Monday, December 29, 2008

I Love Pheasants ...

The Pheasants are finally starting to surface after all of the snow we have had the past couple of weeks. They typically "hunker down" in the shelter belt on the north side of our property. Now they are back to their routine of feeding in the morning sun and the late afternoon.

Yesterday this big guy came up close to the house, and eventually another three followed. They went up and down the drifts looking for something to eat. I put cracked corn out and will be watching for them this morning. My niece and her husband saw twenty of them up by the road last night.

Aren't they beautiful ? I come from a family of hunters extraordinaire ... and our pheasants are off limits.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Gifts That Rank Waaaay Up There ...

Ron and I took a trip to Italy and France a couple of years ago with our dear friends, Tirey, Jim and Kelly. Tirey and Jim's church in Houston, Bering Methodist, has a fabulous choir that occasionally performs in the early summers in various quaint towns in both countries.

There was room for just a few fortunate travelers to accompany them in 2006, so the five of us signed up.
It was an amazing trip that was meticulously planned. The choir was awesome and they were a blast to travel with. Things went at a leisurely pace if you wanted them to, or there were scheduled guided tours of all the key attractions.

We toured castles, churches and museums. We shopped. I shopped. We were invited to meals hosted by reciprocating choir groups. I shopped. One afternoon, after a picnic, shopping, and tour of a Mid Evil castle in Rivaralo, their choir surprised us by singing The Star Spang Laid Banner. That's right ... SPANG LAID ... just like I spelled it. It was
priceless. They wanted to honor us, The United States of America. You see ... we saved their butts in World War II. But not until we invaded, I shopped, and we bombed up the place to get at the Germans. Whoops ... you're not mad, are you ? Did I tell you that I shopped ?

On one leg of our journey we descended upon The Italian Riviera and The Cinque Terre. I shopped. You can travel around and between the five unique, self contained fishing villages by train, by boat or on foot. If my memory serves me correctly, I shopped. Then we took the train, only once, from Monterosso, very early one morning so I could shop. And that was to the farthest village, Riomaggiore, where I shopped, so we could "stroll" back, through the other three villages, Monarola, Corniglia, and Vernazza, after a bit of shopping and a leisurely lunch.

That "stroll" turned out to be the most physically challenging aerobic activity any of us had ever signed up for, with Kelly and Tirey, Zero Body Fat Butt Holes, in the lead. But we did it ... all five of us ... ten miles of blood, sweat, tears and shopping, through the olives, grapes, and flowers ... with a reward for every gasp of breath. Each of the cliffs we clung to and/or dangled from, extended way out into the Mediterranean, and sometimes, the only thing between us and the Sea, was a Bouganvilla, a Geranium, and my shopping bags.

Tirey and I were in a full press photographic competition for the 2007 Bering Calendar. I got January but he got June and July. Ron and Kelly were both in Atrial Fibrulation, her not knowing it. Jim and I were the sweatiest ... at one point, right before we found the coldest, best Coca Cola we've all ever had in our lives, our conversation went something like this:

Jim: Based on the map description, this is more difficult than I thought.

Laurie: We can bomb your country but we can't hike your Fucking State Park.

Then we crawled, literally and vertically on all fours, to get to Corniglia. So I could shop. But, I digress ...

The photo posted has to be enlarged to understand it. For Christmas, Tirey picked three of his photographs from our trip, manipulated them into what looks like Van Gogh painted them, and had them printed on 18 x 24 canvases. I have the perfect huge wall for them. They are all stunning. And one of them is of Ron and I on our 26th French Anniversary. Awww ...

But this is Vernazza ... Tirey's Impressionistic Style. And this is what I call a Christmas gift.

In Arles they are very proud of the fact that Vincent was depressed and cut his ear off there. And they don't shave under their arms. I shopped there too. I bet Lynette remembers.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas Ornaments ...

There are Ornaments and then there are Ornaments ... this is the latter ... one of many. We've been collecting Christmas Ornaments for almost 30 years. Our collection marks time and has traveled the world.

There are some from my childhood tree. There are some that Allison and Brad made from melted Mardi Gras beads when they were children and lived in New Orleans. There is the one my Grandmother gave us when we were first married, with the couple riding in a sleigh, snuggled up, and says "Our First Christmas Together" ... I used to think it was so hokey ... try putting it on our tree and not passing it to me for special handling. You might loose your arm. There is another she gave us from the South Dakota Centennial celebration. She rode in a covered wagon both across The Prairie AND in the Centennial Parade that year.

There is a glittery barn on our tree with grazing cows. There are German Shepherds, Dragon Flies, Monkeys, Fish, a Penguin, Pheasants, a Giraffe, a Panda Bear and a Red Fox. There are Birds, Reindeer, Mice, Cats, Bears and a Baby Doe. There are Day of the Dead Skeletons, several of Catrina. There are stars, moons, snowflakes, icicles, Angels, Mermaids and tons of Santas. There are Snow Men, Snow Women, and Snow Skiiers. There is a huge pink Glenda the Good Witch, crown and all, and Charlie Brown riding with Lucy and Snoopy on a Toboggan.

There is a blue paper bow with dried flowers that my sister made. There's her Mice collection and some of her Frogs. There are acorns and pine cones ... shoes, slippers and hearts. There's one of The Beatles from the Abbey Road cover, and a King, Queen and Jack of Spades. There are hearts, tea cups, and shells ... and the priceless ornaments made by Ian and the Grand Babes.

There is a Taxi Cab from New York City and a Cable Car from San Francisco. A hollowed out earth from Provence with French Peasants dancing around a Christmas Tree on the inside. There are hand painted porcelain pieces from Italy and Holland. There is stained glass from Germany and a wooden carved hand painted Santa from Russia. Then there is the Opryland Hotel replica and a bell from Colonial Williamsburg. There are Revolutionary Soldiers wearing Tricors, playing a flute and a drum. There is the crest of The Princess of Monaco and the silver beaded Crest of Princess Diana's home, Althorp. And there is a spangly purple, green and gold Mardi Gras Fleur de Lis from New Orleans.

It takes quite a while to decorate our tree. After our Annual Light Fight I always say "Let's tone it down this year and just put up the REALLY special ones". And they all go up. Merry Christmas with love from The Prairie.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I Don't Have To Dream ...

I don't have to dream of a White Christmas this year. It's out there. The photo with the Evergreens is the view from our front porch looking North. I'm not posting the house in the snow because it hasn't been painted yet ... I'm having an issue ... it needs to be it's Keller's On The Prairie color and it didn't get done this fall. It wasn't a priority with everything else that was going on. But as of today that's all behind us. Ron's eye surgery was successful so we are moving on into Christmas with lots to be thankful for.

It was some kind of cold yesterday. We did some shopping and ran errands. It was zero and the wind was out of control. The great thing about that is when it's 18 or 20 it feels fantastic with the sun out. Town is full of snow as well. It's beautiful ...

So that drift in the photo that lies between our Evergreens and our Shelter Belt ... it's about 12' high and about 40 yards long. It will be there until March, according to the resident Scientist. I'm not all that bothered about it. It's really beautiful all around us out here. And we can get to our vehicles, get to town, and get to the Neighbors.

The first photo is the view West from our Sun Porch. Check out the top of our Corn Stalks coming up out of the garden. To the right of the Corn Stalks is our Asparagus Patch. You can't even see the Raspberry Patch ... There were a couple of Rabbits out on top of those drifts this morning. They were eating the top of one of our Flowering Crab Apple Trees. Ron said, "That's what's called the end of the Food Chain". I say, "Let them have it".

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dig This ...

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Getting In The Spirit ...

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Very close to hitting the mall with the Visa Card after this ...

Chicken Toes Nativity ...

Just as I suspected, The Three Kings from the Orient have been playing Chicken Toes when we are not looking.

See the Double 9 to your bottom right ? That's where the game begins, and the next game you begin is with the Double 8 and so on and so forth. If you have 2 players, draw 8 Dominoes to begin, and draw from the pile left over when you don't have a play in your possession.

The object is, of course, to play all of your Dominoes, or to at least have a low score of total dots when someone else has played all of theirs. But here's the scoop: See the 9 that was played off of the Double 9, with the 4, and then the Double 4 going sideways ? That Double 4 going sideways is the Chicken Foot. And once someone plays a Chicken Foot, everyone has to play off of it until you have 3 Chicken Toes. Then you can continue to play off any of the Dominoes in the usual way. And the toes can be as long as you want and/or need them to be.

Thanks to my cousin, Roxy Goodman, for giving us yet another way to while away the days of Winter on The Prairie. Oh ... And ... if you have more than two people playing draw 6 Dominoes or so to begin. Be flexible. I mean, after all, it's just Chicken Toes : )

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Making Ice Candles With Mrs. Keller ...

If you were to walk up on my front porch right now you'd say, "What The Heck"? I've got an ice candle factory going right now. And since it's so cold (see Weather Pixie) like negative something or other, I'm cranking them out like crazy.

First you take your bucket, or your bathroom trash can if it's metal or plastic like mine, and fill it with water. Then you take a tall and wide jar or can and fill it with water too ... leave a couple of inches at the top because it's going to expand, like we learned in 4th Grade Science Glass. Thank you, Sister Elzear !!! It has to be taller that the amount of water you are using in the bucket so it defines the hole for your candle. You can also use marbles or stones to weigh the object down.

Set the contraption outside your door with the jar or can sitting right in the middle. Be sure it's close and convenient so you don't have to venture out to the edge of the deck in your negligee when it's negative something or other ... talk about your instant hot flash cure.

Give it 5 or 6 hours to chill then bring it in. If you used water to weigh the inside object down, run hot water inside the inside container so you can pull it up and out. Now you need some ice for the candle to sit on so put another couple of inches of water inside the hole you just created and put it back outside for another couple of hours.

The old fashioned technique calls for an ice pick to chip out the center where your candle goes but I like doing it my way. I know you are shocked. You can get creative and add food coloring, sprigs of Evergreen, or Cranberries. And if you don't live where it's negative something or other you can use your freezer. They actually freeze very clear in there and that's a nice touch.

Here they last forever, just sitting prettily outside. And a candle lasts forever here too. I will put some out at the Cemetery and close friends and relatives will get one too. Between ice candle making, Netflix, Turner Classic Movies, and playing Chicken Toe Dominoes, it's very busy here in these negative something or other temperatures. Thank you, Debbie Lukenon, for my first Ice Candle gift last year, and for giving me something to do in these negative something or other temperatures. -5, -30 ... does it really matter ? I'm just saying ...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dashing Through The Snow ...

You've heard it said that no two snowflakes are alike ?
How can that be ?
I want to believe it ...
Ok ... I do.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Snow Floating Lilly Pad And It Ain't Heavy ... It's My Life ...

I have to pat myself on the back every once in a while for being savvy enough to know that our West U Houston Fountain would make an even better statement, sitting here on The Prairie ... and in an almost bizarrely different life and place, than that which it was obtained for.

But the statement the fountain is making ... is made only for and to me. I don't live the type of life here, that requires making statements about anything and to anyone, anymore.

The Prairie bites me in the ass occasionally ... and reminds me that while life back then was pretty incredible, it's so much easier to do it like this ... remembering where I have been, but living where I am.

The sign on it's right ? "The kiss of the sun for pardon, the song of the birds for mirth, one is nearer God's heart in a garden, than anywhere else on earth". It was my Grandmother's ... see what I mean ?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Eagle Landed Here ...

As winter closes in, I am on the lookout for things I love, and how a dash of snow can perk up a building, an object, or a scene.

It's 12 degrees this morning and I will be heading out in a few minutes for a road trip to Brookings. I will take the Scalded Dog, Ron's Subaru, so I can get me some XM Radio.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Mount Hope Mausoleum ...

I took this photo yesterday morning after putting a Christmas arrangement in the vase on Wendy's headstone. It had just started snowing and continued through the night.

The Mount Hope Cemetery was formed when the City of Watertown purchased 40 acres from the Winona and St. Peter Railroad. Additional adjacent land has been purchased throughout the years.

The Mausoleum was power washed last summer and got a new copper roof. It was in desperate need of repairs on the masonry and that was handled too. I think it's stunning and I love the way it stands out in the snow. When the sun hits it just right you can see through it's green windows.

It's 4 degrees and Goof Ball Weather Pixie Chick needs her hat and gloves on. She also needs to ditch that denim jacket ... I'm over it.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Uncle Lee Was A Real Cowboy ...

Because he always wore a fine Cowboy Hat. He worked in the Montana Mines, he raised Appaloosas, he refurbished tractors. He welded ... his business was called "Thunderbird". He always looked so stern too ... with his kerchief around his neck.

When he came in at my Grandmother's house Sunday evenings ... the party was over. That's because we were little and out of control. We were a pain in the ass.

We always went to my Grandmother's house on Sunday ... usually for suppper and The Ed Sullivan Show ... with Lee, Aunt Celie and their girls. I am having a flashback of Uncle Lee bad mouthing The Beatles ... while Colleen, Roxy, Wendy, and I were falling to pieces.

He and I were just getting to know each other. His move back to South Dakota with his second wife, Nola, set the wheels in motion for Ron and I to move back too. It all stared with a picnic at their place in Willow Lake in September of 2006 that set the wheels in motion.

Uncle Lee turned out to be a very mellow guy ... he said "Hi" to me from his coma when I went to see him two days before he died. I'm going to miss my Cowboy Uncle. I don't have another.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Screaming Sky Watch Friday ...

The house is very quiet this morning after having been with family for the past few days.

Yesterday was my Uncle Lee Goodman's funeral service. I am thinking of his two families this morning and remembering that the day after it's all said and done ... life around you goes on as it always did ... there are appointments, there are errands, there is laundry, blah blah blah.

But it was so quiet. When it was me and my immediate family in the situation, I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs "Can I just have some more time here please"? I was in that empty place in the photo ... between the two cloud formations ... a world with my sister and a world without her. I didn't get what I was screaming for.

Watch the sky at

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

How Now Brown House ...

A little dash of snow can really bring a house to life. The gorgeous older homes here are nearly always meticulously cared for. The weather is still holding with sunny skies and mid 20 temps in the morning with highs in the mid 40's. Colder and more snow around the corner ... but I really like what the brightness does to the inside of our house and it's various views.

Looking at a glass that is half full ... and sending love from The Prairie. xoxo.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Fresh Snow on Holy Name ...

Hey ... I took a little blogging break. We have been knee deep in projects around here. All of our artwork is finally hung, the paint touch ups are in progress, and I have cleaned the last of the sheet rock dust from the pad for good. I am almost ready to start pulling out the Christmas decorations. Bless my soul ... we have tons. I have to have Christmas in every room !!!

Thanksgiving was good ... it was easy ... it was no pressure whatsoever. My niece had the dinner this year so I got off easy. Ron made Nana's Pumpkin Pies and I contributed the Corn Souffle. My Mother's brother Lee passed away on Friday. I took her to see him at the hospital in Sioux Falls on Wednesday. Saying good bye is tough ... but I will do it every time, if given the option.

We have had fresh snow every day since the 22nd. But not a lot ... just enough to liven things up. Here we have Fresh Snow on Holy Name Catholic Church, across from St. Anne's Hill. Holy Name started out with services in their grade school gymnasium. Their new church was built in the late 60's and was way ahead of it's time, architecturally speaking.

The church is beautiful inside as well. It's altar stands in front of this stark brick interior wall, on the other side of this huge exterior wall. Since it was considered the wealthy, uppity, North Side church ... on prestigious Skyline Drive ... I felt a great sense of intimidation and envy when attending services here ... because we were too late to make the Immaculate Conception service, our service on the South Side of town, or I was staying with North Side friends ... how fucked up is that ?

I'm so glad I got over all of that. Moving home has been great for my spirit. Venus and Jupiter are lined up with the Moon tonight. It's a sight to behold here ... so clear and so close. I am in a good place tonight.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Corn Souffle Sky Watch Friday ...

Beat 3 eggs with a whisk, add 2 cans cream style corn, 1 can whole kernel corn, 2 cups herbed stuffing mix, 1 cup milk, 3/4 stick of melted butter, 1 cup grated cheddar, 1 jar of chopped pimeto, 2 tablespoons minced onion, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper. Mix together and let sit for 15 minutes. Pour into casserole dish and sprinkle another cup of cheddar on top. Bake in a 325 degree for one hour. Cool and cover with Saran to keep it moist.

More gorgeous skies at

Monday, November 24, 2008

1928, War, and Tom Jones ...

This beautiful architectural touch is mounted over the back door of our Court House. This is a spot that I love ... maybe because there is a box at the back door called the "Flag Drop" where you can put your old flags. How cool is that ? The piece is really very intricately carved and you should enlarge it for it's details. I always look up at it when I go up or down 3rd Avenue, SE.

I'm always on the lookout for things to blog about so there isn't much that I miss. But I did try to photograph 3 deer in front of the Ethanol Plant yesterday evening. It was the perfect shot ... the sky was awesome, the cold temps have an effect on the steam and how it billows out, and I was going to call the post "Alien vs. Predator", my friend Julie's favorite movie. My card was full ... I was pissed.

A few facts about the Year 1928: Hoover was President and Coolidge was elected, the cost of a stamp was .02, the Yankees beat the Cardinals 4 to 0 in the World Series, Reigh Count won the Kentucky Derby, Alexander Fleming invented penecillin, Walt Disney released Steamboat Willie and Galloping Gaucho, their first cartoons with sound, the Academy Awards were handed out for the first time with Wings winning Best Picture, the first TV, a Daven, was sold for $75, and a television picture was beamed for the first time from England to the US. Oh, and the first urine pregnancy test was developed.

And my favorite is this one: 65 Nations signed the Kellog Briand Pact in Paris to outlaw war. We've come a along way, 1928 Baby ... you had the right idea ... and I can't help but think of Edwin Starr's song "WAR ... Who Is It Good For ? ... even though Tom Jones is on GMA singing "It's Not Unusual" right now.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sad Sepia Sky Watch Friday ...

Sometimes I see my sister Wendy's spirit sitting in the clouds. It's the honest, to God, truth ... and this is what it looked like the night before last.

I now have all my momentos of her in one place, and again, I am putting together a display of photos and objects. My niece, Catherine, gave back many of the things I gave her Mother during her life. And I have everything she ever gave me. I also have many of her clothes and all of her music and books. I have two of her cats. And I have Catherine.

When Catherine first gave me these things it was an absolute trip to come across so many things, from so many places, and over so many years and occasions. Going so far back in time and reviewing a history of my giving, from places she would never see ... a pair of silver Guatemalan Quetzal earrings, a strand of beads from the French West Indies, a bracelet from Hawaii. It was amazing and rewarding both, to see the care she gave in keeping these things safe and special.

So as it turns out ... when I was giving these gifts to Wendy, I was actually giving these gifts to myself, not knowing she would die at 46 and I would have almost all of them back.
I would trade every one of these things, except Catherine and the cats, for one more day with her. It's obviously still very painful. And it doesn't seem to get better. It just gets different ... and farther and father away from the way it used to be.

In some ways it was much easier when the pain was fresh ... and shocking.
I think I liked myself more when she was here. I should work on that. But I like having my identity all tangled up in hers.

More Sky Watching around the world at

First Communion Boys, Sister Bianca And The Infamous Laura Blais ...

This is a photo of an Immaculate Conception First Communion Class. These handsome boys graduated from High School as the Class of 1971. My friend, Jeff Thronson, who is in the back row with only part of his face showing, sent this to me. It's a wonderful subject, but a bad line up. Jeff is trying hard to show up in the photo, bless his little Catholic heart : ) My brother, Randy, is four heads to his left ... the one standing the tallest, holding his candle the straightest, and his little hands are clutching that Bible like ... well ... I just don't know. Really, I do, but I'm not going to say it.

There are so many funny things going on in this photo. But I have to tell you about Laura Blais, on the left. Don't let the smile fool you. She's dead and gone now so I'm going to put it out there. Laura Blais was our Abusive Gym Teacher, and I feared her more than I feared Sister Nancy. And that was big time fear.

As you can see in the photo, Laura Blais was not a physically fit person. She was a torture chamber on two feet and she had all of the equipment at her disposal, necessary to scare the shit out of any child. And the things she expected of us ... Good Lord!

We went to the gym, several classes at once, boys and girls. There was a trampoline, a balance beam, uneven bars, and one of those leather buck things. And this was not about fun. Laura Blais never really explained or had demonstrations on technique or how not to hurt yourself. She merely lined us up, blew the whistle she wore around her neck, and said "Go".

And if you didn't run, grab the high bar and mount those unevens, swing your legs up on the low bar, extend your right leg, bounce it three times to gain the momentum to do a backward summersault over the high bar, and dismount, standing, you got your ear torn off of your head in front of 50 of your closest friends. Thank you, Mrs. Blais. I now have a Black Belt in Therapy.

Left to right, front row to back: ___ Remily, Ken Mernaugh, Russell Lampy, Lee Fortin, Steve Reifenberger, Tim Brist, Not Sure, Tim (?) Fox, Rodney Lindner, Chuck Schucard, Maurice Woolven, Jim Majusiak, Bob Mooney, Gary Cordell, Laura Blais, Melvin Reichling, Mike Sears, Randy Brandriet, Rodney Mack, John Larson, Ross Kranz, Jeff Thronson, Steve Sears, Dan Leddy, Mike O'Hara, Ron Brandriet (my cousin), Joe Wagner, Terry Murphy, Roger Schwanke, John Richter, and Sister Bianca.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mary Kay Cadillac ...

How much Mary Kay would one have to sell to be able to drive this Pink Cadillac ??? Word up ... the owner of this car is a Man. I have not seen him driving it, but that's the story I got when I asked around. He was parked at the Extension Building on Election Day.

The original 9 skin care products were from a tanner's recipe. HE had much smoother and clearer skin than HIS age would indicate. Mary Kay Ash does not test her products on animals and PETA celebrated another victory when she stopped giving fur coats as incentive awards to her sales force.

I'll take two Jet Black Mascara's and one Revitalizing Spray ... and I wonder ... is Mary Kay really a Man ?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Lake Kampeska And AM Radio ...

I took this photo of Lake Kampeska from Jackson Park last week ... but it was Lover's Lane back then, to us. A popular spot for kissing boys in their parent's cars, AM radio played a major role in our exploration of the sexual senses. Us and Our as in ... well ... my crowd.

It was KOMA - Oklahoma City until 11 PM, then KAAY - Little Rock for the Underground Music program called Beaker Street ... as in ... Why Don't We Do It In The Road and Samba Pa Ti. I have many facts, legends and stories that revolve around Lake Kampeska. For now; however, I'm going to leave it at this.

Everyone knows the Beatles did Why Don't We Do It In The Road. But tell me ... Who did Samba Pa Ti ? And don't you just love it ? It's a favorite of mine and you will find it on U Tube if you need to.

Friday, November 14, 2008

True Blue For Sky Watch Friday ...

Some snow, a fence, more snow, a shelter belt, a farm, some clouds and a beautiful blue sky. For you ... on Sky Watch Friday. Weekend Love from The Prairie. xoxo.

To see more skies around the world ...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Jet Trails Over Lake Pelican, Ice, and Fire ...

Lake Pelican is about a quarter of a mile from our place. You can't see it through the trees when they are leafed out, but this time of year there are several good views from our front deck. We live between Lakes Pelican and Kampeska. They are both in the process of icing over. The ice fishing houses will start popping up next month. I'm not big on the idea of driving in a vehicle going over a supposedly frozen lake. Mom, Wendy and I used to do it, to take lunch to my Dad and Randy. But today I can Just Say No.

We are snow/sleet/iced in today. Our schools are all closed so I feel like I'm getting a free day to do anything I please. But I am going to press on with this huge project of unpacking boxes that came with us from Houston. Knowing we were remodeling, but needing to live in the house for a year certainly complicated the settling process. We lived on the main floor while the lower level was being built out, then lived there while the main floor was remodeled.

I committed Ron and I to hosting The Pelican Township Christmas Bash this year. I did so with motives ... 1) to be good neighbors and reciprocate the love that goes on around here, and 2) to light the necessary fire under my ass that will finally make this awesome house an awesome home.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Puffie Chairs and Shoveling Snow ...

It's 12 degrees ... and while it feels great to have been totally prepared for snow, I just realized that I am the Snow Shoveler this year. Shit !!! Ron may be doing fantastic, but after all, he's still recovering from a broken arm and ribs, in addition to his brain injury, so he won't be allowed out there. I think he even has a prescription from both his Orthopedic Doctor and his Neurosurgeon, that says, "No Shoveling Snow This Winter".

It's been a very long time since I shoveled snow. I don't even have memories of shoveling snow. It's highly likely that my brother, Randy, was in charge of keeping the paths to the house, front and back, clear and safe. We would not give Randy that responsibility now
: )

I've already learned my first DO NOT ... do not wait to shovel. Shovel right away, Goof Ball. Because when it warms up during the day, the snow melts, which then turns to ice. There is no such thing as Ice Shoveling. It's called Snow Shoveling for a reason. Love from The Prairie ... and building arms like Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2. xoxo.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Big Sioux River Snowfall ...

One of my favorite photo days now that I live here, is when I can capture the Big Sioux River, Lake Pelican, and Lake Kampeska, with snow, before they freeze. I just realized this yesterday.

The Sioux River flows all the way through town. This is where it goes under 10th Street at the foot of Saint Anne's Hill, where she watches over the tobogganers and the frisbee golfers.

The River rises just north of Watertown and flows past Sioux Falls, where it drops and spills 20 feet over huge boulders. It's beautiful. I guess The Native Americans knew Sioux Falls would sound better than Sioux Spill. But now that I'm thinking about it, I'm kind of liking the Sioux Drop thing.

The Big Sioux then flows another 420 miles into Iowa where it meets The Missouri River. But this is my favorite fun fact: Between Sioux Drop, SD and Sioux City, Iowa, it forms the boundary between Iowa and South Dakota for about 80 miles ... and while the corn is growing on it's east side, there are cattle being raised to the west.

Thank you ... and love from The Prairie. xoxo.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Sky Watcheth Friday ...

For the past few weeks I have seen a US Military Jet or two rising with the sun. And the pattern has been: Beautiful Sunrise ? ... Fire That Baby Up ! So I chilly footed it out to the road on Monday morning, when I saw from my Living Room windows, what they saw. I was wearing my Ethnic Loungewear from Africa. (See Monday, November 20, 7 Facts About Me). AlI I can see is an African Umbrella Thorn Tree ... the clouds are obviously the foliage.

As for the jets, that's just our tax dollars at work. Works for me ! I'd much rather have them f ing around and having some fun as opposed to bombing some Country. This does not mean that I am opposed to bombing and/or seriously punishing any individual who despise America, everything about us, and wants to do us harm.

And just so you can go around saying, "I learned something today ... " ... The African Umbrella Thorn Trees are almost in bloom over there right now, it's summer, and it's a white puffy clump of dense snow ball thingies. The branches make awesome spears, and the trunk makes a great wagon wheel.

Speaking of snow ball thingies ... that first blizzard last night was incredible and it's so beautiful this morning, but it's like 35 degrees with 5" on the ground. Photos to follow ... Check out Weather Pixie Chicklette. You know you are in a South Dakota morning when you check on your cattle ... before you check on your kids. More gorgeous skies around the world at

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Ruby Thursday ...

She voted for Obama, she's proud of it, and I was able to catch her last night while she had The Vision Thing going on.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Me And My President Behind The Wheel ...

Have I mentioned that I love the Dashboard of our Jet Black Subaru Outback Sedan ? Ron calls it the Scalded Dog ... don't you just love that ? I've been fortunate enough to have been able to pick out quite a few brand new cars in my life ... not because I'm a spoiled brat, but because I have worked for that luxury. Point being ... I have never bought a new car without test driving it at night ... strictly because I'm into Dash Boards.

This morning I'm thinking about other things too. I'm also into President's. Thomas Jefferson is my favorite. He sent Lewis and Clark on an awesome hike and he had a great pony tail. And you know I'm thinking about Barak Obama behind the wheel. He's got to drive it at night now. In addition to his plan, I'll also be measuring the length of time it will take for his hair to turn gray ... another thing I am into : )

I watched the Mya Angelou interview first thing this morning. I love her dearly. She got my attention in that calming way she is so good at doing. She softened me somewhat, about things I don't need to say ... other than I love my Dash Board. And I want to love my President.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Don't Ask Me Who I Voted For ... Ask Me About My Grand Babies ...

It's Election Day ... Yeah, Yeah, Yeah. Ask me about my Grand Babies, Liliya and Ian. This photo was taken while they were little Houston Hurricane Ike refugees, living in San Antonio with relatives.

I opted for this photo instead of the other in their Halloween costumes, The Little Mermaid and The Pirate of the Caribbean. This shot is just so peaceful ... which is what I am searching for. This election has been exhausting and I'm just a fortunate American with the right to vote. I can't imagine what McCain and Obama must feel like. Maybe tomorrow they will take a nap. I'm hoping so ... they both need a nice, long one.

God Bless America ... Love from The Prairie. xoxo.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Día de los Muertos ...

I'm sure many of you know that for Catholics, today and tomorrow are Holy Days ... All Saint's Day and All Souls Day. These two days are celebrated in many countries around the world, but in Mexico they are incredibly important, and they are known as Day of the Dead. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and relatives who have died.

Not many people here on The Prairie are aware of this. No ... there will not be hordes of people out at Mount Hope and Saint Mary's today, scrubbing and polishing headstones, and then gathering back there tonight with a bazillion candles, marigolds to attract the spirits, blankets and pillows to spend the night, and the favorite meal of their loved ones. Now there isn't much I wouldn't do for my sister, Wendy, but whipping up a dutch oven of Chicken Alfredo just isn't on my list of things to do today. Sorry Chicklette ... maybe next year. I love you dearly and miss you madly.

Catrina, shown above, is the most famous Mexican figure commemorating The Day of the Dead. I have been to many parts of Mexico, my favorite; however, is San Miguel de Allende, and she is everywhere ... just like Freida Kahlo and her eyebrows : )

Ron and I have quite a collection of Catrinas and other Day of the Dead Christmas ornaments. And over the years we have put together an impressive collection of art from our travels. But if I were asked to choose a favorite piece in our house, it would have to be my Dia de los Muertos shadow box of The Beatles. I bought it in San Miguel while on a wonderful trip with my best traveling girl friend, Kelly, the map reading chicklette from Heaven. The Fab Four are skeletons, dressed in those suits and skinny ties, on a stage, with their instruments and microphones, and little Beatle wigs painted on their skulls. It's not even that big, and since they are behind glass it doesn't photograph well. But you can trust me on this ... it's the sweetest piece of art we own.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween and Ron's Brain ...

When I think of Halloween, I think of the Munsters. I loved the show and thought it was so clever that Lilly's normal niece, Marilyn, lived with them in the spooky mansion, so that she could attend nearby Westbury College. She was also busy looking for a husband. Nothing surprised Marilyn at the mansion ... she was a trip. And while Lilly made all of the decisions, overall, they were a typical blue collar family of legendary monsters and they tried to be good citizens and role models to society. That's what made them so much fun.

There is plenty going on tonight to celebrate the Holiday. People sure go all out here with their decorations and there are costume parties at many of the bars and clubs. Ron and I used to participate wildly in Houston and won our fair share of prizes along the way ... Punk Rockers, Dracula and his Mistress Victim, Mr. and Mrs. Clean ... but tonight we are staying in. We have our huge pumpkin at the mailbox, our lights up and our ghost in the window. Maybe next year we will have a bit more energy for dressing up and going out.

Yesterday we saw Dr. Bryan Wellman, Ron's Neurosurgeon, for a cat scan and the first follow up visit after leaving the hospital. Ron viewed the scan of his injured brain for the first time ... that was heavy. But comparing it with yesterday's scan was awesome. He is doing so well that he has been released from Dr. Wellman's care. What a great feeling it must be for a man like Dr. Wellman to save someone's life. I can't deny that it showed both in his eyes and on his face.

I had a melt down in the car when we left the Van De Mark Building. I had some fear about the appointment that I hadn't acknowledged to Ron, nor myself. It started slipping out so I let it do just that ... it was necessary and it was good. And it led to things being said between us that were good.

So we are home now. Home is wonderful. And it's going to be a gorgeous, sunny and warm weekend. And since it's Halloween, that means a long cold winter is not far behind. Now around here, that can be as frightening as Grandpa Munster. But I can handle anything with my Boyfriend by my side ! Love from The Prairie. xoxo.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Love Is In The Air ...

Ron and I were driving up 4th Avenue, SW earlier this week and this gorgeous tree caught our eye from a couple of blocks away. I stopped for the Photo Op and we weren't sure what type of tree it was until I was almost right underneath it. We weren't looking at leaves at all. It was loaded with teenie tiny little Crab Apples. Their name is so cutesy pie.

Crab Apples make great jam and are also used to give cider recipes a nice "woody" kick. Their trees are self sterile and they don't have sex, so self pollination is impossible. I think that means they don't masturbate. They require cross-pollination between themselves by insects. Honey bees to the rescue ... they get to have all the fun, freely visiting the flowers for both nectar and pollen, back and forth, making love between the girls and the guys.

Fall here certainly can't compete with the colors you would see while riding in a hot air balloon over the Connecticut Countryside; however, I think we've got it going on in this case. Just look at the result of our drop in temperatures and all those little bi sexual bees having group sex.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Saint Anne Sunday ...

This lovely sculpture of Saint Anne is mounted on the old rounded entrance to the hospital I was born in, here in Watertown, which was named for her. The hospital has grown tremendously and is now known as Prairie Lakes. Things change and I am OK with that ... but during the necessary expansion, a new, totally boring entrance was moved to the opposite side.

They left Saint Anne and the child at what is now the back of the hospital, and what I feel, is a totally disrespectful place. To begin with, guess who the child is? It's Mary, Jesus' Mother, for Christ's sake !!! And the two of them are now next to the industrial workings of the hospital, the loading dock and the dumpsters. If you didn't know they were left there, you would never look up and take in their beauty. I can't even begin to imagine how many people have missed this awesome sculpture, as well as the opportunity to be reminded that health and healing go hand and hand with Spirituality.

Saint Anne is the Patron Saint of many things, including women in labor, mothers, housewives, equestrians and miners. Her official Feast Day is July 26th, but for me it's today . I am sending some respect her way. And if I ever have the opportunity, I'm going to slap the architect, for all of us, who didn't have the wisdom, or the courage, to build the new entrance around Saint Anne and Mary.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Ties That Bond ...

The new 007 Movie, Quantum of Solace, opens on November 12th. I snapped this photo from the movie poster last weekend. There wasn't anyone around so I considered stealing it. It had biggie staples in it and the only tools I had on me were my nails. The angel on my shoulder reminded me that doing this would, indeed, be a sin.

James Bond and I go way back. When I was old enough to read books ... real books that is ... I went for the Ian Flemming collection that was at our house. I secretly blew through all 14 of them, and I was pretty revved up about life, living it full of action, and doing so with gorgeous men and sophisticated women. I was influenced much more by these intense racy novels than I was by having been educated at The Immaculate Conception Catholic School here in Watertown.

I am pretty hung up on our new 007. So much so, that I've had to end my relationship with Keith Urban. The Secret Agent Man and I have much more history. I am quite familiar with his artsy film career due to our many trips to Landmark Greenway Cinema in Houston. And I've exhausted his library at Netflix. Sounds like an engagement ring is in order for Christmas.

His first role as 007, is the last Bond flick made, Casino Royale. That is actually also the first Flemming novel. I really fell for him in this flick ... he loved Vesper Lynd so much that he trusted her to get the money. And after giving her way too much mouth to mouth, he blew the dude away, right there on the Riviera, who was behind her betrayal as well as her death.
But not without staying true to the novel and telling M, "The Bitch is Dead".

Roger Moore, Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan ... you guys have some fierce competition out there.
Have you seen him in that Omega Watch print ad yet ? The name is Craig ... Daniel Craig.

Ian Flemming also wrote "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" ... can you believe it ? And President JFK was responsible for Flemming's popularity in the US after admitting his addiction to the mystery novels.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

It's New To Me ...

I have been driving by this old garage for a while now, and knew I would take a photo when the time was right. I noticed the bright red fall leaves on it's top a few days ago, it was overcast, the colors were just right, so I stopped.

There are some things going on here that I really like. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" ... "Beauty is only skin deep" ... those types of thoughts. The roof is cratering, but the way it's going about that is actually pretty cool.
And I like the way the doors lean in towards each other ... I wonder how long it's been since they were opened ... and I doubt they ever will be again.

And yet it has what appears to be a fairly new coat of green paint ... I like this way of thinking and doing. I like everything about it and I'm glad it's there.

Monday, October 20, 2008

7 Facts About Moi ...

I've been tagged again by Jason ... the following are seven facts and/or strange things about me that I am going to tag 7 blogging friends with ...

* I have my nails done every two weeks no matter who is in the ER, no matter who is in ICU, no matter who is in the hospital, and no matter who is in a nursing home. It's the surgeries I hang around for.

* The color of my nails, toes and lipstick will always be from the same color palette.

* I have a lovely large prairie flower garden here, but started out as container gardener on our deck in West U/Houston. Mostly tropical, these potted plants had an entire U Haul to themselves to get here.
Now they have their own sun porch. Brats !

* My wardrobe consists of a lot of white, black and brown.
What's up with that ?

* Sometimes I get up at 3:00 in the morning and do laundry and paperwork.

* I don't ever ever ever go to bed without a bubble bath and a fresh pair of jammies. Wear them twice ??? Just can't do it.

* I don't have a House Keeper for the first time in 27 years ... I kinda sorta like doing everything myself ... but sometimes I freak out.

* I collect Ethnic Loungewear from around the world.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Crystal Blue Persuasion Sky Watch ...

I love this photograph because it's just so strange. I was crouched down in a ditch on the other side of Highway 212, so that I could get just the tips of the corn. These were some fast moving clouds ... like the guy I was kissing when Tommy James and the Shondells released this song. LOL.

More gorgeous skies around the world at

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Whoa Ho Ho, Silver ...

It wasn't difficult to notice the Eccentrix Mobile DJ coach as I was coming up the street the other day. I was on a new route looking for a photo op. I think I found one. It spoke to me ... in fact, it hollered to me!

I believe this is one of just a few real live DJ's here in town. They play at wedding dances, they emcee karaoke, and only the Lord knows what else. I hope I see the day this guy sits inside of here and spins a vinyl. My life will be complete.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Brussels Sprout Boogie ...

This awesome veggie was grown as early as the 1200's in Belgium. In the 1800's French settlers brought them to Louisiana. But these here came right out of our garden yesterday afternoon!

Ron laughed at me when I said I was heading out to harvest with my paring knife. He's feeling better you see ... and he was like, "What's up with that"? And I said I was going to sit next to each of the four plants and cut each sprout, one by one, off of it's stalk. I had obviously not peered under those enormous leaves in quite some time and had no idea we had such a wonder crop. So he said, "I doubt that, Goof Ball"! "You take all the leaves off and pull the stalk out of the ground ... then you get to use your paring knife"!

So off I went ... the sun was shining, it was only about 50 degrees and a bit windy. I had Ruby Thursday with me and she laid in the pepper and eggplant patch with her nose in the air, taking in all the wonderful fall smells. The stalks sure looked a lot taller than I thought they were going to be ... like 3 feet. So I got to work pulling the leaves off and you could have knocked me over with a feather. I had no idea there were that many under there.

They say that 85% of the Sprouts we grow here in the US are for the frozen food market. I think the other 15% is here at our place!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ringnecked Rodeo ...

Today is opening day of Pheasant Hunting Season for residents of South Dakota. Why, you may ask, do we hunt this gorgeous game bird ? Because it's absolutely delicious and it's a ton of fun.

The Pheasant is our State Bird, but it's not native to South Dakota. The species was actually a gift to the United States from China in the 1850's. It's illegal to hunt the female "Hen" so it's the gorgeous, colorful, male "Rooster" who gets all the grief.

We don't leave early in the morning. That's one of my favorite things about it. We head out around noon with a cooler full of Coke, Mountain Dew and our packed lunch. We usually "Road Hunt" within about a 50 mile radius of town. You don't stop to eat at a cafe when you are pheasant hunting. It's a ham sammich in one hand and your other hand on your gun. Sunflower seeds and Twizzlers are also a very important accessory to this sport.

Watertown thrives on the revenue. As of this past week, everywhere you turn the signs are up: "Welcome Hunters". People from all over the US come to South Dakota to hunt our Pheasants. And they take them home to their wives to cook in Campbells Cream of Mushroom Soup. Can you believe it ? My favorite recipe, which is a bit more sophisticated, is a Pot Pie made with just the dark meat.

Here is another fun fact ... Ron and I have about 30 Pheasants who live in the Shelter Belts surrounding our property. We feed them cracked corn in a nice long line in front of our Raspberry Patch. When they come out to feed, twice a day, during Good Morning America at 8:00 and Oprah at 4:00, it's just the coolest sight. With all of the construction noise from our Sun Porch, which is just about finished, they have been a bit scarce this fall. But they are out there squawking ... wondering just how long I can keep my Mom from bagging her limit out of my living room window.

Thank's, Wickipedia, for the awesome photo.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Sky Watch Poetry In Motion ...

Ron and I were on our way into Bed Bath and Beyond in Sioux Falls on Wednesday and this is what the sky was up to. I have many great shots but like this one in particular, because the light post gives some perspective. On the way home we could have pulled off of I29 many many times for additional Sky Watch photos, but Ruby Thursday was at Lakeview Kennel and we were running a bit late.

It's been a busy week. Ron's appointment with Dr. Assam, his Rehab Guru, went well. She is overseeing his progress with PT here in Watertown. We saw Dr. Moran, the Eye Doctor, yesterday. His vision is still blurred in his right eye, but it's not unusual for this to take up to 6 months to go away. There is a surgery for this, if necessary. Mom is out of Sanford Sioux Falls and back in Watertown at Jenkins Nursing Home for a month. It looks like one of her medications was the culprit in her digestive problems.

I've been pretty "Bucky" this past week. Thank you, Auntie Phil, for that very descriptive term for bitchy. I am so used to things being laid back around here and they are just not that way. They haven't been that way for months now. I am grateful for Ron and Mom's improving health, but have one basic need at this time ... where are my sweaters, socks, jackets, and parachute pants ??? It's fall now and I have not unpacked a thing since we remodeled and moved back in. But yesterday I was able to put the ear rings to rest that I have been wearing for two months ... for a Girly Girl that's progress!

More gorgeous Sky Watch skies at

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Jolly Green for Shellie ...

Listen up, City Slickers ... when you go into Pesce or The Palm and you order the Asparagus as your side to that juicy steak or filet of something wonderful from the sea, at some point it looked like this. Shellie Rice, my kitty katty corner neighbor in Houston, specifically requested a photo of our patch in action. So let me take this a step further for Farming Lesson 101 ...

Asparagus is native to most of Europe, Northern Africa, and Western Asia. The flower is greenish yellow, bell shaped, and the fruit is a small red berry. There is a recipe for it's preparation in the oldest cookbook around, Apicius's 3rd Century AD "De Re Coquinaria". It did not say "nuke, covered, with a bit of water in Corningware for 5.5 minutes".

It's a great diuretic and it's rhizomes and roots are used ethnomedially to treat urinary tract infections, bladder and kidney issues. It's also believed to be an aphrodisiac because of it's phallic shoots. The Egyptians, Greeks and Romans ate it ... and so do we, starting next spring. It has to grow and go to seed two yeas prior to harvest.