Monday, March 30, 2009

In the Midst of it all

In the midst of a long, hard week my momma cat didn't let me down.

I was beat when I got home on Wednesday. 
I stopped to give Willowby her evening belly rub.
There is something very calming about
rubbing a furry, pregnant belly.

This has become our nightly ritual since I figured out
she was pregnant and not just getting fat!
(Willowby is the ONE and ONLY cat that we have that isn't spayed or neutered.)

She has especially enjoyed having her
belly rubbed since she's been pregnant.

The babies had been very active all week and
I knew she would soon begin looking for places to have her litter.

When I got up to make the coffee on Thursday morning,
I checked on her only to discover that she had begun birthing.

She chose my laundry basket.
It's a good thing that I own 412 pairs of khaki pants!  
Six pair are underneath my flannel snowman sheets in this particular basket.
Evidently flannel sheets make for a wonderful birthing nest.

There were two babies.  

Now I had a true dilemma:
Should I go to the hospital and be with my mother or
stay home and be with my momma kitty?

Mom won out ..... 
I knew I'd never hear the end of it if I stayed home 
to watch the kittens being born instead of 
standing by her bedside watching her struggle for breath!

Besides that, my rechargeable batteries for my camera had worn out
and I hadn't replaced them yet, so I couldn't  pictorially document 
the event.   So it was a no-brainer and I went to the hospital.
I got home that night to find that she had indeed had the six kittens that I had predicted.

Mardell had thought she would only have two or three.
I think Mardell was hoping that she would only have two or three.

I took this picture tonight. 
They are four days old and, 
yes, that calico does have it's eyes open.

It's because I rub it's belly now, too.

Momma lets me handle them all I want, as long as I rub her belly
and scratch behind her ears and underneath her chin.
Life is good when you have kittens.

I've decided to name them after Mom's nurses. 
Meet Katherine, Jenna, Becky, Lydia, Anna, and Janie.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


For those of you who know me well, you probably
realize that I don't make it a habit of picking up men.

I had a hellish long day today and just couldn't help myself.
Ben and Jerry can fix just about anything!

Mom's caretaker called this morning about 8 to let me know that she had called the ambulance because Mom was having trouble breathing.  I told her I would meet them at the hospital.

I actually beat the ambulance to the hospital .... and without a ticket.

They admitted her and immediately intubated her so that she could breath.
Her chest x-ray showed that both lungs were full of fluid, so instead of weaning her off the ventilator (which was the original plan), they are going to try to pull the fluid off and give her lungs a chance to heal.

If you are a smoker, STOP now.

Today was not a pretty picture.

She was unresponsive to family throughout the day.

The nurse assured us that she knows that we are there,
but I'm not convinced.  At one point, I thought she might know
I was there, but overall, I would say that she didn't have a clue.
She is heavily sedated and they are keeping her comfortable.

I have added the Twitter toolbar to the blog and will update from the hospital tomorrow.  If you click on the follow me link, you can opt to have updates sent to your phone.  Otherwise just Sister One, Sister Two and Aunt Sue will be regularly updated.

Thank you for all of your kind thoughts.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Wordle ....

Wordle is for those people who have too much time on their hands.

You can put in words and it arranges them into "cloud" designs.

This is comprised of the titles of our March posts.

Wordle: When It Rains, It Pours

I liked this one, "Pledge of Allegiance" that was done by Debbie.

Wordle: Pledge of Allegiance

She was probably inspired by this anonymous wordler.

Wordle: Declaration

It is entitled "Declaration".

Isn't is amazing how I can find lots of way to waste time
instead of doing my laundry?!

Join me in my quest to ignore my laundry:

Monday, March 23, 2009

March Madness

I detest March Madness.

Especially since we get one channel
and that channel carries every single blasted game!

Basketball is meant to be played, not watched.

I only like watching games in this venue.

Usually I go to watch Niece One (#10)

but for the past two years, I've gotten to go to
the day-long tournament that Niece Two played in.

Last year was especially fun because Dani would steal
the ball from her own team mates and dribble down the court.

She didn't do that this year and I have to admit that 
I was a bit disappointed.  The kids play hard.

Dani was very serious.
She passed on concessions.
That's definitely serious.

She got the tip on her jump ball.

"I'll pass it to you, but give it right back, okay?"

The coaches were intent.

If it gets too loud, just plug your ears.
Even if you're playing.
Or if you get bored, you can spin and twirl.
But that's okay, it's all good.

There was one given though.
Wherever the ball was, the girls would run to it.
The level of sportsmanship is high and teams 
congratulate each other after a game.
In between games, friendships rule ....
even if you aren't on the same team.

Winning the tournament was sweet ....

... even for the coach.

In between their own games, 
the line up watches the other teams intently.

After it is all said and done, everyone receives a certificate.

This sure beats March Madness.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sure Sign That It Is Spring

Spring has definitely sprung.

I woke up to a decapitated bird's head on my welcome mat this morning.
(I'll spare you a picture of that!)

When we went to Ogallala on Monday,
we discovered that the cranes had already begun migrating.

We sat and enjoyed them for quite a while
as they hadn't reached the valley yet.

We had seen the pelicans on the little lake on our way out of town.
That is always a sure sign that spring is here.

On Tuesday morning, a small flock of cranes flew over.
I love the sound that they make.

Yesterday, I found them in the corn field east of our place.
Who needs to go to Central Nebraska?

They come to us!

But for those of you who can't enjoy them in person,
check out the Crane Cam.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

When You Have More Dishes Than Sense

Well, I did it.  
I broke down and bought some new plates. 
Sister Two's post last week instilled the dish fever.

Actually to be fair, it was as much 
Niece Two's fault as it was Sister Two's.
I saw these, thought "Frog Legs", and smiled.
So then, of course, I had to buy them.
But I restrained myself.
I only bought four.

Putting them away might be a trick.
Here's what's in our cupboards right now.

These are our Dansk Santiago dishes.
I fell in love with them at the Outlet Mall.
They are simple and plain.
Like me.
I like that.

Of course they were too expensive to buy --- even at the Outlet Mall.
Fortunately the Evil Empire's Home Star had them and they were reasonably priced.

For those of you who are wondering .....
and those of you who aren't .....
the Evil Empire is what I call Wal-Mart
and the Home Star obviously, is Sam's Club.

They replaced our Mikasa Blue Aztec set from the Pottery Series.

We had to buy a whole new dishwasher when we got this set.
The dinner plates were too large to fit in our old dishwasher.
Don't you like how we rationalize our purchases?!

Mardell came with these pottery dishes.

But I have since claimed them.
If she ever leaves or has the audacity to die,
they aren't going with her.

We decided when we took in foster kids that
these probably weren't the best dishes to have.

Mardell wanted to give them away so
that we would have room in our cupboards.

I wouldn't hear of it. 
I figure that alone should make them mine.
I'm also keeping our chandelier that once hung in the governor's mansion.
Mary and I are still arguing over that.  She really wants it.
This is the same chandelier that is seen in the movie "Close Encounters".
Actually, it's not the same chandelier, but rather the same style.
But I digress. 
Usually when we get new dishes,
we give the old ones away.

When we began taking in foster kids,
we went with sturdy blue enamel metal ones.
When we tired of these, we gave them to our neighbor.
I wish we still had them.
Instead, we have this lone sugar dish that is lidless.
It was probably out in the sand pile with the trucks
when we decided to give the set away.

After these, came the Corelle phase.
I believe the pattern was called Rosebud.

Mom got these .... except of course, for this plate.
And a vase.  And a bowl.
The plate and bowl were probably part of
an important scientific experiment in our fridge.

We kept the vase because we liked it.

We also have a set of European Breakfast Dishes.

Doesn't that just sound snobbish?
Who in their right mind has dishes exclusively for breakfast?!
I never claimed to be in my right mind.

There are some days when we come home and are just dragging.
We don't feel like cooking.  We don't feel like going out to eat.  
So we do what everyone does.
We get out a cardboard pizza.

 They fit perfectly on our monkey plates.
Who can be unhappy with pizza on monkey plates?

I like to watch Survivor.  I admit it.
I'd like to be on Survivor.
There's only one small problem.
I am very anti-social.
I'd probably tell everyone to bite me and 
I'd get kicked off first and be totally embarassed.
So instead, I watch it and dream about what could be.

Naturally, there is a special plate for Survivor night.
Tell me that doesn't look like the immunity idol.

These used to be our picnic plates.

Now they are the official Blarney Stone plates.
Sadly, they won't get used much.

Sister Two is a Fiesta Ware nut.
My friend, Feagler, is as well.
Great-grandmother Hall had Fiesta Ware.
My aunt has Fiesta Ware. 
Somehow I've never caught the bug.
This is as close as I'll ever get.

Melmac from Target for $1.99 apiece.
There is even this nifty little piece.

I believe the label said it was an ice cream dish.
For midgets, maybe.
This, my friends, is an ice cream dish.

Actually, we had intended for them to be bowls for the 
Rumbi's Island Grill rice dishes that we planned to replicate.  
 Mary found them for us at Old Market.  
Who needs rice dishes when you have Ben and Jerry's?
If we want rice, we'll put it in this set.
They are really intended for soup.  
I know this because the set also has oriental soup spoons.
Someday I'm going to make hot and sour soup.
Or egg drop soup.  Or sizzling rice soup.
Who am I kidding?
I'll just keep buying it at the 
Wonderful House and put it in these!
 Why mess with perfection?

Then of course, we have the two sets of Christmas dishes.

Fortunately, the other set is stored at our town house.

We also have Marjorie's china. 

I think Mardell also has a set of wedding china.
Hopefully she already gave them to Mary.
She can have those, but not the pottery dishes.
Or the chandelier.

I even have a piece of Noritake from
the pattern I chose when I got married.

I gave all the others to my friend Sharon.
Somehow I must have missed this one.

Here's the plate I ate off of during my college years.

I have no clue where I got it --- or why I still have it.
But it's great for steaks coming off the grill!

With all the dishes in our cupboards, we could 
probably invite a hundred people over.

Too bad I don't know a hundred people.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


The longer I live, the more I realize 
that my great-grandmother was a saint.

She was also very Irish and proud of her heritage.

She established a great many of our family traditions.
One of my favorites was Blarney Stones.

Most people have never heard of them before.
They are just a heavy cake that is cut into rectangles,
frosted on all six sides with green buttercream
frosting and then rolled in chopped peanuts.

Every year Great Grandma Hall baked enough for everyone and their dog.
Actually, she didn't bake them for the dogs but Champ sure enjoyed them.
Sorry Grandma --- I didn't know what a pain in the ass they were to make.

I've been missing Great-Grandma a lot lately,
so I decided to make Blarney Stones this year.

They remain a fond memory from my childhood and I thought
it would be cool to share that piece of myself with my students.  

I have Grandma's actual recipe.
She liked me best, so I got it.


Actually, I stole it from Mom's one day when she was at work.
But don't tell her.

I have discovered that Grandma's recipes are more of an ingredient list rather than a real recipe.  I need step by step instructions.  A list of ingredients just doesn't cut it for me.

We had to brave the Evil Empire to get the needed items.
Finding cake flour was difficult.  I didn't realize that vanilla was called Madagascar Bourbon.  Interesting tidbit of info for you. Like my kids say, "We learned something so we can go home and go back to bed."
I really like the way they think!

  My baking powder was past the expiration date, but we won't tell Ms. Simpleton.  If I had gone over to Mom's, I could have probably borrowed the very can of baking powder that Grandma Hall had in her kitchen when she went to the nursing home! 

I mixed up the batter and baked the cake.
It looked beautiful coming out of the oven.

I smiled to myself as I cut it into 24 small squares and
I pondered which St. Patrick's Day story I would read as I shared my treat with the kids.  I wondered how many of them would make the connection between my story and the story entitled Saturdays and Teacakes.

  I had read somewhere that freezing the cake pieces would work better, so I bagged them individually and stuck them in the freezer overnight.

We went to Ogallala on Monday morning for acupunture, 
but as soon as we got home I hurriedly mixed up my frosting. 

I was still thinking how much fun this was.
I took out the first bar and removed it from the baggie.

I carefully and lovingly spread the frosting on each side
and placed it in the peanuts for a good rolling.

It is a messy process, but I just knew
it would be worth it when I was done.

Let's see, 24 kids.  8 for the staff.  4 for at home.  I'd mail some to Aunt Sue and Sister Two and then I needed some for Mom and her guard caretaker. Good Lord, how did Grandma ever do it?!

Hmmm .... Grandma never complained about making them.

I decided I just had to get the knack of doing this and it would get easier.
I thought that until I had frosted about a dozen.

At that point I decided the heck with the kids
because they wouldn't appreciate them
the way that I thought that they should!  

Instead, I plated up a small batch, 
called Sister Two, instructed her to meet
me at Aunt Sue's and off we drove to Alliance.

They have the history and understand the tradition.
They smiled as they nibbled on the bars.
They said all the right things.

It's a good thing no one counts on me to 
carry on the traditions because it will be
a long time before I make them again!