Saturday, December 22, 2012

Did I really think I was bored? 2012 in review!

 The year started off with a bang.
We traveled to Phoenix for the first of three weddings in the year.
My nephew and his bride were lovely in a fairy tale palace.

Right after we joined the entire family, Scott's brother and sister, and my son's in laws and headed to Hawaii. It rained almost the entire time.

 We journeyed into the spring with boating, gardening and mowing. My husband was pleased.
We settled into a long HOT summer. The corn burned and we had more hot days than my Phoenix family.
Our daughter and her hubby bought a house in the late summer. We attended a wedding of our oldest and dearest Army friend's family.

 Our son and his wife got orders for Alabama and went through the stuff in the barn on their way to their new home. They didn't take much...DARN!

I found myself dithering and then was called to come back and teach. I came to know much more  about babies, deployed parents, computers and kitchens.

 130 students in my care for 45 minutes each for a semester.

 I renewed an old friendship or two and worked my ever-living tush off . After teaching everything from Pre School to 8th grade in the academic subjects, I quickly learned that teaching 29 8th graders how to cook, sew and take care of children is a job for the brave.

But it was a good year.

Two nephews and two nieces had babies this year. At the end of the year my absolute favorite niece got married (OK they are all my favorite, but this one is extra favorite).

I am now retired once again.
I get to participate in the gun lobby (not) and the end of the world chats (not really).

What I am is more content and happy then I have been in about ...well any time that I can remember.
2013 is shaping up to be excellent year. I have two grand babies on their way. My grandson enters school. My son and his wife have orders to be stationed nearby.  A niece will deliver a new baby in January. My family is settling down. I am a bit afraid that the other shoe may drop...but you know what...I am going to try my hardest to just enjoy the moments. Maybe you can enjoy the moments and share your moments with me as well?
Merry Christmas.
The Lord is GOOD!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

What is this?

The massacre
Heroic teachers trying to protect little kiddos
I cannot put myself entirely in those shoes
but it did make me ill and throw me back to 17 years ago.

What is this?
This is NOT about gun lobby.
It is NOT about "evil"

It is about mental illness
 how we suppress the need to get help for the ones who need it the most.
I will not be surprised if it is also about the
desensitization of our youth
by "playing games" about killing on our computers.
Have you watched one of those games
even once in the last five years?
Do you know how many children play those games
for hours at a time?
Then we suppress any type of aggression in our society
pretending it is not there. What is THAT about?
They do not learn to box and have to pretend all that aggression does not exist?

I live in a household where guns are a norm.
"Guns don't kill people, people kill people".
I do not  agree with that flip statement.
If guns were not available- there would be another weapon of choice.
And those who pretend we can get rid of all weapons are ignorant  of history.

I was ill when they said that the families who were not reunited
were basically told
by process of elimination
that their child was dead.

I cannot imagine the hurt.
The pain
The sorrow
I wish I could just throw up and wake up to innocence again.

Instead I will continue to say prayers for those who are left behind.
Those who left yesterday are surely in heaven.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A's for everybody

Today marked the beginning of my last two weeks in the classroom,
at least at the head of the classroom,
where I am in charge,
and the lessons planned are mine.


Lesson plans thrown to the wind late last night.
Power Point is fun and shows actual understanding of a topic
when used correctly.
Quizzes were planned for Tuesday and Friday.
Instead, today, computers were taken out
and we all got comfy.

"Have you tried out this picture editor before?"
"Did you know that there are new ways to flip and slide your screen?"
"Look at this cool phrase about babies. Do you think you could fit that in?"

Mexican food fiesta next week.
I am seeking pure joy in my last two adventures.

Yes! A's for everybody.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Another interesting conversation.

"I won't ever have to care for one of these"
a young teen said as he dropped off his
Baby think it over doll.
"Really? Do you think you will never have children"
was my response to the statement.
if she gets pregnant,
it is her body,
it is her choice,
it is her baby.
I don't have a say,
so the baby is all hers."

The next step in the
"a woman's choice" debate.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Back to "retirement"

Not that I am counting---but 14 more days of teaching.

My desk is cleaned out.

My lesson plans are on a thumb drive for the next teacher.

My plane tickets are purchased for family visits.

I am ready.

I really don't even want to discuss the next generation that is above preschool :>)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Who is your Father? Who is your Dad?

An intense conversation was held
around a small table in my room.
Boys and girls, the same age, different backgrounds and ethnicities
The question came to me,
"Mrs B. Who is your father and who is your dad?
My eyes went to squint.
"Excuse me, the question does not make sense to me."
A roll of the eyes
"Who is your father and who is your dad?"
"They are the same person."
A sigh and a smack of the lips,
"A father is like...the sperm donor
The dad is the person who raise you."
Again- "They are the same person."
" Sure, I am the middle of five children.
My parents were married for over 50 years to each other.
They never had children besides the five of us.
My father is my biological father and he is the dad- a wonderful man."

Wow- some nodding-- but a bit of disbelief in the air.

They went around the table.
Three agreed that they had both fathers and dads- but the men were different people.
One said she had a dad but no mom- her father had remarried several times but each of these women were called by their name---and never mom. She had never met her mother.
One said he had several men who wanted to be his dad---but they were just passing through.
His mother had just had a baby
the man was long gone.
"Could I be the baby's dad?"
"In some ways that is traditional---when a father passed away the oldest son would step in to take his place.  He is not really the dad---but is the role model for the younger children."
"I don't want my brother to grow up without a dad."

The morning after the night before

Ever get caught in one of those rushes?
The ones that you can only stand and watch and not control?
Thursday night was a Kindle rush.
We all knew what was going to happen.
An off duty sheriff stood his ground in front of the opening to the back halls.
Out came the Kindles and
the rush began.
Taking what I was there for I stood back
to see the crowd slowly falling at me.
Behind the cart I stood- protected by the tall jail filled with Nooks.
And then
the crowd began to fall to the side and
the fishing began
first one
then another
people pulled out from the sea
Popped out from the suction
"we survived"
The morning after
it seemed unreal to even think about it
Whew! That was close.
Me thinks there will be at least three of us
who will never venture into a crowd like that again!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


My family is expanding by leaps and bounds. Both children are are awaiting children of their own. It is an exciting and nerve racking time. My nightly prayers center on their safety and joy.

Last weekend we attended the reception for my niece. Just seven short months ago we sat at a table with her. She was lamenting that she had not yet found the "right one". We told her she was a true Bowen...wait for years, meet the person and marry quickly for life. There she was a few months later being sealed .

We were lucky to have time with our nephews. They, with their wives, brought along two lovely babies. The boys were too precious. Giggles and burps, it was an excellent time.

Last we await the arrival of our two newest grand niece and nephew. One baby will arrive to first time parents. The other will be a fourth delivery. Both babies are greatly anticipated.

Some people drone on and on about the end of the world. They whine endlessly about what they think others should feel about politics. I am in such a good place of love. It is hard to relate.

It is the best of times.

Friday, November 16, 2012

As low as the lows get- the highs can be higher!

My niece is getting married on Saturday.
My daughter is joining us in Vegas.
We are looking forward to "talking" to our new grandchild.
OK- sometimes it looks weird to talk to a belly-
but the baby's brother does it all the time!
My two friends with cancer are doing a bit better.
Another niece had an wonderful ultrasound and
their baby is due in January.
My hubby and I will watch two of our youngest grand nephews,
 5 weeks and 3 months old,
while my niece gets married.
It is a LDS thing and we are not allowed in ;)
My mother is sounding better and busy.
I had an excellent discussion with my students about morality.

Yes, life is good this week.
Do you have loads to be thankful for as well?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A week to remember

Veteran's Day is the 11 th. it reminds me of my grandfather who served in WWI. He spoke to me about working the big guns. He was scared. I found a series of letters one of his uncles wrote to European friends to introduce my grandfather to them in case he were to become a POW. My great grandmother was a founder of the original Blue Star Mothers.

November 13th is the anniversary of my husband's building being bombed in Riyadh. Those memories are few, because we all were in shock for so long. I do remember having my school building rock from the blow five miles away. I also remember the chaos as our small post tried to cope as the Ambassidor and the consulate pulled in the doors. We were "required" to stay in country until March when my husband retired from the military. We left. My husband has fewer memories then me. That is scary!

November 14 th is the anniversary of my father's passing. I was not there. I could not stand that he was put on a feeding tube that made so much noise. All he wanted was a peaceful passing. It was painful to be unable to do anything to relieve his stress.  The last time I saw him I told him I was sorry I could do no more. We both cried.

Yup. A tense and painful week.  I am always ready for Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Some things to watch for

Our household is retired military.
We moved to our house in Kansas for many reasons.
One reason was military retirement health coverage.
When we decided to continue in the military
One consideration was the promise that WE would be
Cared for by the military for life.
When we lived in Flagstaff we saw that system fall apart.
Like the doctors who no longer take Medicare patients,
We kept "being released" from doctor care
Because the military TriCare system did not pay enough
To pay for the current charges of local doctors.
My husband's mantra became
If we want care we need to live close to a military hospital.
When we moved we chose a house 10 miles from a fort's hospital.

This week the military newspaper let it out that
Those who live outside of the 40 mile zone
May no longer use a military hospital.
They will have to use TriCare standard.
TriCare standard pays doctors and hospitals a bit less then Medicare.

We have a large retired military population in a town near us
It is the home of Eisenhower- Abilene Ks. It is 48 miles from the hospital.
Oh we'll,
They get...almost nothing.

Some say that those who retire should have picked up a second career
To get good medical care.
I, in turn, would like them to know
The way that TriCare standard goes-
So goes Medicare.

Good luck!
Stay healthy while the system figures out how to shake off
The baby boomers!

Small business Saturday

I love small business Saturday.
My two favorite small businesses are
the Christian book store- Blessings
And Kites restaurant.
I'll be saving my pennies and going out
To several of these place.
I have to admit though,
I always buy a load of coats at Walmart for students on
Blake Friday.
Do I have to do it Thursday night now?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Simple Days

Church in the early morning
just our voices singing praises.
A simple meal of meat, onions and potatoes
will be cooked at six.
A chat with our children
who live so far away.
A walk with the dogs
in the chilly wind of fall.
Picture taking of the trees
in their final glory before the winter freeze.
Doing the laundry.
Reading a book.

I'll have time to think of all of my veterans
My father- who served just after WWII.
My father in law- who served in the Pacific on the Anolea Gay.
My grandfather- who manned big guns during the Great War.
My husband- who served during Vietnam.
My daughter and son in law- who served using foreign tongues.
My son - who still serves.

Thank you to all of you. Because of you I can have a simple day!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Please Lord,

Just don't let it be more of the same!

Happy day after the election!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Be careful what you wish for

The last two years I have made a huge effort
to get my husband to move to the East Coast.
Our daughter and son in law have a nice place.
I'd like to be able to see our grandson weekly, if not more.
Another grandchild is expected soon,
and we are here, in Kansas.

So, when the hurricane hit their area
and one of the places that is completely cut off
and under sand
is a place I targeted for our next house....
all he had to do was look at the screen and then look at me.
"Say no more"
The sun came up yesterday as the moon was setting
and again I was in love with the beauty of our land here.

Back to the idea of renting for several years
a place close to them, that could be used six months a year
that will take our two dogs
crazy as they are.
Heck, my sis just bought a second home
renting is far less expensive then owning.

I am sorry for your pain Atlantic Coast dwellers.
I am praying for your recovery.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Early voting

When did that start?
Even the President voted early.
How strange is that?

A political look at children

I like this trend.
Instead of people worried about whether
to have one or two children so they can still afford their lifestyle
they worry that they will not be able to have as many children as they want
because their bodies have become so complicated
or they marry so late in life.

Mine was the generation of sideways looks
if you showed up at a store with a double stroller.
In fact, FINDING a double stroller was nearly impossible.
It was the most expensive piece of baby equipment we bought.
After the second was born
my husband freaked out and said, "no more".
And that was it.
Zero population was so drilled into his head
Two was a bit too many.

I do have several friends who went on to have
several more children.
They were questioned if they were religious nuts
who had some type of bondage issues.
"Weren't they worried they would be destitute
because they would not be able to work
for the rest of their lives at a paying job?"

Abortion became a right-
a right to make sure that white women stayed away from the baby track
so they could be the CEO one day
and retire early.
Many times alone.
A different type of bondage
as far as I can tell.
Maybe they are right-
money first, people second.

Guess what,
my friend who has nine is doing fine.
My brother in law who had five
now has 15 grands who live near
and has plenty of visitors and loved ones when he is ill.
Actually, I don't know any of the large families who
would give up one of their children.

I remember that abortion rights were once
brought to the surface as an end to poverty.
A way to control the "black" population.

A "choice" but sterilization was done to
poor women after their second child.
Yes, I have a friend this happened to
she was white, young and poor.
She now has plenty of money.

And in China- it is forced if you are ready to have a second.
(or if your first happens to be a girl).
How is THAT a women's right?

Having children has always been an issue
And  abortion has almost always
been an economic issue
and is now becoming more of a scientific one
(seeing we are now saving babies born at 20 weeks)
I can see why it is "talked" about again these days.

Rail on about the back street hanger abortions.
They were rare in comparison to the number of children
who are now killed because of the irrational fear
that "life will end" if that baby comes out in a delivery room.
Lord, you certainly cannot have one and give it up for adoption---
better to kill it now.

Sorry, doesn't make sense to me.
Why is killing off our own gender a good thing?
I just don't logically get it.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Haven't been sitting in my chair much

 The dogs have, begrudgingly, been sent to their outside house to hang out while I went to school.
 They give me the sad eyes as I walk back to the house to get in my car.  Hey, their "dog area" is almost as large as our first apartment. They have a lovely view of turkeys and squirrels all day long. Don't feel too sorry for them.
The leaves have piled up everywhere.

Yup, it has been a long week of my husband being gone.
He was busy doing this
This is the new sink at our daughter's laundry room.
He is working there and I am working here.
I would MUCH rather be working there.

I was spoiled.  A friend made me a series of dinners. Spoiled
And I did attend three student concerts.  Spoiled double.
And I got to go to bed at 8 pm several nights in a row....

But I always cause trouble when my husband leaves.
I have been censored at a blog ---lol
I have been argued with on other sites.
I put in my letter to the district.

In the long run, I guess I am just happier 
when my family is with me and I am sitting in my chair 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Sometimes I just miss the expanse of the Southwest.
Although it is fall here and the leaves are changing,
the Southwest is calling my name.

This is the first time in about three years that I have not been able to drive to Phoenix for a visit in the fall. All those trips were crisis orientated, but still I could drive the car through the Pueblo areas and just enjoy the fall.

My husband leaves for a trip to see our daughter tomorrow.
While he is there he will enjoy the colors of the Mid Atlantic states.
Beautiful, but nothing like the desert waking from the scorch of the heat
Fall is just so different where I grew up
It is a time of rejoicing instead of quietly going to sleep.

Maybe next fall a trip across the desert will happen.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The finances ---again :>)

Every month we check our finances.

This month we pulled almost completely out of equities until after the election.
A nice profit was made---considering the .1% that our savings account is providing.
If anyone had told me 5 years ago that our nest egg would only be producing enough to buy groceries with, I would have laughed them out of the room. That is now a true experience.

We are still in bonds. We lucked into a school bond that pays enough for a cab ride.  Now we wish we had put much more in to sustain the cab ride more than a few miles. Only thing making any money is our turtle TSP government bond account.  THAT is scary.

All in all, we are still doing well.  Nest egg continues to be completely intact- not growing- not shrinking. We have lived off of husband's pension and a few side incomes for two full years.  Infusing working full time (even if it is only for four months) gives us the opportunity to take the "kids" on a trip, save a bit for future grandchildren and upgrade a bit of the house.  A bonus is that  I will clear enough income so each of us can fund our Roth. Just barely enough- but enough. YIPPPEEE!
If anyone told me that I would be celebrating such a financial move....

 The plan is to hold off SS for as long as we can. It looks like we can last at least two more years (which puts hubby at 64/65). If we can hold off to 66, all the better. I won't get SS for at least ten years. The longer we can push out his, the better (unless the political winds change).

Our son called for my birthday and asked us to go over our finances with him. :>) I am a bit too young- but one never knows. I think we will do that over Christmas. Not that it would take much work- it is all in the same set of books I have been keeping for about 15 years now.

Hubby is looking for a new wood working project for the winter. Coffee and end tables are made and beautiful. Wonder what he will think of next.

Yes, life is good.
I cannot wait to retire---AGAIN!

Today is my birthday and tomorrow starts the second six weeks of school.

I am prepared to put in my "I will not be returning after Christmas" letter.
I am missing too much!

Today the day was spent with several walks- at the lake, in the neighborhood,
a leisurely read in the back yard with an amazingly good book,
a chat with good friends and family,
several chats with my grandson,
and a romp with the dogs.
Then about a hour was spent in the classroom
getting ready for tomorrow
and the lesson is not even close to comfortable.

It sealed the deal for me.

Losing retirement just strengthened my resolve to get it back.
Painting countertops, road trips to mom's, DisneyWorld,
time with my son and daughter in law
all parts that are missed by choosing a contract.

Looking forward to January!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Five weeks in and why?

Leaving retirement for a full time job is not fun.
Actually I love the job. The students are interesting and the work is challenging.
 I just miss retirement.
I miss:

chatting with my grandson on Skype
Hanging out with my husband on the boat

listening to the birds while sitting in the chair my husband made
watching the sun rise and set
walking with the dogs
having low blood pressure
talking to my mom
talking to my daughter at a regular time of the day
getting the housework done during the week
cooking a good meal
knowing what is going on in the world
Hugs for my birthday
being 30 and thinking I CAN do it all

What I am getting in return:
Life changing conversations with students
learning how to organize cooking for 30 (that mean 30 of THEM are cooking:>)
PRAYER with a friend daily
a different appreciation of my husband

It certainly is giving me a different look at retirement. I am SO glad I did not attempt to go overseas to teach again. I cannot imagine doing this alone. No way.
I get it God. Thanks for the preview!

Saturday, September 08, 2012

And time goes on

An acquaintance from Facebook posted her husband passed this morning.
He had not been well, so he slept in a separate room
She went to awaken him- and he was gone.

I have long admired this particular woman.
Her work is sacred because she is a nurse who works with families who lose a baby while it is still in the womb. Her ministry is to help deliver the baby and, if requested, wrap the baby for the parents to hold. She takes foot prints, pictures and pieces of hair.

The grief that she deals with is off the charts when it comes to how Americans tend to handle things. She openly deals with the loss of life that has occurred.
I have not experienced that loss myself, but I have witnessed it through my close family members. I have seen, first hand, when the loss is not dealt with it rips a family apart. They point and blame other things, but I see it start at that loss.

And now she will deal with her own loss- and the loss within her family. He was in his early 50s. She is not yet 50. There is one child still at home. They just celebrated their 26th anniversary. I cannot imagine.

Sometimes I am such a narrow minded wimp.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Just one minute to sit

Life is upside down
Back to feeling responsible for 130 people besides my family.
Most times of the day I love it.
Strange to find that my prayer life has increased with so little time to spare.
Lessons on finance, cooking tips and parenting trump the traditional yeast beards and pajama bottoms.
Missing my family is my number one sigh.
Knowing this year WILL be my last one for full time.
Enjoying stretching to meet needs.
Seeing better where needs can be met in the future with my input.
Retirement or retread?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

It is raining outside and I am swamped!

Two weeks ago a challenge was laid at my feet. The school was desperately seeking a Home Ec teacher and none was to be found. Sooooo....I took the challenge.  Now, a week into school, I see how very swamped I am- swimming to save my life.
I am confident in the curriculum.  Teaching is a natural gift of mine.The swimming part comes in control.  You see, my students have access to six stoves and many tools of the kitchen. Everything has its place. Those of you who actually know me- I am not an everything has its place sort of gal. My household is "everything has an area to live in, choose a spot".
At least it is finally raining!  We have had three inches in the past 28 hours. Our lawn is smiling and we have not seen the turkeys for several days.
Best of all is that my entire family was home for a few days this week.

OK life is good!

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Freedom to stand for what you believe

The Chick Fil A thing was crazy. Not a major fan of Mike Huckabee---I totally agreed with his Chick Fil A day. It had nothing to do with gay or not gay loving. It had EVERYTHING to do with the freedom of this owner to express his beliefs. Our country has lost sight of the idea that there are differing opinions on things. People are ALLOWED to come to their own conclusions.

His opinion was on gay marriage and is widely held. There is nothing discriminatory about that opinion- even a "gay" employee spoke out. Which means that there ARE gay employees at the stores. Just because his opinion might not be my opinion- does not mean he should not be allowed to express it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My bag is pack, I am ready to go

I'm standing here, out side the door.
I hate to wake you up to say good bye.....

That song goes through my head every time I am leaving.
Yes, my bag is packed.

Leaving to help our daughter and son in law settle into their house.
We are thinking of a dehumidifier for a house warming gift.
It will keep the house warm!

The previous owners lived in the house for over 30 years.
They raised their children into adulthood and empty nested in the delightful neighborhood.
Looking at the pictures, the feeling of a peaceful life comes over me.
The epitome  of a satisfying retirement- the couple lived their into their 80's.
This will be a good house.
Their family left a bottle of wine and two glasses in the fridge.
It is a tribute to the type of people who lived there in the past.

By the end of tomorrow
The new baby pool will be blown up,
the futon will be on the floor for
Nana and grandson naps
and a new adventure for the house will begin.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

What to do?

12inx6 inches
When I get back from my daughter's
I want to frame this piece.
It is a satchel from the early 1900's.
My grandmother got it on a trip West
when she was a young girl.
Pretty interesting that we ended up pretty close
to where she probably bought it 100 years ago.
Does anyone know anything about these bags?
Any ideas on how to frame it??


They started disappearing three nights ago.
First there were about twenty missing.
Last night- completely gone.

Darn! I had worked so hard for them.
Daily work. They were the center of my morning!
And then
in the middle of the day
It went flying by

A squirrel with my last apple from the tree!
Why didn't anyone tell me that squirrels love apples?

This isn't my squirrel---but is probably the cousin.
Maybe it was the training of those Missouri squirrels that got mine to go after those darling apples.....
I guess I will have to talk to a relative about that one!

Turkeys and life

We are hosts to a flock or two of turkeys.
Some years we see well over fifty on a daily basis.
This year we have had four.
The oldest and the youngest Toms
The boys come three times a day.
I started putting out water in a dog bowl about two weeks ago.
Three weeks of intense heat even does the turkeys in.

They have made themselves at home
There is a spot in our yard that has been scratched out
They dust their feathers there daily.

Under our oaks they plump out their wings and tail feathers
direct their heads into our breeze
and just cool off.

The other parts of the day are for walking- sometimes I see them 1/4 mile away from our place. They forage and peck. Different neighbors put out food. Sometimes they act like cats, favoring one house over the other. Our night camera indicates that they often hang out in our field at night.

Two days ago I put out corn.
Without the moisture, most grasshoppers are gone.
Hens and two ages of poults.
To my surprise we had a few other visitors.
We normally see the chicks when they are much younger
for flight training
I think it has been too hot
so they have stayed by our dry creek. The shade probably keeps the temperature reasonable.

Turkeys are tough birds.
They teach me that there is time to cool, dust and hang out.
Then there is time to search for goodies to excite the day.
I have been a wimp in this stage of life
time to become a turkey!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

How hot is it?

I grew up in Phoenix. Putting an egg on the sidewalk was a summer norm. My first year teaching the car windows implode because I forgot to crack them to let the heat out. Driving my convertible home from the University gave me a heat stroke.

Two summers in Saudi Arabia? The thermometer pegged at 140 at the pool. We watched sand storms come in and take over everything.

Two years in Hong Kong hot made me think that my air was being sucked from my lungs by a wet vaccum cleaner. It was hot, but the daily rain kept everything alive.

Still, this is different. Kansas is not supposed to be THIS hot.
My large oak trees are shedding every available leaf they have- making them look rather strange for mid summer. The sticker bushes are beginning to die. And the corn in the field? I have to say, if you are hungry for Kansas corn, beef or soy you are in trouble if my neighbor's farms are any indication.

Climate change? Dust bowl? Who knows?

All I can say is, "It is hot!"

~With love from my fifth over 105 degree Kansas yard!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

How to do summer inexpensively

Summer- especially mid summer- is the "skinny" time of year for me.
During the school year, substitute teaching provides a few hundred extra dollars a month. Those are my "play" dollars. I learned two years ago to put some effort into subbing in May so I have enough to carry me through the summer. Here it is mid July and I am back to "skinny" money.

Fortunately, the plane ticket to see the grandchild was purchased right after my last paycheck.I leave for the land of free play in two weeks. Until then, the hunt for free things is here.

  • Library has summer reading clubs. I can get a free ice cream for reading so many books (which I do anyway).
  • The fourth of July presented many outdoor concerts that I could enjoy.
  • Local historical society will be showing some movies in their place downtown.
  • I could actually sew a few things from all of the fabric I have collected.
  • The screens all need to be cleaned in the house.
  • Walking by the lake provides many views of animals.
  • My dogs always like to just hang out with me outside.
  • If it gets hot- there is always Netflix.
In Grandchildville

  • Train into DC is not that expensive and the activities there are endless.  We plan on enjoying the transportation section of the American History Museum. He also knows that every trip to DC includes a visit to a different section of the National Art Gallery.
  • We get ice cream in the Air and Space Museum.
  • This time I plan on a trip to Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials...if it isn't tooo hot.
  • We may take a trip on the canal boats in Georgetown.
  • The parks are amazing there.
  • We are setting up the inflatable pool. My feet and his body will be fully submerged!
  • His library also has a summer reading program.
  • No plans for internet or Netflix this time...I am looking forward to a media break!
What do you do when funds are "skinny"?

Friday, July 06, 2012

Reading list

Summer reading started in May.

Here are some that I have moved through.

Dreams from my Father
The Real Romney

Both good background books.
I like to get an idea of what formed people.
Romney's was toooooo much info - but interesting.

Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover Never read his stuff.
I think I still like Ron Blue's book better.
Master Your Money
The New Good life
By Robbins
Nothing new - he should have stuck to nutrition books.

The Debt Bomb Sen Corbirn MD
Now, that will scare the pagibas out of you

Four Vince Flynn Novels. Second Reads

The Phillipa Gregory books on Tudor England.
Third time through. I call them my comfort books.

Elizabeth 1 Mysteries by Harper.
I throw these between the biographies.
Short, mindless.

Loads of little boy books
Trying to remember my favorites as I begin a collection for my Grandson.

Several books on sewing...but I cannot get the books to turn on the machines!

I am thinking of the Quilt series books.

I even have out some of my old meditation books.
Those might be next for morning....

What have been your favorite summer reads?
Have any reccomended for beginning boy boys ( not picture books)?

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Cleaning the barn

Those who have read my blog know that for years I have thought about clearing the barn.
When we moved here we put everything in the barn and then agreed that we would only bring into the house what we would use. Slowly, the barn has creeped into the house---very slowly.

My father's parents were collectors of art and all things fine.
My mother's parents were pioneers in Arizona.
And I am a student of history who married a soldier.
Our stuff reflects all of that and more.

So here is a glimpse into the world of what I need to let go of- or use.
South Africa meets Hopi near Europe

Tea pots- Chinese, Nubian and European- don't forget Hopi

Made these while being held in Saudi. There are many more.

He came to live with me before I was married in Bavaria.

Nana traveled from Kentucky to Arizona in early 1900's

Wild West meets NewEngland lamp near the camp equipment.

Small part of the collection of license plates from the states we lived in.

Saudi Weaver meets Snow White

Fran's Pit helment meets Grand daddy's WW1 hat.

Now, where do I start? I feel like I am drowning!

I've already gone through this stuff.....
Largest yard sale in Kansas is going to be in August or September.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

The Fourth of July

My grandfather's WW1 poster

My son

And daughter as diplomatic pouches

Flag that was flown on the day of my husband's retirement now waving in Kansas skies
This day is one of reflection for me. We have done some crazy things on the fourth- from camping in the desert to bus riding in Hong Kong. We have invited friends over and just enjoyed the evening for itself.  
It always brings me back to how scary it must have been. To break from the source of your food and luxury could not have been easy. Do you think we could have done it with the attitude of today? Believe me, the founding fathers did NOT get along all that well. They had directly opposite ideas on many things. From Quakers who opposed bloodshed to backwoods Virginians who had hacked it out in the French and Indian war. 
I am thankful that they had the courage to work together and figure it out.
Happy Birthday USA!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Universal health care- or how no more family members will have to go broke getting the help they need.

I'm thrilled with the Supreme Court decision.
I am not niave though
It will change who and how health care is provided to the middle
Some for the good and some for the bad.
I am expecting Catholic and maybe Baptist health care to pretty well disappear.
It will not change how the wealthy are cared for.
They will continue to go to boutique health care facilities
And get whatever they want done.
This will be interesting.
Since I have lived on socialized medicine for thirty years,
I cannot see it being very different.
No more family going bankrupt or blind because they could not afford basic health.
What a relief!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Lights are off

It is hotter here today than it is in my childhood town.
What is that about?
Fortunately, I learned many things when I was growing up.

1) Leave lights off. If you want them on- only use lamps near you.
2) Put your crock pot in the room of the house you rarely use.
    Do not use your oven during a heat wave.
3) Get a good oscillating fan and put it next to the air vent. Circulation is key!
4) Go into every room not being used and cover the vents with cardboard.
    This will force the air to cool other rooms first.
5) Close curtains on the side of the house that is getting the sun.
    Open them as the sun passes.
6) Walk at sunrise or dark.
7) Take a good nap in mid day if at all possible.
8) Eat lunch, not dinner, as your main meal.
9) Nice fruit ice pops & cool veggies  are a wonderful dinner meal.
10) Solar ovens are amazing. We used to use the sidewalk---but the oven is better.
11) Water your plants before the sun is up in the sky or after it is down.
       Be careful- if you squirt them mid day- they might get a sunburn!
12) Put out a bowl of water for the squirrels and birds.
13) SUNSCREEN!  (But do go out for 20 min every day and get your vit D)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The price of oil

What the heck?

Oil is down over $30.

Why is gas still $3.47?

It didn't have any problem going up when oil went up a dollar or two.

Hello, Mr President. where is the justice department?

I know that the AG is under the gun-
But thousands of other people work in that department.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Funerals for the young

Sometimes you look at a picture and think, "no family could get along like that."
Not true
Some families actually do get along and exude joy.

Half the town attended.
Father shared a First Communion thank you from the youngest.
A Powerpoint including the "King and Queen" of the house- how many eight year olds call their parents those names with great affection in their voices.
Long forgotten music waifs through the air.
A family who presented a Godly image through their daily life.
It was tough.

I will miss those boys' smiles. I was so looking forward to their contribution to the community.
Heaven is blessed to have the Bramledge family home to stay.
Rest well in the Lord. You are an example to me to get going again in life.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Eleven days

From Father's Day until the 27th- celebrations are hopping around here.
My dad with his Mother

The boys
Of course my husband is delighted that the kids remembered Father's Day. Between clamps for wood and movies- he is well entertained. He will stop during the day to call our son in law and wish him a good day as well. A younger, well loved dad, he brings excitement to our lives.

My mother always teases that June 21st babies always get their way. Why shouldn't they- they had plenty of daylight to make their arrival.  Hubby does not like to celebrate birthdays. This one is different because he qualifies for Social Security (which he has decided to put off for a bit longer).
My father would have been 85.
Does a girl ever get over the loss of her dad?

Last, but not least, we are hitting the big thirty on the 27th. I can hardly believe it! My mother and I chatted about long marriages yesterday. We have both been sad to see several family and friends break up around year twenty. She and I agree that something really changes around year twenty five. A different type of love emerges. It is a good thing.

The Lord has blessed us in so many ways. We are so fortunate to be living in His light. The end of June always gives me pause to remember how very loved we are.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Do moving shoes settle in retirement?

Bob, over at Satisfying Retirement, wrote about moving with his family today. He said it matured him and gave him a sense of cultural diversity in this great nation.

Unlike Bob, I grew up in the same house for 18 years. It was a Phoenix house in which we spent more time outside than in. Memories include kick the can and orange trees. I often road my bike to school five miles away. I attended classes with the same people from Kindergarten through high school. My Nana lived in Willow neighborhood, which is still my favorite part of town. My father's parents lived in the Manor, which seemed musty to me.

My father had grown up motherless. He attended boarding schools and never had a home until he married. I think that is why there was an unsaid insistence on stability.  Somehow I never got that word.

I went to three universities and lived in eight different places in college. Those were not great choices, but the degree at the end was worth it. My first job lasted 18 months in Mesa before I headed overseas for adventure.

Wuerzburg Germany was my first stop. I was engaged to an international banker and traveled like there was no tomorrow.  When I met my husband- the other engagement stopped, but the travel did not. I was living in a tiny apartment when we met. After we married we moved into an amazing place that we could host many parties in. Days of walking through vineyards to the local guesthouse for dinner were wonderful. We saw seven countries the year before we left and enjoyed both parts of Germany. 

 We had our two children while we were in Washington DC. In three years my husband worked and I spent every minute in the Smithsonian. My friends were an international group of ladies- mostly British(or former British) subjects.  Now that I think about it I had no American friends the entire time I was there. Talk was of nappies and waders. We went to the Easter Egg roll, and inaugural events. We lived in only one apartment there. The tenants upstairs called us one night when our wheels were being stolen off our car.

Indianapolis, what a beautiful house! Neighborhood, lawn, room for everyone. Unfortunately, no one had bothered to tell us that HUD had moved the entire downtown core of "projects" to the area. Fortunately, we had a very large dog. I never walked the block and rarely left the house. Still, that was a time to invite lots of our friends over and play games until all hours of the night. Since all of our friends were military, we did not worry about their safety---they learned to "pack" correctly.

We lived in two houses in Kansas. The best days were those days.  Simple, eat, sleep, preschool, sprinklers in the lawn, long walks, boat rides. Ah Kansas. It is much like Bavaria- which is why this is the only place to get a return visit. A breath of fresh air.

Monterey California, now there is a spot. Some of the best schools and worst ones.  We lived in one part of the county and paid a soldier for their address so our kids could go to a school NOT surrounded by barbed wire.  I'd pick the younger up from Preschool and the older from Kindergarten and we would eat lunch daily at the Bay Museum. That experience set my daughter on her life mission to live by the water.

Hong Kong. What can one say? We lived the city as much as possible, but lived in an apartment 20 stories up from a grave yard. Our trips were fantastic- China, Thailand, Vietnam (before it was reopened to Americans) and Japan. Still the apartment embedded memories never to forget. We kept a huge flag that we would put over our balcony when the fleet came to town. We learned the joys of having an ahma living with us. I can still smell the Buddist temple on the way to school and the wind whipping by on the top level of a double decker bus. It was a British colony, and those buses proved it.

Moving to Hawaii was a lifelong dream. My family visited Hawaii pretty often when we were young. I loved it. Our house was single ply (no interior dry wall) and our bath was in the garage My husband could walk to the  University- we loved it. Although those were wonderful days of surf and whales, I still sting over how my children were treated. I learned a great deal about prejudice those years and vowed to take my lessons with me to the classroom. I still love Hawaii....

And then....after my husband trained in Chinese for four long and expensive years...we were assigned to Saudi Arabia. We lived in two different houses while there. I learned to wear an abaya and cover my hair. The people were delightful- those we were allowed to get to know. The community was military and all that goes with it. We traveled ALOT. The kids saw many parts of Europe and the Middle East. The experience was much like when I was growing up, skate hockey on the tennis courts, army men in the fields, swimming lessons. A bit of America (that really didn't exist in many places the military lived), until we were bombed and headed home.

We moved to Flagstaff. We had built the home while we were in Hong Kong, anticipating military retirement. The arrival plopped us right in the middle of a family fight. Welcome home! We chose Flagstaff so we could see the family often. Instead, the next seven years, we saw almost less of the family than we had the sixteen years before. Still, we loved our area. The kids went to the school I taught in (keeping them close was important after Saudi). They went to the high school that my husband coached at. We dove into the Navajo culture and our community. It was....wonderful. Our house was amazing- log, woods, water - what else could one ask for? Well, work would be nice. After our son left for West Point we headed out to find real employment.

That landed us here- in the land of Oz. We lived in a house in another town when we arrived, but found my husband's dream home soon after. And so we are here. The prairie is unparalleled in beauty. We live in our own created bowl. We marked eight years last month. Wow!

We anticipate at least one more move. If we can swing it, we will keep this place as well, until we are too feeble to travel. It seems the East Coast will be our resting place. Our children will settle back there for jobs and travel here for the land.
The interesting part is that we will probably end where my father's life began.
After 21 houses since high school,  THAT is full circle!

How about you? Have you lived in more than one place or stayed centered? Have your moved enhanced or detuered from what you would dream of as a satisfying retirement? I'd love to read about it on your blog!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

5:30 am, 80 degrees and muggy

Yes! Summer has arrived.

This is the time of year that all of the animals that play in our yard anticipate my every move.
Not because they are going to run away.
The wait is for the watering of the trees.

This year the trick will be
how to eat at least one apple
before the opossums harvest!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sightings in the heat

Turtle moving so fast I almost didn't get a picture

First chicks of the year

Seven chicks guarded by two hens and a tom.
It was a good day for critters. The heat was up, but I had watered early. Several of our regulars stopped by for some corn and a cool place to crash. When they go across our road, they move quickly. Black asphalt probably feels as good on their feet as it does on mine!

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Sitting back and taking it in

Today a family in our small community was killed in a plane crash.
This was not an ordinary family.
They were involved in just about everything.
They owned businesses, worked on the school board, had their grandparent's name on the library and athletic field. Their children were fine students- just enough pepper to make them fun- just enough discipline to help them not step over the line. They were in sports and played in the band.
And now
All six are gone.
Young family
So much ahead of them.
Makes me stop, sit back and
and take it all in.
May all of the souls of the faithfully departed, rest in peace.

Monday, June 04, 2012

No place like home

Apple tree- two more months for apples

Pears- about a month

A few weeks before a boy will be here to play on the playground

Blueberries are ready daily.
It is good to be home. Watering, cleaning, dusting (cough, cough), sorting.  Now that I have more of an idea of what the "kids" want I am heading to the barn to get rid of more stuff!

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Whew- what a week!

 "Nana- I don't WANT to get a picture here! I want to build the airplane on the computer over there!"
 Helicopter built after Air and Space. I was not allowed to touch because I do it all wrong!
Back porch at the possible new house for my kids.

View from the end of the block (one house down)

It was a week to remember. S and I went house hunting with our son a bit more than a year ago. He, basically, looked at the same house over and over.
My daughter and her husband looked at about 400 houses over the internet.
Narrowed the search to about twenty.
Saw ten.
And put a bid on this one.
A bedroom community that feels like small town USA.
T- ball fields, community beach and just air to breathe.
My fingers are crossed!
I am glad to be home.
Beginning to look at my own house in a different way.
Time to paint and settle in.
It has only taken seven years to feel like we will keep this one for a while!
Having the kids almost settled makes all of the difference to me.