Wednesday, October 31, 2012

It's Spooky Night

11:00am: Today is Halloween.  I'm not really into Halloween and things spooky but I'll put on a decent act...for a day. 

Mom and I are heading out to get some lunch and then we'll go back to her house and put together the second shelving unit.  It comes in a big box with lots and lots of pieces.  The first one went together real well and we were impressed with the quality.  Hope we can begin putting some of the things from her storage room on to those shelves and get them off the floor.  That room has been a mess for a long time and I'd be thrilled to see it neater. 

A friend gave us a pumpkin.  I have it outside for now.  Just wondering if it would be good to use for baking.... Just to be safe perhaps I should buy a few cans of pumpkin pie mix and avoid any problems that might arise with the use of a pumpkin from unknown sources.  Oh, my friend is a safe bet, don't get me wrong.  Just he went to some farm somewhere and bought some.  They are fine for decorations.  But might not be the best types for cooking. 

I'm off to finish getting ready for lunch and making shelves.  Sounds like fun to me.  Have a good one now, ya hear.  And watch out for ghosts and goblins along your path today. 
9:54 pm: I had my first experience with something tonight.  Must admit this was my first - and hopefully last experience.  I was flashed by a middle-aged man right in the middle of Hobby Lobby tonight!  Yep, right there in the home decor, among the plaques, and signs, and mirrors.  Must say I was not impressed with his "decor" at all.  Didn't blush, felt no embarrassment, just felt sorry for him.  Thought it was sad that he thought he had to do that for some entertainment.  Mom was with me but missed the big show -- or maybe I should say little show.  It was...ummmm...well...not up to my...ummm...standards...

Had some free time today and this is what I created with a couple of felt tip pins and some trash:

Monday, October 29, 2012


Sandy might seem like a soft feminine name but this lady sure can land quite a wallop.  Our thoughts and prayers are with those in her path. 

This morning Sweetz had some blood drawn for a test the good doc is watching.  He has an appointment next week.  Praying all goes well.

I had lunch with some girlfriends that I used to work with.  Most of us have retired and it was nice to see them again.  Someone chose a Chinese restaurant so we all met at 12:30 to share fun, food, and fellowship.  I took some pictures taken during our midwest trip and it makes me realize I need to label the pictures before I completely forget everything.  Heard this morning that a person's brain shrinks as we age.  YIPES, I won't have much left to work with soon. 

After we left from our lunch party, I decided I wanted to enjoy the beauty of country roads and also to see if I could capture a decent picture.  Wasn't to happen today.  Too much rain and nothing presented itself as a scene worthy of me getting out in the cold rain.  I did enjoy looking though. 

We are just past our prime in fall foliage color.  There are a few bare trees and others have a few naked branches - usually near the top.  Probably two weeks is all it will take before most of the trees will be bare.  And with this rain and wind, that time could easily be even shorter. But I'd rather have that than the flooding some of our northeastern neighbors are experiencing.  

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Shared Hours

We went to church this morning and it was a wonderful service.  Lots of love and friendship, sure felt good to me.  Six people joined the church this morning - wonder if Sweetz is feeling the urge to join? 

We ordered take-out for four and went by Pat and Wil's house.  He's improving slowly and looked wonderful I thought.  Amazing what doctors can do these days - before ObamaCare strips anyone older than 65 of complete medical care.  Hate to even think of that.  We didn't want to stay too long so we left after lunch and sharing of our trip photos.  They have been to many of the places we visited so it was nice to spend time with them and to compare notes. 

Tomorrow is our grandson's tenth birthday, Sweetz will have blood drawn for a recheck eval and I am to have lunch with some buddies I used to work with. Now, if I can get my right knee to feel better.  But the people in the northeast would like to see a calm day with blue skies!  My prayers are with them. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Home Bodies

For some reason I had a spurt of energy this morning so made breakfast from scratch - including real live honest to goodness biscuits.  Haven't made them in quite a while.  I don't eat much bread anyway, and have nearly lost my desire.  But today...I wanted a couple of hot biscuits.  Yep, and I scrambled and over-easyied some eggs/pan fried link sausages for the two of us.  Good breakfast!  Probably been two years since I've made biscuits, and might be that long before I make them again! 

Today was cloudy but we never experienced any rain.  But looks like FrankenSandy is on her way.  We are predicted to have about 2 inches of cool rain but that's soooo much better than the 10 inches the Jersey Shore is expected to receive - along with winds.  Yipes, that's a lot of rain.  We lived in that region for seven years and I can't remember experiencing a hurricane.  Now SNOW, yes.  Lots and lots of snow.  When we lived in Mississippi - that was hurricane bulls eye - and I don't miss it.  Even DC area is expected to get lots of the rainy stuff with Sandy so I wish my sister-in-law safety and comfort during this trying time.  She obviously will miss my brother being there to keep an eye on things, but I'm sure she is checking the windows, doors, outside items, etc. to get prepared.  She always worries about the sump pump in her basement but I believe it has worked ok for the past couple of years. 

We are still getting a mess of green beans every couple of days so I fixed them plus some fried apples.  Never fixed them before, so asked a friend who graciously told me how to make a batch.  Yummmm, were they ever good.  While these two pots bubbled with fresh goodness, I prepared a pan of fish fillets which baked away and soon all was ready.  Talk about a delicious meal! 

This morning while surfing the net, I ran across some neat ideas for what sounded like fairly easy sewing projects.  I saved them to my think I will actually get any made by Christmas??  Things look so cute in pictures, but I've noticed I'm not as motivated as I was years ago.  Did a bit of cleaning today.  Not much, so don't get all excited and get your blood pressure all elevated.  Thankfully, the house stays fairly straight and clean.  Found that doing a bit here and there each day is easier to manage than a full-day of cleaning once a week or so.    

We will be picking up lunch tomorrow after church and sharing a bit of time with Pat and Wil.  I'm sure Pat will be thankful to not have to cook a meal.  There may even be some leftovers for another time.  Sweetz talked to them today and from what I could tell, Wil is improving and for that I am very thankful. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Perfect Storm?

Yesterday:  Absolutely a beautiful fall day.  Perfect in every sense.

Today:  Something different - overcast, cooler, foggy, misting.  Are we getting some of this "perfect storm"? 

We must keep watching the weather forecast.  But first...I'm on my way to mom's to put together her shelving unit.  She has things she wants to store in the utility room.  Got  thangs ta do...back later....

Two of the many views of God's beauty today:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Inner Thoughts

Where does the time go?  The days fly, the hours soar, months float.  I get things accomplished but it seems there's not as much thrust as when we're younger.  Now, there's no one to impress - but myself.  Oh, the hubby is here but he's not greatly impressed by things, or at least he doesn't mention them.  He's a Yankee and they don't seem to be swift with compliments. 

It was a struggle over the early years to deal with this difference with my own southern temperament, but we settled ourselves somewhere in between.  I probably would have been more open but was the dutiful wife and taught myself to hold my inward thoughts more to myself.  It has taken years but I am more open now, more in tune with those around me, and definitely more forgiving.  Years of wear and tear from family, neighbors, co-workers, and friends have assisted in dealing with the rough times.  The ability to see way beyond my own circle begins with marriage and children, then continues with life. 

I enjoy reading Amish novels and even though I can't see myself joining their community, I do appreciate much of their unhurried  lifestyle.  They get so much accomplished each day, even without electricity, but never seem rushed either.  That is a quality I wish for myself.  They appreciate the simple things in life, especially the people in their lives. 

There is a lady who lives in our neighborhood who has taught me so much.  She is older than me and from the time I first met her as a young mother moving into her community, she has enriched my life with the joys of the simple things in life.  Yesterday I hung my laundry on the clothesline and we chatted a bit about the pleasure of this simple deed.  She has taught me the satisfaction of simple cooking with fresh wholesome foods to slowing my steps.  This friend doesn't waste God's bounty but appreciates each of His gifts.  She dresses simply and seems to be content in her days.  She  appreciates the sounds of the birds and the blooms of her flowers along with shared moments from her family and friends.  There's much to learn from other people in our lives and we don't know how many pages are left on our personal calendar. 

Later:  Mom and I went out to eat an early supper and then found ourselves at Wal-Mart.  She wanted a metal shelving unit to store some things in her utility room while I wanted a 3-compartment laundry sorting unit.  As a bonus, I also bought a laundry basket. We both found what we wanted.  Love it when a plan comes together!  


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Photo Memories

I spent some time - ok, LOTS of time, working on culling a zillion trip photos down to a manageable size.  I bought a photo album with a neat travel motif cover and there is room for 160 photos with a snippit of room to write a short memo.  Now, that part I like since I KNOW I will forget what the pictures are and especially what state. 

All the photos I want printed are now saved to a zip drive and I will head to the photo department of  Wal-Mart or a CVS/Rite-Aid kiosk - maybe tomorrow afternoon.  Oops, might wait until Monday morning to do that.  The Free Weekenders need their time to flitter unemcumbered from the retired ones shuffling up the aisles.  Well, do they think about giving me space when I need it?  SELDOM.  They are usually out for #1 and my needs and wants are definitely not considered.  What happened to the thoughtfulness of the youngers anyway?  Oh my, don't get me started on that subject!!

Mom brought me some apples from the mountains one day this week (you don't expect me to remember the day, do you? - Whew, thanks). 

Well, today was Make An Apple Crisp Day.  There's an easy recipe from my gramma that was just waiting for me to use.  And it turned out good.  MainGuy sniffed it out pretty quickly and he declared it delicious as he scooped spoonfuls with some ice cream. 

My piano was getting dusty.  Don't have to tell you what that means.  So, the seat and keys are now dusted - at least where I sit and play!  And I enjoyed banging around on the keys and cracks.  When the piano gets dusty, it's a sure sign that I'm getting rusty. 

So much to little time.

Mom Time

Spent some time with mom today.  I am truly blessed. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Early Voting

The Sweetz man and I went store hopping today.  He was in desperate need of a haircut and we needed a few groceries.  So, off we went to take care of those needs and then we voted.  Yep, this is the second year we voted early.  And the polling place was hopping.  People standing in line, workers busily checking names against computer entries, and backers out front in the candidate honker's gauntlet.  I sidestepped the gauntlet since I knew exactly who I would cast my vote for...all the way down to Soil and Conservation Supervisor. 

While out today we ate at a little Japanese place with good food, reasonable prices, and great service.  The grocery store got some business from us since we were nearly out of meat, eggs, sugar, and paper towels - not to mention a few other items.  Of course, there was a Wal-Mart run-through but only got two things there although we looked down many aisles looking for the "finial" thingy that we want to top the wreath stand we are making.  All such items used to be happily sitting on shelves - but not in 2012.  Obviously, times are tough and finials are not the rage.  I can understand that way of thinking.  But there are zillions if not quadrillions of Christmas decor choices - for one day.  A finial ---why it can last for a dozen years of constant use.  Go figure.  

I'm to meet two girlfriends on Monday for supper so I'll check out the town's craft store before I end up at the restaurant. Hopefully I can find a finial.

The third of three Presidential debates will be Monday at 9pm, so I will be antsy to head out the door by 8:30 to make sure I am home in time to see that.  Of course, I can hear it on the radio as I drive home, but it's not the same as watching the body language  including facial expressions. 

Today was a mixture of overcast skies and sun.  Back and forth it went.  Guess I can say the clouds won because we just got a bit of a storm through here with thunder, light rain, and a bit of lightning.  It's over now and the noise of a storm has settled into the stillness of night. 


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

More Smoke

11am:  Well, our small smoke-out was the firepit last night.  Sweetz raked the leaves away from the patio to keep it safer.  Sure didn't want a showy fire to excite the neighborhood and bring out big red trucks with loud sirens!  We sat around and I took our supper out on plates and we ate it while relaxing around the fire.  We even had some desserts...roasted marshmallows for me.  Do love them. 

As the sun set, the air temps drifted into a cooler range.  I was tired from sitting anyway, so drifted around the area, took a couple of pictures of our pink camellia plant as the fire drifted into cooler temps of its own...with a little help from a sprinkle of water occasionally.

But it was a wonderful experience.  Nothing quite like a quiet evening with someone you love close to a fire. 

The second of three Presidential debates was last night.  Sweetz and I sat together in the den watching it, discussing the answers,  the moderator's mis-steps into the debate rules, stumbling of O to avoid his bad 4-year record, and the strong confrontational tone of the debate.  My mind is made up and we will be voting early tomorrow. Now, I need to do a bit more studying on the candidates for the other races in our area. 

There are two people who need haircuts in this home of two.  Hard to wait for a trim myself which is scheduled for next week.  It's also hard to look across the table at the obvious need for a haircut on the hubby.  I have scissors!  And I used them yesterday to trim my bangs as they were hanging down too long. 

Mom went with two friends to the mountains yesterday to get apples and said she'd bring me some.  She honked as she passed yesterday but didn't stop.  Did she get me some apples?  I must wait to find out.  Bet she was exhausted and went home to take a nap. 

I called our friends yesterday to check on Wil to see how he was doing after his heart bypass surgery.  It sure was good to talk to him and he sounded so good.  Said he's been following all the  instructions on eating and exercise.  Said he is up to 11 minutes of walking (up and down his driveway)!  Way to go Wil!!!  Next week he is to go to cardiac rehab and they will really push him on the exercise machines.  I could use some of that exercise.  Oh, and he didn't waste any time before he encouraged me to eat properly.  Oops, guess I need to keep my fingers off the fries... 

12:30p:  Mom just stopped by with some apples!!!  YEAY!!!  Four different kinds: Black Arkansas, Yellow Delicious, Winesap, and Rome. Baking some apple crisps and of course some fresh apple eating will be in my near future.   

Here's some of the geraniums getting used to their smaller pots and super pruning for overwintering.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

House Fire

I forgot to mention that I witnessed a house which had caught on fire Saturday.  We were on our way to Lowes to pick up a few things when I noticed some strange dark "clouds" in the sky which didn't look like the other ones.  Looked more like smoke than a cloud. When we went to investigate, we found it was an old abandoned house which was burning.  The fire department had several trucks around the periphery and they appeared to be pretty much just letting the house burn on its own.  I doubt there was much left that anyone could salvage in that old house.  They were predominantly keeping the fire from spreading to trees and other structures. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Firepit Friends

Sweetz and I went to Lowes this morning to pick up a few things that we wanted for a couple of small projects.  While we were on our trip, I saw a wreath stand that I thought would be simple to copy, so we got gathered the few items today that are needed to make one. Not copying exactly the one we saw, but then it's fun to get ideas and then change them to make them personal. But when we got home today, we saw that the railing spindle we bought was warped.  Oh dear.  Guess we'll head back to Lowes to exchange it Monday. 

We were invited to a friend/neighbor's house tonight.  Nancy is one of those sweet people who come into your life that you love with all your heart the first time you meet them. 

There were maybe 40 people there.  We roasted hotdogs over the firepit and then sat at picnic tables and enjoyed fellowshipping with others at the table.  Hadn't talked to some of them in awhile and it was nice to catch up on the details of their lives.  Tables were set up with all the hotdog trimmings and desserts.  Yummy.  After we ate, the fire was built up and we made a big circle with our chairs and sang songs and shared stories until our feet got too cold to stay any longer.  I met some people I didn't know and reconnected with others that I don't see all that often.  What a wonderful evening.

Our friends, Betty and Ron were there also, and they were so sweet tonight.  Not sure why a cool evening with friends around a crackling fire brings out the sweetness in everyone.  She just called to tell me how glad she was that we went tonight.  Now, wasn't that sweet?  Ron took lots of pictures tonight and he pointed that camera at me alot tonight.  But me?  No camera.  No pictures.  Bummer, why didn't I remember to take it?....

Now, as soon as the dryer buzzes telling me the sheets are dry, I'll have to make the bed. Gotta be ready when Mr. Sandman tiptoes past me! 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Cookies On My Mind


One of my neighbors who was watching our house for us while we were gone was so appreciative of the jar of Amish-made jelly that I gave her yesterday that she baked a batch of cookies and invited me over today.  She's an excellent cookie baker so it didn't take me long to get my shoes on...  Never one to turn down a cookie, I was there in less than two flashes.  Just ate one cookie though, they are rich.  She said there were two kinds: raisin sugar and cherry sugar cookies.  I chose what looked like cherry and had to drink lots of tea to get it down.  Oh, don't get me wrong.  Nothing wrong with was just extremely rich.  But I kept on till I got  it down.  But even now I have had enough to hold me down for hours.  Rich, rich, rich.  She gave me a baggie of cookies to bring home too!  I definitely will hoard these cookies until the last crumb is gone.  Absolutely, these will be cherished and savored as long as possible.  Sweetz looked at the bag of cookies and said he'd get some later....heh heh heh... IF HE CAN FIND THEM!!  

I've potted the pansies that I bought on our way home Tuesday in a big pot on my back patio.  They should do well this fall and winter and hopefully into spring.  Such darling little perky flowers.  I also pruned the dozen geranium plants outside to get them to a manageable size and now I will let them recoup.  Then in a few days I will repot them to winterize them.  Guess that means I need to buy a dozen small pots at Lowes.  Note to self: Put that on the list Ms. Sweetz.  Then I potted a small portion of the mint to keep inside on my kitchen windowsill.  The mother plant will do well outside throughout the winter and I can even snip enough to use occasionally during the deep freezing months, but having some fresh inside will mean I don't have to get my toes cold.  Most of my herbs will survive a normal winter.  Not the basil and dill though - too delicate.  Yesterday I pruned my basil plants again!  Wow, are they prolific this year.  I forgot about the three plants that are in my flowerbed and they are huge.  Must get those cut.  I am trying to dry these final clippings since I have plenty in the freezer - I will have more than enough to use and sometimes the dried flakes are easier to manage in certain dishes.  I made a big pot of slaw this morning and cut up a few leaves in it - gave it a wow of a boost of flavor.  Added some of my dried dill too.  Oh, oh, about good! 

I bought some cheese while in Wisconsin so fixed grilled cheese  sandwiches to accompany the slaw for lunch.  Yummy in the tummy.  Nothing like home cooking.  But there was a mess to clean up in the kitchen so I made quick work of that so it wouldn't be staring me in the face for long.  Now I need to come up with other ways to eat all this cheese!!

We also bought a pot of mums on our way home Tuesday.  Beautiful red ones.  Never saw that color before.  Now, where will I plant them???  Somewhere special where they can be enjoyed.  Everything can't go in the backyard, so I'm thinking.... The front yard!!!  Yes, the FRONT yard.  Or then maybe the side yard...

Just had a call from a friend who wants me to go to line dancing classes with her.  I have a couple of friends who have invited me to various things, but seem to always turn them down.  BUT, for some reason, I'm thinking I just might get back into the line dancing again.  Did that two years ago but honestly I didn't like the sense of rhythm.  Unbelievable: how can you do line dancing when you can't count 1-2-3-4?  So I dropped out.  She wanted to do 2.3-3.2-4.5-1.1.  But there's another teacher now.  The bottom line is that they will be performing in the Christmas parade.  Well, I'll probably decline that part, but the exercise and meeting new friends will be good during the classes.    

Thursday, October 11, 2012

VP Debate

I want to watch the VP debate tonight which starts in a few minutes.  Yep, I know - I should have started this sooner...

After getting some things done around here, we zipped off to the hospital late this morning to check on Wil following his bypass surgery.  I am pleased to report he is doing well, looked fairly perky, and was eating his lunch when we got there.  Not sure how long he will have to remain in the cardiac unit, but hopefully not long.  He showed us his long chest wound - looked like it must have been flipped open like butterfly wings! 

After we got home and got some more things done, I went to mom's to give her a couple of gifts that I had gotten on our trip.  Since we don't drink coffee, I always give her the little coffee packets that we get in the motel rooms - so she is well set with a bag full of those.

Went by one of my neighbor's and gave her a gift that I picked up to thank her for keeping an eye on the house while we were away. Have two more stops to give gifts to two other neighbors, but I plan to do that tomorrow. 

Mom wanted to go out to eat so off we went to a seafood restaurant and enjoyed a delicious fish dinner.  And had our favorite waitress.

I'm beginning to feel more like myself after Heartland jet lag and I'm sure tomorrow I will feel more like myself.

Later:  The VP debate was a challenge.  I wanted to bop Joey on the head or stuff a blanket in his mouth.  He was on a roll to belittle his competition to the point of interrupting him constantly.  Then that inappropriate laugh.  Tell me what was so funny about the millions of people out of work, or the economy, or Iran getting a nuclear bomb!!  And I will NOT believe that the White House didn't know the real reason for the conflict in Libya and the lack of security that resulted in the death of our ambassador and three other Americans!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Home Safe and Sound

We arrived home yesterday afternoon and I was surprisingly tired.  It took me awhile to get my body moving, although Sweetz  unpacked the car while I put things away.  I called mom as we drove in to tell her she didn't have to come feed the katz since we were home.  We talked a few minutes but she wanted to head out on a couple of errands.  Was surprised she didn't want to see me...and I haven't seen her today either.  WOW, guess I wasn't missed!

We are keeping up with Wil's condition following his heart bypass surgery and he seems to be having a better day today.  The hospital plans to move him out of ICU to step-down unit today.  That's good news!! His family has been at the hospital so we'll wait for another day to visit. 

There is some dirty laundry around here that needs to be attended to. My limas and green beans are cooking.  I picked the few black walnuts in our yard - just the few that the blasted squirrels have  graciously left us. Talk about upset  - I was furious to come home and find out there were only maybe 18 or so remaining on the ground!  And to top it off, as I was picking those few up, the squirrels were fussing as me from the trees for gathering their  intended supper!  Grrrrr....  Next year, I must be faster with my bucket!       

Monday, October 8, 2012

Mist in the Mountains

It was a pretty day, although a rainy one.  A light rain, nothing like a gully washer.  Just a sweet slow drizzle.  I'm sure the landowners loved every drop.  We drove through Kentucky and ended in the mountains of Virginia.  I mean way way away from the city Virginia.  So far out that they didn't see the need to post a sign welcoming the drivers to Virginia. 

We drove through coal mining areas for miles on end.  Saw where the black ore is mined and chopped and stored to be ready to dump into coal cars of waiting trains.  I would imagine most of the people in these mountains are in some way associated with the coal mining industry.  There was a stream that flowed adjacent to the road and we zipped along at a good speed on the surprisingly straight road.  There are houses and businesses all along the highway, even a Wal-Mart, drug stores, medical offices, restaurants, etc. so these people have quite an access to most of anything they could want.  There are homes nearly filling every available foot of land between the stream, railroad tracks, roadway, and businesses which doesn't leave much of the natural look for photographers.  Of course Sweetz wasn't going to stop to let me take any pictures either.  I volunteered to drive today but he wasn't about to give up the steering wheel.  He did finally stop a couple of times -- like once in a parking lot with a hundred wires and power poles!  Sigh.

In Winchester we stopped to visit in a local museum which was quite interesting although they have twice as much memorabilia than they have room to present it.  But we still enjoyed the Hatfield/McCoy feud memorabilia, civil war mementos, and coal mining objects.  After lunch we even looked through a couple of gift/craft shops but nothing struck us enough to want to let loose of our money. 

We tried to check out Natural Bridge in Kentucky (yes Kentucky - not the one in Virginia), but it began raining relatively hard just as we drove in the parking lot, so we decided we would skip that stop on this trip.  Perhaps we can return sometime to see this natural phenomenon. 

Supper was a delicious chicken parmesan dinner at a local restaurant.  Great food, nice waitress, convenient location.  Couldn't eat it all either.  HUGE servings.  And now we're settled in our motel room on what is expected to be the last night of our trip.  Our driveway should be in our sights tomorrow.  Will be a bitter/sweet moment.  Nice trip, but nice to be home too.  We are already talking about another trip...maybe Texas this time. 

Our good friend had a stress test before we left on our trip a couple of weeks ago and it was reported to be abnormal.  Then he had another one and it was also reported abnormal/inconclusive.  A surgical procedure was scheduled for stent placement but it didn't go well, so he had bypass surgery today.  Had a call from another friend to find out that the surgery was successful and he is resting in ICU.  So thankful for this answer to prayer and hoping he continues to do well for many many years. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Mostly Kentucky

Most of our day was spent in the state of Kentucky:  a beautiful state with the greenest grass and trees imaginable.  The fall foliage is near peak, air was crisp, and the clouds this morning cleared to show beautiful blue skies with puffy white clouds.

We passed some huge horse farms, some with black fences and barns but all proudly displaying the family name on the driveway entrance.  Driveway?  Well, what else do you call the fancy gates at the entrance to a large estate?  Now, in midwest states, like SD for instance, the farms are unpretentious, but huge huge huge, with expensive farm equipment and hundreds if not thousands of acres, large farm homes with expansive and numerous silos plus storage and maintenance buildings.  Nothing pretentious there.  They have money but there's no flash of wealth in your face.  They wear jeans and plaid flannels and drive dusty trucks.  Nope, not a pretentious bone in their body.  No one to impress - their neighbors have the same things.  Then there's Kentucky bluegrass horse farms.  Much smaller but the signs of money are out in front to guarantee all notice.  Then there's the arrogant attitudes we noticed in restaurants and shops.  Too bad some folk have to think they need to flaunt their blue blood money.  Yep, what a waste.  They have to slip off their dirty socks the same way everyone else does. 
Toured Ashland, home of Henry Clay, while in Lexington.  The tour guide (Sarah) mentioned they were a middle class family.  Right...sure.  He married upper class - maybe that made them upper middle class... Beautiful expansive home, expensive furnishings, manicured lawns, exquisite formal garden...yep that's middle class. 

Maybe I need an attitude adjustment...

All was not perfect in the family: seven of their eleven children died, Henry had to travel much of the time, etc.
Lexington was generally an average town, didn't see much to grasp our interest today.  Might have been our own attitude.  Did have a fabulous pizza for lunch in a little corner restaurant.  Headed to Frankfort - now that's the quietest capital city I have ever noticed. People were polite and friendly, homes were neat and attractive, businesses were quaint and inviting.  

We decided to end our day in Winchester -- so here we are relaxing in a motel room.  A good movie is on, my feet are in bedroom slippers, and a icy Coke is waiting next to me.  We just decided to not go out for supper since we that great pizza we ate for lunch was sufficient to hold us down until the continental breakfast in the morning.  

Was that a yawn?  Oh dear, I do declare I must be tired.  Time to grab some snacks and get comfy.  This just might be an early retire evening.  

Saturday, October 6, 2012


We recaptured our second and last lost hour today.  So, that made our day a bit shorter but we squeezed in alot of fun. 

Our first stop was the childhood home of Abe Lincoln.  He was seven years old when Thomas and Nancy arrived at their homestead.  The family remained there 14 years. 

Abe and his father worked hard building a cabin and the farm buildings while Nancy and Sarah (Abe's sister) worked hard making clothes, cooking, cleaning, caring for the animals, and tending the kitchen garden.  Life on their untamed Indiana 100 acre farm was hard work and everyone had to do their part. 

 A couple of years after they arrived at this homestead, Abe's mother died after becoming ill from drinking milk that was tainted with a poisonous plant their cow ate.  The family buried her on the hillside near the homeplace but the family suffered great sadness with her death and absence from their home.  A year later, Thomas left the children in order to find a wife/mother for his children.  He returned with Sally who was a widow with 3 children of her own.  The two families apparently blended well while Abe and Sarah thrived with Sally as their new mother. 

There's more to this history but I'll quit and let anyone reading this do some research into this interesting family to fill in the gaps.  We toured the museum, watched the orientation video, and walked the paths through some of the Lincoln homestead, garden, cemetery, farm fields, farm buildings, etc. All was very interesting.

After a stop for lunch at Denny's, we drove to the town of Corydon to see the Squire Boone Caverns. 

There are two caverns but we chose to see the larger of the two.  Although we have been in numerous caves and caverns, they are all different.  This one differed in that there was a waterfall within the cavern.  

The path allowed us to walk over the top of the waterfall which flowed only about a foot beneath our feet.  And it was quite noisy as it fell through the cavern to the floor beneath.  As is usual, the tour guide turned off the lights at one point and it sure is dark down there.  There are some resident bats in the cave but we never saw them.  The second thing different about this cave was the fact that someone is buried in this cave. 

Yep, Squire Boone requested  to be buried in the cave so his coffin and tombstone are right there in the cave.   

So, our day was a good one.  After supper at Cracker Barrel, we're quietly settled in our motel room - complete with a king-size bed.  I intend to put my half of the bed to good use and snore at least half of the night. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Stainless Steel Arch

We're settled in a motel outside of St. Louis - into Indiana a few miles.  It doesn't mind where, I'm just glad to have stopped.  

We drove into St. Louis today and walked around the arch although it was rainy.  Not too bad while we were out and about in it.  Sure was pleased with that point.  We toured the museum of the westward journey into the America frontier, viewed the video of how the arch was designed and built, bought a few mementos in the gift shop, took the tram to the top, walked around the park down to the lake, etc.  It was a nice visit although it was a bit different than I envisioned.  A very nice park ranger was so nice to us today up at the top of the arch...a fellow we clicked and he shared a large number of his photos.  He took our picture up at the top of the loop.  I was surprised at how we got up to the top - in a little bitty tram with 5 seats, now I know how a sardine feels in a sealed can.  The claustrophobia could be bad for someone with that illness, but it wasn't too bad since there are two tall although skinny windows which allow you to peek out into the the center of the arch as you progress to the top - and also the itsy tram moves fairly quickly. 

The limited amount of space at the top was also surprising - much smaller than I had envisioned.  There are little windows through which I snapped a few pictures of the buildings at the bottom in that area. 

All-in-all, it was a pleasant day...even though it was rainy.  After all, today was the only rainy day of our entire trip.  So I can't really complain - and I think the prediction is for fair weather tomorrow!!.

itsy bitsy tram to hold 5 people

We're at the top of the arch

A view of the courthouse and surrounding buildings
And the king-size bed across the room???  well, it's calling my name...

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Missouri in the Fall

We've driven around on highways and back roads in this beautiful state.  Seen everything from small cottages to huge estates and everything in between.  The topography varies from flat to hilly.  We were driving away from the Amish community we visited when we hit some hills and let me tell you they were the type that take your breath away or cause your stomach to move into your chest.  Wheeeee...I think Sweetz decided to go faster just to increase the thrill. 

The Amish were pleasant and we bought a few things at a couple of their stores.  The girls have such tiny waists!  I'm thinking they work off their calories.  One of the stores sold flour and sugar and other staples in 50# sacks!!!  All the spices and herbs were there as well as beans, peas, soup mixes, honey, jellies, hats, canning supplies, etc.  It's a store that is frequented by the Amish folk themselves and we brushed elbows with several as we checked out all the aisles.  I was wearing jeans and a tee shirt and was hatless.  Two little boys accompanying their mother really found me interesting as they studied me from head to toe several times.  Then they whispered some comments to their mother.  This area of Missouri has an accent that takes an extra second to understand and I'm sure they noticed my southern accent within a few seconds.  I asked the young Amish girl who was checking me out if she had a box to put the items in since we were out of town and didn't want them to break.  She nodded and then smiled so cute as she commented, "Yes, I know".  Yep, I'm sure my accent was a dead giveaway - or maybe it was our car sitting out front with a 1/4" layer of Missouri dirt on it. We do plan to hit one of those car washes before we return home.  I've already wash the windshield each time we get a fill up. 

That reminds me...I was washing the windshield today when a lady walked by and said ever so seriously, "You missed a spot!!"  I tried to get her to take the brush and help me and we had a great time sharing some laughter.  She told me she had been waiting all day to tease someone and I told her I sure was glad it was with me.  

Tomorrow we head into St. Louis to the arch.  Can't wait. 

We found a beautiful covered bridge out in the country today.  We had to park 1/4 mile from it and then hike on a brown pebbled path through the most beautiful wooded area to arrive at the bridge.  The leaves through that area were yellow, orange, and red, and falling gently as we walked along the path.  Ever so pretty.  Not another soul around either, so it was so peaceful to enjoy God's gift of beauty.

Sweetz wanted to visit a few historical areas and other points of interest, which we did.  Walt Disney's homeplace, John Pershing's homeplace...

and the museum and tribute to Sterling Price, a decorated Union General who served during the Civil War.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Loving Missouri

Well, I love all the states I've been in. Missouri is a beautiful state and offers wonderful opportunities to step back in the history of this state and our country.  Ever so interesting and inspiring.

The land is generally flat along the roads although there are some low-rise hills and ridges on either one side or sometimes both.
Harvest time was in full force today as we drove through.  Harvesters were churning up lots of corn dust but the guys sure looked like they were having great fun rolling around their huge farms.
We toured The Pony Express Museum which I found very interesting and informative.

Another stop was a tour of the home where Jesse James lived for 90 days and in which he was killed.  The story goes that he was standing on a chair straightening a framed tapestry when someone shot him behind the ear.  There's much of interest in the home including pictures, newspaper articles, and personal artifacts of the James family. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Historic Nebraska

We're in Nebraska today.  Nice state.  Love the views, the farms, the fall foliage, the gorgeous lakes, the history, the horses, etc. 

After breakfast at Denny's we drove to Gothenburg to tour the pony express way station.  The tour guide was excellent and had such a great love of the subject and was quite knowledgeable. 

Then we headed down 80E to the Great Platte River Archway.  We were really pleased with the quality of this stop and the friendliness of the staff and the historical nature of this exhibit.  The tour began with the wagon trail west, 

continued through the railroad days, and ended with the modern roadways connecting east and west.  There was also an excellent exhibit outdoors of the life in an Pawnee Indian village and also the life of a family who had left the east to settle in a sod house in Nebraska and the difficulties they encountered in order to survive under difficult circumstances. 

We ended our touring today at Fort Kearney.  This was a military outpost in Kansas whose main mission was to assistant travelers moving through on their way west.  There was a great video to begin our history lesson, followed by a tour of their museum of artifacts, and ending with a self-guided walking tour of the buildings of the entire fort area.