Thursday, July 28, 2016

Thursday's Question

How is everyone today? Hot?? It is brutal here in Kansas. But it is July. So we expect brutal! How about if we go island hopping? Wouldn't that be fun? Each of us gets into our own little dingy and takes off. Now, while we can see land ahead, something goes wrong with the boat. We have to go overboard and swim to the nearest deserted island. The question of the week...

What are three things you would want to have with you on this deserted island??? There will be plenty of food in the way of crabs, fruits, and fish. You have to survive alone for at least a week. What do you want in your backpack?? Three things....1, 2, 3!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Second Semester

During my last Nursing Rounds, I told you about my first semester of college. I hadn't even started learning about nursing yet. Just getting the pre-requisites out of the way.

I took Speech, during the summer, between first and second semester. I had been told that Speech, during the summer, would have a smaller number of really young students. That was true. But I still didn't like public speaking. And it was nerve wracking. But in the end, I did okay. The Professor was a bit of a "lecherous old guy". It was a well-known fact that to get an easy A you just needed to wear a skirt. I never wore a skirt. And I still got an A!

Time to start second semester. This time, I was going to have to work too. I worked for an inventory company. You have probably seen them in stores with their "counting machines" and lots of tags. Mostly we worked when stores were closed. So that worked out for me to work late evenings and still be able to go to school and occasionally see my kids. By this time Richard was firmly a fixture in our lives. I couldn't have done it without him. 

During this semester I took Anatomy & Physiology, English II, Abnormal Psychology, and Parenting. The last class was to simply round out my hours which was for the scholarship requirement. This was the hardest semester of all of my college years. A & P almost kicked my butt! It was hard!!! And I received my first C. But, I didn't stop. (I wanted to quit). A fantastic nursing counselor told me a C was acceptable and to quit being so hard on myself. 

The labs that accompanied A & P were the greatest. We dissected many things: a fetal pig, a cow's eyeball, a sheep's brain, a rat to name a few. With the exception of the rat, I loved the labs. It was beyond fascinating to me. Another good lab partner (Thank God for Tom) saved me from having to view the rat. He dissected it and then covered up the head and tail. You all remember my fear of mice?? Tom was in my nursing class. He finished nursing but he went on the be the Supervisor of our Paramedics at the hospital.

My boys have stories to tell about this part of my nursing education. We were allowed to bring home things to help us study. I warned them not to look in the plastic butter bowl in the refrigerator. They didn't listen. Imagine their surprise when they saw a sheep's brain. Ha! Ha! They still talk about it.  

I loved English II as much as English I. And I was lucky enough to get the same Professor. This was my first introduction to The Great Gatsby. I'll be revisiting this book later this year for book club. 

Abnormal Psychology was BORING! Maybe a different Professor may have helped. The one I had lectured in a monotone and showed a lot of boring videos. But it helped fill out my schedule.

Final Summer before I start actual nursing classes. I took Microbiology. Along with a lab. I learned some fascinating things in this class. Like, do you know what the dirtiest thing in a public bathroom is? We swabbed lots of bathrooms and grew the bacteria in a petri dish. I'll give you the results in my next Nursing Rounds

Monday, July 25, 2016

The One-in-a-Million Boy-A Book Review

Overview From Barnes and Noble

The incandescent story of a 104-year-old woman and the sweet, strange young boy assigned to help her around the house — a friendship that touches each member of the boy’s unmoored family

For years, guitarist Quinn Porter has been on the road, chasing gig after gig, largely absent to his twice-ex-wife Belle and their odd, Guinness records–obsessed son. When the boy dies suddenly, Quinn seeks forgiveness for his paternal shortcomings by completing the requirements for his son’s unfinished Boy Scout badge.
For seven Saturdays, Quinn does yard work for Ona Vitkus, the wily 104-year-old Lithuanian immigrant the boy had visited weekly. Quinn soon discovers that the boy had talked Ona into gunning for the world record for Oldest Licensed Driver — and that’s the least of her secrets. Despite himself, Quinn picks up where the boy left off, forging a friendship with Ona that allows him to know the son he never understood, a boy who was always listening, always learning.
The One-in-a-Million Boy is a richly layered novel of hearts broken seemingly beyond repair and then bound by a stunning act of human devotion.

Oh my goodness! I loved this book. I read part of it, but I listened to most of it! I would fall asleep while listening so I had to go back and read to see where I remembered and then rewind to finish listening. I recommend listening if at all possible. The narrator of this book, Chris Ciulla, made it come alive. His accent of the old lady, the voice of the boy, and the dad's voice made it seem like I was watching a movie on the inside of my closed eyes. Very good!

The story starts with an 11 year old boy doing chores for a 104 year old lady. They quickly become friends. He is fascinated with the Guinness Book Of World Records and wants to see her in the book. They decide she should try for 'the oldest licensed driver' when he suddenly dies from a disease that is not often diagnosed until death...long QT syndrome. His father sets out to finish the son's chores for the old lady. Along the way he finds out how much he missed out on by not loving his living son yet falls in love with him after death. And the old woman finds out something, long forgotten, about herself. 

A fantastic book. Along the lines of A Man Called Ove. I loved it! I give it ***** 5 stars. (Check out my star ratings in my left sidebar if you haven't seen it before). Listen to this book if at all possible. Or read it!  And right now it is on sale both on Barnes and Noble and for Kindle.  Only $2.99! And you can add the audible for only $3.99. Not bad for an audible book! You will not be sorry. And grab some Kleenex for along the way!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

My Life List-July 24th Edition


I am sharing the views I see when looking out my windows. The top is looking out the bay window, in the reading room ,which is in front of the house. And the bottom picture is looking out our dining room window into the backyard. That is my jelly feeder which attracts the Orioles. Can you see Alice out there by the locust tree?? She is my peacock from this post. 

Front window

back window


I was thinking about some things I read recently on a friend's blog about ways people respond to posts on Facebook. Why is it people feel the need to be nasty when responding to others 'ideas' which are different from their own? I don't understand why we can't just celebrate our differences. Not everyone will share the same religious views, political views, or lifestyle views. But to challenge everyone when you disagree doesn't seem right to me. Can't I just state my belief and let it go? Is this what social media has done for us??


I am learning to love a simple bouquet on my dining room table. $5 bunch from the grocery store yesterday. Beautiful, brilliant yellow! Brighten up the dining room just like the sun pouring through the window. 


I created a wonderful Peach Cobbler this week. Very simple recipe I adapted from Southern Living:

1/2 cup butter    1 cup flour
2 cups sugar      1 T. baking powder
Pinch salt        1 cup milk
1 T. lemon juice  4 cups fresh peaches
ground cinnamon

Melt butter into a 13x9 baking dish. Combine flour, 1 cup sugar, and salt; add milk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter over butter. Do not stir. Bring remaining 1 cup sugar, peaches, and lemon juice to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly; pour over batter (do not stir). Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake at 374 for 45 minutes. Yummy warm. Especially the edges. 


I just started reading The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern. This is August's selection for the book club. I just finished listening to The-One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood. I will review it for you this week! I L.O.V.E.D this book! 


I am continuing to watch Big Brother. I'm sure I would get voted out the first week. I wouldn't be able to keep my mouth shut. I have also been watching Tiny Houses on HGTV. I want one of those little houses. I wonder how hard it would be to get rid of everything and just keep enough to live in a tiny house. The biggest downside, I think, is having to climb a ladder up to my bed each night. I'd probably sleep on the couch and keep the loft for visitors. 


I am hearing the pump in the fish tank. The water level is too low and it is loud. I need to clean the tank and pour in more water so the filter will run quieter. Good afternoon job today. (I did not get to it. I took a nap instead. There is always tomorrow).

Pictures I want to Share...

On my way to pick up Harley

Darian's first day at Braums

Clouds just over the top of the grain elevator

Taking an afternoon nap...Ah, so sweet


I am currently drinking an orange soda. Very good. Quinces my thirst! Tastes wonderful!


Monday...Loaded Nachos

Tuesday...Ground Beef Stew

Wednesday..Grilled chicken/strawberry wraps

Thursday...Sausage breakfast Scramble

Friday...Hawaiian Burgers

Saturday...Crockpot Creamy Chicken & Veggies

Sunday...Pot Roast


A peek into my week...

See her right there on the end!!

Today, Sunday, was a quiet treat. Harley went to Kansas City, with her basketball team, to bond over a Royal's baseball game. And Darian worked from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. So I wrote and read and finished my audible book. Nice!! Harley works Monday through Thursday this week. Darian works Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. Instead of working 2-3 hours everyday this past week, he worked 2 nine hour days on Monday and Sunday. He liked that better! Gave him days off to do things like paint ball, Xbox, and annoy me!! Saturday is National Dance Day. So be sure to get up and dance!!

A final thought...

Found on Pinterest...Who wouldn't want to be Cinderella every night and sleep in this bed?

Thursday, July 21, 2016

A Book Review-Eleanor Roosevelt's You Learn by Living

Overview From Barnes and Noble

One of the most beloved figures of the twentieth century, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt remains a role model for a life well lived. At the age of seventy-six, Roosevelt penned this simple guide to living a fuller life. You Learn by Living is a powerful volume of enduring commonsense ideas and heartfelt values. Offering her own philosophy on living, Eleanor takes readers on a path to compassion, confidence, maturity, civic stewardship, and more. Her keys to a fulfilling life?

  • Learning to Learn 
  • Fear—the Great Enemy
  • The Uses of Time
  • The Difficult Art of Maturity
  • Readjustment is Endless
  • Learning to Be Useful
  • The Right to Be an Individual 
  • How to Get the Best Out of People
  • Facing Responsibility 
  • How Everyone Can Take Part in Politics
  • Learning to Be a Public Servant
Informed by her personal experiences as a daughter, wife, parent, and diplomat, this book is a window into Eleanor Roosevelt herself and a trove of timeless wisdom that resonates in any era.

I think I expected to like this book more than I did. I am not really sure why I didn't find this to be as great a book as some of those whose reviews I read. But I liked some of the things she had to say. Some of the people she quoted. I would like to read more about Eleanor Roosevelt as a person. This book didn't shed much light on her life.

Some of my favorites quotes from the book are:

"There is no human being from whom we cannot learn something if we are interested enough to dig deep."

"Fear has always seemed to me to be the worst stumbling block which anyone has to face"

"You can do anything you have to do" Louis Howe

"Actually you can finish any task much quicker if you concentrate on if for fifteen minutes than if you give it divided attention for thirty"

"Unless time is good for something, it is good for nothing"

"The most unhappy people in the world are those who face the days without knowing what to do with their time"

I'm giving this book ** stars. It was okay! Maybe I should give it a 2+. A little better than just okay. But not quite at the 'this is a good book' level. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Two Years is Such A Short Time In A Lifetime!

Taking a break from garden duties
July 21, 2016

It's been two years. That is 730 days. 17,520 hours. Such a long, long time. I have not "gotten over" anything. But I am working through it and processing it in my own way. This is important for every grieving person to do. There isn't a right way or a wrong way to grieve your spouse. And grieving a spouse is different from every other kind of grief I have experienced in my lifetime. I have lost both of my parents. My dad died when I was only 7 years old. My mom left us in 2005. I've lived through the death of a baby daughter in 1974. And the deaths of friends and other relatives. But none of these deaths have been like losing my husband. He was my soul-mate. My best friend. And the love of my life. I miss him everyday. And I think of him constantly!

I still talk about Richard to family and friends. The kids and I share memories of him with each other. But I don't dwell on the feelings that assault my senses almost daily. These are kept private. And I cry alone, then move on. I know that I will never get over the loss. And that is okay! This is my new normal. Life will never be the same but I am okay. I can laugh. I can remember him. And I can have a good day!

His retirement party at Eaton

I feel the second year was harder than the first. Does that make sense? In the first year I was focused on the paperwork, the household chores I needed to learn, the "first" holidays. I didn't really focus on the grieving. So during this second year I grieved. I am still grieving. I will always grieve. But that doesn't mean I have stopped living. 
In front of our "wedding tree"

We haven't yet taken his ashes to be scattered over his favorite place on earth (besides here with me, of course) Lake Isabel, Colorado. We are talking about doing that in February. On our way home from Darian's boot camp graduation. He would have been so proud to know his one and only grandson is becoming a Marine. So we will take him to California with us! And leave him in Colorado. Maybe!?!

On a cruise ship

I feel Richard's presence every single day. He is here with me. He will always be here with me. Thank you, dear readers, for being here, too, during this tough time! I appreciate you all much more than you will ever know.

A Hodgepodge Collection of Sorts

Time for another Wednesday Hodgepodge. Hop over to Joyce's blog, From This Side of the Pond, copy the prompts and answer the questions. Also, pay all the others a visit and see how their week is going. 

1. Pokemon Go...your thoughts? Are you playing? Do you even know what it is?

Yes! All of us here in this house are playing. None of us are "addicted". I don't go outside searching for them. The kids do sometimes. It is sure a crazy fad that has taken over the world!! I think it will soon fade away. There will be some who will continue to hunt and play but the fad will die out. 

2. What was something you collected as a child? Do you still have that collection? If you're a parent what's something your own children collected? Have you ever camped out, stood in a crazy long queue, or paid a ridiculous sum for a 'collectible'?

I can't remember collecting anything as a child. My childhood memories are spotty, at best. Neither of my kids were really into collecting anything either. I have a doll collection now. I am embarrassed to say that I have spent a crazy amount of money on some of these dolls. I don't collect anymore but I still have them. Richard collected "everything"! Miniature construction equipment. Trains. Tools. I never stood in any line for anything but Richard did the year he bought me the Cabbage Patch Kid. And we traveled all over the state of Kansas to find Justin a Transformer for Christmas. They were so popular in the 1980's. 

3. "Collect moments, not things"...tell us about a moment you've added to your collection this summer.

I have not collected a moment yet this summer. But I do believe in "collecting moments, not things." I have some plans in place to collect a few "moments" before Darian leaves.

4.  What's something collecting dust in your home right now? Any plans to do something about it?

Ha! Ha! Everything in my house is collecting dust at the moment. Once a year I get on the task of dusting all the dolls. And I am telling you it is a big task. It is when I talk to them. Hold them. Remember why I purchased each one. And then put it back on the shelf until next year. I do still enjoy looking at them. But sometimes all of these collections just become part of my background. Know what I mean??

5. A favorite song relating to time?

My favorite song relating to time is Kenny Rogers, Through The Years. This song was special to Richard and me. We played it at his memorial service.

6. What's been your most frightening or your most interesting encounter with wildlife?

My most frightening encounter with wildlife had to do with an incident that took place in our local park and a mother bison. We had stopped to see the newest baby bison and my boys and I was standing next to the fence watching the baby. The mother was grazing near the back. Suddenly she charged the fence. I tossed my kids out of the way and we got out of there. That is why you should only view them from the safety of your car.

7.  On July 20, 1969 Apollo 11 Commander Neil Armstrong set his foot down on the moon. If you could travel to the moon would you go? Why or why not?

No! I would never want to travel to the moon! I don't like flying across the United States. I can't even begin to imagine the fear I would have flying to the moon. Nope, you can go. I'm not. 

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Summer if my favorite season. I love the sun shining. I don't mind the heat. (Unless I can't ever escape it). I like the outdoors. I love fresh fruit and vegetables that come in the summer months. We are enjoying fresh Georgia peaches right now. The best!! And the last of the fresh strawberries. Yummy! And making my own Peach Tea makes me happy! I'm sure the calories are loving my hips, too!!



Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Becoming a Nurse-First Semester


Once I decided I was going to college to work at becoming a nurse, I had to apply. I applied. I interviewed. I took a class in College Algebra (because my algebra grade from high school 14 years before was not good enough). I secured the financing. I was accepted!! YAY! The next 3 years I would be working, a student, and a single mother. 

Now about that first class. College Algebra. I had done miserably in high school algebra. I hated math. I still do if it is much more than adding and subtracting. And I have never understood the need for Algebra. But I had to have a good grade. I took it in the summer. It was hard. Fewer classes. More tests. Lots of homework. But with the help of the best tutor (thank you Richard) I passed. With an A!! Anything is possible. 

The fall of 1980 found me starting the first semester of college. I was 29 1/2 years old. I was the mother of two boys. Danny was 9 and Justin was 5. Justin was in preschool  and would be going to kindergarten in the afternoons, at the grade school closest to his preschool. We would make it work. I had obtained some scholarships and had a student loan as well. The first semester I wouldn't have to work. I worked all the remaining semesters at an inventory job. Kept life interesting. Saw little of my kids. And very little sleep. But in the end, it was worth it all.

The first day of school I walked into a Chemistry class filled with new Freshmen. And not only were they new, they were young. Every single one of them has been in high school the previous spring. I felt old! Really, really old. I opened my book and clicked the pin. The first day the Professor had us introduce ourselves and say what our major was. Oh my goodness! I felt even older by the time I walked out of that class. 

Chemistry was hard. I had not taken Chemistry in high school. And, now, they don't even require it for the nursing program. What the heck???

After a few weeks of struggling with the concepts in Chemistry, I set up a meeting to talk with the Professor. We met after school in his office. I explained to him how I was struggling. He did not make me feel like an idiot. He was very helpful. He told me that he had a book he knew would really help me. But, he didn't want to offend me. I promised not to be offended. The Book: Chemistry for 6th Graders. Best book of my college years. No offense taken, Prof!

The remainder of my classes that first semester were: Human Growth and Development, English I, and Psychology. I took a full load. It was required for the scholarship money.

In Human Growth and Development class we learned what it was like to be responsible for a baby! What the heck? I had two kids at home. The project involved carrying around an uncooked egg, in the shell, for one week. I did all that I could to get out of this project. No, go! I carried an egg in a little pink basket. Everywhere I went. For a week. Kept that little sucker alive, too. Most of the freshmen did more complaining about this than me. And I complained plenty.  

I loved English I. I loved my Professor. He was a "book nerd". Most of this class was reading and writing. I loved getting my paper back, covered in red ink, with suggestions and comments on how to improve my writing. IT was a rush! I credit that man for my love of writing today.

Psychology was mostly reading and showing up for the class to discuss what we had read.

Chemistry class also had an accompanying laboratory which was required. The class was worth 6 credits. We attended an hour of lecture three days a week. And an hour of lab three days a week. The lab was fun. We created chemicals, fires, and made friends! I won't recall the order of the periodic table but I will always remember my Freshman (18-year-old lab partner, Ryan). I wonder what happened to Ryan.

The first semester ended with my name on  the "all A Honor Roll". I don't mean to brag, but I was very proud of myself!! Now on to summer school. I wanted to get all of the pre-requisites out of the way so I could concentrate on just the nursing requirements during my final two years. 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

My Life List for July 18th


I was just looking out my window. The sun has set and the temp was 99* The skies are partly cloudy. Hope we don't get more rain this week. It is time for us to dry out. 


As I pondered this post, earlier today, I was listening to the news about the deaths of the police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. My brother only lives about 30 minutes from there. What is going wrong in this world?? Will we be able to turn this around and live together peacefully in our country? What would a world be like without police officers? Will men and women soon not want to join the forces? Then where will that leave us? I am afraid. Very afraid! We need to pray for peace and pray for our peace officers. 


I learned how to remove the hull from strawberries this past weekend. I usually just cut the stem off. But I saw this on Pinterest and thought I would try it. This works wonderful. I zipped through two pints of strawberries in under 5 minutes!! Try it!


I am creating tons of fruit for the freezer. Besides those two pints of strawberries, I also have a 1/2 bushel of peaches to put in the freezer. I'll get to work on them soon. And I can already taste those smoothies for breakfast and lunches!!

And peach cobblers and peaches and cream!


I am still reading You Learn By Living by Eleanor Roosevelt. I am almost finished. It hasn't been one of my favorite books but it's been okay! I'll review it when I'm through. I am also listening to The One in a Millon Boy by Monica Wood. I am really liking this one!! Stay tuned for it's review too!


This weekend we turned off the news. Too much sadness. And looking ahead will be nothing but politics. So I'm not sure what watching TV will be like in the week ahead. Now, for those of you who are Big Brother fans...what do you think about the house. Who will go home this week? I'm wondering if Da'Vonne will find herself on the block before Thursday. 


While I mowed the grass this week I listened to Blake Shelton, Celine Dion, Patsy Cline, and Taylor Swift. Now that is a quartet, isn't it?? Almost 4 song lists and the mowing was completed!!

Pictures I want to share....

Harley eating peach

Darian eating peach

me enjoying my peach tea


I made homemade peach syrup for making peach tea. Take 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, 2 thinly sliced peaches. Bring to a boil! Mash the peaches into the liquid. Allow to steep for 25-30 minutes and strain into a jar. Add to iced tea for a real treat!!


Monday...Black Bean & Corn Quesadillas

Tuesday...Chicken Bow Tie Spinach Salad

Wednesday..Chicken Bacon Ranch Sandwiches

Thursday...Layered Cobb Salad

Friday...Chicken Tortilla Soup

Saturday...Salisbury Steak

Sunday...Darian and I are eating out!


I don't know if this is true but I do know that the grief is as immense as the love was.


This coming Thursday is the 2nd anniversary of Richard's death. We will stop and remember him and pay tribute. While I was slicing peaches tonight, in the kitchen, Harley said, "I can just hear Papa saying, honey, put some of those sliced peaches on my bowl of ice cream tonight." Made me smile. He did love ice cream. And he loved fresh, sliced peaches. And I am happy she remembers him so fondly. 

Happenings in my backyard...

Not a lot going on in my backyard. It is too hot! I need to get busy out there. But I'm waiting until it cools off. I will make a trip this week to get more birdseed. And I'm still fighting with that mole in the front yard. 

A peek into my week...

This will be another week of taking kids to and from work. Harley works Monday-Thursday. I don't know Darian's schedule yet. He will have Marines on Thursday. Harley is going to Kansas City on Sunday with her basketball team. They are going to a Royal's baseball game. A team building experience. And Justin and Paige will not be here again this coming weekend. 

A final thought...

In 1991 there were thousands of abortion activists all over the United States, blocking the entrance to abortion clinics and protesting. It was called The Summer of Mercy. There were hundreds of protesters outside the clinic of Dr. George Tiller in Wichita. An abortion zealot shot and killed Dr. Tiller as he was ushering at his church. I cannot understand how killing a doctor, while protesting the killing of babies, makes any sense at all. After his murder the clinic was closed. Years later it re-opened as Wichita South Wind clinic. It is the only abortion clinic within a 150 mile radius. I make no bones about the fact that I am pro-choice. I am a Christian. I am an RN. And I believe it is my right to make choices about my body. In the words of the woman who now runs this clinic:

Pregnancy is a very personal thing. Whether a woman wants to carry a pregnancy to term and be a parent, or adopt, or have an abortion – those are all things that are a matter of the heart,” 

With all of the things going on in this country with BLM and killing cops I am praying this protest this whole week will be peaceful. I worry about the police and I especially worry about my son! Prayers appreciated to keep them all safe. Let us all be able to believe how we want to believe and to remember that we live in the greatest country in the world!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

A Cool Life Hack

I want to share one of my favorite life hacks!

Do you need an ice pack?
Want one that isn't hard?
One that is malleable!

Use a gallon size zip lock bag.
Add 1 part rubbing alcohol+3 parts water.
(I use 2 cups alcohol and 6 cups of water)
Squeeze out excess air and lie flat to
Freeze in the freezer. 

This never gets hard and will last for a long time. I have one in my freezer right now that has been there a year. I double bag mine as a precaution.

Great to use for aches and pains and sprains.
Also was good to put on my pillow when the A/C was off and the house was hot!!