Monday, January 31, 2011

Good thing the weekend was good so I can tolerate what the week has in store for us!

Last weekend was one that I'd like to repeat over and over again.  The weather was oh so gorgeous and the days were perfect. 

Saturday we finally got to grab our funky birthday girl, Cara, for our traditional birthday shopping spree. She turned eleven several weeks ago, but life got in the way of our plans until this weekend.  We even took Grandpa along this time.  When we got to the outlet mall, though, we shipped him off to look for new tennis shoes. 

Our first stop was Justice.  I had never heard of the place before, but little Miss Cara advised me that it was the "in" place for her age group.  And so it was.  We found a cute sweater in the aqua blue color you see in the blanket she is curled up with, and a canary yellow tank to go under it.  Did I mention that Cara is funky and colorful?  She loves lots and lots of color!  From Justic we made our way to Aeropostale.  Now that one I was familiar with.  Her older sister, Emily, introduced me to that store on our previous shopping trip.  Although Cara is not quite in the teen sizes, we were able to find her an oh so cool sweatshirt.  Our next stop was Claires, where we found a head band and the hat she has on in the picture.  Somewhere along the line we found a bunch of eye blinding striped, bright yellow, reds, blues, lime greens and every other color I didn't know existed, socks. 

By this point we had hooked back up with Grandpa, who was a failure at finding himself a pair of tennis shoes.  The temperatures had climbed to the high 50's or maybe 60.  We shed our coats and kept going.  A stop at Marshalls on our way out of town resulted in a pair of aqua blue sweat pants.  Call us done!

So now it was time to go out to the traditional birthday dinner.  It was to be Cara's choice of where to go.  Any guesses on where she wanted to go?  Home to Grandma and Grandpas.  Now this is my kind of girl!  So to end the day we grilled burgers and made french fries and watched movies until our eye lids drooped.  Somewhere along the line we even found time to start working on her fleece blanket.

Miss Cara LOVES lots of color!
Sunday was as wonderful as Saturday.  After church we came back home and finished tying off her blanket.  Isn't she cute curled up in it?  It was finally time to give her up.  She fell asleep about the time we headed out of Jeff City.  I guess we wore her out about as much as she wore us out.  To top the weekend off, we spent some time with son, Greg, and his family.  His wife, Alicia, is always fun to visit with.  Tessa's husband and her kids came by to pick up Cara.  The youngest grand, Reagan, kills me when she is around all the other kids.  At 3 1/2 she doesn't let anybody bully her.  I always do a double take as she talks in clear, full, sentences.  It seems like she's been talking since the day she was born.  Almost.

Today is quite a different story.  An ice storm is threatening right now, to be followed by 12 to 18 inches of snow, if the forecast is to be believed.

Our pastor just called to tell me to not come to church today.  The parking lot is a "sheet of ice", and he was waiting for a tow truck to pull him out of a snow bank.  According to him, he'd be somewhere down in the woods if it hadn't been for the snow bank.  Whew.

Now Jim just came in from outside and said "it is slicker than shit".  I told him that was not what Fr. had said.  Jim wanted to know how Fr. spelled "sheet".  Men! 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Little one

Most mornings this little beauty is bedded down in the woods outside our bedroom window.  Sometimes she stands and stretches, and then lays back down for a bit more rest.  When we tap on the window, she looks our way, as if to say, “Did you need something?”  I miss her when she isn’t there.


Come back little one.  I missed seeing you this morning!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Where'd that ton of bricks come from? And why dump them on me!

I've been in bed, sick, for three days.
I'll spare you the details.
This morning I opened my eyes,
stretched my arms wide
and welcome a new day!

I'll be around to catch up on blogs soon - I promise!

Right after I catch up on a few other things I've let slide.

Have a wonderful rest of the week and hopefully the snow is letting you alone for a change.  Of course, unless you don't want to be let alone.  Then, let it snow only on you!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Amateur fer sure

One of the greatest results of the explosion of blogging is the increase in amateur photographers.  It is rare to click on a blog and not see a photo or two.  Photos make a blog interesting.  Unless, of course, you are one of those talented writers with a knack for hilarious or thoughtful posts that need no distraction of photography.  I’m not one of those!

I have three cameras:

My Canon Powershot is a great little pocket camera.  It is almost always in my pocket and takes great pictures.  I really like its Macro setting.  So easy and clear.  I love it!

We have had our Pentax istD camera for quite a few years.  It is a great 35mm camera.  Last summer we started having trouble with the lens’ auto-focus function.  More than likely it had been bumped one too many times.  The common sense solution would be to have it repaired or replace the lens.  But, I have to admit I had my heart set on a new Canon Rebel.  Besides, it isn’t fair that I was using a 35mm and Jim had none, was it?  You know, the guy I’m married to – the guy who taught High School Photography for many years? 

So last fall, we bit the bullet and bought the Canon EOS Rebel T2i along with a zoom lens.  With an investment like this, I’d better plan on taking pictures!

I’ve always liked to take pictures, but now when I head out with my camera, my mind is creating a story as I look through the lens. 

So on this dreary, cold, and snowy night, I am going to share my purely amateur thoughts on photography. 

2011-01-20 jan 11 snow2

I love contrast.  These two photos are color with no touch up.  You would think they were black and white.  It is easy to get contrast in snow – as simple as bending over to shoot a picture of dried prairie grass against the stark white snow, or looking to a majestic oak tree against a snow laden sky.


2011-01-20 jan 11 snow3

Framing my pictures is a big thing with me.  Whether I use a fence, trees, or just an item in the foreground, I like to frame my pictures whenever possible.  The cedar trees provide a frame for the dried grass.  Or are they framing the dreary sky?  Or maybe the grass and sky are framing the cedars.  Hmmm.  The forked tree frames the snow laden cedars in the background.  I do wish I had focused more on the cedars, rather than the foreground tree.


2011-01-20 jan 11 snow1

When I focused on the barbed wire, my thoughts went to a number of stories.  A story of danger, or privacy, or cruelty.  The other picture focused on the cedars lining the frozen pond bank.  Quite a different story.


2011-01-20 jan 11 snow4

The fence in the above photo leads the eyes into the photo, giving it depth.  Leaving you to maybe even wonder where it leads.  Isn’t that so much more interesting than the photo with no fence?


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The photo on the left tells a story about how messy snow, and wood needed for the fire place, is.  The one on the right talks about just how deep the snow is.


So how about you?  Do you just randomly snap pictures and hope for the best, or do you envision a story as you look through the lens of your camera?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tag – you’re it

Come on in…

jan 11 snow 117

And sit a spell.

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Too cold you say?  Well then let’s walk a bit.

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We’ll follow that guy.  Hurry up so we can catch up with him.

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I see now where we are going.

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To the corner of our property where there is an old limestone quarry, surrounded by barbed wire because it
is very dangerous.  The one our dear son was warned as a child to never go near.  The one that we found out years after he had kids of his own that he and his cousins jumped in when nobody was looking.  

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If Greg still lived at home he would probably be trying to ice skate on this deceivingly frozen body of water.  And he would fall through the thin ice.  I count my blessings that he survived his childhood.

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Time to head back home.  It is cold out here!  And the snow is deep.

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Are you next?  How many inches of snow are you going to get?

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Not eye candy

I just extracted myself from the hot tub.  Usually I'm not much of a hot tub person.  I last 5 minutes or so and then I am done.  But tonight the snow was blowing through the screen on the back porch and it was so cool.  I lasted 6 minutes.. or maybe 10 or 15... 

This morning greeted me with eyes glued shut with pink eye.  Isn't there an age limit on that?  I drug myself to the Dr. and got a prescription, which the insurance company refused to cover.  I've come to dislike insurance very intensely.  So I got another prescription. 

From there I went to work and did the bulletin.  Normally I would have gone home and licked my wounds, but those in the know were predicting 6 or so inches of snow and I really did not want to have to face that tomorrow.  Fr. Greg came in while I was working and I mentioned that I had pink eye.  If I didn't know better, I'd say he was exorcizing the devil as he backed out of the office.   But I could  be wrong.  So the bulletin is done.  Yea me, and Jim for coming by to help me.

As Jim and I sat in the hot tub talking, I came up with a great blog idea.  The best ever in the history of blog.  I told him to remember it and remind me when we got inside.  My job was to remember he needed to put salt in the water softener.  I remembered my part.  My blog idea is down the tubes.  Neither of us can remember what it was.

Oh and about the pink eye picture... it isn't going to happen.  My face is swollen pretty bad on the right side. You can thank me with your comments.

Stay safe in this beautiful but dangerous winter we are all experiencing.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Saturday’s wanderings

We headed to Bagnell Dam at the Lake of the Ozarks in search of Eagles to watch.

In the midst of the Great Depression, the creation of Bagnell Dam in 1929 was the only major construction project in the nation, drawing workers from all over the country.

Bagnell Dam, Lake of the Ozarks

Bagnell Dam from Conservation Lookout Point

It was very thoughtful of the Department of Conservation to construct resting boxes, but it would have been nicer if the big guys would have been using them.


We couldn’t decide about these two.  The photo does not come close to showing the enormous size of these birds.  We’re pretty sure they are not vultures.  We finally decided they could maybe be juvenile Eagles.  That is probably just wishful thinking.

two very large birds on a pole

As we drove the back hills of the Ozarks, we happened onto a rustic lodge area.  It turned out to be Willmore Lodge, owned by the Lake of the Ozarks Chamber of Commerce.  Dating back to the early 1900’s, it had been beautifully restored.

Inside we were greeted by a charming, white haired, elderly lady.  What a wealth of information.  She told us stories about how the nearest town during the building of Bagnell Dam was Eldon and that workers were often known to work from dawn to dusk and then walk the 8 miles it took to get to Eldon.  The irony of the contrast between this kind of work ethics and the work ethics of today was not lost on any of us.

After an hour of laughing and chatting, we headed back out to check on some swinging bridges in Brumley that she told us about.  Who can pass up a little history?

Willmore Lodge, Lake of the Ozarks


Swinging bridges are amazing.  According to our sweet old lady back at the Lodge, the bridges were designed and constructed by an individual who had no formal education.  He just did what made sense to him. 

After a few twists and turns and a bridge closed sign, we finally came to the first bridge.   This bridge was not closed, so we bravely headed across to our next destination.

small swinging bridge

According to a local who happened to be out walking, this bridge will be reopened next month.  They are restoring it, reinforcing the platform.  He said it was originally built to provide a means of transporting goods to build Bagnell Dam.   The weight limit say 5 tons.  And here I was scared to walk on it.  I am such a wimp.



Our Lodge lady friend (why didn’t I ask her what her name was?), told us that up until recently the school bus would stop at one end of the bridge and let the kids off, then drive across.  The children would then walk across the bridge and get back on the bus.  She wouldn’t make something like that up, now, would she?  I believe her.

IMGP5350  view from the middle of the bridge

Jim walking across swinging bridge        Jim trotted right across this platform of boards spaced anywhere from 1 inch to 4 inches wide.  I clung to the side about 25 feet in, as I enviously watched him. 


One of these days I WILL overcome my acrophobia!


Thursday, January 13, 2011


I haven't felt like blogging lately.  Actually, I haven't felt like doing much of anything.  I've been telling myself that I am in a state of doldrums.  Doldrums is such a strange sounding word - almost comical.  Where in the world do we come up with words such as this and what is the doldrums anyway?  According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary it is:

1.   a spell of listlessness or despondency

2.  often capitalized : a part of the ocean near the equator abounding in calms, squalls, and light shifting winds

3.   a state or period of inactivity, stagnation, or slump

I have no idea about number 2, but number 1 and 3 apply.  Definitely. 

Better than the definition, though, is the origin:  akin to Old English dol foolish

Now that I can relate to!  It is foolish to let myself stagnate like I have been, doing as little as possible.  So it is time to pull myself up by the bootstraps (yeah, I'll have to research the origins of that one next) and get my patooty motivated again.

So, snow or no snow (I'd definitely prefer no snow, but it doesn't look like that is going to happen) - I'm going to get back into the regular blogging mindset again.  I will get motivated by becoming a list person again and striking one big thing off my list every day.  The good news is I have so far kept my two resolutions.  I'm actually starting to like working out - sorta, kinda, maybe.  And it isn't that hard to watch my calories - at least not so hard now that I finished the 1/2 gallon of Jamoca Almond Fudge Icecream that was in the refrigerator.

So how about it.  Is anybody else out there experiencing the doldrums?  If so, what are you going to do to get yourself motivated?  If nothing else, just think of the origin of the name, grin, and get moving again!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


I usually don’t do New Year’s Resolutions.  I mean, why set myself up for failure?  History has shown that in all of the many years since I’ve been old enough to make a resolution, I’ve never kept a single one.

This year, though, I am making two simple resolutions:

  • Count calories

  • Exercise at least three times a week

If I keep those two resolutions, all sorts of good things will come to me in 2011.  How simple is that?

So, have you made resolutions 2011?  If so, what are they?

My friend Patti D. sent me this link:

Animal Voiceovers

I think you will enjoy it.  My favorite was the owl towards the end of the clip who drank too much coffee.  It reminded me of someone I really like… ME!

Animal Voiceovers

Saturday, January 1, 2011


I’ll bet YOU weren’t making Gingerbread Men on New Year’s Eve.  Here is to a wonderfully Happy New Year to everyone!



These guys have PERSONALITY!



“Watch carefully little ones and I’ll show you how it’s done”



Total concentration



Dakota’s getting those creative juices flowing.




We still haven’t figured how Austin got the mouth above the nose on this one.


Gingerbread making kit from Hobby Lobby at 66% off = $5.00

The smiles of Dakota & Austin = Priceless




Now if our Whiskey Dog would feel better again.  He has been hurting for weeks now.  The vet thinks he has a ruptured disk and has given him muscle relaxers.  He has good days and bad days.  Cold seems to especially make him get “stoved up”, so his time romping outside is very limited right now.

We have been babying him like, well, a baby… carrying him up and down steps, not letting him jump off of the furniture, and covering him up with blankets.  We even raised his food bowls a few inches off the floor so he wouldn’t have to bend his neck to eat.  It took us a few days to figure out why he had quit eating and drinking.  This dog is so set in his ways that he would not eat with his bowls in a different position.  The minute I took them off the pedestal, he started chowing down.