Friday, December 30, 2011

30 Days of Pictures - Day 7

Because of where Christmas fell this year, and because of the chaos of family, fun and frivolity, I didn’t have a blog last week. So…to make up for it, this week’s blog is a bit longer than usual.


A picture of something you wish you could change

I really, really wish I had better knees. I have always had problems with my knees. When I was about 10 years old, I developed Osgood-Schlatter Disease in both knees. For an entire year I was unable to participate in any kind of sports at school. On bad days, I had to wrap both knees in ace bandages. I won’t even go into the ostracism that led to. I was left with large bumps just below the knee caps that made it impossible to kneel. And it was ugly.
About 8 years ago I developed arthritis in both knees, but the left one was much worse than the right. For quite a while I was on a heavy load of pain medication. Then I graduated to using a cane. I was always in pain. Walking hurt. Walking improperly also really messed up my back.
After struggling with it for a couple of years I finally accepted that I needed to have the left knee replaced, hoping it would save the right knee for a few more years. The whole experience was horrific. I have never had pain like I did with the recovery. Plus, this was before the antidepressants, so I was already borderline going off the deep end emotionally. The addition of the pain made it all a hell. I didn’t do the physical therapy as I should have, with the result being limited mobility in my left knee. Getting my socks and shoes on in the morning is an adventure in itself, not to mention pedicures! But it DID help with making the right knee last for a while longer…I told myself that I would go through a GREAT DEAL of arthritis pain before I would EVER go through another knee replacement.
In the last 2 weeks, the right knee has decided that it no longer wants to participate. It’s almost exactly 6 years since the left was replaced, and the right knee seems to think that it’s carried the load long enough. BUT…I now have the antidepressants on my side! HA! I can handle a LOT more pain than I could previously. I went CHRISTMAS SHOPPING with Paula…AT THE MALL while in great pain. I went AFTER-CHRISTMAS SHOPPING with Sarah…AT THE MALL while in even greater pain. I’m back on a heavy load of pain meds, but I just cannot face that surgery and post-op period yet. And while I could handle a cane with ease when the pain was on the left, I haven’t quite gotten the rhythm of dealing with it on the right. So I guess I need to practice a bit…
But God is so good! I have never had to deal with my knees and back at the same time! When the back has been bad, the knees have been tolerable. And the reverse is true as well. Through the last couple of weeks I have had very little trouble with my back. So it’s all good…I just keep clinging to Phil. 4:13. It also helps to remember St. Paul and how little he considered the challenges in his life. I try to be content in all things. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Feasted, Feted and Felicitations



I had a birthday recently. December 11th, to be exact. My 58th. Wow, I am old!

As with most adults, celebrating on the actual day isn’t as important as when one is a child. It doesn’t matter when you get a card or present or maybe go out to dinner. It’s nice to have the day of your birth celebrated “whenever”.

This year, it started shortly after Thanksgiving when I spent a week with Sarah. I was given a lovely, soft, yummy throw blanket. I even used it while I was there. And one night Chris took us to dinner at Red Robin (yummm!), and while that wasn’t specifically for my birthday, it was a celebration nonetheless. Also while in Fresno, I bought a new purse! You can NEVER have too many of those! That was my little gift to myself.

Back home, a friend took me out to lunch a few days before the 11th. It’s become a tradition to celebrate at either Taco Bell or Jake’s Burgers. This year it was Taco Bell. We had a nice lunch and then went back to her house, where her mother was waiting. I had invited Thea’s mom to join us for lunch, but she didn’t want to cut into “our” time together. We had THE BEST VISIT just the 3 of us! AND….there were homemade Christmas cookies for our dessert! Can’t beat that!

Paul called me on my birthday!! He NEVER calls!! This was a BIG WOOT! This does NOT take away from talking to Sarah almost every day (and that is pretty essential to my well-being) but was a nice little bennie. Also, my brother called me, and he and his wife and daughter sang to me.

Marv got me “Cowboys and Aliens”, which just came out on DVD. That was high on my list of new movies I wanted to watch, but just never got around to going to the theater. THEN we went out to Red Lobster for dinner. ALWAYS a treat, no matter what. And Marv told the waitress it was my birthday and I got a WONDERFUL piece of chocolate wonderfulness along with a scoop of ice cream with a lit candle on it!

I got lots of well-wishes on Facebook. I have come to really love that place. I have met some incredible people there.

All in all, a wonderful birthday…Thank you, Lord!!

PS--the above picture was not my birthday cake. For one thing, it doesn't have NEARLY enough candles...


Friday, December 9, 2011

December Ramblings














As usual, this month (and this year) is rapidly nearing an end and I don’t have much accomplished. Always have big plans, but the rush just seems to make things even harder. Don’t know if I’m going to get Christmas cards made this year. I found some very good Christian ones last year at the sales and may just go with those this time and give myself a break.

Since I spent a week in Fresno right after Thanksgiving, I didn’t get the tree up and decorated yet. Marv got it out of the attic and put together last night, so now the decorating begins for me. No more kid’s ornaments anymore. Sarah took hers with her a few years ago and this year I will be shipping Paul’s to him in VA. I did get to help Sarah put her tree up while I was at her place. Lia took such delight in being able to help put some ornaments on.

Last week I went to Chico to get my new glasses and took Anne Murray along for the ride. Several years ago I heard “Mary’s Boy Child” on the radio sung by her and just fell in love with that song. I was in the car at the time, so when I got home I called the radio station to find out the exact name of the song and what album it was from. Then I got the CD.  Really fine Christmas CD without a lot of secular stuff. And Anne’s voice is the only female one low enough that I can sing along with the songs.

I’ve needed new glasses for a couple years now, especially since my fall in the parking lot chipped up my bifocals and really skewed the frame. For almost a year now I’ve been using my reading/computer/piano glasses full time and only putting on the bifocals for watching TV. My new reading/etc. glasses are fine. The new bifocals are different this time in that they are progressives. No definite line in the lenses, which I love, but it’s taking a little getting used to the “grey area” and finding just where my eyes need to go at different times. It’s also a different material from the plastic lenses I’ve always gotten, and that’s a bit hard to get used to as well. The peripheral area is blurry. Don’t know if I can deal with that. Time will tell.

Is anyone reading this? Really? Any suggestions on topics? Anything you’d like to know about me? I have pretty much accomplished my New Year’s Resolution for 2011 by posting a blog every single week. I know some of them have been skimpy things, but by golly, they’ve been there! Subscribe! Become a follower! Leave comments! You don’t have to sign in to blogspot…I think you can leave comments anonymously. But of course it would be nice if you had your name in there somewhere so I know who reads this…I know Gladys has had problems with the comment function.

See ya next week!

Friday, December 2, 2011

November Book Report


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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

As far as I’m concerned, Mr. Riggs is a genius. He took a bunch of bizarre vintage b&w photos with no connection between them and wove a story with them. The story in itself was fascinating, creepy and utterly compelling, and the addition of the photos was a great little bonus. The story had an open end to it, leaving you wanting much more. And I did. I really wanted to know what happened next. According to his blog, Riggs has confirmed that there will be a sequel with more odd photos. Yay! And…he has sold the rights to a movie based on the first book! Double yay!
~*~  ~*~  ~*~  ~*~ 
Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater

This is a delightful children’s book that I reread after watching the Jim Carrey movie “based” on it. I think the only thing the movie used from the book was the title and the fact that it had penguins in it. It was a good movie, and I enjoyed it, but the book is a separate entity to be enjoyed on its own.
~*~  ~*~  ~*~  ~*~
Heat Rises by Richard Castle (novel)
Richard Castle’s Deadly Storm (graphic novel based on the original book)

More fun from the people that bring us the delightful TV show “Castle.” The smartest thing they could ever do is actually write these supposed books that the main character, Richard Castle, writes. The Nikki Heat books are fantastic. And then, to start doing graphic novels from Mr. Castle’s earlier Derrick Storm series is just plain genius marketing.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Blessings















Thanksgiving Blessings
(in no particular order, except for the first one)

Jesus
My wonderful family
My beloved friends
My church
My country
My freedom to worship
The beauty of nature
Music
Art
Literature
My salvation
Computers
Laughter
Cats
Chocolate

Friday, November 18, 2011

Get Outta My Way!!

'


















Several years ago, before I started taking antidepressants, my theme song was a little ditty by Blue Flannel called "Having a Bad Day." I heard it on the radio and said "That's my song!!!" I especially liked the refrain, which was:
Having a bad day,
Having a bad day,
Get outta my way,
'cause I'm having a bad day.

And the lead singer basically sang about how he hated all kinds of people. No discrimination there. ALL of them!! And that was how I felt so often. Nothing personal. Just get outta my way! I had a LOT of bad days...

I got to thinking about that song today, and how I hadn't played it in a LONG time. And I thought about how it was no longer my theme song. And how I really wished I hadn't waited almost 20 years before asking my doctor for a little help with the depression...
Better late than never, eh?
So I got on youtube and listened to the song again. Still love it. Great tune, and boy, it nails the mood...anyone who's had a bad day knows what I mean....

Friday, November 11, 2011

November 11, 2011

















God bless America and all who protect her.
"Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord."
Psalm 33:12

Friday, November 4, 2011

30 Days of Pictures - Day 6

'
A picture of something you love

















I should've posted this one after the one I did about liver, but I got distracted. I was about 5 years old when I had my first French Donut. We were living in Bellflower, CA at the time. My dad brought home a Winchell's box and these heavenly delights were inside. I was instantly in love, and have remained so. I've written about French Donuts before, so I won't belabor the point.
THESE THINGS ARE DA BOMB!!!
'

Friday, October 28, 2011

Saying Goodbye to Valerie

'

October 28, 2011
Dear Valerie,

I know that you are unable to read this, my last letter to you. You died on October 6th, but since I never got to really say goodbye, this letter helps ease my aching heart a bit.

You never professed a faith in Christ, but seemed open to my attempts to witness to you. Even while you were in a coma the last months of your life, I never ceased praying that the Holy Spirit would use my words to your benefit. And in my last letters, which Svenja read to you, I always included my love and prayers. I now can only continue praying for your grieving family, that they can find some measure of peace and ultimately draw near to Christ. I will never stop those prayers.

When we first met on Facebook, playing the game Ravenwood, I was immediately drawn to your quirky sense of humor. You made the first contact, and I wasn’t really interested in any kind of “chat friendship”. I was only interested in the game. As time when on, though, the game became less important than the true friendship that developed. Since you lived in Germany, the time difference dictated that our chats would come at the middle of my day and the end of your day. I was amazed that you spoke English so well, and delighted in the little quirks of your speech at times. The fact that you were the same age as Sarah, with little ones the same age as Lia was another bond.   

As the months went by, the daily conversations became in integral part of my day. I knew that I would be talking to you at some point every day. I loved learning about your life in Germany, the stores you went to, the kinds of meals you prepared for your husband and 2 girls. And you told me you enjoyed the same exchange about America and my life. I loved sharing recipes with you. I truly regret that you never got to make the Taco Salad you were so interested in. And I have done my best to teach Lia about Muffin Tin Meals!  

When you suddenly disappeared from Facebook, I became alarmed. When you didn’t respond to my messages, emails and letter, I was even more concerned. And then the day came when Svenja contacted me on Facebook to tell me the sad story of your brain tumor and aftermath. From that point on, I had the feeling that I was going to lose you, but never gave up hope or praying for your recovery. I kept writing letters that I knew Svenja would read to you, and prayed that my words would make their way through the coma to your heart. I kept praying until the day Svenja told me you lost your battle. And now the “pen pals” are your Mina and my Lia. Lia does not yet realize the importance of this contact to Mina, but hopefully will some day. It’s hard to lose your mother at the age of 5. And Rosie isn’t even 1 year old. And Mark is doing his best as a single father now, but he misses you terribly. There is one positive to all this though. I have now forged a friendship with Svenja, Mark’s cousin and your dear friend. Svenja loved you as much as anyone else. You will always be in my heart. Your family will always be in my prayers.

And so this letter ends. Our earthly friendship has come to a close as well. I eagerly await the day when it will resume when we both stand before the Father. May God grant this last plea!

Goodbye, dear Valerie. Goodbye my friend.

Love, Dot


Friday, October 21, 2011

30 Days of Pictures - Day 5

'
A picture of your biggest fear









That's a picture of Country Crest Health Center. That's where Marv's mom lives. It's a nursing home. It's a nice one, but it's a nursing home. That's also where my dad spent the last 2 years of his life. Not a lot of good memories there. Marv's mom is so different in her attitude and outlook than my dad was, which makes it a lot easier to deal with. But at the end of the visits, we get to go home and she doesn't. She's stuck there. I would rather die. I don't think I would be as bad as my dad was, and I would strive to emulate my MIL, who I adore. But I would rather die than spend my last time on earth in a nursing home. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sing Along With Me!

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I've been pretty sick this past week, so as a sop, this week's blog is a poem/song I wrote several years ago. It was mainly in response to the food that was being served to my dad in the nursing home, but can be applied to any kind of institution food. Enjoy! Come back for seconds, if you like!

Mystery Meals

(sung to the tune of Battle Hymn of the Republic)

They’re serving up the dinner and I sit down eagerly
I ask them what I’m eatin’ and they shrug quite helplessly
They tell me that it’s healthy and to eat it thankfully
The Mystery Meals are here

chorus
Come, and sit down at the table
Bring your Maalox if you’re able
Good nutrition’s just a fable
The Mystery Meals are here


I lift the cover on my dinner just to take a peek
I poke it gently with my fork and then hear someone shriek:
“What is this crap they’ve served us now, that we’re supposed to eat!?”
The Mystery Meals are here  (sing chorus)


I eat my dinner cautiously and try to keep it down
And hope for something yummy when they bring dessert around
Dessert is an enigma, too, a sort of greenish-brown
The Mystery Meals are here  (sing chorus)

Friday, October 7, 2011

August/September Book Report

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My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D.

Dr. Taylor was a brain scientist when she had a major stroke at the age of 37. This is her fascinating account of her journey into recovery. I have to admit I skimmed some of the technical stuff, but it’s all pretty ‘user-friendly’ as far as laymen go. Very readable. She writes with courage and humor.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

This is the first book in the Precious Ramotswe series and is a total delight. I had heard of these books, and they’d been recommended to me, but I’d never gotten around to reading any. I love the spunky, common sense woman who starts her own detective agency in Africa. I look forward to more of these books.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

Will Rogers, Immortal Cowboy by Shannon Garst

This biography was from the Youth section, so no bad stuff. I doubt that anyone was this perfect, but there is no question that Will Rogers was a real American treasure.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

The Lords and The New Creatures by Jim Morrison

There are some interesting verbal pictures amongst these words. The way it flows along makes it feel almost like automatic writing. Not much of it makes sense, though. It’s Jim Morrison. What do you expect?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

30 Days of Pictures - Day 4

A picture of someone you miss






















My dad: Albert M. Jackson Jr. 1911-2005

I STILL have moments where I will see something or hear about something that I know Dad would be interested in, and my first thought will be "I have to call Dad!" or "I have to remember to tell Dad!" And there will be that little pain in my heart...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

30 Days of Pictures - Day 3

A picture of something you hate.















That, folks, is a plate of liver. I can barely even look at it.
I do NOT want to hear from anyone about how wonderful it is if it's cooked right. I do NOT want to hear how full of B vitamins it is.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

30 Days of Pictures - Day 2

A picture of you and the person you've been the closest with the longest

















The one and only Marv! We've know each other for 37 years. Been married for over 35 years. Still seems like yesterday...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

30 Days of Pictures - Day 1

I’ve seen postings on Facebook where people had a list of 30 different pictures they were to put up, 1 for each day. I’ve never seen the entire 30 done by anyone. So I decided to make that a new series to blog on. I’ll do a different picture each week within the series. As with the Alphabet Soup series, I might do some pictures blogs, then maybe a couple regular ones and then pictures again as the mood takes me.
So here we go...(BTW, this pic was taken several years ago....notice the non-grey hair?)


1. A picture of yourself and 10 facts






















I am a Christian
I am 57 years old
I love being a grandmother
I love cats
I learn something new each time I read the Bible
I play the piano for my own enjoyment
I enjoy most of the cartoons I watch with Lia
I don’t mind watching the same movies with Lia over and over
I really like milk toast
I have a great sense of humor

Friday, September 2, 2011

Alphabet Soup – part 9: the last spoonful



X – X is for Xanadu

Not the poem by Coleridge; I’m talking about the Gene Kelly/Olivia Newton-John movie. I LOVED that movie! I loved the music! I thought it was great fun! I didn’t care that it made no money at the theater and the reviews were pretty bad. I wanted to sing and roller skate like Olivia did, with my hair flowing back in the breeze.


Y – Y is for Yak Butter

One of my favorite books that I read over and over is “Escape From Kathmandu” by Kim Stanley Robinson. In it, some ex-pats in Nepal find themselves offered tea with rancid yak butter floating on top. This beverage is mentioned several times. I looked up how butter tea is made, and like the Vegemite from the previous soup blog, I don’t think I would like it…

Z – Z is for Zamboni

Who doesn’t love Zambonis?? I ask you?? What always comes to mind whenever I hear that word: Snoopy on the ice in the bird bath, preparing for the hockey game with Woodstock. He’s driving the Zamboni and getting things ready.

And there ya go, folks! A through Z. Hope you enjoyed the meal…

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Randomacity



OK. I will admit that I had NO CLUE what to write about yesterday, which is why there was no posting. I know that I left that note on FB promising something really special today…but guess what? I lied! There. Now you know the truth. I feel much better…

SO…that means rummaging through that box in my mind called “Random Thoughts”. Sorry. It’s all I got right now. The muse has apparently gone camping one last time this season.

We’ll start with the title of this blog. I know that “randomacity” isn’t a real word. It’s a little tribute to Phil Hartman, a comic genius who was taken from us far too soon. In an episode of NewsRadio, his character, Bill McNeal was having fun with the word “adequate” by coming up with a lot of variations on it just to annoy Dave Foley’s character. It was a cute little episode that has stuck with me all these years.

I really miss my childhood closet. It was HUGE. My bedroom itself was small, but the closet was HUGE. For the last 33 years I’ve been making do with a VERY small section of closet in our bedroom. When Sarah moved out, and her room became the craft room, I immediately took over the closet for my use. Still not enough. YOU CANNOT HAVE A CLOSET TOO BIG. No such closet exists. Except maybe the one that leads you to Narnia….boy, I’d love to have THAT one! I’d have my own set of closets on the other side in Narnia!

Enough randomology for you? No? You want more? OK. One last thought. (Stop cheering! It’s rude!) Just as you can’t have a closet too big, you can NEVER have too many books. Marv, Sarah and Paul would take issue with that statement. But it’s true. Books are life. I love books. Seeing all those books on my shelves give me comfort. I grew up with a ton of books on the shelves in our house. My mom was a voracious reader. My only regret is that I never really got to discuss books with her before her decline. It would’ve been nice especially to discuss some of the books in HER library once I had read some of them. I remember checking out a book from the local library when I was in high school. It was Dragonwyck by Anya Seton. I loved that book. Very dark and gothic. I was stunned some time later to discover that very same book amongst my mother’s books. She had read that same wonderful novel! I truly wish I could have discussed this with her…

OK. Time to put the randomlicious box back in the TINY LITTLE CLOSET of my mind. I will try to have a “real” blog for you next week. But probably not. Buwahahahahahahah! I am evil!!!!
Really, I’m OK. No cause for concern. Move along now…I mean it! Get outta here! 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Billie


I was looking through some of my blog sites for prompts and came across one written about bullies and kids named Billy. The writer had very poor experiences in his childhood with boys of that name and couldn’t think of anyone named Billy that included a positive experience. I immediately thought of a little girl I knew whose name was Billie.

I was 5 and she was about the same age. She and her family lived next door. She was one of my first friends, simply because of proximity. None of the families in that area had much in they way of money, ours included. I don’t know how it came about that we knew it was Billie’s birthday, but we had a little celebration at our house, just us and Billie. My mom got a coloring book and crayons and we wrapped them up. I was so jealous, because I never got a new coloring book. All I had to color on was paper. I didn’t understand why Billie was so special.

We had a little cake and sang Happy Birthday, and then Billie burst into tears. That totally floored me. Why!? She was getting a new coloring book and crayons! Looking back, and sort of remembering some of the adult conversation going on, I think perhaps that Billie had never celebrated her birthday before, and was just overwhelmed by it all.

Some time later, Billie was playing outside and ran into the street and was hit by a car. She only ended up with severe road rash on one arm. My mother took her aside a couple of days later and very carefully explained why you NEVER run out in the road, and you NEVER go NEAR the road without looking both ways. I already knew that information—why didn’t Billie? Why did she have to have this explained by another person? Again, vaguely remember conversation going on around me, it was apparent that no one had ever told Billie this stuff.

And that’s about all I remember about Billie. She was my first friend. I don’t know when they moved away, but I was aware that suddenly she didn’t live next door anymore. I hope she’s doing well. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Grandma’s Continuing Education



When my kids were little, I knew almost all the names of the various cartoon people in their world. I knew all the Ninja Turtle folk—both good and bad, most of the Smurfs, Rainbow Bright and her friends, Strawberry Shortcake and her friends, most of the My Little Pony gang, etc. And Barbie was Barbie! No matter what hair color she had. Yes, she had a few friends with their own names, but they looked different, too.

Now that Lia is in my life, I’m finding that I have to learn a whole new cast of characters. There are different looking ponies now, with different names. All the Disney movies now have their own “Barbie” dolls, with specific looks and names. And even the regular Barbies often have their own look and name. And Lia has them all, by the way. Ponies and Barbies. And now there’s Tinkerbell and all her fairy friends to learn too! And since S & C don’t have cable, Lia watches movies all the time. Over and over. The same movies. Then she’ll move on to another movie or two and watch those over and over for a while. While I was visiting this last time, we saw the 2nd Mermaid movie and the old Disney version of Alice in Wonderland. Over and over. In play, Lia will re-enact parts of the movies, using her various dolls and stuffed animals for the characters. She will assign me a doll/animal and tell me who it is, then she’ll take her “character” and feed me lines! I may not have paid strict attention! I won’t know my lines! She’ll correct me! She’s memorized these movies! Then she’ll switch without notice and the former Rapunzel doll which had become Pocahontas, is now Ariel from the Mermaid movie. And if I voice the wrong character, Lia gets mad at me! Can’t win!

But it’s all good, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Bring ‘em on…Grandma can handle it…

Friday, August 5, 2011

Alphabet Soup - part 8


U – U is for Ukulele

To me, the ukulele is the symbol for Arthur Godfrey. When I was young, I listened to Arthur Godfrey on the radio and watched him on TV. I remember his commercials for Lipton tea and soup and for Axion detergent. To me, he always sounded like he had a slight cold, but his voice was very comforting. I enjoyed the talent shows. One of my favorite movies is The Glass Bottom boat, where he plays Doris Day’s father. They do a duet where he is playing his ukulele.


V – V is for Vegemite

I’ve mentioned being an Anglophile before, but I am also an Australophile. It’s a fascinating country and fascinating people. I love the native artwork. I had never heard of Vegemite, though, until the song “Down Under” by Men at Work. I loved that song and did a little research into Vegemite. I don’t think I would care for it…


W – W is for Windchimes

I love windchimes. When Marv and I were first married, we found some local artist who made ceramic windchimes. They were gorgeous, and that first Christmas we gave EVERYBODY windchimes. Sadly, ours broke a few years later after we had moved and by then the guy was no longer in the area. I tried finding him on the internet a couple times, but I don’t really know how his named was spelled. If I didn’t think it would drive the neighbors nuts, I’d hang windchimes all around the outside of the house so we would be sure of catching SOME kind of breeze on a spring or summer night. I’d have all the windows open and go to sleep listening to those chimes.

Friday, July 29, 2011

June/July Book Report

Never got around to doing a report for June, so decided to combine last months and this, since only 4 books were read.



Camilla by Madeleine L’Engle

This is from the young adult section. I read it when I was in high school and enjoyed it once again. It’s a bit dated by now, but still a good book. Camilla comes of age and discovers her parents are only human. No one is perfect, parents make mistakes, the world does NOT revolve around YOU. In the process, she discovers her first love is the brother of her best friend. The book definitely does not have a happy ending, but the ending is real, and is one that can be dealt with.



Bedelia by Vera Capsary

This was a real corker from my mom’s library. Turn of the century suspense about a black widow that marries lonely middle-age men and makes them deliriously happy until they die “normal” deaths. After taking out huge life insurance policies, of course. The plot wouldn’t work in today’s modern age, but still a great book.



Kon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl

Non-fiction book that I’ve had for years, but never got around to reading it until now. Heyerdahl was convinced that the Polynesian islands were first inhabited by primitive sailors from the Americas. He set out to prove that a primitive raft, such as was available back then, could safely make it from Peru to Polynesia. He did it. Great read for anyone loving true adventure stories.


Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich

Since this is the newest Stephanie Plum book, and has only been out for a short time, I won't reveal too much. If you're not a fan of this series, you REALLY need to be! As usual, Stephanie goes after her FTA's with her usual flair and incompetence, aided by the plus-sized Lula. I will only add two more words: Ranger action. OK, I'll make that 3 words: MAJOR Ranger action. As in lots of action. Wow. With Ranger. Excuse me, I'm going to take a cold shower...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Alphabet Soup – part 7


R - R is for Roller Skates

I grew up in a very rural area where there were no sidewalks. I had roller skates, but no good place to skate. The street was far too rough, and there wasn’t enough room in the driveway. There was a local roller rink, but we NEVER went there. I didn’t even know it existed until I was in high school. The roller skates I had were the clamp on kind that you attached to your shoes and had to tighten with a key. I have no clue why my parents got them for me when there was no place to use them. My friend Shirley had a very large back patio where we could do a little skating back and forth a few feet. We were there one day when my skate caught on something and I fell forward into the little garden area at the end of the patio. I put out my hands to break the fall, and punctured my hand on a rusty nail sticking up from a board. That meant a trip to the doctor for a tetanus shot.

S – S is for Scurbles

I don’t remember when I came up with the word “scurbles” but it was some time when the kids were very small. It could be used as an interjection or anything you wanted. Sarah was always drawing little creatures with odd names and I guess decided to draw what she pictured a scurble looked it. Very cute, kinda like a little mushroom creature. Many years later when “Fantasia” first came out on video tape, I got it and watched it. One of the musical sections had little critters dancing around that looked just like the scurbles that Sarah had drawn! I was amazed! We had never rented that movie before, so it wasn’t an image that had crept into Sarah’s mind earlier.

T - T is for Tapioca

I have always loved tapioca, but since it was a cooked pudding, we didn’t have it very often. This was long before Jello came out with the packages that still required some cooking, but you didn’t have to soak it overnight first. My grandmother used it a lot to thicken fruit pies and cobblers. One time we had large pearl tapioca, which we’d never had before. After it was soaked, my grandmother made pudding. It was like having small eyeballs in your dessert! I loved it!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Alphabet Soup - part 6


Just a little preamble regarding the “L” posting a few weeks back: I got the ‘Leather & Lace’ CD and it was like going back in time!!! I was singing along with the ladies and lovin’ it! I was listening to it today while paying bills, balancing the checkbook and getting this blog ready. Awesome!! J

O – O is for Opal

I love opals. I love the fire within them, the prism of colors, the variations. Oddly, I have no opal jewelry. Wish I did.

P – P is for Pollock

I’ve blogged about Jackson Pollock before, so I won’t say much here. I love his work. He was a deeply flawed human being, but his soul was amazing. I was talking to Sarah once about accent walls, and I said I’d love an accent wall done as a Pollock abstract. I thought Marvin would barf. He does NOT appreciate Pollock.

Q – Q is for Quark

I’ve loved ALL the Star Trek TV shows and movies and have seen them all. I was deeply saddened by the non-ending of Deep Space Nine. I really hate when there are loose ends. Quark was such a great character. Yes, he was a greedy, conniving Ferengi, but he had a heart…
He certainly had mine ♥

Friday, July 8, 2011

Mega Blog! Watch Out!


As promised last week, here are TWO SEPARATE BLOGS to take the place of last week’s missing blog and this week’s regular one. Enjoy!
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
RANDOM 5
1. Write a haiku about the last meal you ate: (2 verses!)

hot dogs and beans. yum!
franks sacrificed on the grill,
buns to follow next

second course: beans! oooh!
They kept those “home fires” burnin’
ALL NIGHT LONG

2. Name 5 things in your freezer:
ice cream, ice cubes, fish, vegetables, sausage patties

3. Are you looking forward to the next holiday? Why or why not:
When I originally planned this posting, the holiday coming up was July 4th, but that has come and gone. The next holiday is Labor Day, and yes, I am looking forward to it. That’s when Sarah plans on coming up again. And of course, where Sarah is, Lia is as well. Not that I wouldn’t be more than happy to see Sarah by herself, it’s just that Lia is an added “bonus” so to speak. And speak she does! Volumes! At high decibel! Sarah was a VERY quiet child…don’t know where Lia gets it…

4. What would you be doing at this exact moment if the internet had never been invented?
Probably reading. That has been the biggest change in my life, due to the computer. And I do mourn that loss to a certain extent, but I have found such joy in just puttering around the ‘net! AND IT’S NOT JUST RAVENWOOD!!

5. Describe your “happy place”:
I don’t often go to my “happy place” during the day. Just too busy. Used to go there a lot as an unhappy child. Quite often when I lie in bed at night, though, I will check it out. And it was a different place then, but there are certain similarities to the one today. It’s a cabin in the woods up north. Maybe Shasta or Eureka. Lots of pines. Sometimes it’s almost like a tree house, tall and skinny, with the upper floors looking out into the pines on one side and over the mountains on the other. There’s a cold mountain stream or creek running nearby…you can hear it any time of day or night. It’s always sunny, although quite often very cold and breezy. It’s very quiet, except for the creek and the birds. There are decks aplenty to sit and enjoy the sun in the early morning with a hot cup of coffee.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
ALPHABET SOUP – PART 5

M – M is for Moggies!

There are several different stories of how the British term moggy/moggie came to refer to a cat. Being an Anglophile, I’ve always loved the term. It sounds cuddly. I even wrote a poem about them for the altered book I did for my niece many years ago:

Love them Moggies
Love them so
Always know just where to go
Don’t like dogs and don’t like snow
Lovely little Moggies

Friendly Moggies
Purr so sweet
Wash their little hands and feet
With rough tongues (they’re very neat)
Lovely little Moggies

I love Moggies!
Every day
Love to watch them run and play
In my bed at night they’ll lay
Lovely little Moggies


N – N is for Narcissis

This is the official flower for December, (my BD is Dec. 11, for anyone who wants to send a card, BTW). I’ve always loved them for their wonderful scent, which lasts even when they’re past their prime. Pretty flower, lovely scent, a couple vases of them in your home and you’ve got something special!


So there ya go, Gladys…forgive me? I’ll probably do this again at the end of the month when I’m spending another week at Sarah’s.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

We pre-empt this blog...

...for an important message:
This week's blog has been postponed due to a heavy influx of "grandma business"! As a sop, next week will contain TWO BLOGS to make amends...

peace out ♥

Friday, June 24, 2011

Alphabet Soup – part 4


J – J is for Jabberwocky

I was pretty young when I read the Alice books. My mother had this wonderful volume that comprised of both books with illustrations. Since then, I’ve read them several times. I especially love the poetry. Jabberwocky was so different, in that it had words that were made up, but still made sense when read as a story poem. Wonderful books.

K – K is for Kaleidoscope

I’ve always loved kaleidoscopes. As a child I seemed to always have one of the cheap paper kinds where you twist the end to change the stuff inside. I was just amazed at how this wonderful thing worked. You could twist and twist, and the results were never duplicated. One year, as a Christmas present, I got one that had interchangeable shallow plastic containers that would snap onto the bottom of the tube. There were different things in each container, and there was one that was empty that you could put whatever you wanted in and see what kind of magic would happen. I tried paper clips, rubber bands, everything. I just loved that kaleidoscope. I have no idea what happened to it, and I’ve never been able to find one like that again. There are some sites online where you can have a ton of fun making kaleidoscopes. The first one is http://krazydad.com/kaleido/ That one enables you to take a pictures from anywhere online and make a kaleidoscope. I’ve spent hours playing with that one! I recently came across a couple more that are a lot of fun too: http://www.permadi.com/java/spaint/spaint.html http://www.zefrank.com/dtoy_vs_byokal/

L – L is for Leather & Lace

I AM SO JAZZED!!! This was one of my absolute favorite cassettes from the 80’s and I played it ALL THE TIME. Every once in a while I would look for a CD of it, but there wasn’t one. I stopped looking and the years went by. As I was getting ready to write this, I decided to look one more time. I FOUND IT! THE CD!! I ORDERED IT!!! I WILL LISTEN TO IT ONCE AGAIN!!!! I was surprised the playlist was so short; only 9 songs. But they are all winners. Here’s the list:

What’s love got to do with it – Tina Turner

I hate myself for loving you – Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

We belong – Pat Benatar

We got the beat – the Go-Go’s

Walk like an Egyptian - Bangles

Warrior – Pat Benatar

Only the lonely – the Motels

Bette Davis eyes – Kim Carnes

Solitaire – Laura Branigan

Friday, June 17, 2011

Alphabet Soup - part 3


I know you’ve been anxiously awaiting the next installment. Well, wait no more, it’s HERE!

F – F is for Fard

This is a legitimate word. It means to paint (the face) with cosmetics, or color. From the first time I heard of this word, I adopted it for regular use, as has my daughter. After all, who doesn’t want, when asked by one’s husband/boyfriend/whatever: “What is taking you so long to get ready?!” to answer thusly: “I’m in the bathroom farding!” I know it sounds like junior high humor, but trust me, this is really erudite stuff and will impress your friends. Try it. See what happens. Then let me know…

G – G is for Grimalkin

Originally an old term for a cat or witch, usually negative in usage. I happen to love the word, the sound of it. And when I use it as a name for a cat, it is an endearment, rather than a pejorative.

H – H is for Honeycomb

When I was 5 years old, we were given some honeycomb by friends who had bees. I knew what honey was, but was not familiar with “fresh” honey, so to speak. It was a pretty big chunk in some kind of container. There were even dead bees in some of the combs. My dad broke off a small chunk and gave it to me. I was told to chew it and spit out the wax. I also knew what wax was, but had no idea it was found in honey. It was an amazing experience.

I – I is for Inkblot

I would LOVE to take the Rorschach Test. The real one. And then be analyzed. There is one online that is pretty funny. Take a gander and see what it says about you: http://www.theinkblot.com/

I remember doing art stuff in grade school where we would take a piece of construction paper, fold it in half, then take a piece of yarn dipped in paint and close the paper on it, leaving a small piece outside of it. Then you grab that little piece and YANK it out! You do this a couple of times with different colors and you have your own little Rorschach. Of course, it wasn’t called that in grade school.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Alphabet Soup - part 2


As promised last week, we will continue with the alphabet blog. This week’s letters are:

C – C is for Capybara

The capybara is the world’s largest rodent. It is also the beloved pet of The Tick. I absolutely adored that cartoon show. The Tick wasn’t the sharpest super hero, but he was the funniest. When he was hallucinating in the jungles of Mexico and came across this creature, he thought it was a dog. He also thought it was speaking to him. Thus, he named it Speak. Even when he found out Speak wasn’t a dog, The Tick insisted it was of superior intelligence and could learn tricks.

D – D is for Dandelion

Yes, I know dandelions are WEEDS, but I like them! They are so cheerful looking. You can pick a handful of them and put them in a little vase, and you have a nice cheery centerpiece for the table. And if you leave them in the ground to go to seed, then you have “fairy flowers” to blow on. Lia loves that! When I was little, we had a canary named Chirpy (I know…lame) and I can remember my grandma sometimes getting dandelion leaves and putting some in the bird cage for him. I also remember just once, Grandma got a small bunch of dandelion leaves and cooked them. Just for her.

E – E is for Étui

I came across this word a long time ago in a crossword puzzle. It’s pronounced A-TWEE with the accent on the second syllable. The definition for the puzzle was “needle case”, but it was really a small holder for different tools a woman might use. Needles, scissors, hair pins etc. They could be plain or highly decorative.

Friday, June 3, 2011

May book report and stuff


OK, I know I only got one book finished in May…but I GAVE UP Cityville on Facebook! I’m still doing Ravenwood, but I SHOULD have more time to read…maybe. Give me a break. So for this posting, I will review the book I read and add some other stuff as filler…

“Octagon Magic” by Andre Norton

Ms. Norton wrote both adult and youth sci-fi, and I’ve read and enjoyed both. This was from the youth section. Lorrie is a 6th grader who comes from Canada to live with an aunt in the US after the deaths of her parents. There is the usual pre-teen angst of trying to fit in with a new school, new country, and new ideas. The Octagon House is supposedly inhabited by a witch, and Lorrie finds refuge there when bullied by some boys. The elderly woman who lives there is NOT a witch, but she does have a very mysterious past, and things “happen” when Lorrie is in that house. By the end of the book, Lorrie has come to understand how to better make friends and learns to let go of the old and accept the new. Very well written.

Filler Stuff:

I miss the original VH1 channel. I loved having just videos all the time. I enjoyed the VeeJays, especially Don Imus. And I REALLY miss Pop-Up Video. I loved that show! I learned some neat trivia about my favorites that way.

MST3K—I loved Mystery Science Theater 3000. That was so much fun! Joel was my favorite. I was really sorry to see him go, but Mike did an OK job. I enjoyed all the characters and the little bits they would do between movie sessions. And I loved the theme song.

When I was little, I was never into cowboy stuff that much, but I loved my cap gun! Both my brother and I had one. I mainly enjoyed making the loud pop. Taking a hammer and hitting the caps was fun too. But eventually you would run out of caps and that would be it until more could be purchased. The rolls never lasted long enough. What I REALLY loved was my paper popper/paper buster gun. That was absolutely brilliant. You didn’t need caps, just a long strip of newspaper to feed into the gun. It made a sound just as loud as caps would. And newspaper was plentiful. I have no idea what happened to that wonderful toy. You can find them on eBay, although I’ve never seen one like the one I had.

OK. I think that’s enough for a posting. Toodles!

Next week: Alphabet Soup part 2!! (Thought I’d forgotten about it, didn’t ya?)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Random Thoughts #2


Since I got such overwhelming response from my last Random posting, (Thank you, Gladys! I don’t know what I would do without my faithful Reader) I decided to do it again…

*Stuff They Don’t Make Anymore That I Really Miss

Delaware Punch: This was a non-carbonated soft drink from around 1970. It’s owned by Coca Cola, and is still made, but very difficult to find. Haven’t seen any in this area for 40 years. I totally loved this. Could drink it all day long. Since it wasn’t carbonated, it went down real easy, real fast. I probably wouldn’t be able to drink it now, since I can’t stand anything that isn’t sugar-free.

Pillsbury Toaster Strudel CHOCOLATE flavor: These are really good strudels, but chocolate was the best. I’ve seen the TV ads promoting these things as being something healthy to give your kids for breakfast. You can’t fool me: these are pure SUGAR! So why not make them CHOCOLATE and really make ‘em good? Don’t know why they discontinued them.

Pepperidge Farms Blueberry Turnovers: My absolute favorite flavor of turnovers. Used to get them all the time. The other flavors are OK. In fact, they are very good. But I want blueberry! They stopped making them! Why?? I haven’t seen blueberry turnovers in the regular bakery section of any store, either. What’s the deal???

Beef Noodle Soup: Campbell’s used to make 3 different noodle soups—chicken, turkey, beef. All good, but my favorite was the beef noodle. I loved to fix it and put crushed potato chips in it. Made it really salty, but WOW, was it good! According to their website, they still make it, but trying to find a store that carried it yielded no results. It is available online, if I want to buy it by the case and pay shipping.

*Toy Food

Everybody loves miniatures. They’re so CUTE! “Look at that little ceramic turtle! Only as big as my thumb nail! Isn’t it CUTE?” “Look at that little tea set! Isn’t it CUTE?” “Tiny Sticky Notes! How CUTE!” Well, I happen to love miniature consumables, i.e. FOOD and DRINK. Here are some of my favorites:

Booze—how cute are those little airline bottles?? I LOVE toy booze! And they hold just enough to make a decent drink serving. Very expensive, though. Especially if you have to ride on an airplane to get them… They are available online and in some liquor stores, where they are STILL expensive. But they’re SO CUTE!

Soft drinks—Also expensive are the little half-sized cans of soda. The main place I would see them was in nursing homes and hospitals., but they're in stores now. Cute, yes, but just not enough volume for me to bother with.

Pickles—LOVE TOY PICKLES!! They’re usually called “baby”, “cocktail” or “snack size” but to me they are toy pickles. Yummy AND cute! What more could you ask for?

Watermelons—I have just recently seen the toy watermelons in the stores. They’ve had small sized watermelons before, but I thing the ones on the market now are even smaller. Have no clue what they taste like. BUT THEY ARE CUTE!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Remembering Dana Garret


Dana Garret died recently, at the age of 63, and for some reason her brother decided there was no need for any kind of service. He was not a Christian, even though Dana was, and had many friends at church. He didn’t think anyone would come to a service. He was wrong. Here’s what I would’ve said if I’d been given a chance at her service:

Dana Garret was a member of our church. She was a quirky gal with a good sense of humor. She loved people, she loved kids, she loved cats. Most of all, she loved her Lord and Savior.

In her later years she was unable to get around very well. She had many health and mobility problems. She kept coming to church as long as she was able, and after that she was housebound. But she was not silent.

She loved to call people on the phone. I would answer the phone and hear her voice: “Hello, honey-bunny! How ya doing?” She would always say she had to check up on us, to see if we were being good. But not TOO good, because that wouldn’t be any fun, would it?

We would chat, talk about cats, about grandkids, nothing earth shaking. She would always ask how her “boyfriend” was doing. That’s what she called Marv. She would always end the conversation by telling me to give her boyfriend a kiss. Then she’d say “I love you guys.”

I will miss her phone calls. I will miss being called honey-bunny.

Friday, May 13, 2011

April Book Report


OK. I’ll admit that playing Ravenwood and Cityville on Facebook is cutting into my reading time. That does NOT mean I’m addicted!

So…the 2 books I read in April were:

“The Boy Who Reversed Himself” by William Sleator

This was from the Young Adult sci-fi section. Sleator is one of my favorites. Even though his books are geared to a younger reader, I enjoy them tremendously. Well written, with a real plot you can sink your teeth into. Laura is trying to fit in with the popular kids in high school. When Omar moves in next door, she knows he’s “odd” somehow, and tries to distance herself from him. Her curiosity gets the better of her, though, and she finds herself joining Omar in traveling into the 4th dimension.

“The Mystery of the Laughing Shadow” by William Arden

Another in the 3 Investigators series. Just happened to read 2 Young Adult books in a row. One sci-fi, one mystery. I still enjoy these books a lot, even though they are a bit dated by now. The 3 boys hear of a fabulous treasure hidden long ago by the ancient Chumash tribe. They not only break the code and discover where the treasure is hidden, but they thwart an unscrupulous Australian crook in the process.

OK. Now it’s back to Facebook time to take care of some laundry, and maybe play some Ravenwood read a little. I AM NOT ADDICTED!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Alphabet Soup - part 1


I came across a blog prompt site that had a lot of great ideas. They had one for April that was a daily challenge. Blog about a different letter of the alphabet each day. I don’t want to commit to something like that, so I’ll just take a letter or two (or three) and babble about it a bit each week until I get to Z. No big articles, just little vignettes about the particular letter.

A – A is for Apple

Every child knows that. That’s in all the coloring books and papers that kids bring home from kindergarten. Although nowadays, a child pretty much has to know their alphabet, shapes, colors and numbers BEFORE kindergarten or they will be left behind.

When we were first married, we lived next to an apple orchard that was pretty much abandoned. We were told that we could have as many apples as we wanted. I made so many pies that first year! And they were fabulous. One of my favorite memories from that first year is when I had some pie leftover and I took it to Chico to share with my grandmother. I had every intention of giving her the whole portion, but she immediately got 2 plates out, divided the pie, and we shared some pie at the kitchen table where I grew up. Nice little memory. I sure miss Grandma.

B – B is for Brownies

My close friend Shirley lived across the street from me. We were at each others house all the time. She had a cookbook written for kids that had very simple recipes in it. One was for brownies. Shirley and I used that recipe several times and it is still my standard recipe for brownies. It’s in my recipe box, titled: Brownies (Shirley Plain recipe). One of the things I liked about the recipe, other than it was super simple, was that it didn’t call for nuts. I didn’t care for nuts in my brownies back then. I still prefer to throw in a few chocolate chips instead of nuts. Here is the recipe:

Melt 2 squares unsweetened chocolate OR ½ C. cocoa and 1/3 C. butter

Add 1 C. sugar, ¾ C. flour, ½ tsp. baking powder, ½ tsp. salt, 2 eggs

Mix and spread in a greased 8 x 8 pan.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Recipe may be doubled.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Blah!


I have a nasty cold and am REALLY out of sorts. Couldn't think of anything to write, so decided to compose a few Haiku verses for the occasion. Read and comment, or not, I don't care.... :-P

I have a bad cold

It really irritates me

Grumpy grumpy grump


Having a cold sucks

I’m irritable and mean

Stay out of my way!


Pharmaceuticals!

Oh NyQuil, how I love thee!

Take me to bed! Now!

Friday, April 22, 2011

What Was Her Dream?


Since I was brought up in the church, I am very familiar with the Biblical accounts of major events, among them the birth of Christ and then His crucifixion. Very early in my life, I was intrigued with the passage in Matthew 27:19. That’s where the wife of Pontius Pilate sends him a message: “Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him.” (NKJV)

I don’t know how old I was when I first became interested in finding out just what that dream was all about, but as time went on, I became more and more intrigued. Since this was way back in the day when I was so phobically shy I couldn’t talk to anyone, all I could do was search through my Bible. (No Google back then, either!) I was so frustrated when I discovered that it was ONLY in Matthew where this incident is mentioned. A couple of times I would check other versions than NIV or KJ (which was all I had) to see if there was anything else, or check a commentary. Nothing. The dream was important in that it was mentioned in the Bible. But I really wish there had been a little more info. Every year when this passage is read during Lent, I ponder it. What was so bad about the dream that Pilate’s wife would interrupt her husband?

The dream also comes to mind whenever I have had a particularly horrendous dream about a loved one. Thankfully, those are few and far between, but there have been some doozies. It had been a while since I’d had such a dream, but I had one the other night. Woke up heartbroken. The feeling persisted most of the day. That’s what has prompted this Good Friday blog.

Now that we have such a marvelous source of information via the Internet, I have been able to look a little further into this. There are a lot of apocryphal stories and legends, but nothing new regarding scripture. And there it will have to end.

I’ll always wonder about it.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

March Book Report


Only 4 books read in March, but they were all keepers.


Small Town Reality” by Carolyne Aarsen

This was a Grace Chapel Inn book. Always good. A reality show wants to showcase the local beauty shop and ‘real’ people to show what can be done with products the average woman can get and use. You don’t have to be a celebrity or rich to look good. The side story was about a retired editor that started up a tabloid paper to skewer the small-town ideals of the locals and try to drag them into the dirty 21st century.


“We Have This Moment” by Diann Hunt

Another Grace Chapel book. A gentle romance about an older couple that were sweethearts in school, but went separate ways. A chance meeting 46 years later shows them that you are never too old for love. The side story was about Jane secretly making Louise a scrapbook about her life.


“Hakon of Rogen’s Saga” by Erik Christian Haugaard

This book was from the Youth section of the library, but Mr. Haugaard says he writes for all ages. And this is a great story for all ages. I love the old Norse myths and stories about that era. This one is about the local chieftan, Olaf, who is killed by treachery. His son, Hakon, is young in years, but grows up fast to take revenge. His courage earns him his birthright as the new chieftan.


“The Hours” by Michael Cunningham

This is the book that the Meryl Streep movie was based on. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but intend to. I haven’t read any of Virginia Woolf’s works, but I loved the style of the author, who was apparently trying to mimic Woolf’s. The book gives a glimpse of three different women (Virginia Woolf, Laura Brown, Clarissa Vaughan) in three different times, all within a 24 hour period. Very enjoyable and I look forward to the movie.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Sloppy Josés!


A couple years ago I wrote about my first experience with that wonderful food, Sloppy Joes. If you’re interested, you can find it here: http://dotkat-whatthecatdraggedin.blogspot.com/2009/08/keeping-with-church-food-theme-i.html

That’s always been a good last-minute, don’t-have-any-time, starving-and-wanna-eat-NOW kind of meal. I’ve made Sloppy Joes from scratch and from a variety of canned mixes. All of them yummy.

The other day I was in the Dollar Store looking for a new toothbrush holder for the bathroom. As usual, I go up and down every aisle there looking for new/fun stuff, sparkly socks, things for Lia, etc.

When I got to the food aisle, I was browsing the microwave noodle dishes and saw a can of Sloppy Joe mix. I had taken a pound of hamburger out of the freezer the previous day and thought, “Hmmmm. We haven’t had Sloppy Joes in a long time…” So I got the can of mix and then backtracked to see if I could find hamburger buns. No buns, but there was a huge display of tortillas. Never had Sloppy Joes in a tortilla. How novel. So I got a package of them.

Great idea! Put it on a tortilla, sprinkle with cheese, zap in the microwave, roll up, and YUM! Not only is it tasty, it’s actually neater than the bun method. I don’t know what the Spanish word for sloppy is, so I’m calling them Sloppy Josés. Although Less Sloppy or Tidy Josés would be better. Don’t know the Spanish for those words, either.

And don’t say that all we had was a burrito. Different flavoring entirely.

And BTW (because I know you care deeply), I did find my toothbrush holder. The previous one was a pretty blue plastic one, but since it had been knocked off the sink ledge many times, it was all cracked. What I found was a nice-looking ceramic one in a sage color that went with the bathroom colors better. And since it’s ceramic, I got 2 of them…so when the first one is broken, I will have a replacement and a little time to start looking for more…

Friday, April 1, 2011

Girls Day Out


I can’t remember the last time I had a day out with one of my gal pals. It’s usually Mary, and we haven’t gone out in a long time. Yesterday was with both Mary and Paula, and I had the time of my life! I really hope this was just the first of such outings.

We started at an antique store none of us had been to before, and spent an hour and a half and still didn’t get to see it all. I scored a fabulous brass cat holding a mirror, the mirror being removable. You could just as easily substitute dried flowers for the mirror. After I got that and put it in the car, I went back over some of the area I hadn’t seen yet and scored another bargain: a bin full of mega blocks for only $4!! I snapped that up fast! Lia will love it!

Then we went to Taco Bell out by Trader Joe’s. The taco salad was great, but the shell was a bit stale. We hit Trader Joe’s then on to S & S Produce (natural health store and organic produce) and then to Baskin & Robbins. I had a coupon for a free pint of ice cream that I got one of the times I donated blood. Got a mix of Snickers, New York Cheesecake and World Class Chocolate and 3 spoons. YUM!

After that, it was on to Kohl’s. It was mainly so Paula could get something, but I though I might take a look and see if they had any white purses. They did, but they were way out of my range and I didn’t even like them that much. BUT….I found a hat I could not live without! My next profile pic will be of me wearing that hat. I love it! I haven’t bought a new hat in ages. And it was on sale! I also got a pair of slippers on sale. All in all, a very good trip.

Got home and was stunned that it was 4:30! Had no idea it was that late. I had lots of Ravenwood and Cityville stuff to take care of and some Scrabble to catch up on. Did Cityville, then let Marv have the computer while I ate dinner. Then I did Ravenwood for the next few hours. Love that game!!

Really great day. Not much in the way of pain, although I am a little creaky today. But it was worth it.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Random Thoughts


Not much to talk about really. Just bits and pieces that were laying around in my blog folder…

The Sacrificial Cube
This started a long time ago when Marv would get ice from the freezer for his ice tea or soda. Invariably, he would drop a cube on the floor. Every time. He started calling that the “sacrificial cube” that paid the price for all the other cubes. Sometimes he would go to great lengths to try and save that cube. It would involve acrobatics the like of which you’ve never seen. But alas, the cube would end up on the floor…

Clinking Kitty Dishes
I’ve had cats that would come running whenever the can opener was employed. Sometimes they were rewarded with mushy cat food. Most often, it was a can of olives I was opening, or perhaps some new potatoes. I would offer them some, but they would turn up their noses. Nowadays, the canned food comes with pull-tab tops. No can opener required. My current cats, Harper and Sheba, have no interest in the can opener whatsoever. What brings them running, however, is the clink of the 2 porcelain dishes I use for their mushy food. They’re just cheap, mass produced little pudding dishes like you see in a hospital or nursing home. In fact, I think that’s where one of them came from. I think my dad took one when my mom was in the nursing home. It probably had pudding or jello that she didn’t eat, but my dad took home with him to eat as a snack later. The second one I got at Salvation Army specifically for the use of the cats. I have to be very careful when taking those dishes out of the dishwasher, because if they clink together and the cats hear them, they come running and won’t leave until they get those dishes filled and placed on the floor.

Special Powers
I have long suspected that my cats have special powers. I now have proof. Harper can transport himself outside without benefit of a door. The in/out, in/out stuff is not unusual. As T.S. Eliot said, “He’s on the wrong side of every door.” And it’s easy to lose track of who is in or out when we go to bed, because they’ve done nothing but the in/out all evening. Yesterday, though, was different. We’ve had to keep Harper in for the last week and a half because of stitches he got after an injury. And he’d been increasingly anxious to GO OUT, DAMMIT!! (Yes, I’m afraid Harper has a potty mouth…) So yesterday, Marv got home from work. He was in the family room and I was in the kitchen starting on dinner. He said something, and I went to the doorway of the family room to answer, and we both heard Harper’s paws on the sliding glass door FROM THE OUTSIDE! WANTING IN! We looked at each other and said “How did he do that?!?” Because I KNOW I didn’t let him out! The answer: teleportation! It’s the only way…..

Grandma’s sayings
My maternal grandparents lived with us while I was growing up, and Grandma had a lot of sayings that she would employ as needed. I really wish I’d written more of them down. These are the only ones I can remember.

1. “If you dream about the dead, you’ll be surprised by the living.” I always thought this was a neat one.

2. “There’re more ways to kill a cat other than choking it to death on butter.” Don’t remember the circumstances with this one…it’s probably a variation of the ‘more than one way to kill a cat’ but the addition of the butter made it different.

3. “It doesn’t eat any bread or butter.” This was said if there was a sale on something like toilet paper or something not readily perishable. All it took was the space to store it in. I have used this saying once or twice myself when debating on whether to get the big box of dishwasher tabs on sale, even though I really don’t need them just yet.

Friday, March 18, 2011

What's In My Purse?


You’d probably be surprised. My mom always carried an enormous purse with an amazing assortment of stuff in it, because, “You never know…”

I didn’t start carrying a purse until I got my driver’s license. Once I needed to have that with me at all times, stuff just started accumulating in my purse. And more than once, people have availed themselves of my purse’s bounty.

Need a tissue? Got it.
Need a nail file? Got it.
Hand cream? Brush? Pen/pencil/paper?
Got it.

Over the years, I’ve tried downsizing to a smaller purse. There are a lot of cute little purses out there, and you can’t put much in them. I always find myself trying to cram too much in and go back to using a larger purse for everyday use. For church, or some other outing where I know I’m not going to be gone long, I will sometimes get one of my cute little purses and only put in the absolute essentials. And most times, I will regret at least one of the things I leave out.

So here are the essentials:
Tissues
Lip balm
Pen/paper
Keys
ID (only if I think I’ll be driving)

Also added at times:
Money/credit card
Wallet (contains nail file)
Checkbook
Calendar

The rest of the stuff:
Coupons
Hand cream
Mints
Meds
Handicap tag for MIL
Brush
Address book

For special occasions:
Camera
Reading glasses
Other crap that people say “Here, put this in your purse, will ya?”

Whenever I come back from an outing where I used a cute little purse, I am always vigilant to take the stuff from that purse and put it back into my big one. Because, "You never know..."

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Things I Don't Do Anymore


I sometimes get to thinking of the things I don’t/can’t do anymore because of age, health, wisdom (yes, I do learn from my mistake sometimes!) and thought it might be interesting to list a few of them. Some I regret, some not.

Eating chili at midnight – I can remember watching TV late at night and getting the “hungries” and thinking nothing of opening and heating a can of chili. Boy, that would taste good! And I loved adding crushed potato chips to my bowl. Nowdays, (and yes, I know it’s spelled wrong. I do NOT pronounce that middle ‘a’ and see no reason to print it!) I have to be very careful to even attempt a bowl of chili at dinner. Lunch is a better time for it, but if I do have it for dinner, precautions must be taken. A handful of antacids before and after the meal is the only way to do it. And I usually have to sit up when I go to bed anyway.

Going to the library – The highlight of my life in my younger years was going to the library. It was always a weekly treat. Saturday was for going to the library and checking out a ton of books. I was never without a book to read. As time went by, I started collecting books for my own personal library. When the library would have a surplus book sale, I would get them by the bagful. Then I joined a couple of mail order book clubs. Then the Internet came along! What a wonderful source that has been! Especially the used section of Barnes and Noble online. I’ve slowly been getting all my favorites and also adding new ones to my collection. I almost never go to the library anymore, which I find very sad.

Drinking too much – I never really did drink much alcohol, although I’ve been known to become somewhat “merry” at Christmas and New Year’s. I probably would’ve drunk more if there had been smoke-free bars in my younger days. I’m extremely sensitive to cigarette smoke, and couldn’t take the smoke filled atmosphere of the bars or night clubs. As the years have gone by, my tolerance to alcohol has become less and less. Which is no real loss, except for my dream of going on a true “pub crawl” sometime. But since I will probably never go to England, that dream will just fade like the rest.

Eating too much – I’ve always been heavy, and absolutely loved buffets like Sizzler and Golden Corral. Again, over the years, I’ve noticed that I feel so much better if I eat smaller amounts more often. And I’ve lost some weight, too. I still enjoy going out for a nice dinner, but usually bring some of it home with me to eat the next day.

Running/walking – I’ve never enjoyed exercise for exercise’s sake. Running was always difficult and became impossible as my knees got worse. On good days, I can walk a bit, but it has to be on a level surface. Living in a neighborhood that goes up and down a lot makes it difficult. Of course, that’s just an excuse. I could drive to the dam and walk there, but I don’t. Boo for me…

Run for the phone – Why must phones be answered immediately? In a business setting I can understand it. At home? No. Why do people let the phone ring 3-4 times and then assume the person isn’t there and hang up just as you answer it? So I don’t even try anymore. We have the answering machine set all the time, so if I’m in the process of lugging a load of laundry up the steps from the garage and the phone is ringing, I don’t kill myself trying to get in the door, set the laundry down, and run for the phone. If it has stopped ringing by the time I get to it, who cares? If it’s important, leave a message! I WILL get back to you! Of course, there are times when I’m expecting an important call and will do my best to answer the phone quickly. Otherwise, I let the machine take it. And since we don’t have cell phones, just the land line, I don’t have a phone on me at all times. And if I’m having a bad day pain-wise, getting up those steps from the family room can take at least 4 rings or more. And as for Marv’s complaint, and his only reason for NOT having a cell phone—being available 24/7—BOSH! It’s my understanding those things have something called an on/off function. In other words, if you don’t want to be available, YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Book Report for February


“Pride’s Way” by Robert Molloy
Takes place in Charleston in 1910. There are still a few Civil War heroes left and feelings from ‘The War’ are still high. The main characters are two elderly sisters, Miss Julie and Miss Tessie. They have never gotten along very well, but Miss Julie decides that it’s time to reconcile while they still have the chance. Nice flavor in this book, gives a good feel for the place and the period. And of course, the struggle within families is always current.

“Simone” by Lion Feuchtwanger
I read this book when I was in my teens, but had only a hazy recollection of it. I thought I remembered how it ended, but wanted to read it one more time before donating it. It takes place in a French village that is about to be occupied by the Germans during WWII. Simone is a poor relation who is treated very shabbily by her rich relatives. The whole village looks down on her as she does her best to just get through the days. She does finally take a stand just before the Germans arrive, but her efforts only cause her to be placed in the local mental institution. NOT WHAT I REMEMBERED! If I had remembered that, I would never have read it again. Bummer ending! Well written, but depressing.

“My Sergei” by Ekaterina Gordeeva
Bio of figure skater Sergei Grinkov written by his widow. I vaguely remember when he died and I thought it was very sad. Ekaterina had help writing this, but you can still get the foreign ‘flavor’ of her English. Charming. Good story, although a little shallow. Hard to believe this all took place 15 years ago.

“The Weigher of Souls” and “The Earth Dwellers” by André Maurois
Very dated sci-fi from the 60’s. “Soul” was OK, if very melodramatic. “Earth Dwellers” was pointless.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Gimme 5 for Feb (part 2)


Wow! Two of these in a row!

5 favorites for each color

I’m only going to do the traditional 8 that you get in your box of crayons in kindergarten. If they even give those out anymore. I loved having my own personal box of crayons that I didn’t have to share with anyone!

For some reason, when I got those crayons at the age of 5, I put them in this order: Red, Yellow, Orange, Blue, Black, Green, Purple, Brown. And every year after that, whenever I got a new box of 8, whether it was in school or at home, the first thing I would do is put the crayons in that order. Later on, when I’d get the larger boxes of crayons, I would still rearrange them in those color groups in that order.

Red: tulips, Valentines, wax candy lips, one of the Christmas colors, rubies

Yellow: sunshine, butterflies, lemons, daffodils, Pikachu!

Orange: my favorite fruit-orange, golden poppies, cream-cicles, Monarch butterflies, goldfish

Blue: my favorite color of all time! It can be just about anything. Hydrangeas, the sky, the ocean, blue turquoise, the Blue Man Group

Black: ebony wood, star sapphires, licorice, cats, black pearls (not Jack Sparrow’s ship)

Green: grass, jade, frogs, olives (with pimento, thank you), bamboo

Purple: grapes, violets, Manischewitz wine, amethysts, wisteria

Brown: wood, earth, acorns, pine cones, CHOCOLATE!