Monday, January 31, 2005

It's been a few days since I last blogged. Andy just loves that word. He cracks up laughing every time I say it. Anyway, winter weather definitely visited us this weekend! We had snow, ice, rain and wind. Yesterday the trees looked beautiful - first because they were coated with ice and glistening like glass, but then it snowed again and the snow stuck to every ice-covered surface and everything looked like it had been dusted with powdered sugar. This morning the trees were icy and looked like glass again, but I guess there will be no snow coming behind it this time. Schools were two hours late this morning. I love these mornings! I would love it better if school were cancelled entirely, but I'll make do with two hours late. I was able to finish most of today's work by the time Andy got up, leaving my day free for the really important things - like blogging, for instance!

I read something a while back that I really like. I just came across it again this weekend and wanted to share it here.

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways - body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming "WOO HOO! What a ride!"

The visual I get when I read that is hilarious! If ya gotta go, that sounds like the very best way to do it!

I should probably get back to my de-cluttering. Yuck. I'm trying to be ruthless, but it's terribly hard. One never knows when one might actually use that springform pan that one has had for eight years and never used. I could say that about a LOT of other things I am finding stashed away! Oh, well. Back to the dust mines (or mites, as it were).

Thursday, January 27, 2005

There hasn't been much time for blogging lately. Work has really kept me busy. I think everyone must have decided to have their surgeries or procedures done this time of year!

I wrote earlier about getting old - turns out I might just live to a ripe old age! Just for fun I filled out this life expectancy calculator. According to this, I should live to be 79.5 years old! It also told me that if I cut down on my coffee consumption and stopped eating chocolate that I would live even longer. Nah - 79.5 works for me! According to this I will also outlive Jerry by about 25 years. His wasn't so good - his was 55. I told him I would help him make changes - just as soon as I called to have his life insurance increased! I do think seeing it in print made him think about making changes, though. I know that I could use changes myself.

Thinking about moving has made us take a good look around our house. How did we get so much stuff?! Just the thought of packing it all makes me tired! I am very thankful that we have never used the attic, though. That has been empty since we moved here 9 years ago. We have a lot of stuff, but at least we don't have an attic-full to deal with, too! (Mom knows about that!) Now would be a very good time to de-clutter. Even if we don't go anywhere, it would be nice to be rid of all of our "extras"!

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Roll On!

Well, it finally happened. I was unable to breathe while attempting to put my socks on. When did that extra tire creep in around my middle? I already had a spare there and most certainly didn't need another, but there it is. I have been in denial too long, I guess. I blamed my weight on having diabetes while being pregnant and having a big baby. Well, the diabetes is long gone and that "baby" is now 10 years old! And I continue to pile it on! (The excuses as well as the pounds). Sitting all day does not help, but I must work, mustn't I?! Okay, that pile of snacks doesn't need to be there on my desk while I do it though, I guess. If I thought that it was official that I was old, it is definitely official that I am large. But this is like aging, too. I don't feel large! I just really, really look it! Time to do something about this, or I shall have to go barefoot the rest of my life.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Pass the Fiber, Please

It's official. I am old. I certainly don't feel old, but I must be, because I actually know (and sing along to) the songs on the oldies station. Because when I told my son today that Johnny Carson died, he looked blankly at me and said "Oh, wait - I've heard of him. Who was he again?" Because my son's friend, when shown 33 rpm vinyl records that I had recently acquired, said excitedly "Oh, I've seen those before! My grandmother has the thing that plays them". (I am not kidding).

I can remember when 30 years of age used to seem ancient. Now it seems young. I used to think that 40 was halfway to death. Now 40 is just halfway to 80 - and I feel like I have another 40 good years ahead of me. If I look at it that way, I'm just starting out! The first 40 was spent doing things like learning to walk, talk, going to school, enduring adolescence and early marriage years and toddlers. The next 40 should be a piece of cake, right?! Why, I'm just getting started! I will proudly don my running shoes (with the arch supports), adjust my sports attire (all cotton, because body types like mine and spandex don't get along), clean my contacts for better vision, fasten my teeth down with Fixodent, and let my Miss Clairol-colored hair flow in the breeze as I run - okay, jog - er, maybe walk quickly, okay, stroll - to the finish line of my life!

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Andy and his rosy cheeks!

Jerry carrying kitty back up for another ride down!

Hang 10, kitty! Er, I mean 5. The picture is blurry because he was moving.

No, Andy - you're supposed to be IN the sled!

Snow Day - The Sequel

Another snowy day! Somehow it doesn't seem as much fun if school isn't closed because of it. We didn't get as much snow as was predicted. As of now, 7:44 pm, there are 2 inches on the ground and the snow has stopped. The snow was taking turns with sleet most of the afternoon. We ventured outside this evening and discovered that because of the sleet, the snow was nice and slippery - just right for riding down the driveway! We let our cat come outside with us. He loves to be outside, but because of his having only 2.5 legs, he's not allowed out without us being right there with him because he gets himself into too much trouble. For example, the day we were out having our snowball fight we let him come outside with us. After a while I didn't see him so I was walking around the house looking for him and followed his tracks up the deck stairs where I found him sitting on the top rail of the deck, calmly giving himself a bath. I was very afraid that he would fall off before I got to him. He really can't afford to be breaking any more body parts - he doesn't have many left to spare! Anyway, I got him off the rail and put him in the house. I figured he had had enough adventure for one day.

Andy rode the sled (okay, it's not a typical sled, it's more of a plastic-toboggan-like-thing named The Torpedo) first, and then Jerry put the cat on it and he rode down the slope a few times. He actually didn't mind, except for the last time when we got him going a little too fast and he bailed out of it before he got to the bottom. Actually, Andy did the same thing! We weren't being cruel to the cat - he's really pretty dim and does all sorts of un-catlike things. Once when I was walking on the treadmill, I had just started walking when the phone rang. Rather than turn the treadmill off, I just hopped off to answer the phone and when I returned, the cat was riding on the treadmill. He would jump up on it, ride it down to the bottom and let himself be slid off onto the floor, then come around to the top and do it again. He did this several times before he got tired of it and went to go watch birds at the back door again. For some reason none of our pets has ever been very bright. Hmm - could be a reflection on the owners.

Above are some pictures from this evening. We'll call it a snowy day, since a snow day is when school is closed!

Friday, January 21, 2005

Things That Bug Me

There are four things that bug me. Oh, on a day-to-day basis there are lots of things that bug me, but these four consistently bug me. Three of them are English language and grammar changes that some yahoo must have started, for they are the most unintelligent-sounding words I have ever heard. At first when I came upon them I thought they were typographical errors but then after having come across each of them more than a few times, I realize it has apparently become the norm.

The first thing that bugs me is hearing someone say, "I'm going (somewhere), do you want to go with?" Go with? What is that? Go with whom? With what? With you? Absolutely not - you can't even speak proper English. If someone who says this cannot manage enough breath to eke out the word "me" at the end of that sentence, they really have no business being upright for as long as it would take to go wherever they are going.

Next is hearing someone say or see it written that something is "on sell". This is apparently a new one. The first time I came across it was on an online message board and I thought it was a mistake. Then I saw it in print in a newspaper article. I have seen it and heard it more since then. How did this come about? Is something that is "on sell" even more of a bargain than something that is "on sale"? I realize that when "on sale" is said, it can sound like "on sell", but this is a word that is not supposed to be spelled phonetically, as it sounds. Next I suppose I will see ads for long-distance fone survis.

The third thing is when people say they "waited on line" at the bank, grocery store, wherever. No - unless they were using their Palm Pilots and actually using the internet while waiting in a line, they were not on line. One can be in a line, but one cannot be on line unless one is sitting on something with lines on it or connected to the internet. I have heard this spoken as well as read it in print.

Okay - here's the fourth thing, which was called to my attention today because of the impending snow this weekend. The headline on the news story read "Grocery stores packed. Shelves emptied in anticipation of snow". The story went on to state that "milk, bread and toilet paper were flying off the shelves in anticipation of this weekend's winter storm". I do not understand this. Is this the only time people use these items? During a snow storm? "Yay! It's going to snow! Let's break out the toilet paper and live like kings!" Don't most people already have these things in their homes? I should hope so - as at least one is, well, kind of a necessity.

Well, now that I have vented and feel immensely better, I can get on with my evening. Just as soon as I go wait on line for toilet paper because the snow is coming. Want to go with?

Thursday, January 20, 2005

My flag, which is finally appropriate for the season!

Jerry, taking aim at the photographer!

Here is Andy, gearing up for our snowball fight!

Snow Day!

Today was our first official snow day this year. Actually, I'm not sure how much of a snow day it really was, since the schools already had a 2-hour early dismissal today and then most other schools were 2 hours late - if they had done that, it would have been a very short school day, indeed! We went out and had our obligatory snowball fight. I would say Andy won since he beaned me with a snowball right on the side of my face when I wasn't paying attention! I took some pictures outside today. My flag on the house is finally appropriate! After I had taken down the Christmas flag I put up the winter flag, but last week when it was so warm and we were wearing T-shirts outside, it almost looked obscene and definitely out of place. I left it there, though, hoping that it would bring corresponding weather - and it must have worked!

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

A dark-eyed junco getting seed out of the snow.

Lots of little chickadees were here today.

Here's a squirrel helping himself to the suet.

A bluejay getting suet.


Yes! It finally snowed. Two inches of snow fell here. A little more than the "dusting" they had called for! The roads around here were a mess. We had the scanner on and kept hearing about accident after accident, and lots of reports of abandoned cars! That made us laugh - people just walked away from their cars. One report we heard was an abandoned car left in the middle of the road! The weather wreaked havoc with the school buses, though. Jerry and I waited at the end of our road for Andy's bus for about an hour. We knew from hearing it on the scanner that the buses were running extremely late, so we knew we would be waiting a while, but this was getting ridiculous! Finally a man who lives on the next street came over and told those of us waiting for the bus that he had called the school and Andy's bus hadn't even arrived yet to pick children up, and that they were asking parents to pick their children up. When I got to the school it was 5:00 and they had the waiting children in the gym and the principal was keeping them entertained by having them sing and tell jokes. I feel sorry for the bus drivers who, after having such a horrendous afternoon, have to drop off the buses and make their way home. I also feel sorry for the teachers and staff who had to stay until all the children found a way home. I think the weather was a little worse than was anticipated. I was thankful to see the snow, though! It was so beautiful while it was falling.

Apparently my yard was the place to be today if you were a bird or a squirrel! I had seed in the bird feeder and had put suet out for the woodpeckers early this morning, but I didn't realize how many visitors there would be. Normally we see each of several different kinds of birds throughout the day at different times, but today they all seemed to be here at the same time. The squirrels were battling it out with the woodpeckers for the suet. A couple of years ago I found a recipe for suet which uses shortening, peanut butter, flour, sugar and cornmeal or oatmeal - whatever's handy. I decided to try it and ever since then the birds won't touch store-bought suet cakes. I have spoiled them and now I have to make a pan of suet every week or so. I don't really mind, though. For three years now I have seen two pairs of woodpeckers bring their babies to the suet in the spring and summer and it's fun seeing them. We have cardinals that nest in the bushes on the side of our house and they bring their young'uns to the feeder, too. We have LOTS of bluejays. They are a nuisance sometimes as they will shriek and chase smaller birds away from the seed. Last year right at the edge of the woods there was a bluejay nest and we would watch the mom bluejay on the nest. We tried not to get too close, but she wouldn't budge off that nest for anything. I believe we could have walked right up to the tree and she wouldn't have left - but we probably would have a gotten a painful lesson in leaving her babies alone! We have seen mockingbirds swoop down and peck at our cat when he got too close to one of their nests. That was funny to watch. The cat didn't see it that way! I probably should not have spent my afternoon watching snow and birds, but it was worth it!

One of Tom's pictures of snowflakes.
Here is a picture that Tom took of snowflakes the other night. You can see the crystal shapes in two of them. Hopefully we will have a chance to try again this evening since it's supposed to snow. This morning I have been frantically searching for batteries for my camera so that I would be ready when (notice I didn't say if - I said when) the snow starts. I don't think there is a live one in the house. I have dismantled everything I could find that has batteries and still can't find any good ones. I was going to give up on getting any pictures this afternoon when Tom offered to let me use his camera. I hadn't even considered asking him because I figured he would have it with him for the day. Well, since that issue is settled, guess I'll sit back and do some work while waiting for the snow to start. After all, I have batteries to buy!

Monday, January 17, 2005

One tiny snowflake - amazing, isn't it?!

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow - Pleeeease?

Last night it snowed a little - just enough to make me wish for more! It was pretty to watch while it lasted. Tom went outside and took some pictures of snowflakes under a magnifying glass and using his zoom lens on his camera. He wasn't able to get pictures as detailed as the one above which was taken by a famous photographer who studied ice crystals, but he did get a few very good pictures. I will try to post them if I can ever get access to the pictures. He isn't home right now and I think his camera is surgically attached to him - he takes it everywhere. Hopefully we will get more snow this weekend - I'm ready for winter to start behaving like, well, winter!

Andy and I will be spending part of the day reading a book for a book report he has to do. The book we are reading is "A Wrinkle In Time" by Madeleine L'Engle. So far it is a very good book. Each month his class covers a different genre and they have to choose a book from that genre to do their report on. This month it is science fiction. Andy and I take turns reading - I think he understands the book better this way and by reading it with him, I know the story so I can check his report. Last month it was poetry. He chose something from Shel Silverstein, who is a very funny poet. I was inspired to write one of my own:

Something smells!
What can it be?
It smells like rot
or runny cheese.
Something smells
like moldy bread.
It burns my eyes
and hurts my head.
Something smells
so bad that I
think that I may
likely die.
Something smells.
What can it be?
Uh oh - Oh dear!
I think it's me.

I know, I know. Don't give up my day job!

Sunday, January 16, 2005

How is it that someone can steal your peace? It was only for a little while, but it didn't feel nice at all. About four months ago one of Andy's friends was at our house and fell, hitting his leg against the edge of a shovel that was out back, and cutting his leg rather deeply. In short, the parents took him to the emergency room where he was stitched up, had a drain put in the wound, and given a prescription for an antibiotic, and told to come back within 24 hours to have the drain removed. Knowing that this family didn't have health insurance, Jerry and I offered to pay their medical bills which they agreed to. We didn't want to turn it over to our homeowner's insurance because we try to reserve that for something serious like a tree falling on the house, or lightning hitting it (both of which have happened to us!). Anyway, the wound got infected, requiring much more medical attention, crutches, and missing school for a week. When they dropped the medical bills off to us a few weeks later, in reviewing them I found that the parents had not taken him back for drain removal in 24 hours - they waited 48. They didn't get the prescription filled until three days after it happened so he had no antibiotic during that time. Of course the wound got infected. This was a pattern that I saw throughout the dates on the medical bills - they were told to come back in 24 hours for follow up, they waited 48 (or more). Then the final thing was when the boy told us that his father said he didn't have time to be going to the doctor's so he removed the boy's stitches himself. I checked with the hospital and found out that assuming that directions had been followed, antibiotic had been started right away and the drain taken out when it was supposed to, the bills would have come to one-third of what they actually were. The bills came to a little over $3000.00 now, and the father was rather insistent on us paying them quickly. I informed him that I did not intend to pay all of this - that he needed to take some responsibility for his actions in not having the prescription filled and not having proper follow up. I told him that we would pay what would have been the normal and reasonable charges had he done what he was supposed to do, and that was all. Needless to say, he got upset and began talking about getting an attorney. I told him to do what he needed to do. I was not afraid because I knew that the paperwork clearly indicated the negligence on his part, but I called our insurance agent to ask what the consequences of a lawsuit might be for an accident happening on our property. We were advised to turn it over to the insurance company then because the father sounded unreasonable and that by letting State Farm handle it, we were in effect out of the picture - that any dealings from then on would be between the family and State Farm, and that if they chose to sue, they would be suing State Farm, not us. We decided that would be the best route, so I talked to the father and told him that we were doing this and that we would then be out of the picture. I submitted copies of everything I had to State Farm, gave them my statement, and was glad to have the whole issue done with. Or so I thought. Yesterday, after not hearing from the family this whole time, the father called me and informed me that State Farm chose not to pay everything (gee, I wonder why?), and wanted to know when I might have $1700.00 for them to finish paying their bills. I told him that I was not paying anything - that we had already discussed this and that we were out of the picture. He didn't like this and said that he would do what he needed to do. I reminded him that if it involved an attorney, he wouldn't be involving us - he would be dealing with State Farm. He didn't like that and just reiterated that he would do what he needed to do. I said fine, goodbye, and hung up. Now ordinarily this conversation would not have bothered me except that there is something about this man that I don't trust. Up until recently he didn't work for a very long time but yet they always seemed to have lots of money to do lots of things with (buy a house, new vehicle, landscaping and other things). They are very secretive people also, and actually have a security camera located on their front porch so they can see who is at the door. This, coupled with the fact that the boy was over our house one day and when we were talking about the metric system (which the boys were covering in school), he said that his dad was always on his cell phone talking about "grams and kilos and stuff". Hmmm. His wife had told me once before that they have trouble with family relationships because whenever the father gets angry he threatens people, and she was upset because he had recently threatened their nephew who had broken their computer and the father had told him that either the nephew come up with money for a new one or else he knew where he lived and would take care of him. Needless to say, the mother was upset because now the extended family didn't want anything to do with them. It is just this kind of behavior that, for a moment, had me concerned, but only for a moment. Then I got angry. Angry that someone could steal my peace and happiness by making me afraid. I realized that this is part of this man's tactic which has probably been successful for him in the past - threaten and instill fear in someone so they'll do what you want. As I do with everything that I need guidance on, I prayed and a verse came to me, "The Lord protects those who obey him". Of course, I already knew that, but sometimes it's hard to remember when emotions rather than brains are taking over the moment. So here we are . Whatever happens, happens. I have a feeling that this man's bark is worse than his bite, and I refuse to live in fear of a coward. We are watchful (and have police numbers handy!), but we are not afraid.

On the lighter side, I had recently asked for guidance on the issue of moving and here is the verse I came upon, "Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains." Judea....Maryland.....sounds the same to me! This gave me quite a chuckle!

Friday, January 14, 2005

Going through pictures and found this one of my Camelot Rose taken last summer. I love winter, but miss gardening.
Yesterday I discovered my true dependence on the internet. It was frightening. It started last week when Tom told me that his computer was acting up and he was having trouble getting and staying online. We chalked it up to his having installed a wireless keyboard and changing some settings, but undoing those changes didn't fix the problem. I confess that I was really only minimally concerned - after all, it didn't affect my ability to surf the net. Then the day before yesterday Andy tried to sign on to play an online game on the Playstation and he complained that his character on the game kept freezing up and he couldn't stay connected for more than a few minutes at a time. Again, only minimal concern on my part. Then the unthinkable happened. Yesterday I tried to get online and couldn't. I tried everything I could think of but finally determined that the network box had gone to the great computer graveyard and needed to be replaced. (When a computer component dies, does it byte the dust? Sorry, couldn't resist). I asked Tom to get one on his way home from work and bring it home with him. During the day I found myself constantly going to the computer to do something online. I knew that yesterday was payday for me, so I went to check my bank account online. Oops, guess I can't do that. You mean I actually have to call and find out if my check is there or not? Oh, dear. Now I've forgotten the number - it's been ages since I had to do that. Later in the day Andy and I thought we heard thunder. I'll just check the radar quickly online. Oops again, guess I won't do that, either. What? I have to actually watch t.v. and wait for the Local on the 8s?! Several times throughout the day I found myself doing similar things. It was akin to having the electricity go out and walking into a room and flipping on the light switch so that you can find a match to light your candle with! It was late when Tom got home and I was too tired to connect the network up again, so I waited until this morning to do it. I was able to resume all of my online activities once more! (Oh, yeah - I could work again, too - didn't miss that as much as surfing!). Life is good once again.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

I am having so many random thoughts today. My blog is aptly named. I will write them down and leave them all in one place so I can get on with my day.

Random Thought Number One

How do birds know when to push their young from the nest? How do you know when a child is ready to "fly" on his own? At what point do you step back and just pray and watch, without interfering? Do you ever reach a point where you feel as though you should? These are tough questions weighing on my heart today. Nothing specific happened to bring these thoughts up - it's just that the whole issue of moving has made me think of things I never considered before (or didn't want to). What is so difficult is wanting to step in and say, "Here, let me help you", or in my case it has been mostly "Here, let me do that for you". I am beginning to see in retrospect that my helping was actually hindering in some instances. I now understand the meaning of "This hurts me more than it hurts you". Hmmm - it really is true that the older we get, the smarter our parents become.

Random Thought Number Two

The pork's in the freezer, Oho! Oho!
The pork's in the freezer, Oho! Oho!

(To be sung to the tune of "The Campbells are coming").

Our pork has arrived! Shortly before Christmas we discovered that Andy's bus driver raises hogs to sell, so we bought one and just picked it up from the butcher. We have a little over 120 pounds of pork in the freezer! One of the hams isn't ready yet - we're having that sugar-cured and that takes about six weeks. We haven't tried any yet, but pancakes and bacon sounds like a good dinner to me! I had asked for the fat in order to make lard, which I had never done before and wanted to try, but it turns out that the pork was so lean that any fat that was on it was put into making the sausage. We had borrowed a lard press from Jerry's uncle who used to live on a farm, but I guess we won't get to try that out. Jerry was looking forward to the cracklings that form in one big cake at the bottom of the press. Oh well, guess he'll just have to keep his cholesterol at a normal level a little longer!

Random Thought Number Three

In my last post I wrote about fear. Today I remembered something that I had read in one of the Little House on the Prairie books. (I am a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan and would have loved to have been living during her time). Anyway, in the story Laura is watching her cousins ride their horses very fast and they ask her if she would like to ride one, and they offer her Jean's pony to ride. Here's the passage:

"Jean's pony seemed larger every minute. It was big and strong enough to kill Laura if it wanted to, and so high that to fall off it would break her bones. She was so scared to ride it that she had to try."

Isn't that wonderful?! I really like the wording there - it doesn't say she was so scared but she had to try, it says she was so scared that she had to try. Small words, but terrific differences in meaning. How many times have I been so scared that I had to try something? Not many, I'm ashamed to say.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Ah, it's good to be me.
Eureka! I have found it! I finally discovered who I am last night. I am a prairie dog. Yes, a prairie dog. I even have proof of this. Last night Andy and I were reading a book he has on prairie dogs, and it reads,

"As winter approaches Prairie Dogs concentrate on getting fat. In cold weather, they slow down and spend most of their time in their burrows. But they do not go into a deep sleep. When the winter weather is fine, Prairie Dogs pop out for a look around and a quick snack on whatever food they can find."

Yep, that's me. I have finally found my true identity. Now, where did I put those nachos....?

I have been thinking about change lately, and fear of change. This started with looking at the property listing. At first I looked at it with an attitude that someone (but of course, not me) will be buying a beautiful piece of land. Then I looked at the listing some more. My thinking then turned to the fact that yes, eventually we would like to move from here (but of course, not now). Then I looked at the listing some more. And I thought then when? Somehow in the course of 48 hours something that seemed unthinkable became a distinct possibility. I thought what about uprooting the boys? Well, Tom wants to go to Canada for college, and Andy will be finishing fifth grade after which he was going to be homeschooled anyway. That problem got crossed off my imaginary list. Then, what about my job? I actually checked the cable service in the area and yes, there is internet service available, so the only change in my work would be the state in which my desk was located. And Jerry's work? Hmm...turns out there isn't a sunroom distributor for 80 miles or more from there. I imagine they would welcome an established one in the area (plus the fact that he would return here for some work because some of the builders he does work for won't let him do otherwise!). Two more items crossed off my imaginary list. It seemed that the more roadblocks I tried to put in my own path, the easier they were to conquer. Just as I had found a solution to each and every problem that might be encountered in moving, it hit me. Fear. Not just any fear, but gripping fear. Fear of change. Suddenly all the easy answers I had found disappeared. You're settled here - why go somewhere else and start again? Aren't you being more than a little selfish expecting everyone to change just because you happen to like the mountains? What if it turns out to be horrid there - you've sold your house and can't go back - what then? Awful, gripping fear. Then I began to wonder, what if we never made any changes because fear kept us from doing so? How stagnant would we become if we didn't try new things? (granted - selling your home and moving out of state is a tad more serious than, say, trying a new coffee flavor). At the moment I am still in the middle of this thinking, still trying to sort things out and find a comfortable place.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

The garage is probably where Jerry will be - or on a tractor!

My orchard!

Welcome to Bessie's place!
Oh, how I have been dreaming today! I was looking at real estate listings and found this. What a beautiful place. I have already found a place to put the chicken coop, Bessie the milk cow (yes, I've already named her), my huge garden, and my orchard. Then I will stock the pond with fish. Jerry and I dream of a place like this. We are getting quite tired of where we are. We have thought about selling this house and moving somewhere like this for a while now, but we want to make sure we can do it debt-free. We have been trying to pay everything off and not incur any more debt and now we are down to just my truck and the house, but the end of the truck payments is within sight, and early payment of the house is next on the agenda! (Okay, I admit - Domino's Pizza is a downfall on days when I just don't feel like cooking!). Then it's on to greener pastures! (Pun intended). I just love looking at these pictures and dreaming......*sigh*

Friday, January 07, 2005

I took a picture of the sky this morning. The colors were wonderful. While I have been enjoying the weather, I would enjoy a true winter more. I like all four seasons and the differences in each. I could not live somewhere that didn't have a distinct change of seasons. How dull! It is supposed to be in the low 70s next week. The Farmer's Almanac called it "Juneuary". I would rather have snow and cold. Now that's winter! A couple of weeks ago when the eastern shore saw snow, even though I couldn't see it out of my own window, I enjoyed watching it here. It was interesting to see the boardwalk in Ocean City get cleared off a little each day. Another site I like to visit shows different roads in Delaware. Once when Jerry was there doing some work we were talking on the phone and he would let me know when he was approaching one of the intersections pictured, and I could see him as he traveled through it. I wonder if any of the people using these roads know that they are being watched by people like me with apparently nothing better to do?!

Beautiful morning!

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Not a great picture, but there are names embroidered in black thread on the white background between the "stars".

Note the Pogo solitaire on the computer screen - guess who that was?!
I took some pictures of the quilt that Maggie gave me for Christmas since my flash was working! I hung the quilt on the wall behind my desk so I can look at it while I work. In one picture you can see the names that are embroidered on it. I did an internet search on the names on the quilt and only found two, which were both in Ohio and were both in the obituary section of a newspaper there. I was curious as to the history of this quilt. Maggie said that it was a fundraising quilt and that people paid to have their names embroidered on the quilt and then the quilt was raffled off. She said it dated back to around the 1930s. I love finding out the history of old things. Note the pine tree with lights (Christmas tree to some) on the right side of my desk in one picture! Yes, it's still there, but not because I'm being a Christmas rebel and keeping it there (although I might do just that) - it's just that we haven't undecorated the house yet! Look closer and you can see a stocking hanging to the left of my desk! We will wait until this weekend for the annual throwing of the tree. Yes, this has become somewhat of a tradition in our house. We drag the Christmas tree out to the back deck, where Andy gets to toss it off into the yard from where it will make its way to the brush pile. The first year we just rolled it down the deck stairs into the yard. The next year Andy decided it would be more fun to drop it from the deck, so we just put it on the rail and pushed it off. Now it has become more of a hoist-and-throw type of activity. We find amusement in the strangest places.

Bozo, Jr.
Yay! I finally got my camera to work (well, sort of). The flash wasn't working properly and my pictures were coming out with a strange orange tint. After reading the manual again and figuring out that it wasn't anything that I was doing wrong, I tried different things and lo and behold, it worked! The LCD screen on the back of the camera has to be on in order for the flash to work. This didn't used to be this way, but as long as it works, I guess I'm happy. The biggest drawback is that using the camera with the LCD screen on eats batteries like I eat chocolate! Oh, well. Guess I'll be happy to have the flash working and invest in some rechargeables! The picture of Andy is one that was taken pre-working flash, as was the one with Busa (the cat) in the dish.

Andy and I played the new game he got for Christmas, "Don't Make Me Laugh, Jr." What a great game! You have to move across the board as you draw cards that tell you to do silly things. The first time we played it, the card said that all players had to spin around and around, and then try to walk. We were playing in the living room which isn't at all large anyway, but we spun around! Boy, did we spin. Then we tried to walk, whereupon I stumbled over the couch, and Andy promptly ran into the fish tank! Jerry was sitting at the computer playing Pogo solitaire and just shook his head. Well, Andy and I had a good laugh, anyway! The next time we played it Andy landed on the space that said he had to wear the clown nose! You can see from the picture how very much this thrilled him. The best part though, was that Jerry was playing the game with us this time, and HE ended up having to wear the clown nose. What a hoot! Notice the absence of that picture. I think my camera would have mysteriously disappeared if I had taken a picture of that.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

I think that I have found the secret to weight loss. Eat as much as you can over the holidays until you spend one night in agony, clinging to a bottle of Pepto-Bismol for dear life. I pondered these things as I was in misery last night. I asked what I could have done to feel this awful, and a little unwelcome voice in my head said "gluttony". No, said I. Perhaps it is a virus. After all, I was volunteering at school yesterday and I'm sure there must have been some sick children, and..., and..., and....... sigh. Yes - gluttony, I admitted in defeat. (Perhaps more troubling than the stomachache should be the fact that I talk to myself and answer myself, but that's an issue to deal with another time!) As I am beginning to feel better this morning, I am asking myself some hard questions. Did I learn anything from this? Will I use this experience as a teaching tool? Will I put last night's misery to use as a springboard to modify my eating habits? Alas, probably not.

Monday, January 03, 2005

When you're 90, you can sleep where you please!
At the risk of never having anyone eat at my house again, I wanted to share this picture. The morning after our family get-together this is what I woke up and found. Normally, the cats KNOW they are not allowed on the table, but like naughty children, they do what they please when they think we're not looking, so, I guess the dish looked like a comfortable spot. Also I'm usually careful not to leave anything on the table for just this reason, but we got home so late and I was SO tired, that I didn't remember this time. If you look closely you can see that the dish is actually divided into three sections. I have no idea how that could have been a comfortable place with those divisions sticking up! Well, this is the cat that Tom picked when he was 3. We've had the cat for 15 years, so that makes him roughly 80-90 or something in cat years, so I guess he figures he's earned the right to sleep where he chooses!
Where does time go?! It seems like school was just letting out for the holidays and all too soon it's back to the same old schedule. I am having a serious case of the blahs today. It is very difficult to get back into any sort of routine. Andy is used to staying up late this last week or so (okay, I confess - me too!), and I think we're all very tired from the last few weeks. Each year I tell myself that NEXT year won't be so stressful, but it hasn't worked out that way yet!

I put the little tree that Mom gave me on my desk and it is very lovely there. There is something almost comforting about it when it's night and it just kind of glows softly. I asked Jerry why I couldn't just keep it there all the time, and in his dry way he remarked "Because it's a Christmas tree?!" I disagree. It is a pine tree with lights!

I have more pictures to post and more that I'd like to write, but it's taking everything I have to sit at my desk today instead of napping or sitting outside in the warm sun! Sigh........

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Happy New Year!

Well, it's a new year again. A new year always starts out with such optimism and hopes for change (or hopes for no changes!). Yesterday's holiday get-together was a lot of fun. I was extremely embarrassed about my messy porch, but whoever thought we'd be eating on a screened porch on January first?! I'm very thankful that everyone made the trip here (and safely). I promise that one day soon I will get over my fear of car rides and actually go somewhere far (without sedatives!). How's that for a New Year's resolution?! Here are pictures from yesterday. Happy New Year, y'all!

Mike is showing Paul the proper way to handle family disputes.

The gang's all here!

Eating, drinking and being merry - except for Sherri, who seems to be analyzing something on her plate.


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