Friday, July 30, 2010

I have no sunflowers but I do have V8

Do you remember my sunflower excitement earlier this summer?  I had dreams of beautiful, large, vibrant yellow sunflowers growing against the back drop of this white barn.  In between the sunflowers I planted onion sets that were questionably ok to plant.

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What with all the rain flowing down the terrace, the onions quickly rotted in the ground.  But I still had high hopes for my sunflowers.

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It wasn’t meant to be.  All around me, in other people’s yards, I see beautiful sunflowers standing tall, waiting to feed the beautiful birds.  This is it for me… one lonely, rather puny, flower.  One puny flower without enough seed to even attract birds.

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Just one… The ground was rich with manure and the sun was abundant, and so was the rain.  It has rained so much!  Yes, I blame the rain.  Who knows the real reason my ladies didn’t make – but I blame the rain.  Never fear, though, I’m going to try again next year in a different spot.  I WILL have sunflowers!

Our tomatoes, on the other hand have done quite well.  Fifteen quarts of salsa is already hidden in the dark bowels of the garage.  Fourteen jars of V8 juice have now joined them (I kept one out for drinking – yum!)

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Here is the recipe if you are interested:

Jericho Juice

15# tomatoes

1 large onion

1 large green pepper

6-8 stalks celery

6-8 carrots

1 large beet

Cut in pieces, cook until tender, put through strainer.

Add:

4 Tablespoons brown sugar

2 Tablespoons canning salt (optional - I don't)

2 teaspoons celery salt

Boil.  Put in jars and seal.

(FYI – I forgot to add the brown sugar and celery salt and it is still wonderful – so if sugar is a no, no, just leave it out)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

You Ain’t Woman Enough…

While visiting Jim’s mom at the nursing home yesterday, one of the residents took a definite liking to my man.  The melody from the old Loretta Lynn song You Ain’t Woman Enough to Take My Man actually flashed through my mind.

Here is how the conversation went (yelling across the room):

Hussy:  What’s your name?

My man:  Jim

Hussy:  Are you married?

My man:  Sure am

Me:  I’m his wife

Hussy:  How come all the good looking ones are always taken?

Me:  (to Jim with tears of laughter rolling down my cheeks) You’d better be nice or I’m going to tell her that you’re up for grabs.

Mom:  She’s just an ol’ hussy

Hussy:  What’s your telephone number

My man:  You’ll have to ask her (pointing to me)

Hussy:  Are you married?  You sure are good lookin’…

My man:  I feel like a piece of meat!

The whole place is in stitches by this point.  One of the attendants finally took matters into her own hands and walked the hussy out, while she muttered the whole way about all the good ones are already taken….

I’ll bet you didn’t know a visit to a nursing home could be so entertaining. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I won!

I feel like I won the Lottery.

Every year our church takes up a collection of school supplies to give to the area schools for distribution to kids who cannot afford to buy supplies.  School supplies are expensive!

I was tipped off by another parishioner that Menards has school supplies on sale, with rebates to boot.  So off I went to Menards.  And here is what I found…

Backpacks on sale for $5.99 with a rebate of $5.00 = $1 backpacks!  These are obviously not heavy duty, load it with upper class book type bags, but they are great for the elementary grade kids.

Little bit heavier duty back packs on sale for $8.99 with a $5.00 rebate - $4.00 back packs.  I can afford that.

Markers, glue, crayons, rulers, scissors for $.89 with $.50 rebates = 40 cent school supplies.  Wow!

If you go shopping, watch your quantities.  There is a limit of 6 on the back packs, and 10 to 20 on the rest of the supplies, depending on which ones.  After those quantities are met, they won’t honor the rebate.

So head on out there and pick up some school supplies.  Churches and businesses everywhere collect supplies for children in need.  It is a wonderful feeling to do something good and not have to spend an arm and a leg to do it!

The Queen’s Riddle

When I read this email my son-in-law, Doug, sent me, it made me laugh – so surely all of you need to see it.  I’m not posting it as an intent to slam our current President, although my personal opinion is that it applies nicely.  But please feel free to substitute names of other idiots in government.  There are plenty to choose from. 

Barack Obama met with the Queen of England. He asked her, "Your Majesty, how do you run such an efficient government? Are there any tips you can give to me?"
"Well," said the Queen, "the most important thing is to surround yourself with intelligent people."  Obama frowned, and then asked, "But how do I know the people around me are really intelligent?"
The Queen took a sip of tea. "Oh, that's easy; you just ask them to answer an intelligent riddle." The Queen pushed a button on her intercom. "Please send Tony Blair in here, would you?" Tony Blair walked into the room and said, "Yes, my Queen?" The Queen smiled and said, "Answer me this please, Tony, your mother and father have a child. It is not your brother and it is not your sister. Who is it?" Without pausing for a moment, Tony Blair answered, "That would be me.
"Yes! Very good," said the Queen. Obama went back home to ask Joe Biden, his vice presidential choice the same question. "Joe, answer this for me. Your mother and your father have a child. It's not your brother and it's not your sister. Who is it?" "I'm not sure, "said Biden. "Let me get back to you on that one..." He went to his advisors and asked
every one, but none could give him an answer. Finally, he ended up in the men's room and recognized Colin Powell's shoes in the next stall.
Biden asked Powell, "Colin, can you answer this for me? Your mother and father have a child and it's not your brother or your sister. Who is it? "Colin Powell yelled back, "That's easy, it's me.  Biden smiled, and said, "Thanks!" Then, he went back to speak with Obama.
"Say, I did some research and I have the answer to that riddle. It's Colin Powell!"  Obama got up, stomped over to Biden, and angrily yelled into his face, "No! you idiot! It's Tony Blair!"
AND THAT, MY FRIENDS, IS PRECISELY WHAT'S GOING ON WITH OUR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IN WASHINGTON D.C.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Magic Carpet Ride

Friday was another hot and muggy summer day.  We sat in folding chairs looking out over the Osage River.  Fortunately our seats were in partial shade and there was a slight breeze off the water.

Time was moving a little on the slow side.  Is it 3:00 yet?  Ten past?  I guess we’ll just have to be patient.

The official finally stood by the podium and we waited a bit more.

Then a young man, wearing a decidedly hippie type tunic joined the minister, along with two other young men.  Everyone waited in expectation.

Finally the music began.  Magic Carpet Ride…

I like to dream yes, yes, right between my sound machine
On a cloud of sound I drift in the night
Any place it goes is right
Goes far, flies near, to the stars away from here
Well, you don't know what we can find
Why don't you come with me little girl
On a magic carpet ride
You don't know what we can see
Why don't you tell your dreams to me
Fantasy will set you free
Close your eyes girl
Look inside girl
Let the sound take you away

And sashaying down the grassy path towards the river and the bridal party were two young ladies.

Behind them was the most delightful sight.  Dark hair flowing well past her waist, held in place by a simple band of material.  A white bridal dress altered to reflect the personality of the bride – mini short.  And finally a pair of cowboy boots. 

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I had not seen Renee in years.  She had grown from an “I’ll do it my way” young girl and teen to a much more “I’ll do it my way” adult.  My mouth flew open and I had to grin.  Her mom did a lot of shrugging.  She was  doing her best to go with the flow of the day.

The service was short and sweet.  You might notice the ropes tied around their hands?  (had I known this was one wedding I definitely wanted to get pictures of, I would have brought something other than my cell phone…)  The two ropes were twined around their hands as words of unity were read.

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I’ll have to admit to having briefly felt like I had entered a time warp.  This was a wedding of the free love hippie days of 40 years ago. 

Once the bride and groom had spent time walking around visiting everyone (she told me she chose Magic Carpet Ride as the song she walked in on because it was her favorite song as a little girl), and after they cut the cake – they had one more surprise for  everyone.

Bare foot and still in their wedding clothes, they walked over to the edge of the river bank and holding hands jumped in.

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Beautiful or crazy?  Somehow it worked for these  two.

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I actually had time to sit by myself for a bit, gazing out over the water thinking.  They were sincere in their expression of love.  This is what was going to work for them.  It bothered me that God didn’t seem to have a place in their new life, but maybe that will come in time.

The one thing I kept thinking over and over is that they seemed very happy and they were being true to themselves.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Overgrown beauty

 

I watch television shows like Curb Appeal and wonder what the experts would say about ours.

Our house can’t easily be seen from the road, so the only curb appeal is this flower bed.

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It is overgrown and weedy, but it still has some curb appeal.  Right?  The pampas grass started out as two small plants 5 or so years ago.  Now it needs some serious downsizing.  Just a short week ago the cone flowers to the right were in their glory.  Their little knobby heads still stand proud though.  I do believe a little weeding and mulching would quickly restore this flower bed to great curb appeal.

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Anybody know what this purple flower is?  It has bloomed gloriously this year, with the crepe myrtle and black eyed susan’s as a backdrop!

Crepe myrtle flower and black eyed susan

The Crepe Myrtle is a bully, dominating all that surrounds it.

Storms just blew through again and now the sun is peeking through the trees.   It’s going to be another hot, muggy day.

   

Pink Crepe Myrtle bush

Whiskey is terrified of thunder.  Even though it is 9:00, he just now poked his head up suggesting he might want to go out.  We may call him “junk yard dog” but he is seriously such a chicken!

Whiskey in his dog bed

Monday, July 19, 2010

TaDa!

     

Here is the long awaited tada the bathroom is done post.  You weren’t waiting for it?  Well I was!

claw foot tub, wood floor, pedestal sink

I’m in love with my bathroom.  I love soaking in the tub.  I love the feel of the wood floor on my bare feet.

I love the clean white bead board.

I love the sleek lines of the pedestal sink.  I love the peaceful greens in all sorts of different shades.

I love my “molded” toilet where the tank is part of the bottom and no little boys can piss in between the two pieces.  I even love the toilet lid that miraculously eases down when pushed, rather than slamming shut.  Somebody even embroidered a hand towel with our initial on it. 

Ok.  I’m not in love with my bathroom.  That would just be silly.  But I shore do like it an awful lot.  I am, however, in love with the guy who, with a lot of planning and hard work, made it happen. 

stained glass window from entry way

From the entry way the stained glass window that Jim built over 25 years ago looks beautiful.

    

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This is what it looked like before.

Over the years the space where the window sat had weakened and sagged.  Iron bars were inserted to reinforce the frame so the sag would not break the glass.  That was one of the first things we needed to fix in this renovation.

hole in the wall where the window used to be

We removed the window and then centered the opening on the wall. 

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See that iron beam next to the drill?  Let me tell you – that thing was HEAVY.  Together we lifted it in place next to the ceiling, above the window frame, to provide the needed support.

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With the help of a house jack, we jacked the braces up until everything was level as can be.  I was a nervous wreck, thinking irrational things like that beam was going to fall through to the other side.  Did I mention that it was heavy?  I’ll say it again…. it was HEAVY! 

gutted bathroom initerior

 

Removing this old tub enclosure was no small task.

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It is amazing what I have been able to get on a wire bakers rack.  (I didn’t notice one of the grandkids had put a used towel on there when I took this picture… it looks natural there)

 

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I see tin as I look to the ceiling while soaking in my dream bathtub.  Yes – I am definitely lovin’ it.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Put ‘em to work

What to do with three grandsons while I’m under the weather was the question.  The answer was easy.  Put ‘em to work.

My contribution to the day was brownies for breakfast (shhhh don’t tell their mother – they drank milk with them); hot dogs for lunch, and Mexican for supper.  And I took a few pictures.  Other than that, I rested.

Jim cracked the whip.

Travis painting the fence

Travis stained the fence.  He learned a lot about how to get the stain on the wood instead of himself, thanks to Grandpa.

Austin getting rid of spider webs  

Austin had the all important job of taking a high tech stick and hunting down spider webs.  He is a master of Arachnidology and hires out for $2 a day.

Dakota staining picnic table

Dakota stained picnic tables and benches.  He claims this is the first time he has ever sweated.  Now that just ain’t right.  We aren’t giving our all if we don’t sweat – right?  He sure did a great for the first time ever wielding a paint brush.  I hope his mom forgives me for the ruined shorts he was wearing.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Chinese Slaw

It is mighty frustrating when the mind wants to go, go, go and the body says whoah, whoah, whoa. Lupus has been raising its ugly head these past few weeks, slowing me down considerably. Oh well, it could be worse.

Here's a recipe I mentioned in my 5th of July blog. It is a refreshingly sweet and crunchy version of coleslaw. I hope you enjoy it.

CHINESE SLAW

1 pkg. cut-up slaw
2 pkgs. Ramen Beef flavored noodles (broken up)
1 cup sliced almonds
2 bunches green onions (chopped)
1 cup sunflower seeds (optional) - I used pine nuts (yum!)

Mix and add the following salad dressing:

Mix together 2/3 cup sugar, 1 cup oil, 1/3 cup white vinegar, 2 pkgs. flavoring from Ramen noodles.

Hope everyone is staying cool and has a wonderful weekend.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Treat ‘em like a friend

The bare white wall behind my stove has always bothered me.  Since it is Formica, I hesitate to hang anything that requires nails.  I’ve thought if I found the right thing, double sided tape would do the trick – but I’ve never found anything I thought was right… until today.

wall behind stove with live laugh love applique  

We were checking out all of the fun stuff on sale at Kohl's, knowing that I had my trusty little additional 15% off coupon.  Out of the blue we  happened on to a display of appliqu├ęs.  But we just didn’t see any the right size, or with the right quote.  Then it happened.  Jim rummaged towards the back of the display and found it.  Live Laugh Love.  My dictum.  Live Laugh and Love.  And I’m lovin’ it! (And yes, I have a thing for old salt and pepper shakers).

I have a friend with me at all times.  No matter where I go, this friend tags along.  Changing personalities and clothes quite often, this friend always entertains, sometime scares, amuses, educates, makes me laugh and cry. I’ll have to admit I occasionally don’t enjoy this friend’s company and do a little switcheroo.  But all in all – I love my friend.

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My books are my friend.  As a child I was always admonished to take great care with my books.  Don’t lay them open – always use a bookmark.  Turning down a corner to mark where we had left off together was taboo. 

 

Somehow that just doesn’t seem right to me.  It didn’t then and it doesn’t now.  If I’m visiting with someone else’s friend, then I’m more cautious.  It doesn’t pay to get too familiar if it isn’t yours.  But with my own friends, I like to curl up and get comfy.  I like the wrinkles and creases and smudges that prove we’ve been enjoying ourselves together.

Some of my favorite authors are Diana Gabaldon,  Ken Follett, Jeffrey Archer, Maeve Binchy, and Nicholas Sparks.  There are many more but these readily come to mind. 

Recently I’ve found another favorite friend.  Vicki Lane.

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I’ve been visiting her blog, Vicki Lane Mysteries, for a few months now.  It is always an interesting read.  Sometimes she has a lot to say, sometimes, just a photo and a sentence or two. 

Finally, my fascination got the best of me and I had to read her books.  I was so confident that I was going to enjoy them – I ordered the entire series, including the one coming out this Fall.  I’m such a smart lady! 

The setting for her stories are the Appalachian Mountains – a place of fascination.  As I read the stories, I can hear the music of Emmy Lou Harris singing the Appalachian Waltz.  I can see in my mind the beauty of the youth, and the weathered faces of the hill people – sometimes in honesty, and other times in deceit.  She gives glimpses into how things were and in some cases still are.  If you get a chance to read Vicki Lane’s book, jump at it.

I really do treat my books as a comfortable inanimate friend (although the books do have life to me).  Anyhow, I was soaking in my awesome claw foot tub, reading the first in the series of Viki Lane’s books, Art’s Blood, and came upon this passage.  The main character, Elizabeth Goodweather, was contemplating the facts of a murder…

“She stretched out a foot and turned the tarnished brass tap, letting a little more hot water into the tub.  A soak in the tub before bed was one of her greatest pleasures.  Usually she brought a book with her and read till the water became too cool or till she dozed off.  Occasionally her book would dip into the water as  her eyes  drifted shut, but she had made it a rule never to read borrowed books in the bathtub.  Once wet, a book was never quite the same.  It would eventually dry out, but always in a puffed-up, outsize version of its former self.”

I had to chuckle to be reading that passage as I was soaking in my tub, reading.

Do you like to read?  What is your favorite type of book?  Do you have a favorite author?  Do you treat your books with great respect or do you abuse them like I do, taking them for granted like an old friend?  I really want to know!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Safe Sex

I’ve kind of abandoned my “Will I Ever Learn Wednesday” posts.  I still do crazy things that make people stop and scratch their heads in disbelief, but I’m not very good at any kind of structure.  I’ve found that a weekly post becomes a burden, rather than fun.  That doesn’t mean, though, that I’m not going to poke fun at myself (or those around me) occasionally.  Here’s proof.

Please keep in mind that I am telling this story at the risk of having the rater gods swoop in and label my sweet innocent blog as something other than G or GP.  But I’m going to take that risk.

It was one of those crazy days.  Hurry up!  Get ready to go.  My goal was to get my house “dead ready” or as picked up as possible before heading.

I hurriedly made the bed.  As I headed to the next task, I noticed a couple of stuffed sheep sitting on the bedroom chair.  Since I sometimes throw them on the bed, I grabbed them and tossed them up there, nice and tidy like and “whirl winded” on to the next task (whirlwind is what Jim calls me when I get like this).

It wasn’t long before I heard this howl of laughter coming out of the bedroom.  What now?  He man was doubled over in laughter at what he saw.  What do you think?

our bedroom   Everything look ok to you?  Let’s take a closer look….

 

Two sheep looking like they are "getting it on"

Oh my.  The Marvin Gay song, “Let’s Get It On” immediately came to mind.

Once I recovered from my fits of laughter, I separated the two love birds to their respective places.

The two sheep separated

If I allowed smoking in my house, I’m pretty sure these two would each have a cig in their little hoofs.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The 4th on the 5th

We celebrated Independence Day a day late.  It just made sense to do that.  Us old fogies aren’t all that fond of the booms and bangs of fire crackers.  And my heart stands still at the thought of burnt fingers or worse.  Heck, the kids got here and started telling stories of mishaps while safely celebrating and my heart still did a flip or two. 

Our celebration was a bit more sedate than the normal festivities.  We sat around drinking BeerRitas (mix together 1 can frozen limeade, 3/4 cup tekillya, 3 beers and add lots of ice), iced tea, and soda.  Appetizers were RoTel and veggies and tortilla chips, and a to-die-for spinach dip that Alicia brought.
I made pulled pork (first time ever).  Major yum!  I’ll be doing that more often.  Along with that we had Chinese Slaw (let me know if you want the recipe), cheesy potatoes, baked beans.

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We somehow managed to stretch the festivities out throughout  the afternoon.  There was a little horseshoe playing going on, and a lot of stories. 

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The fearsome 4 of Dakota, Allen, James and Austin played a dangerous game of stick chasing, guns, swords… not too sure what all was going on there.

Oh, and Emily even snuck in and tried out the new tub.  No picture of that was allowed of course.


Reagan pooped out and took a short nap.  She just curls up and calls it quits when she is tired.  An amazing child, that Reagan is.


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Our step-son, Cody, was here – and that is always a treat.  We seem to always be missing one of the grandkids.  Travis was with his dad but was with us towards the end of the day. 

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As if we hadn’t already eaten enough food to render us all useless, we had a awesome dessert that I can’t remember the name of (Tessa made it), and ice cream sandwiches.  Groan.  Tooo much food!

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The weather was a bit muggy but there was a breeze, and the 50% chance of rain held out in our favor for a change.

I am pooped and smiling from the memories of a fun filled day.  I’ll try to catch up on blogs soon – and hope everyone had a wonderful, fun filled weekend.

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Friday, July 2, 2010

Smile and the world smiles with you…

Allen is one of those kids whose smile goes on forever.

allen in bathtub
Even under this bath bubbles, the smile shines through!  Can you see a “The Bathroom is Done” post coming soon?  Allen is the 4th (of this family) to take a bath in our “new” tub.  First was little ol’ me.  Second was the guy who toiled and labored over the entire project.  Third was demon dog Whiskey. 
We smiled through walks outside.  We smiled through breakfast at 9:30 at night (shhhhh don’t tell mom and dad).
 
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  We smiled through rounding up a ram for slaughter.
We smiled as Allen and Grandpa sang silly/country songs all the way to Russelville locker.

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  We smiled through naming our new kitten Tyrone.  Allen suggested Tiger, but we decided that name was overused.  So Tyrone he is.  Thanks for getting this little gem of a kitten for us Greg and Alicia.

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We smiled over a tiny little ice cream cone at Central Dairy – the best ice cream parlor in the State of Missouri

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We smiled when for the first time ever it clicked with Allen that we actually live in a log house.  He was like “wow”! 

We were like wow – we are so lucky.  Thanks to Allen, we are still… well, we are SMILING! 
For more smiles, click the slide show.  You’ll be glad you did.

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