Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Free write

When I was dating Steve he wanted to take me on a trip to North Carolina. So, I went. We went to Ashville to the Biltmore Estate that was built by George Vanderbilt. On the Estate they have turned what was once the dairy barn into a winery. They had free wine tasting if you bought this $20.00 wineglass and of course Steve had to sample every wine in the winery. As we were walking past this outdoor area that the kids were in we saw a barrell that you could stomp grapes in and then have your footprints made. My silly boyfriend had to jump right in line and have it done. This started a new thing for the adults. When he was done having his footprints made the line was full of adults and all the kids were looking at them like they had gone mad.
We drove around the Blue Ridge Parkway. In one spot you can pull off and walk up this trail to a little church that sets way up on the top of the mountain. All you can see from the roadway is the cross that is on top of the steeple. Steve wanted to hike up the mountain the four miles to see it. As we got on the trail he was walking faster than I was as I was enjoying the nature and looking for bears that I knew would be around to eat me when a little snake went skating across my foot. Steve has reenacted my reaction for many a listener to this day. He does this little dance and yells….SNAKE as he dances around crazily. He swears that was the reaction I had but I’m sure it was more of fleeing reaction as I remember reaching the car way before he ever did. He thinks it was my imagination too because he never found a snake. I personally think it was a python that somebody had turned loose because it probably had gotten to big for its cage.

Where I'd Rather be...

Right now I would rather be seven years in the future. School would be behind me and I would starting my day in the beautiful state of Colorado. At this hour of the morning I would be starting for work to make rounds at the hospital for a awesome cardiologist. The view on the drive to work would be serene. You would be able to see the snow glistening as the first rays of sun peaks over the tops of the Rockies. It would look like a painter had taken a paintbrush and lightly added some oranges and reds to the soft white.
As I cruised down the road I would be able to see the sheepherders watching the sheep in the low country. In a few weeks they would be getting ready to start their trek up the mountain with their herd. I would see elk and mule deer grazing in the meadows and stealing hay from the cattle on some of the ranches. The fields would not yet be green but you would be able to see hints of green mixed with the old yellowed grass from last year.
A big bull elk that would get every hunters blood pumping raises his head as I go by. From his mouth hangs a clump of hay. The red white faced cattle seem to ignore the intruders as if they were meant to be there. Up the road, the road curves around the jutting rocks at the base of the mountain. Thick, clear icicles blinking as you go by.
The river that runs along the southern side of the road seems to be flowing backwards as it runs past the many rocks in the creekbed. You can see the trout leaping out as if saying, “good morning.”
The radio is turned low to a country station. The melody of a new country artist crooning to her listeners. The hum of the V8 engine as it climbs from the valley up the mountian. You can hear the transmission lightly shifting as it begins to pull the long hill in front of us.
Even though the temperature is in the 30’s outside, I have to crack the window. I love to smell the pines along the winding stretch of road. The smell of nature. Even the creek beside the road seems to be wafting with aroma. Not fishy, just fresh. The vanillaroma air freshner hanging from the rearview mirror is amplified by the cold, brisk air flowing into the Expedition. It still has a new car scent to it that on warm days when it’s been sitting in the sun you can smell. The cup of coffee in the cup holder wafts through the vehicle.
The steering wheel is firm but smooth under my fingers. The leather seats with seat warmers feel like melted butter and envelope me as I drive. The scratch of the new sweater I put on this morning is rough against my skin. As I drive along, I take a drink of the coffee that I made before I left. It’s smooth and bold as it slides along my tongue and down my throat. You can taste a hint of chocolate and a touch of whipped cream where I added it to my cup. As I finish the coffee, I reach for my wintergreen Eclipse gum. The taste overcoming the coffee and burning my nostrils because the wintergreen is so strong.

The effects of being a chocolate

Hershey chocolate which contains flavanol rich cocoa has been found to be rich in antioxidants and oleic acids that provide a heart healthy alternative to Smarties Candies.

Flavanol, which is used in Hershey’s Cocoa, has an aspirin like effect on platelets in the blood. This reduces the amount of clotting. This would help with any internal clotting and reduce a person’s risk of stroke or heart attack. The flavanol also reduces both the systolic and diastolic blood pressures.
Oleic acid, which is also found in the cocoa, helps to lower bad cholesterol.
Antioxidants found in the Hershey milk chocolate also keep chemicals from destroying cells and DNA.

Using senses to describe

Papers were laying all askew on top and around the big brown desk. A brown stain formed a circle were he had spilled his coffee earlier. A couple books that he was studying from were thrown haphazardly here and there amid the papers. From the edge of a book you could see the tip of a pen peeking out as if saying, “Here I am.”

The frost on the windows was a definite indicator of what was out there. As I looked across the pasture towards the woods, I could see the cattle slowing coming down the hill and with each step they took their breath hung heavily in the air. The pond had a steam rising from it that was as thick as fog. The dog was amusing himself by jumping here in there in the tall snowbanks, rooting in the snow then bounding off again.

As she walked, with each step you could see it building within her and before you knew it she would be like dynamite. Her face was beet red. Her eyes were drawn and tight. How dare anyone tell her she couldn’t do something. Well, she’d show them. As she walked down the sidewalk people that seen her seemed to just part and move out of her way. Her body language and her facial expression was all they needed to convince them not to say anything to her today. The people that knew her best didn’t want to feel the wrath of her sharp tongue and they knew that the least little thing might set her off.

As it streaked downthe track I had to do a double take. Was that my sixteen year old that I had just seen go past me? It looked like a blue blur but yet that horse on the grille was branded like a hot iron in my mind. Yes, he had inherited his mothers heavy foot. I can only imagine how the speed had him pushed back into the seat. The sound caught up with the car seconds after it had already passed.

As she paced the room with her ruler you could hear her smacking students on the back of the hand. Poor little Sally, she couldn’t help it if she was left handed. She was the talk of the students. Nobody ever wanted in her class. Kids would cry and parents would beg with the principal to put there kids in another classroom. Her class almost never got to have recess and if they did half of the class had to stand against the wall for at least fifteen minutes before they could play. If the kids made a peep walking down the hall or were the slightest bit out of line. The whole class was punished and recess time was spent practicing staying in line.

Public School

My experience with public school greatly differed from the education that Sedgewick Bell received. I don’t recall ever studying Roman History. From the movie the teacher, Mr. Hundert, cared about the education of the pupils. He took the time to get to know each individual and he called them by name. I feel that I didn’t have any teachers that were so impassioned about their career as Mr. Hundert was. I do feel that I had teachers, as Mr. Hundert, that picked a favorite. Someone that they wanted to exceed and do well and that they gave special attention to that student. I would loved to have had an education like those kids had. In public school most times you are passed over. You must reach a set of goals supplied by the state and most teachers only strive to meet those goals. They do not try to surpass them as in a public teacher’s word, “They do not have the time.” I have seen far to many students leave the public school that could not read at level, count back change properly or numerous other little things that each will use in everyday life. The public school system is failing our children.

Significant Event

I think the most significant event in my life was losing my grandpa when I was 16. At that point, I took on a more grown up air. It felt as if my childhood had been stolen from me. Sixteen is when you are supposed to be starting to date, learning to drive, not dealing with death. My whole life changed the year I turned 16. Two weeks after I turned 16, my mom got married. Three weeks after I turned 16 that’s when my grandpa died.I didn’t know how to cope with my feelings. I pushed people away that I had been close to. I never really turned rebellious until I was 18 but up until that point things just built and built and then like a volcano that was under pressure it all came spewing forth. They say you go through stages to cope with death and I think I was stuck somewhere in a stage for a while. I was probably in my 20’s before I actually dealt with my feelings. I can remember going to my grandpa’s grave and crying for what seemed like hours

In class writing

I can’t believe I’m in college. My first day went not so smoothly. We airlifted my dad to Cox South hospital where he had to have a pacemaker put in. I couldn’t find any parking. I was three minutes late to my first class which happens to be English. Today I lost the wheel off my backpack…stupid thing. I have 32 pounds of books to carry. I seem to be settling in but every morning that I do have class I wake in awe and have to pinch myself. I still just can’t believe I’m here.

I love to read. I read many different things. I’m getting ready to read Marley and Me. I haven’t seen the movie yet but I think the book will probably be so much better. I like to read mystery novels and I like to read the occasional romantic novel too. I think my favorite romance novel writer would have to be Danielle Steele. Reading is kind of like writing. You can become absorbed in what you’re reading about and just go to different places in your mind. It is such a good way to get away for a few minutes or to just take some time for yourself. You can put yourself into the book and pretend you’re one of the characters. I had my son read a chapter one time and then he had to act it out.

MyI have a fear of snakes. I hate snakes. Snakes are so scary. They are a sign of the devil and they are just scary looking. I once left a mountain in North Carolina beacuseI seen a snake and my hausband thought it was so funny. We are going to Raton, New Mexico in July and I am so afraid of seeing a rattlesnake. I even told my husband that I was going to buy 4 pairs of snake boots one for each of us. I just know that I ‘m going to have dreams of seeing one of those stupid snakes once we get there. Sankes are just menacing to me. I hate going into the Snake House at the zoo and that is my oldest sons favorite place to go. Sometimes I just want to choke him when we go to the zoo because if they have a sanake out he always wants to touvh it. And He always is like Oh come on Mom it’ll be oaky. Just touch it. They brought a sanake to his kinderarten class one day and I left the room when the snake got there. All those kindergartners laughted at me. I went and set in the hallway. I had a baby copperhead crawl across the toe of my sandals a few summers ago. That was not funny. I was crazy with fear then. I was jumping a wround and screaming. It was not a pretty sight. IreI remember one time how my uncle caught a cottonmouth on his fishing line. Talk about scary. He didn’t know it was a snake until he got it almost to the boat. Then he had to cut the line to get it off. That’s fear. Sankes. Fear. Yep they are interchangeable.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I began homeschooling Colton when he was in kindergarten. Actually, he was about through with kindergarten. He has been home this entire time and the whole thought of going back totally sent him into a tail spin. Lately, he has been thinking about going back if he can go to Fair Grove. He has struck up quite the friendship with the kids from his 4-H group and he has decided he would like to go to school with them. I think Fair Grove would be an appropriate school to put him in and so does Steve. We just are not ready to make that move quite yet. I have thought about putting Colton back into the Dallas County school system but my gut gets knots and I push the thought away.

We have had quite the journey homeschooling. I have learned probably as much as he has. Things that I don't remember learning in school, I have gotten refreshed on. Things that Colton wanted to learn more about, we have thrown ourselves into whole heartedly and learned.

I used to think that he wasn't missing out on anything by not being in school. I still feel that way about some things. I don't think any child should ever have to go through the whole clique thing. Especially, if you are the child on the outside. But I do think he is missing out on having to make a deadline, being held accountable for not turning something in on time and things that being a mom you just overlook.

I think he is getting to the point that he is missing having friends. He stays active in 4-H and YHEC and he gets to see his friends but I think he would like to see them more on a day to day basis.

As a family, we have some major decisions to make concerning the rest of Colton's schooling. I don't regret any of the time he has been at home. He has learned. He has exceled. Now he has to learn to use what we have taught him.

Breeding clothes in Dallas County

Why are boys such a mess? Is it just boys? Or is it an age thing?

Colton has just graced me with a load of laundry that looks like it could walk to the washing machine and crawl in itself. "Where did you find this?", I asked. "Oh, it was under my bed and I found some pushed under my towel rack in the bathroom. I don't know how it got there."

I arch one eyebrow, and I know that the furrows across my forehead must resemble that of a newly plowed field. The thought running through my head rushes forth but my lips don't seem to be able to form the words. I roll my eyes and walk away. That would probably be for the best, I decide.

I now have washed Paden's clothes from yesterday plus his mud wear from today approximately three times. Bleach has yet to remove the clay mud stains.

As I pull in the driveway this afternoon, Colton is swinging. On his upper torso is a white mud stained shirt. Upon closer inspection, I find out it is MY white now mud stained shirt. I asked him why he was wearing my t-shirt and he replies his dad had gave it to him in the laundry he did while I was away for the weekend. I look at him and ask, "And you couldn't tell it didn't fit and was way too big?" But let me rewind. I had stopped at the Breakfast Nook on my way to Springfield today and Steve is wearing my CoxHealth long sleeve polo shirt. Only now it is stained with mud and some other substance that I don't see Shout getting out. Two shirts in one day and I wasn't even the one to ruin them.

As I walk in the back door, I notice my laundry pile has grown more. I'm telling you, I am breeding laundry in Dallas County.

Journal Reflection

When I was told that we had to keep a journal I thought, "Great, I hate writing about my daily life because I never do anything exciting." Then, I jumped into it with both feet and actually started a little before our March 2 start date. Since that time, I have journaled feelings, happenings and recipes. I feel excited when somebody becomes a follower and I relish knowing that maybe I can brighten someones day.

I think I have changed as a writer over the course of the last few weeks because I no longer feel that I have to write. I now want to write, except on Mondays. Don't ask me why but Monday's are just horrid writing days for me. Yesterday was an exception to that but how could I not write about that cute, muddy, little boy.

I know that I didn't journal seven days a week but sometimes my days are so cluttered and by the time I sit down that I could journal I am so exhausted and my brain just shuts down. I learned that sometimes I should get up in the middle of the night when that inspiration hits because I think I could do some of my most powerful work at that time.

Blogging has become a part of my daily life. I look forward to coming home and reading the other students blogs (yes, I'm a lurker). I laugh when my husband says, "We're going to make the blog again, aren't we?" I think Steve has gotten as much enjoyment from this as I have.

Thanks, Ms. A. I just want you to know that I will continue blogging even after this last English 101 blog. You've opened a door of communication for me that will last long after the lights go out on our classtime together.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Blue Plate Monday ~ Gina's Broccoli Pasta Salad

My awesome English teacher over at is now in her third week of Blue Plate Mondays. She is giving away the cutest little Scrap Basket Apron that has lots of meaning to her and she is willing to share that with the lucky winner. Come on and join the fun!

I went to the SuperCenter a few summers ago to get groceries. While standing over by the deli, I seen this beautiful salad in the case. The wanted an outrageous price for it so I bought a the smallest container they had then proceeded to pick it apart to figure out what was in it.

I made my own version, totally from scratch, and it turned out much better than theirs. I took this to a church function and everybody wanted the recipe. Anytime my mother in law comes over for a barbeque or we go down to her house for a family dinner this is the recipe that she always requests I bring. I don't have any pictures of it but it does turn out very pretty.

1# Vegetable macaroni, cooked and drained
1 Green Bell Pepper, diced
1 Red Onion, chopped
Carrots, shredded (however many you feel like using)
1 head cauliflour, chopped
1 bunch broccoli, chopped
1# cheddar cheese, shredded


1 cup sugar
1 cup vinegar
2 cups Miracle Whip
1 cup Eagle Brand Milk
1/2 tsp pepper
salt, to taste

I like to put the dressing on and let it set for at least a few hours but overnight is better.
Hope you enjoy.

Little Boys & Mud

I have to laugh every time I see one of those moms that can't stand it if her child gets dirty. You know, the one that has a bib around her childs neck constantly because she don't want the little buggers to drool on themselves. Both my boys have had ample dirt time and I must say that many an outfit has met it's match with drool.

Today when I came home Paden wanted to know if he could play in the mud. He tried to explain to me that daddy had told him that he couldn't play in the mud but I scoffed at that idea. I walked him home from Mema's house, changed his clothes, put his rubber boots on and told him to go have fun. I explained, as best I could to a four year old, that he had approximately one hour to play then he had to come in and we had to get him cleaned up before daddy got home from work. Thirty minutes later this is what appeared on my front porch. Not quite what I bargained for but one look at that smile and those little blue eyes and I stripped him down and brought him in and put him in the tub. I also had to pour the water out of his rubber boots. His clothes, well, they are still soaking in the washing machine. I'm sure with the bleach that I added and after a couple washes they will be fine. If not, well, C'est la vie.
Having a couple of boys has been a blast. I grew up around boys. Five, to be exact. I'm not sure I would have been able to handle a little girl if she would have been all frills and curls. I think that's why I was blessed with two little boys. The first was not a dare devil. The second will try anything. I learned today that when he tells you he's going to wallow like a pig in the mud, well, he means it. He also made a slip-n-slide out of a mud hole and loved it.
So, if you all were wondering what to do with the rain, go make some mud pies. Have fun. Enjoy life and laugh.
It's a rainy, Monday. I wanted to stay in bed cuddled up in my corner, hugging my pillow. I can't. I have to be ready to register in a few minutes for summer and fall semesters. I have changed my schedule almost 10 times now. I made last minute changes a few minutes ago and I'm ready to hit the register button in approximately 10 minutes. I'm ready for class at 9. I'm hoping the Ms. Anthony has some time to spend with me on my essay revision today. I'm not sure I did as good on this essay as I did my first. I have never had to use parenthetical citations before and needless to say I did not use them correctly (or at all) in this essay. In three weeks, I get a short two week break and I'm looking forward to it. Steve told me our house looks like a train wreck. I'm not having much luck getting him to help me keep it clean though after I clean it. I spent our spring break cleaning. I'm going to spend my intercession between spring and summer classes cleaning, too. It's a never ending process. We need more space for one. It's hard to pack a 2000 square foot house into 1200 foot of space. I have a storage shed that is packed full and it seems to acquire more and more over time. It has no semblence of order, either. Sometimes I feel that my house is like my life. I have no order.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The end of semester is drawing near

My first semester has flown past. It seemed like just yesterday that I was circling the parking lot with tears streaming down my face, scared to death because I was going to be late for my first class. Not just the first class of the day, my first class of my college career.

Since that day, I have rediscovered that I was a good student. I was a good student until my Grandpa passed away is what I should say. The last 2 1/2 years of high school was a struggle after that and my grades suffered. Now, I'm back with a vengeance. I study. I study more. I study harder. I study everything not just what is supposed to be on the test. I feel that if I'm going to do this, I'm going to go all the way. I feel that if I'm going to succeed at the career path I've decided on, halfway is not an option.

I keep telling myself, I'm going to be a Physician Assistant. If I wasnt' 36 years old, I'd go all the way. I wouldn't stop at PA. I keep thinking maybe I should be a Nurse Practitioner. I want to work in a rural area and help the people. I want to see house-calls rebound. I want to see the face of a new mother. I want to make that grouchy old man that never smiles, smile. I want to hand out Tootsie Pops to my little patients and maybe the ones that are kids at heart, too. I want to be the PA or NP that sits on the bed with their patients hand in theirs and tells them, "We're going to beat this."

I'm not going into this field for the money, though that is a plus. I'm going into this field because I seen the need for nurses that take the time to know their patients. I seen the need for nurses that are compassionate and caring. I may be only one person but all it takes is one person to make a difference.

So, as the end of the semester draws near, finals are peaking around the corner. Summer is upon us. I'm eighteen blogs short so I will be blogging like crazy this weekend. I'm gearing up for an Anatomy Lab Practical. I'm squaring up for the English final. And I'm taking this all in and I'm learning. I'm learning that I can and I will succeed. I know that there's an angel on my shoulder and they won't let me quit.
Sights and Sounds:
Vacationing in Western North Carolina
As the silver Chevrolet Camero rockets along the ribbon of asphalt, my eyes are glued to what seems to be a fog hugging the top of the surrounding mountains. The four lanes of traffic on Interstate 40 west of Asheville, North Carolina seem to wind through some of the most beautiful land I have ever seen. Pamphlets and brochures lay in disarray at my feet. The radio’s bass thumping to some hip hop music Steve has recorded on the cassette in the stereo. The sun’s rays are a warm caress on my face as the bounce through the passenger window. I sip on the extremely sweet Dr. Pepper that I bought earlier. The car’s vent draws in the aroma of the surroundings. At times, gas vapors and at others the pungent smell of pine fills the small interior space. As I settle into the less than comfortable passenger seat, I suddenly realize, I am now at the beginning of my week long vacation.
In the fall of 1995, I spent a week traveling the highways of Tennessee and North Carolina with my boyfriend, Steve; whom is now my husband. Leaving Missouri, with someone that I had known for a short time period was both exciting and scary. We packed up his Camero and headed east down Highway 60. We drove and drove, and finally at the point of exhaustion, and with an aching backside because the passenger seat of 1995 Camero is not meant for long distance travel, we stopped in Cookeville, TN.
The next morning, we got up and headed farther east on Interstate 40. We were on the last leg of our travel away from Missouri, by mid-day we would be in Asheville. Once we passed Knoxville or K Town, as Steve called it, the traffic on the west bound lanes of 40 grew heavier. Most cars that we were passing were sporting painted windows, flags from antennae’s or from the windows. Listening to a local radio station, we found that it was the home opening game for the Tennessee Volunteer’s football team. I decided, they took football seriously in this part of the country.
I looked at signs around me, Pigeon Forge one said. Steve pointed out things that he had seen that he thought was interesting. The scenery became more and more beautiful the closer we got to Asheville.
Asheville, I don’t know what I was thinking; I guess I thought I would see a town the size of Springfield. The town of Asheville is a sprawling town that seems to cover the whole valley. We found a Hampton Inn hotel and pulled in. We got a room and made some room in the car by carrying all the stuff in. We had no itinerary, so we shuffled through our pamphlets and decided we would drive out to Chimney Rock, which is 25 miles southeast of Asheville.
On the way to Chimney Rock, we crossed the Eastern Continental Divide. For a small town girl, I thought that was pretty cool. We stopped at a little store along the highway for a cold soda. Some natives, to that part of the country, told us to make sure we stopped at the River of Rocks. The river is nothing but these huge elephant-like rocks. They are smooth rocks, not jagged. As we explored, I noticed a family nearby who was playing in the rocks.
The parking lot to Chimney Rock is all uphill. We slid into a spot. Immediately in front of it there was a large drop off. I swore Steve was going to drive right off the hill, but he didn’t. We hiked up the parking lot to the entrance gates. The older gentleman, at the gate, asked if we would be taking the elevator or the stairs. Steve asked, “How many stairs?” The old man chuckled and said, “Twenty-six stories.” We took the elevator. In the elevator, Steve made some new friends that he fondly recalls as his “elevator buddies.” Two older women struck up a conversation with him and talked and talked the whole ride up. Steve later became their photographer and they happily repaid the favor; after, I explained to them how to work my camera.
The view from Chimney Rock is spectacular. states that “the chimney is at an elevation of 2,280 feet.” The rock is surrounded by a large black wrought iron fence and a U.S. flag billows from a flagpole that is in the middle of the rock. From the rock, you can see the Opera Box. The Opera Box is an outcropping of rocks that you can hike to by a boardwalk of stairs and walkways. My favorite view from the top of the Chimney was of Lake Lure. From the top of the Chimney, I could see the vastness of the lake as it filled the surrounding valley. The sailboats on the lake looked miniscule from that elevation, and the little town that we passed at the foot of the park seemed small.
Chimney Rock Park held a special lure on our outing. A few years earlier it had been featured in the movie, The Last of the Mohicans. It wasn’t Chimney Rock that was in the movie but Hickory Nut Falls that is just on up the mountain. Hickory Nut Falls is the largest waterfall east of the Mississippi at 404 feet.
We returned to Asheville for the evening. We stopped at a local barbeque restaurant for dinner. The food was very good and the people were some of the friendliest I had ever met.
The next day, we awoke to the sun rising over the Blue Ridge Mountains out our window. The constant haze that hangs over the mountains is magnificent. Personally, I believe they get their name from the blue cast that one can see most of the time.
After a quick breakfast, in the hotel lobby, we were off to spend the day at the Biltmore Estate. The entrance to the Biltmore Estate stole my breath. I pictured myself traveling back in time to the days of horse and buggy. The road leading through the property is now paved and is a popular stop for many tour buses. As we wound our way down the blacktop ribbon, we came up a steep hill and around a curve and entered a wide opening. Statues seemed to be standing guard over the many gardens that surround the Biltmore.
We parked in one of the many parking areas and our exploration began. The tour through the house was slow going. For a house built in the late 1800’s, the mansion was amazing. It has an indoor pool that is surrounded by lush fauna. It made me think I had stepped into the rain forest. Parts of the house are four stories but all rooms are not open to the public. According to the house covers 4 acres, totaling 175,000 square feet. It consists of 250 rooms that include 35 guest and family rooms, 43 bathrooms, 65 fireplaces and three kitchens. In our tour of the house we seen a chess set that was Napoleon’s. On one of the upper floors a large room that lay long and only slightly narrow was full of tapestries from the 16th century. They adorned all the walls in this room; seemingly, hanging from floor to ceiling. In this room, double doors were placed along the outer wall at various positions. A large balcony was accessible from these doors and it ran the length of the room. From the balcony, I could overlook the large open meadow with a very old tree that was slightly off centered. At the end of the meadow, timber started and sloped down towards the valley below; once again I realized that I was on top of a mountain in western North Carolina.
Throughout the house, I could find many interesting, priceless antiques. We toured a library that was full from ceiling to floor of bookshelves and more books than we ever had in our public library in Buffalo. Steve enjoyed the indoor bowling alley. The tour of the house took us the whole morning.
For lunch, we wound our way through the numerous outdoor gardens that were designed by Frederick Olmstead, to the stable area. In the courtyard of the stables, we found an ice cream shop tucked neatly inside the stable. Above the stable was a clock tower, beneath our feet was a cobblestone area, numerous songbirds sang and whistled from the trees around the back. The ice cream ran down my cone as it melted. We found a table among the other tourists and enjoyed our surroundings and our ice cream.
From here, we walked to a garden far upon the hill. I took Steve’s picture as he groped a very well endowed garden statue. On our walk up the hill, we passed a large oak tree that had been struck by lightning. The tree, itself, had survived but to close off the gaping hole that was left, the gardeners had filled the tree with bricks.
We then proceeded on with our tour of the estate by driving farther into the large compound. We stopped, along the drive, at the lake house. This was merely a large gazebo designed at the end of a large dock; sitting in the middle of a small lake. We ran into a couple with a Welsh corgi dog. This was the first time either of us had ever seen such a dog, and we absolutely fell in love with it. We watched some swans on the lake swimming in all their elegance. I took many pictures of this area because it was so serene and idyllic.
We moved on to what had once been the dairy. It had been converted to a winery in more recent years. For a small fee, you received a wine glass and were allowed to sample various wines throughout the building. Steve decided it was his sworn duty to sample any and all wines available. After a few, he found in the outer atrium a small barrel that was set up for the kids to stomp grapes and to have their footprints made. I wanted to croak when he got in line. Steve stomped grapes, had his footprints made and started a new trend. Upon seeing him in the barrel, many other tourists decided this looked like fun and got in line also. When we left this area, the line was packed with adults. The children were all standing to the side giggling and laughing.
Somewhere along the tour of the house we had read about George Vanderbilt buying some land and building a hunting lodge. The lodge was destroyed by fire but there is an area with pictures and memorabilia. We went in search of the lodge area and found it. We hiked up a trail to the spot that the hunting lodge had once stood and enjoyed all the peace and serenity.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is nicknamed “America’s Favorite Drive.” According to the website, it is 469 miles in length and was authorized for construction in the 1930’s as a Depression-era public works project and was more than a half-century in the making. As we wound along the Parkway, we found numerous tunnels and steep grades. The scenery is magnificent and lush. We stopped at numerous overlooks that we found along the way. I remember standing at the top of one and looking down at a house tucked neatly into the tree line in the valley below. It appeared to be a small white farmhouse and was surrounded by a barn and a silo. I returned to the car to retrieve a throw that I had brought along to cover up with during the ride. I fashioned the throw into a shawl, and stood in awe as I watched the sun set behind the mountains. The haze that covers the countryside seems to collect the rays of the setting sun, and the colors dance in the haze as the sun slowly slips down.
Mount Pisgah, at milepost 408.6, has the distinction of having by far the highest elevation of any developed area along the Parkway, according to the National Park Service website. Steve spotted a sign that pointed to a trail that led to a cross on top of Mount Pisgah. He quickly glided off the road. It was dusk and he wanted to hike up a mountain! As I wrapped deeper into my make-shift shawl, we headed up the mountain. Steve took the lead and soon left me, some yards behind. I moseyed along, knowing I was going to be eaten by a bear at any second. Instead, I stumbled upon something far worse. A snake decided to occupy the same trail as I was on. I decided rather quickly, that he could have the whole mountain. As I danced in place, screaming at the top of my lungs, “SNAKE! SNAKE! SNAKE!” Steve retreated down the path to where I was dancing about and yelling. After much coaxing, he decided it was useless to try to get me to go farther up the mountain and we returned to the car.
As our vacation drew to a close for western North Carolina, I realized that I didn’t really want to leave. The people make you feel at home there, and they welcome you as if you are a family member that is returning after being away. The land is some of the most beautiful, I believe, I have ever seen. In two years, I believe I want to revisit the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Smokey Mountains, the Biltmore Estate, and Chimney Rock State Park. I want to walk the trails that I was too chicken to walk then. I want to explore the rooms that have opened in the Biltmore Estate since our tour many years ago. I want to see Lake Lure up close. I want to dance in Hickory Nut Falls, as the cold water comes rushing down over my head. In two years, I will finish nursing school. In two years, it will be my fifteenth anniversary. In two years, I deserve a vacation!

Monday, April 20, 2009

My Weekend away

I spent the weekend away from home. No kids. No husband.

It wasn't a vacationing weekend. I spent the weekend learning how to teach Hunting and Outdoor skills for 4-H.

It started out Friday afternoon as a pretty nice afternoon/evening. I got to Camp Windermere in Roach, Missouri at about 5:15. I ran into a couple of familiar faces soon after arriving. Byron, the retired Greene County leader, and Dale Cox, the retired Polk County leader were heading up the Sportfishing workshop that was going on.

I carried my things into a very nice room. I give thumbs up to Camp Windermere for it's facilities and for its very nice cafeteria and staff. I had a balcony that faced the east with two cafe chairs and small table. I took the time to sit on my balcony and look out over the lake. It was very serene and peaceful. I took a moment to reflect and catch a much needed breather alone. As I looked across the lake, on the bluff facing my room was the church. It sits high on the overlooking bluff and appeared to be an a-frame building with many windows. The cross rose proudly from the top of the steeple.

I went to dinner with a handful of men that were there Friday night for the workshop. A nice fellow from the St. Louis area, Mike, and a young gentleman from the Kansas City area, Josh, were my tablemates. Mike had been at the camp a few weeks earlier for a church gathering. I enjoyed talking to both of these individuals and learning of their goals for the kids in their areas.

After we walked back the 1/2 mile to Lakeview Lodge that we were all staying at, I walked up the hill to the conference center and struck up a conversation with what I soon found out was my leader for the weekend, Tim Coy. Tim was an awesome leader with a load of knowledge. Since I was the only one there from our group, I got to start on a project early. Tim taught me how to mount wings. I won't go into detail cause I don't want to cause anyone with weak stomachs any distress. I did very well on this project. I mounted a Blue Goose wing and a male Mallard Duck wing. After this, it was starting to unload their trucks and pack all the stuff into the conference room. While standing on the hill outside the conference center, I heard rustling in the leaves in the stand of timber up the hill about 50 feet from me. I thought of Steve's parting words, "Watch out for Bigfoot." Surveying my options of run like a little girl screaming down the hill or remain planted until I could get a better look, I remained rooted to my spot. At the edge of the woods, just inside the shadows was a fairly good sized doe deer. Behind her, was her three yearlings. After this I went to my room to clean up and check in on Steve and the boys.

I resumed my position on the balcony while I talked to my husband on the phone. Paden made sure to tell me he was being REALLY good and that he needed a toy. As dusk faded and night time came crashing in, I listened to the sounds of the tree frogs, the calls of the birds, the fish jumping, the subtle sounds of nightime.

Saturday the rain moved in and it showered on us off and on all day. I taught the other four students how to mount a wing Saturday morning. We learned how to set up and run a compass course. We played a couple games and we went on a Carmelita hunt. Saturday afternoon about 4:30 came the fun part of cooking. The Sportfishers, fried fish, hushpuppies and made coleslaw. We, the Hunting & Outdoor Skills group, we learned Dutch Oven Cooking. We made potatoes and onions with cheese and bacon, peach cobbler and cherry cobbler. The dinner was awesome and both groups visited in the kitchen area and had a wonderful dinner.

Sunday, the rain was constant. It was a nice steady rain. We walked to breakfast and lunch in the rain. Anytime we went outside we were in the rain. As the conference grew to a close, I said goodbye to my new found friends and headed home to my family.

All in all it was a fantastic weekend.

Friday, April 17, 2009


I'm going away this weekend. I'm kind of nervous. I'm kind of anxious. I'm kind of excited.

This is a me weekend. I'm leaving my boys and Steve for the whole weekend. This is the first time I've ever left all of them except for my stay in the hospital last fall.

Steve warned me to watch for Bigfoot as he left this morning. I'm not staying in a luxury suite or getting a spa treatment, by know means. This is a working weekend. I'm going to go become a certified instructor for 4-H Hunting Skills.

Colton, is the state champ, so I have big shoes to fill. That seems funny, I have to walk in my sons shoes. He can run a compass course, identify skins, prints and feathers AND shoot. He finally decided that he "might" want to be a conservation agent or something of the sort. I had to laugh when he cornered the Regional Conservation Agent last weekend at the NWTF dinner. Poor guy, his ears were falling off with all the questions.

Well, I gotta run. Toodles and have a wonderful weekend.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Blue Plate Mondays @ (un)Deniably Domestic

Well, my English teacher has hit on a subject that is near and dear to my little heart...yes, food. Hopefully, she will share some of her kitchen binder with me (us) and I will be more knowledgeable on how to organize my meal plan, too. So come along on her new endeavor and join us in some recipe sharing. Make sure you link to her post at!!

My submission to Blue Plate Mondays is a dish that I found in a recipe book. Like any other recipe, I don't know how to follow directions. I always add, substitute or like this recipe totally change things so that it's not really anything like what it was supposed to be when it started out.

See, I was going to make my "regular" Tuna Noodle Casserole but sometime unbeknown to me (slipped right out of my mind) I had used all of my egg noodles. So I dug around and figured the kids like Mac n Cheese, why not?

Colton named this Mom's Mac N Cheese with Tuna. Tonight he can call it Mom's Mac N Cheese with Ham because I have all this leftover ham and I thought, "What the hey." Hope everybody enjoys it. Even my picky eater likes it, as long as you hide the green peppers and onions. (Which, I chop absolutely minuscule.)

1 package (7-1/4 ounces) macaroni and cheese
1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of celery or I have used mushroom soup, undiluted
1 can (6 ounces) tuna, drained and flaked (I use two because I like more meat.)
1/2 cup milk
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
Minced fresh parsley, optional
Green Pepper from garden, optional
Onion, chopped

Prepare macaroni and cheese according to package directions. Stir in the soup, tuna and milk. Pour into a greased 2-qt. baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese and parsley if desired. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted.

One more thing, I always add lots of seasoning. I have Paula Deen's Blend of Salt, Pepper and Garlic that I put in almost everything. AND I measure nothing so I hope I'm close on the above measurements.

I am passionate about...

I am passionate about...well, at the moment going back to school and getting good grades. I am passionate about my children and how I want them to grow up to be smart, educated, successful adults.

I should probably have more things in my life that I am passionate about like reading the Bible, going to church regularly, practicing for archery shoots, cooking. Actually, I am passionate about these things but the passion has not been centered on them lately.

Lately, my focus has been on the kids, Steve and school but not necessarily in that order. School is my passion. Every waking minute is spent in thought of school. Car shopping this weekend was spent analyzing the car salesman and my husbands interaction because of Psychology on Friday. Watching the kids shoot at practice on Saturday was spent trying to put together an algebraic equation on how to move the sight this way or that or to hit the bull. I find myself, studying anatomy on people constantly. A conversation with my grandmother this weekend was about colorblindness and what colors she can't perceive and who in her family had color blindness so that I could try to pinpoint why, she, a female, no less has it.

English, well, that's a constant. I'm working hard trying to teach my oldest child that the LOC's have to be learned before he enters college. That his spelling that one of his teacher's told him wasn't important and that's why the invented spell check is not true. That spelling is important and he needs to learn to spell. That he won't have spell check with him constantly. I try to teach him to look up words that he doesn't know and if I tell him to look it up because he asks, then he evidently don't know it and he does need to look it up and learn it.

I am passionate about being a good wife but that passion has slipped lately. Dinner doesn't always get on the table at a certain time, the house doesn't always stay clean, the laundry isn't always done but then are these necessarily signs of being a passionate wife.

Friday, April 10, 2009


Blogging for me has become an outlet. When I was younger I used to have a diary. I never had a journal and was never taught about journaling like they do in today's school.

I remember trying to teach Colton about journaling a few years ago and I was met with adamant protest from not only him but his father and his grandparents. His journal was more like..."I fed the chickens. I watered the dog. I ate breakfast. I schooled." He hated it.

I on the other hand am taking great pleasure in it. On the days I do not journal I feel like I have forgotten something. On the days that I write a large piece that I'm proud of I feel like I've conquered the world.

In lurking about, I have found journals can be personal, impersonal, about something or about nothing. You can focus on one idea or you can meander on about anything and everything.

I find the blogs that I take the greatest interest in are the one's that the writer shares a bit of himself or herself. You become so entwined with this person and what is going on in their lives that when something goes wrong you want to reach through the computer and give them a big hug to comfort them. Just the opposite, they might have a great accomplishment and you revel in their success.

I have read blogs about a former TV personality that now has a bakery in a small West Texas town to the common everyday housewife that enjoys singing in her church choir.

I have friends that sign on just to read my blog and see what I'm babbling about to total strangers that visit and leave. I have found that I look forward to comments. They make me absolutely, positively warm inside.

I can open up about things that I might not just bring up in casual conversation. I can bare my soul about irritating things. I can brag on my kids. I can blog any feeling I'm feeling at that moment and if I'm good enough, you will feel like you're there with me.

Thanks for reading my blog and I do hope you come back. And Ms. A, Thanks for showing me this wonderful outlet that I would have never known about nor ever thought about until you suggested it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

If you was raised like I was...

"If you was raised like I was..." Those words will be forever etched in my brain. I have heard my Grandma say this to me, my uncles and my mom so many times I cannot even begin to count them.

My Grandma was born to Joe and Alta Glass on January 31, 1932 in Louisburg, MO. She was the second child of four.

My Grandpa and Grandma Joe, as I affectionately called them were what most today would consider dirt poor. As I look back now, they never really had much. I don't ever remember the farm that my Nanny (grandma) talks about, that was gone before I ever came along.

I remember Grandpa Joe had one eye. I don't know how the other one got put out, I don't think I ever really asked or cared. That's just how he was. My Grandma Joe was always busy doing laundry. I learned later, that is how she made extra money. She did laundry for her neighbors and ironed for them. I don't ever remember going down there in the summer without there being laundry on the clothesline. I remember running in and out of all the clothes. I also remember that they had a root cellar under their house and I would sit on hot summer days in the root cellar and play. It was always cool, dark and damp. Why, I never worried about snakes down there, is beyond me.

My grandma tells stories of her great granny that sat in a rocking chair and smoked pipe tobacco and chewed. She was a full blooded Cherokee. I assume, that's where I get my high cheek bones.

I remember my Grandpa buying Grandma a brand new Poniac Catalina in 1979 from Davies Chevrolet Pontiac on the square in Buffalo. It was a soft yellow, almost pastel. I remember barely seeing over the dash and riding to Louisburg with Grandma to visit Grandma and Grandpa Joe. It was a trip we made weekly. We never wore seat belts and we didn't have car seats in those days. Any sudden stop was accompanied by a hand to the chest to catch me. It's still a reflex action in me today.

Grandma Joe would always fix us a big lunch. But, back then, it wasn't that she fixed us lunch because we were there, she fixed it because that's what she would have fixed even if we wasn't. She always fixed three meals a day, if she had company she just fixed extra.

My Grandma Joe always wore an apron and I can't recall ever seeing her in anything but a cotton dress. Most usually her dresses were homemade. In the winter she wore a sweater over her thin, sometimes almost worn too thin dress.

I remember that she could tat, crochet and knit. She pieced and made quilts from scraps. I still have a little quilt that she made for my doll cribs. Unlike Granny (Great Grandma Slack), she didn't have a quilting frame and when she quilted she took crochet thread and looped it through the quilt and knotted it in the center of each square.

I don't remember how old I was, but I can remember when my Grandma Joe was diagnosed with Leukemia. I remember leaving the dinner table and going to my room crying. When my grandpa asked me why I was crying I told him I wasn't crying my eyes were just sweating. After that, we spent a lot of time in and out of the hospital with Grandma Joe. I don't really recall her dieing and I don't think I went to her funeral. If I did, I've blocked it out of my mind.

I remember after that when we would go to Louisburg to see Grandpa Joe, grandma would always cook him a big lunch. He later died in the nursing home in Buffalo after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. He was in his late 80's.

Nanny was raised hard. She never had but one rag doll. Her older brother, Cecil, is classified as MIA from the Korean war. He was on the front line and his division was the first troops that hit land. That was always hard on my grandma, the not knowing.

My grandma came from hard times. The depression left a lasting impression even if she was at a young age when it happened.

My husband, thinks it's awful when I tell about some of the things she done when I was growing up.

By the way, Grandma and Grandpa raised six kids, then me. They had five boys and mom. Mom was the third child. I always laugh at the story of Grandpa and how he was denied welfare.(Our family name used to be well known in Buffalo before it's population grew.) When Grandpa slipped on the ice and broke his back and they could have used the extra help, the welfare office evidently told them no because he was a Slack and Slacks' didn't need welfare. Grandpa told them he would never ask again, and he didn't.

Steve thinks it's awful when I tell him how we used to share bathwater. He gags when I tell him that Grandma would cut the mold off the cheese and still use the rest of it. And his ultimate gag reflex is when I tell him how she would cook rice and if those little black bugs would come floating to the top, she skimmed them off and we still had rice. I told him that's why you have never seen any of us have food poisoning. We have cast iron stomachs. Nothing went to waste at our house. The scraps were fed to the chickens and to the pigs. And in the rainwater was caught to water the houseplants.

I can't remember ever wanting for anything and having more than most. The one thing we were never short on was discipline and love, lots of love.

I grew up in a house that there was a dinner with meat, vegetable and dessert everynight. We sat at the dinner table, not around the the television. Going out to eat was a treat that happened maybe once a month. Going to the Bolivar Pizza Hut was a BIG DEAL. And when KFC came onto the scene that was a big treat that Grandma and Grandpa went on by themselves.

We used to go "visiting". I didn't matter if it was a "school night". We would all pile in the car and head off to a relatives house or a family friend and spend the evening catching up. And "fetched on company" wasn't a big deal. You just set an extra place settings at the table.

When it was butchering time, all the families would get together and butcher. I remember having hogs and beef hanging from the tree by the house. I remember butchering our own chicken and turkey. And when it was hunting season we always had an abundance of deer.

I can remember Grandma canning. We always had two, yes two, LARGE gardens. One was all potatoes and corn and sometimes peanuts. The other was everything else.

We picked blackberries, plums and Black Walnuts. We had a strawberry bed that ran the whole lenth of the garden. We had a milk cow.

So, did I grow up like Grandma? No, I doubt it. But, I did grow up instilled with values, manners, discipline and love.

My lil lost blog

I lost a blog last night. I know you're probably wondering how I coud lose a blog. Well, it happened like this, I went to bed blogging in my head. Stupid me, I should have gotten up and blogged what I was thinking about but like the big dumb dumb that I was, I didn't. I can remember the blog vaguely, but not completely. The whole opening just totally escapes me and bits and pieces are bouncing around in my brain.

A few weeks ago I was driving down Kearney and there is a little whole in the wall bar over there that used to have Walleye Wednesday. For love nor money could I remember the name of it. I even called Steve at work and he couldn't remember it either. This just gnawed at me. I went to bed thinking about this place. I woke up thinking about this place. I would drive to school thinking about it. I would drive home thinking about it. Then, I quit thinking about it. The other morning when I was getting ready for school, I was in the shower and like "poof" there it was. The Repair Shop. Now why did I remember it then? I don't know.

We studied about this in Psychology. I had an encoding failure.

Maybe since I've blogged now and got the clutter out of my way, my blog will come back. Maybe I'll remember it tonight before bed and if I do, I'll get back up to blog again.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sunday evening

As I sit here, I hear George Strait crooning behind me. To my left, through the kitchen from the bedroom I hear Steve raising the roof with his snoring. His belly, full and content, from the Sweet and Sour roast I created, exotic rice, mashed potatoes with sour cream and chives, and corn on the cob. Down the hall to my right, I hear the raucous behaviour of the soon to be four year old and 12 year old. They are joyously painting each other camoflauge with Colton's camo face paint. Shadow, the family Golden Retriever is pacing anxiously at the door wanting to go outside. Outside, I hear the sound of freezing rain beating against the windows. The wind blowing fiercely, rattling the metal roof. The sound sends a shiver through me.

As I look at Paden's birthday present that his paternal grandmother delivered late this afternoon, I think of warmer weather that surely will be here shortly.

I, mentally, make a list of the items I need to pick up this week for his birthday and for Easter next weekend.

The wind is picking up and my dinner is catching up with me, too. I yawn, tiredly. I need to load the dishwasher, give a bath, take a shower, pack my backpack and pick up the living room before I turn in. I think there is clothes that need folded and another load that could be started.

So off I go. I may turn the tea kettle on while I start my chores and then when I'm done it will be hot and I can have that hot cup of tea before I drift off to dream.

Sweet dreams everybody.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Fighting the past

You leave the grocery store, do you know what's happening and who's around you? You go for a walk, do you know who drives by? You go to your job, do you know who is watching you?

Life is easy to be focused on what you are doing but do you really pay attention to your surroundings? It's easy to be lost in your own world.

Now let's think about this...

You walk out of the grocery store and reach for your car door, which you have already unlocked with your keyless entry and a hand jets past you and grabs your door handle.

You receive phone calls from a guy you worked with and he doesn't seem to take the hint not to call anymore and when your husband calls him and tells him not to call it only pisses him off and makes him more persistent.

You pick up the local paper to find an article that explains a that a child has received an award and it mentions that the man that won't leave you alone and you, yes, YOU are his parents.

You go to work and have to duck into a doorway leading somewhere the general public can't go because this person is lurking around.

You are on your way home after being escorted to your car and look back as you enter your garage and find the person is driving by.

Scary, huh?

So you install an alarm system. You pay the extra hundred dollars for the key fob that activates your alarm, just in case. You keep your blinds closed. You don't allow your children outside to play. You lock your door, then check it repeatedly. You change your phone number and have it unlisted. You take a concealed carry course because somehow you think this will make you feel more protected. The police chief gives you pepper spray, just in case they can't get there in time.

What does that mean, just in case? Just in case, he throws you in your own vehicle. Just in case, he gets in your house. Just in case, he...

This is what you live with when you have a stalker. The fear. The panic. The unknowing.

Calling someone and bothering them across state lines is a felony. Bothering someone inside your own county or state is only a misdemeanor. Being on the receiving end of a stalker is a life sentence.

Being stalked is a horrible, horrible thing. It tears away at you and makes you vulnerable. Noises that never bothered you before make you jump out of your skin. The mere sound of the phone ringing sends chills down your back.

I have came to realize that I have a psychological problem that came from being stalked. I realize now that my weight issue is from that. Somehow in some little part of my brain it believes, "If I'm fat, nobody will pay attention to me. Nobody will see me. I'll be invisible." Sounds crazy, don't it? It's true though. I have discovered that I keep telling myself that if I lose these pounds that I put on then I will become subjected to this terror again. Now that I know this, I will be able to help myself.

I have decided that I will not let this happen again and if I keep the weight on then he wins. He wins because me being overweight is still making me a prisoner. Being overweight will ruin my health and eventually cause health problems that could kill me. So it's like he's killing me. I can't stand for that. I'm a fighter. I'm going to take my life back!! I will stand tall again. I will live to fight another day.