Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Knights in Shining Armor

Whew!!! Papa and Nana were just about to be carried to the ends of the earth and dropped into never-land. We were saved when two knights in shining armor came and rescued us. Papa and I were so afraid and so happy to see our rescuers. We rewarded them with hugs, kisses, and treats. There was just enough time to snap their picture before they rushed away to save others who are in peril.


I feel much better. Rested a lot today and being rescued by these brave knights almost cured me.


My best to everyone. Hope you're having a fun evening.



Happy Halloween

Wish I had time to post a neat picture - I'd have to find one first - or say something original - can't think - or tell a story relating to Halloween - don't know one. So, I'll just say . . .
HAVE A FUN AND SAFE HALLOWEEN

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Jumping the Traces

This has been another one of those days when it is just too much effort to get very involved in doing what I should be doing. I'm still fighting off a flare up and I think maybe I'm gonna win. I certainly hope so because I have lots to do. Won't it be a glorious day when some wonderful somebody invents (or finds) a fool-proof fix for Old Uncle Art? When it happens Summer (who's having a flare right now) and I may jump the traces!! (Wonder how many of you know what 'the traces' are.) If you don't know, Summer, it's a mountain saying meaning that one is going to abandon work and drudgery, run away, and have fun kicking up their heels (so to speak). I highly recommend it to anyone with the energy to jump.

Nothing irritates me more than a car or computer that won't do what it should and dealing with insurance companies. I had to have a "come to Jesus" call with our vision insurance provider this morning. I was not feeling well and not at all amused that the insurance company was telling us that progressive lens weren't covered under our policy. It's too long to write details but the bottom line is that they decided I was correct, progressive lens are, in fact, covered. I barged my way through three levels of the hierarchy to get it settled. Harry said - and he's right - that a revision will be published in a few days saying progressive lens aren't covered. Now I've vented, I feel better.

Rereading the above reminds me of my oldest son, who was then in fifth grade, coming home from school in a serious funk. The funk was unusual because he was usually laid-back and happy with things at school. I asked him what was wrong and he said,"Mom, I love you and God and everybody but Mrs.---- (his teacher at the time) is being a real witch spelled with a B." I bursted out laughing and in a minute he did, too. I didn't ask what went wrong because he was already in a happy place and I didn't want to bring up a sour subject. He found the only way acceptable to call his teacher a _itch. (She really was)

Harry is watching something on television and me thinks me'll join him. I'll check on everyone later. Hope you're all having a good evening. Until later, bye now.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Oh, What-a-Day

The picture in my header was taken in the redwoods somewhere north of San Francisco and south of Seattle. We drove hwy 101 from SF to Seattle a few years ago. This is one of my favorite pathway pics.

We watched an unusual but very interesting movie this evening. It was billed as a biography of Bobby Darin and titled "Beyond the Sea." I knew a lot about him but learned even more. If you haven't seen the movie and like unusual presentations I can recommend it.

I'm pretty tired tonight even though I didn't accomplish very much today. I did work outside some but still have more to do. Harry completed the stone borders and I really like them. When spring comes things should look much better in our yard.

There are a couple of things I intended to write about tonight but now that I'm in front of the computer I realize that I'm beat. I'm trying to ignore and avoid a flare up of 'Old Uncle Pain' but it's getting harder to do. Meds seem to fail to be effective sometimes. During those times I don't have as much git-up-n-go. I think I may call my doctor and shimmy on in to see him on Thursday if I think a full blown flare is on the way. Folks, I'm not down; I'm just bent and will be goin' full force again very soon.

I'm going to check on my blog friends, maybe make a comment or two, and waddle on to bed. Have a good night everyone and a pleasant tomorrow.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I Think I Can Whip Old Age Into Shape

Yep, Soul, I called them reefers to see if I'd get feed back. You were sharp enough to pick it up. I hope everyone had a chuckle. The club is the North Alabama Reef Club, NARC for short. Don't ya love it?

I talked to my nephew today. They aren't in danger - at least for now. He said new fires have started but that the wind has died down so maybe the firefighters can get a handle on it. He hasn't seen the sun or moon since this all started other than as a glow. The smoke and fallout must be unbelievable. Thanks for thinking of them and asking how he and his family are doing. His home is on a hill close to the ocean and the fires are about 4 miles away. He said he tried to post a comment to my blog but wasn't successful in getting it published. Ricky, if you read this and need to correct what I've written, please feel free to do so.

Our "gathering" was small today. The youngest son and his wife weren't here. They are in the early stages of pregnancy and, ladies, you know what that means. She probably couldn't bear to look at food or listen to the confusion that is our Sunday fare. We missed them but know they are snuggled up at home. All the rest of the gang was here. The oldest son had a really rough week at work and was not his usual joking self. Everyone else was cool and ready. We had Cubanita sandwiches, green leaf salad, nuts, cheese, fruit, and cubed home baked ham. It was a bit of a patchy meal but everyone left full and satisfied. I didn't make the potato soup - just too lazy and decided we didn't need it with all the other stuff.

Tomorrow begins another week and I'm promising myself that I will make progress towards my goal. Several years ago I suffered a fractured hip. It mended well without surgery but Old Uncle Pain has taken up residence there. It isn't bad and can be controlled but I'm trying to even out my projects to not stress the hip and cause a real flareup. Old age isn't user friendly but I can whip it into shape - just wait and see.

Hope everyone had a relaxing weekend and is able to face the coming week with determination. I'm betting you can. Later, my friends.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Whirlwind is Over

I believe the whirlwind is over. The past three days have been a blur. No, I haven't been ill. Things have just been coming at me fast and I'm a slow old gal. First thing this morning the middle son and oldest grandson came by for a few minutes. The grandson and I built an airplane with Lego blocks and talked. Afterwards it was a rush for Harry and me to shower and primp-up to go to the reef club meeting. I hate to admit that I didn't cook for the potluck lunch as I always do but there just wasn't time. Instead I had the local deli prepare a large cheese sampler tray. It saved time but I won't make a habit of doing that. I felt like I was cheating.

The meeting was held at the Coral Reef Aquatics shop. Johnny, the owner, makes the club welcome - the atmosphere is almost like meeting in some one's home. Most of the long time members were there as well as some new reefers. I was glad to see everyone and chat for a bit before the real reef talk started. I know very little about the technical aspects of reefing and can contribute nothing to the "reef-talk" so I went to the car to read. When the meeting was winding down I visited with the folks again. The club is a really nice group. Everyone gets along, helps each other, shares information freely, and above all makes everyone feel welcome. Even dummies like me.

I have to admit that I took a nap after we got home. I laid down on the loveseat in the room where Harry was watching a NASCAR race and dozed off and on for a long time. Yes, I can lay comfortably on the loveseat since I'm barely 5'1". Anyway, I'm awake now and feel none the worse for the wear and tear of the last day or so. Tomorrow is the day all our kids will be here (both the big ones and the little ones) and they'll just have to wade through the clutter. Tonight is NOT the night that I'll do anything except maybe watch a little television and read.

I had a phone message from my nephew in California when we got home today. The fire was within four miles of their home. I know his family is suffering from the bad air quality, fall out, and just general stress. I'm thankful that the family is safe and their home is intact. He's always optimistic and chooses to see the best in everything. At times his life hasn't been easy but he just moves onward and upward. My heart goes out to those who lost loved ones and homes.

Past Midnight

I'm sooooo off schedule and confused. It's past midnight so it's officially Saturday. Where did Friday evening go?? I think I lost it somewhere in the whirlwind. Do I make coffee now? Do I go back to bed and wait until later? Do I just throw my hands up in the air, sit down, and wait for whatever happens next to happen. I think I'll just wait and see. No promises, no guarantees.

Have you ever been really tired, gone to sleep, and woke up confused? That's what happened to me. Today - or was it yesterday - was a whirlwind of activity. Kids were in good moods and rare form. We played frisbee (their version), hide-n-seek, and tag (again, their version). They ate a good lunch, watched a kids movie, (thank goodness) and were good kids. No disagreements and no major catastrophes.

The stacked stone border is almost complete. We'll have almost half of one flat left for whatever. We'd like to have a naturalized pond but look at each other and sigh when we think of all the work and upkeep. The pond probably won't happen. Harry gets the credit for the border. If I tried to do it by myself there would just be a pile of rocks strung everywhere.

Before the kids got here I went to the grocery and bought a small ham to bake. That was lunch, dinner, and snacks. The youngest boy kept asking for another "wittle swice" until I was afraid he'd be sick. He didn't want his gummy bears just another "wittle swice".

So in a nutshell: I shopped, cooked, played with kids, and worked a bit in the yard. Harry worked hard most of the day. By 6:30 everything had gotten calm and I was so tired and sleepy that I went to bed and slept like a log until I woke up just after midnight. I'm wide awake which is bad news. Tomorrow - I mean today - is North Alabama Reef Club Meeting at 11:00. We are going and I'm taking a cheese and cracker tray. I'm guessing there will be about 30 people there so that means I have to be clear headed enough to cut a lot of cheese cubes and still have enough sense to smile and make conversation from 11 o'clock to whenever someone decides the meeting is over.

I've gone on and on about nothing but it's helped me to get centered and realize that I just need to go to bed and try to sleep for a while. Thanks for listening - errr - reading.

I pray everyone of you reach the level of contentment that we have. It's a long road folks, but well worth the trip.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Titles are Hard to Come By

It's been a gray day here - Yuck!! Gray and raining would have been acceptable because we badly need rain. I haven't accomplished much today other than somewhat organize my desk and clear out two weeks worth of junk and useless notes. We didn't go golfing after all. I slept too late and ruined Hubby's schedule. He is a sweetheart, though, and assured me it was OK. I didn't even cook today. We ate out. Lazy, lazy me.

The grandsons will be here tomorrow and, since they always want to be outside, we may try to do a little yard work while they play around. My goal is to have the yard and house in order to only need light weekly maintenance by the first of the year. Then I will feel free to sew, paint, golf, and all the other things I feel guilty for doing now. Of course, I will continue to visit my blog friends and hope all of you continue to visit me.

Hubby brought in the mail and I just looked through mine. I have two magazines (that I subscribe to), a couple of catalogs, two bills, and the Francis Parkinson Keyes book (River Road) that I've been trying to find for sometime. I'm collecting her hardback books as I can find them. She is a wonderful writer who last published in the late 1950's so it's hard to find her books. People who have the hardbacks tend to keep them. Anytime you read one of her novels you have probably learned something as well. She wrote stories based on diaries, historical documents, etc. She always lived in the setting of the book she was currently writing. Some of her best books (IMO) are River Road, Steamboat Gothic, and Queen Ann's Lace. For those of you who enjoy reading check your library for her work. If you don't already know about her you may find a wonderful new source of reading entertainment.

It's almost 7:00 pm here. I still have time to open my latest acquisition, inspect it, and maybe read a bit.

To all of you, have a wonderful evening, a peaceful night, and an exciting tomorrow filled with only good things.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Mr. McNasty Wednesday

In response to your last comment on my prior post: Heavens no, Soul. I certainly see no reason to take offense. I knew what you meant. You don't need to worry about offending me. I'm cool.

It was a gray, dull day in Huntsville, Alabama, today. No rain, just yucky! Harry named the day Filthy McNasty. (His brand of humor) He went to the driving range (golf) this morning and worked in the reef tanks this afternoon. I finally got around to moving some of my crystal (it's been scattered all over the house) to the new kitchen cabinets. That was my chore for the day other than cooking dinner. I did enjoy a reading time today and almost finished the book. I picked up the title "Elsewhere" from a blogger, but can't remember who. (Memory is the second thing to go - anyone want to guess what's first?) Anyway it is an interesting read - a bit different from what I usually read but a welcome change.

Tomorrow we intend to play golf. Don't know what we'll find to do if we're rained out. It's not like we have chores waiting for us here. Anybody who believes that story would buy the London Bridge. I'm a terrible golfer but it's something Harry really enjoys so I try. It's something we can do together.

Friday will be my day with the grandsons. In the youngest's words: "We have a play date with Nana." Wheeeee!!! Fun in my future.

Well, troops, I wish I had a really neat story to tell but nothing comes to mind. (refer to my Memory statement above.) ;-) Everyone be safe and keep coming to visit. My door is always open.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I'm Retired, You Know

Last evening I commented to a blogger who I follow every day and it started me thinking about raising two boys. It was and still is a wonderful part of my life. There were days I wanted to scream - and maybe sometimes I did - but they never wondered if I loved them. Love, acceptance, and understanding has always been our relationship. If any parent was ever blessed, it has to be me. It was a long road but I wouldn't change a mile of the road. They are still devoted sons who ask for and listen to advice but make their own decisions. That's the way it should be.

To my blogger friend: Thank you so much for your kind response to my comment.

We had a little rain last night and this morning. It helps but it isn't as much as we need. I checked the moisture depth under our dogwood tree. It's only surface deep. I think I should quit complaining about the dry weather. I don't want to become a bore.

I finally slept last night and tried not to rouse up early this morning. Success at last! I didn't get to sleep until nearly 1am but I slept until almost 10 o'clock. I needed the rest but it ruined the day. The only productive thing I did today was help hubby pack some corals for shipment and cook dinner. I've been worthless this day. . . and I may be worthless again tomorrow. I'm retired, you know.

My best to everyone. Thanks for visiting.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Storyless

I don't have any stories to tell this evening. It's been a long day of working in the yard and there's still work to be done. It is raining in the area but not on our side of town. A little town about 15 miles away had over 2 inches of rain but we had zilch. Perhaps the next band of rain will honor us.

At least four fellow bloggers are planning trips and it's making me dream up places I'd like to travel. Jackson Hole, WY, is on my mind tonight. It's one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. Believe me it's no fun to fly out of their airport. The plane has to squeeze through the saddle and those peaks are darn close together.

Now, Self, don't get into writing a long post about a memory - just pour yourself a big glass of ice water, get comfortable, and chill out. Tomorrow's another yard work day - weather permitting.

Everyone take care, have a good night, and think good thoughts.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A Special Day for Me

Sunday has come and gone. It was an especially good day for me. Harry and the kids decided to acknowledge my birthday today. I'd already cooked (salisbury steak and gravy, steamed broccoli, green salad, and pumpkin pie). The meal wasn't as big as I usually cook but everyone ate their fill and there are still left-overs.

I received wonderful cards and various gift certificates including a healthy one at our local upscale spa. Also certificates for Outback, and Target. Both grandsons made special cards for me. The 5 year old, Jesse, drew a flower pot with a purple iris (yes it was recognizable), a rose bush, a lady bug, the sun, blue sky, grass, and dirt. He also drew a worm in the dirt because they make the dirt good for growing flowers. He signed it with hearts and his name. The 4 year old, James, just blew me away. He wanted to tell me about his card as I opened it. He'd drawn a picture of a face (as only a 4 year old can) and drew big circles without end over it. He explained to me that it was a picture of me with love around it. "It goes round and round Nana and doesn't end just like I love you." Needless to say, I turned to mush!

I wish everyone could be as wealthy as I am. I don't know what I ever did to deserve this bounty but I hope I can be worthy.

Now Hubby Can Smile

In response to yesterday's post Hubby said that I didn't post a very good picture of him. The picture posted yesterday is one of my favorites. Just to make him smile, I'm posting another. He went fishing with our middle son and caught this thing. I've been told the fish is a striped bass. Soul, you'd know if that correct but I have no idea. The old truck belonged to the middle son, the fence is our next door neighbor's, and Hubby doesn't smoke anymore. (Thank goodness for that.)



It's Sunday and I have to get rolling. The kids will all be here early this afternoon. What should I feed them today? They will be happy with whatever I cook - or at least make me think they are.

Everyone have a fun Sunday and remember to be thankful for all your blessings.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Old Folks

I finally took the plunge and posted my picture. Sorry folks, I come with wrinkles and bags - mileage and years causes them.


This is a picture of Hubby. He was speaking at our daughter's wedding reception. When this snapshot was taken I think he was telling everyone present that she is potty trained and turning to her to confirm that she really is potty trained. His speech was really touching with a bit of humor. He got a big round of applause.

Now you know. We really are a couple of old farts - but we are such sweet old farts that the kids put up with us. :-)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Pumpkin Day at Nana and Papa's

FIRST YOU FIND YOUR SPECIAL PUMPKIN THEN YOU FORM A SPECIAL BOND WITH IT

EXPLAIN THE RULES OF THE GAME TO PAPA


THERE'S LOTS OF SLIMY STUFF INSIDE A MOMENT TO REST AND REFLECT
MEET OUR HALLOWEEN CREW Left to right: Front row: Happy, Ghost Pumpkin, Laughing Scary Pumpkin. Second row: James, Jesse (Nana and Papa were resting)


It's been a fun day. Not only pumpkins - Peanut butter and honey sandwiches, juice, chicken nuggets, cookies - Build with Legos, watch a Wiggles movie, play with matchbox cars, and last but not the least messy play dough on the screen porch. I know two little boys that will fall asleep in their dinner plates. Nana and Papa may do the same thing.
As I finish this post the rock delivery man is unloading three pallets of rock for my stack stone border.
We're thankful for this day and all that's been a part of it. The two old farts are as wealthy as anyone can be. I wish all of you the same contentment.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Golf Makes Me Tired

C.A. I answered your question in the comments of Wednesday's post. It was a good question.

Today promised rain and we almost got enough to settle the dust under the dogwood tree. A lot of rain fell both north and south of us though. Maybe our turn will come in the next few days.

Today Hubby and I played golf . . well, Hubby played and I swung at the ball lots of times. The course we played is best for those who have good control of the ball. Boy was I on the wrong course!! I haven't tried to play in a long time; it's probably been almost two years. Hubby and his golfing buddy are just about even in ability so they enjoy playing together. However, Hubby was patient with me and tried to make me feel like a real golfer.

Tomorrow is the big "Get Pumpkins and Make Jack-O-Lanterns" day. The grandsons will participate in cleaning the pumpkins, selecting the faces, and drawing it on the pumpkins. Needless to say Hubby will do the actual carving. The boys mother requested happy or silly faces for the pumpkins. Last year the oldest boy wanted a scary face. That was fine until he saw the face after dark with a lit candle inside - it really scared him. Scary faces won't be an option this time. What's my role in this endeavor? I'll collect the seeds, clean them, and roast them. Roasted pumpkin seeds are a tasty snack.

I'm tired this evening. Bet no one has to rock me to sleep tonight. Hope everyone is safe and happy. My best wishes to all.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Wednesday Question

My Wednesday question from Jose2Shoes is:

"I notice you and your husband doing a wonderful job of making special memories with your granchildren. What do you recall as being the happiest memory of your own childhood?"

ANSWER: My childhood was different from most kids. My father was married early in life, had 4 children, and was later divorced. He met and married my mother much later. I am the only child of that union. He was 58 and she was 45 at the time I was born. The short answer is that I was raised by parents old enough to be my grandparents. For the most part I think my early childhood was pretty lonesome but I don't remember much of it.

I can recall many happy times after I was 10 or 12 but it's hard to remember one as being THE special memory. One was my parents getting my mustang/quarter horse and allowing me to participate in barrel racing and penning competitions in little local rodeos. Another was the pool in the summer. Long lazy days - water and sun - puffy clouds - iced tea - Toby (my collie dog) licking my feet to get my attention.

As I've thought about this question one special time does stand out in my mind. I can almost smell the mix of wood smoke, hear the quiet of snowfall, and feel that darn wool sweater scratching me. Inside the house there was an adult party with music. It was Christmas Eve and a friend and I were sitting in my front yard watching our world be covered with a soft white blanket. The peace and contentment of that evening was almost hypnotic. During many stressful times I've recalled that memory and drawn comfort from it. I only wish I had a better ability to describe this memory but words are just inadequate.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Put Your Feel-Bad in Timeout

Today was my "Maxine Day". I did cook dinner but that aside I didn't accomplish anything. Another day behind. Who'll know a hundred years from now?

The four year old grandson was running a fever (100 degrees) this morning so his mom didn't let him come over to play with me. He said his head and legs were all wobbly and his tummy tickled when he tried to eat. I called to ask about him late today. His mom asked if he felt better. His reply was: "I told my bad feeler to go to the door. I'm through with him." Translation: He put his his "bad feeler" in timeout. Children have a way with words that is unbelievable. Everyday is a new adventure.

I began reading a Robert Morgan book this evening. "The Only Thing to Fear" is different from other books I've read by the same writer but still good - a little on the wooo-wooo side but good. Halloween reading, right? I finally located a couple of used Francis Parkinson Keyes hardback books and ordered them. She was a wonderful writer who wrote from the early 1900s until the 1950's. Her books are hard to find but a treasure when you do.

As usual I have nothing earth moving to talk about. Just another day in the life of an old lady. I am thankful to have had the day and hope for many more.

Have a wonderful hump-day.

Maxine's Logic

Maxine just about sums it up for me today. Maxine's my hero.



Monday, October 15, 2007

Rocks and B'Day Cakes

Another day with no rain but we have promises for the end of the week. I hope when the rain comes that it's a dozie! Hubby brought home some of the retaining wall blocks I intended to use to be sure they were the right decision. They were NOT. Boy did they look hookie. We went to a center that sells pond supplies and rock this afternoon and he had me look at every different pallet of rocks they have - and they have a lot. We found a really neat dry stack stone that we both like and he assures me that he can lay/stack them. I wanted to purchase the three pallets while we were there but he insisted that I come home and 'sleep on it' so to speak. If I still want them tomorrow we'll have them delivered. It's a lot of $$$ but we'll live with them for a long time. Might as well do it right the first time. Where Hubby was raised there were no rocks bigger than gravel - or at least so he tells me. He really gets into the rock and boulder mode.


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Cindi Ann and Cheryl, The pictures below are for you. I told you I'm not a professional. I'm just an untrained but determined Nana. I do have the boys fooled though. I feel a little silly posting pics of such grossly amateur work.
I'm really cheating. These pictures were their last year cakes. The cakes looked much better (but still amateur) this year but I still don't have pictures.








Sunday, October 14, 2007

Another Happy Sunday

Not all of the kids were here today. The son and daughter-inlaw who are pregnant didn't make it. She had a big day at the boys' party yesterday so I guess she was just too tired to make it today and I'm proud to say the son stayed home with her. The rest of the gang was here. I made a simple meal today - just beef-veggie soup and the 'fixins'. It was perfect after a day of eating heavy food and sweets. Everyone's tummy appreciated the break. We all lounged in front of the television watching the History Channel and Discovery. We were classic couch potatoes.

Papa (Hubby) is taking the little ones to buy pumpkins this week. They made their plans today and the boys can't wait to make jack-o-lanterns. It's a little early to carve pumpkins but they can always do it again the weekend before Halloween. Papa feels so important when he goes out with the boys. I love to see them look up at him with those big eyes. They are just waiting to see what Papa will find to do next.

Wish I had something exciting to write about. I feel like every post I make gets more dull. My world is very small since I retired but when/if I ever get things in order here I intend to change that. As a matter of fact I may begin playing golf again this week. So how's that for a start?

Hope everyone has a good Monday - one that's not so much like a Monday.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Applebutter Stir-offs Explained

Wow!!! What a run yesterday and today were. The birthday party was a roaring success. The boys Mom arranged for us to have the party at a building that's attached to one of the larger churches here. I don't know what they call the building but it's unbelievable. Our room was large enough for a large play area with climbing/sliding equipment. Another part was for riding kiddie cars, etc. The front part had large round kid size tables and chairs. All the kids had a ball!! It didn't matter that the two boys were having their party together. Two set of friends and everyone just blended. Thank you, Lord. Now on to the next event.

I was so tired Friday night that I decided to make pictures of the cakes this morning but didn't have time. I planned to make the pictures at the party but old senile me left my camera at home. The other grandmother had her camera and my son had the camcorder so maybe I can glean pictures from them. They, however, were focusing on the kids.

What's an applebutter stir-off? It's a tradition in the mountains for families to gather together and combine their harvest (not limited to apples) for preserving. When the job is done all share in the bounty. (I presume it originally was to provide for those who weren't as lucky as others but were willing to contribute what they had and share in the labor.) Making applebutter and sorghum were all day events no matter if done alone at home or in a community setting. In days past (in addition to the goods produced) it was probably one of the only times people had time to really spend a day together to 'catch-up' after a long summer of raising their crops.

Making applebutter is really not rocket science. You just peel, core, and quarter the apples; drop them into the hot copper kettle with just a little apple juice or cider. When the apples were almost like applesauce and just turning golden you sweeten (if needed) a bit and continue to cook until the butter is thick and almost holds it shape when dropped onto a metal tray. (You have to stir constantly to keep the 'batch' from sticking.) Meanwhile someone builds a fire under one or two iron pots, fills them with water, and puts jars into the boiling water. The applebutter is ladled into the jars and the tops were closed tightly to seal. Some folks also melted wax and dipped the top of the jar in to double seal the jars. (I never went the wax route.)

These kind of events were a learning experience for me and it helped to bond me into the community. I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. Those folks are the salt of the earth. They take care of their family and their neighbor. I was so blessed to be accepted. I know they had a few belly laughs about some of the questions I asked and the mistakes I made.

Well, everyone, that's all you ever wanted to know about applebutter stir-offs and more. I'll try to glean pictures of the cakes and post them.

Tomorrow's Sunday and I plan to enjoy the cooler weather we are FINALLY having and spend sometime with the kids and their families. My best to all.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Long Day

It's been a long day. Baked three cakes, 36 cup cakes and decorated them all. Still have gifts to wrap. I'm so tired that my booty is draggin' my tracks out. Enough said. Will post another time.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Makin' Applebutter

At long last we had a reasonably cool day. I wish Sir Fall would get on with his best possible performance based on circumstances. Everyone I talk to here is tired of the heavy heat and dry weather.

One of my long-time friends from the mountains called me today. Several of my old friends are getting together to go to Rogersville, Tennessee, to an applebutter stir-off. I wish I could go but it just isn't possible. I'll be thinking of them. The applebutter stir-off was a favorite time for me. The apples cooked in big cooper kettles over an open fire. Everyone contributed apples and helped pare them while the men folk got the fire going just right. Then we took turns stirring the kettles (three kettles makes a stir-off) with big wooden paddles. When Mrs. Bell said they were done, we'd ladle them into hot jars and seal the top. Someone would bake hot biscuits at various times during the day in a wood stove oven that was in the shed. (I took a turn at that, too.) We'd eat buttered biscuits with applebutter until we could eat no more. Hey, someone had to sample the product to be sure it was good enough to eat. There were always a few kids playing around but they were well behaved and fun to watch. That part of my life is a closed chapter but I do enjoy talking with my old friends and reliving those years. One thing I've learned during my years is that you can dream but you can never go back. And I really wouldn't want to. I have a close to perfect life now and I wouldn't trade it for any other.

Geez, I sound sappy. I'm goin' to bed 'cause mornin' will have to come early for me tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Grandsons and Birthday Parties

It's mid week and I still haven't started the cakes, cupcakes, etc for the big Saturday birthday party. I'll make the fondant decorations tomorrow so they will be ready to go on the cakes and cupcakes late Friday night. The birthday boys (my two grandsons) are really excited. For a five year old and a four year old birthdays are big events. Because their birthdays are so close together we're having one big party instead of two.

Hubby brought home some sample retainer wall blocks today. The decision is made and he is going to build a stacked border around the front yard beds for me. I've wanted a stacked border for several years and now my wonderful better-half is going to make one for me. I'm sure there are still good men available out there but I caught the best for myself.

I posted the picture of Hemingway's 6-toed cat and had a few comments on it. I could have also said that, even though Key West is beautiful, we were surprised that there were chickens running loose in the town. One restaurant where we ate had an open-air side. Chickens would wander into the restaurant. The Appalachian people are laughed at if a chicken wanders in an open door but in Key West it seemed to be a matter of pride if a chicken came calling. Talk about double standards. I might add that chickens can't be house trained and Key West chickens are no exception. They do poop where they stand! Baked potato or steamed veggies with that?

Oops!! I sound a bit sarcastic with the chicken thing. I really didn't mean to be. Hope I don't offend anyone. It's time for me to say so long for now and go watch a bit of TV. Hope everyone is well and happy tonight.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Hemingway's Kitties

Several blogs I visit have been posting pictures of kitties. The picture below might be interesting. She is one of Hemingway's famous 6-toed cats. Hemingway House in Key West is home to several of these cats. They freely roam the grounds and house. This one was on the porch to greet everyone.



Visions of the Past

For some reason this time of year nostalgia comes calling. This year is no exception. In quiet times, memories come calling - most good, same not so good, and some - well, let's not talk about them.

There was the boring day that I stretched out on the fallen leaves under a particular tree in our front yard. The leaves were still falling and I watched the changing patterns of the bare twigs against the sky. I made a pact with myself to always remember the day. I was only around 8 years old at the time but I kept the pact.

The taste of scuppernongs is still fresh. I sat in my swing and ate them. My Dad came to check on me and told me that if I ate more I would be sick. It was the first time I ever knew my Dad to be wrong. When he went back into the house I went to the vines, picked more, and ate them everyone. I still love scuppernongs but now they come in little baskets from the grocery. For anyone who may not be familiar with scuppernongs they are a cultivated variety of the muscadine grape with sweet yellowish fruit.

Toby, a sable collie, was my special companion. We had adventures, mishaps, and quiet times. He always was there to catch tears, jump for joy, or just listen. He never told secrets or held a grudge. Susie, a strawberry roan mare, was a friend, too. She put wind in my hair and joy in my heart. Tony, a bay mustang, was full of adventure. We competed in barrel racing and penning exercises. He had the heart of a Viking warrior and the temperament of a kitten.

I think about the friends from that time in my life but won't name them because - well, just because. Some of them read this blog and will recognize themselves. I remember the bicycle wreck with the rose bush. I remember a younger friend climbing a tree because I dared her to then she couldn't get down. Mother rescued her and scolded me soundly. I remember helping a neighbor boy onto the back of a yearling Hereford bull and the resulting broken arm. I remember Methodist Youth Fellowship meetings and the counselor who is, in many ways, responsible for who I am.

I've looked back enough for this day. I need to look at the here and now. There are several things I need to do today. Thank you for listening to a not so exciting rant about "the good old days"

Monday, October 8, 2007

Sunday Afternoon = Pizza and Fun

Sunday was a busy day. All the children were here so the house was a-buzz. It was just the kind of afternoon I like best. . .no real agenda. Our mid-afternoon meal (which is traditional for Sunday) was order-in pizza. I ordered 5 large pizzas, cheese bread, garlic bread, and hot wings. There was plenty for everyone with leftovers for each to take home. Our kids love leftover cold pizza. I also had cheese and crackers, nectarines, strawberries, and chips for snacks. Sunday afternoon is made for eatin' and that's just what we do. The little ones played with Lego's and cars and asked for treats. Adults watched NASCAR, shared stories about the weeks events, and just enjoyed each other's company. We don't hear much from the daughter living in Phoenix but we do think about her and wonder how she's doing. We realize she and her family are very busy and we assume no news is good news. We wish she lived closer so she and her family could participate in our Sunday afternoons.

This brings us to Monday. Temps today are going to be high once again but the weather gurus promise more seasonable weather at the end of the week. Promises, promises. It's a new week, folks. Let's get out there and make the most of it.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Just Ramblin' On

It's Saturday night and we're doing what old farts do - watch a TV movie, hubby goes to bed, and I read for awhile. Since I started the blog I usually spend some time blogging and then read. In case you haven't noticed I don't sleep well. It's always been a problem for me even as a young child.

We're still having a drought here. It seems to rain to the north, south, east, and west of our little corner of the world. We haven't had any really cool weather yet and the leaves are turning brown. I think we'll have a dull fall - no bright colors on our mountain this season. (Folks here call it a mountain but it's really just a ridge and not a very big one at that.)

This afternoon I watched the squirrel that leaves his food and comes to steal from our birdfeeders. He is a healthy little cuss and well he should be. Nuts, fruit, corn, seeds, and suet are his diet. When he leaves his cheeks are full and his tummy is bulging. Thinking of the birdfeeders reminds me of one stop on our vacation this year.

We drove around the coast of Florida and while we were in Key West we took a boat trip out to the Dry Tortugas. It's a small island to the south just 90 miles from Cuba. The whole island is covered by an old fort and that is now a wildlife preserve. We were there during migration of birds from Central and South America to our main land. The birds were not afraid of visitors and would land right at your feet. Hubby went for a walk around the island and I opted to sit in the shade and watch the birds. When I sat still for a few minutes they came to perch on the bench where I was sitting - a pretty little black and yellow job lit on my shoulder and looked straight into my eyes. I would have liked to feed them but it's a no-no.

Thanks for listening to me ramble on and on putting words to my disjointed thoughts. Me thinks me will read for awhile and then try to sleep more than 4 hours tonight.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Nana's Playmates

Nana's Playmates

Nothing happening today. Just using the space to show-off the grandsons. This is a more calm time than most. We (the boys and I) can get pretty rowdy and loud sometimes.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Today's Playdate and Pumpkin Plans

Thursday afternoon is my personal time with my grandsons. Hubby plays golf with his buddy on Thursday. The boys' mother has time to run errands or whatever and the boys and I have fun. Today we played Transformers, used the road construction equipment to build a road on the sunroom floor, built a little town with Lego blocks, and drove our hot wheels through the town. We also watched a Garfield movie and ate treats. When Hubby came home the boys scheduled him to carve their pumpkin this year (it's almost a tradition). The 5 year old drew a picture of the face they want carved and left it with Papa (their name for Hubby). I am so very blessed to have these days. Before long the boys will be older and won't have a whole afternoon to spend playing with Nana. Then what will I do? Who will play with me?

About this time every year I begin buying books to read when the days are short and o'dark-thirty comes early. A cozy seat, a focused lamp, a cup of tea, and a good book. During cold dark evenings that's the best. Well, the best unless I can get Hubby to curl up with me. Then who cares about the darn book.

If weather permits tomorrow I'll be working in the yard. Maybe I can make significant headway. But for now I'm going to close and start gearing down for what will hopefully be a peaceful night. I wish the same for you.

My First Uploaded Video - Enjoy

I hope this video loaded correctly. It's a must for all mothers past, present, and future. I have no idea who the lady is; the clip was sent to me by a long time friend. Enjoy and have a chuckle if not an outright laugh. I did.

video

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Another Day On Our Street

Another day, another small section of yard work done. Didn't accomplish my goal though. The temp wasn't too bad today but the humidity was 75%. That was my cue to get inside and turn on the AC. I'll finish when mother nature quits playing with the thermostat. That said I'll leave the gardening subject.

Have I mentioned the cat that allows us to live with her? Her name is zinnia and she's a classic tortie. Our daughter, Ju-Ju had to have a kitten when she came to live with us. She and I looked for over a week and didn't find one free kitten. (She only wanted a free kitten because free kittens need good homes.) I'd never seen a time that there weren't kittens for the asking but that time we failed. That summer she was working at the local garden center near our house. She went to work the Monday morning after we'd called every vet in the phone book and the local shelter to no avail. What do you think greeted her but this kitten. It was under the zinnia flats and really pitiful. She called me at work and wanted to know if she could have the kitten - of course I told her yes. Well, long story short, the kitten was a real pain. She seemed to wait to see what you wanted her to do. That's exactly what she wouldn't do. Ju-Ju went away to college, met a young man, got married, and moved to Phoenix. I don't have to tell you who has the cat. She grew up to be a healthy kitty with an OK personality. She's 7 years old now and healthy. Not an interesting story but now you know Zinnia.

Goodnite, blog friends one and all. Hope your night is peaceful and full of sweet dreams.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Once Around the Blogs Then to Bed

Here it is the 2nd of October and I'm still trying to finish August. A little behind aren't I? I worked in the yard today. The hot, dry summer kept me inside - well not working in the yard anyway - and the borders and beds have gone down hill. Things that should be thriving are dying and weeds are thumbing their nose at me. I will win this battle but it may take awhile. I may have to call the yard police.

Has anyone ever planted monkey grass and pampered it into a beautiful border? If you have and if it's been growing for three years you'll need dynamite to get rid of it. Anyone need a healthy start of the stuff? I dug/pulled two 39 gallon bags of the stuff today and didn't make a dent in what's lurking in my yard.

Before I forget: My nephew Ricky emailed me to let me know I made a mistake. He and his lovely bride will have been married 40 - yes 40 - years on 2 Dec 07. His 40th anniversary will be happening when he gets home from Alabama. Time really files.

I'm really tired this evening. I doubled pain medication in the hopes that I'll sleep through the night. Sorry, I'm not very lively tonight. I can't wait to read about your day. Once around the blogs and then to bed.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Just Ramblin' Through the Day

I've been sitting in the back yard listening to and watching the birds. Some are trying to fatten up for the trip south and others are settling in for winter. The bird feeders are serving full time, non-stop goodies. I did a little yard work - very little mind you - and was sitting back there resting. I couldn't be lazy could I? No, not me.

I have confirmation that my nephew, Ricky will be coming "back east" from southern California at the end of November. I can hardly wait to see him and hear all he's been up to over the past year or so. When I tell the grandsons that Cousin Ricky will be visiting they will get their magic carpet ready and lay out all their toys.

My father was married before my mother and had three girls and one boy. They were much older than me and lived far away. Ricky is a son of my youngest sister. She passed away a couple of years ago after a long, full life. But this story is about Ricky. He has been married to a lady with the sweetest smile. I don't know her very well but she must be special because Ricky has been married to her for years - around 30, I think. As a teen the beach and surf were Ricky's first loves aside from girls, that is. He's still a charmer with wonderful manners and kind words for everyone. Kinda handsome, too, if I do say so. (Take a bow, Ricky)

Thinking of Ricky brings to mind southern California and the San Diego area. I spent some work time there at the Naval center. It's a beautiful area and I enjoyed my time there but I heard a rumor that it might fall off into the ocean so I wouldn't want to live near the coast and inland it's hotter than two hells. The mountains and drives through them are really pretty but on the inland side the weather and land are harsh.

Dinner this evening will be leftovers. I try not to have a lot of left-overs but . . .what can I say other than no cookin' tonight. Just microwave and chow down. Looking forward to reading about your day. Hope it was a happy one.