On The Blackwater

Musing on retirement, writing, puppies, and whatever else strikes my fancy

My Photo

Spending my life in 20-year increments: DC, Calif, Maine, & now in the BlueRidge Mountains of VA, where my YoChon, Sadie Mae, has started to blog...

Friday, November 30, 2007

Reading to Friends/Board Members

I've hardly recovered from last evening's reading at Rocky Mount's Franklin County Library. (I just wish I'd had Becky take my picture--I even remembered to bring Dick's digital camera--down at the front door where they had my name THIS BIG.)

Eleven Board Members/Friends of the Library met me at Angle's restaurant and treated me to a nice baked chicken dinner, then we all drove down to the library as they worried aloud that they'd only had three people at one of their annual meetings. Oh dear, time to worry!

But I need not have done so. The room had more filled seats than empty ones; there must have been 30+ folks there and I knew many of them: Becky Mushko, Peggy Draegert, Keith Ferrell, Bonnie Johnson, Marilyn Amerson looking good and carrying in a beautiful flower arrangement in a basket for me, from the Library Staff, and other familiar faces. Anita, from the Board, told me privately that she'd e-mailed me about a year ago with some writing questions, and had so appreciated my answers that she went on to have a lovely poem published in Blue Ridge Traditions. A pleasant surprise!

I spoke a bit about Becky pushing me to publish with Infinity Publishing, and then I read The Hunting Trip. I felt that would be most appropriate since it is hunting season. Good responses; lots of laughing. Then there were quite a few questions, which was nice.

There is nothing like being in a roomful of avid readers.

Then, another gift! The Board presented me with a painted wooden image of the library to put on my shelf here in my office. With two Christmas trees in the front windows, it is perfect.

Marilyn mentioned to the crowd that I'd recently written a humorous play, whereupon they wanted to know when it might be performed. I have the date, Sunday February 17th, and the location, Windtree Club House, at 5 pm. I'll have to check with the Playreaders group when we get closer to that date in case anything changes. SMAC always wants new members, and Playreaders was my introduction to SMAC.

Another participant last night was Wayne Skank, who took many pictures. He is a stringer for the Roanoke Times among other papers in the vicinity, so it'll be nice if something shows up.

I'd say that was my 15 minutes, all right. Oh, and I sold five copies of my book. Lovely!

Labels: ,

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thursday Night at Franklin County Library

The Franklin County Library Friends have invited me to speak this Thursday evening, the 29th, at 6:30 at their Annual Meeting at the Rocky Mount library. Suggestions were to talk about getting my book, When Men Move to the Basement, published and distributed and to read a selection from the book.

One of my favorites is The Hunting Trip, which I haven't read to a group in a long while. Since this happens to be hunting season, that should be appropriate. I'm really looking forward to this event; I know most of the members, so it should be a friendly (pun intended) audience. Not only that, it is such a pleasure to read humor aloud. Laughter is a true bond.

When Fred First spoke and I introduced him, David Bass was kind enough to introduce ME as Franklin County's own Erma Bombeck. That was staggering! I remember Erma saying she was so disappointed not to have any grandchildren, because she was running out of material. Since Dick and I together have 16 grandchildren, counting 'steps' of course, perhaps I need to look to them for material for my next book.

OK, end of blatant commercial here. The Friends are taking me out to dinner beforehand, at the new restaurant (in an old historic building on Claiborne Avenue) called The Peter Angle House. That's a lovely gesture on their part, and I know we'll have a grand time. Hope to see y'all at 6:30 at the library.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Enchanted is enchanting!

OK, call me shallow, but I adore Patrick Dempsey and try not to miss Grey's Anatomy on Thursday evenings. When I saw commercials on TV for the new Disney movie Enchanted, I looked around for a young grandaughter to take with me to the Eagle Theater so she could visit a fairy tale and I could envision myself waltzing with Prince Patrick.

Unfortunately, my grandaughters and step-grands live all over the US, so I could only e-mail them after I saw the movie as well as spread the word around the Choir Room this morning. Believe it or not, Dick decided to go with me, and he laughed and laughed throughout the movie. He knows I hate to go to movies alone; emotions are so much more enjoyable when shared.

If you have a young daughter, or grandaughter, or sister or female friend, hie yourself to this confection of a movie. It begins as a cartoon of a fairy tale princess who is looking for her prince. The (rather dim witted) prince has a step-mother who sends the girl to NYC. She pops up out of a gutter in the middle of Times Square in a voluminous white dress and is soon drenched by a rainstorm. Seeking shelter in a billboard of a castle door, she is spotted by the young daughter of divorced attorney Patrick Dempsey; the daughter persuades her Dad to rescue the princess.

I love movies that make me laugh out loud, and this one did. Then, of course, there is the waltz scene. Ah!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

It's Pumpkin SOUP, not Pumpkin Pudding!

I decided to find the recipe in Kingsolver's book (Animal, Vegetable, Miracle) for what I recalled as Pumpkin Pudding, and copy it here. But it was Pumpkin Soup. Oh well~ Here goes anyway:

1 five-pound pumpkin (if smaller or larger, adjust amt of liquid)
Cut a lid off the top, scoop out seeds and stringy parts, and rub the inside flesh with salt. Set the pumpkin in a large roasting pan or deep pie dish.
1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
1 quart milk or soy milk
1/2 cup fresh sage leaves (use less if dried sage)
3 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons sea salt
Pepper to taste
Roast garlic cloves whole in oven or covered pan on low heat, until soft. Combine with liquid and spices in a large pot, mashing the cloves and heating carefully so as not to burn the milk. Fill the pumpkin with the liquid and replace the lid, putting a sheet of foil between the pumpkin and its top so it doesn't fall in. (If you accidentally destroyed the lid while hollowing the pumpkin, just cover with foil.) Bake the filled pumpkin at 375 degrees F. for 1-2 hours, depending on the thickness of your pumpkin. Occasionally open lid and check with a spoon, carefully scraping some inside flesh into the hot liquid. If the pumpkin collapses or if the flesh is stringy, remove liquid and flesh to a blender and puree. With luck, you can serve the soup in the pumpkin tureen.
(hopefully, Harper-Collins will consider this a review, since the recipes are also available at http://www.animalvegetablemiracle.com/org/net If not, the Harper-Collins police can come find me. I'll be the one with the collapsed pumpkin mess to clean up.)


Friday, November 23, 2007

Food from Close to Home

I'm reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and of all her books, find this one valuable. Not a fictional account, she writes about spending a year in this very area, where her husband inherited some farmland, and deciding to live raising their own food as much as possible, and buying from local farmers, basically living seasonally.

Not a vegetarian or vegan, she and her family raise animals for food, struggling with the need to dispatch them as kindly and humanely as possible.

They have many reasons for these decisions. She cannot justify the economics of shipping fruit across the US or from other parts of the world, just so the family can enjoy varieties. They can their own vegetables and local fruits. One hilarious story concerns her attempt to hollow out a huge pumpkin, filling it with milk and other ingredients, then slowly baking it, the purpose being to create a pumpkin pudding by scraping down the insides of the pumpkin as it is baking. She pictures herself proudly bearing the huge pumpkin pudding to the center of their dining table. Unfortunately, the pumpkin gives way before it gets to the table!

Kingsolver delights in the many varieties of vegetables she plants; she particularly rhapsodizes about the rainbow chard that I dearly love. Growing this chard is like growing a beautiful plant that I've learned to selectively cut away (rather than cut the whole plant or pull it from the ground) so it produces the entire summer and into the fall. In fact, if grown in a large pot, I can move it into my sunroom and have fresh rainbow chard year round. New little leaves make their way into my salads.

Our book club was to have finished her book by last Wednesday, but I didn't get my library copy in quite enough time. Now I'm thinking I may have to purchase a copy in order to have the recipes she includes. But not the huge pumpkin pudding...

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Dogs Were Gone!!!

Dick's face was white...he was shaken to the core. Both chocolate Labs were gone. Impossible. Winchester, the big chief at 11, had never ever run off. After all, we have 12 acres and he knows the area he is restricted to roam. An obedient old guy (he's turning gray at the chops) he suffers through Remington's friskiness. Rem is the same age as little Sadie Mae; he's a year and ahalf, stays mostly in his large outdoor pen but the electric fence system gives him a much larger area to run and play.

Suddenly, both were missing from the yard. It was around 5 pm, getting dark. At least no hunters would be mistaking either one for a deer as soon as it was completely dark. Each wears a bright day-glo orange collar, and ID tags on those collars. But they were gone. No rustle of dry leaves when we were still and listening for them. No response to our calls or whistling.

Dick jumped in his truck, heading for 122 and that traffic, only half a mile from our house deep in the woods. Dogs and cats don't survive if they get to 122, Booker T. Washington Highway. We knew Winchester would be wise in the way of traffic, but not Remington. He would only know our gravel driveway, and the non-state-maintained gravel road, each only one vehicle wide.

I stayed home to wait for any phone calls. After driving around the area, Dick called me to say Remington had been located over in Redwood, and the fellow who called said another larger dog had been with him, but had gone off when he reached for Remington's collar. Friendly Rem had sat, allowing the stranger to remove the tag on his collar and call a registry number in NC which had Dick's cell phone listed as Rem's owner. Roundabout, but it worked.

By 10 pm, Rem was home in his own pen. We had no idea where Winchester was, but Dick decided he'd be smart enough to curl up in a safe place in the woods overnight, and then he'd be better able to locate him by morning's light. Neither of us slept well. It wasn't a cold night, by any means, nor was there any rain. Still, we worried, and by 5 am, Dick was up, dressed, and off in his truck. We both knew Winchester knew the sound of his master's truck, which would be helpful with cataracts dimming the older dog's eyesight.

Around 6:30, our phone here at home rang, with the call we'd hoped and prayed for. It was the fellow who had called about Remington, telling me that he'd found Winchester curled up asleep in an old doghouse he had a bit back into his woods. I thanked him wholeheartedly, and then called Dick to tell him the good news.

He'd just driven by the man's driveway, so he turned and headed back. Reunion between man and Lab!

What caused these two chocolate Labs to run off? Particularly since the younger one had a collar on that gave him a small jolt if he crossed the line? It's an old, old story. Seems the fellow in Redwood had a female dog in heat penned in his yard. Our two Labs had climbed down our ledge, swum the Blackwater River across, climbed the sloping meadow, then headed up another small slope. As the crow flies, they'd covered about three miles straight to Lorelei inside a well-fortified pen. Locked, fortunately.

They're home. They're safe, and signing on to renewed training sessions with Dick, their Alpha Dog. Recently, I'd been a bit smug about their being trained to stay on our land. HA! So much for smug~

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Successful feast!

Everything went so well it was amazing. Dick and PD carved away, put offerings of dressing and other casseroles into the antiquated church ovens, and just worked like a well-organized team, with several women rapidly putting cold dishes on the serving tables that stretched from one side of the Assembly Hall to the other.

When you don't know how many folks you will be feeding, it takes lots of cooperation, but our pastor announced that our community guests would go first to the serving tables, and Rob had set out Reserved signs on 4 long tables which was perfect. The Youth Team (teens) helped the disabled, either going through the line with them, or filling plates for them and bringing them to the tables.

No one complained about the time it took for them to go first, and there was so much food, so many offerings, that we did not run out of anything. In fact, we were able to fill take-away containers to deliver to the homebound.

Our creative team decorated with pineapples and fall flowers, along with some rustic-looking fall colored signs on the wall over the groaning dessert table. Table coverings were a muted gold color with burgundy paper napkins.

We've been having this feast the Sunday before Thanksgiving for all the years we've been in this church, but today was the finest. Perhaps because we shared.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Spent the whole day in the kitchen

Whew! It was easy roasting the smoked turkey breasts; they only needed to be heated through, one hour in the oven. I'm proud of the dressing...after looking at recipe after recipe (remember, I can't use bread unless I've baked it from a gluten-free mix) I took a recipe that Gia cook had on the Today show this morning and changed it around using stale cornbread that I'd baked last night. Mah-velous, if I do say so myself. She had a few exotic ingredients that I just didn't use, but her recipe was spot-on.

I made notes on the printed-out sheet so I can fix it again. Every recipe I'd seen for cornbread dressing began with a mix or with bakery corn muffins. Have people forgotten how to bake cornbread? Anyway, Gia used panchetta where I used turkey bacon, so that worked.

After that, I made some easy candy: nuked some chocolate 'bark,' added chopped toasted almonds and dried cranberries. Put on wax paper, into fridge for 15 mins. Done. Good, too.

Then came the main event, which did take a lot of ingredients and mixing: a Weight-watchers pumpkin cheesecake. Supposed to be in a graham-cracker crust, but that's out with Celiac, so I just spritzed a china pie plate. By finishing that, I allowed The Great White Hunter to get into the cranberry-nut candy.

Anyway, it was a long busy day on my feet. Dick carved up the turkey breasts, so everything is in the big outdoor fridge (the sunroom) to carry to the church tomorrow. I'll make GF gravy in the morning to take along.

My next book will be called: My Church is Making me Fat!

Actually, if I can stay with what I'm bringing for the Feast, I'll be OK. I'll wear my navy blue church shirt (name embroidered in red, which will help our guests know who the worker bees are if they need help) and pants, and new cushiony sneakers. Choir robes can cover a multitude of sins!

Sorry for a boring blog, all about cooking a week before Thanksgiving. But it's done and I'll be able to take a major break tomorrow and next Thursday.

Happy Turkey Day, everybody. We have so much to be thankful for. A roof over our heads instead of seeking safety at the Family Resource Center (Shelter)...a life hopefully without mental or physical disability...enough food that we can easily share without going hungry. Friends and family, no matter how dysfunctional they might be! Sometimes I wonder if they think WE'RE the dysfunctional ones....hmmm.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Hubby in News-Post & Eagle

Handsome hubby made the papers while singing with his quartet, The Waterfront Four, at the chili festival at Smith Mountain Lake. Nice picture of the 4 of them in their Hawaiian shirts.

Have been busy this week helping my doctors buy their newest model sports cars. Checkups, tests, follow-up to ascertain the Shingles have left the building. Never did actually break out or itch. Lucky, lucky, lucky.

Tomorrow I roast two smoked turkey breasts and make some cornbread dressing, plus (maybe) a pumpkin cheesecake, crustless, so Dick can have something from the dessert table at church on Sunday, when we feed the congregation and are joined by some community members who could use a good hot meal and a little Thanksgiving cheer. If I don't make the cheesecake, there's a recipe for a candy that only takes melted dark chocolate, chopped almonds, and chopped dried cranberries.

This way, I get Thanksgiving out of the way early since we're neither going to visit family nor are they coming our way. That was always the day my family got together, eating ourselves foolish, and I continued the tradition when I had my own children. My daughter Cathie still carries on, although some years it is tough for her, as her husband died of a massive coronary on Thanksgiving day...actually, the night before, as she came downstairs that morning to find him on the floor, gone, and a blizzard howling outside. We drove the 11 miles over and helped the emergency folks get into the driveway. I went upstairs to sit with my three grandkids, trying to sooth a soon-to-be-five year old by telling her she now had her own personal angel to watch over her.

That was in 1997, and here we are in 2007, Cathie wins a total of $81,000 which includes a race driver-designed Dodge Charger that will be driven to her door on November 27th, 10 years to the very day her husband died. I guess sometimes angels take 10 years to bring a blessing about.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Barbershop Valentine stories

The essence of the Barbershop quartets' singing valentines is the surprise element. A wife will be serenaded at work (with a call first to her company to be certain this is OK), a couple having a romantic dinner in a restaurant, a dump truck driver...I kid you not...turning beet red as he stands in the parking lot beside his truck, and 4 dapper gentlemen sing love songs to him from his wife, then hand him a long-stemmed red rose as his burley coworkers watch!

My favorites to hear about are the frail and elderly in nursing homes. All those able to gather around have primped and perfumed as if they were going to a Broadway show. Often the managers have brought in plates of home made cookies and a little punch, turning an otherwise bleak day into a Valentine's Day party for all the residents. The person, usually a woman, being serenaded gets to be the star of the day. Sometimes the family member who has ordered the singing valentine will opt for a more expensive package, providing a dozen real long-stemmed roses so each resident can have her own to take back to her room.

The singers go out to their vehicle dabbing tears from their eyes.

Now that Dick has been singing for 4 or 5 years, I pretty much know the routine. For about five days on and around the 14th, they'll take orders for Smith Mountain Lake and Rocky Mount. The first year Dick sang with them, he looked just grand in his black tuxedo pants, shiny black shoes, white dress shirt, red vest, and straw hat with a red band. I saw him off at 7 am since their first call was at a jobsite.

I knew he wouldn't be home until late that evening, so I threw on my old sweats, ran a brush through my hair, and started vacuuming. The phone rang; it was Dick, asking me to give another of the wives a call since her husband had forgotten his cell phone. I made the call and went back to my vacuum cleaner. I heard a car crunch onto our gravel driveway. Looking out, I saw four guys in red vests approaching my front door and Dick was in the lead. Could I lock the door and run to the bathroom to put on some lipstick? Or maybe a BRA? Nope, the door opened just as I bent to scoop up my Lhasa Apso so I could hold her in front of me, ostensibly to keep her from attacking the men's ankles as they sang lovesongs to a rather bedraggled spouse.

The call I'd gotten earlier from Hubby was just to be certain I was home. Later that day, the other wives burst into howls of laughter. Their husbands had surprised them, too, when they first began singing in a quartet.

I learned that one woman (not a BBS spouse) had answered her door, said, "Just a minute, I'll get her," whereupon she closed the door and ran to put on lipstick and brush her hair. Clever lady!

Some of the BBS music: Let Me Call You Sweetheart, I'll be Seeing You, Shenandoah, Ain't Misbehaving, Let the Rest of the World Go By, Over the Rainbow. My Dad knew them all, and Hubby was amazed that I knew all these songs he had to memorize. His parents didn't play radios or records when he was growing up in a very rural area. I was so fortunate that this 40's music formed the background of my childhood.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Harmeneers of Smith Mountain Lake

Don't go to Spellcheck.

The BarberShop Men's Chorus deliberately spells it Harmeneers. Their annual fall concert took place last night at the Trinity Ecumenical Parish at Smith Mountain Lake, and it was standing room only. Hubby sings Bass in the chorus of around 40 men; he also sings Bass with The Waterfront Four, a breakout quartet from the chorus.

An estimated 450 people attended; today was their matinee performance and attendance was around 400.

Proceeds from both days, as well as from their Valentine's Day events, provide scholarships to local students.

But this isn't about proceeds, it's about the old time joyful music they sing. The first concert I attended brought tears to my eyes as song after song reminded me of my Dad singing and tap-dancing around the house during my childhood. He knew all those songs, every lyric. The music immediately takes me back in time.

Interestingly, barbershop singing relies on each singer memorizing the tune, the words, and the subtleties of his part. Only the Lead singer voices the music you and I would recognize; the Bass, Tenor, and Baritone versions harmonize with the Lead but sound very strange when sung alone. There is no accompanying piano nor is there any other instrument. You will hear one note blown on a pitch pipe to give them their start; from then on, they must sing their individual part in tune. The harmonies are beautiful.

Guest singers came from the DC area; four young men calling themselves Bachelor Party despite one of the four having recently married entertained us with several oldies. The theme for the evening was The USO Years, and there was indeed a bit of flag-waving. When the chorus sang a song for each branch of the military, the audience was asked to stand if they had served in that branch. There was hardly a dry eye as most of the audience stood. The Chorus members then saluted those standing.

After the concert, the group and their spouses attended a local restaurant for their buffet, and more singing as each quartet sang a few selections before the guest quartet sang. Then everyone (even some of us women) sang one piece together.

The fall concert is now officially over, but it won't be too long before the Smith Mountain Lake Harmeneers begin filling their program for Valentine sing-outs. For a fee, a quartet will serenade your loved one with three love songs, presenting her/him with a long-stemmed red rose and taking a picture of the event. They've sung at workplaces, in nursing homes, in parking lots, in restaurants, just about anywhere, during the week of Valentine's Day. I can tell you stories~

Keith Ferrell, Author, Speaker, Friend

Thursday morning, the meeting room at the Moneta Library filled to capacity for the Friends of the Library's annual meeting. They came to hear Keith Ferrell speak about The Death of Reading, a topic he is passionate about.

Keith, former Editor-in-Chief of OMNI Magazine in New York, is the author of more than a dozen published books and more scientific articles than anyone could count. Most of his books are scholarly biographies for youngsters of figures such as Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell, John Steinbeck. He is presently at work on a novel, writing day and night away, and reading constantly as well.

Turning OMNI into an online magazine was one of his challenges; I suspect he has mixed emotions about that, since he views the Internet as a major culprit in enticing today's adolescents away from the simple pleasures of the written word on paper, in a book. Speaking before the Friends group was, of course, preaching to the choir. Everyone in that room was first and foremost a reader. Personally, I still recall the day I was finally old enough to have my own library card, to choose my own books, to take home a stack of books I could hardly carry. (This was before the day when libraries had children's rooms, so the entire library was mine to plunder, with the exception of one room of fragile books that ostensibly could disintegrate if a child breathed on the pages.)

Serving on the Franklin County Library's Bookfest committee with Keith for the last three years, I've gotten to know and appreciate the amazing amount of knowledge he has about the current state of publishing. He and his wife Martha located to Glade Hill from New York but he keeps up with world-wide trends and worries that we're reaching a tipping point in the very near future. Yes, I said Glade Hill. In Franklin County. Hmmm, maybe there is something he hasn't yet told us...

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Fall is Crockpot Time

Cool, clear morning and the fall colors are beautiful as I look out my kitchen window over to the BlueRidge Mountains. The birds have been pushing each other away to get at the birdfeeder, and Sadie Mae wants to go chase squirrels.

How that does translate to hauling out the crockpot, filling it with deer meat, cut up tenderloin of pork, and root veggies, adding beef broth and a bit of red wine after it has filled the kitchen with wonderful smells. This is my favorite time of year, when it is crisp and cool but not actually cold. Is it even possible to make a SMALL pot of soup or stew or roast?

Even though there are just the two of us, I use the larger crockpot, chunking up Yukon Gold potatoes (me too, Amy, ever since I first was handed a bag of those beauties, at the University of Maine, Presque Isle, when they were growing them experimentally and trying to convince the local potato farmers to grow them) sweet onions, carrots, celery, even half of a huge turnip. Leftovers are good, with everything that's going on this week.

Dick sings in the barbershop chorus this coming weekend, so any food stashed in the fridge will come in handy.

Later this week, I'll make a batch of chili. We like it with beans and chunks of tomato, cornbread on the side, and grated sharp cheddar cheese melting on top.

Yes, it is definitely fall! Time to put the flannel sheets on the bed.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Update on Shingles Diagnosis

This has to be the mildest case of shingles ever...or it could be that the med started so quickly just put the brakes on it. she said, whilst knocking on wood.

No rash to speak of, no blisters, no itching. The pain has definitely decreased. Friends e-mailed me that they'd heard it was contagious, but I checked and that's only if there are blisters that break, and there's direct contact with someone who has never had chicken pox. And any contagion would be chicken pox, not shingles. Still, I plan to stay at home.

Today was interesting: Hubby lectured me about the need for me to stay home, not drive anywhere, not even get dressed so I wouldn't be tempted to even drive up to our mailbox, half a mile away. After he finished his heartfelt lecture, he went to the fridge for a glass of milk and said: Hey, you'll have to get milk and sodas and eggs, we're out of them.

I just smiled and waited for it to sink in.

OH, he said. I guess I'll have to go to the store, won't I? (yup) What else do we need? (I gave him the list, reminding him that it was Old Fogey Day at Kroger's.) And I guess I'd better take the trash to the dumpster? (yup) And doesn't Sadie Mae have a beauty shop appointment today? (yup) And you leave her there and pick her up later? (yup). This was getting to be too much fun...

And you could pick up my book that's at the library on hold, since you are going to town, I said. Please, dear?

The eggs, he said. Do you still buy the brown jumbo eggs at Franklin Mini-Mart? (yup...they're the freshest in town.) He sighed, but he took Sadie Mae along and ran all those errands, picking up the paper and the mail on his way back home. He deserves some kind of medal, poor guy. First the broken ankle that kept me sidelined for three solid months, and now this Shingles thing.

Remember promising in sickness and in health? Well, I took care of him through months and months of serious illness when we still were living in Maine, so it seems now to be his turn. I'm just glad he's taking this so well. And also pleased that this case of Shingles so far is very mild.

So, friends and family: don't worry about me, I'm fine as old wine, truly. The women on my mother's side were hale and hearty into their 90's. That's my plan...


Sunday, November 04, 2007

Halloween Trunk or Treat

Ma and Pa Kettle in front of their plastic cabin. I always wanted to be a blonde! (I could feel my brain shrinking.)

Tailgate, Ma & Pa Kettle, Sadie Mae on lap.

Our church has a Trunk or Treat event for Halloween. We bring goodies in the trunks of our vehicles and the kids go from car to car, wearing their cute little costumes. Dick got very creative and decorated the tailgate of his truck...it was a hit with the kids!

Hey, buckaroo, look, it's a princess!

Sadie Mae wore her wings and halo, although the wings went crooked and the halo ended up around her neck. Well, we knew she was no angel! The kids adore her, but of course she wouldn't sit still for a picture, so we tried to get her still by holding her. Not much luck there...she's the bit of fur in my arms.
Hmmm, maybe blondes DO have more fun. Wig: $4.96 from WallieWorld. Effect on the kids: Priceless!

Now, let's see if I can remember how to download pix onto this blog.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Voodoo Doll?

That's it, someone has made a voodoo doll using a hank of my hair or something. Then, he/she takes the doll out of hiding and jabs it, saying: Oh, let's just send her to the hospital with a life-threatening infection. Once that illness had run its course--JAB to the right ankle, one side and then the other--Time for a broken ankle, both sides. Look at her trying to get around--

Next: Let's see--how about something else painful--I know! JAB!--Shingles! That's it, painful and a tad disfiguring. Oh, rats, didn't jab in the right place, she has shingles around her waist and--darn--she went right to the doctor so she got started on the med immediately. That means a shorter course of the nerve inflammation and not as much damage.

I've spent all my life (well, not all of it yet) being the healthiest person in the room, vegetarian for years, daily walks, waterobics at the Y, nonsmoker, nondrinker except for an occasional glass of wine on special occasions. Vitamins, supplements, meds to bring down my inherited cholesterol and high blood pressure.

...and here I am, happily retired from a stressful job, and somebody fashions a voodoo doll, sticking pins into it every time I start enjoying life again.

Oh, well. The carved wooden sign on my dining room wall says it all: Thou shalt not whine