Thursday, March 29, 2007

Memoires #1

Recorded: July 20, 2005

"Mom and Dad are doing this exercise for their marriage counseling and it sounds interesting... Mom makes a list of what she thinks Dad appreciates about her... Dad makes a list of what he appreciates about her... Then they compare. The things that Mom thinks he appreciates are more superficial things. When they compare, she realizes that he appreciates things on a much deeper level. It is an interesting exercise for both.

Let's see: What do I think that Keith appreciates about me? In no particular order:

  1. Organization and prioritization

  2. Paying the bills

  3. Financial and emotional support

  4. Housework - cooking and laundry

What things do I appreciate most about Keith? In no particular order:

  1. Desire to provide

  2. Loves me as I am despite my flaws

  3. Shows me affection

  4. Spontaneity

  5. Willingness to do whatever I ask

I wonder what he thinks I appreciate about him? I will have to ask him."

I remember questioning Keith on these things after this journal entry, but I don't fully recall the outcome. Obviously I neglected to journal that part. So I'll ask him now...

Top 4-5 things Keith appreciates about me:

  1. Laundry

  2. That I took him when nobody else would

  3. That I understand about his drive at work

  4. Willingness to let him make his own friends

  5. Willingness to support all his crazy ideas and dreams

Top 5 things Keith thinks I appreciate about him:

  1. Ability to do handywork/construction

  2. Supportiveness in my dreams and crazy ideas

  3. His faith

  4. That he understands my drive at work

  5. Willingness to do chores around the house

These are quite interesting comparisons aren't they? I think perhaps we need to communicate such things to our spouses more regularly, especially when we are going through times of dryness in our relationship. I might just add my Number One piece of advice for married couples:

If you feel far from your spouse, rekindle your relationship with the Lord. When you are far from the Lord, you will find yourselves far from one another.

Looking Back At My Memoires

Not only am I going to be recording some of my personal history, I'm going to be looking back through some of my journals and extracting some details that I find particularly interesting or pertinent to share with you. Of course, my journals are history in the making. I journal because I love to look back to remember where I've been and joyfully recount many answered prayers.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A New Twist On Creation

In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth and populated theEarth with broccoli, cauliflower and spinach, green and yellow and redvegetables of all kinds, so Man and Woman would live long and healthy lives. Then using God's great gifts, Satan created Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream andKrispy Creme Donuts. And Satan said, "You want chocolate with that?" And Man said, "Yes!" and Woman said, "and as long as you're at it, add somesprinkles." And they gained 10 pounds. And Satan smiled. And God created the healthful yogurt that Woman might keep the figure thatMan found so fair. And Satan brought forth white flour from the wheat, andsugar from the cane and combined them. And Woman went from size 6 to size14. So God said, "Try my fresh green salad." And Satan presented Thousand-IslandDressing, buttery croutons and garlic toast on the side. And Man and Womanunfastened their belts following the repast. God then said, "I have sent you heart healthy vegetables and olive oil inwhich to cook them." And Satan brought forth deep fried fish andchicken-fried steak so big it needed its own platter. And Man gained moreweight and his cholesterol went through the roof. God then created a light, fluffy white cake, named it "Angel Food Cake," andsaid, "It is good." Satan then created chocolate cake and named it "Devil'sFood." God then brought forth running shoes so that His children might lose thoseextra pounds. And Satan gave cable TV with a remote control so Man would nothave to toil changing the channels. And Man and Woman laughed and criedbefore the flickering blue light and gained pounds. Then God brought forth the potato, naturally low in fat and brimming withnutrition. And Satan peeled off the healthful skin and sliced the starchycenter into chips and deep-fried them. And Man gained pounds. God then gave lean beef so that Man might consume fewer calories and stillsatisfy his appetite. And Satan created McDonald's and its 99-cent doublecheeseburger. Then said, "You want fries with that?" And Man replied, "Yes!And super size them!" And Satan said, "It is good." And Man went intocardiac arrest. God sighed and created quadruple bypass surgery. Then Satan created HMOs.

Monday, March 26, 2007

History of JennyV - Take 3

Many a stories could be told of times gone by when I used to milk cows with my good pal, Ed. Looking back conjures up memory after memory of good honest belly aching laughter from times spent with him. He passed away a month after I was married. I remember him fondly and often and I will post some of my precious memories of him in due time.

Today's picture is (I'm guessing) from about 1996ish. The big black cow is Beauty and the little one is her fresh daughter, whom I affectionately named Bell. A lot of dairy farmers have this way of naming their calves with something that begins with the same first letter as their mother. Although, in pondering this, I believe that Ed and I had made up a few names of our own for those with numbers... names that were more fitting to their personality. For instance, he had 3 crazy cows we named "Dumb," "Dumber," and "Dumbest." But those are for another story.

If I remember correctly, Beauty had some history. She was bought at "The Sale Of Stars" where they roll out the red carpet and parade the cows in for sale. She was one of Ed's best milkers and also one of the most personable. I'm not sure how, but I believe she once fell into a well or something of that sort. They had to hoist her out and she was pretty banged up and had the scars to prove it. I liked Beauty. I never had to worry about her. She moved at a steady slow pace and never kicked. What a good cow she was.

As the lives of farm animals goes, her fate was met when she finally didn't breed any longer. She had a good long life. I think Ed and I both were teary-eyed to see her go. We both loved that cow and we both said our goodbyes to her at the same time.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The History Of JennyV - Take 2

I'm trying to remember exactly when this was. There is no date on the photo. I was working for the horse trainer at the time so maybe... 1990ish? The horse's name is "Cinder." She belonged to a lady who boarded horses at a farm close by and I was afforded the opportunity to ride this horse quite often. I'm a little bit puzzled as to why I was not riding my horse at the time. I can't remember.
One summer the trainer organized a trail ride for all her friends, clients, and those who worked at the farm. This took place at Crooked Creek Horse Park in Ford City. I don't remember exactly how many people went on this ride, maybe 30 or so. I'm fairly certain that my parents had no idea that I was doing this.
The trails at this park cross plenty of large streams and wind up and down steep hills in a forrest type atmosphere. Likewise, we had a little bit of road to cover and could catch a glimpse of the lake at one point in the ride. I'm guessing that we rode for a good 8 hours this day. I'm not sure how many miles we covered though. I have heard that the Horseman's Association there has organized rides frequently, but I haven't been back for one since.
It was a grand time with absolutely perfect riding weather. I'd love to do this again one day.

Date Night - Pittsburgh

Last night was a "Date Night" for us. Since we joined the Fitness Center earlier this week, our date had to be on a minimal budget. Highlight's of our date:

  1. Run-around to some other Starbuck's to get lids for hot cups for Keith's store and deliver there.

  2. Satisfy odd craving for fish at Long John Silvers.

  3. Chat about music while eating.

  4. Start driving into Pittsburgh with no destination in mind.

  5. Find our way across town to Station Square and decide to ride the Duquesne Incline. This was Keith's first ride on such a mode of transportation. I rode it once while on a field trip in 7th grade.

  6. Hubby makes me one of those squashed pennies with a picture of the Incline on it. (I collect those) Not much else to do at the top of the hill unless a fancy dinner place is in order. Already had dinner and on strict budget. Rainy and dark is no time for exploring on foot. Unaware of any alternative ideas... ride the incline back down. Check out the informational posters and such in the building.

  7. Back in the car... decide to explore in Pittsburgh at 10 PM. (What is wrong with us?) Find ourselves on Carson Street in South Side. Punks and drunks everywhere... very interesting surroundings. Would make prime "People Watching" spot if I were not driving!

  8. Choices: Homestead or Oakland... Hmmm... No choice is desirable, but I pick Oakland over Homestead any day.

  9. Find our way back into downtown and near the Mellon Arena. Oh wow! I recognize this area. Many speeding flashing cops drive by in a furry. "Let's get outa here!"

  10. We cross the Liberty Bridge and find our way home via Route 28.

  11. Home at last. I crash while hubby does last minute laundry needed for Saturday morning.

Bye Bye Winter

Just capturing a few of my last fond nightmares (I mean memories) of WINTER 2007. These were taken during our last snowfall...

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Coffee Master On A Mission

Keith was chosen to present a "tasting" at the District Manager's Meeting today. This is an honor as not just anyone is chosen to participate in such ways. I understand that only "up and coming" individuals in the company are nominated for this. Being that he has volunteered to work at other area stores has truly offered him significant exposure to the area, which is a good thing for him. It seems he is known all over.

So he set out this morning, looking spiffy, with his cherry cordials and his special blend. He said he hoped to have some left over so we could do a similar tasting at home... so watch his blog for that in the days to come.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

History of JennyV - Take 1

I think I might just start writing a piece of my history at least once per week. I have photo albums full of memories from times gone by. I should share some of them. Some may be simple and some may be complex...

The other day I was presented with some photos which I thought for sure were lost and never to be found. Funny thing is... this is something from my past that I do NOT remember, at least not the "accident." These are the details I'm aware of... perhaps Mom can fill in the gaps?

The pictures are dated June 1981, so I would have been almost 8 years old at the time. Apparently I was riding my bike where I was forbidden to do so, and obviously I was forbidden for good purpose -- DANGER! As the story goes, I had somewhat of a bike accident followed by an older gentleman scraping me up and taking me to the nearest house for identification. The young lady at the house informed, "I don't know who that is, but that is what J.J. was wearing in school today." So Mom came to my rescue and took me straight to the emergency room. This is where I begin to remember things.

I woke up to my Mom dabbing the wounds on my face, OUCH Ma!!! She asked me if I knew where I was and I did. I don't know how I knew because what came prior to that was a mystery to me. I was admitted. For exactly what, I do not know... maybe for observation? I spent several days in the hospital. They gave me orange flavored medicine. I wonder what it was for? I remember a baby sharing my room who cried at odd hours which was very annoying. If I wandered down the hall to use the rest room, the nurses chased after me. I wonder now if they thought I was going to escape or something??? Some doctor woke me in the middle of the night to take me to an exam room. Maybe it was for a physical? All I really recall is his checking my reflexes. Who was that? Dr Lobas maybe? I don't know.

The next memory I have is that my Dad made a special visit to me. I can remember seeing him out my window. If I remember correctly, he was dressed in army fatigues. Did he come home from the Reserves that day? He brought me a light blue Strawberry Shortcake nighty and I was very impressed. So impressed that I kept it for many years, even after I grew out of it.

My days in the Hospital were spent hugging my "Big Teddy," coloring in a special coloring book with a deer in it, (who gave me that?) and watching TV. I had my crayons and coloring book in the tray table, where I could open and look at my warped face in the mirror. Every so often the nurses would come in and put more ointment on my wounds. Apparently a plastic surgeon cared for me, which likely had a lot to do with the fact that I don't have any visible scars.

I guess that's all I really remember. My theory is that I may have been angry and left on my bike in a fury. I THINK I was on route to my best-friend, Chrissy's house, which was not far from where I was found. I have a friend who studied psychiatry and he said that I will go over and over it in my mind until I convince myself that I remember. Hmph.

Things I wish I knew....

1) Who scraped me up?

2) Why was I where I was?

3) Do I have any memory from times prior to this incident?

3) WHAT HAPPENED??? Did I hit a pot-hole? Did I get hit by a car? Did I just fall down? WHAT?!!!!

Interesting Facts Related To This Accident
  • Due to the trauma, one of my front teeth was affected. The dentist tells me it was like having a natural root canal. For years that tooth was darker than the others and eventually I had it crowned.
  • I did not ride a bike for about 15 years after this accident. Funny thing is that I fell off my horse a gazillion times and always got back on, but fell off my bike once and pretty much gave it up.

I've considered requesting my medical records from that hospital stay, just for informational purposes. They are not readily available anymore, but I could order them for a price.

So there you have it... I may have looked completely different if it weren't for this accident.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Big News

In case you did not already know, I'm an Aunt again for the... 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 , 10, 11th time!!!! See Valentine's blog for more details.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Living the Old Fashioned Way

Imagine if we considered "Old Fashioned" to mean 'without the computer.' Ha ha ha...

Our internet is on the fritz again. All of the sudden things have gone arye. So this weekend we are considering ourselves computer-less. (except I am at work)

I tried calling my ISP, but they are closed for the weekend. Oh well... hopefully we'll be back on track early in the week. For now I'm enjoying the quiet time at home.

Ta Ta my friends!

Monday, March 12, 2007

What Do You Think?

Keith worked very hard on this!!!
I'm so grateful for a handy-husband!

The kitchen floor is finished.
Now I need to work on the rest of the kitchen's needs!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Progress Report

We went to church this morning and were delighted to meet up with a family that we haven't seen for some time... The Verner's. He was the Associate Pastor at our old church, but moved on to another appointment a few years ago. We recently learned that he is in charge of a new church plant in an area near us. We were pleasantly surprised to see them at our church this morning. How nice.

We attended a wedding reception this afternoon for my co-workers daughter. The newly married couple are so precious and seek to serve the Lord. They plan to attend Johnson Bible College in Tennessee. We were happy to be on the guest list for this lovely affair.

Keith cannot go buy home improvement materials and then let them sit... He is about half finished with the kitchen. I suspect that he will finish it before we go to bed this evening. I can't wait to share the pictures! Now I'm itching to go buy paint for the kitchen, but that's going to have to wait a week or so.

Ok enough for now. I must bring some closure to this evening. Stay tuned for progress reports.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

New Floors

Well folks, Keith is at it again... NEW FLOORING!!!

First, my good friend Jill found us some really nice plush carpet second hand, but in mint condition. AND I actually knew the guy that was getting rid of it. Jill and Aaron helped load and haul it to our house and now we must get the other needed items for installation and find and installer. Any volunteers? We expected it to be tan colored, but as it goes it's more like off white. I'm thinking... hmmm... that is a pretty light color for us. Well, we don't have any kids so maybe that's okay... But did I mention that it was FREE!!!! No complaining!!!! I'm thrilled!!! There is enough to do our giant living room and the dining room too, or maybe a couple of bedrooms... Hmmm... decisions decisions...

Next item of business, we got some new linoleum for the kitchen floor. Keith has spent a great deal of time this evening on his knees... chipping up the old nasty kitchen tile. I asked him if he could chip up one whole piece without breaking it and we could make a wall hanging out of it. He was NOT amused!!! Ha ha ha... but to see the look of disbelief was so worth it!

We are not shelling out top dollar for repairs and improvements on this house. We simply are seeking to make it more presentable. These simple improvements keep Keith busy and brighten the place so very much. We have been chipping away at it little by little for the past year.

Obviously I'll post pictures of the finished product in the days to come. Oh and you might be surprised how nicely the new kitchen floor compliments the color of the dining room.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Another Day... Another Dollar

Working working working and trying to keep up. Early days and late nights. I'm getting weary, but trying to turn that stress into some fashion of energy. Is that even possible? Maybe I can trick myself into thinking it is. I need to keep a level head on my shoulders... keep the positive attitude. Keep plugging along...

Thankfully I have to leave a little early from work today. This is a Girl's Group day and we are studying Philemon this week. I'm grateful for this time with my lady friends and all that they have to share.

That's it I guess... Keepin' my chin up!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Things That Make You Go "Mmmmm"

One of the most lovely pleasures... Something that says "You are a good wife" is when my hubby comes home after a long day of work and the first words he mutters on the way up the stairs is "Mmmmmmmm something smells REALLY good." Then comes reassurance after the taste, "Oh Wow! That's fantastic Honey." I love it when I cook and he likes it. It just makes me feel good inside, like I've done something right. It's not the taste that I personally delight in, it's his response. I suppose that I am one of those wives that hunger for positive affirmation??? I don't know.

I've experimented with soups lately. First was broccoli cheese (the Velveta recipe) YUM-O, but also a killer for the diet conscious. To the opposite extreme... dieter's delight... Homemade beef vegetable soup. (pronouced in sylables as Granny always did "VEG -E-TA-BLE") I've made it twice. YUM-O-O. One day he said to me "You know what I would really like for a snack? Another bowl of your yummy soup." Oh my heart flutters... HE LIKES IT!!! He REALLY likes it!!! How grand!!!

So this week I'm on to another soup. Don't ask me why, it's just that soup is a good choice this time of year when we are still feeling the chill of the season. This weeks pot was not entirely bad, but not as diet friendly as the vegetable variety. This week was potato soup.

First, I cleaned and chopped a whole 5 pound bag of gold potatoes and boiled them until tender. As they were draining, I sauted a ton of onion and celery (with the tops) in some butter. To that I added two pieces of lean bacon diced fine and about a half cup of diced turkey ham (left over from another night's dinner) When the bacon seemed to be well cooked, I sprinkled in some flour... then added some milk... and finally the potatoes, reserving about a quarter of them for a potato salad. (see how I do that... saves time tomorrow) It needed a pinch of salt and plenty of fresh ground black pepper. I use Sea Salt. It's supposed to be better for you. Simmer simmer simmer, and Ta-Da... my first pot of potato soup is finished. I served it with a thick slice of Olive Oil bread. Triple Yum-O-O-O.
Anyway, it's just nice to know that he appreciates it when I cook for him. It makes me feel good.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Full Grown Baby

Fat N' Sassy

The Epitomy of Lazy! Or is it just trust?

The Smell of Spring

Workin' Out

In Kentucky, The Response To My Whistle!

Every Good Mother Has Pictures To Share

She is pretty fresh in this picture...

Stretchin her legs... learning to run!

Baby's First Bath


Yearling with her Dam (mother)

My Pretty Pony

I was thinking about what I could write about. Believe me, there are a gazillion things that I process in this head of mine and you all should be thankful that you only get a snippet of them! Ha ha!

On my way home this evening, my mind wandered back to thinking about my pony. Have you ever parted with a pet? Then maybe you know how I feel? Well, I think I've parted with a few too many.

Going back to that hot summer day... June 1993 (I think). Her mother, Frost, who looks exactly like her, spent what seemed like an eternity in labor with her. This was her first foal and it was obviously not a real easy delivery. I slept in the barn that night with a light hung over her stall so I could keep an eye on her. Once the time came, Rene'e was there with me. She helped me pull her out. WOW what a job! We shook her a little and then let Frost take a look. Frost wasn't a real happy first time mother - she was actually mean to her... but hey... it obviously wasn't a pleasant experience. In the moments that followed we took care of clean up and all that good stuff and then called just about everybody I knew! I was so excited!!!!

For months I had simply known that I would be having a filly. I contemplated names and settled on Belle Motela. I was going to call her Belle and El Motela was an ancestor of hers that had been on the front cover of Arabian Horse Magazine back in the 60's. That's who she was to be named for. So one day about a week later Rene'e and I had her out in the pasture admiring her and she was calling her Belle. I said "Stop calling her that. Her name is Penny." Uh, not sure where that came from except that she was copper colored when she was born. "Penny" stuck.

She grew into a fine pony. I showed her at the Fair a couple years. Her first trailer ride was trecherous, but she got much better after that. She was so pretty. Everyone said so. A friend of mine broke her and then her sister leased her for a few years... showed her and such. Years later she landed herself at Rene'e and Lee's farm. This is where her heart is... I say. She is in love with Duke! She did have one nasty accident there. She lost a battle with a door latch and ripped a gash in her side that was nasty. The vet sewed her up and put her on stall rest for pretty much the remainder of that summer. She didn't seem to mind.

So when Keith and I were leaving for Seminary, I had to let her go. I tried to sell her outright, but lacked any serious buyers. I decided to sell her on consignment. I visited this farm and it seemed descent, so I sent her off with the price tag that I wanted. A lady was quick to bid on her and thus... she was being sold. Rene'e delivered her with me that chilly morning. This was a really tough thing for me to do. I was really glad that Rene'e was with me, because I'm not sure I would have been able to go through with it if she wasn't. So we meet the lady and give her the paperwork and she says "Oh I just knew the moment I saw her that her name should be Dixie." I was in shock! Thinking to myself "She's been Penny for the past 12 years or so, but if you paid for her I guess you can call her whatever you'd like." (of course - not saying this out loud) So we kissed her goodbye, exchanged some contact information with the new owner, and headed off for home. I said to Rene'e "That's kind of like me marrying Keith and then calling his Mom to tell her that I think I'll call him Bob from now on!" Can you believe it!!?? Months went by and things weren't working out for the owner or the horse and by God's grace the woman gave her back. She went back to Rene'e's for a while... and eventually made her way to Kentucky.

Her old Kentucky home was behind an old plantation mansion. The president of the seminary was keeping her and had some students from the local equine program riding her. Many evenings I strolled up with handfuls of carrots to visit with her. Leaving her behind in Kentucky was probably harder than leaving her behind in Pennsylvania. I mean, I know that she was being well cared for... but I was going to be SO FAR away!

As it goes, the president and his family have moved on and she and her equine pals, Diet Coke and Bright Eyes, made their way to the Asbury Equine Center... where they currently reside. The program manager assures me of her well-being on a regular basis. I am now a monthly contributor to their programs in support of my dear pet. I understand that the students are using her in their programs and love her very much. They are even considering breeding her; although that has yet to be confirmed.

Most days I miss my pony. Some days more than others. If only I could see her and touch her and smell her... When I whistle, she squeals with delight and runs to me. I miss that today. I hope that someday I can have a home where she can live in my back yard. (and hopefully with Duke as her pal)
Maybe another time I will write about some of my other very much so missed pets of yester-year.