Sunday, June 29, 2008

What's going on around here

Our son and his daughter (our little Georgia Peach) arrived last night. His oldest daughter also came over to re-connect with her dad and her sister; she hadn't seen them for a couple of years.

Cliff with Lyndsay

Amber hates the way she looks in this picture, but I wanted a picture of her and her dad sitting sitting on the couch. Notice the wall hanging above the couch, made for me by a Blogger buddy. I saw some pictures of her handiwork on her blog and begged her to do one for me. She went above and beyond the call of duty, even putting our names on ours.

Lyndsay played with Sadie this morning

Cliff and Jim went to the shop (Jim couldn't believe I was taking pictures of him before he'd showered and combed his hair... everybody is going to be mad at me before the day is over).

Amber and Lyndsay rode my sister-in-law's four-wheeler for awhile. That's the renter's house in the background. It's impossible to take a picture around here without seeing some sort of clutter in the background.

See what I mean?

Friday, June 27, 2008

That's what we get for trying to conserve gasoline.

There's this prescription I occasionally refill. It won't kill me to do without it, but at times I need it for my personal comfort.

I decided it was time to pick up another round of the stuff.

Now remember, we live in the boonies. I usually have our prescriptions filled at the Oak Grove Walmart because it's the closest one to us. That's where my prescription was on file.

But we were going to a tractor show Saturday that took us through Richmond. Cliff suggested that we stop at the Walmart there, see if they could transfer the prescription from Oak Grove, and then we'd pick it up on our way home from the tractor show.

The lady in the pharmacy assured us there was no problem; in fact, she did the transfer while we waited. We told her we'd be back to pick it up after noon.

Unfortunately, it turns out they were out of the product; it might be there by Tuesday, a guy told us.

So we hadn't saved a trip at all. In fact, we had created the need for a longer trip, since Richmond is ten miles farther from our house than Oak Grove.

Tuesday we made a run to Home Depot in Blue Springs. There's a Walmart next to Home Depot. In fact, it's the Walmart I boycotted for all of eight months. But hey, with the price of gas, I'll go to whichever Walmart is on the way to where I'm going.

I called Blue Springs and asked if they could transfer the prescription from Richmond. I explained that Richmond didn't have it when we were there. The lady checked on the computer and assured me this was no problem.

But it was, because for some reason they just hadn't been able to get the transfer done yet, when we arrived.

Today Cliff simply decided we'd give up trying to save gas, make a dead-end trip, and go back to Blue Springs Walmart and pick up my meds. I called first to make sure the transfer went through. Yes, Gerri said, upon checking. It had gone through.

"So it'll be there if I come and pick it up pretty soon?"

"Let me make sure we have it in stock."

They did, she informed me. But I had the strangest feeling this trip was going to be another loss.

Sure enough. The overworked pharmacy had gotten behind filling scripts, and mine wasn't ready yet. Furthermore, Gerri had no idea when it would be ready. We didn't have all day. After all, Cliff leaves for work at 2:30.

I think I remember why I boycotted this particular Walmart.

It's a good thing my prescription isn't a life-or-death matter.

Remind me to leave my prescriptions at the Oak Grove Walmart from now on. I'm afraid to try switching this particular prescription back right now, though, since I've already had it transferred twice in the past week. I might break a computer.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Things I can't bear to get rid of

I still have stuff in the "junk room" upstairs at the old house. Oh, I've made great progress doing a little at a time, but it's slow going. It wouldn't be so bad if I could just toss things, if I wouldn't look through every box.

The photographs weren't so bad because I simply stuffed them in boxes. You know, out of sight, out of mind. Hopefully I can find leisure moments to catalog them somehow, eventually. Well, finding leisure moments isn't as much a problem as using them properly, I suppose.

Before we moved here, I went through my books and selected the ones I figured I'd read, or use, again; and I brought them here. They were some of the first items I moved.

That left one box of children's book and one box of adult books to get rid of.

I made the mistake of looking through them again, and found some more to keep. Me and my stupid memories. No, I guess it isn't the memories that are stupid: It's my trying to hang on to the tangible evidence that's crazy. Because once I'm gone, the books will be gone too.

I recall reading the "Little Red Riding Hood" and "The Three Little Pig" books to every single one of my grandchildren, starting with Arick. When I was reading the big, bad Wolf's lines of course, I'd speak with a growl, just the way my parents read it to me years ago.

My two youngest granddaughters, Monica and Natalie, loved the "Spot" books, and both of them had every one memorized by the time they were two years old.

Each page had a flap you could lift, with more words underneath. Cliff and I would read the main part of the page, then a granddaughter would lift the flap and "read" what was underneath.

Now now can I toss something like that in the trash?

On the plus side, I still have lots of books that will go to the trash. I put them on Craigslist under "free", but I really doubt anyone is going to come way out here in the boonies after a bunch of books.

The junk room is starting to look much emptier. The main things left are Christmas ornaments, which will go in the attic of our garage, and dozens (perhaps hundreds) of canning jars. I intend to give away at least half of them on Freecycle or Craigslist, but I'll keep some. One never knows when hard times might hit and we'll be forced to garden; then I'll be glad to have them.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

busy days

Cliff has been busy doing a few honey-dos here in the house. I needed my refrigerator to open from the left instead of the right; I needed some curtain rods placed higher. We're getting those kinds of things done, gradually.

Today we combined several trips into one, since we had to head to the big city. We hit Sam's Club, Walmart, a Mahindra tractor dealer (for parts for a brother-in-law's tractor), and a mobile-home sales place.

We've lived in mobile homes before, so we already knew the drawbacks of trailer-house living when we bought this house. The reason they're so cheaply priced is that they're cheaply built. Yes, the walls are just a step above cardboard. Ask me if I care, while I'm enjoying my air conditioning and lots of electrical outlets and TWO bathrooms.

We bought a house cheaper than the price of most new cars. If it wears out, we'll just buy another one.

I've found some wonderful websites with tips and accessories to help fix up a used mobile home. Funny thing, though: The best resource we've found is Burkhart's Mobile Home Sales in Kansas City. The guy can get anything you need for a mobile home, and his prices are reasonable. Plus, he'll tell you how to install the product. Or he'll give you the name and number of somebody who can.

Why go looking all over the Internet when somebody forty miles away is that helpful? I'm glad we found him.

I got the fire pit I ordered, today. Bonfires in the back yard. Hooray!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The best song John Prine ever wrote

The older I get, the more these lyrics ring true:

We had an apartment in the city,
Me and Loretta liked living there.
Well, it'd been years since the kids had grown,
A life of their own left us alone.
John and Linda live in Omaha,
And Joe is somewhere on the road.
We lost Davy in the Korean war,
And I still don't know what for, don't matter anymore.

Ya know that old trees just grow stronger,
And old rivers grow wilder every day.
Old people just grow lonesome
Waiting for someone to say, "hello in there, hello."

Me and Loretta, we don't talk much more,
She sits and stares through the back door screen.
And all the news just repeats itself
Like some forgotten dream that we've both seen.
Someday I'll go and call up Rudy,
We worked together at the factory.
But what could I say if he asks, "Whats new?"
Nothing, whats with you? nothing much to do.

Repeat chorus:

So if you're walking down the street sometime
And spot some hollow ancient eyes,
Please don't just pass 'em by and stare
As if you didn't care, say, hello in there, hello.

Thanks to my nephew, Scotty, and his son; and to my cousin, Betty, and her husband Russ. These people sometimes stop by to say "Hello in there."

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Things you'll see at a tractor show

Cliff and I finally managed a motorcycle ride yesterday; quite a feat, the way things have gone around here lately. We've always enjoyed antique tractor shows, and the one at Lathrop is just the right distance from home to make a nice ride. Cliff hitched up the trailer to the motorcycle, and we were able to do a little Walmart shopping in Richmond on the way home. Finally I've started getting curtains and valances. I also bought several of those handy-dandy little hanger thingies that stick on the wall. This means I can start hanging my decorative plates and pictures where I want them, instead of on the nails placed unevenly and too high by the last resident of this house.

This is a home-made can-crusher. It's a grand idea, but it works better in theory than in reality. I tried to take a video of it in action, but things just weren't going right for that gentleman. Still, if you'd like to see his efforts, click HERE.

There are always lots of old vehicles painted up to look like new at tractor shows.

Speaking of crushers, this is a rock-crusher powered by the tractor in back.

We generally eat dinner at the tractor show; it helps support the clubs putting on the shindig. I'm afraid we didn't stay with our healthy eating; we were sidelined by all the pie.

You can buy all sorts of magnetic signs at tractor shows. Reading these, you'll notice there's quite a feud between red-tractor owners and green-tractor owners. (Click on the picture to make it larger.)

Friday, June 20, 2008

and speaking of Craigslist

A couple of months ago, I had a serious talk with myself about Libby. I love that filly. Even Cliff loves her, and he's not much for horses. But it's obvious I was never going to get her broke to ride by myself, and I didn't want to throw more money into getting her trained when horses are worth so little right now... especially grade fillies.

I kept saying that as soon as Cliff had time to take some pictures of Libby, I'd put her on Craigslist for $300. Catching Cliff with any extra time is very difficult just now, thanks to our recent moving, and the moving of his sister into our old house. Not to mention that it's haying time. Which means you usually see Cliff doing something like this

or this.
So yesterday when we went for our walk, I took my camera along in case we came upon the horses, and I had Cliff take this picture and a couple of others.
I described Libby in an ad as accurately as I knew how, emphasizing that she is not broke but that I've been on her a few times in the round pen. I extolled her gentle nature and mentioned that she's naturally gaited. I stated, "If I can't get $300 for her, I'll keep her as a pet."

One man kept insisting he was interested in her for his eleven-year-old daughter; I firmly told him I would never recommend an unbroke horse for a child.

Today a different man came to look at her, saw how sweet-natured she is, and gave me the money right then and there. He'll be back in eight or ten days to get her. He raises gaited mules, and Libby will get to be a professional mom. How cool is that?

Many years ago I tried to raise a colt and vowed I'd never do it again; the colt was unresponsive, and I realized I wasn't qualified to train horses. I'm glad I broke that vow, because Libby has been a joy to have around, even though I'm no more qualified now that I was before. Some horses, like some people, radiate joy. That's Libby.

One reason I knew I needed to sell her is that I've seen some excellent bargains on older horses that are well-broke. Horses that are ready to ride, that even a child could ride. I refused to even think about another horse as long as Libby was here. Horses are not cheap to have around. We raise our own hay, but it isn't free by any means. My husband works hard to get it up dry and in the barn, and diesel fuel for the tractors is sky-high.

So I'm sure I'm doing the right thing. I asked the man if he'd keep my email address and send me a picture of Libby with her first mule-baby. He said he would. I sure hope he remembers!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Thank you, Craigslist

I originally asked $50 for the record player and the records.

The lady who wanted the record player had offered $35 and I agreed to that, but she didn't have correct change and I didn't have proper bills to give her any money back, so she gave me $40.

So I re-posted my ad, this time for all the records. I asked $25. I received a call from a man who wanted them, sight unseen. Cliff's sister brought out some old records she had and said, "See if he wants those too."

When he arrived, I told him to look at hers and see what he thought.

"Tell you what," he said, "how about I give you $30 for all of them?"

I figured Rena would rather have $5 than nothing, so I agreed.

But he didn't bring the right change; he needed a ten dollar bill back, and all I had was a five and a one. So, Rena got $9 for her stash.

I think he plans to sell the records on Ebay. I don't care how much profit he makes; after all, I came this close to hauling them to the trash last week.

MEME: The ABCs of Me

I found this Meme over on Joyful Days.

The ABCs of Me

If I'm in Wisconsin, I'm told I have a southern accent; if I'm in Georgia, they tell me I have a northern accent.

Breakfast or no breakfast: Breakfast, always!

Chore I don’t care for:
cleaning house

Dog or Cat: Dog. And horse. Why is there no horse option?

Essential Electronics: My computer, my camera

Favorite Cologne: No thanks. Cologne and perfume stuff me up in the head.

Gold or Silver: gold

Handbag I carry most often:
Whatever cheap Walmart purse I have at the time. I don't switch purses.

I never have trouble falling asleep, but I often wake up often from 2 o'clock on.

Job Title:
housewife, I guess.

Kids: One son, Jim; one daughter, Rachel.

Living Arrangements: With my husband in a single-wide trailer house in the country.

Most Admirable Trait:
I know how to relax.

Naughtiest Childhood Behavior: telling my mother I hated her.

Overnight hospital stays:
When I gave birth to my babies.

Phobias: Don't have any that I know of.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I --
I took the one less travelled by,
and that has made all the difference
Robert Frost

Reason to smile: Life

One sister; one brother, now deceased

Time I wake up:
between 4 and 6 A.M.

Unusual Talent or Skill:
avoiding work, writing poems that rhyme (when I'm motivated)

Vegetable I Refuse to Eat:
I can't think of a single vegetable I wouldn't eat.

Worst Habit:
not having goals

routine chest Xrays with my physicals, foot, knees

Yummy Stuff: Pizza, ice cream, ginger snaps dipped in coffee. Oh yeah, freshly ground Starbucks coffee here at home

Zoo Animal I Like Most:
all the big cats

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Craigslist strikes again!

In an earlier entry I blogged about putting an old record player and L.P. albums on Craigslist for $50.

Today I sold the record player for $40 and put in a new ad for the records only.

Craigslist rocks. Ads are free to list, so it doesn't cost a thing to find out whether your junk is someone else's treasure.


Robert Frost said "Good fences make good neighbors."

I only wish it were so. Good fences don't keep them off your property or keep them from sneaking around getting your morels without ever offering you any.

Because the people on the other side of this fence have three horses and very little pasture for them to graze, the horses, if left to their own devices, will stretch over the fence on the property line to graze our grass. I wouldn't mind sharing the grass, but they tear down the fence to the point that, if we didn't do something, there would BE no fence left. And our not-so-good neighbor doesn't lift a hand to help fix it.

So we put a strand of electrified wire on our side of the fence. If the horses try reaching over or through the strands of barbed wire, they'll get a harmless shock. Trouble is, electric fence doesn't work if weeds grow up and touch it. So in the above picture, you see Cliff weed-eating at the fence-line.

Good fences don't hide the good neighbor's weeds and junk. These healthy Norway Spruce trees will, though; they just have to grow a little. We bought twenty-five of them from some little obscure nursery, and they've grown like crazy. I was going to order more from the same source, but they were sold out by then. So I ordered twenty-five of them from Autumn Ridge Nursery.

They arrived brown, and once planted, turned even browner. Yeah, they're dead. Autumn Ridge is sending us replacements this fall. I can only hope those are alive.

I saw this turkey out back of the house this morning. I sure enjoy living out behind the barn.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Here's why I love Iris Dement


written by Kansas City's own

Iris Dement

We got preachers dealing in politics and diamond mines
and their speech is growing increasingly unkind
They say they are Christ's disciples
but they don't look like Jesus to me
and it feels like I am living in the wasteland of the free

We got politicians running races on corporate cash
Now don't tell me they don't turn around and kiss them peoples' ass.
You may call me old-fashioned
but that don't fit my picture of a true democracy
and it feels like I am living in the wasteland of the free.

We got CEO's making two hundred times the workers' pay
but they'll fight like hell against raising the minimum wage
and If you don't like it, mister, they'll ship your job
to some third-world country 'cross the sea
and it feels like I am living in the wasteland of the free

Living in the wasteland of the free
where the poor have now become the enemy
Let's blame our troubles on the weak ones
Sounds like some kind of Hitler remedy
Living in the wasteland of the free

We got little kids with guns fighting inner city wars
So what do we do, we put these little kids behind prison doors
and we call ourselves the advanced civilization
that sounds like crap to me
and it feels like I am living in the wasteland of the free

We got high-school kids running 'round in Calvin Klein and Guess
who cannot pass a sixth-grade reading test
but if you ask them, they can tell you
the name of every crotch on MTV
and it feels like I am living in the wasteland of the free

We kill for oil, then we throw a party when we win.
Some guy refuses to fight, and we call that the sin.
but he's standing up for what he believes in.
and that seems pretty damned American to me,
and it feels like I am living in the wasteland of the free

Living in the wasteland of the free
where the poor have now become the enemy
Let's blame our troubles on the weak ones
Sounds like some kind of Hitler remedy
Living in the wasteland of the free

While we sit gloating in our greatness
justice is sinking to the bottom of the sea
Living in the wasteland of the free
Living in the wasteland of the free
Living in the wasteland of the free

Old memories, anyone?

I posted this ad on Kansas City Craigslist. I wonder if I'll have any takers? If not, the whole kit-and-caboodle goes to the junk.

Click HERE.

It's easy to tell by the pictures that I was a big-time Johnny Cash fan. I still am, and often listen to I even donated to the site today.

Rainstorms and Rediscovered Music

Friday morning when we headed out for Branson with two granddaughters, this is how the sky looked. Talking to Cliff's sister on the cell phone later, we found the skies at home had cleared up nicely; but all the way to Branson and after our arrival there, this is what we witnessed.

About a half-hour before we reached our destination, we stopped in Ozark, Missouri, at Lambert's... the home of "throwed rolls". It was a spur-of-the-moment decision, but it turned out to be one of the girls' favorite things. The food there is home-cooking good, the portions are huge, and it's fun to catch rolls being thrown at you across the room. Even if you're a horrible catcher like me. Besides, it's a great place to be on a rainy day, even if you have to wait 45 minutes to be seated.

After a sunny Saturday doing the usual Branson things (go-carts, music show, shopping) we dropped the girls off at their other grandma's in Carthage yesterday morning and noticed storms gathering once again, as you see in the above picture.

Cliff has lots of CD's in the car in three different types of storage containers. One of those had been pretty much forgotten, so we enjoyed old country albums we hadn't heard in years, literally: Willie Nelson's "Red-Headed Stranger", which tells a complete story if you listen to every song; Roger Miller's Greatest Hits; depressingly sad Vern Gosdin; and one of Cliff's favorite singers, Ricky Van Shelton. That's who was singing when the deluge it us, south of Oak Grove. For a little taste of our drive home in the rain, click HERE.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I wasn't always this picky about coffee

I write this entry from a motel in Branson, Missouri. I'm being as quiet as possible, trying not to awaken my sleeping husband and two granddaughters. I'd like to awaken them, because we're going home once everybody's up. And if going home twere done, then twere well twere done quickly (my apologies to Shakespeare and Lady McBeth). However, as a lifetime member of the early risers' club, I've learned that some sleeping dogs are better left laying. (Geesh, what's wrong with me this morning?)

Breakfast at this motel starts at 7 A.M. on the dot. I've been needing coffee since 5:30, but I held off. Finally the time came, and I got myself a cup and came back to the motel room, only to realize this motel coffee tastes like recycled stump water.

I tried to force myself to drink it, but finally I broke. Remembering a McDonalds around the bend and across the road, I grabbed my billfold and silently crept out into the early-morning Branson traffic; I needed my daily walk, anyhow.

But I was hardly out of the parking lot when I spotted a Krisby Kreme shop next door. They'd have coffee, right?

I hate to tell this story on myself: I walked in, saw "coffee: $7.99" and thought that meant per cup. After making a hasty exit, I realized the sign also said "fresh-ground or whole-bean", and it hit me that price was a per-pound, roast coffee price. Please remember, I hadn't had a shot of caffeine yet, so my mind was very cloudy.

The lines at McDonalds, both at the drive-through and inside, were unbelievably long; but having ventured this far, I was determined to have myself a real cup of coffee, so I waited for the one employee up front who was trying to meet the needs of many hungry folks.

Now I sit here sipping on my large McDonalds coffee with three creams and realize it doesn't touch the goodness of my Starbucks fresh-ground coffee at home. It is, however, greatly superior to what the motel offers.

I can't wait to get home to my prized little hand coffee mill (that cost something like $75) and my flavorful coffee beans ($17 for less than three pounds at Sam's Club), which I never grind until just before I brew my coffee.

I wasn't always a coffee snob. Oh no, not until I stumbled upon the blog of a man named Ariel who mostly posts about basketball (in which I have no interest at all) but also writes about Church-planting (an endeavor I admire, but probably will never have a part in) and, once in a blue moon, he blogs about coffee. That's the part that's done me in.

The funny thing is this: When I first began grinding my coffee, Cliff didn't see the big deal: "Doesn't taste any different to me," he snorted.

I normally wake up at least two hours ahead of him (he works evenings); so I'd make my freshly-ground coffee, drink it all, and, when he was up, I'd make his Folgers... the only coffee we'd ever used in our entire married life.

One morning he woke up in time to have one cup of my special coffee before I made his Folgers. That's when he noticed the incredible difference, and now he's a convert too.

A.J., you ought to be ashamed, corrupting two old fogies like us.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Somebody, who knows who, directed my attention to this blog.

I saw an entry entitled "From Rwanda: Girls singing in Church".

I watched the video, and it made me wish I could attend a church service in a meeting-house that simple and be able to hear music that was that joyful.

Girls Singing in Church in Umutara, Rwanda from jen lemen on Vimeo.

Random unrelated photos

That's the sunrise, as seen yesterday from just outside my back door. At the old, two-story house, you had to walk to the pasture to get the full view of a sunrise...

or a sunset.

Cliff now has a new helper; that's his sister, Rena, driving the tractor.

An electrician made a quick visit to get my electric dryer up and running. When Sadie heard an electrical-sounding "snap", she ran to the farthest point away from the noise she could find... behind the guest bed against the wall. I finally coaxed her out about a half-hour later.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A blast from the past

In the process of moving, I unearthed a group of pictures from 1978 to 1980. I have very few pictures from that period, so I was elated to find these.
That's me on my horse, Lad, around 1980.
If I had to choose one dog to keep forever, it would be Suzie. How we loved that mutt. We think she crossed the highway chasing a rabbit and was struck and killed by a car. Cliff and I returned from a walk to find her lifeless body beside the road. We'd had her for perhaps four years. The kids loved this three-wheeler. The daughter's best friend, the local Baptist preacher's girl, broke her arm riding this thing. And tried to cover it up from her family. And then lied about how it happened so she wouldn't get in trouble with her parents for riding the three-wheeler. I spilled the beans.
My mom always made the kids unique birthday cakes. This was my son's "keep on truckin" cake. Must have been around the time of "Smokey and the Bandit". We had a friend named Tom with an in-ground pool back then. I think both kids learned to swim there.

That's Cliff with his mom and dad and siblings. Both parents have long-since passed, and also his brother Warren (bottom right).

Monday, June 09, 2008

Strange sight in the rain

Granddaughter Natalie and I saw something in the yard at noon today that made us both laugh out loud and sent me running for the camera.

It's a monster!!!

Oh, wait. It's Cliff in shorts and work shoes with a trash bag over his head to keep from getting soaked in the rain.

He had to laugh when he realized he was being photographed. Bless his heart, he puts up with a lot of humiliation, being married to a blogger.

More than one way to haul hay

We've had rain come along at frequent, inconvenient intervals lately. Inconvenient if you have hay to harvest, anyhow. Cliff got our alfalfa put up without a hitch, but it's been impossible to get the orchard grass/clover patch done. The orchard grass has already gone to seed; the clover would be OK for hay except it's grown so tall and tangled, the mower really struggles to get through it. In fact, a belt on the mower couldn't stand the strain Saturday; it broke, which stopped the mowing abruptly. Tractor dealers aren't open after noon on Saturday, so there was no replacing the belt right then. Cliff has plenty of things to do these days, so he simply went on to other items on his "to-do list".

The hay needs to stay dry and cure for two or three days. Sunday afternoon the forecasters began calling for lots of rain; Cliff decided that certain portions of the mowed hay could be baled, and started in, with help from a couple of neighbor boys. It's easier to recruit young men to help if there's a four-wheeler involved: I'm guessing that's why they're using that instead of a tractor, but there may be other factors involved. Cliff's asleep, so I can't ask. Click on the pictures to make them larger.

This picture was taken right out my back door. Obviously, Cliff still has dirt work to do in the back yard. But I love that I can see the hayfield from the house.

I actually took this shot from inside. Some hay-wagon, eh?

We got almost two inches of rain overnight, so it's good that Cliff and the boys salvaged some of the hay. Of course, there's still hay to cut, although the quality deteriorates a little every day.

Things I love about living "out behind the barn":
1. It's so QUIET! I barely hear road noises at all here, even motorcycles.
2. I don't have dogs in the yard all the time. I've only seen one dog, the neighborhood retarded boxer, approach the place a couple of times. I can play Frisbee with Sadie without worrying that she'll see a stray dog and run off chasing it.
3. The dust storm that's raised each time a vehicle rounds the curve on our gravel road doesn't make it back here.
4. I can often look out the window and see my horses.
5. I don't have kids cutting through the yard, looking in the windows.
6. The solitude. I used to love that poem with the line, "Let me live in a house by the side of the road and be a friend to man...".

These days, my attitude is this: "Let me live in a house far from the road; and please stay off my land."

Yeah, I'm a hermit. More so with each passing year.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

A cheap giveaway... or a trip down memory lane for some

Sorry about the sideways picture; it isn't like that on my computer, but I guess you'll just have to tip your head sideways to read the covers. Click on the picture to see more detail.

I checked Ebay; these old 1984 Rock magazines aren't worth that much; but they're in such good condition that I hate to toss them if somebody would love to have them.

They belonged to my son; none of my family that I've asked wants them.

So, if you are a reader and would like to have them just for a trip down memory lane, I'll send them to you. I'll pay the postage.

Perhaps nobody's interested. But just in case more than one of you wants these relics, tell me why you'd like to have them; the person with the best reason for wanting them gets them. If you're unable to leave a comment, send me an email at

This is also on my AOL journal, because I'm hoping some 38- to 43-year-old person is a packrat like me and loves going down memory lane. Yes, I do have a few readers in that age group besides my two kids.

I found a wonderful cooking blog!

If you're always on the search for new recipes, or variations of old favorites, you'll enjoy Val's Cooking Blog. I've been reading her other blog for some time, but only just took the time to check this one out. Hers are simple, down-to-earth recipes that anyone can use. Mostly what I'd call good old country cookin'.

Son-in-law Kevin, master of the barbecue grill

Yesterday we had a family barbecue in honor of my husband's youngest sister's birthday (she turned 50 this week) and I was desperately looking for the Pineapple Upside-down cake recipe that used crushed pineapple rather than pineapple rings. Had I searched on Val's cooking blog, I'd have found it. Alas, I opted for carrot cake instead. Oh well, there'll be cake needed at other events.

After eating, Cliff and the grandkids, as well as some neighbor boys, enjoyed his sister's four-wheeler.

Cliff's older sister (Rena), the one moving into our old house, spent the whole day (with immense help from younger sister Charlene) unpacking boxes that have been stored in Cliff's shop all week. Cliff will soon have his shop back!

I have to tell you, for a group of siblings who come from as dysfunctional family as you'll ever see, these people pull together and help one another like nobody I know.

Friday, June 06, 2008

And now... a GOOD word about Embarq

Even though my phone service and Internet have been coming through a 500-foot wire strung across my old yard, at least I've had a phone. And more importantly, Internet. It must be obvious to my readers that I spend plenty of time on the Internet. Hey, my kids are grown, I'm retired, and it's cheaper than many hobbies.

Around noon today, my Internet stopped working. I did the usual reboot routine: turn off and unplug the DSL modem, turn off the computer, wait two minutes, etc. etc. In fact, I did this four times. The Internet light refused to come on.

One thing about it, Embarq techs are usually very good at fixing things like this, so I dialed the number for Internet technical help. A recorded voice asked me to punch in my phone number with area code, as always. That's when I got a recording telling me that the status on my work order was delayed; the voice thanked me for my patience, and that was that. I was disconnected.

Hmmm. Obviously if I wanted to speak with a tech, I'd have to go in through the back door. I dialed the same number again, only this time I made up a phone number. After trying to get me to give them a different number a few times, I finally got a real person. A very nice real person.

Of course I had to explain the whole thing about how I'm temporarily working off a line from the old house, it's strung through the yard, blah blah blah; but it's been working fine for me until noon today.

She told me I might be on hold awhile; after waiting about five minutes, I noticed the Internet light on the modem was on, and clicked Firefox. It worked! I had Internet.

The lady was soon back, and I told her it was working. She said techs had changed some settings on the line.

"You've made my day," I told her.

"We at Embarq are trying to improve our service, so I'd like to ask this: Would you recommend Embarq to a friend?" she asked.

"You're asking me at a really bad time," I replied. "But after my experience with you, my opinion of Embarq is somewhat better; so maybe when all this mess is over, I would recommend you guys after all."

Oh, notice on yesterdays post where I complained about Embarq, an Embarq representative left a comment.

Blog power!

Sadie's new friend

I suppose you'd call them cousins, Sadie and Angel. Sadie's my dog, Angel belongs to Cliff's sister.

Because of a pending divorce, Rena has moved lock, stock and barrel from Wisconsin to Missouri, so she'll be around her family. It's been a tremendous physical and emotional upheaval for her, and having Angel with her has been her salvation.

When Rena comes to visit, Angel also comes. The first thing she wants is a hug from me; then she begins playing with Sadie. I videoed them this morning.

Two dogs playing

Thursday, June 05, 2008


I've spent much of my afternoon on the phone with Embarq.

On May 14, the telephone man came to hook up a phone at our new location. Now, I had told various Sprint employees that we had to have a line run, that our new home is in a location where there's never been a house or a phone. I could tell it wasn't computing with them, but whatever.

The telephone man was supposed to arrive between ten A.M. and noon that day. He finally showed up around 4 P.M., after I made many calls to Sprint. See, they had already turned off DSL and telephone service at the old house. When I called to see why I had no service, they said, "Oh, that's been switched to the new location."

Yeah, the new location with no telephone lines at all. How's that gonna work?

The telephone man ran 500 feet of wire on the ground from the old house, across our back yard behind the shop to the trailer, and had the phone company switch my service back to the old house.

He explained that they'd have to run lines under the road and up here (duh) and he filled out a work order for May 25. When nobody showed up by May 27, I called, but that call was mysteriously disconnected about the time I started raising my voice. Hmmmm.

So today, over two weeks after the 500 feet of line was placed across our yard (very unhandy when Cliff's mowing the yard) I called again. This time even the customer service person seemed shocked at how long it's been, and said they'd have the contractor who does excavation for buried lines call me. Which he did.

He says it's the rain preventing him. Which seems strange, since you could have tilled in the garden most days this week. Yes, we've had some rain, but not that much. Oh, and he just received my work order one week ago. He does live in Springfield, Missouri, about 165 miles from here; so he covers a wide area. Some nearby towns got seven inches of rain a couple of nights ago, while we only got 4/10 of an inch. The guy says he hasn't been able to work all week and is going to work Father's Day weekend; by the time I hung up, I was feeling sorry for him. At least I do have a telephone and Internet, so far.

I will say, this puny line has been working for me. The telephone man who strung it across the yard told me my DSL probably wouldn't work like this, but so far it hasn't failed me (knock wood).

Anyhow, the contractor said he'd do his best to get the line in next week.

I've fought this issue for so long, it's getting to the point that I don't much care. As long as my Internet works, that is.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


So, this the first summer in my whole life when I've had air conditioning. I think I have it pretty well figured out: 78 degrees during the day and 75 at night. I'm loving it.

My sister-in-law who is living in my old home, purchased a window unit yesterday, and hubs and I got it going today; so she's cool now, too.

Cliff needs to mow hay but it rains every day. Bummer.

I want to go for a long horseback ride, but rain threatens constantly... plus there's so much to do when you've moved. Bummer.

The exterminators got rid of most of our ant problem, but I'm seeing an occasional ant; so I think I'll have them give the place one more treatment at the end of the month.

Oh, and Cliff and I haven't gone for a motorcycle ride in FOREVER, because of all the moving activity. I hope to remedy that situation soon.

On the bright side: as far as I know, neither of us has cancer. And my animals seem to be healthy. Also my grandchildren.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

movin', movin', movin'

My sister-in-law is moving into our old house while she recuperates from the whole divorce process... which isn't over yet, by the way. She has lots of heavy stuff out in our shop just waiting to be moved to the house, so every time somebody with substantial strength comes by, Cliff puts them to work. Here you see our son-in-law pitching in to move Rena's hide-a-bed sofa. Very, very heavy, and awkward to get through doors.

Here they come!

Cliff's in the lead, they're almost to the door.

It'll only go through the door if you turn it just so.

Cliff's almost 63, but lately I'd call him Superman.

Of course, even Superman has to rest sometimes.

The sofa was a piece of cake to move, compared to the tanning bed they had to take up a flight of stairs in order to find a spot for it.

Greetings to a new reader, Tana, who discovered this blog and, upon seeing the picture on the last post, realized she is a neighbor to Cliff's brother, Don, and left a comment.

I guess that means I'll have to watch what I say about my sister-in-law when I'm blogging. (Of course I jest. :-x )

Tana, next time you see Don, tell him he might be done moving Rena, but Cliff is still at it.