Tuesday, December 2, 2008


December is here and winter has come to Central Illinois.. I know because it is cold and we have snow. Rose showed you how beautiful freshly fallen snow can be in her post on Sunday. And it was picture perfect. Wet, heavy, pure white snow covered the land and a stillness was in the air. It was lovely.

Monday was a different story and Old Man Winter came at us with a vengeance! Here in the prairie lands, the ground is so flat there is little to stop the wind. And wind and snow make for some extreme conditions.

This is the road I take to work. It is a state highway which means the state Department of Transportation takes care of it. They fix pot holes, maintain the shoulders, plow snow and spread salt.

For the most part they do a wonderful job. The men who do the work are conscientious and put in long hours during the winter. They try very hard to keep our roads as safe as possible.

However, and I am getting to the point here, with this storm of snow and blowing snow we learned the powers that be-i.e. our Governor-has decreed a no salt policy on the icy roads. in the pictures you can see the road is covered with blown snow. That snow sticks to he pavement and turns to ice making it very treacherous to drive on.

The driver of this car found that out the hard way. There was no salt spread on any of the roads; the secondary ones or the interstates. Needless to say yesterday and last night there were many accidents in our area. Why the no salt policy? Our Governor, Rod Blagojevich, has decided salt is too expensive! It may be a long winter in more ways than one. So all of you in the warmer climes think of us as we put on our overcoats, gloves, scarfs and snow boots and head out onto snowy, windblown, icy roads and say a little prayer for us, please!

On more pleasant notes- my husband always gets me a center piece for each holiday. He takes a lot of time deciding just which one will look the best for the occasion and which one I will like. In the 41 years we have been married he has missed only a few holidays. I love him dearly for his thoughtfulness.

Thanksgiving day was also our oldest granddaughter's 17th birthday. I don't know how she grew up so fast! She doesn't care for cake so I usually bake a pie or brownies. But this year I made a giant chocolate chip cookie for her. 2 of her cousins are presenting it to her.

We had 15 people for dinner this year-down a couple, but still enough to fill the house. and of course we all ate like we hadn't seen food in a week. I tried a recipe from Joey for cranberry salad and it was a big hit. Thanks Joey! Hubby always cooks the turkey on the grill and what turkey is leftover he make into the best turkey salad the next day. The kids always come back for turkey salad sandwiches the day after Thanksgiving. Traditions are born and memories are made in some of the oddest ways. Do you have any traditions like that?

Now to the price of gas.... Who would have thought back in July when crude oil topped out at $147.00 a barrel and gas was $4.25 a gallon, that we would ever see gas this cheap?!! If you think about it, this alone could help us out of the Recession. The average family probably uses 30 gallons a week. That's a savings of $80.70 a week. And that adds up to 322.80 a month. A car payment, 1/2 a house payment or rent. In a year's time that family has $3,873.60 extra! Think what that could buy-how many businesses could stay open-how many people could stay on the payroll. Are you listening big government??

Well, it was nice while it lasted. The gas prices are going back up even though crude oil dropped to $47.00 a barrel today. Now I wonder why if crude is still going down, gas is starting to go back up? I guess I really don't understand high finance.

One last thing, and then I will let you go. This is a basket of all the products I have bought and used on my rash. Some of them are prescription, but most are over the counter cures. Some helped-some didn't. Some were expensive and some weren't. All were messy! I was-am-looking for a miracle cure, but the truth is there is no magic potion. I am better, sort of. The angry red splotches of rash have faded to a dull pink. The itch is still almost unbearable at times. And my husband lovingly calls me 'pigpen' after the character in the Peanuts cartoon. I peel and flake and leave a trail where ever I go. My face looks like it has saw dust on it about every other day. I don't wear makeup or jewelry. In other words, I look old and slovenly.

The good new is, my Dr. says I am better. The bad news is, the medicine is not working a s quickly as he thought and I will be dealing with this for a few more months. The other bad news is, the meds I take once a week make me very ill the day after. But I AM hanging in there. I have lots of great support and love from my family and friends and I can't ask for more than that. So don't feel too sorry for me. I can see a light at the end of the tunnel. Granted, at this time it is a tiny light, but a light none the less.

Hope you are enjoying the winter and are happily making plans for the holidays!


perennialgardener said...

You would think the lives that ice could save would be worth the cost! That decision could be a costly mistake on your Governor's part in the long run. Our gas is staying around 1.57-1.63 right now. It depends on the county I buy it in. Weird! It has saved us a ton, my hubby drives 30 miles one way to work 6 days a week!!! I'm saving $10-12 a week when I fill up. He's saving even more since he drives a truck. Your centerpiece is very lovely, what a thoughtful hubby you have. :)

Susie said...

I find it surprising that salt is expensive. When we lived in GA they used sand on icy roads which seemed to help a good bit. Be careful when you are out and about Beckie. The Thanksgiving centerpiece was beautiful. Sounds like you have a wonderful and thoughtful hubbie.

I'm glad you are on the road to recovery with your rash. I know it must seem like it has been a very, very long road. I still keep you in my prayers. Take care!

perennialgardener said...

I meant salt, sorry! lol

Thanks For 2 Day said...

Hi Beckie! Wow...you've outdone yourself with this post! It certainly covers just about every territory! I'm sorry you are so sick with your meds. Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease, but in your case, it sounds like it will all be worth the struggle. It's hard to believe the ban on salt...what replaces it? I would think maybe sand, or some other material finely crushed? I sure hope you and yours will be safe during this time you need to spend on the highways. Take care! Jan

flydragon said...

Hi Beckie,
Loooove that big cookie.
Hate all that snow.
Loooove that centerpiece.
Hate that you are still needing all those products for your rash.
Love your post as always.

tina said...

Hi Beckie, Too bad on the salt, lots of accidents for sure. When I lived in Germany they never used salt due to its adverse effects on the environment. They instead used gravel. It aided in traction pretty well but would not melt the ice. Hopefully your state will use something soon.

Gas is going up fast like you said. Can't believe it.

Happy Birthday to your granddaughter and I am glad your rash is getting better, albeit slowly.

Rose said...

Beckie, just wanted to leave a quick note before I leave, so just a few thoughts...Perhaps if our wonderful governor lived in the capital instead of Chicago and cut out some of his pet projects, there would be money for salt! Or maybe he will be indicted soon, and someone else will take over:)

I bought gas on Monday for $1.50!! But I know that won't last...

I can't believe M. is 17 already! Just seems a short time ago she was at our house playing beauty shop...

Hubby is always so thoughtful--such a lovely centerpiece. And thank you for the phone call last night--I would have been wandering around Indy today without it; thank you, thank you!

Have a good week!

beckie said...

Racquel, yes, hubby is a keeper. We are sooo not happy with our Govenor in downstate! I can think of nothing he has made better since being in office. Yahoo on the lower gas prices.

Susie, glad you loke the flowers-I did too. i don't know why salt is so expensive, but sand maybe too as it would have to be shipped in also. I think he will get enough flak he will have to do something!

The rash IS taking a long time and I get frustrated, but I will get there. Thanks for caring Susie.

beckie said...

Racquel, I knew what you meant. :}

Jan, I said I was rambling. I tend do do that a lot. :) Thank goodness those meds only affect me the day after. I'm not sure I could take them if I felt that way all the time.

So far they are not spreading anything, but he (the Gov) may take a lot of heat over the ban after all the accidents and there were a couple of deaths. Hopefully, next storm we will get some salt will be put down. I only have 5 miles to drive to work and I do take great care.

beckie said...

Flydragon, can we say you have a love-hate relationship with my post! The cookie was fun and I may do that again. SOOO easy.

Tina, she is quite the lovely young lady. Staright A's in a private school and has her head on so straight. We are very proud of her and all our 'girls'. Our Gov. is so lame! Has no clue how the real world downstate is!

beckie said...

Rose, I totally agree about the Gov. Such a dope! I did hear Chicago was salting so he was safe on the roads.

S. was the one who knew the terminla had moved. I had no clue-hope the info helped.

Remember how M. laughed when she was plying beauty shop? How time flies.

Have a great vacation and take lots of pictures!

Gail said...

Beckie, Hi there...I missed this post yesterday! It's wonderful to love your spouse, but even better to like him~~ you like your Mr! He sounds a thoughtful and kind man.

There is this terribly funny commercial about men in the doghouse that you might like to see...http://bewareofthedoghouse.com/video.aspx The doghouse experience is the funny part!

Your Mr would never end up there!

I hear the good and bad news about the rash...hopefully it will soon clear up completely.

Is the Gov trying to raise a point, and wants to raise road taxes...other wise this decision is sure not smart!

Have a easy and safe time out there!


Darla said...

that was a very interesting eclectic post. I hope you drive carefully and I will stop complaining about our ever changing weather here. Our gas prices are staying around $1.79.
Beautiful centerpiece, Happy 17th and love the cookie, my daughter has the same shirt as the little girl to the left. Just finding out about your rash, sorry the meds make you ill. I believe in Emu Oil for just about everything to do with the skin. Will visit you again, really enjoyed it.

beckie said...

Gail, I have always thought of hubby as my best friend (other than Rose, of course!). He does have his faults, but then so do I.:)

The Gov. is tying to cut lots of programs from the budget including children's services and state parks. We are so in debt. But he lives in Chicago and flies privately to our capital 4 or 5 times a week so I have little respect for what he is trying to do. I am sure once he is out of office there will be serious inquiries into his administration.

I'll check out the commercial. Have a great day!

beckie said...

Darla, thanks! I always enjoy your posts. The cookie was fun and easy and the kids all enjoyed it. Emu oil is in there, just can't see the little blue jar. I use it for the cracks in my heels-from the rash. It does work great.

We are used to the changing weather here, but like our slippery roads salted! I have a very short drive on a quiet road when I go to work, but am still very careful.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I'm ready to start the "Impeach Blagojevich" campaign. There's just no excuse for not salting those roads. I remember how terrifying it was to drive down 57 in snow. (And yes, we did end up in the ditch.) With the price of gas half what it was a few months ago, you'd think there'd be a bit more cash around. Besides, what happened to all that extra cash the State took in when those gas prices were so high? Higher gas prices=geometrically increased gas tax revenues. There's just no excuse for the state of the State budget. Sorry about the rant, but I'm just so peeved about all those State Historic sites & parks that are being closed. Where is all the money?
I'm sorry to hear that your recovery is not as speedy as hoped. But at least you are getting better. Hang in there, lady!

Wendy said...

What a lovely young lady your granddaughter is! Happy happy birthday to such a sweetie! How time flies! Her cousins look so helpful and happy to be celebrating with her. It's nice to do a combined Thanksgiving/birthday celebration!

I am glad you see light at the end of the tunnel. That's encouraging. Even if it's taking its sweet old time.

You have such a dear, thoughtful hubby. He sounds like a treasure, even down to his pet name for you "pigpen". LOL! A man with a sense of humour.

Re the salt? Ridiculous. I hope anyone who slips on the ice and has an accident sues the City! Then they'll rethink their idiot policy of keeping streets hazardous.
But in the meantime - drive carefully. And thanks for your concern on my post.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Good to hear you had such a wonderful Thanksgiving Beckie. Beautiful Grands all around.

Absolutely irresponsible of the govenor to not salt the roads. He needs to be ousted.

Tell that sweet hubbie of yours hello for me.

beckie said...

MMd, he is a poor excuse for a Govenor isn't he! I d0 think his office will be investigated one of these days. Your so right-'Where's the money'?? We did manage to save one park near us, but so many are being shut down.

Thanks about the rash. I'm not a patient person so it's been a struggle.

beckie said...

Wendy, we are very proud of her. She has her head on so straight. But we are proud of all the girls. The other girls in the picture are the 2 of the ones who lost their Mom and they seem to be doing well. They love to be with famliy.

The rash has been such a drain on me. I don't sleep well and don't have much energy, but I am hoping it will soon be gone enough to be able to think about other things.

Yes hubby is a big old sweetie and I love him dearly. He's a good grandpa too!

The salt or lack of it is going to be a big problem this winter. It will be interesting to see how it plays out. I am pretty careful driving and if the roads are too bad, I stay home!


beckie said...

Lisa, Thanksgiving was great and thanks about the girls. We are so proud of each of them. I sooo agree abiut

Yes, Hubby is a great guy with a very loving heart. Of course he can be a pain sometimes, but so can all men! I will tell him you said hello.

The no salt is going to cause big problems, and more than once I have heard the word impeachment mentioned.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Beckie, what a miserable illness to have to endure.

Blagojevich is certainly going down as one of the State's most unpopular governors!

Cheryl said...

Dear Beckie....no salt, I cannot believe that....it is ridiculous......

Hubby is thoughtful to buy the arrangement.....and to have done it for so many years. You are lucky to have a good man in our lives.....

It is wonderful that you and your family spend important times together. It is so special, and keeps family close. You have a very pretty granddaughter....17....seems a long time ago.

Petrol is still expensive here and there are many who are struggling. In the UK Christmas will be more of a quiet affair this year. Everyone is saving their pennies......

As for the rash I do feel sorry for you. I think you have coped remarkably well, and am glad that you have so much support. That is just what you need.....

I collect my trees tomorrow, so shall the busy planting at the weekend.......

beckie said...

Cheryl, finally the trees! Will be waiting to see pictures of them planted. Don't work too hard though.

Yes, hubby is a keeper! The granddaughters seem to be growing up so much faster than my own girls. As I get older, time speds by so much more quickly. They are such a joy to us.

I figured you would still be paying much higher prices for fuel over there. You have had higer prices than we have for a long time.

We are cutting way back on Christmas this year, doing more hand made things and even the little ones seem to understand this is a difficult time. At least we will all be together and that's what is most important!

Take care!

beckie said...

Marnie, I should quit complaining-there are a lot worsethings I could have! Our dear Govenor is not a very popular fellow with the people. Make you wonder just who did vote for him. :}

Sue said...

Hi Becky! Ramblings was a good title for this post. LOL You did cover a variety of topics.

We have had road crews putting thin layers of what I think is salt ahead of time the last few weeks in the hopes that the roads won't be slick when it snows, and they won't have to use as much salt. I don't know how well that worked. I know of people who slid with our first snowfall, even though not much came down.

The symptoms of you rash are similar to my daughter's, who has severe eczema. Her itch is so bad, and she scratches it, and she ended up with a staph infection. She has used a number of things on her skin as well, and gotten cortizone shots. She finally went in for allergy tests and found out she is severely allergic to wheat, soy, and peanuts. They were unable to test for as many things as the wanted to because her skin was so broken out, they couldn't find room to test.

She is finally getting the eczema under control by following the skin care directions from the new dermatologist she went to.

She moved last week, and threw some blankets away that were full of skin flakes. She said they were full of infection, and too gross to wash.

I better get back to work. Maybe I should get gas on my way home.

Dawn said...

Hi Beckie, Your gov must be nuts! What! No salt! We would have several people slipping into the drink in my town, just to many lakes. How dangerous.
Your grandchildern are beautiful, I saw harry potter on your profile and figured some of the girls are preteens like my daughter.
Rashes aren't nice, sorry its making havoc on you. I had one 2 years ago, I'd get it good in one area only to have it in another! Darn!

joey said...

Oh Beckie, you are such a dear and happy you enjoyed the recipe. Are you about to share your chocolate chip cookie recipe with the rest of us, left drooling! Although your snow photos are scarey, your family photos are beautiful. Thanks for sharing and allowing us to peek into your rich life. My thoughts remain near you during this beautiful, in many ways, holiday season.

Mountain Mama said...

My goodness! The snow looks cold and treacherous! My boys always loved snow and were thrilled when they could go driving in it. I stay home and hide!
We have only had some heavy frost so far this winter but I need to get salt for my decks and the stairs. I can do without snow.

Our gas prices are under $2 a gallon. I hope it gets a lot lower. I remember the good old days on 25 cents a gallon but douby we will be seeing those prices again.
Stay warm friend.

beckie said...

Sue, with the garden put to bed for the winter, I suppose I will be rambling quite a bit in my posts. I think this time of the year we all will be writing about other areas of our lives. It will give us a chance to know each other better.:}

We did get a little salt on the
2nd icy night, but we are just going to have to be extra careful driving.

Your poor daughter! I'm glad she is getting it under control. At first, we thought it mught be an allergic reaction to some of my meds, but after seeing the specialist it's just something you can get-rarely.:{

Take care!

beckie said...

Dawn, Yep! That's what we all think about the Gov. He's relented a little but it looks like a snowy winter coming-he'd better figure out something.

Actually I do have pre-teen grandaughters and they love Harry Potter. But so do I! When a new movie comes out, the girls and I make a date to go see it. And we have all the DVDs. We watch them on "girls' nights" and have a ball.

beckie said...

Joey, I shouldn't admit this, but I am not a cookie baker! My home made ones always turn out badly. So my recioe for that cookie was a package of Pillsbury cookie dough-straight from the cooler section in the grocery store! I did say it was easy. :}

As you have probably guessed the grands are such a big part of our lives. They are total JOY and pure DELIGHT!

As you know about snow-you just have to be careful. I try not to get out in it as much as possible. A good excuse to stay home by the fire.
Take care, dear friend and enjoy the coming holidays!

beckie said...

Bev, when it comes to snow, I'm with you! A little for Christmas is always nice, but let's not get carried away. :}

I do remmember when gas was $.29 a gallon! We are telling our age. At least it is much more reasonable now and let's hope it lasts a while.

Don't slip on those decks!

Naturegirl said...

Becky: I can certainly appreciate the scary drive in a snow blizzard as we drove home in one as you saw in my latest post.
We are blessed here in Canada as snow removal and making highways ((SAFE)) to drive in winter conditions a priority in my province.Very efficent!
A lovely centrepiece and how sweet is your grandaughter!

Blossom said...

Hello Beckie - of my, I was hoping your skin would be better by now. You've really had a hard time with that rash :(

Those road pictures look like "white out" conditions! We've had some very scary winter driving experiences over the year. I always dread having to travel at this time of year. Are they at least sanding the roads instead of salting them?

Happy birthday to your granddaughter!

The Garden Faerie said...

Here is Michigan salt use has been restricted as well; some roads have been declared as non-salted as well, some of which are pretty busy and this seems like a stupid idea. But what do I know?
~ Monica

Cosmo said...

Hi, Beckie--Don't know how I missed this--I'd like to blame my blogroll, but I think it's operator error this time. I can't believe your gov's decision. We don't use much salt here, mainly because it snows infrequently--but the result is the town shuts down for days if we get any accumulation at all. Anyway, I hope you continue to feel better--don't let your skin dry out in this wintry weather.

beckie said...

Nature girl, she is a sweetie and we are very proud of her. I would think Canada would be on the ball when it comes to snow removal and salting. If they weren't you'd never get anywhere in the winter. I'm sure our Gov. will have to rethink his policies as the weaher worsens.

Amy, the first storm they did nothing, but now are salting a little at intersections and stop signs. At least that helps a little. I'm with you on not traveling when the weather is bad. I would much rather stay home. Take care-I know you must be getting anxious about your surgery.

beckie said...

Monica, what are they thinking?? I know salt is expensive-what isn't-but to endanger lives? I would guess a few lawsuits will have them change their minds.

Cosmo, I bet you almost have a holiday when it snows there. Operator error? No, I always blame it on the computer! :} I did get a humidifier for the house to help keep the air moist this winter.

Beth said...

Oh Beckie, what a great post--you pretty much hit everything! Our roads have been terrible in the few storms we have had so far--I'm afraid the budget problems are going to cause some bigger problems in increased accidents. The lower fuel cost has alleviated the one fear that I had a few months ago of people freezing to death in their homes. At least heating oil should be affordable again. Thanks for the great read and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

Q said...

Do stay safe!
I was in a terrible blizzard in December of 2006 in Nebraska. Worst snow storm I had ever been in..total white out.
Very scary.
I do think snow can be pretty.
Your husband is a wonderful man. Being part of the decorating is incredible. The centerpeice is beautiful.
Stay warm and enjoy decorating.
Glad rash is a wee bit better. Hope is all we realy need right?

Mary said...

Wow, what a loaded post!

Beckie - more than anything, I wish you smooth youthful looking skin again SOON.

Be careful on those roads - we don't even have salt for our roads, we just slide around on something they spread around, like dirt. We don't get but a dusting of snow once a year, that's why.

Enjoy your family during this wonderful time of year and let's pray gas prices don't increase 200% anytime soon.


beckie said...

Beth, compared to your weather conditions, Is hould not compalin!Maybe they will come up with a sensible solution for keeping the roads safer this winter. :}Heating costs are down some from last year, but I think they are still too high compared to the cost of crude oil. At least with gas being down people will have a more funds to pay for heat.

I am hoping you are enjoying the season and will get to spend time with your families. Happy Holidays!

beckie said...

Sherry, I know about bad blizzards. I was stuck in one several years ago for hours. I promised God if he let me get out of that one, I'd be smart and not try to drive when the weather even looked like it could be bad! :}

The 'girls' and I plan on getting most of the decorating done this week. Hot cocoa and cookies will be served! Happy holidays!

Mary, at this point I'd settle for smooth skin. I don't think youthful is going to happen!

Just be careful on thoise hills out there-this winter it looks like anything can happen. I'm with you on the gas prices. I have this sneaky suspicion that they will find a way to raise them again. After all, how can the oil companies make it on such small profits? :} Happy Holidays!!

Sue said...

Well, Beckie,
I am very scatterbrained, and as I was reading this was thinking, I think I read this, but then decided I hadn't read all of it, or not so carefully, I then checked to see if I'd left a comment, and I had, and so my one from today repeated some of what I'd already told you here.

Whoo! It's 58 and our snow is melting! How about yours?