Tuesday, January 30, 2024

frozen leftovers

Probably a month or so ago, I made spaghetti for our dinner.  We ate it two days straight, and there was about two cups of my homemade sauce left, so I put it in a covered bowl and put it in the freezer.  The same week, we had chili.  There were about two cups of that left over, and I froze it too, in a similar container.  I put them both in the freezer in our refrigerator, because I didn't want them to be forgotten in the chest freezer; I planned for us to eat them before too much time passed.

The other day we went shopping and came home around noon.  I needed something I could quickly get ready for our dinner, and remembered those two bowls.  I raised the lids, sniffed both bowls and got out the chili.  I told Cliff I'd bake us each a potato in the microwave and put the chili on it; he'd never heard of such a thing, but he isn't picky about what he eats.  He took a bite and said, "This is really good, but I don't think it's chili.  It tastes like your spaghetti sauce to me."

"I smelled it," I said.  "Take it from me, it's chili."

When we were done with dinner, he said, "If that was chili, I sure didn't see any beans!"  

Of course there were beans, I told him; I saw beans in mine.  Sheesh.  Again, he said he didn't care, and that it was delicious.

Today I got out the other bowl out of the freezer and took the lid off.  There were beans in it... it was chili.  He was right all along.  

Yes, I told him.

Today we'll have the chili topping our potatoes, and maybe some peas on the side. 

And I'm going to hang our sheets on the line pretty soon.  Won't they smell fresh?  

Monday, January 29, 2024

Finally, Sunshine

This morning there was a heavy dew on the rooftops, but as I type this, we are at 57°.  Gabe and I walked around the pasture soaking up the rays of the sun for almost an hour.  There was a pretty good breeze that felt fresh and clean on my face.

For whatever reason, we call the grassy place with trees on three sides of it "the Point".  This is the view from the back of our house.

I invited Gabe up onto the stump and told him to sit for a picture.  Blue didn't want to be left out, I suppose.

My boys

Just some of our second-growth timber

It was great to be outside.

I had to quit using my recumbent bike some time back because my replacement knee got to hurting pretty bad when I pedaled.  Today I successfully managed to ride again for 30 minutes without pain; I didn't make it as hard a ride as before.  It's better to do less than do nothing, so I hope this will do the trick.  So far I'm not hurting.

Yesterday I introduced the new song I wrote three weeks ago to both my churches.  I am usually not nervous singing my songs at these small churches, but this song hadn't been tested yet.  It seems like everybody approved of it.  I put my first draft of it in an earlier entry, but I made another video after I got more familiar with it and changed some things, so I'm putting it here.  After writing lyrics for a song, I strum my guitar and try to figure out a tune; then I have to record the song when I've decided on the tune, because I don't know enough about notes to write a tune on paper; having a video of it keeps me using the same tune long enough to get used to it.  I've had a time finding a suitable title, so I guess I'll just call it "My Story".  As I've said before, I am a song writer, not a musician.

Saturday, January 27, 2024

What a cat!

My dog, Gabe, always knows when our indoor-outdoor cat Blue is on the front porch, and he lets me know so I can invite Blue to come inside.  The dog likes having Blue around to pester when he gets bored.

Yesterday evening Gabe let me know the cat was out there, so I opened the door.  Blue was just laying there, but he didn't get up when I held the door open for him.  After five minutes or so, I got to thinking perhaps he wasn't feeling well and decided to check on him.  Imagine my surprise when I saw a dead rat laying on the porch beside him.  I hate rats!  I'm even a little leery of them.  Cliff was sitting on the couch surfing the Internet, but I told him to get up and come to see what was on the porch with the cat.  First he said, "What now... did he puke?"  Once my husband sits down for the evening, he isn't too worried about what the dog and cat do.  Actually he never does get as excited as I do over their silly antics.    

I insisted he get up and come and look.  Yes, he was surprised too.  I've seen Blue catch mice before; all he does is play with them for awhile, and when he gets tired of that, he lets them go free.  I still don't know if the grandson's dogs killed the rat and left it laying, or if Blue did the killing.  It was the size of a gray squirrel.  Just in case he was the hunter that took it down, I petted him and told him what a good boy he was to bring us a take-out meal.  He can kill all the rats he wants!

Years ago when my children were babies Cliff and I saw our old barn cat catch a rat; believe me, the rat put up a terrible fight, but the cat won.  It was really impressive, what with her being a smallish cat and the rat being extra large.

After telling Blue what a hero he was, I shut the door and let him enjoy his prey.  I peeked out later and he was eating it, starting with the head.  Eww.  This morning Blue was on the porch wanting to come in, and I saw all that was left of the rat was the back legs and tail.  Blue was finally ready to come in the house.  Knowing Gabe would be messing around with what was left of the rat when I let him outside, I put it in a sack and threw it in the burn barrel.

Blue wanted out later and was very disappointed that his snack was gone, but now he's lying on his back in his own personal chair relaxing, no doubt plotting his next free meal.

Friday, January 26, 2024

Window-shopping for fun

On the home front, we're having snow, rain, and fog lately, in that order.  We've had three days of fog that sticks around until noon, and today will be the fourth.  The yard and pasture are muddy, and I celebrate the mud!  At least when I plant my early garden seeds, hopefully in March, they won't be trying to grow in a drought.  I just hope the rain keeps coming at nice intervals through the year.

Cliff had an appointment to get at oil change at the Ford dealer at Richmond yesterday.  Also, we had gotten a recall notice from Ford that we needed to have taken care of.  Normally I would have stayed at home, but that Ford dealer is in walking distance of Walmart.  I never ever take time to just stroll through a store and look at things; I get what's on my list and leave.  I figured Cliff would be sitting at the dealership for at least a couple hours, and decided I'd spend that time "window-shopping" at Walmart.  I took my folding chair-cane so I could sit when my knees started hurting, and traveled through every aisle except for the automotive section.  I had told Cliff we didn't need to get any groceries this week; But there were things I knew I was low on, and so I grabbed them while I had the opportunity.  I found some things in the garden section, so I got a couple of packets of flower seeds, some garden gloves, and a can of Sevin dust because I used what I had last year.  There was a winter shirt on a rack for $5, so I took that.

Usually if I'm being careful, we average buying maybe $40 to $50 of "stuff".  At Walmart, one is never just buying groceries.  But on my little tour of the best Walmart store you will ever find, I somehow spent over $100!  I almost bought a printer for $19, but then remembered I've messed up every printer I've ever had, and so in six months they are worthless to me.  They sit in a corner for a while, then they are trashed, leaving me to have my grandson next door print anything I actually need.

Anyway, the time flew, even with my knees aching.  I was there for two hours, and was just deciding I'd seen everything when Cliff called to tell me he was ready to head home.   

The reason that particular Walmart is so great is that it's in a relatively small town (6,000 people), but it's not a tiny store like the ones in Oak Grove and Higginsville.  And except for holidays or snow days, it's seldom crowded when we are there.  We don't go there often because it's the same distance to Blue Springs, and we are often there for Cliff's doctor appointments anyway.  Much of the time I shop in Oak Grove, because it's the closest.

In the news:  Remember Pandora's box?   Now people are using artificial intelligence to create porn from pictures of stars.  Pornagraphic photos are flooding X (formerly known as Twitter) with pornagraphic pictures of Taylor Swift.  I'm sure pedophiles will be doing the same thing with pictures of children.  I see no way anybody can stop this mess.  Beam me up, Scotty. 

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Is Alec Baldwin guilty?

I am no great fan of Alec Baldwin as a person, although he is certainly a good actor.  But I have had trouble with his being blamed for that shooting that killed a woman.  Do they really think it's his fault?  What good is it to blame someone who certainly did not shoot her deliberately; he wouldn't have been that stupid.

But this morning after doing some googling, I found what sounds like a valid reason that he might be blamed when he has his day in court.  Don't put too much stock in this.  I found it on Reddit.  But it does make sense, and I'll do some more googling about it later.

Baldwin was in charge of the entire movie. Instead of hiring an EXPERIENCED armorer, he chose the totally inexperienced daughter of one he had worked with before. Instead of letting her do her job, Baldwin was in and out of those guns every day. He allowed multiple crew members to goof around target practicing between takes with perhaps every single revolver on set. Finally, and this is the big one, Baldwin made no differentiation between a revolver that was going to be used in a scene to fire a blank and a revolver that was going to be used to fire an actual projectile into a prop such as a wooden door in a scene. Basically every Western since the 1930's would keep these in two different locked boxes with permanent labels on them...one of course saying "no live rounds EVER."

f I were a lawyer I would argue that Baldwin used his total power over this movie to systematically REMOVE all of the standard procedures of firearm safety on a movie set. I would get zoom video depositions from every retired armorer on every Western and Gangster film to firmly establish what gun protocol ALWAYS happens. Baldwin isn't being charged for what he did in the five minutes before this tragic death happened. Baldwin is being charged for what he did in the hours, days, and weeks before the death. He's worked on a hundred movie sets and it's going to be very hard for his lawyer to claim he was ignorant rather than willfully careless. Part of that is who he hired for the most important job on the set but even more is how he deliberately undermined how that worker would want things done if given total autonomy over the guns.

Finally, I've found something that makes senseWe'll see what happens.  One mustn't forget that a human life was taken from a very young woman.

Monday, January 22, 2024

Blogging isn't very popular any more

When I started blogging, I could find many interesting blogs to follow.  I have my favorite blogs showing on the right-hand side of this page, but a lot of them have gotten tired of it, I suppose.  Or maybe, like me, they've said all they have to say.  Some of those who are still going seem not to be doing new entries as often.  As long as I don't totally lose my mind, I will always use my blog, because it makes it so easy for me to do a search and find when something happened that I've written about, or a recipe I've shared here.  I have told some stories on here more than once, too.  I understand how people can get tired of blogging, but I do miss having the number of them I used to read each day.  

Well, on another subject, looks like we are going to have Trump at the top again, which I've been telling people since the last time he was president.  The only positive thing about that as far as I am concerned is that he won't be able to run any more after this.  That's IF we make it through the next five years.  I won't be voting.  I don't let him bother me the way he did the first time, with the name-calling and such.  I'm sure my wintertime  Escitalopram helps, but I also don't pay much attention to what's going on with any politicians these days, since it's obvious I can't do anything about them.  I often remind myself that all I need from day to day is to be thankful for what I have.  

The one place where I find peace is at my home, and as luck would have it, that's usually where you'll find me.

That's about all I have for today... and I won't be talking about politics again.  I had my say right here, and that's enough.     

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Waiting for a break

The roads are clear now, but it's six below outside.  We did get out and about Wednesday:  We both needed our hair cut, so we went to my hairdresser.  I just recently tried her because she's closer to home than the lady I had been using, and she does a great job.  Cliff's barber was right across the street from her, but he decided to do business in a different town; so he used my new hairdresser.  After that we went to grab some bargains from a couple of stores, even though I really didn't need any essentials.  I just needed to get out for a little while.

I've been looking forward to the next ten days for a long time.  I'm so tired of looking at the snow and the bitter cold, but that ends after today.  There will be temperatures in the 40's mid-week.  It looks like I'll get to go to both churches tomorrow!  

It's been so bitter cold, Blue the cat has spent most of his days in his chair in the living room.  He spends the nights outside in the garage in his little house made from an old cooler that Cliff fixed up for him.  Sometimes Mama Kitty gets in with him and they keep one another warm.  He knows I get up early, so he usually comes knocking on the door by six A.M.  

The chair he uses in the house is about two feet in front of the television, and last night he surprised us by watching Breakfast at Tiffany's for awhile (that's two hours of time we'll never get back... the only thing I liked about that movie was the song, Moon River).  I had never watched it before, but remembered it being a big deal in 1960 and wondered what I'd missed... it was a bad decision.  However, there was a cat in the movie, and Blue definitely knew it was a cat!  He had his eyes steadily on it, and the tip of his tail was twitching a warning to that stranger in our house!  The only thing he had been interested in before on the TV was the constant ribbon of closings that went across the bottom of the screen for days.

Gabe and Blue are good friends.  Often Gabe will hear Blue at the door before I do and will go running to the door to escort the cat inside.  Once in awhile Blue walks all over the house (curiosity killed the cat) just to see what he can see.  If I say to Gabe, "Where's that cat?", he will run to find him.  My pets are a lot of fun on these days when we're shut in.  

Gabe has even taught Blue to beg from Cliff when he's eating.

I can almost see February from here, and that leads to March.  When March is here, I can plant a few seeds.  Yippee!  

Thursday, January 18, 2024

One of my home-made songs

I wrote this song when my children were about 13 and 15.  They are now in their 50's.  When we sold our first home, which consisted of and old two-bedroom house on 20 acres, we didn't realize what a treasure it was.  But after we bought our place here, with only 7 acres that was mostly ditches and trees, I realized what we had lost.  Later on we added over 30 acres to the back of it, but until then, I really missed the place we lost.  The song is true except for a few things I added for the sake of rhyming that imply we had more money here than in our first place.  Not so.  At my age, I may as well share this song with someone.  I consider it one of my best ones, and once in awhile I get a bit choked up singing it.  The title is The Old Home Place.

Monday, January 15, 2024

Feels like Alaska, but I'm glad to be alive to witness it

After watching the Chiefs beat the Dolphins in below-zero temperatures and seeing Coach Andy Reid's mustache frozen, I'm just happy to have a home with a furnace.  I go outside once or twice a day to make sure the two cats have food and water, which probably takes about three minutes.  Otherwise I'm inside.

Andy just joked about it later:  "Worst thing that could happen is it falls off," Reid said as the room full of reporters broke into laughter. At one point, the Chiefs coach's 'stache seemed to be solid enough that he just might have lost it on the turf at Arrowhead.

I refuse to set our thermostat over 69°, so we keep ourselves covered with blankets; I had to give Cliff an extra one, so I washed Gabe's blankie for him.  Our bedroom is far from the source of heat, but once we're in bed, the comforter between the bedspread and flannel sheet keeps us warm.  No electric blankets required.  Gabe sleeps in his cage on my side of the bed.  When it's this cold, I make him wear a sweater to bed.  He hates it, running all over the house trying to get it off; but once he's in the crate, he just lays down and goes to sleep.

I am trying a new recipe, since I still have a lot of cabbage from my garden to get rid of.  It's an easy slow cooker recipe and has excellent reviews.  I only have one huge cabbage I got from the garden in late November, and this is the second dish I've used it for, but it hasn't even taken half the cabbage yet!  It stayed on the back porch until freezing weather approached, then I brought it in, wrapped it in plastic, and put it in the refrigerator, where it has been taking up a lot of room.

That's a ten-ounce cup I put there for comparison.

Say, here's something I noticed yesterday.  I have a nice little compact food processor that I really like.  I bought it on Amazon because it is so small, since I don't have a lot of counter space.  

I've had it quite a while, and I should be ashamed to admit this (but I'm not):  There was a big tag on the cord that I had never taken off.  I didn't even know what it said, having never read it.  Yesterday I decided to take it off, so I read it first.

Why California?  A tiny little food processor can give you cancer, but only if you live in California?  

Things that make you go hmmm.

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Sunday Stealing

1. Your favorite part of the day:  early morning

2. Something you know a lot about:  Dairy cows and calves; the Bible.

3. An important person in your life:  My husband, my parents

4. Your favorite recipe:  My mother's noodle recipe

5. An event that turned out differently than planned:  My first boyfriend started talking marriage and I was prepared to spend my life with him (I was twenty).  Suddenly he told me he was moving on and wouldn't be seeing me any more.  I wish at the time I had realized his decision would be the best thing that ever happened to me, because I met my husband, and we were much more suited to one another.

6. How you procrastinate:  By just doing something I'd rather do.

7. The best type of surprise:  A totally unexpected one from an unexpected person.

8. Music that helps you relax:  The old hymns, light classical music

9. A thing your life has in excess:  food

10. A book you want to read.  I read a lot, so if I want to read something, I just go ahead and do it.  There's always some book I want to check out.

11. A person you’re always happy to see.  My children, my sister, grandkids, other special individuals

12. What  time do you go to sleep?  In winter, 8 PM.  In summer, usually whenever it gets dark.

13. A word to describe the past year.  Very nice

14. Your favorite household chore.  Cooking... does that count?  The one I don't mind too much is washing dishes.

15. One thing you’d like to see:  People getting along

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

My husband's bad day

Cliff told me the other day he wanted to do a blog entry.  I said, "You don't even have a blog!"

However, I did remember one time when I was blogging on Facebook that I allowed him to post an entry, with me doing the typing for him.  I did a search on my old blog (My Country Life) and there it was.  Everybody got some laughs out of it, so I'm copying and pasting it for others to see.  

That Friday was one of those days when everything Cliff touched turned to a catastrophe.  That evening I let him dictate his view of the day, and I typed it as he talked; here it is, in his own words.  This was May 21, 2007:

I did all my running around Thursday so I wouldn’t have to run around Friday (I hate running the roads).  Figured I’d  save a little gas (3.15 a gallon) getting all the errands done in one day.  I took a vacation day Friday so I could get some things done.
We were going to Kansas the next day, Saturday; my brother, Don, got some free lights for my shop (the ones I have now aren’t all that bright).  I didn't want to drive the gas-guzzling pickup at ten MPG, so I needed to get our trailer ready... the trailer we plan to use to haul two motorcycles to Colorado in July.

While I was getting the trailer ready, I noticed there was a slick belt on one tire, so it needed to be replaced.  And having no spare, I only  wanted a simple, #&^%*@ wheel.

So I go to a town only eight miles from here (to save gas), but they couldn’t help me.  This meant I had to go twenty-five miles to Blue Springs to be robbed by the local tire store there.  I’ve bought many tractor tires there, so I figured I’d get a good buy.  Boy, was I ever wrong.

$49 later for a twenty-dollar wheel, I asked how much it would be for a used tire (which they charge you for disposing of).  They wanted $20, and no way would I pay that much.  So I figure I’ll drive to Higginsville, where you can buy three used tires for ten bucks.  But, it happened to fifteen minutes till noon, and they close at for an hour at noon for lunch.  So I came back home and ate lunch first.

Then I went to Higginsville and they didn’t have what I needed for the cheap price.  But they had two decent tires for $30.  So I bought them.

I have a brother near there who has a fancy tire-changer.  When I arrived, I found out the tire-changer was broke.  So I had to fix my tires with a hammer and a couple of tire-tools, just like I could have done at home.

When I got home with the tire, I realized there was hay to bale in a small lot where Donna's Jersey calf stays.  I started to mount the spare on the trailer first, only to discover that the neighbor boys had used all my flat metal (which I had told them to leave alone).  They’d left a mess in the floor and gone home.

So then I decided to use the big baler to bale the hay in that tiny lot, even knowing there wasn’t room to turn it around in there.  I hooked the tractor into an electric fence wire, and while concentrating on getting out of that mess, I turned the baler too tight and tore the power shaft off it.  Because the baler is old and well-used, it won’t do sharp turns.

I decided to wash the grease off it to see if I could fix it; put the power shaft in my parts washer only to discover I didn’t have enough cleaning fluid to clean it.  I put the whole thing on hold and figured Donna and I would go on a nice relaxing ride on the Honda.  Walked over to the Gold Wing, bumped the starter, only to find the battery was dead.  Made that “I’m not going to start for you” rattle, down deep.

By now my wife was paranoid, and figured we should skip the ride, with the way the day was going. 

She’s the one who forced me to buy a fancy battery-charger at Sears one time, with enough amps to start a diesel dozer; and that persuaded the ‘Wing it was time to go.

I pulled it out of the shop and saw Donna nowhere around.  I beeped the obnoxious horn on the Honda, letting her (and the whole neighborhood) know I was ready to go. 

She stuck her kinky head out the door and came bouncing out, ready to go.  First thing she said after plugging in the helmet... “Be careful”.

I have a motorcycle with a license to fly, but I have to ease down the road as if I’m on a moped.  After a little while, Donna’s death grip let up on my ribs and we had a nice little motorcycle ride.  The only bright spot in a dismal day.

So: $100 worth of parts just so I could go to Kansas and get some "free" lights.  God knows what it will cost to fix the baler.

The vacation we’ve been planning is getting eaten away, $50 at a time.

Oh, by the way, it’s time to give the renter’s daughter $50 for graduation.  She made valedictorian.         


Counting my blessings

This winter, I realized a huge blessing I have that I've always taken for granted:  My husband is still alive.

I've always appreciated him and loved him or I wouldn't have been here all these years.  But lately I think about all the widows there are around me, living alone, and I count my blessings.  

Several of my cousins no longer have their husbands with them.  My husband has been close to death twice: his open heart surgery... the cardiologist said he wouldn't even recommend that Cliff drive the mile or two from his office to the nearest hospital, and made him take an ambulance.  There was also the time his gall bladder sort of exploded and put little stones all through his body.  He was in the hospital ten days for that, and came home with two tubes coming out of his belly and chest.  His doctor told me he could have died.  

But here he is, soundly sleeping in the bedroom while I spend my morning alone time on the computer.

I am a loner, always have been.  Cliff used to tell me I really didn't need anybody.  He figured I'd never miss him when he died.  But really, it's because I AM a loner that I need him, because he knows how to deal with me.  

Getting old isn't much fun, but it has made us appreciate one another more each day.  And that's a good thing. 

Now I realize why I always loved the words in September Song.

… Oh, it's a long, long while from May to DecemberBut the days grow shortWhen you reach SeptemberWhen the Autumn weather turns the leaves to flameOne hasn't got time for the waiting game
… Oh, the days dwindle down to a precious fewSeptember, NovemberAnd these few precious daysI'll spend with youThese precious daysI'll spend with you

I am so glad my husband is still with me.

Tuesday, January 09, 2024

Winter is showing her fangs

We have at least seven inches of snow.  Now the wind is carrying what will be some very low temperatures to us.  Cliff and I (and Gabe) are on the couch, waiting to see who falls to sleep first.  I really don't intend to go to sleep.  I'm letting my food settle, and then I want to go out and shovel the sidewalks around the house.  

Gabe had a problem this morning getting his morning tasks done, since the snow was much higher than his tummy out back.  I brought him back inside and let him out the front door, where he managed to find a place that didn't have as much snow on it.  Blue the cat came in the house this morning as usual, but he kept going to the back door and reaching for the door handle, then meowing.  I took him through the back door to the back porch, but when I opened that door to let him out, he saw the snow was still there and turned around!  Nevertheless, on the third time he tried that, I nabbed him and put him out.

We had butternut squash soup for dinner.  There were two leftover pieces of corn bread I had put in the freezer, so I got them out to go with our soup.

I have several things that are supposed to come from Amazon today, but I'm not sure they will make it.  I'd almost bet the mail won't go on our road.  That's OK, because I doubt if I'd want to walk through the snow to the mailbox anyway.  I need to get some snow boots; my old Muck boots wore out long ago.  I will probably look for something less expensive than Mucks, now that I don't have any farm animals to chore after.  

I gave Gabe a bath this morning, made the soup, and washed dishes.   

That's about it for this day.  The way the wind is roaring right now, I may forget the sidewalks!  I sure hope our electricity isn't cut off.


Monday, January 08, 2024

The song I wrote

Today I finally made a tune to go with the words I made for a song.  There are awkward bits and mistakes in it, since I am still trying it out and don't know the words.  Something may change before it's over.  But I thought it might be more interesting to see the beginning of a brand new song.  Remember, this is the one Willie Nelson put in my mind.  

Be kind, please.  I'm not a musician, I'm a songwriter.

Sunday, January 07, 2024

Sunday Stealing

1. Favorite food:  Pizza, with ice cream for dessert.

2. Favorite color:  The blue that is seen in the bluest skies

3. Favorite Animal:  Jersey cows, dogs, and gentle horses.  I can't choose just one.

4. Favorite thing to do on a cold day:  Read a good book.

5. Favorite vacation spot:  It used to be Colorado, but now I really don't care to vacation.

6. Favorite TV show:  At age 10, it was Dragnet.  We didn't have a television, but I spent at week at my sister's every summer and was introduced to "dum-de-dum-dum".

At 15, it was Ozzie and Harriet, because Ricky sometimes sang at the end of the show.   


When I was 16 or so, it was 77 Sunset Strip, because Kookie was so cute! 


The last show I couldn't get enough of was "The Good Wife", which ended in 2016.  I don't like any of the weekly shows these days except "All Creatures Great and Small" and "Call the Midwife".  Those are on PBS; I give them a $5 contribution each month and stream the programs I like.  

We watch lots of good movies on streaming services:  This week we watched 22 July on Paramount+; News of the World on Prime (Tom Hanks, so you know it's good); and Harriet, on Netflix.  We've been watching one movie every evening.  

7. Favorite Mythical creature:  I don't think much about mythical creatures.  I know what my atheist friends are thinking, and they are welcome to their opinion.  We can agree to disagree. 

8. Favorite fairy tale:  Any story that lets the good person win at the end.

9. Favorite thing to draw:  I don't draw

10. Favorite scent:  I can't choose just one.  Alfalfa when it's first cut; the smell of a horse; vanilla; most anything baking in an oven; the smell of the woods, which changes with the seasons.  I could go on all day, but I'll stop.

11. Favorite mode of transportation:  The year of our 50th anniversary we took a train trip to the Grand Canyon.  I really enjoyed riding, eating, and sleeping on the train. 

12. Favorite vegetable:  I like most vegetables.  Home-grown tomatoes are near the top, but I do like potatoes in almost any form, so I guess taters will win the competition.

13. Favorite candy:  If you read my blog much, you should already know... Lindor Truffles.

14. Favorite sport:  I hated NFL football my whole life, but since 2000 I got acquainted with the Kansas City Chiefs and watch every game.  I also watch the Miami Dolphins, but only because I love to see Tyreek Hill run.

15. Favorite weather:  James Russell Lowell said it best:  "What is so rare as a day in June?  Then, if ever, come perfect days."

Saturday, January 06, 2024

Some like it hot

There hasn't been an  extended cold spell here in our part of Missouri for a long, long time.  

I was trying to think of the positive side of bitter cold weather and did some googling.

  1. Better Sleep

    Many of these positive effects of cold weather stem in part from one of our most important processes: sleep. Studies agree that sleeping in a bedroom between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit helps us fall asleep faster and maintain restful sleep. This indoor climate range is often easier and more cost-effective to maintain in cooler months than in the heat of summer.  No, I still won't sleep more than six hours, no matter the temperature.      Cliff will, but he always sleeps well.  And we always have our bedroom below 68 in the winter, so what's new?

  2. Immune Boost

    While it might seem to contradict the increased spread of common viruses, studies show that cold weather can trigger our immune systems to battle these very viruses more effectively. Beyond the ability to fight infections, mosquito-borne illnesses are also not a concern when temperatures are too low for insects to reproduce. Also, pollen counts are low in the winter, helping to eliminate some allergy culprits, aside from mold, dander, and dust.      We've neither one had so much as a cold since 2020 anyhow.

  3. Less Stress

    Cortisol has been found to be lower in our bodies during the colder months, which can lead to lower stress levels and less irritability. Additionally, when we safely exercise in the cold, we experience an increased release of endorphins over working out in warm weather that can lead to exhaustion and dehydration.      I'm sure this is right, since for about half of my adult life I walked for at least half an hour a day, no matter what the weather.  I can't do that now because of my knees, and neither can my husband.  It doesn't apply to us.

  4. A Cold Head, Not a Head Cold

    While prolonged exposure to extreme cold can be hazardous to the skin, consistent and safe exposure to cooler temperatures can benefit it. Like a cold shower, lower temperatures can stimulate blood flow and give your face a bright, healthy look. Beyond beauty, studies show that the cold can also boost our thinking. A cooler indoor climate helps us think clearly, and colder temperatures can help motivate complex cognitive tasks.      If you see me getting prolonged exposure outside in zero temperatures, you had better call an ambulance for me, because I'll be frozen in place.

  5. A Kick-Started Heart and Metabolism

    When you exercise in the cold, your heart must work harder to maintain your body temperature. With proper training, this can strengthen your heart. In addition to heart health, colder climates have been linked to increased brown fat. While most adults have white fat, brown fat is more energy-dense and corresponds to increased metabolism.       REPEAT:  I am not spending any more time outside that I have to!

Inflammation can be lower in winter

Ice packs can be used to reduce swelling and pain following an injury. Tucker explains that you may notice your joints becoming less swollen and puffy in winter because cold air acts as an ice pack to reduce inflammation.       HELLO!!!  I WILL NOT  BE OUTSIDE UNLESS I'M WALKING TO THE GARAGE TO GET IN THE CAR AND GO TO WALMART WITH CLIFF.

The only benefit I can think of for myself is that maybe a long, hard freeze will reduce the garden pests that like to kill my cucumbers and squash... and maybe do the same thing with ticks and fleas next summer.  

I'd take that.  

Wednesday, January 03, 2024

Odds and ends... mostly ODD.

I seem to be waking up at 2 AM every night unless I decide to take a sleeping pill.  I can usually go back to sleep when I wake up at ten o'clock and midnight (I go to bed at 8 PM in winter, when it's dark by then).  Yes, every two hours I wake up and go to the bathroom!  It's just another part of getting old for some of us.  I've learned how to relax though, when I lie in bed awake.  I have memorized passages from the Bible that I ponder as I say them to myself.  I often start with the Lord's Prayer, then go to the 23rd Psalm or the first Psalm.  I throw in some single verses I've learned over time, starting with Genesis 1:1.  Some of these I memorized as a child, but have had to re-memorize them.  I always go over the beatitudes in Matthew 5, and have memorized several of the verses that come after the beatitudes (salt and light... let your light so shine).

None of these make me go to sleep, but the words comfort me, and I can truly say I enjoy that time.

I get up at three most days and start my morning routine.  Bible reading for 20 or 30 minutes and then start the coffee.  While it is making, I do my Wordle for the day.  Yesterday I ruined my streak of 200; oh well, maybe this next streak will last all year.  No, it won't.  

Then I play Waffle, which my blogging friend in Arkansas told me about.  I do not do very well with it, but it's fun anyway and I can go ahead and finish it, even if I lose.  Last but not least, I go to Kappa Puzzles and do the word search.  I wasn't good at word searches even in my younger days, but everyone says we old folks should do puzzles to help our brains.  I have gotten better with practice, but I'm pretty sure I'm not any smarter.  When I started out, it was taking me 45 minutes or more.  Now it's more like 15 to 20.  I imagine many people could do it in less than 10.  There's also a crossword puzzle on Kappa that Cliff does sometimes, but I don't care for it.  I used to always do the crossword in the Kansas City paper, which was just right for me; I usually finished it all, but I had to work at it.  

One of my readers told me about Kappa puzzles, but I forget who she was.  I have learned all sorts of things from my readers.  I did a search of my blog and found it was a lady named Kaye who said she had been following me for years.  Are you there, Kaye?  It's me, Donna.  

I am reading a book now that I absolutely adore:  Maybe You Should Talk to Someone.  It's funny, it's real, and I have learned some things about myself while reading it.  It's the best book I've read in months.

That's all I have for today, except to tell you that I think I use too many semicolons in my writing, so I took three of them out, trading them for periods instead.  

Yes, I know this entry looks like I'm over-caffeinated this morning.  What you see is what you get.

Monday, January 01, 2024

New Years Day

Last night before I went to bed I put a pound of black eyed peas in water to soak.  This morning I woke up at 3 AM and got up to get it started cooking.  I don't normally get out that soon even if I'm awake, but I slept some yesterday afternoon anyway.

I never minded the taste of black eyed peas; it isn't something I'd eat often, but I could if I had to.  Cliff, on the other hand, hated them until I found this recipe on allrecipes.com.  He even reminded me the other day to get some black eyed peas, but as I told him, I still had a pound of them from last year.  As the recipe is written, it makes more than we would want to eat, so I halved the two-pound bag a year ago and kept the rest.  The recipe says to cook it for eight hours after soaking all night, but that's not necessary.  I did let it cook for five hours, but even that isn't necessary.  I've often wondered if he meant it to be cooked in a crock pot.   

Cliff ate a little bowl for breakfast!  And he hates to eat alone, so I also had a small bowl.

I just put cornbread in the oven, and we'll be having dinner within half an hour.  Oh yes, and I made myself some gingerbread, which is something else Cliff doesn't like.  But he has plenty of sugar cookies that will last him awhile, since he only gets one or two of them a couple times daily.  And when those are gone I'll make more.

The Chiefs kicker scored 19 points last night out of 25.  Incredible!  Next week, the Chargers.  I don't hold a lot of hope for another Super Bowl win, but I still have a little hope... or maybe it's just wishful thinking.