Thursday, November 30, 2006

Friday's Feast One Hundred and Twenty

Feed your mind
with thought-provoking,
mind-stimulating questions…

visit Friday's Feast:
a buffet for your brain.

Have you ever flown in a helicopter?
Yes, it had to have been 20 or so years ago. They were giving rides at the county fair. They strapped both of the kids and I in and up we went. It was GREAT fun. I remember there were no doors and it was very loud.

What color is your warmest coat or jacket?
Black and white tweed.

What is your favorite rainy day activity?
It has been raining here for two days. When we are stuck inside Willi and I like to play games of all sorts. The last time was Cribbage, but Dominoes is always a favorite. We also found a cool new game called Blokus.

Main Course
Describe your hands.
My hands are finding it harder to do the things they used to do with ease. They want to cut and stitch and craft. I think they are becoming my mother's hands. They are not yet crooked at the joints, but my knuckles seem like they may be a little larger. Sometimes they hurt, especially when the weather is cold. They find great comfort in the warmth of another's hands. I think they can still soothe the troubled brow. They have served me well.

If you could eat only one nut for the rest of your life, what nut
would you pick?
I love nuts. I guess it would be pecans. Or cashews. Almonds. I would probably cheat.

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

WWC: Pay it Forward

Courtesy of Odd Mix, the words are Blessing and Thanks.

Great words this week. I have given them quite a lot of thought. My blessings are so many and my heart is full. I have thought about different ways to say thanks but the one that seems most fitting is to "pay it forward". I have some friends who are excellent at "paying it forward" and to that end they provide our church (willi and me included) the same opportunity many times over. You will see the fruits of their efforts in the pictures below.

Say thanks by helping out a family in need.

Feed the youth...say thanks.
Support World AIDS Day...say thanks.

Save gently worn coats for kids who need them...say thanks.
Provide school supplies for the new school year...say thanks.

Thanks to my friends.
You will recognize them as daddy d and mjd.

"The operational answer is to do the best you can, when you can, all the time you can, with as many people as you can."
- daddy d

Drop some coins in the shiny red bucket...say thanks.
Take some canned goods to the food pantry...say thanks.
Contact the nearest shelter to see how you can help...say thanks.

A little bit really does go a long way...just say thanks.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Christmas too soon

It was hard to find the news sections in the two local newspapers we received on Thanksgiving. They were lost among the sale flyers. I took this picture at least a month ago at the local "big box" grocery store. Many of the merchants in our area were open yesterday; some open all night long.

In my mind's eye, I see long lines of shoppers winding from storefronts out into the parking lot, hoping to take advantage of big savings this morning. That's as close as we will be to the hustle bustle. Our dollars will not be among those counted by the merchants at the end of this busiest shopping day.

Nope. That's not us. We have really important plans.

Turkey sandwiches and Razorback football!

Woooooooooo, Pig ! Sooie!
Woooooooooo, Pig ! Sooie!
Woooooooooo, Pig ! Sooie!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Gobble, gobble!

What would Thanksgiving be without a few turkeys? These gobblers have graced our family dinner table for as long back as I can remember.

The two birds pictured below have earned a place in the holiday celebration although I am not quite sure when they arrived!
This is my favorite of all. We should have known that the creator of this beautiful bird would grow up to be an artist!
Well, it's Thanksgiving Eve and the sweet potato pies are in the oven. We've been counting our blessings and remembering things that have happened since this time last year. Lives have been joined in marriage, work situations have changed and new friends have shared our joys. Children have moved on to higher levels of education. Students have come and gone leaving indelible marks on the lives of those who work with them. Willi and I are grateful for the fullness of our lives and we hope your blessings are as many!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Oh Brother!

There is a story I have enjoyed telling on my son for quite some time now and I finally found the picture to go with it.

He was just a little over two years old when his sister came home from the hospital. As with all first children, he had enjoyed everyone's undivided attention up unto that point. For the most part he did well with the new arrival and we were pretty careful to see that he had his own space and time.

A friend had lent us a nice little cradle. Placed in the dining room, it was just the perfect size and allowed me to keep a watchful eye, but still go on about the day. The actual bed hung from the frame and had a pin type latch to keep it from rocking. Without the pin the cradle would have a gentle sway with very little coaxing. You can probably see where I am going with this.

Standing at the kitchen sink, with my back to the cradle, I heard the baby wake with a start followed by the patter of feet heading down the hall. I turned in time to see the cradle doing a pretty steady rock and roll. After things calmed down I stood in the corner of the kitchen where I could see, but not be seen. Peeking around the corner I could see my son creep up to the cradle, look into the kitchen, look back into the cradle, kick the frame of the cradle, and run like hell down the hallway with a giggle!

After having "learned" that this was not appropriate, he would tease with the impish little grin in this picture.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

WWC: One stitch too many

Courtesy of Odd Mix, the words are Persevere and Overcome.

This is my lesson in perseverance. Us ladies at work found out that we have a real professional class knitter in our ranks. She can whip out a sweater in a little less than two week's time and gives classes at the local fabric shop. I have known her for 15 years, speaking to her several times a week on the phone. Who knew?

Not wanting to miss a great opportunity, we asked her to pass along some pearls of wisdom to a few beginners. Before long, there were five of us in our little onceaweek knitting circle. She started me out on a shawl. I can do this. Cast on 4 stitches, knit one row; slip one, knit one, yarnover. Oh, yeah. I can do this. This is going to be great fun!

Not. What you see here is the product of my third [three (3) tries] attempt. I have ripped the entire thing out twice already. I was on a roll. I've gone from my original four stitches to 119; not once, not twice, but three times. This morning I laid it out on the table just to enjoy the fruits of my labor and guess what? Do you see it? I did the same $%#!@*& thing all over again. Somehow or other I have gained a stitch and moved my entire pattern over to the right. Again.

Just in case you can't see it, here is a little help...

Did you know that you can knit backwards? I didn't. It might have been nice to know that before I ripped it out the last two times. Completely.
If you knit backwards, moving the stitch from the previous row back onto the needle, all the while pulling out the newest stitch, for 0nehundredandnineteen stitches, you can go back four $%#!@*& rows instead of ripping the whole thing out. Eventually you will end up with a pile of yarn about four times this size.

So, I have only three more rows to knit backwards.

I will persevere. And yes, I will overcome.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

There was a visitor outside our office window on Friday. One of these days I will be on the same side of the glass as the critter I am trying to photograph! This was pretty cool, though. Right here in River City.

He even sat still while we opened the blinds. How great was that?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Friday's Feast One Hundred and Eighteen

Feed your mind
with thought-provoking,
mind-stimulating questions…

visit Friday's Feast:

a buffet for your brain.


Do you believe there is intelligent life on other planets?
Call me cynical, but sometimes I find myself looking for signs of intelligent life on this planet. That wasn't very nice, was it? Really though, it's hard for me to believe that we are all there is.

What do you think?

What is one thing you said you'd never do, but you eventually did?
Actually I can't think of anything. I learned a long time go "never to say never" because just as soon as you're there. There are things that have happened along the line that have caught me by surprise. For example, when I was young and invincible I thought I would always be...young and invincible. It was quite a rude awakening when I realized I could no longer read the directions on the prescription bottle, let alone the fact that there was a prescription bottle. There are also some things that I have done that I probably should not have, but that is another story!

Who is the teacher that influenced you the most in school?
I had an English teacher in high school that allowed us to think outside of the box. I remember listening to Elton John's "Madman Across the Water" and dissecting the verses to the songs. Mr. Woods taught one of those classes that I really looked forward to. I also had a journalism teacher that didn't last much more than a year. He was quite impressive - more like a real journalist stuck in a classroom, than a teacher. Rich James now writes for my morning read.

Main Course
If you could trade places with anyone for one day, who would it be and why?
This is a hard one. I wouldn't want to waste it. If I knew I would be back to my same self tomorrow, I think I might like to be dead for a day. Oh, stay with me here for a minute. We spend entirely too much time worrying about who's going to heaven and who's going to hell, and what we have to do to get there. Just think - if I could really and truly be dead for a day, then come back with a definitive answer - we could quit sweating the small stuff and get down to the business of taking care of each other in the here and now. How's that for thinking outside of the box?

What is your favorite dish to prepare?
My favorite dish to prepare would have to be my mom's macaroni and cheese. It's a definite comfort thing; not real good for you, but real good to eat - and everyone likes it. Preparation is very easy with macaroni, Velveeta, and Milnot; covered with bacon - cooked until crispy. As with most comfort food, it's even good the second day. Aside from that, I like it when Willi and I cook together which is always a good time for us.

I kind of like cooking up these Friday's Feasts also!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

WWC: Conform and Rebel

The topic of conformity and rebellion reminded me of this magazine for high school students from November 11, 1969. Pretty interesting times.

Highlights of the article are: 53 Connecticut high school boys are suspended because their hair was too long; a 17 year old girl in Brooklyn was defended by the ACLU after being sent home from school for wearing slacks; 20,000 high school students in Chicago boycotted classes for a community voice in the schools, more black teachers and courses in black history; and the Supreme Court agreed that students in Iowa should be allowed to wear black armbands to protest the war in Viet Nam.

Who are the Protesters? According to opinions expressed in this article they are either spoiled brats, hoodlums, radical agitators, or students who feel a need for change in their schools or our society. If you click on this portion of the article you will be able to read the text. There is an interesting exchange between J. Edgar Hoover and a member of the S.D.S.

Courtesy of Odd Mix, the words are Conform and Rebel.

Willi and Cali were more than happy to conform to my request
for the first fire of the season!

The Razorback and the Rebel in blatant defiance of
the "No Couch for Cali" rule.

Cali conforms to the shape of her bed.
. . . . . . . . .

One from the road ...

Morning Moon

Friday, November 10, 2006

I'm a music junkie...

...and it's all their fault.
Oh, I know they look so wholesome in this picture; just like baseball and apple pie. Those are the ones you have to watch out for. You would never think these loving parents would pass this addiction along to their own child. I'm sure they didn't intend for it to happen, but it did just the same. It all started very innocently; a little song while rocking in the big chair, a tune to pick up toys by, and then a lullaby before bedtime. Who would think a song about an ant and a rubber tree plant could be so insidious.
Pretty soon they brought out the big guns; the Glenn Miller Concerts. Volumes I, II, and III. Then it was Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra even Mahalia Jackson - no kidding, even Mahalia. I knew all the words to the Rodgers and Hammerstien musicals... Oklahoma, Carousel, South Pacific; you name it.

Before long I was hooked. I had to have some records of my own.

Oh, the smell of vinyl in the morning.

The proof is in the picture. The needle had its grip on me - I craved the sound of the sharp diamond point gliding along the smooth black disks. It wasn't long before I graduated to the hard stuff. Oh, so young. By my sixth birthday it was me and Ricky Nelson. On one side of the 45 we sang Hello Mary Lou and if that wasn't enough I could flip it over and sing Travelin' Man. That's what I call a double shot.

And don't think they didn't use it to their advantage. As soon as I found out you could actually see these guys on television, that was it. I was done for. My entire life hinged on getting my chores done in time for this show...and they knew it.

I could rate a record with the best of them. Not only that, at some point in every show Dick would tell me what the top ten records were. It was then that I found out what an allowance was.

Jeanie at the dimestore became my dealer. Once a week the new tunes would come in and once a week I would give her all I had. In return I would get one, maybe two hits.

In all fairness, the entire blame cannot be placed upon my parents. James played a part in my undoing as well. It was from him that I learned about albums. If I worked a little harder and saved a little longer, I could get a whole bunch of songs all at one time. Yes, he was my first.

The insatiable need for new tunes has permeated my life. From record players to iPods, and from 78's to cd's; there's no ridding myself of this monkey on my back. It follows me where ever I go. Go ahead, name the town. If I've been there I can tell you where to go to fill your need, like here...

or here.

It's all about the music, man. It just gets in your head. It's all about the needle and the damage done. Sorry Neil. It's all about...well, it's actually all about one of the best gifts my parents could have given me.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Bathing Baby

A little something from back in the day...

Printed in 1953 "The instructions in this booklet are based upon those given to mothers at the famous Maternity Center in New York City. Newly edited and printed, they conform with the most recent medical knowledge and modern methods in child care recommended by doctors and nurses throughout America."

About the bath..."Ther's an art to bathing a baby - but it's one which you can learn with even the first bath. In the early weeks, until the mother has regained her strength, the baby should be bathed on the mother's lap. Later if more convenient, the mother may stand to bathe her baby whether she uses a tub or a bathinette. Presumably you've already picked a time when you will be uninterrupted. Let nothing interrupt you once you've started."

About diapers..."Fold the diaper straight through the center, forming a rectangle - and if the baby is small - fold down one-third, making an extra thickness on the outside - in the back if a girl - in the front if a boy."

About washing the diapers..."No article of baby's clothing calls for greater care in washing than do diapers! Never use a strong soap as it may make the baby's buttocks sore. If boiling is necessary, wring the diapers out of the hot soapy wash water and drop into a diaper pail which contains a light soapy solution. Bring to a boil and boil ten minutes. Rinse diapers thoroughly and dry in the sun..."

Really a wonderful little resource for the mother to be...we've come a long way baby!

Monday, November 06, 2006

WWC and Question of the Week

This was the question asked of eight "people on the street" for print in Sunday morning's Post-Tribune:

The midterm elections this week have plenty of drama; what races or outcomes are you paying close attention to?
  • "None of the above, because not one race interests me and they all talk a good game."
  • "The Porter County sheriff election of Susan Restau and David Lain."
  • "None. But what gets me is all the negative ads."
  • "None, because I do not have time and I do not vote."
  • "Do not really pay attention, but heard the comments that John Kerry said."
  • "Trying to see who the Democrats will bring in - Obama or Hillary. That's the one I'm watching."
  • "None of them because I personally believe they are going to do what they want anyway."
  • "None of them...too busy to be concerned."
Six out of the eight people in this albeit informal poll had no interest. Zip, zilch, zero. That's 75%. Of the remaining 25% that showed any interest at all, one is looking at a local election and the other is looking two years down the pike.

What in the heck is up with that?!!

Courtesy of Odd Mix, the words are Ephemeral and Enduring. This probably was not what he had in mind, but this is where my head is right now...

Although some may see Tuesday's election as ephemeral, the results of our action - or inaction - are enduring.

These sites are great resources to find out about where candidates stand on issues and their past voting records, among other bits of information. You can even search by zip code. Project Vote Smart Every Political Leader on Every Issue Independently Tracking the United States Congress

This site will give you information for voting and poll locations for your area: Election Protection 365 - People for the American Way Foundation

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Happy Birthday, Sunshine!

Here she is, born 28 years ago today! She was 7 pounds 1.5 ounces, 19 3/4 inches long and the little girl I had dreamed of. There are no traumatic stories with both an easy labor and birth. In fact we pulled the Sunday morning newspaper from the box on the way out of the driveway and by 6:54 a.m. she was born.

Back in the day, we did not have an ultrasound unless the doctor forsaw troubles. I was so thrilled when I found out that I shouted "It's a girl, it's a girl!" The other woman delivering that morning did not have as easy a time as me, evidenced by her notsopleasant screams. When we met each other in the recovery room I asked if she was the one that had the 10 pound baby. She said "Yes...are you the one that had the little girl?"

What a blessing this child has been. Now she is a beautiful young woman with a wonderful husband and a future bright with promise.

And still my sunshine. Happy birthday, Sarah... smile!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Disclaimer - Killed in Iraq

Ch3ll3 over at Fickle and Whim got me to thinking about something a few weeks back, and it has stayed with me. She disappeared from blogdom for awhile, but she's back now! She caught my attention right off the bat with one very short and simple sentence: "I used to write for me."

Every once in awhile I catch myself nixing a new post because in my mind it probably wouldn't be of interest to anyone but me. Or maybe it might tick somebody off. That might not be a bad thing, at least some of the time anyway. But, I'm tired of skipping over those kinds of things. So, I'm going back to the same reckless abandon I had when I very first started this adventure. You may not even notice a difference, but I will. And that would be a good thing.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

U.S. Military Deaths in Iraq at 2,820
02 November, 2006
Headlines by the Associated Press

Dead Since March 2003:
U. S. Military, 2820
British Military, 120
Italy, 33
Ukraine, 18
Poland, 17
Bulgaria, 13
Spain, 11
Denmark, 6
El Salvador, 5
Slovakia, 3
Estonia, Netherlands, Thailand, 2 each
Australia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Romania, 1 each

U.S. Military Deaths in October: 105
Four were teenagers.
Thirty were 21 or younger.
The oldest was 53.
It was the fourth deadliest month and the worst since January 2005.

Kraig Foyteck was killed in Iraq Monday. He should have been finished up in August, but the day he was supposed to leave he was told he would be staying for a few more months. One-third of the American casualties in October were already scheduled to be home. About 30 percent were on their second or third tours, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Kraig was 26. He graduated from high school in Skokie, Illinois. He was awarded a Purple Heart in December.

This is him mom, Connie. She lives in LaPorte, Indiana. This is the picture I cannot shake.

This needs to stop.

If you would like to learn more about Kraig Foytek, follow this link to a CBS2 Chicago Video Report.