Saturday, September 27, 2014

Of Blogging and An Anniversary

Today is a special day as it happens to have been 5 years ago that I began blogging.  How has 5 years gone by so swiftly?  I want to share a few of the things I have learned about blogging during those years.

First of all, throw out the so-called rules that many bloggers offer in order to have the "right" blog.  This is not to say that certain guidelines aren't good to follow.  Many are, but most of what "they" think makes for a great blog is just their idea. You should follow your own heart and do what you enjoy.  Maybe you like lots of photos.  Or maybe photography isn't your thing and you don't have many to share.  I say whatever works best for you is what you should do.  Ditto backgrounds and headers.  Some say all white backgrounds are best, while others say use some color.  Headers or banners that only have your blog name and not much else are preferred by many now, but some of us prefer to make our own using our photos.  Do what you like.  Not what you think "they" want.  Be creative.  That is part of the fun of blogging to me.  I can be as creative or not as much as I like.  I'm the owner, publisher, writer and photographer all rolled into one.  

I've read more than once that taking blog breaks is a no-no.  Maybe it is if you are depending on a certain income from your blog.  But for most of us who just blog for our own enjoyment, there is certainly nothing wrong with taking blog breaks.  After all, real life should come before your blog and there will be times when a break is necessary.  There is nothing wrong with that.  Your real blog friends will be there when you get back.   Blogging should be fun.  Take a break when it ceases to be fun or when you are super busy.  Don't wear yourself out by burning the candle at both ends to keep up with blogging. 

There are a couple of other things that I would suggest in regard to blogging.  The first one is to turn off Word Verification if you have it on.  Many bloggers will not comment if you have it.  The second is to blog about whatever you want to.  Mix it up.  For example, if you are into decorating, great!  Most of us love to see pretty homes, but if you want to take a side trip down memory lane or share a day trip with us or talk about the price of groceries, please do so!  Personally, I prefer blogs that are what I call real.

Being real doesn't mean divulging what city you live in or your full name, unless you choose to do so.  Many of us don't get too personal in our blog writing since we try to maintain a bit of privacy if our family requests that we do so.  But it's perfectly okay to express your feelings, as I did the other day about losing a beloved relative.  And that brings me to my thoughts about how wonderful bloggers are and much I appreciate and love all of you who have been my blog friends over the last 5 years.  You have encouraged me, comforted me and cheered me on.  Thank you!  And, special thanks to each of you for the nice comments you left in my last post.   

One more thing before I end this wordy post.  I will be sharing some photos of our new purchase as soon as I have time to edit them.  This house needs a lot of work and I will welcome advice and so I will try to get those photos up soon!  We are doing as much of the work ourselves that we can.  That is the only way my darling, but sometimes stubborn hubby operates.  He is a real DIYer, for sure.  

Thank you again for being with me for the past few years!  I plan to continue blogging, but the break will be extended a bit longer.    

Happy Saturday to you and Happy Blogging!
xo Cheryl

Monday, September 22, 2014

Saying Goodbye To My Dear Aunt and Uncle

Some things are very hard to put into words.  My sweet aunt and uncle are gone.  My uncle who was trying to overcome a second broken hip just didn't recover and my aunt, who was in the hospital due to a fall, died just 2 days after hearing her beloved husband was gone. 

They were both quite elderly, but my aunt was always so young at heart and sharp as a tack.  She was always on her computer doing genealogy research and sending emails.  She was quite a brilliant woman and far ahead of me in the tech field, that is for sure.  A very snappy dresser and quite the talker, she never met a stranger in her life.   

My uncle was a gentleman, always.  Very kind hearted and devoted to his wife.  I will never forget when I stopped by their house just a few short months ago to drop off a little birthday gift for my aunt and found my uncle icing a cake he had baked for her birthday.  Even though the cake had fallen apart when it came out of the pan, he was doing his best to make it look pretty for her. 

We knew time was growing short for both of them as their health had begun to rapidly decline, but we didn't know it would be quite so soon.  My daughter had stopped in at the hospital to see my aunt the day after my uncle died and held the phone to her ear so I could talk to her.  Her voice was very weak and she told me that she loved me over and over and thanked me for all I had done for her.  Then she said she was just so very tired and ready to go now.  I think she had been holding on as long as she could to watch over her hubby.  She passed away the next day.

I loved these 2 dear people that I'm proud to have had in my family.  Some of you may remember they were the only family I had left aside from my hubby and children.  I am sad that they are gone and will miss them, but I take comfort in knowing that I will see them again some day.

* * * * * * * 

I'm not quite ready to get back to regular blogging just yet, but I will be posting a few photos in the next few days of our new purchase that some of you have asked about.

I will leave the comments open, even though I apologize in advance if I'm not able to comment in return for a while yet.  

Happy Fall to you!
xo Cheryl

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Good, Bad and the Ugly - Friday Randoms

1.  The last Friday for the month of August has arrived.  I'm not going to talk about how the days have flown by.  They have.  Most of us have mentioned it a time or twenty.  Fall is knocking on our doors.  Will you miss summer?

 2.  The good news - it's official!  This sign is up at the property we're buying.  Closing will be in a couple of weeks or so.  We can't wait to get the keys in our hands and get busy!  Our daughter will be living there, so we're expecting lots of help.  :)

3.  Here's the ugly.  This is the inside of the red barn.  Trash was left scattered in this barn, other outbuildings and around the yard of the property we're buying.  Part of the yard is overgrown with bushes and trees left to sprout.  There will be a lot of cleanup to do as well as the cleanup and repairs in the house. 

4.  We have 4 kitties and it has been decided to let our daughter take 2 of them.  Since Peanut and Sissy don't get along very well, we are going to let Kim take Sissy and Callie.  That is the bad news.  I will miss my little Callie girl as she's my lap kitty.  Stormy will sit on my lap occasionally, but Callie is right there nearly every time I sit down.  Of course, there is no question where Stormy will live!  

5.  We are leaving soon for a week's vacation.  That will be a time for mostly resting up for the work ahead of us.  And there is a lot we need to finish up here as well as tackling at the other house.  You didn't hear me snort just now, did you?  Yeah, I am dreaming about the stuff here getting finished.  I'm sure the other house will come before ours.  Someone I know and love will be wanting to get moved in asap!

I've come to the conclusion that it is time for me to take a break from blogging.  You know I love blogging and I may not be able to stay away very long or I might get so busy that I may be away for an extended time.  We'll see.  I'm sure I'll peek in every once in awhile to see what everyone is up to.  Especially while we're relaxing in the condo and BG is watching his tv programs.  :)  So, stay well and enjoy the remainder of summer!

Linking to Tanya's Willy Nilly Friday 5.

Happy Friday to you!
xo Cheryl 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Good Fences - Old and New

We've driven past this farm a couple of times lately and this drive-by photo was taken a few days ago.  The corn has turned even more and will soon be ready for harvesting.  I love the white fence posts, but wouldn't want the job of painting them!

This old fence was not too far from our house when we lived in the country on a mini-farm many years ago.  That is my son petting the calf and the kitty watching is Coco, my favorite furkid during those years.  

See the hand scythe on the post?  BG used that to cut some weeds in the fence row.  It looks like he missed some in the corner!  lol!  The wire panel in front was also used as a gate between the lots. 

We had quite a few animals on the mini-farm.  As well as a few head of cattle, we had horses and even a few hogs some years.  

You might spot some extra legs in the photo above.  There is a foal between Sugar, who is in front, and the mama in the back.  I know we gave this young one a name, but I can't remember what it was. This is my daughter and son, who needs a haircut, feeding the little one.  See the date in the corner of the photo?  I love trips down country roads and also down memory lane 

I'm joining Theresa at Run*A*Round Ranch for Good Fences today.  Stop by to see all kinds of fences and gates! 

Happy Thursday to you!
xo Cheryl 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Our New Project

We did it.  This is the house!  

The preliminary papers have been signed.  The closing will be in a few weeks but we can't do anything to the property until then and we're excited to get started.  I'll be sharing more photos as soon as we have the keys in our hands.

I'll try to answer the questions in the last post's comments.  We'll not be living in this house, but our daughter will be.  She's very excited about fixing it up and can't wait to get started.  We bought the property as an investment as we feel like the barn and lot alone are worth the price we paid.  There are a lot of things that need fixing, but BG can do a lot himself and Kim has friends who will help out, too.  

The house is small.  Just 950 square feet upstairs and 900 sq ft in the basement.  The basement was finished at one time, but it needs to be gutted since there is a mold problem due to a broken water pipe.  We have someone lined up to clean that mess up.  As far as we know, that is the biggest problem.  Keeping our fingers crossed there is nothing else we don't know about.  

This is the back of the double car garage and storage shed.  You can see the barn over the roof of the garage.  The vines and weeds will all be cleared away.  The young couple who previously lived there did nothing to the yard so parts of it looks like a jungle.  

I love the barn.  It's approximately 45 ft by 21 ft.  Very sturdy with a stairway going to a loft.  Lots of possibilities there!

Our two week vacation out west/southwest will be postponed and I'm fine with that.  We will be going on a short vacay to rest up a bit before the work begins.  Oh, I'm so excited!  I can hardly wait until closing so we can get started!

In other poor uncle fell and broke his other hip last night.  He fell out of his bed at the nursing home where he was recovering from his previous broken hip.  He is having surgery this afternoon and his son will be at the hospital.  I'll be taking my aunt tomorrow to see him.  Please whisper a prayer for him and for my aunt who is not in good health and having to deal with this.  Thank you!

Happy Tuesday to you!
xo Cheryl 

Friday, August 22, 2014

It's Friday!

I just talked to my son and he is going to do the Bucket Challenge today.  And that reminds me that I made a couple of errors in my Wednesday post.  I should have said my younger brother died 16 years ago, not 8.  I don't know how I got that so wrong because I know the date.  The other error was at the end of my post and I had the day wrong.  Sorry, I'll try to proofread better next time!

The dreaded dentist appointment is history now but I have another dreaded appointment next week.  I have to have a tooth pulled.  Yuck!!  

Here's some news I want to share with you.  It's not finalized quite yet, but I feel pretty confident in telling you that we just bought another house.  It's a fixer-upper.  It needs a lot of work done, mainly in the basement.  The rest is mostly just a clean up and paint.  I hope.  It's an investment as the asking price was unbelievably low.  One of the features I love is that it has a sturdy, nice sized red barn.  I remember seeing this barn when it was first built and wondered why they wanted one that large in town.  It has lots of possibilities.  You'll be hearing more about this new project.  I'm excited, but will be more so when the papers are actually signed!
I have a sneaking suspicion that BG is going to want to postpone our vacation until spring.  Or take a short one in Branson.   He is going to want to get started on the yard clean up on the new property.  Vines are growing up the side of the house and other buildings.  Shrubbery and bushes are out of control.  It hasn't been mowed in the back yard all summer.

I haven't used my camera much lately, but just think of all the before and afters that I'll soon have to share!  The zinnias are the only thing I've taken photos of lately.  It's really been too hot to want to be outside any more than I have to this week!  As far as the inside don't want to see it.  I'm getting ready to run the vacuum now.  Have a nice weekend!  

Linking to Tanya's Willy Nilly Friday 5

Happy Friday to you!
xo Cheryl

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Good Fences

This fence is at the entrance to one of my favorite places that I visit a few times every year in our nearest city, Columbia...the Shelter Insurance Garden.  After a recent visit on a very hot and sunny day, I turned as I was leaving and took a quick shot.  Then I hurried to the car and turned up the a/c as high as it would go!  
Thank you to all who left such kind, sweet comments on my post yesterday.  I wanted to email each of you individually, but I am taking the easy way out and thanking you here since I've been so busy.  I'll share with you, hopefully tomorrow, what's been keeping me busy most of the week besides appointments. 

Linking to Theresa's Good Fences at the Run*A*Round Ranch.

Happy Thursday to you!
xo Cheryl

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Something I Find Hard To Talk About

The Ice Bucket Challenge has been all over the news recently
raising awareness for ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease.  ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis which is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects your nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.  It is a fatal disease, even though ALS doesn't affect the heart or the digestive system.

It makes me happy to know that more awareness of this fairly rare disease is being made known by the Ice Bucket Challenge and a lot of money has been pouring in for research. 

As of now, there is no known cure or anything to keep an ALS patient from dying.  It is a death sentence when once the diagnosis is handed out.  There are a few who manage to live many years with this disease, but most only live from 2-5 years.

Twenty percent more men get the disease than women.  And only
5-10 percent is of the hereditary strain.

This is the horrible, devastating disease that took the lives of my grandfather, my mother and both my brothers.  None of them lived beyond 2 years once their diagnosis was made.  My brothers lived less than a year.

My point in writing this in my post today is not to garner sympathy.  It is a way for me to try to help overcome my own fears.

I've never been able to speak about it very much.  Even after all these years.  It's been 16 years since I lost my younger brother.  

I have touched on it a time or two in my posts and I must say that it is easier to write about it than to talk about it.  Even now, tears are rolling down my face when I remember how my loved ones died. 

It was horrible to see them the way they ended up and knowing that
you were helpless and nothing could be done to help them.  I don't know that the pain or the fear of something like this ever totally goes away.  I hope that some day soon I'll be able to speak about it more, even with my children, without those cold, icy fingers of fear grabbing my heart.

Please join me in prayer that a cure will be found for ALS as well as for many other horrible diseases that so many suffer from.
Finally, kudos to all who are accepting the Bucket Challenge!  I read today that our previous president, GWBush, took the challenge and he in turn has challenged Bill Clinton.  Do you think he will accept the challenge?

Happy Wednesday to you!
xo Cheryl

Monday, August 18, 2014

This and That

This is a Keeping It Real post today.  We're going into the third week of August and fall is knocking on our door.  I'm more than ready for our vacation next month.  I won't deny that last week was not my best.  Having a woozy head most of the week, the depressing news around the world, a mix up in an appointment, plus a plumbing problem didn't make for a great week.
More appointments are on the calendar for this week.  A redo of one that I went to last week.  When I got to X-ray on Wednesday for a bone scan, the technician told me that I was just there in February and nothing would have changed in 6 months plus my insurance wouldn't cover the cost if one is done more than once a year.  So I went back home.  

My memory isn't as good as it used to be, but I thought all the way home that she was wrong.  I got home and looked on my calendar at my February appointments and there it was.  Yes, I'd gone in to the same place but it was for an ABI, not a bone density test.  An ABI is a test for peripheral arterial disease.  Which I don't have, btw.  So, I called back and explained and they looked again on their end and said I was right and apologized profusely for the mistake, so now I will going back this week for the test.  Oh well, maybe I'll get to see the geese crossing the highway again.  

Another appointment this week is the dreaded dental appointment. Folks, I hate going.  Hate it.
  I'd rather have a gyn exam.  Seriously.  I'll be glad when that day is over.  Am I the only one with dental phobia here?

The water problem in the downstairs bathroom reared it's ugly head again last week.  Just when you think you have a problem solved...surprise!  There it is again.
I didn't know what would be involved in the bathroom water fix.  I'm afraid I lost my hearing after I heard the words jack-hammer and breaking up concrete.  All I could think about was that I was going to have to change our home's name from Pond Hollow to Grumpy Villa.  Oh, I wasn't being pessimistic...just realistic!  Of all the household problems BG dreads the most, it's plumbing issues.

The good news is that a little ole 9 dollar sewer tape threaded through some pipes this weekend cleared out what was stopping up the pipe and causing the water to run out a place in the wall.  Okay, I'm not sure how it got to the spot in the wall because Grumpy BG wasn't much in the mood to answer too many questions.  It did take a lot longer to fix the problem than my telling about it, but he seems to think that the problem is solved because the water, which was coming from the kitchen drains, did stop running in.  Yay!

Happy Monday to you!
xo Cheryl

Friday, August 15, 2014

My Friday Randoms

1.  My zinnias and sunflowers are still doing well in the garden.  I'm still picking tomatoes nearly every day and they just seem to taste so good this year.  Even the little grape tomatoes are extra sweet this year and I often grab a handful to eat with my sandwich at lunchtime or to put in a salad.  Yum!

2.  I was on my way to an appointment this week when all the traffic came to a halt.  Then I saw the reason...geese crossing the highway.  They looked like they had all the time in the world and weren't a bit concerned by the vehicles or the person walking on the side of the highway.  It was one of those sights that just make you smile.

3.  Speaking of smiles, it's been a bit harder to find something to smile about this week.  The tragic death of Robin Williams shocked the nation.  The news from all around the world and even in my own state is very unsettling, to put it mildly.  There seems to be so many folks we know fighting battles and even losing those battles.  Our neighbor lost his battle with cancer recently.

4.  Very often when I'm in a reflective mood or just wanting total peace and quiet, I drive to the lake and just sit and gaze at the beauty of nature all around me.  The sunset wasn't spectacular this day, but the calm scene before me gave me that sense of peace that I needed.

 5.  My little Stormy, who is snuggling up against my hand, always seems to know just when I can use a hug.  She somehow always seems to know when I'm not feeling well or am sad and she will be there for hugs.  I love that little fur-girl.  

Happy Friday to you!
xo Cheryl