Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Last week, there was a big Texas welcome for little Avery Ann, my friend Nikki's new daughter. I can't wait to meet her -- and to see Nikki, who I haven't seen in about three years. I am very happy that August 10 can now be associated with a happy event (read the Ten Years Later blog).
At the same time Avery Ann was born, one of my Minnesota friends (another who I haven't seen in years) underwent successful surgery to remove a brain tumor. The tumor is not only benign, but is also one that rarely re-occurs. God definitely knows who Laura G. is if all the prayers that went up are any indication. I'm happy that she's on the mend with her family by her side. And Laura, if you read this, I really really wish I could make it to your celebratory party that I'm sure is on the horizon.
Yet, while marveling about these two ladies, I'm sad for my Minnesota friends, the Wilking family. The world has lost a great horseman in Jerry Wilking. Godspeed to Jerry -- and I know he is enjoying himself up at the big horse auction in the sky.
Joy and sorrow, all in the space of one short week. Life is precious, and there are things more important than brawls at horse shows and lively discussions about the old -- oops, I mean new! -- Vikings quarterback. But those are topics more suited for a "What were they thinking?" blog.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
It's been a fabulous summer, weather-wise. I even left my AC off for nearly three weeks in July. July! That is almost unheard of in hot, humid Missouri. My electric bill will thank me for it. We've also had regular shots of rain -- just enough to keep the gardens and patio flowers happy. (And enough rain that I have to mow that lawn almost weekly.) We've also been pretty lucky in terms of severe weather -- only one or two tornado warning scares. Now that I wrote that, we are going to get hammered, right?
If you've spent any time in Thomas Hollow, you know that the rocky ground (at least, I think that's what it is) tends to "attract" lightning strikes. I've had to have the phone company replace my phone jack at least once a year since I've moved here. I've fried two TDDs -- which aren't cheap -- and several phones. Yes, I know you can buy surge protectors that include jacks for the phone line? But guess what? I've invested in two, only to have them fry almost immediately. At upwards of $50 a pop, I decided to let it go and be extra-vigilant about unplugging the phone & TDD when I'm not using it.
Monday was another story. A storm was rolling in, but didn't look too bad. We needed the rain, and I didn't pay it much attention. Keep in mind that I can't hear the thunder coming in and can only feel the thunder that is loud enough and close enough to my house. So I'm messing around on the laptop (OK, I was wasting time on Facebook), and Baxter was sleeping on the couch.
Boom. Just as I was looking out the window, a big bolt of lightning was visible right outside. The house absolutely shook. I seriously thought the house was going to burst into flames or explode. Baxter flew right off the couch, which was directly in front of the window. I sat there for a minute and thought, now THAT had to have done some damage.
Then I smelled something burning. I moved the couch -- the lightning had been so close that it blew the cover right off the phone jack! The wires were black. It fried the DSL receiver, the TV receiver and the wireless router. Everything else seems just fine. Believe me, I checked!
One of the advantages of having a rural telephone company is that my services are bundled -- LeRu seems to be fairly advanced, considering its location! My services -- phone, internet and cable -- are bundled in one tidy, if expensive, package. My great neighbor put in the call for me late Monday morning, and the service guy came out at 5:45 pm. I had the internet restored that evening, although I was a little leery of having my new laptop plugged directly into the broadband line. A new wireless router is on the shopping list!
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Ten years ago this week, my friend Mary and I were mourning the loss of our friend Billy. It was a life cut short way too soon.
Mary & I had just returned from an adventurous road trip to Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming. We'd just picked up my 12-week-old Corgi pup, Kona. Life was good. And life as we knew it was about to change enormously.
Suicide will sweep you right off your feet, break your heart and cause you to run a gauntlet of feelings. Loss and sadness mix with questions, anger and confusion. How could he? Why would he? What should I have done? What if? It's hard to find closure, peace and forgiveness.
It takes years to pick up the pieces, and yet your heart wrenches when you read about another young person who's taken his or her life -- because you know the pain that circle of friends and family is going through. Your heart still skips a beat when you glimpse someone tall and dark-haired who has a slim resemblance to your lost friend.
Here we are, ten years later. Mary and I have both changed and grown. But we haven't grown apart, despite living 700-some miles away from each other. Sure, we don't see each other as much as we would like to, but with Facebook and e-mail, we've stayed in touch. I'm so happy to call her my friend, proud of what she's accomplished in the past ten years. It's a long-distance friendship that I will cherish forever.
Today, take the time to call that friend you've been "meaning to" touch base with. Type up that e-mail you've been putting off. Smile at someone.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
So when I went in to the county courthouse to pay for my car tabs on Monday, I was in for a double surprise. What should have been a simple procedure turned into me owing $200 more than I had budgeted -- and I still have to go all the way back to this out-of-the-way dinky town to give them a check. Because they don't take plastic. No, ma'am, they surely don't. Sigh. So I made the trip for nothing.
Somehow, I never received my Personal Property Tax form to fill out in November 2008, and was not billed for PPT on my car. So it looks like not only did I not claim my car as a taxable item, it also looks like I tried to dodge paying taxes on it. Seriously, you'd have to be an idiot to try to pull that. But apparently, people do -- and the woman at the assessor's office acted like I was one of them. I then pulled out my wallet and said, "Well, I don't have a choice, might as well just pay it now and get it taken care of." She looked at me like I was from another planet and said, oh, we don't take *those* - it has to be a check or cash.
Oh well. I'm just grateful I have the money to cover it -- although it wipes out the "New Dell Computer" fund. Donations to the fund can be sent directly to my PayPal address! =)
Stay cool -- it's hot out there.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
I came across this class list on another blog & thought I'd pass it on. Enjoy!
Spring Classes for Women at THE ADULT LEARNING CENTER
REGISTRATION MUST BE COMPLETED by Tuesday, June 20, 2009
NOTE: DUE TO THE COMPLEXITY AND DIFFICULTY LEVEL OF THEIR CONTENTS, CLASS SIZES WILL BE LIMITED TO 8 PARTICIPANTS MAXIMUM.
Class 1 Up in Winter, Down in Summer - How to Adjust a Thermostat Step by Step, with Slide Presentation..Meets 4 wks, Monday and Wednesday for 2 hrs beginning at 7:00 PM..
Class 2 Which Takes More Energy - Putting the Toilet Seat Down, or Yelling About It for 3 Hours?
Round Table Discussion.Meets 2 weeks, Saturday 12:00 for 2 hours.
Class 3 Is It Possible To Drive Past a Wal-Mart Without Stopping?–Group Debate.Meets 4 weeks, Saturday 10:00 PM for 2 hours.
Class 4 Fundamental Differences Between a Purse and a Suitcase–Pictures and Explanatory Graphics.Meets Saturdays at 2:00 PM for 3 weeks.
Class 5 Curling Irons–Can They Levitate and Fly Into The Bathroom Cabinet?Examples on Video.Meets 4 weeks, Tuesday and Thursday for 2 hours beginningat 7:00 PM
Class 6 How to Ask Questions During Commercials and Be Quiet During the Program Help Line Support and Support Groups.Meets 4 Weeks, Friday and Sunday 7:00 PM
Class 7 Can a Bath Be Taken Without 14 Different Kinds of Soaps and Shampoos?Open Forum.Monday at 8:00 PM, 2 hours.
Class 8 Health Watch–They Make Medicine for PMS - USE IT! Three nights; Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 7:00 PM for 2 hours.
Class 9 I Was Wrong and He Was Right!–Real Life Testimonials.Tuesdays at 6:00 PM Location to be determined .
Class 10 How to Parallel Park In Less Than 20 Minutes Without an Insurance Claim.Driving Simulations.4 weeks, Saturday’s noon, 2 hours.
Class 11 Learning to Live–How to Apply Brakes Without Throwing Passengers Through the Windshield.Tuesdays at 7:00 PM, location to be determined
Class 12 How to Shop by Yourself.Meets 4 wks, Tuesday and Thursday for 2 hours beginning at 7:00 PM.
Class 13 How to Fight Cerebral Atrophy–Remembering To Take a List To The Store, Avoiding Separate Trips for Each Item Needed.Cerebral Shock Therapy Sessions and Full Lobotomies Offered.Three nights; Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 7:00 PM for 2 hours.
Class 14 The Stove/Oven–What It Is and How It Is Used.Live Demonstration.Tuesdays at 6:00 PM, location to be determined.
Upon completion of any of the above courses, diplomas will be issued to the survivors.
Monday, June 8, 2009
I'm so lucky. I live a few steps away from a cold, spring-fed creek. I've been known to spend hot summer days with a chair set in the creek, soaking my feet in the cold water and filling my head with whatever book I'm reading at the moment.
Baxter, on the other hand, is a man of action. Swimmin' in the creek is serious business for him. If you have a ball or a stick to throw, all the better -- he'll launch himself off the creek banks and into the water & bring it back for another round. And another. And another. I've learned to throw things up creek and into the deep water to make him swim upstream and into the deep water. But he never seems to tire!
This weekend, I started training Baxter to dive. Yes, you read that right: Dive. He's not quite sure he likes the idea of sticking his whole head underwater to retrieve a toy. Right now, he'll stick his nose in and blow bubbles or make a quick poke into the water, but he won't completely submerge himself. Instead, he'll make like a raccoon and pull the toy into shallower water with his paws. Smart or stubborn? Bad owner? Whatever -- it's great fun! Hopefully, Baxter will forgive me someday for making him do stupid tricks.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
If you've ever been in my house, you know the bathroom had some white(ish) linoleum, and the laundry room was just a concrete floor. Rather blah.
About a month ago, the boyfriend put in some lovely tile in the bathroom & laundry room for me. It added a lot of "wow" factor -- and only emphasized my poor color choice of bathroom paint and the dreariness of the unfinished concrete wall & floor in the laundry room.
No big deal, right? Paint is relatively cheap.
The bathroom was the first room in the house that I painted, and let's just say the color turned out a bit (ok, a lot!) brighter than I planned. Apparently, I got better at my color choices as time went on, because I love all the other colors I've used in other rooms of the house. Or so I thought.
I picked out what I thought were two good, soft colors for the bathroom, colors that complemented the mocha-ish-ness of the tile. On one of my recent road trips, the boyfriend offered to start the paint job. Of course, I was more than happy to let him do the work.
Turns out the blue (ok, maybe it was more like a turquoise) in the bathroom was extremely difficult to cover up, but he got it done. I couldn't wait to see the bathroom, thinking it was going to be fab-u-lous.
Well. I failed on that one. Once again, the bathroom paint color sucks. Plus, I somehow thought that semi-gloss was a good idea. Now, you feel like you are in a bucket of melting vanilla ice cream -- the cream-ish color I picked out turned out to be the exact color of my bathtub. Oops.
So. No pictures, and no home tours right now.
Oh well. Paint is relatively cheap. Hopefully the third time will be the charm.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
It's a good day to remember both of them and all the memories associated with them. I don't have very many photos of me with both of my grandparents, but this is one of my favorites:
Time may have faded the photo, but it hasn't faded the memories or the smiles. And I cherish those. You never know how much family means until you lose it. So hug someone you love today.
Monday, June 1, 2009
May went by so fast, I have to look at my calendar and pictures to see where it went. I spent a week out in California, visiting my friend Jessica. It's beautiful out there. The redwood forest, the ocean, her rose farm...I got some great photos. This one's my favorite:
I also got to try an Olallieberry pie. I've never heard of this berry before (it's a cross between a loganberry & a youngberry, each of which is a cross between a blackberry and another berry -- confused yet?). Deee-lish. Jessica and I also went to a tourist trap called the Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz. Despite living in SC for several years, she'd never been there. We decided to go out there on a whim and check it out. It was...far out. I'm not sure how much of it was an optical illusion, but there is something going on there. I went in a skeptic and came out a believer.
Blogspot is giving me photo-posting grief. More photos later!!
Monday, May 4, 2009
Living in "the holler" -- aka Thomas Hollow -- has taught me a thing or two about the power of Mother Nature. Especially in the springtime, one must stay aware of what she has in store for us. My house is bordered by two, no make that three, low water bridges. When "the creek" is up, I can get stranded. Usually, this isn't a huge deal, but when you have a non-refundable and non-changeable airline ticket to California, it's flip-out time.
It started raining on Thursday. By Sunday, we had so much rain that the Thomas Hollow crossing was just barely passable. It probably wasn't exactly safe to cross, but quite a few people did. They say the rule of thumb is that six inches of water can wash away a car. I think the creek was a little higher than that on Sunday! Since the forecast called for more rain through Monday, I was worried that the main highway was going to flood & I would not be able to get out for my Tuesday flight.
This is what it can look like when it floods in the hollow! [Photo is from April 2008 -- that's my mailbox and front steps!]
So I "evacuated" to a friend's house to play it safe.
Wouldn't you know that Monday morning brought semi-sunny skies?
I've committed to helping my friend out with her kids this afternoon & making them dinner. I may still slink back home tonight, if the creek is low enough for my car to make the crossing. And if there isn't more rain in the forecast.
I know I worry and think way too much, and there are a few folks snickering. But hey! I'm goin' to Califonia -- come hell or high water.
Friday, April 17, 2009
In the past year or so, I have become a fan of blogs. I don't even want to admit how many are on my RSS feed. From craft blogs to thought-provoking ones, food-related blogs and those of friends, let's just say there are a lot.
Today, the wittiest blog award goes to Dooce.com:
Sure, it might offend some, but not me. I may add her books to my reading list.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
For the record, I AM a procrastinator, but my tax forms went out last week. I was thankful I didn't have to include a check in the envelope.
I had a great birthday yesterday -- thanks to all the well-wishers. I am now at the age where I just say "29" when people ask me how old I am. Remember the days when we counted down the hours until we turned 21? What the heck were we thinking?
I think spring may officially be here to stay. I am absolutely itching to start planting seeds in my flower gardens! I may just get some plants for my hanging baskets so I can have some flowers on the porch & satisfy my itchy green thumb. In the meantime, my lawn is begging for some mowing and weed-whipping.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Please check it out: http://www.cottagestudio.etsy.com/
I will be adding seasonal & special occasion cards and albums over the next few weeks (including the popular baby albums). I wish I could have included some Easter cards, but it is a little late in the game for that. Oh, well, here's a preview of some cards I'm sending out this week.
I'm hoping Spring is here to stay -- after some very cold nights and gray, windy days, we've had a day of much-needed sunshine.
Monday, April 6, 2009
However, my propane delivery guy must not have gotten the memo. He usually arrives at my house with a lit cigarette dangling from his mouth. He's even gone up to my propane tank and opened the valve with the cigarette still smoking. I'm not sure if he has no fear...or what. Draw your own conclusion. I should also mention that his first name is hyphenated with -Bob. It freaks me out and I try to stay as far away as possible when he is here. (The cigarette, not the name.)
Propane has been the bane of my existence (and budget) over the past six months. The regulator on my tank went out in January, leaking a couple hundred bucks of propane out into thin air. And since I have such a big-butt tank, I have to put quite a bit in it to keep the pressure up. Low pressure means that my tankless water heater pilot goes out all the time. Which means cold water!
Lest you think I am complaining too much, I should say that I am grateful that my house didn't blow up from the leak, and that I have enough money and support to keep putting propane in the tank. Here's to a warm house and hot water!
Friday, April 3, 2009
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Mother Nature likes to play April Fool's tricks on us. When I woke up this morning, I thought it looked sunny and warm outside. It's cold and windy instead -- and I have the heat turned on.
We've launched insideshotphotos.com -- and are adding new photos all the time. I'm still learning the camera settings as I go along. Taking action photos in a poorly lit gym is not easy. I find that I often have to sacrifice either speed OR light, so I end up with dark & sharp or well-lit & blurry photos. Trial & error seems to be the best teacher so far. That and a new PhotoShop book I bought last week (and have yet to crack open). I am going to try shooting in RAW format this weekend and then seeing if I can "fix" the lighting in PhotoShop. Not sure what I am doing, but it should be interesting.
Tomorrow's April Fool's Day. I hope nobody pulls a dirty trick on me. I honestly don't think anyone could top Brenda's "twins" trick from 2008 though!
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
The tulips are coming!
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Getting the hang of the new camera. And Photoshop Elements. Hoping there is a future in doing these photos and making some money. I am having a ball with it (pun intended).
I need to get moving on marketing the Ozarkhandcrafts.com website. That is my next big mission.
And I have another blog going (as if this one isn't enough?): badsportsmanship.blogspot.com -- the name should speak for itself.
That said, I must get off this machine and get some fresh air!
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
My Grandpa Herman has been on my mind constantly the past few weeks. And now, as he is moving on from a life well-lived, I am holding on to the memories.
I hope my Grandpa knows how much I love him. This is how I want to remember him:
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
I had a ball taking the pics and really liked the speed of the camera -- I could take pictures continuously, rather than wait for the camera to catch up. By the end of the game, I had about 150 pictures.
Let me clarify. One hundred and fifty blurry pictures.
That's what happens when you don't read & memorize the owner's manual from cover to cover. But I learned my lesson. The camera has to be changed to a different setting so I can change the ISO (shutter speed) to a higher number. Simply putting the camera on the "Action" setting doesn't do the job in a fast-moving setting like a basketball game. Oops.
I can't wait for the next game. I'm hoping to make it to Will's third-grade team's game on Saturday -- the shorter, slower players should be great subjects.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Yes, I know we are in the 21st century, but here in the hollow, we don't have a) cell phone service or b) normal bridges that don't get flooded with rushing water when it rains. We do, however, have electricity, Internet and running water. What more can a girl ask for?
It's almost time to start thinking about my gardens! Last fall, I planted some new bulbs, and they are starting to poke through already. I can't remember what I planted, so it will be interesting to see what blooms in a month or so.
This year, I plan to re-seed the front and side gardens with the Zinnia seeds I harvested in the fall. Last spring, I neglected to plant them, and everyone commented on missing those spectacular flowers. I know I missed them, too. I may also add a few new plants to one of the beds, perhaps something that can climb up the side of the house. I've had some success with Morning Glories, but they tend to wilt in the heat of the south-facing bed. Any suggestions? And what are you looking forward to planting this spring?
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
I took this one with my puny 3x Nikon Coolpix. Imagine what I could do with a real camera!
Lost count of the # of eagles we saw today! Tomorrow, we plan to head to Devil's Den State Park for a hike and some spelunking.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
In case you've been avoiding Wal-Mart lately or just don't believe in the commerciality of Valentine's Day: It's coming up fast.
Here are some of the latest creations from Cottage Studio:
Winged Love ^ Ric-Rac Love ^
Be Mine ^ Owl Love ^
I have more that I am not showing here, because they are intended for a reader or two. If you'd like to order one of the above cards, let me know. Or if you have another type of card you'd like to see (say, get well, happy birthday -- you get the idea) -- just email me. Over the next week or so, I will be uploading some cards and crafts to the Cottage Studio page on OzarkHandcrafts.com.
Can you tell I love pink??
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
I've learned so much about commercial dining room furniture in the past week. Who knew? From table edges to the difference between booths and banquettes, I've become somewhat of an expert on the options available. And it just might have ruined me for dining out.
Yesterday, I went out for lunch at Ruby Tuesday. While we were waiting for our food, I was explaining to my mom about my writing project, and how nice the dining area was. This was a new restaurant and they seemed to have spared no expense, especially on the chairs, which were super-comfortable.
As my mom's eyes started to glaze over, I started in on the different table edges, pointing out that the booth tables had solid wood edges. Who cares, right? I then lifted up the vinyl tablecloth to see what kind of table top was underneath.... Lo and behold, the table top was made of two raw pieces of particle board screwed together and fastened on to a table base! So much for my expertise.
I guess you had to be me to laugh at that. Anyways, I am excited about this writing project and am hoping it can be a stepping-stone to restarting my freelance writing career.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Resolutions? Not this year -- unless you count enjoying life, working out a little more, and doing more writing and photography.
And perhaps a little less time spent on Facebook. I don't know what took me so long to "get with it" and sign up on Facebook. I've reconnected with a ton of people I haven't been in touch with for a long time. Old friends from childhood. Former co-workers. So far, only one Litchfield-ite has laid claim to a spot on my friends list.