February Photos

Sunday, July 3, 2011

My website, www.sarahlynnsquilting.com, has been transferred to a new web host provider, and is once again up and running. 

There are still a few quallyfobbles to fix and edit, but I will add last week's journal tomorrow evening, and this week's new journal Tuesday, hopefully.

It was a bit of a headache, and quite scrambled the fluff that tries to impersonate gray matter in my head; but it's done, and working, and I'm relieved and pleased as punch. 

Please let me know if you find non-working links, pictures in the wrong places (or missing entirely) ... or other technical problems.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Raised Dahlia Quillow

While my website is down, I will add to my old blog... and hopefully, in a few days, the website will be back up.  I had to transfer my domain to a new web host provider, as the site had gotten too big for our small local Internet Service Provider.  I am transferring to BlueHost.

This should have been an easy task -- but it has proven to be anything but.  However, the techs from BlueHost have emailed me, saying that the problem was with the FrontPage extensions, and they have resolved the issue, and I should be able to upload without problem now.  I haven't had a chance to try it yet, and won't until tomorrow.

Yesterday afternoon, I finished the Raised Dahlia quillow (click pictures to view in larger size):

This is the template (called 'Petunias') I used to quilt the body of the quillow:

Now to make the label -- and this time, I have already soaked the fabric in Bubble Jet Set so that the ink won't vanish in the very first wash.  (Yeah, that's what happened to the first label I made on my printer.)  (If I'd've gotten the ink on the fabric by accident, it wouldn't have come out, no matter what I tried, you know.  Murphy's Law #184.)

I like this customer's quillow so well, I got extra fabric and made a table topper for my daughter and son-in-law.  (The center block is 23"; the block for the quillow is 18".)  I will give it to them for their third anniversary, August 10th.  I still need to make a set of napkins; they will be made from the light-colored daisy print of the star points.

*      *     *     *     *

Tonight I made a Candy Heart dress for a customer:

Do you like the box I'm sending it in?

Saturday, February 12, 2011


I have begun posting my writings and scribblings on my website, www.sarahlynnsquilting.com.  I've put on my newest journal, and will begin working backwards, until I get back to where this blog leaves off.  It's taking longer than expected; I sure have written a lot!

If a person who talks a lot is called a 'blabbermouth', then is a person who writes excessively called a 'blabberfingers'?

Anyway. . . check out my website.  Journals will be under the 'Blitherings' link.  That sounds goofy.  Maybe I'll change it to ... 'Scribblings'.  'Musings'.  'Thoughts of Intellect'.  (Sounds impressive.)


(You can also click on my baby picture... the Mariner's Compass quilt... or the title, 'Nature's Splendor' to get to my website.)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Monday, June 16, 2003 - The Pony Express Comes Through!

Last Sunday night, Lawrence and Norma asked us to stop by after church; they had a birthday gift for Hester, along with a Dairy Queen cake.  They gave her a set of books – horse stories.  Norma, I think, is pleased that Hester likes such things, because she herself has always been fond of horse stories.  Of course, I have, too…I used to beg my parents for a horse, all to no avail.  (I thought we could keep it nicely in the back yard, right there in town, haha.)  I found solace in reading every last story about horses that I could find at the public library.
“We got you the neatest Father’s Day gift,” Larry informed Lawrence, and everyone was sure he was going to spill the beans, as he is oft wont to do.  “We can hardly wait to give it to you!”
And then, amazingly enough, that was all he would say.  Whew.
          Monday, we went to town so that Hester could buy something with her birthday money.  Also, I needed a rake and a pitchfork for planting seed and pitching wood chips, respectively.  Our first stop was Tractor’s Supply, but everything we looked at – horse figurines, horse decorations, pitchforks, rakes – were too expensive.
Horses figures:                    from $20.00 to $50.00
Rakes and pitchforks:         from $15.00 to $30.00
           Next stop, Menards.  There we found a perfectly good rake for $2.98 with a $2.00 rebate – so the rake will cost only $.98.  Plus the price of the stamp.
Also, we got Hester four rolls of wallpaper trim – horses, of course.  It has several horses of various timbre and hue loping through a forest-edged meadow, a stream flowing in the foreground, and puffy clouds floating in an azure sky.  And then it was time to take Hester to Mama’s; she took Pauline’s place that day, staying with Mama from five till eight.
At Dee’s Hallmark, Lydia and Victoria got a couple more American Girls' Collection pins each, their rewards for completion of several activities for the corresponding American Girl.
We then stopped at a used furniture store, where I bought two picture frames and a 3-D picture of quails for $1.00.  The frames were for Hester to use with the horse pictures she’s saved from a calendar.
On to Wal-Mart, where we got a present for one of Caleb’s schoolmates; he’d been invited to the boy’s birthday party the next day.  We got him a squishy ball with two lizards floating around inside, and a package of those sea urchins and critters that grow when you put them in water.
I looked at an outdoor bench that I’d like to have, part knotty pine and part dark green leaves-and-vines scrolled metal – $68.  I spotted those little pointed dwarf evergreens of which I’d like four, placed around the corners of the porch; they are $17 apiece.  We looked at brick-faced stepping stones, square, round, octagon…  And that’s all we did:  look.  They were $1.47 each, and I need a gazillion or more.  But the downstairs walls and ceilings must come first.
We stopped at the Goodwill on the way out of town, where I got a dusty-blue-framed painting of an old-fashioned cottage and flower garden, and a little square (or diamond-shaped, depending on which way you hang it) mirror with blue and pink lace all around it, a dollar each.  Those were for Victoria, and I hung them in her room when we got home.
That evening as we were preparing for a supper which included green beans, Victoria was getting out the silverware.  She tries to collect the correct utensils for each entree.  Pulling out a teaspoon, she asked in all sincerity, “Does this look like a green bean spoon?”
Now listen to this:  when Larry got home from work, he mowed the lawn.  Mind you, the surprising thing is not that Larry mowed, but that Larry mowed.  (There is a difference.)  You see, what we are still surprised about is that so much grass actually grew, and that a lot less was lost than we expected.  It looks quite nice now, with not nearly so many bare spots as we’d thought there would be.
Larry was going as fast as he could, because the wind was blowing like anything, and it was starting to sprinkle.  He entertained me for a few minutes, pretending that the self-propelled mower was dragging him along faster than he could keep up, whizzing round and round a tree three times before finally getting the thing turned another direction.  I pulled a few weeds, and then it started to rain.  Larry didn’t quite get done mowing before the storm hit, complete with lightning, thunder, and high winds.  Certain areas to our west got 3-inch hail and 70 mph winds, and some people couldn’t drive out of their lanes on account of downed trees and electrical wires.
Keith came and helped Larry in the bathroom downstairs.
Oh!  Guess what!!  Our mail came!!!  And both newspapers, too.  Tuesday morning, we stuck the rebate card for the rake into the mailbox, and Caleb, amidst great fanfare, hoisted the little red flag for the first time.
“Now we’ll see if that works!” he proclaimed. 
I finally put the ladybug buttons onto Hester’s reversible vest (antique gold ones on the plain navy side) and sewed the ladybug appliques onto the collar of her new blouse.  Then I hemmed a red rayon polka-dot jumper for Lydia, and sewed a bit on her navy jumper with the rust-colored hearts.
Robins have built a nest and the female is sitting on eggs not far from my office window.  A chipping sparrow sat on a nearby branch and twittered his heart out all the while I sewed.
          That afternoon, we went to town to do a few errands, buy groceries, and – most importantly – take Caleb to the birthday party.
Caleb began fussing before we ever got to town.  “My bangs are falling down!” he worried.
He’d slicked them back, but used no hairspray.
“Well, pick them up,” I recommended.
He failed to appreciate my humor.
“He worries more about his hair than I do,” remarked Lydia.
“No, I don’t,” contradicted Caleb, “because you worried about your hair for half an hour this morning, but I only worried about mine for three minutes!”
“Can’t quarrel with that,” commented Hester, causing her sister to pull a face at her.
“We can stop at Grandma’s and fix your hair,” I promised Caleb, and he was satisfied.
While we were there, Dorcas gave us the ingredients for tomato/spaghetti soup, and then off we went to deliver Caleb to The Birthday Party.  We bought groceries and headed for home.
When Larry got off work, he finished mowing a few spots he’d missed the night before.  Keith came, riding his ‘new’ motorcycle.  He really likes it.
Dorcas came shortly thereafter.  She’d been to her piano lessons, as she does each Tuesday.  She gets her lessons free, because she teaches the piano teacher’s little boy violin.  When he saw her coming, he rushed and shut the door in her face.  hee hee  Actually, he is terribly fond of her.  He’s a big tease.
Jim C. came knocking at the door, giving me a box full of plums, a few apricots, a cantaloupe, a summer squash, and potatoes.  “Did Larry mow that old man’s weeds?” he asked me, giving his head a jerk toward the west, where live the A.'s.  (Old man?  Jim is about the same age.)
“Yes,” I promptly acknowledged, my tail getting a bit bushy.
“Thought so,” nodded Jim, and my hackles rose a little farther.  “I got papers in the mail today,” he continued, “that show that he has been ordered to move his burn barrels and other things.  They’re right in the middle of the road, you know.”  (What I do know is that there is no road, as yet.)  “He doesn’t seem to understand, his lawyer says.”  Jim wagged his head commiseratingly, concurring with the attorney.  “We’ve known that for a long time.”  He shook his head.  “He doesn’t like me, you know that.”
“Yes,” I took the opportunity, “and here we are, right smack between you two, and we’re trying to be NICE!!  I grinned at him.  Just to confuse the issue, you know.
Jim stopped with his false simpering sympathy, his face instead taking on a slightly surprised look.  Then boisterously, “That’s fine!!!  You go right on being nice, honey!!!” said he, and he patted me on the shoulder, doubtless thinking, Calm down.  Calm down.
He smiled at me and went off to ask Larry something about those Volkswagen Rabbits of his.
Later, we went to get Caleb.  He was with the other boys at the school playground, where the birthday child’s parents had taken them.  His mother had earlier mentioned that they might go there ‘if the boys seemed to need something else to do’, which I suspect meant ‘if they are trying to tear my house apart’.
After supper, I washed all the plums – about three dozen – and apricots, then peeled, pitted, and sliced them, and I wound up with enough to make two deep-dish streusel pies.  To the fruit I added sugar, almond extract, and a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice.  The crust recipe calls for one cup of lemon peel, imagine that.  I would have added lemon juice, but I had none; so, instead, I poured in a bit of orange juice.  Mmmm, scrumptious.  The topping was butter, flour, and sugar.
Boy, oh, boy, was it good.  Was it ever good.  It didn’t get done until the children were in bed.  Larry and I had a piece, blowing every bite we took.   hot   hot   hot   Mmmm…I tell you, that was the best plum/apricot pie I’ve ever tasted in my whole life.
Wednesday, afternoon, the children were almost as excited to discover the previous day’s card gone from the mailbox, flag back down, as they had been to discover mail in the box the day before.  There was no mail.  They must not transfer mail-order catalogues to new addresses?  We’ve received nary a one, ever since the mail started arriving – and I like to look at mail-order catalogues.  I order seldom enough that my catalogues are invariably plastered with stickers on the front that say, If an order is not placed from this catalog, this will be your very last catalog from us.  {It’s a big fib; there is no such thing as a ‘very last catalog’.}
(No, we still don’t have our real address.  I can tell you this:  we are on 265th Avenue.)
Larry barely got home in time to take a bath, dress for church, gulp down a couple of NoDoz and an aspirin (so the NoDoz doesn’t do funny things to his heart rhythms), and rush out the door with us to church.  And yes, we did get there on time.
We went to Hy-Vee for toothpaste after church (I’d forgotten to get some the day before, and we were running alarmingly low).  (Well, anyway, I was alarmed; I don’t know if anybody else was.)  I handed Larry a dollar bill and started to open my coin purse when – “How is a dollar supposed to buy it?” he demanded.  I gave him a few more coins.  “Oh,” said he.
He came back, toting not only the toothpaste, but also – a dozen Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts.  Now, I ask you, why would he fuss about me giving him only a dollar  if he had enough money for a dozen doughnuts??!  I posed the question to him, but he made strangled noises and pointed at his full mouth.  We had those things gone before we ever passed Teddy’s house.
When we got home, lo and behold, there was a box on our porch, and it was full of apples, summer squash, onions, potatoes, and half of a watermelon.
“It’s good,” said Larry, “they ate the other half!”  haha
I sliced it, and we all ate it – except Larry, who, in spite of really liking watermelon, is allergic to it, unfortunate man.
After the children went to bed, Larry and I walked to the mailbox to get our forgotten newspaper.  I like it out here…walking the curving lane under the light of the nearly-full moon…seeing the lights from our windows shining through the ponderosas…smelling the cedars…hearing the faint calls of the night birds and the ribbeting of the frogs in the nearby pond…
First business of the day Thursday:  cleaning the fish tank.  It was so dirty, we couldn’t even see the fish, poor things.  They are getting huge; they really do need a bigger tank.  The scavenger is probably about eight inches long.  We hope to put them into an outdoor pond someday.
Caleb made apple oatbran muffins for breakfast.  I cleaned part of the living room, taking a couple of big boxes of decorations downstairs to Hester’s new closet, where it will shortly be right in Larry’s way.  But I carried the boxes – there were three rather than two – of girls’ clothing from the basement upstairs to Victoria’s cubbyhole, which required getting a couple of boxes out first.  This time, we left the cubbyhole doors open so it will be a little easier to get to things, letting the doors stick straight out between hanging dresses.  Not easy…just a little easier.  I put Victoria’s box of Barbie dolls and her toy grill that crackles and really smokes on one side of the closet, wedging it between the dresses and the shelves full of hats; she’ll be glad at least some of her toys are so handy.
After carrying a couple of boxes full of books upstairs to put in Caleb and Victoria’s bookcases, I hung a few more decorations in Victoria’s room.  It looks pretty; she is happy with her room.
We burned some garbage, pulled some weeds – and then the Schwan man came, and we got fish, pink lemonade, three half-gallons of ice cream – strawberry, vanilla, and butter crunch – and a bag of fruit.  Their fruit is always scrumptious.  We immediately made a quart of pink lemonade and guzzled it down.  It hit the spot; we were all hot and thirsty.
Hester made banana spice cake in the angelfood cake pan.  I put some icing on it, which melted into it because the cake was still too hot.
Jim C. came to our front door a little later, asking if the ‘water girl’ was here.  Sandra, his wife, needed someone to water her flowers while they were gone to visit his daughter and her family over the Father’s Day weekend.  It would be his granddaughter’s 2nd birthday.
I told Jim about the plum pie I’d made from the plums he’d given us, and how we’d hunted for a little pie pan so as to make them a pie, but couldn’t find one, and then just pigged out and eaten it all ourselves.
“But,” I informed him, “you have to remember! – it’s the thought that counts.”
He slugged me on the shoulder.
Hester and I walked with him up to his house, where Sandy came out and led us around, showing us which flowers to water, some of which she’d just planted.  We would collect their mail for them, too.
Sandy related some of their troubles with Richard A. – and she is 100% on her husband’s side.  She tells about Jim trying to mow while Richard yells, curses, and swears at him, about Richard pointing a gun at him (’course, that was when Jim was on Richard’s property), about Richard threatening to hit him with a stick, and about Richard suddenly popping out from a hiding place when Sandy was coming home from work at night and shining a bright light right down into her windshield.  They called the police, who called Richard, who notified them that he’d intended to blind Jim, not Sandra.  Good grief.
“And, by the way,” she added, “Jim was not the one who shot their dog.”
And on and on.
As we walked back down the hill to our house, I advised Hester, “Remember:  that’s only one side of the story.  I know Jim seems more ‘normal’ (whatever that is) than Richard … nevertheless, that was only one side of the story.
          We shall continue treating both our neighbors as kindly as possible.
Dorcas came then, bringing us garlic buns in her new, big muffin tin – “They’re called ‘Texas dinner rolls’,” she told us – and a plate of cookies with flags printed in the middle.  The buns, I think, were the best she’d ever made, tasty, light, and fluffy.  Just right.
For supper, we had chicken casserole, made by my sister Lura Kay.  She’d made it for Mama, but there was enough for our whole family, too.
Lydia and Victoria played with the new neighbor girl, Brooke, who’s seven.  She’s a nice little girl; they had fun together.  She gave each of the girls three big polished rocks from her collection after the children let her see the rocks they’d been collecting.  Victoria showed her her bedroom – and then wanted to take her to the basement.  Yikes.
         “You’d better wait until we get more done down there,” I thwarted them, “so that Brooke doesn’t get lost amongst all the boxes!”
The little girl laughed, and they all bounced outside again.
Keith came and helped Larry in the basement for a couple of hours.
I raked up an area under the ponderosas, then sprinkled onto it the entire can of shade-flower seeds that Hester gave me for Mother’s Day.  After that, I read the directions:  ‘Rake up an area about 1 ½ inches in depth…’
“Uh, do you think 1/16 of an inch will do?” I asked Keith, who happened to be walking past.
Caleb helped me march around on the seed, pressing it into the ground.  Or into the pine needles, as it were.  Who knows if any of it will come up.
Would you believe, some of those flowers I planted in those little peat pots are actually coming up?!  It’s been…how many weeks?  Six, maybe?  Hollyhocks… cone flowers… gaillardias… they’re all coming up.  Wheeee!  I’m having flowers!  And flowers!  And flowers!
Esther arrived – bringing us a big, deep-dish strawberry/rhubarb crumb pie, still warm from the oven.  Whew!  All that food, the very week I’d had a whole lot less than usual to spend at the grocery store.  We were, most of us, simply too, too stuffed to eat it.  And it’s my favorite pie!  Maybe my favorite food.  What a pity.  I had about three little bites; the rest would have to wait till the next day.
Friday morning, after eating my pie before one of the urchins made off with it, I went to get the C.’ mail – and nearly brought back the letters they’d left in the box to mail.  Oops.  I got their newspaper for them; at least I did that right.
Hester and I watered Mrs. C.’s flowers.  There was a pretty little cat there, awfully thin, and she’d just had kittens.  We had no idea where the kittens were, and she didn’t seem to be trying to go anywhere to find them.  Maybe someone dropped her off?  Hester brought food, and we gave her water.  She ate…and ate…and ate…  She really was starving, and she was terribly thirsty, too.  Did her kittens die?  Did someone do away with them, too?  I think that’s horrible, when people don’t take care of their pets.  I can hardly bear it, when I see a poor stray somewhere, in need of nourishment and affection.  But we can’t care for all the world’s starving animals!  All three of our cats were either strays, or had lost their original homes for one reason or another.  And three is already too many.
The Bible says in Proverbs 12:10, ‘A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.’  That means that even when evil people think they are being merciful, they are cruel.  Imagine what they are like when they are cruel on purpose!
We came back home and dug up some weeds.  I found a really, really pretty lavender wildflower in the back yard.
“Could you dig this up and transplant it?” I asked Larry that evening.
“It’s the wrong time to do that,” he protested, “right when it’s in bloom.  Leave it where it is; I won’t mow it down.”
“I’ll have to see that to believe it,” I muttered, and he sent a small sprinkle of water my way.
           Larry started to mow the tall grass amongst the ponderosas – it’s growing like crazy – with his riding lawn tractor, but something went wrong with the transmission (do mowers have transmissions?), and the blade won’t turn, nor will the mower go.  And then it started to rain.  He left the tractor up in the trees, rushed back, put my bike in the shed (I’d ridden it to the C.’s), wiped it off (wasn’t that nice of him?), and came in, dripping wet.
Lydia started making some soup – pasta, potatoes, and vegetables – and I cut up a big onion and put it in the pot.  Mmmm…it smelled so good, it made our mouths water.  Did you know that, if you slice an onion under a small stream of water, it keeps the spores from floating out and making you bawl your eyes out?
While the soup simmered on the stove, I juiced a couple dozen apples.  As the juicer was whirring away, Caleb came in, the two neighbor boys (Brooke’s brothers) in tow.  He was taking them to see his room.  They were duly impressed; our old house has much bigger bedrooms than their brand-spanking new one, which is a modular but doesn’t look it, on account of the fact that they have bricked two sides of it.  As they came back down, I handed them each a small glass of fresh-juiced apple juice, which neither of them had ever had, and which both of them really liked.
Richard A. wandered over, showing Larry the papers he’d received from the judge that ordered him to move his stuff back onto his property – although he thinks it’s been on his property all along.  He asked Larry if he would help him get his old tractor started so he could move it.  Larry offered to help him move other things, too – and Mr. A. accepted his offer, then said with a glower, “Well, I’m not going to break my back doing it, though.”
(Truthfully, it probably would break his back, if he had to do it all alone, poor old man.)
Keith came just after it started raining – rather damp, having ridden his motorcycle.  {No, it hadn’t been raining when he started.}  He and Larry set about working in the basement.
Victoria just now found the old 8th-grade math book – the one I nearly threw out a couple of times – and she is delighted with it, all over again.  Good thing I didn’t throw it out, eh?  She got a pad of skinny, neon green, sticky notes out of my desk drawer, and is sitting beside me, carefully sticking green papers onto her favorite pages, which are all ‘real’ photographs.  She especially likes the picture of a 747 jetliner flying over the Rocky Mountains.
And then all work came to a halt, because Lawrence and Norma arrived, bringing a Dairy Queen cake.  Goodness!  I don’t think we’ll starve any time soon.
         Teddy and Amy came then, bringing Larry his Father’s Day gifts:  a gigantic mug full of nuts, M&Ms, and raisins, which he was nice enough to share with us; and a gift certificate from Menards.
         Norma gave Larry some money, too, telling him to use it for our house.
        “But, Mom!” he protested, “It’s not Son’s Day, it’s Father’s Day!”
         Norma shrugged and raised her eyebrows.  “Yes, well, you’re a father, aren’t you?” and that was that.
          After accusing Lawrence of getting us the Dairy Queen cake as a bribe in order to get his Father’s Day gift early, making him laugh (although he didn’t deny it), we gave him his present – the harmonica.
He was even more delighted than we’d hoped he would be.  They told us that they’d looked in Lincoln, Fremont, and here in town for a harmonica, because, ever since he played Teddy’s, which used to be mine, he’s wanted a better one than the one he had, which was only a little five-dollar affair.  He immediately took the new one from its case and played it – one hymn after another.  I didn’t know he could do that!  Oh, I’m so glad we got it for him.
He’s my stepfather-in-law, my children’s step-grandfather, and Larry’s stepfather…and he’s sho’ ’nuff jolly good at every single one of those titles.
Saturday morning, I started putting the wood chips Keith got for me into my flower beds.  I had a nice conversation with Mrs. A.  She told me a little bit about her family – two daughters, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.  2 ½ years ago her granddaughter had a baby that weighed only a little over a pound.  The baby had to stay in the hospital in Omaha for several months, and the granddaughter often asked her grandmother to stay with her.  I suppose she was lonely there, and probably feeling bad, not knowing if the baby would live.  So Mrs. A. spent quite a few days there.  She’s a nice lady; I like her.
I got the C.’s mail, took it to their house, put it in a box in the garage, and then spent an hour or so watering the flowers.  There are so many of them, and so pretty, with brick walkways wandering through the gardens and trees, walkways Sandra laid, herself — and it suddenly occurred to me what I could do as a small repayment for the flowers and bushes she’s given me, along with all the fruit and vegetables:  I would take pictures of her flowers – close-up and faraway – and put them into a little album for her.
Wheeeee!  I love taking pictures of flowers and things.  When the watering was done, I retrieved my camera and shot one picture after another.  The roses are in bloom, and there are all kinds and colors of hybrid tea roses.  She has unique flowers I’ve never seen before, and around her front doors are red, white, and blue flowers of all sorts in old-fashioned pots and containers.
Kitty follows me around like a puppy.  She was panting, it was so hot.  Her long black fur soaks up the sun like a sponge.  She found a cool place to lay on the brick pathway under the locus tree, and then when I headed off somewhere else, she said, “MeOWRRR!!” – not wanting me to go, because she felt that she just must follow me, and she didn’t want to leave the cool corner she’d claimed.  We haven’t seen the poor starving mother cat again.  Kitty herself ate the rest of the food we’d left out.
“Where do you suppose that poor thing disappeared to?” Hester asked me.
I looked at her.  “Let’s pretend she went home to her kittens,” I replied.
“Yes, that would be good, let’s do!” exclaimed Victoria, who, unbeknownst to me, had been standing right behind me, listening.
By the time I got home, Larry was there, and Keith arrived shortly.  I went back to putting wood chips around my flowers.  Larry and Keith dug a bit of a terrace beside the little shed and placed one of the railroad ties there.  I’ll put daffodils, hyacinths, and crocuses above and below it, come fall – unless the mums grow so big there isn’t room for them.  Keith took a couple wagonloads of dirt up by the peonies beside the east retaining wall, which are dying because so much of their soil got washed away.  Caleb and Victoria rode in the wagon, laughing when bumps nearly jarred their heads loose.
I filled one more wheelbarrow with chips – and then I was simply too tired to do any more.  I left it sitting on the high side of the shed, and there it still sits today.  Besides, I need some of that black edging to hold the chips where I want them.  I headed up to pack the dirt around the peonies – but I needed my gloves, and Larry was watering grass there, making a mud lolly so that I couldn’t get through…and somehow, everything was beginning to feel like an insurmountable obstacle.
I went into the house and drank some of the Schwan’s pink lemonade the kids had made.
Dorcas brought our supper – taco casserole with tatertots, and strawberries and whipped cream.  I plopped into the big easy chair and let Larry dish it out.
“My face feels tingly,” I said.
“It’s because you didn’t use sunblock and got such a bad sunburn,” Larry admonished me.
“No, that’s not what I mean,” I disagreed, “my face feels like it has quallyfobbles.  Like it’s twitching.  Like I’m sneering at everyone.”
“Well, you are, aren’t you?” asked Larry innocently, and if I’d’ve felt quite normal, I’d have thrown my spoon at him.
Since neither quallyfobbles nor twitching are usually fatal, I decided to ignore it.
Larry, Caleb, Victoria, and I went to Menards for a – listen to this – for a door!! for the downstairs bathroom.  Yes, that’s right; a real, honest-to-goodness door.  We found a gold handle – as opposed to a knob – a handle, one of those things that makes a half arc as it turns.  It matches the old-fashioned faucets and fixtures – and it was on sale, too.  The door was merely for sale.  [There is a difference.]
As we climbed into the Suburban, I complained, “My eyes hurt.”
“So do mine,” said Larry.  “It’s from all the weeds and trees and things.”
And his eyes were quite red.
“Maybe with you it’s from all the weeds and trees and things,” I retorted, “but I am not allergic to them!  My eyes hurt.  Like I’ve sunburnt them, or strained them, or something.  They hurt inside.”
“You’ve definitely sunburned them,” replied Larry.
When we got home, Teddy and Amy were here; Teddy had come for a haircut.  He helped Larry bring the door in and hang it – and there we were, then, with a bathroom we can actually use with some privacy (so long as somebody doesn’t go crawling over furniture and boxes and sticking their heads through the few still-open studs at the west end).  Caleb took the first – and only – shower in the tub/shower, and is therefore most terribly pleased with himself.
About the time I needed to give Victoria a bath and wash her hair, my head was beginning to hurt, and hurt bad.  I took some Extra-Strength Tylenol.  When Victoria’s bath was done, I laid down until Hester was ready for me to curl her hair, which I did as fast as ever I could.  Dorcas blow-dried Victoria’s hair, and I curled hers as soon as I was done with Hester’s.
The Extra-Strength Tylenol wasn’t doing a thing for my head, so I took some Advil.
          That was too much, I would soon discover.  My heart was beating irregularly, which it does periodically.  Feels funny; but it’s usually harmless.  Larry took my blood pressure:  99/62, pulse of 51.  That’s a bit low, even for me.  I took my temperature – and it was 1½° low.  I was freezing cold.  I laid down and covered up with three blankets.
Along about midnight, feeling rather grubby after all that watering and chipping (is that what it’s called?) and spraying bug repellent on myself, I went to take a bath – and that’s when I noticed that I was covered with a red rash of some sort, probably hives.  Larry brought me a big glass of water, but I could only drink a little bit.
         I went back to bed and tried to get warm while at the same time trying not to move and make my head pound even harder…and finally fell asleep an hour or so later.
Hmmm…I wonder what happened to me?  Let’s see: 
Heat exhaustion:
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating (nope); pale, clammy skin (nosiree!  My skin was definitely not pale.); dilated pupils (nope); a slightly elevated body temperature (no; just the opposite); and cramps (nope), weakness (sort of), dizziness (yes), nausea (yes), vomiting (no), headache (YES!!!), mental confusion (no), and sometimes unconsciousness (no).[1]
Three and a half out of twelve.  Hmmm.  Next:
Heat stroke:
The suction stroke draws air, but no fuel, into the combustion chamber through an intake valve.  On the compression stroke, the air is compressed to a small fraction of its former volume and is heated to approximately 820° F by this compression.  At the end of the compression stroke, vaporized fuel is injected into the combustion chamber and burns instantly because of the high temperature of the air in the[2] 
Oops.  Sorry.  That’s about diesel engines.  Try again:
Heat stroke:

A condition caused by prolonged exposure to excessive heat and marked by cessation of sweating (no), headache (YES!!!), fever (no), hot dry skin (yes), and in serious cases, collapse and coma (not yet).

Two out of five.  Hmmm.  Next:
A pain in the head (YES!!!).
One out of one.  That’s it, then!  I’ve diagnosticated myself!  I had a headache.
But look at this:
      Less than 1% of all headaches indicate serious physical problems.[3]
          Hmmph.  It certainly felt like a serious physical problem to me.
Sunday morning, I awoke at six o'clock – and was sooo thankful to find that my head barely hurt.  An hour later I got up and got ready for church.
Bobby and Hannah asked us to stop by after church; they had a Father’s Day gift for Larry:  they gave him three big bags of Pear’s coffee, scrumptious blends made right in Omaha.
Aaron showed us his new bed and dresser.  He was so excited about it, he hopped all the way down the hallway in front of us.  He then proceeded to hand me an armload of stuffed animals from his headboard, and he gave Larry as many tractors as he could hold.  I expect Hannah had to rearrange the room after we departed. 
Just a few steps out into the sun yesterday and today, and my head felt funny.  Still in fresh remembrance of the worst headache I’d ever had in my life, whether or not it indicated a serious physical problem, I quickly did anything I had to do outside, and then skedaddled for the shade and coolness of the house.  I think I’d better be careful in the sun, and be sure to wear sunblock and a straw hat.  Or a sombrero.  Or a fedora.  A chapeau.  Breton.  Panama.
When I stayed with Mama last night, I took along a light blue dress of satin, chiffon,
and lace.  It’s one of four dresses that Bobby’s mother, Bethany, gave to Hester and Lydia
before Easter.  She’d sewn them for her daughter, who has now outgrown them.  We sent it
to the cleaners, and it came back with the blue sequins and pearls on one of the over-the-shoulder lace-and-net ruffles missing entirely.  Turns out, Bethany had used glue to put them onto that ruffle, instead of thread, as she did on the rest of the dress, because she had run out of time.  She gave me the rest of her pearls and sequins, and I sewed them back on, finishing just as the rest of the family arrived when church was over.  Now I will sew a chiffon sash onto the dress, as it’s a bit too big for Lydia, and that will nip it in just right.
Loren and Janice brought a paper from a cousin of ours for me to read to Mama.  It was a short biography about his mother, my Aunt Ruth, my mother’s oldest sister, who’s 87.  Mama enjoys me reading things to her, for she has cataracts that make reading difficult for her.  She often tells me about things that happened when she was young.  She has more trouble remembering things that happened recently.  Nevertheless, she’s cheery and sweet as ever.
Loren and Janice had had a big garage sale, and even managed to sell their Buick.  Now, that’s  a garage sale.  Dorcas and Hannah had made baked goods to sell, and Loren and Janice brought the leftovers and the money they’d made, which was not enough, I fear, to pay for the ingredients and the time it took to make the food.  Dorcas added to Hannah’s sum by buying the rest of her brownies, which she then gave to us.  She also gave us a bunch of her buns, muffins, and cookies.  Mmmm…
Coming down our drive, Winston trotted out to meet us, as usual, then took a sudden, fast jaunt to the north, chasing something we couldn’t quite see.  I was afraid it was one of our cats, and wanted Larry to shine our headlights that way…but he calmly went on around the corner, so that we could no longer see Winston and his quarry at all.  He soon came loping in front of us again (Winston, not Larry) – we were going so slowly, I think a snail could have passed us – and then promptly went tearing off toward our house, ears and tail up.
“He’s chasing one of the cats!” I exclaimed, throwing open the door.  We were practically stopped; I think I could have hopped out and not suffered any adverse effects at all.  “Let me out!”
“Don’t fall out,” said Larry, not bothering to push on the brakes.
So we putt-putted along while Winston did who-knows-what, finally creeping into our driveway, where our lights shined on Winston gathering himself together and galloping rapidly along the east side of the house and around the retaining wall.  I didn’t wait for the Suburban to completely stop (indeed, I didn’t know if it ever would, or if it would just stay at its present gait forever); I simply bailed out and raced after that stupid dog, bellowing maniacally, “WINNNNSSTONNNNN!!!”
He stopped, I caught up with him, and he turned around quizzically, all set to wag at me and try to lick my hand while acting like he wasn’t going to.
I yelled at him, “What are you doing?!  Are you chasing the cat?!!”  I clapped my hands loudly in his face.  “GO HOME!!!” I shouted, and Winston jumped out of his hide and went.  “BAD DOG!!!” I yelled after him.
I couldn’t see if he continued to go, as he headed around the back of the house into the dark.  Larry helpfully shined the brights into my face.
Larry threw his own tantrum after coming into the house, because a whole passel of bugs came in with us.  {Bugs in the house are a worse calamity than a cat getting et up by a nasty neighbor dog, near as I can tell.}  I’m not real sure just how he thought we should have avoided such a thing, although Caleb did make matters worse by turning off the porch light as we were coming in, and I turned on the kitchen light at the same time – so of course a bunch of the creepy-crawly flying things migrated from the porch light to the kitchen light.
As Larry swatted madly, making noisy but vague remarks about what should have been done, Hester laughed heartily and said, “I think he wanted us to come in through the pet door.”  hee hee
We discovered Socks and Tabby inside, and they’d both been sleeping; so Winston hadn’t been chasing either of them.  I walked around the house calling for Kitty, but no Kitty materialized.  Perhaps I’d scared her with my clapping and yelling, and she wasn’t about to come to me now?
          This morning, we went early to the C.’s to water the flowers, in order to get it done before the sun got hot.  Opening the walk-in garage door to put their newspaper in the box and turn on the water, I suddenly heard, “Meow, meow…” and a bit of rustling.
I looked around.  “Kitty?” I called – and there came our very own Kitty in her trot-waddling way, mrrowing mournfully, telling me all about the injustice of being locked in an unfamiliar garage overnight.  She must have gone exploring in there yesterday afternoon when I turned on the water, and been there ever since.  Maybe that’s why Tabby was so bound and determined to get in, right when we were ready to shut the door and go home!
So:  What was Winston chasing last night?  Did I yell at him about absolutely nothing?  Poor ol’ doggy-woggy.  Ah, well; he needn’t act like such an idiot, the dumbbell.  He must have been chasing a bunny – and I don’t like him chasing them, either.  Or maybe a moonbeam.
Kitty followed us everywhere we went – even rushing straight back into her prison-of-the-night when I went in to turn on the water – meowing and purring and telling us how glad she was to see us.  She was probably hungry and thirsty, but I put water into a plastic dish and she didn’t touch it, even though she was going around with her mouth open, a cat’s way of panting.  Hester finally carried her home and gave her some food and water; but she only ate a little bit before she headed back up the hill to be with us while we watered flowers.
A few more flowers – especially lilies – had bloomed.  I had no pictures of the lilies, so I went home for my camera.  I no sooner ran out of film than I found a bush absolutely loaded with small blue flowers that I hadn’t noticed before.  Rats!  Why didn’t I take one less picture of something else, so I could have taken a picture of that?  Well, I still could, of course; I’d just have to start on a new roll of film.  And taking film to Wal-Mart isn’t just a one-minute’s jaunt anymore.
           I returned home, head hurting, and came inside to take a bath, wash and curl my hair, and eat breakfast.  The kids watered my flowers and are now watering the lawn.  I just took a video of Caleb, pantlegs rolled up, knees muddy, and a handful of the little toothpick flags Dorcas had in her banana muffins stuck all over his cap.  Hester and Victoria are trying to adjust one of the sprinklers, running ’round and ’round it as it spins, trying to stay ahead of it and failing, then reversing suddenly when the sprinkler changes direction, nearly falling over each other in the process.  Hester jumped the entire sprinkler in an attempt to keep from getting soaked.  A little ways off stands Lydia, safely out of the water’s spray, but jigging and jumping and dodging and ducking as she watches her sisters, just like people inadvertently make funny faces when they are watching someone else make a funny face.  haha

P.S.:  Heard on our police scanner last week:

Policeman to dispatcher:  “I’m out on the viaduct with a tree branch.”  hee hee

[1]"Heat Exhaustion," Microtired® Enervation® Encycloweary 99.  © 1993-1998 Microlame Debilitation.  All canes reserved.

[2]"Internal-Combustion Engine," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99.  © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.

[3]"Headache," Microsore® Enpanga® Encycloagony 99.  © 1893-1898 Micropain Anguish.  All heads compressed.