The Fire, Ice and Power-less Award?! For ME?

So, I've just been informed from Dawn at Rylee for Life that I've earned the "When life hands you lemons..." award by virtue of our out-of-control pasture fire, our break-the-trees ice storm, and now our ongoing lack of electric power due to said ice storm.

Well, golly gee whiz, I guess maybe I have earned this award, whaddya think? :-) Thank you, Dawn!

I mean, I haven't slit my wrists yet. In fact, aside from some whining to my ever patient mother last night, I've pretty much plastered a smile on my cold face and extra clothing on my shivering body to keep warm at night. Everyday, I cross my lil blue fingers and hope and hope and hope that TODAY is the DAY, the electric is going to zap back on!!! So far, my positive energy hasn't ignited the wires over our house...

So, here's the thing about the lemonade award. I want to pass it on to some of my bloggy friends, who have done the same... you know, made lemonade out of their lemons. Or maybe they're just optimistic all the time. For whatever reason (and YOU will know why you were nominated, even if everyone else is unsure), here are my nominees for the Lemonade Award:

Midlife, Menopause, Mistakes and Random Stuff
Midlife Slices
Finding Sirius
Words of Wisdom From a Smart Mouth Broad
Write Up My Alley
A Day in the Life of Binks
Binks, you know it's for that danged technology ignorant and computer abusing boss of yours .... I sympathize with ya on that one, since my former boss is/was a mirror image of yours!

So, here are the rules for this award:
1) Put the logo on your blog or post
2) Nominate blogs that show great attitude or gratitude
3) Link to your nominees within your post
4) Let the nominees know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog
5) Share the love and link to the person from who you received your award

Mini Giveaway Winner!

And the winner, as generated by, is.....


Give me a shout-out with your address and I'll get this package on its way to you!

Thank you to everyone who entered my mini-giveaway... keep watching my blog, as there will be another giveaway in a few weeks. I enjoy the giveaways as much (if not more!) than you do.

I also want to thank everyone who has followed my blog over this wintry Kansas weekend. My DSL has been intermittent, and I haven't had the opportunity to get to your blogs. I am still without power and running the essentials (you know,the refrigerator, the TV...) with a small generator. This lil powerade has been a godsend for us. Thank goodness my hubby bought this little gem a few years ago. This would be our first chance to use it, and quite frankly, even though we owe a refrigerator-full of food to this generator, I hope we don't have to use it anytime soon.

I will be ever so thankful when the electric is back, so I can cook food, and do laundry, and clean house.


Kansas Blizzard 09: Another Update

Well, we've been without electric and our DSL connection since early Saturday morning. I love when the radio announcer tells everyone to STAY HOME, don't travel unless you absolutely have to, and then advises you it's a good day to make some popcorn and watch movies on TV. This advice right after his list of areas without power. Um, yeah, right. That would have been our plan too, if we had power....

Let me tell you, there is nothing more boring than being trapped at home with no electric! It's amazing what your brain thinks of.... I can do some laundry, wait a minute, no I can't. I could make some breakfast today, oh wait a minute, no I can't. We can play games... even that's hard to do when there's only 2 of you!

We can watch TV. Well, yes, we did manage to watch some TV as hubby had bought a small generator a few years ago, and of course, this was his first opportunity to use it. He wishes he had bought a larger one, but I will say this little generator has been a lifesaver during this storm. It has kept everything in our refrigerator cold and safe, and it has allowed us to watch the news and at least feel like we have some small connection to the outside world.

We have our DSL connection back, but we're still running off the small generator, so hubby is only allowing me this one quick post, then I must power down the computer. :-( Once we have our electric back, I will be back into my bloggy groove and visit everyone else's blog to see what's happening! Goodness, but what terrible withdrawal pains I'm having.... LOL.

We did venture to the nearest town yesterday afternoon (Blackwell, OK), just to get some much needed supplies, i.e., food that doesn't require a stove or microwave, and we also grabbed a hot lunch while we were there. Here's a few pics around the ole homestead, and from our local travels yesterday.

The above pics show how thick the ice was on our tree branches, and grass, while the last one would be our rain gauge totally encased in ice.

A coyote making a fast getaway (top photo) and a few deer watching the coyote (bottom photo). Click on each photo to see a larger version; the pin dot coyote and the deer will look more like a coyote and deer. I managed about 3 pics of the coyote before he was gone; right before he ran into the woods, he flushed out a rabbit and ignored it as it ran in the opposite direction. Oh how I wish 1) I would have gotten that pic, and 2) that I owned a 400mm lens!!!!

Cotton field in Kansas.
I know, I had no clue that Kansans grew cotton either...

(Above two pics)
Thick ice on some trees along dirt country roads, and a scenic wooden bridge.

This is how snotty some of our country roads were yesterday.

And this is how snotty our truck looked when we got home, although I've seen days where it looked worse!

Sunset on Saturday evening, broken tree limbs and all

Kansas Blizzard '09: Update

Hey y'all, thanks for your comments on my last post. We are safe and sound and warm in the house, all tucked in for the evening. May everyone else who is enduring this nasty weather also stay safe!!

Since I don't have any Bailey's Irish Cream on hand, I searched the internet to find a coffee/alcohol drink I could make and sip this evening. I found a recipe for Cafe Bueno which added kahlua and brandy to the coffee. Good Coffee?! Blech, not good coffee! So I ate the whip cream off the top. Twice. I think I'll just pour a cup of coffee now. It will be more bueno without the alcohol.

We did have to venture outside a lil bit ago to cut off some tree limbs that were so laden with ice they were scraping the roof and side of the house. Fed the horses while we were outside too.

One very happy thing happened while we were outside.... I found Barack! He had been missing for the last 2 days and we were afraid that something had gotten him. We were quite sad about it. Well, I went into this front storage room attached to our crappy garage, and I heard the loudest meowwwwww. My heart leapt, and I opened the door to the crappy garage, and lo and behold, there was Barack! We think he must have snuck into the crappy garage Weds afternoon when hubby got some gas cans out. Hopefully he killed and ate a few mice or rats while he was holed up in there. :-)

Anyway, that is my last time outside today. The rain/sleet is just beginning to change over to snow here, so I am sure that nature will provide a smorgasbord of picture-taking opportunities when I awake tomorrow morning!!!

So here are my last few ice photos of the day...

Kansas Blizzard '09

So, by 10:30 this morning they've already shutdown Rt. 54 from Pratt to Liberal, a major east-west route for trucks. According to the authorities, visibility is zero due to the snow.

Hubby and I decided to get up very early today, as we needed to make a Wichita run before the storm hit. He had already taken today off as a vacation day; the plan a few weeks ago was to work on our pasture fencing. Obviously that isn't happening! But I am glad he isn't driving to or from work today. No telling how bad this will get by midnight and I'm glad I won't have to worry about him driving an hour (or two or three) to get home.

Sooooo, our early Wichita run was preempted by an early arrival of the storm. Most forecasters were saying late morning/early afternoon. We came out of Atwood's about 10:30 a.m. and were greeted by a cold, sleeting rain. Since it's an hour's drive home, we decided to hit the road immediately.

This is how the highway looked as we began our trip home.
You can see the sleet blowing across the road.

Fifteen minutes later: you can see the road is starting to accumulate more ice/slush.

But it appears safe, right? Perhaps just wet. This is what's dangerous about this kind of weather. It can change in a New York minute. And it did.

Ahhh, the road appears even more treacherous now.

Note the pickup truck with the small trailer in the left lane. There is a rest area in the center of the highway, and he has just returned to the highway from said rest area. Now it would appear that he's in a bit of a hurry.

There he goes, speeding away in the left lane, passing everyone else! Now, don't we all wish (secretly of course) that we would see these people in a ditch further down the road, since they have no regard for bad weather?! Welllllll..... that is exactly what happened to this guy!

I have about 10-15 photos, where you can see him in the distance ahead of us. Then all of a sudden, brake lights on all the cars in front of us. Hubby saw something flipping through the air. It was this guy's trailer! Bet he had to change his underwear when he got home.

It's also fun to see all the other FAST people now slow down to a crawl. "Golly gee, honey, do you think it might be a lil slick out there?!"

You can see he's already out of his truck, and he's just opened the passenger door. As we drove by, his significant other was getting out. I'm guessing she might have asked told him to slow down several times already, and she probably wasn't a happy camper at this end result.

Hubby did call 911 for them; we did not stop as the road conditions were way too treacherous and we didn't want to be the good samaritans that got slammed by the sliding semi truck.... or something like that.

After that, we passed three other cars who slid off the highway. This one was in a rather bad spot.

Truck still running, lights on, and person just sitting in there. I mean, what are ya supposed to do? Wait for help, I guess. And this was only about 30 minutes into this storm, which is supposed to last all afternoon and into tomorrow morning! Can you imagine how backed up emergency vehicles and tow trucks are going to get?

We are getting closer to home now. Still about another 15 miles to go. Still a few more accidents to see... there were two more cars off the road, one being picked up by a flatbed tow truck.

A pick-up truck with a small trailer jack-knifed behind it, right in the middle of the highway on the northbound side. I'm guessing these smallish trailers don't do well in icy weather. About two miles down the highway, a fire truck was making its way to this guy, we think. Problem was, there was another car in the ditch on the northbound side, so the fire truck was stopping there, although he appeared hesitant. No one had jumped out of the fire truck as we went by, so I think they probably stopped at the wrong accident.

Finally, a pretty photo as we turned the corner to our house. I jumped out of the truck to grab a few fence and tree shots.

I think I should bundle up and go outside, try to get some more photos. But with the wind howling like a banshee (up to 40 mph gusts) and the rain/sleet coming down on me, I rather like the toastiness of the house right now.

Besides, I think it's time for a pot of hazelnut coffee. :-)

Graveyards Town Shoot Out: Historically Interesting But Still Creepy Overall

It is "My Town" shoot out day, where both professional and amateur photographers show off the best of their towns. The theme this week is graveyards. If you are new to this concept, and want to join us next week, check out Patty's blog post last week for more information.

I finally found out where the South Haven cemetery is located and decided to take an afternoon visit today. There were many old and interesting headstones at the Rose Hill Cemetery, but I think graveyards are inherently creepy. Especially this one, as it was on a rather isolated gravelly country road, and there was a thunderstorm brewing at the time I visited. Doesn't get much creepier than that, unless I were to visit at night, and trust me, that will NOT happen!

If you have a minute, check out the link for more information about the Rose Hill Cemetery. This is quite an interesting website that I found, wherein you can locate almost any cemetery in the U.S., either by name or by county if you don't know the name, and read all about is origins.

One item of note about this particular grave yard:
Early in the summer of 1948, a man's body was found burned in a straw stack. It is believed the man was killed before the stack had been set afire. From South Haven this stack was 1½ south and 3/4 west. Since he could not be identified, he was buried in the NW corner of the older part of the cemetery, and a large rock was placed at his grave for a marker.

I did not find the aforementioned large rock in the graveyard, but like I said, a thunderstorm was brewing, so I didn't stay for an extended period of time. I also had plans to visit six cemeteries in our county today, but since I left my list/map at home on the kitchen table, I only made it to this one.

A faraway view of the cemetery entrance

This interesting marker in the shape of a tree trunk is mentioned
in the description of the Rose Hill Cemetery at the above website.

I've never seen a Brinks truck follow a hearse to the cemetery.
~ Barbara Hutton

WTH.... and a Mini Giveaway Too!



We have had beautiful weather for at least a MONTH! This new weather forecast is oh so cruel. And we have SO much to do outdoors this weekend, it's not even laughable. Now we will be pressed for time (there are very strong reasons for this).


So in celebration of our upcoming crappy weather which has the potential to keep me housebound, and therefore gives me every excuse in the world to blog my little heart out this weekend, I think a mini giveaway is in order.

Here's a fun lil giveaway which includes a magnet, two greeting cards (one of each design) and The Country Store, a lovely hardbound book with tons of photos. Divided into sections (The Kitchen, The Bathroom, The Pantry and Seasonal Celebrations), this book provides step-by-step sequences illustrating the projects and recipes.

"The Country Store captures our yearning for a simpler, more satisfying way of living in tune with the rhythm of the seasons and the spirit of nature, and provides practical instruction for creating that oldtime country feeling with food, gifts, beauty products and home decorations."

How to enter the giveaway?

First, you'll need to be one of my followers. Second, just leave a comment on this post. Everyone gets only one entry, regardless if you leave more than one comment on this post.

This post will be open for entries/comments until Friday, March 27, at midnight, PST.

Over the weekend, I will use to draw a winner while I am housebound due to the blizzard.

A big thank-you to everyone who reads and follows my blog, and I hope you enjoy this giveaway! :-)

A Few of My Favorite Things... and the City "Stuff" I Miss

Hands down, the top thing I miss is my Panera hazelnut coffee with half 'n half!!! I would stop at Panera's on my way to work and get my fix of hazelnut coffee with an asiago bagel (toasted) and lo-fat cream cheese. These days, the closest Panera is an hour away in Wichita. So needless to say, a trip to Wichita demands a stop at Panera for coffee, no matter what time of day it is!

On a side note, I do NOT miss my job, which is what necessitated my stop at Panera. That cup of coffee helped me look forward to my morning, before I got to work. Let's just say that my job was not the most positive environment and I wouldn't have wished it on my worst enemy.... wait a minute, maybe I would. It would be the perfect hell for my worst enemy...

Ok, on to some of my other favorite things, the things I miss since I've moved to the land of rural-ness....

My son and his wife, who are still in Ohio with their beagle "kids", Remy and Max. I miss going out to eat with them (and my mom), hanging out on the outside deck at the winery in the summertime, and playing board games (at the winery and at home). We had sooooo much fun at the winery, often laughing til we cried. Wine seems to heighten the funnyness of everything!

This is the hardest thing about moving to another state -- leaving your kids behind! :-(

Oh, and they are neck and neck with the Panera coffee, vying for first place in the "things I miss"... Josh will most likely NOT find it amusing that he's competing with a cup of coffee...

Luigi's Restaurant in downtown Akron; I think it's been there since the 50s. To-die-for salads just mounded with mozzarella cheese and the house dressing. The absolutely best pizza and baked spaghetti. I also miss Pancho's Southwestern Grille in Greensburg. I would go there on Sunday afternoon in the summertime, sit on the patio with a good magazine and a margarita. My downtime, by myself. It was my "thing", and I looked forward to it.

I miss all my girlfriends, and meeting them for lunch, or dinner, or a drink at the local watering hole while we listened to various Ohio local bands and danced; Gretchen, Denise, Diana, and all the other wonderful friends I met through them.

Slightly grainy cell phone image of Denise, Gretchen and I (above) when we went to see Joan Jett in Cleveland, Ohio a few years ago. We had a ball, and stopped at this little dive restaurant afterwards to get gyros that were deeelishus!

Denise was ALWAYS having picnics at her house, and inviting tons of people. Yeah, she's one of those social butterflies and I just tagged along with her, getting the small doses of social-ness that I need only occasionally. Here's all the girls (above) two summers ago at one of Denise's picnics; I'm in the middle in the blue flowery top. Let's see, that was about 20, maybe even 30 lbs ago (gasp!)

(digressing again) I'm aspiring to get back down to that weight one more time before I officially get OLD.... you know, the big 5-0. I just know this time is going to be the hardest... my start date for serious aerobics and weight bench work is next week. I'm going to have to dust the ole weight bench off, it's collected a lot of Kansas dust since I moved it here.

Now, my mom is probably stunned that she has not made my list.... BUT I talk to her every few days and I see her more than anyone else, since she has visited me here twice now. I've been back to Ohio twice to visit everyone, and I was in Arizona two weekends ago to spend time with mom and my sister, and my sister's BFF from Ohio. So, in a strange way, I don't really miss my mom, because we still get our "dose" of each other.

One last favorite thing, and this one is easy to get via the internet. Anthropologie's Capri Blue Jar Candle, in the Volcano scent. It's a bit pricey for me, as far as candles go, but I smelled this particular candle in the Carmel dressing room when my sister and I were shopping, and fell in love with it! You will love this candle, and if you want to try a smaller version, try the Capri Blue Candle Tin at only $12. Mmmm, a small indulgence yet so wonderful!

So these are just some of the things I miss from my city life, BUT I will honestly say that my new life here in Kansas more than makes up for the things I miss. And I will save that for a future post.... the things I love about my new home in the country!

Westward Ho!

I've been a bad photographer, as in, I did not take that many photos while I was in Arizona last weekend. I think sometimes I just get tired of lugging my camera around and I want a true vacation, even from my camera! Of course, then I regret it as soon as I get home and see that I only took about 58 photos... waaaah!

The moon over winter wheat,
as I left Kansas early morning to hit the road

We stayed in Cottonwood, a lovely little town where my parents used to live. It's a great central place to stay if you want to visit Jerome, Sedona, Prescott, and Flagstaff. Cottonwood has its own host of great restaurants and a big history of its own, so be sure to spend some time exploring this wonderful little town.

The view from the mountain town of Jerome

Douglas Mansion

If you love Sedona, you just have to visit the historic mountain town of Jerome, not too far away and well worth the 20 or 30 minutes to get there. We've loved this little town for years and always make a run for the little artsy shops, and we always manage a few really good buys. The shopping is great, the food is even better, and the views are breathtaking! I got this cool little bracelet at one of the jewelry shops for only $14. I love the inspiring words (love, peace, joy, hope, faith and dreams come true) on it, and it was made by a local artist which makes it rather unique.

We ate at Grapes Restaurant & Bar and everything was soooo deeeeee-lish -- salads that made you sigh, wine that made you wacky, and desserts that made you want to die! Highly recommended by the four of us. Also highly recommended -- the Jerome Palace Haunted Hamburger for the best burgers in the west! We've ate there before, but we ran out of eating time to hit it again. I just hate it when there's not enough days to eat everywhere. :-(

Here are a few other shots of Jerome.... I would have preferred this first photo without the car, but there are so many cars in tiny little Jerome, it is virtually impossible to get many photos without cars in them!

The historic Spirit Room Bar

The next day, we spent an afternoon in Sedona, shopping and EATING.... I mean, what else is there to do?! We almost always hike while in Sedona, but we didn't have enough days to hike AND shop AND eat, soooooo the hike had to be eliminated. But of course, wouldn't you opt for shopping and eating over a grueling hike??! I mean, what do you think a gaggle of women that are pushing mid-life are going to opt for???

We ate lunch at Javelina Cantina, another favorite haunt that we go back to when we are in Sedona. Important criteria when we eat in Sedona.... the restaurant MUST have a patio so we can sit outside amongst the beauty that is Sedona. We had some marvelous margaritas and a dee-lish mexican lunch! After that, we grabbed the shuttle to Tlaquepaque, a very unique shopping complex, with boutique type shops. The ambiance there is so wonderful, we just had to take a break and sit on the balcony patio at the Oak Creek Brewery and Grill with a glass of wine and some appetizers!

Oh so beautiful views of the Sedona red rocks

But, all good things must come to an end... and actually, I was missing hubby and my girlzzzz, so I decided to head home a day early. Isn't coming back home after a vacation just the warmest and coziest?

NO, I did not come back home early because hubby torched our homestead while I was gone.... nope, not at all, I adamantly deny that was the reason I came home early!!