Sunday, January 22, 2012

Stocking Stuffer Triumph!

My son, the intrepid snow reporter for KGMI – among other things – spent most of last week on the road, checking conditions and finding trouble spots and areas for others to avoid. He would never be able to do this, except for his trusty old “Heavy Chevy”, a pickup truck that has seen a lot of action over the years. It has big tires, and a noisy muffler, and already is in less than pristine conditions so is available for risk-taking.

The perfect vehicle for snow reports…

Last week, Heavy Chevy was getting a work out, and as conditions continued to need monitoring, Old Trusty faltered a bit. As Dillon was delivering one of his co-workers to her home in Ferndale, the truck started fading, and they limped off I-5 to a gas station. Dillon ended up getting towed home that night, and spent the rest of the evening thawing out the carburetor before Heavy Chevy was in working form again.

Concerned that he would lose his mobility if some systems on the truck were not tuned-up, Dillon intended to get the necessary parts in town the next day. He had finished his morning reporting trek around the county, and was warming up the truck to head into town when he decided to put the chains on. During this operation, he bumped the valve stem on a front tire which cracked and immediately started hissing. He quickly plugged the gap, but then he was stuck! If he let go, the tire would go flat, and he could not get to town without that tire on the truck to go fix the tire on the truck or anything else!


He couldn’t even leave the front tire to go get help. After some tricky maneuvering, he got his phone out of his pocket without letting go of the valve stem, and called Tiffany, who was in the house. They had to figure out a way of keeping air in the tire long enough to get to town – a mere 2 miles, but it could just as well have been 10 – to fix the tire and maintain their mobility.

What to do? What to do?

(And here comes my moment of triumph…)

Dillon to Tiffany: “Didn’t Mom give me some glue in my stocking? Find that and bring it out here, but be ready to head for town right away because if this works, we’ll be in a hurry.”

Tiffany found the glue: “Quick Grip” often touted by my blog friend Julie Jacobs, for her most challenging craft projects. And, I admit, I didn’t think the boys would be too excited about getting a tube of glue in their stocking – but hey, it was practical, and nice to have on hand.

Little did I know…

Dillon globbed the glue on the valve stem, and they waited for it to set up…not a sure thing in 18* weather! He finally dared to let go of the valve stem, and it held…no leaking. They gave a little more time to let it thicken, and see if it would keep holding…Then they jumped in the truck and headed for town in a hurry! They had to go through a few small drifts, and the berm the snow plow left at the intersection, not to mention more ice and snow on the road. They kept Heavy moving and were hoping they wouldn’t run out of air before they reached Zylstra Tire…Success! They had enough air to drive into the shop, and there found that the tire had not leaked a bit during their trek! They explained their situation to the tire guys, who were quite amazed that they had been able to make it – a broken valve stem and glue, through snow drifts? Amazing!

When the tire guy went down to look at the problem, he touched the valve stem; it gave way, and immediately, the tire went flat…

But they were in town, where they could fix the tire, and get back on the road to continue reporting for the safety of Whatcom Countians -- all because Mom(that would be me) had put a tube of glue in Dillon’s stocking!!

I pretty much rock.

And now all Dillon’s friends want to know where he got that great glue…so if you see a bunch of farm trucks, and 4 wheel drives in the parking lot at Michael’s Craft Store you’ll know why.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Oh, it's a good day!

We're getting the winter I had hoped for, and I have resolved that I am snowbound. I could get out, but I don't need to, and I don't want to. Just happy to be enjoying the beautiful scenery outside my window...

Daisie was thrilled with the snow today...unlike yesterday. She was eager to go out for our walk yesterday, but halfway through she was carefully stepping in my smoothly frozen tracks from the day before. The melted and re-frozen snow crust was scraping her feet at every step. Later, when we tried to get Olive some desperately needed exercise, the results were even worse. Poor little Frenchton had bleeding feet in short order, and that did nothing to improve her mood! So much pent up energy, and chewing her only release...It's getting expensive for Caitlin between the rawhides, and the destruction that she has caused of late...

I won't say anymore about that -- except that you better not leave her alone with the furniture...

No such problems today! The 4-5" of soft snow was cause for rejoicing for this boxer -- and I hear, for the little Frenchton as well! Crazy running, snuffling, and eating of snow!

Nice snow beard, Daisie!
"Mom -- I'm trying, but I can tell you that I won't be able to eat it all...Sorry."
I don't know why, but boxers always think they have to clean up the snow by eating it...

I've had dreams about a snow day, and how I would spend the whole day doing projects that I never get to...Nowhere to go, there would be no excuse...
The truth is that so far, I have done no projects, have drunk 3 cups of coffee, and boiled some eggs so if the lights go out I'll have protein. Oh -- and I read 3 chapters of my book, and had a nap -- pretty much at the same time.

And I looked out the window...

I think I will consider "Looking Out My Window" an official snow day project.

Friday, January 13, 2012


Nope, I didn't spell it wrong. (Okay -- it's one of my own word creations, but its apt...)

There's been a whole lotta purgin' goin' on in this here house.

It's so much fun!

In my fit of New Year inspired organization, I made plans to unclutter my little office/work area. As I contemplated what containers, boxes, baskets I might need to corral my most important stuff/tools/junk, I realized that I really had no more room for containers/boxes/baskets on my counter...Hmmmm...

It occurred to me that I had several cupboards of stuff that I didn't get into very often. If they were empty, I could open up some counter space...And that's when the purging began!

I found sewing patterns I had never used, and wouldn't fit in anymore. I found embroidery hoops for making those lace wall-hangings that were popular in the early 80's. I found bottles of hardened acrylic paint. I found hanks of inexpensive trims and lace that I had bought at Sprouse Reitz during my wardrobe sewing days. Most impressive, I found a partial box of White King laundry soap that I had saved since 1995, in case we might do that fun snowman craft again...I had a hard time throwing it out as it was still usable. However, the evidence indicates that it might not be a craft that will be repeated -- especially since my kids are all in their 20's now.


I had so much fun purging the craft cupboards that I went on to the Cupboards of Miscellaneous Household Supplies That You Should Have on Hand Just in Case. Of course, there was a plethora of phone cords. We could have hooked up a phone in the house, connected all the cords, and put it in the outhouse in the field for the workers. There were many little plastic bags of hardware that seemed to of specific use for something we did not have anymore, or did not know what it might be. There was a large assortment of screws and bolts and nails in a little box...and I realized that if we needed some kind of screw or nail or bolt, we never used these. We went to the shop where they are in categorized bins. There were bottles of thickened leather conditioner, and old shoe polish, and instruction manuals for stuff that now resides in a landfill. And there were partial rolls of wallpaper...and tile sealer we had never used and clothesline and Christmas light bulbs for the lights that we no longer have...

It was a revelation!  And now I look at every cupboard with a gleam in my eye...What useless stuff might be contained within? What space can I regain for my useful stuff? What treasures might I find to bring to the Thrift Store, where someone else can buy it, and take care of it instead of me?

Because, at heart, I am still a Dutch girl, and if an item is still useful I have a hard time throwing it out...I like to imagine that someone at the Thrift Store will see that extra 50 feet of clothesline, and think "Just what I needed!" and go home happily with a bargain found.

That's the way I justify my purgery.

Monday, January 9, 2012

My Reading List from 2011...

One of my goals each year is to read more, and read more books that are not just entertainment. I did pretty well with that this year...Something about turning 50 just seemed to make my quest urgent. I feel like I don't have time to read "stupid" books; and I've finally given myself the freedom to put one down, or send it back to the library if it seems to fall into that category...A catergory that is solely of my assessment and discretion! And, therefore, I shall leave out my DNF(Did Not Finish) titles, so as not to offend anyone else who might have loved what I deemed "stupid".

1. DECISION POINTS by George W. Bush -- A little too much policy explanation for me to "love" it, but very interesting and enlightening...Behind the scenes information gives perspective.
2. A DOG'S PURPOSE by Malcom Gladwell -- Made me want to believe in re-incarnation...kind of. Nice story.
3. CITY OF MAN by Michael Gerson & Peter Wehner -- A book I need to learn, not just read! Very thought-provoking input on a Christian's engagement in politics, and how that should look. Excellent!
4. BLACK HEELS TO TRACTOR WHEELS  by Ree Drummond -- A definite Guilty Pleasure read...So much fun I couldn't put it down sometimes!
5. THE KENNEDY DETAIL by Jerry Blaine -- Excellent! Very informative as to the lives of Secret Service agents assigned to the President, with surprising details about the Kennedy's. What sacrifices these agents and their families make! Also, the ongoing effects of losing a President on their watch...touching and heart-breaking!
6. HEAVEN IS FOR REAL by Todd Burpo -- Amazing story, and I'm not sure what I think about it -- except that God can do whatever He wants, and reach people in the most unexpected ways. And I do know Heaven is for real!
7. AFTER THE LEAVES FALL by Nicole Baart -- Chick Flick equivalent, just entertainment.
8. THE COLOR PURPLE by Alice Walker -- I have never seen the movie, and always wondered about the story because of Oprah Winfrey. When I caught a show where she talked about how The Color Purple "was her life", I decided I had to read it...and hated it. So sad that people really live like that...
9. UP FROM THE PROJECTS by Walter E. Williams -- His autobiography. What a guy! Brilliantly devious in his younger years, but his choices and character brought him wisdom...A completely different outcome from the previous book...A man I really respect.
10. KNOWN & UNKNOWN by Donald Rumsfeld -- Great book -- though sometimes I felt it was a "long, hard slog" (inside joke) just because of the volume of material. I loved reading the back-stories of what we saw in the news. Mr. Rumsfeld is a brilliant man, with great integrity. He has participated in many arenas of government over the years, and did all well. Another man I greatly respect.
11. REKINDLED  by Tamera Alexander -- An indulgent read...another Chick Flick equivalent...but I like this one better!
12. AT HOME: A SHORT HISTORY OF PRIVATE LIFE by Bill Bryson -- Sometimes tenuously connected stories of the origins and development of things we find in our homes: kitchens, cupboards, toilets, even the house itself...So interesting! Except for the last page, I loved this book.
13. WHEN MONEY DIES by Adam Fergusson -- The story of hyperinflation in Germany after WWI...Terrible times, and there are parallels in our country today. Very enlightening...
14. UNBROKEN by Laura Hillenbrand -- Louis Zamperini: what an amazing man! Until recently, I had not learned much about the Pacific part of WWII...I am awed by what was suffered by our men as they fought and were prisoners there. To remain unbroken is the grace of God.
15. ONE CALL AWAY: ANSWERING LIFE'S CHALLENGES WITH UNSHAKEABLE FAITH by Brenda Warner -- I've always been curious about the Warner's. This book made me an admirer of Brenda's toughness, and her lack of guile.
16.NOTHING DAUNTED by Dorothy Wickender -- This was supposed to the story of two society girls who left civilisation to go teach in a one-room school in the wilds of Colorado. Moreso, it was a story of Colorado's wilderness towns and travel between them. Still an interesting read.
17. IN THE GARDEN OF THE BEASTS by Erik Larson -- The story of the US ambassador to Germany in the years preceding WWII. Ambassador Dodd saw what was happening long before the President and State Dept. did -- And they would not listen to him. Very good book!
18. IN MY TIME by Richard Cheney & Liz Cheney -- After reading this I am convinced of 2 things: There should be someone in every administration that is willing to be unpopular for speaking the truth. Among many other things, this was a strength of Dick Cheney. I am also convinced of the brilliance of another man, who like Rumsfeld, very ably served his country in many different capacities.

So that's my list for 2011...I have a list of books that are already on my shelf which I shall endeavor to get through this year...Can't wait!

Monday, January 2, 2012

It's STILL the most wonderful time of the year...

I love starting a new year. I've had my fun with the holidays -- the decorating, shopping, baking, partying and eating...When the New Year comes, I am ready for just plain living again. And I am so ready to re-organize, re-schedule, re-purpose, re-do, re-cycle, re-use, and re-whatever! It's so exciting to start fresh, with new plans for good changes.

I have been looking at a lot of these lately:
There are skoodles of them, and I'm sure that every one will be just the ticket for my new life. My new life in which I am more frugal, more efficient, more organized, more disciplined in food & exercise, more crafty, more well-read, know, the life in which I AM the Proverbs 31 woman...

Oh, the joy of preparing, and planning, and proposing...The anticipation of all the good that is to come...

I LOVE IT!! And will likely spend this entire week in a happy pursuit of all things new and better...

And then we'll see about next week...

History would reveal that a lot of my resolutions never come to fruition...

...for some reason...

But I will bother with those details later, when the year is not new...
For now, there are a whole lot more lists that I need to peruse!
It's a New Year!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

It's here!

As I said on Facebook this morning:
May 2012 be filled with sweet stability,
and a generous sprinkling of adventure for us all!

Blessings to you all!

About Me

Needing an outlet for various thoughts rattling in my head, I've created two blogs -- One about my real life ( and one where I can vent. (