title explained

Onward and upward! something that you say in order to encourage someone to forget an unpleasant experience or failure and to think about the future instead and move forward.

My e-mail: jjmiller6213@comcast.net

Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Dwindling Days

It looks like I have been the only one to take a blogging holiday.  I didn't really mean too, but it's been a week since I posted.

Last week sure felt funny.  Most of the time, I had no idea what day it was--date or name.  I was so busy, spending many hours on genealogy research.  Fairly newly immigrated family.  Nothing in Ancestry.com or Family Search.  I had to get into International files and hope I could find some that had been translated.    When I did, I spent many hours getting all the information I could.  Even then it was difficult.  Some ancestor's were just "dead ends" after only 3 generations.  It's difficult to find the next generation "up" when all information on parents stop.  I tried to just search the surname, but with the surname being the most popular in that country---well............

But I did find some ancestor's that I don't think my client knows about, so that gives me a feeling of accomplishment.
When I wasn't "climbing branches", I was taking a break watching the Football bowl games or MSU basketball.  The reason for the breaks--the windows in this computer room face south.  At about 11:00 each day, if the sun is shining, which it has been, even with the mini blinds closed, it is so bright I can't see the monitor.  I can work from 9:00am until 11:00 and then have to stop until late afternoon.

Of course, that gave me time to eat lunch, watch my Soap and run to the store if needed.  As cold as it has been, I only left to go to Walmart one day, and quickly filled bird and squirrel feeders twice.

My daughter Karen gave me one of these "Climb Carts" for Christmas and it sure is great.  Normally, I have about 7 trips to bring in the groceries.  With this thing packed up with bags, it only took me 3 trips.
It has 6 wheels and "climbs" up the steps easily.

So, tomorrow is a new year.  I like it.  It makes me feel like I have a clean slate to write on.  Like pounding a stake into the ground, leaving last year behind me, facing forward and trying to make this year better.  

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas At The Farm.

Pictorial Family Christmas--missing Granddaughter Maddie and her Dad Mark with the stomach virus.
Missing Jennifer and her family in Disney World, but other than that........................

Ancestor's farm.  Settled in 1850.  The house built in 1857 and renovated in 2012,

The farm from Susan's kitchen window--where I was born and my son lives now.

Between the entry-way and the family room.

 Sister and me

2nd child and oldest daughter--Pammie    

My eldest, son Mark and 3rd child, Karen
Poor Mark--bloated from the steroids he has to take
to keep his cancer at bay.

Susan's son and his two girls

 My grandsons, actually I just met the one on the left.  Susanna, from Oregon, boyfriend from Alaska.
James, a  nicer man I have never met--next to my own grandson's

Marcus and Stephen.

 My grand girls--Helene, Morgan and Susanna holding Della.
Actually, Morgan isn't official until June 2, 2018 when she and Marcus will marry.

Our family tradition since I was a little girl.  The singing of the carols here.

Sure glad I rode up and home with Karen.  The outside photos were taken at 1:00.  By the time we left to come home, there was 2" of snow on the ground and another 5" predicted.  Karen has a nice new car and new snow tires.  We never slipped a bit on those country roads.

...and Darling Della celebrating
Hanukkah two weeks ago.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Merry Christmas

May you find moments of peace, 
contentment and love
this weekend.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Blessed Day

I left kind of early this morning so I could stop in to visit a friend on my way to our Old School Gal Pals lunch.

Becky is Pam's friend, but she and I visit a few times a year.  Her house is immaculately clean and decorated to the nines for Christmas.

Lunch was wonderful and my best friend Arlene's, daughter stopped and paid for ALL our lunches!!

Then out to The Farm to visit sister and drop off my presents, so I only have to tote in my food on Christmas Even.  She only put up 5 trees this year.

Entry Way by front door 

Family Room

Crystal Christmas Trees on the mantle
in the dining room 

Between Dining and Living Room
The Christmas Angel cross-stitch I made of her on the wall

Corner of the living room 

her special memory tree in the bedroom

This is the house where we will celebrate our Christmas.

Click on this to see a video of her house. Susan's

Dear Dar.

Yes--Dar.  Dear Dar.

She came over for a visit.  A conversation.  Well, her kind of conversation.

Usually when I visit someone, my first words are, "Hi. How are you?"  and then I listen to their answer.  Dar's first words on walking in my front door are, "I had to come over and vent!"  She has yet, in the 7 years I've known her, asked how I am.

She walked in, threw her coat on the couch, dumped Buddy out of the rocking chair and sat down with a big, "WHEW!"

Before she could say a word, I asked, "I haven't seen you in two weeks.  How are you doing?"

"I met with my attorney.  My tail bone is getting better.  I am going to have surgery on my shoulder January ninth and.......we have an infestation of bed bugs."

Wait.  What?

"Get your nasty self outta my house!"
did I say that?  Of course not, but I started itching.

"My attorney tells me he can get back all the money I have spent on doctor's bills.  He says he can't get me anything for pain and suffering and I still have pain and I have suffered!"


"I am finally feeling more comfortable with my therapist.  I am beginning to trust him.  He knows not too get to close to me, not to walk around behind me and...he let's me smoke during our sessions."


"My right arm and hand are still numb, but the surgeon thinks that when he fixes my shoulder...all that will go away.  My tail bone is better.  The inflammation is going down, but...they can't do a thing for my neck and the doctor told me, I will have to live with it for the rest of my life."


"My doctor and therapist both told me I probably won't be able to go back to work...ever...but I won't accept that."


"I had a flare up of my herpes, but it's better now"


"My daughter texted me...first text I have gotten for three years.  She wants to move back here.  No way--I just ignored the text and I'm not going to respond."
even though her daughter owns the house Dar lives in.  

Pause, as she lit another cigarette.

I quickly jumped in, "And the bugs?"

"Oh...the bugs!  Well, about three months ago I started getting a rash.  It got larger and worse.  I thought I had Lyme's Disease, so I went to the dermatologist.  He took a biopsy of one of the areas and told me I had "mite bites".  Like dust mites, you know."


"I had to shower with a special soap and launder all the bedding.  It seemed to get worse, so I went back to the dermatologist.  He looked again and told me to go home and check my furniture and mattress and see if....if there were any little, tiny black specks."


"Sure enough.  So I called him and told him and he said they were bed bugs instead of mites!"


"My housekeeper won't come back into my house.  I had to get pest control to come out and fumigate--they've done it twice and are coming back again next week."


"I had the garbage men come and take my mattress and box springs--my new recliner and Dad's mattress, box springs and head board.  You can see the tiny little black specks on the carpeting under the beds, along the wall above the furnace registers."


"I have to wash all my clothes in the hottest water and dry them on the hottest dryer setting.  What can't be washed, I have to take to the cleaners or throw out.  Same with my drapes, all blankets and sheets.  I have been to the laundromat three times and done 25 loads of laundry."


"All clean items have to be put into big zippered bags and all bed buggy ones also in zippered bags until they are cleaned."


"That's why I haven't been over.  I didn't want to bring any in here."

"But.,.you were over here two weeks ago.  You had them then, right?" I asked.

"Well, I didn't know I had them then.  I'm sure I didn't bring any with me.  If you see any tiny, black specks, look careful, but...I'm sure I didn't bring any in."

Good grief, Woman!  You said you are still seeing them in your house.  You're sitting in my chair and you have a wool sweater, bed bug breeding ground, on your self.  Go away!!
did I say that?  Of course not.

After she left, I did wash the cushion she was sitting on.  I wiped down the chair with water and bleach and sprayed where she had thrown her coat.

...and I've felt itchy every since!!!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

That's It!!!

Get a grip on yourself, Jude!!!

Finances or the lack thereof, will no longer be posted on this blog!  It makes me sound whiny and ungrateful and "poor me", and like I'm asking for a hand-out.  I dislike people that complain that the government doesn't give them enough assistance.   The government owes us nothing, financially.  

If I was stupid enough to get divorced, or to sign off on his pension, or to keep that big house, instead of selling it, NO MATTER how much pressure I was getting from my Daddy, then all that is my problem!

Yes--I got money from "our" estate sale two years ago.  I spent some of it on a new living room, which I probably should not have done.  I took $150.00 each month to supplement my budget.  I paid to get my car fixed with a new undercarriage, radiator, exhaust system and tires.  I got my kids nice presents last year for Christmas.

I have $200.00 left from that sale.

But--I am NOT poor.  I have a nice little house, with a fairly new roof and furnace.  I have an old car, that runs like a new car.  I have my health.  I have a mighty God that has sustained me these last 25+ years and I believe He will continue to do so.

I just finished a genealogy.  I am working on a new one.  I have two promised in the new year.  You know how much I love doing them for people.  The money I receive is secondary, but I am grateful for it and it will bring my budget into the "black" at least for a few months.

Nope.  No more complaining and no more venting.  How boring to "listen" to someone whine about their finances.
By the way, Dar came over for a visit yesterday.  Wait until you hear about that!!!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Here I Am!

I'm still here!  Still standing!  Just been busy.

Genealogy stuff.  I get so involved, I don't pull my head out of the tree top, for hours and hours.
Well, let's see--it snowed 3 inches.  Then two days later, it snowed 9 inches.  So far this past week it has cost me $45.00 to get my driveway cleaned 3 times.  I thought I would get a budget break now that I don't have to pay $40.00 a month for lawn mowing.  I think we have enough snow for the entire winter--just my opinion.

Had to miss the Old Gal Pals luncheon--they called it off and rescheduled it for this Thursday, which is a good thing.  It's suppose to be 40 and sunny this Thursday.

My SS raise was $20.00 a month, so to the welfare people, that signifies an income increase so they cut my food assistance from $28.00 to $19.00 a month.  Even though expenses have increased.

There are percentages and cut-off amounts involved.  It is all very complicated on how they get to their assistance amount.  I am allowed expenses of $547.00 a month, with an income of $1,000.00, to get assistance.  Even if the expenses are more, that doesn't count.  My cut-off is $547.00.  So, with my $20.00 a month "income increase", my income went up to $1,001.00.  One dollar more than I am allowed.
Thus the decrease in food assistance.

Makes a whole lot of sense, doesn't it?
I have been paying my house insurance monthly.  $30.00 a month.  To save money, "they" switched me over to paying every six months.  It saves me $10.00, but the six month payment came due the first of December and I didn't expect it.  $170.00 all in one swoop.  So I am paid up, until June, at which time, I will go back to paying it monthly.  Egads!!
Oh--why do I post about my financial problems?  It makes me embarrassed, but you are the only ones I can talk too.  Plus, just think how great and blessed it makes you feel to NOT have such problems.  LOL
I have all my presents wrapped and packed in canvas grocery bags to take with me Thursday.  I will stop in at sister's on my way home and put them under her tree, so that I don't have to tote them all in on Christmas Eve.  Good idea.  Right?
Have a great pre-Christmas week.  Rejoice on the 21st--the Winter Solstice as that means---the days will be getting longer!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, December 11, 2017

It's a New Week

Monday morning and I'm sitting here watching the snow.  You can't tell in the photo, but it is coming down heavy.  2-4 inches the weather guy says.  Wonderful!  I love it.  It's so pretty.

...and the reason I ran up to Walmart yesterday.  I heard this was coming.

So today, I can stay inside, watch the snow falling, and wrap Christmas presents, fill the freezer bags with the finished spaghetti sauce, watch my Soap, do some laundry, cross stitch and in general, enjoy myself.

It occurred to me that I needed to get a small gift for Della.  I have no idea what toys she has and I sure can't afford to spend much.  As I walked along, there was a whole box of "Pet Toys".  $5.00.  I looked down into the box and lo and behold, a dog toy that looks similar to their real dog.  Nice and soft and cuddly and even squeaks--just as a dog toy should.

When I got home, I cut off the tag that designated it as a "dog toy" and wrapped it up for Della.  Sh-hh.  No one will know the difference.  I hope.

I do manage to have fun every time I go to Walmart.  I decided to plump up the gift to my boys, and get them a box of spaghetti and a can of Parmasan cheese, box it up along with the tag,
"Two quarts of home-made spaghetti sauce are waiting for you, in the red and white cooler on the front porch.  Don't forget to take it with you.  Love Gramma Judy", or Mom or Judy.

Do you know how much 6 cans of cheese and 6 small boxes of spaghetti costs?  Good Grief!!!

Then I went looking for a gift box that it would fit in.  None to be found.  In that aisle was an old guy hunting for the same thing--a simple gift box.  I know because he asked me if I knew where he might find one.  We both looked and all we came up with were mailing boxes.  Too deep, but the right length.  "Guess this will hafta work," he said.  
"Not what I wanted either, but guess it will work."
Then we both grabbed a roll of bubble wrap to stuff the boxes with.
"Geez!  Look at the price of that," he said.  "Newspaper would work better."
"Yeah, it would," I answered.  "But I don't get the paper anymore."
"Me neither," he replied.
"At that price, we probably could subscribe to the paper for a couple months and have all the stuffing we need." I said.

He nodded and chuckled.  "Have a nice day," he offered and off we went in different directions.

As I strolled over toward the Diet Pepsi area, an older guy in an electric cart came zooming around the corner and nearly smashed into my cart.  "Sorry," he said.  "First time I've used one of these dang things."  I smiled and went on my way.

The next aisle over, I got to help a tiny, little old lady get a bottle of salad dressing off a high shelf.  Then turned around and helped another short lady get a gallon of spring water off another high shelf.  Got one for myself too and we both wondered, "Why do they put heavy stuff so high up?"

As I turned to exit that aisle, the guy in the electric cart reappeared and nearly rammed into me.  "Sorry," he said and then kind of grimaced as he recognized me.
"Hey.  Did someone pay you to run me down?"
He let go with a huge laugh.  "No Ma'am."
We laughed and I went on up to the produce section.  

Wandered around a bit and then I saw him again.  He was headed straight towards me.  He glanced up and saw me, so I stopped dead in my tracks, then spun my cart around and pretended I was running away from him, as I headed, quickly toward the cashiers.  I could hear him laughing.

Yep.  I do have fun at the Walmart!

Thursday, December 7, 2017


I brag about how we never lose power, because our wires are buried underground in the park here.  Then...we've lost power twice in the last 3 weeks.
Someone ran into a utility pole both times, between here and Brighton.  Different utility pole, but nonetheless, wires came down and power shut off while repairs were made.  Only about 3 hours each time, but.........oh my.............three hours seems like a very long time to go without computer and/or TV.  

The weird thing was, I was reading blogs and making a comment when the power went and today....I can't remember whose blog I was in making my comment--or half comment.  LOL
I guess our 50+ degree weather is gone until next spring.  The wind turned, the temps dropped and today we got a skift of snow.  Looking ahead, Friday night and all day Saturday, we are to get 2-3" of snow.  All I can say is, YAY!!!!!!!!!  I do love it when the dead earth and gardens are covered by a nice thick layer of pure, glistening, white snow.  

I don't know why snow has anything to do with Christmas.  I don't remember seeing any piles of snow in any Nativity scene.  Probably because the whole time line of celebrating Christmas comes from the necessity of having it near the Winter Solstice.  Christians wanted a holiday to compete with the pagan holiday, so that's when we celebrate.

Actually, Baby Jesus was born sometime in either September or October.  About 6 months after John (the Baptist) was born, and he was born in March.  Plus, in December, in the area surrounding Bethlehem, shepherds are not tending their flocks outside, as it is too cold.  The census, the whole reason Mary and Joe went to Bethlehem, is not taken at that time of year.

Well--who cares.  We need a reason to celebrate with lights and happy decorations in the dark of winter, so it's good enough for me.
I started the second batch of spaghetti sauce this afternoon.  This one is going easier than the first.  I did simmer it in the stock pot for 4 hours and it did not stick to the bottom of the pot, but to thicken it, I am going to finish up with it in the Crock-Pot.  It is really nice and thick.

I cook a little bit of spaghetti and for supper each night, I put a bit of the sauce on it, from each batch,  to test taste.   So far it is very yummy.
It occurred to me that I have had my Christmas cards all done and ready to mail since the 1st week of December.  I thought I'd mail them around the 10th.  I looked at the calendar and realized--that is coming up this weekend!!!!  So, I'm sending them out tomorrow.  I have one for my granddaughter's mother-in-law, that I want to arrive on December 12th--when Hanukkah begins, as she is Jewish.

Then I also realized that I'd better get to wrapping presents too.  The dish cloths/scrubbies are all done and in their boxes.  Why not wrap them now and be all organized by Christmas time?

That meant I had to create and print out gift tag labels.  For some reason, I lost my file in my Documents that had gift tag labels and Christmas return labels that I had made years ago.

For some reason that File didn't make it onto my new hard drive?  How does that happen?  There are mysterious things that go on all around me--especially when it deals with computer things.  I've searched for two days for that File and it is no where to be found.  Oh well, I can create them and save them for next year.
I got my notice today from the Social Security Administration of our cost of living raise.  For some reason, I thought it was going to be 2.5%, but it is only 2%.  That's $20.00 for me, which isn't much, but since everything, including gasoline, is going up in price, it might help a little bit.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Having Fun

Well, I pulled a dumb thing.  Not the first time in my life.  LOL

When I started my spaghetti sauce making, and I follow the recipe very carefully, but I had a 3# package of ground beef, instead of the 2# the recipe calls for.  So...I figured, I'd just increase the rest of the ingredients.  Right?

5 hot Italian sausages for the little meat balls, instead of 3, another can of diced tomatoes, a little more tomato sauce and juice.

It all looked great, until I tried to stir the amount I had in my big stock pot.  It was so thick and heavy that I broke the wooden spoon!  Then, as the cooking progressed, I noticed it started to stick to the bottom of the "guaranteed non-stick" pot.

I halted all production and pondered.

I got out my Crock-Pot, a much smaller one than I used to have.  The one I gave to my sister as I would no longer need a Crock-Pot and then two months later, bought the smaller one, because I DID need a Crock-Pot.

Luckily, it held half the sauce, so it cooked on high for 5 hours, then I put it in the fridge to "meld" overnight, and cooked on low, 6 hours the next day to thicken.  Put it back in the fridge overnight because it was late in the day, and the next day, put it in the quart bags to freeze.

Then yesterday, I took out the other half, that had been in the fridge and put it in the Crock-Pot.

Instead of a two day process it has taken me 4 days, but you know what...........cooking it that way seemed to end up with a much thicker sauce that won't slide off the cooked spaghetti.  I hate spaghetti sauce that slides off and doesn't stay on the noodles.

I have decided to purposefully do the second batch the same way--as once again I find myself with a 3# package of ground beef.

It takes more time, but I have lots of time, so.........

Started and done:

With sadness, I mailed out the genealogy this morning.  I always feel a little sad when the genealogies are done, because I want to keep on searching, even though, by this time, (20-30 hours)I know I have found everything I am capable of finding, without traveling to the Country where the family originated from to find their ancestor's graves and other family members.  As usual, I held the mailing box and asked God to continue to bless the family, before I took it out to the mail box.

This was a fascinating genealogy.  I know, I say that about all of the ones I have done, but, this one really was.  The family immigrated here and when WWII came, 5 of the 6 sons enlisted in various armed services.  The Father was a serious citizen, a registered voter.  The other side of the family homesteaded in Oklahoma and had a nice farm, until the dust storms came.  Did they pack up and head back East?  Of course not!  They went on to California and worked in the migrant camps, picking vegetables and fruit for the farmers out there.  I even found photos of the great, great grandpa playing his fiddle at the dances the workers at the camp held.  In fact, the camp they lived in was the exact same one that John Steinbeck visited and wrote about in his novel, "The Grapes of Wrath".

It's amazing what can be found if one searches long and hard enough and follows every little hint of that person.  There are a lot of places to search and research and yes, it takes a lot of time reading and collecting facts and getting them in chronological order.  Printing out family group sheets and scanning all the reports I have found.

Then I get to put all I have found in their book; photos, census reports, stories of the family.  That is my favorite part, the writing of their book.  Making it understandable, like a story.

It does take a lot of time, but like I said above, time is what I have a lot of.
Now, I sit here with nothing to do, except smell spaghetti sauce cooking, cross-stitching and watching TV.  

I have to write!  I have always had to write.  In 5th grade I wrote my first children's story--about a hermit that lived in our woods.  I even drew a picture of him.  He looked like Cousin It---25 years before Cousin It was even invented.

I showed it to my teacher.  My teacher loved it and had me read it to the whole class.  I was failing basic math, but my story was an A+, although since it wasn't a required lesson, I got no credit for it.  HAH!

So...I have decided to take ALL of the children stories I have written, except the Hermit one, which I have forgotten and probably got thrown out,  and put them in a book form, and get a book, much like the genealogy books, printed and bound.

I used to have a Website with a whole lot of children's stories I had written.  Plus the 3 published children's books.  The Website is no more and the older grandchildren all have a copy of the 3 published books.  But...what about Evan, who is 6 and just learning to read?  What about Della, who is only 1 year old and likes stories read to her?

Aha--a whole knew generation to enjoy those stories.

This is what the book cover will look like--the cover photo on my old Website.
Gramma's Tales
Gramma Judy

This is the first story in it:

I had a Woozle, a very fine Woozle
And I asked him outside to play.
But I got a refusal from my fine Woozle
Inside for a snoozle he’d stay.

I found a stout rope put it over his moozle
Tugged and pulled him down the hallway.
When we got to the porch, he got scared of course
And dug in his claws to stay.

I pleaded and begged and tugged on the rope
I was going to have it my way.
But my Woozle was strong and he broke the rope
And promptly ran away.

So if you have a Woozle, a very fine Woozle
And he doesn’t want to play.
Then accept his refusal, let him be a Woozle
And snoozle inside all day.

That ought to peak their interest to read on.  
By the way, if you would like your genealogy done, just e-mail me and I will send you a brochure of what would be included and the prices.  I do a basic, no charge research first, just to make sure we have enough to make it worth your while, before I begin.  I promise I will do a good job for you.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Homemade spaghetti sauce from my little Italian friend.

(Frankie Jacobs-1978)
In large stock pot

2 # ground Round beef
3 Hot Italian sausage links--Johnsonville
          (slit skin, peel off and make small meatballs out of sausage.)
Cook ground beef in large skillet.  Drain well and put in stock pot
Cook sausage meat balls in skillet.  Drain well and put in stock pot

1 onion diced
1 green pepper diced
2 garlic buds, diced
Use real garlic and chop veggies in food grinder to save on hand dicing

4 regular size cans of  diced tomatoes (14.8 oz)
1 large can tomato sauce=28. oz
1 quart tomato juice=32 oz
2 Tbls. Oregano
2 Tbls. Sweet basil
2 Tbls. Italian seasoning
2 Tbls. Garlic powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 packet dry Spaghetti Sauce mix

Mix it all together well.

Cover and simmer for hours and hours J stirring occasionally—about 5-6 hours
Put in refrigerator over-night to meld.
Next day, uncover and simmer to thicken.
Can be frozen in quart freezer bags

Use for all Italian dishes

Makes a nice thick chunky sauce that is out of this world!!!!!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Fa La La La Lah

...and so it begins.

The annual "Making of the Spaghetti Sauce" marathon.