Saturday, October 31, 2009

My laugh for the day

I'm always checking my Site Meter to see what brings people here, their approximate location, how long they stay, and so forth.
Today I noticed someone from Bethany, Missouri, had found their way here; I have several relatives in that vicinity.
They had typed into Google my full name... the name I use on Facebook... along with the words, 'born slob".
Had to be one of my cousins. So, to any of my kinfolk in the Bethany area who stumble into these ramblings, welcome. I'm glad my reputation has gotten so wide-spread.
If I'm doing things right, the entries I'm doing of my mother's story should show up at 6 A.M. each morning until they're done. I have three more portions typed up and ready to go. Wait until you read her lecture on virginity!
It's a sunny day, still somewhat cool, but pleasant. I have potato soup made, and my stomach is growling. So I'm going to eat! Cliff is spending the day in the shop with his Oliver tractor; I told him to just come and eat when he's hungry.

My mother's story, part 2

Well, it looks like there's a demand for this story, so here is part two. These are my mother's own words, not mine.

After our evening meal and all the "first things first" were done, Mom would pop a dishpan-ful of luscious popcorn. A couple of we kids were sent to our deep dug cellar, or cave, to fetch seven apples from the barrel... just one apiece, and once a day. How we enjoyed our apple and popcorn on those long, cold evenings around the old wood heater. Dad always made the yearly trip to the big De Long Apple Orchard to buy our winter supply of apples stored in our food celar in barrels. The lovely apples were $1 a bushel. Dad also got lots of seconds, or culls, for 50 cents a bushel. We all worked with Mom to make canned apple sauce and mouth-watering apple butter and jelly to go on those buttermilk biscuits she made 365 mornings a year.
Mom always raised a big garden and canned lots of vegetables. There were no freezers in those days. The forty acres I was born and raised on was originally part of my Grandpa Stevens' 120 acres. My dad ended up in the early twentieth century with the home place. The old papers said Grandpa got the 120 acres for $40 in 1854; my father was born in a log house there, into a large family. In the late 1800's the log house burned down. A new one was built which also burned down, I believe in 1905. Then the four-room square house was built which housed our family; the place is owned by my youngest brother, Leo, now, so it's still in the Stevens name.
Another event that was extra eventful was butchering day. Dad usually butchered one hog a year for our meat. Of course, we ate lots of rabbits, squirrel, quail and chicken. But back to butchering: A metal barrel was pumped full of water and a fire built around the barrel early in the morning. When the water was boiling hot, the fat hog was shot or knocked in the head with a hammer, his throat cut so he could bleed good, then two big men would pull that hog up and down in the hot water; that's what we called "scalding" the hog. He was then put out on a board platform (like a low table) and everyone old enough scraped the hair from the skin of that hog. As a rule, that scraped hog came out very clean and white. It was usually butchered in cool fall or cold winter weather, and after the butchering would be chilled overnight, then cut up into hams, shoulders, and side meat. All scrap meat was put through a hand-turned meat grinder and made into sausage. There was lots of fat, which was cut in cubes and rendered or cooked down into lard, which everybody used to fry and cook and make delicious pie crusts. The cracklings were the left-over product after the fat was removed. People of the early twentieth century made lye soap from the cracklings, but it was a special treat for the kids and grownups alike to just nibble on.

Around 1920, my Uncle bought a new Model T Ford touring car. After three or four years, he wanted a new model; so he sold his old one to my dad. It would hold him, Mom, and five kids very nicely, so now we were really coming up in the world. The Ford cost $600 new, and I can't remember what my dad paid; but every Saturday we went in style to our closest town to buy groceries. Mother took her eggs and the cream she'd saved for a week from our chickens and milk cows. The eggs and cream about paid for our groceries, as everything was cheap then. If she had extra, she got what they called a "due bill", maybe for 20 cents or more; she'd carry it and use it on the next week's groceries. She usually bought a pound of mixed candy for us five kids for a nickel. I guess you'd call it our allowance; it's all the allowance we had.

My mother's Grandpa Smith, born in Pennsylvania.

My grandpa and grandma had turned their farm over to their only son, my mother's brother, and had moved into Eagleville, since Grandpa Smith was a carpenter and didn't farm any more.

My mother's Grandma Smith.
When we went to town on Saturday, it was so much fun to get to eat dinner at Grandma's house. She could cook those dry beans better than anybody I ever knew. Beans and potatoes were the main two things everyone ate in those days. The early half of the 1900's there was no fancy cooking. We always had pie or cobbler, or maybe cake on Sunday. Other times our dessert was usually a jar of home-canned fruit and maybe sugar cookies or molasses cookies. Most everyone raised a few rows of cane to have their own sorghum molasses for a year's eating. The molasses, mixed with home-churned butter, made a perfect spread of golden yellow; every family owned a churn.

My mother's story

My mom decided to write sort of a condensed autobiography several years ago, and it occurred to me that it might make an interesting read on my blog. It's pretty lengthy; if I end up doing the whole thing, I'll use several entries to share it. So, here's part one of "My Life In The Twentieth Century". I'll leave it in her words, although there are spots where I could edit to make it clearer. I added the pictures that are included.


I was born May twenty-fifth, 1912, on a Friday afternoon about 5 P.M., I was told. I have seen a lot of history unfold, as it's now 1996 and I am 84 years old. I was born at the country home of my parents, Benjamine Harrison and Clara Jane Smith Stevens, six miles west of the little town of Eagleville, Missouri in Harrison County in north Missouri.
An old Doctor Downing delivered me. He drove a one-horse buggy six miles from Brooklyn, Missouri, to be with my mother as she gave birth to her second child. Home delivery was the only method of having children in those days, and my mother always had long and labored childbirths. The doctor usually was there a couple days. My aunt, 1/4 mile away, came to be with Mom for the delivery. My sister, age 2 1/2, was taken to a neighbor's until the baby arrived.

We had an old wood-burning range in the kitchen to cook on and to bake our biscuits and corn bread, molasses cakes and cookies, and those loaves of savory home-made bread. Bakery bread was unheard of. When it was finally available, it wasn't sliced. A few years later, we knew sliced bread, as it was in the stores. Our living room had a square stand table in the middle of the room in summer and the old wood-burning stove sat in the center of the living room in the winter. Our house was a small, square house with four rooms. No closets, pantry or bathroom. We hung our clothes on heavy hooks behind our bedroom doors. The teens and twenties were known for long-sleeved and long-legged underwear and long black stockings. Knit caps and mittens, our mother knit from wool yarn. By 1922, the fifth member of our family of kids came along... seven of us now. We were only 1/4 mile from the old one-room school house, Walnut Grove district #42. We walked in the cold north Missouri wintertime to school. The ones who lived two miles away got to school many times with frozen feet or hands, or even frozen spots on their faces. The teacher would get them up close to the old, big stove and get them all thawed out before she got busy with her day of teaching eight grades in that one room. Also, all subjects.

Oh yes, our family grew. Two beds in one little bedroom, one in the other and a trundle bed that slid under a bed and pulled out at night. We were crowded, so Dad invited an old preacher. We kids thought he was old (likely 40 or 45) but he could do carpenter work real well. He came and stayed for two or three weeks to build an upstairs in our house. He also held a three-week meeting; so he cut, sawed by hand and hammered all day, and at night preached at the old Zion Church of Christ. The old church was only a few yards away, so we always walked to church. Before the Zion Church was old Mount Gilead in the 1900's. When the church had problems and some wanted the organ brought in, the church split. So Zion was built in 1903 by my Grandpa Smith. So Zion Church is where my sister, my three brothers and I were all brought up in the way of a true Christian family. My daddy loved our daily home devotions after a big day of work was done, and our evening meal was over and the dishes washed. We as a family sang two or three songs. As we grew old enough to read, we took turns reading from the Bible. We'd learn verses from that old King James Bible. Today that's the only way I know Bible verses and chapters to quote. At 84, I still hold to my Scriptures as I learned them. To me, the NIV Version is unknown tongue and very misleading.

(to be continued)

In a funk

For some reason I was in a funk yesterday. The wind was blowing so hard we could barely stand up when we took our walk; Cliff was in a grumpy mood (possibly because I was in a funk); it was gray, cloudy, and cold. Maybe I'm just dreading winter, or maybe my indecision about whether to see the orthopedist about knee replacement is getting me down.
Anyhow, yesterday was one of those rare days when I couldn't think of a thing I wanted to blog about.
The knee decision really does bother me; I personally know someone who got staph infection and almost died from the surgery to give him a new knee. I know people that weren't all that pleased with the results of their surgeries. On the other hand, I have ladies telling me how knee replacement changed their lives, got them mobile again and ended years of pain.
I'd say at its worst, my pain level is a three or four, unless there's a catch in one of my knees when stepping up, down or sideways. Then there's a second or two of level eight pain, but that is brief. The thing about the pain is that it's there all the time if I'm on my feet. So I find myself staying off my feet more all the time; this leads to weight gain, which isn't good for the knees either. Eat less you say? Easier said than done.
I don't expect any advice; I have advice from plenty of sources already. I just need to decide whether to take the plunge or not. My doctor doesn't really push me one way or the other; she tells me my options, explains everything bad that could possibly happen with knee surgery, and leaves it up to me to decide. Twice when pain became so severe I couldn't straighten or bend my leg, I've had meniscus repair that fixed the problem.
While I don't need any more advice than I've already received, I would appreciate a prayer or two for guidance in making this decision.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Spring forward, fall back

I found this unique reminder over at Patrick's Place. I hope my readers enjoy it as much as I did. Ladies, fasten your seat belts.

Ah, the country life for me

I haven't bought any milk since my Jersey cow, Bonnie, gave birth. I get plenty from her to supply me and Cliff and his sister Rena next door. I put her calf up overnight when I want milk, and next morning I take half of what she gives, leaving the other half for Sir Loin.
This is a sharp contrast to the way it was for all those years I milked cows and fed the excess to bottle calves and pigs. Back then I was forced to milk twice a day, rain or shine. But I was younger, and I really loved doing it. Now the calf takes care of the milk until I need some, which is about twice a week (we don't drink that much, but I skim the cream off for butter... and Cliff's sister uses some).
Because we've had problems getting the timing right with artificial insemination for Bonnie, we're going to take her to Cliff's brother's place for a visit with a Polled Hereford bull. She should come in heat Sunday, and if all works out, we'll bring her home Monday or Tuesday. Of course Sir Loin has to go along, to relieve her of her milk. We're also taking the brother-in-law's two whiteface heifers home; they're safely weaned now.
I was going to collect a gallon of milk this morning, to supply us while Bonnie's gone. There was a torrential downpour going on, so I put on coveralls and boots and got an umbrella. I took the usual small towel to wash her udder, plus a bath towel to dry her body on the milking side. Because I don't want rainwater running off a dirty cow dripping into my bucket of milk.
Bonnie has gotten to the point where she will "let down" her milk for me, without her calf being there. This is a good thing, because that Baby Huey of a calf butts at her and manages to drink his half of the milk in a minute flat, while it takes five minutes or so for me to get my gallon. I usually milk at least half-a-gallon out, then let the calf in while I finish milking my side.
But this morning Bonnie wouldn't let down her milk. Okay then, I'll let the calf in and fight with him for it, I says to myself.
He began butting at her udder like crazy; she wanted to kick at him to suggest he stop that, but that's her baby, right? So she lifted the back leg on my side. Oh, she didn't kick me; she wouldn't do that. But she kicked the bucket, getting barnyard muck on the edge of it and spilling what milk I'd collected.
We'll be buying a half-gallon of milk this week.
"Don't cry over spilt milk" comes to mind.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A message for Homesteading Today people

Over on the right sidebar is a link to a message board called Homesteading today. Because of that link, and because I have mentioned the forum in my blog a time or two, Google searches often bring people to this blog in search of Homesteading Today. Last time I checked, the link is broken.
In the past few days there have been more of those searches bringing people here, because a hacker totally did away with the Homesteading Today forum.
I found this out by using Google and ending up at a Facebook group for HT now; that site is keeping me informed on what's happening at the website. They seem to think they'll be up and running in a couple of days.
Meanwhile, if you're looking for Homesteading Today, just be patient; if you're on Facebook, do a search and "friend" them. You'll be kept in the loop that way.

From the Internet

I received this in email and immediately checked with It is, indeed, true. Perhaps most of you have already read this story, but it was a first for me.

Washington, DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007. The man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approx. 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing.. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.
4 minutes later:
The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

6 minutes:
A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

10 minutes:
A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.

45 minutes:
The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

1 hour:
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100. Only seven people stopped to listen and just one of them recognized the performer.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities. The questions raised: in a common place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made....
How many other things are we missing?

The Washington Post won a Pulitzer in the feature writing category for Gene Weingarten’s April 2007 story about this experiment.

disgusted and disillusioned

I get lots of political emails these days. I've always leaned to the political right, and so do most of my friends; so you can imagine which way the emails run.
Some of them are funny, and I enjoy those.
Some of them warn me it's the end-times, and we're all doomed.
Some tell me to write my congressman. Yeah, like he cares what happens to me. Those politicians are living on easy street, voting themselves raises anytime they please.
I've seen Obama blamed for everything from the crime rate to the weather.
I've pretty much decided I'm done voting, unless it's for a local issue that needs my attention. I believe it's a wasted effort. There's never a true choice between candidates.
I'm sick of watching the price of fuel go ever upward, while the government prints play-money that is worth less every day. I don't see a darned thing I can do about it, and it's depressing. So I try not to think about it.
I'm SO done with politics; I plan to make the most of today, because there may not be a tomorrow. I try not to think about what the world will be like for my kids and grandkids, because I see no way to change the course of world events, and the future is not a pretty picture.
The Bible says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Being "not anxious" is harder every day.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A slideshow

Looking through old photos, I found this set of pictures of me and my granddaughters playing on the railroad tracks adjoining our property. If you click on the four-arrow thingie at the bottom-righthand corner of the slide show, you can see it full screen; just hit the "escape" key to get out of the full-screen mode. The dog you'll see in the background is Mandy, may she rest in peace.

From the Internet (Cliff's cousin sent this to me)

And They Ask Why I Like Retirement!

Question: How many days in a week?

Answer: 6 Saturdays, 1 Sunday

Question: When is a retiree's bedtime?

Answer: Three hours after he falls asleep on the couch.

Question: How many retirees to change a light bulb?

Answer: Only one, but it might take all day.

Question: What's the biggest gripe of retirees?

Answer: There is not enough time to get everything done.

Question: Why don't retirees mind being called Seniors?

Answer: The term comes with a 10% percent discount.

Question: Among retirees what is considered formal attire?

Answer: Tied shoes.

Question: Why do retirees count pennies?

Answer: They are the only ones who have the time.

Question: What is the common term for someone who enjoys

Work and refuses to retire?

Answer: NUTS!

Question: Why are retirees so slow to clean out the basement,

Attic or garage?

Answer: They know that as soon as they do, one of their adult

Kids will want to store stuff there.

Question: What do retirees call a long lunch?

Answer: Normal .

Question: What is the best way to describe retirement?

Answer: The never ending Coffee Break.

Question: What's the biggest advantage of going back to

School as a retiree?

Answer: If you cut classes, no one calls your parents.

Question: Why does a retiree often say he doesn't miss work,

But misses the people he used to work with?

Answer: He is too polite to tell the whole truth.

QUESTION: What do you do all week?

Answer: Mon to Fri. Nothing, Sat & Sun I rest.

Monday, October 26, 2009

One thing and another

Just in case some of you are Pioneer Woman fans and missed it, you can catch her appearance on the Bonnie Hunt Show HERE. I have never watched that show, but as I was fast-forwarding to Ree's slot, I saw Dr. Greene, of E.R. I just saw him die on the show last week! He seems very genuine. And so does Ree Drummond.
I'm getting along fine with my Mac; oh, there's this one problem that makes me wonder what's going on; I downloaded Open Office, a word processing program. It works just dandy, but it has parked itself on my desktop looking like a little plug-in, and thinks it's a CD. When I try to remove it by dragging it to the trash, it tells me it can't be ejected because it's in use. I know I shouldn't find this hilarious, but I do! The little word processor that thinks it's a CD or DVD! It doesn't cause any trouble; it just sits there looking innocent, and I surf away to my heart's content.
I'm on the verge of making an appointment with my orthopedic surgeon; my knees are hurting enough lately that I find myself avoiding walking, even for small distances. Pain relievers provide me with no relief, even prescription ones; they never did, and I quit taking them years ago; OK, Vicodin relieves the pain, but who wants to be a junkie? Besides, I hate taking pills. I don't hurt when I'm in bed or sitting, although I have to be careful how I position myself or I'm in for a painful pop in one knee or the other; but the less I walk, the fatter I become. I'm sure some of you can relate.
Besides, right now I am insured where Cliff works, and I also have Medicare as my secondary coverage; I imagine it would be wise to do something while I have that much coverage.
If Dr. Strong asks which knee, I'll tell her to take her pick, because they both hurt equally. She won't do both knees at once.
Finally, one of my favorite commenters asked how long I've been blogging and chatting: I found the CTI chat room on AOL not long after I got my first computer, in 1998. It wasn't crazy like most chat rooms, I think partially because you couldn't get there directly; you had to go to a website, then click into chat. Also, it was an "over-fifty" and "Christian" room, so lots of troublemakers weren't interested. Don't get me wrong, though: there were plenty of trolls, especially toward the end. It got to the point of being like junior high, with people accusing others of having cliques, and plenty of gossip and petty jealousies. It turned me totally off the whole chat-room experience, and nowadays, even when the old group of people I care about very much gets together in a private chat, I don't take part. Chat rooms left a very bitter taste in my mouth.
Missing the interaction of the chat room, I haunted a few message boards. Guess what? There are trolls there too! And people who like to argue if your opinion is different from theirs.
That's when I started blogging, so I could say what I darn well pleased; and if people didn't like it, they didn't have to read it. I started my AOL journal in the spring of 2004, and there I found my niche.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Memory lane

I keep getting lost in the past, going through the photos I transferred to this new computer. This particular shot, taken in Dallas in 2004, reminded me of the old chat room crowd and how close we all were.
Most chat reunions I attended were held in Dallas, thanks to a wonderful lady named Frankye, who opened her heart and home to anyone who wanted to attend. She did this every April for nine years (I think). She made arrangements with the hotel so all the "roomies" could be near one another, and she planned all sorts of activities for us. Sometimes people who didn't want to spend money on a hotel room would actually spend the three days of the reunion at Frankye's house. That's Frankye, second from the right, standing next to my buddy Joanna, with me behind the two of them.
At the first Dallas reunion (in 1999?), most of us had never met face to face; but once we got together and established just who was who, conversation was easy. We were already acquainted because we'd spent so much time sharing our likes and dislikes in the chat room. We mostly called one another by our AOL screen names if they were pronounceable at all. That's how I became Mo.

This picture was taken in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 2001; it was a one-time event. Dear Lord, look how slender I was! That's me kneeling (I wish I could kneel now) in the center.
Until the year 2000, I had never flown on an airplane. Actually, I couldn't afford to. And besides, the thought of flying scared me. Once I started my job at Kohl's, I had some spare change; so I went to "reunions" in Dallas, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Arkansas. I also flew to Washington, DC, to spend several days with Joanna (known as Banana, due to her screen name); and to Virginia to visit my friend Sue (JoyJoy). I even wrote a song about her once, and made up poems for many of the roomies.

The man in the picture between Jo (not the previously-mentioned Joanna, another one) and myself is a former chat buddy I've totally lost touch with. I don't even remember his real name; we all called him by his screen name, Havok. He taught me more about the Internet and AOL than any other single person; I think he helped everybody in the chat room at one time or another. He also played an occasional prank on us rookies. One time I recall several of us were in the chat room and he told us to hit ctrl/alt/delete; at least half-a-dozen of us were booted off-line.
Ah, the good old days. As I've gone through these folders, I found pictures of people from a later chat room; I didn't even know who most of them were, and so I deleted them. There was an entire folder of pictures of children sent to me over the years by Lori, down in Louisiana. I looked them over thoroughly, smiled at how they'd grown (and how Lori and her husband had multiplied), then deleted them with a sigh. I still keep in touch with her, and see pictures of her kids regularly on Facebook.
I deleted sonograms of former co-workers' unborn babies; pictures of coffeepots and cameras I downloaded from the Internet to use on my blog; blurry and repetitive pictures; and plenty of pictures of folks I just don't recognize.
It's quite an experience.
Meanwhile, I think my rear end has become attached to this chair.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Just so you know....

I am indeed enjoying my Mac Mini. There are all kinds of fun applications to play with.
When all is said and done, though, it still takes you to the same old Internet we all know and love... just in case someone didn't know that.
I'm only hoping I don't pick up those pesky worms and trojans like I did on my PC; and I hope that when there are updates from Apple, my computer will accept them. Because Windows update on my old computer stopped working months ago.
That's the real reason I decided to spend that extra money to buy a Mac. Let's see if it works out. You just don't know until you try.
I'm still looking for a free anti-virus for Mac; I know, many Mac users don't use an anti-virus. And yet, what I read on the Internet tells me that Apple computers actually can, and do, get viruses, although not as often.
I am not using Windows for Mac, because I've read that can set a Mac up for more viruses.
I'll keep you posted.
Oh, Cliff and I went for a brief motorcycle ride today, hoping to see some lovely autumn foliage. The autumn leaves this year, so far, are pretty much ho-hum. Leaves are prettier right here on our few acres than anywhere else we've been. I had Cliff take this picture on our walk this morning.

My second day with a Mac

Just as I was about to pay good money for a word processing program, my daughter let me know that Open Office has a program for Macs, as well as PC's. Now I can read those old poems stored on my external drive. In fact, I can import them to my Mac.
I got totally lost in Iphoto yesterday, naming the faces in photographs and looking at pictures I hadn't thought about in years. I also deleted a lot of crappy pictures that should never have been saved in the first place; I've only just begun this process, so who knows when I'll do any housework; I have pictures going back to 2000. I fretted and worried about how on earth a person is supposed to delete a photo, until I noticed a little trash basket to the left of the pictures. A light turned on in my head, and I proceeded to click and drag the junk pictures into the basket. How cute!
The Mac Mini is made to be used with any keyboard or mouse. Unfortunately, I haven't found any keyboard shortcuts that work with my old Dell keyboard. My new Mac mouse has no right-click button: without keyboard shortcuts or right-clicks, I had no way to copy and paste, or cut and paste. So for now, the old track-ball mouse is connected. If I had it to do over again, I'd just have bought another track-ball; this one doesn't want to roll easily any more, although I have cleaned all surfaces.
Other than that, I'm happy. I've gotten used to clicking out of pages on the upper left-hand corner instead of the right, and searching my computer without going to "my computer" (I like that). Somehow I even discovered yesterday how to check to see how full my hard drive is. Of course today I've forgotten where I found that. But I'll find it again!
I hope this isn't boring my readers to death, but since I sat at this thing for literally hours yesterday, I have little else to report. Eventually I'll come up for air.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Could it be the oatmeal?

For over three years after his coronary bypass, Cliff took one 40-mg Lipitor tablet a day. His cholesterol numbers were great.
Three months ago his quarterly blood work showed that his cholesterol was too low. He was told to cut his tablets in half, so for three months he's take 20 mg daily.
This morning he received a call about his latest blood work. His cholesterol is still too low, and since you can hardly cut a pill into quarters, we got a new prescription. He'll now be taking only 10 mg of Lipitor daily.
I've been making sure we have oatmeal for breakfast at least four times a week lately; I wonder if that's what suddenly made his cholesterol take a nose-dive.
He and I are happy that he's putting less medicine in his body, and our budget is happy too; Lipitor isn't cheap!
We'll see how things look ninety days from now. Wouldn't it be great if he could totally stop taking Lipitor?

My first day with a Mac

Everything I already had... printer, external speakers, external hard drive... works with the Mac. I'm glad about that. When I first hooked the Mac Mini to the monitor I already had, I thought something was horribly wrong, because the Safari browser only took up half the screen. I downloaded Firefox for Mac, thinking that would be different. Nope, only half the screen. I have ninety days in which I can get support by phone, so I called. Guess what? An American answered!
She told me the very simple solution, which I may have eventually figured out (click and drag the lower right-hand corner till it fills the screen; duh). Hey, at least it saved my daughter from having to come by here after a long day at work!
I'm going to need a word processing program, I can already tell that. I've googled around the Internet and found some free ones for Mac, but without anybody to recommend them, I'm not going to trust them. The wrong download could kill a computer. has IWork cheaper than the Apple store, and with free shipping, no less.
I have my music and pictures moved onto the Mac.
The Mac Mini is so quiet! Of course, I'd gotten used to the gurglings and grindings of a slowly-dying PC. The old Dell was much quieter when it was new, but not this quiet.
I decided to go back to using a regular mouse. Honestly, that's the biggest adjustment for me; I've used a trackball mouse for years. I don't even own a mouse pad, so I guess I'm going to have to buy one.
I haven't yet figured out how to cut, copy and paste with this thing, but I'm working on it.
So that's day one with my Mac.
Somebody asked me how Sadie is doing: You wouldn't know she had ever been sick. And to think that a week ago today I thought she was dying.
Oh, I finally went to the doctor (nurse-practitioner) to discuss the blood pressure pills that made me cough. I was expecting an argument, but when I explained it to her, she smiled and said, "We call that an Ace-cough." Ace inhibitors cause a cough in some people, she said, and gave me a prescription for a different kind of blood pressure med.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Goodbye, Little Johnny


In June of 2007, Cliff and I were strolling through a tractor show when we saw an older John Deere garden tractor for sale. At first the price seemed steep, as I recall. Then Cliff called our son, a John Deere aficionado, and asked him some questions about various models: which ones were more durable, which ones were worth the most, and so on.


We came upon this fellow riding around the grounds who loved the John Deere 322 model so much that he owned three of them. He sang the praises of his tractors.

We were in need of some sort of riding mower, and when you consider the price of the new “disposable” models at Walmart, one of these older John Deeres seemed like a better buy; these babies were built to last!


Just a day or so after the tractor show, we saw a 322 for sale in Buckner, just a fifteen-minute drive from home. Cliff looked it over and called our son.

We bought it, and Cliff was ecstatic to have a two-in-one package: Something with which to mow the lawn plus a classic little collectable that he could take to tractor shows if he wanted to. We named the tractor “Little Johnny”.

It came with a blade and wheel weights, which Cliff soon sold on Craigslist because we didn’t need them.

Fast-forward a year: Cliff’s sister and her husband left their farm nearby and moved to St. Louis because that’s where the jobs were. Brother-in-law Pat had a newer John Deere riding mower that he wouldn’t be using, so he brought it here for safe-keeping and Cliff began mowing with it instead of Little Johnny.

Yesterday we put Little Johnny on Craigslist for the same price we paid for it, and I swear to you, two guys would have duked it out over that little tractor if they had shown up at the same time. They wanted it badly! The first guy to show up with cash in hand got the tractor. (This is where you say to yourself, "We should have asked more for it.)

So now Cliff has $2,000 in his tractor fund. By the way, I’m not at all sentimental about Little Johnny. It was a recent addition that held no ties to the past for me. I’m just glad Cliff replenished his tractor fund… he was almost at the point of having to use my weekly grocery allowance to work on "Big Ollie", his 1855 Oliver. Everybody’s happy.

Especially the guy who loaded up the tractor and took it home.

The end.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Swagbucks (and Whizzo)

I truly do not understand why all people aren't using Swagbucks as their search engine. You can see, above, the list of Freebies I've received so far (click on the picture to make it larger), and all I did to get them was surf the web. I think the deal I got today, the top one on the list, is the best yet. Twenty-five dollars off a meal! We'll probably use it at V's, next time we're in Independence.
I've used some of my swagbucks to download music from Itunes. Hey, I enjoy any sort of freebie, as long as it's something I want!
No, I am not being paid for this post. I'd just like to see everybody get free stuff.

The Oregon guy blogged today about a local TV show he watched as a kid growing up in New Jersey. This took me down memory lane to a magical place called "Whizzoland".

Whizzo came on right at lunchtime, and I'll bet half the kids in Kansas City had lunch with Whizzo. I found a Youtube video of a film made in the 70's, judging by everybody's hair styles: The Whizzo Reunion
Whizzo was still performing somewhere out in the wastelands of Kansas when he died in 1987.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I've ordered my Mac Mini

Apple computers came out with upgrades today. Thanks to Dave (Hyperblogal), I waited for this, rather than buying my Mac Mini two weeks ago. I'm getting much more bang for my buck on this updated model.
I ordered my Mac Mini today. It works with my present monitor and keyboard. Also the mouse, but I ordered a new Apple mouse because my old trackball is about worn out.
This purchase is very timely; my Dell constantly makes groaning and grinding noises from deep within; it's refused to do any Windows updates for months; and it's been running slower and slower. I will, however, keep it in a closet for awhile in case I need it in the future. It's always good to have a spare computer around.
The old laptop Cliff uses is pretty sluggish too. When it comes time to replace it, I'll probably get another Dell. Cliff doesn't need a lot of hard drive space, and I'm not sure he'd appreciate trying to get used to a whole other kind of computer. He's just started learning how to use our present laptop in the last six months or so.
I'll be honest with my readers when I start using my Mac. I'll tell you what differences I notice, good or bad. I don't learn new things very well, so my daughter will have to be patient; I'll probably be asking her some questions. I told her if I hate it, I won't blame her... I'll blame Dave.
I have spent hours on the Apple website, and there's a lot of information there for beginners, explaining how things work.
There is one common statement I hear from both PC users and Mac users: "Everybody I know who owns a Mac loves it."
And that's pretty comforting.

Facebook scores again

It’s so funny how it works on Facebook: You “friend” someone from your past and happen to notice one of their friends is someone else from the past, one of those “I wonder what happened to her” people.

Looking at a former co-worker’s profile yesterday, I saw she had recently added a Jessica to her friend list, and I recognized the name: she was one of the most interesting, fun people I worked with at Kohl’s distribution center... a woman about the age of my daughter who loved to tell stories about her past; and you know how I love stories. I told her a few of my own. We were both pretty hard workers, but not so much when we were working side-by-side; we were too busy telling stories to one another!

Back then, I was trying to write a poem every day, sort of an exercise to keep me creative, I guess. Sometimes I’d rhyme about people or events at work, and one day Jessica informed me she wanted me to write a poem about her. I ended up making it a song. If you read it as a poem, it’s hard to get the rhythm right, but take my word for it: it works fine as a mediocre song. Here are the words.


Hers was the friendliest face in the crowd when I began working at Kohl’s.
I was so scared about starting that job, and her smile was a balm to my soul.
She spoke with a delicate Arkansas drawl, with a voice like a ten-year-old girl.
We ended up in the same department, and Jessica brightened my world.

This is Jessica’s poem; this is Jessica’s song.
She’s living proof that you can recover after a man does you wrong.
She asked me to write her a poem, but somehow I knew all along
That there had to be
A melody,
So now, this is Jessica’s song.

She was born to a couple of hippies one June, In the rock-covered Arkansas hills.
All they possessed were the basics of life, ‘cause they didn’t believe in the frills.
Jessica learned in her growing-up years that life’s best things are not always free,
But these days, the many hard times that beset her are only a grim memory.

I sat down to write her a poem, and somehow my heart heard a song.
So I only had to put pencil to paper; the tune was right there, all along.
If heaven’s a place for the child-like, that’s certainly where she’ll belong.
It was worth my while
To have seen her smile.
That’s why I wrote Jessica’s song.


This is Jessica as I remember her.

There’s one other thing that makes her really special: She’s the person who told me where to find a horse like I wanted, a horse gentle enough for an older lady, one my grandchildren could ride: that horse was Blue.

Observations on Growing Older ---

I received this in email from a friend.

~It's harder to tell navy from black!
~Yellow becomes the big!
~Going out is good. Coming home is better!
~When people say you look "Great"...they add "for your age"!
~When you needed the discount you paid full price.
Now you get discounts on everything...movies, hotels
~You forget names.....but it's OK because other people
forgot they even knew you.
~The five pounds you wanted to lose is now 15 and you have
a better chance of losing your keys than the 15 pounds.
~You realize you're never going to be really good at anything
...especially golf.
~Your husband sleeps better on a lounge chair with the TV
blaring then he does in bed. It's called his "pre-sleep".
~Remember when your mother said "Wear clean underwear
in case you GET in an accident"?
Now you bring clean underwear in case you HAVE an accident!
~You used to say, "I hope my kids GET married. Now,
" I hope they STAY married!"
~The best place to have a conversation with your husband is in
the bathroom ... you have his full attention.
~Who wants to wear 3" heels anyway?
~You miss the days when everything worked with just an
"ON" and "OFF" switch. When GOOGLE, ipod, email,
modem were unheard of, and a mouse was something
that made you climb on a table.
~You use more 4 letter words..."what?"..."when?" ???
~Now that you can afford expensive jewelry, it's not
safe to wear it anywhere.
~Your husband has a night out with the guys but he's
home by 9:00 week it will be 8:30 P.M.
~Many of the people in People Magazine you've never heard of.
~Your lipstick bleeds. Your mascara clumps and your
eyebrows are disappearing. You don't have hair under
your arms and very little on your legs but your chin needs
to be plucked daily!
~What used to be freckles are now liver spots.
~Everybody whispers.
~~~~But old is good in some things:...old songs...old movies,
And best of all, OLD FRIENDS!

Monday, October 19, 2009

May I whine?

I have a good life, so when I whine, it ends up being about trivial matters. Soybean harvest has begun, and because it's a warm, sunny day, the Asian Lady Beetles have returned. You can't open a door without some of them getting inside. They're capable of biting, and if you smash them, they emit an unpleasant odor. I hung three loads of laundry on the clothesline, and had to shake bugs off every piece of clothing I took off the line. Ick. I just brushed one off my belly that somehow got under my shirt. HELP!
Don't confuse these nasty things with our harmless native ladybugs.
My other petty gripe? I've missed the last two episodes of Cold Case, due to other shows running overtime. I've tried to make allowance by setting my DVR to record the shows that follow Cold Case, but so far I haven't succeeded; I'm not sure why.
May I always be so blessed that I have nothing worse to gripe about than bugs and TV shows.
Why doesn't CBS run full-length episodes of Cold Case online? Most of my other shows can be found online, if I miss them.

It's a very green October

Cliff and I had no destination in mind when we left on the Gold Wing yesterday. Florida might have been a good idea, because we were both uncomfortably cold after riding for a half hour. We had on lots of clothes, plus our leathers; but it was only 40 degrees when we left, and riding a motorcycle at sixty miles per hour at that temperature is just plain frigid; we stayed our course, though. Cliff started taking blacktops east and south until one of them changed to gravel; then we turned around and went back to highway 50, which took us through Warrensburg. I was amazed at the lack of fall color; we'd see an occasional bright yellow or orange tree, and some trees were just beginning to show slight change. Nothing spectacular, though. I can look toward our pasture and woods and see more color. Oh, and the grass is still spring-green.
When Cliff said, "Where now?", I suggested Sedalia, whose Liberty Park is one of our favorite picnic spots; it's old, but well-kept. There's a rest room available; that's a much-welcomed sight when you've been riding for two hours.
We spent at least forty-five minutes there, and by the time we got back on the bike, we had thawed out and were comfortable the rest of the ride. We took a different route home, Highway 65; for some reason, we saw a lot more fall colors on that route than the other. The hill on which Bothwell Lodge sits was sporting more color than we'd seen anywhere else.
We stopped by Peters' Orchard and were happy to find some Fuji apples; we bought a peck. I'd much rather have gotten them at Rasa Orchard, which is closer to home: their apples are better quality, and cheaper. But I didn't want to chance their being out of Fujis again.
Sadie is finally back on her Science Diet dog food. She made me feel like a terrible person, following me around the house with those sad eyes as though she was starving. Someone suggested I chop some chicken up in tiny chunks and mix it with some kibble. Ha! Sadie nosed carefully through the mix, licking off each individual piece of dog food to get any trace of chicken, while not actually eating the dog food! I finally took the tough-love approach and let her get really hungry; she consumed almost her usual amount last night. I noticed Midtown Miscreant had the same problem with his dog, recently; you can read about that toward the end of THIS ENTRY on his blog. Except Max's addiction was sirloin, not chicken.
So, life can proceed as usual: we've had our first motorcycle ride in two weeks, and Sadie is back to her hyperactive, kibble-eating self.
I would have taken some pictures of what little fall color we saw, but I had my leather gloves on trying to keep my fingers from turning into icicles. It's hard to handle a camera under those conditions.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

We’re going for a motorcycle ride

We’ve had days and days of clouds and cold weather.  It’s no heat wave today… in fact, we got our second frost of the year.  It’s supposed to be 50 degrees by 11 o’clock, and we intend to leave then.  I have our picnic lunch ready to go.

our picnic lunch when we ride the motorcycle

Sardines and crackers make up our main course.  Sometimes we follow that with a couple of crackers with peanut butter.  Because I still have sweet peppers coming on (frost didn’t kill the plants), I threw in some pepper strips.  And because of the cold temperatures, we’re taking a thermos of coffee.  Plastic utensils and napkins are zipped inside the lunch box lid.

Most people, when I mention sardines, wrinkle up their noses and say, “Ewww”.  I wouldn’t think of eating them at home, but we enjoy them on our rides.  We started packing them after I read that sardines are heart-healthy; and since they’re at the bottom of the food chain, they don’t have as much toxic junk in them as larger fish.

I intend to wear my winter gear, because even at 50, it’s pretty cool riding.

I just have to share this next picture; Cliff hollered for his coffee when he woke up this morning and said, “I’ve been cold all night; the covers on this bed are all tangled up.”

Cliff wondered why he was cold

He had a whole quilt wadded up on his chest, and he’s the one that got cold?  As you can see, we have our flannel sheets on the bed already.  I usually don’t drag them out until November.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Several years ago, Cliff and I found ourselves with three grandchildren… all of them out of reach. Our son’s two children were with him and his wife, stationed in Germany. Our daughter had moved 150 miles or so away and was living in south Missouri.

One baby boy saved our sanity. His name was Dakota, but everybody called him Kody.


He was six months old when I started babysitting him. I believe he was around two years old when he left us.

He was so cute, and so much fun. He bore on his little shoulders all the weight of how much we missed our grandchildren.

I sang “Eansey-weensie spider” to him, and he did motions with his hands trying to imitate what I was doing, saying, “Pie-dee, Pie-dee”.

He was an active baby. He took short naps, and wasn’t one to sit quietly and watch TV.

He’s sixteen now, and we haven’t really kept in touch with him. I was grocery-shopping recently and the bag-boy spoke to me, calling me by name. It was Kody. My heart melted.

I will always love that boy.

I “friended” his mom on Facebook last week and saw a picture of the baby boy who filled the void when my grandchildren weren’t available. He will never know how much he means to me, even today.


God bless you, Kody. I hope life is kind to you.

This might save somebody's life

Go on over to "My Sister's Farmhouse" and read a letter from her Uncle Dave. Don't let it happen to you or one of your loved ones.

The magic of the Internet

"Isn't it a great country (world) where so many people woke up this morning thinking about a sick doggie in Missouri. I know thats why I turned on this puter in the middle of my cleaning day."
Marlene, one of the old AOL journals group, left that comment on my previous post.
Yes Ma'am, it certainly is.

Life is good

This morning Sadie bounced right out of bed as though she had never been sick. I'll never know for sure what was wrong with her: Did she get into poison or antifreeze at a neighbor's? She doesn't go far from home, but I have seen her on the property next door. Did she swallow too big a piece of the horse-hooves that she's always chewing on and pierce something internally? Of course everybody knows what a Googler I am (only now I use Swagbucks because I get free stuff from them). Symptoms of HGE seem to describe how Sadie acted. But who knows? I'm just thankful she made it!
She hasn't touched her dog food, but I think that's because she's holding out for chicken. Guess what? That's going to stop after today!
So, life can go on and hopefully, I can think of some happier things to blog about.
Once again, I want to thank all the supportive people out there on the World Wide Web for their thoughts, prayers, suggestions, and for just being here. And thanks to Cliff for springing for $200 for the veterinary and for putting up with the atmosphere of gloom and doom around here. He wisely spent most of his time in the shop while this was going on.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A better report

For three straight days, Sadie has seemed very sick in the mornings; then by afternoon she seems better. Not cured, but better. I go to bed praying, "Please, God, let me wake up and hear Sadie crunching her Science Diet in the middle of the night, like she's always done."
Then I wake up in the morning and she's worse than the morning before. It's been a real roller coaster around here. Pity my poor husband, who is the one responsible for Sadie being here. When Mandy died, he insisted we go straight to the shelter and get another dog. That dog turned out to be Sadie.
Now I know, all our pets are going to die eventually. But I'd really like to have them reach a nice old age first. The followers of my old AOL journal will remember Mandy's tragic end, before she was three years old.
When I woke Sadie up this morning to see what her condition was, she could hardly get up out of her doggie bed. She staggered across the room, and she could barely hold her eyes open. She took a big drink of water and picked at some chicken and rice I offered her, not really interested.
Cliff and I got ready for our morning walk, and in spite of her weakness, Sadie insisted on going. The dog that usually runs circles around us couldn't keep up with two old people. When we got back to the house, Cliff went to the shop. That was my opportunity to bawl like a baby. Cliff's youngest sister called to check on Sadie, and I couldn't even talk to her.
Two hours later, I noticed that Sadie was coming to life somewhat. I took her outside and actually saw a spring in her step... but remember, this happened yesterday afternoon, too.
I brought a dish of rice and chicken outside to her, and she didn't just pick at it... she gobbled it down and licked the bowl!
She played Frisbee with the granddaughters this evening. She was able to make the jump up onto Natalie's lap.
The only explanation I can come up with is that those antibiotics must have kicked in. That, and the several people praying for her.
Now if only she's still doing this well in the morning. I can't take another day like today!


Not really much to report on Sadie. Results of her blood tests say there's nothing wrong with her liver or kidneys. Meanwhile, she seems to get progressively weaker each morning. It's very discouraging.
I'm really not in a mood to blog, with this cloud hanging over me.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

We took Sadie to the vet today

If you were here and didn't know Sadie, you probably think nothing was amiss. If you say the word "boxer" or "boys" or "Buddy", she still goes to the window and barks. She hasn't missed a walk in the pasture with us... we don't make her go, but she wants to. Except she trots slowly along beside us, rather than running all over in circles fast as a gazelle, as is her custom. She'll even go after the Frisbee if it's thrown.
Yesterday I thought she was improving, although she wasn't eating. Then last night when she couldn't make it onto my lap at all, I was a little worried. This morning I saw that she still hadn't touched her dog food. This would be her third day without food.
I consulted Dr. Google, and read that some vets suggest you offer chicken broth to sick dogs when they won't eat, and possibly some boiled chicken. Those two items are always in my freezer because so many of our healthy recipes call for them. I thawed some broth and offered it to Sadie, just a couple of ounces to see if she'd drink it. Indeed she did, and she ended up drinking about a cupful, although she left a little in the bowl. I offered her some chicken, but she only nibbled at a couple of pieces. Then she was unable to jump onto my lap, even with the footrest of my recliner lowered. And I noticed white stuff in her eyes; she lay in her bed with her eyes half closed even when her head was up, as though she didn't have the energy to keep them open.
So I woke Cliff up earlier than usual and told him I wanted to take Sadie to the vet. Which meant I had to reschedule appointments with our doctor for Cliff's usual blood test and my consult about blood pressure meds.
The granddaughters came here before school this morning, and I mentioned I was cancelling Cliff's appointment so we could take Sadie to the vet.
"So," Natalie said, "Sadie comes first."
I explained that Sadie was sick, Cliff wasn't. And no, Sadie does NOT come first ahead of Cliff.
The vet found out Sadie had bloody diarrhea and a temperature of 104 (not all that high for a dog, but a signal that something isn't right). She tested negative for Parvo. He told me the only thing to do next would be to send off a blood test, which costs $110. This would show whether her liver or kidneys were shutting down, and many other things.
Now in the old days I would have trusted God, chicken broth, and nature to heal my dog. But I like having Sadie around, and I don't want to take risks. I'm getting soft in my old age.
"She's worth $110," I told him.
Armed with antibiotic pills for my dog, we returned home. To my mind, she's acting as though she feels better this evening; but that's what I thought yesterday, too. Although it would be par for the course around here for someone to make a miraculous recovery, once you've spent over $200 on them.
There are limits on how much I'd spend on a dog: I wouldn't pay for a liver or kidney transplant, for example. Just how much would I spend? I don't know, and I hope I never have to find out.
Thanks to all my Facebook friends who are keeping Sadie in their thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Update on Sadie and Where have all the apples gone?

I no more than finished the previous post when Sadie started showing signs of life. In fact, even as I do this entry, she is lying on the floor in the doorway, watching me type. When she went out a while ago to relieve herself, her limp was much less evident.
Cliff and I love it when apple season starts in the fall. We start out with a half-bushel of Galas because they're an early variety; then when the Fujis start ripening, we stick with those, usually buying a couple of bushels near the end of the season; they keep quite well.
I would think there'd be an abundance of apples this year: we've had lots of rain, and it turned cool early, which causes the apples to ripen nicely.
But if you go to THIS WEBSITE and scroll down, and you'll see "SOLD OUT" alongside several varieties. That isn't the orchard we patronize, by the way; we like Rasa's, which is much closer to our home. Rasa sold out of Fujis too! They're gradually picking and grading more, but the lady working there said they are selling as fast as they get them picked.
So, since we were there anyway, I got a half-bushel of Golden Delicious, which used to be my favorite until we discovered Fuji apples. Looks like we'll be returning to Golden Delicious, if this trend keeps up.
And as I finish this entry, Sadie is behind me lying comfortably on the floor. Yep, she's on the mend. Dogs are so resilient!

Sadie's under the weather

When we took our walk yesterday morning, I told Cliff, "Sadie isn't herself."
He couldn't see it, but it was obvious to me that she wasn't running in circles at her usual pace; she stayed closer to us than usual. I thought she was limping a little.
By yesterday afternoon, Cliff agreed something was "off" about our dog. She seemed to have some trouble in her hind quarters. She wanted on my lap after dinner, as always, but couldn't jump up. I lowered the footrest of my Lazy Boy and half-dragged her up; she curled up, looking dejected.
She didn't eat all day, or even during the night last night... which is when she usually packs the grub away. She accepted a couple of bites of cold meat loaf from the fridge; that's it. Two different times I gave her a baby aspirin, hoping that would relieve her pain, whatever is causing it.
I do turn her loose outside, and although she doesn't usually leave our yard these days, I'm wondering if a car hit her. Or perhaps a horse kicked her. Or maybe that boxer that runs free and attacked her one time mauled her again, although I think there would be blood if that had happened.
She's just staying curled up in her bed looking vulnerable and sad.

I took both these videos two days ago. I wonder if all that jumping is what hurt her hindquarters. Although she has been playing that game for years and it never hurt her.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The end of the butternut squash harvest


Two little red wagons and two boxes full. Oh yes, and ten that are still stored in the house.

Squash, anyone? It's hard to find somebody who likes butternut squash, which really puzzles me.

Cliff went to the dentist today and let them check his mouth. They agree with my assessment: the rash is gone.

He suggested this morning that since I could see the spots were gone, maybe he didn’t need to go to the dentist. I reminded him that I’m the one who told him for two months that he was having heartburn, when he was actually having angina.

What happened to autumn?

This has been the strangest year, weatherwise: Spring lasted into July, then we had about two weeks of summer, then autumn took over. But before the leaves could finish turning, it seems winter arrived!
Perhaps I wouldn't have thought about the weather so much if it weren't for our motorcycle. Rains seemed to come on the weekends for much of the year; and while we got in lots of one-day trips, we've not been able to take advantage of many of Cliff's three-day weekends. The last time we did, we ended up riding in rain for a short stretch. In fact, I believe we got rained on during every weekend-long trip.
This is Missouri, so I'm still holding onto the hope that we'll get just one three-day weekend with an all-clear for riding to Arkansas. There can be drastic changes in weather here in just a twenty-four hour period. It doesn't look promising for the upcoming weekend, though.
Evidently there will be no flu shots for us, unless Cliff can get one at work. Our doctor is out of the vaccine. I called to make Cliff's quarterly appointment (blood work, mainly, to make sure his liver isn't being damaged by the Lipitor). Since we're going anyhow, I'll see if they want to try giving me a different blood pressure prescription. I'm probably in for a lecture, since I stopped taking the one they gave me last time; it had me coughing and gagging all the time.
At Cliff's last dental appointment, the dental hygienist wanted him to come back in a month because there were some spots on the roof of his mouth, in a place where cancer sometimes starts. As a typical wife, I wanted to see this myself, so when we got home I shoved a flashlight in Cliff's face and told him to say "ah". Sure enough, there was a rash, almost like a measles rash. I didn't worry too much about it; after all, Cliff hasn't indulged in cigarettes or snuff for years.
He still had the rash after a month; the lady told him to come back in two weeks, and to stop using mouthwash... perhaps that was an irritant.
Cliff is very thorough when it comes to brushing his teeth; he loves his electric toothbrush, and he takes care to brush his tongue and the roof of his mouth while he's in there; he decided, on his own, to leave the roof of his mouth alone, just in case.
The rash is gone. He'll go to the dentist's office and let them have a look, but I have pronounced him just fine, thank you very much.

Monday, October 12, 2009

a bright spot in a dreary day

I've been missing the hummingbirds and goldfinches something awful; most of the time these days, the yard outside my computer room window is as still as a cemetery. Lately, though, around sunup and sundown, bluebirds have gathered out there. They perch on the fence. and fly over to drink from the birdbath. Today I actually saw several of them at the birdbath together, and this time they were bathing! This gives me hope that perhaps I might have some luck getting bluebirds to nest in my yard next year.
Later on I saw a house finch bathing with them. Maybe things on the bird scene are going to get interesting again.
You can click on the picture of the birds to see them better; I realize it leaves something to be desired, since I took the shot through a screen.

Jokes and bananas

Thanks to the jokemeister on Tractor Tales, I got both the cold- and hot-weather versions of the joke I wanted to send Cliff. Thanks, Lefty!
Since I've owned a computer, it seems as if nobody can tell a joke I haven't already seen several times in email. Well, Cliff was never on the computer enough to have an email address, and I didn't share a lot of those jokes with him; I would set him up with his email over the years, but the on the few occasions when he was on the computer, he'd forget to check it. Now that he's Internet addicted (I love teasing him about that), he's actually starting to remember to check his mail. So I'm having fun recycling old jokes to him.
I had a comment from a local person saying she buys her bananas at Costco. We have a Sam's Club card, and bananas are indeed cheaper there; but keep in mind that's thirty miles from here. We only go there perhaps once every couple of months. I'm sure Aldi's has bananas for a reasonable price, too. That's twenty-five miles away, in Blue Springs. Now we are in that town fairly often, but since I don't drive, I try to keep our stops to a minimum for Cliff's sake.
I added the banana poll as a result of a brief conversation I had with Cliff yesterday: In the local stores, including the nearest Walmart, bananas are over sixty cents per pound. Less than two years ago, they were thirty-three cents a pound. I've refrained from buying them lately, but as I told Cliff, even at that price you get quite a few bananas for the money. I guess what bothers me is the fact that they've doubled in price in such a short time!
I tend to buy what's in season; right now we're enjoying apples. I imagine once the apples are done for, we'll be back to eating bananas... whatever the price! After all, what's a bowl of cereal without a banana sliced into it?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Help me out here...

I've read several variations of a particular joke, and it goes like this: A person moves to a certain part of the country and writes a series of letters back home. The first letter is full of glorious descriptions of where the author is now living. The second letter, not so much. With each letter, the description of the place where they're living is more derogatory. By the last letter, the author of the letter is about ready to commit suicide.
My husband, Cliff, loves jokes. I'd like to share this one with him.
Somebody help me, please?

Talk to the butternut squash pro

I cooked butternut squash soup until, honestly, I'm sick of it. It's possible to get too much of a good thing.
I haven't gotten tired of butternut squash oven fries or microwaved squash with a little brown sugar in the hollow where the seeds used to be.
I made a pretty darned good butternut squash pie today, using the pumpkin pie recipe on the Libby's pumpkin label. And that's when it hit me: Stop googling for butternut squash recipes and find all the pumpkin recipes you can, because butternut squash substitutes for pumpkin just fine.
I may yet get rid of the one hundred-and-one squashes taking over my garage.
I've been strumming my guitar this evening, toughening up the ends of my fingers. I think my granddaughter, Monica, and I need to schedule at least one jam session together per week. Because I remember when I was learning to chord, two things helped me learn: a simple chord book, and hillbilly friends who let my strum along in the background, telling me where to find the next chord when I couldn't find it on my own.
Yeah, that's the ticket. Monica, you can keep the capo I loaned you; I'm getting myself a new one. After all, your great-aunt Rena works at Musician's friend; I'll bet she can get me a good buy on another Kyser capo. And there won't be any shipping cost, because she can just bring it home from work!
Oh yeah, notice the new poll on the right, at the top. If you have an opinion, please leave it.

I love Snopes, but I hate when I get caught by Snopes

One of my friends on Facebook posted a video of President Obama apparently being snubbed by Russians. I watched the video and it looked authentic to me.

Now I'm one of those who gets all self-righteous when someone sends me an email that's obviously not true. (Sorry, but confession is good for the soul; so here I sit in sackcloth and ashes.) Sometimes I'll send them a link from Snopes, letting them know they've been horn-swaggled, wondering to myself why people don't check these things out.

Anyhow, I posted the video on a message board and sent it to a couple of friends. Since it involved Russia, I also sent it to my Russian buddy, who told me he'd seen it and that there was some explanation... he didn't remember exactly what it was.

Joe, a guy on the message board, gave me the link to Snopes that explained the video.

I am now sitting in the corner with my dunce cap on. I've been had.

My apologies to everybody who received the video link from me.

Home-made cottage cheese

One of my faithful readers left this comment recently: "Have you found the blog homesick Texan on blogspot? Her most recent entry is for homemade cheese with raw milk. It looks so easy! I want to make it but don't know where to get a gallon of milk! Will you find it and make it?"

Indeed I do read that blog; in fact, I link to it; you probably discovered her here on my blog. For those who are interested in the entry about the cheese, click HERE.

Now in my growing-up years, we didn't use lime juice or vinegar to curdle the cheese. My mom, and my grandma, just set the milk on the counter, kept it covered, and waited for it to curdle all by itself. And that's how I did it after I grew up and had my own cow. For those of you who are horrified at the thought of actually drinking raw milk obtained from a family cow, as we do here, I imagine you are now gagging at the thought of consuming curdled, four-day-old, raw milk. I'm sixty-five years old, and I survived it!

I recall my late father-in-law saying, "I love clabber." Yeah, that's curdled milk he was talking about. Now even I wouldn't go so far as to eat clabbered milk as is. Not that I'd be scared to, but it just doesn't sound good.

Actually, what the Homesick Texan calls cheese was "cottage cheese" to us. We drained it by putting it in cheesecloth and hanging it on the clothesline, left it crumbly, added cream to it, and that was that. The whey was given to the pigs or chickens.

I've heard the Kansas City Russian talk about making something similar back in Russia. Meesha, if you ever want to make that for old times' sake, let me know and I'll have a gallon or two of raw milk waiting for you next time you pass by. Lindie, that goes for you too, if you want to try making this cheese. Just don't both of you come on the same day; I only milk two or three times a week, and I'm sharing with her calf, you know.

I do hope I haven't ruined anybody's breakfast with this entry.