Thursday, April 30, 2009

My Sentimental Journey

I admit it... I'm sentimental... probably too much for my own good. I cry at the drop of a hat and at what most people would think are the silliest things. But my heart is tender.
As I've been packing... I'm reminded of something with each thing I pack.
And as I've "released" things - sold on eBay or at garage sales or just given to Goodwill - I have held onto the things that mean the most to me... things that have a family connection or remind me of things from my childhood, things I recall seeing in my grandfather's house...although some things I've had to buy in order to recreate those memories since much of what was once in his house was sold at auction some 30 years ago.
Some memories are happy... others, not so much.

My grandmother's trunk. I never knew her... she had passed away years before I was born. Daddy told me that when she married my grandfather, she brought all her belongings in this trunk. It holds sentimental things like a quilt my mom made for me - each quilt block has a vintage hanky sewn onto it, a baseball signed by my son Alex's team one year when they won a championship game, a handkerchief box that had belonged to my grandmother - along with her celluloid dresser set. I had pictures of my grandparents on top of the trunk but I've already packed them away.

My grandfather's rocker - in it's original condition. A small footstool tucked underneath it. This is a great place to read next to the "wood stove". It says "home" to me!

My sweet Hayli Grace! She lights up my life & is the darling of my heart! She is what love & joy are all about!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Let It All Hang Out!

The laundry that is!

Nature’s clothes dryer! Solar dryer! Clothesline! Whatever you call it - letting it all hang out is a quiet, fossil fuel-free, frugal, natural way to dry clothes!

I remember as a little girl my mother would hang laundry out on the line. There was a bag hanging on a wire contraption that held the clothespins. Then we moved from that house to the gray house… and the clothesline poles leaned against the back of the house the entire time we lived in the gray house. When we moved to my grandfather’s farm… where I’m sure in bygone times my grandmother hung clothes on the line…the clothesline poles also moved with us. I’m not sure where they wound up…maybe in the barn or Quonset… but they were never planted & clothes were never hung on the farm.

On beautiful, warm, sunny days I love to hang out the laundry. I love the smell of sun-dried laundry! I’ve been fortunate enough to live in homes where I had access to a clothesline, although I admit - I’ve not always used them for one reason or another. Usually just out of sheer laziness since I had an electric dryer at my disposal.

Years ago when I lived in “Smallville“, Nebraska - my husband (now ex) put a clothesline in the backyard. It was all cute with an 1940’s washing machine full of dirt - planted with petunias as I recall - at one end. I used the clothesline… but there were a few problems with it. 1) Three small children who would tear thru the yard at break-neck speed. 2) A dog who would chase these three small children & often decided that any laundry within reach was hers to play with. 3) The neighbor’s tree hung directly over it & the birds thought it was a place for them to relieve themselves!

There’s a clothesline in the backyard here - & it’s been utilized on days when the weather permits. I hang shirts on hangers & hang them on the line; hate putting my jeans in the dryer so they get hung on the line as well; sheets, towels & jammies… nearly everything but my under things. Our neighbors on either side are single men… I don’t think they need to see what I wear under my clothes! Do you recall seeing photos of clotheslines strung between buildings in the city that are run on pulleys? Underwear flapping in the breeze above the street for the whole world to see?? Modesty prevails!

We went to an auction earlier this year & I got a retractable clothesline - new in the box! This will be attached to the cabin & either a tree or maybe one of the clothesline poles (from the farm) so I’ll be able to hang out our laundry! I also need to “invest” a few bucks & buy a folding dryer rack so I can dry clothes during snowy weather. Nothing worse than freeze-dried clothes!

Sadly, there are some cities or new housing developments that do not allow clotheslines - because they’re “eyesores”. What would our grandmothers say about that? With the rising cost of electricity (or gas - if you happen to have a gas dryer) - why not use something free… like the sun & breeze?

There's a chicken in my dryer!

Er... maybe not! I got more vacuum storage bags yesterday & as I was cramming stuff into them I discovered my down comforter. It's nothing fancy but I noticed that it was kind of dirty. I also noticed that the "Care of" tag said "DRY CLEAN ONLY". Not only am I a cheapskate when it comes to spending money on dry cleaning (I don't think I own anything that has to be dry cleaned anymore) BUT I HATE the smell of stuff that comes back from the dry cleaner. Nasty chemicals or something!

So.... I pre-treated the spots... stuffed it into the washer... turned on the cold water... added some bleach (yuck!)... closed the lid & let the washer work its magic! After the bleaching... (not being a good conserver of water here) I added detergent & washed it again. I was hoping today would be if not sunny, at least not raining so I could hang it on the clothesline to dry. No such luck! So... I pulled this heavy, sagging comforter out of the washer & stuffed it into the dryer... along with a couple dryer sheets... turned the heat to LOW and set the timer.

An hour later I opened the dryer...hoping to find a sparkling white comforter. Instead I was greeted by white feathers... LOTS of white feathers! At first I thought a chicken had exploded in my dryer... but after laying out the comforter on the bed to inspect it... I found a TINY hole in the corner which allowed all these feathers to escape! Looks like my down comforter has gone on a diet. Guess I'll have to dig out my sewing kit & fix that little problem.

I found this picture of a recycled clothes dryer that had been made into a chicken coop... don't ya just love creative people?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Moving tips!...or Not!

Tip #1: Hire professionals to pack everything! Yeah right! Like I could afford professionals! After all the times I've moved I should be a professional!

Tip #2: Be frugal... don't buy "real" packing boxes & supplies... use recycled boxes and packing materials! I mentioned before that I previously used liquor boxes that were set out by a local liquor store. Of course a truck box full of liquor boxes will prompt folks to a) judge you & tell you to seek out the nearest AA meeting or b) offer to help (thinking the boxes actually have liquor in them).

Tip #3: Have plenty of caffeine on hand! I made a pot of coffee this morning & have been re-heating the same cup o' joe all afternoon... I didn't seem to have time to drink it! There's still a half a pot left... I'll probably heat it again & drink the rest of it in the morning.

Tip #4: Don't ask hubby for help... it's easier to do it myself! Jerry told me that I have to be able to lift & carry every box I pack - I think this was an effort to get me to NOT take everything! Besides... according to him - the only thing he owns in the house is HIS wardrobe (and maybe a few odds & ends).

Tip #5: Make sure that you only bring one box at a time from the basement to pack things upstairs. This will insure you get LOTS of exercise...a good cardio workout!

Tip #6: NEVER mark the boxes you packed! The element of surprise when you unpack. Wonder where the blood came from that's smeared on one box & discover it's your own! Hmm! I don't remember cutting my hand! Look for a band-aid... discover the only band-aid in the house has Backyardigans on it!

Tip #7: By now coffee isn't working so well... pour a glass of wine to relax a bit. Wine has healing properties - sure to help the cut on my hand, right?

Tip #8: Leave a stack of full boxes by the stairs to take back to the basement - but conveniently forget to take a box down as you go to check on the laundry...that is why you're going back to the basement isn't it? Have another sip of wine before you head to the basement - empty handed again. Oops! Back up, grab a box... have another sip of wine.

Tip #9: Did I mention you should dust each item before you pack? You don't want to move dirty stuff to your new place. Oh wait! The new place will be either a storage unit or an unfinished cabin where dust blows constantly!

Tip #10: After discovering dusting is a bad idea & you're sneezing... have some more wine - that will settle the dust & you'll relax a bit more. After a few more sips of wine, decide you CAN take your dirt with you... most likely your stuff will need to be washed or wiped off after it's unpacked anyway.

Tip #11: Do not attempt to cook dinner while packing. What's that high-pitched, screeching sound? Oh no!! While you were busy packing or were in the basement re-organizing the boxes you've packed (because you can't just leave them stacked randomly) - dinner will burn - setting off the smoke alarm. That's what that sound is! Run up the stairs... trip on the landing & almost fall head first into the wall!

Tip #12: After the smoke clears - have some more wine. After three glasses of wine you'll not care whether dinner is burned.

Tip #13: May as well give it up for today...before things get worse. Things could get worse, right?

Response to comment:
This started out to be a serious post about my adventures in packing... but wine tends to bring on AADD (Adult Attention Deficit Disorder) with me... and I had to include all the other stuff that happened during my day of packing!
So... please don't get me wrong... I'm very organized normally... I am a list-maker to beat all list-makers! I have made lists of things we have to move immediately (in approximately 3 weeks) and lists of things that will go on the moving sale. I pack room-by-room... for instance - kitchen: decor / casseroles / dishes / cookware / utensils / pantry; bathroom: decor / towels / rugs / medicine cabinet / shampoo,soap, etc. Like items packed in boxes of like items - boxes marked (except when I don't have a marker!). All the bedding & throw pillows & towels have been stuffed into those cool vacuum bags that you suck the air out of (can't believe those things work but they do!). I have packed the bedding & decor for the master bedroom in one HUGE tub to take with us (we're hoping to have the upstairs finished soon after getting there!).
The countertop/sink, cook stove, enamel top table & kitchen cabinet we've acquired will be the BIG things we take... along with some tubs of things we will need to "survive" the summer. Our furniture won't be moved until later in the summer...and quite frankly we don't have THAT much furniture.
Today I will make a trip to WalMart to get more vacuum bags, a fresh marker...and more wine! Let the packing continue!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Aprons... Tie One On!

How many of us still wear aprons? How many of us remember our mothers or grandmothers wearing them? I don't think most kids today know what an apron is.

I never knew my grandmothers... but my mom has pictures of them - wearing aprons. My Great Aunt Nellie, even tho' I met her only a few times, seemed to always have on an apron. My Aunt Kathryn wore an apron. I don't recall my mom ever wearing one... and I don't remember having one as a little girl to wear while "playing house" which is surprising because mom would buy LOTS of a particular fabric, make herself a dress, make me a dress & if there was any left - a doll dress or two would be sewn. My daughter Lani doesn't have an apron but little Hayli & Kristen, who love to help in the kitchen, found pink & purple chef's aprons in their Easter baskets.

Aprons are making a comeback! Stores everywhere are selling them... they show up in magazines... new & improved patterns can be found in fabric stores. Aprons are HOT!! Is this apron trend part of the "all things old are new again" thing... like bell-bottom jeans & peasant tops? Or is it a comfort thing, reminding us of a time when life was less complicated? When sitting down for dinner with the family every nite was commonplace? June Cleaver days.

I do have aprons now. A purple floral one that ties around the waist - in honor of Aunt Kathryn who loved purple. It would fit me perfectly if I were six feet tall... so on the rare occasion that I do put it on, I tie it under my armpits... comic relief in the kitchen! I bought four aprons - gingham check with "chicken scratch" embroidery on them - at an antique store a few years ago. Not sure why...feeling nostalgic I guess. Most recently I bought a Husker red "chef's" apron that says "GO BIG RED" on it (for Jerry to wear while he grills)... and a floral "chef's" apron - at garage sales.

I really need to get copies of the photos of my grandmothers to hang in my kitchen!


The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath,because she only had a few,it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and they used less material, but along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.

And when the weather was cold, grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.

Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time apron' that served so many purposes.

What memories do you have of aprons?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

.:Wish lists:.

Creative title line, huh? Someone told me I should post a "wish list" here on my blog... let readers know things we're needing for the cabin... but when I sat down to do it I couldn't think of a single thing. Guess I wasn't trying hard enough. Anyway... today I discovered that I did have a few things on my wish list - and believe me when I say that this is in NO way at all like the guy's Freecycle "wish list" I posted a few days ago! Okay, here goes:
1) *comforter set for the queen size bed*,
2) *drapes/curtains for bedroom*,
3) *Corelle dinnerware*,
4) patio table (to seat at least 4),
5) patio umbrella (I have a stand),
6) patio swing...

Preface: The weather is just crappy today! It's chilly & doesn't know whether it's raining or not... so it just drizzles & makes life miserable!

My friend J & I had planned to go to an auction but decided that the "Clean Sweep" garage sale at the Event Center would be dry & warm so off we went. Turned out to be a good thing! Not many vendors... but I found some things that were on my "wish list" for the cabin! We have a queen size bed in storage - but had no queen size bedding. A couple weeks ago one of the local stores had sheets 1/2 off so I picked up a set of queen size sheets. I didn't feel like I could spend even 1/2 off the regular price for a comforter set though so I passed. Today, however, I found a *queen size comforter set* (shams, skirt, comforter & throw pillow) at the garage sale... for $10.00. The set is in nearly new condition & will go great with the sheets I got! I also found a pair of *heavy drapes* (42x84)...for $10.00 & they will coordinate well with the "new" bedding I got today. I may have to size them - make them a bit shorter & use the excess for valances or something. I also found *Corelle dinnerware* - nearly 10 complete place settings - in a green pattern - for $5.00. Jerry has been hounding me about taking my vintage Homer Laughlin dishes to the cabin - not that I have a problem with taking them - I think they'd be kind of an eclectic touch, but he thought that lighter weight dishes would be better. They'll go on the moving sale. Problem solved. I still haven't found a patio table, umbrella or swing... but have no fear... I'll keep looking!

We did end up going to the auction about noon... and it was still cold & drizzling... and my feet still haven't warmed up! J bought a few things... I just stood in the cold, shivering! I knew I should have just stayed home!

I made a pot of coffee when I got home and am now thinking about making some potato soup for dinner tonite.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Ohhhh! My achin' back!

The price of being a good friend & neighbor is often the physical pain that follows. Tuesday I spent the afternoon helping a friend/neighbor cleaning up the back yard of a rental house that new renters were moving into this week. Yesterday... he called about noon wondering if I had plans for the afternoon. I invited him over to have lunch with us... then Jerry & I went over to the rental to help. He had the trees, shrubs & plants all set out where he planned to have them planted. Jerry & I started with the shrubs & day lilies while our friend started digging holes for the large pine trees that would be the centerpiece of the yard. Jerry helped dig those holes since they were to be BIG... and I continued planting the other plants & hydrangeas. It was a very warm afternoon... lots of direct sunlight... thank goodness I remembered my 70 spf sunblock. By the time we got everything watered in & cleaned up we were ready to drop! Jerry & I headed to a local DQ for icecream. Today our friend is expecting a large load of mulch to be dropped off... but he hasn't called & we're not offering. My back & legs are sore... my face is still a bit pink... and I'm a little crabby!

Yesterday morning I had called my hair stylist with a hair emergency! Out of control cowlicks! Add humidity... and it gets ugly REAL fast!! My appointment was scheduled at noon. This morning at 10:30 while Jerry & I were at a garage sale (buying me a bike!) my phone rang. My stylist had a cancellation & could get me in early! Now my hair is under control... and life is sure to be better... at least for a while!

We went to a few garage sales... like we need anything else... I got a wood tray (to use as a base for all the wine corks my friends save for me), a little pottery candle holder, and a chef's apron; Jerry got a life vest. Total haul: $4.00. This weekend there is a "clean sweep" garage sale at the Event center... so we'll spend some quality time there tomorrow I'm sure... although I can't imagine WHAT in the world we'd need!

Thursday, April 23, 2009




View from the boat

Yesterday - about 3:45 - my phone rang. My friend Kath wanting telling me, at the speed of sound, that she was getting off work in 45 minutes, it would take her 15-20 minutes to get home, 2 minutes to change & 12 minutes to hook up her boat - a 16' Lund. We could meet at the lake between 5:30 & 6:00. So much for plans of fish on the grill tonite! I ran to the store to buy some sunblock - SPF 70 - grabbed a jacket, a camera & headed out the door. We stopped to pick up tacos since dinner at home was not an option.
I'm not one who takes chances much - that's right, I'm a chicken! I don't like deep water & will only wade or swim in water where I can see the bottom (or my feet). I don't particularly like to ride motorcycles (definitely not without a helmet - who likes scrambled brains?) - and last summer I went on my first ATV ride & was told we weren't going "that" fast! Anyway, Kath is an excellent boatman (boatwoman? boatperson?) & handles the boat like a champ but as soon as I sat down in chair I looked for a seat belt! She laughed - then I think she realized that I MIGHT be serious!
At any rate we had a blast flying over the water... or just cruising along - barely moving sometimes. It was very relaxing watching the gulls, listening to the radio & the sound of the water. We're hoping to do it again soon before we leave for the mountains!
Thanks for the fun time Kath!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

How could I ask for more?

It's Wednesday. Hump day! Mid-week.

Our colds are still hanging on - although they're not as bad as the weekend.

But, hey! The sun is shining, the birds are singing... my clean laundry is flapping in the breeze on the line...and there is a kitchen stove in the back of our truck. What? Yep! Last night at the auction there was an apartment size 4-burner stove... and for a cool $8.00 - yup - eight clams - it's now destined to find its home at the cabin on Miracle Mountain!! Yeah, it looks like it needs to go thru the carwash... but when I opened the oven door (expecting to see desserted mouse nests) it was nearly it had never been used. Jerry would say it looks like OUR oven (like it had never been used - but it has... I'm just a CLEAN cook!). We will have to replace one knob that is missing but otherwise it appears to be in good enough condition to cook on! Yippee!!

For the past year I've been corresponding with a former co-worker who is now incarcerated (I won't go into the details - but let's say he'll be there for "a while"). A former State official, now felon - his family has disowned him... he rarely hears from his wife (who is also incarcerated).
Before we left for Colorado last spring I had this gnawing in my belly that wouldn't go away & I kept thinking about this man, knowing he was in prison, and wondering what I was supposed to do about it. I decided to drop him a note in the mail letting him know that I was thinking of him & that if he would like a penpal I'd be happy to oblige. I have a difficult time understanding his crime. But there are passages in the Bible that refer to "visiting" those who are imprisoned & I guess I'm taking that to heart. My very own prison ministry.
Other than the feeling that God wanted me to befriend him in prison I don't know why I write to him in "beige world" as he calls it. I write in different colored ink on colored paper and I've sent him photos of the mountains, wildlife, wild flowers, etc. to bring some color to his otherwise drab world & tell him of everyday things here and plans for the cabin. His only view to the outside world is thru a tiny window - with only view of tall fences topped with razor wire. Dismal doesn't begin to describe it but he understands that dismal is as good as it gets because of what he did.

So... my question is this: I have a home (or two), a vehicle, a husband, kids & grandbabies, parents, and friends who love me & accept me, as crappy as I feel with this cold - I still have my health and I have the freedom to worship as I wish, to come & go as I please (at least for now)... How could I ask for more?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Out of the mouths of babes

Just had to share this!
I spoke with my daughter, Lani yesterday. Her family had gone to church... she sang with the worship team. Hayli & Kristin went to Sunday school...and Hayli told me she learned about "Jesus & his dead friend Lazarus"! I had to laugh (after she got off the phone) because she was so emphatic about "his dead friend Lazarus". She didn't go into detail - just wanted me to know what the lesson was. Lani said Hayli was a bit upstet that she couldn't get up & sing with the kids group. I hope going to church is a habit they'll get into & stick to!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday thoughts

This morning I woke up with not just the snotty, yet stuffed up nose I had gone to bed with but a sore throat & a phlegm-producing cough. More than you needed to know, I’m sure! I told Jerry I was “sick in the head” - as in: a head cold! I managed to dodge the cold/flu bug all winter - only to get sick now! When I was growing up we had a next door neighbor who once told me to take ExLax for coughing! When I questioned him about it, he said that it wouldn’t cure the cough but it would make you afraid to! Sick or not… I got up, made blueberry muffins & oatmeal - also with blueberries - and a pot of coffee. Jerry peeled a couple oranges for us & Skeeter & I shared a banana. Dishes done & put away, I took chicken out of the freezer to grill tonite.

I had promised myself that I would get busy packing stuff up - so I dragged my sorry self down to the basement to get boxes. I noticed the washer lid was closed. Funny! I could swear I had put the clothes in the dryer - Thursday! Nope! Eeewww! Stinky damp clothes still in the washer. Washed them again while I moved the metal shelf unit to a better lit place (there are no lights in the south half of the basement for some reason). I hauled over some tubs (6 to be exact) of Christmas decorations, clothes & kitchen stuff that had been packed a while ago, stashed them next to the shelves, grabbed some boxes & headed back upstairs to pack up my ever-growing library. I managed to pack up three Sam Adams beer boxes of books that I have yet to read. I packed the authors I really enjoy reading in one box & marked it (#1)… and the rest of the books in the other boxes to take at a later date. I also packed away books I’d already read (don’t even ask why I feel the need to keep them!) and some of my religious/devotional type books. There are still LOTS of books to pack… mostly reference books: building, gunsmithing, survival, and our Bibles. Jerry started a box of books to donate to Goodwill & I added a few that I had, haven’t read, don’t intend to read! I could probably pack most of our DVDs and the VHS tapes (yes, we still have a VCR!). Maybe later today! When we moved from our previous renting situation I had gone to a local liquor store on a daily basis to pick up boxes they set out. I’m sure when we move again people will think we either own a liquor store or have a serious drinking problem!

I called my sister & talked with her while I packed the books. By the time I got the boxes packed & hauled to the basement the clothes had finished washing - again! I threw them in the dryer, decided to take a break from packing & headed outside to scoop poop. One of my favorite jobs! NOT! I discovered that it was no longer 47 degrees out, the sun was shining & there was a very gentle breeze so again I traipsed back down to get the jeans I had laid out to dry & hung them on the clothesline outside.

This brings me to where I am currently… sitting in my chair on the computer. My head is pounding but the coughing has subsided a bit. My throat isn’t as sore as it was when I woke up - I’m crediting coffee for that - but my nose is still stuffed up. I’d really like to soak in a hot bath but I have a feeling I’d be done for the day If I did that.

I suppose I should get busy doing something or I’ll be falling asleep in my chair. Hope your weekend was a good one!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I'd like to thank...

whomever it was who gave me this stinkin' head cold! Years ago I heard that it takes 2 weeks for a cold to develop. This being said, I would have had to contract this BEFORE I went to North Carolina. I'd hate to think that I've infected my daughter's household... and all those poor, innocent people in the airports I spent quality time in! Hubby's been kinda sick with it this past week...but seems to be feeling better today. I had been sneezing a bit earlier this week but last nite it started hitting me hard around midnite. Today has been spent sneezing... blowing my nose... and breathing thru my mouth. Ugh! I hate being reduced to a mouth-breather! My throat is a little scratchy, my eyes are watery... and if that isn't enough... whatever I eat... tastes like snot! How pleasant is that?

Last nite our gang went to the infamous Rococo Theatre (okay, maybe it's just infamous in our town!) for a fund-raiser. There were five bands that played in a six hour period. The first band/combo - Mac McCune & the Mac 5 - a little jazz group played old standards & was quite nice to listen to. Band #2 - The Blues Orchestra was fun to listen to & dance to. Band #3 - The A's & The B's - was not one I'd pay to see... to funky/hip-hop for my taste. And finally the bands we'd come to hear - The Tijuana Gigolos & The Bel Airs finished off the night! They were worth the wait!

Friday, April 17, 2009

It's about time....

I am SO ready to get back to the cabin! City life has been disagreeing with me since we got back... and just seems to get worse the longer we stay. Two nights ago I heard a knocking sound... which seemed to be coming from our back door. Strange, because our backyard is fenced & no one, not even our landlords knock at the back door. I turned on the light but saw nothing. Double checked the deadbolt. I heard another noise... closer to the front of the house. Deadbolt latched, I turned on the porch light... saw nothing. I finally decided it was the neighbors doing something outside. A while later Skeeter wanted to go out. I stepped out on the deck & our neighbor was in his backyard with an LPD officer. It seems while our neighbor was out someone had tried to break into his house... not once (the backdoor) but twice (a window - near the front of his house). The officer asked if I had seen anything. I told him I hadn't seen anythiing but explained what I had heard. I used to really love this town - not so much anymore!

But right now I just feel so sluggish...I've not been doing enough to keep myself moving... I feel very stagnant... like water that's been sitting in a birdbath... a little green around the edges. My jeans are fitting snugger... my tops seem to have mysteriously shrunk... the only thing that still fits are my shoes.

I am SO ready for the fresh mountain air...
the crisp, cool mornings... the crow of the neighbor's rooster at sunrise...
the black night sky dotted with stars... the howl of the coyotes...
the sound of thunder on the mountain... the sound of rain on the metal roof...
going for walks with Skeeter thru the sagebrush... picking up rocks...
cooking outside...the smell of a wood fire...
working on the cabin, making it a home...
cutting wood... planting things...
worshiping in the greatest "church" of all.

Mid-May cannot get here soon enough. With that said, I should be spending some quality time packing... I just hate spending time in the basement. Ugh! The last time we took a truckload out (in November) I spent 2 days hurriedly packing. WAY. Too. Stressful!! Argh!! I do have several boxes already packed... stuff that won't get moved in May... things that won't be needed 'til later... Christmas decorations, miscellaneous decor for the cabin, sweaters. I need to sort/pack my books (by subject/genre - Bibles/religion, health & relationships, survival, politics, non-fiction, fiction, cookbooks, etc. Nerdy? Yup! But in the long run sorting them will save me time!); fold extra sheets/comforters & towels & get them into those vacuum bags, and start packing some of the kitchen stuff.

I'm sure we'll be making another donation to the local Goodwill before we leave. Too. Much. Stuff.

Maybe tomorrow. Ever the procrastinator!

It's noon now... we have to be downtown at 5:00 to meet friends as we're going to the Rococo Theatre for a benefit & some of our favorite bands (The BelAirs AND the Tijuana Gigolos) are playing. By the time I "rest", take a shower, do something (anything!) with my hair, paint my toenails & change clothes 3 or 4 times it will be time to go. Hopefully Jerry will feel better. He's getting a cold.

As far as I know - we have no plans for tomorrow... so... tomorrow I will spend the day working on packing up stuff. I. Promise!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Airports! It's good to be home!

My trip back from North Carolina was mostly uneventful. I was delighted to find curbside check in at the Raleigh airport - a huge timesaver, however my flight from RDU was delayed 1 hour so the curbside check in ended up not being such a timesaver.

I sat between two interesting New Jersey women on that flight. I sat in the Newark/Liberty International airport for about 2 1/2 hours. The place was packed - crawling with people - seating was difficult to find. It was almost like playing musical chairs - walk around until someone moved, then slide into the an empty seat! I had the good fortune of having two interesting men eventually find an empty seat next to me. The first was a black man in a dressed-for-success pinstripe suit. He was an executive with Verizon Wireless - who was originally from Wichita, Kansas! We visited for just a short time before his plane boarded. Mr. Verizon's seat was still warm when another gentleman sat down next to me. His name was Angel - from Pennsylvania. We had a wonderful visit. My seat on the plane was clear in the back, his was in front. As we de-planed in Omaha he was waiting in the "tunnel" to make sure I woke up. He said he'd walked back to talk more with me but I had been asleep! We walked to baggage claim together, got our bags, shook hands and went our separate ways. Jerry was driving around the parking area waiting for me to come out front! It was good to see him after a week apart. The drive home went quickly - I had lots to tell him. I think I finally quit talking about 2 a.m.

Yesterday morning following breakfast we drove to the vet to pick up Skeeter where he'd been "vacationing" while I was gone. He was very excited to see me (I think) and to go for a ride! We decided as long as he was in the truck we'd take him to the lake for a run... burn off some of his excess energy. To our knowledge Skeeter has never been in big water - so we were surprised as he ran down the beach straight into the lake! He was a bit surprised - maybe thinking the lake was going to be like the beach taking him directly to the squawking geese & gulls in the middle. He got in up to his neck & decided he needed to get out - FAST! We started throwing sticks into the lake & he would go back in to retrieve them. He may end up liking the water yet.

We went to the auction last nite - nothing we couldn't live without - so we hooked up with friends G & J and went to a favorite sports bar where we could eat outside in the fresh air. It was good to catch up with them after being away for a week.

Today will probably be kind of a lazy day. I have some laundry to do & need to go to the grocery store by the looks of the fridge. If it doesn't rain we may take Skeet back to the lake for another fun day running & swimming!

It's good to be home!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Going Home: The end of my NC visit :o(

The week has flown by! We've been busy doing fun things with the little girls & spending "grown up" time together... but the time has been too short... MUCH too short!
Hayli was up about 7:30 - came downstairs to tell me "good morning" and wanted help with her breakfast. While she ate, I repackaged the leftovers from yesterday in plastic storage containers Lani & I picked up yesterday at the Dollar Store. They've been using glass bowls for leftovers... very scary when the little girls can get into the fridge - especially since Base housing is built on slabs. Glass bowls don't bounce!
Before church the girls opened their Easter baskets - jelly beans, "chef" aprons, PlayDoh, Bubbles & inflatable kites. Of course they wanted to fly their kites "right now"!

We all got dressed and went to church. The church on Base is non-denominational, the pastor is a Navy Chaplain. Sunday School for the little ones is during the worship service - Lani took Hayli & Kristin into the classroom (they went without incident!) so we only had Madeline to worry about & she was great - until she pooped her pants! She's 2 months old - give her a break! The music was great - just a guy playing the keyboard with a few singers leading worship. Lani did inquire about joining their group. The little girls said they liked going to "school" and wanted to go again! Hopefully Lani & Kristopher will continue to take them to church!

Following naptime the girls hunted Easter eggs then we retired to the backyard to fly kites. Seems the Easter Bunny brought kites to some of the neighbor kids too!

Today is sad for me. My week here has come to an end. My bag is packed, sitting in the closet. It's cloudy & cool here - hope the weather holds out & I don't get re-routed - not that I want to spend ANY time in the Newark airport. I hope the little girls have enjoyed the week as much as I have. It will be hard to leave...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday!

Here's my girls: Hayli & Kristin... and Madeline.
Wednesday we (Lani, Hayli, Kristin & I) made papier mache' eggs -- the kind one makes with balloons. What a mess! But the girls had SO much fun doing it! They were, of course, impatient to paint them! Yesterday after naptime we painted these eggs! I didn't think anything could be messier than the papier mache' -- but painting was HUGE messy fun!! Today's projects include dying the hard-cooked eggs, frosting/decorating Easter sugar cookies!

Lani & Kristopher are both Marines and run a pretty tight ship! The girls don't get away with much even tho' they try to! Hayli & Kristin have become sisters. What one doesn't think of, the other one does. There are times of scratching & hitting, taking each other's toys and general bickering... all of which result in quality time spent in the "think corner". Most of the time they're pretty good. They would definitely benefit from having a fenced in backyard to play in - although there is a small playground just a few feet from their back door.

LITTLE GIRLS DRIVING CARS: Last night they went to the park with Kristopher. They had to drive the Barbie Jeep... Hayli is not the best driver yet... althought she is safety minded - saying they couldn't drive until they had their velcro seatbelts fastened. Fastening these are evidently quite tricky as it took quite some time ot do! She ran into the extra propane tank for the grill and a small tree before getting to the playground. Hopefully her driving skills will improve with age!

I wasn't sure how Kristin was going to respond to me but we're getting along quite well... as long as she's being good. As with any 3 year old - she doesn't like being reprimanded for anything! Hayli was ready to pack her bag & go home with me today - but I told her if I left today & she came with me the Easter Bunny wouldn't be able to find her. She decided she'd stay.

Lani & I have enjoyed our quiet time (read: while the girls nap) together. It will be hard to leave. Hayli will be coming to Nebraska the end of April with her daddy for her aunt's wedding so I will get to see her again soon!

This morning Jerry called... wanting to know if I was still plan on coming home! Lani would like me to stay longer - me being here makes her life in MOMMYLAND a little easier, a little less stressful!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I have arrived... !

I got to the airport yesterday morning to discover my flight had been canceled... but was able to get a later flight - re-routing to Houston rather than Newark. The flight to Houston was on this long, skinny Express Jet - flying hotdog - three seats across. My seat, of course, was cream of the crop - next to the door to the lavatory with a view of an engine out my window! As we landed in Houston, a little girl who was sitting with her mother across from me began turning green... and naturally there was no barf bag in either pocket. Luckily the feeling passed & the barf bag was not needed. On the flight form Houston to Raleigh/Durham there was a woman with a small child that reminded me of a bit Bill Cosby did several years ago... about a little boy named Jeffrey who was on a plane causing much grief to fellow fliers! The child on my flight screamed for the first hour --- the flight was an hour & 56 minutes! WHY didn't I bring headphones??
Lani (my daughter) and Hayli Grace met me at the baggage claim -- my bag was tenth on the carousel -- and we were on our way.
Today - Day 1 - has been mostly uneventful. Hayli & Kristen vie for my attention and I've been trying to get acquainted with Madeline. We spent the whole day at home - it was cloudy, windy & cold here - so plans to go to the park were postponed. The little girls are a joy to be around! It's fun to see them in their own element - although there is noticably some testing of the waters since I'm here.
Not sure what the rest of the week holds in store for us but I'm going to enjoy every minute of it!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Freecycle Rant....Don't get me started! Ooops! Too late!

I was all set to leave my blog alone until I got back from NC... but I just got something in my INBOX that really got to me & I had to comment on it!

I joined a local Freecycle group... you know what Freecycle is, right? Give away your unwanted/unneeded items instead of throwing them in the landfill. All the listings I've seen have been excess/used items people have (clothing, children's toys, lawn equipment, kitchen items, furniture etc.) that they want to GIVE to someone else who might be needing those items. Some people post listings for things they're needing/wanting that someone else might be wanting to get rid of.

Read along with me: (I copied & pasted this from my email!)

I want:

1) LCD TV has to be at least 42 inches to fit the new entertainment center
I want

2) Queen 4 poster head/footboard any color wood but must not have scratches

3) Dog that does not shed preferably full bred puppy with papers so that I
can make money off it

4) Entertainment center that will hold a 42 inch LCD TV

5) Leather recliner must be a lay-Z-boy and black to match the one I already

6) Wii with all accessories and at least 5 games plus the Wii fit so that I
can get in shape to haul all these wanted items into my house

7) Ham radio and all accessories that I would need to get it up and running

8) Harley motorcycle -- needs to be maroon to match the one I have

9) $3000 shopping card for (I removed the store name) so that I can have new
furniture in my apt.

10) outside storage shed to house all the yard working items that I am going
to get see number 11

11) anything that I can use to work in the yard with, riding mower, push
mower for the places I cant use the riding one, rake, shovel, hoe, hedge
trimmer, blower, edger, weed eater, fertilizer spreader, tiller (see number 12)

12) vegetable plants for a new garden I am going to have this year

13) fertilizer, mulch, dirt, and anything else I will need for above
vegetable garden

14) $750 gift card for JC Penny so that my son can have nice designer
clothes to wear for school next year when he goes into Middle School (gotta make
sure he fits in with all the other rich people that go to that school)

15) Blue Ray DVD player and at least 25 Blue Ray movies so that we have
something to do on the weekends because we cant afford to go out

16) any NEW pots and pans, silverware, dishes, glasses, for the kitchen ..
prefer them to be top of the line Pampered Chef items

This should do it for April, please remember these items are for a single
Dad that is raising his only 11 yr old son that is having to work 3 jobs just to
make ends meet and still is having trouble paying the bills

Please note that I will need all of these items delivered and set up as I
have injured my right shoulder and wont be able to do it myself

Thanks for reading this and any help you might give me

This absolutely infuriates me! He is asking for BRAND NEW ITEMS & is SPECIFIC about nearly all the items he wants - and the items he wants are not cheap!

I can appreciate the fact that he is a single dad working 3 jobs but it appears to me that he seems to think he is entitled to these items and someone else should pay the tab!

1) I don't know many people who have a 42" LCD television that they just want to GIVE away. I haven't priced these but I'm sure they're upwards of $500, right?

2) Might get that Queen size 4-poster bed (used) but pristine condition? Doubtful. Is that to include the mattress & box springs? Or should we be looking for a state of the art Tempurpedic mattress? Would he also like bedding to go with it? Kaching!

3) A purebred dog with papers? Are you kidding me? Depending on the breed - easily $250-500. If he's working 3 jobs he's got no time for a dog. And if he's living in an apartment - where in the world is he going to raise puppies (for profit)?

4) An entertainment center to fit the coveted 42" LCD TV... maybe, but I doubt it would be to his high standards.

5) A leather La-Z-Boy recliner that MATCHES one he already has? What are the chances he'd get a match? What he needs is an HGTV makeover!

6) A Wii with games & Wii fit? I've not priced the Wii systems or games... but I know Wii has only been out a couple years & they're not cheap. Again, I've not priced these - but I would imagine the Wii system is probably $200... and $50 each for the games?

7) Maybe he'll have some luck finding a Ham radio set up... I know they're making a comeback.

8) A maroon Harley motorcycle. yup! people are just standing on the corners giving those away!

9) Let me just dig in my purse for that $3000 shopping card. Oh darn! Guess I must not have one on me! Get a life fella!

10 Outside storage shed & 11)lawn mowers & yard tools but claims to live in an apartment AND plans to raise a 12-13)vegetable garden? I can't think of any apartment complexes in town that would allow a shed to be moved onto their property or let a tenant have a vegetable garden. Come on!

14) A $750 JCP gift card so his kid can have designer clothes for Middle School? Go to local thrift stores & shop! He can find ALL kinds of designer clothes - some of them still have the STORE tags on them! My closet is full of these designer clothes... but I didn't spend anywhere near $750 for them!

15) Blue Ray DVD player and 25 Blue Ray DVDs? These new Blue Ray things are pretty spendy as well - not sure how much the DVD players are but I'm sure the DVDs are $20+ each (x [at least] 25 - that's $500 right there)! Well maybe someone bought Blue Ray DVD player and HATED it & threw away the receipt... oh yeah! and maybe they bought the exact (at least) 25 Blue Ray DVDs this guy wants? What are the chances?

16) NEW dishes,glasses, silverware, pots & pans? Not many people have NEW kitchen stuff just sitting around waiting for someone to ask if they can have it (and probably not Pampered Chef - have you seen their prices? The stuff he wants could easily be $1000+).

I've not checked to see if he had a March wanted list... probably for the sake of my blood pressure I shouldn't even look.

Is this guy for real???? He didn't mention where these 3 *jobs* are or how much he gets paid (Freecycle probably isn't a good place to get into that)... but even with ONE child you'd think that he'd be able to make ends meet. His kid is too young to need a Harley... why does he need two? Maybe he hasn't heard there's a recession in this country!! It just seems to me that he's totally looking for a handout!

Anyone else?

Quick question??

I'm wondering why it is that when I started this blog I could leave comments on the blogs of others & reply to comments left on my own blog......... and now I can do neither?? Anyone have any ideas as to how to remedy this problem? It's really frustrating!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Leavin' on a jet plane... on Monday!

All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go....(the rest of the verse is pretty depressing)... (chorus): So kiss me & smile for me... tell me that you'll remember to pick me up at the airport... cause I'm leavin' on a jet plane...I'll be back a week from Monday...don't forget to feed the dog! :o) I'd never make it as a lyricist!

I thought I'd write a few lines today since I will most likely be spending tomorrow cleaning house & taking care a few things around here before I leave on Monday morning. I really don't have much to say... that's strange, huh?

*My bag is packed; my carry-on is almost packed.
*My diet - to lose 10 pounds before Monday - is going well. So far I'm down 6 1/2 pounds! 3 1/2 to go!
*The laundry is all but completely caught up. Clothes were hung on the line yesterday because it was so nice; today is not so nice - the last load is currently in the dryer.
*The refrigerator has been cleaned out & reorganized.
*The compost bucket has been dumped & washed.
*The Anaheim peppers we bought Tuesday have been blistered, peeled, chopped & frozen for later use.
*The backyard is currently poo-free... but it's Saturday & there undoubtedly will bet more by tomorrow.
*Tomorrow I will dust, sweep & vacuum.

Right now I'm too pooped to do much else.
For now I'm just waiting for Monday morning to roll around. I was hoping to catch a flight from Lincoln but even with the drive to Omaha/Eppley Field it was cheaper to fly from Omaha. Unfortunately I'll get to spend some quality time in the Newark, NJ airport... about 3 hours it looks like. Hopefully I can find a quiet (?) place to read my book while I'm there. Why waste 3 hours? And then on to Raleigh, NC where Lani will meet me at 9:15 p.m. It's about a 2 hour drive from Raleigh to Jacksonville... so the little girls will already be asleep by the time I arrive. I'm sure by the time Lani & I arrive we'll both either be wired or bone-tired! At any rate, I'll be SO glad to see her! It was different when she was in Iraq - but I still saw her 6 months into her tour when she came home on R&R ... but having her "just" across the country it's still hard not seeing more often! Hard to believe it's been over a year since I've seen her! Wah!
Will try to post while I'm in NC... and maybe add a few pix of the little girls!
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I know what I said.. but what I meant was..

Yeah, yeah, yeah! I know I said this was a No-Buy month... but what I meant was food. Just eating from the pantry or freezer... only buying fresh fruit & veggies, eggs & milk................. so I'm off the hook, right? Probably not!
This morning Jerry was reading the paper & noticed a few garage sales starting today. A couple of them sounded interesting but I didn't think we'd find much. We drove out to a development in the country and discovered a gentleman selling a TON of stuff from his outbuilding! I scored a set of nice silverware (service for 8) AND the wood silverware divider box thingy... an old cream can, a metal box (probably had flour in it during its previous life), a gun case and an old white cabinet - perfect for towel storage at the cabin! This man had several old library tables, stepback cabinets, pie safes, guns.... you name it! We passed on a wonderful cabinet for $35 because we figured it was too tall for the cabin kitchen/pantry - it must stand 7 feet tall - and it would have been a pain to haul. We left with our treasures and grabbed a bite to eat.
While we had lunch we discussed the things at the garage sale & almost at the same time mentioned this half canoe that had been made into a bookcase. And we both had the same idea about using it as an entertainment center. Our current entertainment center is large...much too large to fit in the cabin. We drove back, hoping it was still there, to take a second look. Luckily (?) it was still there.
The canoe is about 5 1/2 feet tall... 32" across at the bottom. Good size but about half the size of our current entertainment center. We figured the top shelf could be removed which would allow room for a small flat screen TV; the other two shelves could be used to house our DVD & VCR players (yes, we still have a VCR) and several DVDs & VHS tapes. Strangely enough, everything that was displayed in it came with it... a fishing creel, empty shotgun shell boxes, miscellaneous fishing lures, a trap (like one might use for coyotes?), and several duck decoys. It was our LUCKY day!
Now... what to do with our entertainment center? Craigslist - here I come!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The No-buy challenge begins!

Last nite (Tuesday) was auction nite and we "dutifully" went. Actually the only reason I wanted to go was because I only had 2 eggs left... I felt awful & would have rather stayed home! I got 3 dozen eggs from "the egg lady" and luckily (?) for us it was produce nite. I was also out of onions... we got a 5 pound box of onions, and an equally large box of Anaheim peppers (what to do with those?), 3 boxes of grape tomatoes, 2 bags of snap peas and 2 5-pound bags of oranges.
Today I discovered we were out of milk, had a few frozen strawberries (use those in smoothies) and had no salad fixin's so we went to the store (Walmart) for these few items. Along with these few food items we also bought eBay shipping supplies, a new everyday watch, sunglasses & flip-flops for my trip to North Carolina.
I've begun a quick diet to lose a quick 10 pounds before my trip. So far... day 3... I've lost 5 pounds! I hope I can lose the other 5 pounds before I leave on Monday. My bag is packed for the most part... just a few more things to throw in & I'll be ready to go! Can you tell I'm very excited about seeing Lani & the girls... and Kristopher?!