Thanksgiving in Florida

I'm sitting in a motel room in Bryon, Georgia, watching the BAMA/Auburn game (sort of) and working on my computer. Jess, of course, is avidly keeping track of the action.

My laptop is being obstreperous. I made the mistake of telling Debra what a good computer it's been, except for needing a new lamp for the LCD screen display, and now I have two problems. First off, it doesn't want to stay on electric power and flips back over to battery power, which means the screen dims, and of course, the battery is losing power.

Secondly, the "n" key isn't working right now. Most of the time it doesn't work at all and I have to go back and hit the key HARD to put the "n" in a word. Or if it does put the "n" in the words, it sometimes puts in TWO of them. ARGH!

But about our Thanksgiving visiting - it's really too bad we have to spend more time on the road than we can spend visiting. We started for Florida on Tuesday, and got there on Wednesday afternoon, so we did have some time to visit that day.

Thursday, of course, was Thanksgiving. Dave and Debra had a house full of people with their six, Dave's mother (Lucille), sister and brother-in-law (Becky & Dave), plus Jess, Randy and myself. Emily's boyfriend (Ryan) was also there for a while, and also Lee's girlfriend (Cheyenne). Like I said, a full house!

We had a good time with lots of good food. We also played a couple of games. Dave emceed a Thanksgiving Trivia Game. It had a lot of interesting facts. Some I knew, some were a complete surprise. Becky and Dave B. tied to win that one.

Then we played another game Debra worked on. She had trouble getting us all to do the prep work and get our facts in ahead of time to her... we were supposed to come up with a fact we thought most people wouldn't know about us. She finally got a fact from everyone, read them, and we had to guess who we thought did that particular thing.

That was pretty interesting! My fact was that I had spent a summer working in an insane asylum (not a patient mind you, a worker)! Jess's fact was that when he was in high school he was selected as a page for the state legislature. Cool, huh?

Most of us were lost, and only figured out 3 or 4 facts for the 12 people playing. Ryan was on a roll and got 6 right, so he won that game!

It was an all-around very nice day. Dave has a great family, and of course, so does Debra, ha!

Friday was a super neat day. Dave and Debra borrowed a pontoon boat from friends, and the adults - Dave, Debra, Randy, Jess and me - spent a big part of the day on the river.

I have pictures of scenery, birds, turtles AND some alligators! I'll get those ready once we get home and put them up on the Rural Ramblings site. I think everyone had a good time tooling around on the water and seeing the sights. I know Jess and I really enjoyed it! I'm paying for it today, and the pain in my side has been giving me fits, but it was worth it.

Jess also got to go to one of Ryan's football games last night, a regional play-off, and they WON! GOOOOO RYAN!!!! I wish I could have gone, but Jess discouraged me from trying it. He didn't think I'd fare too well, and he's probably right. I hated to miss it though. I'm not a sports fan, but I'm a fan of our super-duper grandkids and would have liked to be able to cheer him on!

We went over to Sanfords this morning before we left to say good-bye, as did Randy. It was so nice to see Sanfords and Randy this week, but unfortunately, it was time to get started home. Jess has some work to do this coming week, and then the next week he'll be having surgery.

There never seems to be enough time for the fun stuff!

Happy Birthday Jesse!

Happy Birthday Jesse B. King!

Today is Jesse’s birthday. We celebrated by going out and finding him a chair he can get in and out of after he has knee surgery. Somehow, that doesn't sound like much of a party, does it?

We found a pub stool with arms, and of a height to fit the criteria for ease of sitting and standing up from it. I’m just not so sure how comfortable it’s going to be. Anyway, we bought it, and Jess put it together this afternoon. (We're not talking high class furniture here.)

We also looked at pecan trees. Jess has wanted another for some time so I thought that would be a good birthday present. We went on down to Bennett’s Nursery while we were out and checked out their supply. They don’t have a lot of pecan trees, but they have 3 or 4 varieties. The only problem is figuring out which one to buy that will pollinate the one we already have.

Jess was shocked at the prices. I wasn’t. I had a pretty good idea what a bigger tree would cost. We didn’t buy one today, but only because we wanted to double check what kind the survivor of the two we had is.

Otherwise, it’s been a pretty quiet birthday for Jess. He got a lot of phone calls from people wishing him happy birthday, but the real fun will come later when we visit in Florida over Thanksgiving.

Now, to reminisce about Jess’s childhood, and just to prove there is at least a slight possibility he really did walk uphill in the snow, both ways to school, and in his bare feet, here’s a picture of him and his younger brother, Kenneth.

And since that doesn’t show their faces very well, here’s another picture of two cute little boys:

Both are now capable of senior moments. My, how time flies.


Amazing Grace

When the kids were visiting last week, we got to talking about music in church, and how so many churches these days are using worship teams and all contemporary music. As it happens, the church they attend uses a mix, which I think is good.

However, I will admit that although I like a lot of today's music, I have a special fondness for the classic hymns. A friend sent me a link to this video, and it really touched my heart.

I love Amazing Grace played on bagpipes, and though all the guys are wonderful singers, the power of the bass singer as he belted out his solo verse was awesome. I'm thinking if you can watch that video and it doesn't touch your heart, you need a heart check-up!

And I'm also wondering how many contemporary compositions will have the staying power of some of these classics. One hundred years from now, will anyone still be singing them? I don't know, but I'd bet some of these classics will still be around.

Amazing Grace... how sweet the sound!

Joint Camp

Today Jess and I attended Joint Camp. It was a long and tiring day, complicated by the fact I also had to get my yearly mammogram today.

We had to be at Huntsville Hospital by 8am, with class starting at 8:15pm. Some traffic snarl-ups made us a little late for eight, but we still made it before time for class to actually start.

I’m glad my other doctoring stuff was postponed until later so I could go with him today. It’s good for both of us to know what he needs with this surgery. They explained things like what kind of clothing he’ll need in the hospital – they do NOT wear hospital gowns except to surgery. The rest of the time knee patients wear shorts and tennis or walking shoes - and shirts of course!

They also explained what to expect each day from the day of surgery to the day of discharge. Barring complications, Jess should be in the hospital for surgery Monday (December 8th), and be discharged sometime the following Thursday (December 11th).

From there he’ll go across the street to the rehab center. This is a plus because most patients – 99% according to them - have to book into a nursing home instead for a couple of weeks due to insurance changes these days. You can only get into the hospital’s rehab center for special cases. Fortunately, having both knees done at once qualifies as needy enough for insurance/ Medicare to pay for rehab in the hospital..

Other tidbits we learned:
  • All the rooms are private rooms.

  • There’s physical therapy three times a day.

  • No crossing of legs or ankles for the first few months until there’s complete healing.

  • No shower for two weeks after surgery (that’s why they give them private rooms).

We were also told there are three kinds of anesthesia available, depending on your surgery and other conditions, from general anesthesia to spinal blocks and epidurals. (Jess informed me tonight he wants “general amnesia” –- I think that was a Freudian slip indicating he doesn’t want to remember anything about the surgery, ha!)

They explained what equipment he’ll need, like a walker, cane, and commode seat. To get rid of throw rugs and to make sure he has a chair with arms high enough for him to reach while standing so he can get leverage himself into the chair without damaging his new knees.

We heard from volunteers, people who've had knee replacements, the nurse in charge of the floor, and one of the nurse anesthetists. After they got through all their explanations, they did one on one interviews.

While he was being interviewed by the nurse, I walked a couple of blocks to get to the Diagnostic Center and have my mammogram. Jess picked me up there when he finished his interview, and we went to lunch, then over to the Medical Mall for him to get all his preoperative paperwork and lab work done.

As I said, it was a very long day, but now we have a much better idea of what we need to do ahead of time to be prepared for surgery, what to expect while he’s in the hospital and the rehab center, and how to make it easier for him once he gets home.

He was the only one there today having both knees done at once. It’s going to make it more difficult for him in some ways, but also has some advantages.

I'm thinking it’s going to be quite an experience!

Here And Gone

It seems like Richard, Chrystie & Ellie just got here, and they’re already gone again.

They had a long day of travel to get here, and are having an even longer day of travel to get back home today. They had to go through Detroit this time, and then to Minneapolis, with 4-hour layovers in both places. I’m sure they will be glad to make it back home and be in their own beds tonight.

In-between those two days of travel, it was great having them here visiting. They were on the go a lot, making the rounds to see old friends. Kind of reminded me of how it was when the boys were young and we’d go back to visit in West Virginia, and had two families’ worth of relatives we needed to see.

The weather didn’t cooperate while they were here which was a bummer. Not just one day of rain, but every day of rain. Not always a lot, but enough to aggravate my pain levels.

The pain didn’t keep me from playing with Ellie every chance I got however. I have to pack as much as I can into the 2 or 3 visits back and forth a year. She’s totally cute, and totally precious.

And I’m sad.
Sad all most of our family members live so far away.
And sad I’m not in better shape to enjoy visits and be a better mom and grandma.


It’s been a week since election day. There’s no doubt I’m glad the elections are FINALLY over and we’re done with all those ads on tv, but I still wonder about a lot of things. Mostly I wonder how the newly elected will fulfill their campaign promises. Democrat, Independent, or Republican, they all have a lot of challenges to face in the coming years.

A politician thinks of the next election. A statesman, of the next generation. - James Freeman Clarke

For one thing, they’ve got a career choice to make. Each must decide if they are going to be a politician or a statesman. Unfortunately, I’m afraid the choices are actually long since made, and we have a plethora of politicians, and a scant number of statesmen.

Indeed, I had to wonder when I looked at the ballot, where are the good choices at election time? Where is someone with that magical combination of statesmanship, good moral values, good sense, vitality, and brains to run the country well?

We always want the best man to win an election. Unfortunately, he never runs. - Will Rogers

Or maybe it’s just hearing about the good ones. Did you hear much about the other people running for President of the U.S. besides McCain and Obama? There were a several other names on the ballot, but I sure didn’t hear beans about them beforehand. Who knows if they would have been any good?

No, it was all about the Republican and Democratic candidates, pretty much end of story. Candidates from another party haven’t got much of a chance, no matter how good a choice they might be for president. They don’t have the monetary resources to buy airtime and other ads, and the media isn’t going to bother covering their campaigns. They’re going where they think there’s a BIG story.

So that leaves us to choose between the two ruling parties who have a vested interest in staying in power. Given that pattern of maintaining the status quo, I know some who didn’t vote because they felt like it wasn’t worth electing any of the candidates, that it was just trying to choose the lesser evil, so why bother?

Constantly choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil. - Jerry Garcia

Maybe there’s some merit in the NOTA platform of one candidate running for Tennessee State Senate. As in, we don’t like any of the above candidates, so we vote for None Of The Above. I’m sure there were a lot of people looking at a lot of different races and wondering who on earth was worth voting for, and if given the chance, might have checked a box saying NONE OF THE ABOVE. Try again. Reboot. Start over. There’s got to be some better choices!

Granted, there were some people totally enthusiastic about the candidate they were supporting. But there were also a lot of widely divergent viewpoints, for instance, as to how people felt about the candidates for President.

Some people thought McCain would do a good job, respected his past service, and felt he was sincere in wanting to do what was best for the country. Others thought he’d be a bad mistake, and shuddered at the thought of McCain/Palin at the helm. Then there are some who just had a knee-jerk reaction and voted for the opposite party, looking for change and it didn’t matter who it was.

But the reactions I’ve heard about Obama, well, let’s just say there was a wider variation there. MUCH wider.

From the blogs and articles I’ve read, the people I talked to, and other media sources, the reaction has been everything from wholeheartedly embracing the idea of him as president, to those who are not just concerned, but actually downright scared to think of him running the country.

At one extreme there are people talking about Obama like he’s some kind of Martin Luther King, Jr., George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Rosa Parks and savior rolled up into one fantastic package, while others wonder about his past associations and mega-liberal voting record, and at the other extreme end, there are even some who so totally mistrust him they compare him to Hitler.

Overall, we seem to be a widely divided nation. Looking at the map of how the states populations voted, it looks like the south and most of the middle parts of the U.S. are in one group, leaning more towards the conservative, while in New England and the western U.S. folks seem to be of a more liberal bent.

Map of Electoral Votes

I wonder if we can we find a middle ground that will be acceptable for the most part to most people. Or are our viewpoints of what would be the right and wrong things to do so far apart as to make that impossible?

Like I said, I wonder about a lot of things. Mostly I wonder where all of this will lead, and what the politicians will do to this country in the next 4 years. I wish I could say I was optimistic about changes on the whole for the better in this country, but I don’t really hold out much hope for that. I wish I felt the economy, world view, ecology, human rights and many more issues would be vastly improved in the coming years.

But I’m uneasy. I don’t think we’ve seen the light at the end of the tunnel yet.

Latest Update

Latest Update on Family Happenings . . .

It’s been a while since I posted an update on family happenings, so here we go!

First off, Jess and I had a great trip to West Virginia. The train trip wasn’t as good as the first one we took, mostly due to the mix-up in NOT getting a domed car, but we still enjoyed it. I didn’t get many pictures, but there’s a few on the Rural Ramblings site.

We traveled on up north to Maria, Scott & Caleb’s house the following Sunday and visited. Dad came down after church, so we were all there and as the small-town columnists would say, “A good time was had by all.” We went out to supper at a new steakhouse in the Parkersburg area, then Jess and I followed Dad up to his house and spent the night.

The next day the three of us headed over to Buckhannon, WV. Dad had expressed an interest in seeing the West Virginia State Wildlife Center, and that sounded like fun to us too, so off we went. It was a pretty neat place, and since it was a weekday in October, we were the ONLY visitors. Cool!

Yeah, it was cool both literally, and figuratively, ha! I got an extra pair of pants out of the suitcase in the trunk while we in the parking lot, and pulled them on right there, before we started out on the trail. If you want to read more about the Wildlife Center, I posted about it over on Rural Ramblings.

We stayed overnight in Buckhannon, and imagine our surprise when the next morning it was snowing! We so rarely see snow anymore, we just hadn't thought about seeing any in October.

Since the weather was cold and blustery, we ditched our idea of going to Jackson Mills, and opted to visit a glass blowing place nearby instead, Hinkle Glass.

They have a big gallery full of their work, and Hinkle and two fellow workers, do an amazing job blowing glass. Once again, we were the only people there. We enjoyed watching the guys at work for quite some time, and chatting with them. They were making Christmas ornaments while we were there. I bought one as a souvenir, plus a little glass mushroom that caught my fancy.

We drove home in more snow than we’ll likely see down here in way southern Tennessee for the rest of the year.

Dad treated us to supper at The Fireside in St. Marys. They have some really good eats there!

We headed home the next day. It was tough leaving Dad behind. I wish we lived closer. I’m not much use to him when he needs help since I’m so far away. Having our families flung all over in two countries is a real bummer sometimes. It's hard to get around to seeing everyone when they're in different directions, like Canada, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Florida, and also try to squeeze in a little "just us" vacation time.

Since we’ve been home it’s back to the routine, plus getting ready for company. Richard, Chrystie and Ellie will be flying into Huntsville late Tuesday evening and staying for a few days. I’ve been making sure sleeping places are cleared out, and Jonathan and I are going grocery shopping later this afternoon. The kitchen has a case of 'Mother Hubbard’s cupboards' at the moment!

Now for more people specifics….

Jess: He has been super busy at work. A couple of people called him while we were still in West Virginia, so he was busy the minute he went back to the office, and is still swamped. He’s trying to get as much done as he can before he has knee surgery December 8th.

He got the permanent crown for his lower tooth, but wouldn’t you know, even with a mold the lab didn’t get it right and even with lots of grinding and finagling, the dentist could NOT get Jess’s lower partial to fit back with the new crown in place. So they’re making a new lower partial plate, and he won’t have it until Wednesday morning. In the meantime, he’s eating lots of SOFT food since he doesn’t have any bottom molars!

Me: I’ve been working on the house and calendars. That about sums it up, ha! I plan on getting back to “work” work after the Canadian contingent’s visit.

I have, however, spent a fair amount of time working on computers. I tried and tried again to get the sound back on the desktop, but only got as far as an occasional system sound (beep). Jonathan has looked too, and at one point we tried installing new drivers, but nothing we’ve done has got it working again. It’s about time to call in professional help I guess.

For a while I was without sound on either computer. My laptop got goobered up while we were traveling and wouldn’t connect to the internet. No YouTube! No tutorials! I spent several hours working on that, and finally found a discussion on a tech forum that gave me the right info on how to fix that particular error. It took hours and hours of frustrating searching before I found out how to fix it, and maybe five minutes to actually correct the problem once I knew how. I am not a good tech person!

Jonathan: He’s getting ready to go on night shift this week. During the Christmas shopping season, Toys R Us gets in a lot of trucks full of goodies. It’s too busy during the day to try to have someone stocking shelves, but the regular night guys don’t have the necessary security clearance to go in the “R Zone” where the electronics and games are. That means they have to put someone on nights for a while to keep up with the new stock coming in, and Jonathan always volunteers because it’s better pay and less hassle.

And there you have it, the latest happenings from our part of the world!

Internet Hoaxes, Urban Legends & Gullible People

Okay, I will confess, I’ve been known to be a little too gullible at times. And I will admit when you first start using the internet, everyone falls for some hoax or urban legend. But then, after that you should know better.

I guess it doesn't work that way. What I see happening with internet hoaxes just amazes me. Otherwise intelligent people get all excited and fall for all kinds of things. Just this morning I had the same e-petition sent to me by two different people, and at least one of them I know to be quite intelligent, asking me to sign this petition and send it on.

Here’s a sample of this particular urban legend:

  • "Removal of Joel Osteen, Donald Hillard, Michael & Dee Dee Freeman, Joyce Meyer, Charles Stanley, David Jeremiah, Floyd Flake, Paul & Deborah Morton, William Watley, Zachary Tims, and other pastors from the airwaves. An organization has been granted a Federal Hearing on the same subject by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in Washington , D.C. Their petition, Number 2493, would ultimately pave the way to stop the reading of the gospel of our Lord and Savior, on the airwaves of America . They got 287,000 signatures to back their stand! If this attempt is successful, all Sunday worship services being broadcast on the radio or by television will be stopped. This group is also campaigning to remove all Christmas programs and Christmas carols from public schools! You as a Christian can help!

    We are praying for at least 1 million signatures. This would defeat their effort and show that there are many Christians alive, well and concerned about our country. As Christians, we must unite on this."

Now if this were true, it would be something to get excited about. But people! This is an OLD hoax with just a little updating of names. I mean, come on, it’s been going around in one form or another for years.

First off, Petition No. 2493 was filed in December of 1974 by Jeremy D. Lansman and Lorenzo W. Milam asking the FCC to inquire into the operating practices of stations licensed to religious organizations, and not to grant any new licenses for new noncommercial educational broadcast stations until the inquiry had been completed. The FCC denied this petition on August 1, 1975. (Do the math, that's over 33 years ago!)

So right off the bat, you can see this isn’t valid. And other questions come to mind. Just WHAT organization is supposed to be filing this petition? This email doesn’t say. Seems to me if the writer knows the organization has 287,000 signatures to back their attempt, they ought to know who is making the attempt.

You’re instructed to send the email to a certain address when there are 1000 signatures. Which 1000 signatures? With people passing it on to several others, each time it gets sent, the top section of names remains the same as the bottom is constantly changing.

Furthermore, the email address listed to send it to is NOT a valid email address. I checked it out, and got this message, “Permanent Failure: 550_Requested_action_not_taken:_mailbox_unavailable” Frankly, that's the way it usually is.

So this isn’t a valid petition to the FCC at this time. And there isn’t a valid group trying to do this. And there isn’t a valid email address to send the petition to even when there it reaches 1000 names.

But in the meantime, 827 people had signed this petition before I got it. Yes, 827 people!

And you know what REALLY gets me???? Not one of those 827 people took time to THINK FOR THEMSELVES and check to see if this was for real. I’ve mentioned before that I concede to being fed up with people too lazy to think for themselves.

Seriously folks! Are we all too gullible, too lazy, or what? Who uses the internet today that doesn’t know how to use Google? Type in “FCC Petition 2493” and see how many pages of results come up saying this is a HOAX, an URBAN LEGEND, it’s not true. It wouldn't take anyone more than a few seconds to verify for themselves if this email was for real. But 827 people didn't bother to take the time, plus who knows how many more that weren't on the particular list of signatures in the email I got.

Furthermore, an internet petition is just a waste of time anyway. Check out Snopes on the subject. It may make people feel good to sign such a petition and pass it on, like they're actually doing something, but that's an illusion. Even if the petition does eventually get sent to a real person, and further, a person who is in the position to actually DO anything about it, how are they supposed to verify the signatures are for real? Anyone could set down and make up a bunch of names and send it on.

If you want to tilt at windmills, fine. Read Don Quixote. But quit wasting your time passing on useless e-petitions, especially those that have no basis in reality. And maybe, just maybe, take the time to think for yourself instead of blindly following what someone else says as gospel truth.

My New Look

Several people have asked for a picture of me since I got my hair cut. I don't know, maybe they have an invasion of mice and need something to print out to scare them away or something. For whatever reason, here's the only picture I've had taken since I got my hair whacked off.

Jess took this picture of Dad and me right before we left to head back home. That's Dad's living room in the background. You can see the Ohio River through the patio door behind Dad.

At any rate, for those of you curious about my new look, ta da! There ya go.