Friday, May 30, 2014

How Long?

I was thinking about my dad today.

It's coming up on the 19th anniversary of his passing.  People say it gets easier with time.  My question is, how much time does it take before it gets easier?  Nineteen years and I still miss him as much as I did the day he died.

More, really, because now that I've gotten a little older and have been a parent myself, I can appreciate him more than I did as a teenager, or even as a young adult.  Especially now, during life's more difficult moments when I wish I were a kid again, and could crawl up into his lap and know that no matter what, everything would be OK. 

I was thinking about my dad today.

I remembered when he died.  I went home to Texas, to his house.  My cousin Lynda came by to see us.  She is quite a bit older than I am, and I hadn't seen her in probably 15 years.  When I saw her come in the door, I went to hug her, and I just fell apart in her arms.   I hadn't really wept up until that point.  I'd teared up a few times, and snuffled a good bit, but that was when the dam broke.  I couldn't stop myself from crying.

Back then, I wasn't much of a crying kind of person.  Now, that I'm going through The Change, I cry at the drop of a hat.  And sometimes I cry when the hat doesn't drop.  Sometimes I cry for no reason at all.  But when I was younger, I didn't cry.  Ever. 

But that day, I did.  And today, I did.  Remembering that moment, I wept.  At work.  Huddled over my brazing stand hoping no one would notice that I was over there bawling.  But I cried.

I was thinking about my dad today.

And I wondered, when does it get easier? 

Thursday, May 29, 2014


Someone must have been dreaming about me an awful lot last night.

It would seem that the Mendapause that I'd bought to try to replace my Estroven might not work out so well.  I had the sweats so bad last night I only got about 2 hours sleep.  Which of course, made me pretty worthless at work.  Even knowing it's Thor's Day didn't help.

And it's still raining.  Which made my hair fluffy.  Which I hate.  I'm thinking about cutting it all off anyway.  I'm getting tired of it.

The bright side is, the Gerbera Daisy that I thought was dead is showing signs of life again.

Maybe all it needed was a good soaking rain.  I've also got some updated pictures of my Cardinal Creepers.

Whatever this is is about to bloom. 

Two of my purple coneflowers finally showed up.

Over the years, I've discovered sleep is essential to creativity.  That's why this post is so not creative.  So, blessedly, mercifully, I'll bring it to an end.

I'm going to bed.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Chats On The Farmhouse Porch

It's Wednesday, and it's raining.  It's supposed to rain for the rest of the week.  I don't need a weather forecast to tell.  My hair predicts the weather quite well, thank you.

Yes, I am still sporting that "just electrocuted" look.

But enough about me, let's get on to our chat.

1.  What is your favorite berry?

I guess I'd have to say strawberries.  I'm not a big berry person, and they're the only berry I like.  

2.  If you had the choice of a picnic or a sit down dinner, which would you choose?

A picnic, of course.  Someone who forgets to put shoes on when she leaves the house can't really appreciate dressing up and sitting down to dinner.

3.   How is your handwriting? Fancy, plain, legible, doctor-like?

It's plain but legible.   It used to be really messy, but about halfway through 9th grade, I decided I was going to work on making it better.  Once I got out of high school, I pretty much stopped writing cursive and went almost exclusively to printing.  It's easier for me to print legibly, especially if I'm in a hurry.  Here is an example of my handwriting.

4.   Do you prefer a desk top computer, laptop, or tablet? 

I prefer my desktop, but it's dead in the water.  I can't afford to get another one right now.  I've got Cody's old desktop to tide me over, but it's so slow and glitchy that I can hardly stand to use it, so I'm sticking with the laptop.  For now. 

5.  Tell me something interesting, please. 

Something I find interesting:  I've been told recently by more than one man that this is 2014 and women don't get up an cook breakfast for their men any more.  I couldn't believe this.  If I had a good man who worked hard taking care of me, I sure wouldn't send him off to work with nothing but a stale donut from the gas station, or even worse, and empty stomach.  Even if it's just toast to go with a bowl of cereal, I'm going to fix him something.  But I guess I'm just an anachronism.  

Thank you for joining me for the chat.  Now my curiosity is peaked, and I've got to go look up that story I was writing about Bob Hayes.  

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Once Again

Last week, I mentioned that I'd bought some mini pie pans to make home made pot pies.  I'd intended to start making them the day after I got the pans, but one thing led to another and there was stuff and shenanigans. 

Beautiful word, shenanigans. 

Be that as it may, I didn't get around to starting on them until today.  Proving once again that I can't seem to do anything halfway, I made enough filling to feed an army.

I didn't use a recipe.  I just winged it.  I put carrots, onions, celery, potatoes, and of course, chicken in there.  I'd intended to put green peas in instead of the celery, but I forgot to buy some.  Being that I had celery on hand, and didn't want to go back to the store, that is what got used.  The good news is, if I get tired of doing pies, I can just add some more broth and make soup. 

Not that I don't already have enough soup in my freezer to feed an army...Hey, it's hard to cook for just one.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  Anybody want a pot pie?  Or some soup?  Or pulled pork?  Yeah, I made one of those on Saturday.  I won't be going hungry for a while, that's for sure.  I reckon if I keep on cooking, I'm going to have to break down and find me a feller to cook for. 

By the time I got done with that, it was too late to actually make pies out of it, so that will have to wait until tomorrow. 

Yesterday we had a cookout at Beverly and James' house.  While we were eating, I found this little fellow on their feeder.

The pictures turned out pretty good considering I took them with my phone.  So intent was I on taking the pictures that I didn't even notice that I'd run Cody out of his chair.  Ah, well, he didn't complain.  He knows how his mama gets when she has a camera in her hand.  Even if it is on a phone. 

Speaking of hummingbirds, my little hummingbird vines are really coming on.

They're actually bigger than this now, but it's raining outside, so you get a three day old picture of them.  My lantanas are really starting to bloom now, too.

And look, I'm going to have a yellow one!

My Gerbera daisies  aren't doing so well, though.  You'd think a plant originating in Africa would be more heat tolerant, but these don't seem to be.  By the time I get home from work, they're drooping and wilted looking.  They perk back up after the sun goes down, and look good in the mornings.

My plain ones are hanging in there, but the fancy ones are dying.  The one at the top right is dead already, and the one on the bottom right is on its way.  I'm not sure I'm going to plant these again next year.  We'll have to see how these make it through the summer.

My celosias are struggling, too.  I don't know what I'm doing wrong.  Maybe it's just too hot for them.   Well, that's the beauty of annuals.  I don't feel too badly about killing them, since they only live for a year anyway. 

Maybe this good rain we're getting tonight will give them a boost.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day

"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived."

--George S. Patton, Jr.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Eye Candy Friday

For the last several years, I've bought coffee for service members overseas through Green Beans Coffee's Cup Of Joe program.  Every so often, they have specials.  If you buy a certain amount of coffee, they send you a think you gift.   In the past, I've gotten t-shirts and challenge coins.  Right now, they are offering this enameled dog tag.  I got mine yesterday.

Even better than the little trinkets are the thank you notes I get from the recipients themselves.

Thanks for the Cup of Joe. A great pick me up on the far side of the world.

Becky, thank you. I really appreciate the kindness and generosity. Best regards from Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. Army Strong! 

Thank you very much for your support! Even if it's a small gift like this, it sure brightens up our day! Several airmen and soldiers under me all sign up for COJ, and they look forward every day to getting a COJ. And when they do, they light up and look forward to take a small break and enjoying a nice cup of coffee or tea. And I look forward to going with them! Again Thanks!

Knowing I was able to make their day a little brighter makes it all worth it.  In fact, I think I'll go buy another round. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

My Happy Place

You know, I'm not up on fashions.  I don't know what's in style and what isn't.  (Truth is, it doesn't matter much, since I think most of today's styles are just plain ugly.)  So, I'm not stylish.  I consider it a personal victory if I make it out of the house with shoes on.

Yesterday, I sank to a new low.  I was going to take a trip to my happy place, and I had to go back and get a shirt on.  Yeah, that would have caused quite the stir at the Memphis Zoo.

OK, OK, so I didn't actually make it out of my bedroom before realizing I was shirtless, but still...I was heading that way. 

I definitely went on the wrong day, as it seemed that every school in the greater Memphis area picked that day to take their class trip.  It wasn't too bad once we got inside, and the crowds around the gate kind of dispersed. 

I do wonder if kids can actually speak without shrieking. 

I didn't take my camera, so I won't be able to inundate you with pictures.  I took a few with my phone, and picked out a few of my favorites to show you.

They had a place where you could pay to ride a camel.  Technically a dromedary, but hey, let's not quibble over labels.  This one was not giving rides because she is pregnant.  They had her tied over near the fence and I got to pet her. 

Look at that fur!  I was wondering how hard it would be to spin it.  Do camels even shed?

It wasn't very soft, so I don't think it would make a nice yarn.  Maybe for rugs or something, though.

This is the same owl I got into a staring contest with the last time I went.  And we got into a staring contest this time, too.  

The owl won.

They had a baby chimp, and he was so cute.  

It's easy to understand why people want to keep them as pets, forgetting that when they grow up, they are very powerful and dangerous wild animals.

I took pictures of the otters just for Cyndye.  

 And the Nemo fish.  Whatever it's really called.

The main reason I went was to visit Stingray Bay and pet the stingrays. 

Golly I love those guys.  Maybe I can become the Crazy Stingray Lady.  They seemed to like me.  There were a couple of these big things.  They aren't sting rays.  I don't know what they are.  I'll research it and get back to you, but not tonight.

Be that as it may, one of these big things liked being petted right between the eyes.  He would swim up to me and just sit there for a long time, letting me pet him.

A couple of the sting rays seemed to like being petted, too.  As they would swim by, they'd come up and rub against my hand like a cat would. This one came right up to the side of the tank and stayed there as long as I kept petting him.

They had little cups of fish that you could buy and feed them.  There was a boy there, he looked to be about 12 or so.  He had bought some fish, but his teacher was yelling at him to come on, so he gave the last piece to me.  I fed the stingray, and it was so cool that I went and bought some more.

Just a note, that isn't his mouth in the front.  Their mouths are on the bottom.  Those are openings where they take in water to run over their gills.  I tell you that because there were two women next to me -- not very bright-- that kept trying to stuff fish into the gill openings.  Then they wondered why the rays wouldn't take it.  Um...try shoving fish up your nose and see how you like it.

There were also some baby sharks in the tank, and I hung around until I got to pet them.  I really wanted to pet the hammerhead shark (I didn't get a picture of him), because that was my grandpa's pet name for me when I was a child.  Hammerhead.  Can't you just feel the love?

I could have stayed in there all day, but I had to get home, as my own dogs would be looking for their dinner.  I got totally soaking wet, but it was so worth it.  I want to go again before they close it down.

Anyone want to join me?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Chats On The Farmhouse Porch

I took a day off of work today and did something fun.  I'll post about it tomorrow, but for tonight, we have our usual Chat. 

1.  Is there one person who can drive you nuts, even if they aren't doing anything in particular? 

 Yes.  We'd probably better just leave it at that.  But that reminds me, I learned a new German word today:

Backpfeifengesicht (n.): a face that cries out for a fist in it

2.  When you were a small child, how did you answer the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"

When I was very small, I said I wanted to be a nurse, because my mother was a nurse.  When I got older, I really wanted to own a cattle ranch, but I knew that wasn't realistic.  Then I said I wanted to be a veterinarian, until I realized how much schooling they had to go through.  

3.  Do you drink more sodas, iced tea, or water? 

I probably drink about the same amount of cokes and water.  Keep in mind that I'm from Texas, and we call them all cokes.  As in:  Want a coke?  Yeah.  What kind?  Dr Pepper. 

4.  My favorite flavor of iced cream is________________. 

 Mint chocolate chip.  Or maybe chocolate chip cookie dough.  I like pretty much all flavors except rocky road and tin roof. 

5.  Do you like to dance? 

*Gasp* I'm a Baptist!  Baptists don't dance!  However, back in the day, I did enjoy going to the enlisted club on Country nights and cutting a mean two step.   I was a pretty good dancer, too. 

Well, that's it for this week.  I have to go back to work in the morning, but I sure did enjoy my day off.  I'll tell you all about it tomorrow, so be sure to come back and see what I did today. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

New Toys

Bowties are cool.

Now that we've gotten that important tidbit out of the way, let's get to today's post. 

A few days ago, I wanted to figure out a way to turn my favorite breakfast casserole into finger food.  I thought I'd make the filling, then roll it up in the crescent rolls and slice it into rounds, a la cinnamon rolls.  I didn't have any crescent rolls, so I made some pie crust dough from scratch and tried to use that.

It didn't work out so well.  I mean, it tasted really good, but the crust was too flaky to make it finger food.  They just crumbled apart when I tried to eat them.  I had to use a fork.  But some good did come out of it. I got the bright idea that I could get some mini pie pans and make my own pot pies. 

Yes, that is a perfectly sound leap of logic. 

Well, it makes total sense to me.

Anywho, after searching all over town -- that is, Wal-Mart-- and not being able to find mini pie pans, I had to order some from Amazon. 

Here's one in my hand, to give you a better perspective of their size.

I can't wait to try them out.  Tomorrow. 

And my quest to find a replacement for my Estroven begins.  I also ordered this from Amazon. 

I'm going to try it out for a couple of months and see how it works.  I hope it helps.  It's hot enough down here with out flashing on top of it. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Trip To The Store

I hadn't planned on going to the store today.

Sure, I needed a few things, but nothing I couldn't live without until my regular shopping day.  But when I got home and checked my e-mail, I saw that my prescription that I'd forgotten I renewed was ready.

Oh, I guess I'm going to the store after all. 

While I was there, I decided I need to refill my attitude meds as well, so I bought jelly beans. 

Wandering around the store a bit...bestill my beating heart, journals on clearance!

I was tempted, but I behaved myself.  I settled for some new pens, instead.

Clearly, I have a problem.

I wandered a bit more and found myself in the electronics department.  Not quite as exciting, but a nice discovery nonetheless, the new Karate Kid movie in the $5 bin.

Yeah, I bought it.  I think I actually like it better than the original Karate Kid movies.  I couldn't stand Ralph Macchio.  Well, his character, Daniel.  He was just so whiny.  I liked the first movie, the second was OK, but by the third movie, I was ready to beat the crap out of him myself, just to shut up his whining.  Urgh...

Deciding I'd done enough damage to my checking account, I paid for my purchases and headed out to my car. 

You know, you never know when God is going to use you to brighten a stranger's day.  He touched someone's heart to leave this delightful little note on my car door. 

Suddenly, a hum drum day became just a little bit better. 

Now, I need to pay it forward.  How about a new hat for some special little girl?

I never know who is going to receive the hats I make, but like the note on my car door,  it is my hope and prayer that they make someone smile.

Just like that little anonymous note.   

Friday, May 16, 2014

Eye Candy Friday

Look, y'all!  Cody got me roses for Mother's Day. 

Except about a week late, and he doesn't know it.  And I paid for them.

But he got me roses!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Random Thoughts Of A Thursday Evening

1.  I finally heard back from the Estroven people.  They said they'd recently changed the formula, including decreasing the ingredients that help with mood swings and memory lapses.  Um, what is the point of having a mood and memory blend if you reduce the mood and memory components?  Kind of pointless, if you ask me.  Yeah, I guess I'll be shopping around for something else. 

2.  How many times do you have to call animal control on your neighbor's dogs before you can just shoot the dumb things?  I went out this afternoon to put a little extra water on the plants they'd dug up, and I'd replanted, only to discover that the dogs had gotten behind my trellis and carried off my watering can and a couple of extra flower pots.  I guess I'll have to start piling everything inside my back door again. 

3.  I broke my garden hose nozzle.  Don't even ask.

4.  Sometimes, when I'm bored, I like to watch people who talk with large, expressive gesticulations, I try to figure out what they are saying just from watching their hands.  Other times, I make up conversations to go with the hand gestures, a la Bad Lipsyncing.  It can be quite amusing. 

5.  I find the idea of a kinder, gentler military to be something of a contradiction in terms. 

6.  Group Leader Fernando was having a rather frustrating morning.  He said, "Bring your neck over here so I can choke you."  I replied, "OK, but keep in mind, I do have countermeasures available."  He changed his mind about choking me.

7.  Before any of you get your knickers in a knot, he was just playing around.  He knew it, and I knew it, and we're always threatening to beat the heck out of each other.  No need to get your panties in a twist over it.

8.  It's time for the season finale of The Big Bang Theory, so this random and rather pointless post is at an end.  Laters. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Chats On The Farmhouse Porch

It's turned chilly again, and has rained all night and most of the day.  I think we'll have our chat over some hot chocolate or coffee this evening.  

1.  Do you ever watch You Tube? 

 All the time!  I love You Tube, and have built several playlists.  I've also learned fishing, shooting, knitting, and cooking techniques from You Tube, and of course, I put all of Cody's band videos up there.  My user name over there is CalKingOnyx, if you want to check them out.

2.  How are your picture taking (photography) skills?

 Fair to middling.  I once wanted to be a professional photographer, but my dad talked me out of it.  He said to make a living, I'd most likely have to do studio portraits.  I wasn't interested in that.  Here is a quick snap I took last night of my grapefruit (for those of you who only pop in for chats.)

3.  What's your "go to" meal to prepare when you're in a hurry?

 Since Cody is grown and gone, and I hardly ever go anywhere any more, I'm not usually in a hurry.  And since there is just me to fix for, I don't really need a meal.  So, I'd say a sandwich or some simple pasta, or a microwave pot pie.  Banquet is pretty good. 

4.   Do you like shoe shopping? 

 No.  I don't even like shoes.  I consider it a personal victory if I leave the house with shoes on.  You'd be surprised at how many times I've had to go back because I forgot them.

5.  If you could be royalty for a day, would you try it? 

Earthly royalty, no way, no how.  Too much attention, too much scrutiny, too many people always around, always watching.  To an introvert like me, that sounds like pure torture.  Give me my obscure life any day.  

That's it for the chats.

Now for some bad news.  The next door neighbor's dogs have discovered my flower bed.  These are the same neighbors whose dogs kept trying to kill Rylea.  Well, after several calls to animal control, they keep those dogs penned up, but they have about 4 others.  One is a half grown lab and one is a little black chihuahua.  They like to hang out in my yard.

Today when I got home from work, there was a big hole in the wire fence I have around my flower bed and several holes were dig.  At least two of my celosias were pulled up.  I re-planted them, and I hope they do OK.  Wal-mart still has some in their garden center, if I need to replace them.

I texted James, and he is going to get his fence charger back from Mike and hook it up for me if they keep getting into my beds.  It only takes them getting lit up once for them to learn.

Or twice.

My dogs still won't get into my flower beds, even though it's been two years since the charger has been hooked up. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Just Stuff

In lieu of our weekly chat, which will take place tomorrow, I've got a few random photos for you today.

Here are my petunias, starting to bloom.

I think the red and  purple are going to look pretty good together, once it gets all big and bloomy and stuff.

 And look at this. 

My little hummingbird vines are coming up already.  I thought that was really fast, since I only planted them on Friday.  My lantanas are finally started to bloom, as well. 

It looks like I might end up with three lavendar ones and three like this-- yellow and red.

In other news, after finishing the Socks From The 'Ot Place, I needed something a bit more mindless, So I cast on another hat. 

The yarn is King Cole Splash.  I bought it when I went to visit Christi in Columbus.  I'd actually lost the yarn for a while, but I found it again-- right where I'd left it.  Fancy that.

Needless to say, this hat probably won't be donated to soldiers.  But then, you never know...

Finally, my new grapefruit spoons are da bomb. 

I can see a lot more grapefruit eating in my future. 

Friday, May 09, 2014

I Haz Sockz!

At long last, the socks from The Place Of Eternal Torment are done!

I call them that because it seemed like it took and eternity to knit them, and every moment of it was torment.  But they're finally done, and after a good wash and blocking, they'll be ready to wear.

Next project:  to find another WIP that has been languishing for far too long and get it finished.  Lord knows, there are plenty of them.  

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Avengers and Toads

Have you ever seen the movie The Avengers?  If you haven't, you really should.  But first, you would need to see Thor, Iron Man, The Hulk, and Captain America.  All of them well worth watching.

Anyway, in The Avengers, there is this scene in which The Avengers have Loki on an airplane. Thor breaks through a portal in the space/time continuum and gets Loki from the plane to take him back to Asgard for judgement.  Iron Man suits up and goes after them, to get Loki back from Thor.  Captain America also suits up and puts on a parachute to follow them.

At this point, Black Widow tries to warn Captain America off.  "These guys are the stuff of legend.  They're practically gods," she says. 

"There's only one God, Ma'am," Captain America replies, "and I'm pretty sure he doesn't dress like that."

There is only one God, and today he extended unto me a measure of grace in that the total mayhem that typically accompanies Thor's Day did not in fact descend upon the plant.  It was hot and busy, but not frantic and frustrating.  For that, I am very grateful. 

Now, on to more mundane news.  You know your life is on the dull side when you get excited over grapefruit spoons.  

 I like to eat grapefruit, but didn't have any grapefruit spoons, which made it a bit difficult.  I'd been looking around town, but hadn't seen any.  When I ordered my Digestive Advantage from Amazon, I threw this set into the cart with it.  Now, I can eat grapefruit without having to take a shower afterwards.  Yay. 

I also bought this movie. 

I was so excited when Netflix put it on streaming, but after watching it Easter Sunday, I discovered that they'd cut nearly two hours of footage out of it.  I have it on VHS, but since my VHS player pooped out a couple of years ago, I haven't been able to watch it.  Now, I can, though probably not in one sitting.  It is a 6 hour movie after all. 

More excitement.  While deadheading and picking damaged leaves off of plants this afternoon, I discovered a little toad has made his abode in my flower bed.

He's actually a pretty good sized toad, and I hope he stays there.   Toads eat slugs, which are what's doing so much damage to my plants.  I have an old snake cave that I'm going to put out there to give him some shelter.  That might induce him to stay. 

Speaking of plants, I got a surprise on my petunia. 

Apparently, there were two different petunia plants in that pot.  I think it's going to be pretty when it gets all grown and stuff. 

That's part of the fun of gardening.  You don't always know what you're going to get. 


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