Sunday, December 28, 2008

Post Christmas Slump

I think I'm in the post Christmas slump. All I want to do is sleep. All night, as normal, and then all day, too! Maybe I'm just catching up from the girls' shopping spree!
For the first time, EVER, my little sis took me for the Day After Christmas sales. We shopped. And then we shopped some more. Every time she asked if I was done and ready to go home, I'd say, "Oh, well, we're here, we might as well check out this store too." ...Now all of this would have been no problem, other than I'm still gimping around on this new knee. I can walk the normal walk around the house, but you put me "out there" in the real world: on concrete and sidewalks and the shopping floors of the "big-box"'s a whole 'nother world. By my 2PM hubby-imposed curfew, I was pretty tired. (But I wasn't going to crumble to him! )
"I feel FINE!! Just make sure to stop at the coffee shop so I can grab a latte for the long trip home"(....the latte was a chaser for my pain pills and muscle relaxants.)
Regrets? you ask. NONE ! Bring it ON ! I'm ready to go again this weekend!

We sure had a fun Christmas this year. Yeah, I know. I was the whiner about the lost family traditions and how I missed them and it didn't feel like Christmas, and we didn't have any snow, blah, blah, blah. Well, shoot, be careful what 'ya pray for! Cause this girl got it ALL !!
My baby sis really stepped up to the plate and provided an awesome old-fashioned Christmas, with spiral cut ham, cheesy potatoes, shrimp aspic salad, scalloped oysters, yeast rolls, pumpkin pie and pumpkin/Philly cheese roll. Her house was so totally decked out for Christmas, unlike mine, with NO decorations this year. The house was cozy and full of family, Christmas carols playing, good food, good spirits to was wonderful! And there was LOTS of snow, just like in the old days!!

Then we stayed over night, instead of the mad rush to drive back home to tend to the chores always waiting for those who own/tend animals. The whole family gathered at IHOP for "breakfast out" together, before we girls all went shopping. It was grand fun!

Over the holidays, I received so many wonderful cards and calls from all my extended family and friends, with so many of you revealing that you are following my BLOG! You can't imagine how grateful I am for your kind comments!
Feel free to sign in on the Blog register, and to leave your comments on the posts! And thanks for stopping by to visit ! Miss Vic

Meanwhile.....back at the ranch...

Santa Baby

Santa Baby....Well, he used to be a baby. Not so much, any more! My sweet nephew donned the Santa hat prior to handing out gifts on Christmas morning. He is growing up so quickly! Where do our babies go?? Wasn't it just yesterday....?
No. I guess not.
I am just getting old. And the older I get, the more my comments sound like MY grandmother's! Our children grow up. And I guess we should be glad that they do! That is our ultimate job as MOTHERS : to ready our children for independence in the real world.
But goodness gracious godness - it's hard to see them grow up so fast!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Dang! It's almost Christmas !


Cook Time
25 min Level: Int. Yield 3 1/2 doz
Times: Prep 30 min Inactive Prep 1 hr 30 min
Cook 25 min Total: 2 hr 25 min

2 (7 to 8-ounce) packages sweetened shredded coconut
2 ounces sweetened condensed milk
Pinch kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large egg whites at room temperature
5 ounces granulated sugar
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1 ounce vegetable shortening
2 ounces finely chopped dry-roasted macadamia nuts
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Combine the coconut with the sweetened condensed milk, salt and vanilla in a medium mixing bowl.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue to whip the whites until medium peaks form, 6 to 7 minutes.
Gently fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture. Scoop tablespoon-sized mounds onto a parchment-lined half sheet pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately transfer the parchment with the macaroons to a cooling rack. Cool completely before topping.
Fill a 4-quart pot with enough water to come 2 inches up the side, set over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Combine the chocolate chips and shortening in a small metal or glass mixing bowl and set over the simmering pot. Stir occasionally until melted, then remove from the heat.
Dip the cooled cookies in the chocolate mixture, sprinkle with the chopped macadamia nuts and place on parchment paper to set, about 30 minutes.
Cook's Note:
Alton prefers to use weight measurements for baking, to ensure the best accuracy. Please be careful if you try converting this recipe to standard measurements, especially for liquid ingredients. Two ounces of sweetened condensed milk is about 3/16th of a cup, which is less than 1/4 cup but more than 1/8 cup.

PARADISE MACAROONS , courtesy Alton Brown 12 Days of Cookies Food Network

Me Ship Ain't Quite Come In

For your amusement:
A bawdy tune known to be sung in the 1870's Fireside Establishment of St. Giles

Me Ship Ain't Quite Come In

'One day I'll dine on pheasants and grouse
And cocktails in fine crystal glasses
And roast pigs with apples stuck in their mouths
And silver spits shoved up their arses...'
'Me spotted dick puddin' will be such a size
Four footmen will carry it in!
But for now I'll survive on porter and pies
For 'me ship ain't quite come in.'

Oh! 'me ship ain't quite come in,
It's subject to delay;
Me ship ain't quite come in,
It's expected any day.
When me ship comes in, the grin on me chin
Will never go away
But me ship ain't quite - Me ship ain't quite
Me ship ain't quite come in!

Miss Vic

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I Am Only One...

"I am only one, but I am one.

I cannot do everything,
but I can do something.

And I will not let what
I cannot do interfere with
what I can do."

-Edward Everett Hale

Earlier tonight, I visited with my bestest buddy and confidant, about the affairs of the church.

I/We be-moaned what we perceived were the problems that were taking place in our own little congregation. But somehow, I know I am as much a part of the problem as anyone, because I am not doing anything to fix what I see is lacking in our church family.

Lately, I am feeling "left out"....the "red-headed-step-child". Somehow, I feel that I don't matter at all, or that I am not missed when I don't attend services or extra get-togethers. No one calls or e-mails. No one checks to see if I am ill.

BUT, as I bluntly pointed out to my "captive ear", how often have WE made those phone calls or visits to the others in our church? We often "hear" that ___ is suffering or that "such n such" is struggling with a loss in their life...and we may think of them or pray for them. But have we reached out to offer our help or visited them to offer a moment of respite?

I am just as completely guilty of this. My answer is "No". It is so easy to get caught up in our own lives, our own worries, financial concerns, pain, family issues...that we never find the time to think of others or reach out. WE JUST DONT HAVE THE TIME ! But a phone call that can convey concern and love may only take five or ten minutes.

So while my buddy and I were visiting on the phone, I realized that I was so wrong! It is so easy to be judgemental of others. And when we are judging others, we are blind to what good we could be doing for others.

Whew. I'll be stepping down from my soapbox now.

Meanwhile...back at the ranch.......

Miss Vic

Santa lives here..

Santa Lives HERE !
This is the beautiful
Prenite and Peridot
and Sterling Silver
necklace I had created
for daughter Di for
Christmas...(yeah, I
know...she could read
this blog and ruin the
whole surprise....)
But, I already did that.

I can't help it.
I've never been good
at keeping surprises!

It was all I could do to wait until the package arrived in Seattle....

Then when she had the package in front of her, we're on the
phone, and I'm saying: "OPEN IT! OPEN IT !"

Well, part of my excuse is that she has at least three Christmas
parties coming up...
at least three occassions to GLOW beautifully in this little lovely.
Now, I know I got the world's worst pix of this little beauty.
The light was just AWFUL in the kitchen that night...and I'd
already sealed the blasted thing and had it addressed and ready
to post, when I remembered I wanted to take a picture of it to
show my sister.....(duh).

So I ripped the bloomin' package open and got the best shot I
could get....yeah, I know it's a sucky photo. BUT> I just happen
to know a professional photographer that has access to this piece
of jewelry, and she may be persuaded to get a great shot of it.
Maybe, somehow she can have someone take the shot of HER,
wearing the little jewels.


AND THEN !!!!!

"Little Betty Baker" decided
this was THE DAY to make
Christmas candy....My haircut
wasn't scheduled until 2:00...
I could get the caramel done by then,
me thinks...(that's what I get for

It was 9 AM when I started...
I figured I would have the caramel done
by noon, then finish by making turtles...
You know, pecans, caramel and fudge over
the top. groan
I didn't take into account that the temps were in the low twenties this morning
with a horrendous windchill of minus 30 in my kitchen.
(remember: log house. yeah....drafty little beastie.)

Well, all good deeds done well....The caramel finally hit the medium
soft ball stage at 1:35 and I literally flew out the door at twenty till
2:00 with no time to drag my sore leg.

Miss Vicki talking to self: just suck it up, dearie.
you can have pain meds when we get CANNOT MISS


NOW...After my haircut...., with caramel cooled in the pans instead
of over the pecans in the candy papers, where I wanted them.
(humph), I had to assemble them one at a time.

Oh well, what else did I have to do on a lovely winters day ,

However, uhm. thhey thurmed out yustt yummie,... gulp.

(Don't you just wish you were on my Christmas list?????)

Meanwhile.....back at the ranch...

Miss Vic

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Okay, I Have A Question

Okay, I Have A Question.

Let's say we have this little cedar box in front of us ...It is say 5" x 4" wide ... You can actually smell the aroma of the cedar in the wood of the box ... In the top of the box is engraved this absolutely beautiful rose ...The box has a little metal latch on it ... the lid is closed on the box. ..and on the latch is this little metal lock ... the top of the box is locked. Inside that box ... contains all your wants, your desires and your needs ... someone like me comes along with this long, golden key that has beautiful designs engraved in the key ... I insert the key into the lock and turn the key slowly ... slowly turn the key some more ... slowly turn the key some more ... and then ... finally ...the lock ratchets and springs open...we take the lock off the latch and open the latch ... we open the top of the box and look inside ...and there for the first time in your life are all your wants, your desires and your needs ... things you have been DREAMING about since you were a child ... and they finally become true ... and you, for the first time in your life feel this absolutely wonderful feeling of completeness and warmth and love ... ok ... the question is ... What was buried deep in that little box?

I welcome your comments.

In the meantime, back at the ranch....

What Matters/Calming The Flurry

Every year I re-read this
and find that it helps me
stop the insanity and deal
much better with those I love.
With no expectations but love
and joy in my heart.
What matters this Christmas/ Calming the Flurry
Dear Brave Souls: What matters this Christmas; just a reminder.
I know you know this in your bones: What matters, just this one day: is that you arrive, show up, open the door with a smile that starts at your heart and shines outward....
Stuff doesn't matter
What matters, just this one day: is that you tell each soul you love, that you love them and appreciate that they are on earth, and that your life would be poorer without them...
Stuff doesn't matter
What matters, just this one day: is that you tell a little story, sing a little song, offer a tasty piece of food, tell a funny joke, help carry people's coats, pat children on the head, listen to the old people for a bit, ask after everyone's dog and cat and bird and fish, tease the teenagers about their sweethearts, tell the gawky ones they're soon going to be tall and even finer looking, tell the awkwardly dressed how fine they shine in spirit and mind, criticize nothing, including oneself, bless everything that can be blessed, say only what is in your best heart and leave the b.s. that is day to day irritations and judgments, behind for this one day...
stuff doesn't matter
What matters is that we, just for today, accept people just as they are, all messy, undone, wound up, not well, unhappy, frightened, over the edge, out of it, and all the other things that poor souls on earth can get themselves into or are pushed into through no fault of their own. You cannot go wrong by having mercy on the sick, and clothing the naked psyche that shivers in the cold, and feeding the spiritually hungry, and calming and comforting and loving others...
stuff doesn't matter
Whatever you have already bought as gifts for others-- it is enough already. One more tinker toy or toilet seat doily is not, in the big book Up There, going to make one whit of difference in your final grade. One more candy dandy anything is not going to show your love, regard, or interest in others better than your real self, your deepest soul and kindest heart, being present at the feast...
stuff doesn't matter
In the end, stuff rots, falls apart, breaks, is consumed. But acts of kindness and of love do not deteriorate. When people sit in my consulting room across from me and talk about their families, about the good parts, they never say,"I got a 'such and such' that Christmas," or "Boy they gave me this cheap/expensive/ big/little/awesome/weird gift that I never forgot." People don't say things like that to me in the intimacy of revealing their most inner thoughts. Instead, they tell about the uncle who played a game of catch out in the alley on Christmas Day. About the grandmother who tilted their chin and looked into their eyes and asked how they were, and really wanted to know. They tell about the aunt who supervised them walking about in her high heels and took pictures of the event. They tell about how the big kids played with the little kids for a while. They tell about how someone showed them something beautiful, held them, talked to them, listened to them. And how they loved receiving living love in that way...
stuff doesn't matter, I assure you.
So today, may you accept people and situations just as they are without trying to change them. Believe me, if they were changeable by you alone, via your wishes and dreams and prayers and manipulations and cunning and hopes through all these years--they would already be changed by now, surely. But, if they are not, may you, just this one day, accept the terrain, and go on, with as much happiness in your heart as any human deserves to have---which is to the brim and overflowing. One more run to the store is not needed. It isn't. Don't argue with me. IT ISNT.
Stuff doesn't matter.
What matters? You matter, the fact that you are here, are human, are filled with love, matters--even if you don't feel that way---you were made for one thing far more than others--that is to learn to love and receive love on earth. The fact that you are given this time on earth to learn and to bring these goodnesses to life, that is what matters. No one is EVER ready for Christmas, in terms of gifts and decorations and food and all that la-la. The squirrel-mind of humans can always think up ten last minute things to rush around doing. I suggest you refuse. That, right now, you say, "it's enough and I am enough--- and MORE stuff doesn't matter". The heart is fully equipped and fully READY for Christmas ALWAYS. It needs no shopping malls, no stores, no wrapping paper, no ribbons. It costs only in resolve, in discipline, in filling it on a regular basis from one's own spiritual well. Your heartfulness is the greatest GIFT you can give. I am sure of this. You could give me a new wardrobe or you could give me a Taj Mahal, or you could give me a Ferrari--but they all would fall to dust in time, and the enjoyment of them would fall away from bright memory. But if you give me your loyalty, your concern, your regard, your inquiry into my life, you faithfulness to values we share.... if you comfort me, make me laugh, reaffirm that I am on earth with purpose and reason, that there is a place in your heart for me--then you have given the gift that LASTS forever.This is just Ceep's Christmas ka-jillion two-cent's worth, for I hope you will have peace today, calmness-- you know, 'silent night, holy night, all is CALM, all is BRIGHT.' If that song isn't about the human heart at this time of year, then I don't know what it is about. My grandmother used to say to me when I was little, that our hearts were the place where the New Child would be laid in the manger; that though our surroundings might be poor and not all we wished to receive such a golden child, that the heart is made golden for that Child of Light by our thoughts and deeds.So may it be for all of us, for just this one day, when stuff doesn't matter...
This comes with love and CALM
and passed on to you, my loved ones and readers, as meanwhile, back at the ranch....-V

I'm Depressed

I'm Depressed. I can't help it.

There's still no snow.

There's still no Christmas tree
or decorations..I've still not started
the Christmas cards; I've not hung a
Christmas wreath...

I'm not able to sing with the choir
for the Christmas Cantata.

I'm trying. REALLY! I'm playing Christmas carols- over and over. I MADE myself write our annual Christmas letter today, but I haven't printed them off. I can procrastinate doing THAT for at least another week, can't I? I bought every one's gifts WAY early this year, knowing I'd have my knee surgery and not be able to do it afterwards. So there's no shopping and wrapping to do. It almost seems like Christmas happened months ago. And for me, it did! I purchased, wrapped and delivered all the gifts to my kids in Seattle, the first of October.

And Huggs and I each purchased what we wanted for Christmas, while we were shopping together, so there's no need to wrap those gifts!

There's just something so, I don't know, sad, I guess, about growing old and losing hold of the traditions we've always shared as a family. Each year, something changes. Someone in the family can't be with us for one reason or another. Or we can't go "home" for Christmas and have to find a new place to share our Christmas. Huggs and I have the biggest house, and it always makes me so happy when the family wants to come here for the holidays. But nobody wants to come HERE for Christmas any more...We have the worst weather....the wildest winds...the deepest snow, the worst roads. And as our parents become aged, their days of driving on bad roads have come to an end. So it is our responsibility to travel to them. But then, we have to decide where to hold the gathering. Because all of the reasons that keep them from traveling to us are the same reasons that prevent them from being able to prepare a holiday meal and suffer through the un-nerving noise of so many kids and grand-kids stuffed into a too-small space for hours.

So again, another tradition is gone, as each year, we try to decide where we're going to meet, what we're going to eat, who's going to be able to be there, ...I just want it to be the way it ALWAYS was. At Gramma's house, with EVERYONE there. Where Santa always knew what you wanted for Christmas and he always brought it in the right color.

As a family, when I was growing up, we ALWAYS had Christmas Eve at our house and opened gifts after a simple meal of fragrant casserole and an endless array of salads and desserts made by Mom, Gramma and my Great Aunts. It was all about good spirits, drinking egg nog and Tom & Jerry's by a roaring fire that Dad always had burning in the fireplace, Christmas carols sung around the piano as Dad played, and we'd open gifts and spend the whole afternoon and evening together. Then, Christmas Day was ALWAYS spent at Grandma and Grandpa's house, where we all dressed in our Sunday best, or at least in the newest clothes we'd received as gifts the night before. And we'd eat a full sit-down turkey dinner, with the ENTIRE family together. I grew up surrounded by a loving, supporting cast of Grandparents, and Great Aunts and Uncles. There was never any excuse about having to be somewhere else. The only reason someone wouldn't be there, is if they'd passed away that year!! Back then, we didn't have divorces and have to share our kids with the non-custodial parent. And back then, people didn't travel long distances from home - either to live or to travel, especially during the winter in the northwest United States, where winter blizzards have historically kept us thankfully huddled around the fire. Back when I was a girl, everyone lived close by, and we were always together. When I was a girl, our Christmas was "Martha Stewart perfect" .
Now, the members of our family live hours apart, and subsequently, we have to make more of an effort to get together. And I realize how much effort our family made, to make our holidays perfect.

Just because I'm middle aged now, it doesn't mean I want to grow up. I don't like change. Not when it's about family traditions. I'm not ready for people to grow old, especially me. I still want everyone to be together at Gramma's house for Christmas; I still want Huggs and Santa to know exactly what I want for Christmas, and exactly what color. the meantime....back at the ranch...........

Thursday, December 4, 2008

20 Shopping Days....


There's only 20 more days till Christmas. Gasp. Gulp. Grin.

Yep. Just Grin.

What else ya' gonna do when you can't leave home; can't drive....

What hasn't gotten done, may not GET DONE.

What I can't buy via the net, probably won't get bought.

Maybe another two or three weeks of this full leg brace,

that keeps me from driving my sweet Monte Carlo.

And so far, I'm doing alright.

Daily visits from Fed Ex and UPS trucks have the dogs

salivating at the end of the driveway. Our driver's out here

have gotten smart and carry a bucket of doggie treats at

the top of their truck steps - the first step out of the truck

is one with out-stretched hand with dog bones. Now THAT's

a smart man! What is it about those vibrating brown panel

trucks that drive a dog mad? They instantly HATE what

ever comes out of the door of those trucks. ((I'm sure I

could grab a fast cash grant from our US government to do

a full-scale, five-year double-blind research-study

and follow-up documentary in full-screen High Def on the

Discovery Channel...))

Tonight is the opening round of the National Finals Rodeo.

Now there are only about ten days a year where hubby

demands his televisions rights, AND THIS IS ONE OF THEM.

The week of the National Bull Riding finals and the National

Finals Rodeo, I just don't plan to watch TV. AT ALL. There is

NO compromises here. OH. And a Big part of the deal, is that

hubby can turn the volume up where HE CAN HEAR IT.

Years of abuse, from loud machinery has rendered him

virtually deaf. Nerve deaf. There's not much you can do for

that. Hearing aids can only make it louder, not clearer.

When I turn in at the end of our lane, from the main highway,

I can hear the rodeo announcer as I round the corner. And

can view all the windows in the house vibrating.

((There's no real worry of them actually shattering -

They've stood up to this abuse for the 25 years since we built.))

This year, since I've had the knee surgery, I can't run away

from home, so will have to find other ways to fill the time, such

as post to my BLOG,(!what a concept!), write my annual

Christmas letter.....and ride my new stationary bike!

Since surgery on Oct. 28 , I've gained from 80 degrees bend to

110 degrees, yesterday. My surgeon wants 125 degrees bend,

so I'm getting closer every week. I'm walking around the house

without the use of any aid, and only carry a cane when I leave

the house, just as a precaution. I still haven't gone anywhere,

shopping, where I could find a running pant that snaps along

the leg for easy removal, and access to my brace, so I'm still

wearing shorts to my P.T. sessions. It's getting a bit cold for that,

as it's down to 17 degrees at night, with snow on the mountain

behind town. It's only a matter of luck that we don't have snow

here at the house yet. I'm really not Jones-ing for snow, but I do

love a white Christmas.

I just realized tonight, that I won't be able to do up my huge tree

this year, as is my routine...reality hit me HARD. I guess I'll have

to be satisfied if Huggs gets me a little table-top tree where I can

stick a string of lights and a few teeny ornaments. I sure can't go

crawling around the attic,digging through the boxes and boxes

of goodies, to decide what color I'll do up the tree, THIS YEAR.

I'm a bit OCD about creating the perfect tree. And I had

planned the perfect designer, deep purple tree......

I guess it will have to wait till next year. THEN I'll climb the ladder

and do it up RIGHT !!!

Huggs n I traveled to the city to his favorite western wear shop to

snag some clothes, as they're going out of business, another vic-

tim of the poor economy. We grabbed up $250 worth of dress

shirts that he needs for his art shows and found some really fun


And while down there, I found Christmas for his almost 90 yr

old Mom. We also visited an old neighborhood friend that had

moved to the valley. He'd been calling and calling me to come by

and choose something special from his late wife's china closet,

since I'd refused payment for singing at her funeral. Since I collect

old tea cups and have one from many of the elder ladies from my

neighborhood and family, that was what I chose. A beautiful, dainty

floral English teacup that is just wonderful and makes me just want

to linger over my tea in the morning. My neighbor insisted that I

should have another one, which he had chosen for me; one that he

thought matched my kitchen well, so I came home with two lovelies

for my collection that has over-grown the room I have to display

them - another kick in the butt to get me to complete my own Grand

mother's curved glass china cabinet. It won't hardly take another

full day to finish some necessary work, and then I can re-set the

glass door and move it back to the upstairs....and. fill. it.

I have a love of pretty things. LOTS of pretty things. It's a very

good thing that I have Grand hopefully they wont

all want to be farmers or Peace Corp volunteers.

Meanwhile, Back at the ranch........

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

It's Time for the Turkey!

Each day, I plan to post to this blog.
And each day, I fail to get it together.
It's all about the KNEE. And about
NOT getting out of the house to take
pictures. Let me go on record saying
FOREVER! The only time I leave is
when I go to town for PT, (Pain n
Torture;Physical Torture;Physical depends on who you
I still can't drive ! OH! I think I could
drive alright! if Huggs would just
leave his pickup home. He has a fold-
up console and I could just slide my
leg across the bench seat and do the
brake and accelerator with my left
But he's too smart for that !!

And he knows I can't drive my
Monte Carlo. Danged-darned-
beat up-busted-down-ugly
sports car with its low slung seats
and solid console, that wont
accommodate my full leg brace!
Whats the deal with THAT?

And I want to go shopping.


I NEED to spend money and help stimulate the economy.

So would somebody PLEEZE call my hubby and tell him to

come down for the week-end and to be sure to bring my


Thank You.

In the meantime, here on the ranch, its COLD. It's

been down to 17 degrees the last two nights. There's snow

on the mountain tops. Everyone (except me) is hoping for

skiing by Thanksgiving. I'll just be glad to get out of the

house for awhile and enjoy the company of others!

We here at Rawhide's Flat are wishing you all a wonderful

Thanksgiving with those you love!

Be thankful for each and every one of them, because they are the flowers

in your garden!

Meanwhile, Back at the ranch............

Miss Vic

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The POWER of the SEA

Behold!! The Power of the Sea !!!

The POWER of the Sea
is awe-inspiring !

The size of the ocean....

The view that goes on forever...

Where does the water stop and the sky begin?
The sheer force and the roar
of the waves!

The obvious joy for our girls to be there again, makes every
effort worthwhile!

We were creating memories!
Recently, my daughter and the grand daughters took a quick swing down the Washington Coast away's, for a sweet girl's get-away....a very fun and necessary run away...a time to just be girls. To stop at fun shops when we want drink coffee anytime we want to, even if it is "too late".... to sleep as late as we want to and to eat fish n chips for breakfast, if we want, and
LORDY, LORDY! Did we have fun !! We hung out in the motel pool and spa, ate popcorn in bed while watching a movie, shopped, ate, played in the sand and got soaked in the sea....then it was time to hit the spa to warm up again! ah.h.h.h.h.h. vacation!
And when we returned home, tired, but wearing smiles and carrying memories for a life-time!
Meanwhile.....Back at the ranch......................Miss Vic

Union Gospel Mission


a picture says

a thousand words.

It just happened to be Sunday afternoon, when
we drove past this Mission. I fail when I try to read the dynamics of the body language between these two men. None-the-less, I found the scene interesting and timeless.

What are your thoughts?

You know that pain and drugs do a real number on your brain, don't you? Well, I'm here to tell you that I've spent the better part of two hours - two hours!- to get logged in to my own BLOG !!!! Good Grief! I've tried every combination of user name and password known to man, before I came up with the winning that has a way of making you feel a bit was kinda like playing the lottery...."now which combination shall I try THIS time? Did I already try that one? No. Let's see, I think I'll try the OLD ONE. No...That didn't work."
AArgh.h.h.h.h. !

I'm going to log out and see if I can get back in again before I forget....And if I get back, I'll write it down ! (what a concept !) and then I'll come back and post the BLOG entry that I intended when I started out with lots of energy two and 1/2 freeking hours ago......

And if I don't come back....well you'll know that:
1: I forgot the damned user name and password again OR
2. I ran completely out of energy, took meds and went back to bed.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch......................

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Sometimes our
memories can
come back sweet
and clear. Others
can break our hearts.
Today, while reading
a fellow Blogger's
account of their mission
trip to the Dominican
I remembered my own
mission to Africa.
I thought I might share
some of those memories,
even though I can't get
upstairs to my photo
archives to share with
you some of the beautiful
faces of my friends there.

I traveled to Zimbabwe Africa and have been changed forever. It certainly makes us aware of our extreme blessings and materialism!! The wonderful people of Zimbabwe were so incredibly gracious and would give me the beads from around their neck or the one picture from their wall, saying, "Please remember me." I was in Zimbabwe to sing for the opening ceremonies of the Africa University in Old Mutare. The University is church -sponsored by the United Methodist Church and it was very new, then, with few buildings. But it has grown considerably since then. After my trip, I sponsored a young seminary student from Zaire that I met while there. His name was Kupa. I gave simple but wonderful gifts of ink pens and supplies to Kupa and his friends and sent clothes and money to help sustain his family through a very cold winter. He spent five yrs studying at Africa U. and then had to return to Zaire, even though his country was in civil war and it was terribly dangerous to do so. Gut wrenching....I have since lost track of him. His last correspondence was that they were going to travel through the BUSH to try to get back home. One of his sons had been shot and killed right in their front yard. I am in anguish as I write this, as he had become my brother...
The sweet people of Africa would remind me that I would always have a home in Zimbabwe. Their church women would cook for me in the "church kitchen", the open fire out-side the back door of the church, and we would have sadsa, squash, rice, goat, termites, and very very tiny chicken. We participated in a beautiful ceremony of hand-washing before meals and tea, where a beautiful woman would pour warm water over your hands from a pitcher into a bowl..I knew they had pulled out all the stops and prepared a meal befitting a queen, and I was treated as honored, everywhere I went.
I stayed in the homes while there...a culture shock from the five star Hotel at Victoria Falls where the President stays, as well as myself. The home stays, where the bed was a mat on the floor, and long columns of ants marched into the sink and toilets, and huge bugs the size of my hand on the wall at night as I went to sleep (OH!), the simple open hole dug in the back, for a toilet, and the single bowl of water for the whole family to bathe.
While in Zimbabwe, I visited a "baby-fold" (orphanage) and an adjacent area for ladies-in-waiting, (who were there until the birth of their babies). I fell head over heels in love with these sweet babies, and would have brought home my sweet baby Tendai, if it had been humanly possible. Tendai, (A Shona name, a shortened version of Natienda, meaning "we are grateful") had been left in a ditch of the road, near the baby-fold, by her un-wed mother, who knew she couldn't return home with another baby for her family to care for.
As a mother and as a singer, I immediately bonded to this baby girl in the only way that came natural to me....I snuggled her close to my ample body, walked back n forth and sang quietly to her. When I had to leave, I cried uncontrollably for miles and miles...and today, many years later, I still cry at the thought of my baby on the other side of the world. I tried to sponsor Tendai and was told that she was claimed eventually, by her maternal grandmother, and left the orphanage.
I am so thankful for the trip I was able to take, back then. My only real, long-term goal in life, is to re-gain my health to the degree that would allow me to again travel there, and in some small way, help, and encourage those, less fortunate to greater heights and to a greater belief in the Lord, Jesus Christ

Miss Vicki

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Another Gorgeous Fall Day

A late Fall offering of Wild Blackberries, rendered in Water Color, thanks to my photo filter.

Since I cannot think of anything positive to say about conquering my first P.T. appt. for my new Journey Knee, let me just say that leaving the house for the first time in many days, and doing so on a fabulously beautiful Fall day ROCKED!!

My new PT guy, Ben, is well versed in the rehab for the Journey Knee, and he'd had a nice, long conversation with my surgeon about all the "extra fancy-work" he'd done to release the overly tight muscles on my knee to achieve a somewhat straighter leg. Now you KNOW my goal in all this, is to have a prettier, "straighter" leg at 55 years of age! HA.
Well, I guess that's got to be better than my surgeon's first words when looking at my X-rays, when he said my legs looked like those belonging to an old rodeo cowboy. humph.
Well, now home, pain pills ingested and snuggled into my chair, it's all better now. But let me just tell you, we put this new knee through some moves that are not to be expected, one week post-surgery. But Ben's goal for Friday is a 90 degree bend in that knee. OMG.d.d.d.d.d.d.d.d.d.d.d.d
Maybe when the Pope flies!

Oh, I'm sorry if I sounded sacrilegious. That was not my intent. Some of my most fervent prayers have been said in ah.....a....very...loud....tone of voice. How's that?

I'm just saying that prayers don't have to be whispered to be meaningful...

Meanwhile....back on the ranch............................Miss Vic

It's Time For The Whine

Now, it's time for the whine.

Even though today dawned absolutely beautiful....and the election is over, and went the way that we wanted, for a change...Even though I am really at peace with all that IS, in my life....


So bring on the wine..(whine).

Oh, it's my fault. Again. I forgot to put on a new pain patch last night. I just plain FORGOT about it. (Believe me, it's easy to forget this one!)

I just noticed that as Hugs and I sat and watched the election results come pain just started to RAMP upwards.....worse and worse....I was thinking, "What IS THIS??" I barely made it through our New President's acceptance speech, (OH! just let me say, "WOW.") And then I just had to go to bed, I was just so totally baked.

So, this so much pain, I'm thinking, HOW in the world can I go to PT and go through THAT torture??? I discovered that I was basically winging it without much pain meds in my new patch installed.....second latte bowl guzzled...I am on the way to feeling better. Soon.

And in light of going through with the struggle of getting into a vehicle, (a major trial with an unbending knee) and the impending PT exercises....can I do this today???

Just let me borrow our new President's pass phrase, " YES WE CAN !!"


Miss Vic
Oh, and just in case you care....just look at these fishermen!! They barely cast their lines, but they snagged a hit...the blood red Chinook Salmon were just incredible along this stretch of the Winachee River. The fishermen caught their limit of two fish per man per day, easily within minutes of arriving! And they hauled the huge 30++ to 40++ inch fish, up the slopes to their vehicles and smiling the whole way, roared off down the road. If you look closely at the pix, you can see one of the fishermen bringing his catch into the shore, and the quick swish in the water as the fish broke the surface...Wow! So exciting to watch!!!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Now, Don't ya'll forget to wish Miss D. a happy All Saints Day....'cause its her special day!! X 37.

huggies, from Momma

SHE'S BACK.k.k.kkkkkk

Yup. I'm back in the new Journey Knee in place.

JOURNEY* Bi-Cruciate Stabilized Knee System, made of OXINIUM* Oxidized Zirconium. OXINIUM material is a unique and advanced bearing product technology created through a proprietary manufacturing process that transforms the surface to a ceramic, resulting in a material that incorporates the best features of ceramic and metal while avoiding the limitations associated with either material.

I'm propped up like a queen, with pillows and ice; coffee in my right hand, book in my left...napping about three hours every afternoon, is pretty good. My pain level is fairly controlled and I can get around the house with a single cane. The major issue, for me, is to keep my knee "straight". I am bearing a pretty hurkin' brace, unlike most patients, due to my legs being so badly crooked, the muscles were going to pull the new knee out of place. So. I'll be married to my brace for a few weeks. Let this be a lesson to you to not wait too long to fix those bad knees!

Hugs is taking good care of me; fussing around, bringing meds and ice and helping me into and out of our big king bed, and fixing me up with whatever sounds good to eat and drink.

P.T. starts Wednesday, although I've been hard at my exercises since day 1.

The weather here, has gone south and its raining cats n dogs...which makes me ache like hell. All the more reason to whine. But I can serve up some cheese and crackers with that....

Meanwhile, back at the ranch.....


Monday, October 27, 2008

What Are You Reading?

When I return, I'm going to have more than enough time to read the "BEST BOOK" on everyone's reading list. Please, leave me a comment and tell me your favorite books.....your "must read next" list.......and what you are reading now! I just recently finished The Life of Edgar Sawtelle. All I can say is "OH MY!" (just read it !!!)

And I am now reading "The Shack". I'd heard so much about it, I bought it - twice. (duh).

I got home from the book store and went to stow my new books in the nest I've created next to my chair (where I'll ultimately spend LOTS of hours) and there it was! already. So I have 2 copies to share....The jury's still out on this one. ( One minute I love it. The next, I think it's poor writing....) You can decide for yourself!


g'bye for now.....

This is "it"....I got most everything done: puppy washed and clipped, lawn furniture stowed away, Perennial Flowers mulched and put to bed, house cleaned, laundry done, bed linens changed, voted absentee, bought a couple "last minute" Christmas presents, (bah ha have to know ME to get this), raked leaves, packed for the hospital, checked email, cooked dinner,tested the hot tub water and put the temperature on stand-by for a few weeks.....yadda yadda.
I know I'm compulsive, but I feel like I'm going away on a very long's weird. I just know that even though it's a short two or three day stay in the hospital, I'm not going to be "UP" for much of anything for weeks after I get home. My thoughts will be all about pain and survival and just getting from point A to point B. And I am in total angst about the fact that the rest of my favorite Indian Summer days will be spent indoors, where I can't feel the sun's warmth on my face. I refused to put the wicker chairs away in the garage. I am hoping for just a few more warm, golden afternoons, where, if I talk sweetly enough, Hugs will pull my chair out into the sunshine...and I can feel blessed to live out my days ..... back on the ranch.

Until then, g'bye for now.
Miss Vic

Sunday, October 26, 2008

It's Crunch Time

I knew it was coming. I thought I was ready. But everywhere I look, there is evidence of... well...sloth.

You see, it's all over for me Tuesday morning. No more "Oh, I'll finish that up tomorrow." or "It's still too early to mulch the perennials for winter."....

"I'll finish planting the flower bulbs..."

just WHEN exactly????? After Tuesday morning, THERE WILL BE NO MORE DIGGING IN FLOWER BULBS !!!!!

It's Crunch Time. It's all over. What's not done, won't be getting done. I found myself foaming at the mouth...I had to have fresh clean sheets on the bed! The laundry had to all be done...the floors vaccumed, the dog shampooed and groomed....


Nerves? NO.o.o.o.o.oooo huh uh. Not ME. I don't mind pain. At All. NOPE. I'm TOUGH.

(As long as the doc prescribes good drugs - I'll be just fine).

Tuesday morning - 11:00 - Miss Vic on the operating table....ever after will be known as NewKnees! ...I'll be setting off alarms at airports around the world, from a distance of 1/2 mile away!

Now! About YOU ! Yes, you! Don't you leave and forget about me, just because I go off missing for a couple weeks! I'm going to NEED you in the following weeks of recouperation. I'm going to need you all to listen to me whine and carry on as though I am the pioneer of the Journey Knee. Never has anyone else gone through such sacrifice and pain for the good of ALL humanity!

Or something like that.

Meanwhile, Back on The Ranch...........


See, I told you there was a learning curve to Blogging!
Would anyone in their right mind actually run the text along side their photos in the manner of my previous post ?!?
I think not.
And though I tried to fix it, I failed.
I'm sorry.
Good night, nurse.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


My most crowning glory, My Own Belov-ed daughter.

Mom,unaware of the camera,(the best time to catch her)

My Baby sister, looking cute, as only baby sisters CAN !

One of older Grand daughters, Alex, at her first HS Homecoming Dance. (Wasn't it just yesterday that she was a baby in our arms?!?)

My two youngest Grands: Sisters & Best Friends

Just Grammie and her girls on a recent trip to the ocean.

And here's Hugs n I at our 25th Anniversary celebration. And they said it wouldn't last!! I said, "Love will keep us together"...I had it engraved on the underside of his watch; I believed it then and it still holds true. We took those vows seriously, and love has gotten us through the hard times as well as the wonderful times.
Let it be said, that family is important to me. And you can say that again, for good measure! We are a small family. My parents are still alive, and Hugs mother, too. It just feels like our family is SO small, sometimes. And it's scary. I have realized the frailty of life this year, as our parents health has begun to really show signs of failing. And I DON'T WANT TO BE A MATRIARCH!! When our parents are gone, who will we have holiday meals with?? Our kids have all moved away! Well, it's something I don't like to think about!
Meanwhile, back at the ranch............

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Gardening AUTUMN ?????

Any of you that have known me awhile, knows of my love of anything "natural"...and anything to decorate in the yard and flower gardens....well, guess what I found on the way home from Seattle? (nah nah nah na nah nah....)

Yup. A silicone mold of a gigantic leaf, so that lil old ME can produce my own stepping stones, and bird feeders and bird baths and water features, and....oh MY !!
I am sooooo excited about this mold!...and making them whatever color I want to make them....this little shop had lots of different hand made molds of different leaves and if I'd been rich, I would have bought several different ones...different sizes. They are too expensive for me to be that impulsive. Now, if I start doing these and really love it,then I can purchase or make some more molds. I can hardly wait to start making things, but me thinks it will have to wait for my new knees and warm weather next spring. Don't any of you let me forget to do this at the first sign of new life next Spring !! But if you're feeling jealous and want your own leaf molds, contact Pam at and tell her Miss Vic sent you!

She had the most eclectic blend of old,and rusty vs. shiny and beautiful, all in one funky little shop on WA Highway 2. I actually feel very at home and comfortable when surrounded by old rusty takes me winging back to the wonderful days as a little girl shadowing my belov-ed Grampa in his workshop. I could have spent days in that little road-side shop.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch..........

Just Keepin' It REAL

Today, I'm just spreading the Love. It's the least that I can do, in light of the fact that yesterday was THE-DAY-FROM-HELL. YIKES ! In preperation for the upcoming knee replacement, I had to attend several appointments. before the "Big Day"...and in light of the fact that surgery will be at a hospital 80 miles from home, (and the price of gas).....I scheduled three appt. in one day.
So Hugs and I got up at 0-dark:thirty to get to the first doctor on time.
So, we made it out the door, coffee in hand (duh!)and hair on fire, at a horribly early hour for re-tirees. Three doctors/hospital/lab visits later, we made it home by 7:30 PM. Hugs got first hand knowledge of my painfull knees when the specialist displayed my X-rays in agonizing life-size. Let it be said that NOW he totally understands my pain issues and wonders out loud, "How can you even walk??!??!?!?"
Half-Starved and ready for instant intervention, (Poppa Murphy's to the rescue) and I fell into bed by 9:00.

Yeah. Just keepin' it real. Miss Vicki

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

In The Beginning

In The Beginning
Whew! It's happened! I have finally started my Blog. But I can tell right-off-the-bat that there's a learning curve to this Blogging thing! All I want is WHAT I WANT, THE WAY I WANT IT, DAMN IT !!!!
okay...deep breathing....
I just get irritated when computers don't do what I tell them to do IN PLAIN ENGLISH!
It somehow reminds me of talking to children. Or herding chickens.
Oh, now THAT's a whole 'nother BLOG, folks!

From the backwoods of our own little "Paradise Found", I will drag you, (kicking and screaming, all the way, I'm sure) through our life here. The every-days-worth of living the quiet life, snug on a few small acres in the rural northwest.

Twenty five years ago, Hugs and I dreamed of building our own log house, and we succeeded in creating a home that gives us comfort and JOY, every day. We built our home with no blue-prints - only a shared vision of a big, warm and comfortable place where friends and family could gather. You know the kind of place - where you can sink into a chair and put your feet up, instead of perching on the edge of your seat and watching for the first moment you can conveniently escape.

Now, we're retired, with the kids grown and gone, and nothing to do with our time except just what we really WANT to do. No more daily grind, (except MY daily grind of PURE, Arabica Beans), we find that staying up late to "finish the last chapter of the book" and sleeping late the next day is more than just okay. There seems to finally be enough time for Hugs to go on 4 wheeler trips with his guy friends, and for me to take week long journeys to spend with the grand daughters. Life just doesn't get much better than this.

Today begins the count down of the last week before my first total knee replacement. I am not looking forward to the pain and the recuperation. But I already have the crippling pain, so let the recuperation journey begin!. I am giving my old knees to a surgeon I trust with my life. Dr. Kym saved my crushed arm with severed nerves, from a 4 wheeler wreck a few years ago, and I wouldn't be willing to let much of anyone else touch my knees.

But this month, I am running around with my hair on fire, trying to get everything done before surgery...every errand done, every project finished, every fruit and vegetable preserved and stored for winter. Good Grief! You'd think I was going to the m@@n !! For a LONG visit !! Approx. 250 # tomatoes were made into spaghetti sauce, preserves and whole canned tomatoes, 3 boxes of peaches, about 60 # beets were pickled, and cukes were pickled into Dago Dills. Pumpkin Butter was stirred over a slow burner all day, (oh MY!), squash was cut, cooked and frozen...why! if Armageddon occurs this winter - head on over. We've got yur' back.
In the meantime.....back at the ranch.............