Friday, July 29, 2016

It Is Hot. Stay Hydrated

Summer has hit us with a vengeance. After a late spring with a lot of rain suddenly we are experiencing scorching hot temperatures. Fields that were flooding under torrential downpours are now flourishing under the bright sun.

We can enjoy the outdoors now too. Some of us garden, some of us go camping, and some of us just like to sit in the shade. The children can play outside and make as much noise and be as rambunctious as they like.

The thing we all need to remember in the heat is to stay hydrated. That means drinking copious amounts of water. Remember that besides the normal amount of fluid loss you will perspire (or sweat) a great portion of fluids away.

Water is my drink of choice but it is so hard to drink 8 glasses of water a day. That is a whole gallon! I just cannot do it. Children prefer something sweeter but those drinks do not hydrate quite as well as plain old water. To supplement the water you drink try some of the foods that contain large amounts of water. Each one of the foods I name have at least 90% water by weight.

Salad is a good meal on a hot day. Iceberg lettuce has the highest water content of any lettuce. A lot of lettuce and some of your favorite garden vegetables make a good salad. Add some chicken strips and boiled eggs and you have a complete meal. You can also place lettuce leaves on sandwiches and even wrap the sandwich contents with lettuce if you would like to do away with the bread.

Radishes are lovely little red roots. They have a spicy sometimes even sharp taste. Radish in salads adds color and crunch as well as water and nutrients. Try slicing them and adding them to cole slaw. With very little practice you can make pretty radish roses to decorate a vegetable tray. They also make a chewy snack.

Another vegetable tray item is cauliflower. The florets are attractive and especially tasty with a little vinaigrette to dip them in. If family members cringe at the sight of cauliflower in salad try crumbling the florets a bit. They look similar to feta cheese and your loved ones may not notice the difference.

You can get star fruit in both sweet and tart varieties. It makes a good mixture of flavors for a fruit salad or to garnish a glass of lemonade or iced tea. The star shape of the slice makes a unique and attractive addition. One word of caution... if you have problems with your kidneys you should probably stay away from star fruit because of the high content of oxalic acid.

Grapefruit is one of my favorites. I peel them and eat them just like an orange.They are delicious in citrus salads. The nice thing about grapefruit is that not only do they lower bad cholesterol and triglycerides, they are a great food if you are dieting. They also help stabilize blood sugar which helps you feel better on hot days.

Children's meals often contain baby carrots. They have a sweet flavor and are nice and crunchy. Baby carrots have more water content than "grown-up" carrots. They are a staple for vegetable trays. Dipped in guacamole they are extra good. Slice them and soak them in ice water so they curl a bit and they are pretty in salad. Baby carrots are another good snack food when you want to munch while watching television.

Want a delicious breakfast? Take a cantaloupe, cut it in half, and scoop out the seeds. Fill the center with a nice serving of yogurt. Mmmm. Cantaloupe is low in calories with a big nutritional payoff. Blend cantaloupe, mint, and orange juice for a refreshing smoothie. Chunks of various types of melons make a good cool salad, no dressing needed. It could also be used as a light desert.

Broccoli is a misunderstood vegetable. Most people know that it is good for them but they think they do not like it. Broccoli adds a lovely dark green to a vegetable tray. Dip it into a creamy cucumber dressing and most people will enjoy it. Florets of broccoli and cauliflower along with curled carrot shavings make a nice salad.

Another green leaf to use in salad is spinach. It is darker green than lettuce so it makes a nice contrast of color. Or you can use it in place of lettuce if you like. Spinach is good in sandwiches too. Spinach also makes a good dip when mixed with plain yogurt. You can dip your other vegetables in that.

You can eat them like apples. Bell peppers are a refreshing snack on a hot afternoon. Slice them or make them into strips and place them on a leaf of lettuce to brighten the plate for a meal. Because of all the colors they are very attractive. Green bells are higher in water content than the colors but not by a lot. And each color tastes slightly different so your taste buds will be happy. They are pretty on the vegetable tray. Try them with a little creamy dill dip. The colors also add an appetizing contrast to salads. They are good in sandwiches too.

Celery has a nice clean flavor. It is good for dipping because it is long and firm. That makes it a necessary addition to a vegetable plate. Slices in salad are good. Keep slices in a baggie in the refrigerator to snack on.

Cucumbers have the highest water content of any solid food. Slices or chunks can be used in salads. Slices or strips look good on that vegetable tray. I keep slices in a bowl of cold salt water in the refrigerator. When I want a snack all I need to do is rinse a handful and they are ready to eat. Hummus is a good dip to use. Blend cucumbers, yogurt, mint, and ice cubes. Instant cucumber soup.

What can I say about the versatility of tomatoes? Slices are good and they add color to a plate. Wedges are a favorite in salad. Sliced tomato on a burger is almost a must. They can be a little messy but you can eat them like apples too. And that is just the larger variety of tomato. Cherry and grape tomatoes are good snacks too. A filling snack might be these smaller tomatoes with nuts or cheese. For a handsome appetizer cherry or grape tomatoes with basil leaves and chunks of cheese on a toothpick will make you look very urbane.

Take one medium tomato and cut it about 3/4 of the way down to make 4 sections. One scoop of tuna salad or chicken salad right into the center. Set on a nice bed of lettuce with a boiled egg cut into quarters also. Serve with your favorite crackers or hard bread. There you have a whole meal for a hot day.

Carefully melt some chocolate chips in the microwave. Take strawberries by the stem ends and roll them in the melted chocolate. Lay them on waxed paper until the chocolate cools. It is a decadent snack. Strawberries have the highest water content of the berries. You can eat them straight from the berry patch. Take some pound cake, put strawberries over it and cover with whipped cream. Some people add ice cream to the mixture and it is good. Quarter strawberries, add whole berries of your choice, chopped nuts if you like, and fold in some cool whip. It can be used as a fruit salad or a dessert.

I saved my favorite for last. Watermelon as its name implies is full of water. Cut a watermelon into huge "smiles" and let everybody be a kid again. For a flavored water, cut some cubes of watermelon and place the into a pitcher. Cold water sitting in the refrigerator atop these cubes make a refreshing drink when it is hot. Watermelon is an essential ingredient to a melon salad. Keep watermelon cubes in a covered container in the fridge and you will always have a cool sweet snack.

As I stated before these foods are meant to supplement water to keep you hydrated. Keep drinking plenty of water. You can also drink other fluids. Just remember to avoid salty, sweet, and alcoholic drinks when the weather is hot. They take away some of the liquid benefits of the drink.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Alike? Different?

It amazes me how alike my four children are. Yet they are so different.

My oldest son was the ugliest thing when he was born. His little face was all pushed to a point. I thought, "Oh my God! He looks like a buck-toothed idiot" But I loved that ugly little baby so much. ( After a couple of hours he was beautifully normal looking.)

He was so tiny... the smallest of all my babies. He also had an extra thumb on one hand.  Leave it to me to have a baby with extra parts.

My second son was beautiful when he was born. He was the personification of that blonde-haired, blue-eyed baby with rosy full cheeks. You know... the kind that people wanting to adopt would look for.

The problem was that for the first couple of days he would not wake up even long enough to eat. When he finally decided he was hungry all he wanted to do was eat. Then he would not burp for me. When he settled into  regular eating schedule I was greatly relieved.

My third son was loooong. He was 23 1/2 inches at birth. He was also lavender. The cord was wrapped loosely at his neck but it was enough restriction of blood flow to affect his color. No lasting damage from it though.

The first time he was brought to me for a feeding I noticed a small spot in one of his blue eyes that looked yellow. His dark hair was a little lighter. By the time I took him home he had green eyes and blonde hair.

My fourth child was my daughter. She was beautiful with dark little ringlets of hair all over her head. And she was the color of a beet. Deep, deep red.

She weighed the most of all my babies. She was an easy baby to care for. She fit wherever I put her which was good because her brother was still a baby himself. She amused herself when she woke up. She would make a little noise to let me know she was awake but was not too concerned if I did not get right to her. (Oh how I came to long for those days.)

As they grew older they had their own personalities. The oldest was born an old soul. He has a strong sense of right and wrong with very little room for the grays in between.

My second son is more adventurous. He wants things to happen for him now instead of waiting. He is generous to a fault.

My third son has a strong love of family Even more than the others. He likes nice things and works hard to provide them for his family. He wanted to be grown from the time he was very young and went headlong into being grown.

My daughter has been an experience for me in ways the boys were not. She was very much a girl in the traditional sense of the word. She was not interested in sports and did not watch television.She did have dance class but will no longer dance.

She is a hard worker. She also provides well for her family. Perhaps because she always knew she has the support and back-up of her older brothers she is very outspoken. She did not speak at all until she was almost a year old. Then she began speaking in sentences and has not shut her mouth since.

As you can see they are so different and unique. But they are also the same.

All of my children are strong willed. They like having things done their way. They are leaders and definitely not followers. Even if the people they are with want to do something my children do not agree with my children either try to change minds or stay out of it.

Of course as their mother I know they are all beautiful. They do not look completely alike but not one of them looks like me. They look like their father.

My oldest is the only one with dark hair. The rest are varying shades of blonde. Blue eyes are for three. The exception is the green-eyed one. My second son is several inches over six feet tall. The other two boys are just a bit under six feet. My daughter (who you will remember was the biggest) is tiny.

They often fight among themselves. Siblings usually do. But no one else is allowed to do so. It will bring on the wrath of all four. Heaven help them.

All four are stubborn. They are quick to anger (like their father) and hold a grudge (like their mother). It is not a good combination.

I simply find it interesting. Siblings have some things in common yet they are still individuals. Does that compare to you and your siblings?

Friday, July 22, 2016

Pups In A Dumpster

My father was the town marshal in two small towns we lived in. He was not only the the police officer but he had many other titles as well. One was dog catcher. That means he was the person responsible for stray animals.

Too many of the strays were pets that someone no longer wanted. The person would take the pet for a ride in the car. When the person felt the pet was properly disoriented the pet was put out of the car and the person would drive off.

It seemed that dogs were the most abandoned pets. Perhaps it was because cats tend to fend for themselves while dogs feel themselves to be part of the family.

It was so hard to find homes for the abandoned pets. They usually had to be put down. Daddy hated having to do that. But we could not take them all in either.

Since then I have wondered if the people who "dump" their unwanted pets stop to think about what they are doing. At best the animals will learn to cope with their surroundings and survive there.

But what about the feelings they experience. They must wonder why the person they depended on to care for them would just leave them in an unfamiliar place.

We have always taken pets that someone else did not want or were unable to care for. Once they are able to forgive us for what someone else did to them they make fantastic companions.

We lived in an isolated area of the city. Apparently people felt it was a good place to dump their dogs.

Our next door neighbor was a caring woman. She could not stand to see those poor dogs wandering around wondering what to do next. She took in any dog she found. She had well over a dozen dogs.

She had very little money. To feed the dogs she would put them in the back yard and toss dry dog food like chicken feed. Then she stood with her broom to make sure that no dog ate more than its share so they all had some.

Her house smelled of dog urine even though she washed her wooden floors with bleach every day. it was not ideal but at least she tried to care dor them.

There was also a junkyard across the street. A woman had inherited it when her husband died. She took in more dogs than the neighbor. At times she had more than 2 dozen strays in her office. It did not smell nearly as good as the neighbor's house.

She did have her office cleaned once a day by some of the guys working there. But she did not let the dogs out of the office so urine was not the only odor there. But again they were fed and watered. They had a place to stay.

Needless to say my own family got into the act. However I severely limited the number of animals at a time.

One day my second son came home with the nastiest dog I ever saw. He was leading it with a piece of twine he had tied around its neck. He told me it "followed him home". Could he keep it?

It was a mediumly large dog with long hair. The hair was matted and tangled. It was full of dirt and heaven knows what else. I told him no. That dog could not stay.

Eventually I told him that the dog could stay... in the yard. My son built her (of course it was a her) a dog house. He filled it with straw to make her comfortable. He bathed her with the hose and plenty of soap. She did not look too bad after that. But she still had to stay outside.

She seemed happy at our house. She had regular meals and was putting on quite a bit of weight. The kids played with her so she had companions.

Soon she was in the house for short periods of time. Then longer periods of time. Yes they wore me down. Besides I soon realized that the reason she was gaining weight so nicely was that she was soon going to have babies.

The day she had her babies the kids were all at school. She had nine puppies. They were not pretty babies. When the time was right we found good homes for them. The dog disappeared one day and never came back.

My husband and his partner were demolishing a building. They were working one day and heard squealing tires and a thud. When they went to investigate they found a doberman laying in the street. She (of course it was a she) had been hit by a car. The driver did not stay to try to help her.

Because she was hurt and scared no one could get close to her. My husband had the idea to put a blanket over her so she could not bite them. He put her in the car and took her to the vet.

Her hip was shattered. The vet said it was like a jigsaw puzzle. Her leg was broken in three places. The leg was set and a cast put on it. My husband brought her home. Of course he and my children adored her. She liked my husband and my oldest son. She was halfway afraid of me I think.

We had to be out one day so we locked her inside and our male dog was in the back yard. When we came home they both met us at the front door with big smiles on their faces.

Needless to say she was going to have puppies. And she was still in her cast.

After she had the puppies she was highly irritable. The day she snapped at my daughter who was a toddler was the day I told my husband and son they would have to find her a new home. They found homes for her and her pups. I did allow my son to keep one of the puppies.

A friend of mine was taking the trash out one evening. He heard a noise in the dumpster near his dumpster. When he looked inside there was a littler of what looked like beagle puppies. They were barely of an age to be away from the mother.

He wanted to keep them but there were too many. And they were so full of worms. I finally convinced him to take them to the Humane Society. They were real cuties. They should have been able to find good homes for them once they were healthy.

Then I was sitting on the same friend's front porch one summer evening. We were enjoying the cool down after a hot day.

There was a gas station just down the block and across the street. I saw two men get out of their truck. I assumed they were getting gas. The dog got out with them.

They got their gas and got back in the truck. Then they drove off as fast as they could. They went right down the street my friend lived on.

Then I saw that poor dog running as fast as he could to catch them. They were laughing as they drove by obviously proud of the despicable thing they had done. I did see the dog a few times looking around. My friend said that someone had taken him in. I was glad for that.

Perhaps someday someone will explain to me how people can do something like that.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

What Do You Think?

I am borrowing a thought provoking subject from the Optimistic Existentialist. You can see his post on the subject as well as the many thoughtful comments by clicking on the link.

I was a teenager and a young (very young) woman in the 1960's. It was a time of turmoil in the United States. We were embroiled in the Viet Nam War. We were experiencing "make love not war" with the Hippies. Drugs were becoming a popular pastime.

The world had experienced wars before. Many of the wars were not popular with many people. Viet Nam was no exception. The difference was that our soldiers and sailors were not treated with the dignity they were due when they finally came home.

A lot of citizens disrespected the government. They destroyed symbols of the United States.

It was the first war fought on television. We saw some of the awful conditions our soldiers were in as they trudged through jungles and swamps. We were horrified and wanted it stopped.

There were demonstrations and sometimes riots. Some people disapproved and some participated. After too many service-people were killed or maimed the war finally ended with no real outcome.

Hippies were referred to as Flower Children. They said they preferred love of mankind and the colors of flowers to the evils of society. Free Love was the cry of the Hippie. "If you can't be with the one you love, honey, love the one you're with" to quote The song Love The One You're With written and performed by Stephen Stills (and the Isley Brothers).

Some were anti everything establishment. Some simply wanted what they considered to be a more beautiful world. They paid little attention to anything else.

The use of drugs became a leisure activity. Several of the drugs that are illegal today were legal then. LSD is one of them. Even after they became illegal they were still used.

Timothy Leary was an assistant clinical professor of medical psychology. He advocated the use of psychedelic drugs in controlled situations for therapeutic reasons. He coined the phrase "turn on, tune in, drop out" to encourage drug use.

We had presidential elections. Important people were assassinated. It was a confusing time.

There were births. There were marriages. There was (in my mind) some of the greatest music ever.

I mention that time because that is when I became most aware of the world farther away from my own little community. Decades that came after the 60's were more of the same. Specifics were different but there were good and bad occurrences.

The Optimistic Existentialist posed this question: Is the world really worse off than it has ever been?

I found two songs that I think represent the opposite sides of the 60's. I think they fit today too. How would you answer the question above and which song most conveys your feelings about the world today?

I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing Lyrics.

I'd like to build the world a home
And furnish it with love
Grow apple trees and honey bees
And snow white turtle doves

I'd like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony
I'd like to hold it in my arms
And keep it company

I'd like to see the world for once
All standing hand in hand
And hear them echo through the hills
For peace through out the land
(That's the song I hear)

I'd like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony
I'd like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony
I'd like to build the world a home
And furnish it with love
Grow apple trees and honey bees
And snow white turtle doves

I'd like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony
I'd like to hold it in my arms
And keep it company

I'd like to see the world for once
All standing hand in hand
And hear them echo through the hills
For peace through out the land
(That's the song I hear)

I'd like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony
I'd like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony
I'd like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony, that's the song I hear

Written by Bill Backer, Roger Cook, Roger Greenaway, and Roquel Davis
Sung by The New Seekers

For What It's Worth

There's something happening here
What it is ain't exactly clear
There's a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware

I think it's time we stop, children, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down

There's battle lines being drawn
Nobody's right if everybody's wrong
Young people speaking their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind

I think it's time we stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down

What a field-day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly say, hooray for our side

It's time we stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you're always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away

We better stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down
Stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down
Stop, now, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down
Stop, children, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down

Written by Stephen Stills
Sung by Buffalo Springfield

To Catch A Unicorn

I wrote this a few years ago for Nature Center Magazine. I was in the mood for a food unicorn sighting so I thought I would share this with you. I hope you enjoy it.

A long time ago, when the Earth was green
There was more kinds of animals than you've ever seen
They'd run around free while the Earth was being born
And the loveliest of all was the unicorn

There was green alligators and long-necked geese
Some humpty backed camels and some chimpanzees
Some cats and rats and elephants, but sure as you're born
The loveliest of all was the unicorn

The unicorn is not a mythical animal. Surprised? No mythology makes mention of a unicorn. It is considered to be a legendary animal because it is so rarely seen.

The unicorn is mentioned throughout history. Early Greeks said it was an animal found in India. China had unicorns. Unicorns are even mentioned in the Bible.

Although there are many different descriptions of this legendary animal. Perhaps some of the early scholars mistook other animals such as the rhinoceros to be a unicorn. There is a goat with one horn that people see as a unicorn and the narwhal is a marine animal with a long spiral horn like a unicorn.

The most accepted form of the unicorn is as an animal that looks like a horse with a long spiral horn extending forward from its forehead. Colors vary from black to pure white. There have been reports of pastel colors but most of those have not been verified. The coat of the unicorn has also been compared to a light emitting pearl.

The horn itself also varied in color. It may even change colors depending on mood and other circumstances. A unicorn's horn is approximately one third the height of the animal.

The mane and tail are often reported to be wild and flowing. They can shine with a bright light or maybe be a gentler softer color. A unicorn's eyes will be either deep blue or purple.

The Lord seen some sinning and it gave Him pain
And He says, "Stand back, I'm going to make it rain"
He says, "Hey Brother Noah, I'll tell you what to do
Build me a floating zoo,
and take some of those...

Green alligators and long-necked geese
Some humpty backed camels and some chimpanzees
Some cats and rats and elephants, but sure as you're born
Don't you forget My unicorns"

Unicorns live all over the world. They are wary of human animals so they are seldom sighted.

Unicorns tend to live in small groups. There is an elder who has lived for hundreds of years. A couple and their offspring, usually one or two, live together.  Any size group of unicorns is called a Blessing.

Occasionally two or more Blessings will join together for a small period of time. They romp and enjoy the company until they go their separate ways.

There are two thoughts on how baby unicorns are made. Some say the known mating methods of the rest of the animal world are used. Some others say that because unicorns were made by the gods, unicorn couples go in search of a baby unicorn that was dreamed by one of the gods. When they find the baby it becomes theirs and a member of the family.

What do unicorns eat? They have been seen grazing on much the same foods as horses. It has also been said that they do not need to eat because they were made by the gods, so they graze to preserve an image.

The only way to approach a unicorn is if you are pure of heart and mind. Many believe that only a virgin possesses those qualities.  That is why a virgin is often used as bait to capture a unicorn.

Old Noah was there to answer the call
He finished up making the ark just as the rain started to fall
He marched the animals two by two
And he called out as they came through
"Hey Lord,

I've got Your green alligators and long-necked geese
Some humpty backed camels and some chimpanzees
Some cats and rats and elephants, but Lord, I'm so forlorn
I just can't see no unicorns"

Unicorns have magical properties. The meat, hides, hooves, hair, and many internal organs are used as medicines. Anything made with these items should protect the person using them from disease.

The horn, called alicorn, is the most potent part of the unicorn. If a unicorn dips it's horn into a body of water, the water will be free of impurities and safe to drink. The knowledge of this encouraged drinking vessels to be made of unicorn horn. Kings and queens use them to prevent poisoning of their drinks. It is the gift of goblets made from unicorn horn that royalty from one country might make to royalty of another favored country.

Powdered unicorn horn is used to purify water. It is used in medicines and potions. These medicines should repel or cure any communicable disease. The powder is also a powerful aphrodisiac.

Many localities use a unicorn in their coat-of-arms. Even Countries do. For instance a unicorn is featured prominently in the coat-of-arms for UK and Scotland.

The royal throne of Denmark was made from unicorn horns. Queen Elizabeth I received a prized gift of a unicorn horn and proudly put it on display. Marco Polo claimed to have seen unicorns in Java.

Coins have been made honoring unicorns. Early drawings and tiles have been discovered with unicorns as the subject.

And Noah looked out through the driving rain
Them unicorns were hiding, playing silly games
Kicking and splashing while the rain was falling
Oh, them silly unicorns

There was green alligators and long-necked geese
Some humpty backed camels and some chimpanzees
Noah cried, "Close the door because the rain is pourin'
And we just can't wait for no unicorns"

Unicorns are in the news once again. Archaeologists in Korea have found a unicorn lair. It is called a lair because that is what the carved rock in front of iit calls it. The carvings are dated at 918 to 1392 AD.

Korea's history books teach that King Tongmyong kept and rode unicorns. History books. If something is in the history books it must be true.

The ark started moving, it drifted with the tide
The unicorns looked up from the rocks and they cried
And the waters came down and sort of floated them away
That's why you never see unicorns to this very day

But you'll see green alligators and long-necked geese
Some humpty backed camels and some chimpanzees
Some cats and rats and elephants, but sure as you're born
You're never gonna see no unicorns

The lyrics above were written by Shel Silverstein  and sung by The Irish Rovers. It tells why we never see unicorns today. But wait... there is more. Andrew McKee has written another verse to give us hope.

Now you might think this is the ending to the song,
But I'll have to tell you friends that in fact you're wrong

You see, Unicorns are magical, so when the rain started pouring,
They grew themselves some wings and they took to soaring.

You'll see green alligators and long-necked geese
Some humpty backed camels and some chimpanzees
But if you're looking for the unicorns, don't be forlorn,
The second star to the right and straight on until morning.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016


Through the years that my husband owned the junkyard he employed a lot of people. Many came and went with little more than a blip in our lives. The turnover rate at a business like that can be as high as the rate for a retail store which is around 75%.

But there were some with whom we became friends. We socialized with their families and watched their children grow up as they watched our children do the same.

There was one family of young men who were special to us.

The first one we knew was a big tough-talking guy. He was really a good guy but his mouth often got him into trouble. When he would insult someone at a business we dealt with I was the one who had to go try to rectify the situation.

Basically he was a nice person but he could not control his temper when he thought he was being slighted. The last I heard he is living in Georgia again.

His brother came up and worked for us for a short time. He was a charismatic guy who liked the ladies. He went home to Georgia shortly after he came. He was killed when a jealous husband stabbed him.

A cousin was a truly hard worker. He did not drink and did not carouse with women. He and his wife were raising 3 children and staying out of trouble. Even though they were quite a bit younger than we were we spent a lot of time with them.

His brother was not as dedicated to working for a living. He considered himself a "pretty boy" and tried to give of himself to as many women as possible. His wife put up with it far longer than she should have before she divorced him. They had 2 little boys.

Then another cousin came from Colorado. He was older and had a larger family. He worked as hard as he had to to make his wages but no more. He was quiet and kept to himself.

We no longer had the junkyard. My husband and I divorced. And as so often happens we sort of lost touch with some of our friends.

The two cousins and their cousin from Colorado opened a junkyard of their own. From what I heard they were doing well. I was happy for them.

Then one day I heard on the news that their junkyard had been robbed at gun point. The cousin from Colorado had been shot and killed.

The hard worker was there with him but he was okay.

The "pretty boy" had settled down as he matured but he was home that day with his family. When his brother called to tell him what happened he was very upset.

He was on the phone to the police trying to get some help and some information. As he was on the phone he had a heart attack and died instantly.

It was a tragic day for their family. We all mourned because it was all so senseless.

It is another example of living life while we can. There are no guarantees of another day.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Cocoa's Momma Does It Again

Cocoa's Momma  once again has a list of things to make me think about myself. You can visit her by clicking on her name. Her posts are so entertaining.

1. If you could sit beside and/or jump in any lake in the whole wide world today, which lake would you choose and why? Lake Titicaca mostly because it is fun to say.

2. What's your favorite 'fruity' drink?
Grapefuit juice

3. I read a list here of thirteen things to do right now to simplify your life. They were-
clean as you go, re-evaluate your relationships, unsubscribe, de-clutter, write down your daily goals, reply to emails right away, forget multitasking, create a morning routine, re-evaluate your commitments, say no, clean up your computer, and plan your day ahead

Which of the tasks listed do you currently find most helpful, in keeping life simple? Which item on the list should you adopt, in order to simplify your life this month?
Clean as you go is the best one. I also need to forget multitasking and try to accomplish one thing thoroughly.

4. What did you do the summer after you graduated from high school?
I went to work in the kitchen of the hospital. I had a lot of fun on my free time too.

5. Are you a fan of podcasts? If so what's a favorite?
I do not listen to podcasts as a rule.

6. Do you think today's fathers have it harder, easier, or just different than fathers in the past?
I think it is just different. A father who loves his children will make time to enjoy them and let them enjoy him. Sometimes work and responsibilities get in the way and Dad needs to learn which things he can postpone for a time. Children no longer have to help out in the field or in the house in the same way they used to (back in the good old days). They have other activities that need to be considered too. Families now have to plan time together but they can relax more than they could before.

7. Tell us one way you're like your father? Or not at all like your father, if that's easier?
I have my father's lop-sided smile and his blue eyes. I have his ability to be able to talk to someone even if we have not met until just now. I have his sense of humor. I think I have his capacity to love. Those are for starters.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
Give someone a smile. They can keep it and give it back at the same time.

Some of these will make you stop and think. You can thank Cocoa's Momma for a fun workout for your brain.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Long As I Can Grow It, My Hair

Our hair is something we all think about. We wash it, comb it, style it, color it, or wish we still had it.

Genetics plays a big part in our hair. In my own case many of the men from my mother's side are bald like my great-grandfather. All of the women have lots and lots of hair.

Two of my brothers are bald. One has been since high school.

My youngest brother is only five years older than my oldest son so they have always been quite close. My son has more hair than two people should have. He realized suddenly one day how bad my brother felt about being bald and stopped teasing him about it.

The other brother makes the jokes before anyone else can. He is fond of saying things like, "God made a few perfect heads… on the others he put hair!" or "This is not a bald spot….it’s a solar panel for my brain."

My oldest brother had hair like my son. As he got older his turned the prettiest white.

My mother's mother had the most beautiful black hair. She wore it long but kept it pinned up to keep it out of her way. As a farmer's wife she was busy all day. She cooked all meals on a wood stove so that alone was a problem if hair was hanging loose.

After she suffered a series of strokes in her 60's she gained a few, very few, strands of gray in her hair. She also began wearing it short because she was no longer able to care for it otherwise.

My father's mother had the most beautiful silver hair. Many women go to the hairdresser to try to have their hair colored to look that way. They inevitably end up with blue hair.

Mom's hair was dark but began to gray as she aged. She colored it to a lighter color than her natural dark hair. Eventually she let it grow out natural because it began to turn more white than dull gray.

My mother had a mole on one side of her head. The hair that grew from that mole was very white. It gave her a pretty stylish white streak in her dark hair. When her hair became white that streak was dark brown. Imagine that.

Daddy had dark hair when I was very young. In his late twenties his hair had become that salt and pepper color. He always wore it short. Somehow that seemed to hide a lot of the gray so that he still had what looked to be brown hair when he died.

Both of my sisters have naturally curly hair. One has almost kinky curls. She straightens it to make it manageable. The other has hair that falls into waves. All she has to do is wash it and brush it. She looks like she spent hours at the beauty shop.

My hair on the other hand is straight as a string with absolutely no body at all. The saving grace is that there is a lot of it. That can also be a curse but I will accept it because it does give a small amount of volume.

I wore my hair long as a child and young woman. The straightness came in handy for that. I was often referred to as "Morticia" as in Morticia Addams from the Addams Family.

You will often see people with long hair tuck it behind their ears to keep it our of their faces. My mother hated that . She was constantly telling me that my ears were not handles.

My hair was a sable brown color and I am vain enough that I loved that color. Of course with age the color fades. And a little bit of gray seeps in. I inherited my maternal grandmother's genes for hair color. I am almost 69 years old and my hair is still mostly brown.

When we were having pictures taken for the yearbook my senior year of high school. My mother insisted that I wear my hair up for some reason. As you can see from my picture at the side here she got her way. I suppose she did not want to chance me tucking it behind my "handles".

Now that I am older I wear my hair shorter for reasons of vanity. Long hair tends to pull the focus of eyes down which makes a person look older. I know I am not young any more but I was blessed with youthful genes. My coloring is good and I have few wrinkles for a person of my age. I do not need help to look older.

My husband had hair the color of fresh straw. It was so pretty. When he was so sick before he died his hair turned gray. Beause of the chemo he lost a lot of it too.

I have four children. My oldest son had very dark hair. My second son and my daughter are blonde like their father. My third son has brown hair.

Whenever a new baby was born in the family my mother-in-law would ask what color the hair was.before she asked about anything else. She especially wanted a granddaughter with that carrot-y red color. She had two sons with that color but no daughters. She kept hoping but it never happened.

My oldest son is very gray now. He has been turning gray since he was quite young. My second son was always so blonde that it is hard to tell just how gray he is. He also wears his hair short but I think I see the tiniest bald spot right at the crown of his head. My third son seems to be keeping his color for now even though he is a grandfather. My daughter still has that pretty color she got from her father.

As for my grandchildren the boys keep their hair well-trimmed as is the style today. Brown and blonde are the colors. The girls have all had long hair. When my oldest granddaughter graduated from college she cut hers off. Her father was heartbroken.

My great-granddaughters are still just beginning to grow hair. It will be interesting to see if their parents keep their hair long.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Take Your Kid To Work

I was never able to take advantage of "Take Your Kid To Work" day. It is a day that was begun as "Take Your Daughter To Work" day in 1992.

The purpose was originally to show daughters that the work their mothers do is important. It was not just a reason for Mom to get out of the house. It gave daughters the sense that their mothers were actually contributing members of the work force. And that mothers are being paid and earning money for their efforts.

In 2003 the day was expanded to include sons. And sometimes fathers were allowed to take their children to work too.

Now we must understand that some environments are not safe for children so not everyone could take part. My children were grown so they would not have been interested. Besides they had watched their father and mother at work at the junkyard for years and they were used to the idea.

My daughter-in-law worked at the same superstore chain I worked.  She was in a different store than I was. She decided to take the opportunity to take my grandson and granddaughter to work. Parents were encouraged to do so there.

My grandson was in pre-school so he was probably 4 years old. He had the time of his life. He went out with the baggers to push grocery carts back into the store. He swept sidewalks and washed windows. They even let him scan a few small orders.

Customers were enchanted by such a little guy doing the job. Of course there was a real cashier there with him in case of problems but he did quite well.

Employees are not allowed to accept tips. But one woman wanted to give my grandson a dollar to show her appreciation. After a quick check for permission he was allowed to graciously accept.

When he went home that nigh he was exhausted and went straight to bed. (A few years later when he was in high school my grandson went to work at a different store in the same chain. One of his jobs was pushing carts. He did not think it was quite as much fun then.)

My granddaughter was a year younger than her brother. My daughter-in-law kept my granddaughter close to her.

The women in the cash office kept my granddaughter supplied with paper and colored pencils so she could occupy herself. She sat happily on the floor drawing and coloring to her heart's delight.

The cashier in charge of the shift thought my granddaughter might feel important if she had a little chore to do. She asked my granddaughter if she would like to take the spray cleaner we used and a cloth and polish the chrome around my daughter-in-law's work area.

My granddaughter looked coolly at her and said, "You're so funny." She went back to her coloring. That was how she spent her day.

I do think a take your kids to work day can be a good thing. If they are old enough to see it and understand it is good for them to know what their parents do to earn the money that takes care of the family.

My kids saw how hard I worked in the junkyard to help take care of our family. I believe that is the major reason none of them went into that line of work.