Monday, November 30, 2009
We once had a dog who was always struggling to be the pack leader. Her name was Kippy and she was a small black mutt of terrier descent with brown eyebrows. Whenever we were out walking she had to be in front, sometimes straining so hard on her leash she'd choke and cough.
Once when we were camping in the woods, the whole bunch of us were walking down a gravel road surrounded by forest. Because of the remote location, we let Kippy and our male spaniel Pepper off the leash. As we strolled along, Kippy was happily leading the pack when I spotted a porcupine on the road ahead. The dogs hadn't seen it yet but I knew when they did, they would take after it. Porcupines are slow and dumb but they can do a lot of damage to an unsuspecting attacker.
I told everyone to turn around quickly and we started back the other way. Kippy, desperate to lead the pack, raced back to get ahead of us and good old Pepper followed. Disaster averted.
Kippy and Pepper are long gone now, but they were family members for many years. We still talk about them fondly from time to time.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
So, I go online to look for vanilla pudding recipes. I find lots of them but they're just milk, sugar, cornstarch and vanilla. That confuses me because I thought it had to have egg yolks in it. Or, is that just lemon pudding?
Well, I'm going to give the yolk-less vanilla pudding recipe a try and hope it's not too bland.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
I remember wearing leggings to grade school in the winter. They were held up with an elastic garter belt. For some reason, little girls had to wear dresses to school even in Minnesota's bitter weather. (Thankfully, styles became more practical in the fifties.) We wore rubber overshoes instead of nice warm boots so our feet got cold in a hurry.
The worst thing for me was that all the warm clothes--coats, sweaters, mittens and scarves--were made out of wool. I was allergic to wool and broke out in an itchy rash whenever it came in contact with my skin. We are so lucky to have all the warm, non-allergenic winter wear we now have.
The nicest thing about the above picture, however, is the lovely sentiment. Everybody is the world to somebody! That is something to warm your heart on a cold winter day.
Friday, November 27, 2009
How come I can never do a dinner where everything turns out right? It seems I always have to apologize for something that isn't as good as it should have been. This time, it was the pumpkin pies; I confused the one-cup measure for the half-cup measure and added twice as much sugar as I should have. The pies still tasted OK, but I made a mistake and it bugs me.
And then, how come some things will spill no matter how careful you are? Every time I put sugar in the sugar bowl, I scoop it out ever so carefully but still have to wipe up spilled sugar on the cupboard. It's the same when I scoop coffee from the can into the cannister. There's always some that spills and has to be wiped up.
Maybe it's the frustration of having inanimate objects defy me, or I'm just petty. Maybe I'm complaining about trivial things to avoid bigger things.
Or maybe, I'm simply crabby today.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
This is my second-oldest daughter (shown with her son and a brother-in-law). I was distressed to find I don't have a lot of pictures of her but that's because she is the one who's always taking the pictures at family functions.
She actually majored in photography for a time but then decided to go into nursing. She has been an RN at a VA hospital for 25 years now. It's a career that really suits her nurturing personality. (Before she had kids, she was in the habit of buying stressed plants and restoring them to hardiness.) Her family always has a wide variety of well-loved pets--including snakes and mice, birds, cats and dogs.
She suffered breast cancer in 2003 but took control of the situation with her usual calm reasoning. She opted to have a double mastectomy to prevent any recurrence. It was a long struggle that she and her family survived with grace and thankfulness. She is past her 5-year milestone and in good health. Her doctor credits her former good health habits with her successful recovery.
We are so thankful to have her in our family. With her bubbly personality and warmth, she is always a joy to be around. Yet, she is a gentle and wise companion to everyone she meets.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
You may have noticed that I often get glowing comments from my biggest fan Sparrow Chic. Well, she is my oldest daughter and an incredibly loving person.
This picture was taken at her 50th birthday party earlier this year. In those fifty years, she has been the consummate caretaker for everyone she knows. If anyone needs a friend, assistance or a shoulder to cry on, she is always there for strength and support.
She has helped family members through stressful times and then gracefully steps back when the need is gone. She continues to maintain close relationships with many friends and relatives. She sometimes functions as the "information hub" for family members spread around the state. She loves to tell us how lucky we are to have such a close family because she knows so many people who don't get along with theirs. Yet, in many ways, she is the glue who makes our close family a reality.
She is a champion organizer as well, planning events for church, Boy Scouts, Sunday School, Youth Group and our family get-togethers. Her sisters sometimes get a chuckle out of her tendencies to be a "mother hen".
We are thankful to have her in our family and I am very proud of my little Sparrow Chic!
Sunday, November 15, 2009
There is so much beauty to be discovered and so much knowledge to be gained. Sometimes I wish I could have been Jane Goodall or Dian Fossey. They accomplished so much that I am in utter awe of them.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
Since I retired, I no longer get stress headaches. I used to come home from work and take a nap to get through the rest of the day. I now sleep as late as I want (barring hungry kitties waking me for breakfast) and I stay up as late as I want. I can get out to go places and do things and I love it.
My heart goes out to all those with chronic pain. I know how pain colors everything in your life and takes away the joy. It takes away your purpose and feelings of self-worth, and it even haunts you for a long time after it has gone.
So, I am enjoying this pain-free period of my life while it lasts, because nothing lasts forever.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
I am so thankful for the student loan and grant programs! If they didn't exist, I could never have gotten a degree or paid for my four kids to get post-secondary education. (My second-oldest daughter and I graduated from college just one week apart.)
Imagine where our country would be if only those students with wealthy parents could get a college education. We'd be living in an elitist society where blue-blood idiots would be making the decisions how our society should be run.
Thankfully, democracy reigns and we can all be as educated or as ignorant as we want to be! Now that's what I call Freedom!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
Now I also run errands and make appointments on weekdays--always being careful to schedule things after the morning rush. According to local traffic authorities, this has resulted in a second mini-morning rush as all the other oldsters and I head out to do our errands.
As a result of this, I tend to hole up on the weekends avoiding movie theaters and stores of all kinds. So, come Monday, I am rarin' to go!
Woohoo! It's Monday!
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Anyway, after two hours I gave up trying to get that darn picture posted on my blog. What bugs me is that I have been able to transfer photos in the past but can't remember how I did it.
Being retired means that I don't have to worry about losing my job, ever. Sure--I live on a fixed income, but it's a steady income. I may not be living in luxury but I'm not in danger of losing my home or having to get groceries at the food shelf. Even better, I am in a position to help others who are in tough circumstances. My heart aches for everyone who is out of a job and hurting. Sadly, I know so many folks who are in that situation.
I don't know what the future will hold but I can breathe easy for now. I am thankful for that.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
St Paul now has a recycling company that sorts everything. All we have to do is separate the paper from everything else. The glass, plastic and cans all go into the same container. According to the Star Tribune, recycling has greatly increased under this new policy.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Years ago when I moved to the Twin Cities, I lived in a highrise apartment building next to the freeway. It was surrounded by a huge parking lot. The area was full of other buildings surrounded by parking lots.
In order to see trees, I would have to peer out the 18th story window at the trees blocks away on the other side of the freeway. I lived in that place for the first year I was in college. It was incredibly stressful being in such an alien environment. No trees, no greenery, no beauty to embrace the senses.
After that experience, I realized that trees are vital to my mental health and well-being.
I am so grateful that I now live in a place where I am literally surrounded by trees! The area was a gravel pit in the early 20th century. Many years later, my building was erected at the base of the slope thus created. The slope rises over 100 feet and is covered with mature trees for its full length of half a mile. (The area is called Hidden Valley.) In addition, there is a wooded lot on the other side of the building outside my bedroom window.
These wonderful trees provide joy and beauty in every season. The provide peace, quiet, shade and oxygen. So, I find myself cuddled in the embrace of hundreds of trees. And I absolutely love it!
Monday, November 2, 2009
Well, so be it!
Sunday, November 1, 2009
1) If I like it, it's mine.
2) If it's in my hand, it's mine.
3) If I can take it from you, it's mine.
4) If I had it a little while ago, it's mine.
5) If it's mine, it must never appear in any way to be yours.
6) If I'm doing or building something, all the pieces are mine.
7) If it looks like mine, it's mine.
8) If I saw it first, it's mine.
9) If you play with it and put it down, it's mine.
10) If it's broken, it's yours.