Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Bone for the dog

Cliff and I had T-bone steaks for dinner today, as well as cauliflower in cheese sauce and green beans.  Gabe always gets any beef bones we have around here, once we have the meat off them.  The trouble has been that he insists in eating his bones in the living room.  I don’t particularly like slimy bones being dragged around on the carpet.  I used to put him outside on the tie-out before I gave him a bone, but sometimes the weather isn’t fit for that.  Right now, for instance, we are having our April/May rainy season.  A few months back I decided on a compromise:  he can have his bone in the living room, but he has to keep it on a small throw rug.

It took him awhile to figure out what is expected of him, but he has the idea now.  He keeps that bone right on the rug.  Once in awhile a tiny edge will slip off the rug, but I scoot it back where it belongs and he’s fine with that.  I'm always watchful when he's eating a bone, because he does keep chewing until the bone is down to almost nothing.  I lost one beloved dog to a bone piece that stuck in her throat, and I don't want to go through that again... but Gabe loves his bones SO much!

I went to the vet today to get him a new supply of heartworm medication and flea/tick preventative, and saw a notice on the bulletin board that all dogs are going to need a heartworm test because there is now a heart worm that has developed resistance to the current preventative.  I found out Gabe won't have to have the test until this winter, so at least that's one expense I didn't have this time around.  Still... my dog cost me $125 today.  It's a good thing I like him.  He's worth it to me.  

I've always used the flea/tick preventative that you rub on the dog's back, but this time I got the Seresto collar.  The vet said that's the cheapest option, and it works for eight months.  I must search Amazon and see if it's cheaper there, so I'll be prepared if I should decide to continue using it.  

It's still raining.  Last time I looked at the gauge, it was almost on the two-inch mark.  This is what I expect in April and May, so let it rain, I say!  My tiny garden likes it just fine.  


Monday, April 29, 2019

My morning adventure

As Cliff and I grow older, we find ourselves having an adventure of some sort almost every day.  I'm often the culprit when we can't find things, simply because of my habit of laying my stuff any old place around the house rather than actually putting them where they belong:  things like my socks, my shoes, my purse, my coat, the dog's leash... the list goes on.  But this morning's adventure had me thinking I had surely lost my mind!

Actually it begins yesterday morning; my coffee tasted awfully weak for some reason.  I tried to drink that first cup, but I might as well have been sipping on stump water.  It was horrible.  I knew I had ground the same amount of coffee beans I always use for three cups of coffee.  It occurred to me that maybe it really wasn't weak.  My tastes have changed so much in the last couple of years, that was a possiblity.  For instance, I can no longer stand to drink any cola drink:  There's a foreign taste to all of it that I never noticed until the last several months.  If I want pop (which is rare), I'll choose Sprite or 7up.  So I ground more coffee beans, making sure I got it right, then added a few more.  It was better, but still weak-tasting.  It surely must be a personal problem, right?  

I'm going to digress a bit here:  except for our disastrous few months trying in vain to keep a Kuerig in our lives, we've always used a Bunn coffee maker.  My current Bunn was purchased over ten years ago.  There isn't a lot to go wrong with these pots.  I have looked at new ones, simply because they now have a model that comes with a stainless steel carafe that also serves as the pot the coffee brews in.  I'd love to have one, actually, because I put coffee in a carafe for Cliff when he gets up.  He's pretty "stove up" (as my dad used to say) right out of bed.  It hurts him to move and it hurts him to wake up, so I make the coffee, put it in a leaky old cheap carafe, and take it to him along with his cup; he can sit there for an hour or longer without having to move.  For years I took his coffee to him in bed, but arthritis in his shoulders won't let him lay on his side to drink it any more.  

I may be a slob, but I try to be kind to my for-better-or-worse husband because he's nice to me.  

After seeing that new model Bunn that comes with a stainless steel carafe, I had thought to simply buy the stainless steel carafe to use with our old pot.  "I'll bet that carafe doesn't leak!"  So I ordered it ($39), thinking it would fit my old Bunn.  It didn't, but if you print your own return label and take your unwanted purchase to a UPS location, you can return items free.  So it's all boxed up and ready to go back.  This, of course, has little to do with my morning adventure.  So now, back to the weak coffee problem.  

I recalled a couple of times when a little screw-on thinga-ma-jig that goes up under the top of the coffee pot had clogged up from the calcium in our well water, back before we got a water softener.  I reached up to unscrew it and inspect it, and behold!  It wasn't there.

Here I was ready to make some really strong coffee, but a vital piece of my Bunn was missing,  Without that little round thing, the water comes out in one single stream and only touches the center part of the coffee grounds.  I had found my problem with weak coffee, only to realize I had a bigger one:  It was 4 AM and I WANTED A DECENT CUP OF COFFEE RIGHT THEN!  Thank goodness for the coffee pot in the garage that we use on road trips.  

I swept the floor, fished under the cookstove with a yardstick, and looked under everything that disc could have fallen into or under.  Nope.  It had vanished from the face of the earth.  I got our travel coffee pot out of the garage and made some coffee in it, but still worried over the Bunn.  I checked Amazon once the coffee was brewing in our second pot and found I could get that thinga-ma-jig for $5, so it wasn't a big problem.  These days I could replace the whole pot for $50, even though they always used to be $100.  Not the new model with a carafe, that's $100.  

Once Cliff got his hearing aids in, I told him my sad story, explaining to him all the locations I'd searched, telling him about the weak coffee (Did you notice the coffee was weak yesterday? I asked.  Yes, he answered.)

"I'll bet it fell into the used grounds and ended up in the trash," he mused.  

Why didn't I think of that? 

It wasn't pleasant, since the trash can was three quarters full and had lots of wet grounds in it, not to mention discarded bits of food and a REALLY rotten banana.  I took the whole mess outside to the trash can and searched until, right near the bottom of the trash can, I found what I was searching for nestled in cold, wet coffee grounds.  

I won't have my expensive carafe, but I'll bet if I look I can find a plastic one that doesn't leak from all the seams without breaking the bank.

Have a great day, dear readers.  May all your adventures be happy ones.  If they are problem adventures, may they be solved as easily as mine was this morning.  


Sunday, April 28, 2019

This and that

Yesterday morning I awoke at 3 AM, which is nothing unusual.  I played all the Words With Friends games awaiting me, I read for awhile.  I drank my coffee.  Around 6 AM I remembered I had some over-ripe bananas in the freezer.  I'm assuming all my readers know that if you have over-ripe bananas and don't want to make banana bread that very day, you can put them in the freezer in a baggie for later use.  You can, if you like, freeze them with the peel on, but they say it's messy getting the frozen peels off.  

Anyhow.  I remembered those bananas and thought what a nice surprise it would be for Cliff to wake up to banana-nut muffins, fresh out of the oven.  He always asks me to wake him at 7, so I figured they'd be done when he got up.  But wouldn't you know, he got up 20 minutes early and ruined my surprise.  Not only that, but I didn't even have his coffee ready.  I ordered him to go sit on the couch, and told him when I got time, I'd make his coffee.

So the surprise factor was gone, but he did enjoy the muffins.  

The first year we moved back behind the barn, I went crazy feeding and housing birds, birds I'd never even noticed when we lived up at the old house.  As I perused the Internet I found there were ways to attract bluebirds.  One thing suggested was a birdbath; my daughter and her husband had an extra one they brought over, and indeed, the bluebirds found it and put it to good use.  However, it was concrete, and so hard to clean up when it started growing mold, and I got rid of it.  So I bought a bluebird house.  I read online bluebirds like their houses to face east.  Really?  Why would that matter?  They also want low-traffic areas where there aren't people coming and going.  I found a bluebird house at Orscheln and Cliff put it on a fence post facing east.  I didn't have high hopes for the project, but bluebirds moved in almost immediately after it was placed out there, and have occupied it every spring and summer since, hatching a couple of batches of babies yearly.  I'd peek in the side that lifts up for cleaning, see those little blue eggs, and rejoice whole-heartedly every time.  Initially I worried about sparrows, since I read that they will take over a bluebird house, killing the babies in order to take over and use it themselves.  However, in all these... what, 10 or 12 years?... the only fighting I've seen is when the bluebirds first arrive and decide to nest.  The sparrows are waiting, ready to fight, but the bluebirds have always won the battle.  

Cliff was mowing the pasture yesterday and in the process of raising the mower and turning, bumped the post with the birdhouse on it.  He must have bumped it pretty hard, because he said all but one of the eggs were broken and the nest was on the ground.  He stuck the nest back in and placed the single unbroken egg in it.  I've seen the pair of bluebirds tending the nest since then, so I'm hoping they don't give up on their old home.  I bought another bluebird house and put it some distance from the original, but I forgot to tell Cliff and the grandson that it had to face east, so it's sitting empty so far, facing south.  And probably will until I get one of them to change it.

I follow a Nebraska author named Roger Welsch on Facebook.  He has made friends with crows:  He set up a feeding station for them and puts bread, hot dogs, and other delights out for them.  Now they watch for him, and as soon as he walks away they swoop down on it.  I am very jealous of him and his crows.  We have a flock of seven crows that fly over and often rest in the trees far in the distance on our property, but they don't intend to show themselves to me.  The best I can do is watch them fly over when they don't know I'm watching.  

Oh by the way, the morel mushrooms are popping up now.  The grandson and Heather have found a lot.  I miss mushroom hunting, but my knees just can't take the climbing.  I don't worry as much about eating them these days; actually, I just can't eat the volume of food I used to put down, and a lot of my tastes have changed.    

Today the oldest granddaughter and her mom came by; we needed a spreader to distribute grub killer on the yard, and Amber has one, so she brought it out for us to use.  We always have a nice visit.  The grandson came over and I made pancakes and sausage for everybody.  I had gone to the Methodist Church this morning:  Church starts at 9 AM because the preacher has to preach at two churches every Sunday morning, so she does the first of the two services early, in time to drive to the other one.  Anyhow, I was home at 10.  Next week I'll probably go to the Baptist church.  I like going to different ones.  I will say, the Baptists sing more of the old hymns I'm familiar with.

Gabe is still sticking to me like glue, and I only have to remind him about once a day that he has to come when I call him.  Honestly, although I got the little tool (I call it a zapper) hoping it would stop him barking at people so much, I wouldn't care whether it works for that or not, because in other areas it has made him such a good dog.  The only time I leash him to go outside now is when it's dark, simply because any kind of animal could be out there that he might chase.  But in daylight, the leash stays in the house.  I even walked with him back in the pasture yesterday and didn't have to worry.   

I'm still boycotting Walmart.  I'm sure I'll eventually go there looking for something I can't get elsewhere, but I'm doing my best to take my business elsewhere.  

Cliff got all the anti-freeze out of the camper, so it's about ready to go.  We're going to one of the nearer state parks for an overnight before long to make sure everything is ready for some use.  We can go any time, but right now it's COLD.  There'd be no problem heating the camper, but I don't want to be cramped up in a small space throughout another camping trip, like last year.  I want some good fishing weather.  

I believe that's all I've got, so I'll just stop right here.

Yours truly,

Friday, April 26, 2019

I do hope my dog isn't going to be traumatized

First of all, let me say I was warned:  More than one Schnauzer-owner told me, "They are 'barkie' dogs."  

Where we live, there isn't a lot of traffic for a dog to bark at, but Gabe barks at foot traffic too.  Not just when he thinks we need protecting... oh no!  He barks with pure joy when he sees Cliff coming to the house from the shop, or the next-door grandson happens to be walking around outside; in fact, I can just say Arick's name and Gabe will emit a small "woof".  Cliff wouldn't mind the barking so much if only the dog would shut up when he's told, but his enthusiasm cannot be quenched.  
A couple of weeks ago we visited granddaughter Monica, who moved to our little town recently with her significant other.  She has a terrier-type black-and-white dog named Suzie that makes Gabe's barking seem like nothing at all.  Barking dogs can make enemies of a neighbor when you are living in a duplex or apartment, so Monica purchased a little object that makes a noise only dogs can hear; you push the button, the dog stops barking.  It works; I saw it in action.  

We have a shock collar I've used on Gabe one single time.  He was in the pasture behind the house, trotting in the opposite direction while ignoring my calls of "Come!"  When I zapped him, he ran past me to the back door and practically climbed up it, wanting in the house for safety.

I just couldn't do it again.  The shock collar has been on a shelf in a closet ever since.  But the idea of something that simply makes an unpleasant sound didn't seem so bad, so I ordered one.  The reviews were mixed:  Some said it worked great, some said their dogs got used to it after awhile, and some said it never worked on their dogs at all.  But I had seen my granddaughter's results with Suzie, so I ordered one.  When it arrived, the directions were in Chinese, but there wasn't much to figure out.  I put the four batteries in.  Gabe started barking when he saw Arick outside, I pushed the button, and we had instant silence.  After a couple more quick uses, the barking stopped and my dog disappeared.  

He had gone to his kennel, far in the back of it, and huddled in a corner.  At first he wouldn't even come out when I called him, but when he did, I petted him and hugged him and held him on my lap awhile.   

Shortly after, it was time to give the barn cats their supper.  I put the stinger in my pocket and invited Gabe out with me, thinking perhaps this would be a way to teach him to stop when he's running away, ignoring my calls.  He headed for the neighbors' horse pen.  I said "Come," he kept going, I pushed the button for a second, and he came running.  From that point he stayed very near me.  I praised him and petted him again.  He went in the barn with me, so when I fed the cats, I gave him a tiny piece of their food.  He stayed with me when I left the barn, and was doing so well staying with me I decided to see if he would obey the "heel" command; I've often made him heel when he's on a leash, but he never convinced me he knew what he was supposed to be doing.  But when I said heel, he closed in on my left side and walked along beside me.  When got a little too far ahead of me, I told him "heel" again, and he did.  Might have been a fluke.  I'll try it later today.

So far I'm impressed.  I'm trying to give treats along with using the "beeper" so it won't all be a negative experience.  This morning I let him come out with me, off-leash, and he paid attention every single time I called him closer, without my using the new dog-training tool.  

If this lasts, I might end up with the most well-mannered Miniature Schnauzer anybody ever had.  

Wish me luck.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

One good day follows another

If you're one of my Facebook friends and followed the link I placed on Facebook to get here, I won't be sharing the link to my blog there any more.  I never did like doing it; it was like I was begging for people to hop over here and read my mundane posts, and I don't like self-promotion.  I only started doing it because several friends said they couldn't remember to check my blog if I didn't share it there.  Well, right over on the left side of my blog, there's a place you can sign up to get an email every time I post an entry.  So you don't need me to put the link on Facebook.  I'm not sure, but I think most of the folks who wanted me to share it there are either dead or have gotten to the place they really don't care if they read my random drivel.  I'm not looking for a huge group of followers to my blog anyhow.  I blog for myself.  Everybody says that, but in my case, it's true.

We've had some timely rains so far this spring, and judging by the forecast we might get some more in the next few days.  I heard one weather guesser say there might be a chance of frost this weekend, but I sure hope he's wrong:  I have tiny peaches and plums forming on the trees!   I've set out a couple of tomato plants and pepper plants and some basil and oregano, but I can always cover those.  I still have a tiny garden, but I had Cliff make it a little wider than last year because I tried to squeeze too much into my small space and it didn't work out too well.  Oh, I should mention I've seen a few hummingbirds at my feeders!

I've hardly cooked at all this week:  We were eating Easter leftovers through yesterday, so they're pretty much gone.  I tried something new for dinner today, Unstuffed Cabbage Roll.  We both liked it a lot.  The recipe makes quite a bit, but I found out we can eat plenty of it!  Some folks said in the comments beneath the recipe that they added rice with some extra water to the recipe, and I think that would be a good addition; or you could make rice by itself and serve the unstuffed cabbage roll over the rice.  I use the Allrecipes site a lot.  Reading reviews of the recipes is a little tricky, because people totally change the recipe sometimes, and you don't know whether to follow the actual recipe or choose some of the many suggestions in the review section.  I have found, though, that if you choose recipes with a five-star rating, they are usually outstanding on their own.  And I do sometimes take advice from the reviews and switch them around a little after the first time.

We have lovely weather for walking, and yet I have a problem taking Gabe along with me.  If I take the grandson's Great Dane, Apollo, Gabe stays with the giant, so I consider him safe from predators; but the two of them  go through the mud surrounding our almost-dried-up pond; Apollo arrives back home with nice clean feet, but not Gabe.  I have to hold his feet under a faucet and then dry them off before I bring him in the house.  He hates that, and lets me know how he feels by kicking and wiping mud on me!  Today I didn't take Apollo, much as he loves it, because I kept Gabe on the leash; Apollo likes to play with Gabe and gets tangled up in the leash.  Gabe still needed his feet rinsed off, though.  There's something about the hair on a Schnauzer's feet that attracts mud like crazy.  

Tonight is Cliff's tractor club meeting.  I may go along with him.  Tomorrow I'm getting my hair cut.  We are going to go camping before too long.  I'd say we had better be doing it before the summer heat kicks in.

I decided I missed going to church, so Cliff is taking me, dropping me off, and picking me up.  I'm sort of taking turns between two different churches for now... actually three, because sometimes my neighbor Diane picks me up to go to church with her.  Cliff doesn't mind taking me at all, as long as he doesn't have to go.  He says it's because I grew up going to church that I like attending, and he may be right.  It just seems like it's a good way to separate one week from another.  Oh, and I like singing hymns with people; I don't think they'd come here and sing hymns with me, so I'll join them instead.  Besides, it's really the only place I can go where people outside the family talk to me.  The only other times we go anywhere, we're grocery-shopping.  

I'm trying to remove Walmart from my life... can you believe it?  It's been our main shopping place for years.  But it's just me and Cliff; we don't use that many groceries.  I get a lot of non-food items like toilet tissue, dog food, and cat food from Amazon and Costco.  I will patronize local stores to some extent, and at times when we're going to Blue Springs, I'll make use of Price Chopper and Aldi.  I'm learning to take advantage of Dollar General for some things, although I know their trick of giving you what seems like a cheaper price, but it's a smaller amount you're getting.  

If you ever decide to move to the country because you think it's cheaper out in the boonies... don't do it, because it isn't!  

Do your best to enjoy every day.  Not every day is all good, but there's always something good in every day.  

Yours truly,

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Spring has sprung

It was a lovely Easter Sunday in my neck of the woods.  

For several weeks, I had planned to make Cliff take me to RC's Chicken in Martin City for an Easter buffet they were putting on.  It's a long drive to Martin City.  We usually only go there on the way home from the Adrian tractor show or swap meet, and this year we didn't go to the swap meet:  I felt I was owed my usual detour through Martin City.  It isn't really "on the way home" from Adrian, but that's as close as we get to the wonderful food in Martin City.  They have a great barbecue, an unbelievable steak house, and RC's... all in one town almost on the Kansas border.  

The closer we got to Easter, the less I wanted to go for a drive that was going to take an hour and a half.  Nobody in the family had mentioned Easter at all except for the grandson, who was spending that time in Georgia at his dad's place.  Maybe everybody had plans of their own.  I knew my son-in-law would be pretty much laid up at home after having both knees replaced at once.  So I told Cliff I'd decided I'd fix some small Easter meal for the two of us, and bought a half-ham.  I love having leftover ham in the freezer in small amounts for making ham salad, beans, split pea soup, and other goodies that require ham.

On Good Friday, I decided if I'm going to all the trouble of cooking, I might as well see what the local relatives had planned.  Apparently we had all been planning nothing for Easter!  I figured it was as easy to make a larger amount of food and maybe add a dessert or two to the mix, as for me to cook for the two of us.  One granddaughter was working, but we had the oldest granddaughter and her mom, my daughter and her husband who made it just fine using his walker to get to the house,  Granddaughter Monica and her guy, Gerald, and Heather, who did not go to Georgia with Arick.  I told them all not to bring anything, that I had plenty.  It wasn't a huge crowd, but it was a nice family day around here.  I made FAR too much food for nine people.  I don't cook for large groups that much any more, and I've forgotten how to do a good estimate of how much food we need.  I forgot to mention great-granddaughter Amara was here, but she's only a year old, so I didn't need to count her into the mix of how many to cook for. 

However, I'm having a blast eating pie for breakfast every morning and heating up mashed potatoes and noodles for dinner, with some Old Settler's Beans on the side.  I've already frozen the ham, and after we eat at noon, I'll be freezing what's left of the Old Settler's beans for another day.  

Yesterday I set out a couple of tomato plants and trimmed a peach tree.  It's been nice weather for such things.  So far the late freezes we've had didn't affect the peach trees or the plum tree, but there isn't much fruit on the apricot tree; you are lucky if you get one crop of apricots every three years, because those trees bloom earlier than other fruit trees.  

I'm still reading, of course.  I recently finished a book about the Carter Family, "Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone".  It's a fascinating book about some very unique people.  I'm just starting "The Friend" by Sigrid Nunez.  "Dry, allusive and charming... the comedy here writes itself."  The New York Times.  "A moving story of love, friendship, grief, healing, and the magical bond between a woman and her dog."  It's almost guaranteed I'll love this book; it has humor, and a Great Dane.  It's bound to be good.  Here's what I have on hold.  I got halfway through American Prison, but I was also reading other books, so I had to put it on hold again.  If I'd stick to one book, I'd get through any book in plenty of time, but I'm always reading another at the same time.  They allow three weeks to read a book, and it should be easy to get through them.  Apparently books are like potato chips to me:  I can't have just one!  There's one more book that doesn't show in the screenshot...  "Neon Prey", a Lucas Davenport book.

 Cliff likes to keep a book going for times he's on the recumbent bike.  If the book catches his fancy, he'll read it for an hour or two at a time after he's done with the bike.  He makes me pick out his library books, so I'm gradually figuring out what sort of book he likes.  The next-to-the-last time he asked me to choose a book for him," I got him "All the Ugly and Wonderful Things"; he read it for a half-hour on the stationary bike, then informed me he didn't like it because it was too sad.  It's a good thing he stopped when he did, because it gets worse!  

In a pinch, Cliff will read one of my John Sanford books, but they really aren't his favorite.  He says he can figure out who the culprit is by the time the book is half over.  Like me, he prefers Virgil Flowers to Lucas Davenport because Virgil is funny.  One thing I've been surprised to learn is that Cliff would rather read a book about something that really happened (history, biography) other than fiction.  So I'm keeping that in mind these days.  This last book I chose for him was one I once had on hold for myself at the library; when I finally got it, I had about four books to read at once.  I did a quick read of the first chapter, thought it bored me, and returned it.  However, I have read the reviews, so I knew it had to be a good book.  It's old enough now that it is available most of the time without putting it on hold; it was a true story, and I was pretty sure it was something Cliff would like.  He's behind me on the bike right now, reading it as I type.  He likes it a lot.  The book is "The Boys in the Boat".  

OK, I guess that's the news for today.  I've feeling dandy, so rather than do something useful, I'm going to take the dogs for a walk in the pasture pretty soon.

Have a wonderful day.  

Monday, April 15, 2019


Yes, we finally made it to Graceland, even though I'm not telling you about it in a timely manner.  We had no trouble getting around Memphis thanks to our trusty Garmin GPS.  I bought our tickets online the previous day, and that saved us a little time.  We arrived not long after the gates had opened.  The first thing that happened, once we changed our receipts into actual tickets, was picture-taking.  Now I, of all people, know that these things are overpriced.  I mean, what are you going to do with something like this?  And yet, I pay the ransom every time.  You couldn't just buy one picture, there were billfold-sized pictures attached to it.  Who passes out tourist pictures for relatives to put in a billfold?  See the questioning look on Cliff's face?  The man taking our picture said "smile"; Cliff looked sideways at me and said, "What'd he say?" just as the camera clicked.  Poor guy.

So that's how our day on the Elvis Adventure began.  By the way, the "Elvis Adventure" is what we chose, so our tickets were $59.90.  That also included an additional $5 apiece because I wanted to see the two airplanes Elvis used.  You will find all the ticket prices HERE.  It wasn't a cheap day, but the good news is that when we got home I immediately paid off the credit card we used, including lodging, gasoline, and food.

Everybody gets in line with their tickets.  Then each one gets an iPad.  Then you get a headset with which to listen to the iPad, so while you walk through the house, you can hear information about whatever you're looking at.  I kept getting ahead of mine... it would describe something, I'd look ahead and see something they were NOT describing..  Cliff had to do the tour without the iPad and headset because of hearing aids being in the way.  He admitted he really did enjoy going through the house, though.  It's furnished like Elvis had it at some point.  In my book, the house isn't large enough to be called a mansion.  Oh yes, there are lots of rooms, and it's decorated beautifully... but I've seen homes of doctors and lawyers that were as big as Graceland.

When you go inside the house at Graceland, if you look to the right, this is what you see.  This is where Elvis entertained visitors.  Only family was ever allowed to go upstairs, our guide told us.  Because of lighting everywhere in the house, very few of my pictures turned out well.

The dining room.

The kitchen wasn't that much different than anybody else's kitchen in the 60's or 70's.  It isn't even that much bigger than many kitchens.

After we'd gone through the house, we went out into the sunshine to the meditation garden and saw the graves of Elvis, both his parents, his grandmother, and his twin brother, who was still-born.

Gladys Presley's grave.

Elvis Presley's grave

When we got through the memorial garden, it was time to get in line and wait our turn to get on the tram so we could go across the road and go through all those buildings.  Both of us had knees and legs hurting after being on our feet so long.  We were in front of this nice lady you see below.  I told Cliff I was going to sit at the side on a concrete wall and rest my knees, then I'd give him a turn sitting.  That lady said, "Both of you sit down.  I'll save your place."

We got talking to her and found out she and her family lived in Iowa, as well as another family on down the line, so we talked about the state I first called home.  By the way, If you think this lady looks disgusted, that's because she is.  Somehow her eleven-year-old son had gotten away from the rest of the family, gotten on the shuttle, and went across the road without telling anyone.  Employees searched diligently and found him eventually.

While we were in line for the tram that would take us to the rest of the complex, employees came to collect our iPads and headphones.  I fumbled around with them a bit before I handed them to the folks.  After we got on the tram, I began digging for my camera, which I'd had secured to my wrist by the strap on it.  It didn't take much searching to realize I had lost my camera; I was pretty sure I must have dropped it when I gave the folks back the iPad and headset, and I knew exactly where I'd lost it.  I didn't tell Cliff, though.  He lets a little thing like that ruin his day, and I usually end up feeling really stupid for letting something happen that shouldn't have.  So both of us have ruined days.

 We spent hours looking at the classic cars.  We ate an overpriced, nothing-special lunch because we were captive and didn't have many choices.  And yes, Cliff was still enjoying himself.  

When it was all over, I said, "Now come on, tell me you enjoyed looking at all this stuff."

"I might have enjoyed it if I hadn't had to drive for eight hours to get here!"  

You see what I put up with.

 This was Vernon Presley's office.  I don't know anything about those pictures scattered around.

We had seen everything but the airplanes at this point, so we went down there, showed our tickets, and climbed the stairs to the biggest of the two, which was very impressive.  It was furnished sort of like someone's house would be.  Cliff spent fifteen or twenty minutes examining the outside of the plane:  Anywhere we go, he's curious about trains, planes, tractors and old cars.  He likes to figure out what makes things tick, how things are done.  The second, smaller plane was pretty ordinary, but the larger one was worth an extra $5 apiece to see it.

As we got off the plane Cliff was looking around to see where we were in relationship to our car, so I broke the news to him:  "I want to go up to the Lost and Found.  I lost my camera back there where they took our iPads, or else on the tram shortly after that."

As I expected, he couldn't believe I'd lost my camera, and he certainly didn't expect anyone to return it.  I told him nobody wants these little bitty Canon cameras like I use these days.  Everybody uses a phone as their camera.  

We walked up to the desk, I asked one of the ladies, "Has anyone turned in a little silver camera?"  She reached over on the desk, picked up my camera, and handed it to me.  

This shows the layout of the buildings.  This map was too big to scan, so I did what I could, then scanned the upper right-hand corner to get the picture below this one, so you can see what's in each building if you so desire.  There really was a LOT to see.

This above is all on the opposite side of the road from the Graceland mansion.

I'm getting short tempered from uploading pictures to this entry, so I think I will get comfortable in the other room and stay away from the computer for awhile.  By the way, Cliff got over his bout with the intestinal virus.  It's all behind us now. 

Saturday, April 13, 2019


Did you think I died?  Nah, it's just been a busy few days, and a sick few days.  I got the intestinal virus that's been circulating all winter, then passed it on to Cliff.  I was only sick two days, and not all that sick really; just vomited a few times and couldn't eat.  Cliff is another story.  He has slept more that I've ever seen him sleep, in daylight hours, at least.  He's on the couch asleep now, has been for hours.  I wake him up every once in awhile, just to make sure he's OK.

When he first got sick, he just stayed in bed most of the time.  I think it worried Gabe:  He's used to our regular morning routine:  He and I get up long before dawn, Cliff stays in bed until seven AM.  I get the dog pottied and fed, then make my coffee.  Then I play Words With Friends and/or read, and Gabe lays beside me.  When he hears Cliff moving around in the bedroom on a normal day, he'll hunt up one of his squeaky toys and take it to Cliff, who doesn't react... he doesn't wake up easily.  Then when Cliff comes in the living room, Gabe keeps putting the toy on top of Cliff's foot and sometimes Cliff with throw it.  That's how it goes.  But Cliff was in bed in daytime and the dog kept going in to check on him.  He isn't allowed on the bed, but he'd go to Cliff's side of the bed and gaze up there, trying to understand what's going on.   

When I did that last entry, I intended to get right back here and tell you about our experiences at Graceland.  But it's been so long, I decided to fill you in on the happenings around here.

The weather is crazy, as always in Missouri.  One thing can be counted on:  The weather will get up in the 80's in early April, and just as soon as the majority of the fruit trees open up their blossoms, we get a hard freeze or frost warning.  All the blossoms made it through the night before last unscathed.  I think there's another chance of a freeze on the weekend, but I think we're pretty safe.

I have quite a collection of Better Homes and Gardens cookbooks, but few months back I decided to get rid of a few of them.  When a new book comes out, there are always some old recipes dropped, and new ones added.  Well, I guess I threw away the only one of them that had one of my favorite recipes in it, Butterscotch cookies.  There aren't any butterscotch pieces in these, it's just called butterscotch because of the brown sugar and butter, I suppose.  I googled and searched, and uncovered several cookies going by the name, but none were even close to what I wanted.  I was getting pretty unhappy about the situation this morning when it occurred to me I might have shared it in the blog at some point.  I put butterscotch into the little search box at the top left, and there it was.  I've not met anybody who doesn't love these cookies... even my daughter, and she isn't really a cookie fan.  I used to quadruple the recipe around Christmas, because it doesn't make many cookies if you're sharing them.  These are chewy, not crispy.


1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup shortening
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/3 cups flour
3/4 tsp soda
3/4 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Melt butter and shortening. Add sugars; mix well. Add egg; beat till light-colored. Sift flour with soda; stir into egg mixture. Add vanilla and nuts. Chill.
Roll into small balls. Bake on ungreased cooky sheet in moderate oven (375) 7 to 10 minutes. Remove at once.

This gives you an idea of how useful a blog can be.  If I want to know when Cliff had open heart surgery, I search the blog.  If I wonder when I got my dog, I do a search.  A while back I mentioned to Cliff that we planted grass when we first brought the trailer house back here, and he said, "We never planted grass here!"  To the blog I went, and not only did I find an entry about planting grass back then, but there was even a picture.  About the only arguments I am able to win around here are the ones that are about something in my blog.

Our tractor club is doing a static display of tractors at the John Deere Dealer's at Carrolton today, and we planned to go.  However, Rip Van Winkle in there is doing well to wake up and go to the bathroom.  I'm not disappointed we didn't go, though.  The high temperatures will be in the 50's, so we'd end up sitting inside to keep warm.  

Alrighty, dear readers.  I'll try not to wait so long before the next post.  I hope I haven't forgotten everything I saw at Graceland.

Yours truly,

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Sun Studios

There's Cliff, waiting for me to catch up with him

We gathered with some other folks in a back room to wait until it was time for our group to begin.
I immediately found kindred souls waiting with us.  One gentleman loved Jerry Lee Lewis, as both Cliff and I do, so we visited about our common interests.  There were 45 RPM records on the walls where we waited, all with price tags on them.  Then we traded our vouchers for tickets.

While we were waiting for our turns at the tour, I used the facilities.  As I sat and pondered, I saw this sign:
That's when I realized I might be sitting on a commode once used by Elvis, Jerry Lee, and Carl Perkins!  Imagine my disappointment when I found out later that this portion of the property was next door to Sun Studios in the old days, not part of it.

All the walls in our "waiting room" were hung with memories of the old studio.  I saw a picture of some old guy named Gene Simmons; that's the name of a guy in the band Kiss, but I knew that picture wasn't of him, whether with or without the painted face.  At the end of the tour I asked one of our guides about this; she said the man in the picture, Jumpin' Gene Simmons, was admired by the guy who founded Kiss, so he chose that name for himself.  

This is a re-creation of the room where Disc Jockey Dewey Phillips' made his living.  He was the first DJ to play Elvis on the radio, and so many requests came in that he kept playing "That's All Right" the rest of his show that day.  You can see broken records laying on the floor... when Phillips got a song he hated, he threw them on the floor and smashed them.  

I could go on sharing my inferior photos here, but you can find better ones online, I'm sure.  Not to mention it takes about five minutes per picture to load them to my blog. 

I absolutely loved this tour!  Both guides projected their voices and spoke so plainly, Cliff could hear them with no problem (that's almost a miracle in itself).  

I was a real Elvis fan at the age of 13, but by the time I was 15 I got tired of sharing him with the whole world and chose other favorites.  While I was in Memphis, though, I was once again the 13-year-old who almost swooned at the opening lines of "Love Me Tender".  If you're down there, don't miss it.    

Sun Studio is still a recording studio and still doing business.  

And with that, I think I'll take the dogs for their walk.  

Yours truly.