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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Fun 2013

Easter Sunday is really quiet on the Ponderosa, but yesterday was a different story!  Friends and family gathered for our annual Easter picnic and egg hunt.  With an early Easter it was jacket weather but there was no snow or rain so all was good.  Around 50 people gathered for lunch and then the kids enjoyed an egg hunt. It's always a great time to stop for a while from our busy times and visit with friends!

Easter Blessings to all!

31 Days

This writing challenge began as a way to pressure myself into blogging more frequently.  My blog was intended to be a record of our family adventures, recorded mostly for the grand kids to read someday.  I had a small audience of family and friends who read what ever I posted, but I never set out to create an audience or to be an example of scholarly wisdom!  My Aunt Linda, who has always been my cheerleader, enjoyed a month of pictures I posted in February and she wanted to know what I was doing for March. I began looking around for something and being a frequent visitor to the website Two Writing Teachers I was familiar with but had never participated in their Slice of Life Challenge which requested that participants write something everyday in March.
I work best under pressure and sometimes that is exactly what it was.  I typed a couple of posts with heavy eyelids at the last minute, because I am just like that.  If I make a commitment I keep it.  One of my favorite quotes is from Horton Hatches an Egg, a Dr. Seuss story where Horton the Elephant says, “I said what I meant and I meant what I said, an elephant's faithful 100 percent.”
I’ve made it to the last day.  It may have become a habit.  I surprised myself some days, when I opened my word processor and wrote about something completely different than the post I had created in my mind.  I can be distracted easily like that!   Or some days I had to wait and something just happened in my ordinary day that sparked an idea. 
Thanks to new friends who commented along the way, and thanks to family who encouraged me along the way! I still have much to say and you know that my camera is never very far away so when I have writer’s block or a busy day a picture may let you know what is going on at the Ponderosa!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Forever Friends

This is my friend Ruth.  People ask us how long we’ve been friends, and we have to say we don’t remember when we were not friends. I am exactly one month older than her.  We grew up in the same church, and were in the same classes all though our school years.  We graduated second and third in our high school class.  After college she moved to a town about two hours away.  I still live in our hometown.  We are both teachers, she is still at it, and I have retired. She is my BFF, no matter how old we get.  It doesn’t matter how far away we are from each other I know she is there for me.  It doesn’t matter how long its been since we talked, we can spend hours and never run out of anything to say. 
She visited me today, drove for two hours just to join in the fun of our annual Easter picnic and egg hunt. We make our picture together every year at this time. We think we are aging gracefully!  The two of us also know how blessed we are because not many people have a friendship like ours. 

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Visitor House

Here’s my spring project.  We recently purchased it because it connects to our property.  It’s more than 100 years old, which means that it has a lot of character(aka some no so level spots)  The left side is added on and fairly new. There are two bedrooms, a loft bedroom, kitchen, living room, two bathrooms, utility room and a terrific screened in porch. The owners were collectors.  It’s full of interesting stuff.  Just look:

We bought it all.  Right now we aren’t sure what we are going to do with all this stuff, we just know that much of it has to go. After a little cleaning and scrubbing it can be a guest house for our children or other family and friends who need a place to stay overnight or even to get away!  My grandson has named it The Visitor House.  Anyone want to have a tea party on my porch?  I have plenty of dishes that we can use!

Thursday, March 28, 2013


This post is coming from the couch.  I’m down for the count, but with only four posts to go, I must finish this writing challenge.  It’s important that I get better, there’s a bunch of people coming to my house for an Easter picnic, plus I can’t disappoint some little people who want to hunt eggs!  So my doctor gave me some antibiotics and assured me that I would be fever free tomorrow and would not be contagious.  But right now, I think curling up in a ball will be the best medicine. Thanks Alexander Fleming for discovering penicillin, you saved Easter for me!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Be smart

Until recently I had resisted owning a smart phone.  I didn’t have a need for being constantly connected.  An upgrade offering an iphone for a small charge tempted me into giving it a try.  Admittedly my phone is usually smarter than me, but I am learning.  Today I used it to send the husband a picture of a bag of charcoal, because he said get the orange bag and I was not sure.  It looked red to me.  When I needed to use my reward card at the drugstore, there is was on my phone with just one touch.  No searching through the wallet.  One message ding brought me a photo of my grands eating popcorn and watching Sesame Street.
One thing I try to be careful with is talking and driving.  There is a law against texting and driving in Tennessee, but no law against talking and driving.  If I must take a call when driving alone, I put the speaker on so that I can talk hands free.  Other citizens on the road in Tennessee were talking today.   Several times a car suddenly slowed in front of me and when I moved left and passed, guess what I saw. Phone conservations in the car take your attention away from where it should be.  Even if you believe that you are good at multi-tasking, the road in not the place to practice it. 
Be safe and keep focused.  Call back when you stop.  Until Tennessee makes it illegal to drive and hold your cell phone, I’m going to be watching out for the other guy--the driver with one hand on the wheel and the other at their ear! Be smart with your smart phone.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Too much stuff

My day was spent spring cleaning.  Usually during spring cleaning you would raise the windows and let the house “air out” but today there was snow falling outside as I cleaned.  I have dusted and scrubbed and rearranged the clutter.  I say rearrange because if you do not throw items out or take them out of the house in some way you are just moving things from one place to another. Because we have limited storage space we have a catch-all shelf at the back door. It had run over into the floor.  Don’t judge, you have one too!  I tackled it today and when I started finding things I did not remember we had I realized that it was time.  It’s time to lose some weight. The load must be lightened. It’s time to give it to Goodwill! 

Monday, March 25, 2013

On the mantel

As I was dusting the mantel today, it occurred to me that all the items I was removing tell a story.  It’s a story of several generations right there on my mantel.  There are two oil lamps one from each of my grandmothers, they are lamps that were actually used once upon a time for light.  Someone in my family read a book or sewed, or a child did their homework in the glow of these oil burning lamps.  There’s a small churn from my paternal grandmother, she used it to make butter for her family. My great grandfather’s school bell sits among the photos.  He taught in a one room school and rang the bell to begin class or end recess. I took it to school once and used it to call in my fourth graders from recess. Among the other treasures are some old toys that my brother and I played with as a child.  There are two metal cars, wooden blocks and a set of jacks I used in elementary school.  A plastic golden egg is there.  It was free when you bought a new pair of Red Goose Shoes. I believe it contained a balloon, some candy and a small toy. Some photos of myself and my husband when we were about six years old are on the mantel as well as a photo of my family around 1960.  There is a recent family photo taken just last fall.  The newest item is a photo of my grandchildren taken last December.  It sits among our family heirlooms--a new generation.  What will they add to this collection?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Baby Boom

This afternoon I attended a baby shower.  The fourth one within a six week span.  There’s been a baby boom around here!  I didn’t want to go, my attitude was a little grumpy about it.  It was raining, I didn’t think there would be anyone there I knew.  I thought of all types of excuses, but being good friends with the paternal grandma I got up and went.  What I really wanted  was to curl up on the couch!  When I arrived in the parking lot, there was an old friend, and there were more friends inside.  I enjoyed some delicious food.  Most importantly I was reminded of the joy and delight and excitement of first time parents and grandparents.  There is one lucky little girl who is going to be born into a family that will love her unconditionally forever.  I’m glad I  joined in the enthusiasm!

Saturday, March 23, 2013


It’s been a long day which involved a trip to the city. It was a good day, but I am tired and ready for rest. I’m really glad to be home.  You know that feeling.  When you get ready to call it a day, home is where you want to be.  Home, where everything is familiar and comfortable.  It’s the best place to be. It’s where your heart is!  My heart is going to bed.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Breaking News

The Today Show is on TV.  It’s the time of morning they break away to the local channels for a news and weather report.  The local station for me is Nashville, TN, even though I am a couple of hours away from that city.  The newscaster just gave a report of breaking news.  The news was a barn is on fire in Sumner County.  She made it sound extremely serious and  dramatically repeated several times that a barn is on fire.

That’s just one example of what I call the media making a mountain out of a mole hill.  Is it a slow news day?  Is there nothing more important at 8:30 this morning?  I am sorry that someone’s barn is on fire.  It is a great loss for that farmer, it could be full of hay or farm equipment, but does everyone in middle Tennessee want to know this?  Does the owner of the barn want everyone to know?  Will we ever get a follow up story to find the answers for my questions?  Surely there is some thing more important that we could hear about.  I’m turning off the TV.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Eat Your Yard

Those of us who garden love the spring, because it means planting time.  We begin to think about what plants and seeds will fill our gardens.  Gardeners have to be careful not to let the “fever” cause us to plant too early.  It’s hard to remember when the days become sunny and warm that it can frost in middle Tennessee as late as mid April.  On our Ponderosa we have strawberries and blueberries and when it is time we will plant tomatoes, squash, potatoes, beans, okra, eggplant and corn. I am fortunate enough to have all the space I need  for growing things. It is wonderful to be able to walk out your kitchen door and gather fresh vegetables for a meal.
If you have limited space for gardening there is a great article in Tennessee Home & Farm called "How to Eat Your Yard". The article suggests using blueberry bushes for shrubs and incorporating plants like tomatoes, peppers and greens into your landscaping.  Here’s the link:

Check it out, just think how jealous your neighbors will be when you are eating your yard!

From last year's garden!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Things Parker and Nana Did Today
 March 20th, the first day of spring

(Parker is six years old and spending a few days with his Nana and P-pa while on spring break

Ate Breakfast

Played Bedbugs

Played Uno

Played Go Fish

Played with a Lego Set

Made Easter Crafts

Watched Looney Tunes

Ate Brownies and Doritos

Watched more Looney Tunes

Ate Lunch

Went for a Walk

Went for a Ride on the Golf Cart

Checked on the Guest House

Had a Snack

Played Computer Games

Ate Supper

Wrote a Letter

Played Crazy Eight

Took a Bath

Read some Books

Went to Bed

Nana needed the rest, so we can start all over again tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I need a calculator

I have a “bone to pick” with retailers.  Instead of putting exorbitantly high retail prices and then pretending to have a sale, just put a reasonable price on your items. I went to buy a baby gift today.  The items I picked out, little tiny baby clothes, were priced forty four dollars and a matching quilt was priced thirty dollars.  I found another irresistible outfit for eighteen dollars.  Everything was 40 percent off.  I dislike math, it causes me trouble and I have to stop and try to figure out how much this gift is going to cost.  This constant math is stressful to me!  When I ask the cashier about gift wrapping, she said it would be five dollars extra.  My total was already fifty seven dollars, I think complimentary gift wrapping would not be too much to ask.  I left with the gift in a bag, I‘m not paying five dollars for some paper and a box.  Now, I have to figure up how much my mom owes me for half the gift!

Monday, March 18, 2013


You will never see pictures of my home in Good Housekeeping or Southern Living. My home is clean but cluttered.  I am not a great housekeeper.  I do not require order or neatness.   You will find cereal boxes on the top of my fridge, stacks of books and magazines by the sofa and my latest project scattered on my desk.  There will probably be someone’s shoes in the floor and grand children’s toys stacked in the corner.  This morning was spent doing necessary housekeeping like the dishes and the laundry.  I even did some ironing. I cleared some clutter and did a little sweeping--just enough to make the house presentable in case someone should drop by. I admire those who keep their home in order and everything spic and span but its not the thing for me. There are just so many more interesting things to do, places to go and books to read!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

A text from a baby

I’m a digital immigrant.  I didn’t grow up with electronic gadgets everywhere.  It’s true what they say about growing up with a TV that only had three channels.  And it’s true that part of the time it was hard to see those channels.  There were no microwave ovens or cell phones.  We had electric appliances and record players but computers and the internet was quite futuristic. As the changes have occurred I have embraced them.  I love gadgets.  But had you told me when I was a youngster that I would be able to “facetime” with someone I would have thought you had watched too many Jetson cartoons! 

This weekend I was reminded how my grandchildren are digital natives.  Born into a world full of gadgets they have learned though observation how to swipe and click and make the gadgets work.  My twenty two month old grand daughter picked up my ipad and managed to send her grandpa a text.  It went like this,,.

We thought it was just an accident.  He went on to work and after while he sent me a text that said, “Is B texting me again?”

The second text was a little more complicated ‘’’’’‘SSS?(.;/--df.Ok.Mmm mkJjxz

We were most impressed with her ability to use the shift key!
I wonder what kind of gadgets they will have when they are my age!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Very Important Things

There was just no time for writing today, because there were so many important things that needed to be done.  There was playing and snacking and sliding and swinging.  There was dancing and running and golf cart rides. There was hiking and exploring and jabbering and squealing! There just wasn’t time for anything else!  Well, here a picture is worth a thousand words!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Under the leaves

It’s time for me to clean up my yard for the annual Easter egg hunt.  We have hosted it for so many years that we are on the second generation of hunters. Family and friends will come for lunch and an egg hunt.  There will be an Easter parade for those who have worn their Easter bonnets.  It’s great fun, but I need to get rid of some winter debris around here.  Today, is sunny and quite warm so I am going out to get my wheelbarrow and rake.  My task is to remove all the leaves that have blown into the flower beds and against the house and deck.  When I rake I always uncover the flower bulbs breaking though the ground.  Sometimes I think they are more beautiful than the flowers they become for what they represent.  They have survived the cold of winter and  somehow forced their way up thorough the ground to the surface. They represent perseverance and hope and life and they are just one of the miracles of spring!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Love Letters

I recently found a website called The World Needs More Love Letters. (  You can go to the site and read for yourself what it is all about.  When I think of love letters, it is the mushy ones written to spouses or lovers, but  these love letters are more like letters of encouragement written to a stranger.  Anyone can join the cause.  Letters can be sent to the organization or you can leave your letter some where on your own.  You can also request letters be mailed to someone who might need some uplifting!

There are plenty of examples on the website and lists of places that you might leave these letters if you want to join in.

I haven’t actually written one yet, but it would be fun to try.  Everyone is curious and I think if I found one it would just have to be opened and investigated.

One place the website suggests leaving them is inside library books.  I have to go there this afternoon, maybe its a good time to start. It might just make someone’s day!

(More love letters also has a facebook page ( and is on twitter

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Sad, but true

A young man, a former student, sat in my living room one night this week and told  my husband and me about a phone conversation with his grandmother.  The young man had to pretend to be his recently deceased grandfather. The grandmother has dementia and she thinks the grandfather is just away on a work related trip. She will not settle down and go to bed at night until she gets that phone call.  No grandson should have to do that.

 Alzheimer’s is a cruel disease.  It steals people from us. It takes away memories, causes confusion and exhausts those who are care givers.  I know because it stole my grandmother and then my mother-in-law and also an aunt and an uncle.  Every time I have to stop to think, what day is this or whether I completed a task, or what I did with a certain item a bit of fear creeps into my thoughts...what if one day it steals me too?
I hope someone finds a way to stop this thief very soon.

*If you have to try explaining this dreadful disease to a child, I recommend this book by Lester L. Laminack.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Just Do the Math

 Today was a shopping day for me.  I live about 45 minutes from any store that you would recognize so it takes a little planning and plotting to gather in supplies. It also takes most of the day! I love a good bargain and today I was able to find some great buys.  Easter supplies for our annual egg hunt were on my list.  I found prizes and basket stuffers at two of my favorite dollar stores. There were books, kites, toys and decorations only one dollar each.  Here’s a few of my one dollar finds:

The best bargain of the day was the five cartons of Coke I purchased at CVS Pharmacy.  This week’s sale had five cartons for fifteen dollars.  I bought five and used a ten dollar gift card that I had from my last purchase of laundry detergent, and toilet paper.  That reduced my total to $5.90.  They gave me back five dollars in rewards for the next purchase I make.  To make this work you have to shop for just items on sale.  Don’t be distracted by the other items in the store--don’t even look!  As my daughter, who sometimes combines coupons and sale prices to reduce her total to just change, says, “Just do the math.”

Monday, March 11, 2013

Can you see now?

Without my glasses  or contacts I can see clearly about a foot in front of my face.  Anything beyond that point is a big blur.  I think I was born with this near sighted condition because I knew I could not see well, but I thought that was the way everyone viewed the world.  When I was seven years old my second grade teacher, Miss Irene, realized I could not see the chalkboard.  She reported this to my parents and they immediately took me for glasses.  I remember how clear they made the world and how excited I was to see new things!  As a teenager I changed to contact lens.  Thankfully my vision was able to be corrected and for many years I enjoyed the 20/20 sight that other people took for granted.  Then, fifty happened and that close vision which was all I had began to diminish!  It happens to all of us.  So today as I type this I have my contacts in my eyes and my reading glasses on my nose.  It takes both of them to correct my close vision now!  The upside to this sad situation is I get a lot of exercise walking around looking for my glasses! Has anyone seen my glasses?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Who needs a nap?

I am staring at this blank page today having real trouble making myself write my slice of life.  The longer I stare the heavier my eyelids become.  I need a nap.  There are a lot of reasons for my desire for a Sunday snooze.  This morning I chased around my almost two year old grandchildren.  They are faster than me so sometimes I am actually running to catch them.  They know no fear!   It could be the time change it seems to have messed with my schedule all day--up too early, not hungry at lunch time--what time is it anyway! It could be a left over exhaustion from outdoor chores yesterday.  There was raking and burning and chasing of above mentioned young ones.  What ever the reason I’m getting sleepy, I’m not gonna make it without curling up on the couch.  So I’m giving in, I’m going to borrow the words of Charles M. Schulz who said “Learn from yesterday, live for today, look to tomorrow, rest this afternoon.”

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Removing Winter

This week has been cold, with dreary days and an icy wind.  There was even a little snow, but this morning the sun is brightening up the place.  It’s funny how the sunshine can make you feel like you have more energy and gives you a hopeful feeling.  It’s streaming in my living room and calling for me to come out.  The forecast says the temperature will rise to 68 degrees today.  That is perfect for the task ahead. The winter winds left us a gift of sticks and branches scattered across the backyard. They have to be removed so we can mow the grass that is on the way! So my keyboard is going to be lonely today because I’m going outside to keep the daffodils company!

Friday, March 8, 2013

The finger touch

I have twin grandchildren.  A boy and a girl.  They are the only twins I have really spent any time with, except of course for former students.  I had always heard about twins having a special language or ability to communicate with each other so I watch for those things. There is one unique thing they do that we have named, “the finger touch”.  We believe it means I love you!  Before they take a nap or go to bed each one holds out their pointer finger and the other one does the same.  They lightly touch and then wave at each other.  It is such a simple, sweet gesture and I never tire of watching them “finger touch.”  What is even better is when they let you in on it!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Helping others

I drove by a young lady this afternoon who was standing at the edge of a busy intersection holding a sign.  It said, please help my family in large letters and underneath was written the words, bills, diapers and something I did not have a chance to read.  My light was green.  I went on my way to the interstate where I had a two hour drive ahead of me.  That gives you time to think.  I wondered about that young lady.  It would really wound my pride to stand beside the road and ask for help.  But, would I do it if my family needed help?  Then the question creeps in my mind, did she really need help?  As much as we would like to think that no would would--many people make a good living by panhandling.  I hope that life gets easier for that young family and they get help.  Maybe someone will direct her to an agency that can help.  I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. I want to help out when I can but I am always torn as to whether the stranger asking is really needy. I suppose I am feeling a little guilty for not helping.  After all if you give someone a gift, how the gift is used is up to them.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

At the last minute

The only thing that saved me from dropping out tonight was a little snore! My grandson ask me to lie down with him after his bedtime story and we both dozed off.  I was thinking that I would never be able to make a post tonight and was feeling unhappy with myself for only lasting five days.  Exhaustion was going to keep me from writing, next thing I knew I was awakened by the snoring--don’t know for sure if it was mine or his.  So, I am going to make a grateful post tonight.  I am separated from my grandchildren’s everyday lives by a two hour drive, but I make that drive often and so do their parents to our home so that we can spend  time together. Today one of the three grands has been with me almost every minute.  You can only imagine how many times they have called out, “Nana.”   We have played and read and sang and danced but all this fun left me a little tired.  Now that I took a few minutes rest, I think I can finish a post and go back to bed.  I am calling this a grateful post because I realize that many grandparents today have very long distance relationships with their grands.  Skype and FaceTime make it easier but it is not the same as a real hug.  I also know many grandparents who are having to take on the role of parent to their grandchild.  It’s hard, its exhausting and stressful emotionally and mentally, and surely a financial strain.  So I am thankful tonight that I spent the day with the three best kids on the planet, just because I wanted to!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Flat Stanley

Most of the thirty four years I spent in the classroom were spent teaching fourth graders.   They are my favorite age--still young enough to love you and old enough to be mostly independent.  I read aloud to them every day.  After lunch the students were allowed to buy ice cream and while they were eating ice cream I read chapter books.  One of our favorite stories was Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown.  During the early 90’s the state of Tennessee began a program called 21st Century Classrooms and technology became part of our curriculum.  You can only imagine our delight when my students and I found the Flat Stanley Page and joined in the fun.  We were able to connect with other classes and our Flat Stanleys began to travel all over the United States.  We became very creative with the project making felt Stanleys who traveled about with changeable clothes and their journals.  Just yesterday I found a Flat Stanley app for my iphone.  I have not had a chance to explore it fully, but I can’t wait to revive Flat Stanley with my grandson. Flat Stanley lives again!

Monday, March 4, 2013

What makes you scream?

I live in the woods.  This means sometimes a mouse gets in our house.  The little rascals can come in the smallest places.  Right now my husband has one in his truck!  He saw it one day last week while driving to work.  He stopped and tried to get it out, but no luck.  That night he set a couple of traps.  The mouse ate the bait and went back to his hiding place.  The mouse is still there.  I will not get in that vehicle until the offender is gone.  You see, a mouse terrifies me. My husband always says, “Why are you afraid of such a little thing, how is it going to hurt you?”
I know it is an illogical and irrational fear but they just make me quiver. I try to remember this when one appears and I try to remain calm.  But I always end up being the crazy lady fleeing in terror to the nearest chair and screaming!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Limited Availability

This little boy is six years old, such a special age.  He loves his nana and wants to spend time reading, walking in the woods, doing crafts and making brownies with me.  He is full of wonder and excitement about life.  He is polite and kind and wants to learn new things.  I know it won’t be long before he outgrows me.  His friends and other activities will become more important to him.  Oh, he will still love his nana but I know what is going to happen.  He is an offer with limited availability, and I plan to take full advantage of it!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Never too old for a good picture book

Are we ever too old for picture books?  On Dr. Seuss’s birthday I am thinking about his stories I read as a child and the ones I read to my children and grandchildren.  My personal favorite is Horton Hatches an Egg.  My oldest grandson loved to hear One Fish, Two Fish when he was just a baby.  There are so many lessons to be learned from Dr. Seuss.  The Lorax teaches us about conservation.  Horton teaches us to be loyal and true to our word.  Oh the Places You’ll Go encourages us and reminds that you can be anything you want.  Children love the books.  They like the rhyming words and the silliness.  But I think maybe the lessons are for us --the grown kids!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Stepping out on faith

I am having commitment issues with this.  Every day--can I do it?  I’ve been reading the slices for several years but have never contributed.  I blog but inconsistently.  Last month I did a photo a day without missing one time.  It wasn’t that hard, but writing every day seems more challenging to me.  I don’t know why. I have much to say and you know retired educators have lots of time on their hands! 
What pushed me on was a quote: “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” - Dr. Martin Luther King
So, I am going to jump in.  I may not make it to the end but I will be mad at myself if I can’t rise to the challenge. I am going to have some faith in myself. I’m stepping on the staircase!

(With this post I am joining with others on the Two Writing Teachers Blog to write a slice of life story every day during the month of March. I can do it!)