November 20, 2014

  • Crystalline’s Quiz

    I’m sitting here listening to the Ray LaMontagne station on Pandora and enjoying the peacefulness that has descended after a lot of noise and doggy angst. Boo is sleeping beside me on the couch and Jack (joyouswind’s puppy) is sleeping on Boo’s pillow by the window. I don’t want to get up and have them barking and nipping at each other again, so I’ll stall for time by doing this survey I found on Crystalline’s site.

    1.Where are you? In the living room, on the couch.

    2.What is the temperature outside?  25 degrees and very windy; it feels like 11 degrees.

    3.Are you wearing long sleeves? No. I got hot and took off my long-sleeved shirt. Luckily for everyone’s sensibilities, I was wearing a tank top underneath it.

    4.Are you wearing shoes? What kind? No. I am wearing Smart Wool socks. I’ll probably put on my pink slippers when I get up from the couch.

    5.What was the last YouTube clip you watched? A couple of idiots surfing on Lake Erie during the blizzard in Buffalo.

    6.What was the last tv show you watched? A Bones rerun.

    7.What was the last book you read? Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

    8.What was the last thing you wrote with a pen/pencil? I addressed an envelope for a $12 rebate. Before that, I addressed an envelope for a letter to my mom.

    9.What is the last thing you ate? A chicken sandwich.

    10.What is one enjoyable thing you plan to do today? Eat pizza and play double canasta.

    Since we are having guests over for pizza and cards, I really need to get up and sweep the kitchen floor, but more than that, I really don’t want to wake the dogs and have them stirred up again. If you were a guest at someone’s house for an informal evening, would you forgive a little dust, some dead leaves that came in on Boo’s tail, and a few dog hair tumbleweeds under the kitchen table?

November 11, 2014

  • A Grateful Nation

    My father was a man who loved his family and friends with steadfast loyalty and was greatly loved by them in return. When his health began to fail in earnest, a steady stream of friends and family members from all over the country filed through the small house in Waldron, Arkansas where hospice workers assisted  Mom and my younger brother to care for him as he lay on his deathbed. Dad loved his family gently and unconditionally and that love was returned to him a hundredfold.

    Dad loved his country as he loved his family: unconditionally. His love for his country, however, was a fierce love. Just as with his family, he was well aware of the flaws, but to him there was no greater nation than the United States and no higher honor than to serve in the U.S. military. Dad was proud of his service in the Navy during the Korean War. He knew that patriotism was more than flag waving, pledging allegiance and singing anthems. For him, loving his country meant the sacrifice of service and paying taxes, the responsibility of voting and holding officials accountable. It meant taking pride in the accomplishments and standing firm during the scandals. It meant learning the history, passing it on to his children and instilling in them, too, a love of both the country and its history.

    When Dad died, we all showed our love for him in various ways. My mother wore the pearls he’d given her more than fifty years before. More than twenty people spontaneously stood and spoke at his funeral. His son-in-law conducted the service. Five of his grandsons and his best friend carried him in his flag-draped casket to his final resting place. Mourners carried flowers to the gravesite, long stem roses purchased from the florist, daisies clipped that morning from gardens, posies of wildflowers picked from the roadside, and placed them on his casket as they left. But he knew he was well loved by family and friends and would have expected no less from us. What would have pleased him more than anything his family did that day were the actions of the U.S. Navy honor guard who drove all night and stood waiting at the cemetery for two hours in the sweltering heat of an Arkansas summer afternoon.

    “On behalf of a grateful nation.” Six words, spoken quietly and with gentle gravity, acknowledged the sacrifice, service and quiet patriotism that were the outward expressions of a man whose love for his country never wavered.



November 9, 2014

  • Is anyone still here?

    BodieGhost Town

    I have no idea who all is left here. I’m too stubborn to give up and relocate my blog at least until the fabled Next Update. I still have hope for an eventual revival of sorts, but in the meantime blogging here feels kind of like living in a ghost town.

    DSC08030Grumpy Boo

    Life has been busy with all the usual stuff; water aerobics, barbershop chorus, church, errands and chores. Plus I’ve been puppy-sitting once a week. Boo does not know what to do with a boisterous puppy in the house. He spends the first three hours barking and growling and being defensive, and the last hour playing with Jack. I spend a lot of time separating them for the sake of my sanity.

    DSC08028Jack Attack

    The barbershop chorus will be performing at the Veteran’s Day service this Tuesday. We’ll be opening with the national anthem, followed by The Battle Hymn of the Republic, a Patriotic Show Medley, and Let There Be Peace on Earth. It’s kind of weird to me to have The Battle Hymn of the Republic and Let There Be Peace on Earth in the same lineup, but I’ve always been uncomfortable with the Battle Hymn words and history so it’s probably just me.

    I am no longer volunteering weekly at the reception desk at the Red Cross chapter, but I’m still doing data entry for them as needed. My Mondays are so much less stressful now that I’m not rushing from one thing to the next all day.

    We had a gale blow in off the lake on Halloween. After our tent gazebo blew away, we decided to ditch the pirate theme and decorations and go with something befitting the sleet and snow that had been falling all day. Plus Brett just wanted to wear a warmer costume.

    #6 Costume dress

    Ho, ho, ho… Merry Halloween!

    We had music of Trans Siberian Orchestra playing, so there was a Nightmare Before Christmas vibe going. A lot of kids are scared of him in his pirate getup. I think maybe it’s the three-foot long dreadlocks. This year there were kids running up the street to hug him and stopping to tell him what they want for Christmas. Several little ones said “Merry Christmas!” instead of “Trick-or-treat!” Krysten dressed as The Black Widow for work on Thursday, when they had their Halloween party for the kids.

    DSC08050Black Widow

    Another lake gale blew in this week, but it wasn’t as miserable as the first one. By the middle of next week we are expected to have three inches of snow on the ground. Yippee skippy.

    AIL cover

    Available at if you want to read about my dad for some reason.

    I finally got my dad’s memoir published on one of the self publishing sites. Did I mention this already? If I did, it’s still worth mentioning again. Dad hand wrote his memoir over a 10 year period. I started typing it in 1985 on my Smith Corona typewriter. I can’t remember what year I finished. It was passed around the family for proofreading and editing, but the book is from my copy of the original, unedited manuscript. I’ve only read a couple of chapters so far because I’ve been immersed in the manuscript for so long I don’t feel any real urgency to read it at the moment, but I’ve already figured out that I will need to read it with a pen and notepad handy to write down typos and their page numbers so I can fix them and eventually revise the manuscript. And while I’m at it, I’ll probably try to fix the page numbering problem that I couldn’t sort out originally, but think I’ve finally sort of figured out.

    #9 Legos

    Brett and I watched last week’s Doctor Who episode last night, and the season finale tonight. The new Doctor has grown on me over the course of the season. Clara, however, not so much. I am hoping Santa brings the Doctor a new companion for the Christmas special.

    I’m sure there’s more I could tell you about, but it’s late and I have to get up for church in the morning.

October 28, 2014

October 27, 2014

October 26, 2014

  • Practically Perfect Day

    Today was as close to a perfect day as it gets. It started with a cup of peach tea with honey and a slice of toasted Anadama Bread with homemade apple butter for breakfast. Yum.

    I was able to spend a few minutes visiting with my friend Connie.

    Brett and I went geocaching and found all three of the caches we looked for.


    The weather was gorgeous.


    We discovered an interesting place we didn’t know was there.


    And since Brett was there, he made the climb up to get the cache. (I could have made it up the slope, but not back down. Downhill is murder on bad knees.)


    I had the foresight to freeze some leftover spaghetti a few weeks ago and we got home in time to heat it up and toast some garlic bread for supper before leaving to see a play at the local community theater. The Fox on the Fairway was very funny and well acted. (Absolutely loved the Muriel character/actress.)

    Now I’m sitting up way to late watching Corpse Bride. Such a bizarre little movie.

    Tomorrow and Monday are supposed to be beautiful days too. I haven’t looked at the forecast beyond Monday… I hope the weather holds through Friday. It’s always so much more fun sitting in the front yard handing out candy and cider when it’s not freezing and windy and sleeting.

    What are you up to this weekend?


October 7, 2014

  • Feeling Nostalgic

    I just finished sorting through a couple of boxes filled with old costumes. Most were Krysten’s Halloween costumes; there were also a couple of her old recital costumes, some school project costumes, a few miscellaneous ones, plus some hats and headbands. There were at least a dozen costumes, of which only two were purchased. Four were made by my mother and I made the rest.

    The costumes I made include Snow White, a jester, a fairy with huge butterfly wings, a clown, a pilgrim and Cleopatra. I’d take photos of them to share with you, but they’re pretty wrinkled. The butterfly wings are in pretty good shape, though.


    I must say, I’m impressed with younger self. I am not artsy-craftsy and sewing is always an exercise in patience. I remember struggling with those wings; that fabric was so slippery! The jester hat… the Snow White collar… the pilgrim bonnet… I remember sewing and ripping out over and over. I also remember making costumes that weren’t in the boxes I sorted tonight – Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan, and so many clowns I lost count – mostly for my friends’ kids.

    There’s no real point to this post; all those costumes were so tiny I was just feeling nostalgic.

September 17, 2014

  • This Is Why I’m Not Social

    I tend to keep myself fairly busy with volunteer work, tai chi classes, water aerobics, geocaching and other activities. When I’m in a group situation like, say, a party or a water aerobics class, I usually don’t talk much with the other people there unless I’ve been around them enough to feel comfortable. I’ve been going to water aerobics for three or four years now, so I have no problem chatting with the instructor (Betsy) and one or two of the old-timers who are regulars. Tonight, for some bizarre reason, I forgot that I don’t talk to strangers in group activities and was immediately reminded why.

    There were several new faces at water aerobics and the activities director for the pool was teaching the class instead of our usual instructor. She does a more intense cardio workout than Betsy. I like the cardio workouts fine, but they are much more tiring and some of the moves and combinations are kind of complicated. There was an older lady near me in the water who was struggling. After 35 or 40 minutes, she began mumbling about not ‘getting’ a move, or not being able to do it, or not keeping up. I started to speak to her a few times, but didn’t. Finally, because she looked so discouraged and I didn’t want her to give up on the class, I tried to offer her some encouragement.

    “She doesn’t usually teach this class,” I said, nodding toward the instructor,  “It’s usually not quite this intense.”


    Of course the instructor heard the bellow; it could probably be heard in Timbuktu. She looked questioningly at the lady, who bellowed some more.


    I was mortified; it felt like I was back in fifth grade being tattled on by the class bully.

    “Not on Wednesday night,” the instructor said.


    “I only teach on Wednesday night when Betsy isn’t here.”


    So… that moment of sympathy should last me another three or four years.

September 8, 2014

  • 20 Things Before Lunch

    I’m not even going to count getting dressed (never fear, I DID get dressed).

    1. Got supper ready to pop into the oven.
    2. Made chicken salad.
    3. Packed my lunch.
    4. Washed three loads of laundry.
    5. Folded laundry.
    6. Packed my laptop.
    7. Got a card ready to mail (and mailed it).
    8. Ate breakfast.
    9. Brushed my teeth.
    10. Washed the dishes.
    11. Read the news online.
    12. Watched a video.
    13. Remembered to switch my money and ID from the camera bag to my wallet.
    14. Took some photos.
    15. Loaded the sheets and blankets I washed into the van to return to the Red Cross.
    16. Cut some stuff with an X-acto Knife for a craft.
    17. Played with the dog.
    18. Did two Sudoku puzzles.
    19. Filled the gas tank.
    20. Drove to the Red Cross.

    And then I got really busy! Once I leave here, I’ll rush home, put supper in the oven, set some aside for Brett and take the rest with me to our end of summer barbershop chorus potluck. It’s no wonder I’m always so tired when I go to bed on Monday night.

    What did you do this morning?

September 3, 2014

  • Cascade

    I took a shower this morning and noticed that the shower curtain liner needed to be washed, so I will be up late tonight mopping the kitchen floor.

    Some of you probably do not require an explanation for that statement; for those who do, read on.

    The buildup on the shower curtain liner and the bottom of the bathtub eventually reaches a level that even I can see while in the shower without my glasses. And even I, with my high tolerance of disgusting bathtub gunk due to my low tolerance for scrubbing things and the fact that we generally only use that bathtub for showering, saw, was repelled, and took action. Vini, vidi, vici.

    The first step, of course, was to remove the shower curtain liner and stuff it in the washing machine with some hot water and bleach. In removing the liner, I had to remove the decorative shower curtain and I noticed it had acquired some dirty smudges, so I removed it for washing as well.

    That was the easy part; the bathtub, however, presents several challenges. My low tolerance for scrubbing things is mostly caused by the pain in my knees, hands and wrists from arthritis. I can’t kneel on the floor and I can’t grip a scrub brush for very long. For the bathtub, there is the added complication of the tall side of the tub, making it somewhere in between excessively difficult and impossible for my short arms and shorter waist to reach over the side to the bottom of the tub. So I have to get creative, which means rolling up my pant legs, standing in the tub and pushing the scrub brush around with my foot.

    Mission accomplished; tub clean; pedicure ruined.

    Now that the tub is clean I thought I should grab the opportunity to disinfect the jets. This is an easy process of filling the tub with warm water to a level above the jets, dumping in some bleach, pushing the button to turn on the jets and letting it run for awhile.


    Except as I was filling the tub, I remembered the last time I did this, and how I walked into the bathroom to turn off the jets and discovered they’d been shooting water all over the walls, cabinets and throw rugs. So I removed the rugs, the scale, the hamper and the trashcan and swept the floor before turning on the jets.

    Okay, I’m in good shape now.

    Except with all that stuff off the floor, I can now see how grimy the tiles have gotten and I really should mop. I learn from past mistakes, though; I’m not mopping until the jets are finished.

    And then I’ll be done.

    Except I’ve got a bucket of mop water that’s only been used on that tiny bathroom floor and maybe I should mop the kitchen floor while I’m in mopping mode.

    Except I wanted to make cookies today and that will probably get flour on the floor so I should wait until after I make cookies to mop the kitchen.

    Except I have to teach a class tonight, which is why I’m making cookies, and I have to be there by 5:30 which means I have to leave at 5:00 so I won’t have time to mop the floor until after I get home around 10:00.

    So, to recap:

    I took a shower this morning and noticed that the shower curtain liner needed to be washed, so I will be up late tonight mopping the kitchen floor.

    It makes perfect sense.