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Monday, December 5, 2011

My Annual Christmas Letter

Merry Christmas from the Ritchie’s where Christmas stays year round
Christmas 2011

It’s hard to imagine it’s Christmas again. Time seemed to stand still at 10 Bogey Drive, no wait, time didn’t stand still, I never put the decorations away last year making decorating this year a snap.
I’ll get the sad news out of the way first, so I can leave you with a smile at the end. My dad’s health went down-hill this past year. In November of 2010 he broke his hip while learning how to safely get in and out of bed, irony at its best or worst. I rushed to Gainesville to sign the consent forms for surgery. To make a long story short, we lost him on February 3rd of 2011. Mac, Edward and I took his ashes to Camden this past August and among friends and family buried him next to his parents and brother.
So far Frank has survived Governor Scott’s drastic draining of the Water Management District. The Bartow office is scheduled to close in January. Frank and the remaining engineers will work from a smaller space or commute to Tampa or Brooksville.
Frank had minor surgery this year on his right leg. He had a calcium blockage in the main artery. The doctor went in and chiseled it out. The procedure was successful and he’s back to his normal activities.
Susan is in her third year at Belmont Abbey, officially she is a senior but with her double major will graduate next year, then it’s on to Veterinary School. I can’t wait to get my discounted vet care for all my furry children.
Susan turned 21 in September, in October I got a phone call, “Mom, don’t sound so happy, I have bad news.” Being the concerned parent that I am, I immediately asked if she and Flo (her car) were okay. Turns out she was sipping a glass of wine and tipped it over into the keyboard of her MacBook. She quickly said she was not drunk, just clumsy. Her friend Frank who is a computer whiz helped her find and purchase another laptop, not an Apple but good for what she needs. The conversation ended with how she set a piece of bread on fire in the cafeteria. Only Susan could do all this in the same week.
I belong to the Florida Writer’s Association, every year they sponsor a conference and writing contest. I have been a finalist for the last three or four years, this year I finally won third place for my picture book manuscript, Daisy’s Hat. I showed it to an agent at the conference who liked the idea but suggested I tweak out one third of the words. I have been working on the revision, writer’s always say writing is easy, it’s the revision that is H@**. They are right.
I am convinced our house is on a yoyo diet. No sooner do I recycle pounds and pounds of paper, an equal amount plus some sneaks back in. Every year I commit to cleaning out our house, every year flies by with only minimal progress. Maybe I should just get some TNT and blow it all away in one swoop. Or I could hold a contest, the person who fills the most trash bags and puts away the most keepers wins a Classic French Dinner, cooked by none other than moi; after all, I am a trained French Chef. Any takers?
Angel has sprung back to life this past year, she started slowing down until the little Twit (Gabriel’s nickname) moved in. Just when you start relaxing he comes along and stirs things up. He, Angel and Rocky get out and zoom all over the yard, I have never seen a dog run as fast as Gabriel. There’s a sign with a dog that says, “I can make it to the fence in 3 seconds, can you?” That could be Gabriel talking. Of course, once at the fence is drown you in slobber. Angel does her best to keep up but age and arthritis has slowed her down. She has lost weight this year from all the extra activity. Dr. Ezell was pleased about that. Angel has never liked to swim but Gabriel has turned into a champ, we have a clip on YouTube of the two of us swimming laps. He now jumps in whenever he gets on the pool deck. I always have towels on hand for drying. Gabriel has other tricks too, if the door is unlocked, he lets himself and any other critter lurking about, into the house. Another thing he does is eat then put his head in your lap and let out a loud burp. One night we left him in his crate, to our surprise he met us at the door when we got home. He learned to shake the crate until the back side collapses, I guess it’s a good thing he is house broken.
Gabe, Frank and I all graduated from obedience class. We did the basic and the next level. Now that he is over a year old, I plan to have him evaluated as a reading dog.
Our young family next door stays on the go. Little Alexander who joined us the week between Christmas and New Years has grown from a tiny, wrinkled bundle to a whopping one year old. His smile is disarming and his blue eyes make it a doubly so. His big brother Pito keeps growing too and maturing too. He keeps everyone on their toes. He loves the pool and playing Ninja warrior.
Well that’s, that’s all folks until next year. Remember to visit my blog, fruit2nuts.blogspot.com for some comic relief during the year. I’ll leave you with this image,
My brother Edward and I went to Camden in the spring to take a look at our family property. The once clear fields were waist high in growth, it was not a walk in the park. Through the middle runs a creek. Edward made it across without incident, I stared at the rocks and shook my head. “Don’t worry,” he said, “I’ll help you. Just step where I did” I stepped on the first rock, stoped to regain my balance before taking the next. I got to the middle before I slipped landing on my feet. I blew out a breath of relief, I could handle wet feet and now that they were wet I didn’t have to worry about balancing on rocks. My next step landed in a hole where my foot wedged between two rocks. I went down without warning. I was drenched. Edward helped me up. I finished our survey in squishing shoes and clinging Levi’s.
Take care, and if you visit Lego Land, come by and sit for a spell. I’ll leave out a glass of my famous Cranberry Liqueur or homemade wine for you.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Between A Rock And A Hard Place

Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers in Blog Land. I’m taking a few minutes off from cooking, baking and roasting to remind everyone what could happen if you eat too much on this festive day of gluttony.

In the past couple of weeks there has been three or four stories about people, all men, who have found themselves in tight squeezes.

First up, there is the man- the story did not indicate how old this man was, but I assumed he was on the short side of forty. It seems he made a bet with his buddies and ended up at the park stuck in a kiddie swing all night. He was cut out the next morning by city workers. His buddies, of course, were nowhere to be seen. I wonder if they are still friends.

The next story I found concerned a man old enough to know better. He was dressed in outdoor wear; all you could see was from the waist up. From the waist down he was wedged inside a hollow tree trunk. He was freed after passers-by heard him yelling for help. There was no mention of why he had lowered himself into the hollow in the first place.

The third and final story for today concerns a teenage boy. Being a teen, he can be released of total blame, after all studies show your brain isn’t fully developed to assess the consequences of behavior until you reach your mid-twenties. He was found lodged in a chimney after spending a long, cold night wedged between the bricks. No, he was not trying out for the role of Santa by using the method acting approach. He did admit to using the chimney as his entry on his way to rob the house.

These three examples of being too big for the space occupied may double after today’s meal. After all, most of us will over-eat, distorting our reality of what space we can fit in to.

Until next time, eat all the Pumpkin and Apple pie you want……..it’s only fruit you know.

Monday, October 31, 2011

What is Reality?

Remember Rupert Boneham from Survivor? He debuted on Survivor: Pearl Islands. He endeared himself to us when on the first day he stole everyone’s shoes off the beach. After all, he remarked they were supposed to be pirates and what do pirates do? They steal. He went on to compete in Survivor All Stars and won the Fan favorite Award.
I ran across an article last week announcing that Rupert is joining other celebs such as Clint Eastwood and Sonny Bono in the political arena. He is running for governor of Indiana.

What kind of governor will Rupert make? Will he continue to act like he is on Survivor, voting people off who displease him? Will opponents be sent to Redemption Island for soul searching? Will he keep his beard and wild man’s hair, scaring women and children on the campaign trail? Only time will tell. First he has to win. The election and voting will not happen around a tribal fire, voters will not have the opportunity to show their fellow citizens of Indiana their ballot and explain their vote. The loser will not have to put out his/her torch and walk down a dark path, they simply get to fade into the background.
Reality TV has come a long way since the early days of television. Back then we had three stations with choices such as Candid Camera, To Tell the Truth and Mike Douglas. Today with the hundreds of stations and the low cost of producing a reality show as opposed to Star Trek there is something for everyone.

If you are a non-housekeeper like me, there is clean sweep. A crew comes in, empties out one room and does a make-over. If you really have a problem parting with stuff, there is Hoarders. My husband is thank-full I haven’t reached that point.

Do your children act like little heathens? Call Super Nanny or Nanny 911. Children too old for a nanny? Intervention, Runaway or Teen Mom may be for you. Maybe your kids want to be in charge, build a social structure the way they think it should be. Send them to Kid Nation where kids are king with no parents to interfere.

Do you or your tiny tot have talent? For you there is American Idol and for the tots, Toddlers and Tiaras.

Not married and need a date or a mate? The Bachelor, The Bachelorette or Who Wants to Marry My Dad may be able to help.

Already married? You can go from The Dating Game to The Newly Wed Game. Marriage not working like you dreamed? Take your marital woes to Dr. Phil or Divorce Court.

For those of us Who Wants to win a millionaire, we can join the casts of Survivor, The Amazing Race or Wheel of Fortune.

If you are into wanting to see how the other half lives, try out for wife-swap or Undercover Boss. I could go on and on but you get the drift. It seems like anyone can have their own reality show. Mine would be Stumbling Through Life without a Single Sip or The Laundry Basket is Always Full. Until next time share what your Reality show would be named and share it under comments.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Drunk Again!

Imagine you are a fireman in Sweden, now imagine a phone call asking you to come and rescue a moose stuck in a tree. Not just any moose in any tree. A drunken moose in an apple tree. Seems the moose stopped to eat some apples unaware the fruit had fermented. He started with apples on the ground and moved on to apples still clinging to the branches. Being drunk by this time he lost control of his massive antlers, as he reached higher and higher for more of the forbidden fruit his antlers became entangled in the apple tree's branches. The more he struggled to free himself, the further off the ground his body became. When the home owners found him, he was too drunk to get himself down. They called their local fire department, they do after all rescue cute little kittens stuck in trees. To the fireman's relief, the moose had sobered a little and somehow detangled himself from the tree. The moose was gone the next morning when the homeowners woke up.

Moose aren't the only critters known for getting drunk or climbing trees. Birds eat fermented berries all the time; you can see them wobbling on telephone wires now and again. Then of course there are the monkeys on an island in the Caribbean who have become fond of the mixed drinks served beach side to the tourist. They have become very good at swiping drinks and making off with them. Some get so drunk they can't sit up, others find climbing trees impossible. Recently I researched goats. I found an article call, Goats in Trees. Curiosity took me to the site. There on my computer screen was a picture of a tree full of goats. Seems these goats in Morocco like the berries this tree produces. They like them so much they taught themselves how to climb up onto the limbs to reach more berries. The picture looked like a tree decorated with goats. It was quite amazing.

Until next time, keep the critters sober; eat the fermented fruit before they can.

Monday, September 5, 2011

WHAT'S IN A NAME?

As a budding writer I receive and read a lot of emails about writing.  Last week I received an article on blogging.  It highly recommended that your blog have a definite theme that followers can count on.  I thought, I've done that, haven't I?  I write about life and its' many quirks.  Then I thought again.  Perhaps that is too broad a subject area.  I re-thought my blog and what I could write about that my readers could count on and still be quirky.  A thought came hurling towards me, then it hit.  Odd news and how it relates to our everyday lives.  There are many sites devoted to the odd, off- the-wall or just plain bizarre news from around the world.  What none of them offer is how these odd stories relate to the average person.  I decided to give it a go.  So here's my first blog entry with my new theme, odd news and how it relates to the real world of the average Joe or Jane.


Last week there was a story about a man with the nick-name 24.  Twenty-four is the number of hours in a day, the amount of donuts in a box of two dozen, unless you get two baker's dozens then you have 26.  It was the name of a popular TV show because Jack Bauer saved the world every week in 24 hours.  This man got his nick-name because he had 24 fingers and toes.  No, not 24 on each extremity, 24 total digits, six on each hand and foot.  Unlike most nick-names, he didn't mind being called 24.  He said it made him unique.  In school when he had trouble adding 5+5, his teacher suggested he use his fingers to help, he came up with 12, the teacher had forgotten he had two extra.
24 also likes having extra fingers and toes because they help in his job, he climbs palm trees picking coconuts.  Mother Nature gave him lemons so he made lemonade.

Most of us have had a nick-name at one time or another. Being a redhead I have had more than my share. Red-headed woodpecker, Red-headed bombshell, Carrot-top or just plain Red to name a few.  While switching classes in high school one day, the brother of a good friend called from behind me, "Hey, Elana, your hair's on fire!"  I shot back, "Quick, roast some marshmallows and make samores."  I had the last laugh. 

Until next time, always use nick-names with care, not everyone knows how to make descent glass of lemonade.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Laundry, writing and grapes. What they have in common.

 As I may have mentioned earlier, my grape crop came in early this year.  So far I have three batches of wine going, one at 17% alcohol and another at 15%.  The third is still waiting for the yeast, so its not cooking yet.  Florida grapes don't ripen in big clusters, they ripen one at a time, so picking is time consuming  While I pick, I contemplate the great questions of life.  On this day I thought about the act of grape picking compared to the task of doing laundry and writing.  This is what I came up with:

I don't know how it is at your house, but at mine laundry is a never ending task.  I can wash, fold and put away five loads of laundry, turn around and find something in the dirty clothes basket.  I think little gremlins with attitudes wait until I'm all finished, then dump more dirty clothes in the hamper when I'm not looking.  Picking grapes is like that.  No matter how long I pick in the morning, I can turn around and find one more grape that is ready to be picked.  I could pick 24/7 and still find one more ripe grape.  The only reason picking comes to an end is the grapes that I don't pick eventually get eaten by critters or rot.  Sometimes I wish my laundry would get eaten or rot so I wouldn't have to deal with it.

Writing is like picking grapes too.  Imagine that a grape vine is the manuscript, the out stretched suckers the sentences and the grapes the words.  One grape vine can extend quite a ways.  When I write, I am always walking down the vine, cutting words, sentences or whole sections.  To produce the best grapes, the vines need to be pruned once a year.   Manuscripts are the same, they need pruning to make them stronger and more productive.  Tweaking a manuscript never ends.  No matter how many times I read through it, I find a word I think could be left out or changed for a better word.  It never ends.  

So now you know how grape picking, laundry and writing are connected.  Until next time, keep your words crisp, laundry moving and grapes fermenting.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Video of Gabriel and I swimming

I forgot to add the video of Gabe and I swimming to my last post, so I am putting it here.  Enjoy.


http://www.youtube.com/user/FrancisRitchie

Anything Goes

I suppose I owe my readers a picture of me jumping in the pool with my clothes on.  After-all, I did say I would if I failed to post once a week.  I am astonished my last post was way back in June.  I will post the picture as soon as I find someone to take it for me.

It has been a hot summer here in Florida, fortunately, not as hot as other places.  Did you see on ABC news the steak they cooked on the dash of a car?  And we used to think it was hot when you could fry an egg on the sidewalk.  I just read on Facebook, that a friend of mine had her toenail polish melt on the sand at the beach!  Now that's hot!!

My grape crop is ripening early this year.  I already have two batches of wine started.  I'm excited this year, my white grape vine(it has a proper name, but there is no way I would spell it correctly and I'm sure it's not in spell check) is producing enough grapes to make wine with.  I sampled it this morning and it tasted goooooood.  I go out early every other morning and pick for a couple of hours, then jump in the pool to cool off.  Gabriel, our Flat-Coated retriever swims with me.  He's so cute, when he first started he only used his front paws, so when his fur got heavy with water, he sank.  He can now do two lengths of the pool like a champ.  I'll post a video of us swimming together at the end of this post.

My daughter is getting ready to return to her studies in North Carolina.  We will be joining her in September for her twenty-first birthday.  I now have to come up with $500 to give her.  There's a tradition in my family, my grandmother did it for my mom and uncle, Mom did it for my brother's and I and now I must do it for my child.  The deal is, if you can make it to 21 without smoking, you will get $500 on our birthday.  The reasoning, if you can go twenty-one years with smoking, chances are you will never start.  So far it has worked.  No one from that side of my family tree smokes.  Well, I'm going to sign-off now.  Think of me while I'm out picking grapes, sweat rushing down every crevice of my body, then in a year, think of me sipping on a cold glass of home brew.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

My Unique Veiw of The World or Welcome to My World

We all view the world through our own pair of eye-glasses. Some are rose colored, giving everything a bright, positive look. Some are grey or green, they give a variety of views. A few are so dark nothing bright or colorful can make it past the lenses. I almost forgot, RayBan's that deflect the world away from the wearer. Then  there's my pair of eye-glasses, thick and usually covered in salt from my eyes. This helps give me a blurred image of the world around me. Of course, anything more than three feet from my nose is a blur.

Not many people know but I have a rare eye condition called a Coloboma. When I was a newborn, a neighbor gazed into my eyes and made a startling discovery, my pupils were not round, they are keyhole shaped.  Upon closer examination, because this condition often comes with more than one abnormality, it was discovered the optic nerve in each eye did not fully develop.  Pictures of my optic nerve show a large gap behind each of my baby blues.

Between my larger than normal pupils and missing optic nerves, I get a slightly different view of the world around me.  Some of the views have brought laughter while some just plain embarrassment or frustration.  During my first eye test to check my vision or lack there of, I was asked to name the animal on a chart at the end of the room.  I looked in the right direction and asked a question of my own, "What animals."  With that, the nurse said, "Forget it." and the test was over.

In my high school years I took driver's ed, yes, I see well enough to drive.  The instructors knew of my condition and while driving one day with Mr. Jones, he casually asked me what the sign up ahead said.  I looked, and was about to respond, "What sign, because there wasn't a sign in sight.  As I opened my mouth, the sign popped up from behind a tree.  I quickly told Mr. Jones what the sign said, it was a picture which I can see much easier than words.

In college I would wave at passing cars with friendly hands waving at me.  My friends asked, "Who was that?"
 "Gee I don't know, I just figure if they're waving at me I'm going to wave back."

I often squint trying to get a better focus, my glasses help but my corrected vision will never be 20/20.  Words that look alike often get mixed up in my head. Just before sitting down to write this I took out a can of hairspray.  I read, "Frizzy" I thought, why would I want to use hairspray that makes my already wild mop more so.  I brought the can closer, it said, Aussie Freeze.

I enjoy watching the Discover Channel and one day a program came on that I think explains why I see better than anyone ever expected I would. It showed two patients with irreversible brain damage.  One had lost the ability to speak when that part of the brain was damaged by a stroke.  Eventually she was able to learn how to speak again.  This puzzled her doctors who knew her brain function for speech had been destroyed.  The did an MRI of her brain and found an amazing sight.  While the speech part of her brain was still gone, another part of her brain not connected to speech had taken over that task.  I firmly believe that part of my brain not normally connected to sight has found a way to connect and take over as much of the functions the optic nerves as it can.

Until next time, keep those rose colored specs near by, you never know when you'll need to put a rosy glow on things.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Do Opposits Really Attract?

There's an old saying, opposites attract.  I've met many couples this applies to.  One such couple I met when I was in my early twenties. A minister and his wife.  If opposites attract they must have been Siamese twins.  The minister was a very scholarly man, quiet, well read, impeccable manners and very fastidious about his appearance.  His wife on the other end of the spectrum was boisterous, a casual dresser who liked to have a roaring good time.  She was the type of minister's wife who could easily wear a scarlet red dress to church and think nothing of it.  She is the one who introduced me to Planter's Punch.  It was a hot afternoon in South Carolina and we were swimming at the summer camp(before the camper's got there) I had gone to work at as a counselor for the summer.  She and our companion, the camp's secretary, brought along a thermos of punch.  Being a hot Carolina afternoon, we drank often.  Did I mention it was HOT, they had brought a large, I mean large thermos of Planter's Punch.  There was plenty to go around and around and around.  To make a long story short, the thermos was empty when we left the pool area. Not being from SC, I had no idea Planter's Punch was full of rum.  They must have made this potent potable with very smooth rum because it went down very fast.  It wasn't until they took me back to the director's house laughing and giggling that I learned what Planter's Punch was.

 The minister and his wife came from upbringings that were also polar opposites. Imagine my surprise when I learned later that summer he grew-up on a farm and she in a well connected family.  I would have thought it would be the other way around.

To outward appearances my husband and I are very much alike.  We grew up in the same economic class and we have the same level of education. We are very opposite in what we enjoy watching on TV.  For instance this past week he chose to watch, The Winds of War, on Netflix.  I on the other hand sat and watched, Howard the Duck. I can't say I'm proud of this but my husband had commented on it until I had to see for myself what it was all about.  I thought it was going to be a risque flick with a duck. It turned out to be a sci-fi flick with a person in a duck suite.  It is such a fine example of movie making that Wal-Mart had copies of it in their $5 bin.  I could go on but why should I embarrass myself with full disclosure of what I like to watch.  Until next time, beware of minister's wives offering Planter's Punch pool-side, you could end up plastered to the bottom of the pool.

Poll:

Have you ever watched Howard The Duck?

____No, never.

____Yes, every chance I get.

____Yes, but it's my dirty little secret.

_____No, but I will as soon as I find a copy.

Leave your answer in the comment section.
For those who want a copy go to your local Wal-Mart.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Getting From Here To There

I'm back!!!  I took time off to mourn my father and take care of family business.  My new goal is to add a new post to my blog once a week.  If I miss my goal I will jump in my pool fully clothed and post the picture on my Face book page.

You'll notice I updated my picture.  I'm truly not a procrastinator, I just take Scarlett O'hara's view, "I'll think about that tomorrow."  Of course, when tomorrow comes I'm still saying, "I'll think about that tomorrow," and so it goes on and on.  I think, I'll think about whether I'm a procrastinator tomorrow.

Now for the main focus of this blog post.

Have you ever stopped to think about the evolution of travel, finding the way from here to there? Here are a few of my thoughts on the matter.

I wasn't there but I imagine the earliest people simply followed the food supply.  Next, hunting parties had to remember landmarks to find their way back to the right cave.

I don't know who discovered constellations, but following the stars was popular for a number of years.  Compasses came along and pointed people in the right direction as did maps. With the development and use of the automobile gas stations were needed to fuel up.  Inside the station was the helpful attendant who was always ready to point and rattle off a series of left and right turns. 

It is now the 21st century and we have the GPS.  They started out as a separate unit that you carried with you, you put in a coordinate and the GPS showed the location with a dot on a grid.  The GPS has evolved into a very sophisticated unit that is standard in many automobiles.  They not only show you a map of where you are but they give verbal directions.  My brother's smart phone has an AP for a GPS, you the phone where you want to go and it starts giving you blow by blow directions on how to get there. It even tells you when you've gone too far.  The draw back to this and any other GPS is that they aren't always up to date on road construction and detours.

Over the years people have come to depend solely on their GPS's to get from here to there.  I have seen people actually hold their GPS in front of their faces to find their car in a parking lot.  The sad thing is, the parking lot was small.  The GPS has another major draw back, no signal, no directions.  Recently I went to the boondocks of Alabama with my brother.  We were trying to find an old family cemetery, he spoke the name into his smart phone and we were on our way, that is until it announced "out of range, no signal."  We didn't have a map, there were gas station attendants to ask and of course the stars were not visible. It took us awhile, but we did find our relatives that arrived in Alabama in the 1700's from Scotland.  We then found our way home to Florida without the GPS, map or friendly gas station attendant.  Until next time keep your maps of stars and roads handy, you never know when you will be out of range or if the car it is attached to breaks down.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Creative Writing Prompt

As I mentioned in my first post I plan to use my blog to share stories I write. The following is a story I created from a prompt site I enjoy visiting. The story is created with six random ideas or words chosen by the site. I gave myself 15-20 minutes to come up with the entire story. Enjoy.


Sarah and Flame
a talking cat, intelligent parrot, medieval village, to build a house, illness strikes, rosebush.
Once upon a time, long ago before the days of cars, phones or even paved roads, there was a cat named Sarah. Sarah was no ordinary cat. She belonged to a sorcerer who bestowed the gift of gab.
This sorcerer also owned a parrot. Now the parrot and Sarah did not get along. Flame, named so because his feathers looked like flames consuming his body, annoyed Sarah at every opportunity. He enjoyed thinking of new pranks to play on the cat.
One day Flame flew at top speed across the small cottage where they all lived. He flapped his wings and went right over Sarah's head yelling, "Fire, fire! Run, save yourself!" Sarah looked up and saw what looked like flames over her head. She streaked out the window straight into the rosebush out front.
"Ouch!" Sarah cried as she pulled away from a long, sharp thorn. Flame flew over and perched on a near by tree. He laughed at Sarah as she made her way out of the rosebush. He taunted the cat, "Silly, silly cat, you fell for that old one?"
Weeks and weeks followed and Sarah would not forgive the parrot. She turned her head when he flew into a room. When he talked to her, she would cover her ears with her paws. Then one day when spring was almost upon them a black illness entered the village. Most people became ill. The sorcerer and Flame were among the afflicted.
Sarah watched over the two night and day. When their blisters healed and their foreheads cool Sarah quickly burned the cottage and everything in it, for nothing that was touched by the black illness could never be used again.
Sarah went to work gathering stones and wood to build a new cottage. When Flame was strong enough to fly, he would take off and look for stones and wood from the air. When he spotted something they could use, he would call down to Sarah and the sorcerer. They would then go and fetch the materials. Together the three built the new cottage.
Flame still played tricks on Sarah but she didn't mind. The new cottage had an extra room just for her and she went there whenever Flame's foolishness got her back up.

Monday, March 21, 2011

You Tube video

The previous post is a video my husband found on-line. If you like Star Wars you will probably love this. Even if you've never seen a Star Wars movie I think you can enjoy this. It tells about good food in a fun, entertaining way. Enjoy

Grocery Store Wars (2005)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Books I'd Like to Write

They say everyone has a book in them. I have so many ideas and titles flowing through my brain I can hardly think strraight to re-write and edit them all. My mother-in-law had a book in her, Your Sure Are Going To Have A Nice Place When You Finish, about her adventures in refurbishing an old 19th Century farm house. She and her husband were proud when all the neighbors came over to veiw the new indoor bathroom. It was the first one on the street. This was in the 50's. She wrote on her manuscript for over 40 years and shamefully never finished. She's been gone 7 years now and what she wrote is still in boxes waiting for her son to put together and publish. I believe it would do well. She had a witty, wonderful sense of humor.

The book I was going to write after my first year as a bride was aptly titled, The Laundry Basket Is Always Full. I have since written a couple of children's picture book manuscripts that I keep editing and re-writing in hopes they will some day be picked up by someone willing to take a chance on me.

Thinking about my first book idea and my mother-in-law's memoir sprouted a gardenful of new book titles. See if you can figure out the subject of each by the title.
There's Dog Poop On My Shoe
Don't Give Your Dog Bubble Gum...
Pass The Pickles And Sourkrout
Wow, I Really Am The Center Of The Universe!!
Oops, Did I Do That?
Hey, There's A Cherry Stem In My Martini
Don't Use A Shovel To Dig Your Pool
I Owe My Life To My Guardian Angel
I Have A Wicked Sense Of Humor, And I'm Not Afraid To Use It

Until next time, look deep into your head, you may become cross-eyed, and caugh up your own book title.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Doodles

I was lounging across my Dad's lift chair blowing off some steam when I looked down on the notebook in my lap. My hand holding a pencil moved across the page like the like the pointer on a Quigi board. I'm a doodler. The boarders and all spaces in between on my high school and college notes are filled with flowers, eyes and geometric figures. To this day I can not have a sheet of paper in front of me without drawing something in the margins.

On this day I looked down and saw a square forming. I thought about the cartoon character, Sponge Bob Square Pants and how he must have been created. Every time I see that little squeeze I wonder how much his creator made and is still making. My fingers and inner creative genius kept on drawing. When I finished I had three creations staring at me.
'A figure of squares and rectangles, a cute little thing made of all triangles and an orb. I decided I needed names for my new found pals. The next to magically appear on the page were the words, "The Adventures of Cube Man, Star Struck and Globe Trotter." A series has to have episodes, so after the main title followed possible story ideas, "Globe Trotter Gets Ahead, Star Struck in the Lime Light, and Cube Man is called a Square."

I am headed to the shower so I can dress and head for home after lunch with my Mom. Maybe I should buy some of those bath crayons so I don't lose my train of thought and I can continue my creative impulses. Until next time think about this, What did the notes and margins of Da Vinci, Einstein and Shultz look like?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Going To The Dogs or Not!

As I may have mentioned earlier we added Gabriel, a Flat-coated-retriever, to our family. Gabriel being a pure bred has opened up a whole new world to us. We attended our first dog show this past fall. What an experience! There was every breed of dog imaginable and some breeds I had never seen or heard of in my life.

Owners came in as many shapes and sizes as their dogs. Boxers were showing in the ring next to us. Some owners/handlers didn't look anything like their dog, however, one owner stood out to me. She looked like her dog's twin. She wore a suit that matched her hair and her dogs coat, they were both stocky and moved around the ring with the same gait. There were other pairs that matched. A tall thin woman walking with a tall thin poodle. Short, small people holding
Tea-cup Chihuahuas. I remember in days past when it was said as couples grew old together, they began to look alike. I guess the same is true about some dogs and their owners. Personally, if I didn't think an Irish Setter's coat would be extremely time consuming, I'd have one to match my own red hair. I might even slim down to match the body build.


Flat coats are known for their friendly, out-going personalities. This friendliness is often demonstrated by licking everyone and everything in sight. Our Gabriel doesn't fit this general description. He's more subdued than the breed at large. Example, another Flat-coat owner who was also watching the show put out his hand for Gabriel to lick. Instead, Gabriel sat there and gave this stranger the stare. By the stare, I mean he looked blankly at the man with this, I'm not licking your hand, I don't know where it's been look.



This same gentleman had a bowl of water for his dog. This being our first dog show didn't realize water wouldn't be available for our pets. I asked if Gabriel could share. You would think I'd asked for a kidney by the look he gave me. I mean, they're dogs for heaven's sake, not newborn royalty. We ended up purchasing a portable water bowl that folds up. Gabriel happily drank the rest of the day. He never did warm up to the man who wanted him to lick his hand, I guess he held a grudge about the water bowl.



The trip over was loud and traumatic. Gabriel didn't want to stay put on the seat, he howled in protest, sounding more like a coon chasing hound than the pure bred Flat-coat he is. The trip home was the polar opposite, Gabriel was worn out and slept the whole way. He continued sleeping after we arrived home. He got out of the car, went by his food and water dish straight to his crate. Now I know what to do if I ever want to knock him out for the evening. Until next time, remember not to howl at a full moon unless it's attached to someone you like.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Wonders of the Universe

We've all heard the questions, "Why are we here? What came first, the chicken or the egg? and one of my favorites, If a tree falls in the forest with no one around, does it make a sound?"

Hold on to your knickers, dentures and taupes, my brother asked a question at lunch last week that gave me pause. Why doesn't our own snoring wake us up? I should be embarrassed to admit this but my snoring could open windows, cut down half a rain forest and wake the Catarsians on the planet Catarsa on the far side of the galaxy. It woke my husband every night and every girl scout at Camp Wildwood. I still have my tonsils and one night I snored with such force, my tonsils inflated like an inside-out balloon, waking me only when my air supply got cut off. I now use a C-PAP machine for sleep apnea and I no longer snore.

I thought about his question and I answered that maybe we are immune to our own noise just as most people are unable to smell themselves. (I personally have a hard time believing someone is unaware of their stench after being sprayed by a mad skunk.) I guess that is a topic that can stand on its' own.

Until next time bath often, wear a muffler if you snore and watch out for sleep deprived Catarsians (I started using my C-PAP machine a couple of years ago but it takes awhile to travel from Catarsa to Earth)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Talking Dogs

If you are a dog owner or know someone who is, you'll be able to relate to this.


Have you ever found yourself talking out loud to your faithful companion? I'm not referring to your spouse, life partner or best friend, I'm talking canine. I talk to my beloved Angel or Gabriel I often look in their eyes and wonder what they would say if they had the gift of gab. Angel would no doubt demand we send the little interloper on his way, that he'd outstayed his welcome the day he arrived. Gabriel would probably tell us all about seeing the world for the first time or that he's sorry he didn't tell us he had to go before leaving a pile or puddle on the floor.


Remember some years back there was a collar advertised from China or Japan that claimed to tell you what your dog was saying by interpreting his bark. You programed the collar as to your dog's breed, temperament etc, and in turn when your dog barked the collar would tell you what the dog was saying to you. I guess it didn't catch on because I haven't seen one in years. Of course, you can always call the pet psychic or the dog whisperer to translate what your canine wants you to know. I myself only need to look into their faces. Eyes, mouth, tongue, tail and general stance tell me everything I need to hear. Until next time, talk about the universe and meaning of life with your dog friend, but don't let him have the last bark.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sibling Rivalry

Being an only child living on a farm my husband never experienced sibling rivalry. I am the youngest of three and the only girl. There was more rivalry between my brothers than between them and me. Our daughter is an only child so she has never experienced sibling rivalry. As a child she often asked why she didn't have any brothers or sisters. I would say, "Your Daddy and I wanted more children but that's not the way things turned out." Truth be told, as a new mom at 34 I probably wouldn't have survived another one. It took all my wits and energy to raise her. Her growing years is a blog on its' own. More to come on that one.

Now that we are empty nester's we are experiencing sibling rivalry between our two dogs. Angel was an older puppy when my husband found her on the side of the road some 11 years ago. Gabriel is a retriever pup we added to our home this past September. For Angel it was hate at first bite. For Gabriel being the five month old he was, it was love at first lick. The more Gabriel tried to be friends, the grouchier Angel became.

The first few days were tricky. We didn't trust Angel alone with Gabe much like parents don't trust a two year old with a newborn. Having Gabriel has brought out the puppy in Angel. Angel never cared for toys. Gabriel loves them. I didn't see it as unusual for Gabe to pick up his favorite stuffed fox and shake it in Angel's face. It boggled my mind to see Angel pick-up the same toy later on and shake it in Gabe's face. If Gabriel wants it, so does Angel. If I pay attention to Angel, Gabe pushes in and vice-vesa. As I write this Gabe is laying with his head under my recliner. Angel is directly in front with Gabe's purple doll under her paw. I'm surprised my cat Izzy hasn't come over to snuggle next to me. I guess he doesn't feel like being harassed. Some day this cycle will repeat itself when Angel is chasing squirrels across the Rainbow Bridge and we bring another pup into our lives to entertain Gabriel. Until next time eat all the apple pie a-la-mode you want, it's only fruit and mild after all.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Won't You Be My Neighbor

Do you remember Mr. Roger's Neighborhood? How he sang about wanting you to be his neighbor. With the development and rampant spread of sites like Facebook, My Space and Twitter, the entire community of Earth, at least those with internet access, can be neighbors. Every time you add a friend to Facebook it shows you everyone that new friend knows, so you can ask if they want to be your friend. Now I'm not a mathematical genius, but doesn't it stand to reason that eventually the chain of invitations and friendships will make it around the globe?

And what about the use of sites like YouTube to share yourself and views with the world at large. You can be funny, relevant or irrelevant, quirky, down beat or just plain gross. Anything goes in this day and age. Stars and celebs use Twitter to announce weddings, divorces, babies, etc. Where do people find the time to Facebook, Twitter and the like, I guess I could if I turned off Spider Solitaire. Well I'll catch you all on Facebook or skype. Until next time, keep your panties from getting into a wad and relax with one of my cranberry liqueur cocktails.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ringing in the New Year

My Christmas letter this year was titled, Ritchie's Center for Home Improvements. In the letter I spoke about adding six feet to the house, four feet on our new puppy Gabriel and two feet on Alexander, our new honorary grandson next door. What I didn't mention were all the sports venues we added. Once upon a time, only the rich and famous could afford tennis courts, bowling alleys and movie theaters in their homes, now with the power of Wii ordinary folk like myself can have the same and more. We have a tennis court, baseball field, several 18 hole golf courses, putt-putt, a firing range, bowling alley and a track where you can ride a cow around an obstacle course. Now all I need is a gym with a personal trainer, wait, I have that too on the Wii Fitness Plus. Happy New Year to all. I promise to be more faithful in adding posts this coming year. It is one of my many pleasures.