Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Football... :Maybe a bit irreverant: ...

Today is the day! The Nebraska Cornhuskers will show us what they're made of when they play Arizona tonite in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl. The Huskers beat Kansas State to get the honor (?) of getting beat by Texas the following week. One of my cousins from Kansas (a K-State grad) was especially nasty prior to the NU/KSU game but was strangely quiet after we beat them. Jealousy is an ugly emotion! My son-in-law is a Texas fan (something wrong with that!). My daughter is still looking for a "House Divided" shirt (NU & Texas).

Tonight we will gather with friends in front of a big screen TV and pay homage to our beloved Huskers. Food will be brought as a sacrifice to THE BIG RED (I'm bringing my "famous" chicken wings). A baptism of sorts will be held as beer & other adult beverages are drunk. And we'll bring our foam brick with GO BIG RED written on it that we throw at the TV when the refs make a bad call. We're pretty sure that every ref in the Big 12 hates the Huskers! Blast!

The Huskers made a great comeback with Coach Bo Pelini & his staff. I guess BO does know football! This should be a fun game to watch! Last year the Huskers played in the Gator Bowl. Who knows? Maybe next year we can get to one of the "good" bowl games. Did you know there are something like 34 bowl games?

Seems like everyone wants their name splashed across the screen & on shirts & hats. Brut Sun Bowl, Chick-Fil-A Bowl, Outback Bowl, Capital One Bowl...the list goes on. Do you remember the bit Larry the Cable Guy did about Nascar sponsors?? Who wouldn't want to wear a shirt with KOTEX BOWL in big letters across the chest?

At any rate... GO BIG RED!!!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Healthcare Reform?

I posted this back in February but thought in light of all the fuss about healthcare reform I would post this again!

My husband found this little article in the February 1947 edition of The Reader's Digest. I thought it was very interesting & worth passing along - considering this article was written more than 60 years ago! Almost Prophetic!

Michael Wright in Better Homes & Gardens

This is how it is in Britain. The doctor got back to his office just at two o'clock. "How many?" he said to his nurse.
Casually, he put on his white jacket and poked his head into the waiting room where the 40 patients sat. "Will those of you troubled with headache please stand," he said.
Six stood. The doctor took identical printed prescriptions out of his desk and handed one to each of the six and dismissed them.
Then he said, "Will those of you troubled with a cough please stand." Another group got up, and again he handed them printed prescriptions and dismissed them.
The others he took one by one into his private office for a few minutes. Two hours later the office was empty, the 40 patients gone. This was an average of three minutes to a patient.
And that, Dr. Edward H. Ochsner of Chicago testified at the recent Wagner-Murray-Dingell bill hearings in Washington, is how it is with socialized medicine in Britain.
In Germany, where they also had a compulsory system, some doctors did even better - 30 to 40 patients in one hour.
This is how most doctors believe it will be here in America if our own womb-to-tomb compulsory health scheme becomes law.

Something to think about........

Do Unto Others

The BIBLE says we are to do unto others as we would have others do unto us! And as ye have done to the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Twenty-five years ago, in the fall and winter of 1984, I lived in Corona (Queens), New York. I was married and had a baby. The marriage was not good. The husband was rarely home (he was working, he said), leaving me alone with the baby in that horrible apartment in the basement of a house with no phone, no car, no money, no friends. The entrance to the apartment was thru a "cellar door" at the bottom of crumbling cement stairs. Shortly after we moved into the dungeon I decided that I could not stay in this dark, depressing, dingy basement day after day and I ventured out with the baby in a stroller. We would walk, at first, just around the block - then two blocks, then three. One day we happened across a small storefront - a deli. It was chilly & I basically stopped there to warm up a bit. The store owner, Lola, was a friendly black lady who welcomed me into her shop & gave me a bit of a break - playing with the baby, rocking the baby, and talking to me. She fed me, never asking for payment as she knew I had no money - but would say, "Honey, don't you worry about it, just bring me some money when you get it." Walking to Miss Lola's deli became a daily routine. We got to know each other - mostly she got to know me as I was always whining about being "deserted" and "neglected". Once it began snowing my visits to Miss Lola's shop became few & far between. I missed being able to talk with her. One afternoon, late in the day - two weeks before Christmas - there was a knock on my door. I opened the door to an older black gentleman who resembled Morgan Freeman, dressed in a black three-piece suit, complete with hat - holding a large box filled with groceries. He told me that Miss Lola told him she thought I could use it! I was, needless to say, reduced to tears! I was overwhelmed by the kindness of people I barely knew. Two weeks later the baby & I were on a plane back to the midwest.

I tell you all that to tell you this.

We have a friend, Hal, who helped get our woodstove up & running. By most people's standards, has nothing. He is building a yurt-type home from recycled & reclaimed lumber, trees he's cut & hand-peeled himself, rock he's collected & stacked for a chimney. He has been living in a stripped down RV, heating it with a woodstove, bathing in the creek. He doesn't have a driver's license so he is dependent on others to pick him up to go places. By now the creek is frozen - no more baths. He's moved into the unfinished home he's built - the small woodstove can barely keep it warm (he said he woke up a couple mornings to 25 degrees inside!). His pantry doesn't seem to have much in it; his dog was so thin I could see her ribs. I told Jerry about my experience in New York and we decided that we would repay the kindness I had received by extending the same kindness to Hal. We have given him leftover building materials that were taking up space in our storage unit, brought him gas for his generator, shared food from our own pantry and bought his dog a couple bags of dogfood. He is so grateful for what he has - which is not much - and believes that everything he does have is a blessing from God.

Being able to bless him with our abundance has blessed us tremendously. Hal was the recipient of our Christmas giving this year! We are fortunate to know him & have learned so much from him. We pray that God will richly bless him in the New Year.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Living life off the grid... little inconveniences

Living off the grid!! We talked about it, planned for it, built it, and are living it. As so many of the people we know in our neck of the woods, we have embraced living off the grid. There are LOTS of perks to this lifestyle: no utility bills being one of the biggest, the satisfaction of being somewhat self-sufficient, the beauty of nature & wildlife, not having neighbors so close we can hear their toilet flush.

Some folks we know have a romanticized idea of what living off the grid means. Communing with nature, beautiful sunrises & sunsets, growing a garden, etc. What they don't realize is how much work goes into living off the grid!!

We don't have a well nor do we have a cistern. Neither do we have any kind of indoor plumbing! We have 55 gallon barrels that we haul our water in along with a couple 5 gallon water cans & gallon jugs. Water is subject to freezing in these temperatures. In a previous post I mentioned chopping ice in one water barrel to get to the water! Water is heated on the propane stove or woodstove. Either of these options depends upon whether or not we have an abundance of propane or wood!

After doing dishes the water is drained into a 5 gallon bucket which is then recycled by using it to water flowers & garden plants. During winter months the grey water goes into a 55 gallon barrel to be used at a later date.

We don't have a water heater - except for the stoves. Our kitchen stove is propane - but we cannot yet afford to have a big tank delivered let alone filled, so we use a small propane tank like the ones one would use on a BBQ grill. Once we get a larger propane tank we plan to get an on-demand water heater. A "bread box" water heater is also an option.

We are currently using a "camp" toilet. A composting toilet is on the list of things to buy in the coming year. We had a couple large pits dug - one for a septic system - but again, the cost was pretty prohibitive. Luckily we have other alternatives for disposing of black water.

We don't have a shower... we go to the community center to tend to our personal hygiene. Once we get the propane & indoor plumbing situation remedied a shower will be high on the list of things to do!

We have a 2 acre lot that is heavily treed with dead-standing aspen & pine... but it's about 25 miles away. The exercise & fresh air we get when we go out to cut wood is certainly good for us... but it takes nearly an entire day to go out, cut the wood into 5 foot pieces, load it on the trailer, haul it back to the cabin, then cut & stack it. Again - great exercise - but certainly not as easy as flipping a switch for heat!

We have a generator for back up power - if, for instance, the sun doesn't shine enough to charge our batteries.

Our lot is very rocky and very sandy. Our only attempts at gardening has been in large pots. We have a sneaking suspicion that the ground is hard enough that it would probably destroy a roto-tiller. As mentioned in another post, we'd like to build onto the cabin a garden room with raised beds, rain barrels & maybe a small garden pond (Jerry likes fish!).

Wildlife is always a concern - especially if one has pets or small livestock. We've been visited by bear and mountain lion (or bobcat - not sure which). Porcupine & badgers live nearby. Deer and elk are garden hazards. Guns are optional, but sometimes can be a very necessary part of wilderness living.

The things I've listed are just a few of what call "little inconveniences" of living off the grid. But lots of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears also go into an off the grid lifestyle. Any other folks out there who live off the grid or would like to? I'd love to hear about your experiences!!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Recycling Christmas

The theme is still Christmas... hopefully this will be the last time I post about Christmas. This year - living in two homes in two states - I did not decorate for Christmas. Well, that's not entirely true. At the cabin there is a pinon tree less than five feet from the front deck and on Thanksgiving morning in 20 degree weather (the sun was shining & the wind was NOT blowing for a change) I decorated the lower five feet of the tree while still in my pajamas! My boxes of decorations were at the house in Nebraska - along with my skinny Christmas tree. Even tho' we were at the Nebraska house four days before Christmas I decided I wasn't decorating the tree, hanging lights, getting out Mr. & Mrs. Santa or even hanging a wreath! The house here is completely unadorned for the holiday.

Today we went to WalMart to pick up groceries. Customer service was packed with people returning or exchanging things I can only presume they had either purchased or received for Christmas. Wrong size. Wrong color. What was the person thinking who bought this! I was thankful that I was not in line as I tend to get a bit testy when I'm not "next" in line!

My biggest gripe about Christmas is that SO many have made Christmas about giving and getting gifts... not about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. I know, I know! Giving & getting gifts is not a new development - I just find it distressing when I see how many gifts people buy, the money that is spent, the interest that accumulates on the credit cards. For the past few years Jerry & I have not purchased many Christmas gifts. We have seven kids between us, six of whom have spouses or significant others AND fourteen (14) grandkids - not to mention our siblings & parents! The first year we didn't buy Christmas gifts for them we felt a twinge of guilt - but oh! the money we saved! Our kids are old enough to understand our reasoning & we've always been a family who relishes in the time we get to spend together since there are lots of family gatherings that not everyone can attend due to jobs. Our family gatherings are usually spent eating, playing cards or board games, eating some more, watching football, then eating the leftovers. We don't need gifts when we have the gift of time & fellowship.

We have friends who buy tons of gifts & spend loads of money on those gifts. We visited those friends before Christmas - gifts piled three or four high all around the tree and spilling out into the area that should be reserved for walking! We were also the recipients of their gifting...lovely gifts all of them but there was no need for them to spend the money they did.

Last year our group of friends had a frugal Christmas! We regifted items that we'd received (wrong color / wrong size / what was the person thinking who bought this). It was fun and frugal!! The year before I asked my sister-in-law what she would like for Christmas - listing a few things that I was going to otherwise give to Goodwill - and gave her some things she needed & she was quite happy with them! Our kids have also received such "gifts". Things they can use, things I no longer need - all in good condition just no longer needed!

This Christmas, the best gift I received was simply the feeling that I helped make a difference in someone else's Christmas by helping my church family deliver Christmas gift boxes (food for Christmas dinner) and caroling at area assisted living & nursing homes. I was blessed beyond measure!

So... is this wrong? Am I just being cheap? Or is this possibly something others wished they had the moxie to do? We recycle glass, paper, aluminum cans... why not "recycle" gifts that were not to our liking? Look in the back of your closets, in the attic and basement. See what gifts you've stashed away that are gathering dust. No more Black Friday... no more day after Christmas shopping.

I dare you!

It's CHRISTmas Morning!!!!

This morning I woke up early, made a pot of coffee, popped a PopTart in the toaster, let Skeeter out... er, at least I tried to. There was a huge drift in front of the door to the backyard which made it impossible to open so he had to go out the front door. By the time Skeeter went out & came back in my PopTart was done...not exactly the kind of Christmas morning breakfasts I've been used to (mom's Swedish pancakes). I poured a steaming cup & sat down to have a little one-on-one time with God.

The snow is beautiful... not as beautiful as it is at our place in the mountains. One thing I noticed when it snowed at the cabin - especially at night - was that the reflection of the moon made the snow sparkle like the ground was scattered with diamonds! You just don't get that kind of eye-candy in the city with all the street lights. Jerry is outside shoveling the sidewalk... something he doesn't have to do at the cabin and doesn't miss doing! I don't know how much snow there is in the yard - looks like more than a foot - it's deep enough that Skeeter's belly drags in the snow - and he's a BIG dog! And it's still snowing.

Yes, it's CHRISTmas morning... but without kids here, it's another morning. I opened my laptop, signed on to my email, Facebook and my blog, then flipped on the television hoping for something inspiring for CHRISTmas morning. What I found was someone talking about the Twelve Days of Christmas. Here's a link that will enlighten you as to what that song is REALLY about!

I should call my daughter in North Carolina & find out what the little girls thought of their Christmas gifts. My boys will be here in a few hours to open a couple gifts then we're having Christmas dinner at the home of friends. I suppose I should let Skeeter back in and get ready for our day!


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry CHRISTmas from the Cabin!!!!

Merry CHRISTmas everyone.

We've been busy at the cabin... not as busy as we should be - we have lots of 8" aspen tongue & groove & drywall that's begging to be put up in the living room. I'm not sure why we didn't finish it. Now it's COLD & the generator doesn't really want to run in below freezing temperatures but we have to run the generator so we can use the power tools.

We've taken a "vacation" from the cabin - coming back to Nebraska to spend Christmas & New Years with our family & friends. Strangely enough, since we arrived here on Monday night, the weather at the cabin is nicer than it is here.

WATER: As I probably mentioned at some point, we haul our water in 55 gallon barrels. As you can well imagine - the water has frozen. We also get water from an artesian well that's along the highway - collected in one and five gallon jugs. I use the water in the one gallon jugs for cooking/making hot drinks and the water from the 5 gallon jugs for washing dishes. Dishwater has to be heated up on the stove and is currently drained out of the sink into a 5 gallon bucket... and the gray water is then recycled, used for plants & such. Anyway, a couple weeks ago we had run out of water from the artesian well and there were dishes that needed to be washed. What's a girl to do? I took my 4-cup measuring cup, the big tea kettle & a stew pot out to the barrel and with hatchet in hand, started hacking away at the ice in one barrel. By the time I was done I had a hole about 10 inches across and 6 inches deep, 2 inches of ice chips on top... but I DID reach water. Icy water! I scooped water & ice out of the barrel with the measuring cup into the tea kettle & stew pot, put them on the stove to heat & decided to fill another pot for good measure. It's not the way I'd prefer to get water, but one does what one must!

WEATHER: We've been fortunate to have "decent" weather so far this winter. What does that mean? Well, I guess it means even though the overnight temperatures are below freezing and sometimes just below zero, but our woodstove keeps things pretty warm. We don't have an adjustable damper so the damper is either open or closed. We've learned to wear layers and have several blankets & quilts on our bed. We normally get the temperature between 60 - 65 degrees before we go to bed. We then take turns (whoever happens to wake up first) going downstairs to put more wood on the fire. I usually wake up when my nose gets cold! Most mornings the temperature inside is between 40-45 degrees. I know a lot of people would not think that acceptable, but quite frankly, we like sleeping in cooler temperatures & we don't find it so bad. Lower than 40 degrees - we don't like so much!

WIND: Typically the wind comes from the southwest where we live. Our cabin is built on piers and there is currently no skirting around the bottom of the cabin so the wind blows underneath the cabin. The floor is not yet insulated, nor does it have carpet yet so the floors are VERY cold and the cold seems to fill the space. I'm not sure what the wind velocity (is that right?) is but it sounds like it's about 50 mph most of the time. Because the cabin is two stories (Jerry says it's a story & a half) and stands just above the tops of the pinon trees, the wind hits the south and west sides of the cabin with full force. It's a bit un-nerving because it has a tendency to make the cabin shake a bit. We had a couple days where the wind blew like that - all day and all night. A little bit goes a long way! After listening to the wind howl and pound the cabin for hours one starts to get a bit nervous, crabby, antsy, and a lot of other things. My philosophy is that the wind is just one of many nuances of the Valley and we should embrace it - literally! Even if the wind doesn't blow 24/7, we really need to consider harnessing the power that it would generate.

WOOD: We've gone thru quite a bit of wood. We've discovered that the wood that is split burns much quicker than wood that has not been split. Unfortunately, we have quite a bit of split wood. We also have discovered that pinon burns HOTTER than pine or aspen. We're hoping to get a cord of pinon delivered after the first of the year.

WILDLIFE: With elk & deer season over, we've noticed an abundance of deer on the roads and in the sagebrush. We've only seen a few deer on our place. Jerry thinks that Skeeter is keeping them at bay. Skeeter IS a really good early warning system when there's "bad guys" (deer, rabbit, etc.) outside. Twice in the past month he has warned us late at night (okay, it gets dark at 4:30 & by 6:00 it's pitch black outside) that there's something outside. Both times we found the tell-tale signs of who our visitor was. The first was a bear - about 100 yards from our front door; the second was most likely a mountain lion or maybe a bobcat - about 100 feet from our front door. One neighbor told us that someone up the road had lost a dog to a mountain lion so we should be very aware if we have to go out after dark!

The cabin is home! It's where my heart is, where I feel alive, where I feel close to God. I'm looking forward to spring and getting more projects done - the list is long!

My prayer for you is that God will richly bless you this Christmas season and throughout the New Year.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Working my way thru my reading list

The last couple years I've been buying up paperback novels at garage sales & thrift stores. Everytime I walk into a thrift store I still look for interesting reading material.

Most recently I read "Better Off" - a book about turning off the switch on technology & living simply; "An Arrow Pointing to Heaven" - about the life and ministry of contemporary Christian singer Rich Mullins who died in 1997... and "The Backward Life: In Pursuit of an Uncommon Faith" - by Jarrod Jones. I've not started this book yet so I cannot give any details other than the title intrigued me.

A friend suggested I read "Roughing It" by Mark Twain. I searched every thrift store I walked into looking for it - no luck. I did find it online but it was going to be a pain in the neck to try to read a little at a time... so I finally bit the bullet & went to our local library, got a library card & asked if I could find "Roughing It" here. They didn't have it but were happy to borrow it from another library! It arrived - a beautiful old book, copyrighted in 1899 & signed by Mark Twain! I'm almost halfway thru it & it has proved to be quite entertaining! Why books like this are not required reading for high school or college level students is beyond me! I have enjyed this book thus far - especially the detail Twain uses to describe things! Who knew one could spent 4 pages describing a coyote?!

The same friend who suggested "Roughing It" has been studying the Bible and challenges me to read mine more and really pick verses apart!

I will continue to read thru the boxes of books I brought with me... chances are they'll last all winter & maybe then some. In the meantime, I will be buying more books as I come across ones I find worthwhile! There's just something about sitting in my chair by the fire, sipping hot tea & reading a good book (or the Good Book!) that soothes the soul!

What books have you read lately?

Happy Thanksgiving

Just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! We were fortunate to be able to spend the day with good friends at their cabin... eating WAY too much! Today we're feasting again - on leftovers!
We have so much to be thankful for: our woodstove & plenty of wood, fresh air, a gazillion stars to light our night sky, 12 volt electricity!, plenty of food to eat, our health, the love of family & friends, our little Community Church & the freedom to worship without persecution, friends who let us watch Husker football in Buffalo country, and so many other things I can't even think of at the moment.

Friday, November 13, 2009

T'was the month before Christmas......

*Twas the month before Christmas*

*When all through our land,*

*Not a Christian was praying*

*Nor taking a stand.*

*See the PC Police had taken away,*

*The reason for Christmas - no one could say.*

*The children were told by their schools not to sing,*

*About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.*

*It might hurt people's feelings, the teachers would say*

*December 25th is just a ' Holiday '.*

*Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit*

*Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!*

*CDs from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-pod*

*Something was changing, something quite odd!*

*Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa*

*In hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda.*

*As Targets were hanging their trees upside down*

* At Lowe's the word Christmas - was no where to be found.*

*At K-Mart and Staples and Penney's and Sears*

*You won't hear the word Christmas; it won't touch your ears.*

*Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-si-ty*

*Are words that were used to intimidate me.*

*Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen*

*On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton!*

*At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter*

*To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.*

*And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith*

*Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace*

*The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded*

*The reason for the season, stopped before it started.*

*So as you celebrate 'Winter Break' under your 'Dream Tree'*

*Sipping your Starbucks, listen to me.*

*Choose your words carefully, choose what you say*

*Shout MERRY CHRISTMAS, not Happy Holiday !*

Please,all Christians join together & wish everyone you meet during the holidays a


Jesus Christ is The Reason for the Christ-mas Season!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Wood Ministry.... and our folly

We've been busy the past week or 10 days... we've been blessed with awesome weather that has allowed us to work outside!!
We got the south side of the cabin completely sided!!! Only the east side remains "naked"... we may get it done yet before it gets too cold/snowy to work! We bought more aspen tongue & groove (6") to finish the kitchen walls - and still we're about 5 board short of being complete. We haven't done any finish work on the cabinets (doors & trim) but some friends from church have lots of aspen in their home & we were inspired by their cabinet doors & will most likely copy them! We also bought 8" tongue & groove for the living room... most of 2 walls now have T&G up about 4 feet - and drywall above that.

About the Wood Ministry... some gentlemen from our church decided to help out the community: 1) by cutting down dead trees (fire mitigation) or trees that threaten someone's home and 2) by giving the wood to those in need. While we're not "in need", trying to get the LOVE SHACK finished has taken up the good weather days we would have otherwise used to cut our own wood. I approached these men last Sunday about getting some of their seasoned wood & making a donation to help defray some of the cost of for their gas & upkeep of their tools, etc. Yesterday after lunch Jerry, Skeeter & I went to pick up a trailer-load of wood -- about 1 1/2 cord. Everything went great... until just before we were about to pull onto the highway. Jerry thought maybe we should strap down the load. Did I mention the sun was setting - quickly!! We stopped & got out to strap the wood down... and noticed the trailer was sitting funny. Upon further examination we discovered that we not only had a flat tire... but it was completely off the rim. UGH! Nothing like being in the dark with a trailer load of wood 15 miles from your intended destination. Jerry called AAA - they don't fix "utility trailer" tires. Hmph! So......... this morning we got up early (it was about 20 degrees!) and went to where we had left our trailer of wood. We figured we'd make three trips to get all the wood home -- we couldn't possibly jack up the trailer with all that wood on it! So.......... three pickup loads later the wood is home -- just in a big pile, not stacked -- and the trailer still has NO tire on it! We tried to change it but the hub must be glued... oh, Jerry says it's probably welded not glued :o)... onto the axel and the spare tire is also is on its own "hub"... so there sits our trailer. Hopefully we can figure out how to deal with this as we use the trailer a lot!
Better days are ahead I'm sure!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Franklin... the Woodstove!

Last Thursday we were in town getting mail, doing a bit of shopping & ran into our friend Hal. He & Jerry got to talking about our respective building projects (Hal's building his own place too). Jerry mentioned that we were needing to get the woodstove hooked up so we could spend the winter here & Hal said he'd be out the next morning! WOW!!! The next morning Hal arrived about 10:30 - he & Jerry worked on getting the piping & chimney hooked up. By 2:30 we had FIRE!!! We asked Hal how much we owed him - he said he wasn't working for money, that he wanted to BLESS us!!! WOW again!!! We truly were blessed... and blessed him with some cash to help him with his building expenses!!
Anyway, Franklin the woodstove has been hooked up & keeping us warm for a week now! Our latest concern is having enough wood to get thru the winter. Other than that we're enjoying the heat very much considering the cold (below freezing) temperatures we've been having. We're still having issues with the propane kitchen stove... so we've resorted to cooking on the woodstove. The Original Slow Cooker. Dinner is not ready in a half hour... a pot is put on the stove to cook as soon as we finish breakfast & it's ready to eat by late afternoon.
Last weekend & early this week - before the snow - we picked pinon nuts off the trees at our place. One certainly couldn't earn a living doing this. Very tedious & sticky. Jerry thought we should just pick up the ones that had dropped on the ground but there are so many deer - um - droppings under the trees that I decided it was better to pick them right out of the cones. We soaked them in salt water overnight then roasted them on the woodstove. Pretty tasty most of them.
We got maybe 3" of snow at our place. It was beautiful watching it come down in big, fluffy flakes... and then Skeeter went out in it & now our pretty snow is full of giant dog tracks. Oh well. There will be more snow!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

First Amendment Rights

For a while I had a blog on MySpace... people were reluctant to "join" just to read what was going on. So I found blogspot. Using this service has been a good experience for me. No one is required to "join" just to read... or leave a comment, as it seems that can be done "anonymously".

Facebook, however, is a different animal. One is required to join in order to gain access to "friends" and "groups" and "fan clubs". One also has to "request" friendship. I suppose this is a good thing. I'm curious as to how some people find "friends". For instance, I received a "friend request" from some man I do not know. I sent him a FB message asking if he found my name in a FB group... he responded by saying he'd found my name in his friend's list. Strangely enough... after scanning a few of my FB friends' lists... this man is not among their friends.

I've discovered several groups on FB that have the same political & religious views as I have... and found them to be enlightening & interesting although somewhat controversial compared to the views of many of my "friends". Since we've been in Nebraska, the weather's been crappy & I've been sick - I've spent more time than I should online reading some of these things. I've found many of them interesting & thought, in light of some discussions I've been in with "friends" on the opposite side of things, I thought I'd post a few of the articles to give an different view.

Unfortunately, I guess First Amendment Rights only apply if you share "their" views. I suppose this is really nothing new, huh? Thankfully, I can still post here without getting too much flack.

Monday, October 12, 2009

.:There's No Place Like Home:.

I'm SO ready to go back home to the cabin!! The living room is FULL of boxes packed with all the stuff we're taking back with us! What a nightmare!

It's been nice being in Nebraska... even if it's for longer than we had originally planned. I've been able to see a couple girlfriends from college, another friend who had moved to the East Coast and have 24/7 access to internet to play on Facebook - which may or may not be a good thing. Facebook is an interesting phenomenon: a place to keep up with family, friends - old & new, former co-workers, etc. Also interesting is the amazing information one can find on Facebook - things one would generally not look for (mostly political and religious). It's a great place to share views & discuss world issues... although it sometimes gets a bit heated. It's still a fun place to "hangout" online.

We've probably missed the changing colours of the aspens. It seems the weather in Nebraska has skipped fall (although the trees are beautiful) and is closer to winter weather. It snowed last weekend and has been cold & damp... and gray! Not my ideal weather by any means. Jerry's wondering how I'll do with the winters in Colorado... I guess the way to find out is to actually spend a winter there.

Friends here are still wondering why in the world we'd want to spend winter there.... I guess what they don't understand is ~ THAT IS home for us... the place here in Nebraska is more of a second home, a place to sleep when we're back visiting without having to shack up with our kids or friends.

We got a call today from some friends in Colorado saying they'd stopped by our cabin & we weren't there... they hadn't seen us in a couple weeks... wondered if everything was okay. They also told us that everything looked "normal" at the cabin - so that's a good thing! Great friends everywhere!

We are SO grateful for our friends here. When we're in Nebraska they make sure we're fed and entertained... and provide us with a place to bounce ideas & concerns, a shoulder to cry on and much love & laughter. They are icing on our cake!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Pictures of the cabin...

FINALLY!!! A few pictures of the cabin! The kitchen counter, the drop leaf table we made and the pantry... and the exterior of the cabin - so far. We still have to put wood trim around the windows & door... and attach the 1x4 boards (battens) between the 1x12 boards.
We've been in Nebraska for almost 10 days... 10 days we could have been working on the cabin... but we came back for a wedding, to see family & friends and have a garage sale (can you believe we STILL have stuff to get rid of?!)... hopefully the days will still be warm enough for us to work outside when we get back.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

September Update or Where has the summer gone?

Summer came & went!!
The weather has been uncooperative off & on... what's new with that? The weather determines what project we work on at any given time.
We've enjoyed the humming birds... we had about 30 (give or take - it's hard to count because they move so darned fast)... but before we left we were down to three. We got SO much enjoyment out of watching them.
We got LOTS done this month... including getting most of the cabin sided with 1" x 12" spruce - stained cedar. We'vve not gotten the windows trimmed yet - but hope to have that done before winter!
We built base kitchen cabinets & decided to build a counter rather than use a "store-bought" one... using Mexican tile we purchased at a garage sale. Although we didn't have enough to do the whole counter top, backsplash & the front edge of the counter (and after a trip to Taos to look for something suitable) Jerry came up with the idea to build a wood frame around the counter & fill in with the tile. The backsplash is just tile set on the back edge of the frame. We used 1" x 4" to frame & used it on the front of the counter as well. I have to say... It looks REALLY nice!! I have enough tile left over to put about 2 square feet of it behind the kitchen stove -- figured it would be easier to clean grease spatter off tile than it would off aspen tongue & groove! We also built upper cabinets, faced the bottoms of them & the four visible ends with leftover aspen. We added 12 volt lighting under the upper cabinets as well!
We bought an RV size (25" x 18") kitchen sink on ebay rather than use the stainless steel sink we brought - it was just too big! I used the remaining big pieces of aspen T & G on the kitchen wall that is shared with what will be the pantry/coat closet. I was 4 pieces short of finishing! Rats! Jerry attached shelf brackets to the back of that wall (in the pantry) and cut up pieces of left over plywood for shelves.
We got ahead of ourselves when we did the counters (as long as we had mastic) and put down the tile on the floor of the hearth. We lived with it, looked at it, wondered how to do it... for a couple weeks... then a friend of ours told us he had a tile wet saw! SCORE one for us!! We finished the rest of the hearth (2 back walls) in an afternoon. We had left over pieces of tile (cut) and not enough of the 12" tile left to do any size entryway... so I broke those cut pieces with a hammer & will use those to make a mosaic with the left over 12" tiles as a "frame".
We also built a back door out of 1" x 8" spruce (exterior), 1 1/2" solid core foam insulation (center) 1" x 6" pine (interior)... and stained it cedar as well. Have to say the end result was quite nice! We bought quite a bit of the 1" x 8" spruce... so we used the remainder on the bathroom walls - completed one and most of a second. It looks very rustic... much like an old outhouse might!
We've been patiently waiting for stovepipe to be delivered so we can get our woodstove hooked up. As temperatures dropped (this past week we had lows in the mid to low-20's) we began to wonder if the last two pieces would ever arrive... and of course just before we got ready to come back to Nebraska for a week... they showed up! Guess what we'll be doing when we get back?!

Well... we're back in Nebraska for a few days. Friends got married last nite... having a garage sale Thursday/Friday/Saturday this coming week! Lots to do in a short amount of time as we have to get back to finish getting the cabin ready for winter.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

.: End of August ~ Winter's on its way:.

Sunday after church we loaded up the trailer, the chainsaw & Skeeter and headed to our lot in Forbes Park to cut wood. We have A LOT of dead standing trees so that's what we cut... not the live ones! We cut a trailer load - probably a cord of wood. It rained when we got home... and Monday so we cut the logs up on Tuesday & got it all stacked.
Yesterday was "project" day - we cut 1" x 6" pine and made a drop-leaf kitchen table. Today is errand day (going for groceries, a trip to LaJara for aspen & possibly wood sidin)... so tomorrow I'll try to polyurethane the table... and maybe the kitchen walls & cabinets as well. Jerry said he's going to start building cabinet doors for the lower cabinets. Jerry also cut up a large pine stump (sliced it actually) then burned our house/lot number onto it. We'll get it hung up by the road so the UPS/FedEx/911 people can find us!
The hearth is still not completely tiled. The kitchen counter is still not tiled (we haven't even got the HardieBacker board on it yet!). BUT... we did order some triple-wall pipe for the woodburning stove and a 24 1/2" x 18 1/2" kitchen sink (it's for an RV - but just the right size for our kitchen!). Just waiting for it all to be delivered!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Another update...

Again... it's been more than two weeks... but I just can't seem to keep up with everything!
We've been on "vacation" for about a week - friends from Nebraska came to visit & we enjoyed taking them around. Spent a day in Taos, NM and another day driving Old LaVeta Pass, shopping in LaVeta... eating & drinking too much...but SO glad they came to visit! We're looking forward to them visiting again in October!
*We now have 13 windows in the cabin.
*Most of the upstairs aspen tongue & groove has been completed - walls & ceiling anyway.
*We also have closet rods hung up... and clothes hanging on them!
*We moved the bed upstairs (no simple feat, I might add) a week ago Saturday - with the help of friends. We had to saw thru the supports of the box springs, fold it in half, push/pull it up & reassemble the supports with additional supports. The mattress went up MUCH easier!
*We have insulated the main floor... all but the bathroom which is currently a storage area.
*We're hoping to get the aspen up on the kitchen walls - starting this weekend maybe?
*We also need to get busy doing the siding - I think we've decided on 1" x 10" rough sawn pine & we'll put cedar stain on it (we have about 12 gallons of it so we should use it!).
*We're about ready to get the woodstove hooked up... I think we finally have all the parts we need to make it work. Before we get it completely hooked up we'll have to get the hearth tiled... more fun!
Yes, of course, there are injuries! Not severe, but I have been on the injured list twice in the last week... both times I fell out of the camper - once landing on my rear end (landed on the metal bar that holds the metal step) and second stepping on the wood below the step (spraining my right ankle & bruising my left knee). No!! Alcohol was not involved in either incident!
We've seen LOTS of deer - mostly young bucks - red fox, porcupine, a small (200+ pound) black bear, small (less than 2 feet long) rattlers - all fairly close to our place. We have a resident lizard living in the woodpile. We have trapped/killed about twelve or so mice (Skeeter killed one the other nite!). The word is out that my hummingbird feeders are full... we've gone from three full-time hummingbirds to close to a dozen. They are a constant source of enjoyment & make for great photographs!
GARDEN: Although we've not seen any rabbits at our place there is evidence of one: the darn thing has chewed off the tops of my green bean & zucchini plants! Grrrr! We'll have a few carrots, radishes & onions but not much else. Better luck next year?
TECHNOLOGY: I still haven't downloaded a compatible driver so I can download my photos.
I probably won't get much done if I don't get off this machine... I'll be back in a couple weeks I suppose! :o)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My Every-two-weeks Post

I certainly don't get online as much as I used to... working on the cabin doesn't leave me as much time to get online... and frankly it's a hassle to drag the computer around... not to mention people think you're anti-social when you plug into a wall & ignore them. So... here's my every-two-weeks post!

Anyway... since my last post on 7/9... we have 6, count 'em, 6 windows installed upstairs!! It's amazing what light comes thru!! We have one window left... but we're thinking it will go in the south wall at the bottom of the stairs. We've gotten north & east walls and half of the west wall upstairs insulated. Not just insulated but the aspen tongue & groove is on & looks wonderful! With any luck we'll have the upstairs walls ALL done by mid-week (next week). I'm SO tired of sleeping in that little bed in the camper!!

I planted zucchini (late) and have 2 plants up; 4 of 6 green bean plants are up & doing well. Onions, carrots, radishes, green peppers... all up & thriving. Some friends brought us a berry bush - they're not sure what kind of berry, could be currants or maybe gooseberry - along with a piece of wild rose bush & a small aspen tree. We got those planted... hopefully they'll do well.

Mouse count as of last Thursday is twelve. I hate mice! I think we have a handle on the wasp situation... and the flies! Ugh!

The friends who had visited us earlier this month are now officially land owners in the Sangre de Cristos! Congratulations to them!

Back to Nebraska for a fun-filled week. Dinner with friends on Friday nite then to a local vineyard to hear a band Saturday nite... followed by a side trip to the lake to relax on the sailboat! Sunday: family reunion. Monday: trip to Kansas for my dad's birthday. Tuesday: some quality time with Alex who is home from Iraq. Today: a trip to Menards and possibly Cabela's this afternoon. Tomorrow: back to the mountain! Friday: get settled back in & hopefully get some things done. Saturday: friends from Lincoln should arrive!

That's the news from here.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Mmmmmajor Update - but nothing special!!!!

Can't believe how long it's been since I've had an opportunity to update things here.
Since coming back from Nebraska (for supplies) in June - the insulation is IN the cabin but we've not done ANYTHING with it! We got the upstairs pretty much cleaned up & are planning to move the bed upstairs this weekend. We brought back 6 more windows & have 5 of them installed. We bought 12 volt (RV) lights on eBay and will use them in the cabin. We did begin framing in where the kitchen cabinets will go...and bought spruce tongue & groove to MAKE a countertop.
We discovered we have mice and have set traps for about a week now. Marcy: 6, Mice: 0!! Probably need to get a cat that's a good mouser! We also have wasps. Always some kind of critter causing me grief!
I planted flower seeds - a "hummingbird mix" - but I think the seeds must be bad or something under the ground is eating them. In lieu of the would-be flowers that were to come from the seed, I purchased flowering plants from WalMart. They are thriving & add color to an otherwise green & brown backdrop.
Sunday we had company from Nebraska. They had planned to come on Tuesday but got here early. They had planned to stay for 2 days... and ended up staying for 4 days. They even put in offer on a property here - about 1 1/2 miles from us! We took them to a few "touristy" places: Colorado Gators (gator farm), SunEdison solar farm, Rio Grande National Forest. They spent a day on their own at Zapata Falls.
The weather has been GREAT!! Our "garden" is doing prety well.
That's pretty much all the news that's fit to print... still haven't gotten my pictures to download - so frustrating!! Hoping to get that problem solved SOON!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I'm on Strike! or just Queen of the Procrastinators

I just haven't been able to get motivated to do much of anything today. Yesterday my friend (and former college roomie) came over to highlight my hair. I'd not accomplished much in the morning - oh, I got a few boxes packed - hair & visiting took up the afternoon and even though it was pretty nice out last night I stayed locked in the house with the air conditioning running... more to combat the humidity than the heat.

Today... I couldn't believe that we slept in... it was after 10:00 when we rolled out of bed. I called Spencer, knowing he had today off, to see if he wanted to have lunch (well of course, he did!). A quick trip to WalMart for some little lock things Jerry needed & back home into the air conditioned house. I've been sitting here all afternoon staring periodically at the mess of boxes & stuff in the kitchen while piddling around on FACEBOOK hoping the boxes would somehow fill themselves. I guess I just need a good swift kick in the pants to get me going. Better not say that too loudly or Jerry will be following me around with boots on!

I think I can get the remaining two boxes filled without any problem, fill a cooler with a few food items (not cold/frozen stuff), sweep, vacuum, dust, wipe down counters, clean the sinks, tub & toilet & feel pretty good about walking out of here tomorrow (if Jerry gets the trailer packed sometime soon?). I'm just ready to get out of this sweltering sauna and back to the cool morning sunrises, the star-filled nights of the mountain, the howl of the coyotes... oh, yes...and back to work on the cabin! It ain't gonna finish itself now is it?

(Not sure who "we" is in this picture... but "I" can do it!)

A sad day....

Today we say farewell to Farrah Fawcett... best known for her role in "Charlie's Angels" and the red swimsuit poster that graced the walls of teenage boys around the world!

Also just heard that Michael Jackson has died at the age of 50. The only MJ album I ever had was "Thriller"... and I played it until it wore out!

May they rest in peace.........

Monday, June 22, 2009

Stinkin' hot & humid weather.... UGH!

We surprised friends Friday nite at a street fair here in town (saw one of Jerry's boys - twice that day)... Saturday we drove to Kansas to surprise my mom on her 75th birthday -- and the 50th wedding anniversary of cousins and Father's Day... then on back to Nebraska to surprise Jerry's dad for Father's Day. Today we saw two of Jerry's boys... had two meals within 4 hours. We're stuffed & tired! One more of Jerry's boys to see... and maybe we'll see Spencer too??

Anyway... the weather here is ABSOLUTELY miserable! How in the world did we tolerate living here during the summer?? If the heat doesn't get you, the humidity will. I straightened my hair this morning... and before we left the house it was already getting curled back up because of the humidity. Thank goodness for headbands! I don't know what my hair is up to... for years I spent money on perms because my hair was SO straight... and now it has decided to curl & do all kinds of weird things. Hormones, I suppose. Whatever it is I wish it would make up its mind... I'm tired of guessing/stressing out about it.

I was going to pack more tonite... and discovered there was only ONE box left in the house that was empty. We did grab a large box Son #3 was throwing out... it will be good for packing clothes in I think... but since Jerry's the only one who has clothes left here... he'll get the honor of packing it! Tomorrow I'll make another run to the local liquor store to get more boxes. Hopefully I can get LOTS more packed - even if we don't take it all now - at least it will be packed & ready to go!

I'm hoping we can head back Thursday. I don't think I can stand this weather much longer! Calgon take me away!

Saturday, June 20, 2009


I know it's been a while since I've updated.... now I can't get pictures to load (the pix are loaded onto the other laptop because the camera is not compatible with this computer - then I email the pictures to myself, save them & post them here. I can get pix off the Internet & save them to post.).... so when I can I will be SHOWING you what we've been up to.

We searched far & wide for regular 4'x8' paneling... the kind your mother warned you about... but evidently in the Valley there is not a big demand for your typical paneling - we presume because there are so many natural wood products available. I like the look of Aspen so we went in search of some tongue & groove. We checked with a local lumberyard that is going out of business to see if they had any "deals" on Aspen tongue & groove... even at their "discounted/going out of business" price it was TOO much for us. So we moved on down the road to a local sawmill - expecting it would be pricey as well. The first price we were quoted was more than we were willing to pay. As we visited with the manager (about things like Big 12 football - he likes the Huskers - & oh, BTW, did we mention we have season tickets to the Huskers?) he mentioned that they have something called "cabin grade" tongue & groove... it tends to be knotty and imperfect... but we actually like the look of knotty wood... and we would get some 8' pieces and some 4' pieces. We were pleasantly surprised when he quoted us a price that was half of the "good stuff".... and knocked off another 15%!! He loaded the truck & we hauled our booty home!!
Truck unloaded, we began hauling 4' pieces up the stairs (these stairs are my buns of steel workout) and began nailing them up. This actually went fairly well... considering we nailed it all by hand - even tho some of the boards were a little bendy & didn't want to go in. We have a few boards set back for "craft projects" like birdhouses or something. We got three 4'x8' sections of the ceiling done with 4 footers... then decided to tackle the 8'x8' section in the middle... with 8' boards. This was MORE difficult than the 4' sections... but it surely does look beautiful!!! (Can't wait for you to see it!)
We finally caved in & bought another roll of insulation to finish off the area above the stairs... it was twice the price - no rebate and twice the thickness (we had to pull it apart to get it to fit)but at least it's done and we were able to finish the T&G above the stairs as well. Currently the only place that has not been completed is the section where the stove pipe will exit the roof. We thought maybe it was best to wait until the stove pipe is in before we cover it.

Our "garden" (in pots) is doing fairly well. The cucumbers, radishes & carrots are up... don't know what the green beans & peppers are waiting on. I STILL haven't planted the lettuce... don't know what I'M waiting on.

We've returned to Nebraska for a few days... my mom is turning 75 today and tomorrow is Father's Day... and we wanted to pick up the rest of the insulation we bought & take another load of stuff back with us! The weather here is icky... in the 80's but the humidity is kicking my behind! Ugh! We'll be back on the mountain soon!

**Pictures coming soon (I hope)!!

We went to Menards yesterday... bought 4 solar powered INTERIOR lights (like these, only ours are white)... and electrical boxes, switches & outlets and wire. Guess what our next project will be!! Better check with my insurance agent to make sure we're covered. Ha!!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

We're here!!!!

We left Lincoln on Saturday May 30... pulled onto our property in the mountains about noon on Sunday, May 31. We got rained on in eastern Colorado... and decided after getting thru Colorado Springs what we really wanted to do was sleep.
We found everything pretty much how we left it... just dustier! No one finished the cabin for us while we were gone. Oh well. The roof looks great in person... the roofers left the left-over green metal for us (not sure what we're supposed to do with it?). We pulled the camper out & got it set up. It seems much smaller than it did last year. We also discovered that there is a broken water pipe... so we can't currently use the water pump & have to haul water from a 55 gallon barrel. Not a problem... just a minor inconvenience. Actually the real inconvenience is having to take the bed apart to get to the water pump to fix the broken pipe.

We brought with us the solar panel system & have one panel hooked up to run the camper lights. We also brough 12 rolls of R-25 insulation for the roof/ceiling. We got that task accomplished by Wednesday!! We were one roll short of completing the job - but that un-insulated part is over the stairs & we're not too anxious to get it done. We also brought 4 rolls of R-13 for the upstairs walls. Have not begun this task yet... but probably will have it done by the end of this week. We brought 6 windows... 2 side-by-side windows & a small window for the living room, 2 side-by-side windows for the bedroom & 1 for the kitchen. We have the kitchen window done... one small one in the living room (looks to the mesa west of us) and one tall window (facing Mt. Blanca). We'll get the other one installed in the living room later today probably. Jerry did get the hole cut for one of the 2 bedroom windows but it was SO stinkin' windy he didn't want to be on the ladder holding on to a window that acts as a parasail in the wind!! It's just nice to have some light in the cabin!!

We discovered we have (had?) a mouse (at least I hope it's just one... but I doubt it!). Of all the times to be without a cat!! We haven't actually seen IT... just it's calling cards! Don't know if Skeeter would be at all interested in it... he's too busy tearing around the property finding all the bones he'd buried last fall!

We have hooked up with friends we made last year & have made some time for socializing (when it's too windy or rainy to work). This morning we went to church. It was nice to be back!!

Currently at the RV park doing some laundry after having lunch with friends following church. Jerry's hoping to either get the other living room window in (depending on wind) or start working on getting kitchen started. We brought countertop with us... so we could at least get it installed & have some workspace!

Nothing too exciting going on right now. I will try to get pictures posted. I can't find the cord for my camera! Duh!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

:.Ongoing Saga.:

Today we bought solar panels!! One more thing to haul - but we need them as soon as we get there & this way we won't have to go hunting them down!! We have one deep cycle battery, but will probably be getting one more. We bought carpet runner for the stairs. Since it's not as wide as the stairs I will probably stain the stairs to give them a more finished look.

My list of things to take is growing! Time is running out (it seems to me!) and I'm starting to feel like I'm drowning! Could be it's just the drizzling rain of Memorial Day weekend. At any rate, it can quit any time - I've had enough!

I thought I had packed A LOT of stuff -- and by the looks of the shelves downstairs, I HAVE!! We went to the auction tonite - didn't buy anything - but wasted precious time I could have been packing. By the time we got home it was after 10:00 but I decided to start packing some stuff from the bathroom. Some of it will stay a while longer -- until the cabin is completed -- if we happen to come back to Lincoln we'll at least be able to shower!
Tomorrow I will start packing the kitchen: the canned / boxed food & spice cabinet. We've eaten almost all of the perishables so I'm hoping this will go quickly. Once that's taken care of I'll most likely begin packing clothes. The laundry is caught up -- with the exception of what we've worn since Sunday, a few towels & the bedding. The real fun begins next. I need to do some deep cleaning -- vacuum the area rugs then roll them up so I can dust mop the floors; kitchen & bathroom floors need to be swept/mopped; furniture needs to be dusted; fridge & stove need to be wiped down along the kitchen sink, cabinets & counters. I'm not sure what will become of all the eBay crap (er... I mean "stuff") that Jerry has sitting around. If it were up to me - it would go to the dumpster by the alley... but I'm sure that would cause me more grief than I want to bear right now!

I packed our new bedding along with the curtains & some decor in a large Rubbermaid tub. I figured it would be easier to do it that way than have to dig thru umpteen boxes/tubs to find everything that is to go in our room. I did the same with the "guest" room. Not sure we'll take that tub right away - but at least everything is together!

****this was started on 5/26.... don't know why I didn't post it... but hear you go!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Weekend

The past week has been rather hectic. Thursday Jerry & I had lunch with Alex... who thought he was supposed to head back to Iraq on Friday morning. Turns out... he was to return THURSDAY morning & had to scramble Thursday nite, after realizing his error, to find a flight out on Friday. Jerry & I spent most of Friday getting ready for a garage sale with friends. We hadn't really planned on it - but figured it was a good way to get rid of some stuff... and maybe make a little money.

Jerry's birthday party was Friday evening at Duggan's with the Blues Messengers playing. I had to leave a half hour into the party to drive to the airport to say goodbye to Alex. I hate goodbyes - especially when my kids are going back to Iraq!! Following the party Jerry & I went to the home of some friends to hang out for a while longer.

This morning Jerry & I went to a local lake to spend a few hours with friends Mike & Daryla on their new sailboat! It was a beautiful morning/afternoon for sailing despite all the motorboats & jet skis on the lake.

Tonite we're going to the home of friends Beth & Rob for yet another get together. Beth thought Jerry & I should have a proper send off... so the FRIENDS are getting together AGAIN for a potluck & more fun!

Tomorrow is Memorial Day. As a country - we have lots to be thankful for. If not for our men & women in uniform, the United States would not be the great country it is. If you're fortunate enough to go to a Memorial Day parade - remove your hats & stand proudly when the Colors are presented... and thank God that you're an American... able to enjoy the freedoms those who have gone before us fought to maintain!

America is not at war. The U.S. Military is at war. America is at the
Mall. If you don't stand behind our troops, PLEASE feel free to stand in front of them!

Remember, Freedom isn't "Free" -- thousands have paid the price so you can enjoy what you have today. We're still the Land of the FREE because of the BRAVE! God Bless America!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

To Everything There is a Season...

...and a time for everything under Heaven!!
For the past year or so I've been checking my college alumni website in hopes of reconnecting with people I knew in music school. I continued searching for my college roommate, Sue, with no luck. A couple weeks ago I logged onto the website again... BINGO!!!! There she was! Not only was she there... but the address listed was in Lincoln... just on the other side of town!! No phone. No email address. So I sent her a note with my phone number letting her know that I'd be moving away soon & we should get together. She called & we've been catching up like crazy. Drinking coffee, chatting, crying, laughing, thrift store shopping. It's been 20 years... and it seems like yesterday. We just picked up where we left off!

Packing... is still underway... at least for me. Jerry hasn't packed a thing!! He has been working on getting our trailer ready - making side rails. Otherwise it doesn't seem like he's in much of a hurry! Argh! My list of things to take is getting longer. I'm just trying to take as much as I think we can handle in order to get as much done as possible without having to make a 1400 mile round trip back here for more.

Our friends are having their annual Memorial Day garage sale Saturday. In past years it had been a 3-day event... but we're all getting tired of babysitting the garage sale when we could be doing something fun... so it's become just a 1-day event. We're taking some things over to sell. I should probably be digging a little deeper for stuff... I KNOW there's lots more to get rid of!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mother's Day Surprise????

Mother's Day. A nice Sunday afternoon BBQ at the home of friends. It's about 5:30, the day is winding down. My phone rings. It's Lani wishing me a Happy Mother's Day. While we talk, my phone beeps to let me know I have a call waiting. I look at the number - don't recognize it & go back to my conversation with Lani. My phone beeps again letting me know I have a message. Lani & I say goodbye. I listen to my message. Some strange woman who knows my name - tells me my parents have been in a serious car accident on the Interstate. She tells me she is a nurse. She has listened to their heart & lungs... those seem fine. Mom is shaken up. Her chest hurts. Ambulance is on its way. The driver's side door is being cut off the car so Daddy can be removed from the wreckage. Sheriff's deputy says they're going to Y*** Hospital. The line goes dead.
I panic! Me: "Jerry, we have to leave now!" Jerry: "Why?" Me: "I'll tell you on the way!" I grab my purse. Barely say goodbye to our friends, let alone thank them for dinner! We leave. I explain the situation. I hit "send" to redial the number that called. She answers. Very vague information. Mom & Daddy seem okay... Daddy is bleeding from his head. They're both conscious!
We stop at home, feed & water Skeeter & put him outside. Off we go to the hospital. I'm calming down some. It's a quiet ride. As we come upon the site of the accident I see my parents' car on the flatbed trailer. It is horrifying! Behind it is a LARGE RV with an SUV in tow. I start falling apart again. I call my Aunt Kathryn's phone number - my cousin Glen & his wife Sharon lives there now. Sharon will call the family & Mom & Daddy's pastor.
At the hospital, they are in separate exam rooms but are next to each other. They've begun running x-rays & scans. Medical information has been given. Waiting on the back-boards with their necks in braces - they are growing impatient from the pain. Doc says there are no broken bones!! Mom has some cracked ribs. Morphine! Daddy has a cut on his eyelid & one below his eye, a few superficial cuts on his head, a cut on his elbow. His knee is the size of a VERY ripe canteloupe. The skin on his shin is gone. His glasses are broken (Mom had one lens in her hand) & missing.
Back & forth. Room to room. Talk to this nurse. Talk to the doc. Make a couple more phone calls to family. Surprise! Cousins happen to be in the vacinity & show up!
After what sems to be an eternity, both Mom & Daddy are taken off the back-boards, neck braces removed. The nurses wheel Mom to a room. Another nurse is still getting info from Daddy. Finally he is taken to a room directly across the hall from Mom. They're given something to help them sleep. We make the long drive home.
MONDAY: Jerry & I go to the junk yard to retrieve Mom & Daddy's belongings from what's left of their car & take some photos. Back to the hospital. My brother & his wife are on their way from Pennsylvania. Jerry & I spend the day with Mom & Daddy. Back & forth across the hallway visiting with them. They each go on a little outing with a nurse - up & down the hall with a walker. By 6:00 I'm pooped! Doc had told them they could probably go home tomorrow! They can't ride in our truck!! I start making arrangements to have them taken home.
TUESDAY: That's today! Doc says they can go home after lunch!! Showers taken. Lunch eaten. Dressed! Sharon & Shirley arrive to help with the transport. Parents loaded into the car. Away we go!
FINALLY HOME!! They arrive safe & sound. All they want to do is sit in their chairs & relax. A few phone calls from other relatives. By 7:30 p.m. both parents are medicated & tucked into their bed.

This is SO not what I had planned for a Mother's Day Surprise!!