Fribble's Blend

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Location: Jefferson City, Tennessee, United States

Published by: Hard Shell Word Factory ( and Awe-Struck E-Books (

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Where We Went Wrong

I've recently heard of some youngsters -- teenagers and slightly older -- who have done things that have deeply worried their parents. How could they do such a thing -- or things!

I think I know. There was a period in our social history when we were afraid to be overbearing in our parenting duties. We were being inundated by advice that we shouldn't be too adamant about church attendance and manners and consideration of others. The kids would follow our examples and turn out all right anyway.

Wrong! We didn't know how pervasive the drug culture was going to become. We didn't know what the movies and books and television were going to glamorize. Now there are a lot of young adults -- and even middle-aged people who are trying to navigate without a moral compass. And I for one am worried about them. For some it is already too late to turn things around. Some of them have hurt more than just themselves.

Although there is a strong evangelical movement throughout the country, it may be too little too late, and it may be misdirected and misrepresented.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Who Cares? I Do!

I just heard on NPR/All Things Considered that about 18,000 people die each year because they do not have health care coverage adequate for their problems.

That is roughly six times the number of people who died on 9/11!

Our country has been twisted into corkscrews as the result of 9/11, but the powers in Washington DC don't care a whit, it seems, about the 45,000+ people who have no health care, and the millions more whose plans are inadequate when something major strikes them down. They've got theirs -- why should they care about the rest of us!

I've been living for the last ten years without a cent of medical coverage. I've been dealing with the odd discomforts with over-ther-counter, cheap-as-possible remedies, dreading the moment disaster will strike. Medical care of a substandard quality will been forced on me, and it will take every bit of my savings and still leave me at the mercy of our government's whims and our health systems' greed.

Does anybody care?

Friday, May 27, 2005

Waiting for Company to Come

We're getting company! My husband's brother and his wife are coming for the weekend.

When we visit them, we go out into their garden and weedweedweed, but we enjoy it. They have a house that has a wonderful garden with as many flowers as can be crammed into it, and can be reached by a hose for watering, which is not the case here.

I've tried not to weed the garden too much, just in case they need some entertainment. Yeah, it was a tough decision to make, a hard resolution to keep, but it's one of those things you do just for special company.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Remembering Holidays

Holidays are pretty much business-as-usual in my life -- no picnics, no parades, no fireworks, no company or family gatherings.

But when I was a little kid, Decoration Day or Memorial Day was special. It was usually a crisp but sunny day in our corner of Pennsylvania. We lived on top a hill and I could hear bands -- plural! -- tuning up and getting ready to parade to the cemetery near our house. It was with great excitement that we'd trek down the hill to find a good place to watch the parade. And there always seemed to be a crowd to watch and follow the end of the parade up to the cemetery to the elliptical memorial park to hear speeches and watch the veterans fire a salute.

The flags, the uniforms, the flowers all left an impression on me. With regret I'd follow my parents, not going the same way most of the crowds went, but to the side gate which was three houses away from our home.

It's just not the same any more. The scale is smaller, the distractions greater. I don't think it's just me... I wish there were wonderful holidays like there used to be.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Friends Should Be Celebrated

I brought a friend over to visit me yesterday. She's as crazy about gardening as I am but her gardening bug has clipped wings. She is living in public housing. The units in a small town are much more attractive than the high-rises in the cities, but still, the yards are small. The five other people who live in the same block of units she is in are all into gardening in one intensity or another. Their little plots in front of their porches are crowded with common to exotic plants -- such a joy for others to see.

She hasn't had much chance to see our gardens -- she'd been living in Kentucky for a while, but infirmity has brought her out of her hollow back to civilization. I look at her and it is hard to imagine that she is younger than I am. She loved my peonies, though I don't take any credit for them -- they've been in the yard for decades.

What impressed her most? The scent of the honeysuckle and wild purple phlox in the far back yard! It smelled like the hollow in Kentucky. And she liked my pansies.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

A Cautionary Tale

Friday I was happily out digging in the garden, here, there and everywhere, never noticing a little irritation on my left ear. Later, while I was at the computer, the irritation got pronounced, so I scratched. I thought there was a scab there -- as I, of course, could not see my ear no matter how hard I tried. Husband said it was a scab.

But later, son looked at it. "Ma, that's a bug!" He removed it with tweezers and looked it up in the encyclopedia, then delivered the verdict. "That was a deer tick."

Since one of our neighbors has been battling Lyme disease for three years, I was instantly concerned. We had already washed the area with alcohol and put an allergy salve on it. To call out the heavy guns? Well, the problem is, I have no health insurance. I have been taking two Ibuprophens a day and otherwise monitoring the progress.

Today, the ear no longer has a fever, and the swelling is all but gone.

Be careful! Even the yard can be a jungle!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

One Sin A Day

I've been trying to shape up -- as much as a sextagenarian can. I've got to remember that I am no longer a spring chicken, even though I try to think young. The body is not young.

I weighed one hundred pounds on my wedding day, forty-one years ago. There have been a lot of cinnamon rolls go through my mouth in the intervening years. A few days before our anniversary in January -- a distressingly few days -- my husband bought an electronic bathroom scale. I've lost eight pounds since then, and that sounds like a reasonable amount.

I would have lost more but my husband, after buying the scales, has taken a turn toward thwarting my efforts. Granted, he's not made so many chocolate chip cookies or apple breads lately, but he has been a thorn in my hopefully shrinking side in another way.

He does helpful things for a neighbor, one who loves to buy wonderfully gooey treats from The W Store, and since he ought not eat them all himself, he gives them to husband in recompense for favors. Who can resist?

So I garden, and try to exercise my Won't Power. But along comes a church dinner, and I have to (yes, so that I won't insult the woman across the table) indulge in cherry cheesecake, upsidedown German chocolate cake and lemon coconut cake.

I hope everything gets under control before autumn sets in. Just a few more pounds to go to my goal. If I can just keep in down to one sin a day!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


CBS has done me wrong! They canceled my favorite shows -- Judging Amy and Joan of Arcadia! Both of them.

I now have no reason to live. Granted, I often had to prop my eyes open with toothpicks to watch Amy, and Thursday was a truly long day waiting for something good on TV on Friday. This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS have only so much appeal.

Why did they take two of the most intelligently written, morally responsible programs off the air?

Now all I have is Gilmore Girls, Numb3rs, Home Edition, How'd They Do That and golf to look forward to. I don't want to watch people eating slugs, wallowing in the mud, or acting as though they haven't a brain in their heads. And that covers all the rest of television.

CBS, get a clue!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

It Took All Afternoon

I have a quilt to make. My best friend's daughter got married Saturday and I had so many other things to take care of before I could set aside time to make her quilt that I set my deadline at the end of the summer. Well, the beginning of the summer is upon us, so today I dragged out fabric, pattern and templates to tackle the job.

Things began going wrong when I looked at the fabric requirements. There is a dirty little secret about fabric requirements -- the patterns usually call for more than you really need. They say that is to cover miscut problems, but I know it's just so the quilt shop can sell me more fabric. Even so, you have to come close in length before you start cutting, because you just might have come across an honest pattern maker.

So I shifted part A to parts B and C because I have a lot of the fabric I'd planned to use for part A. Lots of that fabric, as in, I buy a lot of fabric I like. Which meant that what I was going to use for part D is not quite enough for part A, but what I had put aside for part E -- well, the store still has more of that...all I need to get if...well, do you see my problem?

So I chucked it all into the shopping bag it was in and grabbed a big plastic bin of scraps! There is a pattern in that box that takes 31 square and a heck of a lot of scraps cut into strips...

So I happily cut squares for the other quilt while trying to think of ways to get someone to drive me to the just hope they still have some of that fabric, or I'll have to get something else. Which wouldn't neccessary be a bad thing...

Friday, May 13, 2005

Work that Will Go Unnoticed

I do things for a neighbor, not big important things, but little things. He's been a widower for about a year. A man without a woman is -- well -- all thumbs.

This particular gentleman is wider than tall, if you know what I mean. He has trouble finding jeans that are short enough in the legs and wide enough around the waist, so I shorten his jeans for him. (Note -- since he got out of the Army, he's not worn anything but jeans. Even to his wife's funeral.)

I had to shorten three pair for him yesterday -- they were in the way of the project I wanted to do. It took me maybe half an hour, because my sewing machine has some great features that make the work easy. But it's the matter of measuring and making that first cut in the first pantleg that makes me hesitant to get started.

Between you and me, one pantleg didn't cooperate -- it just didn't come out too straight. Well, I went ahead and did the best I could.

Do you think anyone will notice when he strolls through a WalMart or rides his lawnmower? I don't...ah, the work that goes unnoticed.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Get the Picture?

I took pictures of my irises, peonies and lettuce today with our digital camera today. Some of them didn't turn out very well, but there were a couple of spectacular shots. Two beautiful yellow iris pictures were worth cropping and maybe showing to other people.

Digital photography is a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful development. One of the biggest disappoints for photographers is not being able to replace an irreplaceable shot. Or not knowing that the cover was on the lens, or that your finger was in front of the camera. Or having to wait to get the pictures. Or forgetting to have them processed. Or double-exposing a whole roll and getting nothing on another.

But there is still no way to go back in time to get the shot you really, really missed. I think I want someone to work on that!

Monday, May 09, 2005

Conversations at Lowe's

My daughter gave me a gift card from Lowe's for Mother's Day. We couldn't go over there yesterday -- I had golf to watch. But we went there this afternoon. I needed by-pass pruners; the anvils I had just wouldn't cut it to prune my prize purchase of last year, my Princess Grace of Monaco rose. I could have spent the whole amount of the card on pruners, but opted for an economical, serviceable pair. Then I left my husband behind to head for Nirvanah, the open air plant section.

Although I do want to have some of those big impatiens for my shade garden, I knew that there were some bare spots in the more public garden by the driveway. Something that would give some structure in the winter, when everything else is flattened by cold. I found a Burford Holly that has berries on it, one of the plants I've wanted for years. Then I decided on a Liatris -- it will be pinky/lavender, which will do well in an established part of the garden, another plant that was on my wish list, although in the lower half. Husband was pleased that all he had to come up with was sixty-four cents!

The lady in front on me wanted to know what the plant was, and I showed her the tag, told her what I knew about it.

"How much is it?" she asked.

I told her I didn't know.

The clerk shrugged, no help.

"Well, I'm just going to wait here until I can find out," she said, moving aside and watching.

The clerk rang up the other two items first, as though he was deaf to our conversation.

It wasn't all that much! The woman grinned and went off, possibly to find her husband.

(Mental note for future reference -- don't use spell check if you are writing about plants.)

Sunday, May 08, 2005

My Mother's Day

This is not one of my favorite holidays -- it never has been. But today was pretty good. For one thing, the weather is beautiful -- and the loot's been good: a gift card from Lowe's, apple fritters from a neighbor, a plant from church, new sneakers and new shoestrings for the old pair, a watering can, some other penny-ante stuff that is all useful.

God gave me some good gifts--flowers that are blooming -- and blooming!

It's going to be a good year.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

The Local Team

On the way to the grocery store today, we passed the local youth baseball field. It was raining slightly, probably just about enough to call a game for an hour or so if one was being played.

There were four crows perched on the mound, taking tentative steps, reminding me of the scene in many baseball games -- the pitcher, the manager, catcher and maybe the shortstop deciding what to do with the next batter.

Just before they were out of my sight, I saw one of the birds flap his left wing -- calling in his south-paw.

Not even a trip to the grocery store is boring!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Discovery of the Day

Every day there seems to be something new to discover, either when we are working the in the garden or around the house. It's been as small as a bud turning green on a new bush we'd just gotten from the nursery. The most unforgettable one was the woman in our driveway who had gone into labor -- I don't know how it turned out but it's just as well.

But every day there is something to discover, some times several things. Flowers are coming out, there's an unfamiliar bird at the feeder, there is a sundog in the sky.

For a writer, it's a springboard into an idea, a little detail that might work into a story or just a little detail to slip in somewhere. I try to implant something in my memory about each discovery, something that I can call on later to lend authenticity to my writing.

But almost always it makes me see life in a new way.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The Trouble With Trees

This house is blessed with trees -- too many of them at times. There are old trees, middle-aged trees, young trees and some we foolishly bought ourselves. I've recounted the experience we had a couple weeks ago, but today I move on to another aspect of our tree-abundance.

One of the old trees (and I'm talking at least one hundred years old here) has a habit of dropping limbs in awkward places. We try to take off obviously dead limbs, but we are limited in our abilities. A chain saw is handy, but not the full answer.

Once you cut a limb down, you have to put it somewhere! On the burn pile which is behind the shed -- way behind the shed. The person who stays on the ground -- me -- gets this part of the chore.

Well, at least today, I got my exercise. So I guess the afternoon wasn't a total loss.