Sunday, April 26, 2009

Window on the World

Remember that quote from Mao Tse -Tung about the frog in the well from Sunday ?

I just Stumbled Upon this wonderful picture.

That's all there was, just the picture so I can't give credit to anyone for it so I'll just let you look at it and figure out what that little seal is thinking.

Naturally, I found a quote to go with it. I love pairing pictures and quotes.. . beats playing computer games because it makes me think.

Quote of the day:

Oh, my God, this amazing cool breeze is coming through my window and the sun is shining. I'm happy.

~~Liv Tyler

See ya down the road,

Out of Sight - Out of Mind

Since none of you seem to be chomping at the bit, I'll assume only two readers noticed I've been gone all week. Boy, this April 30 Day Challenge sure turned into a big April Fools prank, huh?

Fact is, I've sort of been "out of sight", at least half way. Easter Sunday, my right eye began to itch fiercely. Now, it has been irritated almost since we got to Tucson, but I had chalked that up to the allergy season which has been so vicious this year it made the TV news for weeks. Itchy, watery, red eyes; after three bottles of maximum strength anti- red juice and I was close to being "out of mind" -my own.

On Easter I went to church in a pretty, new, light blue dress and a bright red eye. Everyone politely ignored it. By Tuesday my eye hurt so much it was time to see the doctor. I use see very loosely since, by then, most of what I could "see" was the back of my eye lid and even that was blurry. The light hurt so much that I had to pull out
Jim Patch's black satin eye patch from the costume box.

(Hmm that's a good story about how my favorite storyteller developed that character -Memo for another blog).

So there I was for several days, waiting for a doctor's appointment. I could see half the world but by then the left eye was also becoming pretty red too. I only had one patch so covering up the left eye wasn't an option. Then there's the fact that since my children are now ranging in ages from 30-40, the eyes in the back of my head haven't been used much lately.

So I avoided TV, tried to read a large print book but didn't get very far, and spent the week surfing...uh...I mean researching the net with the zoom button clicked on largest.

For the past few days, I've been dribbling antibiotic eye drops into both eyes to combat a "probable" eye infection. My eyes do feel and look better but the right one still looks like I've been on a binge. This Tuesday I'll see an opthamologist who will use yet another kind of drop to dilate them. Hopefully he'll rule out glaucoma, retinopathy or any of a score of other ocular ailments I can't spell.

So as my eye clears up and I can see a bit better this week I'll get back to blogging. I did manage to find some really cool things while I was surf...uh...researching, so I'll tell you about some of those in a couple of days.

For now, if you'd like to make a really tasty soup, ( safe for my gluten free friends) may I humbly recommend you click on A Year of Crock Potting. Look for her Baked Bean Soup. So easy you could make it with one eye closed.

Quote of the day:

"We think too small, like the frog at the bottom of the well. He thinks the sky is only as big as the top of the well. If he surfaced, he would have an entirely different view."


See ya down the road,

Monday, April 20, 2009

One of the Funniest Blogs I Never Wrote

I was going to write another blog about procrastination but this was a much better idea.
Click on the next word I write.


Quote of the day:

You know you are getting old when it takes too much effort to procrastinate.

~Author Unknown

See ya down the road,

Sunday, April 19, 2009

RVer Developes Unique Stimulus Package

Hilly sent me a link this morning to a CNN article about a Tax Man who has begun converting all of his vehicles over to vegetable oil. Now this is not a brand new idea. People have been using it for several years and refining-no pun intended- the system as they experimented. Many innovative and environmentally concious people have converted to this renewable fuel. Even Lone Duck is interested in eventually powering a motor home this way. You'll find discussions and exhibits around the country if you look for them.

But in the video I watched this morning, Josh Winston inadvertently brought up yet another idea. Please watch the video and see if you realize the same implication I did. See his video here.

Now just think about it. Josh said his exhaust smells like the food cooked in the oil. And he mentions Chinese food. At a good Chinese restaurant the choices are endless so they use a lot of oil.

So here is my idea:

A clever Workamper contracts with any small town to supply all of his meals, plus a full hookup site, and, of course, wages for all hours worked. In return, said Workamper will each day eat at a local eatery (free naturally) and then remove their waste oil.

Chicken on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday,

Shrimp on Friday, of course.

Donuts, fritters, bismarks, twists, etc. for breakfast any day.

On Tuesday and Thursday our Workamper can go to any steak house or burger joint as long as he opts for French fries with his beef.

Sunday should be a day of rest. After all our Workamper should not be working 24/7 for the kind of money we make. No, on Sunday she should relax. She should sit back and cogitate about the small part she has had in making the world a better place.

She should think about all the good she has done for the environment the past week. How, as she drove that rig up and down the roads, exploring the area and seeing the local sites she has saved enough money to buy souvenirs. She can feel good knowing how the very smell of her exhaust has stimulated the salivary glands of everyone she has passed, thus increasing business at all the Shrimp Shacks, Chicken Stops, Burger Joints, Steak Houses and Donut Shops. So she has in effect, developed the Workamper Economic Stimulus Package.

And maybe she'll even save enough to be able to afford her Lipitor!

See ya down the road,

Saturday, April 18, 2009

In Sickness and in Health

Jim and I just watched a beautifully powerful movie called Away From Her. The story of Grant and Fiona, a couple married nearly 45 years, it lets us share in the heartbreak of their lives once Alzheimer's has taken hold of Fiona.

Julie Christie plays Fiona with the grace and truthfulness and vulnerability we have come to expect from her since first seeing her in Dr. Zhivago forty years ago. When Fiona makes the decision to enter a care center herself, she does so with dignity and humor rather than pathos. Julie Christie was nominated for an Academy Award for the 2007 role. Grant is played by Gordon Pinsent and his love and determination not to lose the essence of his Fiona is contagious.

The third most powerful element of this film is the Alzheimer's itself. There are no memory jokes here; no funny references to "half-timers" and "some-timers". The progress of the illness is accurately and painfully portrayed and what is revealed is that, in fact, there are two victims of the disease.

If you are like me, you'll want to keep the tissues near at hand but while there may be tears, there is a strangely uplifting quality to this film as well.

Quote of the day:

Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

See ya down the road,

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Jumping In Feet First

I'd barely gotten up this morning when my phone rang. It was Chica. As I, still in my pjs, answered the phone I looked out the window. Turned out she was right outside calling me from her car. What had I forgotten? Did we have a date to go somewhere?

In the instant I was wondering that, she said, "Guess what? I bought you a bathing suit!"

"You bought me a bathing suit? Without me trying it on?"

"Yeah, Are you guys up? "

"Uh... yeah, come on in."

"Jim, Chica's here, get dressed."

Now you have to understand, Chica has been nagging me to begin the water aerobics classes the doctor told me to start almost two months ago. She even made arrangements for me to go as her guest to the Air Force base and said she'd take the classes with me. The fact of the matter is that I haven't worn a bathing suit in about 7 years (and 30 pounds.)

When I told her I didn't have a suit, she reminded me we are in Tucson. They sell them here year round. Then she took off to do her reserve duty in Omaha. She came back a week later.

"Did you get a suit yet?"

"No, haven't had time."

A month went by, another trip to Omaha and another return.

"Did you get a suit yet?"

"No, it wasn't in the budget this week."

She stopped asking. That was last week.

This morning, she had taken matters into her own hands. I was pretty sure I was safe because in my experience gift clothing is rarely the right size.

It fits.

Tomorrow we begin water aerobics. I'm sure my arthritic hips and knees will be grateful as soon as I get past feeling like a beached whale.

I do not plan on posting any before pictures. The picture above does not look at all like me.

I'm not a blond.

Quote of the day: (there must be something profound in this one)

I simply can't understand
Why swimsuits are in such demand
They're soggy and damp,
Bind like a clamp,
And hold about three pounds of sand!
~D.R. Benson

See ya down the road,

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Lent- Not Giving Up- Given To

When I was a little girl at St. Michael the Archangel School in Levittown, PA. Lent was all about giving things up. Usually the students gave up candy.

Sometimes if we wanted to really be martyrs we gave up desserts

... except of course on Sundays because Sunday was the Lord's day and I guessed he loved banana cream pie and coconut cake. Many times our Moms even went without on Sunday too in the hopes that they could also give up a size before they bought a new Spring dress.

Sometimes our parents "suggested" we give up our Saturday afternoon double features.

(Thus saving the 50 cents they normally had to fork over.)

Hollywood even took notice of this and it was pretty rare that a big feature film was released during Lent.

Adults reverently chose this time to give up their Lucky Strikes and Camels. Many of them took the 35 cents a pack and added it to their weekly offering.
Others took the opportunity to stuff the piggy bank and
many chose to use the six weeks as the beginning of a smoke free life.

Others chose to give up their beer and cocktails for Lent. Good for the soul and the waistline too. And of course we all gave up meat on Fridays and other special days of the season.

The fact that Giving Up for Lent also frequently became a health benefit did not detract from the devout reasons we gave up these things . In those Pre Jenny Craig and Nutri System Days, we asked God's help in our personal Spring Cleaning.

Over the years many changes were made by the Church and by us. We looked at Lent differently in some cases if we looked at it at all. Some of us began to wonder if everything we had learned about religion had anything to do with faith. While I always knew that in my deepest heart, mind, and soul I was a Catholic, I felt a need to find my faith.

This year I decided it was time to return to my spiritual home. I've been thinking about it for a long time now as I've matured in my own beliefs and explored those of others. I found myself in a position of longing as I visited various denominations with my friends and experienced the way they worshiped God. What I saw was that they were as secure in their beliefs as I had been once upon a time. But While I felt welcomed by their community and often found wisdom in what their ministers and preachers had to say, I never felt comfortable.

Four things happened within a few months that made me sure it was time. First a friend, speaking about her own spiritual community, gave me the idea that we needed to each have an open mind about our own beliefs.

There was a sermon given by a very young, non-denominational preacher who asked the congregation. "Are you lonely? Do you long for a feeling of warmth and belonging? Then go home. Wherever home might be, go home, your Father is waiting for you."

Then we came to Tucson, a few weeks before Lent began, and our son invited us to go to the chapel in a Catholic hospital where a friend of his was the priest. My son introduced us briefly before Mass. In the first sermon, I heard this gentle priest give, he looked at us, smiled and said, "Welcome, to all of those who are visiting today from far away or who may have been away."

A few weeks later it was Lent. My daughter-in-law gave me a simple little black book with a brief daily devotional for Lent. It's not fancy and it's not intimidating but it has given me moments to think and re-think some of my ideas.

Leaving the hospital that first Sunday morning for breakfast at IHop, I rode with my son. While his wife rode with Jim. This has been the pattern ever since. And in a wonder-filled role reversal my son and his wife have given me a way back to my faith.

I haven't given up candy or desserts for Lent. I don't smoke or drink so I couldn't give up those.
(I also didn't give up any pounds.) But I did give up my blinders and I gave up searching for what has been in my heart all along.

No, this Lenten season has been much more a time of receiving for me and tomorrow is Easter Sunday. I genuinely believe I'm coming home.

Quote of the day:

The first step is to fill your life with a positive faith that will help you through anything. The second is to begin where you are.
Norman Vincent Peale

See ya down the road,

Friday, April 10, 2009

Amazing Grace

I must remember.

He did it for me.

How do I thank Him?

By believing.

Quote of the day:

Faith is the art of holding onto things your reason has once accepted in spite of changing moods.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Who's Counting Candles Anymore?

Happy Birthday, Chica,

Huh?... Oh yeah, Sage, right...

Chica, just add about 30 more !



Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Keep Those Cards and Letters Coming

I got a real letter in the mail yesterday!

It didn't come from an organization wanting me to send them money and it wasn't from an insurance company telling me why I should switch to them. It did not promise me $10,000,000 if I ordered a magazine and it didn't tell me I should be voting for anyone.

It wasn't computer generated, sent in a windowed envelope, metered or bar coded.

No, it came in a small pink envelope and my name was clearly written in neat script by someone who took the time to make it legible. This in itself was delightful but even more so was the fact that it came from a very dear friend.

Sister Lucy Marie Vega, OLVM, is a tiny, sweet, cheerful, intelligent nun who helped me renew my faith when we lived in Cheyenne, Wyoming, back in the '80s. She became my friend when I taught religion classes at the church and she was the pastoral assistant. She taught religion, and vocational preparation. She also interceded with a common sense approach to parish finances and, often seeming to curb our lovable pastor when he gave away a bit more than the parish could afford. Sister Lucy has led a long (but certainly not long enough) life of service in a Missionary order of Catholic nuns that has begun to see a dwindling of their numbers.

Sister, has been spoken of here at least once before- . Remember the Christmas punch episode? (If not scroll down to Dec, 18,2008.)

Sister Lucy Marie, at his request, also secretly taught Lone Duck to waltz so he could surprise me at my brother's wedding by dancing with me and his new aunt. (picture my 5"10" 16 year old holding all 4'9" of nun in his arms as they waltzed across her living room to the strains of Tommy Dorsey!)

I just realized today that when I met her she was exactly as old as I am now. I never gave much thought to an age difference. We only spent about three years in each other's company but it was long enough to make her my dear friend.

My kids all loved her too. They thought she reminded them of my Mom and often referred to her as Sister Grandma. They never minded when she called to ask if one (or more) of them would mind shoveling her walk. I'm proud to say that after the first few requests she rarely had to call anymore. One (or more) of them made a point to get the path from her house to the church cleared before school and on their way home again if needed.

I doubt the fact that she made the best Mexican hot chocolate I've ever tasted and light as air, hot homemade bread had too much to do with it. Sister even babysat for Skooba and could quote cartoons right along with him. She also made sure everyone knew what a terrific break dancer he was at 6 years old.

There was an Easter Sunday when we were really strapped for pennies. On the way out the gate to go to church, I noticed something in the mailbox. Opening it I found a lovely Easter card with $50.00 in it. The unsigned note simply read, "God bless you."

We have tried to pass along that kindness as often as possible and I'm so happy to say that I can watch all of my boys pass it along as well. I figured out quite quickly who the anonymous Easter Angel was. And every time I see her handwriting on a letter I remember how uplifted and loved we felt that morning.

Blessed Easter, Sister Lucy.

See ya down the road,

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Road to YKW*is Paved with Good Intentions

*You Know Where

So All three of us got a good start on the NaBl0PoMo challenge, Then all YKW broke loose!

First we sprang a leak and the floor was soaked, the carpet was soaked, the closet was soaked, and everything on the floor of the closet was soaked. And of course, it was Saturday evening!

We turned off the water (you never realize how much water you use until you turn on the tap or flush the toilet and nothing happens!)

But we are getting very used to having to go without little things like water, heat, lights etc since living full time in a motor home on the road. We could survive until Monday.

So we began doing our blogs. Clancy did a very good one but by the time she finished and we'd had pizza I was ready to turn in. I admit that my Pizza blog lacked a little in literary value. It also lacked an attribution for the only Pizza quote I could find. But I finished it and went to bed to pretend to read while falling asleep.

Then a whole bunch of @#&^%$^&(*& began. Seems Geezerguy sat down to write his post for the day and the laptop died.

After church on Sunday, Sage Words, our family computer geek came over to see what he could do.

{ This reminds me, I was going to post some advice to young couples just starting their families-

Times have changed. While it would still be nice if a family of 4 sons were to include, a doctor a lawyer, a policeman, and a priest, Now it makes more sense to raise a Doctor, an Auto -make that RV-mechanic, a jack of all trades, and yes a computer geek. And, naturally, any or all of them could be daughters.}

Long story -short. Today we have a new hard drive. Everything I need, is in the old hard drive including my manuscript (back up woefully out of date) and said Geek and his merry band of subgeeks and gurus swear they will unlock it-"soon".

So, I had to take a couple of days off and actually go outside of my RV while they worked on the leak.

I read several chapters of my current novel.

I actually got to meet some of my neighbors.

Got plans on how to make inexpensive tie down straps for the awning from one of them.

Met Chuck Norris' brother-in-law.

Found a friendly puppy for Clancy to play with.

Received a referral to an RV salvage place to check out before we begin our remodeling project.

Quote of the day:

In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.

Albert Einstein

See ya down the road,


Saturday, April 4, 2009

Short and Tasty

We had pizza for supper. It was fantastic!

If you are in Tucson stop at:

But I ate too much and I'm falling asleep.

Last word:

Now that I'm grown up and no longer wallowing in the throes of first love, I finally understand the meaning of the following

Quote of the day:

"When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore!"

Night night,

See ya down the road,

Friday, April 3, 2009

I'm Tangling Yarn Again

Sometimes being grown up means admitting you have problem areas.
Okay, Marcie take a deep breath. You can do this; they are all friends and family.

Here goes: I have an addiction.

I'm addicted to yarn.

There, I've said it. I have way too much yarn for a gal who lives in a 32',no slide Winnebago. Yet, I continue to buy it. I have even been aided and abetted in this addiction by 3 of my 4 daughters-in-law who have each bought me yarn so I could make something for them. ( Having said that, I fully expect a package in the mail soon from the last of them who hadn't thought of this before.)

I buy yarn at yarn shops and craft stores, department stores and dollar stores. I buy even more at my beloved thrift shops, rummage sales, and yard sales. I've found a wealth of high end yarns without parting with my hard earned "wealth" by patronizing these outlets.

There are two plastic totes full of yarn in the basement storage and another two under the couch. There are several bags serving as draftblockers in odd spots as well as projects on the top of the couch. But am I satisfied with that?

Uh...I spent an afternoon last week cutting and looping grocery store bags into balls of "Plarn". I just wish I'd seen this u-Tube presentation before I cut mine up. This gal makes it a lot easier than the way I did it.

Today I found another recycling (or is it upcycling?) idea that will probably terrify Jim. Check out this article about newspaper yarn called
Indruk! To be honest this one doesn't appeal to me as much as other reused fibers. Think of all that newsprint ink all over your hands as you crocheted.

Crocheting is my favorite method of tangling yarn. I began back in the 70s and yes, I made those ubiquitous orange, brown and avaca
do colored throw pillows. I even made toilet tissue covers and I sold them all too. Like everyone else I made at least a thousand granny squares. They helped buy groceries and they were part of that whole Mother Earth hand made style.

Last fall I did a craft bazaar for the first time in a few years and was pleased with the results. I was also surprised by them. I was used to adults buying my scarves, hats and neck warmers. But it was teenagers and pre-teens who scooped up most of them. The two I sold to older women turned out to be for a granddaughter and a niece. I think the fact that I used tried and true patterns with funky (can I still say funky?) new fashion yarns turned them into something brand new.

So I've been guilty of standing at the magazine stands at Barnes and Noble for the past couple of months perusing -not crochet magazines but Seventeen, YM, and all the other magazines aimed at turning little girls into fashionistas.

By the way, that isn't anything new, you know. We read teen magazines in our jr. high days too. Remember poodle skirts, pony tails, and neck scarves? I loved scarves then and I love them now.

Hopefully, I'll get my problems with my camera solved in a few days and I can show you what I've been making with my yarn stash. In the meantime, I'll try to use up some of my piles of yarn. After all, the last thing I want is for those friends and family members to stage an intervention.

Then I'll see if I can sell a few to put Jim and I through a very special school.

But that's a topic for another day.

Quote of the day:

I've always done things the hard way. I was born like a piece of tangled yarn. The job is trying to untangle it, and I'll probably go on doing it for the rest of my life.
Karen Allen

See ya down the road,

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Look What I Found!

I happen to love shopping at Thrift shops. It's fun to see what kind of "treasures" I can find. One of these days I'm going to write a blog about all the treasures I've discovered in Thrift shops around the country.

But right now I have to tell one of my boys about today's treasure. When I was 14 years old there was a short lived TV program called the Travels of Jaimie McPheeters. I fell in love with both the young actor (who I didn't remember was Kurt Russell until about 5 minutes ago) and the name Jaimie. He was a blue eyed redheaded all American boy on his way to the Gold fields in 1849 with his dad .

I liked the name so much I vowed if I ever had a son I'd call him Jamie (note masculine spelling). Eight years later, my son, was born. The fact that his father happened to be a James was pure coincidence.

Today, I found a first edition of Robert Lewis Taylor's Pulitzer prize winning novel, The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters.

Guess what my kid is getting for his 40th birthday this summer!

Quote of the day:

"Too many people grow up. That's the real trouble with the world...They forget.They don't remember What it's like to be 12 years old. They patronize, they treat children as inferiors. Well I won't do that."
Walt Disney
(who produced The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters)

See ya down the road,

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Here We Go Again!

We have been happily boondocking just west of Tucson, Arizona since the first week of February. What's boondocking? That's living in an RV (or tent, or van) without hookups such as electricity, water, or sewer for a period of time. Many RVrs are set up to do it for weeks or even months at a time. They use solar and/or wind power, conserve water to a great degree and live simply. Jim and I would love to be able to join their ranks but for the time being we still use our generator for a couple hours a day.

Yesterday, we reluctantly pulled up stakes and moved into a small(make that miniscule) RV park in the middle of Tucson. Play time is over and Jim is hunting for a part time job that will take us through the fall. We want to stay here to spend some quality time with Sage Words and Chica until our next scheduled adventure begins.

We decided to find a spot before the really hot weather arrives so we'll be able to use our fans and Air conditioner if needed. We also wanted Internet access since we've been essentially off line for about three months. Knowing this was about to happen we signed up for the April NaBloPoMo 30 day blog challenge. Get back in gear and make things happen- that was the idea.

The NaBloPoMo theme for the month is Growing (UP) .It is not a requirement to stick to the theme (which is very good for me) but it's a jumping off point.

Growing up~ what does that mean? Getting a job? Getting married? Getting older? Raising a family? Making a journey throughout life? Choosing your own adventures? Learning who you are? Knowing who you are not? Doing the best you can? Sharing what you have?

All of these things are a part of growing up and I think I'd like to explore each of these and more this month. Maybe it's time I show my readers a more serious side of me so they will understand that I don't always live in the past and depend upon nostalgia and wit to get me by.

And I shall call upon the greatest and most profound thinkers of the present and past to help me explore all the facets of Growing Up. My own personal challenge will be to present to you, Gentle Reader, the wisdom of others. Each day you'll find a quote at the end of my blog. Perhaps you'll think about what it means to you and comment upon it.

Yes, that's just what I'll do to show my self discipline and maturity, I'll only write about imortant topics. Just wait, soon you'll see just how intelligent. intellectual and profound I can be. In other words, I'll be grown up!

Quote of the day:

" When I am grown to man's estate I shall be proud and great. And tell the other girls and boys not to meddle with my toys."
Robert Lewis Stevenson


See ya down the road,