Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Weather Channel

As my mother got older and lived alone, she got very lonely. The long distance was expensive so she and I couldn’t call each other every day.

My brother and his children’s family’s lived out of state. I lived in another state also.

Once in awhile we could both visit her at the same time and her eyes would wander to the television and the channel would be on the weather channel. When questioned about this, she said that she felt closer to her children and grandchildren by knowing what their weather was.

Some of the states were Colorado, Ohio, Illinois, South Dakota and Missouri.

We would smile even chuckle when we talked quietly about it.

Now I find myself watching the weather more often; Colorado, Tennessee, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, Iowa, South Dakota etc. I have friends and relatives all over the place. It is actually fun hearing about everyone’s weather. I know, it sounds weird, but it is!

When we start talking on the phone or the computer one of the first things we talk about is the weather. What can I say? It is warming up folks, soon it will be spring.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

More Fun With My Mom

I can “see” the kitchen where my mama made such good things to eat. It was long and narrow. It had old fashioned cupboards. Not the kind that we have now. The cupboard I remember was wood, but all in one piece. It had a flour mill in it. It seems like it had a part that you pulled towards you. I don’t remember what mom used it for.

Beside it was our icebox. It was literally an ice box.

My dad milked seven cows. We sold the majority of the milk, but we had all we wanted to drink.

Back to the cupboard; the counter was metal. Mom pulled it out at times to give her more room to work. One of these times was to make butter. If she had one, I don’t remember mom having a churn. What she did have, though, was a very big Kitchen Aide Mixer. She would put a lot of milk with cream into the mixer bowl and beat it on high until chunks of butter appeared.

She continued to beat it until the butter stuck to the beater. Mom would clean the butter off the beater completely. Then she would get out the wooden paddle. A picture of it is at the top of this page. It is amazing I still have Mother’s old kitchen utensils, but I am sure glad that I do. Fran found me a hanging pegboard that they all hang on. Once again I am off the track.

With the paddle she would drag the chunks of butter towards her against the side of the bowl. She would turn the bowl around and around doing the same thing over and over. The most amazing thing happened next. At the bottom of the bowl was my very favorite drink in the world; buttermilk. Never in my life have I tasted anything like it. The buttermilk that they sell in the store tastes bitter. The buttermilk when my mama made it was just wonderful.

I always wanted to take my turn and mom would always let me, but it was way too difficult for me. So then I would sit on my little red metal stool and watch.

When mom got the butter all made she put it in a refrigerator dish. When the butter came out it had a design on the top from the indentations on the lid of the dish.

Depending on how much milk she had, she spent a good part of the afternoon making butter and buttermilk.

When Mom was finished it was “break” time for us. She would pour each one of us a juice glass full of the wonderful buttermilk and we would talk about things that mamas and little girls talk about.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Memories, Loss, Sadness

I know how sad I feel when the seasons change, because each season is my favorite. I love the spring roses, the changing of the fall leaves, the summer season brings the green grass and hummingbirds. Then there is winter. The pure white snow covers the gray branches with little tufts of white and the sunshine makes little sparkly diamond like sequins that makes winter my favorite season too.

I have sadness today because my very best friend is losing her battle with independent living and needed to go to a skilled care center. We talked today about what wonderful memories we made and agreed that we were a famous duo!

As she was getting admitted I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach. But then I noticed how the people that worked there genuinely loved her. She had worked there for over twenty years.

Soon some of the other residents asked her to join them to go outside to smoke. While she was outside, they told her about their activities, the rules of the smoking, schedules of meals etc.

She came back inside and told me that she might even play bingo to pass the time away. She told me a long time ago that she would never, ever, play bingo!

Her new room is lovely; even with her own little refrigerator, recliners, a table and chairs and very nice furniture. And she made a beauty shop appointment within the first hour. Hmm. I don’t see this as a loss for her, just perhaps for me. However, I don’t feel sad anymore, because she adjusted to her new “home” within a hour or two, at least a little.

Thanks for all the good memories my dear friend.

Friday, January 21, 2011

How Smart Are You?

My young son got us a Wii game for Christmas this year. We couldn't wait to show off our skills. It was called, you guessed it, "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" Most of you have watched the television show at least once and if you didn't enjoy the show, you might have smiled at Mr. Foxworthy's red neck humor.
There were three of us playing. There were several catagories and skill level. The player (us) had support by a fifth grader. If the player wasn't sure the fifth grader would help you out.
I kid you not we were getting clear down to second grade level. When we got down that low the correct answers were getting more and more correct, however, there were still some that we got wrong. There was whooping and hollering about how unfair the game was, and that none of us had ever had to study subjects like what was on the game.
Fran finally put his hands in the air and went to bed. Mike and I stayed up late and played for a couple of more hours.
It was fun, but I found out at our little Christmas with my daughter and her family that they also make a card game called the same thing. She said that even college graduates cannot answer all the questions.
Can you even imagine my relief upon hearing that? Once again, I know that I am smarter than a fifth grader, no matter what the Wii game says.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


About two years ago I quit smoking with the assistance of patches. The box said they may cause some unwanted dreaming for side effects. Oh yeah!  Fran dreamed that there were elephants under the floor, I dreamed about crocodiles and many unthinkable things that made me wake up with a heart that was pounding. We did have some fun conversations over coffee in the morning though discussing our dreams.
Dreams have once again consumed what used to be my quiet slumber.  The medicine I take at times decides to take over with some colorful "stories" that I probably could sell to make a fortune.
I have been reading some gory stories on the kindle which I should stop, but they are true. I have to tell my brother because it is how his state was settled during the French and Indian war. Wow! I guess I never thought about it.
However, to end this on a fun note, there is a commercial about the cutest baby sitting in his infant seat that just giggles uncontrollably when his mama talks to him. I also dream about that sweet little baby so when I get up in the morning I smile and start out my day on a bright note.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Can You Even Imagine?

Well, since 1955 I have watched television and didn't give a thought to how I was able to see the picture on the screen. I listened to my mama's little black radio since I was a baby and just expected to have music when Mom turned it on.
In 1974 I got my first microwave. Then I started to question how this could be done. My first hamburger was like a hockey puck. Then I started really reading the instruction book and enjoyed it. In the back of my mind I was still wondering how in the world not only did it work, but how the scientist was smart enough to invent it.
Well, time has gone by with cell phones, blackberries, and computers.
In 1974 the computer at Sears where I worked had it's own room and was many feet long. It needed cold air as well as clean air.
My whole family and I are avid readers. My mother and her brother and my brother and my daughter love to read and actually get lost in books. I remember getting caught with a book and a flashlight under the covers when I was supposed to be sleeping. If I remember right, my mother used my first, middle and last name that night.
This Christmas a Kindle came to visit at my house. The first one didn't work, but the second one sure did. Today I downloaded my first book. Fran and I, I might add could not understand how a person could download a book from the computer into the Kindle with no wires. Not only that but it took less than a minute!! I bet my daughter thought this may not work with the questions that I was asking. Fran was getting disgusted because I was not paying attention to the instructions. AND my hands shake because I have a Parkinson's like tremor that made it almost impossible to type on it. Then my daughter said the most important thing she could have said. "You don't really have to type on it Mom."
So this morning, I asked Amazon for a list of free books. They only had about 8600 of them. Wow, I hit the jackpot!  I chose the most boring of books, but I didn't care. It downloaded in less than a minute. Fran just sat there in amazement and so did I.
Oh, I so do wish that I could have given my mom a Kindle. She would have loved it. But then she would have needed a computer, which she also would have loved. We all could have "talked" to each other.
Thank you for the Kindle, Melanie!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Cabin Fever And Playing Cards

I think that it is sad how things change. When I was a child my parents played cards with their friends. They played Rook. They seemed to have a good time. There was a lot of loud laughing; yes even my mother loved it. This didn't happen in the summer because there was too much work to do on the farm. In the winter the only thing that was a must was caring for the animals. Sometimes that was a terrible job. We lived in Iowa and for those of you that are familiar with the midwest, you know how terribly cold it is in the winter. The animals have to be fed, sheltered, and watered. The water had to be tended to, to make  sure it didn't freeze. So there was an element of Cabin Fever. There is only so much laundry, cooking, and answering little girl's constant questions. I have been told I was a little stinker. Hmm.
I had no idea that retirement would mean that I could play cards any time I wanted to. I especially like to play cards in the morning. Morning is the best part of my day. Usually my words make sense, my thinking is more clear. Ahh, on to my subject; cards. In order to play cards you do have to think.
Yesterday we played a game called Phase 10. I think I have talked about it before. The first game was wonderful; I won! I can't believe it!  Then we made the mistake of playing a second game. Oh, brother, what a mess. My friend said, "You just slowly went down hill."  Ya think?  lol  I have to laugh. If I didn't the world would not be a fun place to live. Thank goodness God gave me a good sense of humor.
My daughter's group of friends watch movies, they don't play cards or go dancing. I think something happened to skip a generation. Those "Kids" don't know what they are missing!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

And Then She Got Away!

Our little Maggie Mae is so cute, so bubbly? So full of personality so full of naughtiness! Ever since we rescued her from a family type pound she has owned US. She is twice as spoiled as my children ever were.

We live in a restricted community that is made like a park that is very close to a lake. The yards are not fenced; it seems like if one person chooses to mow on Monday, everyone does.

Most every one in our community is not younger than thirty, actually not younger than forty…or fifty!

The majority of us have a pet, albeit a dog or cat. Our Maggie considers herself a diva and they are not worthy of her time. In fact there are two dogs that she hates, as well as their owner. She can sense when, what we call the “girls” take their dogs for a walk. She barks like a wild thing and runs from living room to bedroom like asthmatic craziness. That continues until they are out of sight.

Fran and I take turns taking Maggie out so while I was taking a shower, he took Maggie out just at the wrong time. The “girls” came around the corner and there went Maggie a hundred miles an hour. She completely stretched out her ring on her lead until it was straight. At that point she was free. She has only been free twice since she has lived with us. The words to the song come to mind. “Let freedom ring!” She ran down the hill and across the road. Fran said that she was scaring the lady to death.

As I walked into the living room, Fran was huffing and puffing and talking quite loudly about MY dog. Actually what he was talking about was how he looked when this escapade happened. He had his pajama bottoms on, an old coat with holes in it, and slippers on, oh, and especially no teeth in. Well, who cares, he was not out there to impress the ladies, just to make sure that our little princess didn’t get away!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

He's Always Early

My husband is always early. It used to drive me nuts. Yup, it still drives me nuts!  We have only been married for three years, but you would think I would be used to it by now. I know something is going to happen when he arrives in the living room with "going to town" clothes on and says, "the bus is leaving!"
It started to be something my friends teased me about all the time. We would make plans to go to Branson, and we would discuss what time we would meet. They would say, "Well four o'clock in the morning is too early for us!" Hmm. The little digs would continue good naturedly, but it didn't phase him, he continued to be early.
PLUS, he drives like a speed demon, so we might be just a little bit early, but with his speeding we always end up early.
The only thing I have ever noticed that makes Him crazy if is someone is late. Imagine that!

The most important part is, that he always wakes up happy; lucky me.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Five Days And Counting......

Okie Dokie then; I have let my house go all year. Keeping house is very difficult for me physically and especially difficult for me mentally. It is kind of like exercising; I love to watch other people do it, but NOT me.

Well, as you can imagine, I can NOT imagine how dirty it is now. So this morning I cleaned and straightened my itty bitty pantry. It is about 4’ tall and 24” wide and as deep as 3 cans of veggies. It is impossible to keep things straight and organized. I did find things that will keep us fed for a long, long time.

We have another room that we do, indeed, call the pantry. Big pantry. It is much bigger. It is about six feet long. The shelves are about three feet deep. It is just hysterical when you think why we call it a pantry. Perhaps in years gone by, it used to have food in it. I have pots and pans, dishes, old plastic mixing bowls, dishpans, spaghetti pan that I should use, but don’t. I have some home canned tomatoes and green beans. And….yes I have some canned food that would not fit in the itty bitty pantry.

I checked it out this morning. It has a turkey oven, a rotisserie oven oh and extra silverware if we get company, which we never get. Those were the old days. The house used to rock with noise and filled with lots of grown-ups and children.

So any way, I did work this morning. Now I am sitting down, talking to you guys and watching Ellen D.

The washer and dryer are running and the dishwasher is just about ready to go and so am I. Have a good day!

Monday, January 3, 2011

When The Router Goes Down!

When the router goes down, there is a special kind of trauma that presents itself in the computer room. I go stomping out there, not exactly yelling at Fran, but talking loudly. Did you do this? Did you do that? The answers are all the same, “I know what I am doing.” Hmm, I wonder about that.

His first answer was “well I don’t see a red x on the two computers, I just see a red x on two little people.” That’s when the stomping proceeded. Lol He tells me that he has been on the internet and doesn’t understand why I can’t be on it.

I tell him to unplug the desktop, and he says, “go ahead.” The thing is a long way down there and we both have established a way to get the other one to do it. Any way, short story becoming a long one, he reset the router, and BINGO, it works like a charm. Yippee! I just really need my computers or I couldn’t talk to you y’all!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Mashed Potatoes Or Not?!

My girl is so good natured that I can tease her whenever I want to. Fran and I went to visit Melanie and her family the day after Thanksgiving. It was a lovely meal. She fixed turkey breasts which was delicious and fast, and easy. We had a delicious vegetable, stuffing, and especially mashed potatoes.
I watched her make the mashed potatoes. As I watched they got soupier (is that a word?) and soupier. She was using a hand held blender that is so easy to use. She said that she uses it all the time to mash her potatoes and that it works really well.
Of course, they tasted wonderful, her gravy turned out good, but she was really upset about her potatoes. After we finished our meal, I suggested that she use them for potato pancakes etc. etc. but she nixed the ideas that I had. Well, I couldn't resist but ask her if I could at least take her picture. Note the smile; love her to pieces!!
In the background you will see a container that is full of gooey butter cookies that I asked for. It is so cool to feel so special. Thanks, Melanie

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Home Made Gifts

I can remember getting gifts
wrapped in brown paper held together with "store string." Does anyone remember that term? Store string had a multitude of uses, but I can remember the butchers using it to hold the freezer wrap together on the meat that they sold in the grocery stores. This Christmas I got a gift wrapped in brown paper and tied together with store string. I have a feeling that the string was at least forty years old.
This year my daughter and I each made each other something home made. This is the first picture of twelve that I will post. She made a calendar with pictures and birth dates (yes Grandma forgets). The top of the calendar is 12x12 so I can put them in an album. Clever?! However, it is like a student getting on the honor roll all year. She is expected to do that the next year as well!.
Let me explain the picture of the goofy child laying in the snow with his swim suit on. Yes, that is my grandchild. I do have to claim him! He just got out of the hot tub and decided to lay in the snow.
My granddaughter celebrated her 6th birthday last year, and my daughter and her husband do go to Cancun frequently in the winter.
I have not posted anything for a long long time. It feels kind of weird to tell the truth, but fun too.
Fran's surgeries are over, his tests are over (hopefully) and the holidays are over. It sounds like a quiet winter, thank goodness. Fran is not out of the woods, but I am considering our glass half full.
Hopefully I will be on this little machine a lot in the future.