Wednesday, February 29, 2012

More Date Thursday pictures

My brother, Jon, stayed with Mama Trudy this afternoon while Don and I went on a “date.”

We went to downtown Chattanooga for lunch.

The barbeque place we wanted to eat at was closed, so we walked down the street to Southern Comfort Steakhouse & Night Club… night club was closed.100_0579

Don had the meatloaf and I had the fried chicken.  It was pretty good.100_0578

There’s a huge National Military Cemetery in Chattanooga.100_0588

We thought we were going up on Missionary Ridge, but instead, we went through it.100_0591

All the creeks in this area are full100_0598

Up on Lookout Parkway.100_0599100_0600100_0601

The view from our favorite stopping place.100_0606100_0607

Looks like the RV “park” is full.  Those little houses are equipped with washer and dryer!  Isn’t that clever.100_0609100_0610100_0611100_0612100_0613

There seems to be a fire on the mountain across the valley.100_0615

The Lookout Creek winds through the valley.100_0617100_0618100_0619100_0621

The road going down off the mountain.100_0635

Don and I thoroughly enjoyed our date today.  Thank You, Lord, for the beautiful day.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cream of Potato Soup=Comfort

Lately and more regularly, Mama Trudy has been nauseated when she gets up and moves around, like to the bathroom, which is about the only place she’s been in about four days. Tonight, she requested homemade cream of potato soup made from the mashed potatoes we had for lunch.

“I would love to make you potato soup, Mama, what do you want in it?

“A little, garlic powder, onion powder, celery salt, thyme, oregano, and black pepper.”

So, after assisting Mama to the restroom and back to her chair, sick to her stomach, I went to the kitchen I go.

We had about 1 1/2 cup of potatoes left, which I mixed well with about 3 cups of milk and a heaping teaspoon of flour that I mixed to smooth in a little milk before adding to the soup.  Next, I added a dash of each of the seasonings along with a little more salt.100_0572

I promise I presented the bowl of soup and crackers very well on a plate to Mama.  It’s 8:30 PM and she still hasn’t eaten any of the soup she requested.  Poor thing just does not feel like eating.  Under protest, she ate a cracker and took her meds.  When she feels better, she will eat soup

I added a little shredded cheddar cheese to mine.  Yummy.

Update: At 8:40, Mama said she was ready to eat.  She did.  About a half cup of potato soup.  She liked it.  And I’m thankful she ate something.  She feels better. 

Potato soup is comfort food.

Your Cell Phone–Good info

cell phone clip art

4 Things you might not have known about your Cell Phone

For all the folks with cell phones. (This should be printed and kept in your car, purse, and wallet. Good information to have with you.)

There are a few things that can be done in times of grave emergencies.

Your mobile phone can actually be a life saver or an emergency tool for survival.

Check out the things that you can do with it:

FIRST (Emergency)

The Emergency Number worldwide for Mobile is 112. If you find yourself out of the coverage area of your mobile network and there is an Emergency, dial 112 and the mobile will search any existing network to establish the emergency number for you, and interestingly, this number 112 can be dialed even if the keypad is locked. Try it out.

SECOND (Hidden Battery Power)

Imagine your cell battery is very low. To activate, press the keys *3370#. Your cell phone will restart with this reserve and the instrument will show a 50% increase in battery. This reserve will get charged when you charge your cell phone next time.

THIRD (How to disable a STOLEN mobile phone? )

To check your Mobile phone's serial number, key in the following Digits on your phone: 

*#06# .

A 15-digit code will appear on the screen. This number is unique to your handset. Write it down and keep it somewhere safe.

If your phone is stolen, you can phone your service provider and give them this code. They will then be able to block your handset so even if the thief changes the SIM card, your phone will be totally useless. You probably won't get your phone back, but at least you know that whoever stole it can't use/sell it either. If everybody does this, there would be no point in people stealing mobile phones. (I now have my phone’s 15-digit code written down.)

And Finally....

FOURTH (Free Directory Service for Cells)

Cell phone companies are charging us $1.00 to $1.75 or more for 411 information calls when they don't have to. Most of us do not carry a telephone directory in our vehicle, which makes this situation even more of a problem. When you need to use the 411 information option, simply dial:

(800) FREE411   or (800) 373-3411 

without incurring any charge at all.  Program this into your cell phone now.

smart phone pic

This is sponsored by McDonalds.

Portuguese Man-Of-War

I received an email from a friend in Brownsville with these pretty amazing pictures.  It seems these “jellyfish” looking creatures have washed up on the beach on South Padre Island this past weekend.

SPI arty 5

SPI arty 4

SPI  arty 1

Art Ledezma wrote:

One of nature's anomalies.

Yes, I would say most are dead.

They're really called "Portuguese Man-Of-War" and the majority of their bodies are several feet long and if you step on one barefoot, it will burn you big time.

There is another sea creature called "Jellyfish," but they're different, they're round and larger.

You need a handful of meat tenderizer to apply on the affected area. (Should you come in contact with one.)

They need to float in the water to stay alive.

I've seen this happen almost every year, sometimes in large amounts, sometimes small amounts. Also if you run over them with your truck or car you might have problems with your tires, since the "stinging" substance is so strong on the rubber...

Ever had one or part of one "slide" over you?

Burns like hell, literally...

I remember one time as a child at Galveston Beach (since I lived in Houston) I came out of the water screaming and crying. My mother couldn't figure out what to do except rub Calamine lotion on my legs and back until the pain went away about 2 hours laters...

Thanks, Arty, for sharing these pictures with me.  We sure miss being close to SPI and sights such as this.

SPI arty 2

Sunday, February 26, 2012

I am so blessed

How did that happen? 

I am overwhelmed with emotion as I think about how God has “increased our territory.”  To me, territory translates into people and relationships.  My life has been so enriched and blessed by so many wonderful friends and acquaintances.  We call them Bakers’ blessings.  Each one has touched our hearts and lives in ways too numerous to count and I love how God will bring one, or two or more, to our mind at different times.  We want to always be ready to pray for them when that happens; it is no coincidence.

My blessings started when God chose my mother for me.  How important her role has been in my life.  Perhaps, because she lost her mother at the age of twelve, she understood deeper how important being a mother is.  I don’t know.  I just know that I am so blessed to be her daughter.  I cannot honor her enough.

Then God saw fit to give me two healthy, beautiful baby girls who have grown into amazing young women who have blessed me again with four fabulous grandchildren.

All along my life’s path, God has brought friends and beloved ones.  I love them all.

It’s because of mama’s love and encouragement, however,  that I am where I am today.  Mama prayed Don into my life.  I argued with God, but Mama’s prayers were stronger and wiser.2009 Jun 27 praying

It is because of Don that I have so many beloved friends around this world.  I am so blessed.

God bless my sweet husband, who has laid down his life to allow me to be with my precious mama at this time in her life.  God bless him as he goes to church this morning without me.

And God bless him for putting on this pot of chili that smells so good right now as it cooks on this cool Georgia morning.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Kris update: The Latest News!

Dearest Friends and Loved Ones,

It has been a while since our last update about our daughter Kris, and I do apologize. Many people have been asking! Computers are wonderful but, when you mess up one thing in a computer, it sometimes mushrooms into a gigantic goof-up. I had just such a situation when I tried to re-vamp my email data base and ultimately had to recreate it completely. (It pays to back up more than two years back!!!) Surprised smile

For those who are just now receiving their very first update from us about Kris, she is Major Kristine Ratliff, RN, USAF, our 46-year old daughter who suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) April 21, 2010 in a horrendous auto accident. Following several weeks at Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) in San Antonio, she has spent nearly two years in rehab hospitals and a health care facility up until about one month ago. At that time, she was admitted to the beautiful new Audie Murphy VA Hospital in San Antonio where they hope to teach her to either speak or communicate in some fashion with a speaking device. She is trying very, very hard and we truly believe she will speak one day soon. They are also working diligently with her eating (hopeful that she won’t be PEG tube fed forever), with her walking and with other activities or daily living.

There have been numerous other complications and several major surgeries over the past two years, but her stay now at the VA Hospital seems to be the key that will unlock the doors. The weekly progress meetings (held every Friday morning) have been full of wonderful news and positive updates, and my daily phone calls to her nurse, to her husband, Russ, and/or to Manuel, an old family friend who visits almost daily, have also been full of hope and exciting news. The attached photo is an indication of how good she looks and how well she is doing. The staff at the VA Hospital are dedicated and they are wonderful in communicating Kris’s needs.image

We have known for some time that her mental capacity has been extraordinarily good and sharp. Her marvelous sense of humor prevails, and she laughs and smiles and has the most pleasant personality. But, then, she’s always been that way! Now, with the help of a Dynavox speaking device, it is truly hoped that she can learn to communicate by typing words on the keyboard and having the device speak the words to her (and/or to anyone nearby with whom she wants to communicate).

Well, there is much more to tell but I want to save the rest of it until I return from my next trip to San Antonio. Kris’s case manager with the Air Force contacted me a week or so ago and asked if I might be able to come out again. Are you kidding me?!!!! Just say when, was my reply!!! The date is set for Thursday, March 1st and I’ll stay with Kris at the VA for ten days. And... the military powers-that-be have once again made this trip possible by paying my airfare because they feel it might be helpful to Kris. She still has periods of depression, it was explained, and another visit might help spur things along. It seems they do this sort of thing when a patient has extenuating circumstances and perhaps Mom might help. So, of course, I will be on pins and needles until next Thursday when I’m on that plane. George, bless his heart, will hold down the fort here in Sebring and continue with the house renovations (yes, we’re still doing them!!!).

In the meantime, our son, John, is still recovering from his surgery to remove a “lump” from behind his ear, and seems to be finally on the mend! There was no more cancer and we are praising God for that!

Someone emailed and said they believe 2012 might be a good year. Well, we have prayed mightily as to whether we should do another summer show tour this year. Financially, it would be a great help if only to allow us to travel home to Pennsylvania to see the rest of the family, but I wasn’t sure it was the right time. God swiftly answered those prayers by filling our show schedule from the end of June to the end of September almost completely. There are two Sundays open in August! I think God is letting us know it’s okay... go ahead and spread “the Good News!” Praise the Lord!

So your prayers are still so necessary and appreciated. Your faithfulness in doing so has sustained all of us. Kris’s husband has been so faithful to visit Kris and keep in touch with us. She is doing, truly, far better based on the depth and seriousness of her injuries, and we are at last much more at peace with moving ahead with our lives.

However, we will start the summer in Texas visiting with Kris by mid-May... just in time for her birthday!!! Please pray, however, that gas prices don’t go sky-high!!!

Blessings and love,

Carol and George

Monday, February 20, 2012

For my Grands …

I went walking today and AJ went with me!

He kept looking for the kids.100_0547 AJ went walking with me

“Where are those fun kids who loved me so much??”100_0548 AJ

“L-a-d-y! I said, ‘What did you do with the kids??’”100_0549 AJ, the neighbor dog

“I ask you a reasonable question, and all you can do is point that contraption at me.” 100_0550 AJ & my shadow

Heavy sigh.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Et Cetera, Et Cetera

I found a box today.  It contained pictures from my childhood, report cards, etc. etc. … labeled in Mama Trudy’s printing.100_0535

These are very small scraps of fabric that I had clothes made from.  Wait. These are scraps left over from the fabric that we made clothes for me from, not that I had dresses made from little scraps of fabric. Anyway, you understand.  I say, we made clothes, because I used to sew when I was younger.100_0536

You know, we are the family that finds humor in as many things as possible.  My brother asked, “Which ‘etc.’ is this piece of fabric filed under?”100_0537

It was at the point, that I became hysterical regarding the “etc., etc.” that Mama had printed on the outside of the box.  I know, you probably need to know my mama to find the humor here.  She’s just so stinking cute.

So, we take the box of scraps in to show Mama and by the end of her explanation as to how many things can be done with these scraps, I will now find it very difficult to discard them.  Very.  Did not happen today, that’s for sure.

The idea that sticks in my mind is making fluffy pillows and fluffy rugs by sewing these pieces of fabric very close together onto another larger piece of fabric or backing … these scrap pieces that are too small for anything.  To a creative mind, there is no such thing as “too small for anything.”

Her ideas are inventions of necessity, birthed during the Great Depression of the 1930’s.

It is a very creative mind that finds it impossible to throw anything away.

But my mama is still funny, “etc. etc.”

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wednesday aWay…

My wonderful brother came over to visit with our mama today while Don and I head up to Chattanooga to have the speedometer diagnosed.  It’s pegged all the way around and past the 120 mph mark.  And the tachometer is pegged past 6000 rpm’s.  The verdict:  a new speedometer cluster has been ordered …. extended warranty has been notified.

It’s a partly to mostly cloudy day, but nice.  And it was good to get away with my special man.100_0527

Hello, Tennessee!100_0528

Just over the state line is this really nice rest stop.100_0529

The Tennessee River..100_0530


Rays of sunshine on our return to Mama Trudy’s.100_0533

Did I mention that we ate lunch at Famous Dave’s Bar-b-que?  There ribs are really yummy …… Famous Daves 1

but Dave is famous to me for his bread pudding!Famous Daves 2

Hey… I had broccoli. In love

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Terrific Tuesday…

My brother, Jon, on the right, talking on his cell phone to his wife… trying to convince her that we really do need to see him everyday.100_0511

I don’t think she’s “buying” it.  We really do love seeing him as often as he can come by.  Mama Trudy especially loves getting a hug from her boy every day.100_0509

Don is contemplating what he’s going to prepare for dinner tonight.100_0510

And he came up with a chicken enchilada recipe that he found in a magazine he purchased yesterday.100_0541

How could they be chicken and cheese enchiladas without melted cheese on top???  Don added the cheese to his.100_0525

My addition to the meal:  avocado and tomato salad.

Now… doesn’t that look delicious?  It was even better than it looks.100_0524