Monday, April 30, 2012


Weird!  That's all I can say.

A couple of weeks ago I was all dressed up in my Sunday best, heading out of Tulsa to a Kansas speaking event when Honeybuns declared, "you can't drive that, you've got to go by the service dept. of the local Ford dealership. You can't park that in a hotel parking lot overnight the way it's behaving!"

My red truck was demon possessed.  For two weeks prior to this day the "spirits" had had their way.

Randomly the back door would lift up, ALL BY ITSELF, at very unexpected times, sometimes in the parking lot of the grocery store, church or  often our driveway.  In the mornings I would
enter the garage and there it was, tail in the air!   If I slammed the drivers door, up it went.  If a loud noise occurred in the garage, up it went!   If I slammed the door into the house, was up again. Noises seemed to trigger the action, sometimes!

SO...on my way to Kansas, I stopped by the super duper repair shop.  The service department manager looked at me rather pitifully and gently explained (as he would to his ancient grandmother) that the problem was surely ME, that I was inadvertently pressing the UP button on my key fob.  Perhaps it was receiving a push while lying in my purse, maybe feeling a nudge from my wallet or phone.  I let him talk. 

Sometimes that's  all an old lady can do!

After he said his spiel, I drew myself up as tall as I could and looked him square in the eye. 
"NOPE, you got this one wrong, sir.  It is not ME! The back door lifts up BY ITSELF, RANDOMLY!"

To make my point I walked around to the passenger door, opened it and slammed it. 

I was vindicated.  The back door lifted up right on cue.  The guy was dumbfounded.

He summoned his mechanic friends and they all stood there in awe.  They slammed a couple of other doors and that back door repeated it's antics.  IMPOSSIBLE, they declared!  Their eyes were seeing what could NOT be happening. The experts were baffled.

One brave young mechanic opened up a mysterious panel in the back of my truck and disconnected some wires.  That did it.  No more juice, no more automatic lifting!  Period!  End of discussion!

The men scattered and I climbed in the drivers seat and was about to get on my way.

That brave young technician leaned in to my window and whispered, "lady, if that back door lifts now, don't call me, call a priest!" 

This is hilarious!

At first glance you might think this is just a dog with his head stuck in a cookie box!  Nope!  This is NOT just any ordinary dog. Meet Baylor, yellow lab, newest member of the Braner Party of 7 family of Durango, CO.  Baylor belongs to the Fab5 grandkids and I cannot wait to meet him. 

He's growing fast, every picture shows him getting bigger and stronger.  And CHECK OUT those feet! He's going to be huge! But right now he's still at that clumsy, super cute stage. He's bringing lots of smiles and laughs to that household. That's what puppies do!!  (I did NOT ask his permission to  publish this shot, hopefully he'll forgive me for posting his backside on cyberspace!)

Back to the picture! 

I'm thinking Baylor is simply doing what we all NEED to do occasionally!  When things get way too confusing, painful or stressful I too must quickly assume this position.  Sticking my head in a cookie box is often the only place comfort can be found instantly! (That explains the constant need to diet, also!)

Baylor has it right.  Getting in a dark, tight place is a good thing.   It calms the nerves and soothes the soul.

Men do it when they enter into their caves, whether that be a quiet office, tool filled garage, or a private room complete with a 90 inch flat screen TV, pool table and refrigerator filled with fizzy drinks. Women take buble baths, go window shopping, flip through magazines or hide their heads under a blanket. I sometimes retreat to a library, a museum or my sewing room at the back of the house. A good book can also "take me away."

EVERYBODY needs to close out the world once in a while. Our culture has evolved backward in time and now we're living in the "Wild, Wild, West" once again.   AND no human can stay on the "George Jetson treadmill" of life 24/7. Some days it seems as if all news is bad news and we still have another 6 months to endure this year's presidential campaign!  UGH!

I LOVE being around people and my calendar is full of challenging, positive, productive endeavors, but once in a while aloneness is a necessity for mental health.

AND a box of cookies can't hurt!  I thank Baylor for that reminder!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Well, Merry Christmas (in April) to ME!!

Last December 23rd all the shopping, decorating, wrapping and baking was done so, on a whim, I decided to "start" a Christmas quilt. It took 3 days to cut, piece, place and sew all these colors into place.  A month or so later I contacted the famous area quilter so she could do her magic!  Needless to say, it was NOT done by the 25th.  BUT, today it is!

Mary Covey of Jenks, OK returned it to me with all the stitched feathers, circles, and curl-i-ques in their appropriate places.  She is great, no wonder she is in such high demand.

The picture doesn't do it justice, as they say!  It is a scrappy quilt made of  beautiful new fabrics and some old ones I found in the stash closet.  There are poinsettias, gingerbread men, pine cones, holly berries, red roses, stars, squares, rectangles, borders and mitered corners.  The back is a cream and black print with a border of that same cream and black checked.  So fun!

This one will become an heirloom and will stay in my house.  I've made and given away so many of these "works of art" that my bed was "quilt poor."  (Also, I'm counting on one or two granddaughters loving this!)  Our bed will look super festive next November-December, and maybe even this week!

Hobbies!  I have so many and enjoy each one fully.  I have enough ideas/supplies stored away in closets to last a lifetime. It will be impossible to live long enough to get them all done!  It seems that during stressful times I simply HAVE TO CREATE something.  Perhaps it's a way to control SOMETHING when EVERYTHING else seems to be so out of control.

Maybe I analyze too much.

It's healthy for me to do something with my hands!

NOW...on to the flower garden.  Today is the day to PLANT GOURDS!

Sunday, April 8, 2012


He's been in his new "home" now for 10 days.  And not one day as passed without me thinking of him, wondering how's he's doing. 

This is my Uncle, William Gaines, he turned 88 just 9 days ago! 

It was the day before his birthday that we moved him into the Veterans Home for Soldiers and Sailors at Quincy, Illinois.  What an experience! 

He's lived in his hometown of Concord, Illinois nearly all his life.  We're guessing that's he's been in that house, minus a couple of years in Europe fighting evil, driving a tank in the Battle of the Bulge, for the past 70 years at least.  (I can't imagine being in one place that long. I can't imagine fighting in a war for 2 years either!)

That house was also my home for my first 20 years of life and he was an important person in the family unit. He was the breadwinner, our chauffer at times, & our companion to the movies and ballgames. He was (and is) a sweet gentle soul. He never married and worked very hard all his life.
He cared for my sister and I when we were small and for his parents when they were elderly.

We are his family.

He'd been doing pretty well in his little block house in that small town for a long time.  The past 10 years have been shared with caretakers, nearly around the clock.  They came in shifts, helped him dress, eat, shuffle around on his walker, do light cleaning and most importantly, watch the Cardinals Baseball games with him.  That all changed Jan 8, 2012 when he fell out of bed and broke his right femur. 

Surgery followed and two or three near death experiences before he was admitted to transitional care at the hospital and then the nursing home across the street. Then the big moving day arrived.

I'm not sure he knew exactly what was happening, as he repeatedly asked me, "Where am I going?" He was a little confused but excited and enjoyed the 2 hour road trip.  He'd not been out and about to enjoy the scenery for a long time.

Once we cleared admissions and rolled him into the Fifer Unit there on that beautiful campus, all hint of anxiety disappeared.  We were met by a welcoming committee of 5-6 nurses, a social worker, an activity director and several of his "new WWII combat neighbors" wheeling by to take a look at the incoming ex-Army WWII private.  The Dr. arrived  5 minutes later and completely won our hearts with his compassion and efficiency.  Dr. Dave is a geriatric specialist and had things movin' and shakin' immediately.  The beehive of activity was extremely impressive.

My sister and I stayed in the guest house for two days, visiting him in his new state-of-the-art home checking on things like cleanliness, friendliness and quality of food.  It was all GOOD!

(We had a back-up plan formulated in case it did NOT meet our approval!)

We met a few of  the residents, watched them motivate down the halls, listened to them tease each other and started calling them by name. The nurses and technicians got to know us and realized that they would be seeing us often.

(We decided that we were going to try to ENLIST in the Army so that our golden days might be lived out there, too!!)

We are SO thankful for the very caring, extremely trained and patient staff.  They treat those elderly soldiers with such respect that they almost salute when one comes rolling by. 

Salute!  That's a great word.  I salute my uncle, and thank him, and love him.  I salute those 493 other vets that now live in that small world of the Veterans Home.  They are precious adult babies now but at one time were the strong courageous warriors that saved the world from  horrific evil.

They are NOT forgotten and they ARE great appreciated.  At least this one is!!

 I got a report this morning that he's doing just fine.  His new meds are kickin' in, his new place is starting to feel like home and his new friends are his entertainment! We're hoping that the therapy  he is receiving will strengthen his leg so he can walk again. Until it does he's happy watching the Cardinals Baseball games, sporting his new Cardinal-signed ball cap! (Theres an ongoing  rivalry amongst the vets between the fans of the Cards vs the fans of the Cubs.)

He's content and we are thrilled. This whole transition could not have gone better. His new home is fine.

If you're ever in Quincy, Illinois, do YOURSELF a favor and stop by and salute a vet.  You'll come away amazed at the gratitude that fills your heart!

Monday, April 2, 2012


10 days ago I threw some grass seed into this planter, watered it and set it in the sun...and left town! Honeybuns had instructions to very gently water those little seeds every evening...then HE left town!  We were both surprised to find this thick stand of grass growing when we got home last night.  I had to actually "mow" it with my scissors. 

It's supposed to represent the Garden Tomb (see the little flower pot in the center next to the stone, the rock path leading to it?)   There is a hill with three crosses, one very special!

The actual Garden Tomb looks nothing like this little makeshift crafty centerpiece.  It's much more eloquent in it's simplicity, much more profound.  This is a poor depiction but perhaps a conversation starter, or a visual to stimulate the thought processes.

The miracle that happened there 2000 years ago changed history forever.   LIFE from DEATH is a big deal!  Was then, is now. 

LIFE from tiny dried up grass seeds, LIFE when I die to my selfish desires and LOVE my neighbor instead.  LIFE when I put to death my past, present and future worries to the ONE that walked out of the tomb ALIVE.   LIFE when I lay down my ideas of how things "should" be and let HIM take charge. LIFE when I bury it all, and choose to trust in HIS sovereignty, power and grace.

It's HOLY WEEK!   Hallelujah! We're celebrating LIFE!