Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Polio Lost this Round

Growing up, life wasn’t always easy.  In the fall of 1951, all my brothers and sisters came down with polio.  Most had just slight paralysis, but Ruthie, who had just turned two, had severe paralytic and bulbar polio.  Mom and Daddy rushed her to the Cody Hospital.  Her lungs collapsed and the doctors were sure she would die.  Night and day Mom was at her bedside covering her with prayer, while Daddy kept things going at home.  But Ruthie was tough, and hung on much to the doctor's amazement.  

When she was stable, she was transported to Casper, 200 miles away and because of the collapse of her lungs spent the next several years in an iron lung, first in Casper and then in the Shriner’s hospital in Salt Lake City where she also had a spinal fusion. She is wearing her halo in the picture below.  Finally after eight or nine years, she was able to return home for good.

Between hospital stays, Mom and Dad worked with her to strengthen her muscles, daily doing physical therapy that Sister Kenney had just developed for polio victims.  Dad had a large tub built that looked like a stock tank, it was filled with warm water, and Mom who learned the therapy, (there were no home health nurses or physical therapists) would faithfully help Ruthie do the exercises day after day.

Medicine has made so many advances since that time.  I am thankful for all hours that have gone into finding cures, or vaccines.  I am also thankful for the work of the Shriners.  We had no money, nor insurance, but my sister was afforded the best of care.


1. Do you send Christmas cards? If so about how many will you send this year? How do you display the cards you receive? Or don't you? (gasp!)
I make all my cards, and am planning on sending out about 25.  I usually hang the ones I get on my fake mantle, or around my hall mirror.
2. When do kids become adults?
When they don't borrow money anymore.
3. Does your 'beauty regimen' change with the seasons?
Well, seeing that I only use soap and water and moisture cream on my face.  It pretty well stays the same.  You just can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear (as my Daddy used to say)
4. What's something you like to eat that might cause another person to turn up their nose?
Oysters, all seafood,
5. Gloves or mittens?
Gloves for driving, mittens for playing outside--the fingers play nice and keep each other warm.
6. What's the longest queue you've ever been in? Was it worth it? Queue=line but doesn't queue sound nicer?
About the only queue I get tangled up in is the one at airport security.  Frustrating, but very worth it when I am finally on my way.
7. Besides Christmas, what is one thing you are looking forward to in the month of December?
Being able to sit outside during the day and not get hot.  Those 70's are great.
8. Insert your own random thought here.
I have enjoyed the month of thankfulness.  It was good to stop and think of all the things that the Lord has provided that I take for granted.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My First Car

My junior year, Daddy gave me a car–a 1948 Nash. It was ten years old, but looked like new. Where he got the money for it, I’ll never know–he probably traded a cow for it. Instantly I became one of the most popular girls in school, however much to my discredit, I obtained some revenge by ignoring all those kids who had been so mean to me--the country bumpkin.  With my own wheels, I lived at home my junior high school year.
Every morning I would drive my brother and me to school, 25 miles thru a mountain canyon, with tunnels and switchbacks–a mountain cliff on one side and a drop off to the river on the other.  One winter morning, the road was covered in black ice and I probably was going a bit too fast, when I touched my brakes, the car spun around, my brother was as scared as a little girl, but all was well, I ended up heading in the right direction.  After all I was sixteen. I do remember after that being a little more careful driving mountain roads in winter.

Monday, November 28, 2011

It's a Dogs Life

Every kid wants a pet.  I love dogs.  But I like a certain kind, as Goldilocks said, "That one's too big, and that one's too small, but that one is just right.  My first dog was a Springer Spaniel named Chum.  I am told that I liked to ride her, and my Dad would hold me while Chum took me all through the house.  I had her when I was a baby, but if not for the pictures of my dad, me and Chum, I wouldn't know about her. 

Through the years, my kids all had pets, some cats, some dogs, but they weren't mine even though I fed and cleaned up after them.  Finally when I was single again, I got my own dog.  She is half black lab, half Queensland Heeler.  She is gentle but brave, old now with a bad hip and some arthritis but with the heart of a pup she still tries to chase the ball--kind of like me.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Old and the New

One of my greatest enjoyments is music.  

I'm pretty eclectic in my listening habits.  I grew up singing hymns and ballads.  Listen to a snippet of the above clip, be sure to mute the blog playlist.  When I was in college, I was part of a traveling choir--singing all over the west.  I sang in church choirs for years, but I also love western music--those old cowboy tunes. My stereo also cranks out current western music.  On a rainy day, jazz seams to fill the bill.  I'm glad that God loves music also.  "Sing unto the Lord a new song"

Saturday, November 26, 2011


I want to introduce you to my sisters.  This is a continuation of yesterday's post.

This is my oldest sister.  She was a school teacher, then owned her own parking lot maintenance business, now retired she works on improving her mountain home, and pursues her favorite past time--fishing.

This is my middle sister.  She contracted polio at two years old, and spent the next 8 years in and out of hospitals. Although she had severe physical disabilities, she lived life full. She was pursuing an education that would lead to employment as a UN French enterpretuer. Her funeral was a celebration of her life. The college choir sang "When we all get to Heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be"

This is my baby sister. She was smart and talented.  Piano and guitar made beautiful music under her fingers. She is a nurse, a unique woman.

Each of my sisters are special, each have special talents and abilities, and I am truly thankful that God brought them into my life.

Friday, November 25, 2011


I was the oldest of seven children, I have three brothers and three sisters.  My folks had the formula for a balanced family--birth order--me, two years later brother, two years later sister, then brother, then sister, then brother, then sister, then brother. Today I am thankful for my brothers!

 Oldest brother--cowboy, then insurance executive, then cowboy--loves to hunt and bake bread--perfect loaves of all kinds, oil painter in the tradition of Grandma Moses.

Middle brother--ex Navy, lumberjack, landscape business owner before he retired, grill master, air brush artist.

Baby brother--Arena riding horseman, business executive, excellent gourmet cook, watercolor artist.

Each is so individual but special.  Each has added so much to my life.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pumpkin Peace Pipe Pie

My mother-in-law, a Minnesota farmer's wife, had an amazing collection of unusual recipes--some of them top secret.  But she did share this Thanksgiving Pie recipe with me.  It is made with ice cream.  How good is that?
Pumpkin Peace Pipe Pie

For the crust, I used Cinnamon Graham crackers, 2 packs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
Pulse in food processor until crumbs are finely crushed, and butter is blended.
Press into pie pan, I used 10 inch, if using smaller size, save extra crumbs for another time.  Chill
Combine 16 oz. canned pumpkin
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix well then add--
16 oz whipped cream or Cool Whip topping

Soften 1 quart vanilla ice cream and fill pie crust half full
Finish filling with pumpkin mixture
Freeze about 4 hours
For garnish, In heavy pan caramelize 1 cup slivered almonds with
1/4 cup sugar over high heat--Don't take your eyes off them
Stir constantly, when sugar melts they will brown in just a few seconds.  Cool on foil.
Freeze until about an hour before serving.  Decorate top of pie just before serving with addition Cool Whip, or whipped cream, and almonds.

This pie will be gone in a minute.  So cut yourself a little piece, and enjoy

On This day of Thanks

Last week I watched my little grandkids while their folks were at work.  We decided to make a tablecloth for their mom for Thanksgiving.  So after a quick trip to JoAnn's for some wide muslin, the 5 year old got busy.  Brother wasn't feeling well, so he opted out of the project.  The imagination and excitement that went into the tablecloth!!  After is was finished, she asked if she could write her name on it.  I suggested she also put the year.  Notice the backwards "2's"  I was going to correct her, but thought better of it.  This is her art work.  PS  I did draw the legs.

So on this day of thanks, I am thankful for so many things, but at the top of the list is the creativity and joy of a child.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Off We Go

I have been so fortunate to be able to travel.  After college in Denver, I lived in France for three years.  While I was married (an Air Force wife), we moved almost every couple of years.  Every place had its attractions and highlights. In the past four years, I have been able to take a vacation every year.  I love planning, assembling all the highlights, and charting the route. 
Oregon fall color
My first vacation in later years was to visit my daughter in Oregon, with side visits to see my brothers and sister.

Me horseback riding in the Yukon

Yup, that me
The following year, my Prescott daughter took me on an Alaskan cruise.  We saw glaciers, wild life, and went horseback riding in the Yukon.
Alaskan glaciers

Old Faithful geyser
Then I retired, so I went on a month long road trip.  I went site-seeing and visiting family that took me through Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, and then home.  It was so fun to be able to drive by myself, and stop where I wanted and see whatever caught my fancy.
Goodbye Oregon, Hello Cali

Then last year I traveled to Hawaii for my daughter's wedding. We spent 2 weeks on Kauai, and 10 days on the Big Island.  I saw so many special things.
Sunset in Kauai
So I am thankful that I have had this chance to travel.  Not bad for a timid mountain girl from Wyoming who never imagined that one day she would see all those far away places she had dreamed about.

Now Wednesday Hodgepodge
1. Let's start with something controversial...dressing or stuffing? What's it called at your house and what's included in your recipe...cornbread? oysters? sausage? chestnuts?
If its from the turkey it's stuffing, if cooked outside the bird, it's dressing.  I like to make mine with cornbread, sage sausage, and oysters, But usually have to leave out the oysters--the kids say they are yucky.

2. Who do you sometimes compare yourself to?
I'd like to compare myself to my mother.  She was such a good role model, but I'm not even close.  In actuality, it would be more like Pig Pen.  I am so bad at putting stuff away.  That's what happens when you live by yourself (my excuse)

3. When were you last inside an airport?
This summer when I returned from Hawaii for my daughter's wedding.

4. What is one side dish that absolutely must be included in a turkey dinner?
Mashed potatoes and gravy, yum!

5. What Christmas song do you dread hearing?
"Hear comes Santa Claus" It is so far from the true meaning of Christmas!

6. If someone approaches you and asks for money do you give it to them? Do you drop money 'in a tin cup' that belongs to a person on the street? Do you have a specific charity you support during the holiday season and/or year round?
I don't give money to individuals, but I sometimes have gift cards to a grocery store (excludes cigarettes and beer), or gift cards to McDonald's that I will give to the less fortunate.  I do donate money to the Salvation Army bell ringers, and adopt a boy and girl from the Christmas Angel trees.  I also fill shoe boxes for  Samaritan's Purse.

7. Share a favorite Thanksgiving memory. If you live in a country that doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving share a favorite memory associated with food.
All my Thanksgivings with family are memorable.  Growing up we didn't have the traditional meal, we just couldn't afford it, instead we might have a nice elk steak with trimmings from our garden, but we had much to be thankful for.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I just mailed a birthday gift to my friend in Colorado.  I couldn't believe how much the postage was!  The box was a foot cube, and it wasn't that heavy. Glad all my other mailables are small.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Daddy and the Bear--Wish I had a Picture

Trout Creek Ranch, the adjoining ranch up the valley, needed some help riding fences before bringing cattle down from the upper range, so Daddy went over, saddled up and spent a long day checking and mending fences.  As they headed back to the ranch, they took a break in a little clearing, probably had a few beers, and were discussing life in general.

When out of the forest a black bear appeared, it was a couple of years old. One of the cowboys bet Daddy that he couldn't rope the bear. Daddy, never one to turn down a dare, shook out a loop, roped that bear on the first try.  The bear was shocked, shot up the closest tree with Daddy right behind.  He followed that bear out on a limb--snap the limb broke, the bear tumbled down, Daddy following landed on the bear.  They never could say who was more surprised Daddy or the bear.  Of course, Daddy said, "What else could I do, I had to get my lariat" 
 A good rope is priceless to a cowboy.
It has made for a story retold many times.

Monday, November 21, 2011

In my Little Corner of the World

Did you ever wonder where all the randomness that you read on my blog comes from? Probably not, but I'll show you any way.
This is the corner of my home office where I write and do the computer generation of pictures for my mini-books.  I labeled the wall art that inspires me.  Click on the picture to read the labels.
The rest of the office consists of a comfortable easy chair, floor lamp, and a lot of bookcases.
Now the creative part comes from my brain, but you'll have to trust me that I have one, just haven't been able to get a photograph of it.

1. I wish I had more time to _________?
Read.  I have to put off reading until all the other "important stuff" is done, by then I am ready for bed.

2. What is your favorite kind of soup?
Rustic mushroom soup.

3. Where will you eat Thanksgiving dinner? 
At my youngest daughter's home.

4. What is your favorite time of day?
Sunrise.  I love the beauty and freshness that a new day brings, a chance for a whole new start.

5. Did you start Christmas shopping yet?
I make most of my gifts, and they are ready to be wrapped.  That way no last minute stress.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Mother's Bible

Almost every page of my mother's Bible has verses underlined in red, and many pages have a note in the margin.  She not only read the Bible she lived it.  It was her guidebook.  

When she passed away, she noted that she wanted me to have her Bible.  I Timothy 6:6-7 was bookmarked.  "But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out."
Coming Home

This was her guide for living.  Now, she is living in riches beyond imagination.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

On Being the Oldest

Several days ago, a friend's blog posed this question--Who is your oldest living relative?  I hadn't really given this much thought before, but upon reflection, I realized that I am the oldest living relative.  For awhile this was a depressing thought--reinforcing my mortality, that my days are numbered, but also realizing that I had no one more experienced to learn life's lessons from.  My mom was always such an inspiration, as was my dad, but they are gone.  I was sad.

Upon further reflection, I realized that maybe being the oldest wasn't so bad.  Growing up I relished being the oldest child.  I was the first to get to try things.   My folks let me do tasks before any of the siblings. I figured that I was so much wiser than all those little brothers and sisters.  So being oldest had its advantages.
Great grand-daughter
Now, being the oldest I have to learn from those younger.  That is challenging.  I have to examine the way they do things and compare it with how I do it.  Often, I find that the old ways are not necessarily the best.  I have to keep thinking young in order to be able to relate to all these youngsters, and in the process I am beginning to think that surely, the calendar is wrong; and I am not that old.
Being the oldest also carries a big responsibility.  I must be an example of how to endure life's trials.  I must show that maturity is a rewarding experience.  And I must be a guide for those who are traveling along life's bumpy road, a road that I have already traveled.

Today I am thankful for change

is the
Law of life
and those
who look only
to the past
or present
are certain
to miss
the future.

I made this collage several years ago and it hangs in my entrance hallway, but the message is as true today as it was back then.  This is a lesson I need to remember.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Care Bear Keeper

Five years ago, Harmony Care Bear came to visit this little 28 week, 2 pound baby.  She was a fighter. After a couple months in NICU, she came home.

Against all odds she turned out to be a perfectly formed, independent, smart little girl.
Today she is in kindergarten, and was awarded Student of the Month.  Yes, I am a proud, thankful grandma.