Thursday, December 23, 2010

Baby, Its Cold -

Although a number of singers have recorded Baby, Its Cold Outside through the years, I prefer Dean Martin. Guess its my age. When you look at the lyrics, it really isn’t a Christmas song, but you always hear it sung during the holidays and it remains a favorite with me.

It sure is cold outside in northwest Tennessee. I promised myself I wouldn’t complain about cold weather this year as our summer was insufferably hot. Only a few short weeks ago there was an article in the newspaper predicting warm weather through February. Well, whoever ventured out onto that limb was terribly mistaken. It is cold outside, and has been for about 3 weeks now.

I didn’t see the lunar eclipse this week but I did notice that it was still pretty dark at 7am on Tuesday morning. I read that Tuesday was to be the darkest day the western hemisphere has seen since the 1600’s because the total lunar eclipse coincided with the shortest day of the year, but it seemed like a normal cloudy winter day by the afternoon. I bundled up and spent some time taking pictures in my yard. Of course, everything is barren except for the evergreens but I enjoy the seasonal changes and even see beauty in the plants that have gone dormant for the winter. I fear some of my landscape may be worse off than just dormant due to the severity of the summer, but I’ll deal with that in the spring.

Oops..... an overlooked Easter egg that had been hidden behind the daylilies!


I love the looks of dried hydrangea blooms. Should have brought some of these inside.

These are the dried pods on a crepe myrtle. Crepe myrtles are beautiful here in the summertime, but the bark and these dried pods are beautiful in the winter.

This is a dried Oak Leaf Hydrangea bloom. I guess that Oak Leaf Hydrangea bush is about 15 years old. I am very partial to it.

For the past couple of mornings the weatherman has been telling us that we stand a good chance of having a white Christmas. Oh, I hope so! That is rare in my neck of the woods, and this year will be special for more than one reason. I have a special gift to give and I’m as excited as I hope the recipient will be. Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Special Gifts

Like everyone else, I’m doing a little Christmas shopping. This year has been more fun than usual. Some of my unique finds have proved to be items made by artisans. I have a sweet friend who has opened a glass studio in our little town. Missy is not originally from Dyersburg but moved here as a newlywed. She is a farmer’s wife and mother of 2 fine sons. She was a stay-at-home mom, and for those of you who don’t know about it - being a stay-at-home mom and farmer’s wife is a full-time job. After she got her boys raised, she got involved in an interesting hobby, and it turns out that she has a lot of talent in her chosen field. Missy’s skill as a glass artist has progressed rapidly. The earrings pictured are only one example of her work, and they make wonderful gifts. I hope she’ll either start a website, blog, or Etsy shop before long. MH loves glass so she is working on something special for him. He is hard to buy for, and even harder to surprise.

Another artisan whose work has been of great interest to me is Beth Stone. Although I have never met Beth, I grew up with her mother. Beth is an accomplished artist in a variety of mediums. I have had my eye on some of her paintings, but when I visited her blog today and then followed it to her Etsy shop, I saw some jewelry I LOVE. The pricing is very reasonable and it pleases me to be able to give gifts like these. And it pleases me to own pieces like this also. I’ll be ordering right away and hope for delivery in time for Christmas. To see some of Beth’s work, visit:

Although Christmas is not quite here, I’ve already received a beautiful gift. My very closest friend gave me a Christmas gift that she bought for me last June. As I’ve shared with you before, my friend, Kaye, is a book buyer. When she was buying for the bookstore last spring, she spotted a book she knew I’d love. She presented me with the book this week and I’ve poured over it ever since. If you’ve visited my blog - even irregularly, it will come as no surprise to you that I am positively enamored with this book because I am so passionate about the value of libraries.

Sure would like to visit all of these libraries, but owning the book allows me a privilege I would not otherwise have. Thank you so much, Kaye. I love my book.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Squirt Alert! Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

Squirt has taken to waking up at about 4:30 am. He trots into our room and comes near me and shakes off. You’d have to be deaf not to hear it. Sometimes I think I’d like to ignore it, but I know he rises early for a reason; and I have a pretty good idea I’d regret not getting up to let him outside. It has been so cold the past few days, I haven’t had to worry about him running after trespassers. He goes on his mission and returns to the back door very quickly.

Once Squirt is up, he is up. And then we are up. The Memphis news is on by 5am and one of the first things they report is the anticipated weather. This morning the weatherman said that we may have freezing rain and sleet tomorrow. It snowed early this past Sunday morning. Where am I? This is not West Tennessee weather. By 6:30 or so the sun is beginning to come up and when I saw today’s early morning sky, I could only think “cloudy and a chance of meatballs”. The title of the popular children’s book and movie is appropriate for more than one reason. The clouds look like we really can expect something - and with all the Christmas food we’ll soon be eating.... well, what can I say? Meatballs won’t be falling from the sky, but there will be no shortage of food over the next couple of weeks.

And as for Squirt? Most of his day will be spent taking an extended power nap.

And the Mimi Pearl alert is this - my teaching schedule:
Beth’s Heirloom Sewing in Wetumpka, AL - Jan. 21 and 22
Children’s Corner School - February 4 and 5
Stitchin’ Post in Little Rock, AR - March 11 and 12

You may contact any of the above shops for more details.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Playing Catch-Up

I guess it is time I did a little catching up on this blog because I’m getting private e-mails from friends wondering if I’m OK. I am doing just fine, although I have been very busy. Maybe after the holidays I’ll be a little more conscientious about keeping up with posts.

The busy-ness of the holidays and my ongoing library work doesn’t include the computer catastrophe that has taken a toll on my available time, not to mention my disposition, over the past few weeks. I’ve been having a hankering for a desktop computer with a big screen, so I bought one. Instead of being smart and moving my data from the old computer to the new one on my own, I purchased the service as an “add-on”. In my case, this move proved to be a big mistake. Don’t ever leave your computer in the hands of someone you don’t know. Computer sales people and technicians come and go from all the stores that sell computers, and it would be undeniably impossible for a store to know if all the people they hire are honest. The individual who was to do my data transfer called me and said that my old laptop computer crashed before the move was complete. When I went to pick up the old laptop and the new desktop, this young man told me that my old laptop was junk, worthless, crashed, and would never be of any value except for scrap. I was in Memphis, it was late afternoon, and I was totally worn out and wanting to come home, so I swallowed his story about how I should be a good steward of the environment and allow him to send the “scrap heap” back to the factory for recycling. When I got home and started trying to set up the new computer, I immediately had big problems with the portion of data that did get loaded onto the new computer so I called the customer service number listed on the website of the manufacturer. As the customer service person on the other end of the line began to hear my story, he broke the news to me that this recycling business was not at all in line with the company’s policies. He advised me that I should never have left my computer behind. So..... I made MH (who can be quite scary) go with me the next day to reclaim the old computer. When I got back home with the old computer I discovered that it had not crashed at all. It booted right up. My name was still on it. The newest operating system had been installed, as well as a copy of Microsoft Works, which I had never had on my computer before. Well, all of this begged a whole new set of worries. Everything about me was on that old computer - my address, my social security number, my credit card info, and on and on. Sadly, most of my library documents did not make the move and had been deleted. I don’t know what the would-be thief’s intentions were, but I’m guessing he was about to pocket a little cash on the sale of a used laptop. Besides losing a lot of valuable data, I was forced to assume that my identity was compromised. The damage control for possible identity theft just goes on and on. So, folks - I’ve been a very busy and inconvenienced woman.

On the bright side of things..... we had a near perfect Thanksgiving and I am having a good time getting ready for Christmas. I like Christmas trees and since I am not a spring chicken, I have accumulated many ornaments over the years. I’ve got 3 decorated trees. My favorite is the one that is decorated with miniature toy ornaments and strands of colored lights.

I was honored to be asked to serve as the Grand Marshal for Dyersburg’s 60th Annual Christmas parade. I thought it quite the coincidence that Dyersburg’s parade tradition began the year I was born. I was never a beauty queen so this was my first ride on the back of a convertible, but being a beauty queen in adolescence could never have competed with the joy of having my grandchildren share this experience. This is a link to the photo that appeared in the local newspaper:
It was mighty cold that night, but the grandchildren had a wonderful time. MH nearly froze as he had not anticipated riding with us and was not warmly dressed. He only relented because the grandchildren begged him to go along. He said it was the middle of the night before his feet thawed out. My talented and creative friend, Dianne, made an adorable float to represent our library and our fundraising campaign. It was a huge pig wearing a headband of antlers decorated with bright multicolored lights. The library float won 2nd place this year. I guess they hated to give us 1st place again since we won 1st place last year. Dianne is a lady of strength, courage, determination, and fortitude. She was undergoing chemo for ovarian cancer while she made that float. She worked alone because her blood count was very low and her susceptibility to infection was very high. Her chemo is finally over, her scans are clear, and we are all celebrating. Since I was busy riding in the parade, I did not get a photo of the library float. If I can find someone who took a picture of it, I’ll share in a later post. It was adorable.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Long Silence

A person once told me they went through times when they just couldn’t “utter”. So that is the expression I often use when I can’t talk or write. In reality, the inability to utter is extremely rare for me. But lately, I’ve been “unable to utter”. Maybe it is what they call “writer’s block”, maybe it is “mental block”, or maybe it is turning 60 (which I did yesterday).

For my birthday MH took me to Memphis shopping and out to dinner. I hate to make him the butt of a joke but I just can’t resist telling a funny story on him. We pulled up to park in front of the restaurant and he started looking for his wallet which he keeps in the console between the front seats. Well, the wallet wasn’t in there. He looked in the floorboard and between the seats. Then he took everything out of the console and looked again. By this time he was getting in a panic. I started in by advising him to think of the last place he’d had it and then think of the places he’d been since, which he did. The place he’d been since he’d last had his hand on the wallet was the dry cleaners. So..... he called the dry cleaners and told them he’d lost his wallet and was betting he’d left it in a pocket of a pair of pants he’d left there. Well, MH has gotten a nasty cold and his voice was deep and gruff. To add to that, he is a bit hard of hearing so he is a little on the loud side when speaking on the phone. In fact, sometimes I wonder if he really needs the phone to communicate. The deep, gruff, loud voice made him sound a little on the scary side I thought. The manager at the dry cleaners is a young fellow and he said they had surveillance cameras and he would search through the video to observe everything that went on from the time MH entered the store until he left. I could tell that the young manager was a little on the nervous side. After MH got off the phone, we got out of the car. And I’ll give you 3 guesses where the wallet was. Yep, it was in his back pocket. This was a relief to him, but it was a bit distressing at the same time. He looked me in the eye and said, “Sorry, but that young fellow is going to have to work for his pay today. I’m not about to call him and tell him where I found my wallet.” I tried to shame him, but to no avail. Sure enough, in just a little while the manager called and broke the news that the wallet had not been seen in the surveillance video. He went on at length about how they turn all the trouser pockets inside out and this is captured on the video. The poor fellow went on to suggest how MH might have lost the wallet in the car. MH was very nice, thanked him for his efforts, and assured him he’d take his advice about searching every nook and cranny in the car.

I would be laughing even harder except I lost a blank check the day before. I tore a check out of my checkbook and put it in my little evening bag before attending a fundraising banquet. When I got ready to make my contribution, the check was nowhere to be found. Thank goodness, the blank check was found by some very honest people during the clean-up after the banquet. Today MH and I pulled out our long-term care insurance policy to see about our coverage. We are wondering if we need to get our names on the list of the best assisted living facility we can afford.

Due to the flurry of work related to the library, I’ve had little time for taking pictures. And with the drought we’ve experienced , the fall foliage has been less than spectacular. Isn’t it ironic to have ended up with a serious drought after such a devastating flood! I did go outside for a few minutes yesterday morning and spotted this gray hairstreak butterfly on a pot of white mums. Because of the lack of color contrast, the stillness of the butterfly, and the small size of this specimen, I almost missed it. I just can’t post a blog without a photo of some sort. Maybe I’ll find something a little more enticing tomorrow.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Since I wanted to write about the movie Secretariat tonight, I thought I needed some kind of picture. We do have a few horses on the farm and I thought Cara bore a bit of resemblance to Secretariat, so here you see her eye. In fact, if you go see the movie, you’ll see some close-up shots of the horse’s eye.

Everyone has vivid memories of certain events, and the day Secretariat won the Kentucky Derby is one of mine. I was a young mother working part-time at a bank. All of the girls in bookkeeping and a few of the tellers were into a little gaming. I don’t remember exactly how we handled our betting but the limit was a small amount of money. For one thing, none of us had more than a few dollars to put into something like that. We did our betting on Friday afternoon and the plan was to settle up on Monday. My money was on Secretariat and I loved the sound of his name. I had never paid a bit of attention to a horse race before but I’ve rarely missed watching The Run for the Roses since his win in 1973. Of course, going on to see him win the Triple Crown really turned me into a fan of horse racing, although I’ve never been one to bet much.
I’ve never been to a Kentucky Derby. In fact, I’ve never been to Churchill Downs; but MH and I have been to Keeneland in Lexington, KY a few times. We have a friend who has owned a few race horses in his time so he always got us a great spot to watch the races. Our friend has retired from the horse business and we haven’t been to Lexington in a long time, but I count those times as some of our more enjoyable trips. The bluegrass country in Kentucky is beautiful and worth the trip even if you don’t go to the races. We also love antiques and we’ve bought some of our best pieces in the Lexington and Louisville area.
We loved the movie Seabiscuit but we were really excited that there was a movie in the works for Secretariat. I have been marking the days like a woman in jail until the movie came out. Yesterday afternoon we went to see it and it is truly one of the best movies we’ve been to in years. Don’t miss it! I don’t think it would matter whether or not you care a bit about horse racing. It is a great movie.

It is always hard to get a decent picture of Cara because when you come near, she is feeling pretty sure you are bringing something good to eat so she comes right to the fence. The fence is not real pretty but if you want a picture of Cara, you get the fence in the deal. Oh, well. She is no Secretariat, but she is a sweet thing.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sugar Bear

There is going be a new member of our family. We may be the most blended family in Dyer County already, so what’s one more? I guess he’ll be a joint custody affair. My granddaughter loves one of those little foster puppies so much that we just have to keep him. And everywhere she goes, he’ll be sure to follow. Think Mary and her little lamb. I don’t tell my grandchild this but the cute little dog does look like he could have been sired by a skunk. Just look at him. Maybe I’ve lived in the country too long and have seen a few too many skunks in my day. I hope the local skunks don’t spy him, think there is a new kid on their block, and decide to throw a housewarming for him. On the bright side, that puppy is about the cutest and sweetest little thing I ever saw, and it warms my heart to see my granddaughter with him. I guess I’ll be ordering one of those electronic fences tomorrow.
Meet Sugar Bear!
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