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It’s a frosty morning and will be a cold few days heading into spring. We won’t be planting our potatoes today.

We had our corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and carrots with my parents on Tuesday. I put a second corned beef brisket in the freezer for later. They are only available seasonally around here.

I finished _The Cloisters _. I wasn’t “in love” with any of the characters, but loved the descriptions inside the museum and the different areas of NYC. The plot wasn’t fast moving but I kept turning the pages to see what happened next. I found the ending a bit disturbing even though that was exactly where the author was leading.

I finally got _Demon Copperhead _ by Barbara Kingsolver from the library. It took several months on the wait list to get my turn. I’m a huge Kingsolver fan an the first 100 pages don’t disappoint. Damon Fields ( aka Demon Copperhead) reminds me of a few boys who struggled through middle school, bouncing around between relatives and foster homes. Hopefully their lives were not as horrific as in the book, but I know they were slipping through the cracks in spite of the teachers and our councilors who pushed the limits on how much they could legally do to help.

One of Junior’s cousins helped them do a seasonal photo shoot with JD. cutest leprechaun I’ve ever seen.

Over the weekend

Friday was a celebration of life for Helen Corlett. She was a quilter, domino players and wonderful person. She was 97 years old when she passed away. She will be missed.

Afterwards, I headed to St. James to help with a baby shower brunch for Sydney and Zane. Christa hosted me and Karol ( who also moved away after retirement) overnight. It was fun and giggles until about 9 pm—time for bed. we were up early and had plenty of help getting the golf club decorated, food arranged and tables set up. It was well attended and they received lots of thoughtful and useful gifts. Hannah is friends with Sydney and Zane so it’s interesting they are having babies so close together—in time, not location.

We had a potluck dinner after church Sunday. It’s always good to have a chance to catch up with people you only see for a few minutes once a week. Plus you get to eat a lot of good food.

I don’t like daylight savings time. It’s dark when I wake up. As the days get longer, it will be light by 6 am , but then it will be light until after 8 pm. Which means the chickens are still out running around when I’m ready to go to bed.

An early arrival

Our friends George and Linda visited us on their way back to Illinois from South Padre Island. They got here Tuesday afternoon. I decided to celebrate an early St Patrick Day meal of corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and carrots. It went over well.

We had a leisurely breakfast Wednesday morning, followed by some shopping. Bass Pro carries George’s favorite sandals so he got a new pair. Linda found some cute tennis shoes and a metal ladybug plant/garden decoration. That inspired her to want to shop for more cute lawn and garden decorations. We discovered a place NE of Willard that has a lot of concrete statuary and they also install fountains of all sizes. It’s called Sunshine Hills Gifts and we had no clue such a place existed.

Dennis was friendly with Big Foot but I found the alligator behind him frightening

We ended the day at Pisanos Sauce Lounge. It’s been over a year since we ate there. We were happy to discover the pizza and atmosphere was as good as we remembered.

Our friends left soon after breakfast this morning. Shortly afterwards we got a text from Hannah. She was at the hospital and in active labor. JD made his appearance about 4:30 California time he weighed in at 6 lbs 11 oz and 19” long. So much for all our plans to be there for his birth. We’re going to head out there as originally planned.

Mom and son. Everyone’s doing fine, including dad.


We got a little over 3” of rain on top of already saturated ground. Our basement leaked again. Fortunately it was along the south wall where Dennis has his office and greenhouse area. Nothing stored on the floor. Tables with plants and the desk with seeds and papers had to be pulled out to vacuum up the water and now that area has to be repainted with the leak seal paint. It looks like the water came in where the wall and floor join.

Dennis ordered this years garden seeds. We focused on drought and heat resistant varieties, as well as our usual favorites. He then took all the seed catalogs to church, for anyone to take.

Yesterday we joined friends in celebrating Howard Edmonds 90th birthday. That’s quite an achievement. My own dad will be 90 in October.

I spent the first part of the afternoon repairing Dennis’ favorite denim jacket. This may be the last time there’s enough solid fabric for repairs.

The jonquils have been blooming for a few days. The Surprise Lily leaves are up and I noticed some iris leaves poking up. Feeling a lot like spring today.

Rain and Wind

We have standing water in the front and back yards. It’s still raining and the wind is picking up. It’s 42* but “feels like” 34* with the wind. A miserable day.

I have a tiny pattern (totally accidental) in my reading. I impulsively picked up _Make Space for Happiness _. It’s about losing clutter by figuring out why you have it. It’s about how marketing encourages hoarding. BOGO sales. Buy 3 get the 4th free. I have also discovered “things you need” segments in what used to be serious news programs. The book is about believing you are enough without stuff. I am not a hoarder but I accumulate books and crafting supplies beyond what I “need”. Which means I also picked up Simon Brett’s book _The Clutter Corpse_. There are 2 more books in the series should I like the first one.

After much discussion and debate, Dennis and I decided on the dates we will be in California for the birth of JD. Babies are unreliable when guessing the date of their debut into the world. We’re going a few days before due date and staying a week past due date. Plane tickets are bought…so keeping fingers crossed weather or overbooked flights won’t affect us. After searching for Airbnb in the area, we settled on a hotel that is 10 minutes away. Basically the same price but much closer.

Since we are housebound due to weather, I’m reading those books and using those craft supplies. Proving I’m not a hoarder.. right?

Lawn & Garden Show

Yesterday afternoon we braved the wind and cold to attend the Lawn & Garden show at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds. It’s something we look forward to every February. Lots of farm machinery to drool over as well as gorgeous plant and seed displays. There are also educational and entertaining lectures almost every hour. Most speakers are local, but there is always a special guest speaker. The past 2 years it was P. Allen Smith. I’m a fan of his, but he presented the same lecture and slides both years. That was disappointing. This year Carol Reece is the main attraction. She’s from Mississippi but worked as an Extension Horticulture specialist for Tennessee for 25 years. She’s got wit to go with her knowledge. We attended the lecture on Native perennials. She made the point that all plants originated somewhere else. Animals and people transported them, knowing or unknowingly. The native maize that we consider native to the United States came up from South America. I wish I’d had pen and paper to write down some of her plant suggestions, although that would have detracted from just enjoying presentation.

Dennis was disappointed that there were no hydroponics vendors. He’s wanting to grow lettuce and salad stuff in the basement during the winter. It was still a fun way to spend a cold afternoon.

I just finished _Shutter_ by Ramona Emerson. It’s her first book and I hope she continues to write. It’s about a forensic photographer who also sees ghosts. She hooked me immediately and kept me turning the pages.

It’s not the Fabulous Fox Theater, but…

Dennis and I went to the matinée show at the historic Gillioz theatre this afternoon. The staff was friendly and the atmosphere upbeat. Assisted living facilities brought in residents, so there several folks using walkers. The theatre suffered from years of neglect but you can see that at one time it was elegant. I’m happy that it is being used and slowly restored.

Before the movie started, we learned some trivia. “The King and I” was released in 1956. The number one hit that year was Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel”. Presley gave a concert in the nearby Shriners auditorium and sneaked off to watch the movie at the Gillioz. He sat in a back seat on the left side and there is a star above the seat memorializing it. This was the first time I’d seen “The King and I” on the big screen.

It rained most of the day, but the sun came out just before sunset. We went to evening Ash Wednesday services. When we got home I heard Peepers! First time this spring. If the weather person is correct, their lips will get frozen shut tomorrow night.

Fraught with Change

That sounds dramatic, but what our weather person said about our roller coaster temperatures the past week.

I finished reading _John Eyre_ by Mimi Matthews. I read it for the role reversal of the characters. John Eyre hired by Mrs. Rochester to tutor her 2 (male) wards. The writer knew her Charlotte Brontë. She veered away from the original story by adding a vampire to the mix. It was done subtly and was well woven into the story. I enjoyed the book.

Our church has a number of elderly members and we’ve had a lot of deaths the past 6 months. The most recent death was Helen, age 97. She was the head of quilters and was part of the group that played dominoes every Wednesday afternoon. Her grandson who has MS lived with her and they managed to take care of each other. She was a good woman and will be missed.

MODoT switched our supplemental insurance from Blue Cross Blue Shield to United Health. The m not big on change, especially changes I have no control over. Thursday we had a visit from a Home Health nurse. It had all been arranged in advance. It seems this insurance company is interested in preventive care. Fortunately Dennis and I are mostly healthy and functional. We were found capable of muddling through our daily routines without outside assistance.

The historic Gillioz theater in Springfield has resumed their every other Wednesday matinees. We plan to go to the first one. It is “the King and I”. Old movies for old folks. 🤪. If you are over 60, it’s free. $5 for the young ‘uns.

The Day After

Since we don’t get Fox channel with our antenna, we had to stream the Superbowl game on Dennis’ laptop. We just put it on a TV tray and sat close together on the couch. I didn’t do any football food prep. We agreed earlier that I’d just heat up a pizza after the game started. I chose a Freshetta supreme and it was delicious. We also had a couple beers. Nothing I’d consider “over indulging “ but we both had heartburn by the end of the game. Getting old isn’t for wimps.

I’m sure there were lots of Chiefs fans celebrating all last night. It was an exciting games and both teams played honorably. I’m a Chiefs fan and happy they won, but watching the Eagles play, it wouldn’t have been horrible to lose to them.

Today has been a beautiful day. Sunny and warmed up to 60*. Dennis spent the day cleaning out the chicken palace and spreading accumulated chicken poop on top of the leaves on the garden. It’s too wet to till it in. After some discussion, we decided there’s not any danger of it being too “hot” and burning plants when it’s time to plant. Which isn’t any time soon.

Khloe’s regular groomer canceled her appointment last week due to her horse getting injured. She isn’t sure when Khloe can be rescheduled. I’m going to have to take her to PetSmart this week. She is getting too shaggy and stinky to ignore. Hopefully the horse will recover soon and we can get back our regular grooming routine. First world problems are real.

A Stop Along the Way

An overnight visit from a friend is always a welcome break from midwinter blah routine. It’s an excuse to do a bit deeper cleaning ( assuming the house is already clean and orderly) or some serious putting away and catching up on the usual cleaning tasks. A bit more thought goes into meal planning and entertainment.

Last night we were a stopover for Sue, on her way from central Illinois to Arizona. We’ve become a routine stop for her trips over the years, so we knew what she wanted/expected. First was an Okratini. It’s a dry gin martini with pickled okra instead of olive. We sat around and caught up a bit before eating supper. I fixed my current favorite go-to meal, roasted chicken with sweet potatoes ( the last from our garden), Yukon gold potatoes, carrots and onions. Afterwards we just chatted until about 11 pm.

It started raining during the night. It was a dreary gray morning, but coffee brightened things up. After a leisurely breakfast, Sue got back on the road. Westward Ho!

The past week was consumed by roofing contractor inspections and bids. We chose our contractor and now on his list to get both our roof and my parents roof new shingles. Fingers crossed that this new roof outlasts us.