Sunday, September 30, 2007

Okay, everybody - check this out. This is my new blog:

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Best wishes to Mary & Ivan today!

Josie (their oldest) gets married at 3:30.
We'll be there!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Is there a better place to live in Autumn than the Midwest US?
I don’t think so.
Every color God ever invented is showing up in the countryside.
Lawns are still deep green. Trees are showing variations of red, gold, yellow, orange. My roses and zinnias (Mom would appreciate this) are still blooming, so their blooms add white, coral, red, etc. Sunflowers contribute great showers of deep yellow to the roadsides. The tomato, pepper and egg plants in my garden are adding yet more shades of red, green and purple to the landscape. (Gosh, I’m going to miss my fresh eggplant.)
Today was one of those perfect days. Warm and sunny.
Some Autumn days are weird – like when it’s cold in the shade and hot in the sun? That’s what I call ‘jacket losing weather.’ I lost a great flannel lined denim jacket about 10 years ago and I still miss it. I had to wear it in the cool morning, but then it warmed up. I left it where ever I went that day. It was several days before I needed it again, so I don’t remember where I left it. So sad.
Some days I run the heater in the pickup on the drive to work in the morning and the air conditioner in the afternoon on the way home.
We try to leave the house thermostat alone until it’s unbearably cold (below 55 F in the house) in the mornings.
A cool kitchen can really get one moving in the morning.
Did I mention we’ve had a most beautiful harvest Moon shining this week? When I got up in the morning for the past 3-4 days, it was as bright and clear as daylight. As the moon was setting in the west, the sun was coming up in the east. I’m not sure that happens at any other time of year in this area. I’ll be watching.
Happily, I’ll be able to check in tomorrow – Saturday – which I wasn’t able to do until we got our satellite. I still find it miraculous that they let ordinary citizens own satellites! And now we have two!
Then again on the other hand, why shouldn’t we?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Welcome back Joe!
I posted the following back in August in answer to your question, and then you disappeared. Thought I might put it up again for you now that you're back. Also, please give us your thoughts on the question "Does life imitate art or does art imitate life?"

It’s all relative – for Joe

LaDawn and Stephanie are the daughters of my husband’s first cousin, Smitty. I was not very well-acquainted with these two cousins-in-law of mine until I got hooked on blogging. Their Grandmother, whom I call Aunt Joyce, was my late father-in-law’s sister.
Brooke is the daughter of another one of my husband’s first cousins. Brooke is close in age to my daughter, Emily, and they were in dance class together for a while.

My grandfather, TW Gatewood, was a thoroughbred race horse owner/trainer and Smitty rode (and won) for him numerous times back in the 60s. Of course, none of us knew each other back then, especially since LDCP & Stephanie had not been born yet and I didn’t meet my husband until 1976.

Myrna, Sue, Shirley and I are sisters. We share a blog: The Gatewood Family News – and they each have one as well. We also have a brother, but he does not have a computer at the moment. We lost our other brother to a heart attack in ’91.
Tammie and Cindy – “cdroses” – are my nieces. BTW, they have a brother named Joe, but he doesn't blog that I know of. They are Sue’s daughters.
Mary Connealy, who visits here once in a while, is an old friend of mine from way back BK (before kindergarten). We graduated high school together. She blogs at Real Life Petticoat Ranch. Coincidentally, the high school sweetheart she married is my cousin.
Iris, who checks in occasionally, is also a fellow high school classmate of Mary’s and mine.
Did I leave anyone out?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

You can see pictures of the scenes I described if you go to Click on "Museum" and start at "Journey 1" over on the left.
Springfield, Illinois

Since we had traveled about 500 miles to get to the wedding, we decided to play tourist for a day before we headed home. Sunday, we drove down to Springfield, Illinois and visited some of the Abraham Lincoln historical sites. Since it was Sunday, several of them were closed, but we got to take a tour of his home and we spent the afternoon going through the Presidential Museum. It took almost 3 hours to get through it all, but what a great experience that was! They’ve done a beautiful job with setting up life-size figures of the president and his wife, Mary and their three boys and posing them in dioramas that represent pivotal moments in their lives and his Presidency. They used a great variety of other media: videos, murals, newspaper clippings, posters, etc. to tell the stories of his life and political career. One video that stands out is of the Civil War in four minutes. It is shown on a map of the US and traces the sequence of the battles, beginning with Bull Run and ending at Appomattox. A daily casualty count – both Confederate and Union – is running in the lower right hand corner. I wish I had written down the count, but I think it was over 1.3 million total by the end. The casualty count was something that President Lincoln looked at several times each day during the duration of the war via a ticker tape readout in the War Room. He kept himself informed of the high cost of preserving the Union.
One of the most touching dioramas is of the President and Mrs. Lincoln at the deathbed of their son, Tad, who died of TB during Lincoln’s first term as President. As you stand and view the scene, you can hear music floating in through the door, coming from a ballroom down the “hall” in the White House and a clock ticking on the mantle. Abe & Mary are both dressed to the nines for whatever official event was taking place, but they stole away several times during the evening to sit with Tad. He died a few days later.
The other diorama I’ll never forget is situated in Ford’s theater: The figure of John Wilkes Booth is peeking in through the curtain behind the President’s box and he is reaching into the front of his jacket. The vicious look of hatred on his face sent chills down my spine. President Lincoln and Mary are watching the play (“Our American Cousin”) and she is holding onto his arm and leaning against him, smiling affectionately. Dialogue from the play, audience laughter and applause is playing in the background. As I walked through that portion, I wanted to yell, “GET DOWN, MR. PRESIDENT!” (Well, the figures are VERY lifelike and I do have a vivid imagination!)
One of the last rooms of the tour is an exact replica of the Illinois State House as it looked while President Lincoln was lying in state, although the casket, surrounded by white mums and sitting on a stage beneath a black velvet canopy, is closed. It’s very quiet in this room, very somber.
We took so long in the museum, we didn’t have time to visit the Presidential Library. We found Oak Ridge Cemetery on the edge of town and President Lincoln’s tomb, but the tomb was closed by the time we got there and it was being worked on so it was cordoned off so that we couldn’t walk all the way around it. Apparently, visitors can go inside it, but like I said, we were too late. We thought maybe we might like to go back there and see the sites we missed by having the misfortune of being there on a Sunday.
Sadly, there are no descendants of President Lincoln alive today. Three of their sons died in childhood (Eddie, Willie and Tad). Robert grew up, married and became a successful lawyer, but had only one daughter. She had one son who never had any children of his own. He died in 1986.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

And speaking of books…

….a subject from several other blogs – I just finished reading Chosen by a Horse by Susan Richards. I picked it up at Borders one day and read the first page and decided I needed to finish it.

The story begins when the author provides a foster home for a horse and her foal who were rescued, along with 30 other abused and neglected horses, by the ASPCA. Already an owner of three horses, Ms. Richards surprised herself by stepping in to help the pair. The mare – named Lay Me Down – is sickly and emaciated, though her 2-3 month old foal is healthy. As Ms. Richards narrates the horse’s recovery to full weight and good health, pieces of her own troubled background begin to surface. When a day comes that she has to relinquish the foal to the previous owner’s creditors, we learn that Ms. Richards lost her own mother at the age of 4. She spent the rest of her growing up years first with a harsh grandmother and then with uncaring uncles, aunts, cousins and assorted relatives who never really attempt to accept her as a member of their families.
Ms. Richards shares that she anesthetized herself by descending first into alcoholism and then into an abusive marriage. At the time she is bonding with Lay Me Down, she is sober and divorced, but still unsure of her own future. As she reflects on the parallels between her own life and the rescued horse’s situation, she finds herself amazed and incredulous that, while her own response to the cruelties of her life caused her to withdraw, the horse is more than willing to reach out in quiet friendship (as much as a horse can) and put her trust in Susan Richards.
As the new friendship blossoms, Ms. Richards draws strength and courage from it, coming to terms with her troubled past, her losses and tentatively begins to look forward to the future. And then Lay Me Down is diagnosed with cancer. The life lessons don’t stop there – Ms. Richards discovers more strength, and sometimes more sorrow, than she ever knew she had as she nurses the horse through the next several months.
I should stop here because I’m sure you can guess the ending, but the end is also a beginning, filled with hope and new-found courage to overcome broken hearts and a broken life.

A couple weeks ago I finished Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. He is a masterful storyteller, but both books make me extremely thankful to have been born in the USA. Every American Christian and every American woman need to read both of these novels.

This week, I’m into Tolstoy’s The Master and the Man. Just a few pages into it, but so far, so good. Lots of references to Christianity that most people now wouldn’t see. I need to keep a list.

Still can’t figure out why I ordered satellite tv?

Friday, September 14, 2007


I'm off to Cook for Cowgirl Camp - see you Monday!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

9 11

As I look out my window at the landscape and the weather today, I can’t help noting that today’s weather is almost exactly the same as it was 6 years ago. The sky is so blue and bright it nearly hurts to look at it. When the sun broke the horizon this morning, it was behind a small cloud that only served to give the sky a splash of color for a while before the sun rose above it and became brilliant. The temperature is mild – in the upper 50s, and there is no breeze disturbing the curtains on my window.

Six years ago I had my radio on, as usual and the announcer interrupted the song that was playing to break the news that “…there has been some sort of accident at the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. Thick, black smoke is just billowing out into the sky over Manhattan…” I looked at the clock in my kitchen. It was 10 minutes to 8 CDT.

We watched in disbelief and horror as the morning and its violence unfolded. The second plane hit and the Twin Towers crumbled before our eyes an hour or so later. The scene at the Pentagon was no less devastating, only smaller. And speculation was rampant regarding Flight 93 over Pennsylvania until the farewell answering machine and voice mail messages started to surface.

Slowly, over the following hours, days and weeks, information came out and we came to understand that we had been attacked. And for what? Did they want Manhattan? Did they want to assume control of the seaport on our east coast? Was it an act of retaliation? If so, for what? And whose warriors were they? And what kind of warfare is this where civilians – and only civilians - are targeted, “bushwhacked”, murdered in their own offices? And where do we go to fight back? How do we defend ourselves, our citizens, our freedoms from an enemy who hides and only comes out to blow up busses, airplanes and buildings to kill more civilians?

We have some of the answers, but not all. We were attacked by people who don’t like what we believe and who disapprove of the way we live. They don’t want our geography; they aren’t interested in assuming control of our economy. They don’t want anything other than our hearts and minds and if we won’t give them up, they’ll kill us.

This is a war we didn’t start, but we can not afford to stop until we have won.

Monday, September 10, 2007


In typical Midwestern fashion, it took us one night to switch from air conditioning to furnace! I didn’t really turn on my furnace, yet, but I sure wanted to! Cold and rainy this morning, but the sun finally came back out this afternoon.

My weekend: Saturday I packed up Bubba & myself and drove to Rock Creek Station for an overnight trail ride with my saddle club. It was about a 3 hour drive – 3.5 if you count the stop at WalMart to buy the stuff I’d forgotten to pack!
Rock Creek Station is a sate park just west of Beatrice – I had never been to Beatrice before that I remember. Saturday’s weather was very rider-friendly – just the right amount of sunshine and a mild breeze. A dozen of us spent a fine afternoon riding the trails through the trees and rolling prairies of the other areas of the park. At one point, they have a replica of log cabins that represent a bunkhouse, a blacksmith shop, a barn, and a Pony Express Station, which is located on the site of an actual Pony Express Station. There were also several covered wagon replicas. There were also several sections of split rail fencing. Wandering through that little spot on horseback gives a person pause as to the hopes and dreams of the long ago people who settled the area.

Saturday evening, we shared a supper of grilled steaks and salads and such. At about the time the sun went down, the wind picked up. I crawled into my sleeping bag and settled down for the night. The wind kept up a steady stream all night – so much so that the family of 3 who were my neighbors for the night, abandoned their tent, fearing it was going to be blown down, and spent the remainder of the night in the cab of their pickup. I didn’t notice the temperature drop until it was time for the dawn to break- which it didn’t because the wind had brought in a grey cloud cover, so the sun came up and immediately hid behind the clouds. It was the first time this year that I’ve felt the need for a sweatshirt.

Our group was reduced to eight by the time we saddled up for Sunday’s ride and we went out for about 3 hours and then our trail boss – the only guy with a trail map – decided he and three others wanted to take the long way back to camp. Four of us elected to take the short way (only 5 miles) back. “Just stay on this path,” the man said “and it’ll take you right back to the Visitor Center. You can’t miss it.” Do those sound like ‘famous last words,’ or what?

All went well until we came to a fence line and had to choose to go either left or right. With the sun hidden, we had no way to tell which way was north, so we made our best guess and - well, the rest of our trail time was spent wandering the draws and hills, trying to keep the Visitor Center in sight and wondering where we’d gone wrong. It was then I came to realize that, if any of our pioneers had a sense of direction comparable to mine, all immigrants to this country would have wound up back in Europe or maybe at the North Pole. It’s hard to say which. Fortunately, my companions had a better memory of Saturday’s ride than I did and a better sense of direction, so I soon found it best to keep quiet and bring up the rear.

In our wanderings, we had to cross a small creek several times – I’m not sure you could actually call it a creek, since it was only a couple feet wide in most places. Bubba decided he’d rather leap it than step in it, so I got my fill of jumping practice. My friend Julie’s horse did the same, only her horse made the leaps in a much bigger way – in fact, she looked for all the world like a Lippizanner! She (the horse) is even white with grey points. After about the 7th leap, Julie and I had both had our back bones jarred enough to turn the muscles around it into jelly. I can only imagine how the horses’ backs must have felt.

At long last, we located a trail that the other 3 ladies recognized from the day before and we finally wandered back through the Rock Creek Station log cabin area; where we encountered two Charolais cows and their calves. And we thought WE were lost!

My complete lack of an internal compass was proven again on the drive home through Beatrice. I came to the intersection of Highways 77 and 136 and if it had not been CLEARLY marked which was north and which was south, I would have turned south onto 77 and would probably be Oklahoma City by now!

What an adventure! I am definitely requesting a compass for my birthday.

Friday, September 07, 2007


I’m getting ready to duck out of here and go pack for an overnighter at Rock Creek Station with my saddle club. I’ve never been to this particular park, but I’ve heard they have some good riding trails. Next weekend I’ll be cooking for another cowgirl camp. That will be the last CC for this year. There’s one more weekend ride I usually go to in October. Fall is the best time to go. I won’t make it to River City Roundup this year because I have a wedding in Illinois on the 22nd and another one here on the 29th. I will get to visit with the riders when they stay overnight in Arlington. I can drop in on them and say “hi.”

It’s been kind of a quiet week around here as well as a short one with Monday being a holiday. The heat wave seems to be over – it was ushered out by yet another thunderstorm last night, so we are all relieved. We had .20 in our gauge this morning.

Emily is still on crutches, but will see the doctor on Thursday, so maybe she’ll be able to start walking on it soon. It’s still pretty sore, but she can touch it now without wincing.

I’ve noticed a few trees just starting to put on their golds and yellows. I drove past a cornfield a couple days ago that is completely brown and looks ready to pick. Most of the landscape is still green, though. Even greener than usual with all the rain of late.

Pretty boring, huh? I don’t even have any good puns today!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

On Satellite TV:
We now have 185 channels to watch and a couple dozen new radio stations to listen to.
I have become a remote control button pushing junkie. I hit the numbers for the Food Network and find a show (Emeril Live) that looks good. I think, “I’ll come back to that in a minute. I’ll just go see what’s on RFD.” On RFD, I see a show on a woman who is studying the Alaska Wilderness and wildlife. “Okay, maybe I’ll watch this instead. Let’s just see who is preaching on the Church Channel first.” It’s Adrian Rogers. “Well, I can’t just go off and not listen to Adrian Rogers! I’ll come back here right after I see who is being featured on the CMTV.” It’s Martina McBride and she’s doing Anyway! Now what?
This goes on for a long time and then I decide that I can’t decide, so I turn it off and go back to my radio - the regular one that's tuned to my favorite station already.

And now on a realted subject. In a previous posting, I asked if life imitates art or if art imitates life. My sister said, “It’s all admen.” Looking at the way our culture absorbs “catch phrases” I have to agree. Except for one thing – advertising isn’t art – usually. Certainly, the creativity of some of it attains a certain level of respectability, but most of it couldn’t be classified as art. An advertising jingle is not on the same level as a full length composition, but it can have equal influence.
But that does raise another observation – we are SO susceptible to the influences of the media, both electronic and paper. Ads are proof that if you tell a lie often enough and loud enough, eventually it will be accepted as truth.
Proof: I have always bought whole wheat bread. Jack & Emily never had a piece of toast or a sandwich at home on anything other than whole wheat in all their preschool and grade school years. It never crossed their minds to ask for anything else or to complain about it in any way, shape, or form. Then along comes Wonder Bread with a commercial showing children turning up their noses, scowling, saying “Yuck!” and offering other such negative opinions on whole wheat bread. All of a sudden, Jack and Emily decided they didn’t like whole wheat bread and they wanted white bread and only white bread. At that point, I almost threw the TV out the window. I didn’t switch from whole wheat to white bread, but I began to see other ways ads and children’s programming were “selling” not only products, but ideas to children. Not all of it is bad, but not all of it is good, either. Very little of it is in line with the core values that we want our family to hold.
I might have to go and have my head examined for inviting – not just inviting, but paying for - 185 channels of it into my living room. WHAT was I thinking!?
A belated Happy Birthday!

To Carson & Creighton! I hope you guys had a GREAT day!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


The Husker volleyball players are REALLY tall. We were part of a record crowd attendance for a regular season game: 13,081.

And Emily did it all on crutches. She was pretty well wiped out by the time we got back to the vehicle. We had tickets on the main floor of the arena; 4 rows from the court. We even had to duck a few times from a stray ball. But, since the ticket takers at the Qwest Center send you UP to the second floor to take the stairs DOWN to the main floor of the arena, that meant she had many, many stairs to negotiate. But we had fun joining in all the cheers for Sara Paven (6’5”), Jordan Larsen (Her mom was a classmate of Randy’s) and Kori Cooper (COO-O-O-O-O-O-OOper) as well as GO BIG RED! at every opportunity. Football may never be the same. Those carnivorous VB players are giving Bill Callahan a run for his money! Of course, it was a three game sweep over the Penn State Nittany Lions.

I also noticed some new artwork outside the Qwest Center that looks like it was done by the same artist who developed the “Monument to Labor” that I posted pics of a while back. I’ll head back down there with my camera for a future posting.

And speaking of computers… (last time)
Mary, I remember when you used to watch me at my sewing machine and you’d say, “I’ll buy one as soon as they start making them where you can feed the pattern and fabric in at one end the finished garment comes out the other…” Well, get out your checkbook, it’s almost there! Pfaff makes a computerized quilting machine (long arm) that remembers the pattern you quilt on the first row and automatically repeats it until you tell it to do something different. And the embroidery machines they have out now… I would never have to pick up a needle and floss again! Okay, it’s not quite what you described back in the old days, but how far away can it be?

And LDCP, I may not know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future, so I’m not worried - just awed (or perhaps odd?)

And just one more little pun for the day – I heard a man on the radio today say, “I am not deterred…” I guess he won’t be needing de toilet paper, will he?