Saturday, September 30, 2006

Another B-Day

All In The Family...

I told Keely to skip the candles!

Please let me tell you about my birthday.

This morning I took Isaac to help the Boy Scouts pick up trash along one of the highways. While I was waiting, I had an interesting conversation with a parent who is campaigning to be county coroner. He tries to be present at a lot of community events, yet hates to be pushy about campaigning. He's a decent sort, and I hope he'll be elected.

Afterwards, we helped the Night Friends of the Library get ready for their annual used book sale. The booksale will be next Friday night and Saturday.

They have boxes of books that have to be sorted into categories such as history, children's, nature , fiction, mystery and so on. Some of the books are donated and some are discards from the library.

They want us to to help again a few nights after school next week as more books will be coming from somewhere. Isaac enjoys helping. Today, he found and bought three Dave Barry books.

When we got home, I felt a deep desire to take a long nap, so I did. In fact I took two naps. Between naps, a neighbor lady stopped by with birthday flowers and I talked to a couple of relatives who telephoned to say happy birthday.

Later, Keely and her boyfriend, Taurus, arrived from Murray and prepared supper -- baked pork chops, green beans, and a nice potato salad with blue cheese dressing. Afterwards, we had birthday cake (baked by Keely) and ice cream.

We had a nice visit and then they had to go back to Murray. Isaac and Dennis have gone to bed, and Skittles is curled up in the old wooden bowl where she can watch me type until she dozes off. It's been a pleasant day. I have a nice family.

Now I am officially 55, but tomorrow, I will be only one day older than I was today.

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The secret of staying young
is to live honestly, eat slowly
and just not think about your age.
- Lucille Ball

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Friday, September 29, 2006

One Dozen Reasons I Don't Like to Go to the Dentist

And What I Think About It...

1.  The receptionist has perfect, dazzling white teeth.
2.  As I wait, traumatized survivors emerge.
3.  The drill's whine is heard throughout the building.
4.  My shoes are on exhibit when I sit in the dentist chair.
5.  The dentist calls me and everyone else "Dear".
6.  They ask me questions with their hands in my mouth.
7.  My death grip on the chair arms is tiring.
8.  They spray ice water on fillings that aren't numb.
9.  They want me to open just a little wider.
10. I don't speak clearly when my tongue is 2 inches thick.
11. I really don't want another appointment.
12. They want money (and plenty of it!) for this torture.

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

National Change A Light Day

Some Interesting News...

To help conserve energy, everyone is encouraged to replace one traditional light bulb with a compact fluorescent bulb on October 4 (next Wednesday), National Change A Light Day. If you feel motivated, you can even take the pledge.

I've been replacing our old-style light bulbs for a while. I think I've done all the lights in the house except those in the ceiling fixtures in the bedrooms.

The price of compact fluorescent bulbs makes it difficult to make the switch all at once. At Sam's Club, the bulbs are the cheapest I've seen -- about $13 for a pack of eight fluorescent bulbs with glass spirals (not the pear-shaped fluorescent bulbs.)

I can't say that I've seen a lot of reduction in our electric bill since I've been putting in fluorescent bulbs, but I hope it helps the nation's energy situation. Kentucky Living, the magazine we receive from our electric company, offers the following statistics in the September 2006 issue (print edition):

Organizers note that if every American household replaced one traditional light with an Energy Star-qualified compact fluorescent bulb, it would save enough energy to light 7 million homes, save $600 million in utility bills, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 1 million cars.

One last point of interest that's somewhat related: did you know that the German word for lightbulb --gl├╝hbirne -- means literally "glowing pear?"

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Tobacco in the Barn

Life in Christian County, Kentucky... Life in The Upper South...

Burley tobacco barn

I toned down the color in this photo to give it an old-fashioned air because this photo would have been about the same if it had been taken fifty or even one hundred years ago. (Except that the barn would have been newer.)

This tobacco is being air-cured, as opposed to being fired. The barn doors are open so the air can circulate. The tobacco inside is almost certainly burley tobacco, a much-grown variety around here.

This is an encore performance on my blog for this barn. Its first appearance was on August 17 in full color.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Ash Trees in Peril

Life in Christian County, Kentucky... More About Trees and Plants...

Green ash treeAsh Tree

When I went out the door with Isaac this morning to take him to school, the sun was shining on and through the ash tree. It's a handsome tree, but I think it has a hollow in its trunk with a yellow-jacket nest in it. Also, it's got poison ivy vines growing up its trunk. All in all, it wouldn't be a good tree to climb.

I am concerned for the long term health of our six ash trees. The emerald ash borer, an Asian insect that apparently arrived in the U.S. as a resident in the wood of shipping crates, has established itself in "lower Michigan, northwest Ohio, and northern Indiana. Infestations were recently found in the Chicago area." (Source: U.S. Forest Service). Emerald ash borers have also infested areas of Ontario, Canada.

Tree experts beg everyone to use ash firewood in the area where it was cut. Don't transport it to other places! If the firewood is infested with borer larvae, you may infect a new area with the pests. For example, don't bring firewood from home when you go camping, and don't bring your summer cabin's leftover firewood to your house to burn.

Other tree problems such as gypsy moths and Dutch Elm disease can be spread through firewood too, so it's never a good forestry practice to move firewood a long distance from where it was cut.

The U.S. Forestry Service has stockpiled ash seed, just in case the emerald ash borer decimates the ash tree population across the entire nation. I hope we never see that sad situation!

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Sewing Links

My Various Hobbies...

This link leads to an article that contains a number of useful and interesting sewing links. I'm posting it for anyone who likes to sew and especially for Trixie who is getting back into sewing recently.

Sew Now What

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Harvest Continues

Life in Christian County, Kentucky...

Corn harvestEmptying the combine into the grain trailer

In Christian County, the farmers have been combining their corn for a month now. This truck is loaded and ready to go. The corn will be covered with a tarp before they take it on the road. It will go either to a grain elevator in a nearby town to be sold, or to the farmer's own grain bins where it will (probably) be dried and stored for later use or sale. Corn with a low moisture content is worth more money per bushel.

Many big grain trailers like this have a hopper bottom (a drainhole) where an auger can be attached and the grain can be piped away. The force of gravity helps the truck to empty, and after a while, someone probably has to get in there and feed the auger with a shovel if some of the grain doesn't drain out naturally.

This time of the year, it's common to see a few corn kernels spilled here and there on the highway, but we saw a real corn mess a couple of weeks ago. Apparently a car pulled out directly in front of a heavily loaded grain truck. The car went airborne (according to a friend who saw the accident) and came down in the median. I didn't ever hear if the driver of the car was badly hurt. I hope not!

Somehow, the "plug" on the grain trailer's drainhole came loose. A thick, long corn spill covered the highway, and when the truck stopped, a pyramid of corn piled up beneath it.

I felt sorry for the farmer who owned the truck and the corn. He didn't need the hassle at this very busy time, I'm sure. I'm afraid a lot of grain was wasted, too. The accident happened on a busy road at a busy time, and I doubt if the police let him do as much salvage as he would have liked. Penty of corn was probaby just swept into the ditch.

Corn spill on 68-Bypass east of Hopkinsville

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The Patient Is Improving

All In The Family...

It's been just 2-1/2 weeks since Dennis's accident -- even though it feels like it happened a couple of months ago. I'm happy to report that he's doing a little better every day!

Dennis went back to Dr. Robb, the orthopedic surgeon, last Wednesday and had the clamps taken out of the incisions in his arm. Dr. Robb was pleased that he's healing well. He gave Dennis a few simple exercises to help him regain flexibility.

Yesterday, Dennis had an appointment with Dr. Love, the surgeon who would have taken out his spleen had it come to that. Dr. Love said Dennis can start taking some short walks outside, but to avoid any bumps or jolts that could dislodge the clots where his spleen is healing.

Dennis still isn't sleeping very soundly, but he spends part of the night in the recliner and he can get out of it without help. When he gets tired of sleeping in it, he gets in bed, and then I do have to wake up and help him when he needs to get up. When I help him up from bed, I notice that he's much stronger now than he was a week and a half ago.

The folks at church decided that we needed help, and several of the ladies have brought us food. It truly was helpful at first, but we're doing so much better now that I'm going to call the mastermind of this food-bringing and put a stop to it if anyone else shows up.

Dennis has received about a zillion get-well cards, and many friends and neighbors have called or stopped by to say hello. Several of the neighbor ladies have also sent food.

We're humbled, yet strengthened, by the genuine concern, heartfelt good-will, and earnest prayers that have been offered by many people.

I am thankful that I haven't yet heard Dennis express extreme bitterness about his injuries, (other than referring to the (ir)responsible driver as "that s.o.b. that hit me"). Tonight he talked a little about some of the plans we were making before all this happened.

His ribs are still painful and his arm is still in a brace. He tires quickly, and he still needs pain medicine, but he's made great strides toward recovery since he crawled out of that ditch. Thanks be to God.

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I can't change it now, but I should have titled this, "The Patient Is Getting Well," not "The Patient Is Improving." (The patient is pretty much the same guy he's always been. I haven't noticed any improvement at all.)

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Monday, September 25, 2006

Another Sky Photo

Life in Christian County, Kentucky...

September sky

Here's another photo of Sunday's spectacular sky as the storm clouds moved out. This photo is looking to the east with the sun behind me, fairly low in the west.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Strolls With Skittles

All In The Family... Life in Christian County, Kentucky...

Soybean fieldSoybeans awaiting harvest

After seven inches of rain in the Hopkinsville area, the last of the storm clouds floated eastward this afternoon. Isaac and I took a walk down our lane and enjoyed the fresh September air.

We hadn't gone far when we heard a piercing, plaintive meow. Skittles had decided to come along and she wanted us to wait for her. She was hurrying to catch up, but when she saw that we had stopped, her kitty-trot dropped to a slow saunter.

Isaac picked her up and carried her for a few yards, but she wanted none of that. She leaped free and began exploring the corn stubble in the neighbor's field. We walked on as she dawdled, and soon we heard her distressed voice complaining again that we had left her behind.

CornfieldOur neighbor's cornfield today
Again we stopped, and when she saw that we were waiting for her, she was pleased. She held her tail cheerfully straight-up as she strolled down the road toward us. Then she became interested in a clump of tall grass in the ditch.

And thus with many pauses, we went down the hill and back up again. Skittles loves to go for walks, but walks with her are predictable. She refuses to be carried, refuses to hurry, and resents being left behind.

One day last summer, she meandered down to the mailbox with me in her usual manner. Going back up the hill to our house, a Mennonite fellow came up behind us quickly and quietly on his bicycle. As it happened, Skittles was preoccupied with observing nature right then, and she didn't hear or see him until he was very near her.

Startled terribly, she ran up the road a short distance and turned around. To her dismay, the strange man on wheels was still right behind her, apparently determined to catch her and perhaps have a fast meal. Skittles decided to make a run for it.

Up the hill she went with the bicycle close behind her, and every time she paused to look back, she found him still at her heels. She had to run, and run she did, until finally she was safe at home and the bicycle whizzed past her and on down the road.

Who knows why that silly little cat thought she had to outrun the bicycle instead of just stepping aside and letting him pass, or maybe climbing a tree?! As I watched Skittles race toward home, I laughed until tears ran from my eyes. For once, she wasn't loitering!

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How To's

Blogs and Blogging...

Darren Rowse has recently given another "writing assignment" on ProBlogger. The topic was "How to..." and the complete list of 343 submissions is now compiled. I found it interesting to browse through the list, and maybe you'll enjoy it too.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Floods and Storms in Christian County

Life in Christian County, Kentucky...

Some reports of the weather-related situations we've had in Christian County yesterday and today are listed below. It's thundering and raining again, but the rain is supposed to end by tomorrow and we're supposed to have a fairly clear, pleasant week.

The talk around Hopkinsville won't be pleasant, though. Every time these low-lying areas flood, the residents grumble but nothing ever seems to change. The city doesn't implement any effective flood controls, and the flood victims don't move.

Fortunately, we live out in the country at the crest of a large, high ridge, and while the ground does get saturated at times, we will never be flooded up here.

From the National Weather Bureau:

09/22/2006 1131 PM
Hopkinsville, Christian County.
Thunderstorm wind damage, reported by trained spotter. Numerous trees down that have fallen on power lines on Pyle Lane in Hopkinsville.

09/22/2006 1140 PM
Hopkinsville, Christian County.
Thunderstorm wind damage, reported by Emergency Mngr. Numerous trees down throughout Hopkinsville.

09/23/2006 1021 am
Hopkinsville, Christian County.
Flash flood, reported by Emergency Mngr. Bridges washed out and some County roads closed.

09/23/2006 0100 PM
Hopkinsville, Christian County.
Flood, reported by newspaper. Little River in Hopkinsville is out of its banks at the Givens additions subdivision and people are being evacuated. The Little River is out of its banks elsewhere in Hopkinsville.

09/23/2006 0108 PM
Hopkinsville, Christian County.
Flash flood, reported by Emergency Mngr. Christian County Kentucky including the city of Hopkinsville has declared a state of emergency due to flooding.

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Related post: Little River

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Rainy Trip to Guthrie

All In The Family... Life in Christian County, Kentucky...

Rain-swollen brookAfter a night of heavy rain

It pays to have connections, or I should say, "A friend in need is a friend indeed."

A friend from church brought out a comfy old recliner one day this week for Dennis to use. I don't know if it's a loaner or a keeper, but we're grateful for it. It gives Dennis another place where he can stretch out and rest, and he can get up from it without assistance.

Rainy highway near Elkton, KYMeanwhile, a friend who works at the newspaper called to say she had taken an ad for a recliner. I called the owner, a Mr. Covington, and made arrangements to look at it this morning.

On the drive over to Guthrie, Kentucky, I saw lots of evidence of the heavy rain and wind we received during the night. I guess we're having an equinox storm. I couldn't find any evidence on the weather maps that we're in the fringe area of any tropical depressions or such.

Flooded creek in Elkton, KYWind-blown leaves and small branches are scattered across the smaller roadways. Weeds and tall grass along the ditches are still bent from the torrent of water that washed over them in the night. In Elkton, a little stream is completely out of its banks. I drove through occasional showers all the way over to Guthrie.

I found Mr. Covington's house easily, using the directions he gave me: "Go to the pink elephant and...". The pink elephant at the junction of Highways 79 and 41, the Pachyderm of Tinytown, is a well-known landmark in this part of the state.

Pink elephant, Guthrie, KYMr. Harry Covington is an interesting gentleman. He's about 75 or 80 years old, and he lives in a brick ranch home with a circle drive that he built 40 years ago.

On the wall of his office, he has an old photograph of a horse-drawn milk wagon. When Mr. Covington was a boy. his father and mother and the nine Covington children milked 30 Jersey cows and delivered milk in glass bottles all around Guthrie. Mr. Covington pointed out that Guthrie was a boom-town in those days because two major railways intersected there.

I asked him if he remembered Robert Penn Warren who was born and raised at Guthrie, and Mr. Covington described how the poet used to stroll down the sidewalks in town, wearing long stockings and old-fashioned pants that ended just below his knees.

Mr.  Covington's houseWhen this old white-haired gentleman heard that my husband had just come home from Iraq, he told me that he prayed every night for peace on earth, and he had done so ever since he came home from World War II. He said he had been a Marine at Iwo Jima, and he'd never forgotten what he saw there.

On the walls of his office, Mr. Covington has pictures of his children, many newspaper clippings with stories about himself, various awards, and his Kentucky Colonel appointments from two different governors. His business card says that he is the chairman of the Guthrie Industrial Development Commission, Inc.

But back to the recliner. It's a small, sturdy recliner that sits very nicely. Mr. Covington is going to take it over to Clarksville to a shop that steam-cleans upholstery, and I will pick it up there next week.

On the way home, I stopped at the Country Pantry, an Amish bulk food store located between Guthrie and Elkton. Half a dozen automobiles were parked outside, and their "English" owners were in the store. I bought flour, yeast, flaxseed and a pound of Amish sausage.

Some things at the Amish store are amazingly cheap (like spices and yeast), while other things are surprisingly expensive They offer a larger variety of flours than any other store I know of. I always enjoy looking around there, and I'll have another excuse to stop in when I drive over to Clarksville to pick up the recliner.

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Blogs and Blogging...

I've added a Twitter update in the sidebar. I thought it would be fun to try. If I like it, I'll keep it, and if it disappears you'll know I got tired of it.

I think I can tweak it so it fits into the page decor a little better, but I don't have time to mess with it any more at this moment.

Click on the link at the bottom of the box to see what I've twittered so far.

It can be updated by text message from a cellphone, but I don't think I'll be using that feature. I don't think anyone is that interested in knowing that I've entered the grocery store and picked up a loaf of bread.

I see it as a way to post a sentence or two without writing an entire blog entry.

Update: It's been tweaked, and it may be tweaked some more at a later date.

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Seen at the Hopkinsville Library

Life in Christian County,

Hoptown Library

This profusion of flowers grows at the Hopkinsville - Christian County Library in a block of soil, surrounded by a bench and the walls of the building. The bed used to have a nice little dogwood tree in it, but for some reason it was removed and some puny, pointy shrubs were planted instead. They looked forlorn last winter, but this summer, flowers have filled the empty space, and indeed, have nearly grown over the shrubs and bench.

On a Hopkinsville forum that I read, there's been occasional discussion about whether the library is good enough. Like most libraries, it does the best it can within budgetary constraints. When I moved here, I was pleasantly surprised at the size of the facility and the scope of the collection. I was used to military and small town libraries that were much more limited than this one.

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Life in Christian County, Kentucky...

I saw this painted on the rear window of an SUV today. If I were to paint an equivalent sign on my vehicle, I guess it would say, "Proud to be Angla," or maybe, "Proud to be a white chick."

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Tangled Branches of Two Family Trees

Dillons, Spraggs, Saars, and Hills

You never know what you're going to get in your e-mail! After my name along with my parents' names appeared recently in Raleigh Emry's newletter, Marcia Dillon Whitson sent an e-mail to introduce herself. We aren't blood relatives to each other, but we're cousin's cousins.

She refreshed my memory about some of the ways our family trees intertwine. I'm going to summarize them here, so unless you really enjoy genealogy, I suggest that you skim over the next few paragraphs!

Our closest family tie is that Marcia's great-uncle (Webster Spragg) was married to my great-aunt (Ruth Hill Spragg). That was on my father's side of the family.

Another connection is on my mother's side of the family. Marcia's brother, Brad Dillon, married my second cousin, Gwen Saar. Also, Marcia's step-sister, Jeanne Dillon, married my second cousin Mike Saar. Gwen and Mike's mom, Mick Saar (wife of Marion Saar), was my mother's first cousin.

Here's yet another connection. My mother's cousin's sister-in-law (Geneva Saar, wife of Bill Saar) was a cousin to Marcia Dillon's father, Kenneth Dillon. Simplified as much as possible, that means that Marcia Dillon's second cousins (Jim, Don, and Doug Saar) are cousins of my second cousins (Mark, Gwen, Gary, and Mike Saar). Or something like that!

I don't think I've ever met Marcia, though I remember some of her younger siblings as competitors at 4-H calf shows. I grew up with all the Saar kids I've mentioned, and I also knew Marcia's aunt, Wilma Jean Mengers.

Miss Wilma Jean Mengers was a neighbor lady who attended the country church I grew up in. She never had children of her own, but she took a real interest in the children of the church. She was my Sunday School teacher and Vacation Bible School teacher at various times, and she was in Missionary Society with my mother for years. I visited Wilma Jean's home many times when I was a child, and I even remember her father and mother (Marcia's grandparents.)

Marcia wrote that Wilma Jean is 94 years old now, and she lives in the Rock County Long Term Care Center in Bassett, Nebraska. When Marcia asked her about me, she still remembered me after all the years that I've been gone from Bassett. I should send her a note.

I forwarded Marcia's letters to my brother and sister, and Dwight called me tonight to talk about the family tree for a while. I should take notes when I talk family history with him because he knows much more than I do.

Like the Hill kids, Marcia left the Sandhills, but still has "sand in her shoes". We all remember our childhoods there with much affection.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Cost of Dennis's Hospital Stay

All In The Family...

I went by the hospital today and got Dennis's bill so I can give it to the car insurance adjuster. I thought my readers might be interested to know the final tally (brace yourself): $51,972.00.

That figure includes 6 days in the hospital (several days in intensive care), anesthesiology, emergency room, surgery (about 1/3 of the total bill), recovery room, respiratory therapy (cheapest thing on the bill), CAT scans and MRI, X-ray, lab, and pharmacy. I don't know yet if there will be individual bills from the doctors as well.

I still feel confident that the health insurance and the car insurance will cover the vast majority of this figure between the two of them. If I weren't fairly sure about that, I'd be worried.

Dennis goes to the orthopedic surgeon tomorrow to get the stitches out of his arm. It will be a big day for him, getting bathed and clothed, then to town to the doctor and home again.

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Monday, September 18, 2006

First Cool Night of Autumn

All In The Family... Life in Christian County, Kentucky...

Isaac and I did our usual Monday night chore a little while ago. We loaded the trash bin (the "Herbie Curbie", in local lingo) into the pickup truck and hauled it down the hill to our mailbox. There, we parked it at the edge of the highway to wait for its early morning rendezvous with the trash truck.

It's dark at the mailbox at night -- surprisingly dark. The nearest yard lights are only a quarter mile away, but trees and hills block most of the light. Many Monday nights after we're done with the trash bin, we enjoy the stars for a minute or marvel at how brightly the moon is shining.

Tonight, the sky is overcast so we didn't look at the stars, but we spent a moment listening to the sounds of night. In the darkness, something made a small sploosh in the ditch water. Crickets and frogs were singing, and far away, we heard a train whistle.

Driving back up the hill to our house, we talked about the cool air. "It would be a perfect night," Isaac said, "to sleep in a tent." I knew what he meant. Tonight, it would be deliciously cozy to snuggle down in a sleeping bag and drift off to sleep while the frogs sang and the crickets chirped.

Life is good. Children grow up too quickly.

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Nerdishness Confirmed

Not Easily Classified...

I am nerdier than 65% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Just as you all suspected -- I am a bit nerdish.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Tobacco Barn Fire

And other late-night happenings

Tobacco barn fireThis was a tobacco barn.

It was a bad Saturday night in our little neighborhood.

During the night, our volunteer fire department and two others fought a fire that involved a home and an unoccupied trailer house. It appears to have been set on purpose.

Also during the night, a tobacco barn burned to the ground (photo above). It's in yet another volunteer fire department's district. The smoldering sawdust and slabs at the bottom of the barn got too hot and ignited the entire building.

Every fall, a couple of tobacco barns burn, but it must be sickening for a farmer to get a phone call in the night that a summer of work is going up in smoke. I hope the owner of the tobacco in this barn had insurance. I hope the barn owner did, too.

The telephone line got hot enough in the barn fire that dozens of homes lost telephone service around 11:30 p.m. The phone was dead until about 6 p.m. today.

Sometime during the night, someone did an unsuccessful three-point turn at our mailbox on the highway. The car was abandoned with three wheels on solid ground and the fourth wheel deep down in the ditch.

Unaware of the happenings in the neighborhood, I was helping Dennis in and out of bed. Our intervals of sleep ranged from 45 minutes to an hour and a half. Even newborn babies sleep better than Dennis does right now, but he can't help it. He would certainly sleep through the night and get out of bed on his own if he could.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Related post: Firing the Tobacco

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Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Life of Skittles

All In The Family...


Skittles is Isaac's cat. She's a ruthless hunter, a shameless hedonist, and a tempermental diva* clothed in fur and equipped with fangs and claws.

When she's happy, she expresses it profusely. When she's cross, she disciplines anyone who errs in her presence. And when she's in huntress mode, don't twitch.

Skittles in the shadeI've seen her lie on the sidewalk in the full sun of a hot day, soaking until she's liquified, but yesterday she felt good resting on the moss in the shade of the old maple's trunk.

Today she feels good sleeping in the old wooden bowl that is supposed to be a place to throw car keys.

Rest assured that Skittles does only what feels good.

Bowlful of Skittles

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

More about Skittles:
Maternal Instincts and Little Rabbits
Morning Hollyhocks

More about cats:
Kids and Kittens

*When I originally wrote this I called her a "temperamental schizophrenic" (thinking of her radical mood changes and the slang term, "schizo",) but after reading some definitions of schizophrenia, I think "diva" is a much more accurate word to describe her.

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Friday, September 15, 2006

Foggy September Morning

Life in Christian County, Kentucky...

Foggy September morningLooking up the road from our mailbox

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Bagged Spinach Warning

Some Interesting News...

U.S. E.coli outbreak is linked to spinach
Thu Sep 14, 2006 9:02pm ET147
Reuters by staff

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An outbreak of E.coli bacteria that may linked to bagged fresh spinach has killed one person and sickened dozens of others in eight states, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday.

"The FDA is advising consumers not eat bagged fresh spinach at this time and that any individuals who believe they may have experienced symptoms of illness associated with E. coli 0157 contact their health care provider," Dr. David Acheson, head of the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, said in a teleconference with reporters...

Source: U.S. E.coli outbreak is linked to spinach

I use a lot of bagged raw spinach in salads, so I really hate to hear there's a problem. I'm sure I don't hate it nearly as bad as the spinach growers do, though.

When we lived in Bolivia, we had to soak all vegetables and fruits that would be eaten raw because of the use of "night soil" (human excrement) as fertilizer. The soaking solution was 10 drops of iodine to a gallon of water. Before soaking, we washed them thoroughly.

I am not sure what strength of iodine we were using, so please consult your health department before you soak anything and eat it. I think you can also use a tablespoon of bleach to a gallon of water, but here again, I'm not an expert.

I'm not suggesting that night soil has been used in the growing of the spinach sold in bags. E coli contamination could come just from animals passing through the fields.

UPDATE: Feral pigs were probably the source of the contamination. According to an AP story published October 29, 2006, there is evidence that they had broken through the fence to get to the spinach on one of the farms where the contaminated spinach seems to have come from.

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Another White Buffalo Born in Wisconsin

Some Interesting News...

3rd Rare White Buffalo Born on Wis. Farm

September 14, 2:12 PM US/Eastern
Associated Press by Emily Fredrix

A farm in Wisconsin is quickly becoming hallowed ground for American Indians with the birth of its third white buffalo, an animal considered sacred by many tribes for its potential to bring good fortune and peace.

"We took one look at it and I can't repeat what I thought but I thought, 'Here we go again,'" said owner Dave Heider.

Source: 3rd Rare White Buffalo Born on Wis. Farm
I suspect that the owner of this buffalo herd thinks the white buffalo calf is a mixed blessing. He's probably tired of people converging on his farm, even if the white buffalo calf is an amazing thing to see.

Related Post:
Where buffalo roam: The shaggy beasts once grazed in the LMV area

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Home Health Care -- Day 1

All In The Family...

Hospital bedWhat we actually need!

We brought Dennis home from the hospital yesterday afternoon. I won't say it has been easy so far, but we are coping.

His left arm is broken, so he needs his right arm at the side of the bed to help him get up and down. He also needs to sleep on the side of the bed that is nearest the bathroom.

To accommodate these needs, we are sleeping with our feet at the head of the bed. I cut a piece of plywood that fits between the bedposts at the foot of the bed and wrapped it with a quilt to use as a temporary headboard.

Since he doesn't have a pull bar or a button he can push to raise himself , I give him my right hand to pull on and with my left arm, I reach behind his back to lift him as he comes up. Going back down, I help him swing his legs back up into bed and get his pillows back into position. If he were any larger, we'd have to figure something else out -- like maybe renting a hospital bed!

Last night, I guess we were up and down five or six times in the night so he could use the bathroom -- or at least it seemed like that many times in my stupefied state of drowse. Dennis always gets up a couple times per night, and he says it's worse now. Maybe it's because of the catheter he had or the medicine he's on.

Today, I planned out his pills so that at midnight, he gets his pain pills, his muscle relaxer, and his anti-nausea med. I think that will help him make it through the night.

Dennis got half a dozen cards in the mail today and several phone calls from people asking about him. Our Mennonite neighbor from down the road stopped to see how he was. His spirits are a little better now that he's home. He actually told his mother on the phone that he was getting much better care than when he was in the hospital.

I am hoping to find a used recliner in good mechanical condition for him. I can sew on a new covering of upholstery fabric if need be. I'm interested in function, not form. After buying a new water heater and finding out what it will cost to put Isaac on the car insurance (gasp!), I don't really want to buy a new recliner right now.

1963 Revisited

All In The Family... Another Trip Down Memory Lane... History and Old Stuff...


In 1963-1964, I made a scrapbook. On the first page, I recorded the following information:

My Scrapbook
Started in 1963, May 20
Gennie L. Hill
Rose, Nebraska
Age 11-1/2, Grade 7
Duff School

ScrapbookOne of the first things in the scrapbook is a drawing of one end of our living room. The Westinghouse record player has the place of honor on the library table. The piano is the same one that sits in my living room today. I didn't do a good job of drawing the curtain fabric, but I do recognize it.

Looking through the scrapbook, I can see that I was thrilled by romance. Many newspaper clippings about the engagements and weddings of local young people fill the pages. I can hardly believe that these couples are all in their 60's now.

I was particularly interested in the marriage of Jim Saar, a neighbor's son who worked several years for my dad, to his sweetheart, Orpha. I saved Orpha's engagement pictures from two newspapers, the wedding invitation, a wedding napkin, and a thank you note. I also made a list of every person who had any part in the wedding from the bride and groom to the woman who served the cake. It began with these words:
June 16, 1963, brought the day that Jim, Orpha, Charlotte [my younger sister] and I had waited for over a year to come. Jim's Wedding Day! The colors were lilac and white...

ScrapbookI last saw Jim and Orpha Saar at my father's funeral in 1996. Jim went to trade school and became a plumber after he quit working for my dad. He's now retired. Orpha was still just as little and cute as she had been in her newly-wed days.

Some of the folks in my scrapbook aren't around anymore. Helen Swanson, my Sunday School teacher in 1963, passed away recently. She was 93 years old. Her husband, Elmer, also passed away recently; he was 100 years old! My scrapbook holds a birthday card with a penciled note that Helen sent to me over 40 years ago.

In one newspaper photo, Jerry Dearmont, a neighbor boy who was a year older than me, is receiving a soil conservation award. I was in 4-H with him for ten years. Sadly, he died at a young age of a brain tumor.

At that time, the Soil Conservation Department had a slogan contest every year. In my scrapbook, I recorded a winning slogan I wrote: "Conservation saves the nation for the next generation." Winners had their slogan displayed on the Long Pine Drive-in Theater marquee during the winter (while the drive-in was closed,) and winners also received a $1.00 cash prize. That was big money for me.

Several high school graduation announcements from my brother's friends appear in my scrapbook. One of them was from Roger Koelling. Roger was our pastor's son, a year older than my brother, and he worked in the hayfield for us a summer or two. On the envelope flap, I wrote the following about his tragic death:

Roger Koelling, our preacher's son, drowned in June right after he graduated in 1963. He drowned in Hord Lake at Central City, Nebraska. Over 300 attended his funeral.

ScrapbookOn page 24, I included a drawing of Jacqueline Kennedy's face on a sheet of notebook paper. Beneath a notation that I had caught a 32-inch 7-lb. northern pike in our lake, I wrote,
This is Jacqueline Kennedy. I drew it. It looks a lot like her. On November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas, President Kennedy was shot. 30 min. later in the hospital, he died. The following Mon. was a day of mourning. The new president was Lyndon Johnson. Assassinator (Killer) of Kennedy was Lee Harvey Oswald. On the following Sunday, he was shot to death by Jack Ruby. Pres. K. funeral was on Mon.
On a later page beside a sample of 1963 Christmas seals, I noted, "Jack Ruby was condemmed (sic) to the electric chair in March." That would have been March of 1964. (As it happened, he died of cancer before his execution.)

Scrapbook pageA newspaper clipping of me as the 1000th patient in the Rock County Hospital is the only photo of myself in the scrapbook. It's a record of one of two times in my life that I've been hospitalized for something unrelated to childbearing.

The hospital auxilliary ladies gave me a bouquet of fresh flowers, a snifter with a plastic rose stuck in the bottom of it and a guest book. My schoolmates and chums, the Horner girls, signed my guest book several times when they came to our house. In the "Comment" column , they wrote things like, "She is a crazy kid," and "Nice bedroom." The covers of the book finally fell off and I threw it away long ago.

I was in the hospital because I had fainted one morning while I was putting on my shoes. My fingernails were cutting painfully into the palm of my hand just before I fell, and the next I knew, my mom was hauling me to the car. Mama was strengthened by adrenaline and mother-instinct because I surely weighed 90 pounds or more. I was running a high fever and had a convulsion, but after a couple of days in the hospital, I was fine.

I tried to get my kids to keep scrapbooks, but neither of them were interested when they were younger. Keely did made an extensive memory book when she was a high school senior. She made the pages from cardstock and she put many of her snapshots and souvenirs in it. She printed a heading for each page, and she had her friends and teachers write in it. It turned out very nicely, and she will enjoy it through the years.

Isaac told me today that he wants to start carrying a camera to school so he can get some photos of his senior year. And even if he never makes a scrapbook, I've filled a filebox with memorabilia for him -- awards and greeting cards he's received, some envelopes with little locks of his hair that I saved, his best stories and drawings from school, notes from his teachers and all his report cards. (I made a similar box for Keely.)

Still, a box of stuff selected and preserved by Mom won't create a time capsule of his personality and interests like a scrapbook that he compiled himself would do.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Journey Back

All In The Family...

Customs House Stairway

This photo was taken at the Customs House Museum in Cairo, Illinois, about five years ago. It's a massive, handsome old building on Cairo's main street, just a block or two from the Mississippi River docks. In the old days when Cairo was an important river port, all sorts of import and export legalities were managed from the Customs House.

This is a back stairway which hadn't been reached yet by restoration efforts. The picture appeals to me today because I'm feeling bleak and hollow with occasional bursts of light.

Dennis is getting out of the hospital this afternoon. I am picking Isaac up from school and then going to get Dennis. He is very tottery on his feet. If he can't make it up the steps into the house, Isaac and I will have to make a chair in our arms and carry him in, I guess.

He's happy to be coming home, and I understand his desire to get out of the hospital, and I am grateful that he has recovered as much as he has. I hope he continues to recover rapidly and I really hope that his home care (provided by me) goes smoothly.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Another Day of Recovery

All In The Family...

Dennis is doing better day by day. Today he got his catheter out and he now has to get out of bed to pee. (He doesn't travel far because he's still wired in several places.)

With better health, Dennis is becoming very irritable. He doesn't remember much about his first couple days, so he thinks he's not progressing fast enough, I guess.

The doctor prescribed some muscle relaxers today. Dennis drifted in and out of sleep all afternoon, talking crazy and gesturing wildly all the while. The combination of the pain killers and the muscle relaxers really sent him to a different place.

I made Dennis promise that he'd call the nurses when he has to get up in the night. Then I told the nurses that they'd better check on him frequently because I was afraid for his safety if he tried to climb out of bed alone.

When I got home, I discovered that the water heater is leaking -- badly. I turned off the water and electric to it and tried to sop up some of the water that's on the floor, despite the plastic dish-with-a-drain that the water heater sets in.

The clothes drier quit working the day that Dennis got home and I haven't had a chance to get a repairman out here for it yet. I don't want to say that "surely nothing else can go wrong", because it might!

I've been keeping my sanity at the hospital by reading. I've been wanting to read my new book of Willa Cather short stories, but they require more focus than I can muster under the circumstances. So instead, I've read two juvenile books, It's Like This, Cat by Emily Neville and The Phantom Tollbooth by Norman Juster.

Today, I took along All Creatures Great and Small by James Harriot. I'd forgotten what a heartwarming and amusing book it is. I enjoyed it so much that I think I'll re-read another of his books when I finish this one.

Packard Clipper Deluxe

History and Old Stuff...

I saw this old Packard today while I was waiting for Isaac to take his driver's license test -- which he passed, by the way, so he's now a licensed driver and probably wouldn't say "No" to a nice old car like this...

Packard Clipper Deluxe
Packard Clipper Deluxe

Packard Clipper Deluxe
Packard Clipper Deluxe

Packard Clipper Deluxe
Packard Clipper Deluxe

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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Homecoming Week

All In The Family...


Here's Isaac with his tricorne all brushed and ready for Hat Day at school tomorrow. He will very possibly have the coolest hat on campus.

Isaac bought this hat at an SCA event last spring, and I got the feather for him at the Tenn-Ren Festival. We tacked up the sides tonight. I hope the tacks last through the day, because they are just a 4-strand stitch of thread! If his brim comes down, his personna will change a little but it's a unique hat either way.

It's Homecoming Week at Hopkinsville High School, and each day has a different theme. I think one day is Pajama Day, and I can't remember what the other days are. The week of costumes ends with Spirit Day (school colors) on Friday.

The homecoming football game will be on Friday night. Alumni of Hopkinsville High School will be recognized at the game, and previous band members are invited to bring their instruments and play along with the band. At halftime, a Homecoming King and Queen will be crowned.

Most high schools and colleges throughout the U.S. have homecoming events. One purpose of the event is to create and sustain affection for the alma mater -- affection that might eventually translate into financial support.

Homecoming customs vary in different regions. For example, Hopkinsville has both football and basketball homecomings, but I don't think most Nebraska schools had a basketball homecoming when I was growing up. The high school I attended had a basketball homecoming, but that was only because it was a small school and it didn't have a football program.


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All In The Family...

Dennis was moved today from ICU to Medical-Surgical. He still has most of his paraphernalia attached to him, but he did leave behind the automatic blood pressure cuff and the sensors that had been attached to his chest.

Tomorrow, they will start having him sit up a little, first on the edge of the bed and then on a chair. His ribs are really sore, so that won't be much fun for him.

I came home for a couple of hours in the afternoon and they moved him during that time. When Isaac and I came back, Dennis was in the new room and had already had three visitors and a phone call. He was tired from the move and the conversation, so we left at about 7:00 p.m. so he could sleep.

September Wildflowers

Life in Christian County,
Kentucky... More About Trees and Plants...

Autumn Wildflowers
These are the wildflowers of September that I'm seeing on the roadsides right now. The yellow flower is goldenrod, and the purple flower is (I think) ironweed. Goldenrod is Kentucky's state flower. Many people claim that they are allergic to it, but they are more likely allergic to ragweed which blooms at the same time.

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Saturday, September 09, 2006

Life Goes On

All In The Family...

Dennis seemed to be a little better overall today. Now that his arm is set and on a splint, he can pick it up with his other arm and move it. He is still in a lot of pain, but it's not as bad as the first two days.

Today he had solid food and he was bathed, so he made a couple of big steps back toward the land of the living.

The orthopedic surgeon stopped by and talked to us again. He told us that Dennis would have to keep his arm in a sling for about three weeks, and after that, he will have a removable brace thing to wear for a while. He can take it off to shower.

The other surgeon said that he wanted to keep Dennis one more day in ICU where he's hooked up to monitors. If the spleen continues to behave itself and Dennis continues to improve, he may get out of ICU tomorrow and possibly go home on Monday. They won't put any sort of bandage on the broken ribs, and it will take five or six weeks for them to heal.

Tomorrow, I will go to the hospital at 10:00 (the earliest they will allow me to visit) so I can hear what the doctor has to say. After that I'll come home for a couple hours to do a little housecleaning and change the sheets on the bed in preparation for Dennis to come home. Then Isaac and I will go back to the hospital to visit again.

I am so sleepy that I'm nearly nodding off over the keyboard, so I am going to bed!

Friday, September 08, 2006

A Day At the Hospital

All In The Family...

Waiting roomThe surgery waiting room

The major event of this day was surgery on Dennis's broken arm. We spent the first part of the day waiting to go to surgery, then I waited about six hours for him to come out of surgery and the recovery room, and finally I saw him back in his room again. He is still in Intensive Care.

The orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Beel, said that the surgery went well. They put two titanium plates in Dennis's arm, one for each broken bone. If there are no complications, he should regain full use of it in about three months.

Dennis told me (and later told Keely also) that he thought he tried to leave after the surgery, so I think that might be why they kept him in the recovery room so long. They probably had to restrain him.

Keely came home this evening and will be here for the weekend. Her boyfriend Taurus came with her, and I was glad he did because I know she was a bit agitated.

Pastor Redmann has come to visit and pray for Dennis several times, and we appreciate his support. I hope I have telephoned all the family members that I should.

I guess Dennis is doing as well as can be expected. Last night after I left, they decided that he was not breathing deeply enough (due to the fractured ribs) so they started giving him oxygen. They also thought his blood pressure was staying a bit too low, so they put some leg wraps on him that squeeze the blood back up and help keep his blood pressure up.

Today he was in a lot of pain. I hope that he won't hurt quite as much tomorrow, now that the bones are set and splinted in his arm. The orthopedic surgeon said that he thought Dennis might be able to come home on Monday, but the other surgeon who is in charge of the spleen will have the final say on it.

When I got home last night, I got out the automobile insurance policy and read it. It does provide coverage for hit and run drivers, so hopefully they will pick up the charges that the medical insurance doesn't cover. I called today and made an accident report, and a claims adjuster is supposed to get in touch with me.

Thank you all for your well wishes, prayers, and good thoughts.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Bicycle Accident

All In The Family...

(Charlotte, brace yourself. I tried to telephone you this evening, but I didn't reach you.)

Dennis had a bad bicycle accident this morning. He was hit from the back by a car while he was pedaling up a hill. He and his bicycle were knocked into the ditch and the driver of the car didn't even stop to see if Dennis was dead or alive.

Dennis crawled up to the side of the highway where a neighbor lady spotted him as she drove to work. She called 911 and then called me. I was just leaving to take Isaac to school when I got her call.

Both bones in his left forearm are broken in several places. He also has several fractured ribs on his left side. His spleen has two deep cracks in it.

The doctor said that most spleen injuries like this will heal, but sometimes there are complications. Tonight Dennis is in ICU so they can monitor his condition. He is hooked to IV's, catheter, heart and blood pressure monitor, and a morphine administrator.

Tomorrow morning, they will set the bones in his arm. Plates will be put in the broken places. The orthopedic surgeon said it is a procedure they do fairly often.

Dennis will heal because he's a tough old bird, but it's going to take a while.

He did not see the car that hit him. He heard it approaching from behind, and he moved over to the very edge of the road. There's no shoulder on the road in this area. Apparently, the car hit Dennis' left side, but did not hit the bike itself because it's not badly damaged.

We are very thankful that Dennis is alive, but can't help wondering who hit him and why they didn't stop. That's very cold.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Foiling the Antique Hunters

Another Trip Down Memory Lane... Life in Christian County, Kentucky... And What I Think About It...

Lately, I seem to have trouble getting my thoughts together to write anything. Here's something from my archives, written about seven or eight years ago, when I was working at the little country store just a mile from home.

And if this describes you -- well, now you know what I think.

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Business was slow at the little country store yesterday afternoon. I don't suppose I'd had a customer for an hour or so when the gray Mercedes pulled up and a man and a woman came inside. They were wearing the appropriate Ralph Lauren clothing for a day in the country. They paid for soft drinks with a fifty peeled off a stack of bills, and looked around the store with interest.

"Do you have any old things here you'd like to sell?" The lady was running an exquisitely manicured finger along the back of the ancient church pew where our regulars sit to eat sandwiches and tell stories. Her eyes wandered to the vintage Coca Cola thermometer hanging by the sink at the back of the store.

"No, ma'am," I said. "Everything in here belongs to the family." (Not my family, but The Family who has owned the store for 55 years or more and until recently, ran the business.)

"Well, do you know of anyone who has some old furniture ruining in their barn? Or maybe you know an old person who'd have some things to sell?"

"No, I sure don't," I said. "Sorry..."

"We're spending a few days here visiting," the lady said. "We like to look for antiques everywhere we go."

"Everybody around here is pretty antique-aware. I don't know anybody who'd sell a thing," I said firmly.

"Well, thank you," she said. "You've got a real nice little store here."

They donned their sunglasses and drove away, leaving me a little surprised at the degree of antagonism I'd felt when they started asking about buying the old things in my neighborhood.

Some might say that if my neighbors did have some old handmade pieces of furniture rotting in their barn, it would be better for a Mercedes-driving stranger to have them than for them to be ruined. But I'd have felt like an accessory to a crime if these strangers had paid little-of-nothing for something that should be a family treasure, even if the family hasn't realized it yet.

It was obvious that the antique hunters were from a different world. Their flannel shirts, blue jeans, barn jackets, and oversized hiking boots hadn't seen any honest wear, and their car probably cost nearly as much as my house. They might have looked just right in their country costumes at a resort or lodge somewhere, but they didn't belong at our shabby, dusty little country store with the outhouse behind it.

Every town around here has antique stores in it. Those antique hunters didn't want to shop. They came to the country because they wanted to steal, and that's what irritated me. It gave me an undeniable pleasure to refuse my help.

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Monday, September 04, 2006

Sunday, September 03, 2006


Blogs and Blogging...


I was tagged by Neurotic Mom:

1) Are you happy/satisfied with your blog's content and look?

Yes. Most of the content here is original and I have a creator's pride in it. The page looks a lot like it always has, but I love the Blogger Beta widgets that make it much easier to change the components of the page.

2) Does your family know about your blog?

Yes. A few family members read it, and the rest think it's more evidence that I'm nuts.

3) Do you feel embarrassed to let your friends know about your blog? Do you consider it a private thing?

Some of my close friends know about the blog, and I will probably include the blog URL along with my e-mail address and mailing address in my Christmas cards. Anyone who's interested can read. I don't put anything here that I'm ashamed of.

On the other hand, I'd feel really odd announcing at church that I have a blog. Many of the older folks there don't even have the internet and would have no idea what a blog was.

4) Did blogging cause positive changes in your thoughts?

I have started thinking that I should write down more of my childhood memories.

5) Do you only open the blogs of those who comment on your blog or do you love to go and discover more by yourself?

I like to check out the blogs on other people's blogrolls and the blogs of commenters on blogs I like.

6) What does a visitor counter mean to you? Do you like having one on your blog?

I enjoy knowing that people are coming to the blog. Looking at the visitor counter is part of the fun of blogging.

7) Did you try to imagine your fellow bloggers and give them real pictures?

I don't spend much time thinking about what someone looks like if he/she hasn't posted a photo.

8) Admit. Do you think there is any real benefit in blogging?

Some people seem to find release for their emotions and frustrations in blogging. For myself, I enjoy the writing.

9) Do you think that blogger's society is isolated from the real world or interaction with events?

No -- on the contrary, many bloggers have extreme interaction with real events.

10) Does criticism annoy you or do you feel it's a normal thing?

I don't think anyone has ever posted any real criticism here, probably because I don't post very controversial stuff. (I don't feel like arguing here.) Some trolls have passed through and posted garbage which I deleted.

11) Do you fear some political blogs and avoid them?

Fear? No, I don't fear them, but I don't read the ones that make me mad. :D

12) Were you shocked by the arrest of some bloggers?

I'm not aware of bloggers who have been arrested, but I did hear about one that was fired. It's only logical that you should be held responsible for what you blog.

13) What do you think will happen to your blog after you die?

Hopefully, someone will print it off and save it for the grandkids.

14) What do you like to hear? What song would you like to link to on your blog?

Probably a piano boogie-woogie or a nice minor Lutheran hymn.

15) Five bloggers to be the next "victims"?

Anyone is welcome to copy and use these questions, but I think these bloggers are most likely to respond...
Work In Progress and/or Runaway Imagination
Philip Plympton
Collage Mama

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Abundance Remembered

All In The Family... And What I Think About It... Life in the Nebraska Sandhills

Ranch scene by Cleona AllenMy Aunt Cleona had never painted in her life until she was in her 60's. After her husband passed away, she bought some good brushes and paints and started having fun with them. She likes to paint on wood rather than canvas.

She painted the ranch scene at left and gave it to my mom after my dad passed away, On the back, she wrote that it was her gift to our family in memory of my father and she signed and dated it.

It doesn't really look much like the ranch near Moon Lake in northern Nebraska where Aunt Cleona grew up with my dad and Uncle Harold. Still, it has many details that I'm sure she remembered from her childhood -- the big blue sky, hills in the background, barbed wire fences, a two-track dirt ranch road, a feed trough, a windmill with water spilling out of its tank, cattle grazing on the meadow, and a mailbox.

It's not "great" art. It is a true primitive painting because my aunt has had no formal training. It's colorful, interesting, neatly-done, and the perspective is a little skewed. I think the scene represents the abundance of the simple ranch life, and I know it was remembered and painted with love.

My aunt told me that if I thought I had any gift for art, I should not wait until I was 60-some years old to start using it, like she did. I agree, but on the other hand, I'm proud of her for boldly picking up the paintbrush when she did.

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Saturday, September 02, 2006

Beta Blogger Format

Blogs and Blogging...

I guess this will be the new layout. I haven't been able to get my Google Ajax search to work in this template, but I haven't given up yet. If I've omitted a link to your blog that previously appeared here, please let me know and I will fix it! If you have any comments, please post them. (I'm sort of wondering if the fonts are the right size.)

Friday, September 01, 2006

The White House Cookbook: How To Keep Well

History and Old Stuff...

A century ago, the White House Cookbook by Mrs. F.L. Gillette and Hugo Ziemann could be ordered by mail from the Sears and Roebuck Catalog. Many homemakers relied on it for trustworthy home remedies, as well as good recipes. The following health tips are from the 1899 edition.

Don't sleep in a draught.
Don't go to bed with cold feet.
Don't stand over hot air registers.
Don't eat what you do not need, just to save it.
Don't sleep in a room without ventilation of some kind.
Don't stuff a cold lest you should be next obliged to starve a fever.
Don't sit in a damp or chilly room without a fire.
Don't try to get along without flannel underclothing in winter.

Sufferers from asthma should get a muskrat skin & wear it over their lungs with the fur side next to the body. It will bring certain relief.

Take common rock salt, as used for salting down pork or beef, dry in an oven, then pound it fine & mix with spirits of turpentine in equal parts; put it in a rag, wrap it around the parts affected; as it gets dry put on more, and in twenty four hours you are cured. The felon will be dead.

* According to Webster's Dictionary, a felon is an "acute and painful inflamation of the tissues of a finger or toe, usually near the nail."

Wash with water staurated with common washing soda, and let it dry without wiping; repeat frequently until they disappear, or pass a pin through the wart and hold one end of it over the flame of a candle or lamp until the wart fires by the heat, and it will disappear.

Take a half pound of dry hoarhound herbs, one pod of red pepper, four tablespoons of ginger, boil all in three quarts of water, then strain, add one teaspoon of good, fresh tar and a pound of sugar. Boil slowly and stir often, until it is reduced to one quart of syrup. When cool, bottle for use. Take one or two teaspoons 4 to 6 times a day.

The 1887 version of the White House Cookbook is available as a free download on Project Gutenberg. This version, the first edition by Mrs. Gillette, contained some photographs and illustrations of First Ladies, but in later editions, the cookbook was co-authored by Hugo Ziemann who had been the White House steward under Grover Cleveland.

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A Recipe for KTOO-FM -- a pleasant read about the pound cake recipe in the White House Cookbook.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.