Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sunday pictures

I rode Blue to the little town to the west for a nice view of the Missouri River.

This elevator, about which I've blogged before, is now somebody's weekend hangout. We used to get all our livestock feed there.

On the way home that little girl hollered and asked why I was riding my horse.

"Because I like to ride," I told her, and crossed to their side of the road so they could pet Blue's nose.

Cliff is riding the grandson's dirt bike. It doesn't have a seat yet, and the guys tell me it's quite uncomfortable. When the grandson bought the bike from Craigslist, it wasn't running. He has a buddy who is quite knowledgeable about cycles, and they had it running a couple hours after bringing it home.
Men never really grow up. But then, perhaps women don't either.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Bothwell Mansion

There's a place I've seen in the distance from time to time, ever since I was a young teenager heading to the Ozarks with my mom and dad. After I married Cliff 41 years ago, we saw it every time we went to visit his grandparents, aunts, and uncles. It always fascinated me, and at some point I found out it was a state historic site. Today we were on a motorcycle ride and decided before leaving home that we'd take the tour. Unfortunately, because of getting lost a few times and spending too much time at another historic site, our time ran out. We did go scope it out, and decided we'll definitely do the whole tour on another ride. Can you see the Bothwell mansion up on that hill? (Click to make the picture bigger.)

That's the back of the mansion.
There are several walking paths on the property.
Isn't it something?
Finally, I got my chance to look down on 65 highway from the mansion. That's the road I so often traveled when I'd look up and see the "castle", as I used to call it.

The house has 31 rooms. Click HERE to see a bit more about it.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Whatever happened to bedspreads?

All my life I used simple, one-piece bedspreads on my bed. You know, the kind that pretty much reaches the floor all by itself, no dust-ruffle required. And no expensive pillow-shams to cover pillows that you don't use at all, but toss on the floor every night when you go to bed. No, you just tuck the top of a real bedspread under the pillows, then cover them up for the day.

About five years ago, I finally gave in to fashion, after finally finding a bedding-set on sale that included the dust-ruffle, shams, and quilt-like top (which said "dry-clean only", but I washed it).

The dust-ruffle was always hanging a bit low and getting caught in the sweeper when I vacuumed. But I've made do with it all these years, simply because I didn't want to have to pay that exorbitant price for something similar that I would dislike just as much.

I've window-shopped online, looking for a simple bedspread, with no luck. Or if I did happen to find something halfway close, it didn't match the lavender blinds in my bedroom windows.

Obviously, lavender has fallen out of favor.

Yesterday I asked my husband, "Whatever became of ordinary bedspreads? I wouldn't mind having an old-fashioned chenille bedspread, even!"

I looked online, as I had in the past, to no avail. Until I remembered Ebay.

Nobody else is hopelessly old-fashioned enough to have bid against me on this item so far. If they do, I'm sure I'll find something else on Ebay that will work for me.

If you're interested in seeing whether I get it or not, it's item #200155442443

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Johnny Cash Show

Monday I received my DVD, "The Best Of The Johnny Cash Show"; I watched all of it, both discs, that evening. As I mentioned on my other blog, I couldn't stop smiling as I listened to it.

Tuesday it rained all day, so I watched the whole thing again with Cliff. He liked it, I think, as much as I do.

The show was only on TV for two seasons, from 1969 to 1971, before it was canceled. The best it ever did in the ratings was number 17, but it was facing such Saturday night favorites as Gunsmoke.

I doubt if I missed a single show while it was on. I had always loved Johnny, and he had such a great group of regulars on the show with him each week: The Carter Family, The Statler Brothers, Carl Perkins.

And amazing guests! Bob Dylan was on the opening show. Louis Armstrong made an appearance just four months before he passed away. Neil Young; Derek (later known as Eric Clapton) and the Dominoes ; Ray Charles; Neil Young; Joni Mitchell; Tony Joe White; Linda Ronstadt (who didn't have panties on at rehearsal and was wearing a very short dress; June told somebody, "Go buy her some bloomers; she ain't a-gonna sing with MY Johnny bare-butted")

This DVD is pure gold, and it only cost $40.

If you love Johnny Cash, buy it! It's six hours of great entertainment. If you have a family member that loves Johnny Cash, Christmas is coming. You can buy it at Johnny; click to enter the site, then click on "general store".

Now playing: Iris Dement - Infamous Angel
via FoxyTunes

Monday, September 24, 2007

Look what the grandson brought home

Yeah, it's a dirt bike with no seat. And it doesn't run.

I told him that while he's here, he can't get a motorcycle. However, since this is a dirt bike, I'll let him keep it.

As long as he doesn't throw all his money into this project, I'll be glad to see him enjoy it.

However, if his whole paycheck starts disappearing, his rent goes up. I'm not letting him live here practically free unless he either (a) saves some money or (b) gets his teeth fixed. Or both.

Because I don't enjoy helping people who won't help themselves. And no, he doesn't read this blog.


Cliff and I got into a discussion the other day about nurse-practitioners. I wondered aloud just what sort of training is required to obtain this title.

I'm glad there is such a vocation, because I remember a time when it was almost impossible to get into our doctor's office without a two-week wait; by the time your appointment came around, you were either over your malady, or in the hospital. Thanks to the fact that there are now three N.P.'s employed in that office, it's possible to be seen on the same day you call, if you need quick attention.

Let's face it, most visits to the doctor are for fairly minor maladies. Often, I know the correct diagnosis for my problem; I just can't get whatever medicine it takes to fix it. Why waste a doctor's time on bladder infections or sinusitis or ear-wax buildup? The nurse-practitioner can handle these things just fine, and write whatever prescription is necessary.

If she feels a patient has a more serious problem, the doctor is right there for consultation. It was a nurse-practitioner who sensed a serious problem when Cliff was there with the "indigestion" that turned out to be heart trouble. She went down the hall and consulted Dr. D., who had her schedule an appointment for Cliff with a cardiologist. Within three days, Cliff was in the hospital for C.A.B.G. surgery. Four, count 'em, four bypasses.

Anyway, here's what Google told me about what it takes to be a nurse-practitioner:

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I haven't done a Saturday Six in awhile; I was reminded of this when I added Patrick to my list of MySpace friends. You'll find the Saturday Six HERE, at Patrick's Place.

Here are this week’s “Saturday Six” questions. Either answer the questions in a comment here, 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. What is your favorite carnival ride? The tilt-a-whirl has always been my favorite.

2. What is the biggest prize you ever won at a carnival or fair? I'm sure I've never won anything worth more that 50 cents.

3. What is the most you ever spent at a single carnival game? Perhaps $10, but only because I had the granddaughters with me, so I was paying for them.

4. Take the quiz: What carnival ride are you?

You Are a Roller Coaster

You live for excitement, adventure, and the most intense of thrills.

Nothing is better than feeling you're truly alive, and you're willing to take risks to feel this way.

In relationships, people often feel a bit nervous about what they're getting into...

But generally, everyone enjoys the wild ride you take them on. Unless they stay with you too long - then they're apt to feel a bit nauseous!

Your life has more low points and high points than most people's lives.

But that's okay - you love them. You figure that a smooth ride is boring!

Besides, you know that super high highs only come from knowing super low lows.

You cherish every emotion you feel and feel it fully. Why deny what life is truly about?

At your best, you are loving life and sharing your wild times with everyone you know.

You are able to open your friends up to a whole new world of experiences.

At your worst, you feel extremely disoriented and even a bit dizzy.

There's only so much intensity a human (even you!) can take.

Yeah, well... I don't know how it came up with that!

5. If you went to a typical carnival and realized you weren’t in the mood to ride the rides, what would you be more likely to want to do to amuse yourself? Eat corn dogs, cotton candy, and caramel apples.

6. What job would you least like to have at a carnival or fair?
I can't think of any job I'd want at a carnival.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Even Hondas break down

Yesterday Cliff and I hit the road with no destination in mind. Except that he wanted to have a second key made for our Gold Wing; so we pulled in a motorcycle shop about 45 minutes from here. They didn't have any blanks to make our key, but a very helpful man gave us a locksmith's card, a guy from Independence. Very close to our home.

Alas, when we went out to leave and Cliff tried to start our motorcycle, it didn't start. The helpful man came out with some sort of electrical thingie that diagnoses batteries. Our battery, he declared, was "a rock". No juice at all. He put it on a charger for us, though, to see if it would charge.

It didn't charge.

They didn't have a battery in stock to fit our particular Honda; the man called several places in town, but there were none to be found.

I remembered that the grandson, Arick, usually gets off early on Fridays. Cliff called him and told him to hook up the trailer on our car and come to our rescue.

Which he did.

I told Arick it was only payback for the time Cliff had to take the tractor down to the river bottom and pull his truck out of the mud.

Today we went to the city, bought a new battery, and once again hit the road.

We ate our lunch at the Confederate Memorial State Historic site. You see here a typical picnic lunch when we're biking, complete with Cliff's mid-day pills. Sardines, crackers, and fruit.

Then we stopped by McDonald's for ice cream.

The romance is back, and life is good.

Friday, September 21, 2007

I don't have a pedigree

I've been having a lot of chuckles reading one of my favorite message boards, Country Living. A couple of ladies seemed to take issue with some redneck; seems they felt he was racist. I didn't even read all the posts on the subject, because it bored me; so I don't know if they were right or wrong.

But later, one of the ladies felt it necessary to prove her intelligence by googling up some information about her genius daddy. Turns out he had an IQ of 192.

Is it really classy to brag about your family's intelligence? Or am I just another redneck?

I feel so illiterate.

Pardon me, I have to go look for my pedigree.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Our current motorcycle

That's our old (new) Gold Wing. As opposed to the newer (our old) Gold Wing that we sold.

This motorcycle has opened up some new possibilities for Cliff.

See, the one we sold had to be taken to a shop for any sort of repair. That includes having new tires put on. The spark plugs were impossible to find, on it; even for Cliff, who has always tinkered with such things.

No so, with this 1982 model. Cliff bought a Clymer book, and after browsing through it, is confident he can tear into any part of this motorcycle and put it back together again. So this one is not only something to ride, it's a hobby in the same vein as the old tractors Cliff has spent so much time restoring.

We requested and received a J. C. Whitney motorcycle catalog. Wow, there are all kinds of goodies and extras for our old bike, at comparatively reasonable prices.

We're going on short rides two or three times weekly, just like we did with the other 'Wing. There is a noise that Cliff can't quite identify that nags at him (motor noise? vibration in the frame?); because of its age there is, in the back of our minds, the thought that this motorcycle could fail us, leaving us stranded along the roadside.

Hey, if it quits, it quits! We'll ride until it does so.

Now playing: John Prine - It's a Big Old Goofy World [Live]
via FoxyTunes

Amazing, imperfect tomatoes

I had not raised tomatoes for perhaps three years. I got tired of blight taking the plants, just about the time they started bearing. This year my husband declared he was tired of never having a good tomato, and set out to raise some for himself.

"Fine," I told him. "Just don't be disappointed when blight gradually kills all your plants from the ground up."

"Well," he answered, "If we only get one tomato, it'll be that much."

I told him he could try fungicide on the plants, although it hadn't helped me much in the past.

We've been eating tomatoes from his vines now for over two months. In that two months, we have perhaps received two inches of rain, total. The plants haven't been watered. I don't know why or how they're alive. They look a bit haggard, but they're still bearing. I'd take pictures of the plants, but it's 4:30 A.M. and they're behind our rental trailer-house. I don't want to scare our renter. If I waited until daylight, I'd be out of the mood to do this post.

I've shared our abundance with my sister, canned a few jars, and made spaghetti sauce and chili using fresh tomatoes, all summer. At this point, the tomatoes look pretty sad. They're cracked and blemished, and they won't keep for over two days because those flawed spots rot pretty fast.

When I slice these babies, I end up throwing away more than I keep (the next-door neighbor's chickens are glad to eat the bad parts). But the taste is unbeatable!

The granddaughters were here yesterday and I made one of their favorites, tuna-noodle casserole. Nothing goes better with that dish than fresh, sliced tomatoes.

Ditto on Pioneer Woman's Chicken Spaghetti, which I made last Sunday.

Any day now, those plants could wither and die from lack of water. But while they last, we are enjoying the tomatoes my husband raised.

Now playing: Bing Crosby - Sweet Leilani
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

At the cabin last night

I took the tripod and camera with me to the cabin yesterday and got these shots.

Sadie, as usual, has the Frisbee.

She's trying to force me to throw the Frisbee. Bad news, though. I threw it, and the wind caught it and took it to the treetops. We've lost another Frisbee. It isn't a real Frisbee, since I can't throw those very well. It's an
Aerobie Superdisc that I paid a bundle for. Good thing I have a couple of extras.

This is Sadie in the woods, looking for something to chase.

The grandson

Our twenty-one-year-old grandson has been living here since sometime in June as a result of a room-mate situation gone bad. It was going to be temporary, but I decided, since he wasn't rocking my little boat too badly, to let him stay... as long as things are working out for all of us.

I told him I wouldn't cook for him. Cliff works nights, so our main meal is at noon. Grandson is at work then. Often, the meals I cook for Cliff and me are simple ones: a four-ounce serving of salmon, a baked sweet potato, and broccoli; a simple salad; or one of several healthy bean-and-rice dishes that makes four servings. Not the fare a young fellow would choose. I do keep a few frozen things he can microwave, and there's always peanut butter and jelly. And he goes through about a gallon of ice cream a week, making milk shakes.

So the cooking thing has worked out all right. He does his own laundry. And pays $25 as I requested, to help defray the cost of ice cream. He's taking this opportunity to build a nest egg, of which I'm in charge.

I don't expect him to check in with his whereabouts because, after all, he's of age.

Cliff gave him this rule: "If you get thrown in jail for something stupid, don't call me."

About the only rule I've given is this: "You cannot buy a motorcycle while you're living here.

This probably seems strange to others, since Cliff and I ride a motorcycle. But we do remember what twenty-one was like, vaguely; and we've seen some of the stunts grandson has pulled with his pickup: therefore, no bike for the grandson. Not while he's here where I would know every time he was out on it, and lose sleep worrying.

So far, things are working out. Oh, if I wake up at 3:30 A.M. and remember the grandson is supposed to go in early that day, I can't go back to sleep because I wonder if he'll wake himself up, then I'll get up so I can be sure to wake him. Things like that.

I realized yesterday that there is some pressure on him, living here with us.

His employers are really messing over him lately... changing his hours, having him come in for two hours on Sunday, things like that. So yesterday the boss chewed him out because he threw a fit Sunday in front of the big-wigs about the fact that they had promised him overtime for that day, then informed him when he got there it was a new week. No overtime.

"The only reason I didn't quit today," he told us, "is because I didn't want to come home and tell Grandma I quit my job."

Maybe that little bit of pressure on him is a good thing.

He's trying to get a different job, and I certainly hope he finds one. Prayers would be appreciated.

Monday, September 17, 2007

unplugging tonight

My dog and I are heading back to our cabin in the woods pretty soon. No computer, no TV, no electricity. Just Sadie and myself. Grandson will be in charge of the house. I imagine I'll be back here early in the morning; coffee tastes better made in the coffee pot here at the house. But I'm taking enough Folgers to make a pot of cowboy coffee, just in case.

It'll be a peaceful night.

Oh, I'll have my cell phone, so I'm not totally out of reach.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sharing an Ebay funny

A fellow posted this link on one of the message boards I frequent, and I want my readers to laugh along with me.

Click HERE.

Warning, the lady has a blog; because so many people asked, she posted the link. If you, like me, have already subscribed to too many great blogs VIA Bloglines or Google reader, or whatever means, and blog-reading consumes too much of your time, do NOT click on that link. You'll end up adding one more.

Friday, September 14, 2007

New parts of the river bottoms discovered

The grandson kept telling me about this fun place on the river bottoms where he goes with his friends to tear up his pickup play in the sand on Saturday nights. I decided to branch out, on my Missouri River bottom rides, and see what he's been talking about.

Almost there, I needed a pit stop. Blue patiently waited.

"Are we in the desert?"

"Looks like it to me, Blue. But how did those tire tracks get here?"

Lots of tire tracks.

Oh yeah.

I must say, this is the closest to the Missouri River I've been on horseback since before the spring floods.

Must be the season for wild sunflowers.

Almost home, I noticed the soybeans are changing from solid green to yellow.

Now playing: Johnny Cash - It Ain't Me Babe
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, September 13, 2007

It's our turn to die

I grew up going to funerals, since my mom never believed in babysitters. If she went to a funeral (or anywhere), so did I.

I think it worked out all right, although I had a rather pessimistic view of death through most of my teen years, and wrote pathetic poems telling how I didn't want people looking at my dead body if they didn't like to look at me in life.

You know how teenagers are. Nowadays they have alternative rock to voice their sentiments.

I'm sixty-three years old. Suddenly my peers are getting sick and dying: our old buddy Boyde has throat cancer. Another old pal, Don, has heart issues that surgery won't fix.

Cliff's cousin Ken is having a get-together next week, because he has cancer and doesn't expect to live long. And I guess he wants to actually be there when we all celebrate his life.

Yesterday I received a call from a cousin saying that another cousin, Cecil Wayne, died from a massive heart attack. He's at least four years younger than I am. Dang, it seems like yesterday that my daddy was so proud of Cecil Wayne because he was doing well in Golden Gloves.

Looking at the local paper , I told my grandson today, "There's a lady in the obits who's 60 years old, and she died of a heart attack; I don't want to see that!"

But I acknowledge that it's my generation's turn. It's the circle of life. I only hope I have enough notice that I, like Kenneth, can throw a party and attend my own wake.

Now playing: Iris DeMent - After You're Gone
via FoxyTunes

Our new (old) Honda Gold Wing

Now playing: Dan Crary & Doc Watson - Whistlin' Rufus/Ragtime Annie
via FoxyTunes We had a 1996 Gold Wing that we enjoyed greatly. My husband, on a lark, suggested I put it on Craigslist for what I considered a ridiculous price. It sold, and we paid off some bills. There were several factors involved in the sale, one being that Cliff was having some light-headed spells. Another was the fact that every time you turn on the news or read the paper, a motorcyclist has been killed or maimed. Then there's our ages; Cliff says his reflexes aren't what they used to be.

Labor Day weekend as we listened to motorcycles passing by on the scenic byway in front of our house, we grew increasingly depressed about the situation.

So we went, last weekend, and bought a 1982 Gold Wing. We rode yesterday and today. Cliff says it's actually more comfortable, to him, than the newer one we sold. It's easier for him to handle. It goes half again as far on a gallon of gasoline. Cliff can do a lot of work on this motorcycle himself; the 1996 was impossible. All knowledgeable people told us, "Don't touch it yourself, you'll just screw it up," so it had to be taken to the shop for everything. Which seemed to cost $400 every time.

Now, for my part, I was having some trouble on this bike with one of my arthritic knees. I think I've solved the problem by taking along a cushion to sit on, so my legs aren't bent at quite such an extreme angle. At least it worked fine today. The seat isn't quite as comfy, but the ride is every bit as smooth as on the model we sold. We can't go as fast... 80 MPH is the highest the speedometer goes... but I don't like going too fast anyhow!

It's nice to be back on the road again!

I think we can live with this old bike just fine!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Vivian Cash has written a book

You can read about it HERE.

She died in 2005, which you can read about HERE.

So obviously, she isn't planning on getting rich from her book.

If you saw the movie, "Walk The Line", you know it put Vivian in a bad light.

I believe, in any divorce, there are two sides to the story.

I'm glad Vivian wrote that book before she died, and I'll be one of the first to buy it.

However, I will always LOVE Johnny Cash.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

For more Wordless Wednesdays, go HERE.

Six Years Ago

I've seen several entries on this theme, so I'll join in.

Six years ago, on Tuesday, September 11, I recall being in great good spirits. It was a perfect, sunshiny-yet-crisp autumn day. Cliff and I had spent some time that weekend in Arkansas at a friend's house and we had a marvelous time. As I performed my tasks at my place of employment (Kohl's Distribution Center) I said a quick prayer for my friend, because I knew she had big plans to be flying to Texas that day and meeting up with a daughter. Then the two of them would fly together to visit another daughter in Washington state and spend some quality family time.

My assistant supervisor approached each of us employees, one at a time, to tell us about an airplane hitting the twin towers. At that point I assumed it was some sort of horrible accident, and silently prayed for the people involved.

At my 9 o'clock break, there were televisions turned on in the lunch room; then the horror of what was happening started to sink in. That's when it hit me that my friend Lona was flying. I wondered if the terrorist attacks were going to be nationwide, and whether her plane was safe. (Her plane was grounded in Texas and she eventually had to rent a car and drive home.)

For days, newsmen speculated on the happenings. For all those days, I numbly shut myself in a private world where I didn't let myself dwell too much on the horror. Because I felt I couldn't stand it.

I recall Judy, the lady I rode to work with, saying, "I just can't believe this happened. And we're going to work, going on with our lives, just the same as always."

I think we wondered on some level why our lives still seemed so normal, when so many had lost their lives, or their loved ones, to an act of terrorism.

I'm still not comfortable watching films of the carnage. Something in me wants to forget it all happened, while another part of me knows that isn't possible or even desirable.

I still wait for the other shoe to drop. They did it once, and if we don't destroy ourselves with all the fighting and bickering, the drugs and violence, I know they'll do what they can to obliterate us. They'll always be trying.

Our world will never be the same.

And now, just for laughs

Here's another jewel Cliff's cousin Edna sent, in email:

Subject: New store

A brand new store has just opened in New York City that sells husbands (to go). When women go to choose a husband, they have to follow the instructions at the entrance:

"You may visit this store ONLY ONCE!" There are SIX floors, and the value of the products increase as you ascend the flights. You may choose any item from a particular floor, or may choose to go up to the next floor, but you CANNOT go back down, except to exit the building!

So, a woman goes to the Husband Store to find a husband.

On the 1st floor the sign on the door reads:

Floor ONE - These men have jobs.

The 2nd floor sign reads:

Floor TWO - These men Have Jobs and

Love Kids

The 3rd floor sign reads:

Floor THREE - These Men Have Jobs, Love

Kids, AND are Extremely Good-Looking!

("Wow," she thinks, but feels compelled to keep going)

So, she goes to the Fourth floor and the sign reads:

Floor FOUR - These Men Have Jobs,

Love Kids, are Drop-dead Good-Looking,

AND Help with Housework.

("Oh, mercy me!" she exclaims, "I can hardly stand it!")

Still, she goes to the Fifth Floor, and sign reads:

Floor FIVE - These men Have Jobs, Love

Kids, AND are Drop-dead Gorgeous, Help

with Housework, AND Have a Strong

Romantic Streak and Sex Drive .

(She is so tempted to stay, but she goes to the Sixth Floor where the sign reads:

Floor SIX - You are visitor 31,456,012 to this floor. There are no men on this floor. This floor exists solely as proof that women are impossible to please. Thank you for shopping at the Husband

To avoid gender bias charges, the store's owner opens a New Wives store just across the street.

The First Floor has wives that love sex.

The Second Floor has wives that love sex and have money.

The Third through Sixth floors have never been visited.

Autumn is in the air

After some two months of drought and desert-like temperatures, we've cooled off gloriously. Yesterday was mostly overcast, and except for the few times the sun peeped out, a flannel shirt felt pretty good.

All summer I've had to do any horseback riding at dawn; it's been too hot to ride during the day.

So it was a treat, yesterday, to be able to ride my horse after Cliff left for work at 2:30 P.M. When I went outside, the sun was out and I took off my flannel shirt. However, I did tie in onto the back of the saddle before I left. That turned out to be a wise move.

I rode south on one of our many country roads. I got Blue up on a bank out of the way when I saw a school bus headed our way on the narrow gravel road, and did the same when a huge grain truck met us; my horse does very well with traffic, but sometimes he'll get just a touch of panic if something really big gets too close, especially if there are steep banks on both sides making him feel he's trapped. Farmers are harvesting corn like crazy, which means there are lots of big grain trucks coming and going this time of year. Anyhow, we made it just fine with no incidents.

As I crossed 24 highway, I realized the clouds were getting heavier and darker, and I needed the shirt I'd brought along. A cool wind started whipping Blue's mane around and I considered what might be the best way to head home. I'd passed up one road home, wanting a longer ride than it allowed me.

Looking across a field, I could see my neighbor's house, far over to the north on the old highway. My quickest route home would be across some corn and soybean fields which, alas, have not been combined and harvested yet. Normally, I keep Blue out of the crops; I like to respect the farmers in this regard, although I doubt Blue would do that much damage walking through a soybean field.

It started sprinkling and I made my decision: Cut across the fields instead of riding another mile to a through road. If I stayed right at the edge where soybeans meet the corn, it should take me home.

That was one of the longest short-cuts I've ever taken: The soybeans grow so thick and tall, it was difficult for Blue to navigate through them. Forget about taking him through the corn; he has a bit of claustrophobia when ridden through anything taller than his head. At one point, he stepped in a huge hole that was hidden by weeds, and jolted both of us.

Believe me, when Blue came out of the fields onto a path he recognized, he quickened his pace and foxtrotted the rest of the way home!

I think from now on I'll stick to the roads, until all crops have been harvested.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

My radar still works

The grandson came in from a long Saturday night, at 5 AM this morning. No big deal. He's of age, and I told him he doesn't have to report in to me while he's staying here.

But I knew something was amiss. There was something in the way he greeted me (yes, I'm always up by 5 A.M.).

Turns out he'd been having fun in the river bottoms again with his friends. And somehow ended up with a busted windshield. Oh yes, and he lost a license plate.

I don't mind helping someone who is willing to help himself. But my patience is starting to wear thin here.

Wake up, Grandson! Ain't nobody else going to let you live with them for $25 a week.


Several years ago, someone online mentioned Neopets. Curious, I checked out the website.

It was sort of a "virtual pet" space: I made myself a Neopet and named her Spiffy1. The next day, I decided to adopt a poor Neopet that somebody had birthed, given the name "Bloana", and then abandoned. Although I made both of them female, for some reason I have always thought of them as male. Perhaps I created trans-gender pets, which would be rather funny since Xib, the person who first enticed me to Neopia, is trans-gender.

In Neopia, one may have all the neopets she wants, but these pets must be fed. Their status is listed on line whenever you go to visit them, ranging from "starving" to "bloated". Oh, and they can pick up nasty diseases, forcing you to spend thousands of neopoints (currency in Neopia) in order to heal them.

My pets have been educated in training schools at great expense to me. Yeah, I know. Somebody needs to get a life, right?

Neopoints can be earned playing the various games in Neopia. I'm not terribly skillful at games, so I usually stuck with Destruct-o-match, which netted me plenty of income to feed and educate my pets.

I lost interest in Neopets quite some time ago. I discovered blogs and message boards and Craigslist, and began to spend my online time in other ways and places. It became a grind to earn and gather food for my neopets, so I decided to give all my Neopian savings to a longtime Internet friend (the person who originally told me about Neopets) and flee Neopia, never to return. I had tons of treasures in my safety deposit box, and thousands of Neopoints in my Neopian savings account; I proceeded to give it all to my friend Xib, who was quite happy with this situation.

So I was left with nothing in Neopia but my two Neopets. All I had to do was put them up for adoption and leave.

I know this sounds stupid, but I just couldn't do it. I couldn't abandon my cyber pets.

These days, I go to Neopia once a month, collect 2,000 neopoints for redeeming my freebies, and put Spiffy and Bloana in a fleabag motel where they are fed and housed for twenty-eight days.

I have amassed another fortune in Neopian savings, and my safety deposit box is once again full of goodies.

Spiffy and Bloana are 2,263 days old, and it appears they'll live as long as I'm able to get online.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Flight 93

I watched the movie, Flight 93, on HBO this evening.

It may have happened years ago, on September 11, 2001. But the wounds are still too fresh to suit me.

It was very difficult for me to watch the movie.

HELP!!!!! I can't stop vacuuming!

After wishing, praying and hoping for several months, I finally bought a Dyson vacuum sweeper.

I had listened to happy Dyson owners rave for over a year. I read in blogs about the wonders of the Dyson.

I didn't want to pay over $400, and I wanted one of the animal-hair ones. My dog, Sadie, sheds like crazy.

So I was Googling around the Internet looking for bargains and suddenly found a deal at Linens and Things, online. First-time customers got 25% off by typing in a coupon code, and shipping was free. Bingo! I chose the Dyson DC07 Animal Vacuum.

My sweeper arrived yesterday, and I've emptied it three times. The first two times, it was mostly dog hair. Now I'm getting a mixture of dog hair and dust.

I have, in my Google searches, learned that not everybody likes Dyson; in fact, some people hate them and have been badly disappointed. We'll see how I feel about mine in a few months.

I think one of the fascinating things about this modern marvel is that you can see what you're picking up in the clear dirt-container. Believe me, it fills up fast, and keeps getting dirt long after I would have stopped, if I couldn't see what I was getting out of the carpet!

I've swept carpets, throw rugs, bare floors, steps, and bedspreads. Every time I park the silly-looking purple thing and sit down, I glance around and see just one more thing that needs vacuuming.

I'm going to have to sleep and eat sometime. HELP!!!!!

Upset the fruit-basket.

Monica at school this morning.

Me and Natalie. It's a bit blurry, but I was holding the camera at arm's length pointing it toward us, so all things considered, it isn't too bad.

I went to school for Grandparents' Day today, and the granddaughters each had to interview me and write down my answers. Among the questions asked was this: "What was your favorite game as a child?" To both of the girls, I answered, "Upset The Fruit Basket". They never heard of it. I was going to explain it to them, when I realized I don't recall how it was played. Does anybody else remember playing the game? If so, do you remember the rules, or how it was played? I believe each person playing was given the name of a fruit, but what happened after that, I don't know.

Even Google didn't have a full-blown answer to this one.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Moving right along....

Figuring it best to get that rather questionable Wordless Wednesday moved on down the page, I'll do a "this-n-that" entry.

First of all, my husband and I are a little miffed at the staff at our local doctors' office.

Cliff recently had a bit of a minor physical problem. We saw the nurse-practitioner about it, and got the problem fixed. She asked that he come back in two weeks and get a blood test to make sure his good-bad cholesterol ratio was where it should be (to see if the recent addition of Niaspan is doing its job), and to make sure his blood count was in the proper range; recent tests showed him to be slightly anemic. Also, she said, it was time for the every-three-months blood test to make sure his liver is standing up to the Lipitor he takes.

The nurse came in first, of course, asking why we were there. We told her, including the fact that Cliff hadn't eaten since the previous night.

Then the nurse-practitioner entered, asking, "What brings you here today?"

Duh. You told Cliff to come back in two weeks, lady. For a follow-up, and for the blood work. We mentioned that he was fasting.

Enter another nurse, and blood was taken.

Unfortunately, not all the blood vials that were needed were taken, evidently.

When we got back home, there was a message on our answering machine asking Cliff to come back, that they needed a "fasting blood test".

He was fasting when he was there!!!

I guess nobody's perfect. But in these times of high gasoline prices, I wish they'd be a little more vigilant and listen to their patients; it's over fifteen miles, one way. We should have made the appointment with Cliff's actual doctor, who has had heart issues himself and pays very good attention to what we tell him.

Yeah, so he's going back today, just to have blood taken.

We have learned lately not to tell Cliff's siblings every little symptom he has, even if they ask. They get on the telephone, diagnose him, decide he's dying, and get all worked up about things. Then he gets a phone call from his brother in Kansas, saying, "Why didn't you tell me?"

Tell him what? Geesh.

In other news, looks like our heat wave is over. And there's rain in the forecast. So far all we've had is sprinkles, but at least that settles the dust a bit.

I can smell autumn in the air.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007