Welcome! I am glad you are here. Join me with a cup of your favorite beverage and see what is going on in my life and what is on my mind. I would love to have you join my site and you can do that on the left side where it says 'followers'. And please leave a comment! Thanks for visiting.

Monday, July 28, 2014


This is something that has been floating around in cyberspace. It is an interesting way to describe our journey in life.

At birth we boarded the train and met our parents, and we believe they will always travel on our side. However, at some station our parents will step down from the train, leaving us on this journey alone. As time goes by, other people will board the train; and they will be significant i.e. our siblings, friends, children, and even the love of your life. Many will step down and leave a permanent vacuum. Others will go so unnoticed that we don't realize that they vacated their seats. This train ride will be full of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hellos, goodbyes, and farewells. Success consists of having a good relationship with all passengers requiring that we give the best of ourselves.

The mystery to everyone is: We do not know at which station we ourselves will step down. So, we must live in the best way, love, forgive, and offer the best of who we are. It is important to do this because when the time comes for us to step down and leave our seat empty we should leave behind beautiful memories for those who will continue to travel on the train of life.

I wish you a joyful journey on the train of life. Reap success and give lots of love. More importantly, thank God for the journey. Lastly, I thank you for being one of the passengers on my train.

Monday, July 21, 2014



I hope Mary's garden is doing much better than mine! I let Mother Nature plant mine this year, as well as last year.

This large pot is at the corner of my garage. I see I have some lovely trees started. I think I might just let them grow and see what happens.

 This planter has filled in with various weeds. I actually think it looks rather nice. Mother Nature can do a good job sometimes.

I don't think Mother Nature liked the dirt in this tub as there isn't much in here. I don't know why things haven't sprouted up like they did in the long planter, which is close to this tub. The small planter originally held an ornamental strawberry plant which did not make it through the winter a few years ago. The tub once had green beans planted in it, but that was at least 2 years ago. I had hoped to get something planted this spring, but since the last two winters have dragged on and on into spring, I just didn't get it done, and now I am not in the mood to work on a garden. Maybe next year.

Saturday, July 19, 2014


If you aren't from Iowa, you might not know what RAGBRAI is. It is pronounced 'rag-bry'. Each letter is the first letter of the name of this annual event.

R - Register's
A - Annual
G - Great
B - Bicycle
R - Ride
A - Across
I - Iowa

"Register's" is short for The DesMoines Register (Iowa) newspaper. Several years ago one of the column writers had the idea to have a group of bicycle riders start on the western border of the state and ride all the way to the eastern border in 7 days. It has grown very popular over the years and now has a few thousand riders of all ages and from several states who take part in the ride. Some go all the way, and some might only do a segment in their local area.

Small groups of friends will bike together as a team, with matching outfits, hats, etc. There are lawyers, doctors, farmers, retirees, young kids, whole families, husband/wife duos, and everything in between. A tradition started with dipping the back wheel of the bike in the Big Sioux River, that is the state's western border, at the beginning of the ride, and when they get to the other end, they dip the front wheel into the Mississippi River - the eastern border of the state. Or if the ride starts in southern Iowa, they dip in the Missouri River. This year the Rock River goes through Rock Valley. I suspect some traditionalists will drive all the way to the Big Sioux several miles further west and dip there yet tonight.

Each year a different route is planned with different towns as the starting point, as well as at the end, and different towns along the way. Some towns are designated as overnight stays, others have meals, snacks, drinks, entertainment. It is a huge project for each town involved and each town is financially benefited.

This year they start in Rock Valley, just 8 miles east of here. I saw buses, trailers, and many cars and bikes on the highway through Hull this afternoon, on their way to Rock Valley to spend the night, and they will start the bike ride early tomorrow morning. The early birds will leave before sunrise, and they slowly drift out of town. Each person or team has support teams that carry supplies, extra bike tires and repairs, along with sleeping tents, bedding, clothing, etc. So there are a LOT of people on this journey! Rock Valley will be wall-to-wall people, bikes, tents and trailers by this evening. It really is a sight to see. Some bikers elect to stay in private homes if they can find someone to host them several weeks before this. I guess they really don't like roughing it in tents. And some people love to party most of the night and things sometimes can get pretty noisy and rowdy. But for the most part everyone is orderly. Some people get lost and can't remember where their tent is.

The Ride has at least one celebrity that has been riding with them the last few years. That is Lance Armstrong. Tonight he is going to be the guest bartender in Rock Valley to raise funds for the flood cleanup Rock Valley was so severely hit with earlier this summer.

After the bikers leave Rock Valley tomorrow morning, they will come through our town. Some will eat breakfast in Rock Valley, but many will wait until they get to Hull, so at least one of the churches is serving breakfast, another organization is also doing that, and I have no idea what else people will have to offer them. I happened to drive downtown yesterday and noticed the town has decorated for this event, and with some very clever ideas. So today I headed out with my camera and here are some pictures of the more unique displays to welcome the riders.

  I think this huge bike form is so neat and a very nice display in front of our beautiful 'new' library.

 All of this displays are on Main Street. The building above it a cabinetry-woodworking shop, and I am guessing they made those silhouettes.
 Here is a close-up of the right side of the previous picture.

 This is another one that caught my eye right away. The picture doesn't do it justice at all. They had taken various sizes of old bike wheels and painted them bright colors and welded them together in this great form. The bike in the right corner is also painted with various colors. The small bike by the light pole is chained to the pole so is there on purpose. Those beautiful flower baskets hanging from the pole are there all summer, every summer. I wish I could get mine to always look so pretty and full of blooms all summer like these are. The American flags have been put out for the occasion as well. They usually are put up for patriotic holidays only.

 This is the front of the bank. I wasn't able to get a good angle because of traffic. There were several other bikes hung this same way in the front and side of the bank. I didn't realize when I took the picture that the motorcycle was in the mirror. Rather appropriate, don't you think? Although motorcycles are not included in the bike ride tomorrow.

This is on the way out of town, at the south end of Main Street where it connects to the highway. Those two bikes are attached to the light pole. There were certainly some very creative people on the town decorating committee. Other businesses also had a bike or several bikes in front of their store or business as well. Some are just parked on the sidewalk, and some are hung up in some way.

I won't be going downtown to see it all tomorrow as there will be so much congestion and I would just be in the way. I got to see the crowds when I lived in Sibley and that town had the privilege of having them spend the night. I watched the bikers straggle into town and down Main Street in groups, and they just kept coming and coming! House yards all over town, as well as the city parks, were covered with bikes, people and tents. And they all needed to be fed supper. Several churches hosted full meals, and some ran out of food, but other places had plenty so nobody went hungry.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


Here is a recipe found in the newspaper archives from 1918. Think WW1. It seems there was an acute white flour shortage at the time, so these recipes were suggested.  Barley flour is not gluten free so be aware of that.  These recipes do sound good and I will have to give them a try. How about you?

I wasn't even sure barley flour would be easy to find these days so I googled it, and there are suppliers, so you might be able to find it in your stores, or at least online if you are interested in trying it. I also found the following information about barley flour at this link:  http://bakingbites.com/2008/01/what-is-barley-flour/
Barley flour is just what it sounds like: a non-wheat flour made from grinding whole barley. It’s a popular alternative to wheat flour because, unlike many non-wheat flours, it contains some gluten. This obviously doesn’t make it a good choice for those with celiac’s, who cannot tolerate gluten, but it does mean that it is an excellent option for more conventional bakers looking to expand their skills by working with alternative flours.
Barley flour has a mild, but very slightly nutty, flavor the complements both regular and whole grain flours. You can substitute it into a regular recipe for up to 1/2 of the ordinary flour without compromising the texture of the baked good (with the exception of very delicate/sensitive baked goods, like angel food cake, that rely on the presence of a precise amount of flour to work well). In fact, because it has a low gluten content, it can actually help to tenderize baked goods while still lending enough gluten to the recipe to allow it to rise properly. When compared to regular all-purpose flour, there are some nutritional benefits to barley. It has slightly fewer calories and more than 4 times the fiber of all-purpose. It also has slightly more fiber than whole wheat flour.
It is a good flour to substitute into quick breads, muffins and cookies for a little whole grain twist and is an easy ingredient to play around with in the kitchen in general. You can find it at just about any natural foods store (Whole Foods, etc.) in the baking or cereal aisle.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

TIPS FROM 1920's

When I was recently scanning through hometown newspaper archives searching for things about ancestors, I ran across the following column with several helpful hints for wives.

These are quite frugal and simple, and worth a try today. I like the tip toward the bottom about the small fire shovel. Trying to find one of those may not be so frugal today, but is one to keep in mind. Evidently my mother had not read the tip on hanging clothes outside in cold weather!

I hope you can read these okay here. If not, leave a comment about it and I will type them out for you. I would also love to see some comments on what you think of these tips.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Well, life got in the way again. I had done some notes as a draft here on what I decluttered on June 28, which was considered the end of the month-long challenge in our group, thinking I was going to add to the list before I posted. It is also a good thing that I had written several posts before June 28 to be published later, or you would not have heard from me for a long time.

But first, the decluttering report:

On the night of June 27 I started reading a book about simplifying life, which includes decluttering. This book is set up with  a different task for each day, although for me, as slow as I am, some of those tasks can take more than one day. The first task was to clean out the underwear drawer(s), so that is what I did the next day. And here is the list of things I got rid of:
  • ten (10) bras - do not fit well, several like new
  • two (2) bras tossed out - not in good enough shape to donate
  • three (3) new pair of white cotton panties, never worn - 3 sizes too small
been in the drawer, waiting for me to lose weight again. (ha!)

Isn't it interesting that I still have enough good bras to wear a clean one every day for a week? Why in the world was I hanging on to all the others?? Thinking I would lose weight, for one reason, as far as the nicer ones go. But some were already several years old and I still haven't lost the weight. I am hoping now that I got rid of them, I will finally start losing. That IS the way it works, isn't it?

I would say that was a pretty good start! I must admit they are not out of the house yet, but have gone into the donate box. When that box is full it goes into the back of the van so that when I get to a place to donate them, I will have them with me and no excuses.

Now to explain how life intervened in my blogging. Right after I had made the above note on decluttering I received word that an elderly cousin had passed away. It was expected since she had suffered a severe stroke a week before and never woke up from that. Then I was busy letting some of the cousins and other relatives know, and passing on to them the details of the funeral. The two second cousins that I recently met up with said they would be there, so I was determined to try and get to the visitation and funeral as well.

The visitation was on July 1 in the late afternoon, and the funeral the next day at 2 pm. This all took place 55 miles from me, so that meant two round trips of 110 miles each. My body was not cooperating either day so it was difficult getting around, but I am so glad I got there both days. For one reason, my second-cousins and I were the only family on this cousin's side, which is sad. And the second reason is that we all enjoyed getting reacquainted with other second cousins that we had not seen since we were little kids.

Losing track of relatives so often happens when you all grow up and move away, and parents have been gone for many years, and decades in my case. And since some of us have become interested in genealogy we shared stories and memories of our parents and grandparents. It all ended too soon! I think we all could have sat there several more hours and talked. Someone suggested that we should all get together soon and share what we have found working on genealogy, and looking at old pictures of ancestors. I am now one of four cousins left, and one of those is 92 years old, and the rest of us are in our 70's. All the aunts and uncles are gone, so we have no one to get answers from, and since we cousins are aging, there will soon be none of us to pass information on, unless we do it now. I sure wish our parents had done that. So one of us needs to plan a family reunion of sorts, and I am thinking toward the end of summer or early fall. We will see who will end up doing that, and I am afraid it might be me!

Back to that week, the day after the funeral I was totally worn out, but the two gals who come to my weekly Bible study had agreed to meet that morning for our final class for the summer. We had set the date before I knew there would be a funeral. I did not want to cancel the  meeting as I did not want to prolong things any longer, and so we met here at 8 am. My house was not in very good condition after the week I had, but I did manage to make it look half-way decent with what little energy I had. We had a very good wrap up of the study and very good discussion. We also set the date for starting again in the fall so that we don't procrastinate when the time comes.

The ladies were here until about 10:30, and I got so sleepy by 12:30 I went back to bed and slept past 3:00! I even went to bed early that night. On the 4th, I had to make a trip to Walmart in the morning as I was out of cat food and litter, milk and cereal, and a few other things. It was a struggle to get everything in the house as tired as I was. The cold stuff got put away and the rest sat there for another day. And I again took a long nap that afternoon. So much for an exciting July 4th, huh. I was thankful I did not have any plans to be truthful, as I would have either cancelled or not been very good company anyway. It took me until Monday to recover from that week.

Now I need to get back to that simple living book and work on more decluttering. I feel procrastination coming on. Are there any medications for that?

Monday, July 14, 2014





When I posted the previous story about cat ear notching, I was reminded of a story about one of the stray tomcats that adopted us several years ago.

One Sunday evening as my husband and I walked home from church we saw a beautiful grey point Siamese looking cat walking down the sidewalk, and he followed us to our front door. My husband was an animal lover, as I am, but he was the one that took a saucer of milk out to him because he was hanging out by our door. Naturally, that cat decided this was a good place to stay! Eventually, you guessed it, he came into the house and became our pet (or did we become his?)

He was a really good cat, behaved well inside the house, never clawing furniture, and took immediately to the litter box. He staying in the house quite a bit during the day, but demanded to be let out to roam all night long. This cat was  a very beautiful cat, and I am partial to Siamese. I would doubt that he was purebred, or he would have had a collar and tags, and if he were purebred or not, must have had a family that was missing him. I did advertise he was here since, if he had been my pet, I would want him back. He was just too beautiful and well-behaved to not be someones pet. But no one came forth to claim him, and he became ours.

Now, I wanted to take him to be neutered, as males make better house cats if neutered. But my husband refused to let me. I guess that is a male thing? (grin)

Soon there was a white/black spotted female walking through the yard, and sometimes stopping by. Then she had some kittens with her. I would see her around now and then, and with a litter every year. She was semi-friendly and would come up on the back porch and take food from us. She would allow us to pet her, but she refused to be picked up. And her kittens were also very wary and not let us get close enough to touch them, but they knew where there could be food.

It didn't take too long and our Duffy and this female became friendly, and soon she had a litter of kittens again. There were two charcoal grey twins, and some white/black ones. The mama cat and her babies often came to our yard, and they would sit between the house and garage and wait, looking at our back door the whole time. Pretty soon, Duffy would demand to go outside. When he came out the door the little ones would rush to greet him, as if to say, "Hi, Daddy!" He would barely acknowledge them (I know a few men who do the same) and they would all walk off as a family! It was so cute, the aloof father and the adoring wife and kids. I am fairly certain these were his children.

Unfortunately, since my husband would not have him neutered, he would get into fights and come home with some wounds in the morning. As bad as they were a time or two, I am wondering if he grappled with an animal other than another cat, but we will never know. And some time later, he went out one night and never returned. We will never know what happened to him, if he was lying dead along a road or curb somewhere, or been so injured in a fight that he couldn't get back home and never recovered. We were both very sad that he was gone.

One of Duffy's favorite spots to keep an eye on who and what came through the yard. I wish I had more and better pictures of him.

As the kittens became adults, some quit coming to our yard, but the mother would still come around and want a little attention. I guess she missed him too. But she never fully 'adopted' us. The two charcoal grey ones were here more often, especially one of them. That one was such a Mommy's boy! He kept wanting to nurse even though he was long past being weaned. And he would tag along with her most of the time. He was more affectionate with us as well. His twin brother would come and eat but he kept his distance. The affectionate one eventually became our house cat because that winter he developed pneumonia from the cold weather and I ended up taking him to the vet. And of course, you can't allow a cat with pneumonia go back out into the frigid weather, so it was back to having a litter box in the basement, which he took to immediately. He was ours for awhile, and eventually he did not come home again. After that my husband said no more cats. I think he had a harder time letting go when they didn't come home than I did. But I agreed.

Friday, July 11, 2014


I didn't know this, did you?

This is something that is going around on Facebook right now.
I do know that cats have their territories, one female per territory, but a male has a much larger territory and services several females in his territory. And that is why you will see more stray males wandering around, as the young ones are trying to find a territory for themselves.
I would hope that this ear-tipping or notching is done all over the country. If you are interested, you may want to call a local veterinarian and ask if it is being done in your area.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

FAITH FRIDAY - (a day early)

When I scheduled this I realized Friday is July 4, and the beginning of a long weekend, so lets read the Good News before the celebrations.

Here is the Good News in Isaiah 43! 

In chapter 42 that we looked at last week, where the Israelites were 'chewed out' because they didn't listen, now they are being told, "Never fear, I am here."

Israel’s Only Savior
1But now, this is what the Lord says—
he who created you, Jacob, (Lorita)
he who formed you, Israel: (Lorita)
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; (Lorita)
I have summoned you by name (Lorita); you are mine.
2When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
Cusha and Seba in your stead.
4Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
nations in exchange for your life.
5Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
I will bring your children from the east
and gather you from the west.
6I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’
Bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the ends of the earth—
7everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.”
8Lead out those who have eyes but are blind,
who have ears but are deaf.
9All the nations gather together
and the peoples assemble.
Which of their gods foretold this
and proclaimed to us the former things?
Let them bring in their witnesses to prove they were right,
so that others may hear and say, “It is true.”
10“You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord,
“and my servant whom I have chosen,
so that you may know and believe me
and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed,
nor will there be one after me.
11I, even I, am the Lord,
and apart from me there is no savior.
12I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—
I, and not some foreign god among you.
You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “that I am God.
13Yes, and from ancient days I am he.
No one can deliver out of my hand.
When I act, who can reverse it?”

You probably noticed in the beginning verses I crossed out some names and put mine in place of them. Try reading this and putting your own name in place of the other names, and claim it!

God tells us, 
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

Do not be afraid, for I am with you;

And again -

I will be with you.
God calls us precious and honored in His sight, and that He loves us. He calls us His sons and daughters, and He is the best father we could ever hope for. Human fathers can let us down, but God never will.

Continue to read the rest of the chapter. Look at what He says in verse 18 -
"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past." 

Isaiah is speaking to Israel, but apply these words to your own life in today's world. Don't read the Bible just to say you have read it. Take in those words and digest them, and see what they are saying to you.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


Are you doing something special for July 4th? Here are a couple of simple things to make, that even the kids can help with. I found these on Pinterest.

First are the red/white/blue strawberries. Simply dip the strawberry tip in melted white chocolate, then dip in blue colored sugar. The kids will have fun with this, they are cute and yummy!

Then there are the color layered rice krispie treats. These
are cut in the usual squares, but I saw one suggestion to cut them into stars with a cookie cutter. How cute would that be on a plate?

Check out spoonful.com for lots of July 4th ideas, including coloring pages for kids and other activities, decorations and food. There are so many possibilities!

Enjoy the holiday weekend, fly the flag, and stay safe!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


July 1 already?? Holy bejeebers! Where did the first half of the year go? For that matter, where did the last 10 years go? Zip-zip-zip, just like the NASCAR racers as they zip-zip-zip past the camera so fast that they are just a blur.

Around 1957 or 1958 my mother and her sister from southern Illinois flew to California together. I remember riding to Chicago with Mom and her brother-in-law, where we went to my cousin's home. She is the daughter of Mom's sister, who met as there. Then Mom and her sister got on a plane at O'Hare airport, and went to visit their parents in San Mateo, CA. I remember we ate over the many-laned freeway! Yes, there was a restaurant built above the highway.

I don't remember details, but I think Grandma might have been in the nursing home, the same one as Grandpa was in, by that time. So Mom and her sister were going to see them both for the last time, as Grandma died in 1959 and Grandpa in 1961. When they were there, they must have gone to their house and went through things before selling it, because Mom brought home a braided rug that Grandma had made. And that is probably when she got some of the old pictures. But you know, at that time I was busy in high school, and boys, and concerned about my own life, that I did not pay much attention to what was happening with adults.

One thing I do remember is that Dad and I had to 'batch' it while she was gone. I had never really cooked a meal before. I loved to bake and that was the extent of my cooking at the time. And Dad didn't really know how to cook either. He tried making pancakes one day, and he called them blow out tire patches. They were a bit, well a lot, rubbery. :o) I tried frying bacon and eggs. The eggs were crisp and the bacon soggy. I don't remember what else we cooked or ate, but I am sure it was not so great.

And speaking of food, below is the breakfast menu on the flight that Mom and Aunt Clara took. I know this was the first airplane ride Mom had, and probably the only one. The general public, unless rich, did not fly as much back then as we think nothing of doing today. So it was a big deal. Planes were a lot different then, too.

Can you remember not too many years ago when you got some fairly good meals on flights that were included in the price of the ticket? Now you are lucky if you get a meal at all, or else if you want to eat, you had to pay for it on the plane and it isn't cheap!

Back in the 1950's it looks like meals were quite a deal, even with a menu!

Interesting menu? I had no idea what Scrambled Eggs Hampshire or Potatoes Colbert were, do you? So I did a google search and did not find very much, but this is what I did find --

Eggs Hampshire is found on the menu of Benedict's Restaurants in Greenwood Village, Colorado, for $9.50. It is described as scrambled farm fresh eggs, diced ham, cream cheese and chives.

Interesting. I have never used cream cheese and chives in scrambled eggs, but it does sound good.

I couldn't find a recipe or description for Potatoes Colbert, but did find a Colbert sauce.  There is a recipe for Chateaubriand with clarified Colbert sauce. For that, small potatoes cut in olive shape are placed on each end of the meat. These potatoes are fried in butter. And then the Colbert sauce is poured over all.

The recipe for Colbert sauce is made with white wine, espagnole, lots of butter, and parsley and lemon juice. So what is espagnole, you ask? So did I! It seems to be one of the 5 important sauces used in French cooking. (la-de-dah). It is a brown sauce, and seems to be made similar to gravy using the pan drippings from browned meat. There are videos on how to make it, but they run well over 10 minutes and I am not going to take the time to wait for them to download and then sit and watch for another 10-15 minutes. I don't ever plan to make it so no reason to waste my time. But if that is something that interests you, please take a look.

I can't imagine anything so fancy being served on an airplane, can you? This was in the day before microwaves, so I can't imagine how well that sauce and the eggs stood up to time between cooking and being served on the plane, but they must have figured it out.

Times have sure changed, haven't they?