Monday, December 29, 2014

Family Picture

IKEA is a crazy place.  That’s about all I can say.  It is a destination rather than a store with all their room setups.  They even had a 500 sq foot small home all outfitted.  Well, pictures of the appliances, but all the furniture.  I bought several things for the PW and two simple chairs for our basement. 

As for the family picture—lots of laughs again. 



Finally—a good one!


Colorado Puppy and Piles of Snow

We couldn’t have picked a nicer day to drive west on Saturday.  The warm sun warmed the truck almost too much. 

Sunday was spent just hanging out.  Dan and Doug fixed a minor plumbing problem and we played with Eve, the new, sweet little miniature dachshund puppy.  Trent & Carly adore her for sure. Who wouldn’t.  This picture of Eve and Gunner was not set up—we found them this way.


Weather forecast is for snow and colder temperatures today.  That doesn’t keep our family inside.  We are thinking about a little roadtrip to Denver.  Here’s how it looks now.



Friday, December 26, 2014

A Very Merry Christmas 2014

It has been a celebration the past two days.  Two church services, eating out, a reception, Christmas dinner, packages and, tonight, a crash.

We were planning on heading west tomorrow but there is a winter storm warning for the Colby/western Kansas area so we decided to put the trip off one day.  Sure don’t want to spend a night out there because the roads close—been there, done that.

I don’t take as many pictures as I used to on Christmas.  I should document gifts, though.  Today was an example of a reason to do that.  We were trying to decide what year we gave each family a KitchenAid mixer.  I went back to the Christmas pictures and saw a package about the right size in 2001—didn’t see the mixer though.  It was fun to see those little ones opening the baby toys.

As to the pictures, I almost never delete any attempts at family pictures.  They age well.  Sometimes the most poised ones are the least interesting in ten years.  Here is an example of multiple attempts at a family picture today

PicMonkey Collage

And, here is the final one that will go in the albums, but won’t Evan love the second from the left in ten years?


More to come—Christmas isn’t over yet!  We see on Instagram there is an adorable little furry animal in Colorado!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Popular Christmas Cookies

I’m surprised I haven’t seen a headline on my online newspapers or Facebook entitled: “Ten Most Popular Christmas Cookies.”  Well, actually I just Googled that very topic and guess what—there is an article with that headline.   I clicked on it and read it.  Who wouldn’t?

My uneducated guess is that there wasn’t much of a scientific poll taken to find what cookies people prefer, but here is the general gist of the list! There were sugar cookies of all kinds,  cookies with Hershey kisses stuck in them, snickerdoodles, dipped cracker cookies, snowballs and gingerbread cutouts.  I can’t argue with any of these, but how could they leave out the delicious pinwheel date cookies.  Maybe they are too old fashioned for the modern taste.

So far my “go to” recipe for sharing this Christmas season are Ginger  Snaps.  They taste so good  each time I make them.  The one problem with this choice is that they need to be fresh—hot out of the oven.   The good news is that Ginger Snaps are easy to make.  A single recipe makes about three dozen, just right to fill a platter for sharing.

This recipe is one out of my Mom’s collection.  The name on the card is Noreen.  She is a friend and neighbor and the last “cousin” from my Dad’s generation.

Ginger Snaps

 3/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses

 Sift together:
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon ginger
 Beat shortening & sugar, add egg and molasses. Mix together all dry ingredients and add to shortening mixture. Form into small balls, roll in sugar. Bake 350 10 minutes (I bake six or seven because we like soft cookies)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

St Louis Botanical Garden Christmas Lights

The Hermann Wine Trail was fun but I wanted to do one more  Christmas activity on this last minute road trip.  A simple Google search for Christmas in St Louis brought up the special Christmas lighting at the Botanical Garden.  Even more exciting was the result of a Google map search.  Where we were at New Haven, Missouri was only a little over an hour from the Garden on just a backroad to I 44 which then exited right to the Garden parking.  We are not the most experienced city drivers, especially at night.  But, this was a easy destination.

The weather was still beautiful on Sunday evening.  The docents positioned around the light trail kept commenting on it.  The Garden was prepared for cold weather with bonfires throughout.  They even had marshmallows to roast and hot chocolate to buy.   The picture of Dan and I was taken by one of the bonfires where we sat and people watched for a spell.

I didn’t take many pictures—well actually I took a lot of pictures but not many turned out.  Night pictures are difficult.  Hopefully, there are enough to get the feel of the lovely evening.

For more lights, click here or on the picture, then on “slideshow” on the upper right corner of the web page.  Enjoy!


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Road Trip

All last week, we kept checking the weather.  We told ourselves, if the forecast continued to show a warm weekend, we were going to take off in the PW one last time in 2014.

The weather held and we took off.

First, we attended our Card group Christmas party on Saturday evening.  We look forward to the December meeting at Vernon and Joyce’s home each year.  We even played cards until 10:00 pm.  But, we had the PW with us and we made it as far as Cabela’s parking lot before parking and sleeping.

Our destination was Hermann and the “Say Cheese” Wine Trail.  We arrived in Hermann by 11:00, picked up our ticket and were enjoying the first tasting by noon—outside at a picnic table at Stone Hill Winery. It was there that I took this picture of another van conversion RV, although a little smaller than the PW.


The weather held all day as we made our way through the seven wineries on the trail.  On any other winter day, this area at the Hermannhof winery would be full.


This is one of the delicious pairings—warm goat cheese rarebit paired with Vidal Blanc from Hermannhof.


My favorite pairing was Pecorino Romano and Black Pepper Polenta paired with Syrah served at the Dierberg Star Lane Winery.  If I understand correctly, Dierberg is a California winery with a connection to Hermann. 

Robller Winery is located at New Haven Missouri.  We had never driven around the river front area of this little river town.  What a surprise.  It is a well maintained, interesting area.  There is a glass blowing store, a distillery and movie theater.  Definitely a place to check out another time. 

Robller’s pairing was a cheese plate from Cool Cow Cheese Company paired with Villa Rouge.  We usually save Robller’s for last.  The owners are friendly and make themselves available to chat about their operation.  We just like the atmosphere.  We weren’t disappointed this visit either when the owner of the Cool Cow Cheese Company came over to where we were sitting and filled us in about this cheese making business.

His cows come from a line originating on the Isle of Jersey, part of the Channel Islands of England where the Jersey cow was developed in the 19th century.  This line of cows was imported to the United States by George Vanderbilt and used in his dairy operation at the Biltmore mansion.

Tom, the owner of the Cool Cow Cheese Company, grew up on a dairy farm in Iowa.  (His father sits on the Board of Blue Bunny Ice Cream).  He indicated his family had some sort of link to the Vanderbilt family that enabled them to get into that line of cows.  We also learned Tom received 2nd Place at the Isle of Jersey International Cheese Competition as well as Cheesemaker of the Year.

Even though it was one of the more hurried Wine trails we have participated in, it was one of the most interesting.

Next,  St Louis Botanical Garden Christmas Light display. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

“The Goldfinch: A Novel” by Donna Tartt

I know the Christmas season is upon us so maybe a novel of 784 pages won't be at the top of a things to do list. The Book I'm referring to is "The Goldfinch: A Novel" by Donna Tartt.

First, I should say that The Goldfinch has won numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award: Fiction Finalists. That alone should say that it is a well written book.

Theo Decker is 13 when he and his mother decide to visit the New York Art Museum. They are on their way to Theo's school to discuss a possible suspension but they detour into the museum to get out of a driving rain storm. Theo is transfixed by a painting entitled The Goldfinch so lags behind his mother. It is at that moment that a terrorist sets a bomb off in the museum. Theo is briefly knocked out by the blast. When he comes to, he assists a dying man who gives him a ring with instructions who to take it to. Also he tells Theo to take the painting of the Goldfinch.

Theo's mother was killed in the blast which leaves Theo searching for places to grow up and places to stash his beautiful possession, the world prized, very valuable painting. He lives briefly with a society family of New York, then sent to live with his Dad and stepmother in Las Vegas.  And, eventually back to New York. The novel is narrated by Theo as he looks back at this time in his life.

This book is written in such a way that it can be left and then picked up again, making it a candidate for starting this busy time of year. I know because I did that very thing. The story is character based and so descriptive that I never lost the place or plot.

Now, here is my suggestion. Listen to it. David Pittu is an excellent narrator. Actually, I can't say enough about how well he reads this novel. Theo has a best friend named Boris, an Ukrainian immigrant, who plays a big part in Theo's life. Pittu is outstanding in bringing Boris's accent and personality alive along with his Russian friends. Hobie, another central character, steps right out of the book and into your mind.

The book covers many years of Theo's life--maybe 25 or more. And, according to the information it will take about that many hours to listen to it. It is well worth the time, especially since you can wrap gifts and bake cookies while you do. Without giving away any of the plot, it is guaranteed to make your heart race.  You will also cry, laugh, and think--especially think. At times it can be rather "deep" but I will say that this is the best book I read (listened to) this year--perhaps for several years.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

What a great day! 

First, and foremost, all of our family are home right now.  As I have said before, it is always a treat to have them all here at once.  The cousins have so much fun.  This is where the memories are made.

We had a delicious meal today—actually especially tasty.  I have a couple new recipes to share another time. 

For now, here are our pride and joys of which we are so very thankful.


Monday, November 17, 2014


Three of the four of us went to high school together so we’ve know each other for over 50 years.  One is related so I’ve known her since I was a kid.

The 1965-66 school year we lived in an apartment in Emporia.  Lots of memories associated with that year.  We weren’t much for drinking, but we sure enjoyed thePeter Pan Ice Cream store behind the apartment.  I believe that original ice cream store grew into the Braum’s chain.  It was that good! 

Kay (Kayzie) was the only foreigner—from Sabetha rather than the Chapman area.  Kayzie and I were the night owls—staying up until the late hours talking. 

In 1972, we started a tradition of getting together for a “Roommates Reunion.”  We faithfully did that for many years.  There was a time we didn’t get together as regularly.  Everyone got busy.  Now, we are all retired so we are enjoying each other’s company regularly once again.

Here is the first reunion with me wearing an example of what we wore when we were pregnant. 


Here we are a couple weeks ago—minus Kayzie—who now leaves in Phoenix AZ. 


Here is all of us


Always good to see our friends!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

All is Well!

Thank you to those who called to see if everything is OK with me. All is well. And, I will do better about keeping my humble little blog updated. I can't believe how long since I've checked in.

It seems every conversation we have lately starts with the weather so I'll start with that here. It is the middle of November, so cold weather should probably be expected. Single digits, though? That day that dropped at least 25 degrees within an hour was the day we decided we better winterize the PW (Pleasure Way RV). Leave it to us to wait until the very last minute. It was about an hour after we finished blowing out the water lines and dumping anti freeze in the traps that the front moved through. Good thing because this prolonged cold spell would have done some damage.

We finished the wood burning stove repair last week as well. Last summer a strong wind came through and blew the top vent pipe off. Those stove pipes are heavy and it involved climbing on the roof. Contrary to my expectations, it went smoothly. I just came up from the basement where there was a toasty fire--the stove is working great & that makes me a happy wintertime girl.

Along with getting the stove fixed, we cut a bunch of wood last week too. Dan and I are wood cutting maniacs. We marveled at how fast we filled up our little portable wood shed. I know--portable wood shed?? It is one of those small, very old Toyota pickup beds with an aluminum cover. It can be pulled with the atv. We pull it to the tree then back it up to the back basement door (the stove is right inside). It probably wouldn't fly in town, but works great out here.

I promised Kayzie I would post pictures of our roommate reunion, but I'll save those for tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Floating the Wakarusa River

We were scheduled to float on the North Fork this summer, but it didn’t work out.  We have talked about floating on the Wakarusa River numerous times, but just never drove the one and half mile to the river and did it.  It was our neighbor Christi who said let’s quit talking about it and just do it. With the end of October looming and cold weather around the corner, we decided this afternoon was perfect.

We were on the river for about two hours.  We put in just south of us and then paddled up the river for a half mile or so before turning around and drifting down.  The river is backed up somewhat from the lake, but there is enough of a current to help with a slow drift.

There was a bicycle embedded in a high bank.  You will see part of it in a picture.  How do you suppose that bike got there?  The consensus among us was that it washed there in high water. 

We had one pelican that watched us most of the way.  He would wait until we got close and then fly on up the river.  Finally, he joined the others.

Tom and Christi are in the canoe.  Dan and I are in a double kayak.

Click on the picture below  for a slideshow of a few more pictures.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Changes ahead

It is now certain.  We will no longer have children living close by.  Kim, Marc, Aaron, Adam and Evan are moving to North Carolina.  So, we now will have one family 18 hours east and Doug, Drue, Trent and Carly 8 hours west. 

There have been hints of the possibility of the North Carolina move, but honestly, our hope was that it might not happen.  We felt selfish for that hope, because the best jobs and opportunities are not always nearby.  When Kim closed her physical therapy business,  we knew it was a matter of time.

The timetable is fluid.  The goal is to get a realtor in to the present house by the end of this week.  Then they will be flying to the Raleigh-Durham area to decide where they want to start looking for a home.  Marc will be working in the Research Triangle.

They do plan to enroll the kids in school second semester there.  It will hurry them up a bit, but I am glad the family is staying together. 

This week Dan and I will help finish the remodel project.  It should come together well.  Dan will be trimming and I will be doing whatever I can to help get everything done. 

One positive thought on the location of our two children and their families—lots to do and scenic.  We always enjoy our visits to Colorado.  It is a great stopping off place when we journey on west as well.  Everyone says North Carolina is beautiful.  We have visited what can be seen from the Blue Ridge Parkway.  I have a feeling we will become more acquainted with the area now. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Pictures from Fall past

I took all of these pictures when I carried mail.  The date on the slideshow was 2003.  I’m sure I have a much better camera now, but actually these aren’t too bad.  Of course, there is a loss of quality when uploading to YouTube. 

I’m sure the song by Ricky Van Shelton was in the 80’s because that is when he was popular. 

Anyway, enjoy!  This might be the only time of year I miss the mail route.


Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Laura Lincoln sings!

Laura has an dynamic voice.  Listen and enjoy.

We’ve known Laura since she was only a thought.  What a joy to have Laura, her husband, James, and mom, Sue for lunch on Sunday.  There are always a lot of laughs when they are here.  Thank you Laura for sharing your incredible talent.

Monday, September 29, 2014

We are home

We arrived home last Thursday.  It was a beautiful trip.

This is the roadtrip we took from the lake.  It is through the Spanish Peaks region in southeast/central Colorado.  The Aspens had not reached their peak but still very pretty.

Here is the map. It isn’t too clear but Walsenburg is the top middle and the bottom right is Trinidad.  The red line through the middle requires a 4-wheel drive from what I could tell.



Interesting rock formations formed by lava from a volcano.  There are many of these in the area.

I didn’t get a picture, but the road went around Monument Lake.  It was a beautiful color much like the volcanic lakes we saw in Alaska.  Since there are remnants of volcanic rock I wonder if that caused the unusual color.

Once we reached Trinidad, it was the most flat land we’ve seen in ages.  Since we didn’t have any stops planned, we drove all the way to Hays, Kansas.  Flat all the way. 

We observed that the farmers out in the plains take a lot of pride in their small towns.  Unlike in the mountains where tumbled down buildings are all over, the small plains towns are clean and well groomed. 

It’s been crazy busy since we got back.  I have a couple things to share later, though. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fall Colorado Tuesday Sept 23

One thing about a  vacation, it’s hard to keep the date right.

We are roadtrip people, but today we stayed put.  This lake is so beautiful that we decided to just stay another day.  However, we had to travel the ten or so miles into Salida to empty holding tanks and pick up a few fishing supplies.  We were back in time to spend the entire afternoon fishing.  If you look closely at the one picture I am posting today, you will see the grill for hamburgers.  We caught a few trout, but they were very small.

We are not experienced fisherpeople so bait is always a question mark.  We have had luck in the past with salmon eggs which is what we used yesterday.  Today we tried worms and everything in between and  no luck.  After we gave up for the day, I walked around the lake with my camera and talked to several experienced looking  fishermen.  One said he had good luck with a very small fly with a casting bubble.  Another said he saw a man down the line catch his limit using multicolored marshmallows.  I should have called cousin Sylvie’s husband Mike to get the scoop before we left Monument.  Or better yet, take a lesson from him!

Well, we are getting the roadtrip itch so think we’ll head out tomorrow.  Have to check in to see where because we’re not sure ourselves. 

So, here’s our one picture for today.  After Labor Day all the camping spaces are first come first serve.  We paid for our famous site before we left but neglected to leave the tag on the pole.  So, when we got back someone had taken it.  I think this spot is also very pretty.  The picture was taken as the sun was slipping down.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fall Colorado Monday, Sept 23

It rained at the Riverside Campground last night so we decided not to trek around too much this morning.

No trip is complete without seeking out waterfalls.  I had two in mind but first we traveled through the big valley where Eleven Mile  and Spinney Mountain Reservoirs are located.  The Aspens showed color on the mountains in the distance with the lingering clouds.  I will include pictures when I get home.

The waterfalls are located in the Princeton Peak Canyon.  What a beautiful drive up into the canyon. At one point we drove through a tunnel of bright yellow and orange aspens.  The first waterfall is Cascade.


It was so beautiful there were professional photographers all set up to capture the color and water. 

The second waterfall I wanted to see was Agnes Vaile waterfall.  We could not find the access for the hike up to see it.  Only later when I had cell connection did I find out this was the location of the tragic rockslide that killed five members of a family this summer.  The area has been closed, perhaps permanently as it should be. 

Back on Hwy 24 we headed to our campsite on O’Haver Lake  located south of Poncha Springs.  To get here it took winding up a sandy, bumpy road  but oh was it worth it.   When we arrived, we were driving around the lake to decide which spot to camp—most were empty.  The Camp Host happened to be out and we asked if No 32 was available.  She said, “Snag it.  It is the most requested camp spot in Colorado.” It is nearly perfect.

Here are a couple pictures.




And, as the sun went down.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Colorado in the Fall 2014

We are out for our annual September visit.  We stay with the grandkids while Doug & Drue get away for a day or so.  I don’t say “babysit” because at tweens they do their own thing.

Finally, right before we left, I got them to sit still for a picture.



After our goodbyes and stopping for fishing licenses, we headed to the mountains.  This trip we are trying for a few trout.  We are definitely out of our expertise, but we are legal and we have some tackle.

Our first night is 11 Mile Canyon outside of St George.  All the campgrounds are run by the National Forest Service so are clean but no amenities.   It is a beautiful spot but part of the route in was a one-way road with a roaring stream far below. 

Here are a couple pictures of our spot. 



Monday, September 15, 2014

Dig out the snow shovel

I’ll get to why in a minute.

While we were admiring our pear tree from a previous post, we also noticed the persimmon trees.  We have five or six trees.  We could have more but putting up the hay around the trees cuts off all the little ones sprouting from seeds.  This is one of the oldest.


The fruit were almost ripe which is why there are still so many on the tree.  As soon as they fully ripen, the animals take to the trees and clean them off in short order.


I guess it would be possum and raccoons mainly.  It would be fun to see them work the top of the tree. 

So what does all of this have to do with the snow shovel?  Because that is what is inside the persimmon seed.  If there is a snow shovel inside the seed, then it will be a lot of snow.  Remember, you heard it here first. 


How will we be remembered?

I don’t know how many who check my little blog also check their Facebook account each day.  Well, I do.  I don’t post much on Facebook but I  “like” and comment fairly regularly. 

I sometimes enjoy the sayings that are posted on there.  This one caught my attention.  Definitely food for thought, said in a touching way.


I received a letter from my granddaughter a couple days ago thanking me for sending Box tops for Education for her school.  Carly has sent me a couple letters over the summer.  She is a good writer.  She must like to write because her letters are newsy and fun to read.

I think Carly’s teacher  has considered what is being said on this poster.  After all, many of us never forget our teachers.  Here is what Carly says about her 4th grade teacher in her last letter.

Mrs. Muller, my teacher is wonderful.  She is funny, smart, honest, trustworthy and randomly gives out candy!

How could any of us do any better than that?  Way to go, Mrs. Muller!

Carly’s letter then ended with this drawing.  Way to go, Carly!


Tuesday, September 09, 2014

What is that tree?

Over the years Dan has removed many many trees from our acreage down the road, mostly hedge and locust.  From the beginning he liked the look of this tree so he left it. 


He could have tried harder to identify it, but it just never occurred to him to check further.  This picture was taken this morning.  It was a beautiful morning so we were just tooling around after we fed the fish.

When we went by this tree, Dan said, “Will you look at that.” Here is what he saw.


Pears, the tree is loaded with pears. 

They are small, but I peeled one, it was sweet.  We think possibly one of our new neighbors planted a pear tree and our resident bees pollinated our tree.  I am sure the skunks, raccoons etc will be enjoying those pears—maybe I’ll even enjoy a few. 

Friday, September 05, 2014

Should I have a bucket list?

I know people do because I hear them say they have checked something off.  Each time I hear someone say that, I wonder if I should make one up.  But I haven’t.

There might be several reasons I do not have a bucket list. 

First, any time I make a list of “Things to Do” and don’t get everything on the list done, I have a feeling of not accomplishing a goal.  Rather than be happy about what I do get done, I am looking to the next item. It is my hope that trips taken or new accomplishments achieved are each treated special, as if it is the best thing I’ve ever done and not be looking to another line item that might be perceived as being even better or more exciting.

Second, I think of bucket lists as big accomplishments.  For instance, go to Europe or hike the Grand Canyon.  (Our friend Lynn, who is our age, just completed the hike—wonder if it was on his bucket list)  If there is anything that would fall into that category it was to go to Alaska.  Of course, we went several years ago.  Rather than cross that off a list, though, I would like to go back.  It seems most any trip we take, we talk about going back.  Even if we don’t make it back to every place we visit, I like the feeling that we might get back.  So, with that attitude, I would never cross anything off the list.

Finally, I haven’t seen the movie that promoted the bucket list idea—I know I would like it—but I think I have the premise of the movie right in that doing all the things on the list are “end of life” accomplishments.  With that in mind, my list would be so long that it wouldn’t be realistic.

Now, having said all these reasons, I am still not sure it isn’t a nice idea.  The thought is appealing.  Right now, though,  I think I’ll look ahead to one goal at a time.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Linda’s Backroad Musings is 10 years old!

Ten years ago today I put my first post on this blog.  I’m not sure why I decided to start writing a blog.  It seemed like a fun thing to do.  Google’s Blogger was relatively new and all the research said it was an easy way to begin.  So, I sat down and signed up. 2,221 posts later, here we are. 

Most who follow me know the name comes from the fact that I was a Rural Letter Carrier and the pictures and stories are from driving the backroads of the mail route.  Always keeping in mind that I needed something for my blog, I would watch for unusual happenings.   (Check the list of blog posts on the left of the page for a few examples)

Two out of our five grandchildren were born in the last ten years.  Carly and Evan.  Aaron, Adam and Trent were born before 2004, but they all have had their share of space here. 

We lost three of our four parents during this time.  I’m not sure how much I shared of those occasions.

Much to his dismay, Dan has shown up on here as well—mostly in vacation photos.  Speaking of that, I started a companion blog entitled wildlife wildflowers waterfalls.  It is a commentary of roadtrips we have taken up until 2012.  It is a great blog and I should go back and update it with our more recent travels.  I guess I let it get behind because it was easier to update one blog.

I write mostly for our family.   However, sometimes it seems I write for myself.  I enjoy going back and reading past posts.  I don’t have a huge number of followers, although it has grown over the years—if I post regularly and have something interesting going in our life, I’ll have around 40 visits a day according to the Blogger statistics.   Not a popular site by any means, but I feel quite satisfied.

Facebook has taken the place of many blogs.  I love to read about relatives and friends there but I still prefer to post pictures and stories on LBM.   People  have a choice as to whether they want to visit this page.  If I have one regret, I wish I would have been more diligent in tagging my posts.  Google’s search does a fairly good job, but sometimes I wonder if I have already written about a topic.  Well, I guess if I can’t remember, all of you wonderful readers certainly won’t remember.

Since I retired from the mail route, there doesn’t seem to be as many interesting things —at least day to day—to write about.  In the past year, I have slowed down even more with my posts.  I have every intention to keep this little piece of journalism.  I still enjoy writing.

One of the most frustrating situations associated with LBM is that I don’t seem to have inspirations until about 11:00 at night.  I have tried to get in the habit of writing during the day to no avail.  However, I am going to give it another try this fall.  Being sleepy and trying to write are not a good mix—especially at 68 years old. (Note:  I wrote this at 12:30 last night and found multiple mistakes this morning—another reason to write during the day)

Well, I thought in memory of the occasion, I would repost my entry from September 1, 2004.   

Labor Day Weekend

It's a day of new beginnings. The first entry in my Blog, the beginning of September, and the start of Labor Day Weekend. And, knowing me, this weekend will be the start of many jobs--none finished! We are planning on traveling to Salina tomorrow to see Kim & Marc's new home. After that we will stop by Junction City to visit Mom and then on to Manhattan for the KSU game. All of this tomorrow--then paint the house on Sunday--well, at least get started. Will update on Sunday morning--

Hopefully, I will be here for another ten years.  Thank you so very much to everyone who checks in now and then.  You are all the best.

By the way, the house needs painting again…

Monday, August 18, 2014


I have this picture in my mind of a place in Junction City Kansas. It was a basement with a stairs off the street. There might have been a sign but not sure. It was known as the place where soldiers from Fort Riley got tattoos. I picture it as dark and scary. After all, tattoos were a macho man/military thing in the 50's.

Today I witnessed two of my friends get tattoos. It was not down a dark stairs, rather a bright, clean setting and an experienced hip lady as the artist.

My feeling is many of my lady friends might actually give some consideration to getting these tats.

Eyebrows and eye liner!

This was not a quick accomplishment--at least one and a half hours each.

First, they put on a cream that supposedly numbed the area. According to my friends, they didn't feel too numb. Then the "artist" donned her rubber gloves and grabbed a small electric contraption about the size of a wood burning tool and started in. She kept dipping it in ink and hummed away. At least it sounded like a hum. It must have felt more brutal. Both girls stated clearly and emphatically negative thoughts about having the procedure done again. (It needs to be touched up every few years)  When I asked what pain could compare to having the procedure done, one said when she broke her ankle. Oh My!!

But, the pain was brief and it looked to me to be very well done. My guess they both will be glad they went through with it. Unfortunately, I promised no pictures or names in writing this. So, their secret is with me. I guarantee no one looking at either of them would know they don't have makeup.

Was one of them me? Nope, I seldom wear eye makeup. I was the driver. But...

I've been rolling around this thought of Dan and I getting matching ring tattoos for our fifth wedding anniversary--neither of us wear wedding rings. If we do, there will be full coverage right here.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Who Knew?

Here is a deal any Kansas State University fan will want to bid on.  At auction on Ebay is a postcard taken from southwest Lawrence looking at (what it says) is Kansas State University.  I don’t think it would probably be a hot item for a KU fan, though!  Here is the link.

Check this screen shot…

KSU from Lawrence KS

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

USPS delivers

What happens when a GPS is out of date?  You find your little car indicator off the road sitting in a field.  At least that’s what has been happening with ours lately.  I think the unit must be at least six years old. 

What to do but give EBay a look.  Turns out there is a company in the state of Washington that has reconditioned Garmin GPS units.  A Garmin Nuvi 40 LM 4.3" Portable GPS w/ Lifetime Maps to be exact.  Cost – $55, free shipping.  I ordered it and signed up for USPS tracking.

Here is  the trail.  The seller used USPS Priority Mail.  Even though I might be a little prejudice since I was a rural carrier for 30 years, this is impressive.  And,  by signing up, I received an email at each scan location.  There is no way “brown” can do this better.

USPS Label 1

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Super Garden and Moon


I am loving our garden this year.


Isn’t this latest super moon amazing?

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Married to a carpenter

Dan started out our married life as a teacher, a junior high school industrial arts teacher.  I always thought he might have stuck with it had he started with older students.  His reflections on his teaching years are mostly of  7th and 8th graders hardly listening to his safety talks and behaving badly around the power tools.  My guess is that there are some 45 year old men out there who remember Mr. Hanney and appreciate what they learned, though.

After Doug was born in 1972, he quit teaching and began a career of carpentry work.  He and his brother Paul built houses at first.  Eventually, they moved into finish carpentry.  Dan is an artist with curved stairways, fireplace mantels and fancy trim.  He worked in many beautiful homes mostly in and around Topeka. 

A carpenter never retires, especially if he has family.  Dan has helped both our kids in projects over the years.  In the process, they are actually very good woodworkers themselves so in many ways he never completely gave up teaching.   And, he has completed many projects for me—I probably should know more about woodworking than I do.

So, here was our day.  This morning I gathered up all the dirty clothes to take downstairs to wash.  I commented that one of these days I’m going to fall down the stairs with my arms full of dirty clothes.  Dan says why don’t we move the washer and dryer upstairs.  I say I like the laundry room downstairs.  For one thing, I can walk right out the back door and hang clothes on the line.  We got to thinking and decided to put  a clothes chute in the kitchen.

Now, there might be some who say, “dirty clothes in the kitchen?”  Well, what about those new cabinets that open and out slides a waste basket.  I am thinking dropping dirty clothes isn’t far off that concept.  Besides, this cabinet was in a perfect spot for the laundry room in the basement.  

Remember, the idea came about this morning. Tonight, we have emptied a small base cabinet in the kitchen of Tupperware that I don’t use, cut a hole in the bottom of the cabinet and floor and now I can open a door, drop dirty clothes down a completely lined “chute” right into a basket in the laundry room. 

Isn’t it great to be married to a carpenter!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Lake Texoma

Who would have thought that we would be on a trip to Lake Texoma in July and turn  our furnace on for a short time.  Granted, it was rainy and we got a little chilled with that, but still, furnace, July and Texas.  I think it actually did set a record low in Dallas that night.

It was beautiful weather and good times with friends Dwight & Cheryl and Dwight’s brother Glen and Kathy in Preston Bend campground, a Federal Park,  on the lake.  Preston Bend campground is near Dwight & Cheryl’s son Dan and Kim’s lake house so we spent a lot of time there. 

The highlight of our trip, though, was our guided fishing trip out on the lake. 

Dan and I have only been on a guided fishing trip one other time.  That was in Canada and we were fishing for Walleye  by dropping our line over the side of the boat.  Fishing for Stripers on Lake Texoma was mostly the same. Other than our Texas guide had a fish locator.  He could tell us exactly how deep to drop our bait.  My trouble was knowing when the fish had the hook and set it properly.  Honestly, I might have lost as many fish as I caught—the big ones anyway.  I’d feel that tug and my reflex was to yank.  A little more finesse is necessary.  I think I got better.  So did everyone else.

Our guide was patient with us so we all caught our limit. 




Sunday, July 13, 2014

Garden surprise

Remember that tomato that showed up in a potted plant?  Well, we have a similar situation in the garden right now.

Before I write about the surprise vines, I have to brag a bit about the garden. 


It’s looking good this year.  Of course, it helps that we have had timely rains and Dan had just rototilled.  And, I had cleaned out the okra rows and added mulch to the….

Watermelon and Cantaloupe! 

It happens where the watermelon and cantaloupe came up, I had dumped recycle stuff from the kitchen, obviously including watermelon and cantaloupe seeds.  For a long time, we didn’t know what they were.  Until this:


I look every day to find more and to check on these.  Looking forward to some vine ripened goodness later this summer.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Day Three With Grandkids

Yes, I did say that there could be something better to eat than pizza and Hazel Hill chocolates.  That would be The Cheese Cake Factory! 

But first…

CARLY from Linda Hanney on Vimeo.

Sky Zone in Kansas City is a great place to burn off energy.   The whole place is trampolines.  You can bounce up and dunk a basketball, jump playing dodge ball and flip into a bin of sponge. 

I did not bounce, although enjoyed watching a lot.  Just watching worked up my appetite for lunch at the Cheese Cake Factory.  You can imagine how hungry those kids were.

I did not take a picture of my piece of Raspberry Fudge Cheese Cake.  It was a work of art but I guess all I could think about was eating it. 

After lunch, the kids graciously allowed Kim and I to take a quick tour around Crate & Barrel.  Then home.

On our last day, we visited Moon Marble Company.  We watched a marble being made—which is always interesting.  When we first visited in 2006, we saw Bruce Breslow, the founder and owner make a marble.  Although he didn’t demonstrate, he was there today.   He has an interesting story.  If you have time, follow this link that I wrote on our first visit.

After Moon Marble, we took Adam to his music lesson and then back to Kim’s.  Trent and Carly went to their other grandparents for the remainder of their visit.  It was so much fun to not only spend time with the grandkids, but also Kim.

Now, back to gardening and catching up.   

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Fun with all five grandkids

Doug and Drue returned to Monument on Sunday morning.  Trent and Carly stayed here.  Their home base is with Kim, Marc, Aaron, Adam and Evan until it is time for them to visit their other grandparents.  On Sunday evening, they sat down and planned their time for these few days.  They did a good job.

Monday, we headed west to Manhattan to visit the Flint Hills Discovery Center.  It is in the background of this picture. 


I’ve heard good things about this facility and it is all true.  We were there for a couple hours and could have spent more time.  The educational film was excellent.  When there was prairie wind, we felt wind.  When there was rain, we felt the vibration of the thunder and when there was fire, we smelled smoke. 

There were interactive experiences, including these 3 dimensional puzzles of early life in the Flint Hills.


Even the grounds were interesting and well maintained with wildflowers and a running stream. 

After the tour, we ate pizza and desert at Hazel Hill Chocolates in downtown Manhattan.

Can that menu get any better?  Yes it can.  Wait until I tell you about our day today.  I will do that tomorrow as I am waiting for the little movie to be completed. 

Sunday, July 06, 2014

July 4th is in the books

Great three days.  Click here or on the picture for the link.  So that it will play on Apple, I am not embedding.  Just go to the web page and click on “slideshow” in the upper right hand corner.   These are my favorite people.  Enjoy!


Thursday, July 03, 2014

Family is all together—pictures begin

It is always fun to have all the family together.  So for a few days, there will be pictures.  Here are a few from the first evening: