Photos of Brady

Tuesday, November 30, 2004


One of the best things about life is music. I am very emotion driven, and music has always lifted my spirit and fed my soul. I have been listening to dozens of CD’s over the past several weeks putting together a collection of beautiful love songs for a gift. The final result, however amateur is something I will always love to listen to.

What better thing than beautiful music? I am listening to it now, and it makes me want to dance, hug my loved one, laugh, and cry all at the same time. Love is a wonderful emotion. I have been in the depths of despair and felt like I could fly over love. Happiness is a fantastic friend. I have lived many years without it, but it was worth the wait. Now my heart sings, the slumbering emotions for the man I waited for are alive and strong once again, and I feel invincible. Life is good.

Yesterday I walked into a training day for supervisors with a happy heart. Our subject was suicide awareness. Six hours of police officers and rescue workers that commit suicide because of post traumatic stress disorder. Hopelessness, despair, mental illness that began with a traumatic event on the job. Although I can fully understand the depths of the pain, I could never kill myself. I was bothered by the fact that so many do every day.

They feel let down by their departments, stigmatized by their coworkers. Walking through a long dark tunnel for which there is seemingly no escape, they finally choose the only option they feel is open for them to break free of the depression. I was left feeling empathy, sadness, anger, and frustration. Thank goodness there are programs in place now to reach out to these men and women. This one yesterday was one such first step in the awareness that is coming forth in the law enforcement community.

9/11 taught us a lot abut the sacrifices the law enforcement and rescue departments make on our behalf. When we run away from danger, they are running toward it to stand in the gap. If you know a cop, fire fighter, EMT, or other rescue worker, thank them today. They deal with more than you’ll ever know. Thank God for them and the dedication they perform their jobs with.

Love is a powerful emotion. Reach out and touch someone today. Just a smile or a touch or a kind word can make all the difference.

Until tomorrow,


Monday, November 29, 2004


After five days away for Thanksgiving vacation, it is good to be home again. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving, saw old family friends, went to interesting places, ate good food, and visited with family. We also escaped the bulk of the holiday traffic, which was a blessing.

Today is kick ass Monday. I have several challenges ahead of me. It is raining, windy and cold. I will be sitting all day in a supervisors training meeting. It is my first day back to work, and my biggest task will be to stay awake. However, some of my best ideas come to me in meetings such as these. It will be interesting to see how the day plays out.

Since Christmas is now less than a month away, the pressure is on. I need to finish shopping and get packages mailed. Cards need to be addressed. Today none of that will take center stage. It is good just to be home, back in the comfort of routine where my mind can idle and I can get my sea legs under me again.

It is good to be back. I hope that all of you had a wonderful and relaxing holiday, and are raring to go. Monday looms. Whatever your goals today I hope you accomplish all of them. That is what kick ass Monday is all about.

Have a great day. Someone out there needs a smile, a hug, and a kind word. I’ll have my eyes open as well….here on my country road.

Until tomorrow,


Wednesday, November 24, 2004


Today I am packing for a trip to Shawnee, Kansas to have Thanksgiving dinner with my oldest brother and Mom and Rocky. I will be driving down my country road toward the big city I grew up in. It is always a wonderful thing to go back. My roots are there, my friend Diane is there, my family, and of course, Matt is there.

Going home is always the way I have thought of trips to Shawnee, even though I have been here in Smalltown for thirty years. Going home is the place to be for Thanksgiving, wherever that is for you. For me, home has always been where the heart is. I have roots here as well, but the deepest ones go back to my youth. Although this is now my home, most of our family is gone or living away from here. This will be a weekend of renewing old acquaintances, catching up with old friends and family, and spending time with Matt.

My favorite Thanksgiving hymn is Come Ye Thankful People Come. It embodies the essence of the holiday, our thanks for God and His provisions, and of course hearth and home. This holiday season, may we not only enjoy our families and the blessings of life, but remember to pray for our troops around the world. Their sacrifices ensure we can enjoy our way of life and our freedoms.

Have a safe Thanksgiving, may God bless you with safe travel, good food, and lots of family and friends. I will be back at my keyboard on Monday morning......here on my country road.

God Be With You Until We Meet Again,
Becky Strain


Tuesday, November 23, 2004


Last night mom, Rocky and I went to the gym to work out. After that, mom needed to go to WalMart to get a few things. Since I didn’t need anything, I waited on the bench by the checkouts for them to finish. I sat down by an older lady who looked tired. ‘Wore slick’ as they say here in Smalltown.

I visited with her while we waited, and after a lengthy discourse about her day, she began to tell me why she was tired. I was listening with half an ear when she mentioned taking her grandson to take his drivers test. They had gone to one of my stations, and when she told me they had gone Friday I remembered seeing her there.

They live out in the country between two of our stations, but he wanted to come to mine, which was a good drive from where they live. My supervisor was working with me that day, and by luck of the draw, the young man got him for his driving test. She said he was disappointed because he thought the lady was so nice. I had evidently given him his written test, and he remembered me.

Once she had finished her story I told her I remembered them coming to the station, and was sorry I hadn’t been able to go out with her grandson. I did tell her that it was the day we learned about our supervisor’s death, and most likely that was the reason her grandson thought the examiner was terse with him.

You never know how we affect people. It was a good reminder to me to always be courteous, kind, and helpful with the people we come in contact with during our day. Every now and again we get a gift like I did. I’m glad I had left a good impression with them rather than the reverse. The affirmation of their experience lifted my heart. It is just one more reason to greet the world with a smile every day, speak a kind word, and treat others in the way we would like to be treated. That Golden Rule is still pretty good advice.

Have a great Tuesday! It’s the only one we will get this week, so make it count.

Until tomorrow,


Monday, November 22, 2004


Yesterday I was listening to the radio, which is something I rarely do. I was only listening with half an ear, as my thoughts, as usual, were somewhere else. Out of the blue, I was transported back in time to Mrs. Wardwell’s elementary music class. In the span of a few seconds, I was singing along to ‘Over The River And Through The Woods.’

I love that song. It always makes me think of fall, pumpkins, corn stalks, cornucopias, and Thanksgiving. Although it was originally written as a Christmas song, the only time we ever sang it was right before Thanksgiving. Twenty-five little kids singing at the top of their lungs under the direction of a beloved music teacher warmed my heart.

It is amazing how a song, or a smell, or the sight of something can trigger a beloved memory. This week will be that way for me. Holidays were always filled with family and good food, the house was always decorated, and we sang happy songs of the season. Relatives told stories and tall tales while my brothers and I sat around listening with wide eyes. We come from a long line of big story tellers, which may be where I come by the love I have of spinning tales. I am better at writing than the telling of them, but I love the creative process.

While many people will be racing around trying to clean the house, shop for the groceries, cook the food, or travel, much of the enchantment and wonder of the holiday will be lost. I hope and pray that this year will be a time of true Thanksgiving and reflection for all of us. We have so much to be grateful for. It is good to take time to think about that, remember our troops, and be with family and friends.

Today is kick ass Monday, and there is no greater way to start the week than with a grateful heart. Today the possibilities are endless, the week stretches out ahead of us, and by week’s end we will be surrounded with family, good friends, and great food. Life is good and I am so thankful….here on my country road.

Until tomorrow,
Becky Strain


Saturday, November 20, 2004


In light of the passing of two friends this week, and the death of the young marine in Covington, LA where my brother and his family live, death and mourning have taken center stage. It is hard for those of us left to absorb the aftershocks of the loss we feel while at the same time celebrating the lives that have been taken.

The next two days will be hard, and although we will remember the good times, the stories and happy memories, there are two families who will be burying their loved ones. Having been on that side of the fence, I know the pain and sadness they will go through.

There are many things ahead this weekend. Two funerals and family nights, and two family celebrations on our country road. Balancing the many events will be a challenge, but necessary. It is important to honor the dead. To remember their lives and contributions to life. In the same vein, I have a birthday dinner for Davey's mom Patty and Rocky. Tomorrow Rocky's family was to come for an early Thanksgiving dinner and party for his birthday.

How best to honor those who have passed and those who still continue on their journey through this life? Live life. To it's fullest and most glorious, be kind, embrace joy and truth, and right wrongs. The most important? To love. Family, friends, God and life.

Pete and Lois will be remembered for their kindness, their unique individuality, their love, and their humor. They will be missed. As I was coming through town last night I noticed a sign on the lawn outside the Chevrolet dealership. It was handmade and simple, saying only, "Smalltown loves Otis." Otis is Pete's given name, but the thought remains.

How to go on? To Life! Embrace it with joy, passion, kindness and laughter. In this way those who have gone on will always be with us.

God go with you,


Friday, November 19, 2004


Yesterday I waited for three and a half hours to even get online. I had no time to post before leaving for work, and I was beyond frustrated. I had no way to let you know, and by the time I got home and could post, it was late in the evening. I am hoping for a better result this morning. At least it is Friday.

Last week I related my thoughts on the visit mom and I made to my retired supervisor. We were there exactly one week ago. Last night Troop headquarters called to say that he passed away in the early evening. I am so glad that we went last week to see him. It was important to us that he know we loved him and that his life had meaning and purpose.

Many of you have been praying for him, and I thank you on his behalf. He is now in perfect rest in the arms of God. The next several days will be difficult for his wife and family, and he has many friends who will also miss him. He was a unique individual, and he will be missed.

I also learned that a dear lady with who I had worked at the Rawlings plant many years ago also passed away yesterday. I knew she had cancer as well, and had heard that she was doing much better. I thought I would have time to go see her. I am angry with myself that I didn’t go sooner. She was a joyful person, who had faced many trials and challenges in life. No matter the situation, she always had a smile and her laugh could be heard all over the factory. Her husband died in a freak fishing accident years ago, and last year she lost her son to cancer.

It is hard to understand why things happen as they do, but as I told someone this morning in an email, the longest journey begins with the first step. Today both of these fine people are in the arms of God and all of Heaven is rejoicing. Their journey is over, and they are now reunited with their family and friends.

Earth’s loss is Heaven’s gain. Lois and Pete, you blessed and enriched my life. I am a better person for having known you, and you will be missed.

Until tomorrow,


Wednesday, November 17, 2004


Several months ago I got a fortune in a fortune cookie following a Chinese food lunch. Every now and again I get something really good. Most of the time they are the usual bland predictions I could write in my sleep. Anyway, this is one I kept. I do have a small collection of ones I have kept through the years, for whatever reason. It read, “The heart is wiser than the intellect.”

So true. I have it taped to my computer monitor. The heart is the spontaneous, innocent, accepting part of us that sees good in the world, responds to it, and accepts with love. The intellect tells us to steer clear of whatever the heart feels. Why? We’ll get hurt, dumped on or screwed over.

I have a generous heart. I respond to the people around me with spontaneity and don’t usually question. This has led me down a primrose path or two through the years, but for the most part I love life and take the good with the bad.

I often instructed my children to look around the room, pick out the person nobody was talking to and approach them first. Anyone can talk to the popular people. Who ever takes time for the wallflowers? I am a big supporter of the underdog, and have a tenderness for people who are shunned by the world. Many times I have felt the same way in my life, but would never have let anyone known.

Last night the gym was quiet. For some reason the usual crowd was missing, and there were only a few of us in there. A lady came in who everyone ignores. Why? She is unlovely. She is dirty. Even though it is difficult, I have noticed no one ever says anything to her. I suppose that they are turned off by her appearance, her clothes or her odor. I was working out on a machine and off in my own little world when she sat down on the machine right next to me. Once I had finished my repetitions, I turned to her. I was going to say something, but she averted her eyes. For some reason I felt very small. After I adjusted the weights for the next set, I said brightly, “How are you this evening?” If she was shocked, she didn’t say anything, but she did give me a huge smile. She responded with some small acknowledgement, but her face lit up. Was she still unlovely? Yes. Did she still have dirty clothes and an odor? Yes. When she smiled I could see she also had rotted teeth. The good thing is that over the course of the next half hour, while we both went through the remainder of our workout, she spoke to me a couple of times. Her eyes lit up, which transformed her face from the withdrawn unhappy person to joyous.

Just a kind word. That’s all it takes. I had had a lengthy conversation with my boss earlier in the day about the same thing. Our lives are ordinary. We won’t accomplish great or grandiose things in our lifetime. When we die, we will be remembered for how we lived life. I would like people to remember that I laughed. I enjoyed and embraced life. I loved deeply and with passion. And that I cared. Nothing I could win a Nobel prize for, or that Oprah would dedicate a show to. Only that I embraced this life with passion and with joy, and that my loved ones will never have to wonder if I loved them.

Most of us will never have fifteen minutes of fame, but our hearts are wiser than the intellect. Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with us.

Have a wonderful day in your little corner of the world.
Until tomorrow,


Tuesday, November 16, 2004


I posted this last year, but once again, the season has arrived in the Ozarks.

There has been an invasion in Smalltown. The strangers began arriving Friday and have steadily been showing up at local shops and groceries. They are dressed in clothing designed to camouflage them from being seen and have different accents when they talk. They have been buying large quantities of food and supplies. Before sundown they were gone as quickly as they came. Smalltown once again was left to the quiet way of life we know. It wouldn’t last.

Saturday morning just before daybreak the first gunshots woke me up from a sound sleep. I sat up in bed with a start trying to get my bearings. Every few minutes gunshots could be heard in the distance. After a few minutes I remembered the invasion the day before. Hearing the gunshots was a reminder of why they had come. Saturday morning was the official beginning of Firearms Deer Season.

The strangers come from all over the nation. They have big RV’s, big pick-up trucks and SUV’s filled with camping equipment and supplies. They dress in the expensive camouflage clothes and boots found in glossy outdoorsman catalogs. They have the requisite orange hats and vests required to hunt in the various National forests and woods surrounding Smalltown.

Gunshots continued all morning but around midday they stopped and there was an eerie silence. I had to go up to the grocery store, and was met with a long line of pick-up trucks and SUVs waiting in line at the deer checking station across from the grocery store. There were dead whitetail deer strapped to the vehicles, eyes staring sightlessly and had been field dressed leaving long bloody gashes from gullet to hind legs.

The invaders were gathered around one particular truck that had a huge buck in the back. He had a large rack of horns which is an indicator of how many seasons he had survived the annual deer hunts. The hunter who had killed the majestic buck was proudly lifting it’s head up by the horns so that the local newspaper would take the hunter’s picture for the weekly paper. Other hunters were slapping the man who had killed it soundly on the back and shaking his hand.

Sadly I turned into the grocery store parking lot and went inside. I bought what I needed and headed back out of town toward our country road. As I rounded the bend in the road a doe and her twin fawns were crossing the road into the big woods. They are residents here on our country road, and we have enjoyed them immensely. Instead of leisurely walking down the road like they usually do they were looking around anxiously before jumping off the road into the woods and disappearing again. I prayed that they would be safe until deer season ends as I drove on down our country road…toward home.

Until tomorrow,


Monday, November 15, 2004


A pot of tea is steeping in the kitchen, and the silence is broken only by the furnace as it warms the house. Sunrise is still an hour away. This is the time of day that I keep all for myself. Quiet reflection of the day to come and the blessings of life. I always think of my loved ones, and pray God’s blessings of health and safety for their lives.

After a hectic and busy weekend, I look forward to the challenge of the new week. There is comfort in routine. It lets me do my job while also planning for the holidays, a party for Davey’s mom’s birthday, and an upcoming trip to KC for Thanksgiving. I have most of my Christmas shopping done, and my social calendar is uncluttered.

Today I will focus on the tasks at hand, yet take the time to daydream. I have been writing some, yet I don’t want to begin a new book until the editing is complete for Silver Lake. I must make getting those edits typed into the word processor a priority so I can submit the manuscript. My goal is the new year. It is an easy goal to achieve. Hopefully I can also publish online so that you all can read it before it is published into hard copy format. Matt asked my brother John about online publishing, but as yet we haven’t heard anything. If anyone can figure it out he can.

There are things out there to be accomplished, goals to set, people who are in need of a kind word or friendly smile. This is kick ass Monday, and if we each accomplish one thing, speak a kind word, or give a friendly smile, think of all the good that can be done in the world. Since I have readers from all over the globe, it makes me happy to think that in this small way we can indeed make the world a better place today.

Let’s get out there and make a difference. But for now, as I await the sunrise, there is a wonderful pot of tea waiting. Have a wonderful day. Mine already is….here on my country road.

Until tomorrow,


Sunday, November 14, 2004


You must have realized that I was awol yesterday, and seem to be today also. I have reasons.

Yesterday I was in Springfield shopping for a gown for a cruise Matt and I are taking in February. Not only did I get a beautiful dress, but half price! That called for a celebratory lunch with mom and Rocky. It was an all day ordeal, having left the house well before 8a.m. Had to work out before I could go, and we got home well after dark. A day well spent, but no blog.

Today I slept in, and have been cooking for the week ahead, doing dishes, laundry, and catching up on email. I finally got the cat off of my computer chair, so have a few minutes for an undate. I am still kicking, and you will see me bright and early in the morning for...you guessed it, kick ass Monday. I am getting ready to go out for a run, which I didn't get to do either Friday or yesterday, and then to mom's to do Pilates.

Have a wonderful day, what is left of it, and I'll see you in the morning.....here on my country road.


Friday, November 12, 2004


Yesterday mom and I went to see our retired supervisor. He retired several years ago, but since that time he has suffered several major health problems. Two months ago we learned he has been diagnosed with liver and pancreatic cancer.

Having taken care of several people who were terminal, we knew that hesitance of the family to admit people for visits. The patient tires easily, it is an emotional time for both the patient and the visitor, and the family is protective of their loved one. Understandably so.

Although we hadn’t seen Pete for several months and he was visibly thinner, he still had the same smile. It was hard for him to visit, but met us with a quip about his illness. He always loved to tell jokes and humorous stories, and this was a touch of the man we knew.

His daughter was there, and sat by the bed while we visited. We told stories about the old days at work, and she asked questions about people he worked with over the years. Although he did tire very quickly, it was good to see him. I hate it that so many people are taken before it seems fair to lose them.

We promised to go back and visit again, and we will most assuredly do that. He is a good man. A gentleman. It is important to make sure that he knows his life made a difference, that he had an impact on friends, coworkers, and the public he served for forty years.

I know that he and the family would appreciate your thoughts and prayers. If you just mention Pete, I know that God will know who you are praying for.

I will keep you updated.
Until tomorrow,


Thursday, November 11, 2004


Today is more than just a Federal and State holiday. Today we mark the passing of those brave men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom as a nation and as a people, and to celebrate those who are still serving.

Today people will sleep late, enjoy a day off from the demands of work and jobs, attend sales in honor of the day, and notice flags flying around their towns. But will they take time to reflect on what the day really means?

Our country has been engaged in many major conflicts that threatened our world and our nation. Men and women have gone to foreign soil, far from hearth and home to defend the freedoms we enjoy and take for granted. Many have died here in our own country as well, at Pearl Harbor, NYC World Trade Center, Oklahoma City, which are the most well known.

Today, our brave men and women are engaged against terrorism in far away lands. The enemy is not as well defined, but the fact remains that we are a nation at war. The troops deserve unwavering support and prayers from a grateful nation.

These brave men and women are sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, and fathers and mothers. They get tired, weary, lonely, and afraid. It is a tough job, and they have answered the call.
Today, take the time to thank God for their service and sacrifice. Do you know a veteran? Thank them for their service. Pray for the safety of our troops, and for our leaders who make the decisions.

Our Veterans and our service men and women deserve the thanks of a grateful nation.

Until tomorrow,

P.S. Posting was delayed once again by my local ISP. Sorry;)


Wednesday, November 10, 2004


There is nothing more beautiful than autumn in the Ozark hills.

My job requires a lot of driving, usually an hour or so in whichever direction I am headed for the day. I have a lot of time to let my mind wander as I drive, and there is so much pretty country to see. Once I reach work I have the opportunity to drive around the small towns we test in on driving tests. Each area has it’s own charm, and seeing how the people decorate for the seasons is fun. I love the smell of chrysanthemums, and since the weather has been so nice, the air has been heavy with the spicy scent of them.

When I was in high school, chrysanthemums meant football season. Each time I saw them it was in a corsage, and the crisp night air at the football field was also filled with the fragrance of autumn’s favorite flower. This past few weeks have been busy in the heavens. Full moon, lunar eclipse, meteor showers, and northern lights. Can’t get much better than that. This time of year the sky is a darker inky black, which makes the stars even more spectacular. It fills my heart and feeds my soul to gaze at the wonders of nature and the handiwork of God.

After several days of nerve wracking struggles with technology, nature is a good way to balance one’s self. Thank goodness my computer and ISP gremlins have been banished to the abyss once more, and my usual calm spirit has returned…..here on my country road.

Until tomorrow,


Tuesday, November 09, 2004


This is the week for cosmic disturbances. Who knew?
I swear there is a gremlin living in my computer that is determined to keep me from the outside world by tying up my computer with history, cookies, weird Microsoft upgrades, and less than stellar ISP/dial up woes.
I write this with no hope or guarantee that I will be able to post it before I leave for work. There is also a dwindling window for emailing someone special before they leave for a lengthy trip. I have been trying since 1:30 this morning.

As wonderful as technology is, it can also be the most exasperating thing in my little corner of the world. Not only do I not understand the inner workings of the blasted computer, I have antiquated dial up ISP service. Is it any wonder people have road rage?

On a positive note, we are to have beautiful weather today. Unseasonable temperatures and glorious sunshine. Today will be glorious before everything heads south. It will be typical November fare by Wednesday with temperatures falling into the 20’s for a low.

Following a great kick butt Monday, I am gearing up for TaDaa Tuesday regardless of the rocky start I seem to be having. Something or someone is trying to mess with my sunny, happy, positive outlook this morning. Just a note to whatever is going on: It didn’t work.

Have a wonderful day, filled with glorious things. Take the time to notice the sunrise, stop and smell the chrysanthemums, and speak to people with a spring in your step and a happy smile. Guess what? I feel better already….here on my country road.

Finally got on a few minutes ago.


Monday, November 08, 2004


I hate being ignorant about my computer.

Today I had a major ordeal. My computer has been running slower and slower, so I defragged twice, thinking that would do it. Not the case. In the afternoon I finally downloaded the Windows updates that have been popping up all week. Big mistake. Evidently I am the only person on the face of the planet that didn't know about the problems with the service pak 2 thing. Pretty much I trusted the updates to be helpful preventative things Windows and Microsoft determine are needed for the computers with XP. Should have remembered never to trust anything. It took two hours to download, tying up my computer. Once it was finally installed, it locked up my computer.

I finally called my older brother George in Kansas City when it took almost 20 minutes to boot. I was relieved to know he had had a similar problem, and knew how to help me. He is also a PC tech, so after doing Spybot, and Ad-Aware, I am almost back to normal. I also had never dispatched cookies or history, and after a gentle lecture, finally got that done as well. I am still not up to speed, but much better.

Anybody out there familiar with the service pak 2 deal? I may be saying it wrong, but George wouldn't let me uninstall it as it would really screw things up. Great.

I haven't had this much trouble since I installed Norton Internet Security instead of the Anti-virus package. That really locked things up. Couldn't even get into email that time.

All in all I had a great day yesterday. I got a lot done, and until the computer thing, all was well....here on my country road. Have a great kick butt Monday.

Until tomorrow,


Sunday, November 07, 2004


We have a glorious day in store for today. Although everyone is busy getting their leaves raked, blown, and picked up with the lawn mower, the job isn’t as tedious with warm temperatures and sunshine.

The warm temperatures lured me into a pair of shorts and a T-shirt yesterday afternoon. Hard to reconcile with the first week of November, but wonderful none the less. The household chores, cooking, and laundry seemed to fly by as I listened to Cds and sang at the top of my lungs. Sometimes life is so wonderful, my heart so full, that singing and dancing around the house is the natural thing to do.

I did take a break in the evening and go to Mom and Rocky’s for a visit. They were watching Coyote Ugly on the USA channel. I had never seen the movie, so while I was visiting with Mom we watched it. Cute movie, and it had a happy ending, which is a must for me.

Today I am full of energy and have a ‘to do’ list as long as my arm. I suppose that I had better get at it, or I won’t have a kick butt Monday tomorrow. Have a wonderful Sunday whatever you choose to do, and keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers. It sounds like the full scale assault on Fallujah is eminent.

Until tomorrow,


Friday, November 05, 2004


Blessed heat.

After reviewing the options available to me, I talked to mom midmorning about which route to take. I had already talked with Matt, who was more concerned about the sizzling sound in the fuse box being a burnt wire. Since the wiring is old, mom called the heating and cooling guy who had also done our sewer work last summer. This is the way of things in Smalltown. One family does many things. A monopoly of sorts.

At any rate, and more surprising, they sent a man right out to check out the problem. Since I was working in a town almost two hours away, Mom and Rocky went up to open the house for him. After checking everything out it was determined that it was indeed a burnt wire in back of the fuse box. I had an empty circuit, so it was a simple solution to wire the furnace to the open circuit.

Thank goodness I got a call early afternoon that the heat was once again working. The bad news is that I am going to have to have a whole new breaker box. I have an old fuse box with the screw in fuses. It’s days are numbered I am afraid. That can be put of until spring, so for now I am enjoying the blessings of heat.

While there are many times I am frustrated with service people in Smalltown, this particular business has been very good about coming to the rescue in a pinch. Last Christmas mom and Rocky had to call them out on Christmas Eve, and sure enough they came right out and took care of the problem with their furnace.

Since I live alone and work out of town every day, it is wonderful to have mom and Rocky next door to stand in the gap when there is a problem. What would one do without family? I am both blessed and grateful for them and their willingness to come to the rescue. The cats and I slept very well last night, and this morning it is tropical in my little home, even though it is the coldest morning of the year thus far.

Thank you for your comments, thoughts, and suggestions. I think of all of you as extended family, and am grateful for your support. Matt, you also hit the nail right on the head. It was a big help. I couldn't post this this morning due to ISP problems. That lunar eclipse sure screwed up the even keel here....on my country road.



Thursday, November 04, 2004


Yesterday was a miserable cold rainy day. When I came home from work I turned on the heater, changed for the gym and left the house. On the way home I was cold, and was looking forward to being home in a warm house and snuggled in flannel pajamas while catching up on the news with CNN.

Good plan. I walked into the house, but instead of being greeted with the warm air of a furnace humming with life, I was met with cool air. The cats didn’t come out and welcome me home, either. Putting down my gym bag, I walked to the back of the house to check on the cats, flipping the thermostat up another five degrees as I walked by.

Both cats were huddled together on my bed, fur fluffed out and looking disgruntled. I patted their heads, promised them the heat would be on in a minute and went to get a hot bath. The bathroom was chilly, but once the air was filled with hot steam from the bath, things improved. Since I was listening to the news and not to the furnace, I never noticed it didn’t come on.

Long story short, the furnace never came on. I went to the fuse box, which is my first line of defense. I tightened the fuse, and sure enough the furnace came on and began filling the house with warmth. Satisfied with the simple fix, I went to my office to read email. I had no more sat down in my chair when the furnace kicked off. I have listened to this furnace for twenty years, and know it’s personality like the back of my hand. That was not the sound of it’s normal cycle. In a huff, I walked back to the fuse box and changed the fuse to a new one. Immediately the furnace kicked on again.

It wasn’t until I went to the bedroom to turn down the bed that I noticed a sizzling, crackling sound coming from the fuse box. The furnace wasn’t running. Both cats gave me that bored look and blinked their eyes lazily at me as I walked back to the fuse box to investigate. Unscrewing the fuse, I saw dark sooty residue covering the little orange square that says 20. The connection was bad. No furnace. The wind was howling around the end of the house my bedroom is located in. The sound of cold rain hitting the side of the house mocked my desire of a warm cozy house and warm bed.

So. Today it is supposed to only be 52 for a high. The wind is blowing, and cold drizzle is still coming down. Tonight is to be the coldest night of the year thus far. Of course. We are short handed at work, so I can’t take off. Hmmm…..I suppose I’ll just go have breakfast and try to come up with a plan. Enjoy your nice warm homes this morning, and think of me…..here on my country road.

Until tomorrow,


Wednesday, November 03, 2004


I woke in the night to the sound of rain hitting the side of the house. Temperatures fell into the fifties yesterday, and the sharp wind turned cold. Skies stayed heavy and gray. After months of prolonged Indian Summer, more seasonal weather has arrived. The leaves had turned brown two weeks ago, and the wind urged them from their lofty perches to swirl earthward. Drifts of leaves eddied around the edges of the yard and the house, and the pine needles fell like rain.

Saturday I had the air conditioner on. Today the heater is running almost nonstop. For all intents and purposes I’m afraid that winter is coming. Even though this is the first week of November, we have been spoiled with prolonged summer for weeks. I welcome the change, for without winter spring cannot arrive.

The wind blew all through the night, and the mighty white pines outside my bedroom creaked and groaned in protest. I was awakened by the mournful sound, and my thoughts turned toward the warm, balmy, tropical climate Matt and I enjoyed not three weeks ago. Not able to go back to sleep, I finally got up and checked the election results and wrote an email. When my eyes began to drift closed again, I turned off the light and walked back down the hallway to my warm bed. Once again snuggled down in the soft featherbed and down comforter, I welcomed sleep again.

The alarm sounded sharply. Morning had arrived too quickly, and now I am going through the motions of another day. Even though I am sleepy yet, the day awaits. There are twelve hours to accomplish anything I decide to tackle, and the lure of possibilities is motivation enough to keep me moving forward.

My briefcase if full of the editing I am working on for my book, a project Matt and I have been working on for several months, and ideas are swirling in my head for a new book. Even though I had a great kick ass Monday already this week, I feel another one coming on today. Once I have some breakfast, I’ll be ready to greet the world with a happy smile…..here on my country road.

Until tomorrow,


Tuesday, November 02, 2004


All too soon I was packing the car for the final leg to Smalltown. I had already said my goodbyes to everyone, so I hugged George and started the car. I felt the sting of tears as I pulled out of the drive and drove down the street. When Matt was here this summer and he was leaving, I told him that his leaving was the first step in the journey that would bring him back to me again. That thought was in my heart as I left for Smalltown.

I was leaving my heart with Matt. After such a wonderful vacation it seemed silly to be so sad at leaving, but with every passing mile the lump in my throat grew bigger and my heart was breaking. I wanted to turn around and go back to the comfort of his embrace. Seeking to distract my thoughts I turned on the radio. As I turned off the highway and headed south, I heard this song, and the tears did fall then. It spoke of everything I was feeling. You may know it. It is by Lonestar….

Every time our eyes meet
This feeling inside me
Is almost more than I can take
Baby when you touch me
I can feel how much you love me
And it just blows me away
I’ve never been this close to anyone or anything
I can hear your thoughts
I can see your dreams.

I don’t know how you do what you do
I’m so in love with you, it just keeps getting better
I wanna spend the rest of my life with you by my side
Forever and ever
Every little thing that you do
Baby I’m amazed by you.

The smell of your skin
The taste of your kiss
The way you whisper in the dark
Your hair all around me, baby you surround me
You touch every place in my heart
Oh, it feels like the first time every time
I wanna spend the whole night in your eyes.

I don’t know how you do what you do
I’m so in love with you, it just keeps getting better
I wanna spend the rest of my life with you by my side
Forever and ever
Every little thing that you do
Baby I’m amazed by you…..

As I turned down my country road, my heart was once again full of love, memories and gratitude. What a wonderful, magical Mayan Adventure. A wonderful gift of love and joy that I’ll hold close to my heart until I draw my last breath….


Monday, November 01, 2004


In the night I woke to the sound of hard rain falling. The sound echoed the sadness I felt at leaving Tulum, and saying goodbye to Matt again. Not wanting to think about that just yet, I closed my eyes and drifted back into sleep.

When morning came, the rain had stopped. The sky was a dark leaden gray, but we donned running gear and hoped to get in a run before breakfast. We enjoyed the morning arrival of the people we had come to recognized who worked at the resort. As I ran I tried to take in the familiar sights and sounds I wanted to remember after I went back to Smalltown. My heart was so full, we were so happy, that I focused on that. We had just finished when the sprinkles began again. We made it to the room just as the rain began.

While we cleaned up for breakfast, the rain fell in torrents. Taking an umbrella, we did make it over to the Hacienda for breakfast. There weren’t too many people out and about due to the heavy rain, so we walked along arm in arm. The water was standing several inches deep on the walkways and courtyards. Thank goodness for flip flops.

We were to be ready for the shuttle by eleven, so we had two hours. We tried to eat as much of the fresh fruits as we could hold, knowing we couldn’t get it like that in the states. The rain hadn’t let up, so we took the umbrella and went back to the rooms to pack.

Actually packing didn’t take as long as I had thought it might, so we weren’t rushed. Matt called the bell captain to come get the bags, and we went ahead to check out. While I waited for Matt to take care of that I watched the other travelers awaiting shuttles. They looked like I felt. Having had a wonderful week no one wanted to leave. There was lots of holding hands, looking into each other’s eyes and silent communication going on.

Matt took my hand, and we stood together under the veranda watching the rain. When the shuttle arrived, we ran to the van and hopped in. An hour and a half later we were driving through Cancun on our way to the airport. Vehicles were stranded due to the heavy rain, and the streets were flooded on one side. We made it to the airport, through customs, and were soon sitting in the terminal waiting for our flight.

On the flight home Matt and I read the last few chapters of a novel we had been reading at the beach all week. It was a moving and poignant story of life and love. When the plane landed in Kansas City, we had just a few pages to go. After once again going through customs, we claimed our bags and hopped the shuttle to the parking area.

As I waited for Matt to bring the car around, I watched the sun setting. Once we got out onto the highway, I read the end of the book. And there we were. Crying, joyous, and sad all at the same time. It was a fitting end to the week. Half an hour later, we arrived at my brother’s house.

After Matt had gone, George made spaghetti for us and I told him about the trip. Somehow so much was lost in the telling. We visited, watched TV, and finally I gave up and went to bed.

Tomorrow would be the final leg of my Mexican adventure…….

Until tomorrow,