Monday, May 25, 2020

Thankful For Found Items

Why did Blogger develop a "new" Blogger  (which I HATE, by the way) and still only offer seven very basic fonts? I would change to Wordpress or something, but I wouldn't even know where to start to do that, and who's to say I would actually like it any better? All I can say is there are enough changes in the world right now, and having Blogger throw their hat in the ring was really not necessary.

I'm NOT thankful for the Blogger changes, but I have other things for which to be thankful, so on with this week's Ten Things of Thankful:

Four day work weeks. I am working Tuesday through Friday this summer, and let me say, I could get used to that.

When your day off is Monday, and Monday is a holiday, then you get Tuesday off, too.

I lost a checkbook this week, and I thought my name was mud, but after frantically searching for it, calling the bank and reporting that it was either lost or stolen out of my car, my husband found it that evening in the outside pocket of my lunchbox. In all honesty, I didn't even realize the lunchbox HAD an outside pocket, so I surely don't remember sticking the checkbook there, although I did check the INSIDE of the lunchbox several times, hoping the checkbook would miraculously appear. What a relief that it was found!

I'm thankful for the poor customer service guy at the bank when I called. I was pretty sure I was going to burst a blood vessel in my brain in my panic over the checkbook being AWOL, and he was very patient with me and even waived the fee to have the checks stopped until I either found the checkbook or someone tried to pass the checks.

On May 22, another anniversary of the Joplin tornado passed (9 years now, although it sometimes seems like yesterday). We haven't had anything more severe than thunderstorms and hail so far this year. It's highly unusual that we haven't had a tornado warning yet this spring, but I'm cool with that.

I'm thankful for barbecue chicken breasts on the grill.

I'm thankful my husband already had the chicken on the grill when a veritable monsoon came through. He hunkered under the deck and managed to stay reasonably dry, the lid was on the grill so the fire didn't go out, and the chicken didn't burn while he was unable to tend to it.

That last one counts as three thankfuls.

Okay, this is really weird, and the takeaway here is that the house isn't haunted, so that's the thankful. My husband and I spent the holiday weekend at the lake house. Not long after we arrived, I went into the laundry room and found a piece of paper lying on top of the washing machine. No one has been here since we left two weeks ago, and I had no recollection of putting a piece of paper there (of course, I didn't remember where I put a checkbook earlier in the week), Then when I unfolded the paper, I saw that it was a charge slip. Remember the kind that was filled out by hand, then the clerk put your credit card in a small machine, laid the slip on top of it, and slid a roller over it to make an imprint of the card on the strip? THAT kind of charge slip. It was signed by me with my maiden name and the phone number I grew up with, and when I looked closer, I saw that it was dated January 8, 1979. The hair on my arms was literally standing up, I was so freaked out. It was my mom's birthday (she passed away almost 4 years ago), and I had about decided she was behind it, just doing something to mess with me, when I remembered that I had found some old jeans and overalls from when I was in high school at my dad's house a couple of weeks ago and had brought them to the lake house to show my daughter and see if she would like them. This credit card slip must have been in the bottom of the old Casual Corner shopping bag that they had been stored in and fallen out when I emptied the bag to wash the clothes. Mystery solved, Scooby! My mother may or may not have been behind it, but she sure would have enjoyed me trying to piece that puzzle together!

Look at the price for that blouse.
Look at the price for that blouse!

Stay home if you can. Wear a mask if you go out. Shop local. Wash your hands. Don't get haunted.

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Saturday, May 16, 2020

Well, That Week Went By Quickly

Blink! Week over.

I made a vow when my kids were born that I would never wish their lives away by saying things like "I can't wait until they're old enough to...". And I don't want to wish MY life away, either, by saying things like "I hope this week goes by quickly." But this week went by quickly in spite of that, and now it's time for another edition of Ten Things of Thankful. Here are my thankfuls:

1. My baby nugs started back this week at school! They haven't all returned yet for a number of reasons, including several who don't come during the summer because one or both parents are either college students or teachers, but it was a joyous reunion with the ones who were able to be there! We played and danced and sang. There were tents made out of blankets, dress up fun, rides in the bye bye bus, and a wee little bit of playground time on the two occasions this week that there was a break in the RELENTLESS RAIN. I love my baby nugs so very much! 

2. I am thankful for the actors (especially women) who are appearing on television without benefit of hair stylists and make up artists during the pandemic. They look perfectly normal and I find that perfectly perfect. I wish this trend would never stop. Wouldn't this be a boon for everyone's self esteem? 

3. I'm thankful for John Krasinski's web series "Some Good News" on YouTube. If you haven't caught this series, then do yourself a favor and watch this episode:

I cried, but they were happy tears.

4. I'm thankful that my toilet healed itself. It was shrieking every time it was flushed, and the Google told me it needed a new fill valve. Now, I'm a pretty fair plumber, and it's not difficult to replace this, but we have an over-the-tank shelving unit that would have to be emptied and the shelf moved in order for me to get to the tank and replace it, and it wasn't something I was looking forward to doing. Thank you, toilet fill valve!

5. My daughter has returned to her apartment in Fayetteville after two months at home with us. I am grateful for this time we've had with her, but my heart has a lonely place in it since she left.

6. I'm thankful the Food Network had the brilliant idea of having Amy Schumer and her husband Chris (a chef) do a cooking show together while they are sheltering in place. Check out "Amy Schumer Learns To Cook," unless you aren't an Amy Schumer fan because you think she's raunchy (she is, and that's one of the reasons I love her).

7. I'm thankful that wearing a mask when out means there is no need for make up. 

8. My Easter Sunday coronacut is growing out and looking less, I don't know, desperate? 

9. I am thankful for blister bandaids. I wore a pair of shoes to work on Friday that I really need to get rid of. They rub a blister on my heel every time I wear them. I keep them because I paid more for them than I should have, and I wear them because I kept them. Dumb all the way around. Someone tell me it's okay to forget about the money and give the shoes awayyyyy!

10. I took down my kitchen curtains today while doing ant eradication (long story). Naturally, I didn't think to take a picture of the window with the old curtains in it, but imagine hunter green and white gingham that went all the way to the windowsill, and there was a pair on each window, held back with ties. They were also lined. They matched the kitchen, and I didn't dislike them, but after I pulled them down, I got the bright idea to make new curtains from a pair of vintage, hand embroidered pillowcases, and I think they turned out pretty well. Plus, they make the kitchen about a hundred times brighter!

Lewis doing his part to impede the ironing.

Nora helping me with the sewing....


What can you be thankful for today? 

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Saturday, May 9, 2020

Thankfuls From My Coronacation

My coronacation came to an end this past week when I returned to work Monday. Not complaining, just a fact. I had SO MANY PLANS for writing and reading and craft projects and home improvement projects and Dyanne improvement projects over the course of the break, and I. DID. NONE.OF.THEM. 

I did participate in the A to Z Challenge again this year, and that's truly the only accomplishment I made during the 6 weeks I was off work. My bad. Feel free to check out  my A to Z posts. They are not my best work.. Apparently, I write better when I'm juggling work and life than I do when I have all the time in the world.

Now the Prodigal Ten Things of Thankful co-host is back, and here's my corona list of thankfuls:

1. I was very grateful that the child development center where I work shut down when it did. I felt like a cat on a hot tin roof that last week, when cases were popping up all over the US. I literally have small children coughing and sneezing DIRECTLY INTO MY FACE at work, and I am not exaggerating, although I wish I were.

2. My husband, daughter and I have stayed at the lake house throughout this coronacation, and we've had such a nice time! We've cooked big meals, made big messes, and watched many, many shows on various streaming services.

3. My 85 year old dad had a colonoscopy this week (just routine). I wasn't thrilled about him having it done RIGHT NOW, but he wanted to get it over with (it had been rescheduled from March, when I insisted he cancel it right before the hospital canceled all non-emergency procedures). The little community hospital where we were followed all the safety precautions, we were in and out in a couple of hours, and he was pronounced fit as a fiddle. We also enjoyed take-out burgers from the White Grill that we cheerfully waited over half an hour for because they were so busy. Worth it.

Holding all the stuff my dad had in
his pockets (and his mouth, if you look closely).

4. I have cranked out quite a few masks during this time and have taken my time-per-mask from two and a half hours to 20 minutes, not counting the machine acting up or the needle coming unthreaded or a cat grabbing the thread as it leaves the spool.

Finn, the seamstress' helper (not).

5. I raised my baby sour dough starter to an adult, found out making a loaf of sour dough bread is a huge time commitment (and huge pain in the ass) and turned Jane Dough over to my husband, who finds making bread a Zen-like experience. (I do make bread fairly often, but I DON'T find it Zen-like and just want the end product, so I use the bread machine to make my dough and do all the Zen work for me).

6. Further to the Zen (or not) experience of bread making, I used the bread machine to make sweet roll dough that made amazingly tender and delicious cinnamon rolls that I took to work and shared (I was out of milk and had to use cream in the dough and in the frosting, so that might be one of the reasons they were so decadently tender). Meanwhile, my husband has been working for two days on homemade bagels that are currently in the oven and smelling heavenly. We balance each other out.

7. Amazon has not let us down! I feel like singing, "Oh, ho, the Wells Fargo Wagon is a-comin' down the street" every time a package is delivered. Not sure why I get so excited, since I have only ordered one item (an Asian-featured baby doll to add to my classroom), but I still get excited by a delivery!

8. My daughter has tempted me nearly daily with photos of kittens available for adoption, but I have been able to stand firm. It's not easy, but I've done it.

9. Much cleaning done this week at work to get ready for my little nugs coming back next week, including making sure all the toys are clean and sanitized. It also gave me a chance to organize paperwork and files, clean out cabinets, and power wash the winter grime off the outside equipment (a very rewarding and satisfying job, although I was soaking wet and had a maple tree seed stuck to the lens of my glasses when I was finished). Ready for my babies to come back to me!

We may have collected a few too many binks... 

10. Y'all, I made a new friend during the A to Z Challenge! As we at the TToT know, there ain't nuthin' like a blog friendship, and I'm hoping I am able to entice her to join our hop. If she takes the bait, please give her lots of bloggy love, and Clark, don't scare her 😂 If you're out there, Nancy, please join the party!

There are thankfuls everywhere. What are yours?

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Thursday, April 30, 2020

Z is for Zoo

My husband is not a huge fan of zoos, but he will humor me and go on occasion (when you have kids, you kind of have to go to zoos, don't you?). 

It's not a long list. We've been to the Santa Barbara Zoo (built on a hill above the ocean and the best smelling zoo you'll ever go to), Tulsa Zoo, Omaha's Henry Doorly zoo (amazing gorilla exhibit), Oklahoma City Zoo (in the dead of winter, while our son was interviewing for medical school), the Zoo at Grassmere Park in Nashville (one of the prettiest, with gorgeous bamboo-lined paths), Swope Park Zoo in Kansas City (also went there on my first grade field trip), and the Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield, Missouri. 

Dickerson Park Zoo isn't very big at 55 acres (most bigger zoos are at least 100 acres). but it's a nice little zoo that was started in 1923. It was expanded in the 1930s by the Works Progress Adminstration (my dad remembers going there as a little kid), but little was done to it after that until the late 1980s, and over the next 20 years, the zoo was improved to the little gem it is now. It has a terrific river otter exhibit in the North American area. They also have a raptor rehabilitation program where you might see an injured bald eagle that is undergoing treatment before being released.

In 1984, the Halloween Spooktacular was launched. It was begun in an effort to get more people to the zoo during the slower fall season and held in the days leading up to Halloween. Decorations were set up throughout the grounds, the zoo stayed open into the evening, and kids could come to the zoo in costume and trick or treat.

We took our kids when my daughter was around 3 and my son around 7. The only real downside to the evening was that the animal enclosures weren't lighted, being as visiting a zoo is ordinarily a day time activity, and it was difficult to see the animals.

The exception was the giraffe house. During the day, the giraffes are outside, but in the evening (and in cold weather), they go inside their (very tall) house, and you can go inside and see them. What makes this even better is that the giraffes are really quite close to you when you're inside the house.

The four of us were watching the giraffes when one of them came to the edge of his enclosure and stretched his neck as far as he could to look at my husband. They stood there, man and giraffe, each marveling at the other. My husband would tip his head to the right, and the giraffe would mirror him. He'd tip it the other way, and the giraffe would do the same thing. It was a cute moment.

"I've never been this close to a giraffe before," my husband said, eyes still locked on the giraffe's. The words were no more out of his mouth when the giraffe quite suddenly went, "ACHOOOOOOOOOOO!" directly into my husband's face.

As we howled with laughter, my husband slowly turned towards us. His glasses were utterly and completely coated with a film of giraffe snot.

It was the best zoo visit EVER!

Zoo Animals :: Dickerson Park Zoo - Clip Art Library
One of Dickerson Park's giraffes. A lot of velocity can be
created from the lungs all the way up that neck and out the nose.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Y is for Y Things

Some things about things that start with "Y":

My favorite color is yellow. I never wear it, because it makes my skin look like cheese, but my living room and family room are both painted yellow. It's sunshiny and it makes me happy.

I hate the term "YOLO," but it's true.

I buy yeast by the pound, but when I realized I was running low on it, it was unfortunate timing that it was right as the toilet paper, hand sanitizer and clorox wipe hoarders were clearing the store shelves, and they got the yeast, too. After the restaurants had to close, several of them sold their grocery deliveries that they still received, and I scored a one pound bag of yeast and a 25 pound bag of flour for $10. 

The Try Guys are one of the best things on YouTube. Watch this episode, where they each try to bake a cake with no recipe.

Yams are yams and sweet potatoes are sweet potatoes, and I don't like either of them.

I like to think of yogurt as healthy pudding. 

I have always been a big fan of The Flintstones and of Seinfeld. I have used the phrase "yada yada yada" before, but I've never once said "yabba dabba doo". Until now, I guess.

The Flintstones' Is Coming to MeTV — Watch Fred's Announcement ...

What I know about poker would fit on the head of a pin, but thanks to my many years of playing Yahtzee as a kid, I at least know what beats what.

This is a yak, made by the sweetest, happiest boy I think I ever had in 18 years as a pre-kindergarten teacher. It never fails to make me smile.

I have never mowed a yard in my life. 

Yikes, y'all! One more letter, and the A to Z Challenge will be over for another year!

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

X is for X-code

FEMA developed a marking system for use by search and rescue organizations when there is a disaster. It was first widely used after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and has continued to be a standard for disasters since. 

On May 22, 2011, the "X" system was used in the aftermath of the Joplin tornado.

A  (usually) red diagonal line is spray painted outside the doorway of a structure (if there's enough structure for a line - sometimes, they have to be creative about this step) as the search and rescue team enters the building to search it. When they exit, they make a second diagonal line to form an "X" and add the date and time to the top quadrant, any hazards to the right quadrant, and the number of bodies found inside (two numbers with a slash between them designates that the count includes dead bodies). In the left quadrant is shorthand for the rescue squad doing the search. Vehicles are also searched and marked with an "X."

Creativity at work. The front door is actually lying on the ground just beyond the framed
window that is on the left side of the photo. The "X" is on what was left of an inner wall.
(This was the dance studio that was my daughter's second home for many years.)

Not sure why it was searched twice.

I hope you never have to see these X's in person.

A severe thunderstorm just passed through our area with strong winds, hail, heavy rain, dangerous lightning, and the potential for tornadoes.

Happy spring! 

Monday, April 27, 2020

W is for Wax

W day, w day...wuh... wuh... wuh... weather... wink... winter... winston... winstons taste good like a (pum pum) cigarette should... ooo, candy cigarettes! I haven't had those in--STOP! wuh... wuh... wuh... wicked... wuh... wuh... wuh... watermelon... I really need to pee, but I don't want to get up... wuh... wuh... wuh... weasel... pop goes the weasel... geez, that's a cruel toy for kids... wuh... wuh... wuh... work...water... weight - ugh! don't want to think about that... wuh... wuh... wuh... wax... wax lips... wax bottles with syrupy juice in them... we used to chew the wax when we finished the syrup to get every drop... wuh... wuh... wuh...

Such is the thought process of an A to Z Challenge blogger at 4:00 a.m., desperate for a topic, but it worked:

Many years ago, when I lived in Nashville, I knew a fellow who was a studio musician. He was very tall, probably close to 6'5" - lanky and leggy.

He had twin boys, and around the time I knew him, they were preschool age. 

As is not unusual for preschoolers, one day, the boys wanted to "help" their mom by cleaning the house. Imagine how cute they must have been, pretending to scrub the parquet floor of the entry hall! It also kept them quiet and busy for some time (probably TOO quiet...).

Fast forward to later that same day, when their dad came home from a long day at the studio. After kicking off his shoes in the bedroom, he headed out of his room and across the house in his sock feet. As he crossed the entry hall flooring on his way to the kitchen, his feet went out from under him, and next thing he knew, he was lying flat on his back on the floor.

It seems mother's little helpers had found and used a can of furniture polish to "clean" the parquet floor. It took quite a bit of REAL cleaning to remove all the waxy residue and return their temporary indoor skating rink to an entry hall floor.

Have you ever been coating a pan with cooking spray and, unbeknownst to you until you stepped on it and your foot slid, overshot the pan and gotten some of the cooking spray on the floor? And as you grabbed the edge of the counter to steady yourself, you let out a sigh of relief that you saved yourself from completely wiping out? Whenever I do that (and that's more often than I care to admit), I think about this little story of the furniture wax, and now you will, too!