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Preview: My Good Life in Nebraska

My Good Life in Nebraska

I'm Cindy and I like to share from my good life in Nebraska. I have interests in antiques, junking, Al Anon recovery, gardening, mothering, grandmothering, friendship, family, rescue dogs and painting stuff. We have an eclectic life.

Updated: 2018-03-06T08:12:35.094-06:00




Beer, Brats and Begonias


Jim and I went to the Beer, Brats and Begonia event put on by the Garden Gallery.  It's a quaint little business here in Elkhorn, Nebraska. The Garden Gallery is in and around her 100+ year old home.  She has lots of plants, hand made things, antiques and art work. Adirondack Chairs were very nice, over $200.  The folks seated in the center said they were very comfortable.  I asked if they were hard to get up from.  She said she hadn't tried yet.  Then the guy said, "no reason to get up", as he took a swig of his beer.  On the left of the picture are some very heavy duty bright green tomato cages, $23 each.                                              I've seen how to make these, love. These things were in the garage, the junky stuff that I just love too.Here are the Begonias!                                                                                                                                                             BEER!                                                                  Brats, they sure smelled good.  I asked Jim if he wanted one and he passed.  When we got home I was telling the neighbor girl she should go down there as they had free brats and bottled water.  Jim said, "it was free?".  Typical response from my humble and self sufficient husband.  He wouldn't presume something is free. This is the little room at the back of the garage w/ a side door entrance.  If you look, you can see that there's another little room at the back of this the right.  Guess what's in there.  Come on, guess. You're right, an outhouse!  More junk to buy and an outhouse!  Gosh, I love old towns, especially this one that I'm from.This is their back fence by the alley.  To the left are Greenhouses.  She also had a hippy singing folk songs for the afternoon.I really enjoyed my time there, she's a creative person to develop this sort of a place for business, don't you think?[...]

Spring, Estate Sale and Lily


Here is our first poppy. We have June flowers here in Nebraska.  Everything is well over a month ahead of schedule.  I doubt that I'll see this again in my life time, who knows?  Meanwhile, I'm really grateful for all of the early flowers and lush conditions.  It's God's way of saying, there is still beauty in spite of the toll that real life is taking on me right now.One of my blessings right now is my 24 yr. old son Nathan.  He went to an Estate Sale with me yesterday in this fabulous 70's house.  He's 6'4" and is standing by a $3,500 Grandfather Clock in the house.  Isn't it (and Nathan) magnificent?  Check out the wallpaper!Here's another shot of the entry w/ that wallpaper and the antique blue painted closet doors.  I don't know why...if I'm trying to escape reality but, I love going back in time in the decor of some of these Estate Sale homes.No, I didn't buy this but, thought it was neat.I love these people, who ever they were, The estate sale folks spoke of them in past tense.  She was a  GOP delegate for the 1960 election so, there was lots of Nixon stuff in another room, JFK things too.  But, look at her sweet bedroom.  Don't you think that it was just GRAND when she had it decorated years ago?I didn't buy this either but, it has his name on it.  The man was a medical doctor.  I imagined him taking this with coffee in it to the hospital each day.   People were so self sufficient 40 years ago and there wasn't a designer coffee shop in the hospital lobby.For $3.50 I bought these vintage cooking booklets. The one that I really wanted was the 500 Thrifty Sandwiches.  It's didn't let me down w/ such recipes as:  Ham and Peanut Butter, Ham and Raisin, Liver Sandwiches, Lamb, Liver and Raisin, Liver and Bacon, Egg and Liver, Egg and Caviar, Baked Bean Sandwiches, Tongue Sandwich, Creamed Egg and Asparagus, Hot Sardine Sandwiches.  I'm going to stop, I'm getting nauseated.  For $1 I got a lot of  mini staples and these staplers and such.  I LOVE the 70's stapler.  It's colors are perfect and the abstract fish is neat.Last but not least, the obligatory photo of one of our dogs.  This is Lily sleeping with her tongue showing.  She's a Dogue de Bordeaux mix.  Love her![...]

Spring is Sprung


(image) Just like most places in the U.S., spring has come early to Nebraska.  People say, "it's still March, we could have snow!".  But, the forecast is for highs of 70's for the next week.  I'll take it.
(image) Here's our dog Lily riding to the Dog Park last Sunday.  We think she's the most interesting dog, loads of personality.  Curious about her mix we got a Dog DNA test and sent her DNA in to be analyzed.  We got a big surprise.  She's sort of a rare breed, her one parent was a Dogue de Bordeaux, also called a French Mastiff or Bordeaux Bulldog.  The other parent was a Border Collie/Australian Shepherd.  She actually does a LOT of herding.    We fostered her for a Rescue Group last year and I got attached to her so quickly that we just had to keep her.  
Are you all enjoying your Spring?  We are, went for a one hour walk this evening.  Lovely out!

Burns Night. I love me some Haggis!


(image) January 25 is Burns Night in Scotland.  My best friend is from Scotland, only here for 3 yrs. now.  This delicious plate is compliments from Helen.    Robert Burns is the man we acknowledge on this day.  I love my friend and her traditions.

Best Christmas Ever...and 3 New Foster Puppies.


We spent Christmas Eve. at my mom's down the street from us. My nephew Brandon brought his girlfriend's family.  This photo is of her sister and family.  Don't you love my Nathan over to the right there?  He still has his "No Shave November" beard.  I told him it's December.  He said that it keeps his face warm.  Makes sense as he's a Jimmy John's bicycle delivery NEBRASKA! Christmas Morning was MARVELOUS w/ our little grands here.  Dorothy is 2 (left) and Della is 4.  The fellow talking to Della is my 19 yr. old son Zach.  How do you like our tv/fireplace?  I told Greg (23 yr. old step son) that we have a real fireplace (same room), he snapped back, "this is better".  Hilarious, I love that kid so much. SOMEBODY got in to Nana Cindy's lotion by the bed and made her hair all pretty with it. The Doctor Kit that Santa (us) gave the girls was a big hit.  Here they are w/ their Mom and Dad. My mom and dad came over for brunch and then board games.  The sun was blinding my mom (we have no window coverings facing the meadow to the west) so, she got her sunglasses.  This game was a lot of fun, Fact or Crap. My husband Jim is to the far right.  He wins nearly every game we play (MENSA) but I won this game by a landslide.  New foster puppies.  They just turned 6 weeks old.  Tinker, Evans and Chance.  Below is Chance. Chance is on his back here, Tinker and Evans are playing.There is nothing like having puppies.  These guys are THE most people oriented ones that we've ever had.  They look in your eyes and love to be held.  Gonna be big though.  Hope you're all having a good weekend.  As for me, I'm seeking serenity.[...]

The ALL TIME best bread ever! Seriously, I can't stop baking.


 I am in the pits.  Dark dark days in my personal life.  So, what do I do?  I Bake!  I've make 12 loaves of this bread in the past 3 days.  Good thing we have an extra freezer.  Guess what everyone is getting for Christmas.  Yes, bread.  Hey, at least I'm not eating them all.  Weird thing though, tonight I was at a meeting and talked w/ someone after the meeting who has similar "darkness" going on.  Guess what she did all weekend?  Yep, she baked.  Also, her husband piped up and said, "And she made big delicious meals each night too".  Guess her stuff is darker.  Pray for us.  Meanwhile I'm Baking On!Simple Whole Wheat Bread Rated:Submitted By: Nita CrabbPhoto By: LynnInHKPrep Time: 20 MinutesCook Time: 30 MinutesReady In: 3 HoursServings: 36"This honey wheat bread is proof that wonderful flavor, texture and aroma can be had if you just follow a straightforward game plan."INGREDIENTS:3 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45degrees C)2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast1/3 cup honey5 cups bread flour3 tablespoons butter, melted1/3 cup honey1 tablespoon salt3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour2 tablespoons butter, meltedDIRECTIONS:1.In a large bowl, mix warm water, yeast, and 1/3 cup honey. Add 5 cups white bread flour, and stir to combine. Let set for 30 minutes, or until big and bubbly.2.Mix in 3 tablespoons melted butter, 1/3 cup honey, and salt. Stir in 2 cups whole wheat flour. Flour a flat surface and knead with whole wheat flour until not real sticky - just pulling away from the counter, but still sticky to touch. This may take an additional 2 to 4 cups of whole wheat flour. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to coat the surface of the dough. Cover with a dishtowel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled.3.Punch down, and divide into 3 loaves. Place in greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pans, and allow to rise until dough has topped the pans by one inch.4.Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 25 to 30 minutes; do not overbake. Lightly brush the tops of loaves with 2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine when done to prevent crust from getting hard. Cool completely   [...]

Inadvertantly Funny Store Name


Hello all!  We've had a super busy summer and I am still out here.  I read and love all of your blogs!  We were in Tabor, Iowa gassing up and I saw this funny name of a Drug Store, funny to me anyway.
(image) Stoner  Drug, yep!
And then, here is one from Central Nebraska.
The Love Mortuary

We had gone over to the tiny town of Riverton, Iowa to see a former foster puppy, Chuck.  He was my first and all time favorite.  Well, that is until we got this fat Third-hand dog to foster (we were her known 3rd home) named Lily.  I loved Lily so much, I couldn't imagine her being away from us.  So we adopted her!
Chuck is BIG and very active now.  A far cry from the sick little puppy he was when we had him last year.
And then, here is our Lily, who cost me $130 yesterday on account of a split nail.  AND, we were good dog owners and just had her nails cut two weeks previously.
I love my WeeWee (Lily) but, she's not wee...she's 82.5# as of yesterday.  
So, more later, sooner than later I hope!

Dumped Puppies Betsy and Tacy


We live by Omaha, if you haven't heard, it's flooding.  Large sections of I80 are closed as the Interstate is underwater!  Unbelievable!  We can only cross the Missouri River at downtown Omaha and at Sioux City Iowa (which is 2.5 hrs. north of here).  Anyhoo, there has been some opportunistic dumping of puppies and kittens by Hwy75 which  is now a very slow/bumper to bumper road.  At least these little creatures are getting picked up and saved.  
We normally foster larger dogs so, it was a treat to have these two.  Betsy (black) and Tacy (black and white) are a Chijuajua/Rat Terrier mix.  I adored these two.  (image)
 They were 8 wks. old when we got them and TERRIFIED of people.  But, when we'd bring the big dogs to them, they went nuts....loved the big dogs.  After two weeks they are adopted or almost adopted.  In the time we had them, they grew to love people and wanted to be on our laps all of the time...well, IF they weren't exploring the back yard.  Not to worry, there are no hawks around right now.
Jim said, "we should've named Tacy "Bessy" instead.  She looks like a little Holstein cow".  I sure do miss them.  So, our newest foster is an 8 month old Doberman puppy.  And he is huge...but a big clumsy puppy.  We're actually watching him while that foster family is on vacation in Colorado.  They took their family dog and the other dog which is also a foster.  But, this guy is way to young and needy.  I really had no idea that Dobermans were this huge.  Well, time to go and love him up!

Summer and It's Real Meaning.


Nowadays, our free time is tending to and nurturing a foster dog here and there.  The black one int he back is Brodie, he belongs to my friend Helen.  We had him for two weeks whilst she and her husband were back in Scotland.  She's a recent transplant.  I was happy when she came back after 2 weeks and was happy to be home.  Brodie is a 2 yr. old lab/pointer.  The puppy in front is my all time favorite foster, Sophie.  Sophie is 12 weeks in this picture.  She may go to her forever home in the next couple of days.  I heard she was full pitbull, uh NO.  She's boxer and horse or Great Dane.Here's Sophie by my groovy lower oven.  I love her so much, I hope her new family would let me dog sit if they ever travel!We are Family Reunion nuts.  This photo is from a small town in Nebraska called Creston.  It was the Rolfs/Glandt Reunion.  There was a 7th generation kid there.  Mostly pretty old people but, ohhhhhh the stories!  And pictures.  I took a scanner and got quite a few.  We meet every other year so, will scan some more.  We're committed to getting as many photos copied and stories recorded.  For instance, Wilhemina Rolfs Glandt had 14 children.  Seven lived to adulthood.  The 5 little boys are buried up there and the two little girls are buried by Omaha. Interesting to me, and a few others I guess so, we'll keep doing it.Seven of us traveled to Creston for this Reunion.  My Mom and Dad, me and my 18 yr. old son, my brother's 28 yr. old son, my sister and her 8 yr. old daughter.   Oh how we love road trips.  On the way home, Brandon (my nephew) got this to nosh on.If you read the Ingrediends on the Tijuana Mama it says "Mechanically Separated Chicken, Pork...did that make for some hilarious guesses.Three days ago was another Family Reunion in Our garage.  This one was for the Koch Family in Nebraska.  Again, another fun and interesting day.  We pulled out all of the vintage tablecloths for this one, good idea, huh?  Well more later.[...]

Bye, bye Gall Bladder!


Happy Days!  My gall bladder is gone and I am feeling so much lighter.  After a year of pain, confusion and fatigue, I'm suddenly made new!  I'm typical for our family, not self aware and a high pain tolerance.  We just keep on keepin' on and end up in the ER on account of an acute attack of something.  Sigh.  I'm healing from the surgery and am grateful for  the life I can have ahead of me.  A life of balance, single tasking, awareness and doing the next right thing.
I heard something funny on the radio the other day.  A mother had called in to some political show talking about all of the taxes taken from her and given to others.  In her case, she wished she had the $ to do with as she pleased, to give it to her choice of charity.  Her daughter turned up pregnant in the girl's Soph. year of college and this mother said that she went and got three jobs to deal with it.  But, I thought she said three "dogs"!  In my mind I thought, perfect.  Having three dogs would keep my $ and attention tied up and my pregnant adult child would be responsible for herself and the baby if she decided against adoption.  Well, that's not what that mother meant at all.  She meant she had to have those jobs to help her daughter and grandchild.

I smiled as I thought of my own circumstance.  We have a young alcoholic in our family who has left quite a lot of destruction in his path w/ his addiction.  Before Al Anon, I was killing myself trying to make things right.  Eventually I realized I had loads of love and nurturing to give and it was like poison to my alcoholic son.  What was best for my son was for him to be responsible for his own life and consequences.  So, to do what I love most, I started fostering dogs.  I give the sympathy and care to a truly needy creature that is helped w/ my attention.  Thank God for growth.

Our Latest Foster Dog, Halle


Halle was our latest foster pup.  She's a 6 month old Rotti and we were her temporary foster home.  Somehow, we had her several months, but we didn't complain.
She was completely unsocialized when we got her. She was quite a bully about finding her place in the pack.  But, I guess that's typical of Rottweilers.  She was also frightened of people.  After a few weeks, she was perfectly socialized and we grew to love her.  These photos are from the day we took her to the Omaha Dog Park.
Lot's of greeting going on!  Halle was especially interested in this puppy, probably because she's a puppy too.

And more greeting!

When we were fixin' to leave, we had to retrieve Halle from this group, every Rottweiler at the park was there...and a Doberman.  Interesting to me, how like breeds do associate with each other at the dog park.
Last but not least, Halle w/ two of her new masters, she was adopted last week.  We miss her but, they are the perfect home for her and were so excited!
And, tomorrow I get my lousy gall bladder out.  I look forward to feeling like a healthy human being again!

Still Kickin' It In Nebraska


Yes, I've been a little isolated or lazy or something.  I'm still here, reading your wonderful blogs.  That's the very best thing about blogger, YOU guys!
We had this really awesome foster pup named Otis.  We got him when he was 4 weeks old.  He was found in a landfill of an adjacent county.  He was the only living one of some dumped puppies...literally dumped.  We had him for 11 weeks and it was very difficult to let him go.

He's the first foster pup that Zoe let bond w/ her right away.  It was sort of a God thing in my opinion.
Oh yeah, my dashboard Jesus is really happy the Packers won the Superbowl and will probably sport his Cheesehead for the rest of the year...or two.
When you foster dogs, there is never a shortage.  The dog on the left is my folks elderly lab.  Lying next to her is Lily.  She's a 2 yr. old lab mix.  She was adopted out a year ago and last week the family turned her back in.  I'm not exactly sure why but, YOU GUYS!...she is the nicest foster we've had to date!  I love her!
Such is life in our neck of the woods.  Oh, and I have a neat project that I've started...
I'm painting this old dresser of mine.  True to form, couldn't decide a color.  But, have settled for the white.  I'm leaving the dresser top as it is and painting the rest white.  Good Times!

Some Retro Christmas


Just foolin' around w/ some vintage tree toppers and lighted stuff from the 40's and 50's.
Really, just goofin' and playin'.
Still need to hide the wires and such...or not.
And, the obligatory photo of our foster pup Otis and Zoe.  Thank God that Zoe is the best dog on least the best dog on earth under our roof!
Happy Advent people!

Sometimes It's Good to Escape


Although my life is full of fuzzy puppies and darling little kittens,I still find a need to go to a happier place.As an owner of a 4 yr. old Lab, our life is pretty good.  Dogs make everything better.  The little puppy is a 4 week old, our newest foster.  He was found at a county landfill last week.  His three littermates were there too, although dead.  We'll foster him several more weeks to help him grow up and learn some more good dog manners from our Lab.  I was able to gladly take him from the rescue group as we'd just gotten home from another cruise.We went on the Carnival Dream to the Western Caribbean.  It was a "Halloween" cruise so, got ready w/ a proper pedicure! We took my husband's 85 yr. old mother with us!  She did great.  This picture is when we're leaving the group on Halloween night.  I was taking her back to her cabin so she could turn in and I was heading to bed myself.  I was SO tired every night that I went to bed when she did!We rented a cab at Cozumel and went to Paradise Beach.  I wish we could cruise twice a year.  Once a year doesn't seem enough to me.This bird bit and I was freaked out!  One of the employees put him on my arm.  He was beautiful, entertaining to watch.When we came back to the port at Cozumel we sat at the most crowded raucous bar.  It was full of cruise ship passengers who were drinking and dancing.  We stopped in for a beer sat at an outdoor table.  The view of our ship was so pretty.  Hopefully, I can post sooner next time but, day to day life seems a struggle.  As usual, I am looking for balance and serenity in my good ol' Nebraska life.  I hope that you have some measure of those two things![...]



Our last two fosters were Shih Tzus.  Hamish was 4 monthsold and found his permanent  home right away. Angus was 3 months and found a home after 2 weeks.  He was hilarious.  I never though much of the breed but, am now a fan!  They are not like any breed I've met.  I felt like I had circus dogs...big circus dogs in little bodies. 
The really interesting story behind them is that they were bought undercover from a hush hush Puppy Mill auction.  The rescue caught wind of a Puppy Mill in Saunders County, Nebraska that was liquidating.  So, they attended the auction undercover as breeders.  I happened to call Cari (the gal who runs the Rescue that I foster for) while she was at the auction.  She spoke in hushed tones and said, "Cindy, you just wouldn't believe's so sad.  But, every Rescue group that I know of is here".  They bought the little males that no one wanted...paid $50 or $60 for each of them  Many small breeds were represented.  I think it's great that they did this.  The adoption fee just has the $ paid at the auction tacked on.  The breeding females (proven producers) sold for $700-$800.  So sad.
She said there was security there and signs everywhere:  "No Pictures".  Some PETA guy was taking pictures w/ his cell phone.  He wasn't so sneaky as they saw him and took his phone.  He started to argue and they tazed him 3 times!  The Saunders County Sheriff came (was called by the creepy auction people) and got his phone back and said they had no right to taze him.  SO very weird.  
So, when I got Hamish and Angus, they'd never been handled by humans before.  What a fairytale it was around here for those several weeks.  They went from frightened little creatures who cowered all of the time to boisterous boys!  Thank God for all of his Creation.  But, Boooooo to the Puppy Mills.  People!  Please rescue your pets or buy from a private home breeder....ask to see their facility before you get a special breed if that's what you want.  Please spay and neuter.  Sermon over.

Two new Foster Pups...


The photo was taken w/in the first hour they were here.  I put them in the kennel to control their area and give them nothing else to do but sleep.  More on these two Rescues later!

New Foster Pup Dennis


We are still mourning Chuck going to his forever home.  But, he has the best new mother Rebecca.  She's my fb friend and I see and hear updates about their family life.
We now have 7 week old Dennis.  He's a purebread Chocolate Lab.
This kennel is in our bedroom, the first night that Dennis was here, Chuck was a rock and pillow for him.
That little dog was exhausted for days after he got here.  He was a stray from South Dakota...dumped by a bad person (who's identity is known).  Covered in fleas, worms, staph infection...and many bites...oh yeah, very little and only 5.5 wks. old when found.  Their pet rescue was full but, she called her friend in Nebraska who runs "No Pets Left Behind" in Omaha.  Keri (Nebraska) said, "All of our foster homes are full but, there's this one foster mother 'Cindy', she'd be the one who might take him".  Boy, does everyone have my number or what?
So, I am focusing on the canine rescues and praying for my human children.  Sometimes, that's all some of us can do.  Now don't sons are 18 and 22.  I stay out of the way, love them regardless and pray.  Some of you know what I mean more than others.  Don't worry, I don't have an attachment disorder to my human and most important children.  Have a great week!

Our foster puppy Chuck has been adopted...


8 weeks ago we took on two foster puppies, Chuck and Carli.  Both the most incredible beasts.  Both loved other dogs and people.  Carli was adopted right away which was odd as it was Chuck who had the most inquiries.She was 6 pounds at 8 weeks and he was 10.  You can't be really blue w/ puppies around.I know that lots of dogs sleep like this now and again, Chuck slept like this all of the time!  He was always near our yellow Lab, Zoe.  At 14 weeks, here is Chuck with the new foster puppy Dennis.  Chuck is 25 pounds here and Dennis is 6#.  Dennis arrived last Saturday and Chuck went to his Real home on Monday.  They were instant friends because...well, that's just how Chuck is.  Oh I miss him.I had house guest on Sunday (and many relatives), is Dennis with the little girls.  Meanwhile, Chuck is out of the frey.When Chuck is tired, he sleeps.  Oh, I miss him.Chuck is a Kennel Guy, loves his kennel.  He was more than happy to share his kennel with Dennis the night before he went to his home.Before Chuck went to have his "nutter butter's" removed (that's what my 11 yr. old nephew called it), Jim took a few pictures of what Chuck and I always looked like together.  Seriously, 100% of the time...when I held him, this was it. Don't look at me...I slept terrible...look at Chuck.  He knew I loved him.  Excuse me, I need to cry.[...]



For whatever reason, I'm less happy now in this glorious spring than I was during the worst winter in Nebraska history.  I've found that I'm alone most of the time...empty nest right now and St. Jim is on the road 5 days a week.  I am such a good citizen and an extremely responsible person that I knew if I volunteered for something, I'd follow through on it....and do it well!  So, I volunteered to foster puppies for a pet rescue. I suppose that sounds extreme but, had to do something extreme to change my feelings.   In the first place, I knew that it would get me outside and keep me outside.  I have a few hundred square feet of garden's in the back yard, and I've gotten so much exercise and sunshine this past week weeding and tending.  The puppies play around me when I'm out's great.Zoe, our 3 yr. old lab is famous for her funny personality and great dog manners.  The good citizen part of me thought that she would be such an excellent mentor for puppies and rescue dogs.  Also, we have neighborhood children around here every day now!  We've always been "that" house (the one where children are drawn to)but, now I have the joy of children in my space as they bubble with delight while playing with the puppies every day after school.My parent's older lab, Brie, was here to meet Chuck (above) and Carli.  Brie had knee surgery 4 weeks ago, hence the shaved leg.I could watch them for hours but, they ARE only 7 weeks old so, do sleep a lot.Enjoy looking at the rest of the puppy pictures, it sure has lifted my spirits having them here!  Oh!  And to all you mothers, hope you had a nice day yesterday.[...]



My father-in-law died several months ago.  So we left Nebraska for the great state of Wisconsin.  Since my camera is also a piece of jewelry, I'll share a couple of highlights from our 4 day Funeral Trip.  Below is a picture of a Jaguar Limo we saw south of Des Moines, Iowa.  My husband Jim is a saint, seriously.  He deserves to have the two most adorable grand daughters.  The little one below is Dorothy and Della is in a later picture.  My father in law (August Kasten) was a wonderful man. A great husband, father and friend.  He was a farmer in his younger years, then a Postmaster.  They are Wisconsin Synod Lutheran so, the funeral was really meaningful to me as it had all kinds of theological stuff in it.Dorothy was fighting sleep so, I used my Trick and she was out in a minute. (NO, I didn't rock her to sleep with a rock).  Then my 17 yr. old son asked, "Can I hold her"?  Here is a precious picture of that.We took pictures galore as everyone was there.  My mother in law Shirley is in the center.  The back row is John, Cindy, St. Jim.  Front row is Myra, Shirley and Judy.  These people are hilarious!  Look at John's face!  We're going on a cruise together w/ these jokers and some spouses next fall.  I can not wait.  My Jim has the kindest face, doesn't he?We stayed at Cindy's house (yes, my husband has a sister also named Cindy.  What's stranger is that I have a brother named Jim).  Since we were there over the weekend too, we hit the local GoodWill.  Does anyone else do this?  I take pictures of really interesting strangers.  Jim saw me zooming in on this guy...I looked up and winked at him.  He turned on his heels and walked away fast!  Hahahaha!My Mother In Law was opening a gift, the little great grandchildren gathered around.  Can you see Della's hair?  I had made a big deal about fixing her hair real "beautiful".  She let me do that and grinned and wore that all night!  I love messin' w/little kids.Well, that's all I have for now.  I just had to put something out there as I miss you guys!  Hugs![...]

Caribbean Cruise Memories


The third island that we docked at was St. Kitts.  I hadn't heard of this place before and am now so glad that we got to see so much of this island country!  When we got off the ship, the first thing that we saw was the shops that were typical of these island ports.  Diamonds!  Thought it was funny that the van there said Ministry of Finance.  So happens, the tour we joined up with was organized by this young man's aunt!  It was his 21st BD and he was in our tour van.  We had a fantastic day!The first thing we saw of real interest on our private island tour were these goats in a graveyard that we drove through!  And more goats!  We asked the driver 'who's goats they are' and he said, "nobody's"!  These egrets are not native to St. Kitts.  They "blew in with a hurricane once".We were making our way to Brimstone Hill.  There is a fort up there from the 1600's that the British built.There were a group of men sitting near here...drinking.Check out the plate on our van!  Heeee!This was just fascinating!  We got to go all through it!As St. Lucia had one beer...Piton.  St. Kitts had one beer....Carib!  And it was good.  The gentleman to the right was our tour guide.  We had a blast!After the fort we went to the beach to snorkel.  The sand was black.  The water had a much lower salinity than St. Lucia.  I don't know how that works but, St. Lucia's water was much more bouyant.....everyone was commenting on it.  I was nervous snorkeling there as there were many of those black spikey sea urchins!This ship was docked in the bay where we were swimming.  It's a luxury cruise ship I guess...real expensive and fancy.  That's all I know about it.Here I am in the Caribbean waters by St. Kitts.  I can FEEL what it felt like with my memory!  It's nice having a vivid memory in this frozen wasteland of Nebraska.  [...]

St. Lucia, Lucious!


   The second island we stopped at on our cruise was St. Lucia.  We made the most memories here.  We went on a private tour with a St. Lucian named Herrod Stanislaus!  Jim and I were with a family from Indiana (who happened to have the cabin across the hall from us, what are the odds?) and a family from Maryland. I had talked to both wives  and agreed to join up with them for this tour on the boards of Cruise Critic.As we were riding around the mountainous roads in our tour van we caught site of our ship.  This is a beautiful island, a lot of rainforest.We stopped at a banana farm.  These are all exported to England.  They were smaller than what we get around here.  He said in the U.S., our bananas are imported from South America.  Meg from Maryland was a doll!   Only 16 but, seemed to be my sister from another mother!  We had the greatest time.  The bananas were sweet, seemed to taste like the bananas that I remember from childhood if that makes any sense.St. Lucia has ONE beer, yep.  I don't know the details of how commerce is there but, just the one.And the beer is named after the 2 mountains/peaks that St. Lucia is fameous for...the Pitons.The Real Piton's on St. LuciaCindy and Rick (Meg from Maryland's Dad) drinking Piton Beer!  Oh yeah, I can always hang with  the men and am not ashamed of it! Herrod told us that the island has many snakes.  This fellow wanted money for the picture...gave him a dollar.  There is also 40% unemployment in St. Lucia, no welfare and families take care of families.Meg's response the the fellow with the snake!  One difference between us, I'm not afraid of snakes!We went to Herrod's private home for a cajun meal made by his mother.  It was incredible!Mrs. Stanislaus, our chef!  It was the best meal we had on our 8 day cruise.  That is really saying something if you've heard about how good cruise ship food can be.Some of the men teasing me, telling me how to pose.And last (for now) is the Hotel at Marigot Bay.  Marigot Bay is where the original Dr. Doolittle movie was made.  The restaurant there is called Doolittles.  [...]

Living in the Past


Ya know, I do what I have to.  We saw the sun for a few hours this morning, even blue skies...NO clouds. After lunch, the clouds came in quickly, fog appeared and snow showers!  a.k.a. little pieces of sunshine...nah...didn't work...I'm blue!  I think in my 51 years, this has been the longest stretch of overcast/foggy/snowy/drizzley/cloudy/sleety/grayey/gloomy/dreary days in my life.  Weeks since we've had a sunny day I tell ya!  So, going back to the Caribbean...I took loads of pictures so, I have to do this for my sanity.  Take what you like, leave the rest.This was at St. Maarten.  We went on a Tiki Snorkel Hut tour or something.  My first time snorkeling (St. Jim's too)  We loved it and are now buying our own snorkel gear.(cruise next Oct. with 4 ports...all known for good snorkeling)  He's holding MY Rum Punch.  Any photo you see with Jim holding a's mine.  He doesn't drink but maybe one drink a day on a cruise.Our ship, the Carnival Miracle at port in St. Maarten.  I took this from the water taxi after we left our snorkeling sight.  We didn't get to see any of St. Maarten but, am so glad to have had such a great first snorkel experience.  It's so easy, I'm so glad that I gave in to the peer pressure and did it!This is a building with stores and such at the port in St. Maarten. There was a quicky mart in there where I bought some Bloody Mary Mix...I like that spicy stuff on deck in the morning on cruises...only then. These areas are extremely secure and fenced off.  You need your ship ID to get back in here(port area) to get on to your ship.  If an unauthorized person jumps a fence (don't see how, they're 10ft. tall or so with barbed wire on top), they'd be met with military intervention (I've heard stories on the Cruise Critic favorite source).  Many islands subsist only because of the cruise ships and or tourism dollars, so, the governments have a priority to keep us safe.Little retail tents...selling souveniers/ clothing/hats...I bought sunglasses at one, a bracelet at another.  Rum island in price but, good!  And again, clean and safe!See the beauty of St. Maarten behind the shops?See the happy girl?  That's where I am mentally!  More later!  I DO have some good fun pictures.  Took SO many at St. Kitts and St. Lucia because we did excursions in vans with island guys.  Awesome!  [...]

Yearning for the Caribbean!


We went on a cruise the week of Thanksgiving '09, you could tell who the northerners were at the Ft. Lauderdale airport .  Like us, they made a beeline for a place outdoors with sunshine.  I wish that I was soaking it up now.  I'm trying not to exaggerate but, I think that we haven't seen the sun for weeks here!I was just a few feet from that guy, found my place in the sun!Heading out to sea on the Carnival Miracle.  Excuse me, I'm about the cry.I was exhausted, but SO happy to be on board to start our 8 day cruise!  My St. Jim is hilarious.  He can do just a subtle thing in a picture with his posture or eyes that crack me up because I know him SO well!  Anyway, he cracks me up in this picture!Of the 2,600 or so passengers on the Miracle, this guy caught my eye.  He wore a skirt.  Some of you who know me well won't be surprised that I made sure that I met him.  His name is Michael, he's 40, traveled with his sister and her husband, he's been on 17 cruises AND has crystal blue colored eyes!  More later!  I need to cry about our weeks of clouds and fog and grey......[...]