Monday, March 30, 2009

Red Envelope Campaign

I leave the radio going quietly at night, so that when I wake up at 3am, I can listen to the truckers' show. Somewhere in the night, I heard them talk about this Red Envelope Project that sounded easy to do. So, I googled it and found: And links to a couple of different sites talking about it.

I did not have any red envelopes on hand, but I love to color. And using a red permanent marker, I made up a few. Then, I figured out how to make the labels on the computer. Label for the White House address, and a label for what goes on the back of the empty envelope. So easy. I could not resist---I added a line unique to each one about how this child might have grown up to inspire students. Or, this child might have grown up to inspire teachers. Or, this child might have grown up to discover a cure for cancer. I sent out seven homemade ones, then about twenty with the printed labels after I bought a small packet of red envelopes. Kinkos had a nice selection of envelopes. I took my packet up to the desk, and handed them my cash. This is it? Yup. I did not come for copies or nuthin'. Just red envelopes.

Some of the commenters said it is a waste. That the envelopes will just end up in the black hole that is the White House. Strange choice of words, if you ask me. But, I like what another commenter said: that maybe someone working in the mail room or warehouse will see them and wonder. The sites warn to be sure and put your return address, or it won't be delivered. And some said they were sending some to their representatives, and newsrooms, too. Good idea.

To all the babies...that never had a chance to learn how to color with crayons, or see a sunset, or play in the back yard... And to all the babies stuck in daycare... or in the care of questionable people---like the ones I saw at the post office today. This young couple had one of their own who was a wild child. He was all over the place, touching everything. yelling. He had no concept of waiting in line or coming when called. And then there was the child of another race that was with them, obviously being babysat by this couple and their wild child. He was compliant. Quiet. Obedient. Entertained. So cute. But what where his parents thinking sticking him with this wild child?? With her knee, the mom tried to confine her child while at the counter transacting the post office business she needed to do only here. With her knee pressing the child into the counter. Wow. Wonder why he yelled out. Dad/boyfriend was totally useless, or maybe he knew that to hold wild child only resulted in major yelling by wild child who knows that yelling gets you temporary freedom. Does the mom ever use her knee on the child she babysits?? Poor little guy.

So, our president just up and fires the president of GM. What exactly did he do?? What crime? The board of directors were caught off guard. Was this just a big power play? Who is next? What the HELL is the president of the United States doing firing a company president?! Do we live in a communist country? I wish companies and businesses and anyone tempted to partake in government money or bailouts would take note. The "bailout" is not free. It comes with chains. Doesn't the president of the United States have enough to do?? Who is ruling and who is the servant?

Some Days Maybe It is best to go back to bed...

I trotted off to the post office to mail a very big package of dishrags I knitted to my friend in Ennis. I thought I would save time, and lip by printing my own label at their nifty machine. But, after labeling and stuffing it into the package bin, it stuck, so I had to hunt down an employee and apologize. Then, while loading a whole bag of safflower seed into the birdfeeder, I thought I could just turn it a little and put the bird poop spot on the outside, and spilled the whole thing on the ground. At least it is not the seed the squirrels like. Then I got home to find the FedEX note on the door---yes, I missed receiving Bob's new laptop. Great.

Maybe I'd better go back to bed and start over.

But, the sheets are clean on the bed. Bob will be so surprised. And I found some more blue themed things for our 31st anniversary---blue almond m&ms for Bob. Aren't I romantic? Now he can sit in his blue t-shirt and eat blue colored chocolate almond M&Ms while playing on his new laptop on our anniversary.

And I found Ben-Ben some new t-shirts with cute sayings on them that are not too negative nor snarky. And a four dollar soccer ball for Benito next door. Benito gave me a red long stemmed rose on Saturday. I wonder where he gets them. He also gave me two flowers from my yard, and half of a bluebonnet.

Now I need to go scoop up fallen seed. Maybe if I spread it on the window sill we can get a better look at the doves. They have such neat feathers.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Playing with light bulbs

We changed our recessed Christmas bulbs from green to blue. So now at night, we have a blue house instead of a green house (like next door). Green was okay for St. Patrick's Day. But, the blue is subtle. Blue plate special. Getting ready for our anniversary. I even have blue t-shirts for Bob and I to wear on Wednesday. The big 31.

I think for the months of June and July we will try a red, white and blue theme.

(Monday morning) Walking Bob to the car this morning, Bob said that the house is the same pretty blue as the sky this morning. There is a deep almost purple at the far end (east) and then as the blue bulbs light the bigger spaces by the garage door, it is a lighter robin's egg blue. almost green. real purty, in my opinion. And it is not as bright as a night light from inside the house, which Bob explained was the energy/voltage as the amber or red bulbs. Looks cool.

Blue reminds me of Israel, too.

What are your idols??

Idols and Idolatry is a concept that is hard to admit. Easier to see in others.

But, as Pastor Mark Driscoll points out: we are made to worship...something or someone. And we worship idols and only Jesus can help us break those idols and worship God as He designed us to worship.

I like how Pastor Driscoll asks probing questions to help me get to what my idols are. We have been listening through the First Corinthians series. This is lesson number 22, but in lesson 21, he also pointed out something that jumped out at me: how we as Christians need to be guarding truth, but beware of becoming the pit bull that just bites and is good for nothing else. I have been guilty of this.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Friday, March 27, 2009

Is Satan real?

In case you missed the debate at Mars Hill Church that Nightline did. This link should work. Copy and paste. In the shorter versions, they cut out the gospel. I hope you can hear the whole thing so that you can see what they cut. Why is ABC news so afraid to talk about how Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the entire world? Jesus came to rescue us from the slave market of sin. And He is God. And He wants to spend eternity with us.

Thank you, Lord Jesus that you gave Pastor Mark Driscoll and opportunity to talk about You. Thank you, Our Father, for sending Your Son to rescue us. Thank You for getting Your Good News out and letting everyone have an opportunity before You come back and set all things right. And thank you for sending God the Holy Spirit into our lives to help us understand the Truth, to know and glorify Your Son, and to resist sin and temptation. We can't do it on our own. Thank You for making Your Love possible and giving Your perfect Love to us. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Friday, March 27

An Army uniform hangs in our closet. And a car with a Fort Sill sticker is in the drive. But, our Army son has flown to Phoenix. James' fiancee' is maid of honor at her niece's wedding.

I drove him to the airport this morning. The traffic was light at 5am. Patchy fog created the need for windshield wipers---but I could not for the life of me figure out how to turn on the rear wipers. James looked it up for me. I just don't drive the car enough in all kinds of weather.

A huge storm sits upon Colorado. Snow in Amarillo, too. Our last winter gasp?? A few more night s of using the furnace, then back into the seventies next week. This is not just a spring storm---Denver is experiencing temps in the teens. Burrr...

And now, a word about my new monitor.

Bob's laptop (#2) was agonizingly slow, and so when he ordered a new one, he warned me that a new huge monitor was coming, too. I did not NEED a new monitor. I did not ASK for a new monitor. Bob says he got a good deal. But, for what purpose? He said he could hook the new laptop into it. And of course, he just wanted to check it out and make sure it was working...

It is big. And I like big letters for my old lady eyes. And it shows movies better. And documentaries. So we re-arranged the shelving and computer desk for a more pleasing entertainment center. It was a good opportunity to attack the dust build up. Computers, monitors, and all their connecting wires attract dust like magnets. And only when things are pulled out, and sorted out, can you give everything a good scrub. I lost count of the trips to the sink to rinse out the washrag and apply more soap. Maybe in ten or twenty years there will not be the need for so many wires, and hence, dusting will be easier. Bob worked until late getting everything hooked back up. And then I showed him the cute sheep with LED lights. Have y'all seen it? It is a hoot. Go to:

And if you want to see how they did it:

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dancers Scroll down to March 25 and watch the amazing video of the dancers. She has no arm. And he is missing a leg. And they dance beautifully. It made me cry. The beauty and grace of dancers---wow. I could not figure out how to steal it and embed. It is worth copying and pasting.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Storms and Food

Bad storms are approaching the DFW area from the southwest. I put the car in the garage for the second day in a row. And called my youngest, Ben-Ben. He is on a roof in Keller, right in the line of where the storms are headed. (repairing solar panels)

I re-configured the garage a little, so I was able to pull the car in and still access the washer and dryer, unlike yesterday. I had to use the windshield wipers to clean the green pollen dust from the oak trees off the windshield. I would so rather leave the car out in the rain for a free wash, but I don't want hail damage.

Silly Sallycat decided to dash in right when I was lowering the garage door---yikes.

Are you the type of cook who hates to waste food?? We had this bottle of Kraft Italian dressing that no one was using up. And it is suppose to be a good marianate, too, so I bought chicken breasts and soaked them in the dressing and cooked them in the salad dressing, too. And then I drained the cooked marianate into a bowl with low sodium cornbread dressing, two cups of cooked rice, and that last dab of hot sauce from another jar I wanted to finish. The dressing turned out great---and enough left over for lunch and supper today, too! I don't always have successes like this. Some are real duds. I prefer thigh meat as it seems moister, somehow.

Okay, the spell checker thingy does not like marianate for some reason.

Cornbread and/or bread dressing is my idea of comfort food. How about you?

4pm lots of rain. we need it. But, the lightening and thunder---whoa. I am so thankful my cake finished baking before the lights started blinking. I tried a new recipe that calls for things I did not have on hand---like cornstarch, and lemon zest, so I left them out. And the egg separating thing---five eggs. It is fun, but my whites did not puff up very high, and I should have thrown in some baking powder. But, it tastes okay. I think I will haul it to Bible Class tonight, as that group likes homemade goodies.

I noticed that the Star Telegram website caught a picture of the strange clouds. Bob called them upsidedown snow banks.

Pocket Grannie

I just love it when my firstborn son calls on his cell phone after picking up the grandchild from daycare. I get to talk, and sing, and hear the grandchild's sweet, sweet voice.

Yesterday, when they called, they got home, and the grandchild was excited to see MOM and Andy slipped the cell phone into a pocket. I could still hear them, and talk, but it sounded like Andy was unwrapping the grandchild from a huge package of wrapping paper. It was a hoot. And to hear Andy, my firstborn, admit that you need two hands for a toddler...and two more would be very helpful...ah. I have always thought parents need an extra pair of hands when dealing with and helping their children. Too cute. There are just some things you cannot explain and they have to be experienced...hands on.

So, call me the pocket grannie. PG. Pocket Grannie. And happy potty training up there in Ohio!!! There actually is a website where all the bathrooms are on google maps! Soon as I find it again, I will email the link to firstborn. Seems like Dave Barry is where I saw it. off to read Dave Barry...

Great online chat with my dear first cousin, Tera, today on facebook. She taught me that FB means facebook. I learn something every day. I shared a cute little James story and she shared a cute little Lana story.

Mark Levin's Book is Selling out of stores

Mark Levin's new book is sold out of our local bookstores, and the main stream media is silent. I agree with what some are blogging---there is a hunger out there for what is right and good about America, and why Obama is so dang dangerous.

I am kicking myself for not getting a copy for my dear husband. We went to Barns and Navel on Sunday, and they said it was coming on on Tuesday. I should have been there when they opened.

We ordered two copies from Amazon, and his other book, Men in Black, too. And of course, some books for the grandchild...

Congratulations to Mark Levin!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I set his radio show going while making supper as he is on just before Bob gets home. He does not suffer fools.

He will be attacked next, as this new administration likes to go after private citizens like Rush, Ann Coulter, and Mark Levin.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Waiting for the Rain

I put the vehicle in the garage. This is a tricky endeavor. With the mirrors extended, there are only inches to spare. And Bob hung this rubber springy ball which is suppose to touch the antenae, but our antenae must be bent or something, because, first try, the garage door would not close all the way. Yikes. Storms approach from the west. Hail, tornadoes may strip the trees of their new leaves. Our yard could use the rain. And the green pollen coating everything needs washed off. Part of me wanted to leave the minivan out for a wash. But, the garage should protect it from hail damage. Pretty boring stuff, I know. But, I want to ask Bob to hang the alignment ball somewhere else because the shading on top of the windshield makes it hard to see. I'd rather it be in the middle of the garage where we just brush it with the windshield. To throw this load in the dryer, I will have to go through the gate, side door, and so, I will just wait until later.

1pm: We got a sprinkle. Just a little. It dripped off the roof a little. I pulled the vehicle out of the garage safely, and went grocery shopping. Streets are dry. Sky is clear to the west, and airplanes are landing to the north at DFW, which means our wind is out of the north now. Beautiful spring day. Oak tree in the back yard is all leafed out. Front yard trees are starting the pollen strand thing.

The coastal dandelions are coming up in the front yard. And I spotted a buttercup. I am glad the rye green grass did not crowd out the coastal dandelions. They only come up in the spring. Their blooms are so small compared to a regular dandelion. And they open to full sun, but close up on cloudy days.

Jack-hammers going next door as they repair or remodel their bathroom. And I'd love to get my hands on the owner of the car alarm going off for hours this morning. Down by Mr. Ford's house, I could see our neighbors standing in the street wondering abou the car alarms, too.

Time to go read some more blogs.

Monday, March 23, 2009


Today is/was my great Aunt Dorothy's birthday. She would have been 103. Her brother, my Grandpa James almost made it to his 100th birthday. Great Aunt Dorothy was an infant nurse for many, many years. She lived upstairs in her own apartment on the farm in the same house she and my Grandpa were born. She never married. She kept busy with a garden, her African violets, quilting...and traveled extensively. She was retired from nursing when I was a little girl. I'll never forget her tea parties. She served us lemonade in fancy tea cups. With my younger cousins, they added a dressing up element to it. And when my firstborn was a little boy, he got to go to one of Aunt Dorothy's tea parties.

Great Aunt Dorothy was a very disciplined woman. Strict with herself in exercise, and being a part of family gatherings. She would join us on pony cart and wagon rides.

I wonder what it was like being a nurse of babies from the 1930s to the 1970s. I regret never asking her about that but, I wonder if she would have shared even if I asked. She used to volunteer at the hospital even during her retirement. I remember flower arrangements in her refrigerator, as well as clothes to be ironed. She died in 1994. Eighty-eight years old?

Even though she never married, she drew these intricate family history trees. And the branch that held her name, and the names of the ones like her who never married, the branch was broken. Jagged. As if in a storm. My branch was open, for she drew the trees when my youngest brother had not even been born, and yet there was space to pen him in.

Nowadays, geneologies are much easier researched on the internet, and almost drawn for you on the computer. But, back in the sixties when Great Aunt Dorothy drew them, making copies was much more expensive and complicated. And yet, we were all given copies. And it was fun to find our names on the Smith side or the James side and know we were part of a much bigger family. Pictures of people stare out at us from the trunk, ancestors buried in the Mansfield, Illinois plot. My little branch should extend into three more, and firstborn has the grandchild--and my brothers and sister all have kids. But, I ponder my great aunt who drew herself just a broken branch on a huge tree of names and dates.

My cousins who still live on that farm remember her better than I. Bob remembers that she did not allow vulgar language during Scrabble games, and if the word did not appear in the old dictionary they used, then it was not allowed. I have a picture of her in a Christmas morning shot when I was a little girl. She looks so stylish, and happy, and beautiful. A career woman back when the only careers for a woman were nursing, teaching, or secretary. She shared the same name as my Grandma James---she was a Dorthy, too. So, my Grandpa married a woman with the same name as his sister. Miss Dorothy James lived upstairs, and Mrs. Dorthy James downstairs after my grandparents traded houses with Uncle Wayne across the road. My Grandma James was a homemaker. She fed the farm workers, and her own family. She had a garden, and she canned, and "put up" food for the winter. Hers was not an easy life. She cooked huge Thanksgiving-sized breakfasts, dinners, and suppers until she was well into her seventies. I have had it so easy in comparison.

Happy Birthday, Great Aunt Dorothy.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Sunday Evening

Windows open. A balmy seventy-two degrees. A nice breeze with occasional gusts. I can hear the neighbor's clink of beer bottles, and smell the lighter fluid they use to get their coals going. Rain chances have been pushed into Tuesday. Maybe.

Bob and I went to church where the music was aweful and the sermon was good. Awe---maybe in in heaven we will be given new ears. This music hurts my ears. The drums are too loud, and in one number they tried to imitate thunder. Our friend Steve thoroughly enjoyed himself on the steel guitar. So, who am I to judge what is good music?? What do I know? Half the church likes this crap, so we stay for the sermon. I gotta find my earplugs. I wish there was a way to walk in fashionable late just for the sermon. This is not music we can sing to or with. Bob and I have decided that music is just bad in church nowadays. It is sad.

Like I said, we stay for the teaching. Can't get enough teaching. We even come home and start another sermon going from Mars Hill Church online. Their music is even worse, but thankfully, they only put the sermons online. The sermons are funny. And express what we believe---that what the Bible says should be obeyed, and where the Bible does not speak directly to something, then we have freedom to lean on the Holy Spirit for what is right and proper. Modest clothing. The Bible is clear on that. Covering my fat body in big t-shirts and pants so that I don't gross out others---that is a freedom/conscience issue. I gave up hosiery years ago. Hosiery is of the devil. Skirts run a close second. Good comfortable shoes are important at my age, too.

Bob and I went to Saltgrass Steakhouse for lunch. We like to split a k-bob dinner because it is all the meat I need, and it is tasty. Sadly, the hostess set us at a crossroads today, and it was entertaining for Bob, but painful to me. I thought we were going to have to witness the clash of the serving trays. And our waiter was too cutsey. A clean-shaven guy seated us, and took our order. But, alas, we were 'stolen' by some pushy poodle cut hair do on the chin. Wish I had spoken up and said, no, I'd like to sit at the clean-cut guy's table, please. There is another waiter there that is way too pushy about what knife you use, so we were thankful we were not in anal-retentive's area. Saltgrass has rules about how everything is brought out on a huge tray, no matter what, and then placed on a fold out luggage rack holder for the tray. So, the waiter has to balance your drink sitting all alone on the try, whip out the folding table holder with the other hand, and then place the drink and tray on the table before handing it to you. Drives me nuts. A lot of extra wasted flourish.

But, the food was okay, even though the service was a little slow. And then a different guy actually delivered our food. I ordered cheesecake. What a waste. Chick-fil-you up's cheesecake is JUST AS GOOD. Served quicker, too.

We headed from Saltgrass to the book store. Our boys used to call it Barns and Navel. The shrine to all the is liberalism greets you at the front door. I could not find anything interesting, so I went out to the car to knit. But, Bob needed a book to read on the train. Mark Levine's book does not come out until Tuesday. I did look for another Scrabble dictionary, but alas, did not find one. We need an extra. And I want to send one to my friends in Atlanta. The store was not real busy. Only saw two clerks. They had plenty of books about BO. Big glossy ones. BO somehow fits every catagory, every section.

Then home for a nap. Good thing, too, as the neighbors are way too noisy for us to be going to bed early.

We got to eat lunch with James and Amber yesterday. Red Robin. What a funny place. It was full of little leagers. It is kinda noisy in there, so I am glad James and Amber came back to the house to visit for a while. James should be getting back to Lawton about now. Next weekend James gets to meet his future in-laws face to face!

The last week of March---then our anniversary is a week from Wednesday. Yes, we are April Fools. Thirty-one years ago...Bob flew into Houston from Savannah on a Tuesday, and we got our blood work done, and then got a license, and loaded the U-haul trailer, and I met some of Bob's relatives for the first time... thirty-one years ago.

Benito just rang the doorbell. (9pm, dark, and he is five years old and lives next door). I did not have a toy, so I gave him a single-wrapped fig newton. He says they are his favorite! Call me a softie.

What have I been doing all evening? Listening to a sermon, reading blogs, and sharing fun things with Bob. Bob has been asked to do the devotional at the Lord's Supper April 5th, a Sunday night--so he is condensing it down to 20 minutes. Passover to Lord's Supper. So much material to teach, but so little time. And there will be little kids with limited attention spans. Jesus said, "Do this in remembrance of Me" and yet He was "doing" a Passover meal, and adding some strange elements. And then the Corinthians were doing it wrong--so there are the verses where Paul corrects their Lord's Supper Observance. Do it, but not like this...

And full circle again: Thirty-one years ago, when Bob and I were dating, we attended a church where the men in uniform served the Lord's Supper. So, I have been served by my husband, and taught by him, too. If someone had whispered in my ear thirty-one years ago, that Bob would be my Sunday School teacher, and serving me Communion even after thirty-one years, when the boys had grown up and flown the nest, and it was just us again...would it have comforted or confounded me to hear? I could not see down the road that far. We have folks in our church that have been married seventy years or more. Thirty-one is not even half their married lives.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Learning about Alaska

Poking around on the computer to find out stuff about Alaska. Lots of neat videos and pictures. The song, North To Alaska, kept running through my head, so I googled it, and found the video and lyrics.

Three hours time difference. So, when/if firstborn calls us from Alaska when he is getting off work, say 5pm, that would be 8pm here. And if/when they call us so we can say night-night to the grandchild, 9pm their time in Alaska would be midnight here. Fun. Fun.

I found one video of a cruise in five minutes. That is my kinda cruise. Ha. snow on mountains and an occasional ice cube floating by.

North to Alaska, go north, the rush is on!

I wonder how they will transport their vehicles. I wonder how they will move the cat. And if their stuff is moved by truck, does it take a month to get their furniture?


Firstborn, our Air Force lieutenant called me just now and let the grandchild announce where they move to in August: Alaska. wow. It is a three year tour, so that is where the grandchild will start kindergarten. Lucky---to have Governor Sarah Palin as their governor.

How exciting. What an adventure for them. And Andy said that Lauren was excited because Alaska has volcanoes---Lauren majored in geology in college, and is finishing up her masters at their present assignment.

Bob said that we have always wanted to see Alaska......

The Raccoon has a significant other!

It is still dark outside here at 6:20am on a Friday morning. The stars are out and the quarter moon shines brightly. I heard the trap rattling, and so I flipped on the backyard motion sensor light. Sure enough, we have a customer. Or, would that be consumer? Ricky Raccoon has a wife. Or maybe we caught the wife the other day, and this is her husband. I am not getting any closer to check it out.

Bob says he will reunite the pair on his way to the train. Maybe they will find each other again on this first day of spring. Nocturnal neighbors now near nature north of the Trinity River.

Bob said that this guy is much heavier. So, we must have caught the female first, and then the husband today. I hope the love birds---I mean the happy couple enjoy the wilds of flood plain.

Bob said this guy flipped the trap over onto its side, too. Strong little bugger.

7am update---Bob called from the station. He said that when he took the lighter one, it was day, and the raccoon was good and sleepy. This guy was wide awake, and growled at Bob. He uses leather gloves when handling the cage just in case... Raccoon number two is safely released into the wilds, and dear husband is safely on the train headed to the jungle that is downtown Dallas.

Hal Jay on WBAP is asking what movie made and impression on you. I am tempted to call in and say Bob's: Old Yeller.

Happy First Day of Spring, everyone!

Thursday, March 19, 2009


A day of laundry. Feed the machines. Empty the machines. Thankful for the machines.

Read some neat blogs. Spouse Buzz has an awesome story of a gal who turned her husband's journal to his baby son into a book to honor him. wow. Have the box of puffs plus with Vicks at the ready.

I love Puffs Plus with Vicks. I get the plain variety for Bob. He does not want lotion or fumes in a kleenex.

Watched a little of the space walk.

Bored? Still with me? Sorry. May I reccommend a Mars Hill Church online message? Take your pick. We are listening through the First Corinthians series---lesson sixteen was all about sex and marriage. Whoa. Good stuff. God is doing a might work in Seattle. God is saving that city. Redeeming it. Installing a remnant there of Bible believing strong believers. Wow. Go. Listen. Learn. God LOVES you.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spring Break for Grannies

Spring Break is a concept that I missed in grades school when I was a little girl. And even in junior high and high school, we usually had an Easter break, but spring break was a college thing--and I don't remember it much being publisized until the seventies when college students could somehow afford to go to the beach and get drunk. It did not sound like much fun to me.

When our boys were in grade school in the early nineties, Spring Break was an opportunity to take family jaunts to see relatives. And when the boys were old enough for guy stuff---Bob would take them camping. I think they explored the local lakes, and then in later years, Big Bend, and Guadalupe Peak. A couple of years ago, Bob took one last trip to Guadalupe Peak with James--and it snowed on their tent in the night. As the snow slid down, they thought it was critters, at first.

Last year, during James' last spring break, he treated Ben to a ski trip via relatives in Houston, as that was the best place for a flight to Colorado. And they had the best time staying with my aunt and uncle in Colorado, and getting an opportunity to ski as my cousins showed them how. It was their first time. Ben took to it like a duck to water. James found out that sometimes things look easier to do than they really are.

Spring Break this year means the stores are crowded, and the radio reported that the exits off the freeway in Fort Worth were totally blocked today from half-price day at the zoo. Not a good day to drive through Fort Worth. The weather has been gorgeous. We have slept with windows open, and while it got a little hot in here today, we made it without the AC.

I think folks are doing things locally. Six Flags is open, and there have been dire warnings about Mexican beaches and even El Paso because of the drug wars. I bet the local parks, and state parks are full.

I am not sure when firstborn's family had spring break this year. Last year we motored up there for a visit. And it snowed on us a little---those big, wet, fat flakes.

What does Spring Break for Grannies look like? Falling asleep in my chair. Hosing off the walk after Bob mows. Smelling the beautiful, fragrant rose bushes at Walmart. Wishing we could see the grandbaby, but... James will be home for four days I will get to fix him breakfast. And maybe we will get to see Amber, too. Temps should be 72 for the highs, and sixties at night. A little laundry. A little space station/shuttle coverage online, and forwarding interesting articles to Bob.


I guess it is time to mow when men keep ringing the doorbell asking to be hired to mow the front yard. So, when Bob got home from work, after supper, and taking advantage of the later sunset, Bob mowed the front yard. And even with the mower set at the highest setting, he had to go very, very slow. Our compost heap now sports a nice green top. Most mountains have snow, our compost heap of a mountain has green grass hair.

And that rye grass was/is very juicy. Green. Green. Kelly green. It needs some brightly colored Easter eggs. But, that would be a problem when it is time to mow again. It is so pretty. We had thrown down one huge bag of seed last fall, early winter, and then a hard rainstorm seemed to wash most of it away, so we did it again. It is thicker than a golf course. And it was fun to walk in/on. But, now, it would stain your feet green.

Watching Bob mow, I also had the NASA site up, and while the sun was still up, I think I saw the station go over. It was not a blinking light. There was no jet trail like the other jets, and it was headed in the right direction. The station and shuttle combined are bright enough to almost be seen by day! The truss gets installed tomorrow, and then the last solar array is unfurled later this week. So, the station should be even brighter.

James called about 2:30pm. Headed home via Amber's, of course. He has a four day weekend. Best to enjoy it before the president starts charging them for their insurance and their vacations. Next, the president will bill them for those flights to the battlefield. Snark.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pictures of James and Ben

James and Ben will be so proud of me practicing downloading pictures with James' digital camera!

Mother---you can click on the picture to make them bigger so that you can see them in better detail.


There is a raccoon in our critter trap ! We have caught mostly oppossums, but...

The poor birdfeeder looks like someone has been hanging from it....

And the trap is holding a RACCOON !!! Yippeee!!!!!!!!!!!

And thankfully, Bob has an engineer meeting in Fort Worth today, so he has time to take the critter north of the Trinity River. He is not rushing to meet the train like he does most days.

The raccoon is calmlying cleaning itself inside the trap. Using the time productively. I took pictures of the raccoon. He did not seem to mind. The challenge is holding still as the light is barely peeking through the trees. I think I will try setting the camera on a low footstool.

I am so surprised the raccoon got caught in the trap because I had baited it with hazelnuts weeks ago, and then it rained---so I cannot imagine they tasted very well after raiding the birdfeeder.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day Everyone !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This picture is just before Bob drove off to convey the raccoon to the Trinity River Park.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Mystery Critter

I forgot to turn off the skype and turn off the sound and it sounded like someone trying calling us at 2am. When I got up to check and see if they left a number, the birdfeeder was being drawn to the house by some critter. It was too dark to see the critter, but our inside cat was all alertness, and I could see the gallon of seed being drawn or pulled toward the brick window ledge. But, it was too dark to make out the critter. Was it the raccoon again or an oppossum or a rat? The critter was not in line of sight for the motion detector on the back yard light. So strange.

I have been watching re-runs of the Discovery shuttle liftoff. During actual liftoff yesterday, Bob's brother and sister-in-law met us at a local restaurant for supper, and Ben came along. It was fun to get caught up on their news. Since they are having breathing problems in the high humidity that is Houston, they are looking for jobs locally. We skype=ed with James so he could see Uncle Bart and Aunt Janice, and brother Ben, too.

Bob made it through all his printed notes during his Sunday School lesson yesterday. It was a tiny crowd as many were traveling for spring break, and a half dozen were busy with a budget meeting. But, it was a good lesson. All the elements of the Passover meal point back to remember the miracle of the Jews release from 400 years of slavery, but all the details point toward Christ on the cross...from the lamb, to the pierced unleaven bread, the Jews were told to celebrate the Passover forever. And Jesus fulfilled that pass over by taking our place on the cross and dying for all the sins of the entire world throughout human history. It would be like us being told that at Christmas time we were to both give and open presents each December 25th, but finding out that the present was actually a picture of Jesus. Oh, yeah, it is!

The Jews at Passover, at the original first Passover, were told to eat a meal of roast lamb prepared precisely after being set aside on a certain day, and killed on a certain day, eaten with their traveling clothes on. The doors and lintil marked with the blood of the lamb to signal they believed what God promised to do, and obeyed His very precise instructions. For the next forty years, as they wandered in the wilderness, and as God taught them more lessons transitioning from a heritage of slavery to the new heritage of being a new and free nation, they were to celebrate the Passover to always remember what God did to bring them out of Egypt and a hopeless, helpless situation. Looking back, the pictures are so clear. I am sure that every year there were moms that sighed at the "celebration" meal that fell heavy on their shoulders, and the children asked, "why?" yet, preserving this precise celebration that was like our 4th of July kept them ever mindful that God was in control of history and had a unique job for them to do as a nation. God rescued. God did all the work of saving.

And when Jesus celebrated the Passover with his disciples, their drowsy, droopy eyes must have snapped wide awake after eating the lamb and drinking the wine when Jesus said, "this bread is my body---eat it in remembrance of Me". Whoa. Jesus changed the sacred Passover. Only God could do that! How dare He. And when Jesus talked about not drinking the cup again until in the Kingdom, all they could hear was He said something about suffering, and leaving---where was He going??!!

From our vantage point over two thousand years since that Passover just hours before the Cross, we cannot imagine what it was like. For every year of their lives, each of the disciples had trudged to Jerusalem for these solemn celebrations. Every year they had eaten roasted lamb, and unleaven bread to remember their beginning. It would be like someone messing with the 4th of July or Christmas---and telling us to change our traditions.

Since the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD, the Jews no longer include the roasted lamb in their Passover celebration. And modern Jews have added an egg and salt water and use the shank bone on their Passover plates. Leave it to mankind to want to add stuff to God's precise instructions. Christians from the just after the Cross started meeting on Sunday instead of the Sabbath, Saturday. And Christians are guilty of trying to placate the heathen practices of worshipping trees and winter soltice by celebrating Jesus' birthday on December 25th. The Bible does not say that Jesus was born December 25th. He was probably born mid April, in the spring. And since He rose from the dead, the tomb is empty, so there is no sacred place, no shrine to visit.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

More Skype-ing

Wonderful skype-ing with the firstborn last night and the grandchild. So cute to see the eye-rolling, and the nose scrunching, and the little hands and arms up under the chin. And the firstborn gave us a tour of his house. And we watched him put the grandchild to bed. Too cute.

We sang the songs the grandchild likes---and the grandchild sure likes singing.

What fun, skype-ing. To see in real time what pictures just cannot capture. And maybe give the grandchild faces to put with the voices heard on the phone. What a delight.

Middle son has his first brigade headquarters 24 hour duty starting at 9am today. Two groups are coming back from Iraq, too. I can picture what that will be like, having had the privilege of attending a welcome home ceremony.

Cloudy and cold yet today, but maybe the rain is done for a while. We SO needed it. The weathermen are predicting more spring like weather the rest of the week.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Raccoon !

Bob and I were sitting here listening to a Mars Hill Church message after Bob beat me at Scrabble, and this raccoon walked along the window ledge--big and bold as you please. Yikes.

We have seen possoms before, and lots of neighborhood cats, but this is the first time we have spotted a raccoon. We had three inches of rain, yesterday and today, and it is cold---Bob thinks it is just looking for a dry place to sleep.

This is another reason to keep the garage doors shut. I counted three cats in there this morning visiting with Sallycat. (and she was fixed a long, long time ago) I saw a cat in the back yard this evening that I had never seen before. Cats mark the garage.

Maybe the raccoon was drawn to the fancy birdseed. I read somewhere that putting pepper in the birdseed does not bother the birds. Maybe it would discourage the mice, possoms, and raccoons.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Lightening and Thunder this morning

And one hundred percent chance of rain. We need the rain. The weather lady on the radio said it has been since mid-February since we had measurable rain. We are about three inches behind, but may catch up today and tomorrow. Wonderful. Our grass will appreciate it, and the burn ban will be lessened.

And what a change in temperature. We have slept with the windows open for over a week now, but last night, about 11pm, the front came through and I started closing windows. I forgot one, and found it at 3am. The furnace has not kicked on yet, but it went from eighty degrees inside the house to seventy. And I think it is forty outside, which is a forty degree drop from yesterday evening.

Coffee is brewing. The best damn coffee in the world, according to the packaging. Devil's Brew. Bought it online from the pro-military folks.

Snipers brew. Pretty good. Yum. Warms the tummy on a rainy day. And the thunder and lightening gives the ambiance.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


We were getting dangerously low on multivitamins, and with a cold front coming---best to get 'er done today. I have purchased health food store vitamins from local mom and pop stores, but their inventory does not move as fast as the bigger Whole Foods, so I like to buy them there. But, navigating through the construction that is north Arlington in preparation for the new Cowboy Stadium means taking your life in your hands. And it was just starting to sprinkle after weeks and weeks of no rain, so the streets are slick. People in a hurry are spinning out around me as if they are on ice! Yikes.

I need a bumpersticker or magnet that declares: Old Lady Onboard

Maybe then folks would get off my bumper. The whole world seems in a big hurry. What happened to slow down and smell the roses?

Whole Foods is the only store that carries certain items in Arlington. Promised Land whole cream, for example, is one such item. Surely, I will find a use for it before it expires on April 2nd. Great for making homemade tomato soup. And what conspiracy is going on at Walmart---two of their stores did not have cranberry tablets or capsules. Whoa. Whole Foods had some, so I stocked up. And it is dangerous to walk through and see items I forgot Whole Foods has---Baklava, and sunflower seed bread, and more varieties of olives than I ever knew existed. And since I was on the Pei Wei side of town, I was able to get an order to go without crying as this was where James and I used to go. Ben doesn't like Pei Wei, and Bob only tolerates it every year or so, and if you get it to go, and if James picks it up...and there is the only one dish he likes there: mongolian chicken. Today I tried their new mango chicken. Yummy cashews, and a few squares of red bell pepper.

oak tree out back is in full pollen strand bloom. The first tree of all our oaks---looks like it is wearing oriental fancy hangy down ear rings. Windows open--we have slept with open windows for over a week now. It may be our last day of summer like weather for a while.

Benito has started bringing me flowers---from our yard. Too funny. Dandelions, false garlic blooms, and my white violets. I tried to encourage him to take them to his mother. Too funny. My friend one street over had trouble with neighbor children harvesting her huge beds of jonquils. She had to shoo them away. Children do not come with a sense of property.

Listening to Rush Limbaugh---I think he has it right in that those who follow Obama are following a cult. Many do not like Obama's policies and yet they dare not speak up. In my opinion, Obama is an empty suit, and not only overwhelmed, but way in over his head. The fact that he cannot speak with a teleprompter, and my doubts about the true authorship of his books are a clue. Too, too concerned about polls, and what people think. And downright dangerous to our military, using them to keep the anti-war crowd off his back, Obama hasn't a clue. He is a socialist, and working real hard to cover it up, and so busy blaming Bush or Limbaugh, Obama means the opposite of whatever he says. Rush is right: Obama uses words but means the opposite. Conservatives should stick to their principles and not worry about the biased press. Principles above having everyone like us. The press is blind to their own bias.

Tyler Perry's Movie is GREAT !

I have seen many of the plays on DVD.

So, to me, I understand the characters and how they have developed. The newest movie, Madea goes to Jail, is a continuation of the plays. And in movie form, they can spend more time on wigs, costumes, sets, and fun split screen magic.

I think Christians should support each other, and not shoot our own. I admire Tyler Perry's story, and rags to riches struggle, and how open and honest is he about lessons learned---for example, on a DVD he talked about how he learned the hard way to never let them film a movie at your house because it will be trashed. Movie making is very hard on the furniture.

Our local talk radio host just does not "get" the Tyler Perry movies, and hated it. I don't think he had ever seen a play, nor heard one of Tyler Perry's heart-to-heart talks after. Sad. But, I hope his negative ranting actually had the opposite affect---and made folks curious enough to go check it out. The movie shows consequences of bad decisions and bad behavior. And when I sat through it the first time with a full audience in south Arlington, the first weekend it was released, the audience added response---and James' fiancee explained that the character, "DD" or DeeDee is indeed a very famous comedy Hispanic actress. She was so fun to watch the second time through, too!!!

And Kiesha---wow. Bob agreed to go with me again last night, and he could not pick her out. She did a great job. Little Kiesha all grown up from the Cosby show. We went to a 5:30pm showing at Rave, and had the whole auditorium to ourselves except for one other couple. I wish we had waited to walk in after the previews---so many of them are downright scary.

Good job, Tyler Perry. I wish you all the success, and pray for your protection from inside and out. The only thing I wish you had added was letting Cora give the gospel---as the most sane, the most gentle and beautiful, or maybe the lady prison minister. Please make the gospel clear in your movies. Don't shy away from it. I miss Cora's singing, too. Thank you for the edgy-er lady prison minister---she makes you think.

It was funny to me to see 1962 on Madea's driver's license. Shouldn't she be older, like me?? I was born in 1956. And I still remember part of the sixties.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sunday with the time change

Did you survive the time change?

Who decided to move it up into March?

When did they decide such a silly thing?

We took it easy, and lunched on soup. I beat Bob at Scrabble even though he bingo-ed twice. I started with the Q word, QUAGMIRE. It stretches over to the triple word square. That quagmire gave me a healthy start. Now, isn't that an oxymoron?

We listened to some Mars Hill Church messages. The First Corinthians series. I listened to two this morning, and after rescuing Bob at church with a jump--the battery in the plymouth died. It was slow to start this morning, so I am not surprised he called me for a jump.

I took it easy this morning doing back and stretching exercises. For some reason my shoulder and back are acting up again.

We had a battery in the garage harvested from Ben's car which when he wrecked a few years ago, was a very new battery. Bob put the charger on it, and so far so good. We will see if he gets to the station and home tomorrow. It looks like we have an electric car as the cord stretches under the garage door and under the hood. Everything is electric on the plymouth, but maybe the battery was just old.

Pretty quiet day. Some would call it boring. Boring can be good.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Green Lights for St. Patrick's Day

My husband humored me today and put up the green bulbs---fifty out front, and sixteen inside the kitchen window. We had Christmas-colored lights up for Christmas, of course, and then Amber colored lights in January and February. Now the timer is set for green---in honor of St. Patrick's Day. A missionary to the heathens. Captured as a boy, and ENSLAVED for many years, he heard the gospel and went back to give the heathens the gospel.

Leave it to the tree huggers to try and re-label green as their cause, as in green energy, and by the way, those nifty curly light bulbs are not so "green" after all. Not only do they harm the environment when its disposal time, but they put out more heat, I read this week.

I bought six boxes of Christmas lights for 1.60 each after Christmas, and we have been having fun harvesting the light bulbs off of the strands, and thinking of ways to decorate with them. Not only do they serve as a great night light, but they also are a crime deterrent, in my opinion. And a great way to mess with the drug dealer's heads, as in: "hey, I thought you said it was two doors down from the yellow lit-up house".

What color for April and May?? June and July can be our patriotic light bulb colors what with flag day and Independence Day. And the nights are so short in August, and the heat so intense, we will probably unplug the timer for August unless we are partying.

April was the month we wed. April is the time of bluebonnets---maybe we will go for a blue house. But, blue sometimes means sad.

My dear engineer husband makes sure the bulbs match. In the after Christmas sales, I bought what was left, and even though both brands say made in China...the bulbs are different. Bob has them looking good by carefully mixing the pointier/lighter with the blunter/darker bulbs. And all those plastic buckets I've been saving from the cotton candy addiction at Walmart give us a clear view of my bulb stash. It just seems fitting somehow, since Bob works for the power company, and our house is bestewned with light bulb give-aways, that we play with colored light bulbs. And since Bob carefully, precisely stapled the wires up under the eaves, the bulbs are not visible from the street---except at night---we are the house with the green glowing light...for the rest of the month of March.

And it goes well with the green rye grass crop out front. That grass is so fun to walk barefoot in, and it looks so pretty. I know it won't last in our Texas heat, but those bags of rye seed we scattered in October means that half the year, we have a lush, green yard. I have been so tempted to throw plastic Easter Eggs out front just to show off the grass, but our little neighbor boy would not let them decorate the yard for long. Our neighbors were probably all born in Mexico. I lose count of how many are in the house--but there are at least two families and uncles and aunts that come and go. Benito is an anchor baby. We watched him grow up next door, and when he started pre-school, he could finally speak a few words of English and we could talk to him. He visits almost every day looking for toys and sometimes I give him a cookie or treat. He has a lot of energy, and loves to kick balls, and throw rocks, so it seems a good investment to give him all the extra kicking-type balls we can spare. I'd rather he kick soccer balls than throw rocks into the street or onto our cars. Sometimes we entertain him with pencils or spiral notebooks I have found extra cheap at school supply sales.

I like the green lights. What a fun, cheap way to decorate. Time to go throw more clothes in the dryer.

And for my Mother...

Hey Mother,

Do y'all Skype?? I'll email ya our "number" if you Skype. That is fun.

We ate supper with Ben last night. Tried to get him to tell us some roof-solar panel stories, but he was more excited about his roommate's new 42 inch flatscreen TV procured from IRS refund.

And James drove down last night. Went out to supper and visited with Amber so Bob saw him after midnight. James likes us to cut his hair---high and tight on the sides, and long enough to gel on top. It takes both of us. I can do the major cutting on the sides, with the electric clippers, but Bob helps round the top so he does not have walls or a pointy head. We drag it out as much as we can and visit, but James can stand us to mess with his hair just so long. Now he is off to wedding cake testing with Amber. Some place in Fort Worth. He has duty next weekend, and then the weekend after that, Amber is Maid of Honor at her niece's wedding in Arizona, so they are flying there for the wedding and James will meet Amber's folks face to face. He has talked to them on the phone.

Just talked to Andy. Andy was watching cartoons with Abby. We had mailed her a robin plush toy that chirps when you squeeze it---found it at the Oklahoma welcome center, and we wondered if she got it, and if she can make it chirp.

And I talked to my sister, Tina day before yesterday. She told me about her stepson and how he is doing since the wreck. And she said that Aunt Candace is engaged to Thorton? Is that his name?

Have you been getting the emails from Uncle Wayne? So cute to hear about Indra exploring the farm with her Grandpa Wayne. Sounds like she really enjoys being out of doors. Looks like they got more snow last night.

Bob is watering the back yard, so hopefully, Murphy's Law, it'll rain. And Bob just called Sallycat a dimocrat. Doesn't know what she wants, threw up once already this morning on the carpet, and is very vocal today.

Have y'all see the new Star Trek trailer? I remember the original show as a little kid so they are doing a trilogy from a story line forty years ago?!

Have you seen the new Tyler Perry movie? I had not been to the movies in forever, and we have seen the Tyler Perry plays on DVD, so we understand the story and the characters and the purpose. But, so many just don't get it. And so many attack him, when he is a Christian and he is trying to do the right thing, and obviously fighting Hollywood but setting up his own production company and studio.

That is our news. Love, Joyce

PS I made Cake Wrecks again! Wow. You'll be so proud. not. I thought Jen would save it for Halloween or something. I just sent it on Friday. Amazing. Made my day.

Spring back, Fall forward or is it Spring forward, Fall back?

Yesterday, the clock that takes a battery quit working, so I took it down off the wall and put in a new battery and adjusted it for the time change....I thought....

I knew we were losing an hour, so I thought, loss equals going back, and set it back an hour. Silly me. Bob wondered aloud as to why the clock was set an hour earlier than all the others.

I like to ease into this clock changing times. I like to ease my tummy into meal time changes. So, the clock on the computer says 10:15am, but the clock on the wall reflects the time tomorrow: 11:15am.

Harkening back to when our firstborn was still living at home, and we adjusted the clocks two hours to see if he would notice. We played a trick on him. I wonder if he remembers.

Friday, March 6, 2009


Yummy Frozen Blueberries are the best way to cool down. Dole has a frozen bag that is just the right size. And thus far, not re-frozen like some brands. You are not biting into ice crystals, but smooth, tasty blueberries. My tongue is purple. My mouth is frozen. And it feels great. Cut open a bag and grab a spoon. Whooooop ! popcycles by the spoonful...

And blueberries have that good-for-you properties like cranberries. If I had a little girl...I would let her chase blueberries around her high chair tray. Let her turn blue. It's okay.

No need to thaw. Just pure fruit. And the color stays with your at the other end, too. You are worth it. Fear not the jobs that make you sweat, when blueberries wait in the freezer.

Fear not August, O Texas...when blueberries await.

And that bag of blueberries make a great ice pack in an emergency.

Blue food. Doesn't God have a sense of humor? Other than blue cotton candy, there is just not that much blue food. Blueberries fresh just don't do it for me. I have tried. Blueberries dried in cereal is okay. Frozen blueberries are the way to go. Yum.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

All Better---went to the chiropractor

I was raised on chiropractors. Whenever we had an ailment, we were taken to the chiropractor.

So, this morning, I decided not to put if off any longer. My chiropractor is a gentle wrestler. He even volunteers his services to the local wrestling team. He put things back where they were suppose to be. Yeah !

Then to Walmart for more metamucil tablets. No yucky powdered stuff for me. I just love it in capsule form. Keeps me regular. And I stocked up on more frozen blueberries. Yum. Fruit plus frozen to cool you down. Yum. And it is gonna be a hot day today.

Cats patrol the yard. The white cat with the unfortunate black mustache might have killed something in the front yard. He/she was guarding it. I was afraid to look. And the cat with the cape markings ---the one we call catwoman or batman is keeping the back yard free of creeping things. The dove coo from the budding oak tree out back. They live so close to danger lurking in the long grass.

The oak tree in the back yard is in a hurry to bud and put out oak strands of pollen. I wonder if the wind exercises the branches and helps get things flowing.

I drove by the new Cowboy Stadium approaching completion. Whole parking lots are FULL of workers. I bet that place employs six hundred or more. There is a relatively new Walmart right across the street from the stadium. It has baseball decorations and baseball shaped lights because it is also close to the Ballpark in Arlington. Wow--that is going to be gridlock when the stadium opens. And isn't baseball season coming up, too? We avoid that section of town during baseball games. I can't imagine what it will be like during a football game. Heavy machinery was tearing down the bank that served as the Cowboy office for years. I wonder why recycling folks don't come and remove huge glass doors, and windows first. I guess glass is cheap. But, wouldn't an old bank have extra thick fancy glass?

my tongue is blue. Bob would call it a dark purple. Am I spoiled, or what?! Maybe there is life after children.

I wish I had kept a list of all the advice I have received on having an empty nest: Get a hobby!

Is reading stuff on the computer a hobby?? Time to check Cakewrecks. And time to throw some clothes in the dryer. And time to fetch the $5 lampshade I found at Walmart on sale today. I left it in the car because my hands were full. $5 for a lampshade that just yesterday was marked $14. And I had seen some online for $40. I can't say enough nice things about Walmart.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Yardword Maketh the Back Sore

I hacked down the ugly bushes so that the nandina bushes can take off. If they fill in the spots like the big mother plant---it will be the best fence cover ever.

What is a mom to do when she looks out her kitchen window just as the neighbor's freshman daughter is making out with her boyfriend in the boyfriend's truck? Yikes. Spring is in the air.

The false garlic white blooms are poking up from the green grass out front and the white, with a tinge of purple violets are in full bloom.

Windows are open. Gorgeous spring day. Cool at night, but March is why we live in Texas!

Cakewrecks is the funniest website. Say it in frosting.

More later...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Skype-ing is fun!

We got to Skype with our son, James last night. It is fun! We get to see him, and his apartment, and get caught up on his day. Dad Bob even noticed that he still needed a haircut. Too funny.

I forgot to ask if he was still taking alfalfa tablets.

Then later, Andy called. He said he needed to pick up something from his office, so Lauren and Abby rode along. When Andy was a baby, one of his first words were, "french (breath) fries" whenever he saw the arches. I guess Abby likes them, too, and when she says "french fries" she runs the words together and it sorta sounds like "freshfries". Too cute. It was late, and as they are an hour ahead, Abby was ready to go home. "go" she said. Too funny.

Next Sunday we have to turn the clock back an hour already??!! Yikes. Who decided we need to do this a month early? Who do we get to bad-mouth for this? I hate jerking around with the time. It upsets little kids tummies and nap times. And then there is the hassle of resetting all the clocks. (grumble, complain)

James told us that AT&T have redefined some words. "Unlimited" does NOT mean unlimited. Good grief. I would go back to the salesman or saleswoman who promised me the moon, and complain about how they lied. I am so glad we just have our little virgin phones that you add minutes to. We have trouble using up the required $20 a month, so Bob and I trade phones for a while---I am currently trying to whittle his minutes down. I carry his cell phone in my purse mainly for emergencies, or to contact on of the boys about lunch on Sundays. Bob carries mine in case he misses the train or in case something interesting happens on the train. Most days, he does not even turn it on. The little virgin phones don't hold a charge very well. And while we have the car charger for the phone Bob is carrying, we only have the wall plug charger for the one I am carrying. I have been caught a few times with no charge when a charged up phone would have come in real handy. I am failing my Girl Scout motto: always prepared.

Today might be a good day to trim the back yard bushes along the fence. I want to get to that job before the bugs get bad. And way before it gets too hot. We have some scraggly wild bushes that Bob has cut level with the dirt, and they keep coming back. They make a pretty good barrier along the chain link fence. The nandina really likes it back there. It is so big and thick that you cannot see through it. One of these years it will crowd out the scraggly bushes, but not just yet.

And there is a trip to Walmart in my future as we are getting low on supper options. Sometimes we do cereal for supper---which reminds me of the story on the web of the gal who swallowed her engagement ring. Did you see Matt Laur interview the couple, and see the x-ray? There was a picture of the happy couple and she was holding a box of fiber one cereal. Too funny. Never slip an engagement ring into a Wendy's super thick frosty. How did they talk the x-ray folks into doing the x-ray?? It is not like she was in distress.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Remember those maps with pictures?

Remember those maps they used to hand you at the amusement park? The picture or sketch of the rides were out sized, and yet the map was kid friendly and fun to use. Years and years ago, the phone books came with cutsey maps on the cover of major area attractions. I wish someone would make a map of 287 that had these highlighted:

Traveling from Fort Worth to Lawton, Oklahoma:

Just north of the loop, 820, in north Fort Worth, off I-35 is this tantalizing row of restaurants and a movie theater on the east side of the freeway. Saltgrass, for example, would be a good start for a trip. But, since you would not want to eat there until noon, your trip may get a late start. We usually breeze by before they are open so that the sun is at our backs.

Keep a keen eye out for the Decatur exit---just a few miles north of 820 and the intersection of I-35 and 820 in North Fort Worth. You are now on 287 headed north west. You will pass the tiny Haslet, and see a water tower with Rhome on it.

Decatur is a speed trap. BEWARE. But, it also has a new McDonald's, with clean bathrooms, and a flat screen TV. Braum's, I-Hop, Walmart are your other clean bathroom choices.

Alvord is next with a Valero for gas. (NE side)

Bowie: wonderful Walmart right next to the freeway, and this is your opportunity to take 81 north through Duncan if you want to avoid Wichita Falls completely. Bowie has a McDonalds in town about 2 miles.

Bellevue says the sign next to the RR tracks. And there is no room in Bellevue to widen 287 someday. No room at all. There is a picnic area right after Belleveue, but no bathroom. A picnic area without facilities makes NO sense to me at all.

Henrietta has a Subway, DQ, and Hwy 82 to lure you to Gainesville. And a Cowboy church.

Jolly has a Valero.

Ah, Wichita Falls----the overpass capital of the world. The whole city feels like an overpass. Treacherous during ice weather, and while you may fear getting off accidentally---I have done it, and let me tell you that you CAN get back on the freeway pretty easily. Fear not. One exit close to the southern end of town has a Valero, McBride Land and Cattle restaurant, and Luby's--left on Broad street, left on 9th. We have spied an El Chico from high atop the overpasses. Looks like it would be easier to get to from the north.

As you go north on I-44 out of Wichita Falls, you will pass by Shepherd AFB, and at exit 3C there is a Cracker Barrel which has clean bathrooms. Or, if you miss 3C, the next town is Burkburnett and it has a Subway at exit 13, or a Braum's at exit 12.

After you cross the Red River, you are in Oklahoma. Right after the toll road begins ($1.25) there is an island of a Phillips gas station, a super big McDonald's---who have not yet been hit by the coffee craze, and a wonderful welcome center with friendly ladies inside---fantastic bathrooms, and a few gift shops, and map heaven.

Does anyone know what the round, orange barns are next exit 28??

You are almost to Lawton---four main exits with more shops than you can shake a stick at.

You made it. Fort Sill is on the north side. Airport on the south side. Exits Lee, Gore, Cache---and nicely numbered the other direction.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

To Lawton

Yesterday, James said his new plates were ready to be picked up. So, we drove to the dealership and picked them up. You must be careful with google earth. They showed three different addresses for the dealership. We discovered that the Seagoville address was not correct. When I drove there with James a few Mondays ago, I knew it did not take that long to get there. Bob does not like to use 360, so he thought he was saving time by going another route. Ha. Spring has sprung along south Dallas, Seagoville, and the interchanges along I-20 and I-45, I-20 and I-35, and I-20 and 67. Now you know. We do need rain, however.

Sunday morning, this morning, at midnight, we heard the Skype thingy on the computer, but I did not get up until 2am to see who had called. James successfully put together a bookcase he bought at Walmart, and re-arranged his furniture.

At 7am, we were dressed, showered, coffee-ed up, and out the door to Lawton. The sun was already above the horizon, and it was windy, but cloudless, and so pretty driving northwest up 287. We stopped for breakfast in Decatur---a pit stop, and a sack to go of breakfast burretoes, and a sausage biscuit and cinnamon melt (cinnamon bun). And a huge orange juice. I took notes this time, as to where the Valero gas stations are located, as well as good places to eat, as I am compiling a map for this route to help jog my memory where the good bathrooms are.

In Oklahoma, just across the Red River, the welcome center is located on an island 13 miles in, and just south of the Oklahoma toll road. Other trips found us driving by, or stopping at the McDonalds, but the wind was blowing so hard, and it was so cold (29 degrees) that I walked south out of the wind while Bob got gas at the Phillips, and into the welcome building. Great bathrooms, and VERY friendly ladies. Found a robin plush toy for Abby that chirps.

We made it to James' church-of-the-week, and enjoyed the friendly folks of Lawton. After lunch at Tres Amigos---I liked the food, but Jamea and Bob gave it sad reviews, (we had helped James install the plates before lunch) ---note to self, Bob needs the foriegn car set of tools.

We decided to head home a different route as it was a beautiful day for a drive. This time we traveled east from Lawton to Duncan, and south into Texas by way of Bowie. This route avoids Wichita Falls completely. Many pluses there. But, if you don't make a bathroom pit stop in Duncan, forgetaboutit until Bowie. Bowie has a McDonalds, and a really nice new Walmart by 287. We found some fruit, and ice cream bars, and got back on the road. Since we were only 44 miles from home, there was NO stopping Bob now. He smelled the barn, I tell you. Silly me to record all the really nice places to stop for supper... And once you hit the crazy traffic that is Fort Worth---best to get home before dark. Only one small detour to Braum's for another gallon of milk. The man is completely changed from church clothes which he wore all day, and out of those cowboy boots he wears for dress---even though they have holes in the bottom of the boots. It will be hard to drag him to the cowboy store to get more. But, I am armed with my Shepler's one of these days....

We did see a huge deer wandering beside the road in Oklahoma near the Red River. Ryan? The deer looked shaggy, like it was shedding its winter coat. The cows in the field nearby had calves. And were feasting on very green, green fields of alfalfa, maybe? The green cultivated fields for hay were stark contrasts with the brown of the rolling ranch land.

And I did not see any cultivated field off 287 from our house to Oklahoma. But, on the way home, I spied one circle irrigater in a field near the Red River. The rolling hills have a layer of rocks that when pushed or worn away leave a layer of clay that erodes and spills into stock tanks---most of which were muddy and cloudy today. A few ducks braved them anyway. And cows were looking for water in gullies. We need rain. There has been a burning ban now for weeks, and the wind today just dried everything out more. Near Lawton, there are a few fields of cotton, and I am guessing green alfalfa or clover. And we spied shetland ponies and lamas near Ringgold? or was that Stoneburg?

It was a fun trip. We laughed a lot. And I had Bob mostly to myself in the car. No phones, no computers, no long church budget meetings to have to share him with.

We so enjoy listening to sermons at Mars Hill Church dot org. In one sermon he was talking openly about their budget. Not many new believers give, and their numbers are astounding. And they are having to meet in several locations because Seattle won't allow a mega church, and it would be expensive to build. They broke it down to $48 a head. a week. It made me wonder about our church budget. Our building is paid for, but we budget salaries for five, at least, tuition for a couple of seminary students, a few missionaries, and of course pay utilities, and it works out to be about $33 a head. per week. WE have not been giving at that rate. I guess we owe God a lot for all those years our boys were small and we could not afford it.

Pastor Mark Driscoll explained it this way, which made sense to me: Suppose you sent your child to the grocery story with a $20 and said, bring back bread, milk, and buy a little something for yourself. And what if the kid returned with a huge sack of candy and ice cream and no milk, no bread? And what if you gave the kid another $20 and said, go to the store and buy milk, and bread, and only a little for yourself this time. And the kid returns with the milk, but no bread, and another huge sack of candy and cake and cookies... Well, what would you do? Is that is how God feels with us? God gives us everything we need for our houses, and cars, and gas, and clothing, and food, and gives us a church where we can meet that is all paid for, and people willing to work and study to give us a great spiritual meal, and we put a pittance in the offering plate to help support the church, and missonaries, and further the Gospel. And we deny ourselves nothing. We eat out, and go to movies, and take trips, and buy plush birdie toys for the grandchild, but where is sacrificial giving on our list of priorities??? God does not need our money, but He gives us the opportunity to "help". And He works through us. Which is analogous to taking your child to work day. Sure, they get to see you work, and they think they are helping, but in reality, it is no help at all. But, good for the child.

I don't know. It just gave me a lot to think about. And while some plumbing repairs loom in our future, and paying off some car repairs are also important. I need to pray about my attitude about giving at church. Seems like it would be easier if I liked the music at church, but I don't. And why would I keep going back to a good restaurant that had great food but horrid music?? Not that I should compare church with a fancy restaurant. But, if I am going to plunk down $33 a head, the service better be great. Eh? I saw a man flick a dollar into an offering plate today. Wow. Hope he got his dollar's worth from the sermon and service. But, since it was not my church, who am I to judge? I did not give anything. Even as I would not expect visitors to contribute to my church service.

$33 an head. a week. $66 a couple. $300 a month. Man-o-man, I am so in debt to God.

It is not going to get me into heaven. Jesus paid that. $33 a head a week only helps meet the budget at our church for a year. And if I vote for the budget, doesn't that mean I am responsible to pull my share? Isn't that fair? But, for $33 bucks a week, shouldn't we be supporting more missionaries?? And cut the stupid music program? And pay our pastors better than starvation wages? Just a thought.