Friday, August 3, 2012

Keep On the Sunnyside!

    Do you ever dwell on the negative happenings in your life until it dims the shine of all the blessings you live with every day? I do that. Many days I dwell on my health problems, such as my arthritis and lower back problems until it really zaps the joy from life. The other day it hit me, how often I let that happen.

     My Mom used to say, that when she opened her eyes in the morning and saw the sun coming through her bedroom window she always, “thanked God for another day”! I don't even do that...I just plant my stiff feet on the floor, and ooch and ouch my way to the bathroom  muttering in my head about how they hurt and disgusted that I can't take any advil anymore, and how mad at myself I am for allowing my weight problem to exasterbate the whole thing.

     Then, I fix my tea and toast (my favorite time of every day)! This is when I used to take my advil… three of them, so I could take the edge of my arthritis and do something. Now I have to tackle everything I do with the sheer willpower,  I manage to muster up. Lately my poor attitude has been fanning the flame of self pity.

     The other day I was driving out to see Stetson and listening to Laura Story's song, Blessings. I really soaked in the same lyrics I'd heard many times before. Later that week I heard a speaker say, “ what ever is bothering you, whether it's something benign like arthritis, or something deadly like cancer, is easier to handle if you change your attitude”! If we believe we have everlasting life, the years we spend in our earthly bodies are like a blip on the radar scale...because eternity has a long timeline!

      I resolved to find things every day that I'm thankful for. Small things like when you get a cart and all the wheels work, the moment of relief you feel after tripping and NOT falling this time, or how about when you are approaching a stoplight and you whiz right through! Then of course the huge overlooked everyday blessings such as health( whats a little arthritis?), music, laughter, books, family, children, second chances, air conditioning and warm fireplaces. But most of all  - those whose footprints are imprinted all over our lives.

So pick up your cross whatever that is,  and carry on! Life is so much sweeter when you, “keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side….keep on the sunny side of life”!   

Friday, June 29, 2012

Sights and Smells of the Past

      How about some blasts from the past? The other day I was on facebook and saw a post from Jeanie Torres, about what smells do you remember from your past and I thought I could blog about sights and smells from the past. Which do you remember?

      The first one that came to my mind was Evening in Paris perfume. My Mom used it and I was one of those kids that got carsick about five minutes after getting in the car so I remember that smell VERY WELL! Not only was Mom was wearing it, and it seemed every hankerchief she pulled out of her purse when I was about to puke smelled like it had been soaked in that stuff! I have an old bottle of it but needless to say i don't sniff it too often!

       Another one I had an adversion to was Petrocarbo salve. Traveling Watkins salesman always had plenty of that to peddle and my Mom and Grandma used it for anything. Another icky one.

       Vicks vaporub was a pleasant one. I liked the smell and I liked the love  that came when it was rubbed on your chest and neck when you were sick. The wool sock pinned around your neck I could have lived without. Combine that with the Vicks sniffing stick that you breathed in and we were good to go, and a cure for what ailed us most of the time. I still use Vicks to this day!

       Tinture of Mertholate was sure to get you screaming in pain if the skinned knee or open skin was a big one. It worked better to paint my sister up like Big Chief Isodine I'd seen on tv. Mom wasn't impressed and chewed me out a bit, while using everything from alcohol to Vasaline to rub it off Kathy's face. But this stuff went on before any bandaid, much to our dismay! Thank God for the invention of triple antibiodic salve huh?

         Resinol, was an ointment with that Mom put on her dermatitis on her forehead and around her nose. It smelled like bacon and she wore it to bed everynight. I hated that smell.


      Juneberry trees, were a wonderful sight! They bloom in the spring and berries get ready in July. NO pie is better than Juneberry pie!

         The arroma from lilac bushes is wonderful! When our daughter Shelbey got married they were her reception flowers. The men in the family all went out to the farm and cut lilacs for her the morning of the wedding. They smelled so nice!


        Mom loved pussywillows even drying some once and spraying them with fixative. The little furry buds are called catkins.

       Crocus flowers seem to magically appear right after the snow drifts disappear on praire land. We loved to pick crocus flowers and find the prettiest little juice glass Mom had to stuff the furry stems in. We wont mention all the little black bugs that come crawling out from nowhere!


      Bleeding hearts, were one of my Mom's favorite flowers. She had some tractor tires, cut in half, painted black and white, and layed up against her little farmhouse. She loved to take us on a tour of her flowers, pointing them all out by name. There were always johnny jump ups, pansys, tiger lillies and bleeding hearts.

       Inside the house Mom always had a cactus bowl. She always enjoyed spending time in Arizona, and this was her way of bringing a little bit of Arizona home to North Dakota. She was like I am and loved both places. 

        I'm sure you have some I have forgotton. What sights and smells do you remember from your past?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

You Might Be From ND If....

      Have you ever watched the TV show Swamp People, riding along with alligator hunters in Cajun country? They all have a dialect and way of speaking that makes the show so much fun to watch. I am also really taken in with how happy they are just to live a simple life on the swamp, with family and few friends. North Dakota living was a simple, quiet life back when in the fifties and sixties too.

       I am an Arizona resident now, transplanted from North Dakota and there is no where I'd have rather been from. I love the North and I love the South and the East and West for that matter. I don't understand people who have to be all one or the other, and put down people from different parts of the country. I find it particularly humerous that those that have the most negative to say about the Midwest, couldn't fix a flat tire if they had too, or much else for that matter. They would be "city slickers" and viewed by ND natives as in need of some help,( and they'd be the first to help you out). What you know and how you speak is all about what you've been exposed to.  Everywhere you live has good and bad. Some of my favorite memories about North Dakota is the dialects, accents and even more...the euphemisms and metaphors we use in funny ways. Some of my favorite sayings we used and still use at times are:

There's too many Chiefs and not enough Indians ( some would scream racist these days but...) Mom used this one a lot,  to insinuate that theres to many bosses and not enough workers.

A bird in the hand is worth two the the bush

Dark as a sack of black cats

Dumb as a box of rocks

Whatever pulls your plow

Haven't seen her for a "month of Sundays"

He's a tall drink of water

Your barn doors open

Gotta talk to a man about a horse

Uglier than a mud fence

That's as scarce as hens' teeth

Slick as a whistle

I could run circles around her

Poor as a church mouse

Blind as a bat

Slept like a theif in a horsebarn(one I use all the time)

Don't get your shorts in a bind

She has him tied to her apron strings

Read between the lines

Turn the tables on them

Sick as a dog

Slower than molasses in January

Whet my whistle

He's got some "clodhoppers" on

Crazy as a loon

Drinks like a fish

Lies like a rug

Sharp as a tack

Down in the dumps

Quiet as a mouse

Don't go "Shootin' off your mouth"

Cut a rug

Naked as a jay bird

Worthless as tits on a Nun (that ones bad but gotta own it)

Uncomfortable as a whore in church

Snug as a bug in a rug

Kept us in stitches

Sweatin' bullets

Make hay while the sun shines

If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all

         My sister's children all grew up here in Phoenix, so her Grand kids call us on our silly way of speaking. Nyah especially, Heather and Jim's oldest daughter. When she was only two years old,  we went to Bismark for Shelbeys' wedding party and stopped at a gas station along the way. She asked her Grandma Marcy, "What are we doing here?" Marcy said, "Oh we're just stretching our legs". We all burst out laughing when we saw her little hands on the van,  full out stretching like a runner, because she took it literally! Another time she noticed I had a skinned knee and ask, "what happened to your knee Pam"? And I said," Oh, I banged it on something...". She came back with, "no you didn't bang it, you bumped it"!

            A lot of people from here probably think we are swamp people when we start spewing out all our silly sayings, but some are cleaver and colorful. We had a lot of humor in our surroundings. My Dad would come in from doing chores and say, "It's a nice morning this morning, but it were as nice a morning this morning as it was yesterday morning, it would be a really nice morning this morning"!  Or whenever we sat down at the table to eat supper,  my Dad would say, "The one who eats the fastest gets the most"!
           One of my Uncles, Dewey Jarmin, was hilarious and always had a good story. When Clarence and Gordon Alvstad visited, they "kept us all in stitches" around the kitchen table and a pot of coffee. My Dad's cousin Elmer even in his nineties is full of jokes and silly commentary.  I wrote this particular blog entry so I  don't forget a lot of them, and to write them down for the kids. Oh and.... maybe bring a smile to some faces. Add to my list of you think of some, I'd love you to.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Where's The Roundup When You Need It?

Do you ever dwell on the relatively few negative happenings in your life until it dims the shine of all the blessings we all live with every day? I do that.We all have weeds in our garden of flowers in one way or the other. But when you look at the garden, and the weeds are all that's grabbing your attention and overwhelming you... something needs to change!  Many days I dwell on my health problems, such as my arthritis and lower back problems. It's hard not to when everything hurts and every step you take is painful. It really zaps the joy from life. The other day the idea struck me that I need to work on rising above it; see more flowers and downplay the weeds. 

My Mom used to say, that when she opened her eyes in the morning and saw the sun coming through her bedroom window she always, "thanked God for another day". She was such a lover of nature. She loved birds, flowers, beaver dams, animals...any of it. I don't do that. I just plant my stiff feet on the floor, and ooch and ouch my way to the bathroom, muttering to myself how they hurt and how disgusted  I am that I can't take any Advil or anything.

After letting my dogs out, I drink my tea, (my bright spot of every day). This is when I used to take my Advil, three of them, so I could take the edge of my arthritis and do something. Now I have to tackle everything I do with sheer will power and my poor attitude is fanning the flame of self pity.

The other day I was driving out to see Stetson and listening to Laura Story's song, Blessings. I took in the lyrics I'd heard many times before, they come from I Thessalonians 5:16-18. Later that week I heard Pastor Mark say, what ever is bothering you, whether it's something benign like arthritis or something deadly like cancer, is easier to handle if you realize that this body is not the one we're stuck with for eternity. If we believe we have everlasting life, the years we spend in our bodies here are like a blip on the radar scale...because eternity is a long time. I was happy with that news...cuz I got the short end of the stick,  when it came to a body.

So, I have been working on finding things every day that I'm thankful for. Of course there are all the huge obvious things...the ones you have ready when its your turn on Thanksgiving day to say what your thankful for. Things like God, family, friends, health, and the food in front of us.

I decided to look instead for the not so obvious, the
hidden blessings, like when you pick a shopping cart and all the wheels work! Getting a good one is a little like the lottery... it's stacked against you! You'd look pretty silly making a test run outside the store, and even if you did, once inside all the wheels would be heading in different directions clacking along from aisle to aisle anyway. I never know if I need to apologize for subjecting oncoming shoppers to the racket of my squealing cart, or the fact that I'm coming down the aisle sideways! So a good cart is a small blessing that makes your day for sure!

I have loved to go to second hand stores for many years! I used to pick a day, even when I lived in Minot, to make the rounds to the area second hand stores whose proceeds benefit people in need. In Minot, the Restore store benefits the mentally ill ( my passion), the Salvation Army (helps the poor) and also has a CEO with a regular wage rather than a six figure one, the Dakota Boys Ranch(helps young troubled boys). They are all fun places to go. Here in Arizona, I like the Goodwill stores. They are clean and in good neighborhoods over here on the East side of town. I really enjoy finding an old treasure. I collect old brooches, and I have a collection of Little Golden books, but i have caught my limit on those... as they are heavy and I had to move them once already. We have some great antique shops here in Arizona too! So Goodwill stores/antique shops are another hidden blessing for me, who likes give myself a day to wander through them, and for whom the proceeds benefit. Another blessing in my life!

My horse is a huge blessing. He has been acting up the last couple months, just being really stubborn and acting crazy. I started getting depressed and really in a funk about how old I am. I feel like an, "old lady with a young horse", and he's too much horse for me. Inside you feel the same age as you always were. The logical thing is to

                             A. Sell him, and either replace him with a deadhead that's got one foot in the grave                   
                             B. Get in better physical shape weight wise myself although the back and  arthritis is still there          
                              C. Get a rocking horse for the living room.

 I actually even showed him to some people who were interested in him. I cried all day. Syd went with to meet the prospective buyers. They wanted him, but Syd (bless her heart), ran up beside me when I was turning him out and said, "Mom your not ready to sell him, and neither am I. I don't like horses that much, but he loves you you can see that... and you love him". I decided shes right...I'm not ready to sell him, my life has a completeness to it with him in it! He's an 1100 lb small blessing, as are our chihuahuas and Bentley the human cat. Nobody is going anywhere at the moment.

I'm happy that Kerry and I have weathered the strong hurricane winds that blew through our marriage the last few years. We have both looked at the rubble around us more than once, and wondered if it was worth rebuilding, because there have always been weak spots even before the storm hit. I've never been able to see myself without him, I've loved him since I was about sixteen. Like the horse problem,  he's alot of donkey for me at times, and I have my less than stellar behavior myself too, so we keep going. Some days we fight like pitbulls and other days it's still pretty entertaining and good to have someone in you're corner and he's always been in my corner when it comes down to it.

We all have weeds in our life don't we? Weeds are resistant, hard to kill, and some of us are pretty good at over fertilizing our weed environment besides. Seems we get rid of one patch of weeds,  and another pops up! Same with problems and trials in our lives. If we look over our flowers and only see the weeds... we are missing alot of beauty. What can we do but work  at it? We must keep on picking weeds before they take over the whole garden. Pluck them from our life one by one, and and in the meantime focus on the flowers because as the song goes, "What if the trials of this life, are mercies in disguise"?

Thursday, January 26, 2012


This is one of my favorite poems. I have it on a book mark and read it often. It was written in 1920, the year my Mom was born by Max Ehrmann.

Max Ehrmann was born in Terre Haute, Indiana, on September 16, 1872. His parents were German immigrants. Ehrmann graduated from DePauw University in Greencastle in 1894, after which he studied law and philosophy at Harvard University.
Ehrmann returned to Terre Haute to practice law, following which (early 1900's) he began writing,  obsessively. Max Ehrmann was known as the 'Poet Laureate' of Terre Haute.
Ehrmann wrote many poems, although none became well known until after his death. He died never knowing people eventually loved his poetry. Aside from Desiderata his most famous poem is A Prayer, written in 1906.

Max Ehrmann originally copyrighted Desiderata in 1927 as 'Go Placidly Amid The Noise And Haste'. The copyright number was 962402, dated 3rd January.
Ehrmann included Desiderata in a Christmas message to his friends in 1933, and significantly never added any copyright notice, a factor which featured strongly in legal considerations in the 1970's about Desiderata copyright (more below).
US Army psychiatrist Merill Moore wrote in 1942 to Ehrmann that he used the Desiderata poem in his therapy work, and also wrote to Ehrmann in 1944 suggesting that the poem should be bottled and sold as 'Dr Ehrmann's Magic Soul Medicine'. Communications between Moore and Ehrmann featured strongly in legal considerations in the 1970's about Desidarata copyright (more below).

Max married Bertha three months before his death in 1945. Bertha Scott King Ehrmann was from New York; she graduated from Smith College, wrote, taught, and published a book called The Worth of a Girl. Three months after Max Ehrmann's death, Bertha published four of his books.

Max Ehrmann's widow Bertha published the Desiderata poem with some other of his work in 1948, in a collection titled The Poems Of Max Ehrmann. She re-renewed the Desiderata copyright in 1948 and 1954.

Bertha Ehrmann died in 1962, upon which the copyright ownership passed to her nephew Richmond Wight. Wight later sold the copyright for an undisclosed amount to Crescendo Publishing Company in 1975.  
All this information about the poem came from a site called , I am not claiming it as my own research. I just find it such a tragedy that he never knew what an impact his thoughts had on so many people.
I love the poem its my favorite...and thought I would share with some facts about the man behind it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

You Are What You Eat

You are what you eat right? Isn’t that good reason to blame Paula Deen for having type 2 diabetes?  I mean only overweight people get that therefore,   if you get that disease…hey, it’s your own fault!  Besides that, she had it for three years before revealing that she had been diagnosed with it, making her a real villain! She continued to make old fashioned comfort food with butter and cream, and taking people’s money  as if she was,  “poisoning the public” with her high calorie, high fat and high sugar recipes ?  Paula Deen the villain of the day!
In my estimation, this is just one more thing the public needs to mind their own business about. What was she supposed to do?  Should she have walked out of the Drs. office and told the world she had diabetes before she even knew what that meant for her, and how she was going to control her disease? People would have been swarming around; blaming her just, like they are now and she would have no time to even have any thought out answers. I think she handled her news exactly as she should have. Get herself on medication, a carb restricted diet and invested in a treadmill. She is not responsible for the rest of America’s cholesterol numbers, glucose numbers or any other heath issue. It is up to every person to know their own health risks and numbers. Is Paula Deen’s cooking going to stop the obesity problem in this country…hell no!
She has always taken the position of all things in moderation. You can still eat cake and even yummy Paula Deen cake, as long as it’s counted as carbs and calories.  She has said many times she does not eat everything she cooks all day, every day even herself. Stress plays a huge part in diabetes numbers and I believe acquiring diabetes in the first place, as does genetics.

 Thin people have diabetes just like the overweight, thin people die of heart attacks and strokes too believe it or not.  I don’t dispute the fact that being overweight and eating poorly increases the chance that you get one of those but if you are lucky enough to live long enough eventually…. you will get something no matter what you do. When you’re fat however everything is your own fault. It’s still ok to hate fat people in this country and be superior to them. It's the last socially excepted prejudice.  Watch Bridesmaids…funny, funny movie but most of the humor was "fat girl humor", my personal favorite(scarcasm alert).
I am probably biased because I have always been a huge Paula Deen fan and a fat girl. I remember the first day I watched Paula cook something…and found her personality so fun, so next door comfortable, and have always thought she was an absolutely beautiful lady. She has overcome anxiety disorder that " ain't no easy task"!  It seems everything the public builds up... it tears down, so now I guess it’s time to pick on her. Why can’t people just let people be people?  If you don’t like calorie dense Paula Deens cooking don’t buy her cookbooks, it’s that simple. We really don’t need to crucify her!
 Andy Rooney once said, (and this is not a direct quote, but) something like two of the biggest sections in the bookstores are cookbooks… right next to the diet section telling you not to eat.  People make a big deal out of very thing it seems! So, if we are what we eat…I say avoid fruits and nuts, cuz there seems to be an abundance of them already!