Thursday, March 31, 2016

Fencing in the Dead

Joining  GOOD FENCES hosted by Theresa from,
The Run-a-round Ranch Report.

While traveling to visit family over the Easter Weekend we decided to take the scenic route home. In the town of Linn, Missouri we came across this old Cemetery surrounded by a stone wall.

Seems my attention has been drawn to stone walls a lot lately.  I posted one last week as well. I love the work and detail that go into building these walls.  They have so much more character than today's iron fences.

 If you look at the far end of the top photo you will see a large electric power substation.  I know those transformers are necessary to city services and they have to be placed somewhere so choosing a spot near a cemetery may be a good choice.  The dead are certainly not going to complain.  But I find them ugly and hate the way this one detracts from this lovely old cemetery.  To make matters worse, the opposite end of the cemetery is this odd building surrounded by an iron fence. Given all the warning signs on the far side it has to have something to do with the power station but I have never seen one like it before.

It would be nice if they tried to hide both of these eyesores with some trees or another form of landscaping. I think the spirits living here would certainly appreciate it as well.

What do you think?

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

It Only Took Seventy Years

 Over the Easter weekend, I did something I have never done before.  Something that most school children in my area get to do in middle school.  I visited our state capital in Jefferson City, Missouri. 

Sure, I have studied the history, seen zillions of photos and  driven close enough on many occasions to see the dome in the distance but never actually took the time to drive up to the building and put my feet on the ground and walk around the area.   Actually, it’s a little embarrassing to admit that it took me almost seventy years to make this trip. I moved in the middle of six grade and got cought in the waiting for spring/we already did that in the fall situation that caused me to miss out on the field trip.   

I have been to the first seat of state government located at Third and Vine Streets in St. Louis and once lived within a few blocks of the second one at Main and Morgan Streets in St. Charles.  But, this was my first visit to the present capital building that was occupied in 1918.  This is the third building to be built in that location.  The other two were destroyed by fire, the first in 1837 and the second in 1911. 

The capitals dome rises 238 feet above ground level and is topped by a bronze statue of Ceres the Roman goddess of agriculture.  I hate to admit it but I was a little disappointed.  I expected the dome to be more colorful.  Perhaps have some gold that would sparkle in the sun like some of the other state capitals I have visited.  It is however very impressive when you catch that first view off in the distance. The stone for the exterior is a dense marble mined in Carthage, Missouri. Some of the finer details have eroded after 90 years of freeze/thaw cycles but it is still impressive.  The state has committed monies to study restoration and prevent further deterioration.

If you are ever in my state don’t follow my lead and skip visiting the Capital Building.  It is a remarkable place and worth the time to see.   Hope you enjoy the following photos.

Government Building

View of the Missouri River

Memorial to fallen law enforcement officers

Bradford Pear Tree tunnel

Thomas Jefferson at South Entrance.

St. Peters Church across the street from the Capital

Governors residence in the distance.

A Karl Bitter bronze relief, depicting the signing of the Louisiana Purchase
 by Livingston
, Monroe and Marbois

another view of the river

copy of the Liberty Bell

Figure from the Fountain of the Centaurs, created by A.A. Weinman

Forsythia bushes lining the grounds

Looking at the dome through two difference flowering trees.

Stone columns

Eight stone monuments honoring Missourian who died in eight different wars.

Family studying the Ten Commandments.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Durant Ashmore and the curse of the Bradford Pear Tree

When I moved into my current townhouse the street that ran beside my building was lined with Bradford Pear trees with gorgeous blooms each spring.  Then the city pulled them all out to put in sidewalks.  How I missed those trees. I felt lucky that there were still many around my town and in the city parks to satisfy my love of those pretty spring blossoms.

Today, I open my Facebook to find some guy named Durant Ashmore cursing all white bloomings trees as an ecological nightmare, that is getting worse and worse every year. Mr. Ashmore claims the Bradford Pear is a blight worse than Kudzu. You will find his article here: apparently he has been espousing the evils of this tree for years.  He says that if we want to save the world you must “cut down your Bradford pear treesnow.

Granted I’m not very well informed on trees. Mr. Ashmore may be right.  Perhaps I am one of those “dimwitted landscapers” he talks about.  I just know what I enjoy seeing as I travel around the area each spring.  So until the rest of world gets on board with his ideas and wipes the Bradford Pear Tree off the planet I will continue to enjoy those that I find blooming in my travels each spring. 

In fact, I stopped to photograph this Bradford Pear lined drive, over the Easter weekend, in a small town about ten miles from me.  

Just for the heck of it here are a few more shots of flowering trees I snapped this spring.

This tree was captured in my brother-in-law's backyard

This is a white blooming cherry tree in my side yard. 

Close up of our Cherry Tree 

Photographed these on the corner by our polling place when we went to vote on 3-15-2016.

While this is not a white flowing tree it is one of my favorite shots this spring.  

This tree is in the yard of a house we once considered buying. 

Hope you continue to enjoy your white flowering trees 
while you can. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Kranky Me

It seems that no matter what I do or where I go something has to disrupt my peace of mind, wear on my nerves, make me wish I could give someone a good tongue lashing or a nice wallop upside their head.  I am certainly starting to live up to my name by becoming a cranky old lady.  

Here are just a few of the things that made me cranky this week:

I have one hard and fast rule.  I do not discuss politics.  I do my own research and make my own decisions.  Even my husband seldom knows how I vote. People that know  me should know that, so I am really tired of all the  political junk that keeps filling up my Facebook and e-mail. Everybody seems to want to convince me their guy is the answer to all our problems.   Besides, this presidential race is the strangest one I have ever watched.  Can't wait for this circus to fold its tent for another four years.

While shopping today it seemed that every female I saw, regardless of age or size, was wearing leggings so skin tight everything was on display.  When will this fad go away?  I’ve had enough. I see girls wearing leggings under a skirt and it looks fine.  Just the thing for the cool weather of early spring. Without the skirt  modesty is out the window and it seems to be all about, "Look at me."

Our trash is picked up once a week. This is the third week in a row the young man next door has failed to put his out.  I wouldn't care if it were not for the fact that he lives on carry-out and tosses his trash bags out the front door and lets them collect next to his front stoop. I'm sick of having to look at his garbage, however, I've decided I will no longer be the enabler who carries it to the curb for him. DUH!!  

I hate these new CFL (coiled) light bulbs.  They may be better for the environment and last longer but, I really do not like the way they look in my light fixtures. I can ignore the lamps but being a shorty I hate looking up at them in my ceiling fixtures. They are just plain ugly in my opinion. 

While dining at a new restaurant in town, (where a nephew is the chef) I noticed all the employees were young men, and each of them had a long shaggy beard. None of them were wearing beard caps. Am I now going to have to start watching for beard hair in my soup? A few days later I arrived early to pick up my grandson from college.  I noticed that about half of the young men that passed me not only had a beard but looked as if they were stand-ins for an Amish film.  My grandson and two of my nephews have been growing beards since the middle of their senior year of high school.  Don't get me wrong, I like beards, I even have a slide show of  beards on one of my other blogs.  However, I like beards that are well-tended, neat, and clean. Never have I seen so many young people running around looking like Grizzly Adams. Is there a new fad I have not heard about concerning young men and facial hair? If so I'm not liking it.  

Then perhaps I should not complain.  At least, I’m not going to have to toss my purse and my favorite outfit because I came home with red stripes all down my backside. 

 What is making you cranky this week?  
Feel free to sound off here.   

Thursday, March 17, 2016

A fence of Stone

Joining  GOOD FENCES hosted by Theresa from,
The Run-a-round Ranch Report.

While running an errand, a few days ago, over in the next county hubby and I came across this wonderful farm.  All of the road frontages were surrounded by this fantastic wall made of fieldstone.  

Some might not call this a fence because it is not made of wood or metal, but I believe that just tells us either the age or the lack of travel experience of the person questioning this reality. 

For centuries, our forefathers have piled up the stones plowed from their fields (thus, the name fieldstones) to mark their property line, corral their cattle or keep the critters out of the kitchen garden.  

I'm very lucky to live in an area where limestone is plentiful. I enjoy all the homes and other buildings in our area made of this stone. I think finding these old stone walls still standing after so many generations has to be one of my favorite things.   

I  am automatically transported back into the pages of one of my favorite books as a kid, The Secret Garden. I have often dreamed of the day when I could have my own private flower filled garden hidden behind a tall stone wall. A place to enjoy not only the sun and bright colors of the blossoms but my latest book without the interruption of others. 


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Missouri Talk

Please Note: in the following post hubby felt the need to inject his two cents into a few spots.  I highlighted them in Red.  

A major difference between my dear hubby and me has to be our backgrounds. I got a lot of my education and training through the school of experience and hard knocks.  Hubby has had more formal education, lived in an environment that required more culture and polish than I was exposed to, so perhaps he was stepping down a rung or two when he moved into my world. 
that is absolutely not the case. My dear wife could have done as well as anyone in my world.

The difference between living on the west coast and here in central Missouri are as different as night and day in my book.  The West Coast is the soul of glitter and bling.  It is a trend-setter with style and new endeavors moving east after taking off there.  Central Missouri is on the Eastern edge of the Ozark plateau where country themes are the rule. Folks here are direct and unassuming.  Missouri isn’t called the, “Show me” state for nothing. The West Coast has sunshine all the time. Central Missouri has snow, rain, hail, sunshine and dust storms. Sometimes all on the same day.
According to Labov et al.'s (2006) ANAE, the Midland dialect region comprises the cities represented here by circles colored red (North Midland) and orange (South Midland). The color blue indicates the Inland North dialect, which is intruding southward into the middle of this region towards St. Louis, Missouri.

Here you can always tell who is a newcomer by the way they speak.  Hubby has lived in my home state for nine years.  I know he found it  hard adapting  to our state dialect. We speak what is called the Midlands Dialect. The best way I can explain it is with these two sentences.  When I do laundry I “warsh my clothes but my husband “washes” his.  I find fried foods greezy but hubby dislikes greasy foods.

     What causes most of his problem is learning that the pronunciation of many words has nothing to do with their spelling.  For example,  there is a college town about an hour from us spelled “Rolla” but  pronounced “Rah-La”. Another local town is named “Japan” but pronounced “Jay-pan”. And the town of “Krakow” is pronounced “Crock-oh”.

The first couple of years, hubby was here, I planned in state vacations so he could learn about our diverse history.  It would cause some confusion with his out of state relatives when he told them the names of the places we visited.  They thought we had been on a cross-country trip  when they heard names like California, Atlanta, Huntsville, Laredo, Louisiana, Memphis, Miami or Savannah. Even a world tour with names like Cuba,  Glasgow, Mexico, Japan and of course, Krakow.  Those are a few of our towns with names borrowed from other places. 

Areas of the state and even the cities (like St.Louis) have neighborhoods that were settled by immigrants from many lands and cultures.  The town of St. Genevieve (for example) is the oldest permanent European settlement in Missouri founded in  1735 by French Canadians.  In St. Louis the area known as the “Hill” ( home of Stan Musial and Yogi Barra) is  Italian.  Dogtown is Irish, and other areas are made up of Germans, Pakistanis, Dutch, Bosnians and  Eastern Jews.    And, all of them influence the words we use.    

An unusual part of the culture of this area is that one of the first questions you always ask someone you just met is “where did you go to high School?”  This seven-word question answers three intrusive queries: Are you Catholic? How rich is your family? What kind of culture were you exposed to?   And, politics — well I won’t even go there.  

When it comes to my speech I am a special case. My way of speaking has been influenced by television, my time in the midwest, preschool years spent in the deep south, and having a southern mother and constant exposure to her family, who still reside there.    After sixty years of living in Missouri, most folks have no idea Mom is from down south until she gets one of her sisters on the phone, then her speech becomes filled with ya’ll, sugah and “bless your heart”.  

Hubby has been correcting my grammar since the day we met.(gently, dear reader and then only the most egregious of the lot ) He occasionally forgets and does the same with others.(that was a short-lived lapse and won’t happen again, I promise) have started doing the same with him, hoping he will sound more like a local.  A few days ago he actually used a decidedly midland  expression without realizing it.  So perhaps we’ll have him speaking like a native Missourian   yet.  

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Google Maps and Childhood homes

Hubby used to be a deputy sheriff and worked for ten years in a maximum security jail.  Often, when he was out and about, he would run into people who had recently been inmates at his jail.  As a result, he is more than a little security conscious.

When we married, he moved from his distant state to my small town in the heart of Missouri’s wine country.  The first time we went to the grocery store, I opened the door to get out and he stopped me.  He said I shouldn’t be in such a hurry.  He proceeded to explain the importance of scanning your surroundings to see who or what in the area might be a risk.  I just boohooed him, told him he was no longer in his crime-ridden state and hopped out of the car.  

It took a while but he did get over his look-first habit. However, when we plan to go someplace we have never been (especially if it is in the city) he likes to search out the location on Google Maps.  Knowing the lay of the land (so to speak) makes him feel more prepared if something unexpected occurs.  He says he likes to know where the back door is.

Recently, hubby was checking out something and it gave me an idea.  Could I find my childhood home?  At that time, we had a rural route for a mailing address and I never knew the road to have a regular name. The area was simply called All Saint’s Village which comprised two roads that made a “g” shape. Directions were always given by landmarks.

I learned (from the sky view) the entire area had been greatly developed over the last fifty years.  What had been miles of corn and soybean fields were now subdivisions, strip malls, schools and churches I had never heard of.  With some perseverance and lots of luck, I finally found the mile long road.  As I scrolled down the road with Google maps I was tickled to see most of the houses I remembered were still there(though updated)scattered among  many newer ones. 

The road still ended in a curved dead end  and there our house still sat, fourth from the bottom. It appeared all three acres   were still intact. The house number was on the mailbox and the website gave me the street name.  

On a  sunny day last week I keyed the address into our GPS  and did something I never thought I would do.  We drove to my childhood home.  We  tried to do it once about five years ago, without planning,  and were unsuccessful because so little of the area matched my memory.  

It’s hard to describe the feelings I got driving down that road.  My first sight of the house caused so many emotions to flood  into me.  I was in sixth grade when we moved into this house and I have not lived there since my wedding in 1966.  My family moved   about 1970, to the town where we all live now. 

Hubby didn’t want to stop after he saw the no trespassing sign with an assault rifle  pictured on it, but  I finally convinced him to let me go knock on the door.   We ended up having a nice visit  with the retired couple who have owned the place for the last thirty years.  They let me tour the house while I told them stories from my childhood.  Things like the huge snake that made me jump on top of my dresser one summer,  the day the toilet was installed or running into the kitchen to dress over the floor vent,(the only warm spot in the house). Then there was the time my brother set the barn on fire and  the many times someone fell out of the tree (now huge)in the front yard.  

I was surprised they were able to fill me in on most of the families I knew back then.  I learned that some of the little ones I used to babysit are still in the area and several still live in their childhood homes. 

Realizing it has been over fifty years gave me a shock.  I just don’t think of myself as being that old.  Fifty years! Where did the time go?  As for the house, it was already old when we lived there. It has since been renovated several times.  

The cistern  has been replaced by city water, the coal furnace by propane, a screened porch now covers the entire front, a new exit comes out of the kitchen onto a deck.  The mailbox is in front of the house instead of down the road. What was our garden space is now a fruit orchard, and a large pool sits where our makeshift baseball field once rang with the shouts of my brothers playing ball.  The gravel road and driveway are now blacktopped.  Vinyl siding  covers the asbestos shingles but the chimney is still leaning (much more noticeably). The outhouse, barn and all signs  of our hog pens are gone.  A large garage now sits in what was once a marshy area caused by the drain off of the septic tank. 

My bedroom is now minus one window, and all the other rooms seem much smaller than I remember.  A wood burning stove eats up a chunk of the living room (no more frozen runs to the floor vent) and the new exit door made the kitchen seem brighter but smaller.  What used to be the coal bin and the fruit cellar both sit idle because no one has wanted to scrub the black soot from the concrete or deal with the cellar’s primitive gravel floor. 

The longer I stood in that house, the more I was overcome by emotions.  It is my nature to forget the good times  and recall only the bad ones. So my memories of living there are mostly unpleasant ones.  I was having visions of my father, in a fit of temper, using a golf club to smash all the lights in the living room, or burning everything stored in the basement when it was not cleaned quickly enough to suit him. I even noticed some of the hiding places we scattered to when he was having a meltdown were still there. 
But, I also remembered where the Christmas tree always stood and things like picking blackberries, swimming in the creek, and our 4-H meetings in the basement which left me realizing  that I did have some good memories after all.

When is the last time you visited your childhood home?  Google Maps can take you there.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Mac Travel

Hubby needed to take his Mac in for repair, a Google search revealed there were only four facilities in the entire state.  Three in the St. Louis area and one in Kansas City.  This amazed me.  How could Apple expect to outsell other brands if they don’t provide convenient repair  locations?

I asked Google that question and found a long list of articles on the scarcity and quality of Mac’s repairs.  In one, an ex-Apple Manager wrote about his three-year headache trying to get his I-Mac repaired.  He had retired to the coast of North Carolina and the nearest Apple repair facility was over three hours away in a Raleigh shopping mall. He explained how each drop-off/pick-up required twelve hours of driving.  He did  offer some insight into the world of Apple and a hint of caution for those of us who do not live in the urban metropolises that Apple and its repair shops so obviously favor. 

After all the articles I read, I was not surprised when I called the store closest to us for an appointment and was told they don’t make appointments.  We would have to come in and wait our turn for a consult on our problem.  If repairs are needed we would have to leave it anywhere from a day to a few weeks. 

One day last week the weather was chilly but sunny and our calendar was clear so we made the long drive to the repair store.  We were told we would have to leave the item for repair.  Estimated time was several days.  After having lunch and doing some shopping we headed home.   We were ten minutes from home when our cell phone rang.  It was the repair shop telling us the problem had been a simple one and his Max  was ready to be picked up.  

Too tired to turn around and drive back to the city, we planned to go the next day.  That night it started to rain and it has not stopped for any real length of time over the last several days.  So we are now waiting for the first sunny day to  go pick up Hubby's computer.  

As much as we love our Mac’s (after all this) I seriously doubt  that I will be persuaded  to buy another one.  With every birthday, the number of miles I am willing to drive outside my town's city limits for services  gets shorter and shorter.  There are at least half a dozen computer repair shops within fifteen miles of my home (but none of them will work on a Mac) so when my mini gives up the ghost I will have to settle for something I can purchase and have repaired locally.  Somehow I don’t think my loss as a customer will change much about how Apple does business.  

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge

A friends blog lead me to this meme. So I have decided to link up with Joyce and the gang. If you would like to see what others had to share just click here.    

Joyce asks us to answer the following questions.  

1. February ended with an extra 24 hours in 2016. What did you do with your bonus day?

Afraid, it was just another day in our household.  I had to go check my calendar to be reminded we had dentist appointments that day
 2. What's something in your life that's grown by leaps and bounds in recent days, weeks, months, or years? I'm giving you lots of room to come up with an answer here, so no fair passing on this one.

While you couldn't tell it right now (without getting off the sidewalk) my answer would have to be my flower garden on the side of my house.  Though we have recently had snow and today is cold and damp, I have daffodils poking their heads up from under the winter mulch and each year the bulbs seem to spread and take over more and more space. 

Image result for redbox    

3.  Do you read reviews about a film before deciding if you'll see it? Did you watch The Oscars this year, and if so your thoughts on the program? How many of the Best Picture no
minees had you seen prior to the broadcast? (Spotlight, The Martian, The Big Short, The Revenant, Mad Max: Fury Road, Room and Brooklyn) If you watched The Oscars who gets your award for 'best dressed'?

 We seldom go to the theater and no longer care about the Oscars.  We have become Netflix and Red Box junkies. We do watch a lot of flicks but all long after they were released. 
4. When did you last have overnight houseguests? Give us your top three tips for being a good houseguest.

Our tiny house does not accommodate guest staying over.  As a result, we foot the bill at the local hotel for most of our visitors.  I do however spend several days each year visiting with out of town family.  So, I will answer the top three tips from the standpoint of me being the guest.  I always try to be neat and organized and invisible as possible with my belongings. I make my own bed and offer to help with any cooking or cleaning but do not push if they refuse.  I always invite my host out to dinner on my last night so they can enjoy a night out. 
Image result for peanut butter and banana

5.  March 2nd is Peanut Butter Lover's Day. Will you be celebrating? If so, would you prefer a home made peanut butter cookie, a Reese's peanut butter cup, an old fashioned peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or shall I just hand you a jar and a tablespoon?

Every day is peanut butter day in our house.  My husband spreads it on his Metimucal crackers in the mornings and I like peanut butter and banana sandwiches for lunch.  

6.  Why is failure important? Or isn't it?

Failure is a double edge sword.  For some folks it can make them stronger. But, those poor folks who are already overly introverted can be pushed farther back into themselves.  I try to never think of it as failure but an opportunity  for learning.  

7. Share with us one fun thing on your March calendar.

First, My niece is expecting her baby next week.  It will be their first and we are all very excited. Second our wedding anniversary is this month.  My dear hubby and I will be married nine years. Haven't decided how we plan to celebrate just yet though. 

8. Insert your own random thought here.    

For me the month of March seems to be the month where I have the most expectations. And, with expectations there is always a high rate of disappointments.  For example: I am expecting (and looking forward to) good weather, but in this area it may not show up until late April. 

There is a saying in my family that you can't plan for outdoor events until after our Mothers birthday.  Why? Because my mother was born on April 11th in the deep south and ever since moving to Missouri she claims it has never failed to snow (at least a sprinkle) during the week of her birthday.     

I hope you pop back next week to see what Joyce has in store for all of us.