Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Saturday morning, I turned on my computer and nothing happened. Absolutely NOTHING would come up. I took my computer in and paid to have it worked on right away because I still needed to get a newsletter out before the end of the month. Darn!
So, it was going to be worked on right away. Monday, I called to check on it and my hard drive was completely destroyed. They installed a new hard drive and tried to retrieve data from the old one. Wednesday afternoon I called again and we decided I might as well give up on saving anything from the old hard drive.
What a BUMMER!! I could kick myself for not taking my computer in the first time I saw the error message on a blue screen. I didn't realize it was that serious. My granddaughter told me the blue screen is the "kiss of death."
So, now I have a larger hard drive with nothing on it, just Windows XP. I found the CD for WordPerfect and installed that, but I'm not sure I found my latest version. I thought I had version 12, not 8. I might have to buy some more software.I would like to install the AOL software again, but I need an older version, the one I had was a 'Security' version and their antivirus fights with AVG antivirus and that's how a virus can get on your computer. So, I want an old version without the security features. AOL always wants to download new files also and I don't like that. I do like their filing cabinet, it's so much easier to read my mail through their software than their freeby emails. Not sure what I'm going to do yet. I could just cancel my AOL account and save that $14.95 a month (Bring Your Own Access.)
I haven't looked at the external hard drive yet to see what pictures I am missing from the C Drive. I want to know and I don't want to know.
Anyway, I'm kind of bummed out right now.
Here's a picture of "Abby and Me" one of my new Iris plants. Can't wait to see them all bloom. I took this picture in early May at the Superstition Iris Garden in Cathey's Valley. This is one of the Tall Bearded varities you can see on their website.
Oh yeah, my back is much better.

Friday, October 24, 2008

My Maggie

The other day when I needed to leave the house, Maggie the cat wanted outside. She knew I was going to leave and didn't want me to go. First she let me know she wanted out the patio door, then the front door, but I didn't let her out. So when I left through the garage door. There she was at the cat door, watching me leave with her big sad eyes. Why did I let that make me feel guilty? Probably because I know she doesn't understand. How can you tell a cat you're going to be back soon? Especially when you were gone for 3 weeks recently.
Yesterday I had a relapse with my lower back pain and it really hurt. It took me 30 minutes to climb in bed. Maggie was sympathetic and licked my hand. So, I don't really know how much she understands.
I went back to the chiropractor today for a treatment. No lifting and no garden work for a while. Oh well, at least I'm not back to square one. I wanted to do a little more work in the yard, but I guess that will have to wait.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Living Alone . . . And Liking it?

Not Exactly. There are a few advantages to being on your own, like not having to justify purchases you make (only to yourself), or being in control of the TV remote instead of never deciding what to watch. But that doesn't make up for having to talk to yourself or the cat. I usually talk to my sister on the phone at least once a day; have lunch with friends now and then, so it's not that bad usually.
I keep busy with the yard and could be busier with the house. LOL. Today I bought some stepping stones for the back yard. Only got 15 this time because they are so heavy. Put 3 at a time in the wheelbarrow and put them in place in the backyard. One bad thing about being alone, you have to do your own grunt work or hire it done. So, I do what I can and take lots of breaks to think about what I want to do next. Usually I just want to sit and think with an iced drink in my hand. (grin) Tomorrow I better start planting those 100 Ranunculus corms that I bought this year. If only half of them bloom, it will be a beautiful spring.
Several widows have told me that what they hate the most about being alone is having to cook for themselves. That took me by surprise because I don't mind that at all. Probably because my husband did all the cooking before. Everyone always told me how lucky I was and usually I thought so too, but sometimes I secretly wished he didn't know a thing about cooking and was easy to please, then I would have learned to be a good cook. So, now I am cooking whatever I feel like and don't have to worry if anyone else likes it or not.I have a lot of projects I want to do before I pass on. I took a small step in that direction today by going through a lot of old slides and took 106 of them to Costco for them to scan and put on a CD. I planned to do that myself, but it takes so much time, and I didn't really learn how to do it, so for .29 cents per slide, I felt it was worth it. They scan them at 300 dpi and that's supposed to be good enough for a 12x18 inch picture if you want one that large. They will be ready in a couple of days and I can't wait to see them on the computer. So, there is always something exciting happening around here.
Pictured are a few red and pink Ranunculus from prior years. They all disappeared, so am anxious to have some blooming in my yard again.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Backyard Changes

Here is Joe the gardener, removing another peach tree from my back yard. This is the fourth one. One peach tree fell over on July 4th, just before they were to ripen. It was a good tasting peach, Sun Crest, but planted in the middle of the back yard, so I wasn't too upset.
The semi-dwarf Elberta peach was kind of weak, so that was removed. One of the O'Henry's lost a large branch a few years ago, and then the vine in the background got out of hand and choked out the other half, plus half of the Summerset peach.
So, the only peach trees left are Flavor Crest and the young O'Henry tree. It will be so much easier for me next summer, I won't have all those peaches to pick up off the ground and toss in the garbage.
I finally planted the new Irises I purchased this year. I hope they will be o.k., they got a little dried out.
In the Netherlands, I noticed my daughter's neighbors had a lot of Butterfly Bushes of different colors. They were so pretty, that I went on a Butterfly Bush kick. I now have 4 of them, scattered about, hoping the humming birds will find them. I want to give the little birds some natural food, not just the sugar-water.
I've been spending a lot of time in the backyard, moving plants around. Some women like to move furniture around; I like to move plants around. Still like to play in the dirt, I guess. I'm not through yet.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


The first thing I did when I got back from the Netherlands was call Dr. Reed's office and set up an appointment. I was in so much pain in my lower back while visiting my daughter that I couldn't put it off any longer. I had been to Dr. Reed years ago when he was still with Dr. Keller in Atwater. I liked the way he adjusted my neck and back, without any machines and thought I would look him up when I needed an adjustment. Well, the years went by and I had a lot of excuses; "it will work itself out"; "it's just old age creeping up and you gotta live with it," etc.
BUT, in Amsterdam it was really something different, I've never had it affect me like that and I knew I had to do something about it. I've had several treatments since then and haven't felt this good in a long time. Dr. Reed has exercise machines in his office that patients can use (free). I am on two of them, one is for back and leg muscles. I started with 60 lbs, but quickly moved up to 90 lbs. In the picture is Dr. Reed's assistant, Genevieve demonstrating this machine. You push back with your feet and back to lift the weights. After I have been on this machine, I feel like I am walking a little taller. The other machine is for the neck. You sit on the stool with your hands on the bar, keep your shoulders straight and move the weight with just your head and neck. It's only on 7 lbs for me, but it really gives my neck muscles a work-out. After two sessions with the exercise machines, I had an appointment with Miguel for a reflexology treatment. One spot on my foot really hurt and he said, "it's your neck, neck muscle." I had to laugh out loud. I didn't tell Miguel I was doing exercises, but he knew my neck muscle was sore just by working on my feet. My neck is no longer sore, so I guess that spot shouldn't hurt next time.
I think by going to a chiropractor and reflexologist, I should be in pretty good shape. I'm hoping to stay strong enough to keep working in the yard.
Like Dr. Reed says, "chiropractic, massage, reflexology, they're all good."
He has other exercise machines in his office, but so far I am only on the two, plus 3 lb. free weights
There is a sketch of the huge machine on the back on Dr. Reed's business card. I've only seen men on it so far. One day I was leaving the same time as a man who had been on the machine. I asked him how he liked it. He said he "loved it" and had never felt better.
It looks like it stretches the back. I probably won't ever be on that one, but there are others.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Reunions 2008

A few days after returning home from visiting my daughter in the Netherlands and trying to shake jet-lag, there were two reunions to attend.
On Saturday, Sept. 27, there was a Dirks family reunion in Twain Harte. It was the first time that I had to do the driving, so I took my trusty Tom-Tom. Still, when we were almost at Cousin Dennis & Novie's house, I took a wrong turn and wound-up in someone's yard. Ina got out of the car and guided me back out of there so I wouldn't hit anything. What a tight squeeze!
We had a great time and voted to have another reunion next year, instead of in two years. Cousin Jackie put up a family tree with pictures and a memorial board of those who passed on since the last reunion in 2006. My family lost four members during that time.
Here is a picture of Aunt Luella and Cousins Jackie, Debbie and Nancy singing "How Great Thou Art."
The next day (the last Sunday in September) was the Winton Old Timers Reunion at the Winton Middle School. We had a good turn-out, I think it was around 230 in attendance. This year, people 90 years and older were honored, not just the oldest man and woman. There were 13 in attendance that were 90 or more. The oldest man was Harry Tighe at 100 years old. The oldest woman was Leona Eason at 97 years old. She beat Merle Willett by a few months.
Seated in the picture is Harry Tighe and Leona Eason; standing are the 90 and over. See more pictures at flickr.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Friesland and Groningen

On Tuesday, September 9, Sandy drove Rosalie and I to Friesland and Groningen. We went over the Afsluitdijk, the dike that keeps the North Sea out of the Lake. On average about 15,000 cars and trucks cross the Afsluitdijk per day and it takes 50 people per day to maintain the dike. The Afsluitdijk is 32 kilometers long and was dedicated on May 28, 1932.
We stopped at the tourist spot to take pictures and browse the tiny gift shop. Here is a picture of Rosalie and I by a monument dedicated to the workers. After we crossed the dike, we stopped at a McDonald's for lunch.
We found the small village we were looking for; Witmarsum, where Menno Simons was born in January of 1496. His first church was here, there is a frame where the church stood and also a monument for Menno Simons. The small Mennonite Church in Witmarsum had a few books for sale. I purchased the large one on Menno Simons. It was the only book in English, except for "Passing on the Comfort" a story about An Keuning-Tichelaar who was born in 1922 near Witmarsum and how she and other Dutch women during WWII made quilts to raise money to help save the Jewish people in Holland. Sandy had given me this book a few years ago.
The monument was over a small bridge and down a lane in a very rural setting. Very peaceful and quiet. We took several pictures, see them at flickr.

We went on to Groningen and spent the night there. We found a Mennonite Church on the same street that our hotel was on. It was set back from the street, unlike the other buildings. We went inside and took pictures of the organ pipes and stained glass windows. Groningen is a college town, so there were lots of young people everywhere. (And lots of bikes!) There was a large area with with a lot of small tables and chairs outside where the young people sat and talked and ordered beer and other drinks. We found a table and sat there also. Sandy ordered some Bitterballen for us to try. It is deep-fried, crusty on the outside with some kind of gravy holding it all together on the inside. I didn't care for it that much. Rosalie liked everything, but I like my familiar foods. We went to the Archives, but didn't find David Dircks (born between 1699 - 1703). Another source says he was born in Prussia, so I guess the family had already left the area. In the Netherlands there is no central place to find old documents, you have to go to the source, whether in Amsterdam, Rotterdam or Groningen, etc. We enjoyed the trip to the Northern part of the Netherlands, we travelled over country roads part of the way, just to see what it looked like. We saw many very nice houses in the country; a large horse farm. The people living there had to be rich.
For more information on Menno Simons, see this article at Wikipedia.