Monday, October 29, 2007

Jack and I went to the Henry Doorly Zoo yesterday, but the most fascinating creatures we observed were the PEOPLE!

The grocery store Jack works for was taking part in the zoo’s annual “Spooktacular” something or other, where the zoo invites local businesses to set up stations throughout the zoo and then they invite the public to come in costume and trick or treat at the stations. Admission to the zoo was free for volunteers and Jack loves the zoo, so he immediately volunteered to participate and I got to go along as an invited family member.

One company had set up a small tent and called it a ‘haunted house.’ Another was giving away popsicles. Someone else was giving away single serving boxes of cereal. We were giving away those little bite-sized candy bars at our station. We were located in Bear Canyon and at one point, the line of trick or treaters stretched clear back to the waterfall by the petting zoo! (I’m not sure how far that would be – maybe 2 city blocks?) They are not kidding when they say the word “FREE” gets the biggest response of any other word in the English language, but watching these people as they moved through our line was a classic study in human behavior. I’m not really sure what I learned. I’ll just tell you what happened and somebody else can analyze the data.

A word about our set-up: six of us stood behind two six-foot long tables, ready to hand out treats as the children started coming through. We must have given the wrong impression, because the idea was that six people at once would be able to approach the table, each one receiving one little candy bar. But that wasn’t how it went. The trick or treaters started at one end and didn’t stop until they had gotten a treat from every person standing at the two tables! After a while, we separated the two tables, hoping they would form two lines, but then they just went through the table on one side, turned around and went through the table on the other!

Bewildered infants dressed as plush toys such as teddy bears or as Elmo, sprawled or bawled in strollers while their parents held the open bag out for the treats. Children barely big enough to be able to hold their bags looked up at us with everything from terrified distrust to hopeful optimism, as they toddled through our line; their parents pushing them from behind coaching, “Say ‘Trick or treat!’” Most of them didn’t. or “Tell them ‘thank you,’” even fewer said that. Primary school-aged children walked by with their bag open, staring straight ahead, eyes glazed over with boredom or looking ahead to the next station hoping for something bigger and better. Jr. High-ers and older said nothing, but looked in to see what we dropped into their bags. Several of these came through more than once.

And there were the adults. I have no objection to adults dressing up for Halloween. It’s kind of fun to pretend to be someone you’re not for a few hours, but most of the adults who came through my line, holding out a bag, weren’t even in costume. And even fewer grownups than children said, “thank you.” I’m almost certain they were there to collect the stuff they plan to give away at their own front doors on Wednesday night.

Jack and I worked at our station from 10-1:30 and then we strolled the zoo. The waiting lines at all the stations we saw were just as long as the one at ours. I’m told that nearly 50,000 people were in attendance at the zoo yesterday. I’m not sure if that’s an accurate stat, but it surely could be from what I saw.

I should add that a few of the kids did indeed joyfully call out “Trick or treat” and the ones who did also said, “Thank you!” And a lot of them looked really cute in their costumes. All the little cowgirls that came through my line got two candy bars from me.

Your thoughts, please.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thinking outside the box... or stall?
No, this isn't Bubba. The pic came to me in an email entitled "New style fly mask."

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I misquoted a quote about Karen Cooper. I suggested one of her influences was Pablo Picasso and I should have said Vincent Van Gogh.
Anyway, Vincent would be proud to know that, too.
Sorry, Karen.
Mistress of Disaster

The office I work in is situated in a corner of a large, steel framed machine shed. To get to my little corner of it, you have to zig-zag up two short (4-5 steps) flights of stairs, then you open the first door and step into a 6 foot hallway that leads you to the office door. Well, this little hallway, since it opens to the workshop, where they do all kinds of work on the machinery, tends to get pretty dirty. Ash from welders, CO2 dust from when they let something idle a long time, and dust that blows in from everywhere through the two main doors and so on. One day last week, I decided to really get it cleaned up good and borrowed the shop-vac to use on it instead of my little household Hoover that I use in the office. So I dragged the shop-vac up the two sets of stairs and sat the tank of it right inside the office door, fired it up and vacuumed away. I was very pleased with how well all the grime and dust and stuff was getting sucked up and when I stepped back to admire my handiwork, I reached up to turn off the switch. The sight inside the office was absolutely mortifying! Okay, maybe not mortifying, but if I had just looked up ONE time while I was vacuuming, I could have prevented the whole thing. Unbeknownst to me, the men had removed the bag from the vac and it was blowing everything I had just vacuumed out of the hallway into the office! A thick cloud of dust and grime was hanging in the air, and slowly settling down over everything everywhere.
It took me the rest of the afternoon and part of the next morning to get everything wiped off and cleaned up.
Joani stopped in the next day and complimented me with, “The office looks really nice.” I was just going to say “thanks,” but repented and confessed that my shop-vac adventure had necessitated the thorough cleaning.
But, hey, the entry hall is still clean as a whistle!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I had to drive out to the sod field last week and this HUGE flock of birds greeted me. The ground was absolutely black with them until I came along and sent them into the sky. I con't know what kind they are, but when the kids were little, we used called them "Tornado Birds" because of the the way the went swirling and spiraling into the air when they took off. (That's the sod field over on the righthand side of the road.)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Come to Jesus

So simple, yet, so profound

What a DIRTY trick!

Someone broke into our church some time between Friday evening and Saturday morning and stole several computers and some other electronics out of the staff offices. How low can you get; to be stealing from a church?
The financial losses will probably be covered by insurance, but the biggest loss (in my opinion), is that Pastor Chuck was working on his Ph.D. Dissertation and it’s all gone – even the back up.
Of course, the burglary was discovered on Sunday morning, when everyone was showing up for services, so we had a Sheriff’s Deputy and detective roaming around dusting for fingerprints and trying their best to be inconspicuous. I haven’t heard anything more about it since Sunday.
And if, somehow, the burglar had found his/her way to this blog, I want you to know that we all prayed for you on Sunday morning.
We would have anyway – all you had to do was ask.

And in the sports world: the Rockies are in, the Sox lost 1 and the contest between the Sox & the Indians continues tonight. I tried to stay up for the end of the Rockies game. I left at the top of the sixth because it looked like they had things pretty well under control at 6-1. I was surprised this morning to get up and see that the D-Backs actually scored 3 more, because they had that “whipped pup” look in the dugout. I must have missed a rally.

And Steve P. is OUT!
Say it with me, now “WE WANT TOM! WE WANT TOM!”
And now do the wave… WAH!
Okay, so the wave isn’t as impressive in writing as it is in a stadium.
Work with me here, people, use your imagination a little.

And just in case you didn’t notice it before, let me call your attention to the link over at the left labeled “Karen Cooper” and “Karen’s Blog.” There is some pretty impressive artwork coming from the paintbrush of a homemaker in Spencer, Iowa. She is claiming Pablo Picasso as one of her influences and I think he would be proud to know that, if he saw her work.

And yet another recommendation: if you go to “Real Life Petticoat Ranch” (also at left) and scroll down a few postings, you’ll find a link to an article by Mary’s brother, Don Moore, which was published on Helium. Don makes an extremely intelligent comment on self directed health care.

Monday, October 15, 2007

How long before rigor mortis sets in?

I had such fine plans for the weekend.

Saturday late afternoon and evening was supposed to be spent with my saddle club in a riverside trail ride followed by a potluck and campfire. It got rained out.

Sunday afternoon, we were supposed to go to the annual church picnic at a place called “Grampa’s Farm.” It got rained out.

Computer repairs are still in progress, so I had no way to log on and surf, blog or email. With the computer gone, I couldn’t even work on stories and skits & stuff I’ve been doing. So what’s left?

The satellite TV, of course. We started the day with a biography of Dolly Parton (who, in my opinion, would have been a better choice for the Nobel prize for BOTH literature and peace. She’s written more relevant poetry than Lessing, made better movies than Gore AND she can SING!) Then I switched back and forth between the Food Network and the top 20 countdown of music videos, which, I discovered gets repeated on both CMT and GAC throughout the morning. Okay, time for the History channel, which was featuring “Lost Civilizations” starting with the Hittites. That kept me in the chair until it was time to switch to the radio for the Nebraska Cornhusker football fiasco.

Okay, time to abandon the tv & radio and go out to my little workshop to sew. Finished up a back for a quilt, which ate up the rest of the afternoon, but it’s still raining and there’s not really time to start a new sewing project, so it’s back to the house, the chair and where’s the remote?

Now it’s Monday, back to work. Still no computer.

And it’s still raining.

Friday, October 12, 2007

I've been trying to post a music video here today, but it keeps failing. So you'll have to get to it this way;
Got to: It's an awesome video of Big & Rich doing Lost in This Moment.
This is for Marc & LaDawn, Stephanie & Anthony and Bob & Shirley - keep celebrating those Wedding Anniversaries!

Here’s a cowboy joke to get your weekend off with a good chuckle:

Two cowboys walk into a roadhouse to wash the trail dust from their throats. They stand at the bar, dinking their beers and talking quietly about cattle prices.
Suddenly a woman at the table behind them begins to cough weakly. After a minute or so it becomes apparent that she’s in real distress, and the cowboys turn to look at her.
“Kin ya swaller?” asks one of the cowboys. She shakes her head.
“Kin ya breathe?” asks the other. The woman, turning a bit blue, shakes her head again.
The first cowboy walks over to her, lifts up the back of her skirt, yanks down her panties and slowly runs his tongue from the back of her thigh up to the small of her back. This shocks the woman into a violent spasm and the obstruction flies out of her mouth, and she begins to breathe again.
The cowboy returns to the bar and takes a drink of his beer. His partner says, “Ya know, I’d heard of that there Hind Lick Maneuver, but I never seen anybody do it.”

See you on the trail!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Just when you think you have it all figured out…

…something goes haywire. I’ve hit another SNAFU – in case you didn’t know SNAFU is a military term. Stands for “Situation Normal: All Fouled Up” (edited for profanity).
While my satellite sits obediently in the front yard receiving and sending signals galore, the computer in the house decided to corrupt itself and refuses to boot up, so I’m back to having access only at work again for a couple days. Anyway, the friend I bought the computer from also happens to be the CEO of a computer systems company (Can I pick’em or what?) so he’s going to have one of his people get it up and running again. Bless his heart.

I think if you click on my profile (at left), you’ll be able to send me an email with your address and whatever else you want your id to include. Thanks for coming aboard! This blog should get a lot more interesting with your input. And seeing as to how L Rushbo is already too busy, you would be my next pick for 'conservative soulmate, who is more outspoken than I am.'

Monday, October 08, 2007

Autumn Morning Mists

Friday, October 05, 2007

Joani's "Walking Flowers." A/K/A Chickens.

I think they look delicioius - muhuhahahaha!
For a great series of photos of Josie & Matt's wedding, click on Real Life Petticoat Ranch.

Here is a “Commuter Sighting” that I see every day. This US Flag with its big Cornhusker “N” base sits in the exact middle of an intersection in Nickerson, Nebraska. If you think it’s in your way when you’re driving down the street;
too bad.
Go around.
And salute while you’re at it.
Believing the worst

Last week, a woman disappeared and was found several days later the victim of a car accident, miraculously still alive. Police suspected her husband was somehow involved in the disappearance. The frantic man, in hopes they would stop looking at him and continue the search for his wife, cooperated fully with detectives: allowing them to search his home, his car, his property. At the time he was taking a lie detector test, his wife was found trapped in her car at the bottom of a ravine.

The question was raised, “Why are we so willing to believe the worst in people?”

Reference Scott & Lacey Peterson. Several years ago, Scott Peterson of California murdered his wife Lacey and their unborn child and disposed of their bodies in the Pacific Ocean. Scott Peterson also appeared to cooperate fully with Police; allowing them to search his home, his car, his property, all the while asking them to please leave him alone and continue the search for his missing wife. He even had the support of his in-laws until the bodies were discovered.

Reference the Krumwiedes: There is an unsolved case right now in my hometown of Lyons of a wife who disappeared and to this day has not been found. Her husband was an immediate suspect (due to a history of suspected abuse) but this guy was apparently better at destroying evidence than Scott Peterson was, because they never found enough of anything to convict him. He has since died of a heart attack, so it is assumed the case will never really be solved.

I was told by a friend of mine, who is a police detective, the husband or boyfriend is almost always an immediate suspect in the disappearance of a wife/girlfriend. This is based on a long history of cases such as the Petersons and the case in Lyons. My heart goes out to the innocent husband whose wife was trapped in a car for 8 days, but I believe the law enforcement agency involved was following SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) to the best of their training and abilities.

I’m just glad I’m not a policeman.

Monday, October 01, 2007

First jobs

My first paying job was babysitting for the ‘tribe’ next door. There were 4 kids: two of each gender. I thought the youngest one hated me because she would burst into tears whenever I walked into the door. Now I know that she didn’t really hate me, she just hated to see her mother leave. For the most part, we all got along pretty good. Some of what I learned about cooking I learned from their mom, because she left very good instructions whenever I had to cook for them. If I recall, I started at .25 an hour and worked my way up to .75 before it was all done.
But every teenager in Nebraska knows the good money is in agriculture. I walked beans every summer with my friends for as many of their fathers who would tolerate me. This paid a whopping $1 an hour at first and I think by the time I retired from bean walking, it was paying $2, maybe? Most days, we started at sunup and could only work until noon when it got too hot. For you city folk, “walking beans” means you walk from one end of the bean field to the other, cutting or pulling weeds from the 2-4 rows on each side of you. In a weedy field, you could usually only watch 4 rows (2 on each side) without missing any weeds. In a clean field you could take up to 5 on each side. With the new “Roundup Ready” strains of beans and herbicides on the market now, I never see any bean crews out walking anymore.
I spent a few summers detassling corn for the DeKalb company. The hourly wage was good, though I don’t recall the exact figure, but the job was usually fewer than 6 weeks long. The crew would gather outside the Lyons Bakery at 5:00 AM and load into cattle trucks to be hauled to the cornfields. We walked up and down the rows of corn and removed the tassles (silks) from the female stalks. If I think about it long enough I might remember how you could tell the difference between male and female stalks, but it’s escaping me now.
The summers I spent in the bean and corn fields made me appreciate rain a lot more because rain meant a day off!

For awhile, I worked at the local Dairy Queen and fell in love with soft serve ice cream. Next, I waitressed at some local cafes. The truck stop I worked at is still there, but all the others are gone. I usually reported for work after school and worked until 9 or 10. I’m sure there was some sort of legal restriction on how late I could stay on a school night. I remember the smell of coffee and the heavenly aroma of steaks on the grill and fried onion rings. The truckstop owner had her own method for making the most glorious platter of home made onion rings on the planet! Those smells would follow me home on my clothes. Truckers are good tippers, but I remember one lady I worked with a couple of evenings. I thought she was being nice, because she offered to clear my tables for me. It wasn’t until after she went home I realized I’d been duped and she’d stolen all my tips! She must have done it to others as well, because she was fired after a few weeks.
Saturdays at Fern’s CafĂ© kept me in tip money for awhile. Fern always had a daily special plus hot beef sandwiches. A hot beef is roast beef on white bread, cut into two triangles with a big scoop of mashed potatoes in between them. The whole plate full of food is then covered over in brown gravy. Fern never used powdered potatoes and her roast was always melt in your mouth tender. Her gravy was hot, smooth and rich and I have to stop telling about it now because I’m drooling all over the keyboard!

Then, I moved into the medical field and took a job as nurse’s aide at the brand new (in the 70’s) nursing home in town. My shift was 3:30-8:00 and my job was to give baths to the infirm people who couldn’t do it for themselves. They didn’t all appreciate it, either. My experiences with stroke and Dementia (before they identified Alzheimers) patients include every emotion you can think of: funny, incredulity, pity, deep sorrow, compassion, etc. And that was all in the same person in one evening! I sometimes wonder if medical science has done us any favors by helping our bodies live longer. I don’t think the body is supposed to outlive the Spirit.

That pretty much covers my first job experiences. I think many of them may have overlapped: walk beans in the morning, waitress at noon and nursing home at night, but I probably didn’t keep that schedule up for very long. I learned something new about being a good employee with each job.