Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Two Days -In a Row!

So, I was off to a good start this week as I tried to get myself back on track in the daily walks department. Yesterday was beautiful, so was today and I was a good girl and took Sammy for a walk both days.

Unfortunately, based on the weather forecasts I've heard thus far today pertaining to Wednesday's weather, it doesn't look all that promising that I can make it three days straight of walking though. Supposed to be a bit on the nasty side tomorrow -wintry mix kind of weather from what I understand. Yucky, yucky! I don't like to walk in the cold rain and certainly not in sleet or freezing rain and neither does Sammy for that matter.

I did something else today too that I haven't done in quite sometime when going for a walk. I took my camera along -just in case.

Here's the pictures I took today -nothing spectacular, just things that interested me.

This is a shot of a branch on a pine tree located a couple houses up the street from my place. What caught my eye there was that the branches -all of 'em really -were just loaded to the gills with these tiny little (and really pretty too) pine cones!

This is one of the big old pine trees in front of my next door neighbor's place. What caught my eye there was not a proliferation of pine cones, but just a couple hanging in the upper limits of the tree and they were really large. Quite a difference from the first tree's offerings I photographed.

Some of the flowers already up above ground and in front of my house. These are located directly below the bay window in the living room and adjacent to the pipe that goes into the fuel tank, hence the funnel laying on the ground, ready and waiting for action in case we should run out of oil and Mandy has to run to the truck stop for an emergency five gallons (or ten) to keep the home a little warm until a delivery truck comes our way. She's had to do that at least twice this winter when we ran out of oil and were out of adequate funds to get a delivery right away. BRRRRR!

Here's a few more flowers that will be in full bloom hopefully within six weeks now! These aren't up as far as the ones above are but I sure do hope that we don't get pelted between now and spring's arrival (soon) by a nasty winter storm that could zap in and kill these posies before they even have a chance of showing off their finery.

Seeing these green sprouts and also the dead branches laying on the ground is a good reminder for me that I really need to do some cleaning out of this little bitty flower bed in front of the house.

My Grandpa would be appalled were he around to see that it so grubby kind of looking -for lack of a better description here. My cousin Ray -who is an avid gardener of the floral varieties at his home in Indianapolis and who, unlike me, evidently inherited the talents our grandfather had with respect to gardening -probably would be giving me the evil eye and the "Tsk, Tsk" were he to see this dismal sight too.

Hopefully, I'll get on the stick, round up a little energy some day soon, and start getting the flower bed ready to grow some pretty daffodils (or crocus), tulips and iris and then, get some seeds started for some other flowers to put in there and dress the bed up a tad more -maybe!

Yeah, I know. Good luck with that when you're operating with two black thumbs!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Upside and Down (for a while)

This morning, as I looked out my front window to greet the day, it filled me with hope and cheer because the sun is shining brightly and makes everything look just beautiful!

Ah. Now this is the way to start a day and a great way to start off a new week then too, isn't it?

When the outside world looks like this as the month of February is drawing to a close, it speaks loud and clearly to me that God is on His Throne and things are right with the world. Well, at least the first part of that sentence is valid and who knows, maybe one of these days things will truly be "right" with the world too. Sure would be wonderful if those things were completely in sync, wouldn't it?

This past weekend though brought sadness into my life as I received a phone call Saturday evening from a cousin telling me her brother had passed away that day. He'd been dealing for a number of years now COPD and for the last 2 plus years, had been either in the hospital or a nursing home, most of that time also on a ventilator -if I'm not mistaken. His family and the extended family have known that his time with us was very limited, that he would never be coming back to his home, and thus, knowing a loved one or close friend is in such a place, I guess we all then brace ourselves for that day when they are gone.

Yes, prepare for that time, is what we try to do and yet, when it does arrive, are we ever really prepared?

This cousin was the third of the grandchildren born into my Mom's family and as such, he was also my maternal grandparents' first grandson. Carl, his older sister Nancy (who was their first grandchild) and my cousin, Barb, I've often said were the fair-haired trio of the 11 grandchildren who eventually came into the family setting and the rest of us -the other 8 -were all sort of "Johnny Come Lately" material. Not that my grandparents didn't love us too -we weren't neglected or anything like that -but I knew because I grew up with my grandparents and heard the things they often said, knew by the tone of voice as well as the words chosen when they spoke about Nancy, Barb or Carl that they were held in very high accord.

There were -for openers -a whole lot of pictures of the trio from the time they were babies and through the years as they grew up and not near as many photos of the rest of us. Typical, that is though, isn't it in any family as the first born gets pictures taken at the drop of the hat, the next child too often gets in the limelight a lot too but frequently by the time a 3rd or 4th child comes along, interest in taking pictures tends to wane a good bit. (I confess that with my own children there are a lot of photos of my oldest, a goodly amount too of my second child -probably because the first was a girl, second a boy, thus very different ya know and warranting extra snapshots because of that. My youngest -well, she wasn't excluded completely from the photo scene, but not near as often did the camera come out after she entered the family and I attribute that to being busier trying to manage caring for them as well as not having as much spare money to buy film and then, get it developed too! (I wonder, had digital cameras been around when my youngest was born if she would have been photographed equally then in comparison to her siblings but I know too, the ease of having more photos because of a digital camera also would have required having a computer too -which wasn't a commonplace thing 30-35 years ago though so a lot of other things would have had to have existed for my youngest to have been competitive in the family photo department.)

The news of my cousin Carl's death though sat heavily Saturday night feeling like a combination of a lump and a hole in my body now existed that didn't belong there. I haven't been sleeping well for sometime now and Saturday night was no different but I can't say if that was because of his passing or just what has become what seems often to be the norm for me lately.

Sunday morning, getting myself ready for church and helping with the kids to get them ready too, it seemed Kurtis had by osmosis perhaps, picked up on the undercurrent of my feelings as he was really whiny and very crabby. Not a totally unusual thing for him but it did seem like he had an extra dose of that kind of attitude going on within him. At one point, he walked as he walked through the dining room and past me, he looked up and gave me a warning glare and told me "You are NOT my Grandma!" Hmmm. That comment took me a bit by surprise as he was really emphatic on the topic!

The feeling deep inside me though persisted through much of the service at church, that is until the Offering. The Children's Choir was to sing yesterday during the Offering and both Maya and Kurtis are in that choir now. (Although Kurt doesn't do much singing, doesn't always want to participate in learning the words and melody to songs but does like to stand up front with the other kids and play the little "ham" when the kids sing.) The song they were to do yesterday just so happens to be one of my favorite hymns and it holds within it many, many memories too, especially of my Grandfather -who taught me the words and music to it many years ago -both in English and in Swedish too. This song -"Children of the Heavenly Father" has always been not just my Grandpa's and my favorite, but also of most everyone within my Grandpa's whole family and as such, it has often been one of the hymns chosen to be sung at many funerals within our family as well as within other families who are members of our parish too. Very much an old favorite especially with those of Swedish ancestry.

Listening -and watching -as the kids sang -first a verse in English, then the first verse in Swedish, then another verse and they repeated then the first verse in Swedish -and the reaction within me was immediate in that it brought tears to my eyes. But then too, it brought a sense of calm, of relief within me which was a most welcome feeling. After that, the closing hymn - "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" which is also one of my favorites -and was one that I had chosen as a congregational hymn at my Mom's funeral -and provided more comfort within me then.

After services, some of the women of the church and I were up in the Sunday School room getting the tables and other things set up for the refreshments we were going to be serving last night after the Lenten service sponsored by the community ministerium group and the children were there to practice the song they will be singing two weeks from now which is "On Eagle's Wings." If you aren't familiar with this particular song, the melody is so pretty but the words are so meaningful .

Here's the words to the chorus which you can see then for yourself why it brings peace and comfort:

"And I will raise you up on eagle's wing, bear you on the breath of dawn, make you to shine like the sun and hold you in the palm of my hand."

As the children practiced this, the director also was giving them instructions for hand gestures they are to use as they sing too which gives the message much more impact then.

All of these things impacted me in a positive manner, gave me a much needed spiritual lift.

I've been trying to reach a couple cousins to let them know about Carl's passing, give them information as to the funeral arrangements and such, but thus far, having not met with any success in finding any of them at home so this morning, I'll start calling again and hopefully make contact with them.

I didn't learn until late last night when I got an e-mail from Carl's surviving brother with whom I have always been very close as he and I are a mere three days apart in age. I am the old one, he is the younger and never lets me forget that either! Unfortunately, it is unlikely that I will be able to go to the funeral though as it will be held out on Long Island -a six-hour drive from here, one way, and a distance that I wouldn't want to try to cover with my old jeep but also, an area where I have never been before, all kinds of massive city driving and more opportunities than I care to think of where I could and probably would get lost trying to find my way there and back. My older daughter had said she would try to be of assistance and help me get to the funeral -meaning if she could get a sub at work, she would drive but that was before I found out where the funeral will be held and when we thought there might be a possibility they would bring him back to Pittsburgh for a funeral there.

Carl's brother also reminded me in his e-mail of another loss that had occurred in our family 30 years ago this coming Thursday (March 1st) as that was the date that the youngest brother of Carl's died. David was 2 years younger than me so at that time, he was only 35 years old and way too young to leave us -for openers. But the fact that he had chosen to end his life was what really brought us -as an extended family -virtually to our knees. Not quite as raw thirty years since that happened, it is still a wound that reopens easily though. And I had thought of that Saturday night too while talking to the surviving sister as well.

The things that go through one's mind though when faced with the death of a family member or close friend -the memories that are conjured up then do fill us periodically as sometimes the smallest of things will pop up and cause thoughts that might bring tears but also, will also bring smiles and allow for some sunshine to peek through for us. Thoughts that elevate us up and help to restore us to a balance point perhaps.

I remember so well, the summer of 1952, when I was 7 years old and my cousin Carl spent the bulk of his summer vacation from school here, in this little village and we shared our grandparents that summer, he and I. The only child that I was, I relished having Carl here with us because it gave me some of the feelings, the experiences, others have who are blessed with siblings. Even down to the pesky ways smaller, younger kids have of meddling in the lives of a family member a bit older which is what I did to Carl that summer.

He was going on 15 then to my 7 and boy, I could really bedevil the living daylights out of him! Our Grandfather's older brother was still living then and his home was about 6 houses down the road from ours. That, plus his only grandson often came here and stayed for weeks on end during the summer and "Little Eric" as he was called (his Grandfather being big Eric but not called that) was almost 13 so the age factor plus that Little Eric lived in Pittsburgh, Carl's family in Monroeville and the families belonged to the same church in Pittsburgh, so the boys were already close allies. They were also both at an age where they were recognizing differences between boys and girls and LIKING those differences too and there just so happened to be that our next door neighbors had a daughter going on 13 as did another neighbor who lived beside Great-uncle Eric's house and the boys each liked those girls!

One night, 2 of the younger sisters of one girl, and 2 sisters who lived 2 doors from our house and I decided to do some stalking of Carl and Eric and the two girls and that led us to watching the four older kids horsing around in the garage behind our house. Actually, what was going on was Eric was "showing off" for the girls by standing on the rungs of a ladder and then, using the ladder almost as if it were stilts, he was walking around the garage by holding on to rafters in the ceiling. Carl was perched -sitting in a tire in a corner, a girl on each side of him and an arm around each girl, while he sat there, acting like a big shot, smoking a cigarette.

Nothing horribly bad for sure -not by standards of the 50s and definitely very innocent activities I think by the standards most kids have today -except for the cigarettes, that is. THAT was something that I knew automatically I could use against Carl with Grandma!

We girls -the stalkers -had watched this whole procedure through the gap where the garage doors met (there were two big doors that opened out to the stall for my Mom's old car and they didn't close completely there). We were lined up by that gap, five heads, one pretty much atop the other, watching these kids and their silly antics.

The next day, after Carl got up probably as close to noon as possible (he loved to sleep really, really late), I approached him and whispered to him that I -along with Louise, Frannie, Rose and Kate -had all seen him and Eric the night before, along with Carol and Marlene, and that I knew what they had been doing and definitely, I had to lord it over him that I was going to go and report in to Grandma in mega detail too, what terrible things they had done!

Carl's immediate reaction was, as he stuttered it out, "D-d-d-d-don't you tell Grandma! Please, d-d-d-don't tell her cause she will get mad at me and make my Dad come and get me and take me home!"

So of course, being the rotten little cousin, spoiled brat that I was, I immediately went and told Grandma!

And her reaction? She howled laughing as she envisioned in her mind's eye, the entire scenario!

See what I mean about Carl being one of her "fair-haired" grandchildren, one of the terrific trio? Yep! Carl could do no wrong where Grandma was concerned. And guess what? Today, I can see that same trait in me towards my oldest grandson too! That he is by being the oldest, of course, also the first -well most certainly I can now understand Grandma's feelings that Carl could do no wrong!

Carl was a good kid though, really he was. He was a willing worker who helped my Mom immensely that summer and between the two of them, they hauled sand home in the trunk of Mom's old run-down Plymouth, the lugged bags of cement home too, built framing around the house where there had been a worn-out bricked sidewalk of sorts and they put in concrete sidewalks in front of the house and around the house, clear back to our cellar entrance. With the old bricks they dug up from the former sidewalk, those that were still usable, the planned out and build a fireplace down in the back yard too!

Two summers later, Carl's Dad, my Uncle Bert, planned his summer vacation as always to be spent here at the family homestead and in doing that, he also planned to have his two older sons -Carl, then 15 and Ray, who was then almost 9, were enlisted by their Dad to be the gophers as well as the laborers too in helping my uncle replace the entire roof over this house!

Because their Dad often either did a lot of the repairs needed to the homestead or on some that he didn't have time to take care of but thought my Mom could handle, he would give her instructions as to what to purchase, how to work with it too, and then be able to get more repairs done without having to spend what few dollars came into the family till! It also gave my Mom many side skills besides the nursing for which she was already trained to do and often worked private duty cases. As a result, my Mom would tackle plumbing, carpentry, masonry -anything EXCEPT working involving electricity! That was one area that she left fully to one or all three of her brothers to handle!

As a result of the many "vacations" cousin Carl spent here -which almost always involved some type of home repairs -he was very knowledgeable too -not just about how to do all kinds of work this stuff involved, but also in things that existed and where they were located in this old house. That was something I found out a few years back when the township was putting in a sewage system throughout the villages and countryside here and I needed to know stuff about drains that my uncles had put in the basement of this house. Carl's cousin Ray suggested that I call Carl and see if he had ever worked on any of that stuff as a kid, helping their Dad and maybe he might just recall some much needed information that I needed.

And so, I had phone Carl, told him what I needed to know and he proceeded then to tell me where and how the various drains were located and what things they serviced then too -bathroom, laundry, kitchen, furnace -he remembered the entire layout and was able to tell me how the drains were positioned! Incredible and it saved me from hiring someone to come in and check things out, possibly not be able to figure things out and then, tell me I would have to dig up the basement and have all those drains redone! Saved me a small fortune that phone call did!

Memories come back to me now too -some of my earliest memories really -of being a pre-schooler and at Christmas with my Uncle Bert, his wife and their five children here along with my middle uncle, his wife and daughter (who was one of the terrific trio) and those three older cousins -Nancy, Barb and Carl -teasing the four younger kids here -cousins Joan, Ray and David and me -telling us to run to first one set of double windows in the living room to look outside to see our youngest uncle and if we didn't see him there, they would push us to run to the other set of double windows to look there for him all the while encouraging us by yelling "Lookie, lookie, here comes Cookie!" (Our youngest uncle's nickname being "Cookie" and him being still single then or perhaps newly married but with no children yet, he was invariably the favorite uncle then to all of us kids. I can still hear the voices in my mind as I remember how much fun, how exciting, that little game was that those three older cousins played -or teased -the younger kids with!

So many of the things that happened back then with me, my cousins, were not really what kids today probably would consider to be exciting, much less special, but to me, they definitely were that! We played games outside -- kick the can, croquet, even a little fooling around with balls and bats now and again as well or we often wandered about in the woods near here with my Mom's brothers on walks where the grownups would talk about how the landscape was back in the 20s when my grandparents had moved back here from West Virginia, or about where this or that feature of the mines had been located or where the kids of their generation had gone in the winter to ice skate.

Carl always had a very bubbly, friendly personality and a great sense of humor too and he loved to joke and tease his younger cousins as well as his aunts, uncles too alike. But in whatever he did, I will always be able to remember the look in the eyes of my Mom, my aunts and uncles, then and late in to their lives the way the mere mention of Carl's name and their eyes would just light up!

He was, indeed, one very special cousin and one who played a big part in my younger years -whether he realized that or not after he grew up, married and had a family of his own, but he did!

With all the health issues he had the last years of his life -especially the last 2 years, existing on a ventilator, unable to eat or drink anything, he had told either his sister Nancy or his wife, the one thing he really wanted though, was craving -if only he could just have a cup of coffee.

And in learning about his release from the sickness, the pain, the misery he had dealt with for so long, I certainly do hope that whoever was there to greet him on the other side, that the first thing done for him was to please, give him that long desired cup of coffee.

Rest in peace, Carl. You will be missed much more than you ever realized, I'm sure.

Friday, February 24, 2012


I've been sort of "missing in action" for the past week -thanks to a problem I apparently created for myself on a blog post I was trying to write.

I was trying to do a post about a little "gig" I had last week -dog-sitting for my son and his girlfriend's beautiful German Shepherd puppy, Dora. The video is of Dora and our mutt, Sammy, rough-housing over a chew toy of Sammy's and it was really comical to see those two dogs in action. My plan was to share the video in a blog post but somehow or other, after I uploaded the video to U-tube and then tried to embed it in my post, apparently I clicked something wrong because something went haywire and I couldn't get the darned video-mistake deleted from the post and it took me two days of playing around with it until finally, I just deleted the whole darned post!

I don't have a clue as to what I must have done wrong but I was really ticked off over the whole thing along with being leery of trying again to do a post with said video in it either. Add to that, I've been a bit engrossed in a few other things the past couple of days then too and just began doing something I do so well -procrastinating -and well, here it is a week later and finally, I decided to take the time to do a new post again.

I've been doing a lot of reading lately -since Christmas-and as a result, I've read about 10-12 books that were either given to me for Christmas, my birthday, others I had purchased over the past 2-3 years but hadn't got around to reading them because I was so engrossed all the time with doing embroidery -so I decided the time had come to get busy and get at least some of those books read while my eyes still function well enough to be able to read and the brain still works well enough to understand what I'm reading too! That, plus I heard someplace that active reading helps to ward off Alzheimer's so I figured it was worth a shot.

Right now, I'm reading a book by one of my favorite authors -James A. Michener.  The name of the book is "Texas" and I have to say that I think this has to be the largest book I have ever tackled -1,096 pages -so in size alone, it really is the epitome of Texas then, isn't it? This book also -regardless of the size -is taking me the LONGEST it has ever taken me to read a book! Hard to believe it but I've been reading this book for going on three weeks now and I finally am down to a little over 200 pages till I complete it. It's never taken me that long to read a book before! (Heck, I read Gone With The Wind in about 2 1/2 days and it's one fat book too, ya know.)

My older grandson was here over the past weekend and he, like me, likes to read about history -fictionalized or non-fiction -so I thought I'd maybe introduce him to Mr. Michener and his works by giving him another book I happen to have on hand that I really liked and thought maybe it would be a good one to use to perhaps show Alex what a great story teller James A. Michener really is. I did explain a bit to him that in the beginning of his books, he often goes into mega minute details about things that make you wonder why on earth he does that but if one can plow through that stuff and get into what he's really doing there, before you know it then you get into the meat of his story and the reading does tend to get a bit easier. The book I gave Alex to hopefully get him started is "Chesapeake" and by Tuesday, Alex reported back to me that he had begun reading the book, saw what I meant about the first chapters being a bit difficult at times to read and grasp but that he was now getting into the finer points of the story and enjoying it very much! Now, I wish I still had some of the other books by this man that I have read and loved to pass them on to Alex too. (Books like "Hawaii," "Alaska," "Centennial", and "Poland" -which I think was my absolute favorite read thus far of his stuff.) But I'm just happy that Alex is liking this book and maybe he will become as big a fan as I am of his works.

Now, enough of my excuse of being busy reading to do much of anything else, and also, because I really did want to show the video of the dogs, I'm making  a second try here to share it with you now.

And, after you've seen the two dogs in action, I'm also going to present you with some still photos of Pearl the Purrball cat -the one who went missing for a little over 2 days two weeks ago and really had the household in total uproar till she finally made her way back home. Thankfully!

Pearl, it would seem, has taken up a new sport here. About a month or so ago, Mandy's best friend and her family brought a gift down here for Miss Maya which consisted of a small aquarium and 1 beta fish! Maya named the fish "Mike" -go figure where she came up with that for a name for a fish -but when asked about her name choice, she informed us that Mr. Fry (father of a set of twins at our church and his name just happens to be Mike, "is named after her fish." Okay -she got the name choice process a little reversed there and Mandy couldn't wait to tell Mike and his wife, Betty, about Maya's name (and why) for the fish which they both got a big charge out of too.

But anyway, here's a few of the pictures I got tonight of Pearl watching Mike, then trying to the best of her ability to get a paw into the aquarium and make a nice little meal then out of poor little Mike!

Here's Pearl as she began her fishing expedition today. Just checking out the aquarium from the top down, ya know.

Then she decided to look at her prospects of capturing Mike from a different angle.

Not fully satisfied with things, she tried other ways to get at the fish -like trying to fool him into thinking she was tired of that game or had given up on the fishing.
But then, after a little rest, she decided to resume her work.
And then, finally, she reverted back to just sitting up and watching Mike swim around a bit before she got down and headed to the kitchen to her own bowl of cat food and gave up on the fishing for today.
I figure that her antics around the fish's home may have just shaved several years of the poor fish's life from sheer fright of seeing her sitting there, watching and waiting for some opportunity to get to him.

In the meantime though, she does provide a whole lot of entertainment for us as she's fascinated by this little creature.

Now that I got this stuff posted and I think it's all going to be stable and not muck up my blog the way things went for me last week, time for me to call it a day (or night) and go to bed!

Happy fishing and remember to be willing to share toys -my motto for today as shown in the video and Pearl's fish-watching.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Weekend Kick Off!

Here it is, Monday morning, and I'm writing about the kickoff I had for the past weekend. A bit out of sync, timing is off -all things that are pretty much traits of mine though and if you read my posts fairly regularly, you know that's pretty much the way I tend to roll.

In truth, I intended to write about this stuff Friday night -which would have made the title then very relevant. But you know too by now how easily I get distracted from doing things I think I'm gonna do, things I'm gonna write about and well, that's pretty much what happened here yet again!

But because the events of Thursday and Friday were such that they -along with the whole weekend too -added up to something really special for me, I figured what the heck, I'll write about all of it today!

Thursday afternoon, I had a phone call from a guy who had graduated from high school with me and who I had seen once in the past almost 50 years now since we left school! He was one of the kids from town here and I had gone through all my school days with him. I knew him, yes, but yet, didn't really know him all that well because he lived in the opposite end of our little village -about a mile up the road or perhaps a bit more than a mile so he wasn't a kid I associated with all the time.

The first time I saw him after graduation was at our 45th class reunion five years ago this coming June and I found myself totally enjoying conversing with him and his wife. When I phone him this past fall when we began making our initial plans for our 50th reunion, we talked more -comparing notes about our lives, families and such -all a very enjoyable conversation.

That he phoned me this past Thursday to see if there were any changes to the information I had previously given him about our class reunion plans, we once again got into lots of talk about life today, things we've done/experienced over the years and again, the similarities in our lives became evident even though he left the village right after graduation to join the Navy and after he finished his tour of duty, went to Cleveland where he found a good job, met his wife, raised a family -all that stuff that sometimes people who leave here often feel makes them a tad above those of us who stayed here and remained the proverbial "Country friends" ya know.

But Tom isn't like that! He's still the down home guy I knew way back when! And it was so much fun -again -to chat with him and catch up a bit more as well as expanding on our knowledge of ourselves and many of our shared friends from the past too.

Then, Friday -late in the afternoon, there came another phone call. Mandy answered the phone and as she handed it to me, she whispered the name of the caller -a male, who she doesn't know at all, but who just happens to be one of the most important friends from my much younger years!

Another country heard from -as that old saying goes!

Gene is two years my senior and I think in the past 50 plus years, I've seen him two times!

His Dad was our high school prinicipal plus he and his Dad also belonged to the same church as did my family. Back in those good old days, the group that was for the young people -the teens -was then called the Luther League and not only did Gene always attend those meetings but he was a very talented musician (piano and organ) and he had also served for two years back in the late 50s, early 60s, as our church organist and choir director too.

And aside from those things, he also had a fantastic personality and terrific sense of humor. Sometimes, it maybe could have been referred to as a sense of devilment too as he could think of a lot of prank-type things to pull too!

Anyway, it was so much fun to talk to him again! I've sort of kept tabs on a bit about his life after he too left this area because I'm good friends with a cousin of his and she has tried to keep me somewhat up-to-date on his life. He left the area to go to college, married the summer he graduated from college and from that point on, went on to become a very, VERY successful engineer, owner of his own company, inventor of many items and very well off too! Today he lives on the opposite side of our country so his visits back east are very infrequent which explains how I've had few opportunities over the years to see him and visit in person.

But his call on Friday was to talk to me about the cookbook our women's group at our church had put together last summer and fall. Seems his cousin here had purchased a copy of the cookbook and sent it to Gene and his wife as a Christmas gift and he wanted to call and tell me how much he had been enjoying looking through the book, that he and his wife had prepared several of the recipes in the book -of particular interest to them were several of the recipes of Swedish origin which they had made and he reported that his grandchildren had loved the items they had fixed!

He also went on to say how enjoyable it was for him to look through the book, view the photo dedication page we had put in there and how seeing so many faces once very familiar to him growing up and then, also to read many of the various recipes and recognize so many names there too. He congratulated me for what he felt had been a job well done and as you can imagine, those words did my ego a whole lot of rebuilding!

We chatted about some of the funny things we'd shared back in our school days and he inquired too about my best friend and neighbor two doors down the street from me (then and now -still 2 doors apart!) Asking me if I would tell her "Hello" from him when I next saw her which of course I did as soon as we ended our conversation! He mentioned to me that he intended too to make a call to her so I volunteered her phone number to him as well as the promise to mention his greetings to her.

I knew he had been slated to have heart surgery this past fall as his cousin had told me about that and he mentioned having had it done and that because of that, he felt he had been able to definitely add at least several more days onto his life expectancy which he also said, without that surgery, he most likely wouldn't have been here now to make the phone call to me on Friday!

I have to say that talking to him on the phone after so many years truly did my mind and my heart too a whole lot of good! Nothing beats talking to old friends, does it?

Saturday was a big day here too as it just so happened to be my younger daughter's birthday! Yep! Thirty six years ago she came into my life and has been one great presence for me ever since then! I think I can speak for her brother and sister too that they definitely feel the same way about Miss Mandy, my baby girl, as I do in that she tends to be the rock in our midst much of the time!

On Friday, Ken (her friend) had come down to the house bringing with him a nice big chocolate cake iced with dark chocolate icing to begin our celebration then of her birthday. Kurtis was very impressed with the cake Ken had made and iced -mainly because it was made of his favorite substance -chocolate. However, he was a bit upset because the cake had no writing on it and no fancy decorations or anything but after Maya found a couple (five) candles and plunked them down into the top of the cake, Kurt was extremely happy then as the cake was now "decorated!"

Saturday, Mandy was invited to go to Ken's house for a special steak dinner he was going to fix for them and when she returned back home then, I had another cake baked for her too! I made a Red Velvet Cake with white icing and the kids and I trimmed the icing using one of those tubes of "striped" icing -this one being red and white -plus we then sprinkled valentine heart decos over the top and sides of the cake too with one word - "MOMMY" being written on the top of the cake for Mandy!

When my son and his girlfriend came down to share cake with us, they also brought with them a Raspberry cheese cake that Elizabeth had made for the occasion so we were well loaded up then on sugar items, weren't we? And, I must add that all of it tasted pretty darned good too!

Yesterday, at church, Pastor Carrie announced to the congregation what most of us already knew -that March 4th will be her last Sunday here with our parish. Mandy and I have known for the past several months since she had notified the synod that she wanted to transfer to another church and hopefully, by March 4th, we will have ourselves steeled up to her leaving us. She's become such an important part of our lives and especially for both Maya and Kurtis too as they worship the ground she walks on! I understand completely her reasons for requesting a new parish as it is very difficult for a person as young as she is to live in a community so far away from her family and of course, from her old friends as well. After all, from here to her Mom's home in Wisconsin is a 15 hour drive at a minimum! That's something one can't really do in just a weekend, ya know!  Much as Mandy and I both hate to see her leave, we both want what is more feasible for her too and that she found a parish in northern Wisconsin (Baldwin) that is a mere 3 1/2 hour drive from there to her Mom and siblings, is truly a blessing for her as well as for the parish where she will be working!

The nice little WEI game that was bequeathed on our family here last week has really been getting quite a workout lately too! The kids both were kept very busy most all of Sunday afternoon playing their games on it and last night, after Elizabeth took Clayton to pick up his truck and start his weekly run schedule, she came back down here and she and Mandy enjoyed playing Mario games till almost midnight then!

Believe it or not, I went to bed around 11:30 although it sure didn't do me much good to go to bed that early because between not being able to fall asleep and then, for the brief intervals that I did manage some snooze time, my sleep was so filled with really absurd crazy dreams that I sure as heck didn't get a restful night clocked in!

But anyway, here it is now -the beginning of a new week and wondering too what is in store for us.

The weather finally turned to acting like the season -WINTER -this weekend with a bit more snow -the light, blowing drifting across the roadways to make them really slick in many spots kind of snow and the blowing part -typical February cold winter weather! Although today, it appears to be one of those "fooler" kind of days -filled with bright winter sunshine but a wind chill factor that freezes your nose and toes when you venture outside.

Which is what I'm planning to do here too very shortly! Yes, I'm going to brave the wind chill thing and Sir Muttley, Sammy and I will be going for a nice, probably relatively short though, walk!

We both need that constitutional stuff ya know and if nothing else, it'll re-open my sinus again for the day after a brisk stroll, won't it?

Hope life brings you some of the blessings too that it recently deposited on me -reuniting with old friends, celebrating happy occasions with family too and some good foods to top it all off!

Thursday, February 09, 2012


I've mentioned a lot of late about how derelict I had become about keeping up with my walking program but have been trying to get myself back on track with it, at least a little bit whenever I can.

Last Thursday, it was snowing here like crazy but looked so pretty that I bundled up, got Sammy's leash and away we went for a walk down the road and back. Not a far piece for sure -only about 2/3 of a mile, round trip -but it was one of the most enjoyable walks I've had in a long, long time.

The snow was just lovely -picture perfect -and the temperature was just right too. It was cold of course -after all, it was snowing hard ya know -but there was no wind so no mega wind chill factors to freeze a body out. Walking along our road, in that fresh snowfall that didn't even have much in the way of tire trackage on it, was so lovely, peaceful and calming.

Yesterday, we had snow again and like last week, it was a nice soft snowfall, no wind and the temperature was very pleasant to do a walk about out in the weather. Sammy and I enjoyed our stroll very much.

I took my camera with me yesterday though because last week, while walking in the fresh snow, I found myself wishing I'd brought the camera along.

Here's some of the pictures I took yesterday and these were the ones I mentioned in an earlier post that I was fighting with the computer to get them off the camera and over to the computer. I finally did find them so without further words that might lead me to begin grumbling again about the computer, I'll share them with you. (NOTE: I am not a photographer, not by a long shot! These are just some things along our walk that I thought were pretty to my eyes at least.)

The untouched road here -going towards Peale -with the snow looking so pure -always reminds me of Robert Frost's beautiful poem. Can't you imagine this road, these woods, over 100 years ago when Peale was populated and people trudging along in the snow -men carrying lunch pails and miner's headlamps -on their way home from another long, hard day in the mines?
Trees, all decorated in snow, always appeal to me. Two to three months from now, those trees will be sprouting leaves and getting ready to blossom forth for another spring-to-summer session.
This is one of the apple trees along that road to Peale -one that Mandy and I raided on several occasions and which provided us with a lot of applesauce that I made and froze as well as several jars of apple butter that Mandy made and canned! Maybe these could be called "Winter apples" huh? (Hope they produce as many apples this year as they did in 2011!
Okay, so what if this does look like a Christmassy decoration? I just thought the basket of decorations hanging on my neighbor's front steps entrance was so pretty with the green holder and the greens and red poinsettias. So what if they aren't "for real" flowers -the colors are so pretty encased in that lovely snow, don't 'cha think?
And finally, here's a shot of the hedges with their red berries all covered over with a blanket of freshly fallen snow.  Truthfully, I do love this picture even though I always hated those kind of hedges when we used to have them in front of the house and along the side of the house here too.

But the white on the red -to me -just so very pretty! Makes up for all the prickly thorns I used to end up with in my fingers and feet when I was a kid -all from those kind of hedges!

The Diva's Demands!

Maya's been fairly quiet since Christmas with her fashionesta quests but lately, she's back on track and with Maya, that means she's once again surfing clothing and shoe sites on line!

She's a huge fan of the Sketcher's page and keeps showing up this or that pair that she wants and what holiday or special occasion she wants them for too. I hate to disillusion the little girl but in my opinion, since she already has a couple pair of Sketchers in her size, she sure as heck doesn't need any more!

I'm just thankful she isn't into horses and riding or she'd be clamoring for a pair of equestrian boots then I suppose.

Sometimes, I think we're going to need to build on an extra room and use it for two things -my fabrics and craft items and Maya's shoes and boots!

Yeah, I'm willing to concede that we both have our obsessions and we both need more space to accommodate them too!

Either that or do some really severe tossing during spring cleaning this year!

Computers: Bah Humbug!

Ever have one of those days (or maybe several in a string of days) where almost every time you touch your computer to do something, it goes all weird, bonkers and just plain strange on you?

I'm currently in the midst of one of those streaks and if I had the coinage available, you can bet your bottom dollar I'd be heading out to solve my problems by purchasing a couple of laptops! Yes, you read that correctly as I did type the plural there!

Why more than one? Well, I think that might be the only way to keep my things running in sync and orderly and operating the way they are supposed to do!

Right now, I'm having issues with my camera and trying to upload photos from it. When I hook up the little cable thingy from my computer to my camera, it normally shows me two camera icons along my systray and as each one pops up there, I hear a little tone to let me know it's there. Well, I can hear that tone but no icons are appearing. (One is for my daughter's camera and the other is for mine in case you are wondering why two icons.)

Yesterday, I went to my control panel and from there to the area where it shows your printers and other devices and normally, those two camera icons show up there but yesterday, they were absent; unaccounted for! So, I decided maybe I needed to reload something or other to my computer to tell it to go to the cameras and upload photos from them (whichever one) to my computer. I dug around and found the stinking Kodak EasyShare disc and plunked it into the cd/dvd compartment only to be told -big surprise -that the computer wouldn't recognize that cd/dvd but I could go to some website and select what I wanted from there. Which I did and I loaded up the stinking EasyShare then. If you are getting the idea I don't like the EasyShare program, you are quite right, very much in sync there with my thought processes about that program! (I hate it!)

I finally thought I had been successful this a.m. then in uploading pictures from my camera to the computer but when I went to My Pictures to view them, gee, guess what wasn't there! Yep! My pictures I had just taken off the camera and sent -supposedly -to the computer files. And what's more, I'd also had the old pictures on the camera deleted too after the transfer!

Talk about being ticked off, that was me, for sure!

I have no idea what happened to the methodology I had been using to transfer photos from my camera to my computer as I had done nothing to change anything -until last night, that is -but anyway, my old method no longer exists on my computer or if it is here, I have no clue where in blazes it is hiding. But earlier this afternoon, I did finally locate a file within My Pictures that contained the photos I'd transferred over this morning and I then had to move them to a different file to keep them in the organized way I currently have my photos set up -so I'd then easily be able to relocate them at least.

Add to that, I have a message that keeps coming back to my computer in the "Action Center" -that's what it's called on my computer. This message says that my security setup has detected something -potentially harmful software -on my computer and says I should click "clean" to eliminate this thing after which, I should do a shut down and reboot my system. Well, I've followed their directions three times now and each time I reboot, that same freaking message returns to annoy me! Anyone got a clue as to what to do with this stuff anyway?

I do totally hate when I have any kind of problems with my computer because it seems no one can ever give instructions as to how to get rid of any of these issues using plain and simple English! Everything has to be in some form of what I call "Computerese" which to me is the same as talking to an attorney or trying to read legal papers of any type in which every other word is a "Wherefore" or "party of the first" or something like that. All mumble-jumble to my brain's tiny receptors at any rate!

So if you have a clue as to what is causing these problems with my system and can explain it all how to fix it in good old fashioned English, feel free to drop me a note!

In the meantime, I'll be here, trying to do what little I can with what I have to work with which ain't much right now -or so it seems!

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Welcome Back Home!

We had a scare this week when our sweet cat -Pearl the Purrball -went missing Monday evening!

Mandy asked me about 8:30 Monday evening if I'd seen the cat that evening and as we thought about it, neither of us could recollect seeing her at all.

Okay, she's a typical arrogant, snobby cat a lot of the time and loves to find little corners or crevices even at times where she thinks she can fit into and hid to sleep but even so, it's unusual for her to not be moving around at least a little bit during the evening. Especially since she dearly loves to use those hours to torment Sam, the mutt, and rile him up, get him to chasing her around the house.

So we went on a search and destroy mission and spent the rest of the night searching the upstairs bedrooms, the downstairs rooms, the basement, looking in cupboards, under beds, behind various pieces of furniture but no Pearl. Mandy even took the flashlight and went outside to walk around the house several times on the outside chance she had managed to get outside but still, no trace of Pearl.

Tuesday a.m., still no sign of her in the house and when the kids got up for school, Mandy gave them both the third degree questioning during which time Kurtis said he had let her outside Monday night!

What? Why on earth would he have done that for openers and secondly, did he really do that or was he maybe just making that story up? Never can tell with kids that age range about things like that you know.

But anyway, Tuesday, Mandy got several flyers posted around town about our missing cat and I put up several photos too on our Facebook pages of our pretty Pearl in hopes if someone saw her they would call us and we could then go pick her up and bring her home where she belongs.

Tuesday night came and it was a sad, sad family that went to sleep here without Pearl being here with us yet again.

Wednesday morning, Mandy was in the bathroom combing Maya's hair and helping her get ready for school when Ken came to the bathroom door and told her to look. There he had Pearl in his arms!

He'd seen her apparently out in the back yard, heading towards the deck and managed to coax her back into the house so when he carried her back to the bathroom to show her to Mandy, it was one very happy occasion for her and Maya for sure!

Mandy came out into my room and woke me up saying "Look who's here!" and I opened my eyes to see Pearl in her arms. Reaching out for the cat and holding her, she was purring up a storm -her normal plus maybe turning the amps up a couple of notches too!

So that old saying of "All's well that ends well" surely is the truth in this house today now!

And Pearl has been sure getting a whole lot of attention here today!

Thankfully, the only thing I could see from her little outdoor jaunt is a tiny little scratch on her nose but boy, it sure could have turned out much, much worse for her and for us!

So glad our sweet little cat Pearl made her way back home to us!

Isn't she just beautiful though?

Now, if only her father, our big old Tomcat, Fluffernutter, would return home too! He's a very independent mainly outdoor cat but he's not been around for almost two weeks now. Wish he'd stop this roaming around and return to the fold too, ya know!


BRRRR! I don't know what the heck is wrong with me but it does seem like I am freezing cold all the time of late.

Yes, I know it's February and cold temperatures (as well as snow -which began to fall here this a.m.) are the norm but this winter, I just can't seem to get warm and stay warm inside the old house.

Sure, part of this is due to the fact that Mandy is trying to conserve fuel oil as much as possible and so, she is keeping the thermostat down lower than we usually would have it set but the week especially, I've had several days in which I felt like I was freezing for sure even though I had several layers of clothes -warm clothes -on and then, even covered up with a blanket too!

One thing for sure that we don't need here (since we have no pool -ha ha) is a pool heat pump although I am convinced m body does need some kind of heat pump to warm my inner system up, just a tad!

Improvisation -The Name of the Game!

There's been some shifting around in the house of certain units of furniture lately -due mainly to the addition a week ago of a lovely little WEI game the kids received via an anonymous donor.

Because the larger TV set we had in the living room won't work if you try to hook up a DVD player or any other contraptions to it, Mandy had the TV set she had in her room brought downstairs and hooked up because the WEI will work on it. Disaster avoided there at least temporarily, huh?

However, there's one slight problem with her set too though.

Seems that set has to "warm up" for several minutes before you get any volume at all and then, you spend the next 5-10 minutes cutting back on the volume to get it to a level you want so you can hear without being blasted out of the house by the sound.

I'm wondering now if we had some kind of bookshelf speakers hooked up here if that would help the audio to spread around the room a bit better -once the audio gets warmed up, that is?

And then again, I'm thinking that perhaps the time has come to just invest in a new TV set?

Yeah, that idea sounds like the better one to me. Now to figure out where to locate the coins to do just that too.

Always something, right?

Friday, February 03, 2012


My kids like to tell me -frequently -that I am a packrat and if things keep up, they think I am probably on my way to becoming a hoarder.

Well, I have to confess that I am somewhat of a packrat but only about certain things -mainly yarn, fabric, patterns and embroidery kits and floss. And also, that I do have the majority of my packrat type items packed up in fairly large plastic totes too.

This past week, Mandy was on a cleaning binge -trying to get many things cleaned up and packed up or pitched out. A good move, on her part and I give her credit for that.

But she's gonna soon have to make some decisions about all the myriad of papers that creep into the house on almost a daily basis via each of the grandkids backpacks. You know, all those drawings that are so cute but difficult to interpret much of the time or homework papers with grades on them that make you proud to see but if you're going to save all that stuff, then you'd better be investing -soon -in a tote to store that stuff in too!

I think the only things I have saved over the years from my kids early school days are a couple of little Christmas ornaments made by this or that child on occasion. I'm truly thankful though that none of my kids were into sports and by that, were not awarded bunches of sports trophies that you just know I would have been compelled to save for posterity!

I have more than enough memorabilia in the form of little cups and saucers, little plates, larger plates, special glasses and such, all stashed in my china cabinet along with several other pieces that had belonged to my Mom, my Grandma and probably a few other relatives here and there too!

The last thing I need here is more of that kinds of stuff, ya know.

Now, with Maya and Kurt both having signed up to learn to play soccer in an after-school program, it almost has me hoping that they are just your run-of-the-mill type players, not majorly athletic ya know, so that way, we won't ever have to worry about more stuff to try to store!

Lacking Comprehension!

There happens to be a certain individual, who shall remain nameless, unidentified here, who continues to confound me.

Imagine if you would, having several children and having next to no contact with any of them or only very sporadic contact at best with a few of them. Imagine too a person who has had a business that had very good potential but lost it due completely to mismanagement. Then too, imagine having specialized tools to ply your particular trade but losing them to a previous employer because of money advanced to you and not showing up to work the hours required for the hours of pay advanced so the employer confiscated those tools because the employee walked out and left them there.

Imagine having a court order for child support but not paying it and then wondering why the older children -who know and understand this -don't care to associate with said person. Imagine not being able to go to work for several days at a clip because of withdrawal from drug abuse then imagine the custodial parent of some of those children not allowing visitation because of said documented drug abuse but then blaming the lack of visitation on that custodial parent and not comprehending why that parent is "being so mean."

Imagine not bothering to renew a driver's license and not carrying mandatory vehicle insurance and owing money on a vehicle (the only vehicle you have too) and then, going out on the highway, high on pills and hitting a telephone pole and then leaving the scene of the accident.

Imagine spending time in jail for the non-payment of child support as well as contempt of court for not showing up for a court ordered hearing but blaming those circumstances too on the custodial parent.

A good stay in a rehab center sure does seem to me to be something that should take place but how to get that to come about is the issue now. About the only thing this person does NOT need is bath salt abuse addiction rehab treatment but darned near any other type of addiction imaginable is probably fair game.

If someone had told me a few years back -not that many years, just a couple really, that I would know someone in such dire straits, someone who rarely says anything that is the truth these days, but who blames every problem mentioned above on anyone else that happens to be handy -no responsibility accepted whatsoever for any of those actions, I would have then said "It will never happen."

And yet, how quickly those things do become addictions and how quickly too the physical, mental and emotional well being of a person involved in those substances deteriorates.

I wish there were a way to get help for this person but I know it is now in that person's hands to recognize how drastically that help is needed to restore life to some semblance of normalcy.

My Own News Service

I often feel that I am totally at the bottom end of the informational food chain as frequently, I hear about things that are happening or happened to friends of mine and that so-called news is really old hat stuff.

Yesterday, Mandy had been out and when she came back home she informed me that a good friend of mine is moving over to a place in Clearfield to one of those Independent living communities. Now I haven't seen or talked to Gert in several months but I was totally surprised to learn she was taking this step!

I asked Mandy where she heard this and she told me she'd run into Gert up at the local truckstop and she'd told her about the impending move then. She told Mandy that she just got tired of all the work with the upkeep of a house by herself.

I can't say as I blame her there as I think if I were here by myself, I'd probably give some serious consideration to making a move like that too.

But too, for those who think this makes life just a piece of cake, it can also be something that can also be very disruptive too. My one aunt made a move like this back in the mid-to-late 90s and although she eventually adapted okay to her new surroundings, it was really difficult for her for a good while to get over having had to sell the house that she and my late uncle had built -a beautiful big ranch house on the outskirts of the small town nearby. That and leaving so many good friends too that she had cultivated from the late 40s on through the 90s -that was a hard thing for her to cope with too.

A lady who lived on this street too -had been here all my life -made a similar move like that too about 7-8 years ago. She had huge old two-story house here with four bedrooms, a full basement that was all fixed up and virtually every convenience known to man as well I think but she sold her house and moved to one of these places and for her, she has been in love with the place I think right from the get-go! I, on the other hand, still miss her not being here very much!

So I hope for my friend, Gert, that her move puts her into a good place in all respects. But one of her daughters lives over in that town, plus a granddaughter is still in high school there too, I think, so she'll most likely have people around her to help with her initial adjustment to her new living surroundings.

Just hope she doesn't forget to take a run down this way from time to time though!

Wednesday, February 01, 2012


Last night, I saw something happen here that I said I'd not seen -nor heard -in roughly 34 years now.

Mandy was stunned, in a total state of shock and yes, believe it or not, she was speechless!

What rendered her to that condition you ask?

Would you believe me if I told you it was something given to the family?

Well, believe it because yes indeedy, we did receive a gift and it came as a total surprise not just to Mandy but also the the kids and me too!

Miss Dawn, Kurt's TSS, came down here about 4:30 p.m. yesterday afternoon carrying a nice big brown shopping bag on her arm and she brought it in and handed it to Mandy.

The contents of that bag? A brand, spanking new WEI game plus two DVDs for it too!

Then she explain to Mandy that an anonymous donor had purchased the item and she'd been contacted to select one of the families she works with to present them with this gift and boy, Dawn just got moved up to sainthood status (if we have any choices in that matter) for her selecting our family to receive this gift!

Incredible, isn't it?

Now, the fun really begins as we try to figure out a fair way to administer time allotments to the kids so as not to interfere with their homework assignments as well as to alleviate any possibility of brutality that could come from one kid getting more than a tad ticked off at the other!

Last night, Mandy's best friend sent her son down to help move the tv down from Mandy's room upstairs and to hook up this lovely little machine. Then, he even stayed about an hour or so longer, helping to show Maya and Kurt how to play a couple of the games on it too. Last night they were happy little campers trying to bowl then even trying to play golf. Tonight, both kids and Mandy decided to try their hand at playing baseball too!

So far, so good with the kids behaviors while playing with it. It's helped a bit on the bribery side during supper too with the threat of "If you don't eat this or that, you'll not get any time to play on the WEI and boy, it's amazing to see how quickly foods that had previously been declared as being "Yucky" all of a sudden disappeared -and not into the dog's dish or the waste can either!

Yep! I'm loving this WEI -at least for now anyway!!!

Easily Confused

Okay, those of you who know me by now also - hopefully -realize or remember too that I do confuse easily. Sometimes I confuse really, really, really easily -meaning faster than the average bear, ya know.

Well get this now and you tell me what you think.

A friend of mine recently sent me an e-mail and in it, she included a link to a site she wanted me to see -obviously.

What I didn't understand though was her instructions to go to the site bedroom furniture Los Angeles. It just made no sense to me why she had it labeled in that manner.

Maybe it was because almost all the bedroom furniture groupings had some type of reference in the name of those back to an area or town in California but still, just seemed rather a bit of extra baggage to deal with in my opinion and wasn't really relevant to, as my Grandma would have said, "The price of tea in China."

The Tax Man Cometh!

Yeah folks, that time of the year is fast approaching, isn't it? Only 2 1/2 months from now and everyone will (hopefully) have completed all their tax forms, sent in their returns and are anxiously awaiting that nice big refund in many cases and for others, probably just praying that the check you sent along with your return doesn't bounce!

I'm a bit confused though these days now when it comes to filing my taxes because the work I do is done at home and is independent so I don't get a paycheck with deductions already withheld. Nope. I get a statement of my total earnings for the year and then, have to figure out from that amount how much I owe in taxes.

I wish I had some kind of report designer that would have a set-up for me in which I could log in the jobs I completed and was paid for, those things I purchased in order to keep earning the small checks I do get now and again -after all, wouldn't inventory type items qualify as a business expense?

Better yet too, what I really need is another account with my bank into which I would make regular deposits equaling about 15 percent of the amount I earned and then, come January when I go to file my taxes, I would have the money sitting there, waiting for me to transfer it and send a check, guaranteed not to bounce, to the IRS!

The real answer to my problems though would be if I only had the same income that Mitt Romney has! I read an article yesterday in which the writer was telling about how much Mr. Romney earned last year -$21.6 MILLION and along with that, there was also a place where you could key in your own income for last year and calculate how long it would take you to earn $21.6 million dollars, based on your current annual income.

Here's the answer I got for my income level!

In 2010, Mitt Romney made $15000 in 6 hours 3 minutes and 57 seconds.

It would take you 1444 years 1 months 2 days 6 hours 53 minutes and 45 seconds to make what Mitt made in 2010.

Now isn't that just (as the Church Lady would say) "Special?"

If only I could figure out how to live for another 1,444 more years, I'd be all set, wouldn't I?