Thursday, March 31, 2011

Not far enough South…

The weather in Missouri has been dreary and cold for weeks on end, with an occasional brief show of sunshine.  Our friends from Wisconsin were experiencing the same thing, only colder and snowier and drearier. 
So Dennis and Kris headed out for a drive-about through Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, and Arkansas.  We met up with them last weekend in Eureka Springs.
Eureka Springs is a “Victoria Mountain  Village” built into the hillsides of the Ozark Mountains.  The early 1900’s architecture, beautifully restored, is a site to behold.
Eureka Springs from a hillside
We apparently brought the weary Missouri weather with us.  The locals said it was in the 70’s and sunny earlier in the week, not the 40’s and rain of the weekend.
Deanna, Dennis, Kris
If you look closely at the center Old Towne building (I’m sure it has a name, but don’t know what it is) , you might be able to spot the fact that the red awning canopies the entrance to a Quilt Shop.  In this shop we bought a beautiful quilt.  It was the highlight of my trip… next to spending time with friends, of course.  A photo of the quilt later.  Ok?

Quilt Shop
As much as I love taking pictures, it is hard to get good photos with gloves on shaking hands in drizzling rain.  Jim took most of the pictures on this trip. 
We visited the Christ of the Ozarks, where the Passion Play is performed during peak season.  If you do a Google search, I believe you will find tons of photographs of this statue – most much better than this one (you know, the rain, cold, etc…)  It is one of the most photographed in the world.
Christ of the Ozarks statue       
I’m kind of fond of the eerie look to this distance shot of the Crescent Hotel.  I can almost believe there really are ghosts in residence there, as promised.
Crescent Hotel
Since the town is built into the mountains, there are undeveloped areas – and it was in such an area that we spotted a family of deer.  Of the six or seven hiding behind the trees, these two ventured out to check me out.  My fingers were clicking away as I walked closer and closer.
Two deer in the woods
But the leader decided I was close enough.  He stomped his hoof and challenged me.  Since I was the visitor who had worn out my welcome, I retreated (quickly).
       Deer getting ready to charge   
The dome of St. Elizabeth Catholic Church.
Church dome
St. Elizabeth Catholic Church

St. Elizabeth Church
St. Elizabeth’s from the inside.
Ornate inside of St. Elizabeth Church
Eureka Springs is beautiful – even when there is no sunshine.  I want to go back and check out the sites better when the temperatures are a bit warmer and the sun is shining.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Tessa

Blogging has become a challenge for me lately.  Words elude me and I get bogged down in the sheer enormity of life.  This is holding true for just about everything I try to do these days.  There are vast quantities of unfinished thoughts, projects, jobs, and just day to day things.  Focus, Deanna!  Focus!
Our daughter, Tessa, turned 37 yesterday.  How is that possible?!?  I actually wrote a long post and then realized words were doing a poor job of expressing my love for my daughter.  Words tend to fail me in that way – when I need them the most.
Tessa 22 months0006
So instead of me trying to express my feelings, I will leave you with words written by Tessa.
Within these walls we live
and in these walls it’s love we give
These walls have seen good times & bad,
these walls have seen times happy & sad
Though outside these walls we may go
there’s a promise we will always know
That wherever in life we may roam
there’s always a place to return to called
Tessa 22 months0009
One of my favorite photos of Tessa and me
Happy Birthday Tessa.  I am proud of you and the person you have become. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

… and it’s autographed!!!

Several weeks ago I won a give-away from Saloma at About Amish.  The gift came to me in this sweet home made bag.
It is always nice to win.  But there is something very special about winning a book – especially since books are one of my passions.  But this is not just any book… this book came to me from the person who wrote it.  I am honored.
Saloma wrote a very personal message to me as part of the gift – my first autographed book.  How cool is that?
Dear Deanna, May love and light shine onyou always!  And may you continue to be known affectionately as “Silly Grandma!”  Many Blessings, Saloma
I have not read Why I Left the Amish yet, but know that if she writes in her book anything like she does in her blog, I am going to enjoy it immensely. 
So to Saloma Miller Furlong, I thank you and wish to you Many Blessings back and a successful career as an author.  
If you haven’t yet become a follower of Saloma’s, please take a moment to check her out.  You will be glad you did.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The dance

When we introduced Bailey into our life, we were a bit concerned about how our 9 lb Demon Dog would get along with this who knows how many pound cat (20? 30?)… I just know when I pick him up, he is heavy!
The two warily dance around each other, usually keeping a bush or something between the two of them.  I don’t believe there is any chance they will be best of buds, but they have learned to respect each other.  Wouldn’t it be nice if the human race could learn to do the same?

Bailey made himself right at home.  He sleeps on his own personal cushion on my rocking chair.  Now that Spring is finally here, he has even learned to share that chair with me when I take time to front porch sit.  We love Bailey.
We wanted a big ol’ tom cat that would lay around on the porch and do a little hunting in his spare time - and that is what we got.  He is perfect in every way.
And Whiskey?  He is doing fine.  He cautiously sniffs the air before he heads out to do his thing.  Don’t you just love the tough guy stance he takes?  Yep.  We love our Demon Dog too.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sneaky little devil

At around 8:00 the thunder was booming and it was pouring down rain.  There would be no moon tonight.
 Gloomy looking woods 
The low and behold when we took Whiskey out at 11:30 – there it was.  Brightly mocking me.  Ha! It wasn’t nearly as impressive as I expected, but I took a picture anyway.  I just had to have my own personal picture of the Perigee Moon. 
Full moon shining through tree branches
(Jim tells me I need special filters to get rid of the blue dot.  It comes from shooting directly at a bright object.  I don’t know… maybe another camera setting would have fixed it…)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Perigee Moon

“On Saturday, March 19th, a full Moon of rare size and beauty will rise in the east at sunset. It's a super "perigee moon"--the biggest in almost 20 years.”
The Moon Illusion
The photo and the information came from Nasa's website. 
You’d better believe my eyes will be turned to the skies at sunset tonight.
Thank you The Farmer's Daughter for tipping me off about this phenomenon.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011



For probably the first time in my life, we’ve accomplished something ahead of time, rather than late.

Grandson Allen turns nine on April 9th.  School Spring Break provided a perfect opportunity to get in a birthday shopping trip on Monday.

After his mom and dad and little sister, Reagan, went home Sunday evening, we kicked back for a quiet  evening.  It turns out that Allen is a Lego officiado.  He burrowed into the trove of old toys we keep inside our end table and found pieces of Legos accumulated from various sets over the years, and built a way cool scorpion.


He explained to me that he just followed the instructions he found in one of the buckets of Legos and substituted different ones when their were pieces missing.  I was pretty darn impressed.

Monday morning we woke to the four letter word.  About four inches of it, with more falling.  Four  more inches of snow and four hours later, it finally let up.  Hey Mr. Weatherman, that was a bit more than the flurries you predicted!

The snow was not going to deter us.  But first, we needed homemade donuts for breakfast, compliments of a tube of buttermilk biscuits with holes cut in the middle fried in Canola oil.  We iced them with a light powder sugar icing.  Try this sometime.  They are so good!

Allen cutting holes in the biscuits

Since the snow was showing no signs of letting up, we headed out for our birthday shopping trip in time for lunch at McDonalds.  The first McDonalds’ parking lot had not been bladed and the runoff of the melting snow on the was so bad that we couldn’t get to the door without getting wet feet.  But where there is a will, there is a way – especially since there is no shortage of McDonalds to choose from.  We just had to drive five  miles further into town to find a lot in better shape.

Did you know that Barnes and Noble has a good selection of Legos?  Me neither, but my son, Greg, put a little bug in my ear that this might be the direction to head. 

We hit pay dirt!  They had Atlantis, Harry Potter Diagon Alley, Star Wars, Pirates, and many more to choose from.  We had finally settled on the Pirates, when ol’ eagle eye Grandpa spotted another  table of Legos in a center aisle.  And under the table out of sight was the ultimately perfect set that made Allen drool.

Lego Mobile Police Unit
“Oh Grandma, this is it!”  And so it was.

The day went way too fast and before we knew it, we had to give his bright smile back up to his mom and dad and little sister.  Poor three year old Reagan was heart broken when she had to go home without him Sunday night.  Greg and Alicia said she cried for a half hour, wanting them to go back and get him.  I can only imagine how happy she was to see him walk into the house with Greg Monday evening.
Allen called last night to let us know he had already put everything together.  How is that possible!  He  has more patience than I could ever hope for.

Happy Birthday Allen a little bit early!  We love you!

The snow is pretty much gone and the temperatures are supposed to climb to the mid-seventies by tomorrow.  Crazy!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Broken links and staggering

Has anyone else been plagued with "broken links" in bloggy land?  If I've been missing in action on your blog, blame the broken link plague.  I even had trouble getting into my own blog.  Now that just isn't playing nice blogspot guys.  Never fear, though, I won't give up.  Well I might give up for today, but not for good.

I woke in the middle of the night, staggered to the bathroom and then drunkenly returned to bed.  I blamed it on getting up too quick.  But today has been more of the same.  I've been staggering around here like a drunken sailor.  I had Jim drive me to work so I could do a few things that couldn't wait and then back home I am.  Dr.D's diagnosis is inner ear problems.  My dad was plagued with inner ear infections.  My sister gets them quite often, and I've had a few in my days.  Half a niacin tablet and a buffered aspirin (to offset the flush caused by niacin) usually does the trick.  It seems to have helped me some.  But I'm not pushing my luck.  This is the perfect opportunity to be lazy - so lazy I will be.

I hope the sun is shining wherever you are.  It is another cold and dreary day here.  Not that I'm complaining.  Well, maybe I am a bit.  But not a lot.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

And the answer is...

 I absolutely cannot cook without my Pyrex measuring bowls/pitchers.  They are essential for me to cook.

However, everyone who guessed coffee was a close second.  I honestly didn't place that cup there to throw you off.  It just happened to be there.  Sorry, but no prize has been offered!

My daughter, Tessa (Tmarie) was probably the most accurate.  She mentioned the Pyrex measuring bowls, the coffee, and the butcher block.  I hadn't even thought of that butcher block when I took the picture but she hit the nail on the head.  It would be like cooking with my hands tied behind my back if I didn't have my butcher block.

Tessa had to bring up whether I looked in the closet for my coffee!  You see, during my child rearing years I'd often move at what Jim calls "warp speed".  It was hard getting everyone going in the right direction, working full time, keeping the house in order....  She knows what I'm talking about now, since she has four kids.  You'd think she'd take pity on me.  Anyhow, my coffee cup was suppposed to move at warped speed with me, but sometimes it got left behind - often getting left in strange places, such as a closet shelf.  It became the family mantra that when I would yell "Where's my coffee?!?", they would respond "Look in the closet!"  After all these years that darn coffee cup still has a mind of its own and stays behind in the strangest places.

Our company was an 80 year old guy Jim works with.  He is a sweetheart.  His wife died a month or so ago, so we thought he might like to spend an evening with us.  About an hour before he was supposed to arrive, the heavens opened up with torential rain and hail.
This is not snow - it is hail

Fortunately the storm didn't last long.  John showed up right on schedule and we had a fun evening together.  It is hard to believe, but I did forget to take a single picture more.  Between putting together the final touches, visiting, laughing and just having a good time, it didn't occur to me.

Before dinner, we sipped on a Cubalibra (rum and coke with a splash of lime) for an hour or so. 
The dinner menu was a lettuce salad, chicken spaghetti casserole, and asparagus.  We served a light red wine with dinner.  I tried to keep it simple but that casserole took me forever to make.  Dessert was a chocolate sheet cake with a homemade icing that resembled whipped cream.  It took an insane amount of beating to make the icing.  Next time I will go back to beating heavy whipping cream.  Sometimes the basics are best. 
After dinner, we spent a couple of hours curled up in the living room with an after dinner drink.

The evening flew by.  John is one of those people who has done so much in his life, and likes to tell stories of his experiences.  He talked comfortably about his wife and her passing.  We were all suprised when 9:00 came and John said he probably should be heading home. 

And here we are - Saturday and more drissle.  I'm just glad it is not snow!

Last night's hail

Friday, March 4, 2011

Can you guess?

We have company companing tonight.  I'm out to impress because I like the guy.  So I am cooking up a storm today.  Looking at these pictures, can anyone tell me what I cannot live without when I cook?

My messy kitchen.  I'm cooking up a lot of goodness in the middle of this mess
  Maybe this closeup will help you guess.  Anyone?

What in the world can I not do without?
 If I remember to take pictures, I will blog the final feast.  But don't hold me to it.  I seem to be rather forgetful these days.