Thursday, August 27, 2009

The law of the garbage truck

I’m going to be away for a few days and wanted to leave this with you while I’m gone.

By Anzelle En Juan Bezuidenhout

One day I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport. We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches! The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us..

My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was really friendly. So I asked, 'Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!' This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, 'The Law of the Garbage Truck.'

He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment.

As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they'll dump it on you. Don't take it personally.

Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don't take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streets.

The bottom line is that successful people do not let garbage trucks take over their day.

Life's too short to wake up in the morning with regrets,

so...Love the people who treat you right. Pray for the ones who don't.

Life is ten percent what you make it and ninety percent how you take it!

Have a blessed, garbage-free day!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My Missouri – KATY Trail

One of our favorite things to do is walk or ride bicycles on the Katy trail. 

A railroad trestle

According to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources :

Katy Trail State Park is built on the former corridor of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas (MKT) Railroad (better known as the Katy). When the railroad decided to cease operation on its route from Machens in St. Charles County to Sedalia in Pettis County in 1986, it presented the chance to create an extraordinary recreational opportunity -- a long-distance hiking and bicycling trail that would run almost 200 miles across the state.

What they don’t mention is that all those many years ago when the land was taken from the farmers and landowners to operate the railroad, the agreement was that if the railroad ever ceased operation, the land would revert back to the landowners. 

Scenery of a winding creek from the trail 

The scenery along the  trail is beautiful.  This shot happens to be of Cedar Creek.

Many landowners were VERY upset when they heard a trail extending from East to West was in the works.  I remember vividly seeing farmers parking farm implements on the trail area so it could not be developed.  There were protests, town hall meetings, the works.  In the end the government got its way (doesn’t it usually always) and the trail was built. 

Twenty three years later hiking/biking on the KATY trail is a very popular recreational activity for individuals from all over the nation.  Small communities along the trail have capitalized on the traffic with rest stops, restaurants, stores, camping areas, hostels, and bed and breakfasts.  Many start out in Sedalia in the West and days later take out in St. Charles (home of Missouri’s very first State Capital) in the East.

We have met some real interesting people on the trail – often from states far and wide.  I just shake my head in amazement.


        All along the way are old railroad trestles

The area we bike is from the Jefferson City trailhead towards Hartsburg.  At one time we biked the 10 miles to Hartsburg without a thought.  Not so much anymore… but our goal is to once again bike to Hartsburg and then, of course, back home again.  (We always have to remind ourselves that however far we go in one direction, we have to make it that far in reverse)

View of the Missouri River from the trail

The trail winds in and out of the Missouri River, creeks and farmlands just like the railroad did.

Deanna on an inexpensive WalMart bike with the Missouri River in the background

And as you can see, the bike doesn’t have to be fancy to be fun.  Ours are cheap, end of the season, WalMart models.  I do envy some of the contraptions I see pass us by, though…

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Salsa, brownies and tunes. MmMm good!

Julie and two of her boys came over on Saturday to make Salsa since everyone has had a bumper crop of tomatoes this year.  But first we had to make brownies to sustain us through all the hard work ahead of us.

Austin and Dakota grinning as they eat the brownie batter

These two are a handful!  Look at them!  Silly me, I thought you were supposed to bake brownies before you ate them. 

 Close up of Dakota lickiing the bowl Dakota was sure to get every last bit out of the bowl.  Both boys were determined that I not put too much in the cake pan for baking. 

Austin with a dirty, chocolaty, mug

A face that only a grandma could love :)

Austin, Julie and Dakota making salsa

We use a Sauce Master Food Strainer with a salsa screen on it.  The good stuff slides down the little shoot on the side and the peelings pop out the front.  It is pretty ingenious and works great.  My job was to quarter the tomatoes, Austin had the messy job of putting them into the white funnel.  Julie proved herself quite capable of pushing the tomatoes into the grinder.  Dakota was the muscles of the operation.  He had to turn the crank.


Who could have known making salsa took such concentration? 

Austin playing the accordion

To top the day off, Austin serenaded us.  The accordion he is playing was one I had when I was a child in the 50’s.  Cool, huh.

Friday, August 21, 2009

You can run, but you can't hide...

I received the following from my dad's insurance company today. Now mind you, I sent them notification of his death along with the death certificate months ago to cancel his policy.

Dear Mr:

We have received notice that your premium was returned by the bank for the following reason: Deceased. Therefore, your policy has been removed from bank withdrawal and placed on direct bill.

Should I respond back and asked them where exactly they plan on sending that bill - that I'd like to post a letter or two?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

You’re a Gem Award

Thank you, Iggy, for this award. You are a Gem.

I hereby award "You Are A Gem" to the following people that were obviously inspired when they wrote the entry for which I've linked...I hope you will find them well worth the read.


Jeannie - from Jeannie's Happy World is always a fun read. We often see the fabulous cards she makes, or her precocious, adorable daughter, Bella. Her husband, Thomas, is also often proudly featured. Jeannie is a very caring person. She often joins in causes for those in need. And she LOVES her country and don’t you DARE put it down. That is the post I linked to because I LOVE my country too. God Bless America! And check out Jeannie (although I’m pretty sure everyone who reads my blog already does).

Intenseguy - I have to link right back to the person who gave me this award. He is inspiring. He is funny. He opens his soul to us. He opens the world to us with history lessons. He cares with great intensity. I have shed many tear while reading his blog – some from laughing so hard I cry, and others from emotions I didn’t know existed. And I have been sent googling many times because my knowledge is so limited! Intenseguy's “When Friends Struggle” post meant a lot to me. I’ve gone back and read it quite a few times. (And here I keep backspacing because I’m trying to tell you what it is about and can’t find the right words – it is about so much!) But the bottom line is he is here for us, his friends, no matter what.

Ladystyx - I tag Ladystyx's 2 Cents from a Chaotic Mind. I never know what I’m going to find in Styxie’s blog. Whatever it is, it is always interesting. Recently she started a What You Saw/What I Saw posting of clouds. I’ll bet each and everyone of us has played and still play the game of seeing pictures in the clouds. I think her idea to make a blog game out of it is a stroke of genius. And to top it all off when she posts the What I Saw entry, she includes a picture from everyday life showing it. My hat is off to you Styxie (oh wait, I don’t have a hat on…)

In My Mind It’s Always Funny – I’ve just recently started following In My Mind It's Always Funny and always come away grinning. Through the ramblings of everyday life she touches on her own very real problems but always throws in a sprinkle ton of humor. I don’t really have a favorite post of hers, so I just linked to today’s post and hope you enjoy it.

There are many other blogs I enjoy and that have special posts, so to pick a few, I had to just close my eyes and then go after the first posts that came to mind.

I hope those I tagged (except Iggy, he already did this) will tag others, because I’m looking forward to checking out your favorite posts!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Last hurrah of the summer

Last Saturday meant a trip to the Missouri State Fair. We didn’t go for the rides. We didn’t go for the concerts. We went because Greg and Alicia asked us to. I’m not much into walking around a dusty, hot, fairgrounds but I usually won’t miss a chance to spend a day with any of my kids and/or grandkids. We stayed off the main drag where the carnival rides, games, etc. are(can’t remember what that is usually called) and spent the day going through the many exhibits of flowers, animals, and crafts.


I fell in love with this orchid. Too bad I kill house plants. Isn’t it beautiful?


Aren’t these guys absolutely beautiful? So proud!


042This was one aggressive bird. I kept trying to put the lens of my camera inside the cage to get a picture without the bars and he came after me with a vengeance. Bad bird! Ok, smart bird. Nobody’s going to eat this guy for Thanksgiving if he has anything to say about it.


Ok, I know – lame picture. But I just thought the goose and turkey heads opposite each other was funny. What would you call a goose crossed with a turkey? A goot?


How many times have I dreamed of putting the grandkids in a cage – just for an hour or two… Now I know what they would look like. And it didn’t hurt him a bit – see, he’s still smiling. (the turkey he is harassing isn’t, though)


They had a Rooster Crowing contest. We actually stood there and waited for 2:00 to come. I wanted to hear all of those roosters crowing at one time. There were eight contestants. I watched the owners working to make the roosters think it was night time. How you ask? One brave fellow kept putting his rooster’s head under his t-shirt. I had my camera ready for the moment the rooster got pissed enough and pecked his belly. Others were holding their hands over the rooster’s eyes. Others were sticking the rooster’s head under its wing (any guesses on how well that worked?) Anyway, finally after waiting and waiting like idiots (it was now 2:30) the announcer said something like “ok everyone let’s hear your roosters crow!” Silence. I swear not a single rooster would crow. Well go figure. I won’t be attending this particular competition again any time soon :)


Regan and Allen during one of our mandatory grandma is tired rests.


The Highway Patrol had a cool display of old patrol cars. Ah the good ol’ days.


Car 54 Where Are You…. (anybody remember that show other than me?)


Somehow seeing this come up behind me would scare the pewiddle out of me. It just looks intimidating – like they are ready to haul me in.


They all wanted to walk through the sheep barns. As the wife of a Shepherd, I didn’t really feel the need to tromp through sheep sh*t. I mean, I can look out my kitchen window and get my fill of the cute not so little critters. So I sat on the bleachers and watched from a distance.


I did walk close enough to the sheep to snap this picture of these longhorn something or other.


The FFA building held all sorts of farm stuff. I’d say some of the pumpkins look a bit anemic (maybe it is the type?) but then they are called FUTURE Farmers of America… Imagine what kind of pumpkins they will be raising 5 years from now. Granddaughter Emily had a photo that was sent in for 4H. Somehow I neglected to take a picture of it on display (bad Grandma – bad Grandma).


When the legs give out, anywhere to sit is just fine. Even a drainage ditch will do nicely. Hey Allen – just let us know when you are ready to go again.


The Department of Conservation had a really cool display of fish tanks. I like this long snooted guy for some reason. I’m sure if Jim was here he could tell me what kind of fish it is. But he isn’t, so you’ll just have to guess.


I just like the looks of little ones from behind. Reagan is checking out the fish tank but somehow I missed getting the fish in the picture entirely.


You would think after three kids of my own and 10 grandkids that I would learn to never say the words “say cheese”…. apparently I’m a very slow learner. Say cheese Reagan!


We had 6 yr old Allen stand in front of this majestic tree to give you some idea of the size. I believe it is a cypress but don’t hold me to that.


Alicia ordered dinner for her family. Look at this awesome turkey drumstick. We all ended up snacking on it before the meal was done. I wish I had another one right now.


This is what Greg ended up with. So Greg, who wears the pants in your family? Alicia claims she didn’t know but I don’t know… My belly still hurts from laughing at them.


Allen’s no dummy – he’s going to share with mom.


They say timing is everything. No sooner than we stopped for supper the skies opened up. We thought the rain would just blow through but after finishing our food and fighting off all the other people wanting our table, we finally gave up and headed out.


Time to call it a day. Reagan was drenched but didn’t mind a bit. She had her passie and her ride. All is good in her little world.

We were bone tired Saturday night, but it was a good tired. I’m glad the State Fair only comes around once a year.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Change your thinking

I received the following in an email today.  It struck a chord with me.  I mean I shook the cobwebs out of this musty brain and thought – yea this is good stuff.  If it’s good stuff, then I must share it.  Right?  That’s the rule.  So here it is.

Most, if not all, of us have trials – some worse than others.  Family, health, finances… you name it.  Sometimes there is no hope.  Sometimes there is hope but only with a lot of pain and perseverance.  Sometimes where we are in our lives are self inflicted.  It really doesn’t matter why things are the way they are, it is what we do with it. 

I don’t know who wrote the following.  It probably isn’t even a true story but I kind of hope it is.  The message is a good one.


Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room.

One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs.
His bed was next to the room's only window.

The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.

The men talked for hours on end.

They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation..

Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.
The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake.

Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite details, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine this picturesque scene.
One warm afternoon, the man by the window described a parade passing by.

Although the other man could not hear the band - he could see it in his mind's eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Days, weeks and months passed.

One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep.

She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside.
He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed.

It faced a blank wall.

The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window.

The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall.

She said, "Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you."

There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations.
Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled.
If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money can't buy.
"Today is a gift. That is why it is called  "The Present".

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Fickle Fart Friend

I've discovered I am blog challenged. I would follow more blogs, but I am having trouble keeping up with the ones I already follow.

My reading list/dashboard is funny in that it picks and chooses which blogs it will give me updates on. Yea, the fickle fart plays favorites! I add everyone the same and then it does its thing. It plays nice with some of you and others... not so nice.

Does anyone else have this problem? It is very irritating and sometimes I even forget to comment on some of my favorite blogs simply because my idiot friend here doesn't poke me in the side and say "hey lady, your long lost friend finally posted".

Any trick and tips anybody wants to share?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Christmas in July

Last Christmas we decided to celebrate Christmas in July with a family vacation to the beautiful Missouri Ozarks on one of the many Scenic Missouri  Riverways. 


The area we chose, Steelville, is only an hour and 1/2 from our house.


Three rivers, the Courtois (court ah way), Huzzah, and Meramec all run into each other at some point.  It is the perfect recipe for a wonderful float.  And that is what we gave our kids and grandkids for Christmas last year – three days and two nights in the Ozarks with a one day float on the river.

Old abandoned looking house

We chose the cabin, which was touted to be large enough to sleep 20, sight unseen.  We had seen their cozy cabins that sleep four to eight and they are really nice, so we felt comfortable booking the “lodge” cabin.  You know, sometimes you just have to take your chances…  Imagine how our hearts stopped when we followed the directions and when we got to the spot this is what we saw.  (Ok, so I’m kidding…)


That’s right, the directions say the cabin is on the left – not the right!

The shack in the picture above really was right across the road from the cabin we rented.  And someone really lives there!


The inside was rustic with heavy furniture that even my grandkids couldn’t destroy!  Since it is the middle of summer, we didn’t exactly need the fireplace, but I can imagine it would be nice in the fall.


Off of this nice open great room was four bedrooms and two full baths.  Each bedroom had either two Queen size beds in it, or a Queen size bed and queen size sleeper sofa.  That is in addition to the two sleeper sofas in the great room.  They weren’t kidding when they said they could sleep 20.


There was a large yard that bordered on the horse trails.  The kids had a great time playing ball and all sorts of other games.


Anna just turned 7 and Allan will turn 7 in a few months.  These two sweeties are inseparable.


We spent a lot of time around the fire pit the first night we were there, roasting hotdogs and marshmallows…

Everyone enjoying hotdogs and smores

… and of course making smores!

Emily offeriing a tid bit to a horse

At dusk the horses, tired out from trail riding, came to visit us. 

Reagan not too sure about being so close to a horse

Reagan wasn’t too sure about our friendly white stallion here…

The kids petting the horses

… but the other kids loved being able to spend time with the horses.  What a bonus treat!

sitting around the campfire

We tried to tell scary stories around the campfire but somehow they just didn’t go over too great.  I think modern day video games and movies have relegated scary campfire stories to “lame” status.  They don’t know what they are missing… step by step, inch by inch, slowly he turned…  oh well!


It was cool to watch them play board games…


… and just spending time together.  The topic of the night was the weather for the next day.  According to the weather forecaster thunderstorms was supposed to blow through sometime after midnight.  Once they moved through it was supposed to be fair skies and gorgeous for a float trip.  Would he be right for  a change?

About 4:00 in the morning I woke to thunder crashing and lightening flashing.  All I could think was, “this is good – the storms will move on through in time for a sunny start to the day.


Austin & James (both 4) didn’t plan this fashion statement.  Tessa and Julie, coming from the same gene pool, bought them the same swimming trunks.  They certainly seem to be planning on sunshine.  But a look outside told an entirely different story.  It was raining off and on and no sun was doing its thing at all.  but the show goes on.             


The big yellow school bus picked us up at our cabin door during a break in the rain showers (good omen here – right?)


Here we are all (yes, everyone on this bus is part of our clan) ready to go – being as optimistic as possible and telling ourselves it doesn’t matter – no matter what, we are going to get wet.  Fortunately the thunder and lightening did move on during the night and it was just raining.  So – the show goes on!


Just as we pulled into the put in point of the river the skies opened up.  I took this picture through the bus window.  The bus driver was kind enough to let us sit on the bus and not turn us out right away.  As he put it, “it all pays the same, whether I sit here or go get another load”. 


We didn’t sit more than five minutes when the sun gods decided to shine down on us.  You heard me right – the sun!  


When we first looked at the rafts I had rented (only two of them) we were a little worried.  According to the brochures 10 of us was supposed to fit in each raft.  Did they take into account coolers, towel bags AND people?  We were going to soon find out!


Well I’ll be darned.  We do all fit – and with room to spare.


The rivers are mostly shallow with many gravel bars along the way.  It took us 8 hours to float 5 miles and we didn’t have to walk the rafts a single step of the way.  That means we spent a whole lot of time playing with water guns…


… walking and talking…


… having an occasional “poor me” moment…


…having more water gun fights…


… eating and drinking, and drinking and eating, and drinking and… well you know…


… showing off our many talents…


… just swimming around..


        … and enjoying the beautiful scenery




The only thing that even remotely marred this family get away was the many others, most of them drunk, who shared the water ways with us.  Fortunately  there was enough space that, with the exception of a few areas, you could either speed up or slow down and steer clear of them.  The grotesque and lewd behavior of many of these young people isn’t something I wanted my grandkids exposed to, but it is what it is.  Hopefully our efforts in turning it into a lesson of what not to do was successful.  We have vowed to avoid the Saturday crowd next year.



Back at the lodge, although tired (but fortunately not sun burnt) we ate pizza, blew bubbles, took baths and showers, and went to bed. 

This was a wonderful chance for my family to spend time together and bond.  It is something my grandkids will remember for the rest of their lives (even the drunks, unfortunately).  They will talk about the camp fires, ball games, smores, horses, grandma and grandpa snoring in the next room, the scary rain, the water gun fights, and stuff that I don’t even know  about. 

If there is a way to do something as a family, even when your family is way too big – do it.  You’ll never be sorry you did.  Before this we used to go camping at Alley Springs, which is also on a beautiful Missouri scenic river way – The Jack Fork River.  Alley Springs is our own family tradition, but unfortunately it is almost 4 hours away.  We’ve found a get away closer to home makes more sense. 

There are many inexpensive things you can do as a family.  We’ve talked about having the kids pitch tents at our place and if we couldn’t have afforded our weekend of paradise on the Meramec/Huzzah, that is exactly what we would have done.


Ahhh, this is what it’s all about – My Loves – My Life.