Thursday, July 31, 2008

I'm a dingdanged computer genius...of sorts...

Know what I did today? Go ahead, ask me...I have been in the computer office most of the day. And I'm going to tell you how I spent the day in just a bit. But first. After going out side to a perfectly hot horrid day, (83 by 8 am humidity was gaggingly high) which turned my butt right back around to enjoy the cool and so I did a little housework. For breakfast we had dried sausage (you have to be from the South I think, to appreciate this...)home made Belgium Waffles and I put on a fresh pot of coffee. The pot of coffee I had put on at 5:30 was long gone by 10. You know, we're up before the chickens, and they're not quite as stupid as I was lead to believe. We don't have any chickens, that would be taking the farm life a little to far to suit me. But our neighbors who live in the vicinity of Angelus Road do and we heard the roosters getting up and announcing sunrise somewhere around 7:30. They announced again around noon, just in case you didn't get that first message. When they began to cackle and crow at 3 I was well away from them, sitting at the computer. Earlier this week my pal Lee got all smart and put up a playlist. Lots of my pals have a play list. For anyone who doesn't know what a playlist is, it's a music box. It's a mighty fine little musicbox of which I am most proud. When Lee told me how easy it was I began to, I didn't whine...well not exactly...I told her I'd tried once before but for the life of me couldn't get the darn thing to work. So she sent me the instructions, step by step instructions...two pages of instructions. Single spaced. Font 8. As I'm reading this over I keep hearing her say "it's really simple, just time consuming." Yep, it was time consuming. As I mentioned, we had breakfast this morning, and it's a good thing, because I never did get around to fixing supper. Or lunch. Mac wandered in every little bit and asked me if I was done yet and I think the glares that went his way soon convinced him to fix a sandwich and leave me alone. The hardest part was trying to remember all my favorite singers, songs and the titles (or at least a close proximity). I found out that there's more than a little red on my neck. I actually love Country Music...and when I found Roy Clark's (of Hee Haw fame) rendition of Malaguena I nearly fell over! It is the most beautiful version I had ever heard and my lp which it was on has been gone for years! He plays a fine 12 string guitar, I know because I once saw him play. It was the first time I had ever heard Malaguena by him, it was 1977, I believe. You know it's on there! So putting this music box together has brought back many memories for me and even though I'm tired, it's after 11 pm, I just had to tell you about it. If you don't have one, you must get one...well, you don't "must" but you should. We can compare music tastes. I won't laugh at yours if you don't laugh at mine.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Susie Q's Game


Sport: baseball

Yatzee Color: yellow

Movie: Ghost

Broadway Play I've Seen: The Diary of Anne Frank

Song: Sunrise, Sunset from Fiddler

Favorite City Visited: Charleston, South Carolina...tho I actually lived there for awhile

Favorite Foreign City Visited: London, England

Book: Thy Servant a Dog as told by Boots (Rudyard Kipling)

Children's Book: The Boxcar Children

Classic TV Show: The Andy Griffith Show...of course!

Recent TV Show: The CLOSER

Actor: Cary Grant

Actress: Dame Helen Mirren

Perfume: White Witch

Food: good old home cooking like chicken and dumplings, veggies of all sorts...real food

Dessert: Boston Cream Pie

Chain Restaurant: KFC

Local Restaurant: The Smokehouse

Car: Truck actually...candy apple red Chevy Montana...crew cab...uh huh yes ma'am, now that's a vehicle!

Condiment: mustard and honey...together or separate...

Kitchen Appliance: dish washer....

Home Appliance: coffee pot

Beauty Product: Oil of Olay...

Favorite Clothing: warm jammies given me by my sister Toni after my heart surgery

HGTV Show: Sell This House

Food Network show: Paula Deen

Author: David Balducci and Rudyard Kipling

Male Songwriter: Neil Diamond
Female Songwriter: Dolly Parton

Holiday: Christmas

Christmas Ballet: The Nutcracker

Disney Character: Daisy Duck

Alcoholic Drink: Rum and Coke

Non Alcoholic Drink: Coffee or Hot Tea, equally and in that order

Magazine: Southern Living

Animated Movie: Bambi

Mini Series: Chiefs

Season: Spring

Male Vocalist: Trace Adkins

Female Vocalist: KT Oslin

Day of Week: Saturday

Household Chore: You're kidding, right?

Ice Cream: Mint chocolate chip...yum

Candy: Dove

Artist: no one in particular

First they came for the socialists,and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me,and there was no one left to speak for me.
--Pastor Martin Niemoller, Nazi Germany, circa 1945.

Okay, this was fun, and I'm inviting everyone to go along with it and tell us all about yourselves. Thanks Susie...

Monday, July 28, 2008

On Leaving England Episode 3 (or "Why is our Mattress wrapped around the piano?"

So we arrived in Selma in time for Christmas (what must have been the hottest Christmas on was 89 degrees and we were unused to the heat now and so were all sick!) We had managed to save everything from the blazing car but my wonderful fantastic dance all night leather like butter boots. I wept. What happened to them is anyone's guess, but Mac and the wrecker driver had gone back up to the car after the gun battle was over, to retrieve our belongings. Luckily Digby didn't have a pecan allergy as the clerk had fed her three bags while we lay behind the counter. She ate them, all the time bemoaning the fact that they weren't chitt'lins, but they'd do. So does the wrecker driver's wife now sport a pair of Italian hand made boots to dance through the night? I don't know, knowing men, they probably lay beside the highway till some hitchhiker wandered along not believing their luck and pulled them on to continue their trek across America. Suffice it to say I've never had a pair of boots before or since that could make my feet so happy. So after Christmas , we loaded the new car we had purchased. It was more of a boat that a car, a Custom Cruiser Oldsmobile station wagon that could sleep six. Gas was cheap in 83, what did we care? So off we went, headed for Colts Neck, New Jersey and our new duty station. Mac was to report aboard the USS Nitro on January 5th. It took us two days to get there. Mama had found us a motel that accepted dogs (since Digby would have been a little difficult to stick under my coat and sneak in) and made the reservations for us. We arrived via the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway in a state that was the exact opposite of what we had been lead to believe in. I guess it's the way the South is portrayed as a bunch of poorly educated ignorant hillbillies and New Jersey is portrayed as the toilet of New York City that had us confused. Just as we actually have halls of learning and genteel people in the South, so does New Jersey have lovely people and believe me, they don't call it the Garden State for nothing! New Jersey is beautiful (at least the parts we saw). We located the base nearby an affluent horse farm, Due Process Stables. We reported to the Housing Office to make arrangements for a place to live. That taken care of, Mac found the road that would take him to the piers where the ship, the USS Nitro, was tied up. We were assigned a house within the week and on the fifth of January Mac reported aboard his new duty station. We were told that our furniture would arrive sometime in April. APRIL???

Somehow it had never occurred to me that the furtiture and goods would be coming by ship? Why didn't I realize that? Where was my head? So, Mac reported to the Nitro on the fifth, we moved into the empty house (except for kitchen washer and dryer though) purchased a tv and you know those big foam fold out "I'm a sofa I'm a bed" things? We bought three of those. January 6th, we were set. January 7th, my birthday, I had the pleasure of taking Mac to the pier to board the ship which was pulling out for a three month cruise! Life as we knew it was back to normal. On January the 8th it snowed. And snowed. And then it snowed some more. I have had a love affair with snow since I was a small child. That January 7th ended the affair. Forever. Now the only snow I want to see is the kind that falls during the night and is gone in the morning. Just after I finish my first cup of coffee.

The neighbors came out to greet us and were kind enough to loan us the use of dining table and chairs, a couple of easy chairs for the living room and the use of their laundry facilities on a rotating basis. Navy people are great people...they pitch in and help like family. It's where I met Evil Sister and the Doc...(he was a corpman). Evil Sister moved in (the Doc being on the ship and gone) in the house behind us pretty soon after we moved in. We became close friends quickly, as did our kids. We suffered through snow and ice, snow shovels leaned against both our back stoops so we could shovel our way to each other's houses for the inevitable games of Scrabble that consumed our afternoons. Digby spent as much time at Evil Sisters as I did. Finally, April arrived and so did our household goods that had been sent from England. I had the bill of lading in hand and checked off the numbers on the boxes as they came out. When that was done, 15 boxes were unaccounted for. I watched as they brought out the bedroom furniture, first the boys, then ours. The two boxed up box springs for our king sized bed came out and I looked inside for the mattress box. There was no box with a mattress in it...I climbed into the truck, the inspector close at my heels and that's when I saw it. What once had been a Sealey Posturpedic King Size mattress, now protected my antique upright was wrapped around it and taped. I SAID WRAPPED AROUND IT AND TAPED! It had been that way since the middle of December. It was now April. The inspector had the good grace to look surprised and announced that "this is going to have to be replaced." I looked him in the eye and sarcasm dripping like honey said, "you think?" And I thought a gunfight at the Interstate was bad? By the time we had everything unpacked and accounted for or not, the government owed me roughly $3500.00. Oddly enough, they didn't even argue the point. All it took was the bill of lading with the empty check marks and a picture of my mattress which looked roughly like the letter U. And so, we were home. At least for a little while.

And a very special PS

9 years ago today, a baby girl was born into the family, and she has steadily stolen our hearts and pitted Grandma against Grandpa as to who is the favorite...but you know, Grandma wins! Happy Birthday Arianna, you are the Jewel in our Crowns

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Brenda's Photo Challenge-Numbers!

Okay, now this might not be terribly good since a certain recently skinny miss named Kari (that's Sissy to me) is NAGGING ME! "Where's your photo challenge pictures?" You know some people get up at 6 in the morning and go straight to the garden...proof will be in most of the pictures...wait and what's it all about? The most recent Brenda Photo Challenge, hosted by Karen M is based on a theme of numbers...I wracked my brain trying to think of something and now you're about to see what I've come up with...get ready...get set....go!

My first picture is of the number 8...on the side of a tomato not a pool ball! Not to sure how it happened, but I did want to share it...
Actually it looked like the number 8 within the letter C...too weird! Did we eat it? You bet your bottom dollar we ate it...

One of my favorite books is Jeffrey's Favorite 13 Ghost stories of Alabamaof ...I had the great pleasure of meeting Miss Katherine when we lived in Selma...she's a delightful lady with a charming way of telling the tale...

And believe it or not there are 12 numbers on the face of my Grandmother Clock...and this is the best picture I could, the coffee table book publishers are NOT beating a path to my door!

And here is what we were doing this morning, early...picking 12 count em 12 of the 22 watermelons left in the upper end of the garden! These are Sugar Babies...and they are aptly named!

Ever wondered what a peck of tomotoes looked like? Well, here they are...1 peck of tomatoes and we all know how I'll be spending my afternoon...slaving over a hot canner!

And lest anyone get the idea that we're running short of a tomato crop, don't, representing the number 2 are two sinks filled with tomatoes and squash. I'm tired just looking at Mistress Kari, this is what we were doing while you were up posting your lovely addition to Brenda's Photo challenge...I think I'm going to go take a nap...I have a busy afternoon ahead!

Friday, July 25, 2008

T G I F and Awards!

It's Friday. Oh thank you Lord, another week is coming to an end and I have almost caught up with the laundry, the weeding and the canning. Notice I said "almost". Yesterday rather than blog, I canned spaghetti sauce. I canned spaghetti sauce because Mac brought in over a bushel of tomatoes and I have canned salsa, plain tomatoes and tomatoes and peppers and I needed something new. When I've done, I'll take a picture of all the jars of goodies lined up in my wonderful pantry that my beloved had built for me for Mother's Day. What did he get for Father's day I heard someone say? Why, he's already got me and like a fine wine, I get better every year. What more could he ask? So, anyway he's out there right now mowing the grass. Yesterday we pulled watermelons and cantaloupes, removed the spent squash vines and planted the collard seed for a fall crop. I'm thinking of snow peas for fall, too. Oh, and turnips! Now I'll have to make a run into town and get turnip seeds. Drat! I have been trying to catch up with y'all and will definitely spend the afternoon doing just that. In the meantime the lovely Vee ( )has given me this lovely award:

Here are the rules for this: The rules: SHARE THE LOVE!!! Share this award with all those blogs out there that you love. All the people who make you smile. All those that make you laugh. All those that make your day. All those that leave uplifting comments on your blog. **All I ask, is that you include a link to this post with the award and ask your recipient to do the same** Visit (Memoirs of a Mommy)for the awesome story behind this award. You know this is going to be hard because each of the blogs I read I read because I love you...the list is to long to name and to leave anyone out would be just wrong. So, if I am a regular visitor to your blog, and you know who you are...Sandy, Kat, Mary and Sarahs...yes, I said Sarahs...the Brit here and the Brit still there...Adla and Rhoda, Penny and Jayne...Cath and Kari, Jodie and Janabanana, lets just say I believe you all deserve this...SusieQ and Jeanne, MariNanci and Pat...all of you...I say again, IF I AM A FREQUENT VISITOR AT YOUR PLACE, THIS AWARD IS FOR YOU! And when I play catch up, I'm gonna tell you to come pick it up, okay Jo, both of you, Mima and Lee...San and David, Jeff and Hadriana, Brenda and Wanda, Cassie and Joan, Pam and Christine, Sophie and Carol, Donna, Lib, Cowgirl and Jamie Dawn, Terri, Abbie and Jeff B. ,Sandy and Sandy and oh yes did I say Wanda? How about Allison? just all of you,and I know I've left some out, I can't help it! I love you all or I wouldn't waste my time going back again and again. So, if you don't see your name but you know mine and I mention to you I have an award for you...this is for you!

Also, the sweet Hadriana at has given me the "Just Plain Fun to Read" award and I do prize this one, too. I'm going to come back with this one later on so I can think about the ones I want to pass it on to. I'm going to pick three of you, and I hope you will be as honored as I was. And an EDIT here, when I went to visit with San Meredith, I found that she had also honored me with this award! To visit San go to you won't be disappointed there, either!

Now, on to other TGIF things. First, my "on returning from England" series (saga) will continue on Monday with the final chapter on our return to the States from our Duty Service with the Navy in London which ended in 1983 (the time period someone wanted to know). I haven't made up a thing, or embellished for editorial purposes, it's exactly as it happened...which proves that there are things so bad that you can later look back and laugh. But now you know why I decided to make Law Enforcement my career. I needed backup. I'd also like to tell you that my (former) Department, Chesterfield County Sheriff's Office, lost one of it's own on Wednesday night when his vehicle was struck head on by a drunk driver. Darryl Quick, who had been with the Department for five years, and with Chesterfield PD before that, was 42 years old and left a wife and four children and one grandchild to face life without him. All because someone couldn't manage to grasp the concept of "if you drink, don't drive and if you drive, don't drink." A good Law Enforcement Officer will no longer be able to help keep the streets safe. Unfortunate for us, tragic for his family. Our prayers go out to them.

Brenda's Photo Challenge for tomorrow is about numbers and I have to get my butt in gear and do something about it...first of all go back and look to see who the host is (I'm telling you, my brains are scrambled with heat and humidity today!) I want to have fun with it, and plan on doing just that!

Cowgirl over at Riverdale Ramblings has tagged me with a 6 random things about me really need to go visit this fine young miss from New Zealand, you won't regret it and you may find a new vacation spot...go to and check out her site. Okay, 6 random things...

1. I love to read, I read cereal boxes and newspapers, books and magazines...I just flat love to read.

2. I have two sons, of whom I am so very proud. My older son is a Newspaper Editor married to my beautiful DIL Charity and my younger son is a Computer Networker married to my lovely DIL Anna and they have one child the precious Arianna who will be 9 on the 28th of this month.

3. My mother was a master gardener who knew the latin name for every plant that grew in her gardens and even in most of everyone else's gardens.

4. My husband is a retired Navy Chief who discovered that he was a farmer all along...imagine our surprise! (And I know I have mentioned mostly my family in this meme, but you know it's hard to separate them from me...they're part of me...)

5. I really hate news shows. They mostly never get it right, they are prejudiced in a country where prejudice is supposed to be avoided at all costs, and they think to much of their own opinions.

6. I have a temper. A terrible temper. I have learned to control it, but sometimes like a coiled spring it erupts and injures the target of my ire. And then somehow, it reverberates and injures me on the return trip.

And there you have it...all the news that's fit to print...see you tomorrow!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

We're Caught in a Gun Fight (or Welcome to the USA

You would think that we would have a bit of luck after all the misfortunes that had occurred on leaving England, wouldn't you? Oh but you would be wrong. It seems Dame Misfortune was not quite ready to cross us off her list of people to annoy. We had been at Mama's for several days when she offered us a gift of her lovely little Le Mans Pontiac...Mama had purchased this car with her winnings from a lottery drawing in Quito (Ecuador) several years before. So we were able to take the blasted rental car to the Florence Airport and turn it in. I was wishing desperately that I had the phone number for WitchyPoo at the New York office so that I might reassure her that the car was not going to be left in the dreaded Montgomery Airport lot after all. But why should I make her feel better? And that made me feel better. I was hoping she was having nightmares about what might be happening to that horrid little car, comfort not being "Job 1". I followed Mac in the LeMans and we turned the keys over, someone came out to inspect the car (making sure we hadn't kept the hubcaps or something) and as we were all leaving, a big Lincoln that was backing out of one of the narrow spaces did the backed directly into the rental car...Mac and I kept walking, it was no longer our problem. But I was nearly bent double laughing and Mac was making a concerted effort to keep his composure. Finally he allowed a snicker to emerge as he glanced back at the car..."messed that bumper up pretty good," he allowed. And then he burst out laughing. So, we got in the Le Mans and drove back to Mama's for another day or two. I had packed everything and the cases were by the door and Mama was busy spoiling Digby with chitt'lins and we had called Mac's folks to let them know when we would be coming in. My sister Toni and brother in law Tim had been down the day before from their home in Columbia, SC. We had been to see as much family as possible, but we would be coming back through on our way to the new Duty Station of Colts Neck, New Jersey where Earle NWS was located. We had thirty days leave and were trying to use it wisely. Mac always preferred to drive at night due to less traffic. We pulled out at about 9 pm and headed down highway 145 to go pick up US1. After avoiding a rear end collision with a farm tractor that was riding merrily down the road without a lick of lights, we safely picked up Interstate 20. I was enjoying watching the lights and listening to the radio when I saw what looked like sparks flying by the window. I asked Mac if it was lightening bugs. He assured me it was to late for lightening bugs, it was after all December...but I kept seeing the sparks. "I think you need to pull over , honey...I'm pretty sure the engine may be on fire." He said he was pretty sure I was imagining things, but pulled over as I requested. Now, in the trunk of the car were our cases, Christmas presents for the boys (we would be spending Christmas at Mac's parents house) my boots...(my lovely hand crafted boots that I had not allowed to be packed for the move home, but had carried in our luggage.) Mac popped the hood and the flames poured out from underneath. We hurriedly grabbed the boys and Digby and I stood with them on the side of this busy highway looking around to see where we were. I kept hearing a popping noise that didn't seem to be coming from the car, Michael was cranky to have been pulled not only out of a sound sleep but the car as well, Mac was getting our belongings out of harms way when we saw a wrecker headed up off ramp towards us. We didn't know how they happened to see us up there, but he pulled in behind us and started yelling for us all to get in the truck and be quick about it. So the five of us managed to squeeze in the cab of the truck and leaving the car, luggage and packages with the car (which had seemed to stop burning and now just smoldered) along side the road, he headed back down the ramp (the wrong way) and pulled into the service station I had spotted from the roadway. While we were heading down to the station he explained that there had been a prison break and that there was a gunfight going on at that very moment. "Oh, that would explain the popping noises I heard, then," I said. "Yep, that would have been it," he said. "You folks are lucky that I was looking up that way and saw the car blaze up!" Oh yes, we agreed we had been lucky. He hustled us all inside the store where we lay down on the floor behind the counter with the Clerk. Digby, who had had a nap and was now ready to play, was being a bit difficult to control. The clerk started feeding her meat skins, (she seemed to like them as much as the chitt'lins) and talked to her. I asked the Wrecker Driver if he could possibly hand me down the phone from the counter so I could call my sister. "She lives here in Columbia and we're going to need her help, I'm afraid," I whispered. We were still hearing gun shots going off and the boys were past the "isn't this exciting" stage and were now in the "pretty frightened" stage. I got Toni on the phone and began to tell her about all that had transpired and she interrupted excitedly, "you don't need to be stopping there, there's a gunfight going on...I looked Mac in the eye and pointed to the phone..."she says there's a gunfight going on, think I should tell her exactly where we are?" Wallace and Michael were now sitting with their backs against the counter and nervously looking around, wondered aloud how long we'd be stuck here. "Hopefully not long, " I tried to reassure them, "and Uncle Tim is going to come get us as soon as this is over. It's going to be alright, we won't let anything happen to you." Our older son Wallace, looked around him and then said in a perfectly beautiful British accent...with a bit of a snort in his voice "welcome to the USA!"

Next Installment: Why is our mattress wrapped around the piano?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Digby and the Chitt'lins

It was a long and horrid trip from New York to South Carolina. I was in charge of the map and directions but couldn't get the pilot to follow orders. I'd say "turn here" and he'd say, "where, back there?" Of course. Turn around and go back...we had a warm conversation about how the pilot is supposed to listen to the navigator instead of admiring the scenery he's passing by. By warm, of course I mean heated. Digby was enjoying not being in the belly of the plane and she and the boys were having a fine old time in the back seat of the rental car I had wrested from the grasp of the self serving wench at the rental check out counter. There was much bouncing around and it began to wear on the nerves of the pilot who asked none to politely for them to "knock it off". So they settled down for awhile, we stopped and let Digby romp around at the rest station and then it was nap time for everyone who was residing in the back seat. Lucky them. We napped (he napped) a while, too, while I stood watch over my little family in case some ax wielding murderer should come screaming out of the trees. Then after about three hours we hit the road again. We arrived at Mama and Daddy's house about 10 in the morning, exhausted from the trip...I kept expecting to wake up any minute and find myself safely tucked up in my bed at Beaconsfield. But no, it was no dream. Digby went to my mother immediately and it was love at first sight for both of them. Mama began referring to Digby as her "Granddog" and Digby worshipped at her feet as was her wont to do with me. Daddy groused about having a dog in the house (he wasn't up for it but Mama told him to go to his room, so he did.) One morning I couldn't find Digby and was frantically checking the house and the garden, where I found Mama...I asked her if she had seen Digby and she laughed and told me to go check in their room...sure enough, there she was, piled up in the bed with Daddy, who assured me she had horned in, he hadn't invited her...yeah, likely story since his hand was deep into the fur of her head and she was enjoying a rather intense massage. We only had a few days with my folks before we were headed to Mac's folks in Selma (Alabama) and Mama had been trying to convince me to leave Digby with her while we were gone. I kept insisting that I couldn't be parted with her...and I mean it, I really couldn't. I would have no more left her there than I would have left one of my furless children. One day Mama announced that she was going to fix chitt'lins for supper. I pleaded with her not to...I can't stand the thought much less the smell...but she was adament about it...she kept insisting that if I'd only try them once, I'd love them. That didn't work with the liver she was always pushing at me, so I saw no reason to believe it would work with the chitt'lins. For those of the yankee or not from the Southern States of America, that is properly spelled "c h i t t e r l i n g s" and if you want to know what it is, I'm sorry but you'll have to go look it up...the telling of it will make me heave...So, anyway, I had packed our stuff ready to leave the next morning for Alabama and was sitting at the long dining room table with my sister and brother drinking a cup of coffee and just chatting. I happened to look into the kitchen and saw Digby sitting close at Mama's knee. Mama was standing at the counter, cutting up the chitt'lins she had boiled ready to fry and I saw her hand dropping pieces of them to Digby, who was enjoying them with abandon! Nicole asked me what Mama was doing. I looked over at Mama, then back at Nicole...
"What's Mama doing? She's attempting to steal my dog! And if Digby thinks I'm cooking chitt'lins for her, she's got another think coming!"

Next Installment...we're caught in the middle of a gunfight or Welcome to the USA

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Brilliante Award

Before I get started on todays theme (and to be honest, I haven't even decided what the theme is going to be, except I think I may tell you the story of our return from England...I'm in a mood to relive old nightmares...I want to tell you that our BeachKat ( )has honored me once thrilled I was to receive this lovely award all the way from Destin, Florida. I'm going to have to have Mac build me a fireplace mantel to put it are the rules about this lovely piece of sculpture...

Here are the rules to pass this award on to someone you think is deserving:

Display logo and link to who gave it to you.

Nominate at least 7 blogs.Add links to those 7 blogs.

Leave the nominees a message that they received the award.

It's that simple. I think I can do it...

I'd like to nominate the following seven blogging friends:

Ann at Ancient One's Place ( I've only discovered Ann recently but she has become a favorite of mine quickly. You must go visit this North Carolina lady, she is awesome.

Sarah at who is a transplanted Brit with a lovely outlook on life and she's interesting, to boot!

Merisi at Merisi's Vienna for Beginners ( who has such brillient photography to share with us, that maybe we need to invent an award for her...

Sandy at I Beati (a meeting place to share our blessings and laugh a little ( where you will see lovely funny little vignettes of photography that will indeed make you laugh a little, or a lot depending on your mood!

Cowgirl at Riverdale Rambings is another of my favorites...I want to go to New Zealand...and it's all because of her. I don't know if it's because the descriptions she gives of her homeplace or just to meet her...maybe both, but please go meet her and her hubby Richard .( )

Mari-Nanci is a lovely Southern Belle...well, not really m while she is lovely she just likes to think she's a Southern Belle and we affectionately call her Miss Mari-Nanci...we're afraid not to...go check out all the lovely photos and quaint old sayings and just plain down home goodness at and you'll see what I'm talking about.

I certainly cannot leave out Jeanne at Life or Something Like it, which has to be the most improved blog around...give the girl a new computer and a great camera and she goes with it...and has not failed to entertain me...let her entertain you...hmm, sounds like a Gypsy Rose Lee song, doesn't it? Anyway, you can fine her at

Okay, right. Well, now I'm gonna run over and tell the girls that I have a surprise for them, and later tonight I will begin the retelling of the Nightmare Trip to the USA...

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Kindness of Strangers

I have found the art of blogging to be such an amazing thing. It has connected me to people from all over the world, from all walks of life, male and has allowed me to grow as a person, to learn from mistakes others have made (I'm at an age where I can do that). I've told my friends, those that are a part of my everyday life, about my friends who are a part of my blogging life. I don't think they quite understand how you can have a friend whom you have never met face to face. I try to explain it to them, but unless they blog, they don't get it really. I have found that blogging allows me to open up about my life, my feelings on things and the worries that might confound me. It allows me, in some small way, to share in the lives of others out in Blogland, who may find it difficult to foster friendships in the physical world. By learning to be a friend in the ether you learn to be a friend in fact. Like others of my kind (blogging kind) I find that I spend a good two hours catching up on all my friends posts, responding to each one (commenting is good for the soul) and hate trying to play catchup. I have friends who have recently suffered a cancer scare and have felt their fear and pain and on occasion their great Faith in God that all would be well. They have felt that faith so strongly that it is catching, and you feel it, too. I have learned that most of us are animal lovers, with numerous and sundry pets who are actually family members. Here we don't mind telling how the loss of a beloved pet affects us, how hurt we are that this precious family member has crossed over...for no one laughs at us...if they do, they kindly keep it to themselves. Of course there are mean spirited people out here in Blogland just as there are in the physical world. Here we have the option of cutting them off at the comment pass. We may share the incident with our other blogging friends, to warn them, but for the most part, we can delete any comments that are cruel or uncalled for.

Today I received an award from Vee (Just Plain Fun to Read) and then Lee from Chrysalis Dreams ( contacted me and said this:

The Best Gift of All
Sandi gave me several awards. San gave me a several too. My mom brought me up right. You return a gift with a matching gift as well as a hand written thank you card. Call me an award shopping clutz but I had no idea where to find one that was new and fit my idea of what I wanted it to say. I did keep trying though...every time I looked at one of those lovely awards with pride. Finally, today after typing in several different keywords I found an award that I felt was suitable and that I meant with all of my heart. So, for all their love and support, to my friends San, Sandi, Susan, JS, and David I give the Forever Friends award.I love you guys! You're the BEST! Hugs!

I responded and told Lee I saw editing in my future, to add my new award to the previous post. Then, reading it over and seeing how much thought she put into this award, how lovingly she thought of us, her friends, that I decided that it deserved to stand alone, as well. For Lee is my friend and I think highly of her and regard this award as something special, too. Some people touch your lives so profoundly, that somehow the word internet friend seems trite. So for this award dear Lee, I thank you. I will cherish it.

Visions in the Garden

Believe it or not, but after five inches of rain during last week, I've had to go out and water plants this morning, fill bird baths and now am considering mowing the grass. I'm considering, mind you, not completely "hold my feet to the fire" sure, but the time is coming. So, I'm wandering around out in the front garden with watering cans in hand (where's my yoke when I need it?) going to the petunias and the landscape roses, the hens and chicks...the Cathedral Belles and the day lilies just watering and admiring and I suddenly see what I am going to do as soon as the humidity breaks enough for me to spend some quality time in the new seating area under the cedars. Mac calls this "having visions" and it's something I do all to frequently. We have a gated arch at the end of the front porch. We put it there a few years ago so we could keep a former neighbors wandering dogs off the front porch and the cats would have a safe haven to run to. I have decided that we will simply build a small gate to attach to the porch entry and move the arch to the new seating area. I am going to build a secret garden there...a fairy garden, complete with little painted doors and windows on trees, hidden treasures in the brush and foliage. I can see it all in my mind and it will be something that Arianna will love to visit. I want to do it while the flowers are still abundant and hummingbirds are still flitting and fighting over nectar. Then when winter comes, there will be a Christmas Garden, since I light the cedars each year. I am so looking forward to starting this project that I may not wait for the humidity to break...I may start it today. I'll let you know how it goes!

Oh, and Pyewackit and Mindy appreciate your support in the upcoming election. He is still looking for cabinet ministers...Dogs may apply, he is not prejudiced against them. He says his best friend is a dog and running for Vice President. All offers will be considered.

Okay, this is an edit I couldn't wait to put in...Vee over at A Haven For Vee ( ) gifted me this morning. See that lovely little girl sitting on the park bench? She says "just plain fun to read"? This is an award I have longed for since the first time I saw someone else receive it. I can't tell you how much it means to me that my dear Vee has given it to me. I intend to pass it along to six others, but later in the week, after I've had time to enjoy it myself a bit. Thank you Vee, and congratulations on receiving it is a well deserved award for you!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Photo Friday/ Pyewackit for Prezzydent

Pye and a young Campaign worker discuss stratcategy
MindyLou for VEEP...a vote getter by golly! AGE IS NOT AN ISSUE

He's a tawny seal point Siamese with a passion for politics. He is running on the Democatic ticket and can't abide democratic wannabees or Republicat flibberty jibbits. His theory is every cat for himself and to hell with the mice. If it's his mouse he sees no reason to share the bounty with any other species or even with his own kind. Birds need not apply to sit on his cabinet, though they can be canned and in his cabinet, no problem. While he is not into dogs, per se, he is running with a dog as his Vice President. She's a real bitch, so don't mess with MindyLou. You think Hillary was a tough nut? You ain't seen nothing yet! We're not sure how many votes Pye can anticipate, most of constituency can't drive, nor do they have thumbs...but he feels that he has a good chance against the weiny competition that's set up against him so far. Why? Because he never claims to have passed any law right by himself, changed any condition all on his own or to have scratched his way up from kittenhood without the help of the people who actually raised him. Yes, he figures he stands a good chance. He just needs the vote of the people in blogland to get him to the pinnacle of popularity. A vote for Pye is a vote for honesty!

Pye for Prezzydent

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The art of Canning

It seems like just a few weeks ago that we planted our tomato seeds and waited patiently for the plants to emerge from those tiny little cells to which they had been assigned. I can't believe the number of plants that Mac actually had survive. I think at last count there was something like 84 tomato plants in the garden. Part of them are determinate, which only set fruit once then the plants are kaput, part indeterminate, which set fruit up until fall. You might ask why we'd want any tomatoes that only set fruit once, and I'd tell you because those are the ones I have found best for canning, both in quality and quantity. I have been canning tomatoes for three weeks now and I am here to tell you, I am heartily sick of tomatoes. My hands burn from the acid that seem to leech through the plastic gloves I don to scald and skin them, my arms ache from lifting heavy batches from the canner, and my nose is numb to all other smells but tomato. I smell tomatoes in my sleep. Granted, those lovely glass jars of ruby ripe tomatoes will come in handy and be appreciated this winter when some are wanting tomato gravy or hot vegetable soup, but right now, it's just dog gone hard work. I try not to take shortcuts when preserving food that might affect the quality of the end result or poison any of us by accident. You have to be very careful. I have a pressure cooker that I use for foods that are not as acidic as the tomatoes are, but people, the thing frankly gives me the heebie jeebies. I take it out of the shed and put it in the kitchen at least two full days before I plan to can using it rather than the coldpack canner. I read all about the pressure dial, how many pounds of pressure to use for what foods for how long. I take a deep breath and start filling jars with homemade vegetable soup, or cabbage, green beans or butter beans....have my chair sitting in front of the stove, fill the pressure cooker with seven quart jars filled with heavenly veggies, put on the lid, set the gauge, turn the burner on high, wait for the pressure to begin to rise, take my seat in the chair so I can watch the gauge carefully, never letting it go above the pressure weight and start timing it. I wring my hands, and pray that the whole shootin' match doesn't end up as something I have to a. wipe from the ceiling or b. remove from the roof of the house. Pressure cookers are notorious for blowing a gasket, so to speak. My Aunt Della, who loved to can her own spaghetti sauce, often had us children sitting in the chair in front of the stove to watch the little gauge which sits somewhat haphazardly on top of the canner lid. She told us to yell loudly if the gauge went higher or lower than, lets say 10 pounds of pressure...often we yelled to late and spaghetti sauce would be dripping from the kitchen's ceiling and the children assigned to do the pot watching would be cowering in any corner they could find as far away from the stove as they could get. I never volunteered to watch the pressure cooker. I was often drafted, and I admit I was a draft dodger on several occasions. I just felt that any chore that gave me nightmares and not one cent of profit was made by it, was a bum deal. Yet, here I am, ready to go to the shed and bring out the dreaded pressure cooker. I'll let you know how it went on Saturday morning...I should be sober by then.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Contrariness of Being

Yesterday was such a wonderful day that I only need one word to describe it. Rain. Blessed wet wildly flying droplets of rain fell upon the gardens and lasted longer than the usual five minute tease. At seven pm I put on a pot of coffee and Mac and I sat on the porch sipping and laughing, amazed that such a small thing like rain could make us so happy. The cats dashed about in the sprinkles as though they'd never seen such before...oh wait, for a couple of them, they hadn't! It rained till eight or a bit after and at nine we went inside. I watched Bobby solve another case on Law and Order, CI and Mac went in to the computer. At eleven, as we prepared for bed, I heard the rain falling again. Mac allowed as how that was the best sound he'd heard in ages. He started laughing and I asked him what was so funny. "If it rains much more the watermelons are going to start exploding like firecrackers out there." Assuring him that I really didn't think that much rain was falling, we fell asleep to the sound of rain on the roof, and life was good.

I woke up this morning to silence. The fan I keep near the bed for the single purpose of making noise, was quiet. The whole house was quiet. Nothing moved, whirred, chimed or rustled. Silence. Silence makes me nervous. I crept from the bed and went into the kitchen and flipped on the light. Nothing. I went to the sink and turned on the tap. Nothing. I looked at the cable box, it was dark and daunting. No power. NO POWER! All I could think was "how am I going to get my morning news fix, my morning coffee fix and most importantly, my morning blog fix?" I find that I am an addict of electrical power. Without it I am helpless. There is no camp stove outside to prepare a pot of that wonderful wake up brew to which I can absolutely not function without. And then I heard myself say it. I tried to call it back, but my throat refused to suck in air and call back the words...I saw them hanging in front of my face, mocking me with their intent...and then my ears heard what my mouth had dared to utter...

"Damned rain!"

Thursday, July 3, 2008

And Speaking of Cats

I have a very dear friend that I made while in the employ of the Sheriff. We came in contact with each other mainly at the jail. We always joked that I was busy locking them up and she was busy getting them out! We frequently did not see eye to eye but that didn't hurt our friendship one iota. In fact, I think it made it stronger in the long run. I always admired her for her strength and tenacity in the face of horrible odds. You see she wasn't always an attorney. She was a wife and mother who worked in the harsh conditions of a tool manufacturing plant, and whose marriage was not the happiest; but this indominatable lady made the best of the cards that fate had dealt her and plowed through life like a bulldozer. When her son decided that he was going to become an attorney, my pal decided that she too wanted to continue her education. Now a widow and her children grown, she went back to school. She worked hard to complete that goal, her son urging her on. She graduated, passed the bar and went to work. She was known for defending the underdog and the underpaid. She was a perfect choice for Public Defender if there ever was one. She works long hours (so long that I'm lucky to get a returned phone call from her these days...) But along with all the people she helps, she also has a soft heart for animals. She keeps cats, dogs peacocks every assortment of God's creatures live on her place outside town. Her herd of cats outnumber mine. And then some. She found a Vet in North Carolina who will "fix" at a reasonable cost if you bring in more than one cat to be spayed or neutered. I always laugh when I think of it, leave it to her to find a 2 for 1 sale Vet. She had so many cats at one time that she actually took a couple of them to be "fixed" that had already had surgery! They all looked alike, apparently. She puts me in mind of the lady who wrote to Dear Abby and said she wanted to be a Doctor but if she went to school she would be 50 years old when she graduated. Abby's answer was classic...and how old will you be if you don't go to school? I wonder if my good friend read that piece of advice?

Happy 4th of July all, hope your day is filled with peace and contentment, and fire works!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Ariel the Ancient

Everyone who knows me knows that it's a Cat's World here at the Cottage. It all began over 2o years ago with Bela (Lugosi) my older son's cat that adopted us when we lived on Main Street in Chesterfield. Just after we moved out to the country, Bela being the sole cat in the family, Ariel came to live with us. Mac, having retired from the Navy and now bored with having time he never expected to weigh so heavy on his hands, took a job with the County Chain Gang overseeing the Prison Camp inmates that did not go out on the road. There was a mother cat there who had had her litter of kittens in an old abandoned car on the edge of the property. At about six weeks of age they started coming onto the back porch at the Camp Kitchen to get leftovers the inmate cooks would leave them. One day Mac found that four of the five kittens had been run over on the little dirt road and killed. There was one left, and he managed to capture her and kept her inside his coat for last hour of work. I had already gotten home from my own job with the Sheriff's Department when he came in. He walked into the dining room where I sat having coffee and opened his coat to reveal two huge green eyes attached to a ball of fur. I sort of groaned my disapproval, all the while reaching for the tiny furball. This was in the end weeks of 1999. I took her to our Vet and had her spayed, got all her shots and Bela took over the training of Ariel. I was afraid he was going to kill her, but he was very protective of her. We had just lost our Digby, the Old English Sheepdog, the month before and Bela had gone slightly crazy with grief. I say slightly, but that's being kind. Bela went totally round the bend, once hitting Mac with a balled up paw so hard it knocked his glasses off and left a red spot on the side of his face. Credit to Mac for not punching him back...but Bela took to the tiny Ariel like he was her father. The little black kitten grew, but not very much. She was and is tiny and slender, the only cat I've ever seen with such a pronounced profile, and rules this place with an iron paw. She will be 19 years old in September if our math is right. She sits with me at the computer when I blog, so picture me typing and looking over her Majesty as I try to make sure there are no typos. My girl is slowing down these days. She doesn't do much but eat and sleep . I know that she may be nearing the end and when it happens there will be no consoling Mac. She is such a central part of the family that it will take us a while to recover. I'm trying to prepare myself for the inevitable, but I know that when she goes she will be joining Digby ,Duffy and Ripley...Bela, I'm not so sure...God may have him in Purgatory for a bit, doing penance for smacking his master.