Posts Tagged ‘Wyoming’

After informing everyone on Facebook and Twitter that the Geminids meteor shower was at its peak yesterday, I went to bed and forgot all about it.  Senior moment or Alzheimer’s?  Of course we had not seen anything in the sky, but grey and snow for days, so I did not hold out a lot of hope to see them.

When we lived in Wyoming, we had seen everything in the sky.  I remember getting out of the car every night and watching Haley’s comet.  Every rainy season there were double and even triple rainbows in the sky.   Yes, I know, Wyoming does not have rainy seasons.  But, it does have triple rainbows.  One night, I sat curled in a blanket on the front porch, and watched a lunar eclipse.  Another night, all of us went in the back yard, with lawnchairs and sleeping bags, and watched a fantastic comet show.  They sky’s in Wyoming always seemed to have a show.  It was just when that show became fire and smoke that it was not fun.  Three years of having our area burn around us and it just seemed like we were playing Russian Roulette

Last night, at 2:30 am, the dog decided she had to go out.  I slipped on my boots and grabbed a sweater and stood waiting for her.  She has had a problem with her back leg recently and it seems to be cramped up and frozen when she comes in.  She is twelve years old this month and has had bone problems for years.  I keep an eye on her for that and the fact that we have had a coyote walk down our driveway and a fox den in our meadow.  She would make a tasty morsel for a coyote.  Then, I remembered the Geminid meteor showers.

I began looking for them and soon short streaks were random in the sky.  It was two hours after they were to be at their peak, darn!  I think I made it all of fifteen minutes outside and then came in and watched from the window.  I saw a streak every five minutes probably but it was enough to wake me up to all the things that we can still enjoy, sans money.

Sometimes, with all the neat technology upgrading almost daily, I can feel left behind.  We have very basic cell phones and a cheap computer, but the really important things in life are still here for all of us.  Where I live it includes seeing triplet fawns in our yard all summer, and coyotes and fox and blue herron in the pond.

And, to the readership of this blog, who has still checked in, even when I seemed to abandon you and even though I still do not use punctuation properly.  Thanks to all.

Check out the stars tonight and smile.

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It is in the high 60’s today, in Indiana.  I understand that in Casper, Wyoming, where we lived for ten years before moving back home to Indiana, they have had four good snow storms and are expecting ten more inches this weekend. 

I am still not used to the warmth and nicer weather we have by living less than fifty miles south of Indianapolis.  It is gorgeous today and I saw my first Christmas advertisement.  Good Grief!

It used to be that you had Halloween, the next day you saw adds for Thanksgiving and then, right around Thanksgiving the Christmas adds started.  Now, the folks at Hobby Lobby tell me they have already condensed the ornaments, since they have sold so many, and the Christmas television ads have started.

Just like Crazy Aunt Purl, and her fight against buying more Christmas decorations, I am a Christmas nut.  I have ornaments from both of my grandmother’s trees.  I love the season and I love the lights, smells, sounds and ornamentation of it.  However, it just does not last as long as it used to.

I remember coming home from school with crayon Christmas drawings, through huge drifts of snow , and how long it seemed before Christmas Eve.   I remember sneaking into the kitchen, while the others decorated the tree, and eating the whole package of chocolate covered wafer cookies.  I do not remember the throwing up which I did.

But, snow or no snow, and even though Christmas comes and goes in the blink of an eye, it is a warm and cozy holiday to spend with loved ones.  With or without sixteen rubbermaids of decorations.

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The boys love working at the County Park, thank you Governor Daniels. And, I love the boys working at the Park also. They take lunches, they carpool with a neighbor and they come home at 5:00, eat dinner and go to bed. I like knowing where my boys are in the evening. “Being in town”, “Going to a friends” and then me asking what friend, what number and are his parents home does not happen. My boys are home, exhausted and sleeping; safe from stalkers

I say this because EMT has his own personal stalker. It seems to be a family tradition.

Gaffer has had at least two personal stalkers. There was the girl at Natrona County High School in Wyoming, who would run down the hall and jump on his back unexpectedly. She was waiting at every corner he turned. By the third week of school he had other students shaking his hand and saying, “Glad it is you, this year. I had my turn last year.” She literally stalked him all year, but it was the one in Brown County who scared us. We were warned, by a person who shall remain anonymous, that she seriously needed help. To this day, four years later, he has to periodically change his email address, because she finds it.

Now, EMT has his own personal stalker and she is even MORE scary. One day, he says to me, when he first met her, that he was glad I liked her because she was “going to be around a lot.” What neither he nor I realized, is she had every intention of moving in. A week and a half later, which was about five days after I realized she had not left and the third time she told him she was leaving the next morning, I took things in my own hands and told her to be sure and not forget her children’s toys when she left that day and sort of, “It’s been nice knowing you.” She was shocked and things went downhill.

She did move out and I was shocked at the amount of stuff she had brought over, and how she got it all in without me knowing. I swear she must have left the house barefoot and come back with three pair of shoes on. She tried the, “my mother kicked me out” gambit to arose my sympathy. And, I only felt slightly cruel and heartless, when I printed out the list of homeless shelters. Her mother has this girl’s three children, by the way, so there were no children on the street.

Before we got rid of her, fingers crossed, for good, she had actually drugged EMT one night, we didn’t figure that out until too late to do a blood test to prove it. We were just preparing a protection order when we found out she had left the state as she is wanted by the police. They won’t tell us why, but we hope she stays out of state.

I do think that maybe they should put “Welcome to Brown County, home of the stalkers” on the Tourism Brochures. Maybe we can rename the high school girl’s teams, the “The Stalkers.”

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I am so excited this morning. I heard the President’s speech about the high speed train system. I swear, every time he steps up to the mike, I get more hopeful for the future of this country.

Images of the future look positively clean and space-age, as gleaming trains speed across the country. Indiana to Wyoming in just over three hours would be a possibility. I could do a book tour without getting on an airplane.

Now, I really would like to take an old fashioned train trip, watching the scenery float by; having lazy conversations while eating in the dining car. My great grandfather worked on trains. Way back then, they used to throw the dishes out at the end of the line, rather than wash them. When great-granddad got off work, he would go to the dish pile and collect the unbroken dishes and bring them home.

There were three adults and six children living in that home and it was the depression. These dishes were a big help. I still have an oval plate and two coffee cups. The cups had two handles on them so that you could sip your coffee with less chance of spilling it on you.

I don’t think spilling will be an issue on a train going three hundred miles an hour. That track had better be smooth.

I can’t wait.

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I love to watch home decorating shows.  I started out watching the British, BBC – Homes – TV and radio, Changing Rooms, and moved on to Trading Spaces. Design a Room : Trading Spaces : TLC


Both are off the air now, although they are probably seen in re-runs.  I have moved on to the Home Decorating reality game shows where one designer eventually wins their own television show. 



These reality shows are a bit more realistic in design than the “decorate your ex-friend’s room” shows are.  I used to watch them paint the floor in the switched room shows and think, “Yeah, right, that’s going to look like crap after a month.”  Did you ever seen paint stay on a floor. It seemed none of the things they did was for durability or even so you could enter your room a month later and still find pleasure in the decorating. 



They were continually finding out what their friends wanted first. “I hate pink, Mildred, do not paint these walls pink.”  Then, the decorator would listen and nod their head and show up with enough pink paint and accessories to make Barbie happy and the room owner cry.   



The absolute most memorable one for me was when they hung a section of a bedroom wall with moss.  The client entered, eyes closed, and said, “What IS that smell?”  I’m sure we all would love to live with moss on our walls.  



When I lived in Wyoming, my eternal decorating attempt was the downstairs kitchen.  It screamed, “The worse of trading spaces.”  We received tile free but not enough of any one color.  Husband decided to use two colors and make a diamond pattern in the middle of the floor.  It looked good on paper.  To make matters worse, we had to use cheap wood for the cabinets, so I painted them.  By the time we moved out, there had to be five or more layers of paint on the cabinets.  White, thankfully covered, the latest color scheme, which I lovingly referred to as our Easter Egg kitchen. 


I like to think that I have learned a lot from the decorating shows.  If I had the money, I would buy dark bamboo flooring and use muted browns and earthy colors for a minimal front room decor.  I would find a throw I loved and design around it.  I would get rid of clutter; which is everywhere in the 600 square foot upstairs of our house; not that it isn’t also cluttered in the 600 square foot finished walk-out basement; because it is.  I just do not have to look at it as often.   



For now, our decorating consists of Fireman “turn out” gear draped over a dining room chair and blankets and pillows permanently ensconced on two couches.  I think the carpeted doggy stairs going up to the couch add an elegant touch but nowhere near as charming as the hall’s wrappers and medicine bottles that litter husband’s chair area.  Not to be outdone, my area is now surrounded by piles of papers being sorted for tax time. 



Frontroom shelves are lined with books and DVD’s, as well as dead batteries and burned out bulbs waiting to be recycled.  The dog has her own rubbermaid shoe box of toys, and is the neatest person in the house.  Am I going to post a picture for you to see?  Heck, NO! 

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I’m sorry, but when your wife tells you that something is wrong with the car, why would you just tell her some lame excuse and wait.  Wait until it is snowing.  Wait until it is a blizzard.  Wait until it is raining.  Wait until it is thirty degrees below and breaks.  When she is in the middle of nowhere.  When she is on a lonely road in the middle of the night.  When she is driving her mother home in a blizzard; and then the car breaks down because you have not listened to your wife and given her the credit of being an intelligent person who has lived on her own for many, many years and knows when the frikkin car has a problem.

Once, in Wyoming, in the middle of a blizzard, after months of me telling him that we needed a new windshield washer motor and him telling me that no, it was not the motor because x, y and z, it left me with no wipers.  It as an intermittent thing.  And, when I did get stranded, with mother, in a blizzard and no wipers, I got home.  I slammed the door and I stated, unequivocably (I use that word a lot lately.) while staring/glaring at him:  “When this blizzard is over, you will go and purchase a new windwhield wiper motor and put it in.  I do not give a flying **** that it isn’t broken. I want it replaced, and if you don’t do it, I will take it in to the …. (Horror ta-da-piano playing here)  “mechanic.” 

The “mechanic” threat did it.  And, he replaced it!  And, It was bad!  The wipers worked perfectly thereafter.

I have already told you the story of our annual Christmas jaunt when instead of leaving, husband was laying under the car in sub-zero weather, repairing something that had been breaking for months.  I now add, to the currently squeak we have, a tire that has been blown up every week. 

Wanna make a bet on who it is that gets stranded in the middle of the night with one of them??

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Here are the rules:

1. Link to the person that tagged you and put the rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 weird or random facts about yourself.
3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and link to their blog.
4. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a note on their blog.

My Tagger – Pollyanna Rainbow Sunshine and the Needles of Doom

Why is it that when you get something like this, your mind just freezes up.   Me?? Weird?  Random perhaps!  Weird definitely.

  1. I actually like to organize.  You would never know this by my house; where I organize my desk by throwing it all, the paper, not the desk, in a rubbermaid, when the paper piles up too high.  Two years later, you can just toss almot all of it.  But, when I am done working in my studio, I like to put everything back in it’s place, so the next morning, I go out and I’m ready to roll.  This is perhaps why, I cannot work now, because both studios look like a hurricane hit them.   I do dream of having a decent office, some day, where I can file, yes as in file in alphabetical order in a cabinet, all of that paper and have a place for extra office supplies.  AND, a cork board wall to hang all my information for my book:  drawings of characters, things not to forget, etc, etc, etc.
  2. I too am a fan of What Not To Wear : TLC and, if Lyda will nominate me, I will nominate her.  We’ll have to take secret photos of each other though and that could get embarrassing.  At the present time, my wardrobe is one pair of good dress pants, one polyster suit my mother gave me and I refuse to wear because polyster is just plain YUCK!!!  The rest of it–they can have all of the jeans and t-shirts they can carry.  I would follow you anywhere for $5,000 worth of decent clothing, a good haircut and what makeup to wear.
  3. I really enjoyed working as a security officer in a grocery store.  I would get off the train from Chicago, where I was going to college, grab a shopping cart, put some shopperly items in it and troll the aisles.  I did not like to bust the little old men who pocketed $3.00 bottles of aspirins, while buying $200 worth of groceries.  But, I loved it when I found someone loading up their purse with higher end items.  They were wise to security too and once I got stiffed when I missed them dumping the items before I could bust them.  But, that happens to everyone once in a while.  Those bikers with cartons of cigarettes in their leather jackets were a real trip too as they just did not want to stop.
  4. I really want to spend two hours a day practicing my violin.  I love playing it and want to get back to the level I was at, while living in Wyoming and taking lessons.  Well, actually, I want to get way better.
  5. I too am a pretty good dancer, like Anna-Liza.  I can follow just about anyone and often do.  Opps! That was meant for dancing.  However, I am a bit rusty.  Note to next romance, you are not even in the running unless you will learn to dance.  Twenty years without dancing is more than enough in one lifetime!
  6. One of my favorite all time movies is Kinky Boots (film) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The last ten minutes of that movie is worth watching over and over and over.  I just love it.  It’s such a study in thinking outside the box for success and a great message on acceptance.
  7. And finally, I love the realism I paint, and I can’t wait to get back to painting, where I hope to go off in a new direction and really free up my work to show more emotion. 
  8. I’m throwing an eighth one in that I just thought of.  That is that, I spend an inordinate amount of time daydreaming (Of love, what else?).  I dream of a relationship where we sit in a gazebo with swing each evening, under the stars with a glass of wine or Bailey’s and talk about the day and keep our relationship close.  A relationship where one of you comes in the kitchen and the other grabs you and starts dancing, see # 5 above, to our own music.  Where we are comfortable with the silent times together.  Where we can critique each others art work and make, not just the artwork better, but where we have the affect of making each other better people.  That would be a perfect match.

On that note, I’m not sure I can find seven people I feel comfortable tagging, but I shall try those I read on a daily basis.  I am trolling through my daily blog reads and finding that those who write only about their son, or cooking (and don’t ask why I read that.  I have an aunt who reads cookbooks for entertainment — it’s another hereditary thing), or those who write about fitness or their upcoming nuptuals, or the two who you cannot post back to.  In other words, I’m coming up blank here. Of course, Pollyanna Rainbow Sunshine and the Needles of Doom  and XUP  are on my daily blog reads but they are out-of-the-question. 

Oh, heck with it, now I’m losing my stuff.  What stuff you ask?  Brain matter!  Web pages! you name it.  If you are willing to be tagged, please let me know so I can tag you.  I mean we all need ideas for blogging, right?

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Were you ever in a relationship where you woke up one morning and said, ‘This person is making me old.’?


It’s not that they are actually making you old.  Mother Nature does a fine job of that on her own and when your genes add something like heart disease or cancer to the mix, it is scary. And, it is not that I am afraid of death, because I am not. And, someday I will explain that when I am feeling very psychic and ready to open my soul to the world (plus a death experience- not my own though).


What the thing is, is that I want to enjoy every minute of this life while I am here.  It is way too short not to.  I used to hike, picnic in the Dunes State Park in the winter, ski (cross-country and downhill), and just explore.  I went camping every chance I got.  Daughter-of-eleven and I once went camping with the tent and a roll of aluminum foil.  Seriously, I forgot blankets, bedding and utensils.  I stopped and bought a spatula and a blanket.  You can make a very good bacon and egg breakfast on foil, over an open fire.


I have visited every state in this union except Alaska. I have camped in Canada and spent two hours in Mexico.  That’s a whole other story.  I have whale watched and driven a large cargo van up a gravel mining road in Colorado.  That MAY just be what is wrong with daughter-of-eleven.  She was with me and never quite got over that adventure.  She did not mind going up so much, it was the backing back down the narrow, steep, drop-off, gravel mining road that did her in. 


The point is, and I am sure there is a point somewhere; I am not ready to sit in a rocking chair yet.  I have given up most things for years now because it seemed so unfair to my husband to do things without him.  He cannot help being disabled, but I realized a few years ago that I was getting older than I should be because of not living and it was not doing him any favors either, that I was declining.  He does what he can and I need to do what I can.  As I said, life is just too short.


I started out taking violin lessons.  It was something I had always wanted to do and I inherited my uncle’s violin.  So, the last year and a half I was in Wyoming I studied with Rainer Schwartzkof and, if I do say so myself, and actually, my teacher did; I’m rather an advanced case study on violin.  It may have been the years of music in school. and teaching myself to play organ.  But, by the end of the year and a half, we were doing Mazas duets and, oh, how I loved that.  I gave that up when I moved.


So, now that I am all better (my chest has been opened and my heart repaired) and I again have health insurance to get some rehab to help me get exercising again, I am anxious to get back to the violin.  My goal: to play Hay Una Mujer Desaparecida by Wolff; Three Pieces from Schindler’s List by John Williams and I have a book of Classical Solos to tackle.  I am also anxious to get back to painting.  


Until they get me settled in rehab, I walk (on our four acres), and I tend the garden (getting my pulse rate up a bit) and I take pictures, and I write. Irritating Chihuahua accompanies me and occasionally sneaks away, but when I am out of doors, it recharges my batteries.


Life is too short, not to live it.

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Let’s talk Kansas.  After all, it is the Heartland of America.  And, there are times when I have wondered if we have much of a heart anymore.  But, we have Kansas.


Kansas was named after the Kansas River, which flows through it and which was named after the Kansa Tribe.  No one seems to know the original meaning of the name Kansa, but it is said to mean “people of the wind.”  Now, if that were true, then I think Wyoming would be named Kansas. Kansas just has a breeze compared to Wyoming. However, I have not been everywhere in Kansas.


Mostly, my time in Kansas was spent on I-70.  I would be traveling through from Indiana to California, and all points west, and would like to break up my drive.  I didn’t want all those cows, happily chomping grass on I-70, which I had named (the cows, not the road — okay, so I did name the road too but I don’t use those words here.)  but, I did not want those cows to get jealous of the peacefully grazing cows I had named on I-80 in Nebraska.  I mean, I spent hours and hours traversing Kansas, and Nebraska over a ten year period.


Now, replace each of those cows with hundreds of Bison and get a picture of what it was like pre-1800.  It must have been awesome.


During the 1854 settlement, free-slavers from New England and pro-slavers from Missouri rushed to take the state. It became Bleeding Kansas, until the abolitionists prevailed.  In 1861, Kansas entered the Union as a free state.


I have to say that the people of Kansas have always been friendly, helpful and polite to me, during my travels.  And, while I am sure that Missouri also has nice people, I have broken down more than five times in Missouri. That being but one of the reasons I’m glad the abolitionists won.


I have decided there is some weird electrical vibe under the ground of Missouri, causing me to break down. Well, my car actually, not me.  Although, by the fifth time I entered the state and my car broke down, I had a bit of a fit too.  Then, there was the time I sat numerous grand-children and daughters down to eat at a large restaurant in Missouri, to be served boiling hot mugs of water (not smart to set in front of a one year old, people) and packets of hot cocoa mix, (not cool in a restaurant bigger than – NO, I take that back, it’s not cool in any restaurant, it was reinforced in my brain that the people of Missouri may be a cocoa packet short of a full box.  And, that is not to judge a whole state of people on just five breakdowns and one restaurant, so please do not spam me with your ire.  Just treat me better the next time I’m in town.


But, back to Kansas; it is the friendly state where I have eaten many a great meal. And, why not?  They are one of the most productive agricultural states after all and we should all thank them for that.  It has also been proven now that Kansas is NOT “flatter than a pancake.”  I have to trust science here but it is a very gradual slope upward from the east to west.


And, once, on my journey from West to east, late at night and with two parents sound asleep in the car, I saw a great 4th of July fireworks show in Kansas City, where I used to stop regularly to eat at a great restaurant that I can no longer remember the name of.


So, why, you ask, this tribute to Kansas?  And, it has only taken a full page to get to the reason, so shoot me.  Aren’t you glad to know all that about the most productive state that provides your food? 



You all know my love of my ClustrMap.  Well, Kansas was the first place I had a larger circle indicating that it could be 1 to 10 readers in that dot.  Not just all the scattered ones I had watched popping up.  And, Kansas has hit a second milestone for me.  It is the first dot to say it has “100-999” views.  And, I want to thank Kansas for that honor.


I will do my best to keep you happy and entertained.  I just have one request.  Could a few of you lurkers, drop a kind word, or even a not-so-kind word once in a while?  It can get a little lonely, sitting her with irritating little Chihuahua.

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So much to say today.  When we took the boys, we were told never to come back to our see our other grandchildren who we had babysat and spent time with continually for years. We were like second parents.  Had I known how bad the abuse of the boys was—I mean, we knew some and that is why we took them, but I had no idea it involved a month locked in the closet, three days without food—had I known this type of thing, I would have called DFS out immediately.  Instead, the step-father got what he wanted. He wanted the three boys who were not his blood out of his family and he wanted us out of his life.  He was smiling when we left.


I woke up with a dream of my granddaughters.  I often dream of the oldest girl.  She and I had a special bond. While granddaughter’s number two and three, favored Grandpa and granddaughter number four was Gaffer’s baby. Oh, how she loved her big brother.  Granddaughter number one was my girl.


She seemed to favor Granddad to begin with but I had gone away for a month and when I returned, the babe in arms she was then looked at me with such admiration and love and that was it. She was my girl, from then on.  When we would arrive and be descended upon by the other children (this is a family of eleven children), granddaughter number one would hold back. I would look around for her and she would be at the edge of the room, near a corner, watching with her slight, shy grin to me.  When the other children then focused on their granddad for tickles and play time, she would come and sit on my lap and almost melt into my body and we would talk.  I miss her so much.  I miss all of them so much.


So, in my dream, I was at my mother’s apartment, outside and instead of the city houses, there was a large park and there, playing in the park was a passel of children. With the modern children playing were my two oldest granddaughters, in pale and shapeless, worn prairie dresses. And, they ran to me and I picked them up, and held them tight to me and was so happy. 


I tried not to wake up, but I did.  It has been three years now since I have seen them. How much they must have grown.  I am told they will find me.  But, knowing the damage that my grandson’s (who live with me now) suffer from, I fear for what shape they will be in. 


On other fronts:


I am watching the storm coming into New Orleans as I finish my morning rituals. It brings back a feeling that I have been through and, I’m sure, a lot of New Orleans families are going through now.  Your life becomes focused on one thing. All other concerns and fears and worries are pushed to the back and there is one focus of your life. Will you have a home, when you get back?


I went through fire evacuations several times during my years in Wyoming.  The worse was when we were told, as we sat in a Red Cross shelter, that the fire had reached our rural street of four houses and surrounded a house.  It had but the firemen saved all our street’s homes. 


Then, we were in Northern Indiana, for Electrician grandson’s graduation, and one of the boys came out and told me that I might want to get online and check our area because it was said to be under water.  So, for that night and the next day, we did not know what we would go home to.  Many people did lose their home and I still remember watching the damage from the tornado a week before, as we drove home. We had only slight water damage.  We were lucky.


But, I know the fear that is in New Orleans and area heart’s and my heart is with you today.  If you don’t mind me reserving a little bit of it for granddaughters.

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