Wednesday, December 30, 2009

the McFamily event

What a grand one it was. For the first time ever all of my sibs and their families were able to get together in one place at one time. We met at my Step-Mom's husband's house. (Got that?) I somehow was the "organizer" of the thing. Of course, there is no organizing our McFamily, but that is the fun of it. This time around I managed to get a date when my sister's oldest was still in town. Everyone else had the time off or available to be off early...and Mom and new husband were in town as well. Score! (Planning way ahead does indeed have its advantages.)

Youngest son was in charge of smoking the 17 pound turkey. Everyone else just brought something to share. We start showing up in the early afternoon. Kids, grand kids, great grand kids. The numbers grow. But no turkey. Call is placed. "Yes, I am on my way." Almost an hour passes. The phone rings. Understand, dear readers, that I mass emailed everyone the address and phone number to new Dad's house a few days before the event. Everyone makes it except for my two boys; each of whom has a GPS! Dear youngest needs directions as he went to the Mom's house, which is now being rented. Directions are given and he eventually arrives with foil wrapped turkey. I pull back the foil to see a black bird. Not "dark" but black. Completely charred looking. Uhhhhhhh. No, says son. That is how it is supposed to look. And he begins to carve. This is by far the best turkey I have EVER had. He soaked it in brine for 16 hours before smoking it with apple wood for another 12. Slowly the whole story comes out. He got home from work and grabbed the bird and headed the wrong house. Upon arriving at the now rental, he was quite pleased with himself. Even though we had called to find out where he was...he somehow managed to get there first! Cool. Carrying 17 pounds of bird he found knocking on the door a bit difficult so opted instead to just walk in. sigh. When he spoke the loud "hello" he was greeted with a "shhhhhh." Weird, thinks he. Then a young girl greets him. No one he has ever met. Hmmmm. Then a young boy pops up from the couch. "Oh, I thought you were my Dad. We are watching a movie." OK. "I have a turkey" says son. "Do D*** and S*** live here?" Oh, says boy. Nope, but we are renting their house. I think at this point I am just glad that my son decided not to sit down and watch the movie and share the turkey. Only in my family!!

So we sat and savored the perfectly smoked turkey and company of family. My older brother brought a pumpkin pie that was to die for. He had made it himself and I will have to get the recipe. It had molasses and I believe a gingerbread crust. A perfect dessert to follow up with the perfectly baked turkey. More laughs, more stories. And time wore down, as did the kidlets. Homeward bound to the chores and gifts that were waiting on the table. My sister and I always exchange gifts. It is something we gather for the entire year. This year's box was corgi themed. Opening it I see on top a mouse pad. On that pad is printed a copy of a painting of one on my breeder's pups. I was in a tizzie. Who to call first? My breeder/friend, or my sister? I opt for sister and tell her that "I KNOW THAT DOG!" I think she assumed it was a generic painting, but nooooo. I know that dog!!! Another signed and numbered piece of corgi art, this one a sketch. Darn she is good! Then I notify the breeder. Luckily sis told me where she got the stuff as I now need to make a trip back to get one of the mouse pads for breeder/friend by Albany show time. I am still shaking my head in amazement. My house is slowly gaining corgi "stuff" momentum. It will perhaps equal, or even surpass, the scotties. Sad, in a way.

Then I sit down to check out how cuz did on Jeopardy. Thanks to S2 for the call, as I did know the outcome (he won yet again) as I likely would have turned it off. I have no more fingernails. He has been on the show since Christmas eve and has been winning. Last night he was down all the way through. He won because he was the only one who got the final answer correct and he wagered enough to pull it off. Go Stephen!! Can my nubs of fingers take much more of this? I will continue to record it day by day and watch the end first. Oh the joys of the DVR. And here I thought the biggest joy was skipping through the ads.

So the parties are over for this season. I can take the tree down. I can return to whatever normal may be in my crazy life. I am happy.

I am off to gather some firewood. Yep, back to normal...for now.


Monday, December 28, 2009

December 28th

A date that I just can't seem to erase from my brain. A gazillion facts and memories slip away, but I can't make this one GO away. How weird is it that I still count my wedding anniversaries? It would be 34 today. EEEK!! The fact that the divorce was several years ago seems to make no difference. The date still flags in my brain, for some reason.

It was a bit odd, even by my standards, back in 1975. We boarded the ferry in Anacortes headed for Shaw Island in the San Juans. My soon to be had written to the Universal Life Church and had hisself and a few others ordained. I had called the courthouse and made sure all was legal and legit. I wasn't going to go through all the marriage stuff and find out it wasn't legal...although that might have made things easier 27 or so years later. So, we headed to Shaw to a small one room cabin that was being rented by his first wife. Yep, she was going to be the official officiate at our wedding. (Nice lady, btw, and I perhaps should have listened to her pre-nuptials advice.) We had invited a few friends, but it was all hush hush with the parents. Why? I really don't know. Our current landlord "Arjuna" and his wife "Savitra" (Steve and Margie, legally; eyes rolling big time), our dear friends Gerry and Harriet, his friend Larry, and his sister and her boyfriend; both of whom were bus drivers and he ended up getting in a very bad bus accident so she was at his side at the trauma center. We had written our own vows and gathered in the front room. The Irish Setter, Cabernet, placed herself under the table with the lace table cloth and peeked out, looking like a child preparing for her first communion. At about the five minute mark we looked out to see the neighbor's calf cavorting in the front yard so the chase was on. One of the oddest things, when I ponder this whole thing today, is that my ex still has the weird shirt that he had made a few years before...some kind of green curtain material, and still wears it!! (Yes, a vision of Maria and the Sound of Music does come to mind.) The calf was safely rounded up, and we all went back to the cabin for a wedding carrot cake made by our host/minister-ess. We then went down to the ferry landing to use the pay phone and call the parents. Nope no cell phones back then, in fact no phone at all to the cabin, nor electricity, nor plumbing. We had taken the hippy van (Chev, as we were not REAL hippies) and our wedding night was spent parked in front of the ex-wife's cabin. The next morning she had made us a wonderful mushroom quiche. She baked with an old woodburning cookstove and kerosene lamps lit the cabin. We headed home later that day so that we could check on Michael at the trauma center. Wow, the things my dear parents endured with me.

This, dear readers, is all the truth; one cannot make this stuff up!

So, to keep this day in perspective, I will concentrate on the humor of the event, and not the tough years that followed. To them I say "rotten tomatoes."

12/28/75 A day that will forever live in infamy in the nooks and crannies of my brain. sigh.


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Ahhhh, yes

I had a wonderful day, yesterday, with my family. It was a long day and I was nursing a headache, but that is much easier to set aside when having fun.

The day started at the crack of dawn. As had been predicted it was about 28 degrees when I left for the early ferry. I was completely oblivious, or perhaps it was too tired to think, so took off from the ferry for the number one child's house as if it were all just a "normal" day. The roads were far from normal, and the first indication came less than a block from the pier. My light little truck slid around the corner and continued to fishtail. AND I was the first off. Luckily the folks behind me were not too close and from that point on the speed limit was 20mph, MAX. Several more times I found myself losing traction and noticed that not a single driver was sitting on my bumper. We were pretty evenly spaced out, and going between 10 and 20mph. About the time I arrived at the Interstate I decided that I would take a pass, as the I-405 is notorious for spin outs. It proved to be a wise move and the area around Lake Washington was warmer and I was able to resume a more normal speed. Of course I also began to encounter traffic, and they were getting pushy until I watched a joker in a 4 wheel drive truck hit the jersey barrier after a patch of ice. (It was ALL ice down by the ferry). I haven't a clue why folks with 4 wheel drive think they are more stable on ice and can whip around everyone else. I was bad. I waved as I went by. (Hey, he wasn't hurt physically, and needed a reality check, and I needed some humor to cut my stress level back a bit.)
By the time I got to the house I was a bit tense, but hugs from little girls quickly took care of that. Being the Mom I am I called the other kids and told them to "drive safe."

We had a wonderful time. The girls adore being together, with the three older more oft than not, holding hands. The baby was perfect, waiting until she got home to melt down.
Even the cats got in on the fun; losing their heads in their catnip laden stockings.

I got my oldest grand daughter a "kid proof" digital camera. As of this morning she had 167 photos on the thing. The girls were hilarious posing. I think there are a lot of pictures of nasal hair. And chins. Very few shots with an entire kid. My poor parents would have saved so much money had we had digital cameras waaaay back then. Even with just black and white, to have to pay to develop a roll of film and be lucky to have ONE photo could be costly. But then again, the novelty would soon wear out as one had to put in a new roll of film every twelve pictures. That, of course, involved removing said roll from its foil pack and carefully winding it on to the take up reel "just so." Then insert the reel onto the cassette thing and carefully slide it all back into the camera all the time hoping that enough was rolled on the reel so as not to have to start all over again. It didn't help that Dad didn't want us to waste a frame on either end. He could get 14 pictures on a 12 shot roll, and we were encouraged to do the same. Any way, I digress...
The Mimers shot pictures for the rest of the day. I had a little discussion on what was inappropriate when she made a poor choice that was supposed to be a joke, but it was quickly remedied and she learned about "delete." Her sister the Plum (with no "b") smiled and cooed at everyone she saw. The other two big girls got new bikes from their other Grandma so there were plenty more pictures to be taken outside. (I look forward to bikes trips with the entire family in the near future.) After testing the toys and eating we parted company and I headed for the ferry. I knew not what kind of wait I would encounter, and knew that the dogs would be eager to check out their many presents.

First up was a "Secret Santa" gift from one on the Corgi forum. Trying to get them to open things individually and on their own never worked. The grass was always greener.

Henry was in heaven. He got a stuffy and got right to work removing the squeaker, then the stuffing.

Kate was happy to just sit quietly and watch. I'm pretty sure she was thinking that Henry would soon be done with his snail and she could show him that hers was still sitting pretty, with both the squeaker and the stuffing still inside; and doesn't it look oh so very inviting?

After all chores were done, and all presents tasted and played with, I settled down to do some research on the computer. My daughter and grand daughter had found me a copy of a picture that was framed, signed and titled by the artist. She had even taped her business card to the backing. It is an amazing picture and I will treasure it always. I learned a lot about the artist but the first "hit" was her obituary. That made me sad, but made this even more of a treasure. I cannot for the life of me, figure out how a signed print ended up in a thrift store, but perhaps this is just one of those "meant to be" things. Even the green matting is perfect as I will be painting the front room a shade of green.
(This picture doesn't do it justice. I had to take it at an odd angle to keept he flash from covering the little girl.)

Joyce Moresi, thank you. It is beautiful. I will take good care of it. I only wish I could have called you today and thanked you personally...although I think I would have skipped mentioning the thrift store part of it.

Life is great and there are pleasant surprises around every corner.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Eve eve and the wind down

The gifts are wrapped and the tree up. The dogs snore on the couch behind me, oblivious to the fact that their pile of gifts, thanks also to Secret Santa, is equivalent to the pile for everyone else in the family. 'Tis a bit embarrassing, but I won't tell anyone. My fingers, and especially my thumbs, are stiff and sore from a craft project with a friend. I am even more in awe of the botanical lights down at the park. They are NOT easy to make, and even tougher to keep lit. It will not, however, be the last I make. It is a chilly 33 degrees outside and, once again, there is a burn ban in the county. The wood stove stands cold. So does the turkey that has been moved from the freezer to the fridge. It needs to thaw so that Morgan can smoke it (in his smoker, you sick-os) for the MacParty on the 29th. The entire family of the "older" generation will be getting together along with our kids and grand kids. I will do my best to remember the camera. The new TSO CD is playing (thanks, Sunshine). I love TSO and hope that next year I will get to a concert. For now I enjoy the wonderful mix of orchestra and electric guitar. Amazing! So this is Christmas...

I have yet to pull out my copy of "The Watching." It is a story that has become tradition with the Corgi forum folks. Each year the pets (and people) that have passed on to the Rainbow Bridge become the characters of a story by Millie Williams. Up until this year it has been put on the forum chapter by chapter up to Christmas. This year, for the first time, it was published with the proceeds benefiting Corgi-Aid, which is an NPO that provides support for medical aid for the two corgi breeds and corgi mixes that are in rescue. I think I may be one of the few that have waited to read it. I have looked at the gorgeous artwork and admit that even it has brought me to tears. This year I personally know a few of the dogs that have left. I have been blessed to have healthy critters this year. I have been blessed to be healthy MYSELF this year. So tomorrow I will read "The Watching" and Christmas day will read it to the grand kids. It will then be lovingly placed in a safe place for reading again next year. I'm hoping that Millie will be able to continue this new tradition. I am sure it was a ton of work and will offer help from afar.

It has been an amazing year. The support I have from family and friends has been incredible. Slowly the bucket list empties and refills. Some things prove to be anticlimactic, some things still out of reach. I have learned a lot about myself. So much is only achievable with help from my friends. To my friends, new and old, I want to say "thanks."

And "Merry Christmas."

Song of the day? What else could it be?

"With a Little Help From My Friends" John Lennon/Paul McCartney

What would you think if I sang out of tune,
Would you stand up and walk out on me ?
Lend me your ears and I'll sing you a song
And I'll try not to sing out of key.
Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm, I get high with a little help from my friends
Mm, gonna try with a little help from my friends

G2 (who promises not to sing)

(No tomatoes were harmed in the taking of this picture, although one did get thrown in the trash as it had gotten old and wrinkled...uh, kids? What do YOU do when things get old and wrinkled??)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Fat lipped

I am entered. Sorry, WE are entered. I've got some grooming help ahead, and decided that there would be no better way to spend my birthday weekend then at a show with friends. And Kim, you are right, nice venue. Weather is always interesting. I was there last year as observer. I had just decided to show and had Kate a mere three months. It seems like a lifetime ago.

So today, after sending in my entry via the internet I headed out to do a bit of grocery shopping as I was out of water for the dispenser. Kate sees me heading around turning down the stove and blowing out candles, and knows she is about to be sequestered in the kitchen. After a couple of rounds around the couch she cowers and awaits the inevitable pick up and carry. I always plant a smooch upon her head and scritch her chest then put her in the kitchen and pull the X-pen across the entry. As I leaned in for the kiss she raised her bean and caught me on the lip. That little pointy area where the neck/back muscles attaches at the top of her head. At the very tip of my upper lip, where it rests at the end of my front teeth. My eyes instantly watered and my lip was on fire. Then it went numb. It swelled to elephant trunk proportions. I headed to the truck and was concerned that I wouldn't be able to see out of my windshield with my fast growing lip soon to be plastered against the window; my own personal air bag. I knew I would need a grocery cart to carry my face about the aisles. Looks? I am used to it. After all, I have a cool Koi tat on my leg. So I wander and shop. Will I ever eat again? Will I drool and dribble my food, not unlike is done following a trip to the dentist? If I were to heat up a needle and poke it like a hammer smacked fingernail would it pop and go down? (Ewww, and OWWWW, don't worry, I am not serious.) It seems odd to me that no one stares, because I am sure I have the biggest and blackest lip in Kingston. Perhaps we, in this nice town, actually don't see people for their "differences." To test the theory I go to the post office to check my mail. I must be wrong, as two people jump to open the door for me. And they are smiling. I want to wear a mask. I am wishing it was still freezing cold so that I could put on that face warmer mask thing I got my son in law for Christmas (for when he bikes to work). I would wear it, but fear that folks would consider me a robber. I get my mail and slink back to my truck and I go home. Home to my dogs who don't care that my lip anchors me firmly to planet earth. That it looks like a gigantic mushroom. Where they can find that it could protect them from the weather on the walk to the field. Then I realize something. This is all good. In fact, it is great. You see, it could have happened last week instead of today. I had a concert. I would have lost my mouthpiece in "the lip"...and that mouthpiece is very special. They don't even make them anymore. I have had it since 1971. It would have been bad. Very, very bad. And sad. Very, very sad.

I love you, Kate.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Decision time

I'll bet you are thinking Christmas, aren't you? Nope, that is the easy thing, and decisions have long been made on that. Sure there will be a few forgotten last minute things, but no sweat on that whole thing.

Nope, believe it or not it is "to show or not to show" in Puyallup. I need to make a decision soon as the entries will close and then I won't have a choice. It is not cheap to show, and I am not a big gambler. I know there are no sure things in life, but I don't want to throw my money away if Kate is off her game or if I can't help someone with a major. I'm too new to this game to know enough about the judges that we will present under. I love watching good dogs do well. I really don't mind them placing over my princess. In fact I really enjoy seeing the good ones do well as I love the idea that this breed will improve in health and longevity. But I can do the rooting and all without paying to enter Kate. Then again, she is getting better and better. Perhaps we deserve a piece of the pie as well. sigh. If only she would have gone into "season" a month ago and been done with it, and growing a nice thick coat. That still looms. Time wise it should be happening as of last week. Dogs are shown all the time when they are in season. It is hard to guess if there will be more attitude or less with Kate. She may spend her two minutes of ring time marking. Yet she might be incredibly flashy as she squats.

So, all of you Cardi folks...what says you? My instructor thinks I should go for it and I haven't heard from the breeder as of yet.



Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ten Days and Counting

The days are speeding by, the house is not yet decorated, and the baking is not done. However, I DO have a tree and it is getting closer to being in the house. It is now blocking the door...if I don't bring it in soon it will have me launching it into Puget Sound. I've got a couple strings of those new fancy LED lights, and they really are nice, I must say. The colors are incredible and they can be seen for quite a distance. Last year I did not put up a tree as I was still in the "missing my Dad" funk, so it will be interesting to see if Kate will leave the tree alone. I have given up trying to guess what she will do. She is a very odd duck, I mean dog. At some point she will surprise me and stop destroying things. I may never know when that point occurs as I do not trust her at all and lock her in the kitchen whenever I leave. It keeps her alive.

Kate is a "licker." She cleans Henry by the hour. Every inch of him. His broken toenail had her quite concerned as he wouldn't let her touch it, and she could hardly stand leaving it alone. It was a bone of contention for a number of days.

She is really into a tacky stool that I have.I haven't a clue what it is all about. She doesn't try to chew it, just licks it. And licks it. And licks it. Perhaps she likes the feeling of the upholstery fabric on her tongue. I will never know.

I do know that it can drive me crazy. Most don't believe me when I tell them. This stool has never been used for anything. Nothing has ever been spilled on it. I have never had dirty shoes on it. It is in the corner to keep her away from the speakers and wires. She follows it around the house. I managed to snap that picture this morning. I guess it could be worse. I hear there are some dogs that eat sheet rock...I wonder if I can carry it into the ring as 'bait?" (Just kidding; it won't fit in my pocket.)

Henry, on the other hand, just likes to chill on the couch.

I have begun my research for a triathlon, or decent street, bike. Who would've thought I would need all this "stuff?" I can hardly wait until spring when I can join up with a group for Triathlon training. It gets old just working on the bike trainer and the treadmill. I think I will start lap swimming again in the wee hours of the morning. Again, however, it doesn't give the support and feedback that a group would give. One day at a time, and for now I need to get through Christmas.

Ten days


Sunday, December 13, 2009


lick your lips when it is cold out; that is why they are chapped.

This was one of the things I remember from my childhood. Even though I know there is very little truth to this, I find myself still struggling to make sure I don't do it. Have you noticed how hard it is to breath through your nose when it is twenty degrees out? I wonder if our nasal passages would become chapped if we could. I'm pretty sure that our noses would quickly become glued shut and we would all walk around looking a bit odd, not to mention the interesting voices we would have. I know the problem might be solved if we could somehow stop our respiration from having any moisture, but that could lead to some interesting after effects as well. So I wander the fields in the now lightly falling snow trying hard not to breath very much. I use chapstick, but it seems to do little. (I just want to make it through the concert tonight.) It is interesting, the things we carry from little comments made in childhood. Another: Don't lick where that baby tooth was...if you can keep from touching your tongue there the new tooth will grow in gold. Yep, my uncle fed me that one. I tried so hard, but none of my teeth grew in gold. He, of course, said that I must have touched it when I was sleeping. Think of the money the rappers could have saved, had they only known Uncle Harry. I remember my little six year old brain trying to devise an apparatus that would keep my tongue away from my gums while I slept. Then, of course, we have all heard "zip up your coat; it's cold out." I tell my grand kids "Zip your coat up; Grandma is cold." More to the point, don't you think? It's funny; the older I get the more I hear my mother's voice in mine as I repeat the little things she would say. The rebellious one that I am, whenever I hear it I try to rephrase it a bit more to the point, as that coat thing aforementioned. Or I try to make them REALLY crazy. The gold tooth thing can quickly morph to a gold foil wrapped chocolate tooth. I don't want their developing brains to grab on to some silly little thing and taking it as pure truth, and holding on to it for fifty years. I'd much prefer "My crazy Grandma once told me..." and lots of laughter.

Yes, indeedy, the things that go through my head as I wander the frozen tundra that is my pasture. Small tomatoes.

Yesterday was the day I took my youngest child to the annual motorcycle show. We have done it almost every year for about twenty. I think we missed twice. One year he pushed me around in a wheelchair and I had IV tubing hanging out. This year we put all that bad past to rest. My stamina was back and I walked for hours with no need to rest. It was wonderful! We were up and down stairs and in and out of booths. He talked, I talked. It was nice. The economy, which of course is to blame for everything, reared its head here as well. No where near the vendors, and only two custom bike builders. There were also less people wandering, which was odd for a Saturday afternoon, but since I hate crowds I was just fine with that. I guess we have committed to doing this every year for the rest of my life...or the rest of the show's life. No exciting new bikes this year. A lot of scooters. A couple of pretty cool paint jobs. A nice tall bald man to chat with. I hadn't seen him in a year and a half; I vaguely recall whacking him with my left leg for not checking road reports prior to heading up a ride that had twenty or thirty bikes, and bikers from all over the country, stranded on Hurricane Ridge...but he does get a lot of mileage on just one tank of gas! (Great to see you, G.) Big tomatoes.

I missed my wake up call to get over to Seattle for the Jingle Bell Dash. This time of year events pile on top of events. Some end up smooshed. I guess the Jingle Bell Dash is one such thing. The logistics of the ever increasing ferry rides and fares can be very wearing. While I enjoy the ride, I dread the time involved and the dollars that are drained from my checking account. Now the dear Governor has decided that we need to start paying a fuel surcharge. The fares go up each year during peak season, but never go down. The state ferry system is supposedly part of the state highway system. It would be interesting to hear the roar if tolls were put on the Interstate that cost drivers even a small percentage of what I pay for those five miles...with my discount over $20 round trip. The fact that our wages are frozen and the cost of living continues to climb is not an issue with dear Gov G. How is it that we were left unaware of how bad the budget shortfall was until AFTER the election? There will be plenty of changes with the next election, and I suspect there will be a lot of unhappy folks. T'will be interesting. Stewed tomatoes.

Oh well. Life hands you tomatoes, make salsa, eh? Nothing better to go with celery sticks.


Friday, December 11, 2009

In an effort to get in the Christmas mood

I took the fur kids to "Naturally4Paws" to see Santa Paws. It was just what we all needed. Ohhh, Henry is holding up his owie foot....I just noticed that. :-(
Henry wasn't too delighted at the idea of sitting on Santa's lap, and I was a bit concerned that he might try to "de-stuff" him. Around here he can gut a stuffy in less than 60 seconds. Kate, however, was oblivious, and quite content to just chill on his lap.

Thanks to Naturally4Paws for the much needed boost. I love you guys!!!


Downhill spiral

I know there is a twist somewhere...

This weather is killing me! It is so cold that I just can't spend enough time outside. I NEED outside. My dogs need outside. It is incredibly beautiful out there. The trees are tipped with frost. The slough is partially iced over and lined with mallard ducks. Hundreds of them. My son is working on a job out at Snoqualmie Falls and he said it is absolutely stunning with the ice crystals hugging the rocks. I want to be out taking it all in. But I can't. There is nothing worse than having my toes cold. The toes that are not there. How does one warm something that doesn't exist? My dogs want to run, but whenever I take them out Henry's split toenail begins to bleed as it rewarms. Since it has split laterally it is not something that can be cut and cauterized, although that option will be discussed with the vet next week. To top it off Kate is driving me crazy. I am stuck in this house with her. I feel guilty locking her in the kitchen so that I can get away for even a few minutes. She is hormonal. If I ask her to stay she moves. If I ask her to move she stays. She does it all with a dumb doofus look on her face. If I grump then she sits and looks at me with a blank stare. If I touch her left foot she moves her right. ARGHH!! I know that we would both be happier if I could wear her out. The ground is so frozen, and after Henry's experience, I worry about her injuring herself. She is ruthless with her body, and her body seems a bit disconnected with her brain right now. The cold has caused my lips to split. I have a concert this weekend. I really, really want this cold snap to end. I know, I know, we can't always have what we want. The Mommy Mantra. As my kids used to tell me, "that doesn't help."

My solution? I will go do my chores and get on the stinkin' treadmill and see if I can warm my toes. I will take Kate, and only Kate, out with me to feed the horse. Together we will scoop the poopsicles while Henry gets some peaceful chewing of his new bone. After about five minutes of that we will come in so that the dogs can snarl and argue over the new bone. No matter how many I put down they always want the same one. Then I will get back on the treadmill and try to warm those missing toes again. It's a vicious cycle and one that can only be changed by a temperature increase of about fifteen or twenty degrees. In this age of Global Warming that doesn't seem too much to ask, does it?


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

From the memorial program

Police Officers' Prayer

Lord, I ask for courage.
Courage to face and conquer my own fears...
Courage to take me where others will not go.

I ask for strength.
Strength of body to protect others and
Strength of spirit to lead others.

I ask for dedication.
Dedication to my job, to do it well...
Dedication to my community, to keep it safe.

Give me Lord,
Concern for others who trust me and
Compassion for
those who need me...

And please Lord,
Through it all...
Be at my side.

Sergeant Mark Renninger
Officer Tina Griswold
Officer Ronald Owens
Officer Greg Richards

You are at now His side.


Monday, December 7, 2009


nope...downright cold!

It is almost 1pm and the indoor/outdoor thermometer has the temperatures at 65/24F. And the outdoor sensor is tacked in the alcove by the front door. I turned on the furnace when I got up as I wanted the entire house to warm a bit. Three hours later it was still on, and still under 70F. The woodstove is now keeping the front room warm.

My outside time has been cut way back. The dogs are less than thrilled, but I have a concert this weekend and no amount of chapstick is keeping the lips from chapping. It is hard enough to play after all the years away without cracked and bleeding lips. Yes, indeed, another piece to my simple, but used to be complex, life. I played French Horn (and actually had a music scholarship) in college. I get recruited on occasion, and this weekend is a Christmas concert. Little known facts about the gimp. I miss playing, but drum and bugle corps days and illness and resultant medications have left me 95% deaf in my left ear; not a good thing for a horn player.

My understanding is that we could go down to 9 degrees this week. Eek! I am hauling water out to the horse a couple of times a day now. I hope the pool does OK. The pump is rebuilt but not reinstalled. I don't feel like laying on the cement floor to install it. It should be fine, but with all the issues over the summer I am a bit concerned that it will still leak. I do NOT need a skating rink in my pump house, and I don't want to lay out there and watch for leaks. One of the gaskets is very odd shaped and I need to confer with my son-in-law prior to install and make sure I am doing the best I can do for a successful outcome.

It is a crazy week ahead; one that will see many ferry rides. All I really want to do is snuggle up with my dogs in my warm house and watch movies. Henry is curled up in front of the woodstove, and Kate is attacking him. I have just hauled a load of wood in so that I don't have to do it in the middle of the night. I suspect after this week the wood pile will look much smaller.

I am off to shop before the ferry ride this afternoon. Stay warm.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Blue sky and big black birds

At three this afternoon I heard the familiar call of the resident eagle over head. The ground has not thawed at all in the past couple of days and from what I hear will be in the 20s at night for the next week. The sky is bright blue and there is just a slight breeze blowing off Puget Sound. It is beautiful. Of course every time I see or hear the eagle or the family I think of my good friend, Sunshine. We had that too. Unfortunately the freeze also meant that I really needed to deal with the pool, as the water level was way too high and the pump is frozen. So while the dogs played in the pasture with the horse I headed to the pump house to take apart the pump. This time it is going to get a total rebuild. No more messing around. I dropped the submersible into the pool and found the only open hose and began the process of dropping the water level by a few inches. Then I took the pump out of the pool filtration system and ice skated my way to the back door. It is now in my bathroom where I will work on it in the next day or two. Meanwhile water pours out of the hose and down the driveway. I may be stuck here if it freezes over before it gets a chance to soak in a little bit, but better that than a cracked pool, eh? I find some pebbles have gotten into the pump housing, and that is likely what has caused it to freeze up. If I can't fix it there is a nice little electrical shop in the next town over that I will take it, and all the new gaskets to, but I suspect with the help of the World Wide Web I can get the job done.

Last night I spent the evening with my son and his two girls. At ages five and three each sentence begins with "let's pretend that..." I must say, the three year old is the bestest sleeping ballerina I have ever seen. While I worried that the Christmas tree would come crashing down as she danced and twirled with eyes tightly shut, she never even came close to it. We also went to a less than exciting "Holiday Fest." The kids' favorite thing was the museum that was on the premises. It had nothing to do with the festival, but they liked it so it was good we went in for respite from the cold. The most humorous part of the evening was Santa lighting the Christmas tree. A few seconds before Santa came out on the deck of the building for the countdown, two men dressed in their reflective vests wandered out toward the tree. The countdown began and as Santa spoke "ONE" the men bent down and plugged in the tree. Lame...and I know lame. I think that little fiasco can be written off for next year. Nice for me, however, in that I got to spend time with the girls, but we could have had fun going to the dump!

So the Christmas season has begun, in all of its Political Correctness. sigh. I think the dose we received last night was even a bit too much for the three and five year old. The went home to their Nativity Scene and pretty CHRISTMAS lights.

Let's pretend that people are really sick and tired of the PC thing and want to get real again, OK?

I'm off to enjoy the last light of the day with my stumpy family now. I think we will venture into the woods and see if we can find our eagle friend.


Friday, December 4, 2009

You are welcome

Let's see now, was it a month ago that I went to the last show? At least three weeks have gone by, correct?

You all know how nervous I tend to get. Nervous. Disjointed. I pack the bags. I repack. I check things off the lists.

The venue was awful. There was little room between the cement wall and the show rings. The area was packed with crates of dogs...some not so happy to be there. People were walking dogs to their rings as others (myself) were preparing to enter the ring. There was no room to work off the nervous energy.

So, with that preparation...the picture carefully drawn...

I enter my class, get my ribbon, go back in for the next in line. Kate is not baiting well. I have my arsenal, but have pretty much decided it is a moot point.

So, dear readers, yesterday I found something that will give you your Friday chuckle...


Look what I found in my shoe yesterday.

In between classes I had carefully slipped the ribbon and squeaker (bait) into my left shoe. (I have no clue why I didn't put it into my coat pocket as would be the "norm.") FWIW I change into a nicer looking shoe as I get ready to go in the ring. I was still sore from my surgery and the tiny bit of angle change in the shoe hurt so I carried them to ringside and put them on there. I bolted after the show and just grabbed everything and headed out. The ribbon and squeaker were quickly forgotten as they slipped into the toe of the shoe. On the ferry I changed my shoes. Unlike you two legged folks who do NOT take off your leg to go to bed, I tend to leave my shoe on until the sock is pretty much worn out. (Thanks go to all who give me their singleton socks.)

I decided it was time to change my sock the other day.

I thought my leg was a bit more noisy as of late...


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Another day dawns

I awoke this morning to incredible beauty.

We had a deep frost last night. The sun rose through the trees behind my property and it was truly breath taking. I find it interesting that this simple show takes the sadness and grief of the past few days and helps me see that life does, indeed, go on. I have not yet decided if I will stand in the flag line for the fallen officers. There is now a second option that is a ride in honor of the four. I may do that if I cannot attend the services. It is still pretty overwhelming.

On the up side I had a great time at dog class last night. I have learned so much and Kate, well, Kate is Kate. She does all that I ask, but puts her own twist to it. She makes me laugh. An hour of concentrated posing is almost too much for her. I have found that I can curb her a bit by going a few minutes early and having a bit of play time in the room before any other people show up. I think I will be showing in Puyallup unless she is moody and hormonal.

I spent a couple of hours the other day doing genealogy. Dog genealogy. Someone put together a Cardigan database and I sat and entered names. It was amazing to read all the titles that her ancestors have accumulated. I am now a bit more serious about finishing her. I had not really looked at her pedigree until then and it really is quite impressive. Thanks go to the breeder for allowing me to take this dog and to put her into the ring. I will do my best for her.

My health just continues to improve. The harder I push, the better it gets. I know there is a fine balancing that needs be done, but this whole "wrapping in bubble wrap" is done and over. The best part is that I have found that since I cut out the big meds, the small ones work much better. Yes, I still have the Remicade headaches, but they are completely taken care of by Ibuprofen now. I don't want to be "numb by narcotics." It affects every corner of my being. I would rather feel a bit of pain. It reminds me that I am alive. That is a very good thing. The memories of the past are often overwhelming. So much of my life was lost. I have no regrets, but won't go back. It's called ownership. Narcotics take that away. Having worked in pharmacy for years I have seen it often in others. I knew it was happening to me, but I was in survival mode. Now that same mode is dramastically different; yes, I know I just did a typo, but I like it and have decided it needs to stay. I want to feel my life and not let it just slip away. There are those days of whining and pity partying. We all have them. Now, however, I have other ways to cope.

So another day does indeed dawn. There is plenty to be done and the critters are ready for their third outing of the day. Life is such a blessing.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009



I have two dogs. Corgi. Tri-colored, both. No fenced in yard. No collars are worn unless under direct supervision. They are way too dangerous when dealing with rowdy two year olds. Whenever the dogs go out, I go out as well. I like it that way. I slip a retractable lead over each dog's head and walk them out to the fully fenced pasture several times a day. I also have a good sized pen that I can walk them out to as well. With "critters" abounding, and a neighbor dog that wants to eat my girl it is safest to have this routine down by both myself and the dogs. They wait at the doors for the loop to be slipped over the ears. It is routine at 6 am, and it is routine at midnight.

This morning was a bit different. At the break of dawn I headed out for the feeding of the horse and first run of the dogs. All perfectly normal and routine. Robe on, right foot in left boot. I slipped the leads on the dogs and realized, at 37 degrees, I needed to grab my barn coat, which was hanging on a dining room chair. I dropped the handles of the leads and ran into the dining area to grab my coat as the doggies practiced their bladder control for five extra seconds. When I got back to the back door I found dear Henry standing quietly at the door with both leashes attached. Kate? Frisking at my feet with neither.


I saw a black headed tri-colored Corgi slip its head into the leash loop. Then I saw a black headed tri-colored Corgi slip its head into the leash loop. Sigh. I only wish this had been the first time I have done this.
For great holiday fun have a gander at this awesome advent calendar. Enjoy!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Coffee and a handshake

Because I cannot think of any other way to express my appreciation. I am off to the coffee shop for some prepaid cards to give out to those who put themselves in danger every day; that I might be safer. Thanks is never enough.


Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday

It was many years before I realized that term was supposedly a "good" thing. I think the movie "Black Sunday" somehow made Black Friday, and all of the resultant hysteria, one of the same. All I could see in my head was crowds of people stomping over each other to get away from the terrorists (that are the store folks that advertise amazing deals only to tell you after hours of looking for a parking space, making it into the store, and winding down small aisles filled with carts and grumpy people, that there were only two of that particular item and they were gone within seconds of opening the doors at 3am. Black. Black and dark, indeed. I did the Black Friday thing once a few years back. Back then doors opened at 5 or 6 on Friday morning. Mass craziness. It is not something I would ever choose to do again. I don't even do Costco after mid November. In fact, 90% of my holiday shopping is done on line now. I have always been one of those people who goes into a store knowing what I want/need and try to get out as quickly as possible. The Walmart SuperStore overwhelms me a bit and I find myself wandering the aisles, but that is the only place that it happens and since I am aware of it I do my best to stop the silliness and nip it quickly in the bud. I hate shopping and I hate crowds. I do, however, love being able to shop online and have packages arriving at my door several times a week this time of year. It is just so much easier. One thing: do NOT get fooled by the "site to store" thing. Sure, you might save a couple of bucks, but the pickup is often at the back of the store and one must wind through said store and crazy frantic people in order to pick up the item. If you are going to do that, then why bother? Inevitably you will find that one extra thing that you had forgotten that you needed and end up standing in line at the register anyway. It is all part of their plot to get me into the store...and it worked, just once. Now, however, I sit in my wood warmed house. Dogs snoring at my side. Turkey and fixins' still digesting and some music on the stereo. The sun is shining through the trees and the kids are texting me telling me how they enjoyed getting together at the farm yesterday. Bliss.

Suddenly it is shattered by Airlift Northwest flying quickly overhead on its way to the trauma center in Seattle. I guessing that this is somehow related to Black Friday. What the heck are people thinking???? Sleep off the turkey, peoples. Enjoy the family. Stay away from tired people in a rage over the almost false advertising. All of those good deals will soon be on eBay, and chances are the guy who spent his Thanksgiving sitting on cardboard at the door of the local WallyWorld bought both of those laptops anyway.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Going postal?

It's been a strangely humorous last eighteen hours. And expensive.

First the eldest child calls last evening to alert me to a good deal on turkeys at the local grocery store. I always like to have a turkey or two in the freezer so head out. The deal is that one must spend $25 to get the special low price; no biggie, think I. Off I go. Once there I wind my way through the crowds to the turkeys. (Perhaps I wound my way through the turkeys?) Problem number one arises almost immediately. I must get a turkey that is at least 16 pounds. The biggest turkey in the freezer is 15 pounds. Hmmmmm. Off to the meat counter I go. I ask if there is a replacement brand. No, but off she goes to check the "big" freezer. A few minutes later, with frost bite on her nose, she carries out a 15 pounder. It was the biggest she had. "Tell them to charge you the lower price and to call me if there is a question." I go off on my way to grab a few groceries to total the required $25. Cheese!! It is past time to send off Tillamook to my dear friend in NC. Score! It is on sale!! smoked cheese and I know that is the favorite. I pick up the brick and snivel to myself about the lack of smoked, grab a few more things and head to check out. I buy my big (and cheap) turkey and cheese, and head for home; Susan Boyle singing on the radio. Her new CD makes me cry, btw.

This morning I copied down addresses and packaged up the other copy of Susan's CD to send off to Hawaii and my step Mom. I decided to put the "flat rate box" to the test. You see, while not very big, there is a bit of weight when it comes to mailing cheese. (Go ahead, I will wait as you mull over all of your "cutting the cheese" comments.) I grab a box and it is huge. Off I go to the little grocery by the post office. Score! Smoked Tillamook cheese!! Back to the post office where I nab some paper from the recycle bin, fold up the box, address the label and go to the counter. Tape? Nope, have to buy it. sigh. Confirmation of delivery? No thanks. Insurance? Nope, I will pass, thanks. Stamps? Nope, but thanks. Then the question that somewhat baffles me. "Do you know you have a flat rate box?" Uhhhhh. Yes, yes I do. Now that I have tape, labels, pens, it is cheaper...right?

So I head for home. Eldest again calls and wants to discuss the whole global warming thing. I have my opinion but am not sure if I am being baited. What the heck, in I jump with both feet (Now THAT is an interesting concept, I must say). Amazingly enough he was serious and we talked a bit and parted ways. It is odd. I know my kids are adults, but sometimes I am still amazed that they actually think like adults and form their own opinions. (This one, however, has always had his own opinions and then loves to debate them.)

Home I head, as Susan sings "Amazing Grace." What a voice. Then, there in front of me as I drive into my driveway. Dear neighbor is up on the ladder. Putting up his house and yard decor for the season. A choir sings the chorus on the cd track. Life is good. I am blessed.

The phone rang. My house phone. The phone that is dead; I haven't dealt with it yet. Last night I had company and made some cookies to send home with them. I nabbed a mix for $1.50 and all I had to do was put oil, egg, and water in. Caller called for the recipe as they were the best variation she had tasted, and she is very picky about that particular kind of cookie as it is her very favorite. My recipe was spot on. Suddenly what I thought was a "good deed" comes off as a lazy deed. On she goes..."perfect amount of salt. Just the right sweetness. Was it handed down generation to generation?" Yep, it likely was. Either Betty or Duncan got it somewhere. Funny. I hang up. When I pick the phone up again and it is dead. Selective screening? Global warming? Postal?

Turkeys are on sale everywhere, and ARE everywhere. And I have a deer wandering through my yard.

Bizarre, but I am blessed


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanks giving

First to my family. I could not be prouder to be a mother and a grand mother. All of my kids have really stepped it up a notch. Through the adversity that was their young lives, they have grown into loving, caring contributors to a better society. All have incredible work ethic and a great love of family and people in general. I strive to be more like them. This parenting thing keeps getting better and better.

And my friends. As the circle expands, I feel more and more blessed. It is so empowering; I feel I can do almost anything as I have so many holding me up.

My animals. They have given me much. I may indeed be the "crazy dog lady" of this little town. The stumpy dogs seem to draw a certain folk. The stumpy horse as well. I am incredibly smitten by both, and new friends keep feeding my habit. There are worse things, for sure. Thanks for all the help and ideas. My heart overflows, as do the tear ducts, when I think of all that I have done and those I have met in the past year.

My health. While tenuous at times, this old body has had a darn good year. Still in remission even through a surgery. I have pushed it harder than ever and all is well. I have worn out components in the removable leg. I will continue to test the limits. In fact, there are no limits. I will be running again come summer. "I don't need no durn drugs (as in meds, guys)." I will not sit still and let life go on around me. With no expiration date stamped on me, I have way too much I want to do and no idea how long I have to do it all. Am I sore? Absolutely. Blisters? Yep. On the left side they are mid leg instead of heel and toe, but they are my badges of honor. I have found that activity is the best pain medicine I have ever taken, and I have been prescribed them all. This coming year will be the year of the Triathlon. Having good docs and protocol in place in case the PG rears its head makes this all possible. I am grateful for the health care that we have available to us.

My faith. It carries me, and it keeps me "real." It also makes the trials a little easier to deal with. 'Nuff said.

The tomato. While eating them is not something I enjoy, the tomato has become a symbol of laughter, love, and letting go for me. I cannot peruse the produce aisle without smiling. That is an excellent thing!

Oh, one more thing I am thankful for, and Arlo says it best:

I don't want a pickle

Just want to ride on my motorsickle

And I don't want a tickle

'Cause I'd rather ride on my motorsickle

And I don't want to die

I just want to ride on my motorcy...cle


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Of puppies and kids

I think I am causing some interesting developments in the grand kids, especially the oldest. She is very artistic, and very much into getting my attention. Sadly, she has come to realize that her best bet at my undivided attention is to become a dog. So she made herself some ears. (She now also has kitty ears, horse ears, etc, etc.) I have taught her poorly, it seems. Or perhaps she is a puppy and her ears are not up yet. Perhaps a taping lesson is in order? Whatever it is, she is more than content, and comfortable, wearing her dog ears out (no matter that they are floppy) wherever we happen to go. I must say, I feel just a teeny tiny bit guilty, but for the most part I am loving it! I see dog crates and grooming tables in the future. For what it is worth, I did insist that she take the collar and leash off. She does still get to wear the diva beads, as can be seen in the picture above. My dogs are collarless, as collars are much too dangerous. The same certainly applies to her. I do worry a bit as she is not yet microchipped and she could run off and get lost...however, I must say she does mind a lot better than my two doofuses that live with me. For the most part when I tell her to "come" she does, and when I tell her to "wait" she also does that. At times the constant noise from the mouth can get old, but it is livable. Best of all she is housebroken. I think I will keep this one around. Besides, she has to teach the new pup the ropes, and she is darn good with her and loves to snuggle.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Feeling old?


My oldest grand daughter had her first date tonight. It was also her first school dance. She has been talking about it for a while. Excitedly sharing what details she could with her granny. She had a new dress to wear. She wanted her hair "just so." She would be getting her picture taken with her date and would send me a copy. Sigh. I somehow knew that this would be OK. That her Mom would survive this, as would her grandma. Best of all, no shotgun would be required. Her date had been properly screened and approved. I think he was at least as excited as she for this dance.

I had her Mom send me a picture before the two headed out.

I've decided to share.

Here you go:

Doesn't every six year old girl dream of marrying her daddy? Who better for the first date! (Don't you love the "fur" stole? I think this kid plays with too many Barbies)

Meanwhile on the home front. Baby sister seems to have disappeared, ET style.

With that, I am going to go to bed and watch a bit of TV. I wonder what lies waiting in the DVR?



Or perhaps it is six. (Storm fronts, that is.)

The ground is as soggy as the horse. The horse refuses to be locked up at night, which is what I would prefer so that she at least has a small chance of drying out over night. I think the winds spook her a bit, and I can't force her to be in a place that could trap her and cause her harm. There are now axle breaking pot holes in the driveway. And yes, I still have no home phone service. (Note made: call Century Tel for service date.) I suit up in warm coat and big yellow Gorton Fisherman hat to run the dogs. They still need their work outs, and they still get at least three trips out. The tennis balls emit an amazing spray as they sail across the field. Neither dog is willing to catch a ball on the fly now; has a dog ever died from drowning follow inhalation of tennis ball splash? One of the most interesting things about corgis is the way their coats shed the dirt and mud. About an hour after coming in the house they are dry and clean. Not show ring clean, but I am willing to let them on my bed and they leave no visible signs of dirt. It's pretty amazing. Any way, I am loving my truck. It sits a bit higher than the older truck. Driving home from the city yesterday I saw a lot of cars and trucks hydroplaning on the road. I am thinking my truck has a pretty clean under carriage, but it stuck to the road like it was glued there. I really hate the feeling of suddenly floating and felt it often in the Nissan. While the street sweeper and plow trucks are out in force trying to keep the storm drains clear, it seems almost impossible at this point. Sheets of water run down the street carrying the alder leaves that are still falling with it. While I am tired of the gray, and tired of wet foot, I am surprisingly still "up" mentally and emotionally. I think it must be exercise related as I am just getting back on track with the work outs. I feel a bit like a "reformed smoker" in that my solution to the world's woes seems to be more exercise. It is pretty simple really, and the dollar output, if needed, surely must be worth the quality and length of life benefits. While I am on the treadmill now, I look forward to getting out in the weather and doing the "real thing" soon. I need to rebuild the callous on the stump and now that the prosthetics are back up to snuff that work has begun. I rather enjoy breaking through that wall that comes at about the mile mark. (It amazes me how quickly I lost all the stamina following surgery; I hope it returns as quickly.)

So now I sit and type. One of dogs is to my left. She is REALLY into licking a cheap and funky upholstered foot stool thing that is sitting there. I don't know what the deal is, but she cleans that thing as meticulously as she cleans Henry's ears. I wonder if it the texture. She has never tried to chew it. She just sits and licks on it. Strange, strange dog. I adore her. What does that say about me? Hmmmm.

The pitter patter on the skylight has softened so it is time to go out and feed the horse and run the dogs. Another fall day has arrived in Kingston. While I miss the dry, and I miss the warmth, this is life in November in the Seattle area and I will take it. Then again, I really don't have a lot of choice, do I?


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Awaiting number four

Storm, that is. "They" say it is coming. Four in a row. Hard rain and high winds. Trees down. Scattered power outages. Flooding. More rain. Whitecaps. Mud puddles. Did I say rain?

Yesterday I got to spend a bit of quality time with my newest grandchild. I will admit to being a tad nervous, even though Mommy was just a few blocks down the street working with the kindergartners for two hours. Grandma just doesn't have what this little pup needs if'n she decides she is hungry. All was fine, however. I had daughter set me up in her new fangled sling system and put the munchkin into the pouch where she slept quite content the entire time. I took my camera, once again, to share some pictures of the world's cutest little peanut, but alas, once again, I messed up. Last time I left the memory card home in the printer. This time I left the whole camera locked in the car out in the driveway a few hundred feet away. Chances are I wouldn't have disturbed her for a photo session while Mom and Sister were gone, but could have taken a few before or after. So you will all just have to take my word for it; she is the world's cutest baby.

Wednesday night is conformation class night. So we had to high tail it to the ferry and the weather was looking very ominous. Branches were falling and the trees were blowing big time as we headed south. I always want to see a lot of oncoming traffic as I near the ferry landing, but it was not to be this time. Instead there was the tail end of loading. I bailed out of the car and high tailed it up the ramp, but the doors closed about ten feet before I got to them. So I got to sit for forty five minutes and listen to the rumble of the wind. It sounded like a train was coming through. Boy was I excited about the ride across the Sound...NOT!! I called the store where my lessons occur and told them not to let the teacher go. I would be there, but I would be late. I had a lot I wanted to discuss. Then came time for my ferry to sail. I have never been sea sick on the ferry. I have been on some pretty crazy rides. Last night I almost lost my cookies. It was no where near the roughest ride. I am really not sure why it was so hard. Perhaps it was the frequency of the waves. Perhaps it was the intensity of my Sudoku puzzle. I have no idea what happened, but I was a tad green on the ride home. It was warmer than the trip over, however. The wind in the afternoon cut through me like cold knives. The wind and rain that drenched me on the walk to the truck was chilly, but not as cold. Anyway, long story short, I got to class about thirty minutes late and Kate was not a happy camper. She really wanted to play. She wanted to run. She wanted anything but to be on a leash. She had been locked in the kitchen all day and had energy to burn. Then she didn't even get to strut her stuff as we sat and talked. Another member of the class had a rough time in the ring so we both had a lot to talk about. It was great. Until I got out to the truck.

I had a missed call from my neighbor. I live in the woods. It was dark when I grabbed Kate. Had I missed the giant cedar tree that had taken out the house, fence, barn, garage? He left a voice mail. "Please call when you get this message." Oh oh. Flashlights and lanterns were right inside the door if the power was out. My heart was pounding as I hit the redial. "Is everything OK?" says I. "Yes, I just wondered if you have cable or satellite TV." He's such a man!! 70mph (predicted) winds, and he wanted to know if I thought he could get around the whole descrambler box somehow. I sent him to talk to the Best Buy guys and headed for home, knowing that, even if it were dark, I had a roof over my head and the animals were safe. I did, and they were. That was what mattered at the moment. However, I do have an interesting thing that has come up. My home phone doesn't work. My DSL is fine, but the phone is dead. I would be much more panicked if the computer were down, but cannot figure this one out. Both the phones, one is wired and one portable, cannot call out or get calls in. I had rewired under the house last year, and had paid the big bucks for an electrician to crawl around in the spider webs so that shouldn't be the problem. With storm number four on its way I will not spend a lot of time worrying right now. Perhaps we will get a little break between this next one and number five. The important folks all have my cell number. It likely is something as simple as wet wires in the box. Just seems strange that the DSL is fine, but I am NOT complaining.

So, Thursday has officially begun. Right now the trees are quiet. The rain is only a "pitter patter" at this point. I guess it would be a good time to get out and survey the damage and do chores before number four sets itself down. How many days until Spring??


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Yep, it's true

I have the National Geographic channel! You have no idea how thrilled I was to discover that late one night. It has always been a favorite channel of mine, but after switching from DirectTv to DishNetwork I lost the channel in the "cheaper" package. I was tempted to upgrade, but it just wasn't worth the extra dollars for the one channel. There was nothing else of interest to me. This channel takes me back to my childhood. I remember sitting in the basement going through the bookshelves of carefully placed magazines. I loved them. I still love them. When I discovered the channel it was like having all of my favorites wrapped up in one. A wee bit of Animal Planet, Discovery, History Channel; heaven for me. Now it is called "Gnat Gee-oh." Ewwwww. How sad. It is almost enough for me to turn it off. Almost. In the past two days I have watched theories on Stonehenge and the sinking of the Titanic. I've watched research studies being done on the Blue Whale and the Great White Shark. I even got to see footage of a head shrinking and the reaction of current tribal members as they watched the footage that was filmed in the 40s. I am really hoping that this is not one of those "preview" things that happen every month. Where they give you a taste of a few channels that you could have in an upgrade. If it is I will slowly repeat to myself, several times a day "Gnat Gee Oh." After which I will sigh and turn off the TV and get back to my previous state of dislike of the television. My life is so darned simple.


Monday, November 16, 2009

A badly needed break

It is time to take a dog show break. Kate is due to be in season shortly, and I have need to do some studying. I am incredibly confused as to what is being looked for in this breed, and what I personally want out of my own dogs. I sit with paperwork and measuring tape. This will be the fun part. I have never evaluated a dog mathematically. The breed standard does just that and a serious breeder should do the same just so they know where improvement is needed and who can best fit the bill for the other half of the gene pool. Congrats to the winners this past weekend. Nice job. Have y'all (besides Kim) measured and documented your guys too? I think I must've missed that lesson ;-)

So today we are being a bit lazy. The rain is pounding down. I will be making a trip to Vashon later this morning, but other than that I am sticking close to home. I think I need to make sure my house doesn't float down the hill and into Puget Sound! I badly want to ride the motorcycle. I have been too consumed by the dogs and it is time for a mental health break before the holidays hit. Rain is forecast for the next week, so it looks like it won't be any time soon.

With that I am off to Southworth. I'm getting a heckuva deal on a garden wagon/cart with nice big tires. YES!!


Sunday, November 15, 2009

More care to be taken

When labeling my ramblings!! 'Twas a tad bit unnerving to see that someone from Tehran had landed on my site. I will let you do the math...

I think that the Monroe show will go down as once of my least favorite venues. It is cold. It is dirt. It is fall. Short stubby dogs hustling into the arena makes for wet bellies. Wet bellies trotting through dirt makes for dirty bellies. All that time grooming becomes a bit of a joke. Enough said about that. Anyway, Kate was less than enthusiastic about this show. It showed. Something else showed. The dramatic differences in this breed. We had long dogs, shorter dogs, big heads, refined heads. We had crooked fronts and straight fronts. Level toplines and wavy ones. I came home and printed out the standards. Thanks so much to Kim for helping me get my thoughts in order. I know what I like to look at, but am not sure what I am seeing. I really look forward to using my new found knowledge today as I study the breed. It makes me sad that the standard is not more adhered to. I remember, years ago, watching a class of Rotties. I wondered how people could tell their dogs apart from the others. Not an issue with Cardigan Welsh Corgis. Even if they were all the same color it would not be an issue. The good thing is that I am slowly gaining knowledge as to the "lines" that I enjoy seeing. It makes it so much easier when it comes time to get my next dog. Yes, I will get another Cardi. I just enjoy the whole "doofus" thing. And the ears. However, I feel strongly that the breed needs to be cleaned up a bit. Let's emphasize soundness. These are herding dogs and their looks and actions should emphasize that. A dysplastic or disproportionate dog surely could not go out and herd cattle for hours. We have the knowledge and testing available, why the heck can it not be utilized a bit more?

So, with that, I need to get myself going. I spent an hour grooming Kate, and now will jump into my clothes and head to the ferry. Thank goodness SHE is the one being shown, and not me!!


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Of balloons, bombs and very cold weather

I generally don't do the news. I generally don't do a lot of TV until I go to bed at night; and then I watch what has been recorded for me. Today it was cold and I was tired from having cleaned the carpet and gotten the trailer and camper cleaned and ready for a cold front. So I sat and watched a bit of afternoon television which turned into the local news. I then remembered why I preferred to stay clueless when it comes to the news. The headlines? "Balloon boy's parents to turn themselves in. Police killer may get the death penalty. Cold front coming in which may dump snow in the lower elevations." Bizarre events. Bizarre people. The weather? Does not thrill me since I will be catching the 6am ferry out of here on Saturday morning. It is all so strange, and sounds like something out of the "Weekly World News" at the check stand. You know the one; the one that talks of alien abduction and the mother who gave birth to the shark kid. (A little known fact: my soccer team once made that newspaper. Yep, indeed we did. My brush with fame...I still chuckle when I think about how we harassed "Cowboy" who was pictured along with the article. And no, I will not tell you how I came to find the article.) So, I have turned off the TV. Quietly, I tuck the hoax of the kid in the balloon out of sight and out of mind. I would prefer not to know what will happen to my medicare. The fact that some psycho has gone on a one man cop killing spree is more than I want to dwell on now that he is off the street. The war will go on. Money will be spent. Ferry travel will require reservations. All of this is out of my hands. All of this will come into play at the next elections, and I will then have my say. That is how it works, or how it doesn't work.

So I sit in my dark, quiet house. Dogs are snoring at my feet. My lists for the weekend are made and bags are packed. I will torture the dogs tonight. Henry will get muzzled and toenails trimmed. Kate will get her nails ground again and a bath. The soap opera that is the evening news is silenced. This is my life. Plain and simple. That is how I like it.

I prefer to see humor and happiness in life. Were I to dwell on the news that would be very difficult. It is no wonder that this country has an epidemic of depression. What a shame. There are so many things to smile at. Today, for example, I went with a neighbor to the store and the post office. As I sat in the truck at the post office I notice her motioning people around a squished doggy do do. When she came out she carefully placed a junk mail flyer on the spot so that folks would not track it into the foyer, or into their cars. She then saw someone she knew and ducked back into the post office. Four or five people carefully avoided the flyer on the sidewalk. Then a very grumpy lady came up and snatched up what I assume she thought to be "litter." As I was thinking EWWWWW, she folded it in half (!!) and disappeared in towards the recycle can. Just then the neighbor came out. The look on her face was priceless. By then I was laughing so hard I was crying. Then it happened. Two people walked by. All had avoided the poo when the flyer was stuck to it. Both walked right into the land mine without it. Sure, there are two sides to this coin. Shame on the person who didn't clean up after their dog. Nasty, nasty, nasty. But one can find humor in the oddest of circumstances...OK, EYE can find humor in the oddest of circumstances...but neighbor lady was laughing pretty darn hard as well.

So, my challenge to all is to find humor in the most mundane of things tomorrow. Twice. At least. Don't laugh at people, but laugh with them. Soon you will find people smiling right along with you. It is really not hard. It really does ease the pain better than any pill could ever even hope to do. Make your own personal news.

I'm hoping mine will not read "Homeowner eaten while trimming corgi toenails..."


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

Today is the day set aside to remember those who have taken time out of their lives, and often given their lives, to allow us the freedoms that we take for granted. I prefer to start and end each day in thanks to those people. I wish that we did not have to set aside one particular day to honor them. Yet it does allow for the decor and all. It does allow for a brief respite for some workers; I only hope those folk take a bit of time and think about why they get the day off. I remember as a naive first time parent of a young son, just a decade out of the Vietnam War, thinking about how I would take him and flee to Canada should the draft be reinstated. Wouldn't you know that this would be the child that chose to enlist fresh out of high school. Boy, did he show me! It was an amazing lesson in Attitude Adjustment 101. I sent away a boy that cold fall morning, and along with his someday to be wife, watched a man greet me in December at his boot camp graduation. I have never been so proud. I try to remember those feelings of wanting to flee, even though they make me feel a bit ashamed now. All that we have does indeed come at a price. If we are happy where we are, then we need to acknowledge that price that was paid, or is being paid. There is much sadness and fear in the world today. But we can find our little place of safety and security if we look. To those families that have sacrificed so that I have my sanctuary I wish to say "Thanks." It is not much, but often it is more than they will ask. My heart, and my prayers, are with our military and their families. Today, and everyday, they carry me.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Speed dating

Only one person who is reading this knows from whence this thought came...and that is part of the fun of this adventure in avoidance. You see, I have plenty to do, but don't want to do anything. So, of course, I come to the perfect tool of avoidance: my computer.

Anyway, I "bing"ed speed dating. (I hate bing, but didn't want to take the time to typle "google" into the address bar.) To my surprise, they are not just fodder for sit-com writers. There were 39,600,000 hits. I cannot even imagine the hits I would have have with a real search engine!! Wow. There is Speeddate. 8minutedate. My favorite would have to be: Hurrydate. There is even on "online speed dating" site. Let's pretend. We all sit with our webcams precariously pointed at a picture of someone that is at least twenty pounds lighter and ten years younger than ourselves. At the sound of the bell we begin questioning our potential suitor. "Do you have a 401K? Do you have a job? Do you like tomatoes?" The timer sounds and off we go to the next date. The problem could arise if more than one of us pirates the same photo to use as "me." Identical twin in Santa Fe? What happens if you find someone interesting? Is it like in that you have to pay for the gold package to send messages? If you don't find someone are you forever hassled about a gazillion folks checking out your profile, and you must want to know who, and you just MUST upgrade so you can get your twenty pound less, ten year younger ego stroked? It is all so very strange, this little cyber world we are creating for ourselves. A world where we can really make ourselves believe that we know people that we really don't, that we can trust people whom we have never met, and that we actually have things in common with people who use "handles" instead of their real names just in case...

Cyber security is a bit like an over ripe tomato. Good for certain things, but best not left on a car seat in the summer time.

(Figure that one out, SM)


Monday, November 9, 2009

The calm before the storm

er, show

Will I ever get over these pre-show jitters? Will I ever be able to take it in and roll with it like Kate does? I slept about four hours last night as I had a million things running through my head. This first is how I will groom this girl. To say that it is raining here is an understatement. I cannot live with the dogs if they don't get their exercise in. Low to the ground, white bellied, race ready...means very dirty. Especially on the lower half of the dog. Toenails and feet are spiffy, so the easy part is done. I suspect more sleepless nights will be in order until I settle how I will groom those five remaining hairs to best show off Katelan's attributes. (Not really much different than when she is in full coat...then I worry about what to do with all that hair! at least she will dry faster.)

So today is cleaning day at the house. Going to the city day for leg issues. Going to the bank day. All the hum drum stuff. My brain will be going full speed as I vacuum and as I drive. If I am this bad for local shows, how can I even THINK about Nationals???

Perhaps this is why people hire handlers. Perhaps I just need some time with the diva beads around MY neck.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Family dynamics

I got an email from my younger brother. He is developmentally delayed and our older brother and his wife are his guardians. Older bro does a darn good job seeing to lil bro's needs in a very caring, but also very straightforward, way. Lil bro has a way of pushing our buttons something awful, and I am not sure he knows how truly thankful my sis and I are that he was willing to step up to the plate on this. I am not really even sure how it all happened. It just did. I suspect big bro did it for Dad when he decided to move from the area. They had a very special bond that I was always a bit jealous of.

The email was quite simple. It seems that his new fancy cable system router for his computer has died. New and fancy can be tough. It is a whole new system that needs to be taught. But lil bro eventually turns it into his routine and life goes on. I think part of his "delay" affects his expectation level. I guess that may be part of the buttons that he pushes, and that he likely doesn't even know about. Things are just to "be." On his time schedule, and fitting appropriately into his routines. I think all those years of "there's nothing wrong with your little brother" comes into play a bit here. Funny how the uglies can rear their heads at a most inopportune time. Anyway, this nice little email, about four lines long, seems to be a bit of a breakthrough for lil bro. One simple line said it all: "What a great brother we have, if it weren't for him i don't know what i would done you know what i mean?"

Pretty cool. I forwarded it on so that on those down days when big bro is tired and gets the third or fourth phone call of the day, he can read it and know how appreciated he is. Of course I added my own line of thanks as well. In all those growing up years, this part of the picture never surfaced. It was never something that was planned, or even considered. I am so grateful to have a brother that was willing to take on the role. It would have been taken care of but no where near as well as is happening now. I guess some of us never have the luxury of having the kids raised and out of the house. I am grateful that I have that.

So, thanks big bro. And thanks lil bro as well, for recognizing all that is done for you. Life is just not automatically placed in your lap with all the fancy wrappings intact. You do seem to be getting that, and that is a very good thing.

Reminder to self: Christmas is coming...