Sunday, November 30, 2008
After the program, the ladies passed out paper bags, everyone got a paper bag filled with treats. I used to peak inside my bag to make sure the apple was in there. Just my luck, I would get the only bag with no apple and I would not realize it until we got home, at which time it would be too late. I deserved that apple, giving up entire Saturday mornings to practice and memorize my part, and then getting no apple would have dissolved me into tears for sure. I clutched that sack in my hands all the way home, we lived just four miles from the church, so the car would not be warm, so I shivered all the while clutching onto that bag. Our good going to church clothes were never as warm as our everyday clothes. Sometimes that four mile ride seemed to take forever.
When I got home I would take out that apple, and polish it. I would separate out all my peanuts in the shells from the hard candy, and the occasional chocolate covered white sweet mountain of a candy that I can not recall the name of. I would brush off all the peanut skins that would adhere to the hard candy. I would put the hard candy on my dresser. I would then eat all of the peanuts and wait for my Mother or Father to cut up the apple into slices for my brother and I. I would share my apple with him, as long as he promised to share his with me. This promise to share was usually firmed up by "Swearing on a stack of Holy Bibles as tall as our Dad" None of that linking pinkie swearing for us. We did the real thing raising our right hand and everything. After all if you raised your right hand and swore on a stack of Holy Bibles taller than your Dad, there was no way you could back out of a promise made:)
Saturday, November 29, 2008
She talked about, bad energy and good energy. With pain being bad energy. She was the speaker at the Trigeminal Neuralgia Support Group meeting last Tuesday night. She recommended one of her "mixtures" as a miracle cure. I asked her what was in her mixture..she could not tell me. I have a list of hundreds of medications and supplements that Far Guy cannot take. If I call her, she can tell me exactly whats in it..yet she could not name even one ingredient. Well I am not a great one to ask for a recipe either..but I do know the basics for most recipes I concoct. Sugar, cocoa and milk equals hot cocoa! A hotdish would have meat, pasta, potatoes, or rice and a vegetable with some kind of sauce. A few recipes does not make me a Chef..only a cook.
She recommended that we come in for the Ionic Foot Baths, to rid our bodies of heavy metals. When all the metals were gone, she would give us a special potion to give us back the metals we need. She recommended that everyone go to a special Dentist and have all the fillings removed from our teeth.
She recommended touch point acupuncture, she demonstrated this on a likely victim. She had a shiny silver tool, that kind of looked like a tire gauge, she rubbed it along the lady's finger and went into a trance. By "trance " I mean..special words that obviously must accompany the procedure for it to work. She finally found what she was looking for in the lady's finger, a spot of extreme pain and tapped it with a sharp point at the other end of her fancy tool. Then she took out a little band-aid type thing with a metal point on it and put it precisely on that spot. She kept asking the lady where else she hurt besides her head, well if you ask an elderly woman enough times where else she hurts ..eventually she will come up with another complaint. Well wouldn't you know..that one was addressed also. She said our bodies are all out of whack. That our bodies should be a perfect PH of 7. That we are most likely too acidic. We would benefit from full body massages also, well here is my take on that sort of pampering.
Well about this time, I am thinking..someone is way out of whack..and it ain't me. I do not know what other types of services are available at her place of business..I do not know if she is part of the new age movement. or if she is a witch. What do you think? I have met many weirdos in my life, but never one like this before:)
Friday, November 28, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
I have many blessings in my life, all of which I am extremely thankful for!
I am not in a real bad mood yet, something I am sure other's will be thankful for:)
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Personally I want some of my Grandmother D's stuffing. I think hers was the best I have ever tasted. It had apples and raisins. It was moist, never dry, and never cooked to the sides of the roaster. Oh come on..you know the kind I am talking about..the stuffing that was in the oven for too long or the oven was too warm. It coats the inside of the roasting pan in a layer so thick it has to be soaked for a day or two. Then you think..hey I should have spayed that pan with something..it is always too late by the time I remember that too.
Sometime along the way, Far Guy got put in charge of the stuffing. He doesn't put in any raisins or apples. He cooks up the giblets and uses them in the stuffing. He chops them up really fine, so unless you know they are there, you hardly realize it. All these years he has been sneaking some liver into our diets.
I remember one Thanksgiving, he and Dick (Son in Law) were in charge of dinner. Dick has what I call a highly tuned gag/vomit reflex..he gags very easily..one hand into that stuffing mixture and he was a goner. Far Guy thought it was pretty cool, and pushed both of Dick's hands into the stuffing. Dick came running out of the kitchen calling Far Guy a sick pervert. Far Guy went on to explain that only sissy's mix stuffing with a spoon. They are not very compatible in a kitchen.
I have had corn bread stuffing when we lived in Florida, it is OK. I have had wild rice stuffing here in Minnesota, it is OK. I have had stuffing in a fancy restaurant, theirs was pathetic. I told them to tell the Chef that the stuffing sucked, but I was glad they used real potatoes instead of the kind out of a box. I like to often temper my negative comments with something positive. No one should ever ask me how was your meal?..how is everything tasting?..did you enjoy your meal? Far Guy will sometimes request my silence.."Please don't say anything bad." OR "Could you hold onto your opinion until we are in the car?" I could..but WILL I? Sometimes I am greatly challenged to walk out of some place knowing that I was served inferior food, and when asked for my opinion I bit my tongue so Far Guy could feel more comfortable for the rest of the day. What about me? I swear once we reach the car, he goes into an ignore mode anyway, that meal is behind him and he is just worried about the next one.
Stuffing..everyone has their favorites..care to share yours?:)
Monday, November 24, 2008
I loved their "family" of publications. In the 1980's when I was looking for magazines to put in the cottages at the resort, Country Woman, and Farm and Ranch Living joined The Minnesota Conservation Volunteer as my favorites to share with my clients. Simple well written fare, with marvelous photographs and no distracting ads.
Later I subscribed to more of Roy's magazines, adding Country, Country Extra, Reminisce, Reminisce Extra, Birds and Blooms, Birds and Blooms Extra, Taste of Home and finally Back Yard Living. Ten of their publications, I loved them, I loved that there were no ads. I was a tad irritated when they began to stuff the plastic sleeves with junk ads but at least I could deal with them once, and be done with it. I did not have to look at ads every time I turned a page.
It didn't take Readers Digest long to introduce advertising into the "family." First only an ad or two here and there. I wrote to them, and said simply "I do not appreciate your ads." I received a form letter..stating that due to the increased printing and postage costs, ads appearing in the magazine were one way to compensate instead of raising the subscription price, and the ads would be well chosen.
Last week my Farm and Ranch Living showed up, as did my copy of Country..with even more ads. I sent emails to them. I will not be renewing the majority of my subscriptions with them anymore. I will keep Farm and Ranch Living, and Far Guy really likes to read Reminisce. The others are history.
I hope that the leadership at Readers Digest finds that the worthless tacky ads were worth it. I hope that they have recouped the 760 Million that they paid for Roy's magazines. If they go belly up..I can't say I will be sorry. They bought out a good solid company with a broad customer base, then they advertised themselves right out of customers. That was one heck of a sorry business plan.
To tell you the truth, I hate all forms of advertising. If the Drug Companies spent as much on research and development as they do on ads we would have a cure for Cancer by now. If the big three car companies spent their ad budget on developing affordable alternative fuel vehicles they wouldn't need a bail out.
This time of year I am particularly irritated by all the ads..perfume..liquor..diamonds..beer..the luxury car with the huge red bow...all meaningless ads to me, I don't feel compelled at all to run out and buy anything in those ads. Perhaps I am a bit of a Scrooge, however I would like to hear "I 'd like to buy the world a coke" a few more times. That one did inspire me to become a loyal Coke customer:)
Sunday, November 23, 2008
If the weather holds cold with no snow the lakes will soon be perfect. Maybe the magic ice will arrive. Ice that only comes every ten years or so here in Minnesota, perfect ice for skaters on the lake.
The teenage girls, would check the ice everyday after school. "Mom do you think it is safe yet?" NO, not yet, be patient girls." Then one day I say they can skate but only along the shore, and only in front of our place, and only when I am there, watching... ready to haul them out should the ice crack and they were to take an icy dip. Magic Ice, sometimes this ice would then be defiled by icy rains and heavy snows, disappointment..patience was not rewarded its full due.
Once in a great while, for a few days it is the true magic ice. The magic ice you wait years for. After school the teenage girls run down the drive arriving breathless with excitement. "It didn't snow! Lets go MOM!" I have checked the ice, it is safe, they can skate out further in the lake today, maybe today will be the day that they can skate across the entire lake. The lure of being able to skate across this magic ice has a pull on them like Norwegians to a Lutefisk dinner.
The ice is clear, stretching out across the lake, clear and spooky. You can lay on your belly and shield out the light with your mittened hands and stare into the murky depths. You can see the weed beds, the submerged logs, ancient trees, and the black drop offs. The dogs would lick my face and rouse me from my under ice explorations ..as if to say "Pay attention to the girls." The ice would be like a huge frozen mirror, with a series of cracks and fissures that must be there every year, but only visible in magic ice years.
The girls would skate, sometimes chasing each other in a game of tag, sometimes hand in hand. Giggling, cheeks bright red, eyes sparkling. "Mom the ice is great! Can we skip school tomorrow? Ice as great as this shouldn't be wasted." "NO, you have to go to school, what kind of Mother lets their kids skip school to go ice skating anyway."
Only a few years was the ice perfect..to make it safely across the lake, I would watch them on the opposite shore, specks skating along. Specks growing larger as they skated toward me and the safety of home..on Magic Ice:)
Saturday, November 22, 2008
A neighbor Bob, takes his bike into town, he has a basket on the front of his bike. He uses the basket for groceries, I have seen him with three plastic grocery bags, one in his basket and one each on his handlebars. He is retired and has time so if his wife needs something from the store, he takes off on his bike. I have seen him out on his bike when it was below zero, on those days he wears a scarf around his neck and face and the tail ends of the scarf trail behind him as he pedals down the road. He rides his section of highway several times a week, he is one of those guys that cleans up a section of roadway, collecting the garbage that others throw out of their cars into the ditch. He and his lovely wife have a big blue highway sign that marks their achievement. I feel sorry for him when it rains, although I think he secretly loves to ride in the summer rains. Sometimes when I go to town I see his bike in the ditch, and no Bob, my heart skips a beat...and then I see him walking a mile away. The way some people drive now a days, I would never attempt to ride a bike on the roadway. Some amount of bravery must be needed.
Another elderly gentleman, is almost always seen on his lawn mower. It is his preferred mode of transportation, he has a covered homemade trailer that he totes behind him. I have often wondered, what is in that trailer?
Then there is the elderly gentleman who takes his tractor to church. The church he prefers to attend is about ten miles from his rural home. You have to be really dedicated to go to church by tractor, I would be tempted to just open the good book and read something aloud and call it good. Another small tid bit about this individual, he lives in a barn, he moved in there after his house burned down years ago.
Are all of these country gentleman, making the best of what they have? Or are they making a statement? Are they so poor that they cannot afford a vehicle? Has their old age given way to senility? Two are dependant on fuel, one is dependant on pedal power, non of them are required by law to license or insure their mode of transportation they do not even have to have a drivers license. I have a theory about these men...they are all probably really wealthy, because they don't get all caught up in the material side of life. I bet that none of them have a credit card in their wallet and their homes are paid for, in this day and age ..that is wealthy. Do you know of any elderly gentlemen or women in your area that use a different mode of transportation ? :)
Friday, November 21, 2008
Then Far Guy says "Honey you can't use the chain saw in the house." What? I am the only one that dusts. I let him use a chain saw in the house when he and Ron were building the stairway.
Now I can't use one?? It hardly seems fair. Oh well I probably wouldn't have been able to start the darn thing anyway. I could have used the Saws All, it is electric!
I HAD an electric chainsaw once, Andy (Son in law) bought it to cut down one lousy tree in their yard. When he was done with it, I bought it from him, there was something that intrigued me about an electric chainsaw. I think it was that dangling cord, the I will start every time, just plug me in..we can conquer everything together persona of that beautiful little tool that sucked me in. I was only limited by the length of my electric cord, a bunch of cords strung together and I was on the edge of the woods, trimming! I could venture into the woods, and I mentioned this to Far Guy, he said "Go For it" well the electric cords were a pain in the butt in the brush, I kept wrapping cords around trees and unplugging myself. I learned how to make a loopy knot in my cord to prevent this, but I was so limited.
One day I had a marvelous idea, I had a generator, and a three wheeler and a trailer..I could venture out further that way. Far Guy said "NO" That's it.. just "NO". So I fixed him, I just drug really big branches back to the yard and cut them up. When I asked for my own electric start generator, I was told, It was not necessary as when we need the generator there is no electricity. Well I know that! It would just make it easier for me to escape into the woods with the trailer ..shortly after that my chainsaw mysteriously broke, then it mysteriously disappeared. So I have to use one of his Chain Saws now, and they are not electric, and by the time I get the stupid thing started I don't feel like cutting up anything. It is probably just as well...but you have never felt such power..until you have had your own electric chainsaw:)
Thursday, November 20, 2008
This guy, has a dream, all well and good. I can support him in his dream, growing plants is a rewarding experience. Not everyone can do it. In an effort to help this guy out, I have been upstairs in my office going through my file cabinets. I sort into piles, recycle, the I have a dream guy, Judy and Marty. I am not sure if Judy or Marty want what I have saved for them, if not I will recycle those piles too. I have four file cabinets full of business related "stuff" to go through. Stacks of books and magazines, old issues of Horticulture Magazines. I am going to get the chain saw up there to saw apart the huge oak desk. It was one of those executive corner units in a fancy bank, I no longer need it. Far Guy needs a spot to set up his model trains.
It seems like closing down this business is taking FOREVER. I felt really good after I reclaimed the retail space for my garage, and I am totally loving having my own garage, with a remote garage door opener! I felt pretty good after the small greenhouse was out of here. I am hoping that the weather holds so that this greenhouse can make it's way down the road too. I am really, really, ready to cut the cord:)
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
What I found interesting about this photograph. The house, the kitchen must have been in the front part. It was a pretty large home. The woodpile and the wood cart, the water pump located conveniently outside the front door. The old car, we tried to zoom in on the license plate for a year..no luck with that. And of course the children sitting barefoot with a much loved and very patient dog:)
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
In the summer of 1979 I was injured in a freak one in a million accident ( a blog for another day.) I had to learn how to walk all over again. I was pretty gimpy for a long time, but thankful that I did not lose my leg..however it might have been a better outcome if I had.
I could not walk fast enough to keep up with a gurney and a patient any more after that. I struggled with lifting and walking with a patient on a backboard. The Doctors said I would only walk ten years, well those Doctors are all dead now, and I am still walking 29 years later. I do not walk or stand like a normal person. Over the years I have adapted. However I am easily tracked in the snow!
When we moved to the Resort in 1986, the Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department recruited Far Guy and I. Since I had been previously certified, I found myself in a special refresher program and regained my certification. I could still do patient care..I just could not RUN! I was still not able to lift a backboard and come out of a steep ditch with a patient. Well, there were lots of guys to do that for me. I just got to boss them around! At that time there was only one other woman on the department, and one other EMT. Rural areas do the best they can, with what resources are available. For a number of years out here that involved a "gimpy" EMT. We saved a few, we lost many. After a while your head gets so full of bad photographs, that you have to step back and say..it is time for someone younger to take over. The Chief knows if they have some huge disaster... a plane crash, a 100 car pile up..I will come and help. Far Guy and I could probably take the roofs off of some of those cars with a hacksaw and a bottle of water..we would just have to stop and rest more often:)
Monday, November 17, 2008
Being a volunteer EMT and Fire-woman on the local fire department located near a "hot bed of activity" I was able to hone my EMT skills like never before. The first rules are SRABCDE easy to remember...
Safety (No guns?)
Response ( I like screamers)
Airway ( The reason I like screamers..it is like a four-fer one)
Breathing ( Again..Screamers are doing this well)
Circulation (Probably is pretty good if they are screaming)
Disability ( Can I get them to stop screaming long enough to get them to squeeze both my hands, and can they push against both of my hands when they are on the bottom of their feet)
Expose..the scissors part, my very favorite!
First off EMT's scissors have a guard on them, they do not have pointy ends. I have never cut anyone, EVER, but I have cut off some interesting clothing. Designer Jeans, Snowmobile Suits, Cowboy Boots, Down Coats (very messy), all kind of shirts, pants, bras..etc. You see if you are unfortunate to have been in an accident, you are going to end up NAKED. I do not care if you are a man or a woman, sometimes I will leave your undies on..if you are wearing any. I do not care if you have holey underwear, I do not care if it was clean this morning..by the time I am working on you..they are most likely a little bit dirty. I can cut all your clothing off of you with five cuts..one up each of your legs to your waist band, one up each of your sleeves and the last one up the front of your shirt. We will then log roll you right out of all of your clothing..slicker than snot on a doorknob. I can then check out your back, your front and then I will cover you with a blankie..because I am not a heartless bitch.
Now the fancy EMT's in the big cities wear special pants, they carry their scissors on them. I was most often awakened by the pager, I would throw on a pair of sweats, tuck my nightgown in my pants and head out. The scissors were in the Jump Bag. On scene.. I always had to ask for what I needed, The Chief or Far Guy or Lattice's Beau would hand me whatever I asked for. I was pretty communicative and bossy at an accident scene. SCISSORS! was always met with a bit of hesitation..someone would eventually say "Give her the damn scissors or we will never hear the end of it."
The guys kind of made a pact, if any of them were in an accident, they did not want me or my scissors anywhere near them. Fortunately for them..I retired :)
Sunday, November 16, 2008
I met her online, through many emails and comments on each others blogs we became friends. It was my honor and privilege to meet this marvelous young woman, mother and writer in person. She introduced us to one her daughters, and we introduced her to one of ours. Sure there are twenty-five years separating these girls ages, but in a friendship you share..we share a common bond..being women and mothers. I truly enjoyed meeting her "little brown eyed girl" she smiles with her eyes just like her Mom!
Sometimes you never can tell how these meetings will go. Will I like her in person? Will she like me? Well if you stay real to yourself..and real to your readers it is easy..you don't have to "put on the dog" to make yourself better. You are already as good as it gets, improving little by little everyday, by the people you meet and the friends you make. My wonderful Son In Law did accuse me of "getting all gussied up." He knows me well and knows that I don't usually wear makeup ..except for really special occasions. Well, meeting a friend for the first time is a special occasion!
The Book: "P is for Peace Garden, A North Dakota Alphabet" is a treasure and will join my children's classics. I read it to Far Guy on our way home. We both learned things about North Dakota from the book. I highly recommend this book if you are a parent or grandparent that enjoys reading to children. You can visit Peace Garden Mama's Blog to read more about her, or visit her here to order a signed copy of her book. Tell her Far Side sent ya. :)
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
I bury stuff in the house all the time. I bury chew bones and balls, under pillows, in the couch cushions, in the bed downstairs, in the beds upstairs, inside shoes and boots. I know when Far Side has found some of my buried treasures too..I check my buried stuff every day, if it is not where I buried it... I know where to find it..you see Far Side is pretty dumb..she just tosses all my buried treasures into an old enamel pan in the living room. I just take my treasures right back out and bury them again. I can't understand what bugs her so much about my treasures. I sure wish she would have let me bring that really big honkin' bone in the house..let her try and fit that into her old enamel pan :)
Thursday, November 13, 2008
My solution: Get a horse and buggy! Yes, I know you are thinking she has gone off the deep end. Well horses as our main mode of transportation maybe our only hope.
We won't need gasoline or diesel fuel. We won't need new roads or bridges. We won't need the "big three" automobile makers. We won't be held "hostage" by foreign countries for oil. Car Insurance Companies will fail, but so be it. Traffic related lawsuits will be non-existent. (So long Lawyers) DUI's will be a thing of the past. (Horses only drink water) Traffic accidents will be few and far between. Fiery accidents with severe burns will be impossible.
We will need horse breeders, farmers to supply us with grain, hay and straw. Carriage and sleigh builders, harness makers, blacksmiths and veterinarians will be in great demand.
Seems like every household will need a hitching post or two, perhaps you could just use one of those SUV's luggage racks, or better yet just park it in the front yard and open the windows that way you could tie up horses on both sides. Everyone will need a small stable, maybe you could convert some of those fancy three stall garages. You could throw away your lawn mower and never have to buy fertilizer again in your lifetime. The "snow birds" are going to have to leave a little earlier than normal for their winter roosts, perhaps they could form Wagon Trains.
We will all have to make some minor adaptations, allowing extra time to get to work every morning...but just imagine the wind in your hair as you gallop along! Giddyup :)
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Yes, my brother is wearing a scarf! He was very prone to ear infections and would not keep a cap with ear flappers on, so Mom would tie a scarf on his head to keep the wind out of his ears. Keeping the wind out of your ears stopped all earaches, or so we thought. He was a pretty cute little kid..even with a scarf on his head. I have no idea why he is wearing a skirt, maybe I dressed him myself..just like one big doll.
My Mother's hair is all pinned up in pin curls. Sometimes they were called "spit curls." ( You can take that however you like.) Real spit..or maybe just a little bit of water on dry hair. You got pin curls at night or all day on Saturday so you looked good for church on Sunday morning. Your hair would be damp and you had to sit still and get your hair wound up into little circles that were attached to your head by two bobby pins that formed an X to lock the curl in place until it was dry. Then you put on a head scarf to cover up all the pin curls. All the ladies from the country would go to town on Saturday morning with their scarfs on. I guess I didn't realise it back then..but most of them were going out on a Saturday night..hence the curls! :)
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
I would like to tell you all something about "The Forgotten War" the Korean Conflict...it only became The Korean War by an Act of Congress in 1998. Forty- five years after it ended. 33,741 US Soldiers died there.
My Father served in Korea from February 1951 until the spring of 1952. I was born while he was in Korea. I did not meet him until I was six months old. He served with The Eighth Army, The 24th Division, The 5th Infantry Regiment.
My Father does not like to talk about the war, it carries too many horrible memories for him. However from time to time he has shared with me:
How cold it was in Korea during the Winter, but that he fared better than some of the southern boys. He was able to keep his toes from freezing at night by wiggling his feet all night long.
Earlier this evening when I called him to make sure I had his proper Division and Regiment, he said "You know I don't like to talk about it." I said I know that Dad but I found a web site where there are many Korean Vets that have shared their stories." He replied, "No one would ever write about those horrors."
To the best of my knowledge these survivors of the forgotten war have written their experiences as they recall them. Those who have fought have scars, some physical some emotional. The stories I read are very similar to what my Father has related to me over the years. They also thought who could ever comprehend and understand their stories, the horror of war. You can read about them at The Korean War Educator Freedom is not free:(
Monday, November 10, 2008
I remember when I learned to read in the first grade "See Dick, see Jane, see Spot run." It was like a whole new world opened up to me, a magical world. I adored my first grade teacher, the lady that taught me to read. However I was trapped in a household without the means to purchase books, other things came first like medicine and food and shoes. Sometimes I felt cheated, but then having no books made me a daydreamer. The books I would read in school would be the foundation of many of my hopes and daydreams. I developed quite an imagination. I used to daydream that I was kidnapped and taken to a huge house and locked in a room filled with books. I always lived happily ever after!
My Father is a reader, my Mother is not, my brothers and sister all read. Far Guy is not a reader, he reads the Newspaper, technical stuff and National Geographic. Far Guys Dad liked to read newspapers, and his Mother liked to read Christian books. Our girls are both readers, I read to them from birth, actually I read to Jennifer before she was born. I read to them most every night when they were little.
Is it the teacher that your child has when they learn to read that shapes part of their reading life? Will they carry that like or dislike throughout their entire life? How much is nature and how much is nurture, can you make up for the nature of a "bad" teacher unable to nurture her students?
These are all questions that I wish I had the answers for. Do I have a bone to pick with someone? YES I DO! A first grade teacher in the valley, the northern valley to be specific. I believe it all started on one of the first days of school, during reading time. He told the teacher "You are boring" he got sent to the principals office. He told me "It was the truth Grandma, it was really boring." I told him next time you think it's boring, don't tell the teacher..call Grandma. Apparently the teacher put him on her "list".. and is making school very difficult for the child. His bright sunny yet mischevious demeanor is being sucked out of him day after day. I am having a hard time staying silent..Far Guy is holding me back. I would like to go right into her classroom and tell her a thing or two or three. I am just an old Grandmother hen..trying to protect one of her chicks. You know the old saying you get more flies with honey than vinegar? I have to remember that I am so vinegary with this situation that I must stay out of it:)
Sunday, November 9, 2008
There are 60 private acres here, heavily wooded. My brother, my nephew, and my niece and Far Guy and I all live on the southern part of this section. To the east of us is the lake and the lake homes all lined up paying their high property taxes. To the west of us is corporate farming at it's worst. Hunting takes place in the area north of us, my Father and brother both have fancy schmancy deer stands that they built themselves. There are many deer runs that run the course through our woods. I like to walk these deer runs, and look for deer sign ..the tell tale poop. It is easy walking the runs, as the deer have a sort of super highway, avoiding dense thickets of brush. Perhaps some day before it snows too much I will take my camera on a walk.
My Father has been hunting deer since he was a child. There are seventy- three years difference in age between he and Madison. They seem well suited to hunting together, they were at the deer stand around six this morning. They reported that they have eaten most of their lunches and needed a potty break. They told on each other about a couple of naps that they both have taken already this morning. My Father says that Madison will be a good hunter someday. She is just in the learning stages..since this is just her second year of watching. She sits quietly in her chair, and doesn't even shuffle her feet my Father reports. They talk of guns and what kind of gun she should get to practice with before she takes the Gun Safety Class. They have decided on a 223 single shot. My Father seems happy to have a hunting companion, she is the only one with an interest in hunting so far. She also reported to me that she could sit quieter but her chair squeaks. They have a heater, Maddie calls it a fire buddy, you turn the knob, it fires up blue and then turns red. I loaded her up with some more snacks and they are back off to the deer stand. My Father reports, there was some shooting earlier this morning, but he figures most of the deer were out before this snow and they are now hunkered down in the swamps..but may come out this afternoon if the sun shines.
Maddie's Hunting Story from last year as she told it to me: Well, it is a lot of waiting and waiting and eating and eating, you need lots of snacks. You have to sit real quiet. And watch for deer. Then a deer came in, Great Grandpa said "Cover your ears" I covered them up, there was a loud boom. Then a big buck came in and I said "Shoot again" Great Grandpa said " I can't, I only have one license." The deer we shot was squirming on the ground, Great Grandpa cut it's throat, then he made a big cut right down it's middle, and gutted it, when Great Grandpa reached for the heart the deer groaned. Then we drove the pickup closer and I helped lift it up by one of it's legs to get it into the back of the pickup so we could go register it. When we got back here I let Chance smell of it. Then about four days later Great Grandpa brought me over some of the meat, yum was it ever good. I like deer hunting. And Great Grandpa calls me his "good luck charm. "
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Apparently he was, I walked the neighborhood looking for a mama cat looking for a kitten. I never found her. However, after talking with the next door neighbor, her daughter had a mama cat that had a litter of three week old kittens. I spoke with Tammy on the phone. We developed a plan. I would bring out the orphaned kitten, she would meet me outside and rub one of her kittens all over our kitten. I would wait outside. Success! The mama cat took the kitten as her own, she nursed it and gave it a proper cleaning. Tammy assured me that once it was accepted..things should go well. They did for about ten days. Tammy called saying I should come and get our kitten, she had diarrhea and the mama cat was weaning the rest of the litter anyway, she was concerned that our kitten was ill. We found out from Tammy who was a "cat person" that it was indeed a little girl kitten..all Calico Cats are female.
I drove out to Mapleton, ND and picked up our kitten. On the way back home I stopped by the Humane Society and a Veterinarian's Office...I told them I needed milk replacer and a bottle. They all advised that the kitten be euthanized. Well that absolutely infuriated me. I went home...more determined than ever to prove them wrong.
I mixed my own formula, milk, egg yolk and a little Karo syrup. I had watched my Grandmother mix this up in her kitchen, she said it would do the trick for babies. I was praying that it would do the trick with this kitten. Now for a bottle, I needed something with a little nipple or it was back to the eye dropper. I took apart the eyedropper and punched a hole in the end of the squeezy part, and found a travel size whiskey bottle with a neck in Far Guys bottle collection. I slipped this makeshift black nipple over the bottle and gave it a whirl, with some fine tuning..it worked..yes I tried it myself! Now would the kitten take it? She did!! The girls were happy to have the kitten back in the house, they helped to feed her, they made her go potty, they exclaimed very loudly "She is pooping" so I would know that things were still moving. After a couple of days her diarrhea cleared up..and she started to really grow. The girls argued and argued about a name. Jennifer who was in second grade wanted to name her "Whiskers " after a cat in her Weekly Reader. It seemed like a wonderful name to me!
Jennifer and Whiskers (3 weeks old)
Trica and Jennifer were so good about helping with Whiskers, they did all the after school feedings, Far Guy did 10pm , I feed her at 1am when I returned from work, Far Guy fed her at 6am, then I took over again during the day. It was a family effort. The girls never complained, they shouldered their part in Whiskers survival with a love and tenderness that they still show to all animals. Eventually Whiskers was litter box trained when she was about four weeks old. What a relief! She ate real cat food moistened when she was about five weeks old. I took her into our hometown Veterinarian when she was six weeks old and introduced her to him. He was surprised to see her, but was more than happy to check her out and declare her in perfect health. He could hardly believe it..well frankly neither could I.
Whiskers was a special kitten, she terrorized our old dog "Snuffer" she sharpened her claws on all the furniture, she ran up the drapes, she ran through the house ninety miles an hour. She stole our hearts..even Far Guys!
The down side was that she imprinted on just the four of us and Snuffer. She did not know she was a kitten. She thought she was part human/part dog/part tiger. As she grew older she rejected everyone but us. She stood guard at the front door ready to terrorize and hiss at anyone who entered. She wouldn't allow anyone in or out of the bathroom. She hid in the Peonies and would pretend she was a tiger in a jungle of leaves.
I am convinced that Whiskers was sent to us for a reason, she lived for a reason. Two little girls willed her to live, God allowed her to live. She helped us to recover from Snuffers death in 1985. She gave a little girl companionship when she needed it the most when we moved from the city to the country and away from all her friends. She became an inspiration for that little girl to pour out her heart into poetry and write about her feelings.
Whiskers gave us all courage to face situations that others would call hopeless. She was a fighter, from the day the girls found her in the gutter until the day she died in 1989. She lived with us six years. She died in the rocking chair at home very peacefully while I stroked her soft fur. She lived a good life, her mission must have been complete. I still have that rocking chair, I will never get rid of it, when I look at it I no longer remember a dying cat..but a spunky kitten that would hide under it and attack peoples feet as they walk by:) THE END My Daughter Jen has published the poem that she wrote about Whiskers it can be found here.
Friday, November 7, 2008
I am supposed to tell you six things you don't know about me. Well that could be many things.. I do better with themes..I pick clothing shopping as my theme!
1. I hate shopping for clothing, and will avoid it at all costs.
2. Since I hate shopping so much, I am not fashion forward. If it is comfortable and clean I wear it. I wear it out! If I find something comfortable..I send my daughter back to buy more in more colors.
3. I have one dress, it is Navy Blue. My cousin dropped it off for me one day! It is a hand me down. I have worn it once in four years.
4. My worst nightmare is having to dress for an occasion. I enlist my daughter's and my best friend Susan to help me shop..they have taste..and can usually come up with something presentable and comfortable.
5. If I am uncomfortable in an article of clothing or footwear I get really bitchy, and have been known to strip down in the car on the way home.
6. I watch Stacey and Clinton's "What Not to Wear" and see most of my clothing discarded into the barrel. (t shirts long sleeved and short sleeved, sweat pants, flannel lined snow pants, jeans, capris, water and wind repellant pants, and parkas)
Now who to tag..how about everyone! Or no one? Perhaps you should tell me how to become a better clothing shopper? Give it a try! Convince me why comfort isn't better than fashion:)
Maybe I could take my knowledge about dogs and apply it to cats. "Snuffer" our Scottie mutt mix had a litter of puppies when we were stationed in Florida. I assisted with the birthing, basically I was there for moral support, encouragement and bringing clean towels and chicken broth. Snuffer was such a good mom, her instincts took over, she knew what to do and when. Trica who was just one year old would join me in watching all the puppies. We watched Snuffer and her puppies for hours...it was better than television! Are dogs that different from cats in how they care for their young?
We would need something to feed this kitten..well I had milk in the refrigerator. Something to deliver the milk to the tiny, tiny mouth. An eyedropper. We warmed the milk and tried to feed this poor orphaned kitten, one drop at a time. It was a messy ordeal, the kitten was not very happy, it sneezed.. it choked..it tried to suck on the end of hard old eyedropper. We wrapped it tightly in a towel with only it's head sticking out, and were able to get enough milk down it's throat to calm it down. Either that or it was simply exhausted. It's head was wet we dried it off with a blow dryer. The girls found a box and a heating pad covered with a towel to keep the kitten warm.
Whew..so far so good, the girls were encouraged, so encouraged they wanted to know if they could keep the kitten. They bantered back and forth with Far Guy, they cried, they cried some more. Finally they got the best of him and he declared very loudly "Fine. IF it lives you can keep it." I was shocked, he doesn't like cats and now he says that the girls can keep this tiny little motherless creature? With those words he has sentenced me to becoming the mother to a cat. As if I didn't have enough to do already, but I am sure it will be dead by morning. Later Far Guy told me it would be a miracle if it survived.
I knew one thing, if food goes in.. something must come out. Everything must move along, if it doesn't we have a big problem. I took a towel and cut it into small squares, I used those scraps of towel wet with warm water to massage it's bottom much like the mother cat would have done..low and behold it peed...hooray for pee!It was a long night of eyedropper feedings and peeing. Everyone is asleep except of course the kittens new mother. I am exhausted, I am awakened to the girls hollering "Mom it's still alive, and we think it's hungry." Wonderful.
After I got the girls off to school, I got on the phone. Veterinarians in town are on my list. I explain the situation, orphaned one day old kitten..complete with umbilical cord. Well it was not good news. Call after call the result was the same..the kitten will die..It's not worth the effort..bring it in and we will euthanize it for you. I called the Humane Society after they opened at eleven..certainly they could send me in the right direction. I was told not to bring it to the shelter because they were not equipped to handle such a young kitten. DUH? I am not equipped either. Come on people please give me something..ideas, tips, hints.. a clue..anything. In total frustration I finally called the Veterinarian in our hometown ninety miles away. He is a kind man, he was sympathetic but said "Mother nature will take it's course and the kitten will die." I said "That's not good enough I need help, and I need it now." It is a good thing that this man knows me well, he offered one bit of advice..find a wet nurse. He was not optimistic and wished me the best of luck. ( 25 years later he is still our Vet.)
A wet nurse.. another mama cat that would accept the kitten as her own. Maybe. Locating it's own mother, was like looking for a needle in a haystack. I was already working on the haystack, I had instructed the girls to ask all their classmates at school, maybe someone had a mama cat, or actually had the proper mama cat.
I spent the rest of the day, feeding. peeing and pooping for that orphaned kitten. I stroked it, held it close and prayed. Most of my conversation with God went like this.. OK God..you sent me this kitten..now show me some way to help it live so my little girls hearts aren't broken. God are you paying attention??? More tomorrow:)
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Jennifer was eight and Trica was eleven, they were outside playing after supper at 5'o'clock. We were very structured back then supper was at 5 and there were no excuses for missing it. I worked nights and Far Guy worked days, if I left for work before five, supper was in the oven or ready to be reheated at the appropriate time. It was the only time of day that we could possibly be together as a family.
The girls came bursting into the house hollering "Mom, Dad come quick!" Not exactly the words that have a calming effect on any parents. "Look what we found !" I am afraid to look. Holy Cats! It is alive! Breathlessly they explain that Jen saw something in the gutter outside on the city street. They are grinning from ear to ear as they extend their treasure. A teeny, tiny newborn kitten. So teeny tiny it still has it's umbilical cord attached, it hangs sadly from it's wet cold little body. It is alive and squeaking. The girls look at me with those sad doe eyes as they say "Mom, you have to help it." Far Guy says "It's a goner." The girls burst into tears. They showed him exactly where they found the kitten and they all walked around the neighborhood searching for the Mama cat, who had obviously just given birth to the squalling little wet creature that I now held in my hands.
No Mama cat could be found, No one had seen a cat or kittens. No one knew of any pregnant cats either.
It was getting dark, Far Guy and the girls came back home. In the meantime I had dried off the kitten and warmed it up. It was so tiny, it weighed maybe 5 or 6 ounces, it was a kitten of three colors, black, white and tan. The girls wanted to know if I thought it was a boy or a girl? It really didn't matter, there was no way this kitten was going to live without a mother. The girls took turns holding it admiring how cute it was, talking to it softly saying "It will be okay, we will take care of you."
Time for a family meeting. How do you explain the laws of nature to two little girls that have fallen head over hills in love with something they found in the gutter. It certainly would have died if they had not found it. They were convinced that they saved it from certain death in the street. If they had left in there in the street untouched would the mama cat have come back for it? We will never know. Our problem at hand was impressing upon the girls that this kitty had ZERO chance for survival. Far Guy finally told them flat out "It will die." Which of course brought them to tears, which of course brought me to tears. The water works are really flowing now. the girls are sobbing, I am trying hard to bite the inside of my cheek to keep from sobbing with them. Far Guy reminds us all "We are dog people, have you girls forgotten that?" Yes, momentarily we have forgotten everything rational.
"Mommy can't you do something? It is so little and all alone." The girls were pleading with me to do something. "Could we feed it? It looks hungry." Could we? But what and how? I gently explained that I knew next to nothing about baby kittens. Sure we had barn cats on the farm but those mama cats would hide their baby kittens and did not bring them out to meet us until their eyes were opened, and they could walk and play and hiss. If we accidentally discovered a litter of kittens the mama cat would move them to a different hiding spot. I never got to see the how and what of the process concerning newborn kittens. . I am clueless..or am I ? More tomorrow:)
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
This photo was taken by my Mother in 1952. I was about 10 months old. It was taken on the farm I grew up on, the pasture is in the background. Note the old hay wagon with the high sides, and the steel wheels. I loved kittens and enjoyed chasing them around, they were barn cats and caught mice and dumb birds. My Mother never ever allowed cats or dogs into the house when I was growing up. I always thought it was a stupid rule, but followed it most of the time ..sneaking them into the house only when she wasn't looking.
My parents were a united front on this rule..with my Father saying "If you have a cat in the house it will crap all over, cats belong in the barn, that's where the cats job is." Then I would be treated to the very old story of how when you have a cat and a baby in the house..the cat might lay right on the baby, and steal the baby's breath away. How many of you were treated to that pleasant thought growing up? Far Guys Mom had a cat in the house when he was a baby..it did get in his crib..and it was thrown out of the house. Well maybe not thrown out, sent to a farm more than likely.
The neighbor kids had a very liberal Mother and they had a cat in their house. No babies just a cat. I loved that cat too. This was before commercial cat litter was available. They had a cat box behind the couch filled with sand. Sand is a unavailable resource in Minnesota in the wintertime, so they thought ahead and would keep buckets of sand in their cellar for use throughout the winter.
Far Guy and I are pretty much dog people, our girls always wanted a cat, we always told them when they got their own house they could do whatever they wanted. However one Autumn night that changed. More on that tomorrow:)
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
I am an Independent and follow no party lines. I refuse to be cow towed by any one party. I look at all the candidates individually. Honesty is something I value. Who is the most honest? Family Values is something else I look at. Who has the best family values? Since I was a Military wife for 26 years, I also look at who will best protect our soldiers, and their families. Who will protect our nation the best? Will anyone stand up for the Veterans? Who can best lead our nation?
I will cast my vote Sarah Palin's way, because I believe that she is the only bright part of our whole political system. I was not a bit excited about the election until she arrived on the scene. I like her "spunk" and the fact that she is a young wife and mother. 85% of the people of Alaska support her, and like her. I believe that she can bring politics back to the people. Will she be a winner? She already is in my book. That would be the book of a married, white, grandmother that lives in the sticks. Will she change our world, someday if her light stays burning and isn't snuffed out it could. I believe she has only just begun to begin to make a difference.
Things I won't miss are all the junk mail, the endless commercials, the political phone calls and all the mudslinging:)
Monday, November 3, 2008
My friend Susan wins the "most emails in her inbox award"..she has 800. Uffda..many are from me!I have a number of people that I communicate with on a daily basis. I keep several people in jokes to brighten up their day. I am awaiting the address of someone who loves jokes..and since he is living on borrowed time, I hope his address is forwarded to me soon.
I would like to categorise "my contacts" and I tried it once. So I could mass email. I found it really frustrating. It is easier for me to just consider the joke and the person. Since I am a person with many interests I have a wide variety of contacts. I get funny jokes, nice jokes, off color jokes and some really racy jokes. My email tells me a lot about many people. I know who is having computer issues. Who is sick, and needs some extra support. Who is missing..like Far Guys second cousin in Florida who I have not heard from since Sept 19th. I have her phone # and will call her in a few days, she was going to get high speed Internet, but might be having other issues. She has an older dog..so I am worried about Cricket too. If someone in my large family of Cousins is ill, I try to get the word out for extra prayers.
Far Guy handles his own email..I think he has three or four email accounts. I only have one and have had the same email address for eleven years now. Far Guy does forward jokes to me. Sometimes he will send something on too soon..and he hollers "email that back to me, I wasn't done with it yet and your computer stole it from mine." Far Guy does answer his own email..however I do answer some of it for him. If he is having a bad day and laying on the couch nearby he will dictate from his more comfortable lying down position. I let the recipient know that I typed but will also type everything word for word..including the cuss words and the sighs. One day Far Guys Sister called. she was wondering what in the world was wrong with him..as he was emailing all times of the night..and seemingly never sleeping. Well it was me...me and my insomnia.
For me, email is a good communication tool. I appreciate everyone who email jokes to me. They cannot even begin to imagine how they help me help others. Sometimes I will get a comment..you made my day! Sometimes a LOL. Sometimes..I am so glad you haven't forgotten me, everyone else has.. including my children. Sometime emails bring good news and sometimes bad news. I suppose if I had a cell phone I could text, I have never been one for phone communications of any sort, especially after I worked for an agency that sold magazine subscriptions over the phone. It qualifies for the worst job I have ever had in my entire life. However it did keep two struggling college students in food and warmth for the winter. You do what ya gotta do..for me I will stick with the email:)
Sunday, November 2, 2008
I had 386 email messages. I worked on them.. I filled up several friends mail boxes..I got some messages back..undeliverable mail..the mail box is full! I am down to 148 this morning..maybe tomorrow I can get it under 100. Well... I can hope.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
This is only my second or third attempt at digital scrap-booking. I am a Scrapper..but it took me two hours to get this one right. AND it is not perfect..I could tell you where it is not perfect..but maybe you won't even notice..HA..bet you are really looking now. As with any new program, it has its frustrations. Many times last night..I was tempted to whine to Jen..after all she gave me this frustrating program where I can't actually feel the paper. Where I can add so many embellishments I can overpower the page. Where I can change the background paper and color a hundred times. Too many choices. It is a program called Memory Mixer...I am sure there is some sort of tutorial online. Then again it might just take practice! :)