Sunday, November 23, 2008

"And this our life, . . . finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything." William Shakespeare ~~

(From As You Like It, Act II, Scene I)

It is quite sunny and nice here today, even if it is only 49°F at the moment. I'm trying to make the most of it today because we're once again supposed to have rain and cooler temps tomorrow.

Nine days ago I made my first attempt at the Friendship Bread, and I never did post what kinds I made. Thomas loves anything with lots of raisins, so the first one was just simply cinnamon and raisin. Then I made a cranberry/raisin/apple/cinnamon/almond, and it was a big hit. The third was the chocolate/chocolate chip that I'd mentioned, and the fourth one was banana and walnut. We each had some fresh and hot, then I sent most of the rest to work with Thomas where it went over very well with the guys and gals in the office. Tomorrow it's time to make some more. My sister made a chocolate/cherry last week that I might have to try, and Thomas would like something with peaches, so we'll just see what I'm in the mood to put together and what kind of ingredients I have on hand. I think one or two will be going to a neighbor.

I've been reading a lot lately and have several books to write about and recommend on my book blog. Also, has anyone here ever read
The Essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson? I did recently, and one of my favorites is "The American Scholar's Address". I would recommend it. I'm definitely going to write about it on DP Book Shelves.

That's it for now. Just felt like popping in to say hi to everyone.

Today's SALUTE from my visitors' locations goes to ~~

Ocala, Florida

population 53,491

and located 664 miles from me

(and which is also the home of my niece Sheila -- Sassy, is that you visiting from Ocala??)


Friday, November 21, 2008

An Honor Received

I almost forgot!

Last week I logged on to find that Sunday
Beth had passed on a blog award to me and that on Monday so had Yasmin.

This is the Marie Antoinette Award, and apparently it is for people who blog about real things. I really am honored, simply because I respect both Yasmin and Beth, and am humbled to think that they think that my pen-scratchings are worthy of being mentioned. I am supposed to now pass this on to at least seven more bloggers whom I believe are "real" bloggers who write about "real" everyday life. That describes so many of the blogs that I read, so I'm just going to have to pick a few of the many that I could name. Many of those on my reading list have already been honored by someone else, so I'll try not to duplicate anyone. I picked a random group of good reads, bloggers of different ages and backgrounds; people I read for different reasons, maybe. So here are the rules and my list of recipients.

The Rules

1. Please put the logo in your blog
2. Place a link from the person, from whom you received the award
3. Nominate at least 7 or more
4. Put the links of those on your blog
5. Leave a message on their blog to let them know

My nominees are:

Anne (Saturday's Child)

Donna (DBP) (Dust Bunny Protecter)

Mara (I Have Tea)

Traci (My Life As A Transplanted Yankee)

Marti (Porch Stories)

Chefkelly (Pride and Prejudice)

Linda (Still The Cutest Grandbaby)

And thanks again Yasmin and Beth!

Blurgal-ing. My New Word

I have been rather sick. It started with allergies, stayed in my head for a while, and then traveled to my chest. I'm doing much better, but I'm getting the winter blues. Usually at this time of year I don't journal too much (I think I'm going to invent a new word -- "Blurgal". For some reason I don't always like to say "blog", but "journal" doesn't seem right anymore. I like "blurgal".).

While I've been blah-sick, I haven't really been out-of-commission-sick. I've wanted to clean and sort and organize and putter and cook and bake and read. So I've kind of been doing all those things. I have actually mentally composed several entries for my book blogs and for "I Stand Corrected", I just haven't got around to actually writing them. So I may not do much in this blurgal for a bit so that I can concentrate on the other ones. If you don't see me here, don't worry.

I've been sorting a
nd organizing files, both hard files and files on my computer. I have hundreds of pictures that need to be sorted as well, and I'm actually in the mood to do some scrapbooking with them. Whether I will or not is another matter. I have a lot of research material that has needed for quite some time to be sorted and organized and put into binders, and I am still doing the interviews with my mother that I have to transcribe and then put into some order.

Where am I going with this? I have no idea. I was going to write about feeling blah and going through a bit of depression, which I usually do when it starts getting cold and gloomy; and before I could even
get to writing that down I felt I had to start defending myself and reassuring everyone that I'm fine and keeping busy with projects that interest me right now. So are you reassured? lol I do feel the darkness start to shut in every year about now, and I fight it off, and it eventually goes away. I have my good days and my bad days. And I really do have several projects going that interest me, so please don't think I'm hiding under the covers or in a corner somewhere. I just may not feel like updating Dusty Pages very often for a while with day-to-day activities, although I may pop in with a random post now and then.

But I can update a bit now. We have three big stores closing in our area: Clarksville's K-Mart, Circuit City, and Value City. Big signs that the economy is bad. They all have sales going on right now. I went by the K-Mart today and pi
cked up a few things. I got some very pretty folders and binders to store some of those notes and files that I've been organizing and sorting. And they had the ink that my printer uses for two or three dollars cheaper than its usual price.

Eler Beth wants to go see "Bolt" this weekend. She actually wanted to go today, but I said tomorrow would be better. We will probably go. It looks like a cute movie. I first saw the previews at the theater a couple months ago when we
went to see "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" (which was actually kind of cute -- much better than I had expected it to be).

Eler Beth is over her cold/virus and should be able to go hunting next week. Thomas has already got two deer, one buck and one doe. So she has some catching up to do.

The weather has been okay I guess. We had a few snow flurries
yesterday that didn't amount to much, and it was actually very sunny today, just not warm. I have a feeling we're going to have a real winter this year, which won't be so bad actually.

And I guess that's all I've got for now y'all. I'll try to get by to say hello to everyone this weekend.

And I guess that's all for now.

More Life Lessons

On Sunday Eler Beth's new cockatiel female, Nadia, laid her first egg. If you remember, Boris and Nadia were the two given to Eler Beth a few months ago by a neighbor whose son had decided after only a couple weeks that cockatiels were too noisy and too much trouble to take care of. We had doubts about Nadia actually making it at the time, so Eler Beth purposefully didn't let herself get too attached. She even entertained the notion of giving her to our pet-shop-owner-friend, but decided to keep her and Boris.

The gray one is Boris, and the yellow one is Nadia. Between them is Egg #1.

On Tuesday Nadia laid her second egg, which was right on time. They will usually lay them every other day until they are done. On Thursday morning she laid her third egg. All three of them were rather large, and we could actually see the large round mound of egg inside her little body before she laid it.

On Thursday evening we saw Nadia come out of the nesting box to get something to eat, and Eler Beth drew my attention to her swollen lower parts; she had another egg, and it looked like she was ready to lay it at any time. This rather worried me because I was pretty sure she wasn't supposed to have laid another so soon.

In the middle of the night Nadia's strange-sounding chirping woke Eler Beth. She woke me to tell me that Nadia was trying to lay her fourth egg. Before we really knew what was happening, she was calling to me to come quick because something was wrong. By the time I got to the nesting box she was gone. She'd become egg-bound; that fourth egg just wasn't coming out.

I was really worried about how Eler Beth was going to take this. She kept assuring me she was doing fine. I told her it was all right to not do fine. We didn't get Nadia's body out of the box right away. We let Boris go inside with her for a few minutes. Then Eler Beth came to report that Boris was nudging Nadia. She and I both started crying a bit at that. We got it out of our systems and then we took her out of the box. This morning first thing we called our pet-shop-owner-friend who told us that if Boris wanted to take care of them, it would be best to let him. He has sat on them all day. He came out only for a couple minutes this evening to eat a little. We don't know if they are fertile. Eler Beth is going to take a pen light and try to candle them to see if she can tell. Our friend also assured us that you just never know when a bird will become egg-bound. She has had females that have had several clutches (is that the right word?) of eggs and raised a lot of young ones, only to suddenly become egg-bound and die. And once you realize your bird is egg-bound it is usually too late to do anything about it.

I'm very proud of Eler Beth. She is handling it very well. I hope at least one of the eggs is fertile, but if not, maybe we'll see if Lucy and Boris would like to make a couple. She isn't going to give up on trying to raise baby cockatiels.

Nadia, sitting on her eggs.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Did You Wonder?

Did you wonder how Eler Beth was going to handle being without her animals for several days? My sister doesn't have any pets; not traditional ones, at least. But where Eler Beth goes, Eler Beth finds animals. Below is a little lizard of some kind that she found in Palm Bay where we dropped off Andrew. She put it in a container, carried it around a bit, had a photo shoot, then turned it loose.

Here, at my sister's house, she tours the yard looking for "critters". The stick in her hand was purely just accidentally picked up. I assure you she didn't use it to knock "critters" out of the palm tree! lol

She intrigued her young male cousins by finding this interesting-looking toad when they came by to visit.

But her favorite by far were the little Anole lizards, known as Florida Chameleons. This little fellow she found and captured several times along with many of his relatives. He very obligingly turned brown for her and then turned back to green. That was pretty amazing to see first-hand.

Yes, that is a piece of yarn. She brought him in, tethered him, and walked around with him for a bit. She did let him go of course. (Poor little anole.)

He is cute, though, isn't he?

These are palm fruits.

And this is a squirrel in the palm tree warning you to leave his palm fruit alone, or he'll pelt your new Santa Fe with them!

Okay, that's all the pictures for today.

I woke up this morning to sleet. Sleet! Eler Beth has a head cold, with stuffy ears and achy head and neck. So we doctored her up today and yesterday. I have a bit of something, too, but I think it's mostly allergies. I haven't required too much of myself the past few days. (Another way of saying that is "I've been lazy".)

This is the kind of weather that makes me want to cook a lot and bake a lot. My sister, Maxine, (the one in Florida) sent me home with an Amish bread starter, so I've been working that all week. On Friday I'll be able to bake some. I joked to her that for years I've successfully avoided letting anyone give me a "friendship" cake/bread starter until now. But seriously, she made some of the best cakes while we were down there. I think my favorite was her cranberry/walnut/apple/cinnamon. On Friday I'll divide the batter into four portions, so I'll either have to bake three cakes, dispose of some, or give some away. I think I'll bake three and give two cakes away. Any votes for what kind I should make? Andrew says Chocolate/chocolate chip. Eler Beth says something with cranberries. Thomas doesn't care. And I don't know. Guess it'll just be a surprise to all of us.

I should be in bed, but I finally got the chance to read about two dozen blogs and comment; I've uploaded more pictures; and I've cleared out a bunch of computer files -- three things I've been trying to do for three days. If I haven't been by to say hi yet, I'm on my way. If you don't hear from me this week, please drop me a line to remind me of your blog address, because I've been moving things around in my Google Reader, and I'm hoping I didn't lose anyone.

I'm going to pick back up on my "Salutes" again, now that we're all getting settled. And today's Salute goes to a little community in Kentucky that I've never heard of and would like to know more about. So if you're from this community reading my blog, please email me with more information.

Today's SALUTE goes to:

Plummer's Landing,

population ???

miles from Jeffersonville


Sunday, November 9, 2008


Today it finally feels like Fall. I think our highs will be in the 40s and 50s all week, and we're expecting some rain.

When we got back from Florida all the leaves had begun to fall; had a yard full at our house. Eler Beth loves to rake and make a big pile to play in every year, but I like to have them on the yard for a while (until I figure the neighbors are getting irritated!) because I love the way it looks and I love the way it feels to walk through them and the sound of them crunching under my feet. But I let her rake up some yesterday and she and the neighbor kids played in them. Ranulf (my cat) started running and jumping in them, too; he'd tunnel into them and then pop up out of them.

He camouflages well, doesn't he?

Starting to get back into a routine here. It took me a couple of days to rest up. Eler Beth's classes will start back up tomorrow. Usually this time of the year I enter an apology ahead of time for not being around as much or making very many entries, so I am doing that now. I may be here often, or I may not, it just depends. Usually until after the first of January I never know what I'm doing from one day to the next. It's a busy time. Also my brother will be having surgery next month, and he has several pre-surgery appointments before then, so I'll be helping out with those as much as possible.
Because it is so chilly here today, I thought I'd leave you with a few sunny pictures from Florida.

Lemons on my sister's lemon tree.

Early morning fishing from the pier.

Getting acquainted with the beach on the first day.

Having a lot of fun on the last day.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

"I Have Measured Out My Life With Coffee Spoons; . . ." T. S. Eliot

For the past 10 days I certainly have done so!

We got home from Florida on Wedn
esday, and I have been running (either physically or mentally or both!) ever since.

I grew up in a family that keeps the coffee going fresh all day long; and though they aren't quite that bad anymore, it's still common to have your
coffee, your afternoon coffee, and sometimes an evening coffee as well. And my sister Maxine, with whom Eler Beth and I stayed while in St. Augustine, carried on that tradition. She uses Maxwell House Lite, and it was the most delicious coffee I've had in ages, better than any expensive brand I've tried lately. Maybe it's her water that makes it so good; whatever it was I drank a lot of it!

I have pictures to show and interesting tidbits to write about, but I'll be back to do that later when I have more time and brain matter to put to it. I will say this -- Eler Beth is an excellent traveling companion. She was a joy on the way down because everything about the trip, everything she saw, was something new and amazing to her, and I wish I could still feel that exuberance and pure joy she felt. I did remember a lot of things about traveling to Florida to visit Maxine when I was a kid, and that was fun having those memories pop into my mind. Above, Eler Beth, with her boogie board, and Maxine heading out to the
beach t
he last afternoon we were there; Right, taking her board out into the waves; Below, having a blast!

Andrew, on the way down, was just eager to get there. He has called every day since we deposited him in Palm Bay, and he has been having a great time. The friend he is visiting is going to be moving up here next year (if all goes well), so this may be the only chance he has to visit her and her family in Florida, and I think they've made the most of it. Eler Beth was my only companion on the way back home, and she kept me awake and entertained.

Two weekends ago I was so full of grief for our young friends that I forgot my big news. Thomas went out that Friday and bought me a Hyundai Santa Fe! He had looked at one a couple weeks before that he felt was too high, and the dealer wouldn't come down. The one he bought was two years newer and $4,000 cheaper than that one, and it and I have bonded. I drove it to Florida, and it did great. It has great pick up, and the gas mileage wasn't bad. My Honda Accord will now pass to Andrew.

And speaking of our young
friends, J and her mother are doing pretty well. They have a big support group of family and friends who are keeping them busy. Andrew talks to J practically every day by phone. The two sisters are doing better, but it is still difficult. The retired couple who have acted as their guardians for so long actually do have temporary guardianship of them, which is what the mother wanted. Andrew talks to or texts one or the other of them about every day too. Their lives are slowly getting back into a routine now.

Thomas cared for all the animals while we were gone, and he did a great job. No one died or disappeared, lol. And I know Eler Beth has already written about Nadia and the new-male-that-doesn't-yet-have-a-name mating. So we expect eggs to be laid within the next two weeks.

We had ordered a fancy hutch for Clark, and it came while we were gone. On Thursday Eler Beth wanted to put it together; I wanted her to wait for Thomas to help her. She convinced me to let her at least get it out of the box to look at and see how hard it was going to be. I told her she could and I went to take a nap. Then she woke me up and begged to be allowed to go ahead and at least start on it. I gave in, and told her to do it in the driveway so she wouldn't lose anything in the grass.

The next thing I knew she was waking me up, telling me she'd put it together. And she had! All by herself! The next day she prepped the ground where we had decided to set it, I helped her lay down some bitty brooder wire and cover it with earth, then we positioned the hutch and wire so that nothing could dig in and 'possum can't dig out. She seems to be very happy with her new home.

I guess that's it
for now. Sometime next week I'll be back in a regular routine, and I'll be around to see what everyone has been up to.