Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year - 2009 - YES WE CAN!!

Just a brief entry to wish each of you a very Happy New Year. I'm looking forward to 2009 and hoping we see some real improvements in the world situation. 2008 has been a real "downer"...and it's definitely time for a change. For what's happening in the White House, I hope everyone will give the new administration a chance, and not make their judgments based on stupidity or old hatred. My blog, my opinion: we need out of this damned war NOW!!! It's been wrong since it's beginning. Much much more to say....but won't go into it here/now.

On a much lesser level, I hope to make improvements and changes in my own life as well. I'm not good with making/keeping resolutions, but I do plan to get out more, do more things, meet more people in 2009. I'm going to look into volunteering -- but that has some stipulations right up front -- I'm not wild about working with children, or illness, or the elderly. (I feel like I've kind of done my time there. That's sounds pretty greedy but that's just how it is.) I'm probably too old myself to volunteer for something like Habitat for Humanity, but something like that would interest me more I think.

Anyway, I hope each of you have a wonderful and prosperous 2009. Happy New Year!!!! PPPHHTTT! (That's my party whistle...what did ya think?)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Back to the Daily Rut

Well, Christmas has come and gone. I have very mixed feelings about the holidays. I love seeing my son and getting to spend time catching up with his life (and I'm sure he tolerates catching up with mine as well). However, I don't have a big family to gather together. My parents have both passed away, I have only one son, and I'm single. big family! I don't know why I find that an important part of the holidays, but I seem to feel something's missing. It's hard to put together a big family dinner...when there's only two of us. (Of course, we ate like more...) At any rate, I enjoyed the visit with J, but I'm still glad to be past that part of the holidays. As far as New Year's and New Year's Eve....ha...amateur night...I haven't went out and celebrated for several years. Usually I'm sound asleep by midnight...BUT I don't have no stinkin' hangover the next day either.

I've felt somewhat low the past few days. Don't know whether it's the season or just me. Today I decided to be (what I consider to be) really wasteful. I went for a my car. (I did go for a bicycle ride yesterday!!! Only a little over 10 miles however.) But today I ran a few errands, including a stop at Walmart..where I bought a bag of M&M's...traveling candy!!! So I went for a ride. Didn't do much of anything exciting. I did discover there are two..count 'em TWO...police stations in Inman, Ks. What is Inman? Just checked...about 1200 people. Do you think they really need 2 police stations? I didn't go so far as to check if they were both "open for business"...but I had a private little smile about it. I went to Buhler High School (many, many years ago)...and the Inman boys were usually considered pretty racy for us slow-witted, innocent little Buhler girls. So...maybe that's true, ya think???

I stopped in Inman to buy a Diet Coke (Diet to counter-act those M&M's!)...and drove around. I stopped at Steve Becker's Bunkhouse in Medora, just because I'd never been there before and he had a sign out front that said Cowboy Stuff...and surely that's something I ought to go take a look at! I went to school with Steve...he's several years younger than I am...and I enjoyed chatting with him today. He either is, or plays the part of very well, a real cowboy. I asked him how he got started with all this and he said that he guessed he'd just never got enough of playing cowboys when he was a kid! Good answer! I find Steve a very interesting character. If a person didn't know his past career (he's pretty much retired now), you'd never guess where his life has taken him. He's a District Court Judge. As he sits and chats, it's hard to see "JUDGE" under that battered old cowboy hat. I think I like him!

On to a totally different topic: this because my son can absolutely crack me up. Several years ago (back in what I hate to admit were "my drinkin' days") my sister and I used to go down to Noel, Missouri to a little bar and have quite a lot of fun. Lots of beer, lots of dancing, lots of good ole boys. My mom was still living then and usually when I came back I'd relate SOME of the stories to her. In my sister Jude's younger days, she was often...and I mean OFTEN....compared to Elizabeth Taylor. She really did look a lot like Elizabeth Taylor. Well, one night in Noel there was a big ole boy - Big Lou - that was really taken with Jude. And during the evening he commented numerous times on how much Jude looked like Elizabeth Taylor. Numerous times. Well, upon my return to Hutch, I went to visit my mom and I told her about Big Lou and his infatuation with Jude. I had to repeat things several times as Mom had a bit of a hearing loss...but most of the time she picked up on everything ok. But several times I mentioned that Big Lou thought Jude looked like Elizabeth Taylor. Mom kept nodding and smiling and truly seemed to be enjoying the story. As I wound down, thinking how she had really seemed to enjoy hearing about that, my mom looked at me and said, "So...why did he think she looked like a little potato?" I told my son that story this past week...his immediate response: "Did you tell her it was because of her eyes?" I have a really weird, humorous family, you see.

Having said that...and knowing that probably most of my readers are related...I think it's time for me to quit and go do something more constructive!!! It's been fun...later ...

Friday, December 19, 2008

My Son, Scrooge

Let me tell you about my son. He lives in Texas and today's his 45th birthday. He's a very private person so I can't go into a lot of detail here about him....but I'm very proud of him! He does have a bit of an attitude problem however. He's never been overly joyous about Christmas...or any holiday for that matter. Several years ago (he was old enough to get away with it)..we were riding around, just him and me, looking at Christmas lights. I was totally enjoying it, pointing out first one and then another: "Oooh, look at that one......ooohhh...that's pretty....oohh, look at that one". J finally had had enough I guess. As he slumped in the car seat, he said, (and I'm cleaning this up quite a bit) "Yeah....Ho, F'n, Ho!" So, obviously, he's just not a Christmas person!

A few nights ago I called to talk to him and got his machine. I left a message something to this effect: "'s are you still planning on coming up for Christmas? Do you want turkey or lasagna? Anything else? Let me know. Love ya..bye."

A day later I got this email...entitled "EZ Cheezy" :

Yes... I will be driving x-mas eve, I want lasagna, ez cheezy, olives you know the drill make sure you really over do it and I'm really going to be pissed if you don't have all of you decorations up also. Get the damn antlers on Schizo. No time to talk now call you later.
Your Son

Isn't he just the cutest little ___________(fill in your choice of choice words!)? BTW, ez cheezy is a cheesecake with cherry pie filling dumped on's been his favorite since he was a little kid. now I'm completely happy...and today I did my best to make sure I could really over do it to the best of my capabilities. I'm looking forward to Christmas and to his visit with great anticipation! I hope all of you have a very merry Christmas. I feel certain I will! Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Referencing Another's Blog

I have a relatively "new" friend, Patsy. I met her back in late October and have gotten to know her mainly through her blog. The more I read, the better I like her. Yesterday (or perhaps it was the day before) she posted a blog about avoidance, ending it by referencing several older posts. I haven't finished reading all of her older posts, but found one among those that really hit home for me. If you'd care to read it for yourself (and you should), it's

In that recent blog, one of the older posts she referenced was "Logic and Appropriateness". Excellent article! I agree with her totally on how people just refuse to be honest and open. They seem to object to "calling it like it really is".

And then, to where I'm going with this: In today's Hutchinson News there were three very good editorial comments. (I was surprised that the News even published them!)

Two addressed the fact that Obama is getting the blame for so many things for which he has/had no responsibility. I have received so many negative "crap" emails, that I finally just started firing back with "Snopes" messages. If you're gonna spread that crap, then check it out for the truth first!!! (One person actually made my "block sender" list!!!)

To severely summarize the first editorial, Doris Blew from Stafford said reasons people gave for not voting for Obama were "he's a Muslim....not really a citizen....getting money from overseas...will take away your guns". Then after the election, he's "anti-life...doesn't respect the flag...not honest because he decided not to take federal funding for his campaign." But her last paragraph calls it like it is: "I have come to the conclusion that in their hearts and minds this is what they are thinking but won't say out loud: 'I won't vote for a black person.' So they have to make up other excuses." I think she's nailed it!

Hibbard Davis from Wichita wrote another editorial that I thought was extremely well put. He wrote of how "Western Front letters...were rife with foaming at the mouth folks' low estimation of the voters in America for choosing Barack Obama to be our next president." His summarization is excellent: "Let it go. Give the new administration at least a chance to get us back to work rebuilding this society."

And the third editorial that I really appreciated is somewhat along another vein: Beth Vannatta of Halstead spoke of abortion. Excellent editorial. Her final paragraph: "Abortion is not a pleasant choice. But it beats starvation, hate, torture, murder and abandonment. Promote safe, sensible, readily available contraception. It won't end abortion, but it will dramatically reduce the numbers."

I felt all three of these editorials were exceptional (especially to get published in the Hutch News). These three individuals spoke up; and, by the way they were written, I'd say these are people that are well aware these are controversial subjects and that it's highly likely that they will receive feedback. I applaud them for their honesty and openness. Kudos!

I think far too often people just "go with the flow" in order to be nice and not step on anyone's toes or hurt anyone's feelings. I'm sure a good many people wish I'd be MORE that way. Won't happen! I'm sort of a believer in that old adage: If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. So...if this isn't appropriate material for a blog, then don't read it. If you know me, you know I'm certainly not always "appropriate" fact, was I ever?

Zippy - My New Hero

Wow....I just went out to go to the post office and run a couple of other errands, and I just have to tell ya: Honda Fit Sport....AWESOME!!!! Since1986 I've never had anything but four-wheel drive (3 Blazers, and a Dodge pickup) I was rather hesitant to buy something without four-wheel drive...but anymore I don't usually have to get out when it's slick or deep snow, so why not? Today I drove over several streets that hadn't been cleared: packed snow, mounded snow, etc. Not once did I feel a slip or slide. Front wheel drive may just be the way to go. As I said in an earlier blog: I just love this little Zippy car!!! Oh...and by the's a 5-speed automatic, but also has paddle shifters if you really want to play!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

This Too Shall Pass

Not much to say about this, other than this white stuff WILL go away and we will see other days like in the photograph. I don't like snow and ice and cold and slush.
Come on summertime.
Just thought maybe somebody else needed to remember as well. Enjoy! And come on over, the water's fine!!! (June, July, August, etc.!)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Wally & Schiz

In my last blog I mentioned Wally, the little neighbor dog that began the "socialization" process for Schiz. Here's a picture of the two of them taken in July 2005. They're still best buddies, even though Wally's "parents" no longer live right next door. They live about 6 or 8 blocks from me and we go there often. Schiz "sings" the whole way there!!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Santa's Little Helper

Once's the dog! I'm sure none of you think she's nearly as cute as I think she is...but she'd just been groomed and had on a candy cane scarf (and believe me, those things don't stay on long)...and I couldn't resist taking a few pix of her (actually there are about a dozen more, so consider yourself lucky).

This is Schizo. She's 4 1/2 years old. I got her when she was 5 months old. She came from a hell-hole: she'd never been on grass, she'd never been held or loved on (stiffened up like she was scared to death), was stained halfway up on her body with feces and urine (supposedly she was in a kitchen with 20 other puppies!). The guy I got her from said his mother raised Shih tzus in quality...but sometimes would have one that didn't make the show quality criteria, so she'd sell them really cheap. Not caring whether it was show quality, I decided I needed another Shih tzu...I'd lost my other one about 5 months earlier (March 2004...I'd had her since 1987 when she was 8 weeks old). I worked with the guy and so when he was going to Tennessee we arranged it that he'd bring back a puppy (actually they brought back 3 puppies). I had no idea what I was getting other than "female and hair around eyes is two different colors." I started looking in an old psychology book for split personality or something like it...and it said "It is a common misconception that schizophrenia means 'split personality.' ..... The misunderstanding comes from the fact that the root schizo comes from the Greek verb meaning 'to split.'..." And that's how Schizo got her name...because she has a "split" color on her face. (And I bet you thought it was because she displays "odd and eccentric" behavior!?!) The pigment around her right eye is pink/white; the pigment around her left eye is dark. Day one: trip to vet to find out (before I completely fell in love) if I was setting myself up for a lifetime of tumors and eye problems. He assured me that the eye was completely normal and shouldn't be a problem. One week later I had her spayed and she's here forever and ever! (And she is odd and eccentric....and ornery!!)
Just as an aside: one of the other puppies that was brought back was extremely ill. The new owner spent over $1200 trying to keep it alive. Last I heard it's ok...but I don't stay in touch with any of those people now. As far as "show quality".....BS!!! Schiz still has her dewclaws - all 4 - and even puppy quality should have those removed. Her teeth are extremely crooked. I truly believe the breeder is a low grade, poor grade puppy mill. The only thing about her that's "show quality" is her coat...she has HAIR...great HAIR!!! I didn't give much for Schiz...and I'm delighted to have her and for her to be out of that place! But overall, this is just another reason we should all adopt animals from shelters. If the jerks who are breeding to make a buck were shot down, they'd have to quit breeding dogs!!! (Yes..I do realize I did just what they wanted me to do!)
To make a very long story short(er) neighbors at the time have a little dog - Wally- just a little bigger than Schiz, and we decided Schiz needed to be socialized. It took her awhile...she liked Wally and finally decided those people came with him so they must be okay too. Well...4 years later...she's definitely SOCIAL!!! She likes everyone! Never meets a stranger! And she and Wally are still best friends - in fact, she stayed with them while I was in Joplin the past few days. She's as at home in their house as she is in ours! My personal opinion is she lucked out all the way around....and deserved it!

Salt Soup

Just returned from a three day trip to Joplin, Missouri where my sister lives. When I left Hutchinson, Ks about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, we'd had a little snow - not enough to really worry about, but the Wichita radio stations were saying "slick", so I decided to wait until it had time to thaw a bit. I usually go to Wichita and take Hiway 400 to Pittsburg, and then on down to Joplin. From Wichita east for about 30-50 miles was pure slop. They'd had a little more snow than Hutchinson had...and I'd say quite a bit more salt!! If they'd had 1-3 inches of snow, they must've applied 1-3 inches of salt/brine!!! What a mess! I was covered up several times with over-spray from semi trucks and just from the other traffic in general. By the time I got to Joplin, I knew I HAD to find a car wash. I called my sister from just north of Joplin and told her I needed to find a car wash before it got any cooler (it was about 2:30 pm).

I went by her house and picked her up (and took these photos). She directed me to the car wash she uses and Zippy looked a whole bunch better in just a few minutes. They'd had only a dusting of snow at Joplin so their streets were dry. I mentioned to the manager (seen walking in the background) that this was the best car wash I'd been to in a long time...suggested they needed one of these in Hutchinson. The owner has 11 car washes...but the furthest one from Joplin is in Branson. It was cheap (I washed all that off for $1.75) and the pressure was wonderful (I didn't even use a brush or rag..just water pressure).
As many of you already know, I just love this little roller skate of a car. 2009 Honda Fit Sport - bought it two months ago and I have absolutely NO complaints of any kind about it. It's roomy, it's zippy, it's fun! First time I came back from Joplin I set the cruise control at 55mph (and kind of kept my hand up blocking my face, because EVERYONE hated me, I'm sure), and I drove pretty much for mileage...and boy, did I get it. I averaged 46 miles per gallon!!!! Since then I've been getting about 31 to 33 mpg in town, and coming home from Joplin today, I drove 68 (cruise control) and got 39 mpg. Great car!!! (And great car wash on 32nd Street in Joplin, Mo!!)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Maybe a New Hobby / Craft ???

In an earlier blog I mentioned and had photos of a room I had just redone using tissue paper on the walls. Well, it's several days later and several people have seen it and I've asked for honest opinions. So far about everyone has liked it.

I'll be seeing my sister soon and since the photos don't really do the wall justice, I decided to cover a couple of old cardboard boxes with the same technique. First box is small; maybe 3 x 3 inches. The other box is one that business cards came in, probably 3 x 8 inches or so. Well, the small box I decided to apply the bronze glaze to, but left the bigger box with just the khaki tan/green paint on it.

Tonight a friend, Sharon, came by and I showed her the redone room. She really seemed to like it. Then I showed her the boxes...just because they were sitting there and handy. She really liked them. She thinks I should sell gift boxes...go on ebay with them...etc.... I thought they were kind of neat, but no where near THAT neat!! As we talked she kept coming up with suggestions for different colors and different glazes. Finally I said, jokingly: "And how many would you like to order tonight?" She said, "I want to see the with silver glaze!"

After she left, I had to think: I don't really need ANOTHER hobby. I have several and don't commit fully enough to any of them. But.....a little later I decided to try my hand at making some truffles, and there was the cream cheese box....and I hated to just throw it away. So now it's balanced atop a syrup bottle, glued with tissue paper, and painted black. Gotta find some silver glaze tomorrow! :) Simple mind, what else could it be? One man's trash is another man's treasure? I doubt it in this particular case.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Memories & Sentiment

I think maybe somehow I didn't get the gene that causes one to feel sentimental about things. Thinking back, I had a harmonica that my dad played. To me, it was just that: a harmonica. It wasn't my dad, it didn't necessarily evoke memories of my dad. My nephew was "taken" with it, so I gave it to him. I've had several things I feel that way about. Yes, I remember where they came from, when I got them, how I got them, who owned them previously...but they're still just objects to me. Last night I was lying in bed thinking of the numerous piles I have accumulated for others. There's nothing of any monetary value in any of this, it just needs to move on.

Presently, I have a box and a rather large sack to take to my sister. The sack is fairly full of old vcr tapes. She got a dvd player last year, but has now inherited her daughter's old vcr. Some of these tapes were hers and she gave them to me. I mentioned that I was re-watching them and then putting them in the "garage sale" room in the basement. She's decided she'd like to re-watch them also. The box has a lot of Sunday crossword puzzles (too time consuming for me); a bowl; several items from the newspaper; a Christmas stocking with a chewy in it for Honey, her dog; and a couple of crossword puzzle books that I've ignored too long. Jude loves crosswords. I've discovered Sudoku and work only the weekday crossword puzzle in the News. I also have notes stuck to the box of bigger items I want to take to her: a couple of pieces of carpet for Honey's crate and some other junk.

I have a small pile on top my microwave of three or four items I want to give a friend of mine. They aren't Christmas's just time to let someone else enjoy them. Once an item has sat in a cupboard in paper towels for a year or two, I think it's time to move on. I've been reading back on a friend's blog, and every once in awhile, I'll think, "Hey...I have that....she could use that!!!" (I've even considered tagging the items with particular blog dates so she'd know why I'm unloading them on her!)

Then I have a large pile at the top of the basement stairs for my dog groomer. One day it occurred to me, I have 8 like-new towels in a bathroom that I almost never shower in. I have three towels in a bathroom that I never bathe in. I had about 7 or 8 towels that were practically rags near the basement shower, which I use daily. Why am I using ragged towels when I have perfectly nice towels I could use? So, four of the like-new towels went downstairs, and the raggedy one are going to my dog groomer for drying dogs and for crate liners. Also in her "pile" are a couple of jars of jalapeno jelly, a photograph I think she needs, a small Christmas thank-you gift, and some accumulated dog scarves.

Then downstairs I have another pile of stuff for a friend of mine that makes creative cards. In digging for some carpet scraps for Honey's crate (see above), I found several rolls (one completely sealed with the original cellophane) of wallpaper and some border trim. These were left here by the previous owners of this house, who clearly LOVED wallpaper...and evidently 10-penny nails! I've stripped enough wallpaper and spackled enough holes that I'm quite sure I'll never need this stuff! Also found some stray ribbons and odds and ends while getting out my Christmas decorations.

So, if all goes as planned, I'll be seeing each of these people within the next week or two. I hope they'll be happy with their stuff, but I know I'll be happy to unload it. I'll feel like I've cleaned house! Between that and then Christmas will come and go and all those decorations will come down, so by January I'll feel "gathered" up. My son tells me to adopt the college student's creed: Don't Accumulate! (That's probably because he realizes someday he'll have to come clean it all up.)

I have friends and acquaintances that tell me they keep this or that and I wonder why. Do those items really make them feel closer to someone that has passed on in one way or another? Evidently they do. It just doesn't work for me. If I've kept something (and I have) it's because I like it, not because it makes me think of someone in particular (even though it may do that too). I do like photographs, but to me, stuff is usually just stuff! Sorry! (if that requires an apology.)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wednesday - December 3

Good Morning!

Got up this a.m. and decided the anteroom needed another coat of paint. Second coat - looks a lot better. Then I decided that I don't think it needs the bronze glaze; I'm afraid that will darken it too much. The room has no window, 3 (usually closed) doors, and is only about 5 x 7 feet. So here's how it looks now! The other part of my reasoning is: the tissue paper part seem rather "frail" to me. Probably not the best choice for a hallway-type room. I'll have to remember to warn my big gorgeous wide shouldered man to be careful when carrying the groceries. (Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha..... the wall should be safe!!)
Actually, now that I downloaded the photos, I realize they really don't show it very well...however, it's such a small, small room that I can't seem to get far enough away to take good pictures. (This picture with the black bicycle over the far doorway: the tan color in the left side of the picture is the kitchen door...couldn't get back any further.) Anyway...I'm happy with it. Wasn't a big mess after all (in my humble opinion...and that's who counts in my world!!) Later..

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thanksgiving .... and the days since

Guess I'll have to catch up on several days!

Thursday - Thanksgiving - I had been invited to several different places (Lee & Mary Lou's, Wes & Mary's, Leroy & Melinda's, and to my son's in Denton, Texas). With some discussion, J (my son) and I decided it would be foolish for me to drive there for one day. He had to work Weds., Fri., Sat., we're planning on being together at Christmas. While I truly appreciated everyone's offers, I chose to stay home, cook a little turkey and just kind of do my own thing. I've been single going on 23 years now, and sometimes I like my own company. So I slept in (not unusual - I see no reason to get up before the sun does!) and about 9:00 decided I should probably go put the turkey in the oven. Since it's just me, I don't have to make sure it's done by 12 noon or any specific time. As I was removing the plastic wrap from the turkey, J called. After answering the phone, I continued to remove the neck and giblets from the body, rinse the turkey, and put it into a baking bag (only way to go!). The oven was pre-heating so when I had it all ready, I put it into the oven. J and I continued to talk...and talk....and talk. We always seem to have a lot to say! Well, pretty soon I walked by the oven and opened the door just to see "how's it goin' in there?" The button had popped up!!!! The turkey was done!!! We had talked for over 2 hours and 20 minutes!!! I let it cook for a while longer while I fixed some sweet potatoes with oranges (and brown sugar and marshmallows), and crescent rolls, and a pumpkin roll cake that is decadent!!! (And now GONE!) Did you see veggies mentioned there? Hmmmmm.... how 'bout the sweet potatoes, don't those count? Olives..I had olives too...I think they're veggies! I had the stuff to make cole slaw and was going to, but then decided I was going to have way too much to eat anyway...why fill up the spaces with greenery!?!?! (Don't bother answering that...I know!!!) Anyway, my Thanksgiving was very pleasant and quiet and enjoyable.

The days following were filled with more turkey, and more pumpkin cake! (In fact today -Tuesday - I had some leftover turkey and noodles that I made yesterday.)

Today is gorgeous. I'd planned to take a bike ride, but yesterday Schiz and I went for a pretty long walk (probably about a mile - not that long- but she has short legs!). Anyway, don't know whether I got into some weeds or what, but I spent most of last night coughing. And coughing. And coughing. Finally, this a.m. I got up and got a few good swigs of my medicine: Diet Coke! Nothing cuts the "crud" like Diet Coke! Feel just fine now except that my sinuses are still running like crazy. So I called and begged off on the bike ride.

And I began working on my "anteroom"'s a little room between the sunroom and the garage and the kitchen. Is good for absolutely nothing. I wanted to try a faux technique on it, so I'd stripped off any of the tight wallpaper. (I'm sure you're supposed to take it ALL off, but I want the texture bumpy and rough, so what's the point?) I put wallpaper paste on the wall, then applied pieces of crinkled tissue paper and mashed it down with more
paste. When it gets all dry, I'll paint it and then use some of my bronze glaze on it. If it works, I think it'll be beautiful! If it doesn't...well, then I have a mess to clean up somehow!! Just imagine this in a soft khaki tan/green with a copperish bronze glaze hanging up on all those little rough spots!! It's gonna be fine....I hope.

Ok...well, then I decided I needed a little fresh air so Schiz and I went out in the back yard. Now, my throat and head may be a little "clogged", but I decided that tomorrow the poly cart goes and it was nearly I mowed...mainly to gather the leaves. The only good news: the sycamore is in the front yard and these leaves were mainly from the neighbor's cottonwood and my Bradford pear and little crabapple tree. I mowed only the backyard. Now I'm resting, I guess.

Well, I think I'm all caught up on my news. more thing...if you're not reading Patsy Terrell's "Patsy's Ponderings" or "The Lope", you're really missing some great writing and incredible photography! I'm spending a lot of my free time reading back a couple of years on both of those. Greg is a fantastic photographer! and

Well.... later... fun chatting with ya!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Today was a beautiful, fall day. Sunny, semi-warm, and not too windy. Carol Sue had asked if I wanted to go for a bike ride today and I responded with "YES!". We met at noon and rode up to and just into the Highlands, then back to check out the new portions of the bike path running from 32nd and Lorraine, east and south back down to 30th, and west and north to the north end of at-that-point a non-existent Severance. It's pretty short, but the asphalt is nice. It seems about as wide as the bike path from Rice Park to Carey Park. At this point, it doesn't really go anywhere, but still a nice little ride that gets you off the street and out of traffic.
Great weather, great ride, great company!! I mentioned at the end of an earlier she was leaving (she came by to say "hi" to Schiz - she and her husband have babysat some for me in the past) she tossed a line back over her shoulder that I should still be keeping an eye out for a motorcycle. I TOLD YA!!!!! My friends are just the best...absolutely the BEST!!!

Tomorrow's Thanksgiving! Hope yours is healthy, happy and filling...and fulfilling. Count your blessings!

What More Can I Say?

An Excerpt from a Chicago Tribune Article entitled: Advice, Like Youth, Probably Wasted on the Young. Author Mary Schmich
Ladies and gentlemen of the class of '97:
Wear sunscreen. If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.
Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked.
You are not as fat as you imagine.
Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.
Do one thing every day that scares you.
Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.
Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.
Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.
Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.
Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.
Get plenty of calcium.
Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.
Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.
Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.
Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.
Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.
Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.
Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good.
Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.
Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.
Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.
Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.
Respect your elders.
Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.
Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85.
Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.
But trust me on the sunscreen.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Just came in to check that my blog had survived overnight (Hey, I'm new at this...ya never know!)...and realized I have two "Carol" stories. Two different gals!! Believe me, neither one would have the time to do BOTH activities !!!! Just thought I'd clarify that. Later...

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Biking Friend Carol Sue

They say there's a fine line between hobby and mental illness. Might be true. Some of you know I'm a bicycle rider. Love it! Have ridden seriously for a lot of years...Note: I didn't say fast, I said seriously. Meaning I like riding probably more miles than the average about-town bicycle rider. The people I ride with usually joke that it isn't worth going if you can't get at least 20 miles. I am not a racer...nor do I strive to be one. Just doesn't appeal to me in the slightest. I kind of figure that at my age (64 - I don't hide it; I'm proud of it!), just going out and riding is exercise enough. And honestly, I like looking at the little blue flowers on the side of the road, or the goats grazing, or whatever. And the gals I ride with enjoy conversation. Yes, occasionally we'll have a little sprint just for fun...but it isn't really a competitive thing for us.

But I have this friend Carol Sue that I've known since probably the early '80's. In the summer of 1988 she rode from Hutchinson, KS, to Yorktown, VA. The summer of 1994 she rode from Hutchinson to Missoula, MT. During the summer of 1996 she completed her cross country odyssey by biking from Twin Bridges, MT. to Astoria, OR. When she finally retired from the working world, she signed up to do the entire trip with Adventure Cycling along with 12 other riders. They biked completely self contained beginning May 3, 1999, in Yorktown, VA, and ending August 3, 1999, in Astoria, OR.

So I guess I wasn't too surprised when she answered another Adventure Cycling ad for a companion to ride the Northern Tier and help raise funds for Habitat for Humanity. Last May, Carol Sue and two female companions left Anacortes, Washington on their bikes, completely self contained and with no sag vehicles. I followed their blog every day. They rode to Bar Harbor, Maine and returned home in August.

This doesn't tell you enough about their trip...but that would be Carol Sue's blog (see link above), not mine. But what it should tell you is how dedicated she can be. Carol Sue isn't interested in racing either...but she can just sit there and crank and crank and crank. I remember a few years ago running into her one day about 6 miles north of town...only a week or so after she'd had some very major surgery. There she was, cranking away!!

It had been a couple of weeks since I'd last talked to Carol Sue, so today I called her. As we chatted she said, "Well, I was just going to come over and show you and surprise you...but I'll tell you. I have a motorcycle license now!" My response was, "So do I...but I haven't ridden a motorcycle in years!" (Motorcycles used to be our "bread and butter".) Well, it seems she took a safety course at the college and passed for her license and got a Honda 750 Shadow...and she's riding it. Our conversation went on and as we began to end it, she said something about I should get back into riding motorcycles too...and yadda, yadda, yadda....and I responded with, "Well, I'd even go cross country with you if I had a motorcycle!" All of a sudden, her tone changed, and she said, very seriously, "OH REALLY???" All I could think of to say was "Did I say that out loud?" We had a good chuckle and said goodbye. But I know Carol Sue: I planted that seed!!!

I have wonderful friends. Each one with different qualities, each one with something individual about them that I really enjoy. I tend to voice my enjoyment of my friends. Whenever one of my biking friends feels that goofy appreciation building up in them, they'll announce "I'm having one of Barbara's warm fuzzy moments!!!" I guess that's what I'm doing here this evening: just showing my appreciation of one of my strong, dedicated friends. I admire independent, self-confident women that aren't afraid to get out there and live life

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Carol's Christmas Village

Last night Mary Lou, Patsy, and I went over to see Carol's Christmas Village. Carol has set up this incredible holiday village for several years. It encases the equivalent of a four-car garage. Now, I was there in November '04 for a wedding reception that was, in itself, large. Lots of people, lots of moving about...but still room for this incredible display. For even more pictures, check out Patsy's blog I don't think I'd be exaggerating to say both Patsy and Mary Lou were impressed...or maybe shocked. Patsy had never met Carol before, but within just a few minutes of our arrival, she turned to Carol and gave her a big hug, saying "I'm so glad to meet someone as nutty as I am!" The village area is huge...but that's only part of the story. Carol's entire house - including the kitchen curtains - are all Christmas themed.
The village is difficult to photograph because of it's sheer volume. Some of the more impressive things for me are the carousel, the ice-skating rink, water tower, a blinking rotating light (so low flying planes won't hit the mountains, I guess), and one of my very favorites: snow skiers slowly going up and entering a chalet-type structure and then skiing back down the other side. You should be able to see some of that in the photos.
But everywhere there's Christmas...tons, literally thousands of Santas. Big, little, old, new, made of every conceivable material. See the crocheted Santa...he's wonderful! Curtains at windows, rugs on the floors, mantle coverlets, bedspreads, wall hangings, and on and on.
Another of my favorites was the figure of Santa and one of the reindeer (in fishnet stockings, no less) dancing. Check out that photo too.
All in all, a wonderful, inspiring display. I don't consider myself a Christmas "nut" at all...but one can surely get enthused by displays like this one. And, perhaps, as Carol said...when you go home to set up your own Christmas decorations, you'll realize how really easy it is!!!
Happy Holidays Everyone.... and beware... I may have to decorate a little more this year!!
Check out these fishnet stockings on the reindeer!

The crocheted Santa Claus was one of my very favorites. If I knew how to crochet (well, anything other than a straight row), I'd make one of these...and if I had a pattern...and if I had the talent...and willpower to stick to it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Schizo - World's Most Spoiled Rotten Dog

Pictured above is what makes me smile...usually. This week's been a little rough for her. Had a bad experience with fleas from the X-groomer's... among other grooming "errors"... but usually she's what makes me smile. She's a clown...and is aware and proud of it! In 4 1/2 years we've never had a flea, but this week she had a total of 6, and they chewed her to pieces!!! Partially my fault: I've always let the Frontline go 6 weeks in between applications (as she's groomed every 6 weeks)...and this time it didn't work. The other grooming errors were that her ears weren't plucked and even had wax in them, and just all in all a really crummy grooming job. Pads of feet weren't cleaned, tummy and rear end wasn't shaved, toenails were left too goes on!!! The ears and the toenails were items I mentioned before that had been overlooked. Well....last time.... I've changed groomers!!!! Tuesday of last week: $27 to the x-groomer, $36 for 3 months Frontline, $32 for 20 lbs. Science Diet. Friday of last week: $61 to my vet for medication for the flea bites. Tuesday of this week: $20 to my new (really re-newed) groomer. She's calm, clean, and much happier now. And so am I.
We take a little walk nearly every evening. This evening it was blowing like crazy and getting pretty cool....but she wanted to walk. Cracks me up: We go three or four blocks and she's just trottin' along and happy with the world. Then we turn the corner onto "the home stretch" and she realizes where we're at and starts dragging her feet. I have to coax her the rest of the way...usually offer chicken or treats of some sort. She's little...but she'd walk a lot further if she had her way!
Anyway...she's what makes me smile. The "Donald Trump" look is one of my favorite shots of her.
Just a thought for any of my local friends:'s windy...very windy...but it could be blowing snow sideways too. Count your blessings!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

This is nothing...but just in case you think I don't know: I know the words to "the" song are "will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm 64....." but I've always thought it just needed more "romance".... :)
Just thought I'd show you some of what I've been doing to the house. I've removed LOTS of old, dated wallpaper, painted and then glazed the walls. Kind of looks like old broken concrete, but I really like it. Super easy to do (once you find out the "secret" to use satin paint and not flat!!)

The Re-Do

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Our First Blog Entry

Today is Wednesday, October 29, 2008. This is my very first blogging experience.