Thursday, March 26, 2009

You Capture Thursday

So as we traveled, we stopped at one of my favorite spots to eat. It's a truck stop/restaurant and the food is really, really good. And to my amazement, the restaurant just became even better. There was no cigarette smoke in that restaurant at all. That's right! Smoke free! I loved it. The only thing I didn't like about it before was that the truckers seemed to like to relax by watching one of their 7 or 8 television sets and smoking like chimneys. Whew! And now it's better but I won't be hanging out there any more than I ever have. Why? Alas, Mr. Right is a smoker.

The good news though, was that as I perused the buffet, I spotted my photo assignment for this week. Out to the car I went for my camera and here is my first reflection picture:

And then late one night in Colorado Springs as we watched TV, I spotted my second reflection picture:

Join the picture party at and while you're at it, check out lots of really great reflection shots.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Changing Face Of Pikes Peak

We've all heard of Pikes Peak. It served as a beacon to settlers and gold miners alike.

I can see why it was a beacon because of its beauty, size and majesty. And its image changes constantly. Here is just a sampling of pictures taken of Pikes Peak from my son's deck.

Here it is shrouded in low clouds.

Hours later, it's a beautiful day:

The next day clouds are moving in:

And now a snowstorm starts to cover the peaks of the mountains;

And that's how the incredible view is here. It's constantly changing and constantly beautiful.

How lucky my son and his wife are to have this home with this view!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Great Houdini

One of the best things about visiting my kids' houses is that I can learn so much so easily. All the things that they've experimented with and practiced and honed to a fine skill, they pass right on to me.

Firstborn Army Guy has been helping me with my camera and that's great! It's so much easier than reading those boring manuals. And now he's taught us about a must-have product.

Just for a little background, I'll describe Mr. Right opening a bottle of wine with our corkscrew. He positions it on top and then turns it...and turns it...and turns it. After turning it some more he starts to turn it the other way. Back and forth..back and forth until my wrists are sore from watching him. I'll admit that a big part of the problem is that the corkscrew is kind of different from the norm and he just doesn't seem to understand how it works. And as I watch, I have mixed emotions. First, I wonder how he's making it so difficult and second I'm ecstatic that I don't have to be the one doing it. Whew!

So the first night we were here Firstborn Army Guy opened a bottle of wine in about 2 1/2 seconds. I wasn't watching, but Mr. Right was. The next night Firstborn Army Guy opened another bottle of wine (don't ask me who's drinking all that wine either) in about 2 1/2 seconds again. This time I saw it too. Mr. Right jumped up and started asking how in the heck he did it. Here's the answer: The Houdini Lever Corkscrew.

Isn't it cute?!! That little round thing on the right is the foil cutter so it's a very complete package.

Then here's how the corkscrew works. First you clamp the Houdini around the neck of the bottle. Then when you pull the lever back it corkscrews the cork and then pull the lever forward and it removes it. Just like that! Presto! The great Houdini does it again.

And where did he get it? From his sister as a Christmas present and he insists that it's one of the BEST presents he's ever gotten.

Monday, March 23, 2009


We're here but the traveling is part of the fun and I want to share and remember that part. Since I bragged that I was carrying my D40X with me (along with my desktop - lol), I thought I should post some pictures that I was able to capture.

First though, here's the conversation that kept replaying over and over during our trip. Me: Could you slow down a little bit when I'm trying to get a picture? Him: I'm NOT going to slam on the brakes! Me: I didn't want you to SLAM on the brakes. I just want you to slow down a little bit. It's hard to take a picture when we're going 80 mph. Him: 85

Over and over. But I still got some pictures. We went through about a 70 mile stretch in the middle of Nebraska where we saw field after field of cranes. It must have been part of their migration back North. Some areas would have a few and some would have what looked like hundreds or maybe even thousands.

The first pictures looked like this and we couldn't really figure out what kind of birds we were seeing:
Then I started being more prepared as we sped up to them and got some like this:

Finally, the pictures were almost clear enough to figure out that they were cranes:

Then we got these shots which I loved because as I travel across our vast prairies, I constantly think of those courageous pioneers who risked everything to start a new life out West. I think of their slow, painstaking progress and all the hardships they endured from wondering where they would find their next water to wishing there were a doctor in the area. What amazing and brave spirits these people must have had.

We drove past all kinds of energy technology, from the very new windmills located right next door to the oil wells and not at all far from the old wind mills which used wind energy to pump water.

We saw graphic evidence that difficulties don't always befall just middle class drivers with old vehicles when we passed this Hummer limousine with the right front wheel jacked up so someone could change the tire. The only thing we didn't see was someone actually changing the tire.

And I was able to catch a picture of these members of a herd of about 50 longhorns. Really, look closely and you'll see the long horns.

And we saw this sign and I wondered where in Colorado Colorful was. Just for a minute ....... but I did and I accidentally told Mr. Right and he laughed pretty hard.

Then we saw the mountains around Denver, the Denver skyline and Mile High Stadium or what used to be called Mile High Stadium and is now Invesco Field.

So we saw a lot and I captured a lot with my camera but I was pretty vexed about the things I didn't get so I made a little list. I didn't capture the beautiful horses running down a lane, or the herd of little burros, or the two dogs standing on a trailer with no sides while the pickup truck drove about 30 mph on a parallel side road (those dogs looked so HAPPY!), and I missed the wooly looking large animals about the size of a horse that Mr. Right thinks I made up, and I was unable to get a picture of the camel in the field of cows. I also missed the silhouette of a cowboy and his horse out in the middle of nowhere.

So now that I've made a list, everything's recorded either pictorially or with my list so I'll remember a lot about this trip out west unlike lots of other trips that I've forgotten the high points of. And there's another good reason to have a blog.

Friday, March 20, 2009

We're Going To Colorado

Today we're enroute to Waverly, Nebraska and then on to Colorado Springs. Our oldest daughter lives in Waverly (close to Lincoln) with her husband and three wonderful children. So we'll stop there first. It's almost exactly halfway.

But the real impetus for this trip? Our son, Firstborn Army Guy, the older by 10 minutes of our identical twin Army guys returned from his third tour in Iraq in February and we haven't even seen him yet. Now we'll get to visit with him and his wife and their three wonderful children. Aren't we the luckiest?

I don't know how often I'll be posting so please bear with me. But I will say Colorado Springs is very scenic and I'll be traveling heavy with my D40X and my desktop computer! (Don't laugh, I'm 62)

Here's my computer and montior safely strapped into their car seats:

And you won't believe the view from Firstborn Army Guy's deck. Wow! And what a great looking family he has! And how handsome he is! So please, stay tuned.

Note: This was a previously written post. We're already in Colorado Springs but it took awhile to get this relic connected to the internet. Maybe I really am ready for a laptop. lol

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What's Going On at Arby's?

Arby's has a sandwich that I really love. It's their beef 'n cheddar. I've always thought it was the perfect combination of tender roast beef, cheese sauce, a delicious red sauce and an onion roll. Yum YUM!! Mr. Right is not a big fan of Arby's so when I'm alone, I'll often take advantage of the opportunity to pick up lunch there.

About a week and a half ago, I was in a town about a half hour from here. I got out of my appointment, famished! and spotted an Arby's right away. I pulled up to the drive thru, ordered two beef 'n cheddars (don't judge..I walk about 9 miles a day) and was surprised at how much they cost. But no worry. After I left, I eagerly dug in and was disappointed. It wasn't the right combination at all. Too much bun, too much beef and not enough red sauce. I cast my memory back as far as it would go to the menu and wondered if the sizes that were indicated might be the sizes of the sandwich and not the sizes of the meals. Hmmmm I wish I'd been more observant.

So yesterday, I got off work early, famished! and stopped at another Arby's about a half hour in a different direction from my house. And I looked at the menu very closely this time and sure enough, it looked like there were sizes. So I ordered one small meal and pulled forward.

The people ahead of me seemed to take a long time but what's new in a drive thru? Eventually they left and as I pulled up I heard the window person call out to the people behind her to cancel the last order. I waited what seemed like a long time and finally the window lady approached with my order and she said, "we had a mistake so we're giving you a larger one".

WHAT!!!!?? What are the odds? Here I was looking forward to the perfectly proportioned beef 'n cheddar and they were gifting me with a LARGER one. I know I didn't seem very grateful as they expected but I just wasn't. I wanted my little, perfectly proportioned beef n' cheddar.

So now twice in a row I've been disappointed at Arby's. Will I go back? Probably. But when I do, I'll look at the menu very carefully to see what's changed and I'll hope that no one does me any special favors.

All Because Of Heller

Because Beth’s Photo Capture Tuesday introduces me to lots of different blogs, I happened on this one last week.

As I read back in some posts at that site, I learned that a 9-year-old boy had died unexpectedly and suddenly just a little over a year ago. This story touched my heart. When I read that Heller’s family was asking that people do little acts of kindness in his memory, I vowed that I would do one that very day.

And I did. And the person I did it for will never know that I did it. But, I felt that it was a tribute to Heller and that God would know that because of Heller something nice was done for someone. And here’s how it might work. Had I not done my kindness, it would have been a great inconvenience to my customer. Perhaps she would have been in a very unpleasant mood for perhaps a couple of days. Her unhappy face may have been reflected in the faces of her family because, as we all know, “when mom ain’t happy, nobody’s happy”. Lol I think not doing that little kindness could potentially have trickled down to lots of different people. Truly, who knows how far the ripple effect could have reached.

Conversely, when we do these things that promote harmony and good feelings I think there’s a trickle up effect. And if we all did these things all the time, what a wonderful world it would be.

I’m still thinking about Heller all the time. I can picture a 9-year-old boy. I have two sons and 9 grandsons. I can picture a personality and the sunshine that his mom said he captured. And I vow that there will be lots of acts of kindness in Heller’s memory.

I muse about why such a terrible tragedy had to befall this family and why Heller’s time here on earth was so short. And I wonder, was Heller’s mission on earth to make the world a better place? Because who knows how far the ripples of our kindnesses (all done because of him) could travel. I think the possibilities are endless.

If you can, take a minute and visit Heller's site, . That is truly where his memory and and his family’s kindness goals take place. Maybe we can all work together to help fulfill what might well have been Heller’s mission - to change the world into a better place.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

You Capture Wednesday (Soon To be You Capture Thursday)

I had trouble with this weeks 'you capture' assignment. I guess shadows just aren't my forte.

My first capture was this wonderful heron. Wasn't I fortunate to catch this heron statue just as it walked past this wall!?!?!!!

Now the one that I am semi-proud of just because it's interesting is this one of the bricks on our house. I like that the setting sun turns the little brick bumps into a sideways mountain range.

To see lots more (and better) shadow pictures, visit Beth at Ishouldbefoldinglaundry. After you do, join the fun and post some pictures of your own!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Superbaby Came To Visit

My great grandson visited us this weekend and it was wonderful. He and his wonderful parents were here from Friday evening until Sunday. Of course, we had to begrudge some time with his other great grandparents and grandparents but that's okay. We got our time too.

I feel so weird when I talk about our great grandson. Great grandchildren used to only belong to the very, very elderly and I'm NOT! He could easily be my grandson agewise so it's very hard to reconcile myself to the fact that he isn't. He's a GREAT grandson. Wow!

A few months before he was born, Mr. Right had a dream. He dreamed that someone had a baby and he was pretty sure it was our second oldest. The amazing thing about that baby was that he was incredibly strong and advanced for his age. In the dream, he could walk right from the get go. And because of his amazing strengths, everyone called him Superbaby.

So when our precious great grandson started rolling over at 2 weeks of age, we had to think of Mr. Right's dream. And the baby's mother is the daughter of the one that Mr. Right thought had the baby. So little Jack is strong and bright and beautiful. He rolls over all the time...either way. He sits up as you can see in his picture and he coos and responds with smiles and stares when appropriate.

So you see, dreams really do come true. He really is Superbaby:

Monday, March 16, 2009

Beautiful Day!

I'm grateful for the encouragement I received in my efforts to stop procrastinating. What a wonderful world it is when we can get some assistance from people we don't know but who do care. I found that list-making is helpful for me. And I found that it's important that my list isn't too long or I might tend to abandon it before it's all crossed off.

I also found out that for the list making to avoid procrastination technique to work, you have to actually make a list. That's where my endeavor failed me for the last two days. Now to get back on track, I WILL make some kind of list every day! We'll see how that works out.

The weather was beautiful today. When it's nice out, I tend to encounter more of my customers as I go about my appointed rounds. I love a chance to say hello to people, but it's also important that I keep moving. That's why today, as I spoke to one of my customers, I kept moving. I walked as I looked back and that explains why I walked into the big, giant rose bush. And, it being a rose bush, explains why it so deftly removed my baseball cap and grabbed by clothes.

I can deal with all this, truly. I've had lots more troublesome things happen. But why did I have to keep talking as I walked backwards? That caused my customer and his friend to keep looking at me so they witnessed the whole unfortunate series of occurrences. My customer was very solicitous though. He said, "Hey! Watch out for my rose bush!" It didn't seem to matter to him that my head was now perched in the middle of it as my body frantically tried to retrieve it. He just didn't want me to hurt his giant rose bush.

It's okay though. I still enjoy a beautiful day and a chance to interact with my customers. And, if I can be entertaining, well then it's all the better.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Not Procrastinating Now

So yesterday I talked about procrastinating and more to the point, begged somebody to tell me why I procrastinate. I didn't get so many answers to my question other than my sweet granddaughter saying that it must run in the family. And I think there's something to that.

In my family there were 4 kids - two girls - two boys. The oldest, a boy and the third child, a girl are hard working, industrious, penny pinching I mean thrifty, wonderful people. The 2nd, a girl (me) and the 4th, a boy are more.....relaxed. We're not real wise with our money. If we see something we want and we have the money we buy it. If there's yard work to do but we get a chance to go fishing, we're out there reeling 'em in. And if there's something on our "to do" list that's hard to get to...we tend to not get to it. In other words, we're procrastinators.

I thought about it while I worked today and all I could come up with was that maybe we procrastinators have a hard time visualizing the future. We live in the now.

An article I read about happiness said something like "happiness is not what you're doing right now. Happiness occurs when you look back and feel you've accomplished something". And I think that's true. So to be happy is to not be a procrastinator. I'm happy; but I think I could be happier and here is the formula as I see it.

Make a list and work hard to accomplish what's on that list every day. It doesn't have to be a long, lofty, evolved list. Just a little something that when finished will feel like an accomplishment. And when I finish my accomplishment(s), I can use the rest of my time for blog reading and picture editing.

So now I feel like I can talk the talk; but we'll have to see if I can walk the walk. I have a little list, that started with writing this post. Tomorrow I'll let you know how far I got

And in the meantime, does anybody have any other ideas or suggestions? I'd love to hear what you do to keep yourself motivated.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Why Do I Procrastinate?

A few years ago (I'm not saying how many) my dentist finished the work that was needed in my mouth. But he warned me. "If you start getting a deep dull ache above this tooth, come and see me because it will have to come out." So I did. That is I did get a deep dull ache...more intense all the time. And pain in my ear. And a bump on my gum above that tooth. Now after the visit where I got the warning, I continued my good mouth care. I got my teeth cleaned every six months, flossed and brushed regularly and felt good about myself. But once that deep, dull ache occurred, I added another facet to my regimen. I told myself that I had to make an appointment to see my dentist today...or when I'm off tomorrow....or as soon as the holidays are over or .... well, you get it. I procrastinated. I meant to do it. Really meant to. It was always on my mental "to do" list. But it never appeared on my mental "done" list.

Today it's on my "done" list. I went in, was put to sleep, and got two teeth pulled within a very short period of time. I'm home. I'm alive. And I'm relieved.

But I really want to know. What makes a procrastinator. We're not happy being procrastinators but still we are. I believe there's a certain psyche involved...a faulty way of thinking...or maybe a laziness. Maybe we're unrealistic about time and we can't see it as it slips away at ever increasing speeds. Or do we get stuck in the "now". Reading blogs, editing family pictures, or worst of all playing solitaire on the computer. And then on the way to work tomorrow we realize that we never did the thing that would have made us feel so much better in the long run. How could we have not done the most important thing??!!

It's such a mystery to me. Seriously. Can someone please tell me. Why do I procrastinate?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Photo Capture Wednesday - Textures

Today is photo capture Wednesday where we join Beth at Ishouldbefoldinglaundry in her photo capture challenge. I've really enjoyed trying to capture textures and once again just couldn't stop with one or two.

I'll start with my evergreen texture. How fun:

And then move on to my hydrangea bloom from last summer:

Next is a closeup of our Sycamore tree which we've nicknamed our camouflage tree:

A couple of my favorite rocks from the water garden border:

I just can't leave out the grass in March picture and the bed of leaves that has protected my flower bed all winter:

And last but not least, my favorites just because they're so textured, our wrought iron bench:

How Long Is Too Long?

I had an appointment with my doctor today at 1:30. I left work plenty early because I knew that this doctor triple books every appointment. I raced home, changed clothes, and hurried off to my appointment. The person who set the appointment told me that 1:30 was the first appointment after lunch so there shouldn't be a long wait. Still I knew about the triple booking and that the first one there for each appointment was the first one seen. Unfortunately I ran into some delays because of road work on the 2 lane highway I had to take. But still, I signed in at 1:29. On time but probably not the first of three people with 1:30 appointments. After not too long, I was called back, weighed, my blood pressure was taken, and I was told that it shouldn't be too long. At 2:45 the doctor finally walked in. By that time, I was cold and disgruntled. I had put my coat back on and was contemplating at what point it was time to find a different doctor. Prior to this one, I had gone to the same doctor for twenty years or so and we completely understood each other. Occasionally I would have to wait for extended periods of time to be seen but not often.

This doctor just didn't seem to care about me as a person or even a patient. I felt like he cared about me as a source of income.

As I sat in that little, chilly waiting room waiting for the doctor to come in, strange and unwelcome thoughts started to wander through my mind. Was I the least important of all the people he was going to see? Was I the most easy going so that he could count on me to not be angry? Or does age come into play? Maybe it was more important to keep young people healthy. After all, at 62 I'm probably on the downhill slide no matter what we do. I knew better, but as I said, unreasonable, unbidden thoughts entered my mind. The appointment was completed. The doctor gave me the time I needed and I was satisfied with the decisions that we made together about my healthcare. But I have to ask. How long really is too long to wait for the doctor?

Monday, March 9, 2009

41 Years And Still Counting

Today Mr. Right and I sort of celebrated 41 years as a married couple. We've had our ups and we've had our downs but the rewards of 'hanging in there' are many. I don't want to sound like it's been an endurance run or anything like that. But I suspect that there are rough spots in every marriage and some get through them and some don't. I'm so glad we got through ours. I have a Mr. Right that does almost everything right. He's unfailingly kind, tolerant of my shortcomings, and loving.

But what are the rewards of being together for 41 years?

Nobody, and I do mean nobody, knows me better than he does. And he's still here!!!! And there's nobody, and I do mean nobody, that I can count on when I need reassurance and support, more than I can count on him. He's my best friend and my most loyal ally.

I don't feel that it's always been like this. Our relationship has evolved over the years. We've always cared about each other but it hasn't always been this easy. At some point I quit worrying about the things that newer marrieds worry about. At some point, I finally became comfortable and fairly confident that I was the one that he really wanted to be with. And at some point, I realized that he would still love me despite my extra 20 pounds and wrinkles (oh the wrinkles!)

So it's a very special day for me. I say that we 'sort of' celebrated because he's at work right now. I worked days and he worked evenings. But if he liked the card I gave him, half as much as I loved the card he gave me, then he's still feeling a warm glow and very real happiness that we've shared 41 years as a married couple.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Do I Dare?

I can't help it. It's on my mind all the time. It drives my emotions and my moods. So I have to tempt fate (or Old Man Winter) one more time. I have to write about Spring. Because I still think its coming. Only this time I have proof. I believe its what we all wait for at the end of every winter. And when I tell people that I saw this sign, they're very happy and a little incredulous. A customer was standing at her door the other day watching a yellow bellied sapsucker. She was enraptured by it and says she watches it every year but when I told her about my sign, she was thrilled. Another customer pointed to a cardinal in the tall tree across the street. It was singing happily and so was my customer. And when I told her what Mr. Right and I had seen, she too was excited. Three days ago a co-worker told me he'd seen a kildeer and a cardinal. He was very proud but when I came in the next day and told him what we'd seen, he was truly impressed.

So we see the most stubborn ice slowly melting away and we hear rumbles of thunder and get lots of rain driven by March winds. These are all wonderful and not so wonderful signs of Spring but they're signs of Spring nevertheless and always appreciated. But there's one sure and certain sign that brings lightness to every heart when it's spotted. And here it is. Its not a great picture because he was so far away but it's a wonderful picture because of the subject:

My bearer of good news. Mr. Robin Redbreast. He seemed a little wary. Maybe on guard knowing that Old Man Winter might still have some tricks up his sleeve but he was here and I know he's not going least until next Fall. So now I'm satisfied. It's true. It's coming. Spring is in the air.

Friday, March 6, 2009

I GOT LUCKY at the Casino!!!!!

We went to the casino the other night. We were having a pretty good time but after a while it seemed like my funds were dwindling so I thought it would be a good time for a bathroom break. I'd been to this casino before and knew right where the bathrooms were. I did my business (you know) and then carefully washed my hands as I always do. I happen to think casinos are a great place to pick up germs so I was extra thorough. I dried my hands, checked my face in the mirror, and turned around to walk out. As I started out the door, I saw them. A whole wall full of urinals. I had walked confidently into the wrong bathroom. And not once did I encounter a man. Now that's what I call luck!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

You Capture Wednesday - Perspectives

Well, it's Photo Capture Wednesday. The day that Beth at Ishouldbefoldinglaundry sponsors a carnival of pictures featuring her assignment of photographing different perspectives. These are my submissions:

Monday, March 2, 2009

Who's Out of Hot Water..Who's in Hot Water?

About a month and a half ago our wonderful, faithful, hard-working water heater gave up the ghost. There was a lot going on that weekend and, as everybody knows, not having hot water is very difficult. So Mr. Right set out to buy a new one. Before he left, I admonished him to not get the cheapest one. Not that that would be his priority but he is pretty practical. The night before he had told me that they ranged from about $320 to $360. When he brought this one home, I asked how much it was and he replied $320. But he reassured me that "the guy" said they sold a lot of those. We had some guys install it and that cost about $160. But the good news is that we had hot water for the birthday party that day. What a relief!

I just took a shower. That was after washing a load of clothes and doing a few dishes. I love a hot shower but in order to get one tonight, I had to keep adjusting the water temperature and that's how it's been since the new water heater came to stay.

My first thought is a criticism of Mr. Right. Sometimes being practical isn't all that practical.

My second thought is a criticism of me. How was I too busy to help pick out something that important to me? Had I gone, we might have picked the exact same water heater BUT the difference would have been that as I continually adjust the temperature in my shower, I would have been piqued at the salesman or at myself but not at Mr. right who treats me like a queen.

So I asked Mr. Right to read this because I didn't want to post it if it's a problem for him. And he said, "I need to get out the book and see if there are some adjustments I can make". So you see, sometimes it's better to mention these difficulties than to keep them to yourself.

I thought I was being stoic but I was really being kind of unfair.

Life sure gets complicated in the sixties.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

What Was I Thinking???!!!

I should have known better than to write the post that I wrote yesterday. Obviously Old Man Winter thought I was taunting him. Laughing in his face at the fact that I thought he would soon be gone. I wasn't. He took it all wrong. He fought the good fight and I respected him for it. I vowed never to work outside another winter. I whined and cried from the beginning until what I thought was the end. But then I wrote that post and offended him. I should have known that someone with his determination and tenacity wouldn't take my post lightly.'s too late now. It's done.

I just went outside. There were no birds singing. All those birds are probably hightailing it back to the South right now. I couldn't see any cranes flying overhead. There was no mild, happy feeling in the air. And my dafs. Just look what happened now. They're still brave but they don't look nearly as hopeful as they did yesterday.

And if all this mess was in the forecast, I didn't know it. Or I never would have written what I wrote.

Tomorrow the wind chill at 9 a.m. is predicted to be about 4 degrees. What a dreary forecast! And, that's about the time I'll start working outside.

I was wrong. This winter will never end.

And more importantly, please visit Thea and leave a comment. She is beautifully, graciously and generously donating $1 for every comment left on her blog before 8 o'clock tonight up to $250. This money will be donated to Team James and Jake in the March of Dimes walk for babies.