Friday, December 20, 2013

Balls and Smiles, Give

Big balls, little balls. Hard balls, soft balls. Red balls, green balls, white balls, blue balls, pink balls. Shiny balls, fluffy balls. Whats a guy to do...

There I was searching shelves and racks for a gift I wanted to buy. Well there were two ladies looking at balls and discussing them. Holding some in their hands and remarking on them. Now tell me, how could I not laugh when one said, these balls are so soft and fluffy?

With them giving me strange looks I said, I only have old Shiny Bright balls. They too busted out laughing.

I haven't even gotten my tree and decorated it.
I did set out other decorations, did hang decorations, even my glass balls in the windows. Not the tree though.

After starting to buy at least one new glass ornament each year years ago, I'm now finding it hard to find and purchase glass ornaments. This year even Hallmark didn't have much of a selection.

Used to, when I started out, hang them in the tree. I managed to gather so many over the years that it became too much for the tree. So the old fool that I am thought how nice they would look hanging in the windows when the sun would come up and shine on them. With ornaments of clear glass and colored glass they twinkle and glisten as the suns rays shine through or reflect off of them.

Sadly I guess I may have to find a new hobby for the holidays if the stores are not going to carry them or someone doesn't start making them any longer...

Another holiday hobby I have is to buy a gift for someone I really don't know. This year a little girl who has a single mother who doesn't have a very good job but at least makes an effort, will be receiving a gift from Santa.

We can all do that.
Spread the joy by making sure some child has a toy or something that their parents just can't afford. We all know people in bad situations who have children and struggle to keep them in the things they need but really don't have the money for extras.
Heck, how much would it hurt you to spend and extra forty dollars or so to get that child a gift that will make them smile?

When I drop that gift on their doorstep, I also intend to drop off a ham and some groceries for a Christmas dinner. After all, with the store specials even a small ham and the fixens don't cost that much.

I'm not wealthy. Some months I struggle too. There have been times in my life I've had to do without or accept less than I wanted. There are times over the years that a Santa would somehow grace me. People who just helped because they saw need and poured help from their hearts.
They put a smile on may face.

Now I find that doing things like I mentioned before puts an even wider smile on my face. A warmer smile, a smile from sharing and caring.
A smile that spreads smiles to others who are having a hard time smiling.

People don't believe in Santa anymore. I say Santa lives on in the hearts and souls of all of us who are willing to put forth a little effort. Who are willing to part with a few dollars and a little time while we're already out shopping anyway.

There are people in every community who are having a tough time. Finding them is just a matter of opening your ears and listening.
Please join me.

Give one child at least one day of a year, a smile that will last in their heart for their entire life.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Snowstorm in my mind

I certainly wasn't the worst snowstorm I can recall. Maybe a little early in the winter for a snowstorm, maybe early for it to be so cold, but we only got about seven inches of snow over the weekend.
It was enough to keep many shoppers out of the stores though, as I suspected it would. Not me.

In the end of October I bought a new four wheel drive SUV. It's a Nissan Pathfinder. It's so loaded with electronic junk I wasn't sure if it was good or bad. I've had it for several tries through dry and wet fields. Tried it and played with it in a light snow we had during November. I picked up a new trailer with it so I can haul the bigger things I used to haul in the pickup. It even handles that well. I think I have all the electronic gadgets figured out.

This weekend the roads were covered with slick snow and some ice. I went ahead and did my Christmas gift shopping. I kinda thought the weather may keep many from venturing out to the stores and where I went, I was right. The parking lots were only about a quarter full. One could walk the isles without ducking for cover because of inconsiderate people. Being not a huge fan of shopping I certainly appreciated that. The few people I did speak to were full of happiness and smiles just like me. What a relief.

I climbed up and over the mountain on the slick snow covered roads just fine. Not once, but twice in the same day. Traveled some four lane highways that were slick with snow and ice. Traveled the back roads covered with up to six inches of snow and even had to bust some small foot deep drifts on my own road. Navigated my long drive that has all the snow that has fallen with about two inches of ice underneath. That Pathfinder did a wonderful job. And that's coming from someone who drove big pickups during the winter! This thing did less spinning and handled better than any of the huge four wheel drive pickups I've owned and driven over the years. I do doubt though that it will bust through six foot snow drifts. Doubt too that I will even try.

So now that this new fangled buggy of mine has impressed me and put my mind at ease and the Christmas shopping is almost done. My thoughts are turning to my intended trip in February.

It'll be interesting to try that buggy on the highways from here in the snowy mountains of Pennsylvania to Southern Indiana where I'll spend a week or two. Then on to Nashville for maybe a day, maybe longer if I see some place I'd like to fish. Then to Chattanooga for a day or so. And then on down to see a dear old friend I haven't laid eyes on in fourteen years in central Florida where I intend to spend a week and am sure I'll do some fishing.

I've told my kids I'll be gone at “least” three weeks.
Hey, I have nothing better to do but get out and about since it's nasty and cold here during the winters. If I find places where it's a little warmer that I feel like fishing, I'll stay longer and fish. If the back gets to bothering me along the way too much, I'll just check in somewhere and stay a few days and relax.

Kinda wish I had someone to take the trip with me, but... What's meant to be will be.
I'm sure I can find people to laugh and smile with. I do that every time I'm out anyway. I'm sure I can find people to just sit and talk with along the way and hear some stories about their lives. I do that too when I'm out.

These plans are all just loose plans. If I should meet someone I'd like to hear more stories about life from I just may linger longer. If any of the people I've had the pleasure of getting to know on line who live within reason of my planned route wouldn't mind meeting me in person I just might pay them a visit.

It may get cold in the south, but it's no where near the below zero weeks we have here and I'll be more than happy to extend my trip.
What might be tough to do is return here if I hear it's still below zero cold with snow measured in feet.

And I just may have found someone, or my son has, that I can coax with a few dollars to start my garden seeds for next spring so that won't be eating on my mind while away.

Yup, there are loose plans to be made, routes to be determined and fishin waters to be seeked out.
And I'm sure many smiles to be shared along the way.

I'm not going to live forever, so why not.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Rambling Cold Thoughts

Twenty degrees below normal...
That's where the temperatures here lately have been hovering.
I think I need to build a sauna! Big enough to have my entire house in it.

Rowdy, remember Rowdy? The bed stealing monster that was such a cut little puppy two years ago. The one who now has grown into a snack begging horse.
Well it's so cold that even Rowdy doesn't want to venture out the door into his huge yard to take care of business. Even the opportunity to bark at deer, bunnies, pheasants and the chickens won't entice him to spend more time than absolutely necessary outdoors.
Even Lakai the red nose pitt bull and cohort of Rowdy refuses to wonder out for more than a few minutes at a time.

When I feed them during the mornings and then open the door and tell them to go they just look at me with that are you serious look. Begrudgingly, with tails hanging low they pass by me and onto the porch. Before jumping off of the porch into their yard they turn and look with a please don't make us do this look in their eyes.
I told them though that if they learn to use the toilet I won't make them go out.

Their water bucket has been frozen for a few weeks now.
I had emptied it but some rain had filled it one evening and overnight it froze solid and has stayed that way ever since.

Now when I put them out they don't wonder their yard searching for critters and things to bark at. Instead they quickly take care of business and scurry into the hay filled dog house. Yes house, not houses.
About an hour later I open their gate and they come rushing back in like lightning.

They have two houses filled with hay, but they both cram their huge bodies into one dog house. Not a dumb move when you consider they help keep each other warm that way.
It'd be nice if I had someone to help keep me warm too. Instead I have to rely on the electric blanket...

This is the time of year when being single does get to be it's loneliest.
Less daylight, we're down to about ten hours a day now. Less time outdoors working or wondering through the fields and woods.
More time to spend looking at walls and wishing they could talk.
More time cooking much more food than one person can eat before having to toss moldy masses and globs into the wood burner. Darned wood burner won't even tell you it tastes good...

This weekend though with more snow predicted, maybe six inches, it may be time for me to get it in gear and do that thing I dread. Christmas gift shopping. With a snowstorm predicted for tomorrow there may be less people wondering out to the stores.

Probably by next weekend the sales will be close to their highest and the prices close to their lowest, but the weather might get nicer and bring out more people to shop for the last minute deals. So paying a little more this weekend instead of dealing with hordes of people next weekend just might be my best option.

That way I can keep my smile while I get the gift buying for the grandkids done.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Come Back Santa

Just why is it so many people say they don't want to lie to their children by telling them Santa is real?

Some of those same people wear push up bras. Some wear padded bras. Some even go to a surgeon and get implants. Some have surgical procedures done to make them look younger. Is any of that real?

Some wear shoes which make them look taller. Some spend more than they can actually afford to buy fancy cars so they look well off. Some spend ridiculous amounts on clothes that make them look like something they're not. Many purchase expensive fancy jewelry to make them look like what they are not. Is that real?

At least Santa was based on fact of Saint Nicholas. He had a reputation of secret gift giving which led to the role model of Santa Claus.
That is much closer to real than people who live fake lives.

Maybe the reason we have to spend so much wasted time shopping at this time of year is because we have hurt Santa's feelings. Possibly he's sitting at the North Pole sobbing in his depression because so many people are denying his existence.


I don't like trekking to the stores over snow and ice covered roads to toil for hours to find gifts I think someone will like. I dislike the bloodsport of holiday shopping. Don't like the gladiator event of finding a parking spot and having some ignorant, I don't care about nobody but me, butthead steal that spot just as I'm about to pull in.

I disapprove of the feeling I get seeing people capable of walking take the disabled spots close to the door just because they are lazy and feel so entitled. I am disabled. Yet I know many who are much more disabled than myself. Even I don't take those parking spaces set aside for those who have not got the ability to get around well.

I for one would love to see shopping centers and malls buy their own tow trucks and hire full time employees to man them, who would tow the vehicles of those who can walk without difficulty when they park there.
Would appreciate if those ignoramuses would have to pay for the towing, the storage of their vehicles and have to pay a thousand dollar fine. The fine could go to paying for the tow trucks and employees who man them.

So maybe if we all apologize to Santa, maybe if we all leave him an extra large plate of cookies, maybe if we send him some love, just maybe he'll start bringing more gifts so I don't have to wonder out in this nasty weather to the malls to find gifts.

It's worth a try isn't it? : )

OK, I've got to start making a list now.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Baby it's cold outside

Winter seems to have moved in early this year and I am not happy about that.
Normally we get a few light snows but it stays warm enough that they melt and it's still nice enough to want to work outdoors.
Want being the key word.

I certainly recall early snows that would accumulate up over the knees. Even then it wasn't this cold. Or, am I just getting soft in my old age...
My joints in my fingers ache. My knees ache. My right hip is almost too much to take.

I recall days of hanging siding in a snowstorm that closed the state and local governments down. I can remember having to break ice and sweep snow from scaffolding while working to be able to keep working. I know of a time we had to sweep snow as we laid shingles on a roof.

I have fond memories of taking hikes in the snow. Cross country skiing. Coaxing the kids out and building snowmen and women. Digging tunnels in the snow. Sled riding, toboggan riding, laughing and playing in the cold as if it didn't exist.

Now it seems all I want to do when the cold comes is hibernate indoors.

So what does one do when they refuse to wonder out into the icy chill?
For me over the weekend it was reading recipes for many kinds of stuffed mushrooms.
I like stuffed mushrooms, so it just made sense to me to play with them and come up with ones I could call my own.

Well I had to make a trip out in the cold so I could pick up a few things I didn't have and some I don't normally keep around here.
Even trying to handle the steering wheel was painful for my aging fingers, but I toughed it out recalling days before power steering and wondering how that would feel on old fingers that have been abused over many years.

Remembering some vehicles that blew no more than tepid air when the heater was blasting. Thinking how many times I had to scrape ice from the inside of windshields just to be able to see the road while driving. Even remembering the time a side window got broken and I had to drive with snow falling and high wind blowing just to get home to the garage so I could work on it.

It never seemed rough back then. Matter of fact there were many laughs while doing those things. Times of looking for reasons to venture out in the cold in search of adventures to thrill the mind.

Now! I'm looking for any excuse NOT to venture into the cold and snow.

Heck I'm even beginning to think about starting a pick up and delivery service for groceries and stuff and hiring people just so I can have someone to do that for me while I sit at home and languish in the heat from the furnace and wood burner.

So here I am, dreaming of a green Christmas and seriously thinking about just driving south past all my usual haunts and not stopping until I get to some place with a warm climate where people don't know what a winter coat even looks like.

Anyway, I tried three of my ideas. Sausage stuffed, Cheese and spinach stuffed and beef and spinach stuffed mushrooms. I even invited my daughter and the grandkids over to sample them. My son was already here, I swear he smells me cooking from 20 miles away and always shows up when there's something tasty to eat.

Well they all liked my latest treats. I was the only one slightly dissatisfied with them. So I'll keep on playing experimenting and perfecting them and then I'll post them here for your opinion.

What do you do during nasty cold weather to keep your smile shining?

Friday, December 6, 2013

Rough Summer, Rough Times = Discombobulation

Hmm, I haven't been here for awhile have I?
Wish I could tell you I was on an exotic vacation. Even on a safari. I wasn't.
Life was just routine and maybe even stuck in a rut.

In July when I last posted I was struggling. I was so burned out that it was a loosing battle to when trying to write. I was fighting the weather, fighting weeds in the garden and was honestly becoming very depressed with a rough turn my life had taken.

A huge business deal was taking much, much longer than I was ready for. Things were breaking down and the cash flow was way down. Just as in the past I was alone and didn't even have anyone to discuss the disgust with. No one to help take my mind off of bothersome things.
The dogs just are not into profound conversation. Heck, the only time they listen is when I mention food...

When I wasn't busy working I'd try to write. Well all that happened was senseless thoughts chasing each other all over. I couldn't compose an entire paragraph and stay on a subject. I was a mess.
I'd try to write about one thing and ten other things would be eating at my goofy mind.

Weeds, rain, broken down tractor, broken down me, more rain, more weeds, crops not getting enough sun, crops getting too much rain, lawn needing mowing but it's raining again, more equipment needing more repair, the house needing repairs and on and on...
Top that off with me becoming the full time babysitter for my two youngest grandchildren.

Now let me tell you, when you get older you begin to realize just how energetic kids are. Just how much they need fed. Just how hard it is to keep them busy so they don't find trouble to get into. Heck, I have enough trouble keeping me out of trouble.

As for food, I eat when I get darned good and hungry. I have no set schedule for meals. Quite often I'm busy enough that evening comes and I realize I haven't eaten all day. Not that missing a few meals hurts me at all...
Well that eating schedule does not work with growing children.

Energy? Well lets just say this guy is in a perpetual energy crisis. Somewhere around noon I just fall into trying to keep one foot in front of the other so I don't fall down and become Rip Van Winkle.

The garden did well in spite of the rain and the war of the weeds. The crops did well. Finally the business deal went through! There's still a lot of work to catch up on before the winter gets too bad, but things are getting back to their abnormal normal.

I've been able to slow down, calm down and take a breath.
I'll try to get back to my normal blogging. It still may be hit and miss for awhile, but I am on my way back.

One thing that never left me during this time of angst is my continuous daily search for smiles. I even managed to laugh at the predicaments I was in.
I certainly hope all of my wonderful followers were able to keep finding their smiles over the past several months.

And to the few who cared enough to e-mail me, Thank You and Bless You