Spring Sprung Sprightly!

April 30, 2010

What a beautiful Spring this is —

In our neighborhood . . .

in North Carolina  . . .

and at my favorite golf course!

Welcome Spring.  We’ve missed you!


For sale . . .

April 28, 2010

. . . fixer-upper with a view.

What’s that realtor’s say?  Location, location, location!


Thanks be to God … the news is good!

April 27, 2010

Update:  Tuesday night, 10 p.m.

Thank you friends for your prayers!

Elise posted the following an hour ago:

Yipeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!

Surgery is over and the news is good! Dr. G was able to remove all tumor that he is able to see. It appears from the flash pathology that it is a grade 2 ependymoma and peeled off of all walls nicely. All I can say is our Doctor is a miracle worker and so are all of Cooper’s fans! Your prayers and good vibes worked! Cooper will be sedated until tomorrow where he will have an MRI to determine if there are any other sites where the tumor may have penetrated, but Dr. G felt that he was able to get it all based on what he could see. There was a small complication with a pin sinking into an area where the radiation had occurred which he repaired – we can deal with that, one more scar to add to his battle wounds – my little warrior.

Now we work to get him healed and on to Chemo to knock this bad boy out of the field!

Love to you all – your prayers did reach the heavens!

Elise

The war isn’t over yet, but a very significant battle was won today.

Thankful is the only word I can think of to express how I feel right now.  I’m sure many who love Cooper are going to bed tonight thankful.

And thank you to those of you, my friends, who joined us on the front line of the battlefield today.  There is truly strength in numbers … in battles and in prayer.

Sandra


Please Pray

April 27, 2010

Remember when I told you about Cooper here?

He and his mommy and daddy, and even his big sister, have been through so much — more than I could possibly tell you about here.

But now there is a second, fast-growing tumor in his brain.  So, today at 1:30 p.m. (EDT) a team of very skilled surgeons are going to operate to remove the tumor.

When I got up this morning, there was an update from Justin about Cooper written during the night, and it ended this way:

Cooper is scheduled for surgery with Dr. G at 1:30 pm to take out the new tumor which appears to be growing at a concerning rate. I have been staring at Cooper sleeping for the last hour and can’t stop thinking about all he has been through but mainly what he is going to go through…so with this surgery brings a great deal of hope and concern.

Elise and I have one simple request – when you sit down for lunch tomorrow please say a quick little prayer for Cooper and Dr G’s strength to meet their challenges ahead.

Good night

Justin

Will you please pray for wisdom and skill for the doctors, strength for Cooper and faith and peace for his mommy and daddy?

Thank you, my friends.

Sandra


Don’t Duck the Question!

April 27, 2010

I love “before” and “afters” — I suppose that’s the reason I enjoy the Home and Garden Network on TV so much!

So, regarding the picture I posted yesterday (btw, this is one of the spring-fed ponds in our addition and it occurs to me that I should assure you that that isn’t oil on the surface.  This was taken in late afternoon  and the design on the water comes from reflections of near-by homes), here is the “before”, straight out of the camera:

and here is the “after” that I posted:

Have I ever mentioned?  I love color!  So when I adjusted the saturation of the colors in the original, I was delighted with all the vivid color that showed up in the “after” that reminded me of an abstract painting.

But later I looked back at the original and second guessed myself (another hobby of mine) that maybe it was the best version after all, because the duck is the most colorful thing in the photo.

And, if I crop the original . . .

. . . it puts more emphasis on the duck .

I have many other variations of this picture that I won’t bore you with.  But let me just say that when I get a photo that interests me like this one does, it pays for itself in entertainment value, in the fun time I have playing with it!

Now … the question.  Did I post the right version of the picture?  Or, to be perfectly honest, should I have posted it straight out of the camera?  Because I’m fairly new at this, I’m never sure of the ethics of photography.  In order to be completely truthful, should I always post pictures “as is”?  I really don’t know.

I’m not sure I can ever be cured of my addiction to color, but I will certainly take to heart any opinions you have!

Okay, I do have to share one other variation that I really like …

Oh, and I forgot this one — I really like it too …

Stop!  Get a grip, Sandra.  Just step away from the duck picture and go do something else!

Content is copyright protected.


Duck in Abstract

April 26, 2010

To see some of the interesting detail, click on the picture once to make it screen size.

May your Monday be just ducky!


Love Leads the Way

April 25, 2010

There was a story in the news from Alaska a few days ago about Buddy, a German Shepherd, who was a hero.

While Buddy’s master was working in a workshop next to his house, a fire started.  The man managed to get out but he was burned and the fire quickly became out of control.  The workshop was very close to the house so if it wasn’t put out quickly the fire would certainly spread to the house. The man said, “I need help!” and Buddy immediately took off.

Buddy ran until he found a car, a police car, and led the policeman to the burning building.  Later when asked how he knew to follow the dog, the officer said, “He ran toward the car, stopped and looked at me, ran back up the road a few yards and then glanced back to see if I was following.  He repeated that several times, until he was sure I was following, and then he took off.”

While the officer was following the dog, he began to wonder if he had imagined the “follow me” look and thought that maybe the dog was actually trying to get away from him!  So, he slowed down to see what the dog would do.

As soon as Buddy noticed that the car wasn’t keeping up with him, he ran back toward the car, barked, and then turned around and led the way again.

When they arrived at to the burning building, Buddy ran circles around the police car and when the officer opened the car door, he reached up and pulled on the officer’s arm with his paw!

Buddy’s owner received help, the house was saved and the Alaska State Police have already given Buddy a life-saving award.

Isn’t that a wonderful story?  It seems obvious that Buddy acted out of love for his master.

And it occurs to me that I would do well to learn a lesson for my own life from Buddy.  When someone is watching me, my actions and words should lead the way to the one I love, my Master.  I can’t think of a better way to demonstrate my love for my Master and for my fellow man.  And the life-saving reward for all of us will be eternity in Heaven.

May your Sunday be blessed.


The Good, The Bad and The Mismatched

April 23, 2010

Yesterday wasn’t a great day …

In the morning I decided to try on what I was going to wear to a brunch today.  That’s when I realized the navy blue knit skirt and jacket (the same brand) I had purchased didn’t match!  That wasn’t evident in the store when I purchased them a month ago and I had just brought them home and hung them in the closet, never really looking at them again until now!

I planned to attend a retirement lunch for a former co-worker at 11:30, but suddenly realized I hadn’t written a letter for his memories book, so I hurried up and whipped one of those out.

About 11, I drove to the building I used to work in (the truck manufacturer, not the jail!).  When I got there at 11:15 there were only two other cars in the visitors parking lot.  Hmmm, where were all the other guests?  Unfortunately when I went inside I found out I had, for some inexplicable reason, put Dennis’ retirement party on Thursday on the calendar, instead of next Tuesday!  So, not wanting the trip to be a total waste, on the way out I stopped by the offices of several former co-workers, and gave them a good laugh because I had shown up on the wrong day (I’m sure making them silently pray that when THEY retire, they won’t become confused like me!).

Next I went to the mall to return the mismatched outfit and tried on alternatives.  I bought a few pieces that might work, but I will probably end up wearing something I already have.  At least when I entered the store through the door by the shoe department I ran across a pair of brown sandals I liked, so the trip wasn’t a total disappointment.

But after spending considerable time trying on clothes, I finally just got tired of looking for the perfect outfit, purchased the few things I did find, and left.  But when I got to my car, I couldn’t find my keys.  So I went back in and talked to the clerks in the area where I had been trying on clothes.  No keys in the fitting room or turned in.  Rats.

Went back to the car.  Thanks to keyless entry and Hubby making the code my birthdate so that I wouldn’t forget it, I was able to get into the car and to my cellphone, which I always keep in the console plugged in, because I normally only use it with the blue tooth.  Anyway, I called Hubby (who was scheduled to play golf shortly) and told him my sad little tale.  He said he would leave right away to bring me another set of keys.

As I sat in the car waiting for “my hero”, it occurred to me that maybe I hadn’t dropped my keys in the clothing department where I had spent the majority of my time, but much earlier in the shoe department.  So on a hunch, I  quickly went back in and looked up the guy in the shoe department I had bought my sandals from — yes he had found my keys and put them behind the desk.   Halleluia!  They had apparently fallen out of my purse onto the chair where I had set it while I tried on sandals!

I rushed back out to the car and called Hubby to tell him he didn’t have to come.  Of course, he was half-way there, but at least I reached him before he got completely there!

When I got home I was, as Mama used to say, “rung out”!  But it’s funny how reviving “home” can be.  After just a little quiet time, eating a sandwich for supper (by myself,  because thankfully I hadn’t made Hubby too late for his golf league) and sitting down to read for a while, I felt much better.

And today, when I look back at yesterday from the other side of a good night’s sleep, there’s lots to be thankful for:

At least I discovered the new outfit didn’t match a day before I was supposed to wear it.  I could not only return it and shop for something else, but I had time to think about what other alternatives were in the closet.

Yes, I went to the office for a party that isn’t until next Tuesday, but I did get to see several old co-workers I hadn’t talked to in quite a while.  And, as an added bonus, I found out that there are several truck salesmen who still (I’ve been retired from there eight years) ask about me once in a while when they call in.  It’s always nice to know you’re not forgotten.

Yes, I lost my keys.  But I am so thankful that the shoe salesman found them and kept them for me.

I’m also thankful for a husband who without hesitation took the chance that he would be late for his golf league to come “rescue” me at the mall. And then didn’t have one word of criticism when I found them and his half-trip was for nothing.

And the weather yesterday was absolutely gorgeous.

Sometimes bad stuff happening makes us appreciate the good stuff more, doesn’t it?

But even though it wasn’t all bad, I wouldn’t want to have a day like yesterday too often!


All time favorite? . . . or just flavor of the month?

April 22, 2010

When we travel in the car, Hubby PREFERS (yes, in caps) to drive.  So since I have developed an interest in photography, and especially since he gave me the small camera that is always handy in my purse, I take pictures while he drives.  My camera is in my lap most of the time, and it does make my time more interesting to always be on the look-out for things to photograph.

On our last little trip we had the following conversation:

Me:  (while watching out the window for the next shot) “I am so glad you gave me this camera.  I think it is my all-time favorite gift from you!”

Hubby:  “Even more than the coat I gave you that you had re-lined twice?”

Me:  “Oh, I’d forgotten about that!  Yes, I really did like that coat.”

I had totally forgotten about that long tweed belted coat that I adored way back in the 70’s.  I’m amazed he remembered it!

So I guess I should really qualify what I say about a “favorite” to him.  From now on I will tell Mr. Long Memory, “TODAY, this (whatever this is at the moment!) is my favorite gift you have ever given me.”

The moral to this story?  When you have a bad memory like mine — you can have lots of all-time favorites!


The Neighbor Guy Knock

April 21, 2010

We have a door bell, but for whatever reason, there are still times when someone just knocks on our front door.  But until yesterday, it had never occurred to me that when there is a knock at the door, even before I open the door, I get a “feeling” for who is standing on the other side by the way they knock.

There is a little girl in the neighborhood who sells us school fundraising candles, plants, candy, etc.  When she comes to the door I instantly recognize her knock — because she just keeps knocking.  Not a hard knock, but an ongoing, same tempo and loudness, knock,knock,knock,knock,knock,knock,knock,knock.  Before I ever open the door, I recognize the knock of a small child — a light touch but demonstrating no idea of the concept of pausing to give the person inside a chance to get to the door!

For most of the other people who might knock at our door, such as invited guests or trademen coming to fix something, there is usually what I would describe as the generic adult knock — firm and loud enough to assure that it is heard, but with a pause after a few raps to see if we come to the door.

And then there is what I would describe as the “neighbor guy knock” — the two or three loud slaps or thuds on the door that just shout, “Hi!  It’s me from down the street, and I’ve got something to tell you, or show you, or invite you to, or here’s your mail that was accidentally put in our box!”  This is a knock that I would say makes me very interested in who is there and makes me ready to smile at someone interesting and friendly when I open the door.

We have a “no solicitation” policy in our neighborhood, but we still occasionally get a door-to-door person selling something.  And those people usually have what I would describe as a professional knock.  A firm knock that announces the person is at the door — just loud enough to be heard and brief enough to give me a chance to get to the door, but a practiced, polite knock that says “I don’t want to offend you with my knock, because I want to sell you something!”  (Depending on what I’m doing, I sometimes down answer these knocks, after peeking out to make sure it isn’t someone I know.)

Well yesterday Slick Sally Saleswoman showed up at our door and she was one smart cookie, from beginning to end of her visit.

First of all, SSS gave the neighbor guy knock — two or three pounds on the door that made me think, “This is obviously someone we know.”  So, of course I immediately went to the door and opened it.

Actually when I opened the door, two women were standing there but the older one did all the talking, so I’m guessing the younger woman was a trainee.  They were very plain looking, dressed in worn t-shirts and pants that someone might wear around the house.  Certainly not in the “slick salesperson” persona you might expect.

But SSS who had a very pleasant, sincere smile immediately greeted me and rattled off the name of the company they represented (which was very generic and didn’t in any way describe what product they were representing).  Then she showed me a stack of coupons in her hand about the size of playing cards and said that there was going to be a drawing for $1,000 worth of groceries and (as she poised her pen about the top coupon) if I would just give her my name, address and phone number (so that they could reach me in case I won), she was ready to write them down.  Whoa!  Wait a minute.  I felt like I was jumping on a moving train!  I politely told her, no.  She never even blinked.  My immediate impression what that this woman had been doing this a long time and that nothing rattled her.

Then I asked what company were they working for again?  She skimmed over the name again quickly and said they were a cleaning business.  Well, the crew of Amish girls who clean our house had just left a few minutes before, so I told her that our house had just been cleaned and, in fact, if she took a sniff she could probably even catch a whiff of a clean house after a scrubbing (they both dutifully sniffed and said, yes, they could smell “clean”).  So, we already had a company cleaning for us with whom we were very satisfied.  (Honestly, at this point the way they were dressed made more sense.  I thought maybe they had a car down the street full of mops, brushes and Lysol and if I was willing they would come in and clean our house right now!)

She laughed and said, no, no, they didn’t clean houses — they sold house cleaning equipment!  Then I thought about the company name again and remembered the name “Kirby” in it — so I said, “Oh, do you sell Kirby sweepers?”  Yes, that was one of the things their company did.  A light suddenly came on and a memory flashed through my mind of when I was a little girl and the door-to-door salesman (always in a suit and tie) would come to the door selling Kirby vacuum cleaners.  Here was the 2010 version!

I told her I wasn’t interested, but she never blinked an eye.  Nothing showed that she was disappointed or flustered.  She thanked me for my time and as she walked away she asked what the name was of the bush in the yard that smelled so good.  Making friends ’til the end.

After I closed the door, five minutes later the same knock came.  It was so similar, I was sure it was her/them back again.  When I opened the door (and this time Hubby had been close-by so he stood right behind me as I opened the door), she said, oh sorry they had already been here hadn’t they.  Maybe it’s my imagination, but I wonder if Hubby standing there this time had made her feel a little like I had called in reinforcements to get rid of her.  If it had just been me again, I wonder if I might have gotten another sales pitch.  I’ll never know.  But she definitely didn’t seem like the disorganized type who would have “accidentally” knocked on the same door twice in a row.

Later in the day I was talking to my friend Barb and mentioned the experience I had had with SSS.  Barb said she had actually had the same experience, but she had foolishly given the person her information.  She had then received a call a week later saying that she hadn’t won the prize, but would she be interested in having an in-home demonstration of a Kirby vacuum cleaner.  She said no.  A few days later she received a call from someone else saying that they understood she wanted an in-home demonstration of a Kirby vacuum cleaner and they were ready to set up the appointment.  She said no again.  Boy, was Barb sorry she had given them her information!

I wonder if they teach that “neighbor guy knock” in their training classes.  After all, getting the person to open the door is the first step!