Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Your Jokes

Dear Mom 

Six months. Does 6 months in heaven feel as long as it does here?  I’m trying hard to think of the positives that come from your passing. Obviously you are in heaven with our Lord, and nothing can top that!  And I believe you’ve been reunited with all your loved ones who passed before you.  And how wonderful it must be to be pain free and healed of your ailments!  That part sounds pretty good about right now!  (we'll save that story for another time)  

I wonder, do you miss me as much as I miss you?  Do you see what’s going on in my life?  Do you hear me talking to you?  I really need to believe you do.  As much as I miss my mom, I miss my best friend even more.  Yes, I still have great friends who I love dearly. And believe me, I have leaned on them a lot in the last 6 months. But it’ll never be the same.

I ate lunch today at the Sale Barn, and we sat at a table with 3 lovely women from your generation. Our waitress was the same age. And oh did she remind me of you!  So ornery and quick witted!  Giving the other ladies a hard time, but all in fun. The ladies at our table reminded me of some of your friends as well. The sweet but quiet woman who drives them around (although she didn’t drive a green van 😉). The leader, who was the most talkative, and who proudly shared that she was 90 years old! And then there was the complainer. I’m sure you know who that reminded me of!!!  She mentioned that the son of a friend had recently had his tongue clipped, and he was much easier to understand now. Well you know I had to tell her my story about tongue clipping!  When I said the Dr. clipped it too much they all looked at me in disbelief. Until I explained that perhaps I talk TOO much as opposed to struggling to talk before it was clipped. They all laughed, and when I told them y’all said I was vaccinated with a phonograph needle, I thought they were going to lose it!  So thanks for telling me stories that I can share and use to bring a little laughter to others. I laughed too. If felt good to think of you and laugh. I suspect it wasn’t a coincidence that there wasn’t anywhere else to sit today 😉😉

Well what do you know.  I’m actually feeling a little better after sharing this with you. I think I might do this again. Please don’t ever forget how much I love you and miss you.

Love Barb

Friday, November 27, 2020

Family Traditions

Our family has a tradition that, although funny, I’m not really crazy about. Especially today. Here’s the back story. 

Several years ago Erin baked rolls for Thanksgiving dinner. They were beautiful rolls and she was very proud of them. Until I heated them up, and some of the bottoms got a little too brown for Erin.  She deemed them burnt, and because we had backup rolls she threw them out. Now if you aren’t familiar with our place, there is a field just east of our drive way, and Greg keeps a wide ditch in between them for drainage. The ditch is where we dispose of food for the dogs. Naturally Erin threw the “burned” rolls in the ditch. While waiting for dinner, the “menfolk” wait outside. Out of the way and out of helping range you might say.  Well they were hungry, and they didn't see anything wrong with those rolls, so they just brushed the dirt off of them and ate them.  And the term Ditch Rolls was born.  

Since then, on any occasion when food is ruined, usually because it was dropped, the name Ditch is added to it.  There were Chloe's Ditch Nachos, after a ballgame that landed in the grass and papa deemed still edible.  Last year at Christmas, there were the Ditch Baked Beans that I spilled all over while taking them from the oven.  Hint: never use foil pans unless they are on a cookie sheet.  Thankfully, Erin managed to salvage some of them.  

Just yesterday, the evil foil pan struck again.  Ditch Sweet Potatoes.  Greg grabbed a spatula and shoved them all back in the pan before Kenda knew what was happening!  She has the cleanest floors I've ever seen, so eating off her floors, so to speak, is not even questioned.  Plus, Greg and Pat were the only ones that ate sweet potatoes, so it didn't really matter to us.  

Just when I thought we were in the clear, I made a cherry cheesecake today.  When I put it in the fridge to chill I noticed it was rather heavy and a little unsteady.  But you know, whatever.  Whatever my foot.  I just took it out of the refrigerator, and now.... 

ditch cheesecake.  FML

Happy Thanksgiving Lucy!

Monday, July 20, 2020

The Unicorn


This is a Unicorn in my household. Homemade, completely from scratch, Apple Pie. I can count the pies I’ve baked over the last 39 years with just my hands. 

Why you ask?  Well let’s see. The fact that it took me almost an entire day is a good place to start. How the heck do you pie bakers do it???  

And then there’s my sister Jan. She is a master pie baker, and I always rely on her to bring them to all family dinners. Not to mention my Super Pastry Chef niece Rosalie. 

On the Bryson side, between Janette and Grandma Ruby, we had more pie than we could ever eat.  And now Diana and Erin do a great job at keeping us full!

Growing up, Mom baked lots of pies thanks to all of the fruit trees and raspberries and rhubarb dad grew and they froze. After he retired, Dad kinda took over the baking and was famous for his cakes and pies. Just ask any Mason in Burlingame! 

I’m not sure what happened to me today, other than an over abundance of apples sitting in my kitchen. I can tell you I have a very happy husband at the moment!!

Friday, October 25, 2019

How the Worst Day of my Life Turned Into the Best Day of my Life

I realize I never did follow through on my promise to explain my sudden "retirement", so maybe now is as good a time as any.

First a little background.  I worked at Sheltered Living, (SLI) for over 11 years.  I LOVED my job.  Every single thing about it.  It truly was the first time in my career I found myself not dreading going to work everyday.  I shared an office with 2 co-workers who I dearly love.  Amy, Jen and I just clicked.  Which is good, because those half walls dividing our work spaces didn't hide much.  We worked well together, and had a little fun along the way.  So about 4 years ago Amy decided she needed to leave SLI.  It wasn't easy to adjust to life without our missing partner, but Jen and I managed.  It was several months before her replacement was hired.  As in the past, job descriptions were changed (typical anytime there was a change in personnel)  But this time, the change was unprecedented.. Out new 3rd "co-worker" turned out to be our new direct supervisor.  The minute I heard that, my stomach dropped.  I knew this was never going to work.  Well for me, it wasn't.  Having my boss right next to me. watching my every move, literally standing over my shoulder, was my worst nightmare.  See, I'm the kind of person who doesn't need to be micro-managed.  And up to this point, our boss never did that.  She gave us the freedom to do our jobs our own way.  And that's what we did.  The work got done.  

A little more info to consider.  Over the past 5 years I went though a few health crises.  The  big one, of course keeping me completely off work for 3 months, and part time for another 3 months.  After that there were multiple surgeries, physical therapy, and many many Dr. Appointments.  This obviously led to more time off work.  Couple that with my age, and I believe I became a target.  I think my employer was afraid the health problems would continue.  My boss was the only other person who could do my job,  so she may have decided she wanted someone who could work full time, without restrictions, and without frequent absences.  Now, I always had a problem with getting to work on time.  If you know me, you're saying DUH to yourself right now.  But part of my medical condition had a direct effect on my inability to get up and moving every morning.  

So, take one annoying supervisor, times my existing time management problem, add a hostile environment which effected my desire to go to work, as well as my job performance, all totaled up equals "I'm sorry but we are terminating your employment",  And, let me just add that I had seen this sort of thing happen many times during my 11 years there, I clearly saw it coming, and still I couldn't stop that steamroller from running right over me.  I was devastated.  I was embarrassed.  I was walked to my office to pack up my things and escorted to my car, without an opportunity to even say goodbye to anyone.  I was told I was not welcome at any SLI property, and instructed to have no contact with SLI clients or guardians.  These people were my world for 11 years, and suddenly, they were cut from my life.  It was almost like a death had occurred.  

I went home and told Greg what happened, expecting the worst.  But.  My husband told me all the things I needed to hear.  They don't deserve you.  They didn't appreciate you.  You're better off without them.  We will be fine without your income.  You can stay home and help me out on the farm.  It's going to be ok.  

It wasn't long before I realized just what a blessing being fired was.  The relief was immediate.  I still miss my co-workers and the clients, but they eased up a little and didn't say anything when I attended a memorial at their office for one of the clients, and I was even invited to a retirement party for one of my favorite co-workers. (Sorry I couldn't make it JoAnn!)

A year after all of this took place, I became eligible for my full KPERS retirement, and we decided it was the right time to take advantage of that.  

It's been 15 months since that ugly day, and I'm happier than I've ever been.  I'm able to take care of my mom, which takes up a good chunk of my time.  Equally importantly, I'm available to help Erin with my wonderful grandkids at a moment's notice.  Well unless it's harvest time.  Or cattle gathering time.  Or planting time.  Yes, Greg and the farm are my priority, but it's not exactly a full time job.  I believe the best thing to come from all of this is the quality time that my husband and I get to spend together and it's strengthened our marriage.

Thanks SLI.  You know you miss me!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Short (But Bright) Thoughts

As all of my FB friends already know, the Farm Show came to town earlier this week.  Greg and I went on Tuesday so we could spend our time where we wanted to, and took the grandkids Wednesday when they could dictate how our time was spent.  This works much better than just making one trip.  Greg was drawn in to a booth featuring LED lighting.  He was mainly interested in buying LED bulbs to replace the fluorescent bulbs in the shop.  They also had some LED lamps which are basically a light bulb for the house..  The smallest one was supposed to put out more light than two 100 watt bulbs.  Well Greg was wanting something for the dining room, which is where he does most of his reading.  Now I totally understand the importance of light when it comes to reading papers and magazines, so I had no problem with getting something brighter.  Greg was afraid the small bulb might not be enough, so we decided to go up a step to the next size bulb.  All of the bulbs were delivered Friday, and when I got home that evening and walked into the kitchen, I looked up at Greg and I was LITERALLY BLINDED BY THE LIGHT.  Now I just have to get a basket of sunglasses to leave at the back door and post a sign


I mean seriously!  That's enough wattage to light up the freaking Expo Center.  I should have know, since the guys directly across from the the LED Booth looked less than thrilled.

NASA called - the International Space Station is concerned our house has been invaded by light seeking aliens.

Erin and the kids are coming out this afternoon.  Greg's got the sled AND an old truck hood all ready for them.  Hopefully I won't be checking in later from the hospital!!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Catching Up

Well, looks like I'm back.  For how long is anyone's guess.  But I'm here today, and I'll take it from there.

These days you'll find me working for Bryson Dozer Service and/or Bryson Farms.  Which basically means as far as wages go, I'm unemployed.  Ha.

This isn't the first time I've stayed home and helped out on the farm.  In fact I remember one winter when I took over feeding the cattle every morning so Greg could get an earlier start on his dozer jobs.  While I didn't exactly enjoy getting up that early, and I hated that old truck I had to use to feed hay, I really loved seeing the cows and calves every day.  And I loved that they knew me.  Most of the time they are a little leery if I get out of the truck.  All they know if Greg is their sugar daddy!

Back to where I am now.  I left my job at the end of July for reasons that I will get into in another post.  Maybe.  So I spent the month of August mostly getting used to the idea that I no longer had a job that I had loved more than any other job I've ever had.  I was in mourning.  I knew I was going to lose so many people who I loved.  Sure, everyone says we'll stay in touch.  But the reality is we won't.  They are in Topeka.  They are busy with their jobs, family, daily life.  It's hard to sustain a friendship with former work friends.  The only good thing is when I do make plans to see them, we pick right back up where we left off.

Now for the upside of staying home.  I have the time and availability to see my Mom and take care of her when needed.  And at 94 years old, that is invaluable.  A few weeks ago she fell off her front porch.  She has a Home Health Aide, aka Lisa the Angel.  She made mom call me. (yes, that's right, mom had no intention of telling anyone about her fall)  Luckily she didn't break anything, but she was in a great deal of pain, so I stayed a couple of days to make sure she didn't fall again.

I was able to go to the farm shop in Grand Island this year without having to worry about having enough vacation time to cover my days off!  Our friends Kenda and Pat went with us.  It's always more fun when friends come along.  Not that Greg and I can't have fun together, but the more the merrier!  We stayed in an Airbnb for the first time.  The hostess also lived there.  The house was great, and the back yard was perfect.  We spend all of our spare time outside, and the weather was beautiful.  The Airbnb experience was positive, but I think we all agreed we'd rather have a home without a host living on site.  It's not that our hostess was bad, in fact, she was great.  But it didn't provide the privacy we all felt like we needed.  I'll definitely look for an Airbnb in the future before I look at hotels.  The other advantage is cost.  We spent much less money on the home than a hotel would have cost.

Of course we've been to Husker Harvest Days more times than I can count, but this was Kendas first time there.  It's also fun to see it though a first timer's eyes.  She was overwhelmed by the size of the show and all of the farm equipment.  We are officially old timers now, so we rent a golf cart to tour the farm.  Walking miles and miles is just not something we want to do.   Plus, its fun.  Well that is until  your husband takes off while you're just getting on.  When that happens, well, you've got Barb face down in a corn field with about a billion people watching.  I'm not sure if I was more mad or embarrassed.  I do know I made sure everyone watching knew I didn't need any help getting up, and I may have yelled "there's nothing to see here" a time or two.  The only thing hurt was my pride, but I made the best of it.  I told Kenda that my plan was to make sure at least one person at the farm show remembered me, and I think I succeeded.

The golf cart provided more adventures.  Greg decided he needed to be at the other end of the corn field they were combining, so he drove across the field at a speed that was probably prohibited, while Kenda and I held on for dear life on the back of the cart.  After sitting for a few minutes and show employee asked us to move our cart so a combine could come in and finish the rows right in front of us.  Sure, no problem.  But wait, there was a problem.  The engine wouldn't start.  I wasn't terribly worried - after all, I am married to a mechanic.  After a few minutes of looking and such, Pat and Greg realized we'd thrown a belt.  What are the odds that belt would be laying on the ground right under the cart?  Well it was, so they put the belt back on and off we went.  While eating lunch we noticed alot of corn stalks under the cart and pulled out a many as possible.  I just know I've been blacklisted, and next year when I call to reserve a cart, they are going to tell me they aren't ever allowed to rent to me again.

I've also been able to spend more time with my precious grand babies!  I imagine most of my readers are also Facebook friends, so I don't have to tell you how wonderful they are - you get to see it everyday lol!!  Now if you're reading this and you AREN'T my FB friend, well you should be.  Send me a friend request!

Now that we are finally able to get into the fields, Harvest is in full gear.  We didn't plant much corn, which this year, was a good thing.  Unlike most of our neighbors, we waited and combined our corn.  Most everyone around us cut theirs early for silage.  Most of our fields are planted to soybeans, and that's what we're busy cutting now.  Greg's hired man is not able to help this year, which leaves us without a truck driver.  Now, I can drive a truck, but the Semi, not so much.  Oh I can drive it in the field from point A to point B no problem, just don't ask me to back it up.  AND, I can run over stuff with it too!  Several years ago when we were putting grain in a bin that we hadn't moved home yet, Greg left me in charge of auguring grain from the trailer into the bin.  If you aren't familiar with grain trailers, there are two hoppers; one towards the front and one towards to back of the trailer.  To unload, we were using a tailing auger, which is shorter than a normal auger.  The grain falls into the tailing auger, and it then moves the grain into the big auger, which loads the grain into the bin.  Confused?  That's ok.  All you really need to know is that the tailing auger is UNDER the semi.  So you drive the truck up so the front hopper is over the tailing auger, and empty most of the front of the trailer.  Then you pull the truck up so the back hopper can dump into the auger and finish unloading the grain.  Do you see where I'm going with this?  Well, at some point, I drove too far and ran over the tailing auger.  I sat there wondering what to do.  Do I call Greg?  Or better yet, do I flee the country?  In the end, I waited for him to come back for the semi, and let him see for himself.  After he used every cuss word he knew, multiple times, he took the auger home and fixed it.  See, it wasn't so bad.  Sure it cost him a half day he could have been combining.  Sorry Greg!  So back to being short a man.  Now that I'm home, I'm the designated helper.  Taking the header to the field, running Greg and Eldon between home and the field.  Taking lunch to them in the field.  Basically being at their beckon call.  And that my friends, is something you can't put a price on.  Especially when they are trying to get the beans out before it rains again. 

Probably my favorite thing about working on the farm is the cattle.  I've set up pens, caught cattle and hauled them home.  I've chased a bad cow (Emmy's name for her) and her cult (three calves that follow her everywhere).  Once this fall they got out of our pasture at home and roamed clear across country.  After looking for a few days they were finally found north of 56 Hwy.  For those of you that don't live around her, that's about 5 miles north of us.  Greg has never had a good word to say about Facebook, but after that, he saw the power of social media when it comes to looking for lost cattle.  He was shocked at the response to my post asking locals to be on the lookout for them.  We have 2 pastures emptied and hauled home; 3 pastures left.  We'll get them home eventually.

So that's where I'm at for now.  I'm hoping to work writing into my schedule, so be on the lookout for new blogs.  Notifications will always be on FB.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Aging, But Not So Gracefully

You know how there are things you always say you're going to do, but somehow never get around to doing them?  I call those my someday plans.  Well number one on my list of someday plans is exercise.  Yes, I know, to look at me, you'd never guess that.  (also on that list is to stop putting myself down, but that's way down on the list)  My pal Amy and I have been talking about trying Zumba.  She searched YouTube for Zumba routines and found all kinds of videos of healthy looking women dancing their butts off.  Wore me out just watching them.  So I searched YouTube for FAT women doing Zumba.  Yes I did.  And guess what!  I found Sunshine.  She's an awesome full figured gal who records herself Zumba-ing in her living room.  Now that's the kind of inspiration I need.  I'm sorry, but watching a bunch of skinny women in great shape do all kinds of moves I'll never be able to do does not provide the encouragement I need to get up off my ass.  In fact, it does just the opposite.  It makes me feel fat and lazy and inferior.  So I've got a date with Sunshine's Journey on YouTube and we'll see where it leads.

In the meantime.....  I've been invited to join a group of women in Burlingame who get together once a week to exercise and dance a little.  Now normally, I feel good when someone asks me to join their group.  But I had to back pedal a little this time - because the group is called the Sassy Seniors.  My first thought was well I'm too young to be in that group.  But guess what?  Just because I act like a kid and feel like a kid (except when I get up out of a chair) it turns out I AM a Senior Citizen.  Their group is for 55 and over, and hell, I'm 56 now.  I'm usually happy to receive the perks of being old, you know, discounts at the buffet, and even the liquor store! But this?  This is the kind of stuff my Mom does, not me!  Right?  I'm still processing this.  This is like announcing to the world "Hey look at me!  I'm OLDDDDDDDD.  Am I ready for that? 

Stay tuned........