Sunday, October 12, 2008

The I Meme

For all of you non bloggers, reading this blog only because you are connected to me in some way, let me explain what a meme is. In science, a Meme (pronounced to rhyme with “theme”) is a self-propagating unit of thought that is spread from one host to another. Richard Dawkins invented the term as a kind of idea-gene. Like genes, as Memes spread they mutate or die. Only the fittest Memes survive.

For bloggers, Memes have become synonymous with internet quizzes, surveys, and novelties people link to and pass around on their blogs, forums and via email. Things like the “which superhero are you most like” test.

I found this meme on another blog and decided I wanted to answer the questions and post them here. But, being my usual non-conformist self I have added a few questions and omitted those I did not want to answer. I am not going to tag anyone but feel free to use the meme.

The I Meme:

I am: often invisible to those around me.
I live: in a small rural town that is rapidly becoming a big city.
I laugh: until I pee my pants or stop breathing.
I think: I would have been happier as a member of my mother’s generation.
I know: I am one of the luckiest people on the planet.
I want: my life to be validated by something that will be remembered long after I am gone.
I have: more than I need and all that I could possibly hope for.
I wish: I could relive the last day in my first husband's life.
I hate: people who think they know it all and pretend to be better than they actually are .
I hide: all of my written journals.
I pray: every day for health and happiness for those I love.
I burn: candles whenever I am home alone.
I rode: a ferry around Staten Island.
I sometimes: like to eat peanut butter from the jar.
I hurt: most when those I love are hurting.
I save: old greeting cards, useless CD’s, pens & pencils and dozens of other items.
I miss: my job but am thankful I do not have to go there ever again.
I fear: for the quality of the world that we will leave our grandchildren.
I applaud: all those who have the ability to put others first.
I wait: for the day when I can afford to travel the world, but, I know it will never come.
I need: to work harder at improving my spelling.
I made: my first plane trip at age 60.
I don’t: watch television news programs.
I take: life one day at a time.
I believe: in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and in all things magical.
I drive: my husband nuts with the amount of time I spend on the PC.
I forgive: my father for naming me Rita, but I still wish he had named me Betty.
I hope: I live long enough to see world peace.
I feel: each of us needs to take a greater part in helping to shape the lives of young people.
I hear: everything around me but I actually take in very little of what I hear.
I smell: roses and immediately get transported back to the capital building rose garden in Montgomery, Alabama.
I crave: donuts and chocolate.
I search: every store for all the bargains.
I wonder: when I will get my fifteen minutes of fame.
I regret: that I have let some very important people in my life slip away without telling them how I felt.
I love: to spend days seeking adventures with my dear Frank.
I ache: all over due to my fibromyalgia.
I am not: the person most people perceive me to be.
I imagine: the world would be a better place if we could all agree to disagree and respect that decision.
I believe: the world is teetering on the edge of no return.
I dance: only in my dreams.
I sing: only for infants.
I cry: at the drop of a feather.
I don’t always: do my dishes as soon as the meal is over.
I fight: tooth and nail for those I care about.
I write: because it keeps me sane.
I win: anytime I can avoid raising my voice in anger.
I lose: every time I let my temper get out of control.
I am never: going to cook fried chicken again.
I never: go swimming in the river.
I need: to learn to be more like my mother.
I cherish: Aunt Ceal’s ruby ring.
I expect: too much of myself.
I had: the security code for a bank vault.
I always: try to do the moral or Christian thing regardless of other’s opinions.
I confuse: my nephews Adam and Nation.
I listen: to children at play.
I can: usually be found: sitting at my computer
I am scared: that I will have no one to care for me in my old age
I need: serenity and harmony in my life before all other things
I am happy: when Frank smiles at me.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Different or Silly street names

The “Old Salt” and I have spent a lot of time lately traveling on back roads to out of the way places. We have seen some pretty spectacular vistas, and some quaint small towns that showed they had declined in the past but were rebuilding and hoped for a promising future.

One of the small towns we drove through recently did not use first, second, third etc. to name its streets. Instead they were just a simple “One St.”, “Two St.”, “ Three St.” and so on. This very small town also happened to be named after a woman named Martha. I found that rather endearing considering the neighboring town on the opposite side of the Missouri river is named for the first president of the United States, who we all know had a wife named Martha.

This past weekend we were on our way to a family reunion being held at a remote facility that served as a Christian youth camp during the summer. Despite having perfect directions, we still managed to make several wrong turns on the winding country roads. At one point, realizing we had passed our turn, we looked for a place to safely turn around. Just so happens the gravel road we picked was named Horse Feathers Lane . Can you imagine the reaction the residents of that road must get each time they give their address.

I have seen photographs of streets with funny names posted on the web. I have occasionally wondered “ what were they thinking” when I came across some location with an usual name and wished I could discover the history of the name. I think having the job of naming things would be the most perfect job.

A Google search indicates 22,500,000 web pages devoted to the topic of "strange street names" while lists 25,560 books on the same theme. I guess I am not the only one fascinated by such things.

The first house my first husband and I purchased as newlyweds back in 1966 was on a street named Lullaby Lane, The next street over was Rhythm Lane and it connected with Bridal Vale Court. We received a fair amount of good natured ribbing from our friends over that. They liked to remind us that if the Catholic newlyweds were not careful using the rhythm method of birth control they would be singing lullabies real soon.

I once lived near a large subdivision of very similar homes called Hickory Hollow. Residents of that community were constantly writing letters of complaint to the city fathers and the newspapers because of problems with getting things delivered to them. Delivery drivers often drove in circles looking for the correct street until they just gave up and left without making the delivery. Mail delivery was seldom correct or in a timely manner. Pizza restaurants refused to deliver there. UPS left packages on the wrong doorstep. And, if you were expecting an ambulance or the police you needed to stand on the curb with a flag to be sure you were found. All because every street had the word hickory in the name and no one could keep them straight. Hickory Glenn, Hickory Dale or Hickory Way, it did not matter, because the look alike houses made all the street names sound alike.

Regardless of the silly or unusual names for streets, I got off the original intent for this post and that was to show you some of the photo’s I have taken during our gallivanting the last few weeks. Hope you like them.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

What's Gooey Butter Cake?

What's Gooey Butter Cake?

 It's a scrumptious only-in-St. Louis treat served for breakfast, lunch or dinner,  ala mode or plain. What could be more sensuous and decadent than a gooey dessert, the kind that when you bite into it drips down your chin? And when it comes to gooey desserts, perhaps the champion is the aptly named gooey butter cake, though, surprisingly, it is little known outside my home region. Perhaps that's because the gooey butter cake was invented here in St. Louis and possibly because the recipe has been understandably safeguarded ever since.

Like many a delicacy, fudge, brownies and chocolate chip cookies among them, the gooey butter cake was created by accident. Sometime in the 1930s, legend has it, a German baker in St. Louis inadvertently put too much sugar into his cake batter and was too thrifty to waste it, so he just baked it anyway.
The glutinous result was a hit and today there's hardly a bakery in St. Louis or the surrounding region that doesn't offer a version. The old Heimburger Bakery on South Lindbergh was especially famous for it.

You can find Gooey Butter Cake in bakeries all over the St. Louis area, but what's someone from out-of-town to do? Here's the answer. Enjoy making one of St. Louis' popular, quirky foods.

There appear to be at least two different approaches to making gooey butter cake at home. One starts with a yeast-based dough over which a filling consisting chiefly of butter, sugar, milk and often corn syrup is poured. Similar to Philadelphia German butter cake, this may well have been the original version. More recently a version starting with a packaged cake mix has become popular. Its filling consists mainly of cream cheese and powdered sugar.

Bon Appetit!

Recipe attached.

1/2 cup butter
1 box yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1 - 8 oz. package of cream cheese
1/2 t almond extract
4 cups of confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease one 9x13 cake pan. Melt butter. Empty cake mix into a large bowl. Stir melted butter, along with one egg, into the cake mix. Press mixture into pan. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese, almond extract, confectioners sugar and the remaining two eggs. Beat for three minutes with an electric mixer set on medium high speed. Spread over top of the cake mixture in the pan. Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes until golden brown on top. Allow cake to cool. Dust the top with confectioner’s sugar. (Cake will be gooey on the top, so don't over bake!)

"This a very rich cake, but mmmmmmmm so good. Best when eaten with milk or coffee. You can also make it a Chocolate Gooey Butter Cake if desired. Just use a chocolate cake mix in place of the yellow."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Vacation time

Hello everyone,

I just want to let you all know that I have not fallen off the end of the earth, contracted a yet to be discovered disease , or run out of topics to write about. I have however gotten a life. A great and wonderful life with my dear Frank and somehow just can’t seem to find the time to keep up with all of my hobbies.

Since we have a full datebook with entries listed well into the next year with planed trips gallivanting around the country , and upcoming family events beyond the counting I have decided that it is time for me to put this blog on an extended vacation.

I am sure that I will be popping in occasional from some distant B&B to regal you with our travel exploits so continue to stop by for a peek-see every so often. Should I become snow bound or otherwise laid up this winter I will do my best to get back on a more regular posting schedule.

Take care everyone.
Until next time,

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Is it really me .........?

I can't figure out if I am just in a prolonged ranting mood, or, if I am turning into one of those prudish, mean, overbearing, outspoken old women that stick their noses into everyone’s business and call the cops at the slightest provocation. I am finding that so many of the things I encounter in my daily life, make me want to find a isolated mountain top or deserted tropical island to move to, if such things still exist.

Today, we were eating in our favorite diner when a fortyish woman came in and sat down at the counter. She looked like she spent her days laying asphalt. She was dressed in men’s clothing: muscle shirt, jeans and work boots. Her hair was in braided pigtails and both arms were covered from wrist to shoulder in tattoos. The waitress set a double order of biscuits and gravy in front of her and she quickly stirred everything into a pile of mush and started stuffing large spoonfuls into her mouth. Within minutes she was fishing a trucker’s wallet from her hip pocket as she took giant strides toward the register. It was all I could do to keep from going over and pointing out to her how ridiculous her look and behavior were. Actually, I should have been praying for the poor soul since she seemed to be a man trapped in a woman's body.

I am finding that children have neither manners nor imagination and I want to shake their parents or submit them to a public flogging. Would they really want to have adult versions of their children living next door to them for the rest of their lives.

When out for our nightly walks it takes all the will I can muster to keep from knocking on doors and chastising people for allowing their nice city property to become virtual junkyards strewn with all manner of derelict items. Or, should I become the anonymous crackpot calling the city?

A few days ago I passed two different houses that had old tattered recliners sitting on the front porch. I know for a fact that they have been there for several years and I so wanted to go offer to replace them with a nice porch swing. Does someone have to point out the obvious conclusions drawn about those that live there?

I am very rapidly reaching the point of not wanting to go for a walk without taking along several trash bags and my grabber. We will be walking on a nice street with lovely manicured homes and the curbs will be full of litter. Do people really not notice that someone left beer bottles, soda cans or leftover Mickey D’s in front of their house. Well, after the third day, I want to collect it for them and tie the bag to their front door with a nasty note.

This last Saturday I attended a wedding at my church. The thirty something bride and all of her bridesmaids were wearing expensive formal strapless gowns. As they walked down the aisle I noticed three ankle tattoos and one shoulder tattoo. All were barelegged, two were in mules and kept falling off the platform of their shoes, and two were so busty they were falling out of the top of their dresses. Bad enough to have this in front of a church full of people, but, to stand on the Lord’s alter half naked? I’m still trying to talk myself out of writing a letter to the priest suggesting that he start giving better instructions to the brides on what is proper in church attire or just refuse to perform the ceremony until they get covered up.

Boy, am I turning into some type of witch or is it just that the world has gone to blazes?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Doors, How I love Doors.

As I said in my list of 100 things, I collect pictures of windows and doors. I found this great collection on Webshots and wanted to share it here.

Enjoy. Oh, and while you are looking just imagine all the people and stories that have taken place behind these doors.

The Cotswolds, where else would I find this beauty? Click on the photo to be taken to the album then hit slide show.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

100 Things

I have read that there is an unwritten blogging rule, that when you reach your 100th post, you are to post a list of 100 truthful items that pertain to yourself. Well as the self proclaimed queen of non compliance, I just can’t follow some expected rule, so I am going to publish my list early. Like now.

100 things you may wish you never learned about me.

1. I am the oldest of thirteen.
2. I have nine brothers
3. I have three sisters
4. I am afraid of heights.
5. I have been to the top of the Empire State Building, the Vulcan and the Sears tower.
6. I once spent a whole night at the top of a Ferris wheel (with a guy).
7. I believe in love at first sight
8. The most terrifying event of my childhood was a cross country train trip at the age of 7. Just me and my little brother and we had to change trains once and keep from losing our luggage.
9. I was named as next of kin by a soldier who committed suicide by jumping from a parachuting practice platform.
10. I once had dinner with John Hartford. A musician/composer best known for writing the country-pop standard "Gentle on My Mind,”
11. I have been written about in medical journals twice.
12. I have read every book written by Victoria Holt, Catherine Cookson and Lawrence Sanders.
13. I have never been a bridesmaid.
14. I once owned a full service restaurant. (served 120)
15. I have two brothers who are priests.
16. My first husband was my Uncle’s brother.
17. I met my second husband on the internet
18. In the ninth grade, I won third place in a school writing contest. The first and second place entries were also written by me. All three were disqualified once the principle learned I had ghost written the other two.
19. I probably took my driving test more times than anyone else in the country.
20. Once during a driving test, I drove my car down the front steps of the courthouse.
21. During my lifetime I have lost the same 50lbs. enough times to create 2 average size adults. Even worse is that I need to do it all over again now.
22. A fork was thrown with such force at me that it was embedded in my wrist up to the shank and had to be surgically removed.
23. I, like Humpty Dumpy, have broken my crown. When I was a child I was pushed off a bluff and landed on a railroad track cutting a large hole in my forehead.
24. I prevented two elderly men from dying of heatstroke during one of the hottest summers in Missouri history. I had a premonition at work and left in the middle of my shift. I arrived at the house where the men lived with only minutes to spare according to the paramedics.
25. I used to collect owls until they took over my whole house. I only have 30 now and display perhaps a dozen.
26. I like to collect photos of windows and doors.
27. I like my hot tea sweet and my iced tea unsweetened.
28. I am a diabetic.
29. Procrastination is my middle name.
30. I sleep with a c-pap machine.
31. I always have a book with me for when I have wait.
32. I do marathon reading sessions when I’m depressed.
33. I rarely carry a purse.
34. I can drink hot tea that gets cold but I cannot drink iced tea that gets warm.
35. I am the self professed “Queen of non-compliance” when it comes to following what I call “dumb rules”. We can talk about who decides which rules are dumb some other time.
36. A waiter once dumped and entire tray full of drinks on me in a 5 star restaurant. He got so upset he ran out the back door and never came back.
37. I once belonged to a social club where all the women were married to men with the same first name.
38. I did it first. Long before Zsa Zsa I slapped a cop. . .in the face . . hard. And didn't get arrested.
39. I purchased a wedding gown on sale that was six sizes too small butlost so much weight it was a size too large on my wedding day.
40. I don’t like roses, diamonds, or coffee.
41. I once lost a ring but saw it on a lady’s finger two years later and actually convinced her to give it back to me.
42. I am a nudist at heart.
43. I prefer a 100 degree day over a snow day anytime.
44. I don’t like cats, but they are growing on me now that we have two of them.
45. I dislike eating in restaurants that put butcher paper on the tables.
46. If I get really tickled, I forget to breathe.
47. I love plants but I can walk into a room and see some of them die.
48. My favorite color is purple (in all it’s shades)
49. I would prefer to live where I can go barefoot all the time.
50. I have a short square foot with stubby toes. A perfect fit is a 7EEE.
51. I still wish on stars.
52. Every time I hear the siren of an emergency vehicle I pray for the people involved.
53. I make the sign of the cross each time I pass a church or hospital.
54. I once drove a company car. A Tupperware Ford.
55. I watched the last section of the St. Louis Arch being placed.
56. I cannot give blood.
57. I have a condition that has changed names three times since I was first diagnosed. It is now called fibromyalgia.
58. I learned to drive in a 1946 Studebaker truck.
59. I lost my crinolines in the middle of the dance floor at homecoming.
60. The first time I got carded for liquor I was in my forties.
61. I like to give theme parties.
62. I cannot sing. In fact, I was promised a passing grade in chorus if I would lip sync the vocals in high school.
63. I once considered becoming a nun.
64. I came close to drowning in 3 feet of water at the bottom of a water slide. I was rescued by two 8yr. old kids.
65. It took the gift of a ruby ring to get me to quit biting my fingernails. I was seventeen.
66. I have been to a Worlds Fair.
67. I have been to a Broadway show.
68. I was 60 when I took my first airplane ride.
69. I have wanted to go to Maine since I was 12. I never have.
70. I have been a guest on the radio.
71. I have appeared on television.
72. I won first place for my biscuits at the county fair.
73. My float “The three little kittens”(with live kittens) won 2nd place for my age group in the coaster wagon division of the City's Founder's Day Parade when I was 13
74. I served as a Girl Scout leader.
75. I spend absolutely too much time on the computer.
76. My favorite season is Spring
77. I am a night person. Don’t expect me to be up and sensible before noon.
78. I hate unfinished projects but I am learning to overlook them.
79. I use to be a organizational fanatic now I am just moderately nuts.
80. I have to be desperate before I will ask someone for help.
81. I use to never cry. Now I am a blubbering fountain.
82. I will not watch sci-fi or horror movies.
83. I prefer comedies or chick flicks.
84. I own 20 pair of black slacks.
85. I never wear anything that is all white.
86. If I want to have a meal and a clean shirt I have to wear a bib. I spill things on my shirt—a lot.
87. I own over 100 tee-shirts and I only have about a dozen that I actually wear.
88. I am going to have my first yard sale next month. See #87 and #84.
89. I prefer antique dishes and old oak furniture.
90. I love peanut butter. Sometimes when the jar is getting low I will stir in some grape jelly and sit and eat it right out of the jar. My second favorite sandwich is peanut butter and banana.
91. My favorite sandwich is Tuna. I have been know to eat noting ealse for weeks.
92. The only thing that affects my choice of a Mexican restaurant is the salsa. We have three Mexican restaurants in my town and they all have terrible salsa. I will drive 50 miles to one that has great salsa and chips.
93. I once worked all winter for a company that sold flood damaged merchandise out of an old building that had no heat.
94. I have a thing for a man that wears a hat. Nothing is sexier to me than a man in a great hat.
95. I hate, despise and detest baseball caps.
96. It takes all I can do to keep from snatching baseball caps off the heads of men that do not take them off in restaurants, church etc.
97. My all time favorite male actor is and always will be James Gardner.
98. I would cut almost everything else from my budget before cutting out my acrylic fingernails.
99. I have been addicted to soap operas, Pac-man and slot machines. I will no longer go near any of them.
100. And last on the list but most important of all, I thank the Lord everyday for bringing my dear Frank into my life. Without him I would not have a life worth living. I love you Frank.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Welcome "The Old Salt"

Hi everyone. Big changes are afoot here at “Cashjocky’s Keyboard”. As the regular readers will notice we have a new look and a new name.

This has been my blog since 2005 and now my dear Frank is a big part of my life and, therefore my blog. I am no longer just the Cashjocky. I am now the wife of a retired navy officer(thus “The Old Salt” reference) so our new blog will be known as “Cashjocky and the Old Salt.”

Since my hubby is more of a minimalist than I am, you will notice some housekeeping, and fewer bells and whistles cluttering up the place.

I hope you like the new look and will check back often to see what Frank might have to say. He sometimes remarks he is in training to be a garrulous old man. Regardless, after 30 years in the navy and 10 years as a deputy sheriff, he has all kinds of great stories and hard learned insights to share. I hope you will find them as fascinating as I do, if I can ever get him interested in posting them. So check back often.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Yes, I'm Hooked

There was a time back in the early seventies when, for a short time, I was a stay at home mom. I was selling Tupperware at night and babysitting two hell-on-wheels toddlers during the day, and still managed to become addicted to several daytime soap operas. After I went back to work it took me almost a year to get where I could go home and not have this crushing urge to stop off at my neighbors for an update on the lives of Llanview or to find out what disaster had befallen the staff at General Hospital.

I vowed back then to never get hooked on another television serial, and have remained true to that promise for the most part. But, now we are in that new era of the internet and I find that I have become hopelessly hooked on blogs, or to be more precise, certain blogs. I use to read quite a few on a regular bases, I slowly let some fade away. But, my dear Frank became attracted to several of my favorites and now he will read them to me. I love the sound of his voice and he is so good at adding all the nuances to the text that I would much rather listen to him then read them for myself. Regardless, I am now addicted to keeping up with the happenings of poor Mahala over in Frog Pond Holler. I can’t help but cry along with the suffering of that sweet lady with cancer that slept with Robert DeNero; or laughing at the adventures of Risible Girl. (By the way if you want to check them out the links can be found on my blog.)

I hate to admit it but I do a better job of keeping up with the lives of these strangers than I do with my own siblings and their families; most of whom live within 10 miles of me. In fact one of my brothers and his family are just three houses down the street. Why is that? Well between work, church, community involvements and their children’s activities most of my brothers and sisters are seldom home and I feel guilty intruding on what little private time they do have as a family. I can pop in for a visit with the Old Lady of the Hills any time of day or night and how long I stay will not interfere with either of our schedules.

That is why all of my spare time recently has been spent setting up and maintaining family blogs for both sides of my extended family. I would rather be able to read about the activities and events in the lives of my own relatives than strangers halfway across the country. Yes the blogs I read are written by people with a talent for writing that can make even mundane things seem interesting as well as find a way to add humor to living with cancer, but, I know there is an equal amount of talent in my own family. But, regardless of whether writing comes easy or not, I would welcome the feeling of closeness that comes from being included in the daily happenings of those you love.

So I hope that all of you reading this will get on the blogging bandwagon and find a way to use blogging as a way to occasionally update everyone on what is going on in your lives.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

No more for me.

Among the articles in my newspaper recently were two separate items about couples enslaving others? In one, an Indian couple purchased a 12 year old girl from her parents then moved her here to the US and kept her a prisoner in their home for 6 years, working her to near exhaustion with only a mattress on the floor in a small unheated room above the garage to call her own. In the other a mildly retarded couple was virtually enslaved by another couple they thought were good friends they could trust. After enticing the couple to follow them to another state where the disadvantaged couple had no extended family or other resources, the predatory couple provided them with a bare subsistence while stealing their disability payments for over 20 years. The couple were regularly threatened at gunpoint and subjected to beatings and verbal abuse. The disabled man’s brother spent two decades looking for the couple and finally found them through a misdirected social security check.

Once found out and arrested, the Indian couple received 8 years in prison to be follow by deportation. The American couple received 6 months in jail (male) and 3 months house arrest (female) followed by three years probation. Why did the American couple get off with such a light sentence? Weren’t their crimes as bad or worse then that of the Indian couple? What is wrong with the judicial system in this country? Worse yet, what was wrong with all the neighbors (in both cases) that knew something was very wrong in both households and did nothing?

Another news item told of the death of a 13 yr. old boy that had been tied to a tree all night by his parents for disobedience. In another item two teenage boys were fighting in the yard of one’s adult sister. She provided them with guns and told them to duel it out while video taping the entire scene. In yet another article a father pulled his two year old son out of his car on a major highway and proceeded to beat him to death before police shot him. In all these cases there were many who could have intervened and did nothing.

I wish I could just dump all the people in these stories and all the others in my daily news along with all those who could do something to help others and don’t into some giant container (a cement mixer comes to mind) and shake them vigorously for some time then toss them out like dice on a monopoly board. Hoping that in the process they would get their rightful senses restored. By the way, what has happened to common sense? I sure do not see much evidence that it still exists in today’s world.

I have always been a fretter and a worrier whose head is controlled by the visual and verbal stimuli that gets placed there. In fact, at one point in my life I was having so many nightmares that I had to seriously restrict what I allowed to enter my skull unsolicited. I was once a voracious reader who would digest anything that came across my path and I had to stop reading sci-fi and thrillers altogether and leave some books unfinished when the subject matter took a dangerous turn. I stopped watching television news and limited my viewing to situation comedies and home decorating shows. I stopped reading the newspapers and did not go to the movie theater for ages.

Sure I new that lots of bad stuff was happening in the world to a lot of decent people, and I prayed for all of them everyday. But, I had to stop filling my brain with graphic images that would return to be twisted ridiculously in my sleep. Fortunately, at the time, I was so busy working and caring for sick family members that I did not miss the books or the TV.

Apparently my efforts worked, because I stopped dreaming altogether, or at least stopped remembering my dreams if I had any. Recently, I have once again started having very vivid and very strange dreams that will sometimes wake me up several times a night. The only thing I can attribute it too is since my marriage last year I have returned to viewing both television and movies and my husband and I share the newspaper over breakfast and often have lengthy discussions on current events.

Now, I am angered more by the lack of respect and caring that people show to each other, than upset by the images of murder and mayhem. However both still manage to cross over into my dreams. If world events affect me in these ways then what are they doing to everyone else? If all the media exposure is causing me to have nightmares, is it causing other people to exhibit temper outbursts, commit murder or have other types of deviant behavior? Is the local news broadcast, viewing movies or reading the newspaper going to become the next source of post traumatic stress syndrome? Could the level of violence in society be reduced by outlawing all violent video and electronic stimuli?

Obviously there are no answers to any of this or even why my dreams have returned so I will just go back to avoiding what I think causes them. Once again, there will be no more newspapers or nightly news for me. Plus, my dear Frank may find me rejecting some of his movie selections or suddenly needing a potty break during very graphic scenes.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Hallelujah, Hallelujah.

Today I was finally given the all clear by my doctor to resume my normal life. Hallelujah. After ten weeks of dealing with all the complications from my hernias surgery, I can finally act as if it never happened. I will spare everyone all the gory details simply because after living them for so long I do not have the desire to relive it all right now.

I am going out of town for a few days and will get back to this when I return.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Good News, Bad News (part two).

Well I promised to bring you the second half of our good news, bad news events but have some doubts about the actual ending of this nightmare so you may have to hang in for a part three.

Earlier this evening I sat down to watch the evening news with my dear husband and after minutes of squirming and shifting to settle my antique body in the most comfortable position in my recliner I was attacked by a bout of the chills. Asking Frank to pass me an afghan to cover up with, led to a ten minute ritual of having my temperature (99.5) taken, popping a couple of aspirin, and being wrapped in not one but two fleece throws with my feet propped on a heating pad. After a few minutes of freezing I promptly dozed off and began seeing car crashes, gas leaks and small children jammed under busses as the narrative from the local news began to circle across the wide screen of my dreams.

The bad news is that this has become an almost daily occurrence over the last few weeks. It all started back at the beginning of the month. Following our return from our anniversary trip Frank and I worked on setting up a canopy on our deck to provide some shade from the summer sun. We got all our new patio furniture in place and were ready to get started on planting some baskets and pots with several flats of annuals when we realized we needed a few items from the hardware store.

The next morning I was rushing to get ready so that I could make the trip to the hardware store before my scheduled nail appointment. I got tangled up in my own slacks and ended on my backside on the floor. Ignoring my bruised elbow and scraped knees I headed off to the hardware store. Once there, I realized I had a very painful spot in my midsection. By the time I got to the checkout lane I had a hard egg size lump that was getting more painful with each step.

After a phone call to my husband I ended up rushing home so that he could take me to our doctor’s office. From there I went straight to a hospital in the city, where surgery was quickly scheduled. What I expected to be a simple thirty minute procedure ended up taking almost four hours. I awoke to find that I had a 9 by 11 sheet of Teflon mesh implanted in my gut to repair not one, but five, ventral hernias.

After five days in the hospital, I came home with a circle of seven incisions in my mid section all supported by a tight elastic binder that was reducing my waist measurement by several inches and making both moving and breathing a challenge. I was given a lengthy list of don’ts that left little argument as to what was on the approved can do list (almost nothing). I have a reputation for being the “Queen of non compliance”, so this time around I decided to follow the instructions to the letter. First, my husband was so concerned that I did not want to worry him and I knew that he would be watching me like a hawk so I would not have succeeded anyway. And secondly, I felt so bad that I had no choice but to acquiesce, even when it came to needing help with the most personal and embarrassing of hygiene chores.

I was just starting to feel almost normal, while finding small parts of the day where I have the energy to attempt a few simple tasks ( like updating this blog), when suddenly I found myself back at square one again. The one time I followed the restrictions to the letter and, really tried to follow the doctor’s instructions it did me no good. Two days ago I told Frank it felt like I still had a knot right where my hernia had been. Frank did some feeling around and agreed that he was sure that I still had at least one hernia and possibility two that he could feel. He pressed hard on one lump and there was a sudden expulsion of gassy air noises and suddenly the hard lump was gone. Frank was sure that he had just reduced one of the hernias.

Monday, I was back at the surgeon’s office to learn that I had developed a pool of fluid between the new mesh and my skin that prevented the doctor from being able to feel anything but that pool. He agreed that I probably still had a hernia that they either missed or that somehow managed to escape from the mesh but it would be at least two weeks before everything from the first surgery was healed enough to be able to do another MRI to determine the true extent of my current situation.

So now I am in a holding pattern. Limited in what I can do so as not to make matters worse and facing the uncertainty of whether the entire procedure will have to be redone.

So hang in for part three of my current good, no make that my really bad news.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Good News, Bad News (part one).

The last time I set down to write we were getting ready to celebrate our first wedding anniversary with a little trip to St. Genevieve, Missouri. That was over a month ago, yet in some ways it seems as if it was a lifetime ago.

I started out to write this in the format of one of those old comedy routines that followed the “That’s good. No, that’s bad” format but soon realized that it would go on for a dozen pages. So I decided to just give you the “Good News” and the “Bad News” all mixed together the way it happened.

The good news is that we had a lazy, relaxing, and very enjoyable anniversary trip. St. Genevieve, Missouri is a short sixty miles south of St. Louis on the banks of the Mississippi river. The town is about 250 years old and was the first permanent civilized settlement in Missouri. It is also the only Original French Colonial Village left in the United States. A quant, laid back small town where all the modern comforts and conveniences are hidden behind the architectural charm of an old world village. Despite the constant rain and flooding in most of our area the weather even cooperated and let the sun shine. All in all it was a perfect place for two old romantics to stroll hand in hand enjoying the unique town, many interesting shops and each other.

We stayed in an old 1882 hotel that has been lovingly restored to its original beauty and converted into a comfortable B&B. Complete with period antiques, warm fireplaces, delicious food and very gracious host all within walking distance of everything of interest in town. This was our first stay at a bed and breakfast and the bad news was that we discovered that we are not the B&B types. We would have been more comfortable at a traditional motel. The really bad news was that my dear Frank came down with a small bug and had to spend a big chunk of one day in our lodgings.

On a lighter note, I will tell a funny that happened to us. In one of the shops we tried a sample of some very nice (and pricey) French lotion made from goat’s milk. Frank and I both liked the lotion, so we went back to the shop and purchased a bottle. The next day my back was itching, so my dear husband went to apply a liberal coat of the new lotion, when after a few minutes of rubbing he could not get the lotion to absorb into my skin we checked the bottle to discover (bad news) that we had been given the wrong bottle and he had just covered my back in body wash. It made for a fun time in the shower washing away all the soap.

After leaving St Gene, we spent a couple of days with one of Frank’s oldest friends who lived in a neighboring town. The good news was we had a pleasant visit but the bad news was that I forgot to pack our sonicare toothbrushes so we had to make a return trip several days later to retrieve them. But, that even turned into good news because we stumbled on a shop that was having a fantastic sale on patio furniture, so the trip actually more than paid for itself.

I am going to continue the rest of the story in a part 2 that I hope to have posted in a day or so.

You will not believe what happened to me next.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Our life updated

I have mentioned here before about how my life has changed since meeting my Frank. (See what a difference a year makes 11/07) But, I’m not sure anyone could understand the magnitude of those changes unless they knew about the lives we lived before we met.

Our lives have so many similarities that it is amazing when you think about them. Frank is 11 months older than I but we graduated from high school the same year. We were each previously married for 37 years. His marriage ended in divorce and mine in the death of my husband. We each have one child born 7 months apart. Frank has the same birthday as my daughter. We were each married to a good person whom we became estranged from over the years mostly because of our having been raised in different cultural and religious environments. We are both touchy feely, emotionally expressive, affectionate, people persons who were married to emotionally inhibited, socially reserved, conversationally challenged, distant, often cold spouses.

Frank and I both have an affinity for helping those less fortunate. We both used the term “orphans” to describe the many lost souls we have adopted over the years. Both of us felt our spouses were just caregivers, and we did our best alone to parent our child.

The unusual story of how Frank and I met and married can also be found in these pages. Just go back between Dec. 2006 and March 2007. Next Monday we will be celebrating our first wedding anniversary. Frank likes to quote Forrest Gump and say that we are like “peas and carrots.” I choose the term “two peas in a pod” and even gave him a trinket box with that saying as a wedding gift. Regardless of how you express it we are very much in tune. We can almost read each others minds. We finish each others sentences. Know instinctively when the other needs a hug or compliment. Drinks, snacks, or warm blankets seem to be delivered out of nowhere by the other just at the moment one of us thinks about getting them for ourselves.

We seem to never stop talking or touching. It’s as if we have been an emotional desert in need of rain for years. Whether sharing the newspaper, reading books or favorite websites we are constantly sharing tidbits. We will start a shared task and end up sitting for long periods in deep conversations that will take many turns before one or both of us ends up laughing, crying, hugging or all three at once. Just yesterday we had a long discussion that started with whether or not judges should be able to order public humiliation as punishment for petty crimes. Should judges revert to placing miscreants in stocks in the city square; or in lieu of a city square the center court of the local shopping mall. Could you imagine going shopping and finding all the petty criminals shackled in stocks around the mall with a placard around their neck announcing their crime? Would that or public flogging be a better deterrent to crime than community service and fines? Frank said it is not the severity of the punishment but the certainty of apprehension that is a deterrent to crime. This morning we started out to scrub our sundeck and ended up in a discussion about whether squirrels are just bushy tailed rats, and whether the name was an insult to real rats; and all because the squirrels gnawed a hole in the bird feeder to get at the seed.

Before Frank came into my life I thought that I got enough exercise at work. I had stopped reading the newspaper or watching most television news and programming. My television was glued on HGTV. I like the shows about home decorating. Now I can’t start my day without reading the newspaper over breakfast and dinner is shared with the national news. I also became addicted to American Idol even though music is not my thing. (see Just noise 2-18-08) Now besides having a stepper in my dining room, we take daily walks, plan hiking trips and have a membership to the Y.

We both have hearing losses that complement each other. I can repeat the lines Frank misses on the TV and he can alert me when I do not hear the knock at the door. We both have health problems with good and bad days but so far have avoided both being down on the same day which is good. Frank waits on me more than I do him though, so I have to improve on that score. Also, we have lucked out and had our “senior moments” at different times, so that we can help each other with the forgotten names, appointments and misplaced items. We have different knowledge, skills and talents so between us there is very little that we haven’t been able to accomplish together.

My dear sweet Frank, thank you, for the best year of my adult life; you are so adorable and I love you more with each waking hour.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

New Look

A while back I put an invisible counter on this blog, and discovered that my suspicions were true. My dear husband was the only person besides myself to sign onto my site. No one else signed in during the trial period. I was not surprised. Every time I questioned a friend or family member they would hem and haw and finally admit that they just had not visited my site in a while. I suspect that “never” might be closer to the truth, but what the heck.

So in an effort to make my site more appealing I have changed the layout and the title, plus added some widgets. I have also resolved to enliven my writing. The blogs my husband loves to read all seem to have humor in them. I am not sure I can pull it off, since humor is a foreign concept for me. Besides, I tend to write about things that are, for me, more emotional in nature. But I am going to give it a try.

It was never my intention to make my blog a journal of day to day happenings in my world. I was seeking an avenue for the short stories that I tend to write when I am trying to work through a problem or just hoping that by recording some event I will get it off my mind. As a result my entries have always been sporadic. When going through my word files I discovered I have dozens of half finished pieces. It seems I have to be in a certain mood, or feeling some type of angst in order for me to complete something. If the spell gets broken, the work just sits until the next time I get my head in the same place. That probably doses not make much sense, or speak well of me, but that is how it seems to work with me.

I am going to make a greater effort at writing about daily happenings that are not emotionally charged issues for me so if you happen onto this site then please come back every week to see if I succeed.

Hope you like the new look. Leave some feedback if you can so I have something to work with.

It is Saturday night so go out and find yourself a great traditional Irish dinner and have some green beer for those of us (like myself) that are too much a coward to give it a try.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Frank's Rant

Today I came across a copy of a letter that my Frank wrote to his younger brother. It was in response to a question his brother had asked regarding increasing pain as we aged. I would like to share an excerpt from that letter, but, first let me set the stage so you understand the situation that prompted his little rant.

Frank retired from 30 years in the navy and at age 52 started a second career as a deputy sheriff in San Diego county California. He worked in the county jails for the next ten years. Frank had been a runner since high school so he was able to keep up with classmates half his age during a very physical Sheriffs academy.

Now for Frank’s little rant on aging which was written some 8 years after he became a deputy sheriff.

Pain? Every day in ways large and small. Pain is just the punctuation. The narrative is dropping things, or missing altogether. It's not whipping around the guy driving at exactly the speed limit in the middle lane, head up, hands at 10 and 2, wearing a sanctimonious expression worthy of the Church Lady, because you no longer trust your once quick reflexes to always be there. It's using a small hand-held light to read the newspaper in ambient light the younger deputies could use to thread a needle. It's applying Bag Balm to both heels under a large band-aid and expensive paper tape so your dried out heels will last through 12 hours of walking, with some running thrown in just to keep you sweaty. It's running to a cover call knowing that every bruise you get will take three times longer to heal than any the younger deputies acquire. It's responding to a radio call of, "11-45" and hoping you don't look like a fool for showing up with a shroud cutter because you keep getting "11-45" (attempt suicide) mixed up with "11-47" (Injured person). It's carrying a laminated list of phone numbers because, after five years in the same jail, you still haven't memorized a lot of them. It's writing a crime report that gets read by the Sergeant during his brief as an example of a good one, then getting your next one back with twenty corrections. It's reaching for a letter and not finding it when you know exactly where you last put it down. You find it two days later on the back of the kitchen counter and realize that you are the only person on the planet who could have put it there. It's reading the obits and noting that a fair number of that day's harvest were younger than you.

A lifetime ago, I worked for J&J Construction on a pipeline crew in Oklahoma. The lead peon always made sure we had a working radio in the company truck so we could listen to Paul Harvey during our lunch break. One day Paul was talking about his summer home near a large lake. By eight AM, the lake was overrun with water craft equipped with loud smelly engines. His group always went to the water very early so they would be gone when the noise and exhaust fumes arrived. Because, he said, “One should enjoy the pain free years." I recall wondering what he was talking about. Now, sadly, I know

As someone who has suffered with fibromyalgia since my thirties, this really hit home with me. I am just amazed that someone as fit as Frank would be able to express my feelings so clearly. We do truly think alike.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Just Noise

It is a cold overcast Sunday afternoon here in Missouri. There is a pair of cardinals pecking at the feeder outside my window and the walls are vibrating from the sound of Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney and dozens of musicians performing a tribute to George Harrison at the Royal Albert Hall that is blasting (or so it seems to me) from our television set.

This is one of my husband’s favorite videos and he occasionally will play parts of it. Today, I believe, he has decided to play the entire 2 ½ hour concert. I will admit that the program is beautifully done, filled with music legends and does a great job of entertaining the audience and paying tribute to George with eastern and western music. But frankly, the eastern part of the CD is not only rattling our windows it digs at my nerves and is as far removed from my liking as any music except rap can be. The western music has sections I will pop into the living room to watch while the rest I enjoy listening to from the distance of our computer room. Is it possible that my dear Frank, has chosen today and this particular music presentation to play as repayment to our neighbor for all of the bass thumping, woofer banging, floor vibrations his sound system has been adding to the enjoyment of our new house of late. No, never. Not my Frank. He is definitely not the get even type.

I do come from a musical family. Most have excellent voices, are great dancers, a few play some sort of instrument, and all enjoy listening to good music. Unfortunately for me and sadly (I’m sure) for Frank I am not one of them. I have been known to say it is all noise as far as I am concerned. Good noise, bad noise, horrible noise, even relaxing or soothing noise, but noise none the less. I am certain when God was handing out musical genes I must have misunderstood and gotten in the clothing line. I certainly don’t have even a hint of musical talent or appreciation.

In fact, in high school, two music credits were required to graduate and chorus was the only music class our school offered. About a month into the first semester I was asked to stay after class by Sister Thaddeus, the music teacher. She said my voice and lack of pitch was ruining her choir, and she could not let me continue. She offered me a deal. In exchange for showing up for class, doing the written work and lip syncing all the vocals, she would give me a B+ for the course each year.

I will admit to owning a sound system and many CD’s and tapes. I rarely play music, but choose songs with very clear lyrics or that fall into the mood music classification when I do. Mostly tunes from the 30’s, through the 60’s, and with a few modern county, soft rock or pop mixed in. I still have my 8 track player and a collection of Readers Digest Classics that serves me just fine. I only upgraded to a CD player, so I would be prepared to entertain, once I decided to start dating again after my first husband’s death. During my teen years there were only two records I purchased for myself. One was “Little White Dove” by Johnny Preston and the other was “Henry the 8th, I am” by Herman’s Hermits. I played Little White Dove repeatedly for hours every day until finally one of my brothers removed it from the record player and broke it over his knee, out of frustration. Henry the 8th disappeared one day never to be seen again. I assumed the same brother was the culprit hoping to prevent his having to withstand repeatedly listening to what he called trash music.

One of my brothers has a sound system in his home that would outshine anything found in the best concert halls. He is so particular about the quality of the sound of his music he has invested more in sound equipment then most folks would invest into a house and car combined. The decibel levels he prefers forced him to move to a very sparsely populated area to prevent complaints from the neighbors. Dave started his career as a DJ for a local radio station then started his own DJ and sound company so he could have more control over the quality of the sound he played for his customers. Now retired, he spends his days fiddling with his equipment in search of the perfect sound system. Frank and I were recently invited to his home for dinner so that Dave could show off his sound system to Frank. I am not lying when I say that during one recording by a symphony orchestra you could actually hear the musicians turning the pages of their sheet music. If Frank’s opinion matters then Dave’s system has surpassed the hearing ability of mere mortals and gives us a glimpse into what the heavenly orchestra must sound like.

Frank can’t wait for our next invitation to spend a evening with my brother’s unbelievable sound system. As for me, I just hope that Dave never learns that it is all just pleasant noise to me.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I Have Never

Recently, I read a review of the movie “27 Dresses”, about a girl who had 27 bridesmaid’s dresses but had never been a bride herself. The bridesmaid’s dresses reflected the often unique taste of the brides and were not something she could wear for anything other than the wedding they were intended for. The review reminded me of the dozens of dollar store diaries with wild covers I once had. They were hidden away from prying eyes as if they contained the juiciest gossip or most heart wrenching secrets. All they contained were my lists. Serious lists, silly lists, planning lists, to do lists, you name it. Truthfully, they may as well have been gossip or secrets because, even as a forty or fifty something woman, I would have been devastated if anyone had read them. There were dozens of lists containing such items as things I had never done, things I never wanted to do, places I hoped to visit and places I hoped not to visit. I had lists of movies to see, books to read, records I hoped to buy, and even names of people I found interesting. Real people like Ima Hog, Marsha Mellow and Ella Funt. I was always scribbling things on scraps of paper, register receipts or napkins and taking them home to add to one of my lists.

I have always been a list maker. I suppose decades of accounting work only increased my propensity to keep tally sheets or see my thoughts outlined on paper. Reading the review of “27 Dresses” reminded me of one of the items in my “I Have Never Journal.” I have not seen the movie and I have never paid a small fortune for a dress I would only wear once (wedding gown excluded) because I have never been a bridesmaid. What you say? How could that be? Despite having 12 siblings and more cousins than you could pack into a fleet of Greyhound buses I have never been asked to be in someone’s wedding, and that is what prompted this post. I don’t want to write about weddings, being a bridesmaid or even about ugly dresses. The subject of this narrative is the phrase “I Have Never.”

Someone reading my “I Have Never Journal” would surely question what kind of life I lived to reach my advanced age with so many basic activities not done. But, most of them were simply because the opportunity never presented itself, and truthfully, I never expected that would change; at least not until I met my Frank. It is amazing how many items have been crossed off my list since we met a short year ago without his even knowing they had been on a list. Thanks to Frank I have drawn a line through “I Have Never”: been on an airplane, seen the Pacific Ocean, traveled west of Kansas City Missouri, seven states, the Grand Canyon, visiting a naval base, going aboard an aircraft carrier, seeing a cruise ship, seeing a real pirate ship, and meeting a published poet to name only a few.

If you sat down right now and listed all the things you have never done in your life what would your list have in it? Would it be full of missed opportunities, trips not taken or simple things like never having eaten lobster or made mud pies?

Frank will occasionally tell me a story where some movie illustrates his point, and be shocked to learn I have never seen the movie. Recently, when Frank’s mental list of movies I have not seen started to get rather lengthy, he decided to take matters into his own hands. He opened a Netflix’s account and placed an order for a sizeable list of movie he wanted me to see. Every few days now a movie from his list will show up in our mailbox and we will drop everything and sit down to watch it together.

Frank is a man who has been almost everywhere and done or seen way more than most folks and I believe he has a hard time comprehending that I could have missed so many ordinary things. I’m sure if he could read my old journals, he would set about seeing to it that every item listed would eventually be crossed off the list. Fortunately, that will never happen, because a while back I took the time to copy everything to a password protected computer file and destroyed all those tattered journals.

Now, before Frank reads this, I better go transfer all that information to a memory stick and seek out a perfect hiding place

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Dear Abby

Last October someone wrote to “Dear Abby” asking her what she perceived to be the main problem in society today. Abby turned the table and put the question out for her readers to answer. Among the enormous volumes of mail received were answers that covered the entire spectrum from the serious to the silly. Once the tally was taken the top four answers that were published in her February 5th column were: Lack of personal responsibility,Greed,Intolerance and Apathy.

This is a subject I have been giving a lot of thought to lately. Not a day goes by that something happens to make me question what it will take to return the world to the idyllic and harmonious days of my childhood.

While the above are all good answers, each alone is not enough. In fact all of them combined are not the correct answer. So what is? Here is my thinking on the subject based on my observations of my tiny corner of the world.

I believe that the first item on the list would actually be a tie between “Lack of Respect” and “fear”. These two go hand in hand. One causes the other. Every day I see parents who allow their children to get away with being disrespectful out of fear. Fear that if they correct the child with the same forms of punishment that their parents used on them, they will find themselves being visited by the Department of Family Services. On the other side of the same coin is the child who has “no fear” of punishment and gets progressively worse at disrespecting the people in their life. It is disrespect for people and property that leads to many of the other ills of our society.

Mark Twain said profanity sometimes provides relief denied even by prayer. Sometimes a good swat on the backside is likewise the only good answer. But, more often, the best answer is nothing more than time; the amount of time it takes a child to walk from the house to the barn by way of a tree where he cuts his own switch. That short amount of time can lead to a whole lot of thinking and a remarkable change in attitude. When I was in high school, I baby-sat for a family with eight boys that lived down the road from us. Mr. Kilihan would often send one of his sons out to the woods behind his house to cut a hickory limb. To my knowledge he never once used the retrieved limb but they were tagged with the name of the child and the offence and stood in a large crock in the corner of the kitchen awaiting the next time that child repeated that same offence. Just knowing that the switch was readily available and could be used was all it took to keep all those boys in line.

My dear Frank has recently been copying all of his old slides into the computer and with each new batch he has shown to me he had a whole new bunch of stories. I was most impressed by the photos and stories from Hong Kong. So many people confined into such small spaces and yet everything was very clean, orderly and almost crime free. I believe it was all due to the respect that each person gave to each other and what was theirs.

The next time I hear my grandson say “NO” to his mother I think I will take him out to the woods and teach him the art of choosing the perfect hickory switch.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Lets skip January this year.

It is January 15, 2008. We are only halfway through the first month of the year and already I have reached my breaking point. Yes, I have had it with all the media bombardments stating “start off the new year by becoming a healthier (or prettier) you.” It is impossible to switch on the TV or open a magazine, newspaper or even junk mail without some reference to all the things I should be doing to improve my beauty, health or fitness.

I do not need any more reminders that I look like the Buddha in the pagoda at the Chinese Gardens restaurant. I do not need reminding that my knees only go down while stairs also go up. If one more person tells me that my skin will be less wrinkled if I slather it with sheep entrails or that my nails will grow stronger if I coat them with snake venom I think I will just have to go bang my head against the wall in frustration.

I also fear for the safety of the next person that asks me if I have made or already broken my New Year’s Resolutions. Whose business is it anyway? I do not think I should have to admit that I must make a resolution to stop chewing the inside of my cheek or clean the gunk out of the bathtub more often. Just because I am trying to give up soda does not mean that the choice had to be connected with some old New Year’s superstition.

If I have to walk down one more shopping aisle full of plastic totes shouting at me “its time to get organized”; or worst yet, one that is yelling Easter is just around the corner I think I will surely lose it.

Well, now that I have gotten that off my chest, lets go shopping I need a new swimsuit.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

I have a Confession

I have a confession. I have an addiction that has possessed me since I was about fourteen. I am addicted to the collection of photographs of doors. Yes, doors.

What a strange thing to be drawn to, you might say: while others question whether it is more fascination than addiction. Regardless of what you call it, I am hooked on doors. When I see an interesting door my mind immediately goes into overdrive with imaginings of all the secrets that have gone on behind it. I envision the people, parties and other activities that once took place behind those doors.

I used to cut pictures of fascinating, boring or just plain ugly doors from magazines and kept them stashed away for decades. Since I became more computer savvy I resorted to downloading them from the internet. I have quite a file of doors. Red doors, blue doors, church doors, doors off their hinges leaning against buildings buried deep in weeds. You name it and I probably have a snapshot of it.

Today I came across this wonderful slideshow of a collection of doors posted by by one of my favorite websites and I just had to share it with all of you. I hope you enjoy it.


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Peacefull Skies

For about eight hours now, I have been feeling as if I am confined in a haunted house. As I walk through my home I see a silver glow coming through every crack in the draperies and golden crown shaped shadows bounce across the ceilings. The floors are squeaking and the walls are shaking. The cat is running from one floor to the other and back again as if being chased by a mouse twice her size. Noises from the yard make it seem as if the house is sitting in the middle of a field at Gettysburg with endless cannon fire rattling the china. Some ghostly hand is messing with both the satellite dish and the DSL. They work then don’t work, then work again only to repeat the cycle a dozen times more over the night. The lights keep going from light to dim and back again as well. If I did not know better I would say that someone is skipping from room to room playing jokes with my mind.

What is going on here you might ask? Well nothing more than one of the worst thunderstorms to come our way in a long while. Lots of wind and rain with lightening and thunder, plus some hail mixed in for good measure; all combining with the spooky shadows made by the crystal cut shade of the living room lamp, mixed with the still unfamiliar sounds of our new home.

The heavens have sure been giving us all they have to give tonight. I would not be surprised to learn that very few of my neighbors managed to get any sleep with the ruckus that this storm has been putting out. I’m also grateful for being a regular night owl because I’m sure that I would never have slept a wink tonight myself. I hate to admit this but, I do not like storms. Thunder always has me wanting to hide under the bed and lightening flashes give me the heebee jeebees.

At one point tonight my dear Frank was telling me that when he was a child his Mother would tell him that thunder was caused by an old man hauling an overloaded wagon of potatoes across the streets of the world beyond the skies and the noise was caused by the sound of the potatoes falling out of the wagon. My Mother liked to tell us that the thunder was caused by the angels having a bowling party in heaven. One of my friends used to say that thunder was caused by chariots racing on the cobblestone streets of heaven. Boy, parents sure have fertile minds when it comes to explaining nature to their young children, don’t they.

Regardless, I still hate storms. Now that the light is starting to peek over the horizon and the tornado warnings are about to expire I think I will take my overtaxed nervous system to bed. I’ll see if I can ignore what remains of the rain as it dances against the window panes.

Something tells me that tomorrow (well today now) the insurance agents will be overworked by new claims for hail damaged cars and missing roofing shingles combined with flooded basements, I just hope that I awake to find that we are not among them.

I will have to save this post until I awake and the DSL is back up but I wish you all a good night. May you sleep under peaceful skies.