Archive for June, 2007

Salt and Pepper Humor

“Humor is mankind’s greatest blessing.” …..Mark Twain 

I am blessed with a very funny daughter! Holly and her husband, Jeremy, are some of the funniest people I know, it a very good way!!! If they are around, expect to have a side-hurting, face aching time!

Holly very often sees humorous aspects of objects that I pass by everyday and never find the humor until she points it out.

She walked into my kitchen one day and said “Mom, it is not everybody that can find salt and pepper shakers to match their initials!” I was puzzled so I looked where she was looking and all of a sudden it hit me! I have a 40’s robin egg blue salt and pepper shakers on the shelf above my sink.

Salt and Pepper

SP are my initials. Now everyday while I am in the kitchen, I laugh and think about Holly saying how lucky I am (in more ways than one).

“One never needs their humor as much as when they argue with a fool.”…..Old Chinese Proverb

Edited about 2 hours later: Look at Holly’s post about the 80’s bandanas, you will read some funny stuff!

www.sweetheartville.blogspot.com

June 29, 2007 at 9:42 pm 2 comments

My Pet Crow Named Jerry

When I was in grade school, I had a pet American Crow (corus brachyrhym), his name was Jerry. My Dad named him from the Jim Crow laws, which have a whole history in themselves. Many race riots occurred because of these laws, the Tulsa Race Riot for 1921 was one. These views were stereotypical images of black inferiority in popular culture from about 1860 to 1955. My Dad was not prejudice, one time he told me “that (the n word) did not mean the color of someone’s skin but how they lived their lives”.  That word is not in my vocabulary or my children’s. One of my Maternal Grandmother’s friends was a black lady, one of my Paternal Grandfather’s neighbors and drinking buddy was black. I do not remember how we came to have Jerry. He must have been a fledging Crow that was attracted to our dog’s food or, most likely, he was attracted to the pigeon’s food my Dad raised as a hobby. This was in the early 60’s, now there is a federal law making keeping a Crow as a pet illegal.

I recall feeding him cracked corn from my hand. He was very affectionate and protective. Jerry seemed to be always around when I was outside, which was most of the time. He would fly over me as I walked to school, which was four blocks away. He would be sitting in a tree or on the fence when I came out of the school and he would fly around me as I walked home. I would have conversations with him and he seemed to be listening. We were good friends. Then one day Jerry seemed to disappear, I thought he must have died. However, after researching about crows, I think he probably joined the group of local Crows. He assimilated into his society. I remember groups of crows sitting in the trees near my house. I am sure now that Jerry was sitting there with the rest.

A very interesting book about the American Crow’s cousin, the Raven (corvus corax), is Ravens In Winter by Bernd Heinrich. The book relates his study of the Ravens around his home.  This species of bird is amoung the most intelligent of birds. They are extremely difficult to trap. The Crow is considered a cooperative breeder, which means they stay close to the place they were born.

Until my husband informed me that there was a difference between Crows and Ravens, I thought they were the same bird. I argued about the point, only to be proved wrong, he was right. Crows and Ravens are two different sub-species. Mr. Smarty even knew the details of their difference, afterall, he ran throught the Missouri jungles in a loin cloth and a knife between his teeth and one bullet for his gun (that’s another whole story).

Having Jerry has my 1. friend amd 2. pet enriched my life greatly. I also learned a lesson about prejudice and how to it invades our culture. As a child, Jerry’s name only meant that was his name, nothing more. I developed a deep sense of closeness to animals and nature through our relationship. Afterall, we share the same rock in space. I have had other wild animals as pets, a Skunk, a Sparrow Hawk. My family fished, hunted, mostly for food. Since I was the youngest in the family, I was used as a size model for various animals that my family caught. Somewhere there is a picture of me standing beside a huge catfish that my grandmother caught and a picture of me being measured up to a infamous three-legged Raccoon that my Dad hunted. I neither fish or hunt, but I know how, just in case, civilization ends as we know it!

Please take notice of the lessons that you pass on to your children. They are the future, they can make this a better place to live for all citizens.

June 26, 2007 at 7:06 pm 1 comment

My Porches

America has always had it’s own love affair with porches! Porches have been used for sleeping, eating, resting, etc. The porch has always represented a sense of community. Front porches often are written about in American Literature. A NPR article entitled: The Porch: A Place of Literary Promise by Michele Norris tells of a book, Out On The Porch, about American front porches. The picture on the web article is of Gregory Peck and Mary Badham reading the script on the porch of the set of one of my favorite movies, To Kill A Mockingbird. Out On The Porch is on my list of necessary reads now.

My front porch represents my philosophy about living (beauty, peaceful, escape from worries, steadfast kind of thing). My back porch represents my love for my home and family (visiting, cooking out, sit a spell, nice pieces of the past kind of thing).

Barn Swallows nest every year on our front porch and in our carport. The nest is made from mud, twigs, feathers. Barn Swallows can be very messy, but I like them anyway.

Mud Nest

Can you see the four baby Barn Swallows peeking out of their nest?

Baby Barn Swallows

I have two green flower pots on the corners of my front porch. The West one has Caladiums, Compact Sonic White Impatiens and Swedish Ivy.

 West Flower Pot

The East one has Caladiums, Compact Sonic White Impatiens and Blue Daze Evolvulus. I usually plant dark pink caladiums with pink begonias and trailing varigated vinca. This year I decided to try something else, for a change. Change is good.

Flower Pot Two

On my back porch I display several types of Art Pottery, I have a deep appreciation and love for Art Pottery. I especially love the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s pottery eras because of the artistic and classic designs. The green pitcher below is a McCoy, I think, no markings. The greenish brown flower pot could be McCoy or Hull, again no markings.

Green Art Pottery

A very good friend of mine gave me this old tin watering can with a Purple Leaf Shamrock planted in it. Every year I put it on the treadle of my sewing machine table. Come winter, I store it in my garage, it goes dormant, then in the Spring, I put it back in it’s place of honor. I treasure this plant because my friend planted it and she has a magic touch with plants. She also has a gift of healing massage, there is no need to tell her where you hurt, she just finds the spots.

Purple Shamrock

The white pots below are yet another favorite of mine. Each one has great detail, the left one has dragonfly motif, the back one has a impressionist round flower design and the right one (Made in Japan) has a bamboo detail.

White Pots

Some Blue Art Pottery Pitchers.

Blue Pitchers

My Burros Tail Succulent in a McCoy Brown Drip Burro Planter.

Burros Tail

And I thought I would leave you with another type of teeny, tiny mushroom.

Tiny Mushrooms

“The best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a porch swing with, never say a word, then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation that you ever had”…….Anonymous

My Dad loved to sit on his front porch swing! I can remember many a time just sitting there with my Dad, neither one of us saying a word. Yesterday was Mr. 11 year Anniversary’s (June 24th) family reunion in Holton, Kansas. He asked his Uncle Ralph (90) what had he been up to lately, Ralph replied that he goes to his son’s house and just sits in the front porch swing in the shade most of the day. Sounds like the thing to do when you are 90!

June 25, 2007 at 4:18 pm 2 comments

Summer Fun for the Kids

To help celebrate the Summer Solstice, I thought I would share with you a few fun child enriching and parent (grandparent) sanity-saving activities.

Pretzel Sparklers

  • 1 package pretzel rods
  • White Chocolate (chips)
  • Sprinkles (color coordinating with the holiday)

Pour the Red, White and Blue (4th of July) sprinkles into a small shallow dish.Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave, be careful about the length of cooking, try 35 seconds and so on until melted. Dip the ends of the pretzels into the chocolate about halfway. Roll the coated ends in the sprinkles. Let dry on a sheet of wax paper.

Banana Pops

  • 2 medium bananas, peeled and cut in half
  • 2 teaspoons of syrup or honey
  • 1/4 cup of crispy rice cereal
  • 1 tablespoon toasted coconut
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped nuts (unless your child is allergic)
  • 1/4 teaspoon apple pie spice
  • 4 craft sticks

Insert one craft stick into the bottom of each half banana. Place on baking sheet in freezer for about an hour or so, until the bananas are firm. In a shallow dish mix the other dry ingredients, cereal, coconut, nuts, spices. Brush each banana with the syrup or honey and then roll in the cereal mixture until coated. Wrap each banana pop with plastic wrap; return to freezer. Freeze until frozen. Store in freezer for 2 days. A good morning activity for the kids and in the hot afternoon they can have their Banana Pops.

And what’s Summer without bubbles!

Color Bubbles

  • 1/3 cup no-tear baby shampoo (Buy at the $1 Shop)
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 drop of food color

Mix all together and pour into an old bubble container. Can pour it into a shallow dish for dipping a large bubble wand (also, at the $1 Shop).

Then after a day of eating, playing, running, swimming, sandbox playing, swinging, fumping (Alex’s jumping), etc., put the kiddos in the bath and let them play with…….

Fantasy Foam

  • Gentle Shaving Cream (test on inside of child’s arm for any reaction)
  • Liquid Food Coloring, various shades
  • Muffin Tin or Small Plastic Containers

Put the shaving cream into the cups and tint each one with the food color. Just takes a few drops, don’t want a blue smurf in the bathtub! Let the young artists create!

Let’s celebrate Summer! And for after the kids are in bed asleep, check out the Porch Swing Ice Tea recipe in my last post.

June 23, 2007 at 7:28 pm Leave a comment

Arts & Crafts Sewing Bird

Remember the free sewing bird? Here it is re-done. It is made of pine and the little thread pins were individually hand carved. The eyes are green thumbtacks.

The steps in re-making the little bird.

  • Removed the old felt
  • Removed the tiny nails used to secure the felt
  • Wash the wood with Murphy’s Oil Soap
  • Polish the wood with Orange Pledge
  • Use the old felt as wing pattern
  • Cut three graduating sizes of felt, light green, yellow, wedgewood blue with pinking shears, like the original felt wing
  • Attached the buttons to the light green felt piece
  • Stitched one side of the green felt piece to the yellow felt piece with a blanket stitch
  • Stuffed  the open side of the green felt piece
  • Stitched the green felt piece around completely
  • Stitched the stuffed wing onto the blue piece with a blanket stitch
  • Attached the completed wing to the bird using tiny nails
  • I used pinking shears on the felt, like the original felt wings. I tried to compliment the green thumbtack eyes.

Sewing Bird1

When re-doing a piece, I often wonder who made it, who used it and how it enriched their life. I wonder what young man made this for his mother in wood shop. I think about how much his mother must have loved his gift. How many items like aprons, dresses, skirts were made with this sewing bird holding the pins, needles and scissors. I think about how this little bird sat and watched as the family went through all the natural stages of change, like births, marriages, deaths. Yes, finally death brought the little bird to me. It was waiting on that trailer with the other things from someone’s estate for me to come and take it home.

Since Summer is officially here, my mind has been on cold ice tea. I found this recipe for Porch Swing Iced Tea by Sandra Lee from the Food Network. This recipe sounds really good for enjoying a lazy summer evening on the porch.

Porch Swing Iced Tea

  • 1 shot citrus vodka
  • Iced Tea (I think sweet tea would be perfect)
  • Lemon Wheel

Fill glass with ice cubes. Pour in vodka and your favorite iced tea. Garnish with the lemon wheel.

Sewing bird 2

I would really enjoy hearing about items that you have re-done! And what you thought about while re-making it. I know that many of you are very creative and talented!

June 21, 2007 at 2:21 am Leave a comment

Fairies Danced in Our Yard Last Night

Yesterday I found three mushrooms in my yard. Our weather conditions are perfect for fungi growing, (VERY) moist ground and high humidity.

Mushroom Day1

Mushroom Day1 a

This morning when Alex and I went out to do some yardwork, we found a Fairy Ring.

Fairy Ring

Alex is taking pictures of the mushrooms with her Tinker Bell camera. When a picture is snapped it says things like “I believe in fairies” and “Pixie Dust Patrol”, very appropriate.

Alex taking pictures

Top of Mushroom

Side of Big Mushroom

I thought I would throw in a sideways mushroom, for interest! 

Two Mushrooms

Alex’s little red wagon that we pull around with dolls, toys, camera, a canteen of juice, a snack size bag of snacks, blankets, water pistol, etc. You know, the essentials!

Wagon and Mushrooms

Green Wandering Jew is an excellent growing ground cover or trailing plant in a container. I love the tiny cornflower blue blossoms! The blossom looks like a tiny face with beautiful blue ears, do you think so?

Wandering Jew

These are a different type of mushroom from the Fairy Ring ones. I tried to indentify the different kinds but with no luck. I think you have to have a Ph.D. in Mushroomology.

Different Mushroom

Disclaimer: DO NOT EAT ANY WILD MUSHROOMS!!!!!!!! I only eat mushrooms from a grocery store!!!!!

OK, there, I said it! Let’s move on.

One last bit of very important news! Look at Holly’s My Space Page about the Tulsa Craft Group she and her friend Marissa are starting! Sounds like alot of fun! Very creative, girls!

June 19, 2007 at 4:55 pm 3 comments

Tornadoes

 Part One of 10 Random Things

The strongest tornado on record occured May 3 ,1999 around Oklahoma City. 44 individuals were killed. 10,000 homes were destroyed.

I have lived in Tornado Alley all my life. There is no reason to panic when severe weather approaches, however, one must use their god-given intellgience and protect life and limb. Tornadoes are part of life here in Oklahoma, we can all quote all the watches, warnings, etc. verbatim. We watch the skies, we watch the tv weather reports. We grieve with the rest of the country when a tornado takes a home, or a business or especially when loved ones are lost for we know all to well what that is like.

The very first tornado I can remember was one when I was eight, 1963. I had the measles and an ear infection or I would have been outside playing somewhere. I was looking out the back window of our kitchen, watching my Dad and brother in the backyard. I looked up towards the west and the sky was extremely green and heavy looking. In about 5 minutes, I saw a dark green funnel dip down out of the clouds and I screamed at my Dad “There is a tornado!!!” He dropped everything and started running into the house. We did not have a basement or shelter, so we did the stupidest thing possible, we got into our car to go to my Grandmother’s shelter!!! When I saw the tornado it could not have been but a couple of miles away, if that. I remember terrible wind, torrential rain, hail pounding the car on the way to Grandmas, getting out of the car and running into the shelter. The tornado had turned about a 1/2 of a mile from our house and went north, it’s path of destruction was about 5 miles long. I don’t recall that anyone was hurt in that tornado.

Another tornado that sticks out in my memory is a white one I saw after the storm has passed over us, it was not touching the ground. I remember thinking how beautiful that white tornado was against that very dark laden lightening streaked sky.

My Great Aunt Opal told a story of living in a “tent city” in Enid, Oklahoma during the Great Depression. The tents had a wood board floor with a canvas tent on top. She was coming home one day with two quart bottles of milk, when her Mother screamed at her to put the milk down and to come with the family to take shelter because a tornado was coming. She put those two bottles of milk down on the wooden floor boards and ran with all her strength to her family. When the family returned the only thing left of their make shift home was the wooden under structure of the floor and the two boards where the milk sat and the two bottles of milk. Everything else was gone.

In 1982, Holly, my ex-husband and I were going to Bartlesville to visit my parents one evening. On the way there, in between lightening flashes I saw a tornado funnel somewhere near Bartlesville, so we turned around and went to my in-laws. I tried to call my parents but the phone lines were down. About 10:00 o’clock I finally got in touch with other family members who told me that everyone was alright. My parents happened to be in the church where my Dad worked has a custodian. Everyone was taking cover in a hallway. My Mother said that when she looked out the front door of the church, she saw two funnels skipping down the main street of the town towards the church. She remembered the extremely loud noise, glass pieces hiting her back and seeing the stars shining up in the sky because the church’s roof was gone after the tornado passed. All of the windows in my parent’s truck were gone. The church was barely standing but no one was hurt. I went the next day to see my parents and I was amazed that huge trees were twisted, buildings wipe off their foundations and the total destruction  of the tornado’s path. I was very thankful that my parents were not hurt. My Dad had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after the tornado, he would just distance himself and go for walks alone. He recovered in about 6 months. PTSD is quite common in individuals after a major tornado experience.

This is a video of a tornado that occurred in Washington and Nowata County about 2 years ago. It just passed my Grandmother’s house. No one was injured badly.

There are two big forces at work, external and internal. We have very little control over external forces such as tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, disasters, illness and pain. What really matters is the internal force. How do I respond to those disasters? …….Leo Buscaglia

June 18, 2007 at 7:42 pm 1 comment

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