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

Saturday, March 22, 2014


Toby has an ear infection.  We think he might have picked up ear mites somehow.  YUCK!  So, I got some medicine to put down into his ear to treat this.  First, let me say that giving a dog medicine is nothing like when I was living on the farm and we had to treat a calf or cow or lamb.

Our daughter-in-law, Bonnie, of Bonnie's Barnyard fame, brought me the 'paste' for treating Toby's ears.  She warned me that when she had used it on her dog's ears there was a huge mess.  So, I was prepared.

The first treatment went well.  I don't know if it was because Toby felt poorly or because he was ignorant and had no idea what to expect.  The bright yellow liquid-y-paste dried to a powder and made him look funny with yellow powdery ears and he was quite unhappy with me after I treated him but we could tell he felt better after a couple of hours.

Today, I anticipated a bit more resistance from him with the treatment.  However, I didn't realize just how much resistance I would get!
Here is what was slung across the deck when I was trying to keep from getting snapped at and hit the moving target of the sorest of his ears.  Actually, this is after I wiped up what was slung across the deck!

Here is how he looked after I had wiped up what he slung all over his side while I was trying to keep from getting snapped at and hit the moving target of the sorest of his ears.

A happy camper he was not!

While I was treating - I went ahead and applied the spot on flea/tick drops that are applied to the top of his back just behind his neck and the area just in front of his tail.  I figured if I was going to make him mad, I may as well do it all at one time and get it over with!

He sulked around for a while and didn't like the fact that I also made him stay out on the deck for about an hour waiting for the paste to dry.  Then, I went out and brushed the powdery residue off his side and back and rubbed him down good till it just looked like he has a bad case of dandruff.

He paced a bit and then would come to the door and look through the window with a pitiful expression on his face.  I was not deterred, though.  I figured the vitamin D from the sun would be good for him and the temperature was a comfortable one.  I even went outside with a book and joined him for a while.  He was not fooled.  He wouldn't even come near me till I sneaked up on him and caught him by the collar to give him his brushing.

Then, we came inside.  The sulfur-y smell lingers - even after I washed my hands with a couple of different soaps and applied a smelly lotion.  He doesn't like it any better than I do, either.  He has tried several times to wipe it off on the rug like this...

I think three days from now when it is time for the third treatment it is going to be a two-man job!
Poor Toby!

Three Little Monkeys

The day after I went Day Tripping to spend some time with my favorite grandson, two of the granddaughters (their mother was chauffeur) went to visit and had a sleep-over with sweet little Harris.  I think a good time was had by all from the reports I got from both families.

Lillie and Lydia's mother must have been taught by a wonderful mother.  The first thing they had to do is go shopping for a gift to give the host.  So, they combined the gift shopping with a grocery run.  (Again, somebody must have taught their mother well!)  They found the perfect thing.
Cah-hun Candy!
 Doesn't the label say it all?  FUN sweets!  Of course, the little Cotton-Candy-Lover thought is was the perfect gift but big sister thought it was a good choice because "there is a chick on it."  Who knows why that made it have the seal of approval but I'm sure First-graders have high standards for approval.  The best part of the deal is that Lydia got a treat as well...
Doesn't the look on that cute little face say it all?

Off they trekked on a hard two-plus-hour-drive to visit their little cousin.  They arrived at nap-time and Harris's mom said he had the same amazed look when he awoke to find them at his house that he'd shared with us the day I popped in at nap-time.

I'm sure they did all the fun things they had on their agenda - plans were to teach him one bad trick like sputtering his tongue or something and to play, play, play with Harris.  Of course, against better judgement, Harris's parents did let him have a taste of his FUN sweet and... he liked it!

Lydia, thinking she is such a big girl in comparison had to hold Harris.  As you can see, maybe she isn't quite as big as she first believed she is...
Isn't that a lap full?

They had a day outing to the park and I understand that everybody enjoyed the warm, sunny Friday to the fullest.

There was time for a photo op that they shared with Grand B.  I just love the pose that the girls made to compensate for Harris's shorter-than-them stature.
Isn't it cute that they scootched down to be as short as him?

I just love these three little monkeys and I'm glad they have chances to get together even though geography is a bit of an issue at times.
Good Times!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Day Trippin' Part 2

I trekked off north yesterday and spent the day with my favorite grandson!  He is such a cutey.
He had this new bouncing seat that had all these motor-skill-building attachments.  It has lights that flash and buttons to push for music and beads that twirl on a wire.
He would look at us in amazement with a big grin on his face.  It was as if he couldn't believe all the bells and whistles and all the bright colors on this contraption.
I took all these shots with my phone.  So, they are a bit grainy but not so much that you cannot see all the adorable expressions he had at learning about this new bouncing seat.
We are thinking that he might be leaning toward a left-handed tendency.  He seems to use the right paw to balance with and grasps and manipulates more with his left.  For part of the day he sat in my lap and was curiously amazed by a locket that I was wearing.  For another part of the day he sat in my lap and we talked and played with toys.  He has a favorite that he will grasp and pull into his mouth and chew and chew on it.  Mostly, I just sat and held him and talked to him and watched his cute little expressions in amazement.  Is there anything better than a sweet little innocent baby?
Wednesday's Day Trip was a great one full of fun, too!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Day Tripping

Spring Break!  It is a time to relax and step into spring.  It is a time to do something fun and enjoy the sun.  What if spring break seems more like lingering winter cold and the skies are grey?

Well, fake it till you make it, is what we have decided and yesterday we went on a day trip to the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere.
It was a first time experience for Lydia, Lillie, Corey, and me.  Bridgette was a veteran who had visited with groups of school children but the trip with family was a new experience for her, too.  The foggy, misty morning held a zip and the wind had a bit of a bite.  The forecast was for the sun to come out and warm up the day.  (Weather forecasters - they have been known to miss it, though, and yesterday was a miss!)

The zoo features a most natural essence with lots of wooden bridges across streams, ponds, knotted rope, and bamboo for hand rails.  Live bamboo grows all throughout the zoo and is used to preserve it as a habitat and to feed the animals as well.  For a place that holds wild animals in captivity, it is a very natural looking and feeling preserve where the animals are well-kept and cared for and all of them look sleek and healthy.

We saw amphibians, birds, cranes, elephants, fish, flamingos, frogs, geese, gibbons, goats, kangaroos, lemurs, lizards, meerkats, mountain lions, zebras, and more.  I think my favorites were the zebras.  I don't know if Lillie would say her favorites were the zebras or the horses that were over in the historic farm area.  I am not sure which Lydia would say were her favorites but I know which she would say were not...

From the time we got into the car (and probably even before) Lydia was talking about how she wanted to see the dinosaur exhibit.  She explained to me that the dinosaurs were just robots to help me not be afraid.  However, immediately after we paid the extra four dollars and entered the exhibit, she became uber quiet and wanted to hold onto somebody's hand.  She would have no part of picture posing with them like Lillie did, either.
We were wishing we had our camera into video mode as Lillie made the climb to the top of this beast.  Her long lanky legs and big bright sneakers did not make for easy climbing up onto this guy's hard plastic, slippery body.  

Both girls were quite the troopers as we walked from place to place.  I dare say our trek was a few miles through the park.  It was nice that we could pause and park on a bench and watch at times.  Nobody complained throughout the trip and that made it even nicer.

Lillie was testing out her reading skills and read most of the signs to tell us all about each animal.  She was thoroughly interested and had a big time exploring it all.  Lydia seemed to notice the snack stops.  First, popcorn seemed like a good idea but her mother reminded her that we had just had a delicious meal and she could wait.  Next, funnel cakes seemed to be calling our name but we were headed inside to the aviary and tropical house, so, we couldn't take food into there.  Then, we passed a cotton candy stand on our way up to see the zebras and we were told to wait till we looped back around and we could snack then.

At one point, we were walking along and had almost looped back around to the cafe when Lydia's whole body just seemed to slump and she could barely plod one foot in front of the other.  She informed us that she just about couldn't walk any more because she needed some "cah-un candy!"  Bridgette and I laughed so hard we could hardly walk any more either.  So, of course, the next stop was to get a snack.
Sticky, pink, sweetness wearing a smile!

Lillie wasn't into the cotton candy so much and opted for some "plain yellow potato chips" and a bottle of water.
A little salty to offset the sweet always makes the day fine!

Corey chose to try out the funnel cakes.  As it turned out, Lydia was really wise in her choice.  When she saw her daddy coming toward the bench to sit down with his snack, she quickly stuffed the sticky pinkness of her cotton candy back into the bag and cozied up to him and shared his powder-sugar-coated funnel cake.  Ah...the best of both worlds for a little sweet tooth!

We really enjoyed all aspects of the zoo.  The walk was nice and leisurely, the weather was cool, the animals and habitats were interesting.  We also browsed the historic farm area and learned about how the animal preserve came to be.  If you are interested in learning more or visiting the park, you might want to check out Grassmere Historic Home and Farm.  There are also links to videos which provide more information about the exotic animals as well as the sheep, goats, Belted Galloway and Devon cattle, black Clydesdale, miniature pony, and Spotted Gypsy Vanner horse and the historic farm area.

We paused for a photo op in front of the flamingos.  Bridgette claimed that they were her favorites and they did help to make the day seem a bit warmer.  Lillie pointed out that they didn't really need a washcloth to bathe themselves and giggled profusely as we watched them dipping their heads into the water and splashing around.
The family is in the foreground and the spindly-legged ones in the background 
are the flamingos - just in case you couldn't tell.  

It was a fun day and I am grateful for the opportunity to spend time with some of the granddaughters.  It was a great day for taking in local cultural attractions and spending time learning about the world around me as shown to me by a child.  Thanks for letting me tag along, folks!
girls and grins

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Not Really Irish

I know that on March 17, Saint Patrick's Day, almost everybody claims to be Irish.

I know that not everybody really is Irish.

I've embraced that and didn't succumb to the urge to have a Rueben sandwich for lunch...

Well, maybe part of the reason for that is because I don't like kraut.  It just happens to be one of those Things We Do for Love.

I also didn't buy corned beef at the grocery when I went yesterday.

Well, maybe part of the reason for that is because we already have a freezer full of beef.

I didn't even wear green.

Well, maybe part of the reason for that is because the only green item I own is a silk scarf and this is spring break and I'm not dressing up this week if i can help it.

I did cave when it came to preparing a meal for my hubby, though.  The menu included pork chops, hash brown casserole, and cabbage.

We wound up having Parmesan-crusted pork chops that I cooked using Paul and Brenda Smith pork chops and adapted THIS recipe.

Well, maybe that was also done because I was too cold to go out and grill on a grey day that had started out with an icy deck.

The hubs loved the hash brown casserole so much that he almost ate half of it!  Half!  I used a new recipe that I found HERE.  It was just the right combination of crunchy-on-top and cheesey-gooey-in-the-middle.

Well, maybe I used that recipe because I couldn't find my old stand-by because I was cleaning out a couple of cabinets and reorganizing things to put Mike's sausage making mechanisms away.  (More on that in another post for another day.)

Mike also loved the cabbage.  I simply cut it into quarters.  Then, I put two of the quarters into my Dutch oven and added about an inch of water.  I covered it and set it to boiling.  When the cabbage quarters were beginning to look a wee bit limp and there was only enough water to cover the bottom of the pan, I dolloped a tablespoon of butter over the top, slathering it across the top of the peak of the quarter.  I sprinkled with some salt and pepper and returned the lid to the pot to finish melting the butter and allow the water to absorb into the cabbage.  (It was yummy if I must say so myself!)

Well, maybe I felt more of an urge to cook the cabbage because it had been in the fridge for a week than the fact that it was St. Patty's Day.

So, we were a little bit Irish even though we are not really Irish.  Isn't being ethnic yummy?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Tag Team Project/Vocabulary Lesson

Mike got a Purple Martin house for Christmas.

Let me correct this by saying that he got a box with the components of a Purple Martin house inside it.

I moved the box three or four times because it was setting out and started getting on my nerves.  I can only take clutter for so long and then I have to take action - and who wants to clean, for goodness sake?!

The box turned out to be less of a problem than the contents.

A week or so ago, Mike decided to begin putting it together.  Let me say right now that he is one of these folks who likes to putter.

I am not.

He put all the 'room walls' of one level together and then called it a day.  So, for several days the pinwheel of side walls is all that was put together.  The other umpteen jillion parts and bolts and nuts were left sitting on the table.

So, yesterday, I decided that I would work on getting it done while he cooked up a big southern breakfast.

I soon learned why he had given up so easily and set it aside to do something else.  There was a combination of reasons.  The material that the house is made of is a thin metal - tin or aluminum.  Yes, there are sharp edges.  Yes, the metal does a good job of nicking and cutting all parts of one's hands when assembling.  And, yes, there are lots and lots of little parts and tiny nuts and bolts.
notice the blue arrows
Each of those pieces with a blue arrow pointing toward it is a different metal piece which has to be joined to the center spoke and to one another.
the tiny nuts and bolts
There are four tiny bolts which attach each of those three pieces to one another and to the spoke in the center.  The nuts and bolts are about 1/8 of an inch in size.

People who are in their mid-fifties seem to struggle to grip such tiny bolts and nuts.

Mike is in his mid-fifties.

I am in my mid-fifties.

Curse words seem to flutter out.  Trying to catch the little nuts and bolts generally leads to gathering more of the already plentiful little cuts and nicks from the sharp metal pieces.  Curse words seem to flutter out.

After the white walls are all connected to one another to form a hexagon, the green floor pieces are snapped in place.  There are lots of sharp metal edges to the floor pieces which tend to cause more cuts and nicks to the fingers and hands.  Curse words seem to flutter out.
hexagon house and floors
There are little plastic rails which snap into the holes of the floor to form a porch rail or a perch for the birds.  Somehow, these don't seem to snap into the holes quite as simply as one might expect causing a few cuts and nicks to the fingers.  Curse words flutter out.
one of six porch rail/perches
Once the walls, floors, and porch rails are assembled, the roof can be attached.  The roof comes in six pieces.  The pieces are attached to one another using two of those 1/8 inch nuts and bolts.  The edges of the roof are especially sharp and pointy.  The more pieces of the roof which are attached to one another, the more difficult it is to continue to feed the tiny little nuts through the respective holes and attach a nut for holding them causing a few cuts and nicks and curse words to flutter out.

The center piece of the roof is sort of like a cupola which is assembled using screen, a round piece of metal, a pointy plastic ridge pole, and a folded metal piece which anchors it in the top in a spring-like fashion.  There is a good bit of finagling required to get this all together and stuffed into the top of the roof.  There is also a bit of a finagle to connect each roof piece to a wall piece of the house.  Some cuts and nicks to the hands, arms, fingers ensued and some curse words seemed to flutter out.  Finally, the top floor was assembled.
top floor
So, I took a bit of a break and loaded the dirty breakfast dishes into the dishwasher before I began working on the next floor.  I got as far as putting five rooms together and only had one left to connect before I got really outdone with all the cuts and nicks and bleeding areas on my hands and the dropping and corralling of nuts and bolts.  I stopped and told Mike that if he wanted the purple martin house to go somewhere else besides the trash barrel, he would have to complete the assembly.

I might have even referenced it in terms something different than a purple martin house.

Well, I definitely called it something other than that.

So, Mike got the last walls attached and wrestled with the floors to get them snapped in properly.  Then, he began attaching the porch rail/perches to the bottom floor.  I think he got three or four of them snapped into place before one went sailing across the room and curse words began to flutter out...with a vengeance!

two story bird condos
So, I poked the last two or three porch rail/perches into their respective little holes and stacked the two floors of the purple martin house atop one another.  The entire thing is now assembled and ready to be attached to a pole.  If you look closely, you probably can see several of the tiny little screws.

If you look really closely, you may even see smears of blood from all the nicks and cuts on our hands.  If there had been a sound recorder, you probably would have learned some new vocabulary words.
We noticed that Stephen and Bonnie were closing the store early yesterday due to the inclement weather.  So, I sent him a message suggesting that he spend that newly-freed-up time putting our newly assembled purple martin house up on a pole.

He responded with only one word.  It included a reference to a bull.  Again, a new vocabulary word might be added if I shared that response with you here.

I sure hope the birds enjoy this monstrosity if it ever moves beyond covering half the kitchen table!  I also hope we have fewer mosquitoes when we are outside on the deck this summer.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Blast of Winter

Just when I had decided winter is done and I didn't really get any snow days...Mother Nature had other ideas.

Started as rain
The current blast started off as a thunderstorm.  Yes, I did say thunderstorm.  We got rain, rain, rain on Sunday after having a warm sunny Saturday.  There were even flood warnings locally for little Mill Creek.

Then, the ice pellets started falling.  At first there was just a little dusting of sleet.  Then, we noticed the trees started getting a coating of ice.
All the branches got a glassy-looking coating.
It was really pretty but I have seen this before and it wasn't such a good feeling.  I remember having lost electrical power and trees splitting and falling and such awfulness as that.

So, when I looked out and saw the fence wires getting icy, I didn't think this was such a good idea.  I dared not think about getting a snow day to stay home from school because the last time we had a prediction of a big dumping of winter weather, we got a big pffft.
bad cell phone picture that still shows iciness
Yet, sometime after dinner, we got the call that there would be no school on Monday.  I cheered!  I made a cup of hot chocolate.  I curled up in front of the fire with my fuzzy coverlet with the TV blasting.  Before I slipped into the bed, though, I made sure everything was plugged in to be fully charged.  I wanted to be sure I could connect to the outside world in case of a power failure.
that wire is not so bulky when there isn't a coat of ice on it
The next morning...long before the sun came up...I was peering out the windows to see what traffic was like out in front of our house - after all, it is a state highway.  Even though we live on a straight-away, there was a car wreck near the end of the driveway.  The cars which were out there - only a couple or three when usually there is a steady stream of one-after-the-other each morning - were creeping along.  Two or three other vehicles were pulled off on the side of the road - or had slid off over there.  Not a pretty sight.

After a bit of discussion, Mike realized he should keep himself in for the morning, too.  I think the argument discussion conversation might have raised a few eyebrows but the mention of having to spend money to repair a damaged truck when we had just had transmission work might have done the most persuasion.
even a blurry cell shot shows the thickness of ice
So, we spent the day inside in the warm watching TV and marveling at the silliness of folks posting on FaceBook queries about the curvy, hilly roads around here.  It was so bad that my favorite sister-in-law's business finally told folks not to risk coming in at about mid-morning.  Mike learned that one of the cardboard manufacturing businesses that his warehouse provides storage for closed down shortly after lunch.  He got calls from truck-drivers who made a brief start but wound up turning round and giving up.  My brother-in-law reported sliding right out on the straight-away in front of our house and turning round himself.  So, even if the SIL hadn't had the call from work, she would have missed the day since he was her transportation.
icy back deck
Our back deck was icy like this even up till lunchtime today - Tuesday.  So, the sunny south didn't turn out to be so warm after all on this early March week.  The furthest distance from the threshold of the door was my quick toe balance to take the photo above.
Even today the furniture has had ice clinging to it until well after noon.  The ice has been pretty all glittering and sparkly.  Since we maintained electrical power, I can admire the beauty to its fullest.
sparkles of ice
Even now, after the dripping has begun and the grass of the yard is showing its face, there is still lots of ice on those tree branches.
snow over ice
Toby wouldn't go out in the rain on Sunday but as you can see, he has ventured out into the snow a couple or three times.  Once, he came back in covered in white fluffy snow and was not too happy about it.  A quick rub-down with a towel and he was back to normal but still wanted to curl up away from the window.  It did seem to amaze him when the biggest flakes were falling, he just sat and peered out through the window as if he was amazed by it.
wintry view
I think I am over it.  I am ready for the green-ness of spring and Easter bunnies and the like.  It has been a wonderful couple of days since I could just sit inside and look out the window at the sparkling beauty of it.  But I am ready for even this to move on and welcome in spring.
the remains
The above picture shows what remains as of one o'clock this afternoon.  Where Toby's and Mike's footprints trekked across the deck there is a bit of the wood peeking through at this point as well.  Maybe it will continue to melt through the afternoon and we will be back in full swing tomorrow eagerly awaiting the green grass and warm sunshine of spring!