Sunday, October 22, 2017

Fierce Kingdom-A Book Review

This book was recommended by my favorite You Tube guy, Christopher. I bought it on Audible and listened to it rather than reading it. I wonder if this is the kind of book I would have rather read!

The story begins when a mom and her four year old son, Lincoln, are ending their day at the zoo. They are walking to the exit when mom suddenly becomes aware of what she thought were some of the zoo's Halloween decorations, lying on the ground. As she gets closer, she realizes they are bodies. Now she knows that the sound she had mistaken for fireworks earlier were in fact gun shots. And  she needs to run and hide.

The first part of the book deals with mom hiding in the zoo and trying to keep her boy quiet. He is a very precocious kid and this will be hard. We hear him whining, asking a lot of questions, needing to go to the bathroom and becoming hungry. The book chapters are laid out in time frames, from 5:23 p.m to 8:05 p.m. I really, really enjoyed the first part of the book. There were parts that literally made the hair on the back of my neck stand out. Scary! And then it started to drag a bit. And some of it seemed a bit unrealistic. I'm not sure things would have REALLY happened the way the writer wrote it. And, besides the boy, I didn't think the remainder of the characters were as well developed as they could have been.

I won't give away the ending here, but I found it to be unsatisfying! I like things to be tied up in a neat little package. With a big red bow! And this didn't happen. You are left with a couple of options of how the story could have ended. 

Overall it was a decent listen. Because I found it to be a "good" book I will give it a *** rating. Have you read it? Is it on your 'to be read' list?

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Currently on a Tuesday

Outside my window...

We are having beautiful fall weather here in Kansas. Lows in the 50's at night and high in the upper 70's in the daytime. I could get used to this kind of weather. Does anyone know where this happens year round? The sun is out and shining bright. The sky is clear and free of any clouds. The color is a brilliant blue. And it is currently 70*


Oh my gosh. Everyday I wake up and hope that I have been in a dream for the last 10 months. Unfortunately it is not so. Everyday I say to myself, he cannot stoop any lower, and then everyday he does. Will we even have a country to love and pray for by the time this man is done with us? I am fearful!


I'm deep into Grey's Anatomy on Netflix. So much to see. So much catching up to do. The medical procedures are fascinating. Although some are  a bit fake! Okay, maybe more than a bit. But they are interesting. Has anyone else noticed the dolls they use on TV now in place of babies. If I didn't own some of those dolls I might be fooled! 


Oh my reading habits are really off. Like in I am hardly reading. I am still on the book Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes. It will take me awhile It has 515 pages on my Nook. I don't know how that relates to a 'real' book. I am currently listening to Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips on Audible. It was a recommendation from my YOU TUBE friend, Christopher. I am loving it. Makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up sometimes. Suspenseful!!


I went on YOU TUBE and learned how to change the light bulbs in my rear turn signals on the car. One was out. Until I was ready to change it and then it WASN'T out! So I'll wait and see what happens. For now it works. And it will be really easy to change. 


Not really doing a lot of planning anything right now. The holidays are coming!! Things I have planned for this week include eating out with Justin and Paige tonight (celebrating his Sunday birthday) and Harley has an appointment to get her hair colored tomorrow. I am re-potting my ficus tree and will bring it back inside. And the four orchids are getting re-potted! 


I have tried samples of different coffees in my Keurig. And you know what I have found? I like regular coffee. I'm glad I bought one of those little filter gadgets to put 'real' coffee in. 

What's in the kitchen...

Monday...Terriyaki Chicken & Rice
Tuesday...eating out in Wichita
Thursday...Lasagna & garlic bread
Friday...Salad plans plans

A quote to share...


Duck lips always

Geez I look old

Mason Jar salads 
on the plate

Paige's new ride

Harley's invitation to the boyfriend to go to Winter Formal

A final thought...

As you can see above I have been making mason jar salads. They keep fresh for a week in the fridge. I start with cherry tomatoes on the bottom, then the cucumbers and chunks of zucchini. Next comes some type of beans. And then I pack it full of romaine lettuce. If I were not eating these at home I would put the salad dressing in first and then it would be on top when I dumped it on my plate. These look so pretty sitting on a shelf in the fridge. And I will be more likely to grab one for lunch instead of something not so healthy. Have you ever made Mason Jar meals?

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

The world has so many days, weeks, and months of rememberances it is hard to keep up with what is going on with all of them. I try to recognize those which have impacted my own life. Like suicide prevention week in September. I was greatly affected by suicide and that is a time I want to remember. In the month of October we remember pregnancy loss and infant death. 

President Ronald Reagan designated the entire month of October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month in October of 1988. All 50 states have yearly proclamations for this month. October 15 is observed annually in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New South Wales, and Italy with candle lighting and remembrance ceremonies. 

October 14, 1974 was the day I became a member of this society. This is the day I lost my sweet baby girl, Elaine. I first wrote about her in this blog post in 2008. I will remember her this Saturday in what would have been her 43rd birthday. I usually take a small pot of lavender mums to her grave site. It isn't a celebration that I find nearly as painful this many years later but one that I will continue to recognize until I meet with her again in my heavenly home.

Do any of you have baby angels waiting for you?

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

We are Going on a Road Trip!

From this Side of the Pond
Time for the Wednesday Hodgepodge. If you want to participate go over to From This Side of the Pond and pay the lovely Joyce a visit. 

1. On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate your sense of direction? 1=can't find my way out of a paper bag and 10=if I've been somewhere once I can find it blindfolded ten years later.
 I am a 1! Maybe even a -1. I can't find my way out of a WET paper bag. I know the directions if I am in my hometown. But no where else. I need a compass. I used to have one on my car's rear view mirror. But not anymore. So I am just lost! I use the compass on my phone if I need to. But usually I believe in the 'left' 'right' rule. Heck with west or north!

When was the last time you looked at/used a map you could hold in your hand? (phones don't count!) 

I don't read maps. They are as confusing to me as directions. I rely on my phone. But the last time I touched a map was when I found one stuck down by the driver's seat in my car. Justin must have used it when we went to Georgia.
back east, down south, out west, up north

Choose one of these directional expressions and tell us why you chose it

When I hear these directional expressions I visualize a map of the United States and can figure out which way is which. Otherwise, I don't much use these expressions. 

2. Did you do more talking or listening yesterday? Is that typical? Describe your yesterday in one word.

Let me see! It was Tuesday. No one home but me. So I would say I did more listening!

In one word, yesterday was Peaceful!

3. Time, money, water-power-resources, opportunity...which one on the list are you most guilty of wasting? What might you do to change that?

Sadly, I waste water-power-resources. I am guilty of leaving lights on. I've been known to leave the water running in the sink in the kitchen. Sadly! Sad! Sad!

4. Did  your family take regular vacations when you were a kid? Tell us something you remember about a family road trip from your own childhood.

I don't ever remember going on a vacation as a child. The first time I remember going anywhere was on a road trip to Texas to see my sister, after she got married. Mom, younger brother Rich, and me. I think it was between my junior and senior year in high school. We just didn't go on vacations. No money for such fluff. 

5. If you could grow anything you wanted, what would you grow? Why?

I have a pretty green thumb. I am lucky this way. But right now I would want my orchids to bloom. Its been awhile. They need to be re-potted. 

6. Insert your own random thought here

I just finished listening to the book I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzia. The format I listened to was for young people. I don't know if it is different from the original book. But it was way cheaper! The story is narrated by Neela Vaswani. It is a very good story. Malala is from Pakistan. The story takes place when this 11 year old girl risked her life to continue going to school. Girls in Pakistan were not allowed school. Her father was the principal of the school and she continued going. She was shot in the face by the Taliban at age 15. Because she was speaking out against them. She recovers and goes on to win the Nobel Peace Prize. It is an amazing story. Especially knowing how young 11 years is. She is an inspiration to all. It should be required for all students in America. They have no idea how lucky they are and how much they take 'going to school' for granted! I give it ***.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Will We Ever See Real Gun Control In the USA?

I've been really low this week. Hasn't much of America? I watched in horror the TV coverage of Las Vegas. Much as I did the days following 9/11. Yes, this is on a much smaller scale. And this was done to OUR AMERICAN PEOPLE by another American person. What is wrong with people??

I struggle with trying to understand. People will say it is not the guns fault. People will say he was mentally ill. And people will say criminals will still be able to kill no matter what kinds of laws are enacted. And people will stand up and scream about the Second Amendment.

Just let me say this about the second amendment.

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

I'm not even sure I understand this amendment. I wonder if there really is a true understanding. The Constitution was written in 1791!! Let that sink in for a moment. The founding fathers could not have had any idea of the kinds of weapons that would have been developed by 2017. More than 200 years ago. They could not have envisioned automatic weapons or ways to rebuild a 'normal' weapon into an automatic weapon. I'm sure they had some foresight. But that kind of foresight just could not have been imagined. At that time the guns which were covered by this amendment could be loaded with ONE SHOT at a time.

I don't think it will  come as a surprise to anyone that I am not in favor of guns of any kind. I don't care if others want to own simple weapons. Those weapons that are used for hunting or sporting. I am NOT in favor of guns for protection except in the hands of law enforcement and the military. But that is my personal opinion and I know it will never come to be.

So many people who live here in America are scared. Scared of the 'what ifs' in this world. I know that I could NEVER pull a trigger to kill anyone. Even if that someone was coming inside my door to do physical harm to me or my loved ones. That is just not how I am made. I value life. I don't feel the need to have a loaded pistol on my side to make me feel safe. I do NOT feel scared. I'm okay.

The second amendment talks about a well regulated militia. What does that even mean??   The definition:

a military force that is raised from the civil population to supplement a regular army in an emergency.
  • a military force that engages in rebel or terrorist activities, typically in opposition to a regular army.
  • all able-bodied civilians eligible by law for military service.
According  to this definition it is people who are engaging in rebel or terrorist type activities. And from my understanding, against our own government. Do we need that? Are we afraid of our government? I don't like our present administration (which most of you know) but I don't fear them.(Well there are some fears, but it doesn't have to do with guns). I don't think the government is interested in bringing harm to me or my family.
I am in favor of gun control. A better gun control from what we currently have. It isn't working! Obviously! Why aren't guns registered? Why are gun owners against registering them? Why aren't guns tracked so that 'someone' knows when an American citizen is stockpiling a bunch of lethal weapons, like the madman in Las Vegas? We have to register our cars. We register a boat if we own one. We have to get licenses to operate a motor vehicle and we have to renew that license every few years. Is there anything like this (federally) for guns?
Guns are easy to obtain. You can buy them on the INTERNET. And you can buy lots and lots and lots of ammunition on the INTERNET. Is that okay? Should someone be alerted when someone is stockpiling? What about background checks? Nurses have to have a background check to practice in most hospitals or nursing homes in this day and age. Is there a federal background check for someone to purchase a gun? No! In fact, federal law prohibits the use of the national background check to create a system to track gun ownership. Why??
You cannot purchase a large supply of narcotics without red flags going up. But you can buy a large amount of ammunition for semi automatic weapons and nobody notices. Why??
When our country talks about gun control it seems to be divided among political lines. The more liberal believe legal restrictions on gun ownership could save lives. The conservatives say it won't matter. They say criminals will find a way to get guns. But what about someone who isn't a criminal (like the guy in Vegas) but has begun to descend into mental illness. What about those guys??
American lawmakers do not seem interested in changing any laws when it comes to gun control. They didn't get interested when Sandyhook came about and so many kids were killed. They weren't interested when some of their own (Gabby Gifford or Steve Scalise) were shot and injured. The lawmakers believe it is a crucial check on government tyranny. How many years has it been since we saw tyranny in this country?? Is the second amendment outdated? Does it need to be repealed? I am baffled.
I know that other countries have gun control. I have read about them. I also know that there are many, many, many fewer deaths in other countries due to firearms than there are in the United States. I'm not sure why we have so many people who are against gun control. I truly do not know.
Those same people who feel it is their right to carry a gun, to protect themselves against the criminals who carry guns, do not seem to understand that their gun would not have helped in Las Vegas. That gunman was 32 stories above the ground, shooting down. No one in the crowd, carrying their pistol, could have stopped him. But if they had started shooting at him I wonder how many more people would have been killed in the crossfire. So many of those who carry guns think they can protect themselves, and others, from these kinds of deaths. But this showed us you really can't. It's crazy.
Are there rational answers to my questions? Are we a country of scared citizens? Will there ever be any kind of gun control? Why are people so afraid to initiate the talk? Did you know that only 42% of American homes have a gun in the home? That is not even half the population. Yet, the country is afraid to talk about gun control. I don't understand! I really, really don't!
What are your thoughts?


Sunday, October 1, 2017

September Favorite Things

I have some favorites to share with you. September is a great month to find new favorite things. And to re-discover old favorite things.

Harley and I attended the Kansas State Fair in September. That is an old favorite thing. But I did find that since I am getting older all the walking is much harder than it used to be. But sitting on the benches and watching people is still a favorite thing to do in September. And Harley was a good companion for 'people watching'. The real reason I wanted to go to the Fair was to make it into the Grandstand building and visit the Dairy Bar. The Dairy Bar is the oldest vendor at the Kansas State Fair. It opened in the 1930's when you could get an ice cream cone for a nickel. This was the first year of the newly renovated Dairy Bar and it looked fantastic. But the main reason I wanted to visit was not for an ice cream cone. But to buy a bag of the famous Alma Cheese Curds. Fresh from the Alma Creamery in Alma, Kansas. It is the only time I buy them. And they are simply delicious. Do you like cheese curds like these?

Another favorite thing for this time of the year is making my house smell delicious. I bought some was melts from Walmart and they are simple mouth-watering. Also, they are only $2.00 each. Much better than what I usually spend on my Scentsy wax melts. However the throw isn't as good as Scentsy they are still wonderful. My favorites this time were:

Pumpkin Maple Syrup 
Better Homes and Gardens

Banana Pumpkin Bread
Better Homes and Gardens

Pumpkin Apple Muffins

All of these have left me hankering for some really good fall pumpkin food. But that isn't the only way I like to 'smell the place up'. Bath and Body Works had some of my favorite candles on sale. And who can pass up a good deal? I bought some candles and got some of my favorite show gel and body cream free!!

 White Barn's Spiced Coconut Milk has notes of warm toasted coconut, fresh cream and ground nutmeg.

Marshmallow Fireside is a pretty popular one. It has notes of toasted marshmallows, smoldering wood, fire-roasted vanilla, crystallized amber. You can really close your eyes and think you are sitting at the campfire with a marshmallow on a stick. Yum!

But my very favorite of all of them is Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin. It's notes are harvest pumpkin, spiced clove, vanilla cream, and brown sugar. Oh my gosh! And the lid to this was is beautiful.

While we are still talking about the wonderful smells of fall I got a new gift set from Grove Collaborative. It is the Apple Cider scent for the kitchen. Let me tell you if you like the smell of apple cider you will love these products. I can't clean the kitchen often enough. This set also came with a soy candle and a hand towel. I love their towels so much. For all 5 pieces it was a steal at $22.59. And free shipping. Do any of you use Grove Collaborative? Love them! They have the best walnut scrubbers pads!

This is the model I bought
I think I have told you that I bought myself a Keurig! And I am loving it. I also got a little reusable filter so I can just buy regular coffee and it won't be so expensive. But who can resist an occasional splurge on those adorable little K-cups in a variety of flavors. I am in love with the Chai Lattee for a late afternoon 'pick me up'. 

Another of my September favorites is Sonic Corn Dogs. They were on sale September 27 for $.50 each. We stocked up on some for the freezer. They won't last long since Harley likes them for her snack when she gets out of school.

And last, but not least was my favorite book of September. I purchased Hillary Clinton's book What Happened on Audible. I loved it. Of course I really like and admire Hillary Clinton. She is a strong independent woman. One who has been through a lot in her life. And yet she is still a strong woman. She talks about the 2016 campaign and what she thinks went wrong. She takes the blame for the things that she feels like she had control over. I especially loved chapter 13 where she describes a typical day on the campaign trail. She talks about having regular visits with her hairdresser, Santa. I feel strongly about the sexism and misogynistic beliefs that cost her election. How people could listen to the 'Billy Bush tapes' where Donald Trump brags about sexually assaulting women and then elect him to the highest office of the land will remain a mystery to me. And to Hillary! I agree with her saying "sexism is so pervasive that we stop seeing it" and I agree that the only way we will get sexism out of politics is to get more women into politics. I loved the book. I recommend it to all. (And yes, I know that not all of you were a fan of hers but this is my blog....)

Happy October folks! I wonder what this month will bring us. Do you have any favorites you discovered in September?

Friday, September 29, 2017

Dear Friday

The last Friday of September. Fall is here! We are on a countdown to the end of the year. And it will be here in the blink of an eye. It is so true what my mom once said to me: "Time will begin to fly when you get older. Stop wishing your life away." She was a wise woman. Much more than we give her credit for.

Dear Friday:

I don't know if I can say I am happy you are here. It seems like I just woke up yesterday morning and it was Sunday. Now you have arrived. But you did bring a beautiful day with you as you snuck through the door early, early this morning. I thank you for that. Fall is really the most wonderful time of the year. (Don't cry summer! You are still my favorite season).

Dear United States Postal Service:

Holy Crap postage is out of this world expensive!!! I took a package to the post office today for Harley. She is returning a dress she ordered. No return postage label. (Now I can see why) The dress didn't even weigh much. The label says a pound 7 ounces. I question that! And it cost $10.55 to ship it from Kansas to New Jersey. Plus they will deduct a handling fee from the amount they return to her for a dress that was really not at all what the picture showed. It is ridiculous how expensive shipping charges and postage are! But the guy at the post office was very nice.

Dear Driver's Education Instructor:

You must really have nerves of steel to ride with these kids. But I paid a lot of money for this course and I want her to get all of her driving times. Please stop telling her she is such a good driver that she doesn't need all 5 hours of instruction. I paid for it. She gets it! Enough said.

Dear Family and Friends:

Another weekend is upon us. I hope it is good for all of you! No plans here. Will do some cleaning and enjoying these beautiful fall days. Everyone be careful!