Tuesday, November 20, 2007

holiday letdown

while others are preparing for their thanksgiving holiday coming up, it feels to me as if the holiday is already over. we had our big thanksgiving dinner on sunday, 11/18, with all of jerry's family here and most of my family here. overall, we had about 30 people for dinner and to spend most of the day. it was great fun, but for some reason i didn't get many pictures taken.

we had jerry's mother, brother, 3 sisters and families, nephew and family, neice and child, son and family. on my side, we had my mother and husband, my son and girlfriend, and my daughter w/ her hubby and 2 little girls. there was SO much food here, i didn't even see it all.

we had a great dinner, lots of time to spend together as a family, beautiful weather so the kids could play outside, and a wonderful time to spend together being thankful for all that we have. after everyone left but our kids, we started the movie shrek the third for our evening. we snuggled down in our comfy seats w/ our blankets (at least raven and i did!) and watched the movie -- it was a great ending to a wonderful day.

i left jerry in charge of taking pictures that day -- we have 5 pictures and all of the same people doing the same thing. bad judgment mistake on my part, i guess, to give the camera to someone still on pain pills and recovering from surgery and say, "here, you take the pictures for today." i'll know better next time!

Friday, November 16, 2007

raven's preschool portrait

this is raven, one of my little princesses, last year at preschool just after she had turned 3 years old. she has always loved going to miss lorie's "prettyschool", which is how she says "preschool" when she's in a hurry. now it's just a habit and i think she thinks of it as "pretty school". she loves going SO much that even when she's sick, she thinks she needs to go to school.

here is her current picture, taken just after she turned 4. it was amazing to see the change in her, as i guess i don't notice the overall changes when i see her so often. she told me she had pictures taken and i asked her how she posed. she said, "he told me to put my foot out." i couldn't quite figure out what she was talking about, but she was excited about it so i didn't push for more info. after seeing the picture, now i know what she meant!

i was floored when i saw what a little lady she looked like in this picture -- so young and yet so grown up looking. i guess that's one of the best parts of parenting is that we can just sit back and watch them grow up. she's certainly going to run her parents around the block a time or two, and i'm sure i'm going to enjoy the show.

raven, memaw and grandpa are so proud of you and think you have a wonderful and bright future ahead of you!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

jerry's "captain morgan" machine

well, now that knee replacement surgery is over, the fun part starts -- physical therapy! for the first 2 weeks at home, we had a home health care physical therapist who came to the house 5 days a week. now, we have 3 trips a week to physical therapy in town at the hospital.

based on the recommendations of the home health physical therapist, jerry got a knee bending machine. i'm not sure of the technical name for this equipment, but scott refers to it as "the captain morgan machine". i think scott feels rather safe giving jerry quite a bit of hassle, as he knows that jerry can't get up and do much about it. after all, he just has to stay out of cane-striking distance!

so between a list of exercises to do each day, walking around the house/porch or down the lane, and spending time in the "captain morgan machine," jerry also has plenty of time to play games on the computer, read, watch television, make work phone calls, sort the mail, and overall just go stir-crazy in the house. since his surgery, he's added the sports package to our cable, watched pay-per-views, downloaded the full games on the internet, and purchased more books online! at this rate, we can't afford for him to be house-bound much longer!

he rooked me into a trip to walmart the other day (i despise going to walmart) and he even rode to parsons w/ me when i went to teach class the other day. just getting out of the house was a huge treat for him. saturday, 11/10, was opening day of deer season, and it was tough for him to be stuck in the house while the boys were hunting. after all, last year, jerry got his deer right after season opened.

we were going to make a trip out somewhere, driving around and exploring, but just didn't get to it with everything else going on. maybe tomorrow will bring a day that has time for these little pleasures in life.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

riahna checking the pumpkin

just part of the fun in going out to check "the great pumpkin" is seeing the looks on the kids' faces when they see how much it has grown or how much it has changed -- or even "hey, there's someone i know!" and pose for the camera!

"hey, peek-a-boo! look at me!! i'm looking at you!!!"

the joy(s) of a 17-month old!

pumpkin volunteer

i feel rather like charlie brown waiting on the great pumpkin to appear . . . but this is what we have. we tried to raise pumpkins in our garden this year, but after saving them from drowning in our terribly wet spring/summer -- they all died in the humid heat of early to mid-august. i was so disappointed, too, because we had several pumpkins that were all about basketball size. i was hoping to have at least 1 pumpkin for each of our 5 grandchildren.

but, no such luck.

last spring, in our front flower garden, we noticed a viney looking plant growing on the east end near the rose bush. we knew it was something from the garden, but we weren't sure what it was. well, as the plant grew and matured, we figured out that it was a pumpkin plant. a volunteer plant from the pumpkins that we had left sitting on our front porch last fall/winter.

somehow, a seed from one of those pumpkins was planted in our flower garden, and it survived! so, we tried to raise pumpkins and failed -- but we were given a pumpkin that we didn't plant! we've been eagerly watching and waiting for the day when this pumpkin is ready to pick. it's getting close now, and this hardy pumpkin will be the only pumpkin to grace our front porch.

each time the girls come out to visit, they have to go out and check on the pumpkin and see how big it is and how it's doing. it's about basketball size now and the vine is dying off. i assume that means it's about ready to pick, but i'm waiting on the stem to start to show that it's ready.

soon, very soon, "the great pumpkin" will be on our front porch for all to see! a very happy halloween to all!!!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

a surprise visit to nevada

well, today was quite a surprise for several people. first off, it's the first post i've made to this blog in quite some time. second, jerry was out and about visiting people for the first time since his surgery! third, i'm actually getting this posted in a timely manner -- so i better get some positive comments from "those people" who have been fussing at me!

for those of you who didn't know, jerry's mother had back surgery on 10/04 in kansas city for some pinched nerves and terrible back pain that she was having. then on 10/09, jerry had knee replacement surgery on his right knee at st. johns hospital in joplin. that means evelyn is now walking w/ a cane and jerry is walking w/ a walker.

this last couple weeks have been very stressful and extremely exhausting for me, taking care of jerry since his surgery and starting back to work after fall break. scott, who still lives at home, has been invaluable in helping w/ jerry, and jacob has been wonderful to come out and visit and/or help, too.

we have rearranged the house to make it more accommodating for jerry, plus we moved ALL the toys to the little front room to insure that he doesn't step on a little toy piece while he's up walking around. he has a great physical therapist (by coincidence, my step-sister-in-law!) who comes to the house 5 days a week for the first 2 weeks that he's home. she has been wonderful to work with, too.

anyway, today we got jerry out of the house. i knew that evelyn had been worried about him and would "rest easier" if she could see for herself that he was doing well. so we loaded him up in the car (plus a pain pill) and headed toward nevada for our surprise visit. we had called ahead to make sure they would be home, and since there was a chiefs game on -- we knew they would still be there.

boy, they were surprised to see us walk in the door. we stayed and chatted for about 45 minutes, and then we figured it was time to get jerry back on his way home. jeff and evelyn walked us to the front doors and then evelyn decided to go ahead for a little walk outside.

it was a great trip and a wonderful way to spend the afternoon. jerry just got his 20 staples out this last friday, and he still has quite a bit of physical therapy to do -- but he'll get there. we have lots of plans for our future and the list of things that we want to do is growing all the time.

hope to see most all of you very soon. if not before, then we'll definitely see you at our house for thanksgiving! amazing how quickly the holidays are coming!!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

new buggy

well, i thought my days of driving a mini-van were over . . . but i guess not! i was so excited at the prospect of having "outgrown" a minivan, or maybe i should say that i had "ungrown" a minivan and no longer needed all that room to haul other people. i could actually choose a car based on what i wanted and what i needed now.

i had been needing a new car for a while, but jerry and i recently went car shopping to see what was out there and what we liked. we were kind of leaning toward a kia sportage for several reasons -- warranty, price, size, 4WD (important to jerry), sits up tall (important to jill), and we have friends/family who have these and were very happy w/ them.

we didn't go to buy -- we just went to look and shop. jerry had been in touch w/ a salesman at roper kia in joplin through email and requested some different prices and stuff. once we got there, we were so impressed w/ the salesman, the dealership, the car, the package, the financing, the rebates and pricing, we ended up just choosing our vehicle and making our deal.

only problem was, the longer i looked at non-minivans, the more i realized that the days of traveling together w/ my family were over. a sportage would only carry 5 people and that wouldn't be comfortable for a long trip. a sedona would easily carry 7, the typical number for a minivan. right now, that's nice because that fits everyone in my family OR everyone in jacob's family along w/ us. that makes traveling together somewhere so much easier and so much more fun.

we've had the new van now for 2 month and already we have been on several trips -- canoeing at elk river, branson to silver dollar city, kansas city, and more. we didn't wait to start "breaking it in" -- although we haven't done some of the things we planned to this fall, we'll just keep chipping away at the lists of things to get done!

before christmas, we need to get back down to silver dollar city, up to kansas city for the thanksgiving weekend and plaza lighting, numerous shopping trips, to oakton to the live nativity scene, to carthage to see the precious moments chapel and lights at the college, and more. i can tell already that we'll have many great memories w/ this vehicle -- just like the previous mini-vans. i can't wait!!!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

life goes on

we've had some really neat things going on in our lives that i hadn't posted b/c of the court situation, so i'll get caught up on those events real soon. i've got some great pictures to post of events, too, so i'll sort and post those this weekend.

i'm going to full-time this fall at pitt state and also teaching adjunct for a local community college. it certainly allows me much more freedom that the typical teaching situation in a public school.

the further i am away from teaching in a public school and dealing w/ parents and politics, the happier i am. i recently talked w/ some family members who have children in the diamond r-4 district (where i used to teach) and got an ear-full of negative news about the district. after i left that family event, i was even more happy than ever that i left that place.

it was amazing the bad news they shared about so many people involved in the school district there -- deanna yokley demoted from administrator to classroom teacher, mark mayo (superintendent) not having his raise approved or his contract renewed, poor classroom instruction, angry and/or stressed out teachers, many teachers leaving for various reasons, etc. it was so disheartening overall. the only person they had good comments about was the new counselor there and said that he had done an outstanding job in getting scholarships for kids and working to get kids headed toward college. i'm so glad to be out of that cancerous situation, where negativity just seems to feed and fester until it brings everyone down.

as for me -- i'm taking 12 hours of college this summer. 6 hours toward a new grad degree and 6 hours of art. i'm loving it and learning so much (in the art classes!) that i can't wait to progress to higher levels of art classes.

jerry's doing good and had his 2nd best month of sales last month that he's ever had. that's always encouraging. he's had more 1st this last year than a person would believe!!! he had his highest month ever (while he was off the month of february for shoulder surgery and recovery!), great improvements on his job, new employees at work that know what they are doing, and so much more. even bigger events to come, too!!

scott is tranfering to pitt state this fall, so that will be a lot less driving back and forth to parsons for him! he's been working for a window company out of topeka for the summer and will work next weekend at the farm show for his out-of-town buddy as usual.

summer's family is doing just great and you can read all about them at their blog, which summer has finally started updating again recently! i'm not posting the address here b/c there are some people that we don't want to have it, but if you want to look and don't have the address -- email me and i'll send it to you!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

everybody . . . dies famous . . . in a small town

i'm not dead yet -- but this might be my 15 seconds of fame!

thought you guys might like to know that i made the front page of the local paper (and no, it wasn't in the "arrests" section!). the picture of "jerry's bins at sunrise" was pictured on the front page with the article and a link to the hydrangea picture titled "a moment of rest" was given. i've included both of those pictures so you could see them if you want.

you can find the article
here --

in case you can't follow the link -- here's the article copied and pasted --

Box of Colored Pencils Changed Nature Lover's Life
By Andra Bryan Stefanoni
THE MORNING SUN - June 13, 2007

A garden's blooms and birds may be fleeting, but Jill Campbell, Asbury, has turned a way of preserving what nature puts forth into a passion.

It all began with a box of colored pencils.

"I am an English teacher at Pitt State, and one day a few years ago I found a box of colored pencils, evidently abandoned by the teacher or students who used the classroom before me," she said. "I began experimenting with them to see what I could do, and in no time found myself really drawn to it."

No pun intended.

As an English teacher, for many years she has focused on the arrangement of words. Now she has added to her creative repertoire things like shadows, color, textures, and light.

"I didn't have art in high school, but I have always been a fancy letterer or doodler. I came across an online group called Illustration Friday in which they send you a one-word prompt and if you illustrate it you can post your link to their page," she said. "I thought, surely I can do that."

Her first one-word prompt was "strength."

"I had a picture of my husband's new grandson, only a few minutes old, and I thought, 'What more strength is there than that?' and I drew him and posted it to my blog. I posted it to my other groups, asking them to be gentle on their critiques, but got good feedback."

She is particularly drawn to the natural world, capturing flowers and natural scenes. One of her works, "Hydrangea," [should be "A Moment of Rest"] was chosen to be part of an exhibit at Powell Gardens in northwest Missouri under the direction of Cynthia Padilla, the owner of the online Botanical Art Group of which Campbell is a member. Her work also is featured in the online version of the exhibit, which can be seen at http://orchidsandhydrangeas.blogspot.com/

In fact, Campbell was instrumental in getting Padilla, a well-known botanical illustrator, to Powell Gardens this spring for a workshop. There she learned techniques like flower petals, stems, rubbings, and tracings.

"Once you start drawing things in nature, you start taking notice of things more than before," she said.

Campbell always draws from photographs, because it makes the drawing process portable and not hurried. "If I'm working from a picture, it's no hurry to get it done. The flower won't wilt, the moment is captured. If you're drawing a strawberry and using an actual strawberry, after a while it starts to change color and not look quite so pretty," she said.

A Sony Cybershot, 10.1 megapixel, is her camera of choice, which means she doesn't have to be right on top of subject - she can be 100 feet away - to get what she want. Her photography skills are equally good, and earned her a third place finish in the Crowder College Quill contest for her entry, "Jerry's Bins at Sunrise."

Campbell finds plenty of natural subjects in her garden, where last year she canned 70 quarts of tomatoes and 60 quarts of green beans, and where she planted sunflowers for a granddaughter.

"One that reached 11 feet was our biggest one; we took lots of photos and that provided inspiration for my drawings," she said.

She offers these tips to beginners or those striving to improve nature-related illustrations:

o Turn the piece you're working on upside down so you are just looking at shadows and light, instead of the subject matter.

o Do your original sketch on tracing paper, then once you've got it, darken your lines. Keep this as an original, and transfer the image to good paper lightly, where you can then complete the shading, color, etc. This saves time and effort if you make a mistake, because you still have the original on the tracing paper and can reproduce it again easily.

o Use paper designated specifically for the art medium you are using, such as watercolor paper or color pencil paper.

o Invest in a good set of colored pencils for home - Prisma Colors are great and include 120 pencils on four trays - as well as a simple student set of 24 (such as Prang) to throw in a backpack for portability while traveling or outdoors.

Andra Bryan Stefanoni can be reached at andra.stefanoni@morningsun.net

the hydrangea picture wasn't shown in the newspaper article, but the online link was given to the orchids and hydragneas show blog. here is the picture that was displayed at powell gardens --

you can see the full-blown version of it at flickr

Saturday, May 12, 2007

1106 - summer sundays

a long-time icon of pittsburg, kansas, is the 1106 drive-in. this is the old-style drive-in, for hamburgers, sandwiches, fries, tots, ice cream. the best greasy burger and fries in the area -- truth be told. the restaurant has been there almost all of my life (and i'm 41), so it is very well-known in this area.

for this altered book project, the topic was "dining rituals" and i was totally stumped on this one. my family had dining rituals, but i didn't really feel they were special enough or decorative enough to put in the book. then i remembered eating in the car at 1106 . . .

when i was little, we often went to the swimming pool for the afternoon on sundays. this was really quite a treat because we lived out of town and swimming was not something that we got to do just any time. we had a 1964 turquoise dodge, just the model shown in the pictures above. while it may look roomy -- it wasn't big enough in the back seat for 2 big brothers and little sister!

anyway, after an afternoon of swimming, we would often stop off at 1106 for a snack or for a meal. it was a great treat. i recently heard that 1106 was closing because it was being sold and i felt so sad -- as if part of my childhood was disappearing. i hadn't eaten there but 2x in the last 5 years, but it just felt wrong for it to not be there.

well, we've just found out that the 1106 is only closing for repairs and will soon reopen for business as usual. the business did sell, but the owner sold to someone who wanted to keep the pittsburg icon the same instead of tearing it down to make a new business there. i guess backyard burger is going to have to take over the old burger king building!

yeah, 1106 is still a part of pittsburg!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

blueberry kisses

well, it's a wednesday, and a typical day w/ the girls. riahna wants to do whatever raven is doing and raven usually doesn't want riahna's help w/ such things as coloring/writing/painting, etc. other than that, they play together very well. i guess neither one wants to share the markers.

raven wanted to color and write her name and riahna wanted to lay on the color book and make huge sweeping moves w/ a marker as if she were coloring. not enough room for both of them on 1 book, so they each had their own book and their own stash of markers.

everybody was happy. each little girls had her own pile of markers and her own big color book to work in. riahna didn't know how to take the lids off of the markers or she wasn't strong enough to get them off -- either way, she was safe playing w/ the markers.

i went into the kitchen to check on lunch, and when i came back -- this is what i found. either riahna figured out how to get the lid off or one wasn't on there very good. raven was just working away on her pictures and riahna was working on sucking the ink of of a blue crayola magic marker.
she was very proud of herself and very happy, too. anyone want a blueberry kiss that's probably a little sloppy? needless to say -- she was done w/ the markers for the day!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

the fun of grandparenting

there is nothing better than seeing the smiling faces of the grandchildren looking up as soon as they enter the door. each child has a special place in our hearts. each child has different expectations of their interaction w/ us -- but each child does have very special interaction w/ us.

i guess i could say we are very blessed. between us, we have 5 grandchildren, and we get to see ALL of them on a regular basis. some things i cannot post here -- but that doesn't mean that we have less of a relationship to them.

the holidays and summer time are such great times to spend together -- easter, mother's day, birthdays, father's day, 4th of july. so many great pictures opportunities. for those of you who know where to look, there is another blog w/ all the kids pictures posted there to keep you up-to-date on them.

i'll post as many things as i can.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

big girl work boots

holidays are never dull at our house, and this includes ANY gathering of family and/or friends. we had my family easter gathering on palm sunday at our house b/c we were going to nevada for jerry's family on easter.

most holidays bring something special for the kids and easter brings lots of stuff. little riahna was very proud to show off her "big girl work boots" that the easter bunny brought her. now she can really help work cattle when she goes out to the farm to play. in no time at all, uncle kirk will have to make riahna her own sized cattle prod. that way both little girls will have sticks to whack things, animals, or other people w/!

not even 1 year old here and getting her decked out for some serious dirty work! looks like trouble to me!!!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

morel mushrooms???

anyone familiar w/ mushrooms out there? i think these are morels and edible, but i'm not for sure on that. if it's a morel, then it would fall into the Morchella esculenta category.

anyone want to offer an opinion? found in sw missouri in the timber just 3 days ago. of course, having grown up around here, i was constantly reminded as a child not to eat anything that i was not certain of as many plants look fine but are actually poisonous.

care to offer your opinion on type?

Monday, April 02, 2007

wikipedia -- a tool for fools

wikipedia has gotten quite a lot of press over the last couple years as the "in place" to do internet research. something seems to happen to people's own ability to think once they read something on a computer screen -- almost as if their minds have been taken over by someone else causing them to do totally stupid things based on the instructions or information from a complete stranger!

for example, think of the emails that have been sent instructing computer users to search and delete certain files from their hard drives which "might" be dangerous. based on the words/advice of total strangers, people will delete needed files from their own computers or even their work computers. what in the world would possess them to follow the instructions of an unknown person? especially when it will be creating more problems for them on down the line when their computer no longer works as it should.

these same people pass around emails searching for lost children that have been lost for many years or were never lost to begin w/. after all, someone sent it to them or posted it on the internet -- so it MUST be true. they are just trying to do their part (as instructed) to carry on the cause. did it not ever occur to these people to check the reliability of the information before forwarding it on or before following the instructions?

i guess not -- hence the use and popularity of wikipedia. even people who are supposedly educated will state facts and then use wikipedia as their source to back it up. to the person that does that -- the fool's award should follow shortly. but then again, to those people, they probably couldn't find reliable, legitimate sources, so what else could they do to back up their ridiculous statements?

in teaching a college class on research methods, one of the first things that i do it to put wikipedia off-limits for research. why? because students don't have the ability to sort reliable and credible from not -- so why dangle the not reliable and not credible in front of their noses for possible mistakes.

even according to wikipedia itself --
"Wikipedia appeals to the authority of peer-reviewed publications rather than the personal authority of experts. Wikipedia does not require that its contributors give their legal names or provide other information to establish their identity. Although some contributors are authorities in their field, Wikipedia requires that even their contributions be supported by published sources. A drawback of this citation-only approach is that readers may be unable to judge the credibility of a cited source."

hello? if you don't have to give your legal name or do anything to build your own credibility, what makes the information that you would submit considered reliable and/or credible? even if you have to cite a source, could it not be a source that you wrote and posted to your personal web site or an article in a non-reliable and non-credible source?

think about it . . . if you found out that you or a loved one had a terminal disease, would you want information based on reliable and credible information? or just any old information that any old person w/o a legal name and w/o creditials could post to the internet based on any old sources they could find to back up their statements.

i think the answer if obvious when people take time to think about it. it's just the people who can't think or don't think that rely on sources like wikipedia to support their own ridiculous statements or claims.

the really bad thing -- these same people vote and drive and reproduce!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

a moment of rest

so proud and SO stressed at having had a picture accepted to a juried art show (juried by cynthia padilla) to be displayed at powell gardens, near kansas city. there is a show there for the months of march and april, on "orchids & hydrangeas". i'm just thankful that it's done and the stress/pressure is off of my back for now!

i'm going to a class at powell gardens in a couple weeks, also taught by cynthia padilla, and i can't wait to see/meet the other people in the class. several of them will also have artwork there.

there is an artists' reception on thursday, from 4 - 6, of that week where many of the artists will be available to meet and talk. jerry will be taking time off from work to attend this w/ me, as it's a fairly important event. ok, it's a very important event -- but i didn't want to sound too presumptious!

i'm really rather nervous about the art classes, too, b/c i've not been to art classes before and i'm used to being alone when i draw. that way, if i mess up -- there's no one there but me to see that! now i'm going to be in a room full of other people. what if i can't pull it together and draw on command? i don't know -- i guess i'll just have to go out for a coke or something!

i had a call from a local writer for the paper who wanted to interview me and put something in the paper about the artwork accepted into the show and something about me. i'm not sure when this will all happen (or even IF it will happen) but it was very exciting. maybe that's my 15 seconds of fame!?!

janus -- looking back and looking ahead

this beginning of the year analysis of what happened last year and what we hope will happen this year helps me see where we've been, where we're going, and where we're going to improve. jerry and i both feel very blessed in what we have together and w/ our family that we want to make sure that this is always a priority.

we had SO many great things going on last year and building such great relationships w/ our families. we have several new things in the works for this year, and jerry and i will be exploring several new possibilities for our futures in the decisions that we make this year. hopefully new things will grow that help us in the future and add a new dimension to our lives. we also have several plans for travel this year that we hope will provide us w/ some great memories and definitely some great adventures! maybe even some stories to tell our grandchildren!

we spend so much important time w/ our families, the kids, and grandkids. they are more important in our lives than they probably even know -- but we look forward to doing our special things w/ them this year and watching them grow and develop in their own lives. we enjoy making, creating, continuing traditions that keep us strong as a family and as friends.

we wish a very bountiful 2007 to all of our family and friends. this year definitely started better than others -- like 2004, the new year's day that lucas and i (and summer, too, but she likes to pretend she wasn't there!) lost the big screen tv out of the back of the truck!

pink flamingos to count

this comp book journal page was inspired by a conversation w/ my kids about what i was going to do when they got older. at the time they were about 14 & 16, i was terribly worried about what i would do in life when they outgrew me. i really felt like there was a time in the near future where they would be too busy w/ their own lives and families and careers for there to be much time for me.

i cashed out my retirement at my job and took the kids on a big vacation at 15 & 17, thinking it would be the last time that we had that time to spend together. the times of our family vacations was nearing an end, i thought. we had a wonderful 10 days together that i wouldn't trade for all the world and all the riches in it -- but i have come to a life-changing realization.

my kids aren't going anywhere and they aren't leaving me! they're now 21 & 23 and we spend just as much time together as before. my daughter is now married w/ 2 children of her own, but only lives 6 miles away and we see them very often. my son, at 21, still lives at home while working and working on college. our relationships have changed, but they are still there and still very strong.

now, i first started looking at the time that they would be grown when i first divorced from their father (in 1992) when they were 6 & 8. that was a lot of years and a lot of responsibilities for a single parent to be facing alone. i put parenting and family time as my main priority, thinking that at some point these responsibilities would be lifted from me.

almost as if . . . magically . . . my children would no longer require parental attention after the age of 18. i was terribly disallusioned in thinking that "my job" and "my purpose" would end abruptly then. the disallusionment did give me hope and did help me through some really stressful times. to fill that void, i was planning to purchase a street bike and travel for the summers. since i'm a teacher, i could leave the day after school was out and return the day before school started.

i would have the freedom to just meander from here to there, not worrying about who needed a ride, a doctor appointment, a prescription, a teacher conference, a new outfit for a special occassion. i thought that these things would magically be taken care of by my children who would both be legal age. having had my children young, i had never had the freedom to just come and go as i pleased.

when i first told the kids of my plans to just ride for the summer, my daughter's first response was "well! how will i know where you are?!?" this from the girl who thought i was being too demanding if i wanted to know where she was, what she was doing, who she was w/, and when she would be home. i assured her that i would have a cell phone w/ me and would check in w/ her every single day.

then her next question was, "but what are you going to do?" she didn't understand the concept of just riding for the pleasure of riding or meandering just for the adventure of seeing what i could see. that had no purpose in her eyes. after trying to convince her that it did have a purpose and a meaning to me -- i saw that i was getting no where.

so, as seriously as possible, i looked her in the eye and told her that i was going to ride from florida to alaska and count/document the number of pink flamingo yard ornaments that i found. i would take pictures and make notations about where they were and then bring that back home to show what i had been doing. she thought about it for a bit . . . and then said, "oh, ok."

it's still my plan to buy a street bike in the near future and to ride as much as possible, but i did sort of mess up my plans on that by meeting/falling in love/marrying jerry. his presence does sort of complicate my plans of being "carefree" for months at a time.

although, there are other complications as well -- as i couldn't go more than a week w/o seeing the superspecial little people in my life now. of course i wasn't planning on having them so soon in my life, as i was looking for time off from being a parent before becoming a grandparent -- but life doesn't always cooperate w/ our plans, huh?

since then, pink flamingos have held a special place in my psyche. the people who know me and who have known about this "plan" make it a point to show me things about pink flamingos or send me pictures of pink flamingos. no, i don't want pink flamingos of my own -- i just want to see who has them and where they are located!

Monday, March 26, 2007

our first date -- 2 years ago

jerry and i "met" on match.com back in january of 2005. he was in the process of a divorce, so we wouldn't be dating until his divorce was final. i felt safe giving him the promise that i would go out w/ him when his divorce was final, thinking that it would be several months before it was finalized.

well, it was much quicker than i figured -- finalized on march 14, 2005. our first plans were to go out on easter weekend. i worked the night shift on both friday and saturday night, so he suggested sunday evening for going out (our first date was 3/27/2005. i put him in charge of deciding what we were going to do on our date.

my family all got together for easter dinner, but it was rather a subdued occassion because little raven was sick. she had been to the emergency room late the night before, but they sent her home and said she probably just had the flu and to give her lots of liquids. she still wasn't feeling well at our get-together and was perfectly content to crawl up in memaw's lap and snuggle.

with her not feeling well and me tired out -- it wasn't long before we were both sacked out on the couch. i should know better than to ever leave my camera lying around w/ my family present, but this wasn't too bad of a picture to have.

later that afternoon, raven went back to the emergency room. this time she was admitted and her parents were told she had rotovirus. that's like the flu from hell. if you've never experienced, thank your lucky stars!

i was to meet jerry at 6 that evening. i thought about canceling and going to the hospital to spend the evening w/ raven and her parents, but summer encouraged me to go on w/ my plans. there was nothing i could do at the hospital to make raven or them feel better.

jerry and i met at riverton, where i parked my car, and then went on to buffalo run casino in miami, oklahoma. i felt like i already knew him when we went out because we had chatted on the computer and talked on the phone so much.

we played video poker for a while and then decided to go to town to montana mike's to get something to eat. we had no more than sat down for our meal when jerry's phone rang. it was his son, jacob, wanting to know where we were. jerry explained that we were getting something to eat -- and then found out that jacob and amanda were at the casino looking for us. they had decided to "crash" out first date!

we finished our meal and then headed back out to the casino for a few hours more play and to meet jacob and amanda. we said our hellos and chatted a bit and then moved on to our own thing.

i told my kids about jacob and amanda "crashing" our first date, and i could tell summer was really irritated. i'm sure she was upset because jacob got to see me before she got to see jerry.

so, amazingly, summer and lucas decided to eat out at olive garden the next week -- just so happened to be the evening that jerry and i were going out to dinner there. lucas was manipulated into it and didn't realize it until they were leaving, but summer had chosen to go there in the hopes of "bumping into us"!

well, we didn't arrive until about 10 minutes after they left. i guess summer didn't realize that we were going to go walk around the mall a while before going out to dinner! if we had done this to our kids -- they would've accused us of spying on them! but i guess it's perfectly fine when your parents are dating to spy on them!

obviously the family has all met now and most of them have spent lots of time together. we feel really fortunate that my kids and jacob's family all get along great and enjoy spending time together -- as we so much enjoy spending time w/ all of them.

i guess you know where we'll be on the night of our "2nd anniversary" -- back to buffalo run casino and montana mike's for dinner. who knows -- maybe this time we'll win some big money!!!

Friday, March 23, 2007

summer and raven == cool girls on trike

i spent some time the other day looking through old pictures stored on the computer looking for examples of altered book artwork that i had done. i ran across some pictures that i had forgotten i had even taken. obviously, things around our house are not always conventional -- but they usually ARE fun!

sharing usually wasn't raven's strong point and she doesn't look too happy here in these pictures -- although i'm sure the look on her face is more from terror and possible stomach upheaval as mommy was tearing through the house on the tricycle. i saw a strong connection between her tricycle driving skills and her regular car driving skills. if i were raven at that point -- i would've been scared too!

summer and raven -- june, 2005.

i think the pictures are rather self-explanatory, but someday . . . summer will look back and these pictures and say to her kids (who will then think she is so old and so uncool) . . . "see, i was young and cool at one time!"

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

so glad it's gone!

in looking back over the events of 2006 and looking forward to 2007, one of the most important events to happen for us was the sale of jerry's home in webb city. we had put the house on the market in august of 2005, knowing that we were making plans to marry and combine households and also knowing that houses don't always sell immediately.

well, it was almost exactly a year from the date of listing the house to the date of closing on the house. i was actually sick to death of the house, myself. we spent hours and hours and hours painting layer upon layer upon layer of kilz and off-white paint over the atrocious and offensive sponge-painting throughout the house. when the realtor first saw the house, she just laughed at the paint and color schemes throughout the house and said, "that HAS to go before i'll even show it!"

i know it's hard to believe, but one particularly ridiculous room actually took 7 layers to cover up the horrid sponge-painting design. it was one of those things that was just so ridiculous and idiotic that it becomes hilarious in the process. we laughed and laughed at that room, the design, the idea, and everything -- all as we continued to paint layer over layer trying to hide it from the rest of the world.

there was one particularly good point about this house, though. it had a beautiful deck on the back, leading from the kitchen upstairs to the pool downstairs. it was brilliantly designed and built, with gates at the top of the stairs, at the bottom of the stairs, and before the pool area -- insuring that the small grandchildren couldn't sneak into the pool area. i was amazed when i found out that jerry had designed and built the deck himself -- all without a printed pattern but from the picture in his mind!

there was nothing more exciting than getting the call that said the deal was final. we were closing on the house and moving on in life. yeah, we had some good times there -- but there were many more bad times there than good times for both of us. now we could dump this albatross from around our necks and move on in life toward more good times and good memories.

this was the absolute most exciting piece of mail that we received all year of 2006! the feeling of freedom that this gave us was almost unbelievable!

daffodils -- spring has truly arrived!

well, we know that spring is truly here when daffodils are growing and blooming everywhere we look. we went up to nevada, missouri, the other night to see jerry's mother and family and saw that her daffodils in the front yard were just on the verge of blooming.

as we traveled up there, we stopped to take pictures of these beautiful daffodils blooming in the ditches near nevada. i needed to get some good pictures at different stages and different angles, too, because i promised to post some for my online groups when they started blooming here.

even more upclose pictures for people to see the details in the actual flowers. these daffodils were absolutely beautiful as examples!

more details and more angles of these blooming beauties!

we did have a few wild ones growing in our yard near the garden, but when raven went outside the other day and saw that they had bloomed -- she gladly picked them and brought them in for me! she was very proud of the little handful of 8 or so daffodils that she brought in, so i quickly got out a glass of water to put them on display.

the botanicalart yahoo group that i'm in has a monthly challenge, and the daffodil (narcissus) is the challenge for march. i'm going to try and get some daffodils drawn/colored and posted to the group for the challenge, but i'm not sure that'll happen. while this is spring break, it's not much of a break for me as i'm working extra hours at the 2nd job to cover for others who are off for spring break.

anyway, i sure am happy to see the arrival of the daffodils, as i was definitely ready for spring/summer after the winter that we've had this year! i heard it was the worst winter here in 50 years, and i could go another 50 years before having another like it!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

all by myself -- the full story

life is not always fair and it is not always fun, but it does always work out. maybe not like we would like it to, but it does always work out. this last holiday season was the worst time of my life -- dealing w/ a back injury and dealing w/ missing all of the important holiday activities that i do w/ my family.

i was in such terrible pain that it was almost unimaginable. i would've never believed it if i hadn't been experiencing it myself. the only way i could exist in any comfort was lying on my stomach. after a while of that, then other parts of my body got terribly sore. i spent hours reading, coloring, emailing, surfing -- anything trying to keep busy. when i couldn't stay awake, i would sleep off the pain pills. further details revealed in night mares and charlie horses.

throughout this time, we were also bombarded with interference from certain "family members" that were not positive experiences. these people are people-users, people-abusers, hypocrits, liars, and worse. i was sick of dealing w/ them. this input or attempted influence in my life was not wanted and not welcomed at any time -- but especially not wanted and not welcomed now. the holidays were rough enough in not happening the way i wanted, but i definitely didn't want any "help" from these other people.

the picture on this page was taken from a national geographic magazine and glued on to the page after it had been painted w/ acrylic paints. the picture always amazed me that someone put that much effort into building such a beautiful place so far away from civilization -- obviously for a reason! probably the same reasons i have . . . b/c people get on my nerves and i like the quiet of being away.

some people can't understand that i have realized my life is better and will be better w/o them in it. i can choose who to allow to be a part of my life. just because someone wants to force their way into my life and my activities doesn't mean i have to allow it and doesn't mean i have to make arrangements for it. i decide who i'm going to let into my life.

a relationship is a two-way street. when more than 1 person is involved, then it takes more than 1 person to decide to work on a relationship, more than 1 person to decide when to work on that relationship, and more than 1 person to decide IF that relationship will be worked on or not.

i'm not just sitting here waiting on someone else to decide he's ready to work on our relationship as if the universe is revolving around his wishes. maybe that's the biggest problem -- he hasn't realized that the universe doesn't revolve around him. some day, when he's a real adult and gets out in the real world, he'll either realize that the universe does not revolve around him or the world will eat his lunch.

either way, things will work out!

Monday, March 19, 2007

cat's new haircut

well, the cat finally got her haircut. although she did outsmart us the first time -- details here -- the next time we went in to the situation a lot more prepared. we looked like we were building barracades, as we used furniture to block all the service doors under the jacuzzi to prevent her from hiding there again.

summer came out to help, as she's the one who can handle the cat the easiest w/o getting mangled or losing a limb. she gave the cat a dose of "calmer downer" and left her in the bathroom for 15 minutes for the medicine to take effect. as summer walked out, she drug a bookshelf across the bathroom door. believe it or not, the cat CAN open the bathroom sliding door.

summer went back to check on her in 15 minutes and gave the cat another 1/2 dose of "calmer downer" (as the instructions state) and then left her to chill a few more minutes. again, blocking the closed door with the bookcase. when we judged the time was right, we headed into the bathroom to get this job done. we had the cat drugged, our game faces on, the supplies out and ready to go.

only thing -- we ran into another problem. the clippers weren't working! we started into this haircut process and the clippers were barely running and hardly cutting any hair! we started to laugh hysterically, which upset the cat, because we thought we were going to have to admit defeat again on getting this done.

jerry came in to check on us, and i told him about the clippers. we had just bought a new set recently, and i couldn't believe they were already not working. he went up to check scott's room, and he found the clippers up there where "mr. clean" had been using them for his personal hygiene regimen.

now rescued from the "bad clippers," we were off and running on getting this haircut done. once we had our appropriate supplies, it was quick clipping as the "calmer downer" wears off on the cat fairly quickly. we were shearing as fast as we could go, but we weren't going fast enough. we had to take a break for her to have another 1/2 dose of "calmer downer," and then we moved on.

we cleaned her up and trimmed her up as neatly as we could. for those of you who have comments about the missed spots or uneven spots -- i would invite you to help hold her down next time! i think you would then agree w/ me in that she looks just wonderful like she is! we're all about getting done as fast as we can as neat as we can -- but the fast part is the most important.

as soon as we got done shaving her and cleaning up the mess, summer started the shower running to rinse her off. well, she had had enough of our grooming -- so she ran as fast as she could and we decided it wasn't worth the effort to catch her. or maybe it wasn't worth the reward of catching her? anyway, she got her haircut and checked out before she got her bath!

the funny thing of it is, though -- after she has a haircut, she's the friendliest cat! seriously!! not to strangers, of course, but to us she is. that's totally out of character for her, too. when she has short hair, she's friendly and likes to snuggle and likes pet. when she has long hair, if you try to pet her, she'll start scratching you. weird, huh?

so, she hates the haircut part but loves the after-effects of it. we hate the haircut part, too, but love the after-effects of it enough to keep up the major family event. here's a picture of her after the shearing where she looks more like a big white rat than a long-haired himalayan. while she's not near as prissy looking now, she's definitely a cuddler now.

Monday, March 12, 2007

lady in training

raven is definitely a girlie-girl, even though she likes to play rough and tumble and get dirty at the farm. she loves to be dressed up, have her hair done, have her nails (both fingers and toes!) painted, and wear lipstick (my bonnie bell lip gloss)! one of her favorite things is to get a set of high heels out and walk up and down the tile hallway, hearing the click-clacking of her heels all the way. she is very proud of her ability to walk in such "big shoes"!

this picture was taken in june 2006 at her house when memaw and grandpa jerry stopped by to visit for a bit!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

ogre achiever

this sign is near joplin, and every time i see it -- it just makes me smile. of course, my family has a special history w/ the shrek movies and characters.

now that little raven is here, she loves "chrek" as much as we do -- maybe more. shrek is just a movie that i don't get tired of, and each time i watch it, i see something that i hadn't noticed before.

i'm continually amazed at how many things the creative minds can think of to tie in together in the theme of the movie -- so many jokes that the adults get that go right over the heads of the kids.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

scrapbooking w/ memaw

as you probably know, wednesdays are typically my day to have the girls. raven loves to do creative activities, such as painting, drawing, writing, and "scrapbooking". she didn't call it scrapbooking until she heard mommy talking about going to the scrapbook store and scrapbooking w/ her friends and stuff -- but once she heard that, she's called it scrapbooking ever since.

for us (raven and memaw), it's really more of a combination book. we paint, draw, color, trace our hands, and paste pictures all in the same book. well, after mommy had gone to a scrapbook class and left raven at home (crying hysterically because she knew she was being left out of something really spectacular!), we had to make a special scrapbook page at my house.

we had to have everything, too -- colored paper, tape roller, stickers, pictures => the works. we sat down on the living room floor to start scrapbooking, and raven knows right off what she wants and doesn't want. i can make suggestions and help her, and she's fine w/ that. but if mommy joins in the activity, raven turns into a miniature hitler. mommy doesn't get to choose her own colors to color w/, part of the picture to color, or nothing! then if she does something, raven usually colors over it. it's really quite comical to watch, but terribly frustrating for mommy!

raven chose to use a picture of herself from clay cafe from thanksgiving weekend 2005. she was intently painting her ornament for the christmas tree. she chose the stickers and the colors on the page and even placed the things herself. the only thing i "helped" w/ was getting the borders on in a close-to-straight manner.

after finishing our scrapbook page, then we had to trace our hands on the other page. that's something that we do to entertain and fill time while waiting (places like church), but it has gotten to be quite a family tradition as we stamp our hands every new years day. she's explaining to me why a couple of my finger are really fat, but in reality -- she just got in a hurry.

also, as you can see, raven is "maked" (translates to "naked" in adult language). she's not at my house more than 10 minutes before she's "too hot" and starts removing clothing. since i'm wearing a t-shirt w/ a sweatshirt and sweatpants -- it's obviously not TOO hot in the house. it could be 40 degrees, though, and she would want to run around in her underwear. i'm ok w/ that because i'm memaw and those things just don't bother me.

we have a great time together and look forward to our days to do special things. these are times for "just us girls" to do our thing. it's a great opportunity for me to spend 1-on-1 time w/ the kids w/o the stress of doing something big! now that the weather is getting nicer, i'm sure we'll spend much more time outside, playing and walking and looking at the garden and more. lots of pictures in the making, i think!

night mares and charlie horses

this piece represents the time i spent in december and january dealing with a pinched nerve in my back. i continually had charlie horses, running from my waist to my toes on my right side.

the pain was unbearable most times, and there were times i would just lie in bed, curled up in pain, and cry. i couldn't get up on my own, couldn't take care of myself, couldn't sleep without pain. when i couldn't stand it any further, i would ask jerry to take me to the emergency room.

the only thing that helped was a shot of morphine and tordal. the real problem -- these "quick fixes" didn't last even 24 hours. after several trips to the emergency room, they basically told me to learn to deal w/ the pain on my own.

what? i couldn't walk, couldn't stand, couldn't sit, couldn't do anything except lay on my stomach on my bed -- and still hurt. yeah, deal w/ it! i was referred to a pain management specialist, but they couldn't get me in until february.

what??? i couldn't live like this for 2 more months! when we called and asked why it took so long, the reception said, "well, you have to understand that we only do pain here on tuesday and thursday." that was about the most assinine thing i had ever heard, and my response to her was, "well, that won't work, because i'm doing pain 24 hours a day!"

jerry got on the phone and found a pain management specialist in joplin and got an appointment for 3 days later. it didn't take them 5 minutes to diagnose the problem w/o ever looking at the mri report. they scheduled me an appointment for 2 days later to come back and have steriod shots into the spine.

the idea that i had to go back home (an hour in the car where every bump, curve, swerve, or stop was extremely painful) was almost more than i could take. by the time we got there, i was in such pain that i was just curled up and crying.

it was a scary thought, but the pain was just unbearable and i had no life at the time -- so we went w/ it. i went in for the first shot, watched the people before me go in, be gone about 20 minutes, and then walk back out. i warned the doctor and nurses ahead of time that i had a tendency to vasel-vagel (which is the fancy term for fainting or passing out), but they seemed unconcerned.

so i'm lying there on the table on my stomach, talking about this and that w/ the nurses and doctor. they were quite amused and shocked at the tattoo on my backside -- definitely something to talk about. they wanted to hear the story behind it and all, so that took up some time and got some good laughs.

there was a machine right over my back so the doctor can see the individual nerves to make sure he gets the shot exactly where it goes. first there was a little pressure and then the shot. it felt like there was a guitar string that ran from my waist to my toes, and he just twanged it hard enough to reach my knee. i let out a yelp and he asked where it hurt. i told him, and he said, "that's good. that means i have the right nerve." then he moved the needle to another near spot or something, but the guitar string twang went all the way to my toes.

oh man, that was painful! i was starting to feel really hot in that room (first sign that fainting is possible). the procedure was done and i was lying there a few minutes while they took blood pressure and checked things. then the nurse asked me to start to stand up by just putting my legs over the side of the bed and touching them to the floor.

i knew i was going down, so i said, "can i just lay here a minute?" at this point, it's usually the imagination that makes things worse. i was picturing what i had felt, what it must have done, whether it had helped, what if my life continued on as it had, etc. it was getting really, really hot in the room now. the doctor had already left the room to move on to the next patient since my procedure was over.

the nurse gave me a bit (felt like about 20 seconds to me!), and then said, "can you try standing up now?" i told her that i needed to just lay there a bit more. we went through this routine a couple more times before i tried to stand up, knowing that this wasn't going to work out very well.

i put my feet on the floor, as instructed, and kept my upper body on the bed. i stood in that position a few seconds and then looked across the bed at the nurse standing there and said, "i'm going to pass out now." i knew it for sure when the edges of my vision started to turn gray and the gray started quickly progressing toward the center.

at that point, they called some sort of code and people came running from everywhere. jerry, seated in the hallway, knew something was wrong, and it had to be w/ me because i was the only one back there! one of the nurses got a wheelchair under me just in time to sit me down as i passed out.

the most horrible thing about passing out like this is that when i wake up, i have a roaring sound in my head (worse if i have hit the floor!) and then there are usually a bunch of people in my face. i assured them all when i awoke that i was fine, but the charge nurse wanted to send me to the emergency room.

the doctor disregarded her suggestion and sent me to the recovery room. other people were there as they got out of knee surgery, shoulder surgery, etc -- and i'm there for fainting! not exactly something to brag about!!!

by this time, jerry is right there next to me and my mother has shown up at the hospital. i was fine and i felt fine, except really tired feeling -- typical from having the quick drop in blood pressure that allows the fainting. of course, my mother is worried that i'm in the recovery room instead of walking out on my own after the shot, but what can i say -- she's a mom!

the doctor decided that i needed a shot of something to up my blood pressure and speed up my heart rate -- so i got that shot. after being "monitored" for the next hour by a nurse that was totally pissed that the doctor didn't send me to the ER, i was allowed to leave for home.

as i got up to walk to the car, i was still sore from the charlie horses in my leg -- but i didn't have the pain that i had been having. the shot is supposed to have its best effect after 48 - 72 hours. that was right on, too, as it was about 2 days before i felt much better.

the worst part about this whole thing is that we didn't get to celebrate the holidays like we normally do -- no christmas tree, no cookies to decorate, no gingerbread houses, no christmas shopping, no gifts, no precious moments chapel and vietnamese lights trip, no shopping at the plaza and other kc favorites, no valuable family time w/ the kids.

it was horrible. christmas is my favorite time of the year, and i so love to do all those activities w/ my family. this year, we had none of those memories together. i couldn't hold riahna, i couldn't hold/hug/lift raven, i couldn't do all the things that are so important to me. i couldn't even spend time w/ my family at all b/c i was just in too much pain.

we had about 2 hours of christmas shopping on the 23rd and about 2 hours on the morning of the 24th. we got gift cards for some (which i hate because it's so unoriginal) and presents for the 5 grandchildren. i just told my children that we would have our christmas for them in a few days.

i don't think anyone truly knows how miserable i was during that time, but it did give me plenty of time to come up w/ a list of things i'm going to work on and/or accomplish this year. that time of "thinking" also gave me some new ideas and more inspiration for some ideas that i already had.

so, summer (my daughter -- the pollyanna in the family), if i had to find a "bright side" to this situation, it would be that i have a much deeper appreciation for living and much more inspiration to get some of the projects done that i've only be thinking about up to this point.

after 2 more shots to the spine (which were both uneventful as far as the vasel-vagel thing), i was well on my way to recovery. now we'll see how everything else goes! i certainly have a new understanding and respect for those people who have serious back injuries.

and to those people who offered such consoling words as "well, there will be another christmas next year . . . ". you have NO IDEA of what i missed this year. never again will riahna have a 1st christmas and never can i replace that time and the memories that i didn't get to make w/ my family.

yeah, there will be another christmas next year -- and i'll be doing the holidays up double time to make up for what i didn't get to do this year. jerry and family better just watch out!

for you, jerry -- that means that we'll be AT the plaza on thanksgiving when the lights come on just so we can say "ahhhhh" and then load up in the car and head toward the hotel! for you grown kids -- that means we'll be spoiling the little kids w/ as many activities as possible!!!

Friday, March 09, 2007

our first tulip sprout!

the last saturday of february was a beautiful day, and we decided to hurry up and get the bulbs planted that we had purchased at powell gardens last fall on our trip there. jerry was really going stir-crazy from so little activity since his shoulder surgery and being trapped in the house -- so this gave the perfect activity to go out and do! it didn't take long and it didn't take much effort!

the next time raven was out and trying to play in the flower pots, i told her that she couldn't dig in there anymore because we had planted flowers in there. from that day on, she checked each time she was out to see if there was a flower growing.
after 10 days, she came running back into the house yelling "memaw! memaw! you have a new flower growing!!!" then she had to take each person out there and show them the new flower. after that, each day she would go back out to check on the flower and see if there were any new ones. we can always count on raven for a "flower update" when she's here!

made me laugh

i parked next to this car on campus the other day, and i have to admit it made me laugh. of course, i guess you have to be the right age to have played this game. probably the same people who were on a long trip with their parents, laying in the back window waving at strangers, protected by "mom's seatbelt" while jumping on the seats, stopping at rest stops, and begging for more pit stops and more munchies!

of course, it's spring time and i feel the urge to travel coming on strong. the sense of wanderlust hits me hard in the springtime -- especially if the weather is warm and i can hear the traffic of the highway. only thing that makes that more tempting is the rumble of fat pipes chanting "blub, blub, blub, blub."

yeah, i feel that day coming on stronger and faster all the time.

in case you can't read the license plate, it says "SLGSUM1".

Thursday, March 08, 2007

young up-and-coming artist

ok, now while this may not look as impressive as da vinci or raphael or rockwell -- this is the picture that raven, my 3 1/2 year old granddaughter, drew for me yesterday while staying the day with me.

wednesdays are typically my day to have the girls for the day. i was trying to check my email and do a couple of things on the computer, and raven wanted some paper. she got out a couple sheets from the printer, scootched up in my lap, and began drawing. trust me, i get very little done these days other than playing, coloring, scrapbooking w/ raven, rocking riahna, etc. it's tough work!

she quickly filled the front and back of 2 sheets, and then held this up to me and said, "look memaw. i drew this for you. this is you and this is your house." she did all of this w/o any coaching.

now i know i'm a grandparent and sometimes we're just sickening in how special we think our grandchildren are -- but i have to admit that i think this is just pretty darned good for a 3-year-old.

granted, memaw only has 1 arm and no torso -- but it's definitely an identifiable stick figure. of course, if i just had a head, 1 arm, and 2 legs -- that would certainly help me on when i step on the bathroom scales!

the house is a little cockeyed -- but again, it's a recognizable house structure. who knows, maybe raven just thinks things are a little cockeyed at my house anyway!

after all, it's always better to follow the rules at memaw's house than at home! maybe that's because it's so much easier since there are fewer of them? or maybe it's just because memaw thinks the kids are perfect on their own?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

cat - 1, girls - 0

yeah, that's right. that was the score from last night, but we're up for a rematch on thursday night!

that's how our evening turned out last night. summer and i were going to give the cat her twice-yearly haircut (otherwise known as "shaving the cat"). it's usually quite an ordeal and if you've never experienced it -- you have NO idea of what it's like! if you've ever read the joke email about "how to give a cat a pill" -- you could multiply that by 10 and you've have an idea of what it's like to give a cat a hair cut.

so this was what we had planned for our evening last night. grandpa was going to watch the girls while summer and i shaved the cat. we started the movie for the grandpa and the girls, and then started prepping the area for the cat make-over. summer measured out the cat drugs (a little calmer-downer to keep her from killing us in the process) and then caught the cat. amazingly, summer managed to give the cat the medicine all by herself -- and that in itself is quite amazing (reference back to the email on "how to give the cat a pill"!).

the instructions on the cat "calmer-downer" says to give her 10 drops and wait 15-20 minutes and give her another 5 drops. so, summer shut the cat in my bathroom while we waited for the 15 minutes to pass, knowing that it would take time to measure out the next drop of medicine and also time to catch the cat -- even in a closed-in and fairly small area (10 x 14).

when we went back in there and opened the door -- the cat was gone! now, we know that she can open the door, but the door was shut when we got there and we know she isn't smart enough to open the door, walk out, and then close the door behind her. we were beginning to wonder, though, because we could not find her anywhere. there are just not a lot of places to hide in the bathroom, other than the covered litter box and she's much too stuck up to hide in there!

we looked and we looked, and then we started looking other places in my bedroom like in the closet, under the bed, behind the laundry hamper, and more. we double checked the bathroom, double checked the closets, and still couldn't find the cat.

that only left one place for her to be -- under the jacuzzi! after summer had shut her in the bathroom, the cat had opened one of the service doors to get under the jacuzzi and crawled under. the doors fall shut behind her unless opened all the way -- so we had no idea to look under there. after getting under there, she had crawled back to the furthest spot on the other side -- just out of reach of a broom handle or anything else!

all we could do was shine the flashlight under there as see her watching us -- and growling every time she thought we were going to try and touch her! summer tried calling her out, enticing her w/ food, going off and leaving the doors opened (like we weren't interested in what she was doing!), calling her some more . . . . but nothing worked.

jasmine stayed hidden under the jacuzzi until summer had left and the drugs had worn off. then she came out and plopped down in the middle of my bed just like she was the queen of the nile. she had won the battle and she was feeling rather smug about it. what she's doesn't know is that she hasn't won the war! she'll be getting a haircut on thursday and we now have child-proof latches on our grocery list to prevent the cat from getting under and/or hiding under the jacuzzi this time!

here is a picture of what jasmine looks like. this picture was taken in december, 1997, so summer has changed quite a bit and jasmine hasn't changed much in looks but her attitude has taken a fairly constant downhill turn since then. at that time, she thought she might be a princess. now she's fairly sure she's the queen and willing to teach anybody a lesson who might think otherwise! unfortunately, she is fully clawed and has a full mouth full of teeth -- so be forewarned!

i post this now so you can see how much difference there is when we get her shaved. she goes from looking like an elegant princess to more of a drowned rat. it's kind of like cat-grunge! amazingly, though, her attitude and personality are much more pleasant when she looks like a drowned rat! must support my theory that some people are nice because they have to be as they can't count on their looks to get them through life.

after we get the cat-grooming done -- i'll post another picture for all to see the difference. if there are any injuries to any of the workers, i'll post pictures of those, too. just so you know what a dangerous job this is!

Monday, February 19, 2007

paper anniversary

that's it -- we just had our "paper" anniversary. that means we've made it through 1 year and the traditional gift for that is paper. now, what can you give someone that's paper? that takes some thought. especially if i didn't want it to be "something scrapbook" because that has a very negative connotation to jerry.

so, h-m-m-m. something paper. i knew of something paper i wanted, but i wasn't sure that jerry wanted that. of course, i could always just get it "for us" because that was what i wanted.

with my back injury and his shoulder injury/surgery, we haven't been very good about getting each other presents. we didn't get each other birthday gifts, christmas gifts, valentine's day gifts, and now anniversary gifts. what next? we'll be buying our own gifts and just saying it's from the other person?

well, jerry knew the really neat thing i wanted that was paper, and after we got home from dinner on wednesday night (valentines day) we decided to go with it. of course, my piece of paper will have a matching piece of paper for him -- so that way we each fulfilled the requirement of getting the other one something paper.

what is it, you ask? if you know me well -- you'll already know. if you don't -- then you'll just have to wait and find out when it happens!

after all, there are some people who read this blog just to find out what we are doing in our lives instead of being a part of our lives. there's no need for them to know our business until after it's over. . . when it's too late for them to try and mess anything up or interfere in any way!

it's official!

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it's official and here's the new logo! we've been talking over the last year of setting up a business to do picture restorations and more. on the back of the card, i've listed the services available and can easily discuss with people what options and price ranges are most beneficial for their individual situations.

Services offered include –
· Scan pictures, slides, journals, or documents to digital files
· Store file back up for emergencies
· Restore damaged or aged photos
· Provide photo cleanup on current photos
· Create slideshow presentations on CD or DVD
· Original farm photography
· Silhouette photography, painting, or drawing

Prices vary depending upon assignment. Contact me for an estimate on your job!

this all started since our experience w/ jerry's mother's 80th birthday party last year. at that time, what we found was a huge box of photos that she had taken (torn) out of her photo albums and was dropping into brown paper baggies that were labeled w/ her kids' names. this was over a hundred years of family history!

i was horrified when i saw that because i knew that once those pictures were handed out to the different siblings, no one would ever know who had what pictures. important pictures to someone might not be the important pictures to someone else. or, if there is more than one child in a picture, how do you decide which bag to drop that picture in? what if all the children want that picture?

I've scanned in his mother's complete collection of pictures. i've labeled and dated them, identified the people in each picture, repaired damaged pictures, and cut out people who weren't wanted in the pictures. this way, they can ALL have a copy of ALL the pictures. no one ever has to worry about a special picture not being available!

once people started seeing the changes i could make in a picture, they started requesting that i fix a picture that was important in their collection. we knew that there had to be a market for this type of service, but so far we just hadn't had the time to take care of getting it off the ground.

well, it's off the ground now. the logo is designed and copyrighted, my business cards are printed and getting out, postcards are printed to mail out to special people, and i donated 3 certificates to the KKOW radio auction for promotional purposes and advertising is set up for the next 60 days.

more and more people are hearing about the business and what i can do for their picture collection -- which means that more and more people are checking into their personal collections to see what they need to have done. more questions/inquiries means more answers and more curiousity means more business. it's SO exciting!!!

i'll be doing some major networking in the near future and attending a couple/few very large trade shows and business expos -- so that should also help the business get started. now we'll see what works out!

we all had input on the logo and the business card, but lucas is the one who did the actual hands-on creation of the logo and card. looks great, lucas!

Monday, January 29, 2007

stan herd -- the landscape artist -- emailed me!

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i have attached a picture of the global flyer landscape art that stan herd, the landscape artist, did for display when the global flyer took off and landed from the world record flight in salina, ks.

this is a picture from the drawings of leonardo da vinci, who actually drew plans for a flying machine in the 1500s, to celebrate the long-desired need or urge for flight.

i had written about stan herd and his art way back on my personal blog at world record flight and kansas art . he recently saw that posting, and he sent me a personal email with this picture attached to it.

i was quite impressed that he took the time to thank me for writing about him and his art on my blog. since then, i've checked out his personal web site again, just to see what all he's doing and i've posted the notice to all my art groups to check him out, too.

hopefully, he'll be doing art for a long time to come and will continue to create many famous pieces that will make an impact on people worldwide. i'm so much more impressed with him after the email that he sent, just to see that he's still approachable and caring as a human being while still being a famous artist! impressive!!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

time to start blogging again

that's right. you read it correctly. it's time to start blogging again. the reasons i had for NOT blogging no longer exist, so it's time to start posting. several things have been going on, although not ALL of them will be discussed here. those of you who KNOW me, really know what all those things are anyway.

the new year is off to a bang and we've got SO many things going on here. i've created a list of things to start working on for myself -- a list of goals that you'll soon be hearing about b/c you'll know whether i'm making any progress on any of them or not. hopefully, if i keep motivated, some of these things will start happening and start to fall in place very soon.

happy new year to everyone and i wish you all the prosperity, success, love, and happiness that you deserve. for those who are living "the good life" now, i hope you live it up and enjoy what you have. for those who are struggling and things are not looking so bright, remind yourself that "this, too, shall pass."

2007 is going to be a great year. check back to see how wonderful it is here and for all of us in the family. there are great things ahead for us and we intend to live them to the fullest!