Friday, July 18, 2008

13 YEARS AGO TODAY . . . It seems very remarkable to me that

13 YEARS AGO TODAY . . .

It seems very remarkable to me that 13 years have gone by since my husband Steve passed away. It is amazing how the time has flown. I'm not going to get into the events of that day -- they're too sad. B ut it is truly a day that I remember vividly.

We were married for 27 years. Living alone after he ws gone ws a new experience for me, because I had gone straight from my parents' home to marriage to him. It isn't easy living by myself -- I think a person can become quite eccentric -- but I have absolutely no interest in forming a relationship with anyone.

For one thing, I don't know who would put up with all my computer time! LOL! But I don't think I do the relationship thing very well -- I didn't have good role models and I get easily stressed.

A new friend who I met due to our mutual friendship with Aussie Les has been married to his wife for 38 years. He says he attributes that to, at times, a lot of working at the relationship. I totally respect such long-term marriages.

Steve's and my 27 years weren't short. I especially enjoyed our last 3 years, and the time we spent on our sailboat. I have many good memories to offset the sad ones of the day.

*****

I want to apologize for my critical remarks yesterday about my neighbor who didn't quote me on the yard work. It is his own business the way he wants or needs to run his company. Also, I may have misunderstood my other neighbor, who told me about the fencing work.

*****

This will be my last blog entry, as it stands right now. I have so many health issues that I need to take a long break.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

NEW COMPUTER HOOKED UP TOMORROW!My son J.D. and DIL Kris will

NEW COMPUTER HOOKED UP TOMORROW!

My son J.D. and DIL Kris will be out tomorrow, when J.D. will hook up the new computer. I am very much looking forward to having that done. I hope it will all go well.

I plan to go shopping in the morning. I am a bit nervous due to my toes and feeling somewhat vulnerable about them but I will be very careful.

I did write the podiatrist who worked on my toe this week an e-mail with several concerns, as my regular podiatrist is out until after 7/21. I hope to hear back from him tomorrow.

*****

I have been thinking that, in the interest of fairness, I should write about something positive regarding a Mormon neighbor (for those of you who don't know, I am an ex-Mormon, and Mormons often don't like ex-Mormons very well) who had made me feel uncomfortable when I saw him walking out on the road a few months ago. I had written about it here -- I thought it was quite strange. A couple of weeks ago, however, I saw him coming out of a local store as I was going in and I just missed catching his eye. I think he wanted to be friendly -- he seemed disappointed. Mormonism still isn't for me, but I very much appreciate this bit of kindness on his part.

That still doesn't make up for the Mormon neighbor who refused to get back to me with a quote on yard work. Another neighbor hired him to put up a fence, however, and he charged 3 times what he quoted, so maybe it's just as well, eh? ;-)

One reason I am sensitive about the attitude some Mormons have towards me is due to a comment my late mother made to me once, after I left the Mormon Church, saying, "I have lost a beautiful daughter." That was very hurtful!

I do still have good friends among the Mormon folks, and I love my Mormon family members.

I leave it to God to judge people of any religion.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

ANOTHER SURGICAL PROCEDUREI had to have more toenail surgery

ANOTHER SURGICAL PROCEDURE

I had to have more toenail surgery today, this time on my right big toenail -- just along one edge. However, it is still deadened, so I expect that it will start feeling pretty rotten before long. I may not be able to be online tomorrow night; I certainly don't expect to work. This is not fun! So long until maybe Thursday!

Monday, July 14, 2008

REALITY SHOW COMPETITIONSAfter watching the newest

REALITY SHOW COMPETITIONS

After watching the newest installment of the "Design Star" reality show last night on the Home and Garden Network, I have to vent about something that bothers me regarding this show and most reality competition shows. I believe the aspect that bugs me is a symptom of something disturbing in our culture. Granted, I have watched my share of reality shows, presently and in the past, such as "American Idol," "Survivor," and the "Next Food Network Star," but in some ways they are about as innocuous as watching a train wreck.

On "Design Star" this season, there has been a woman, Tracee, who all the other contestants seemed to find vastly irritating. Granted, she had a big mouth sometimes, with a gift for saying the wrong thing, and she could look unflatteringly smug and confident when it was obvious to the viewer that her butt was on the line. She made some bad decisions about the competition redos that reflected poorly on herself and others who happened to be on teams with her, although up until last night, most of them seemed to make it through to the next round. Last night, however, it was quite apparent to me that one of the unspoken goals of the other four remaining contestants was that Tracee be gone.

I was empathizing with them and feeling amazed at the self-destructive things that Tracee was doing, when I stopped myself. I couldn't believe that I was actually almost rooting them on. Since when have people become disposable, even if they are disagreeable? And I had to think about how this is one thing about reality TV competitions that I truly dislike, and why I especially don't watch "Survivor" any more: All the back-stabbing and double-dealing and scratching each other's eyeballs out, emotionally if not physically.

If I was reading the reactions of the other competitors right (and that could be a big "if"; after all, I'm not a mind-reader), they got their wish, as Tracee was one of two people booted last night. I think, though, that I wasn't exactly blind to what was going on, because Tracee's parting comment after exiting the studio, through her tears, was that she was going home to friends, family and clients who loved her, and who were these people to her? No one.

One of those who had been most firmly against Tracee and most vocal about it (I can't even remember his name -- Mark?) was also told to exit the studio for good, so she may have gotten some satisfaction from that.

Although the host of "Design Star" is a Brit, Clive Pearse, and "American Idol" originated in England and features a famous Brit, it seems to me that there is a very disturbing American tendency on reality TV competitions -- which have grown like wildfire -- to consider people as expendable.

I find it ironic, too, that some of the winners of past competitions on both HGTV and the Food Network had shows for a short time and then disappeared. Probably the biggest next Food Network star competition winner is Guy Fieri, but I think he's the only one who I see out of a number of previous winners. (I fell asleep last night before the Food Network competition at 10, so I don't know who was eliminated.)

With all of this said, I am not sure that I am able to bring myself to stop watching the HGTV and Food Network competition shows. At least, the judges of those appear kindly as much as possible, as opposed to good old Simon Cowell. Perhaps I am a hypocrite. But at least I recognize that there is this problem with our society. A friend of mine once compared the reality shows with the ancient Roman practice of throwing people to the lions, but I don't think it's that bad. Is it?

TWO REVIEWS FOR THE PRICE OF ONEWithout a computer at home, I

TWO REVIEWS FOR THE PRICE OF ONE

Without a computer at home, I have had quite a bit of time to read. Consequently, I have read two books in the last three days. They were both riveting and difficult to put down. Each introduced me to a different world.

The first was "Free Food for Millionaires," by Min Jin Lee, a young Korean-American writer. This was her first novel, and it has been highly acclaimed. The world it opens up is that of the Korean-American community in New York City, as seen through the eyes of the heroine, Casey. She has been raised a Christian but by adulthood is a closet one, if at all. She lives quite a free lifestyle as she becomes involved with several boyfriends and the high-flying world of investment banking. She is an interesting and strong character -- she loves fashion and especially making hats with her personal flair, although there isn't a strong demand for them. It is a book about love but also about growing up, maturing and forgiveness. Unfortunately, it was a bit on the sensual side for me, but other than that, I enjoyed it a lot.

The second was "Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen. It paints a vivid picture of the world of the traveling circus in the Depression Era. It is told from the viewpoint of Jacob Jankowski, both as an elderly man and in his reveries about his youth and the circus years. This one I read today -- I couldn't put it down. Again, there were a few details that were difficult for me to read but they were apparently accurate to the era, according to the research done by the author. I love elephants, so this was a great book for me.

Now I am out of books except for a self-help one, but that might be a good change. ;-)

*****

There is news on my friend, Les, in Australia. He is able to sit up and eat now, although his talking is still garbled. He has a sore, possibly from lying on the floor (they think he might have been there for two days). I don't know what his future has in store. My grandfather had a bad stroke and he fully recovered except for numbness in the tips of his fingers, which frustrated him badly, but my grandmother was there to button his shirts and so forth.

*****

I am doing fairly well. I scared a friend by telling her that I was rinsing out my foot-soaking pan with Clorox water, as she felt that could be harmful to my toe. I told her that I rinsed out well afterwards but she alarmed me enough that I quit using it and am using a bit of alcohol instead. Then the looks of my toe also scared me yesterday so I called the after-hours Urgent Care advice nurse -- I thought it could be infected -- and she called my doctor, who was fortunately on call. He told her that these things almost never got infected so I was most likely fine, and she relayed the message to me. After asking me a few questions and her liking my answers about what was happening, it sounded like things were as they should be and I hung up feeling very relieved and happy. Just tonight, though, another friend who I had told about the Clorox water rinse e-mailed me an article about how even slight contact with broken skin by water containing bleach could be damaging, which has me a bit nervous. I don't think that I have done anything that could permanently harm my foot but I am sure glad I quit using even the well-diluted Clorox rinse on the soaking pan!

*****

It continues to be too warm for me here. I keep waiting for the cool-down they say is coming, but so far it hasn't arrived. I will be glad if and when it does! But it is summer, after all, and so things will generally get worse before they get better. I am a spring and fall person!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

AN OLD CONTROVERSY, REVISITEDYesterday I watched the movie,

AN OLD CONTROVERSY, REVISITED

Yesterday I watched the movie, "The Golden Compass," which I had rented from Blockbuster Online. I was very curious about it because of all the controversy last year, when it was released into theaters. (I had also listened to parts of it -- when I was awake -- during the ride to Bend with son J.D., DIL Kris, and her sister Tiffany when we went there for Thanksgiving last year, as J.D. was playing the book during that time.)

The story is about a young girl named Lyra Belacqua, played by Dakota Blue Richards, some of whose young playmates have been disappearing, taken by people called the Gobblers. Lyra's uncle is Lord Asriel, played by Daniel Craig, and he has been targeted for death by a member of the ruling body, and she saves his life. Not long after that, a lovely woman named Mrs. Coulter (Nicole Kidman) visits and invites Lyra to go with her to the north, but not before Lyra is given a supernatural tool -- the last remaining golden compass -- which she is to keep secret.

In this universe, which is called a parallel universe to ours, each person has not an inner soul but an outer one, which is in the shape of an animal. Lyra's continues to shift shape, as she has not decided on a permanent one for hers yet. These animal-shaped souls are called daemons (pronounced demons).

As the story progresses, it becomes quite plain who the heroes and the villains are. The battle is between good and evil.

My biggest impression of it was that it was totally fiction, and should be viewed as such. I do feel that the author was tweaking Christians, especially excitable ones, by having the souls be outside rather than inside the bodies and having their name pronounced "demons."

Actually, the movie was generally panned by critics and I thought the ending left a person totally hanging. Maybe the producers were leaving an opening for a sequel; I don't know. I am not sure that I recommend it, just because it wasn't all that great a movie. But I'm glad I saw it and have formed my own opinion about it, especially due to all the hullabaloo about it last year.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

MY NEW COMPUTER HAS SHIPPED!I was very happy to get an e-mail

MY NEW COMPUTER HAS SHIPPED!

I was very happy to get an e-mail from Dell yesterday telling me that my computer has shipped and should be here on Wednesday, 7/16! That is much earlier than I had expected! I am hoping that one of my sons, J.D. or Jeff, will be able to hook it up for me soon. Then it's a matter of learning to use Vista. I plan to check out the inexpensive tutorial that an earlier anonymous commenter mentioned and see about ordering it today.

*****

I heard from my podiatrist this morning (which was nice of him) not to worry about the coloration I was concerned about, and that everything sounds fine. He said that if I had any more concerns, to call Monday. I don't think I do. So hopefully the gross entries are all behind me now! ;-)

*****

I got my work done this morning in 1 1/2 hours -- faster than I expected -- after having worked an hour last night. The weekend is now mine to be on the computer, read, or watch my movie.

Friday, July 11, 2008

GOOD NEWS (I THINK)I had an e-mail from my doctor today, and

GOOD NEWS (I THINK)

I had an e-mail from my doctor today, and I believe that everything is okay with my toe. I think that the nurse misspoke or that I misunderstood her Wednesday when she talked about the discoloration, and from what the doctor said, it was okay that it be gone by the time I removed the bandage 2 hours later, although I have sent him a return e-mail just to verify that. I probably won't hear from him again until Monday evening to be sure, but he didn't order me to Urgent Care, and I'm sure he would have if he had been at all concerned!

One other matter that we discussed at the appointment Wednesday was the fate of my right big toenail, which he had removed last summer, although temporarily. He asked me if it bothered me and I said it seemed sensitive, so we discussed removing it permanently later on, maybe this fall. I realized when I got home, though, that it's the tip of that toe that's sensitive, where the toenail hasn't entirely grown in yet. My verdict on permanent removal of that one: Not in this lifetime! LOL!

I am relieved to be having little or no pain, although I am wearing socks and sandals as I can't wear my runners for another 10 days. My doctor wasn't crazy about the idea of my wearing sandals because he said every child and grandmother would be stepping on that toe, but when I got home and read the instructions, it said to wear clean, white cotton socks and clean shoes. I was able to dig out and wash white cotton socks but clean shoes? I don't think so. LOL! I would have had to go buy some and that would have been painful right now. So sandals it is and I'm staying away from people as much as I can for the next while.

*****

I was quite riveted to the NW Newschannel last night as they were focusing on the local news in Spokane, which was covering a big fire in the Spokane Valley, near where I went to my last year of junior high and high school. I had to wonder if any of my old classmates had stayed in that area and been affected. One of the roads in the middle of the fire area was Dishman-Mica, and I went to Dishman Junior High. The Red Cross had set up a relief area at University High School, which was my high school's old rival (and not that far from me; I think I lived near the borderline). Today it looked like the fire was under control but 7 homes were lost, which is sad.

*****

I will be working much of the weekend, and that is all right with me. I read a lot yesterday and today, although I can't remember the name of the book right off. It is the first novel of a Korean-American young woman. I also have a movie to watch sometime this weekend. I will be on the computer off and on, you can bet, thanks to Jeff!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

RESULTS OF MY PROCEDUREI don't want to gross everyone out,

RESULTS OF MY PROCEDURE


I don't want to gross everyone out, so my details may be a bit sketchy for now, but I wanted to fill you in on how my toenail removal went. My toenail had to be removed permanently, which means a much longer recuperation period (4-6 weeks). I may be having a complication develop -- the coloring isn't what I was told it would be, although I wasn't given a timetable on that -- so I have e-mailed my doctor asking him about that as well as another question. I don't expect to hear from him before tomorrow evening, though. If something is wrong, I will have to go in to Urgent Care over the weekend, which I definitely don't want to do. At least, I am having little pain; or else the Naproxen I take otherwise is doing its job. Your thoughts and prayers that the complication doesn't develop would be very much appreciated. My appreciation goes out to all of you who have sent me your best wishes and who have remembered me in your thoughts and prayers thus far. This has been quite stressful for me so I'm praying that the healing will go as it should!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

THE APPEALI am writing from nephew and bookkeeper Nick's

THE APPEAL



I am writing from nephew and bookkeeper Nick's computer at the office right now, because Jeff's mouse isn't working. I will be bringing my mouse from home down for Jeff as it is almost new and I will also be getting one with the new Dell. Thanks to both Nick and Jeff for the use of their computers.

I am not feeling real well tonight -- nerves about tomorrow and my toenail removal. I will review John Grisham's book, "The Appeal," which I finished yesterday and today, briefly.

I enjoyed the book quite a bit, although I don't think it is Grisham's best. He weaves a skillful story, however. This one was about a small Mississippi town where a huge corporation has polluted the groundwater with chemicals over the years, and by the time it is discovered and lawsuits filed, many in the county have sickened and died. The story is about the up-front and behind the scenes court battle from both sides. I was a bit confused by the ending and it took some thinking to figure it out -- I don't think I was totally satisfied with it, even then. But it is a different twist and John Grisham fans will probably enjoy being surprised.

Wish me luck tomorrow afternoon!

Monday, July 7, 2008

THE DAY I ATE WHATEVER I WANTEDI am on Jeff's computer at

THE DAY I ATE WHATEVER I WANTED

I am on Jeff's computer at work and don't want to be here all night, so I will make this a short entry. I am reviewing Elizabeth Berg's "The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted." She is another favorite contemporary author of mine, and I enjoyed this book of short stories very much. I don't know how old Berg is but I am guessing she may be in her 50's, as many of her stories were empathetic ones about women of about that age. I did a lot of chuckling as well as relating in reading them. She truly has a gift for speaking with a lot of different voices, from many ages, however. It was very enjoyable and another one that I read through in one sitting.

*****

I have gone no mail on another one of my lists, in preparation for my surgical procedure on Wednesday afternoon. This is one I moderate, but I do need to cut down the amount of e-mail I have, since I am without a computer at home. Thankfully, I found another book that I hadn't read, so my boredom will be lessened for now -- a new John Grisham legal novel. Love them!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

THERE'S ALWAYS A CATCHI just went to the Video Professor site

THERE'S ALWAYS A CATCH

I just went to the Video Professor site to see about ordering their Windows Vista instruction CD's, and I thought what they said sounded really good. I would learn how to use the various new features of Vista as the disks would walk me through them. Then I clicked on the "HOW IT WORKS" section, as required, and found that 2 of the 3 CD-Rom disks would be free and if I liked them, then I would get the 3rd disk for $129.95. Hmmm, isn't that the way it always goes? There's an expensive catch? This is the company that says that they will ship you any program free, via their TV offer. Of course, as a business owner, I know that they have to stay in business and so must make money, but why don't they say that up front? That would be the honest thing to do. Still, I will keep the site in mind in case I decide I need that kind of assistance in learning to use Vista.

MOONDANCE ALEXANDERI watched a neat little movie yesterday

MOONDANCE ALEXANDER

I watched a neat little movie yesterday called "Moondance Alexander," which I got from my Blockbuster Online rental account (I get one movie a week). It was dated 2007 but I don't remember if it ever was in theaters or not. It's the story of a young teenage girl named, natch, Moondance Alexander, played nicely by Kay Panabaker, who finds an obviously-neglected horse that she calls Checkers and takes him home with her. She and her widowed mother live in a country town and although they have a pretty large bit of property for being in town, she must put Checkers in her mother's art studio. She is disappointed when the actual owner is located.

Moondance has a part-time job making deliveries for a local saddlery store and on making a delivery the next day, she literally stumbles upon the farm where Checkers is located. She goes to check on him and meets his gruff owner, Dante, played by Don Johnson. She negotiates a trade with Dante whereby she will clean out his horse stalls in return for riding Checkers -- originally Tinkerbell, but renamed with Dante's okay to Checkers after all.

Moondance has been the victim of snobbery and cruelty of older teenage girls at her high school and as she gets into riding Checkers, later on with Dante, she finds that a couple of them are serious horse-riders, too. Dante has been down on his luck but agrees to train Moondance and Checkers to jump, although he's a pinto and pintos aren't supposed to be able to jump.

I won't have away the ending but I will say that it is based on a true story. It was rated "G", which is refreshing, although I know that -- unfortunately -- a lot of people won't watch "G" movies. I thought it was a cute film and was great for whiling away the afternoon. I have always thought Don Johnson to be handsome, and although he has aged like the rest of us, it was nice to see him in this movie. Young Kay may have a nice future in films.

*****

I heard from my Dell saleslady, Linda, last night and today, and she answered some questions I had (there is plenty of RAM for the Vista program; J.D. or Jeff should be able to easily set up the computer -- don't call Geek Squad, as they are way too expensive). I appreciate her continued assistance.

I saw an ad for the Video Professor on the NW Newschannel last night and I noticed he had a disk instructing how to use Vista. I didn't get a chance to write down the phone number so I will keep watching for it because I want to order that disk. I will check online, too, to see if I can find a phone number for the company.

I have a few other online orders to place today so hope to get to that shortly.

*****

There was news that my friend in Brisbane, Les, has been moved from ICU to a ward. We, his friends, are all very happy about that! I don't know how long it takes to heal from a neck fracture so I have no idea when he will be going home. I do hope he will accept assistance when he gets there. In the meantime, we have sent him flowers through my new friend (and his old one), Mary. I don't remember how long Les and I have been corresponding but it seems like we started in 2000. He has certainly been interesting to exchange e-mails with -- I have learned a lot about Australia through him.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

STRANGE FITS OF PASSIONOne of my favorite authors is Anita

STRANGE FITS OF PASSION

One of my favorite authors is Anita Shreve. I believe I have read nearly every book she has written. They are contemporary works, often including romance and conflict, but definitely not of the "romances" genre. They are very intelligent and well-written. So it was that when I picked up her novel,"Strange Fits of Passion," to start reading it yesterday afternoon, I was quite filled with anticipation, although the title had put me off a little bit and that's one reason why I hadn't gotten around to reading it earlier.

The story begins as a young woman with a baby goes into a small store in the tiny town of St. Hilaire, Maine, to purchase a few items. She has a scarf wrapped around her face and head but it slips off and the others in the store can see that her head is in very bad shape, with terrible bruising. Her lip is deeply split as well. She inquires about a place to stay, and is directed to a small motel in the area, where she stays the night, and then the motel owner, who is very sympathetic and guesses how the injuries happened, directs her to a woman who owns an insulated cottage (it's the dead of winter) on the ocean. The young woman with the baby says she is Mary Amesbury and she claims to have been injured in an accident. The time frame for most of this story is 1970-1971.

As the book unfolds, the various chapters are told through the vantage point of a number of characters, but mostly Mary. Shreve masterfully builds the characterization and the plot suspense, as it becomes clear that Mary is trying to hide from a brutal husband. She knows she can't go to the police -- in those days, not much was known or understood about domestic violence.

There is a sweet romance and quite a bit of tragedy, as well as sickening betrayal, in this story. I was riveted by it and couldn't put it down; I finished it last night. I feel it is a very worthwhile read and I recommend it and Anita Shreve as an author very highly.

I am finding that I am getting low on books now. I do have a movie to watch later on today, so that will be a nice distraction from boredom. I am finding that my sore arm doesn't like Jeff's computer station very well, although it is generally better due to the PT. Perhaps I will be able to find more books when I shop Wednesday morning. I hope so! It's not all that often that I am in the mood to read! Still, I very much appreciate being able to use Jeff's computer on evenings and weekends -- it means a lot to me to be able to write and be instantly in touch with my online friends and my family!

Friday, July 4, 2008

COMPUTER DIED, STEPH'S STATUS, GREAT BOOKI wasn't sure I was

COMPUTER DIED, STEPH'S STATUS, GREAT BOOK

I wasn't sure I was going to be able to blog, as my old computer died and I am using my son Jeff's at work on evenings and weekends. The old Dell was 7 years old, although son J.D. upgraded the memory a couple or three years ago, and so I got good service from it. I have ordered a new Dell and it is going to be shipped on July 15th, so I imagine it will get here the 3rd week in July.

I have unfortunately lost all of my computer graphics, and especially my many fonts used for signature tagging. I have offers of help on that when I get my new computer from members of my tags list, which I very much appreciate! I have lost my graphics programs, although I may be able to reinstall them as it occurs to me that I have them on disks. Whew!

The new monitor has a web cam on it -- cool, eh? I'm not sure if I will use it because I don't always look the best when I'm on the computer. Hee hee!

I have also heard mixed reviews about Vista. I am hoping and praying that I won't have problems with it. I won't have Publisher, but I just used that for correspondence, as the computer will come with Word, so that will be all right.

I have to say my salesperson, Linda Clark, at Dell, was great! I recommend her if you want to buy a new Dell home desktop computer.

I will let you know when it is up and running!

*****

Jeff sent me news yesterday about daughter-in-law Steph and her thyroid cancer. The details are on his blog but basically her nodule is very small. There is no available time for the surgery in August so she will have it in September. That should be no problem. My friend, Sheila, who had this same cancer many years ago and had successful surgery for it, said she was told it was a "benign cancer." That is good to know! Many, many prayers continue -- thank you for yours!

*****

I finished "The Miracle at Speedy Motors" by Alexander McCall Smith yesterday evening, after reading it gradually over the last few months. (I now have time to read at home!) I believe it is number 9 in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, which I have loved so much. This book was no exception. It was such a pleasure to read! Mma Ramotswe, the aforementioned detective, in Botswana, continues her adventures, assisted by Mma Makutsi, her interesting helper in her endeavors. There are many notes of humor in these books as well as a picture of what this area of Africa has been like and is now. The books show human nature in a true light and yet are extremely positive. I hope there will be future ones in this series as well! I recommend them all very highly!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

CREATURES AT MY














































CREATURES AT MY PLACE LAST NIGHT


A cute little neighbor cat who has been here before. I think she's a girl -- don't know that for sure, but it's my guess. I like her.

Cute neighbor cat

Here was Silver, looking out the utility room window at her. Is it love?

Love through the window?

Not long after that, this fawn appeared near my back door window. I shot the picture through it.

Fawn through my back door window

A few minutes later, a scraggly orange cat showed up out back. I didn't get a good picture of him. (My guess is it was a male -- it looked like it had gone through many a fight.)

Interesting critters!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

THE DIAGNOSIS ON MY FRIEND, LES, SO FARI have just gotten

THE DIAGNOSIS ON MY FRIEND, LES, SO FAR

I have just gotten word about more on the situation with my friend, Les, who is in the hospital in Australia. He fell and fractured the C7 vertebrae in his neck. He is having surgery to insert a pin today, and he should recover fully from this without any difficulties. There is concern about what caused the fall and other symptoms that he exhibited that have worried us, his friends who were corresponding regularly with him. We have wondered if he could have had a stroke. I also have thought perhaps he was having some difficulties because of his Parkinson's -- perhaps not taking his medication as directed, which was discussed here by commenters on a previous entry about him and his Parkinson's. He has been in the hospital for just a couple of days. We don't know who found him or how long he had been lying there before he was found. His friends in Brisbane now know of his situation and are visiting him. He is alert and trying to talk despite being on the ventilator.

The story I mentioned that he had told of a developer taking his house was totally false, and his other friends are recognizing that now. I'm glad it's not the case, but I am concerned that he was so convinced that it was fact. Hopefully someone will be able to get to the bottom of why he had that idea. I am hoping that he is able to be checked on regularly from now on -- perhaps there are government health services in Australia that do that sort of thing. Of course, it will be a little while before he is able to go home. He is still in ICU but will be moved to a regular room when he is ready.

Les has a little dog, Katy, and Les's nurse friend, Jenny, in Brisbane, and the other friend I have been corresponding mostly during this process, Mary, in Missouri, have been working on finding out where she is and making sure she is being cared for.

I have to credit Mary with her determined pursuit in finding out what had happened to Les. She was a regular detective! It is so good to have this much information, and hopefully more will be coming out as time goes on.

THE FAMILY MEMBER WITH CANCERJust a note to say that my son,

THE FAMILY MEMBER WITH CANCER

Just a note to say that my son, Jeff, has posted on his blog today a short entry regarding his wife, Steph's, thyroid cancer. If you have been reading my blog very long, you will know that I posted an entry a few days ago about a family member who has this cancer, but who I didn't feel I could name at the time. Son J.D. has also written and posted an entry about Jeff and Steph's cancer situation, namely insurance, on his Get Rich Slowly site. The couple's appointment to find out more details is Thursday afternoon. I am quite anxious to find out what their schedule for surgery and treatment will be. Many prayers are going up for them, of course including mine.

EL TIGRENot too long ago,





































EL TIGRE


Not too long ago, I noticed the following picture propped up on the window sill of my utility room, where I expect my housekeeper had put it. It has sentimental value to me, so I took a picture of it for my Flickr site and wrote about it, and I wanted to also expand on that here:

El Tigre

This plaque was my first and last decoupage project, done when I was first married to my late husband, Steve. He really liked it and was the one that named it "El Tigre." I told him it was a leopard. He didn't care. LOL! It hung in son J.D.'s room in our old house in Portland, Oregon, when he was a baby. The hanger has come out of it; thus it must be propped up. I love it, regardless!

*****

I saw on the AOL welcome screen yesterday that there is speculation (at least by AOL) that Mitt Romney is the likely choice for John McCain's running mate. I have been resisting the temptation to contribute to Obama's campaign (not much, but something); if Romney is selected, I will definitely do so! There was speculation in the AOL article about Romney that one of his strengths and appeals was that he could raise a lot of cash from Mormons, fast. Does anyone else find this rather scary?

Monday, June 30, 2008

HUNTING FOR A MISSING FRIENDI have recently written about my

HUNTING FOR A MISSING FRIEND

I have recently written about my Australian friend, Les, who has Parkinson's. Recently, none of his friends, including me, had heard from him, and I began getting e-mails from the others expressing concern and wondering if anyone had received any word of him or knew where he was. The most recent e-mail, which one of them got last week, was mostly indecipherable.

Yesterday, one of the friends, a lady named Mary, wrote me and said she was going to try to call Australia, particularly his doctor's office, to see if he could be located. As the day progressed, we also heard that another friend, Peter, from the UK, had tried calling Les's house and gotten no answer. Mary and I corresponded over the course of the day and she reported in as she also was unsuccessful in reaching Les's clinic over time.

At last, she reached a person at Les's old doctor's office and was referred to a new doctor, who referred her to a Brisbane hospital. There she learned that Les is in ICU and she wasn't given any more information, which was as she expected. She did ask if she could leave a message and she was told that he probably wasn't conscious. It certainly doesn't sound good, but we are trying to stay positive.

I told Mary, who is unemployed, as is her husband, that I would pay for the calls to Australia. I am still determined to do so, if she will let me. I will see what she does on that. For various reasons, I feel unable to call, myself. I am hoping that other friends will perhaps be able to check in and see how he is doing and let the rest of us know from time to time.

Many prayers are going up for Les. If you are a praying person, I know yours would be welcome, too.

*****

I learned today that my grandsons in Bend, Michael, 9 1/2, and Alex, 7 1/2, are flying with their other grandmother, Merre, to Florida. I am so glad last night's thunderstorms cleared up, although I saw a forecast last evening for rain in Miami today. (I'm not sure where they will be landing, though.) More prayers, this time for traveling mercies, from me.

NEWLYWED REPAIRSReceived



































NEWLYWED REPAIRS


Received from my friend, Jackie:

Newlywed Repairs

A man came home from the office and found his new bride
sobbing convulsively. "I feel terrible," she told him. "I
was pressing your suit and I burned a big hole in the seat
of your trousers."

"Oh, just forget it," consoled her husband. "Remember that
I've got an extra pair of pants for that suit."

"Yes, I know. And it's lucky you have!" said the woman,
drying her eyes. "I was able to use a piece from them to
patch the hole!"

Received from Thomas Ellsworth.

In case you can't tell, my theme today is engagement/marriage. I always enjoy hearing how couples have met. It occurred to me that perhaps readers might like to hear how my late husband Steve and I met, 40 years ago now. (I know that perhaps it always seems like I live in the past, but isn't that what elderly people do?) ;-)

I lived in southwest Portland, Oregon at the time, and I was a devout Mormon. I had not long before returned from a freshman semester at Brigham Young University, no doubt the most famous LDS university, thanks to my parents being unable to afford to keep me there. I was needed to come home and work. One of my main recreational activities at that time was going to Mormon young adult events, kind of killing time until I could afford to go back to college, as both my parents and I were determined that a college graduation should be in my future.

I went to a young adult "fireside" -- Sunday evening meeting with a special speaker -- at the LDS church in the town of Woodburn, Oregon, but I was somewhat early because I held some special position (I can't remember what now), and I sat in a short row of other young people that I recall being the last row of just a few. In the row ahead of me sat a nice-looking, red-headed young man, who turned around and smiled at me. I liked that. After the regular fireside, we lined up for refreshments, and in an uncharacteristically daring move, I cut in front of the handsome red-head. He laughed and said, "You cut in front of me!" I just laughed and said something inspiring and clever (ha ha) along the lines of, "I know."

So that was how Steve and I met. We saw each other later at young adult dances and danced together. At one of them, he suggested we go for a walk, and we held hands, which I thought felt very nice, and found a bench, where we sat and talked. Among the things he said was the comment that, when he was married, he would put more priority on having nice clothes than on food. I agreed. (Boy, were we a couple of dummies!)

I can't remember the exact nature of our dating the first couple of months, but after about 2 months, I felt that he was getting too serious (remember, I planned to go back to college) and I broke off our dating relationship. But he sent me a letter, which I still have someplace, where he talked about things that meant a lot to him, and one of them was pearls. He said, "Sue, you are a pearl." I was impressed and touched.

Not long after that, I saw him at a church dance and I tried to avoid him as I was shaking, but he wouldn't allow that and went out of his way to say "hi." Then he asked me to dance. I still was shaking. I told him that I had felt like someone put a knife in my heart. He said, "You put it there, Sue."

Not long after, Steve took me out to the farm where I now live to meet his parents. He called his mother on the way out from Portland, knowing it would panic her out. It did. I had a nice time meeting his folks and walking around the farm, although I was suffering from a cold that day. We went back to his apartment and just enjoyed being together. Sometime that evening, he got down on his knees and asked me to marry him. I said, "Yes."

Those who know Steve will probably think this sounds pretty typical of him, but later on, he told me that his thought process during the day at the farm had been to notice that I had bad breath because of my cold, plus that I was flat-chested, but he figured that this was probably the worst it would get, so why not marry me? LOL! He also later denied that he had asked me to marry him, and especially that he had gotten down on his knees; he insisted that I had asked him as we were riding along in the car and he had figured, "Why not?" He was not convinced by the fact that I had told my sister, Jo, about it that night when I got home, and she corroborated my version. I guess his pride wouldn't let him admit it. LOL!

We met in September of 1967 and married in the Oakland, California Mormon Temple in June of 1968, so it was a relatively quick courtship. (Steve was just a month short of the required year's membership in the Mormon Church to be married in the temple but he was allowed to do so despite that.) Anyway, now you know the story of how Steve and I got together. I leave it to your own judgment to decide who you think was telling the truth about the proposal.

*****

Somewhat along these lines, I watched "27 Dresses" Saturday afternoon. It stars Katherine Heigl, who I have enjoyed on "Grey's Anatomy." I liked the movie quite well -- at least, it was a distraction from my concerns of the moment. The story is about Heigl's character, the perpetual bridesmaid, who is in love with her boss but he doesn't seem to know she's alive other than as a great assistant, and she also is super at helping her friends put together their weddings in addition to being a bridesmaid at the events. All is going along as usual until her younger sister comes to New York and meets her boss and the two fall in love, with Heigl's character of course being required to put together the perfect wedding. Complicating things was Heigl's meeting a commitment phobic man who turns out to be someone he hadn't admitted to be, resulting in unanticipated difficulties for her. As you can see by the fact that I didn't remember these characters' names, I may not have been all that into the movie, but it was all right. I will probably give it 3 1/2 stars out of 5 on Blockbuster.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

THE BIG "C"Just a few notes today, as my arm is quite sore,

THE BIG "C"

Just a few notes today, as my arm is quite sore, plus I don't have a whole lot to say. Perhaps tomorrow I will feel like getting back to more like normal blogging.

As I have contemplated my one family member's diagnosis of thyroid cancer, I have been thinking about how another family member has suffered from skin cancer, and I was in fact visiting her and her family at the time that she had it removed. To my expressions of concern, she kind of laughed and said that there was a lot of cancer in her family and everyone was always fine. Thus I relaxed and had somewhat forgotten about it, although it has come to mind from time to time mixed with feelings of concern. She didn't have chemo or have to be away from her children for any length of time. I do hope it won't recur for her. I believe that arrangements will come together for the family member with the thyroid cancer, and that her children will be cared for when needed.

I have been receiving very helpful and supportive e-mails from my friends online. One of the ones I liked the best came from my Australian friend, Lynne, who said:

'The Australina cancer council ran an ad campaign a few years ago with a slogan that's very relevant here:

"Cancer is a word, not a sentence"'

I think that is such an excellent thought! These Aussies are really on the ball!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

TEMPORARY LOSS OF BLOGGING EQUILIBRIUMI am not
















TEMPORARY LOSS OF BLOGGING EQUILIBRIUM


I am not sure how much I will be blogging in the next few days. Today, for sure, I feel off-balance and uninspired, mainly because my heart is someplace else. Last night, I learned that a beloved family member most likely has cancer of the thyroid. (As I am not sure how far this little family wants the news publicized, I am not naming names until I have permission to do so.) The results of her biopsy came back as highly suspicious and the mass was deemed likely cancerous. Whether benign or cancerous, she will have surgery for its removal and, if it is malignant, she will have radiation treatments, which will mean being away from her little ones 3 or 4 days at a time.

I let a number of my Christian friends know about this situation and I received promises of prayers as well as encouraging news. One friend told me last night that her cousin had the same experience and only needed radiation once after her surgery, thus minimal time was spent away from her family. Another friend told me today that her daughter-in-law also had the same thing happen to her and just successfully gave birth to a new baby girl. Above all, I know God answers prayers and that He is in control.

*****

I thought the above picture was appropriate today. If you cannot read the writing on it, it says: "A person cannot see the rainbow without first seeing the storm . . . "

Friday, June 27, 2008

BARACK OBAMA STORY?I received the























BARACK OBAMA STORY?


I received the following from a good friend the other day. I am guessing that she and I disagree politically! LOL! She may have meant it as a joke, however.

"RICHARD EARL FOR PRESIDENT!

From the mouths of babes...

Barack Obama, the Presidential Democratic Party candidate, is for banning all guns in America. He is considered by those who have dealt with him as a bit more than just a little self-righteous.

At a recent rural elementary school assembly in East Texas, he asked the audience for total quiet. Then, in the silence, he started to slowly clap his hands once every few seconds, holding the audience in total silence.

Then he said into the microphone, "Children, every time I clap my hands together, a child in America dies from gun violence."

Then, little Richard Earl, with a proud East Texas drawl, pierced the quiet and said: "'Well, dumb-*ss, stop clapping!"

I immediately looked this piece up on Snopes, but I couldn't find it. I tried every set of key words I could and still no luck. So I wrote to Snopes and received an answer a few days later, saying that it was on Snopes and to look under "What's New" or the hottest 25 rumors. Finally, I located it, and I also saw the problem: The Snopes version doesn't include the reference to "Richard Earl", which was what I had thought would surely be an easy couple of words with which to search in Snopes' search engine.

The genesis of this story is quite interesting, and another reason that it was hard to find. It begins with Bono, of U2, segways into Hillary Clinton, and ends with Barack Obama.

The Bono story from Snopes is as follows:

"[Collected via e-mail, 2006]

Bono, whilst playing a gig in Glasgow, got the whole crowd to be silent and then began slowly clapping his hands. He got the crowd to clap along for a while, the stadium quiet except for the rhythmic clapping...

After a short period Bono spoke, saying that everytime he clapped his hands a child in Africa died...

Suddenly, from the front row of the venue a voice broke out in thick Scottish brogue, ending the silence as it echoed across the crowd, the voice cried out to Bono "Well stop ****ing doing it then!!"


[(South Australia) Sunday Mail, 2006]

IRISH supergroup U2, due to play in Adelaide next month, recently held a concert in Glasgow, Scotland.

Halfway through the concert, lead singer Bono stood in a spotlight on stage and asked the audience of 30,000 for complete silence.

Gradually the auditorium fell quiet.

Then Bono began slowly clapping.

The audience was spellbound. Was this the beginning of a song? Did he want everyone to clap with him?

He took the microphone and said: "Everytime I clap my hands a child dies in Africa."

The spell of silence was broken when a wag in the front row shouted: "Well, stop clapping."

I was unable to copy and paste the "Update" on the Snopes Bono article, where -- down the page -- it refers to Hillary Clinton and then Barack Obama, but it is easily found by following the link in this sentence.

I guess any political figure is vulnerable to jokes such as these, but they have a way of turning my sympathies even farther towards my chosen candidate.

*****

I was able to change my bedding the other night for the first time since injuring my arm. (There was a time when even pulling the covers up at night was impossible with the right arm; it just hurt too much.) As usual, I had my helper, Silver, who attacked the sheets as I put them on. Here he is with the top sheet, which he has just bunched up:

Silver helps change bedding

My Flickr friend Cynthia (Philosopher Queen) commented on what a darling expression he has on his face here. I have to agree -- I think he looks awfully cute.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

8 NON-BORING THINGS ABOUT MEFirst, I don't know if these will

8 NON-BORING THINGS ABOUT ME

First, I don't know if these will fit the definition of "non-boring" -- as my friend Lynne says (from whose blog I got the meme), we are egotistical beings and may find things about ourselves non-boring that others find boring. ;-) Second, I don't know if I will be able to come up with 8! While I was trying to nap, I thought of a number of possibilities, but the memories may escape me as I attempt to write them here.

1. I was born with jet-black hair, which fell out at a year old and turned blonde. As I approached adulthood, it became the light brown that it is now, despite various incarnations as blonde and dark again, depending on my and/or my late husband Steve's preferences and the aid of Miss Clairol.

2. When I was a young girl, possibly 3 or 4, my maternal grandfather, who had trained as a psychologist, had taken me to his office, where he gave me a test in which he had me repeat numbers in sequence and then took me elsewhere for a while. He brought me back and asked me to repeat the numbers he had given me, only backwards, which I was able to do without difficulty. He thought I was a genius! LOL! (However, if I was such a genius, I should be able to remember the numbers now, as well as where he and I went during the time we were away from the office. LOL!)

3. When I was in the 4th grade, my mother gave birth to my youngest sister, Kathy, and not long after that, she almost died of a bleeding ulcer. Thus, at the age of 10, I was put into the position of almost raising my younger siblings, Frank, who was 2 1/2 years younger than me, Jo, who was 4 years younger than me, and baby Kathy. My father was a school teacher and thus occupied elsewhere during the days; we had help from church ladies at first but that didn't last too very long. So part of my childhood consisted of raising my siblings. I remain close to Kathy, in particular.

4. One summer when I was in late grade school, my family was living in Eugene, Oregon while my dad went to summer school at the University of Oregon. A family from our church lived in an old house not far away, and one day when I was going to their house to play, I saw a couple of the younger boys coming across the roof and trying to go down a ladder that went up to it at the back. One of the boys fell and when I got to him, I found that he had a deep, triangle-shaped cut just above the area between his eyes. I told the other boy to hurry and get his mother, and she came immediately, thank goodness. He was rushed to the hospital. I don't recall the treatment, but he recovered all right. My mother told me later that the mother had said I saved her son's life by my quick action.

5. I have always been a very shy and timid person. I don't know if that was because of my natural temperament or due to aspects of my upbringing; perhaps both. I grew up in a church where getting up in front of the congregation to speak was expected, even of teenagers. I would quake in my boots and do an abysmal job when asked to do so. Imagine my panic when I was asked to participate in a regional church-wide speech contest. I was given some good fear-reducing tips by my speech instructor, though, and so I became determined to do a superior job. As it happens, I got up in front of the audience at the competition and I became suddenly confident, competent, and interesting. There weren't ribbons for first, second or third place, but I was one of the few who received a ribbon for the highest honor, being judged as "superior."

6. Not long after that, I was asked to play a lead in a play that someone from our church had written for the teenagers to perform. I was a prosecuting attorney. Once more, I had to battle my shyness and timidity, but I worked hard at memorizing my part (which was tremendously long, I felt). When the day came that us teens put on the play in our church's Sacrament Meeting, (equivalent to most Christian churches' worship services), I once again came out of my shell and I was able to portray a forceful prosecuting attorney. People looked at me in amazement when it was over with, but when they came up to me to tell me what a good job I had done, I became my shy, timid self all over again, and they went away disappointed. LOL!

7. Probably my last high school age accomplishment was to say yes when I was invited to sing a hymn, "I Know that my Redeemer Lives," with four other girls in a quintet. I had been told since early childhood by my mother that I couldn't sing, so this was a brave acceptance on my part. However, as we practiced, I memorized my alto part, as well as realized I could listen to the alto piano notes and follow them, so by the time we sang the song (once again in Sacrament Meeting), I was quite confident and did an excellent job singing it using my technique. It was the closing song for the meeting and when I got down to where my mother was sitting, I found her crying, and I asked her why. She said, "I didn't know you could sing." I just walked away, feeling disgusted. LOL! (Teenagers!)

8. Somehow I am only thinking of incidents where I went against my natural shyness grain. My last one is also the same. When Steve and I had had our 3 boys and were living out here in the country, he had been trained as an airplane pilot and tried working as one but through a series of events out of his control, he wound up without a job. He became interested in manufacturing food dehydrators and grain grinders and I also joined him in this endeavor, as it was a matter of survival for our family. I learned to use the whole grains we ground and the food we dehydrated. I'm not sure it was my idea to start teaching other people how to use the whole grain flours and dehydrated foods, but I could see that this was needed and so I dove in wholeheartedly. I was involved in displaying our products and giving out samples at the county fair at least one year, and coming up with a slogan and design for our booth that earned us a ribbon. (I can't remember what kind of ribbon it was exactly; perhaps honorable mention, but I was happy enough with that.) I continued with these endeavors until our business, Harvest Mills, was sold, in the late 1970's.

As I said, I'm not sure how non-boring these aspects of my life are. However, they're the best I can come up with! (Just don't ask me to do public speaking or demonstrating food processing machines again -- I think I did enough of that to last a lifetime! LOL!) But at least I did come up with 8. ;-)

THE CITY GIRL GOES TO THE COUNTRYJust























THE CITY GIRL GOES TO THE COUNTRY


Just recently, on nephew Nick's web site, which he created for the family, we got into a discussion of country topics, such as garden crops, and especially an over-sized radish Nick had grown and was wondering in a joking way how to prepare and eat. This reminded me of a time, many years before, when Nick was a boy, how his parents -- my now late husband Steve's brother Norman and sister-in-law Janice -- had invited Steve and I (a "city girl") to dinner at their place, where they had a lovely garden. While we were there, Steve and Norman went out to the garden and came back with a large, long white vegetable that they tried to tell me was a carrot.

I could tell by the looks on their faces, especially Steve's eager, boyish one, that they dearly wanted me to fall for this tale. I didn't. I recognized that it was probably a parsnip. I said, "That's no carrot." Steve and Norm's faces fell -- they were highly disappointed. Janice and I just chuckled.

As I explained on the family site, I had already distinguished myself in my citified ignorance of country facts, especially about animal reproduction, which is likely why Steve and Norm felt that I would fall for the "carrot" story.

This is where the entry turns PG13, for those who care. Earlier -- I believe not long after Steve and I were married, when we lived in Portland and came out to the country to visit his folks, who lived in the house I occupy now -- on a drive out here, Steve made a comment about a farmer whose place we passed having his cows and his bull separated by a fence. I said, "Is that for when the bull is in heat?" Steve laughed and said, "Honey, the bull is always in heat." Then he explained to me that particular essential difference between cows and bulls. He found my farm faux pas too good to keep, and so told Norman and Janice what I had said.

Later, after we had moved to the mobile home that now is the office for my business, we had chickens, including roosters that had been raised from chicks by a banty hen we had been given (possibly by Norman and Janice). We had one particularly mean rooster and one day when I was outside, I saw him viciously attacking the banty hen. I panicked and ran into the house and called Janice, telling her that a rooster was trying to kill my little hen! She chuckled and explained to me that the rooster was mating with the hen and it was nothing to worry about -- it looked worse than it was.

Still, later, when Steve was butchering some of the grown chickens for me to clean (yuck!) and freeze, I think that mean rooster was one of the first to go, because he had also attacked very young son Jeff, just missing his eye. (I had no idea how to clean chickens at first and had to ask Steve's mom, Lola, and even though I followed her directions successfully, I don't think I was able to very easily eat the chicken meat. That was our last experience raising chickens!)

I have long ago made peace with the fact that I am not a country girl at heart. I love living out here, among beautiful farmland, but the maintenance of the place, with all the weeds and blackberry vines that crop up, is a bear. I am happy to laugh, though, about my early adjustments in attempting to live a country life (I did pick and can and freeze vegetables and fruit quite competently, although my canned peaches were never as pretty as Steve's mother's). ;-)

I just hope that I am now no longer as ignorant of the facts of farming life -- even if I, myself, don't truly live it -- as I once was. LOL!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

AOL WELCOMES YOUI have a





































AOL WELCOMES YOU


I have a free AOL account, which I was talked into keeping when I went to cancel and go with my Yahoo account. AOL welcomes me with 4 or 5 varying welcome screens that cycle through so that if I see a headline that interests me, I can click on the link and read the article or information. A couple of those articles have particularly interested me in the last few days.

Although I don't plan to fly in the near future, I did a fair amount of that in early January, especially in and out of Salt Lake City, so a story about a pilot there who told passengers he was too upset to fly and canceled the flight on June 20th interested me. This pilot was with United, however, while I had flown Delta, and he was headed for Denver.

In his announcement, he said that perhaps some passengers had witnessed an incident with some of his colleagues as he was leaving the gate to board the plane, and it was this which had upset him so badly. In the article I read on AOL, (and this information isn't included in the USA Today link above), it said that pilots -- who are required to wear their hats when on duty -- had been instructed by the union to leave their heads bare in protest of United cutbacks due to the bankruptcy. Apparently, this pilot was wearing his hat, which his colleagues at the gate didn't appreciate.

As a business owner, I understand that perhaps United had no option but to declare bankruptcy, but I can see where the pilots would be concerned about their own financial survival. Interesting.

The other article, which I saw yesterday, was about the 20 most hated foods. I was most surprised to find that #20 was blueberries. I love love love blueberries (unless I happen to eat one that is older and tastes moldy -- ewwww!)

Foods included (and I didn't write down the numbers they were in the order of dislike; I was a bit skeptical as I wondered where AOL got their information from) mushrooms, cilantro, and mayonnaise, all of which I like a lot. Where I agreed was in brussels sprouts and oysters. I have to confess that I've never tasted oysters but any slimy seafood that is swallowed whole, raw, definitely does not appeal to me! ;-)

I think that some of the AOL welcome screen information indulges in scaremongering, especially regarding health issues, and I once more get a bit suspicious of where they are getting their information from when I see prescription drugs sponsoring the pages, but I think I have learned some things from them. They sure do get some lame comments about their articles, though. LOL!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

DREAMS AND McDREAMYThis




































DREAMS AND McDREAMY


This morning, in the early morning hours, I had a strange dream which I can't remember -- all I know was that it featured Michelle Pfeiffer. LOL! In mentioning this to online friends, one of them said she had recently dreamed about her apartment complex's maintenance man, while another friend said she had dreamed today while napping about a total mishmash of things, including the same former religion that I used to be. Dreams are so funny! Do you have any that you would share?

As for McDreamy -- Patrick Dempsey -- he was on "Live with Regis and Kelly" this morning but I didn't watch it because Regis and Kelly have been getting on my nerves lately. I get the impression that Regis doesn't like Kelly very well but that could be entirely my imagination. I'd rather watch Bobby Flay on "Boy Meets Grill." LOL!

*****

I've been hearing a lot of gloom and doom these days. If what is being said is true, I am more concerned for my children and grandchildren than I am for myself. Yesterday, I saw a quote several places that originated from NASA scientist James Hansen, where he told Congress that if we don't roll back pollutants in the atmosphere to 1988 levels, in a couple of decades, "We're toast . . ." Scary!

I believe that God will provide ways for us to solve these problems, but people -- especially big industrialists -- will have to co-operate with those that are given the wisdom to guide us.

*****

I received kind of a funny e-mail from the IRS today. It gave me the option of having my stimulus check deposited in my bank account if I filled out a form they included and sent it back. Hello! I received my stimulus check yesterday! Hmmm, I wonder if it really was from the IRS?!

Speaking of funny e-mails, one came through from my friend Jackie the other day showing what was purported to be the diamond-encrusted Mercedes of an oil-rich Arab. Something told me to check it out on Snopes and sure enough, that wasn't true. (If you want to look, just do a search under "diamond Mercedes.") I sent the information to Jackie and she wrote back to thank me, saying she wondered if it was possible to believe anything that she received any more. I told her that she was one of the ones who had taught me to check out everything online. ;-) (Son J.D. is another one, and also my old on- and offline friend, Linda.)

Monday, June 23, 2008

AN EXCITING PHONE CALLI was just napping (and it was a good

AN EXCITING PHONE CALL

I was just napping (and it was a good nap, too) when my sleep was interrupted by a phone call. The caller ID said Kroger, who I know owns the Fred Meyer stores, so I answered the phone rather than screening the call.

The lady on the other end of the line identified herself as from Kroger and said she had just received my e-mail about Rachel and what a good and kind job she did last Wednesday in checking out my groceries while I was in pain from my physical therapy. The lady (sorry, I didn't get her name, maybe Cindy?) said she had called to thank me for my comment and that she was just about to call the Canby Fred Meyer store's manager and tell him or her what I had said about Rachel.

I felt a little shy about that but mostly excited! I don't that often have an opportunity to do something nice for someone else, and I am really happy that Rachel will be getting this well-deserved pat on the back! I don't know if she is working there today or not but I imagine she will get the news sometime soon.

Needless to say, the call woke me up and I can't get back to sleep now. That's okay -- I suppose Silver (who was on my lap at the time) will forgive me. ;-) I am just feeling really happy.

CRAZY STUFFI have












































CRAZY STUFF


I have been saving some items, mainly in the back of my mind, for commenting on later, and later is here. ;-) Some of them are pretty wacky.

First of all, there is the pregnancy pact being reported from Gloucester, Massachusetts. Girls in high school are trying to get pregnant en masse. I saw a blurb on the NW Newschannel yesterday quoting a source at the Gloucester High School as saying this was false, but the source I link to in this paragraph (Time Magazine online) says the girls kept going back to the school nurse for pregnancy tests until they came back positive, at which time the girls were giving each other high fives. Perhaps movies like "Juno" are partly to blame, but some in Gloucester have attributed it to broken homes and loneliness.

Next, there is a fellow ex-Mormon who has a very popular blog. I am not going to name her here, as I feel that ex-Mormons should stick together; however, her humor gets pretty way out sometimes. After an appearance on the Today show where she was on with Kathie Lee Gifford, she wrote that Kathie Lee was coming onto her. I know that she didn't intend for this to be taken seriously, but I wonder what Kathie Lee thought of that. It certainly does go under the category of "crazy", in my book.

Then there are dreams I have been lately, which have featured a man who was involved in probably the very worst mistake of my life, and people close to him. I hate these dreams! I don't know why I'm having them but they are just crazy!

I am not telling my own family (siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles) about my upcoming minor toenail surgery. My youngest sister acted like having had my right big toenail removed last summer was a punishment from God, and I don't need that kind of reaction again. (I wonder what she would think of the fact that it has grown back in beautifully and is what I consider a blessing from God.) I think this kind of negative and unkind belief, which really seems out-of-character for my sister, is pure wackiness.

So there you have my wacky items for the day. I imagine I will come up with more over time. Feel free to add your own.

*****

I have been eating Manwich sloppy joes off and on over the last 5 days or so, and I took this picture of what -- to me -- is the perfect Manwich meal:

The only way to eat a Manwich

I don't care for the taste of the Manwich with the hamburger meat alone, but I find it to be delicious when topped with a slice of Tillamook cheddar cheese. And paired with sliced tomatoes (the non-salmonella variety), it becomes a lovely meal!

*****

As for the cartoons above, I am glad that my cats who stay downstairs at night don't try to wake me up for food during the night or early in the morning. They are very well-behaved.

I love the Maxine! LOL! Patrick Dempsey, you've really made it big now that you are in a cartoon with her! Hee hee!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A BIG CONCERNI am very concerned tonight for a long-time

A BIG CONCERN

I am very concerned tonight for a long-time online friend who is suffering from Parkinson's disease. In letters I have received from him lately, he has talked about supposed recent events that are surprising, fantastic, and I feel have not happened. I was thinking that he might be having mini-strokes, as he is in his 70's, but then I did a Google search today under "symptoms of advanced Parkinson's" and this is what I found:

"Ask the Experts about Psychiatry/Mental Health for Advanced Practice Nurses
from Medscape Nurses

Managing the Psychological Symptoms of Patients With Parkinson's Disease?
Question
I am interested in knowing more about patients experiencing delusional and psychotic symptoms while being treated for Parkinson's disease. Antipsychotic medications affect dopamine levels and sometimes cause the symptoms of Parkinson's to worsen. I would like to know what approaches to treatment have been effective in managing these patients' symptoms.

Response from Maren S. Mayhew, MS, ANP, GNP
Nurse practitioner, specializing in geriatrics.

As we have improved the treatment of Parkinson's disease, patients are living longer and developing the psychotic symptoms of advanced Parkinson's disease. Risk factors for developing psychosis include dementia, sleep disturbances, and nighttime use of long-acting dopamine agonists."

I had no idea. As the title says, I am very concerned about my friend. I don't know of anything to do other than to write to him as I usually do when I hear from him (today I didn't) and to pray for him. I get concerned and discouraged about my medical difficulties at times but situations like this friend's make me put them into better perspective.

THE GIRL IN THE CAFE








































THE GIRL IN THE CAFE


I'm not sure where I saw the HBO movie, "The Girl in the Cafe" recommended, but I ordered it from Blockbuster on my one movie at a time program and watched it last night. I couldn't remember what it was about, and reading the description on the jacket of the DVD didn't help any, but I was game to see if I would like it or not.

The movie starts out in England -- London, I presume -- and features Bill Nighy as rather high-up civil servant Lawrence. Nighy is one of those people who I know I have seen in movies before but more as a character actor than the lead. His Lawrence is rather shy and, maybe partly as a result of that but also due to his devotion to his work, a confirmed bachelor.

He meets a much younger woman, Gina, played by Kelly MacDonald, in a cafe, and he dates her briefly before inviting her to accompany him to the 2005 G8 Summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. Lawrence has been telling her what the G8 Summit will entail, especially the Millenium Development Goals to eliminate poverty and AIDS, and when there, her outspokenness about them with world leaders, especially Lawrence's boss and the British Prime Minister, get both of them into a lot of trouble. The ending, however, was quite gratifying and brought tears to my eyes.

I did a little research after reading more about the movie in the Blockbuster description. I discovered that the 2005 G8 Summit was held in July of 2005, while this movie aired on HBO on June 25, 2005. Very interesting timing. Also, the U.K. hosted the Summit.

I have a little trouble understanding English accents and I didn't check to see if this film was close-captioned, but I did get most of what was happening. If you have a chance to rent it, I would recommend that you do so. I don't see a rating listed but I would call it PG13 as there is one scene of partial nudity and a couple of bad words. It did win the Emmy in 2006 for Best Made for Television Movie.

*****

The following joke comes from Ralph Milton's Christian E-zine, "Rumors", out of last week's June 15, 2008 edition.

"Bottom of the Barrel – Since we are now in the time of year when clergy and congregations begin to play musical pulpits, I thought this hoary old clunker might be useful.

The all-male pick-a-preacher committee had the job of deciding if the latest applicant had what it takes to be their minister. They didn’t quite know how to proceed, because this candidate was a woman.
“Let’s take her fishing,” suggested one of the committee members.
Out they went, early in the morning, the five men and the minister. Soon they were busy casting for trout, when the line of one of the men got snagged on a floating log. His tugging wouldn’t dislodge it.
So the lady minister stepped out of the boat, walked across the surface of the water, unhooked the snag, and walked back into the boat.
“Hmmmph” muttered one of the men. “Just like a woman. Can’t swim!”

Love it!

*****

I think it's time I thanked my friend Lynne again for the Ziggy in this entry and all the other ones that I have posted.

I really like the Maxine, too! There is more than a germ of truth to it! LOL!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

MMMMM . . . STRAWBERRIES!







































MMMMM . . . STRAWBERRIES!


My daughter-in-law Kris came over yesterday and installed non-slip material on my front steps, plus left me a jar of strawberries from her and son J.D.'s garden. I didn't hear her due to being upstairs next to the air conditioner, but I came down later and found that she had been here. The front steps now look like this:

Non-slip steps

Great job, Kris, and will make it so that no one will slip on the slippery steps, especially in winter, and sue me!

The strawberries were lovely. I nibbled on them all day and then in the evening I cut the last of them up and ate them with Equal and 1% milk (a diabetic's treat). Here are a couple of shots of the berries.

Strawberries from Kris

Home-grown goodness

Somewhat earlier, son Jeff had come down and done away with a bunch of thistles out by my garage. Online friend Andree commented yesterday that she wondered what kind of thistles they were, so I found one in a different area of my place and took this picture of it:

Thistle near my house

I do not like them, the stickery things!

Thank you to both Kris and Jeff for their assistance yesterday!!

*****

Someone else that I had meant to mention, who was a big help to me on Wednesday, was a cashier named Rachel at the Fred Meyer store in Canby. I was quite sore when I went through her line because of my earlier physical therapy and I had a lot of items in my cart. She was very cheerful, friendly and still professional. She said this was her first job of the day; that she would be shopping and then going to her second. We talked about working and how it was like the old commercial where the baker said it was "time to make the donuts." I was much happier for having been through her line, and after I got home, a bit later in the day, I found on the receipt that Fred Meyer had a web site and I went there. I found a place in which to make comments and I did so, thanking the store and Rachel for the good service that day. I have never done that before but I felt it was very much deserved. I gave them the information for getting back to me but in my comment I said it wasn't really necessary. I think I would have been embarrassed, actually. But if you see Rachel at the Canby Fred Meyer, tell her "hi" for me. :-)

*****

I tried to start reading Stephen Colbert's "I am America (and so can you!)" a couple of days ago. Colbert is clever but I am afraid I don't share his sense of humor. I am ready to give the book away. J.D. and Kris, do you want it?

*****

I am blogging earlier than usual today because it is a working weekend. Right now, I need to go make the donuts. ;-)

Friday, June 20, 2008

THISTLES ARE GONE!My





































THISTLES ARE GONE!


My middle son Jeff came down a little bit ago and made short work of the thistles out by the garage, which is appreciated more than I can tell you. I had used shears and cut the ones I had taken out but he brought a hoe and wore a glove and was able to take the rest out by the roots.

He and I are discussing landscaping services, and who to contact to get bids. I need to figure out exactly what I want done and when so that I will be able to make my wishes known. It is going to take a bit of thought. Perhaps I can contemplate it while I work this weekend, although I hate to take my mind too much off my work so that I don't make mistakes.

*****

DIL Kris (oldest son J.D.'s wife) will be here soon to put non-slip material on my front steps. I am looking forward to that! They have been getting terribly slippery and even dangerous in the rain.

*****

I heard from all of my kids today; youngest son Tony wrote and let me know that he has succeeded in getting Majesty's therapeutic horse biscuits into some Costco stores. I am very happy for him as he has worked so hard at this.

I also learned that his boys, my grandsons Michael, 9 1/2, and Alex, 7 1/2, aren't in Florida yet and won't be leaving for another 10 days. I don't know how long they will be gone. They will be staying with their other grandparents.

*****

I have a notice saying that Blogger will be down at 3:00 p.m., PDT, but only for about 10 minutes for maintenance.

A note: It has been "delayed." I don't know till when. I shouldn't have even mentioned it. ;-)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

COUSINSI came from a






































COUSINS


I came from a large family on my dad's side. He had 9 siblings, although only 5 were alive when I was growing up. I had (and have) quite a few cousins on that side of the family. My memories of them are among the best of my childhood.

My cousin Charlie, my late Uncle Cyril's son, and I hadn't been in touch for years until after his mom, my Aunt Betty, died a number of years ago. She had suffered from severe osteoporosis for about 10 years that kept her bedridden; if she coughed, she could break a rib. I wrote to her occasionally during that time and Charlie found my letters and notified me after she died. He was very sweet in what he said about my writing to his mother.

Charlie and his wife Jeanette have a daughter, Suzanne, who was named after me. (I think that is so very nice!) Here is a picture he just e-mailed me of him and Suzanne and her children. (We exchange grandkid pics every once in a while via e-mail.)

All at Airport

I believe Suzanne lives in Texas or someplace in the South, while Charlie and Jeanette live in Orem, Utah, if I'm remembering correctly. This picture was taken at the airport although which one is a good question. It's from a recent visit, anyway.

I don't have a lot of memories about Charlie from when I was young although I know he was older and I do recall him pushing me down outside our grandparents' house at one point. LOL! We were quite young then. My next memories are as a young adult, and that I liked him a lot at that point.

As it happens, I heard from another cousin just a couple of days ago, my Uncle Linc's oldest daughter, Cheryl, (pronounced with a "ch" rather than an "sh"). She is, I believe, 4 years older than I am and we were close growing up. In fact, she taught me to read when I was still kindergarten age while we were playing school at her house. Here is a picture of her as a young adult (in the middle), taken in the mid-1960's at Lake Roosevelt, Washington, where my dad was a park ranger and she and her family were visiting. I had thought this was also me in the picture, on the left, but now I'm doubting that -- I just don't know.

Cheryl as a young adult

I sent her a copy of this picture and another one with our other cousin, Janeane, who is my late Uncle Junius's daughter. She mentioned in the note I received from her how much she liked getting the pictures and how that was back when we were skinny. LOL! Oh, so true.

She wants to be updated on my family and how I'm doing, so I will definitely write to her before long. She did mention that Uncle Linc keeps them informed as much as he can. Cheryl and her family live in Washington, not nearly as far away as Uncle Linc is in his home in Logan, Utah; you'd think we could get together and maybe someday we will.

*****

I had physical therapy yesterday and, once again, it made me fairly sore. Sleeping last night was a bit iffy because of that, although I remember dreaming (but not what about). Today is laundry day, which will be fairly strenuous to the arm, too, but I will try to be careful. I was told that cutting the thistles is an absolute no-no unless there is a way to do it left-handed. (Maybe I can find some left-handed clippers.) Typing is pretty much okay as long as I watch my posture, which has long been a challenge for me -- I remember my mom criticizing me for slumping when I was a girl, although perhaps her critical nature may have been one reason I slumped. I'm definitely working on better posture.

I won't have more physical therapy for a couple of weeks. It will be nice to have next week off. I have a couple of new exercises to build up the reps on in the meantime.

*****

I am conversing with my cat Stevie through the office door right now. She sometimes comes upstairs and "talks" to me this way. Other than that, she mainly visits me in the loo. Each of my cats finds their own way to communicate with me -- I love my little furry people.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A BIKER AND HIS BABE






















A BIKER AND HIS BABE



















Love this photo! Today would have been Steve's and my 40th wedding anniversary. I like to think we might have been like the above biker couple before too much longer. ;-)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

MORE ABOUT SKEEZIXI mentioned in my



















MORE ABOUT SKEEZIX

I mentioned in my Father's Day post about my dad that he had been unnamed and just called Skeezix for the first 6 months of his life. My son J.D. said he had a theory about why, and when I asked him what it was, this was his response:

"During the early 1920s, there was a comic strip called Gasoline Alley. It was mostly just a funny gag strip about cars. The newspaper publisher decided that he wanted a wider audience, though, so he asked the strip's writer (Frank King) to do something to attract women readers. To do this, King deposited a baby on the doorstep of the main character, Walt Wallet.

Walt was a bachelor and had not experience with babies. The strip gradually shifted its focus from cars to the relationship between Walt and Skeezix. The characters aged in real time. (They still do. The strip is still going.) So, readers got to see Skeezix grow up.

Skeezix means "motherless calf", but I don't think that's why your father got that nickname. I think he got that nickname because Gasoline Alley was hugely popular at the time of his birth, and Skeezix must have seemed like a fun nickname to give a boy. Sort of like how some kids might have been nicknamed Calvin when Calvin and Hobbes was at its height.

Anyhow -- that's my theory! :)

--j.d."

I believe he makes some valid points. He sent me the above comic, showing Walt finding Skeezix on his doorstep. (Knowing my Grandpa Mac's sense of humor, and that of other family members, this may have also been a reason for the nickname.) I have a letter ready to go to my Uncle Linc, at 92 the only living sibling, (which I will send after I get a picture that I want to include), in which I am mentioning this and asking a bit more about it. I don't know if I will get an answer as he has difficulty seeing and writing but perhaps one of his DIL's or grandchildren could type out or write an answer for him.

*****

Just a quick note that there is another "down" event coming up in my future, as I will have minor surgery (toenail removal) on my left big toe in 3 weeks. The worst of that is soaking it in Epsom salts afterwards, which stings like h*ll! It must be done, however -- I will not take a picture of my toenail and make you look at it! LOL! At least my arm is quite a bit better! :-)