Saturday, January 12, 2019


Once it got light enough to see what had happened here through the night, Richard decided he better walk the driveway to see what state it was in. While we were standing at the counter waiting for morning coffee, he wondered "is that thunder I am hearing?" I didn't think so.

I think what he was hearing became obvious. He didn’t get very far. The driveway was totally blocked by trees that broke under the ice.
Richard got the chain saw going and worked off and on all day to clear it. He made some progress, but it is very cold, it is raining again—but the temperature has risen a little so it is above freezing, so I hope no more ice will form—the chain saw blade is now too dull to cut wood, and he won't be able to finish it.  And even if he did, there is another mess further down the driveway.

We will not be going to church tomorrow...

Friday, January 11, 2019

Fumble Fingers and a Slip of the Tongue

When I became a Christian, I lost most of my old vocabulary. This robs me of the necessary safety valve to handle such emergencies… ripping myself from the barbed wire… I stepped in doggie-do… I ran a thorny brier between my big toe and the toe right next door… and that which I lost I suddenly found—and a torrent of expletives issued forth…
Jamie Buckingham, "The Last Word"

Two weeks ago, we remained after church to take down the Christmas decorations. We worked as a well-oiled team. I was involved in taking the red and gold glass ball ornaments off the tree.

I fumbled one ornament and it shattered when it hit the wood steps leading to the sanctuary.

I was embarrassed, but one of the men made a joke about it and it was okay. Accidents happen.

One of the men got out the vacuum cleaner and sucked up the shards.

Later, when we were transferring some glass ball ornaments that were still in the original packaging to a special container designed to hold the ornaments, I dropped another one, and it too broke. 

I am afraid I also suddenly found what I thought I had lost. Before I could stop myself out came a four-letter word -- true, it wasn't the worst one I could have said -- but it was bad enough. In church no less. I wished a hole could have opened up and swallowed me. But it didn’t.

I hope they have forgiven me for those slips of the hand and of the tongue.

I think next year when it comes time to decorate the church for Christmas, I will find a project that does not involve glass balls.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Refrigerator Adventures and Extending the Dream...

A few days ago I used about ½ can of coconut milk to make curry and put the rest in a small round container in the refrigerator so I could make soup today with Thai tom yum (hot and sour) paste.

This morning I suppose I was thinking too much about Christmases past when I made my usual morning smoothie with yogurt, banana, and pineapple juice. It had a wonderful taste that I wasn’t expecting but didn’t think anything about it.

After I finished, I began chopping vegetables for the soup and then went looking for the coconut milk. Couldn’t find it. Got Richard involved tearing apart the refrigerator looking for it (he often moves things around). He couldn’t find it either.

Then I suddenly remembered I had gotten my containers mixed up and had used the coconut milk in the smoothie instead of the yogurt. No wonder it tasted so different.

So I opened a new can of coconut milk, used about ½ can of it, and put the rest in a small round container in the refrigerator.

Now I must make sure not to grab the coconut milk instead of the sour cream when I start preparing for the meal this afternoon.

And rewinding back to Saturday night:

Some young girls dream of being a ballet dancer but never the chance to even try. But for girls in this area who dream of tutus and dancing en pointe, the Children’s Ballet of the Ozarks gives them that chance. We were invited to see the girls next door dance in the CBO performance of The Nutcracker Saturday night.

We went and were very impressed with the entire performance. But what impressed us the most was that CBO has extended that dream to girls who do not have the typical “ballerina body.” Several of the teenagers in the corps de ballet were noticeably overweight. These teenagers will almost certainly never become professional dancers in elite ballet companies, but I liked that these young women are also being given the chance, at least for now, to have a taste of that dream.

And Merry Christmas to you all.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Who Are You?

Well, who are you?
(Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
I really wanna know
I find myself sporadically humming bits of the chorus to the classic Who song “Who Are You” (well, not the bits with the serious 4-letter word).

Much to our delight, quite a few Red Breasted Nuthatches have decided to spend the winter here. We have had the odd one at the feeders on occasion, but never this many. They are just adorable, and relatively fearless. I had one land on the feeder while I was still hanging it up -- I have to bring the ones that hang in front of the window where I work in at night because of raccoons. They talk to each other with their high-pitched “tinny yank-yank.” Unfortunately, nice picture window in Richard's office through which I have have the best chance to take a good picture of birds at the feeder is cracked and has become fogged. Pictures are not turning out.

Which is unfortunate because I could have used a picture to help figure out…

The Mystery Bird.

Husband and I spent probably 20 minutes or so the other day peering out the window at the suet feeder waiting for a bird to show up that we have never seen here before. He saw it first and alerted me so I joined him at the window with my trusty Peterson Field Guide.

This little one is a yellow/olive green in color, no wing bars, and a faint yellow eye stripe. There are 2 pages in the bird book of "Confusing Fall Warblers," and this one certainly was confusing. We finally decided it was a female Wilson's warbler, but questions remain.

Sometimes birds we have never seen before will show up for a day or two and then we never see them again. One can only spend so much time trying to figure these things out before you have to stop.

And then there is a Mystery Person.

My mom gave me the National Gallery of Art “Book of Days” early in the 1990s, but I had never really used it, so the entries for most days were blank. I decided last year in January to write a scripture verse every day from my daily reading. And as I moved into December I saw that on December 13 I had made a note to send Christmas cards, with a short list of people. Among those on the list was someone named Cody Davis.

Who?? I don’t have a Cody Davis in my address book. I have no clue who this person is. Of course I plugged his name in at DuckDuckGo to see if the results would ring any bells.  No bells are ringing. Cody Davis is a football player and seems to be a very decent man for a professional athlete. But no, I would not have sent him a card.

So again, I am left pondering “Who are you?”

Thursday, November 22, 2018


“It was fascinating the way children grew features, morphing in and out of their parents’ likenesses in genetic peakaboo.”
The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D
Nichole Bernier

Our dad died in November last year a few days before his 93rd birthday. He would have been 94 years old this year.

So 90 years ago (!) this picture was taken of him in on his 4th birthday (if I have counted the candles correctly).

 It is one of the few pictures we have of him as a young child.

Here is another one when I suppose he was about 1 year old.

Sometime in late summer of last year, my brother’s daughter gave birth to her second child, a boy.

This picture was from the invitation for his 1-year-old birthday party in September.

The second picture was taken with his sister for Halloween.

He has light hair and our dad did not, but aside from that, two of his great aunts (my sister and I) can really see a resemblance to our dad when he was that age. Or perhaps that is just what we want to see.

At any rate, it will be fascinating to see how his features morph as he grows – whether he will come to more and more resemble “our branch” of the tree or perhaps be a clever blend of all the different families that are in his genetic pool (and their gene pool is definitely interesting, including African ancestors, which is a topic for another time.)

We’ll just have to wait and see.

P.S. The sun has gone down here in south central Missouri on this Thanksgiving Day. I hope you all had a lovely day enjoying the company of friends or family, or both. We certainly did.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Starting Over

In the fall of 2011 we arranged for the city to plant a memorial tree—a tulip poplar— in the park, and the tree was planted in April 2012.  A few days later, another memorial tulip poplar was planted next to ours.

The man in whose memory that tree was planted was a prominent businessman in the town for many years. He was an elder at the church we attended for a while, but his attendance  record at services was dismal. When it came time to choose new elders or retain those already on the board, he was nominated again. At the business meeting, one of the congregation pointed out that he only attended services a couple of times a year (he was not at the business meeting) and needed to be replaced. He was reelected as an elder.

The fact that these two trees grew side by side was just an example of a powerful person in the community coming to the same end as a person with no power or influence whatsoever, which is where our son stood in the social strata of the town

That really isn’t important now I suppose, but what happened this year is that the tree next door to ours bloomed.

Which means our tree would have bloomed too, except our tree died.

Two years ago the tree almost blew over after a hard rain and strong winds. The city tied it to stake, and it seemed to be okay, but within a year it was obvious the tree was going die. When it finally fell over for good, there were no roots attached to the stump. 

The city replanted the tree this summer, and it has done quite well. 
We watered it through the heat of the summer. It has shot up and is already taller than my husband.

We got a taste of winter this week for a few days. There was a light dusting of snow one night – it reminded me of what it would look had powdered sugar been put in a strainer and then sifted over the ground -- and then perhaps an inch fell Wednesday night.

The new tree looks to be in good shape for the winter. Fingers crossed.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Fly like an eagle...

My birthday was last Wednesday, and I kept meaning to write something about that—especially after the wonderful day I had—but I seem to get derailed much more easily these days, and here it is a week and day later.

I had a lovely day. Several months ago, my dearly beloved asked me if I wanted to go to Rockbridge for lunch on my birthday. Rockbridge is rainbow trout and game ranch and is probably my favorite place to eat.
We rarely go though because he really dislikes driving there, and I don’t blame him for that. The drive takes a while. It’s 40 miles and change on a narrow two-lane road through the Ozark Hills. It is not a relaxing drive for the person who is driving. There are lots of unexpected twists and turns and hills, and turns on the hills – like the blueprint for a theme park roller coaster.

The woods are beautiful this time of year. The trout is delicious.

The river is wonderful.

But before we got there, we had an errand to run first. As we drove down the highway, just as we came even with our house, a bald eagle flew right over the car. We don’t see eagles very often, so that was a great visual gift.

Memories of birthdays tend to mush together as the years add up.  I know I couldn’t tell you what I did last year for my birthday… but I do remember very vividly the birthday I celebrated 10 years ago in Los Angeles. It was the last birthday that I celebrated with my mom.

I already wrote about it here so I won’t go over it again.

But I was looking at the pictures I took on that vacation, remembering my mom and the laughter and good time we had with the family, and the one of my dad putting together my birthday dessert really hit home. He frequently went around without a shirt, so I doubt a day went by that I didn’t see the “screaming eagle” tattoo that was so popular during WWII.
Seeing the eagle last Wednesday was a lovely reminder of him.