Friday, November 30, 2007

An Evening Across Town

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

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

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

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cold Hands, Warm Heart

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sinking Time and Happy Memories

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tuesday Evening.

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

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

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Fun and Laughter

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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Nana & Papa's Nest

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 23, 2007

Old Man Winter is On His Way

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Day, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Best wishes from our house to yours!

The Day Before the Next Day

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

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

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

Monday, November 19, 2007

I've Fallen in a Rut

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Old Floks at Home

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

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

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

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Music Recitals Went Well

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 16, 2007

Play Day

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thursday Adventures

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Music Recital Weekend Up Coming

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Our Little Princess

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 12, 2007

Buttermilk Sky

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

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

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

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

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

"In Flanders Fields"

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Party's Over and the Week Begins

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 10, 2007


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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 9, 2007

It's Sleepy Time

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

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

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

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Low energy - High Expectations

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Tough Old Gal - That's Me

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

This is My World Today

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 5, 2007

Time Marchs On

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Sunshine and Cooler Temps

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

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

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

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

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

Golden Raintree

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

Mature Tree

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Nine Shrubs Later . . .

Another Saturday has come and gone. I did work outside a bit - planted two Indian Hawthorns, 5 azaleas, one camellia, and one gardenia. Two borders are now almost replanted. I only have a few more plants to get into the ground this fall. As for the trees, I'll have a nursery deliver and dig them in. If another late spring freeze kills this stuff I think I'll call a concrete company to come and make the whole yard a parking lot. I'm tired of this re-do and I want to get back to putting order into this chaotic house before the holidays. Sorry, I shouldn't complain I'm just tired.

Holidays!!!......I'm really looking forward to the holidays this year. I may or may not have a big tree but the Holiday Spirit will certainly find a welcome here. I've started my shopping (shhhhhh no one knows that) and would like to be through before black Friday. I won't go out in the crowd to shop the day after Thanksgiving!! Huntsville is really growing fast. Many families are relocating here from the DC area because their jobs are moving here. Our road system is just about maxed out and the holiday shopping traffic will be worse than DC's beltway. Nope, I won't brave the crowds to shop but may go out to watch the holiday spirit bloom.

Now I'm thinking of the fun to come over the next two months. My better judgement is telling me to close and rest so this semi-flare will end and I'll be chipper to enjoy everything and everyone.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Shoe Day

It was a good Friday. This was my Official Autumn Shoe Day with the kids. We shopped for leather shoes for church, athletic shoes for everyday, and hiking boots because they like to hike with mommy and daddy. That's 6 pairs of shoes. Those kids were so excited (as usual) that they couldn't decide which to wear and which to hold. I like to shop with them because they are really into it.

Harry and I ate at our favorite Chinese restaurant this evening. As usual I ate too much but I enjoyed every bite. Other than that there is nothing new at our house. I think an early bedtime is in my near future. There's a movie on TV that I intend to snuggle up and spend time with (Sahara). I keep thinking about the new seating one of my blogging friends bought. It looks sooooo comfortable. I know what I'll ask Santa for.

Try to do one thing out of the ordinary and exciting this week-end. And have lots of fun doing it. My best to everyone.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Season of Holidays

Halloween is history. Now we look forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas followed by New Year. The years pass more quickly every year. Ricky, my nephew, will be here the last 1 1/2 week of November so that's something to look forward to as well.

Harry played golf today and I rode along in the golf cart. I'm just too sore and stiff to play but I'm getting better. By next week I'll be able to give him a run for his money. Maybe next week we'll play at my favorite course, Harvest Hills. I call it Teletubby Land because the rolling hills makes it look a bit like the set for the kids PBS show Teletubbies.

I'm really tired tonight and hope I'll sleep sound and loooong. My best to everyone who might chance this way. Thanks for visiting - you're welcome anytime. Ye-all-come-back-now, ya heah.