Sunday, December 30, 2007

New Year musings

As I did my noon-day meal preparation and then the cleanup afterward, I kept thinking about how connected we all are, here on the Internet; and about the benefits we receive from knowing one another.

I had merely to mention in my AOL journal one time what a slob I am when it comes to housework; a reader on the east side of this great country told me about Flylady. I certainly don't stick with Flylady's advice very well, but when I do it's a wonderful thing. Every little bit helps!

On Tractor Tales message board, some of the fellows kept mentioning Craigslist. Lo and behold, once I inquired of them what it was and how to find it, I discovered the best way in the world of buying and selling, and at no charge!

In my kitchen hangs Pioneer Woman's calendar, and I have a couple of recipes I found at her cooking blog.

If I'm wondering about any given subject and want to hear others' opinions, all I need to do is ask, and people will leave comments telling how they feel about whatever topic it might be; as they did HERE.

Certain readers of this blog are quite knowledgeable about horses, and I'm not shy about asking them questions at times. I also go to Homesteading Today with questions about any of my farm animals: They have separate boards for cows, horses, sheep, chickens... you name it.

It's almost as though we bloggers live next door to one another, and chat over the back fence daily. I watch your children grow. I even see your bellies grow when you're pregnant. I laugh with you and pray with you and sometimes cry with you. We trade recipes and give one another product reviews.

I wanted opinions on the Dyson vacuum before I bought one. So I emailed a couple of bloggers who had them.

I've seen far too many deaths documented while reading these blogs, most of them from one form or another of cancer.

Ah, but the jokes that lift my spirits on days when the news on TV is all bad! We have some natural comedians out here in cyberspace, and I don't have to pay to enjoy their humor.

Anyone who has never made a connection in this way can't understand what a boon the Internet really is. They consider it impersonal and even dangerous.

I feel sorry for them. They don't know what they're missing.

Now to all my readers, commenters, and fellow-bloggers: I wish you the happiest of New Years. Please stay safe while you're celebrating, and keep on blogging! Thanks for sharing your lives with me.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

We visited Libby

I can't say I was really impressed with the progress so far. I realize the weather has been bad, and Sammi hasn't been able to work with her every day. But I couldn't tell that she had taught my filly much. This could be one of those "you get what you pay for" deals; if so, it won't break the bank around here. Also, Sammi and her mom said Libby was doing great yesterday, and both seemed somewhat surprised at how she acted out today. So maybe she was simply having a bad day.

We shall see. At worst, I tossed some money away. Libby isn't harmed, I just don't see that her behavior is any better than it was before.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Meet Fawteen

Maybe you won't agree with him; I'm not sure I'm with him 100%. But for the most part, my buddy Fawteen has things pretty well figured out:

Click HERE.

I met up with him on a silly tractor message board. He's just one of many Internet friends I'd make sure to meet, if only Cliff and I could afford to travel way up northeast to Maine.

Just when you think it's over...

First of all, you'll need to go to THIS ENTRY I did way last January, so you'll know who "ole Darryl" is. Basically, he's the former owner of my cell phone number. And obviously, he was quite popular.

I've never been one to enjoy talking on a phone; I got the cell phone because Cliff worried about me riding my horse out in the boonies with nobody around, and he just figured he'd feel better if he had a way to keep in touch.

In spite of the fact I don't enjoy telephone talking, that stupid thing rang constantly when I first got it. I'd hear things like this: "Is Darryl there?" "Could I speak to Darryl 'the licker'?" "Let me talk to Darryl Walliker."

This went on several times a day forever. At least 3/4 of the callers sounded young, giggly, and female.

It's been a year, and I hadn't had a call for Darryl in a couple of months until this week. Now it's started again.

Tonight my cell phone rang, I answered, and a man said, "Could I talk to Darryl?"

"Darryl hasn't had this number in a year; I don't know him, but I wish you'd quit calling this number."

"Well now, how would I know not to call this number?"

"You call yourself a friend?" I asked. "It's been a year, and you're just now trying to get in touch with Darryl?"

Beam me up, Scotty.

My dog, trying to sleep

My mongrel, Sadie, is the most hyperactive dog I've ever owned. I'd give a pretty penny to know what breed is in her background that makes her act like she does... perhaps Greyhound mixed with terrier and beagle? She weighs about forty pounds. The folks at the shelter called her a Manchester Terrier, but they had no way of knowing. And I don't think Manchester Terriers are all that common.

Anyhow, when I take pictures of Sadie outside, she's always running or jumping or chasing sticks and Frisbees; so I decided to take a few pictures of her at rest.

See? She really does rest!

And quite comfortably, too!

Sometimes I think she gets tired of the camera flashing in her face...

but she tries her best to ignore it.

Oh yes, once in awhile I get "the look".

But then it's back to sleep for Sadie.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Higher Ground

I'm pressing on the upward way.
New heights I'm gaining every day.
Still praying as I'm onward bound:
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

Lord, lift me up and let me stand,
By faith on Heaven's table land.
A higher plain than I have found:
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

My heart has no desire to stay,
Where doubts arise and fears dismay.
Though some may dwell where these abound,
My prayer, my aim, is higher ground.

Lord, lift me up and let me stand,
By faith on Heaven's table land.
A higher plain than I have found:
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

I want to scale the utmost heights,
And catch a gleam of glory bright.
But still I'll pray 'til Heaven, I've found.
Lord, lead me on to higher ground.

Lord, lift me up and let me stand,
By faith on Heaven's table land.
A higher plain than I have found:
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

Lord, lift me up and let me stand,
By faith on Heaven's table land.
A higher plain than I have found:
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

Now playing: Iris Dement - Higher Ground
via FoxyTunes

Critter tracks

In spite of snow, ice, and other obstacles, Cliff and I have been taking our daily walk in the pasture. I've noticed some funny, rather cute little tracks in several places near the woods:

Just for comparison, I made a footprint of my own next to the tracks. (For what it's worth, I have a huge foot for a woman.)

Does anyone have a clue about what sort of animal made these tracks? I'm thinking squirrels, after doing a Google search. Look HERE.

New Year's thoughts

Cliff and I ate far too many seasonal goodies: sweets, cheese balls, dip and so forth. Each of us, when we weighed yesterday, had gained 11 1/2 pounds. So we got ourselves back on track with our diet. This morning, I had already lost 3 of those pesky pounds. I know, I know... it's water weight. That, and just the fact that I actually let my gut get empty for the first time in weeks. Still, 8 1/2 pounds sounds a lot easier to shed than 11 1/2.

Speaking of getting rid of excess: This past year we totally paid off all credit card debt, which is a great feeling. We still use the cards, mind you. But we pay them off in full, each month.

Well, we got a little carried away in December, buying things for the motorcycle, and various other stuff for ourselves. The $800 bill that arrived yesterday bowled me over. Surely it was a mistake?

Nope; I went over each purchase, and they're all legitimate. I think I'll be paying this bill over a two-month period. At least we have something to show for what we charged; all we have to do is go out to the shop and look at the motorcycle.

I don't think I'll be making any more purchases online for a couple of months.

Oh, and the gravel I threw a hissy-fit for? It's coming Friday, weather permitting. Around $300.

Yeah, and it's time to send in personal property taxes. That's almost $400.

'Tis the season.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Gravel, please!

Cliff has considered it somewhat of a challenge, over the past few years, to avoid buying gravel for our driveway. When new gravel is put on the road in front of our house, he'll spend a couple of hours dragging some of it up our driveway, trying to put a little bit of cover on it (which used to drive an elderly neighbor lady nuts, before she passed away). In the past, I've appreciated Cliff's thievery. It isn't cheap to have gravel delivered, and since I'm the one in charge of the checkbook, I've gone along with this money-saving effort.

We're having what I'd call an old-fashioned winter, so far this year. It gets cold. It snows. The snow melts a little, then freezes into ice. It's the sort of weather that doesn't lend itself to horseback- or motorcycle-riding.

And then yesterday, Christmas day, the temperature got almost up to 50°. By putting on a couple of layers of clothing and then donning leathers, a short motorcycle ride would have been in the realm of possibility.

Except for one little problem: The driveway had no bottom to it; it was like quicksand. The thawing had made it almost impossible to navigate with a car. Certainly, there was no way of getting a motorcycle safely to the road, Cliff told me.

I stewed and fumed awhile in the house, then went to the shop where he was puttering with tractors: I put my hands on my hips, and said firmly, "I'm ordering a load of gravel tomorrow!"

"Can we afford it?"

"I'll see that we can; I'll rob Peter to pay Paul, if I must. This is ridiculous. If we can afford a motorcycle, we can afford gravel."

That's when he pointed out that we can't get gravel until everything freezes again. The big gravel truck would sink in and make huge ruts, which would swallow up the whole load of gravel.

Oh well. I tried.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

That's the moon this morning, seen through the window above my kitchen sink.

My daughter called to my attention the fact that Google Earth has updated the maps in my part of the country. Above, you see my home-sweet-home: The silver-gray roof is our barn. The big red roof is Cliff's shop; the smaller red roof under it is the garage. The reddish roof below that is our house. Across the driveway, that long, slender thing is the mobile home where our renters live. And the circle behind it? It's the round pen, built only last summer!

And this is our Christmas card for this year. I also wrote a poem to go with it:

No big events have happened in this year that’s almost gone.
If I should tell about our lives, it’d likely make you yawn.
We ride our motorcycle every time the weather’s right;
We take along a picnic, cruise the roads and see the sights.

If there’s a point of interest, we will stop and take it in.
You’d be surprised at the intriguing places we have been.
We’ve toured historic Bothwell lodge and wineries galore,
And Civil War memorials and old depots, and more.

At home, Cliff putters in his shop. I often ride my horse.
We aim to live in such a way that we won’t have remorse
For chances that have slipped away, or things we wish we’d done:
We’re living life full throttle, and you know, we’re having fun!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas stuff

Cliff and I started putting on weight around Thanksgiving, like everybody does. The past couple of years we've done fairly well getting through the holidays, knowing that we need to take care of Cliff's heart and keep weight off my compromised knees.

This year, I'm sorry to say, we haven't done so well. I haven't even gotten on the scales lately, nor has Cliff; because we know the news won't be good.

Where he works, they had their "goodie day" yesterday, where everybody takes finger food and sets it out for all to consume. Normally I tell him I don't want to see any of it, because it isn't good for us. For some reason, I told him to bring some goodies home this year.

Well, you should see it. Chips, and plates of summer sausage and cheese. Candy and cookies.

Luckily two granddaughters will be here this evening to help consume the spoils. Also luckily, I'm sure their parents will be glad to take some of this stuff off our hands. If the grandson shows up, I know he'll assist. Although sometimes we don't see him on weekends, even though he lives here.

I sure do dread getting on those scales, but at some point after Tuesday, it has to happen.

We're going to go visit my filly, Libby, at the trainer's today; I'll take my camera.

Although I linked to my favorite Christmas post on my other journal, I'll put it here also for my strictly Blogger friends; it was done three years ago on AOL: Click HERE.

I've had a copy of that movie on VHS for years, but last week I bought it on DVD as a gift for myself; now I go right to my favorite scenes and watch them, any time I'm feeling down.

Because it truly
is a wonderful life; sometimes I just need to be reminded.

Friday, December 21, 2007

I rode my horse yesterday

The world is a wet, mushy, muddy mess indeed, which takes a lot of fun out of riding a horse. But I had only ridden Blue one time, I think, since Thanksgiving. My knee was causing me such pain that even that one ride was cut short.

So I had surgery two weeks ago, and had my follow-up appointment with the doctor Wednesday. I'm in much less pain now, so hopefully this surgery will get me another couple of years before I'm forced to have a more drastic operation.

I didn't ask the doctor if it was OK to ride, because I was afraid she'd put me off another week or two, and with the weather forecast they're giving, it doesn't look like I'll be riding this weekend... or any of the coming week. Blue is a gentle boy, and I figure if I'm OK to walk around, I'm good to ride.

Blue seemed happy to be on the road again, even with the slipping and sliding he was doing. I started to ride him to the river bottoms, but when we got to the shaded part of the road leading there, it was covered in ice where snow had melted and frozen back. No way!

I was out less than an hour, but it felt so good to be on horseback.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Found on a message board (not necessarily my opinions, but funny)

Calling an illegal alien an "undocumented immigrant" is like calling a drug dealer an "unlicensed pharmacist ".

It's not whether you win or lose, but how you place the blame.

You are not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on.

We have enough youth. How about a fountain of "smart"?

When you work here, you can name your own salary. I named mine, "Donna's".

The original point and click interface was a Smith & Wesson.

A fool and his money can throw one heck of a party.

When blonds have more fun do they know it?

Five days a week my body is a temple. The other two it's an amusement park.

Learn from your parents' mistakes: Use birth control.

Money isn't everything, but it sure keeps the kids in touch.

Don't Drink and Drive You might hit a bump and spill something.

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.

Reality is only an illusion that occurs due to a lack of alcohol.

Time's fun when you're having flies. .....Kermit the Frog

We are born naked, wet and hungry. Then things get worse.

Red meat is not bad for you. Fuzzy green meat is bad for you.

Ninety-nine percent of all lawyers give the rest a bad name.

One good thing about Alzheimer's is you get to meet new people every day.

Missouri state motto: At least we're not Arkansas.

GUN CONTROL: Using both hands

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Removing a spark plug

It's a good thing my grandson is skinny. Yes, he is UNDER the hood of his truck.

For more Wordless Wednesday entries, go HERE.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Cliff's toys and keepsakes

In an entry on my AOL journal, I posted a picture of hog-butchering that took place in my husband's shop. A couple of readers noticed Cliff's collection of keepsakes and toys in the background and asked to see these goodies closer up. I'm posting the pictures here because Blogger lets you click on a picture and make it HUGE, so you can see any tiny detail you're after. Enjoy.

By the way, we found these bookcases, cheap, at a garage sale we happened to see fifty miles north of here. As you can tell, Cliff desperately needs another showcase of some sort: This one is running over.

The wine-bottle is from a friend's vineyard and winery. He keeps saying he's going to go to paper labels, so we saved one of his fancy bottles. On the upper right, see the plaque that says Cliff "hearts" John Deere? That was given to me for Cliff by an Internet friend (Bado) who I met in person at a "chat room reunion" in Tennessee.

The carved pig up there on the left was made by my cousin's husband who passed away last year. Many of the toy tractors are models of real ones we've owned. There are pins collected from tractor shows, and mementos given to us by friends.

I happen to admire Harry Truman, so I'm the one who bought a copy of the plaque he always had on his desk as president: "The buck stops here!" I was going to buy one when I was visiting Truman Library, but the price stopped me. Instead, I found it on Ebay much cheaper.

Most of Cliff's tractors are Ertle brand, and not really too expensive. He does have a couple of "precision" ones that cost over $100. They are very detailed, and the steering wheels actually work on them.

So there you have it.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Patrick's Saturday Six

1. If you could receive only the gift of food this Christmas, which single item would you choose? A good-quality fruitcake. I know, everybody's supposed to hate fruitcake. Not me!

2. Dessert. What’s the first food that just came to mind when you read that word? Pie

3. What do you eat more of when you’re trying to lose weight? fruits and veggies

4. Take the quiz: What holiday food are you?

You Are Mince Pie

Admit it, this isn't the first time that someone has called you "beefy"

5. When you were a kid, did you ever really leave food for Santa Claus? If so, what was the typical fare you placed near the tree for Jolly Ol’ St. Nick? I don't think I left food for Santa. My children did... usually cookies, I think.

6. Do you tend to eat more, less, or about the same at Christmas dinner than you do at Thanksgiving dinner? About the same (far too much!).

If you want to play along on this Saturday Six, be sure and leave a link to your entry over at Patrick's Place. Or, you can just leave your answers in his comment section.

Another adventure in Redneck-land

As you may have seen in THIS ENTRY, Cliff's brother Don came to visit with two tractors in tow. Once they were unloaded, he needed something on the trailer to take back home to Kansas. Because after all, who wants to haul an empty trailer around... right?

It just so happens that a next-door neighbor had a Ford pickup sitting in his back yard that stopped running a couple of years ago; he'd just bought new tires and a new battery at the time. Don makes his living as a mechanic, and since he was able to buy said pickup for $700, he loaded it up and made use of his trailer. He'll figure out whether the engine can be repaired; if not, he can get his money back by parting it out. He's a Chevy man, so I'm not sure he'd keep the pickup for himself even if he got it running.

The guys had some doubts about how safe it would be, loading something onto a trailer that might be slick with snow.

Little Johnny (the smaller of our two John Deere tractors) looks mighty small to be pushing a big pickup up a ramp like that. (That's our renter's mobile home in the background.)

Push, Little Johnny! Push! You can do it!

All but the back tires are on the trailer.

Little Johnny has done the job once again. Such brute power packed into a small frame.

We love Little Johnny.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

My grand-dog

We had our holiday dinner today (Thanksgiving/Christmas combined) with all family members who were able to make it. Granddaughter Amber brought her Mini-pin.

Cliff came in (from butchering pigs in his shop) to eat dinner, and Sophie went crazy smelling the meat on his Carharts. Please notice Sophie's little doggie-dress. (Oh brother!)

This is what people in my family do after having a huge family feast. That's my daughter on the left, and Sophie's mom (granddaughter Amber) vegging out on the couch.
Sophie is trying to see out a window where my dog, Sadie, is going nuts barking at neighbor dogs.

Although the doggie-dress is silly, I have to admit my grand-doggie is sorta cute.

My mom's noodle recipe

I decided to show you my mom's recipe in her own handwriting. She wrote this at some time during her stay at her final residence on this earth, a nursing home. For some reason she had changed amounts of a couple of key ingredients from earlier years, and I corrected those to make it match the recipe I know so well. Dementia affected her toward the end of her life; and of course she hadn't actually done any cooking for some time. So that could account for the discrepancy. In case you can't make all that out, here's the recipe as I have it on file on my computer.


4 Tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder

Work together.
3 eggs,
3 drops yellow food color
4 tablespoons cream

Mix all together. Add water if needed. Knead into a little ball, cover with bowl and let rest for 20 minutes. Roll out and cut.  

That's how my mom gave the recipe, but I would tell you to mix the dry ingredients, then work in the cold butter.  I think that's what she meant, she just didn't put it like that.
When you make noodles, be generous with flour when you are rolling them out; keep plenty under the dough and plenty sprinkled on top.  Otherwise when you roll the dough up, it will stick together.  I like to make them several hours ahead of time and let them dry on the counter or table.  

The most nostalgic food I know

It's almost 6 A.M. I've been cooking since 4 o'clock. First off, I mixed the noodles. Then while they had their twenty-minute rest, I started the old settler's beans and got them ready for the crockpot.

Today is the only big holiday feast I'm giving this year. Back before Cliff's heart issues were discovered ... before the quadruple bypass... I cooked like this at least once a month, and invited all nearby relatives to come and indulge. Now it happens once, or maybe twice, a year.

There can be no family feast here without chicken and noodles. A holiday dinner without noodles would be like Communion without the bread (or wine, take your pick). We don' t need gravy for our mashed potatoes, because we put noodles over our potatoes. Another family tradition.

You see, noodles take me back to the farthest reaches of my childhood memories, back to Grandma's house. There was never a family gathering without noodles; it was one of the first things anyone fed their infants, at Grandma's table: I recall hearing the phrase, "give that baby some noodles" more than once.

When I make noodles, I roll them up and cut them exactly the way she did it. My mom, in her later years, acquired a noodle-cutter, which my daughter, I believe, inherited. I wouldn't use it if I had it, because I like to do it the way it was done in my childhood. I like to think about Grandma.

Grandma would sit on a tall stool at the end her cupboard and roll out the dough and cut it just like you see I've done it, in the pictures. It fell to me, or whatever cousin was handy, to unroll the noodles as she cut them.

When I'm making noodles, I am back at Grandma's house. I can smell her little kitchen and see it exactly as it used to be. I can hear the clock ticking in the other room.

Merry Christmas, Grandma Stevens. Thanks for the memories.

By the way, while I'm being all nostalgic: at this entry on my AOL journal, you can see some pictures of our hog-killing yesterday, if you're so inclined.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A tractor adventure

Cliff's Kansas brother doesn't have Internet, and when he has a tractor to sell, he likes to bring them here and have me put them on Craigslist. Today he brought two of them. When I went outside to see what was going on with the guys, it looked as though they were on a mission.

"Why haven't you unloaded the tractors?" I asked Cliff.

"Oh, the Massey won't start; we'll get her running."

I guess those two items were supposed to help.

They put their heads together.

They hemmed and hawed.

They ran an electric cord from the shop.

"She won't even fire," Cliff said.

They got both tractors unloaded, but the Massey never did start; the guys all got together and pushed it down the ramp, then Pat drove the Case propane tractor off. That was scary, and I couldn't bear to watch, let alone take pictures.

Pat is Cliff's brother's best friend. I've decided they are twins, separated at birth. Because they act exactly alike. In fact, they even look a little bit alike.

Friday, December 14, 2007

What a day!

I spent two hours in a dentist's chair today. Afterward, Cliff and I went by a local grocery store (NOT a Walmart) and spent another $100 on stuff for our one and only holiday meal, to be held this coming Sunday.

Then I baked. And baked. And boiled and cooked and baked some more.

After swearing I would NOT make Oreo Dessert (the oldest grandson's favorite), I made it anyway. I refused to let him touch it tonight, however.

I did allow him to sample the hot hamburger dip, since I wanted to test it myself. We both breathed sighs of satisfaction as we dipped and munched. We each had a handful of home-made caramel popcorn, too. Somebody has to do the quality-testing around here.

Tomorrow morning I begin marinating the brisket for Sunday. And make the cherry cheesecake pie.

One thing about it, after I started cooking all that stuff (with Christmas music playing in the background), I almost felt a tiny nudge of Christmas spirit.

A moment of silence

Floyd "Red Crow" Westerman has moved on.

I'll change just a couple of words from a song he wrote; this seems appropriate:

No more fightin’ for me Mama; no more suffering to be done.
No more pain and no more sorrow. Don’t you know that you have won?

Thirty-five more miles and you’ll be free;
Thirty-five more miles to go.
Through the never-ending rain they’ll bring you home again,
My Brother, thirty-five more miles and you’ll be free.
Thirty-five more miles and you’ll be free.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Wake-up Walmart

I've been noticing the ad campaign on television directed against Wal-mart. Now, you have only to scroll down a couple of entries to see that I'm not necessarily enchanted with Walmart stores myself, especially one in particular. However, in these times of rising prices, I tend to go where the bargains are. And Walmart is such a giant that they can afford to undersell other stores... which of course is why so many mom-and-pop stores are shutting down.

I do make an effort, these days, to shop my local grocery stores more... the ones in the small towns around here. I'm of a mind to try and make a still greater effort. Maybe that will be my new year's resolution. I was influenced to do this by guy, over at "Astoria Oregon Rust". He's also the one who talked me into buying a reusable water bottle so I'd stop buying those disposable bottles of water that are taking over our landfills. On that one, I've been true-blue all the way; I haven't bought a bottle of water in months. It's an easy change to make, and I urge my readers to follow suit on this one. I call it "the power of the blog", when one person writes something that manages to influence at least one other person to make a positive change.

But back to the anti-Walmart ads: I'd like to know where you plan to shop for clothes if not Walmart? Folks, I worked at a Kohl's distribution center for almost five years. It was a rare event to see anything made in America come through there. I'm sure you could say the same for any other retailer in the country.

I wear Wrangler blue jeans often. I read where they're now made in Mexico. I also have some Levis, and Lee jeans. Levi closed their last US factory in 2003; Lees are now made in Costa Rica, I believe.

So give the devil his due. Walmart has surely caused problems for our economy, but they aren't alone in this. Virtually all name-brand clothes and shoes are made in other countries.

And I don't have a clue what to do about it, except to at least try to buy some of my groceries at my home-town supermarket. I do know I can't afford to pay twice the price just to buy American-made products.

I linked to my Walmart rave on a message board, and one fellow made this comment: "
I give Walmart five years and then they be so big they will self destruct from within. Back in the twenties Armor meats were big and then they started losing thousands a day and couldn't stop it they died with none or very little money." AL

We shall see.

A most amazing video

I found this on a friend's AOL journal and linked to it there; then decided to bring it to this blog, because I'd hate for anyone to miss the story of a friendship between a crow and a kitten. Yep, that's right! Check it out.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Blue Springs Wal-Mart experience

There's a possible ice storm coming tonight, which has caused some panicked shoppers to get out and "stock up" on supplies. Now, Cliff and I weren't really hurting for any essentials, but I'm hoping to have a family dinner this coming Sunday. So I needed to get out and buy quite a few things I no longer keep on hand all the time. Wal-Mart was the obvious choice, and I figured we'd be wise to go to the biggest, most fully-stocked store, the one with the most brands and items: the Blue Springs, Missouri, Walmart. Notice I'm making liberal use of the full name of this store, as well as using all the various ways to spell Wal*Mart (the Blue Springs Walmart). Haaaaaaaaaaaa! That's store #0184, by the way. I'd love to see this entry eventually show up on Google.

This fairly new Blue Springs Supercenter has irked me more times than I care to remember. Even their elderly greeter seems unable to summon up a smile; I'm not kidding! I believe my daughter and son-in-law have come out of that store angry and frustrated a few times, too. I always assume if the employees are this bad throughout a store, bad management is the cause.

Today the shelves were empty of some items I needed, but that isn't what got my goat.

There were lines at every register because of the "panic shopping". It looked like our best bet for a speedy escape was a one of the self-checkout lines, and I asked Cliff, "Are we brave enough to try this?

"It's fine with me," he said.

We've used the self-checkouts a couple of times before when we only had a few things, but left to my own devices, I'm too intimidated by such new-fangled inventions to mess with them. With Cliff by my side, however, I felt strong and courageous. Besides, I was going to make him do all the work. We had a pretty full cart, but he seemed confident.

Obviously we weren't moving fast enough for the computerized Hitler, because it kept advising Cliff to either type in the number code or scan something. Then he made the mistake of putting a just-scanned item over into a cooler we'd bought, rather than in a sack. Bad mistake. The overbearing voice informed us that we had failed to put a scanned item where it needed to be placed... in the bag area. No problem. Cliff brought it back over to the proper area and put it in a bag. Then the machine tells us there's an unauthorized item in our bag!

So we needed help. Fortunately (I thought) there was a portly, grim-faced, sixty-ish employee standing there whose only job was to help people like us through the self-checkouts. I waved at him, and he stomped over to the register.

"You shouldn't go through these if you don't know what you're doing," he growled.

Huh? Is that any way to speak to your public?

Cliff almost lost it; he raised his voice somewhat and said to Oscar the Grouch, "How the hell are you supposed to learn how to use them then?"

The man keyed a code into the register and sulked off.

"Merry Christmas," I said loudly to his back, as he retreated.

So folks, if you happen into the Blue Springs Walmart or the Blue Springs Wal-Mart or even the Blue Springs Wal*Mart... just be aware that the Grinch, along with all his crew, is alive and well. Which isn't surprising, since the store is pathetic anyhow. I'll be going to a different store next time.

Added later: When I looked at my ticket, I noticed there's a website I can go to tell Walmart about my shopping experience! This has made my day for sure. I'd loved to have copied and pasted this entry, but unfortunately I was only offered multiple-choice answers to questions. At least I'm entered in a drawing for a $1,000 gift card.

Another post script: On Tuesday morning, December 11, "Blue Springs Walmart" shows my blog as fourth on the google search page; a "Walmart
#0184" search shows me in first place; and "Blue Springs Supercenter" has me in third place.

I know fame is fleeting, but for today I am enjoying "Blog Power"!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

A Christmas meme

Cliff's cousin Edna sent me this in e-mail, and I decided to make a journal entry of it.

Welcome to the 2007 Holiday Edition of Getting to Know Your Friends! You know the drill. Don't be a scrooge! Fill it out, pass it on and send it back to me. I would love to hear your answers.

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? eggnog

2. Does Santa wrap the presents or just sit them under the tree? Santa used to just put them under the tree; if they were wrapped, then they were from us, not Santa.

3. Colored or white lights? colored

4. Do you hang mistletoe? no

5. When do you put your decorations up? Never, these days. Back when we did do decorations, it was usually a couple of weeks before Christmas.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish? The cranberry salad my mom always made. And my mom's brown sugar fudge. And my mom's fruitcake. Part of the reason the fun has gone out of Christmas for me is that we can't have that stuff around any more. If somebody told me I only had a month to live, I would spend the whole month eating unhealthy stuff! Don't suggest I just have "a little", because I have no self-control. If I make it, I'll eat it ALL.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? Family get-togethers

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? Just guessing, I'd say I was 8 years old. How? I believe I just figured it out on my own.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? When our kids were still at home we always let them open one on Christmas Eve. We don't do gifts now.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? We don't have a Christmas tree. The year we bought a fake tree, the fun went out of it for me. I always preferred to let the kids and grandkids decorate the tree, back when we had one. I hate a picture-perfect tree that looks like some artist created it. Christmas is for kids!

11. Snow: Love it or hate it? I love snow. We haven't had enough snow to suit me in years. I still like to get out and tramp around in it when I'm able. I could do without all the ice we're getting right now, though.

12. Can you ice skate? Ha! I'm doing good just to walk!

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? I got a sled when I was six or so, and it snowed right after I got it. So I really enjoyed that gift. I had fun with the Kodak Brownie camera I got at age 13, too.

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? happy memories

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? All of them, but I guess I'll choose pecan pie.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? I'm Scrooge, remember? I've given up holiday traditions! I do like having a big family meal, though. I even vaguely remember a time when I enjoyed cooking it all.

17. What is on top of your tree ? When we had a tree, it was an angel.

18. Which do you like best: giving or receiving? We jumped out of the giving-receiving rat race a couple of years ago.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? White Christmas as sung by Bing Crosby.

20. Do you like candy canes? not much

21. Snowman or Snow Angel?? Snowman. But I like both.

Feel free to do this as a meme in your journal or copy and paste to e-mail and enter your own answers. Or not. Bah, Humbug.


It's not that I have anything in particular against Obama. Truthfully, I prefer him to Hillary. But why on earth does Oprah feel she is qualified to tell us what we need? Or whom we should vote for? The crazy thing is, I'll bet a lot of folks, mostly women, will be influenced by her politics.

Good grief.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Patrick's Saturday Six

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

1. You have to leave a snack for Santa, but you’re concerned about his health so you don’t want to leave sweets: what healthier snack would you choose instead? a Fuji apple and some celery with natural peanut butter.

2. Santa decides to be especially generous this year, and says he’ll bring you a car. What make and model would you like to find in your driveway on Christmas morning? A brand-new, pearl-white Cadillac

3. Santa is also giving you a vacation to any spot in the world for a week. Where would you like to go? New Zealand

4. Take the quiz: What will be in your Christmas stocking?

Your Christmas Stocking Will Be Filled With a Puppy

Well - one cute, soft, cuddly puppy...

And a very soiled Christmas stocking.

5. When was the last time you had a picture taken with Santa Claus? About fifty-five years ago.

6. If Santa could bring you 12 of any single item mentioned in the lyrics of “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” which gift would you choose and why? Twelve maids a-milking, because I love Jersey cows, and I assume if the ladies are milking, they come with cows. Right? And they could milk the cows for me!

My knee

That's Doctor Cliff, taking care of my knee.

I think the doctor wrote on my leg so they'd be sure and work on the proper knee.

That's my wrinkled-up knee. There are two little incisions at the top of the picture (lower part of my knee) and one at the bottom, left-hand side of the picture.

This was taken this morning; there's no redness or swelling, so I'd say I'm doing fine. Now, as to whether the surgery did any good, it's too soon to tell. The procedure was supposed to take thirty to forty minutes, and ended up taking over an hour. Dr. Strong told Cliff there was a lot more arthritis than she expected... spurs and such. I guess that's what took so long.

If it should happen that I still have too much pain, I'll move on to the next step: partial or total knee replacement. I'm really taking a hard look at THIS SURGERY. I printed the article, and I'm taking it with me when I go to see the orthopedist for my follow-up appointment to see what she thinks. I've been told I would be a good candidate for partial replacement because the bone-on-bone is only on the outside of my knee, on both knees.