Sunday, August 30, 2009

You Can Be Blessed AND a Blessing

For readers who have ovarian cancer, check out this website for much information AND a discussion forum. Members include long-time survivors as well as newly diagnosed so in joining the dialogue you can be both blessed and a blessing.

Now...I'm headed to church to fellowship with fellow believers and to worship our beloved Lord.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Don't Be Blindsided Because Your Mirrors are Set Wrong

The last thing you want while driving 70 mph down the freeway is to be blindsided by another car because you didn't see him in your blind spot.

I've written about this before. Driving down the freeway is difficult enough without having your mirrors set all wrong. You want to be able to see all around you, including your blind spots, and your mirrors can help you do that.

You can read here how to rightly set your rear view mirrors so that blind spots are virtually eliminated.

Using your mirrors wisely will make it far easier to negotiate freeways and interstate roads. You'll be safer and so will the driver coming up beside you on either side.

So if you don't already have your mirrors set correctly, please do take the time to read how to do this. It takes a few miles of practice to feel at ease with a new mirror setup but take it from me, this works wonders for your self-confidence on the freeway.

Friday, August 28, 2009

He May Be Famous but He Missed One Thing!

He may be famous but he missed one thing! I'm talking about Famous Dave and his BBQ restaurant chain. We were in the city yesterday and decided to have a BBQ sandwich for lunch.

The food? Great! And to prove it, the place was packed.

However, as I looked around at the decor I felt as if something were amiss.

The nostalgic tone of a small-town gas station was pretty right-on. The vintage signs, tools, advertisements, and photos all worked together to remind one of those old gas stations and the small-town mechanic...the same guy who used to come out and ask "Fill 'er up?" when you pulled up to the gas pump. He was the guy who washed your windshield, fixed your flat tires and who, after sticking his head under the hood to listen to that ticking sound, would drive the car onto the rack, climb underneath the hood, and fix said noise. All those things came to mind.

But still...something was not quite right.

I finally figured it out.

Famous Dave's simply does not smell quite right. Every garage and service station of that era smelled like a garage. You know...a mixture of gasoline, oil, grease rags, and tires.

The crew that put this decor in place is probably way too young to have ever set foot in the bay area of one of those gas stations. They wouldn't have a clue what the place is supposed to smell like.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Which WhiteStone Am I ?

I selected the name "whitestone" probably 15 years ago after studying Revelation 2:17. I was fascinated by the seven letters to the church and was particularly taken with this verse.

That winter we spent a month in southern California. It was our daily habit to walk the beach. Sometimes I found sand dollars and small seashells to add to my collection. There were also numerous black polished rocks washed up by the waves. But now and then I would find a smooth white stone. I added these stones to my shell collection.

I was so taken with the "white stone" of Rev. 2:17 that I began using "whitestone" as my moniker on the computer at the office where I worked....except that the computer (fifteen years ago) would allow only seven letters for that particular use. This meant my name was listed as "whitest" and not "whitestone". It was considerable time before I realized that to the casual observer (my co-workers) my abbreviated name was racist in tone! Whitest! Yikes! So I changed names. I don't even remember what new name I used.

Later, when I began blogging, I again selected "whitestone". Only I realized again that this might be considered racist. As in "whitest-one". Oh, Dear. Foiled again.

So I capitalized my name as "WhiteStone". On my blog, the name automatically appears as WHITESTONE, all in caps. I don't know how to change that. But if I comment on your blog, it appears as WhiteStone.

This morning I browsed a blog by a rather well-known pastor in Minneapolis. This particular post had brought in 646 comments! I was casually reading some of them (not all 646!) when I ran across comments by Whitestone! And it wasn't me!

So if you see "Whitestone" in whatever mode of capitalization, be warned that it may or may not be me.

Just sign me WhiteStone. The original WhiteStone. No late wannabe. Just me.

And when I get that white stone with my new name written on it, I'll let you know what it is. So you'll know what to call me. All I know now is that it will be a lovely name and totally without racist connotation.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Today I Ate GREEN! It Tasted Weird! But Good.

I'd forgotten about green smoothies. Last year I made several after reading about them on the net.

Our garden contributed to today's lunch. (If you can call this lunch.)

Chard, collards, cucumber, beet greens, asparagus, a couple leaves of basil, one large tomato, half a frozen banana, and a half cup or more of cranberry juice. Blended into a Green Smoothie.

There is no "real" recipe. You simply dump whatever you have on hand into a blender, making sure there is some juice to juice things up a bit. You could add more fruit to make it more fruity. Or, a dill cucumber. Or tabasco. Celery. Apple juice is good. Whatever.

I'll admit two things. First...each concoction tastes different that the previous. Secondly, they all taste a bit "different". As in "weird". But if you have an open mind, most of them taste surprisingly pleasant. You get a ton of fresh veggie vitamins plus the fiber.

DISCLAIMER: A green smoothie of raw veggies is not recommended for those readers who are currently undergoing chemo and whose white blood counts may be low. With low white counts, the immune system is not working well. Raw veggies may contain bacteria, etc., that a normal person handles very well, but persons with a compromised immune system are usually advised by their doctor/nurse to eat cooked foods only.

Gizmos and Photos and Sounds

Remember yesterday's post about the Underwood No 5? Here are some close-ups of the mechanisms. (you can click for close-ups)

I like mechanical things. Our family carries the genes for good eye-hand coordination and for figuring out how things work. If I had lived in a later time I would have enjoyed going into carpentry or engineering or some similar creative logic-driven career.

My dad had mechanical ways. He worked as a hired hand on a farm and he was good at fixing and repairing whatever needed his hand. Out near the barn was an open-air forge where he fired up coal to do minor blacksmith work. It had a wind-up bellows system that provided extra air to the white-hot fire to make it even hotter. In my mind I can still see him pounding and shaping some piece of red-hot iron to repair some part of some broken machine. It seemed like he could fix anything and he was constantly working around the farm. Even after he retired he would often be at the neighbor's place, helping them adjust and fine-tune their combine or tractor. This first photo reminds me of the world of wheels and gizmos and mechanical things that my Dad worked with and amongst.

Me? For awhile I played with vintage Singer sewing machines. Those old machines (1960s and before) were simple in terms of their mechanisms. A few secrets as to needle placement, tension control, etc., and a few drops of oil now and then would keep them running forever.

But this Underwood No. 5 typewriter? It's a good deal more complex than any Singer sewing machine. And it's a good thing I didn't discover the world of vintage typewriters long ago for I would have been collecting them instead of sewing machines.

It's a good thing to have a good sewing machine (or 2 or 3 or 10!) in the house, especially if you enjoy sewing or quilting or mending. But a collection of typewriters? Not a very "useful" collection. How many letters can you type anyway!!! No, no, I'm happy I did not discover vintage typewriters long ago. (And my hubby is probably agreeing with me on that one!)

The second photo reminds me of a choir! Four rows of singers, awaiting their moment. When it is time they will stand and sing the four-part harmony of some great old hymn. They practice on Wednesday nights and there is much laughter and horsing around and the choir director has to snip at them a bit to get them to settle down long enough to rehearse their parts. But this morning...there they are, appropriately sedate, listening to the sermon, ready to stand at the right moment and present beautiful music in worship.

In this third photo I can hear the rich tones of a pipe organ ready to send heavy resonance across the cathedral. Can't you hear 'em? Each pipe proud to have a part. Each sound boasting in its richness. And all of them trying to outsound the next. It's competition at its finest! And loudest!

And this last photo? Ah! Now we've moved from the cathedral to the opera house and we're seated in the upper balcony. I'm thinking tonight's performance must be "Phantom of the Opera."

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Clackety-Clackety Earful

I wonder how many times these keys have been struck, how many words were written and how many sheets of paper shuffled in and out of this old antique typewriter. This particular model (Underwood No. #5) provided a livelihood for millions in the first half of the 20th Century. A roomful of 20 or 30 secretaries all busily typing away would have surely been a clackety-clackety earful!

Saturday my Daughter and I went to a couple yard sales and she spotted this Underwood No. 5. The price was right at a perfect $5.

And I mean "perfect" in that our 14-yr-old Grandson likes to tinker. He likes playing with screwdrivers and pliers and drills. He used a bit of WD-40 to clean surface areas and was pleased that he got the space bar and the "stuck" keys to begin functioning. Heunderwood typewriter postcard thinks this will make a nice piece of "decor" in their living room. It's fortunate that his mother and he have similar tastes in interior decorating!

The No. 5 was one of Underwood's spectacularly successful models and was "the" typewriter for most of the first half of the 20th Century. You can read more about antique typewriters at The Classic Typewriter Page.

Being a retired secretary (the modern title is "administrative assistant") I had to put my own hands to the keyboard and try this out myself. I wonder if the secretary of yesteryear encountered carpal tunnel and artvintage underwood typewriter model 5hritis from the constant pounding. And there was no "backspace/delete" key that would undo mispelled words or incorrect grammar. Oh, no. Instead there were erasers and later, that beloved (or hated) bottle of white-out. Every letter required a carbon copy which meant that erasures had to occur on the original as well as the copies. What a tedious task! My first week on the job, with only one semester of high-school typing, required me to type 50 copies of a fund-raising letter. They were duplicates except for the address line. The only copy machine we had was a thermofax (that will date me!) and fund-raising letters were of such importance that each addressee should receive his/her own "originally-typed" letter. I did a lot of erasing that week! And by the end of the week my typing had improved considerably!

I Wish I Had Worn a Black Eye-Patch

My daughter and I were in Home Depot last week looking for a couple items for a small home project.

I didn't notice them, but my daughter did. A little boy and his grandmother. He had been watching me (wearing my chemo scarf for a head covering). He grabbed his grandmother's hand and said, rather excitedly, "Look Gramma! That lady is wearing a pirate cap!"

I wish I'd been wearing a black eye-patch, for if I had, surely nobody would ever suspect I was a chemo patient!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Global Warming? Not Here!

It feels more like fall than late summer. Our thermometer this morning showed 51 degrees F. but it wouldn't surprise me if the low last night was evencooler than that.

This is August! It's supposed to muggy and hot! Sweltering! Global warming is happening elsewhere this year for we've had "perpetual spring" instead of "summer". Iowa has had the coolest July on record. And it wouldn't surprise me if we have a record cool August as well.

This has been exceedingly pleasant to bear. Not a soul is complaining! On the other hand the mild season has, if nothing else, affected the tomatoes in our gardens. They've not done well. Everyone's plants are doing the same, browning and dying of wilt from the bottom up. Tomatoes falling on the ground. I've been able to can a good supply, but am sad that the plants didn't do better.

Strange summer weather for Iowa.

On another topic...we celebrated hubby's birthday last evening with two daughters and their families present. Good food! Good company! Good time!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Cease Striving and Know...

Whenever I am inclined to "grumble" I am reminded that no matter what difficulty is in my situation, I am not alone in "difficulty".

This year we have dealt with cancer. I was stunned (to put it mildly) last January when coming out of gall bladder surgery, my surgeon informed me that I had ovarian cancer. And not in its earliest stages, either. I was diagnosed stage III-C which means the cancer had moved beyond the ovaries throughout the abdominal cavity. I take some solace in that it had not yet metastasized or moved into other organs. At least, so far as we know, so far as can be detected.

And so, since January we have dealt with gall bladder surgery and then debulking surgery (during which I'm certain Doc took all of my innards out, threw some of them away, tied the rest in triple knots and returned them to my body). These two surgeries were quickly followed by a more minor procedure where they imbedded a power port below my shoulder. Then came six sessions of chemotherapy, hair loss, aches, pains, constant low blood counts and constant wonderings. Not to mention umteen neupogen shots which themselves brought on aching bones.

I mention all of that not as a means of gaining sympathy (although if you want to sympathize, you surely may), but more as a background for what I am about to say.

There is not a human being on earth who has managed to walk through life's journey without encountering struggle and pain and worry and sorrow. And yet, tonight, as we sat out on the deck, enjoying the cool breeze, eating our supper (it's a sure sign I grew up in Iowa that I call it supper and not dinner), I was thinking about this past year and how difficult it was at times. Not just for myself. It was difficult for my husband and family as well. They gathered round me during surgery and called and visited often. My husband took on a heavy load, worrying about me, getting me to and from treatment, hovering over me, watching and listening and trying to make things easy for me. Uncertainty reigns in our thoughts. There are a lot of "ifs" and "what-if's" in all of this.

And yet, as I sat there tonight, I was reminded that when all is said and done, life has been and is still good. I simply cannot complain. I told my husband, "What if we were living in war-torn Europe during the early 1940s? What if we were living in some droughty famine-stricken country right now and had no food for ourselves or for our children? What if we had our children torn from our arms or we watched them die before our eyes?"

Life is uncertain. Some are blessed with jobs, family, home, peace. Some are not so blessed. Many of us currently living are blessed with living in a time when homes are warm, food is available, medical care is available and travel is easy.

Some, even today, are not blessed with those things. Some of you reading this may have perils and pains in your life that are dragging you down. And surely everyone two centuries ago lacked most of the above.

I wonder sometimes why I am here and now and not then and there. It is none of my doing. God has placed me in this time and this place. I may deal with the hardships that life unfailingly brings regardless of when and where I live. But I am also blessed with the goodness of this time and this place and this family and these people and this life.

Life gets hectic. It gets busy. It gets frustrating and stressful and sometimes seems upside down. Even in our "good" times we forget to be thankful. We shouldn't forget.

These last several months there have been times at night, when I lie abed, my eyes ready to go to sleep, that I "stop" and let my senses take in the quiet and peace of just lying in a clean bed in a warm home under a solid roof, breathing, praying, thinking, just "being". It is good to savor life and to be grateful to God for all things.

Today's verse?

Psalm 46:10 "Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My Dreams Are Funnier Than Yours and The Top of My Head is Well Covered

When you have cancer your dreams change.

I've been finished with my actual chemo (carbo/taxol) for six weeks now. During treatment I slept moderately well but lately I've been sleeping like a babe. (Umm, sleeping very well. Babies sometimes awaken at intervals crying for whatever it is they cry for. So, no, not like a baby.) I've been sleeping soundly. Refreshingly.

The six weeks since chemo I've been waiting patiently (impatiently!!) for hair to begin growing on my smooth pate. And Finally! This past week I'm beginning to see peach fuzz. White peach fuzz. Glow-in-the-dark white peach fuzz.

Last night I dreamt that overnight (Overnight! How good is that!) my hair grew an inch and a half and I awoke with a nice cap of fluffy curls, medium brown in color. Gorgeous fluffy curls that needed merely a flip of the comb to look good.

I never would have dreamt that in my pre-cancer days. Cancer changes your dreams. It changes a Lot of your dreams!

And, hey! I have another chemo humor joke. I hope I haven't already told you this one. I made this one up. Chemo brain forgets sometimes. Here goes...

Cancer Woman: I got a haircut this morning.

Hubby: Which one did you cut?

Cancer Woman: All three of them.

I just got out of bed...that's the only thing to which I can attribute this post. My caffeine awaits me.

In the meantime, remember Psalm 8 and repeat after me...

O LORD, our Lord,
How majestic is Your name in all the earth,
Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!
From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength
Because of Your adversaries,
To make the enemy and the revengeful cease.
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?
Yet You have made him a little lower than God,
And You crown him with glory and majesty!
You make him to rule over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet,
All sheep and oxen,
And also the beasts of the field,
The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea,
Whatever passes through the paths of the seas.
O LORD, our Lord,
How majestic is Your name in all the earth!

I guess I'll leave it to God as to how, if, and when hair grows atop my head. He's got me covered, so to speak.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Take a Hint! And Feel Good About It!

Today's Hint: If you are past having small children in your house (or not, whichever) you may find yourself lingering at the school supplies at your local store. And if you long to buy supplies (even though you don't need them yourself) at the bargain prices, check to see if your local school needs supplies for underprivileged children. Then go shopping and pick up some "needed" items and drop them off at your local school. You'll be glad you did.

Monday, August 17, 2009

She Sets a Dangerous Precedent and Expects Us to Follow!

Now and then I check out Ree Drummond's blog, The Pioneer Woman. Ree lives in Oklahoma with her hubby and four adorable children. And she's not bashful about sharing their ranch life with the entire world. Reading her blog lets one experience vicariously "livin' on the ranch", so to speak. But she sets a dangerous precedent when she cooks like she does for her man. I mean, life is tough enough, without having to attain to her level of "wonderful food on the table!"

Today's post on cooking was particularly dangerous and because of that I realized that I can NEVER, EVER tell Hubby about her blog...if he spots today's recipe for Caramel Apple Sticky Buns (yep, you can click for the recipe, but don't tell hubby) he will never again let me out of the kitchen...and then I'll gain 150 pounds and no longer be the slim, trim (oh, dream on!) woman of my youth (at sixty-some? who am I kidding!). So, no, I am not telling Hubby about Ree's blog site. No, sirree! Nope. Not gonna do that!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Heaven? What's That? And What Is It Like?

Tonight's subject is a heavenly one.

I'm putting together a lesson for the ladies in jail and am using the theological note on "Heaven" in the Reformation Study Bible. The Bible is an ESV version, but I use the NASB, so if you notice a slight difference in wording, that's the reason.

It would seem to me that if we are going to ask questions about heaven we should, of all places, find the answers in Scripture. So what exactly does the Bible tell us about heaven?

Heaven is first of all God's dwelling place.
Psalm 33:13-14 "The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men; from His dwelling place He looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth."

Secondly, it is the place where the glorified Christ has returned. In Acts 1:11 two angels speak to the disciples who had just watched Jesus rise into heaven. The angels tell them, "This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven."

Thirdly, it is the place where one day God's people will be with Christ forever.
In John 17:5 Jesus prays to the Father, "Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was."
And John 17:24, "Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me, where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world."
I Thessalonians 4:16-17 speaks of the last day, "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord."

Jesus told His followers that He would prepare a place for His people.
John 14:2 "In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?

The throne of Christ is at the Father's right hand.
Ephesians 1:20 . "...He (the Father) raised Him (Christ) from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places..."

The apostle Paul adds that from the perspective of eternity, those who belong to God are already seated with Christ.
Ephesians 2:6 "...and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus."

We will have a new body, a body that is adapted for life in heaven.
2 Cor. 5:1-8 "For we know that if the earthly tent (our earthly body) which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands (our resurrection body), eternal in the heavens. 2 For indeed in this house (our body that is dying) we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven (our new heavenly body), 3 inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. 4 For indeed while we are in this tent (this dying body), we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal (our body that will die) will be swallowed up by life. 6 Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge (guarantee). 6 Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body (living here and now) we are absent from the Lord 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight-- 8 we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord."

Right now, in the here and now, in our earthly bodies, the realities of heaven are unseen, and we know them only by faith.
2 Corinthians 4:18 "...while we look not at the things which are seen (things now), but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal."
2 Corinthians 5:7
adds this "...for we walk by faith, not by sight..."

The disciple John reminds believers in 1 John 3:2-3 "Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He (Jesus) appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is."

Right now, we only know a fraction (if that) of what heaven will be like.
I Corinthians 13:12 "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I now in part, but then I will know fuully just as I also have been fully known."

We have this reassurance...there will be no tears, sorrow, or death in heaven.
Revelation 21:4 "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away."

God promises His people in Jeremiah 30:22, "You shall be my people,and I will be your God."

God's intention is that our redemption will reveal the riches of His love and kindness...
Ephesians 2:7 "so that in the ages to come He (God the Father) might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus."

His riches towards us are so astounding that we can't even begin to imagine the fullness of our eternal life in Christ.
I Corinthians 2:9 ..but just as it is written, 'Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.'"

And with that, I'm content. And grateful.

Romans 10:13

Friday, August 14, 2009

Concerning Cake and How It Is Made

When I began this blog I never expected to be writing about cancer nor to be reading other bloggers who are dealing with cancer themselves.

It's a comforting thing, somehow, to be encouraged by others who are close to the Lord.

My friend, Roxanne, is currently undergoing radiation for breast cancer. It doesn't matter that my cancer is ovarian and hers is otherwise. We both deal with treatment, with the after-effects, with fears, with having to place our lives in God's hands. We both know that God is a sovereign God, meaning He is aware of and in control of all things. And when things don't quite make sense in our own eyes, we know that God knows a whole lot more about our situation than we ourselves know. And so we submit to Him and are grateful. In the midst of our illness we have joy in Him. Whether our health be good or bad, we rest in Christ.

You can read Roxanne's post about cake that she posted today here. And you can read her entire blog at Roxanne's Journey.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Skeezix and Nina Wallet Had a Baby! Born In a Taxi!

Clovia Wallet was born May 15, 1949 to Skeezix and Nina Wallet. That is, she was born in the newspaper comic strips or "funnies" as we called them. Daily newspapers had a short black and white strip. The Sunday papers included a half-page full color display.gasoline alley comic

The Gasoline Alley series appeared in nearly every newspaper in America. What is interesting about Gasoline Alley is that the cast of characters aged with the times. New babies were born, characters became grandparents, life continued on.

Clovia was "born" in a taxicab in 1949. She grew up and married and had a child of her own.Her birth was such a sensation that toymakers created a new doll named Clovia.

In the "Toledo Blade" newspaper (Toledo, Ohio), dated Friday, June 17, 1949, page 35, columnist Kaye Quealy mentions the new Clovia doll. Here's what she wrote...Clovia Wallet doll

"Every year recently there's a new doll, and this year there's another one who owes her life to the comic strips. She is Clovia the daughter of Skeezix and Nina Wallet, the little girl with the lucky four-leaf clover on her hand. Lasalle's will have her within a few days."

You can view the newspaper here. This 57 page newspaper sold for five cents! Imagine that!

Later, in October 1953, LIFE magazine featured a three-page spread on "Comic Strip Dolls". The Clovia doll featured therein differs from the doll I had in that mine had long red hair (as in the first image above.) At least she did for awhile...somehow in combing her hair I plucked out enough that she became bald at the back of her head. I was a bit saddened by that but I didn't mind...she was still my doll.Clovia Wallet doll clovia doll

My brother who was a year younger than I decided that he, too, wanted a doll. I vaguely remember that Mom pulled one out of a dresser drawer for him. I don't know if she had it stashed for a later gift for me? At any rate, it became his and he handled it exactly as a boy child might do, dragging it around wherever he went, grasping it by one ankle, dragging the poor babe's head in the dust, and leaving it totally unclothed. I might add that his season of the doll did not seem to hinder him in his becoming an excellent father to his own children. And I doubt that he would find as much pleasure in finding his old doll as I might in finding myself a "Clovia".

If any of those Clovia dolls still exist I'm certain they are in poor condition. The head was of a hard material but the body was a rubber type which by now would be badly deteriorated.Clovia Wallet, Ricky Jr, Joan Palooka, Bonny Braids, Sparle Plenty, Cookie, Alexander

I'm posting what I know about the Clovia doll here as there is very little info on the net about her. Here's an image from the LIFE magazine article...dolls include Ricky Jr (son of Lucille Ball), Joan Palooka (daughter of Joe Palooka), Bonny Braids (born to Dick Tracy and Tess Trueheart in 1951), Sparkle Plenty (daughter to Gravel Gertie and B. O. Plenty of Dick Tracy fame), Cookie (daughter of Dagwood and Blondie), Alexander (born to Blondie and Dagwood), and Clovia (lower left in photo).

By the way, B.O. Plenty and Gravel Gertie were two of my favorite comic characters. Their names described them well.

You can read all my posts about Clovia here .

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A New Covering For the House and Appreciation for Men In Our Lives

A friend and I were talking via email this morning about men. No, not maliciously. In fact we were appreciating the fact that men are "doers" in the sense that they like fixing, putting together, taking apart, inventing, etc. I'm highly appreciative of men. What sparked the topic was watching my 13-yr-old grandson this past weekend do the "man" thing of using an electric drill/screwdriver to take apart an old computer desk and help construct the new one. He was fully intent upon his task and wanted absolutely no help. "Help" is translated "Interference" by a man intent upon doing his job. So I backed off and went off to run the vacuum instead. No man would touch a vacuum unless under extreme duress. I'm hoping this grandson continues to learn and do.

My own man is a doer...he pays close attention to the lawn, the cars, the watering of the garden. And, yes, he also pays close attention to the garbage. We've been married a long time and in all those years I'll bet he's forgotten garbage night only once or twice. He also knows how to cook a pretty decent meal but he pretends ignorance in the kitchen. Sneaky guy, that man. (I say that very kindly...after all, he did save me a slice of that peach pie!)

Today's photo shows four young men who are currently atop our house. They are removing three layers of old shingles in prep for new ones. Fortunately for them the day is lovely, neither too hot nor too cold.

Our old shingles were getting a few curled up edges...well, a LOT of curled up edges. By the end of the week these four will have a new roof in place.

I'm glad it's them doing the job and not me. However, I do know how to apply shingles...I helped do that once on an old steep-roofed a past life. I did that in spite of the fact that I was three months pregnant. Oh, Foolish Woman! Climbing up the ladder to access the roof wasn't too bad, but it took a bit of nerve to step OFF the roof and onto the ladder to go down. Somehow that freaked me a bit and I moved slowly and carefully every time.

Then, to continue in my Foolish Woman phase, we went canoeing. In Canada. Canoeing out wasn't so bad. Canoeing back we were met with high winds and heavy waves. My poor baby survived both roof and canoe! For which I am extremely grateful. I bet she didn't know she was atop a roof and paddling across a wind-tossed lake before she was born. She does now. Or at least as soon as she reads this.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Driving a Country Mile - Or Three Hundred!

I'm Back! Home again, that is. Drove over 300 miles today, mostly on back roads. Today I needed to make a couple out-of-the-way stops so I used Mapquest at to plan my route. Mapquest is useful but tends to use routes that include major highways, even it if means adding extra miles to do so.

So I searched for "shortest" trip, rather than "quickest" trip and was greatly surprised to see the quickest trip was 48 miles longer than the shortest trip. So I found myself meandering south through the central part of Iowa on small country roads. There were a couple stretches of gravel road but I jogged east or west to avoid those. All in all, it was an easy trip with very little traffic and I saw new parts of Iowa that I had not seen before. Mostly small towns, too small to even brag a decent quick-shop gas station. I didn't mind foregoing hectic interstate driving for this more sedate route.

Remember the peach pie that I baked for my hubby to eat while I was gone? He saved a slice for me. Whatta Guy! He must have missed me something terrible to do something that sweet, dontcha think?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Adventures of Toby and Tink

I'm visiting my daughter and grandson this weekend in Minneapolis. Daughter drives a Volkswagon bug which makes it really difficult to purchase and haul home large items. She had been wanting to replace her old computer desk. I won't call it "antique" because I don't think particle board can be classified as such. However, it is older than the hills for sure.

So when I made the trip up here I drove our pickup. We've made one trip to the Goodwill to get rid of some things she wanted out of the house. And we've made two trips to Ikea where she purchased a puter desk and bookcase. Assembly followed. We both are tired as all get out.

Their two kitties, Toby and Tink, had great fun playing in the new furniture. You can click here to see their adventures in the new shelf unit as it lay assembled on the living room floor prior to our placing it up against the wall. They, being of simple mind, think we've done all this work simply to provide them with a new playground. Toby and Tink tend to be rather self-focused.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Are You Reading for Depth or Do You Read Simply to Pass Time?

If you are not satisfied with your reading...if you read but don't retain...if you want to dig deep in your reading, I highly recommend that you read today's post by my friend Joshua wherein he reviews Mortimer Adler's How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading.

Joshua's review was extremely helpful to me as I want to be more diligent in my reading.

If you are a voracious reader, and want to read for more than simple "passing of time", check Joshua's notes here.

Or you can read his complete blog here.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Hovering, Anticipating, & Waiting Patiently

Fresh Peach PieRememer the canned peaches? Here's the pie. Hubby is checking the peach's still too hot to cut.

Here's where the internet comes up short. At least magazines have "scratch and sniff". Here you'll have to take my word for it that this is definitely one of life's treats! Peach Pie! Oh, My!

The Way to a Man's Heart.....

I'm looking forward to a weekend visit with my daughter and grandson. But that means I had to first take care of some tomatoes from the garden and some peaches from a friend.

The result is canned tomatoes, canned peaches and peach jam. And a dozen peaches left for a pie which is currently in the oven.

I figure if I leave a peach pie on the counter, my hubby won't forget all about me while I'm gone. Do ya suppose!!?

That peach pie is smelling pretty good right now....I have to have at least ONE slice before I head to Minnesota tomorrow!

Today's Hint (which has nothing to do with a man's heart) is this...when canning fruits or vegetables, use a crayon to mark the year on the lid. Do it before the lids have cooled...the warm lid will cause the crayon to melt-write.

If you plan to do some canning this summer, be sure to use a current canning guide such as the Ball Blue Book of Preserving for the proper canning methods for each type of food. This book tells you how to can and preserve a variety of fruits and vegetables and will walk you through the process.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Let's Make Certain We Have the Right Spirit!

I've mentioned before that I teach Bible once a week to a small group of women in a jail setting. Currently we are going through a series of lessons on the Life of Christ.

We have a variety of women who come into class, Caucasian and otherwise. Most of them are English speaking, but now and then we will have a Latino woman who does not read or understand English. We have Spanish Bibles on hand, but when it comes to studying the lesson I want to give them more than that, to bring them into the discussion, to allow them to see the main points of the lesson. Sometimes there will be a bilingual woman who can translate key points. Sometimes not.

I can count to ten in Spanish. Otherwise, "No Habla Espanol"!

I've found that I can translate simple sentences by using . And while simple sentences "seem" to translate correctly, I do not try to translate grammatically complex sentences or unusual words. I've learned that I must keep it simple! There are pitfalls in using this program.

For instance, babelfish will correctly translate "Holy Spirit" to "Espíritu Santo". Even I can see that this is a correct translation.

But if I try to translate the single word Spirit (either alone or in a sentence), it translates "alcohol".

You can see that might cause a little misunderstanding! Especially if one is trying to state that God gives us the Holy Spirit in our hearts as a helper!

I can credit my husband for discovering this program's propensity to err in regards to the Holy Spirit! In his classroom of 30 guys! (Hear me giggle!)

Today's Verse?
John 4:24 "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

And in Spanish? "Dios es espíritu, y los que le adoran deben adorarle en espíritu y en verdad."

Let's get it right!

Monday, August 3, 2009

I Don't Care What Color It Is, I Want Some Hair!

When I began my chemotherapy late last February I asked the nurse, "Does everyone who takes this particular chemo (carbo/taxel) lose their hair?" You see, I was hoping I would be one of the lucky few who might miss out on this particular aspect of chemotherapy.
White Hair before
She looked at me with a mixture of sympathy, matter-of-factness, and certainty. Then she responded. "Yes."

I could see by her eyes she wanted and needed to give me the truth, regardless of how much I wanted to hear otherwise. Up until that moment I was hoping that maybe SOME patients, myself included, might escape the norm. But when she looked at me like that and answered with that one-word answer, I Knew. Every last one of these gray hairs would be lost.

I can truthfully tell you, "I'm just glad the chemo doesn't cause us to lose our teeth!" For it would indeed be bad to lose teeth. Teeth do not grow back. Hair does. ("I hope!", she said with a wry smile.Bald head after)

I see friends who are several months further down the road than I. Their hair is growing back. Sometimes a little patchy. Sometimes slowly. But growing! I rejoice with them!

In the meantime I've completed my six rounds of chemo. I will be continuing to receive the trial drug Avastin (or a placebo, neither I nor my doctor knows which) but the trial drug will have no effect on my hair and it should begin growing back. I figure it will take about 3 months before I can truthfully say "I have hair!".

I can't, shouldn't, and won't complain! No, Sirree! No complaining! Just commenting!

And then I think of today's scripture. Luke 12:7 "Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered."

Yeah, and in my case, at the moment, that number is practically zero! (She said very quietly, determining not to be impertinent before God!)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Daylilies and Squash

Last March I wasn't certain I'd be doing much gardening this year. Chemo was hitting me hard. Thankfully, each session seemed a bit easier than the one before. And it's been four weeks since I completed the last in the series of six. So I'm feeling really well right now.

Our backyard garden area is pretty small. That's because our city lot is pretty small but that is not all that bad...a small lot means that we can mow the lawn in less than 15 minutes time. Er, I mean, my hubby does. He's in charge of the mower. I'm in charge of maintaining the flower beds and keeping the weeds out of the small vegetable garden.

Early this spring a friend mailed me seeds from the heirloom Potimarron Squash. Now if there is one thing I know about heirloom squash varieties it is that they are NOT the new, compact bush variety. I knew the vines would require lots of that we simply did not have.

However, I figured if I planted these few seeds behind the daylilies on the far side of the garage and if I checked them every other day and gently coaxed the growing vine to remain within the flower bed, then we could have a few squash come fall. So I planted. And coaxed. And watered. And since this is the far side of the garage...the neighbor's side...I've tried to keep it all looking rather tidy. The photo may be a bit confusing...what you see are squash vines twining their way through the daylily plants.

So here's the progress to date.

The vine is still tidy. The blossoms have set fruit but I'm disappointed that there are not More of them! Seems like a lot of vine for just a handful of squash.

The daylilies still look lovely. Isn't this orange one a beauty! (Actually this one is photographed near the deck.) Here's an interesting fact about daylilies. Each bloom lasts only one day. Hence the name. The next day the blossoms wilt down. A friend told me that she plucks the spent blooms and she maintains that this encourages the new buds to be lush in size. So some days (not all days) I do that. It's a good opportunity to enjoy the loveliness of the day's blooms. (You can click on the photo for a stunning close-up!)

It's So Easy to be Scammed and so Painful!

Looking for Maternity Insurance? Don't be Scammed. This company takes your money and leaves you with worthless insurance. (We're way past the age of worrying about maternity insurance...but we found out about this scam and want to alert others.) Click on the links herein to read what the Better Business Bureau thinks of this company... AHCO (Affordable Health Care Options), also known as Maternity Advantage, Maternity Savings, My Maternity, My Maternity Plus) And if you've been victimized by this company, consider filing a complaint with your state Attorney General or with the Attorney General of Texas. Perhaps your complaint will cause you to receive at least a partial refund.

Connecticut Better Business Bureau Issues Alert About AHCO Maternity Insurance

Attorney General of Texas Takes Action Against Company Marketing Misleading Discount Health Card Plans

Better Business Bureau says the following about AHCO Maternity Insurance: ( AHCO is also known as Maternity Advantage, Maternity Savings, My Maternity, My Maternity Plus )

Based on BBB files, this business has a BBB Rating of F. Reasons for this include:

  • 132 complaints filed against business
  • 4 serious complaints filed against business.
  • Government action(s) against business.
  • Advertising issue(s) found by BBB.

BBB has received consumer complaints alleging that they can not find facilities that accept AHCO or the Maternity Card after being told by company representatives that there were facilities in their area.

If you've been defrauded by this company and if they are taking monthly payments out of your bank account you may have to change bank accounts to prevent further payments. Once automatic payments are initiated YOU cannot stop them. Only the insurance company can do that. And even if they do, they STILL have your bank account number. Ask your bank to switch you to a NEW account with a NEW account number! This will not be easy if you have other automatic payments being made to legitimate businesses for you will have to change them to your new account number.

Being the victim of fraud causes all kinds of complications. We've not been the victim of this particular fraud but we have had our identity stolen in the past. You can read about our experiences with ID theft here.