Friday, February 15, 2019

February, still.

How can the shortest month of the year feel like the longest? I don't know.
(Since my Texas trip, I think I have left the house three times, so that might account for it.) We have had many forecasts from the weather guessers, predicting snow and/ or ice. Thus far, we really haven't had much more than a dusting.
I am grateful that we have all remained well! Our local grocery store had two managers running the entire (small) store, as all their employees were out sick. Even the one manager checking us out was working ill! (Bad idea, how many more people were exposed? But in a corporate world, he had little choice.) Our local school called off today, Monday and Tuesday to disinfect their entire school and give those out sick opportunity to recover. They asked people if they are sick, to PLEASE not return until they are well.
I have a nice supper planned for tonight. Roasted root veggies (beets, carrots, onions) with mushrooms, butternut squash (& whatever else we have on hand) with baked stuffed chicken, with a cheese sauce. (Deciding on stuffing ingredients. Spinach, onion, + something for crunch)
   I made some simple GF peanut butter cookies this afternoon. Gluten free, dairy free, sugar free... not too bad. I don't care for a chewy cookie, but the taste isn't bad. I'm thinking of making a filling and turning them into whoopie pies, to feel more like a dessert. (The filling may not be DF, SF, we will see what I can do). The link above is the recipe I sort of used- it said honey or cane sugar could be used, but I used coconut sugar. It worked.
  Monday is the blood drive that the twins and I have been participating in for several years now. The blood Bank never fails to call me- I didn't realize how relatively rare O- (universal donor) blood is. Only about 7% of the US population is O-. When you read down the list of constraints AGAINST donating blood at all, it's no wonder they call! Types of medications you take, recent piercings and tattoos can all be reasons they cannot accept a donation. I encourage those of you who CAN donate blood of ANY type, to do so. And pray over your donation! Life and Health to the recipient.

Grand daughter Alana is selling Blue & Gold (sausage, bacon, breaded chicken) as a fundraiser to get new uniforms for her high school band! Contact me if you are interested and I will get you in touch with her. (Orders must be in by 2/22). (2lb. sausage $7; 3 lb. bacon $16;  5lb. bag breaded seasoned chicken $21)

We are 10 days from grand daughter Nickole's 10th birthday! If you need her address to send her a card, contact me. Her birthday is the 25th.
May your day be blessed. Remember to lift up others in prayer, the unlovely as well as the beloved!

Friday, February 8, 2019

Travels!

Traveling solo is an awesome time to pray and spend time with the Lord. I have been doing the "Pick a person and pray for them every day for a month" idea. I can't just choose one person. I usually pick two or three. Due to a comment Mr C made to me, this month I chose some of my least favorite people, to pray for.
   God has been whispering in my ear about the grating people in my life. The ones who shred my last nerve, the ones I'd just as soon not ever be around, much less pray for. Should they not be a priority on my prayer list? If I am not praying for them, who IS?

Last week, I drove to Texas to attend the annual H.O.M.E. (Heart of Motherhood Enrichment) Retreat in Brownwood. I went with my daughter & daughter-in-law, and got to see many old friends. As long as I was "in the neighborhood" (HaHa, Texas is a BIG neighborhood!), I stopped to see as many family members as I could in the short time frame. Most of the people I got to spend 20- 30 minutes with. It seems like you stretch time pretty thin when you are traveling on a deadline.
   I got to see Daniel's cute little garage apartment! Ben and I got to visit a short while, with him up well past his bedtime. (It was after 7 when I got to his house, he had to be up for work by 5!) I rode to Retreat with Paula. She and Becky and I sat at tables nearby one another. Becky was a kitchen helper, and mostly was NOT able to visit.
She and I had adjacent bunks in the Young Helpers cabin, where we were more or less supervising half a dozen young ladies from 9-15 years old. I helped a little bit in the kitchen, but required directions. Someone later remarked on Facebook they would rather have had some of the experienced Young Helpers than half a dozen people like me that had to be told what to do next. *Sigh* I was trying!
   I rode back from Retreat with Becky, and stayed the night at her house. By the time I had retrieved my (Sam's) car from Ben and Paula's house, it was after 7 when I got back to Becky's. We stayed up later than we ought, visiting. I was on the road the next morning by 8.
The drive to Ft. Worth was awesome, especially along the minor highways as I headed towards I20. The early morning sun was coloring the foggy mist that cloaked the scrub oak, cedar, and mesquite trees. That far south, the trees are already beginning to bud. The skunks had come from hibernation- and many greasy black and white mounds of fragrance dotted the roads. Like many creatures, when the mating pheromones are heavy, they aren't as cautious of their surroundings as they might otherwise have been.
   I stopped in Ft. Worth and got to spend a short allotment of time visiting my son Christopher at the jail. He is warehoused not far from my Aunt's house, so I stopped in to visit her afterwards. We talked 90 miles an hour for our short visit, trying to catch one another up on family. She had an afternoon Doctor's appointment, and I had to get to Dallas to see son Tommy (Stephen!) at Christ For The Nations International. We had been planning to have lunch together, but I was so late we only had time to visit for his afternoon break. He made me a cup of Turkish coffee. I was there just long enough to drink it. (Tommy heads to Peru this afternoon!)
   From Dallas, I went to East Texas. It was growing dark when I got to mom's house. We visited awhile as she made supper, and stayed up a wee bit late... 10 or so. The "late nights" were wearing on me! We were both up early, and went over to Dad and Kathie's for coffee. I stayed a couple of hours visiting with them, then dropped Mom off and headed back home.
  It was a wonderful trip. (All 1387 miles of it) It has taken all the rest of THIS week to get more or less recovered from it!
Thank you to all who had a hand in the trip- I enjoyed seeing all of my children and 3/4 of my grands.
Be blessed today!
  

Thursday, January 24, 2019

In today's episode of "But First"...

All the little things. I don't even know what today's goal IS! That is, a specific thing I want to have accomplished by the end of the day. OK, yes I do.
I started out this morning with the end result in mind: moving the big file cabinet out of my closet and into the "spare" bedroom. Tom has been saying for a week that he would help me move it, but we seem to forget about it when he is home. It is big- maybe 54" tall, 30" deep, and 20" wide. Steel. Not a flimsy steel, but heavy duty gonna last forever steel.

It would be easier to move if I actually go through the files first.
In looking yesterday for a specific document (which I did NOT find)... drawers got opened that have been closed for... shall I just say "awhile"? I found "keepsake" packets from Becky, Ben, and Tommy's days at Central High Elementary school. In some of the files, we have instructional and warranty packets from appliances and such, older than Becky. Which we haven't owned in at least a decade.
Clearly, I need to purge the filing cabinet!
It isn't just the simple matter of transporting from one room to another. If I do THAT- the file cabinet isn't going to be 'dealt with'.
Before I can sort through the file cabinet, I need to move the stuff that has been crowded into the closet in front of it. These things need a place to BELONG.
"If everyone would just put things back where they belong!"
My trouble is not having an assigned place for many items. I just move them around so they aren't in my way "right now".
I tried to get "something" accomplished. I start by getting dressed. I am one of those people who can't function in pajamas. I go to get dressed... but first I need to shower. This is the point where I (usually) make my bed. I decide the sheets need washed, so skip making the bed. SHOWER. But first go get the phone, because I may get an important call today and I don't want to miss it. Oh, I better gather dirty clothes- I can catch laundry up today.
SHOWER! I am going to shower. I stayed on track long enough to get showered and dressed. The dirty clothes are gathered, laundry is started.
I assess the spare room. Tom and Sam want it left "open" so they can work out in there. I decided to also move my chest of drawers into there- better than the living room, right?
I empty the chest and redistribute the contents- thinking of better places for 90% of the stuff. (Not that I actually PUT anything away "elsewhere"- it sits on the table and couch for now, because the "elsewhere" places also need cleaned first.)
In all my shuffle drag shuffle shuffle drag shuffle, I once again conclude I have too much stuff. I really don't know where to begin with so much of it.
I am dealing with sentimentality. I deal with, what? That I finally HAVE?
I don't know how common it is among people growing up NOT having much. The holding on to "EVERYTHING".
I have my Granny's collection of ceramic chickens, as well as many of her other small knick knacks. They meant things to her due to the people who gave them to her- or the places she visited. To me, they are my Granny's treasures- how can I just get rid of them? They don't have their original sentimentality attached, but a second generation sentimentality.
I hope my kids don't feel the need to hold on to things just because they were mine. I am given all sorts of little things that I do enjoy, and I treasure them because of the person I associate these things with. But they are just THINGS. I have tried getting rid of so much stuff, only to find I have hurt someones feelings that gave me the item. My kids need not continue to hold on to these things... and they are all just THINGS.
In dealing with MYSELF over getting rid of stuff, I am trying to consider both functionality as well as sentimentality. Why don't I get rid of the stack of ugly plastic bowls, and USE the beautiful antique bowls I have? They are stacked up high, safe from harm... but doing nothing except collecting the greasy kitchen dust and taking up space.
I have been reading about how young people do not want "old" stuff- they want brand new, matchy matchy items. They aren't sentimental about Grandma's dishes.
Sam says I should start every task with the end result in mind. But first...

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Hobbling along!

My third broken toe in under 13 months! It is interesting colors today. This is the same toe I caught on Benjamin's bathtub on Christmas Day 2017. This time, I stubbed it on a heavy duty metal bench clamp I had moved out of Daniel's (former) bedroom. I had left it near the front door until such a time as I felt well enough to cart it out to the tool shed. If you know me, I seldom go barefoot.  This incident was after a hot soaky bath I sat in, hoping to feel better from a bug I had picked up in Texas. The dog was barking to get inside, and I went to let him in before putting my shoes on. That was all it took! (Someone has suggested I may need to wear steel toed boots, even to bed!)
Since my last post, Mr C reconsidered, and says I can go to the H.O.M.E. Retreat in a couple of weeks. I am looking forward to attending.
I am homesick for Daniel... it's going to take awhile to adjust to just three people at home.

It's amazing how much "presence" a person has. I know it is true not only of our family, but of other large families as well... You might have five or six kids still in the house, but you feel the emptiness of even one less person. I can't imagine how lonely the empty nesters are, who only ever had one or two children grow up on them.
Or maybe I am projecting. Maybe they miss it less because they didn't have as much "psychic" space being used.
Thankfully, I have had adjustment time with each of my kids leaving home. They didn't all go at once.
It's "funny" (weird funny) that, while I love and miss my family when we are apart- I seldom to never feel lonely. Have you ever just felt like someone was with you all the time? I once accidentally made two cups of coffee, and was on my way to sit and drink coffee with ????  I had a cup in each hand and had left the kitchen, when I realized I was home alone. Had been all day. Back then, we didn't even have a pet. I have no idea who I poured that second cup for.
I spent six days home alone over Thanksgiving. I never felt the pall of loneliness. I'm sure I would feel much more alone if that was all I had. I knew my family was coming back. I wasn't going to STAY alone for a prolonged time.
My fall in the woods last year did make me feel old. All the "what if" scenarios. If I lived all alone, I would have to be hyper vigilant about walking in the woods. It was scary enough to have fallen into the ravine and knowing it would be hours before anyone even missed me... had I lived alone, it could be days.
Well, I best hobble on down to the mailbox. Our postal person has been coming way earlier, and I missed getting letters sent yesterday!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

And now, this!

I am going to start with a very good report, before breaking down into (probably needless) whining. Just so you are warned!

With Daniel's hiking adventure cancelled, he got busy looking for a place to live in San Angelo. Since he was still here in NE Oklahoma, that was an online search. He'd found several, though most were not returning his calls or messages due to the New Year holiday. One in particular he really liked. They finally returned his message- an open house was to be held Saturday from noon-2 pm for potential renters to attend. He got this message on Thursday afternoon.
There had been major snow and ice- with some great accumulations- in the 580 miles between NE OK and San Angelo. It is normally about a nine and a half hour drive. This is the south. People cannot drive on snow and ice. Nevertheless, we scrambled to get Daniel ready to move on down to Texas. Tom was really fretting about the scramble- we had originally planned to leave on Saturday instead of Friday. The warm weather would have the roads clear. Daniel chafed at the delay- he really liked the place. He finally agreed that it would be better not to hurry down in bad weather to see a place.
Then, God began to open doors. Or perhaps I should say, we saw the doors begin to open as God had already set into place. Another small garage apartment was listed. It was $200 LESS per month, PLUS all the utility bills were included. (The place showing on Saturday did not include bills.) Dan contacted them, and they responded at once. Their application process was just a bit different. They asked Daniel for a brief paragraph or two about himself. What was his lifestyle, where did he see himself in five years?
It was an answered prayer- I had actually said, if anyone would get to know Daniel, ask him a few questions about himself, they would see he would be a great renter. All of the apartments we had looked at on a previous trip had only been interested in rental history. Dan has paid rent to us for about four years... but THAT doesn't count. There were either massive fees for first time renters, or you needed a co-signer.
The viewing of the apartment was set up for Monday. We learned from Benjamin, the address was actually in a nicer part of town. Tom and I went down with Daniel, as Tom's truck was better for pulling the UHaul trailer. We left his belongings stored at Becky's until Dan would be able to get a place of his own. Tom and I had a nice visit with the San Angelo area grandkids. We headed home bright and early Monday morning.
Becky went with Daniel to look at the apartment. Becky and the person showing the property recognized one another. Becky knew the lady from Tyrel's baseball team a couple of years back, and from Tyrel's Trail Life group. (Trail Life is an organization for Christian boys akin to what the Scouts used to be.) The lady also knew the Zesch family, which was among Daniel's references. Daniel liked the place, the lady liked Dan. She verified his credentials... and Dan now has his very first apartment of his own.
And now, for my whine.
Every year, there is a Mother's Retreat. I got to go once. Daniel asked if I would like to go this year. He was going to sponsor my fee. I was really excited to go.
Mr C asked how I planned to get there. I told him I would borrow Sam's car. Sam was good with that. So Mr C just flat said  I can't go. The trip costs too much in gas and sundries.
I don't have an income. (He did NOT point that out.) We are down a rent-paying son... so all the burden of support falls on Tom. This just isn't a good time for me to spend ANY money.
I will suck it up, and look forward to getting to have Camp Cowgranny, saving my pennies in the meantime!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

2019

We have trudged into the new year. It has been cold, wet, and blustery. I have scarcely been outside- though I did twice walk back down our trails in the woods yesterday, to check out the expanded trail Sam has been working on.

While Tommy was here last week, I was discussing how, between the time Tommy was a few days shy of his first birthday, and the time he was twelve or so, we had not been camping at all. My reasons for boycotting camping for so long were entirely selfish, I realized last week. I had spent that entire trip either cooking, preparing to cook, or cleaning up from cooking for Tom and I and the five kids. When I wasn't in the middle of food work, I was chasing a toddling baby and fishing debris out of his mouth. Rocks, bottle caps, metal pull tabs from cans- the kind that had a 'tongue and ring' that detached entirely from old steel and early aluminum cans-, trash from nasty people who just totally ruin campsites... or chasing a three and a five year old who wanted to go find Daddy and the older brothers fishing down by the water. It was not fun.
Our family outings began to be more "day hikes". We lived about 30 miles from The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. The day hikes were usually packing up a lunch, and driving to the refuge. I would stay in a picnic area and chase the three youngest away from the water, while Tom and the older boys got to go boulder hopping and climb up the mountain trails. (I only ONCE ever got to climb up any of the mountains without a child... and had to do that by myself.)

Sometimes, we would ALL go hiking down an easier trail.
For those of you who have not hiked with very young children, it was viewed pretty much as a death march. They were not keen on a long drive, followed by a long walk through some trees. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then another long, long drive home... which takes even longer when the parents keep pulling over to see such ordinary things as buffalo, elk, and longhorn cattle.
Our kids were tormented at least twice a month by these drives, up until we moved within a couple of miles of the Refuge. Then, we were there pretty much at least once a week.

By the time the twins were born, we were a good hour away from the Refuge, and the visits there all but stopped. The twins were about seven or eight before they ever got to camp anyplace other than our own yard. (As we all know- the fearless duo began camping out alone at four years old in our yard! Next thing we knew, they were off on the Appalachian Trail!)

Monday, December 31, 2018

Listening for the Still, Small Voice

We had a lovely visit with Tommy and his girlfriend Ruby over Mr C's birthday.

Daniel had been making plans for a last "free time" hike before his big move to Texas. He and Sam attempted a hike of the Ozark Highlands Trail (OHT) early in January a couple of years ago. They didn't complete the entire trail, so Dan thought this would be a great opportunity to make a 9 or 10 day hike. Going solo, from Woolum, AR to Lake Ft. Smith, near Mountainburg, AR.
  I was REALLY bothered by him going solo. In the winter. In an area with no phone services. With an ice/ snow storm predicted for two to three days this coming week. (And, as we were to discover yesterday-  the National Forest, is technically "closed" due to government shut down. They said it was "use at your own risk, no help available.)
   Sam and I drove Dan over yesterday morning, leaving the house a few minutes past 6 in the morning. We stopped at the half-way point, to hide a resupply of food in a 5 gallon bucket hidden in the woods. It was a short while after 10 when we got to the Woolum Campground Trailhead. There was supposed to be a shallow ford across the Buffalo River to start the trail.
Here is the ford:
Just, NOPE. There was NO WAY go get across. We could have driven about an hour around to the opposite shore. We had an Arkansas Atlas and Gazeteer Topographical Map. Dan had his topographical trail maps as well. Between them, Dan found another place we might drive, where he could wade a creek and walk about 2 miles to the trail.
Off we went. By the time we reached the highway, Mom was trying not to let hangry get the best of her. Sam found a Dollar General, and we got a couple of snacks, with the promise of "real food" as soon as we came across anyplace open. The second location Daniel had found was about 25 miles or so from the Woolum Campground. We found the "highway" to turn on. It may be somewhat disconcerting to be on a "highway" made of stone and dirt, where two vehicles cannot pass one another without one pulling off the road. The "highway" ended onto a narrow dirt trail... It may of been designated a "road"... but my driveway is more of a roadway. There had obviously been somewhat of a storm that had downed trees across the road. Someone had chainsawed their way through. Sam squeezed his Subaru between the sawed off tree trunk and the barbed wire fence. Twice. We forded shallow low water crossings. Twice. Finally we came to the place where Dan was going to wade across. It was pretty deep. Dan stripped off his pants and put on shorts. He tied his shoes to his pack, and set across. He wasn't even 1/4 way across, when it became obvious the swift running water was going to be closer to chest high than knee high if he went much farther. He waded back, and re-dressed. Back to the maps. Some miles down, there was a place where the road crossed the river about four miles before the OHT crossed the road. We got back to the cow path, and wended up and down and around a mountain. We were halted by not another "ford" of the river.  It looked shallow enough Daniel might wade it.  It didn't look safe enough to drive across.

The video of Daniel crossing this was more than 4 minutes long. (It was declared "too long" for Blogger.) Dan had NOT changed back into his shorts, and the rolled up leg of his pants unrolled into the water. It was icy cold on his bare feet. Sam waded partway with him. Sam came back, and we watched Dan safely make his way all the way across. There were four miles to the spot where the trail crossed the road ahead. It was just starting to sprinkle.
Dan yelled something at us. We couldn't make out what he said. He sat for a minute as we tried cell phone service. None available.
Then Dan picked up his pack and waded back across to us. He said that as he set foot on the other side of the water, he heard the quiet, small voice tell him he should not go. So he listened. He waded the ford back to us. We drove back to the cache of food in the forest, and then on home.
I was so relieved. We got home eventually, and discovered Tom had been praying hard as well. It is wonderful to know our children can and do listen for that voice to guide their steps.
Dan's crossing on YouTube.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Howdy, Y'all

I just realized it has been about a month since I posted anything at all. So, I should start with some updates, right?
First of all, Daniel was hired by the San Angelo Fire Department and will start firefighter/ EMT training on Feb. 1st. He had planned to work here at his old job until mid January... but his employer feels it is more trouble than it is worth to have to do all the annual paperwork on an employee who will only be there a few work days in January. His last day may well be Friday, as his boss takes off a week from Christmas to New Year's.
Sam has been working golem hours... from 7 in the morning until 8 or later every night- including Saturday- for awhile now.
Tommy has plans to come visit us over Mr. C's birthday next week.
Tom's Mom had her hip replaced this week, and is expected to be released from the hospital today or tomorrow.
Alana got her driver's license permit! (Congratulations, Alana!)
****************
I accompanied Dan to Texas when he went for his interview. I enjoyed getting to see some of the grands, as well as a few more of my children! I would certainly hope to get to go down again when it comes time for Dan to move... but that remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, he is getting his things ordered to strike out on his own.

On the home front... I have been disassembling the house for the past week. I 'flipped' our bedroom, with the bed opposite from where it has been. Not all the furniture fits in there, arranged like this, but we had our reasons for doing so. (Possible mold in the outside wall. We moved the bed to an inside wall.)
I have been working at writing. It is emotionally draining, and I am not getting very far very fast. God has given me encouragers, and I keep at it.
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That's all for now. I have such a disheveled mess around me, I cannot sit here and ignore it in good conscience! Thanks for reading.

Friday, November 23, 2018

It's going to be a long walk...

A friend family lost their eldest son last Saturday night. Mr C and I had only been friends with the Z's for about 10 years, though our children have known them longer than that. The Z's are the family that our kids have gone with on their annual hiking Trek for at least the past decade. Our kids are much closer to them than Tom and I... but that said- the Z's are family.
Their son's death has hit us quite hard, stirring up our thoughts of losing Bill.

When Bill died, I wanted to know a lot of things about grief. There are a few books out there- most are about losing your spouse, and a few on dealing with losing a parent. Not so many on losing a child, especially an adult child. I was in constant tears, calling my sister in law who had lost a grown son ten years before.

It was a comfort to have a person tell me that the things I was feeling were normal, that I wasn't alone on the island of despair. You can KNOW your child is with our Heavenly Father, and still miss them so terribly that you don't want to draw another breath yourself. To feel torn in two with grief, and with wanting your other children to know that yes, you love them THIS much as well.

Joshua Z's death has brought back so much of the emotional chaos we went through, losing Bill Joe. Our hearts ache in empathy for the Z family, because we know. We have been there.

It came about that I am home alone for several days. It was the least disruptive solution to having other family members where they needed to be during this period of time. I pretty much insisted that Mr C would go to his Mom's house as planned for Thanksgiving.

Me, the person who is all about being with Family for the Thanksgiving holiday, thought the circumstances had fallen together for a purpose. A book is being born. It's not even a full outline yet, as I don't work well with outlines. Right now, it is an outpouring of emotion and observations. It is maybe four pages so far- the merest seed of book sprouting.

Unless the title is already taken, I believe the title is going to be "Through The Valley".

Please keep the Z. family in your prayers, as well as my daughter Becky and son in law Stephen.

I suppose I better get back to writing that book. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

The best laid plans of Cowgrannies

It is mid- November.
MID November.
As in, the middle of the month of November.
Where did the year go?
Sam did, indeed, have an awesome trip to Germany. I think he enjoyed it, but any future trips would be better shared with a loved one.
Daniel passed the polygraph. He got a call today to set up the face-to-face interview. He's pretty excited.
Dan got his first deer. I get to process it today. (Which I ought to already be started on, but I am one of the best Crastinators around. In fact, I am pretty sure I am a Pro Crastinator. (ba dum tiss!)
We are waiting to hear when Arlene's surgery can be scheduled.
Becky and I have been discussing Stephen's idea for Camp CowGranny Summer 2019.
Stephen suggests we hold it at their house. They are in the Big House now. The littlest Grands can participate, and not be separated from their Mommies. We could visit the Bat Cave at Mason, the Paint Rock (Hieroglyphic / Runestone). There are several rivers around, as well as numerous areas we might camp. Museums, the Abilene zoo...
CCG would NEED to be as early after school is out as we can make it, because I will have garden to attend to before the end of June. Also... the later it gets, the hotter West Texas is going to be.  Jennifer, Glynna, Seneca, Paula, Becky... let me know what the "black out" dates are, as well as when the kids are out of school for the summer. I hope to be better planned this next year!
I was just thinking, I have one birthday left to figure out this year... and then "face palm". There are at LEAST four more before the end of the year. (I already got Althea a gift, so was counting her as 'done'.)
*sigh* How do people deal with Christmas, when it's so hard to keep up with just birthdays?

I guess Bambi isn't going to package himself. I best get on it! Have a blessed day!

Friday, November 2, 2018

Comings and Goings

Sam has been in Germany for a couple of weeks. He gets home late tonight. While he has been able to speak to his siblings on "WhatsApp" and video chat with them, I have had very little communications with him. I am sure it will be a fun ride back from Tulsa, unless he is just too tired to tell us about it.
Daniel and Sam
In the morning, Daniel is headed to West Texas. He has the latest step in the SAFD journey to handle on Monday: The Polygraph.  I had failed to count it as a step in the hiring process, thinking all that remained was the Face to Face interview. The interview will be conducted SOON, pending the outcome of the polygraph. The SAFD hire/ start Date will be Dec. 18. That means, in another month our nest could be down another birdy.
This is a turbulent time for me! Yeah. Get over it... the twins are already 22 years old.
So far, Tom and I have no solid Thanksgiving plans. We are having to  keep our options open, based on events in other people's lives. I am thinking we may be going to Ohio.
We did just get back from Ohio this past Sunday.
There are many things going on in the lives of Mr C's family. His Mom can use prayers, as she is having pain in her hip and may need surgery. This would necessitate someone staying with her as she recovers... actually BEING with her daily. At the moment, all the available family members are working, or have obligations that preclude their being there more than a day or two at a time. I am the logical person to be there.
Mr C and the twins can handle the house here, and our wee amount of critters without me. Garden season is past. We are just trying to take small steps at a time right now, to be sure of our direction.

Lower Falls at Old Man's Cave, Hocking  Hills State Park, Ohio
Tommy is planning a Thanksgiving dinner in Dallas, with friends an a couple of siblings. My folks (Mom and Ralph, Dad and Kathie) are getting together. Ben and Paula are going to Paula's folks, I think. We ought to know in another week or so about whether we are going to Ohio or not. But for the moment, I am just counting us out everywhere.
We had a good visit with Arlene and with Bob. We got to see Joyce for a short while on Saturday, and even spend an hour or so with Luke, and with Eric. Luke's daughter Leigha gave me a birthday card!

It would be nice to take a trip sometime, to be able to stop and actually SEE the sights along the way. I have been by the St. Louis Arch probably more than 30 times. I have never got to stop and see it, though I think most of my kids have at one time or another. We are always so focused on the destination that we seldom stop to enjoy the journey. (Heck, we hardly even stop to potty!) I'd like to see the Creation Museum at Glenrose, Texas. The Ark Encounter in Kentucky. Someday, the Grand Canyon.

Our seasons are changing. (I mean that both naturally and metaphorically.) The trees here have been going quickly from green, to brilliant colors, to raining their leaves down in a smothering cover on the ground.  So far, we haven't had a frost, and a few plants are hurrying to ripen their last fruits. Our own circumstances are changing, and we will have to adjust to the new landscapes we encounter.
Thanks for reading. May your day be blessed.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Texas tripping!

Over the weekend, Mr C and I went to Texas to pick up half a beef. (Our freezer is full to the actual brim.) We got to see Becky, Ben, and Tommy, as well as spouses, girlfriend, and children of the aforementioned.
It rained... as is typical when we visit!
The grandkids used my camera to take random pictures, until the battery died. I hadn't packed the charger.
Althea (4.2)
I did get a few pictures before the kids got hold of the camera.
Milo (4.3)

Kimber (3.2), "Umpaw", and Dakota (3.3)

The Birthday Buddies, "CowGranny" and Kimber

Ruby and Stephen (Tommy)

Paula

Grace (3.4) and Althea (4.2)

Milo (4.3) and Benjamin
(Boy boys really ought to be 'a thing')

Dakota (3.3)

Mr. C

Jasher (4.1)
(I didn't get one with his eyes open!)
Katie (3.5)


We got to spend a bit of time between Ben's and Becky's houses. Tyrel was on a camping trip. Though we did get to see him before we left, it was AFTER my camera battery died. So he is absent from the pictures. I also didn't get one of my El Gee! Maybe she or Pya can help me out there.

It was a short visit, but we all had a great time.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Fall Feels

I am blessed.
I have a wonderful family.
Both of my parents are still with us, today being my mom's birthday.
My children are doing well. I have a dozen grandchildren.

Today just feels... I don't know... like something is coming to an end.
I feel like the Fellowship's last goodbye at the harbor. (LOTR reference). The individuals lived on, but they were no longer in close fellowship with one another.

Mr C and I have a bit of traveling that is supposed to happen this month, trips to Texas and to Ohio to visit family. Which ever way we travel, we miss those we are without. And yet, we are closer than in the centuries past, when families had little hope of ever seeing their far away loved ones.

Sam is going to Germany the day before my birthday, and will be gone for two weeks. Dan still hasn't heard from the Fire Dept. about an interview. That may happen before the month is over. If he is hired, he could be moving within the next month.
Both my grown up children that remain at home are standing on the edge of the nest. Most people my age have long been empty nesters... and I know the day is coming soon.

Maybe it is that I am finally ready to let go of so much... stuff. Or I think I am ready. I love my property here... but maybe it is just too much for us. Without youngsters to explore the woods, building forts and making trails... what good is it? I can't just go wandering the woods alone any more.
My cupboards are FULL of preserved garden goods. My freezer is full... and that is before we go get half a cow from Becky. Do you know how long a full freezer will last us? Will we be able to use all the canned goods in a timely manner? Why even bother to grow a garden?
Maybe it is that we finally have a HOME, yet it is an empty thing, with my kids all moving away. It ties us here, instead of getting to go where the family is. (Not that I have ANY desire to live in Texas).

It is 85* and humid and it's OCTOBER! My sinuses are ready for the first freeze to take out the ragweed. I think this is a day when I really do need a nap.