Monday, February 12, 2018

Ode to Sheena, Princess Warrior

Ode to Sheena Princess Warrior
Sheena came from humble beginnings, a farm cat off a local Nebraska farm. We answered a newspaper ad giving away free kittens and home she came. Basswood Drive was and will continue to be her home. From an early age Sheena ruled the roost. Although she was small, her personality was fierce. She would never back down from a fight and though many “toms” tried to muscle their way into her territory, she let them all know just who the boss was! We incurred numerous trips to the vet to repair wounds.
Throughout the years Sheena had to share the garage with new comers. First there was Blackie, she arrived in the late winter and to all our surprise was expecting. So Blackie, Sheena and a litter of kittens all shared space for a while.  The next intruder Sheena had to share her dominion with was Snowball. This dude was like a free spirited surfer dude whom Sheena walked all over. In her later years Larry built a perch for her to spend her days gazing out the window at birds during the long winter months.
During summers, Sheena was the resident watch the grass grow kind of cat. All the neighbors knew her and would comment how she would just lounge about on the front porch watching the comings and goings of the neighborhood. Sometimes she would venture across the street to watch Tim work on his cars or down the road to play with the neighbor kids but never would go too far from home.

Sheena grew up with our kids and was on to her next set of neighborhood kids who loved to stop by and talk to Sheena as she rolled about their feet. Sheena always had a fondness for men in addition to children. I was never her favorite but that was ok as we had a great understanding and commitment to each other in many ways. I was ok with her digging her claws into Larry’s stomach as she kneaded her happiness into him as I watched from the other patio chair.  She loved spending time with us on the deck in summers. She would always take the best chair and frown upon us moving her. Whether it was sitting by the fire, having dinner, or sitting in front of the fan we were guaranteed a visit from our Sheena.
Sheena’s prey of choice was reptiles and amphibians (snakes and frogs). She was never one for “normal” cat prey. Larry and I were sitting on the front porch one evening commenting what a slacker Sheena was never catching any mice as she listened intently. Be damned but the next day she dropped a dead field mouse on the step as proof she could mouse but just chose not to. We watched what we said after this!
Oh how Sheena loved the garden. She knew the words “go to the garden?” and always followed us down to inspect our planting or weeding. She would do her part taking a big poop in the freshly tilled soil or smashing down weeds as she rolled her white fur in the dirt. A couple years ago during a garden escapade there was a baby bunny eating our plants. The bunny had gotten through the fence and couldn’t get out. Well we dropped Sheena in and she ran around the garden a few times chasing the bunny until she was just exhausted. She flopped over where she was and didn’t move until we carried her back to the front porch.
Sheena the Camper Kitty – after we purchased Big Blue, Sheena had to go inside and inspect. After that first time she claimed the camper as hers and learned that word too! Every time you’d say, do you want to go to the camper out she went to wait for us to open the door so she could climb inside and have some lounging time on the couch or in the front window. She would even ride around the neighborhood looking out as we drove around. She never did make it on a trip with us but would have done great!
Sheena, you brought us many great memories over the years. Your fierce independent attitude will be missed and standing in front of the cars preventing us from entering the garage is missed already.  Love you tons girl.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Fit & Fat - PART 3 - Trackers

If you have read my blog for any length of time, I occasionally do a series on being fit & fat at the same time.  This is installment three of that series. If you wish to read #1 and #2 please do so at:
Part 1
Part 2

 This time I am writing about fitness trackers, specifically my Fitbit Force and now the Fitbit Charge as that is what I own. I got this as a Christmas gift last year and have been faithfully using it ever since. By using it I mean I put it on my wrist and wear it. Once a week or so I charge it. That is how easy it is to use a fitness tracker. Some models you put in your pocket, some you wear on your wrist, some you can shower with, some you can even swim with. Do some research and choose what fits your lifestyle.

I am a type A so I love tracking and analyzing things. The reports from the website are awesome. You can select different items and get cool graphs of what you have been doing. I absolutely LOVE this tracker.

You can join groups. I belong to the over 40 group and desk jobs groups. These will send you daily emails on what others in the group are posting about. You can post entries for motivation of others or just read what others are posting. I think I would get to frustrated following a group of marathon runners in their 20's. I would give up before I even get started. Keep this in mind when signing up for groups.

You can add friends. I have over achieving friends!

It keeps you in the know of how much you really ARE exercising. I have been known to walk up and down the hallway in the house just to reach my step target for the day!

I hope I have enticed you to taking control of your exercise life, make it a priority. You don't have to choose the tracker I have but get out and find something to make you accountable for your activity. You will not be sorry.

I have shared my last years steps on the link below. I hope you can see it.

If not here are my statistics:

4,000,000 steps!!!
That is 1897.42 miles.
I climbed 6,626 flights of stairs.
I burnt 879,297 calories. WOW.

I am going to try and increase those numbers in 2015.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Fall 2014

Fall is my F-A-V-O-R-I-T-E time of the year. To me the colors and smells, and weather are unmatched.  This year was no exception. I took these photos one lunch break on a walk around where I work. I was just enjoying all that God has given us to enjoy each and every day. I am sharing so you may enjoy the beauty as I did that day. Blessings to you all.


Purple mums

Red roses

Yellow mums

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Canning 2014

I thought I would give you all an update on my canning this year.

I have to say I have done less canning than some years because the produce just didn't grow this year. We had a late cold spring. Then monsoon rains, hail, and wind. It has just been a tough year for gardening. I had a handful of blackberries but they were so bitter I let the birds have whatever was out there.  The lettuce grew late and we got ONE measly cutting from it.

I would have to say our largest crop this year was squash and zucchini which is pictured in the first photo below. (Along with a lovely set of toes...oops). I froze some mix for this winter in hopes I can get kids to eat some. If not it will be hubby and my meals.  We only had enough cucumbers to eat fresh. No canning of my sweet relish!!!!! I hope I don't run out as I eat that on my hamburgers all year long. I have also canned more green beans than ever before. We had both pole and bush beans. I have to say I like the bush beans better even if they are hard on your back. The pole beans get so large and stringy that it just isn't fun to process those things. Notice also the peppers are missing from the photo. We have two - yes TWO peppers finally growing on the plants. They are poor. I don't know if it is because they were crowded out by the sunflowers, the evil vine weed crap choked on them too much or we just can't grow peppers. It is probably a combination of all the above because we have gotten decent crops of peppers before.

This next photo deserves a paragraph all to itself. Yes, we did get about 3 gallon bucket of peaches compared to the 100's of pounds last year. I still have plenty canned up so I think we will be OK. What I wanted to point out is the size of the few peaches we did get. THEY ARE HUGE!!!!  I didn't have a softball to put beside these peaches so I put a pint jar instead. As you can see one would fill a pint jar if you could get it shoved inside the jar. We are enjoying these fresh as they run down your face and arms as you eat them. Nothing quite like a tree ripened peach. (Yes they are my favorite.)

In this final photo I wanted to show off what about 7 gallons of tomatoes ends up with when you place them in canning jars. I made pasta sauce, spaghetti sauce, and some plain old tomato and onion sauce.  I think that was my largest tomato picking for the year. There seems to be a lot less on the plants now and i am OK with that. :-)

This weekend I canned V-8 juice. You need 22 pounds of tomatoes to yield around 6-7 quarts of juice. You also use carrots, peppers, onions and celery. It is SO delicious that v-8 in the store is 4th class compared to this stuff. Every time I push that cooked combination through my grandmother's food sieve I think of her and smile.  I also started my canning of potatoes. It was quite the ordeal to figure out if I could even can red potatoes. That is all that grew in our garden this year and my ball book only says to can white potatoes. So I researched, asked fellow bloggers, asked the extension agency and even asked the United States potato board!  I got about 50/50 on yes/no to canning red potatoes.  Some say the sugar is to high, others say starch is to high, others say they hold up better but need to kill bacteria. I settled on yes I am canning these puppies. I pressure cooked them so I believe all is well.

I have yet to start canning apples. That is the last canning crop of the year. The one tree is average and the other tree has a lot of small apples on it. It will be plenty for us and I am sure the food pantry will once again get some of our extras.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Not in the news but Not forgotten - Pilger, NE

After dropping my son off to college, I just had to go to Pilger, NE to see how the town was doing after the horrible June tornadoes (yes two) that so heavily damaged the area. They have been on my mind a lot over the summer and I was curious as to how the clean up was going.

I can honestly say I have only good things to say about the people in the area.  You do not see these people sitting around waiting for FEMA to show up. You don't see them asking for hand outs. You don't see them sitting on their front porch waiting for someone to bring them their next meal.

What you do see are typical Midwesterners with their amazing work ethics getting down to the business of rebuilding their community and helping each other out. You can't keep these people down. They just pull themselves up by their boot straps and get to work. They are not waiting for government hand outs.

The cleanup is complete in the town. A lot of farmers still have cleanup to complete.  I wonder how they will harvest their crops with all the debris left in the fields. I did see a lot piled near the edges of the fields but I am sure there is a lot still out there. Many such details no one thinks about post-storm.

Visiting the town for me was a very somber experience. I just wanted to do something to help each and every person. Yes, I had all ready given $$ through our church but driving through the town I wanted to do more, even if it was give someone a hug. That is how driving through the town made me feel.

I wanted to take photos to share with everyone to see what has happened to the town and people after it is no longer in the news. I felt so guilty for taking pictures but it wasn't to take advantage of anyone, rather I want to pay homage to these strong and wonderful people!!!!

So here is how the town looks as of mid August 2014 - two months post storm.

This is on the west edge of town. All the debris from the clean up is stored here. Those two trees are so sad to look at but they are still standing compared to the 100's of trees wiped out by the tornadoes. 

Here we have some semi remains. I am assuming the local CO-OP or local trucking firm owned these.  I also saw a Ford truck on my drive that looked like some giant monster had taken it, rolled it like play dough between its hands and tossed it down. It is beyond belief how these huge pieces of equipment look like crumpled little toys.

No one is out of line at all when they say downtown is gone.  There is the library and a couple other buildings still standing. The rest of main street consists of dirt lots. This building has the big OK sprayed on it so I am assuming that means the building is structurally sound. Even so, it is going to take a lot of work to get is usable again.  There were two buildings on this side of the street that had OK sprayed on them and were still standing.

Across the street from the above mentioned two buildings is the library you see in this next shot. It looks to be a fairly new building. I took the photo because the sign on the wall brought tears to my eyes. If you can't read it, it says Cali Dixon lives forever. That sign is paying tribute to the 5 year old girl killed by the tornado on main street.

Now to try and find something positive to write about, it is in this next photo. I am sitting on one of the streets in the town where the tornado went through. The road runs east and west but the tornado went southwest to north east. On the left side of the photo you see there is NOTHING. The tornadoes destroyed it all. On the right side of the photo you see a couple trees and some homes still standing.  But you will also see all new power lines up and a grain bin put in all ready! The grain bin looks so forlorn by itself but the folks were working hard to get some storage built before harvest which will arrive soon.

This next photo is on the north west side of town. The city's water tower was spared from the storm. I thought it was a beaker of hope that the town is far from dead. The local swimming pool was also saved from destruction. 

This final photo is of a farm north east of the town about 2  miles farther along in the tornadoes path.  The house was spared although heavily damaged but most of the outbuildings and trees are a total loss.

Today was uplifting when I saw a blurb in our church bulletin about making small packets for the folks in this town. I am happy to see that I am not the only person thinking about the folks in this area. God Bless not only the people in Pilger but also all the farmers surrounding the town struggling to rebuild. We have NOT forgotten you.

Friday, August 1, 2014

I just can't help myself sometimes....

I try to be a good person.

I try not to gossip.

I try to set a good example for my children.

But then some incident will toss all that goodness out the window and I have to start over at ground zero. Yes, I am back at ground zero after the story I am about to tell you.

First let me say I work for a VERY and I mean V - E - R - Y conservative company.  We have approximately 10,000 signs alone in our office building. Everything from be sure to scan your security card before entering the elevator to restrooms ----> to caution stairs to how to change the coffee filters. You name it - conservatism is a way of life.

Besides the signs, we have extremely aggressive safety rules. I understand 100% wanting to get home safely every night and it is vitally important for those people working in the field but we take things to the extreme.

Yes I am getting to my story but you needed some background to understand my story.

After my lunch-time workout I get a cup of ice to take back to my desk for my afternoon water. I like the ice in our break room area as it is the tiny small pieces a bit larger than crushed ice for my cup. I don't like the giant cubes so I make special effort to get ice before returning to my desk.  So as I am waiting for the elevator with my coworker I reach into my glass to pluck out a tiny piece to eat.  Oopsie, it falls on the ground. Well I know this is a company sin so I kick the minuscule piece of ice over right next to the wall out of every one's way and no one will be injured from this piece of ice.

I get on the elevator with a bunch of people.  There is a lady still outside the elevator that must have seen me move the ice and it was just not good enough for her. She makes loud disgruntled grunting noises as she is bending down to pick up this 3/4 melted piece of ice to show how displeased she is for me doing such an atrocity. How could anyone  leave that ice cube beside the wall to melt? 

The elevator doors are now beginning to close and I just can't help myself. I take a much larger chunk of ice and toss it out the almost closed elevator doors.  My friend bursts out laughing so hard I think she is going to pass out. Two of the other passengers have looks of terror on their face that I would do such a thing and one passenger pretends not to see anything.

I am sure a safety bulletin will be distributed shortly on the dangers of ice in the workplace. If only I could have hit her with it...

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Our airport

I have to brag about our local airport. It is not because of any amenities or special shops or anything else really related to the airport itself.  I mean really this airport of ours is really small. It only has 2 terminals maybe 10 gates each. Probably more like 7 usable gates but you get the idea.

What makes our airport special is THE PEOPLE!!!!  Yes the workers are friendly but that can be in any airport. It is the people waiting for those arriving that make it the best. No matter what time of day you will find friends and family waiting for their loved ones to arrive. Before 9-11 you got off the plane and there was a literal sea of people there to greet you. Even if they were not greeting me personally, I loved the feeling of being home as the people are so happy and smiling as you got off the plane.  Now with tighter security all the people have to wait beyond the secured area in the public area.  Here are a couple photos.

As you can see it is not just one or two families but many many families and friends waiting for the planes to land and people to deplane. So if you get to our humble little airport and you see all these folks milling around enjoy the love they are sharing even if they are not there for you personally. It is a blessing.