Saturday, March 29, 2014

March 30th + 7 Things

Grateful & happy for:
  1. Mary Engelbreit
  2. Daffodils
  3. Umbrellas (yes! We had rain!)
  4. Haircut
  5. Free cardboard boxes
  6. Coupons
  7. Hearing

Friday, March 28, 2014

Movin' On Up ---

      I am preparing to move.  Moving is NOT my favorite thing but something I have done quite a few times so I will just grit my teeth and do it.  If you have a move in your future here are some tips I have used in the past:
  • Pack a "first night" box.  Carry this box in the car with you, whether you are moving across town or across the country.  Always know where 4 things are--- this box, your purse, your cell phone  and your car keys. In this box pack what you need to take a bath, fix your bed and have a bedtime snack.  If you take medication pack it in this box, and add some pain reliever for an aching back.  Okay, you may need more than one box but put them in the car and keep up with them!  Mark (Decorate!) them so clearly you can not miss them should you set them down in a pile of other boxes.  First things I would pack would be toilet tissue, shower curtain & hooks, bath soap, a hand towel, a bath towel for each person, deodorant and toothpaste & toothbrushes.  I would add a sponge and scrubbing bubbles to clean the tub. If you will have a mattress your first night then pack bedding.  If not then pack sleeping bags and pillows. Pack a change of clothes, your pjs and your cell phone charger.  Believe me, on moving day you will just want some toilet tissue, a bath, a place to sleep and something to eat.  Moving is stressful.  Pack a treat or whatever you will appreciate most for a bedtime snack.  You will be exhausted.  For me it will be an apple, a package of chocolate covered graham cracker cookies, a big jug of ice water and a glass.  A book to read at bedtime is a must for me.  If you have a pet don't forget a water bowl and a day or two of pet food.
  • Next, fix a first day box.  Mark clearly!  Shelf paper, scissors, hammer, paper towels, disposable cups, plates, spoons/forks, napkins, cleaning supplies.  I would pack cereal and bowls, bananas and make sure I picked up milk, OJ and ice to put in the fridge at the new place first thing. 
  • If you are buying packing boxes they should be fine.  If you are collecting boxes from a grocery store or something I would suggest spraying them with insect spray then letting them air before you pack.
  • Duck tape comes in a variety of colors.  Pick a color for each room and as you pack a box put a strip of colored tape around the corners of the box. Such as red for bathroom, blue for kitchen, etc.   The idea is you can glance at the color and know exactly what room that box goes to for unpacking.   Just enough to see--- you don't have to wrap the entire box.  Do not put the colored tape on the top of the box.  When boxes are stacked you won't see it.  Put it about midway down the sides.  THIS IS THE ONE TIP THAT WILL MAKE YOUR MOVE EASY. Let's say you have 50 boxes to move and 4 of them have bathroom things in them.  If all the bathroom boxes have a red piece of tape you will find them in minutes.  (actually I have never bought duck tape.  I have used strips of colored construction paper and just taped them down with scotch tape because it is cheaper) 
  • If you have to work the week after you are moving pack a suitcase with everything you need for work for a week, just in case (clothes, shoes, badge!) because you may think you will unpack everything in a day but most likely you won't.
  • As you take down things from your walls (picture frames, etc) tape the nail or hanger to the back of the item. 
  • As you pack if you haven't used something in the past 6 months you probably don't need it.
 When I bought my  single wide trailer house and put it on a lot in 2009 I just knew this would be my last move. HA!  I moved in my home in October 2009 and then 6 months later I had a mental breakdown, found myself in the hospital, and was not able to return to my beloved full time job of twenty years.   Even I knew I was not capable of returning to work but I loved that job, I needed that job, I wanted to work.  The house I purchased when I could just afford it suddenly became unaffordable and I have been struggling every month since then. 
      I am grateful beyond words to have Social Security disability and a small retirement check. Grateful beyond words, but I have to watch every penny.  That is ok, I have had to watch every penny carefully ever since the first one I ever earned.  For instance, I got my hair cut today at Wal-Mart, $15 ... and it was my first haircut since September.  It was a splurge.  Today I just had to do it for me.  It was way overdue but since it fell on the list of wants, not requirements, it kept getting moved to the "if there is money left over" list.
     It has become increasingly more difficult to pay my house payment, utilities, buy prescription drugs, food, etc ... thus making a Wal-Mart haircut a big splurge and luxury.  Something has got to give so it is going to be the house.    It is ok, really.  I had been staying awake nights worrying over what the heck would I do if I had a plumbing bill, or the heater or A/C went out.  Frozen pipes would bankrupt me ... really.  You have no idea how I have prayed over my plumbing & heating this winter when on the news there would be reports of the cost of frozen pipes bursting and heaters failing in the middle of our coldest weather.  

     This is the plan:
  • get on the waiting list for a low income housing project apartment (done, and yay! I am poor enough that I qualify for reduced rent!!!)
  • sort through all my belongings and downsize (in progress)
  • have a garage sale (uh, I have no garage so I guess it is a yard sale)  and sell as much as I can of whatever I can live without to come up with money for the deposits & moving expenses (preparing for)
  •  be delighted to get a one bedroom approx. 700 square foot apartment (please let one come open next month, not next year because I am sinking fast) or a 2 bedroom (I qualify for both and will take whichever comes open first)
I have applied at only one apartment complex because:
  • it is only 2 years old thus the insulation, etc is great (keeping utilities very low) and it is safe, nice,  clean, and not scary (I am too old to live in scary places any more).  Appliances are nice, entire parking lot and grounds are well lit and well maintained.  Neighborhood is great
  • my daughter lives there and since we both drive old, decrepit vehicles we often have to rely on each other to share whichever is most drivable.  She and I both have chronic illnesses and take care of each other when we need help
  • it is close to my son and his family
  • a grocery store, drug store, bank, library are close by
       The only downside is that I will have to walk my dog, who has always had a doggy door and a yard.  Taking a dog out to do their business first thing in the morning, the last thing at night and during the heat of the day this summer is not something I am looking forward to, but I did it for years and having a dog is worth it.  Andy will have to go back to living with his mom (my daughter) and since Max and Gracie died I just have Zoe.  If I had more than one dog now I couldn't do it.

No, I am not making this up!

     No, I am not making this up!  I am watching 20/20 and just heard about a mom from Toad Suck, Arkansas (again, I am not making this up...that is really the town's name)... anyway, the mom was seen drinking alcoholic beverages and breastfeeding her 6 month old. At the same time.
      There is a bit of confusion.... mom says she had 2 beers, an off duty waitress said she was drinking mixed drinks with hard liquor.  Mom was arrested for endangering a child but the charges later dropped.  She maintains she was "sober enough to be breastfeeding." 
      Really?  Sober, maybe --- but breastfeeding while drinking??  I am no expert on drinking alcoholic beverages or breastfeeding but doesn't whatever the mom consumes cross over into the breast milk? 
       The waitress who called the police and turned the mom in? She lost her job.  So, if you saw someone with a drink in one hand and a baby breastfeeding in the other what would you do?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

It's A Bird! It's A Plane! It's.... An Osprey!


My granddaughter and I were out on the balcony of my daughter's apartment when we heard an aircraft flying over us.  It is possible you have never seen one of these, but we see them every now and then as they are built right here in Amarillo, Texas!  It went over us several times so I ran inside for my camera.  I have never seen the underside as close as it was today.
         It is an Osprey, made at the Bell Helicopter plant.  It is unique because it can fly as an airplane but it can also maneuver  like a helicopter.  Called a tiltroter, the military aircraft can fly as a fixed wing aircraft with the proprotors vertical and within 90 seconds they can be rotated so the proprotors are horizontal, as in the photo I took, and fly like a helicopter. They can carry more troops (24) than a helicopter but can land and lift off just like a helicopter.  A Marine Corps news release said the Osprey could “fly twice as fast, carry three times as much and fly four times the distance of the older CH-46E helicopter it is replacing.”  I hear they cost about $70 million each. 

Read more here:

Sunday, March 23, 2014

My Three Grandsons

These three, plus a sister, kept me busy this weekend, and I enjoyed every minute.

23 March 2014 --- 7 Things

Clean air
Clearance sales
Family dinners
Winnie the Pooh
Water colors
Dollar Tree Stores

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Answered Prayers

   This grandma is back in the babysitting business.  Well, not business, but my two youngest grandkids need a babysitter again and it took me about half a second to say yes when their daddy called me!  For this I have prayed mightily.  It may be for just four weeks, or indefinitely, who knows.  Their mom is thinking about being a stay at home mom, which is what I wanted in the first place.   Her boss will be away for 3 weeks so we know she will be working at least another month for sure. Taking the babies to a non-family member babysitter just did not work out so my daughter, Casey, and I will be happy to share taking care of the 4 month old and the 3 yr old.   I will be blogging less, more exhausted, and tremendously happy.  I had my two oldest grandsons all during spring break and they are coming again to spend the night with me tomorrow.  We plan to play Chickenfoot until we fall asleep in our chairs.  Could not ask for anything better.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Brain Exercises

     Does anyone else play online games?  I have been on, the Readers Digest site, for days now playing Mahjongg Dimensions.  I am an addict.  It is horrible.  I have to MAKE myself stop or I would never get anything done.  I just want to do one more.  For awhile I went to to play memory match.  Before that it was Farkle on facebook.  It used to be Words With Friends. A different kind of match game   A counselor told me they would be good for brain exercises.  Reading is a good brain exercise.   Well, my brain is getting plenty of exercise.  Now if I would just exercise my body more often.
     The ten p.m. news is on and the wind is blowing hard with gusts up to 54 mph.  To put in perspective, a category 1 Hurricane would have sustained winds starting at 74 mph. It has been blowing hard for about 5 hours so far. The weatherman just said at 7 a.m. tomorrow the winds will be blowing around 30 mph but that is calming down a lot from what they are right now.  That means all night long the wind will howl.  If the wind does not "howl" where you live it sort of sounds like a freight train going by real close, and can feel like it too.   It is hard for me to sleep with the wind howling ..... and I am hearing impaired.  I wore hearing aides for years but they have a short life and a big cost so I don't have any right now.  I just think if the wind is loud even to me what it must sound like to everyone else. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

So, I Had A Small Plumbing Problem.....

Spring break and I had my 2 oldest grandsons and my daughter here most of the time when the toilet gets plugged up.  Great. We plunged and plunged.  Nothing happened.  My daughter read online that to clear a clog you should squirt some Dawn in there, then add an entire box of baking soda and entire bottle of vinegar.  LOL!  I knew how soda and vinegar react to each other but I had never used an entire box & bottle before.  There was no water in the bowl so I didn't expect this many bubbles.   Like magic bubbles rose to the top in a flash like a science experience on steroids!!!  I ran to grab the camera!  I don't know if the bubbles will show up very well since they are snowy white but there were plenty of them.  In fact, they ran over the top and into the floor just a bit.  I just left it to "die down" some and went back to vacuuming and shampooing the sand from the dust storm out my living room carpet.  Multitasking always gets me in trouble.  When I finally went back to clean up the bubbles the baking soda grit had dried like sandpaper and stuck like cement to the seat, sides of the toilet, and the floor.  Note to self ... clean up messes immediately from now on!  And no, it did not clear the clog but my bowl was shiny clean!  My daughter finally went to a hardware store and for $10 got a plumber's auger that did the trick, and much cheaper than a plumber's visit.

Haboobs, Tornadoes, Hail, Microbursts - All Kinds of Fun Living Here

      Another tidbit or two about Texas Panhandle weather.  (and another long post) Ever heard of a microburst?  How about a haboob?
      Several years back I was working at the library when a microburst occurred.  A dry microburst, meaning it was not during a rainstorm.  The library parking lot was full of cars.  A patron came in and told us our windshields were shattered.  It was the most unbelievable site I have ever witnessed.  Just unreal.  Staff took turns going outside to look at the parking lot.  We were just stunned.  It looked like a gang had come through with baseball bats and took out some anger on our cars...staff as well as patrons.  Every car in the parking lot had either a shattered rear window, front window or both.  We would not have been so surprised if it had been during a hail storm but we were not having any weather to speak of at all.  No rain, just normal wind.  Lots of sunshine.   Meteorologists reported on TV that it was a microburst.  Evidently it just happened in the blink of an eye.  Amazing. That was the first time I had ever heard of one.

"Illustration of a microburst. The air moves in a downward motion until it hits ground level. It then spreads outward in all directions. The wind regime in a microburst is opposite to that of a tornado."
    Last year in May we had a humdinger of a hail storm.  According to hail up to the size of baseballs moved directly through the center of Amarillo causing wind and hail damage to approximately 75 percent of the residential property in the city (population approx 195,000).    “The losses from this hailstorm are comparable to Hurricane Dolly that struck South Padre Island back in 2008” said Mark Hanna, a spokesman for the Insurance Council of Texas.
      That hailstorm totaled my old van (which I still drive, it just isn't pretty) and battered my house.  You don't want to be standing outside when baseball size hail hits.
     Then we have tornadoes.  We also had tornado sirens going off during that big hail storm last May, and Al Roker on The Today Show mentioned us the next day.  They showed the local tv staff in the bathroom.  That is what you do here.  Tornado sirens go off, first you go out to look for the tornado then you go huddle in the bathroom if you think the tornado is real close, hoping the pipes in the walls will keep you safe.  (I know, what ARE we thinkin')  Plus, most bathrooms don't have windows so you won't be hit by flying glass.  Suppose to be the safest place in your house.  Strangely, not too many people here have a basement.  I have lived in this part of the world all my 60 years and never had a basement, don't know anyone with a basement.  And I live in a single wide trailer house.  I want a brick house with a basement but... that's the way it goes.  Besides, living in a trailer during these storms just makes you not too scared of much else.  John Rich, of the country duo Big & Rich, won Celebrity Apprentice in 2011.  Re:talking to Donald Trump Mr. Rich said "I told him that I grew up in a double-wide trailer in Tornado Alley in Amarillo, Tx, so this show doesn't scare me."
Anyway, back to Al Roker and the Today Show mention:
May 29, 2013 at 9:47 AM 
Video: (well the video didn't copy here)   "When the news crew from the NBC affiliate in Amarillo, Texas, all went to the bathroom at once on Tuesday, it wasn't because nature called. At least not in the usual way.  When a tornado warning forced the crew from KAMR to take cover in the bathroom on Tuesday, the dedicated group kept the broadcast going in order to keep their viewers informed. Using cell phones and cameras, they huddled together in a tight space and were able to keep the show going, with chief meteorologist John Harris staying on the air to give the latest storm updates. A tornado and baseball-sized hail were spotted in the area late Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning."
        I was not in the bathroom.  I was in the living room watching the news people on my TV while they were in their bathroom!  I don't figure a trailer house bathroom is going to protect me much (but if a tornado was close enough I would get in the tub covered with a blanket.  My dogs even jump in the tub by themselves when the sirens go off!!! They know the drill!)
       The year before we also had a dang big hailstorm.  I live a half a block off of highway 287 going through Amarillo, in Potter County.  North of town, just off of 287 someone took this photo of hail piled up and a Potter County Fire Fighter standing next to it.  Yes, that is totally hail.  Really.  You can see the grass growing underneath it.   We had gotten 3 inches of rain in a short period of time and when that happens the dry ground can't soak it fast enough so it causes flooding and when there is a lot of hail as well, it gets piled up from the flowing water.  The hail in this photo is brown because the sand blew after the storm.  Yep, if we get any rain then after the rain stops the wind picks up and blows dirt from somewhere that didn't get rain and therefore we have mud pelted onto our cars.  Yep, folks, it is all kinds of fun living here.   Oh, and 3 inches of rain?  That is how it rains here.  Either we get none or a downpour.  In 2012 we only had 12.33 inches of moisture for the entire year so we got 1/4th of it that day, I'm guessing it all fell within an hours time.  In 2011 our precipitation for the year was 7.01 inches.  For the entire year.  We are in a drought and have been since 2010.  (info from

Potter County Fire Department via NWS   This was from April 12, 2012.
The National Weather Service's office in Amarillo, Texas, posted this photo Wednesday night of a firefighter standing next to deep hail. "I can assure you we do not have big rocks like that in West Texas," Krissy Scotten, a spokeswoman for the weather service office in Amarillo, told
"That was 4 feet of ice" that was compacted by rain and floodwater across a wide area, she added.
"It was actually the rain/water that caused the drifts," Scotten said. "Anytime you have hail accumulate 2 to 4 feet high and get over three inches of rain, no matter how it occurs, it's pretty incredible."
       We get snow, usually not a lot.  February, 2013 we got 19 inches at one time though (over a 24 hour period).  You just never know what you are going to wake up to in Amarillo.
       Summers here are always hot.  In 2011 we had 50 days over 100 degrees, 111 degrees being the hottest day.  That was also the year we only had 7.01 inches of precipitation.  My electric bill is unbelievable for my refrigerated A/C in the summer.  I don't know how my ancestors lived without A/C.  I am a wimp, I have to have it. 
       Then the wind sometimes derails trains. Yep, freight trains.   Last year that happened 3 times ... just east of Amarillo, about 100 miles west of us in New Mexico, and at Hereford, a small town 47 miles SW of Amarillo.  Here is a photo & info from the news..... channel 10 KFDA

Posted: Jun 17, 2013 6:35 PM CST 
Photo by Denise Collier
Photo by Denise Collier
Hereford, Texas - Railroad crews will continue working throughout the evening to cleanup a train derailment near Hereford. High winds from Sunday night's storm are to blame for blowing over the 71 rail cars that were double stacked with shipping containers.
     The dust storm we had this week is called a haboob ... and no, I did not make up that word.  :)  It is Arabic.  You can google it and Wikipedia will tell you they occur frequently in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas as well as in the Middle East.  I did not know who took the photo I posted yesterday ... the one taken from an airplane over Amarillo but now I know the man's name is Ryan Scott.  I also read an article by staff writer, Kristen Rodman, and was surprised at the height of the dust storm.  They are big ---- I first heard it was a thousand feet high.  She says 10,500 feet.  "Picking up dirt and sand, the winds blew through multiple towns in both states (TX & NM) with the top of the dust storm reaching up to 10,500 feet, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Frank Strait. Along with the dust, the intensity of the storm classified it as a haboob, or an intense dust storm brought about by high winds."
      Even though it was nasty, it wasn't by any means even close to the worst dust storm we have ever had in my lifetime, and I think this photo from yesterday's post is just beautiful.  And yes, it is flat here.
      After writing about our weather even I am beginning to wonder WHY do I live here?  Well,  3 of my kids and all of my grandkids live here or I would move.  My grandkids are the 5th generation on the Campbell side of my family to live here, as best I can figure out.  I can understand why my youngest son moved to Seattle when he had the chance.  And everyone here thought he was crazy to move someplace where it rains all the time.  My son tells me it doesn't seem to storm there like it does here.  They get gentle drizzle, we get rain in violent downpours with lots of lightning.  I think I could handle drizzle.
This aerial view of the haboob over Amarillo, Texas, was captured by Ryan Scott and shared on Twitter by his friend, @RaiderTex52. (Photo/Ryan Scott)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

March Came In Like A Lion

The wind is blowing in the Texas panhandle and wildfire season has begun.  
National Weather Service meteorologist Charles Aldrich in Lubbock, Texas said a wall of dust as tall as 1,000 feet and 200 miles wide has roared across parts of West Texas and New Mexico.  Here are some awesome photos ... none taken by me ... I was out in the storm trying to hold my van on the highway as I tried to get home from my daughter's apartment across town. I hate driving in wind storms.   I know this is a long post but don't miss the photos below.
NewsChannel10 shared US National Weather Service Amarillo Texas's photo
Ever wondered what a dust storm looks like from above? This was taken from a plane northwest of Amarillo yesterday.   What an incredible photo taken from a plane at 38,000 feet of the dust storm that rolled through the city of Amarillo last night. Even though that wind was howling and the dust was a nuisance, this photo captures the beauty from above! Enjoy. -Mack
 The news said there were 3 wildfires in our area yesterday... here is one... 
Amarillo Globe-News
A fire near Borger has consumed a Panhandle Northern Railroad trestle ...

Sunday, March 9, 2014

March 9, 2014 - 7 Things

Adding to my list this week:
  1. Love
  2. Family
  3. Friends
  4. Touch
  5. Kindness
  6. Faith
  7. Sight

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Book or Two That You Might Like

      I failed to mention the best book I read in February.  Life has been ... life ... this week and I have been a bit absentminded and off pondering what to do about a multitude of things.
     Anyway, I read 11 good cozy mysteries, Does anyone else like cozy mysteries?  I also read 4 books I really, really hated to see end, a bio that was eh (Redford), one I should have liked and wanted to like but didn't (Mama Makes Up Her Mind) and another bio that made me mad, annoyed with myself for finishing it, and annoyed with the author for most everything she wrote.  (Mud Season --- I just had no patience with this woman.)  I hate to be negative, and the woman who wrote Mud Season is probably a perfectly lovely soul. Her book is probably entertaining to some.  I just can not relate to someone with so much money they can move from Saint Louis to Vermont, bringing a crew of carpenters from St. Louis for an extended stay to remodel her Vermont home, and doesn't understand why the locals aren't as welcoming as she wanted.  Okay, now I have guilt for saying something derogatory .... read it and see what you think.  It is probably good and I was just having a bad day. 
      Three of my favorites were written by Charlene Baumbich --- The last two books in the Dearest Dorothy series (I love them all, sort of felt like living in Mayberry) and Finding Our Way Home: A Novel...... Excellent!  They, along with the title below were the ones I really hated to see end.
      Best book of the month goes to While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax.  I am anxious to read her other titles.  (Although Finding Our Way Home was just as good.)  If you want to read the blurbs just google them.
         And yes, I may have missed one of my "happy" pills today.  Just trust me, if you enjoy books about women finding their strength read the two titles I thought were best.
     To see the titles I have read each month just click on Betsy's Book Bag over there on the right.      What have you been reading?

Sunday, March 2, 2014

2 March 2014 ~ 7 Things

and this week I am thankful for:
Social Security
House plants