Thursday, May 29, 2008

Grandma By Any Other Name....

Some people go through life as a grandparent with one name that their grandchildren call them. There are Nannas, Grammys, Memaws...... you get the idea I'm sure. I don't fall into this classification as a one name grandparent. Each of my Yankee grandchildren have given me my own unique name. Alley Oop called me Mammaw, with T~Bear I was Bammaw, Britt called had always called me Grandma until she became a teenager and then changed it to G'ma. Riley called me Gummaw and just recently has changed that to Grandma. Seth hasn't given me a name yet, but I am sure it will be as unique as the others. Oh and did I mention that Riley calls for me every time he gets in trouble and is about to be punished. I think it goes something like, "I WANT MY GRANDMA!"

The story I am about to share with you started when Riley was about 3 years old. We had all gathered at Chris and Melody's house for some sort of important celebration. I can't recall what it was, but I do recall a lot of people there. Riley loving the outside like he did, kept wanting to go outside. Chris told him he could go outside, but he wasn't allowed to leave the front porch. With Riley that was like throwing a bone to a dog and then telling him don't chew it. I happened to look out the window and sure enough there was Riley out in the yard having a grand time digging a hole.

I didn't want to be a snitch, but thought Chris needed to know that Riley was not on the porch. Chris walked outside and asked Riley who told him he could leave the porch. Riley is a smart child. Right away he figured out that Daddy had given him a 'fill in the missing name question'. The first name that came to mind was of course Mommy. Hmmmm.... Dad decided he needed to play this out, so he told Riley that he was going to go ask Mommy if she had said that. I was standing on the porch during all of this and saw Riley squirming around as his daddy disappeared inside the house, not knowing if Mommy was going to cover for him or not. I personally believe that Chris didn't even ask her. He soon reappeared and informed Riley that his Mommy said she didn't tell him he could leave the porch. Then came more truth searching by asking him if he was sure someone told him he could leave the porch. Riley's answer was "Yes!" Well then WHO told him that he could leave the porch. There was that fill in the name question again. Immediately his eyes fell on me and just one word came out of his mouth....... "Gummaw!" I know that I should have said something, but His big brown eyes were fixed on me and they were almost pleading, "Help me out here Gummaw, Pleeeease." I said nothing, but of course Chris knew I hadn't told Riley he could leave the porch. Still I said nothing.

It wasn't long that I started to regret not saying anything on that day. It also wasn't long before Riley developed a knack for spurting out nasty words. I am pretty careful about what I say in front of the grandchildren. As Riley was going through this phase that most children go through, that question was asked of him again ...... "Who did you hear saying those words?" Can you guess the answer Riley gave to his Mommy and Daddy? Ahhhh Haaaa..... It was "Grandma". This threw them because I was Gummaw, Melody's mom was Grammy and her Grandma was of course Grandma. It was a pretty far reach to think that he had heard his Great Grandma at the age of 88 cussing like that. The next question they asked was "Which Grandma?" Well it was the one that lives past the lake. Since the other two live in 'Tucky' that pretty much left me as the culprit that needed my mouth washed out with soap.

By keeping my mouth closed that first time, I had become Riley's partner in crime. Riley attended a Christian Preschool and they have a nice collection of playground equipment for the children to play on. One piece of playground equipment is a wooden ark. I don't recall if I mentioned this before, but during this school year, Riley and one of his friends took crayons out for play time in their pockets and proceeded to color the ark. Of course he did get in trouble for what he had done. To this day I have wondered if he told his teacher that "Gummaw told him he should do that!"

Grandma by any other name will always be Grandma, and I wouldn't trade being a Grandma for anything else in the world.

Wishing you a day of blessings. ~Jo

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Meaningful Monday (One day delay)

We Are Never Alone

Do you know the legend of the Cherokee Indian youth's rite of passage? His dad takes him into the forest....blindfolded...and leaves him....alone.

He is required to sit on a stump the whole night...and not take off the blindfold until the ray of sun shines through it. He is all by himself. He cannot cry out for help to anyone. Once he survives the night, he is a man. He cannot tell the other boys of this experience. Each lad must come into his own manhood.

The boy was terrified...could hear all kinds of noise...Beasts were all around him. Maybe even some human would hurt him. The wind blew the grass and earth... and it shook his stump. But he sat stoically....never removing the blindfold. It would be the only way he could be a man.

Finally, after a horrific night....the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold. It was then that he saw his father....sitting on the stump next to watch...the entire night.

We are never alone. Even when we do not know it, our Father is protecting us...He is sitting on the stump beside us. All we have to do is reach out to Him.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Freedom Isn't Free

First of all, if haven't read my first Memorial Day post, I have selected a few songs that are appropriate for Memorial Day. I have added them to my play list on the side bar, just click on the arrow to start the music. This is a very special post for me. The reason being that I am dedicating it in the loving memory of two very dear friends, who are no longer with us. Herb Wedewen, a WWI Veteran. Herb served in France during WWI. He was also a musician with the gift of writing his own music. I loved listening to him play his music on his old upright piano. Was was a wonderful gifted gentleman. Sean Mc Kelvy was a WWII Veteran that also was gifted with a special talent. The talent of taking what was in his heart and putting it into words in the form of poetry. The following poem was written by Sean. The world is a better place because Herb and Sean walked among us.

The War Monument

Shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand

With heads bowed over this hallowed land

Tall, gaunt, giant spirits stand

Remembering cannon and marching band.

"We waited till the enemy closed,

Then we fired, they were disposed

That was the tact at Bunker Hill

I remember the screaming horses still

A graveyard now of unconquered will"

"We had dug deep protective trenches,

The enemy in our sights, only inches.

Then the smell of new mown hay

And the deadly smell of mustard spray

They carried so many of us away"

"When moving through the jungle vines

Watch every step for hidden mines

When each step may be your last

Now tangled memories of the past,

Solemn flags flown half-mast"

Hear these stories the veterans tell

Of midnight fires and smoky hell

Their common cry is "No defeat"

But with apathy they can't compete

History of actions incomplete

The veteran spirits gather here

To whisper of war and yesteryear

This is where their spirits stand

Shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand.

Poetry by Sean Mc Kelvy

All rights reserved under copyright laws


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days agoWe lived,
felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

by: John McCrae

God 's Blessings be on all that has served our country and are serving now.


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Perfect White Bread and etc.

I had a request for a tutorial on making my bread. Since I don't own a bread machine, I make bread like Grandma used to make hers.... The old fashioned way.
So here it is:

Perfect White Bread

1 package active dry yeast or
1 cake compressed yeast
1/4 cup water
2 cups milk, scalded
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon shortening
6 to 6 1/4 cups sifted
all purpose flour

Oven 400 degrees

Soften active dry yeast in warm water (110 degrees) or compressed yeast in lukewarm water (85 degrees). Combine hot milk, the sugar, salt and shortening. Cool to lukewarm.

Stir in 2 cups of the flour; beat well. Add the softened yeast; mix. Add enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough.

Turn out on lightly floured surface; knead till smooth and satiny (8 to 10 minutes).

Shape in a ball; place in lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface. Cover; let rise in warm place till double (about 1 1/2 hours).

Punch down. Let rise again till double (about 45 minutes).

Cut dough in 2 portions. Shape each in smooth ball; cover and let rest 10 minutes. Shape in loaves. place in 2 greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 - inch loaf pans. Cover and let rise till double ( about 1 hour). Bake in hot oven (400 degrees) 35 minutes or till done. If tops brown too fast, cover loaves with foil last 20 minutes.

Makes 2 loaves. While still warm brush top of loaves with butter.

I am getting ready to head out into the yard and get some more done on my front flower garden and lay out an area for a vegetable garden. Before I do though, I wanted to share with you what transpired at Diabetic Boot Camp Friday. I inquired about the Januvia. Dr. Lee explained that it is pretty much the same as the Byetta only in pill form. In other words it is a fast acting short term fix to control your numbers. It is to be used for those that are on pills only. That leaves me out because my diabetic best friend is the insulin syringe. My blood work was mixed with good and bad. My Cholesterol results were all within a few numbers high or low from what it should be. So Dr. Lee increased the dosage of the Lovastatin that I take from 20 mg to 40. Hopefully that will put all my numbers where they should be. My A1C results left a lot to be desired. It came back as 8.1 when it should be between 4.4 - 6.3. At this point we are going to try working on those between meal snacks. I am one that loves fruit, but long ago found that oranges and other citrus fruits are off limits to me. To get my fruit fix, I then turned to apples. I love them any way I can get them. Well it seems as if my body can no longer tolerate them either. As an example, I checked my blood sugar after dinner a few nights ago and I got 120 reading. That wasn't bad at all. About 9:00 I cut up an apple to snack on and then a couple of hours later I checked my blood sugar before my bedtime Lantus injection. My wonderfully delicious apple had driven my blood sugar level up to 224. So it is with deep sorrow that I have to say good bye to all fruit. Perhaps I should consider taking some sort of vitamins to avoid getting scurvy. If cutting out the fruit doesn't work then we are going to have to completely do away with all snacks between meals or go to insulin shots when I feel the need for a snack. Being diabetic sucks, to be plain and simply blunt about it. So goes the adventures at Diabetic Boot Camp. I am scheduled to go back in 3 months, we will just have to wait and see how it goes between now and then.

J.D. took the camera for a walk while I was seeing the Doctor and got some good pictures of the park with everything in bloom. The Feast of the Flowering Moon is going on this weekend and he got some good photos of that too. I am going to put a slide show together this afternoon or tomorrow for him and he will be posting it on his blog.... So be sure to check them out at J.D.'s Soapbox in the next day or two.


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Let Us Not Forget

I have selected a few pieces of music that is fitting for honoring our military. Just click on the Playlist arrow to play the music. Every day is a good day to show appreciation for our service men and women. With this being Memmorial Day weekend I dedicate this post in honor of those men and women who so bravely defends the many freedoms that we enjoy. They give so much and put their lives on the line every day. I think the least I can do in return is to pay tribute to those that are still serving, as well as those that served in the past and paid the altimate price for our freedoms and way of life.

If tomorrow all the things were gone
I'd worked for all my life,
And I had to start again
with just my children and my wife,
I'd thank my lucky starsto be living here today,
'Cause the flag still stands for freedom
and they can't take that away.

I'm proud to be an American
where at least I know I'm free,
And I won't forget the men who died
who gave that right to me,
And I gladly stand up next to you
and defend her still today,
'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land

God Bless the U.S.A.

From the lakes of Minnesota
to the hills of Tennessee,
Across the plains of Texas
from sea to shining sea.
From Detroit down to Houston
and New York to L.A.,
There's pride in every American heart
and it's time we stand and say

I'm proud to be an American
where at least I know I'm free,
And I won't forget the men who died
who gave that right to me,
And I gladly stand up next to you
and defend her still today,
'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land

God Bless the U.S.A!

I first saw him on a park bench
I've seen him every day
Sitting in a shady grove
Where my children come to play
Sometimes he feeds the birds and squirrels
Or whittles little toys
Sometimes he just sits and smiles
At the laughing girls and boys

And I never paid him any mind
'Till one day just this year
I noticed that he wore a frown
And on his cheek ... a tear.

Well I asked him why he seemed so down
He looked up, began to say
I lost half my friends 60 years ago today

He told me of the terror
As he fought to reach dry land
By the time the beach
head was secure
Half his friends lay in the sand

That was just in one long day
He fought on for 4 years more
And the 60 years from then to now
Have not dimmed His sights of war

He said they have reunions
Just to keep in touch and share
And for each comrade who has gone on
They leave an empty chair

Well, His park bench has been empty now
About 6 months or so
And if I'd never took the time
Then I never would've known
That sitting on that simple bench
With bread crumbs and little toys
Was a man who gave his all
To guarantee my daily joys

So give thanks to all the men and women
Who're still here or have gone before
And made the highest sacrifice
In both Peace time and in War
Because they bought our freedom
Paid their own blood, sweat, and tears
Then endured the heartache of those empty chairs
For all these years

So please do not ignore them
Or speed by without a care
'Cause you never know
When you might pass by
A hero, unaware

By Mark A. Wright, HMC(SS)

22 June, 2000

At some point during the day today I hope that we will all take just a few minutes out of our busy day and give thanks for those who have given their all for us. I think you will find it rewarding to pay Kentucky Woman a visit at her blog, "Little Drops....In The Pool Of Life". You will find a lot of good links to blogs by those military men and women that have served and still are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Have a blessed day ~Jo

Friday, May 23, 2008

'A Night Of Praise'

Tuesday evening was the end of the year program and preschool graduation for Riley's school. As you can see there was a packed house.

.....And who is that we found in the audience?

Well it is none other than Alley Oop and friend.



I did a clip of one of the songs they sang.

Congratulations Riley!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

To All Of The Grandma's


Yes, honestly its true!
She pressed 'control' and 'enter'
And disappeared from view.
It devoured her completely,
The thought just makes me squirm.
She must have caught a virus
Or been eaten by a worm.
I've searched through the recycle bin
And files of every kind;
I've even used the Internet,
But nothing did I find.
In desperation, I asked Jeeves
My searches to refine.
The reply from him was negative,
Not a thing was found 'online.'
So, if inside your 'Inbox,'
My Grandma you should see,
Please 'Copy,''Scan' and 'Paste' her
And send her back to me.

This is a tribute to all the Grandmas who have been fearless and . . . .
learned to use the Computer.....
They are the greatest!!!

When the television is on I pretty much mentally tune out most of the commercials that come on. I do this mainly because if they aren't just plain annoying, then they are insulting my intellegence by using 20 something year old actresses to try and sell the public on some sort of facial cream that will return that youthful look to your face. There are some commercials that I find beneficial though. Recently they have been advertising a new diabetic medication called Januvia. They gave a web site as well as a phone number to call to get further information. I went to the Januvia web site and was impressed with what I read. They have quite a few useful tools that you might like to try out, as well as a lot of good recipes. I have an appointment for Diabetic Boot Camp on Friday, so I thought I might discuss this new drug with Dr. Lee and see what she thinks. I'll let you know what I find out.

May your day be filled with blessings. ~Jo

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Jo's Happy Mother's Day

We couldn't have asked for a prettier day.

I really do think Chris missed his calling. He is a wonderful cook.

I had never eaten grilled pineapple before. I love pineapple any way, but straight off of the grill is a whole new taste treat.

Chris also prepared pork loin with his own blend of spices as a rub before they went on the grill. The grilled new potatoes were mixed with red, yellow and green bell peppers and chopped onions and cooked with a dab of olive oil.

I have learned that when there is cooking going on the best place to be is standing close to the cook and you will most likely be asked to sample something. Melody was upstairs in the kitchen cooking up some delicious mac and cheese and a wonderful green salad. It can wear a person out running from one cook to the other for those samples.

Seth and Alley Oop


Seth explaining something to his Pa.

Melody, T~Bear, Pa and Seth full as ticks after all of that good food.

Our camera shy Alley Oop

As usual Melody out did herself.

Tersie and T~Bear ready to call it a day

Sweet little Seth pretty much tuckered out. He had a busy day entertaining company and didn't get his afternoon nap. Wow.... I will go ahead and admit it now, I feel like such a bad G'ma right now. After I posted all of these pictures, I realized that I didn't get any pictures of Riley. In my defense though, you have to be quick if you want to get his picture, because he is always on the go and a very busy little guy. I did get him to sit with me for a little bit yesterday and look at the clouds. Tuesday evening is Riley's end of school program and his preschool graduation, We will get lots of pictures of Riley then to make up for not taking any of him for this posting. The kids got us (this was a joint mother's /father's day gift) a pond with a fountain for the yard since we don't have a water feature in any of the gardens. I will take some pictures when we decide where we want it and get it together and working.

Wishing you a blessed day. ~Jo

Monday, May 19, 2008

Meaningful Monday

The older I get, the more I enjoy Saturday mornings. Perhaps it's the quiet solitude that comes with being the first to rise, or maybe it's the unbounded joy of not having to be at work. Either way, the first few hours of a Saturday morning are most enjoyable.

A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the backyard patio with a steaming cup of green tea in one hand and the morning paper in the other. What began as a typical Saturday morning, turned into one of those lessons that life seems to hand you from time to time. Let me tell you about it. I turned the dial up into the phone portion of the band on my ham radio in order to listen to a Saturday morning swap meet.

Along the way, I came across an older sounding chap, with a tremendous signal and a golden voice. You know the kind, he sounded like he should be in the broadcasting business. He was telling whoever he was talking with something about "a thousand marbles."

I was intrigued and stopped to listen to what he had to say. "Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you're busy with your job. I'm sure they pay you well but it's a shame you have to be away from home and your family so much.

Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work sixty or seventy hours a week to make ends meet. Too bad you missed your daughter's dance recital." He continued, let me tell you something Tom, something that has helped me keep a good perspective on my own priorities. "And that's when he began to explain this theory of a "thousand marbles."

"You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about seventy-five years. I know, some live more and some live less, but on average, folks live about seventy-five years."

"Now then, I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3900 which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime. Now stick with me Tom, I'm getting to the important part. It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think about all this in any detail", he went on, "and by that time I had lived through over twenty-eight hundred Saturdays. I got to thinking that if I lived to be seventy-five, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy." "So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores to round-up 1000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside of a large, clear plastic container right here in the shack next to my gear. Every Saturday since then, I have taken one marble out and thrown it away. I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused more on the really important things in life. There is nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight."

"Now let me tell you one last thing before I sign-off with you and take my lovely wife out for breakfast. This morning, I took the very last marble out of the container. I figure if I make it until next Saturday then I have been given a little extra time. And the one thing we can all use is a little more time.

It was nice to meet you Tom, I hope you spend more time with your family, and I hope to meet you again here on the band.

You could have heard a pin drop on the radio when this fellow signed off. I guess he gave us all a lot to think about. I had planned to work on the antenna that morning. Instead, I went upstairs and woke my wife up with a kiss. "C'mon honey, I'm taking you and the grand kids to breakfast."

"What brought this on?" she asked with a smile.

"Oh, nothing special, it's just been a while since we spent a Saturday together with the grand kids. Hey, can we stop at a toy store while we're out? I need to buy some marbles."

This is one that has been around for a while, but I still find a lot of meaning to the words. They are words that anyone can read and apply to their own lives. My wish for you today is that you have far more Saturdays to share with your loved ones than you have marbles. ~Jo

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A Week In Review

While Greg was here we went shopping and bought a new rock for me to wash clothes with. It was a difficult choice, but I finally found just the right rock for laundry purposes. Just joking of course. We did go washer shopping though. I basically knew what I wanted before we even got there. As luck would have it, we got one of those sales persons that is as aggravating as a mosquito that you want to swat at and say "Shoooo". All that I wanted just a simple washer, without all of the bells and whistles that many washers come with now. Nothing would do this little guy than to try to sell us a front loading brand spanking new washer that does every thing but fold your clothes for you. I think the matching dryer does that. After the message sank into his thick little head that he wasn't going to sell us the top of the line washer on the show room floor, it didn't take long to get the transaction completed, the washer loaded on the truck and we were on our way home.

" J.D. and Greg"
Greg decided he would head back to Texas on Thursday. He had watched the Weather Channel to see where it was supposed to rain so he could plan his trip home to avoid the bad weather. According to the Weather Channel all of the rain was coming up out of the south. There was a pocket of clear weather to the west that he could travel through, which would take him into Oklahoma and then south to home. He called us Thursday evening from Evansville, Indiana where he had stopped for the night. He was rained on all the way and decided it best to just get off the road and hopefully the bad weather would pass over the night, which it did. He made it safely home to Texas. It was wonderful having Greg here. We hated to see him leave.

I got started in the big flower garden. This one is quite a chore, cleaning up the dead stuff, pulling weeds and putting down new mulch. We lost our cherry tree do to the harsh weather this past winter. I can not tell a lie....... 'I chopped down the cherry tree.'

This garden always looks a little ragged until things really get to growing. We are still having temperatures over night in the 40s so it will be a while before things really take off and start growing. This is what I have left to do in this garden.

This is the part of the garden that I have finished.

It will be a nice little oasis when I get it finished. Then I will only have two more established gardens to work on, but they are small and shouldn't need a lot done to them. The biggest chore ahead is to decide where I am going to put a small vegetable garden and get that started. I think it is in our best interest to grow some of these vegetables ourselves. When I picked up a loaf of bread the other day at the store and saw the price for it was $2.29 it made me sick. I gathered up the ingredients that I need and will be baking our bread myself and it should end up only costing us only a fraction of what it cost at the store. A gallon of milk is running neck and neck with the cost of a gallon of gas. Perhaps the next thing we need to purchase is a goat or a milk cow. It would have to be cheaper than buying the milk at the store.

The kids have planned my Mother's Day celebration for today. I am looking forward to being together with all of our "Yankee children and grandchildren".

Until tomorrow..... ~Jo