Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I was thinking about what to post today, that would be more exciting than my day to day activities. (Okay you can say it out loud... thank goodness). It got me to thinking about my own back yard or actually what is beyond my own back yard. With the economy in the state it is, maybe we need to travel locally for fun things to do. Nebraska has so many neat things to see and do.
I find it hard to believe that none of the "Three Sisters" has mentioned one tourist attraction right in our hometown. Maybe we don't see it as an attraction, but a lot of people stop and visit it year round. Any guesses ?
Spot # 1 to visit: Carhenge http://www.carhenge.com/
It is located just two miles north of Alliance on Highway 87. You need to get out of your car, walk out to the cars and walk around it. It's actually pretty neat. For the first nine years that Keith and I were married, I drove by this site daily thinking to myself, "Why are all these people stopping and looking at carhenge, or car wreck as my young niece & nephew would call it". So one November when Nicki brought Andrew to Nebraska for a visit, when made a stop there. It was kinda neat . So get out of your car and walk around ... it's worth it.
Next spot you could visit on the "traveling our own backyard":
Spot # 2 Chimney Rock National Park http://www.nps.gov/chro/index.htm

A favorite spots that Krista and Dani drag Aunt Trudy to every year!

If you are really feeling the pioneer spirit you can also partake in Gordon Howard's wagon rides and eat at the chuck wagon cookout. http://www.oregontrailwagontrain.com/

Also worth stopping at is the Scottsbluff National Monument and a side trip to the Riverside Zoo in Scottsbluff. http://www.riversidezoo.org/
Side note: another fun place to stop and eat at is in Paxton, Nebraska at Ole's Steak House http://www.olesbiggame.com/ . If you have spent the day at Lake McConaughy http://www.lakemcconaughy.com/ than drive over to Paxton to eat.
Spot # 3: Fort Robinson State park just outside of Crawford http://www.stateparks.com/fort_robinson.html

You can take trail rides on horseback, by jeep or stage coach. You can learn about the native American history of the fort. Stay in the camp grounds or in the soldier's living quarters. They host a fun fourth of July rodeo and party. Growing up we took many class trips to Fort Robinson and always had a good time. Check it out.

These were just a couple of local sites that I have been to. Now is a couple of things I hope to do and visit in the next year. Also local.

Toadstool National Park north of Crawford, Nebraska:

Or Agate Fossil Beds
Agate Fossil Beds National Monument -Agate Fossil Beds and its surrounding prairie are preserved in a 3,000 acre national monument. Once part of "Captain" James H. Cook's Agate Springs Ranch, the nearby beds are an important source for 19.2 million year-old Miocene epoch mammal fossils. Cook's ranch also became a gathering place for Chief Red Cloud and other Oglala Lakota (Sioux) Indian people. The monument's Cook Collection of American Indian artifacts reflects years of gifts brought by the Indians during visits to the ranch from the 1880's through the early 1900's. Phone: (308) 668-2211 or Visit Agate Fossil Beds

A little farther from our back yard but still in Nebraska.

River Tubing! We have the Niobrara River, Dismal, and Loup rivers that you can leisurely raft, tube or tank down.

(disclaimer: I don't know who these people are)

Then on yet another trip to eastern Nebraska, I would like to stop here:
Located at Gretna, Nebraska

Isn't this the neatest church! Of course I wouldn't be listening to the sermon, I would probably be gawking around.

If you are already in Eastern Nebraska than you have to stop at the

Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha.

These are just some of the fun things I want to get to this summer.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Happy Birthday Dani!

Hi Dan,

 Is it your ninth birthday? We hope you are having a special day today!

Not much is happening here. Things have been slow at my job, so we've been hanging out at the beach on our days off.

Just wanted to check in and say hi to everyone.

Hope you're all doing well!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Winter time blues

I have been missing for several days, weeks, okay not quite a month.
We survived the holidays and jumped into the new year.

But as happens every new year, comes a round of sickness.
I guess the kids play so much with all their Christmas goodies, stay
up late at night and sleep in every morning, that going back to school is just
too much for them! Someone always comes down with the flu or a cold.
I think it's safe to say after 12 days, we are all back to school and work.

Bummer on the work part. I was really hoping that lottery ticket would
finally pay off and I could spend my days playing in my new green house.


But this is the real world, and I'm back to the 8-5 routine every day,
and I don't have a new green house. But I can dream.
Wouldn't it be fun to play in the dirt all day,
all in the name of growing your veggies year round!

This is the time of year when I really have winter fever (even though it was 67 degrees here yesterday).

It still gets dark at 5:30, it's cold, windy, and you have to
scrape your windows most mornings.
I really long for spring, the smell of fresh turned dirt,
budding of the leaves, and spring flowers sprouting.
I pour over my garden catalogs every night and was so
excited when I found a tree I have been searching for since my youth.

A mulberry tree!

Grandma Fritzler had a huge one growing in her yard.

Our favorite past time at Granny's house, was raiding the mulberry tree. For a short six months, when we farmed up north, I had one growing in my yard. Life was good.

So it's time I get a couple of them ordered, and start picking the perfect spot to plant them.

I'm also toying with the idea of a couple of peach trees.

It's only 10 short days until the ground hog tells us, if spring is around the corner.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Christmas Toy

Mary gave me Adobe Photoshop Elements for Christmas.

I have been so good and refrained from doing nothing but play with photos ... until today.

I actually did a load of laundry today.  
I figure that was my quota and I was entitled to play.
That and the fact that I'm home alone. 

So who cares if I spend eight hours 
experimenting with the different aspects of the program?!


Here is Benny again, straight out of the camera.


Here is a warmer version.  

My camera tends toward the cooler colors.
But hey, cute is cute.


This is the Shepard Fairey look -- toned way down.

Probably wouldn't create the response that the Obama Hope poster did.
Especially plastered all over as graffiti art.


He might make it as a black velvet painting 
sold in a dusty parking lot full of potholes.

Nah, it just makes him look schizoid.
This is the watercolor filter.
I dare say that if Grandma Lou was still alive, 
she could paint his portrait much better than that.

Are you bored out your mind yet?
Then why are you still reading this?!
Here he is through a shower door.
It's the ocean ripple effect.
The mosaic look ---
perfect for a garden stepping stone.


Finally, in black and white.

Yep, I have way too much time on my hands.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Too Cute For Words

This is Benny, our fearless, school-bus charging poodle.

Doesn't he just look so innocent here?

Don't believe it for a minute!

He thinks he is much tougher than a school bus and sneaks out at dismissal time so that he can charge down the road at the bus.

I don't know what he thinks he's going to do if he catches it.

We now have to make sure someone is home at 3:10 
so that he doesn't become a poodle pizza.

We put in a pet door so that the critters could come and go as they needed.  It opens up into our herb garden/patio/pond area which is COMPLETELY fenced.

  Does that stop him?

No.  Nor does the fact that he is a geriatric poodle and shouldn't be jumping four and a half foot fences!

Can someone please invent a timer that goes on a pet door? 

We want it set to seal the door off at 2 p.m. and re-open at 4:00 p.m.   
That would fix his little butt.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Flashback Friday

An anniversary is a time to celebrate the joys of today, the memories of yesterday, and the hopes of tomorrow. ~Author Unknown
Sister Two and Brother-in-Law One are celebrating
their fifteenth wedding anniversary today.

It doesn't hardly seem possible that they've been married for that long,
and yet I can't remember a time when they weren't side by side.
They fit together very well and make a good-looking couple.

Neither one has aged
..... much and they still look fantastic together.

I'm available for niece duty if you guys want to celebrate.
(Hint, hint, hint.) Oh, and happy anniversary.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tree Face MIA

Last summer, one of our trees sprouted a face.

We enjoyed it every time we drove into the driveway.

We weren't the only ones who liked it.


Bree, our huntress, was very interested in it.
She spent quite a bit of time on this post admiring it.


But after our first wind storm, an eye went missing.


Now the whole blasted face is gone!


I think I'll have Bree help me find it ---

after it warms up and decides to be spring again!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hawk Roosting


The Hawk

by Ted Hughes
I sit in the top of the wood, my eyes closed.
Inaction, no falsyfing dream
Between my hooked head and hooked feet:
Or in sleep rehearse perfect kills and eat.

The convenience of the high trees!
The air's buoyancy and the sun's ray
Are of advantage to me;
And the earth's face upward for my inspection.

My feet are locked upon the rough bark.
It took the whole of Creation
To produce my foot, my each feather:
Now I hold Creation in my foot

Or fly up, and revolve it all slowly—
I kill where I please because it is all mine.
There is no sophistry in my body:
My manners are tearing off heads—

The allotment of death.
For the one path of my flight is direct
Through the bones of the living.
No arguments assert my right:

The sun is behind me.
Nothing has changed since I began.
My eye has permitted no change.
I am going to keep things like this.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Meet Edison and Learn a Little Known Fact About His Namesake

This is Edison.

He was a stray that showed up at Mary's when she still lived here.

They named him Edison because his favorite place to sit was on the surge protector for her computer.  He was nothing but a bag of bones with a kinked tail where it had been broken.

  We ended up with Edison and he's been a nice addition.
I don't call him Edison much .... he's always been Eddie Kitty to me.

I read Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen yesterday and now I'm sorry that he was named after Thomas Edison.  Did you know that Thomas Edison electrocuted stray dogs, cats, a few horses, cattle and an elephant named Topsy?  He wanted to prove the dangers of the alternating current.  It seems that Westinghouse developed AC and it was replacing the direct current that he had invented and was eating into his profits.  He even filmed the electrocution of the elephant and toured the US showing the film in hopes of destroying Westinghouse.

Eddie Kitty has used up several of his lives though.
We figured the first one probably went when his tail was broken.

In either 1997 or 1998, he lost another one.  Sometime during the Christmas season, Mardell and I went to town separately.  She was picking up donuts for the crew that we had working and then going to get a sandwich tray.  When she got out at Holland Bakery, she heard this yowling and saw an orange flash go underneath the car next to where she was parked.  She got down on all fours to discover our Eddiekins.  He had ridden in to town on the exhaust system.  How he didn't fall in twelve miles is beyond us.  From that day on, he become a store cat.  We figured that was destiny or something.

Our employee, nicknamed Becker, even trained him to wear a harness when he went outside.  She was afraid he would run off.  I knew he wouldn't.  We had the secret weapon.  It seems that Eddie is quite fond of catnip and it was growing in our flower garden.  He wouldn't have left for anything.

He was not very happy when we closed the store and he was forced into retirement.  He was so ticked off that he resolved to let our mouse population grow .... and grow.

Two summers ago, he disappeared for about three weeks.  When he finally came home, his feet were sooty and slightly burned.  Our neighbors down the road two miles had a fire in their pasture and he had evidently been in the area and crossed the burn spot while it was still hot.  That had to take another life.

Here's a picture of Eddie in his garden.  Yes, his garden.  He is quite sure it is his.  We even put a statue up in honor of him.  The fat cat pair.  

Do you notice his goofy ear?  He had an absess that we had a heck of a time treating and getting healed.  I finally lanced it and it shot all over our bathroom wall.  However, his ear hasn't stood up straight since then.  Gives him character.


This is Eddie under the influence of catnip.


Now his favorite place is in the middle of my bed or else in the middle of my mariner's compass quilt blocks.  A couple of days ago Mardell caught him with one in his mouth.  He was carrying it off somewhere. 

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Mt. Laundry

I had a brainstorm today, but since I never, ever 
want to run a business again someone else is welcome to my idea.

It came about because of Mt. Laundry.
This is one pile of 112.  Really.

I'm trying to turn Mt. Laundry into neatly folded piles.

Disregard the bottom left corner ---- 
that's my latest project for a certain niece's birthday.

I hate doing laundry.

For that matter, I hate housework in any shape or form.

On Fridays, we can wear jeans to school.
Naturally I didn't have any clean ones, so I did the only logical thing there was to do.  I drove to the Evil Empire and bought a pair.  Just as I usually buy underwear and socks before I leave town for any sort of trip.

That got me to thinking.  Wouldn't it be cool if there was a membership store that rented clothes?  A person could pay a yearly membership fee and then go in once a week and pick out the clothes you want to wear for the week.  They'd outfit you with a hamper to put them in at the end of each day and then you take them back and they launder and press them and you pick out the next week's clothes. 

I'd be more than willing to pay $10 for a day's rental for an outfit. You would have a multitude of outfits to choose from, so you wouldn't have to wear the same things over and over.  If you had a big meeting, you could pick out something classy without having to lay out a big wad of money for something you'll only wear a few times.

They could charge a deposit for damages. Let me know who decides to do it and I'll be your charter member!

Then I'd only have the underwear piles to deal with and that wouldn't be so bad.

Then I could spend more time quilting.

Oh wait, that hasn't stopped me.
Here's my latest mariner's compass block.


I like the black background.  Mardell found me a black and purple batik that I'm going to use for this purpose.  It should be here this week.  I've been pleased with how these practice blocks have gone, so I've decided to go ahead and put a quilt together. 

Now I just have to figure out what to do with it.  
Pink and purple aren't exactly in my color scheme.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Paper Piecing

I have always been drawn to Mariner's Compass quilts
whenever we go to quilt shows.

I especially liked this one that we saw
at the Hill City Quilt Show in 2006.

One of my goals is to make one someday.

So I am teaching myself how to paper piece.
Let's just say there is a large learing curve here!

I finished two blocks and I must say that I learned a lot on each one.
If I do two hundred more and I might be able to get one right!


This is my first one and I was pleased with how it turned out.

I finished this one today.  
Three more large ones and four little ones and I'll have a quilt top.
Of course, I should have been doing laundry since I have to go back to work tomorrow.

I can't believe how quickly Christmas vacation went.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Happy New Year

Hi. How's everyone doing? It's pretty quiet here this morning, so I thought I'd try to find some pictures to post. Andrew got me a remote control for my camera so now I can torture the whole family by making them pose for self-portraits!

We went to a new beach called Limontour Beach, but by the time we got there everyone was asleep and it was a bit of a hike down to the sand, so we decided to drive to our old stanby, Stinson Beach instead.

There's a little park there that they had all decked out for christmas.

And here are a few shots of the kids at our house on Christmas morning.

(Anderson is going to love these when he is older.)