...random thoughts, opinions and secrets on children... aging... cooking... crafts... nature...divorce...second chances...
and whatever else I deem curious...
~Copyright 2017. Hootie~

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Burrow Life!

A Year Just Outside the Burrow!  
Just a tiny little taste of life here.

It's been 10 months since we moved into our new place.  Not a day goes by that I don't find myself saying, "I LOVE this place!"  My attention is easily captured by all the life around me.  I enjoy every bit of it!  One day, during the kitchen remodeling I was bored.  I couldn't do anything, but I needed to be near by.  I sat with a notebook, binoculars and my bird identification books and computer for two hours and counted the birds.  There were 17 different kinds who were at my feeders out back!  The sounds of the birds chirping, even at 5:30 am, is a wonderful reminder that life is happening.  

The photos in the above video were taken mostly by me, but also by my daughter and my son.  I love the fact that my children are willing to document the wildlife around our place for me too.  Any "Hey Mom, check this out!" causes me to put down what ever I am doing and go see what's up.  

Animals not included, but spotted, in this video include most bird varieties, opossum, raccoon, deer, and fox.  I'm sure there are more, that's just all I can think of right now.  

When I was a little girl I always dreamed of being an Astronaut, a Forest Ranger and a Mom.  I still love the stars and all the nature/wildlife around me.  

Hope you enjoy this little taste of life just outside the Burrow walls!  
music:  The Lion Sleeps Tonight
performed by: Lebo M 
from The Lion King II, Return to Pride Rock soundtrack

Friday, May 29, 2009

Growing a Blog!

The first two years were rather self absorbing.  
Therapeutic for me; boring for others.  

I decided that 2009 would be a different year for me.  Recently, I have been adding to my list of "blogs I read."  Hopefully others will check out these reads as well.  

Do you have any favorite blogs I should check out?  I do like to visit my cyber-friends and check out who they enjoy keeping an eye on too!  Share the love!  :)

Thursday, May 28, 2009


It's been a very overcast day here today.  I thought I'd brighten things up by showing off a lily I recently received.  

Isn't it the cat's meow!?  :)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Supporting Cast!

Female Reproductive Health Support: 
Over the past several months I have done a lot of research on Hysterectomies and Fibroids.  I did not find any close friends I could ask about this, so I turned to the web.  
I do realize that the web is NOT a substitute for a real doctor.  But, as a woman having questions about my particular problems, sometimes it feels safer to first be able to find out if you are normal BEFORE you seek an official opinion.  

In the past month, I have found great support on a site called HysterSisters.  As a woman, you don't need to be contemplating a hysterectomy to go check out all the good, solid information they have to offer.  
No Butts About it Support:
You may see me carrying a bag on my shoulder these days.  It's my disguised seat cushion!  Don't tell!  

Tonight I am heading out for a short bit to watch my daughter as she celebrates being promoted from 8th grade.  Having been through this two years ago with my son, I know I will be sitting on bleachers.  I definitely cannot sit for even 15 minutes on a piece of wood!  

I did get myself a donut like pillow, but really, who wants to blatantly carry one of those around?  

At least a year ago, maybe more, Sweetcakes made these wonderful pillowcase bags.  My daughter uses her bag to carry her ballet class items to and fro daily.  I tend to use mine only when I am heading on vacations or short trips to carry a book and my knitting and crocheting supplies.   
Home made items are precious to me! 

I have been able to combine my purposeful pillow with my fashionable pillow case!  

I surfed Sweetcakes blog this morning, but I don't think she ever posted this particular bag she made.  

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Happy Tuesday! R U Playing?

Wow!  It's been a week and I've been thinking the color Green for a long time!  This is my weekly contribution to Steph's blogging about colors game.  

Since I knew I was scheduled to have surgery on Wednesday last week, I tried to do a ton of planning ahead.  I made chicken soup, homemade chicken pot pies and spaghetti sauce for the freezer.  Baked chocolate chip cookies for my kids lunches.  Stocked my pantry so my family could take care of me: puddings, oatmeal, yogurt, staples, etc.  Pretty much in that order!  Got some new pj dresses - soft and feminine kinds.  Asked about any upcoming school projects and tried to anticipate what might be needed.  Bought a wedding gift but knew there was a chance I wouldn't make that wedding...which I didn't.  :(  And I bought some birthday cards.  

My final "big" thing to do was to take a nice long walk in the woods...just for me.  My doctor warned that I would fatigue easily and would need to take things slowly after surgery.  Anticipating that it might be several weeks before I could get back out and do my walk, I grabbed my pepper spray, cell phone and camera.  As I stepped into the woods I realized it would be very cathartic for me, and then I thought of Steph!  :)

While being a good girl and relaxing on the couch so I can heal on the inside, I am playing with my computer.  It's amazing what this thing can do!  We've had this MAC for a few years and I am still learning about features and tools.  Hope you enjoy my contribution today.  Come walk with me through the woods below...
All photos taken by me, Hootie.  
Music by Joanie Madden
"The Immigrant" from Song of the Irish Whistle  

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorializing thoughts on Memorial Day

Last night I rode in a van for an hour with my in-laws.  We went up to Indy to have a celebration dinner for my MIL's 83rd birthday.  

The evening was beautiful.  We ate dinner outside and on the water front as the sun was setting.  

Our ride home was full of interesting conversation.  As my in-laws friends age and pass away normal taboo topics rise into our discussion.  My FIL will be 85 in October.  Both my in-laws are in good health.  My MIL is very aware of having her final wishes in her life being honored.  The conversations we had last night are normal ones WE'VE had before.  The WE'VE is my husband, myself and his mom and dad.  My children are usually within earshot, but never seem to add their comments and last night had their iPods on their heads.  When the time comes, and being one who certainly understands that the time will come, I too realize that the honor of carrying out my MIL and FIL's wishes will heavily fall onto my husband and myself.  My husband's brothers will not be excluded, it's just that living next door and riding to and from places and having the opportunities to have these conversations happens to us more than to them (the brothers).  

Last night we chatted about gravestones.  

I don't find it offensive or surprising to have these conversations.  Instead I find it fascinating and enlightening.  My MIL would like to have a big ornate, obelisk type stone at the head of her grave.  My FIL would like to be cremated.  Cremation brings another thought, conversation and potential posting...what to do with those ashes.  

I only faintly recall, from my childhood, my own mother and grandmother heading to the cemeteries on the weekend on Memorial Day to lay flowers and check on the deceased members of the "family."  I more vividly recall those two ladies going to the cemeteries after both my father and grandfather died.  These memories are of a sad event, full of self-pity and tears.  

Living about four hours away from my parents and grandparents grave site does not give me the opportunity to stop in as often as I should, as my Grams and Mom would have done.  On the times I have been, I find that tears can't help but seep from my eyes.  I never get that 'I'll feel good that I went later' feeling that one may get either.   

Grave sites.  Places to memorialize lives lost.  But not the only places to memorialize lives lost.   

I do not limit my memories of my parents to just the cemetery.   I don't want my children to limit there memories of me, when that time comes.    

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Signs of Summer...

You know it's summer when...

Your daughter and husband come in the kitchen door.  Your daughter yells, "Hey, You want to see the snake we caught out front?  It's a Rattlesnake*!!!"

*Child saying this is NOT a certified reptile or an other type of animal expert.

New Rules of the Burrow:  
1) No coming into the house with snakes.
2) No coming into the house and saying we have a Rattlesnake!
3) I'm sure I'll think of more rules.  
FACT:  This snake did rattle it's tail when trapped.  

But I am pretty sure it's either a Corn Snake or a Bull Snake.  It was released out back after my husband played Steve Irwin and had to grab it by the tail and say, "Cri-kees! She's a Beauty!"  Poor baby.  It was just wanting a snack of chipmunks or mice.  

Have You?

Okay, one more downer post and then I promise, I'll be more upbeat!  Seriously.  

Have you made your intentions known yet about how you would want to be treated should something happen and you were incapable of vocalizing your wishes?
As an example, Let's say you get Encephalitis due to West Nile.  You have a fever of about 104 for about 4 weeks and you are basically in a coma.  Live support is keeping you going but there is really not a chance in the world that you are going to be able to come out of this illness and live any good quality of life.  What would you want?    
It's called a Living Will.  Basically you appoint a health care representative who you trust would follow your wishes.  And, you clearly spell out what those wishes are.  

After what I went through emotionally with my mom and step-dad and their illnesses and passing, I knew what my desires were.  I do NOT want my husband or children to ever suffer thinking what would I want versus what is the best.  

We have had many conversations where I have said, "I don't want that!" after hearing or reading some news article.  But, I didn't have it in writing.  

On Monday I went to my hospital for my pre-op stuff and they asked if I had a Living Will in place.  I said no.  The nurse asked if I wanted the paper work to fill out in the next day.  I told her I wanted to say no, but I knew I needed to say yes.  So I took the papers.  

On Tuesday night I sat alone in my kitchen and I cried as I filled out the papers.  What a mature thing to do.  What a grown up decision.  What a finality these papers had.  I really needed to look at this as a gift to my children and husband that I hope they won't need for a long, long time.  

My daughter came in and caught me crying.  She asked why I was doing this now.  Was I worried about the surgery?  My answer was no.  I was not worried about surgery.  I told her I was doing this now because I was young and in good health and I needed to do this.  

Taking the papers to the hospital to have them witnesses the next day was easier.  I didn't realize how hard it would be initially to put my wishes in writing.  Maybe I was a little emotional due to the pending surgery.  

Still, Have you made your wishes known?  Do the right thing, put it in writing!!!  

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Lucky Lady

Me, that is.  

I am lucky to love and to be loved.  
I am lucky to have been loved.
I am lucky to have a roof over my head and any necessity I should need.  

I am lucky to have good health care.  
I am lucky to live in a community that cares about it's members.  
I am lucky to have choices.  

On Wednesday of this week, I went into the hospital for a scheduled hysterectomy.  At 45 I felt young.  I have dealt with too heavy periods for about five years.  In December, I went in to have an uterine ablation.  It looked like I had a polyp.  The ablation turned into a D&C and the polyp a fibroid.  It was a large, pendiculated fibroid growing low and filling up almost completely my uterus.  I have tried many alternatives for my heavy periods over the years.  All would help for a while but no permanent solutions.  In December my doctor told me that surgery to remove the fibroid would be as invasive as a hysterectomy and that the fibroid would grow back.  Most fibroids go unnoticed.  Those few who cause problems can cause lower back pain, pressure on organs, rectum or bladder problems, numbness of extremities, nausea and basic pregnancy symptoms.  

The positive is that most always, fibroids are NOT cancerous.  

My surgery went very well.  I had a LAVH or Laparoscopically Assisted Vaginal Hysterectomy.  My ovaries were left in place.  My fibroid, and two other very large ones were removed!  :)  

I did have a little problem with my blood pressure.  The stress of the surgery caused my BP to rapidly shoot up and it did not want to come down.  I had the same sort of problem when I gave birth to my oldest.  I was advised to get to the hospital way sooner the second time around...to get an epidural.  When I hit 40 I was diagnosed with hypertension and have been on meds ever since.  Good diet, exercise (could be more), and monitoring my BP at home are part of my daily routine.  

Originally I was scheduled to come home on Thursday.  By 11 am on Thursday, I could tell things were not okay.  I called my husband and told him to not bring the kids up but that I needed him and I was having a bad day.  He came and ended up spend the night with me.  It was a boring time for him.  I barely moved.  I was in and out of sleep.  The nurses came in every 30 minutes or so to check my BP.  My meds were being adjusted constantly.  Finally at about 2am I turned the corner.  

By Friday morning my BP was at a better rate and the doctors agreed I could go home.  I was nervous to leave, but wanted my familiar, secure setting.  Early afternoon I was at home in my own pj's and bed.  My kids came home that day and greeted me with happy smiles.  It was what I needed.  

I am happy to report that my BP is so much better this morning!  

I am lucky, and I know it.  

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Fooled Me!

It's Tuesday and that means time to play along with Steph, from Steph's Cup of Tea Blog!  This week her chosen color is Yellow.  Specifically, Mellow Yellow.  

I keep my camera tucked in my purse because you just never know when you are going to see something neat or bizarre.  

Last Summer I saw this VW driving around town.  I love how bug owners let their personalities show!  
For the past week I have been trying to figure out what I would say about the color yellow.  I do like it.  It's sunshiny, happy, fresh and the color of most early spring wildflowers.  When I remembered this photo I thought it would be perfect.  After all, I thought, didn't the Beatles sing Mellow, Yellow?  

I looked on Wikipedia.com and found my answer:  Mellow Yellow
I was fooled!  It was Donovan in 1966 who sang this classic.  From my research it looks like he was friends with the Beatles and that Paul McCartney did sing back ground on that track.  

Thanks again Steph, for encouraging me to look closer at things!  

Monday, May 18, 2009

Crocheting! My Latest Attempts...

I still need to weave in the ends, but here's my latest project!  I finished it yesterday on the ride home from Augusta.  

Update notes:  My son's Sci-Oly team placed 21st out of 60 teams in the nation.  Not bad!  

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Day in Augusta, GA...

Yesterday my husband and I spent the day in our car traveling to Augusta, GA. We came to support our son who happens to be a member of the State of Indiana High School Science Champion team. Today is the National competition! Tomorrow we'll travel home.

Most of the science competition events are study events and therefore not viewable by spectators. We did go watch and cheer on our son at his viewable event. And then, while we were waiting my husband and I shared the day exploring! Here's just a a taste of what we did...

Walked to an outdoor amphitheatre. The view is across the river is of the South Carolina part of Augusta. I didn't realise the town spread out like it does!

On this elevated walkway we found a true sundial!

At lunch we had Fried Green Tomatoes!
Had my photo with a statue of James Brown. Bummer, even he was taller than me! :)

Other things we did: Toured Woodrow Wilson's boyhood home, ate more great, local chow, went to a local festival, looked at antiques and walked through a car show...one of those where all the cars are super shiny and have the hoods raised...
Augusta is a very fun place to visit! I'd come back here in a heartbeat. Good food, friendly souls, and lots to do and see. In just a few minutes my husband and I will head back downtown to see the awards ceremony from today's events. Win or lose, we are proud parents of our science guy and his teammates!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

My Mother's Day, 2009

In years past I have not had very nice Mother's Day.  They just never seem to live up to any of my expectations.  My teens are 14 and 16 years old.  They are typical kids.  

This year I decided to at least be acknowledged by those said teens.  A few weeks before MD I forwarded each of my children an e-mail that I had received from Kodak.com.  It was an ad about getting a free picture photo card for your mom on Mother's Day.  That was Hint #1.  

Hint #2 was more direct.  On Wednesday of last week I point blank asked, "Does anyone know what Sunday is?"  My oldest responded, "May 10th" with a very straight face.  Ha, ha, I didn't laugh.  

Hint #3 was a visible message:  On Friday, I went out and bought two hanging flower baskets for my MIL from her two sons:  my husband and my BIL who lives in Maryland.  The flower baskets were set out in plain view.  Of course I asked, "did you see the flower baskets I got Grandma for Mother's Day?"  

Well, on Saturday my hubby decided to go buy me a MD gift.  I reminded him I am NOT his mother.  He understands that, but I think he was feeling guilty because I was out doing yard work pulling weeds and filling up my broken yard cart.  Broken by him just a few weeks ago as he was using it to haul wood.  It has been duct taped back together, but really won't survive in it's present condition for very long.  

After I finished my weeding for the day, I decided to play a bit!  You can see that my new cart is very sturdy!  I am on the sledding hill in my in-laws backyard!  :)
On Sunday, I woke up to happy children.  My daughter made me breakfast...a hash brown.  (Note to self:  Need to work on cooking with that child this summer.)  She was very excited for me to open my gift from her.  She is my crafting soul!  She made me this bird house from a gourd she got last fall while we were pumpkin gathering.  Isn't it so cool!?  I LOVE the colors and the leaf prints on it.  

My son actually left the house on Saturday afternoon to go shopping by himself.  Oh the freedom of a driver's license!  I did say a little pray that my van would return safely.  I smiled as he left thinking most of the college students were long gone for the summer and there were fewer cars on the roads now.  

He bought me some incense and a card (showcased here). 
  Another sweetheart!  
For dinner last night I made one of his favorite dishes; homemade individual chicken pot pies.  :)
The topper for Mother's Day was that I had a chance to rest in the hammock my daughter and husband put up before we headed to Brown County State Park to have a cookout with my in-laws.  We had my MIL's favorite meal that night...hot dogs on the grill!  

I hope all my friends who are mom's had as nice of a day too.  Please feel free to use my hinting techniques in the future if you need.  

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Feelin' Blue?

I decided to play along with an acquaintance of mine, Stephanie of Steph's Cup of Tea Blog and write about her color of the week:  Robin's Egg Blue

Blue happens to be one of my favorite colors!  The little glass cup above sits near my kitchen window.  I fell in love with it when my husband's mom brought it home from his great-aunt's house about 15 years ago.  My MIL thought I might like a little trinket from this aunt's house, as the aunt had passed away and her nieces were left with the task of going through her things.  I don't know anything about this cup, but fell in love with it's shape.  It looks like a tree stump with leaves wrapped around it.  
When I looked closer at my surroundings I found a few other blue, but not Robin's Egg Blue, things in my possession.  In the past year I needed to get a new cell phone and iPod.  Since there are color choices now that weren't available so many moons ago, I decided to get blue of each of these things!  And then I have just a hint of blue in my counter tops so I went for blue glass canisters.  I have a few vases and pottery pieces too, but again no Robin's Egg Blue.  

To me blue is so relaxing.  In my brain when I feel stressed,  I capture the color of the prettiest ocean scene, gorgeous tropical blue waves with white sandy beaches and an orange glow of the sun rising up on the horizon!  Then I smile a big, contented smile.  

Wild breeds that do NOT play well together!

Last week 
 I saw 
this guy 
out in 
backyard.  The kids were about ready to head to the bus stop (which is through our backyard) and were a tad apprehensive when I pointed out our visitor.  

As I went out to take his photo the door sound scared him off.  My husband watched from inside and as I went out onto our back deck this fellow scurried under it!  

When my kids were well on their way to school, I watched as my friend sauntered out from his hiding place.  Now was my chance!  I snuck out my front door and made my way to the back deck.  I've read that skunks are timid, can't see very well and are afraid of people.  Their first response is to run; NOT to spray.  After about 15 minutes this guy went on his way thorough my in-laws backyard.  
On Saturday night I was reading a book inside my living room.  As I faced my back windows my lap-cat, Jack, noticed something outside moving around.  As I peered through the window I watched the skunk mosey out from under our deck once again.  There is a huge dug out hole under our deck...I guess we know who's roosting there now!  The skunk went about his business snacking on the grub worms in our lawn.  I watched him become spooked several times.  Each scare caused him to run back under our deck.  After a while I noticed something else coming into my backyard.  What I thought was the neighbors cat turned out to be a raccoon.  The raccoon must have a claim on the grubs in our backyard because he went after the skunk.  Both furry fellows ran under our deck.  I didn't see either reemerge, but I did smell a telltale sign of someone who was unhappy!  

Thursday, May 07, 2009

My Cinco de Mayo Feast...for the Belly and the Eyes!

On my menu:  Guacamole, Salsa and chips.  Rice and beans.  And for the main course:  Stacked Green Chili & Grilled Chicken Enchiladas.  
Fresh ingredients!  I spent the afternoon chopping, dicing and mashing.  
A former restaurant in town used to make this fresh salsa that I fell in love with.  It's really my favorite kind of salsa and worth spending the time making.  It tastes even better several hours later (or a day, if you can) after the flavors marry.  
I wanted a picture of the Enchiladas before I topped them off and baked them.  Once they are cooked you can't see the layers as well.  
My friend, Sweetcakes, gave me this recipe.  I wanted something different and this was great!  But I forgot to take a photo of the Enchiladas topped with sour creme and fresh cilantro!  Oh well, too late now...they WERE yummy!  

A Response...

I got an e-mail response today from my Governor's Office.  Exactly one month after I sent my e-mail.  

Two weeks ago I actually sent a snail mail copy of my e-mail since I felt like my e-mail was probably NOT going to be addressed.  

I did NOT get my pocket knife back.  And I am sure my state's security thinks I'm a nut case.  

At least I feel like my voice was heard.  

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


...of happiness!  
Last fall I mentioned putting up my old Bluebird box at my new house.  

In early April, I noticed a pair of Bluebirds going in and out of my nesting box.  I don't know if they are the same pair I photographed last fall, but this twosome did like what they found.  They started building a nest!  A week later we had an egg!  Bluebirds lay one egg a day and in the end we(my FIL and I) had five tiny little blue eggs.  
Bluebirds commonly build their nests with pine needles.  The mossy layer was from a pair of Carolina Chickadees.  The Chickadees were trying to stake a claim, but the Bluebirds won out this time.  

Fourteen days after the last egg was laid; the babies hatched!  My FIL and I were the first to check the box.  
Nesting box etiquette says the box can only check for another week.  After day 12 the babies are big enough to be spooked from the nest.  But they aren't big enough to fend for themselves and I don't want to encourage any predators.  

I will try to get at least one or two more pictures of these infants in the next week.  


Friday, May 01, 2009

May is National Brain Tumor Awareness Month

It was three years ago today when I found out that my mom had two brain tumors and needed to have immediate surgery.  

Tomorrow would have been my mom and Art's wedding anniversary.  It would have been 22 years for them.  I remember being with my mom three years ago as she woke up after surgery.  What a way to spend one's anniversary.  

I am not sad today.  No tears.  Last year, two Illinois State Representatives tried to have May proclaimed  as National Brain Tumor Awareness Month.  I bet with Senator Kennedy's situation soon more people will call attention to this disease.  In a few weeks the second annual Coach Hep Cancer Challenge will happen here in town.  I still have my red laces from last year.  I hope all who can will support Brain Cancer/Tumor Awareness.  If Brain Cancer touches your life it will change you mentally(no pun intended) and emotionally.  I meant as a bystander too.  Maybe that's a biased statement and any cancer/disease that touches someone changes them and their loved ones.  But I personally know that if BC enters your life it cannot be cured right now.  A lot of other disease seem to have more hope with them than BC.  A few months ago I ran across another cause site that sells Grey T-Shirts to support Brain Cancer Awareness.  I seriously thought about getting a shirt that says "I wear Grey for my Mom."  But I couldn't do it.   

I keep asking myself why?  Why couldn't I buy it?  The answer, I think, is because I am moving on.  I don't want to be doom and gloom.  I want to remember the good and not be dragged down by sadness.  Then that saying I use to say pops in my brain, "Life's too short!"  I will choose to suppose a cause, but to Enjoy Life!