The Beechnut

According to the Department of Natural Resources:
As the beechnut or American beech tree gets ready for winter, its leaves turn a brownish russet color and the three-sided nuts it produces are borne in prickly burs.
Because the nut is small and covered with a thin, leathery shell, sometimes people don’t take the effort to harvest it. However, they do have a delicate, rich flavor.

Most days I handle being disabled pretty well.  I am good at keeping a positive outlook and realizing just how blessed I am to be alive.  I have the ability to see the blessings in my life and not simply the struggles.

My faith gives me strength.

But there are some days, when it is harder to be the optimist.  Some days I feel like this beechnut I photographed.

Full of potential,
yet held back so much by the prickly confines of my disability.

I watch the world go by,
just like the water whirling past this beechnut.

I see all of the things I want to be doing,
and I watch them float by.

It brings a moment of sadness,
then guilt for the sadness.
I have much to be thankful for.

Perhaps someday I will be released,
and be able to meld my life experiences in a way where I can enjoy the things of my past – yet hold on to the appreciation that I have for those things now.

The beechnut either rots in its prickly shell,
or it makes it out and can go on to live so much more.
Some even become a tree.
Some grow tall and strong.
Some make more beechnuts.

Then it hit me,
perhaps I’m already a tree and I just don’t realize it.

~ ~ ~


Look out world!

There is now a fiery red-headed version of me.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.


So what do you think Grandpa does at camp?

Today my six year old daughter was commenting on the fact that her Grandpa is at camp for a few days with her Great Uncle Chester.

So just out of curiosity I asked her, “What do you think PawPaw and Uncle Chester do at camp?”

She said, “Go camping.” (In a voice that said, Duh Mom.)

I said, “Yeah, but what do you think they do there?”

She said, “They sit around a campfire and sing songs of course!”

While I was giggling at that mental picture she said, “WHAT?!! They do, I’m sure of it.”


Follow along with Lori

Deputy U.S. Marshal Shafer and his new partner Lori - copyright - All Rights Reserved.

A friend of mine is a U.S. Marshal who is currently at the ATF Canine Training Center in Front Royal Virginia.

He has created a website, basically for kids but really for anyone that would like to follow along as he and his new partner go through the K9 training process.

The site is new and in progress, but he has some photos up and a nice video that my kids really enjoyed.

He plans to add a new video at the end of each week.

I think my kids will love following along with Lori’s progress, so I thought I would share.

Here’s the link:

Once upon a time…

I lived in a location with excellent utilities.  Now…. not so much.  Did I move?  Nope.   The utility companies just keep increasing and increasing their rates, while the service they provide declines at a rapidly alarming rate.

For years when I was a kid and young adult, the electricity might go out up here…. 2 times a year or so.  Now it’s typically 2 or 3 times a month, or more.  It was so bad awhile back that my husband joked that he felt like he was back in Iraq where they ration out electricity for certain hours of the day.

It didn’t used to be this way.  AEP (American Electric Power) used to maintain the lines.  Now they don’t.  So every time the wind blows or a tiny storm rolls through, stuff falls on the lines and takes out the power. The company has openly admitted that they don’t maintain the lines anymore like they used to – preferring to deal with outages as they occur instead of investing the money on keeping them safely clear.  The problem with this is that then when we have a real storm – like last winter – we end up with massive outages, and massive needs for repair.  Creating a situation where the local crews cannot handle all of the work and they have to bring in out of state workers – which costs a bundle.  Then they use each of these occurances as an excuse to apply to the Public Service Commission for another rate increase.  Dragging in BIG profits, and whining about how they spent all this money on big storm XYZ, and now they need another great big rate increase.  Yet, if they had simply done their job (the way they used to) maintaining line clearance, there wouldn’t have been nearly as much damage that needed fixed.   And of course the Public Service Commission approves the rate increase.  It screams of a scam to me.  And I don’t know who the Public Service Commission is working for – but I’m fairly certain it isn’t “the public”.

For someone with breathing issues like me, a power outage can be life threatening.  So it is a lot more serious than a simple inconvenience.

Anyway…. so far the power has only flickered during the storms we are having today.  But lots of friends above & below us are out.  And our phone is all messed up again.  (Third time this week.)  The phone service has been horrible for the past 2 years.  Verizon was trying to get out of providing land line service here (working on getting a deal approved for Frontier to take over – which they have now done).  So they were (in my opinion) doing the bare minimum in terms of repairs.  Which means the phone goes out – a lot.  A new development this month, is that it rings when it rains.

The rings are either super short or really long, and there is never a caller on the other end.  Then the phone goes out all together.  The last time this happened a large percentage of us up here ended up without any phone service at all.  So I suspect that is what is about to happen again.

What is amusing about this, is our 11 month old who is just toddling about is both fascinated and confused by the frequent, oddly ringing phone with no real call coming through.

She keeps toddling over in the direction of the phone saying, “I get it!  I get it!”

Which comes out more like, “I gettit!  I gettit!”   LOL

It is particularly amusing when combined with her awkward toddling, and the fact that when she reaches out – she looses her balance and plops down on her diapered butt.

Let’s just say the way things are going I think there are a lot more, “I gettits” in our future.    LOL

Horrible life?

Yesterday while in the midst of yet another power outage, our kids were playing with their battery operated Nintendo DS, while my husband and I were praying the electric would come back on before we roasted to death in the heat.

Our 6 yr old daughter said to my husband, “Daddy, when you were a kid did you have a Nintendo DS?”

my husband: “No.”

our daughter: “Why not?”

my husband: “They didn’t make them back then.”

our daughter: “They didn’t make them back then?  Oh my, that must have been a horrible life.”


You may visit our website at…

Maybe it’s just me, but I find it really annoying when nearly every business that I phone these days, forces me to listen to 5 minutes of “You may visit our website at …..”  at the beginning of every call.

or “You may visit us on the web at...”

or “You may visit us on our home at the web at...”

You get the idea.


What a novel idea right?

I mean 99.9% of the time what I am calling about has nothing to do with anything on their website whatsoever (because trust me if I can do something without calling that is precisely what I will do).  So why should I have to listen to this?  I file it under “Moments of my life I’ll never get back.”

This pet peeve of mine is increased when I am so bored waiting on hold that I go to their stupid website and there is NOTHING there.  Just a stupid little home page saying “We are your (insert annoying company here) provider.”

Then I find myself even more annoyed when I have to hear the looping message about going to their website for further assistance.  When I know there is no further assistance on the website.

Yes, I know in the whole grand scheme of life, this is nothing.  But it annoys me all the same.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I am off to call another company – so that I can hear a similar such message, yet again.