Sunday, April 29, 2007


I'm supposed to be cleaning and scrubbing today instead of shopping and playing online?

Good to know.

I'll get right on it. Yeahrightsure.

I stopped in the see Mom Alma after getting my sewing machine. She was in a feisty mood but happy to see me. Her curtains were open to the view of the gazebo but she was not impressed. She told me not to turn on the TV because she was enjoying the peace and quiet. We had a nice little chat and she is looking forward to Richard's homecoming. I told her once I cleaned up the filthy dogs I'd bring them in to visit, too. That made her happy.

The Singer Sewing Machine

I went to the Trader's Mart and bought the machine. It is a Singer 185K made for export to England. It was manufactured between 1955-1964 and is a 3/4 size replacement for the Singer 99K (I also own that one (grin)). Its about the same age as me...

This one is missing its foot and needs a new belt, in addition to a good cleaning and oil job. Pa will probably take care of that for me.

Here's a front and back view.

The Toyota Farm

Pa calls our place the Toyota Farm...I can't help it - they grow, even in the shade! And I don't even water 'em. (grin).

Excitement, Fun and Hazardous Things!

Richard is coming home! Yippee! Of course, this means I must do the womanly thing by going into overdrive and getting this place cleaned up, haul in groceries and beef up the comfort level. Why do women do that, anyway?


So yesterday after a fun day of antiquing and flea marketing with Mom, I decided to clean the patio area. I was able to pull the awning (my nemesis) down by myself. It took me another 30 minutes to actually stabilize and get the poles in proper position. Whipped the cover off the AC, too.

Oh yeah, on the antiquing front I scored a bunch of books I wanted to read for about $1 each. David Balducci, Lee Child, Christopher Reich and Elizabeth Lowell...and this one called NAKED CAME THE PHOENIX - written by several famous women authors. I expect its title is a parody on NAKED CAME A STRANGER, that 70's book written by a bunch of newspaper columnists, including Robert Cherin. Here's the link to the story of that book:

Robert Cherin is 3rd from the left in that photo. I met him at a writer's conference years ago and he is a sweet guy!

Anyway, back to life on the homefront.

One of the things I do periodically is get a new diaper for Fred. For those of you who've not been introduced to Fred his picture is below. Since our days living in the Philippines where it was very hot all the time I have carried an insulated cup of some kind wherever I go. Initially, Fred was always filled with Pepsi. Eventually I changed to drinking gallons of iced tea. I have a habit of setting Fred down wherever I happen to be standing and when we'd go off somewhere, my plaintive cries of "where's my tea cup?" drove my BIL crazy since technically Fred is not a teacup at all! So he named the cup Fred and everyone in the family knows to ask before we leave if I have Fred. Fred mutated over the years from an insulated cup with a straw to the current Fred, who needs a diaper to be insulated. And being part of the family now I buy new clothes for him as needed. The latest is this blue "koozie" with a drawstring to tighten the fit and a clip to fasten Fred to my belt loop. Needless to say, Fred's been attached to me ever since (except for the photo). Pa rolls his eyes and sighs. Mom laughs. But I'm never thirsty! Works for me.

So onward with the cleanup phase of the 'Stream. Nothing has been done because I've been online and on the phone half the night and most the morning. Seems the credit card company got suspicious of Richard withdrawing money every 2 weeks for the past 14 months and decided to finally put a fraud block on the cards! Had to call numerous times to get that straightened out.

In my rush to test the cards to make sure he could use them again, I drove off to the local ATM to withdraw money...and smacked the car bumper right into the plant pot full of dianthus flowers! I hopped out and covered the roots with part of the broken pot, then drove off. When I got back, I replanted the flowers and spent the next 30 minutes cleaning up the mess of soil and broken pot. Sigh.

So far, nothing in the 'Stream has been cleaned...except dishes.

OH! And another thing! At Trader's Market yesterday I saw an antique sewing machine for $15. It said it was a Singer 302B - which sounded odd to me because it looked like a Featherweight, which I've been dying to have since I first started quilting. Featherweights are antique single stitch, eight pound portables that are easy to carry to quilting classes and most quilters covet one at some point in their quilting lives. Usually, they run around $450. Well, I came home to look the machine up before I bought doesn't exist under the model number given and there are no photos remotely similar to the one I saw. Turns out its an foreign model of a small machine (but not a Featherweight) Singer made in the 50s. So...I'm going back today to buy it. Despite not being a Featherweight its a tiny portable that will do just fine!

And now, I need to get off here and get on with the homecoming/cleaning/celebrating plans!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

After The Storm

I took this photo this morning after the thunderstorm last night.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Echo Ridge Happenings

I'm Springing today (planting flowers, making my place look like Spring!). Here are some photos of my efforts...

The tiger lilies on the fence posts and the dianthus next to the gate.

The petunias. The brush pile in the background is to be burned.

I set up the hummingbird feeder in the inner circle of the driveway. So far I have one male hummingbird.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Pa took a picture of Mom's irises...

Me in front of the 'Stream

I had Mom take a picture of me in front of the 'Stream just because my hair actually looked pretty good (despite the messy flyaway from the wind!).

The rose garland wrapped around the awning rail is a little trashy, but Mom and I both ran into the rail when I put the awning up because the sun shines right there and its hard to see at it's to prevent people from running into it.

Busy Day!

Well Dang.

Yesterday the wind picked up and we were supposed to get rain. After being spooked all morning by the awning flapping in the breeze, I decided to give the dogs a break from their nervousness and take it down. I got it halfway down and had to get get Pa to help me bring the rest down. Then I climbed on top of the 'Stream and put the garbage bag over the AC, since it still leaks.

The wind stopped and the cloudy skies cleared. Sigh. I'll probably need to get up there and take the bag off today.

Mom and Pa were talking yesterday of turning on their AC as it was getting a mite warm. I told them that at 80 degrees inside their house they were amateurs. The 'Stream can top 98 degrees real quick! Fortunately the AC is pretty efficient.

I made curtains for Mom's kitchen and sprinkled fertilizer in my new grass in the driveway circle.

Then I zipped down to Mom's and made 48 dog food meals.

The vet looked at Flint and told me half his dysplasia problem is his weight - he's nearly double his real size. He's only getting a cup of food a day...but he NEVER wants to exercise like Echo, so vet said walk more and feed less. The dog food recipe was also modified in the vets orders - double the rice and vegetables and less meat. Otherwise, both dogs are quite healthy and have all their shots!

Flint was exhausted last night, between nerves and constantly walking to Mom's and back all day!

I made Mom's curtains lengthwise when I should've hemmed width. Back to the sewing machine to do it right, then back up to her house tp hang them up again. Flint was slow but he ambled along while Echo bounced a rabbit in the woods and chased it past Pa who was out on the back part of their acreage mowing. She is sleek and trim from all her running. We'll get Flint running yet!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Isn't my puppy CUTE!

Flint sleeps like this ALL the time. I've never seen a dog lay his legs flat like that until we moved to Texas and saw it all over.

Pa calls him TurkeyButt because he looks like the back end of a Thanksgiving turkey. Fortunately, he's too cute to stuff and roast.

Friday, April 20, 2007

I'm gonna soak up the sun....

And while I work at spring cleaning and generally rearranging the 'Stream, the dogs take a break in the sunshine.

And now for a cute picture of the day...

A pack of dogs lived behind our apartment compound in Saudi Arabia. We watched a set of roly-poly puppies grow up right before our eyes.

Dad and Mom apparently have been busy because she had a second litter this year! Aren't they adorable?

Back off, Merry's ranting...

I usually try to keep my blog free of any negative stuff but I just can't keep my typing fingers still anymore.

I have avoided the whole VA Tech story. I don't know the name of the murderer, I don't know the names of the victims. I don't know exactly what happened. I consider grief a private thing and if anyone ever stuck a camera in my face while I was grieving, no matter how newsworthy, he'd probably be picking up his teeth with a broken arm if he could walk on his broken legs. (I use the male gender identification for expediency).

Last night while down bothering the parents and eating dinner, they had the TV on and I caught the NBC news anchor (sorry, don't know his name) giving a stumbling verbal non-apology for broadcasting the murderer's manifesto or something. He really needs a new writer. Seriously - if that little speech was planned, that made it even worse. The mealy-mouthed diatribe sounded so completely insincere that if a lie detector was attached to him it'd probably be going off the chart...or graph or whatever lie detectors do that show the person is lying.

Second, I am tired of the airtime given this MURDERER. MURDERER, people. This guy killed a bunch of people and the nation is watching in slack-jawed drooling fascination while they dissect his life and tell us all about his mental abberations and social negativity. What about the kids he MURDERED? Oh, wait. They're dead. As peripherals to the MURDERER's story, of course, someone is doing a tribute where people can sign online and leave condolences or something. But wasting good prime airtime on dead college students when you've got a dead MURDERER to draw the crowd? For four days...FOUR days, this MURDERER has held the newscasters hostage. Thank God I have a choice and can turn the TV off.

I wish there were hard-hitting journalists who go digging for the truth instead of talking heads who speculate, titillate, grandstand and then report their OPINIONS as news.

If there must be reports on crises in our country - here's a few that my buddies and I would like to see.

I wish someone would do a complete story on the crisis with our military vets. I know many of the military who joined for the benefits offered. They went off to war and did their part...and now that they're back and retired, the benefits they were supposed to have are now cut or gone or they're required to pay for what was promised as free. They kept their end of the bargain. The American Congress did not. A week-long mini-series profiling government promises and vets lost in the system would be enlightening.

I'd like to see a hard-hitting report on the elderly. I want to know why they often live in squalor while MURDERERS, RAPISTS and KIDNAPPERS are given a roof over their heads, three square meals a day, the right for the American taxpayers to pay for prisoners' college education, television, exercise rooms and other amenities. Prison is supposed to be HARSH, not a country club. And the elderly who paid into the system are treated as lepers while people who commit crimes get to do time...with luxuries many of our elderly can't even afford.

I wish there were newscasters who would doing a glaring expose on the debacle of foster care and CAPTA and the horrors that has caused. CAPTA allows the government to take a child from his home for nothing more than a SUSPICION. According to the American Constitution this is illegal. There has to be proof, a right to face the accuser and speedy trial. The CHILDREN are given none of these things. Thousands of children are languishing in governmental care (and I use that term loosely), living in squalid conditions with abuse rates 4 times the national average in foster care and 10 times the national average in group homes and our government just keeps picking up kids to service the bureaucracy they created to "protect" the kids. The government is NOT a good parent. Thousands of children are missing and more than twice the number of children are dead within the system than the national average of children in homes with real parents. This statistic is alarming and worth further study.

I wish there were newscasters who would do a weeklong series on healthcare and the shortage of nurses. Maybe they could skew it to the proud traditions that nurses served, from Molly Pitcher, Florence Nightengale, Clara Barton and Martha Ballard. Everyone knows that Mary Todd Lincoln's mental health was fragile, but does anyone know she was a Civil War nurse of some fortitude and often helped clean and bind the wounds of the soldiers? To me and the severely deficient health profession, maybe broadcasting a proud tradition will encourage young college students who aren't sure of their life's work to follow in the footsteps of great women and men and help beef up American healthcare.

And another thing, while I'm on this rant. About those women and children left in limbo after divorces. The working husband keeps his healthcare and can even add his new wife to it...but the former non-working wife is left without healthcare or benefits of any kind. Where's the justice in that? She worked in the HOME all those years but suddenly she's not entitled to anything. But the husband can just continue on with his harm, no foul. Seems to me in cases of divorce, the insurance company should carry the former wife or else the husband should continue paying until she gets insurance of her own.

I think news stories about small slices of American life or American people is great. Profiling people of talent, courage and simple every day happenings is fine. But don't make it the lead story.

To me, a news show would begin with global affairs that affect Americans, then go to local affairs that affect Americans (and I don't mean titilating stuff about pop stars and murderers) and then move into hard-hitting journalist stories of potential affairs that might affect Americans.

The yellow journalism of today is all about who does the most shocking thing to get on the news.

American broadcasters need to go back to their roots. They need to report things that can affect EVERY American...not articles that only affect the Hollywood crowd. And they need to allow people to grieve in private, not stick a camera in the faces of the survivors to boost ratings.

(end of rant) For now.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Flint and Echo

Flint (white) and Echo (black) dress up for Easter!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

There is sunshine in my soul today!

The sun shone yesterday! Spring has sprung! The taxes are paid and gone. I got 15 tons of gravel delivered to my doorstep and Pa spread it with the tractor blade. The driver of the gravel truck knocked down my mailbox coming out of the driveway and it was GREAT, because Pa and I had already discussed moving it and we both were avoiding digging the post up!

I flung open the doors of the 'Stream, did some rearranging, tossed a carpet on the ground in front of the door and now I have a nice "patio" so I can sit outside and enjoy the sunshine!


I woke up on Sunday morning, April 15, 2007 and it was SNOWING. Now, if I lived in the Dakotas or Canada or the Arctic Circle...this wouldn't be unusual...but I live in the lower MidWest!

I ran outside with the camera and took pictures. Although you can't see it well, the little white blobs messing up the photo are snowflakes! The snow didn't stick and stopped an hour later.

Later in the day although it was still overcast in some areas, Mom, Pa, the dogs and I went for a walk. Naturally, Pa and Echo have to go poke around and explore.

And as we were walking home the sun was beginning to set...and there it'd never know it snowed this morning, would you? Amazing.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Rain, rain and more rain!

The good news is the place is relatively clean. I ditched cleaning for the past week due to other more important stuff. The tax information is now at the CPA, the three months of mail has been sorted, pitched, read, paid, or put away as needed.

Echo and Flint are still working out where they live. Flint won't walk home until I am halfway there. He stands in the parents' driveway waiting to see if I really AM heading home. Once I've passed the point of no return...he finally trots up to join me.

Echo is enjoying all the walking back and forth and gets a little upset if she doesn't get her walk! She also enjoys riding in the car.

Below - Flint and Echo work hard on maintaining their strenuous work schedule...

After three days of rain, Flint still refuses to walk by the pan that I had to place below the AC because its still leaking. Its in the middle of the trailer, so he's either trapped in the bedroom or under my feet in the living room. So today I climbed up on the top of the 'Stream in the rain and duct-taped a black plastic garbage bag over the stupid thing. Naturally, the minute I did this the rain stopped. It has not started again. I supposed I should be grateful.

The telephone, which was promised last week, is still not working. I expect I'll have to make a fourth phone call to Century-Tel. Sigh.

Tomorrow we're running into town to the dentist. I want to stop by Walgreens to see if they have a special toothpaste for folk with sensitivities. I hope so, otherwise I have to buy it online.

Otherwise, all is quiet up here on Echo Ridge. Except the occasional thunder and Richard's truck alarm going off every day when the wind gets gusty.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Maybe its just me...

I had to call the IRS today to confirm some 1099-ES payments.

I was placed on hold.

I find it coincidentally ironic that the IRS's hold music is THE NUTCRACKER SUITE.

Either someone had a sense of humor...or a sense of power.

Although they could've just liked the music. But I'm not placing any bets on that.