Monday, May 27, 2019

It's Still Officially The Weekend Version Of Ten Things Of Thankful

I took a couple of weeks off from the TToT, because the school year was winding up and I was SWAMPED. Don't feel too sorry for me; it's preschool, not high school, but there is still a lot of work to do to get the year wrapped up and get my littles graduated. Now that it's all over, here are my thankfuls:

1. Got them graduated. I was pretty sure one of them was going to fall off the risers, but every time he nearly toppled over, he caught himself. Bear in mind that if he HAD gone over, he would have taken several other graduates out as well in a domino effect, so this is a pretty big thankful.

2. Funny things preschoolers say, especially when they don't mean to be funny. I was testing my kids, one-on-one, with flashcards to see what letters and numbers they knew (I go through upper case letters first, then lower case, and then numbers, and for the clarity of the following conversation, I am careful to tell them what cards I will be showing them).

Me: *holding flash card* What's this one?
5 year old girl: R?
Me: Close. It's a 9.

3. YouTube. One of the headlights on our minivan (shut up) has been out for a month. I bought a replacement bulb for it but had never taken the time to change it. I knew it was only a matter of time before I either got pulled over for it or found myself in a situation where I REALLY NEEDED the glow from that light in order to see, so I looked it up on YouTube and fixed it in a jiffy. Or I fixed it in a jiffy after I learned how to do it on the wrong bulb first.....

4. Adventures with my dad. He has been wanting to buy an army surplus field kitchen (don't ask me why), and he found one on an on-line auction site, bid on it, and won the bid. There were a few hurdles involved in picking up the field stove, including the fact that it was located over 200 miles away, the only day it could be picked up was one of the days I work at the photo studio, so I had to take the day off, and there was threat of severe weather. Short version of this is we drove to Junction City, made it safely through torrential downpours and some lightning and thunder, the flood waters all along our route did not cause road closures, and made it back safely.

5. Silver linings, a/k/a Part 2 of Thankful #4: When we got to Junction City (which is located in the Flint Hills of Kansas and is a truly beautiful area, probably even prettier when it's not pouring down rain), we finally found the place we were looking for down a partially paved road (as in it used to be paved but much of it had deteriorated to gravel) that ended with a sketchy trailer park, a salvage yard, and, oddly, a double wide trailer IN THE ROAD and set on cinder blocks. Like, taking up the entire left half of the road, and you had to drive around it to get to the entrance to the salvage yard and to the trailer park. ANYWAY, we pulled into the muddy, gravel drive of the army surplus place, found the field stove, and got help getting it loaded into the van. HUGE thankful that we had help loading it.

Road ended at the trailer park. Salvage yard
driveway to the right. Kicking myself for not
taking a picture of the trailer permanently
parked in the road, but it was to my left.
Beyond it was the army surplus stuff.

6. Silver linings, Part 3: When my dad found the field kitchen among the other surplus, he was so excited! He had been telling me how the cook could serve three meals a day to 50 soldiers off that stove, and how all the pans and utensils fit inside it, and how you could even bake a cake in it. Then he opened the door and found...nothing. It was only a stainless steel shell and all the guts had been stripped out of it. Oh, how his face fell! This may not sound like a silver lining, and it wasn't to my dad, but I think he has learned a lesson about online auctions.

Back home with his shell of a treasure.
Tears of a clown....

7. Silver linings, Part 4: After the disappointment of the unappointed field kitchen, we hit the road. I wanted a picture of the Flint Hills, because they really are lovely, so I pulled off the freeway to take a picture. Even though it had FINALLY stopped raining, the skies were gloomy and I couldn't get a good picture. I did, however, see a sign for a scenic drive, so off we went. We wound around through the hills, took a few turns, then stumbled upon the Native Stone Scenic Byway. There you will find miles of stone fences that have been preserved, and it is amazing! You can read the sign, below, for more information.

These photos do not do the area justice.

Most of these hills are dotted with cattle. The
grass here is supposed to be some of the
most nutrient filled in the country.

I never knew this before.

Isn't this amazing?

As far as the eye can see.

No mortar. Just stacked carefully.

If I had to live in the middle of nowhere, I'd pick here.

8. Silver linings, Part 5: We didn't run out of gas! I didn't check the gas gauge until we were well off the beaten path, and since the tank was down to 3/8 full, I decided to cut our scenic route short and try to find civilization. This was a little tricky, as we had no service on our phones to use gps and we didnt have a paper map, but we did finally make it to the town of Alma (and, interestingly, made a U-shaped trip and ended up not so terribly far from where we started our scenic drive), and the first thing we saw when we approached the town was a sign for the Alma Creamery, where they make their own cheese. My dad hasn't met much cheese he didn't like, so off we went, and we bought some of the best darn cheese I've ever eaten!  They do mail order as well, and my dad is already planning his first order from them (hopefully it will go better than the field kitchen fiasco).

Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.
For real, my dad bought me an Alma
Creamery t-shirt with "nibblin' good" on the back!

9. Basements. We have had several nights this past week of terrible storms. May is the peak of tornado season, and it sure let us know about it!  Wednesday, the 8th anniversary of the Joplin tornado that wiped out a third of our town and killed 161 people, we had tornado warnings. My husband and I were in the basement, preparing to take cover as the meteorologists projected the path of the tornado to be headed for our neighborhood. It passed us to the north, and while 21 homes were destroyed and another 20 seriously damaged, plus 200 more with roof damage, there were no serious injuries and no deaths here. (The same system was responsible for 3 deaths further east and also caused much damage to Jefferson City, the state capitol.) I am so very thankful that we have a basement to go when severe weather strikes. Big shout out to the people from far away who checked on us!

10. Red Cross Tornado App. This is kind of a continuation of #9, but I have set my app to monitor Oklahoma City, where my son is in med school (plus several other locations where family is located) and I was able to keep on top of the tornado warnings there. My son was at his girlfriend's house Saturday night when a tornado came within a mile or so of them. (Unfortunately, there were several deaths from this tornado.) If you live where there is threat of severe weather, get this app. Trust me.

It's officially summer, folks! I know I'm thankful!

Ten Things of Thankful

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Frame: A Six Sentence Story

She was more than a little irritated when the doorbell rang just as the maids were serving the soup course, and when the butler led the two men, both dressed in overcoats and hats in an effort to ward of the damp chill of the night, directly into the dining room, her irritation was obvious.

The two men approached her where she was seated at the head of the elegantly appointed table as the butler hovered near the door, and as they drew nearer to her, conversations around the table hushed and spoons were held in mid-air.

"Mrs. Woodruff, I'm Detective Harris," said the taller of the two men, "and I'm here to inform you that you are under arrest for the murder of one Mr. Clark Farley."

She looked into his face, frowning slightly as she struggled to comprehend his words, while around the table, each of her guests sat, frozen, their soup forgotten. She pulled her eyes from his and slowly turned them on her dinner guests, moving from one to the other, until her eyes rested on the only person at the table who was still cheerfully spooning up broth, seemingly oblivious to the drama unfolding in the room, and her mouth dropped open as her eyes widened.

"You," she hissed as Detective Harris took her by the elbow and began leading her towards the door, "you framed me," as the sound of her heels clicking slowly across the floor was replaced by the gentle clink of a silver spoon against fine china and the soft slurp of soup as it was being happily consumed.

Linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge's Blog for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "frame"

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Watery Thankfuls Plus A Few Others

It's still Sunday (barely), so, without fanfare, here are my Ten Things of Thankful:

1. Tuesday was a rocky night. We had severe thunderstorms all afternoon and evening, and those spawned tornadoes. Welcome to spring in Tornado Alley! Fortunately for us, the tornadoes skirted around us, and we got nothing more than gallons and gallons of rainfall, high winds, and lots of lightning and thunder. 

2. Okay, so others weren't so lucky. So far, the National Weather Service has confirmed there were 26 tornadoes in southwest Missouri. Fortunately, there were no deaths, and while there was damage to homes and businesses, the tornadoes went through mostly rural areas that were not very populated.

3. Mother's Day programs at preschool were this week. I'd like to say no one cried, no one threw up and no one wet their pants, but I would be lying. I can say no one threw up and no one wet their pants, so two out of three ain't bad.

4. My terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad kittens made a gigantic mess in the living room Wednesday night while I was trying to write my Six Sentence Story for the week. One broken snowglobe, one shattered picture frame, much glycerin water, glitter and glass all over the wood floor, and one very displaced tablecloth later, I was able to turn the whole fiasco into a pretty decent Six Sentence Story that you can read right here.

Part of the carnage was MY PICTURE.

5. My husband fished off the dock today and caught this:

Check out the size.
And check out how FREAKING CREEPY it is.

We have fished in this lake my entire life and never before has anyone caught anything that looked like it, so I posted it on Facebook to see if anyone could identify it. My childhood friend Nancy said it was a fish. We all need more friends like Nancy....

6. My son, another friend's husband, and my cousin all came back with sculpin, which I never heard of before. We all need more friends (and relatives) like them, too, especially since I was wondering if this creature was actually a sign of the apocalypse.

7. My daughter said it looked like the baby version of the creature from "Shape Of Water," which was EXACTLY what I had been thinking. Great minds....

8. When there is heavy rain in the area, it eventually finds its way into the area lakes. That happened this week. Several years ago, the water made it into my parents' lake house, and this was not a good thing. We kept an eye on the lake levels all week (I'm really good at sandbagging, but it's not something I ENJOY being good at), and glory, glory, the Corps of Engineers kept the water from rising too high! The forecast for this next week is for thunderstorms and heavy rain....

9. The lake upstream from our lake is so full, they have had to run water over the floodgates of the dam. When the flooding was very, very bad several years ago, they had all ten floodgates open as far as they could go, which is 3 feet, I believe, with over 70,000 cubic feet per second going over the dam (that equals nearly 539,000 gallons per second). There are only 5 floodgates open currently, and they are only open a foot each. That's just over 5,000 cfs, which is still enough to be impressive. My dad and I drove to the dam to see it:

The view from the south side of the dam.
I don't know the official name for this road
and lookout, but it used to be knows as
Lawn Chairs and was a party place

Me and my daddy

This is from, kind of obviously, below the dam
next to the fish hatchery. The water is loud
as it pounds over the dam. It's 200 feet from
the bottom to the top here.

This is from the Table Rock Lake side of the dam.
The water is 200 feet deep right here. Well,
more than that, or it wouldn't be going over
the floodgates (which you can't seen from
this side, as the openings are underwater).

10. A bird has built a perfect little nest in the wreath on the front door of the lake house. It is fortunate for this bird that we don't use that door and instead use the one in the carport. I got a chance to peek in the nest and count 6 eggs when I looked through the blinds and mama birdie saw me and FREAKED out, zooming out of the nest and into a nearby tree. She's getting a little more used to me peering at her through the blinds, and she doesn't fly away, but she does give me the stink eye. I'm pretty sure she's a house finch, and it's going to be pretty cool to see those six babies hatch, even though I have a feeling there is going to be a lot of bird poo to wash off the door by the time they all fly away.

Six little eggs.

If you look closely, you can see
mama birdie glaring at me.

Always count your thankfuls.

Ten Things of Thankful

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Stable: A Six Sentence Story

I was sitting in my room in my big, comfy chair, working on this week's Six Sentence Story (a tale about Joseph and Mary being told the only place to stay was the stable, and let me tell you, Mary was NOT happy), when there was a tremendous crash from downstairs.

"Those kittens are HORRIBLE," my husband said from across the room as I got up to see what they possibly could have done to make that big of a noise; Nora Pearl, formerly Dammit Nora until the addition of two VERY BAD kittens to our family, making anything she did in the past look amateurish, followed me downstairs.

Finn and Lewis were innocently lying on the floor just inside the living room; I didn't buy their act for a second as I walked into the room and found what appeared to be a magic trick gone horribly wrong. Where there was once an antique walnut table draped with a lace table cloth and with three framed photographs on it, along with an Easter snowglobe and a stone rabbit, there was now a completely bare table. The table cloth was on the arm of the couch next to it, the snowglobe was on its side on the floor, the globe broken and glycerin water, glitter, and glass shards strewn about the wood floor, and the photographs were on the floor, one of them with shattered glass; the stone rabbit sat on the floor, unscathed, and said nothing.

"DAMMIT, YOU TWO!" I yelled as I began the clean up process, wiping up the water, picking up shards of glass, vacuuming the glitter, checking the photos for damage, repeatedly removing all three cats from the scene of the crime, Finn and Lewis looking SHOCKED and AMAZED at the devastation; but innocent though they tried to be, the rabbit and I exchanged glances and Nora looked smug: we all knew the truth, and that was that these kittens are not only lousy magicians, they are the NAUGHTIEST CATS I'VE EVER OWNED IN MY LIIIIIIIFE!!!

Bare naked table. Not supposed to be that way.

Dead snowglobe. Can you SEE all
the glitter on the floor?

Under the table. At least the floor
lamp remained upright.


Finn surveying the damage, like he's
NEVER SEEN IT BEFORE. That piece of lace
is the tablecloth. Yes, that's exactly where
I found it. I wasn't wrong about the magic trick....

Lewis pretending to be worried.

Table put back, EMPTY this time,
while Nora and Lewis inspect my
clean-up job.

Linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge's Blog for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "stable"