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Archive for January, 2009

What can be more fun than having nearly a foot of snow?  How about, having the flu while the snow comes down?  Yup! That’s my week.  Oh, and did I forget to mention, I started the week with a sinus infection?  I took the first of my antibiotics and that was the last thing I held down for two days.  

 

When irritating little Chihuahua refused to go outside after making us open the door, for the fourth time, so she could see if she had magically apperated to Hawaii, I did seriously consider just throwing her out in the snow.  But, I knew I would have to go out there and dig her out, so I decided I just could not be that mean.

 

our-driveway-feb

 

It is beautiful out there, especially looking from the inside out and I did feel all cozy, under eight blankets, as the snow fell and school was cancelled (three days in a row), so there was no morning alarm even.  

 

Now, however, husband is out there with JCountry (formerly known as JRock) and they are trying to dig the car out.  I think they should just wait another day.  If school is cancelled tomorrow, then Saturday choir is cancelled and we don’t need the car.  Heck, I will even give up milk, not to watch the car slide sideways along our four hundred foot driveway.  I have this recurring nightmare of watching it go off the drive and down the embankment and ending up at the bottom of our 30 foot deep pond. 

 

The good news now, for those of you, and you know who you are XUP, worried about the safety of my car.  The tire needed a stem replaced.  So, hopefully that is it for now.

 

Now, if we can do something about the icicles hanging inside the front porch.   Guess we have some roof repair to do in the spring. 

 

ice-in-porch

 

 But, look at the cool icicle design growing up the kitchen bay window.  Possibly another roof flaw?

ice-up-bay1

 

 

 

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When you have a child, who makes a 3.3 GPA, had his EMT license when a Junior in High School and is now taking college classes and high school classes, all while working in a nursing home two afternoons a week, just how dumb can they be?

 

Master’s Daughter gave EMT, for Christmas, a gift of Army Camo wear and MRE’s.  He was in heaven.  He and two friends had a “man’s night” here this month.  They stayed up all night and probably watched war movies, and they ate their MRE’s.

 

Fast forward a week.  It’s Saturday morning, and EMT is sitting in his room; glass of water at his side and a packet of electrolyte mix from the MRE.  He picks it up, reads it will taste like Gatoraide and dumps it in the glass and drinks it.  Within ten minutes he starts vomiting.

 

He was sick all yesterday, but slept last night and this morning admitted what he had done.  I asked if he had given any thought to the fact that an MRE, to balance electrolytes of a soldier carrying an eighty pound pack in the desert, just might possibly throw off the electrolytes of a kid sitting in his room in Brown County.

 

Nope, guess he didn’t think about that, at all.

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I have a character, in the Young Adult Fantasy Novel that I am writing, which I have to find the perfect name for.   He is kind of a wimpy (but in an honest way) kid who has seen hard times.  He is mainly just uncoordinated and scared of life. 

 

Every once in a while I do a search for names and today I came across  Name Nerds! features.  This is a list of names that people have found to be, well, just plain wrong.  I have not gone to it but there is apparently a list of favorite names on the site too and the site is quick to say that it is all just a personal taste issue, so do not be offended. 

 

I am Sheryl.  My mother, and thus assorted relatives call me Sherry.  Since I was a teen, I have hated Sherry.  I think it may have something to do with boys singing out, “Sherrr err Sherr err err ey, Ba-aa-by.” to me in the hallway at school.  Yes, I was a teen when that song came out. 

 

I can thank my father, however, for saving me from being “Dixie,” as he refused to name his new daughter after a major Highway.  I have a dear friend named Dixie and that would be very strange.  We could do a duet, ‘Dixie and Dixie sing at the Roxie.’

 

Now, I dislike the name Sherry, for me, because it does not seem like a name for a woman; gosh, how do I put this?  Frankly, I think I am still in my prime.  So, I’ll be darn if I say, “A woman past her prime.”  I also refuse to be an “older woman.”  I am the new forty?? 

 

 

I had a friend, from Pennsylvania, who just could not pronounce Sheryl.  It always came out, “Sherrrrr, ol.”  Then, there is the matter of a dozen spellings.  But, I still like my name: Sheryl Adair VanVleck.  Everytime I have to spell that last name, I wonder why I like it.  It’s just who I am.

 

 In school there was one other Sheryl, and I think she used the “C” spelling: Cheryl.  Now, in Brown County, the art center of Indiana, I have met more Cheryl’s, Cherry’s, Sheryl’s and Sherry’s, than I have met in the whole rest of my life.  Perhaps it is an artistic name?  You know,  a name that causes you to be an artist. 

 

 There is a theory that what you name a child will affect who they become.  On the list, I found today, is Caleb, as a wimpy name.  (My DISCLAIMER: I will discuss grandchildren here, who I dearly love, no matter what their parents saddled them with.)  The child, who is the biggest wimp I have ever known, is named Caleb.

As a five year old boy, we were all out camping and he was just standing in front of us and started to scream and scream and scream.  He was backing away from us with terror on his face from one of nature’s horrors.  Even his mother was laughing hysterically when Caleb landed sitting in an open ice chest.  But, then, that fly that was on his chest was pretty scary.

   

 By the time “Micah” came along, we were used to son-in-law’s strange name choices, but Micah is a mineral, not a child. 

 

There was also the birth of this beautiful, delicate baby girl and the father who insisted on naming her “Sariah.”  Immediately, my mother said, “Why would you want to name a child after a skin disease?” 

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I am a visual artist person, but I like science too, and I love the science facts, on Mr. Barlow’s Blog.  If you will scroll down to January 19th, you will see a very neat new source of renewable energy.

 

 I have wanted to be off the grid since Mother Earth News first came out, and more importantly, since husband was put on disability, low those twenty years ago.  But, this is just too cool.

 

 Imagine a town, where above every tenth home is a hot air balloon.  This balloon is like a “piston,” making an up/down revolution every hour.  Mr. has the complete instructions for how it works and it is much more cool than solar collectors.  One balloon can power ten houses and make the skyline look really neat.

 

I want to be the house with the huge green dragon balloon above it.

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There was a time when:

 

My mother was dating a young man with Mexican heritage and her mother and his mother had such a fit, that they had to stop dating.

 

I remember having a huge crush on an African American boy in high school and having my mother tell me that, while she had no objection to me dating him, my father would possibly disown me.

 

I remember dating a boy with Mexican heritage and, my father about disowned me when he found out.

 

I remember race riots in my high school in the sixties and trying to comfort my lab partner, who was African American.  I asked her what was wrong, the first morning, before I knew what was going on.  She was sitting at our table, head down, crying.  She said that she was afraid whites would hate her for what was going on.  A day later, I was struck a vicious blow, while I was in line in the cafeteria.  I did not hate my lab partner.  However, I wasn’t too fond of the girl who hit me.

 

I know this day will not stop all bigotry.  I know too many people who judge others by the color of their skin, but today, anything seems possible. 

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I have not been reading blogs regularly lately.  I am spending more time upgrading my web page than reading.  So, today is a lazy day and I thought I would catch up with my list.  Lyda wants cake Pollyanna Wants CAKE!!!!! « Pollyanna Rainbow Sunshine and the Needles of Doom, while I just want one of her Legal Representatives.  (Fess up, Lyda, you did that just to get my goat.  Viggo, a legal Representative, HAH!)

 

As for Jack Nicholson, Anna-Liza, he is just creepy to me; however, I have never met him in person, so I will try to withhold judgment.  But, Viggo, he is NOT.

 

Back to cake.  I was also reading Crazy Aunt Purl, who is opting out of the recession.  So, what do Cake and a recession have in common?

 

They have WAR CAKE in common.  As I listen to my propane being siphoned off by a constantly running furnace, I know that belt-tightening is in order. 

 

I found this recipe in the paper and saved it for many, many years.  I made it once and forgot about it, until JCountry needed a recipe for a school recipe book.  Like most children, he told me at 10pm the night before he needed the recipe and a sample of it. It was probably just before payday and I was looking for something without eggs and other things I was out of and that was easy.  It was such a hit that the teacher requested I make a second one, a week later.

 

It has been an occasional staple ever since and it fits four criteria: 1. It’s cake  2. it’s economical  3. it’s really good and 4. it’s easy.

 

During WWII, belt tightening was an art form and this recipe comes from the fact that butter, eggs and milk were in short supply, and rationed.  It is a dark, heavy cake so you can tell yourself it is healthier and, in some ways, it is.

 

I should have a pretty picture of it here.  It would brighten up the site and the heat from the oven would warm the house, but alas, I’m not going to.  Maybe tomorrow.

 

Mix:

 2 cups of brown sugar

 2 cups hot water

 2 teaspoons shortening

in medium size saucepan

 

Add:

 1/2 to 3/4 cup raisins or dates

 1 teaspoon salt (I always use less than half of what a recipe calls for)

 1 teaspoon cinnamon

 1 teaspoon cloves

 

Boil this until it bubbles and then for five more minutes after it first bubbles.

Remove from stove and let cool.

 

After cooling, and be sure it cools completely, this is very important. 

 

ADD:

  3 cups of flour  and

  1 teaspoon of baking soda that has been dissolved in a couple of teaspoons of hot water

 

Mix well:

 

Pour into greased tube pan and bake for one hour at 350 degrees F. to 375 degrees F

 

I sprinkle powder sugar on it for looks. 

 

It really is a great cake.

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I was recently told by my heart doctor that he had never told me my heart was functioning at a low percentage.  Now, I was delighted to hear this.  It has acted like a sugar pill to give me energy that I could not tap into the day before.  Embarrassed, am I? Yes!  Glad I am wrong?  Yes!  Happy with my memory?  NO! NO! NO!

 

I always worked extra hard in school.  I had a poor memory and knew it.  I was thrown under a dash when I was two and standing up in the front seat of the car.  This was before seat belts.  I am pretty sure it is the root cause of my neck problems, so possibly I hit my head also. 

 

I have literally gone blank several times, in my life.  I once dropped daughter-of-eleven off to get her hair done and when I pulled away from the curb, I was a blank slate.  The only thing I knew was that if I drove straight and left, I should get back to somewhere I knew.  Luckily, I was right.  I’m not even sure if I knew who I was.  Ironically, I do not remember now, what I did not remember then, either.  I do know that I had no idea where I lived, if someone had asked.  Fortunately, no one did. 

 

The other time was on the ski slopes.  It was kegger/college break week.  And, NO, I was not participating.  This is THE worse time to be on the slopes, and I was on a catwalk.  Catwalks make me nervous.  There is only one direction to go and people just fly on them.  I woke up lying down on the catwalk with a woman’s face inches above mine asking, “Are you alright?” 

 

Tell me why it is that when we fall down we are embarrassed?  It is not something we do intentionally.  And, in looking back at the incident, I do not believe that I fell down.  I think I passed out.

But, I immediately told her that I was just fine and then proceeded to get up and follow a stranger because, that time, I knew I had no idea who I was, where I was or even where I lived.  I followed the first man I saw looking at me, and who talked to me.  (This is a bad habit I have.)  He too asked me if I was alright and I followed him.  Lesson, girls, do NOT follow the first man who looks at you or inquires into your health.

 

However, it happened to be my husband and I asked him, “Do we live in Colorado?”  Now, mountains covered with snow all tend to look alike, from the standing-on them angle, but for some idiot reason, out of all the things I did NOT know, I knew we were in Colorado.  Then, I inquired as to whether my two daughters were with us?  A couple of questions like that and, quick fellow that he is, he cottoned onto the fact that I was definitely NOT alright. 

Fortunately, my memory lapse lasted only about ten minutes and was over by the time we found a medic.

 

I have gone to see two different neurologists and, after mega testing, been given two different diagnoses.  I’ve been on massive medication at times and gone into remission twice, with no medication.  Right now, I’m back to kind of seeing things in space again, but only at night, when I wake up.  It’s really an interesting life.  I enjoy my nighttime entertainment.

                                                                                             

Frankly, I think it helps me be an artist.  Or is this one of those, I’m an artist, therefore I am seeing things?

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The holidays are almost over, for me at last.  As Zup pointed out, I am a holiday nut.  Gaffer flies off in a few hours.  The tree comes down next week and I need to find a new banner; for real.  It is bitter cold here this week, two hour time delays for school and power outages are the norm.

 

The other night, while the guys were playing cards, the power started flickering.  On, off —- on, off —- Then it was going on and off so rapidly, I got a headache from it.  And, you wouldn’t believe it, but then, it didn’t come back on.  Shock!  Shock!  In Brown County, Indiana, we would have a power outage.  Actually, the odd thing is we did not have one last month.  Unfortunately, this one lasted eight hours and the furnace ran all day trying to catch back up.  Man, this house is leaky.

 

Last night I went to hear JRock sing and play at Muddy Boots cafe.  His guitar/voice teacher has taken him under his ring and JRock does a set now with the teacher.  He sings lot’s of Johnny Cash and Hank Williams.  I think it is about time to rename JRock.  So, I guess he will be JCountry from now on.  

 

He is really comfortable on the stage and his guitar work is improving.  His voice has always been really good and they are harmonizing well too.  Of course, his teacher has been at this for forty years and has many awards

 

We’re watching  Jeff Dunham’s Christmas special DVD before they leave for the airport, in between watching Obama’s train trip.  When I was young, I wrote a letter to President Eisenhower, with a plea to help this country accept all people as equal.  I’m a pasty white woman but I’m proud as can be to finally see this step in the country’s history. 

 

So, the house goes back to normal this week.  The tree and decorations come down and I make way for my Harry Potter trunk and goodies, on the shelf.  My Gryffindor scarf progresses, and my piles of year end papers clutter the floor. 

 

I had a lot of time to knit on it these past two weeks; first in the hospital and then in the Rehab center with mom.  She’s home now.  The Rehab center was wonderful for her as she ate right and got all her medications.  I know it is a boring place to be but she was well taken care of. 

 

And, maybe I can find a bit more humor out there.  Oh, how I love going through stacks of papers!!!

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I still have my tree up, both on my banner and in my front room.  I’m enjoying both yet.  As far as the banner, I have to find something to replace it.  I see that banner most every day and I want it to be interesting, and I need color in my morning. I was going to put up the picture of my Hermione wand, Master’s Daughter gave me, but a wand is a private thing and it is not very colorful, so I did not think it would be interesting, even though I love it.  And, I cannot wait to get the tree down and the front room rearranged for my Hogwarts trunk stuff.   

 

The tree, at home, will come down after this coming weekend.  I wanted Gaffer to enjoy it and he is leaving for Santa Fe then.  Right now, the bunny is going with him.  We shall see!  He is unofficially engaged now and I dearly love his intended.  She is so sweet and bubbly and treats his brothers and us just great.  She also has a beautiful singing voice.

 

Mom is home from the hospital.  That was quite an adventure.  First was three days in the hospital with walking and double pneumonia and an unknown “thing” in her lungs.  Then, they put her in a rehabilitation place.  About the third day, I told her that they were not holding her prisoner and she could walk out if she wanted.  Then, they told us that Medicare might not pay if she did that.  Somehow, yesterday, I pointed out a few things I thought they did wrong, like their doctor never saw her and all of the sudden, she was on her way home.  I do not like her being alone though.

 

Pills get messed up, etc.  But, that’s the way it is. 

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CBS News Sunday Morning is a microcosm of our world.  That hour, on Sunday morning, has become one of my favorite hours of the week.  Pajama clad, usually cup of tea in hand, I curl up under a blanket on the couch and know, that somehow nothing will disturb this hour.  The boys sleep on and the phone does not ring.  It’s magic!

 

Charles Osgood has replaced Charles Kurault but the show is every bit as good as it was then.  First is an overview of the week’s news, then follows: art, current political events, best and worst jobs, a bit of Hollywood with Glenn Close, commentary (It’s always good to hear someone else’s opinion), elephant polo (Where else can you hear about elephant polo?), and nature.

 

Today was a segment on “guilt” that included a clip of the master of guilt, “Woody Allen.”  Guilt is brought to us right in the beginning; literally, of the Bible.  Guilt even activates a portion of the brain, so perhaps we are hard-wired to experience guilt.  I grew up in the First Christian church and guilt was ever present in my youth.  My mother once walked out of a mall store with an unpaid for keychain on her finger.  She walked the full length of the mall to return it.   I would not pick up a penny if it was lying on the driveway of someone else’s property, even when I was three.  I do not think that is a bad thing.  But, guilt at feeling pride in oneself is one of the quickest downfalls of man/woman.  We all need to feel we are worthy; for a happy life and to accomplish small and great things. 

 

Not feeling worthy can lead to suicide, acceptance of a poor condition in your life, and being treated poorly by others.  J.K. Rowling said that it took her thirty-five years to stop going for the bad boy, and it worries her when women/girls say they like Lucius or Draco Malfoy.  AOL Chat (See second question down on left.)  In my opinion, if you have enough sense of self-worth, you are attracted to good characters, like Lupin.  When you are attracted to a Malfoy, you are asking to be abused. You apparently, do not feel worthy of the best. 

 

Sunday Morning Almanac, 1964, was the first finding of cigarette smoking and lung cancer and other associated diseases.  Having had an aunt, a long time smoker, who died of lung cancer not long ago and knowing that it makes me breathless to be on the company of a smoker, I have to agree.  For what that is worth.

 

The art segment covered trains.  My love of trains is of the model variety, although I loved my morning commute when it was on a train.  I remember the Christmas morning my brother received a model train.  I woke up to the whistle and, oh how I wanted that train.  I saw a design once for a very small gauge train in a coffee table.  I always meant to make that.  This segment featured artist’s representations of train and train travel.  And, the art section of Sunday Morning is one of my favorites.

 

They covered George Walker Bush, as President; 9/11, the Iraq War, Katrina and the economic crisis.  My mother always says that no matter who gets in, they will do their best.   I rather think that must be modified with them doing, what is right, in their own interests, not necessarily in the best interests of the country.

 

Brides and weddings were covered next.  I know something about weddings, having attended two this year and photographing the one.  These couples worked at keeping the costs down while having their own original weddings.  When I see that someone has spent twenty thousand dollars on a wedding, I wonder why they do not put that money down on a house, when I hear of a six hundred thousand dollar wedding, I wonder how many homeless people could be housed, how many hungry children could be fed, for that one, wedding?  The last wedding I attended, that cost twenty thousand dollars, saw a divorce not too many years later. I doubt the bride spends too many hours looking at those wedding photos.

 

We were told that houses are being built smaller.  I hope that means we are going to be less wasteful in the future.  We only have one earth and we have to learn to take care of it.

 

And, it is nice to see that international frivolity can bring us all together, when the New York blue team played elephant polo in India and won silver.  What’s life without a laugh and friends, and elephants?

 

Finally, they ended with nature, as they always do.  This time it was in the snowy mountains of southern Colorado, with squirrels and trees, snow and running water.  Is there any better way to start the week?

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