Sep 30, 2012

A tale of Unhandy Men...

I am my wits end.  I have a small house, only one level.  I didn't ask for much but it seems to be a great deal when it comes to getting it painted.  I hired a man in March.  Oh he was terrible!  He didn't know what he was doing and then had the audacity not to show up for two weeks.  So, my brother fired him.  Next, a man was referred to me.  Oh he seemed gung ho at the beginning.  But I hadn't heard from him since mid May. I thought, well maybe it is too hot during mid summer to paint.  I gave him some time to come around.  The last thing he said to me is that he would be over the next day and we would install a door.  I waited and waited. No response to my messages or phone calls.  I am a patient person, but this guy was the last straw.  Then I called a few days ago asking him when he was coming to paint the house.  When I opened the garage yesterday all of his stuff was gone with no response from him.  I now have another guy coming tomorrow. I am having the worst handy man trouble ever...Please pray for me!

Sep 29, 2012

Smith Tower in Washington with a Pyramid House on top

Have you ever heard of Smith Tower in Washington State?  I haven't until a friend showed me a wonderful home that is in the pyramid which is on top of the tower.  The tower is a daunting 35 stories high.  Petra Franklin converted the pyramid on top of the tower into a home. Can you imagine living on top of a building and taking an elevator 35 floors up and down each day?  

I like the large and open living space

But I'm afraid that I would miss having a yard and a place to sit outside. 

Would you ever give up your small or large house that is at street level to live in a high rise?

Sep 24, 2012

Groats: More healthy than oats

As I have shared before, I like to go to a little city to shop at an Amish Grocer so that I can buy spices, flour, produce, and especially their cheese.  It is a little store, but I enjoy the homey atmosphere the most . My neighbor and I head down there about once a month to every couple of months.  One day while shopping, I noticed that they had groats on the shelf next to the oats.  I asked my neighbor about it.  She told me that she has been eating them for a long time and that groats are by far better for you than regular oats.  

According to :Oat groats are the harvested "as-is" variety of  oats. They are untreated, natural hulled oats. They come straight from the field to the table with no processing in between. They contain high-quality protein, seven B vitamins, calcium, fiber and unsaturated fats.  

Groats look like Grapenuts cereal, small, tan, and crunchy. When I read the directions to how to make this I couldn't believe how long it took.  There are as many directions on how to cook the groats as there are streets in a city. Here is what I do: 1 cup of groats. 4 cups of water.  Place both in a medium sized pot. Cover and let soak for an hour or overnight or just cook them right away.  Bring to a boil and simmer for about 25 minutes to an hour.  I like mine a bit crunchy, so I don't cook for the full hour and who has time to in the morning anyway.  Then add milk, butter, cinnamon, honey, or whatever you like.  By the time I am done adding the sugar and butter, it probably isn't that healthy after all. 

Sep 22, 2012

J.R. Montgomery: A man, a war, a life given...

This picture came from here.

The year was 1864 and The Civil War waged on. He volunteered thinking that the war would be over quickly. Valiantly he fought for his country. A gun shot wound to the shoulder proved to be fatal.  As he lay dying he wrote a letter to his father. Blood dripped onto to the page as he penned his last words. 

Here is a copy of the letter that J.R. Montgomery wrote:

Spotsylvania County, Va. May 10

Dear Father

This is my last letter to you. I went into battle this evening as courier for Genl. Heth. I have been struck by a piece of shell and my right shoulder is horribly mangled & I know death is inevitable. I am very weak but I write to you because I know you would be delighted to read a word from your dying son. I know death is near, that I will die far from home and friends of my early youth but I have friends here too who are kind to me. My friend Fairfax will write you at my request and give you the particulars of my death. My grave will be marked so that you may visit it if you desire to do so, but it is optionary with you whether you let my remains rest here or in Miss. I would like to rest in the grave yard with my dear mother and brothers but it's a matter of minor importance. Let us all try to reunite in heaven. I pray my God to forgive my sins and I feel that his promises are true that he will forgive me and save me. Give my love to all my friends. My strength fails me. My horse and my equipments will be left for you. Again, a long farewell to you. May we meet in heaven.

Your dying son,

J.R. Montgomery

J.R. Montgomery would not die until 4 days later on the 14th of May. His friend Fairfax did indeed write to J.R. Montgomery's father and give detail of his death. They said his family was never able to find him and bring him back to Mississippi though they looked.


As I read this letter tears came to my eyes. He was only one man among thousands who gave their life to fight for their country.  I came across a movie called Death and the Civil War, which I feel is excellent on the subject of the Civil War and death. You can watch the entire film on line.  I learned so much watching it.

Sep 20, 2012

Smith family secrets...some I would rather not know

On Monday, I received the package from the National Archives that I have been waiting for.  It contains information about my Great-Great-Grandfather Pleasant Thomas Smith from Hamblen County, Tennessee. Hungrily, I read through the pages. Oh my!  My Great-Great-Grandmother was divorced. Her first husband spent two years in prision for arson. My Great-Great-Grandfather was accused of having a veneral disease and should not be given a pension.  I still don't know who the father of my Great-Grandfather is because he was born before my Great-Great-Grandmother was married to the arsonist. The joy of being a Smith...

Sep 16, 2012

James Campbell and Sarah Dodd's Picture? Possibly?

I have a picture of two of my Campbell realitives from Walker County Georgia.  This picture looks to have been taken in the late 1800's.  The couple is elderly, except, the man is very good looking. Could this picture possibly be of James Campbell and Sarah Dodd?  If any of my Campbell relatives recognize this picture please send me an email or make a comment.  I would greatly appreciate it.

Sep 13, 2012

Ron Monsma and appreciating art

When I was in my 30's, I loved someone who was and is still an artist.  I would watch him as his hand would glide over the paper making marks here and there.  Eventually those marks became beautiful images.  He would use charcoal, pen, and color pencils. From then on, I always appreciated art in its various forms, especially drawings and paintings.  When a friend of mine's husband passed away, she brought the picture that he drew for her to the funeral.  I didn't remember the drawing because he did so many, but I could see his style in the drawing. 
Vessel by Ron Monsma

This brings me to Ron Monsma.  I just discovered him a week or so ago. He has been teaching drawing and painting at Indiana University at South Bend since 1997. His work has been on display in Chicago, Indianapolis, and Cincinnati. He has won awards and been featured in Magazines and books.

The above painting is almost too private to look at.  It is a woman and a quiet moment with her Maker.  I want to look away because I feel like I am intruding.  Yet I keep looking.

Dancer with a cat by Ron Monsma
I would like to sit and experience the peace and tranquility that the dancer and her cat are enjoying.  I think that we live a much to busy life.  We should stop and enjoy the view.  There is so much beauty around us.  Think about the color purple and how beautiful the color is in the picture. Imagine that you are there. If I listen very carefully, I can almost hear the waves.

Still life with a nest and bricks by Ron Monsma
What I like so much about his work is that not one color overpowers another.  Each color is subtle and soft with fine detail given to each object in the painting.  

If you would like to see more of his work click here.

Sep 11, 2012

Finding my roots and joining the DAR...eventually

This past Thursday, I met with a lady from DAR.  DAR is Daughters of the American Revolution.  It is a non profit women's organization for the descendants who aided in America's fight for independence.  I have traced back my Campbell line to the Revolutionary War.  My mother would be so proud to know that this has been accomplished if she were still here since the Campbells are from her side of the family. 

Archibald Campbell, who is the end of my search at present,  was born 1728 in Bedford, Virginia.  I have all the documents needed to apply except for one.  Isn't that always the case? This one document needed will have to enlist help from those who live in Walker County, Georgia.  The Campbells migrated from Virginia to Tennessee and then eventually to Walker County, Georgia.  The link I am missing is of James Elbert Campbell to William Seilsbury Campbell.  James died in the Civil War in 1863.  His Children went to live with their grandparents William Seilsbury Campbell and Delphia Jane Massey.  The census records are there but I need a Will or adoption records.  I sure hope that I can find something.  I would like to join around the first of the year.  Wish me luck and a prayer wouldn't hurt either.

Sep 9, 2012

A Moth that Looks like a Poodle?

Arthur Anker Via Flicker

A week ago or so a picture went around the interent about a Poodle Moth.  Oh it is cute and fuzzy, almost cuddley. To me it looks like a Gremlin. Is this thing possibly real? Arthur Anker took a picture of the Poodle Moth in Venezuela a few years ago. 

Then I saw this picture.  Ok, I can see that this is on the tip of someone's finger.  So it has to be real.  Here is a link that will take you to a blog that has pictures of all kinds of Moths


Here is a very short video, about 1 minute, talking about the Poodle Moth and many other pictures of moths.

Sep 7, 2012

Robert Cornelius: The First Photographic Self Portrait Circa 1839

It was the fall of 1839. The place Philadelphia. Two men working in chemistry, Robert Cornelius and Joseph Saxton.  This self portrait photograph was the first of any human to have been produced.  Cornelius went on to operate two of the earliest photography studios in the United States between 1841-1843. 

Here is an exerpt from: Godey's Lady's Book (Philadelphia) Vol. 20 (April 1840) pg. 190.

   There is a young gentleman of this city, by the name of Robert Cornelius, one of the firm of the well known house of Cornelius, Son & Co., who has more genius than he yet supposes himself to possess. As a designer in the way of his profession, he has no equal; as a ventriloquist—but here we are getting into private life:—as a Daguerreotypist his specimens are the best that have yet been seen in this country, and we speak this with a full knowledge of the specimens shown here by Mr. Gouraud, purporting to be, and no doubt truly, by Daguerre himself. We have seen many specimens by young Cornelius, and we pronounce them unsurpassable—they must be seen to be appreciated. Catching a shadow is a thing no more to be laughed at. Mr. Cornelius, in one matter, has outstripped the great master of the art, a thing, by the way, peculiar to our countrymen; he has succeeded in etching his designs onto the plate, from which they cannot be removed by any effort. A few more experiments in this way, and we shall do without engravers—those very expensive gentlemen.

 I must say he was a rather handsome man with great hair.

Sep 5, 2012

Ernest Viveiros: A Dynamic Artist

I had a hankering to go to the museum.  It has been a little while since I have been there.  The museum here in my hometown is not very big, but they do have some beautiful artwork that passes through here.  I happened upon a painting called Spiked Dahlia by Ernest Viveiros. He is a fine arts professor, teaches anatomy and structure, painting, and figure drawing. His work has appeared in group and solo exhibitions including exhibitions at the Butler Institute of American Art and the Chicago International Art Expo. He received a BFA from Southwestern Massachusetts University and an MFA from Southern Illinois University, where he taught drawing and design.

He is from Ohio, which is right next door to my state.  As I passed by or tried to pass by this wonderful painting, I couldn't take my eyes off of it.  I quickly grabbed a pen and paper from my bag and wrote down who this artist is so that I can come home and find more of his work on the web.  The picture just doesn't do his work justice.  The colors are so intense, the detail of the flowers are impeccable, and the image is very sharp.  I couldn't believe my eyes as I looked at it. I walked around the corner and looked at other paintings, which really paled in comparison to his work. I peeped my head in the room again for one last look and imagined it on my wall at home. Oh how lovely it would look above the fireplace. 

 While searching on the web, I found this picture of Red and White Roses. I love to take photographs of flowers whenever I am out. Although,I have never seen any roses as beautiful as these.

This painting is called Purple and White Irises. The Iris is a very delicate flower with striking purple and orange hues.  If Ernest would ever want to donate to the poor, I could give him my address.  Ohio is not that far from me.  I would even drive there. Hint. Hint.

Sep 3, 2012

Irritation with the saying: I don't care

Our language is full of phrases.  Some funny and some are, well,irritating. Is there a saying that we have which really irritates you? While spending the weekend with a friend and her family, she told me that the phrase, "I don't care" really irritates her. I said it to her after she asked me where I would like to eat. It irritated her so much that she wrote a paper on it while in college. Wow! The saying is elusive. It is like saying, you make the decision, I don't want to get involved.  According to the term for this irritation is logomisia (from the Greek for "word hatred") refers to a strong dislike for a word or phrase based on its sound, meaning, usage, or associations. Oh hello.  I think that "hit the nail on the head".  I guess saying "hit the nail on the head" can be irritating too.  So much of our common expressions are cliche`s. Is there a way to express myself without such phrases? I am trying but not succeeding very well. 

Sep 2, 2012

Trading Tagines for Tombstones

Well not exactly.  I have been working on my family's genealogy since I was in my 30's.  It has been a passion of mine.  Recently, I have been working with a web site by taking pictures of grave stones or tombstones in a local cemetery by request. Genealogy and tombstones go hand in hand.  If I can help someone by taking a picture, then I will be glad to take the time and go out for someone.

I met someone through the website who lives in the same city as I do. We met at the graveyard and took pictures together. It is great meeting new people and we have a few things in common.

At least I am not still lying on the sofa bemoaning my lot in life. I am out there doing things. For this little bit of progress, I am very thankful, truly thankful.

Sep 1, 2012

I, too, am here: Is trying new recipes...

Today I bought several cookbooks. I am so excited. I am venturing out and trying Mexican , Asian, and Indian cuisine.  It is my belief that one can never have enough recipes under their belt.  Discovering new dishes is a passion of mine. We have a bookstore here called Half Price Books. I took in some DVD's and CD's and basically traded for a few cookbooks. 

In a few days I will be posting  a recipe with paneer. I have asked Ashley to cook a recipe with paneer and then share it with us here on the blog.  I am so excited to try out her dish.