creek Farm in the "best-kept secret" category. There used to be a religious blog category, but evidently they've done away with that one; I wanted to vote for Sister Mary Martha.

So if your interested, go on over to the Bloggies. Browse the blogs, vote if you feel like it.

Just remember to scroll across; it took me about three days to figure out why I couldn't see the blogs to vote for! They're over on the right, out of sight.

Friday, January 29, 2010

What a revolting development

I caught the woodpecker in action this morning

Once the school bus has gone past in the mornings, I turn Sadie out to romp. I'll see her zoom through the back yard outside my computer room window, happy as a lark. Yesterday on one of her trips around the house, I noticed she had something in her mouth and decided to see what it was. I went to the front door and waited for her to appear around the corner, then said, "Sadie, come here, let me see."
She willingly came to me (with her head tucked, just in case she was doing something wrong), and dropped her prize, which turned out to be a trimmed-off piece of horse-hoof.
"Do you want to bring it in the house?"
You might find this hard to believe, but she picked it up and ran ahead of me to the door. Once inside, she chewed on the thing for the better part of an hour, leaving behind a bit of a mess that I cleaned up; no biggie.
Today, once again, I saw her run past my window; I didn't think she had anything in her mouth, but I figured it was time for her to come inside. Once I got her on the porch, I realized she did have another prize, perhaps a smaller piece of horse-hoof. She had enjoyed chewing on the one yesterday, I figured, "Why not?"
And then she came inside and dropped it on the floor.
"Sadie, wait! What is that?"
She hunkered down upon hearing my harsh voice, and backed off.
I got closer... and closer...
And realized it was frozen cat-poop!
Yuck.


Playing with browsers

When I first got my Mac mini, I used the browser that comes with it, which is Safari. It's a nice, fast browser. However, I always used Firefox on my PC, and that's what I was used to. Besides, there's a toolbar add-on for Firefox for the Swagbucks search engine; the only way I could use Swagbucks on Safari was to add it as a favorite. Because that's not nearly as handy, I found myself forgetting to use Swagbucks; hence, I wasn't building up points nearly as fast as I like.
So I installed Firefox, only to find out it is noticeably slower. I went back to Safari.

This morning I visited the Swagbucks website and saw that they now have a toolbar for Safari, so I installed it. The trouble is, it's a big ole flashy toolbar; I'm not sure I like it, but I'll try it for a day or two.

Why am I boring my readers with all this? Because I have absolutely nothing else to blog about. We can't get even a tiny break from winter this year. We normally sneak in an occasional motorcycle ride during the winter months, but the Gold Wing has been standing idle in the garage for weeks with a trickle-charger giving it life support.

Thank heaven for the bird feeder outside my window; it's been a real bright spot in my life. I have a pair of woodpeckers visiting every day now; yesterday I saw some sort of big ungainly gray bird stopping by. Finches are coming around regularly, and so are the snowbirds (juncos). I've decided I don't care much for the snowbirds; I found out they are a type of sparrow, and I do believe it; they poop everywhere. Snowbirds, go away! And to think I dragged my Christmas tree out there for them. I've seen cardinals a few times, which is surprising considering there aren't any big trees close around the house.

I'm trying to cut back on Sadie's food; she's put on quite a bit of weight lately. She's always had a hearty appetite, and she's very active. But somehow, middle age (isn't five years old considered middle age for a dog?) has done to her what it does to most of us. It's hard for me, though, to walk past her dish and see it empty... so I'll get just a handful of Science Diet and put it in her dish, just for a snack. She'll run over and gobble it up, then look at me as if to say, "That was a nice appetizer; now where's dinner?"

I know the feeling.

I'm also playing with templates this morning, so bear with me.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A quick note about Angel Food Ministries


I've had two different people tell me there are no Angel Food Ministry sites near them. In that case, you might get the church you attend to take part in this. If you go to
this portion of their website, you can find out how it's done. There is a benefit in it for the church, too.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Angel Food Ministries

I have mentioned Angel Food Ministries on this blog before, and I have their link on my sidebar. It isn't a charity program for low-income families; it's for everybody. Although you pick your food up at a church, there is no proselytizing. You just pick up the food you've already paid for and go.
I have relatives and friends who get the Angel Food package every month; they rave about it. It's a way of giving your meals some variety, since somebody else is choosing the foods. Today for the first time, I finally placed my order. I was looking over the offerings for February and happened to notice that they now give the option of paying online. One thing that had previously stopped me from getting this food was that we'd have to go to Odessa twice each month: once to order, and once to pick up the goods. Now, it's just the one-time trip. There's a two-dollar charge for ordering online, but I'd say it's worth that.

Here's what I'll be getting on the last Saturday of next month, for $30. If I'm getting milk from Bonnie at that time, I'll pass the milk on to my daughter's family; we really don't need the hamburger, either; we're still eating what we had butchered. That isn't powdered milk, by the way; it's the shelf-stable kind. Angel Food ministries always has a few more processed foods than I'd like (the boneless chicken drumsticks and the pasta sauce, for instance). But as long as we eat the proper portions, we'll do OK.
Go on and try it; I dare you. Then after you've picked up your order, let me know what you think.
If you go HERE and scroll on down, you'll see there are other boxes available.
Search the locations on the site; I'm pretty sure you'll find one not too far from you.

My parents' music


The Oregon guy has once again sent me wandering down memory lane with one little sentence: "Remember your parents' record collection? It was usually composed of one type of music; usually pretty bland and white-bread."
I thought far back to my childhood in Iowa. I might have been six years old when one of the local one-room schoolhouses either closed its doors or upgraded their music. However it happened, my parents bought their wind-up phonograph and a whole collection of 78 RPM records. The record player looked very much like the one in the above picture.
I recall some Al Jolson records, and one of American Indians doing songs in their native tongue. There was another record I loved to play when friends visited: It started out with one man laughing; then other people joined in, and before you know it there seemed to be a roomful of people laughing so hard they were crying. Even though I must have played it a hundred times, I could never keep from laughing along when I heard it. It affected everybody else the same way. Infectious laughter at its best.
The wind-up Victrola went through needles like crazy, and we bought them by the box; this was before the days of diamond needles.
My parents didn't buy a lot of records... I don't imagine they could afford to. But the ones they did buy surely have stuck with me.
There was one record album (yes, in those days they really were albums that held six two-sided records) of Little Jimmy Dickens. My favorite song on that collection was "Country Boy"; I especially loved the line where, when the preacher came for chicken dinner, all Jimmy got was "the gizzard and the north end of a chicken flying south."
div>There was a George Morgan set that I believe had several songs mentioning roses in their context. The one I remember best is "Roomful of Roses".
Wikipedia tells me that song was released in 1949, and reached number 4 on the Billboard country charts. "Candy Kisses" was another of his songs I played a lot.
There was "Bluebird on My Windowsill," which my dad would often burst out singing when he was happy.
We had Red Foley's "Two Cents, Three Eggs, and a Postcard", which I believe I can still sing word for word. Many, many years later, I met a lady who was a member, as I was at the time, of "Kansas City Songwriters". She came out to our house with some friends of hers, a married couple; she introduced me to them and, motioning to the man, she said, "He's written a song."
The man said, "Yeah, it's the only song I ever wrote in my life; 'Two Cents, Three eggs, and a Postcard."
He proceeded to sing some of it, and I began singing along.
The guy obviously wasn't old enough to have written the song, and his face turned fiery red at being caught in a lie; we'd just met, and I knew all the words to "his" song. It was a rather awkward moment, to say the least.


The last on this subject

There's certainly no way to top that last entry, so I won't even make an attempt. If you didn't read the comments left there, you should; I think you'll get a smile out of them.
Mrs. Linklater suggested I might have porn searches ending up on an entry with the word "breast" in it, but so far that hasn't happened; I checked my sitemeter. If that were to start happening, I'd simply change one of the letters in the word to an asterisk. Let's face it, though: With all the chicken recipes on the Internet, that would be a particularly unsuccessful word to use in a porn search.
I should mention that when insurance is paying for a mammoplasty, insurance chooses the size the new breasts will be, typically a "C". It's going to take some getting used to, let me tell you, after so many years of being well-endowed. I didn't know I had developed such a pot belly, since I couldn't see my belly before, looking down. Now, I can. You'd better believe I am sucking in my gut a LOT these days, as I sit at the computer.
Sugar wondered if Medicare pays for breast reduction. According to this source, indeed it will. There are guidelines, but they are the same as the ones for any insurance: Indentations in the shoulders, skin problems underneath, discomfort in the back and neck. You must need at least a pound removed, typically a double D. I know Sugar has a lot of health issues, so she might not be able to get the procedure done on that account.
I will go to the plastic surgeon Friday and get the tape removed. The stitches are the kind that absorb. He'll take an "after" picture to go with the "before" shot he took on my first visit, and hopefully I will be done with him.
Cliff did not meet the surgeon until the day of my operation, when he came in to draw a map on my chest. When he was finished and left the room, Cliff said, "What school bus did HE get off of?"

He does look like a kid, doesn't he? His nurse told me he averages doing one breast reduction per week.
I'm glad I had this done. Breast reduction has the highest satisfaction rate of any other plastic surgery, 95%. Everyone I've heard of who has had it is happy with the results.
This will probably be the last you hear on this subject.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Are you ready to learn why I was in the hospital?

I've been waiting to make sure I had no complications, because it would be quite embarrassing to tell people what a walk-in-the-park this particular surgery was, and then have something go wrong.
I never thought I'd be using a plastic surgeon. And my insurance paid for it all.
I had a bi-lateral mammoplasty; in other words, a breast reduction.
Now when I told people about this, most everybody said, "I didn't think you were that big."
Gee, thanks. I was into a size "G" bra. I'm a big gal, so being generously endowed didn't look out of place on me. The size alone was no problem, but aging had taken everything south. I could not get comfortable. If I wore a good, supportive bra, those plastic inserts cut into my ribs and hurt. The straps hurt my shoulders.
We won't even talk about the discomforts of going braless.
So I did some Internet research and found out that usually, insurance will pay for this. I had a few email conversations with a friend of my daughter who had this procedure done when she was in her thirties; she says it's the best thing she ever did.
The surgery took four hours. Not only was I not nervous, I was anxious to have it done. When the anesthesia guy said he'd get me some Versed (whatever that is) before surgery, I turned him down, although someone else later insisted I have it.
Cliff, on the other hand, was a wreck, bless his heart. I know he hated to see "the girls" trimming down, but he understood.
This is a pretty personal subject, and ordinarily I wouldn't be telling the world about it. But there might be another lady who just can't get comfortable, someone who doesn't know insurance will pay for this.
So there you have it.
I spent one night in the hospital. They sent me home with antibiotics. Oh, and hydrocodone, which I'll save for those days when my knees are really bothering me. I took one dose the second day after surgery for the sore throat I got from having that breathing device in place while they operated. Otherwise, I really haven't needed anything for pain. I'm not supposed to lift more than ten pounds for a couple of weeks: of course I've forgotten a dozen times and picked up things I shouldn't have... my thirty-pound dog, for instance.
If you're not squeamish, you can search on Youtube and see a video of the operation like the one I had. I'm glad I didn't watch until after my surgery; I might have chickened out.
Questions?
Oh, I have to tell you about this: When I opened Cliff's lunch box this morning, there was a sympathy card a couple of co-workers had given him. The verse on the front reads as follows:
The ones that we've lost
still go with us in spirit
we will remember them.
In the faces of family,
their presence still lingers...
we will remember them.
Hello, people? They're not gone, they're just smaller!

morning ramblings

Saturday I got our pill-holders out to fill; the bottles of two of the three prescriptions Cliff takes were almost empty, so I called the pharmacy to order more. I received a recorded message that he was going to have to visit the doctor... there were no more refills.
That bit of information made me realize it had already been three months since our last doctor visit. Cliff argued that it couldn't be, but it was. How does three months go by so fast? I decided to go ahead and renew my blood pressure medication while we were there, and save a trip later.
Thanks to nurse-practitioners, we can always get in with very little notice, and yesterday morning I secured appointments for the two of us at 10:30. That meant Cliff had to fast, since he has to have his blood tested because he's on Lipitor. I decided to fast too, out of sympathy for him. I had two different leftover dishes we could heat up when we arrived home starving.
The nurse-practitioner listened to our hearts and lungs (and to Cliff's throat, I assume checking for clogging arteries), wrote our prescriptions (increasing my B.P. med), and sent the nurse in to collect blood from Cliff. She finished, and said cheerily, "I'll bet you're hungry; now you can go get something to eat. You know what would be good right about now? One of those great big P.T.'s tenderloins!"
Now, the thought of P.T.'s tenderloins had not entered our minds; in fact, we never go to P.T.'s. But with our stomachs empty as they were, that sounded like the best idea in the world.
At the pharmacy, we were told there would be a wait of thirty minutes for our meds, just the right amount of time for two starving people to go find something to eat.
No, we didn't have that tenderloin sandwich; oh, we discussed buying one and splitting it. But when all was said and done, we went to Subway, and came home feeling quite good about ourselves.
One more battle won.
While waiting for our sandwich to be made, I looked at the Sun Chips they had available in small bags; I picked one up, and it seemed as though there couldn't be more than five chips in there. They charge $1.30 for that? We never buy chips with our Subway sandwich, and we usually order water to drink. It saves us a fortune.
I've been buying a large bag of Sun Chips at the store and dividing the contents between ten zip-lock bags for Cliff to take in his lunch. That comes to about thirty-eight cents per serving, and he gets at least twice as many as he'd get in a small, individual bag from the machine at work, for much less money. Having them bagged up ahead of time like that prevents either of us from chowing down the whole bag, and that large bag lasts Cliff two weeks.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Why YOU should try Sparkpeople, just for a day

You can see on the right, at the top of my sidebar, that I'm promoting Sparkpeople.com. It's free, and it's the best site ever to help you track what you eat.
But let's say you don't need (or want) to lose weight.
I suggest you create a Sparkpeople account and enter everything you eat, just for one day.
You're going to be amazed at what's lacking in your diet.
It's because of Sparkpeople.com that I found out both Cliff and I are woefully lacking in our calcium intake; I corrected that by purchasing calcium tablets at Sam's Club.
Also, we don't get enough fiber, at least not when we're limiting calories.
Amazingly, we get plenty of vitamin C most days, just from the food we eat; we don't have a lot of citrus fruit laying around, but we do indulge in all kinds of veggies.
Most brand name foods are already on the site, including fast foods. You can enter nutrients for your own recipes if need be. You select which nutrients you want to track.
Just give it a try. Tell 'em Donna sent you.

And it all started with a Youtube video



Someone on a message board first brought this video to my attention, and I shared it here on my blog. I later learned that the little boy stealing the show is Ernie's son, Brion. The kid in front of him wearing the same kind of shirt is Ernie's other son, Jeffrey.
My curiosity sent me to Google to find out what happened to those boys.
I found out Jeffrey had written a book about his growing-up years, "River of No Return", which of course I ordered on half.com; the book left me wishing I had just watched the video and let it go at that.
Back when I watched Ernie every week, one of the highlights of the show was the hymn he always sang at closing. It was considered controversial back then, and Ernie fought to keep the hymn in the show. So imagine my surprise at finding out Ernie wasn't particularly religious at all. I had this idea of Ernie as a strong Christian and a genuine hillbilly; he was neither.
Life in the Ford home was pretty miserable most of the time for all parties concerned.
As outgoing as he seemed on his show, Ernie hated being in the public eye constantly, and he tried his best to escape the whole Hollywood scene.
I'm glad I've never been rich and famous, if being so means carrying that much baggage through life.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mother's keepsakes

The house where my mom was working was quarantined, so one of her boy friends (my dad) brought her a candy bar from town.

Mother saved this match some boy threw at her in 1932, and the cigarette another guy was smoking that got soaked somehow during their horseplay.

She saved these straws she had used to drink a bottle of pop her boy friend (later to be my dad) bought her. Again, 1932.


Here's an excerpt from a letter to Mother from her sister in 1938 containing this shocking bit of information: My aunt did laundry on Sunday! True confessions.


My parents sold our home in Harlem for $5,000 and we moved to the Crestview subdivision in Kansas City, North. That was a big step up for us, even though Crestview was made up of cheap pre-fab houses. Those houses are still standing, though.

Here's the Crestview house.


This was taken, I believe, at my Uncle Carl's farm. My dad is in front with my cousin, Royce, on his lap. I was obviously having one of my frequent pouting spells... that's me next to Daddy. Maybe I was jealous. My lovely sister is standing directly behind me.
The more I look at this picture, the more I realize it's priceless!
It's been a perfect day to rummage through my mom's keepsakes. I notice I did an entry on some of these same things last February, so I guess it's a typical wintertime activity for me.
Click on any of the images to make them bigger.


Winter is getting the best of me

Forgive me for my ramblings being uninspired right now. Since Christmas, we've had snow, fog, and rain, and very little sunshine... perhaps three days' worth, all told. Yesterday the temperatures weren't bad for January, but it rained off and on the whole day. Now, any time I devote that many words on my blog to the weather, you know it's pretty bad.
On another note, Cliff starting eating properly right after the first of the year and has already lost ten pounds. I just jumped on that bandwagon last Monday, and so far I'm doing pretty well at sticking to the plan. I do avoid the word "diet", because really it's a full-time thing for us; we had just gotten side-tracked. It's so easy to eat too much of the wrong things when it's all around us, and so tasty, too.
I always cook the "good stuff" around here, my usual chicken, fish, and bean recipes. But we got on a steady down-hill run of eating out too much, not to mention the holidays. Then there's the petty side of me that sees Cliff eating everything other people cook, and thinks, "Hey, I want to cook that good stuff too! I'd rather make you nice, chewy, three-hundred-calorie brownies than make my lower-fat one-hundred-calorie ones."
And I do just that. Take THAT, you diet cheater!
Remember, I was raised as an only child, since my sister got married when I was two. So when I fix low-fat, nutritious meals all the time and then Cliff shows no restraint away from home, I throw an inner tantrum and bake a pie or two, make all the stuff I haven't been able to cook for a while (hello there, biscuits and gravy) and we're off eating like pigs again.
I'm just being honest here. Yes, I do have a dark side. I don't know how Cliff has managed to spend forty-three years with me.
When we're "eating right", we patronize Subway (too much sodium, but otherwise OK), with an occasional visit to Olive Garden for their soup, salad, and breadsticks. Or we'll split a meal at a Mexican place. No matter where you eat out, you're going to get overloaded on sodium; that's good motivation to eat at home.
We try our best to avoid buffets, for obvious reasons.
Speaking of Olive Garden, there's a new one under construction at Blue Springs! That's much closer than the one we've always patronized.
It seems like we're visiting a doctor all the time these days; we both have to go back to get prescriptions renewed next week. I can't believe three months goes by so fast! Maybe this time the nurse-practitioner will give me a prescription for a years' supply of blood pressure pills.
Yep, this is the most boring kind of entry, where I talk about nothing but weather and diets and doctor visits.
How the mighty blogger has fallen.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Cliff and his email

Cliff really didn't get hooked on the Internet until the past year or so, as a result of my introducing him to Craigslist and Youtube. I've created a monster.
He was enjoying it so much that a few months back, I suggested to him that he needed a G-mail account; that way, when somebody sends me a joke I know will suit his fancy (slightly naughty, in other words), I'd forward it. Now the wonderful thing is, I can send him jokes I've received twenty times; they're all new to him, and he laughs heartily at them.
A little while ago he went to look at his email and wasn't signed in. Since I can type a lot faster than he can, I slipped behind his chair, reached down to the keyboard, and signed him in. There were about ten emails there, but they'd all been read.
"You've looked at these," I said. "You need to delete them."
"Oh no," he says, "that's the ones I saved."
Why would you save a bunch of jokes you've read?"
"Oh hell, they're funny!"
Must be one of those Mars/Venus things. Somehow a joke isn't funny to me after I've heard it a dozen times.

You guys crack me up

Offers of help, even? I've cooked a meal today and made brownies and Jello, so I don't think I need help; I'm not supposed to lift more than ten pounds, but that's my only limitation; actually, that just gives me a good excuse not to do any housework I don't want to do. I walked to the mailbox this afternoon. I'm FINE, OK?
In a week I'll clue you in.

Shawnee Mission Medical Center

I'm home.
I haven't spent much time in hospitals. In fact, last night was the first time I've spent a night in a hospital since I had my babies... unless you count the time I stayed with Cliff when he had heart surgery.

But I'll tell you this: I was totally impressed by all the staff at Shawnee Mission Medical Center. From the time I checked in until they wheeled me out the door in a wheelchair, I had first-class treatment.
Now I'll admit I'm a low-maintanence patient; I had my Ipod and Cliff's laptop to keep me occupied. I had one dose of morphine right after I woke up after surgery, but from then on, I needed no pain-killers of any kind (the nurses seemed surprised by that). Still, there was somebody checking in constantly to see if I needed anything. At 3 A.M. this morning a nurse asked if I wanted anything to drink, and I jokingly said, "Some coffee would be good."
He went and made a pot of coffee just for me.
Another nurse who's worked there for six years told me what a great place it is to work. He, his wife, and his sister work there; as I understand it, the hospital is putting his sister through nursing school. Day care is provided right next door for the employees' children, so he and his wife take turns having lunch with their little girl; since his wife is a supervisor, she gets to pop in and see her often throughout the day.
No wonder the staff treats the patients so great: They're happy people!

I'm fine

For those who wonder what happened to my usual habit of posting two or three entries per day, let me put your mind at rest. Many of my Facebook friends already know what's going on. I'm in the hospital, but will be going home soon. I had an elective procedure done, one the insurance pays for. Believe it or not (for those who know what it is), I will be blogging about it once the experience is complete; I just don't want to extol the benefits of this procedure until I'm totally healed; I'd hate to jump the gun.
I will tell you that, so far, I'm very happy.
My daughter is having a guessing game over on her blog, if you want to take a guess at what I'm doing in the hospital.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Foggy

Looking toward Cliff's shop (south-ish)

Looking north, out the window of my computer room

It's so foggy you can't even see the neighbor's solid dirt yard... or the house (west). I knew all this fog had to be good for something.

Looking toward the east

This is pretty much how every day has been for the last week or more.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Grandma's house


I believe this is the first picture ever taken of me, when I was eight days old. It was taken in the yard at Grandma's house. It shows me in the rocking chair she sat in to crochet, write letters, read her daily chapter from the Bible, and listen to her soap opera on the radio. She never owned a television.

It's no wonder I have such sharp recollections of her house: We had family gatherings there every Easter, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Her house was a small one, and there were lots of children and grandchildren around on these holidays. Somehow, there was room for us all.
When I was old enough to be away from my parents for any length of time, I would spend a week with Grandma during the summer. I would follow her to the chicken house to gather eggs and to the barn to milk Patsy. She was often in the garden, and in summer, of course, she was canning fruits and vegetables. Grandma was never idle; even if she was sitting in her rocking chair, she was crocheting or writing letters.

I loved to roam in the woods across the road from her house, and wade in the creek; it was there that I had my one and only experience with leeches. When I got out of the creek and saw those slimy things hanging onto my legs, I went running to Grandma, yelling, and she held a match to the nasty things one by one until they let go.
Her life was very orderly. She read a chapter from the New Testament every night; she went upstairs to her quilt frame every afternoon, Monday through Friday, and turned out beautiful quilts. Sunday afternoons or evenings, she wrote letters. Lots of letters, because she had lots of friends.
Uncle Leo, Aunt Mary, and their four kids lived about a quarter-mile up the road,so when I was at Grandma's I always had somebody to play with. Carolyn, the oldest, wasn't much for child's play; I think she was born an adult. The others, though, were always ready to join in my silly pretend games.
Because they lived so close to Grandma, Uncle Leo and Aunt Mary were the ones to see that she got her weekly "trading" done in Bethany. They took her to doctor's appointments and mowed her yard. It was because of them that she got to stay in her own home until very close to her time of dying.

This is the last picture I ever took of Grandma; she had just fed Tippy (not the original Tippy; it was just too hard for her to remember a new name for a dog, so she stuck with "Tippy"). The date on this picture is 1963, and that's the year she died.
She had intestinal problems throughout the last years of her life; she'd have sick spells where she'd spend a lot of time on the couch, between trips to the bathroom (that was the only time you'd see her lying down in daytime).
Finally she was taken to the hospital, the first time in her life she had to be in such a place. She died there at the age of seventy-seven.
Everybody should be so lucky to have a Grandma like mine. Everybody should be so lucky to have aunts, uncles, and cousins like mine.
I've had a wonderful life.

I still go there in my mind

We moved a lot, when I was a kid; oh, we stayed in the same general area of Iowa for my first eight or nine years, but we lived in several different houses. I can remember living in the switchboard house in Nodaway, and a couple of houses belonging to a farmer named Ted Davies, for whom my dad worked sometimes. I have a fairly good recollection of the switchboard house at Guss. But to stroll down memory lane and go on a mental walk-through, I can't visualize those houses very well.
There were three homes that remained constant throughout my growing-up years: Grandma's house, Uncle Leo's house, and the first house my sister and her husband purchased in Kansas City. I have no pictures of Uncle Leo's house (it would be nice if a cousin would send me one), and none of the exterior of my sister's first home. But Grandma's house is featured in pictures taken as far back as my mother's childhood. It never really changed.

I don't know why I'm trying to choke my cousin Betty in this picture. You can see Grandma's clothesline pole to the right, and behind it, her smokehouse. I can smell the milky odor of the smokehouse even now; that's where Grandma would sit on a stool (or was it the edge of a table?) and turn the crank of her cream separator after milking Patsy, her Guernsey cow. I can hear the whirring noise the separator made, and see the cream coming out of one spigot and milk out of another.

This is a view from the road, obviously at the time of some family gathering. See the big evergreen tree to the left (that's the front yard) of the house? There was an identical one behind it; my cousins and I sometimes crawled under the cave-like shelter of that pair of trees and built things with twigs that were lying on the ground. There's the smokehouse again.

You can see the porch extending off the house in the background; I remember far, far back when Grandma still had an ice box that sat on the left side of that porch when you walked in. She kept her African Violets on the porch until outside temperatures got down to freezing; then she took them in the kitchen. You'd walk in the porch door and go straight ahead into the kitchen. To the right of the kitchen door was a narrower door that led out back to the outhouse. To the right of that, the door to the cellar; so if Grandma needed to go to the cellar, she didn't have to step outside to get there. That's me in the middle with my cousins, Betty and Royce. They lived down the road from Grandma. The dog is Tippy.
I could absolutely walk you through every room in Grandma's house and describe the furniture and all the objects in those rooms. I can shut my eyes and see it all. It's amazing, really, the details that are etched into my brain, and how vivid the memories are.
When you're a kid, it's important to have some rock-solid things in your life that don't change. Going to Grandma's house, or Uncle Leo's, or Maxine's, was like going home. They were places I could count on.
I cherish the memories of those places.

Monday, January 18, 2010

morning ramblings

Cliff and I went to pick up a motorcycle for his brother yesterday, and I noticed these dogs in a pen. There are two dogs and three doghouses, but that one fellow would rather spend time on TOP of the occupied doghouse. It just struck me as amusing.
I milked Bonnie this morning for the first time since the freezing rain before Christmas. I've bought milk twice. It's good to be back to normal, and I do believe Bonnie was happy to have her can full of sweet feed. In dry weather I take a kitchen towel that's wet and soapy on one end and dry on the other; I wash the udder and then dry it with that towel. Today, knowing how messy cows can get in thawing weather, I took a bucket of soapy water with a rag in it, plus a towel for drying. That way I had what I needed to make sure my milk would be clean, and indeed, it was.
Anyone who has ever milked a cow knows that no matter how clean the cow and how clean the milk, you are going to smell like a cow after you've milked one. In sloppy weather, you REALLY smell like a cow after getting up close and personal with her. I'll be hopping in the shower soon.
This reminds me of a man Cliff and I encounter when we patronize Pizza Hut in Higginsville. He's an older gentleman, and he obviously has a hog farm (a very rare thing these days, what with mega-farms producing most of the country's pork). When he walks in the door at Pizza Hut, he could almost clear the place with his odor; there are few smells on earth as bad as a hog farm. It certainly takes away some of the pleasure of eating pizza.
When I did that entry about "Missing Persons", I had a specific person in mind. She isn't one of the old J-land group, by the way. As far as I know, she doesn't post on Facebook. She had a much larger following than I do, and had giveaways sometimes. I doubt if she reads my blog.
It's just troubling when you follow somebody's life online and then they totally disappear. In the case of this lady, she has even closed comments and did away with the email address given on her blog. She has a relative who still is blogging regularly, but I'm not going to ask her if everything is OK, because she shouldn't be held accountable for her family members.
Under these circumstances, I know there's something wrong; I don't necessarily want to know what is wrong, I'd simply like to know that the lady is all right.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Facing reality

This little chicken house, with attached pen, is advertised on Craigslist for $150.00; it's twenty-five miles from here. Judging by what I know about chicken houses, it's well worth that money.
I love fresh eggs, and I would enjoy having a few chickens around again. They're fun to watch, and they eat table scraps that would otherwise go to waste. I love hearing a rooster crow in the morning.
Cliff and I watched a public television broadcast, "Except For Six", about how hospice comes in to help dying patients and their families. (Stay with me here, I'm making a point.)
One man expressed his intentions of traveling to Colorado just one more time.
He was too far gone, though, so the trip never happened.
Cliff and I reminded one another that we've pretty much done all the things we really wanted to do: I won't be saying, on my deathbed, "I wish I had gotten just one more Jersey cow," because I did that.
And Cliff won't be saying, "I always wanted a big Oliver tractor; if I had enough time left, I'd get one," because his Oliver is sitting in the shop, waiting for a paint job.
Cliff agrees that if I want some chickens, I should go for it; he'll go get that chicken-house.
But you know what? $150 would buy a lot of eggs, and that's not even talking about the cost of the chickens and feed. Cliff works with a lady who would sell us all the fresh eggs we want.
Guess how many eggs we use in a week? Maybe six, unless we have a lot of company and I'm baking and making noodles.
I think I'll pass on this whim, at least for now. If Hospice comes in for me and I mention the chickens, just remind me I had my Jersey cow, so shut up about the chickens.
By the way, if your PBS station airs "Except for Six", by all means, watch it; it makes you appreciate Hospice, but more importantly, it will make you appreciate this day and this moment. You can see the trailer HERE.


Missing persons

I've had this happen several times in the past few years.
I'll find a blog I really enjoy. The author seems upbeat and funny. Or perhaps interesting and intelligent, and from such a totally different background than mine that I'm fascinated.
Suddenly, that person quits blogging.
Now, if she still comments on your blog from time to time, you don't worry too much.
If she doesn't, you think back to some possibly troubled times you had noticed, reading between the lines they had put on the Internet.
Are there problems in paradise?
Or maybe she's had some awful loss, and it's shut her down completely?
Perhaps he got in trouble for blogging about his job?
There are so many things that could go wrong.
You know what really bothers me? They didn't say goodbye. Why didn't they tell us, "I have a problem; I can't blog right now."
That's what the Faux Cowboy did, and it made everything OK.
It's fine if you're bored with putting yourself out there in public, or if you have personal problems that have you so depressed that you don't care if you ever blog again.
Just tell us goodbye, won't you?

Patrick's Saturday Six

I haven't done one of these in a while.
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!
1. You’re at an Italian restaurant on a first date: how do you eat your spaghetti: do you cut it with the folk or roll it onto the tines? (And eating something else isn’t an option!) Gee, I hope Cliff doesn't find out I'm dating somebody new for the first time. I'd probably cut the spaghetti.

2. You’ve prepared a nice soup for dinner when you happen to hear a news story that bay leaves, even after being cooked, are sharp enough to tear internal organs when eaten whole. (It’s true.) Do you fish them out of your masterpiece, warn your guests in advance not to eat them, or just assume everyone knows to not eat the extra greenery? I always remove the bay leaves before serving. Once in a while I can't find one; then I warn whoever is eating the dish to watch for the bay leaf.

3. You’re having dinner at a nice restaurant with a group of friends and acquaintances. The sauce of your main course is the best you’ve ever tasted. You’ve eaten most of the dish, but you’ve got part of a roll and some sauce left. Do you sop up a little sauce for one more taste? I probably would. Keep in mind, though, that the "nicest" restaurant I ever go to is Olive Garden; Cliff and I don't do uppity, high-priced eating out.

4. This time, you’re at a seafood restaurant with folks you don’t know as well. Do you order a crab or lobster, a dish that would involve a lot of shell-cracking and a potential minor mess, or do you stick with something cleaner like a nice grilled fillet? I'd order something cleaner and easier.

5. You’re invited to a cookout by a friend, but when you get there, you discover that the main thing being cooked, that everyone else is a big fan of, is something you don’t like. Would you still eat a serving to be neighborly, or try to talk your way out of that one dish? There are very few foods I don't like, but if this happened, I'd at least have a little of it.

6. You’re back at a seafood restaurant with friends. Unknowingly, you order a fish that is served whole, head and all. Do you send it back or just deal with it? I'd just eat everything but the head; problem solved.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Hot dog!


Some time back,
the Kansas City Russian Jew did an entry on his blog extolling the virtues of a particular hot dog. He got it over in Northtown, in the vicinity of my old high school alma mater; we don't get over there very often. But the seed was planted in my mind, and I knew eventually I'd be trying that hot dog.
I have a minor medical procedure scheduled for next week; today I had an appointment with my doctor, who is in the Northland. I knew this would be a good time to trick Cliff into treating me to the delights of Hot Dog Haven because, after all, we'd be so close to it.
My appointment was for 10 o'clock, but we got there early because we'd allowed plenty of time, what with the fog and glazed-over roads. So I was done with the doctor and out the door by ten. I had Hot Dog Haven programmed into our GPS (otherwise known as Joanie). I broke the news to Cliff that I wanted a hot dog.
He didn't even put up a fight.
I had my doubts whether a hot dog place would be open at 10 A.M., but it was; it had just opened ten minutes before our arrival.
We both had the Reuben because who wouldn't, after seeing what Meesha had to say about it. The proprietor said his most popular item is the Chicago hot dog, so we'll try that next time I visit the doctor.
Yes Meesha, I liked the hot dog. Cliff doesn't really care much for hot dogs in general, but he'll take me back when we're in the vicinity, just because he's nice like that.

Old poems

For several years, writing poems was my hobby. I set myself the goal of writing a poem every day, even if it was a lousy poem. Sort of a "do something, lest ye do nothing" kind of thing. This morning I was clicking around in my documents, looking at old poems. I'm amazed at how bad some of them really are!

Even so, they shed a little light on what I was thinking and feeling on those days, so I save them all... the good, the bad, and the ugly... even if I cringe when I read them.

The following poem is interesting to me because obviously, although I'm saying rejection is just fine with me, it's all too apparent that it isn't fine at all.



REJECTION

Donna Wood

November 12, 2002


I know of rejection, and handle it well.

I almost expect it, and hide in my shell.

I try to stay clear of the judgmental throng

At any slight inkling that something is wrong.

My sheltered environment, snug as a tomb,

Protects me from nay-saying prophets that loom

Who tell me I’m worthless, and point out my flaws,

Not mattering whether or not they have cause.

I’ve offered a smile that was met with a frown,

And my noblest intentions have oft been put down.

But I’ve built strong walls made for my own protection,

So now I am able to handle rejection.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Real hippies, illustrated

I wrote here, not long ago, that I had hooked up with a favorite former co-worker, Jessica, on Facebook. We were both good, steady workers except on the days they paired us up together; on those days, we chattered like magpies and didn't get a lot done.
One day when we were together, Jessica started telling me about her past: How her family lived in a remote region of Arkansas in a home-made shack, keeping goats for milk, and living off the land. They'd left their well-heeled parents in the east, turned their backs on society, and headed for the hills.
"You're about the right age for them to have been hippies," I said.
Yes, she said, they were hippies.
Now,there had been a time in the sixties and seventies that the hippie life sounded adventuresome to me. That was when the back-to-the-land movement was in full swing, and Whole Earth Catalog was selling like hot cakes. I subscribed to Mother Earth News, which in those days seemed to be written mostly by hippies giving instructions on how to build a yurt, or construct a house from straw bales (that didn't work out too well for the three little pigs, did it?). There were articles telling how to make cheese, how to raise chickens, and so forth. My favorite section, though, was the personal ads in back of the magazine... mostly written by hippies.
I would never have had the nerve to smoke dope or live on a commune, nor would my redneck husband have considered such nonsense; but it was fun to read about.
So, years later, when I found out Jessica was the daughter of genuine hippies, I soaked up the stories of her growing-up years like a sponge.
She told me how glad she was when she started school and got to drink homogenized, pasteurized milk instead of the smelly goat milk they had at home.
They didn't have running water; they used an outhouse.
She told how her father died of cancer when she was six years old. And how she loved him and still missed him; she was a daddy's girl.
Without getting specific, I'd say Jessica's parents did most of the things associated with genuine hippies. Her mother is still a hippie at heart, although she isn't living off the land these days.
It's been several years since we worked together, but I still mention some of those stories to Cliff once in a while.
When we started doing the retro pictures on Facebook this week, Jessica asked a relative to send her some childhood pictures so she could share them.
All of a sudden, the stories she told that are still so fresh in my mind had illustrations!

This is little Jessica, inside the tarpaper shack her dad built.

Here she is with her older sisters; that's their house in the background.

Here you have it: A genuine hippie family.

Jessica with her dad.

One Christmas, Grandma sent them a bathroom rug set; since they didn't have a bathroom, Jessica's dad decided to wear the set for this picture. Nice pink hat and shawl, don't you think?

A big thank you to Jessica for giving me permission to share these pictures on my blog.

Thousands gather to protest global warming!

Thanks to Hollie for sending this little gem. I connected with Hollie back on AOL Journals; I was looking for some Georgia journalers, thinking I'd know more about what was going on in my son's world if I read what some Georgia folks had to say. I can think of at least three other Georgia ladies I found the same way.

The snow is melting


My walk in the pasture was easier yesterday than it has been in a long time. I took this picture a few days ago, and this was far from the deepest snow I had to walk through. It wore me out, and I shortened the distance of my walks, some days.

Even though Sadie often ended up in drifts more than belly-deep, she enjoyed every outing thoroughly. Here, she was scanning the woods for movement; not thirty seconds after I took this shot, she was off to the bottom of the ditch, barking up a tree. She no doubt saw a squirrel.

Hyperblogal left this comment on my last entry: "Barney Fife, cows and Santa.... you're okay in my book."

He was referring to these metal posters above my desk, items I purchased at a tractor show last summer. That cow one looks crooked in this picture, but sitting here at my desk looking up at it, it doesn't. That's strange. I'd better get my yardstick out and see whether it's crooked or not.

The Santa part of his statement came about because one of my Christmas plates was showing in a picture. I really, really love my Avon Christmas plates. I'll be putting them away before too long; there are some in almost every room of the house right now.
When my mom sold Avon, she set out to buy the plate for each year when it came out. After Daddy died she was getting rid of some stuff, and my sister bought her collection; I had never had any interest in the plates until I saw them displayed in Maxine's kitchen, and then I started picking them up at garage sales when the price was right.
They have very little value; they sell for practically nothing on Ebay. New, they're around $30, I believe. If I had a place to do so, I'd leave them on display all the time, because they really make me happy. Still, there's something to be said for putting them away; every December it's like discovering them all over again.

These two are my favorites.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Now I have my music where I want it

I don't want it sitting on the desk, though; but it'll be OK there until I come across a table that's just the proper size. Then it will be to the right of my computer desk. I have it facing away from the computer because I'll often be in the other room when it's on.
In a comment, Lefty got me thinking about those jewel boxes that CDs come in; I think he has a point, so I'll look for some kind of storage that accommodates the cases as well as the CDs. I don't have a huge collection, and I've already thrown away many of the cases to CDs that are in albums in the car. It shouldn't be too difficult to find some way of storing the ones I have in the house without taking up too much precious space.
I've been having a blast on Facebook: There's this thing going around where lots of us are posting pictures of ourselves as babies or youngsters and using that as our profile picture for awhile. It's so much fun seeing what my Facebook friends looked like when they were kids.