Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Update of August 1: Since posting this piece about MRSA my site meter indicates that several people doing an Internet search for MRSA have ended up at my blog and then went on to use my Reader's Digest link so that they could read the article itself. It is gratifying to me to know that I have been instrumental in helping others learn how to protect themselves and their families from this deadly germ.

In the August issue of Reader's Digest is an article about deadly superbugs...in particular the bug known as CA-MRSA which is said to have become an epidemic and to be second ONLY to HIV as a public health threat.

The article is especially meaningful to me personally because my niece's baby, who is written up in the article, died from this bug two year ago. It happened so quickly.

Little Maddy seemed to be coming down with a mild cold. But it wasn't a mild cold. It was MRSA. Within a few weeks, Maddy died her little body ravaged by this bug. She died despite the intense efforts of the doctors to save her life.

My niece has established an online memorial in memory of Maddy. You can learn more at this memorial site about what happened to Maddy. You will also learn about Maddy's Bill there which is legislation Maddy's parents are attempting to get passed that, among other things, would help to prevent the spread of this bug from carriers who are not ill to others.

I am telling my readers about this health threat and the Reader's Digest article, because there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your family from this bug. The steps you can take are in the article. I hope you will read the article and visit Maddy's memorial site.

Thursday, July 19, 2007



Good advice.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Tag Time - 8 Random Facts About Myself

Tom from Patterns of Ink has tagged me. I am supposed to write 8 things about myself in a post. (Gee, thanks Tom. I like to write about myself.) Also, I am to list the rules of the tag before proceeding. Here are the rules which I copied from Tom's post and pasted below.

1. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts. 2. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves. 3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules. 4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. 5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.


1. At the age of 2, maybe a little older, I left home to see the world. My parents were sick with worry as they combed our small town searching for me that day. They drove around and around looking for me. "Have you seen a little girl in a red velvet coat?" they'd ask people they had stopped. Finally they spotted me walking out of the post office. In those days, we picked up our mail at the post office. There was no home delivery. Maybe I was expecting a letter from someone like...Santa Claus maybe.

2. White Shoulders has been my signature perfume since I was a teenager. It still excites my husband whenever I wear it. Potato salad is my signature dish. Now that the two of us are older, my potato salad excites him more than my White Shoulders. As they say "The way to a man's heart...."

3. I sang on the radio and cut a record when I was in high school. My friend Sue and I entered a local talent contest with our rendition of the Patience and Prudence song Gonna Get Along Without You Now which was recorded in 1956. We won second place locally and went on to the next level which was to sing on the radio. We didn't place at that level, but we did walk away with a record which was cut at the studio the day we sang.

4. I was a delegate to Girls State when I was in high school.

5. I won third place at Rend Lake College for a fiction piece I wrote several years ago. The story was based on a true experience I had as a child. Rend Lake College is where I met my friend Sharon who leaves comment here now and then.

6. According to aptitude tests I took in college, I should have studied to be an architectural engineer. But I didn't. Most of the jobs I have held have been secretarial in nature.

7. I am a Foodie. I like to eat. I like to cook. I like to look at food. I like to read about food. I like to shop for food. I like to watch cooking shows on TV. I like to learn about food and its history. I have a huge collection of recipes I have printed off the Internet. I have a large jelly cabinet that is full of nothing but cookbooks. Our grandson Ricky (age 6) told me recently, "Nana, you are the best cook in the world." He has limited experience of course.

8. I still have the rocky horse that my paternal grandfather bought for me shorty after I was born. When our first grandchild was born, my father restored the rocky horse. Below is a photo of our first grandchild, Tali, riding the trusty steed from yesteryear.
On her trusty steed with straw hat on her head
Miss Tali had gone to town before bed
To buy herself a spankin' new hat
A ten gallon one! What you think about that?

And here she is in her spankin' new hat!


These are the bloggers I am tagging. I am limited and can't come up with the 8 that is required, because almost every blogger I know has already been tagged for these things. Here is my list:

1. Crystal at Perspective. She is a beautiful young woman who writes intelligently about spiritual things.

2. Lucy at Lucy's Frugal Living. Lucy has all sorts of tips at her blog for saving money, saving time, improving health, and enhancing your general living experience.

3. Sharon at (no blog yet). She doesn't have a blog yet, but maybe this will encourage her to get one established. Otherwise, she can list her 8 random facts about herself in a comment to this post. Sharon is one of my best friends. We have a friendship that spans decades now. Although we are hundreds of miles apart, we keep our friendship going. She's been a shoulder to cry on when I have needed one over the years.

4. Wreckless at Greenpiece. This guy is funny!!! He is an elementary teacher who is all guy. He loves living and loves his family. Check him out!

5. Kelly at Full Metal Attorney. Kelly is a new father. His little boy was born the latter part of May. Since then Kelly has been very busy giving his son swimming lesson in the bathtub and feeding Russell his dog cupcakes with cream cheese frosting (ha...ha, check out Kelly's YouTube video of his dog). So he has not had much time to devote to blogging lately. But I might be able to coax him into doing this "8 random facts about himself" thing. I met Kelly at The Language Guy where lively debates used to take place. He is an excellent debater. Smart young man.

6. Susie Q (the other one) at the very charming Rabbit Run Cottage. You have to visit Susie Q's blog and see all her collections (bears and giraffes to name just a few.) She has a ton of them. She is a delight to read. She writes like a pixie. Nice photos too.

7. Rosanne at Smokey Mountain Breakdown. Check out her Porn Food Friday for some great down home recipes. Don't you just love that title though? Rosanne is a writer. She also raises goats. Odd combination, but it works for her. Not from those parts originally, she writes about the people who live there and that culture. She also writes some interesting fiction.

8. I need a volunteer to fill this spot. Anyone interested?

Monday, July 09, 2007

SANCTUARY - Part II, The Woods


Not long ago 13-year-old Jake, one of our grandsons, was gazing out our kitchen window at the woods behind our house. With a look of nostalgia on his face, he said, "Nana, I have such good memories of those woods." This delighted me.

For years our woods was the official domain of our grandchildren. It was their kingdom. They filled it with their enchanting fantasies transforming the woods into a place of magical adventure. They constructed fortresses out of brush and cleared paths that meandered. And they dug holes. What is it about children and holes? They appear to be born with an innate need to dig. They seem instinctively attracted to shovels of all sizes and shapes.

Those days when our grandchildren had free rein in the woods and could do almost anything they pleased are over for the most part. A few years ago my husband and I reclaimed ownership of the woods. But the woods will never belong to us entirely. Those youthful spirits remain and seem embedded in the trees themselves. Some days if I close my eyes and I am really quiet I can hear the sound of dry leaves crunching as they give way to young feet rustling about in their midst. Or maybe it is just a hyperactive squirrel causing all that ruckus I hear.

This is Shagbark Barney. Shortly after we reclaimed ownership of the woods, we nailed his happy face with all that moss stuck between his teeth to this tree. We intended Shagbark Barney to be something the younger grandchildren would enjoy. It turns out that the little ones are afraid of him, not that I blame them any.

In the distance under our stately old oak tree, which is the centerpiece of our woods, is our contemplation bench. In the forefront is a large bed consisting of hosta, brunnera macrophylla, corydalis lutea, and a groundcover of deadnettle. The delicate brunnera blooms are azure blue. The corydalis produces lovely bright yellow flowers. The deadnettle with its interesting greens produces dark pink flowers. Be sure to enlarge the photo by clicking and see if you can spot Woody our woodland gnome.

Ah, someone is planning something here looks like. I spy some books. And what is that, a tea cup? Let's zoom in below for a close-up.
Tea and Tennyson
I dedicate this arrangement to Paul of Original Faith, because one of his posts in which he talked a little about Tennyson was the inspiration for me to go on a hunt in my house for that antique copy I own of Tennyson's poems. Eventually I found it. When I did I thought how nice it would be to sip tea and read Tennyson's poems under that stately old oak tree. To be honest I have yet to do that, but the thought is such a delight and doesn't the arrangement make for a pretty picture though.
I have not given a name to this little iron woodland creature yet. Any suggestions?

This is our faithful canine companion Max looking for Woody. We adopted Max a few years ago through Collie Rescue. He has been a wonderful dog, and what a beauty.

Looking south through our woods. As you can see the woods just keep going from our property to the next and on to the next.

This is looking north through our woods. The woods just keep going in that direction too.

And now for a view from the edge of the woods of the back of our house. This photo was taken in the early spring a few years ago. Not much as changed though.

The two lovely young ladies in the photo above are our granddaughters Rachel and Jackie. As I told everyone in a previous Sanctuary post, our place is kid friendly. In 2000 our oldest daughter was experiencing financial hardship due to a divorce. She and her four young children had to live with us for a few years until she could get on her feet. In preparation for the children to be in our home, we bought this super duper swing set/slide/clubhouse/sandbox/gym combo and put it together. It was an instant hit with all the grandchildren. And this is one of the reasons our grandson Ricky calls our place "Nana and Papa's park."

Another shot from a different angle of the swing set affair. Note the American flag in both shots. Are we patriotic or what?

These are the steps leading up to our deck where a plethora of potted flowers are waiting to delight your eyes in part III of Sanctuary. Each step here hosts a pot of daisies. A bit of sad news....since the photo was taken all the daisies have gone to that big flower pot in the sky. I have no idea what I did to kill them off, but I must be guilty of something. Oh, and excuse the condition of the paint on the trim. Shortly after this picture was taken, we painted the trim.


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Independence Day

The promise of the Declaration of Independence: that all men are created equal.

"[............ ............... ...................] is a monstrous usurpation, a criminal wrong, and an act of national suicide." "It will be known in all history as the most wicked, atrocious and revolting deed recorded in the annals of civilization."

"Mr............... will go down to posterity as the man who could not read the signs of the times, nor understand the circumstances and interests of his country; who could not calculate his own resources nor appreciate those of his enemy; who had no political aptitude; who plunged his country into a great war without a plan; who failed without excuse, and fell without a friend."

"....the craftiest and most dishonest politician that ever disgraced an office in America."

"........... is by all odds the weakest man who has ever been elected......he is vain, weak, sterile, hypocritical, without manners.....swears more than Uncle Toby, and is beneath contempt in every particular, morally and mentally."

I gleaned the above quotations from a book entitled The Political Cartoons of the Whispering Gallery. The gallery is in the new Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield, Illinois which we visited this past weekend. The political cartoons framed and hanging on the walls of the gallery remind me that the years can come and go, but people do not change that much in the process. Lincoln's contemporaries said awful things about him just like Bush's contemporaries are doing with Bush today. People are still just as mean and ornery as they have ever been.

I don't wish to turn this piece here into a political statement of my own necessarily, but the cartoons I saw make such a glaring point about the lengths to which people involved in politics will go to gain the support of the masses in order to further their own political agenda. The masses beware!

The first quotation above referred to Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and appeared in the Chicago Times first on September 24, 1862 and again on January 3, 1863. Imagine someone calling this document a "wicked, atrocious and revolting deed."

The second quotation referred to President Lincoln and appeared in the London Morning Post on October 5, 1864. How many times have we heard Bush accused of similar things?

The third quotation referred to President Lincoln, too, and appeared in the Illinois State Register.

The fourth quotation also referred to President Lincoln and appeared in the Wilmington (NC) Daily Journal on June 20, 1861.

In celebration of Independence Day, my husband and I joined our daughter and her four children and drove down to Springfield to visit the new Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and other historical sites there.

On the walls of the Whispering Gallery there in the museum are pictures of one political cartoon after another and commentaries pertaining to President Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd Lincoln. Their contemporaries said unbelievably cruel things about the Lincolns. President Lincoln was portrayed as an ape, a monkey, a buffoon and more. These cartoons and commentaries made me realize that harsh ridicule of a sitting president by his contemporaries is not anything new. History went on to show that President Lincoln was not the vulgar scoundrel he was portrayed at times as being by his political foes. Perhaps history will do the same with President Bush.

I highly recommend the Lincoln Presidential Museum.

This is the front of the museum. Across the street is the Lincoln Presidential Library. It was not open the day we visited.

Our daughter, her four children, my husband and myself posing with the Lincolns.

The museum has a room called Mrs. Lincoln's Attic which is designed to entertain children and help them connect to that period in history through a variety of toys and costumes. Above are some of our grandchildren playing with these toys.

We ended the day with a visit to New Salem. Above is young Abe Lincoln posing with our four grandchildren.

Have a wonderful Fourth of July.

P.S. Sanctuary II - The Woods is forthcoming.