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. 

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Sunday Stealing


Place:  Home; the trees at the back of our property where I walk.

Color:  sky blue

Smell:  fresh-mown hay

Magazine:  I don't read many magazines these days.

Texture:  Plush robes or throws.

Thing to do when bored:  Do something like "Sunday Stealing",  Read, garden in summer, watch TV, surf the Internet.  

Precious stone:  No favorite

Animal:  Jersey cows, Tennessee Walking Horses, some dogs, some cats.  I can't choose just one.  But dogs would be the hardest for me to live without, so I'll say dogs.

Time in history:  Favorite time of my life, the 40's and 50's.  Favorite time to read about, the 1930's and '40's in the United States.

Font:  No favorite

Sound:  Children laughing and/or singing spontaneously

Fruit:  Mangos, Fuji apples

Vegetable:  Home-grown sweet corn; home-grown tomatoes... but I guess tomaties are fruits.

Store/shop:  I'm not much of a shopper.  Aldi and Costco, I guess.

Quote:  "You don't know about lonely til it's chiseled in stone."  From a song written by Vern Gosdin and Max D. Barnes.    

Historical figure:  Alfred the Great

Letter:  I have favorite words, but no favorite letters.

Memory:   Christmas memories from my childhood

Dessert:  Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream

Candy:  I'm more a fan of cookies, but I like Hershey with almonds.  I don't know when I've bought any kind of candy bar, though.  Maybe years!

Restaurant:  One of the local Mexican restaurants.

Language:  If Spaniards all talk like Julio Iglesias sings, that's my favorite language.

Thing to learn about:  Whatever grabs my interest at the time.

Thing about yourself:  I like the way I've just rolled with the flow in life, whichever way the wind blows: because it turns out at this point  that when I look back, I wouldn't change much.  In other words, I'm lazy, and I've learned to accept it.

I got these questions from Sunday Stealing.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

I feel winter coming

Yesterday when Gabe and I went walking in the woods, the sky was cloudy; but even with the gray sky, a lot of the trees looked like pure gold shining around me.  I took some pictures, despite the clouds.

looking far across the Missouri River to Ray County

Autumn Foxtails

Today, a lot of those leaves are on the ground from the wind and rain we had last night.  We received a full inch of rain.

Concerning yesterday's blog entry, I finally remembered Vickie, the person who kept my poem all those years.  Once I realized who she was, I remember a lot of things about her; she was my favorite co-worker that one season in the apple shed, a compassionate woman with a lot of class.  She died at age 64 in a house fire last summer, I learned, and here's what her daughter told me concerning the poem:  "The fact this poem even exists is a miracle....Mom passed in a fire and there was so little that we were able to salvage. I found it with 2 old bibles in a box."

Today is a bright, sunshiny day, but colder weather is coming soon. We're having cornbread and beans today and probably tomorrow too, because I'm cooking a lot of beans. Hush now, I know what you're all thinking.


Wednesday, November 10, 2021

A forgotten poem

I don't write many poems these days, but there were times in the past when I wrote many of them.  During one period of my life, I tried to write a poem of some kind every day.  They used to all be on a computer of the past, but eventually, most of them disappeared.  Before computers, I didn't even try to save them all, only the ones I thought were above average.

I was more perceptive back then, and often saw or heard something being said, or something happening, that furnished a story I could put to rhyme; I only write rhyming poems and songs, no free verse or haiku for me, probably because I grew up on Mother Goose nursery rhymes.  Sometimes people would approach me at church or at work and say, "It's so-and-so's birthday, could you write a poem?" or "We're having an anniversary party for my sister and her husband... could you write a poem or song?"  

I'd ask them to write down a page full of things about the people with some dates included if possible (because most numbers rhyme with other words, and I'll use them to rhyme with in the next line).  For the most part, I didn't keep the poems or songs I wrote about individual people, because they wouldn't apply to others; they were unique to that person or couple, and I'd have no cause to ever use them again.

Once in a while, someone will mention to me a poem I did for them, years ago, and will tell me they have it tucked away someplace where they can read it from time to time.  At various jobs, I'd think of a co-worker who might be going through something, write a poem for them, and hand it to them the next day.  

Yesterday I got an instant message on Facebook from someone named Stefanie.  She started out, "Hi Donna.  This is going to seem weird, but did you work with Vicki ______ around 1986-87 at the orchard?  She is my mother. She passed away and I'm going through some of her things and found a poem called "Margie" written by Donna Wood..."

"It was probably me," I typed back. "I've written so many poems over the years, I don't remember them all."

She sent me pictures of two pages of words in my handwriting. The poem told a story about how her mother had intervened in a difficult situation with a woman co-worker named Margie, hence the name of the poem. I don't want to share it here on my blog because if the wrong local person were to read this, they might take offence. The rhyme scheme is really sort of mediocre, like many of my hastily written poems, but the story it tells is pretty good.

But I have no memory of either of the two co-workers mentioned in the poem! She even sent me a picture of her mother; she looks somewhat familiar, but no, I don't even recall that very pleasant face.

She said, "I absolutely loved the poem. Hope you have a good day."

I told her, "I'm glad the poem blessed both your mother and you," and thanked her for sharing it with me.

The rest of the day I thought about a Bible verse in Ecclesiastes chapter 11: "Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again." The "easy-to-read" version of the Bible says it this way: "Do good wherever you go. After a while, the good you do will come back to you."

I'm thankful this poem I wrote forty years ago floated back to me on the waters of time.

Sunday, November 07, 2021

Sunday Stealing

1. How big is your immediate family? Who are the members?  

 Four of us:  My husband, myself, one son and one daughter.  OK, I just looked up the definition of immediate family, and here it is:  Immediate family refers to a person’s parents, siblings, spouse, child by blood, adoption or marriage, grandparents and grandchildren.  

I have a sister left who is in her 90's, and that's it.  

2. Who are you closest to in your family? What kind of relationship do you have with that person? Is it like friendship?

My husband.  We've had squabbles, of course, but after fifty-five years, we still actually "like" one another,  Yes, he is my best friend.

3. Which day of the year are you most likely to spend with your family?

The Fourth of July, give or take a day or two.  Our son lives in Georgia, and that's the one time we see him every year; so the whole family gets together.

4. As a child, did you go on family trips? What do you remember about those vacations?

I remember my parents and me camping out at the Iowa State Fair two or three years for our vacation when I was under ten years old.  Later we went to South Dakota and Colorado, and Lake of the Ozarks.

5. Is there a black sheep in your family? What is different about them?

We used to kiddingly used to call my husband's younger brother the black sheep of the family; I even wrote a song called the black sheep of the family and sang it to him.  He loved it.  He died a few years ago.  I had a half-brother, now deceased, who spent a lot of time in prison and died in a halfway house, so I guess he was the real black sheep of the family.  It makes me sad thinking about that.

6. Do you know your extended family? How many of them have you met?

I knew my mother's mom and my dad's father.  I know all my cousins on both sides and some second and third cousins.

7. Have you ever been to a family reunion? How was it?

My parents always went to two family reunions.  One on the first Sunday in August, one on the second Sunday..  I thought reunions were boring.  Sometimes I go to them now.  

8. Who are you most proud of among your relatives? Who do you look up to?

I'm proud of all my family for one reason or another.

9 What characteristics have you inherited from your parents? Do you look like them? Do you behave like they do?

I look more like my mother; I inherited her curly hair.  I really think I have a lot of my dad's leanings, though, and probably have behaved more like him in some ways.

Me, age 17, and my mother

My mom is the one in the left-hand lower corner.  Our faces are hidden, but see how our hair looks alike?

10. Does your family have any heirlooms? Will you inherit anything that has been in the family a long time?

I don't know if you'd call them heirlooms, because they're probably not worth a lot.  I have a musical jewelry box that was my grandmother's (What you see in the video is just the top of the box); it's playing Bill Bailey won't you please come home.


This is the whole thing, with its skin peeling off

and a decorative cup and saucer my grandfather gave Grandma; it says "Forget Me Not.  

Oh, and my Aunt Ruby gave me some ice cream dishes that belonged to HER grandmother, which would be my great-grandmother.

11. What happens to old people in your family? Do they live with younger family members or move to a retirement home? How would you prefer to spend your old age?

My maternal grandmother lived in her own home until she went in the hospital, where she died after several days.  My paternal grandfather lived with the family of one of his sons until he died.  My mother moved to a nursing home on her own.  I hope I'm able to die in my own home.

12. If you are married, how well do you get along with your in-laws?

Not so great for the first few years, but eventually we all got along just fine, after I learned not to be so petty about every little thing.

13. What do people mean when they say, “you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family”?

You have no control about the family you're born into.

14. If you live far away from some members of your family, how do you keep in touch? How often do you communicate?  

Well, I'm not much of a communicator.  I hate talking on the phone, and it's hard for me to keep a conversation going on the telephone.  I instant message our son in Georgia if I want to ask him something or tell him something.  He and Cliff talk on the phone maybe once a month, but when they do, they are liable to talk for an hour.  My sister and I talk once in awhile, and I write her a letter occasionally.

15. Are you so close to any of your friends that you consider them to be like family?

I don't make friends easily and I'm quite the introvert, so, no.

Feel free to do the Sunday Stealing on your blog.  Just go to the blog of the same name to get the questions.

Saturday, November 06, 2021

The route to and from Arkansas

Our route going to Arkansas was decided by two circumstances:  Cliff wanted to return a tractor headlight he’d bought in Clinton that didn’t work, so he needed to return it for one that worked; and I wanted to eat at Lamberts.  That meant we were going down 13 highway until we got almost to Springfield, then heading down to Harrison, Arkansas.  It’s a town we are quite familiar with because of all our motorcycle trips to the Hub motorcycle motel, located at the edge of the place where the Dogpatch amusement park used to be.  That motel has since closed.  I told Cliff we could get a motel in Harrison if he was tired of driving, but he wanted to go further.  There isn’t much to do in Harrison; they have an interesting museum, but we’ve done that already.  We even found a tractor show going on one year, not far down the road.

We left Harrison on Highway 7, one of our favorite motorcycle roads, with almost hairpin curves and some great views.  I’ve taken lots of pictures from lookouts along that road.  It’s fun to me, even riding in a car.   However, it’s a long stretch, so eventually you start wondering if it’s ever going to end.  I’m glad we took that route, though; we have made so many memories there.

We took a different route home, since we were in a different location; the GPS directed us to what we know as 71 highway, although it has been changed to I-49 now.  The route evoked some more memories, taking us through Bella Vista, where a dear, departed Internet friend lived.  Cliff and I both loved that woman, and even spent a couple of nights at her home.

On the way home we picked Gabe up from Bed and Bones; he whined with happiness all the way home!  The man who runs the place with his wife said, “He is so funny!  He just has such a good time playing with the other dogs when I let them out together.”

His wife told me exactly the same thing last time I picked him up from his grooming.  I told the guy it surprises me, because when other dogs come to visit us, all he does is worry that they’ll get too close to me, the jealous little devil.  The guy said that’s because their place is neutral territory as far as Gabe is concerned.

I guess I don’t have to worry about Gabe when we’re gone.  He can play with his little friends and have a vacation of his own.

One of the best things about getting away for awhile, is how happy I feel when I get back home to my regular routine.  It’s always good to come home.

This is the first time I've successfully created a blog entry entirely on the iPad, using a keyboard with it.  I've made attempts before, but always ended up having trouble.  Once I get it all figured out, I will probably never buy a laptop again; it will be just as easy using the iPad with a keyboard.  

Friday, November 05, 2021

Road trip to Arkansas

First, on Monday, the child we babysat for five years came to visit, since school was out.  She's eight years old now, and I'm so glad she asks to come.  It's sort of funny how she seems to want us to do things we used to do when she was younger, things she recalls from her time spent here.  I had introduced her to a favorite childhood treat of mine when she was about three years old... Graham crackers soaked in milk; that's what she wanted for lunch.  She always has to have a trip with Cliff out to the shop, like in the olden days, and she asked if I would bake some bread in the bread machine.  I looked at the time and said, "Well, I will need to call your grandma and see if she can pick you up a little later, because bread takes a long time."  Grandma was fine with that.

As she and Cliff were on the way back to the house from the shop, her grandma arrived; we'd already eaten some bread, so that was fine.  But Cora had told Cliff she wanted to go back to the house because she wanted me to make her a shake like I so often used to do.  Grandma said she's wait, so I just made a small shake so she wouldn't have to wait too long.  It's like the kid wants to go down memory lane and make sure some things are still the same, even though I got rid of her Little People.  I like knowing she has such memories she wants to replay.

When she left, we started packing for Arkansas.  We knew it was going to be cloudy, cold, and raining, but I thought surely we could find something to do.  The trip down went smoothly; we arrived at Lambert's, home of the throwed rolls, around 12:30 and ate our fill.  The rolls are as good as ever, although the chicken seemed a little over-cooked.  I love the pass-arounds they give out to everybody, as freely as can be:  black-eyed peas, fried okra, fried potatoes, and macaroni and tomatoes.  I think if I went again, I'd just settle for those, since you can have all you want of them!  Cliff said his meat loaf was great, though.  Cliff was doing fine driving, he said, so we set out for Russellville to spend the night.  If it hadn't been raining, we were going to see The Museum of Automobiles, setting at the top of one of the Ozark mountains.  Cliff would have especially enjoyed it.  Unfortunately, we were only planning to spend two nights in Arkansas and it didn't open up until 10 A.M.  If we were going to see anything of interest, we needed to get moving to our next town, Little Rock... the state capital.  

Our first stop was the William Clinton Presidential Library, which was I feel was very much worth our time; I didn't realize it had been closed down since July because of Covid and just re-opened the day before we visited.  They wanted to see our covid cards to make sure we had been vaccinated, and they require masks to enter.  There weren't many people there, probably because it was a week day, it was raining, and they had just re-opened.  There is a lot to see.  Neither of us can walk too much... me because of my knees, and Cliff because he was having a problem breathing after awhile.  We had to walk quite a way from the parking lot to the building, too.

Next, we went to the state capitol.

I didn't get any pictures, since we exited out of a side door in order to make our walk to the car a bit shorter.  It is an imposing building, although it isn't as pretty inside as our Missouri Capitol or the Oklahoma Capitol.

We had been wanting a catfish dinner for awhile, and we found it just a few blocks from the Capitol and the Clinton Library;  I kept the plastic cups as a souvenir. 

 I used to buy souvenir coffee cups everywhere I went, but two old people don't need any more $10 coffee cups, so now I buy refrigerator magnets... for $7.  At least they don't take up so much room, though.

This doesn't look so great in a photo because it's one of those things where the photo changes, depending on what angle you're looking at it.  There's a picture of the Library, one of the bridge behind the library, and, as you can see, William Jefferson Clinton.

Speaking of the bridge behind the library crossing the Arkansas River, I did get a picture of it from inside the building.

As we rode to Arkansas and then back home, I practically talked myself hoarse reading a book we both enjoyed.

Oh, he was a rascal all right, but Cliff and I have always loved his piano playing and his singing; we saw him in person once, long ago.  Even though I read aloud for a good five or six hours altogether, I only got a third of the way through the book.  It was interesting to both of us, and the driving time just flew.