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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Music Review

Lille Diane of ...This Time Tomorrow... is an artist in every sense! I've read on her page that she has had a long career as a singer... I've had the privilege today of listening to a CD she recorded titled 'A Child Like Me'. It's out in my car right now and I didn't look at the cover, so I don't know when it was recorded. Maybe she'll notice this post and comment on that... (I also have a cassette tape recorded in 1988 titled 'Midnight Hour' that I have not yet had a chance to hear.) I was impressed with her photography, painting, crafting and writing... But now, all I can say is, must be nice! For one person to contain so much talent is a true gift.

Her voice is lovely! It very much fits the personality you feel from her blog page. The album is a collection of inspirational music. I was pleasantly surprised by the mix of styles! From shoo-bee-do to contemporary pop! One song's tempo put me in mind of a tropical beach party! (Maybe it's just me...) This was definitely not a 'they all sound the same' kind of disc!

I've uploaded it to my laptop so I can listen while I'm driving through Blogville. Try to get your hands on a copy. I give it a BIG THUMBS UP!

Monday, June 29, 2009

When God Ran

I just heard a song that touched my heart. Lille Diane from ...This Time Tomorrow... is a recording artist as well as a wonderful photographer and painter! I am this very moment listening to a CD of hers titled 'A Child Like Me'. I listened to the last song, 'When God Ran' first. Wow! I've got to run my mom to an appointment, but the cd's going with me!

You've got to check out Lille Diane's music. She has a fabulous voice! Blogville is so full of talented people! I love living here!

Chick Update Part II

I'm having some problems uploading video, so I had to go back and make this one a two-parter.

Today was graduation day for the chicks. Hubby decided they were now big enough to venture into the big outside world. Problem is, chickens get used to one thing and don't want to change. Hubby opened up their access door and they all took turns looking out! One rooster sat with his feet on the edge of the door, but that's as far as he dared escape! Maybe tomorrow...

Didn't see that coming!

I was just sitting here waiting for my chicken video to process. I thought I'd browse through some old blogs I posted on MySpace, curious to see what I thought was worth posting then...

I came across this one from April of 2007 (I didn't realize I had been blogging that long) and thought I'd share it with you.

ain’t it funny how time slips away a.k.a. All My Chins

I was looking at a picture of me holding my grandbaby when I saw IT! Or THEM! The CHINS! OMG! I remember seeing a chin like that before. Actually it was the "before" on a plastic surgery show. I can't remember how much they said it costs to correct it.

I'm not really a vain person - ask anyone who knows me. You should see how I've had the nerve to appear in public. No biggie. And I'm not one of those people that looks first at how I look in the picture. Well, at least I wasn't. I wasn't really checking out my appearance this time, but THERE IT WAS! When did that happen? OK, I know it's been there a while... But really, when did it happen?

I remember looking in the mirror and seeing this young woman contorting her face to apply stain in an exact manner. It wasn't there then. It came while I wasn't looking. If I had never stopped primping and painting I would have seen it coming and maybe could have headed it off. I got busy with life... too busy to keep guard over my youth.

I remember being able to sit on the floor. I remember I loved to sit on the floor. Now I would love to be able to sit on the floor. Truthfully I still can sit on the floor but I'd love to be able to sit comfortably on the floor for as long as my grandkids would like me to sit on the floor. I'd love to be able to get up from the floor without using furniture.

I remember what it felt like to run without pain. I didn't need arch supports. If I was having so much fun I didn't want it to end, it didn't. I more than once stayed up for three days because an old friend came into town and we wanted to make the most of it. I remember not worrying about getting something done on time. If I had until tomorrow, what was the rush? I remember when my baby was born. She was sooo tiny. She depended on me for everything.

I just figured it out! It's her fault. When she stopped needing me to sit on the floor, to run with her, to stay up for days taking her temperature, to spend time playing when there was work to do... that's when it happened! At least that's when it started. I gotta go warn her.

Chick Update

Well, I waited for Hubby to do the filming and it didn't happen... So today I donned my mask and venture inside the coop for a quick shot of the babies before they were turned out. (sorry about the shaky video... meds) They've really grown since you last saw them! The older hens that are laying have been moved to the small hen house so the babies could have the entire coop for themselves. It's a 10' x 20' house. Hubby recycled old playset ladders for the roosts.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Back by popular demand...

So many of you have asked to see more pictures of my beloved Maggie Mae; How can I resist? Here she is in front, Alpha mare of the herd. Behind her is Hubby's old Buckskin Molly. (His big regret is letting her go too.) My Nekoda in the center rear and to the right is the crazy mare Misty. She literally was crazy! The last time I got on her I ended up beat against the bars of the round pen... Buddy replaced her! Fuzzy horsey kisses are the best!

My favorite time to ride. No sweat, no flies!

I wish I had a picture of video of her in her prime.

To watch her run is a true picture of grace and elegance.

Handy Five
Foaled June 4, 1981 in Virginia

yr age starts 1st 2nd 3rd

1983 2 6 0 0 1

1984 3 8 0 2 1

1985 4 21 2 2 0

1986 5 13 0 1 2

1987 6 1 0 0 0

1988 7 2 0 0 0

TOTALS 51 2 5 4

USA$ 20,934

Dreams of Maggie

My Beloved Maggie Mae
Winter 2005-06 Some people hate a fuzzy horse. I don't get it. I love burying my face in their thick winter coat.
Donning a scarf, hat, and mittens, I would throw on her bareback pad and go play in the snow. Maggie is coming home very soon. This winter I will have many more pictures like this one!

Happy Birthday dear Gracie!

G#3 is five today!

The older I get, the faster time zooms by! Remember when a month felt like an eternity? Now, if something only takes a year, I worry about it coming too soon and not being ready! I guess it's because we measure our time by our experiences. Time is relative.

Comparing Gracie's five years to my fifty-plus, it is but a drop in the bucket. I know it won't be long until I am watching her exchange her wedding vows or graduated from college! Is that why we put so much more importance on pictures and videos as we get older? Does the moment pass without enough savoring time?

Gracie, today I will ponder over the special moments of the last five years and celebrate the glorious wonder you put into my life...

Love, Nana

Taking the plunge!

Well, the pool is finally clean enough to dive in! It's still a little cloudy, but there's no green in sight! Plenty good enough for us. The water should be ready for company by Monday. These hot days have made the water temperature perfect without having to put on the solar blanket.

When I first retired 3 years ago, I babysat for my grands for a few weeks. I got one of those little $10 pools for them to cool off in. They had a blast! And they didn't care how dirty the water got!

Ali, she's going to pay you back for that!
I told you so!

G#3 seems to be getting the best of Ali here!

I told Hubby I wanted to buy a real pool. When my daughter was young I had one of those 3' deep ones that come in a box from the box stores. They don't cost much to buy or maintain, and are the perfect size to float around in on a hot day. If you knew Hubby, you'd know that it would end up beyond that...

He declared that if we were buying a pool, it would be big enough for his 6'5" frame to swim in. (He is the small one in the family.) So we ended up with this monster that comes up to my armpits! I hate all the upkeep, but I'm glad he convinced me to get it. We've had my daughter's whole family and his son & DIL all together, splashing and having fun! Worth every penny and every minute spent working on it! I wouldn't trade those memories for anything!

G#3 2007

Ali and I practiced our 'routines' today in the pool. We do these handstands and back flips, then spring up in a big Olympic style finish with our arms in the air. She scored a 9.8 on the back flip tonight... her best ever! We also do synchronize swimming. Yes, we are talented!

Ali's finally old enough that she gets I do not want to stand there and count all day. She always asked me to count how long she stays under or how many somersaults she can do without stopping. We'll never get ready for the competition that way!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Oh, to be loved!

I feel so loved in Blogville! The nice people here share their life with me. They show me pictures of their artwork, their favorite finds, their gardens, their families and pets, their travels... I love that they leave me nice comments filled with encouragement. We share happy times and sad. Driving to Blogville every morning is a very welcoming part of my day!

I have been so blessed with wonderful blog friends! They have presented me with thoughtful awards since shortly after I started blogging. I love getting them, too! It seems lately though that we're all having a tough time keeping up with blogging, reading, commenting, passing on...

Several of you simply do not have time to do it anymore and I understand. I may get to that point. But for now, I'm trying to simplify by life in Blogville without giving up anything I enjoy.

If you follow my becoming an author blog, or my blahwg! blog, you will notice a change in the sidebar... It's a lot shorter. I removed most of the awards. They're not gone - just relocated. I love getting feedback or I wouldn't be here, right? Sometimes I get an award that is presented to me without specifying which blog. So, since I post on three different blogs, I displayed my awards on each one. I didn't realize when I started it how many awards would be coming my way! Whoopee! I'm like a kid at Christmas! I would hate for my blog friends to pull up my page and think that I had neglected to post the award they so lovingly took the time to pass my way.

For now, when I get an award for a particular blog, I will post it on that blog, but display it on the sidebar of my essays blog. That way I don't have to update three times. My essays blog is just my 'everything else' blog anyway... not book stuff, not farm stuff.

Most of you have already seen my new 'pass it along' rule. I simply cannot find the time to select and go to five, six or fourteen other sites to present the awards. Based on your feedback, most of you agree. I mostly feel it's more special if you're the ONE I select rather than one in a list. And, if I only name one or two, I feel more people will be inclined to check them out...

I wish blogger had a way to automatically update the list of the blogs I follow. I thought about consolidating it onto one blog too, but decided against it for now. I know most of you love to have new visitors to your blogs and the more sidebars you appear on, the more visitors you'll attract. So for now, I'll continue to (if I remember) update the blogs I follow on all three.

I've tried cutting down on commenting... Can't do it! I've been leaving shorter ones though. I want you to know if I love your pictures, or if I can relate to your message. For those of you that let me reply to your comments via e-mail... thanks! It is a time-saver. It's easier to have a dialog with people if I don't have to go to their blog to comment on a comment they left me.

So, now that I'm done rambling, it's time for feedback... Are you trying to fit in time to keep up with life and blogging? What hints do you have to share for saving e-time, without having to sacrifice the wonderful friendships you have developed?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hail Yeah!

Ali and I were in the pool cleaning the walls when the sky turned really dark. Papaw was grilling some burgers and dogs, so I thought it was time to get out anyway. Good timing! Here's what came up a few minutes later...

Like minds?

"O, for a horse with wings!" --William Shakespeare

Coming home...

A while back I introduced you to my first love Maggie Mae... well, my first equine love. The story continues...

If you follow my essays blog, yesterday's post was about a friend losing her home because of being laid off from GM. Her plant is closing soon and they have been evicted because the landlord was worried about her income. They were renting a farm in hopes of buying it. They relocated to Mansfield after our plant announced it was closing. So now, here she goes again. But she has no where to take her horses. She sold her mare Vanity yesterday and the lady is picking her up Tuesday. She is heartbroken about it.

Her little boy loves my Maggie Mae! Here is a video of his favorite pastime with her. It is a great testament of how sweet and gentle she is, to be trusted to run with a small child.

I gave Maggie to her when I retired because I wanted to make sure she had a great home. Now that she can no longer keep her, I am getting her back. I promised her that if her situation turned around quickly she could have her back. But I can't afford to keep three horses forever. So I may be faced with a big decision... I don't think I can bear to part with Maggie again, unless it's to give her back to Teresa.

It's bittersweet for me to have a glimmer of sunshine from someone else's misfortune. I feel so badly for my friend. But I can't wait to throw my arms around my Maggie Mae and ride her down the bike trail again...

Thanks for the prayers!

I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU to all of you that participated in yesterday's day of prayer for the displaced workers. I received so many nice e-mails and comments on here and Facebook. I shouldn't have been so surprised to find so many of you have close attachments to what is going on with the auto industry right now.

It gives my friends great comfort to know so many of you really care. Thanks again...


Project - Phase Two

This is not a picture from space... This is our pool! Yuck! Living in the 'Land of Devil Wind' makes it nearly impossible to keep the cover on the pool all winter. But at least the cover is off now and the cleaning has started! I looks like a farm pond, don't you think?
OK, don't scream! This is really ugly...

Around the corner of the house is the new wood steps and the stone steps that we just finished. At least we have one entrance to the pool area that is not an obstacle course! This side was done... Then we put in the outdoor boiler system. They had to trench right through the area I had finished. There were stepping stones leading to the lawn area, surrounded by the crushed brick and a few small boulders. The pavers stacked near the pool used to be in front of the big wooden box that used to sit along the back wall of the house for storing the pool supplies.

There is a lot of dirt to smooth out before I replace the black plastic and landscape cloth. Fortunately I didn't have a lot of plants in place yet. Once the pool is cleaned and open, Ali will have something to do while I tackle Phase Two!

Oh my, it's hot! Broke 90 today!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sadie's Wordless Wednesday

Can you spare 15 seconds?

OK, this blog may take you longer than 15 seconds to read, but I asked you for just 15 seconds after you read it to respond to it. Today is a Day of Prayer for Mansfield Ohio. Their GM plant is closing and many friends are losing their jobs and homes. PLEASE join me in praying for those people and the people in the community that will be hurt as well. These people need prayers of serenity and comfort. They are faced with monumental decisions, if they're lucky enough to have choices.

I am a retiree of GM/Delphi. When our plant closed, I was lucky enough to get an offer for a mutual retirement. A close friend of mine (another horsey person) hadn't worked as many years. Let me put a face to this issue.

Teresa lived on a small farm, raising cows and two sons. She hated to leave the area and family, but knew things were tough here with all the plant closings. She chose to transfer to the Mansfield plant. She commuted for the first year. He stayed here with his job, she stayed there and drove back and forth on weekends. The separation put a strain on the relationship. She finally found a perfect farm for the whole family. The lady would not come down enough in price, so they ended up renting it. They fixed up the barn, stocked the pond, did much needed repairs on the house, never being late on the rent. They planned on being there long term.

I had given Teresa one of my horses when I retired. She found a place in Mansfield to board her and her other horse until she found the farm. They fixed it up enough to bring the horses home. Her sons love the horses too. But they won't have them much longer. Someone is coming to look at her other mare today. I remember when she bought Vanity. We spent hours on the computer looking at horse ads. We went trail riding together.

Teresa got an eviction notice. The owner worried about how they would pay the rent with the plant closing, so gave her until the lease is up in September to get out. Her immediate plan is to sell everything they can and be nomads for a bit while they decide on their next move. She is very bright and resourceful. I am sure they will be OK. But that doesn't make losing your home any easier.

You know what the hardest part is? The nasty way some people treat us for losing our jobs! Envy over our good wages and nice lifestyles has created monsters in the community. Some people are actually glad that we're losing it all. I won't go on and on about it... Just let me say this: The work that I did inside that building is not something I would do for any less money! My husband has permanent damage from chemical and asbestos exposure and was serious hurt twice requiring back surgeries. I've worked a lot of places in my life, but never anywhere else did I stand there with sweat rolling down my legs in the winter! In the summers, I can remember saying to myself, "I know I'm going to pass out!" all the while observing the filth I would keel over in. I came home from work and pick metal out of my skin! I still have tiny marks all over my hands and arms from spark burns. I was a divorced woman raising a child alone. I gave up a nice office job to give her more opportunities.

The people in these plants supported their communities in many ways. Not only did we raise all kinds of money and donations for a gazillion causes, take part in walks, runs, food drives, voter registration drives, you name it, but our tax dollars supported the schools and city services, and our paychecks were spent in the restaurants and local shops. Many of these businesses have since gone under.

Here is an excerpt from a Mansfield newspaper:
Eighty-three area pastors are asking everyone participate in a day of
June 24 in response to the recent announcement that General Motors
Mansfield/Ontario Metal Center will close, along with many

As we go through these hard times, faith-based people need
to come
together," he said. "We're in a time of depression and emotions are
up and down,
but we can be calm knowing that we have a God who will sustain

I am asking a simple thing of you today... Take 15 seconds right now (more if you want!) and pray for these people as well as all the others have that lost or are facing loss of their homes because of this financial crisis. I'm sure you must know someone affected by these hard times. Put a face on your prayer.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Off to college...

I can't believe I'm already sending a grandchild off to college! Yes, Ali is in college this week. Well, not really IN college, but AT college. There are 3 universities within 15 minutes of our farm. Cedarville University is a Christian college. They offer a special soccer camp for kids, and I enrolled Ali.

Ali loves soccer and plays for a select team starting this year. The season just ended for her semi-select team. The coaches for the select team saw her play and recruited her. She is hoping for a college scholarship someday.

The summer camp is only a day camp for her age group. I drop her there by 9am and pick her up at noon. In between the coaching and the practice games, they have a lesson. They tell them a word of the day, based on Christian values. For example, yesterday's word was commitment. They stressed the obligation you have to follow through when you sign up for a team.

She is having a great time and making new friends.

Yesterday I took Ali to her counseling appointment. They were very pleased with her progress. She truly seems to be a different person now! But he explained, as we have, that she always had this incredible person inside; Now she can let the world see her! He enjoyed hearing that she had a blog based on this change, and liked the name change thing too. Here is a link to the blog about her condition, and here is one where I talk about her new blog site. For those who are interested in her story, please visit her blog From Lexi to Ali with Love and leave her an encouraging comment.

Her counselor thought she was doing so well on the farm and with the new medicine that she doesn't need to see him for a month! She was going twice a week at first. She is proud of her accomplishment. I am proud of her!

Monday, June 22, 2009

For All My Faithfull Followers

A brand new award! Anne at Comfort Food Warms Your Soul has passed along a new award for my blahwg! blog.

Squirrel Queen at The Road to Here has also passed along this award to me and all her other followers.

This award came to Anne from Kristen at Hands, House, and Heart Full. Kristen designed the award herself to give it to her followers. Please take a few minutes to visit Kristen.

The great thing about this award is that there are no rules, no list this or that, no set number of blogs to pass it to, or any other rule. This award is given out of love and friendship to those who take the time to read your blog. What could be more simple than that?

I am honored to pass this award on to all of my followers! If you are following blahwg! , becoming an author... my journey, or essays & utter nonsense, please take one of these awards and pass it along to your followers.

If you are just visiting, hey... Become a follower and take your award!

For All My Faithful Followers

A brand new award! Anne at Comfort Food Warms Your Soul has passed along a new award for my blahwg! blog.

Squirrel Queen at The Road to Here has also passed along this award to me and all her other followers.

This award came to Anne from Kristen at Hands, House, and Heart Full. Kristen designed the award herself to give it to her followers. Please take a few minutes to visit Kristen.

The great thing about this award is that there are no rules, no list this or that, no set number of blogs to pass it to, or any other rule. This award is given out of love and friendship to those who take the time to read your blog. What could be more simple than that?

I am honored to pass this award on to all of my followers! If you are following blahwg! , becoming an author... my journey, or essays & utter nonsense, please take one of these awards and pass it along to your followers.

If you are just visiting, hey... Become a follower and take your award!

Sunday, June 21, 2009


WARNING: Animal lovers who eat chicken... This is where they come from.

Remember the rooster you heard crowing in the background in one of my videos?

Well, he isn't crowing anymore... We had him for dinner tonight. It's only our second farm-fresh chicken. Still haven't got it right... He was a little tough but tasted much better than the first one.

Hubby's showing a little too much eyeball, but he's excited. I can't believe he's wearing this shirt! It says, 'The original wake up call."

Saturday, June 20, 2009


My daughter-in-law Jessica at Hey, Mrs. Robinson...... has tagged me!

Here's the rules!
1) Go to your photo files…Select the 6th photo folder
2) Select the 6th photo in that folder
3) Post that photo along with the story behind it.
4) Then challenge 5 blog friends to do the same!

First for my challenges: I have many photographer friends on here, so it's hard to choose. I'd love a chance to browse through all their hard drives! But I'll make a decision...

Lillie Diane at ...This Time Tomorrow…
Judy, a.k.a. Squirrel Queen at Through Squirrel Eyes
Mark at From The North Fork Long Island
Nina at Grandma Nina
Anne at Sassy Sasha the Lovable Shih Tzu
Rae at Weather Vane

OK, so maybe it's more than 5.

Now that I've solved that part, here's my dilemma... I have a gazillion photos, so I have to keep them very organized or I'd never find the one I wanted. That means folder with sub-folders and more sub-folders... You get the picture! (No pun intended.)

Anyway, I go to my pictures. The 6th folder is FARM. Great! I open it... It has 1 photo, 5 videos and 10 folders. OK, lets try the 6th sub-folder... Not so interesting but it has lots of photos! This folder is titled 'fence'. Ha ha! Why not the folder with the beautiful sunsets? Or the one with all the snow pictures? Or why not the 10 picture? (a very nice shot of my horses) OK, this is what she asked for...

I have a friend on MySpace that asked me questions about types of electric fence. I made this folder for him. We have different types of wire, rope, insulators, gate setups, etc. I shot examples of it all and uploaded them to MySpace. So here is the 6th picture in that folder...

For anyone interested, these are insulating standoffs. The white webbing has metal fibers running through it, so you need insulators between the strands and the metal posts. This shot is at the corner of our barn. The horses decided they wanted to kick at the flies while standing close enough to make holes in the wall! This keeps them a safe distance away from the metal siding.

Now then, aren't you glad you stopped by?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Too hot for you?

I don't know about you, but I'm not a lover of hot weather. The only thing it's good for is growing vegetables and playing in the water. I needed a cool down!

Hubby is always wanting me to post my winter pics and vids on the local news. I finally uploaded this one and it aired that night. This was after a January snow storm this year. My mare loves to run and spin in the snow. (Watch for the flying snow behind the swing set.) See if this doesn't refresh you a bit.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

320 Pounds of Concrete!

The local weatherman has been having fun with me. I'm starting to get annoyed! He keeps telling me that storms are coming. I've been wanting to get the stones finished and move on to the next step of my project.

Ali and I went to Lowe's today and bought four eighty-pound bags of concrete mix, hoping to be able to use it someday soon. After dinner it still hadn't rained. I got online and checked the forecast... A slight chance for spotty light showers. I'll take the gamble!

Hubby is still on restrictions, but he offered to mix and shovel. Ali helped me get the heavy bags out of my car and into the wheel barrow. (Did I mention the project area is at the opposite end of the house as the driveway? And since it's rained a lot we can't drive around to it!)

We each had our job. Papaw shoveled the concrete a little at a time. I was on my knees with a small garden shovel, filling in the gaps, cracks, holes, etc. Ali used a bucket to carry the crushed brick down and smashed a layer of it into the wet concrete. It took all four bags to finish this part of the job. I still have some stones edging the other side of the patio that need mortared, but it will have to wait.

We've made it this far! Yea! Next comes the plants for the other side and staining the rest of the wood... But that will be a few days. I've promised Ali that, come hell or high water, the cover comes off the pool tomorrow! How does it look so far? The big dark spot is just some very wet mulch that was left in the other wheel barrow.
And remember the new wood steps? Makes a great spot to sit and sample the chives...

Camping Out

When I was Ali's age, one of my favorite things to do was camp out! Dad would pitch the tent waaay back beside vacant field. I thought the farther from the house, the better! Once a neighbor friend and I camped in sleeping bags under the stars. I remember listening to the crickets and watching the stars. I loved it! I wasn't crazy about waking up damp! Of course, we didn't hear coyotes or packs of wild dogs. We didn't see raccoons and ground hogs scurrying about either. Maybe it would have made a difference...

Ali is a city girl; there's no denying it! Once, she and her older sister camped out in the backyard, but I was sleeping in the hammock right outside the tent door! It was so amazing! The hammock was right next to the pasture fence and my horse laid down and slept right next to me! (Sorry about all the !!!!s, but it was amazing!) Anyway, back to Ali's adventure...

I've often suggested she pitch her tent on the balcony instead of in the middle of the living room. (That's where she usually slept when spending the weekend.) Since she's here for the summer, I told her no tent in the middle of the living room.

Last night we were sitting outside at dusk. It was such a beautiful night. Unfortunately, there was too much breeze for a campfire. I asked Ali if she wanted to camp out. She said yes, if I camped out with her. I explained the effects of old people lying on mats for hours... I suggested she position her tent so that the door was right next to my bedroom door. I would leave the door open so that if she got scared she could step right inside. We negotiated until we settled upon her sleeping with the door next to my door and Sadie in the tent with her. I didn't know how that would go over, but I agreed. I figured Sadie could put up with it long enough for Ali to fall asleep. And she did...

Hubby and I were sitting in our recliners watching the news. He could hear Sadie softly whining from the tent. I figured a bit longer and I'd bring her in, but Hubby is impatient... So, as quietly as possible (yeah, right) I unzipped the tent and allowed Sadie to escape. Ali woke up. I told her Sadie was coming inside for a few minutes but that I would be out...

A few minutes later I heard the zipper. (Maybe waxing it?) Here comes Ali through the screen door, blanket and pillow in arms! I wonder if Papaw will ever get his bed back...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sadies' Wordless Wednesday...

My Patina

I was reading through my morning e-mails and came to the one from the Presidential Prayer Team. It's a good way to start the day! Today's daily compared the rich patina of a well cared for antique table to the rich 'patina' a follower of God will achieve through years of a well cared for relationship with God.

Through daily prayer, scripture study and constantly walking in the path, we will achieve that patina that so pleases God. It is not only visible to God, but to all that cross our paths. A deep relationship with God improves all our other relationships; even those we pass as strangers.

When I further pondered that train of thought, I contemplated what else might contribute to my personal patina... The years of abusive relationships surely left me with those nicks and gouges that only add to the beauty of a treasured heirloom. The wisdom I continue to gain gives me that soft sheen that cannot be achieved with a quick polish.

Even the arthritis has its place. Have you ever noticed on a very old piece of furniture, the places that were constantly touched or rubbed? The finish is worn thin, paint rubbed away, exposing the bare wood. Yet, we would not think of touching it up! No, those spots are evidence of its history... Grampa rested his hand there; Mom opened that drawer the most.

Yes, some days I wish for that shiny new polyurethane exterior. It sure was easier to get chores done. But then I realize the value I place on those 'chores' now and I treasure my patina.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Love My Friends Award!

Thank you Squirrel Queen from The Road to Here! Judy has presented me with the coveted Love My Friends Award! I am honored.

The Love My Friends award is bestowed on to blogs that are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated.

I am blessed with many good friends that I have met in Blogville. The most wonderful people reside here.

The award states it is to be delivered to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.

I have a new policy about passing awards... I've been just picking one or two that I have not in the past awarded. But this award is different. I do love my friends and want them to know, so I am passing this award on to the eight closest friends I have in Blogville in hopes that you will meet them and love them too. These people have given me kind words and support, aside from a wonderful blog to follow. Please visit the blogs of these delightful people! Check out the other blogs on my sidebar that I follow. They are all wonderful people worthy of you spending a little time.

Lille Diane at ...This Time Tomorrow...

TC at Animals That Give Pause

Mark at From the North Fork Long Island

Nina at Grandma Nina

Charmine at my favorites

Anne at Sassy Sasha the Lovable Shih Tzu

Rae at Weather Vane

...and back at you SQ at Through Squirrel Eyes

Monday, June 15, 2009

Keeping up with Ali

If moving the rest of the heavy stones in place wasn't enough! Ali brought her scooter up from her 'old' home and has been anxious to ride it on the bike path. So tonight we ate a light and early dinner and, after resting a bit, dug my bike out of the shed. I haven't ridden it in over a year. It's an old people's bike. When Hubby and I started riding, we shopped around for bikes with regular handlebars and big seats. We bought city touring bikes. Very comfy for us old fogies; and seven speeds are enough for me now. I'd rather go slower and enjoy the scenery. (no pain from bike butt)

Well, it seems I've lost a lot of coordination in the time since I last rode. Sadie wanted to follow us, so I pulled out my cell and called Hubby. I asked him to call to her, which he did, but she wanted to follow us. I turned around and rode back down the lane, across the creek where she could see Daddy. I told him to bribe her with food. He asked her if she wanted a treat and... end of problem! Or should I say beginning of problems...

I was sitting sideways across the gravel lane and began to lift my front wheel off the ground to turn my bike. Way too difficult a maneuver for me! I lost my balance and hopped sideways down the slope trying to regain my balance. All the while (like slow motion) I'm looking at the large chunks of rock waiting to gash my flesh. Somehow I managed to remain vertical, but still wounded my leg with the peddle... Just a minor cut, a big bluish lump and compound fracture of the pride bone. Fortunately, Hubby had already turned back toward the house and Ali was over the hill in the front. Whew! No witnesses! (somebody later blabbed)

So off we go. We live on the bike path, but it borders our woods; so the best route is down the driveway to the old highway. It's about 400 feet down the road. The traffic is pretty light since they built the new highway. We waited for a car to pass then took off down the road. Ali pushed her little legs as hard as they would go and we made it to the bike path before another car came along. We stopped to check out some really neat weeds.

When we were ready to ride, I put my foot on the peddle and shoved off, while swinging my other leg over the seat... the way I used to do without incident. OK, another bad idea. I didn't crash but it surely wasn't graceful! My bike turned across the path and almost went off the other side before I managed to regain control. More good fortune... It is a more remote section of the bike path and not heavily traveled. Only Ali saw this one. She understands Nana is old.

'It's just like riding a bike... You never forget." Don't people use that expression? What has happened to me? What if I open the pool this week and find that I can no longer swim?

My only saving grace was that Ali learned a scooter is not the best equipment for covering mileage on the bike path. She was worn out and ready to turn around at the first crossroad! Well, OK, if you insist...

Step 1 completed!

Girl power! Never underestimate it. Papaw has been 'out of commission' for a while, so Ali and I have had to do the hard labor by ourselves. The heat has slowed us down a little, but today we finished placing the stones for the steps from the lower patio up to the landing. They are all leveled, interlocked, and packed in with clay.

How do they look?

The next step is concrete. We'll pack the edges and gaps and smash the crushed brick into the top of it to match the way we did the slabs. Then we'll smooth out the slope, and put in some plants and mulch.
There's still lots to do at the top of the steps. We've got to level and secure the deck that is presently just laid on the ground, add a couple of steps from the top slab to the pool deck, rebuild the wood walkway on the other side of the deck (spaces are too big between boards - it's a scavenged piece), and finally, redo the landscape and stepping stones where they dug through to install the pipes for our outdoor boiler last fall. Wow, that sounds like a lot, doesn't it?
Anyway, the pool cover is coming off tonight or tomorrow! A dip after our work today sure would have been nice!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Happy 63rd Anniversary!

This first picture was taken before I joined the family. This is my mother-in-law & father-in-law on their 50th wedding anniversary. They renewed their vows and had a large reception complete with a tiered cake. This second picture was taken at the Longhorn Steakhouse. They used to take all three kids & spouses there to celebrate their anniversary every year. I'm guessing this was taken in 2001 or 2002.
This next picture was probably taken the last time we went out to celebrate. It was several years ago. The only time she leaves the house now is for doctor appointments. We've been talking lately about having the doctor come here, as it's getting much harder to get her in and out of the car. (Their doctor actually makes house calls!)

Today, they celebrated 63 years together. It was bittersweet. Her daughter came and sat with her so he could go to church. She waited to have lunch with him, but he stopped at Perkins to eat before he came home. He so needs time out of the house. She wants him by her side. She has a tough time completing a sentence. Once upon a time she was very bright. He misses that woman.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

blahwg Award!

Sassy Sasha the Lovable Shih Tzu presented me with this award. According the the lovable pooch, it means 'Your blog deserves to be shot!' Hmmm... I'm assuming that since there is a camera in the picture, Sasha is not wanting to blow holes in my laptop. Of course not! She's way too sweet. Besides, I don't think Anne would let her tiny Shih Tzu near a firearm. Please visit Sasha's blog. She's very photogenic and shares a new adventure every day.

1.Post the award and link it to the person (or canine) that gave it to you.
2. Choose 5 life situations that could be repeated in slow motion and explain why.
3. List up to 12 blogs and pass the love to them.


  1. Hugs - Slow motion? Yeah, that sounds nice.

  2. Kisses - Mmmm...

  3. somersaults - Wouldn't that be cool?

  4. falling - That would give me time to pull something soft under me!

  5. waking up - That's the way I like it anyway - SLOW!

I have a new policy on awards. I will only pass them to one or two, and not to someone I've already awarded. It just seems more special that way. So I would like to pass this one on to Jase at Fool Stop because:

  1. He deserves an award. His blog is fantastically entertaining!

  2. I would like to see the photos to go with his stories.

If you have never stopped by Jase's blog, please do so. You won't be sorry!

A Special Visitor

Ali hasn't seen Keaton in about four years. They used to play together a lot, but then (two more sisters later) her family got kind of busy...

He lives about twenty minutes from our farm, so Mommy picked him up this morning and brought him here to 'tour' the zoo before having lunch at Friendly's. The two friends picked up right where they left off. Thankfully, I can still pick Ali up and plop her on my mare... Even if she did get on the wrong way! That's Mommy holding Nekoda. Buddy is never far from her side.

Here is a short clip of the duo riding bareback. Well, not exactly riding, but...

It's gonna be a long day. I miss her already! Oh well, she'll be back tomorrow.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Baby steps...

We got over two inches of rain yesterday, so the ground is still far too muddy to be working on the steps; but I had to make a little progress. Ali and I spent about two hours trying to edge the patio while walking around with ten pounds of mud stuck to our shoes! A lot of mud washed down onto the patio and had to be shoveled off. I should have taken a 'before' shot the way it looked when we started today.

The first shot below is from last week, and shows how the ground is up to (actually a little above) the patio level. Ali dug a trench on the right side to hold landscaping timbers as a border to the new shade garden we put in last week. To the left side, the mud had washed down about three inches deep next to the post. That's the area we concentrated our effort on today.

Ali shoveled the mud off the patio (again), while I dug out along the edge with a hoe. We filled the wheel barrow to the brim with mud! Yuck! It probably took three times longer than it would have if it was dry. The gooey stuff kept sticking to the tools. And us!
I found some pretty fossil rocks to place along the edge. Then Ali helped me pick out the perfect stepping stones to lead off the patio toward our fire pit. I think the rocks will stop any future mud slides from reaching the patio. I'll add a couple more later to cut through the garden that will trail down and across to the front garden. I haven't decided what color to stain the concrete. I'm thinking of doing something different. Our front porch is mustard yellow and the sidewalk and steps are kind of reddish brick colored. Of course, this probably won't be until the leaves are changing! I figure it will take me all summer to finish my plan. I don't work very fast in July or August. But anyway, this is how it looks now...Since it's on the west end of the house and is covered by the upstairs balcony, it stays shady until very late in the afternoon. This will be a perfect spot for Ali to sit and read. She'll have company too, because Sadie loves lying on the cool concrete. It's going to be such a pretty little sitting area. And if I lean over the balcony railing far enough, this is what it looks like from above...
It was a good day, topped off with a trip to Wilmington's Banana Split Festival! Ali is going home tomorrow to spend the night. She'll probably be blogging about the festival when she gets back Sunday. We had a great time!

Cardboard Testimonies

I was thrilled to open an e-mail from my church just now. It had a link to the youtube broadcast of last Sunday's special service. You'll find the link at the bottom...

Everybody has a story, and usually it can be told in just a few words. That is the basis for cardboard testimonies. People write their 'before' story on one side of a piece of cardboard and their 'after' story on the other.

Hubby is in this video; He's the tall guy wearing a peach-colored golf shirt. Pastor Gumm starts out the clip with his personal testimony. It was definitely a tear-jerker for me and my prego D-i-L! Yes, everybody has a story...

I was looking for love and acceptance in all the wrong places. One Mr. Wrong after another. I tried washing my troubles and loniness away with booze. It didn't help. It only made me more depressed. Then one night I looked in the mirror and was so ashamed of what I saw. I dropped to my knees and prayed to Jesus. I told Him that I'd messed up my life and I needed Him to show me the way. That very moment, I suddenly felt His presence and have never felt alone since! My life changed in such a humongous way! I don't even resemble that person.

Do you have a story to share?

Cardboard Testimonies

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Lazy Day Breakfast Fun

Storms hit in the wee hours and woke up the entire house! We got two inches of rain, so it's a bit too muddy to work on the project. That meant today would be a lazy day. Ali decided she wanted some farm-fresh eggs for breakfast. She likes them under-seasoned and over-cooked. YUCK! But just because they're not full of things doesn't mean they have to be plain...

I cooked her a big flat egg patty with ruffled edges. She added the face! Maybe tomorrow we'll get back to work.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hate is getting popular.

I'm watching the national news on CBS. They just aired a story about a shooting today at the Holocaust Museum. A man that has a criminal history and is deeply involved in a hate group walked in with a rifle and fatally shot a guard. They reflected on last week's church shooting of the abortion provider.

Statistics they quoted said that hate groups numbered 600 in 2000, but now there are well over 900! And that's just the ones they know about! Let's be clear what we're talking about here... This is not just a bunch of people carrying around their own prejudices and being unkind; These are organized groups with specific action plans. Members of these groups feel so justified in their hate that they describe it as 'for the cause'. Some of these people were raised this way, carrying on the mindset of their kin. Others have been recruited into the groups.

What is it that makes a person hate a group of people so much that, without so much as an inkling of what those people are like, they wish them dead? I'm sure there are probably many that had some bad experience in their past that they blame on the ethnic or religious roots of the offender. But I wouldn't be surprised if most of them never had any personal contacts with the group they love to hate.

This news story came on right after Papaw took Ali to her church group meeting. I wondered if she had seen the story, how I would explain it to her. I'm sure at eleven she knows such groups exists, but could she possibly comprehend the reasoning?

Today's shooter? The news said there was no indication this would happen. No warning. Are you kidding me? He was a skinhead. Not just any skinhead mind you, but a convicted skinhead with a history of hate crimes. This man was old enough to have great-grandchildren bouncing on his knee. How many generations has he inflicted with his disease?

The statistic still scares me. Why the 50% increase since 2000? In an era where we can elect the first African-America President and ethnic groups blend together in main stream society, what feeds the hatred? Let's pretend the statistic referred to something else... What if there was suddenly a 50% increase in teen pregnancy? Or a 50% increase in breast cancer? Don't you think somebody would be jumping all over it, wanting to understand what's going on?

Monday, June 8, 2009

progress report

Even with shade and a breeze, the humidity was unbearable this morning. A storm was rolling in and I wanted to get the new dirt covered before it was washed away. Ali and I put down landscaping fabric to help with weeds, and then mulched the slope under the steps. Ali also used the hoe to make a little trench to anchor some landscaping timber pieces as edging. Papaw overworked on the stones so we gave him the day off. Maybe tomorrow we can get some more into place before the heat returns.

Me and the Sea

Happy Ocean Day! Did you even know it was Ocean Day? Anyway, to celebrate the occasion (to raise awareness) CrazyCris over at Here, There and Everywhere is hosting a blog-a-thon! Click this link to read contributions from all over the world: oceanic-blog-thon

Being a land-dweller far from the salty air, I mostly take for granted the ocean will always be there whenever I choose to travel to the beach. Instead of boring you statistics and details, I thought I'd share what went through my mind when Chris made me think about the ocean...

I'm more of a fresh-water girl. Sure I've splashed in the surf, Atlantic and Pacific, and felt the salt on my skin. But I've never ventured farther out than that perfect breaker for my raft, and that's been a while. I enjoy watching the educational and travel shows that explore marine life, be it animal or plant, as well as the programs that serve to warn us of the impending situation facing this magnificent liquid that covers so much of our planet. But what's it to me?

Yes, I'm concerned. Yes, I care. Truthfully? I can't relate to how big this ice shelf is that broke off. I can't relate to the loss of coral reefs or contaminated waters. I have no idea how many seals or whales populate any particular area. There is something, though, very concrete about the water that I can relate to...

Many times I have traveled to the coast and sat on the sand at night. There is no better time for me to be there. I have found myself in solitude, under the moonlight, dreaming out past the lit breakers. My worries and burdens rinse away with the sand under my feet... because I am so small. Even smaller at night. The horizon seems infinite in the sun's absence. Somewhere, far beyond any point I may strain to see, the stars and the waves merge together in total blackness. It is as if I am looking out into the vast universe with the lights turned out. It is as unimportant as a person can feel, and yet at the same time, as close to God as one can be. For me, it puts things in perspective... and that is peace.

Even in the darkness, I see the ocean as alive. It's a life force, constantly surging. And now, this hugeness, this enormous creature that sustains, is being devoured. Who or what is this demon that could cripple the most powerful force on the face of the earth?

They are the ants. Remember watching them on the picnic? Here was this huge scrap of food being carried away by this miniature army. An impossible task alone, but the army... Yes, these small, innocuous bits of life can together wreak havoc in a very large way. So what kind of ants can kill an ocean? Maybe all those small, innocuous little bits of rubbish, a few extra pounds of fish taken, a minor spill from a tanker, a slight temperature increase over a long term... The list of suspects is long and still growing. With every evil uncovered, another crisis looms undetected.

Like the ants that draw a solid line toward the watermelon, stepping on one is pointless - so why bother? Well, maybe if we first all train ourselves to recognize the sign of ants, and then you step on that one...

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Just What the Doctor Ordered!

After the week we've had, it's so nice to enjoy a special family moment!
The phone woke me up at 7am! Normally, I wouldn't like that, but today it was worth it. S-i-L called to say her son Shawn was stopping by on his way back to Virginia. Hubby's nephew is career military pilot and has been deployed to Iraq & Afghanistan too many times to count. He's a super guy that never forgets his grandparents.
Thanks Shawn. We needed that!

Work a Little, Play a Little

G#2 (Ali) is here for the summer, and likes helping with the projects. Here Sadie is supervising while Ali learns the intricate fitting process of building a stone stairway. After a couple of hard hours, it looked like a good place to take a break...
Hard work does have its rewards!

Suicide Watch

Sorry to title this post so morbidly, but that's on my heart tonight. This blog started as random opinions, sermons, thoughts, oddball items... Whatever didn't fit on the other two, went here. Now it's leading me down this road - diary of a caretaker, no-opinion counting, D-i-L. Maybe it will help someone reading to know that they are not alone if facing similar circumstances.

If you've no desire to learn what a child caring for a parent has to face, or do not wish to read intimate details of care (not too deeply intimate), then click the x in the corner. If you want to read on, but need a little background, scroll back to some recent posts.

My in-laws have lived with us for six years. It hasn't been easy, but it has had its rewards. However, the days are growing long and the rewards are farther between. Decompressing is a word that has now become important to me. It's hard to sneak a night out and not talk about appointments and medications.

We've been on a roller coaster ride this week with concern over caring for my MiL. She is now bedridden, although probably temporarily, and I can't even get her on the pot alone. Today, with FiL's help I managed, but barely got her back on the bed. To make the process as easy on her and us as possible, I have had to put her in adult diapers and leave her PJ bottoms off. It's just too hard to move her and pull everything back up. She is large and can't even roll herself. I've strained myself a few times recently trying to care for her.

She is a very proud woman and this has been extremely hard for her to take. To make matters worse, her mind is not rational. Too much illness and medications has taken a great toll on her reasoning and memory. This results in a million explanations and arguments over her PJs. FiL cannot stand to argue. He pleads with her to understand. She nags and insists that he do as she says. He begs. She nags. He tells her he can't. She tells him to do it anyway.

Three times tonight I had to go into their room and save him. They love each other too deeply to be angry. She has a temper - always has. She would never intentionally hurt him, but she doesn't understand. He has a back back, a hernia, is on three blood-thinners, and is in his eighties. And she doesn't want anyone else to do it.

F-i-L has stated that if we don't let them stay here, he will move somewhere else with her. He refuses to put her in a nursing home. In a recent post, I revealed our family's fear of a murder-suicide outcome if they were to live alone. I know that as long as they remain here, he will not do that... if only for the reason that his son could no longer live his dream on a farm.

That has not put my mind at peace. Three times tonight I listened to him tell her, during these PJ arguments, "Mommy, (Hubby - don't ever call me that!) if you don't stop I'm gonna take a walk out into the woods and be done with it!" He made a reference to something on the floor by his bed.

This is a man who has carried a gun his whole life. As a boy, he hunted around the coal-mining camps of Eastern Kentucky. He protects his loved ones with a steel sentinel waiting dutifully in the corner. Hubby can count on Dad to keep the varmints at bay. He spends hours upon hours on the lookout over the tree-lines, daring that groundhog to threaten the tractor wheels. His guns are a part of him as much as the razor-sharp pocket knife and jam-packed key ring.

So while you folks ponder whether it's possibly time to tell Dad he shouldn't drive, we're pondering over the arsenal.

Friday, June 5, 2009

'Til Death, cont.

Thank you all dear friends for the supportive and kind comments that you have left about my earlier post. It meant a great deal to me to read your caring words. Sometimes that's all we need to make it over the humps in life.

Yesterday, the family talked it over and it was pretty much settled that my in-laws would move back to their old home that is being rented, after some modifications are made. It is just minutes away from other family members. I didn't see how this would help, since none of them live there, just nearby.

Today my F-i-L told us that he didn't want to leave the farm. He loves it here and we promised them a home. So that settles it. If the others show up with one more brochure from a senior's apartment... I'm gonna grab Papaw's varmint gun!

Things are hopping around here with the arrival of my special summer guest. So, if you don't hear from me as often, don't worry. If something rough is going on, you'll be the first people I run to!