Thursday, December 31, 2009

Looking forward

Happy New Year's everyone.

I thought about writing a post reflecting over the past year, but I really don't want to reflect back. I desperately need to look forward. I'm looking forward to a wonderful 2010. A year of healing. A year of caring about those who are in my life. I am looking forward to slowing down a bit and enjoying what I already have. I am looking forward to quit chasing after things I don't need and sharing with others what I already have - whether it be material things or physical needs, or maybe emotional sharing. I have a lot and I always feel good when I share. Always.

So how about you, what are you looking forward to?

Oh, by the way we have been invited to a Toga Party tonight. A toga party of all things! Don't they know we are closer (much closer) to 60 than 50? Don't they know Toga Parties are for college kids? Don't they know we are going to be the oldest ones there? Don't they know that we are going to dress as redneck toga partiers?

Oh yea, we are going as rednecks. They are definitely going to be sorry they invited these old fogies. Stay tuned...

Monday, December 28, 2009

The reason for jeans

I was on the road today. Going from my house to St. Louis airport to pck my brother up who was returning from his visit to my sis in Arizona.

I timed my visit so that I would be able to eat lunch at Jack In The Box. Don't tell me you are surprised!. Everybdy knows Jack In The Box has the best tacos in the whole wide world. I kid you not. We first discovered these tacos many years ago... 37 yeaers ago to be exact. Jim used to pick up a dozen or so when he would get done with the late night shift at the grocery store and we would devour them. They are basically an unidentified source of meat and cheese deep fried in a soft corn taco shell with lettuce added. I absolutely love them. And they are only 2 for $1. Talk about a bargain!

So here I am at Jack In The Box, eating cheap but tasty tacos and a large soda. A large soda that I refilled. So I had to go potty before I got back on the road. Someone was in the bathroom. So I had to wait. I could hear the stool flush. I could hear water running. Then I could hear the automatic hand drier turn on. Seconds later she exited the bathroom wiping her still wet hands on her jeans. She walked out and I walked in. I did my thing, washed my hands, and then the revelation happened. This is the reason for jeans! How many of you have the patience to let those auto driers do their thing? Not me. I washed my hands, and wiped them on my jeans before I grabbed hold of the still wet door handle, thinking that is gross. Fortunately I knew why the handle was wet because I had been standing on the other side listening to the goings on.
I wiped my hands on my ever present jeans and headed on to the airport. Thank you jeans!

So how about you? Why do you wear jeans?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The case of the missing scissors


About the only way to describe these past few weeks is hectic.  It was hectic at work.  It was hectic with my business.  It was hectic with the family.  It was hectic at church.  It was hectic with Christmas performances at the local nursing homes.  It was hectic getting ready for the big night.

I have a favorite “kitchen” scissors.  It is actually just a plain, cheap, ol’  blue handled pair of scissors that I use for everything.  I use it to open mail, cut open packages of cheese, cut protective plastic from lids, open bags of potato chips, cut tags off my new blouse… and I use it to wrap presents.   I am lost without my blue handled scissors. 

So here we were, December 23rd.  I am ahead of the game.  Yea me!  I am getting all of the presents wrapped before Christmas Eve for a change.  Yea me!  And Jim is helping me.  Yea he him!  Then disaster strikes.  The blue handled scissors goes missing.  I mean, it is GONE!

Me:  Jim, where is the scissors?

Jim:  I don’t know, you just had it.

Me:  I know I did.  But it is gone!

So we move everything off the counter where the presents are haphazardly carefully being wrapped, thinking the scissors would turn up under a box, paper or something. 

Jim:  Did you leave the room?

Me:  No!  I didn’t move from this spot!

Jim:  You must have put it in a drawer.

Me:  I did not put it in a drawer.  I haven’t opened any drawers.

So we check every drawer, we went from room to room checking, even though we both knew I had not left the room.  And we did not find the scissors.  I had to make do with a not so favorite, black handled scissors.  Things just weren’t the same after that.  It was like I had lost an old friend or something.

Now fast forward to Christmas Eve.  The four middle grandkids had taken turns reading the bible story of the birth of Jesus.  It was really sweet.  We were taking turns opening presents.  Actually by this time I’m pretty sure the turn taking had gone by the wayside and it was more a free for all.  This is where things get a bit fuzzy.  Someone needed a scissors to cut something.  And someone else handed them… wait for it… wait for it….

my missing blue handled scissors!!!!!

Me:  Where did you get those?

Jim:  Where did those come from!!!!

You can see the answer in the picture below:


I had wrapped them inside James’ present.

I was going to take a picture to post of the scissors back home, safe and sound, in their usual place.  But I couldn’t.  They aren’t there.  And I don’t know where they are…

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas from my house to yours


Come on in!



Or ring the door bell, if you are uncomfortable just barging in.

Hubby found this door bell in a junk yard when he was in grade school.  Now, by anybody’s standards, that was a l  o  n  g…. time ago!  We love the thringgg  sound it makes when someone comes to visit.  We don’t hear it nearly often enough, though.  Most feel comfortable just barging in. 


Santa watched over the whole lot of us while we baked our hearts out last Sunday.

Anna, James, Allen

Sugar cookies are serious business.


  Where did this little elf come from?  Hi Reagan!


The guys were in charge of quality control.

James licking fingers

We fired them.  Is that good James?


The tree lights shone on – but we were too busy to notice.


We were busy showing off our dimples.

Anna Rose

We were busy competing to see who has the deepest dimples.

Cara Marie

We were busy rolling molasses cookies in sugar… and joining in the dimples competition.

Emily and Reagan

We were busy horsing around.  Are those more dimples I see?


Decorating sugar cookies was very serious business.  They had to let Cara ice ten cookies before they could attack with sprinkles. 


We bought ourselves a Shepherd this year.  Isn’t he beautiful?  I received the crystal candle holders as a gift today.  Will have to buy candles tomorrow.


Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus.


I hope you enjoyed a bit of Christmas with me. 

And I hope you take a moment to say thanks for all that you have.  I am thankful for my family, my health, my friends.  I am thankful for all of you.

We are celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ – Baby Jesus.  That is what Christmas is all about.  Merry Christmas to all – and to all a good night.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A touch of color

dreary day

It was such a dreary day today. As I headed into town to do grocery shopping, (we do have to eat – even if it is yucky out) it was foggy and dreary. There were a few snow flurries. As I hustled in and out of the stores, all I could think about was getting back home to my nice warm house.


This is what I saw as I walked in the door. My African Violet. Isn’t she beautiful?


My mother and my grandma always grew the most beautiful African Violets. I, on the other hand, have never been able to get them to bloom. Oh, heck, I need to face it – I’ve killed more of these beautiful plants than I care to admit.

When mom passed away, I decided to try growing an African Violet once again in her memory.

I put her (the plant, not mom) in one of those fancy planters that insist the water be placed in the bottom and then the porous pot holding the plant sits inside the pot holding the water.

Then I talked to the expert (Jim). You see, mom always placed her African Violets in her kitchen window above the sink. So I asked Jim exactly what direction that window faced. And then I sought out a window in my house that faced South-East – just like mom’s. And yes, I again had to consult the expert. For some reason I never have been able to figure out North from South, East from West. If I were one of the Wise Men, I’d still be wandering around looking for baby Jesus.


Thanks to my husband, who knows his directions, and the memory of my mother and grandma, I am in awe of my beautiful blooms in the middle of winter. I am positive they are both beaming down on me - and probably did some fertilizing when I wasn't looking. It doesn’t get any better than this!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dis & Dat

The Christmas Party was a huge success! There were 67 or so of us party animals hanging around all night pretending we didn't have a care in the world. I'd post pictures but they are boring if you don't know the people. You know, just pictures of people you don't know pretending they don't have a care in the world.

It was nice of the weather to cooperate. We've been co-hosting these parties for nine years now and more times than not we've had ice and snow to deal with. One year we had to cancel because the weather was too dangerous. What a waste of good food! And two years ago we woke to the ice storm that took out power throughout the midwest for, in some cases, weeks. Jim and I were without power for four days. It was kind of fun. We played a lot of cards by coal oil lamp and candles. I made soups on the wood stove. We ate out a lot. The roads were clear but the power was out at our house. It was not out in town. Anyhooo...

I got this Santa in an email today

It reminded me of a night out a few years ago. We were slumming it with the same friends we host our annual Christmas Open House with. The place was the SOB (also known as Steedman's Only Bar). Steedman is a little spot in the road near us. I doubt if the population is more than 500, including cats and dogs and the occasional pot belly pig. The bar no longer exists. I think the town does, though.

Anyway, this place served burgers, tenderloins, catfish and some of the best fries we had ever eaten. And it was all served by one little old waitress. And I do mean she was old. She was a hustler and such a spunky thing. We had the best time. Just kicking back, laughing, & telling stories on each other. You know how it is. At one point Jim asked our little waitress - she was so little and wiry - if the fries were homemade, because they were the best fries he had ever eaten. Her answer? "They sure are! Made by this little ho right here!"

Oh, and she couldn't figure our bill up right. The amount she was charging us was ridiculously low and we kept telling her it wasn't enough. It wasn't right. But she knew she was right. I think we left her something like a $60 tip. I don't remember how much exactly, but it was enough to make up for her lack of mathematical abilities.

We belly laughed all the way home. So ho, ho, ho! Hope you are well on your way to being ready for a Merry Christmas! Anybody else have a funny restaurant or slumming it story?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Letting it all hang out

I never claimed to be neat.

I never claimed to be tidy.

And I never claimed to be a neat and tidy cook!

Actually, I am a very, very messy cook.  Always have been, always will be.

We are hosting a Christmas Open House with some friends tomorrow night.  Thank GOODNES the open house is not at MY house!  It is a mess.  Not just the kitchen.  The whole house is a mess.  But that will change – it always does.  By nature I am actually a very tidy person.  But when there is a lot going on, I let things slide, knowing we will bring it all back around sooner, rather than later.

I’m not so sure about this kitchen, though.  See for yourself.

messy kitchen

You don’t think that is too bad?  How about this?

messy kitchen2

You see a bottle of rum you say?  Why yes you do! 

Some of the recipes I am making are Spinach Phylo Rollups, Crab Rangoon, Bacon Wrapped Chestnuts, Bacon Bundles, Bourbon Weiners, a Vegetable Tray with Anchovy Dip,  Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms, Smoked Turkey Canapes, and some sort of candy – can’t remember the name.

Dang!  I’m ready for some of that rum!

Party pictures to follow.  Maybe.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A simple pleasure remembered…

Today I opened a beautiful e-card sent to me by my friend Alice Kay. As I listened to the music and watched the little birds flitting around my computer screen, a memory from my childhood flooded back to me. The memory of the wishbone.


The wishbone legend began with the ancient belief that chickens were fortune tellers. The tradition of wishing on their clavicle, or “wishbone,” was passed down through the generations and brought to America by the Pilgrims. They adapted it to the turkey, making it a part of the Thanksgiving festivities.

I never knew the legend. But I definitely knew the wishbone. It was always an honor to be on one of the ends of the wish bone.

It is a mystery how they decided who had the honor of making a wish, but it always seemed fair. We would close our eyes and make a secret wish. “Don’t tell anyone, or it won’t come true!” I can’t even remember what any of my wishes were. I just remember how special it was to be the one to grab hold one of the slippery ends of the wishbone to pull.

There must have been an art to tugging on that bone just right, because my older brother always came out with the winning end.

Oh! And the Thanksgiving wishbone! That was really special! And I’m kicking myself, because this is one tradition I never thought about carrying on with my own kids. I had not given it a thought until I watched those little birdies in my card tugging at that wish bone. I’m just going to have to start a new tradition with my grandchildren.

Close your eyes, make a wish, and pull! Shhhhh don’t tell anyone what your wish is or it won’t come true!

Oh, and in case you are wondering, I did finally let Austin and James out of the trunk. They won’t call me old again anytime soon!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

They’re still in the trunk

I went to pick up two of the grandkids the other day.

Julie’s 4 year old Austin.  Tessa’s 4 year old James.

The plan was for them to spend the night with us.

Here’s how the conversation went before we even got out the door:

Austin:  Grandma, you’re old.

Me:  What do you mean I’m old?  Just for that, you have to stay home.

James:  But you ARE old Grandma!

Austin:  Now you can’t go either, James, you called her old…

I threw them in the trunk and took them with me anyway.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Why didn’t I think of that???

In my previous post I mentioned that I wished I had done a better job of placing the table cloth on the table.  It really drove me crazy to see the table sticking out where it should have been covered.

picture of family sitting around the table with tablecloth not quite covering the table

See what I mean?  It is just tacky!

But never fear, SuperIggy, to the rescue!

superman symbol

Look in your email, its a joke... its a spam... No Its SuperIggy! Faster than DSL, more powerful than a virus, able to make me grin in a single sentence.  Disguised as Karl, mild mannered IT Tech for the major metropolitan PA area and beyond, fights the unending battle for kindness, smiles, and the Bloggy way.

retouched table cloth so it covers the table

Ahhh, I’ll once again be able to sleep peacefully, without a care in the world.

How can I ever repay you, Iggy?  Oh how?  Oh how? Oh how!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Giving Thanks in black and white


Our Thanksgiving Friday in black and white. Isn’t it cool how the women wore dark clothing and the guys light. This was totally planned. Yea right. (Tessa, Greg, Me, Jim, Julie)

373 Did you ever look at your shoes? Jim’s mom and Greg were checking theirs out. She very seriously told Greg that shoes these days cost $10 a pair – that’s ridiculous! That wicked Alzheimer’s disease has taken hold of her pretty good. She had us all confused, calling her daughter, Sandy, Verda (her sis’s name), Tessa was Sandy and Sandy’s daughter Liz was Tessa.


We all stood in a circle, holding hands, and said a prayer of thanks. We have so much to be thankful for. After that all bets were off. The feeding frenzy began. How can it take so many hours to fix the food, and so little time to eat it?


Little Miss Reagan had her own private dining area.


Say “cheese” Austin! The younger grandkids were at this table. Cara wasn’t too thrilled to be cast with the little ones. That’s ok dear, you will graduate to the teen table next year.


Travis, Emily, Paige, Cody. Paige is Jim’s brother’s girl.


This is the reason Travis has such a strange look on his face in the previous picture. He was working on one of those totally mature teen moments of showing the food he was eating.


Julie, Landon (niece Lizzy’s boyfriend), Lizzy, Teer (Jim’s sis’ husband), Jim’s mom, Jim and his sis, Sandy. Jim’s brother, Tracy, and our daughter, Tessa. I’m kicking myself for not fixing that table cloth on the table better.


This was by far the coolest moment of the day. Our nephew, Jesse, is in Iraq. We got him online so he could talk to everyone. I truly thought the whole computer thing would freak Grandma H. out. She was cool with it. She was waving and blowing kisses at him. Then she did the coolest thing. She saluted him and said “I salute you”. Totally amazing.


A light moment with daughter-in-law Alicia and niece Liz.


Jim’s family. A loved one dies and yet a family goes on - minus one . That one is still there in our hearts. Jim’s dad was quite a guy. He has been watching over us for 13 years now. I guess we’ll always miss him.


We pulled a stupid trick. We waited until the end of the day to try to get a family picture. Everyone was totally beat. I am proud of each and every one of these little tykes. And I am in awe that they are part of my life.

404 406405398

412Our little Anna Rose hung in there with us as long as she could. It didn't take more than 5 minutes to take the pictures, but she was not in the mood for this photo op to begin with. As sad as she looks here, she is only weary because of a wonderful day. I know I often felt like she did over the past week and yet I wouldn’t have changed a single thing. I love my family.

Did you notice that I didn’t even mention food in this post? It was all great! But I didn’t think to take a single picture of food, and all of y’all know what is served at Thanksgiving.

This past week has been a wild ride.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I’m Breathing Again

The house is clean. check

The menus are planned.  check

Any prep work that can be done ahead of time is done. check

Grocery shopping is done.  check

Bulletins, liturgical roles, and calendar are not done – will check that off the list this afternoon (hopefully)

One embroidery job done – will deliver this afternoon. check

Another job will be done tonight (if I’m not too tired)

Photo project is put on hold.

Invitations to our annual Christmas party created (75 of them), envelopes addressed, stamped and mailed.  Check.

Hubby just called from dentist (he had his wisdom tooth removed).   He called me on home phone to say he was heading home.  The connection wasn’t good, so he said “you are breaking up, you must be driving”  Huh?  I think I should have gone with him…

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Time Out

time out

I’ve fought against it.

I’ve tried to pretend it isn’t necessary.

I thought if I just moved a little faster, I’d find a way.

I thought that if I just stayed up a few extra hours every night, I’d “get “er done”

Now I’m just thinking… what was I thinking!  I can’t get it all done!  I have so many unfinished projects that it is unreal.

Things like embroidery jobs for very understanding customers.  Yes I said customers.  I’m starting to catch up there but the jobs keep pouring in.  I’m not complaining, but I’m not keeping up.

And then it is the photo job I started.  There are 37 years of photos that years ago I carefully placed in albums with magnetic pages.  You know the kind.  The kind that stuck the photo solid and then slowly ate away at it.  I’m carefully removing them from the albums and scanning each and every photo.  What a walk down memory lane!  How time consuming.  But it will be worth the time it took.  Right?  Right?  Please say right!!!!!

And I have to get the Liturgical Roles, the monthly Calendar, and of course the weekly bulletin done at Church next week.  I haven’t even gotten the bulletin done for this week!  Remember, this is a very, very part time job.  And of course it is a holiday week, so I have 2 days to accomplish this, plus update the web site.  Nobody will notice if there is no bulletin or calendar, right?  And does it matter if nobody knows what they are scheduled to do?  And it doesn’t matter if the web site doesn’t get updated.  Right?  Right???? Please say right!!!!!!

But I think what finally put me over the edge is I am getting company for Thanksgiving.   Jim’s sister and her family are heading our way for a visit.  I found out yesterday.  I’m thrilled that they are coming to visit.  They are coming exactly a week from today.  And they plan on staying 4 days.   I’ve been so busy with all of the other things I’m not getting done that I’ve also not been getting my cleaning done.  I need to clean!  They won’t notice if I don’t, though, right?  Right?  Please say right!!!!!


Oh and I need to cook.  Right?  Please say nah, you don’t need to cook.  In addition to day to day meals for guests (3 days worth), plus 24 for Thanksgiving, I think I’d better plan on cooking.   Actually I love to cook, but once again, it takes time.  I’m wazzing here! 

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone and remember…. we have so much to be thankful for.  Even when things are not going the way we want, we have much to be thankful for. 

I am thankful for my loving family.  I am thankful that mom and dad are safe in heaven with God.  I am thankful for this great country.  I am thankful for my health.  I am thankful to have wonderful internet friends.  I thank God every day for all of my blessings.

Friday, November 13, 2009

A blip in the road

Missouri is rich in small historic towns along the Missouri River.  These little towns struggle to survive, but survive they do.  We’ve been trying to stay close to home in our “get-aways” and support our beautiful Missouri.

Rocheport is one of our favorite little towns.  It was a trading post for both settlers and Native Americans in the early 19th Century.  It is the home of 150 adults, 50 children, 20 dogs, and 15 cats.


It is located along the beautiful Missouri River, and the KATY Trail (a 225 hiking/biking trail that stretches across most of the state).


The KATY trail is part of a rails to trails project, and used to be the MKT Railroad line.  See the bracings of this bridge? It really doesn’t look as if it would be able to support a train, does it?  I think I’ll walk, thank you very much.


There are train tunnels…


… and goofy ladies…


Historic homes turned into historic shops…


…with everything you could ever want available (at a price…)


And of course, a winery.  One of our many favorites.


The Les Bourgeois winery overlooks the downright beautiful Missouri River.  As we sipped our wine, we listened to the sounds of a barge making its way up the river.


To the left is Interstate 70.  The bridge you see here is one I have had several encounters with.  It is patched and re-patched, and I believe held together with super glue and duct tape.  Years ago, in the middle of a terrible rainstorm, I was traveling as part of my job, heading to Kansas City.  I had almost made it to the end of the bridge when I heard a horrible bang and found myself struggling to keep my car under control.  The semi in the lane next to me immediately pulled over too.  It turned out that I had hit a chunk of concrete that had been used as part of the road fill process and flung it into the side of the semi.  My right front wheel had literally buckled under the impact.  I never made it to Kansas City that day.


My other encounter with this bridge was during the flood of 92.  Even though Rocheport is about 45 miles from my home, this bridge was my alternate path to get to work (the total trip took over 3 hours).  The bridge at Jefferson City had already been taken by the flood.  As I drove across this bridge, I could see the water seeping through the roadway.  It was an even scarier experience than the rogue concrete!


The fall colors may be gone, but the scenery is still breathtaking.