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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Birthdays , Bondsmen, and Betty ..........

POST # 10

The month started like any other February, cold, icy, and snow covered.  I was surprised that by my birthday on Valentine's Day, the temperature had warmed up to the mid 50's.  Good thing global warming is a hoax or I'd be concerned.
I did enjoy a nice birthday and was humbled by the number of friends  who took a few minutes out of their day to send well wishes.

After months cooped up in the Manor, it was finally warm enough, and the road was dry enough, for Mark to make a trip down the hill in his new wheelchair. It works perfect for him. It is much higher than his previous chair.  So  now his sitting height is almost 5 foot  tall. 
He's really enjoyed making the trek to Gracie's Market a few times this week, and actually being able to come inside the store for the first time ever!
To see where some of the stories I tell him come from.
I asked a customer what their plans were for the day and the response was, " getting drunk and pullin' titties."
To each their own.
 Come to find out he's a dairy farmer and it was milkin' time on the farm!
I loaded Mark and his chair into the car and we headed to Lebanon last week to pay some bills and get off the hill. It appears that Lebanon, Missouri is not set up as well as Illinois is as far as wheelchair accessibility is concerned.  Arriving to  take care of our bill we were surprised to  find that the only way into the business was UP 3 steps. Hard to do in a wheelchair.
Nothing a letter to the mayor won't help fix.
Considering all the wheelchairs I've seen here you would think that every business would be ramped and easily accessed.
That's not even bringing in the fat factor. I've never seen so many obese people as I have in this area.  Seriously, ever heard of salad??????

A friend on the hill celebrated his birthday a few days after mine.  Unfortunatly, his idea of 'celebrating' is a LOT different than mine.
Mine didn't include meth or jail time.
It is very sad that the only thing these kids find fun to do is the one thing that leads to jail or loss of sanity, or DEATH.
What ever happened  to hanging out at the skating rink, bowling or cruising the loop? Are those days in the past?
If only there were something that could be done.....

To make matters worse our friends granmother passed away 4 days later, while he sat in a cell.
The only good that came from this is that she passed quck and didn't suffer.
 Nor did she konw about the troubles her grandson had gotten into.
At 84 she was still a spitfire!
She may not have always remembered my name, she called me pretty boy,
 but she would always comment that I had a cute butt!
 After so long without one , I was happy to take the compliment!
Betty, your sweet smilin' Irish eyes will be missed.

The best thing about this week is that spring is in the air. Daffodils are popping their sleepy heads up and vultures are circling their prey. ( I was told that Vultures come back when it gets warm, the vultures I know never leave)
It's now time to get seeds together and start planning our garden. I will be starting some plants indoors in mid-March and will keep you posted on our progress.
HURRY SPRING, HURRY!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Stuffed toys and full drywall boys......

POST #9


It's been another great day on the mountain today.  I woke up at the crack of ten a.m. which I never do!
It must have something to do with Mark and I staying up entirely way to late watching SPARTACUS God's of the Arena
 I just don't understand it, men, naked men, men in leather skirts fighting and some even making out. Kinda gay. Or is it just me?

 Anyway,  Mark and I had several visitors at the house today, which we always enjoy.
James "Little Wood" and his buddy Garrett stopped by today to help with some drywall and insulation projects upstairs. It seems they like to work and eat  just have something to do to keep themselves out of trouble. Fine by me. We've got plenty of projects, where would you like to start?!


Once the guys  got upstairs I went to the kitchen and started some "gumbo".

Here is the recipe that I made up:

In a nice heavy pot I browned the meats with a little bit of oil.
4 links of venison smoked sausage
2 large chicken breast ( cut up)

When the meats were browned I removed them from the pot and in the juices that were left I  added:
3T butter
2T olive oil
2 large diced onions
diced celery ( with as much of the leaves as I had)
fresh garlic ( I love garlic and used 5 toes)
1 green pepper
2 T cumin
1T ground Chipotle
salt
pepper
2 bay leaves

I let all the above saute and simmer in the bit of liquid til the onions and celery were tender. At this point I added the meats back in-------

including 1 pound of shrimp ( you can buy pre-cooked or raw, I use the raw)

----and filled the pot almost full with water and brought it to a boil. Then turned it back down to a simmer.


An hour later I added.
2 cups chopped okra
1Cup of brown rice
1 can of roasted tomato
 1 small can of tomato paste

Finally, I continued to let this mix simmer on the stove for a few hours until we were ready to eat.


Our neighbors seven year old daughter, Tolara, came with a basket of birthday goodies for me also. A few extra to add to my previous days haul.



I've always had a soft spot for a good dinosaur magnet book, minus the magnets! How did she know!!!
I've got to give her credit, she said she knows that I like to cook and that I like dogs. She did pretty darn well!
After admiring my lovely basket of goodies, we got down to the business of baking peanut butter cookies.
Even though I usually just go to www.allrecipes.com for ideas, today we found a perfect recipe in one of the several cookbooks that we have, titled The Pennysaver Cookbook, by Dan and Inez Morris and set out measuring the ingredients.
I made sure to show her how to scale the flour and baking soda so as to get exact measurements. She thought it was pretty nifty running a chop-stick across the top of the measuring cup to get rid of the extra flour.
She also made it perfectly clear that 7 years old was certainly old enough to turn on the  snazzy, ultra fancy, blue kitchen-aid mixer by herself and  that she knew well enough to keep her fingers away from the mixing blade.
Once the dough was mostly made we (being she) added the four teaspoons of hot water to make it just right.
Charlotte, our very pleasant little elder-neighbor had also stopped by today to visit, and having a frozen bag of birthday COD was as good  an excuse to get out of her house for a while as any.
We really do enjoy her company. She is full of mountain wisdom and sharp wit! Although, I can't remember ever getting COD for a birthday. Let alone Uncle Ben's rice or instant oatmeal. This must be the 'year of firsts'.
Well, as the cookies were coming out of the oven, with just the right amount of sugar sparkle, Miss Charlotte's eyes were twinkling and she was telling little Tolara how pretty those cookies were. You could see the pride in Tolara's face. She really did most of the work with minimal supervision on my part. Like it or not.
I think the two ladies had a fun time at the Manor today.

After the cookies were done, we decided that it was time to dig into some hillbilly gumbo, minus the squirrel. It got rave reviews! The three young guys each had 2 large bowls as did Mark and I.Charlotte declined because shrimp gives her gas.
On a side note, Charlotte, pictured here last summer, has a rather famous baseball playing brother. Marty Patton . She was surprised to see the info I pulled  up on him in a matter of minutes.

Here it is almost 8pm and it's just Mark and I hanging with the dogs. We enjoyed the weather and the company today. The smiles and the laughs do prove that it's the little things in life that matter.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Birthdays, Bitches and Big Hair!

POST #8


As I approach the 22nd anniversary of my 21st birthday, I have done some reflecting on life.  As most of us do around our birthdays.
I remember looking forward to turning 21.  It was a big deal to be able to legally buy alcohol, not that sneaking to Mr. B's drive-up window wasn't fun when I was a teenager.
 It was fun to cruise the loop in Caruthersville, listening to the radio and thinking we were big Ka-Ka with our wine coolers !
The only thing BIG about us was our hair! Thank you Earl D.
Had to love the 80's!
My 21st birthday was spent in Champaign, Illinois. At the bar I worked at, Chester Street. 
Of course, with it being Valentines Day, there was a drag show. (again, big hair)
 If you've never had a bar full of people and about 20 drag queens singing happy birthday to you, you don't know what your missing!  I still have nightmares!!
It was a great night with friends as far as I can remember. At least I was told that I had a great time.

 Strange the events we remember in our lives............  also strange are the ones we try to forget!

So, now what?  Do I look  forward to turning 43 with the excitement I had when I was turning 21?
Not exactly.
This year is to celebrate making it this far, to appreciate the little things.
 I have been blessed and highly favored as far as I am concerned, for the friends I've made and the lives that in some small way I have touched. And by the lives that I have been touched by.
I look back on my life ( so far) with pride, and maybe some embarrassment ( Sr. pictures).
But thankful to be looking back none the less, to have the chance to say to anybody that will listen, here I am and this is my story.
Reflecting again ,on more of  my fathers words when he said  "You will be defined  in life by who your friends are".
I am glad to be defined by each of them...........
Each has taught me something powerful. How to laugh, to cry, to cheer and fight.  How to stand on my feet and how to get up when I fall.
To respect, to encourage, to  care and to listen.
So, an extra candle on the cake this year.
Fine.
It only means a little less room for frosting!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Blowing Snow BLOWS

POST  #7


Other than the weather, it's been a nice week for us here in Origanna Woods.
As of now we are sitting under a beautiful 5 inches of snow. It's in the upper 30's here today, so a bit of the ice is melting away.
After many long months of waiting, Mark's new wheelchair arrived yesterday.  15 K worth of  Handi-hauling power! The new chair is easily  one foot higher than his previous chair, this allows (for the first time), Mark to be able to see what I am cooking on the stove. I politely pointed out that with this new level of elevation comes new responsibilities, and then I showed him the dishes................
We are excited for  his first trip down the hill to GRACIE'S MARKET where he can also check the mail. Sometimes the ability to do the little things give us the most strength. Still doesn't mean I want to date a Chinese guy, so I will find little things elsewhere.
I did manage to make it into town to do a bit of shopping, thank goodness. I try to only go into town twice a month unless there is something I absolutely need. It was a long 4 hour trip, but managed to get a lot done.
Daisy has decided to grace us with her presence.............

This is our lovely pup having a play at the neighbors pond. She has found her a buddy that lives up the road a bit and spends more nights with him than she does at home! I'm not worried about her running here because all the neighbors love to see her when she visits.
The other dogs have taken well to the country life also. Sydnee is an 11 year old sheltie who loves to bark at the shadows, she has calmed down so much since being here, she is like a new dog.
Rebel, well he's just Rebel. Our little "Pig". I say 4 words and he is at the door......... "Let's go to work".
It's funny to watch him run and greet the customers at the store, most of whom call him "PIG".
Every day that passes is a day that I am thankful for choices we made in getting us where we are today. Our little piece of hillbilly heaven in the Ozarks. I love seeing what comes my way every day.
Even if it's our 74 year old neighbor Charlotte, talking about ' lifting her leg' to make her husband happy.
My , oh my............................