Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Alphabe-Thursday...The Letter O as in OUTAGE, etc.

This week seemed to fly by and already it's time for another Alphabe-Thursday. This week we are studying the letter N. Head on over to our teacher's blog at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent" for a list of this week's participants.

The first O world that came to mind was OUTAGE as in the massive power OUTAGE after Hurricane Ike in September 2008. What was very humbling to me is how all the out of state power companies came rushing to our aid. I know they all have agreements with one another to help out in massive OUTAGES, but still they came and stayed for weeks afterwards restoring power in the blistering heat. In our town Pike Electric Company of Mt. Airy, North Carolina came. I will be forever grateful to them for leaving their homes and families and restoring our power. Actually, we can live without lights, but living without A/C here is no fun!

Then I thought of OK and specifically A-OK. I vividly remember Shorty Powers telling us during NASA's Project Mercury Program that "everything was A-OK," instead of just plain OK. It was always reassuring to hear his voice speak that phrase. Lt. Colonel John A "Shorty" Powers was a public affairs OFFICER for NASA and was considered the "Voice of Mission Control." He is credited with ORIGINATING the word A-OK. In doing a little research I discovered different definitions for A-OK, but I tend to agree with the "All is OK" theory. It makes the most sense to me. Sadly, everything apparently wasn't A-OK with Mr. Powers' life when he died of chronic alcoholism in the 1980's.

OVER came to mind too. Like the Caisson Song's words:

OVER hill, OVER dale, we have hit the dusty trail,
and our caissons going rolling along...

(Scroll down here for the rest of the words.)

I've always liked that catchy tune.

Then the kids thought about their OLD, OVERWEIGHT Grandma and what they could do to help her. It was decided that she should immediately begin an exercise program with lots of encouragement from them. "OH boy, let's start moving Granny!"

Class dismissed to visit other student blogs!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Class is in session and it's time again for Alphabe-Thursday sponsored by Miss Jenny over at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent." This week's assignment is the letter N. For a list of my fellow classmates and to see their assignments head over to Miss Jenny's blog.

Before I begin let me apologize for not meeting everyone in class last week. I think I got to all the blogs except for the last ten or so when I just ran out of time. I had a brain storm. (UH-OH!) I think what I'll do this week is once Miss Jenny closes down Linky (AKA McLinky) I'll read from the bottom of the list up. Until then I'll take them in order from the top. Sounds like a plan...huh?

I kind of knew what I wanted to do for the letter N a while back. I'm fascinated with NESTS. I've been watching the squirrels in the backyard build their NESTS. What a mess they make. They're very fussy and only use live twigs. And only certain twigs will do. I don't think they like leaves either. Whatever materials they find unsuitable come sailing down to the ground. On more than one occasion I've been hit in the heat with their rejects. It seems to take them about two weeks to complete a NEST. Here's the latest NEST in our backyard:

This is what's directly below the NEST.

Trust me...don't sit on those chairs until you check them first. There's a lot more than twigs and leaves that come down.

One of my favorite places to go in Texas is Brazos Bend State Park. There's camping, fishing, hiking, alligators, poisonous snakes, and assorted wildlife. I'm not crazy about camping, fishing or poisonous snakes, but I enjoy hiking and seeing alligators and other wildlife.

This time of year the alligators are mating. If you went now you would hear the males making this loud bellowing sound. After mating the females build huge NESTS and eventually lay their eggs...between 20 and 70. They stay nearby to protect the eggs from raccoons, possums, skunks, etc. At Brazos Bend they fence off the NESTS along the hiking trails with temporary fencing to keep people away. Here's a picture of an alligator with her NEST that I found online.

What I find amazing is that out of all those eggs possibly one or two alligators will make it to adulthood. Although the mother stays nearby a lot of them still get eaten by male alligators, heron, etc. (I believe alligators are the only reptiles that kind of take care of their young.)

One year we visited Brazos Bend around Labor Day weekend. The eggs in one of the NESTS were hatching. We stood on the opposite side of the waterway and watched from a safe distance. As the eggs hatched the baby alligators would chirp like birds. The mother would hear them, pick them up in her mouth, and take them down to the water. Because her eyes are on the side of her head she couldn't see straight ahead. Sometimes she'd get down to the water and all she had was a stick. Poor thing. Back up to the NEST she'd go. We watched for over an hour and when we left she was still bringing babies down to the water. Of course, I didn't have my camera that day!

I did find this You Tube video of an alligator egg hatching and the mother bringing it to the water. It's only a little over a minute long, but shows exactly what I'm talking about.

Miss Jenny...may I be excused?

Whoops! I had to go back and edit and republish my post because I forgot to tell you about the Peregrine Falcons NESTING on top of an office building in Jersey City, NJ. I've been following them for quite a few years. It's very interesting and every year something seems to happen. It's dangerous for birds to be living in such an urban environment. One year the male was found on the sidewalk with an injured wing and was moved to a bird sanctuary. Another male joined the female and helped her care for the babies. Sometimes the babies are injured or killed learning to fly. Right now there are four eggs and I check in on them daily. Here's the link:

And be sure to read the NESTBOX NEWS. I'm from New Jersey originally and I guess that's why I enjoy watching these birds each year.

Just for fun...

Just for fun I did an eBay search for my birth date. I was able to obtain a December 1945 issue of the Ladies Home Journal.

This is the front cover:

And this is the back cover:

My scanner bed wasn't large enough to scan a complete page. This magazine is 10 3/4 inches by 14 1/2 inches.

I enjoyed seeing the things that were being advertised the month I was born. Like these Singer Sewing Machines.

There were quite a few cigarette ads like this one:

This looks so much like the kitchen in the house I grew up in:

I think this little guy should fear the taste of Cod Liver Oil:

I thought this advice was pretty funny:

This one has timely advice for even today. Can you guess what they're advertising?

Yes, let's protect all those babies out there by wrapping our heads in toilet paper before going going out. We wouldn't want any of them to get sick!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Finito! Finished! Completed! Done!

Twelve chemotherapy treatments are in the bag. Six months of feeling crappy for the majority of the time are over and done. Reid completed his LAST chemotherapy treatment this past Saturday.

While he and Jim were down at MD Anderson I went out and bought balloons. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any that said Congratulations, so I settled on Good Luck. Reid has a good sense of humor and I knew he'd find it funny, so Good Luck greeted him when he returned home.

The next day the balloons looked like this:

Reid joked that it wasn't a good sign.

Don't mind us. We all make sick jokes about cancer around here. It's our way of dealing with it. You'd probably be shocked by some of the things we say, but it's always better to laugh than cry, and knowing he's in remission makes it a lot easier to joke around.

Reid has been feeling OK after this treatment and has been able to eat, so we went out last night to celebrate at T-Bone Tom's in Kemah. Keith was in town for business, so the whole family was able to go. T-Bone Tom's is a Texas kind of place.

This is Troy and Reid eating Armadillo Eggs. They were an appetizer and weren't really laid by an Armadillo.

And this is Gwen (Keith's friend), Keith, and Jim. (I'm not in any of the pictures because I'm the official family photographer.)

Toward the end of next week Reid will go for a whole bunch of tests and then have his doctor's appointment on Friday. We should know more then about what's next. Hopefully, he'll be able to have radiation, but the Oncologist has already told us that he'll need to have a consultation with the Radiologist. Since his mass was so large there's a possibility the area to radiate might be too big. So, we'll wait and see. Meanwhile, the worst is behind him and things are looking better and better all the time.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Alphabe-Thursday...M as in "Look at ME!"

Class is in session and it's time again for Alphabe-Thursday sponsored by Jenny over at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent." Head over to her blog for information on Alphabe-Thursday and a list of this week's participants. Today we are working on the letter M.

Did you ever do this as a child? Hang from your knees on the monkey bars and yell, "Look at ME?" You did? You're a show off!

And now down to something very serious. On August 31, 1968 I married into the MARTIN family...or so I thought. I was misled and deceived.

A few years ago, my sister-in-law decided to do some genealogy work on the MARTIN side of the family. Much to our surprise she discovered that we're not MARTINS at all. No, we're Kwiatkowskis. My husband's grandfather was Roman Kwiatkowski, but somewhere along the line he decided he'd be Raymond MARTIN. Who knows why? Perhaps he liked the letter M. He apparently used the name for many years and then in 1941 made it legal by having his name officially changed while living in Jersey City, NJ. Around the same time he was issued a Delayed Registration Certificate of Birth from Manistee, Michigan. I would imagine he needed a birth certificate to have his name legally changed.

So, my husband isn't really a MARTIN. I married a Kwiatkowski and didn't even know it. My husband never knew he was of Polish descent, but his great grandparents were born in Poland. His father's birth certificate lists his name as James MARTIN and his father as Raymond MARTIN. We now know that the name hadn't even been legally changed to Raymond MARTIN when his father James MARTIN was born.

So, if you happen to know any Kwiatkoskis in Michigan please let me know. They could be cousins of my husband.

This is a picture of Mr. and Mrs. Kwiatkoski on our wedding day when we thought we were Mr. and Mrs. MARTIN.

I've posted pictures before of my great aunt MARGARET MORRIS. She was a Ziegfeld Girl and performed in the Ziegfeld Follies and the Ziegfeld Frolic. I know of at least one silent movie she performed in too.

Here are a few pictures...

And here's a theater program.

Margaret is in the second row, second from the left.

I received a copy of this theater program and some pictures from Jane over at Historical Ziegfeld. There are a lot more old pictures, programs, information, etc., on this site. There's additional information about MARGARET too. Jane is very knowledgeable about all things Ziegfeld.

Class dismissed! Mrs. Matlock told me to tell you.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Spring has sprung... our backyard!

Don't be fooled...nothing grows in our backyard except monkey grass, ferns, weeds, and impatiens. At least the monkey grass, ferns and weeds are green and the impatiens give the yard some color.

Naughty Gnome.

Gnome Sweet Gnome Home.

And I'm worried about our Live Oak. I'm not sure, but some of the leaves look brown and I'm starting to wonder if it's dying. Could it be that Hurricane Ike has finally caught up with it?

What do you think?

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


Another week and another assignment is due for Alphabe-Thursday sponsored by Jenny at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent." This week we are working on the letter "L" and we're all hoping to get a good grade.

A few "L" words immediately came to mind.

(Click on pictures to enlarge.)

L is for LIKE. Joey LIKES to have Amber come for a visit.

L is for LOVE. Actually, Joey LOVES Amber.

Would you like a LICK? Joey shares his ice cream cone with Amber.

UH-OH! Joey hates to LOSE.

Is the LUGGAGE LIGHT enough? Amber doesn't want an extra charge from the airline. And now there's an airline that wants to charge for a carry-on bag too? Soon we'll all be carring LITTLE LUGGAGE the size of Amber's. (Got in another "L" word there.)

For a list of ALPHABE-THURSDAY participants head on over to Jenny's blog. Maybe you'd like to be the new kid in class. (No one will pick on you...promise.)Information on how you can participate in ALPHABE-THURSDAY is also on Jenny's blog.

We're off to put on our thinking caps and come up with some "M" words for next week!

Thank you Mrs. Matlock.

QUESTION: I was reading a blog called YaYa Stuff. I was a relatively new reader and the lady and her husband were in the process of adopting a little boy. I was reading the blog on a regular basis and suddenly the blog was gone. POOF...just like that it was no more. I believe I originally saw a link to her blog from a blog on ALPHABE-THURSDAY. Does anyone know what happened? Does she have a new blog? I was really looking forward to sharing their joy when the little boy arrived. Thanks.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Happy Easter Everyone!


After church the kids had fun going through their Easter baskets and seeing what they got.

I found a yellow egg! Look at my giant chocolate bunny!

I've got Peeps! I love Peeps!

I got a carrot full of orange jelly beans! YUM!

Ms. Jill worked hard preparing the Easter buffet. The kids kept trying to eat before the guests arrived. Ms. Jill had to keep warning them not to touch the food. There was an Easter Bunny cake, decorated chocolate eggs, ham with pineapple, asparagus, and sweet potatoes.

Almost done! Family update...

As I write this Reid is down at MD Anderson having chemo. There will be one more treatment after today, and the end is in sight!

Last week I mentioned to him that he only had two more treatments. He told me that he doesn't think of it as only. For him each treatment is an ordeal. Two weeks ago he was very sick for around five days. It varies from treatment to treatment and I'm hoping this week's treatment and the last one will be better.

He had his doctor's appointment yesterday and since he's been having some shortness of breath they've removed the one chemo drug for these last two treatments. Hopefully, that will make a difference.

Tomorrow is Easter, but for Reid it means another trip down to MD Anderson for the shot he receives 24 hours after chemo.

Meanwhile, our feral cat MaMa has never returned. It's been over two months, but I still hope I'll go out there one day and she'll be back. We received a phone call Thursday evening from someone that thought they might have seen her. We drove over to the spot and looked around and called, but saw nothing.

Hope everyone has a wonderful day tomorrow!