Saturday, April 30, 2016

I am reading this book called Last Child in the Woods or Saving our children from nature-deficit disorder.  Yes, it is interesting in parts and some are just not getting to my brain.  I find myself reminiscing about my excursions outdoors as a child and with my children.
Once when we had first moved to Northern Illinois, we didn’t know a lot of people and the first time we went to the pool, someone stole Addi’s clothing.  We were more careful after that and wore our suits to the pool.

The girls were bored at the farmhouse we were renting and I decided we needed an adventure.  We hopped into the car and drove to our new house being built.  We scrambled for scrap lumber and insulation, some nails, a hammer and string.  We built little sailboats.  Well Addi built a sailboat, and Jess and I built a faux pas and that is what we named our boat.  We went down to the boat ramp at the dam and launched our ships.  We had tied them to a nail with our string so we could retrieve them.

Addi’s boat sailed away into the lake and Jess and my Faux Pas sunk instantly.  What did we do wrong?  Jess retrieved the poor pathetic thing and I believe it fell apart on shore.

I used to take the children and two of their friends (all that would fit in my car) to various neighborhood villages and we would play on their playground.  I loved the swings and hated the teeter totter.  (Other kids always jumped off and my tailbone still hurts to this day.)

I carried three kinds of balls, a hula hoop, homemade stilts made out of coffee cans and jump rope and skates in my trunk just in case we all got bored with the playground.  I also had a first aid kit and junk food like crackers and cheese packs in case we were starved.  Playgrounds always had bubblers.  That is what they call water fountains in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.

When I was a child we visited my aunt in Kentucky frequently.  One time when we visited we all went for a picnic hike in the woods.  We walked the area where Jenny Wiley was captured by the Indians.  (I thought that so adventurously exciting.)  We saw a rope bridge across a huge cavern but I didn’t walk it as I am deathly afraid of heights.  To the point that I cry, seriously!

My parents took pictures of this adventure and that is probably why it sticks in my mind so vividly.  My dad cut into a sassafras bush and we all are in the photo chewing on the twigs.

I had to pee and my mom told me to just pee because I was wearing my bathing suit and could wash off at the next little stream we came to.  I still cannot believe, she actually took my picture while I stood and peed myself.  I must have been four or five.  To this day I still cannot hunker in the forest and void.  I believe I have that picture in my menagerie somewhere.  I should burn it.

When the fall arrived our family would go hunt pawpaws.  My Daddy knew these woods and knew the owners and they gave us permission to wander their forests.  I don’t recall the actual hunting but I sure remember eating pawpaws.  What a delicious and free treat for us kids.

I also remember a time that my mom wasn’t feeling up to going to pick cherries from a friend’s tree and Daddy took me with him.  He spread a sheet on the ground under the tree and hoisted me into the tree.  I was instructed to shake the tree as hard as I possibly could.  I remember being so excited that I was helping out my Daddy.

Back to the book (and this is how I am reading this book.  Stop, remember a memory, go back to the book…) I do believe that children need to be out doors every day.  I think it is healing and restorative to the spirit to go outside and breathe the fresh air and get some sunshine.

There is a family that lives here at the lake and every time I pass their house, two or more kids are outside playing.  Even in the wintertime.  I see them in the evening chasing each other in the lot next door.  Boy does that bring back memories of childhood.

We had an open lot next door to our house for many years.  We and I mean our neighborhood full of kids, would gather and play baseball, croquet, build tents, do somersaults and cartwheels.  That open lot has a plethora of memories.

And back to the book, the guy seems to be insinuating that being outdoors can cure ADHD.  I don’t know about curing but it sure would help those little worm infested wiggle worms.  (I am one of them.)  My mom often asked me, “Can’t you sit still?  Do you have worms?  
What if all ADHD people were discovered to “have worms”.  Wouldn’t we be shocked?

And so the book is for my Master Gardener’s Book Club which meets in five days and I hope I can get through this book before then.  I just keep thinking he will interject a paragraph that will bring something to me besides memories of childhood and child rearing.  Well it was good enough for a blog.

Photo at top is from the Dubuque Botanical Garden.  Photo in center is a very young me with my little Valkryies, Jess and Addi.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

I travelled to Rockford yesterday to be in my newest film, Uncle Ken, written and produced by Ron Johnson whom I worked with on the film, Connections.  I played the part of a waitress.  Having waitress experience I naturally aced the part.

I did screw up a couple of times.  I moved some cups on the table when they should have stayed on the table.  You have to leave stuff alone for consistency in the scene.  I also took a photo when Ron was shooting and ruined the film with my flash.  Woops!  Thanks goodness Ron is so forgiving.

I needed some coffee and there was none around the restaurant as it was closed at the time of shooting.  I made do with a bottle of A-1 sauce which every table had a bottle of the stuff.  That must be a Rockford thing.  I mixed it with water and it passed for coffee.  I was so embarrassed when the owner of the restaurant showed up later.  I should have paid him for the bottle of A-1 I guess.

The movie is about a boy who witnesses his uncle abusing his aunt.  The restaurant scene was when the father was trying to talk to his son about the incident.

I met some lovely folks who were extras in the movie and the filming crew.  It went quite well but took some time as films always do.

I gave my card to the boom guy in case he ever needs an extra in one of his movies.  Networking is very important in being a movie star.

I have been considering writing my own movie which would star myself and friend, Garnet, who is also a movie star.  There are not a lot of calls for 60ish aged old broads.  I just have to come up with a good plot and get started on my movie.

PS  I started writing the move for Garnet and me.  Wish me luck.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

First of all I must confess, I am not a big Prince fan.  I liked a couple of his songs, thought he was nuts when he changed his name to “whatever that thing was”, but respected him for being a true musician.  He wrote his own music, lyrics and performed them and I respect that in a musician.  He also kicked serious butt on that “Still my guitar gently weeps” video.  I guess I just envisioned him as a singer but evidently he was a wonderful guitarist.

Secondly, I admit that I was a Glen Frey fan and I do hate the fact that he died at an early age.  I know he must have had a ton of music still inside of him to be released.

But life goes on.  With or without the musicians that we love.

I had an excellent day yesterday with friend, Garnet.  I picked her up around 9:30 and we proceeded to the used CD store where I changed some of my old CDs into four new ones.  (Well new for me.)  They wouldn’t take my Yanni CD.  I asked the girl at the counter about it.  My sister gave it to me.  My sister listens to country and I am a rock and roll girl through and through.  Why Yanni?  I never listened to it; maybe I should.  Maybe the universe is trying to tell me something.

After we did the CD thang we drove around and ended up at the huge Woodman Grocery store where we both bought cheap booze.  I also got some green beans and little red potatoes as I have been jonesing a Nicoise salad.  If you aren’t familiar, it is a salad with cooked green beans, potatoes, boiled egg, (not on mine), onion and tomato and some tuna.  I haven’t found a place in Rockford that makes them and so I decided to make one for myself.

Daughter, Jessica, made one for me in December when I visited her for the holiday.  (Christmas to some, Hannukkah to some, Kwanzaa to some, holiday to all.)  Is anyone else sick to death of trying to be politically correct?  I am a backward hillbilly dumbass.  I don’t know any better.  Give me a break?

Garnet and I couldn’t decide on lunch.  I wanted the stupid Nicoise salad, she, of all things, wanted a burger.  Garnet has turned vegetarian since her two bouts of chemo and radiation.  Says it ruined her taste buds.  We finally settled on, you are not going to believe this, Kentucky Fried Chicken.  They have one that is in conjunction with Long John Silver’s and I just love that vinegar they serve.  I got the fish and green beans.  They really have pretty good green beans.

Garnet chose the shrimp since they didn’t serve burgers.  She likes these potato wedges that the Colonel serves.

This restaurant plays music from the 60’s and drove me nuts.  Teen Angel was all right in the 60’s but not today.  One of the workers asked if we liked the music as she was bopping around like a mad woman to it.  I asked her to turn it down.  Which they did!

I sang along to one of the songs and Garnet was amazed that I knew all the lyrics.  If you didn’t know, I am the lyric queen.  I know more stupid lyrics to more ridiculous songs than you can believe.  The next song came on and Garnet was singing along to it.  I was amazed that she knew the song.  I didn’t recognize it personally.

Garnet liked her shrimp and said when her hubster went to fetch KFC she would ask him to bring her some shrimp.  I’m glad that she found something else that she likes to eat.  I used to cook for her but don’t any longer because I don’t know what she can or will eat.
BTW, my fish was not up to standards.  The batter was a little sweet and I was disappointed.  But the vinegar kicked major butt!  I am in it for the vinegar!

We headed off to the local Goodwill store where they were playing that music that is currently popular on bop radio stations.  I felt physically ill the entire time we were in the store.  I found a new plastic box to store our batteries and plug in rechargers as I discovered the old one was broken to bits when I was searching for a battery that morning.  I also found three rolls of cloth ribbon that hadn’t been opened.

Last week at the Goodwill I found a brand new set of queen size sheets that had never been used for $9.99.  Deal!

We left Goodwill and the intolerable music behind.

We decided we really wanted to get our walk in today.  There is this very odd mall just down the street and we decided to go there.  This humungous building is filled with booths that are filled with stuff that is so mind blowing it is unbelievable.  The first one I entered was filled with really nice looking jewelry.  Move on, as I am not a fan.  (Kind of like Prince.  I respect it but it isn’t me.)

Most of the booths in this section were filled with more of the same.  I noticed Garnet at the end of the aisle looking at something of note.  I joined her and we found such wonders.  We found wooden items, metal items, toys, doilies (I love doilies) and other really old and interesting things.

I must tell you here that the music they were playing was kick-ass.  They played one of my favorite Elton John songs, The Border Song, and I sang right along with it.  Garnet had never heard the song before.  Check it out.  Great tune.

While we were reliving our childhood through the items at our display, we sang along with the music.  Music from the 70’s is some of my favorite tunes.

I found these really cute butterflies made out of what looked like old tin can material.  They are all rusty and gnarly.  I’m putting them in my fairy garden.  I told Garnet I would probably need a tetanus shot after carrying them around all afternoon.

We came across the scariest teddy bear toy I have ever seen.  I had to take Garnet’s picture with it.  We also saw the scariest doll I have ever encountered made out of porcelain or something hard.  They had a Cabbage Patch doll that was pretty ugly too.  We played with a washboard, admired a metal ironing board, rang all the windchimes we came across and just had the best time in the world.

Garnet fell in love with this vulture which turned out to be an old lamp base.  Who on earth would want a vulture lamp?  Garnet wanted that vulture, I know she did.

I think we spent a couple of hours just strolling around looking at all the stuff and singing along with the music.  We checked out and I spent all of 82 cents on my butterflies.  Garnet didn’t buy anything.

I thanked the check-out ladies for a lovely visit and apologized if anyone complained about out singing.  I bet they hated us.  Oh well!

We then ventured toward home but decided we needed to sit outside in the sunshine for a while.  I drove past the turn in for the park where we intended to go.  I made a massive u-turn in the road (nothing was coming either way, I looked!) and scared the crap out of Garnet.  We drove back to the park.  The parking lot was almost full.  It must be a popular place to walk.

We sat outside on the picnic table for a while and talked and laughed.  We saw a huge dog which I took for a Great Dane, a wiener dog and a squirrel.  I also saw something flying in the sky and thought for a moment that it was a plastic bag but it was flying quite nicely.  I believe it was one of those hang gliding parachute things.  Garnet missed it as she was looking elsewhere.

I was getting cold because I didn’t bring a jacket and so we left and I took her home.  And so ended another great adventure with one of my best buds.  It really doesn’t take much for simple people to be outrageously happy.

Monday, April 18, 2016

I must admit that I am a tree hugger.  I have a love for big trees.  I have never seen the Sequoias but I am sure I will sob like a baby and kiss the ground when I do.

We had three maples in our yard as a child.  Two sugar maples and one silver maple which Daddy said would tell us when it was going to rain and sure enough, it did.  Its leaves turned upside-down and not long after it would rain.  Daddy took such good care of his maple trees and wouldn’t let us kids climb them.  How I longed for a tree to climb.

At the hubster and my first home we had a tree and I did manage to climb it several times.  I felt like a kid looking into my neighbor’s yard and the apartment complex behind our house.
When we moved to Illinois we had four big trees already established on our property.  Three maples and one honey locust that I grew to hate and then decided I loved it the most of all the trees.  (My little Jessie dog will lie under it this spring soon.)

The girls made use of the trees and I told them to climb to their hearts’ content.  One morning I awoke to Jess calling me from the very top of the largest maple.  My heart skipped a beat on that one.

The girls had a party once and I believe there were five little girls up in the maple tree.  Their mothers probably had heart failure when they learned what they had done at the Faerber girls’ party.

When I was the editor of our local newspaper I hung out one day while a tree service cut down a humungous tree that was a nuisance because a bunch of rowdy birds were nesting in it in the late afternoon and disturbing the neighbors.  They had tried fire crackers, banging on pots and pans and other such ruckuses which were even more annoying gestures than the birds were making.

The lake decided the tree must go.  I took my camera and pen and paper and proceeded to go watch them cut down the tree.  It was quite the extravagant venture.  You don’t just chop down a big-ass tree.  You have to hack away at it little by little.  I have a tear in my eye just writing about this.

Years ago I found a little juniper tree growing in the yard and I planted it out by the apple trees.  I had not yet heard about cedar apple rust and our trees started to bloom out with the most alien looking growths.  It looked like they were growing orange sea anemones.  The apple trees went because I didn’t know how to take care of them organically anyhow.

Years later I had to cut down the juniper tree.  My friend, Greg, cut it for me and he saved several slices of its trunk for me.  I had one made into a clock that hangs in the basement.  Another piece just hangs out in the solarium to remind me I planted it and I had it killed.

A few weeks ago I stopped up the street to watch a tree service begin to take down a large tree in my neighbor’s front yard.  The tree was obviously dying and was quite close to their home.  I took a couple of photos and teared up a little bit.  I hope they plant a new tree.

My heart was severely broken just this past week as I was going into Rockford for a meeting.  One of my favorite trees in the whole world had been cut down.  It was a red bud tree, and I had stopped a couple of years ago when I saw folks working in the yard.  I told them how I loved their tree and asked what kind and its history.  The tree was quite old and little by little had been whacked at.  It was almost a bonsai it was so mutilated but it was still alive and the lady said it blossomed and bloomed every year.  I always wave to it as I pass going to Rockford.  It was gone.  I could hardly breathe.

My love for trees will stay with me beyond my death as my daughter has promised that I will be scattered with my favorite trees of all times.  There used to be Three Sisters at the Sugar Creek Metro Park in Beavercreek, Ohio.  One of the sisters has since died.  (Probably all the cremains scattered there!)  They are now enclosed in a protected environment.

I have to run down to the campground today and check on my little pine trees that I planted last fall.  I sure hope they survive.  The campground is full of oaks and other scrub trees but no pine trees at all.  I hope they survive many, many years.  Maybe I could have a plaque made to say that I planted them.  Probably get a citation from the Lake Summerset Board of Directors for some silly reason or another.

The picture at the top is the infamous Gumby tree found on Rock City Road near Ridott Corners.  Another of my favorite trees.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Today was my first presentation as a Master Gardener.  I did “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme.”  I had written the manuscript back in January when I was first asked to do this.  My volunteer coordinator at the Extension Office helped me put it on Power Point and I went into the office to practice.  I had an audience of three Master Gardeners to listen to the presentation.  I did well and they complimented me.

I got my stuff together today using the “remember” list I had drawn up so as not to forget anything.  I had herb books, dried herbs and a door prize of a bag of the herbs I discussed.  I also took recipes that I had talked about using the herbs of discussion.

The Pecatonica Garden Club is a very old club that has been around for many years.  My contact was Adele, who is 90 years old.  She was very sweet.  The group made me feel very welcome.

My presentation went quite well and I got a lot of questions and comments from the peanut gallery.  It was much fun and I look forward to doing it again in the near future.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

I saw this cute little rooster pillow in an antique shop and decided I wanted to make one for friend, Nancy, who has chickens and just loves them. I got out scrap paper and scratched a drawing on a grocery receipt in my purse.

I have been working on him for about a week.  First I killed my iron and had to get another one.  You have to press out the pieces to keep them flat and to get the wrinkles out of the fabric.  I don’t usually wash fabric before I use it.  I found this adorable rooster fabric and wanted to incorporate it into the pillow.

I made the little applique rooster patch for the front of the pillow.  Those tails, beak and comb were a pain in the butt but I think it came out very cute.  The back is the rooster material.

Being pretty sure Nancy never reads my blog or looks at Facebook, I think I am pretty certain she won’t see it before her birthday in May. I can’t wait to give it to her.  I may just have to give her an early present.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

I had a strange thing happen to me this week.  I decided to redo a floral arrangement in the hubster’s bathroom.  It had been hanging there for thirty years and was pretty dusty and rather straggly.   I purchased some pretty material and some new silk flowers at Joanne fabrics.

I took apart the floral arrangement and ripped off the surrounding ribbon.  I got out my iron and the spray starch.  (Does anyone really use this stuff anymore?)  I measured the original ribbon and started on my cutting and gathering.   The iron was acting strangely and so I checked it out and sure enough it had a big booger on it.

I surfed the internet because I had read about ironing salt and cleaning your iron.  It doesn’t work by the way.  I brought the iron to the sink and proceeded to use the Dawn dish detergent on it.  It was still hot and the steam rose.  I backed away from it and my foot got caught in the iron cord.  Down went the iron, and I thought about catching it, and realized that it was still hot and dodged that bullet.  I looked down at my kitchen rug and there was a perfect iron shadow burn right in the middle of it.

I checked out the iron and sure enough it had come apart and being the klutz that I am I tossed it into the recycling basket.  Thank goodness that I had already gotten my ribbon gathered.

I glued on the ribbon and asked the hubster who is much more artistic than myself to help me arrange the floral display.  He hem-hawed for a while but finally picked up a couple of the pieces and cut and placed them where he thought they should go.

I got the floral arrangement back together and picked off the glue webs that had accumulated.  I hung it back on the wall and I have to say I thought it turned out pretty good.

The next day I was in Freeport for my Pilates class and went shopping for a new kitchen rug.  I found one at Shopko for $39.99.  A deal since it is washable and it was on sale from $59.99.

I decided to check out new irons.  Can you believe irons cost from $19.99 to $59.99?  I decided to go to the local Goodwill store and see if they had a used iron.  Sure enough I found a Black and Decker.  I plugged it in and it warmed right up.  Best buy for the day at $3.99.

When I got home I discovered that it had some gunk on the bottom of the thing.  Now I have to figure out how to clean an iron without destroying the thing.  But I am back in business.  Next project is a rooster pillow for my good friend who has chickens.  I will post a photo.