Our Schedule

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Love of Country Music

Cullman,   AL

If you love country music as I do, you might have watched the Ken Burns series that ran on PBS the last two weeks.   8 nights, 16 total hours.   I didn't miss a minute.    As with all of Ken Burns projects it was excellent.

It got me to reminiscing and thinking how Country Music has affected my life.  As a child of the 50's and early 60's it was Rock and Roll.   I was in love with Ricky Nelson.  I would listen through the static to the local AM radio station out of Philadelphia to Joe Niagara and Hy Lit on WIBG.

Then the year I graduated High School in 1962 Ray Charles has a crossover hit.... I Can't Stop Loving You.   Wow!  I was hooked.    I bought the Album Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music.  On the album were great songs such as You Don't Know Me; Half as Much; Born to Lose; You Win Again and Hey, Good Lookin.

Then he came out with Modern Sounds Volume Two.  More great songs You are my Sunshine; Oh, Lonesome Me; Your Cheating Heart;  Take These Chains from my Heart; Making Believe.   WOW.  Now I was really hooked.

Forget Rock and Roll.   I found my niche. 

In the late 70s and early 80s Country stars would perform at a local movie theater that used to house Vaudeville.    There I saw Statler Brothers, Oak Ridge Boys, Charlie Pride, Loretta Lynn, Jerry Reed, Tom T. Hall, Don Williams, The Gatlin Brothers, Mel Tillis, Bill Anderson, Marty Robbins, George Jones, Tammy Wynette and I forget who else right now.

My daughter Amy knew all the songs of Tom T Hall and Johnny Cash.  I think she even has a CD of Tom T's  music that she would play for her daughters.

In 1980 my (at that time) husband and I worked for the same company.   We were sent to Missouri that summer to help open a new facility.   Missouri has fabulous county fairs.   We saw Crash Cradock (anybody remember him?) and Merle Haggard perform.

I went with a friend to see Crystal Gayle in the early 80s.

In the late 80s, being divorced,  on occasion I would go with girlfriends to a club that was known for country music.  OOPS.  Reminds me when I was not yet married the first time, I went to that club with my husband to be and another couple.   Kitty Wells was performing.    Back to the late 80s.  Tuesday night was singles night at the club.  Friends convinced me to go with them.   Well..... the rest is history.  Leonard was working in the area on a two week job for a company in Houston.  That was 1988.  He got out of New Jersey when we retired in 2010.

Through the years we learned many county line dances.  Len taught me to two-step.   He was dang good at it too.     Daughter Terri knows all the dances and has taught others.   She met her husband when he was playing in a country band.

Before retiring we occasionally saw more acts.   George Strait, George Jones, Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, Kathy Matea, Oak Ridge Boys, The Statlers.  Charlie Daniels, Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash.    Probably saw more.

Then finally last January we went to a show at the Mother Church of Country Music.... The Ryman Auditorium.   John Conlee, Jeanne Seely, Vince Gill, Joe Diffee,  Ricky Skaggs, Crystal Gayle.

Bottom line...... The Ken Burns documentary bought back so many memories.   I remember when Hank Williams died.   I cried when Mary Robbins died.   I remember when Patsy Cline died.  The program dealing with her death left me with tears.  Then last night, the last show, dealt with the last years of Johnny Cash's life.  Again tears.  What a sad ending. 

Country Music has seen me through good times and bad.  It's brought joy and sadness.  My life has been enriched.  It runs deep in my being. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Bed,Bath and Be Done???

Cullman,  AL

In the two years and nine months since we moved into this house, I continue to think of, and make, changes.   Will it end?  Probably not.   

At the house I owned when I met Leonard we added shelves in the bedrooms, changed out part of the family room to a walk in closet for the master bed room and added a dining room with fireplace.

Then we bought an old farmhouse.   We added a den, 3-season room and deck.  Also a large metal Quonset hut for Len's shop and built a barn with two stalls and tack room.   Plus, added a fireplace, ripped up carpets and had 150 year old hard wood floors refinished.   We ripped out one bathroom and installed a new shower and flooring.  New roof shingles, new siding and all new windows. Etc etc etc. more projects than I can remember.

We've done a lot here.  The latest:

The previous owner had dogs and cats that lived in the house.  The house was clean and those animals left no odors.  Thankfully!   But the master bedroom carpet had many large stains.  I've scrubbed them, sprayed them, vacuumed them, and scrubbed them some more.  Still stains.  The master bathroom vanity top was laminate as were the other bathroom and the kitchen counters.  The other bathroom sink and vanity top we changed out last year.  Someday the kitchen counters!

I wanted new bedroom carpet and new vanity top and sink.   The previous sink never held water.  Neither did the one in the other bathroom.  They were the same style.  We tried everything.  No deal. Solution?   Replace.

Here are pics of the last two weeks of projects.

 Master Bath 

Vanity prior to this weeks renovation.

How it looked when we first toured the house.  Did not like the sticky tiles.

 After removing the mirror I started removing the tiles. And did they stick.  Layers of paint along with paper from the wall board came off. 

I roughed up the wall with spackling and painted.  Len made a new frame for the mirror. (Thanks daughter Terri for the suggestion.)   It looks better with the nice cultured marble sink and vanity top.   The green accent wall ties in with the new carpet in the bedroom.  (Another suggestion from Terri.)

Master Bedroom

The bedroom how it looked when we toured the house.

Len painted the room prior to us moving in our furniture.   Had to get rid of the blue.  This is how it looked until last week.

And now.

More projects in the future?   Of course.   Back porch needs painting.  We can't do it.  Len can not lift his arms.   I don't want to!   Need to find a painter.

 We also are leaving our large garden return to lawn.  Too much for us to do any more.   We are in the process of removing some holly hedges and stone from near the back of the house.  The  stone is filling holes under the carport.  Replacing the stones with top soil.   We will  have a much smaller garden next Spring.  Just a few tomato plants, etc. 

Until next time.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Thoughts on aging.

Cullman,  AL

Lately I have thought much about how life has changed and continues to change.  Leonard and I both feel the effects of our aging bodies.  There are many things we have realized we can not do and probably never will again.

I used to love the rides at amusement parks.  No longer.  This mid 70 body can't take the spins and bumps.  More than 30 years ago Leonard and I met Country Dancing.  We loved it and did it often back in those long ago days.  The last time we danced as we once did was a few years ago.  Impossible now.

Heavy lifting?   No.   Both of Leonard's shoulders are shot.  I can lift more than he can.   A couple of months ago I fell in the backyard.  He was not able to help me up.   I told him I could turn over, get on my knees and would be fine.  Which I did.    That Sunday at church he was telling people what happened.  It was then I learned if I couldn't get up he planned on getting out his tractor and lifting me in the bucket.     WHAT?????

Having the usual aches and pains is one thing.   But often I just don't feel well.  Nothing particular.   Just a feeling.   Leonard is a different story.   Gout (under control with meds)    High blood pressure (under control with meds)   Sleep apnea (uses a CPAP).  Blood clots (blood thinners for rest of his life)   Right knee that gives out on him (has had 3 operations for torn minuses and a knee replacement.... but almost two years ago a dog ran up behind him and between his legs and laid down, tripping him.   Pain getting worse)   And now what appears to be Pulmonary hypertension.  Will be seeing a doctor in Birmingham.   We trust with proper meds he will be back to his old self again.  Or close to it.

At this age we see the passing of friends and relatives.   One close friend passed in the last month.  I was with her when she met her hubby over 50 years ago.  Our parents are gone.   And so many others in the last years, including my beloved brother.    We know to cherish the time we have with the people we love.

My sister Debbie, me and my sweet brother Norman.

We realize life is short.   I have no plans on exiting in the near future but the older I get I find death no longer scares me.  I am okay with that.   I plan for it.... wills, disposing of unnecessary "stuff".   Making the best of the time we have left.   Gosh this is starting to sound sort of morbid.

I don't mean for this blog to be a downer.   Heck there are lots of great advantages to being old.  The senior discounts for one.   Gotta love them.

I found this out in 1992 when I was years from being a senior.   I was at a Society for Human Resource Management Conference (SHRM) in Las Vegas.  I was woken at 3 in the morning to the room shaking.  At first I thought it was the headboard in the next room hitting the wall.   I thought ...Just get done so I can go back to sleep.    Wasn't that.   An earthquake had hit Los Angeles area.   Then one in north Nevada around 8 am.   I went to the hotel lobby to the Burger King.   Got a croissant, OJ and coffee.   I looked at the receipt and the KID serving me gave me the senior discount.   It was a late night and I was awakened by two earthquakes but still......

Senior meals.    Another benefit.  The local senior center is open 5 days a week with various programs.  Included is a nice hot lunch.  At $1.25 a person.  Gotta love it.  We go only about once a week.  But if I ever really get tired of cooking $12.50 a week for the two of us sounds like a deal.

Another benefit I have come to love.  And this is available for anyone.  Walmart Grocery Online.  I go to their site, do my shopping, schedule when to pick up.  Then at my designated time pull up in the truck where they load my groceries and off I go.    Saves money too.   No impulse purchases.  If the item I selected is not available they substitute which is usually an upgrade and I am charged the lower cost.   For example.... once I ordered 10 pounds of bird seed.   They were out of 10 pound bags.  I got a 20 pound bag at the 10 pound cost.  Last week I ordered a one pound box of strawberries.  I got a 2 pound box at the 1 pound cost.    I always hated shopping.  Now I don't have to.  Ah...modern technology.

So now our life is slower.   We relax at home more.  We still think about doing a bit of traveling at some future time.   We can no longer do NOMADS projects as this involves manual work and walking which is difficult for us.  We value the 10 years when we could travel and volunteer with NOMADS.   We have met, and stay it touch, with so many folks we met while on the road.  We have two RV sites on our property where RVing friends can park.  We have a guest room and a futon in my office.   We have had many visitors over the past 2 1/2 years.  All welcome.

We have five terrific kids who are  healthy and doing well.  We are proud of all of our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.   We love each and every one of them.

We love our home.   We love sitting on the porch watching our ducks on our pond and the neighbors peacocks, cows and chickens across the road.   We enjoy our beagle Biscuit.  We love our new home church here in Cullman.    We have been blessed beyond what we deserve.   Life is slower, but life is still good.

Until next time.