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Saturday, December 26, 2009

*Sigh...* What a Wonderful Day It Was!

If I had remembered to retrieve my charger from the guest bedroom last night - I could have shown you my breakfast for this morning.

It was sinful.  It was homemade pumpkin custard pie - with a pile of whipped cream - from the carton of heavy whipping cream - that I whipped myself.

And it was absolutely delicious!  Went very well with my coffee.

My defense - I never had to turn on one single stove burner.  I was being cost efficient!  Alright - go ahead and call me a tree-hugger.  If you must.

Actually - I’d rather save the power for the heaters in the house.  Baby - it’s cold outside!  Took Zucker out this morning to do his daily routine and found frost standing on top of frost!

I dunno - the ground was too cold?

Anyway - I also found the Cummins Diesel in our Dodge Ram 4x4 - ahem - not plugged into the outside receptacle.  Grrrrr………   The layer of ice and mud had that poor baby fitting in with any filthy dog ever found.  Time for the toy to be taken to the car wash!

Rewind back to Christmas Day.

Our dinner was just wonderful!  Very small and intimate.  We had baked Turkey Breast - Lima Beans - Ree’s recipe for twice-baked potatoes (minus the skins and tossed into a casserole dish) - my special recipe for Holiday Mashed Butternut Squash - homemade pumpkin custard pie - and 2007 Tennessee Red Muscadine wine from Tennessee Valley Winery!

Red wine - with turkey?

I love being a rebel when it comes to food.  I drink what I like!  I can do that.  I’m over the age of 40 - and I can do as I darn well please!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Look at My Gorgeous Christmas Present !!!

Good morning and Merry Christmas, everyone!

I just have to share photos of the Christmas present my husband made for me this year!!!

Now - he did not get to finish - yet.  But you'll see why in the photos!


 



My husband made my Mission-style Farm Table for our Dining Room!  He made this by hand - with reclaimed lumber - from our old tobacco barn that has been on our property and was built June, 1920.

The table as is - stands 5' long.  The two slots you see on the end of the table will hold two arms that will support a leaf.  This is done on both ends.  The table will extend out to 8' long with the two leafs.


Guess where the two leafs will be stored!


See the two pegs/handles on each end?  They slide toward the inside.  He carved them by hand.  They slide into the legs for securing that door... yes... it's a door!


The door falls down to expose this pocket under the table top - storage area for the two leafs!  How cool is that!


Isn't it gorgeous!

You cannot find solid oak lumber from trees cut fresh today that have all the incredible character embedded.  The worm knots - the burl - the natural cracks and crannies.  It's absolutely gorgeous!

By this morning the table was still waiting for drying before another coat of sealant goes on.  The two leafs will be made next.
After that - you should see the two Captain's Chairs and the four side chairs that Dwayne will be making to go with the set!

He was so upset because it wasn't ready for Christmas Day.  I told him - about a week ago - that it didn't matter if it took him another three months to make whatever it was that he was making me.  What mattered most was that he was making it with his own hands - and it was coming from a historical piece of this property that we now own.

He wanted it ready for this Christmas so we'd be able to enjoy our Christmas dinner on it this year.  LOL

I told him that the way I see things is - now he's got until next Christmas to make all the chairs so we can enjoy having dinner on it NEXT Christmas!

And maybe - just maybe - all those chairs will have a butt warming them up when dinner is served!



Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas to Everyone!

So I go to get into my putt-putt yesterday. Had a few items to pick up at the grocery store. And then I needed to take that report to the Postmaster at our local Post Office.

I stop at the end of the driveway to check the mail. Guess what I find in the mailbox.



I’ll be taking it up to the Post Office on Monday - to open in front of the Postmaster - for a specific reason.

Their website tracking report shows it was delivered to our house on December 14th.

It’s stamped by the Loudon Post Office claiming to have arrived there on December 19th.

I find it in my mailbox on December 22nd.

Anyways - I’ll get to send it off to Gran-Girl and she’ll get to wear it - afterall!!

Dwayne and I are having a very quiet - intimate Christmas this year.

Well - minus all the constant noise coming through the floor from saws and electric nail guns keeping Dwayne busy down in the basement - making my Christmas present! I’m getting excited!

With no hoopla set with a bunch of company coming and such - we decided to go ahead and keep things simple. We put up the little tree this year.



Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE our big tree! But it can be a bit overwhelming - when there’s only one of you to get it decorated.



Instead - my time was freed up for making more treats for this year!

On behalf of Hubby - me - Zucker - and Spinner….

We want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas day full of wonderful blessings!

We hope everyone will keep in mind…. The Reason for The Season!

Don’t forget… Sing the Happy Birthday song for Jesus!!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Depths in the Planes of Love

My poor husband.  I love him so much.

He has spent almost every free moment down in the basement over the past week - building my Christmas present.  Most of the time - he hasn’t given up for the day until around midnight.

It takes hours to plane down one of those long boards - from an old 1920 tobacco barn.


Just when he begins feeling like he’s making progress - he grabs the wrong board - to cut in half.

To be here and witness his efforts throughout this entire process - is to know that just the thought of laughing at him would be totally cruel.

I have no doubt - even some of those male coworkers would get quiet for a while - prolly head out to the back porch - light up a cigarette - and wipe a tear away - as soon as they made sure nobody was looking.

I will - without a doubt - find a way to save that gorgeous piece of lumber.

I love him as much as he is showing his love to me right now - even more.

I refuse to let any of his efforts go down the drain in vain.  The hardest part will be - simply - trying to make up my mind.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Stolen from Grand-Girl... from Our Mailbox

I had to go visit our local Postmaster - yesterday.  I’m having to return a completed complaint form this afternoon.

Seems we have a little problem occurring in our area.  Somebody is stealing packages and other items on our mail route.

Breaks my heart.  I was a little excited over the idea of my yard varmint sending me pics of  Grand-girl wearing one particular - really cute - bright pink cardigan sweater.



This is the Radio Flyer Tricycle we sent Trinity this year for her birthday!  That shade of Pink looks cool on her - huh!

Glad we shipped it right to her house.

That little cardigan sweater was pink.  It was a pretty pink - and something “un-camo” that she could wear on a chilly day.  Daddy only buys Camo - John Deere - Ducks Unlimited!



I won it on eBay for her.  It was brand new - coming from Louisiana.



Yeah - I know.  Texas is right next door to Louisiana.  So - why buy a sweater and have it come all the way to Tennessee - just to send it all the way back to - Texas?

‘Cuz it was for Grand-Girl.  I don’t ever get to enjoy time with her.  We live so far away from each other.

It’s not about the price I paid for having something come to my house before sending it all the way back in the direction from whence it came - and then some.



I wanted to - at least - have some fun wrapping it up in pretty gift wrap - with ribbon and a bow - and putting it in the bigger box that I ended up having to send without it.

Visions of her little hands tearing into that ribbon and gift wrapping paper - stolen from me.

Pics of her wearing that sweater on a chilly day - stolen from me.

Something warm and cozy that Meemaw Treesie had held in her arms for a moment before wrapping it up  - which would travel all the way to Grand-Girl and carry a hug for her - to feel every time she would wear it….

Stolen from Grand-Girl.



Bet I know what would be on Daddy's mind if he were here when all this came down.

Same thing that's on PawPaw D-Wayne's mind....   ;)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Chocolate - Trains - and - Wine!

I haven’t gotten around to making Ree’s Mocha Brownies - yet.

To begin with - Dwayne’s already accusing me of trying to overdose him on chocolate.

But - I no sooner popped my previous posting here when Hubby decided it was time to remind me of a wish I had made.

I wanted to go to the Holiday Express at the University of Tennessee Gardens! And we were having a Saturday when Dwayne was actually home - for a change!!

I just LOVE huge rooms loaded with old - 1930’s atmosphere - in miniature action! Model trains and country settings! Draw bridges and covered bridges - waterfalls and creeks - shacks and houses - log mills and general stores - and Christmas lights that twinkle! We found Granny hiding and working - at her secret Moonshine Still! Oh - and I made sure to get a shot of that bar right near the Depot - with all the “Daisies” flirtin’ on the porch to tempt gents coming off the trains! And that train whistle - that was so cool!

What turned out to be not so cool - I had to take my Minolta 35mm film camera. My little Kodak digital was too ill to make the trip. And the rain kept us from being able to take a stroll through the gardens outside. Could have been our first winter stroll through one of my most favorite places in Knoxville!

I promise - pictures coming!

But it was way too soon to go home after all that fun. And we were hungry - of course. And we actually caved to one of our most sickening weaknesses - Popeye’s!

I do all I can to boycott every fast-food joint in this country anymore - for health, economic and employment reasons. But this joint was a recent discovery of ours that - just happens to be so close to our house! Well - okay - so - as far as we’re concerned - it’s close. And it takes both of us back home - in our hearts - back in the days when everything was legit and for most of all the right reasons.

Anyway - Dwayne’s reminder of it being Saturday was still lingering in my mind. And we were still on Hwy. 75. And it’s Christmas time. And - it was time to insist on one more stop before pulling into the driveway.

Tennessee Valley Winery.

Oh, gosh - yes! And we had fun! And we brought wine home - of course!

And I think I’ve found my new - favorite!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sniff... Sniff... Toasted Pecans!

Well… we didn’t get any snow at this house!  Not one single flake.

But you should see what all the rain has done around here.  We don’t dare step off the driveway.  The ground is saturated enough that - even skinny ‘n scrawny Dwayne sinks about six inches into the muck!

I bombed my kitchen last night.  Getting ready to do it again, too - this morning.

Last night was two recipes related to the word - Toffee.  The house was filled with the scent of toasted pecans and walnuts - and chocolate - and boiling Karo!

But for this morning - I think I’ll try making Ree’s Mocha Brownies.

Who’s Ree?  Ohhhhh…. Ya’ gotta meet her!

She considers herself to be an “Accidental Pioneer Woman.“  Cracks me up every time I think about that.

I just bought her brand new cookbook called
(plant your mouse cursor over THAT!)
and the book is awesome!



Friday, December 18, 2009

Angels in Oak Posts - and Snow for Christmas!

Today will be called ‘made good’ if I manage to make it to the post office before ice develops on the roads.  We are due for a winter storm and have been forewarned to stock supplies and prepare to hunker down.  And we’re not even getting the worst of it.  Looks like we will be having snow for Christmas.  We’re due for two doses before Christmas day arrives.

http://www.wbir.com/weather/radar/local/default.aspx

And the one thing I’m relieved about at the moment is the fact that my need to retreat worked as I’d hoped.  I did manage to get quite a few things accomplished.  I wasn’t able to get them all done - but most.

For instance - I did manage to get to Foothills Mall in Maryville.  Made a Bee-line to the spot where I’ve been able to find my favorite kiosk during the holidays - a gal selling handmade clay ornaments that could be personalized.  I’ve been collecting one each year for the grandbabies - Jennifer - Zucker - Dwayne and me.

Sadly - Faye was not there this year.

My husband has been very busy since taking vacation time.  A quarter of our basement has been isolated with plastic.  I’ve been given orders - “You’re not allowed!”

All I do know is this.  He has snatched some of the wood from the far side of the barn that has fallen off the piers.  Running it through the planer has shown him that he has come upon solid oak wood that would cost a fortune anywhere!

Lots of noise - lots of sawdust - lots of going back and forth to the tool shed.  And then yesterday brought a bit of a struggle for my hubby - something I don’t like to see.

After searching the Internet and phone books - making all the phone calls possible - followed by driving all over creation - he could not find two 4x4x8 oak posts that he needs - desperately.

He was gone for quite a while.  Upon returning - it just became too much for me to hear my husband tell me that he’d gone as far as dumpster diving out of desperation - and failed.  It was time to do something.

When all else fails - Craigslist!!!!

I got busy with sending a plea out there - to find an Angel.  And within less than a day - have found MANY Angels!!

Sometimes - a phonebook - or - Google can’t help you.  Sometimes - it merely takes knowing the land.  And its people.

There are too many good people living around us - with old barns - or - old sawmills that have been handed down to them from their elders that have passed on.  And without fail - somebody knows somebody!

And at this point - I really don’t care if it takes Dwayne until the end of summer to find the materials needed and finish that Christmas present.

First - I already know I WILL end up with a gift that was made by his very hands - out of the deepest love - for me.

Second - It’s been a very healing experience for me - having my phone ringing off the wall - hearing from so many Angels!

To me - that’s part of the Christmas present.  Kinda like the icing on the sugar cookie!

Friday, December 11, 2009

God Has Taken Monica

I received the following in my email today.



Our dear friends and family...It is with a broken heart that I must let you know that our Moni passed to Heaven this morning between 7 and 7:30am.  I was called to the hospital around 5:25am when all the aggressive treatment they were doing to Moni just wasn't working, and they had trouble keeping a blood pressure up on her.  Moni's body just couldn't take any more and with numerous drugs, blood, plasma and loving care by our dear Dr. Laurie Kilkenny and the staff of UPMC Mercy, Jesus came to get Moni and take her HOME.  I was holding Moni's hand and with her when her time here was over.  Our dear friend and sister, Ellen was right next to me along with Dr. Kilkenny.  It seemed to be a VERY PEACEFUL and Loving transfer from this Earth to the pearly gates and we are sure that Moni is laughing and seeing and running around with our Mom and Dad, Grandparents and all her friends.  The funny thing is that a few minutes after Moni was gone, the sun came out and has been out brightly along with blue skies all day.  We were supposed to have snow flurries and clouds, but we think God wanted to bring Moni HOME in her favorite thing...SUNSHINE!!!

I am waiting to hear from the funeral home to make arrangements, but wanted to let you know that Moni is going to be cremated with no visitation or service at this time.  I am planning that maybe down the road I will try to arrange a memorial service for Moni and for our Mom and Dad.  There will also be a request for no flowers for Moni since she didn't want any money spent on them and as much as we love flowers, were both allergic!  All I ask is that you continue to pray that Moni made/makes a peaceful transfer to be with her Lord and that she can now rest in peace and watch over all of us from up above.  As I've said in the past, I have been HONORED to be the one to care for my "Skippy" and I thank the Lord above for allowing me to be with her 24/7 for the last 10+ years!  Don't worry about me, I am just fine and so happy that Moni doesn't have to be in pain, or encumbered in bed anymore!  SHE IS and ALWAYS will be MY HERO!!!!!!!!  Thank you for all the love, prayers and friendship we have been BLESSED to get from you all.
May God Bless You now and always!  Love and Huge Hugs, Heidi
P.S.  I'm sorry that I couldn't call some of you personally, but I just need to try and have some time to myself to regenerate and I didn't have enough cell phone minutes to call.  I ask you to PLEASE NEVER FORGET what a wonderful woman my sister/friend Monica was!  Thank You!!

If anybody ever deserved to get out of bed - and have the joy of walking into a stadium to watch a baseball game on any given day …
Monica was the one - right along with her sister.


Monica                        Heidi

Sweetie... I hope and pray you're finally in a place much better and more joyful than what Planet Hell has been for you and your sister.

You were a wonderful friend.
And you will be forever loved and missed.



Following Doctor's Orders...

Okay - I’m done with winter.

For those of you that don’t pay attention - we have ten more days before the season officially begins.  And we had another morning rising with the temperatures in the teens.

Tried making some banana pudding last night.  Used a recipe belonging to the Neely’s down in Memphis.  Yeah - looks like something went haywire.  I’ve never had pudding from scratch flunk out on me.  The only thing different in the recipe was the usage of 2 cans of Pet evaporated milk and less flour than normally found in the bulk of recipes.  And rich - ack.  I just may be making a trip to pick up more bananas and Vanilla wafers.  I think I’ll stick with the recipe on the box of wafers.

It’s Jennifer’s birthday today.  She’s now 23.  I remember when Britni and Treavor turned 23.

I watched Diane Sawyer’s last morning on GMA this morning.  Two pivotal moments just yanked my heart.  The loyal trip she made beside a bud - when Robin (Roberts) was diagnosed with Cancer.  The reflections on that were absolutely awesome!

But the tears broke loose when twenty-five children stepped out into the studio with their mothers.  They were the babies born after September 11, 2001 - all belonging to parents that perished in the attacks.

Remember when Diane did the photo layout with all the babies and their mothers?

Oh, how they’ve all grown.  Oh, what a panoramic view of how time flies.

Tiger Woods - ain’t he just so special!  Actually - I find him to be one more on a list that seems to be hatching a new trend.  Throughout history - any woman sleeps with more than one man and she’s labeled - slut - whore - pig - trash - skank - sleaze - etc.

Here lately - a list comes to light and keeps building with so-called - *cough* - men - with big names and annual financial values carrying a minimum of six digits.  They’re all sleeping with more than one woman.  And now they wanna give it a name - “ Sex Addiction. “  Pay attention to the fact that I said they wanna give - it - a name.  By all means - that must be done to make - it - sound serious enough to simply - require - somebody else to cure - it - absolutely!

Let us all stand up and applaud our country.

It continues to follow the footsteps of our fore-fathers by pursuing a much better land to live as the free and the brave - with integrity and self-respect!

Honestly - truthfully - George Washington - Abraham Lincoln - and Martin Luther King, Jr. really would be so proud - indeed.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas? It's Down in The Basement.

They say the Knoxville area woke up to temps in the 20’s.  There is about a 4-degree variance here in our area.  That puts us in the ‘teens’ for this morning.

Yesterday was wild.  Waking up to see the sunshine was a surprise after a night loaded with intense rain and winds.  But the winds refused to move on up the road.  Our power went out around 10:30am.  By then - we decided to head to Madisonville and stock up on supplies.

By the time we climbed into the pickup - it was discovered that we had locked all the doors to the house without one of us grabbing house keys.  Thank God for garage door remotes - even those with dead batteries.  Just one more thing for the list of supplies needed.

Had a doctor’s appointment on Monday.  I guess it will take time getting used to having a doctor that actually believes in healing.  He refused to give me anti-depressants.  My blood-work came back showing no reason for such meds.  And I guess he decided it was time to inform me that none of my blood work-ups - ordered by him - have ever come back showing any slightest ‘brain chemical imbalance’.  In essence - he agreed that I have been dealt with - by professionals in my past - by having a pill thrown at me to get me out the door - left to deal with something that no pill can fix.

I do not suffer from depression.  I am no mental case.  I do not have bi-polar tendencies (that one would be for the benefit of three particular grown children - who seem to relish in behaving as children).  I merely need to attend counseling for adjustment disorder - brought on by being stuck in the middle of too many situations - catering to everyone else - and putting myself on the very bottom of the list.

In other words - having too much on my plate and being kicked while I’m down.

Actually - my grown children and ex-husband are a huge part of the problem. 

Beyond that - My husband’s job comes first.  I’m living out in the boonies and only leave the house to go grocery shopping - mostly to extend whatever life may be left in my putt-putt that I refuse to part with because we cannot afford a car note.

This house is never visited by friends or family on a regular basis.

The holidays are the worst - and the loneliest.  Have been that way since moving up here in 2001.

Just like this year - for example.

We cannot go home for the holidays because Dwayne has to work December 26th.  There is no time for us to go down to Texas and wear ourselves out having to go from county to county - town to town - and house to house - visiting everyone else on my side of the family - because they really feel no need to meet us halfway by having any get-together in one place to visit with us after doing our own part of traveling 1700 miles to be with them.


That simply adds up to only one fact that makes sense - they really couldn’t care less about seeing us - at all.

So - why bother?

Dwayne's mother and stepfather are wonderful about letting us stay with them when we go back home for various reasons.  But they live in The Woodlands - in Spring.  All my family and friends live down in Galveston County - almost a 2 hour drive just to get down there.  To cut down on that driving - we'd have to get a hotel room down in Galveston County.  There's just nowhere to stay down there.  Nobody has room.

I did not decorate for Thanksgiving.  I did not cook for Thanksgiving.

The Christmas decorations and the tree are still packed down in the Basement.

I have not been out to do any Christmas shopping.

I haven’t even looked at any of my holiday recipes for Christmas baking - or any Christmas dinner.  Dwayne did manage to get me to load up on ingredients for doing some Christmas baking for the two of us while we were at Wal-Mart yesterday.

All I care to say about that right now is - "The crap's all stacked there in the cabinet.  Have at it."

Far cry from the girl who was so pushy about making the popcorn and stringing the popcorn and fresh cranberries for a garland that just had to be put on the Christmas tree.

For now - next thing on my list is to get the laundry done and get my first counseling appointment scheduled.

I hope the counseling sessions will help me sort all this out so I can breathe and move on with a freshness in my life.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Down Came The Wall!

Casey came over this evening and helped us get the big beam set into place.  Here is the before and after view of things - at the moment.


(Click on photos for larger view)

 Before -


 

 

After -


 

 

 

We have much more work to do.  But this is a huge change!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

First Snow for 2009 - Arrival 'Bout Par

And so it goes - the sight of daybreak here in East Tennessee.



The snow continues to fall and has already doubled.  Mike promises all should be finished passing over by noon - or so.

And once again - I forget to empty the bird bath and rest it sideways on its post.



No need to rush.  I’ll sit tight and wait before heading off to Food Lyon.

For now - the coffee is hot - and snow makes the oatmeal taste even better.

And life should become more tolerable for me - come Monday morning.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Happy Birthday, Daddy - I Miss You

Today is December 3, 2009.  I say that more for myself.  Don’t take it personally - I’m having to write everything down these days.  Today holds only one item on a count of many slashings that my heart is taking at this time.

Anyway - as always - I have to clarify from the beginning - I was raised by my step-father from the time I was 16 months old.  I was never able/allowed to have any kind of relationship with my birth father until I was already 30 years old.  That’s when both - my mother and birth father reunited and remarried.

My step-father died just after I turned 20 years old.  But he was the one that raised me for the majority of my life.  The impression made on me all those years has put me in an awkward position with some folks.  It’s a very uncomfortable place to be.  But the truth remains.  And my best possible way I’ve managed to find for explaining my descriptions for both men are this.  I refer to my stepfather as my “Daddy”.  And I refer to my birth father as my “father”.

Kinda like the way we all call our earthly fathers Daddy - and refer to God as our Father…. I guess.  I dunno.

Anyway - today would have been my Daddy’s 71st Birthday.  These birthdays are never easy for me - not since his passing.  Time will soon be coming to mark the 30th anniversary of his death.  And yet - it still feels like it only happened yesterday.  Inside - I still feel like that 20 year old that was in no way near ready enough to lose her daddy.

It’s so mind-blowing for me to even consider he would be turning 71 years old today.  First thing that crosses my mind is remembering my Grandma Casteel being that same age.  I cannot even imagine what my daddy look like today.  Combined - both thoughts simply intrigue me.

Oddly enough - the only picture I have of my Daddy is kept in my mind.  I dunno.  I guess all the pictures went to everyone else when all his belongings were spread out amongst family - and such.  I never wanted any of his belongings.  In fact - my Grandma Casteel had to call me several times and beg me to come to the house.  It was important to her - that “the kids get to have what they want of his, first.”  I’ve never been much of a materialistic kind of person.  And I remember looking at all his belongings.  I remember the emotion I could feel inside - like it was locked up in a cell and banging on the bars to be set free.  It was anger.

No - I never wanted any of his belongings.  I wanted my Daddy.  And I could feel that any of those belongings would only give me anger - not what I wanted - and really needed.

But - I do have something that I have been able to hold on to since the day he was taken from us.  My Daddy LOVED Willie Nelson.  Willie stood right next to Merle Haggard - B.B. King - Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland - The Righteous Brothers.  I can remember him teaching me to dance to the music by  B.B. King and Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland - standing on his feet when I was only 6 years old - in the living room on Kingston Drive in Texas City!

Today - I tell people - “Some of my best times spent with my Daddy were in the bathroom!”  I dunno - it’s funny to sit and watch the strange looks on their faces show up.  Makes me laugh.  And I can just hear my Daddy laugh about that!

That man spent more time primping in a bathroom - ten times more than any teenage girl.  And he didn’t just fix his hair and shave.  He sculpted.  It all had to be perfect - not one hair out of place - not one uneven line in that beard and goatee.  He always had me roll his sleeves up on his dress shirts - said I always did it just the way he liked them to be cuffed - about two inches from the top of his hands.

And all this - just to go out and get drunk - which led to going to jail on many occasions.  If he were a coin - this would be the backside of him that would break hearts of everyone that ever knew him.  Cold sober - the man would give you the shirt off his back.  Beer number 3 - and he’d forget all about being only 5’ 4” and 138lbs.

But our times in the bathroom included my joy received from sittin’ on the toilet - listening to him sing while he shaved and - sculpted - his vain self!  Oh, how he could sing!

About that thing I’ve always held on to for keeping him with me -  I guess you could say there’s two things.

Those who knew my Daddy would probably agree with me on this one.  When I look deeply into the face of Willie Nelson - watch his facial expressions - the way he moves - I feel like I’m looking at my Daddy.  Minus the long hair - those two could pass as twins.  It’s a bit freaky.

And then - there’s one particular song that I have always held on to - my special message to my Daddy.

And it goes just like - this.




Happy Birthday, Daddy.  I love you.
I sure do need you right now.
And I sure do miss you.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Chilly Weather... Damp Wood... Warm Folks

Woke up this morning to beautiful sunshine and - ice!

Oh, yes.  And actually - the temps 'jumped' up to 30* once the sun came out.

Thank God - I remembered that we needed to plug in the truck!  And fog came stomping through as soon as the sun rose above the treetops.  It's been a day for filling up a pot to brew some good ole' homemade soup!!

Dwayne had breakfast and headed over to one of the sawmills he located on www.whitepages.com.  He decided to go ahead and pick up two posts - rather than only one - so they'd look alike.  God knows - we can always find something to do with posts around here.  Anyway - the trip turned out to be like a Rockwell scene.

First thing anyone said when he walked inside was, "Care ta' have some lunch with us?"

Old building - old - really old equipment - folks gathered around an old table and sittin' on whatever's flat enough to sit upon and in sight - having homemade sandwiches and sides!  And the first thing on their mind when a first-time customer walks inside is - sharing their lunch with a newcomer.

THAT is what we love about living in East Tennessee more than anything else!  Dwayne wasn't hungry - turned it down - but thanked them just as much as if he had gone ahead and taken 'em up on their offer.

And among the need for sharing all those details with me after he got back home - he made me go out and look at the posts.  "They've got some really, really old equipment.  But they must have one really good saw.  Look how square and straight those things are!"

It was a great experience for Dwayne!  Good people doing fair business with their customers.  He would have paid at least thirty-percent more for lesser quality - had he gone to one of the chains.  In times like these - we'd rather do business with all our local folks.

So - here he is - out on the back porch putting the sander to the posts.  They won't be sanded down completely smooth.  He's leaving a little there for character.


(click on the photo for a larger view)

I hope it makes him think about the folks at that sawmill every time he looks at them inside the house.

I think it'll make him smile - quite often!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Why Do We Like So Much Wood?

Two layouts within a 24-hour period.  Well… if you were on this end - it would make a great deal of sense to you.  And I will attempt to explain - along with photos - down the line.

I’ve been falling way behind on my digital scrap booking.  Yes - my free time has been leaning over into FaceBook.  Those games are addictive.  And - If you participate in even one game - you’re just as guilty!  So - keep your trap shut!

But I have managed to take photos whenever possible.  If nothing else - keep a camera locked and loaded!  And thank God for those micro-chips you can put inside the digital cameras.  I can remove the chip and slide it right into a drive on my tower and - sanity saved - despite my digi being on its deathbed.  Poor thing ended up taking two fatal falls.  But I have to admit - the thing has given it’s due expectations for the cost and length of time in my hands!

And so it goes - one of the shots I managed to get from off the back porch for this fall season’s blanket of color that arrived - almost overnight - before departing nearly as quickly.


(click on photos for larger view)
Journaling -
"October 30, 2009 - We missed our annual trip to Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains to photograph all the beautiful 'Fall Color' that returns each year.  Instead - We count our blessings and feel thankful for all the 'Colorful Show' that arrived all around our home!"

Multiple Kits Used -
Kimberly’s UBI Abundant Fall Element Pack 3 by Kimberly Stewart

Kimberly’s UBI Abundant Fall Paper Pack 1 by Kimberly Stewart

Autumn Blessings by Kimberly Stewart


Photo Frame -
Divergent Frames Pack by Cathy Bretz

Alpha -
Worn Plaid by Kimberly Stewart

Fonts -
Rockwell - Pristina

I’m not the only one feeling the frayed ends on every nerve in the body around here.  Talk to the dog and the cat!  The noise level around here has been somewhat - wacked.

Dwayne continues on the work to remove the wall between our living room and kitchen.  The progress has been wonderful.  Some would cringe to look at the sights from the following photos.  However - I do declare - the mess has been cleaned up in as much as one would consider the one doing the cleaning to be somewhat - anal retentive.  In other words - it looked like absolute HELL around here!  And my husband drives us all crazy with the time he spends running that shop vacuum!

Do NOT misunderstand me.  God knows - I will be forever and eternally grateful and appreciative to my husband for all his efforts.  He never ceases to find ways that make me feel like the proudest wife on this earth!  More than anything - it’s simply a case of all the dreaded chaos and mayhem that comes naturally with any project falling under the definitions of the word - remodel.

And - RE - model it has been.  Going in to tear out someone else’s ignorant efforts - NEVER easy - ALWAYS reason for keeping ample supply of Tylenol in the bathroom cabinet - and Budweiser Light in the fridge.


Check out the light spot between the framing and the cabinet.
Yeah - we get to refinish all the floors, as well.
How cool is that!!
NOT.

The entire wall is actually gone now.  Dwayne constructed a supporting frame off to the side of where the original wall existed.  This was necessary in order to go in and put the flooring in - because it was never done so during the original construction of the house.  At the same time - Dwayne had to remove all the electrical and re-route that.  And then came tearing out the top of the original wall-framing.  That was not pretty.  That brought on a lot of noise - and it was not coming from any shop vacuum!  Okay… half the noise came from a hammer.  Guess where the other half came from.  Yyyyeaaaahhh - this was no place for children during that evening.

Days of relishing over having all this wood from the wall that could be turned over and use for flooring - came to an end when joy turned into raging frustration.  Things toe-nailed when they should  not have been.  They went cheap on stretching the use of glue for holding the flooring down - but just enough to mess with pulling strips out without cracking those on each side and causing more flooring to be removed.  And of course - use of the wrong type of nails always helps.


Umm... can you see the floor jack - in front of the cabinet?

The project has reached the point where two 8”x8” posts are needed from the sawmill - for supporting that huge post you see laying on the floor there - off to the left.  Okay - well... you can see it better in the photo above.  Anyway - It waits - for the rain to take a break.  Once the two vertical posts are set into place - that post on the floor will require additional manly help for installing it across the ceiling as the main beam support.

In the meantime - I get to enjoy such things as having my house invaded by various - tools.


THIS is where the Christmas tree is supposed to go.

I’m not even wanting to decorate for Christmas this year.  Make more sense now?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Fall Sadness

Oh, this is good.

"She changes her blog to a Christmas theme and THEN she finally gets around to posting a fall themed layout!"

Yeah, I know.  I know.  Been one of those kinds of months.  Ya' know?  Kinda makes me wonder if I should be wishing I could go back to pre-hyserectomy times.

Wait a minute....  Ohhhh, HELL no.

It's late - I've lagged.  And I need to get a pot of beans soaking.  So here goes for now.  I'm so happy with this layout that I couldn't wait to get it posted.

(click on the photo for larger view)


Journaling -
"God help me.  But I despise winter.  And I'm not alone.  Our wonderful - lovable - lover of life - Zucker."

"I never knew exactly how much I was dreading the oncoming winter season - until I had the moment of this vision.  Oh, how he loves to run.  How he loves to be outside for hours - and hours.  Becoming absolutely filthy - lathering with sweat - drinking up the water as long as somebody will fill the bowl - smelling worse than a dirty sock.  Every bit of it puts him in his glory of happiness."

"It's as if he has come to recognize when the days of bitter coldness are approaching.  And one can't help wondering what he's thinking as he sits and stares out the window - watching the leaves begin to turn color and fall."

It seems Blogger has come up with a new toy here.  If you hover your mouse over the names of the kit and the Word Art... ya' just might get lucky and find it changes color!  And that means.... it's linked to help you find the products... Voila!!

Kit -
Autumn Country Dream by Cari Lopez
at www.scrapbook-elements.com

Word Art -
Abundant Harvest (U.B.I. Oct.-2009) by Mikki Livanos
at www.scrapbook-elements.com

Font - Dubiel (set in Bold)

Okay... I'll write more later.  Time to go get the beans soaking!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"Are You Cutting Back For The Holidays?"

WBIR-TV in Knoxville has been posting a ‘Question of The Day’ over at their website, recently.  At times - it has been amazing to see the keyboard rage that would ignite in discussions that would ensue - all over one very simple question.

As time has come and gone - I’ve watched the tone of various discussions in that little pocket at the website.  Some would wonder where all the tension is coming from.  Most would give those few a good look that would need not one single word - but ask plenty…. “Where have you been, Moron?”  And when all else fails - just wait for the holiday season to arrive.  The truth always exposes itself at that time - without failure.

One of the questions posed this week at the website asked if folks were planning on cutting back on their spending for the holidays this year.  As I just said - the truth always exposes itself this time of year.  This particular question opened the flood gate.

The discussion was absolutely stunning.  The rage was ever so present.  However - there was no battle.  If anything to compare - it was like the size and presence of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  Every soul participating fell into perfect sync and harmony with the next.  And we all found ourselves standing - together - in agreement - and sharing support.

What developed in that discussion was a dose of medicine that should be distributed all across this nation during this holiday season.  I’m bringing my bottle here to share with those that come to read.  And I am putting my faith in God to use this post - bringing folks that really need this for support.  For what I found in that discussion - was a township of minds and hearts that feel exactly the same as I.  And it can only mean there are more feeling the same.  So - here goes.

Dwayne and I are not into the so-called Christmas Spirit for 2009.  In fact - we want no part of the 2009 Christmas Spirit.   Why?  Because we can see how Christmas has been hijacked by the Retail World.  Let me explain further.

While working on tearing out the wall between the kitchen and living room - we had the television on.  Both of us were listening to all the commercials flooding the air waves from all the retail sector with such a disgusting demeanor and message.  The commercialism - “You must have this” - “Everything is just Fine” - “Savings!  Savings!” (Lie) - “You can’t have a spectacular Christmas without this!”… *COUGH* - *GAG*

All this crap on television from all the retail sector trying to push this lie to us all that - everything is just fine - and we need to go ahead and buy their crap - and we must buy this and that for gifts to give our friends and family.  All these ads just filled with pretending there is absolutely nothing terrible going on in this country!  And each one having a punch line full of guilt that we should carry if we don’t fall in line and be the good little sheep that the common man is being expected to become in this country - while  bending over and taking it with a smile!

Dwayne and I make for a perfect example of a great scenario for why nobody should be falling into this nasty trap.  It’s the reason why everybody should choose to stand together and give only one gift to anyone this year -  and that would be - Giving the Bird to Commerce in this country.

We live in East Tennessee - without any of our family.  All our family lives elsewhere - in other states.

Here’s what we face each year when we prepare to ship gifts for Christmas.  The ridiculous prices that have been jacked up on everything.  The state of Tennessee has a sales tax of NINE ( 9 ) percent.  All the shipping materials.  All the gift wrapping supplies.  And then - all the shipping costs that have been jacked sky-high.

You see what’s going on here?  You see who is benefiting?  When you do the math - by far - it’s not even the person receiving the damn gift!  And the birth of Jesus has just been used - to suck us right in!!!

Not happening!  Not in this household.

Dwayne and I will not be shipping any Christmas packages out to anyone but our Granddaughter - Trinity - the only grandchild with parents smart enough - wise enough - loving enough - and understanding enough - to allow us to be grandparents!

We have decided on a different kind of gift to give all our loved ones - and we are asking the same from them.  We will be making donations to various charities - in our area - helping those going through Hell from all this destruction being done to our economy.  And when possible - names of family and friends will be attached to those gifts.

When you go to the grocery stores - drop what you can into the donations kitty for whatever charities they are assisting.

When you go to the Malls - DO NOT come to the exit without making sure you have a few dollars to put into the red kettles for the Salvation Army.

Go to your local Utility Companies.  Ask the Customer Service Reps to pull up any Delinquent Account and offer to pay that bill - to keep a family from going without heat - electricity - or water.  (We’re allowed to send donations in with our electric bills -year round - here in the state of Tennessee!)

Having a Christmas Party at your house - or - where you work?  Have everyone bring a Christmas gift to give to Toys for Tots or a local charity.

Have a Cookie Exchange at your house!  Have everyone bring non-perishable food items to be taken to a local pantry.

The point is this.  The situation in this country has become stupid.  That’s just all there is to the truth and reality.  And we have so-called human beings in this country - hiding behind various commerce entities - behaving like nothing less than thugs with a bunch of money - confused dispositions - and selfish assumptions that they can name their price and screw us all they want - for any reason - using any means to accomplish that - using our own friends and family to manipulate us with guilt trips!

In reality - they’re such low-life trash that THEY’LL EVEN USE CHRISTMAS TO TO THAT!!!

Dwayne and I will not fill the deep pockets of these sick souls - especially while they continue to destroy the lives of families by cutting jobs for the sake of profits - and selfish, greedy shareholders.  We will not allow them to use our friends and family as a means to suck us in - nor will we allow them to manipulate us with guilt trips.

We have friends and family in worse financial shape than us.  Why should we allow ourselves to be sucked into all that - to send gifts to those we love - and only end up making them feel shoved into guilt for not sending us gifts - or - shoved into feeling they have to do something they cannot truly financially afford to put themselves through?

Not happening!!!  We’re asking all our friends and family to keep Christmas real this year - celebrate with those right there beside you.  Keep it simple - put Christmas back in your heart - keep it out of your wallets.

Remove Christmas from the deep pockets of the Greedy Retail Sector in this country!

If you get any of this - if you agree with any of this - I ask one favor of you.

Send the link for this page to those you care about.  There are too many of us feeling the same way.  I have already discovered it to be fact - from only one discussion in one small part of this country.


"You must take personal responsibility.
You cannot change the circumstances,
the seasons, or the wind, but
you can change yourself."
- Jim Rohn

BUT....

Once you take personal responsibility and you change yourself - all else usually steps back into proper line with willingness to be fair.




Monday, November 23, 2009

Holes in the House and ... Bang... Bang... Bang!

Dwayne has put a hole in our house.  And right now - our house looks like absolute Hell!  Think I’m kiddin’?  The coffee pot’s runnin’ in the front bathroom - this very moment!

I’d show you what I’m talking about - but - my digital camera died.  All I have for the moment is my Minolta 35mm that shoots processing film.  But I am taking those pictures!  Oh - Don’t you worry ‘bout that!  Yeah - this mess is gonna be a Kodak moment.  No doubt about that.

Dwayne has knocked out the wall between our kitchen and living room.  All that stands for the moment is the stud framing.  We found four rough-cut 8” posts out in the barn - but we’re only able to use two of those.  Guess they’ve been out there since this house was built.  Termites managed to get to the other two posts.  We’ll have to go buy two more posts for the support beams we’re putting in place of the wall.  Everything will become one great room.  There’s more light inside this house - already!

Due to weather conditions - we had to forego the idea of power washing and sealing the posts as they are.  Instead - Dwayne did some sanding to a certain point - leaving some of the character to the posts that will also add to the dimension of texture inside the house.

But the fun part came when it was time to carry the damn thing inside the house.  First one to go in is the cross beam.  Booger was long and 3-man heavy!  And we didn’t have three men.  Found something that prolly worked better.  One of my kitchen rugs - flipped upside down!  LOL  Set one end of the post on the rug - while Dwayne pushed it around like a kitchen broom!  I was down on my hands and knees chasing the rested end - shoving it into the right direction until we got it located where we want it for now.  Saved us about five more minutes of three drunks thinking about grabbing that fifth beer just as soon as they’d be laying that puppy down!

I did get this shot with the camera before it took its last breath.  We actually found insulation between the studs.  Dwayne had already removed and taken it all down into the basement before this shot was taken.

(click on the photo)



At this moment - all the slats on the kitchen side are now down in the basement.  All the electrical wiring is gone.  And Dwayne is now resetting the wiring in the proper places - where it should have been brought up - at the exterior wall.  So far - we see only two rows of slats in the floor and the ceiling that will need to be replaced.

The big question is - how far will we get before Christmas?  LOL

Friday, November 6, 2009

Major Surprise of the Day - Take a Look!

Besides all the other - stuff - that has been going on with me, lately… this thing about turning 50 years old has managed to embed itself into the mix.  Some of it good - some of it not so good.  Some of it better than most of all the other - stuff.  And - that’s pretty bad.  LOL

Seems like my teenage years were the common period of - Rebellion.  But this thing about turning a half-century has become something I wasn’t even expecting out of myself.  For me - some would say it’s beginning to move way beyond my years of teenage rebellion - more like - a Revolt!  And I’m not sure - but I think it was AARP’s punctuality with getting all their crap to me SIX WEEKS before I even dealt with the official date.  That just set me off.

I’m not ready for any rocking chair.  I still feel like I’m only 30 years old - on the inside.  Too bad so many under the age of 40 have trouble even considering that could be possible.  But - that’s just fine!  All I can say is this.  Baby - your day is coming!  ;)~

Rather than look at life on the downside of things - I’ve chosen to take advantage of my own realities and make the best of them.   The choices I make today have me doing better than all you girly girls that are still capable of bearing children.  Check this out.

I never went through depression over having to have a hysterectomy.  Instead - I was absolutely thrilled over thoughts about how much I was going to enjoy saving money every month - and feeling no more cramps all the way down to my knees!

I decided to shoot for a huge goal to celebrate my 50th Birthday this year.  I quit smoking.  Do you have any idea how much money I’m saving by doing that, as well?  A carton has reached $50.00 here!  And we were going through a carton each week - at the least!

Well - the thrill of saving money by becoming an old nag is beginning to grow into a new habit for me.  It was costing me $100.00 each time I went in to ‘have my roots dealt with’ when my hair was only shoulder length.  My last posted photo shows how long it has become since then.

I started doing some research on the Internet.  Sure enough - I found quite a few articles that turned out to be quite interesting!  Seems there’s a new trend coming for women with gray hair showing up.  They have decided to embrace with grace - and save some damn money!!!!  I would imagine the current economic situation in this country is nothing but a wonderful boost of support in such a decision for many - many others!  By the way - women are not the only ones doing this!!  And with all that support I found on the Internet -

Within the past 36 hours I have gone from this -




To this!



The best part is -

I actually look like a member of the family now!  I look just like Dwayne and Zucker!

This was a HUGE jump off of a cliff for me.  And I don't think I could have gotten through it without the help of Susan Garner - Stylist at Headlines Salon in Loudon, Tennessee!  Slowly - but surely - I'm going back to my old wishes for wanting to age with grace.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Cold and Dead... and Winter's Not Even Here, Yet

I just haven’t been doing too well for a while now.  I’m not in a very good place.  For a time - I couldn’t seem to put my finger on the problem.  But I think I’m beginning to sort things out enough to rule out Depression.

If anything - Disappointment would be a much better description.  And quite honestly - it sits beside the word Anger - hand in hand - in several matters.


I'm really angry with the way too many people have lost their focus on being the best they can be - at being caring people toward others.


I'm angry because God won't go ahead and allow the miracles to come for my friend - Monica - like... letting her just jump out of bed and enjoy having life back in her hands and feeling perfectly wonderful.  God KNOWS she deserves that so much more than a LOT of other people in this world.



I'm disappointed in people not caring about what really matters in life - instead of caring about screwing over others.

They say it takes twenty-one days to break a habit.  Well - I quit smoking on September 27, 2009 - two days before my 50th birthday.  I’m now able to proudly claim I was smoke-free on my 50th birthday.  I count myself blessed for that thought even crossing my mind.  But all the other things going on haven’t really given any justice or fair opportunity to the twenty-one day claim in this case.  I’m no longer on the Chantix.  But that craving is still there.


And let Spite be the last thing lingering - to become the incentive I will use that will keep me from lighting up - ever again.  I WILL win this one.

I’ve decided to quit fighting with coloring my hair.  I've decided that it is MY hair.  I'm the one that has to fight with the blow-dryer and the curling irons.  I get to choose the new style.


I had to order my granddaughter's birthday present over the Internet and have it shipped directly to her.  She's turning 2-years-old and lives in Texas.  That hurts.  It won't have any birthday wrapping paper on it when she gets it.  It won't have one of those funny bows with - stuff - all around it - like I once was able to enjoy doing.  Just like every day of her life since the day she was born - I won't be able to have a day with a moment when I look at her and just soak in the beauty of seeing her smile - or say something cute.

But - at the very least - I can be grateful that her mommy has the wonderful heart that SHE has - and has no problems with letting me be a grandma.

Dwayne and I have decided we’re just gonna go have a Turkey dinner at some restaurant in Knoxville on Saturday - after Thanksgiving.  He has to work.

I’ve decided I’m not gonna dive into all the Holiday baking like I’ve been doing in the past.

We already gave up on trying to plant any spring bulbs or getting any fall clean-up done around the yard.

Maybe things will be better next year.

Maybe I’ll be able to tap in with folks who might appreciate what I CAN do.  And it will help me accomplish what I wish I COULD do.





For now - at the very least - I can count on going to work on my farms at Facebook to help me get my mind off of wanting that cigarette.

Monday, October 12, 2009

PhotoShop7 - Please Help Heal My Wounds

It’s amazing how life can demand your attention enough that the world is totally unaware that your whole being exists in a state of struggling to keep from crumbling. I tend to find something else as overwhelming - a challenge - for redirecting my attention until I can manage to carry on. My help at this moment - I dove into my first project completed with PhotoShop Elements7. I’ve had the program for over a year now. The Dinosaur we had for a computer was too - tiny - for installing the program. It was the first to be installed into my new computer that Dwayne just bought me for my 50th birthday. The first thing I can say about this program is - “Thank God for YouTube.com.” Most likely - I’d still be sitting here screaming like a Bantam without all the helpful video classes I’ve found there - as well as a few other places. Anyway - here’s the first project. Kit - “ Gardening “ by Kimberly Stewart at www.scrapbook-elements.com Font - Garamound

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Seasons Change - As Do Habits - Neither Come Easy

Yes - Autumn has arrived here in East Tennessee. The leaves are beginning to turn color - just slightly. Some are beginning to fall a little before their time. Not sure what to think of that. And the spring rains seem to be returning with unfinished business! Looks like we had quite a storm come through last night. I see remains of two small puddles on our back deck porch.
The mowing has slowed - when we get the chance! But the wild onions have returned - something I’m just never anxious to see. They taunt me. That dreaded winter weather is too close into the future - as far as I’m concerned. We’re told November will be the month to watch. The amount of frosts we have will determine how many snows we receive. I think the eeriest of all the mountain folklore has been the claims regarding all the premature falling leaves. Story has it that they forewarn of a very hard winter. I guess that remains to be seen this year. But never call me to be one for ignoring any wisdom of any kind that has lived before me - well, the older I became, anyway! Dwayne and I are working on that list and preparing for worst-case scenario - regardless! We have begun with our trips to Home Depot once each round of days off. This first trip included insulation for a few windows and some R-30 insulation for the basement. We’ll be picking up five rolls of that each trip. With the need for delegating time to other tasks on the list - we figured the time for installing five every round of days off would suffice. Should we finish up the remaining tasks beforehand - well, I guess we’ll just finish off with installing the R-30 insulation! My husband was not a very happy camper after coming through the cashier’s line at the grocery store this week. I thought I may have a problem on my hands at one point - right in the middle of shopping. Pretty bad when the prices can stir up his anger. And then I remembered - he stopped taking the Chantix - and hasn’t had a cigarette - still. Was it all anger? Or - could a bit of lunacy be dancing along with? LOL By the time we had made it home and we were started into putting groceries away - “I don’t care what you think - I’m going out here and having a cigarette!” Well - he went outside - onto the back deck porch - with a cigarette - a lighter - and the dog. After giving him a few minutes I opened the door and stuck my head outside - just to check on him. I wish I’d had my camera. He was standing at the far end of the porch with this beet-red face and slight grin - looking down toward the floor. You know - that look that just reels the words, “Okay - you caught me…” Now - Dwayne is standing almost directly in the very middle of the far end banister. But - the cigarette burns alone with itself - wedged within a space created through time by weatherization between the banister and the corner post. Approximately three feet of space is blanketed by the smoke coming from the cigarette - toward Dwayne. “Dwayne - what are you doing?” “I’m just looking at it.”
It took me twice as long to finish putting away groceries. I was laughing so much that I grabbed paper towels (closest thing to me) to save time by not making a few trips to the bathroom for tissue. The forever ‘thinking ahead’ - ‘doing the math’ - multi-tasking - wife and mother. It never ends.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Turning 50 Doesn't Feel That Bad!

Over the past few weeks Dwayne and I have been fairly busy. We gave time to preparing for a visit from his mother and step-father. They came to spend about a week with us and brought their new puppy - a 40lb. Golden Retriever they adopted from an animal Rescue. That visit fell in line with the last week of vacation time Dwayne took with hopes of finishing all the power washing and sealing of the house. Just as we feared - all but three days of the time off was slammed with rain. It really put a dent in the wishes for both opportunities. And we have conceded. The rest of the house will not be finished until next year - most likely. The folks brought wonderful gifts! They stopped off in Louisiana and picked up fresh bay shrimp and crawdads - something both, Dwayne and I miss about the south to no end! Wayne and Charlotte brought Austin up that Saturday - got to meet Dave and Sue before we all enjoyed a really nice meal! Come the very morning they were leaving to head toward Virginia for a visit with Dwayne’s sister and her husband - I intended to make my biscuits and gravy for everyone. While down in the basement searching for bacon in the freezer - I ended up dropping an entire frozen slab of pork ribs - sideways - across toes of my left foot. Broke my big toe and bruised the second toe fairly well. I’ve learned one thing from that incident. Don’t even bother asking questions or talking to a person after they’ve just experienced that shocking level of pain. Just get them to a safe spot to get rested and get them an ice bag - possibly a really stiff drink. I wanted to leave my body. I wanted somebody to cut off my foot. And I wanted to beat the hell out of my loving husband when he got in my face with questions and sawed-off remarks! Even the person who loves you most is capable of such things when they are experiencing a pain that can make them feel they’d rather be going through delivery of a 12lb. baby with no meds at that very moment! Anyways - I’m finally getting to where I can motivate around the house quite a bit now. I’ve only found one pair of shoes comfortable enough to wear. Dwayne and I celebrated our 8th Wedding Anniversary on September 11th of this year! We had a wonderful dinner at Angelo’s in Lenoir City. Very rarely do we ever get a chance to actually go out for any fun. What some would consider a “Girls Night Out” at the clubs is far from my lucky ventures to the grocery store and post office twice a month - Home Depot every once in a while. But that’s as close as I get to the same feeling of excitement. LOL This dinner out with my husband was like a real date! That’s something we both haven’t felt in such a long time - much too long. I just reached my 50th Birthday. Of course - Dwayne had to work. It came and went fairly quietly - with the exception of so many Birthday wishes I received from friends and loved ones at FaceBook! However - Hubby came through like a Knight! He took me to BestBuy for a new computer - a monster of a computer - one that can handle all my digital scrap booking and my gaming at FaceBook! I can even watch movies! But the one chosen wasn’t in stock. So - it was ordered for us and delivered to the house. My new toy arrived yesterday! Naturally - the UPS guy shows up just as Dwayne’s pulling out the driveway to head toward the hangar. But I opened the box to make sure all the parts were there. Got to looking at the Quick Guide. All I needed to do was plug everything in and turn it on! No inner-components to install! Yayyy! I had it up and running by around 8:30pm after all the initial uploading and installing that the system had to handle. I’ve already installed my PhotoShop Elements program for my digital scrap booking. Spent some time watching a couple of the tutorial videos. And I’m looking forward to learning how to use this program for all the many, many new things I wanna learn how to do in graphics for my layouts! For now - I’m spending time becoming more familiar with this computer. Not much else I can do for the moment. Dwayne is sleeping. And the morning arrived with - more rain.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Ever Wish You Could Erase Time?

Yesterday was an absolutely exhausting day for Dwayne and me – which kinda put the icing on the cake for what turned out to be a fairly horrible week of events taking place. It had to be one of those – “If it’s not one thing it’s another…” without a doubt. We’ve been saddened – along with so many other folks all across this country – by the declining health of a dear friend – Monica. Even in the middle of all the other heartbreaking events we’ve experienced in our lives over the past week – emotions and worries have held fast at the forefront of our minds and hearts with constant prayers for Monica and Heidi. This world will never find two sisters as bonded and loving toward each other. They have been the truest sense of the word ‘Family’ and lived as such a wonderful example for so many of us caught in the net of all the antics in this crazy world. My life-long wonderful friend – Debbie – ended up missing a milestone reached by her son’s surprise 30th Birthday party – due to coming down with the flu. As if that weren’t enough – she and Bud lost their beloved dog Tasha the day following. They had eleven years of pure enjoyment with her as a part of their family. After bending over backwards to help our now 22 year old daughter, Jennifer, – having not even given second thought – our dear friends – Wayne and Charlotte – were handed the most disrespecting and hurtful blow from pure lack of appreciation and consideration. It was enough that it became necessary for them to leave her no option but to find another place to live. The incident played the heaviest role in Charlotte having to leave work the day after the incident and come home to Wayne – for the first time ever. The entire family remained at home the next day – following an evening at the Emergency Room at Blount Memorial Hospital. This remains a heated issue in our household at this time – enough that it’s impossible for me to even talk about or share while maintaining control over my anger. If I had to find one word to describe how I feel about the choices my daughter has made – that word is – Betrayed. Yesterday was planned to be a day for getting more work done on the house and – grocery shopping – laundry – as well as a few other extra side jobs we wanted to tend to. Just wasn’t in the cards. We spent almost five hours helping three officers with Loudon County Animal Control load a shocking surprise from our hay pasture. One of the officers was under the impression she had finally found the mare – colt – and donkey that others had called in three weeks prior. They had been seen all the way up near Hwy. 72. The officers had not been able to find them and gave up after several hours. The shock came when we all discovered the mare was no mare. It was a Stallion. And he was good-natured so much it would blow your mind. But all the trouble came from obvious signs he had never been loaded onto a trailer. Since February of this year we have noticed some discouraging issues going on pertaining to ten horses and a donkey in the pasture owned by neighbors next to our property. Apparently – there was a relationship that split up. The children were taken. But neither party ever made the effort to make sure the animals were properly cared for. And there have been some really strange things going on over there – to say the very least. Zucker woke up yesterday morning and jumped into full alert without stopping until Dwayne got out of bed to look out the windows. We had three of the neighbor’s animals on our property near the barn – where there is no secure fencing. Fortunately – Terry had left the gate to the hay field open. Eventually – all three headed for the hay field and I was able to get the gate closed before going through the remaining tasks of helping these animals. These animals had received no Vet care. What continues to worry me is – we can’t figure out what happened to the other eight animals. There has never been activity measuring up to any of the animals being carried out by trailer. The only access to the pasture is a dirt road on the other side of the gully of trees between the two properties. The pot-holes on that road provide a great alarm to anything accessing. This guy and his wife had been hiding vehicles back there – obviously for avoiding repossession – since before Christmas. Water was being carried up to the animals in a tank loaded on the back of his pickup. Not only has the tank been missing from his pickup for quite a while – he has rarely even gone up to the pasture anymore – and usually at night. The sounds we’ve heard were as if he was dumping scrap metal. I managed to get a photo taken before the officers showed up. Fonts- Edmonds Fenice BT

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Full Moons and Fussin'...

Spent the second half of the day mowing, yesterday. Seems to be the number one chore lately – next to – washing dishes. LOL Just kidding. Hehh… anyway. By the time I figured I better head out there to take care of that – I had ticked off one Boss Dog of The House. It had been a morning filled with the two of us going at it! I don’t think I’ve seen so much snapping going on between the two of us before. I guess that Honeymoon period really is over. I dunno. He just doesn’t understand. There are some things that just must be taken care of in life. And if you lag – problems just build up like a pile at the dump. And the next thing ya’ know – it’s a trip to the doctor. I mean – that’s just common sense. Right? Okay – so how many still think I’m talking about Dwayne? LOL Check this out! (click on photo for larger view) Yeah… It was around 1:30am this morning before I realized how late I’d stayed up to finish this. But that face was just worth it! Kit - "Life is Ruff" created by Digilicious Designs by Athena Gray at Digital Design Den Fonts- Bentley Coldbringer KG CongressT Here's a peek at Athena's kit!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

*Sigh...* What a Wonderful Day It Was!

If I had remembered to retrieve my charger from the guest bedroom last night - I could have shown you my breakfast for this morning.

It was sinful.  It was homemade pumpkin custard pie - with a pile of whipped cream - from the carton of heavy whipping cream - that I whipped myself.

And it was absolutely delicious!  Went very well with my coffee.

My defense - I never had to turn on one single stove burner.  I was being cost efficient!  Alright - go ahead and call me a tree-hugger.  If you must.

Actually - I’d rather save the power for the heaters in the house.  Baby - it’s cold outside!  Took Zucker out this morning to do his daily routine and found frost standing on top of frost!

I dunno - the ground was too cold?

Anyway - I also found the Cummins Diesel in our Dodge Ram 4x4 - ahem - not plugged into the outside receptacle.  Grrrrr………   The layer of ice and mud had that poor baby fitting in with any filthy dog ever found.  Time for the toy to be taken to the car wash!

Rewind back to Christmas Day.

Our dinner was just wonderful!  Very small and intimate.  We had baked Turkey Breast - Lima Beans - Ree’s recipe for twice-baked potatoes (minus the skins and tossed into a casserole dish) - my special recipe for Holiday Mashed Butternut Squash - homemade pumpkin custard pie - and 2007 Tennessee Red Muscadine wine from Tennessee Valley Winery!

Red wine - with turkey?

I love being a rebel when it comes to food.  I drink what I like!  I can do that.  I’m over the age of 40 - and I can do as I darn well please!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Look at My Gorgeous Christmas Present !!!

Good morning and Merry Christmas, everyone!

I just have to share photos of the Christmas present my husband made for me this year!!!

Now - he did not get to finish - yet.  But you'll see why in the photos!


 



My husband made my Mission-style Farm Table for our Dining Room!  He made this by hand - with reclaimed lumber - from our old tobacco barn that has been on our property and was built June, 1920.

The table as is - stands 5' long.  The two slots you see on the end of the table will hold two arms that will support a leaf.  This is done on both ends.  The table will extend out to 8' long with the two leafs.


Guess where the two leafs will be stored!


See the two pegs/handles on each end?  They slide toward the inside.  He carved them by hand.  They slide into the legs for securing that door... yes... it's a door!


The door falls down to expose this pocket under the table top - storage area for the two leafs!  How cool is that!


Isn't it gorgeous!

You cannot find solid oak lumber from trees cut fresh today that have all the incredible character embedded.  The worm knots - the burl - the natural cracks and crannies.  It's absolutely gorgeous!

By this morning the table was still waiting for drying before another coat of sealant goes on.  The two leafs will be made next.
After that - you should see the two Captain's Chairs and the four side chairs that Dwayne will be making to go with the set!

He was so upset because it wasn't ready for Christmas Day.  I told him - about a week ago - that it didn't matter if it took him another three months to make whatever it was that he was making me.  What mattered most was that he was making it with his own hands - and it was coming from a historical piece of this property that we now own.

He wanted it ready for this Christmas so we'd be able to enjoy our Christmas dinner on it this year.  LOL

I told him that the way I see things is - now he's got until next Christmas to make all the chairs so we can enjoy having dinner on it NEXT Christmas!

And maybe - just maybe - all those chairs will have a butt warming them up when dinner is served!



Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas to Everyone!

So I go to get into my putt-putt yesterday. Had a few items to pick up at the grocery store. And then I needed to take that report to the Postmaster at our local Post Office.

I stop at the end of the driveway to check the mail. Guess what I find in the mailbox.



I’ll be taking it up to the Post Office on Monday - to open in front of the Postmaster - for a specific reason.

Their website tracking report shows it was delivered to our house on December 14th.

It’s stamped by the Loudon Post Office claiming to have arrived there on December 19th.

I find it in my mailbox on December 22nd.

Anyways - I’ll get to send it off to Gran-Girl and she’ll get to wear it - afterall!!

Dwayne and I are having a very quiet - intimate Christmas this year.

Well - minus all the constant noise coming through the floor from saws and electric nail guns keeping Dwayne busy down in the basement - making my Christmas present! I’m getting excited!

With no hoopla set with a bunch of company coming and such - we decided to go ahead and keep things simple. We put up the little tree this year.



Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE our big tree! But it can be a bit overwhelming - when there’s only one of you to get it decorated.



Instead - my time was freed up for making more treats for this year!

On behalf of Hubby - me - Zucker - and Spinner….

We want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas day full of wonderful blessings!

We hope everyone will keep in mind…. The Reason for The Season!

Don’t forget… Sing the Happy Birthday song for Jesus!!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Depths in the Planes of Love

My poor husband.  I love him so much.

He has spent almost every free moment down in the basement over the past week - building my Christmas present.  Most of the time - he hasn’t given up for the day until around midnight.

It takes hours to plane down one of those long boards - from an old 1920 tobacco barn.


Just when he begins feeling like he’s making progress - he grabs the wrong board - to cut in half.

To be here and witness his efforts throughout this entire process - is to know that just the thought of laughing at him would be totally cruel.

I have no doubt - even some of those male coworkers would get quiet for a while - prolly head out to the back porch - light up a cigarette - and wipe a tear away - as soon as they made sure nobody was looking.

I will - without a doubt - find a way to save that gorgeous piece of lumber.

I love him as much as he is showing his love to me right now - even more.

I refuse to let any of his efforts go down the drain in vain.  The hardest part will be - simply - trying to make up my mind.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Stolen from Grand-Girl... from Our Mailbox

I had to go visit our local Postmaster - yesterday.  I’m having to return a completed complaint form this afternoon.

Seems we have a little problem occurring in our area.  Somebody is stealing packages and other items on our mail route.

Breaks my heart.  I was a little excited over the idea of my yard varmint sending me pics of  Grand-girl wearing one particular - really cute - bright pink cardigan sweater.



This is the Radio Flyer Tricycle we sent Trinity this year for her birthday!  That shade of Pink looks cool on her - huh!

Glad we shipped it right to her house.

That little cardigan sweater was pink.  It was a pretty pink - and something “un-camo” that she could wear on a chilly day.  Daddy only buys Camo - John Deere - Ducks Unlimited!



I won it on eBay for her.  It was brand new - coming from Louisiana.



Yeah - I know.  Texas is right next door to Louisiana.  So - why buy a sweater and have it come all the way to Tennessee - just to send it all the way back to - Texas?

‘Cuz it was for Grand-Girl.  I don’t ever get to enjoy time with her.  We live so far away from each other.

It’s not about the price I paid for having something come to my house before sending it all the way back in the direction from whence it came - and then some.



I wanted to - at least - have some fun wrapping it up in pretty gift wrap - with ribbon and a bow - and putting it in the bigger box that I ended up having to send without it.

Visions of her little hands tearing into that ribbon and gift wrapping paper - stolen from me.

Pics of her wearing that sweater on a chilly day - stolen from me.

Something warm and cozy that Meemaw Treesie had held in her arms for a moment before wrapping it up  - which would travel all the way to Grand-Girl and carry a hug for her - to feel every time she would wear it….

Stolen from Grand-Girl.



Bet I know what would be on Daddy's mind if he were here when all this came down.

Same thing that's on PawPaw D-Wayne's mind....   ;)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Chocolate - Trains - and - Wine!

I haven’t gotten around to making Ree’s Mocha Brownies - yet.

To begin with - Dwayne’s already accusing me of trying to overdose him on chocolate.

But - I no sooner popped my previous posting here when Hubby decided it was time to remind me of a wish I had made.

I wanted to go to the Holiday Express at the University of Tennessee Gardens! And we were having a Saturday when Dwayne was actually home - for a change!!

I just LOVE huge rooms loaded with old - 1930’s atmosphere - in miniature action! Model trains and country settings! Draw bridges and covered bridges - waterfalls and creeks - shacks and houses - log mills and general stores - and Christmas lights that twinkle! We found Granny hiding and working - at her secret Moonshine Still! Oh - and I made sure to get a shot of that bar right near the Depot - with all the “Daisies” flirtin’ on the porch to tempt gents coming off the trains! And that train whistle - that was so cool!

What turned out to be not so cool - I had to take my Minolta 35mm film camera. My little Kodak digital was too ill to make the trip. And the rain kept us from being able to take a stroll through the gardens outside. Could have been our first winter stroll through one of my most favorite places in Knoxville!

I promise - pictures coming!

But it was way too soon to go home after all that fun. And we were hungry - of course. And we actually caved to one of our most sickening weaknesses - Popeye’s!

I do all I can to boycott every fast-food joint in this country anymore - for health, economic and employment reasons. But this joint was a recent discovery of ours that - just happens to be so close to our house! Well - okay - so - as far as we’re concerned - it’s close. And it takes both of us back home - in our hearts - back in the days when everything was legit and for most of all the right reasons.

Anyway - Dwayne’s reminder of it being Saturday was still lingering in my mind. And we were still on Hwy. 75. And it’s Christmas time. And - it was time to insist on one more stop before pulling into the driveway.

Tennessee Valley Winery.

Oh, gosh - yes! And we had fun! And we brought wine home - of course!

And I think I’ve found my new - favorite!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sniff... Sniff... Toasted Pecans!

Well… we didn’t get any snow at this house!  Not one single flake.

But you should see what all the rain has done around here.  We don’t dare step off the driveway.  The ground is saturated enough that - even skinny ‘n scrawny Dwayne sinks about six inches into the muck!

I bombed my kitchen last night.  Getting ready to do it again, too - this morning.

Last night was two recipes related to the word - Toffee.  The house was filled with the scent of toasted pecans and walnuts - and chocolate - and boiling Karo!

But for this morning - I think I’ll try making Ree’s Mocha Brownies.

Who’s Ree?  Ohhhhh…. Ya’ gotta meet her!

She considers herself to be an “Accidental Pioneer Woman.“  Cracks me up every time I think about that.

I just bought her brand new cookbook called
(plant your mouse cursor over THAT!)
and the book is awesome!



Friday, December 18, 2009

Angels in Oak Posts - and Snow for Christmas!

Today will be called ‘made good’ if I manage to make it to the post office before ice develops on the roads.  We are due for a winter storm and have been forewarned to stock supplies and prepare to hunker down.  And we’re not even getting the worst of it.  Looks like we will be having snow for Christmas.  We’re due for two doses before Christmas day arrives.

http://www.wbir.com/weather/radar/local/default.aspx

And the one thing I’m relieved about at the moment is the fact that my need to retreat worked as I’d hoped.  I did manage to get quite a few things accomplished.  I wasn’t able to get them all done - but most.

For instance - I did manage to get to Foothills Mall in Maryville.  Made a Bee-line to the spot where I’ve been able to find my favorite kiosk during the holidays - a gal selling handmade clay ornaments that could be personalized.  I’ve been collecting one each year for the grandbabies - Jennifer - Zucker - Dwayne and me.

Sadly - Faye was not there this year.

My husband has been very busy since taking vacation time.  A quarter of our basement has been isolated with plastic.  I’ve been given orders - “You’re not allowed!”

All I do know is this.  He has snatched some of the wood from the far side of the barn that has fallen off the piers.  Running it through the planer has shown him that he has come upon solid oak wood that would cost a fortune anywhere!

Lots of noise - lots of sawdust - lots of going back and forth to the tool shed.  And then yesterday brought a bit of a struggle for my hubby - something I don’t like to see.

After searching the Internet and phone books - making all the phone calls possible - followed by driving all over creation - he could not find two 4x4x8 oak posts that he needs - desperately.

He was gone for quite a while.  Upon returning - it just became too much for me to hear my husband tell me that he’d gone as far as dumpster diving out of desperation - and failed.  It was time to do something.

When all else fails - Craigslist!!!!

I got busy with sending a plea out there - to find an Angel.  And within less than a day - have found MANY Angels!!

Sometimes - a phonebook - or - Google can’t help you.  Sometimes - it merely takes knowing the land.  And its people.

There are too many good people living around us - with old barns - or - old sawmills that have been handed down to them from their elders that have passed on.  And without fail - somebody knows somebody!

And at this point - I really don’t care if it takes Dwayne until the end of summer to find the materials needed and finish that Christmas present.

First - I already know I WILL end up with a gift that was made by his very hands - out of the deepest love - for me.

Second - It’s been a very healing experience for me - having my phone ringing off the wall - hearing from so many Angels!

To me - that’s part of the Christmas present.  Kinda like the icing on the sugar cookie!

Friday, December 11, 2009

God Has Taken Monica

I received the following in my email today.



Our dear friends and family...It is with a broken heart that I must let you know that our Moni passed to Heaven this morning between 7 and 7:30am.  I was called to the hospital around 5:25am when all the aggressive treatment they were doing to Moni just wasn't working, and they had trouble keeping a blood pressure up on her.  Moni's body just couldn't take any more and with numerous drugs, blood, plasma and loving care by our dear Dr. Laurie Kilkenny and the staff of UPMC Mercy, Jesus came to get Moni and take her HOME.  I was holding Moni's hand and with her when her time here was over.  Our dear friend and sister, Ellen was right next to me along with Dr. Kilkenny.  It seemed to be a VERY PEACEFUL and Loving transfer from this Earth to the pearly gates and we are sure that Moni is laughing and seeing and running around with our Mom and Dad, Grandparents and all her friends.  The funny thing is that a few minutes after Moni was gone, the sun came out and has been out brightly along with blue skies all day.  We were supposed to have snow flurries and clouds, but we think God wanted to bring Moni HOME in her favorite thing...SUNSHINE!!!

I am waiting to hear from the funeral home to make arrangements, but wanted to let you know that Moni is going to be cremated with no visitation or service at this time.  I am planning that maybe down the road I will try to arrange a memorial service for Moni and for our Mom and Dad.  There will also be a request for no flowers for Moni since she didn't want any money spent on them and as much as we love flowers, were both allergic!  All I ask is that you continue to pray that Moni made/makes a peaceful transfer to be with her Lord and that she can now rest in peace and watch over all of us from up above.  As I've said in the past, I have been HONORED to be the one to care for my "Skippy" and I thank the Lord above for allowing me to be with her 24/7 for the last 10+ years!  Don't worry about me, I am just fine and so happy that Moni doesn't have to be in pain, or encumbered in bed anymore!  SHE IS and ALWAYS will be MY HERO!!!!!!!!  Thank you for all the love, prayers and friendship we have been BLESSED to get from you all.
May God Bless You now and always!  Love and Huge Hugs, Heidi
P.S.  I'm sorry that I couldn't call some of you personally, but I just need to try and have some time to myself to regenerate and I didn't have enough cell phone minutes to call.  I ask you to PLEASE NEVER FORGET what a wonderful woman my sister/friend Monica was!  Thank You!!

If anybody ever deserved to get out of bed - and have the joy of walking into a stadium to watch a baseball game on any given day …
Monica was the one - right along with her sister.


Monica                        Heidi

Sweetie... I hope and pray you're finally in a place much better and more joyful than what Planet Hell has been for you and your sister.

You were a wonderful friend.
And you will be forever loved and missed.



Following Doctor's Orders...

Okay - I’m done with winter.

For those of you that don’t pay attention - we have ten more days before the season officially begins.  And we had another morning rising with the temperatures in the teens.

Tried making some banana pudding last night.  Used a recipe belonging to the Neely’s down in Memphis.  Yeah - looks like something went haywire.  I’ve never had pudding from scratch flunk out on me.  The only thing different in the recipe was the usage of 2 cans of Pet evaporated milk and less flour than normally found in the bulk of recipes.  And rich - ack.  I just may be making a trip to pick up more bananas and Vanilla wafers.  I think I’ll stick with the recipe on the box of wafers.

It’s Jennifer’s birthday today.  She’s now 23.  I remember when Britni and Treavor turned 23.

I watched Diane Sawyer’s last morning on GMA this morning.  Two pivotal moments just yanked my heart.  The loyal trip she made beside a bud - when Robin (Roberts) was diagnosed with Cancer.  The reflections on that were absolutely awesome!

But the tears broke loose when twenty-five children stepped out into the studio with their mothers.  They were the babies born after September 11, 2001 - all belonging to parents that perished in the attacks.

Remember when Diane did the photo layout with all the babies and their mothers?

Oh, how they’ve all grown.  Oh, what a panoramic view of how time flies.

Tiger Woods - ain’t he just so special!  Actually - I find him to be one more on a list that seems to be hatching a new trend.  Throughout history - any woman sleeps with more than one man and she’s labeled - slut - whore - pig - trash - skank - sleaze - etc.

Here lately - a list comes to light and keeps building with so-called - *cough* - men - with big names and annual financial values carrying a minimum of six digits.  They’re all sleeping with more than one woman.  And now they wanna give it a name - “ Sex Addiction. “  Pay attention to the fact that I said they wanna give - it - a name.  By all means - that must be done to make - it - sound serious enough to simply - require - somebody else to cure - it - absolutely!

Let us all stand up and applaud our country.

It continues to follow the footsteps of our fore-fathers by pursuing a much better land to live as the free and the brave - with integrity and self-respect!

Honestly - truthfully - George Washington - Abraham Lincoln - and Martin Luther King, Jr. really would be so proud - indeed.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas? It's Down in The Basement.

They say the Knoxville area woke up to temps in the 20’s.  There is about a 4-degree variance here in our area.  That puts us in the ‘teens’ for this morning.

Yesterday was wild.  Waking up to see the sunshine was a surprise after a night loaded with intense rain and winds.  But the winds refused to move on up the road.  Our power went out around 10:30am.  By then - we decided to head to Madisonville and stock up on supplies.

By the time we climbed into the pickup - it was discovered that we had locked all the doors to the house without one of us grabbing house keys.  Thank God for garage door remotes - even those with dead batteries.  Just one more thing for the list of supplies needed.

Had a doctor’s appointment on Monday.  I guess it will take time getting used to having a doctor that actually believes in healing.  He refused to give me anti-depressants.  My blood-work came back showing no reason for such meds.  And I guess he decided it was time to inform me that none of my blood work-ups - ordered by him - have ever come back showing any slightest ‘brain chemical imbalance’.  In essence - he agreed that I have been dealt with - by professionals in my past - by having a pill thrown at me to get me out the door - left to deal with something that no pill can fix.

I do not suffer from depression.  I am no mental case.  I do not have bi-polar tendencies (that one would be for the benefit of three particular grown children - who seem to relish in behaving as children).  I merely need to attend counseling for adjustment disorder - brought on by being stuck in the middle of too many situations - catering to everyone else - and putting myself on the very bottom of the list.

In other words - having too much on my plate and being kicked while I’m down.

Actually - my grown children and ex-husband are a huge part of the problem. 

Beyond that - My husband’s job comes first.  I’m living out in the boonies and only leave the house to go grocery shopping - mostly to extend whatever life may be left in my putt-putt that I refuse to part with because we cannot afford a car note.

This house is never visited by friends or family on a regular basis.

The holidays are the worst - and the loneliest.  Have been that way since moving up here in 2001.

Just like this year - for example.

We cannot go home for the holidays because Dwayne has to work December 26th.  There is no time for us to go down to Texas and wear ourselves out having to go from county to county - town to town - and house to house - visiting everyone else on my side of the family - because they really feel no need to meet us halfway by having any get-together in one place to visit with us after doing our own part of traveling 1700 miles to be with them.


That simply adds up to only one fact that makes sense - they really couldn’t care less about seeing us - at all.

So - why bother?

Dwayne's mother and stepfather are wonderful about letting us stay with them when we go back home for various reasons.  But they live in The Woodlands - in Spring.  All my family and friends live down in Galveston County - almost a 2 hour drive just to get down there.  To cut down on that driving - we'd have to get a hotel room down in Galveston County.  There's just nowhere to stay down there.  Nobody has room.

I did not decorate for Thanksgiving.  I did not cook for Thanksgiving.

The Christmas decorations and the tree are still packed down in the Basement.

I have not been out to do any Christmas shopping.

I haven’t even looked at any of my holiday recipes for Christmas baking - or any Christmas dinner.  Dwayne did manage to get me to load up on ingredients for doing some Christmas baking for the two of us while we were at Wal-Mart yesterday.

All I care to say about that right now is - "The crap's all stacked there in the cabinet.  Have at it."

Far cry from the girl who was so pushy about making the popcorn and stringing the popcorn and fresh cranberries for a garland that just had to be put on the Christmas tree.

For now - next thing on my list is to get the laundry done and get my first counseling appointment scheduled.

I hope the counseling sessions will help me sort all this out so I can breathe and move on with a freshness in my life.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Down Came The Wall!

Casey came over this evening and helped us get the big beam set into place.  Here is the before and after view of things - at the moment.


(Click on photos for larger view)

 Before -


 

 

After -


 

 

 

We have much more work to do.  But this is a huge change!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

First Snow for 2009 - Arrival 'Bout Par

And so it goes - the sight of daybreak here in East Tennessee.



The snow continues to fall and has already doubled.  Mike promises all should be finished passing over by noon - or so.

And once again - I forget to empty the bird bath and rest it sideways on its post.



No need to rush.  I’ll sit tight and wait before heading off to Food Lyon.

For now - the coffee is hot - and snow makes the oatmeal taste even better.

And life should become more tolerable for me - come Monday morning.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Happy Birthday, Daddy - I Miss You

Today is December 3, 2009.  I say that more for myself.  Don’t take it personally - I’m having to write everything down these days.  Today holds only one item on a count of many slashings that my heart is taking at this time.

Anyway - as always - I have to clarify from the beginning - I was raised by my step-father from the time I was 16 months old.  I was never able/allowed to have any kind of relationship with my birth father until I was already 30 years old.  That’s when both - my mother and birth father reunited and remarried.

My step-father died just after I turned 20 years old.  But he was the one that raised me for the majority of my life.  The impression made on me all those years has put me in an awkward position with some folks.  It’s a very uncomfortable place to be.  But the truth remains.  And my best possible way I’ve managed to find for explaining my descriptions for both men are this.  I refer to my stepfather as my “Daddy”.  And I refer to my birth father as my “father”.

Kinda like the way we all call our earthly fathers Daddy - and refer to God as our Father…. I guess.  I dunno.

Anyway - today would have been my Daddy’s 71st Birthday.  These birthdays are never easy for me - not since his passing.  Time will soon be coming to mark the 30th anniversary of his death.  And yet - it still feels like it only happened yesterday.  Inside - I still feel like that 20 year old that was in no way near ready enough to lose her daddy.

It’s so mind-blowing for me to even consider he would be turning 71 years old today.  First thing that crosses my mind is remembering my Grandma Casteel being that same age.  I cannot even imagine what my daddy look like today.  Combined - both thoughts simply intrigue me.

Oddly enough - the only picture I have of my Daddy is kept in my mind.  I dunno.  I guess all the pictures went to everyone else when all his belongings were spread out amongst family - and such.  I never wanted any of his belongings.  In fact - my Grandma Casteel had to call me several times and beg me to come to the house.  It was important to her - that “the kids get to have what they want of his, first.”  I’ve never been much of a materialistic kind of person.  And I remember looking at all his belongings.  I remember the emotion I could feel inside - like it was locked up in a cell and banging on the bars to be set free.  It was anger.

No - I never wanted any of his belongings.  I wanted my Daddy.  And I could feel that any of those belongings would only give me anger - not what I wanted - and really needed.

But - I do have something that I have been able to hold on to since the day he was taken from us.  My Daddy LOVED Willie Nelson.  Willie stood right next to Merle Haggard - B.B. King - Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland - The Righteous Brothers.  I can remember him teaching me to dance to the music by  B.B. King and Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland - standing on his feet when I was only 6 years old - in the living room on Kingston Drive in Texas City!

Today - I tell people - “Some of my best times spent with my Daddy were in the bathroom!”  I dunno - it’s funny to sit and watch the strange looks on their faces show up.  Makes me laugh.  And I can just hear my Daddy laugh about that!

That man spent more time primping in a bathroom - ten times more than any teenage girl.  And he didn’t just fix his hair and shave.  He sculpted.  It all had to be perfect - not one hair out of place - not one uneven line in that beard and goatee.  He always had me roll his sleeves up on his dress shirts - said I always did it just the way he liked them to be cuffed - about two inches from the top of his hands.

And all this - just to go out and get drunk - which led to going to jail on many occasions.  If he were a coin - this would be the backside of him that would break hearts of everyone that ever knew him.  Cold sober - the man would give you the shirt off his back.  Beer number 3 - and he’d forget all about being only 5’ 4” and 138lbs.

But our times in the bathroom included my joy received from sittin’ on the toilet - listening to him sing while he shaved and - sculpted - his vain self!  Oh, how he could sing!

About that thing I’ve always held on to for keeping him with me -  I guess you could say there’s two things.

Those who knew my Daddy would probably agree with me on this one.  When I look deeply into the face of Willie Nelson - watch his facial expressions - the way he moves - I feel like I’m looking at my Daddy.  Minus the long hair - those two could pass as twins.  It’s a bit freaky.

And then - there’s one particular song that I have always held on to - my special message to my Daddy.

And it goes just like - this.




Happy Birthday, Daddy.  I love you.
I sure do need you right now.
And I sure do miss you.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Chilly Weather... Damp Wood... Warm Folks

Woke up this morning to beautiful sunshine and - ice!

Oh, yes.  And actually - the temps 'jumped' up to 30* once the sun came out.

Thank God - I remembered that we needed to plug in the truck!  And fog came stomping through as soon as the sun rose above the treetops.  It's been a day for filling up a pot to brew some good ole' homemade soup!!

Dwayne had breakfast and headed over to one of the sawmills he located on www.whitepages.com.  He decided to go ahead and pick up two posts - rather than only one - so they'd look alike.  God knows - we can always find something to do with posts around here.  Anyway - the trip turned out to be like a Rockwell scene.

First thing anyone said when he walked inside was, "Care ta' have some lunch with us?"

Old building - old - really old equipment - folks gathered around an old table and sittin' on whatever's flat enough to sit upon and in sight - having homemade sandwiches and sides!  And the first thing on their mind when a first-time customer walks inside is - sharing their lunch with a newcomer.

THAT is what we love about living in East Tennessee more than anything else!  Dwayne wasn't hungry - turned it down - but thanked them just as much as if he had gone ahead and taken 'em up on their offer.

And among the need for sharing all those details with me after he got back home - he made me go out and look at the posts.  "They've got some really, really old equipment.  But they must have one really good saw.  Look how square and straight those things are!"

It was a great experience for Dwayne!  Good people doing fair business with their customers.  He would have paid at least thirty-percent more for lesser quality - had he gone to one of the chains.  In times like these - we'd rather do business with all our local folks.

So - here he is - out on the back porch putting the sander to the posts.  They won't be sanded down completely smooth.  He's leaving a little there for character.


(click on the photo for a larger view)

I hope it makes him think about the folks at that sawmill every time he looks at them inside the house.

I think it'll make him smile - quite often!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Why Do We Like So Much Wood?

Two layouts within a 24-hour period.  Well… if you were on this end - it would make a great deal of sense to you.  And I will attempt to explain - along with photos - down the line.

I’ve been falling way behind on my digital scrap booking.  Yes - my free time has been leaning over into FaceBook.  Those games are addictive.  And - If you participate in even one game - you’re just as guilty!  So - keep your trap shut!

But I have managed to take photos whenever possible.  If nothing else - keep a camera locked and loaded!  And thank God for those micro-chips you can put inside the digital cameras.  I can remove the chip and slide it right into a drive on my tower and - sanity saved - despite my digi being on its deathbed.  Poor thing ended up taking two fatal falls.  But I have to admit - the thing has given it’s due expectations for the cost and length of time in my hands!

And so it goes - one of the shots I managed to get from off the back porch for this fall season’s blanket of color that arrived - almost overnight - before departing nearly as quickly.


(click on photos for larger view)
Journaling -
"October 30, 2009 - We missed our annual trip to Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains to photograph all the beautiful 'Fall Color' that returns each year.  Instead - We count our blessings and feel thankful for all the 'Colorful Show' that arrived all around our home!"

Multiple Kits Used -
Kimberly’s UBI Abundant Fall Element Pack 3 by Kimberly Stewart

Kimberly’s UBI Abundant Fall Paper Pack 1 by Kimberly Stewart

Autumn Blessings by Kimberly Stewart


Photo Frame -
Divergent Frames Pack by Cathy Bretz

Alpha -
Worn Plaid by Kimberly Stewart

Fonts -
Rockwell - Pristina

I’m not the only one feeling the frayed ends on every nerve in the body around here.  Talk to the dog and the cat!  The noise level around here has been somewhat - wacked.

Dwayne continues on the work to remove the wall between our living room and kitchen.  The progress has been wonderful.  Some would cringe to look at the sights from the following photos.  However - I do declare - the mess has been cleaned up in as much as one would consider the one doing the cleaning to be somewhat - anal retentive.  In other words - it looked like absolute HELL around here!  And my husband drives us all crazy with the time he spends running that shop vacuum!

Do NOT misunderstand me.  God knows - I will be forever and eternally grateful and appreciative to my husband for all his efforts.  He never ceases to find ways that make me feel like the proudest wife on this earth!  More than anything - it’s simply a case of all the dreaded chaos and mayhem that comes naturally with any project falling under the definitions of the word - remodel.

And - RE - model it has been.  Going in to tear out someone else’s ignorant efforts - NEVER easy - ALWAYS reason for keeping ample supply of Tylenol in the bathroom cabinet - and Budweiser Light in the fridge.


Check out the light spot between the framing and the cabinet.
Yeah - we get to refinish all the floors, as well.
How cool is that!!
NOT.

The entire wall is actually gone now.  Dwayne constructed a supporting frame off to the side of where the original wall existed.  This was necessary in order to go in and put the flooring in - because it was never done so during the original construction of the house.  At the same time - Dwayne had to remove all the electrical and re-route that.  And then came tearing out the top of the original wall-framing.  That was not pretty.  That brought on a lot of noise - and it was not coming from any shop vacuum!  Okay… half the noise came from a hammer.  Guess where the other half came from.  Yyyyeaaaahhh - this was no place for children during that evening.

Days of relishing over having all this wood from the wall that could be turned over and use for flooring - came to an end when joy turned into raging frustration.  Things toe-nailed when they should  not have been.  They went cheap on stretching the use of glue for holding the flooring down - but just enough to mess with pulling strips out without cracking those on each side and causing more flooring to be removed.  And of course - use of the wrong type of nails always helps.


Umm... can you see the floor jack - in front of the cabinet?

The project has reached the point where two 8”x8” posts are needed from the sawmill - for supporting that huge post you see laying on the floor there - off to the left.  Okay - well... you can see it better in the photo above.  Anyway - It waits - for the rain to take a break.  Once the two vertical posts are set into place - that post on the floor will require additional manly help for installing it across the ceiling as the main beam support.

In the meantime - I get to enjoy such things as having my house invaded by various - tools.


THIS is where the Christmas tree is supposed to go.

I’m not even wanting to decorate for Christmas this year.  Make more sense now?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Fall Sadness

Oh, this is good.

"She changes her blog to a Christmas theme and THEN she finally gets around to posting a fall themed layout!"

Yeah, I know.  I know.  Been one of those kinds of months.  Ya' know?  Kinda makes me wonder if I should be wishing I could go back to pre-hyserectomy times.

Wait a minute....  Ohhhh, HELL no.

It's late - I've lagged.  And I need to get a pot of beans soaking.  So here goes for now.  I'm so happy with this layout that I couldn't wait to get it posted.

(click on the photo for larger view)


Journaling -
"God help me.  But I despise winter.  And I'm not alone.  Our wonderful - lovable - lover of life - Zucker."

"I never knew exactly how much I was dreading the oncoming winter season - until I had the moment of this vision.  Oh, how he loves to run.  How he loves to be outside for hours - and hours.  Becoming absolutely filthy - lathering with sweat - drinking up the water as long as somebody will fill the bowl - smelling worse than a dirty sock.  Every bit of it puts him in his glory of happiness."

"It's as if he has come to recognize when the days of bitter coldness are approaching.  And one can't help wondering what he's thinking as he sits and stares out the window - watching the leaves begin to turn color and fall."

It seems Blogger has come up with a new toy here.  If you hover your mouse over the names of the kit and the Word Art... ya' just might get lucky and find it changes color!  And that means.... it's linked to help you find the products... Voila!!

Kit -
Autumn Country Dream by Cari Lopez
at www.scrapbook-elements.com

Word Art -
Abundant Harvest (U.B.I. Oct.-2009) by Mikki Livanos
at www.scrapbook-elements.com

Font - Dubiel (set in Bold)

Okay... I'll write more later.  Time to go get the beans soaking!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"Are You Cutting Back For The Holidays?"

WBIR-TV in Knoxville has been posting a ‘Question of The Day’ over at their website, recently.  At times - it has been amazing to see the keyboard rage that would ignite in discussions that would ensue - all over one very simple question.

As time has come and gone - I’ve watched the tone of various discussions in that little pocket at the website.  Some would wonder where all the tension is coming from.  Most would give those few a good look that would need not one single word - but ask plenty…. “Where have you been, Moron?”  And when all else fails - just wait for the holiday season to arrive.  The truth always exposes itself at that time - without failure.

One of the questions posed this week at the website asked if folks were planning on cutting back on their spending for the holidays this year.  As I just said - the truth always exposes itself this time of year.  This particular question opened the flood gate.

The discussion was absolutely stunning.  The rage was ever so present.  However - there was no battle.  If anything to compare - it was like the size and presence of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  Every soul participating fell into perfect sync and harmony with the next.  And we all found ourselves standing - together - in agreement - and sharing support.

What developed in that discussion was a dose of medicine that should be distributed all across this nation during this holiday season.  I’m bringing my bottle here to share with those that come to read.  And I am putting my faith in God to use this post - bringing folks that really need this for support.  For what I found in that discussion - was a township of minds and hearts that feel exactly the same as I.  And it can only mean there are more feeling the same.  So - here goes.

Dwayne and I are not into the so-called Christmas Spirit for 2009.  In fact - we want no part of the 2009 Christmas Spirit.   Why?  Because we can see how Christmas has been hijacked by the Retail World.  Let me explain further.

While working on tearing out the wall between the kitchen and living room - we had the television on.  Both of us were listening to all the commercials flooding the air waves from all the retail sector with such a disgusting demeanor and message.  The commercialism - “You must have this” - “Everything is just Fine” - “Savings!  Savings!” (Lie) - “You can’t have a spectacular Christmas without this!”… *COUGH* - *GAG*

All this crap on television from all the retail sector trying to push this lie to us all that - everything is just fine - and we need to go ahead and buy their crap - and we must buy this and that for gifts to give our friends and family.  All these ads just filled with pretending there is absolutely nothing terrible going on in this country!  And each one having a punch line full of guilt that we should carry if we don’t fall in line and be the good little sheep that the common man is being expected to become in this country - while  bending over and taking it with a smile!

Dwayne and I make for a perfect example of a great scenario for why nobody should be falling into this nasty trap.  It’s the reason why everybody should choose to stand together and give only one gift to anyone this year -  and that would be - Giving the Bird to Commerce in this country.

We live in East Tennessee - without any of our family.  All our family lives elsewhere - in other states.

Here’s what we face each year when we prepare to ship gifts for Christmas.  The ridiculous prices that have been jacked up on everything.  The state of Tennessee has a sales tax of NINE ( 9 ) percent.  All the shipping materials.  All the gift wrapping supplies.  And then - all the shipping costs that have been jacked sky-high.

You see what’s going on here?  You see who is benefiting?  When you do the math - by far - it’s not even the person receiving the damn gift!  And the birth of Jesus has just been used - to suck us right in!!!

Not happening!  Not in this household.

Dwayne and I will not be shipping any Christmas packages out to anyone but our Granddaughter - Trinity - the only grandchild with parents smart enough - wise enough - loving enough - and understanding enough - to allow us to be grandparents!

We have decided on a different kind of gift to give all our loved ones - and we are asking the same from them.  We will be making donations to various charities - in our area - helping those going through Hell from all this destruction being done to our economy.  And when possible - names of family and friends will be attached to those gifts.

When you go to the grocery stores - drop what you can into the donations kitty for whatever charities they are assisting.

When you go to the Malls - DO NOT come to the exit without making sure you have a few dollars to put into the red kettles for the Salvation Army.

Go to your local Utility Companies.  Ask the Customer Service Reps to pull up any Delinquent Account and offer to pay that bill - to keep a family from going without heat - electricity - or water.  (We’re allowed to send donations in with our electric bills -year round - here in the state of Tennessee!)

Having a Christmas Party at your house - or - where you work?  Have everyone bring a Christmas gift to give to Toys for Tots or a local charity.

Have a Cookie Exchange at your house!  Have everyone bring non-perishable food items to be taken to a local pantry.

The point is this.  The situation in this country has become stupid.  That’s just all there is to the truth and reality.  And we have so-called human beings in this country - hiding behind various commerce entities - behaving like nothing less than thugs with a bunch of money - confused dispositions - and selfish assumptions that they can name their price and screw us all they want - for any reason - using any means to accomplish that - using our own friends and family to manipulate us with guilt trips!

In reality - they’re such low-life trash that THEY’LL EVEN USE CHRISTMAS TO TO THAT!!!

Dwayne and I will not fill the deep pockets of these sick souls - especially while they continue to destroy the lives of families by cutting jobs for the sake of profits - and selfish, greedy shareholders.  We will not allow them to use our friends and family as a means to suck us in - nor will we allow them to manipulate us with guilt trips.

We have friends and family in worse financial shape than us.  Why should we allow ourselves to be sucked into all that - to send gifts to those we love - and only end up making them feel shoved into guilt for not sending us gifts - or - shoved into feeling they have to do something they cannot truly financially afford to put themselves through?

Not happening!!!  We’re asking all our friends and family to keep Christmas real this year - celebrate with those right there beside you.  Keep it simple - put Christmas back in your heart - keep it out of your wallets.

Remove Christmas from the deep pockets of the Greedy Retail Sector in this country!

If you get any of this - if you agree with any of this - I ask one favor of you.

Send the link for this page to those you care about.  There are too many of us feeling the same way.  I have already discovered it to be fact - from only one discussion in one small part of this country.


"You must take personal responsibility.
You cannot change the circumstances,
the seasons, or the wind, but
you can change yourself."
- Jim Rohn

BUT....

Once you take personal responsibility and you change yourself - all else usually steps back into proper line with willingness to be fair.




Monday, November 23, 2009

Holes in the House and ... Bang... Bang... Bang!

Dwayne has put a hole in our house.  And right now - our house looks like absolute Hell!  Think I’m kiddin’?  The coffee pot’s runnin’ in the front bathroom - this very moment!

I’d show you what I’m talking about - but - my digital camera died.  All I have for the moment is my Minolta 35mm that shoots processing film.  But I am taking those pictures!  Oh - Don’t you worry ‘bout that!  Yeah - this mess is gonna be a Kodak moment.  No doubt about that.

Dwayne has knocked out the wall between our kitchen and living room.  All that stands for the moment is the stud framing.  We found four rough-cut 8” posts out in the barn - but we’re only able to use two of those.  Guess they’ve been out there since this house was built.  Termites managed to get to the other two posts.  We’ll have to go buy two more posts for the support beams we’re putting in place of the wall.  Everything will become one great room.  There’s more light inside this house - already!

Due to weather conditions - we had to forego the idea of power washing and sealing the posts as they are.  Instead - Dwayne did some sanding to a certain point - leaving some of the character to the posts that will also add to the dimension of texture inside the house.

But the fun part came when it was time to carry the damn thing inside the house.  First one to go in is the cross beam.  Booger was long and 3-man heavy!  And we didn’t have three men.  Found something that prolly worked better.  One of my kitchen rugs - flipped upside down!  LOL  Set one end of the post on the rug - while Dwayne pushed it around like a kitchen broom!  I was down on my hands and knees chasing the rested end - shoving it into the right direction until we got it located where we want it for now.  Saved us about five more minutes of three drunks thinking about grabbing that fifth beer just as soon as they’d be laying that puppy down!

I did get this shot with the camera before it took its last breath.  We actually found insulation between the studs.  Dwayne had already removed and taken it all down into the basement before this shot was taken.

(click on the photo)



At this moment - all the slats on the kitchen side are now down in the basement.  All the electrical wiring is gone.  And Dwayne is now resetting the wiring in the proper places - where it should have been brought up - at the exterior wall.  So far - we see only two rows of slats in the floor and the ceiling that will need to be replaced.

The big question is - how far will we get before Christmas?  LOL

Friday, November 6, 2009

Major Surprise of the Day - Take a Look!

Besides all the other - stuff - that has been going on with me, lately… this thing about turning 50 years old has managed to embed itself into the mix.  Some of it good - some of it not so good.  Some of it better than most of all the other - stuff.  And - that’s pretty bad.  LOL

Seems like my teenage years were the common period of - Rebellion.  But this thing about turning a half-century has become something I wasn’t even expecting out of myself.  For me - some would say it’s beginning to move way beyond my years of teenage rebellion - more like - a Revolt!  And I’m not sure - but I think it was AARP’s punctuality with getting all their crap to me SIX WEEKS before I even dealt with the official date.  That just set me off.

I’m not ready for any rocking chair.  I still feel like I’m only 30 years old - on the inside.  Too bad so many under the age of 40 have trouble even considering that could be possible.  But - that’s just fine!  All I can say is this.  Baby - your day is coming!  ;)~

Rather than look at life on the downside of things - I’ve chosen to take advantage of my own realities and make the best of them.   The choices I make today have me doing better than all you girly girls that are still capable of bearing children.  Check this out.

I never went through depression over having to have a hysterectomy.  Instead - I was absolutely thrilled over thoughts about how much I was going to enjoy saving money every month - and feeling no more cramps all the way down to my knees!

I decided to shoot for a huge goal to celebrate my 50th Birthday this year.  I quit smoking.  Do you have any idea how much money I’m saving by doing that, as well?  A carton has reached $50.00 here!  And we were going through a carton each week - at the least!

Well - the thrill of saving money by becoming an old nag is beginning to grow into a new habit for me.  It was costing me $100.00 each time I went in to ‘have my roots dealt with’ when my hair was only shoulder length.  My last posted photo shows how long it has become since then.

I started doing some research on the Internet.  Sure enough - I found quite a few articles that turned out to be quite interesting!  Seems there’s a new trend coming for women with gray hair showing up.  They have decided to embrace with grace - and save some damn money!!!!  I would imagine the current economic situation in this country is nothing but a wonderful boost of support in such a decision for many - many others!  By the way - women are not the only ones doing this!!  And with all that support I found on the Internet -

Within the past 36 hours I have gone from this -




To this!



The best part is -

I actually look like a member of the family now!  I look just like Dwayne and Zucker!

This was a HUGE jump off of a cliff for me.  And I don't think I could have gotten through it without the help of Susan Garner - Stylist at Headlines Salon in Loudon, Tennessee!  Slowly - but surely - I'm going back to my old wishes for wanting to age with grace.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Cold and Dead... and Winter's Not Even Here, Yet

I just haven’t been doing too well for a while now.  I’m not in a very good place.  For a time - I couldn’t seem to put my finger on the problem.  But I think I’m beginning to sort things out enough to rule out Depression.

If anything - Disappointment would be a much better description.  And quite honestly - it sits beside the word Anger - hand in hand - in several matters.


I'm really angry with the way too many people have lost their focus on being the best they can be - at being caring people toward others.


I'm angry because God won't go ahead and allow the miracles to come for my friend - Monica - like... letting her just jump out of bed and enjoy having life back in her hands and feeling perfectly wonderful.  God KNOWS she deserves that so much more than a LOT of other people in this world.



I'm disappointed in people not caring about what really matters in life - instead of caring about screwing over others.

They say it takes twenty-one days to break a habit.  Well - I quit smoking on September 27, 2009 - two days before my 50th birthday.  I’m now able to proudly claim I was smoke-free on my 50th birthday.  I count myself blessed for that thought even crossing my mind.  But all the other things going on haven’t really given any justice or fair opportunity to the twenty-one day claim in this case.  I’m no longer on the Chantix.  But that craving is still there.


And let Spite be the last thing lingering - to become the incentive I will use that will keep me from lighting up - ever again.  I WILL win this one.

I’ve decided to quit fighting with coloring my hair.  I've decided that it is MY hair.  I'm the one that has to fight with the blow-dryer and the curling irons.  I get to choose the new style.


I had to order my granddaughter's birthday present over the Internet and have it shipped directly to her.  She's turning 2-years-old and lives in Texas.  That hurts.  It won't have any birthday wrapping paper on it when she gets it.  It won't have one of those funny bows with - stuff - all around it - like I once was able to enjoy doing.  Just like every day of her life since the day she was born - I won't be able to have a day with a moment when I look at her and just soak in the beauty of seeing her smile - or say something cute.

But - at the very least - I can be grateful that her mommy has the wonderful heart that SHE has - and has no problems with letting me be a grandma.

Dwayne and I have decided we’re just gonna go have a Turkey dinner at some restaurant in Knoxville on Saturday - after Thanksgiving.  He has to work.

I’ve decided I’m not gonna dive into all the Holiday baking like I’ve been doing in the past.

We already gave up on trying to plant any spring bulbs or getting any fall clean-up done around the yard.

Maybe things will be better next year.

Maybe I’ll be able to tap in with folks who might appreciate what I CAN do.  And it will help me accomplish what I wish I COULD do.





For now - at the very least - I can count on going to work on my farms at Facebook to help me get my mind off of wanting that cigarette.

Monday, October 12, 2009

PhotoShop7 - Please Help Heal My Wounds

It’s amazing how life can demand your attention enough that the world is totally unaware that your whole being exists in a state of struggling to keep from crumbling. I tend to find something else as overwhelming - a challenge - for redirecting my attention until I can manage to carry on. My help at this moment - I dove into my first project completed with PhotoShop Elements7. I’ve had the program for over a year now. The Dinosaur we had for a computer was too - tiny - for installing the program. It was the first to be installed into my new computer that Dwayne just bought me for my 50th birthday. The first thing I can say about this program is - “Thank God for YouTube.com.” Most likely - I’d still be sitting here screaming like a Bantam without all the helpful video classes I’ve found there - as well as a few other places. Anyway - here’s the first project. Kit - “ Gardening “ by Kimberly Stewart at www.scrapbook-elements.com Font - Garamound

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Seasons Change - As Do Habits - Neither Come Easy

Yes - Autumn has arrived here in East Tennessee. The leaves are beginning to turn color - just slightly. Some are beginning to fall a little before their time. Not sure what to think of that. And the spring rains seem to be returning with unfinished business! Looks like we had quite a storm come through last night. I see remains of two small puddles on our back deck porch.
The mowing has slowed - when we get the chance! But the wild onions have returned - something I’m just never anxious to see. They taunt me. That dreaded winter weather is too close into the future - as far as I’m concerned. We’re told November will be the month to watch. The amount of frosts we have will determine how many snows we receive. I think the eeriest of all the mountain folklore has been the claims regarding all the premature falling leaves. Story has it that they forewarn of a very hard winter. I guess that remains to be seen this year. But never call me to be one for ignoring any wisdom of any kind that has lived before me - well, the older I became, anyway! Dwayne and I are working on that list and preparing for worst-case scenario - regardless! We have begun with our trips to Home Depot once each round of days off. This first trip included insulation for a few windows and some R-30 insulation for the basement. We’ll be picking up five rolls of that each trip. With the need for delegating time to other tasks on the list - we figured the time for installing five every round of days off would suffice. Should we finish up the remaining tasks beforehand - well, I guess we’ll just finish off with installing the R-30 insulation! My husband was not a very happy camper after coming through the cashier’s line at the grocery store this week. I thought I may have a problem on my hands at one point - right in the middle of shopping. Pretty bad when the prices can stir up his anger. And then I remembered - he stopped taking the Chantix - and hasn’t had a cigarette - still. Was it all anger? Or - could a bit of lunacy be dancing along with? LOL By the time we had made it home and we were started into putting groceries away - “I don’t care what you think - I’m going out here and having a cigarette!” Well - he went outside - onto the back deck porch - with a cigarette - a lighter - and the dog. After giving him a few minutes I opened the door and stuck my head outside - just to check on him. I wish I’d had my camera. He was standing at the far end of the porch with this beet-red face and slight grin - looking down toward the floor. You know - that look that just reels the words, “Okay - you caught me…” Now - Dwayne is standing almost directly in the very middle of the far end banister. But - the cigarette burns alone with itself - wedged within a space created through time by weatherization between the banister and the corner post. Approximately three feet of space is blanketed by the smoke coming from the cigarette - toward Dwayne. “Dwayne - what are you doing?” “I’m just looking at it.”
It took me twice as long to finish putting away groceries. I was laughing so much that I grabbed paper towels (closest thing to me) to save time by not making a few trips to the bathroom for tissue. The forever ‘thinking ahead’ - ‘doing the math’ - multi-tasking - wife and mother. It never ends.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Turning 50 Doesn't Feel That Bad!

Over the past few weeks Dwayne and I have been fairly busy. We gave time to preparing for a visit from his mother and step-father. They came to spend about a week with us and brought their new puppy - a 40lb. Golden Retriever they adopted from an animal Rescue. That visit fell in line with the last week of vacation time Dwayne took with hopes of finishing all the power washing and sealing of the house. Just as we feared - all but three days of the time off was slammed with rain. It really put a dent in the wishes for both opportunities. And we have conceded. The rest of the house will not be finished until next year - most likely. The folks brought wonderful gifts! They stopped off in Louisiana and picked up fresh bay shrimp and crawdads - something both, Dwayne and I miss about the south to no end! Wayne and Charlotte brought Austin up that Saturday - got to meet Dave and Sue before we all enjoyed a really nice meal! Come the very morning they were leaving to head toward Virginia for a visit with Dwayne’s sister and her husband - I intended to make my biscuits and gravy for everyone. While down in the basement searching for bacon in the freezer - I ended up dropping an entire frozen slab of pork ribs - sideways - across toes of my left foot. Broke my big toe and bruised the second toe fairly well. I’ve learned one thing from that incident. Don’t even bother asking questions or talking to a person after they’ve just experienced that shocking level of pain. Just get them to a safe spot to get rested and get them an ice bag - possibly a really stiff drink. I wanted to leave my body. I wanted somebody to cut off my foot. And I wanted to beat the hell out of my loving husband when he got in my face with questions and sawed-off remarks! Even the person who loves you most is capable of such things when they are experiencing a pain that can make them feel they’d rather be going through delivery of a 12lb. baby with no meds at that very moment! Anyways - I’m finally getting to where I can motivate around the house quite a bit now. I’ve only found one pair of shoes comfortable enough to wear. Dwayne and I celebrated our 8th Wedding Anniversary on September 11th of this year! We had a wonderful dinner at Angelo’s in Lenoir City. Very rarely do we ever get a chance to actually go out for any fun. What some would consider a “Girls Night Out” at the clubs is far from my lucky ventures to the grocery store and post office twice a month - Home Depot every once in a while. But that’s as close as I get to the same feeling of excitement. LOL This dinner out with my husband was like a real date! That’s something we both haven’t felt in such a long time - much too long. I just reached my 50th Birthday. Of course - Dwayne had to work. It came and went fairly quietly - with the exception of so many Birthday wishes I received from friends and loved ones at FaceBook! However - Hubby came through like a Knight! He took me to BestBuy for a new computer - a monster of a computer - one that can handle all my digital scrap booking and my gaming at FaceBook! I can even watch movies! But the one chosen wasn’t in stock. So - it was ordered for us and delivered to the house. My new toy arrived yesterday! Naturally - the UPS guy shows up just as Dwayne’s pulling out the driveway to head toward the hangar. But I opened the box to make sure all the parts were there. Got to looking at the Quick Guide. All I needed to do was plug everything in and turn it on! No inner-components to install! Yayyy! I had it up and running by around 8:30pm after all the initial uploading and installing that the system had to handle. I’ve already installed my PhotoShop Elements program for my digital scrap booking. Spent some time watching a couple of the tutorial videos. And I’m looking forward to learning how to use this program for all the many, many new things I wanna learn how to do in graphics for my layouts! For now - I’m spending time becoming more familiar with this computer. Not much else I can do for the moment. Dwayne is sleeping. And the morning arrived with - more rain.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Ever Wish You Could Erase Time?

Yesterday was an absolutely exhausting day for Dwayne and me – which kinda put the icing on the cake for what turned out to be a fairly horrible week of events taking place. It had to be one of those – “If it’s not one thing it’s another…” without a doubt. We’ve been saddened – along with so many other folks all across this country – by the declining health of a dear friend – Monica. Even in the middle of all the other heartbreaking events we’ve experienced in our lives over the past week – emotions and worries have held fast at the forefront of our minds and hearts with constant prayers for Monica and Heidi. This world will never find two sisters as bonded and loving toward each other. They have been the truest sense of the word ‘Family’ and lived as such a wonderful example for so many of us caught in the net of all the antics in this crazy world. My life-long wonderful friend – Debbie – ended up missing a milestone reached by her son’s surprise 30th Birthday party – due to coming down with the flu. As if that weren’t enough – she and Bud lost their beloved dog Tasha the day following. They had eleven years of pure enjoyment with her as a part of their family. After bending over backwards to help our now 22 year old daughter, Jennifer, – having not even given second thought – our dear friends – Wayne and Charlotte – were handed the most disrespecting and hurtful blow from pure lack of appreciation and consideration. It was enough that it became necessary for them to leave her no option but to find another place to live. The incident played the heaviest role in Charlotte having to leave work the day after the incident and come home to Wayne – for the first time ever. The entire family remained at home the next day – following an evening at the Emergency Room at Blount Memorial Hospital. This remains a heated issue in our household at this time – enough that it’s impossible for me to even talk about or share while maintaining control over my anger. If I had to find one word to describe how I feel about the choices my daughter has made – that word is – Betrayed. Yesterday was planned to be a day for getting more work done on the house and – grocery shopping – laundry – as well as a few other extra side jobs we wanted to tend to. Just wasn’t in the cards. We spent almost five hours helping three officers with Loudon County Animal Control load a shocking surprise from our hay pasture. One of the officers was under the impression she had finally found the mare – colt – and donkey that others had called in three weeks prior. They had been seen all the way up near Hwy. 72. The officers had not been able to find them and gave up after several hours. The shock came when we all discovered the mare was no mare. It was a Stallion. And he was good-natured so much it would blow your mind. But all the trouble came from obvious signs he had never been loaded onto a trailer. Since February of this year we have noticed some discouraging issues going on pertaining to ten horses and a donkey in the pasture owned by neighbors next to our property. Apparently – there was a relationship that split up. The children were taken. But neither party ever made the effort to make sure the animals were properly cared for. And there have been some really strange things going on over there – to say the very least. Zucker woke up yesterday morning and jumped into full alert without stopping until Dwayne got out of bed to look out the windows. We had three of the neighbor’s animals on our property near the barn – where there is no secure fencing. Fortunately – Terry had left the gate to the hay field open. Eventually – all three headed for the hay field and I was able to get the gate closed before going through the remaining tasks of helping these animals. These animals had received no Vet care. What continues to worry me is – we can’t figure out what happened to the other eight animals. There has never been activity measuring up to any of the animals being carried out by trailer. The only access to the pasture is a dirt road on the other side of the gully of trees between the two properties. The pot-holes on that road provide a great alarm to anything accessing. This guy and his wife had been hiding vehicles back there – obviously for avoiding repossession – since before Christmas. Water was being carried up to the animals in a tank loaded on the back of his pickup. Not only has the tank been missing from his pickup for quite a while – he has rarely even gone up to the pasture anymore – and usually at night. The sounds we’ve heard were as if he was dumping scrap metal. I managed to get a photo taken before the officers showed up. Fonts- Edmonds Fenice BT

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Full Moons and Fussin'...

Spent the second half of the day mowing, yesterday. Seems to be the number one chore lately – next to – washing dishes. LOL Just kidding. Hehh… anyway. By the time I figured I better head out there to take care of that – I had ticked off one Boss Dog of The House. It had been a morning filled with the two of us going at it! I don’t think I’ve seen so much snapping going on between the two of us before. I guess that Honeymoon period really is over. I dunno. He just doesn’t understand. There are some things that just must be taken care of in life. And if you lag – problems just build up like a pile at the dump. And the next thing ya’ know – it’s a trip to the doctor. I mean – that’s just common sense. Right? Okay – so how many still think I’m talking about Dwayne? LOL Check this out! (click on photo for larger view) Yeah… It was around 1:30am this morning before I realized how late I’d stayed up to finish this. But that face was just worth it! Kit - "Life is Ruff" created by Digilicious Designs by Athena Gray at Digital Design Den Fonts- Bentley Coldbringer KG CongressT Here's a peek at Athena's kit!