Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween to all my ghoul friends

When you come to my house to trick-or-treat, watch out for all my cats, I hope they don't frighten you away

Monday, October 30, 2006

'Tis the season

I don't know about you, but I always begin to feel nostalgic around this time of the year. And, I think about food a lot.

I especially think about all the holiday dinners at my mother's table.

I think about turkey.

I think about homemade bread.

I think about homemade pumpkin pie.

I think about sweet potatoes.

I think about homemade pumpkin bread.

I also think about giblet gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, deviled eggs, salad, and all the other goodies we consume during the holidays. I also think about all the extra calories we will consume over the next several months because everything tastes so good.

I will spend a lot of time thinking about my menus. I will spend a lot of time making my grocery lists and purchasing all the ingredients. I will think a lot about what to buy everybody for Christmas. I will spend a lot of time getting my house in order.

I will look forward to having family and friends come over to share the happy moments of each holiday. It will be good.

I will think a great deal about the birthdays we will be celebrating during November -- son's birthday, nephew's birthday, and mother's birthday. I will think about my son a great deal on his birthday because he will be unable to come home this year. While he was growing up, and still living at home, we always celebrated his birthday during the long Thanksgiving holiday. I will miss him very much this year. I will think about my mother a great deal on her birthday because she is no longer with us. I will remember her because I love her dearly and miss her every day of my life. I will honor her by using her utensils and dishes to prepare and present my holiday meals.

For some, the holiday season is a very sad time of year. For others, it is a time for celebrations, good times, getting together, sharing the blessings of our lives, and enjoying each minute spent in fellowship and love. I love the holidays and am always sad when January comes around.

So, let me be the first to wish all of you, my dear blog friends and family, a very happy, healthy, safe, and wonderful holiday season.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Old Kuttawa

As we returned from Nashville yesterday afternoon (doctor's appointment), we stopped by our favorite marina on Lake Barkley not too far from our house to take in the fall scenery.

Here is what we saw as we drove around Old Kuttawa, a small community of old Victorians right on the lake. (Kuttawa is a Shawnee Indian word that means "beautiful.") This community is gorgeous in all seasons and I would love to live there, but the houses are way out of our price range.

Click on pictures for a close-up view.

A secluded house nestled on a back street amongst the trees

An old church that was refurbished and turned into a private residence, on the corner overlooking the marina

View of the swimming area (on right) from the side of the street where the houses face the water and marina

Looking down the street (houses on right and water on right)

A gnarled, twisted tree growing up through the roof of this abandoned house

The late afternoon sun shining through the trees

Canada Geese enjoying a late-afternoon swim

Awesome view of the trees of Old Kuttawa

Can you see why I want to live here? We have been coming to this marina for over 37 years and it never fails to amaze me. The scenery, the houses, the marina, the water, the sky, the wildlife, the walking trails, the boats, the fishing -- who wouldn't want to live in this area?

What a glorious ending to a beautiful, peaceful day

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Drifting through life

"Like sands through the hourglass . . . so are the Days of Our Lives."

Do you sometimes feel as if you are spending your days just drifting through life -- not accomplishing anything, not getting things done, not completing tasks, but just sitting at your computer terminal all day blogging in your underwear? I've had days like this and I find it makes me feel uneasy, almost as if I'm missing something.

When I read your blogs, I am amazed at all the "things" you are doing -- going on trips, working, visiting others, making things, cooking, creating, taking care of yourselves and others, fixing things, gardening, and generally keeping yourselves busy. (The thought of all this activity sometimes seems too busy for my taste.) As I get older, I find that I'm becoming an old stick-in-the-mud -- content to sit at home and generally nest. Husband would rather be out and about, always doing things, but I like staying at home piddling around.

The problem with this attitude is that I can feel my days passing, one at a time (just like the sands through the hourglass) with nothing accomplished. No afghans started for new grandbaby, no needlepoint pieces finished, no craft projects done, no big housekeeping task completed, and no new friends made. I'm not a "club" person; never have been and never will be. I don't want to belong to the women's club, a homemaker's club, the red hat society, or any other kind of club. I also don't want to do any more volunteer work (been there, done that for many years). I'm just not the coffee klatcher type.

So, what's a lazy person like me supposed to do with themselves all day? (No, for all you amateur psychologists out there, I am not depressed or sick.)

I guess it all boils down to passion. No, not the physical but the emotional kind of passion. Finding something that turns you on. I've always been a voracious reader, but even that hobby has paled. I have countless hard-back novels on my shelves just waiting to be read. Just can't seem to want to read just now. I love computer games. I have numerous games to play on my new computer. Just can't seem to have the patience to play any of them. I have numerous needlepoint pieces that I have started and not completed. Just can't seem to deal with them right now. I have sewing projects that I could be finishing. Just can't seem to want to open the old sewing machine up and get started.

Ugh, now I've made myself disgusted with myself.

It might be the season of the year. Yeah, I can blame it all on Fall, and Halloween, and Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and New Year's Eve. Just the thought of all the cooking, cleaning, present-buying, wrapping, and giving, and putting up the tree makes me want to go to some place sunny with a beach and eat in a restaurant.

Okay. Time to stop blogging and get dressed. You guessed it. I'm still sitting here blogging in my pink nightgown drinking a cuppa tea. Got lots to do today, so I'd better get started. Had a big day yesterday. Cleaned and filled the bird feeders.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Another milestone

Just like CNN reporting this afternoon that the Dow is approaching a record-breaking 12,000 level, I see that my sitemeter is just about to reach the 10,000 mark. Wow, I'm amazed -- 10,000 hits to my site. I wonder who the "lucky" person will be? I don't have any prizes to give the "winner" of this honor, but I do offer my unending thanks for your loyalty and friendship.

Blogging has turned into a life-changing avocation. It has become a means to express myself and to communicate with my blogfriends out in the ethernet. Meeting all of you has made me a better person (I've said this before).

So, all I can say is thanks for visiting. You're always welcome at my house and I love meeting new and old friends every day. Can't wait to see what happens in the interim between 10,000 and 20,000 hits. Should be interesting and amazing!

Saturday, October 14, 2006


Did you ever get a savings coupon, with an expiration date, that you felt you could not pass up? We recently did. The $200.00 off coupon with no interest for a year from Home Depot was too much to pass up, especially since we've had our eye on a pretty nice Mennonite-built outbuilding all summer. So, coupon in hand, husband and I made our way to the nearest Home Depot store and ordered the building on August 30. This was just one week before the coupon expired. The papers we signed when we bought it said the building had to be built according to our specs and we would receive it three to four weeks later.

We excitedly went home and husband worked diligently preparing the site. And then we waited and waited for the delivery. After many phone calls to the company, the truck finally showed up at our door yesterday, six weeks after we ordered it. Finally! We were really excited.

One guy delivered our building, offloaded it onto our carefully prepared site, and used the gadget in the above photo called a mule (sort of like a miniature forklift) to exactly position it. The entire process took less than an hour.

We are very pleased with our new building and find it accomplishes two things. First, we now have enough storage to get all our equipment out of our garage, and second, it successfully blocks the view of our back neighbor's house.

The only problem is that husband says that between the pool and the outbuilding, our back yard now looks like a trailer park.

Time to go to the lumber yard to purchase material for a ramp and to think of some creative landscaping to soften the view. Alice, MrsGreenThumb, and Kerri, where are you when I need you?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

It's all about image

I was watching a very interesting show about China the other evening on Discovery HD Atlas. This three-hour program covered all aspects of life in this vast country of over 3 billion people. China is a country that spans a large portion of this world of ours and is as diversified as there are grains of sands on a beach.

One of the things that amazed me about these people is that they are all hard-working, driven, slim people. Their society does not tolerate being different or the use of drugs (death to drug dealers). The people exercise en masse and pictures of their performing their karate, tai chi, and other exercises reminded me of ants. Because of their ambition to be the best in the world, we have accommodated them by exporting all our factories and goods to them (while we put our people out of work). In fact, we have borrowed money from the Chinese to perpetuate the war in Iraq.

The thing that impressed me most, however, was the lack of good dental hygiene by the general population.

It seems our image of being perfect in every way has not impacted these people yet. They stress eating well, exercising a great deal, and living a long, healthy life. This does not, however, extend to taking care of their teeth. Everyone shown in the program had teeth like this.

Here in America, however, we value this look and spend countless millions of dollars, time, pain, and energy to achieve it. (I personally feel humiliated because as I was growing up my family was too poor to afford the $500.00 it would have cost to put braces on my teeth.) Have you tried all the whitening agents available today to have your pearly whites looking like this? Again, countless millions of dollars, time, pain, and energy have been expended so our mouths could be model perfect.

The other thing I noticed was how the Chinese perceive themselves. Most Chinese have been lured by the temptation of riches and everything that is associated with wealth. They are importing smart Americans to design everything from high-end shopping malls to fancy buildings so their rich and elite can live the cosmopolitan life. (The average Chinese cannot afford to purchase a beer at most of these eating establishments.) The way the Chinese attempt to homogenize themselves is by getting plastic surgery, especially to westernize their eyes.

This before and after shot emphasizes what the Chinese (and the Japanese for that matter) are willing to do to their bodies to achieve a more western persona.

This is the image they are trying to attain.

And this.
I have come to the conclusion that the American version of happiness is based on image and how we perceive ourselves. Our ideals are dictated by advertising agencies, the media, the film and modeling industry, clothing manufacturers (who in this world can fit into a size 0?), and the diet gurus (look at me, I ate Fadish Systems' Empty Calories and lost 400 pounds, and everybody thinks I'm sexy).

For your information, Americans are the fattest people on earth and other westernized (fast food eating) countries are trying hard to catch up.

Do we value ourselves more if we look like this model or Barbie? Do most of us go through life worrying about those extra pounds, a few wrinkles, or some grey hair?

Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn if I'm carrying a few extra pounds, I have wrinkles, and have lots of grey hair. No, I will not color my hair and, no, I will not get plastic surgery to make myself look like Cher. My aim in life is to be happy and to make those around me happy. Can you say the same?

So what if my teeth are a little crooked and are not as white as a model's. I guess that's what the average Chinese also says. Unless . . . they probably would go for orthodontia if they could afford it. Then they could look like the rest of those westerners who pride themselves on having a Barbie persona -- empty-headed but looking good.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Medical facts you were dying to learn about

I was doing some research this evening (surfing the Internet for lack of anything better to do) and came across the following medical trivia that I thought I would share with you. My long-time readers know how much I love trivia.

  • Medical researchers contend that no disease ever identified has been completely eradicated. (No wonder there's so much obesity still left in the world.)
  • The attachment of the human skin to muscles is what causes dimples. (I wonder if cellulite is caused by the same thing.)
  • No one seems to know why people blush. (Silly, it's because you get red in the face when you're embarassed.)
  • In 1972, a group of scientists reported that you could cure the common cold by freezing the big toe. (The government must have paid these guys big bucks to do a study on this. Do you think we got our money's worth? The next time I get a cold, I'm going to stick my foot into the freezer.)
  • The number one cause of blindness in the United States is diabetes.
  • The adult human heart weighs about ten ounces. (So, don't go breakin' my ten ounces.)
  • People who laugh a lot are much healthier than those who don't. Dr. Lee Berk at the Loma Linda School of Public Health in California found that laughing lowers levels of stress hormones, and strengthens the immune system. Six-year-olds have it best - they laugh an average of 300 times a day. Adults only laugh 15 to 100 times a day. (I'm trying to help you people out here by giving you a few more laughs.)
  • People who have a tough time handling the stress of money woes are twice as likely to develop severe gum disease, a new study finds. (Now you know why so many people wear dentures.)
  • Between 25% to 33% of the population sneeze when they are exposed to light. (And I thought it was because of all the junk in the air.)
  • Of the 206 bones in the average human adult's body, 106 are in the hands and feet. (54 in the hands and 52 in the feet)
  • In 1815 French chemist Michael Eugene Chevreul realized the first link between diabetes and sugar metabolism when he discovered that the urine of a diabetic was identical to grape sugar.
  • Men have more blood than women. Men have 1.5 gallons for men versus 0.875 gallons for women. (Now men finally have something to brag about. They can drink more alcohol than women because it becomes more diluted in their bodies with all the extra blood they have.)
  • The first Band-Aid Brand Adhesive Bandages were three inches wide and eighteen inches long. You made your own bandage by cutting off as much as you needed.
  • The human brain stops growing at the age of 18. (You can stop wondering why so many kids are in trouble these days.)
  • In 1977, a 13 year old child found a tooth growing out of his left foot. (Maybe this kid stuck his foot in his mouth too many times and came out with a tooth -- like Little Jack Horner.)
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 18 million courses of antibiotics are prescribed for the common cold in the United States per year. Research shows that colds are caused by viruses. 50 million unnecessary antibiotics are prescribed for viral respiratory infections. (Doctors are prescribing antibiotics unnecessarily? No wonder so many people are developing immunities to certain antibiotics.)
  • It takes an interaction of 72 different muscles to produce human speech. (How many brain cells does it take to produce meaningful human speech that is not laced with hatred or profanity?)
  • The first known heart medicine was discovered in an English garden. In 1799, physician John Ferriar noted the effect of dried leaves of the common plant, digitalis purpurea, on heart action. Still used in heart medications, digitalis slows the pulse and increases the force of heart contractions and the amount of blood pumped per heartbeat.
  • Blood is red only in the arteries after it has left the heart and is full of oxygen. Blood is a purplish, blue color in the veins as it returns to the heart, thanks to having picked up carbon dioxide and other wastes from the body's cells. In fact, your blood is red throughout only half your body. When cut, of course, the blood always appears red because it is instantly exposed to oxygen outside the body.
  • During his or her lifetime, the average human will grow 590 miles of hair. (Does this mean that if you never cut your hair during your lifetime, you could be an oddity listed in the Guiness Book of Records?)
  • The average human bladder can hold 13 ounces of liquid. (No wonder I always have to run to the bathroom after drinking a 16 ounce soft drink.)
  • You lose enough dead skin cells in your lifetime to fill eight five-pound flour bags. (I think I've already filled my lifetime quota.)
  • Your thumb is the same length as your nose. (For those folks out there who like to pick their noses, the thumb should be their digit of choice.)
  • The Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland was a symbolic character for the hat makers in towns of the late 1800's. The large felt hats of the day had supports made out of lead. The lead caused an organic form of psychosis (brain damage) to develop in the hat makers causing them to be declared crazy.
  • Although your system cannot digest gum like other foods, it won't be stuck inside of you forever. It comes out with other waste your body can't use. (Did the scientists have to do a little digging to come to this conclusion?)
  • The substance that human blood resembles most closely in terms of chemical composition is sea water. (Some scientists say that all humans evolved from sea creatures so this stands to reason.)
I hope you all learned something new today from this post. You never know when you will be chosen to appear on Jeopardy and you should be ready. I know I am.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Odds and ends

I recently posted about finding Tiger Lily sitting in one of my antique glass bowls. That sort of freaked me out even though I eventually thought it was kind of cute. This afternoon, as I was watching Jeopardy, I asked husband if he would bring me a bottle of water. He immediately told me to get my camera, and this is what I saw.

Since we adopted two of daughter alipurr's tiny kittens last Friday, we have had to close all the bedroom doors to ensure the kittens have access only to the bathroom, kitchen, and living room until they are completely trained.

Because Tiger Lily's usual daytime nap place (my bed) is now off limits with the bedroom door closed, she is finding unusual places to catch a few zzzzzzz's. She looked so peaceful snuggled up in the Dasani case, I didn't have the heart to make her move.

We brought these two cuties home from alipurr's in her cat carrier. They proceeded to cry and howl all the way home and there was no comforting them. We have learned our lesson of having kittens and cats loose in a moving vehicle, so they were in the carrier to stay until we could get them home. Because of their loud, pitiful, and continuous howling, I decided to name them Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn. Dolly's on the left and Loretta's on the right in the above picture. I guess we're going to have to get them different color collars because they are really difficult to tell apart right now (Dolly is a little fluffier than Loretta).

I have decided that we must be nuts to adopt two more kittens. We already have five grown cats. As soon as these two get big enough (around six months of age), off they go to the vet's to get spayed. No more kittens for me (famous last words).

It's becoming more fall-like every day. We have been able to turn off the A/C for longer periods and the trees are beginning to turn beautiful colors. While husband was working on his "closing the pool" ritual this afternoon, I mowed our yard. I don't imagine I will have to mow too many more times this fall.

I noticed that the trees are beginning to drop their leaves. During our drives around the area, we see that many people have their Halloween decorations out already and the farmers' markets are selling pumpkins, gourds, and mums. Our hummingbirds are still here, but I imagine they will all have migrated south within the next couple of weeks. That's a good indication that winter is just around the corner.

Have you noticed that the stores are already decorated for fall and are selling Halloween items? I am being inundated with fancy, full-color catalogues with fall and Christmas items hoping to entice me to make my selections early. Christmas sales are nearly upon us. To increase their profitability, the stores have been putting their Christmas items/decorations out before Thanksgiving instead of waiting until the beginning of December. Pretty soon stores will have Christmas items for sale for six months out of the year. Can you believe there are only 81 days until Christmas? A local financial institution tried to loan us Christmas money today for which I said no thanks.

Between the upcoming elections on November 7 and the October, November, and December holidays, will we be able to turn our television sets on without being beaten over the head to buy, buy, buy and vote, vote, vote? I feel like going on vacation until January 1, 2007, or maybe crawling inside a Dasani carton and taking a little afternoon siesta.