Thursday, July 31, 2014

time capsule...

there is currently
a corner, pantry cabinet
occupying our kitchen.

on the inside,
it stretches from our countertop 
all the way up to above
our 8ft. ceiling.
it is 3ft. wide
and 3ft. deep.
it's always held
holiday, paper
napkins and plates
(on the 5th/top shelf),
a case or two
of sterno canisters
and plastic 
cups and dinnerware
(on the 4th shelf),
boxes of
pasta, rice, cereal,
and cake/brownie mixes
(on the 3rd shelf),
can goods
and jars of 
peanut butter, jellies,
relishes, chutney,
special sauces
(on the 2nd shelf),
large containers of
sugars, flour, nuts,
oils, cooking sprays,
(on the 1st/bottom shelf).

(this cabinet,
though large,
has never been
very convenient...
as a matter of fact,
we have needed
to use a stepstool
in order 
to reach anything above
past and above 
the third shelf.)




it is empty.



dale is going to take off
the door and frame,
replace them
with a large piece
and mud it closed.



before dale performs
his magic,
we are going to place
items inside the cabinet
in order to create
a sort of time capsule.

in this time capsule,
we will place 
indicative of 
our life on the lane:
today's newspaper,
low end currency (;-),
a can of die coke,
a bottle of wine,
one of katherine's baby blankets,
an old ball cap of johns,
a pair of my pajamas,
one of maggie's old collars,
a copy of this month's
kentucky monthly,
maybe a few other
odds and ends...

do you have any

love and God's blessings,
dani xxx

Sunday, July 6, 2014

chronic shingles...

shingles (herpes zoster)

two weeks ago yesterday 
i noticed i was getting 
a new case of shingles 
(4th case since the first of the year)
on my chin.
as you know 
if you follow me,
i have chronic shingles 
(and have had since i was 14),
which occur more 
and more often 
the older i get.

at first 
this case was no different...
itchy, burny, fevery,


a few days later,
i noticed i had several 
shingle blisters on my belly!


i had already started taking 
which was drying up the ones
on my face.
it was not touching the ones
spreading all over my stomach.


i called my doctor's office 
but could not get an appointment. 
then i called my dermatologist's office. 
unable to get in for nearly week,
i went ahead 
and made an appointment.

frustrated and miserable, 
i called a local naturopathic physician.
he squeezed me in that afternoon.

when i arrived,
he took me right back 
to an examining room.

doctor: (looking at my chin) 
what have you done 
to get so stressed?
me: i'm not here about the 
shingles on my face.
i'm here about these.

i raised my shirt.

doctor: oh, my God!
(he stared at my rash.)
i need to get my 
magnifying glasses.

(i got a little nervous.)

the doctor returned
wearing said glasses.
he put on a pair of 
latex gloves,
turned on the glasses'
and studied 
my blisters.
as he backed away,
he took off his gloves
removed his glasses.

doctor: well,
i have bad news...
you're too late;
i cannot do anything for you.
you have blisters,
which have already popped.
me: but they ARE shingles?
doctor: yes, they are definitely

(i breathed a sigh of relief.)

the naturopath took 
time to talk to me 
about my general health.
he gave me pointers about
a vitamin regiment 
i should try to
so i might be able to keep
the shingles at bay.



for days
my shingles continued
to divide and multiply;
they spread up to just below
my neck
and down
to just above my belly button.

i shared the above picture
with the 2 d's
to see what they thought.
dana, the nurse,
asked if i was sure they were
as they had crossed 
my center line.
(honestly, i was still wondering 
the same thing.)
i told her my naturopath 
said they were. 


i thought my derm appointment
time would never get here.
but, finally,
it did.

the nurse called my name,
and i followed her back 
to an examining room.

nurse: how are you today,
me: actually, i feel terrible;
i'm miserable!
nurse: oh, no what's the matter?

i proceeded to tell her.

after i told her,
she handed me a gown
and told me she'd get my derm
and would soon return.

when the two came in,
i was gowned and waiting
in the examining chair.

derm: hi, dani, i hear you have a rash...


derm: let's raise your gown 
and have a look at it.

as i started raising my gown,
i heard my derm gasp
(oh, yes, she did),
which caused the nurse
to turn around and take notice.
she gasped too
(oh, yes, she did).

i looked quickly at the derm 
and turned toward her nurse.
me: i told you.
i wasn't kidding.
nurse: (still staring at my torso)
no, you weren't.

the derm asked me to tell
her the whole story again.
she asked the nurse to get her
what she needed to do
 viral and bacterial 

after taking the cultures,
the derm asked her nurse 
to take pictures.
when she'd gotten all
the images she needed,
my derm left the room
and was gone for some time.

when she returned,
she told me she'd never
personally seen what i had
on my trunk.
she went on to tell me
the shingles virus
i had on my chin
had apparently settled in
a small heat rash i had
on my stomach...
and spread


was still spreading!

she prescribed a very
aggressive treatment of
and a topical antiviral
(which, thankfully, my dear pharmacist 
was able to compound for me!).

three days in,
i think i'm finally getting this
thing under control!



THIS will NEVER happen again!
the vitamin b complex
and weekly chicken liver meal 
will keep my shingles 
at bay.

if you are reading this
because you've happened
onto my blog because 
you, too, have chronic shingles
the vitamin b and chicken liver
thing will help
you too!

if it does,


love and God's blessings,
dani xxx

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

remodel: chapter II; shorty...

i heard dale's, 
big, old, red truck
as he pulled it into our driveway.
i was excited to get our
lane remodel started!

when john and i first met
with dale to discuss our plans,
dale indicated he would be
working alone.
as i sat at my dining room
table sewing that first morning,
i heard dale talking to someone
as he made his way up to 
our house.
i walked out onto the front porch
and greeted them.

me: good morning!
dale: mornin'!
me: how are y'all?
dale: awe, we're good.
me: (looking past dale) who've 
you got with you?
dale: awe, this is...
shorty: shorty, they call me shorty.
(shorty talked so fast i only caught
part of what he said.)
me: your name is shorty?
shorty: well, everybody calls me shorty,
but i don't like it much.
(he laughed.)
me: what's your real name then?
shorty: it's terry.
dale: (under his breath) it's shorty;
just call him shorty.

i offered terry my hand 
to shake.
he reciprocated.

me: it's nice to meet you,
shorty: uh, you can call me shorty.
me: okay, it's nice to meet you,
(i giggled.)


on my front porch...
 stood a skinny burt reynolds 
and a straight michael jeter.


evening shade:

dale standing no less than 6"
weighing no more than 150 lbs.
shorty standing no more than 4"10'
weighing no more than 105 lbs...

"tall and lanky"
would quickly become 
my new best friends
for the summer;)

love and God's blessings,
dani xxx

Friday, May 23, 2014

remodel: chapter I; "phil"...

several months ago
when we decided to 
remodel here on the lane,
meester berrong asked around 
about contractors.
a family friend told him
she and her husband
had been using the same contractor 
for over 15 years.
she said he was good
and would do a great job.


the meester came in smirking 
with confidence.

the meester: i found you
a contractor.
me: really, who is it?
the meester: here's his number.
me: what's his name?
the meester: janie said to just
call him.  he's finishing up
a project at her house now.
me: who is he?
the meester: his name is
phil something.
me: ok?


so, i gave phil a call.

phil: hello?
me: hi, phil, this is 
dani berrong. janie told
me you might be interested
in doing some 
remodeling work for 
my husband and me?
phil: well, sure...

i gave him our address
and directions to the lane 
and set up a time and date
to meet.


when phil arrived,
i showed him around the house 
pointing out what we wanted

we have 10 rooms.
phil said, "WOW..."
no less than 15 times.
i was afraid
i was scaring him 
away from the job.

me: it's a lot, isn't it?
phil: wow...

(note to self: phil's favorite word is "wow...")

we have 10 rooms.
i addressed our prospective
contractor as "phil"
no less than 15 times.

after completing our
i told "phil"
how i wanted to break down
the contract.
he gave me his credentials:
"dale's home improvement"
was printed across the top 
of the paperwork.

(note to self: "phil's" real name is dale! wow...)


all this storytelling
just to point out...

what meester berrong
meant to say when i asked
for the name of the contractor...

"something something?"

love and God's blessings,
dani xxx

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

phase I almost complete...

slowly but surely
our lane transformation
is taking place!!!

(a sneak peak;)

come friday,
phase I of our remodel
should be completed.
phase I has involved
the building
of two new closets
in our master bedroom,
an update of our master bath,
and a conversion
of our master walk-in closet
to a new laundry room.

all this phase
lacks at this point
is another day
of laying floor tile
in our bedroom
and the utility room
and the installation of
shoe molding,
shower hardware,
new shower doors.


i'm starting to get really 
excited about phase II!
phase II will entail a complete 
remodel of our den.
currently, our utility room
is right off our den.
once our washer/dryer
are moved to the new
laundry room
(off our master suite),
we will tear out those two walls
increasing the size
of our existing den.
we are
not only going to tear
out those two walls;
we are also
going to tear out 
an exterior wall where
a french door unit
currently exists.

we will replace the french door unit
with a new fireplace
ceiling-to-floor windows
on each side of it.
a new paint job,
it will be time to move
to phase III...

stay tuned!

love and God's blessings,
dani xxx

Sunday, March 23, 2014


if you keep up with
my life on the lane,
you know meester berrong
have been contemplating 
leveling our house 
and rebuilding 
here on our lot.
after writing this post,
i began to dream
by way of my pinterest.
i found ideas, 
shared them with john, 
and began to plan what each room 
would look like...
high-pitched, exposed ceilings,
beautiful light fixtures,
bright paint,
colorful furnishings and decor,
the fireplace.
counter tops,
innovative showers 
walk-in closets,
hidden outlets,
and tile flooring.

from ceiling to floor,
i was making plans 
with john,
and he liked them:)



a few days later,
i awoke to an empty house.
i made my way 
from my bed 
to my bedroom door,
opened it,
and took one barefooted
step out
onto the cool, hardwood 
that is our living room

the floor creaked
(just like it always has/
just like it always does);
this time though...
the sound was deafening:
it may have even echoed.

i immediately experienced
the raw emotion of


that experience 
was apparently 
a pivotal point
in my plan-making
for i quickly found myself
looking at ways 


instead of pinning
large country chic
kitchen plans,
i began to look
at galley kitchen plans
and pin 
ways to renovate 
our kitchen.
instead of pinning 
exposed ceiling ideas,
i began to look at and pin
new metal roofing
to cover the 9' ceilings
we already have.
instead of pinning
furnishings for 
an open-concept den,
i began to look at and pin
den furniture 
for the den we already have,
which could be made
much larger by moving
our utility room
and knocking out
a couple of walls.

i began weighing 
our options.
meester berrong
was good with that too.


(a few photos of "before")

tomorrow will mark
the first day of our
lane makeover:)

love and God's blessings,
dani xxx

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

the bobby soxer and i...

(portrait by joseph martin: martin studio)

when i was in high school,
i spent a lot of time with
(mary ann (mcclure) blackwell),
on various occasions 
she commented that i reminded
her so much of shirley temple...
to which i always
tucked my chin,
tilted my head,
flashed a big smile,
poked my cheek
twisting my pointer
into my sole dimple.

(i was quite familiar
with shirley temple...
growing up,
she was my favorite!!!
i had seen "all" of her movies
dozens of times.
so, when mim 
said i looked like her,
i thought she meant
my curly hair,
my big eyes,
and my chubby, little-girl face.)

hence, her comparison
always made me


it wasn't until
my sophomore year in college
that i realized she meant
i REALLY looked like 
shirley temple.
i was in my dorm studying
one night
with the television 
turned on to 
the american movie classics channel.
i wasn't really paying attention
to our t.v. 
until i heard an advertisement 
for the movie, 
the bachelor and the bobby soxer,
which was to air next
 shirley temple.

i remember thinking to myself,
the bachelor and the bobby soxer?
i've never heard of that one.
i continued studying.

a little later,
my roommate, susan bennett,
came in from night class.
she put down her things,
grabbed her toiletries,
told me she was off to take a shower.
while she was gone,
the movie started.
i looked up
to see a grown-up
(well, my aged)
shirley temple.

i was shocked!

i did look like her...
like uncannily so!

when mimi said i reminded her
of shirley, she wasn't kidding.


i couldn't wait for susan
to return from her shower
so she could validate what i was seeing.
finally, she returned, but
the movie had gone to commercial.
she proceeded to tell me about
her day and night class
with vish.
(susan was crushing on vish,
aka "mr. msu"
whom she later married,
big time!)

when she paused,
i directed her attention to the t.v.

me: does she remind you of anyone?
susan: who?
me: the girl in the movie.
(i pointed at shirley.)
susan: YOU!  she looks
just like you!  who is that?
me: that is shirley temple.
susan: really? i don't think i've 
ever seen her at that age.
me: i haven't either.
susan: oh my goodness,
she even dresses
and wears her hair the same
as you.


it was true;
i always preferred 
the classic look over 
from her hair to her bobby socks,
we even shared style.

(looking back,
i was probably the biggest
nerd on campus, ha!)


when i awoke this morning 
and rejoined social media
i read
of shirley's death 
and was immediately, immensely 

my doppelganger 
had died at the age of 85.

my cousin, theresa,
had posted a status update 
to facebook,
"rip, shirley temple,
hope you land on the sunny beaches 
peppermint bay!"

i couldn't have put it better

shirley temple black,
may you spend eternity
Lemonade stands,
Crackerjack bands,
Fill the air,
And there you are,
Happy landings on a chocolate bar.
See the sugar bowl
Do a tootsie roll
In a big bad devils food cake
and never, ever
have to experience another 
tummy ache.

love and God's blessings, 
dani xxx

Monday, February 10, 2014

oh, brother...

as i wrote in a previous post,
i was thrilled when, for Christmas, 
meester berrong gifted me 
with a brother pe770, 
embroidery machine 
i'd been eyeing.

it was a proverbial breeze
to set up and start using.
not so long after doing so, 
i started experiencing 
a few kinks.
(immediately, john told me 
to take it back
and get a bernina,
which his sister has 
and loves.
he went on to say 
he was going to get me 
the bernina for Christmas 
but wasn't sure 
how serious i was about 
anyway, i worked through 
those first kinks 
with the help of youtube's 
vince arcuri,
who retired from the military 
and took up embroidering 
as a hobby.
if not for vince 
and his experience 
with the brother pe770,
i would have been totally lost 
when i started experiencing issues 
with my machine.


i embroidered and sewed 
pillows for my front porch 
and monogrammed
a couple of scarves  
experiencing only a glitch 
or two. 
the third scarf was a totally 
different experience.
doing everything the same 
as i'd been doing, 
i hooped my fabric, 
lowered my presser foot, 
and pressed the button 
to start embroiderying.
when it started it seemed fine, 
but about 20 stitches in,
i noticed my embroidery arm 
wasn't moving...

hence, i stopped the process 
and found my machine 
had pulled my fabric 
down into the bobbin
my machine was eating 
my scarf!
further, the only way
to get the scarf
(and wad of thread)
out of the chamber
was to cut it:(

hoping it was an isolated 
incident, i took in
a deep breath, 
re-hooped the fabric,
cleaned the machine, 
tried again on the other 
end of the scarf.

the same thing happened.

i thought maybe it was 
a fabric issue...
(like, maybe the fabric was too 
delicate or something)


that was not the case.
on friday night
my machine ate
3 of the next 4 
projects i attempted.
so, first thing saturday morning,
i called
to see if i could still 
return it.
the customer service representative 
told me i could...
as i was still under 90 days.
so, that's what i did.

afterwards, john and i went 
to evansville to the bernina store
and ordered a new machine.


i'm sharing this because 
several of my readers 
and fellow facebook'ers
messaged me about the type 
of machine i was using
and if i was pleased with 
the machine.

the bottom line is 
i would not recommend
the brother pe770!

(when it works,
it's great;
the other 30%
of the time...
not so much:/)

after losing several items 
i had purchased 
to embroider,
i knew it was time to 
invest in a better machine.


so, stay tuned.
i am supposed to receive 
my bernina
on tuesday.
i hope to report 
a much more positive experience!

love and God's blessings,
dani xxx

Monday, February 3, 2014

mosses monday LII...

a time to refrain
from embracing...
(ecc 3 niv)

fall came.
john went often
to visit mosses,
to listen to mosses' music,
to share in an afternoon toddy.

for the most part,
i was only able to
talk to mosses each evening
on the telephone...
as i had back-to-back
bouts of shingles.

that was the first Christmas
in sixteen years
i was unable to celebrate
with mosses.


i know that there is nothing
better for people
than to be happy
and to do good
while they live.

although i was unable
to physically be with mosses
that Christmas,
john went to visit him.
he took mosses
a bottle of makers mark,
he took jean,
mosses main sitter,
a snow angel...
as we felt
 jean had been so good
to our mosses.

i, however, saved the gift
i had for mosses.


(there was the year
we gave him a whiskey bottle
hummingbird feeder;)

shopping for mosses
was always fun.
he had everything
he could ever want or need,
i was able to shop
for things
"outside the box".

this particular year
i had been shopping
when i saw a hooded sweatshirt
by the mossimo company.
was appliqued on the front of it!
it was such a unique
and perfect gift!

i didn't want to send it with john.
i wanted to take
it to mosses myself.
mosses and i set a date
for me to do just that...
for later,
for when i was well.

(to be continued)

love and God's blessings,
dani xxx

ps. on my side-bar
you will find earlier entries
"our love story"
in ascending order.