Thursday, August 24, 2006

Happy Birthday to my husband

Happy birthday, husband. This is your day. You've reached that "magical" age where you can proudly say, "I'm now on Medicare. Wanna see my card?"

We have shared 38 years together and 38 birthdays, each one special and each one different. We have raised two kids together, who turned out mighty nice I must say, each of us worked our entire married lives, and now we are enjoying retirement together. We have a lot of memories together and share a lot of history.

You were a barefoot, long-haired hippy when I met you, and now look at you. You are a long-haired, middle-class hippy if I ever saw one. You have never changed in all these years. Your philosophy has stayed the same and we still share the same goals and ideals as when we met. Our journey has not been without slight bumps in the road, but all in all, it's been a pleasant journey. There are so many things in common that we share, like music, art, gardening, our families, computers, eating well, friends, nature, fishing, birds, and our cats. You have many natural talents and I appreciate them all. You are my IT guy, my Mr. Fix-It guy, my pool man, my gardener man, and my companion. You are always there when I want to do something.

Thanks for putting up with me all these years. I hope you will enjoy some surprises over the next couple of days. So, Happy Birthday, Husband. If there was a Thom McAnn around here, I would take you to it.

Love, Your Wife of many years

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Oh, Mother, what you've missed

I was thinking the other day, as I was cleaning my kitchen, of all the "time-saving" devices I owned. I began to compare what I had in mine with what my mother had to work with all the 50-plus years she was married to my dad. I decided to take a little inventory of some of the innovations I am blessed with that she hadn't dreamed of in her lifetime.

Here's a list from my kitchen:
  1. Stainless Steel Microwave oven
  2. Stainless steel/titanium/copper pots and pans
  3. Stainless Steel Dishwasher
  4. Stainless Steel Rotisserie
  5. Stainless Steel Self-Cleaning Gas Stove
  6. Stainless Steel Toaster
  7. Kitchenaid Professional Grey Stand Mixer with all the attachments
  8. Stainless Steel Crockpot
  9. Stainless Steel Knives
  10. Stainless Steel Kitchen Utensils in Stainless Steel Cannister
  11. Custom Hickory Cabinets
  12. Corian Countertops
  13. Ceramic Tile Floor
  14. Food Processor
  15. Ice Cream Maker
  16. Hand Mixer
  17. 16-Speed Blender
  18. Boom Box
  19. Bread Maker
  20. Wine Rack
  21. Dustbuster
  22. Rechargeable Electric Broom
  23. Large-capacity Self-defrosting Refrigerator/Freezer
  24. Chest Freezer
  25. A shelf crammed with all sorts of cookbooks
My mother was born in 1910 to a family of Russian immigrant parents and five brothers and sisters. She lived through World War I, the Roaring Twenties, Prohibition, Al Capone, the Great Depression (when grandpa lost all his money), World War II, food shortages and rationing, the Cold War, the Korean Conflict, Vietnam, and the assasinations of a president, a presidential candidate, and a civil rights leader. She even saw a man walk on the moon.

She was stricken with polio when she was 18 months old and for the rest of her life walked with a pronounced limp because her left leg was shriveled. That didn't stop her though. She worked hard all her life, in and out of the house. Mother never had a lot of material things, and my parents never had much money, but what she was blessed with was a husband and two children (my sister and I) who loved her dearly. She also had the support of a large extended family. We were poor, but we didn't know it. My sister and I were happy in our ignorance.

My parents, Sara and Jack

My parents didn't own a car or a television set (my grandparents did, though). We didn't have airconditioning (my grandparents had a window unit in their upstairs apartment). We didn't have a freezer. When my sister and I were small, my mother had a wooden ice box. Every day she would put a card in the window indicating how many pounds of ice she wanted and the ice man came with his leather apron on and huge tongs carrying the ice. Mother would have to empty the drip pan every day otherwise she would have water all over the floor from the melting ice.

My parents owned a small corner grocery store so we always had plenty to eat. Mother worked in the store all day but still managed to take care of the house and the rest of the family. She also sewed all our clothes and did mending for others. She sewed on a Singer treadle sewing machine which I own now. I can remember her sewing so fast as she moved the treadle with her right foot. She washed clothes in a wringer washing machine and hung the clothes outside to dry or in the basement if it was raining. She ironed everything because permanent press had not been invented. She used blueing to whiten the clothes, starch to give the clothes body, washing powder, and pants stretchers for my father's work pants. She would wash on Mondays and iron on Tuesdays.

What my mother did best, though, was cook. Everything was made from scratch as there were no frozen or pre-prepared foods in those days. Because she didn't own all the "time-saving" devices I own, she prepared our homecooked meals by chopping, mincing, cutting, mixing, stirring, measuring, dicing, sauteeing, braising, roasting, frying, and baking without the advantage of any modern appliances. Mother's food was delicious and she always made special Sunday afternoon and holiday meals. Everyone in the family loved coming to our house to eat. We would eat until we couldn't push ourselves away from the table.

Am I better off than my mother with all the fancy-schmancy things in my kitchen? Do they really save me any more time than if I didn't have them? And, do I cook better than my mother did? I don't think so. With just the two of us at home, we eat a lot of our meals out these days. I probably only cook one meal a day and make special meals for company two to three times a year.

Could I come up with the number of innovative meals my mother cooked over the years without a cookbook? Never in a million years. She could make a feast from things I wouldn't consider eating now that I'm all grown up (beef hearts, kidneys, liver, and tongue).

I inherited a lot of mother's kitchen things after she died. I cherish these utensils and pans and use them when I can. I like to think that she would love it that I still use her things and that in this way she lives on.

So, after my telling you a little about my mother, do you think she missed anything by not having all the fancy things I have in my kitchen today? You be the judge.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Look what fell from the sky

Husband and I were walking across the front yard this afternoon, just coming back from lunch, intent on doing a little flowerbed weeding. Husband said, look at the feather that fell from the sky. I looked, and here's what I found.

This feather measures 10-1/2 inches long. It is black with little white frilly feathers near the quill. It is a thing of beauty. Could it be from a buzzard? Or an eagle? We don't know as we haven't seen either of these birds up close. We are guessing that it's from a buzzard since they fly overhead all the time. Maybe it was molting and lost the feather, or another bird came along and plucked it right out of its tail or wing. Either way, it came from a big bird.

What shall I do with this feather? I could display it on a shelf, but I think our kitties (especially Tiger Lily) would think it was something to play with or to eat. I could make a necklace, or earring, or hat ornament out of it, but I don't wear that kind of jewelry.

Maybe I could make a quill out of it.
It looks to be the perfect size. I could use it to write blog posts with a bit of style and panache. If I used the feather as a quill, that would mean I would have to purchase fancy vellum paper and a bottle of real ink. I would also have to practice my handwriting skills. Since using a computer for the past 10+ years to write, my handwriting has degraded into a sloppy mess (you KNOW what I'm talking about). The only times I handwrite these days are when signing an occasional check or when placing my signature on other important legal documents, like signing out for a movie at the video store. I will have to think about making a quill out of it.

I could frame it, but that would cost money. If I framed it, I would have to hang it on the wall. The last time we painted our house, we removed all pictures and other framed objects, spackled the holes, and painted our walls a pretty white. I am loathe to pound any nails into them.

In the meantime, husband thinks this lovely feather is covered with unseen lice. You know the old wives' tale about birds carrying lice. He won't let me handle the feather until the alleged lice have all been killed. I guess I will wait until then to figure out what to do with it.

Maybe I should just make a bookmark out of it. What do you think? That would be a feather in my cap.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Nightmare on Elm Street

We have a killer in our midst. With talons of steel and a nose like a bloodhound, this tenacious, vicious stalker is another Jack The Ripper who only hunts at night and always brings home the prey. Every morning we find the evidence. A few feathers here, some innards there. Sometimes we find some baby bunny feet, and sometimes a mouse or mole head. Sometimes the prey is alive and then we have to deal with chasing it around the house so we can put it outside. It's all rather revolting. Freddie Krueger doesn't have a thing on this killer.

Who is this terror of the neighborhood?

Why, it's none other than sweet and innocent-looking Tiger Lily.

Here she is getting some loving from Polly-I, her foster mother.

Tiger Lily has some final words for all you trusting pet owners. She says, "If you value your loved ones, KEEP THEM INSIDE, otherwise they will be my morning meal. Muahahaha."

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Justice for JonBenet

JonBenet Ramsey
Killed 10 years ago

Well, law enforcement FINALLY got a break and caught the demented pervert who was the (real) alleged perpetrator of this horrendous crime. In case you haven't seen the news yet, he was caught in Thailand for unrelated sex crimes. I guess if sexual perversion is your thing, you should go to a country like Thailand where they have a high tolerance for this type of behavior in certain sectors. (Not only have the Thais been the recipient of many of America's manufacturing jobs, but they have also become a haven for sexual deviants who wish to pursue their nefarious behavior.) After he was caught, this former second-grade teacher confessed to details that weren't previously released to the general public.

What's so sad about this entire case is that the parents were persecuted, accused, given lie detector tests, and almost driven mad because someone must be blamed and Patsy and John Ramsey were handy. Too bad Patsy Ramsey had to recently die of cancer and couldn't be here with her family to savor this answer to the question of who tortured and killed beautiful JonBenet, their darling daughter.

Patsy and John Ramsey

Can you picture how beautiful this little girl would be today if she had lived? I cannot imagine the torture these parents, and their entire family, have been subjected to all these years, and how they must have missed the beautiful little girl they loved and doted on.

It is difficult to imagine any parents doing to their child what was done to JonBenet. I'm glad this guy was caught. They should lock him up until they can execute him with no bail offered. While he is in prison, they should release him to the general prison population.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Five things meme

I found this meme on Born Fool's blog. It's a fill-in-the-blank, five things meme. Here are the blank statements followed by my choices.

5 reasons I'm the _________.
5 reasons to wear _________.
5 reasons to _________.
5 reasons to brush _________.
5 reasons to take __________.

Born Fool's a pretty funny fellow and his answers were a hoot. I know I'm not as funny or clever as BF, but I thought I would give this a try.

5 reasons I'm the cook in our family:
1. I know how to crack eggs without getting shells in the bowl.
2. I know how to add just the right amount of spices to anything I cook.
3. I know that my husband doesn't like pasta (but I do) and that's why I make so much of it.
4. I know how to cook anything without giving anyone ptomaine poisoning.
5. I know the number for Pizza Hut delivery.

5 reasons to wear clothes:
1. So nobody has to look at my fat.
2. So I don't get a bad sunburn in awkward places.
3. So I can swim in my pool without the neighbors laughing or calling the police.
4. So you can't see the scars on my body from previous surgeries.
5. So I can look presentable when I'm out in public and you don't have to lose your lunch looking at all my bulges.

5 reasons to get out of bed every day:
1. So I can enjoy nature's beauty.
2. So I can blog and play games on my computer.
3. So I can practice my cooking skills and wear clothes.
4. So I can enjoy my family, friends, and cats.
5. So I can say that I beat death for another day.

5 reasons to brush my cats:
1. So they look real purty.
2. So they don't hack up numerous hair balls all over the house.
3. So I don't have to walk around with a layer of cat hair on my black slacks.
4. So people visiting us don't go into respiratory distress from all the cat hair on my couch.
5. So we don't find the occasional cat hair in our food.

5 reasons to take a break from blogging every now and then:
1. Because there are other things to do than blog all day while sitting at your computer in your underwear.
2. So we don't suffer from brain freeze from trying to think of something new and clever to entertain our blogpals.
3. So we don't come down with carpal tunnel syndrome from typing daily posts.
4. Because we actually need to get out of the house and meet with our "real" friends every now and then.
5. Because too much time spent in front of a computer screen will make you a babbling idiot, cause you to lose your eyesight, give you headaches, and make your skin break out in unsightly blemishes.

I'm not going to tag anyone, but please feel free to play along if you are so inclined.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

You know you're a blog addict when . . .

  • you have more blog friends than 'real life' friends
  • you're blogging in your head before you fall asleep
  • your out-of-town spouse/friend and you converse in your blog's comments
  • you tell your friends and family things like, "I'll ping you and you ping me back," or "Okay, I want to trackback on your last comment"
  • you blog in your head an event that's happening at that very moment
  • you actually take the time to figure out how to set up Active Desktop in Windows just so that you can make your Bloglines MyBlogs page your Windows background and then you actually leave it that way because you like it and you make that your browser home page*
  • all of the visible entries in your browser's links toolbar relate to blogging
*I actually didn't understand this at all. If any of you know what this means, please tell me.

When I woke up Saturday morning I thought I had better post something or my blogfriends would start getting worried about my "absence." In fact, Frannie asked recently in my comments if I was okay. Yeah, I'm okay. In fact, I'm great! I went to therapy on Friday for the last time. That's right. I've been discharged after four months of physical torture therapy. I feel like a human being again. I can actually flex my knee to 115 degrees without breaking a sweat and I'm swimming laps and laps in the pool. I've lost approximately 25 pounds and am working on the next 25.

The only problem I seem to be having lately is a lack of subject matter to blog about. My flowers and tomatoes are looking terrible, so no pretty pictures of flowers, birds, and butterflies; we are doing the same things just about every day; we haven't been anywhere in several weeks (except for granddaughter's birthday party); and there are no plans for any trips.

I enjoyed reading Susie's Sunday blessings today. She spoke about a memorable trip to Disneyland with her grandmother and other family members back when the park first opened. Husband and SIL used to go there when they were youngsters. I have only been to Disney World once back in 1996 when we went to celebrate my aunt and uncle's 50th wedding anniversery. The entire family attended and we had a great time not only at the anniversary party, but also at Disney World. It was a memorable trip for our immediate family.

Husband's birthday is coming up on August 24 and I'm planning a cookout for the family. We should have a nice time. If any of you are in the neighborhood, stop by for some barbecue and a swim. He just got his Medicare card and is looking forward to an opportunity to use it. I hope it's for something simple and not a knee replacement or something like that.

Hope you enjoy all sorts of blessings during the coming week.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Birthday girl scores big at party

We returned home late this afternoon, exhausted but thrilled with our wonderful weekend. Dancer girl's birthday party was a total success. Darling daughter worked so hard getting everything ready and all the kids who attended had a great time.

Little Sister, their friend Tia, and Dancer Girl

Blowing out the candles

Dancer Girl whacking the flip-flop pinata

The rogue's gallery
Dancer Girl is surrounded by love and friendship

Tomatoes: Color me red

Dr. Charles, sorry I'm late posting my tomato pictures. As you can see from my previous post we have been away celebrating a birthday at a hula party.

I looked at our tomato plants when we got home and I was extremely unhappy with the sad, sorry state of affairs I found. I did manage to pick one ripening tomato.

This is what was on my kitchen table.

Since this is the first year we've planted anything in our new garden spot, we count ourselves lucky to be getting anything at all. I regret that I will probably have not enough tomatoes for making sauce for next year. What we are getting, however, are very tasty Early Girls -- our favorites. Now, if I only had some bacon in the house, I would make BLTs.

My sister, mrsgreenthumb, is expecting me to overnight her a box of home-grown tomatoes as she is unable to grow any decent ones in Las Vegas. Sorry, sis, but with the meager supplies, I don't think I will be shipping any to anyone this year.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Dancer Girl and her 5th birthday

Today is my first granddaughter's Fifth Birthday. Dancer Girl has been so excited because she was becoming five years old. Every time we saw her or talked with her she would remind me that she was turning FIVE. For her, it was a major turning point in her short life. I played along with her and teased her by saying, "Are you going to be five minutes? Are you going to be five days? Are you going to be five months? Are you going to be five centuries?" She would impatiently respond, with hands on hips, that she was going to be FIVE. (The concept of putting years with five eluded her momentarily until I asked her if she was going to be five years old.)

Husband and I were very excited when darling daughter first announced that she was pregnant. I never thought it would happen. Darling daughter and long haired daddy had been married for five years and there was no talk of babies up to that time. So when the big announcement was made, in a room packed with people at Christmas, it was like a bomb had landed on my chest. I had to walk out of the room. It was almost too much for this old lady to bear. I actually felt the wheel of life turn at that moment. I had now moved into a new phase of my existence -- grandmother.

Dancer Girl, your birth was so anticipated and you were loved by your Grandma from the first moment I saw your beautiful face on the ultrasound film. I knew that God in Heaven had blessed me with an angel.

Dancer Girl, know that you are loved by your Grandma and Grandpa. I hope that you spend your life dancing, singing, and loving. Have a wonderful Fifth Birthday.