Wednesday, December 31, 2008

HAPPY NEW YEAR, 2009


New Year's eve . . . The new year is almost here. I do hope that 2009 is a better year for everyone. How about resolutions? I have only one resolution this year - "This year I will rise above the little irritations in life." I do tend to dwell on little irritations until they become harbors for stress. I never got around to planning a New Year's eve outing after we nixed the Opryland Hotel celebration. 2008 has just about used us up - we'll take a second look and celebrate the arrival of 2009 right here at home. That ain't bad.

Besides, I have a trip to look forward to and plan for. Harry gave me a gift certificate this Christmas. A trip to Biltmore House (near Ashville, NC) to tour the spring gardens. It'll be a perfect trip. I've never seen the Biltmore House gardens and mansion. Also, it's a perfect opportunity to drive through the mountains. There are several really pretty little villages along the route. I hope Harry just falls in love with Evergreen, NC. It's a beautiful small village filled with neat, quiet homes set among huge evergreen trees.

Here's wishing everyone a truly happy new year filled with all the things 2008 failed to deliver and even more.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas and Video

It seems that I have formed a habit of being a very, very bad blogger. One New Year resolution is to improve my recent track record. I hope my blogging friends haven't forgotten me.



Christmas 2008 was quieter than some past Christmases, but it was great. I didn't do a lot of decorating, didn't haul out the Christmas china, had simple food. (Lots of finger food, baked ham, various rolls and condiments, salad, boiled corn and fresh lemonade for the kids. There were a couple of "adult beverages," too.) I hope everyone enjoyed the day half as much as Harry and I did. If so the day was a great success.



I made a short slide show with captions on each picture. As you will see our day was casual - very casual.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

About 2 a.m. I woke up and the excitement hit! I was up by 2:15 and in action. By the time evening rolls around I'll either be ready to sing or flat on my back. It's any one's guess about which it will be.

We wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Let's remember the true meaning of Christmas and the importance of family unity.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Eve of Christmas Eve

The eve of Christmas Eve!! I'm almost ready to line-up and fire this event. I have a short trip to the grocery to pick up the fresh veggies. That will be my last venture into the wild world of shopping until after the excitement that's on the way to our house.



I've been lax in writing but it's not for lack of thinking of each and every one of my blogging friends. Time passes with blogs written only in my mind. I'm just lazy, I guess.



There's nothing new other than the stuff that Santa left here for the little ones. Our family made the decision to only buy gifts for the children. The grown-up's gifts to each other is the love and support we give each other all year long. We'll have our gathering on Christmas afternoon starting around 2 p.m. and lasting until everyone is ready to return home and pass out from too much food and excitement.



I have a reputation for always being "outside the box" and this year our Christmas tree is no exception. I thought of all the bright colors, excitement, and noise and decided to have a calm and quiet tree. That's when my "outside the box" side kicked in. Below is a picture of my version of a serene, peaceful Christmas tree. It doesn't look like a tree at all but it'll be on the table where the Christmas feast is spread. If I don't get overwhelmed, I'll snap a shot of the loaded table.

Thanks to my photographer, Harry, who shot the picture above with his fancy new camera and put it in a frame using Gimp, which is a complicated editing program. I don't do photography at all - I'm lucky to be able to just take a picture.

May each and everyone have a happy but peaceful Christmas or Hanukkah.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Our First Gift of the Season

I've been planning Christmas Day. Harry suggested that I bake a ham so I'll probably do that. Does it sound lazy to have two or three different breads and lots of condiments for sandwich making? I want to make lots of different finger foods (both light and heavy), several sweet things, and I'm planning to make a baklava. No one will be interested in a sit down dinner and it seems like a good solution for our particular gang.

Harry and I haven't made plans for New Year. I suggested going to the Opery Land Hotel in Nashville. Harry would have gone along with my wishes, but when I found out that it would cost more than a thousand dollars plus dinner and drinks and that part of the New Year party is aboard the river boat I changed my mind. I'm allowed to do that, you know. Can you picture two old farts aboard a river boat in the middle of the Tennessee River toasting in the new year with icicles hanging off our noses and butts? Not going to happen!

HOLD THE PRESSES, I have an announcement to make. We just received our first Christmas gift of the season. FedEx delivered it to our door via express delivery. I guess Santa is busy getting ready for the big night. It's something we never had before. Two lollipops designed especially for us. One is tequila flavor complete with WORM. The other is strawberry complete with a SCORPION. Yep, Ricky, we never had anything like this before but we did see them on television and wish we could try them. You must have read our minds. I think I'll put them on the Christmas table as part of the decoration. Save the eating for snuggling on New Year's Eve. Ricky, thank you for thinking of us. We really do appreciate the gift - the boys will really be interested in these. I love it when someone comes up with a really unique gift. I wish I could think of - and find - unique gifts.

That's all for now folks. Have a wonderful rest of the day and an even better tomorrow.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Quiet Days

As I sat here thinking about how to begin writing an old jingle that I remember my dad singing sometimes on Saturday morning came to mind..........

OOOH, today is Saturday
Next day's Sunday
Ain't gotta work no more
'fore Monday, Whooo-ray.

I know, it's silly and I hadn't thought of it for years.

I know I'm getting old because most of the news I hear from family and friends is that some one has died or has an incurable something. Since Thanksgiving I lost a sister, a casual friend, a school mate who was a close friend during school years, and today I learned that a fellow that I worked with for several years has a terminal illness. I've come to the conclusion that the only thing worse than checking out early is being the last to go. Enough of the morbid.

Christmas shopping is history - all done. If I forgot anything, too bad. I've used all the hiding places and I don't have room for more. I really want to put up a tree but I think I'll just do other decorating this year and let the tree decorations rest. The local kids have children of their own so our Christmas will be presents for the children and a Christmas dinner on Christmas Day. We're not feeling "Humbug" just being practical. Monday we'll UPS Maddie's Christmas to Phoenix and the rest will stay quietly in their hiding places until Christmas Day.

Today I received something I've wanted for several years but never, ever thought I'd have - a top-o-the-line Onkyo sound system. Keith and Mary gave it to me. It's still like new but they've decided to go another route. I am so very proud of the system. Now my CD collection can perform on real equipment. The sound is unbelievable. Do you think that maybe Harry will dance with me since no one can see? I bet the kids will.

I hope to get Christmas cards in the mail on Monday but it'll probably be Tuesday. No excuses, I'm just being lazy.

Speaking of lazy, I think that I'll go to bed and try to sleep for a few hours. Wish me luck. See ya later.

Monday, December 8, 2008

23 Days and 2008 is Over

No, I didn't disappear - I'm not ill - I'm not in a bad humor - It's just been a rough end to 2008 for me. I do hope everything is smooth from here on out. I'm so glad that the kids and Ricky were all here for Thanksgiving. It gives me a happy memory to re-live when I begin to feel "down"

This breathing problem is doing well. I called my doctor today to ask how long I should stay on the meds since I am feeling OK. He advised me to keep taking it for a total of two months to let the damage the "whatever was wrong" have time to heal and my body "right itself" Smart old me decided to not listen and skip the breathing med which I should take two times per day. Guess what - well, let's just say that I've decided to listen to someone who knows more about medicine than me.

The sleep over was fun until Jesse got really sick in the late evening hours but he did go to sleep. He woke up again in the early morning hours really crying (not at all like him) and wanting Daddy to come get him. I called Keith and he came. Jesse was really sick for a while but finally went to sleep. Like most young children he woke up feeling fine. I can't tell you how relieved I was to hear that. I should have know something was wrong when he wasn't interested in the treat cabinet. It's usually the hit of the show at Nana's house.

Tomorrow is my last sibling's memorial service. She was 92, had a long productive life, and died peacefully in her sleep. I believe I posted pictures of her several months back. She was living in Palm Springs when she passed. It's strange and sad to be the only one left.

Now you know the story of what's happening in my life. I have so very, very much to be thankful for. It just seems that sometimes the path of life gets a little rugged but I try to not show wear and tears.

Sorry this post is a bit of a downer - I promise to do better next time.

Friday, December 5, 2008

This Post Contains an Important Message

Hi everyone. Yes, this is sleep over night and all is well on the home front. The boys are all comfy on the air bed with their sleeping bags, pillows, blankets, and night time stuffed animals. They are watching the latest Narnia move to hit DVD. I'm in the same room but the movie is beyond me. I'm taking a break to bring you the following very important message.......

I want to pass some info along to everyone. We believe the culprit in causing the horrible asthma attacks has been identified. It's not positive but I'm hoping. At least the following didn't do good things for me.

As everyone knows we had all the little ones here at Thanksgiving. In getting everything ready for their visit I got all the 'little one' toys out of storage. Of course I needed to clean them since they had been stored for almost two years. My usual cleaning solution is Clorox Cleanup but I decided that I should clean the toys with one of the new "Green" cleaners. I was so proud of myself for being so careful. HA!

In trying to identify anything different in my life at the time I became ill I thought of everything. The last to come into question was the "Green" cleaner. Guess what was one of the ingredients in this new cleaner - Golden Rod - which is the only botanical that I'm allergic to. I'm really, really sensitive to the plant and flower. It took some time and searching to identify exactly what the ingredients in the cleaner is but the "various botanicals" included the culprit.

I'm doing much better and expect to eventually overcome this problem. I want to say that I'm all for cleaning up the planet and protecting our environment. But at the same time I think it should be a legal requirement to list all ingredients. Especially botanicals!

If any of you have allergies to plants, etc., please check the labels and be aware that the could contain the very thing that can be very bad for you.

Now I return to the fun that's happening right here in our house. Later folks.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Ramblin' On at Midnight

It's too late for normal people to be awake. I guess that settles it - I ain't normal or sane for that matter. I have cabin fever. Just wait until tomorrow. I'm goin' somewhere outside this house and off this property even if I do have a breathing/coughing fit in public. Let 'em deal with it!

I'm really doing much better. The meds are working well and we're not even sure I'll be on them more than a couple more weeks.

On another note. Friday night is sleep-over night at Nana and Papa's. Two little fellows just can't wait. We're going to watch movies, eat snacks, snuggle in our sleeping bags, and sleep in the sun room. No beds for us - we may not even brush out teeth. Wait. . we won't go that far. Keith and Mary are getting all dressed up and going out to a party and maybe out on the town, too. They may have a lot of fun but we'll have more fun. I wonder about that but that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I did most of my Christmas shopping on Cyber Monday. I don't do Black Friday. Only thing left to do is get the house ready for Christmas and make some special goodies. The Christmas gathering will be smaller than Thanksgiving. Judy and family will be in Phoenix. Ricky will be in Vista, CA. The gathering will be in the evening of Christmas Day. Baby Hooper will be the guiding factor in the time. Sarah is still working to get him onto a firm schedule. I'm really looking forward to the fun of watching the children. Thank heavens all the new toys and "stuff" will go home with parents. That's the joy of being a grandparent.

New Year is mine. Don't know if we'll make plans but maybe we will do something special. Somebody tell Harry that I'd like to go up to Opry Land Hotel for New Year. Do you think maybe you could do that? Do you think he'd listen? Hmmmmmmmm

Going to bed now. Nite, nite.

Monday, December 1, 2008

My First Video Effort

Welcome to my first ever attempt to publish a video. It's 2 and a half minutes.

I had another visit to my doctor today. More meds and plans to see a specialist if this doesn't resolve in a day or two. I think that I'm feeling better - cross your fingers that this round of meds does the trick.

Will write again tomorrow.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Hurried Note

It's late on this the last day of November, 2008. The past week has been wonderful. Everyone under one roof at the same time. Much more to be thankful for than I could write in a whole day.
I'm much too tired to spend time uploading pics and writing. I promise to post several of the almost 200 pics from the week along with a couple of stories that I think you'll enjoy.
I've been fighting the asthma 'thing' all week and am going back to my doctor tomorrow morning.
Just want everyone to know that I'm thinking of you and that I haven't disappeared.






Sunday, November 23, 2008

Nana's House

No time for words - just passing along pics for other family and anyone else who might be interested.

Baby Hooper with Mommy (Sarah), Daddy (Buddy) and Cousin Maddie (Visiting from Phoenix)

Loadin the horse (Rick - Maddie's Daddy) - Jesse, James, Maddie and Dottie (stuffed doggie)
Trip underway. Maddie's Mommy (Judy) and James and Jessie's Mommy (Mary) watching the horse 'gallop' into the sunset. Well, sort of.
The party is in full swing.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone

Mission accomplished - well, I still have to clean the kitchen while I'm cooking tomorrow. That's no biggie. It's the most convenient time - while I'm waiting for the oven to "do its thing."

I'm going to an early morning bake sale (8 AM) and Harry will leave for Nashville around 11. I'm staying home. The car doesn't have enough room for four adults, an 18 month-old with her seat, and all the stuff they are traveling with. This is their first family trip aboard an aircraft and I suspect it will be memorable in more ways than one. We will be so happy to see them.

Meantime:

The little kid toys are cleaned, sorted and waiting for eager hands. The grownup games are higher on the shelf but ready for action when the time is right.

The easel with a white board and a blackboard is standing tall and braced for action. I cleaned the white board but James wanted to demonstrate his ability to make 2's. I decided to let them stand. A neighbor is down sizing and decided she didn't need to keep her well used bumper pool/poker/gaming table. It's now at my house just waiting for whatever happens next. It'll be a good extra eating table if games don't work out. The remote car's batteries are down and the charger is lacking some part (or broken). Maybe it'll look interesting enough to at least one of the kids for them to tell us what we need to buy to make it drivable again. This little car is one fast cookie.
. . . . . And last but not least. The snack cabinet is stocked. Don't tell me, let me guess. You spotted the almost empty cookie bin. It's for "flying saucers" (Vanilla Wafers) which I will buy while I'm on my bake sale run in the morning. Also, there is fodder for restocking the shelves - remember, we are having big kids/adults, too. Gotta keep them happy and sweet. I might add that the rules are still in effect for the little kids. Treats AFTER eating regular meals and then only an alloted amount.
Have I forgotten anything? Beds are fresh and clean - so are towels. Bathrooms ready for action. The master bath is a mess - but a clean mess. I hope to have it finished by Christmas.
I don't know how often I'll post for the next few days. Maybe everyday and maybe very little. But I won't forget my buddies and I'll be back as a regular soon.

New Development

Tomorrow is the big day! Judy and family are flying from Phoenix into Nashville, TN. Harry will pick them up in the afternoon when they arrive. They will be here late in the day and we'll be waiting with open arms. Let the fun begin.

I'm pretty much ready. Yesterday I went to a mega bake sale and will go to another early tomorrow. Both are being done by large churches and have loads of good stuff. I'm depending on the sales to take care of at least some of the cooking. Harry is doing a big barbecue one day and I'll 'do' Thanksgiving dinner. The rest will fall in place. No hassle, no fuss, no worry.

I finally went to my doctor last evening. This crud just seemed to be getting worse. Breathing was beginning to be a bit of a problem. No fever, not feeling sick, no pain except the usual, and no other symptoms except coughing and feeling that I wasn't getting enough air. I was shocked speechless when the doctor told me I was having a significant asthma attack. This is a new development. No one in my family ever had asthma and I'm really not familiar with it. Doctor said to just take the meds and get through the next two weeks. I should be significantly better by tomorrow. After that we'll do tests (whatever that means) to determine the cause and future treatment (if any is indicated). I ain't gonna Google this - I'd probably just lay down, moan, and groan if I did. As it is I feel fine.

The good news is that this is in no way a threat to anyone else. Based on the doctor it's not something the children or anyone else will 'catch'.

I'll post as much as I can during the next few days but I will think of you and pray that you are well and enjoying the first holiday of the season. I'll say in advance that I'm thankful for each of you, my blogging buddies.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Post in a Rush

I can't believe I've let my blog get so far behind. Here it is Wednesday already!

To catch up in few words:

I've been busy doing the things I must so I'll be in order for the holidays.

I'm almost caught up to my plan of action.

It's cold here in Hometown, USA - much colder than usual.

Galloping Crud (what I call these combo respiratory/stomach virus thingies) is clearing up nicely but it's been a pain in - well, various places.

I have an exciting two weeks ahead beginning with Judy and family arriving on Saturday.

I miss you, my friends. Please don't forget me. I think of you all and hope all is well in your corners of the world.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

7 Weird Things About Me

Day late and a dollar short, as usual. C.A. tagged me with the following meme:

7 Weird Things about Me....
Which 7 should I tell you about? Hmmm. . . get ready. . .

1. I have a strange allergy to chocolate. It inebriates me - Yep, it affects me the way alcohol affects most folks. In other words, I'm a cheap drunk.

2. I hate to shop. Isn't that weird for someone who loves clothes and pretty things?

3. I like fruit yogurt as a dip for chips. It's the salty and sweet thing, I think.

4. Going to the dentist gives me nightmares. My dentist knows and I never have to face the ordeal without gas. Strangely - or lucky for me, I have sound strong teeth.

5. I prefer to be barefoot at home. Shoes are nice but they're for goin' places - not stayin' home.

6. I rarely sleep in the same place a full night. I tend to move from bed to sofa and back to bed. I carry my pillow with me.

7. I don't like rabbits. Yes, cute little bunnies almost turn my stomach. Strange but true. I'm not afraid of them - I just can't bear to think of touching one or having it touch me.

This doesn't look very good in print. I'm a weirdo! Please be my friend anyway.

I'm not tagging you but if you feel led to reveal your inner secrets let me know. I'd like to think I'm not the only strange person out here.

Friday, November 14, 2008

You Might be a Redneck if - - -

James went with me to re-stock the treat cabinet late today. Jesse went to music class and wasn't here to go with us. (Jesse went with me the time before.) James is a good shopper - he doesn't miss a thing. He also knows that you don't buy Pringles at the grocery - you go to Dollar General for them. Way to go, kid! We also waited until we got to Dollar General to buy flying saucers (vanilla wafers).

I'm still fighting the allergy 'thing' and wishing for a hard freeze to help clear the air. When James and I came out of the grocery I saw two women pointing at my car, shaking their heads, and laughing. Here's what they were pointing at:

You might be a redneck if you drive to the grocery with yard litter on your hood.

Enough said. Good night to all.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Allergies are the Pits

I haven't abandoned my blog. I've been a bit under the weather, so to speak, this week. Nothing serious just what is probably caused by my being outdoors most of the weekend and the pollen in the air. Fall is my favorite time of year but it's also the time allergies raise their ugly heads.

I'm going to bed as soon as I visit a few of my regular blogging buddies and promise to do better tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Birthdays Past

Harry shot some of the cutest pictures of kids at the boy's combo birthday party this past Saturday. I won't post any of them because parents haven't given be permission to do so. (I haven't asked and probably won't.)

This is James making his plan of attack on the treasure chest pinata. This is serious business, as you can tell. Jesse was more into making the opening of the treasure chest fun. I think he thought that as long as the kids only tapped it the fun would last longer.
All the kids lined up and had the opportunity to strike the treasure chest three times. All the kids had a turn. Mary's father supervised the "Attack of the Treasure Chest" and made it super fun for all the kids AND parents, who were watching.

This was Baby Hooper's first party and he really wasn't amused by all the noise and movement. After watching from Mommy's arms for a while he warmed up to the idea. This child is already six months old and growing fast. Do you think that maybe, just maybe Mommy is proud of her not so little bundle? Do you think we all are proud of him? You bet we are!!

I made a small cake for each birthday boy and decorated them with molded candies with just a little bit of piping. (Because they blow out candles, I make decorated cup cakes to serve the party goers. Germs, you know. A couple of years ago an attending mom pointed that out to me.) This is the cakes and some of the cup cakes. The leaves on the table are also molded candies.

The cake decorating tools and candy molds are all stored away for now. I may mold a few candies for Christmas - I haven't decided yet. Next birthday is Baby Hooper's. You can bet that I'll have them out again 'round about that time.

Gotta get busy doing something productive. Well, maybe I will. See ya later.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Lonesome Sunday

It's just Harry and me today. Keith's family is worn out from yesterday's birthday bash, Buddy had to work so they were here for a while after the birthday bash yesterday afternoon, Joe decided to come by tomorrow or Tuesday. I'm going to cook his favorite meal - it's his favorite birthday present. No sunshine, no kids, just two old farts making the best of this day.

I could write about the Big Birthday Bash. It was yesterday afternoon at the Green Mountain Nature Trail pavilion to celebrate both James and Jesse's birthdays. There were 29 children, plus siblings and parents. I've never seen so many kids all having fun together - not one cross word was spoken. I'll post a pic or two when I get the pics organized.

I could write about having the galloping crud in the form of chest congestion. I'll spare you the honor of hearing all about that.

Instead, let me tell you about my unbelievable night (last night). I was so sound asleep that I must have bordered on dead. Zennia, the stroke victim cat, was sleeping on the bed. She must have woke up and decided to check out the new placement of my bedside table lamp. That didn't work out very well. The crash of the lamp falling to the floor, my clock falling onto my pillow against my head, Zennia's louder than loud yeoooowwwww and her claws digging into my shoulder as she ran woke me from a sound sleep. As a reflex, I screamed when the incident happened. Needless to say the cat hid until this morning, I had to wash and care for a dig-in scratch on my shoulder, pick up the lamp and clock, and was awake for hours. Can you believe Harry did NOT wake up? He didn't!!! I spoke to him to try and wake him after the excitement but he didn't respond. In frustration I said to myself that if he was dead I didn't want to know until morning. Enough excitement for one night. (I knew he was just asleep because his breathing gave that fact away.)

I need a nap and this long, gray, quiet day is a perfect opportunity. Hope you are having a good day. Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Oldies But Goodies

It's been a long trek but I'm beginning to see results - albeit small results. Last evening the upholstery shop brought my 42-year-old sofa home all gussied up in her new dress. She may be out of style but I love her because she is so comfy and the perfect place for my naps.
My mother's and father's favorite chairs are even older. They are also sporting new duds. This is one of the two - my mother's. Is anyone old enough to remember the fad of "Mr and Mrs" chairs? Well, these are still in service. Perfect reading chairs.
The room will look better when everything is back in place. Still a lot of work to do, but when I begin to see progress it's easier to keep plowing through the project.
Not much else to write about. Hope everyone has a happy day.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Progress Made

Life do git tarsum. I want a vacation - on the beach - in the mountains - close home - far away. Makes no difference. I'm never, ever going to catch up. Who cares? I don't know but I'm getting close to saying, "Forget it." My inside storage room became a junk dump over the year. I made a mad run through it and have room to store my "stuff" neatly and without stress. Give me a button!

I've always been a pack rat. Someone suggested that I read a book by Christopher Lowell and I took their advice. It sure gave me a different viewpoint. I loaned the book to someone else who is reading it. The two of us will have the most junk free homes in the city - given enough time, that is.

Christopher Lowell is great - my opinion. I always enjoyed his programs. He had/has really neat projects done very economically. I know his style isn't for everyone and I don't like everything he does but his ideas are great.

So much for my day.

We have a new president elect. He made some great promises and predictions. If they come to fruition we will indeed have a great country. I can hardly wait for the "spread the wealth" part. I should be in much better financial health. Maybe the vacation that I'm wishing for can become reality. My hopes and prayers are for his success and the continued greatness of this great country.

In the meantime, back to the salt mines - errrrr - the junk and clutter. Later folks.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Monday in the Trenches

I'm waiting for the pantry floor to dry and having another cup of coffee - it's a good time to update. I've been a bad blogger. There's just not much to write about except what's on my list for the day. Believe me, right now that's not good reading. As an example: 1) Clean pantry. 2) Straighten kitchen cabinets. 3) Finish planning picture placement for living room. 4) Clean and de-clutter sun room. Now where is the fun in that?

I did catch up with Fringe over the weekend. I watched it on Fox Network's on-line full episode viewer. That worked out really well. Fringe is a strange show - a crazy scientist and his guardian son; a determined lady FBI agent; a mysterious research organization; and lots of sci-fi situations. This show isn't for everyone but I think I may continue to follow the story.

The boys were fun yesterday. Jesse is going through a phase of wanting grown-ups to tell him stories about ". . a long time ago when you were a kid like me." At least he didn't ask me if I was afraid of dinosaurs when I was little. (His father did ask me that question and was serious about it.) James is becoming a Noggin demon. He loves playing the on-line Noggin games and is learning words and simple math from the games. Legos are still the toy of choice for both boys.

I think the floor is dry. Time to get back to the trenches. My best to everyone.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hello Out There

Time passes by and I find that I've neglected blogging. I have read and commented some but not a lot. I haven't forgotten any of you - I've just been really busy.

There's not much to write about. This week I have just been taking care of chores - not as many as I'd like have been done. Decisions, decisions, decisions. Do I buy a large plastic tub to house all my cake decorating "stuff" and store it in the storage room or return it to the pantry and cabinets when the October/November cake decorating is done? How can I best store needle work "stuff" that isn't currently being used - another plastic tub in the storage room? What about my art "stuff" (oils, acrylics, brushes, easel)? I want to paint this winter so I want it kept close. I repeat, decisions, decisions, decisions. At least my plants are cleaned up and in their winter homes in the sunroom.

The two older grandsons celebrated their 5th and 6th birthdays this month. They are no longer babies. The youngest grandson is growing and thriving. We are really looking forward to having our granddaughter and her parents here for Thanksgiving. Ricky, my nephew, will also be here. I can hardly wait for it all to begin happening. My panic over the masterbath has been laid to rest. They'll all love me even if some things here are in disrepair. . . clean and working but ugly

We had a freeze last night and tonight promises to be a repeat performance. Old man winter seems to have his eye on us. For my part, I hope we do have a significant freeze this winter to kill some of the insect larvae. A few relatively warm winters has left us with lots of creepy crawlies in the yard. I don't spray poisons so I mostly have to depend on the winters for natural control.

Do you have plans to be with family at Thanksgiving? I hope you do and that you are warmed by love and peace. We still have a few days to make plans so if you haven't why not start now?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Home for Sunday

Sunday morning and all is well. We spent the night Friday night in the hotel where the reef club meeting/swap was being held. Yesterday (Saturday) was the event. We drove home afterward and got here in the late evening. This was the first event for the Montgomery club. It was one of the smaller that we've attended but it was well organized and well attended. The meeting room was the best we've seen. It was a pleasure to meet this group of reefers.

Harry and I were two tired old farts but a good night's sleep fixed that problem. Now it's time to check the treat cabinet. There is a shortage of KitKat's and Pizza Pringles and I must fill that void. I must because I promised.

The boys will have lots to tell us today. The school fall festival was Saturday and they will be full of "Guess what" and "Did you know" and "Can we make a (many blanks to fill in here)." They will want to make/build everything they saw. At least it won't be, "Go buy."

Gotta get at least some of the clutter out of the way. It'll be good to see all the kids. I wish everyone a happy Sunday afternoon and a pleasant week ahead.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Off to See the Wizard . .

We're off to see the wizard; the wonderful wizard of OZ. Well, not really. We're leaving in a few minutes to drive to Montgomery, Alabama. In the rain, I might add. We'll be home late tomorrow (Saturday) evening.

This is yet another live coral swap between reef clubs. More and more I realize how popular this hobby has become. The reefers (pun intended) stroll around to view the coral that others are showing and sometimes get really excited when they see something that they would like to put in their reefs. This is a unique crowd but everyone is nice, polite, and full of fun. I'm odd man out but I still enjoy seeing folks and hearing their stories.

I'll be able to read blogs and I think posting won't be a problem. We'll see.

I hope everyone is doing well and looking forward to the weekend. Soul, if you read this take care and do everything the doctors tell you to do.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me

Happy Birthday to me. My lifetime friend called to wish me "Happy Birthday." Carolyn June, you really made my day with the call. It was so good to hear your voice. My oldest son, Joe, made blueberry/strawberry muffins and added 7 candles. He said each candle represented 3 years - that makes me 21 years old today. Believe me it took more than 21 years for me to grow all these wrinkles. James and Jesse drew pictures and made cards for me (the best kind of cards). This is a picture of the frig magnet that Jesse drew, painted and gave to me.


Keith, Mary and the boys also gave me a stainless steel kitchen can that I've been coveting. That was a big surprise and I absolutely love it. Hey, I'm in the big time now with a step-to-open and slow closing kitchen can. I can now throw away my 15+ year-old kitchen can that is so ugly.

Kitty is doing much better. She's relearning how to do some things and is once again a happy kitty. She spends a lot of time sleeping in her new kitty bed. She seems to want to be where she can see either Harry are me at all times.
I believe most of my regular visitor's are also followers of Soul's blog. She is in the hospital and has been on my mind all day. I hope and pray that she is comfortable and responding to treatment.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Calm Day

Is it Saturday evening already? My, my how time flies when you're havin' fun! Today has been the first day that truly felt calm in days. I still am behind the timeline but at least I know the big things are either put on the back burner or will be done by my target date. I want to go on record as the old fart with the most discombumerated (is this a real word?) master bath in the world. Not coordinated but working as well as any million dollar bath in the world. Hot water, cold water, fast drains, dependable flush, and no leaks - yep, that's how it is. Everything important is covered. It's on with the show - so to speak.

Today was our first really cool day. Temps were in the high 40's this morning and high 60's this afternoon. I'm glad the sweltering heat and high humidity are past for this year.

I don't have much to write about. I've been a slug all day - tomorrow will be the usual - Monday I have to hit the deck running. Wish me luck.

I haven't been a dependable blogger or reader for several days, but I promise to do better in the future. Meantime, I hope everyone is enjoying the weekend.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Just a Note

It is Wednesday, isn't it? Where does time go? From my stand point, time just melts away.

When the central unit leak was discovered we decided to turn it off until repairs are made. Temps have been fairly comfortable and we have windows open. Last night I woke up to a bird chirping just outside the window beside my bed. There is a large fig tree out there where Mr. Bird was perched. He apparently decided that it would be appropriate to serenade me. Thanks pal! It's been a while since I listened to night sounds and I'd forgotten how relaxing it can be. I'm a country girl at heart. No surprises there. Right?

Nothing much happening here. I'm so wrapped up in being concerned about all the work I need to do and the short time I have to finish it that it's hard to think about much else. I know it's a pain to read about home repairs and that's about all I can deal with right now. I remember you, my blog friends, think of you often, and wonder what you are doing. Are you well? Are you happy? What's happening in your world?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday Reflections

The new header picture is a peep into our back yard. The brown leaves in the foreground is the "Miss Kim" lilac. It drops its leaves very early.

The leaves of the Tulip Popular are beginning to turn. Before long both the Tulip Popular and the Gingo Tree will be blazing yellow.

I'm trying to concentrate on things outside of myself. Fall is my favorite season and I'm making the most of it. Fall is a time to be thankful for the bounty of the harvest and a time of calm while the land prepares to sleep and dream of yet another spring awakening.

The kids will be here soon. Plans for Halloween pumpkins should be a topic of conversation today. We also need to discuss James and Jesse's B'day party and the kind of cake I need to build. I can't believe they are 5 and 6 already. Maddie is bearing down on being 2 and Baby Hooper (aka Mav) is 6 months. Time really, really flies.

Mav was here to share the Friday play day with James an Jesse. He is really interested in every move the older boys make. They were playing with matchbox cars and Mav was holding his "6 month appropriate" Fisher Price dump truck. Mav was active as part of the crew of boys for the first time. Our blessings abound.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you visit again soon.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Leaks and Bad Knee

Not having my best days but at least they aren't the worst. My knee is on a real rampage but I'm trying to ease along and get past having to walk with a cane. I had a pretty serious injury several years ago and the knee was one of the casualties. It doesn't take much to really set it off. I have all the appropriate meds for the situation so it'll just take time. Harry has two old gals to take care of now - Kitty and me. He surely is a good sport about it all. I have to tell you something he said this morning. In answer to his question about how my knee is this morning I told him that at least I could get it into position (while sitting) and have some almost pain free time if I didn't move. He told me to go sit on the potty and he'd give me a bell to ring if I need anything. That way I wouldn't have to move. He promised that he'd bring my meals to me. Do you think that maybe he'd like to file me away for a while? Life at this house may get tedious at times but humor is always lurking around the corner.

Keith went under the house this morning to see just how bad the condensation line (from central unit) really is and how much damage it has caused. He took the camera with him and made pictures. There is no doubt that there is a leak and that it is significant. However, even though the subfloor is wet it isn't rotted. The pictures make that clear. We think that the folks who removed the underfloor insulation caused the problem. The drain line is pulled loose and laying on the ground and raised at the point it should drain. That's been only a short time so we believe that correcting this and a shop fan to aid in the drying process should solve the problem. I'm going to let the contractor give me his estimate for correcting the problem and see what happens. He lead me to believe I had a major structural problem and said he'd be back the first of the week with a detailed estimate. This will tell just how honest he is. Little does he know that I'm not a total dunce when it comes to construction. My father was an architect and had a construction company, too. I learned some things just by being present at the dinner table. Thanks to Keith, I no longer believe the house will fall down during the night. All I can say is, "Even this will pass away." (...and I no longer think it'll cost $20K plus)

This day isn't all bad. My knee is telling me that it's time for meds. Gotta go. Thanks for stopping by. Have a fun weekend and look for the silver lining - I think there's one there somewhere.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

One Day in the Life of an Old Woman

What a day this has been. The latest in a procession of contractors was here on time and ready to repair the floor in the Master Bath. (The simple fix.) Both Harry and I like the young man who owns the company and his work is excellent. No bull - just professional and ready to do the job. While he and his crew were doing the work he spotted a major trouble spot. (Keep in mind that a home inspector, Orkin, insulation removal crew, and the fellow who installed piers under the reef tanks all very recently said all was sound under the house except for the small place in the Master Bath.) This contractor came and told me that I didn't need to be thinking about cosmetic upgrades right now because I have a serious problem. He had to show me to make me believe him. He was 100% correct. My central unit (heat and air) has had a leak in the condensation line for a long time. It isn't apparent except when you remove the filter and another gizmo but the whole floor under the unit is rotten - not damaged but out and out rotten. I don't know why the unit hasn't fallen to the ground. We don't know how far the damage goes but this won't be a simple job nor will it be pretty. This didn't begin recently. Needless to say, I'm very discouraged. I don't know how this will play out with the holidays, but it will have an impact. I'll have one big pity party and then just get over it and get on with what has to be done.

On a happy note, my sofa was back from the shop with new upholstery. It is really nice. The fellow told me that the frame is solid oak put together with dove tails and screws. Good to know. As soon as I get things in place and in some manner of order I'll post pictures.

Last, but not least - I had a big fall this evening. Boy did it happen fast and it hurt like everything. My right knee is hurting again. It's the knee that had a serious injury a few years ago. Well, again, I'll just get over it and get on with life. Harry, on the other hand was really, really frightened. I was so glad he didn't start wanting me to go to the emergency room - I really don't need to.

If you've read all this post, you're ready for a nap. Sorry. I'll be fine. Really I will.

Hope all is smooth in your world.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

It's Just My Weird Sense of Humor

I hope I don't offend anyone with the following. I just can't resist adding it to my blog. If you hate it, I'm sorry - I just have a weird sense of humor. Notice that it is non-partisan. I just find this amusing.

THIS IS A NON-PARTISAN JOKE THAT CAN BE ENJOYED BY BOTH PARTIES! NOT ONLY THAT... IT IS POLITICALLY CORRECT! While walking down the street one day a US senator is tragically hit by a truck and dies. His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance. "Welcome to heaven," says St. Peter. "Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we're not sure what to do with you." "No problem, just let me in," says the man. "Well, I'd like to, but I have orders from higher up. What we will do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity." "Really, I've made up my mind. I want to be in heaven," says the senator. "I'm sorry, but we have our rules." And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a club house and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him. Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people. They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and champagne. Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly guy who has a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are having such a good time that before he realizes it, it is time to go. Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises... The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens on heaven where St.Peter is waiting for him. "Now it's time to visit heaven." So, 24 hours pass with the senator joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St.Peter returns. "Well, then, you've spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity." The senator reflects for a minute, then he answers: "Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in hell." So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. Now the doors of the elevator open and he is in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage. He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above. The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulder. "I don't understand," stammers the senator. "Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and club house, and we ate lobster and caviar,drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there is just a waste land full of garbage and my friends look miserable. What happened?" The devil looks at him, smiles and says, "Yesterday we were campaigning... Today you voted."

Could It Be . .?

. . that fall is on the way? I believe it's just down the street.



Our fall flowers are in full bloom.


The orchids just keep on keeping on.



A cool slow rain is falling and clinging where it can.


Dogwood berries are waiting for just the right bird to happen along.

. . And so it is in my world today.
Hope your day was a happy one and that tomorrow is even better.







Sunday, October 5, 2008

Making Preparation for the Holidays

Sunday has come to an end. It wasn't a bad day, but it was relatively quiet. Joe was here to watch the cars go round and round the track at Talladega (on TV). It was a good race. I'm sure the win will be a big controversy but for the time being Tony is considered the winner.

I talked to Jesse and James just now. They are at the beach enjoying their fall break from school. Those boys love the sand and surf. Mommy and Daddy are ready to go eat but the boys are attached to the water.

We didn't hear from Sarah today but I know they are busy. Buddy works on Sunday afternoon and Baby Hooper keeps Sarah on her toes.

As soon as I publish this post I'm going to sit down and make a schedule for myself. I have a lot to do between now and mid November. We'll see if I can apply my project management skills to my own life. Wish me luck.

My best to everyone. I hope your are all doing well.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Getting Back to Normal Routine

Harry and I just watched the vice presidential debate. I'm not going to make any political comments more than saying I was pleased to see that each candidate showed respect for the other. They didn't agree but they didn't (in my opinion) launch personal attacks. Cudos to both for that.

Well folks, as you know I've been trying to get the master bathroom project ready to begin next week. In an email from the contractor's wife and business manager (which I received yesterday) I was informed that they have three projects ahead of mine. Three weeks ago the start date was 6 or 7 Oct - confirmed in written form. I had all manner of problems getting numbers for allowances for fixtures and optional addins. I didn't get that information until three days ago. I called the lady on her cell phone over a week ago to remind her that she needed to give me the information so I could gauge where I stood financially. She told me that she was very busy but she would call be with the information between 2 and 3 PM (of the same day). She went on to explain that she was very busy shopping and it was inconvenient to receive my call while she was in PetCo buying her dog a Halloween costume. Let me add that it took another phone call and an email to get the info when I did.

Now that I've vented; I called her today to let her know the project will begin as first stated or it won't begin at all - at least they won't be working for me. It seems that their schedule was changed because a family member needed some work done. I'm a "witch with a B" but this company will never ever work for me.

I'm just taking a deep breath, stepping back, and letting the whole mess go. I'll find someone to repair the subfloor, reset the toilet, and move right along with holiday plans. Everyone who will be here will love me just the same - even if the bathroom looks rough. Important thing is that it functions. I refuse to let this stress me out or define my plans. To quote myself, "Just get over it and get on with life."

Next week is fall break (local schools) and the boys are taking their mommy and daddy to Panama City for a few days. The boys are so excited and can't wait to put their footprints in the sand.

I went with Harry to the golf course today. I didn't play. I just enjoyed riding in the cart and being in the fresh air. This course is beside Guntersville Lake and is beautiful. I thought about my blogging buddy who loves to fish and wished that she could be here to catch that really big bass that I saw jump.

I better get to bed. Tomorrow will be a busy day. My best to everyone.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Zinnia as a Teen Ager

Oops! I've been absent for a few days. Just been busy spinning my wheels. Judy, our daughter, finally commented on my last blog. I'm so glad she did. She suggested I tell my readers a special Zinnia story that took place when Zinnia was a really young kitty and Judy was home with us.

One evening Zinnia refused to come inside and we couldn't catch her. Result, she became an outside kitty for the night. In the early morning hours I woke up to the sound of what sounded like a serious cat fight. Lots of noise and bumping around. Of course, I rushed out to the deck (before it became a screen porch) to rescue our precious baby kitty. She was on the deck, could hardly walk, head held low, little whining meows, and every sign of a badly injured animal. I picked her up and she was limp! Very little movement. It scared me to death because Zinnia was Judy's special pet - Judy rescued her from a life as a stray. Anyway, I rushed her to Judy's room, woke Judy up and told her the bad news. I gave the limp, pitiful kitty to Judy. Judy took her to bed and laid down with her while I went to call the vet emergency number. The next thing I heard was Judy telling Zinnia to "Stop it!" Not a good thing. When I got back to Judy's door she was yelling for Zinnia to "stop running laps around my bed." As soon as I left the room the poor pitiful cat began chasing her imagination around Judy's bed and being a rowdy kitty. She was just pretending to be injured and put on a convencing show. I fell for it hook, line, and sinker. Zinnia was a real stinker when she was a teenager. Nothing was sacred to her. She hid my watch and keys many times then sat and watched me hunt them. At times I swear this cat was laughing at me.

With time and age she settled down and is now a good pet. While not a lap cat, her disposition is good. We are so happy that she's doing as well as she is. She can eat and drink on her own. Is grooming herself - not as much as before but grooming, never the less. The litter box is no longer a challenge. All in all, she holds her head at a funny angle, walks a bit unsteady at times, but seems happy and content. I think she'll be here to welcome her original Mommy home for Thanksgiving. Get ready, Judy. She may decide to run laps around your bed.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Bright Happy Morning

It's a bright, happy morning here in Old Fart Country. Zinnia is far from her normal self but she is eating a few bites on her own and has had a few laps of water without being harassed to do so. She can get into her litter box and get out without help. Her "cover-up abilities" aren't what they should be, but we can live with that - and even that will probably improve. For the first time, she is working to groom herself. The screened porch is now her domain along with the foyer that leads from the sunroom to the porch. She seems to be enjoying the relative freedom. She's not steady when she walks and lays down to rest before moving on towards her destination. Sort story: We now believe that she will be able to enjoy a pain free relatively normal life and happy life. She's lovin' all this attention.

This afternoon our gathering will be quiet. Joe, Keith and family, and the race will be our day. Buddy and family have out of town guests so we won't see them today. I'm not cooking but there are snacks and drinks. Next Sunday should see a return to normal at the Hooper Household.

I want to thank those who have offered concern, hope, and understanding this past week. You have no idea how much it helped us. Neither Harry nor I knew how much this cat means to us. I've complained about how hot she is when she wants to sleep against me but during this
ordeal I've wished she would just be OK and insisting on sleeping against me - or curled up on my night table.

Again, thanks for "being there"

Friday, September 26, 2008

Tired and Concerned

Another short post. We took Zinnia back to her doctor today. She had an IV and vitamin shot. She also has some "high calorie palatable dietary supplement" that we have to force feed her every 2 to 3 hours. It's nasty looking stuff but if it helps then that's good. She does have more strength and is making the attempt to move around. It's still a struggle but she isn't in pain. With her 24 hour nursing staff (Harry and me) she is doing OK. Monday we take her back to her doctor and at that time we have to make a decision based on her progress - or lack of it.

James was with us for a while this afternoon. He brought his stuffed squirrel for Zinnia. He thought it might make her feel better. We have her in a baby play pen and James spent a good amount of time beside it talking to her and telling her about his day. He also told her that he and Jesse would pray for her. (Needless to say this old fart had to hurry to another room so James wouldn't see tears.)

Sunday will be a slow day here. Keith and family will stop by and Joe will, too. I'm not cooking - can everyone say "Sandwich Sunday" or "you're on your own"? I don't expect Sarah and Baby Hooper will be here - Buddy will be working. We'd love to see Sarah and Baby H. but understand that she might not want to get involved in the confusion here. Sarah, if you feel that you can make it, come right on over.

So much for a short post. I always have words to spill.

Take care everyone. Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Just Dropping In to Say Hello

It's been a long time since yesterday morning when Zinnia was first sick. Last night she cried - more like howling - every time I turned off TV and the light or if I left the room. She was scared and confused. (She's not mobile) There's no indication that she's in pain. I slept in the sunroom with both the light and TV on. The recliner wasn't a very comfy bed. Zinnia is still not OK. Tomorrow we talk to the doctor to see what he thinks about recovery. We don't hold out much hope.

The contractor I selected to do the master bath still hasn't called. I've left messages and sent emails. This is a cost plus contract and I need to know my allowances for things like tile, vanity, etc. I won't sign any contract until the allowances are stated in writing. This old pony has been ridden before - I won't sign anything until I know the written word is the way I want it.

Now that I've sounded off I feel much better. I'm just so very thankful that the kids are all healthy and doing well. Hope things in your world are smooth and treating you well.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bad News

On my last post Zinnia was the first picture I posted - her eight year old portrait, if you will. Today her life is not assured. This morning she was having trouble walking. We took her to the pet hospital as soon as we could get her there. It is obvious that the problem is neurological and the doctor confirmed our fears. She has rapid eye movement, low temp, and her left front leg seems to be involved. Long story short - Doctor gave her an IV of prednisone, a regular shot of the same, and meds to take for the next five days. If, at that time, she's no better we have to face and accept the fact that she'll leave us. I am sorry to say that I have little hope for improvement. (The words stroke and brain tumor were used.)

Judy, when you read this I hope you aren't too sad. Zinnia was your baby and she has become ours. Pa and I are doing all we can for her. She isn't in pain and has a good bed with water and food by her side. She's in the foyer between the sunroom and the screen porch. She is laying by the french door and is being still.

Harry and I will be the best caretakers we can. Will post again when things settle down.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Picture Day

Today is picture day. Harry was the photographer; however, Zinnia was supervising. Otherwise the pictures wouldn't have that special zip. (What special zip, you ask? Who knows.)


The azaleas are blooming for the last time before old man frost comes to visit.


Harry's orchids are just starting to bloom. They are young plants - not very large. Give them another year or so.


He had just watered the plants. The camera caught drops of water just ready to fall.

Here is the bittersweet that I brought from the mountains (Appalachia) in 1978. It's still thriving. The common name is "Hearts A-bustin" Appropriate isn't it?
This is a neighbors rose. It's so pretty that I just couldn't resist adding it.


Hope everyone enjoys the pictures. My mind is a blank - can't think of anything to say that's worth hearing.
Thanks for stopping by. Y'all come back anytime.







Sunday, September 21, 2008

I'm Way Behind Schedule

Here it is Sunday and I haven't accomplished my goal for this past week. So what else is new. It seems it takes me five days to do the same amount of work that I could accomplish is two short days just a few years ago. Just have to adjust my expectations and quit expecting something I know is impossible for me. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Harry's orchids are beginning to bloom and they are going to be beautiful. I'll post pictures of them when they're fully open and Harry makes pics. In the meantime here is a picture of one of my succulents that's currently blooming on the screen porch. Harry made the picture for me. He does so much better than I do with the new camera.
I have lots of Big Adventure pictures and will post more if anyone is interested. My header picture was made on our trip. We were on 613 (a small back road) through the hills and mountains of Appalachia. Don't remember if I said that before.
Kids will be here soon. I need to start making preparations. This is my very favorite part of the week.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

More Big Adventure Pictures

This is just a few of the pictures we captured as we traveled the backroads from Windsor, Ontario, to Niagara Falls.

A little church at the end of a road caught my eye. It is lovely.

Following are two pics made at two of the many, many commercial greenhouses along the Lake Erie waterfront. The owner provided a personal tour of his houses. Both Harry and I were just overwhelmed at the size of the plants and the number (and size) of greenhouses.

Worker picking cucumbers . These tomato plants are over 19 feet tall and have been producing for over 8 months.
Scene along the waterfront, Lake Erie, Ontario
Barns and a lovely farm house not far from the banks of Lake Erie, Ontario
It's hard to believe that I haven't posted since Sunday. I've been reading and commenting but not taking time to write. Monday was a date with my dental hygienist - no further work needed beyond cleaning. Tuesday saw a meeting with the contractor I've chosen to do our master bath - and decisions, decisions. Then a follow-up appointment with my medical doctor - just routine, no problems. Today was mostly a chill day. Also, Jesse stayed with us while Mary took James to music class. Tomorrow I pick James up from school around noon. In the afternoon I have to begin making plans to clear the deck for the upcoming season. Friday will be play day. Folks, I don't know how I had time to work.


Fall is in the air and I'm appreciating the cooler temps. There is so much to do and it's good that we don't have to fight high 90 degree weather.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Nana's Brag Post

Guess who came to visit today. We were thrilled when Sarah and Baby Hooper came through the sunroom door. Today was a venture out alone for them - Buddy had to work so he missed the gathering.

Here are a few pics of our growing four month old little man.

My gums are killing me!

I have a present for you, Mommy.


I can manage this job all by myself.

We are truly blessed.

Let's have a wonderful Monday - as Mondays go.


Friday, September 12, 2008

A Few Pictures

As soon as Harry has time to downsize the pic files I'll post. Busy day. Tired.

Are you being bombarded with "no gas available" stories? We rushed right out and filled my car. Harry's car was already full. Never say we don't participate in panic.

Here are a couple of large size pics as a starter.
Indianapolis' Bell South "Batman Bldg"
My dream car.
Canadian Horseshoe FallsAmerican Falls
Angry Aussie Parakeet



Thursday, September 11, 2008

Home Sweet (Cluttered) Home

We're home and tired. I was happy to step on the scales and see that I didn't gain even one pound!! I certainly ate enough to add 10 pounds - guess I ran it off.

Most things are unpacked and sorted. The boys came by late today and we were able to give them their loot. That helped to clear some of the clutter. There is still loot for Baby Hooper and Miss Maddie-Cakes. Maddie's will be waiting for her when she gets here for Thanksgiving. Baby Hooper will collect his in the next few days. Harry's loot consists of polo shirts from each place we visited. (He collects these shirts.) I really splurged on my special treat. I bought a fantastic piece of blown glass. The artist is one I've seen on TV at least two times but I never thought I'd see him create his work much less own one. The colors are perfect and the form is unusual but really pretty. I may have to eat bread and water but I'll have the piece of art to admire. One of the bloggers I follow is a glass artist and I want to add a piece of her work to my growing collection as soon as she settles into working.

Everything here at home was just as we left it. Joe always does a marvelous job of keeping the tanks in tip-top shape and seeing to kitty's needs. Our mail was neatly stacked and waiting for us. I don't know what we'd do without our kids.

I'll post some of the pictures from the trip as soon as I can sort through them. Tomorrow I have to meet with the contractors who have the best bid for reworking our master bath. They can't begin until October so it will be a push to be ready for our Thanksgiving bash but I'll manage. I have to select tile, vanity cabinet, molding for the mirror, faucets for both lav and tub/shower, and light fixture. I'm electing to do my own painting - why? Because I actually enjoy doing it.

I hope everyone is having a happy evening. Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Another Day in Paradise

This is one of many pictures of the falls. I hate to upload the pictures until they've been downsized because they are so slow to load on some computers.
I haven't visited many of your blogs since we've been on this Big Adventure but I certainly haven't forgotten any of you, my blogging friends. By the time our day of adventure is over I'm pretty used up.

We've enjoyed Canada beyond belief. It has been a wonderful experience. People here are friendly and ready to share information. We took the road along the lakes from Windsor to over halfway to Niagara. We were surprised to see acres and acres of commercial greenhouses. We stopped at one of the smaller ones that had a veggie and fruit sales store out front. Harry asked the owner what was being grown. Not only did he explain that they supply wholesalers with fruits and veggies but he volunteered to provide a complete tour of his houses. He was raising tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers - lots of them! We really enjoyed the tour and learned a lot about how these crops are grown for the wholesale market. This is just an example of the wonderful experience we are having. I have pictures of tomato plants that are almost twenty feet tall. They have been producing for almost 8 months and will continue for some time.

I also learned that there is wine made from grapes that have been allowed to freeze. I believe it's called icewine. I think most of you know that wine is my drink. There are more wine makers here than I can count. I want to stop at the duty free store and buy our limit to carry home.

We're going to continue our Big Adventure by traveling home through Appalachia. We have driven roughly 1,100 miles so far. Not one fuss as of tonight.

I've gotten carried away with writing tonight. I better close and get to sleep. The sandman has already visited Harry and he is sleeping.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Morning in Windsor, Ontario

Trip going well. Spent a lot of time in the river front parks. Love it!!! Harry is doing the photography. Today we drive to Niarara Falls - scheduled for three days in the general area. More when I have time.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Day Two Ends

Still in Indianapolis and had a full day. Indy track and museum, Indianapolis Museum of Art, and a driving tour of downtown - a really full day. Wonderful dinner at Abuels (spelling). We're back in our room early - we're tired and there's no race tonight (on TV) because of Hannah. Glad we're here and not there. We've had wonderful weather. Tomorrow we head to Windsor, Ontario, via Detroit. It isn't a long drive so we'll have time to explore along the way. Took oodles of pics. Will post when home. We still haven't had a fuss and are happy with each other.

Safe travel, fun things to do, good food, comfy beds - I still say we're two luck old farts. Hope everyone is well and happy. Until later - bye, bye.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

From the Road - Indianapolis

We are in Indianapolis for tonight and tomorrow night. The Indianapolis speedway is on the agenda for tomorrow and maybe the downtown area (it's wonderful). We may also visit a supplier that Harry uses for reef "stuff."

Our trip was good - no bad weather - traffic was bearable - we didn't fight once. What more could we want? Food? Yep, we had a big breakfast at Cracker Barrel and a dinner at a little sports bar that looks like it's a locals hangout. Food was excellent and reasonable. Their house wine is excellent - need I say more?

I did take pics today but I have no way to resize them on the computer. Guess I'll have to wait until we're home to post a pic-video.

Hope everyone is well and that none of you are having issues with all the bad weather. Until later, nite-nite.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Final Plans

It's been decided. The big Adventure will begin on Thursday. Same rules apply; destination different. (We can be flexible when we need to be.) First stop Indianapolis, Ind. I really like Indianapolis and the surrounding area - it will be new to Harry. A couple of days there visiting museums and at least one night spot I know about for dinner. Second stop Detroit. Again not new to me but new to Harry. I want to visit the Shrine of the Little Flower, drive Harry around Grosse Pointe, and maybe dinner in Trappers Alley. We'll cross into Windsor, Ontario, via Ambassador Bridge (I hate the Detroit Windsor Tunnel) and overnight in Windsor. I want Harry to have the opportunity to photograph Detroit from Windsor's Riverside Park. Next is Niagara Falls, Ontario via highway CR-3. We will both be in new territory from here. We have no idea how long we will loiter in the Niagara Falls area (both Canadian and U.S.) but I'm sure we'll be there for a few days. Then we'll slowly ramble towards home. If anything in our path (whatever our path will be) looks interesting and something old farts can do we'll have time to that too. Does this sound like a big bite for two old folks? Hey, we're in a "can-do" mood.

I'll post as much as I can from the road. Ride along with us. If you have suggestions about what to do or where to go (careful here) please feel free to send them my way.

Today is get my head together day. Tomorrow is get everything together, car serviced and washed, and secure house. House sitter is ready and waiting so we'll have no worries there. Don't owe anyone $$$ so no one will miss us. Let our Big Adventure begin.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Good Days are Wonderful

Yep. Our Big Adventure is on hold for now. We may make the trip later or plan an entirely different Big Adventure. A Big Adventure is in our future - I'll let you know when I know just which one we'll choose.

Want to know what was the high light of my day? A picture is worth at least a thousand words. Our newest addition - Baby Hooper - is growing like wild fire.
Isn't he a keeper? I look rough but the smile is real.
I'm tired. nite-nite

Labor Day and All is Well

The last few days have been busy without much accomplished. My wheels are spinning but movement is s-l-o-w.

We are watching Hannah (storm) and thinking that it will be best if we postpone our Big Adventure. I don't think either of us is ready for the Big Adventure we might find under these conditions. I vote for home sweet home.

Today is quiet - most of the kids were here yesterday. Sarah fell and sprained her ankle and is home bound for a few days, so their little family was missed. Harry and I will drive out there later today. Baby Hooper is doing well and growing everyday, as his daddy said. Of course, Jesse and James were here and being their usual sweet little boy selves. James has learned a new phrase ("doing crafts") at pre-school. He got a piece of copy paper, put a few staples in it, took it to the kitchen table along with the box of colored pencils, and drew patterns around the staples. This "doing crafts" phase may prove very interesting. Harry allowed Jesse to take pictures with his (Harry's) new expensive camera and was surprised at the number of really good pictures Jesse was able to shoot. He stood in front of the tanks, aimed the lens, adjusted the focus (Harry showed him a few simple adjustments), and snapped lots of pictures. I was so amused to see that Jesse was doing exactly what he's watched Harry do.

Judy called us on Saturday to let us know that she and hubby have signed the contract on a new house to be built. They expect to be in their home just after the first of the year. Of course it's in the Phoenix area - I guess this means that they will settle there. Looking at the bright side - Nana and Papa will have a home away from home to visit and spoil our little grand daughter. We are so happy for them. They have done so well in such a short time. Way to go Kids!!

I'm not exactly sure where all my blog friends live. If any of you are in the path of these storms, please take care - don't take chances. I know some of you will get unbelievable amounts of rain. Be careful and stay dry. Thinking good thoughts for each and every one of you.

Hugs and blessings to all.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Thursday

I'm so very far behind that I'll never catch up. Such is life in the fast lane. Picture how frustrating it looks from the slow lane - which is where I sit.

Luck is with me on the master bathroom re-do. A couple came to give an estimate this evening. One was telling me all that should be done and I was just about ready to run crying from the room. The other spoke up and said that he didn't agree. The area he believes needs to be replaced is relatively small given the size of the room as a whole. His suggestion was to replace the subfloor and install a new vanity and tile floor. He pointed out that the tub and marble surround are in perfect condition as is the lav and toilet. He suggested new faucets for both lav and tub/shower. I hope he is correct because I have a lot of $$$ in those fixtures and marble and I still like them. I don't have a bottom line cost yet but it will be less than a wall to wall re-do.

I guess this means the subway tile are on hold. (Subway tile are about the size of the face of a standard brick. They are used for walls and are laid edge to edge.) They might be an option for a kitchen back splash.

Other news. We are leaving on 3 September for a few days. Joe will be doing the honors of house/tank/cat sitting so we won't worry about anything here. We only have a direction we'll be traveling. Our first leg will be Charleston, SC, and from there up the coast. We'll move along as the mood strikes and just be vagabonds. An adventure, if you will. If a hurricane invades our path we'll just change our path - there are lots of mountains to explore in both North and South Carolina. My goal is to return home with a Pawley's Island hammock and a relaxed smile on my face. I think Harry's goal is just to manage not to have a nervous breakdown as he likes things on a cut and dried schedule. We'll have the laptop with us so Harry can conduct business as usual and I'll check email and blogs. I might even write and/or post pictures if time permits.

I have to brag - I have lost 35 pounds. It really hasn't been hard. I'd like to shed another 10-15 pounds but if I don't it'll be OK.

The clock struck three in the morning before I was asleep last night and I've had no nap today. I see an early night in my future - starting right about now. Tomorrow I'll have the boys after school. Have I mentioned that I love all my kids?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Hello World

It's hard to believe we've had almost two days of rain. The remnants of Fay was kind enough to remember that we have a drought happening right here in Rocket City and is giving our world a wonderful gentle drink.

The initial work under the house is complete. Now I have to think about the master bath. Part of the sub floor will have to be replaced. It's also a great opportunity to replace the vanity and have a high performance potty installed. That bath was completely renovated almost exactly 25 years ago. Guess I can't complain - and I'm not. This re-do will be very simple - I love subway tile and intend to have them at long last. Old farts don't need fancy; we need practical and rugged.

I haven't posted or commented very much for a few days. I have read but have mostly lurked. A schedule (like the one I'm trying to work out now) that seems almost impossible to plan because so much depends on other people just uses me up. Given a couple of days to get my balance and take a deep breath all will fall into place.

Meantime I'll be reading and posting/commenting when I can get my mind clear enough to do so. Don't forget me - I think of each of my blog friends every day and wonder how their world is behaving.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Calm Weekend Ahead . .

The work being done at my house?
Long story made short: There were several phone calls, one really ticked old woman, a foreman who was/is in BIG trouble with his district manager, and one job finally completed. Foreman left my job unfinished and moved the crew to another job. There was only about three hours work left to finish my job so "we can finish up that job as a fill in," said the foreman. Wrong again hoss! Finish one job before you begin the next. Lesson: Keep your money completely in your control until ALL work is complete to your satisfaction. You won't necessarily make friends but you will earn respect. I'm so glad this job is over. Second phase will be done first of week and then it's on to whatever damage I have and - if I'm lucky - a new master bath. Don't tell Harry. He doesn't know yet.

Nationwide at Bristol is running and is about half way through. I'll be back in front of TV for the finish of the race. Tomorrow the cup cars run Bristol. I'd love to be there in person. Maybe next year.

James spent the afternoon with us. (Jesse had music class after school so he wasn't here.) James and I played Noggin on line, had a snack, and talked about school (pre-school) and "the big blue slide." Only the big kids get to go down the big blue slide because it goes through a tunnel. James' teacher said that maybe her class might get to go down the big blue slide after Christmas. I gotta check out that slide. . .

I re-read my last two posts. Sorry I turned into a "witch with a B" because of the needless holdups with this work. I should be more patient. I promise to try to do better.

Back to the race. My best to all.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Day of Waiting

Workers were here this morning and began doing what the contract said they should do. Before long the inspector came to the door to be sure I was satisfied with the way the work was progressing. He told me that the district manager was having a "pop-in meeting" with the worker's superintendent on our front lawn. The inspector and I talked for a few minutes and then he went back outside to look at the work being done. That gave me the chance to sneak a peek out the living room window to see what was happening out there. I don't know what was being said but the district manager was NOT smiling and the super was just looking nervous and nodding his head. I really don't know what transpired but I do know that everything went smooth as silk so far as the work is concerned. They didn't finish today so will be back to finish up tomorrow morning. When they are done the inspector will check the work and he will install extra floor supports. (As you know we have some heavy stuff (tanks) in this house.) It will be good to be through with this!

I haven't done anything today except wait for the "other shoe" to fall but it didn't. We'll see how the last part of the work goes tomorrow.

By Monday life should be back to normal - well as normal as it ever is. Have a good evening. If you are facing heavy rains and flooding I hope you don't experience loss of property or injury.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Is This Day Over Yet?

I last posted on Monday and here it is Wednesday. I haven't accomplished one thing during this time. The workers came this morning but due to "miscommunication" between the technical people and the worker bees nothing happened. The next start time is tomorrow between 8 and 9 AM. This job isn't rocket science I don't know what's so hard to understand about "remove the old insulation, treat the wood, replace vapor barrier, install power vent, clear all debris and get the thunder out of my face!" We'll see what happens in the morning. GRRR

I haven't had the chance to visit blogs for a couple of days - I've been spending my time worrying about getting this work done and completing a couple of projects. I don't want to be distracted while these workers are here. I think someone needs to watch them. I'm so glad that Harry cancelled his golf to be here to watch this process. Thanks Harry, I know I can count on you.

More on this later, I'm sure.

I'll try to read and comment tomorrow morning. Nite-nite!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Tiger on the Wall

I had a couple of requests to post a large version of the picture that hung in my office. I'm going to do my best. Let's see how this goes.

Hmmmm. . . . Well, Harry will be embarrassed that I didn't straighten the picture and take steps to keep reflections off the glass. Sorry Babe, this is the best the old gal can do. To my readers I believe you can see several of the other big cats within the pic.

Yesterday, Sunday, was our usual gathering but Baby Hooper and parents were missing. We missed them. The boys asked why he wasn't here. I believe they have decided the baby is a keeper. Uncle Joe brought a computer program that allows kids to build cartoon monsters. They wanted Uncle Joe to demonstrate - or maybe it was Uncle Joe's decision to do so. He built the cutest monster with a monkey body, a unicorn head, one eye, and wings with a wide span. It was purple. He called me to come look at the critter. When I got to the computer there were two little guys standing there with big eyes and mouths ajar. Uncle Joe told them that I would recognize the monster and the boys had all eyes on me. I laughed and broke into the "Purple People Eater" song and the boys were so relieved to know he was "just a song" and not real. Uncle Joe likes to tease everyone and he surely had them in his clutches that time.

Harry's yearly physical was this morning. Kids, I'm happy to report that his report card was very good. I guess we'll keep him for another year. What da ya think?


We two old farts have just about worn this day out. In another hour we'll begin to settle in for the evening. I hope I can sleep tonight. Harry NEVER has trouble sleeping!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sentimental Me

Yesterday was a wonderful day. The trip up to Ooltewah was smooth and with no problems. My friend, Carolyn June, met me at the meeting site. She was all about doing whatever I wanted to do and would have taken me to visit any one that I wanted to. I really only wanted to spend the time with her.

Carolyn June and I were really close as children, through our teen years, and into adulthood. We shared every dream, disappointment, and thought. Then I moved away and distance and the pressures of everyday life separated us. Our children - her two girls and my two boys - took our time and attention. I know I thought of her often and we usually called each other on our birthdays. With time even that began to fail. Now that we have grandchildren, have retired from the busy work-a-day life, and have a little (not much) time on our hands I hope that we will return to that closeness. We're both much older - if I remember correctly I'm five years older. We need to spend time together while we can - of course we're both going to live to 100 and drive everyone crazy. We had many, many adventures as youngsters - not the least of which was breaking the ice on the wet weather creek at the bottom of our pasture to go swimming. I don't expect we'll repeat those adventures but I'm sure there are others waiting for us to discover them. Any suggestions? It was sad to see her SUV pull out of the parking lot - sad enough to put a tear in my eye. We just can't repeat the past.

In short, yesterday was a perfect day.

Today promises to be perfect, too. I always look forward to Sunday and seeing the kids - all of them.

Smoocha, you asked that I post a large pic of the tiger. I have to make the pic because I don't have a large one. I'll try to get that done on my next post. Time's run out this morning.

Thanks for listening to my sentimental trip. If you have someone in your life that you love but have lost contact with don't wait - CALL OR VISIT THEM TODAY!!