Friday, December 31, 2021

It's been a good year

I've put a couple little funnies on Facebook that speak to our fear of what might happen in the coming year.  Here's one of them.

It's true, a lot of awful things happened in 2021.  Covid just refuses to die out, parts of the world are burning while others are flooded, tornadoes seem to have moved to the deep south instead of terrorizing Missouri and Kansas, earthquakes are becoming commonplace.  We've had more catastrophes than I can count, and you can't help but wonder where it will all end.

However, this morning I thought of all this and asked myself, "Have these things ruined my life?"

Just this morning I've enjoyed re-creating a dessert my mom used to make often for several years somewhere in the 60's:  Woolworth's cheesecake.  That isn't what Mother called it, but when I began googling for the recipe, I found out the dessert was served at the food counters in Woolworth's.  It isn't a true cheesecake, although it has cream cheese in it.  I guess my mom got tired of it, because by the time I married Cliff, she had totally stopped making it.  I always loved it, but had only made it once after discovering the recipe.  Today I made it again.  I always feel like I'm honoring my mom when I try to duplicate something she made when I was a child.  

I love to cook, and I've done plenty of it this year.  It makes me happy.  This morning I boiled turkey bones for a couple of hours so I can make turkey frame soup.  I got four cups of meat off the bones that would have been thrown away with the bones.  The turkey came all the way from Carthage, Missouri, to make me happy.  (The son-in-law's mother provided it.)

I so enjoyed my garden this past summer.  We were very short on rain, but the rains we got seemed to come at the right times to keep my corn growing.  We've enjoyed my Bodacious Sweet Corn so much!  I served some in a slow cooker at our Christmas get-together.  Oh, and I started a strawberry patch that I hope will give us lots of berries this coming spring.

If I'm careful and don't hurry, I can still go for my walks in the pasture with Gabe.  It's one of my favorite things to do, feeling the warmth of the sun in summer, and the brisk, refreshing breeze on my face in winter.  Oh, and the smell of the woods is wonderful!

Cliff and I haven't had Covid yet.  Of course we're vaccinated, but many people have still gotten it in spite of the vaccine.  So far, so good.

We have a dog and a cat to entertain us (and cost us money, but they're worth it so far).

We have typical old-people problems, but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy ourselves.  We have plenty of fun times, and the grandson is right next door to help us with anything we can't manage, and never complains about doing it.

We've never lacked for food or clothing, and this year is no exception.  We can be warm in winter and cool in summer, with a roof over our heads that doesn't leak.

Cliff and I are both thankful that we're able to read any library book we want on our iPads.

Oh yes, and the Kansas City Chiefs!  I never thought anybody would catch me watching football, but those guys' personalities got me hooked.  I'm truly going to miss them when the season's over.

I could go on, but I hope you see what I mean:  I can't say 2021 has been awful for me, personally.  I feel bad for those who have been hurt by all the calamities across the world, and almost feel guilty that I have it so good.  But I can't let the problems of others make me forget how much I have to be thankful for.

And on that note, I wish you all a happy new year.  If your year was awful, I hope 2022 treats you better.  As long as I'm able, I'll try to keep on the sunny side.

Monday, December 27, 2021

What a great Christmas Eve afternoon we had!

Because I decided late in the game to prepare a Christmas meal for those of our relatives who cared to join us, I went with preparing what I had on hand rather than going shopping and spend a lot of money on things I didn't have.  There was no Oreo Delight, simply because I didn't have any Jello Instant Chocolate Pudding.  I simply made two pumpkin pies and one Cherry cheesecake pie.  Looking back, I wish I'd made bread pudding instead of pumpkin pie, which we had on Thanksgiving.  

Let me stop right now and confess something:  I've never thought about it before, but I seem to prefer doing all the cooking!  Not because I think I'm such a great cook, but because I can fix what I like best, the way I enjoy it prepared.  Never before have I admitted that to myself, let alone others.  Of course, that usually means a lot of work on my part, but it's what I like to do.  Everyone is willing to bring something, which is fine as long as I can make the stuff I like to eat.  

I didn't even wear myself out cooking, either.  I boiled the chicken on Monday, then deboned and de-skinned it, put it back in the broth I cooked it in and put it in the freezer.  That part of my chicken-and-noodles was done.  On Tuesday I rolled out and cut the noodles, put them single-layer on cookie sheets, and put those in the freezer.  On Thursday I made the Ree Drummond mashed potatoes, put them in a pan, and covered them with foil (just like Ree does it).  All that saved me a lot of time and energy on Friday.  I used the grandson's oven to heat the fully-cooked ham, which left my oven free for the beans, mashed potatoes and rolls.  I gave Cliff the job of going over to the grandson's house, making the graze, and applying it to the ham.  Then I did something I'm sure most organized cooks have been doing for centuries:  for the first time in my life, I wrote down what time each item on the menu had to start cooking in order to have dinner at 3 PM.  I ended up at one point having an hour-and-a-half doing nothing, so I peeled some sweet potatoes I hadn't planned to use and cooked them.  That worked great, except for one thing:  I would have done better forgetting about the sweet potatoes, because I already had enough on the menu without them, and I had a couple of great-grandchildren showing off their cuteness outside:  Our daughter's family all came early, and I was cooking then.  That's my own fault, though.  I'll remember that next year and get my priorities right!  If I see idle time, I'll make a note to use that for family time, not for cooking another item we don't need.  One other thing I regret is that I wanted to get a group picture of all thirteen of us; several people had left before I thought about it.

Did I mention it was 70° outside?  Because there would be only thirteen of us, I had planned to eat in our trailer house, although I was a little concerned about all of us being crowded into our limited space while Covid is rampant.  Once I heard the forecast for Friday, we moved the meal to the shop, where the doors were open, we had a lot of space, and the children could play outside.  As if it were meant to be!

This is Ivan, my youngest great-grandson

He's 18 months old, but bigger than most two-year-olds

There were thirteen adults and the two great-grands.  No picture of Amara, my sweet and lovely great-granddaughter, who I think is going on three years old, and of course we missed the ones who weren't here.  After today we're done with leftovers.  All I need for New Year's is a big pot of the most delicious black-eyed peas I've ever tasted, discovered just a year ago.  You know, for good luck.  I'm not superstitious, but it's fun to pretend.

And that's how our Christmas gathering turned out.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Almost Christmas

For some reason, I have little incentive to blog lately.  I'm not depressed at all, just not in the mood to blog.  I tend to get that way around the holidays; then when the new year starts, I'm back.  I did a lot of grocery shopping today, and we got home shortly after noon and warmed up our dinner.  I'm a morning person, and once I've spent half the day shopping, I don't want to do much the rest of the day.

Shopping, of course, was awful.  We went to Aldi and Walmart, and both were crowded so badly it was hard to get around through the crowd.  I got my chicken cooked for the chicken and noodles we'll have Friday afternoon, and put the chicken and broth  in the deep freeze, so that's done.  I may make the noodles ahead tomorrow and freeze them, too.

I noticed Walmart is seriously low on toilet paper again!  Not that I need any at this point, but there are certain things I watch, just to see what sort of shortages we're going to have.  I wanted to make a Kraft cheese ball, which requires three different Kraft jar cheeses and some cream cheese, but I figured those would be sold out at this late date; I was right.  I wanted to buy some cream cheese, too.  There's plenty of the cheap brands, and I got some of those, but there are a couple recipes that really need the Philadelphia cream cheese.   I'm not making a sixteen-course meal, though.  So I'll get by just fine, whatever I make.

It sounds like the Covid is beginning to disrupt things again; it's starting to affect the NFL quite a bit.  I guess it keeps us on our toes, trying to figure out what's going to happen next.

There's a young fellow who delivers a lot of our Amazon stuff... not a UPS guy, he comes out in an Amazon vehicle.  He doesn't look over sixteen, but I'm sure he is older than that.  If the cat, Blue, is on the front porch when he comes, he always pets him for a couple minutes before he leaves.  Blue knows him now, and makes sure he gets his loving every time he's here. 

Right now, I'm out of here.  It's a beautiful day outside, and I heard we may set a record high for Friday.  Global warming has caught up with us.

Have a great Christmas, everybody.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

A song that reminds me of a happy time

I'm sorry for my absence, but we have been running up and down the roadways for the past two days with one thing and another.  No, we weren't Christmas shopping; we got away from that long ago, except for gifts to favorite charities.

This morning, something made me think of a song from the time when our son had entered the Army and our daughter was still at home.  It was time for Jim to graduate basic training and I wanted to see the ceremony, which was at Fort Benning, Georgia near Columbus.  Cliff has never enjoyed driving a car for such a long trip and because of that, he didn't want to go; I don't drive and never have.  Rachel, our daughter, had her driver's license, and she was glad to get a chance to go on a road trip.  We've always said she should have become a truck driver:  She was and is an excellent driver, and always liked being "on the go", so she became my driver on the trip.  I've always been glad I got to see our son graduate.  When all those soldiers came out in front of the crowd, they looked so young!  That's when it occurred to me that most of the soldiers down through the ages have been teenagers.  I knew my Uncle Paul and my sister's husband, Russell, had fought in World War II; but I never thought about them being barely out of their teens!

Jim stayed in the motel with us that night, I recall.  I don't know what time of day Rachel and I left Columbus to make the 13 hour trip home, but it seemed as though we drove and drove, and were still a long way from home when darkness caught us.  I told Rachel that we would stop at a motel whenever she needed to, because we were still a long way from home.  We came to a stretch of highway where we weren't seeing cars going either way, and I remember saying, "This feels like something out of the Twilight Zone."

On we went, with me reminding her once in awhile that we could get a motel.  "We will if I need to," she said.

The radio was playing the stations she chose, and in this strange atmosphere where it felt we were the only two people alive, Lionel Richie came across the airwaves singing "Say You Say Me"; I'd heard it before, but never paid attention to it and did not know the words.  However, when Lionel got to the chorus, Rachel said, "Sing it with me, Mom."  So I picked up the simple chorus easily and we sang together down that lonesome highway whenever the chorus came up.

For years I'd listen to that song, just to remember that magical night when all was well with the world and my daughter and I were having such a good time.  I never paid attention to the words of the verses, but sometimes I'd sing along on the chorus.  There's nothing like a song to make you remember certain times, people, or places.  For some reason, I forgot the song entirely for a few years, until today.

This morning I crawled in bed with my husband as I do every morning.  We spent some time just talking and enjoying one another's warmth and company when "Say You Say Me" came to mind.  I told the Alexa device beside his bed to play the song and for the first time, listened to all the words.

Say You, Say Me
Say you, say me say it for always
That's the way it should be
Say you, say me, say it together
I had a dream I had an awesome dream
People in the park playing games in the dark
And what they played was a masquerade
And from behind of walls of doubt a voice was crying out
Say you, say me, say it for always
That's the way it should be
Say you, say me, say it together
As we go down life's lonesome highway
Seems the hardest thing to do is to find a friend or two
That helping hand
Someone who understands
That when you feel you've lost your way
You've got some one there to say, "I'll show you"
Say you, say me, say it for always
That's the way it should be
Say you, say me, say it together
So you think you know the answers, Oh no.
Well the whole world has got you dancing
That's right, I'm telling you
It's time to start believing oh yes
Believing who you are
You are a shining star
Say you, say me say it for always
Oh that's the way it should be
Say you, say me say it together
Say it together, naturally
Source: LyricFind

Oh, by the way:  We never did stop at a motel; Rachel kept driving, and once we passed through St. Louis, she said, "Oh no, I'm in Missouri.  I'm not stopping now."

And we arrived safely at home in the wee hours of the morning, although when we had only about twenty miles to go, a deer tried to wreck us.  As I said, my daughter is an excellent driver.  Just get her a large bag of Cheetos and a Diet Coke, and she'll go anywhere.

I googled the songwriter and found out Lionel wrote the song himself.  Never believe everything you see on the Internet.  The site where I found the lyrics said Willie Nelson wrote it.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Sunday Stealing

1. Have you ever been caught outdoors away from shelter during a thunderstorm?  Several years back we borrowed Cliff's brother's motorcycle on a sunshiny day and rode to Versailles, where many of Cliff's relatives lived.  By the time we left it was evening and the skies were darkening with clouds.  We started our one-hundred-mile ride home; soon the rain came down so hard and fast we couldn't see where we were going; cars were pulling to the side of the road, and there we were on a motorcycle!  Lightening was all around us, thunder was deafening.  We parked under an overpass for a while, but it was obvious the downpour wasn't going to let up, so we went on.  It was one of the scariest experiences of my life.

2. Did you ever build furniture forts as a child?  Yes

3. Do you use any medicines daily?  Yes, two for blood pressure, one for depression, and sometimes one for GERD. 

4. When was the last time you used a disposable camera?  I don't think I've ever used one.

5. When was the last time you flew on a plane?  Last October, when we flew to Georgia to visit our son and his family.

6. How many first cousins do you have?  Probably 20 or so; I'm too lazy to count them.  Some have died.

7. What’s the longest period of time you’ve gone without sleep?  Probably 24 hours or so.

8. Did the house you grew up in have a big yard?  Which house?  We moved a lot.  However, I believe all of the houses had big yards, since we were in a rural area.  There was always plenty of room for a good-sized chicken pen, too.

9. What has been the most difficult class you’ve ever taken?  Probably math; I never liked math and was terrible at it.

10. What’s something that’s much more difficult than a lot of people realize?  Trying not to gossip or say negative things about people.  "Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless."   James 1:26

11. What are some things a house would need to have for you to purchase it?  Electricity, air conditioning, Internet, a roof and a floor... and 40 acres.  Oh wait, that's the house I have now, and we already purchased it.

12. Would you ever go out in public wearing pajamas?  Depends on what you call public.  I have gone for my walk in the woods many times in my pajamas; also to the mailbox, but the neighbors next door would be the only ones who saw me... and I'd be on my own property, so who cares?  I have never worn pajamas to Walmart or church or any public place.

13. Have you ever had a lemonade stand?  No

14. Do you think you look older or younger than your real age?  I don't use makeup, so I probably look older, although my husband thinks I look younger than most people my age.  He also thinks I'm beautiful, so take that opinion with a grain of salt.

15. Where have you lived throughout your life?  Southern Iowa, Northern Missouri, and now Central Missouri (east of Kansas City).

Play along if you like, at the Sunday Stealing blog.

Friday, December 10, 2021

It's a bleak-looking day

In spite of the clouds, our temperatures are heading to the sixties today.  Gabe and I are back from our walk, which called for a light coat over the sweatshirt I'm wearing.  I also wore my KC Chiefs sock hat, and kept both coat and hat on all the way.  Many times I'll start out with a coat and end up laying it on the ground to pick up when I come back that way, but not today.

We went to a funeral Monday about 80 miles north of here for a cousin's husband.  The cousin is one of us four baby girls born in 1944 in the Allen family.  Norman hadn't been really well for some time.  We noticed how weak he seemed at the reunion in August.  His passing is a poignant reminder that this is the time of our lives when any one of us could be the next one to go.  Ah, but I've had such a good time on my pilgrimage that even when the time comes, I'll likely be reluctant to go.  

Cliff has been piddling in the shop quite a bit with his tractor project, which the grandson helps him with when he comes home from work, as well as on weekends.  He supplies a lot of muscle that Cliff no longer has.  Arick had Covid early this year, and it had just lately been enough time since he had it that he could get a booster; it made him pretty sick and very tired for one day, then he was fine.  They warned him that would probably happen; he's a believer and doesn't want to have covid again.  I wouldn't be surprised if all of us eventually have it, the way it keeps morphing.  More and more I get the feeling it's going to be around forever.

Oh, I MUST recommend the book I'm reading:  The Boys, by Ron Howard and Clint Howard.  I haven't read far yet, about 100 pages into a 500-page book, but I was hooked immediately.  I'm a big Andy Griffith Show fan, even now.  Ron credits his dad with teaching him how to act when he was a childhood thespian.  He obviously has a profound love and respect for his parents.   

Below, I took a photo of one page, just to help you get a feel for the tone of the book.  Click on it and it will appear larger, if it seems hard to read.
This book has given me a smile on almost every page so far.  Your library will have it, but you'll probably have to get on a list.  I'm pretty sure I waited a month or so before it showed up on the iPad.  

That's all I have today.  Let's hope we all have a happy weekend.

Wednesday, December 08, 2021

The day Alexa lost her skills

Yesterday morning I awoke at 2:30 A.M.  I never went back to sleep, but since I have an Alexa device who answers to the name of Ziggy in my bedroom, I had him (he has a male voice) play my Pandora station that plays hymns sung by country music artists.  I kept it turned low, and lay there in bed listening until 4 A.M.   But later, when I told my living room device (actually named Alexa) to play a song by Marvin Rainwater, she repeated my request and then said, "I can't access Amazon music right now".  

I then asked the kitchen device, named "Echo", to play the song.  Again, no access to Amazon music.  Finally I tried the one named "Computer" in the master bedroom.  They were apparently all on strike.  

Cliff suggested I unplug each of them and plug them back in to reboot them.  I told him I had a hunch this was an Amazon problem, not a device problem, but I tried it anyhow.  It didn't help.  Finally I tried to contact Amazon and that didn't work.  Their help page wouldn't even show up online, and this confirmed that they were having a very large problem.  The six o'clock news further confirmed it.  

However, by the time I turned in last night, all was well.  I told Ziggy to play the meditation music I always use to fall asleep by, and he obliged.  I understand that some folks with those robot vacuums couldn't use them without Alexa; I guess those need her to work.  Anyway, I'm glad my devices are done going on strike.  We use them for music, grocery lists, and weather checks.  We also ask them fairly often how many miles it is from our house to various locations, and ask questions about whether our favorite actors and singers are dead or not.  Trust me, we'd really miss them if we didn't have them.  Especially for the music.    

I think I'll listen to those Marvin Rainwater songs now.

PS:  I'm back, having listened to Marvin sing.  I didn't know he was such a terrible singer!  He's a little before my time as far as listening to country music is concerned, so I wanted to see what he sounded like.  It seems as though he's trying to copy Hank Williams, but doing a poor job of it.  

Monday, December 06, 2021

Licking Toads

I was reading the blog of a lady who lives in Hawaii.  She and her husband had been trying to figure out if they were looking at a toad or a frog.  Someone mentioned that if you lick it, you'll know if it's a toad or a frog because toads are poisonous. 

Years ago I read an article in the Kansas City Star, and it inspired me to write a poem about licking toads.  Lacking anything better to write about, I'll share my poem.


August, 1991 
(c) Donna Wood    
I've always read the papers, and I've read some funny stuff,
But I read something recently that struck me pretty rough:
It seems somebody figured out that toads will make you high.
You can lick 'em, or chop up their skin and smoke it, when it's dry.
The side effects are dangerous, but if you come through alive,
You can tell your friends you smoked a toad and, somehow, still       survived.
The ordinary garden toad, they say, will get you by;
But that Colorado River Toad will really make you fly!

I know it may sound funny, but I'd like to meet the guy
Who figured out that licking toads is going to make you high!
The first time he tried licking toads, had he had a couple drinks?
I wonder what he looks like, and I wonder how he thinks.    
He probably introduced his friends to the joys of licking toads;
Did they smear them with some jelly?  Did they try them alamode?
I s'pose one day somebody said, "This lickin' toads is grim; 
Let's kill the little fellas, and then we can smoke the skin! 

I'll bet they traveled near and far and searched the country through
Before they figured out that not just any toad would do.
One day, out in the Rockies, lickin' every toad he met,
Some weirdo hollered, "Over here's the best toad I've licked yet!"   
That poor old toad was popular:  they passed him all around.
The Colorado Spotted Toad was the best they'd ever found!
It's a psychedelic pleasure --- even better than LSD,
And with hop-toads running everywhere, you can have this thrill for free. 

Well, now it's made the papers, so the whole wide world will know,
And folks'll be lickin' and smokin' toad, anywhere you go.
You'll see them in the gardens, and in the middle of the roads
Pursuing that elusive high you can get from smokin' toad!   
Forget the crack and cocaine, and the marijuana, too.
That stuff is so expensive, when just any old toad will do.
It's a wonderful experience, a psychedelic thrill,
And the only little problem is, it could just get you killed!


Sunday, December 05, 2021

Sunday Stealing


1. What are your plans for December?  I have no plans.  Life will go on as usual.  Unless it doesn't.

2. How do you celebrate your wins/success?  I would think a win or success would be its own reward.

3. Are holiday movies only for the holiday season?  Not necessarily; if you like a movie, you should watch it anytime you want.  When I'm feeling down, I sometimes watch "It's a Wonderful Life", because it makes me feel like I might have some worth after all.

4. What would you consider a waste of money?  That's probably a different answer for every individual.  Anytime my husband and I eat out at a sit-down restaurant it feels like a waste to me, because I know I could get a lot more food for that $40 or $50 than what I'm eating at that one meal.  If it's great food, it's OK doing it once in a while, but eight times out of ten, what I end up getting isn't as good as my favorite foods eaten at home.

5. What do you like to eat for breakfast?  Steel-cut oats with apples and cranberries cooked with them; almost any kind of fruit that's available; Grape-nuts.  But every once in awhile I have to have biscuits and gravy or some cheese grits. 

6. How do you feel about poetry?  I especially like poems that rhyme, but I like well-written free verse if the right words are chosen.

7. Are you shy?  In some ways.

8. Do you take time to reflect on your goals?  I've never bothered with goals much.  I go with the flow and take what comes.  I'm seventy-seven years old, and it's worked for me so far.

9. Something you are curious to know more about?  Lots of things, but most of my curiosity can be taken care of with Google.

10. Something that makes you feel fancy?  I don't think I've ever felt fancy in my life, and I'm not sure I'd want to.

11. How you’re still handling the pandemic?  Pretty well, really, as long as I don't have to deal with anti-vaxers and other people who think they know more than doctors.  So far I think I've unfollowed or unfriended all of those on Facebook.  That helped a lot!

12. A close friend you’ve never met in person?  I don't even have a lot of friends, period.  I did meet one of my best-ever friends in a Christian chat room and eventually met her face to face several times.  My husband admired her, too.  She died several years ago. 

13. Do you get in on trends early or later?  Never

14. What is something you do on a regular basis?  I go for a walk with my dog most days; I read in my One-Year Bible first thing every morning.  Of course there  are lots of things every housewife does on a regular basis, but who counts dishwashing and cooking?

15. Do you enjoy spending time with family?  Yes. 

Stolen as usual from Sunday Stealing.

Friday, December 03, 2021

All is well

 Blue did NOT have a broken bone; something attacked him and injured his left hind leg.  That's the second time this has happened to him; it's been nine months since his last experience, which you can read about HERE.  I waited too many days that time, for sure!  I think it was even the same leg that was injured.

Obviously I don't learn from past experience, or I wouldn't have been so sure (again) that the leg was broken.  I would love to know what sort of animal has attacked him; knowing my cat, though, he probably dared them.

The vet trimmed and cleaned the wounds and sent an antibiotic home with me to give him twice a day for ten days.  I took this video of him grooming his wounds this morning because he didn't feel like grooming himself all day, yesterday.  This morning when I let him inside from the back porch (where he has a temporary litter box), he went first to his cat tree, stretched and clawed the bottom post of it, then got in the position to jump up on it!  I didn't allow that, but gave him a place of honor on the sofa.  When he got down a while ago (I helped him down) he went in the dog's kennel/cage, went to a back corner, and is napping again. 

Thursday, December 02, 2021

Miracles still happen

Tuesday, my inside-outside cat Blue came in limping horribly.  He could barely stand to touch his left back foot to the floor, and limped pitifully when he went into the kitchen to get a drink of Gabe's water.  When he laid down, I looked his leg over and found no scars, bites,  or blood.  I told Cliff that if he was the same Wednesday morning, I'd call the veterinarian.  That night I carried him to the front door, lifted the top of his igloo house, and gently laid him in his bed.

Yesterday morning, Wednesday, he was nowhere around.  I called for him, but had no luck.  I told Cliff, "My heart is heavy, but I'm not going to cry.  I will tell you, though, that we aren't going through this again, this business of getting a cute little kitten, falling in love with it, spending money for neutering and all the other expenses, only to lose him."  I felt guilty for not listening to my husband, who had offered to put some oil-dry in a litter-box and put it in the pack porch where Blue would have been safe from harm.  

I went out for a walk with Gabe later and noticed him sniffing at something on the back deck; I looked to see what he was smelling, and I saw what looked like two bloody paw prints.  Cliff agreed that's what it looked like.  We figured some dog or coyote had taken advantage of the situation, grabbed Blue while he couldn't run, and hauled him off for supper.  Every once in a while I checked the cat's igloo house on the front porch, but it remained empty.  

I knew I wouldn't sleep well last night, so I took an over-the-counter sleeping pill.  I did pray that whatever happened, my cat didn't suffer.  I was positive he was dead, and I told God, "I don't have much faith that I'll ever see him again.  It would be a miracle if he shows back up at this point."    

This morning I took Gabe out for his early morning pit stop.  He climbed the steps to the front porch and sniffed at the round door of the igloo.  I thought, "Aw, Gabe misses him too."  It was dark, but I took the time to stick my finger through the round door of Blue's house... and felt fur!  I turned the flashlight in that direction and there was Blue's face looking out at me.  I sent Gabe in and asked Blue if he wanted to come in.  He was very slow, but he did crawl out of bed and in the door, and even ate some cat food before he laid in his inside bed at the bottom of the cat tree.  At this point, he wasn't touching the floor with his back foot at all.  When Cliff got up and saw him walking in the kitchen to get a drink and said, "Looking at the angle of his leg, I think it's broken."

So I called our regular vet in Lexington; wouldn't you know Thursday is his day off.  The lady suggested we go to Odessa, where they have three vets.  We have to wait until 4:30 to take him, but he does have an appointment.

Boy, I hope we can afford this; he's now used up three of his nine lives.   

Blue's waiting in his Igloo.  All he wants right now is just to be left alone.

Thursday Thirteen


1.  Guss, Iowa

2.  Villisca, Iowa

3.  Eagleville, Missouri

4.  Riverside, Missouri

5.  Eagleville, Missouri

6.  Harlem (an unincorporated area of Kansas City, Missouri)

7.  Kansas City North, Missouri

8.  2638 East 11th Street, Kansas City, Missouri  (my first apartment, and there was one in North Kansas City after that)

9.  Sugar Creek, Missouri

10.  Blue Springs, Missouri

11.  Oak Grove, Missouri

12.  Coffey, Missouri

13.  Wellington, Missouri

There were more than this, though.  When my parents and I had the Villisca address, we moved a couple of times in the same area; the same was true when we lived in the Kansas City area.  I think my mother liked to move into old two-story rental houses, clean them up, paint the woodwork, and wallpaper every room.  The last five places are where Cliff and I lived after we married; we've lived in Wellington since 1975.


Sunday, November 28, 2021

Sunday Stealing


1. What is the craziest, most outrageous thing you want to achieve?  I have no answer; I don't plan anything outrageous these days.  There are places I'd love to see, but that's nothing outrageous.  

2. Have your parents influenced what goals you have?  My parents... mainly my  mother, since she paid the bills... were sticklers about paying their bills, no matter how little money they had coming in.  I'm the same way.  I may have accidentally sent a bill a couple days late at some point, but whether we were in a period of feast or famine, our bills were paid promptly.

3. What is a fashion trend you’re glad went away.  Bell-bottom jeans (yes, I had a pair; but looking back, they were ridiculous.)  Is that duck-lips thing a fashion trend, that silly face all the girls were making on Facebook?  I don't want that back either.  And I wish those one-inch-long false eyelashes would fade away.  Oh well, nobody cares what I think.

4. What word or saying from the past do you think should come back?  Pretty is as pretty does.

5. What do you bring with you everywhere you go?  My purse, and Cliff always asks me why I take it everywhere.

6. Is there such a thing as a soul?  I believe there is.  I am a spirit, I have a soul, and I live in this old body of mine at present.

7. Is there life after death?  I reckon we'll find out when it's our time to die.    

8. Do you think there will ever be a third world war?  Yes, unless the world ends first by some other means.

9. What smell brings back great memories?  The smell of the woods; real Christmas trees; the smells in the house on Thanksgiving.

10. How would you like to be remembered?  It doesn't matter; I won't be around to hear about it.

11. What kind of music are you into?  Folk; country; the old standards from the 30's, from singers like Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday:  "I'll be Seeing You", "As Time Goes By", "Summertime", "Pennies from Heaven", "Dream a Little Dream of Me".  I've found there were a lot of great songs in the 30's!

12. What is the biggest surprise of your life?  When we first moved onto this place where we live, we only had a little over six acres.  In the 90's we had a sudden opportunity to add 35 acres back of our original six; I would have never expected that to happen.  We couldn't afford it, but we managed.  I'm still thankful every day when I'm walking in the woods that were part of that addition to our property.

13. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?  What a question!  Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream, I suppose.  But my stomach wouldn't like having it all the time.

14. Where is the most awe inspiring place you have been?  The Colorado Rockies; these days, though the wooded area at the back of our property is just as inspiring because I don't take what I have for granted.

15. Describe your life in six words:  I'm content with what I have.

Go to the Sunday Stealing Blog to see how others have answered these questions or to join us.

Friday, November 26, 2021

I'm back, in living color!

So, about a week ago, my old friend Winter-Depression hit me.  I think it it had something to do with the approach of Thanksgiving; the winter holidays always get me down.  I missed church Sunday because I really didn't want to see anybody.  Usually going for my walk in the woods peps me up somewhat, but all I could think was how I wished I could go to Grandma's house for the holidays, see my aunts and uncles and hear them telling me how big I'm getting.  I could picture myself going into her house from the cold and smelling those wonderful smells of delicious things cooking.  That made me even more downcast, because they are all gone.  Since my sister is fifteen years older than I am, she's the only one of that generation who is left, and I don't know if I'll ever see her again.

The grandson's girl-friend's family were going to have Thanksgiving dinner in the shop, and we were invited; but I still didn't really want to be with a lot of people, and I decided Cliff and I would go it alone.  However, I vowed to make all my favorite holiday dishes, if only for the sake of memories.  I soon learned that if you are going to make about 20 different items it still wears me out the same, whether I'm doing it for two or a dozen.  Our daughter in town messaged me and asked if they could come out Thanksgiving day just to visit because they missed us; of course I told her yes, come any time.  They hadn't intended to eat with us, but everything was done by 11:30 and they hadn't left yet, so they stayed.  And about that time, my old S.A.D friend disappeared and hasn't shown back up.

Because we weren't feeding a huge crowd of people, I tried a couple of new things that were huge successes with all four of us.  The first was Ree Drummond's mashed potatoes.  Folks, I've been mashing potatoes ever since I married, but these potatoes were straight out of heaven, although a lot more work that I'm accustomed to.  First of all, she insisted I used my potato masher instead of a mixer (although I knew the masher was preferable), and that was only the beginning.  Here's the recipe, which is for five pounds of potatoes; but I only made half that much:

  1. Peel and cut the potatoes into pieces that are generally the same size. Bring a large pot of water to a simmer and add the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are cooked through, 30 to 35 minutes. (When they're cooked through a fork should easily slide into the potatoes with no resistance, and the potatoes should almost, but not totally, fall apart.)
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Drain the potatoes thoroughly in a large colander. Place them back into the dry pot and put the pot on the stove. Mash the potatoes over low heat, allowing all the steam to escape before adding in all the other ingredients.
  4. Turn off the heat and add the butter, cream cheese and about 1/2 cup of half-and-half. Mash, mash, mash! Next, add about 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Stir well, and then taste and add more half-and-half, seasoning salt and pepper if needed.
  5. Transfer the potatoes to a medium-sized baking dish. Throw a few pats of butter over the top of the potatoes and place in the oven until the butter is melted and the potatoes are warmed through.

Cook’s Note

This dish can be made 1 to 2 days in advance. Follow the recipe up to putting the mashed potatoes in a baking dish and then refrigerate. Take the potatoes out of the fridge 2 to 3 hours before serving time. Bake in a 350-degree-oven until warmed through, 20 to 30 minutes.

I did it exactly as Ree said to, the day before Thanksgiving.  I won't be using this recipe every time I make mashed potatoes, but I'll remember it when we're having company.

My other trial recipe was for candied sweet potatoes, but they were cooked in a cast iron skillet given to me by my mother-in-law.  They, too, were the best I've ever had.  That recipe is HERE.  However, my only lid for it, passed along from my mother, is barely big enough to cover the skillet.  

This morning I went looking for a decent lid and found one for $4 off on Amazon.  It would even work on my one non-stick skillet, since the part that touches the pan is silicone.  

I think that's it for today, unless you want to read a review a guy did on the lid I bought.  I just copied and pasted, so don't blame me for the typos, lack of capitals, and so on.  I found it rather humorous.  

"so being a guy...and being a guy that does not hang out in bed, bath & beyond every other day... my knowledge of cook ware is some what limited. yet...i cook ALOT and am actually an awesome cook. a foodie & a plumper. lol!

I bought a really "neat" modern non stick fry pan from BJ's wholesale. the pan is called "the Rock" made by ifrit. i do not believe that the product has anything to do with the supa-star wrestler Dwayne Johnson.Anywho... oh...the pan is actually awesome by the way. very well made and heavy duty! get'll love it. fairly priced at BJ's... HOWEVER... the pan did not come with a lid. It seems to be the norm for fry pans to be sold with out lids included.

you still reading this? wow....nice. lol! I am def surprised you are "hangin in there"...
SO.... after cooking with the pan for a week or so i realized that i really wished it had a lid! and there my friend is where the anxiety sets in! now i have to start up a fry pan lid investigation. just what i needed! where to start? naturally... i figured the best starting place would be with the makers of the pan. i checked their no avail so i called them only to find out that they do not have customer service reps readily available. they ask that you "leave them a message" and they will get back to you with in a few days. so that effectively ended that. lets just say i left them an entertaining voice mail message.
so now what? i asked a woman i know where she would go to secure a lid and she said something about QVC and i quickly shut her idea down. QVC may be cool for some things for some people.... but not for me.
naturally I realized...what am i making such a big deal about this? i jumped onto Amazon and simply typed in "fry pan lid"
and there it was...AMAZONS savior. i might have read 2 reviews...maybe 3 but no more then that. SOLD! at my house in ONE DAY....INSANE! saved me again! thank you SO much.
The lid is SO SO nice. beautifully put together. love it! so satisfied. so easy to clean too!
I hate to admit this...but i LOVE how EASY Amazon makes a purchase like this for me. SO much better then a lid with a metal edge. get it will love it!
and now i will go make a flour tortilla PAN pizza. Chow!"

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Books, people that write them, and people who share them

 Among the blogs I follow is one from an Arkansas author, Talya Tate Boerner.  Her blog is Grace, Grits, and Gardening.   I fell in love with the main character in her book The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee and began following her blog.  The thing I most enjoy about her blog is a list of what she's read each month; she is an avid reader, and many of the books she features sound as if they are right up my alley.  In listing her October reads, she mentioned one by author Kent Haruf, the third book in a trilogy.  It piqued my interest, so I decided to read all three of the books of the trilogy in order.  Turns out these stories are custom-made for me.  I began with Plainsong, fell in love with the characters, and later checked it out for Cliff on his iPad; then I checked out Eventide, which continues the story, but with added characters, for myself.  All of these take place in a small-town, rural setting in Colorado, and I feel I'm living right there with them.  This author, Kent Haruf, died several years ago, so once I read the third book, that will be the last time I get to commune with these very real (to me) characters.  He did write other books, though, besides those three.  I'll be paying more attention to this author's book reviews from now on!  

I have also gotten a lot of ideas for books to read from a blogger friend in Washington state, a retired teacher who has a list of her recent reads on the right-hand side of her blog.  Sometimes a follower of this blog will leave a comment recommending a book they've loved, and I have read some of those.

I read a lot more in winter than any other time.  Thank God for the free Public Library, and that through the miracle of the Internet, this non-driver can check out free, best-selling books for myself and Cliff while sitting in my easy chair.  It's especially good for Cliff, since the only actual type of exercise he can do regularly is to ride on the recumbent bike for half-an-hour a day: he reads while he's pedaling to make the time pass.  Being able to get free books immediately from the library is of most miraculous blessings I know of, one I would never have dreamed of even twenty years ago.  And the library is the only free place to get the books recommended to me by people I know and trust.  

Like anything one uses every day, I often take the library for granted; but this is the Thanksgiving season, so I remind myself how fortunate I am to be living in such a time as this.

Friday, November 19, 2021

And just like that, it's winter

I realize winter doesn't actually start until late in December, but the trees have already hunkered down for their long winter nap, and our temperatures the last two nights were in the 20's.  I believe it was 38° when Gabe, Blue, and I went for our walk yesterday.  Yes, the gray cat went along, and for the first time ever, he managed to walk all the way with us.  What he usually does is walk with us to the edge of the woods, then stay there while Gabe and I go ahead.  Silly me, I usually either walk back to get him several hours later or else made Cliff take me on the side-by-side, knowing full well that smart little cat knows the way home.  I hope he decides to walk with us more often if his intentions are to come back with us.  Mama Kitty walked all the way with me and Cliff for years until age finally caught up with her; the most she will do now is walk thirty feet or so with us, then sit and watch us continuing on our journey as she licks her front paws

Those bare branches look naked now, compared to a week or so ago.  I wish I'd thought to get Blue in a picture, but he was following behind us most of the time.

Cliff is still working on the tractor overhaul.  Actually, he's telling the grandson what to do, then watching him do it.  Arick will have Grandpa memories the rest of his life from this little venture. 

We had planned to go visit Cliff's cousin Edna this week.  She broke a hip and is in the hospital in Jefferson City.  However, her daughter said she's pretty miserable right now, so Cliff's decided we should wait until she's settled into a place for rehab.  His sister, Rena, will ride along when we go; we'll have a good visit on the way, and eat out someplace after we've seen Edna.

I heard last night on the news that there was going to be a lunar eclipse at 3 A.M. this morning.  I was briefly awake at that time, but knew if I put on a coat and went out in the cold to see it, I'd never get back to sleep.  But when I woke up for the day at almost 4:30 and took Gabe out, I did see the last of it.  The earth's shadow was still covering about 10% of the moon.

Cliff and I have decided to have our own little Thanksgiving dinner here at home, just the two of us.  No stress, no personality clashes, no divisions.  I'm getting too old for all that sort of mess.  Turkey and football, maybe a good book to read or even a nap!


Wednesday, November 17, 2021

One never knows

For several years, I've wondered if I am slightly autistic.  I've taken those online tests:  Some say I'm probably not, some say I am, like the one I just finished doing.  Here are reasons I think I might have Aspergers, or some other form of autism.

1.  It is terribly difficult for me to look people in the eyes; it's even hard for me to look into my own eyes or to look at my face in a mirror.  I avoid that.

2.  Often I panic at having to make a phone call.  

3.  All my life I've had a problem using my "inside voice".  I am often inappropriately loud.

4.  I'm most comfortable when I'm alone.

5.  I tend to insult people without realizing until later that I said the wrong thing; I also sometimes interrupt people, but I never notice I'm doing it until it's too late. 

6.  I've had very few close friends.  Even when I do have a good and faithful friend, I distance myself from them eventually.  I don't do that deliberately, but when I think about it later, I know I just faded away from them and lost touch.  

7.  I've never been "touchy-feelie".  I'm fine with an old friend hugging me when we finally meet again, but I seldom initiate hugs.  I went to a funeral last week where I was hugged by three or four women I hadn't seen in ages.  They were firmly connected to my past, and I enjoyed those hugs... until I got home and realized there's a pandemic going on.  Ha!

8.  When I was a child, left to my own devices I played alone in a fantasy world of Indians and cowboys:  I was one of the Indians, by the way.  Always.  Usually I was the chief!  

9.  I can't stand noise of any kind going on for hours, and that includes music of my own choosing.  I can enjoy music for forty-five minutes at most, then it starts driving me crazy.  And don't get me started on a television that goes on constantly in the background, all day long.  SILENCE, I say.

10.  Mouth noises have always bothered me:  Chewing gum popping, loud chewing noises of any kind, constant yawns and even sneezing, if it happens more than two times in a row. 

11.  I've never "fit in" with any "normal" group. 

So there you have it.  At this point of my life, I accept myself for what I am, but I will always wonder if I'm a tiny bit autistic.  Or maybe even a whole lot autistic.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

It's deer season

One man got his deer on our property Saturday, and another one was killed today.  Don't pay attention to me when I still call this place "ours", because legally it's our grandson's, but when you've lived on a property for over forty years, it's hard not to think of it as still ours.  It still feels like we own it, because not much has changed.

The gutted deer shot this morning is in the side-by-side.  You can't see it because it's pretty small; I was afraid someone would think it was Bambi.  Some people are really bothered by all the pictures of dead deer that show up on Facebook in November.

I usually crawl in bed with Cliff around 6:30 A.M.  This morning we talked (I yelled, he tried to guess at what I was saying) for a few minutes, then he went back to sleep.  I found it nice and warm laying there, so I simply relaxed, let him sleep, and daydreamed.  We finally got up at almost eight.  Retirement is pretty nice sometimes.  When Aaron called Cliff asking him to come and get him and the doe he'd shot, Cliff told him, "It'll take me a little while; I'll have to put on my pants."  Ha!

Let's see, what is Cliff doing?
He didn't think I needed to take this picture, since he was only cleaning the block in preparation for the process of putting sleeves in it.  If you don't understand that statement, don't feel too bad; I don't get it either.

There's not much news to share and no good stories today, so here are a couple of cat pictures.
This taken when Blue was on top of his cat tree.
Gabe isn't always willing to accept his feline pal's signs of affection, but yesterday I guess he needed a friend.

Dinner is usually at noon around here, but since we had a late breakfast today, it will be at 1 P.M.  All I have to do is cook some green beans to go with the leftover ham casserole I made yesterday.  We both really like it, and it's a good way to get rid of ham.  It takes two cups of cubed ham, so when I'm taking care of our leftover ham, I put several two-cup portions of ham cubed and ready to put in the freezer for the casserole.   The recipe is HERE.  I wouldn't call it healthy, due to the amount of butter and cheese in it.  Of course, ham isn't the greatest health food either, but I throw caution to the wind and make it anyway.

I told Cliff this morning that I've gotten to the point where I don't even want to go outside when it's so cold I have to wear a coat.  Of course I walk down the driveway to the mailbox; I'm out with Gabe a few times, and I go for that slow walk in the pasture and woods most days; but I used to be out twice a day milking my cow (or cows) and bottle-feeding calves, even in zero weather.  I think I need a goat to force me to go outside and chore.  At least I used to have chickens, but they're gone too. 

That's all I have!  See, if I had a goat, I could have shown you her picture, too.  Unfortunately, Cliff has a no-goat policy.

Have a good day.