Monday, December 31, 2007

Message for the New Year

There's an old saying: "Don't cry because it is over, smile because it happened". New year is the time of beginnings. It is time to start afresh and do things that would make someone else smile. Make at least one person happy and you'll see the difference it can make in both your lives. The essential message of New Year is let go of the past and embrace the future. Harry and I wish only the best for each and every one of you in the coming year and beyond.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Year 2007 is Fast Fading

Today is the last Sunday gathering of 2007. Everyone was here. We ate home made taco salads and then we all watched the ultrasound video of the new baby. It's unbelievable how detailed those scans have gotten to be. Doctor says everything looks perfect. We could even see the four chambers of the baby's heart. I can confirm the rumors that we're having a boy. Ain't no doubt about that. Sarah is doing so well. She is positively glowing and Buddy is, too. They will be model parents. We are so excited. The little ones watched the video, too. The oldest was concerned that Aunt Sarah might find all that wiggling around painful. We reassured him that it wasn't and then he was OK with the event. The youngest just kept saying, "WOW!!" and looking at Aunt Sarah's tummy. His big questions were, "Is a baby boy really in there? Can he hear me? When will he be done?"

Everyone has plans for New Years Eve. The old folks plan to be just that - Old Folks. I'd like to go out until I try to decide where I'd like to go. It's then I realize that there's no place like home. So home it is. New Years day will be spent at home as well. The two married sons and daughters-in-law want to spend the day together at their homes. The unmarried son has three or places he intends to visit. He never tells all - I guess that's a good thing. We probably don't want to know.

I'm not making New Years Resolutions. I'd just break them and then feel like I failed myself. I can think of a few I should make, but that's another story. No use going there this evening. What are your resolutions? I'd love to hear all about them.

I'm fast turning into the proverbial pumpkin. Good Night to all.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

It's a Big Sunny Day

As the oldest grandson said this morning, "Nana, It's a big sunny day." He is correct. The boys were here for a little while this morning and I was so glad to see them. They and their dad decided to let their mom sleep in. Dad was taking the children to a little cafe for breakfast and they were talking about what they would order. I was listening and heard the oldest say, "I don't like green eggs and ham." To which the younger said, "I like whatever they have if it's breakfast stuff." By being quiet and listening I hear some of the most interesting conversations between those two.

I've been thinking about all the work-related travel I did before I retired. Every place has an icon in my mind. Rock Island, IL - Iowa Machine Shed; St Louis, MO - The Hill; Alexandria, VA - The Fish Market; Washington, DC - The Mall; Rockville, MD - G Street Fabrics; El Paso, TX-Wings (on the reservation just east of the city); Las Crusas, NM - Organ Mountains; San Francisco, CA - The Persido; San Diego, Ca - Balboa Park. Boston, MA - The Green; Baltimore, MD - Aquarium, Chambersburg, PA - the Amish market on Saturday morning. This is only a few; I could go on and on. No wonder I'm tired. I worked long hard hours most of the time, but my job gave me something I would never have had if I'd had any other career. It gave me a picture of the world. Once more I give thanks for all my blessings.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Gray Day in Huntsville, AL

Last night was stormy with lots of wind and some rain. The storm was the flashy, noisy kind that always gets the cat in a strange mood. I slept through most of it but woke periodically when the cat would decide to lay on me. Today has been just about the same. The front is almost past us and we have the promise of colder weather for a few days. (Colder for north Alabama, that is.)

I haven't accomplished much today. The gray, yucky days just leave me with no get-up-n-go. The grandsons didn't spend time with me today so I didn't have anyone to play Legos or watch Diego with me. In other words, just a blah day.

It's probably a good thing that the boys didn't come because I'm developing a sore throat and I think my ear would like to hurt. Maybe it'll be gone after a good night's sleep. I seldom develop a full blown throat or ear infection. Being a tough old girl does have advantages.

Our big news of the day is that our daughter in law, Sarah, had a definitive ultrasound today and there is no mistake that the baby is a boy!! We saw the pictures and we can confirm that. She and our son, Buddy, sounded really happy, as we all are. Time is really moving fast and now that Christmas is over things will begin to come together for them. The nursery is almost ready and most of the essentials are either in place or on hand. Sarah's mother and father, who live in Minn) will be here somewhere around January 25th and stay for a few days before going on the the coast for their winter sabbatical. Later they'll be back for the birth and to spend time with new grandbaby. We're walking on air at the prospect of a new grandson. I have my rocking chair at hand and will have it warmed up just in time to rock our new bundle of joy.

Harry always says, "Leave 'em with a feel-good note." The expected new baby boy is my feel-good note for today.

Hope everyone is well and ready for a new day tomorrow. My best to everyone.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

How Not To Workout

Sorry, everyone.

I just couldn't resist.

video

A friend sent me the above video. You may have seen this many, many times, but it was new to me. I need exercise but not at this gym nor on a machine that is kin to this one. I'd never walk again!! At least someone came her rescue before rolling with laughter.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Last Days of 2007

Here we are, the day after Christmas 2007. It's time to file Christmas away under memories and move along. New Year is the next biggie - well, a biggie for some, a plain old day for others. I'll watch the Rose Bowl Parade (hope Harry will watch with me) and drool over all the flowers. One day I'd like to see the Parade in person and close enough to be able to reach out and touch the floats. Even though I'd like to watch 2008 arrive with festivities, I know Harry and I will look at each other, yawn, and just sleep through the arrival. Ho-Hum!!

My next big project is to clean out my closet to the bare walls - both of them. I still have clothes in there that I wore when I was working. I'll never ever wear them again by choice. Someone should be wearing them as they are quality clothes and basic classics in like new condition. I trust that Goodwill will find them a new home. I'll empty my shoe chest as well. After I finish the closets, it's back to the kitchen to get the upgrades to the cabinets. I want pull-outs added to the lower cabinet shelves so I don't have to get on my knees to get things out of the back. Not all that lazy just gettin' older.

The big thing happening here is that the heat pump is on the blink. The axillary heat is working but that is really expensive to use for everyday heat. I certainly hope it's just a relay or something simple to repair. I'm prepared to be told that the compressor is bad since the unit has been in use since 1989. If that is the case, I'll have a whole new system installed. Big bucks, but it's just money, after all. What am I going to do with the $6.99 I have in reserve? Leave it to the kids to fight over? Not! I dread the process but I'm not stressing over it.

I took a long look in the mirror a few days ago and was absolutely shocked at how much weight I've gained. In some ways I knew it but, darn, that long look was too much for me! Gotta be some changes made. I hope Harry will support me in a diet change. I'm sure he will but will he join me? More on that later. For now I need to move along.

Thanks for visiting my blog. I look forward to your comments.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Day, 2007

Christmas Eve with all the kids was a blast to say the least. We all ate like we'd never had a full breakfast. Even the grandsons ate as if they'd been working outside all day. We had a Southern Country Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, peppered bacon, country ham, sausage gravy, home make biscuits, and a big bowl of mixed fresh fruit. Of course there was also plenty of butter, jellies, honey, etc. It may sound hokey but we all enjoyed eating this food - we don't often have a really big breakfast. It's a treat for us.

When it came time to open gifts, Papa (aka Harry) filled in for Santa.
(As an aside comment. Harry painted the picture in the background.)

True to form, the eldest grandson is interested in the toy. (Bumble Bee Transformer)
The youngest is checking out the wrapping paper.
He likes to keep samples of all wrapping paper.


The absolute highlight of gifts was the armor that the eldest son made for the grandsons (his nephews). It was a monumental task in that each scale and the base had to be assembled and attached by hand from very basic material. He makes the armor according to historical descriptions. This armor is constructed so that it can be adjusted to size as the boys grow. This gift can - and hopefully will - be handed down to generations. Folks, below you are looking at a gift of pure love!
The eldest grandson being outfitted for the first time
by his uncle who made this awesome gift.

The grandsons admiring their newest treasure.
They were really proud of their "really, real armor."

Today Harry and I are being quiet old farts. Harry gave me a gift certificate good for an all inclusive trip to the beach whenever I want to go and for however long I want to stay. (Is that dangerous or what?) Harry's gift is a Garvin GPS thingy so we can find our way to the beach and back home again. Remember we are old and need all the help we can get. Our three sons and families are enjoying their Christmas day together. We're sure our daughter and her family are having a wonderful Christmas in Phoenix with her husband's family. We miss her but are glad she has family there and is happy.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas is Here!!!

It's Christmas Eve!!! The treat boxes for each household is complete. Breakfast for dinner, per the request of our three sons, ingredients are ready to sizzle. It's cold with a big frost this morning, but I know many of you are really having bad weather. I really don't know where all of you live but some are in the mid-west and the weather doesn't appear to be user-friendly there. Please be safe.

I had a little fire in the kitchen last evening. I haven't told Harry - he was already in bed fast asleep - so it will be news to him when he reads it here. It wasn't serious and the clean-up was easy but the blaze was tall. If/when you make peanut brittle remember that it reaches the "NOW!" stage all at once. Don't forget to turn off the stove and make sure nothing is close enough to fall on the burner. Then look back to be sure everything is OK. That's all I'm going to say about that.

What's in the treat box you ask? A full pan of brownies, choc covered peanuts, Chex party mix, turtles (Crusty's recipe), the traditional 1 lb bag of M&Ms............and the peanut brittle.

I can hardly wait for the children to get here. The house will be filled with frantic gift opening, giggles, and lots of love. Christmas day will probably be quiet with just Harry and me and that's good, too.

A very merry Christmas to everyone. Be safe, enjoy the excitement, and remember the reason for the season. Give thanks for all your blessings.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas

May Christmas and the coming year be
Filled with the blessing of peace.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Santa's Watching

This was kids and Nana day. We made a couple of gifts for Mommy and Daddy but didn't get the Sculpey project done. Some things just take longer when you're 4 and 5 years old. Lots of questions to answer and lots of other stuff happens. I'm sure you understand. Since Mommy and Daddy sometimes read my blog I won't say more than that. The boys want "things" to be a secret.

The last two nights have been pretty sleepless for me so I'm really tired tonight. Harry is cooking on the grill (thank heavens) and I'm just being a slug. When I'm a slug, I'm a slug of the worst kind!! I intend to get an early start tonight and get a full night of zzzs.

Yesterday Harry and I went to a movie. He's instructed me not to tell that we went to see this movie so I won't . . NOT! We saw Enchanted. I enjoyed it and so did he even though it's hard for a real man to say the movie was nice. There was no stress, bad language, blood and guts, or bare bodies. Just a cute fairy tale. Wasn't Harry sweet to go with me anyway? I think so.

Dinner is ready. I'm going to be served, eat, and chill. Bedtime will be early. Have a wonderful evening yourself and be good boys and girls. Santa is watching.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Three Musketeers

This is a picture I promised to post so the kids can see themselves on the computer. The center little boy is my 5 year old grandson, Jesse. At kindergarten these three have earned the nickname "The Three Musketeers" because they are always together. The little girl, Emma Mae, is the grand daughter of my best friend. The child's mother and my sons were like brothers and sister. They didn't want to be seen together unless something went wrong with any one of them and then the three solved the problem together. Emma Mae should have been a little younger than Jesse but she decided to be first and made a premature entry into this world. As a result she's almost two months older than Jesse. I think this little girl is an angel and I so proud that she and Jesse are friends.


Harry and I were both busy today. I didn't have time to cook dinner and that sure didn't break my heart since I'd been making Christmas candy most of the day. Harry suggested we go to Ryans this evening. It's an all you can eat buffet so you just walk right up, serve yourself, sit down and pig out. I wasn't bashful and built the biggest salad I could get on my plate. While I was eating I watched people circle the feed bins somewhat like starving animals. I was so disgusted that I circled and filled my dinner plate with baked chicken, lima beans, and a couple of things I can't name but that tasted pretty good. It was a quick and easy dinner but we certainly didn't go our cholesterol or sugar levels any favors. I feel like a stuffed turkey and look like the Goodyear blimp. It's gonna be a looooonnnnngggg night - so I better get started .......................................have a good night and an even better day tomorrow.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Where Does Time Go?

Is it Tuesday already? Where does the time go? There was extra room in my freezer after the Sunday fish fry. I did cook a lot but in the overall scheme of things it hardly made a difference. Deep fried fish and hush puppies are something I only hear about in the south. Some people here fry everything. I really don't. I prefer the grill.

Today was Sam's Club day. Harry went with me today and I was certainly glad. I bought the things I buy in bulk, Kleenex, paper towels, detergent, etc. Harry was there to put the loot in the car and bring it in the house. Tomorrow I'll go to the market to buy ingredients for baking and making candy. Thursday, weather permitting, I'll be at the golf course and Friday the boys and I will make Mommy and Daddy gifts. (The Sculpey web site is a great help, Cheryl. Thanks for suggesting it.) A week from today is Christmas day. I'm so blessed to have Harry sit on the sofa with me and just enjoy being together for the day.

Does anyone have plans for New Year? We don't yet. Even though I'd like to enjoy New Year away from home I don't guess we will. We'll probably turn into pumpkins about 9 PM.

As you can tell, I'm having trouble writing. Nothing comes to mind worth sharing. So - - Good night and sweet dreams to everyone.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Fish Fry in December

Hello, again. A sincere thank you to everyone who left comforting posts. They really meant a lot to me. I don't often have really, really bad days. However, this time I really hit bottom. Having the kids here yesterday, the kind comments from you guys, and getting a lot of rest for the past few days all served to pick me up. I'm still sad but realize that life goes on. I did talk to my sister and she could respond. Time will tell what's next. She's still in Eisenhower Hospital in Palm Springs, CO.

We did have the fish fry yesterday. I pulled my big fish fryer out of storage, washed her, filled her with peanut oil and fired that baby up. I did batter some of the fish but I also fried some of it "nekked" as one son said. The hush puppies were things of joy to hear the kids tell it. I made them with beer and they were really crusty. I learned many years ago that if you have the oil hot enough when the food goes in the food forms an instant seal and doesn't soak up the oil. The trick still works. Harry and I strained and returned the oil to its original container and very little was missing. Now I have a large container of used peanut oil to dispose of. Minor detail. I might add that clean-up was a breeze. Oh yes, we had our usual green salad but with lots of add-ins for those who wanted them. Big yummy M&M cookies were dessert. No one went away hungry. Even the 4 year old sat up at the table and insisted on "spectin' for bones" under my watchful eye. Bones weren't an issue but the little ones are always encouraged to be mindful of possible bones anyway. Enough about fish fries.

I asked the grandsons if they would be really disappointed if I didn't put up a tree this year. They understood and said it was OK if I didn't. I'm so very glad about that. Everyone will be here Christmas Eve for the traditional "breakfast for dinner" and the children will get their gifts from us then. Santa will make his delivery later that night. Harry and I intend to have a very quiet Christmas Day together. We are very content to have it that way as long as we know the rest of our little family is happy. We'll just sit and hold hands like the two old farts that we are. . .maybe watch the Rose Bowl. . .maybe not.

Again, thanks to everyone for the kind words. Everyone get comfy, curl up, and dream wonderful dreams until morning calls. I intend to try.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Not My Best Day

As you can see, I still haven't resolved the issue of my header picture running away. I haven't had much time to think about it, though.

We all know that nothing runs smoothly for long and I've hit a snag. I won't let the children know that I just want to go and hide in a cave. I'll keep a bright smile and move along.

The first upset happened just after 9 PM last evening. Long story short the Huntsville police received a call to respond to an accident not more that three blocks from our home. The current story is that when the police arrived a man who was inebriated was sitting on the curb. When the police tried to arrest him the man pulled a hand gun and shot one of the two policemen between the eyes. The standing policeman and two citizens managed to wrestle the man to the ground and apparently they weren't very gentle with him. There were sirens, blocked roads, phone calls going back and forth between houses, and a myriad of other confusion. The police are still holding details close and people are really confused. It was well after 2 AM before I could get settled down and even longer before I went to sleep. (Judy, it was on the northwest corner of the Bailey Cove-Weatherly intersection in front of the grocery store.)

Harry let me sleep until I woke up this morning so I missed the initial phone call telling me that my sister had a stroke while visiting her son in Colorado. She was air-lifted back to Palm Springs. I just called the hospital and she wanted to talk to me and did try. I believe her mind is fairly clear but she can hardly talk. There is a full time nurse with her so I don't worry about her being alone. She is the lady whose 91st birthday picture I posted a few weeks ago. Only she and I remain as representatives of our generation (in this family) and I do not relish the idea of being alone in that role.

Harry went to a reef club meeting and I'm making the effort to gather myself and move forward. I have so much to be thankful for and I must keep a positive outlook. Especially with Christmas only days away.

Bottom line: If I'm out of sight for a couple of days, please understand. If I start to have a pity party, remind me of all I have to be thankful for. I'll be OK when I catch up on sleep (again) and get my mind settled.

My best to everyone. Tell everyone close to you that you love them and include a big hug/kiss to seal the statement. Hugs to all of you.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Play Day

Blogger seems to have issues with me today. The picture in my header disappeared, I tried to reload it. No luck. I tried to load another picture into the header. Still no luck. Oh, well, I guess Blogger is having a bad day. Maybe it'll have a better day tomorrow. Imagine that - it's probably something I did.

The boys and I enjoyed our play today. Later in the day, Harry got in the picture. He had those two boys wound up tighter than a seven day clock. The three of them were playing in the living room and making so much noise that the boys mom and I couldn't talk in a normal voice and we were in the sun room (three rooms away). They had a tickle fest followed by a wrestling whoop-de-do and ending with a wild silly conversation about talking to Santa. I declare this house is mostly fun and games.

I didn't cook this evening. Harry and I went to our favorite Chinese restaurant. The food was good, as usual, and I love their hot tea. I hope it doesn't keep me awake but if it does I'll just remember how delicious it was and how much I enjoyed drinking it. This restaurant also serves steamed sticky rice that is wonderful. None of that instant processed stuff. I can usually get a serving from the edge of the steamer - my favorite. This family is all about food.

Tomorrow morning I'll make the trek to buy the rest of my Christmas cooking 'stuff' and a couple of extra goodies. I have wine and various drink ingredients in house already, but because our expectant mommy is only drinking soft drinks now, we may just leave those on the shelf. Not really a bad idea overall. I'll begin making goodies on Monday or Tuesday. For some reason Christmas doesn't seem to be a chore this year. Everything will happen at the correct time and will be fine. The important thing is that we'll be together.

Folks, it's high time I take care of a couple of really small chores and settle in for the rest of the evening. Be happy, safe, and well. My best to you all. Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Uneventful Day

Tomorrow is grand kids day with Nana and Papa. I don't have a lot planned for them to do but will come up with something. Planned activities are much better than just finding something to do. I may help them work with modeling clay in prep for using sculpey to make Christmas gifts for Mommy and Daddy. Gifts have to be made at the last minute because the boys want to give gifts as soon as they're done. Whatever we do will be fun. I'll feel better after spending time with them. They always make me laugh.

I received the results of my blood work yesterday. (I had a checkup last Friday.) I have copies of all the results of blood work done since 1997. Since 2004 everything has been excellent. My readings fell almost exactly in the mid range. Not this time. There were 5 - yes 5 - elements out of range. Cholesterol is excellent. Those 5 out of range elements may have something to do with my being washed out more than usual for the past few weeks. I don't know much about medical "stuff" so I'll wait and let my doctor give his opinion. Then I'll ask questions. I'm not sick and I'm not in pain. Maybe there's nothing wrong with me except that I'm mean.

It was a damp, rainy, gray day today just perfect for an outing. NOT! I had to go to Madison Square Mall because that's where the Sears store is. For play, the boys wear Toughskin Jeans that can only be found at Sears (I believe). I thought the mall would be packed but it wasn't. I was there just after they opened and was in and out with no trouble. Not pushing my luck by going back before Christmas.

As everyone can tell, nothing exciting happened today. Harry and I did spend some time talking and had a few chuckles. We are both just so thankful for all we have. I pray that everyone is well, reasonably happy, and content tonight. Bed time, nite nite.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Hump Day Blahs

It's 66 degrees at 8:08 PM here in Huntsville, AL. This just ain't natural. Global warming? There may be a dusting of snow over the weekend, if we believe the weatherman. I'm not optimistic. I see the reports of the destructive ice in the mid-west and north-east and remember how beautiful the ice is when sun shines on it. I also remember how treacherous it makes any form of movement and the long power outages. Please, everyone travel safely.

I'm really tired and a little distracted this evening. It must be the blahs! I think I should just say good night to everyone and wish each of you a wonderful evening and a good nights sleep.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Normal Routine and Happy Plans

Back to the normal routine. I love my routine so I welcome it. I have all our Christmas gifts but still have to wrap them. I like doing the wrap because I can be a bit inventive. Creative outlet, you know. ;-) Everything that needs to be is in the mail and/or shipped. I have my recipes together and will start the serious baking next week. This week is the "Gathering-of-Ingredients" stage of the holiday process.

Our little group made the Christmas plans together. Everyone will be here Christmas Eve. The kids sort of requested a winter breakfast feast served at dinner. Of course, that's a wonderful idea. On Christmas Eve the kids can open their gifts from the aunts, uncles, and Nana and Papa. On Christmas Day, our individual little families can spend part of (or the entire) day at home together - whatever they choose. I'll have an early traditional (for us) dinner for everyone who wants to come and eat on Christmas Day. Harry and I keep everything casual so the young folk don't feel rushed or obligated to meet any schedule because of us. We love having everyone here with us but we're comfortable with each other, too.

We're beginning to get really excited about the new grandbaby. Will it be a girl? Will we have another boy? One of both, perhaps? Papa and Nana are so happy that we will get to spoil this baby, the way we did the boys. By the time baby arrives I'll have my rocking chair warmed up and ready to go. Papa already has his new grandbaby strut turned on. We miss having our granddaughter who lives in Phoenix with us. But we know that their little family is happy in Phoenix so we are happy for them. They are very close with our son-in-law's parents so they aren't alone is the big southwest and our granddaughter has grandparents to spoil her. All is good in our world.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Proof is in the Pictures

Final over all results. Joe's 25 pounder is the dark fish (cobia) in the center.
Just off the boat and very proud.
Left to right: Oldest son, Joe; Harry; Middle son, Keith (boy's dad); Youngest son, Harry Jr. aka Buddy (dad to be).

The proud winner of the "Big Fish of the Day Award"

He is thinking - "Hurry up and take the darn picture. This baby is heavy."

What more can I say. Picture is worth a thousand words. Other than that Harry says the red necks on the coast - he's one - call the cobia "Lings".

NOTE TO RICKY: Be sure to read the blog following this one. And show it to Jenna and Jade.


How To Know When You're Old - And Blessed

These two beautiful young ladies are my great-great nieces. Yes, that's right. Ricky is my nephew; his youngest daughter, Jill, is my great-niece; Jill is the mother of these two beauties. The pictures were taken on the 4th of July. I believe Jenna was approx 7 and Jade was approx 5. Correct me if I'm wrong, Grandpa. The picture was taken on Ricky's deck in Vista, CA. Yes I do feel old when I think about it but I'm also blessed. (Notice the bubbles floating around the girls.)

The men folk are on their way home. Harry called earlier and said they'd be home early this evening. I'm proud to say they had the fish cleaned, packaged, and packed in ice by workers at the dock. We'll have to divide and repackage them this evening and get them into the freezer pronto. If they have as much fish as they say they have, we'll all grow gills before it's gone.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Sunday is Over and Monday is On The Way

It has been a good day. The two daughters-in-law, two grandsons, and I went to our favorite Mexican restaurant for a late lunch today. Everyone enjoyed the food, watching the boys manage their soft tacos (which they ate), and having a good time. After eating we came back to my house to talk and laugh some more. Our little expectant mother is beginning to bloom. She has that special glow that goes with pregnancy. We are all waiting to find out if we're having a boy or girl. That should happen on their next visit to the doctor. This week our middle son, Keith, will be taking the crib to the new nursery. The nursery is so pretty and is almost complete. New babies are so exciting.

Harry called me from the dock after the boys day on the water. Between the four fishermen they caught aprox 50 fish. The largest catch of the day was a 25 pound something-or-the-other ( the wind made hearing on the cell phone difficult). I do know that Harry said it was a good eating fish. Our oldest son, Joe, was the proud fisherman who caught it. I understand he was worn out after he landed it. I think all four of our men were dirty, smelly, and tired; but there was a lot of excitement in the air.

It seems the weekend has been an all around winner. However, I'll be glad to have our little group together next weekend. I'm already planning a menu.

I'm going to shut down the computer, make some tea, and read for a while then early (I hope) to bed. Kitty just told me to hurry up. She wants to knead and purr before going to sleepy town.

River Road

It's Sunday morning and I feel as though I've visited another time, another place. This comes from an extended reading of River Road last evening and night. The author, speaking here, is discussing her desire to write a "true to history" novel about New Orleans River Road. From the preface:

I persisted, "I want to write a story about the River Road - the one that used to be the main thoroughfare between Baton rouge and New Orleans, with all those big sugar plantations on it. Then the air line was cut through, and traffic and trade were diverted. Most of the old families felt they couldn't hang on any longer, in their huge houses, under changed labor and living conditions."

"Well?"

He had picked up a cigarette and had begun to smoke quietly. He did not interrupt and he did not try to hurry me. Those were both such unusually goods signs that I was encouraged.
"Well, but some of them did hang on. I'd like to tell you the story of a family that managed to."

Thus "River Road" was born. The author wrote the book while living in a cottage on River Road. (She always lived in the setting of each book she wrote.) The book was published in 1955 and the story is set in the 1860's. It is 622 pages of historic truth built into an enthralling work of fiction.

Well, now you know how excited I get about my books. This is the third (as least) time I've read this book over the years and I never get bored with the story. But now I've bored you with my over exuberance I must begin my day.

I hope your day is a satisfying as I expect mine to be.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

. . And They're Off

The men folks are on their way for their guy's holiday - fishing on the coast. They left our house with big grins on their faces and a let's get going attitude. I called the girls to invite them to eat at our favorite Mexican restaurant on Sunday. It's all arranged and everyone is happy.

I'm going out to pick up new shelf paper and turn tables. This afternoon everything comes out of the pantry and order will reign - at least until the man of the house gets back. The fridge and freezer are on my list, too. This evening I'll curl up with my books, a cup of tea (or two), invite kitty to join me, and we two girls will have a purring good evening. Rain is predicted so it should be perfect.

Take care and enjoy the day.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Another Day, Another Blog

There is a craft fair in Huntsville this weekend. As do most of these events, it runs from Friday morning through Sunday afternoon. Harry and I went today and, as usual, made plans about where to meet and then dived into the crowd. We long ago realized that different things catch our attention so we make things simple. After we meet we have something to talk about on the way home. . "Did you see . . . ?" "Yes, did you go to the tasting table?" (The tasting table question was Harry's and no I didn't go to the tasting table.)

The men folk are getting ready to leave for Florida at 9:30 in the morning. It's a 6+ hour drive to the coast and they seem ready for the adventure. The women folk, on the other hand, are looking forward to good-bye kisses, projects we want to devote time to, and welcoming the men home on Monday afternoon. I have a couple of books that I want to read and I am going to turn off every television in the house and let absolute quiet roar through the house.

My doctor has me come in every 4 months for blood work, etc. My four month appointment was this morning. In the past I've had some pretty serious health issues and doc keeps a close watch on me. Everything looks good and he doesn't expect that any of the tests will be out of tolerance. A few years ago he told me that he thought that I had gotten bad health out of the way before I was too old to put up a good fight. He's been my doctor since 1981. He's not at all like Dr Beige or Dr Brown Eyes. His nurses love him and have been with him for years. Summer, I wish you had someone just like him in your office.

As usual, I've rambled on in a somewhat disjointed manner. I'm a creature of habit, yes?

I'm thankful for my blessings and wish many blessings for each of you.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Slow Day In My World

Today has been a quiet day in our little corner of the world. The birds are competing with the squirrel with feathers on his legs for food. (The squirrel doesn't really have feathers. I say that because he won't eat his own food in the yard next door. He comes to my bird feeders.) I enjoyed watching the birds for awhile today. My favorite is a Downy Woodpecker. He can eat upside down, right side up, or any position in between.

Today Harry did a bit of shopping for the guy's fishing trip this weekend. I hope they have lots of fun and catch big fish. I understand Red Snapper is biting but they are out of season and have to be thrown back. No telling what they'll bring home. If they intend to have a fish fry, I want to cook it on the outside stove.

As everyone can guess, based on my writing, there's not much happening in my neck-o-th-woods. This has been my "be a bum" day. Tomorrow the tempo has to pick up. I've let things slide long enough.

Think happy thoughts and sing happy songs. Later, friends.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

All Is Well That Ends Well

The youngest grandson spent the morning and midday with me today. His older brother's class went to a retirement center to sing. The youngest grandson and I played cars, watched Noggin, and made pancakes. He really did help by getting the eggs, milk, and syrup from the fridge without being told what to get. He also used the wire whisk to stir the batter. When the pancakes were ready to go into the skillet he got a fork and sat at the table to be ready to eat. He ate 3 large pancakes with butter and honey. I thought I'd have to scour the table and floor after we ate but there were no spills. His hands were really sticky, though.

I have the beginning of a sore throat tonight. Maybe it'll be gone by tomorrow. It's been several years since I've had a cold and I'm hoping this won't be the year to break my record.

I think I told you that I ordered Christmas gifts on the net. Well, it's worked out really well. I have everything in-house that I ordered the first day. Two days later I ordered another couple of gifts and they should be delivered tomorrow. I do want to pass on an interesting situation to you. Last Saturday I received a letter from the Birmingham Post Office telling me that a package addressed to me had an unknown substance spilled on it and they couldn't send it on. They told me I could pick it up at their facility. (Picture me with a frown on my face.) I called Monday afternoon and told them that I wasn't about to drive 100 miles one way to pick up a package and that if it was damaged to return it to the company that sent it. The lady was really nice and explained that the letter didn't explain the situation very well. It seems that a mail bag had a liquid spill that couldn't be identified and everything that was affected was held for inspection. Today I received another letter from the same post office telling me that the substance had been inspected and found harmless so all affected mail would be sent forward. The package came and the contents were fine but the outer wrapping smelled like a strange mix of wintergreen and cucumbers. Do you think that a package from Body and Bath might have gotten broken? Anyway I tell you this as a long way of saying the postal service is being watchful of any possible problems with the mail.

I hope those of you with snow had safe commutes and are enjoying the evening. As for the rest of us, we can only wish for snow. My best to everyone. Take care, be safe, and have a wonderful evening.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

It Was a Good Day

Didja? You bet, Summer! I was asleep by 10:30 PM and didn't get up until past 9:00 AM. What a luxury!

Our two live coral tanks have grown to the point that it's either sell some of the live coral or have two coral reef tanks that are just too crowded to enjoy. Harry advertised a few frags (frags are to coral as cuttings are to plants) on a reef bulletin board. I have been surprised how many he's sold. Over the past few weeks he's shipped to all parts of the country and some folks have driven here to pick up rather than have us ship. Tonight we shipped 8 or 9 corals to Florida and 7 to Illinois. I have to say the tanks look better for it all. Even the fish are happier. Below is a shot of about 1/4 of the 190 gallon tank. All the coral is live. If you look closely you can see 2 fish and a snail or two.

I don't know a lot about the coral but I enjoy seeing them and watching the fish swim among their branches. There are always chairs in front of each of the tanks so folks can sit and watch.

I'm going to curl up and listen to the Christmas music on Alabama Public Television. Celtic Women concerts are the best. Hope everyone is having a quiet, restful evening.

Monday, December 3, 2007

A Blank Slate

Here I am ready to write in my blog and nothing comes to mind. Last night was one of my "I can't sleep nights." I hate it when that happens and I have nothing new to read. I hate it even more when I can think of nothing worth writing about. Even the cat seems subdued tonight. She usually comes and talks to us before she goes to bed but tonight she just went straight to bed.

The worst thing in the world is to try to sleep and not to. ~F. Scott Fitzgerald

The best thing for me to do is to say, "So long until tomorrow." and take myself to bed. I hope everyone had a good evening and is enjoying a restful night.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The House That Mary Built

I'm moving a bit more slowly than usual this Sunday morning. Nothing wrong, I just feel lazy. Reading the blogs of my blogging friends has become a regular routine. It's something I look forward to. This morning two of my friends wrote about places they lived in the past and it made me look back.

While Ricky was visiting he asked me to show him the house that I built in the early 90s. I loved that house but sold it because I needed the highly inflated equity to make life easier. After selling the new house I moved back to the house where I lived prior to building. The house I built - or should say had built - was across town from the old neighborhood. It had a small front yard and a huge back yard that bordered a wild life preserve. The house was too large for one person but I had something to prove and let pride and determination guide the plans. When Ricky and I parked on the street in front of the house I had a moment of pride in what I was able to accomplish followed by teary eyes thinking of how far I've come. We rang the doorbell and explained to the young man (a soldier home on leave from Iraq) that I had the house built and was the first to live there. He invited us inside and showed us through the downstairs rooms. I was pleased that everything is still lovely and well cared for. The sunroom was filled with plants and the back yard was as well groomed as the front. Memories of the bobcat mother that had kits under the deck, the wild boar eating my sage, the deer drinking from the birdbath and then eating my favorite rose bush, and all the small animals that visited my yard were unbelievably vivid. I had a content life there but nothing to compare with my life now. I'm happy to have had the experience and I savor the memories but wouldn't trade what I have for anything.

Ok, I've rambled on and proved, yet again, that I'm an old woman who may look back but feels blessed by the now. Have a good day.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Nothing but Paperwork

It's Saturday night - almost 11 PM. It's been a busy day doing nothing - I said NOTHING - but paper work. Year end is upon us and I want to have everything in order to close out quickly. Harry does our taxes. At least I don't have to do that anymore. The bright side of this coin is that I'm finally through.

Tomorrow is gathering day and I believe we'll be one couple short. The youngest son works for a local TV station and was busy filming the downtown Christmas parade today. He called late this afternoon and said that he and his wife (our little mother-to-be) might stay home tomorrow and keep their new sofa company. We'll miss them but I know they want to spend private time together. Everyone else will be here. No sounds of NASCAR to fill the family room - the season is over. It will be a good chance for the adults to just visit and watch the children play. In other words, a perfect day. I think comfort food is in order. How about broccoli cheese soup, toasted croutons, the ever present salad, lots of veggie finger foods and dips, and something sinful for dessert? Sounds like a plan to me.

Next weekend is the Man Trip. Harry and the three sons are going to Florida for their fishing trip. The lady folk will have time to do girl stuff and believe me we won't miss the opportunity. We have no plans so I'll just have to report what we did. Several days until that happens.

I just looked at the calendar and realized it's only three weeks until Christmas. Time moves faster and faster as the years roll by. Today we're raking leaves and tomorrow we're planting flowers. Is that a sign of aging? I think so.

It's time for me to turn into a pumpkin so I better wish you all lots of happiness and joy before the clock strikes. I know it's not midnight but my clock strikes early.

Friday, November 30, 2007

An Evening Across Town

This evening the old folks ventured 24 miles across town to eat at a restaurant we thought was brand new. The manager told us Indigo Joe's Sports Bar and Restaurant celebrated their first anniversary two weeks ago. Duh - The old folks are slow. What can I say? The food was good and believe me we ordered enough to make that determination. Food closer home is just as good, though, so we probably won't add this restaurant to our regular rotation. If an Indigo Joe's is near you and you enjoy sports it might be fun to give them a try. During major sports events they provide table speakers so you can not only watch but hear your game. Their web site is www.indigojoes.com

I have to hang my head and be really embarrassed about my post last evening. I told everyone how I worried about those military planes leaving the airport. I really did pray for the safety of everyone who might be going into harm's way. Harry read my post and had a good laugh at my expense. He told me that it was the same plane taking off every time I saw it. The military is conducting a touch and go training mission from our airport. I felt like a fool and was sorry I included my readers in my misperception. Sorry about that folks. I hope my prayers were heard and applied where they will help most. Prayer is never wasted - not even when they are offered by an old silly woman.

Tomorrow is Saturday and I hope I can start and finish one small project. After a big glass of wine and an after dinner drink at the bar I may sleep like a log until noon or later. Pleasant dreams to you all. Nite-nite

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cold Hands, Warm Heart

Is my sister still active? Yes. She lives in Pamona, CA. She was visiting her daughter in Palm Springs when the picture was taken.
My family was/is scattered over the country. We don't spend a lot of time together but only because of distance.
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Today was Harry's golf day and I rode in the cart with him while he played. The sun was beautiful but the wind was wicked. I still haven't gotten warm from over 4 hours outside. Winter is really here. Below is a picture taken from a distance while Harry was teeing off. The tree and sparse landscape caught my eye. Doesn't the tree almost look like some pictures you see from Africa? A big cat laying on a limb would finish the illusion.
This golf course is adjacent to the Huntsville airport. Planes takeoff and land on the runways really close by. On occasion you see Homeland Security patrolling just outside the golf course/airport fence. Harry pointed out that they stop their truck to gather golf balls that have gone astray and crossed the fence. We had a chuckle about that. We saw several military planes leaving. I hope it wasn't loaded with men and women headed to the war zone just in time for the holidays. Every time I saw one of those planes I said a quiet little prayer for the safety of all aboard and their families.

I didn't cook tonight. We stopped at Nothing but Noodles - which I love - and ate. We decided if either of us wanted something else to eat tonight we could eat left over chili. I'm drinking my second cup of ginger tea as I write hoping it will help me warm up. Next time I'm going to be outside for several hours I'll dress more warmly. It's my fault that I'm cold - I knew full well how to dress.

My day tomorrow is pretty well planned. I absolutely must straighten the house in the morning and the grandsons will be here in the afternoon. Tomorrow evening Harry and I are going to a restaurant we've never been to. No expectations - just curiosity. I don't believe there are plans made for Saturday so I may call it a "read and lounge around" day.

For now, I hope all my blog friends are doing well. My best to each of you. Tomorrow's a brand new day. Let's make it a winner. OK?





Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sinking Time and Happy Memories

Wow, we've laughed, played, talked, told stories, eaten, slept (a little) and had loads of fun. It's all over. Remember how you felt as a child when your Christmas gifts were all opened, your tummy was full of candy and maybe a little good stuff, and everyone had gone home or was resting quietly. It was a real sinking time for me. That's how I feel this afternoon. Ricky is on his way to Atlanta to visit other family members and then he'll go back to California and his usual life. Remember his 40th anniversary is the day after he gets home. Claudia, his wife, is a really sweet lady and a good sport. After all she was glad for her husband to visit family while she stayed home and cared for two of their grandchildren. Thanks you so much, Claudia.

Being raised as an only child of older parents often left me feeling lonesome much of the time. I think that's why these family visits are so important to me. They are a dream made real. I think I said before that the three sisters and one brother were all grown, married, and had families of their own before I was born. Mother was 45 and father was 58. I'm a generation out of sync. Many of my nieces and nephews are older than I. I have several great, great nieces and nephews. The good news is that I'm not my own grandma. ;-)

Below is a picture of my one remaining sister, Beatrice. She is 91 years young and has a mind clearer than mine. She is another member of my family who lives in California. I just hope I'm as lively and bright when I'm 70.

Moving along: We have lots of leftovers in the frig so no cooking tonight. Instead Harry and I will graze our way through corned beef, chili, various veggies (especially raw), cookies, honey cake, and who knows what else. I don't believe we'll go hungry even though there's no baked pineapple, ice cream, or HOT jelly snacks (grandson named them) to be found.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tuesday Evening.

Below is the only picture that I have ready to be uploaded. Ricky (on left) and my son, Keith, talking at the kitchen table after dinner last evening. These are two fun men - both are handsome, too. I think I may have mentioned that I'm in the process of re-doing the kitchen. It's a slow process and the holidays have overtaken me. I'll live with the uncovered light switch and funky phone set up until until to men folk go to the Gulf coast for their boys-weekend-fishing. Then I'll have time to take care of a lot of the little undone stuff.

It's time go get dinner on the table. The natives are hungry. My best to everyone. Until later......

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Fun and Laughter

Just a short post to say I wish everyone could be here. We have lots of left-overs which will make a great picnic for tomorrow. Plans are for Ricky, the grandsons, their mom, and whoever else is able to go for a hike on the nature trail. I'm not hiking but if the weather is nice I may go and sit in a rocking chair on the pavilion deck and enjoy the lake while guarding the food. After all, I'm the nana and nanas love rocking chairs. At least that's what the youngest grandson told everyone who would listen.

The crowd has gone home and just Ricky, Harry, and I are here. Harry and Ricky are talking about something that surely has them laughing. I'm gonna get back out there. Don't want to miss out.

Soul, the pepper jelly, cream cheese, and triscuits was a big hit - a little too hot for me but everyone else - even the boys said yummy. Baked pineapple is on tomorrow's menu.

My best to everyone. I'll post pictures when I have time.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Nana & Papa's Nest

This is the greeting by our sunroom door. It's the door everyone uses.

Quiet times are a thing of the past for the next few days. Tomorrow is our regular gathering day. It will be busy at our house tomorrow and for the next few days. I wouldn't miss it for the world. The grandsons are already primed and ready! Shopping at the market is done. Let the good times roll. Tomorrow there will be at least 13 here and if our friend next door stops by it could grow to 17 or 18. The more the merrier! I'm cooking in the big pots and everyone can help themselves. There will be plenty for everyone.

I finished my Christmas shopping today - on-line. All I have to do is sit on my rumpus and wait for the delivery trucks. I'll go out to the stores/malls/shops a couple of times to see the Christmas decorations and maybe whip up a little extra excitement but I won't have to stress over the gift puzzle. Yea, for me!!

Depending on how late tomorrow's good times last I may or may not post. If I don't have the time remember that I wish you the best. It would be so much fun if I could wiggle my nose and have all of my blog friends here to join the fun.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Old Man Winter is On His Way

The day after turkey day has been calm. No pressure to meet any schedule - just Harry and me rattling around from room to room. Left overs were good and all is quiet in our little world. Rumor has it that temps will drop into the 20's tonight. That's a significant change from the 60's. We'll just curl up and let the world come to us.

We didn't brave the Black Friday crowds today but I did some on-line shopping. I've learned to appreciate that option. Based on local news, there was a mad rush at shopping centers, at discount stores, and especially at electronic speciality stores. If all goes as planned I'll have my Christmas gifts bought and in-house by the end of first week in December. The big craft show here is Dec 7-9. I always enjoy going and will again this year but won't be looking for specific items to give as gifts. I'll just browse and maybe buy something for myself if I find something unique. Thank you, God, for retirement.

Our next big day is Sunday. It's gathering day and Ricky will be here in the afternoon. It will be an especially exciting day. The grandsons are looking forward to having Cousin Ricky play with them. He'll spice up our gathering with stories about life in and around San Diego. He and his wife have two daughters and 5 granddaughters. He's out numbered 8 to 1 and loves every minute of being the 'Man of the House'.

I wish I had something really exciting, funny, or shocking to share with you, my readers, but I'm at a loss. Time to quit rambling and think about getting comfy and curling up with Harry to watch TV or read.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Day, 2007

Thanksgiving Day 2007, will go down in Hooper History as a success. The only thing missing was our daughter and her family. Phoenix is a 'fer piece' from Huntsville, Alabama - too far for day trips. I did the cooking and everyone seemed happy with my menu. I used my blog friend's Baked Pineapple recipe for a new dish. It was the biggest hit on the table! Easy to prepare, quick to bake, and delicious! This recipe will become a standard. Many, many thanks to Cheryl.

The Hooper household is calm and quiet once again. Our guests have disbursed and moved on to other gatherings. Harry and I are going to enjoy a quiet evening together being thankful for our blessings and for this day.

Our nephew, Ricky, will be here Sunday afternoon and spend 2 or 3 days with us. We are so looking forward to seeing him. There isn't a person anywhere with a more positive attitude than his. I've never heard him say a bad word about anyone and he always see humor. I can't feel sad when he's around.

The next few weeks promise to be a whirlwind of activity. Bring it on - I'm ready!!

I sincerely pray that each of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving day.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Best wishes from our house to yours!

The Day Before the Next Day

Whew! It's morning. I went to bed at 7 last evening and slept like a rock until 3:30 this morning. It's the first time I've had a real sound nights sleep in many days. I feel so much better this morning.

At 3:30 a.m. there isn't a lot to do. Harry was sleeping and I didn't want to wake him. Nothing to watch on TV. Not in the mood to read. Ahh Ha! Watch TV episodes via computer. I don't watch any prime time shows. "Men in Trees" is an interesting title. Maybe it'll be a good choice. Now I'm hooked. I watched two episodes of the characters trying to organize and execute a wedding. Everything went wrong. It didn't happen - the groom was struck by lightening, was unconscious, and woke up with amnesia. The cast is an interesting mix of people - all nationalities and backgrounds. Staged in Alaska complete with wolves and beautiful scenery. Corny but also captivating.

Time to get my day in motion. Lots to do and little time. Have a productive day.

Monday, November 19, 2007

I've Fallen in a Rut

First things first. Harry pointed out to me - more than once - that I titled yesterdays post "The Old Floks at Home" Yep, I made a type-o. Anyway we are probably pretty close to old floks so I'm leaving it as is.

Nothing notable or exciting to write about today. This seems to be one of those times that I just fall into the old rut and roll along where ever it leads. I don't fall in often but when I do it's deep. I'll slink off, have a pity party and come back strong - just give me a minute.

Today I spent some time reading past posts written by folks I usually follow. As usual I'm impressed that everyone is observant and consistently good at expressing their feelings. A lot of times I seem to have a problem doing the same - wish I could express myself better.

Thanksgiving is planned. Tomorrow is the last minute market visit and if I forget to add something to my list it'll just remain forgotten. I've set my schedule so that I won't be rushed and in a flurry. As usual, I'm doing all the cooking but that's my choice. The girls can use a break from cooking and I can rest any day. (Cheryl, I have the baked pineapple recipe in the que. Thanks for posting it.)

How many of you are planning to go shopping on Black Friday? (the Friday after Thanksgiving) It is called Black Friday because that's the one day of the year that retailers expect to be "in the black" because they expect it to be the biggest shopping day of the year. Color me staying home!

I don't know how many folks will visit my blog during the Holiday so I want to say now that I am picturing each and everyone of you having a fabulous Thanksgiving filled with peace and comfort.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Old Floks at Home

It's Sunday night and the old folks are home enjoying a quiet interlude after our afternoon with the kids. As usual, Sunday was fun and all the gang was here. I made the usual green salad, and a big pot of home made chili. There were oyster crackers, grated cheese, sour cream, and onion for garnish on the chili, and chocolate silk pie for desert. It was a simple meal but no one left hungry. It makes me proud when everyone eats heartily and compliments the cook. I'm thankful for the bounty of this day.

I did something with the grandsons that I haven't done before. They were so hyper and about to get into trouble for being too loud and silly. I called them to go to the living room with me away from the laughing and talking in the family room. I sat one on each side of me and put an arm around each boy. I had them lean on me and close their eyes. They cooperated because they were intrigued by the new turn of events. We breathed deeply, relaxed, and pictured ourselves in a green meadow with a stream and flowers. Then we each of took turns telling what we were picturing. They were so into the moment and added really neat things to our picture. A pink bird, a puppy, a tall tree with a tree house, and on and on. It calmed them and settled the confusion. I used a different form of this game with my sons and sometimes when they'd had a bad day they would ask for a 'story.'

Our quiet interlude is coming to an end. It's bed time and I hope I can sleep tonight. Hope everyone is resting and looking forward to Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving, now there's another story . . . for another time.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Music Recitals Went Well

Here they are - the stars of our show. Both did a great job with their recital pieces. The theme of this program was Christmas Around the World. The boys represented Hawaii. The older boy played "Happy Birthday, Jesus" (a simple piano version) and the younger played drum and sang with the rhythm line. The kids all had to introduce themselves, tell their age and what they are performing. After they perform they come to stage front and bow. The audience is large so it is daunting but the boys did fine.



This music program was developed in Muscle Shoals and is being franchised world wide. The boys are lucky to be in classes taught by the husband and wife team who developed this wonderful music program. We wish our Little Princess (granddaughter) could be in this program, too. She will be old enough (18 months) in less than a year. It won't be long before we'll have another grandbaby to prepare for this program.

After the music program Harry and I stopped at Books-a-Million. I bought the new release by Donald McCaig, Rhett Butler's People. Curiosity got the best of me. I also bought a couple of Dick and Jane first readers. The oldest grandson and I will start with these books next week.

While at the book store I noticed the "Sweet Potato Queens" books. I've read all of them - they are funny to me but would cause some of the more refined Southern Bells to purse their lips and leave the room with a flounce. I guess you could say the Queens are a bit on the trashy side. I saw their parade in Jackson, MS a few years ago and laughed until I cried. I even thought about petitioning to join their society. I think they would be lots more fun than the Red Hats. If you see these at least read a few pages you might find something to laugh about or an idea for future use.

Now that you've been given an insight into my sense of humor I think I'll close for now. Happy rest of the weekend to you all.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Play Day

My two little playmates came over today and played with me for most of the afternoon. We had fun playing inside and out. No fussing or whining just having a fun time. Do any of you adults understand how Transformers work? Those toys just fascinate me. The boys have to help Nana change them from one configuration to the other. Their play just about uses old Nana up, though. I'm tired tonight.

I was asked if our kitty will drink tea. Nope, she won't. She will taste my coffee if she gets a chance but she won't really drink that either. She only wants to eat dry food and only one brand of that. We love her but she's a silly little seven year old lady with a mind of her own.

There's really not much to write about this evening. Tomorrow (Saturday) promises to be a busy, busy day with the recitals and a bit of shopping. I believe it would be in order for me to close and make this an early to bed night.

Hope everyone has a good weekend full of some fun and lots of rest to be ready for next week. Turkey Day, you know. Nite, nite!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thursday Adventures

After the storms last evening and night we had a bright sunny day but windy and cool. I went with Harry to the golf course not to play but just to ride with him while he played. The wind was not his friend today but we enjoyed spending time together outdoors. The course he played is being sold to developers who plan to build a shopping mall on the property. We wish it weren't true but it is. Another beautiful piece of property with mature trees is going the way of the dodo bird.

Before coming home we ate at "Nothing But Noodles" for the first time. Everyone has probably known about the chain for a long, long time but not us. The food was reasonable, the servings were generous, and the food was tasty and well prepared. Both Harry and I enjoyed our food which was served in a BIG bowl. We aren't vegetarians but it would be a very convenient place for those who are to dine. You can request grilled chicken or steak added to your bowl but meat isn't routinely included.

Below is a picture of a huge nest near the top of a very tall pine tree. We saw this on the back nine of the golf course. Neither Harry nor I have ever seen a nest like this. I appears to be constructed of sticks and pine needles and is about 4 1/2 feet across. Any idea what might have built this? We thought of squirrels but their nests are not shaped like this. Also, this is a very neatly constructed nest.

I'm a little bit at loose ends since I'm not cooking this evening but I won't be bored. After a day outdoors in the cool weather I feel like curling - up much like the cat does - with a blanket and a cup of tea. Tomorrow the grandsons will come to play with me, Saturday is music recital day, and Sunday is Gathering Day at Nana and Papa's. My next three days are planned. It all looks like fun from my vantage.

Time to push the Publish Post button and cruise a bit. Until later: Bye and have a good evening and night.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Music Recital Weekend Up Coming

My plan to wash windows was dashed by rain and bad weather in general. It was semi-nice this afternoon but I had other things on my agenda than the windows. As I type I can hear the distant rumble of thunder - a storm is moving this way. Our temps have been in the mid 70's today and a cold front is moving in. This will be a storm with hail, lightening and lots of boom booms. I'm sure Mr Wind will take part, too.

Both our grandsons are in a music program called "Early Childhood Music". The oldest started when he was 18 months and the younger when he was not yet 14 months. They can both sing the scale pretty well. . .However, the youngest has trouble with "la" but the other notes are fairly clear. This Saturday is their holiday recital. The oldest will play a simple version of "Happy Birthday Jesus" on the piano. The youngest will be playing rhythm and singing something that he says has to be a surprise. They are 4 and 5 now.

That brings back memories of when my oldest son was graduating from preschool. The graduation program was over and the superintendent asked if anyone had anything they needed to say before we moved on to church service. Of course she was talking to the adults. My oldest, Joe, (4 years old) stood up and said that he needed to say something. The superintendent told him to come to the front and tell everyone what he wanted to say. That child - MY child walked to the stage, took the mic and proceeded to sing a full rendition of "Casey Jones" loud and clear. (His father slipped out the back door but I had to stay and face the situation.) When he was through everyone was gracious enough to smile and "give him a hand." Everyone with small children take note: You never know what your child will do or say next. Just love 'em and enjoy 'em.

On that note I'll close. Tomorrow is another day. My best to everyone.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Our Little Princess

Let me introduce our one and only granddaughter. In this picture she's approx 8 months old and we learned last evening that she's now crawling. She lives with her mommy and daddy in Phoenix. They don't get to be part of our Sunday gatherings but we always think of them when we're together. We wish they could be here to eat, laugh, and swap stories of the week just past. We know that she's the star of the show at her Phoenix grandparents house - and she should be.



I had great plans to accomplish miracles today and beat a few items off my to-do-list. Great plans have a way of turning into little fizzles. Long story made short, that's what happened to my day. I needed some notes to make a phone call and spent a looooooong time looking for them. Would you believe they were in the last place I looked? Right in the file where I put them. No excuses other than being more than a little disorganized.

Tomorrow is Harry's day to go to the driving range to hit golf balls. Before he leaves I hope to get him to help me move a heavy sofa to the middle of the room so I can begin cleaning windows. There's lots more to move but I can handle those things. The youngest grandson will be with me in the morning so this should be fun. The first part of this operation is to remove screens and use the water hose with an attachment to clean the outside of the sunroom windows and then wash the screens. I know I'll need help holding the hose so it's great that the 4 year old will be here to help me. This family loves teamwork.

Harry just called me outside to see the crescent moon. It's beautiful but our camera - which was new almost 7 years ago - doesn't capture a night sky very well. Maybe we should start considering a new camera - suggestions anyone?

I'm going to watch TV with Harry for a bit and then call it a day. Tomorrow promises to be a full day and I'm looking forward to being a major part of it. Until we meet again - Happy Trails to You.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Buttermilk Sky


Monday is fast coming to a close covered by a buttermilk sky. Made me remember an old Willie Nelson song by the same name. I know, I know few of you are Willie fans but I am. I admire his ability to keep on keepin' on. (picture made from our driveway over the top of our big white pine tree)

We have a new neighbor across the street. I met the wife and one of the two daughters today. They are going to fit into the neighborhood just fine. Her husband was transferred here from California. She said that his company will be moving 500 families to Huntsville as soon as the facility here is complete. If anyone is interested in seeing a boom-town just come to Huntsville, Alabama! I would never have believed that this little sleepy town would be what it is today.

In last night's post I talked about the grandson being concerned about learning to read. His mom and I are going to start helping him learn simple words. She has some instruction given to her by a mom who home schooled and we'll use that. No big decisions have to be made today or this week, for that matter. We just want the child to feel his needs are being met. Our goal is to solve the issue calmly and without a big splash.

Harry is cooking a couple of steaks on the grill tonight. We'll have salad and other left-overs from yesterday. I would be happy with a snack while completing plans for the next few weeks. Harry, on the other hand, wants a meal so a meal it will be. (He's cooking.)

Tuesday will be here soon. I hope each of you have a peaceful night and a Tuesday that's all you'd like it to be. Thanks for visiting.

"In Flanders Fields"

For various reasons I haven't mentioned Veterans Day but it's a significant day in my mind. My father was in WWI, my half brother in WWII and Korea, three nephews in Viet Nam, my son in Desert Storm. These are only a few - there are other family members who served during war/conflict. During WWI in France and Belgium wild poppies sprouted amid the death and destruction of battle. Thus the poppie became a symbol of sacrifice.

This poem - written in 1915 by Canadian Army surgeon Lt. Col. John McCrae - marks the connection between sacrifice and poppies.

In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Regardless of how you feel about war and conflict please remember all men and women serving in harm's way and their families. Their sacrifice is great.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Party's Over and the Week Begins

It's 8:30 p.m. and the weekly Sunday gathering is over for another week. I'm tired but was sad to see everyone pulling out of the driveway. Summer, I did make the gravy and your suggestion was a winner. The gravy boat is empty. Not to mention names but the 4 year old was wiping the electric skillet with a biscuit when he thought no one was looking. I pretended to see nothing.

I had an interesting conversation with the 5 year old this evening. He came to me and asked me - very quietly and seriously - if I could take time to come to the game table and play with him. We went to the screed porch where we play when weather permits. He wanted me to show him how to make something other than 'stamp outs' with play dough. We made mushrooms, frogs, snakes, and lily pads. I knew he wanted to talk about something but was hesitating. I finally told him that he can talk to me about anything and if I could help him solve a problem I would. He asked what his teacher was expected to do in the classroom. My answer was she should teach you things appropriate to your age like to read, print letters, his name, etc. (The list went on for at least five minutes.) I asked why he wanted to know and he said his teacher only taught play dough and puzzles. He looked really sad and said,"Nana, It's just my luck to have a teacher who can't teach me to read. I thought I'd learn to read for real when I went to school."

I have to break here and explain that his 5th birthday was Oct 4 and he had to be 5 before Sep 30 to start kindergarten. His parents made the decision to send him to a private preschool this year because he was disappointed about kindergarten. He and one other child in his class have the same situation. It's awkward to deal with this because he is so interested in learning.

We were in our Sunday visiting mode this evening so I didn't talk to his parents about our conversation. I will do so privately tomorrow. This is going to take some thinking to arrive at a solution. My inclination is to buy a Dick and Jane book and teach him to read simple stories. It would be a simple task but mommy and daddy have to make the decision. My gut reaction is to home school both boys to the 5th grade and then have them placed at the proper grade level based on standard testing. Oh the joys of raising children.

Now that I've gotten that off my chest - so to speak - I think I'll have a nice calm cruise through blog land and be in bed by 10 p.m. Hope everyone has a peaceful night and rises to a calm and manageable Monday.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Trees

Below are the long awaited trees. They're in the ground and all tucked in for winter.





Japanese Maple at front of house, Willow Oak (our lawn - neighbor's house), Chaste Tree at side of house

Today is being a lazy day. We're eating out so no cooking. I finally feel rested and will be ready to roll tomorrow. I'm looking forward to next week and inside progress. It will happen in time.


I've been Internet shopping for appropriate fabrics for a project I'm going to be doing. My favorite fabric store is G-Street Fabrics in Rockville, MD. They also have a couple of other sites in the DC area. If I can't find anything to suit me I may make a trip to shop there. I wish they had a web site that allowed shopping. It would be a 13 hour trip one way but I've made the drive to DC many, many times so it's no big deal. Harry is going to read this and have a seizure!! He doesn't relish a trip north in the almost winter time. We'll see how this goes. I'm also planning a few days on the Gulf coast in January to rest up after the holidays.



Can you tell I'm about over my "never going to travel again" phase? Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.

Friday, November 9, 2007

It's Sleepy Time

Finally I can consider the yard work done for the fall. The landscapers came and planted the trees this afternoon. I must say they did an excellent job and their bill was way reasonable for the job they did. The oak tree is approx 11 feet tall, the Japanese maple is over 7 feet, the Chaste tree is around 4 1/2 feet. The grandsons were also here this afternoon so I didn't get to make pictures before dark.

I think the pain that I fought for several days took a bigger toll than I realized. I'm not in pain anymore but I'm really tired. Too much medication and not enough real sleep is my guess. Anyway, this post is short because this old gal is really washed out. Another good nights sleep will go a long way to perking me up.

Thanks to everyone for visiting my blog. I wish you all the best.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Low energy - High Expectations

Thursday is spent and Friday looms ahead. Today was golf day but I only rode in the cart and enjoyed the day. Just didn't feel up to playing. We went to my favorite little course, Harvest Hills. It's a short course but it does challenge your short game. Enough about golf.

Christmas in on the radar and I need to devote time to getting ready for the holidays. All the kids will be here except for our daughter and her family. They are in Phoenix and won't travel back for the holidays. We'll miss them. We'll especially miss having the granddaughter here to round out our group of little ones. It's enough, though, to know that they are well and happy and that they can be with her husband's family. (Judy, if you read this: Papa H. (at the nursery) sends a big HELLO)

The landscaper should get the trees in the ground tomorrow. We'll see if that happens. Anyway, I've done about all that can be done in the yard before spring. It's time to leave the yard to old man winter and move inside. I won't be bored - still things to do and places to go.

Everyone, I'm just plain boring tonight. I best say have a wonderful evening and a sound night of sleep. I'm off to rest and try to replenish my store of energy.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Tough Old Gal - That's Me

Here I sits a-waitin' on FedEx to deliver critters for the reef tanks. This promises to be a busy day. Not only do the critters have to acclimated to the reef but the 4 year old grandson will be here to help. Yep, this is a fun day. Cheryl, when the reef settles down after being disturbed I'll make more pictures and include them in a post.

I've had a few pity parties with you, my readers, about having flares. I realized (when asked) that I should tell you a flare of what. In 1991 I had a serious hip injury and lesser knee injury resulting from a fall. At the time it was debated whether or not to repair the hip with a steel plate or allow it to heal. I insisted on healing. I have never regretted that decision. It was a long process but the results were excellent. I had very little problem for several years then started to have periods of intense pain in the hip followed by pain and swelling in the knee. The diagnosis (from two specialists and my GP) is CPPD. Don't ask me to say it much less spell it. As I understand it, crystals form as a result of trauma resulting in arthritic flares. When the hip flares I tend to stress the previously injured knee which causes it to build fluid and feel like a hot wire is in the joint. Prednisone does wonders - not only for pain but especially for weight gain. (Which I definitely do NOT need.) Naproxen helps when everyday pains get above a certain level- those aren't as bad as a flare. Vioxx (spelling??) was a wonderful drug for me but, alas, it has been taken from the market. I'm a tough old gal and have a high pain threshold so the everyday thing is just an annoyance. Hip replacement has been mentioned but for me that's a choice of last resort. The flare is over for now thank goodness!!

Today's action is about to start. I need to roll up my sleeves and jump in. Later, friends.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

This is My World Today

We're having a beautiful day in north Alabama. It's a bit cool - 52 to quote the thermometer but the sun is warm. These are my favorite days. Our infamous squirrel is being a bad boy again. He dug under Harry's outdoor bonsai but luckily the plant wasn't damaged. If I could catch the little brat I'd transport him to the mountain but that would probably be a bad move this time of year. He wouldn't have a winter store of food, no source of stolen food, and besides all that he'd be a stranger in a strange land. Remember he does have his own food source he just likes being a bandit. The grass is always greener and all that jazz.

I'm feeling like a real person today so I hope the flare has flown. With any luck it won't happen again for months. My lazy streak is still with me, though, and I surely need to drive it away. I'd be so happy if I could be outside with a blanket, a lounge chair, and a good book. The neighbors would talk about how crazy I am but who cares what the neighbors think? Not me! I'm collecting my stash of books for winter much like the little animals are collecting food. So far I have five and am trying to find specific titles by a favorite writer. Alibris is helping me locate them. When I cross the great rainbow bridge my cache of books will be a real find for someone. Please note that I have no plans to cross that bridge until I'm at least 105 .

Harry is getting a BIG shipment of reef critters (not coral) via FedEx in the morning. A few of his reef buddies will come to help make the critters comfortable in the tanks and take some of them home for their own reefs. Our reefs are doing well and growing like - well, like weeds. Harry is now selling frags (starts of coral) locally and on the Internet. He has several really colorful specimens that are hard to find especially if the collector is interested in tank grown rather than wild caught coral. He shipped two rather large shipments yesterday and has made several shipments in the past two weeks. Wild coral reefs are in distress almost world wide and shouldn't be subjected to harvest.

Harry just called my attention to the snow fall happening in Michigan, Ohio, and Penn. Get ready, 'cause here winter comes. I didn't realize snow was happening already. I'm sure we won't see any but this may indicate the start of a cold winter. If we get a share of the cold weather maybe it'll be gentle.

So goes life in our little corner of the world. Hope your corner of the world is treating you like royalty.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Time Marchs On

Met my goal for today. Trees are purchased and arrangements made for landscaper to install. Didn't get trees planned - I got side tracked - for various reasons I chose a Japanese Maple (red), a Chaste Tree, and a Willow Oak. The oak is about 12-15 feet tall. Enough about gardening.

Summer: My basic way of cooking cube steak. I use Lowery's Seasoned Pepper, very little or no salt, and light coat of flour. After seasoning hold steaks in fridge for approx 1 hour and pan fry on med low heat in a 'stick-free' pan with just a bit of olive oil. Not fancy or hard to do. Sometimes I add other seasoning depending on the meal. Another way is to pan fry without the flour and mix equal parts of white vinegar, brown sugar, and ketchup (red pepper, etc, for heat to taste) and add the mixture to the pan after steaks are done then cook to blend and thicken. Use as sauce over steaks. Skip potatoes and gravy. The steaks are also great to use in beef stroganoff (just cut into bite size pieces). These little jewels make for quick and easy meals. Just my style.

Now I've gardened and cooked - both of which I enjoy - I need to sit down and clear my mind for the next chore. I need to make a list and prioritize it. There are clothes, furniture, and various stuff to either sell or donate. The house is bursting at the seams and it makes me irritable. Enough said about that, too.

I'm beginning to see some of my winter birds return. Harry says that I've created a year round welfare program for birds. I may have but I love it and won't let them be hungry. Water's not an issue because there is a creek very close by and they can drink and bathe there.

All's well in my world and I wish the same for everyone else. Until the next time.......my best to you all.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Sunshine and Cooler Temps

This was a good day. The pregnant daughter-in-law was feeling good - no nausea - so the whole gang was here. The sun was bright, the birds were at the feeders, the squirrel with feathers on his legs was eating out of his own stash for a change, and the leaves are showing signs of color. It's also pleasant to have cooler weather for a change.

My planned menu went out the window when our oldest son said he wanted cube steak for his birthday dinner next week. I made my recipe of barbecue sauce and did baked ribs with the sauce. It's another favorite of the gang. The salad had the usual greens plus tomatoes, black olives, bell pepper, and pickled corn (little ears of corn). There were other things to add if individuals wanted them. In addition to the ribs our meal stared Brussels sprouts. The usual ice cream and cookies (for those who wanted) finished the meal. It was so good to see our preg girl eat and enjoy the food.

The boys decided that a "man trip" to deep sea fish is in order. Harry and the three sons are planning to go deep water bottom fishing for some specific fish. I didn't understand what kind of fish they hope to catch. They are hoping to charter a boat the second weekend in Dec. It will be cold on the water and they'll freeze their bums off - at least. More on this subject as it comes to my attention. I'm happy they are going together. They will have a ball.

Someone wasn't sure what cube steak is. It's round steak that has been put through a machine that cubes (tenderizes) it. The result is a very tender, lean small steak that I pan fry with various seasoning and serve with smashed potatoes and gravy - along with other veggies, and home made biscuits. The oldest son loves this menu. I don't have to coax the rest of the gang to fill their plates, either.

I've written a lot tonight. Hope I wasn't too self centered and boring. May all of you have a week filled with only good things.

Golden Raintree

The Golden Raintree is a small tree with golden flower spikes in June/July. The flowers are followed by paper thin seed pods that look like Chinese Lanterns. They are green eventually turning to brown. Each pod holds only one black seed. The leaves are fine and make almost no litter. The pods are not a problem either and I never had a problem with sprouting. The one I lost was around 15 years old. At one time they were unheard of here but when mine first bloomed someone from Huntsville City asked me about the tree. Now they are the center planting of one of Huntsville's most traveled streets. The pictures below are swiped from the net. I couldn't find a really good picture of mine. Now you know and if you've never heard of or seen a Golden Raintree you can say that you learned something this weekend.

Mature Tree