September 30, 2008

A Grandma in Love

Last night we celebrated the departure of our niece, who will be gone for 10 months working at the Dream Center in Los Angeles. It's a broad-based down-to-earth street ministry that meets the needs of many different populations in a very needy area of LA. We're proud of her, worried about her, happy for her, and already missing her.

But guess who stole the show? My 2-year old grandson danced and ran and screeched in delight as he played with my son. Yes, it was a very family-friendly pizza parlour. Yes, it was probably disturbing to some. Yes, we should have quieted him sooner... but we were having so much fun!

Sure enough, my little grand-guy wore out and had to make the rounds to tell us all good-bye. When he got to a older grandma he didn't know, he stole her heart anyway. They exchanged a few words, then he planted one on her.

The sparkles in her eyes were almost blinding the rest of us, as she said, "He kissed me, right here!" She was definitely smitten!

September 26, 2008

Old Folks on Bikes

To celebrate my birthday this week (I'm over 50), I stayed with my parents for a couple of days (they're over 70). Husband was away on a long hunting trip, kids are grown and busy, grandkids napping, classes starting next week - so I enjoyed my freedom!

We haven't gotten old yet.

I can tell this is true, because we had one of those NEW moments. I went bike-riding with my Dad!

I'm sure I've followed him on a bike before. I recall we each had, including Mom, a bicycle leaning against the wall in the shed when we were children. We had to have used them, I just don't remember.

My folks live in a retirement neighborhood. (I'm almost old enough to have a place there right alongside them!) My father, always the gentleman, led me around the neighborhood at an easy pace. We talked little, teased some, greeted a few neighbors, and relished the quiet.

I have a camera in my mind, and I periodically capture moments that I don't want to ever forget. The image I see is my Dad speeding away on his bike after excusing himself - he needed to work up his heart rate, he said.

I see his thinning hair blowing in the wind, his nose wrinkled up in concentration, and his plaid shirt pasted against his chest.

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September 24, 2008

Wednesday, Not Monday Simple Woman...oops!

Leave it to me to break some rule!

Instead of updating my Simple Woman Monday snippets this Monday, I played. My birthday was this week, so I stayed at my parents' house for a few days. With daughter busy with nephews and preparations for Fall term, and hubby gone hunting, I played!

FOR TODAY September 24, 2008 (Not Monday)
Outside My Window... I have a feeling we just started our fall rains this afternoon. I can hear the trickles coursing through the downspout, and the formerly dry, crispy grass is looking like soggy cereal.
I am thinking... it's time to get ready for leading the Financial Peace class tonight.
I am thankful for... the opportunity for my husband to be with his buddies hunting in the mountains - and HOURS of extended solitude!
From the kitchen... I smell apples becoming apple butter in the crock pot.
I am wearing... my jogging suit again. Gotta get on my exercise bike.
I am creating... plans to build a chicken coop.
I am going... to call Jim to remind him to bring goodies.
I am reading... everything I can find about chicken breeds and coop plans.
I am hoping... I'm not getting distracted from my goals, and the guy selling the chickens calls soon.
I am hearing... Christian radio and getting tired of it (same station for 7 hours).
Around the house... are "little" things to do: One basket of laundry to put away, three glasses to put in the dishwasher, my grandson's bed on the floor to pick up, garbage to take out.
One of my favorite things... bouncing on my mini-tramp to the music. It's like dancing.
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: organizing and cleaning before classes start next week, deciding on a main dish and salad to take to the potluck on Sunday.

Here is picture thought I am sharing: My Glamour Shot...

September 15, 2008

The Simple Woman 9-15-2008

FOR TODAY: September 15, 2008
Outside My Window: The sunlight is creeping through the dry, overgrown grasses in the pasture and reaching toward my weedy yard, where the young rooster is trying to crow like a grown-up.
I am thinking... it's going to be above 90 degrees today and I'd better close the windows!
I am thankful... for these quiet, relaxing days before I start my Fall Term. Also, I wrote in my journal last night how thankful I was for progesterone cream. To me it's essential for regulating the insomnia and depression that I've been dealing with in my menopausal state.
From the kitchen... I wonder why I just don't like cooking any more.
I am wearing... my jogging suit and fleece jacket, 'cause right now the house is COLD! - and I'm getting ready for my workout.
I am creating... a plan to get an apple pie in the oven this morning.
I am going... nowhere today.
I am reading... from the book of Ephesians in the Bible.
I am hoping... to find encouragement today after the sadness I felt last night. I'm anticipating my husband's upcoming hunting trip.
I am hearing... the fans blowing.
Around the house... I see the need to vacuum, straighten the kitchen, work on some paperwork, and do some mending for my husband.
One of my favorite things... is imagining the fulfilling, meaningful, productive and profitable work that I'll be doing. This transition between children and "the next thing" is hard because I imagine that a woman my age should know a whole lot more.
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
1. Prepare for the Financial Peace University course that I'm coordinating on Wednesday night.
2. Polish my resume' and get it submitted.
3. Reassess the courses I've registered for - maybe change some of them.
4. Love the Lord my God with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my mind, and with all my strength.
5. Love my neighbor as myself.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing... (see sidebar...'cause my blog template won't let me put pictures here with my posts)


I discovered this "The Simple Woman" idea last week. Check out the Web site if you're curious about how other women fill in the blanks on their Monday mornings. I will (try to) put the link in the sidebar, and in the title of this post.


September 8, 2008


What am I getting myself into?

I just registered for my fall term. I've never taken a full load of college courses before. The issue is simple - that I already have full-time work running my household and nurturing my marriage. Though the children are grown I'll still be the domestic engineer here! Meal coordinator, materials purchaser, building maintenance overseer, financial manager, vehicle maintenance coordinator, events planner, research specialist...

Okay, the panic is over. This is actually going to be fun! I've gotta run with it - and not fear.

Somehow God has prepared me for this, and I'm not too old to learn...and all those other encouraging things I need to remember!

September 5, 2008

Free Food for the Frugal

I've been reading about Warren Buffet this month, and learning more about investing, risks, and taking calculated advantage of great opportunities...

Our property is located on an abandoned orchard, and there are a few apple trees remaining here and there. Only rarely do we see enough apples on a tree to get a pie out of it, though. We don't take care of them at all. One year I allowed my boys to use the walnut-sized fruit as ammunition in their war games! (I joined 'em!)

Okay, I'll get more honest. I started it!

A few seasons back I asked my Air Force son to prune one back for me. Basically, I'd hoped he'd butcher it well, so that it would remain in its boundaries for a long time.

This is a strange year!

That same tree has decided to grow so many apples that its overlong branches are bending like the McDonald's arches with the weight. Since I'm hanging out at home alone this month, waiting for my busy fall term of classes to start - I'm harvesting apples!

Applesauce, apple pie, frozen apple slices... This might keep me busy for a week!

$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $

September 4, 2008

Back into Chickens

Okay, this seems totally weird, but I've got chickens again!

I just couldn't help it.

I'm going to school full-time next term, and here I am diving in to chickens! What am I thinking? I'll tell you what... they are the project, the relief, the diversion that I need right now. Anyway, that sounds like a good excuse. I told my husband that "I'm a woman, and my children are gone, and I need something to nurture". That's a good excuse, too!

At any rate, here's my new word: frugalmaniac! I'm determined to NOT spend excessive amounts of cash on these birds.

Look at the picture (if I can post it correctly) - I'm using the plastic compost bin for their housing, letting them eat table scraps and bits of this and that all day, and confining them for their safety at night. The picture shows a ground-level holding pen for chicks. That window she's looking out of is where a drawer used to be: it's the piece that fit under my kids' bunk beds! The wire is a piece I pulled off of our former chicken pen. Oh, yeah, and I got the chickens free from postings on Craigslist!

It's not totally maniacal, just slightly.

Chickens are not the fluffy, furry, cuddly, affectionate pets I'd always adored as a child. Who do you know that dreamed of having a pet chicken one day?

Not I -- I wanted a puppy! But having dogs on this property is torture. They run and chase rabbits all over the hills, then come home to share the poison oak they've carefully rubbed themselves in - with me - and I'm VERY allergic! And the poor pooch doesn't know why I don't scratch his head. It's just not natural to deny him that. And it's not fair. So, we don't have a dog...

But chickens are very happy if you don't pet them, thank you very much!

And how many pets do you know that can provide you your breakfast - especially without dying for it?

Okay, that's enough reasons.

The bottom line is: they're just crazily entertaining.