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Monday, April 14, 2014

Memories of Missouri



We glimpse the 
friend's image instantly
filling us with Missouri memories.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Flat Rock

For almost 20 years whatever auto we were in would stop at the sight of flat rocks.  We hauled rocks from all over southwest Missouri into our back yard.  Those rocks stayed at 3871 having assumed different locations through the years.  They might serve as stepping stones or be laid in retaining walls.  You see, the yard was never really declared to be finished.  I was always coming up with some sort of improvement.  Or maybe the rock would tell me it was not happy where I had placed it.  That is all in my rear view mirror these days.


I still spot flat rocks.  In this area at the edge of Texas Hill Country there are lots of flat rocks.  We do not stop to pick them up these days.  There are no walls to build nor paths to pave.  There are 3 grandsons to watch play soccer and lacrosse.  Friday night in Round Rock we watched Oldest play lacrosse.  Saturday morning was a soccer game for him in Pflugerville.  That game ended and fifteen minutes and 16 miles away Youngest grandson had a game beginning.  Son was the coach so he left Oldest's game with instructions for us to take Oldest for food and meet at Youngest's game.

The mission of feeding and transporting was accomplished and there were 5 minutes left in the game when we arrived.  Youngest was splayed across the bench just goofing off the last few minutes of the game.  He has played all he would in the game.  Game over, equipment gathered and returned.  Out to autos to rejoin 31 miles away for a lacrosse makeup game.  There were two hours before we needed to be in place for the lacrosse game.  We arrived in plenty of time so decided to stop for a shake.  Sugared up we cheered Oldest to a loss.  Now it was time to go to the last game of the day.  This one was back 32 miles across town.  Middle grandson gave his all in the 0-3 defeat.  Had he not blocked 4 or 5 goal attempts the loss would have been greater.

We spent 10 hours on the road and on the sidelines supporting our son and grandsons.  We were tired when we arrived home at about 7:30 PM.  Son was in the airport awaiting his departure to Australia.  I do not know how the families keep up this pace of games for all the children and full time work.  We showered after a simple meal of fried egg sandwiches and settled into the familiar lounge chairs.

Yes, we were tired and not a single rock had been loaded.  No pictures of flower covered fields had been taken.  All we had done was loved our grandsons enough to drive almost 100 miles to watch them play games.  We wanted nothing more that to get up on Sunday and drive another 50 miles round trip to watch Middle play goalie in the  last game of this weekend.  The game was a tie and Middle did his signature flip at the end of the game.  Grandpa thinks it is like Ozzie of Cardinals fame.  Life is good.




Thursday, April 10, 2014

Dogs or Cats

Are you an animal person?  Dogs?  Cats?  Ferrets?  Gerbils?  Parakeets?  Fish?  I am a dog/cat or cat/dog person who also had outdoor fish and no longer has any sort of pet.  Does that make me an orphan?  It makes me not have to clean litter boxes.  It makes me not have to shop the animal food isles.  No more vet visits.  No expensive pet care facilities for long vacations. No more warm licks from a dog waking you up to go outside.  No more shaking beds when Sam, the golden retriever, is against the bed trembling in fear of the thunder.  No more kitty curling on my lap or shoulder or hip or whatever suited her or his fancy.  No dog greeting me at the door just happy to see me.  No more fish coming to be fed when the felt the vibration of my step on the little dock.
My fish.  Wonder how they are doing?

Yellow, Blackie, Mildred, Tippy, Priscilla, Sara, Snowy, Charlie, Chrissy, Yellow Lantern, Bert, Sam, Cinder and Cookie.  I may have missed a kitty or two that our animal loving son obtained from our animal whisperer friend.  That list is all the cats and dogs that have shared a home with me.  Priscilla and Sara moved from Texas to Missouri with us.  Priscilla wandered off and died when she was almost 19 years old.  Charlie and Sam moved from Aurora to Springfield. Cinder is buried in the back yard of 3871, Snowy was buried in the gully by Hubby's parents place on Lovers Lane in Aurora. Cookie had to be put down when we were moving my mom in 2006.

I want to share a story about our golden boy, Charlie.  A grayish gold striped male cat that became terrified of me one day.  But he got me back.  So this is the story.

It was Easter and I was to be the Bunny for the employees association at work.  My folks were visiting us.  I was trying on the bunny suit and modeling it for my family and next door neighbors.

Easter Bunny visiting neighbor's great grandson
I walked into our living room and immediately heard scratching sounds.  I looked through the 'eyes' of the suit and saw dear Charlie the cat in total terror.  He was using every bit of power in his legs to get out of the chair to get away from the monster of all rabbits.  Side note, Charlie loved to kill rabbits.  Anyway, Charlie gets out of the chair only to land on the hardwood floor.  Front legs obeyed as he turned to go down the basement stairs to escape.  Back legs, not so much.  They went every which way, swaying from one side of his body to the other.  Finally, traction!!!!!  Charlie was down and out of sight, hidden in the recesses of the basement.  Occasionally the cat would attempt to slink up the stairs only to be met by my Dad holding the costume head.

A few months later I kept trying to figure out what was causing the bad odor in our closet.  I found the reason when I put my foot into my 'yard shoes'.  Charlie had pooped and teed in my shoes.  Not to be out done, I banished Charlie from our house.  He would not get the best of me and I had stepped in teed/pooped shoes!!!!  A few weeks later I get into my car.  And. There. Is. The. Smell.  Yes, a window had been left down and Charlie had struck again.  I would banish him for the rest of his life!!!!!!

Not long after the car poop I was standing in the yard visiting with some friends.  We were enjoying discussing the flowers and gardening.  Charlie was trying to schmooze me and was rubbing against my legs.  Not going to work, Charlie.  Then I felt something warm on my leg.  The cat had peed on me. I finally decided he had won.  We decided he had figured out who was in the bunny suit and was simply getting even.

Years later I cried like a baby when the vet told us that our 15 year old Charlie had developed cancer and was in great pain.  We had to let Charlie go. No more being awakened by him preening my hair and cheeks.  No more warmth from him sleeping on my hip as I lay watching TV.  But every time I tell the Easter Bunny story we all have a good laugh.  And Charlie had the last purr on that one!

So are you and animal person?  Spin up your story and join Ginny and Gretchen over at The Spin Cycle.  Or just visit to see what the other Spinners are saying about pets.

Second Blooming

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Another Quiet Day In Hooterville

We live near a water tower.  It does not say Hooterville.  We do not live on a farm nor in a small farming community.  We live a mile from the main Dell campus.  As mentioned before we live close to about 10 or 15 restaurants, non of which are down home type.  The maintenance folks are bilingual. The lady of the house is not a beauty queen.  The man of the house in not a lawyer and does not want to be a farmer. Not the Hooterville of Green Acres.



Do not be led astray, we are still deep in the heart of Texas.  With plenty of folks that speak with that drawl I heard as a child. But this is an urban area.  A place where there are theater groups for all ages. Lacrosse for children. Soccer clubs for kids where the coaches are multilingual.  There are cotillions for the middle school age boys and girls.  The boys wear cowboy boots to the dances.  Nope, definitely not New York penthouse for the wife.  Maybe a little Hooterville.

It was still a quite day.  A day that began early for Hubby.  Son asked him to take Son's vehicle to get it serviced and cleaned. A spilled latte had left an unpleasant aroma.  And sitting the the Texas sun can Bake. The. Odor. In.  Hubby/Dad was very accommodating and performed said functions.  Or took the vehicle to a location where some nice folks did it.  Hubby returned home and announced he is feeling crummy, probably coming down with a cold.

Yesterday's excitement was two fold, watching Youngest grandson in a play and the arrival of the Roku.  The Roku was simple to install.  Choosing channels to have available took a little time because we are slow.  First channel to be installed and linked was MLB.TV.  Hubby was able to watch Cardinal baseball on the big screen.  We left before the end of the game.  When we returned from the play, he was able to go back to the game.  He could watch any of all of the game.  He was a happy fan.


Today after the auto detail run he sat down in his favorite easy chair.  He then turned on another of the channels we had discovered, Amateurlogic.  The theme of this podcast show is amateur radio, a hobby of Hubby's family.  He spent an hour enthralled with the toys and discussion presented by a couple of hams from Alabama.  A third ham lives in Australia and is more into the logic side or the program.

Arnold the Pig from Green Acres not ham in Alabama.
My excitement for the day was getting the pictures hung on the art hanging system.  I still need to get a couple of the pictures to have wire hangers to be able to use the system for display.  A third picture has to be professionally framed for preservation purposes.  A little laundry, meal prep and some computer time rounded out this quiet day in Hooterville.  Well, and another Cards game on the TV.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Disengaged

Somewhere in the middle of the muddle hangs my mind and soul.
No direction, no commitments, no desires, no ambition and no cares.
Just a body that spent several days walking into, around and out of stores.
Around car dealership parking lots searching for a new set of wheels.

Today rain filled clouds released their moisture onto a thirsty soil.
Creatures revel in rain and drizzle as drops fall onto parched fields and pastures.
The mourning dove sat with its tail resting in the water of the bird bath.
The mate sat patiently on the fence and both took flight as I pointed a lens.

Muddled days are good to recharge tired bodies, minds and souls.
To spread renewal in the brain drained from collecting data for decisions.
To read of other worlds in the creation and imagine life as an explorer.
To sit quietly as the simmering soup fills the room with aromas of promise.




Friday, April 4, 2014

Staycation

This weeks prompt for The Spin Cycle is Staycation.  What would be a perfect one or one that you actually did.  I do not remember that we ever did a staycation.  We took a lot for Famcations.  I married a man whose family lived 400 miles away.  For six of the first eight years of marriage we took our vacation time to visit his parents.  The first summer we visited for our vacation was a real experience.  On the weekend we were taken to visit several of their friends.  It was deemed appropriate and necessary to pay respects to the dying and ill.  Monday Hubby's father presented him with scrapers and paint.  He was expecting the wooden fence surrounding the six acres to be scraped and painted.

It was July and steamy hot in southwest Missouri.  We are adult (22 and 28) children visiting parents (aged 52 and 54) who have assigned us duties of maintenance for their property.  Work to be completed during our vacation from our jobs 400 miles away.  By Wednesday I noted this was unacceptable.  I noted this very vehemently to my husband.  I noted that it was not his job to maintain his parents property.  His folks were in their early 50's and quite capable of the task.  Guess I was a spoiled, selfish kid but that was not my idea of vacation or even a visit.  You see the parents went off their own business to work each day that week.

After that first Famcation we made certain there were plans of a couple of day trips in the area while his folks worked.  Visits to Grandma and the Uncles and Aunt were enjoyable.  Learning more about my Hubby's family proved to be very enriching.  Some years we would get to spend time with cousins in from Kansas.  Those visits are fondly remembered tonight.  All the aunts and uncles are gone.  Hubby is almost the senior member of the clan.

After moving to Missouri, most of our vacations were spent visiting my family in Texas.  There was no fence to paint but there were still folks we "needed to go see".   Usually a visit meant my three sisters and their children would come to my folks home to be with us.  There was always So.Much. Food.  And So. Much  Fun.  Good times.

Now days we are a couple of retired people in a state of constant vacation.  We pretty much do what we want when we want.  Well, within the budget.  We have done the 28 day northeast trip, the 6 week North American Rocky trip into Canada and last year's Disney trip.  There were other trips, to Williamsburg;  the upper midwest;  Kentucky and Tennesee in 1987;  4 weeks across the southwestern and Pacific coast.  Just writing about the trips has made my traveling bones begin to itch.

For more takes on staycations visit Gretchen and Ginny to read all the takes at The Spin Cycle and staycations.


Second Blooming

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Murse, Man Purse or Very Brief Case

Time was women had purses to carry makeup touch up needs, billfolds, change purses, gum, trash, pills and tissues.  Headscarves and gloves needed a place to be kept during visits or church.  The check book and a separate calendar or appointment book was needed.  Feminine hygiene items needed to be hidden in a container stolen away from sight in the inside zipper pocket.  If you had a small child, a diaper bag would, also, be needed to hold extra clothing, bottles, toys, etc, etc, etc.

Men had money clips or small billfolds.  Some had pockets filled with change and the always present folding knife.  Before the day of wrist watches, a pocket watch was carried in the little pocket nothing else will fit in these days.  Business cases or brief cases were an acceptable form of bag for a man to carry for business reasons.  Only for business reasons.  Yes, men traveled much lighter than the females.

The Jack Bag for when you might need to blow up something.



Times have changed.  Gadgets seem to rule all our lives in this century.  Cell phones, androids, tablets, laptops, detachable keyboards, headphones, MP3 players, iTouch, iPad .. you get the idea.  Us women have it easy, just buy a bigger purse.  Maybe convert to a backpack.  Just one more thing to stick in the bag.  One more thing to dig past to get to the secret compartments for the personal items.  Or the last stick of gum.  Down.In.The. Bottom.Somewhere.  No big deal.  No criticism, no jokes, no sideways glances.

It's a satchel not a purse.
The poor guys have it tough.  Where to keep all the gadgets.  Especially when they do not want to part with the PDA's cause the phone just is not as easily accessed.  How to carry the one shot camera, a Kindle Fire, cell phone, one billfold with Mother's SS and medical information and another for his own information?  There are not enough pockets even in cargo pants!  Besides phones are crushed when sat on or leaned against in a pocket.  A briefcase would certainly hold all the stuff.  It just seems over kill to take a brief case to meet the buds for coffee.

Enter the messenger bag.  The perfect solution but for one thing, most guys are not a messenger.  Most guys are not riding a bike carrying time sensitive papers to Wall Street.  Guys are going into the local Auto Zone to purchase a new battery.  Auto Zone personnel look suspiciously on men carrying purses.  A messenger bag in redneck country looks like a purse.  A man with a purse, a murse or man purse, will get comments and snickers from both men and women.

My sweet hubby was conned by me a few years ago to quite carrying the Land's End canvas brief case.  It held everything and then some of the stuff he wanted to carry.  Then he spent
f  o  r  e  v  e  r
hunting for the particular section that contained any of the aforementioned items.  We I purchased a mini messenger bag for him.  He found it quite useful and has used it in spite of the ridicule.  Just last Friday Son remarked he has to remind both parents to pick up their purses.  The Son did that sideways look thing.

One yummy looking pouch.
Alas, the bag is now worn to the point the zippers are no longer working.  We I spent several hours on the internet researching bags.  Hubby review the different options.   I had 3 shipped so he could try them on to get the best fit.  Two of the three have arrived with one already rejected.  Sadly the rejection would have yielded the least amount of ridicule.  It is a tablet backpack.  He did not like the zipper configurations.  And the strap would not go around his chest the way he wanted.  The last of the 3 is due tomorrow.  I'll keep you updated on the whole which bag to choose.

Until then, do not judge the poor guy whose wife has forced him to use a purse.  It is not his fault she became tired of helping him find the stuff in the oversized brief case.  It is not his fault he wants all his toys near at hand at all times.  It is not his fault society looks with ridicule on a male person that has discovered the usefulness of a bag full of crap instead of pockets full of crap.


Join other writers for Tuesday's Just Write hosted by The Extraordinary Ordinary's Heather.