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.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Vacation 2014!

I could not decide where to post our family vacation this year... the other blog won so please go visit my other blog Vacation 2014


Monday, June 23, 2014

What a spring we have had...

Now that it is summer, I guess I should be writing about our wild spring. First, the weather stayed so cold for so long. We had our latest frost ever in May. We got our garden in so late that we only got one cutting of lettuce! The tomatoes are slow in growing, the sweet corn has been blown over and replanted so many times I doubt we harvest anything. I think you are catching my drift of how our spring progressed.

Next there were the storms! Oh such dreadful things. We have had torrential rains - 3+ inches at one time on multiple occasions. Wind- yes the wind normally blows a lot in the Midwest but with the storms it was awful. It blew down trees and power lines, the news stations cameras even caught the winds moving down the streets. Next was the many folks properties destroyed or badly damaged by the giant hailstones. Our automobiles battled the hailstones valiantly but lost as you can see in the photos.

This was one that went through daughters car - yes that is about tennis ball size.
Here is son's car. It by far got the worst of it with windows broken out, head lights, tail lights, interior and of course exterior. It even blew the wiper blades off the front of the car...or beat them off.

This is just a photo of one of the many flooding incidents in our driveway from the large quantities of rain in a short period of time.
Lastly and most sadly are the tornadoes that have hit. It was the first loss of life in 10 years in our state. There are many photos and videos on the Internet so I won't bother sharing here but it made me so sad for those folks. I pray for them and also ask why?
To end on a positive note, I am happy to say we have the cars back on the road and kids are happy and thankful to be driving again.  I am ready to move on to the warm summer days.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Date Day

Hubby made a marriage declaration!!! It was way past time for a date day.

I couldn't disagree with him. I mean our last official date vacation was last August to Wisconsin so it was definitely time. I have been working on that work project since last August it feels like so we took a day off just to spend with each other.

Of course one of the cats gets sick and needs to go to the vet, so we do that first thing in the morning. Then we come home and get a few more chores done. Finally I say - we go now or I am starting a 2 hour baking project.

Out the door we go. First we had an early lunch and then it was off to the zoo. What was hubby thinking????? Every school kid in a 3 state area along with adult supervisors and other various parents with strollers and babies were there that day. So much for a quiet day at the zoo. We made the best of things.  We did go to the butterfly house as that is my favorite part of the zoo. It is only one room but full of humming birds and butterflies and other small ground birds.  As you can see in the photos below, the butterflies thought hubby's Green Bay Packer hat was something special. How fun!!!

There is a second part to the butterfly house that houses various bugs and creatures. I do NOT like bugs so we scurried though that part to get out the exit.

With all the people we decided to walk the zoo instead of visit buildings. We walked the perimeter where there were way fewer people. It is nice with most folks being so lazy these days, it was a fairly quiet walk. We saw the prairie dogs. There were signs saying keep away and do not feed. Some idiots can't read and were doing just that.  Can't fix stupid so I'm sure the prairie dogs will be fenced off soon - not to keep them in but to keep idiot people out!

Next was up by the rhinos, around the lake, through the plant garden, by some hoof stock and back to the entrance. It was a great day to have a date.

After the zoo we heading to look at campers. We have nothing to pull a camper with but it was fun deciding what we would pick if we did.

Next we stopped at our frequent haunt - Menard's. Picked up a few things and made it home in time to greet the children getting home from school.

We made a nice dinner and sat on the deck for a while.

I call it a VERY successful date day! I can't wait for the next one.  I have it planned. :-)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Bar Soap versus Body Wash

A new day a new topic. I have been wanting to write about this for a while now. Here in the U.S.A. body washes have been all the rage for close to 20 years now. Bars of soap are so out of fashion they are even difficult to find. Well I for one, would like to bring them back. Let's hope this post starts a trend to do just that.

Lets say you love a particular scent from a high priced department store. Now you can shell out $15-30 for a bottle of body wash and it lasts you what maybe a month, 3 weeks, less? Now if you can possibly find a bar of soap in that same scent it will cost you $15 or less for a bar of soap and that same thing will last you 3 months. I don't think you need a mathematician to figure out which is a better deal. You get the same scent for a longer period of time.

Next is the feeling and treatment to your skin. I think bar soap is much friendlier to your skin than body wash. Body wash is mostly water. Yes the same stuff you get wet with is what you are washing with using body wash. Wouldn't it make more sense to lather up your scrubby with a bar of soap than just adding some liquid to the scrubby???

I have to tell you my absolute favorite bar of soap ever was:  Kappus Soap  - the Blue Iris was the one I had.  Now how my wonderful husband got a hold of this I have no idea as by their website they do not even sell the stuff in the U.S.A. but he somehow bought a bar here. I would LOVE to have more but have not ever seen it sold. It left my skin so soft you would not believe it. Plus it had a gentle not overpowering scent. Did I mention how soft it left my skin?  I am going to have to find me more of this stuff!

Bath and Body Works, a very popular chain here has a whole 3 different type of bar soaps on their website.

On the Dillard's website 4 bars of men's soap, nothing for the ladies.

Macy's actually had the most with 13 types of bar soap.

So whether you are doing it to save some cash or you want to try something new. Walk into a specialty store and ask for their bar soap collection. You might just be surprised as to what you find.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Birthday Present

Can I just say I HATE MY LAUNDRY ROOM FLOOR? There that is out of the way. Here is a picture of said floor. I have hated it for so long that I can't remember liking it. I mean I picked it out so for some brief nanosecond of time I did think it was nice but very short lived.  Now the pattern was good when I picked it out. It was the style of things in 1993 but that isn't why I started hating this floor. I started hating the floor because of what it does. Look at it, looks dirty doesn't it? Yes this floor decided to ooze black though it. This photo is a clean swept and scrubbed floor yet it looks filthy. THAT is the biggest reason I hated this floor for so long.

Here is a parting shot of the floor as you will soon see my birthday present from my FABULOUS, WONDERFUL, AMAZING HUSBAND was a new laundry room floor. I have been scoping out exactly what I wanted and I selected bamboo. It looks like wood, yet it is perfect for a laundry room as it won't warp if wet (good for laundry which has a tendency to get wet.) Hubby enlisted the help of his dad and brother-in-law to get said floor installed.

Can I just say they are pretty amazing also? Here they are installing the floor. They worked hard and it looks amazing. It is exactly what I want.

Here is a shot of the almost finished floor.

Finally a shot of exactly HOW much I love my new floor. (I was pretend licking it!!!)

Thank you to everyone that made the project a success.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Meowwwwww? Translated to: where is spring?

Everyone keeps anxiously awaiting spring. Even my many cats want spring to arrive, even if they rarely step foot outside.

Bud-bud peeking out between the blinds.

These two sat in the window looking out the entire time I was on the treadmill. I am tired of the treadmill and want real walking outside. They would like to go sun on the deck once in a while.

They settle for sunning in the window. I don't think it is to bad of a substitute. Look at how the sun glistens on their fur.

Finally we have Sheena. She is our outside kitty when she feels like it. It was too cold this day and she needed back in. She sits in the window begging until we let her in.

Her preferred spot is the center of attention as you can see below.

Hurry up spring. We all NEED YOU.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Reference blog!!!! READ ME - Studying Abroad

My oldest son is heading to Asia to study abroad. He left early this morning. I have been excited for him to experience this. It will be completely different from the old Midwest and I couldn't be more happy for him.  I did not cry when we dropped him off at the airport. I have not been sad all day but tonight I am sad. I am going to miss him a lot the first couple of weeks. He helps out around the house and I will miss that with me working so much.

Anyway in his blog he is promising to write and trace his steps and adventures literally 1/2 way around the world!!!

I am including the link here just so you all can find it easy and follow him.

Click here:
Michael's Travels


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Take this job and shove it

This blog is going to get a bit detailed and use terminology that you may not be familiar with. I am sorry about that but this is also a vent to try and keep or put things in perspective for myself.

Remember this old song by Johnny Paycheck?  Song #16  I think of that song often as I am working. You see working is all I have been doing lately and after a while it really wears on you. Now I am not talking the normal work and then home chores. I am talking work work, come home eat dinner, and then start working on work work again. We have this huge project going on at work that is all consuming.

Now let me tell you I have been doing computer conversions my entire career. I got to thinking back and even while going to college I participated in my my first conversion.  We got pink t-shirts for this one. :-)  On and off in all my various accounting and computer positions I have converted various financial systems from one product to another. Some have been accounting systems, some planning systems, and some modeling systems.  I have also used various methods of implementation from rapid application development to traditional system development.  I consider myself somewhat of an expert in this area since I have done so many types over the years.

This project takes the cake. It is by far the W-O-R-S-T conversion I have ever had the pleasure to participate in.

First we have a group of accountants implementing a financial planning system. Financial planning is NOT accounting. There are a lot of similarities but may more differences. When you try and make a planning system into a detailed transactional system with debits/credits and T accounts it is NOT going to work. The consultants will tell you it is going to work to make the sale but successful implementation is a whole other story.  Right now we have the consultants hating the implementation and they do this work for a living.

Lack of decision making. Let's have 20 meetings on one design document and still not have it complete. This is not an exaggeration. Some of our design documents were started in October and are STILL NOT COMPLETE! We are into configuration of the system and using documents that are not complete because management still wants a go-live date of April 15.  We have meeting after meeting with no decisions made. Both of the top two accountants (controller and financial planning director) running the project have had major changes - one left the company and one has been out with a mysterious family emergency for a month!

Next are the copious amounts minutia detail. Why use what the rest of the organization is using when you can ask for MORE?!?!?!?!?  We are receiving actual data from one system but it isn't in enough detail so we now have to develop an interface with a completely different system to get the exact same data but in MORE detail. Two interfaces to get the same information. That is just one example. There are many many more. Once again the consultants tell us they have never seen such detail in a planning system in all their implementations.  We have experienced consultants leaving the project and others admitting they have never done such detail before.

Trying to implement what is best for the company has been frowned upon. At the beginning of the project I tried to express my feelings on what would work best for a successful implementation. The vice president got wind of this (from the controller that has left the project) and I was told in no uncertain terms to quit being so negative about the project. NEGATIVE when my only motive was to make the project succeed.  A couple of weeks ago my boss decided to try and suggest some best practices on making this implementation better. Again the same vice president told him not to be so negative. They are telling the people that have done these implementations for much of their careers to shut the hell up. Let's just say it causes a lot of stress and loss of motivation.

I am sure I could type a lot more of the same on what has been going on in my work life but I think this gives you an idea of how bad things are. 

This sure has been taking a toll on my life with: mega stress,sleeplessness, chest pains, upset stomach, and headaches. Not a fun thing. So blogging world, this is why I have been neglecting something I enjoy. I sure hope to get back to this on a more regular basis soon.

Would you please hire me???? I am a great system analyst!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Lets file this blog post under: Things you need to know but no one puts in plain English for you.

Fiber - this sure is a topic that needs explaining. So for many years now we have heard - eat more fiber. Americans do not eat enough fiber. Eat at least 25 grams of fiber.

I counter with: how much is more? I'm American - how do the experts know I do not eat enough fiber? And finally how much is 25 grams of fiber???  Are you experts telling me that I am just like the guy next door and need the same exact amount as he does???? I mean really put this so I can understand. Make it simple!!!

OK so you get on a health website and see that apples are filled with fiber - a large apple 5.4 grams of fiber. That means I need to eat 5 apples a day!!!!!  Another one they suggest broccoli - 1/2 cup of chopped contains 2.6 grams of fiber. That means almost 6 cups of broccoli!!!!!  I need something easier than analyzing every morsel of food to tell if I am getting enough fiber.

Well this is why you read my blog - to get useful off the wall information that may make your life easier.  I acquired this knowledge the hard way by trial and error over many years. I do not want you to go through this same fate so am sharing with you.

You may need 25 grams of fiber a day or you may need 40 or 15. Your body is true answer of how much fiber you need. I am going to share that with you now.

I love graphics so below is a very self explanatory picture of your bowl movements. Yes, you read that right, bowl movements are the perfect way to determine how much fiber your body needs. Now everyone has exceptions on a day to day basis but keep track for a week - most need to fall into the normal range. If they don't, you need to adjust your fiber up and down.  You will need to find foods and or supplements that work for you. Again every body is different so your fiber requirements and what your body responds to will be as individual as you are.

First - not enough fiber. Second - just right. Third the puddle of mush in bottom of the bowl - a bit to much fiber.

Happy pooping!!!!