Welcome to my blog. Thanks for coming! One day I hope my little piece of internet real estate will be home to lots of family photos, pictures of my scrapbook and card art, with some random thoughts and memories posted on a somewhat regular basis. Mostly my world is very predictable, but occasionally some excitement will find me, so visit often. Who knows what useful (or useless) information you may find here.


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ellen Hutson

So that craft company I was bragging about the other day?  Can I just say... WOW!  I placed my order Sunday, and it arrived today!!  I may just have to stay up late tonight and make a few cards after all!  This is my new favorite on-line company!  Check them out here

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Time To Clean House

The other day I read an article that intrigued me.  It's no secret that I'm not an Obama supporter, and I've posted my fair share of rants on this blog about it.  (Some would say ad nauseam.)  While there may have been posts regaling my support of John McCain for President, the reader would also have noted that he wasn't my top choice either, simply the lesser of the two evils, in my humble opinion.  The more I have learned about the politics of our fine country, the more I have learned that it's not about Democrats or Republicans.  We need to send them all home.  Without lifetime benefits.  But that's another rant for another day.  It's not about donkeys and elephants.  It's about Big Government.   Very Big Government. 

Over the weekend I heard about the "recess appointments" that President Obama has made.  I was unfamiliar with what that meant, so I looked it up.  Before having the opportunity to look it up, though, I must admit that my blood was boiling, and I was looking for a large stone to place on the scale of What I Don't Like About Obama vs What I Do Like About Obama.  I'll let you guess onto which side I was about to cast the stone.  Just another item to add to my long list of his "offenses".  Once I looked it up, though I was put in my place and quite taken aback to learn that this is a tactic that has often been used by past Presidents to appoint whomever they wish to fill an office.  What?  You mean those sainted Republicans have practiced this as well? (you can't see it, but the word "sainted" is dripping with sarcasm)  Oh yes.  It's authorized by article II, section II of the Constitution.  "The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session."So it's perfectly legal, and was put into practice by our very first President.  However, at the time the rule was made, "recess" of Congress lasted between six and nine months, not the customary few weeks that is the norm now.  How convenient, then, for a President to make appointments that would normally require confirmation before the senate.  Well, we know how those confirmation hearings go, so no wonder a President would want to appoint them.  Give them a little time to prove him/herself before the end of the next session of congress, when they must be approved.  Argument is made also that the article means if an office is vacated (due to the death or resignation) during the recess... as opposed to the appointment being made during the recess.  But that's Big Government for you.  And most of us never even know it is happening. 

Funny thing about studying politics.  It's not funny at all, and there are some really troubling things happening, that are perfectly legal.  And though I'm normally dissing the Democrats or Obama, it's not just those folks... it's all of them. 

Now, for the most part, unless I can be convinced otherwise on an individual candidate, I will continue to support the Republican party... for the time being.  I hope there isn't any of this nonsense about Libertarian or Independant candidates running for President... yet.  Whether or not they are the more qualified, preferred candidate, they are not yet strong enough to defeat the Republican Party, therefore would simply steal the votes of well-meaning citizens, and in effect divide the Republican Party, ensuring another term for Obama.  Until the time that we can send them all home and start over with folks who are willing to uphold The Constitution, and find some honest people who are willing to pledge their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, then we're just going to hafta dig our feet in and do the best we can.  How amazing would it be to have men and women who are more interested in preserving the integrity of our nation than in lining their own pockets?  Do not kid yourself.  We are no more near an "Equal Rights" society today than we were in the 60s.  For certain factions of people, yes they now enjoy rights that they didn't back then.  But for others... not so much... and we never will as long as our politicians are busy making back-room deals, abusing constitutionally-allowable statutes to ensure selective appointments to offices, and pandering to lobbyists who are only in it for the money.  Until excessive government spending and fraud is brought under control, until the tax system, welfare system, printing of worthless money (and the list goes on....) is reformed, change will be difficult to come by. 

The article I referred to simply stated that Barack Obama is the best thing that ever happened to America.  That statement kind of threw me for a minute.  But as I read on, it explained that Americans have been asleep for too many years.  We've been going about our lives, working at our jobs (well, some of us), going to soccer games, enjoying camping trips on the weekends, vacations in the summer, just living with the status quo.  We'll complain on occasion when we don't like something that's going on in Washington, but tomorrow it's back to the daily grind.  It seems, though, that since the election of President Obama, Americans are starting to wake up and realize that We The People have let Big Government run over us long enough. 

The article further went on to bash Obama and list some of the "horrible" things he has done... and while I agreed with most of them (haha.. surprised?), that wasn't the crux of the article for me.  Many people are indeed awakening and the wise ones will realize that we can't blame Obama for everything that is wrong in our country.  Oh yeah, I think some of his ideas are just wrong, and borderline insane, and I don't like him, but most of what is wrong with our country is the Big Government premise.  So, to that end, I suppose I have to agree with the author of the article.  Whatever it takes to once again awaken this sleeping giant, has to be a good thing. 

If you want to see Hope and Change You Can Believe In, get your butts in gear and let's find some folks who will TRULY represent us in Washington!  Let's first send those folks to Congress, and maybe one day we can elect a president who is neither a Democrat nor a Republican.  Good riddance, I'd say!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Busy Weekend Indeed

After a very emotional week, it was great to have a busy, but fun weekend.  Friday was all about Mr. Corey and Greemaw.  Whitney, GiGi and Leyland took a little trip to the hospital to fix three of her poor little piggies with chronic ingrown toenails.   After the carpet-cleaning fellas left, Corey and I left the house with a long list of places to go and things to do.  The carpet would be too damp most of the day for us to be at home anyway.  Normally I dread undertaking major errands with the kids, because invariably one of them, or both of them get a bit fretful before we're finished, and then Greemaw gets fretful, and sometimes it's not a pretty picture.  So I was a little worried as to how The Little Man would make out with all that we had to do.  I am delighted to report that we had a fabulous day together!  He was absolutely perfect, and didn't give me one minute of trouble.  It was a special time, since I've never had him to myself the whole day.  When Leyland was younger, we used to have Greemaw/Leyland days quite often, and we'd have sleepovers, and she'd go to church with me.  I've never had that with Corey.  I guess the second child/grandchild gets cheated out of special alone-time that the firstborn enjoys.  I really enjoyed the alone time with him.  I think he enjoyed it too, because for several hours afterwards, he cried every time I would leave him.  He wanted his Greemaw.  How sweet.  Later that evening, I met Rick and Sharee and some of their friends at 37 Main in Buford to hear Michael play.  And you know I can't go to Buford without stopping in at Archiver's.  It was nice to ramble around in the store without being in a rush and pick up some new ideas.  Buford is quite the night spot these days, and there were lots of folks downtown on Friday night.  By the time Departure was ready to play, it was well past my bedtime, and old fuddy-duddy that I am, I was already yawning.  I pretty much have to force myself to go "out" these days... I'm much happier at home in my jammies watching TV or messing around on the computer.  Or usually a combination of both.  Such a nerd.  But on the occasion that I do go "out", I really enjoy it, and as always the band was rockin' the night.  I love to listen to them play... and people-watch.  We laughed and laughed at one gal who wanted so desperately for her husband to dance with her.  She would have been the karaoke queen, and she knew the words to every single song, and performed it like she was Brian on the stage.  Her poor husband was such a stiff that he could barely even tap his foot to the beat, and though he didn't seem bothered by her over-zealous enjoyment of the music, he was not moved at all to join in.  It was hilarious.  It was a fun night out, and I got to spend a little time with Linda and her daughter Tricia.  I gave them a ride home, since it would be several more hours before Michael would be able to leave.  Thankfully it was a Friday night, because it was nearly 2 a.m. when I got home.  My late-night-party-days have long since been over, and even though I'm an insomniac and often don't go to sleep til after 2 a.m., it's a little different from just coming in at that time of morning.  Saturday I totally slept in until noon.  What a luxury!!  Though my to-do list was just as long as Friday's, I indulged in a little extra shut-eye, and it was marvelous.  Most of the day was spent shopping for the egg hunt at church on Saturday, shopping for groceries, checking prices for party items for Corey's birthday party.  Pretty much stayed in the road all day.  Next thing I know the weekend is gone, and it's time for the work week to begin again.  Church on Sunday morning, work by 12:30, and it's off and running.  It's over in a flash.   Looking forward to Mary coming this weekend for Easter.  A few weeks ago I found matching dresses for the girls.  Not super frilly or fancy this year, but they'll look like little dolls in their matching outfits. 

I'm sending a shout-out to a crafting company that I discovered over the weekend.  It's called Ellen Hutson, LLC. They sell rubber stamps and other crafting supplies as well.  I ordered a stamp on Sunday, paid for it with PayPal, only to find at my next visit to the website that they carry another item I've been searching for and can't find in stores.  I placed the second order, again paying with PayPal. I thought I'd give it a shot to contact them and see if they would combine the orders so I wouldn't have to pay two shipping fees.  I didn't really expect to hear anything back from them at all. Much to my delight and surprise, today I found a very nice e-mail from them, thanking me for my business, and stating that they would indeed combine the order and refund the shipping charges.  Just a few minutes later, an e-mail from PayPayl arrived notifying me of the refund.  Now THAT's what I call exceptional customer service!!!  And the personal note was the cherry on top.  So if you have crafting needs and like to shop online, I'd recommend this company to you.  They are first rate!! Check them out here:  http://www.ellenhutson.com/servlet/StoreFront

I have pictures from our photo shoot with Jessie last weekend of the kids with live bunnies.  Correction - Corey with the live bunnies.  Miss Leyland would have no part of it.  I'm having trouble uploading the images, but I'll try to figure it out and get them posted this week.  Check back later... you won't want to miss them.  Absolutely precious.  Hats off to Jessie for a job well done!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My Sister

Nope, I don't have a biological sister. But this picture shows a few of my best buds who are like my sisters.  (L-R Marty, Delores, Debbie B, Tangela, DJ, Barbara and me.)  But I do have a sister by way of osmosis.  DJ and I have intermingled with our families all of our lives.  She is part of my family, and I am part of hers. What's that they say?  You can't pick your family, but you can pick your friends.  Sometimes you get stuck with a crappy family.  But not me.  I am blessed in that I have two wonderful families.  And that means that DJs big sister is like my big sister too.  She was already married with kids of her own by the time DJ and I were teenagers.  She was our go-to person when we were in trouble with our mamas and needed bailing out.  She had that perfect balance of being young enough to understand us and our plights, and the maturity enough to know that our mamas were just doing what mamas were supposed to do.  She has been our keeper of secrets, our light in a storm, and the source of much laughter and fun.  She has lived a wonderful life, surrounded by so many people who love her, and a family as close as any I have ever seen.  I guess there is just something really special about sisters, and I have been blessed to see the closeness between DJ and Delores.  They've weathered many storms together, traveled together, camped together, and been the best of soulmates.  It would have been easy to be jealous of Delores and insist that "I am DJ's best friend".  Rather, the only thing I've been jealous of is that I didn't have a sister of my own with which to share that kind of relationship.  I have my brother, with whom I have the best relationship I could imagine, but... after all... he is a boy, and we all know that boys have cooties.  So, since I couldn't have one of my own, I decided years ago that DJ would just have to share.  And she has gladly done so.  My heart is full of so many memories of laughing, crying, praying, scrapbooking, swimming, camping, deck-sitting, singing in the choir beside her, cook-outs, holidays, birthdays, girl talks, etc., and I'm so thankful.

Today I had to do one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life.  I went to visit my sister.  And it could very well have been my last visit.  I pretended to promise myself that I wouldn't cry, but I knew better.  Just the mere thought of going over there has put me on the verge of tears all week long.  I tried to be brave when I walked into her room, and I think I mumbled a few sentences of small talk before I felt my throat begin to constrict.  All I could do was look at her and ask her..."do you really think it is time to go?"  Bless her soul, she just nodded her head and said "yes, I do."  We shared a very sweet time together, talking, sharing, and comforting each other.  As I expected, her thoughts and concerns lie with how her loved ones are hurting, and how she hates it so bad to know what they will go through.  I told her that nothing will ever be the same without her and I can't even stand to think about it, but we know that God's grace will carry us through the grief.  I massaged her back, then rubbed some lotion on her soft skin.  It was very difficult, a very sad time, but a time that I will always treasure.  I did remind her that "it ain't over til it's over", but we also agreed that if God is going to take her from us, that we hope there won't be lingering through a time of suffering.  She was first diagnosed seven years ago, and we talked about how blessed we were to have been given seven more years, and that for most of those years, she was able to travel and enjoy life, and watch her grandchildren grow. 

Between labored breaths, she told me about a conversation she had last week with her oncologist.  After he told her that it was time for hospice, and as her appointment came to an end, she told him that she hated leaving her grandkids.  She said he leaned into her with a hug and told her to remember that she was not leaving them, that it is because of her that they are here, and that she will always live on in them.  She was so touched by his compassion, and I believe that his words gave her comfort.  The circle of life.

I first told her that I wasn't going to say goodbye.  But as we talked, I realized that it was most likely the last time that we would have the opportunity to talk alone, even if I am able to go back and see her again. It is so hard to say the things that we want to say.  It is incredibly painful to watch a loved one slowly slip away.  But in a way, it is a blessing to be able to say what's in your heart as opposed to losing someone suddenly when we are not granted the time to say what we wish we had said.  Delores and I have always been straight shooters with each other, so I told her that I wasn't sure if I would be back over to see her.  She told me it was all right if I didn't come back. I told her that she had been a blessing in my life for many years, and that I admire the grace and dignity with which she has fought.  And that her life is a testimony to so many people. I am so thankful that God gave us the strength to sit and talk, saying the difficult things that were said. Just before I left, I told her that if I don't see her at home, then I'll see her soon in a place where we'll live forever.  I kissed her, told her that I love her, and walked quietly from her room.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Madoff vs. Social Security

Why did Bernie Madoff go to prison? To make it simple, he talked people into investing with him. Trouble was, he didn't invest their money. As time rolled on he simply took the money from the new investors to pay off the old investors. Finally there were too many old investors and not enough money from new investors coming in to keep the payments going. Next thing you know Madoff is one of the most hated men in America and he is off to jail.
Some of you know this .. but not enough of you.  Madoff did to his investors what the government has been doing to us for over 60 years with Social Security. There is no meaningful difference between the two schemes ... except that one was operated by a private individual who is now in jail, and the other is operated by politicians who enjoy perks, privileges and status in spite of their actions.  Let's compare:

MADOFF : Takes money from investors with the promise that the money will be invested and made available to them later.

SS:  Takes money from wage earners with the promise that the money will be invested in a "Trust Fund" and made available later.  

MADOFF:  Instead of investing the money Madoff spends it on nice homes in the Hamptons and yachts.

SS: Instead of depositing money in a Trust Fund the politicians use it for general spending and vote buying.

MADOFF:  When the time comes to pay the investors back Madoff simply uses some of the new funds from newer investors to pay back the older investors.

SS:  When benefits for older investors become due the politicians pay them with money taken from younger and newer wage earners.

MADOFF:  When Madoff's scheme is discovered all hell breaks loose. New investors won't give him any more cash.

SS:  When Social Security runs out of money they simply force the taxpayers to send them some more.

Bernie Madoff is in jail.

Politicians remain in Washington.

Monday, March 22, 2010


....Sigh....  You knew this post would be forthcoming.  Unfortunately, so did I.  For any new readers, my position on Obamacare is very well documented in prior posts, but the short version is this:  I, along with most Americans, and every medical provider I know, are absolutely in favor of healthcare reform.  I, along with a very large number (probably the majority) of Americans, and all of the healthcare providers that I know personally, are opposed to the health care bill that was so tragically passed yesterday.  I'm about as uninformed as one can be on how the politics of it works.  I hear that the senate version is passed to the house, and the house does this or that and sends it back to the senate, and they vote on this, but it depends on that, and "reconciliation"... it all just goes right over my head.  I wish I did understand it better.  I'm afraid it's far more complicated than the Schoolhouse Rock's explanation.  I think there would be less outrage from the opposition (me) if the government had shown some initiative in fixing what's broken, rather than implementing an entirely new concept.  Absolutely something needs to be done.  But, as I have shouted from the housetop for many months now, the face of healthcare could have changed dramatically if Uncle Sam would simply have addressed the fraud that exists in Medicare and Medicaid.  I believe it is 60+ million dollars a YEAR in fraud that they KNOW exists.  So how much more that they haven't yet discovered?  I suck at numbers, but in a prior post I did the math (on my calculator) and divided up how many counties/parishes there are in the US, and divided 40 million dollars (which, at that time, was the estimated fraudulant amount) per year.  It was a huge amount that could have been used for public health, to at least give primary care to indigent patients, or sliding-scale fees to those who work but can't afford (or choose not to have) insurance.  While I know that I would still have opposed it, I think I could have swallowed it a little better, had the current administration been willing to take other avenues in an attempt to "reform" rather than "reinvent".  It will be very interesting to see how it all plays out.  I have asked some of the original Obama supporters, now more than a year after his term began, if they feel like what he promised during his campaign is what we're going to end up with.  Not surprisingly, everyone I have asked has given me a resounding NO for an answer.  Though many supporters stand behind him, I wonder how many of them (at large) are disappointed at what we're finally going to end up with.  I'm not into name calling, but I certainly think anyone who believes that this bill is going to reduce our deficit by x-amount (trillions) of dollars, is a very foolish person.  Maybe it won't be as bad as I think it will be.  But I'd be willing to bet the farm that it ain't gonna be as good as the supporters think it will be.  Do I think everyone deserves health care?  Absolutely.  Do I think it is the responsibility of the government to provide it?  Absolutely not.  Some laws need changing, like the 'pre-existing conditions' exclusion, and single college kids being able to be insured under parents' policies. I just don't understand how anyone with brains in their head could possibly believe that the government, who has PROVEN their incompetency handling healthcare (Medicare/Medicaid) could even remotely hope to reinvent the system.  That fact alone just blows me away. 

To be clear, I do not put blame on the Medicare fraud in Obama's lap.  This is a horrible case of mismanagement that has gone on for years under the direction of Democrats and Republicans alike. 

Oh well, at least now we get to find out what's in the bill.  (Nancy Pelosi quote

When I watch this video, a few questions/comments come to mind: 
~So much for transparency.  She eludes to "the fog" of controversy.  Shouldn't the bill have been understood before the vote?  My understanding is that a final bill didn't even exist before they voted. 
~Diet vs diabetes?  Yes, preventive care is totally the foundation for good health.  (See above regarding providing primary care.)  But wait...  now that this bill will probably be passed into law, does that mean the government will tell us what to eat?  Will they close down the fast food restaurants that make us fat?  Will they track our spending, and revoke our healthcare (or fine us) if we eat too much junk food?  Or, would they do the responsible thing, and go into the school systems and revamp the menu to provide kids healthier eating?  (Tune in to Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution on ABC) No, probably not, because that would cost a little money.  After all, there is no money for the kids in school... teachers on furlough and losing their jobs, government-mandated lunch menus that fill our kids with HUGE amounts of fat, meat by-products and all sorts of chemicals... 

...but that is another rant for another day. Now I must get busy at my job and work 12 hours today so that my federal tax money can pay for the 16,000 new jobs that will be created in the IRS department so that they can police the nation to make sure everyone has health care.  Buckle up, everybody.  It's going to be a wild ride.

Friday, March 19, 2010

A New Look

Well, here I go again.  Trying to get a new look. 

Not me.  Not yet.  Just my blog. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Weekend Project

After two back-breaking Saturdays, I think I can put a cherry on top of my project and call it complete.  At least this phase of it.  There has been this unsightly patch of ground between my driveway and the back patio that has bugged me ever since I've lived here.  Just a few straggling clumps of grass, but mostly dirt and leaves.  (In the photos below, to the right of the path, you can see what I'm talking about. The entire area was like that.) It's pretty much like the takeoff and landing strip for The 409, and has a higher volume of foot traffic than any other area in my yard.  So no wonder it won't grow grass, and no wonder it's just ground up leaves and dirt.  And when it rains, it's just a glorified mud hole.  The entire back yard has had a rather marsh-like quality to it for several months now, it seems.  With the ground being so moist, and with a tiny little budget from my tax refund, I decided that now was the time to do something about it.  My scrapbooking girlfriends will tell you that I'm probably one of the most anal peole they know, and sometimes my attention to detail will bog me down for hours.  So it was with my pathway project.  I looked at designs on line.  I looked at the free magazine from Lowes on how to make a walkway using paving stones.  I looked at Home Depot, Lowes, and Wal Mart until I believe they all know me by name in the lawn and garden departments.  I would make up my mind to use paving stones.  Then I decided to use Quikreet and their molds to make my own cobblestone path.  Then I thought about using bricks.  I considered just digging a trench and pouring some concrete.  My delimma was that all the stuff I read about doing this particular project just took too many steps.  Measure.  Dig.  Level.  Sand.  Level.  Pea gravel. Level. Sand.  Etc.  I do not have the patience, the time or the money for all that.  It's the Willie Dunahoo in me.  I want it done now.

Let me just break here and issue a warning:  If you are a construction worker, an architect, or just a guy (or girl) who knows how to do things, you might just want to click out of this post right now.  I'm going to tell you how I created my pathway, and it might just make your head explode to read about it.  I don't want that on my conscience, so please just leave now.  :-)

A few folks, who are pretty good at knowing a lot of things about a lot of things, and who are also familiar with the terrain of said unsightly patch of ground, told me that since the ground is so wet, if i'd just smooth the area and get it fairly level, that the paver stones would settle themselves into the ground.  Well, that sounded like a doable solution. Fortunately for me, said patch of ground is fairly level. And the ground has been so wet lately, you could probably hammer a wet noodle all the way to China.

Last Saturday morning found my mom and me at the Wal Mart in Athens, buying paving stones, pine bark mini-nuggets, edging, and sour cream.  (The sour cream was for my dad.  He loves onion dip.)  Mom and dad helped me unload the 40 paving stones onto my driveway, and the excavation process got underway.  So my dad has this flat-bottomed shovel, and I spent much of the afternoon just skimming off the top layer of dirt to a nice, shiny (moist) patch of ground.  I had pictured in my mind how I wanted the path to look.  Instead of connecting the driveway and patio with a straight line, I was going to do this whole staggered-look thing and wind the pathway around a little flower bed.  So I was doing this three-stone staggering thing, and after I had placed about 15 stones, I realized that it looked like Picaso on acid.  The afternoon was wearing on, so I thought it best just to give up any kind of creative design and just go for the straight line.  Besides, I didn't have near enough pavers to go with the other plan.  The work went pretty quickly, and I lacked one paver and two half-pavers having enough to finish the job.  I couldn't stand the thoughts of waiting until Tuesday (because of work schedule) to get the remaining pavers, so another quick trip to Wal Mart for a few groceries and paving stones solved that problem.  No way I could have slept that night knowing that the stones were missing.  

The remaining naked ground was to be covered with pine nuggets.  I had purchased four bags of the mini-nugget style... which covered approximately 1/3 of the area.  I wasn't very pleased with the look... it didn't look much better than the leaves and sticks that had been on the ground before the excavation process.  It was unanimous with Whitney, we decided I needed the regular size nuggets. Sunday began my work week, and the project had to lie dormant for a few days.  Another trip to Wal Mart for more pine nuggets (no sour cream this time).  Still not enough to cover.  Well, it covered the naked ground, but then I needed to cover up the mini-nuggets.  Friday morning, while Leyland was in school, Whitney, Corey, and I went to Lowes to pick up some plastic piping and flexible elbow thingy so that I could re-route the rainwater from the downspout.  I don't want to have to step over the ugly black drainage pipe on my pretty new walkway, but neither do I want the rainwater flooding my bed of pine nuggets.  I bought flexible tubing, and I'm going to turn that tube 180 degrees, run it alongside my house and let it drain onto the concrete under my little porch, where it will flow on down to the front of my house.  Isn'at that a brilliant idea?  I was so excited to find that flexible tubing!!

We also went to Wal Mart where I returned the original edging and sprung for a more expensive kind that seemed like would be easier to manage and would hold up better. For some reason I didn't get the pine nuggets. And for the life of me, I can't remember why.  So, yesterday morning found me en route to Wal Mart ... AGAIN ... for more nuggets.  And I also found another type of edging that I liked better than the one I had previously exchanged for.  So I bought that too.  And I needed a rubber mallet to install it, so I now have a brand new tool for my tool box!!  It was touch and go with the weather, but between sprinkles, I managed to finish cleaning off the patio, put down all the edging, and lay out the remaining pine nuggets.  The edging was really cool.  It's little pieces that connect together, so you're not rasslin' with one long piece.  Add a small shepherd's hook, a $2.00 bird feeder (until I can get a nicer one) and my little project is pretty much complete.  There are a lot of things yet to be done, but at least the landing strip to my back door is now "paved".  Hopefully this will cut down on some of the debris tracked in from outdoors. Once I get a few plants and flowers going out there, I think it will be nice. 

But about the downspout project... well that didn't go so well.  I think one more trip to Lowe's will fix me up for that, though.  I bought the wrong thing to connect the pipe to the downspout.  I thought Frank might have one at his little hardware store here in town, but no such luck. If I can't find the right piece, I'll just get David to come fix it for me like he fixed his.  (You don't want to know....)

I know a professional could have made it look better, and followed all the instructions, and it would last a lifetime.  Yeah, well, maybe one of these days I'll get Jamie Durie from HGTV to come and fix my backyard.  But until then, I'm happy with it, and besides that, I can say "I did it all by myself!" 
And finally, the walkway.  I hope nobody's head explodes.

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Little Dirt Never Hurt Anybody

When Whitney was a little girl, I was ever so determined not to let her get dirty. I just couldn't stand the dirty face and hands, the spilled food on the clothes or that red Georgia dirt on her shoes. Half my time, it seems, was spent chasing her with a moist wipe or a washrag. When I would pick her up from daycare in the summertime, she would look like a little Indian, with red dirt all over her skin and her clothes. There were times in the bathtub when I'd pour water on her head and rivulets of mud would stream down her face. I couldn't wait every evening to get her bathed and dressed in her nice clean jammies. I remember one time being at my grandparents' house, and the kids outside playing in the yard under the watchful eye of my grandfather. Here I go with a wet rag to wipe the dirt off her face, when Daddy Bill barks at me "Caffy, that youngun's gonna get rickets if you don't let her get a little dirt on her!!" It tickled me so much that I didn't bother to tell him that rickets is a vitamin D deficiency, and that the "d" doesn't stand for dirt. I got the message loud and clear, and tried to lighten up a little bit with my obsession. Thankfully, Whitney never contracted "rickets", and I learned that A Little Dirt Never Hurt Anybody. Which is a really good thing, because nowadays I'm treated quite often to the upturned dirty little faces of my two precious grandchildren. Especially if there's a camera nearby. The cuter the pose, the dirtier the face, it seems. They are very adept escape artists after meals or snacks, and Corey especially hates to get his nose wiped. I have a box full of pictures that, with some Photoshop face-washin', could land these kids on the cover of magazines. I have Photoshop, but haven't learned how to use it. But you know what? A Little Dirt Never Hurt Anybody. And here are a few photos to prove it:


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sleepless in Seattle

Well, not really Seattle. I've never been to Seattle. But I do love watching Grey's Anatomy! A more accurate title would have been Sleepless at The 409, but curb appeal aside, it just doesn't sound quite as interesting. What's up with me lately? I'm quite sleepy, yet when I lay my head down to rest, I can't seem to find the off switch for my brain. It would be fabulous if the thoughts conjured were of some use for mankind, such as the cure for dreaded disease, the best solution for healthcare reform, or even better, how to streamline our household chores into bite-sized chunks, or a formula to ward off toddler tantrums. No such luck. The things that go through my mind run the gamut from how best to arrange my patterned paper and colored cardstock, to "if I remove those screws from that bar on the wall, I wonder if I could find another one that would allow the arm for the shelf to be more versatile" to "now what was Jessie's mom's name?" to "I already lost one stud-finder, I can't believe I have purchased another one and now it's gone too". Or maybe it's trying to mentally sort through the random items in my laundry room, and deciding what to keep and what to toss. It gets so bad sometimes that I fear the sheep will start screaming at me to start counting again. Some nights I try to use the hours lying awake in the dark to format story lines for my book. A lot of good that would do, since I'd likely forget them by morning anyway. I've even taken to bed with me high school U.S. History textbooks. You'd think that would be incredibly boring. Not for Ms. Wierdo Nerd here. I'm finding it almost as fascinating as a good Patterson read. I have no fondness for warm milk and cookies. Matter of fact, don't come at me with any kind of milk, warm or cold. Well maybe some of that hot chocolate made from milk, cocoa and sugar like my mom used to make when we were kids and it snowed.

Are we seeng a pattern here in this post? Random thoughts bouncing all over the page? Yep, that's how it is with my brain when I am ready for sleep. If I could just somehow channel that energy to mid-afternoon, when lack of REM causes my eyelids to droop and it is only the sudden jerk of my body as I am pulled from the edges of sleep just before falling out of my chair, that brings me back to reality. ...Sigh... it's the Dunahoo curse. My mom, and all my aunts have it. Pretty stinkin' unfair, though, since all of them are retired. They can stay up to 3 a.m. playing silly computer games, then loll about in the bed till nearly noon. Oh well. I guess they deserve it. If I remember correctly, they all suffered through it before retirement as well. I suppose if they were able to live through it, I shall too. And who knows, perhaps some sleepless night I shall indeed have a thought and devise a plan to change the course of the future. Until then, I'll just remain, Sleepless at The 409.

Mommy's Little Helper

This past weekend, I enjoyed a rare Saturday outdoors, working on a project that I had been planning for quite some time. It was great being out in the fresh air and sunshine and I loved every minute of it!! It was not without its consequences, though. Manual labor doesn't often find itself on my to-do list, and I suffered quite a bit with stiffness and sore muscles. The project is about 90% complete, but there remains some tweaking and a few more trips to the lawn and garden department at Wal Mart before I'm ready to post pictures. I'm just irritated at myself for not taking "before" pictures. It's not such a huge thing, really, and I doubt HGTV would be interested in my handiwork, but if there had been a "before" picture, I'm sure you would have a greater appreciation for the "after". I'm hoping to complete it this weekend. I work late on Sundays and Mondays, so I had planned to spend the late afternoon on Tuesday working on it. The trees in my yard never get completely bare (as noted in my snow pictures), rather they drop their leaves all through the winter, so it's a challenge to keep them at bay. Needless to say, some major leaf blowing was in order. This presented a problem, since I do not own a leaf blower. And my neighbor Alex has moved away, and that rascal took all his tools with him. So not only is he not here to help me out any more, (translated = do whatever needs doing around here), now I have to go find someone else who might have whatever tool it is that I need to borrow. The nerve of some people! Fortunately, David has a leaf blower, and graciously allowed me to borrow it. After about an hour and a half, I had a pile of leaves the size of a small volcano. I knew that rain was forecast for Tuesday night, so I had planned on bagging the leaves and spreading more pine-nugget mulch on Tuesday afternoon when I finished work. Well, you know what they say about the best-laid plans. Whitney's monthly PC meeting was changed from Monday night to Tuesday night, and Dustin is tied up with the band on Tuesdays. She rather forlornly said that she would just miss her meeting. During my apology to her that I really MUST get the leaves raked and bagged before the rains came, I decided that a barter proposition was in order. I would babysit so she could attend the meeting, if she would bag the volcano of leaves. Talk about a win-win!! She'd do the nasty work for me, and I'd suffer through an evening of babysitting (dancing, tickling, mani-pedi, bubble bath and tons of grandbaby snuggles!) Leyland was super excited when she got home from school to learn that she would be spending the afternoon outside helping her mommy while Corey napped. She was so cute with her rake. Here are a few photos I snapped while she worked:

After a ride on DJ and David's golf cart we turned on the music inside and danced. Leyland wanted to "wedding dance" with me. She kept saying "Now do this" and she would bend way over to the right, or way over to the left. I finally figured out she wanted me to "dip" her. Then she had to "dip" me. We waved our arms in a fairy dance, we did the hokey pokey, and had the best hand-clapping, foot-stomping time ever!! Once Corey was all tucked into bed, Leyland gave me a big hug, whispered in my ear and asked if she could have a bubble bath. We don't do that often, simply because it's a pain to rinse off all the bubbles, and too many bubble baths tend to irritate her skin, but what the heck. This was Greemaw's night, so by all means, bring on the bubbles! After bath came the pedicure/manicure session. First I did hers, then she did mine. Oh boy. Those red-carpet movie star divas ain't got nuthin' on Leyland and Greemaw! Now don't laugh at my ugly toes, and my still-healing BigFoot, but here's the result of my mani-pedi compliments of Princess Leyland:

She did a really fine job, I think! The look of concentration on her face as she tried to perfectly paint my stubby nails was just precious. She's Mommy's Little Helper, and Greemaw's little angel!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Kiss Me I'm Irish!

Yay me! I finally found the time, and a cute blog layout that I fancied. Changes have been made somewhere within the bowels of Blogger that make uploading a new template UBER simple. How exciting! I won't dread it so much next time. So I took a chance on another theme-related layout, seein' as how I'm Irish and all. (Dunahoo... how much more Irish can you get?) I learned an interesting fact the other day about my Irish ancestry. My great, great grandfather, Lawrence Edward Dunahoo, stowed away on a ship from Ireland to America. I forget the year. It had something to do with a potato famine in Ireland. I must talk with my cousin Becky again and get the details in writing... lest I forget again. Anyhow, I've taken a chance on another theme-related layout, hoping that I will take the time to change it once St. Paddy's Day has come and gone. Incidentally, we are hoping for a new addition to the family at least by then. Lucy Jayne is due to arrive on the St. Patrick's Day! Maybe Ryan will give out green cigars. Hope you enjoy the layout for a few days. And nudge me if I forget to change it afterwards. Have a great day and enjoy the sunshine!!!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Letting It Slide Another Day

I've been fretting about getting my blogger background changed. It's time for a more spring-like layout. Bunnies, and flowers, and trees in bloom. However, looking out my window this morning, I see Old Man Winter is resisting retreat about as valiantly as Corey resists a good face-washing. So I'm not going to stress (at least today... and probably not tomorrow) about having a snowman on my blog. Another snow day to enjoy. Wonder what it is about softly falling snow that has such a calming effect on me? I love sitting here in my jammies at my desk, working so hard (or writing a blog post), watching the snow fall right outside my window. With the ground covered in white, I feel a little better about leaving Mr. Snowman on my blog for another day. Besides, despite the large amount of time already devoted to finding a new background, I just haven't found "it" yet. So I'll keep searching when time allows.

However, I suppose I probably should make an attempt at removing the lighted garland with our Christmas stockings off the ledge in the den. At least the garland is green, and I suppose I could put some shamrocks on the stockings.... But I'll probably just let it slide another day. Or two.

Monday, March 1, 2010

It's All About Me

Well, it's my blog, so I guess it can be all about me if I want it to, right? :-D I've been called a lot of things in my life, but today was a first for this: narcissist.

Studies show that, whether we admit it or not, everyone loves to hear their name spoken. Most of us can't resist looking in the mirror as we go past, whether to admire God's handiwork or critique it. Isn't it funny, though, how many of us don't like looking at photographs of ourselves? Or hear our own voice on a recorder? Oh, I don't mind looking at photographs of myself when I was younger. And thinner. It's these past 20-25 years' worth of photos that I don't like. The same image we see in the mirror looks much older, and often heavier, when looking at a still shot or video. "Do I really look that old/heavy/grey-haired/etc??" Perhaps our daily view of ourself is a bit distorted, to enable us regular folk to avoid the self-loathing that we often find ourselves engaged in when looking at a photograph. Whatever. I just choose to see a much younger, thinner, more attractive woman in the mirror than what some silly photographer captures in print.

Whitney thinks it is so funny (and narcissistic) that I go back and read my old blog posts. Narcissistic? Maybe. However, I prefer to think of it as enjoying a walk down Memory Lane. A week or so after I've written a post, I've pretty much forgotten about whatever it was I wrote. So I like to go back and read it, to remind myself what I did last week that was so blogworthy. Much of it has to do with my grandchildren anyway, so it's not so much about me. Besides, I like the challenge of finding typos and incorrect grammar in my old posts, and congratulating myself on my editing skills.... even if nobody else will ever go back and see it, and perhaps will always wonder why I didn't catch it the first time around. So I don't think it is narcissistic at all for me to read my old posts. I enjoy being reminded of the wonderful blessings in my life that I may have already forgotten about. If you're a new reader, by all means, you need to go back to the beginning and read them all your ownself. You'll learn far more about me than you'd ever want to know, but you'll also meet the incredible members of my family, and learn how much I dearly love them. And you'll be totally jealous that I have the best friends who ever lived. :-) You may or may not agree with my political and/or religious views, but that's okay too. Everyone is welcome.

I say all that to try to convince myself that I am indeed not a narcissist. Because I have discovered something that I want to do. I want to print my blog. There's a cool website where you just type in your blog address, and it will fix you right up with a bound book-version of your blog, complete with your photos. I want to do it. Whitney just laughs. But how cool would THAT be!! To have your very own book, about your very own (whatever you blog about) life, friends, family, struggles, victories, beliefs, joys, sorrows... I just think it's cool. And I might just do it.

Who knows. Maybe there won't be any such thing as computers or the internet, or blogs when my grandchildren grow up. They may not have the opportunity to read about CathyB in this format. While all the other kids are reading boring history books, they can be reading a book about how their Greemaw is solely responsible for global warming (chili incident), or her innovative use of Wal Mart bags, see how she looked in a bikini when she was 17 years old, or learn the reason why she will never again attempt to put on pantyhose in a bathroom stall. At a funeral. Who wouldn't just love that???

I prefer the label "historian" rather than "narcissist" any day. CathyB in print. Coming soon to a bookshelf in my room.