Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Snow Pictures

Six inches of snow on top of 14 inches of snow makes for a very pretty morning.  The trees were pretty badly weighted down, but no branches have broken.

When the sun came out, the snow turned luminous.  It warmed the air so quickly, even Babs wanted to stay outside for awhile.  She didn't stray very far from the path we made for her.

I like this picture that shows how heavy the branches were.  They already are starting to perk up, however, as the snow melts.

Twenty inches in two storms set several records.  For me, shoveling all of that snow is a record!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

In the Middle of the Night

Last night, while the wind was blowing and the clouds were snowing, we were sound asleep, oblivious to it all.  Suddenly I was awakened by the telephone.  12:30 a.m.  So who could that be?

Turns out it was the security company at Don's firm.  An interior door had caused the alarm to go off.  Although Don suspected it was the cleaning crew, he decided he had better go down to the office to check.  Nevermind that it was blizzarding outside.

Because it was a little dicey outside, I decided to stay up and wait for him to get home.  There aren't many options on tv at that time (the health show on KWCH is brutal), but station 10.2 was a lifesaver.  Mission Impossible.  The old tv show with Peter Graves.  It must have been a very early rendition because we did not recognize the woman, and the tricks were not very tricky.  Worse yet was the acting.  I hadn't realized how bad it was.

When Don got home, he got involved in the show also.  I went back to bed, but he stayed up to watch the whole thing.  When the real alarm went off this morning, one of the first things I thought of was the Mission Impossible theme.  Catchy song, even if the show wasn't as good as I had remembered.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Real Snow

I have always said if it is going snow, give us enough to make it worthwhile!  This storm did.  When we went to bed on Wednesday night I thought we were going to just get another inch or two.  In the middle of the night, I saw lightning and heard thunder, but didn't get up to look out.  Wish I had . . . apparently it was snowing at a rate of 3" per hour.  Would have loved to have seen that.

When we woke up Thursday morning and pulled open the drapes, we were astonished to see a foot of snow on the ground . . . and on the grill, the bench, the pots, the gazebo, and everything else in the backyard.  Although most people did not, Don went into work while I stayed home.  I shoveled some snow . . . and then came inside.  I ran some errands, got ready for our Author Dinner that was Thursday night, shoveled more snow, and had a delightful day.

I think this qualifies as real snow!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Mardi Gras

All these years, I have never been to a Mardi Gras party.  No, Shrove Tuesday pancake suppers don't count.  The Martis lived in Louisiana for a number of years, and Ginny has really embraced the cajun food and celebrations.  So she decided to host a party, and lucky us, we were invited!

I decided to purchase some masks, Ginny had beads, and we all made a different recipe.  When Don and I arrived in our masks, Ginny threw us some beads, and the festivities were on.  Well, what festivities with six old people, but never mind . . . we enjoy each other's company, and that's what counts!

Ginny made a wonderful gumbo.  I thought gumbo was seafood, but I learned it can also be made with chicken, which is what we had.  I also learned that the heart of gumbo is the roux.  A good roux takes a lot of time to make.  Guess I won't be making gumbo!

Kathy made a salad to go with the gumbo, and I made the King Cake.  I had heard of King Cakes before, but had never made them.  When Ginny gave me the instructions, I thought, "Oh no, what have I gotten myself into?"  But once I started, I discovered it was very easy.

The particular king cake we made was an almond-flavored one with a lot of butter and cream cheese.  It couldn't miss, could it?  It was quite the hit, and now I will be able to make a King Cake anytime I want one!

Friday, February 15, 2013

The More Things Change

. . . the more they stay the same.

I was reviewing my blog posts from last year, and I specifically read the one I wrote about Lent.  Funny . . . I could have written the exact same thing this year:

  • Gave up sweets.  Check.
  • Walking four miles a day.  Check.
  • Wanting to lose weight.  Check.
  • Nothing is happening.  Check
The one difference is that I have also given up Diet Coke.  When I read earlier this week that people who drink one Diet Coke each week are 33% more likely to get diabetes (and those who drink more than that are 66% more likely), I decided I finally needed to drop the habit.  If Victoria can do it, so can I, right?

So on Tuesday night, I said good bye to Diet Coke.  I have done this before and eventually gone back to it, but I am hoping this time, I can permanently ditch the habit.  Unfortunately, I hate coffee, so I can't use it as a substitute.  And I am not real excited about tea . . .

So far, Very Berry refreshers from Starbucks have been a nice substitute.  Only 60 calories and fairly healthy . . . or at least that is what I think.

Anyway, I am hoping that by ditching both sweets and Diet Coke, the 10,000 steps I have been walking will start to show up on the scales.  We'll see!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Visiting CJ

Several weeks ago we went to KC to celebrate Kenneth's birthday.  While there we visited Don's cousin, Micky, and her husband, Michael, who is fighting cancer (and giving it a good fight, I might add); we went to Greg and Kristen Hart's for dinner; and we went to Atchison to see our nephew, CJ.

I had never been to Atchison, so it was fun to see Benedictine, CJ's campus, and to get to visit Nell Hills.  No, I have never been to Nell Hills.  Deprived, I know.  But now I can say I have been there.

CJ showed us around Benedictine, a very hilly, beautiful campus.  What CJ didn't know when he came to Kansas is that it can be very cold . . . and the week before we arrived, it was freezing!  He doesn't have a scarf, but he now understands why we wear them.

We then went to Nell Hills and had lunch at Jerri's Again (I think that's the name.)  Nell Hills had more stuff tucked into that store than I have ever seen.  Some people have a knack for making it look good.  If I had that much stuff, it would look like a hoarder's house!  Anyway, we thoroughly enjoyed looking at all of the interesting items, and the next time CJ's mom comes to town, he is going to take her there.

The food at Jerri's was very good.  We enjoyed getting to know CJ better - we only see him on occasion, and this was very special.

I took chocolate chip cookies and green chile stew to him.  I know green chile stew doesn't sound like much, but for a New Mexican, it is gold.  I grew up on it, as did CJ, and you don't find it in Kansas.  He seemed delighted to have it!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Don's Dad

I have a running joke with Diana that as I become my mother, she becomes me.  We both laugh about it, but we both know it is true.

The same thing is happening to Don.  As he becomes his dad, Kenneth is turning into him.  The good news is . . . there are worse people to be like.

Don's dad is a simple man.  He was a brick layer, he stacked hay, he fattened cattle.  He worked hard.  He worked very hard, and he passed that work ethic on to all of his boys.  He is a man of faith.  Attending church is something he has done his whole life.  He and Ruthie built their family around God.  When I came into the family, I loved that they said grace at every meal.  My family did not.  But I knew I wanted that in my family.

Don's dad loves his family.  We give him grief about all of the family reunions we have attended, but Don remains close to his cousins (even though I still cannot keep a few of them straight).  Kenny loves to be with his boys, and it shows.

Don's dad is easy to please.  Whatever Ruthie put on the table, Kenny ate . . . and he taught his boys to do the same.  Whether it is steak or leftovers, they were to be grateful for the food.  After Ruthie passed away, he told Kenneth that one night he would have a ham and cheese sandwich; the next night he had cheese and ham.

Practical he is.  He could fix anything.  He is a good problem solver.  And he loves his daughters-in-law.

Don's dad showed his boy what it meant to be a man.  He showed the boys that they need to love God, love their wife, love family, and be grateful for what God gives us.  I am lucky that I married his son, who is, in many ways, just like him.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

It is a Miracle . . . maybe!

I wish I were a voracious, fast reader.  But I am not.  I like to read, but other things always seem to come first.  By the time I sit down to read, it't time for bed, so I don't get it done.  Book club has been wonderful because at least once a month, I have to read a book . . . usually one I would not have read otherwise.

That is why this month is a miracle.  I actually read 3 - yes 3 - books.  That is a far cry from the 19 that Diana read one Christmas . . . but for me it is amazing!

The first one was The Last Child in the Woods.  It is a sobering book for parents and educators about the need for children to experience the outdoors, despite dwindling opportunities to do so.  Free play, recess, unstructured sports, exploration are all important for the development of young brains, but increasingly, children remain inside and watch tv or play video games.  I think every educator of pre-school and elementary-age children should read this book, as should parents.  Our book club meets next Monday, and our neighbor, Rick Gaskill, will be there to discuss the book with us.  It should be a very interesting evening.

Spencer Quinn writes the funniest books about a dog, Chet, his master and private eye, Bernie, and their adventures solving mysteries.  Mr. Quinn writes from Chet's perspective, and his books make me laugh.  I read the third one and there are still two more.  They are starting to become too similar and I am not sure I will get to the others very quickly, but they are a quick, fun read.  I love brainless mysteries!

Several summers ago, Kathy Dunlavy and I went to a course on the Bronte sisters.  We read Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, but I never got around to reading Agnes Grey.  I decided the other day to read it so that I could get the large book off my book shelf.  (The book's cover, however, is beautiful, so I may decide to keep it . . . but now I can do so because I want it, not because I still have to finish it.)  I have to say that it was a delightful read.  All three books were very different, but Agnes is much more likable than some of the characters in the other books, and because it was short, the story didn't plod along.  I can say I am glad I read all three, and if I had to choose, I probably would say Jane Eyre was my favorite with Agnes Grey not far behind.

Anyway, I doubt that I will keep up this pace, but it was fun for the month of January (and a little into February!).

Monday, February 4, 2013


Well, in about 6 months we will be embarking upon our longest trip ever . . . 10 weeks together in an RV.  Don and I both have received our share of "Are you kidding me?" stares from friends, and many have suggested good divorce lawyers just in case.  Frankly, we aren't too worried about it.  Yes, we know we will get on each other's nerves on occasion . . . . but we do that now, so what is the difference?  At least the scenery will be nice!

Sunday on our way home from KC, Don asked if I wanted to drive the RV.  "Um, no . . . " was my reply, but I knew he was right.  I at least need to know how it feels to drive it.  So I crawled into the driver's seat and took off.

Gads.  It is a big machine.  And it takes up the whole lane.  I thought I was right in the middle, but Don kept saying, "Pull left, pull left."  I never hit the rumble strips on the left side, so I thought that was good, but I think he was getting a little motion sick from the constant correcting of the steering wheel.  Eventually I got it down, but after about 30 miles, I was ready for him to take over.

Anyway, I told him I would begin to drive a little more so that I can spell him on the trip . . . but not in busy areas.  It is a little scary driving the WLEBAGO.  Yikes!