Friday, September 17, 2010

Hello to My Blogging Friends

Hello, all. I still try to drop in on as many of you as I can, but I don't always leave a comment, so I just wanted you to know.

I've had a wild week, but the outcome was better than it could have been. Sunday afternoon my mother had a slight headache, and after church she fell asleep. She slept a good while; when she got up, she passed out, and hit her head in the temple area, really, really hard. Then things got really crazy. I won't go in to all the details, but she was delirious, vomiting, and really in trouble. After an ambulance ride, two emergency rides and a hospital stay, she is finally back home, but none of the expensive tests really told anything. However, she'd recently had a medicine increased and the last time they increased it, she had problems, but they wouldn't listen, so she may have been sleepy and woozy from that medicine. When she hit her head so hard (she has a large, multi-colored goose egg and a bright purple eye nearly a week later), we think she gave herself a bad concussion.

I'm very happy that so many caring, competent people are willing to work in health care, but unfortunately not all of them are caring or competent, and the ones who are good are still swamped, plus Mom was completely disoriented, so someone, and often several someones, from the family was with her at all times. So the whole family is exhausted and stressed, but very glad we were able to be there to help her. She doesn't remember any of it... but we do. She's not completely 100% but definitely improving.

It's a fine line between listening to your doctor and getting your doctor to listen to you. It's a delicate balance between respecting the medical knowledge being expended on your loved one and being diligent to notice and rectify mistakes. I've gotten some incredible care at the hospital for which I am extremely grateful, but the hospital is no place for sick people. Still trying to sort everything out, in other words. But to all of the hard-working, caring, competent, cheerful, compassionate, skilled, patient personnel in all our hospitals, a very big thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Monday, August 16, 2010

"No Paparazzi, Please!"

Our little darling is learning to cope with constant photo requests. A girl's gotta get her beauty sleep!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Paradise Lost or Regained?

I live in what is commonly referred to as Paradise, i.e. Florida. After being gone for a month, I am truly enjoying being back home, even though August is not really Florida's shining moment. However, I was in another state, enjoying our very first grandbaby and in many ways that qualified as Paradise!

Our granddaughter is a calm, sweet, adorable little girl and we are head over heels in love with her. We've been doing everything possible to earn e-miles so we can fly up and see her frequently. These things take time. One of the things I've been doing is writing for pay. Unfortunately, that means I don't have much time to blog anymore, writing or reading.

I am sorry to neglect my dear blog friends, and I miss reading your posts and being a part of your lives. But I have run smack in to the old adage about there being only so many hours in a day. So all I can say is that I will do the best I can. Meanwhile, if anyone wants to, they can catch up with me a little more frequently by accessing my Associated Content articles, listed on the left top, with "clickable" titles.

As to recently, I spent a month in Indiana, 2 weeks of it helping out my daughter in law in the last weeks of her pregnancy and 2 weeks of it cuddling our new granddaughter. Another small vacation with my husband followed. Then I got sick. I am just starting to feel better, but now there are extended family health concerns to deal with.

On a good note, our youngest son went to Panama recently and had a wonderful week there, enjoying the beauty of the place and also attending a missions conference. He looks really good in his new Panama hat!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Our Precious Baby Granddaughter Has Arrived

I just got back from a very long day at the hospital, but all ended well. Our darling granddaughter is born, and she is just beautiful. 8 lbs 1 oz, 21" long and lots of dark hair, also extraordinarily long eyelashes! I appreciate any prayers that were offered on her behalf, because as it turns out, the cord was wrapped three times around her neck. But God is gracious and both baby and Mom, and my son the Papa, are doing quite well.

Any of you that are friends on Facebook can see a pic and name. I plan be in Indiana 2 more weeks, Lord willing, to hold our baby girl and spoil her parents. The baby is so, so sweet and calm. We are so blessed to have her here. Praise God, the creator of babies. 7/7/10

Friday, July 2, 2010

Waiting for the Birth of My Granddaughter

I am waiting for my first grandchild, a granddaughter, to be born. She is content to stay where she is at the moment and I am content too. It's so different with a grandchild. With my own children, I was much more anxious to hold them in my arms. Even though I long to hold my granddaughter, I am happy to wait until it pleases her to be held. I love her already, just as I did my own children. But while I just knew they would be perfect in every way, it's different with my granddaughter. It's not that I don't think she'll be perfect - it's that it just doesn't matter. She is. That's enough. She doesn't have to be perfect if she doesn't want to be.

I love that I'll get to play with her. I played with my own children, of course, but I also had so much raising and character-forming and teaching to do - I love that with my granddaughter I can just be. I'm interested to see what she will be like, but in a once-removed kind of way that brings ease with it. I even hope that her parents will discipline and guide her properly, because I know that will be best for her. But I like her just the way she is.

Even now, when the way she is, is unborn as of yet. When it pleases her to make her entry in to this world, I'll be waiting with open arms and uncritical approval. I'll be waiting, with time to play; with sympathy and a helping hand when she must work instead. I'll be waiting with pride, but not surprise, at her accomplishments. She has already brought me such joy!

I'm waiting for my granddaughter's arrival, ready to adore and enjoy her. I am a Grandmother and it is grand indeed.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Back Home Again in Indiana

Hello, all. I am in Indiana for a while, helping out before and after baby arrives. I'm busy and I don't have complete computer access, so I probably won't be able to visit much but I'll have a lot to talk about later!

I was born in Indiana, and even after we moved away, we used to spend a good portion of every summer in Indiana. There's a lot to love. I am enjoying being here again. The weather is gorgeous! People don't really appreciate it when they try to complain about the heat and I burst out laughing. But I can't help it. I can sit outside comfortably under a big shade tree on the soft grass and wave at everyone who goes by. Unlike sitting under a palm tree with the fire ants and the sandspurs, sweat pouring from every pore. Sometimes people do wave at home, though.

I am loving the fireflies at dusk. Magical! I have a wild urge to run around filling a jar with them to use as a nightlight.

I heard my first tornado warning siren today. Like a good little Hoosier, I ignored it. Later I learned they do this every Friday at noon. So as long as the tornadoes pick a different day, it's all good.

I'm also enjoying visiting with my son and daughter in law. But I've never been away from my husband more than a week before. But he'll come up after the baby comes.

And the baby is what it's all about!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Taco Pasta Casserole Recipe

 I've been tweaking this recipe for awhile, and I think I've finally got it perfected. Taco Pasta casserole is bursting with flavor, and is very easy to make. Served with a salad, it makes a great family fun night dinner. It is also perfect for a party or potluck dish. Here's what you need to know:

Taco Pasta Casserole

          1 1/4 pounds lean ground beef
          1/2 cup  chopped onion
          1 (4 ounce) package cream cheese
          1 teaspoon salt
          1 pkg. taco seasoning
          1 16 oz. box bow tie pasta (or shells)
          1 jar taco sauce
          1 jar salsa
          1 8 oz. bag shredded Cheddar cheese
          1 8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
          1/2 bag, at least, of crushed Doritoes

          1 cup sour cream (optional)

    1     Preheat oven to 350 degrees    
    2     Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions; drain.
    3     In a large skillet, brown beef and onion over medium heat; drain. Return to skillet and add cream cheese, salt and and taco seasoning mix (NO water) and simmer for 5 minutes.
    4     Pour salsa in bottom of 9x13 inch baking dish. Combine cooked, drained pasta with beef mixture and arrange on top of salsa; pour taco sauce over shells. Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.
    5     Remove dish from oven and top with combined cheeses and a liberal amount of Doritoes; return dish uncovered to oven to cook for 10 minutes more.
    6     Top with sour cream, if desired; serve and enjoy!

Monday, June 14, 2010

My Husband's New Blog

For those who have been interested in my husband's blog, which used to be called Neo Enunciator, he has changed the name. The link is the same as before, but the name is The Word is Truth. I am linking it here if you'd like to check it out. He has a new article up, and intends to keep up with it a bit better this time. It looks a lot nicer, too. He also has links on the side that might interest you. Feel free to stop over there and say hello. You can say I sent you!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Meanwhile, Our Beaches Are Still Pristine...

This picture shows Bunche Beach looking toward the Sanibel bridge. That big thing in front is a rock. A completely oil-free rock!

It's true, folks. The beaches in Southwest Florida are clean and pristine. White sand, blue skies, salt smell - NO OIL! NO TAR BALLS! NO BP LOAFERS - er, I mean workers. The only place in Florida that has any oil is the Panhandle. The Panhandle is light-years away from us. You guys don't travel as far to get to a different state as we do to get to the Panhandle.

The problem is, no one wants to come here, either. The economy already tanked, killing our construction business, but now the rumors of oil are killing our fishing, boating and tourism businesses. There aren't many businesses left. The tourism one, though, is actually "Death by Media." Kind of like when Dan Rather kept insisting that one of the hurricanes was headed straight for us when it wasn't anywhere near us at any time. Can't help wondering why the media is NOT attacking the current administration. Can you imagine if President Bush was still in office? I mean, first President Obama ridiculed the idea of offshore drilling. Then he announced that he was approving off-shore drilling. Immediately thereafter a disaster that makes the Exxon Valdez look like child's play, and what do we hear from the media about President Obama? What that's? You don't hear anything either? Interesting... Isn't the MAN MADE oil spill making landfall at the very same Louisiana that Hurricane Katrina went to? The Louisiana that makes its living from the waters? (I used to wonder how the verses in the Bible would happen, the ones saying that a third of the waters would be fouled and a third of the creatures living in the seas would die. That's in Revelations Chapter 8 Verses 8-11. We've seen one way it could happen!). 

But, back to Florida, present-day. We are looking with concern at the oil, of course, but chances are it won't come here until it has already snaked around to the East Coast and points north.This is because of the Gulf Loop current that swooshes everything down from Louisiana around the tip of Florida and up tight against the other coast. The oil will likely follow that path as well. Unfortunately, there is so much oil that it will probably pollute everyone at some point. But we might be the last holdout in Florida where you can enjoy nice, clean, white-sand beaches. Not only that, but there are specials! Now is THE best time to come to Florida for a lovely, oil-free vacation. Put it off too long and there will likely be a lot less variety in resorts and beach front hotels. Because if business doesn't pick up soon some of them won't be able to stay up and running. All because of rumor-based hysteria. And that would be too bad, because sunset on the beach should be beautiful and not tragic. In Southwest Florida, at least, you can experience a wonderful sunset on a beautiful, clean beach.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Happy Memorial Day Weekend & 21st Birthday of My Son

We had a fun four-day weekend! But the above darling little clothes actually have nothing to do with that. These are from a recent shopping trip extraordinaire! I am not particularly enamored with shopping. But I wanted to get something for the new little one heading our way. So when I got not one, but two $10 off coupons (one from J. C. Penney's and one from Kohl's), I decided to do a spot of shopping. As it turns out, both stores were having huge baby clothes sales! At Penney's I got the above "romper" for "Daddy's Little Princess," as well as a deep rose colored onesie and a soft bib. At Kohl's I found the darling red sweater/jacket over a polka dotted onesie, and it included a little pair of red pants with a pink flower on the back! The original prices would have made this about $45 - the sales made it more like $23 - with my two coupons, I paid roughly $3.00!!! Now that's the way to shop.

As for the weekend. Friday night hubby was able to get tickets to the dinner theater to see "Ring of Fire," the musical revue of Johnny Cash's music and life. We had seats right down front; the food was good (particularly the warm peach cobbler over vanilla ice cream), and the show was fantastic! My hands hurt the next day from clapping so much.

Saturday I spent the whole day cooking and baking for a special celebration that night. My youngest son, who spent the day playing video games with his father, turned 21 on Memorial Day. This year we celebrated on Saturday, so we avoided the unfortunate gaffe we made a different year. I don't remember which birthday it was, but we went all out and had a Pirate theme. His oldest brother took him to the movies and the middle son helped us make the front porch look like a pirate ship, put his gift in a little chest and buried it in the back yard, and wrote clues that sent him all over the yard to find it. In our enthusiasm, we even ran the Jolly Roger, procured at the flea market, up the flag pole. It wasn't until later that one of us realized it was actually Memorial Day! Oops! Anyway, this year we had a quieter dinner and party on Saturday. Sunday was nice, church and a quiet afternoon, while the son went to a party with his friends. And Monday, his real birthday, we all went to see Iron Man 2. Quite spectacular. I kind of liked Iron Man 1 better, but this one was definitely worth seeing on the big screen, and the guys liked it just as well as the first one.

I've also been exercising and losing weight (although this weekend was a bit off the reservation, what with the desserts at the dinner theater and the fried chicken and mashed potatoes and gravy and biscuits and apple pie and ice cream for the birthday party) - and oh, that reminds me, if any of you live far enough south to have a Publix, then you ought to know that for a limited time only they have brought back Tin Roof Sundae Premium Ice Cream, which is their best flavor EVER and which they inexplicably discontinued a few years back. I am also cleaning the outside of the house (and even, on occasion, the inside!), so that's what I've been up to, among a bunch of other stuff... how 'bout you guys?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

FUSION Speech and Debate Showcase

Hello, friends! It is an absolutely gorgeous day today and I am enjoying it immensely. I had a wonderful Mother's Day. I talked to all three of my handsome, precious sons, who bless me so much.

Hubby and I enjoyed a unique treat recently, when we attended the FUSION Speech Showcase. Fusion stands for "Floridians Using Speech to Influence Our Nation," and it is a Speech and Debate Chapter of the Institute for Cultural Communication. Don't worry, I had never heard of it either, until our nieces got involved. They've been going for months and working really hard; this showcase was a sort of "recital," but the kids had to audition to recite in it. The standards are very tough.

It's a little difficult to explain the evening exactly. The kids performed what some might call skits, but not exactly that. If you are familiar with Anne of Green Gables, you'll remember the gatherings where people would recite poems and things. It was more like that. The kids, either singly, in duos, or sometimes in a larger group, use their voices, facial expressions and body language to dramatize something. They don't use props or costumes; they act the material out. Sometimes they've written the material themselves, but not always. Sometimes the recitation was comical, other times dramatic. I laughed and I cried! This was a thoroughly enjoyable, entertaining evening; and I am pleased to say that there are some very impressive young people (in this chapter, home-educated) learning how to communicate compellingly!

This was also a fund-raiser for the Gabriel House, which is a local "Christian home for abandoned, displaced, underprivileged, and medically needy children." And I do mean home; this is a loving couple who sponsor children in their home, find adoptive homes for them, and often adopt the children themselves. They accept no government funds, and they are not an institution. But over the past 20 years they have been rescuing children, getting them medical treatment, seeing them adopted, and also loving them.

Altogether an excellent evening!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Doesn't Census 2010 Seem Just a Little Bit... Odd?

Every decade, a census is taken in the United States, so Census 2010 came as no surprise. But doesn't this year's census hoopla seem a bit weird?

The government reminds me of the mother of a spoiled, recalcitrant child, pleading, cajoling and threatening in the hopes the child will do some small thing she wants. The latest constant reminder is that mailing the form only costs the government, and therefore the taxpayer, 42 cents, whereas having someone come to the door costs $57. They tell us this via expensive commercials and numerous mailings - our humble home has received no less than four mailings regarding the well-publicized census. First, we received a letter telling us it was coming. Next, it came! Not long after arrived a letter informing us it had come. What is this, the Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes?

Long after we had mailed it back, a duplicate census form, slightly different from the first, arrived, also warning us we must fill it out by law. I know personally of more than one confused citizen who dutifully mailed back both census forms. So of course we all know the next step in that parade. But they are all elderly and live in Florida, so perhaps this is not a country-wide phenomenon.

The 2010 Census is pretty funny. It wasn't at all surprising that Census Day 2010 fell on April 1st, otherwise known as April Fool's Day. As a matter of fact, all the questions, which most of us filled out in March, refer to April, as in "How many people lived in your house on April 1, 2010?" Sort of a census for Trekkies - future tense in the past via wormhole, or something. Without a rip in the time/space continuum, I couldn't say with absolute certainty, so I just guessed. Even though everything was dumbed down, it still managed to be confusing, so guessing was really all that was left to me. For instance, I was asked if anyone who lives here sometimes lives elsewhere, such as prison. Well, no, not on March 25th; but who knows what might happen by April 1st?

The questions are in English and Spanish, and given the April Fool’s Day tie-in, I was tempted to fill out the Spanish side, answering None of the Above to the question inquiring whether  I am Spanish, Latino, or Hispanic. But they don't consider this question related to race. The race section is separate, and very specific until it suddenly reverts to "other." I didn't think it was politically correct to be obsessed with race any more. I don't understand how that knowledge will help them "determine allocation of federal funds, as well as seats in the House of Representatives," which is the stated purpose of the census.

But at least it was short. Just ten questions. Per person. In two languages. In 2000 the census was only seven questions. It was also estimated to take ten minutes. I guess we're getting slow. Of course, in 2000 they also boasted that “some day, there may be no need for paper census questionnaires: Census 2000 will be the first in which many households can respond online." So maybe, since we all got computer savvy in preparation, we have forgotten how to fill out paper forms. Or maybe we're just disappointed. Doing a census with pencil and paper, then mailing it back by snail mail is a bit like pulling out a stylus and clay tablet these days.

That's probably why the statement on the back, from the Paperwork Reduction Project, is my favorite part. Say the form takes you more than the allotted 10 minutes. Perhaps you are trying to think whether any of your household is likely to be visiting the prison on April 1st. The Paperwork Reduction Project gives us all a place where we can officially complain. Any comments regarding this "burden" estimate should be reported to them immediately. No doubt they will send out a letter apologizing. Or maybe two.

Personally, I think the whole problem could have been solved by mailing out ONE census form with a notice prominently displayed, informing each recipient that if they failed to mail the form back by a certain date, they would personally be fined $57.00, collected by the policeman sent to their house to enforce the filling-out process. Of course that might have completely changed the argument over who gets to be Person #1!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Beware the Grandparent Scam

I don't know if you've heard about the Grandparent Scam, because although it has been around for a while, the victims are pretty embarrassed and don't really want to talk about it. I'm not sure really why they are embarrassed, though. This scam doesn't tempt by greed; it preys on the love a grandparent has for their grandchild. My grandchild is still, as they say, "in the oven," and I would already do absolutely anything for her!

Anyway, the scam involves a frantic phone call from a young person to an elderly person; when the older person answers, the younger says "Grandpa?" and leaves them to say something like "Is this Johnny?" thus providing the name. Then the game is on. Supposedly there has been a car crash in Canada in a rental car; the beloved grandchild will go to jail if they aren't wired X amount of dollars within, say, an hour and a half; they are depending on Grandpa to save them! It's all rushed, panicked, and often Grandpa can't hear real well to boot. Plus the line gets conveniently crinkly if the grandchild is supposedly answering anything that would identify them as completely ignorant. If this ruse doesn't work fast enough, the a psuedo-lawyer comes on and really turns the screws. Oh, and they are always begged not to tell "mom and dad" because it would only worry them.

I know personally of two people who have fallen for this and I think others need to be alert. Even in the remote chance this is real, your grandchild can afford to wait until you verify the information. And trust me, chances are that it is NOT real.

So that's my Consumer Alert for the day. I have one month to "show the doctor what I can do" in the way of exercise and other health measures, before he begins monkeying with my medicine, so I'm off to the races, so to speak. I have a million things to write percolating in my head and eventually one of them will swim to the top, so I'll be back then.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Nina, The Pinta and a Nephew

I have discovered that chicken pox in adulthood is nothing to sneeze at. (Hence all the Benadryl. Ha, ha). But I am slowly recovering. Meanwhile, we took our youngest son, the history buff who loves Sailing Ships, down to the Yacht Basin to tour the replicas of the Nina and the Pinta. (Some day they hope to add a Santa Maria).
 Ship builders in Brazil built the replicas with authentic hand tools. The Nina is built to size; the Pinta is a bit bigger and can be rented as a party boat. As long as you and your guests are not prone to seasickness. Like I appear to be. I could stand on the deck of the Pinta, but when I climbed aboard the smaller Nina with the slanting deck, gently rocking in the gentle surf, and looked up through the swaying sails - well, I had to get off, so I wouldn't embarrass myself. My husband and I enjoyed the tour. Our son is considering signing on as crew!

Even though I was up until 5:00 a.m., I was still able to go to church on Resurrection Day! I was forced to wear pants, which was very weird, but I was happy to be able to worship that day, of all days. In the afternoon, one of my sons brought me an Easter Lily plant. It is a beautiful plant and a thoughtful gift, which I really appreciated.
On Wednesday evening, we got a call that our 21 year old nephew had been taken to the hospital and was about to go in to surgery. He was delivering food for a Chinese restaurant and the people he delivered to,  pistol whipped him, robbed him of everything, put him in a closet and shot him, then left him there. The surgery was to remove the bullet and to put a plate in his arm, which was so shattered they couldn't piece it together again. They have not caught the perpetrators yet. My nephew is in a lot of pain. But he is alive, and for that we are rejoicing.

Two of my son's missonary friends died within a few days of each other recently. One man of heart problems; he leaves a wife and four year old daughter. A young lady, young and vibrant and seemingly in perfect health, died of eclampsia after delivering her 4th child prematurely. She leaves a husband and 5 year old twins, a 2 1/2 year old and the newborn. It has not been easy. Life is precious and precarious; Praise be to God that because of the Resurrection of His Precious Son, Jesus, we never have to grieve as those who have no hope. As He says in His Word, "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints," (Psalms 116:15) and "For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." (Philippians 1:21). These are good verses to remember.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Itchy Scratchy

I wanted to write about the lovely vacation we had and various things related to it. But alas, I am suffering from - well, something itchy. I woke up with a painful welt on my chin. We thought it might be a spider bite, but it spread some, and since the biggest welt-type thing was over a nick from a fingernail, I was worried it was another staph infection. It spread more -a lot more - pretty much everywhere, with itchy, oozy welts ranging in size from dime to silver dollar, and it was intensely itchy. We had done a lot of yard work, "fighting off" the overgrown jungle (err, I mean, lot) next door from eating our yard. So maybe it was poison ivy, oak or sumac. I know there were various vines, etc. where we were working. But then it spread more, only mostly in small, fluid-filled blisters. Besides serious itchiness, I also began having severe headaches and ennui, just total lack of energy. Oops, I once again thought I knew what it was.

I have kind of been proud of the fact that our whole family is evidently immune to chicken pox. Neither I nor my husband have ever had it, and none of our three sons, although I know they were exposed to it, ever contracted the chicken pox. So when my Mom thought she might have shingles, I went over to give my two cents worth. She did indeed have shingles. You can not get shingles from someone with that ailment, but you can get chicken pox from someone with shingles. And I am fairly certain that is what I've got. The doctor's nurse, going by her experience with her children, is sure that's what I have. The doc, because of the welts, leans toward poison ivy. My Mother, who feels awful about it, thinks I have both.

So I take copious amounts of Benadryl, which usually knocks me out cold. I have steeped in enough oatmeal in the form of Aveeno bath soaks to make someone a fine breakfast. I use the very strong (downright scary, if  you read the pamphlet) ointment the doc gave me a prescription for. I keep the house cold as advised. And I try sooooo haaarrrddd not to scratch.

So the posts about vacation and other, far more interesting things will have to wait a bit, until I am feeling a little less sorry for myself.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Donkey Basketball - A Blast From My Past

I found these pictures recently that brought back a half-forgotten memory. In the mid 1970s when I was young teen, donkey ball was a popular way to raise funds for school, church and civics organizations. I had heard of donkey baseball and thought it sounded like fun, so when I was asked to play a game of donkey basketball, I jumped at the chance. I don't remember what we were raising money for; I just showed up on the appointed day and hopped on a donkey. Tickets had been sold, though, so a merry crowd, anticipating fun, filled the school stadium we were playing in. What a wild, raucous game we played! Donkeys are notorious for their independence. When they don't want to do something, they... don't. I was spending so much time trying to coax my balky beast to go toward my basket rather than the opponents, that I didn't notice the referees encouraging and even rewarding the donkeys for unsportsmanlike conduct such as sudden stops, or bending their heads down so the rider slid off. I enjoyed riding contrary, spirited horses, so I had no trouble staying on my donkey; as for getting him to go where I wanted him to, that was a little trickier.

I admit I thought Donkey sports, which have been around since Depression days, had gone the way of the leisure suit, but I discovered that they are provided still, by small,family owned businesses that train the donkeys and truck them around to fundraisers in small towns across the USA. Despite the concerns of animal rights activists, the donkeys are firmly in charge; the referees keep an eye on things as well. Owners of the donkeys claim there have been no injuries to donkeys although a few humans have had minor injuries. Nowadays the riders have to sign waivers, take a short class, and wear helmets and pads, but still the games are played strictly for laughs. This quirky, charming bit of Americana may not be around much longer. I  could find only three companies across the U.S. that still provide these games. What about you? Any Donkey Ball in your past? Or future?

Monday, March 8, 2010

March Came In Like a Lion...

Will it go out like a lamb?

(Photo taken at Lion Country Safari in Florida)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Highly Recommended Article

There is an article here that I think some of you would really like. It is called "The Healing of a Nation," and it is written by my husband. Let me know what you think.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Childhood Songs Like "The Cannibal King"

Steviewren was talking about all the songs we used to learn as children and wondering whether anyone still taught them to the new generation of children. That got me thinking about the songs I loved (and learned from) when I was young.

Songs are such a wonderful way to teach things, all kinds of things. I was taught the books of the Bible with a song, and I still sing it when I am looking for chapter and verse. I learned scripture to song, like 1 John 7 & 8, and I learned Bible stories too. Teaching phonics to my youngest son was so easy once I found "Sing, Spell, Read and Write" by Sue Dickson. I can't recommend it highly enough, even if you only use it to teach the sounds of the letters to your child. My older sons loved the Rappin Rabbit's Safety Habits tape, and learned ways to handle scary situations.

But some songs are just for fun. Did anyone else sing "Kookaburra" or the one about the "little green frog, doing what he oughter"? My sister always liked the Prune song ("No matter how young a prune may be, they're always full of wrinkles..."). Two of my favorites were
"The Cannibal King" and "The Crocodile Song." For your amusement, the lyrics are below. Now,Steviewren, what's this about the Abba Dabba Monkey?

The Cannibal King
With the Brass Nose Ring
Fell in love with the dusky da-a-ame
And every night
By the pale moonlight
Across the lake he ca-a-ame
He hugged and kissed
His pretty little Miss
By the shade of the bamboo tre-e-ee
And every night
By the pale moonlight
It sounded like this to me-e-ee
Harrumph, (smooch, smooch)*
Harrumph, (smooch, smooch)
Harrumph Diddily I E A A A**
Harrumph, (smooch, smooch)
Harrumph, (smooch, smooch)
Harrumph Diddily I E A
Bump Diddily A A

*make smoochy, kissing noises
** pronounce each letter separately

The second song is called "The Crocodile Song"

One fine summer day
A lady sailed away
On the back of a crocodile
"You see," said she, "he's as tame as tame can be,
I'll ride him down the Nile."
The croc winked his eye
As she bade them all goodbye
Wearing a happy smile
By the end of the ride
The lady was inside
And the smile on the crocodile!

What songs do you remember?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Uck! I'm Sick Again...

Perhaps all the soup, kleenex, antibiotics and cough drops triggered this memory from my childhood. We keep passing one illness after another around our family, and this one is the worse yet, at least for me. Well, for this go-round, I mean. But it's not as bad as when I was a kid.

One day when I was 8 years old (in 1969), I got to feeling poorly at school. I don’t remember anything about that morning, although I know I couldn’t have ridden my bicycle like I usually did because something needed repairing, so my Mother must have driven me that day. It was too far to walk.

Anyway, the first thing I remember is sitting in class, feeling odd. I remember looking around and thinking nothing looked right. The room seemed dim, my head ached, my lessons didn’t seem to make sense, and I finally just put my head down on my desk. When the teacher came over to check on me, I asked, for the first time in my school career, if I could go to the nurse’s office. I normally loved school and was enthusiastic about my lessons, so the teacher gave her permission right away.

I went to lie down and the nurse called my mother to see if she could give me aspirin. I spoke briefly to my mother, reassuring her that nothing was seriously wrong, the nurse gave me aspirin, and I rested. The nurse chatted with me a bit, and I didn’t feel too badly, so when I heard the lunch bell, I told her maybe I should try eating something and see if it helped.

I went and found my class, got my tray of food, and sat down. But again I began feeling very odd, and I couldn’t eat after all. The lighting seemed strange. The noisy cafeteria sounds dimmed, too, with everyone looking distant as if I was at the other end of a tunnel. Nothing hurt, but I felt disoriented, so I went back to the nurse’s office to lie down some more.

I have always tried not to be dramatic or burdensome when I didn’t feel well, but when the nurse looked my way and I smiled at her, she said she was going to have to send me back to class, since I didn’t have a fever and didn’t seem to be so very sick. She may have thought I was just trying to get out of working. But I stayed put, and she said I could stay a few more minutes.

Before many of those minutes had passed, I suddenly became very ill indeed. The nurse thought I had brought up what troubled me and all would be well. But then I got sick again. And again. Increasingly violent episodes came in waves, but when the nurse called my mother, no one answered. Finally she decided I would have to be taken home. The only person available to take me was the principal of the school.

Our principal, like most I suppose, had the reputation of being very strict and stern, and I was a little bit afraid of her. She came to collect me, but I could tell she didn’t really want to take me home. As we got in her large, fancy, very new car, she commanded me not to be sick in it. I don’t think she was trying to be mean, maybe just trying to lighten the moment, or distract me. Plus I suppose she truly did not want me to be sick in her car. Somehow I managed not to be, and soon we were pulling up in my drive. However, no one was home.

She was unsure what to do, but I told her I had a key, and besides, I was sure my Mother would be home before long. She was hesitant, but I assured her I’d be fine, so she left me to go in and put myself to bed.

My mother came before long; she had taken my bicycle to be repaired as a surprise for me. She was surprised to find me there, sorry she had not been there to greet me. She stayed with me for most of the night, but nothing she did helped. I could not keep any medicine down, not even so much as a sip of water. I didn’t eat anything else that day, but still I was violently ill over and over again.

The next day was a Saturday, so the clinic wasn’t opened. My mother called the emergency doctor’s number. We didn’t have 911 then, of course. The doctor told her to meet him at the clinic. I was too weak to walk, so my stepfather carried me out to the car. When we got to the clinic, no one was there, but right away a nurse pulled in, unlocked the door and turned on some lights. The doctor arrived while she was leading us to his exam room. He looked me over, asked questions, and when I got sick once again, choking and gagging on green bile, he said I was throwing up the lining of my stomach. He was concerned and decided to do a spinal tap. The nurse stripped my clothes off, laid me on my side on a small table, and painted my back with mercurochrome. Then she began curling me in to a ball, telling me to pretend I was a squirrel. She curled me tighter than I thought possible, and then tighter still. Then the doctor took a very long needle and inserted it somewhere in the vicinity of my spine. He withdrew spinal fluid, put it in a little vial, and showed it to my mother. It was cloudy, which confirmed his fears.

I had meningitis. The doctor told my mother to take me straight to the hospital and he would follow. He said not to go anywhere else, and definitely not to allow me to eat or drink anything at all.

At the hospital I was put in an isolation room. This meant a private room, of course, but it had very little in it. No t.v. Nothing that couldn’t be burned or disinfected after I left. No one, including nurses, could come in without scrubbing, putting on paper masks, gloves, gowns, and paper booties. I couldn’t have visitors, other than one short visit with family only in the evening, and they had to gown up as well.

I was hooked to an I.V. since I couldn’t have so much as a sip of liquid. Nothing by mouth. The nurses came in sometimes to take my vital signs, which they wrote on their arms. Mostly I was alone. I was scared. So was my mother. She held it together until she got home, where my poor stepfather, who had heard nothing for hours, saw her come home without me. When he asked where I was, she burst in to tears and sobbed for awhile before she could tell him what was going on. He was afraid I was dead.I didn’t find out about that until much later.

After a few days, I could have liquids. The trays were styrofoam, so I would draw pictures on them to put in my window. Of course, they had to be burned eventually.

Finally I got to go home, and after a while at home, I was able at last to return to 4th grade. Since I was already doing 5th grade work, I wasn’t behind on my school work, and soon the frightening incident was behind me.

Only there was one footnote; about 5 years later something awful happened that made my mother cry all over again. She sold Avon at the time, and had a customer who was also a friend. The customer had a 9 year old daughter that she doted on. One day the girl got sick; her mother took her to the doctor, but he said it was only a virus, and sent her home. That night the little girl went to bed, and when her mother checked on her later, she was dead. Of meningitis. So I am very grateful to that doctor who was willing to come in on a Saturday, do a spinal tap in his office, and save my life.

I trust this illness is nothing like so serious! But I'll sure be glad when it, too, is just a bad memory.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Paradise Regained

Hello again, I am fine. Welcome to Mr. Putz; you are welcome to visit my blog and thank you for leaving a comment. To all my friends, I have been reading your blogs, but the lazy way, through Google Reader, so I can’t leave comments; I will try to soon.

I did decide to plant my poinsettias. After a very hot, and I do mean VERY hot fall, we proceeded to break records with our cold stretch (which for us meant temps in the 20s). Before you smugly point out what a wimp I am, may I remind you that we do not have heat in our house, other than one tiny space heater (it's really cute, though, and looks like a little fireplace). I even had to break out my one and only pair of pants! Now, however, the weather is what I call "why I live in Florida weather." Surely you did not expect me to stay in the house blogging about it, did you?

Besides gardening and trying to save what's left of my poor, scorched plants (don't worry, Rosezilla is fine. She's amazing. I mean the rosebush, not me), I have also been painting, since hubby is about to launch another project and the boards needed painting first. He's going to be building a storage closet, of sorts, and he's going to close in my back porch, put lattice up to make it pretty and make a door. Then I can leave my back door open without getting varmints like raccoons, possums, and every stray cat around in my kitchen.

I've been reading "Jane Eyre," which was a Christmas gift, and enjoying it very much. Gonna put the PBS show of it with Ruth Wilson playing the lead on Netflix. I have also been exercising, as promised.

At Bible Study we are in the book of James. I love the book of James. My boys memorized it for school, so since I was their teacher (homeschool), I learned quite a bit of it too. There is so much good stuff in there! A lot of admonition, instruction and comfort. I love James 1:17 "Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow" (New American Standard version).

I have been writing some, but mostly for AC; in part because they are donating money to a relief organization (IRC) for the articles I write about Haiti. Living in SW Florida, we have Haitian neighbors and friends, church family and orphans being cared for by other friends; we have, like most of the country, been trying to do what we can to ease the suffering in whatever small way we can find to do it. One young girl, here on a medical visa, was supposed to go back in January. I am so glad she was here and not there. She's such a darling. The young friend who had the recent motorcycle accident, and has EMT training, was asked to go with a small medical team, but she was heartbroken to realize she was not healed enough from her accident yet to stand for very long. (It turned out both ankles were sprained and she had a hairline fracture on her tibia, so it was a little bit worse than I had first been told).

Another friend is adopting a little child from Haiti. I have been told there were over 900 adoptions that were weeks away from completion when the earthquake hit. First they were all thrown into turmoil, but now they are expediting as many as possible. I leave you with a darling picture, from the Joint Council on International Children's Services, of a caregiver from a Haitian orphanage with her young charges while they waited at the airport for their exit visas to be expedited. 

Monday, January 4, 2010

Let the Happy New Year Begin!

(I see they have changed the way they do images on here, and it is messing me up! But I'll soldier on.) Christmas was warm and my roses were blooming their little hearts out. It is cold now, supposed to be between 30something and 50something all week. They said we haven't had 12 consecutive days below 70 degrees since 1935, but we might break the record over the next two weeks.

My head cold is nearly gone, for which I am grateful. I didn't get bronchitis this time, but I couldn't sing Christmas carols without coughing. My husband sings so beautifully, though, that I just enjoyed listening to him instead. (See my Schnozz, up above? Isn't he a hoot? He was a gift, and I love him to pieces.)

Christmas was lovely. I still have the poinsettias across my table, but I am trying to decide whether or not to plant them. I keep hoping I can keep one growing long term. I have a new location in the yard to try out. As for the previous post, all the things say Merry Christmas, obviously, in the following languages: Spanish; German; English; French; Hebrew; Swahili; Russian; Thai; Slovak; Bulgarian; Greek; Italian; Estonian; Portuguese. No, to my regret I don't speak all those languages. Only English, and a smattering of Spanish. I borrowed these from my youngest son's Facebook page. He's a missionary. No, he doesn't speak all these either, although he knows some German, and has been to Greece and Bulgaria.

Christmas was lovely and full of family, beauty and good food. And good news! Thanks to our oldest son and his lovely wife, I am going to be (or rather, as my husband pointed out, I already am!) a GRANDMA!!! The baby is due in late June. And we are EXCITED!!! I've been practicing on all the babies at church.

Our middle son sent us to see Avatar at the movies as one of our gifts; we saw it in 3D, naturally. Although I did not care for some of the language, other than that I loved the movie! It was beautiful, actually stunning, to watch, and an entertaining story as well. Pure escapism with a visual element that was amazing!

Well, for some reason I always do spring cleaning right after the new year, so I gotta get busy. Also, I didn't make resolutions this year as I have not yet gotten the good out of last years' so I will be Gardening, Exercising and Writing. Oh, one more thing. My hubby set up a google reader for me, so I can read all your blog posts in one central location a lot sooner. The only down side is that I can't comment there. I am reading your things, and as soon as I can, I will swing by and say hello. May God Bless us this year and I ask that He give me an even deeper love of and obedience to His Word.
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