Summing it Up...

Now, that I'm way on the wrong side of sixty, I feel that being true to self is important. "I yam, what I yam." Kindness and smiles are to be given away. Women are strong. Men are more vulnerable than we believe. Husbands may come and go...but one thing I know for sure is that I will NEVAH live without a corgi or coffee in my life if I can prevent it. Come piles of dog fur or hot water!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Now that money is tight....

Money doesn't grow on trees, or come by jobs for many these days.
It would be helpful to know, and be forewarned, how long our expensive appliances, and indoor/outdoor home products will serve us.
Our old friend the Farmer's Almanac should be required reading for us all.

How Long Will It Last?

Predictable life expectancies (in years) for a number of home components:

Clothes dryer 14
Clothes washer 13
Dishwasher 10
Microwave oven 11
Range, electric 17
Range, gas 19
Cast-iron tub 50
Fiberglass tub/shower 10-15
Toilet 50
Ceramic tile lifetime
Granite 20+
Plastic laminate 10-15
Wood 20+
Exterior, protected by overhang 80-100
Exterior, unprotected and exposed 25-30
Garage door 20-50
Garage-door opener 10
Interior, hollow core 30
Interior, solid core 30 to life
Screen 25-50
Oak or pine lifetime
Slate flagstone lifetime
Vinyl sheet or tile 20-30

Air conditioner, central unit 15
Air conditioner, window unit 10
Furnace, gas- or oil-fired 18
Heat exchanger 24
Water heater, electric 14
Water heater, gas 11-13
Deck, wooden 15
Driveway, asphalt 10
Fence 12
Patio, brick or concrete 24
Walkway, concrete 24
Walkway, gravel 4
Asphalt 15-30
Sheet metal 20-50
Slate 50-100
Tile 50
Wood shingles and shakes 15-30
Aluminum 20-50
Metal 50 to life
Vinyl 30
Wood 10-100*
*10 years if constantly moist; 100 years if properly maintained.

- Source: Gopal Ahluwalla and Angela Shackford,

Good Stuff from the Farmer's Almanac...

Make-It-Yourself Cleaners

For a general cleaner, dissolve 4 tablespoons of baking soda in 1 quart of warm water.

For a good surface cleaner, mix together vinegar and salt. Apply and rinse with water.

For a drain cleaner, pour in 1/2 cup of baking soda, followed by 1/2 cup of white vinegar. Let it sit for a few minutes, then pour a kettle of boiling water down the drain to flush it.

For furniture polish, mix two parts vegetable oil or olive oil and one part lemon juice. Apply and polish with a soft cloth.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Decorated Thoughts...

When we were kids, our parents always made a big thing about going out to decorate the graves of family members. This particular weekend was always called, Decoration Day.
Dad allowed us to climb up on the running boards, or sit in the dip of the huge front fenders. That's just the way cars were made in those days, which certainly made it fun for my brothers and I.
Mom would wash the brown granite stone, and weed all around. Real flowers were always planted, never plastic on styrofoam forms, popular in the day. It was an annual family event to do this, and we all went.

My Dad died in '71, and all of us have gone out to the cemetery where he is, with Mom, throughout the years. Now that Mom is 92, my oldest brother lives closest to the cemetery and is so good about keeping up the tradition for Mom's sake. She goes along, and comments that the headstone will have to be changed when she "goes." "Nobody thought I'd live this long," she says. The date on her side of the stone is 1917-19__.
She's well into the new millennium, and is like a Timex; keeps on ticking.
Memorial Day is still a time when families "decorate" the graves, but more so, it is now a day recognizing our soldiers, in every branch of service. Truly, it is to recognize the dead, who fell while serving. But, let's not forget that we have thousands of men "over there" still working, and fighting for peace in a land that seems it doesn't want it. Military work is hard, lonely, and dangerous.
Their families give them up, so that they can serve. They hold their breath until they are in sight again, and welcomed into waiting arms. God speed to all our men, who are there, who have died, who are safely home. God speed.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Too nice to be in!

What kind of garden decor would a menopausal mama have? Old Crow of course!The corgi kids and I have been outside puttering in the yard since we got home it seems. Today I dragged out the hose, which had some loose connections over winter in the shed. The kids got sprayed a little.
Jake is happiest when he has a ball to chase which keeps him trim. Addie doesn't play unless she is taunting Jake...then, will shake her bum, and her head with one of his toys in a game of keep away.

The garden flag came from ebay years ago...they didn't have any black headed tris though.

On the radio today they were talking about making a "Wish List" for your life, and the importance of doing
If you want to learn a new language, by learning just one word each day, by the end of the year, your repertoire would be pretty impressive! Which one would you choose?

If you want to learn to knit, or volunteer at concerts (you can see the show free), or take an aquacise class at the Y...don't wait. No one is promised tomorrow, we only have the present. That's going to be my new more, whine less. Me? I'm going to investigate the Y offerings in our county seat, 14 miles south. Pool exercise is good for gimpy old ladies.

Maybe, spending so much time outside is giving me a sunny attitude?
Egad...there goes my reputation!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Batching it for 2 weeks...

Jim left late this morning on a two-week trek to Colorado to pick up his Mom and her golden-Dolly, and bring them both east. They'll stop at White Pines State Park, and visit family and friends near Chicago, before returning here at the end of the month.
We literally cleaned up the rv, and filled it back up again when we got home for this western trip.
The corgi kids and I spent the day working outside, rolling in the grass, and enjoying the sunshine. (Ok, it was NOT me rolling...)I spray painted birdhouses and old chairs getting them garden ready, and breathed in enough fumes to totally congest me.
Did some mulching, moved some fieldstones, and hopefully, tomorrow will plant some seeds. My brother told me to get a concrete mixing tub (it's rectangular in shape, made of heavy plastic and has a flat bottom with side about 8-9 inches high) to plant my veggie garden in, so off to Menard's or Lowe's we will go.

This will be a good time to get many projects done...without any distraction!
Josh will come over to carry things for his mama as needed. Wish we could paint a couple of rooms as well, but that, just may be a little too optimistic and over zealous! matter what we accomplish in that time frame, it will all help.
Also, will get together with as many galpals as possible for a little menopausal therapy over coffee and conversation! We ALL know how important that sort of thing is when fellas aren't around!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Home again in Indiana tonight..

These are the Florida kids; Jim's son and his family. The boys are 6 and 7 now, and spent some time in the pool with us at the campground in Largo, Fl.

Emmy and her Mama and Dada had some play time at a nearby park on Mother's Day.
Emmy loves this park and wearing her "Dora" sunglasses. She's all about bling!

Em likes piggy tails, and most anything that her Mama does with her.
It was so much fun to spend time with all the grandkids, and our big kids too!
I don't know why the little boogerheads have to live so far away though!!??

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

On our way home...

Tonight we're parked in a Cracker Barrel lot for overnight in Nitro, West Virginia.
We'll get home by tomorrow evening I imagine. It's been great seeing the Florida and North Carolina kids and grandkids, but it's time to find our own spot..back home.

We saw a tri-colored corgi pup at a Flying J truck stop. He was barking his head off, and adorable. The lady said she raised them, and had six corgis at home!

We also saw one of the new Camaros that everyone is talking about and anticipating being transported in West Virginia. It was school bus yellow, and C O O L!
We're on battery here, and the power in very low in the lap top, so I'm signing off now. Tomorrow night I will download all the family pics and enter them.
Hope all of you are well, and looking forward to SUMMER coming!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Making Cards, Trader Joe's, and Garrison K!

Today was a lot of fun, here in North Carolina. There were six of us who learned some new card making techniques this morning around April's kitchen table. We made three interesting, and unique cards. Great fun!

Keith took Emmy to Chunky Cheese for pizza and fun...we were dumbfounded that he would be brave enough to do that, and on a Saturday to boot!
When Em went down for an afternoon nap, and so did Keith; April and I ran over to Trader Joe's for a few items. It's always so much fun in yuppie-land, looking at all the organic foodstuffs. The aisles were jammed, with shoppers carrying their own fabric bags to put their stash in. We had ours too!

Tonight, we went to the Prairie Home Companion road show, which was a live radio broadcast on NPR.
The new concert hall, in downtown Durham, is in the revitalized tobacco district. It has four stories, and was full with an enthusiastic crowd.
We've been listening and enjoying Garrison Keillor since the mid-eighties, so it was wonderful to see a live show, full of the cast we've listened to for years. I can scratch doing that off my bucket list now. The kids gave me the ticket and outing as my Mother's Day gift. Not deserved, but surely appreciated!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Chapel Hill for April's 33 rd~

We spent a second day driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway on Thursday. The sun was out, making it an entirely different experience from Wednesday's rainy day. The colors of Spring, the split rail fencing, the panorama vistas, just made us ooh and ahh. Who needs another country to tour, when America offers so much to see first?

Muggy weather in NC, tomorrow it's supposed to be 90! I'm here until Tuesday at April's house to spend time with her and lil' Emmy. Tonight we all went to a Japanese Steakhouse which was great fun, and the food was terrific too. Jim found yet another way to enjoy steak and shrimp, and lil' Emmy just ate everything!

Tomorrow, we're having a Stampin' Up class here at April's. She is a demonstrator for fun, which is a great stress breaker for her work in oncology, and supports her creative habits! Tomorrow evening we have tickets to go see Garrison Keillor, and his Prairie HOme Companion show in Durham.

Jim is staying out in the woodsy campground, just down the road from John and Elizabeth Edwards compound. The ticks have been on the dogs already, so he'll have to be diligent in checking them after each potty outing. He has internet access, and a loads of cable tv channels out there, so he should be a happy camper for a few days, while I party with my girls.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Blue Ridge Parkway afterall...

This is the timeline for the Blue Ridge Parkway~
1906~ The idea is conceived.
1914~ Work begins, but ends due to WW I.
1933~ FDR begins the work again.
1936~ The project is renamed "The Blue Ridge Parkway."
1941~ Construction is once again suspended due to war.
1946~ Work resumes after WWII.
1966~ Only 7.7 miles remain unfinished.
1987~ The entire 469.9-mile parkway is open for travel.

The rain slowed down enough to make us say.."hey, let's go for it." So, we picked up the Parkway outside of Maggie Valley. We came across "our" waterfall, found twelve years ago on our third date, when daughter April and I met up with Jim in Maggie Valley. She was checking out Wake Forest in Winston-Salem for grad school, but ended up going to Duke. Anyway, we drove about 70 miles on the Blue Ridge today, taking...oh, maybe four and a half hours! Tee hee, you can't make much headway while on the Parkway, but you do see scenic views that have enough WOW factor to last a lifetime!
The muted pastel shades enhanced by the majestic blue of the mountain ranges, made us think of America the Beautiful song.
Springtime in the mountains, oh, the color was amazing! Dogwood in tiers, dotting the landscape. The sight of the blooming treetops, tender leaves unfurling, hot pink azalea, roadside wildflowers in purples and yellows, mini waterfalls, spitting out of the rockface covered in green ferns and moss were lovely. The roar of the falls, cascading water over time worn rounded rocks, was so soothing.

The hairpin turns, and going through the tunnels in a motorhome, and the low altitude clouds, misting and fogging up our visability, wasn't so soothing though! Temperatures dropped ten degrees in our first five miles. The Great Smokies, and the Pisgah Mountain range are a must see for everyone. We stopped at the park inn for supper, but the mist and heavy cloud cover hid most of the view from us. The walls were all glass to invite the outside in, but not today.

This is exactly what those scary ant hills looked like in northwestern Georgia yesterday!

North Carolina

Hello everyone...greetings from very stormy North Carolina. We're in the mountains, spent the night near Waynesville and Maggie Valley in a campground, something we never do while enroute. We went to Walmart...where we've stayed before...and it was gone! It's thunderboomering this morning, making the dogs walk with their heads down, and hide under the dinette.
We left Florida Monday morning, and ended up in Wally worlds campground in Perry, Ga.
We were surrounded by other class A's, and noisy semi trucks. Not much sleep that night, but a Waffle House breakfast, gotta love those grits, helped a great deal.
Upward and onward through Georgia, where we took the 2-lanes, cutting across to hook up to I-85. South Carolina, then finally North Carolina where we met up with Jim's cousin Greg, at a Cracker Barrel outside of Hendersonville. We talked for several hours, before moving on.
The color has been so pretty through these states. The snapdragons are over a foot high and in full bloom, in showy pinks and yellows. Dead armadillos littered the roadsides. (Now, I love armadillos, and am so sad not to see my army helmets dragging a tail on this trip!) The red dirt is complemented by the lush green leafed out trees.Very pretty, and different from Indiana. One scary the bee skep sized ant hill mounds in the red dirt. I don't even want to invisualize the size of the ants!
Jim blasts the air horns at the small herds of mule deer we've seen several times at the side of the road, eating foliage. Today, in the pouring rain, we decided to cancel our drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Oh well, next trip!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Sunny Greetings from Florida~

Hello, hello. How are things in your neck of the world? Well, here in Largo, Florida the temps topped 100 this afternoon, but this ol' Indiana sun-starved gal was lounging by the pool, finishing the newest Robert B. Parker novel, and doing isometrics in the warm water of the pool, chatting with folks from Michigan.
I wonder if this would ever get boring? Jim is spending the day with son David, catching up, as he hasn't seen him for over a year. I got coffee at Dunkin' Donuts, and the traffic scared me right back to the campground this morning. Got the laundry done, walked the corgi kids, took out the trash, then oh mama....I hit the pool. Jim is paying $4 extra a day to have it right across the way, so my gimpy knees will get me to the pool. L-u-x-u-r-y is what it felt like this afternoon. Daggone it...just may have to do that tomorrow and Sunday too before leaving Monday morning. Just lovin' it, sorry McDonald's, had to borrow your current slogan.

Y'all come back now...

Y'all come back now...

Everyone is special, and counts!