Saturday, July 31, 2021

I'm just being honest here

I hate for people to have to visit my blog and see all that negative stuff about dentistry, although I will leave you with a link that has to do with that subject, and then I'll say no more about it.  I found this item, which tells me I did well to get out of that place. 

I have a confession to make; I have been depressed lately, and I think it's getting worse instead of better.  I have a feeling both politics and the pandemic are contributing to this terrible cloud of gloom and doom that hangs over my head.  I've learned a lot about myself during the past couple of years, and a lot about people in general, too; and very little about myself or others seems good.  

It bothers me that two political parties can't come together and compromise.  It bothers me when an individual can't accept that some of their beliefs might be wrong... as though everything about their philosophy is perfect because they are the only ones who know the right way.  That causes me to be all the more confused about my stance on things, so that I have no place to turn except God.  My daily Bible reading took me to Romans, a letter the apostle Paul wrote to the Church in Rome.  Chapter 14, to be specific.  Here are some of the things I read in the New Living Translation:

"Accept other believers who are weak in the faith, and don't argue with them about what they think is right and wrong."                             "God has accepted them.  Who are you to condemn someone else's servants?"                                                                                             "So why do you condemn another believer?"                                  "The kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life full of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit."

And yet, we have all these denominations, many of them insisting they are the only ones with the truth.  Heaven forbid they compromise in any way.  It's all about their precious rights, I guess.

Maybe that's one of the reasons why Church attendance keeps dropping.

No wonder I'm depressed.  Sorry about the preaching, but that's what is on my mind.  


Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Well, it's hot

Alexa tells me it's 95° here in the country; says it'll be 100° tomorrow.  If we make it through that, temps start going down and highs will be in the 80's next week.  There are also possibilities for rain Saturday, which we sorely need.   

I finally got to the bottom of my problems trying to get my payment from Google; I was the one at fault, of course.  This morning I had an email saying my payment should show up in the next five days; I'm pretty sure it show up on my bank account in the morning.  The email told me to check my balance on Adsense, and sure enough, my balance was zero.

So now I'll just forget about it for three years or so, until I get surprised by another $100 gift.  

I read today that Pfizer may offer a third shot for those of us who already had the first two; they say it will offer another layer of protection.  Cliff and I will gladly get it if they decide to offer it.


My husband has been working on a project in the shop with me in mind.  What you see in this picture didn't pan out though, so he made changes.  This is, I believe, the fourth carryall he's made for me for various parade tractors; it's the smallest one ever, so it was sort of tricky figuring where I'd be seated.  With my help as a model, sitting on one seat and another until he figured out a solution, it's going to work just fine.  He makes stuff like this out of odds and ends he has on hand in his junk piles.

In spite of the heat, Cliff has been spending several hours in the shop every day working on this project so I can ride behind him when we take the Farmall Super C to parades with our club.  He will eventually paint the carryall "Farmall Red" to match the tractor, but he says he may not get that done until it's cooler.  I nag him to drink water every time I'm out there checking on him.

This is mine and Gabe's last turnaround when we go for our six AM walk.  We head for the house when we reach the pasture at the top of the hill.  We seem to encounter more mosquitoes on this section of our trail than anywhere else. 

Can you believe that the turnips I planted Sunday started germinating in less than 48 hours?  And this morning, on the third day after planting, look at how determined those tiny seeds are to live!  I do moisten them every day with water from the sprinkling can.

I believe that's all I have for today.  Pretty random, eh?

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Who would have thought...

In March of 2020, I suggested to Cliff we buy a car.  He thought our old one was fine, but it had some issues that worried me; I don't drive, but I'm really good at worrying.  I was bored sitting around during the pandemic, and the toilet paper shortage had already begun; I think that was my main motivation for wanting to do something exciting, even if it was wrong.  

I guess I was thinking about a used car at first, because our sole income is what the two of us get from Social Security, and and the income from mine is pretty small.  We had no payments except the necessary ones like electricity, cell phone bills, and so forth.  Credit card bills are paid in full each month.  We don't have any rent, house payment, or property taxes since the grandson bought our place, so that helps.  I figured we could manage a car payment of $250.  Since Honda has the best track record on Consumer reports, I thought that's what we should get.  Cliff liked his sister's Honda, so that suited him.  Notice I was the one all along who spawned this "let's buy a car" idea; he thought it was all just talk.

I called a couple of dealers who had nothing, old or new, we could buy for a $250 monthly payment.  I asked Cliff, "What about a lease?  I think that would be a smaller payment."  He said something to the effect of, "Well, call somebody and ask."

The nearest Honda dealer could not get the monthly payment that low.  

I don't know how it happened, but the dealer I called next was in Jefferson City, Missouri... 125 miles from home!  When I realized that, I started to apologize and hang up, but the man said he might be able to help us.  I asked if we could lease a new Honda for $250 a month; he said he'd call me back.  When he did, the answer was YES!  That was, however, only if we kept our mileage under 12,000 a year.  The way things turned out with the pandemic, we wouldn't have driven more than that anyway.  But we didn't know that at the time.

Everything was done over the phone.  We told him we wanted the cheapest version they had of the Honda Accord, sight unseen.  We did choose a color (white) and the interior color (gray).  Three days later, a couple of guys drove to our house in our brand new leased car.  We signed the papers and they bid us goodbye. 

Cliff has always liked his oldest sister's Honda Accord.  It's a quiet, comfortable ride.  So we were surprised to learn that our Honda was not so cozy, especially for Cliff, with his aches and pains.  It seemed smaller than Rena's, and the ride wasn't nearly as smooth.  We did like the fact that we were getting 38 miles to the gallon on the highway, though!  We'd put up with it for three years and see what happened.

Yesterday as I was getting ready to mail our monthly payment, I noticed a line on the top part of the bill, the portion of the bill you don't send in.                                          

Payoff amount: $18,634        Payoff good through August 08, 2021

I'd never noticed that before on our bill, and did some googling... only to find out we could actually BUY this car right now.  I did not consider that option because Cliff is not comfortable in it, but I casually mentioned it to him.  I was shocked to find out that he seemed interested.  I asked about his problems getting in and out of it, and the not-so-smooth ride; he said, "We don't travel anyhow; it's fine for around here."

So this morning I looked up the Blue Book value of our very basic Accord with no bells or whistles.  It's in perfect condition, not a scratch on it; and we've taken it to the local dealer for service at the proper times.  The trade-in value is from $23,119 to $24,587.  The private party price is from $26,376 to $28,049.

So we could actually buy the car for $18,634, license it (taxes I think would be around $1,100, so there's that), and possibly sell it for $28,000?  What?????

Wait till Cliff gets up and hears the news.

But wait, what would we use for transportation?  A tractor?  Because right now, you can't buy anything on four wheels without paying a huge price; there's a shortage of cars for sale, old and new, thanks to the pandemic.

Ah, there's the rub, as Hamlet would say.  To buy or not to buy; that is the question.

We'll just wait and think about this one month at a time.  The option is always there, only the payoff is less each month.  So what's the hurry? 

Monday, July 26, 2021

Google pays me for your visits

We all hate stumbling onto ads when we are surfing the Internet, don't we?  And yet, I allow ads on my blog, although I don't have to have them here.

For several years, I had no idea it would be possible to get paid for my ordinary, mundane blogging.  I've never had a huge group of readers... it's rare if any entry gets read by more than 100 people.  This blog got a lot more hits when I shared each individual entry on Facebook, but I quit doing that except for rare entries when I'm telling a story I think will be of particular interest to Facebook friends.  It seemed too much like a cry for attention; maybe that's what blogging is anyway, I don't know... but I stopped doing it as a general rule.

Somehow it came to my attention several years ago that if I put ads on my blog, Google would pay me for it.  It didn't look like the ads would be too intrusive, and I decided to try it.  If you ever wondered how much an ordinary, run-of-the-mill blog can make, I'm here to tell you it isn't much... but it's more than I expected when I signed up.

Google pays my earnings whenever the amount reaches $100.  I am now ready to receive my third payment.  About every three years I get a little over $100 just for doing something I would be doing anyway, so as far as I'm concerned, it's a nice situation for Google and for me.  Let's face it, Google owns us all anyway, if we are online.

I had a bit of a problem with my current payment because I had changed banks since my last Google payment came in.  They couldn't get my earnings into the bank, and sent me emails repeatedly, informing me of this.  

I'm sure the problem was on my end.  They would ask for a different account so I could collect, but I didn't have another checking account.  Finally I took out all the bank information I had given them and re-entered it; this morning I got a verification notice letting me know I will be getting my earnings.  I must have had some detail of my bank information entered wrong.  

One hundred dollars every three years doesn't sound like much, but when it comes as a surprise each time it shows up, that's a gift, as far as I'm concerned.  So I'm thankful for it.   It doesn't take much to make my day brighter.  And I'm thankful for the folks willing to read this drivel I spew out day after day, because every time you come here, I get paid.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Saturday 9: Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh (1963)

Saturday 9: Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh (1963)

Unfamiliar with this song? Hear it here.

1) TV writer Allan Sherman based this song on his own son's letters of complaint from camp. Did you go away to summer camp?

Yes, my mother made me go to church camp at least twice, maybe three times.  I enjoyed some parts of it, but if I'd had my way, I would have stayed home.  I was an introvert even then.  Oh, and they played softball; I was never any good at sports and was always the last one chosen for a team.

2) Our camper is afraid of both bears and alligators. What animal scares you? 

Probably bears.  I wouldn't tent-camp in the Rocky Mountains for a million dollars!

3) One of his fellow campers developed poison ivy rash. Have you ever experienced redness and itching caused by poison ivy or poison sumac?

When I was at camp I would pick poison ivy leaves and rub them up and down on my arm to show off (I've always been strange).  I have never had any reaction to poison ivy; neither did either of my parents.  Maybe it's hereditary.  

4) Early in his career, Allan Sherman created the game show I've Got a Secret, which became a big hit. What's your all-time favorite TV game show?

The only game show I ever cared much about was "I've Got a Secret".

5) In 1959 he moved from New York to Hollywood, where he transitioned from writing to performing almost by accident. As a lark, he entertained at the parties of his next-door neighbor, Harpo Marx. A recording company executive heard him and offered him a contract. Tell us about the last party you attended.

Our oldest grandson's Fourth of July party.  Lots of food and fireworks.

6) Allan Sherman got unexpected press attention and a boost in record sales when it was discovered that President John F. Kennedy was a fan. What's something you purchased because of a recommendation from someone else (friend, relative, celebrity endorsement ...)?

Oh my goodness, lots of things:  I use Apple products because of a Facebook friend's recommendation, and I really don't even know him that well.  These days, though, I choose certain brands of products by going to Consumer Reports via my library's site and seeing what they say is best.  

7) In 1963, the year "Hello Mudduh, Hello Fadduh" was popular, Studebaker stopped producing cars in the United States. What was your family car when you were growing up?

The one I remember is a '58 Chevy, because it was the first brand new car my parents ever had.

8) Also in 1963, Vogue magazine did a cover story on how make wearing white "new and exciting." What color do you look best in? Is it the color you wear most often?

I have no idea.  I tend to buy a lot of blue clothes, but I don't know why.

9) Random question: Have you ever gone on to have a platonic relationship with a former lover?

That's a good one.  What former lover?  I didn't even date until I was twenty.

Saturday, July 24, 2021


I had some sweet corn ready, so I decided to take care of that this morning.

These are the corn plants that produced so much corn.  

Unfortunately, the temperature was high and I got a little sick from the heat .  Cliff had to come inside too, shortly after I did.  The older we get, the less heat we can stand.  After I'd cooled off a little, I went ahead and boiled the corn, cut off the kernels, and froze two quarts of it, saving plenty out for tomorrow's dinner.  I had the water heating up for the corn when our daughter came over with some of her family, which included three children; they kept busy playing with toys in the living room with us.

Amara played with some of the few Little People things I kept around:  A house for Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Pluto

Great-grandson Ivan played with everything, including the water in the dog dish and the television controls.  He is one year old and starting to walk, but still crawls a lot because that's faster for him; he is into everything, and has a happy disposition and a ready smile.  He's a big chunk of a baby, and I'm surprised his legs can support him enough to walk!

Even Cliff got down in the floor to play with Amara

I took care of the corn while everybody was here.  I only planted small plots of corn, but now I'm dreading the next round, which will probably be ready in the next ten days and is over twice as much as my first two plantings.  That's a lot more corn to pick, boil, and freeze.

I surely hope it's a cool day when I do those three full rows.

You can hardly see the strawberry plants, but they are there!

I also ordered 25 strawberry plants from Maine, and just got them a couple of days ago.  Both of my knees were aching by the time I got done bending over to put them in the ground, and are still hurting.  I'm keeping them watered with a soaker hose, and they are green and already growing.

When the weeds overtook the flower bed in front of our house we destroyed the bed and planted grass there.  However, I dug up some of the things to put in back.  I was very happy to see this Hibiscus made it after the move.  My cousin Betty gave me the seed that resulted in this plant a few years ago; it was, and is, a favorite.  She called it red, although to me it looks more like a deep, dark pinkish-red color.  Either way, it's beautiful.

I'll plant turnips tomorrow:  
"The 25th of July, plant your turnips, wet or dry; 
Harvest the 25th of October, drunk or sober."

I googled this little pitiful verse just now and found out President Truman tried to establish July 25 as Missouri Turnip Day.  It's an interesting little story you can read HERE.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Cancelled plans

Cliff and I had planned a trip to Rantoul, Illinois, to the Half-Century of Progress tractor show.  I had reserved three days at a motel in Urbana, as well a golf cart once we arrived at the show; I had also made a reservation for Gabe at Bed and Bones for the time we'd be gone.  Yesterday Cliff said he didn't think he wanted to go all that distance; I really don't care either way, since the show at Rantoul is far from my favorite tractor show.  It's huge, but it's just tractors, tractors, tractors (yes, they are doing things with them, but still...).  My very favorite show is at Rollag, Minnesota, where they have old, furnished houses from different periods,  draft horses,  steam engines, and a train around the whole place.  My second favorite is probably Old Thresher's Reunion in Iowa.  Maybe I'll try and get Cliff to that one, or maybe not; we'll see how the Covid situation is by then.   

We went grocery shopping yesterday and masked before we went in any store, as well as using hand sanitizer when we got back to the car.  We hadn't been taking those precautions for a while, but it's getting real out here in the country and people I know are coming down with this stuff.  One of us might end up getting it, but at least we'll know we're doing things to avoid it.  

That crazy cat of mine, Blue, must be starting trouble with some sharp-toothed critter outside.  Might be another cat, might be a racoon or something similar; he hunts moles all the time, but the wounds I see on him seem to be made by larger teeth than that.  Perhaps some of my readers recall when Blue got very sick from an infected bite-wound in March and had to stay a couple of nights at the veterinarian's office.  Again in early July he came in with a pretty bad bite on his tail.  And now, two days ago, he's sporting a wound on the back of his hind leg.  You can tell by looking that it's a bite mark.  We're beginning to think it may be an ornery old tomcat that we've seen over here quite a bit.  He used to come and eat any cat food my cats left in their bowls.  On a couple of occasions, I'd hear cats fighting right on the front porch early in the morning; however, it was dark out and when I opened the door to look, the intruder was gone.  Only Mama Kitty would be sitting on the bannister as though to say, "It wasn't me."  Of course, no male cat is likely to fight with a female, even a spayed one.  

(Pet peeve:  Folks that say "spaded" as the past tense.  Present tense is "spay", past tense is "spayed".)

Blue has been coming in lately in the early morning and getting on my lap while Gabe is in my chair beside me.  Makes it kind of hard to look at my laptop when my lap is full of animals!

That's it for today.  I'll be checking on all my blog friends later on.  Right now it's about dinnertime!

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Our little blessing of 2013

In the early part of 2013, at the time of year when it's still winter and memories come flooding back on old folks daily, Cliff and I admitted to one another that we missed having a baby in our lives.  All the grandchildren were far past infancy, even the youngest one in Georgia.  I once told Cliff, "If somebody sneaked up here and left a baby on our doorstep, I'd just keep it." 

It was no more than a month or so later that I found out the couple who kept their horses in our pasture were expecting a baby.  Cliff and I thought how nice it would be if we could babysit the child... but who would want old folks taking care of a baby?  It took me a long time to get my nerve up enough to ask the future dad, "Who is going to babysit your baby after she's born?"

They really hadn't figured that out yet, so I told him Cliff and I had discussed it, and we would be happy to have a baby in our lives again; it seemed like it had been so long since I held an infant in my arms, and yet I was afraid we were just too old to care for a child every day.

Well, the parents were very happy to have us caring for their future child, so when the time came and the little girl made her appearance in August, she was our little angel as soon as her mom went back to work.  She was around two months old.  We thought she was the most beautiful child we had ever seen.

We smiled more than we'd smiled for years!  That little girl made us so happy, and life was never boring with her around, learning and growing.  There are probably 500 pictures of her on my computer, not to mention the videos of her learning to walk and and talk and dance... I could go on for pages telling you about her cuteness and intelligence, but I won't.  

Cliff didn't want to take her anywhere with us in the car because "What if we had a wreck?  I'd never forgive myself!"  I mentioned this to her mother, who said, "I don't care where you take her... take her anywhere you want."

So when she was about five months old, we went to Costco with her, where she yelled in baby-talk at everybody we passed.  One elderly man told Cliff, "She looks just like you, Grandpa."  We didn't bother to tell him she was no relation to us, and Cliff beamed with pride.

On the way home from Costco, we stopped by Burger King, and since it was our first outing with her, I took a picture.

Here's a picture of her when she was perhaps 11 months old:

When she was around five years old, I told her parents we were getting on in age, and advised them to find another babysitter; I just didn't have the energy any more, and I knew someone younger could do a better job of teaching her things she needed to know.  We were sad to see her go, of course.  We loved her, and still do.

We've seen her briefly on several occasions over the last couple of years, but her dad messaged me Tuesday evening asking if she could spend the next day, Wednesday, with us; his mom would have had her, but she had a doctor's appointment.  Of course, we were thrilled.  It had been a long time since we had her to ourselves.

And here she is Wednesday, playing Old Maid with Cliff.  Notice Gabe laying at her feet.  He came here as a puppy when she was around 3 years old, and he still remembers her.  He almost tore the house down barking when he saw her arrive, and followed her around the whole day.  We enjoyed her company so much.  But even at the age of (almost) 8, she still wears us out.  We did the right thing asking to babysit, and we did the right thing when we realized we needed to send her on her way.

And we will always love her.  I hope she has a long and very happy life.  Dolly Parton said it best when she wrote this song:

I Will Always Love You
If I should stay
Well I would only be in your way
And so I'll go, and yet I know
I'll think of you each step of the way
And I will always love you
I will always love you
Bitter-sweet memories
That's all I'm taking with me
Good-bye, please don't cry
'Cause we both know that I'm not
What you need
But I will always love you
I will always love you
And I hope life, will treat you kind
And I hope that you have all
That you ever dreamed of
Oh I do wish you joy
And I wish you happiness
But above all this
I wish you love
I love you
I will always love you

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Smart cat?

Cliff never minded if people smoked in his shop.  He did mind if they just threw their butts on the floor, because he likes to keep it as clean as possible; but not too many people did that.  He kept a coffee can half-filled with sand or Oil-Dry out for them to use as an ashtray.  In good weather when they sat outside to smoke, he still wanted them to throw their butts in the coffee-can, because those butts tossed on the ground stay there forever and really add up over time.

Since the grandson bought the place, he enforces Cliff's rules; it's his shop now, but he likes the rules.  He quit smoking cigarettes a long time ago; you might see him smoking a cigar on Friday night after work, and maybe a couple more times over the weekend, but that's it for him.  

Saturday night a bunch of his buddies came over to hang out in the shop, and I guess they were up pretty late.  When Arick opened up the shop the next morning, he saw that the cigarette butts had somehow made their way to the floor around the can.  He went over to assess the situation and realized that somebody(?) had raked the butts out of the can and replaced them with a pile of poop!  His dog had been out there with him and his friends the night before, but he couldn't imagine his Golden Doodle dog digging cigarette butts out a can and then pooping in the can while the guys were all out there.  Wouldn't someone have noticed?  

About that time, out of a far corner, Blue the cat came out stretching and yawning:  He'd been locked in the shop the previous night, and he was surely the culprit!  Apparently in the process of digging in the oil-dry he had raked the butts out onto the floor.  But can you picture the position a grown cat would have to get into to poop into a metal coffee can?  

Wow.  Obviously my cat was too proud to "go" on the floor.  Truth is still stranger than fiction.

The evolution of a song

Back in 1964 or so, at the height of the folk song craze, I'd just gotten a cheap guitar and was learning some chords.  I'd sit around strumming chords and singing songs like "On Top of Old Smokey", "Crawdad Song", and others of that kind that only required two or three chords throughout.  Most of them worked for me in the key of C, so that's the first key I learned to chord in.

I lived in an apartment in Kansas City on my own, but most weekends I'd spend with my parents in Blue Springs.  One time I was sitting on the couch at their house struggling to chord to those simple old songs and my mom taught me one from her childhood that I had never heard anywhere, and never have since until very recently:  "In a Lonely Village Churchyard".  I recorded it on Youtube just now; it isn't perfect, but you will hear the tune and words (the ones I can still recall).  You can listen to it HERE.  I wasn't in the mood for anyone to see my face up close and personal, so you won't see me, but you'll hear the song.

I had searched the Internet for the song many, many times with no results.  However, the Internet picks up new knowledge all the time, and today I had great success.  I was actually thrilled to find lyrics that go back to 1880.  Click HERE to read them.  No wonder I never found the song; Mother used the title "In a Lonely Village Churchyard".  It was actually better known as "Since My Mother's Dead and Gone".

The next thing I found was an Alan Lomax recording of a woman in Kentucky in 1937 singing her version.  Go ahead and listen to that one, with a totally different tune.  It's pretty hard to understand because of the recording methods back then; the Lomaxes were responsible for finding most all the old mountain songs that are so well-known today.  They would have the hill people sing their songs while they got it down on a wire recorder, which was all there was back then.  HERE is Ella Sibert.

And now, a version of the song from the 1930's by the Kentucky Ramblers!  The video just shows the record label.  I'm assuming it was a disc record rather than one of the old cylinder ones, judging by the label.  Again, a different tune.  Listen HERE.

Perhaps none of my readers find the old songs all that interesting, but this made my day!  This is the process that formed all those old tunes that we learned in grade school.  It's only due to the Lomax family that we still have them.

I love it!

Monday, July 12, 2021

A meme

I saw this particular meme over on Blue Country Magic and decided it looked like fun.  I didn't do it on Saturday, but who cares?

Saturday 9: Mairzy Doats (1944)

Unfamiliar with this song? Hear it here.

I've been familiar with this song for a long time; I either heard it from Molly Bee or Shari Lewis, back in the 50's or 60's.  And maybe on Captain Kangaroo.

1) While today this is considered a children's song, "Mairzy Doats" was a #1 hit and a staple on radio stations in 1944. Do you know any of today's most popular songs? (Here's this week's Hot 100.)

Nope, not even the country hits, even though I'm a classic country fan.

2) One of the song's writers recalled that the song was inspired by an old English nursery rhyme. Tell us a rhyme you remember from childhood.

The Old Woman in the Shoe, Humpty Dumpty, Jack and Jill... I had a book of nursery rhymes, and my mother told me I memorized them all by the time I was three.  I still remember most of them.

3) This week's group, The Merry Macs, was formed by three brothers -- Judd, Joe and Ted McMichael -- who learned to harmonize at home. Did you grow up in a musical household?

My parents didn't play instruments, but we sang all the time, Daddy especially.  He'd be sitting outside, or maybe be doing some chore, and just cut loose singing at the top of his lungs (some of his songs were slightly naughty, ones he'd learned as a kid or young man).  I learned to sing alto as we were traveling in the car, with my mom helping me.  We weren't great singers, but we could all carry a tune and loved to sing.

4) When the McMichaels decided their new group needed a woman's voice, they asked Cheri McKay to join them. Realizing all their names began with Mc, they began calling themselves The Merry Macs. Have you ever performed with a singing group? (Yes, that garage band you played in after school counts.) If yes, what was your band called?

Nope, never sang with a group unless you count singing with the congregation at the Church of Christ.  Singing was my favorite part of going to Church.

5) The Merry Macs' first gigs were playing high school dances. Do you have any memories of school dances you'd like to share this morning?

I never learned to dance and never went to a dance.  Just call me Wallflower.

6) Once their recording career took off, The Merry Macs went to Hollywood. They appeared in a film with the comedy team of Abbott and Costello. Who last made you laugh?

Probably my husband.  When nobody is around, we think we're a comedy team.

7) In 1944, when "Mairzy Doats" topped the charts, sunscreen was invented. It was first developed to protect soldiers during WWII, and that original formula was sold to Coppertone. Do you regularly use sunscreen?

Very seldom.  I'm a brunette and tan easily, although at the beginning of spring I'm liable to burn a little.

8) Also in 1944, a board game called Murder! was introduced in England. In 1949 it made its way to the United States and was renamed Clue. It's still popular today. Can you name any of the original 6 "characters" in the Clue game? (Extra credit: One was replaced in 2016; who was it?)

I never played Clue.  I played Monopoly with my nephew a lot.

9) Random question: The new house you just bought comes with a big mirror on the ceiling of the master bedroom. Would you take it down or leave it there?

If the house had a mirror on the ceiling, we probably couldn't afford that house.


By the way, I went down a rabbit hole on the Internet this morning.  For some reason, I wanted to know when my Gibson Dove guitar was made.  I knew I bought it new between 2000 and 2004, because I was working at Kohl's Distribution Center at the time; but I didn't know when it was built.  I must have spent about an hour searching here and there, trying to figure out the serial number, and so forth.  Finally I  found this site where all I had to do was type in the serial number and an answer came immediately.  It was built in Bozeman, Montana, on April 10, 2001.  

It was ridiculous for me to pay so much for a guitar when I could barely play one, but I had seen Dove guitars and just thought they were the prettiest thing ever.  I don't wear jewelry, and never understood why women would pay so much for a ring, necklace, or bracelet... so I guess my Gibson Dove is my jewelry.  I treasure it more than you can imagine.

PS:  For some reason, I first called my guitar a Hummingbird, in the above gibberish!  That's a lovely guitar too, and one I would buy just because it's pretty, if I were wealthy.  But I've never owned a Hummingbird.  It would probably be a better size for me, though. 

Friday, July 09, 2021

Pets: Can't live with them, can't live without them

Because it's summer in Missouri, I take my walk as soon as it's light enough to see.  The temperatures rise too high for comfort after the early morning hours.  Yesterday morning when Gabe and I started out, I looked back behind us and saw the cat, Blue, running to catch up with us.

Before Mama Kitty got old, she walked with me and Cliff every single day on our whole walk.  As she aged, she began dropping part of the walk and finally just quit.  She does still accompany me to the mailbox sometimes, but that's about the extent of it.  The first time Blue-cat followed us to the pasture, I thought maybe he'd take the whole walk like his predecessor did, but that was not to be:  Every time we get to the wooded part of our walk, he disappears into the thicket.  The first time he did this, it wasn't five minutes before he was yowling pitifully as though he was lost; as I walked, I started calling him.  He finally showed up, then got lost again.  Once Gabe and I set our faces toward home, I began calling the cat again.  He showed up again and went back with us.

Since that time, I try to sneak off without him, because he will do the same thing every. single. time.  Somehow, he knew we were walking yesterday and followed.  Now, I have always said he's a smart cat, but apparently he isn't smart enough to walk perhaps 1/4 of a mile from the woods back to the house on his own.  Yesterday, when he disappeared in the vicinity of the tiny pond (more of a mosquito-breeding puddle, really) I decided to leave him to his own devices.  When Gabe and I got back to the house, I woke Cliff up and told him we probably wouldn't see Blue until evening feeding time.

Well, evening feeding time came and went (4:30 PM).  So at 5:30, Gabe and I set out on a mission to find the cat.  Honestly, I was a little worried, although he's been gone that long before.  Pets are like children:  You know they'll probably be OK, but you worry about them anyhow.  When we got to the area by the pond where we'd last seen him, I began calling, then started walking where I would have gone next if I were going on our complete walk.  It wasn't three minutes until I looked behind me and saw Blue, coming at a run.  I turned toward home, calling him repeatedly so he'd follow.  Temperatures were in the upper 80's, and Blue slowed to a walk and started panting.  I stopped and picked him up, and he let me carry him for quite a while, purring and rubbing his head on my chin.  Eventually he wriggled, wanting down, and he walked the rest of the way with us, still with his mouth open, panting.

This morning I was very careful to watch behind me and Gabe, but Blue wasn't there.  If he had been, I'd have probably just skipped walking today.  

Here's a one-minute video I took to let you hear the sights and sounds that surround me when I take my early-morning walk with Gabe.

Wednesday, July 07, 2021

Borscht for my birthday

We have had a wonderful time for the past week while our son was here.  His son (our grandson) just left to take him to Kansas City International Airport about an hour ago.  The time just flew.  We're hoping hurricane Elsa doesn't interfere with his landing in Atlanta.

Today is my 77th birthday, which doesn't seem possible.  When our son visits, we almost live on starches and meats.  Cliff likes that, but I am so ready to get back to lots of fruits and vegetables!  Yesterday I got to thinking about borscht, which I haven't made for at least two years.  A friend who was born and raised in the Ukraine put his recipe for it in his blog (to which he no longer adds these days); I tried it and was crazy about it.  Cliff likes it too.  I looked at my typed recipe to make sure I had all the ingredients and found I had everything but the V8 juice.  Cliff, Jim (our son) and Arick, the grandson, were making a run to the oldest granddaughter's house to help her in her preparations to move, so I asked them to pick up some V8 juice; I needed just eight ounces of it, but they only found a gigantic bottle of the stuff.  I'll put three or four 8-ounce portions in freezer bags for more borscht at another time and likely pour the rest down the drain, because I don't like V8.  Silly me, when I went to Meesha's blog to see if the recipe I had on paper was accurate, I noticed he said you could use tomato juice instead; now that's something I might have saved to drink.  Anyway, the stuff was as good as I remembered.  If you're interested, here's the entry telling how to make it.  I had never tasted borscht in my life until I saw this recipe and tried it.  I was supposed to use red bell pepper, which would have blended in with the redness of the soup, but I only had a green one.  Below is what the finished product looks like, although I had already eaten about a quart of it when I took the picture... the recipe makes about a gallon!  My friend Meesha grinds his beets in a hand food grinder for the soup, but when I tried that with mine, beet juice ran all over the table and floor.  I just chop them up with a pastry blender now, so I imagine my pieces of beets are a bit larger than his.
I like how even the potatoes turn red.  They'll be even redder tomorrow.  Guess what I'm having for breakfast.

I'll leave you with some scenes in Cliff's shop, taken throughout the week.  The guys had great fun fixing things on the two tractors Cliff recently bought.

three generations:  Grandson, Grandpa, and Dad

Big tractor tires are heavy!

The tires on this 1650 Oliver were set out too wide.  By switching the tire on the left and the tire on the right, the wheel base was narrower, making the tractor easier to load onto a trailer to haul it.

He's cleaning the windows in the cab

I can't tell you how much I love this tractor!

Cliff loves having someone around to trouble-shoot these old beasts.

This time together has been great for all of us.

P.S. Originally I said the son and grandson were switching old tires for new.  Funny thing is, I knew better but just wasn't thinking; Cliff corrected me when he read the blog:  They were putting the tires already on the tractor (left moved to right side, right tire moved to left) so the tires wouldn't stick out as far from under the fender.  It was for looks only, and to make it load on the trailer easier.  

This is why I shouldn't say anything about work done on a tractor when Cliff isn't sitting within talking distance.  

Tuesday, July 06, 2021

Don't count on the vaccine to save you

I follow John Pavlovitz on Facebook.  I didn't actually ask to follow him, but I read so many of his articles that Facebook apparently decided I needed to become a follower.  He's further to the left politically than I am, but I do like his messages of peace, hope, and love.  

I hate having to copy and paste his words here:  I'd rather link straight to him, but it's on Facebook, and not everybody has that.  The following story is in his own words, exactly as he told it.

Hello Friends.
Two weeks ago, we took a family trip.
Three-quarters of us had been fully vaccinated, with the exception being our 11-year old. We'd been super diligent for a year and half and were hopeful we could finally begin doing some normal things, and left for our first family vacation since lockdown began. We were being as careful as we could, but as vaccinated adults it's easy to let your guard down and to generally be less attentive than you had been regarding masks and sanitizing and distancing.
A few days into the trip our daughter started complaining about headaches, which we attributed to the heat. The next day, she began to get congestion and said her throat was sore. We took her to the local clinic and received her positive results. We immediately began lockdown.
A couple of days later, my wife started feeling sick and we were stunned to get a positive test for her, as she's been vaccinated since April.
I had two negative tests earlier in the week but began feeling much worse over the weekend, and today both me and our son tested positive. Thankfully, he is asymptomatic so far.
So, amazingly we are four for four with COVID here in the Pavlovitz house, with three fully vaccinated people testing positive for the virus... insane.
The doctor who gave me my results said that this Delta variant is frightening and unpredictable. She has been alarmed by how quickly it has spread, and also by how many people are still avoiding the vaccine.
I'm hopefully in the worst of it now: congestion, headache, body aches, cough, fatigue, etc. Lost my sense of taste and smell, but overall it feels like a bad case of bronchitis. I shudder to think how bad it might have been had we not been vaccinated.
Friends, please get vaccinated if you haven't. It's the only way we're going to get the edge on these dangerous variants and it will keep you from the worst symptoms and very likely save your life.
And please consider still masking after getting your vaccine. We're simply not out of this yet, and we need to take care of ourselves and one another.
I'll be down for a few days, so feel free to read some old blog posts or order something from the shop. I'll write and post here as I feel well enough.
Thanks everyone!
You are loved.

What can I say? Cliff and I received the Pfizer vaccine, both doses, but I'm just wondering how careful we ought to be. The hospitals in Springfield, Missouri, are overloaded and are sending some Covid patients to Kansas City.

I'm feeling like the pandemic is far from over.

Monday, July 05, 2021

Checking in

I've been busy cooking, gardening, and resting.  Yes, at this age I rest a lot.  I can't believe how tired I get sometimes doing the simplest things.  

We had a big Fourth of July celebration on Saturday, the third.  I took pictures of babies and other partiers that day, but I have misplaced the dongle I use to upload pictures to my Mac, so I will wait until my new dongle arrives to share those pictures (dongle is a silly-sounding word, isn't it?  Almost naughty-sounding... or maybe my mind takes the wrong road sometimes).  The picture above is me on my Missouri Foxtrotter, Boogie Midnight Rhythm Blue, in 2007.  Longtime readers will recall my many long rides with Blue.

Cliff, our son, and Arick, the resident grandson on the place, got one of my husband's two recently purchased tractors in good shape to use or sell yesterday... the 1650 Oliver.  Cliff has owned several Olivers through the years.  This one was in better shape than most of the others were when he bought them; it has very few small dents and excellent tires.  Trust me, that's rare on these old tractors.  Those big tires do not come cheap!  The fuel tank wasn't on it when he brought it home, but that was no problem except for the fact that it had to be cleaned out; Cliff took it somewhere to get that job done.  Usually when our son visits each July, there's some projects the three of them can work on together; since this one is done, they have started on my favorite, the big White tractor.  

I took a notion the other day to get some June-bearing strawberry plants.  Greenhouses and such don't sell plants this time of year, as far as I know, but there were several sellers on Ebay.  I ordered 25 plants and have been tilling up a spot for them little by little.  At this time of year I will have to water them a few times, but it will be worth it next spring when the you-pick places are asking $5 for a pint even though you are doing the picking yourself.  I will laugh myself to the kitchen, take a couple of Tylenols, and rejoice.

I've heard many people all around me talk about the racoons getting their corn, but I've never had it happen until now.  The corn isn't quite ready, but I found an ear at the end of the garden with the husks pushed back and the tiny kernels chewed on.  From what I've heard from others, I imagine that's the end of my sweet corn; time will tell.  

This year stayed cool for so long, the tomatoes are slow to ripen.  I've eaten about three cherry tomatoes; that's it!

I'll be back to share pictures and stories of our very noisy celebration on Tuesday or Wednesday, I hope.  I hope all my friends online had a great Independence Day.