Monday, June 30, 2014

I'm Not Just Whistling Dixie

When I saw a copy of the late Dixie Carter's 1996 book Trying to Get to Heaven (Opinions of a Tennessee Talker) on the 25 cent shelf at the Catholic thrift store, I thought that might be a fun book to read. (Actually I thought for 25 cents I could toss it if it was not any good.)

I keep a stack of mags and books by my bed, but right now this book by Dixie is bookmarked for nightly reading. I began reading her book with the knowledge that she had passed away recently (2010), had been married to twainlike Hal Holbrook, and was my favorite character on Designing Women (which still airs on some television channels).

Reading the first few pages of the book was like pulling teeth, so I just started flipping pages. I ran across a chapter on her experience with having a facelift. That proved so interesting and informative that I continued reading. 

Once in a while Dixie threw in vocabulary that I am not even sure she knew what the words meant, but isn't that what editors do with your work? Embellish it. (By the way, when I taught the word embellish to my 7th graders back in the 70's and 80's, that became a new word for my own vocabulary. Who ever embellished anything before disco?)

Back to Miss Dixie's getting to book. 
Besides preparing me for the plastic surgery I will never endure and her advice on cleanliness and old people, I have enjoyed reading her vision of the perfect home/house, how to arrange flowers from the florist, critiques of her daughters' teachers, and improper use of the personal pronoun "I."

Here are a few excerpts:

page 130: "... I will not ever be having a kitchen island, although they are great space savers and very utilitarian....Families don't gather together easily around kitchen islands."

page 136: "When you receive an arrangement as a gift, promptly pull out all ferns and baby's breath, take what flowers there are out of the florist's vase, cut the stems off a couple of inches, and put them in your own vase. The flowers will look twice as pretty without the padding. If someone sends you a truly gorgeous arrangement, forget what I just said."

page 142: "If I were named Ruler of All Things, I would put a stop to pouring money into new school buildings and equipment. I would search out great teachers and pay them very high wages and let them teach. Education has to do with pupils and teachers. It has to do with the transfer of ideas and information from one human being to another. Technological aids can be useful somewhere down the line, I'm sure, but the point is that children must learn to think. Government funds cannot confer upon a child the capacity for abstract thinking."

page 147: " 'He gave it to Hal and I' is awful and you hear it all the time, from well-educated people. Take away the first name and you'll see how wrong it is: 'He gave it to I.' Would you ever say that?....If I didn't have to work for a living, I'd go around preaching just this one thing until it stopped."

And my opinions:

No kitchen island for me!

Don't give me cut flowers from the florist! (I prefer plants for my garden.)

Pay great teachers GREAT salaries to teach!

Hope you agree with Dixie and me about using objective pronouns following prepositions. (Hope this last opinion is not Greek to you. It isn't to me.)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Shelfie #3--It is All in the Way You Look at It

Shelfie #3

This shelfie today says much about who I am. 

I am an amateur gardener. I use no pesticides and little fertilizer in my veggie beds. Sometimes the weeds take over and the plant supports fall over to the ground, but I still get this tomato harvest every other day!

I am a reader. Unfortunately ( or fortunately) my iPad has moved my eyes to something besides the paper pages. But I still read magazines and the occasional book.

I am a "piddler." I just "piddle" around with many different crafts (not anyway considered arts). Yesterday it was machine quilt piecing with strips. And today I am camera "piddling."

I am a thrifter. A 25 cent Lefton coffee creamer that would be worth $15 if it had its saucer! Books that were 25 cents each at the Catholic charity shop half-way between home and my mother's house.

I am a collector. A collector of big, Dutch plates. And big, brown wooden furniture. And just about anything that catches my fancy.

I am a terrible housekeeper, but an enthusiastic clothes washer. My late FIL said washing clothes was my hobby. I won't share what my Hub says about it, since he never can find the clothes he just took off. Psssss. They are in the washing machine!!

So there you have it!

A little bit of me in Shelfie #3.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Everything at Wetcreek is Wet

The yard is mushy! 

The grass is moldy!

The pond banks are muddy!

The pond is filling up again after the draining and pipe repair! 

The most unusual collection of mushrooms are scattered over the yard and walkpaths around the pond! 

The weeds are invading the mulched flowerbeds! 

Too wet to mow rapidly growing grass! 


(Just thought I would "shake my blogpost up" a bit.)

Enjoy your weekend! ;p

Can You See This Now?

I write my Wetcreek Blog using the Blogger App for iPads. I do not plan to change, so I am looking for a darker font. Bold has always meant "shouting" in print to me. But I will try this anyway.

Blog Text Fonts (and Colors)

I may lose a couple of blog followers because of this post. I won't name names, but I will be honest and tell you what I can't read (aka SEE) on some of my Favorite blogs.

I can not read curvy (cutesy) scriptlike fonts.
(Not just my opinion, please Click Here.)

I can not read most color text except black.  Quote from : Why risk losing so many readers? Black or very dark gray on white looks clean, and there are plenty of great themes that use those colors.

If you were following my blog last summer, you know that the local optometrist shop and I never did get my prescription glasses worked out. I finally just got new frames for my old lenses. 

So maybe my problem seeing blog text is my lenses. And just maybe it is with certain text styles. 

In any case, reading blogs is more fun when I can see (aka READ) the text.

Now is the time for all good bloggers to come to the aide of older blog followers! 
Rant is over. Have a good weekend.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Homemade Greek Yoghurt (revisited)

Yesterday a blog friend was reminding her followers of the benefits of eating yogurt ( yoghurt).

As a homemade yoghurt advocate, I would like to take this opportunity to repeat my tried and try recipe for DIY Greek Yoghurt I published last July. 

You can read the original blogposts here, here, and some photos are here.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Crazy Birds! Angry Parents!

Yesterday in a thunder and lightning rainstorm our little swallows were having flying lessons from their screeching parents. The rain and wind was so intense that I couldn't take photos, but you will have to imagine the fear those little birdies had. One even huddled down on top of the ceiling fan on the porch and dared not get off. The other three were braver. They weathered the storm!

The photos below are the present situation. All four babes are still trying to master this flying feat and have advanced to the blades of the fan. (Excuse the iPad photos--from inside a not so clean study window- that I made a few moments ago.)

If you look carefully, you can see two on one blad and the other two on another.

No birds flew off. The wind just moved the fan blades a bit.

Here they all are again. Looks like they haven't even moved!

Now you know they must want to fly over to get a drink of water from our pond.

9:17 am


Another Empty Nest Syndrome?

Blogger, We Have a Problem

If you are having a problem with your Reading List on Blogger, please read this:!topic/blogger/lTtsw3f92Zk/discussion

Monday, June 23, 2014


Our lane name is on GOOGLE Maps, too! Perseverance (as well as annoyance) works!

Do Birth Certificates Lie?

91 years ago today my father was born in Newellton, Louisiana. But if you use this date to try to verify who he was and his birth, you may be in for some difficulty.

Daddy always joked that he had two birthdays. (He was a dessert lover, so maybe he was after two of Mom's birthday cakes!) And recently when I was using free Ancestry searches, I found my dad's info by using that birth day date that he always said was his second birthday, June 27, 1923.  

So that got me to thinking (oh, I am sounding more Southern the older I get!!!) what birthdate is written on his birth certificate, passport, driver's license, military records, etc.?

For all of my family members who are as curious as I am, I'll have to ask Memaw if she still has those documents and will let me check them out. 

In the meantime, we will remember today, June 23 as Dad's birthday and light a candle for him on our memory table. (I personally like it better today, since I was his early birthday present on June 22 back in 1948.)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Congratulations! And Celebrations!

That's for the birds!

I really mean it is all for the swallows that have made their nest on our front porch (yet another time!).

This morning around 9:00 a flock of perhaps 20 adult swallows circled around the pillar on the porch where the four fledglings are waiting patiently for their "wings." I have never seen such a display of solidarity and support in the wild animal kingdom! The four birdies peeped like crazy as the swarm of swallows saluted them.

Guess that means that there will be some practice flying really soon. 

Then the nest on the top of the pillar will be vacated again until maybe next year.

House swallows bring good luck, I've heard. So congrats to us, too.

Friday, June 20, 2014

We Are On the Map!

Bing Maps, that is!

It took almost one year of weekly email messages, but finally Bing Maps has the name of the lane to our home correctly spelled on its map website. 

When we had built our home 7 years ago, my hub ordered a street/lane sign and purchased a pole. Actually it was more of a joke than anything else. But then about a year ago he noticed on internet map sites that our lane name was not correct, never dreaming that the sign would be taken seriously. 

So he started reminding Bing Maps that they needed to do something about correcting their mistake.

And TaDa! 
Yesterday the lane name was fixed! 

Now to get Google Maps to clean up their act! 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Shelfie #2 Recipe Sorting

What to do when it is too hot to go outside? 

Why sort through the recipes I have tried/wanted to try the last six years since I retired from "real" work.

(I warned you that there would be a free interpretation of "shelf." This time it is our side table next to my Lane easy chair in the living room.)

Now that I have weeded out the recipes I did not want to keep, I will need to organize these crammed in Oma's cookie tin. 

Hum, not tonight!

Monday, June 16, 2014

(W)Hole (in the) Brain Teaching

I don't often curse, but this morning I could (and maybe should) have. This all has to do with my being curious about what is happening to education in the US (and in particular Louisiana).

It all began sometime last winter when I saw on a friend's Facebook page that there would be a FREE three day education conference at a religious college about an hour's drive from here. Having retired from 37 years of teaching exactly six years ago, I still enjoy discovering ways that I could have done a better job. 

And FREE is always good! And the reasonably short car drive was "doable." So I registered!

During the last month I debated with myself if I should ask my brother, or my niece, or a former colleague if I could "sleep over" so that I wouldn't have to make the early morning drives. But something held me back, and I thought I would just see if I liked the conference before bothering anyone.

This morning I was out on the road by 6:50 am and arrived at my destination by 8:30 am. After finally finding a parking place on the lovely Louisiana College campus, I entered the cram-packed conference hall just as the keynote speaker was making some opening remarks. 

I found an empty aisle seat next to a friendly young female teacher. As I sat, the nightmare began. The speaker (originator of WBT/Whole Brain Teaching) began shouting, slapping, clapping, tweeting, gesturing, and demanding. Demanding that everyone in attendance "mirror" and repeat everything he was doing. No thinking, no questioning, just copying!

Bizarre! Scary! And LOUD as well as Fast! WT Heck? You would have had to be there (or watched a YouTube video Click Here for 2013 Conference Video ) to have imagined how threatening this was!

Last night I sneaked a peek at a YouTube video of the technique to prepare myself for what to expect. I was prepared for some torture, but what I witnessed was just frightening!  

I sat in fear and astonishment!

The young teacher next to me was disadvantaged, since she had no teaching partner with me. I apologized for not participating in the activities, but I used the noisy partner opportunities to ask her questions about how she learned this method and how she used this absurd (I told her,"Loud") manner of teaching.

It seems that she had learned what she knows from videos on YouTube. And she seemed to be enthralled that she was getting to experience this up close and personal training (no thanks to me!).

Well, long blogpost shortened somewhat, after an hour and one annoying reprimand from a program assistant prowling the aisles for me not "mirroring,"  I walked out of the packed theatre! My new friend laughed when I said farewell.

The only training I'll be doing from now on is teaching Flip to roll over. No shouting, slapping, clapping, or tormenting. He performs for animal crackers.

And guess what, children do, too!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Mud, Sweat, and Sweat Drops

30 minute job (10 prep, 10 tractor return trip, 10 fishing with a rake handle). 

"Snuffle" pipe is recovered!

Pond, Pipe, and Python

Python got your attention, huh? 

Well, we don't have pythons out here in the boondocks, but we do have snakes. My hub says we see about one snake each week during the summer, and this last week I have seen at least five. I guess that should get me through July without it being necessary to see anymore.

One reason we have seen so many is the weather. Besides being warm and humid, we have had rain. The lawn grass is a beautiful green and growing like mad. That means mowing (attacking the weeds for me) and snakes in the tall grass.

Another reason for snakes is the swallow nest packed with four babies up high on top of the veranda pillar. Experience has shown that snakes will do whatever they can to get at those young, juicy ones. Even scare the wits out of me while weeding the mulched flower beds out front! 

And still another reason the snakes are active is that we lowered the pond depth this week in search for a lost drain pipe. If you have been following my blog for long, you may remember that we have the 1/2 grand pond that the government messed around with for about five years. Well, they made such a mess of the drainage pipe work (and more, but I have written enough about that) that during the winter part of the pipe went missing. You guessed it! In the pond!

So this week we started searching for the pipe. We have had so much rain the last month that it became necessary to either search for the pipe regulator or make a new one. After the gov't man came out (finally!!!) and left without doing anything to correct this situation, we opened the faucet and started draining the pond to search for the pipe.

Friday my hub got out the rowboat and scratched around in the pond near the main drainage pipe hoping to dig up the lost "snuffle" pipe. He just stirred up mud and duckweed. No sign of the smaller pipe! So he gave up in the heat, and shut off the drain.  The next plan was to just try to guess the size of the lost pipe and try to construct a new one. 

So last evening while on the way out to photograph the whole pipe construction while the water is low, our Flip had an encounter with the python/water snake on the bank of the pond. No bites, just lots of tail flapping (from the snake), pouncing (from the beagle), and screaming (from me!!!). But we made it to the levee and the exposed pipes.

As I was walking back towards some blackberry picking and then home, Hub shouted, "I see the pipe!" And, yes, indeed you could see the circle end just under the water. A little off course from where he thought it might be located, but visible, at least. That was at 8:15 pm last night! Dusk, in other words.

So he has had all night to plan the next attack to rescue the delinquent "snuffle" thingy. 

Hope the snakes haven't had the same idea.

(To Be Continued)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

And Who Asked You, Anyway?

Have you ever wanted to just "tell it like it is" when you see or read something on the World Wide Web? Well, more folks do just that more often than we realize. 

I still try to follow my dad's lesson of "if you can't say anything good about someone/something, don't say anything." And the odd time I have given my honest opinion, I have been "called out", so to speak. So my best bet is to keep my words to myself (aka shut up).

I chose not to join Facebook, but I have found ways to see photos that my family share there. It is interesting to read some of the comments made by friends and family. Some are sweet. Some are kind. Some are comical. Some are catty. And some are just right bossy. 

I will leave it at that. Who knows? Maybe Ms. Bossy reads this blog and will get the message to "back off!" 

If the shoe fits?

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Forget the Selfie!!! I LIKE the Shelfie!

Just last week one of my lovely British blog friends included a Shelfie on her blogpost The Syders. At first I thought she had accidentally slipped in an "h" to selfie, but that was not the case. She included a photo of a shelf in her home.

As my hub freaks out when I include photos of our home (inside and outside), I thought this "shelfie" thing might not be so frightening to him. Oh, don't think I am going to ask his permission! I learned long ago even before he and I met (37 years ago this coming week!) that it is easier to do something and then ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission first. 

That means I am going to add a shelfie to my weekly repertoire. And as I never have been too organized, my shelfie might appear on just any old day of the week. Or maybe it will appear every single day of the week! And maybe it won't be a shelf at all. Maybe it will be a table top. Or a bench. Or even a flowerbox shelf or a windowsill. Or who knows what that might be " housing" stuff.

In any case, it will be a shelfie.

Here is Shelfie # 1

Just like me, an eclectic show of antiques, heirlooms, charity/thrift shop finds, dollar store buys, and dumpster saves in our dining room.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Insect Bites-Part 2

Do not wear dark colors (dark gray knee socks and dark green clam-digger/pedal pusher pants) on a late evening walk on June 5!

The mosquitoes ate me alive!

What a way to end a day of fighting insect stingers!


But Flip found a snake. I think anyway. Just about as good as the turtle he found in my flower bed this afternoon.
(How could anyone drop off such a cute dog near our house?)

Insect Bites are Unavoidable

Don't grab a plant branch before checking for insects!

Caused by this type moth caterpillar:

And this little toe became a BIG toe. Who knows what was hiding in my green Birkie!!!

Remember, check your boots or garden Birkies for spiders or other creatures. Especially when you slip into them with bare feet!

Keep these on hand:

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

D-Day Was "Before My Time"

Whenever I want someone to believe that I am younger than I look, I tell them that whatever they are talking about was "before my time." And in the case of D-Day in France 70 years ago on June 6, "that was before my time." In fact, it was four full years before my birth. So I am not even a war baby. My parents had not met in 1944, and they were still finishing up their teens.

But years later when I taught at the American School of The Hague, I visited France many, many times with my 7th Graders on Project France. Although we never visited the exact 50 mile stretch of beaches where the Allied forces landed on June 6, we always followed the signs of General George Patton along the road to St. Malo.  And we toured with the children (and I sometimes as the guide) some of the cities that made up that historic crusade.

So what was "before my time" became part of my "time." In fact, I spent probably almost 20 weeks of my teaching career traveling where those brave soldiers marched.

You might enjoy Life magazine photo editor John G. Morris's shots of newly liberated people and towns in Normandy in the weeks after D-Day 1944. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Tom, Dick, or Harry?

How many other people on the World Wide Web have your exact name? It kind of gives me a strange feeling to GOOGLE my own full name and find there is someone with MY EXACT NAME in almost every state of the US. One is a famous doctor. Another is an artist. And even one is on a Wanted List! 

My parents thought they were naming me a really unique name when they named me after a song popular at the time. Little did they know that other parents with the same surname had the same idea. 

My dad really wanted to name me "Angelica." Bet no one else thought of that one. (I'll GOOGLE that name later.)

My last two great nephews were named Willie and Waylon. (I guess the rest of us are The Band!) Little Willie is a darling and is actually William IV in our family, so that name has provenance. As for cutie Waylon, the parents were looking for a name beginning with "W." The father's name Weston sounds quite important and good to me, but no one ever asked this old great aunt. 

Today my son's best friend and his fiance had a baby boy, and they named him Remington. Bet one day you will be able to GOOGLE that full name without finding too many duplicates!

It is a free world. Call your kid Squirt or Sprout. I don't care! But please don't name it after a fruit or nut. 

No Peaches or Peanuts, please!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

View from My Easy Chair

After a year, I am still playing with my camera. It can do amazing things.

This is getting more fun every single day! Who needs apps when you have such a great Olympus camera?

Creepy at Midnight

I just creeped myself out. What if one of my "female" followers is really a "male"? 

Oh, who cares! 

I write this blog for myself. 

Not for creeps!

Time to call it a day. Waaaay past my bedtime!

Punch Cards? Floppy Discs? Where is the Mouse?

I remember being asked to redo my punch cards for my students' report cards back in 1974. As our Assistant Principal had not given the correct instructions in the first place, I handed him my stack of cards and said, "Do it yourself!" Needless to say, a week later I quit that job and moved to a larger school district with even bigger problems :(

Here is a recent video of how kids today react to an old computer. Click Here