Saturday, February 28, 2009

It was a good day

Although our guests of honor didn't make it, we had plenty of people to share our dinner. At one point I got so sleepy I laid on my bed and slept for awhile, but then I awoke refreshed.

The roads, I hear, were horrendous out here; that's why the nephew, who lives in Peculiar, decided to cancel. We have about five inches of snow outside.

Eight degrees tonight for a temperature reading. I think this is Old Man Winter's last gasp. Then the usual spring tornadoes and thunderstorms can begin.

It's been a slow day for my Google reader; I guess the snow slowed everyone down.

And that's about the extent of my day.

I sent Remo and Jon a political email that I think they'll both love.

Remo left a comment yesterday saying, "I seriously want to make a road trip after I retire and stop in all the little towns and say "HI" to everyone. Have lunch, see the sights, get arrested."

We'll leave the light on for ya, Remo. My daughter and I would absolutely love to meet you. Now, it's pretty hard to get arrested in our little town. The most notorious recent criminals went swimming in the water tower that provides the town with water... I'm not sure you can top that, but you're welcome to try. It even made the Kansas City news. Oh, and the only way you'll have lunch in this town is to eat at my daughter's house... or mine, but I'm not exactly in town. Or we can go eight miles east and find places to eat.

I won!!!!!

Both first- and second-place winners get a gift certificate toward a rocking horse, and I got second place. Check it out HERE.

While you're at it, go over to A Rocking Horse To Love and look at the great selections I have to choose from.

I'm so excited!

Thanks to everyone who voted for my picture, especially the gang from Tractor Tales. I am sure that's where at least half my votes came from.

Snowy morning

The weather-guessers guessed right this time: they've forecast two to four inches of snow. It's still coming down. So pretty and still!

I don't know who won that contest. If you look at the results now, I came in second. But I think I may have gotten several of my votes after the deadline. Whatever happens, it was fun.

I may not be on the computer much today; I'm fixing dinner for Cliff's nephew and his family, and since I was cooking anyhow, I invited the son-in-law and however many of his kids want to come. And of course the oldest grandson, who loves to eat. And Cliff's sister who lives next door. So it's a big cooking day for me!

We'll have roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, Old Settler's beans, and home-made rolls. Now we're going to need something green in there, and I didn't plan ahead very well. The only green stuff in the freezer of which I have enough is peas, and lots of people don't like peas. However, to round out the meal, I will probably fix peas. Or maybe peas and carrots.

I've made my sister's lemon pie for the first time today. Of course I licked the pan, and it was so good! Nephew Scotty loves cherry cheesecake, so I always try to make that when he's here. I had an extra pie crust, so I also made a pumpkin pie. And Cliff's sister baked a cake.

I wonder why Cliff and I can't lose weight? Seems like every weekend there's some sort of pitfall that deters us from healthy eating!

Anyhow, I'll check in when I can.

Friday, February 27, 2009

It ain't over till the fat lady sings, and I ain't singin' yet

How typical of me to overlook this: There will be THREE winners in that "horsing around" contest! First place and first runner up get a rocking horse. The third winner will be selected randomly.

Right now I'm third, which probably means I won't get anything. But if any of you can wring a couple of votes out of someone, I might come in second and STILL get a horse.

Got any neighbors or relatives who haven't voted?

Send them over there to vote for #2! Horsing around

My problems with curtains

I am having a problem finding a couple of valances the right color.

Yesterday I bought curtains at Walmart for one window, figuring I might use it in the computer room.

When I draped the curtains across my new couch, though, it was a darned good match.

The trouble is, we don't want curtains over the living room windows. One thing we absolutely love about our trailer house is how light-and-bright it is, which is something you cannot say about the old house. So a valance at the top works great, along with the blinds.

However, there were no valances in this pattern and color at Walmart.

And the blue ones just will not do. I can put up with our two old blue Lazy-boys, but those valances are totally out of place. Sorry about how dark the picture looks: Since I was aiming at the window, the flash wouldn't activate.

This wall hanging doesn't work so well over the new couch, either. It's very special to me, because a wonderful blogger friend in Maine made it at my request. I think it'll look just fine if I put some distance between it and the couch.

So I'll put that clock somewhere else and put the hanging above this blue chair.


And this picture, which has been on the kitchen wall, will go above the couch.

Now if only I can find the proper valances for those two windows.

Oh, thanks to all of you who voted for my picture at Five Minutes For Mom. I'm falling behind pretty fast now, but it was surely fun trying! Honestly, I expected someone to overtake me on this last day; I've had enough Ebay experience to know that's the smart way to play. Consider this my concession speech. I'll give credit where credit is due tomorrow.

I've been in WHOSE bedroom?

I just came from that Oregon guy's blog, and what he wrote absolutely cracked me up. He said he found me in his bedroom on YoVille. Check it out HERE. Don't forget to read his comment section; sometimes that's the best part.

I'm still laughing.

By the way, I have no recollection of being in his bedroom. I must have been sleep-walking.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Here's what I love about the Internet

In real life, I would never have met a cop in Arizona, or a prison guard somewhere in Missouri, or an ex-jailbird in Kansas City who sometimes gets writer's block. Or a guy who makes his living in television, or a lady who works in advertising.

Never would I have crossed paths with some Russian Jew in Kansas City. I'm not the type to hobnob with a doctor's wife who winters in Arizona; or for that matter, Muslims or writer/musicians in Texas.

I always steered clear of ladies who worked in HR at any place of business. They are the enemy, right?

And some stranger in Oregon? I don't even have a clue how I ended up talking to him!

That's the wonder of the Internet: Class barriers are meaningless here. It's safe, as long as you know how to use some discretion.

I won't even mention the gays and lesbians I've met through blogs; I just don't have opportunity to get out and meet a huge mix of people (not to mention that I'm a hermit) in my everyday life; geesh, I don't even drive. But here on the Internet? You bet! Can you believe they're all just as ordinary (maybe more so) as you and I?

Ninety percent of the blogs I read are written by folks I'd expect to meet in real life; we share common ground, and travel in the same sorts of circles. But those I've mentioned here? NEVER in a million years would I have expected to have verbal exchanges with them.

I'm not talking about blogs like Pioneer Woman, whose readership numbers in the thousands. I'm talking about people on whose blogs I comment, and who comment back from time to time, or at least peek at my blog.

Is this not amazing? Barriers fall down on the Internet. Wouldn't it be lovely if the real world were like that? If we could just sit down and have discussions without preconceived notions getting in the way?

Perhaps all of us are not so very different after all.

One more thing

That photo contest over at Five Minutes for Mom ends tomorrow. You know, the one in which I entered a picture of my granddaughter, Natalie, with my horse, Blue.

I'm way out in front, but tomorrow is the last day. Some folks may have been wise enough to hold off on voting until the last day. You know, like on Ebay... you don't show your hand until the last few minutes.

So if you haven't voted for my picture, get on over THERE and vote!

It isn't life or death. I (or should I say my husband) can afford to buy a rocking horse for that little girl. But wouldn't it make for a lovely story to pass on down to the next generation, how Internet friends helped me win a rocking horse for my first great-grandchild?

I bought some things to plant today

Yes, I bought three pounds of seed potatoes (Kennebec), some onion sets, and a couple of perennial flowers to set out.

The lady checking me out at Orscheln's looked askance at one plant I bought, the one labeled "Hummingbird Vine".

"Hmph," she snorted. "That's just a trumpet vine. It will spread everywhere."

I wondered if I should just tell her to keep it, but I responded, "So you're telling me to be very careful where I plant it?"

"I'd say so," she snorted.

Obviously this woman has had some serious problems with the plant.

My regular readers know all about my intimate relationship with Google.

The lady was right, as you can see
HERE. I guess I'll not plant it near the house amongst all my other flowery plants.

I hope I remember to thank that woman next time I'm in Richmond.

I always miss something at the grocery store

Cliff's brother's oldest son, one of my favorite relatives, is going to be here Saturday with his son.

Scotty loves cherry cheesecake, so I'll be making that to top off a roast-beef-and-mashed-potato dinner with accompanying home-made rolls. The son-in-law and some grandchildren are invited, so I'm thinking one cherry cheesecake pie won't be enough to go around.

I've decided to attempt making my sister's wonderful lemon pie, so when we shopped today, I bought two lemons.

I got the recipe out a while ago and noticed that it also calls for lemon extract.

I'm pretty sure I don't have any of that.

Why didn't I look at the recipe before I went to Walmart?

Hello out there

The house is a mess. We did some shopping this morning (NOT more furniture), and I haven't even put up everything I bought. I've been distracted, not to mention driven half-crazy, with my Grace Internet radio. See my kitchen table, with everything from seed potatoes and onion sets to animal crackers on it? It's been that way for hours. You might notice the full trash can back there, too.

That's where I've spent half my time today. The other half of my time has been here at the computer, configuring settings... apparently incorrectly.

I had very little trouble getting my Pandora stations to play on the radio, and that was the main reason I bought the thing; but after reading the book, I understand I can play songs on there that are on my computer!

Alas, I haven't had any luck with that yet. It looks like one of those challenges my daughter might love, but after a dozen failed attempts, I quit.

There are over 5,000 stations available on the radio itself. Name any country in the world: You can find radio stations from that country! That makes finding a station I want is a daunting task. Although with Pandora it really isn't necessary, since I can tailor the music there to my taste on stations, and play any station on the Grace radio.

Cliff, on the other hand, is enjoying our DVR. He told me, "This is another one of your hair-brained schemes I'm going to love!"

That's him trying out a chair yesterday at the first place we looked. It isn't the one we bought, but it is the same size.

As for those of you wanting to see pictures of our furniture, you'll have to be patient. Not only is the house a mess, but I have some wildly mismatched colors right now. I'm going to have to move some things around and perhaps add others.

Wish me luck, because I'm about as far from an interior decorator as a person can get.

The things I learn from local blogs!

You just can't make some of this stuff up:

Jackson County medical examiners ruled cause of death for a man as natural causes. It took the undertaker (after the body was embalmed) to discover he had two bullet-holes in his head. (I got this news item from Tony's Kansas City.)

Where's CSI's Grissom when you need him?

And from the Plog: A Kansas City man took his computer to the tech guys, they found evidence the guy had been window-peeking, groping, making home movies and bothering under-age kids. Good guys that they are, they turned him in.

If you're into child porn, don't take your computer to reputable folks for repair.

Great day yesterday, but costly

Cliff took a vacation day yesterday, since the forecast was for near-seventy temperatures and the wind wasn't going to be hurricane-force: In other words, it was a great day for a motorcycle ride.

I printed off those Quiznos coupons for a free sandwich: One for me, one for Cliff. They put your name on your coupon, and you have to show I.D. That's to prevent one person from printing off multiple coupons and eating free for a month.

Then we were on our way.

We first went south to pick up the old laptop, which the computer-geekie guy fixed so it would quit freezing every time I tried to run the antivirus. We came back home to use the facilities and leave the laptop, then headed east; there's a furniture store we've often patronized eight miles from here, and we were in the market for a new Lazy-Boy recliner for Cliff. He's never been comfortable with his old worn-out one; says it's too big. We browsed, Cliff tried out various ones and found the one he wanted; we also admired and tried out some Lazy-Boy couches, but our old couch was just fine; checked out box springs and mattresses. Told the guy we'd probably be back in a day or two.

By this time it was noon, and we chose a back way to Blue Springs so we could eat our free lunch. There was no problem finding the Quiznos. Now normally, when Cliff and I eat out, we ask for water as our drink, simply because soda can add an appreciable sum to the tab. But we agreed that would be a low-down, cheapskate thing to do, since the meal was free otherwise. We ordered a small drink, and our free meal became a three-dollar meal. No biggie. We're pretty sure we prefer Subway sandwiches, though, now that we've tried Quiznos.

"Since we're in Blue Springs anyhow," I suggested, "let's see what kind of prices Brown's Furniture has on Lazyboys."

Cliff agreed that was a great idea, so after we'd stopped at McDonald's for dessert (ice cream cones) and coffee, which doubled the cost of our free lunch, we browsed through more furniture. The chairs and couches there were twenty per cent cheaper than those we'd seen at the other store. We bought a Lazy-Boy couch along with the recliner, because we haven't had enough comfortable places for people to sit when we have company. The price of a free lunch just skyrocketed.

We rode home, exchanged the motorcycle for the car and a trailer, and went to get our purchases. Cliff called our daughter to offer her our perfectly good seven-year-old hide-a-bed couch, called a couple of muscular neighbor boys to help move furniture in and out, and I'm now stuck with the problem of matching curtains and pictures to our new furniture. Who knows how much that will cost?

Thanks, Meesha, for the Quiznos tip. You've cost us a cotton-picking fortune.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Oh well

Due to unexpected circumstances, my Thursday Thirteen entry is way down yonder under plenty of other posts.

To see my Thursday Thirteen for this week, click HERE.

More stuff from my mom

I'm just about done with the strolls down memory lane, at least for this round of reminiscences. It's supposed to get up around 70 degrees today; Cliff may have put in for the day off to ride the Honda.

I've put the old yellowed memories away for now, but I'll show you just a few more things that take me back into the past.

This was on a page of Mother's 1930 diary; I wonder if it's the same recipe she used over the years. I've never made divinity, it seems like too much trouble; but I did enjoy hers every year at Christmas.

Mother went through a phase of entering me in any singing contest available. I remember this one well: a little boy from my one-room school and I sang a duet, "Mr. And Mississippi"; we had patches on our clothes, and the boy had a hobo bundle on a stick, to carry over his shoulder. We'd alternate verses and then sing the chorus together. I still remember all the words to that song.

See? There I am, number 9! I have a feeling I wasn't as talented as Mother thought I was, since I don't recall ever getting first place. Or second or third, even.

I found this picture of myself that I don't recall ever seeing before, probably because my hands look awkward and I'm not smiling hugely; so perhaps it was never framed and put on display. I must have been around three years old, judging by the amount of hair. It took me a long time to have enough hair so that people knew I was a girl.

This next one is really a whole story in itself: In 1962, Mother went to the bathroom to urinate, got up, and happened to look down before she flushed: she saw blood. A lot of it. She went to our wonderful Dr. Edwards, who referred her to a urologist. He discovered a polyp in one of her kidneys and had her admitted to the old Kansas City Osteopathic Hospital.

Tests were run, and it was discovered that her other kidney wasn't functioning well enough for the cancerous one to be removed. She was sent home to die, it would seem.

I don't recall how the whole process went, but I do know Mother decided not to accept the death sentence. She went to K.U. Medical Center where her kidney was removed. The cancer was contained in that one kidney, so it hadn't spread. That wrist band is from her stay in K.U., and Dr. Burroff was the man who did the surgery.

She recovered from that surgery in time to watch me graduate, and her remaining kidney served her well until her death in 2004, forty-two years later. I have no idea whether Osteopathic Hospital was wrong about her remaining kidney, or if prayers were answered that jump-started it. People of all denominations had Mother on their prayer lists; I recall a Catholic neighbor telling us she was asking St. Jude for help.

And now, back to the present.

Free food!

Maybe I'm the only person who didn't know about this promotion, but just in case I'm not: Meesha alerted me to the Quiznos promotion in his blog, and I figure I should pass the favor along. Now go print yourself a coupon for a free sub HERE. I printed one for both me and Cliff.

I don't believe we've ever patronized Quiznos, so I had to use the locate portion of their website. Looks like Blue Springs is the nearest one to us; that's a twenty-five-mile trip. Of course, if we ride the motorcycle, miles don't matter!

We've always patronized Subway because we find it easy to keep the calories in check there. I can't seem to find any nutrition information on the Quiznos website. That won't stop us from redeeming our free coupons, though!

By the way, it might have been just my printer, but the coupons really took their time at being produced; the printer didn't start for awhile, and it paused a lot. So if you think yours aren't going to print, hang in there.

Thanks, Meesha!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What to expect as you get older

Not that anybody will pay attention to my warnings, because plenty of older folks warned me and I was too busy enjoying life to pay attention at all; and that's how it should be. Why waste your good years dreading the bad ones?

I don't have what you could call crippling arthritis. My knees are shot, but I refuse to have replacements unless I can't walk. Why? Because I've heard too much about staph infections and blood clots... even from my orthopedist, who also told me that when you have replacements, there's a danger of infection setting in at that site at any time.

If I'm going to take all those risks, I'd better be crippled first.

I can walk with Cliff every day, although I walk slower than I used to, and going down hills hurts. I can walk for hours on a sight-seeing tour of a museum. Standing in one spot, though, as I have to do when I'm cooking a big meal, is mighty painful. I'm learning to sit down to do things I used to stand up to do. I wonder if that's why my grandma used to sit on a tall stool to peel potatoes, roll out dough, and so forth. Did she have bad knees?

I can't kneel without great pain. Of course, even if I had a knee replacement, I'd be told not to kneel. So, Dear Lord, whatever happens, You'll have to listen to me as I'm sitting on my butt.

The most painful thing of all for me is to bend over for long periods, like I have to do when picking beans in the garden, or planting seeds; I don't understand why this hurts my knees so badly, but it does. I plan to sit on an upside-down five-gallon bucket this summer when I'm harvesting my crops. If I have some crops.

Arthritis has invaded my left hand, at the base of my thumb, so now it hurts to chord my guitar. It even hurts to pick up a full glass of tea, and every once in awhile I almost drop my glass when I first pick it up. The pain isn't that extreme, mind you... just enough to remind me that I'll never be young again.

I have this pain in my left buttock that comes and goes (a genuine pain in the a**). Yep, old Arthur likes to spread the pain around.

Years ago, my Uncle Leo told me I was slumping too much, and that if I didn't make an effort to hold my shoulders back and stand up straight, I'd end up hunch-backed like Grandma.

I paid attention and made an effort to correct my bad posture. It worked, until the arthritis pain set in. I've noticed that when there's pain anywhere in one's body, it's hard to stand tall. You can't help giving to the pain. I'm sorry, Uncle Leo. It just hurts too much.

I hope this doesn't sound like a self-pitying rant, because I don't mean it that way. I enjoy life. I thank God for every day He gives me.

I'm just saying that I understand now what my mother, and others, told me back when I was young.

Enjoy your youth. If your body isn't hurting anywhere, thank the good Lord. It may not always be that way.

Pain, however, is better than the alternative. So far.

Thursday Thirteen: Edition "H"

1. Hormones: tell me about 'em. I've been through the ups and downs.

2. Heidi: The first "big book" I ever read. Loved it. After that I read "The Bobbsey Twins".

3. Honda: What can I say? We love our Gold Wing!

4. Harley: Cliff says if we win the lottery, we'll have a Harley too. Just for that macho noise it makes.

5. hearing aids: A gift for those who, like Cliff, can barely hear without them.

6. happiness: means different things for different people.

7. Harlen Howard: One of my all-time favorite country music songwriters!

8. Hot tub: I love mine.

9. Hawkeye: One of the best dogs you'll ever meet; he owns my daughter's family.

10. Hank Williams: He pretty much made country music what it is today.

11. habits: Some are good, some are bad. Hank Jr. had a song about habits.

12. Hepatitis A: Cliff and I both had a case of it when we were newlyweds; mine was mild. His was severe. I gave it to him. I have no idea where I got it, but the doctor said it was probably from a rest room. Ick.

13. headaches: The only time I have headaches is when I have a fever.

Want to play along? Great! Just be sure to leave a link to your entry at Izzy 'N Emmy.

Romance was blooming in 1932

My mom liked to save a souvenir of every single flirtation, real or imagined, that she had as a youth. Now I can understand her keeping these things as a young, single girl. But to know she saved them for her whole life just blows me away. They weren't forgotten; she knew where they were and what they represented, even as an old woman. I think perhaps that when she held one of these keepsakes, it brought back the carefree days of youth, and she remembered how wonderful it was to have the boys vying for her attention. Click to make the pictures larger.

A candy bar my dad gave my mom before they were married, and twelve years before I was born. Notice she even told the story on the envelope in which it was stored. Knowing how little they were paid, five cents for a candy bar was a pretty big investment!

I wonder what they were quarantined for.

She saved two things in this envelope: a burnt match...

and a cigarette, which is now only a cigarette paper. Raymond was my dad's younger brother. I think my mom was trying to decide which brother she liked back then.

One sad evening my mom was stood up, I don't know by whom; and she was driven to write a poem.

I'm glad I got around to scanning these things today, because they're getting pretty crumbly.

The worth of a hired girl in 1930

Mother went to work for Virgil Russell in 1930. She was a "hired girl", which means she did anything that needed doing: Washing, ironing, cooking, babysitting. I have a few pages from her 1930 diary where she had first started this job, and she wrote about how homesick she was. I believe she went home on weekends. Virgil Russell was a cousin to my father, and it was at this job that Mother met Daddy and his brothers; they worked for Virgil also.

These pages, though, are ones where she kept track of her wages. I don't know how they figured her time. It is obvious that Virgil often couldn't pay her in full. Click on them and you should be able to read them.

I'm going through stuff like this, deciding which should go on our family tree site. I hope you find it as interesting as I do.

My greenhouse

I'm really getting brave these days: I've actually invested in a greenhouse!

It only cost around $7. Then there's the cost of the seeds to consider. Still, it won't break the bank if this experiment fails.

The instructions look simple enough. I'm using the greenhouse to start my blight-tolerant tomatoes and a carnival-mix of sweet peppers that includes purple, yellow, green, black and red varieties. Oh yes, and I had five open little pots where I put marigold seeds, just because I didn't want them to be empty.

Here it is, all water-soaked and expanded, with at least one seed in each one. Wish me luck! I'm supposed to leave it out of direct sunlight until the seeds sprout.

I'm going to leave the "followers" feature on because of the comments I received about it. I did remove a couple of other things that nobody (even me) looked at anyway. The poll, of course, will leave in a day or two.

Now to find a spring-like header to replace the dogs in the snow.

And no, I didn't remove Sitemeter. I shrunk it and made some changes, but it's still there.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Cleaning up my blog

I've been wanting to take that "followers" thing off my blog for a long time. It isn't that I don't enjoy seeing all your lovely faces, but it clutters up my blog somewhat. And it's pretty meaningless, considering that I have more people reading my blog through Google reader than I have listed as followers here.

I'm telling you in advance so that you can either put me in Bloglines or Google Reader, or else save my blog to favorites, if you wish. I'll probably wait a couple of days before I remove the widget.

I think I'm going to remove Sitemeter, too, since I have Shinystat, which gives a lot of the same information. I have to say, Sitemeter has been a huge time-waster for me. I check it far too often, and I think I'll be glad to see it gone.

Even though I'm already having second thoughts.

And here's what Cliff's doing today

We had the Dish guy out today. We finally have DVR, so Cliff won't have to miss out on "The Closer" and other prime-time shows he likes that are on while he's at work.

Cliff headed to the woods to burn calories (we're both having terrible problems with our weight), sawing down what he calls "old snags" and trimming low branches off. The dogs and I took our usual walk after the Dish guy left, and found Cliff quite busy, talking to the trees as he decided which to eliminate.

Yes, he talks to the trees. Especially if they're ugly. He's been known to call them bad names, too.

More about weekend activities

Just a few odds and ends of things from the Trails Museum yesterday. This statue of Jim Bridger is just outside the museum.

These are quotes from, and about, the Mormons, many of whom transported their belongings in carts they pulled themselves.

All along the walk in the museum that takes you from Independence to California, there are quotes from letters written by the travelers. The notes written at the start of the journey are hopeful and happy. By the time the people got halfway to their destination, they were scared, lonely and miserable. Many lost family members to cholera, or accidents along the trail. The time came when they had to unload much of the food and many valuable possessions to lighten their loads. I imagine all my readers know about the Donner party.

According to a family legend, a man walked home with this rocking chair after he failed at finding gold in California. It was a gift for his wife.

Cliff and I figured it was a peace offering so he wouldn't have to hear her say, "You left me to take care off all these kids and fend for myself, and now you come dragging your sorry butt in here without a dime."

And he replies, "But honey, I walked 1,000 miles with this rocking chair perched on my head just for you! That's how much I love you."

I won't say I enjoyed this museum quite as much as the World War I Museum, but it was well worth our time and admittance fee.

An older man and lady were there to admit us. I told them the name of our little town, and the man said his parents had operated the little telephone line in our town until they saw World War II was approaching; then they moved to Kansas City and found jobs. I told him how I was raised in telephone offices until I was twelve. Small world, don't you think? This complete stranger and I had two things in common: a town, and our parents' professions.

Things on our future list of things to see include a visit to the Truman Library (we've been there before, but there's so much to see) and perhaps a tour of the Community of Christ headquarters. It's been too cold to ride the motorcycle, so we've been going to these places of interest by car. Should the weather warm up, though, those two are in areas where we wouldn't mind riding the Gold Wing.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Another Sunday outing

Today we visited the National Frontier Trails Museum. When the western part of the USA opened up after the Louisiana Purchase, Independence, Missouri was the starting point for the Santa Fe Trail, the Oregon Trail, and the California Trail. Later on, the Mormons started there too, but they chose a slightly different route due to persecution.

Just so you know I was there, I had Cliff take a picture of me in front of a mural.

This cracks me up. People familiar with Kansas City will have to laugh when they read that last paragraph: Westport hasn't changed a bit! Click on any of these shots to make them bigger.

Cliff's in this picture, standing up against the old depot. This was closed, probably for the winter. We peeked in the windows, though.

People not familiar with this area might find this spot of interest: It's the headquarters for the Community of Christ. I still think of them as RLDS. You can take a virtual tour HERE if you like.

My latest purchase

I have blogged about before; it's an excellent mode for listening to music geared to your own tastes: You create a station by submitting various songs and artists you like and Pandora adds similar music. If you don't like the song they're playing, you give it a thumbs-down and it's never played again.

I've often wished I could listen to Pandora in other rooms, while I'm doing housework. Right now, the only way I can do that is to turn up the volume on my computer, which of course makes it too loud in the computer room and not loud enough in the bedroom. Plus the fact that Pandora stops playing after a certain amount of time if you're not there to click and give it the go-ahead. Pandora wants you on the computer if you're going to use their band-width.

Thanks to my sponsor (over on the right) I had some money to spend, and I decided to use it toward the purchase of a Grace Wireless Internet Radio. I read the reviews on C-net, and they seem to be favorable.

So now I'll be able listen to Pandora without even turning the computer on! Let's face it, you can't find any stations that play Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie, Loudon Wainwright III, Chuck Brodsky, The Carter Family, Iris Dement, and Kasey Chambers. I don't know of anyone other than myself who even wants to listen to that combination of musicians.

That's what's so wonderful about Pandora: No matter how weird your taste in music, you can fashion a station to your liking.

I'll let you know how I like my Internet radio, once it arrives. This will be my answer to Cliff's XM radio!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I've designed my own tombstone

Design your own at tombstone generator, if you so desire. Or fashion a tombstone for an enemy. Of just make one to celebrate the burial of old grudges.

Have fun!

old memories

I was typing a story up to add to the family geneology website and realized it might make a blog entry, so here you go:

I learned many songs from my parents, but there’s one song I never heard from anyone except Mother. The way she sang it, it was entitled “In A Lonely Village Churchyard”.

She told me she learned it in Arkansas during a visit to Aunt Ada’s. Now, the old folks always said “Adie” for Ada, and “Emmie” for Aunt Emma, although my grandmother Clara wasn't known as "Clarie" for some reason; at least not to my knowledge.

Mother laughed at the memory of her cousins in Arkansas lifting up various floorboards in the house to gather eggs; it seems their chickens had free run under the house.

Aunt Ada’s family had a record player of some sort, no doubt a wind-up one. I don’t know if the records were the old cylinder kind, or the discs that came later. These days I think of so many things I would ask Mother if she were around.

Here are the words to the song Mother taught me:

“In a lonely village churchyard
There I see a mossy mound.
That is where my mother’s sleeping
In the cold and silent ground.

I was young but well remember
On the night my mother died
When she saw her spirit fading,
Then she called me to her side

Saying "Darling, I must leave you;
Angel's voice will guide you on.
There'll be no one left to love you
When your mother dear is gone.

Oft I wander to that church yard
Flowers to plant with tender care
On the grave of my dear mother:
Darkness finds me weeping there,

Looking at the stars above me,
Waiting for the day to dawn.
Angels watch while I am thinking
Of the resurrection morn."

After I got on the Internet and learned about Google, I tried in vain to find the words of the song and figure out who sang it. Finally I stumbled onto similar lyrics in a collection of Carter Family songs, only it was about a dead sweetheart instead of a mother.

Now I've studied A.P. Carter quite a bit, and I know he went back into the hills collecting folk songs, then changing them just a teeny bit to make them his own. That's very likely what happened in this case.

Check it out!

My cousin Pauline, who has so tirelessly worked on the family tree for years, keeps adding things onto the ancestry website that just bowl me over. This is the will of a great-great- (however many greats) grandfather who died in 1825.

My guess is that he wasn't very proud of Phillip and Henry. I realize fifty cents was a lot more money back then, but still.

As always, click on the will to make it larger.

Patrick's Saturday Six

Here are this week’s “Saturday Six” questions. Either answer the questions in a comment at Patrick's Place, or put the answers in an entry on your journal…but either way, leave a link to your journal at Patrick's Place so that everyone else can visit! 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. When you write a note to a friend, do you tend to write in cursive or manuscript? Very sloppy cursive

2. Think back to grade school when you learned how to write: which manuscript letter gave you the most trouble? I was never taught to print; Mrs. Eighmy, my first teacher, started us right out using cursive.

3. Did you find cursive easier than manuscript? Yes. See the answer to #2.

4. How do you type on a computer: the four-finger “professional” method, the “hunt and peck” method, or something in between? The "professional" method; I took typing classes in school. I do have to peek at the keyboard when using number keys, though.

5. Take the quiz: What’s Keyboard Key Are You?

You Are "enter"

Some people might try to say you're impulsive and rash.

You like to consider yourself decisive and committed instead.

You don't have a lot of trouble making very final decisions.

You trust your instincts, and you don't waver. You just go for it!

6. As a general rule, how often do you use the key mentioned in the answer to the previous question?

That's probably my most-used key!

Friday, February 20, 2009

The herb garden

Someone asked how my herb garden is doing.

Click on the image to make it larger. I'll plant more chives outside, once it's time, because there are only about five plants; that's not enough. There are only three sage plants, but if I remember correctly from my childhood, sage grows pretty big. Three plants may be plenty.

Dreaming of spring flowers

In the mail yesterday, I got a circular from Breck's, wanting to sell me something. I almost tossed the envelope in the trash without opening it, but for some reason I laid it on the table, next to the trash.

This morning I decided to see what sort of tulips anyone would be selling in the spring (I ordered tulip bulbs from them last fall).

This time they are selling astilbes, something I have not previously heard or read about.

Virtually pest-free. Loves shade.

I've been wondering what I'd plant on the north side of the house.

Yep, I ordered some.

Anybody had experience with this plant?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

worst-case scenerio

So yeah, times are hard.

Haven't you talked about what you'll do if worse comes to worse?

We have.

If the company where Cliff is employed goes under, he's old enough to get social security.

Mine and his social security, added together, come to less than $2,000 per month.

There's a little bit in his 401K. Not much.

Our only major payment is the house payment, but taxes and insurance could bury us.

What would we do?

Probably sell our property and go to some old-folks, low income housing. Or maybe there would be enough cash from selling our place to buy a property in some small town. We'd keep the motorcycle. Blue might have to go. Sadie stays with us.

We have to be prepared for any occurrence. We'll survive.

I come from a long line of survivors.

Check out my poll

Blogger polls weren't working, so I deleted the original and added a new one found VIA Google.

Please vote.

Feel free to comment if you want to.

Moles and polls

I just ordered a couple of Victor mole traps. For the past year or so, moles have been the worst I've ever seen. We don't have a prize lawn, but I'd like to at least keep my crab-grass yard level and even. I'm getting tired of tripping over mole hills and mole runs on the way to the mailbox.

Have any of you had experience with mole traps? If so, did they do the job?

Oh yeah, I added a poll over there on the right, but instead of the poll questions I get the message "Polls are currently not available, please come back later."

So I tried to remove it. No dice. It's stuck there for now, just like it is.

You folks be sure to come back and participate, if and when I ever get my poll fixed.

It actually showed up for a little bit, then *poof*, it was gone again.

OK, I went to Google and found a poll on my own, since Blogger polls haven't been working for the last several hours.

Now, vote.


Four days a week, Angel spends four or five hours at our house. She wouldn't have to, so long as I make sure she potties a couple of times; but Cliff and I have fun with her.

Considering Sadie is the typical "only child" and is often jealous of other dogs, these two get along pretty well. This morning they enjoyed sharing their patch of sunlight.


I was poking through the many pictures my cousin has added to our family tree site and came upon this one, a photo I had never seen. I'm glad I now have it, because it reminds me of all the years I milked cows.

It must have been taken in 1991 when Pauline, her husband, and their youngest daughter visited us. That's my mom's pickup truck parked in front of the mobile home in which she lived (our renters live there now).

For years I milked by hand, but by the time this picture was taken I was using bucket milkers. Cliff built that cart for me to transport all my stuff to the barn.

I never, ever wore shoes at home. The only reason I wear shoes these days is the curse of plantar fasciitis.

Yep, that's the real me. In 1991.

Thanks for the laugh, Pauline. When Cliff gets up, he's going to love this!