Wooden Spoon VS 25 Lb Turkey

As usual, we have a big Christmas dinner at our house involving give or take 19 or more children and invited guests. Since we pack that many people around our dining room and assorted tables, we need a BIG turkey.  This year was the biggest one that we've ever had...a whopping 25 pound bird, stark naked, no feathers or innards.  Ken had to hunt through several grocery stores before he found this bird and could hardly lift it out of the grocery cooler.  But, with five teenage boys, three teenage girls, a seven year old and an assortment of adults, we had to have it.

Jon is our youngest daughter's husband and ever since joining our family, he has been the official turkey carver....he declines to work on the ham, saying he is "only qualified as a turkey carver"....you'd think after 18 years he'd figured out how to slice up a ham, but he avoids it. I always cook the turkey in a cooking bag because it cooks faster and, to us, the meat seems to be juicier. But the bag tends to create a lot of juice...I'm not exactly sure why, but we put him/her into the bag, tie it up, and by the time the little timer pops up out of it's breast, we have 3" of liquid in the bag.

On Christmas morning, I gave Jon the "turkey's ready" message and he came into the kitchen with the electric carving knife, ready to go.  He took the turkey out of the oven and put it, along with the cooking bag in the aluminum foil pan on the counter.  From there on, it was downhill all the way.

He asked for the wooden spoon which he used every year and prepared to put it into the rear cavity to lift the bird out of the cooking bag and onto the serving plate.  I was ready in the neck area with a big steel serving fork.  I took a look at the wooden spoon and the size of the bird and said "Jon, I don't think the wooden spoon is strong enough, I'll get another big serving fork"....but nooooo, he would not give in and insisted that with me in the front and him in the back, the wooden spoon would work just fine as it had done for many years.  Remember that he has done this for 18 years, BUT, this is the biggest bird we've even had. 

So, into the cavity went the spoon and into the neck area I jabbed the big, steel serving fork.  We both lifted and CRACK, the wooden spoon gave away, the turkey splashed back into the aluminum foil pan....hot greasy juice every where!  The counter, floor, Jon and I. 

Jon stood there with a confused, terrified, stunned look on his face, holding one half of a wooden spoon and staring down at the turkey, half in and half out of the foil pan.  After a second or two, I started to laugh so hard I had tears running down my face. Our dinner guests wondered what the commotion was, came into the kitchen and saw us staring down at the turkey on the counter.  Me laughing and Jon in a trance still holding the broken wooden spoon.

The turkey was just fine, Jon sliced it up and it was delicious.

But, Christmas dinner 2014 will forever be known as the "The Christmas of the  Wooden Spoon Vs the 25 lb Turkey"

Crawdads, the Midwest Version of Lobster

When I was growing up in 1948 Nebraska, one of my favorite things to do on a Saturday morning was to go "crawdadding" with my dad, two brothers, Bob and Junior and Dad's friends.

Hmmm, you don't know what "crawdads" are....well, lets see, in the south they are called crawfish, the eastern United States folks call them crayfish and some parts of this great nation refer to them as mudbugs or yabbies. But in the central and western areas, they are just plain ole crawdads….miniature lobsters.

I loved to go with them. We’d hop into Dad’s old Model T Ford and the guys would discuss where the best spots would be. Dad had his favorite places, depending on how much rain we’d had. Since he was the driver, we’d usually go there.

Crawdaddin’ wasn’t involved, took absolutely no talent and was a great way for us kids to get wet and muddy without being yelled at for doing it. Mom would scold Dad for letting me come home covered with mud and smelly pond water but all she’d say to me was “don’t come into the house with those muddy clothes on”.

I can still remember the feel of the squishy mud between my toes and the prickly thrill that maybe we’d get our toes pinched by a wandering crawdad or some fish would "get" us. Occasionally a small water snake would be sunning itself on the shore and would slither into the pond…..it took a whole lot of persuading to get me back into the water after seeing one.

Once we arrived at the right pond, Dad would hang a piece of beef liver on a string tied to a piece of wood....then he'd toss it out into a pond or slough (a muddy body of water). They'd throw out 10 or more floating tidbits and wait for a few minutes for the smell to attract the crawdads. They hung out fairly close to shore, under debris hiding from fish, raccoons and other creatures that lived in the area. They were the favorite food of whatever fish happened to live in the pond and had learned the art of self-preservation.

The crawdads would swim up and grab the liver with their big claws. We (the kids) would wade out, pick up the wood and slip a homemade net under the crawdads and occasionally would find some 5 or 6 inchers....we'd really get excited if we happened to get those big ones! Then we would come back to shore and dump the net into a gunny sack.

Once we got enough, a whole sack full, we'd head for home and empty the sack into our old claw bathtub filled with salty water. (on Saturday nights, I also was dumped into that tub…after Mom had scrubbed it out)

I was between 8-10 years old and loved to play with the crawdads before they turned into snacks!  

I’d look for the biggest ones and tease them to get them to open their claws. Had my fingers pinched many, many times. 

Once they were cleaned out by the salty water and rinsed, Mom would cook batches of them in her big soup pot….she’d add spices and whatever else was necessary to give them a spicy flavor. They turned bright red and the smell wafted through the open windows and sooner or later the whole neighborhood would smell the spicy crawdads cooking, bring their beer and we'd have a party! (the kids didn't get beer...don't remember what we had - probably kool-aid since it was cheap and easy to make.

Thanks for letting me share my memories…..

Four Year Old's Rules of Engagement

Andrew is our youngest grandson who goes to daycare/pre-school which is both a good thing and a bad thing. It’s good because he is learning to play with children his own age and not rely on Grandma and Grandpa to cater to his every wish. But, it’s turned into a bad thing because he has been exposed to and caught every germ the daycare has floating around. Everyone says “well, he has to build an immunity to those childhood illnesses”....trust me, that's not a particularly welcome comment to grandparents.

First colds, sore throats, sinus infections and resulting in surgery to place tubes in his ears to relieve fluid which has accumulated behind his ear drums. Do his grandparents feel guilty that he was in the dreaded daycare and not safe at home with us…..yes we do.

This morning I read an article by Sarah Warren a contributor to Momaha.com in Omaha, NE. She writes about a four letter word that Andrew has learned (from where?) and used regularly. Now he isn't as prone to this particular word since his older sister, Rebecca has taught him the "ways of life" and that its no longer funny.  BUT how embarrassing when he was with a group of mothers with their sweet children. But, Sarah reminds us that children have their own “Rules of Engagement”.
And, this was one of Andrew's favorites!

1. If I like it, it’s MINE
2. If it’s in my hand, it’s MINE
3. If I can take it from you, it’s MINE
4. If I had it a little while ago, it’s MINE
5. If it’s mine it must NEVER appear to be yours in any way
6. If I’m doing or building something, all the pieces are MINE
7. If it looks just like mine, it’s MINE
8. If I saw it first it’s MINE
9. If you are playing with something and you put it down, it automatically becomes MINE
10. If it’s broken, it’s YOURS

Sound familiar?

Hunting for Jack Rabbits in the 1930's

This photo is from a long time ago, probably in the late 1930s - back when I was a kid and my dad (the guy in the middle, my uncle John Bluvas on one side and friend Harry Hotovec on the other) and his buddies were dedicated jackrabbit hunters in rural Nebraska. In the 1930's hunting was a necessity, the depression was over but money was scarce. Rabbits, pheasants and ducks were plentiful and free.

Gas was something like $.25 or less a gallon and our old Model T Ford didn't use very much....great gas mileage. Dad would get his little group together and they'd leave early in the morning for their favorite hunting spot about 10 miles away. They'd hunt for whatever came across their path....and was in season. Dad was a stickler for obeying the law....no pheasants or ducks out of season. However, rabbits were another story....they were fair game all the time.

Jackrabbits are distant cousins of those "cute" little rabbits that hop around the yard, eating your plants and veggies...their tame cousins would show up at Easter time dyed pink, yellow or blue. Jackrabbits are the big mamas....and we ate a lot of them. Usually fried or in rabbit stew.

I believe they would be on the gourmet food menu now.

Tennis ain't just for kids!

First of all, let me introduce myself. I'm Jean aka JeaneBee, a 75 year old retiree who loves tennis and plays 2 times a week at the 3.5  (used to be 4.0) level. I live in Omaha, Nebraska, smack dab in the middle of the great Midwest where we spend half our tennis life playing in the heat and/or wind, and the other half playing on indoor courts to get out of the snow….indoors is a great place to play, no wind, no sun and no low flying birds!

Years ago, when I was young and foolish, I used to snicker at senior players, watching them put on their knee braces, elastic arm bands, sun visors and after having a swig of water went ditzing around on the court, talking, laughing and having a good ole time, then going out for coffee afterwards. Then, somehow, much to my dismay, I turned into one!

I realize that although we’re not as fast on the court and our ground strokes aren’t as hard as they used to be, we’re out there hitting the ball with the same love for the game that we always had. And yes, we do a little giggling and talking between games (SOME of us even like to sit down---bringing our own chairs if seating isn't available on the court!!)

I took up tennis as physical therapy after having a stroke at age 29…. it was termed a self-induced stroke but a stroke nevertheless. My husband I were “finishing” our basement and my job for the day was putting plaster on the ceiling and making swirls in it with a sponge. It looked pretty good and I was at it for most of the afternoon. My husband found me unconscious, blood streaming down my chin from a bitten lip and limp as a dish rag. He called the rescue squad and I spent two weeks in a stupor, getting punctured from stem to stern. The final diagnosis was stroke, but cerebral hemorrhage and epilepsy were running a close second and third.

I was a healthy 29 year old, preparing for my 10 year high school class reunion. I rode horseback, took gymnastics for years, played softball and was an all-around tomboy growing up and kept at it after marriage. I wasn’t a couch potato, overweight or a smoker, and neither my doctors nor myself could understand why I had a stoke…shouldn’t have happened. Years later, while reading the health section of Better Homes and Gardens magazine, I found out why it did.

Having my head tilted backward and looking up for hours while putting plaster on the ceiling had caused pressure on the back of my neck…reducing the blood flow to my brain….wham, bam, thank you ma’m.... and.....hello stroke.

Physical therapy after my stroke was practically non-existent. This was 1968 and physical therapy wasn't as common as it is now. A friend suggested that I take tennis lessons to improve my eye-hand coordination.....so my physical therapy consisted of learning to hit the ball against the YWCA wall and playing on a hardwood floor. Gradually I got better and better. I had good reflexes thanks to years of gymnastics (helps a lot when you take a fall while running after a tennis ball…you learn to “tuck and roll” gracefully and not sprawl all over the court) and my tennis improved.

Fortunately the stroke caused very little residual damage to my body and general health. I occasionally have trouble with speech, sometimes the words just aren't there and I need to "search" for the word I want......I almost have to visualize it and can then say it (many people think that my sometimes halting conversation is because I want to emphasize a point.....WRONG) Also, my short term memory comes and goes….my doubles partners know that when I ask “what’s the score?” I'm serious, its gone, I’ve forgotten it. Even if I’m serving, the memory is gone and I have to rely on my partners. Guess that tells you why I seldom play really competitive singles!

Now onto our senior tennis. My teammates are great! We are all over 60, actually most of us are over 65, grandmothers many times over and play in a Super Seniors league…its not a “hit and giggle” league.. we are as intense and play as hard as we ever did.. We all play on other leagues with players who are younger than our own children. And we do our share of winning, I might add.
But you’re only as old as you feel – (well, that's not exactly true) and we are a pretty frisky bunch. Most of us have played with and against each other in tournaments for years. We're familiar with each other's families, children and grandchildren. We care when one of us is hurt, sick or has a family member who is hurt or sick. We keep them in our prayers.

In April, 2007, our team, the SOMOS SOMOS represented Missouri Valley at the Senior Nationals Championships in Charleston, South Carolina. WOW, is the Family Circle stadium a beautiful sports facility. We met some great ladies and hope to see
them next year.

We didn't win, but fought a good fight. And, we looked great in our bright pink and black tennis clothes. Did I mention that when our group travels, the first place we look for is the nearest grocery for snacks and various drinks (soda, bottled water and WINE....we have a couple of players who really "whine" if they don't have wine with their snacks!) and the second place is shopping malls or any place where the best bargains in tennis clothes will be. We left a LOT of money at the Family Circle pro shop!

Our Super Senior team played in Oklahoma City in September again we didn’t win our Division of the tournament , (hmmmmm, I'm really getting tired of saying that! ) but did win the talent contest! I wrote the song, and the team sang….luckily the judges liked the words since our singing was awful!

Halloween of Years Gone By

I borrowed parts of this writing from Mary Maxwell, a popular speaker at events throughout Nebraska and across the country.  It reminded me so much of my childhood that I wanted to share it with you.
For those of us who grew up in the '40s, '50s, and '60s, Halloween was a fun time for children and for adults who made cookies, popcorn balls and gumdrop people for the goblins and ghosts who would come to their doors.  When our kids were young we sent them on their way on Halloween night with older kids in charge of the younger ones.  The little ones carried little sacks or plastic pumpkins and "trick or treat" and "thank you" was the norm when they came to the door and received their treats.  

There was always at least one house where they would be asked to do a trick, sing or a little dance before getting anything in their sacks.  That was part of the fun even if the older kids grumbled about it.  And, one house which was avoided by the older kids who had been there the year before.... the owner would hand out Bartlet pears, green and as hard-as-a-rock as their treat.  Unfortunately many of them did not make it very far....the kids generally pitched them away to make room in their sacks for goodies.

It was so much fun...the older kids would bring the little ones back after a tour around the block, examine  their loot (the big kids used pillow cases as bags) then would travel three or four blocks away packing more and more candy into their bags till they finally reached the house where they knew that cans of soda pop were being given (in the early 70's and 80', a can of pop was considered a REAL TREAT! )  A few houses away was the little Granny sitting on her porch giving her homemade caramel popcorn balls carefully wrapped in wax paper.  The kids wouldn't ever consider not going there, even if it was snowy and the blowing winds made them shiver.

Their pillow cases would bulge with various kinds of loot....at our house, the bags were dumped out on the kitchen table or a clean sheet laid on the floor and the kids would go through it...trading one piece of candy for another.."I'll give you 3 pieces of gum for a Tootsie pop"...."I don't like gumdrops, anyone want to trade?".  Even Dad got into the act ..if he found a piece of candy he liked, usually chocolate, it was HIS...no argument from the kids, they knew when they had a good thing going.
Then years later things changed.  On Halloween night vans and cars started to arrive on our street to drop-off 4 or 5 or more kids to go trick or treating in our neighborhood.  They would race from one house to another, ring the doorbell and hold out their sacks....once they got their loot, they'd turn around and race to the next.  Once in a while one would say "thank you" or "have a nice Halloween" ....that made up for the many who didn't.
Then the next thing we knew, people became very concerned about candy being laced with dangerous and harmful stuff.  Hospitals and medical emergency rooms volunteered to x-ray the candies in case someone had inserted a pin or other dangerous item in them.  The friendly folks who once treated with homemade cookies and popcorn balls were told "mama said to only take things that are bought at the grocery store".
The old tradition of trick-or-treating has nearly been abandoned in favor of home or school parties, malls and stores giving candies and gifts for the best costumes and for just being there.  Many children will never have the fun and thrill of dressing up and being in their neighborhood long after "the street lights came on" and being almost scared by a ghost, vampire, Darth Vader or even Frankenstein himself as they went from place to place was part of the fun.
How sad that is........

Our Descendents

My husband and I have 7 grandchildren.....aging from age 6 years to age 22. Four of them live in Omaha, NE and the other three live in Naperville, IL. 

Jennifer, Austin, Rebecca and Andrew are wonderful, active kids.......we all live within a mile or so of each other so I see them often. Mason, Connor and Hayden now live in Illinois. When the kids were younger, our daughters, would occasionally call us, usually early in the morning, saying "mom, what are you doing today?" That meant that I would be babysitting for one or the other. Luckily we are retired and have no or at least not too many commitments and am available.

Several years ago, we went on a family cruise.......What a fun time! On Aruba we stopped at a small zoo and the kids played with the baby monkeys.........of course, Jenny fell in love with them and would have liked to take one home.  Its a good thing we were 1,000's of miles from home and on a cruise ship, or she would have talked her Dad into getting one for her! 

Dogs I Have Owned and Loved

The first dog that lived in our home when I was a kid was Rex, a Heinz 57 variety of cocker spaniel and traveling man. Rexie was mostly black and brown with tan eyebrows and muzzle...I see a lot of dogs with that combination so the traveling man was very popular with the ladies.

My o
wn first dog was a collie given to me by Ken, my high school sweetheart and the guy I eventually married. Danni was a purebred, an offspring of two show dogs. Danni didn't have the large white ruff around his neck so was not considered show quality and his price was affordable. He was a sweet, good natured dog but had wanderlust....when we moved to a new house in the suburbs without a fenced in yard, Danni wandered off.....we always hoped that he found a good home.

When our second daughter was about 2 years old, we decided to get another dog....prior to this, a friend had given us a pony...a little white spotted mare. Since our suburban neighborhood was rapidly filling with new homes, we no longer had space for a pony so traded her to a farmer friend for a bassett puppy. Lazee Dazee was the family playmate and followed our girls whereever they went. Dazee died when she was 8 years old.

Our family was growing so we bought a larger house and moved again...by this time we had 3 children, 2 girls and a boy. And wanted another dog. Freckles was found at our local animal shelter...a combination of cocker spaniel and we think terrier. She was also a very prolific little dog....she had evidentally had some dealings with another traveling man because a month or so later she had a litter of 6 darling little black and white puppies. About this time we decided that 3 young children, a dog and 6 puppies was too much for me to care for, so my mom graciously volunteered to take Freckles and her brood. Freckles lived out her life in luxury .... spoiled to the max.

When our last child, Nancy, was 3, we were given a German Shorthair Pointer....a beautiful dog. His name was Argang's Dark Shadow and he lived with us until his death at age 13. Shadow was of the "traveling man" variety...if he could climb the fence, slip out the gate or get out of the door, he was GONE!. The kids would run after him yelling "Shadow, Shadow" and he'd tuck his tail between his legs and run....but he always came home. 

After Shadow passed away, I said "NO MORE DOGS" but of course no one listened. Our son was 16 and had just passed his driving test...he had a license!!.. so the first place he went was the animal shelter.
I was busily cleaning up in the kitchen when the phone rang....a lady from the shelter. She said that Jeff was there wanting to adopt a dog...since he was still under our roof, she said she couldn't let him have one without our permission. I asked "what does the dog look like, what kind is it?" She must have been very anxious for Jeff to have the dog because her description was a little vague...."well, its white with black spots and we think it is a terrier.." Yep, it was white and black alright, but about 8" taller than any terrier. We had Duke for nearly 10 years.

Finally our children married and moved into homes of their own. And, we were dogless. But not for long. Our youngest, Nancy decided that we needed a pet, so brought over a darling little cocker spaniel puppy....golden brown with a WHITE topnotch....his name was Copper Valley Flintstone. One look at those liquid brown eyes and we were hooked. Fred is 14 years old and is my husband's constant companion.

The last member of our doggy family was a Keeshound named D. B. Kuper....Kuper was one of our son's four dogs. When Jeff moved from the country to the city, he could only take three of the dogs with him. Kuper needed a home...ours. Luckily Fred and Kuper knew each other and Fred was willing to share his home and yard....not his doghouse however. Kuper knew that the doghouse was forbidden territory and never went in. They were good buddies until Kuper died of cancer.

Ole Fred is not in the best of health, he doesn't see well and is hard of hearing (so is his owner!) or has selective hearing....hears when he wants to. He has a small tumor which is being watched. We dread the day that Fred passes away, but realize that it will not be far off.  Fred will be our last dog....I cannot handle my heart being torn apart piece by piece when our sweet, beloved dogs die. Each of them lives in my heart and memories of them will be with me always.

Post script:  Fred passed away on September 1, 2011.  He had been ill for a while and one night, he curled up in his bed and went to sleep. We hope that he will be waiting for us with the rest of our beloved dogs at the Rainbow Bridge. 

I stood by your bed last night,
I came to have a peep
I could see that you were crying,
you found it hard to sleep
I whined to you softly as
you brushed away a tear,
"it's me, I haven't left,
I'm well, I'm fine, I'm here"
I was close to you at breakfast,
I watched you pour the tea
You were thinking of the many times,
your hands reached down to me
I was with you at the shops today,
your arms were getting sore
I longed to take your parcels,
I wish you could do more
I was with you at my grave today,
you tend it with such care

I want to reassure you,
that I'm not lying there
I walked with you towards the house,
as you fumbled for your key
I gently put my paw on you,
I smiled and said "it's me"
You look so very tired,
and sank into a chair
I tried so hard to let you know,
that I was standing there
It's possible for me,
to be so near you every day
To say to you with certainty,
"I never went away"
You sat there very quietly,
then smiled, I think you knew
In the stillness of that evening,
I was very close to you
The day is over,
I smile and watch you yawning
And say "goodnight, God bless,

I'll see you in the morning"
And when the time is right for you
to cross the brief divide,
I'll rush across to greet you
and we'll stand, side by side
I have so many things to show you,
there is so much for you to see
Be patient, live your journey out,
then come home to be with me.

(source:  http://memorial4ourbelovedpets.blogspot.com/ )

Did an Angel help me?

I have always believed in angels, well sort of. I've read about strangers who appear when someone is in trouble, in an accident, or just needing help.....and then when the problem is over, just disappear. Not fade away like a movie angel would, they just are no longer there.

In October of 2008, my husband and I went on a 12 day train trip, starting in Chicago and making a circle through Nebraska, Colorado, California, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Minnesota and ending up back in Chicago.

We met 8 of his model train club buddies in the lower level of the Chicago train depot. Some of them had taken a train from Omaha but we had driven to Naperville, IL where our daughter and family live and then took the commuter train into the Chicago depot. Most of us were retired and all were looking forward to this trip,

We met in the lower section of the depot and lined up to take the escalator to the upper level. We carried our our luggage with us, suitcases and duffle bags.....2 or 3 apiece. We should have taken the elevator. One by one we stepped onto the escalator. I was behind an elderly lady holding her suitcase and purse and behind me were other people with theirs. Suddenly about half way up to the 2nd floor, a older man who was about 8 feet ahead of me lost his balance and went down on his knees, his luggage tumbling down onto the people behind him. He couldn't get up, and the escalator kept going, taking him closer and closer to the teethlike end where the stairs disappear into the floor.

He sprawled onto the floor at the top of the escalator, still unable to get to his feet. But the escalator didn't stop. It kept going, causing the rest of us to fall on top of him. I was so afraid that someone would get their clothing or hands caught in the end of the escalator. The lady in front of me fell on top of the person in
front of her, I fell to my knees over her, and the people and luggage behind me piled up on top of us.

The escalator kept going and I yelled out "somebody help us"....there were people walking around on the upper level but no one noticed us or had made a move to come over to help. Then a young man came out of nowhere and I heard "push the red button"....by that time, I was at the
top of the escalator well within reach of it. I slapped it, and the escalator stopped. When I slapped the button, it was about as big as a silver dollar and bright red.

We are all so fortunate that none of us were badly hurt....bruised, scraped and scared, but not hurt. The gentleman who had fallen was so apologetic and felt so bad about causing the accident. All I could think of was that old Lucille Ball TV show where Lucy and Ethel were working at a candy factory and they couldn't package the candies fast enough and the candy on the conveyer belt kept coming and coming and coming.

The young man who had told me to hit the button was gone. Maybe he had to catch a train, maybe he had somewhere else to be, but he was gone. All I could remember about him that he was fairly young and had light hair...nothing else. And, none of our group remembered seeing him at all.  So, did I really HEAR   "push the red button" or did I mentally HEAR the words?

After the trip was over and we were back in Chicago, we took the elevator  to the upper floor.  (no more dealing with luggage and escalators)  I walked over to the escalator and looked for the red stop button.  There it was right on the top of the escalator next to the moving belt.  But, it had a plastic cover over it and it was a little push button about the size of a nickel. Not at all what I remembered.  I absolutely DID NOT have to open a plastic lid and fumble around for a nickel sized button....I was on my knees on the escalator and just reached up and slapped it.

So, did we have an encounter with an angel or just a nice guy? Personally, I think whoever it was had wings and other places to go and other people to help.

MEN...you gotta love 'em

If Joleen, Marte and Jean go out for lunch, they will call each other Joleen, Marte and Jean.

If Mike, Dave and John go out, they will affectionately refer to each other as Fat Boy, Godzilla and Four-eyes.

When the bill arrives, Mike, Dave and John will each throw in $20,even though it's only for $32.50. None of them will have anything smaller and none will actually admit they want change back.  When the girls get their bill,out come the pocket calculators.

A man will pay $2 for a $1 item he needs. A woman will pay $1 for a $2 item that she doesn't need but it's on sale.

A man has six items in his bathroom: toothbrush and toothpaste,shaving cream, razor, a bar of soap, and a towel . The average number of items in the typical woman's bathroom is 337. A man would not be able to identify more than 20 of these items.

A woman has the last word in any argument. Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.

A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband. A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife.

A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend.  A successful woman is one who can find such a man.

A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn't.  A man marries a woman expecting that she won't change, but she does.

A woman will dress up to go shopping, water the plants, empty the trash, answer the phone, read a book, and get the mail.  A man will dress up for weddings and funerals.

Men wake up as good-looking as they went to bed. Women somehow deteriorate during the night.

Ah, children. A woman knows all about her children. She knows about dentist appointments and romances, best friends, favorite foods, secret fears and hopes and dreams. A man is vaguely aware of some short people living in the house.

A married man should learn to forget his mistakes.  There's no use in two people remembering the same thing!

A Great Way to Start Mother's Day! (sarcasm!)

Another Mother's Day ..Well, I qualify since I have four lovely children...and even more so if you include our equally lovely grandchildren.  They are coming over to take Ken and I to a Mother's Day luncheon.  Yeaaaa, I don't have to cook!

This morning didn't start out well though....our grandson Andrew had been visiting last night, and I had forgotten how much he likes to twirl dials and punch buttons....especially in the kitchen.  I decided to eat lightly so put two slices of  raisin bread into the toaster and walked over to pour myself a cup of tea...
Phew, something was burning!  My toast was toasted to a nice dark black cinder!  Andrew had obviously been fooling around with the dial and had moved it from normal/medium to the highest setting the little toaster had.  Smoke and burnt toast....great...

I went to the kitchen cabinet grabbed the Glade air spray and started spraying the kitchen, living room and hallway. "Hmmmm the aerosol container must be nearly empty since spray is coming out, but I can't smell the fragrance"  About that time I slipped on the slate hallway.  In fact, I could have ice-skated all the way down the hallway.

I must have muttered fairly loudly, some un-motherly words because Ken came into the room and asked what was the matter.  He looked at the container of Glade in my hand....surprise, it was not Glade, it was my aerosol can of Olive Oil No-Stick Cooking Spray.

Yep, I had sprayed the kitchen, living room and hallway with greasy, oily no-stick spray.  The furniture looks okay, the overstuffed chairs and couch look to be spray-free, but the slate floor sucked up the oil like a magnet.  And WOW, is it ever shiny!

So....how was YOUR Mother's Day?

Where did our US jobs go??????

This was sent to me by a friend who lost her job in October. She had worked at the same place for 15 years....but no longer. Her company could not compete with the foreign imports...many of which were actually American companies who chose to have their items made overseas.....cheaper? I suppose so. But in a way, we, as comsumers are also to blame. We want the best bargain, i.e. cheapest, items we can find....who cares if John, Helen, Tom or Doreen, American citizens, will lose their jobs....obviously we don't.

John Q. Public started the day early having set his alarm clock (MADE IN JAPAN ) for 6 am.

While his coffeepot (MADE IN CHINA) was perking, he shaved with his electric razor (MADE IN HONG KONG ).

He put on a dress shirt (MADE IN SRILANKA ), designer jeans (MADE IN SINGAPORE ) and tennis shoes (MADE IN KOREA).

After cooking his breakfast in his new electric skillet (MADE IN INDIA ) he sat down with his calculator (MADE IN MEXICO ) to see how much he could spend today.

After setting his watch (MADE IN TAIWAN) turning off his radio (MADE IN INDIA ) he got in his car (MADE IN GERMANY ) filled it with gas (FROM SAUDI ARABIA) and continued his search for a good paying AMERICAN JOB.

At the end of yet another discouraging and fruitless day of checking his computer (MADE IN MALAYSIA), John decided to relax for a while. He put on his sandals (MADE IN BRAZIL ) poured himself a glass of wine (MADE IN FRANCE ) and turned on his TV (MADE IN INDONESIA ), and then wondered why he can't find a good paying job in AMERICA.

Do you see anything WRONG with this story? You should.

Our Legacy



..........................100 Years From Now.......

It will not matter what our bank account was, the sort of house we lived in or what kind of a car we drove, but the world may be different because we were important in the life of a child...

Our grandchildren:  Mason, Jennifer, Connor, Austin, Hayden, Rebecca and Andrew...

Grandpa and Grandma Boicourt

Our Summer Went to the Dogs

In late August,  our youngest daughter, Nancy, asked if we could dog-sit their basset hound, Daisy Mae for a week.  "Sure, when?....."Tomorrow? ..."dahhhhh OK"   This had been a summer of dog sitting.  Granddaughter Jennifer called in July to ask if we could take care of her little highland terrier, Oakley, then two days later came daughter Christine's call from Chicago,  "Mom, can you watch Cloe and Bella when we go to Denver?"......."sure"  Cloe is a cocker-poo and Bella is Shitz Tzu. So, Oakley, Cloe and Bella were here at the same time.  The girls got along great...once in a while Cloe, the oldest would get a little peeved with the two younger dogs..."I'm too old to play "chase around the yard!!!!".   Their food dishes had to be in different areas...Cloe eats like a horse and, if she can, she will eat whatever the other dogs left in their dishes.

We're not used to little dogs and these pint-sized girls would follow me around like three little white shadows.  If I took a step backward, I'd almost step on one of them!  Things went very well except at bedtime...Oakley was used to being kenneled at night, but not the other two.  They are Christine's babies....so, Ken and I had two bed partners.  Ken finally gave up and slept in another room...which actually caused me to have a week of peaceful sleep....Ken snores. On the other hand, Daisy Mae is a sweetheart but has not been around Ken and I as often. We'd see her when we'd go over to Nancy's house, but she doesn't know us well.  Nancy brought her over about 7:15 AM on her way to work...she and family were leaving that afternoon for a vacation in Minnesota before our granddaughter Rebecca went back to school.  

We put Daisy Mae in the back yard and I settled into a deck chair to enjoy the beautiful cool morning, have a cup of tea and watch the birds devouring the seeds in the bird feeder.  Suddenly I realized that I couldn't see Daisy Mae then caught a glimpse of her tail as she slipped through the back gate.  Yikes, she hadn't been in our care for 15 minutes and I've lost her already. I started calling "Daisy, Daisy, come're girl"...she just kept going, slowly but with determination.  So out of the yard I went, house slippers, nightgown and all.  I caught up with her two houses away as she started up the neighbor's front steps. Since I didn't have her leash I had to grab her collar and try to get her back to our yard.  She is about 15" at the shoulder and weighs about 20+ lbs so I didn't try to pick her up...I don't think I could have anyway.  And, I couldn't bend over and hold her by the collar while I shuffled her back home...I get a backache even thinking about it.  

Bassets are difficult to pick up....their bodies are long and stocky, very unbalanced. So I grabbed her by the collar, lifted up her chest and front legs and  walked her home on her hind legs....it was uncomfortable for both of us.
Luckily the neighbors weren't looking out their windows or driving down the street 
on their way to work....they would have seen a 74 year old grandmother in a nightgown and fuzzy slippers trying to get an extremely heavy and uncooperative  basset hound back to the yard.  Her  little jaunt must have  tired her out because she spent the rest of the morning curled up on our front room chair...which by the way was NEVER allowed when we had dogs.  Guess it's that ole grandma thing, grandkids and pets get by with a lot more than they used to.

Since I haven't heard from anyone.....or been pointed out at the grocery store followed by hysterical laughter, I think I pulled it off!!!!!! 

Made in America

I sell on twi online auction sites....Ebay and  Bonanza.   Many of my items are from my family, estate sales, garage sales, Thrift stores, and marked-down sales from big name stores.

I watched a news story last night that made me realize how I am contributing to the downfall of American industry....I looked at the items I have for sale, and was disappointed to see that less than 1/3 of them were made in America....made in the USA.

The ABC News reporter, Diane Sawyer said that if everyone in the United States bought ONE item made in the USA, thousands of Americans would still have their jobs. ONE item, costing less than $3.33. "ABC World News with Diane Sawyer" is launching a groundbreaking series, "Made in America," focusing on American manufacturing and our economy. 

The facts show that our nation is addicted to imports. In 1960, foreign goods made up just 8 percent of Americans' purchases. Today, nearly 60 percent of everything we buy is made overseas.

One of the results....the city I live in has a huge population of lower income families. And, our crime rate is out of sight...Why? There are no jobs and the possibility of getting one is slight. So, public assistance is a way of life and, if things get really tight, robbing or stealing is the alternative......they have families and families need food, housing and clothing.

At one time, we were known as the meat-packing center of the United States, we had the stockyards, Armour, Cudahy and other packing houses, Northwestern Bell Telephone Company, Union Pacific Railroad, public utilities, small businesses and factories where people could find jobs.....lets face it, not everyone is smart enough or wants to be a computer technician, retail sales person, teacher, doctor or design websites.

What are the young people in this area to do? Yes, there are some that will fight their way out of near poverty, but again, they are the exception....the majority have lost the desire to go to work even if work is available. And, why work when welfare checks arrive every month. In the past, one could always enlist in the armed forces.....not anymore. Their standards have gone up...no longer can someone  "join the Army and see the world" ... in my teens, I knew several young men who were given option of "join the Army or go to jail".   They were provided an education and a purpose in life.

I have wandered away from my original idea with this article. Yes, I will keep my items listed on Ebay and  Bonanza ...and hope they will sell.  BUT, I will make it a priority to seek out items MADE IN THE USA which I will put up for sale (and list them that way on my auction sites.)

Look at items in your home or closet....are you helping America's industries by buying Made in USA? If not.....why not?????

And, to those American companies who have moved their factories out of the United States and by doing so KNOWINGLY put thousands of American workers out of jobs

....SHAME ON YOU !!!

Hey tennis friends....
effective March 5, 2009, HEAD Penn closed their Phoenix factory, and moved all remaining tennis ball production to China.

Tennis A Sport For Everyone To Enjoy

For a long time tennis has been my favorite sport....I have good  tennis friends and teammates and have many fun-filled memories of our tennis trips to tournaments throughout the Missouri Valley. Plus of course several trips to USTA National Tournaments.

I have been playing tennis for over 47 years.....it was my "physical therapy" after having a stroke at age 25.  "Physical Therapy" was not as easy to find as it is now.

Only Christine, one of our three daughters had any interest in playing tennis, but she was, and still is a very good player.  Her team photo, complete with a huge headfull of blonde hair is on the wall of Burke High School in Omaha, NE.  This was the late 70's, big hair was in style.  Two of her sons, our grandsons,  play on their college tennis team....and their younger brother plays for his high school team.  I can proudly brag that all three of them learned to play tennis on the courts in Meadow Lane Park....about a block from home... and that I was their first tennis teacher!  

Many, many years ago, about 1980, Christine and I played in and won The Equitable Family Challenge tournament held here in Omaha.  We then represented Nebraska in Kansas City, MO where we won the mother/daughter division, thus gaining the honor of representing the Midwest in the Family Challenge held in conjunction with the US Open Tennis Tournament in New York City.  All of the Family Challenge winners from around the United States were housed in the Halloran House Hotel located in the Waldorf Astoria area (where we met the other players in the large ballroom).

We were bused every morning to the National Tennis Center where we had full access to the grounds.  We were face to face with the great players of that time, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg, Billie Jean King, Rosie Casals, Chris Evert, Hana Mandlikova.  We were able to watch all the matches, stand along the fences at the practice courts and say "good morning" to the players. I picked up one of the practice balls that Rosie Casals had been using and Chris took it home to gave to Jill Garlock, her high school tennis coach..  Later we watched as John McEnroe defeated Bjorn Borg and Chris Evert defeated Hana Mandlikova in the finals.

We were allowed in the players locker room right along with the pros and other Family Challenge players. One of my favorite memories is seeing a sign-up sheet in the laundry room next to the locker room....Chris Evert was scheduled to do her laundry at 9:00 am and several of the other players were also in line to do theirs....yes, they do need to wash their socks, tops and undies, same as everyone else.

Since we had access to the grounds before the general public entered, we saw many of the players wandering around, practicing or just talking to each other.  I noticed a really tall female tennis player and thought to myself, "how on earth can anyone lob over her"  She was head and shoulders taller than the female players she was talking to.  Later I found that the 6' 2" player was Renee Richards.

I wish I could say that Christine and I did well in the tournament, but we lost in the first round.  We played well, but lost to a mother/daughter team from the East Coast.  

We have so many wonderful memories of that ALL EXPENSE PAID trip to New York.   

The Craftsman pliers walleye!

Our son-in-law, J. P. Jones was a semi-professional walleye fisherman, was on the TRACKER fishing team, former President of the Nebraska Walleye Association and a really good fisherman. He frequently appears at sports, boats and vacation shows in the midwest giving demonstrations, showing off the TRACKER boats, etc.

ESPN had already taken shots of John fishing and catching walleyes, but after viewing the tapes, the producers of the show wanted more footage of John casting and "setting the hook" etc. So, he and our daughter, Lisa, went to a nearby lake to tape. John, figuring this would be a quickie, put a weight and lure on the line, cast out and promptly gave the rod a good pull - setting the hook.

Unfortunately, what he set the hook into was a sunken tree limb - snap went the line and the only "lure" that John had taken onto the boat. He hadn't planned to actually fish so didn't have his tackle box on this "trip" - result--no other lures.

But our John is a resourceful young man - he took a pair of Craftsman pliers from his back pocket and attached it to the line. Ok, so far, so good. He cast the pliers out and they made a nice ker-plunk as they hit the water. Then, John had his hands full!

The pliers opened up and gave him more of a fight than most walleye's do - they dove, swerved, bent the rod, went under the boat as the opened pliers were reeled in. All this time, John is laughing like crazy, not expecting this kind of action at all. Lisa is filming this from shore and is laughing so hard she was having trouble keeping the camera level.
John managed to land his Craftsman (pliers) and they presented the tape to ESPN (but didn't tell them about the big strike...they just let ESPN assume that they released the "fish")

The end of the story is that John has some of the best fishing action he has ever had on tape. The ESPN people will cut and splice shots of him casting and "setting" the hook, "fighting" the fish (pliers), and then show him bringing in and netting a nice walleye that he had caught when the ESPN guys were with him.
If you ever see John P. Jones from Nebraska on the sports network (ESPN) and he is casting out and battling the best fighting fish you ever saw, you'll know "the rest of the story".

John made me promise not to tell this story - but you guys won't say a word will you!!!!!

My New Car "Abie" Lincoln

Ken decided that due to increasing gas prices, it was time to replace our old  pickup truck with a newish pre-owned vehicle.  His heart was set on a 2009 Lincoln...I think he reveres Lincolns from when he was a kid...only the rich drove Lincolns or Cadillacs. 

Anyway, we now own a 2009 silver Lincoln MKZ....it is a nice vehicle and gets 19+ mph in the city and over 30+ mph on the highway.   BTW, what is the big deal for advertising the great mph on the highway...we live in the city, I haven't driven on a highway since last year when we drove to Naperville, IL to visit our daughter and family.  We want something that gives us great mpg IN THE CITY!!!   We wanted something that didn't suck gas like it was a Pepsi cola on steroids when I drove to the grocery store, went shopping or just plain drove around town.
The Lincoln MKZ was purchased last Friday....Ken is not usually stubborn about things but getting this new vehicle was one thing he was determined to do.  I am a worry wart and didn't want to face car payments when our income (retired folks here) was teetering on income-in and income-out being pretty close together.  
The car (I call it "Abie"...after Abraham LINCOLN) is very nice and has a whole bunch of buttons that we, especially me since I am the main driver, have to acquaint ourselves with.  Case in point...driving Abie home from the dealership (me driving...it is now MY car) , Ken sitting in the passenger seat, started pushing buttons on the console. 

Suddenly, I have flashing yellow emergency lights on the dashboard.  "WHAT DID YOU DO????"....push another button and a swerving  little orange car pops up next to the flashing lights. The Lincoln then decided that English was no longer the language of choice, and my mph appeared in km (kilometers?)....push more buttons and it wants to know if we want English or French (car was assembled in Mexico...but French is it's native language).....all I wanted was to get off the highway before  Ken pushed something else....he was hoping if he pushed the right button "Abie" would recognize the touch of an English speaking person.  No such luck. About this time, Ken took the "how to" instruction manual out of the glove compartment.  I suppose that if you are a person who buys lots of NEW vehicles, or are teenagers, you understand the language of new cars.  We aren't either.  We drove home with km, flashing warning lights and swerving little orange car all doing their thing. 

On Saturday, we drove back to the dealership ... our salesman came out to the car and we went through the buttons...I still don't know how they all work...but we're in English mode now and that's a step forward.  Somewhere in the system "Abie" holds the secret of how many miles I can drive before running out of gas, how to get my seat to either warm up in winter or get cool in summer and what the buttons on both sides of the steering wheel control.
Did you ever see the commercial where a lady and her husband (Bob Newhart) are standing next to a beautiful new car and she is pushing buttons on her remote trying to open the door?  She says something like "whats wrong with this remote???".....he leans over and says, "you're trying to open this car and we drive that station wagon over there".
Duhhhh, that's exactly what happened to me. I played tennis with some friends on Tuesday  (only had the car a few days) and they wanted to see the interior.  I walked up to the shiny silver car and pushed the remote button....nothing happened.  I pressed it again...nothing happened.  Oh great, what do I do now.  
My friend Mari, said to me (after she stopped laughing"Jean, your remote button won't work....you're trying to open my Lexus".....yep, her silver Lexus was parked next to my silver Lincoln.  

I am still not familiar with the buttons on the console, there are waaaaay too many of them.  Plus, when I need one I am actively driving the car....why are the windshield wipers, fan, and assorted buttons located in the right side of the console hidden under the radio and disk player?  To see them, I have to bend over and decide which is which.  Then I am a danger to other drivers since I have now  taken my eyes off the road.  

My thoughts were that this car was obviously designed by guys....those who have short, sturdy fingers and fingernails.   The trunk only opens 1/2" to 3/4" when I push the "open" button.  It does not have a handle, slot or anything to grasp to open the trunk.  You have to slip your fingers under the trunk lid and lift it up.  Want to guess how many fancy fingernails I have sacrificed doing this.  Plus, we live in Nebraska...we have SNOW....the little 1/2"- 3/4" crack is hard to find when fumbling through the accumulated snow..  And, since it is usually frozen down, it doesn't want to open anyway.    
I took Abie to our local dealer to see what could be done...answer..nothing!  He said that "they" found that if the trunk opens too far it could be caught by a gust of wind, blow open, hit the owner/opener in the face and cause an injury resulting in a lawsuit.  I'm not sure who would be sued...possibly the manufacturer.   He also pooh-poohed my idea of putting a little silver handle or knob on the side of the lid.....  "Over the years the necessary hole in the trunk could rust - the car's value would be depreciated"  I'm sure that "over the years"  there may be rust elsewhere on the car which would also cause it to be "depreciated"....duh...  

He suggested that I attach a piece of microfiber belting to the inside of the trunk lid and when closing the trunk leave a tail of the belting hang out.  Therefore, giving me something to open the trunk with.    

Yeah sure...I've put that suggestion on the back burner.

Here Kitty Kitty

We have a nice-sized flower garden in our yard, complete with a pond with a little fountain.  It’s Ken’s pride and joy.  Every year we stock it with goldfish and once in a while, a tadpole or two.  The fish are fun to watch, and will come to the surface if you twiddle your fingers on the edge of the water.
Unfortunately, this has been their downfall.  We start off with two dozen goldfish, the ones that survive the summer are put into our family room fish tank to grow bigger for the next summer season.  By the end of this summer, there were only about 5 or 6 goldfish left…we’ve seen a raccoon several times during the year (I even caught one in a critter trap..but released it…we were trying to catch the rabbits that have eaten our hostas and other flowers down to dirt level) I had always blamed the demise of  the goldfish on the raccoon.
However, this morning, I looked out of our kitchen window and saw a big cat on the back fence..at first glance, I thought, “oh my gosh” there’s a baby mountain lion”….four years ago a big, fully grown mountain lion, aka Puma was taking up residence in our neighborhood park.  He is now living in the Henry Doorly Zoo cat complex.
Anyway, this turned out to be a large, beautiful tan and black Siamese cat.  I could see that it was wearing a collar, so I know it was not a feral cat…it jumped off the fence and walked around the edge of the pool…ha!  Bet I know where our missing goldfish went….kitty breakfast. 
I walked onto the back deck and called, “here kitty” and up he came.  He stayed around for a while but decided to investigate the rest of the yard.  I don’t know if he was a neighborhood cat that is allowed to roam or if he had escaped from home and was exploring.  He didn’t have a name or license on his collar so there was no way to find out who he belonged to.  And, he definitely did not want to come with me into the house…I didn’t want to be scratched or bitten so didn’t force the issue.