If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Fresh from the garden

We enjoyed dinner fresh from the garden tonight.  
Mike picked some leaves off the lettuce transplants and pulled up some onions.  I pinched off some spinach and leaf lettuce we had grown from seed.  We came to the house and I added some brocolli and boiled eggs.  Mike fried up some bacon and crumbled it and chopped up a few of the onions.  Mama always says everyting tastes better if you put it in a pretty glass bowl.  So, we tossed this into one from my grandmother, Muffa (Daddy's mother).  It not only was beautiful; it was delicious!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Playing With Rocks

Sometimes it is the simplest of things which provide the most fun.  Children can have the latest gadgets, the most advanced toys, expensive trinkets and toys.  Yet, there are times when something very simple, something intended for an entirely different purpose, something common and ordinary become the most complex, extraordinary, entertaining fun.  The rock pile which we ordered delivered a week or so ago in order to fill in the Grand Canyon, off-roader's-dream places in our driveway became a treasure without boundaries this week. 

Our eldest granddaughter, Lillie, came for a visit - as she calls it, to stay for "some days."  I met her mother for a spur-of-the-moment pick-up.  We went to a discount store and got some PJ's, underwear, and a change of clothes and we were set for a while.  Luckily, she was wearing jeans and cowgirl boots.  So, when we got to my house, she immediately wanted to go out and play on the mountain of rocks. 

She scratched and scrambled and climbed to the top. 

Then, she did a little happy dance when she got to the top. 

Finally, she plopped down and slid on her fanny to the bottom so that she could start the climb all over again. 

The mountain of rocks provided hours of fun. 
I don't know when I've seen grungier water in my bathtub, either!

By the way, notice the guy on the bobcat in the background?  Well, he diminished the size of the mountain of rocks and we now have a smoother driveway covered with rocks - no crevices, gullies, canyons or even little ponds to bump through on our way to the house.  Yippee!

Monday, April 18, 2011

One of THOSE Days

Yesterday was one of THOSE days.  It didn't start off that way.  After sharing breakfast - cooked by me for a change on Sunday morning - we went outside.  We cleaned a little bit on the barn.  Then, I got on the mower to cut the grass and Mike was going to go get Stephen's bobcat to start spreading out these two mountains of rock

onto our rutted, Grand Canyon, off-roader's dream of a driveway. 

Well after a couple of rounds around the house, the lawn mower started sputtering.  So, I back to the barn it went and my mechanic (Mike) decided that it needed an oil change and new oil filter.  That seemed to work and I got our yard into good shape.  Then, I took a little break before I went up the hill and began to cut his mother's yard.  I made a couple of rounds and started striping across the yard.  I had to get off to pick up a couple of shingles which had blown off the roof during the storm earlier in the week.  The motor died and I couldn't get it to restart.  So, I called my mechanic (Mike) and he came with booster cables and got me going again.  I made several more swipes across and had to slow for a rock.  Once again the motor died.  So, I made a quick call to the family mechanic (Mike).  He mumbled a few choice words and came back to get me going.  Once the motor was running, he pointed to the barn and told me to get there!  So, I zipped across the yard and got half-way to the barn and it died again.  My hero, the family mechanic (Mike), pulled alongside me and in a gruff voice told me, "get in here."  We went to the barn and he took the battery out of another piece of equipment.  Back to the mower we went and exchanged the batteries.  (Mid-way through the exchange, Stephen came by and made some smart remarks which will not be published here and neither will the mumbling, grumbles that Mike made after Stephen drove by.)  All went well and I got the mowing almost completed when a piece of twine got sucked into the blades. 

So, did Mike get the rock mountains spread onto the driveway? 

No.  Why?  Because the battery on the bobcat was dead when he went up there to get it.  (Rather poetic, huh?  I'm pretty grateful that it was or he would never have been available for all my appeals for a mechanic!)

Today, was a different story, though.  When I left to go for my haircut appointment, this is what Mike was doing.  (Notice the crisply clipped grass.)

However, our good luck bled over into today...

Here is what I saw when I pulled in the driveway with my newly coifed hair.

The battery was just too low and the bobcat simply stopped when he was in the midst of moving and smoothing the rocks. 

On the bright side, my pansies are really beautiful right now and maybe it won't rain tomorrow till dark or later and Mike can move some more rock!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

I'm a winner!

Don't we all need to feel like we are a winner from time to time?  Somehow it just gives us a brighter outlook on life for a while. 

Those of you who know me recognize that I'm a book lover - well, I am a hoarder of books, really.  I don't mind admitting that.  Someday when I'm dead and gone my children can give all my books to some school or prison or even just recycle them if they choose.  But, I do love books.  I have since I was a small child.  My mother tells of me being sent to bed even before I was of school age and she allowed me to keep my light on and read my books.  Well, that hasn't changed.  I still love them and like to take one to bed which encourages me to relax, leave the thoughts of my day behind, and lose myself in some other place which unfolds as my eyes drift across the pages.  So, after many friends recommended that I check out a website called http://www.goodreads.com/, I took some time and really perused the site and began to use it to my benefit - and to the sharing benefit of others, I hope. 

One of the features of goodreads.com is that there are giveaways.  In these giveaway opportunities, the user can sift through the choices and only register for the ones of which one really has an interest.  So, I don't even have to register for something I care nothing about further pursuing.  I registered for several of the giveaways.  Some of them were books I thought might be good additions to my classroom library and some of them were things I thought I'd like to dig into for simple pleasure reading this summer.  Well, in a matter of days, I got an email notification that I am already a winner!  How wonderful is that? 

The subject of the email says, "Congrats - you are a First Reads winner!"  Well, that in itself created a stir of excitement in me.  Then, when I clicked and read the email, I found that I am soon going to "receive a free copy of Good Things Happened Today in the mail."  Now, that made me just feel ecstatic.  Free!  A new book!  How wonderful is that?  Their only request is that I post the title to my currently-reading shelf when I get it and perhaps post a review to get early feedback about the book.  Posting a review is optional but those who post a review are also more likely to win free books in the future.  So, actually, all they want me to do is read and share my opinion.  How easy is that?  I love to read and always have a couple or three books going at once anyway.  Plus, I always have an opinion about ANY topic.  So, for a change, somebody wants me to share mine.  Isn't that as easy as pie? 

Good Things Happened Today

The book might even be a positive one which will provoke me to improve.  The review says that it blends spiritual connection and introspection with action and adventure.  I have grown to appreciate those books which promote introspection.  How will I ever change toward the better if I don't think about the direction in which I hope to change? 

It is interesting, too, that I just shared with my friend, Marcy (who really needs to start her own blog about her life as a busy teacher with a four-year-old and twins - nudge, nudge), about a book I read which I picked to add to my classroom library.  It is one that I got from the recent school Scholastic Book Fair entitled The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

What I liked about the novel is that it showed the introspection and inner struggle of the main character trying to work through wanting to have a cool, handsome, popular, older boyfriend yet not be taken for granted by him or being compartmentalized by him.  It also showed the struggle she had with bucking a 'good-ole-boy' system which was established in our culture years and years ago - that classic feminist struggle that we women have battled to overcome since the establishment of time, I guess.  The thing is, I'm not sure that the maturity level of my middle-school students will see them catching the nuances and the concepts of this.  I fear that these are concepts which one has to be more mature and experienced in order to recognize, understand, and appreciate.  I put it on the shelf and just hope that somebody does read it and pick up on these things.  Even if the reader doesn't see these concepts, I think she will probably enjoy the book anyway - just for the action and adventure that the main character involves herself into throughout the unfolding of the story.  It is also a goodread!

If you are a reader, and can take a few minutes to scan through goodreads.com's giveaways and register for the ones which interest you, you might be a winner, too.  Happy perusing!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

It is sometimes difficult to be nice

There are so many things I have learned from my children - those I gave birth to and the ones I teach each day.  Now it seems I'm also learning from my granddaughters, too! 

Lillie is going to preschool three days a week right now.  Her mother - the wretched witch - commented when she was filling out the application that she didn't really know what to put for the answer for one of the questions.  It was something about how Lillie behaves and plays with others when she is at home.  Bridgette was wondering if she should respond by saying that Lillie is bossy and pushes her sister around.  I, of course, was horrified by such a statement and told the-wretched-child-I'd-raised that she could just say that Lillie is strong willed and strives for leadership. 
See, here she is fully accessorized and showing off her studious ways.

At any rate, a couple of weeks ago, Lillie got into a bit of trouble at school and was forced to sit in time out.  She has a strong and moral heart, though.  She confessed fully as soon as Bridgette came to pick her up.  She also confessed her shortfall to me when we talked on the phone that afternoon and was duly remorseful, I might add.  So, now each day I talk to her via phone on the afternoon of a school day, she immediately lets me know that she was nice and did not have to sit in time out. 

The other day I was getting the school report and she informed me that she had a new friend who is "named Haley. (She's a girl.)"  I asked Lillie if she was nice to the new friend and she affirmed that she indeed was nice.  Then, I asked if she was being nice to the little boy.  Immediately she let me know that he always wanted to play with the same toy as her.  So, I talked to her just a bit about the importance of sharing and how nice it is to share.  To this she responded, "But, Grand B, I don't want to share."  Of course, I assured her that while we don't always like to share, it is something that we always should do and it is the nice thing to do.  Humbly she agreed with me, "Aw, okay."  Then, she remembered that there is another new girl.  So, of course, I asked her if she was being nice to the new girl.  Lillie's response was so upfront and priceless.  "Grand B, I don't like to be nice ALL the time!" 

Who does?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Chicken Soup

For the past couple of days I've been yucky.  I HATE sickness.  I'm not a good nurse and I'm an even worse patient.  I'm grumpy, whiney, and just generally yucky.  I thought I was better yesterday afternoon but then last night proved that I was not so much.

I decided this afternoon was the time that I was going to have to go to the chicken soup remedy.  I like soup but it MUST be home-made.  I don't care for that canned taste.  Why is it that you can add canned ingredients and it will taste wonderful but just opening a can of soup tastes like, well, like a can?  I knew that I wasn't up to the traditional way that I've made chicken soup - browning the chicken and simmering it with onions and celery before adding it to the chicken stock and noodles and vegetables and herbs; chopping everything by hand; stirring and simmering to perfection.  Today, though, I knew I just needed to dump stuff into a pot and heat it up and then slurp.  So, I consulted my daughter, Bridgette.  I know that she makes things that taste like the traditional recipes but she whips them up in a jiff.  Here is a link http://recipesfromoutoftheblue-beverly.blogspot.com/ to the beginning of my recipe blog where I have posted Bridgette's Chicken Noodle Soup recipe.  I hope to add some photos soon and to add lots and lots of delicious plans.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Green Person

"I'm not much of a green person."  I overheard somebody say just that earlier this week and I had a little silent chuckle to myself because I know I've said this before, too.  Immediately the image that comes to mind is the one of the little green aliens one always sees depicted with a big old head and oversized oval eyes and spindly arms and legs and long boney fingers.  So, no, I'm not much of a green person.

I don't dress in green either.  I have one green garment hanging in my closet - a scarf that I wear every year with black pants and sweater on Saint Patty's Day.  It isn't that I look so bad in green - I always get compliments in March when I wear that scarf.  So, I guess it is probably a fairly flattering color for me to wear.  I just tend to gravitate more toward the reds and blues of things - clothing, home decor, dishes, etc. 

I realized this afternoon that I really probably am a green person.  When I got home from school I started dinner and took my book out to the deck to read a few pages.  (I've been falling asleep when I am reading it lately but that is no reflection on the book.  It really is one of the better books I've read.  I'll write about it another day soon.)  I found myself pausing with this book and thinking about what it was saying to me - it is really a good book.  When I'd pause, I took some time to look around and take in my surroundings.  This is truly justifiable because the author was listing things she was thankful for and her surroundings were things she was mentioning.  So, truly I was just following the inspiration of the book. 

I noticed the rich green color of the grass around me today.  It is a pure green and not faded with scorching from a too-hot summer sun.  It is not yellowed with pollen or dust because we just got a nice rain yesterday.  It was just a pure clear green color.  I also noticed that the leaves are starting to wiggle out onto the branches of the trees and they are a fresh, new, tender green color.  Of course, the shrubbery and the cedar trees added demension with their deep hunter hues.  Then, I began noticing how the brilliant fuchia of the redbuds popped out from the green background.  I also smiled at the cheerful yellows and rich purples of the pansies in my pots as they were framed by the grass of the lawn beyond. 

The long, tapering, tongue-like leaves of the irises were jutting up and their silvery edges gave another texture and demension of color.  I came to the conclusion that I have sort of grown into being a green person.  I love the freshness of spring and the different shades of green serve as a neutral backdrop for all the other cheerful colors where the earth is coming to life and shaking off the grey dimness of a winter nap. 

I guess being a green person is something that one just sort of grows into - naturally.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Good Tired

Mike and I worked outside again today.  We planted some brussel sprouts, tomatoes, and head lettuce in our tubs at the barn today.  Mike checked on the onions and they are coming along well, too.  He pointed out to me that the leaf lettuce seeds I sowed a couple of weeks ago were pushing their little leaves up in those tubs, too.  I was a bit frustrated because the spinach didn't seem to be coming up yet.  However, when I gave them a drink of Miracle Grow-water, I saw a seedling or two peeking out - at least I think that was it and hope it wasn't a weed! 

We also worked on cleaning out the barn some.  I did some fence post and fencing organizing and straightening.  Mike worked on getting some trash and some pallets out.  We also worked to organize some rope pieces, took the dry-rotted lead ends off some chains and snaps.  I worked and worked (after Mike sharpened my tool) to whack away at an overgrown bush.  I trimmed it up to look more like a tree - sort of like a crepe myrtle.  There was some ugly, stumpy branches and Mike fired up the chain saw and tidied it up in a jiff.  Sort of made me feel insignificant and foolish that I had labored so hard with my whackers.  He also spent a little time cutting up some tree branches so we can haul that up to the sink-hole one afternoon. 

I am exhausted, achy, and totally worn to a frazzle.  I think Mike's nodding in his recliner tells me that he is as well.  It is a good feeling, though to have worked hard together on something.  We have a goal and a future goal in our mind's eye that we are working toward together.  What a fabulous thing to be able to share with somebody you hope to journey through old age alongside.

Friday, April 1, 2011


Don't you think that when a person is sickly you should be able to tell it?  I thought I was doing pretty well - recovered from ear infections and not feeling like I was listening to the world through ear muffs.  Oh, I have awakened with some stuffiness in the morning but was feeling so much better.  Then, the itching started.  At first I noticed a couple of little red spots on my legs and thought I just had bug bites from being out at the barn and stirring up the dust and cat/dog hair.  Then, within the next couple of days I noticed the spots and itching on my belly.  As the day progressed today I started feeling like my tongue, eyelids, and fingers were itching.  It is literally driving me crazy!

When I got to the doctor's office today, the girl asked me to fill out paperwork so she could pull my file.  Then, she very politely asked me to tell her my birthday.  It seems I had written 3/13/11 as my birthdate.  I'm sure she thinks I'm really a nutty old woman.

It seems I was allergic to the antibiotic which I took to try to kill the ear infection.  Plus, it didn't kill the ear infection.  So, I still have ear infections, a cough, and also have itchy reaction to the medication.  Who would have thought stuffiness and a drippy nose could cause so many different problems?  Why is it that I can feel so cruddy, act so dotty, and still look somewhat normal on the outside?