Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Just a Bowl of Bottle Tops

It was just a bowl of bottle tops. It would look like garbage to anyone else. But to me it was the most memorable moment of our Nicaraguan Medical Mission trip.

But let me explain.

The previous September I had joined a team to present a Teacher’s Workshop to the instructors who taught in the schools that are supported by Mision Para Cristo in Jinotega, Nicaragua. The team decided to present a Math Workshop. I searched my mind for some sort of math manipulative that I could use in this workshop that would be low cost and that the Nicaraguans could continue to replicate after the team returned back to the states.

 I hit upon the idea of bottle tops. They were on the ground everywhere we visited in Nicaragua. The teachers could easily have their students collect these if they needed them. Problem solved.

I asked my home congregation, the Las Cruces Church of Christ, to help collect 1500-2000 of these tops to be used in the initial workshop. Which they did.

I then asked Danny Dearest to paint all the tops one of four colors, blue, green, orange, or purple. Which he did.

I then packed up my bottle tops and returned to Jinotega, Nicaragua, and presented my ideas for using them as math manipulatives at the workshop. And I thought that was the end of that.

Until this June.

We had set our clinic up in a school for that day. Miss Emily was helping with the VBS in a different classroom from the one where I was having the eye clinic. Then she came running up with a simple bowl of bottle tops.


These were not the pretty painted ones I had brought in September, these  were better.  These were ones that the teacher had taken on herself to collect and use.  She had taken my idea and made it her own.  

Which was the point to begin with.

Sometimes you feel like your efforts mean nothing,  that the need is so great that you are just spitting in the wind.  But sometimes the news that you are making a difference comes with your granddaughter holding a simple bowl of bottle tops.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Whole Earth Grandma, Here I Come

I came of age during the late sixties and early seventies and, as a result, I was a wannabe hippie.  I had the long straight hair that was parted in the middle. I had large bell bottom jeans.  And I could rock some hip huggers.

And one of the hallmarks of this era was The Mother Earth News magazine.This magazine extolled the virtues of natural living before it was cool.  You could learn to build a cabin, make cheese from the milk of the goats you raised, or make your own shoes.  I thought it was incredible.  I longed to be a part of that group.  I wanted to walk around in my handmade sandals.  I wanted to live on a self sustaining farm and name my children Sunrise, Sunset, or Mostly Cloudy.  That would be the life for me.
 
Except that while I love to plan to do things sometimes I don't have the follow through to complete tasks.. I love to plan my compose pile.  I love to plan a garden.  But, somehow, things never get done.

And  I am lazy.  Much too lazy to grow my own food.  Much too lazy to make my own clothing. Much too lazy to collect rain water for my household use.

It is much easier, and much more fun, to go to the mall.

So fast forward to the present time and I am going once more try to stick the very tip of my toe back into that lifestyle by raising and drying herbs. Don't laugh.  It could happen.

Just call me Paisley Pam.

You may remember my herbs from a earlier post.

(Did you notice the oh so cute markers that I have added. I think the markers will make the herbs  grow so much  better.  Don't you?)


They are growing right along.

After an extensive internet search (five minutes on google), I found a website that shows how to dry herbs in the microwave. I think I can do that. No spreading of herbs on clean sheets in the sunshine and waiting and checking and waiting.  Just pop the herb leaves in the microwave, cook for a few seconds, and remove.  I can do this.

 So, continuing with my love of planning, I know that I will need something to put these aromatic herbs in once they are dried. So what can I use?

Enter IKEA.


After a trip to mecca, otherwise known as IKEA, I found the perfect shelf and jars in which  to encase my precious herbs.  Danny Dearest graciously hung it on the wall for me.
(Fantastic iPhone photography!)
PERFECTION.

Next thing is to find just oh so cute labels for the jars and fill them.  Now I know I that I am growing three varieties of herbs and I have eight jars on the shelf but three jars would have just looked silly on that shelf and it is all about how it looks.  PRIORITIES people. PRIORITIES. We all know that looks are much more important that function.

So the plan is that in the not to distant future, I will be sprinkling my fresh herbs on my delicious home made meals.

Just call Whole Earth Grandma. Or Martha Stewart. Or whatever.



Sunday, June 2, 2013

Once a Duck, Always a Duck

 Like all good southern girls, I spent my Friday nights at the War Memorial stadium cheering on the mighty Mayfield Cardinal football team. In between the flirting, gossiping, and drama that is the lifeblood of high school, there was some football played.  I think.  I was very involved in the flirting, gossiping, and drama so I'm not really sure how much football was actually played. 

 The point was that the Cardinals, be they football, basketball, chorus, or whatever, were very important to our young hearts. And the hearts of our small town.

GO CARDS!

But every small town has the high school mascot that they hold near and dear and Taylor is no different. In Taylor, TX the mascot that lives in the hearts of its citizens is...the duck. Yes, Danny Dearest and I  are now a part of the Taylor Ducks. Where, apparently, the motto is "Once a duck, always a duck".

GO DUCKS!

And this town embraces their ducks.

One of the selling points for Taylor when we were looking around (other than the fact that my grandbabies live here), was Murphy Park.   Murphy Park is a wonderful green space that stretches through the center of town. It has playscapes for the younger set, swimming pool, large trees, and a very nice path for walking and running.  And this.



(I especially like the little duck that appears to be flying.)


These signs are placed at the cross streets in Murphy Park because the park is full of ducks, geese, and cranes that enjoy the lake that is an part and parcel to the park and they do not yield the right of way to oncoming vehicles because they are, after all, THE Taylor Ducks.

As a rule, the local fowl are a friendly sort.  They will eat bread if you bring it and generally ignore you while you bask in their glory if that is what you want.  All except one.

 
The dreaded TURKEY DUCK!

This member of the bird family looks like the cross between a duck and a turkey.  And he got the worse attributes of both animals.  I mean a duck with a wattle?  A wattle for crying out loud.

And, in general a very foul deposition for a fowl.  ( Did you see what I did there?  Har Har  Har!)

And when an older woman (that would be me) wants to use the trail in Murphy Park to run in order to improve her general health, this frightful duck will chase the hapless runner, nipping at her legs.  He will run under her feet in attempt to make her trip and fall.  He will flap his massive wings to scratch her calves. I have personally experienced his techniques in combat against runners in "his" park. And he is evil, pure evil with wings.  And a wattle.  Don't forget the stinking wattle.

 
So if you are feeling the need to partake in a little exercise in Murphy Park in Taylor, Texas beware of the vile Turkey Duck.
(Kind of looks like he can see right into your soul, huh?)
And remember once a duck always a duck...unless you are a Turkey Duck!


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Am I a Kentucky Girl? Why Yes. Why Do You Ask?

One of the things that attracted us to our new home in Taylor, Texas was the swimming pool in the backyard.  I envisioned days of laying around the pool with my lemonade.  Getting up to take a dunk in the pool whenever I got a little hot from the summer sun. Maybe floating around on a raft with my fingers trailing in the water.

But I forgot one little fact.

Maintenance. That stinking maintenance.

Danny Dearest has been outside for hours working on the pump.   He has wrestled that pump, checked the internet, and made two trips to the "pool guy".   I have done my part to help.  I put on my swimming attire, grabbed my new inner tube, and stood dramatically by the pool. Just to give him a little sense of the importance of him completing this maintenance in a timely manner. He didn't seem to appreciate my assistance.  Go figure.

So, since swimming was out of the question, I decided to check on my suburban farm.  First, my herb garden.  The basil was here when we moved in.  It was about dead but after some water and tender loving care it has come back.



I am growing basil, sage, and oregano.  Spaghetti sauce is in my future.

Even before we had any household goods delivered, I had been to Wal-mart and picked up some tomato plants and one green pepper plant. For that spaghetti sauce, you know.
There is also some onions that the previous owners left in the bed and one lonely cucumber plant.
 And if you look very carefully at the heirloom tomato plant you will see...
My little tomatoes!

And then I thought these plants looked lonely so I put these in.
Two more tomatoes and two Sandia peppers.They went out about 4 weeks later that the other ones so they are having to work hard to catch up.  Go little plants!  You can do It!

And sweeping around the backyard you will find...
Squash and cucumber plants.  Now I really like fresh cucumbers and fresh tomatoes.  I really don't like squash.  Neither does Danny Dearest.  Neither does Baby Susan.  Neither does Miss Emily.  Neither does Mr. Jacob.  Neither does Josh.

So why I am growing squash?  Because I am a Kentucky girl and Kentucky girls grow tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash. That's why.

Danny is back from another visit to the "pool guy" and a part has been ordered for the pump.  And apparently our pump is old.  Very old.  Like floppy disc old.  This could be a problem.

But we decided to keep the old pump around as long as it keeps working.  Sort of how I feel about Danny Dearest. 




Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Varuump! Went the Little Green Frog

Our first night in our new home I climbed into bed exhausted and ready to sleep.  But I kept hearing a loud noise that sounded like gears grinding.  It was loud and continued the entire night. I jumped to what I thought was a logical conclusion.  It had to be the pump on our swimming pool.  Now, Danny Dearest and I have never had a pool before so I really had no idea what a pool pump sounds like when it is going out, but I imagined it would be something like this sound I was hearing. I was mentally counting how much it would cost to replace a pool pump and not liking the sums that I was coming up with.

But, funny thing, the next morning noise was gone. We were very busy getting things done in our new home so I promptly forgot the noise.

Until the next night when the sound returned. As loud and obnoxious as the night before. But, sun up the noise was gone. My pool conclusion was obviously incorrect because what swimming pool pump only goes out at night?

When the following evening the sound returned I was determined to find the source of this devilment.  I tracked to it our front yard goldfish pond. At first I though It was the goldfish pond pump but then I saw...
a lovesick bullfrog. And unless he gets voice lessons, he will continue to be lovesick because no self respecting lady frog will have anything to do with him.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

It's Been a Long, Long, Time

So I thought I would pick up this little blog, dust it off, and start writing again. 

So since I last wrote Danny and I had a few life changes.  Danny joined me in retirement and, about 6 months later, we packed up and moved to Taylor, Texas.

That's right.  I am now a Texan.

But home is where you make it and guess what is in Taylor, Texas (other that Danny Dearest and myself)?

Those grandbabies...they will even make this New Mexican move to Texas.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Boy and His Grandmother

Recently I ran across an old picture.
This would be Danny Dearest with his grandmother, Momma May (I hope the spelling of that is correct), about 57 years ago when he was about one year old.  Doesn't he seem happy to be  with his gramdmother.

Flash forward about 45 or so years and you get this...
That is me with Mr. Jacob at about the same age as Danny Dearest with HIS grandmother.

Grandma's just love those little boys.