Fribble's Blend

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Location: Jefferson City, Tennessee, United States

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

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Weather Has Changed

We didn't get much rain from Hurricane Rita, but what we did get was gentle and went a long way to re-establishing our vegetation. Yesterday and again this morning, we got some good rain that cooled things off nicely.

On our outing today -- over to the garbage dump -- we noticed that the signs of fall are becoming more pronounced. Trees are beginning to change.

But there are some confusing signs, too. While we were gardening yesterday, pulling wild asters and golden rod and trimming back the iris for the winter, we discovered crocuses coming up. Then today when we dropped by a friend's house, we saw that his pear tree was blooming. The long dry spell has the plants confused.

I like fall. I like the colorful leaves and the cool, clear days. Not much on winter or summer, but I love fall and spring.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Good, Clean Fun

Last night, I took a shower and washed my hair. You might not think that is something to write about, but for me it is.

Our house has one of the smallest, most inconvenient bathrooms extant. It has been no end of trouble, particularly in the winters when pipes freeze. Of course, that's not a problem right now. The shower fixture in the bathroom, the size of the handsink, the composition of the surface of the bathtub all make them hard for me to use.

I'm vertically challenged, and every time I tried to adjust the showerhead, it came off in my hand. I could wash my hair in the kitchen sink, but the sink is built for a tall person, and I'm -- well -- vertically challenged. I'm also balance-challenged, and although there is a hand rail built into the bath surround, well, not much help there.

Yesterday, we got a handheld shower head with a 60-inch stainless steel hose, and a bracket to put it on the wall of the surround! Whoa! It solved all my problems! No more having to check into a hotel to get a good bath and shampoo!

It doesn't take much to make me happy!

Friday, September 23, 2005

DANGER: We Are Losing Control!

One of the guiding mottos of my life is "The more things you own, the more things own you."

Let me explain. You own a house -- you have to repair it, insure it, pay taxes on it -- it costs you money. You buy a fancy suit of clothes, and it has a tag in it the says "Dry Clean Only." A bad sign! You have to ransom it back from the cleaners every third time you wear it. Unless you're sloppy -- then it's every time you wear it.

This evening, on a commercial break on "Numb3rs" they showed a car that, when it needs repairs, sends a signal to the dealership, and the dealer calls the owner to tell him he needs to bring the car in to be fixed.

What is this world coming to! Next time you are in the process of buying something different, think! Am I going to own this, or is it going to own me?

Another motto I live by -- post computer -- is "I refuse to own anything that is smarter than I am." That's a hard one to live by.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

A Lesson Learned

I'm so glad that "the authorities" learned their lesson from Hurricane Katrina. This time, they took the storm seriously and have made serious plans. We shall see if they were adequate.

The people I really feel for are the ones who were ordered to take shelter somewhere, and were moved from there to somewhere else, and are now on to a third or even fourth place. One imagines all along the way there were people telling them "Do this! -- Do that! -- You have to. -- you can't..."

When people are evacuated from a storm-prone area, they shouldn't have been sent to another storm-prone area. Don't we all know by now that Houston gets huge rain storms several time a year? Let alone hurricanes?

We have a couple who has come to our county in Tennessee. We're expecting about twenty more people, more of less. Last night at choir practice, there was a discussion of where these people may be able to get some household furniture (they were able to rent a small trailer so they have the small necessities. When a certain clearing house of items was mentioned by my husband, everyone frowned and shook their heads.

"They don't give nothin' to this end of the county," a man said.

"But we've taken lots of things to them," my husband said -- and that's the truth.

"Don't make no difference. They won't give us anything."

Don't people get uppity? For shame! If we give away a useable table, we want someone to get it who needs it, and we don't care where in the county they live.

I guess we've learned one lesson and have a few more to learn!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Visiting the Used Bread Store

It was a nice Tuesday morning, and it was a pleasant drive over to the bread outlet. This is our usual Tuesday Social Event. We get to watch the progress of all the spots along the way.

A horse farm has recently changed hands and a fancy new fence is going up. A little way further along, the farm where the woman who machine quilts used to live was being shown to prospective buyers. An old house didn't have anyone working on it for the first time in weeks, but a nearby church is being expanded and today there were workers putting up the steel frame for the roof above the entrance. All this excitement, and the best was yet to come!

Today is the birthday of the young woman who runs the Used Bread Store. Husband made apple bread yesterday and took her some. Imagine! She has all sorts of goodies there and she gets excited about what he takes her. We sang "Happy Birthday" to her, and the other two customers just laughed.

And today, my husband's card was full so we got all the bread and rolls for the week and paid only $.42!

Do we need a life or what!

Monday, September 19, 2005

I Have To Thank You

A few posts ago, I mentioned that my book, The Hardest Step, was doing well on the publishers' bestseller list. (It's published by Awe-Struck E-Books -- and is also available at and other on-line e-book distributors.)

Well, it's doing even better as of today. This is very encouraging.

I'm working on another book now, one with a lot of social and political issues, along with romance and maybe some humor. This is a hard book to do, because I'm so afraid I'll get it wrong. I usually just wing it through the sticky wickets, but when the going gets tough, I do research.

Doing research cuts into writing time, and it often leads a writer down paths that might be terribly interesting but not germane to the issue. There's only so much that can be used.

If you want to read a book where I did hands-on research, read BUILDING PASSION, which comes out at the end of next year. If you can't wait, get a used copy from Amazon or some of the other used book sites. If you want to read a book where I did a major fly-by, read Once Again a Princess, from Hard Shell Word Factory.

No matter what, thank you for reading me--whether my blog or my books.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Finally -- Rain!

We haven't had any rain here in Eastern Tennessee for a coon's age. Nothing from Katrina or Ophelia, nothing from cold fronts moving in from the West, nothing from disturbances coming up from the Gulf.

The clay soil was parched and cracked. There were times when I was hoeing weeds in the garden that the clay was hard as brick, and other times when the dust would choke me.

But it was raining this morning, a gentle, soaking rain that went on for hours without much of a wind, no thunder or lightning. Leaves that were drooping are perking up. I can breathe again.

But October is our driest month. I hope we can survive.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

There Is a Reason...

I make quilts. Sometimes, I start making a quilt top and lose interest and it goes, incomplete, into the stash cupboard. Maybe unconnected blocks reappear to become a set of coordinated pillows or placemats. More often, they just sit quietly. Maybe the top gets made, but I don't have any reason to finish it right now -- something else can come along and be more important at the moment, or I'm writing a book, or working in the garden, and forget about it.

Maybe I just don't have a lot of emotional connection to the project. Sometimes that's a good thing, because along comes a NEED and I can whip that unfinished object -- known technically in quilting circles as a UFO -- into something someone needs. This isn't generally an instant process -- it still takes time, like gardening takes time, and writing a book takes time -- but it can jump to the sewing machine table and become an obsession, which gets it finished and out the door.

So there is a reason I started something and don't have it finished -- yet. There will be a NEED, and it will get done and it will comfort someone.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

It's a Proud Day!

Today, my book THE HARDEST STEP sits in the #18 slot of Awe-Struck's Romance list.

Now, this is a book that was first published in 1999. It was written long before that, but turned down by one publisher, then picked up by another line, only to be sent back when the line closed after only a few months on the shelves.

The heroine has fought her way back, step by painful step, from a devastating accident that happened just after she graduated from college. She's ready to spread her wings, but she's been confronted by chilly attitudes when people see he cane and her limp.

But the hero is to die for! Or to live for -- depending on your perspective.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Back to Work

I mentioned cleaning out the stash cupboard to find quilt tops and fabric to finish the started quilts. Well, at present, the cleaning out part is done -- the putting away still unaccomplished.

Part of the stumbling block has been that a neighbor wanted to get rid of a computer desk and my husband said, why, yes, Jane would take it off your hands.

Now, look around your work-station. How neat is it? How easy would it be for you to unexpectedly accept the largesse of a new computer desk? How much work would it be to disassemble the computer, clear the desk, assemble a new desk, reassemble the computer, reassemble the necessary flotsam and jetsam necessary to work at the desk -- and disassemble the old desk, which by the way helped out by partially falling apart?

Did that sentence tire you out? Just thinking about it has me all tired out again.

The overriding question at the moment is: "Will I ever need the various and sundry items crammed into the box under the desk or will they become a time-capsule to be excavated from a landfill in some future archeological dig?"

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Call Me a Doctor, Part II

My husband was pressing to get me to make out paperwork for the HMO plan yesterday -- when, of course, I didn't want to do it. For one thing, it's hard for me to read forms, etc. because they have lines and boxes, and I have double vision as close range like that. As you will remember, I'd picked out the rural place.

To make out the paperwork, you have to name a doctor. Well, dern! I looked through the names, and being a woman, wanted a woman doctor. I decided to call the place and see which names on the list were still active (because, of course, it would put a crimp in the process if the doctor had left the practice). I decided to call. Got one of those screech-screech noises in my ear. Yep -- it was long distance.

Sure, the thing you want to have happen when you are sick is to be on hold long distance, huh?

So we checked out another place today. I got smart this time -- I used Mapquest. Didn't get the address quite right, but found the street. Found the place. It was neat, bright, several people in the modern waiting room which was well-lighted. It had the prerequisite rubbing-alcohol scent that gives one assurance. The doctor in question is taking new patients -- another big item on the list.

I think I'm all set -- when I get over the shock of how much the government is taking out of my SS check for Medicare and how much I'm going to have to pay for the HMO program. Then will come the prescription program charge to come later.

Stay tuned.

Monday, September 05, 2005

The Issue of a Loose Tongue

This past Saturday morning, just when I thought things were going to quiet down, a car turned upside down in our yard. In the interest of brevity, I'll refer you to my son's blog at . He covered the issue pretty well.

What I want to point out about the incident, aside from the fact that the gentleman involved suffered only some cuts and in fact was perfectly fine the next day -- and delivered the sermon yesterday in church.

But at the scene, I heard a snatch of conversation that hurt. The gist of it was that the speakers assumed that the driver was on drugs or drunk. These thoughts could have been kept internal. In a situation like that, you never know who will hear you, especially if you don't know the victim or the bystanders.

Whatever happened to discretion? To manners? To common sense?

When a man puts on the uniform of a public servant, he needs to watch his mouth as well as him actions. And private citizens need to watch what they say and do, too.

I remember many years ago when I was going to look in on my mother who was just out of very serious brain surgery and an doctor was telling another doctor that he had very little hope for his patient whose surgery had been delayed because other conditions needed to be stabilized. I knew right away -- because he named the conditions -- that he was referring to my mother. A conversation like that should not have been held in a hospital hallway, if at all.

Just because this is the Twenty-First Century, that doesn't mean there is no place for good old-fashioned manners!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Cleaning Out the Stash Cupboard

Two features in this house attracted my attention many years ago when we decided to buy it. One was the sun porch which was long enough to accomodate my quilting frame. At that time, the frame was fairly new, and it has gotten a lot of use since, but it may soon be retired. It takes too long to hand quilt a quilt, and my wrists are giving me grief when I type, weed or sew too much. Shifting from one hobby to the other doesn't give the same relief anymore. But that's not the point.

The other feature was a closet in the dining room, perhaps the one closet in the house when all there was was the dining room, back about 1870, if not a couple decades before. The closet is my stash cupboard, for all my fabric -- almost all my fabric. My closet runneth over.

But this afternoon I'm going to risk tiring my wrists by -- hold on -- sorting out my stash closet. You might wonder why I am wasting time on neatness when people are in need in several states of our country. That is the point! There are unfinished quilt tops in there, amid scraps and lengths of fabric. Somewhere in those depths, amidst the clutter are tops to be finished for people who have suffered severe losses.

One of the people is my daughter's mother-in-law-to-be. Two women are a romance writer and her mother whom I have never met. While I search, while I finish the quilts, I will be thinking of these people, sending strengthening thoughts to them, and then they'll have the quilts. Maybe I can make other things from my stash cupboard -- we'll see. But this is something I can do that is needed, and I'll know where my quilts go.

Katrina is a disaster that, in historical perspective, will dwarf 9/11. Washington in dithering, relief is overwhelmed. There are small bits of action we can each take to help.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

We're Right! That Chromosome IS Defective!

This morning on the NPR Morning Editon, there was a piece about the chromosomal abnormalities creeping into the Y chromosome of chimpanzees in comparison with Human males. The male humans are losing their bits and pieces, though more slowly than the chimps.


Case Study -- Just before lunch, my husband of way toooo many years announced that we were going to tour the covered health providers in the area who are enrolled in the program he thinks I should go with for my Medicare Supplmental Coverage. Now, his navigational skills and powers of observation vis-a-vis highway numbers has been lacking for -- a long time. We realized, together, that we were on the wrong highway to get where we were going, and turned back toward town.

We made a quick stop to renew my driver's license -- not due till the end of the month, but with the price of gas these days, better safe than sorry. As we left the office and were crossing the street, he asked me if I had asked where Rt. 411 was.
My rejoinder was that I had been busy while he'd just been waiting for me -- he should have asked.

I fell back on my perhaps tasteless observation that, if the men who were leading the Exodus from Egypt had asked directions, they wouldn't have been lost in the desert for 40 years. Besides, he had been in a room that had two huge maps of the County on the WALL!

I pause here to shake my head.

Then I read again the notation and figured out how to get there even though I didn't know the number of the road. The road was windy, as only a Tennessee road can wind. I reflected that I might not want to have to endure it were I to have certain kinds of illness. Nonetheless, we persevered. We found the place. And I approved it.

He decided to see where the unfamiliar road went. I thought I'd been on it once before. Oh, yes! I really began to have serious doubts when I saw that we were entering the next county.

He wanted to look at more doctor's offices. I said, "Not today."

I think I'm going to opt for God striking me dead in perfect health at the age of 97. I'll have wasted all those Medicare premiums, but I won't have to go to a doctor's office.