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Sunday, December 25, 2016

Let It Snow?

Yeah, that is not gonna happen this year in Central Texas on Christmas Day.  Probably competing with the folks in Australia for high temps today.  Their summer, our early winter.  My Hubby was remembering early this morning when he first arrived in Texas the Christmas of 1960.  He had left his army assignment in South Dakota by way of his home in Southwest Missouri.  There was snow in the ground in South Dakota, none in Missouri and 78 degrees in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.  He remembered being in shock at the temperature when he reported for duty at the missile base outside Dallas.  We are that warm again today. For sure, no snow.

We started the Christmas morning a little differently this morning.  Up at 6 AM to prepare a dish to be taken to a women's shelter.  As we really only needed to be up by 8 we would up having time to exchange our gifts and eat the quiche breakfast.  The Waldorf salad was prepared, proper dress and we headed for the little church that would be delivering the food.  We have not become attached to a church since our move but I am ready to commit to this little congregation.  It seems a good fit as it is a Reconciling Ministries church.  Any who, we met the small group of ladies that would be taking the food.  After introductions, some chit chat and a prayer followed by a photo op the group headed into Austin and the women's shelter.  Hubs and I headed to our little home.  A call and the plans changed to drop in on our little family as they were opening gifts with the DIL's daughter and father.  A cup of coffee and a cookie later, we left as they were ready for their breakfast.

After the short visit we drove by the home of a couple of Ham Radio operators just to view their antennae.  Now isn't that something that is pretty specific, antennae envy.  There was no visiting or saying hi just a drive by siting of towers topped by lengths of pipes that are tuned to receive signals.  Not a single one was decorated for Christmas or anything!  Just weathered aluminum, fiberglass, coax wire and nuts and bolts.  Great beauty in the eyes of the radio crowd!  After 50 years one learns to be excited by such things.

We were having to use the air conditioner in the car as the temperature mixed with the high humidity was uncomfortable.  Hubby commented on the temperature and spent some time figuring out that first Christmas day he came to Texas back in 1960.  Then it hit him that 56 years have passed since then.  Next we realized an engagement ring was placed on my finger 50 years ago in just a week.  His next comment, "Dang, I'm old."  Yes, and it beats the option.  And that option reared its head 9 2/3 years ago, April 20, 2007, in the form of a massive pulmonary embolism, a lung infarction and ruptured lung.  Let's just say we are choosing to celebrate life and not worry about the temperatures and lack of snow.

Merry Christmas!!!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Happy Christmas

A crashing disk on my main computer is leaving me with only my tablet to do posts.  The tablet and google tend to not get along very well. That makes posting more of a challenge than I want to deal with this time of year.  Such a first world issue.  I do miss being able to journal about simple experiences of the season.

Our only child and his girlfriend have been on a vacation in Mexico.  Hubby and I have been on dog duty as well as a few days of granddaughter support.  I mean a 16 year old hardly is in need of care.  She needed transport mainly.  No rattlesnakes to eliminate as earlier this fall.  Well, there has to be Round Rock Donuts still warm delivered by Grandpa.  That gets him smothered in hugs which puts a huge smile on his face.

Speaking of hugs and smiles there was a bit of that in the parking garage.  As I was completing my 7500 steps by walking to the top of the garage and back down I came across a couple of young ladies attempting to jump start a dead car.  They could not get their cables to work.  I said I could not help but would call my hero Hubby that loves helping young ladies.  So a call to the apartment brought my big Teddy Bear to the rescue.  I left before he arrived as Granddaughter was waiting for transportation.   I told the ladies that Hubby would be big, 6' 2" and 300 lbs big but a real teddy bear.

The next morning Hubby joined me at Son's home and recounted the adventure.  The set of cables were broken.  As husband keeps a back up battery charger at the ready for his hobby of ham radio, he was able to use it to start the car.  He, also, told the young lady to have her battery checked as one cell appeared to be damaged.  He was then showered with hugs from the young ladies.  Yep, he smiled just telling me about it. 

Fast forward to last evening as I returned to our apartment to get our mail.  The same young lady was getting her mail.  She was still thanking me for the help.  Told me to make sure I told Teddy Bear that she had the battery repaired.  I noted our apartment number in case she ever needed help again.  Her response was, "Now I know where to bring a Christmas gift".  Not necessary as the hugs and smiles are all old folks need for a Happy Christmas.

Peace and Love to all during the upcoming Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year holidays. 

Janice aka Petra Domina (the rock lady)

Thursday, December 15, 2016


After two solid years of no haircuts today, Dec. 14, was finally the day.  The hair was long enough to be cut and donated to Locks of Love.  I did not tell Hubby a word as I left for a 6 month followup with a doctor.  "Very healthy" was the words used by the doctor.  As I left he commented on my hair.  Yes, that fluffy stuff that now extended to the bottom of my shoulder blades.  Little did he know it was not long to be attached to my head.  Next stop was a haircut.

Arriving at the hair salon, a quick measurement confirmed the hair met the 11.5 inch requirement for cutting.  Yeah!!!!  I had not made an appointment so the wait would be about 45 minutes.  No problem as there were numerous shops within walking distance.  With Christmas being only 12 days away, there were a few little filler gifts to get for the grands, son and DIL.  Forty minutes later I deposited the gift purchases in the car and returned to the salon.

The young lady was concerned that she would have to cut so close to my neckline to get the full length.  I assured her I knew what that meant and I was ready for the no hair on my neck style.  So after looking at photos to assure her it was what I was comfortable with, the prep and cutting began.  With a rubber band binding the hair together, she began cutting through the roughly inch thick ponytail.   And it was gone.  Around 30 minutes of cutting, thinning and shaping I emerged feeling lighter and cooler.  Cooler as in not overheated.
This is what it looked like 2 years ago before the No Cut began:

So here you have before:

 Really weird how the longer the hair grew the darker the ends were.  Had the red of my youth out at the ends mixed with the grey of course.

And now the after:

And a day later after sleeping on the new style:


And so is Hubby!

Monday, December 12, 2016


Today's devotional was about using the gifts or talents that each human possesses.  These gifts can range from artistic capabilities to public speaking to the myriad of human endeavors.  The words did as intended, I began thinking how I am using my talents.  Living in the United States on earth, this time of year the world is full of holidays.  In a nation that has been predominately Christian, Christmas is an obsession at this time of year.  There are all sorts of reasons for the obsession that indeed overflows into households that have no faith.  Households that are agnostic and atheist.  Christmas is now big business as attested to by the Black Friday sales.  Many companies know that the bottom line goes from red to a glowing black as a result of the sale of goods and services during this time of year.  Just a fact, not a condemnation.

Gifting is so different than in decades and centuries in the past.  For about 2 decades, from 1975 to 1993, we lived next door to two sisters who were retired school teachers, Sis and Hazel.  Salt of the earth ladies.  One sister was born around 1895 with the younger sister and twin brother born around 1905.  Neither sister had married and were living in their childhood home with the now widowed twin brother. The sisters helped rear the brother's small daughter after the untimely death of his wife.  Eventually I was introduced to the daughter's family and be came fast friends with the whole group.

During some of the last years we lived next to the Gardner sisters we would take them some freshly baked Christmas breads a day or so before Christmas.  We would be invited in for a visit.  Often we would have thought up a question to ask the sisters to hear some of their stories.  We would sit mesmerized listening to them tell stories of their early years of teaching.  One year our question was what was Christmas like as a teacher.  They shared the story of their Christmas tradition during the lean years of the Depression and WWII years. 

Sis and Hazel would order a crate of oranges, apples, unshelled nuts and ribbon candy.  They would then give a 'poke bag' containing one each of the fruit and candy plus a handful nuts.  Sis noted the sack of goodies were for many of the students their only gifts to mark the season.  In return some students would give a 'teacher gift' of a handkerchief.  The sisters put the dozens of handkerchiefs together into bedspreads.  They had to show us the beautiful spreads before we left that one evening.  It was obvious the gifts they gave and received were true gifts of love.  As surely was the hearing of the story of their giving to the children.

December is, also, the month of my birth.  I receive gifts from my husband and son.  More than I need but truly enjoyed and appreciated.  Then time is spent gathering gifts for sisters, husband, son and his family.  A couple of friends and I still exchange gifts.  These are times of plenty in our family group.  A gift of an orange, apple, nuts and some candy would seem somehow out of place.  There are still those who would welcome a 'poke sack' filled with such simple items.  Pretty sure it is those poor and suffering for whom this season should be the focus of giving.  And yet ..... I sit wondering about how I should use my talents ....

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Seven Oh

Well, it has happened.  I am elderly.  Today I turned into a 70 year old, old woman.  Sagging jaw line, sagging bust line, sagging arms and lots of other things.  My ears and nose have grown larger cause cartilage keeps growing on those parts of the body.  Unfortunately, that same cartilage is being eaten away in all the joints of the body.  Or is the cartilage just migrating?

There is no recollection in my mind of my birth, thank goodness.  My mother on the other hand remembered it till almost the end of her days.  She was convinced by the family doctor to give birth in the hospital for the first time.  My two older sisters were born at home.  With Sis#2 the same doctor had to spend the night as the creeks were out of banks and he could not get home.  Mom began hemorrhaging immediately after my birth.  Doc Mantooth said, "Now, Mary, see why it was important to be in a hospital?"

For many decades most babies in the US were born in hospitals.  The pendulum has swung back some in the last 15 years with more women choosing home births with midwives.   Not for me, thank you.  I preferred the reduced pain of the epidural during the birth of our only child!  To each their own!

Naturally much more than just birthing practices have changed since my birth in December of 1946.  Polio vaccine was developed with my generation being the first to benefit.  The rolls of church, family, men, women, schools and government have seen significant changes both in my nation and around the world.  The world has become so tiny with the internet connections it boggles my seventy years old brain.

Last night our son, his family and some of their friends treated me to dinner, flowers and gifts.  Spa time for me.  Later a pottery and wine painting night with our DIL and a friend can be enjoyed.  Hints that maybe what I paint might go to the son's family as he would like that.  Smile, wink, hint!  The food was good but just sitting and visiting with the family was the very best part.  Seeing smiling grandchildren and then all the hugs and kisses, well, it just does not get any better.

Peace to all,
Janice who is now 70, seventy, seven oh (which could be spelled ouch and be very accurate).