Thursday, January 31, 2008

Homemade Oatmeal in the ozarks


We get a snow day today!

Funny thing in Missouri, as it's (hopefully) the only snow we get for another year or two...
Funny because school and work were called off, 2 hours before the first flake hit.

We do not know about snow graders here in the south...we do have hard-working salt trucks, that dust the maze of two lane highways, crisscrossing
the woods of the ozarks...but other than that? we just wait until it melts!

Unfortunatly, that usually means that the INSTANT the weather man has called the forcast...there is a retail rush, that can only be seconded only by the pre-hurricane plywood purchases.

I'm worn out and my brain is still wobbly, from the number of presciptions that we dealt out yesterday, to panicking women with overloaded shopping carts.

It's tough on retail workers, but it's just part of the prep...

We have to have groceries, bottled water case the power goes out (wells have to have power to function) and the propane tank needs to be full (oh yes, there is no natural gas for heating in the woods...everyone keeps a tank on the property) and wood needs to be brought in, split, stacked, and covered so that it will be dry and easy to light, if you heat by wood stove. (most do)

Groceries are purchased by the aforementioned cartload. Although our
biggest snowfalls are usually less than 10 inches, and are melted away
in just one day...we still have to buy enough groceries to last us until spring, just in case. (temp forcast for monday are in the 60's)

Then, and only then do we stop. We all just stay home and take a break from the real world. We rediscovers our families.....we eat, read books, watch movies, take naps and have converstations...we stay in our jammie pants and slippers.

It is against the rules to interrupt this family peace with outside visits. The only exceptions being visitors who didn't prep, or who are all-electric. We do open our homes to anyone needing much so that our little town still does not have public shelters available. There is no need. There are churches, and there are neighbors...and everyone is taken care of.

Snow days in the southern states are 24-hour
family respite care.

Little Bill called me from arkansas at about 7am
(BLASPHEME the RULES!! the RULES!!)...and i
answered the phone on the first ring with a hissing,
witchy voice...not even checking the CALLER ID...
"shhhhhh you'll wake the baby!"

Oh yea, the other great thing about snow days, is your
little "bundles of joy" are SUPPOSE to sleep mommy and
daddy that one hour of bonding time that is so elusive during
the school year, and the work week. I was a single mom
when we first started loving snow days...and am thrilled to
discover all sorts of new tradions to add to them :-)

So, I wasn't happy with the BRINGGGGGG of my telephone
exploding into my snuggly morning....and threatening the
peaceful snores coming from molly's bedroom.

My youngest son just laughs, says "my bad" and then????

I hear the squeal of joy come out of him...the same way it
would when he was little and finally saw the words
"west plains R-7" appear on the TV scrolling list of schools closed.

"I'm doing donutsssssss in the parking lot!!!"

In Fayetteville, Ark..where he lives.. 3 hours west and a little south of us...
he gets the weather we're going to get hour prior!!

It's not the forcast reporting that's spilling out of
him this's that snow-day has always
been Bill's favorite holiday of the year!

Ok, you can phone early...but only if you can make me smile that big....

Even when we were in the Pottersville house, 100 years old
with only wood stove heat...(there was a tad bit more preparation
for snow days in THAT house!) it was an awesome holiday.
No matter how broke i was....there were new puzzles, TWO gallons
of milk,(for snow ice cream) a pot of beans on the stove, and corn
bread in the oven.....the boys had developed a special
method to harvest only the cleanest, newest snow for the annual
sno-cream treat.

Food, and the aroma of that food cooking, seem to be at the heart
of the whole deal.... and now, a new tradition......the aroma of a potfull of slow-cooked oatmeal is what you wake up to. (in the south, regardless of HOW many mouths are in your house, you only cook in measurements of 'a potfull' or a 'mess of' ie..."a mess of fried fish').

We added oatmeal the first year Molly was here, and with the first of
what became annual winter trips to the hospital...they hooked me.

Of everything you've ever experienced with hospital food....
they still take the blue ribbon with the morning oatmeal.

I'm not sure if it was the way it
tasted, or it's texture....or maybe it was the joy in
seeing my "failure-to-thrive' baby girl's steroid-induced
appetite dive into the magical mush...I gained a new appreciation
for oatmeal that first trip in.

This crisp morning, there was a big ole pot of long cooked,
brown sugared & buttered oatmeal on the stove when
she finally did wake up.

We'll get to it shortly...for now I'm taking advantage of watching and
sharing in her awe of our new white world....and passing on the traditions
that we've made with this precious non-holiday.

Future plans include a trip to Springfield with tomorrow's thaw....Gabe and Ally find out the sex of my new grandbaby at noon....IF the thaw
man-bill has informed me of another 4-8 inches heading our way.

I cannot WAIT for the first time i get to steal the new one away
to grammy's house....for HER first snow day!


(snow ice cream)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

welome from the ice house!

this, my friends, is green grass (needing a good rake job)
and each blade encased in ice. Sux, huh...we suffered a
freeze last april, that left everything nearly dead looking
all summer! Even the out of control rose bush yielded
just one, dead bloom.

welcome to the ice house!

last night was sooooooooooooooo scary!

It started to rain here, but it really never rained...moisture was pelting out of the sky, and just landing, wrapping, and freezing everything it touched, laying down about an inch of ice on EVERYTHING.

we listened as the road crews went out, chains on the back tires, and still ending up in the ditch....they called them all back in to put chains on the front, too. Here in Missouri, we really aren't prepared for stuff, especially stuff that moves in in less than an hour.

we listened as a woman called from her car...she wasn't sure where she was, but the nose of her car was pointing up, and she could see the airport and coming by every 30 seconds or so. (she must have been a keeper, cuz at one point, she offered to put her headlights on bright, to help the search along!)
just driving along one second, and the next're looking up at your headlights in the sky, and trying to remember the last roadmarker you saw!
Because it hit early evening, there were still alot of drivers out...but most of us knew that we need to grab some feed, and hi-tail it to the house!

molly has now been home for FIVE DAYS...starting with the onset of the ear/sinus infection (round 2) then the MLK holiday, and conveniently now tuesday! she's like me, could lock us up here, forever, and we wouldn't run out of things to long as there is power, anyway. This is some of the artwork she displayed for us, after she got bored and went hunting up some fun:

there's a new big tooth among the marker

Yes that is permanent marker!!

If you look really close, you can see not ONE but TWO BIG OLE TEETH,
coming into the spot the ONE tooth she lost left! Can you say...
ORTHODONTIST??? $$$ ????

That was what kept me up all worried about losing much so that the sarge is checking into a propane we can hook up to the house. We have a smaller portable unit...and wouldn't have frozen, but it would have been a hassle to hook up.

I finally got up at 4am, and stumbled out to the livingroom...did a quick check of the tv to verify all the schools would be closed...padded back in to turn off all alarms...draw the blinds...gather a down pillow and blankey, and close the bedroom doors so that everyone could sleep in.

I climbed into THE most comfortable couch in the world, and was enjoying a deep...deep...sleep (my first of the night) when... BANG BANG BANG on the door...and "WOOF WOOF WOOOO-lemme-eat-the-visitor-OOOOOFS" german shepherd alarms going off loudly and fiercely...waking not only my house, but any house in a five mile radius!!it's the neigbor boys from a few acres away...they want to know if we missed the bus, too.


I don't think their mom will miss them for awhile, as she's the one who sent them to the bus....and the dogs are now happy and full.

The sun is out now, and last night is sure to quickly become a forgotten nightmare... and for posterity...the only real weather we've gotten this winter is some tornadoes (from our warm air) a light dusting of snow on the trampoline...and now...the INSTANT ICING! knock on wood....maybe this is the last of it!

here's wishing for a quick thaw and dry, as we're in for more cold tonight...and a HURRIED SPRING! (hope yall are staying safe and warm)

this is what it looked like, on the back deck...not really wet at all...just ice!


and a little closer...these almost were drops! stopped short and frozen:


and lastly? the little blue/orange bird...usually a sign of spring when they start
gathering to nest...this one though? He's just confused! Behind him is the bulk of the sunshine we had til noon...all haze...the black fog that will MESS YOU UP!

the bluebird of spring is somewhat confused

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Please read and respond

my sis called me last night...she was making fun of me because at 9:40pm, on a saturday, her and hubby were just returning from a night out, and here i was in bed!!

she probably thinks im old and boring...a sad fact as she's 10 years my SENIOR!

Fact of the matter is, I took my precious baby with me last night to the bedroom, and we sang songs, and we talked, and i combed her hair with my fingers until she drifted off to sleep...

Beautiful baby.

i took this time with molly, because that very morning at 11:22am, a litle guy whose story i've been following, lost his battle with neuromedullablasphoma.

and I'm grieving.

King JuJu was all of 4 years old.

My husband is kinda confused and gently trying to get me off the computer (i keep returning to it and bawling my eyes out)...and i KNOW i have a long list that got put off yesterday...but i wanted to chat with yall for just a sec.

I know, i turn the channel when the starving babies come on's not out of disrespect, it just seems easier if i don't look at it.

I NEED you to look at this.
Did you know? Pediatric Cancer kills more of our babies annually than anything else?


Please take a second, and look at king juju's video...take a moment in your busy lives this week, and remember his family in prayer...and take more than a moment to love your children...or as juju's mom mimi says..
"go dance with your child"
she's such a wonderful woman. Throughout all of this she has remained stedfast...reminding us that on those days that you can't take ONE MORE SECOND of the noise and mess that our children can generate..

she'd give anything for just that one more second.

I'm leaving you with the video, and with some facts about pediatric cancer. Please do what you can. Donate money, donate time, donate love and prayers...and please join with me in begging for Peace and Comfort for this family, the kind that only God Himself can deliver.

We have to stop this cancer...we have to stop this NOW before it gets one of OUR children...and at the rate it attacks, that also is a very real fact.

Godspeed Little King Juju
your fight was not in vain

The response?
Wear Yellow on Thursday...and if you can, let go a yellow balloon in his honor!
and LEARN! Learn about pediatric cancer, and do SOMETHING!!


Childhood Cancer Facts:

Childhood cancers are the 1 disease killer of children - more than asthma, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, and pediatric AIDS combined.

Childhood cancer is not a single disease, but rather many different types that fall into 12 major categories.

Common adult cancers are extremely rare in children, yet many cancers are almost exclusively found in children.

Childhood Cancers are cancers that primarily affect children, teens, and young adults. When cancer strikes children and young adults it affects them differently than it would an adult.

Attempts to detect childhood cancers at an earlier stage, when the disease would react more favorably to treatment, have largely failed. Young patients often have a more advanced stage of cancer when first diagnosed.

(Approximately 20% of adults with cancer show evidence the disease has spread, yet almost 80% of children show that the cancer has spread to distant sites at the time of diagnosis).

Cancer in childhood occurs regularly, randomly, and spares no ethnic group, socioeconomic class, or geographic region.

The cause of most childhood cancers are unknown and at present, cannot be prevented. (Most adult cancers result from lifestyle factors such as smoking, diet, occupation, and other exposure to cancer-causing agents).

One in every 330 Americans will develop cancer by the age of 20. On the average, 12,500 children and adolescents in the U.S. are diagnosed with cancer each year.

On the average, 1 in every 4 elementary school has a child with cancer. The average high school has two students who are a current or former cancer patient. In the U.S., about 46 children and adolescents are diagnosed with cancer every weekday.

While the cancer death rate has dropped more dramatically for children than for any other age group, 2,300 children and teenagers will die each year from cancer.

Childhood leukemia (making up the largest group of childhood cancers) was once a certain death sentence, but now can be cured almost 80% of the time.
Today, up to 75% of the children with cancer can be cured, yet, some forms of childhood cancers have proven so resistant to treatment that, in spite of research, a cure is illusive.

Several childhood cancers continue to have a very poor prognosis, including: brain stem tumors, metastatic sarcomas, relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and relapsed non-hodgkins lymphoma.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

the rollercoaster of life

What a week!

No big upheavals, but i can't seem to get it together.
Like a post-holiday - pre-spring funk, everything is falling apart!

We're in the middle of a cold snap to boot, something southerners do NOT like! Cold here is somewhere between 35 and 45 degrees...and this morning it was FOUR!!

Got the pickup picked up from the had some weird fuel module out, and would just run out of gas spontaneously and periodically, even though BOTH tanks were full! Took them a week and a few hundred $$$ to diagnose THAT....

And yes, you've heard me whine about this since Christmas...the hi speed has been out for over a month now, and WILD BLUE is just NOW managing to find a technician to come to the house. At least he SAID he'd be here today...they've been saying that SINCE Christmas.

So we're snuggled in, today.

We had hoped to get to springfield and see my growing grandbaby, and give the kids a visit with Yeagar the wonder choc lab, whom i have temporary custody of...(he got too big for the apt...AND my house for that matter at a whopping NINETY POUNDS!) but Miss Molly has relapsed with the ear infection and congestion...and given the bitter cold outside and bad luck with vehicles, we thought it better to stay snuggled.

(on a side note, if you watch CNN today, you'll see Springfield! It's the home of the 7-11 clerk, who was being robbed...and took a broom to the robber! AAAhhhh yes, this is where i live, home of AMAZON WOMEN! hehehe YOU GO, GIRL!)

Yes, Molly AND daddy have both have been to the doctor this well as both dogs!! (i think the puppy appt cost more) Sarge (german shep) has sprained his ankle, and yeagar has a yeast infection in his big floppy ears...common with the choc labs. (ew)

So I'm just gonna hide.

I did get to take a longggggg luxurious weekend soak, and was just rinsing, when we ran out of water!! EEK! Add a well-man to the list of visiting repairman today...

"Vos es los" (sp?)...something mama always said....
"Such is life."

This unending marathon of work/school/marriage/home/health...with a dash of break-downs, a sprinkle of trips to the doctor for added sparkle!

I'm trying to be patient..and trying to keep my eye on the positive.. I mean really, there is NO WAY i can clean the bathrooms or do the dishes with no water, RIGHT?

I do keep a supply of bottled on hand for coffee/expresso...made all of molly's juice earlier, just finished making a Biscuits &gravy saturday morning breakfast, AND did get my hair all rinsed out, before the flow slowed to a ALL IS GOOD!

Another positive?? MOLLY IS POTTY TRAINED!! Now for you parents of typical children...i see those eyebrows raising...but those of us with kids like molly have discovered some things about our kids.

For one, they have really dull senses! I hate that adjective... but it's the only way to describe it.
Her favorite foods include foods that typically little ones would not chili, salsa, orange anything..etc...they like to FEEL the food and the tastebuds need extra stimulation!
They never cry out in pain, unless there is a broken bone! Having such a high pain tolerance is NOT a good thing, either...we NEVER know how serious an injury is!

Hence the potty training. If you can't feel the don't know you have to go!
As with all of her other achievements, this happened in ONE SECOND!
Last Friday night, we took her to the potty, for the millionth time...she resented it for the millionth time...
and then all of a sudden, the new sensations, the trips to the potty, all of it FELL INTO PLACE! and i saw the LIGHT COME ON in her eyes!

I knew the second i saw that look, that i could scratch 'pull-ups' off my shopping list. Something that's been ON my shopping list for SEVEN YEARS!! YAYYYYYYYY!! I think it will push us up into a new tax bracket!! YAYYYYYYY!

Sure enough, for the entire week (except when she succumbed to the sinus/ear infection) she has been running around here and at school, in big girl panties! I'm so proud of her!

Everyone is healthy, my new grandbaby has kicked his daddy in the face, and Gabe (daddy) has achieved a MOUNTAIN of accomplishments this week in his life. I am so proud of him!

Little Bill called with pre-tax-time panic in his of those rites of passage you hate to see your children move into, but on they go to learn all about the thrills of adulthood! He's still working hard, setting goals, and looking for property closer to mama! I'm so proud of him!

And as much repair as this week has brought us, we are healthy, we have the $$$ to pay for the repairs, the tahoe has one more payment and it's owned, and I'm still sticking to the diet, and have added a stepper to my possessions....
Now, to get it out of the box.

Hope yall are livin the life, and working hard. I'm SOOOO very much looking forward to a little vacation time, when i can travel and get to see some of you, and am anxiously awaiting SPRING!

Enjoy! and kiss the babies from aunty E!!


(prayers this week for elizabeth westberry...and the line
infections that are preventing her from moving to a
cancer free life!)