Sunday, June 28, 2009

Redwood National Park

Am thinking we will head there shortly. It's a long drive with a late start, though. I got up a seven this morning, wandered into the kitchen looking for coffee (I'd heard it being made), and found that the final switch was not switched. I laid on the carpet for a moment, stretching my back. TWO hours later, I woke up! I should have been sleeping on the carpet all week, it was wonderful!

So, I think trekking out is the plan. It's supposed to be at least 5 degrees higher today than yesterday. We Washingtonians melt in weather like that!


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hot Air. Period.

I'm at my brother's place in San Jose CA. We canned 48 quarts of apricots two days ago!

It's 107 degrees here.

We attempted a rockhounding expedition this morning, supposedly before the heat hit. We were after Morgan Hill poppy jasper and some really cool agate. However, by the time we got there it was already in the nineties. We got out of the car, walked a few hundred feet and that was it. Pete says I'm a wuss, but I know Ramona can't function in heat like that, heartwise anyhow. I am not much better.

So we did a tour of some parks in my nice air conditioned car. Air conditioning fools you...because you are finally comfortable again, you start thinking that it might be nice to stop in the pretty redwoods and take a walk. Then you look at the temperature readout on the dash and it says something like 103, or worse, open the car door.

So we're back at Pete's in his nice air conditioning. I used to live here. I never had air conditioning. I moved to Seattle for the climate.

I think tomorrow (or perhaps Monday), we will head north via the coast and visit Redwood National Park. Then perhaps Oregon. What is heartening is that it was 60 degrees in Crescent City today.

And...I have developed some lymphadema in my left arm. Nothing too major, but the heat does not help. My friend Peggy (who we spent yesterday with) is an expert seamstress, and she measured both Ramona and I all over (she's going to sew for us). When she measured my upper arms is when I realized why my arm hurts. It's an inch bigger around than the right, and I'm right handed. She whipped me up a compression sleeve and it's already better. Thank heavens for talented friends like that!

For the rest of today, I'm just going to alternate between lying down with my arm propped up (and reading the new Stephanie Plum novel), making dinner, and of course computing a bit here and there.

G2, I've become twit-addicted. Sad but fun!

Can the Michael Jackson mania please be over?


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Is it Friday yet?

This has been a crazy week. Yesterday I laid out in the pump house, flashlight in hand, looking for the leak in the pump system. I found it, but I am not sure it can be fixed right away. A steady, but slow, drip, drip drip, is not going to drain a 35,000 gallon pool so I may pretend it is no big deal until after the next pay day. As I was trying to figure out if I had fixed it, I removed the motor for the umpteenth time and checked seals and then put it back together. I then flipped the circuit breaker back on and got...nothing. Nada. No power. At that point I wanted to scream and yell, but I just stood there, numb. Picturing myself writing a big check the day before...

Wanting to cry, I stepped out of the pool area and tried to collect myself. What had I done wrong? Enter Windy. My sweet little horse. She has had many a tear in her mane. She is a quiet and gentle little soul. We both stood, just the two of us, and watched the tree tops weaving in the wind. She nuzzled my hip. I scratched her jaw. One moment of peace. Then back to reality. And back to the pool.

A green pool. Now that green pool is covered with dirt, silt, leaves. It is very muggy out. and hot. I wanted to have a clean blue pool so bad, as I wanted to jump in. Instead I stand in the heat. And it dawns on me.

A few minutes earlier the pups were madly barking in the house. I walk into the pump house and flip the light switch. Then, with a smile I walk to the house and check the time. No can do. Now I am chuckling. I pick up the phone to call Puget Sound Energy and report the power outage. I think it is the first time I have ever been happy to have the power out. It was out about five hours. I have yet to flip the breaker to power up the pump. After all the drama going on in my head yesterday I admit I am a bit scared.

The trees are quiet today. I will sit quietly and catch up on the events of the week for the next thirty minutes then will go power up the pool. When one buys a house in the woods, one has to deal with power outages. Yesterday's outage will be remembered as the one that made me smile. That was a good thing.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

One person's trash

must be another person's treasure. After spending $546 on electrical for the pool (gasp) I noticed that I now am having issues with a leak somewhere in the system. In order to see a bit better, and to disassemble the pump and motor and put it back together, I decided to get the big hulking heater out of the pump house. It has not been hooked up since before I moved here and I haven't a clue if the thing even works, After hack sawing the propane pipe (relax, it is not hooked up) I was able to wiggle and walk it out of the pool area. (I still haven't a clue where the leak is and really don't give a darn at this point. I've pulled every thing out of there and go out every couple of hours and shop vac the water. It is not a substantial leak, and I need to get the green pool back to blue so threw in the shock and will see what tomorrow brings. I want to be in it by the weekend.) Anyway...I now have this big hulking metal box that has served many a rat family, I suspect. It was all I could do to get it on the dolly and out of the pool area; I can't even think about getting it up into the truck to haul it off. So, I think to myself: CraigsList!! I threw together a freebie ad and immediately get two responses; both are well over an hour away. I was planning on putting it on Freecycle as well, but guess I don't need to now. I don't know if it has scrap value, or parts value, or any value at all. None to me, anyway. It seems that at least two people really, oops now three, really want this thing. Wonderful for all of us.

With that I think I deserve a trip to the jacuzzi tub. I am tired. For the next three weeks I will be eating salad with occasional ramen for variety. I really hadn't figured the bill would be quite that big. sigh.


Monday, June 22, 2009


If you have a "Facebook" account you know that on your home page they ask you the stupid question "What's on your mind?" I find it very irritating but answered the question this morning. On my mind was my biker friend who lays in the hospital with a broken back. So I answered the question by saying something to the effect of "motorcycles and accidents are not a good combination." Let me say right here, I am extremely sorry for freaking everyone out. No, it was not me, but very easily could have been, and it was a friend who deserves the same concern. I have clarified the post and will be more careful with my words in the future. Now if we could just get Facebook to change the darn question...

I am headed out for a ride and my pegs will NOT be down for my friend as he would not take kindly to riding pillion. Once healed he will be on his new fancy bike, sans cup holder, and I am sure will quickly rack up the miles once again getting into the six digits.

Drive safe, everyone, and keep an eye out for the elusive two wheelers. If you are on a two wheeler, keep that shiny side up.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

On the Road Again, and the Best Western saga continues

When G2 and I (S2) started this blog, we were off on a grand adventure and wanted to document that. All those things that awed us, glitches that irritated us, and whatever happened to make us hysterical with laughter, we wanted to record those. We'd wanted to make that trip to N. Carolina for so many years, finally we were doing it! We want to do it again. And again.

But for now, I and my youngest daughter are off on a trip. Along with being a great time to drive to California to visit Uncle Pete and his ripe apricots, I have a new vehicle of conveyance that needs a shakedown cruise. G2 mentioned it in her last blog I think. I hesitate to call this a new (used) car. it's not a car. Nor is it strictly a truck, even though it is quite truck like at times. It's an SUV, sort of. It's like a really big, really luxurious limo type SUV. It's large, yes it is. And I LOVE it. It rides like a dream, it's comfortable, it's getting surprisingly good gas mileage. I'm up above most of the traffic, where I really like to be. It's the Ocean Liner, yes it is.

I love everything about the new 'car', except for those tinges of guilt when I think of how much gasoline it uses. This is not a very 'green' vehicle. I envisioned having to fill up every hundred miles. It's gotten fairly good mileage, actually. Surprisingly good! I'm heartened. Now I can have my massive encasing of metal lifting me up enough to see over most of the other vehicles. Being the control freak I am behind the wheel, I want to know where EVERY other vehicle is, not just the big butted minivans the obscure anything beyond them. And you don't dare pass them, because you never know how thinly strung the driver is at the end of her day.

I love the leather seats with the lumbar support that you can ask to warm up on those days when your low back is achey. I love how relaxed I feel while driving on the freeway. It's just good.

So D3 and I headed off down the road (Daughter #3). The last time I went on a vacation (G2's and my trip back east), I promised she could go the next time. She has a disconnect with anything relating to time. That seems to extend to distance, as well. She is always wondering why Uncle Peter doesn't come over more often. Well honey, he lives 900 miles away. Nope, doesn't compute. She's about to see just how far that is :)

So. Best Western does indeed strike again. Last fall G2 and I had a constant issue with the lack of access at the various Best Westerns we stayed at. I hadn't planned to stay with them this trip, to be blunt. However, I'm on their email list, and they send a pitch that went like this: Complete two separate stays at a Best Western Motel in Oregon from June 21 to July something, and receive one free stay to be taken at your discretion, AND a Jonas brothers back pack. D3 happened along when that email was open, and she CAN read. It was settled, to Best Western we would go.

I made reservations for our stay on the way to California. I specified no feather pillows (allergies), and that there must, must, must be a good internet connection. No problem says she...I'm making a note of it right now. Yes, they have great internet, it says it right here.

Except for a 'Police matter' that had the I5 bridge into Portland closed (forcing a detour), the drive was beautiful. You know how the sky looks when it's about 1/3 cumulus and 2/3 blue sky? Yes, that beautiful.

My favorite roadside sight: Large black SUV pulled over to side of road, where near the rear a man was leaning over holding a sack of....something. When I was much closer, I realize he was holding the bare butt of a young child over a patch of earth. Oh, the frustration! You know they have to toilet train, but sometimes it's downright untimely!

After negotiating some very confusing directions, we get to the Best Western New Oregon Motel. As I was completing the registration process, I happened to say, now tell me you really really really do have good internet, because it is of paramount importance to me. Two men hang their heads and say...our internet is out. maybe we had a lightning strike or something. Me: Uh huh? At least they admitted it, and we headed out to the next Best Western, only a few blocks away.

Now residing at the Greentree inn, we were deep in the middle of allergy attacks before I thought to check the pillows. Yup, you guessed it. In addition, I was given an ethernet connection, just in case the wifi didn't work. The ethernet was to be plugged into the wall underneath the desk. Unfortunately, there are no electric outlets anywhere near the desk, so the computer cannot be plugged in. Fortunately, the wifi works.

A very pleasant night manager did find us a couple of pillows, which I am going to use right about now. Those pillows are much appreciated.

We'll see how the continental breakfast is in the morning. It's a nice place, so I'm hoping for a good experience to start off a long day of driving. All the way from Eugene, OR to San Jose CA in the morning. We can do it!


Finished blog, laid down on pillow and thought...hmmm. So after unzipping the outer layers, I behold the tag on pillow that states: Duck Feathers. I think if I remove the bedspread (thin and contains no feathers) and roll it up, it will approximate a pillow. Sweet dreams.



What a wild and crazy week/weekend it has been. All emotions have run wild this weekend, and I look forward to a more sane week ahead.

I have been on and off the ferry more times than I can count this weekend. At this time of the year it is insane to even consider driving on because of the lines of waiting cars. I spent time with the grand kids, so it always makes sense to walk on at one end and pick the little critters up then walk back on and off then go home. Then repeat when the visit is up. Pretty simple except that this time of year the boats are unpredictable time wise, so no matter how much time I think I have, it usually ends in a gimpy sprint up the ramp to catch the boat as it is about to leave. That is what happened last night on my final trip of the day. S2 is off for California and wanted to borrow the cooler that I bought for our trip last fall. I barely made it onto the boat; and she and daughter were meeting me at the other end, after which I would oooo, and ahhh, over her new wheels (appropriately called the Ocean Liner). We went to dinner and then she dropped me off for the ride back to my home port. As we got there a boat was just pulling out, but what we didn't see was there was another behind it waiting to pull in. Another fast walk up the ramp. I tell you all this because when I got home I immediately got the dogs and took them outside. Two steps off the porch I was suddenly on the ground. My leg had fallen apart!! Again, I thank the therapists who worked with me and taught me to fall in such a way that I would do minimal damage to my body. I am fine, although the dogs were a bit shocked. I think about how scared the ferry workers, or other passengers, would have been had this happened on the boat, the ramp, or at the park...and how embarrassed I would have been; not to mention that it would hurt a bit more to hit cement or steel versus my front lawn. I got the leg back together and have an appointment on Tuesday.

The Mom emotions will be left to your imaginations. Suffice it to say that once a Mom, always a Mom. I just want my babies to be happy and make good choices.

My grand daughters are so adorable. I feel so lucky. To be able to sit and "talk" with them is always the highlight of any visit. The way their eyes see the world is something that we "adults" should strive to have in our sight. I'm beginning to think that they are the wiser; needing love and support of family, a warm safe place to sleep, and food in the tummies. It shouldn't be that difficult if we have our priorities straight.

I haven't spent much time on the motorcycle lately. It just hasn't been in the cards. I miss it and guess I need to just make a date and do it! A group of my internet biker buddies got together last week for an annual get together called the "Gritz Blitz." I have met a bunch of the guys in the past. A couple of them had come a few summers back on a cross country ride. One of the guys had his bike until it turned over 100,000 miles. He then got himself a new beauty and has put quite the mileage on it as well. There was a group that met here last summer. Many go to their destination by air, then rent a bike and ride. Not these two. One is from Florida and t'other from eastern Canada. Word came down yesterday that the teacher from Florida "went down." Those two words make my blood run cold. It looks like he will be OK, but will be having some back surgery as he shattered a vertebrae. His bike will not be that lucky. The good thing is that his wife was not perched behind him. The other good thing is that it was all kept under wraps until HE could call her. Hearing his voice, would give her some comfort, and let her know that he really is still alive. It is a hazardous pastime, and we all take that risk upon us when we throw our legs over the saddle. It doesn't make it any easier to hear that one from that inner circle has been hurt. I am incredibly grateful that it wasn't worse. I know that it will drive him crazy to be spending this summer vacation cruising in a true lounge chair this time, rather than a bike that we have dubbed the title. Heal fast, Ringo. The gimp's prayers are with you.

Does any one know where I can put in my order for a quieter week ahead? I'm getting too old for all this emotional roller coaster stuff!

Have a great week...that's my goal.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Website of the day
Progressive lenses eyeglasses for $37! I spent over $400 for mine. I could use another pair or two for those days that I forget where I put them. Sunglasses would be nice as well. I don't need to pay the $$ for designer frames. Glasses are not a fashion statement for me, but that doesn't mean I want ugly...although it would be funny to get some of those big plastic frames with "wings" just to drive the kids crazy.

Thanks to cousin Jen for the site. Her son is wearing glasses, and little boys can do a job on glasses, so she did a search and found this.

That's it for now.


I am not sure why I have all these empty posts; I guess it is the blogspot quirk of the day...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

On a doorknob??

My darling pupster, Katelan is in a "womanly (in this case bitchy) way" right now. Henry has found new meaning to the word "love" and Kate is pretty darn clueless. Luckily she doesn't mind wearing her pants, so we were able to go to doggie class. However, because of this period of her life, she has very sparse hair, and is shedding so much that I am amazed she has any at all still on her body. My dust bunnies look like they are of the angora persuasion. So, I have been gathering suggestions (no, not the dust bunnies) for getting her to quit shedding and start growing her coat back. One was to hose her down (yes HER, not Henry) a couple of times a week with cold (see why I said Henry?) water. Another, to give her daily brushings. I have been doing both, and the hair is still flying. She is doing so well in her classes that I want to get her back into a show or two in August. However, she doesn't stand a chance unless she has a nice coat on her.

So, enter the doorknob thing. I read about this fantastic recipe that would grow hair. I deleted the email (rats). So I googled "grow hair on a doorknob." BINGO!! I came up with a number of hits. Most were very similar, so tonight I will be mixing up peanut butter, honey, and a couple of high potency dietary supplements (nope, no tomatoes; dogs don't like to eat them either). I have been giving the dogs fish oil for as long as I have had Henry. However, I do think I may need to cut back their food a bit so I don't end up with porky corgis. I try not to have much peanut butter around as the calories are pretty horrific, and there is nothing like a PB and J when I am bored, tired, hungry, happy, sad, etc, etc. It does make me wonder, however, why this magic formula isn't used on the human species. Perhaps there is a gag order put out by the plastic surgeons. What man, or woman, wouldn't rather have hair plugs, than consume 1/4 cup of peanut butter, honey and dietary supplements..."silly grandma."

So I am off to mix the magic munchies. I sometimes amaze myself at the lengths I go for these dogs. Perhaps it is the empty nest thing. Oh, and for the record, even if doorknobs could eat I think I would pass on feeding this stuff to it. The idea of a hairy doorknob is just plain creepy.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Adult children

First I must apologize to S2. My flag was up, but my head was down. Sorry.

OK. Adult children. I have three. They give me more joy now than they did as little ones. I never would have believed it as I adored raising kids. Now we have a strange relationship in which THEY are the adults, and are the victims of my constant teasing. I have said on here many times that I live to embarrass my kids, and it is true. It would fall flat if they did not respond with smiles and a chuckle here and there, so I give part of the blame to them. I cherish who they are; I adore who they have grown to become. Their strength and commitment to their passions is inspiring.

My oldest is the Dad that I wish my children had. He is the husband that I wish I had. He has heart and strength that he wears on his sleeve. He has figured it out. I am so grateful to him for showing me how a young man can overcome a lot of odds. I give credit to his wife and her family for showing him what family truly is.

My daughter also has been growing into her "self." She grew up being passed from friend to friend as her mother was hospitalized. I feel bad about that. The examples she had as parents have shaped her a bit more than her older brother. Again, her heart is bigger than life itself, and she is a good mother and wife. She stands up for herself when wronged, and I applaud her. It was something that I did not do until recently. She is someone that I share laughs with. I completely adore "hanging out" with her. (I think we will soon be embarrassing HER daughter. )

My youngest child, my second son, has found his calling. There were times that I feared for his life as his choices were sadly lacking. I am thinking that he needed to work through some things to figure out not only who he is, but also what he wanted to do with his life. He is the artist. He is pure, raw, emotion. This boy who used to try and melt things out in the shop (at age 3) is now a top notch welder/artist/business owner. His metal fabrication work has been sold all over the world. I think he finally understands how brilliant he is. I came across the coloring book that he started making at the age of three. I now wear his artwork on my prosthesis. He is with me wherever I go. I like that.

These children are still my life. Without them I would have given up the fight. I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to see them blossom. It just keeps getting better and better. I love you, children of mine.

A huge congrats to my college friends who were just given a new grand son. Welcome, little man. You give the gift of life to some of the greatest, and strongest, people I know. How healing it is to see how life continues on. May you be blessed with good health.

Life is wonderful.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Small town life and Pool Pump part two and three

I love it here, and will live my life out in this place, God willing. I have it all, well, for the most part. I have land, 1.3 acres worth. I have trees, LOTS of evergreens, and too many alder. I have water, Puget Sound is at the foot of the driveway. I wake to the sound of the ferry horn and seagulls. I dodge deer and bear as I drive to town...and raccoons that won't dodge me!

I also have small town "talkers." You know the ones. Those folk that somehow know everything about every body. I don't understand what they get out of spreading news; false or not. I have people that tell me intimate details of the life of a person that I have never met. Very weird. It would be fun to hear what they say about me. The strange hermit granny that lives in the woods and wanders around in shorts with a black, fish painted, peg leg. We have artists, tree huggers, lumber jacks, and fishermen. Reservation land, and very fancy golf course communities.

Yesterday I went to the neighboring town. My pool pump has died, or perhaps it is the wiring. There is an electric motor fix-it guy that has a shop there. In the city across the sound if'n a store sign reads "Open" and has an hours sign, there is a 99.9% chance it is open. Not so here. Sign said open, hours said 10-4, door is locked up tight. Nope, there was no "Gone Fishin" sign, but there was a sign that had a phone number. I dialed it. The guy answered with the shop name and "can I help you?" I say, "Are you open?" "Tomorrow" comes the reply. OK. Sign says open Tuesday through Saturday 10-2. I really want to get in my pool. Should I go to the pool/hot tub store and talk to them? I know they will try to sell me a pump. I know to replace the pump will run me at least $400. What if it is a wiring issue? sigh. I decide the wise thing is to wait and go to town again today.

My question is: Why do I let a little thing like a sign get to me. It is not the fact that the guy wasn't there, it was the fact that the sign said he should be! I think I need some therapy. That kind where they submerse me into "Sign Land." I think of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride at Disneyland. Signs coming at me from all angles and none of them making any sense. Exits everywhere, but they have no doors. I would either come out of it numb and no longer caring, or I would be a shaking, quivering mess of hyper stimulated neurons.

So I take this tired body, in shorts and koi adorned leg, and I head to the fix it shop, in hopes of enjoying the pool in a week or so. The question is, or course, will the guy be there when I get there?

Song of the day?

5 Man Electrical Band "Signs"

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin' out the scenery, breakin' my mind
Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign?


The good news is that the pump is fine. The bad news is that it still won't work. It must be the wiring. Tomorrow I will get into the circuit breaker box and see if I can figure it out. If not I will be calling an electrician on Monday, which likely will still be cheaper than replacing the pump.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The five year plan.

My sister wrote me this morning. She has a mini horse farm that also houses various other animals. When the boys were growing up they were in 4-H. One in sheep, t'other in dogs. As animals tend to do, one led to another, and they were soon breeding border collies. Very nice border collies that worked the sheep. She then got a big white Maremma dog as a Livestock Guardian Dog (LGD) to make sure that coyotes and wandering dogs and other critters kept away from the horses and sheep. (Maddie is very old now.)

One of the Border Collie litters had a problem. Two of the pups were quite ill. One of them, Emma, was their "keeper" of the litter. Little Emma had a huge problem. She had multiple seizures, bouts of severe diarrhea and loss of function and appetite. The vets could not figure out what was wrong with this itty bitty pup. After many bouts, dear Emma continued to fight and she was diagnosed with Equine Ehrlichia, which was unheard of in our area. (She has saved a few dogs and is now on the records at the vet school in the state.) She went in to remission with prophylactic antibiotics. However, the disease had really taken a toll on her poor little body. She was quite small and fox-like. She had severe arthritis at a young age. But dear Emma just kept "keeping on."

The farm moved a few months shy of a year ago. As they were moving a new LGD was given to them. Alex. A fantastic, beautiful Great Pyrenees that would take over from aging Maddie.

Alex was everything anyone could ask for in a LGD. Gentle with anyone and anything, yet looked ferocious. If one got too near, the risk was in getting slimed, not bitten. Alex befriended dear Emma and became her personal protector and guide dog. Little Emma was blind by the time the move occurred. The biggest dog on the place, was "bestest" friends to the littlest dog. She looked to him, and he was always with her.

Until a bit over a week ago. The heat spell we had claimed Alex. I cried then, and I cry now. There was something incredibly special about Alex, and the same can be said of Emma.

Today another note from my sister. Emma is gone. Again I cry. Emma missed her guide dog. She somehow wandered into one of the pastures and when trying to find her way out got hit by the hot wire. In her fear she got tangled in it. She was so stressed that she had a relapse and the Ehrlichia kicked in. She was no longer able to fight.

I believe that my sister is right. Alex met her at the Rainbow bridge. His job has changed now from guide dog to big brother. Emma finally has a healthy, pain free body. She can run and play without hurting. Her world is perfect and she will be waiting when our time here is over.

My sister is also right in that one should not have animals that are the same age. Barring "accidents" they will all go to the bridge in close succession. I saw it happen with the dogs that I brought here. In a matter of three years they were all gone. It seems like I would just start to heal from the loss of one and the next would leave.

So here I sit, corwyn at my feet. Two dogs that are almost exactly one month in age difference. Kate celebrated her second birthday last month, and Henry last week. I'm thinking that five years down the line I will be getting another dog..

God speed Alex and Emma. I miss you both. I loved you both.


Saturday, June 6, 2009


Crackberry. Yep, I got myself a new fangled piece of electronic equipment. I doubt I will ever figure out all that it can do...but I will do as I always do when it comes to upgrading the phone, which is let the daughter figure her's out, then explain the basics to me. Right now I sit in awe of the potential free ring tones on crackberry dot com. As I fantasize who will get what ring tone (what says you, S2? I can download the "wicked witch" from Wizard of Oz!!) I suddenly get overcome with the possibilities. At exactly the same time my desktop freezes up. Time to walk away from the computer. One of the things I realized is that other folks besides me will hear my phone when it rings. Having a baby cry, for instance, is probably not a good thing should I be in a crowd of nursing Moms. The evil clown laugh would probably not be a good one for me (dear daughter), if I am silently, and peacefully, contemplating my day. At the same time I need to be careful not to put a ring tone of a favorite song. Breaking into song when my phone rings could be a tad embarrassing if I am on the ferry as it docks. (Think "hallelujah" chorus). So, at this point I am just at the "chuckle" stage and have yet to assign anyone anything. I must admit a bit of dismay over the fact that there are several ringtones of different cars revving their engines, but not even one motorcycle. What's with that?? They do, however, have the Llama Song!" I know who will be getting that...if I can figure out how to get it from the desk top to the Blackberry. (Insert evil clown laugh here.)


Thursday, June 4, 2009


Also known as "don't bug me when I am working."

Most of my work around the place MUST be done early morning. Before 11am. Figuring that most of my outdoor stuff takes a couple of hours, that means out as soon as I am up and dressed. Sometimes "dressed" around the property is a bit different than dressed for town, if'n you know what I mean.

I put off power equipment until after nine as a courtesy for "Jim." However, lately as soon as I start up the mower, weed whacker, chainsaw, etc, he makes his way over. I think I may revise my time for 8am. Heck, maybe 6am. The problem lies in that he plunks his-self down and wants to chat. I have a pretty small windown of time that I can do what needs to be done. I don't do well in the heat. In fact, I do very poorly in the heat. I get grumpy. I get terse. I sometimes get downright mean. So when I was mowing and he made his way over I first tried to "talk" without turning off the machine. I have a 95% hearing loss in the left ear and a small loss in the right...I want to say around 10%, but I don't remember for sure. My parents reared me to be polite. Yelling over a lawnmower is probably not polite. So, I think, what would Dad do? I let up on the handle that keeps the mower going. BUT, I give him less than five minutes. When the whining got too much I stated a fact: "I need to get back to mowing before the heat comes in." One of the things I have learned as of late is that we all have an agenda. Mine was to get the chores wrapped up. Well, and the obvious (to y'all) send the neighbor back to his house. A quick comment as I grabbed the starter chord: "How's the pool coming" made me realize that, not unlike a child, he wanted to swim. I can't do it. I just can't. I said something about the water still be slightly "off" (which it is) and he left. I don't mind swimming, nor do the dogs, if the water isn't balanced perfectly, but I don't want the responsibility of others. More to the point, I cannot afford to risk MY health if someone drags something into the pool and my chlorine levels are not high enough to kill it. Knowwhadimean? Today my daughter and grand daughter are coming over. We are checking out a movie at the new theatre in town and then will come home and swim. Suddenly it will not be a quiet swim. There will be laughter, splashing and fun. He will know that the pool is "open." I will need to just nip this in the bud, but I am not sure how to go about doing it without hurting feelings. Do I care? sigh. Yes. OK, Dad, get me out of this one.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The neighbor

There are many kinds of neighbors, yet we all seem to know "the one." We are all very different in my neighborhood here in the woods, yet most of us also have a lot in common. I am searching, albeit not too hard, to find the commonalities with my neighbor to the south.
There is a little cabin to the south. One that S2 fantasizes about buying someday. I love the idea!! Anyway, it is a rental and has seen a varied number of renters in the seven years I have been here. Most have kept to themselves, which has been quite nice. The last two renters have been interesting. The one before the current renter was a "kid." I never saw him, but certainly heard him. He was a motocross rider. That would be cool, but he also was a party kind of guy. I remember a few years ago we were in a drought. I live IN the woods. He and some of his friends were having a party and setting off fireworks. Not the silly safe and sane version, but the monster ones that made my house rattle. Worrying about him setting fire to my house or the woods I finally called the fire department when the bottle rockets started flying. I remember one 4th of July driving home from S2's house and seeing a house in the woods engulfed in flames. I really didn't want that to be my house. The fireworks stopped and the dirt bikes 3am!! He is gone now, but not before he had brought in a dozer and plowed himself a dirt bike track in the "tree farm" behind the property. He cut the gate lock to get in. Not a good thing. I heard later that he had spent some time in jail after breaking into the golf cart shed at the new golf course down the road. He and some buddies took off with a couple of carts and got caught. I am sure they were having fun and didn't consider the consequences, not unlike the bottle rockets in the dry woods.
Now I have a different neighbor. "Jim" is a trucker. Go ahead. Picture a trucker in your mind. Yep, that's him. Dirty white T shirt with open flannel atop. Grubby baseball hat. Big belly. Foul mouth. You've got it. My neighbor "Jim." He likes to wander over and plant his rear on a stump and talk. He is an incredible negative Nellie. The down slide of the economy took a toll on poor Jim, but gave him much to moan and groan about. At one point he told me to listen for a gunshot and then check on him. He would be dead. He lost his logging truck because he couldn't make the payments, and he got five months behind in rent. He referred to his landlord in very colorful language that, when translated, meant something along the lines of: "That girl dog's male pup is sitting behind a desk doing nothing as HIS (expletive) money pours in. He has no clue what is happening in the (same expletive) REAL world. Now he is demanding that I pay my rent and I haven't worked for three months. Does he think I can just pull it from my..." uhmmm, you get the idea. Then he failed his drug test and was losing his CDL. How dare they spring a drug test on him. NOW what's he going to do? By now I am wanting to insert my fingers into my badly charred ears and begin singing "lalalalala." Instead I continued digging rocks from the pasture, splitting wood, moving the pavilion tent over the trailer, cleaning the pool, etc. etc. Now I guess we have become "buddies." I talked to my neighbor to the north about the whole gunshot thing and was reassured that he would deal with it, and that I was NOT to go over. (Thanks, Scott!) So, fast forward to the day before yesterday. He decided to mow a path through the woods to my yard. On his riding lawnmower. Through the woods. Over downed trees. Through nettles that are now reaching seven feet tall. I kept hearing the lawn tractor starting, he would gun it, and it would jam against a small fallen tree and die. Restart, rev it a few times, it would back fire a few times, and then again die. I hadn't a clue what he was doing and really didn't want to find out, so left him to whatever the heck it was. (Now that I know it is a bit frightening, the idea of a path between our houses. I would save that one for S2 and daughter, and only them.) So while I was busily cleaning house my poor neighbors to the north were awaiting a phone call from me. They had to have thought that Jim was a terrible shot. With every backfire of the lawn tractor they envisioned death. Husband would ask wife if she heard that, and she would ask him on the next. There must have been three or four. That would not be a good way to go! I chuckle when I think of the colorful language as poor Jim realized he was still with the living. He was just here offering help on any "fix it" projects. I am thinking that I would have nothing to do save it be sit on a stump if he took over my chores. I had someone take over my projects; for 28 years. I can swing a hammer just fine and rather enjoy the good feeling I get when I complete a project all by my gimpy self. So I smiled and told him I would let him know if I needed any help. I wish him no ill will; in fact I wish him much success on his job search!! Very much success. Extreme success. Please, someone, hire this guy that has been driving trucks for over twenty years. You don't need to see his CDL do you? ARRRGH. The world is full of colorful characters. I seem to get my share up here in the woods.

I promised S2 some pictures of my "gardens." Here are my salad veggies: (All are quite happy in their bales of straw.)

Arthur's smoke tree is also doing well
And my grape/clematis arbor.

There appears to be a bumper crop of blueberries

For the first time since I have lived here, this rhodie shows its colors