Sunday, September 30, 2018

Dear friends,

First, what's up with Gabe today?  He and I were out feeding cats and cows and taking care of my little garden.  I had let several cucumbers get gigantic, so I picked them and tossed them to the calves, who love everything I toss out of the garden, even rotten tomatoes.  Gabe is a "dog in the manger" type, though:  So when the calves lower their heads to get a cucumber, he jumps in their faces growling.  It surprises them, and they drop the cucumber and back away, and Gabe drags it under the fence to the yard.  

When I was done with chores today, I ordered him to the house.  He started to come, then put his nose in the grass, frantically running in circles.  I knew he was searching for a rotten apple, perhaps, or a stick, to sneak inside with him.  Finally he struck pay dirt:  He kept at it until he got the whole whatever-it-was in his mouth.  Had I not seen him doing this I'd have let him right in, but in this case, when he got near the door, I grabbed him and pried his mouth open to discover a dead mole, so big that I wondered how he managed to conceal the whole thing in his mouth.  It's funny, watching a dog try to be sneaky.  

Here's a story Cliff doesn't remember when I relate it (men and their selective memory):  Ricky Skaggs was coming to Kansas City, I wanted to go.  I didn't have a job at the time, but I asked Cliff about it, whined a little, and he consented to take me and his mom, who was always up for some country music.  This was weeks before the event happened.  The time approached.  I had been wanting to see the movie "Tender Mercies", so on a Friday night I got Cliff to take me.  The movie is in a rather religious vein.  The next night we went to see Ricky.  Between songs he spent a lot of time testifying about his Christian faith, among other things.  Right at the beginning, I remember him saying, "They told me this place is haunted, but I haven't seen any ghost; the only ghost I've met is the Holy Ghost."  Cliff's mom and I enjoyed the music, and Cliff wasn't complaining.  

The next day, Sunday, was Mother's Day, so that had elicited an invitation from me for Cliff to attend.  His mother attended the same church, and he sat between us.  All this in one weekend.

When we got home from church, Cliff said, "I feel like I've been in church for three days."  I asked him why, and he explained that everywhere we went for three days, it was as though he was being preached to.  He likes his religion and his church in very tiny doses, you see.   

I hate politics and try to stay out of that mess completely.  On Facebook I have friends of all stripes, and it's interesting to see their opinions, because all it boils down to is "Republicans are horrible, crazy criminals" from all the left-wingers and "Democrats are two-faced liars and Republicans are always right" from the other side.    

I've never been raped.  I'm having trouble making a decision about who is right in this Kavanaugh thing.  I know that high-school boys don't always think with their brains, and I believe if everyone in Congress had to face this kind of trial, not many (if any) of them would be left standing.  Most mature adults have very little similarity to their teenage selves.  So I don't know.  

I will say I relate to the feelings of those who have been raped or molested, because I was touched inappropriately twice in my life, and I was around seven years old.  Oh, you're thinking, she was molested.  Well, not really... Do you call it "molested" if a little boy your own age (7) tries to forcibly pull your panties down because you wouldn't pull them down when he asked?  He just wanted to look, he said.  Children are curious.  The family across the road from us in Guss had two boys near my age.  I went over often to play with them and their little sister.  But I think that might be the last time I played with them.  I escaped across the road and told Momma and that was the end of it.  Why am I telling this?  Because I still get a terrible feeling I can't describe when I think about it; it's like I'm a seven-year-old little girl again, horrified by this action.  I can't imagine what it would be like to remember any sort of rape or attempted rape.  

The next time, I was a year or two older, still in Iowa.  There was a boy who sometimes rode his pony to the one-room country school.  Before school that morning after he tied up the pony, he was allowing other kids to sit in the saddle but ignoring me, the most horse-crazy child anywhere.  My deepest desire was to have a horse of my own.  I wanted to sit in that saddle, but unlike the others, I had to ask.  As I put my foot in the stirrup, he decided to assist me up by grabbing my crotch.  He was probably 13, so his hormones had started kicking in, I suppose.  Here's an interesting thing, though.  I was so ashamed, I never told my mother.

So when people ask the accusers "Why didn't you say something back then", I don't know why I told Momma the first time, but I didn't, the second... maybe because it was a  bigger boy?  I know I felt ashamed, once again.

I doubt if I'm the only one having mixed feelings about this.  I can tell you it brought back a couple of childhood memories I'd rather have left alone.  And these were just children who in no way should be held accountable now.

Yours VERY sincerely, Donna

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Getting older isn't too bad, but I miss the ones who are gone

I have enough short items in my notes to make two or three entries, so here goes the first.  

I was rummaging through a drawer for my address book and found a picture of Grandma Stevens' rocking chair.  I asked the cousin who now has the chair to send me a picture of it.  At the time, I was going to ask an artist if he could work with that picture and a picture of Grandma and manage to paint her sitting in the chair.  Turns out even if he could, I couldn't have afforded it at the time; and it really doesn't sound like an idea that would work anyway.  I have a friend who plays around with photoshop who might think of a cute idea for some sort of picture with the chair, but I don't think anybody could sit Grandma down in it to my satisfaction.
It sits in a vacant house now, so this is as close as I'll get to seeing it again.

Grandma stayed busy all the time, but as she grew older, she spent most of her "busyness" quilting and crocheting.  Summers she'd do garden work in the morning while it was cool, but after dinner (noon), she was in that chair mending, crocheting, or writing letters, unless she was upstairs quilting.  She wrote letters on Sunday evenings sitting in the rocker.  When I spent the night with her, she and I would take turns reading a verse aloud of whatever New Testament book she was on before going to bed; she read a chapter every night.  She never had a TV, but she had a radio near her chair, and she listened to soap operas as she sewed.  I remember One Man's Family quite well.  

I was talking to Cliff about my longtime Internet friends, and how a couple of them unwittingly gave me ideas for naming my email addresses.  I started out on AOL, so a person's email, without the @dot com, was her "screen name", which was your name in the chat room.  I wanted something about Missouri in my SN, but most everything I tried was already taken.  Finally I settled for Mo2773 (the numbers are the last four digits of my phone number at the time.  I was called Mo in the chat room and also at the chat room meets, where many of us from across the country gathered and met face to face.  That is the first nickname I ever had in my life, and I loved it.  But it wasn't my last one.  A lady with the screen name JenFar started chatting with us.  She was so proud of her children!  She had a daughter who is a Christian comedian, Chonda Pierce.  She started typing out "Mosie" as my name, so I had yet another nickname.  I loved that woman.  She's one of the only people I didn't mind talking to on the phone for an hour.  I loved hearing her preface stories with, "Well Honey..." in that southern accent.  See, if you spend time in a Christian Senior chat room, people are bound to start dying like flies at some point.  So many of those dear people are no longer with us.

I got burnt out on chat rooms when troublemakers ruined it all.  AOL was going downhill and doing away with a lot of the chat rooms, and I decided it was time to get out of there.  So I needed a name for my new gmail account, which is the one I still use most:  (Feel free to write me, but I won't guarantee I'll write back... no spam, please.  Ha!).  1944 is my birth year.  Jen (Virginia) died quite a while back, and I like the fact that my email address was inspired by her.  

Oh, then I was given another nickname:  A Baptist preacher with a wonderful sense of humor, screen name Westbilt, began calling me Mocephas in the chats, inspired no doubt by Hank Williams Jr's nickname, Bocephas.  At that time I was writing a poem a day, most days, and emailing them to any friends in the chat room who requested them; but I wanted a different email for that.  I chose Yahoo and decided on Mocephas57 (because I was 57 at the time).  Well, Westbilt later died.  So now I have two emails honoring the memories of people who have passed away.       

We were watching our usual Friday night Country's Family Reunion, with highlights back to the very first show they filmed, in the late 90's.  Kitty Wells was one of the performers.  When Cliff and I got married I had quite a few country records and a stereo to play them on.  I guess that was my dowry.  We'd stack up those LP records, start them playing, and go to bed listening to Kitty.  Almost all of her songs only required three chords on the guitar, so hers were the first country songs I learned to chord along to.  As luck would have it, most of the songs were in the key of C, which is the easiest one for me to play in and sing in.  

Oh yeah, need I tell you Kitty Wells is dead?  

And that's how it is when you get to be a senior citizen:  Everybody keeps dying.  It really hits home when you open your address book and find half of the people have died.  I hope I don't sound too gloomy.  After all, it's the circle of life.  By the time you're my age, 74, you've come to terms with the fact you're going to die.  It wouldn't even be scary if you knew for sure you wouldn't suffer long before it happens, so that's a worry; but I can do a pretty good job of turning off that worry switch when I need to.  

Yours truly, Donna

Friday, September 28, 2018

My readers have stories and comments

I doubt if many folks read the comment section here on the blog.  As I've said before, I share the link of each new entry on Facebook: one time I put the link to my entire blog on Facebook and told them to save it so I could quit posting individual entries, but people wanted a reminder.  They told me they kept forgetting to check the blog for new content.  It feels like pure vanity, sharing each entry, but I bow to public opinion (this time).

Speaking of vanity, I posted one of those meme things on Facebook because it made me smile.  I even wrote sort of a disclaimer with it: "Honestly, I have a feeling I’m probably not a big topic of conversation in anybody’s agenda. Nevertheless, this makes me smile... and yes, feel free to add to anything you MIGHT hear about me."   Here's the picture:

Now, we don't get out and mingle with the community often, so except for one particular piece of prized gossip we won't mention, I don't picture a lot of folks talking about me good or bad, with the exception of relatives, who let me hear them when they talk about my weirdness.  I'm sharing these comments because I want you to see the responses, which flatter me, but are vastly exaggerated.  

The second commenter is Cliff's 90-year-old aunt.  By the way, she has never said a word to me about ironing Cliff's clothes; it's just that I know where she stands, and it's on the side of women ironing their husbands' clothes.  So I had a little fun with her there.  If he'd get no-iron pants, there's be no problem, right?  Ironing is against my religion.  And Aunt Gertrude's love is unconditional.  

There are four ladies in the group I've never met face to face:  Amy, Becky, Penny, and Donna.  I ran across all of them, I believe, when they had AOL blogs/journals.  The others are Internet friends I've met in person, except for Velma:  She saw to it that Cliff got hired where she worked, the company that retired him.  I think she feels I'm so great because the first winter after Cliff started there, I wrote her quite a long, heartfelt letter letting her know we appreciated her putting in a good word for him, and detailing to her the positive changes in our lives due to his new job.  I know her well enough to realize she is a sweetheart.  Back when I raised lots of tomatoes, I would call her to come and get the last green tomatoes at the end of season so she could make green tomato pickles.  There are three ladies in this "Donna's Fan Club" I met in person at various times:  Joanna, who had me spend a week with her and took me to many historic places in Washington, DC.  Ora and I attended several "chat room reunions" together; and Nancy and her husband were here at my place when I had a chat reunion locally.  None of them have spent enough time with me to experience my coarser side... or maybe they didn't notice.  But I love them each and every one.

As far as I know, the only thing I do that might inspire such wonderful praise is this:  I do my utmost to post positive things, both here and on Facebook.  There's too much bad news in the world, and many people are hurting.  They don't need to see me posting about my arthritic knees or the stiff neck that kept me from sleeping well last night or what a terrible situation the world is in.  I don't touch politics, except for sharing funny cartoons from both parties in Messenger, with friends of whatever party will think it's funny.  The two parties left me a long time ago.  If you want to hear all that mess, turn on the news and get off Facebook.  If I see something that might brighten just one person's day or make them laugh, I'll post it.  But folks, I'm no saint.  Sometimes grandchildren tiptoe around me, that's how bad it can get.

Now let me share a couple of stories from yesterday's comment section of my blog:  First, Marlene.
   Here’s my Walmart story: Hubby and I went food shopping yesterday at Walmart. The best checkout line was behind a Dad and his little boy in the baby seat. Little guy was maybe two, and still sucking on a pacifier. I am always friendly to, but not a big fan of other people’s kids. Sometimes I will just wrinkle my nose at them to let them know I am friendly. This little guy was a happy little tyke, and his Daddy said his name is Joseph. “Hi Joseph, how are you?” He answered by breaking out in song and making big gestures with his arms. “I know that song,”. I said. “ Baby Shark, Baby Shark.” This little guy and I together went through the whole baby shark, Mommy shark, daddy shark, although he never changed his gesture from the daddy shark. They really don’t get it do they,? I said to Dad. We had a good laugh, and as they were leaving I said now what’s the chances of getting in line with an old lady who knows the Baby Shark Song. All the way to the door, Joseph was yelling “Bye” and still singing Baby Shark.  

This is Rita's story:  I like to be cheerful when I am out and about and I too am an introvert. I speak to everyone and anyone. It doesn't matter race, gender or age. I always wonder if God didn't put us together for just a moment for some reason, so why not cheer someone up or make them smile? I went to the grocery store one Sunday morning and was being cheerful, smiling and greeting people, in a soft, quiet way, not loud and boisterous. One woman was walking around the store waiting for me and asked me if I could give her something to eat. Where we were was very close to several places to get free meals, but for some reason she decided she would work me. I pulled off a banana, gave it to her and went on my way. I felt a little used, but I hope, used of, by or for God.

I have worked on this entry for about three hours, what with all the copying and pasting and making italics.  It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it.  Oh, and I was just ready to post this thing when I realized those Facebook comments had everybody's full name, and I'm sure not all of them would have appreciated that.  So I deleted the pictures of comments, send the pictures to my iPad, and used my new Apple pencil to cover everything but their first names.  I'm sure there's a faster way to do that, but I'm no guru.

This seems to be a one-topic entry, rather than a letter.  But I'll still use my letter-style closing because I like it.  

Sincerely, Donna

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Good morning friends

We are excited today because we get to pick our little girl up from day care right after lunch.  She will spend the afternoon with us.  I messaged her mom early this morning so she'd know we hadn't forgotten; she told the kid we'd be there, and Cora said, "Can they come and get me now?"  

It's downright chilly this morning, not that I'm complaining.  We haven't used the furnace yet, but I told Cliff if we had a small electric heater, it would be nice for a couple of hours in the morning.  I wouldn't use one all the time, simply because it takes a LOT of expensive electricity to make heat.  But I'm thinking it would save money, used only for a couple of hours daily.  Our Wellington Fair is this weekend.  Sounds like the weather might degenerate somewhat, with a 60% chance of thunderstorms during the time of the parade.  I'm so happy for cool weather, I don't even care that much, although I'm pretty certain we'll never again get over half an inch of rain here.  It can't be because God hates us, though:  I hold on to the promise straight from Jesus that says the rain falls on the just AND the unjust (yes, that's tongue in cheek, I'm not trying to convert anybody... although I do like Jesus). 

Facebook is doing fundraisers for charity now, and it's one of the best ideas ever.  For my birthday I chose the local Lafayette County charity which sent Cliff over $700 to take care of fuel expenses when he was driving to the city for radiation.  Thanks to great local friends, I exceeded my goal of $200.  My grandson chose to raise funds for St. Jude's Hospital.  He just started yesterday and has already reached his goal.  You can raise funds for non-charity things too, but in that case, as I understand, Facebook gets a small cut of it, sort of like GoFundMe does.  I've heard people cry and moan about how it's a ripoff using GoFundMe because they get a (tiny) part of the proceeds.  They'd rather give it to the actual person.  That's real nice, unless we're talking about Internet friends:  We don't have addresses for them, so it's impossible to help them without GoFundMe or something similar.  To each his own, but I feel it's a great deal.  They should be getting something for their part in helping people donate.  Do people consider it a ripoff when their cell phone bills arrive with extras tacked on so their $70 phone bill turns into $74?  

But you know what they say about opinions.    

I took a brief break from my blogging at this point because Cliff came inside and pointed out some cobwebs around the pictures in the hallway.  He reached toward one, finger cocked to remove a web, and I said, "Don't touch those... it's almost Halloween!  Then I got up from the computer and went for my dust thingie, saying, "This happens every time I try to blog:  Somebody tries to make me do some kind of work.  That's a joke, of course, because the fact is I'm a lousy housekeeper and, as I told Cliff, God gave me eyes that can't see cobwebs.

I'm finally learning how to make omelets.  Most people feel scrambled eggs are the same thing, but I really prefer omelets, and used to order them when we went out for breakfast.  I can make a decent-looking omelet now; this morning I folded them over and added chopped ham, onion, cheese, and sweet pepper.  It looked and tasted as if a professional made it.  Go me!  That reminds me, if anybody wants the recipe for the ham casserole I mentioned yesterday, go to that entry and click on "ham casserole we both like" just above the picture; it will take you to the recipe.  Just don't use as much butter as the recipe says, because that's ridiculous.  and add more than 2 teaspoons of onion, for heaven's sake.  Why bother for such a small amount?

I've gotten many positive comments about my "new" letter-writing style of blogging.  By the way, I share the link to each blog entry on Facebook, so I get more comments on Facebook than I do here on the blog.  It'll take awhile for me to get used to jotting down notes, but that's what I'm trying to do as I go about my daily rounds.  I might write a word or two about something that's going through my mind, or some nice thing that happened.  This has been a big help to me over these last few days!  

Here's a story from yesterday, at Walmart in Blue Springs:  I got in the speedy line where you can only have a limited number of items, thinking it would be faster.  Wouldn't you know someone at the front of the line had something going on that held us up for about ten minutes?  There was an older (ok, maybe my age) couple behind me, and the man was extremely disgruntled, talking to his wife in a rather hateful way while not actually saying anything bad about her.  I struck up a conversation with her:  I said, "Standing like this is a problem for those of us with aches and pains and health problems, isn't it?"

"Yes," said the guy,  "and we both have problems."

"His problems are worse than mine," Wife answered, and he sort of shook his head and went off looking for a quicker place to check out.  I told her I understand because it seems one of us is always off to the the doctor; then I related how Cliff's doctor wanted him to have a colonoscopy, but he refused; so they had him take a fecal sample (Cliff's going to kill me, but he told me I should tell this story).  Turns out the fecal sample tested positive (I'm thinking a false positive, but we'll see).  So Cliff gave in.  BUT then he got a call from place saying the cardiologist wouldn't let them do a colonoscopy until he saw Cliff.  Another doctor.

About this time she looked in the direction of her husband and whispered, "Make sure he gets that colonoscopy..." and nodded and motioned toward her husband, who was now rapidly approaching us.  It all became clear then:  They had just been blindsided by colon cancer, I imagine, and weren't dealing too well.  He wasn't angry at his wife; she was just the only one there to vent to.      

I'm not one to chat with folks, introvert that I am, but for some reason I chatted with them.  Not only that, but when I was done and ready to walk out, I turned and said, "I hope your day turns around, and I hope you have some good luck today."

I was just like some Little Susie Sunshine, talking to them.  But you know, by the time I left, both their countenances had changed, and they looked somewhat less stressed.  I've got to quit judging people when I don't know what's behind their actions.  There's a quote often seen on Facebook as a meme:  "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

Yours truly, Donna

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Things that have occupied my mind today

We started off our day with sausage, an egg, and a biscuit.  Actually, the biscuits were leftovers.  We had biscuits and gravy yesterday for our noon meal (dinner); I sent the leftover gravy and two biscuits with a granddaughter and saved two biscuits for us.  I don't really like sausage or bacon as much as I used to, and am not terribly crazy about fried eggs either, but Cliff loves that sort of food.  The main thing I really like about it, as cool weather approaches, is the homey smell of an old-fashioned breakfast when you go outside and then re-enter later.  The smell lingers for hours, welcoming me home.  

For dinner today we had a ham casserole we both like, since I found some of last Easter's ham in the freezer recently. 
that's the ham casserole at the top (look at that cheesy sauce).  We had smothered okra to go with it.  I wasn't paying attention and overcooked it, but it was still delicious.  Just a little ugly.

Yesterday I went with Cliff to get some parts  he needed for the mower.  I don't know what brought it up, but something sparked a memory of his mother, and I told him about it.  "Did you know," I said, "that when your mom made a pie shell that needed to be baked before the filling was put in it (like for chocolate pie), she put the raw crust on an upside-down pie pan to bake?"  

Cliff said he didn't know that.  Of course he didn't.  Every once in awhile he'll walk through the kitchen when I'm cooking, stop and watch a minute, and say, "Huh.  I didn't know that's how you did that."  And usually it's something basic I've been doing for 50 years.  Cliff tends to stay out of the kitchen while the magic is going on, so he's unfamiliar with all aspects of it.  Anyway, about the upside-down pie plates:  His mom is the only person I ever saw baking pie crust that way.  I wish I had asked her why.  She has one sister living (90 years old and on Facebook!!!!) so I went to Aunt Gertrude's status and asked if she baked her piecrust like that.  She answered,  "I never did do it like that.  Didn't know she did.  Mom never did.  Of course I do like Mom did."  Cliff's youngest sister, who doesn't have a big presence on Facebook, saw the conversation and said yes, Melva did do the upside-down pie plate.  Have any of my readers ever known someone to do that?  I even searched in vain on Google, trying to find out if it was something others had done.    

Here's a strange thing about Cliff's mom's family:  They eat onions with almost every meal.  When Aunt Gertrude's asthma forces her to the hospital, she asks for raw onions with her meals.  Most of the nurses know her, since she's in the hospital several times yearly.  It isn't just her with the onions, though.  That whole family goes on about onions until you'd swear they were talking about the fruit from the tree of life in the Bible!  Perhaps it's a regional thing in the Ozarks, though, rather than a family trait.  When I married Cliff, he wouldn't eat raw onions, said they made him sick.  Now it's nothing for him to whack off a slice of onion to have with his meal.  

Let's see:  What's Gabe up to?  I don't think I've told my readers that he likes to eat off the table when nobody's looking.  At some point as he was becoming pretty well potty-trained, I began leaving him loose in the house when we left for brief periods of time.  I did that a few times and found nothing out of place when we returned.  However, as I was washing dishes one day with my back to the table, I heard slurping noises:  Gabe was on a chair licking and eating butter that was sitting on the table.  Trust me, when we leave him at home now, he goes in his kennel.  Oh, and he received another bath today because, once again, he rolled in carrion.  When he sees me getting his bath ready, he runs to the back of his kennel and goes deaf, so I have to reach way back there to drag him out.

If it matters to anyone, I'm reading "The Great Alone".  I didn't really need anything to convince me not to move to Alaska, but I surely know it for certain now.

Yours truly, 

Monday, September 24, 2018

Here's your letter from Donna (random)

Yes, a letter.  When I have no specific topic, it's a letter.  Pretend you just pulled this letter out of your mailbox.  Except I'm not going to start with "dear readers".  That would just get tiresome.

Let's talk about the weather again.  This is about the driest year I think I've witnessed, except for maybe 1954 when I was ten.  We have both become pessimists this summer, because even when people 50 miles away are getting several inches, we get from nothing at all to 1/2 inch.  The only thing left in our yard is weeds, and they're sparse.  So trust me, when any source of weather forecasting mentions possibility of rain, we laugh.  Oh, there was a period of time when they'd say chance of rain and one of us would yell LIAR! (or worse).  Then it got so hopeless, we'd just mutter to ourselves, knowing it wasn't going to happen.  Last night I was debating whether to close the windows or not, so I checked my weather app.  Everything was zero chance of rain except for a 10% chance from 10 to 11 this morning.  I mentioned this to Cliff and we laughed and laughed.  I mean, when inches are forecast and we get nothing,  do they really think they can forecast a 10% chance that lasts an hour?  So this morning when Cliff stepped out the door at 9:45, he said, "It's sprinkling", I replied, "Oh, of course it is.  Because obviously all the forecasts only include us when we're getting a very light mist.  We're the 10% that got it.  Yes, I'm bitter.  

Every year our son visits us around the fourth of July.  I only see him once a year, so I try to cook stuff he likes, which means a lot of starch and sugar and fats.  He only stays for four or five days, but by the time he leaves, I've gained six pounds and Cliff shows up to a 10-pound gain, because we're eating more of the stuff we don't allow ourselves often.  Admittedly, two days after Jim's gone, we've both dropped a couple or three pounds, but the rest takes longer.  This year I was afraid I wasn't going to shed it.  My clothes weren't too snug, so it wasn't a big problem except that I know my past history; it seems once I gain four pounds and keep carrying it around for two months, I start gradually gaining weight until I'm pushing 180 pounds.  Yesterday I felt a little "off"; not sick, but not particularly wanting to eat a lot, either.  This morning I got up, got on the scales, and voila! was finally down to my fighting weight, 151.  That was worth feeling a little peaked (does anybody use that word any more?) for a day.

Definition of Peaked (or Peak├Ęd)  It means "to look sick or sickly", or, if you want to be similarly archaic, it means to look "wan". ... It's spoken as two syllables.

I can't write a letter without mentioning Gabe, my dog.  Here's a rather interesting and irritating thing he does:  He's pretty good now about coming to the house when I call him, but as he gets almost to the bottom step, he'll put his nose to the ground and circle, searching for a treasure to bring inside.  Unfortunately, they are not treasures to me.  Since there are a lot of horses next door for a farrier to trim, Gabe can sneak under a fence, grab a trimmed-off hunk of hoof, and carry it home.  He has these scattered in the grass in the front yard, and sometimes that's his treasure of the day.  He likes to chew them, and I'm sure there is a danger of his choking on a piece like my Sadie-dog choked and died on a piece of pork bone.  However, by the time he brings them in the house they're usually pretty clean, so I let him chew one for awhile and toss it when he abandons it.  Living where we do, there's no way to stop his bringing horse-hooves home.  We live in farm country, so that's how it is.  

Ah, but the other stuff he's surprised me with.  Because of his beard, I often don't realize there's anything in his mouth until he gets inside and either drops it on the floor or starts crunching on something.  If I see him pick something up outside, I pry his mouth open before he comes in and get rid of the treasure.  So far I've relieved him of many, many twigs, a caterpillar he had his tongue curled around as if cradling it, a dead mouse (again, with his tongue cradling it), and today, some furry little thing I first thought was a stick, but then realized it was a very slender bone from some tiny creature.  Yuck.

And then there's my great-granddaughter.  We watch her for short periods of time once or twice a week, which is nice.  She was here today when I heard Cliff start the tractor; right then I remembered how our first great-granddaughter was scared of the tractor for a long, long time.  We didn't put her on it until she was past a year old.  We started Cora riding it almost as soon as we began babysitting her, so she has always loved tractors.  Anyway, I took the baby out and told Cliff he had better take her for a short ride once in a while so she'd be comfortable with tractors.  

I'm so thankful for our cooler weather.   

Sincerely yours, Donna

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Cliff's latest project... and a project for me, if I'm capable

Since Cliff sold that tractor that went to Africa, his tractor fund bank account was looking much healthier, until he went looking for a bat-wing mower.  He told me his original plan was to sell that Ford tractor, then look for the kind of mower he wanted.  He found one for a reasonable price: one that worked, for the most part, but had seen better days.  I love how excited he gets when presented with a new project, and often wish I could be that enthusiastic about something.  Without further ado, here it is.  Please hold your applause.

Those wings will be let down in the pasture when it's time to mow.  Probably my readers knew that, since you'll see this type of mower at work along roads and highways.

I didn't ask, but I think he's sharpening the blade here.  After spending his usual two hours on the computer, he went straight to the shop and went to work.  That's probably where he'll spend most of today.  He intends to replace several seals that leak.  "It'll work the way it is," he said, "but I like to fix the leaks."

I think there is some potential for him to make money on this thing, although he says he plans to use it around here.  Notice I'm not mentioning what he paid for it.  Last time I did that, he was a little peeved, thinking it might make it harder to sell if people knew how little he paid for it.  I reminded him that it isn't usually readers of my blog who look for tractors and machinery on Craigslist.  

And now, my "project".  I used to write songs and poems all the time.  I think I lost interest when I realized I had nobody to sing with and nowhere to sing, so what's the use bothering?  You know, if a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around to hear it, did it make a sound?  It works the same with being a solitary singer.  

After a dry spell of many years, a gal who graduated with my daughter called saying she found a song her husband had written, and wondered if I could do something with it, maybe finish it.  Sherri recalled how I used to make up songs when she and Rachel were younger.  I told her I didn't write songs any more and was pretty sure I couldn't help her, but she was free to bring the words by so I could look at them.  

As it turns out, it really wasn't so much a song as just random lines written down by Jim's (her husband) longtime best friend:  Experiences they'd had together, etc.  There was no rhyme, no meter.  Out of practice as I was, I figured it was an impossible task.  But folks, I somehow got a pretty decent song out of it.  I don't even have a copy of the words, as far as I know, but he did get to sing the song for his friend.  

So yesterday Jim came by with more words written on a sheet of paper.  Once again, I don't see myself turning this thing into a song; not that anything is wrong with his words, but I've lost my mojo.  My give-a-darn's busted.  My guitar's out of tune and needs new strings put on, and I'm too lazy to even fix that!  I told him I hadn't written any songs since I did the other one for him four or five years ago.  He told me "That's fine.  If you can't, you can't."  

It makes me sort of sad to remember how I used to do poems and songs for people regularly.  One year I did two poems for graduating seniors here, and one turned into a song.  A lady I attended church with in the 90's asked me to write a poem for a friend who was moving away:  that became a song and provided lots of laughs for the people who would miss her (Edie was her name).  Usually I wrote these kinds of poems and songs about somebody I didn't personally know, so I'd tell the person making the request to write everything she could think of about that individual.  I'd tell them to write a lot, because I'd be sifting through, picking and choosing what rhymed and sounded best.  

Yeah.  I'll bet if I refused to allow myself any computer time until I finished a song, my Muse would suddenly appear.

So apparently I just don't WANT to write a song very much.  

Have yourself a great day out there!  Here in Missouri it was 50 degrees when I got up, and we're going for a high temperature of 74.  I love it!

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Procrastination, thy name is Donna

I've always been a go-with-the-flow kind of person.  I take the easier and more enjoyable way whenever possible, so of course I make deadlines I don't meet or goals that I know when I make them aren't going to happen.  Life's just a bowl of cherries, right?  So surely my readers didn't think I was serious when I typed something in my last entry from four days ago saying I'd be back the next day.  Right?  

OK, my intentions are good, but now that I'm footloose and fancy-free not babysitting, Cliff seems to find more places to drive.  Tuesday we had to drive to Oak Grove about some prescriptions.  Yesterday we got in the car after our dinner at noon, heading to Holden to check on a batwing mower on Craigslist (he bought it).  Today we picked up granddaughter Heather at the automotive place where she took her car, went by Cliff's sister's house long enough to say hello, then came home until 11:30, when it was time for me to get a haircut.  Of course, on any of these days I had plenty of time to do a blog entry.  But I procrastinate.

This morning I went in the kitchen to get a cup of coffee and said to Cliff, "I need to unload the dishwasher."  I opened up the door, grabbed four plates, shut the dishwasher door, put the plates in the cabinet, and said, "Well, that's a start."

And I sat down to drink my coffee. 

That's pretty much how I approach every day.  I'm not even ashamed.  Somebody has to be in this world to make you Suzie Homemaker ladies look better, so I'm just doing my job.  Gabe feels pretty good about all the car rides we're taking him on, though.  Any little local trips where we aren't planning to eat out or do any heavy shopping, he gets to "go with" now.  I make him stay mostly in the back seat, although I do let him stand with his front feet between me and Cliff.  He likes to stand, looking down the road, as though he's riding shotgun.  And praise be, he hasn't gotten carsick for a long, long time.     

I still have hummingbirds around; when the cold front hits tonight, perhaps that will encourage them to move on.  I walked out the back door today and saw a small flock of bluebirds.  Those beauties have become a favorite of mine.  Before we moved back here to the trailer house, I don't recall ever noticing a bluebird, although to be honest, I wasn't looking for them.  First of all I put a concrete birdbath in the yard, since that had been suggested as a way to attract bluebirds.  It worked, too.  But the concrete birdbath was so hard to keep free of that green algae, and impossible to dump out because it was so heavy.  So I gave up on it and got a bluebird house for Cliff to put on a fence post; ever since then, there's been no lack of bluebirds around here.    

The weathermen on TV have been teasing us with promises of a much-needed cold front bringing in some much-needed rain, but now they've taken the promise of rain almost completely out of the picture.  That's how our whole summer has gone.  And that's all I'll say about that, because if I don't change the subject, I'll get depressed thinking about the drought.  My mom often told stories about the drought during the first years of her marriage in the thirties, and after the past summer, I almost feel as though I can relate.  However, we don't HAVE to have a garden in order to eat, and that makes a huge difference in how we fare.  Mother told about the wife of the farmer she and Daddy worked for giving them some potatoes that were left in the ground until they had frozen (probably the littler ones) and also some dried pole beans that had been planted in with the corn, and climbed up the stalks for poles.  Mother said that's mostly what they lived on that winter, along with gravy made with water instead of milk.  Hard times, folks.  When they got married my sister Maxine (age 5) joined them.  Mother made dresses for her out of her own old, worn-out dresses.   They also had a lot of canned goods Mother's mom gave them as a wedding gift.  And Daddy would hunt rabbits, but I think they sold more of them than they ate themselves.  Honestly, meat was never a big priority with my parents; they could take it or leave it, throughout their lives.

We won't talk about the "no air conditioners" problem of the 30's.  

Hard times, folks.  Hard times.  We who didn't live through it can't even imagine.  

Peace.  I'll refrain from promising to be back tomorrow,  But I SHALL return. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

Why do dogs roll in stuff?

I was going to do a blog entry this morning, but things happened:  Cliff had to go by the clinic about a couple of things, so of course I wanted to go along, because he's the only one who lets me tag along that way.  If he says "I'm going," I say, "Wait for me, it'll only be a minute," because I don't care WHERE.  Then I hunt for my shoes, take Gabe out to potty before we go, comb my hair, put on different clothes.  So it's always more like 10 or 15 minutes.  I wouldn't blame Cliff if he decided to sneak away without telling me.  No, he wouldn't do that.  I'm the one who cooks for him, so he wouldn't want to make me mad.

This morning I was inspired to blog about Gabe, since Cliff and I spotted him rolling in something in the pasture; I called him, and his head and neck were shiny with some sort of stinking-to-high-heaven corruption.  I don't understand what a dog gets out of this, but I know Gabe loves it, and doesn't understand why I won't let him smell the way he wants to.  One day recently I left his bath water in the kitchen just in case he found the stink again, which he did a short hour later.  He hates baths, and it seems like he would figure out he wouldn't have to have so many baths if he'd quit rolling in stuff.  I did look on the Internet to see why they do what they do, though:

"Many believe it's instinctual behavior, harkening back to the days when your dog's wild ancestors would mask their scent to help them sneak up on their prey. Wolves, for example, have been observed rolling in animal carcasses or the droppings of plant-eating animals, to cover up their own smell during the hunt."

I'm don't think Gabe is the sharpest knife in the drawer, but if we can break him of a couple of suicidal stunts he pulls, he'll suit me fine.  He knows "sit" and "stay" and "down" and "come" (if he wants to).    I recently taught him to "sit up pretty", and used treats to reward him; I use pieces of his regular dog food as treats, since he likes them.   If he things there might be a treat in store, he'll just randomly run through the few commands he knows in about five seconds, ignoring my orders.  This dog is SO food-oriented.  Here's an example of how he shames me when I'm trying to show him off.  And don't be making fun of my big feet.

See?  I started out telling him to sit, but he "sat up pretty" instead.  Next, with me still saying Sit, he lays down.  Of course, when nobody is watching, and nobody is recording, he goes through his paces perfectly.  Just like children do.

Yesterday one of my granddaughters, Monica, brought her dog Suzie along.  She's an older dog, but after a couple of hours of getting acquainted, she and Gabe had a great time.  Poor Gabe was worn out last night.  When Suzie first got here, she spent some time letting Gabe know who was boss.  This was really good for him, since he hasn't had a lot of experience getting to interact with other dogs.  It was great fun watching Suzie pee, then Gabe trying to cover her scent with his pee... that went on all day long.  There is a video of Suzie and Gabe frolicking, but it's a Facebook video, so I can't share it on the blog.  

On another note, I have a Facebook friend in Kentucky who goes to bluegrass festivals.  She's told me so much about them, I really want to attend one.  It sounds like the best people-watching event ever.  There are no festivals nearby, but there are several in the state.  Two of them will be going on at the same time our local fair happens, and we don't want to miss our chance to drive a tractor in the parade.  Gabe might even get to join us.  

I hope to be back tomorrow, perhaps with a topic of more substance.  


Saturday, September 15, 2018

It's going to be a great day

At least I'm hoping for the best.  I started the day right, making moves on all twenty-seven of my Words-With-Friends games in progress.  I always do better in the morning, but today it occurred to me that I could probably put my morning brain to some better use than playing mind-numbing games.  Here's another thought that just ran through my head:  On September 11, 2001, how many of those folks who worked at the twin towers left home saying, "It's going to be a great day"?  I'd be willing to bet some of them did. 

Because, you know, positive thinking doesn't always work.  However, I started my day off right, with a piece of apple pie, floating in cream.  I only allow myself one piece of pie daily; I figured I'd be better off making it a whole meal than I would using it as dessert after a meal.  That's my reasoning, and if I have to take an anti-acid pill later, so be it.  We do have a parade planned with our tractor club at Higginsville, where their country fair is going on.  I'm not taking Gabe this time, due to the nature of the seat on the little International.  There is no place for a dog except for on my lap, and that would get uncomfortable quickly for both me and Gabe.    
See?  Honestly, I probably wouldn't take him anyhow, because I like to walk around to the booths and corn dog stands, and would rather not have a leashed dog with me.  Last time we were at this fair parade, Cliff took off pretty fast and I almost fell off backwards.  That black handle on the back of Cliff's seat is for me to hang onto, and after that happened, believe me, I hung on!  The crowd got a kick out of it, though.  

See that opening in the box below the seat of the tractor?  That's a toolbox, but today we'll make it a candy box so I can throw candy to the kids (while still hanging on for dear life).  We'll see what happens.  Let's hope I don't accidentally dismount in the middle of town.  

I've been catching up on the blogs I used to read regularly, the ones that still remain.  

Oh, Cliff had a doctor appointment.  He couldn't get his prescriptions without it.  All results were good, but it took much longer than in past years.  Apparently the government or the insurance companies are making doctors jump through some new hoops now, getting all the patient's information down, names of specialists, etc., even a small memory test.  Nurse Stephanie gave Cliff three words to remember, and he only remembered one.  Oh well.  She told me, "Now you know what's going to happen with it's your turn to come in."

Oh boy.  How much fun can one person have?  I hope my prescriptions last long enough to get me out of that for this year.  

Have a great day.  

Friday, September 14, 2018


Recently I thought it would be fun to keep a jigsaw puzzle going in Cliff's shop, so anybody who has a notion to can help put it together.  A Facebook friend from Connecticut mentioned she had several of them in her basement that she should probably take to a thrift store.  "Oh no," I said.  "Send them to me and I'll pay the postage."  

Judy said she wanted to pay the postage because she's had so much joy following my blog, so that suits me.  I received them yesterday, and need to get myself to the shop and find a flat surface for puzzle-assembling.  I love having things around that have been sent to me by my Internet friends.  

Here's something:  The pole that holds the wire that brings electricity into our home (and the grandson's home) is BENT!  Cliff and I had gone somewhere, and when we turned onto our road and faced our place, he said, "Look at that pole!"  I have no idea how long it's been like that.  I turned it in accompanied by a picture; they sent someone out to check on it the same day.

Cliff had a doctor appointment yesterday, a routine physical.  Everything looked great, they said when they called, including his PSA.  Since he didn't have breakfast and it was noon when he got out of there, I thought we should eat out.  I told him he might like Cracker Barrel.  What a mistake that was!  Neither of us thought the food was great.  I find this happens more, the older I get.  I'm getting to the point that I prefer my own cooking more than eating out.  We do have a wonderful Italian place not far away, and a great Mexican restaurant.  But when it comes to American food, I prefer my own most of the time.  

Here's the funny thing.  Usually when I know we'll be shopping and messing up our schedule, I'll cook something in the morning before we leave so we won't HAVE to eat out.  Yesterday I got out the pressure cooker (the old-fashioned one that only has to cook pinto beans for three minutes), found some ham scraps from our Easter ham in the freezer to toss in when I added the onions, carrots, and celery, and there it was.  Believe me, when we were sitting at Cracker Barrel eating over-priced, not-so-good meals I was sure wishing I was home eating my pinto beans.  As it is, we had them today and will probably have the rest tomorrow.  

We went to an orchard for apples yesterday.  Fuji's, my favorite for eating, won't be ripe for awhile yet, so I bought 10 pounds of Jonathan apples for pie, and 10 pounds of Gala that will probably go bad before they get eaten.  This morning I made a pie; I also made 1 pie filling in a pan to freeze and wrap in foil.  That'll be handy when I want some pie but don't want to peel apples for an hour.  I'll just make the crust, put the frozen filling in it, cover it up with the top crust, and bake it.  

Oh, oh... I almost forgot.  I took a video of bees and butterflies on a rotten apple for your viewing pleasure.  Watch that lower butterfly!  His wings have eyes on them.

And there you have it:  A woman who will type whatever she can think of off the top of her head, just so she can attempt to bring her blog back to its former glory.  

That's my story (or my several stories) and I'm sticking to it.   

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

A Ford tractor, SOLD and bound for Africa

A month or two ago, a fellow came to look at the Ford tractor Cliff had listed on Craigslist.  I didn't go outside at the time, since most guys who come looking to buy a tractor aren't interested in buying.  They are "lookie-loo's" as we call them, just wanting to talk about tractors.  When the fellow left, Cliff came in and told me he was a black man and didn't really seem to know much about tractors.  "He told me where he was from," he said, "but I don't remember the name of the country.  It sounded like someplace in Africa."

Ever on the alert, I asked, "Was it Nigeria?  Because a lot of Internet scams come out of Nigeria."

"Yeah, I think that might have been it.  I think it was."

We talked about it and decided this must be somebody wanting to take us for a bunch of money (blood from a turnip?), or maybe make off with our rusty old Ford 5000 diesel tractor without paying.  We agreed that if the guy came back with cash, we'd have one of those pens you use to mark on paper money to see if it's counterfeit.  Oh no, nobody's going to take us to the cleaners.  We weren't born yesterday.  

And just as we thought, we never heard back from this man... for several weeks. 

Then, after we'd given up ever seeing him again, he called Friday to say he'd be here Tuesday (yesterday).  He had someone coming from Massachusetts to check out the tractor before they bought it.

Could it get any crazier?  All of this sounded like a made-up story.  Cliff has had some problem understanding the guy due to his accent, so we weren't sure what he'd said.  Surely he got something wrong. 

But we got a call yesterday saying they were on the way.  I intended to meet them this time!

These three are all related, although I'm not sure how the young lady fits in the picture.  Cliff spent over an hour explaining how the tractor worked and showing the relative who had come from Massachusetts how to drive it.  His English wasn't as good as the others, so his uncle translated a few things for him.  I had no problem understanding either of the others; in fact, the lovely young lady and I had a wonderful discussion.  She is from Tanzania (I think... because you know, my memory isn't the best), and spent most of last year there.  I didn't want to pry, so I didn't dig for too much information.  When I brought her up to our house so she could use the bathroom, she remarked, "Oh, something smells good!"

I had some steaks in the Instant Pot cooking; that was the smell; I considered inviting them to stay for dinner, but didn't.  I wanted them to make sure they wanted the tractor and then hand over the money!  I didn't want to stretch it out any longer.

Cliff tried to show him the necessary things about driving this tractor.
But this... a cheap, old, faded sun-shade... is what he seemed to be proudest of.  Oh, and one other thing:

The ancient radio that still works.

After the test-drive, they followed us to the bank, where we had a bill of sale notarized for them and deposited the cash they'd given us.  Before they drove away, they told Cliff to let them know if he every got another such tractor.  

And Cliff shared a bit of his profit with me, a very generous act on his part since I never make him share his tractor fund money.  I've been needing a new winter coat.

Bye bye!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Project 2996, remembering their lives

In some past years I have participated in Project 2,996 by choosing (or being given) the name of someone who died in the disaster that happened on September 11, 2001.  The idea was to make folks aware that these were individuals who died, not just a nameless, faceless crowd.  
I'm linking to the entries I did about those people.

Thelma Cuccinello

Christopher Sullivan

Veronique Bowers

Derek James Statkevicus 

Linda C. Lee

All those entries get hits throughout the year, but on September 11, they get more.  I have had actual friends of these people leave a comment, thanking me for doing this.  Project 2,996 seems to be operating mainly on this Pinterest this year, and I have no desire to add another time-wasting site to my online life.  So what you see here is my only way of participating. 

I updated this page I originally did in 2012, rather than try and do it completely over.  Project 2996 has idled to a halt, I believe, as well it should.  It's no use trying to keep anger alive after so much time has passed.  This is a reminder to live each moment to the fullest: one morning these people got up, went to work or to the airport expecting an ordinary day, and never came home. 

Monday, September 10, 2018

Welcome, cooler weather!

While several parts of the country have received huge amounts of rain all summer, we at this property have only received small amounts.  It rained for three days this time, and I believe Cliff said it finally did get above half-an-inch for the first time this year.  I'm so glad I downsized the garden, since it hasn't been a great year for anything I planted.  My peach tree yielded a small crop, enough to freeze about 13 pints; and one of my little three-year-old pear trees had ten pears for me, so I look forward to lots of pears in a couple more years.

We have only used our camper one time.  Why?  Because it's been miserably hot, and Cliff and I can't stand the heat well these days.  We'd talk about going, then realize that the only way we'd keep cool would be to stay cooped up in the little camper.  The only really big rainstorm we've seen this year was on that single camping trip at Truman Lake, when we were stuck in the camper reading  on our tablets for a day and two nights while the heavens opened up:  Pouring down rain, hail, thunder and lightening.  Here at home, I don't think we got a drop.  

We'll be at a state park not too far from home when we go again:  Watkins Mill, Knob NosterWeston Bend, maybe, or Wallace State Park.  We used to have family campouts sometimes at Watkins Mill.  It's a lovely little state park with a fishing lake and great walking paths.  Unfortunately, it's populated by kleptomaniac raccoons, so you'd better plan on putting all coolers and food under lock and key.  Check out this review someone wrote from 2012:  
"raccoons abound: I love the lake, and visit often, but will not even try to sleep there again. I spent the entire night fighting off raccoons...DOZENS of them. They were NOT wary of people, and the camp-hosts were not the least bit concerned by this. By morning, I had myself holed-up in my car, any camp-gear left out had been clawed and gnawed, ane there were footprints and scratches ALL over my vehicle from them climbing on it. I just wanted to spend a quiet night by the lake. I didn't even bring food with me...or the kids, thank goodness!"

Also, you don't plan on swimming in the lake, because unless things have changed, geese ruin the swimming beach with their liberal pooping, so it's often closed due to the presence of e-coli.  Since we'll be able to enclose ourselves within actual walls in our camper, they won't be able to join us.  One year the grandson and I were in the popup camper, sound asleep.  Grandson woke me up telling me to shine the flashlight his way.  There was a raccoon in the camper with us, helping himself to our loaf of bread.  He'd found a snap that was undone and sneaked through the opening.  

I think I'm about ready to take on some raccoons.  I'm now sitting here imagining Gabe's reaction when he's awakened in a camper in a strange place and those raccoons are outside fighting and growling at one another, trying to get to our foodstuffs.  Cliff and I would sleep through it, but I'm not sure Gabe will let us.  Oh well, who needs sleep?  

I had an interesting screaming session with a younger relative yesterday.  This is someone who listens to podcasts for entertainment.  He's always telling us about some doctor that says science is all wrong about the ways to make people healthy.  I ignore these radical ideas and keep my mouth shut, but this weekend he went a little too far.  He had learned that GMO's have been with us since man first started domesticating corn, wheat, and other grains... in other words, since the dawn of time.  

Wait, what????  Cliff and I remember when GMO seeds first came into being for farm crops, and it wasn't that long ago.  Trouble is, I couldn't get this person to shut up long enough to tell him about it.  I'd start to refute him, he'd just yell louder.  He wouldn't let me talk!  Finally I yelled at the top of my lungs, "You're talking over me!  Let me talk!"

If someone had been nearby, they'd probably have called the cops.  

When he finally stopped talking (looking a little shocked), I asked Alexa, "When did GMO's start?"  

She answered, "1994."

At this point, we were able to discuss things, and since I had sufficient time and silence, I explained to him the difference between selective breeding and genetically modified foods:  One is done in the fields and on the farms by putting a superior bull, boar, ram, etc., in the pasture with the females of the species and allowing him to impregnate them (or else bringing semen in and artificially breeding them); many of the offspring will be improved in some way over the mother, because they also have the superior genetics of the father.  Plants (or animals) that have been genetically altered in a lab are NOT the same thing.  I don't know what genomes are, but I do know the bull only has one thing in mind, and he doesn't waste time taking it to the lab to get it modified.

By the way, as far as I know there were no hard feelings from our shouting match.  I know there are none on my end.  

Most of us have been eating GMO's, then, since 1994.  Corn, soybeans, wheat crops are mostly grown from GMO seeds.  Given a choice, I would rather there were no GMO crops grown.  GMO's are outlawed in several countries, and those countries can't buy grains from the USA.  Surely there is some reason they've outlawed them.  And yet, I don't obsess about it.  I don't try to buy non-GMO foods, or organic foods.  I won't argue about it at all, unless somebody is yelling at me.  As in any situation, I realize I could be wrong.  

In case you're wondering, the only animal that's been modified that will soon be available for food is genetically modified salmon.  Other animals are modified for bio-production of pharmaceuticals and laboratory research, but aren't used as food.  I got this information HERE.  There's a lot of GMO info on that website, much more than I intend to read, believe me.   

I shall return.

Thursday, September 06, 2018

One thing and another

Every two months, Gabe goes to the groomer.  Today was the day.  

As much as I prefer how the traditional Schnauzer cut looks, with the skirt and fluffy leggings and all, this short-all-over-but-leave-the eyebrows-and-beard cut is best for us.  When I first had this summer cut done, we all noticed there was much less doggy odor to contend with.  So this is probably going to be his permanent look.  I always make his next appointment when we pick him up, because they are constantly booked up.  One time I neglected to do that and he had to go three months without a haircut.  Never again!  I called other groomers, but they were all booked, AND charged more than Bed and Bones.  Now I secure my spot far ahead and give B&B a tip each time.

Our little Cora is having some difficulty adjusting to preschool, which doesn't surprise me.  I'm sure it's a shock.  She's had other changes going on in her life lately, so the timing could have been better; but I think the longer we waited, the harder it might have been.  The folks at the day care take pictures of the kids going about their business of learning and playing while they're there, and we see our little girl smiling and joining in, in a lot of them.  Her mom told me that on the first day, the poor kid had an embarrassing incident at/during nap-time, which has sort of turned her against nap-time completely.  Yesterday she was having a bad morning, so her mom wondered if we could go pick her up at lunch and bring her to visit.  Of course we were dying to see her anyway, so that worked for us.  But when I talked to her about napping, and laying down and shutting her eyes and going to sleep like she did here, her eyes welled up with tears and I realized it really is a serious issue.  I know the folks at this preschool, and I'm sure if anybody can win her over, they can.  Last night, searching for answers, I googled "child hates pre-school" and found out this is NOT an uncommon thing.   

Meanwhile, her parents, grandparents, and Cliff and me have our moods dampened a bit knowing our little sunshine girl is having trouble adjusting.  Positive thoughts and prayers are appreciated.  If having folks care about the fact you're having a hard time does any good, she has that in spades.  But it's one of those "you've gotta walk that lonesome valley" things.  "Nobody else can walk it for you," as the song goes.  You've gotta walk it by yourself.

We've had a little rain, although most of the precipitation goes north and east every time, giving us a 1/10-inch sample on its way past.  Mother Nature is a tightwad, but at least we have green pasture again.  As far as finding hay for the winter, that's going to be an interesting and costly proposition.

That's all for today.  God bless us every one.  

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

We did a little shopping this morning

Heather needed a lift to Blue Springs to pick her car up from the shop where it's been for about three weeks, so I told Cliff I'd go along.  We dropped Heather off, and Cliff said, "OK, what next?"  

"I assume you're going to wash the car?" I said.

"Yeah, how did you know?"

You see, Cliff took an unwise shortcut last week when we found traffic stopped near Oak Grove.  That whole town is a mess lately with all the road work going on, and Cliff is not very patient.  Anyhow, he saw the traffic backed up and turned onto a gravel road we've never been on.  It did lead home, thanks to the GPS, but it had rained, so mud splashed all over the car.  

I intended to buy ice cream at Walmart in Oak Grove on the way home when I picked up my prescription, so we planned our trip accordingly:  Drop Heather off, drive up the road to Ben's Garden Center, on to the car wash, then to Home Depot, then Walmart.  Sounds simple enough, right?

I was messing around with the flower bed out front the other day and saw what looked like a milkweed pod on a vine growing up and around a coneflower.  This reminded me that milkweeds are the only plant Monarch Butterflies eat, so I came inside and googled up milkweeds, only to find that whatever that pod was, it wasn't a milkweed.  Milkweeds aren't vining plants.  Right then and there I decided to go to Ben's at first opportunity and get myself a milkweed plant.  
My Native swamp milkweed plant

Everybody needs a Mum this time of year, right?
Ben's is my favorite garden center, mainly because of the guy who seems to run the place.  Is that Ben, or is it his father, John, who started the business 40 years ago?  It must be John, going by his fascinating Italian accent.  Surely a second-generation citizen wouldn't have an accent.  He carried my swamp milkweed to the car, and after loading it in the back-seat floorboard, looked past me and said, "What happened to my flag?"  I looked around, confused.  He said, "My flag is gone.  If somebody stole it, I'll kill them."  (All this in an Italian accent).  As he stormed over to his empty flagpole, he said, "You don'ta lika the flag, leave-a the country.  Right?"  

Cliff and I got a kick out of that.  The accent made it perfect.

I knew Home Depot wouldn't be a problem for Cliff because it's one of the few stores he actually likes.  He can always find something he needs there.  As for me, I was in the market for a range hood, since the one I have is awful.  I won't go into detail, just trust me on this.  Of course, like always, I found the rest room first, then headed out to search for the cheapest range hood they had.  From behind me, a lilting female voice said, "Donna, can I help you?"

I turned to see a smiling face I didn't recognize.  Was my name written on my back?  Who was this woman?  

I tend not to look people in the eye or study faces closely, so I've never remembered faces and names well.  Therefore, I'm often in the position of playing "guess who" with people.  This kind lady evidently noticed my confusion and said, "I hang out with Scott, your nephew."  

OK, but how does she know me?  I can't imagine our handsome, fifty-year-old bachelor nephew showing pictures of me to all his girl friends.  Back at the car, Cliff suggested she's probably visited our place:  You see,  excepting for his married years, Scotty has been bringing a string of good-looking girls out here for at least thirty years... introducing them to us, then tossing them aside just about the time we get attached to them.  Did she tell me her name?  Maybe she had a name tag?  I never notice anything!

She took me to the range hoods, found what I was looking for, and placed it in my cart.  

Moving on, we went to Walmart at Blue Springs, because at this point I'd forgotten all about my prescription at Oak Grove Walmart.  Cliff and I went our separate ways, but met up at the checkout counter.  I had my ice cream in the cart with the other 8 or 10 items.  There were long, slow lines of people waiting at every cash register that was open, so we just picked one.  Of course it was the slowest one of all, because we picked it.  Happens every time.  Since Cliff retired we try to be more patient, reminding ourselves these clerks don't get paid a whole lot, so if they move slow, surely we can be patient; besides, why should we be in a hurry.  The trouble is, I could imagine my ice cream melting as we stood there watching people move along at a snail's pace.  Even after we're in the car, we are still 25 minutes from home.  Why didn't I grab a cooler before we left?      

So there you have it:  Our shopping adventures in a nutshell.

Monday, September 03, 2018

Hello, I'm still blogging!

Yesterday went as planned, for the most part, but that's probably because there were no plans.  Daughter Rachel, her girls, and the latest great-grandbaby spent a large part of the day here.  We all ate made-from-scratch corn dogs, as many as we wanted.  In my case, it was three:  two for noontime dinner, one special Nathan's hot dog just for me, for supper.  I've had my fix, and don't care if I see another corn dog until next summer when fair season arrives.  

Rachel, Natalie, and Monica discovered a game to play, with the echo (Alexa) playing moderator.  You hear a snippet of a popular song from whatever decade you choose and guess the name of the song and/or the artist to get points.  Up to five can play, and whoever has the most points wins.  I just sat on the sidelines because I don't bother to learn proper names of artists and songs, and the only music I'm that familiar with is either classic country or folk.  It was fun watching them play, but when the son-in-law got back from visiting his mom in Carthage, nobody else had a chance.  That guy has the best memory of anybody I know, especially when it comes to names of movies, songs and artists.

I had mentioned going on a road trip today, but at the last minute this morning, changed my mind.  Grandson's jeep broke down as he was on his way to Bolivar this weekend to help a friend.  He was pulling a trailer behind him with his four-wheeler on it, so that left him 100-plus miles from home with two vehicles, neither of which would get him home!  His wife, Heather, went down to pick him up yesterday and they hauled the four-wheeler back.  This morning, he and Cliff took the trailer back down to retrieve the jeep.  I decided not to go because he borrowed somebody else's pickup rather than use our gas-guzzler... I don't blame him for that... but I had planned to take Gabe rather than leave him home, thinking we were using our truck.  Once in awhile Gabe gets a little car-sick, and it wouldn't be nice seeing him get sick in someone else's vehicle.  Besides, the grandson has had SUCH a horrible Labor Day weekend (ruined transmission, anybody?), I could see that one extra passenger might just be that much more for him and Cliff to worry about, especially a passenger with a dog:  I seek out rest rooms often while traveling, and sometimes on a long jaunt, Gabe needs a potty stop.  They didn't need that.  I feel good about my decision.

I have a few bulbs to get in the ground while it's moist, and a little okra to pick.  Tomatoes are starting to produce edible fruits now, too.  Not prize-winning tomatoes, but at least something I can use.  So my next move is to go outside with Gabe and act like a gardener.    

If you can't tell, this is a token entry just to remind myself I AM going to be blogging more, and don't you forget it!  It's a mind-set, and I have no excuse now, except that my life is pretty boring these days.  But I think I can get my mojo back.  

Oh, I found Wanda's pimento cheese spread online this morning.  If you had trouble with her directions in the entry yesterday, everything is a lot more specific on the site I discovered.  The recipe is HERE.  There are other recipes almost like it except you boil the two eggs.  I'm sticking with this one, because even Rachel, who, like me, never cared much for pimento spreads, loved Wanda's version.   

I'll close with a little illustration that will teach you uninitiated folks the parts of a tractor.  Just because I can.