Slim stretch

Slim stretch

Sunday, January 31, 2010

DOES IT MAKE A DIFFERENCE?

My sister, me, my brother.

Called to my daughter’s parent teacher conference in her elementary school , the teacher took out my son’s folder and began to compare her work to his. “Put that away” I told her, “We’re here to talk about my daughter”.

My sister was a bit of a rebel in college. My first year at OCU, I was called to the Dean’s office for a conference. As soon as I sat down the Dean pulled out my folder and inside the front cover in big black letters it read “Elenore’s sister!”

Forget it when my sister and I were compared to our brother. Let me just say that we have always called him Saint Jim and neither of us can hold a candle to his reputation.

My siblings and I seem connected at times by ESP. Other times I have to wonder if we were all three raised by the same parents. Setting all differences aside, we share compassion and love and that is what matters.

We also each share having married the perfect mate because none of the three of us would be worth a hoot without our practical, loving spouses who anchor us and keep us humble. Ron defines me best by saying I was running amok until he found me.

I have heard that we are more influenced in our growing up by our siblings than by our parents. Also our sibling placement plays a large role in how we turn out. Were you only, oldest, middle or youngest? Did your siblings affect you in a positive or negative way? If you were an only child, who inspired you?

Friday, January 29, 2010

HERE WE GO AGAIN

MORE SNOW? YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING!


WHAT SLIM IS SEEING OUT THE WINDOW THIS MORNING.

The first event arrived last night. It was the "ice event". The second event is here now. It is the "snow event". The bad news -- my Oklahoma City family members are hard hit once more. The good news -- our area is not going to get it as badly as originally forecast. It is now all up to Punxsutawney Phil on Tuesday to let us know how much longer this winter is going to last. I'll use this boring weather post to update you on the movies I have seen through all these home bound conditions.

The following are the movies I gave four or five stars:

INTO TEMPTATION (Jeremy Sisto)
MERRY GENTLEMEN (Michael Keeton)
500 DAYS OF SUMMER (Joseph Gordon-Levitt)
NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH (Kate Beckinsale)
SUNSHINE CLEANING (Amy Adams)
THE WAY OF THE GUN (Benicio Del Torro)
JULIE & JULIA (Meryl Streep)

I gave these three stars but debated between that and four stars:

SUGAR (Algenis Perez Soto)
THE INFORMERS (Billy Bob Thornton) Giant "R" rating so go there with caution.

What movies have you seen lately that you would recommend?

Oh and let me tell you this. I have had HURT LOCKER on my Netflix list since in first became available four weeks ago. It has a "long wait" and I can't get it. I mentioned it to my sister and she added it to her list and she got it the next day! Again, the story of my life.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

DON'T LET THE BED BUGS BITE



I did not manage to catch David the cat and the big fat hen together so I captured these shots of our birds at bedtime. Some will roost on the poles and others in the rafters. It is dangerous to go inside and count them every evening for fear of droppings from the ones in the rafters. That is where the guinea fowl love to roost so it doesn't conflict with the chickens. However you can probably guess that Jack Bauer requires the highest level so he's found an ideal spot were he can keep and eye on everyone.

Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite .....or the droppings light.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

WHY BRING IT UP AGAIN?

Many of you will remember our story of finding the kittens in the nesting box last Spring. There are several posts plus I still have a link on my sidebar that connects to the publication in COUNTRYSIDE MAGAZINE.

Why would I bring this up again? Well if you will also remember the two surviving kittens are David and Goliath. They have grown nicely and David has surpassed Goliath in size.

My old Australorp hen has taken to sleeping in a large wooden box on the floor of the hen house. She is too old and too fat to hop up on a roosting pole. The last three nights I have found David the cat curled up with my aging hen. Both seem quite content. So far I have not been successful getting a picture but will keep trying.


(This might cause you to wonder about Elenore Hen but don't ask. I still can't talk about that.)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

CARLE JOHN BLENNER 1884 - 1952


Here is my grandmother's painting. I had to take photo from angle because of the glare from the glass. The artist is Carle John Blenner and he has quite a biography.

When I look at this picture I can smell my grandmother's dusting powder on her dresser and her fried chicken. I catch a hint of grandpa's cigarette smoke and I always hear laughter.

Monday, January 25, 2010

SLIM DELIVERS PEOPLE

Our watch dog, Slim, is very strange. She welcomes all visitors and herds them to the front door. Slim then jumps on the window to let me know she has brought us people. She is excited when we let them in and she shows them off like treasure. This morning it was indeed treasured people she brought me. The DISH repair men arrived. WhooHoo!

Yes, in fairness after my complaint, I will say the DISH (for WildBlue) agreed to extend service to us at no charge for this visit. They said to expect the repair persons between 8:00 AM and Noon. They arrived before 8:30 and had us up and running by 9:00. The weather had damaged the connections on the satellite. I am a happy country girl once again.

Thank you guys for your support and suggestions regarding our satellite program.

Thank you also for your input on naming our new chickens. Of course you know the rooster is Jack Bauer. (Attire designed by Adam of The Jack Sack)The red hens are Slippy and Slushy (named by Brown English Muffin), in honor of the conditions when we collected them. The Buff Cochin twins are Flo and Ethel (named by Lucy of Lucy's Frugal Living) and, because I misunderstood Lucy's last suggestion, the black and white Brama is Mame. (She suggested Maine but when I read it as "Mame" I loved it so that it stuck.)

If you think raising chickens is just for people in the country, take a look at this neat video, BROOKLYN'S BACKYARD CHICKEN KEEPERS that I saw at Urban Chickens.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

BIG GIRLS, DUCT TAPE, FLOWER PAINTING


THESE GIRLS STILL NEED NAMES.

Our new chickens are perfect. I may never try to raise baby chicks again. The hens have taken to our property and have fallen in step with the older residents. These big girls do not need to be warned of potential predators because they have already experienced enough life to proceed with caution. Our last batch of chicks never learned that. They ran behind the barn every morning right into the mouths of danger. If you have chickens, do you prefer acquiring adult chickens over raising chicks?

Have you all seen the photo of the pilot who crashed his plane and patched it back together with duct tape? Recently Stacy posted the picture and story. It has me thinking about all the amazing things I repaired as a single mom with duct tape. I kept my antique vacuum cleaner together for years beyond expectations by patching it up with duct tape. You could not tell it was ever red because it looked completely gray. What was your best home duct tape project?

There is a lovely floral painting in my living room. It was my grandmothers and she always had it in her living room. Looking at it reminds me of all the wonderful times at Grandma's house. My sister and I recently googled the artist and found this painting is most likely worth around $8,000. That would make my grandma so proud because I don't know how she acquired it, but I know she didn't pay much for it if she bought it. What centerpiece in your home brings back fond memories of your childhood?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

BOUQUETS OF DISHES

Take a drive outside of our town's city limits and notice the moment you reach three miles out you will begin to see roofs bursting with Wildblue Satellite Dishes. Two years ago DSL and Broadband reached our town but if you live over three miles outside the town, your only providers of internet service are dial up providers or Wildblue Satellite. We live four miles outside of town.

At first I was delighted to switch from dial-up to satellite. We have had the Wildblue service almost a year. We have had some problems but overall we have been delighted. Then our weather changed with the blizzard of 2009 on Christmas Eve and we have basically been without internet at least 50% of the time. We pay for this time that service is not available because nothing can be done about the weather. If they send a repair person out to look at the position of the dish their charges start at $49.95. It as to be the most expensive internet provider to begin with and only becomes worse as they continue to charge even when their records can clearly show all the times you are out of service.

The other kicker in their great internet program is what they call their FAP (Fair Access Policy). This sounds to me like something straight out of ATLAS SHRUGGED. You have three tiers of programs to buy and each allows you more usage each month. If you go over the usage your program allows, they slow you down to dial-up speeds until you drop back your usage. We are now buying their largest program and just after we switched to it, we began to lose our service due to weather.

I only know that when the day comes and we have choices for internet service and competition arrives in rural areas there is going to be a mass exodus from Wildblue. They must not anticipate anything happening soon because they hold all the cards at this time and do not need to make any concessions. If we would attempt to leave them now we would have to buy out the remainder of our two year contract but that is a mute point because we have no place to go. A small business could not survive if it had to depend on rural satellite internet service.

Our television is provided on DISH Satellite and basically our internet is too, it is just installed and maintained by Wildblue. Our television service should be going out as often as the internet but it is not. Once we are able to leave satellite internet, we will probably leave DISH television also. Don't you think they would be working to insure retaining us when that day comes? Or, God forbid, do they know that day will never come? Oh woe is me:(

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

JACK BAUER DONE UP PROPERLY


Received today from Adam at The Jack Sack.

Hi Annie,

I wanted to send you a picture of your new rooster, done up properly as Jack Bauer. This was a lot of fun to make, I hope you enjoy it!

Warmest Regards,

-Adam

I'm still laughing at how wonderful our new rooster looks in his proper attire created in response to this post of mine. Thanks again Adam.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY SUCKS

Who can we get to pay attention? If Allstate Insurance Company will not, perhaps Kim Holland, Insurance Commissioner for the State of Oklahoma will. We sent her a letter last week and copied it to Allstate.

Ron's accident was April 2, 2009, nine months ago. Some of you will remember the grief they put us through on replacing our Van that was totaled. Finally agreeing on a price for our vehicle we continued on into the medical portion of the claim.

We have talked with two medical adjusters and their two assistants and delays have occurred as the adjuster has been changed and the new adjuster needed to be brought up to date. We sent them what we believed would be the last of Ron's medical bills on November 2, 2009 and mailed them under a delivery confirmation number so they could not claim non-receipt. We spoke with them before Christmas and expressed hope this could be resolved before the holidays. They assured us they received the bills and only needed to make one more phone call to our Primary Care Physician.

We have received two more form letters from them since November that assure us, "We are looking into the matter".

I have read one devastating story after another about the shady way Allstate Insurance Company handles their claims. A recent show done by Anderson Cooper on CNN gave the best summary and it seems to be what we are experiencing. This explains how they handle claims under the three D's, delay, deny, defend.

If you are injured in an automobile accident and the responsible party has Allstate Insurance you best be prepared to turn it over to an attorney immediately. Our kids encouraged us to do that but we couldn't see that benefiting anyone but the attorney and we are not all that fond of our overly litigious society. However that is looking more and more like the way we will need to go.

Our lives were disrupted. We were thankful that no one was killed. We only want fair treatment. The Allstate Insurance adjusters seem to rejoice in adding insult to injury.

Is there anyone out there who believes they received fair treatment from Allstate Insurance or any other insurance company regarding settlement from an automobile accident? If so, how in the world did you manage it? Did you have to hire an attorney?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

WHERE IS THE "DOODLE-DOO"?

MAY I INTRODUCE YOU TO ROOSTER JACK BAUER

Yesterday was another time we needed the video camera. Our new Araucana Rooster was turned out with the rest of the flock and it was get acquainted time. He and Daryl had been speaking to each other and I noticed that Daryl would speak the usual five tones of "Cock-A-Doo-dle-Doo" while the new rooster only had the "Cock-Aaaaaaaa" and no "Doo-dle-Do". Perhaps that became a bone of contention because the next thing I knew, the two big boys were at it.

It was a serious fight and the first in attendance to watch were my chicks, Mr.Gibson II and Chicklet II. Chicklet II grabbed a rooster tail feather that had been shed in the heat of battle and began running around in circles, flying the feather like a banner. Perhaps it was her way of announcing the fight because the next thing I knew the guinea fowl all gathered in a ring around the roosters and I'm pretty sure they were exchanging bets.

I was worried but Ron assured me the roosters needed to establish a pecking order and to leave them alone. Slim wanted to jump into the fray and break it up but I held her off. Finally I told Ron that the new rooster was covered in blood. "Well break them up!" he yelled, as if he hadn't told me to let them fight. Anyway I allowed Slim in at that point and she sent the two roosters packing in different directions. The rest of the day there were no problems and today each rooster has their own little flock of hens to tend to.

Then it dawned on me -- the new rooster wasn't crowing, he was saying "Damn it!" thus his name is now Jack Bauer. That is appropriate since Season 8 of 24 starts tomorrow night. How was that for a segue into an ad for the show? LOL

Thursday, January 14, 2010

WHAT A CHORE FOR SIX MORE





Why didn't someone have a video camera? Yesterday we added six more chickens to our flock. We found a place near us that sold laying hens. We called and the owner said that yesterday would be the best day for us to get them. (Remember folks, we are in a massive thaw of snow and ice that has covered us since Dec. 24th.)

The gate to their estate was locked and we had to wait for them to drive down, open the gate and allow us entry. We drove our pickup and not the van so we didn't have very good traction in the slush. At least I had worn my Roper's.

These true and natural farm folks have a huge variety of fowl for sell and goats, mules, dogs. The people and all of the animals were up to their ankles in mud. Ron was happy that he had failed to wear his boots and these chickens were for me anyway, so he guarded the truck and our cage while I tromped through the muck to select my new hens. It was their feeding time so it was easy to gather them in grabbing reach while they gathered round the trough.

There were only two laying hens left so I got them and two cochins, one Bramah and yep, I could not resist a beautiful Aracauna Rooster. Daryl needs a little competition to keep him from getting mean (or should I say too cocky? LOL).

My spouse got way too much entertainment out of watching two ladies grab six birds. He was the one wishing for a camera. There was a lot of slipping and sliding both on foot and in the truck but we made it home with our new chicken children which I will name. It seems that I did not have good luck with my chickens when I stopped naming them.

The attached pictures are not my actual six but they look a lot like mine and maybe you can help me name them. There are two of the reds, two of the buff, one Brama and one Araucana rooster. It will be a while before I can photograph them because we will keep them in the cage and separate from the rest of the flock for a few days.

The main picture I failed to take was of my boots. I wiped them off before I thought of what a story they could tell on their own.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

CHEERING FOR THE BAD GUYS

There is a national story unfolding in Tulsa, OK involving Arrow Trucking. To make a long story short it appears to be a case of “Daddy builds a great company. Daddy dies. Son takes over and pours company assets into his personal luxury life.”

This once reputable company hits bottom on Christmas Eve when pay checks begin bouncing as banks from Oklahoma to Utah begin to calculate their losses. Drivers were ordered to park their trucks and try to find another way home and these drivers begin calling family and friends to send them money to help them return home. Some can get home but others are totally stranded and, you can imagine, they are bitterly angry.

A huge number of trucks and trailers are missing and rumor has it that some of these stranded drivers drove their rigs to Canada and Mexico and are selling everything they can off the trucks.

A repo company has been hired to go looking for the missing assets and it is said the five employees of the repo company look like the crew in the 1984 cult movie REPO MAN. Perhaps this will lead to another movie of that kind and in the end the truck drivers will win.

I usually hate it when the crook is made to appear the hero but this story just makes me want to cheer for the drivers who were abandoned and so they worked out their own solutions. I know, I know, two wrongs don’t make a right………….but the big guys will probably get a government bail out and the drivers will only end up with what they can salvage.

Click here for today’s story.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

LET IT THAW, LET IT THAW, LET IT THAW!

2010 FROZEN GRAND LAKE O' THE CHEROKEES

LAST PHOTOS OF FROZEN LAKE BEFORE THE THAW


We started out Sunday morning with a delightful heat wave of +3 degrees. By 1:00 PM the sun was shining and melting snow was pouring off the roof of the house and barn. Our temperatures reached 32 degrees and all of our fine feathered friends were allowed outside to soak up some good vitamin D.

We managed to go to the restaurant for lunch and I brought back my favorite lemon meringue pie. We did drive down the hill to the lake and I got some photos of it while it was still frozen.

Snow is lovely but it is equally lovely to see the sun and watch the white stuff disappear after such a long covering. We have not seen bare ground since Christmas Eve.

The predictions for temperatures by Wednesday are 54 degrees. Unbelievable!


If you missed my Sunday post regarding Ron's movie idea, be sure and read it today by clicking here:)

I believe you have until Tuesday to get in on ALWAYS NESTING's $25 TJ Maxx give away so be sure to check out that link on my sidebar.

HOW SCARY IS THIS THOUGHT?

Ron and I were watching television last night and Ron muted the sound and turned toward me to talk.

"What do you think of this idea for a movie plot?" he asked.

He definitely had my full attention because, (1) he was talking to me without asking for a bowl of ice cream and (2) he was mentally preparing a script for Hollywood. Ron hates Hollywood. I scooted to the edge of the couch, sat up straight and gave him my full attention.

"Go on" I said.

Ron continued, "Everyone knows that we have underground bunkers to protect our world leaders."

I nodded yes.

"Well," he proceeded, "what if we were to be hit by a devastating nuclear or natural holocaust of some sort and the only people to survive were our political leaders in Washington safe in the bunkers? It would then be their gene pools that would start our new society."

As this post is titled, "HOW SCARY IS THIS THOUGHT?"


Be sure to go to my side bar to click on the ALWAYS NESTING picture and enter the $25 TJ Maxx give away.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

TRAFFIC CAMERA

A man was driving when he saw the flash of a traffic camera. He figured that his picture had been taken for exceeding the limit, even though he knew that he was not speeding... Just to be sure, he went around the block and passed the same spot, driving even more slowly, but again the camera flashed.
Now he began to think that this was quite funny, so he drove even slower as he passed the area again, but the traffic camera again flashed.

He tried a fourth time with the same result. He did this a fifth time
and was now laughing when the camera flashed as he rolled past, this
time at a snail's pace...

Two weeks later, he got five tickets in the mail for driving without a
seat belt...

(I apologize if you had heard this because I had not and thought it was hysterical!)

yesterday's post: DIFFERENT CREEPY

portion of John Stossel program on ATLAS SHRUGGED

Friday, January 08, 2010

DIFFERENT CREEPY

Joey has raised an interesting comment on his blog Joey's Pad regarding anonymous contributors. His post is pretty funny so I hope he meant for it to be funny. This has caused me to mention a problem I am seeing.

When I comment on a blog, I usually check the box that asks for a copy of other comments to be emailed to me. First I started receiving anonymous foreign language (Asian) comments from Cliff's blog. I don't know what cured that but it went on for quite a while. Next they started coming out of Jamie Dawn's old blog and that seems to be getting worse. One came from Darlene's today. Do any of you know what I'm talking about and do you think these might contain computer viruses?

(If none of you check the box for "follow up" comments, how do you know if the blogger has responded to your comment?)

Thursday, January 07, 2010

VOODOO UMBRELLA

The forecast for our area and much of the nation has been for extreme temperatures, mostly in the negative, starting last night. Yes, this post is some more about our weather so skip it if you are sick of it.

Tuesday we ventured to the grocery store and restocked our pantry. Yesterday we contacted the propane company and had our tank topped off. Also we contacted Ron's oxygen supplier and had extra tanks delivered just in case. I have three new Netflix movies to watch.

We have a more than ample supply of feed for all the animals.

Now what? Now we should almost be guaranteed warm temperatures and sunny skies. Why? Because we are so well prepared. As the world usually turns, we should have turned the direction all by ourselves. It is like warding off rain when you carry an umbrella. Skip the umbrella and you're assured a downpour. Grab the umbrella just in case and you'll be lugging it around all day under clear skies.

We hope our advance preparations will react like a voodoo umbrella:) (All of our would-be frozen friends can thank us later.)

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

SIX DAYS ON THE ROAD

We are in our sixth day on the road of this new year and the media, once again, has taken charge of our lives. Our blood boils over politics, religion and sports figures whose lives are really none of our business. We worry over which TV network is telling the truth while we know all of them stretch and embellish any shred of truth in their stories. Their topics cannot be solved by us or them.

A dear, dear friend of mine once told me to imagine myself wrapped up in an electric blanket. (In this cold and snow that's a good thing to imagine right now.) He then said hand the thermostat controls to someone else and let them select the temperature setting for your comfort. Obviously they would not know if I needed it to be hotter or cooler so why would I give them the controls? Then he told me to take back those controls and adjust the temperature to suit myself.

We have handed our controls to journalists, preachers, talk show hosts and Internet stories. They gleefully adjust our temperature as we are left spinning in circles of fear and anger while nothing is being resolved.

We don't have to be recovering alcoholics to use the following prayer as a way to take back the controls of our lives:

"God, Give us the grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed, Courage
to change the things which should be changed,
And the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other."

(From "The Serentiy Prayer" by Elisabeth Sifton)

Monday, January 04, 2010

SNOWED IN

He is showing off for the girls.
Winter wonderland surrounds us.

The Christmas Eve blizzard wrapped us in tight with ice and snow. We barely scraped out of that and could get a few places if we (Ron) drove carefully. But the temperatures have kept it from melting away. Just as the sun comes out for a day or two and we start to see a thaw, here comes more snow. It snowed all day yesterday and the night before and none of the melting progress can be seen. Once again we are blanketed but this time it is with a soft, fluffy powder.

The county plowed our roads yesterday as the snow was still falling. We didn't see a lot of traffic because it was Sunday. This morning I watched our neighbor drive his semi out for a trip. I could only see the lights of his tractor moving up the hill in the dark beckoning the dawn of a work day. Hopefully he'll be traveling to states that are a bit warmer.

Schools and businesses are supposed to be back in action today after a long holiday. It will be interesting to see what traffic ventures up and down the hill in front of our house. It is days like this that make me happy to be retired. However I could be getting a bit stir crazy. Maybe I'll go back to work today with the others and clean my house.......or not:)

Saturday, January 02, 2010

GUIDE TO NOTHING

A friend calls and says “What are you doing?” You are watching television so you say “Nothing”.


Housework is something.

Watching television is NOTHING.

Watching Netflix is NOTHING.

Preparing meals is something.

Snacking all day is NOTHING.

Housework is something.

Yard work is something.

Care of chickens is something.

Photographing chickens is NOTHING.

Walking for exercise is something.

Strolling for pleasure is NOTHING.

Computer research is something.

Computer blogging is NOTHING.

Reading non-fiction is something.

Reading fiction is NOTHING.


Everything that is “NOTHING” can become “something’ if you involve handwork with it, like crocheting or folding laundry or peeling potatoes.


What do you do that is NOTHING? What do you add to it to make it something? And do you all understand the guilt from which I speak?

Friday, January 01, 2010

IT IS AN AWESOME WORLD

This morning I have opened the 2010 devotional book. This book was available for purchase last September. The design was done and all the entries by various authors were completed. So my questioning begins on how do these authors know exactly what I am going to need to hear each day of the New Year. It always seems that whatever struggle or concern I have, the devotional theme will offer some comfort or solution.


It all goes back to the elementary school lesson about crossing the street, Stop, Look and Listen. We can find inspiration through reading devotionals, The Bible, novels or things our blog friends write. We can listen to sermons or have meaningful conversations with family or we can find help in a movie script. But before we find any answers, we have to stop, look and listen.

I am often accused of barreling through life without paying attention. In my effort to get something done, I fail to be aware of my surroundings. I trip and fall or wreck my bicycle (if you recall), or break eggs if I gather them too fast, etc. My goal for 2010 will be to tread more cautiously and pay attention as I stop, look and listen for direction in this awesome world.