Thursday, May 31, 2012

Villa Ridge Zephyr

 About a quarter mile from my Mothers house sits an abandon Zephyr gas station and cafe.  The old place was already empty and slowly deteriorating when my parents moved to that stretch of the famous Old Route 66 back in the mid seventies.  

I took this photo of the old sign in March of 2011, but, for some dumb reason, never did photograph the decaying building.  When I did a google search I found quite a few shots of both this sign and the building going back about ten years.  Most of them were done when the sign was hiding behind and overgrowth of vines and weeds.  I also found that a artist named Tripp has done a watercolor painting of the old building that was very good.

Click on the following links or key Villa Ridge Zephyr into google.  

I captured the following sign during my last trip to Omaha.  It was nighttime so it is not the best shot but I wanted to share it because I have never seen another like it.  The moveable sign was in front of the Bag and Save supermarket near my sisters house.

Nice to know that someone is thinking of us old folks.  I see "expectant mothers" signs around here but never "Senior Citizens."  

Linking to Signs Signs hosted by Lesley

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

So Forlorn

My blogging buddy Linda over at "The Road Awaits..."  Has agreed to take over the hosting for Wordless Wednesday since our last host has moved on to other interest.  To join the fun  post a picture that need few or no words and link up to Linda meme by clicking here.  

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Spotty Old Barn

A Craigslist find recently had the Old Salt and me making the drive over to the little hamlet of Campbellton, Missouri.  While there I captured this old barn.

 While the siding is a little less for wear, there appears to be some great old barn wood underneath it.  

To see my favorite shot from this series jump over to Cashjocky's Photos by clicking here. 

I am linking to Barn Charm, Ruby Tuesday and Rednesday. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Roof Top Perch

If I am going to be honest about this post I must admit I have never been a fan of having a cat in the house.  Growing up we always had a few barn cats around the place, but, my mother made sure we did not turn them into pets.  Mom dislikes cats more than anyone I know and some of that has surely rubbed off on me.  

When my first husband and I moved into our first place, his sole possessions were a battered suitcase of clothes and a lop-eared cat.  Over the course of the  thirty-seven years we were married I would guess we had almost half that many cats come and go.  It seemed they met some tragic fate or just disappeared to be quickly replaced by a new stray.  

I kept them fed, saw to their shots and allowed them to curl in my lap for petting during my TV time and even enjoyed having my feet warmed by those that slept at the foot of the bed, but I never became emotionally attached to any of them.  


When we downsized to a small condo our daughter took our cat to live with her, and I thought I had seen the last of the cats.  Not so.  Shortly after my husband passed away my daughter boomeranged and asked to move back home.  She brought her husband and child with her but not the cat I was happy to learn.  That didn't last long because Santa left a black tortoiseshell kitten at our house a few months later.  

After the Old Salt and I decided to get married, my daughter and her family moved into a place of their own.  Of course, their new apartment didn't allow pets so they left the cat with me.  That was over five years ago and I have become that feline's human.  In fact, Velvet choose me to be her human from the get-go. She is a  little Diva who thinks nothing of charging a dog four times her size and does not tolerate most humans. I am convinced however, that she loves me and I slowly began to reciprocate those feelings for her. 

Boo in his favorite napping place 
The Old Salt had always been a dog person and had no experience with cats.  The fact that Velvet quickly added him to her dislike list didn't help.  However, the Old Salt has a favorite author named John D. Mac Donald who wrote a book entitled "The House Guest" about life with his cats.  In this book Mr. Mac Donald stated the optimum number of cats to have in one household was two.  The Old Salt took him at his word, so, it wasn't long before a visit to our vets office had us returning home with a gray tabby kitten.  Boo had been rescued from a barn and had a "Please adopt me" sign on his cage in the Vet's lobby.

Then we took pity on a family that were being relocated to South America and adopted their  pair of sister cats adding Midnight and Pork Chop to our small condo.  Those girls were the biggest handful I have ever dealt with and they kept our household in a state of distress for quite some time.  If you think having a two year old child in your house is challenging try caring for a pair of spanish speaking (or is that understanding) sisters who only want to eat table food, were not litter box trained, had no respect for boundaries and were terrified of being around other cats. 

Pork Chop

Before long Midnight grieved herself into a serious liver disorder and lost over half of her body weight.  Twice daily feedings with a syringe became a permanent way of life and slowly over a period of six months her health was restored and our menagerie began to co-exist but not always peaceably, until another health issue took Midnight from us this past spring.

 Our cats are as different as possible from each other.  Even though we have a cat door onto our patio Pork-chop never uses it.  Boo will go out for short naps in the sun.  Velvet, however,  likes to be outdoors and quickly learns how to circumvent any obstacle we create to prevent her escaping from our fenced patio to roam the neighborhood.  

About a week ago Velvet did not return for her usual afternoon siesta in the middle of our bed.  She failed to show up at the sound of the treat box being shaken in the kitchen for the first time in memory.  By bedtime she still had not come home and one worried Old Salt  went checking our all of her known haunts with no success.  Finally, she made her way home to repeat the process again, and again over the next several days.   Her odd behavior certainly had us worried.  We even considered locking her in the house when she showed up for lunch on the fourth day.  We resisted using that tactic and she was soon gone again.  

I was a little later than usual going out to water my flower beds that night.  As I was working my way around the inside of the patio fence I kept hearing this soft meowing over the noise of the garden hose.  

Finally, I looked up to find Velvet, sitting like a queen on her throne, surveying her domain from the rooftop of our townhouse.  That is where she has been most of her waking hours ever since.  It took another day to figure out how she was getting up there and we still have not found a way to keep her from climbing up to the roof.  At least we now know where to look for her and she seems to like being up there and so far no damage has occurred, so I guess we have to accept we have the only roof perching feline in the neighborhood.  

Linking to Cats on Tuesday 

Blue Nuns

A few weeks ago we traveled to Omaha to attend my nieces confirmation.  As I was exiting the church I literally bumped into a couple of Nuns.  Given we were in a Catholic church there was nothing unusual about meeting these ladies.  What did surprise me was the color of their habits.  When was the last time you saw a group of Nun's dress in Powder Blue?  

After a brief conversation with one of the Sisters I learned they belonged to a new community of Nun's called the  Brides of the Victorious Lamb.  Their order is only located in the Omaha area and their decree of recognition was signed by the Archbishop less then four months ago on February 11, 2012

You can learn more about this new religious order by visiting their website by clicking here.  

 Linking to Blue Monday 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Men!!!! Really???

 I keep a small Cedar Box on a shelf in my bedroom. The  Lane Company used to give them away to graduating high-school girls back in my day.   It was a way for Lane to advertise their  hope-chests.  It has held my lifetime collection of nail care tools since 1964.

I happen to have a strange pair of feet. They are almost square in shape with stubby toes and a high instep.  The worst part is my toenails don't grow outward and long. They prefer to grow straight up creating what looks like a limestone dome on the top of my toe.   I have to file them down to be able to keep wearing shoes.  Last night  I could no longer tolerate my big toenail rubbing on my shoe so I carried my little box into the living room and asked the Old Salt to file down my nails. I still have a sore ribcage from my recent surgery and bending over to reach my sad looking toes is too painful for words.

After a quick look at the toe in question he announced that my tools were simply not adequate for the job.  He began whizzing around the house collecting items from toolboxes, kitchen drawers and some unknown private stash and soon laid them out on the table like a MASH surgeon preparing for a operation.  After he doused everything with some antibacterial spray he was ready to go.   

Admittedly, he did a great job of curing my nail problem but, I'm not so sure I want to add a staple puller, wire cutters and paring knife to my little cedar box.  

Now on a completely unrelated note.  

About a week ago we finally bit the bullet and made arrangements to have a new hot water heater and water softener installed in our house.  The old ones being original to the place, and hitting the thirty year mark, were causing us to have to schedule shower times around how long the old heater needed to recoup.  And, don't even think about running the dishwasher.  

Wednesday morning Lowe's showed up to deliver the new equipment and the plumber was pounding away in the basement.  Our parking area was littered with cardboard boxes, backing materials and worn-out equipment making it off limits to anyone wanting to actually park a car.  Suddenly, I heard the doorbell ring.  By the time I got to the front door I was just in time to holler at a lady who was getting into a mini van double parked on the street.  

She got out and made her way back through the obstacle course to my door carrying a large wrapped package.  

Inside I found this lovely bouquet of flowers.  

I was trilled at receiving the gift but totally confused as to who could have sent them.  I simply could not think of a single person who would do such a thing.  Finally, it dawned on me the answer was on the card sticking on the pick in the middle of the bouquet.  

I doubt you will never guess who sent them?  

I certainly would never have thought  to expect a get well bouquet from 


Pink Surprises

It has been a long while since I've been able to participate in Pink Saturday.  Some how Pinks have just not been popping into my line of vision.  This week I finally have a few, but, you will have to be the judge of how great they are.

 A few weeks ago we went to Omaha for my niece's confirmation.  While there I learned the newest trendy place for tween girls to shop was  --- ready for this--- Victoria Secret.  Certainly not a store that would have been on my radar.  I got this shot of the window as we entered.  They were having a PINK sale.  


Returning home we took a detour to investigate the small town of Plattsmouth, Nebraska.  While there I noticed that their trash containers are ---- drum roll, please --------- PINK.

In the little town of Rosebud, Missouri is a roadside stand that I like to visit.  Besides fresh fruits and veggies (in season) they usually have some great deals on bedding plants this time of year.  The other day I found a variety of these concrete mushrooms (made by a local man) that could be used as stools or lawn art.   I would love to have a set but decided  it was just to easy to make my own.  A cardboard tube, a couple of trift store bowls, some readi-crete and a few cans of leftover paint and Wa-La Mushrooms.   I'm not so sure I would want to have faces on mine but if I decide to go that route I know my sister could do a better job then these.  

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Our fence

Around sunset each day I go out to water my flower beds.  The other evening  I noticed something very different about my neighbors fence.  Naturally, I ran in the house for my camera.  These are a few of the results. 

 I will continue to post the rest over the next few weeks.    

My neighbor, Michelle has had purple clematis growing inside her patio for years.  Suddenly, this year, the plant decided to expanded over the top of the fence.

Bye the way, if you are the praying sort, Michelle has just been diagnosed with the worst form of leukemia and could use some prayer warriors.  

There are four townhouses in our building and this fence encloses all four patios.   This shot starts with the honeysuckle hanging on the fence at unit four.  It goes down the row, past the roses at unit three, past Michelle's clematis at unit two and ends at the bump-out which is the start of our place or unit one.

 These butterflies are hanging on my section of the fence right at the corner in the above shot.   Now I should warn you that I like to cover my fence so you may be shocked by the assortment of things I have found to hang on it.

So don't forget to stop back by for installment two next week.  

Linking to Friday Fences 

Prayer of the woods

 A while back my brother and his family took a family trip to Louisville, Kentucky.  When they returned I was going through the photos my SIL had taken and discovered  these four banners (I'm going to consider them signs for todays post) and fell in love with the content.  With my SIL's permission I am posting them today to Lesley's meme on Signs. 

I believe these pictures were taken at the Louisville Zoo

What a wonderful reminder as to how much generations of homosapiens owe the humble yet so might tree.

 My research shows that this prayer/poem has been used in the Portuguese forest preservations for more than 1,000 years.

Prayer of the Woods
I am the heat of your hearth on the cold winter nights, 
the friendly shade screening you from the summer sun,
 and my fruits are refreshing draughts,
 quenching your thirst as you journey on. 

I am the beam that holds your house, 
the board of your table, 
the bed on which you lie,
 and the timber that builds your boat.

I am the handle of your hoe, 
the door of your homestead, 
the wood of your cradle,
 and the shell of your coffin.

I am the bread of kindness,
 and the flower of beauty. 
'Ye who pass by, listen to my prayer:
 Harm me not.

LInking to Signs, Signs

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Round's About

 Over at Tina's Tuesdays PicStory the featured theme this week is "Round".  This has given me the opportunity to dig out a few of my more unusual captures that would probably never see the light of day without my being able to add them to something special like this meme.  

Some old insulators being used as yard art 

 Thermometer found on the side of an old barn 

 Black Walnuts waiting to be shelled 

 View inside a row of old tires 

 Freshly cut tree stump 

That row of old tires used in the previous shot 

Hop on over to Tina's blog and check out what round items others have to share this week.  

Click the badge below to go join the fun.

*round - rund*

Monday, May 21, 2012

Watermelon Carvings

Years ago my sister and I owned a catering business together.  We catered mostly wedding parties but my favorite kind of function was the smaller house party where we could get very inventive and creative with the menu.  That small catering business lead me to buy and open a  family style restaurant where I served a Sunday Brunch Buffet so I could continue to do those creative types of dishes.

One of my favorite things to do (in season) was a watermelon basket.  I could get rather creative with how the melon was carved.  But, recently a friend sent me one of those e-mail forwards that can be very popular.  This one featured a variety of carved watermelons that were entered into a contest at a watermelon festival that was supposedly held somewhere in Italy.  I googled the information and found these same photos posted on dozens of blogs but after much trying could not find the original source.  

So please note: these are not my photos and I can not give credit to the carvers or the photographer.  I can not even give credit to the place where this festival was supposedly held.  But, these pics are just too good not to share. Since there are so many I have but them in a collage or mosaic form.   

Of all these carvings I feel that I could only do justice to trying to copy these last  four

So, does this inspire you to head to the fruit stand for a nice big watermelon?

How creative could you be with one of these wonderful summer treats?  

I am linking to Mosaic Monday 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sunday Snapshot

Any of you who visited this site over the last few weeks noticed my sticky post about going in for surgery.  Now that it is over I can relax a little and fill you in on the details.  Being the blogger that I am I tucked a small camera into my travel bag.  So, lets take a peek around my hospital room.  

This happens to be a room in the ICU (intensive care unit).  The doctors wanted me where I could be closely watched for signs of complications after my lung biopsy. 

I was in a third floor room but the view out my window was nothing more than the roof top of  the surgery unit below.  

There was lots of gravel and some nice blue sky

and lots of big stainless steel bowls and towers

Never did learn if this was heating, AC or ventilation equipment. 

The view from the end of my bed.  I had a flat screen TV and on the shelf on the right was a  VCR and remote control.  That gray square on the bottom shelf was a combination radio and I-pod player.  Behind the door next to it was a small refrigerator.  The long bench became a bed if someone wanted to stay with me overnight.  I have never had such luxuries in a hospital room before.   

The curtain opened onto a nurses work station and I found it rather noisy at night. 

My room was large and had a sofa and work station for the Old Salt to use while I was napping.   

Since I took a picture of the Old Salt he had to make sure and get one of me as well.  That big smile was caused by the news that I was getting to go home and had nothing to do with how I was actually feeling.  

My veins kept collapsing so it took five tries to get the IV started. All that sticking left me black and blue up and down my arms. There were some complications getting the airway tube down my throat which left me with a very sore throat. I have three incisions in my side and some badly bruised ribs from the procedure.  But, overall I am recovering nicely.  

Now why did I need this biopsy?  

While being treated for cancer last winter I developed some unrelated complications.  After months of visiting specialists and a battery of testing it was discovered that I am suffering from Pulmonary Fibrosis. The doctors feel that it is rather advanced since the bottom lobes of my lungs have started to collapse when I lie down.  The only way to know for sure was by doing this lung biopsy.   

The lab results will come in slowly over the next two to six weeks as all the different cultures the doctor requested are grown in the lab.  The doctor is checking for both obvious and rare causes for my fibrosis. On the list are TB, chemical and asbestos exposure as well as a number of bacterial and viral causes. The doctors hope by finding a cause they will find a way to slow down the progression of this condition. 

I have never been a smoker but my first husband died from COPD and smoked heavily until his death. I breathed a lot of second hand smoke both at home and in my working life.  However there is no proof that smoking is the cause.  Doctors have said that currently there is no known cause for this condition and the only treatment is a lung transplant.  But, I have also been told that due to age, cancer and diabetes I am a poor transplant candidate. 

In fact, one specialist very bluntly told me he believes I only have two good years left before I end up on full time oxygen and that he felt I would be dead within five years. 

I am hopeful the doctor's diagnoses is wrong.   Current studies show that doctors are mistaken about 15 to 20 percent of the time on average. And, of course, some doctors more than others.   If that fails I am certainly going to do everything in my power to defy the odds.  Studies we have found say the median life expectance for this condition is ten years.  That means that as many people live beyond ten years as die before then.  But, a relative  had this condition and lived almost twenty years with it.  Admittedly her last few were difficult for both her and her children.  While my diagnoses is not the same as my first husband's was, he did live for fifteen years after he was told he had six months at best.  

Having already lived through being a caretaker for someone who was dying of a lung disease I know what to expect when my condition reaches the point where I cannot get enough oxygen to sustain normal activities.

My worry however is not for myself, it has to do with the tole this is taking on the Old Salt.  He is not dealing with it very well and I can't fall apart because he does better when I am not upset. 
Caring for my first husband taught me to live life in the moment.  That knowledge is certainly serving me well now and it is what gets me through all this waiting for the final verdict.  

I want to assure you the state of my health is not going to become a major topic on this blog.  In fact, this will probably be the last time I discuss it this openly.

Back in 2007, a wonderful lady named Tricia started a blog entitled "I slept with Robert De Niro, but about my Cancer."  The Old Salt and I read every post from the announcement of her diagnoses to the day her best friend posted a final entry on her blog telling all of us she had died in 2009.  He said he would leave her post up so that her followers could share their comments.    Tricia was a wonderful screenwriter and did a great job of mixing her life story around the details of her cancer treatments.  She wrote an honest narrative  of her illness using humor and suspense to keep you waiting for the next installment in the story of her fight.  She never gave up and fought the good fight right to the end.   

I do not have Tricia's talent with words and I have never been known as witty.  Besides, I have a hard time getting my family to read this blog (which they find dull and boring) so there is no way I will turn it into an essay on my health woes which my family already believes I exaggerate.  

I have been dealt a rough deal, that I am now trying to get adjusted to.  But, I will continue to live my life as full and active as my situation permits. When I no longer have anything I feel I can contribute to this blog that you, my faithful readers, will want to tune in to read--- I will simply let it go as we must let everything go in the end.

I take my inspiration from Tricia.  I, too, plan to fight the good fight and never give up.

Let me end this with a poem by Dylan Thomas that speaks volumes about how I'm feeling right now.

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night
Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked no lightning they

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

I am linking this post to Sunday Snapshot

Ni Hao Yall