February Photos

Monday, March 27, 2017

Journal: Gone Craning

A friend and I were recently discussing the way several people – siblings, for instance – can be brought up similarly, in like circumstances, and yet wind up with their outcomes in life so far different, you’d think they came from opposite sides of the globe.
Every one of us live lives that are quite a combination of things that befall us, and things we put into motion ourselves, don’t we?  Sometimes the lines cross, and it’s hard to tell which is which. 
Thankfully, most of us have people to help us when things get rough.  And, thankfully, most of us are willing to help others when they have troubles.  Those who are most willing to help are the happiest, their own lots in life notwithstanding.  Even studies done by medical/health groups, science foundations, and financial companies have found this to be true (though they could have saved a lot of money and simply read their Bibles to find this out).
However things in any life turn out, I believe everything that happens is part of God’s Great Plan, a plan He put in place before the world ever began, and there are reasons for everything, right down to the smallest detail.
I love the words of that wonderful old song, Someday, He’ll Make It Plain:

1.   I do not know why oft ’round me
My hopes all shattered seem to be;
God’s perfect plan I cannot see,
But someday I’ll understand.
o   Refrain:
Someday He’ll make it plain to me,
Someday when I His face shall see;
Someday from tears I shall be free,
For someday I shall understand.
2.   I cannot tell the depth of love,
Which moves the Father’s heart above;
My faith to test, my love to prove,
But someday I’ll understand.
3.   Though trials come through passing days,
My life will still be filled with praise;
For God will lead through darkened ways,
But someday I’ll understand.

Lida Shivers Leech wrote those words in 1911 to go with music written by Adam Geibel.  She sent him lyrics... he rejected them.  She, loving the tune, gave it another try.  He rejected them.  She tried a third time, and was rejected.  Not being one to give up, she tried a fourth time – and he accepted them.  The combination of melody and lyrics soon became a well-loved song all over the country and in many other countries, too.
The musical composer, Adam Geibel, was blinded by an eye infection at the age of eight.  But he became a successful composer, conductor, and organist, and he founded the Adam Geibel Music Company, which later evolved into the Hall-Mack Company, then merged to become the Rodeheaver Hall-Mack Company. 
And that’s your musical history tidbit of the day.
For most of the week, I went on cleaning, sorting, organizing, donating...  I tell you, I am a quilter!!!  Will this Spring Cleaning Extraordinaire never end??!
Somebody, in looking at a photo of a quilt on our bed, exclaimed over the beautiful headboard, with its mirror, posts, and shelves.
We got that bed – it was a waterbed, then – right after we were married.  I’ve always loved it.  We went through several water mattresses.  Those first ones had no baffles in them, and if someone leaped into bed, it could set up quite the tidal wave.
When I was 12, I got a dog.  She was part German Shepherd and part Collie – a big dog – and The Most Wonderful Dog in the World.  She liked to sleep on the bed with me, a habit that started when she was a wee little puppy, and crying for her mother that first night.  She’d jump up beside me, tuck her nose under my chin, and go to sleep.
Two or three years later, I got a waterbed.  The mattress was the kind without baffles.  The kind that had major tides if you sneezed.  We filled it and warmed it.
I went to bed.
Sparkle came trotting in, and up she jumped in her usual boisterous way.  Dowwwwwwn went the displaced water (and the dog), sloshing to the other side of the bed. . . then back it came, in a rising tide.
That wave bucked the poor doggy straight back out of the bed.  She landed on the floor, looking stunned.  I couldn’t quit laughing; her face looked soooo funny.  She stared at me reproachfully, then barked her ‘wwwooooooffff-oooof!’ noise of ‘hey, you tricked me!’  Then, with a deep sigh, she curled up on the rug beside the bed. 
And that was the last time she ever tried sleeping on the bed.  It was sort of nice to have my bed back, but I sort of missed her, too. 
I really liked my first waterbed, and the newer, better ones we got later, after we were married.  The children had them too, and liked them.  They were especially nice in the basement bedrooms, because they were so toasty warm.  I liked it because it was just so comfortable, conforming to body shape, no matter which way one laid.  Our last water mattress was well-baffled (not the same as well-confused, heh), and quite nice. 
But there were drawbacks:  the mattress got brittle after a few years, and one night I rolled over and propped myself up on my bony elbow – and said elbow broke right through the mattress, ka-POP! and immediately created a geyser. 
“Get out, get out!!” I yelped at Larry, springing out, myself, and trying to jerk the covers and pillows off quickly before they got wet. 
Larry groggily opened his eyes and stared at me, wondering what in the world I was going on about now. 
“OUT!” I cried, and gave the covers and sheets a mighty jerk.  And he, not expecting it, neatly rolled straight out of bed and landed PLOP on the floor on the other side. 
That woke him up.
We camped out on the floor that night.  The hole was too big and the mattress too brittle to fix, and I was having a bit more trouble with arthritis and needed more support anyway, and Larry was tired of waterbeds and patch kits, so we got an excellent, long-lasting mattress from Nebraska Furniture Mart that was tailormade to fit into the king-sized waterbed frame.  We still have it.  It was expensive, but has proven to have been worth the money, as it’s still in perfect shape.  Maybe the high wooden frame helps it hold its shape.
I do need a new pillow, though.
Once upon a time, my sister was going to stay with our five older children when it was time for baby number six to make her appearance.  (That was Hester.)  I accordingly made sure to put the brand-new, freshly-washed sheets on the bed before we headed out the door to the hospital.
Problem #1:  during those last two or three nights before baby arrived, I’d been soooo hot that I turned the temperature of the waterbed down.  Didn’t bother Larry; he had his own internal heater.
My sister, however, could not sleep on the bed.  She wondered how on earth we slept on such a ‘chunk of ice’, as she called it.
So she got a blanket and headed out to the living room to sleep in the recliner.
Problem #2:  the friendly little guinea pig in his large cage on the hearth (the fireplace was not in action; it was June) recognized the fact that there was a human nearby.  Nearby humans translate into possible tidbits of carrots, lettuce, celery tops, nuts, and, oh, just all sorts of wonderful things.  He therefore punctuated the night – every five minutes on the dot, according to my sister (who never exaggerates, same as me, ahem) – with loud, abrupt SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!s.  My sister got absolutely no sleep, the entire night.
Despite that, guess who showed up at our door that evening at 6:00 p.m. sharp, shortly after we’d come home from the hospital (I was never one to dawdle in my hospital bed; I wanted to go home!), casserole and dessert dishes in hand?  Yep, my sister.  I should have been making supper for her that evening! – she’d had the rougher time! 
Tuesday night for supper we had a chicken-rice-pasta dish ... ‘in a soy, sesame, and chicken-flavored sauce’.  Bleah, I shouldn’t have read the description; it was yummy before I knew what was in it.  I added more vegetables to it, and it was good.  We had applesauce and banana honey nut granola bars for dessert.
A friend recently told me the following story:
“One Sunday, back in about 1979, I was playing the piano and singing a special in church, and a wasp landed on the music holder.  I continued singing – and it wasn’t long before he stung me on my jaw.  I got to a stopping place in my song, went downstairs to the kitchen, and held a cube of ice on it.”
Pretty brave of her, to keep singing like that, if you ask me.
“He must not have liked the note you hit!” I told my friend.
I was once playing a song at our Christmas Program rehearsal, and one of the children’s choirs was singing.  Down in the mid-bass section of the piano keys, a wood tick was strolling along.  I avoided him as best I could, playing low bass... skipping to high bass... back down to low...  And then I got all wrapped up in the song and forgot about him, and took a bass run thundering all the way down from the piano’s midsection right to that bottom A. 
The tick spotted Opportunity – and took it.
By the time my hand came back up to Middle C, the tick was strolling – a bit more hurriedly now, in gleeful anticipation – up the back of my hand onto my wrist, heading due north.
How did he do that?!  They can’t fly, after all!
Fortunately, my friend Helen, sitting in a nearby pew, spotted the little Dermacentor variabilis, snatched a Kleenex, trotted up on the stage, and skillfully extracted him from my arm. 
♫ ♪  And the pianist ♫ ♪ played on...  ♫ ♪  
I did hear a stray snicker or two from the area of the children’s choir nearest the piano.  After the song was over, I fixed a stern eye on one of the more twinkly-eyed of the lot and told him, “It wasn’t funny!” – at which point every last child who had seen the fiasco burst out laughing.
Now, if it had’ve been a wasp instead of a tick, well...  those children would’ve all had to stop in the middle of their song (or sing a cappella), and someone would have had to delegate a search party to come find me.  I would’ve been in Cherry County before the delegation commenced.
Oh!  I just noticed that the apricot tree is blooming!  I should grab my macro lens one day soon and head outside to take pictures of all the newly-emerging leaves and plants.  Lilies, crocuses, tulips, and daffodils are already well on their way up, though I haven’t seen any flowers yet.  I probably missed the glories-of-the-snow; they would have bloomed over a month ago.  I forgot to look!  Striped squill is probably over and done with, too.  The children used to laugh at me, because I got mixed up and called them ‘striped squid’. 
Wednesday, I went on wading my way through A-One, First-Class, Important Stuff & Things, Jetsam & Flotsam, in my little office upstairs. 
What on earth shall I do with all this Important Junk?!
That afternoon, the violin that I was having repaired for Dorcas was finished, so I picked it up.  It’s so pretty, and has a nice tone.  I remembered to pick up Larry’s suits from the cleaners, too – I get a big gold star, for that!  Don’t I?
Soon it was time to get ready for church.  It got later... and later... and Larry was not home from work yet.
At precisely 7:03 p.m., he rushed in the door.  He’d been working to the west somewhere, so had driven his boom truck home, rather than take it to the shop and then come all the way back home.  He gave me the last of his raspberry soft-serve ice cream with chocolate chunks that he’d gotten at a convenience store, and scurried for the bathtub.  Mmmm, mmm.  I’m not nearly as likely to complain about his lateness, if he brings me raspberry soft-serve ice cream with chocolate chunks!
The service starts at 7:30 p.m.  It takes exactly 7 minutes to get there from our house.
He got ready in record time, and off we went.  He let me off at the door and I skedaddled in.  The piano and organ were already playing.  I clambered over my brother, grabbed a book, found the page, we all stood up, the congregation started singing... and halfway through the first verse, Larry finally made his way in.
When we got home from church, I fixed egg sandwiches on sourdough bread, and steamed broccoli.  With applesauce.  (Have you noticed our desserts are heavy on the applesauce lately?  Wal-Mart was having a smashing online deal a few weeks back, and the applesauce was in all sorts of yummy flavors!  😃 )
Almost two months ago, I ordered a set of tea towels.  Instead of placing my order with www.acshomeandwork.com, as I had previously done, I tried a different place – www.towelsandhome.com – that I thought would have quicker turn-around.  Boy, was I mistaken.  I placed a $30.45 order February 6th – and just got word (for the second time) that there will be at least another 3-4 week wait.  They’ve offered me a refund, but I elected to wait, as it was a good price for good quality and size, and – mainly – I don’t need them quite yet.
If they don’t come through as promised next time, I’ll ask for a refund.  From now on, I’ll buy fabric and hem them myself.  Good grief.
A friend who has also had troubles getting tea towels in a timely manner asked, “What’s up with these tea towel suppliers?!!!”
I told her, “I think it’s because they hire mystical stitchworkers who can only make three stitches (by hand, of course) per night, and only on those nights wherein there is an occultation of the star Aldebaran while simultaneously the Crow moon shines near the stars of Leo and is in the sky all night long.”
You gots qveshuns?  I gots ansvers!
Thursday, I found a yellowed news article in a box in my little office.  I thought I’d look for it online in order to save it digitally.  I found it!  You’ll never guess where.
Will you?
I found it in my very own journal of May 5, 2002:

And now, here is a part of a newspaper column by one David Grimes.  It’s about instruction manuals, and this one gets his personal first-place prize:

If you are like me (and for your sake I hope you are not), you dread putting things together because you have to deal with an instruction manual.
This particular manual is entitled “Sliding Bicycle Operation Instruction.”
Apparently written by someone whose native tongue is Venusian, the manual is for what appears to be nothing more than a child’s scooter.  The instructions, however, make it seem like you’re assembling the control panel for a nuclear reactor.
The instructions begin this way: 

Thank you for purchasing Sliding Bicycle.  The product is made of special aluminum alloy with light weight and high quality.  It’s [sic] shipment is convenient and it can attract the attention anywhere.

(Yes, it will attract attention, because when you’ve finished assembling the Sliding Bicycle, you’ll have something that looks like a satellite dish that’s been run over by a car.)

Attention: the design of appearance, the cover of illustrations and others will be different due to the change improvement of products.

(In other words, all the diagrams are useless.)

1.  Open the lever A in the bottom of the handle pole and pull the handle pole to set it’s position, then fix it with regulation button.

(Do not concern yourself with the continued misspelling of “its”.  This will be the least of your problems.)

DISCHARGE:  1) Discharge the product by the way of the opposite installation sequence.

(Installation sequence...installation sequence...where does it say anything about the installation sequence?)

NOTE!  1) Make sure all the levers have been shut off again and again before using it.  Operate it on the loosen condition of the levers without confirmation can cause the handle pole bent and cause incident.

(“Honey?  Where’s the sledge hammer?”)

3)   Do not ride on dangerous places such as among the crowds, on the lift, sloping road, sliding road and steep slope etc.

(I can’t my Sliding Bicycle operate the lift on?  Why my money waste did I?)

4)   Be caution not to let children swallow the parts of the product.

(Swallowing the instruction manual, however, is not only safe but encouraged.)

DANGERS!  2) Do not ride the product when you are in poor health or bad spirit.

(In other words, do not ride the product immediately after trying to decipher these instructions.)

5)   Be attention to the environment around, abide by the traditions and use it safely.

(By the looks of this thing, I don’t think it’s going to last long enough to have traditions.)

And some wives still don’t understand why their husbands prefer to pay a few more dollars and get their barbecue grills pre-assembled.

What this proves is that, in the words of another columnist, while several billion people in this world speak English, the rest, it seems, try to.
Lydia, like most of her siblings, liked long words from when she was wee little, never mind whether or not she actually knew the meaning.  One day she’d hear a new word, and then she’d proceed to use it to near death during the next week or two. 
For a good week or two when she was about 5, she was oft heard to exclaim with melodramatic affectation and a swipe of the forehead, “Ohhh, I’m just so boondoggled!” 
She meant ‘boggled’, of course.  😃
By mid-afternoon, I’d washed four loads of clothes, and there was one more to go.  The bed was made with fresh linens, and all the rugs were vacuumed.  I’d changed my email address in what I hoped would be the last of the accounts left to change (it wasn’t), and edited pictures.
I took another big bag out to the Jeep for the Goodwill, and headed back upstairs to continue working on my little office.
Here’s a quilt I found in Caleb’s cubbyhole; I think it was made by my late sister-in-law Janice.  It now belongs to Jacob.
Look what else I found:  a picture of Kelvin and me from 1967.  I was almost 6; he was four months old.  He was my favorite little boy in the whole wide world.
Good thing I’m going through each and every envelope in this cleaning spree of mine!  It was in a small envelope with my name penciled on the outside in unknown handwriting, and contained another picture of me, in the same dress.
And guess what else I found?  I found $55 worth of gift certificates to Pizza Hut that some friends gave us the day we moved!  They were given to us on April 1, 2003... and they expired December 31, 2003. 
Not to worry, though; I went to Pizza Hut way back then and told my sad story of the certificates getting lost during the move, and they made good on them, compassionate souls that they were.
Thursday evening, Bobby and Hannah and the children ate at a Japanese restaurant.  Levi thought he wanted a bacon double cheeseburger (did you know that a man named Sam Smith changed his name [legally!] to Bacon Double Cheeseburger last year after a little too much hooch?), but they got Japanese food instead.  After his first bite, Levi exclaimed, “Oh, wow!  I’d like to be a Japanese person!  This is sooo good.”
He’s such a funny little guy.  😊
I made my way through three small filing cabinets and one big box in my office before calling it a night. 
Friday I thought to spend most of the day in the little office cleaning and sorting, but Larry came home earlier than I’d expected so we could head off on our planned excursion to Kearney.  He decided to take a nap before we left, so I skedaddled downstairs and repaired a doll that I planned to send to Dorcas along with her violin.  Janice made the doll itself, painting the porcelain face, hands, and feet, and sewing the cloth body.  The doll is about the size of a newborn, and weighted similarly.  I sewed it a sailor dress to match American Girl doll Samantha’s sailor outfit, and purchased the little matching boots from the American Girl company.
The little white and pastel blanket Dorcas crocheted for her, way back when – could it possibly be over 20 years ago?! – was still with the doll, and has somehow escaped the ravages of time.
I found a Christmas card Maria gave to Caleb when they were little kids in elementary school.  Funny that he still had that one, but not another card from any other little friends, even though Maria was a grade behind him in school.  I also found a cute little notebook given to Victoria from Kurt, when they were about seven years old.  I recall that when a couple of the other boys in her class gave her things, she either discarded of them, or scribbled out their names with all her might and main.  Kurt’s name is not scribbled out.  She must’ve missed it.  She didn’t care for him much, back then.
It was foggy and rainy here, and 41°.  An enormous flock of grackles landed in the sugar maple and set up such a commotion, I could hardly hear the bluejays screeching over the top of them.  Now, that’s loud.
I have found all my albums – some 250+ – and one of these days, I’ll start a mammoth job of scanning pictures.  When I’m done, I’ll give the kids copies on whatever type of device is most current/portable/ handy/stable.  By the time I get it all done, maybe they’ll have invented some sort of nuclear transmogrifier (à la Calvin & Hobbes), so that if I just think real hard about it, all the stuff I want to send someone will suddenly wind up in their brain, abracadabra!
Wouldn’t that be fun.  Just think of the possibilities.
Caleb rode out on his motorcycle (and it was more than misting, by the time he arrived) to get some things.  He said he could take care of the cats – especially Tabby, who needs soft food – in the morning, and pick up a couple of other things he couldn’t fit in his backpack.
An email arrived from Hannah – blank.  I wrote to her, “Did you write in invisible ink?  I’ve misplaced my de-invisibilizer.”
She responded, “I had nothing to say.”
Then, “Actually, I don’t know why it sent.  I got it ready for a reply, but I’m also preparing supper, so I set down the phone, planning to finish in a minute.”
I couldn’t quit laughing over that first sentence:  “I had nothing to say.”  :-D
We got to Kearney at about 11:00 that night, and stayed at the Econolodge.  It was a very nice room – but the garment/towel hook on the inside of the bathroom door is right up at the tip-top of the door, totally out of my reach, unless I want to throw things at it, and hope they catch (after which, how would I get them back down?)... and I would have to stand on the back of a giant sea tortoise to see out the peephole.  
Furthermore, for the first time ever, I decided that, since every last motel on the face of the earth supplies both shampoo and conditioner (don’t they?), there really was no sense in loading down my bag with my big bottles of shampoo and conditioner.
Guess what?
(Did you guess?)
The motel had only shampoo.  No conditioner.
“There’s no conditioner!” I howled, upon discovering this fact.
“Oh, well; don’t worry,” said Larry carelessly; “I don’t use it, anyway.”
“I wasn’t worried about you!” I exclaimed.  “I was worried about me!”
(That didn’t worry him much, either, judging by the way he laughed.)
We got up at 6:00 a.m., made ourselves presentable (lack of hair conditioner notwithstanding), and headed down to the lobby for some free breakfast.
Fact #1:  I like toasted bagels.
Fact #2:  I like lotsa butter and jelly on my bagel.
Fact #3:  It takes six butter packets and four jelly packets to slather up my bagel properly.
Fact #4:  People stare at you when you head for the trash can with a plate piled high with empty butter and jelly packets.
Fact #5:  When I’m at home, I only eat half a bagel or English muffin and a big glass of milk for breakfast.
Fact #6:  When I’m having free breakfast at a motel, I eat an entire muffin plus a hard-boiled egg plus a carton of milk plus a glass of orange juice plus a glass of cranberry juice, in order to try to regroup some of the money spent on the room and not get hungry until suppertime.  Or maybe so I don’t even have to eat anything, the entire rest of the day.
Fact #7:  I absconded with a blueberry muffin, a banana nut muffin, and an orange, for later in the day.
Fact #8:  I was full.
Meanwhile, Larry had a nice big Belgian waffle.  Trouble was, they’d hadn’t gotten the butter out of the refrigerator soon enough, and it was hard as rocks.  A person needed one little butter pack (and they are little) for each indentation in the waffle!  He had eggs, too, and helped me drink my juice.
And with that, off we went.
Before leaving Kearney, we stopped at the Goodwill to unload the things I’d put in the back of the Jeep the day before.  Then we went inside to look for a couple of nice sweatshirts for Larry.  He wears his out, with all his hard work – and sometimes he burns holes in them when he’s welding.  The company provides the work shirts and sells nice sweatshirts and jackets ... but the Goodwill is cheaper, and since he demolishes them so handily, Goodwill it is.  He came home one day with a big burned hole smack-dab in the front midriff – and a matching one smack-dab in the middle back.
“Who shot you, and what did you do to deserve it?” I asked him. 
He looked down at his shirt.  Then he jutted out a jaw and said in a very low-pitched voice, “Just a flesh wound, ma’am.  Nothing but a flesh wound.”  (Fearless Fosdick impersonation.)
In addition to two like-new sweatshirts and one zip-front, plaid, double-thick fleece shirt, we got a brand new (with tags) shirt we’ll save for Teddy’s birthday.  Larry found a part for his fishing pole – brand new, still in the box, and he got me a bike helmet, bright pink. 
“It matches the shoes I got you!” he said happily. 
I think he doesn’t want to lose me, what do you think?  😃
We put gas in the Jeep, replenished our coffee mugs from the thermoses I’d filled the night before, and then we were off to see the Sandhill cranes.
Once upon a time, we took the children with us to see the cranes.  I had two Minolta film cameras, one with a 600mm mirror lens on it, the other with either a wider-angled lens or a 300mm lens.
Southwest of Grand Island, we found fields full of the big birds – but they were some distance away, and I wished for a closer shot.  Larry accordingly parked on a field-access lane, and prepared to sneak down an empty drainage ditch, the camera with the 600mm lens in hand, until he got quite close to the cranes.  I kept the other camera, and attached the 300mm lens.
So off went Larry through the ditch. 
We could see him nearly the entire time – or, if not him, in his entirety, certainly his bright red cap, as it went bobbing along.
Did you know that birds not only can see more colors than they have in their own and all other birds’ plumage, but because of additional color cones in their retina that are sensitive to ultraviolet range, they also see colors that are invisible to humans?
I did not have to read the above statement in an ornithology study to know this.  I knew it, in fact, merely by observing the Sandhill cranes in the field directly north of the ditch in which Larry was creeping stealthily along, nearly bent double in an attempt to stay out of the birds’ line of sight.
So there went Larry, red cap a-bobbing, big mirror lens in hand.  He could hear the clattering calls of the cranes, and knew he was getting closer.  Every once in a while, he cautiously rose up above the weedy banks of the ditch to peer into the field to the south.
The cranes, meanwhile, nervously watching his progression from their viewpoint due north of him, hushed each time the red cap rose.  Some craned their already-craney necks high, the better to get a good look at him.  They stood on tippy-toe.  They stared.  They conversed amongst themselves: 
“What do you think he’s a-doin’, Egbert?!”
“Well now, how should I be a-knowin’, Dagmar?!  I can’t exactly read the human mind, now, can I?!”
“Look’t ’im, look’t ’im!  He’s standing up now ----- what’s ’e lookin’ at, what’s ’e lookin’ at, reckon, spoze, huh-huh-huh?”
“Can’t say, Bentley, can’t say!  That field looks plumb empty, to me!”
“Well, it’s downright spooky, if you ask me, Herkimer.  Everyone else comes and stares at us!  He’s up to no good, no good, I tell you.  No good.”
“Righto, Milton.  Look, he’s doin’ it again!”
“Okay, that does it.  Put out the word, Barnaby.  On three, now, and we’re off.”
And with a great rattling clatter of beaks and vocal chords, the entire enormous flock rose as one, with an awesome rush of wings and feather.
The red cap popped up, Larry jerked the camera up to his eye, and pointed --- due south.
There was nothing there.
He whirled around and aimed toward the north – and actually managed to get a few distant shots of ascending croupe de crane, feet a-dangle.
Meanwhile, back in the Suburban, the children laughed so hard they ran themselves plumb out of oxygen, and because they were still laughing and could hardly stop long enough to inhale and start over, there were long drawn-out moments of dead silence in the vehicle.
I got a number of pictures of the show, but they’re in an album somewhere, waiting for me to scan and make them digital.
Meanwhile, here are a couple of shots I got Saturday.  We’ll title this first one Fishtale:
 Mert:  “I tell you, that catfish was this big!!!”
Gert:  “Aw, you’re so full of baloney. Or corn. Something.” 

The next, Hokey Pokey:
♫ ♪ “You put your left foot in, ♪ ♫ you put your left foot out, ♫ ♪ you put your left foot in, ♫ ♪ and you shake it all about...” ♪ ♫ 
A friend wondered, “Where do the cranes go when they leave Nebraska?”
They go waaaay up north to the northern coasts of Alaska and the Northwest Territories of Canada.  Some even cross the Bering Strait and fly into northern Siberia.  There are a few groups that live year-around in Florida and don’t migrate.  Interesting stuff here:  http://www.nebraskaflyway.com/ 
After a pretty drive south of the Platte River and through the countryside taking many pictures of the hundreds of thousands of cranes, we spent part of the afternoon at Stuhr MuseumThe old village houses and stores aren’t open until April 30, but they allow people to drive and walk through a good part of it, and the main buildings are open year around.  They don’t charge much for admission, this time of year – just $6 per person.  One of these days we’ll go back when everything is open for the summer.
While we were in the museum, I got a note from Hannah:  “Look what Aaron found in a shirt pocket!”  (one of the shirts I’d given him that I’d pulled from Caleb’s cubbyhole)
The attached picture showed two twenty-dollar bills and a $40 check that I’d written out to Teddy in mid-December of 2001.  Poor kid!  He probably needed that money!  Well, he probably needs it even more, now.  Hannah of course gave him back the cash.  He wouldn’t take any money from me last night – in fact, he gave me money for gas I used picking up his children after school.  I tried cramming some of it back into his pocket – and got foiled, because his suit pocket was still sewn shut!  We’ll take care of it... somehow.
This square grand piano is a Chickering, circa 1870.
Hmmm... I took 622 photos.  “That’s not ‘pictures’,” a friend remarked, “That’s a movie reel!” 
It was an overcast day all day long, sometimes foggy and misty.  But I got a few good shots despite the weather.
We ate at Perkins in Grand Island.  I got a BLT sandwich and a bowl of fruit... a glass of orange juice... and a piece of banana cream pie.  So much for eating a days’-worth of food at the motel that morning.
We got home around 10:00 p.m.  Soon everything was put away, and the house back to rights – sort of.  We walked in to discover that one or more of those stray tomcats had sprayed ... somewhere.  Maybe in the garage, and the smell came through the pet door?  They do come up on the porch steps in the garage and spray the door!  Ugh, ugh, ugh, it absolutely reeked.  I wanted to burn the place down.  I hate that hideous odor.
People who dump their animals are the ones who cause this trouble for us!  Those dumped cats will come right into the house whenever they think they can get away with it, and help themselves to our cats’ food.  They’re hungry, after all!
I have a little flashlight that shines a blue light – you turn off all other lights, and shine it around baseboards and suchlike, and anywhere a cat has sprayed, it will practically glow in the dark.  I shined it all around, but found nothing.  But I used some good pet spray throughout the house (the main floor – I had shut the doors to the upstairs and the basement and the bedrooms before we left home, thankfully)...  lit candles... opened windows... turned on fans... and Larry sprayed a chlorine bleach mixture all over the garage steps and around them.
I decided maybe I would survive, possibly.  Larry can’t smell it much (though he did admit the garage was ‘kind of bad’ [the more appropriate word would be ‘horrendous’]), but it’s so awful it nearly kills me dead.  So I figure if I must suffer, everyone should suffer – and if he can’t smell it, then I must tell him what it smells like, and keep telling him, until he does something about it.  I’m nothing if not persistent!
So, in addition to spraying the bleach, he shut the big garage door that was left open just enough to allow our cats to go in and out (which of course also let all those other cats go in and out, too).  But first, he wanted to make sure the other cats were out.
So you know what he did?  This, at 10:00 at night, with new neighbors not too awfully far to the west, neighbors we hope to stay friendly with:  he took his aaOOOOOGaaa horn – a big silver one with a rubber squeeze-bulb, one you can mount on a bike – out there into the garage and blew it loud and long for a while, then banged and whammed around by the stack of aspen wood that he will use to complete the interior in our addition.
Good heavens.  Now the neighbors probably not only think we are a trouble, they also think we are totally nuts!  
Finally assuring himself that he must’ve scared any lurking cat, polecat, or possum out of the garage, he shut the big garage door, and I barricaded the way into the garage from the back hallway so our cats can’t go out that way.  (I let Larry in, first.)
It’s disheartening to spend hours cleaning... go off leaving the house quite nice... and come home to this.  
But things smelled better after a couple of hours, and by Sunday morning everything was fine again, or close to fine.
Here I am in Stuhr Museum, in an old village reconstructed to represent the year 1897.  
The fleece scarf came from the Kearney Goodwill for $1.35.  I already have a gazillion scarves, but hadn’t brought a single one along, and it was cold that day.  Do you like my shoes?  How about the groovy headband?  :-D  It has a tendency to cause hat hair, though.  
My nephew Kelvin was well enough to come to church yesterday.  He will start chemo tomorrow, most likely.  He will be sent home with a pump which will administer it slowly.  They figure out exact ‘cocktails’ for each individual, and are much better at giving it without making a person so deathly ill as it used to.  Sometime people don’t even lose their hair, because they aren’t having such lethal doses in such large amounts all at once.  Kelvin has lost quite a bit of weight in the last few months; he weighed 165 last week, and probably less now, because he wasn’t able to eat for several days in a row, and when he does, he has digestive troubles.  Hopefully, the chemo will soon shrink the tumor, and that will help.
His wife Rachel has been unwell for some time.  Finding out Kelvin has colon cancer has hit her awfully hard. 
We had a baptismal last Sunday night.  Our granddaughter Joanna was one of those who was baptized.  I’m becoming such a sentimental sap in my dodderage.  It’s a good thing I had Kleenexes in my little satin clutch!
The house smells okay today.  The garage isn’t good, though, and every now and then I catch a whiff of it when I walk past the back hall door.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  I love my animals, and I take the very best care of them I can, and they return my love.  But once these are gone, no more!  Not only do I not want to cope with the troubles, I also want to be able to go places without having to obligate some of the family to come and care for them.
After picking up the grandchildren from school, I was sitting at my computer by the kitchen window, paying some bills, when something scampering out in the yard caught my eye.  I turned my head in time to see a big ol’ red-tailed hawk dive madly into the lower regions of the cedar tree.  Seconds later, a cottontail rabbit came rushing out the other side, lippity-lop, heading lickety-split for a nearby brush pile.  The hawk rustled furiously about and flew out of the tree, swooping down toward the bunny, but he was too late and knew it, and didn’t try very hard before he sailed on into the little woods to the north.
This evening I sent a note to Larry:  “The Schwan lady isn’t coming today, and I’d be really, really happy if you’d bring home nachos for supper.”
He’d gone to Caleb’s to work on his old blue pickup after work, but the idea of nachos had him quitting a little sooner than usual.  He got them from Amigos.  They’re good... and they put too much into the container... and I can’t stop... and now I have a stomachache.  Aarrgghh.
Look at this:  I just washed this baby quilt – Hannah remembers that Norma made it for Dorcas – and now I’ll have to use the lint roller on it before I send it to Dorcas! 
It was my own fault.  I saw Tabby heading for his little bed on the hope chest via the loveseat (he takes that route so that he doesn’t have to jump so far) – only to find Teensy already all wadded up in it.  Tabby stood on the loveseat and stared at Teensy forlornly... got down... looked up at him... walked away... patted my kneecap... went back to the loveseat, jumped up (with difficulty – he’s 19 years old, after all)... walked over to the edge... stared at Teensy in his bed on the hope chest again...
So I went and picked up the poor little mistreated kittycat, brought him back to the couch, took that little quilt that I’d just washed and folded, unfolded it a bit, then curled the edges up so it resembled his bed.  I laid him down on it (a job and a half, since he’s such a Nervous Nellie, and always tries to stand up when one tries to lay him down)... petted him ... talked sweet to him... and went away.  He slept on that blanket for hours.
This evidently made Tiger and Teensy jealous, because they both have been taking turns on it, whenever possible.  In fact, Tiger is on it right this minute.  Maybe I’ll use the lint roller on it and rewash it.
One last shot from Stuhr Museum – Larry, being Larry.  
Inside that fence will be a real, honest-to-goodness garden in the old Railroad Town, as soon as it’s warm enough.


,,,>^..^<,,,       Sarah Lynn       ,,,>^..^<,,,