Friday, December 30, 2011

December 2011 nearing the end

Wow, I just can't believe another year is ending.  I turned 60 this year, which I am good with, went to a friend's who turned 60 also and jumped out of a plane, tandem style. That, I think was the highlight of my year. Looking back I am so glad I did it.  Still feel the thrill of being 13,000 feet in the air, what a rush that was. 

I had a wonderful stay with my friend in Arizona, a vacation that was greatly needed.  We always have fun together.  Some of my friends from Illinois thought I was nuts to go to Arizona in August but it worked out great. The weather was nice, not to hot, I was able to enjoy the pool more that the other times when I went in May. 

My hubby's health is a little better, I am so thankful for that. We still are faced with some problems, but look forward to the small improvements that continue to happen. 

My daughter and I have such a good time when we have a day together. This year she faced a lot of turmoil in her life, I am so proud of her for the way she handled it all.  I think we are both glad to see a new year begin.  We have lots to be thankful for.

I think I should share this, when we go on an outing we usually end up at a Target store and it turns into a hat trying on marathon.  The last time was so much fun because we went to opposite ends of the hat display and would find each other with silly hats and and surprise each other.  I really have been wanting to send Target a thank you for the fun we have there.  It is something special my daughter and I do together and enjoy. (maybe a little to much)  We always take our camera and capture the moments, laughing and making fun of each other.  I just had to include another picture of us having fun.  The cost is free and so are the laughs.

We are still trying to sell our home.  We have 4 acres and it is way to much work for me.  The market is bad and we have been trying to sell for about 3 years now.  I am unemployed and unable to find a job, so that means I have no insurance, the prospects in our area are nowhere to be found.  I had a summer weekend job, that is over for now.  I hoped someone would see what a great job I do and ask me to work for them.... dreamer right.....  but that's who I am, I believe in the impossible.  Hope I never change, I love a good laugh, try to remain optimistic and go day by day..

It just wouldn't be right ending the year without a picture of my dog, Baxter.  What a wonderful dog!

I am so ready for the new year to start..... bring it on. ..

Saturday, December 17, 2011

New Toro snow shovel

I am no rocket scientist but I did have a little trouble with my new electric snow shovel today.  We had about 2 inches or more of snow and right away I wanted to use my new toy.  Plugged it in and was ready to go.  It was not as easy as I had seen in the videos.  I had to bend over in an awkward position, I thought I am short so why would I have to bend over so far to make this dang thing work?!  If I didn't bend way over and have it tilted just right the snow would blow back on me and the blower part would make a little rattle noise.  I was about to the point of returning and letting my husband have the last word.  He didn't want me to buy it, said we didn't need it and wouldn't do the job.  I stood outside looking the blower up and down, trying to figure out what could be changed.  I tried again and again with the same result, not so good.  It was not throwing snow 20 feet like it should and I hated the bending over to push it.  What the Heck was wrong!!! 

I wanted to start on our deck since it was the smoothest surface to experiment on.  Well, after fighting with it for a while and standing there trying to figure out what was wrong with the handle I gave up and went inside.  I told my husband that I was having a problem and was going to go on line on the internet to see if I could figure out what was wrong.  I went to the Toro electric snow shovel sight and watch their video with no luck, looked the same to me and the gal was bent over a little while she was using the blower.  Crap, I thought I had bought some stupid back breaker.  I went to YouTube and typed in Toro snow shovel and watched some videos regular people had posted and right away I saw my problem.....I really hate sharing this but we are all family here, right?  The handle was on backwards so the blower part us upside down.  I did not put it on, it came out of the box like it was and no where did it mention you had to turn the handle around.  Thank goodness for You Tube.  Thank goodness for the internet, I might have boxed it up and shipped it back.  I can just see them reading my note that it didn't work right, with the handle on backwards... Some man would be standing there shaking his head saying it had to be a woman... grrr....

At least that is over now and I got it all figured out.

  I made some really good potato soup today and added a lot more than I normally do and it turned out great.. here is what I did for the soup
about   4-5 potatoes
            cover them with water so they are not crowed
            some onion
           little left over ham
           spinach, shredded  ( I do not like spinach, so sometimes I try to sneak it in to some of my dishes) 
           I used about a half a cup, you can add as much as you like
           couple of teaspoons curry
           couple teaspoons basil
           salt,pepper to taste
           1 can cream of chicken soup
           you can add water to make it as thick or thin as you like.  This is a add whatever you have type of
          soup.  you can add corn or anything, I think it would still taste great..... let me know if you try it.

Enjoy the pictures and have a great day!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Finished Caregiver Class

What a great surprise, at the end of our 6 weeks of a caregiver class we we all handed certificates!  It was a pleasant little surprise.  They also included a small note book to push us toward writing a journal.  I can not say enough good things about this class.  The class was free but surpassed my expectations.  The teachers were caring and understanding, able to relate to all of our concerns.  I have told others about it and hope that they will sign up when it is offered again.  The one really great thing about this class was sharing our problems and ups and downs.  Have you ever noticed that when you think you have it bad someone always has it worse.  As I am just coming into the caregiver roll I heard and learned a lot.  I am in the wilderness area right now where there are consent changes from day to day.  Wilderness was the right word, there are times I think I can hear the wild sounds, total chaos all around, like living in a zoo. Until that calms down this is where I will be.  Not so scary when you understand it. 

This is a class to teach the person who is taking care of someone they love to care first for themselves.  If I am not happy, rested, strong and able to do so, how can I care for someone else.  I see that all the little things you do for yourself help both of you.  I know when I miss a few nights sleep or am not feeling all that great I am frustrated with every little thing that happens.  My temper can be quick on those days, and although it is not always directed at my husband, I can sure make it sound like it.  They told us to make an action plan every week, like; I will read 1/2 hour, four times a week, or I will walk with the dog 1 hour 5 times a week.  It helps to motivate you, and we all need that little push.  I hope with winter coming I can practice what I have learned and care for me first, (sounds so odd to put one self before others) I know it is going to be a challenge but I am better prepared for it now.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Salsa is done!

Yesterday, Nov. 9th, I finished my last batch of salsa.  I have not seen my stove clean or my kitchen counters for a few weeks.  I didn't want to put everything away until I was all done.  This year I got my tomatoes very late, I think everyone else was done canning.  I had almost thought that this year there would be no salsa, but the person I get my tomatoes from called and said he had them ready.  He had a very late ripening time.  Our weather had been cold, hot, cold, and so on. Not the best kinda weather for tomatoes.
My recipe for salsa starts out with 35 cups of tomatoes, so when I say I made 3 batches, I mean big batches.  Last night when I heard the ping of the last jar, it was such a moment.  Done.  I even enjoyed cleaning my stove and counters.  I was happy about a job well done and that it was over.  I love getting my salsa out all winter long and I use it in everything.  When I make my homemade chicken soup I add a jar, chili, scrambled eggs, usually any soups I add some salsa to it.  It gives it a little extra zing.

I am happy it is over.  Enjoy your day

Monday, November 7, 2011

Stupid time change

I have not handled the time change very well.  First, I had to work Sunday morning and was very tired when I went to bed. I remembered to change the alarm clock but in the wrong direction, so instead of getting up at 7:30 I got up at 5:30.  NOT a good beginning to my day.  Of course I had to stay up then because I don't sleep well anyway and once I wake it is all over.  I thought Sunday night I would sleep great because I had been up since 5:30, but no.  Woke up off and on all night, ended up get up out of bed about a quater to 6.  I had my coffee, did the Facebook thing, fed the dog, walked the dog, started laundry. About that time the coffee must have kicked in because I called my neighbor to tell her to come over and have her coffee here. I wanted to talk to her about taking her Christmas card photo.  I had all these brilliant ideas that just came to me.  When I called I was surprised no one answered the phone, it went straight to the answering machine. I left a message to call me and about 10 minutes later the phone ring.  It was her wondering if everything was alright and what had happened.  I called her without looking at the time since I had been up for what seemed like hours I figured she had to be up to.  She was not.  I got to laughing and saying how sorry I was to wake her, ususally she is up before me.  I had no idea I called her before 7, and she thought something terrible must have happened.  So here she is on the phone listening to me go on and on asking her to come over and talk about the photo for Christmas, good neighbor that she is she just let me go on. 
She did come over and all those great ideas I thought I had I could tell as she is sipping her morning cup of coffee, she didn't think they were that great.  The look on her face as I scratch one idea after another off my list was priceless.  Maybe I should start keeping those GREAT ideas to myself from now on or at least wait till later in the day when I have had time to think it over. 
But isn't it nice to have a neighbor who will run right over and give you those looks.  You know you have a friend. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

proud dogmom

I was so proud of my dog Baxter the other day.  I took him with me to Freeport and had several short errands to do while there. One was stop and say hello to a friend.  While I was there I asked if I could use her for a training session with Bax, she said sure.  Also at her home where two grandchildren.  I have never taken Bax into someones home before and I thought this would be a good test for him.  I told them all that I would most likely  have to take him in and out a hundred times before he understood what he had to do especially with kids there. 

I went out and got Baxter, walked to their door and knocked. The granddaughter opened the door for us and stepped back.  I told Bax to sit on the carpet in front of the door and lo and behold HE DID.  I gave him the command to sit and stay.  I got so giddy I could hardly stand it.  I kept saying I can't believe he is doing it.  I remember once hearing Cesar the dog whisper say dog need to know what is expected of them. I went into this with that attitude, like here you are, a new place, just sit and look for a while.   I told the kids after about 10 or 15 minutes that I would release him from staying.  Baxter ran around looking and checking it all out.  He is such a chicken about things I was happy to see him checking out stuff.  His butt was wiggling harder than I have seen it for a while.  It still makes me laugh when I see him wiggle like that.  Being a Bulldog he has a little screw type of a tail. Not to good for wagging.  But the effort he puts into it is something to see.  There is no question that he is one happy dog.

I was so glad it went as well as it did and I hope to take him there again and see how visit number two goes.  We went to the dog park later when I was done with the errands and heading home.  He ran and played with the other dogs, got some petting from dog owners and was ready to go home.  Such a simple life, he always seems so happy.  Wiggling that little butt of his.  He makes us all happy.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Broken bottle

Thursday I dropped and broke my bottle of favorite anti wrinkle serum.  I have been using it for about 3 months and I finally found something that works and I like.  Well, in my rush to get ready to go away, I dropped it on our tile floor in the bathroom.  The glass bottle shattered and there was not much I could do in trying to save any.  The bottle was down to about a third left so I was glad I had gotten as much as I had out of it.  We were going with friends to eat out for lunch and I began to panic a little.  I had tossed the broken bottle and glass slivers in the the waste basket but then in my panic I reached in the garbage and pulled half of the broken bottle out and very carefully put my finger in to try to get enough to use on my face one last time. I was going out with friends, I needed some.  As I rubbed it on my face, I had to be very careful, stopping when I felt a little piece of glass on my face, there were a few I hate to admit.  Well, I made it with out a cut and had a great day with friends.  Today the big thing on my list of stuff to get done was drive to Clinton, about an hour away and get more of my favorite cream.  Thank God they had it and it was even on sale and I saved four dollars.  Some things a woman just can't be without.

Monroe trip

Yesterday hubby, Kim, Carol and I all went on a little road trip to Monroe.  It is a very cute little town with a nice square you can walk around with lots of shops and the court house is in the center of the square.  I did not realize it but we had not been to Monroe at all this summer.  They had a wonderful addition to the square. I was told someone donated a large group of wooden carved jungle animals.  They are great!  One of the store keepers told me the children just love them, and parents bring the kids to the square and shop and the children have fun with all the animals.  There were even some hanging from the court house.  I was told that soon they will be removed for the winter, I am so glad I got to see them.  The zebra was my favorite as you can tell.  Just loved them.  The picture below are geese flying over the lake near where I live.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Good days

The weather has been so nice right now, kinda makes up for the bugs and heat we had this summer.  My dog Baxter has been the best dog ever the last couple of days.  I have been picking up sticks (unending job with 4 acres) and burning them as I go.  He stayed by my side the whole time.  Pulling sticks out of my hand before I could get them in the wagon, and pulling at my gloves...but he was happy and so was I.  He even managed to BRING me 4 kidding.  I told him to go get me a stick and he did, came over to the wagon and dropped it.  I was sooooo glad I had some treats in my pocket.  It may never happen again, but that day will be with me forever.   Our trees are almost at their peak right now and it is so beautiful in the afternoon.  Enjoy the photos and have great days where ever you are.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My 2011 vacation

For my birthday this year, (I turned 60) I wanted to do something BIG. When I turned 50 it was 911 and it was such a sad terrible day. My 50th came and went overshadowed by the thoughts of so many others. So this year as I turned 60 I wanted to do something, anything, just to celebrate. I called a girlfriend who lives in AZ and asked her if I jump out of an airplane will she?! She has been a long time friend and we both have our 60th birthday in September. We have shared each others lives over the years and I figured it was time to share another adventure. To my surprise she said yes!
I arrived Aug 4th very excited about skydiving. As I walked through the airport in Mesa I had on a pair of 60 glasses. I just couldn't resist teasing her about our upcoming birthdays. A lady in the airport walked up to me as I searched the people for my girlfriend and said to me "I bet I can guess how old you are." I thought that was pretty funny.
Our reservation was for the 6th, so we had some time to relax before the big day. There are not enough words to tell about our adventure. People ask me if I was scared.
You know, it was not so much being scared as not being in control of what was happening. There is no way to describe what it feels like.
So, just look at some of my pictures and let me know what you think. I will say I got the dry heaves when we landed on the ground and I had rubber legs. But I am so glad I did it. I am still on a high. I feel like I can do anything. I may get myself into trouble with that feeling. I told my hubby I felt like someone should slap me and he said he would be glad to. He is always so willing to help me out. I am wondering how long this empowering feeling will stay, forever would be nice. My friend loved it and would have gone up again that same day, she had no problem with the spinning and falling. That day there was no way I would have ever thought of doing it again, but now, I think I would do it one more time, and try to see if it still makes me sick. That was one thing I didn't even think of, thought of a lot of stuff that could happen but being sick wasn't one of them.
This last picture kinda says it all, enjoy.

yes, I am still here.

It has been a long time since I blogged, but now I am ready to start up again. In August I took a little vacation to visit a friend in AZ. I left my hubby and my Baxter (English bulldog) at home and was gone for 9 days. My husband told me that every day Baxter would get up and go over to my side of the bed and look for me. I thought that was so sweet, and I could just see him wondering where I had gone without him. When I got back home, the very first night, I was awaken by him standing by the bed, staring at me. His look was so intense. I talked to him a bit and he seemed content and went back to his bed. A little later I was awaken again by his stare, but this time he jumped on the bed (he is not allowed on the bed) looking at me intently and then walked across the bed, jumped down, returning to his bed. A third time I woke to that stare, this time he jumped up on the bed, staring longingly at me, laid down beside me and put his head on my neck. He was content, like she is home and she is here. I didn't have the heart to say "Get off the bed". It was his way of being sure I was there. I felt so loved at that moment he put his head down on me.

God Bless the animals, they touch your heart in special places. They keep us humble. I love my Baxter.

You will have to check back and find out WHAT I did on my vacation.

Friday, May 13, 2011

May's recipe

I came across this recipe in the Nov. 2005 issue of Southern Living. It has only 2 ingredients and is called Ice-Cream Bread. I have not made it yet but I will very soon. I just don't keep ice cream on hand. It never last long. So here it is and if you try it please stop back and leave a comment.

1 pint, (2 cups) of ice cream, softened
1 1/2 cups self rising flour
stir together ice cream and flour, stirring until flour is moistened. Spoon Batter into a greased 8X4 inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 - 45 minutes or until a wooden pick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Southern Living recommended not using low fat ice creams. They loved Butter pecan or rum raisin. Any flavor seems to sound good, I would like to find some black walnut, but that is hard to come by. I will go for the strawberry first and go from there. Hope you try it and enjoy it.

I have been busy potting my flowers and getting ready for summer, I have had a lot of aches in my legs the last few months and I am moving slower that usual.

I started several projects in the house and none are done. I think I got carried away and started to many things at the same time. I do a little every day, and that is the best I can do.

I feel good about each little thing I finish. My to-do list have become a list of about 5-7 things each day. Even if it says water plants it counts a one on my list. I may not be make big headway but I am slowly getting things done. Hope every one is enjoy the weather and spring.

Had to close this blog with a picture of a weed, even dandelions can be pretty!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easter Bonnet Contest

On the 23rd of April a local winery, Wide River Winery had a Easter hat contest. I took the day off, went to Goodwill and bought a couple of hats and odds and ends for the hats.
It was a contest for people and their pets.

Of course Baxter had to have a few pictures taken in his Easter duds. For the pets you just had to bring in a photo but for the people you had to show up with your hats.

Baxter is such a good sport about being dressed up. He knows he will get a treat and it only last for a short time. Unless it is just to funny and I keep taking pictures. He has figured out when to shut his eyes and I swear he does it on purpose. I don't know if the camera makes a little noise when you get ready or what. I have several pictures where he looks like he is asleep or bored to death. Of course no matter how the photo shoot goes, he still gets a treat. Such a Good Boy!

Joe and I sat and tasted the wine, and waited for the time to judge the hats. Several people that came in for tasting did not know there was a hat contest going on. It was cute because they ran out to their cars and scraped together whatever they could find.

It was very funny what they came up with. Who knew the strange things that are lying around in your car. Just another argument for never cleaning out the car.

There were several baseball caps, winter stocking hats, anything that would pass as a hat. The gal with the heart shaped balloon with a bear on the side was the strangest one that came out of a car. She said she had been to a museum a few days before and someone had made it and given it to her. TaDa! It was still in her car!

Here are the pictures of Joe's and my hat:
My hat had a big ole purple rabbit holding an egg on it. Joe said I had to walk like a Vega showgirl to keep it from falling off my head. He was right. We were sitting at the bar having our tasting of wine and I pulled out our hats to get ready for the judging when the lady sitting beside me said "Boy, She wants to win this!" We all laughed, it was pretty funny. But, hey, I took the day off of work, drove an hour to get there, ended up buying a case of wine, (they had 15% off a case that day) so yea, I wanted to win...
Well, we had the judging and guess what? Joe's hat won! His little camouflaged hat with the little purple rabbit and peeps on the side. His hat beat out mine! He won a bottle of wine and a small jar of wine jelly. I came in second. I won two wine glasses that have the Wide River Winery logo on them. I love the glasses don't get me wrong. I have been going to buy some when I have been up there. But, jees, he beat me. All the time I was feeling guilty that his hat was smaller than mine. I actually felt bad about it. The judge said she had never seen a camo Easter bonnet and that the purple peeps just did it for her. He was Grand Prize Winner! There was a guy from the Clinton Herald there taking pictures too!

Lucky Joe, he is just so lucky to have me as his wife.

I love the picture I took of him holding my hat after it was all over, I told him -To the victor goes the spoils!

You can look up the Wide River Winery (say that fast 3 times) on Facebook. They have a nice site and you can read all about them. It is a family owned winery and the owners are great. They make you feel special when you visit. The winery overlooks the widest part of the Mississippi River.

Got a nice shot of Joe standing on the cliff overlooking the Mississippi.

I am still waiting to see the photos in the Clinton Herarld. I looked at Mondays but didn't see Joe anywhere. I really want a copy to send to his sister in Florida, she would love it!

I hope you enjoyed our day before Easter outing, we had fun and even the weather was good. We have not heard if Baxter won anything yet, so we are still waiting for that. How could a face like that lose!?