Saturday, May 30, 2009

Kids and Dogs


Today has been a busy one. The weather was perfect and there was a "corgi picnic" in a suburb of Seattle. I packed up my two corgwyn and were off on the 11 something ferry. It is always fun to see a mob of dwarf dogs, with a couple of honorary corgis thrown in for good measure. I'm guessing there were around twenty. Two wheelchair doggies, two fluffies and an adorable fluff pup that was a bit overwhelmed by the activity. The "time out pens" remained empty this time. It was just a shade hot, so the dogs were content to just wander. I missed the crazy corgi frap: thirty short doggies running full speed and never hitting anyone or any thing. It is a sight to behold. Kate was one of three Cardigans and was quite enamored with the puppy. She is such a peace keeper. Henry wandered and was quite content to be the greeter. I feel so lucky to have these two dogs. He was remembered from last year, and seemed to remember some of the human friends as well. The comment of the day: "I saw you on TV and was hoping that you would have Henry with you." I guess some folks do watch the news! After about three hours I decided it was time to say "good bye" to all the dogs and their people. We will meet again on the first of August for the Official NW Corgi Picnic. It is much bigger and there is a silent auction that benefits Corgi Rescue.

I got home in time to take the dogs in the house and head back to the ferry. I was picking up my son's two girls for a sleepover. If I had something more than the pickup truck I could have brought the girls with me on the first trip home. There just was no room for all of us in my truck. We stopped at the kid favored Scottish restaurant for dinner (you know, the one with the golden arches) and headed home to feed the horse and dogs. On the way to the house one of the girls quietly announced that they had their swimming suits with them for the pool. BRRRRRR. Thank goodness for big jacuzzi tubs. They put on their suits and had a nice relaxing dip in the tub before bedding down for the night.

What a great day. The two favored things in my life. My dogs and my grand kids. It just doesn't get any better.

G2

Friday, May 29, 2009

"Googling"

The term basically means to do a computer search for something. We have all done it. We have all received some incredibly valuable information. While I wish I could say that I will not "google" a medical thing again; I will likely cross that line, but will take the information gained a LOT lighter.

I learned many years ago to get my information from a health care provider. If I have one that won't give me the information straight up, then I find another that will be as honest and as straight forward as I am with my questions.

Case in point: my daughter's pregnancy. I had myself pretty darn worked up because I did an internet search on a condition that appeared quite dire. She was wonderful and had me go with her to an appointment today. Questions in hand, I had a little chat with her attending. This is one of those cases that likely would not have been seen before the new fancy ultrasound machines. Bottom line: all is fine. She has been cleared for the 3 Day walk. As in any pregnancy, things can change, but there is no reason to think that this will effect either the pregnancy or the child.

Another case in point: my own disease. There is a bit more information now than there was a few years ago, but there is also a lot of misinformation. I decided before my last relapse that I would stay away from the computer with regards to care and treatment. One of the infusions made me pretty sick and I was unable to even think straight enough to call a pharmacist friend to find if I was having a normal reaction. My daughter was with me and did a quick search on the medication and found that I was having a common reaction. I found that quite comforting, but later verified the finding with a "real" medical person.

So, while doing internet web surfing, take it for what it is...entertaining. When I watch the news, I tend to ignore all the negative "stuff." For me it is a bit tougher to do when searching for specific information. A friendly face is always better than a computer screen filled with words and pictures. I can find enough information to build a case for, or against, almost anything. This is another thing that is different when a person is giving the information.

In a few days I will quit kicking myself for doing what I told myself not to do. Now, however, with the great news, I can kick myself with a sly smile. Happiness has replaced the dread, and we will be walking together as planned.

G2

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Knuckles sacrificed for the good

I am sitting here eating a dinner of cheerios and strawberries. I am smiling. I smile even though I have three skinned knuckles and a pulled hamstring. Sadistic? Maybe sometimes, but not this time. I look out my slider from the master bedroom at my pool, which is slowly turning blue. Yep. Problem solved. I love the internet today. I decided that I really needed to tackle the pump issue. I found a few pool tech sites and all had the same three responses to my dead pump problem. All three ended with the sentence "call the service rep." sigh. However, in searching I did find out what could be the problem and knew that I had the owner's manual in the cupboard. The original owner of this house kept all the owner's manuals. I found the book and went to the page that showed the motor with all the parts, where they went, and what they were called. I cleaned out the pump house and sat down with wrenches in hand and began to take the motor off the pump. I had to work in very tight quarters and while loosening the four two inch bolts I managed to scrape the rough concrete floor numerous times until the skin stayed with the cement. I was happy that I have decreased sensation in my hands! Once detached I gave the impeller a twist and it was indeed frozen. I little wiggle and it was fine. Could it possibly be that easy?? I got the bolts back in place and well seated, said a little prayer (and thank my Dad for giving me this gift of "handiness"), and flipped the breaker. Success! Tomorrow I will vacuum the pool (rain or shine) and the solar cover will go on. The satisfaction that comes from being able to do this by myself is hard to describe. Perhaps it is just the verification that I can really do this life alone thing.

Now I will vacuum and clean the carpet and put myself to bed. Happy, and anticipating a few more hours with the blue swimming hole planted in the cement. Life is sweet!


One of my angels; taken a few years back. They are the reason that I do what I do. They are the reason that I take each breath. It just keeps getting better.
G2

Monday, May 25, 2009

Drat!!

My one big project for the weekend was to get the pool "opened." It takes about six hours straight, and I spent the day out there. It means vacuuming the cement deck, then pressure washing it. Then the cover comes off and enough chlorine shock put in to turn the pool from green to blue. That sits overnight and in the morning I would vacuum in the pool and put the solar cover on.

Oh the best laid plans. All was done and I just came in following dumping some chlorine in. Into the pump house and flip the switch for the pump/filter. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. I am really hoping that there is a reset switch on that motor somewhere, but it will be tomorrow's project. I need to clean out the pump house to get to the pump. So, for now, I am exhausted having spent the day outside working. Inside is a mess and I just don't have the energy to deal with it. (I suspect had everything worked as it should have I would have quite happily cleaned.)

So. The pool is uncovered. The pool deck is clean. The pool is dreadfully green. Darn it all. I am going to go get a hamburger...

G2

Friday, May 22, 2009

Memorial Day



As a young child my parents would take me to the nearest cemetery on Memorial Day. I understood a little of what it meant back then. The flags lining the entry and adorning the graves of all the veterans. It was beautiful in my young and innocent mind. Later, as a drum and bugle corps member I remember going to the grave of a member that was lost. I believe he was not even in high school when he died. I think that was the day that I really began to know what it was all about.

Today, still, that cemetery lines the entry with those flags. They place flags on all the vets graves. However, it is different now. There are many more graves. I am the mother of a man who was in the military. While he served in peace time, it makes no difference in my heart. There are a couple more hats that I wear now. More than the mom hat and the grandma hat, I also wear the military mom hat. Sadly that hat sometimes covers the other "new" hat; that amputee hat. Each time I read of a new member welcomed into my gimp family I give them a small piece of my heart. Now there are new members joining my family at incredible rates. I feel for them not only as a gimp, but also as a military mom. I also lived through the clashes from the Vietnam war era. While I truly hope that a lesson was learned back then as far as treatment of the returning heroes, I fear these new heroes will be facing very similar problems as they integrate back into society. Would it not be very difficult to be reading of the trials and of demonstrations; the anti war stuff, the back lash? These people were given the hardest jobs on the face of the earth, and saw comrades lost. They possibly had to play a part in "mans inhumanity to man." They did not have to go to "rotten.com" to see death. They lived in it. Many found their lives as adults just beginning when they signed up, proudly I might add, to take on the job of protecting our freedom. I cry for them. I pray for them. I am proud of them all. Mostly, I respect them. I want to find some little way that I can give back to them.

My flag will fly on Memorial Day. I wake each morning, and go to bed each night, with a word of thanks to all in the military. To all of their families for the sacrifices they are giving. To our nation as a whole. I pray that we can remember that these folks are giving of themselves for us. Each and every one of us. We are America, not just "Americans." War sucks. Not so plain and simple if we remember the individuals that are put there. Giving of themselves. Please join me in saying a prayer for those that are enduring the extreme hardships of war. At least give it some thought?

As a kid, each school day was started by saying the "Pledge of Allegiance." We stood quietly, with hands on heart, facing the flag, singing, as each event began with the national anthem. We STOOD along parade routes, as a flag went by. Respect. We stood silent, hats off, as the members of the VA, the Navy band, the Marine color guard, the VFW members, proudly strutted down the parade route. I still do. But there is a difference. I cry. Tears run down my face. My pride is bigger than life itself. I am America.

Stand down.

G2




Wednesday, May 20, 2009

And so it goes

My calendar is full. But only on some of the days. Is it just me? It seems that everything that needs to happen does so on the same day. This week I had only two things listed on the calendar. Then there was one that needed to be "flexible." Yep. That word. That very bad, bad word. Not to worry, says he. It will happen either on Tuesday or on Thursday. To be safe I wrote on both days on the calendar. I am pretty excited as I start Kate's classes today at 3. Then the call to confirm comes in. "Can you be in Port Orchard at 1 on Wednesday?" Of course, says I. People should rate over dogs, right? I am thinking I will call and see if I can slip into the 4pm class for this one week. If not, I will only mumble and moan on the drive home. If only the weather would cooperate, it would be a great excuse to ride the motorsickle. There is a bit of blue sky showing, so perhaps by the time I need to leave the weather will have made up its mind.

Living out here on the Kitsap peninsula can be interesting weather wise. Five miles away the weather can be completely different. Last winter I heard there was a storm blowing in so decided to run to the store, which is seven miles from here. I only needed a couple of things and while I could feel that something was coming, there was not so much as a dribble of rain. I got in the truck and headed out. A mile from the store the snow began to fall. I parked, ran in, got the two items (batteries and milk) and did the self checkout and left. I was in the store for maybe ten minutes. The ground had turned white, so I was glad I was headed home. These small trucks are a joke in the snow. I considered a stop at Home Depot (for sand bags), but the conditions were practically white out. I headed for home. Strangely the main highway was almost deserted. For this I was extremely grateful as I slide down the road sideways. At the stop light I gathered my nerves and turned left to get the heck out of Dodge. Unfortunately I had a person in front of me in a compact car that was scared to death. She was doing great, but was doing that "great" at about 7 mph. My truck needed to go about twice that to keep moving. Any slower and I lost the rear end and would begin to slide. I also knew that I would be encountering an upward slope and would not make it up the road at 7 mph. There is no way I wanted to attempt to pass her, and there was no way that I wanted to stop and let her get farther ahead. I also didn't want to make her more nervous by sitting on her bumper. She could not pull over as there was now a good amount of snow on the side of the road and she would likely get stuck. Nearing panic mode now, but for the first time I really didn't know how to get out of this mess. As if I was in a movie or cartoon I suddenly was out of the snow. Seriously. We went from white out to little tiny flakes just beginning to fall. The roads were impassable and invisible, to wet and clear. I said my "thanks" heavenward and both the woman ahead, and I, sped up to the posted speed limit of 50 mph. I got home and the truck remained parked for the next six days as the storm came in and dumped record amounts of snow. The same thing happens with wind storms. I can have trees going down and wind howling, and a couple of miles away there is nothing. Vice versa as well. Very strange. It does, however, force a person to have a bit of flexibility; especially if the garage contains only a small rear wheel drive pickup, a motorcycle, and a bicycle.

So I will weather this little calendar storm with grace (yeah right, snicker) and dignity. I will also do it in the truck. Who knows what precipitation might be present in Port Orchard? It is, after all, a good thirty miles away!!



G2

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Sunday evening slide to home base


I went from tired to whipped. While I got things done, I had the constant chatter of a five year old each waking moment. She is a wonderful kid and a great help. For someone used to living alone quiet air time is aplenty. She was here from Friday until this evening and it was a spur of the moment thing. She helped with chores. She helped with the dogs. She helped me give the horse a bath then tended the dogs while I got her clipped down. She tended the dogs while I was out weed whacking the monster nettles from the road to the house. She helped with the shopping list, and then with the shopping. We had very few "melt downs" and she fell into bed about 7:30 both nights as I completely exhausted her.

I think the highlight of the weekend was the shopping. You see, we realized as she was going to bed on Friday night that she had no clean "undies." Shock and panic ensued until I told her one night would be OK as we would get up first thing in the morning and go get some new ones so I could wash them. The next morning I was greeted by her little cherubic face, pen and paper in hand. In big letters she had written "GROSRE LEST." On the list she then wrote "TNASBOL" as she felt the dogs could use more and we wouldn't have to have to wait for them to retrieve them all. Following that was "REAS PES." Ponder that one for a bit. A major hint: ET liked them as much as the grand kids and I usually have a bag in the cupboard. She then had ME write out "basketball" as that was way too long, and Kate had popped the one in the field, and we did indeed need a new one. You can probably tell that I kept the list, even though she was quite insistent on crossing each thing off as we added it to the cart. Nice job, dear daughter, she is pretty darn amazing for a girl in the friggin' fives. We had a few bumps in the road as far as attitude, but I talked to her and gave her some rules and she was pretty good at following them.

This is really what life is all about. to be able to watch my grand kids grow and develop into little people is such a joy. When my daughter was five I was already pretty sick, and also was working full time. It was all I could do to just "maintain." The grand kids are all three at ages where they can discuss their worlds with me. There are some things that I ask if I can share with their Mommies, and so far they are fine about it. It is both thrilling and frightening to discuss their "take" on the world around them and family dynamics. I think the toughest, besides the constant chatter thing, was reining her in when she was trying to do things that were way above the five year old level. We had to have a little discussion about personal safety and about Grandma's paranoia. She smiled and said in her little cheery chirpy voice "OK, Grandma. Grandma? I love you." To which I responded, or course, "awwwwww, Thanks. What do you want?" The response? "Grandmawwww."

I now go take a cool shower and fall into bed. I suspect she is fast asleep in the car headed home. She made me realize a couple of things. First, that I really do a lot around here. If I can wipe out a five year old just doing the normal stuff, then I feel pretty darn good for someone who was supposed to die seven or so years ago. And second, as much as I value my family time, I also value my quiet time. I think that I would be very hard pressed to ever have someone else living here. My quiet time is my recharging time. With all that I have to do around here, I really need to recharge on occasion.

So, with that, I round the final base of the weekend and head home. It was a great weekend, but now it is time for me.


Until next week, I bid you all adieu.

G2

I hear that! I suspect that if I ever really do buy the property next door, we'll actually see each other once a week! I do kinda have stuff to talk at you about, so head over to my other blog (the one that you wondered about) if you get a chance.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Very interesting

Today I was "tarred." There is plenty to do, but not a whole lot of energy to do much of it. So I spent more time in front of the computer monitor. For the past few weeks I have limited my computer time to two hours a day, or less. I got a lot more done around the house. A LOT. I also spent less money. Again, A LOT. How is that possible, you may ask? When I sit in front of the computer longer, I spend more time day dreaming. As I day dream I think of all the things that would be nice to have. When I come up with something, then I surf the web looking for good prices. Then I find a "really good price" and I tend to snatch it up, patting myself on the back for getting such a good deal. Hmmm. Had I not been sitting mindlessly surfing the web, I would not have thought up this thing, so I really don't "need" it now, do I? Again, sucked in by electronic technology. This is exactly how I end up with all this friggin' "stuff." It is not such a grand deal if'n I use it a couple of times than give it away as the clutter it is joining is making me crazy, now is it? I think I am going to have to go about this surfing thing with the thought in my mind that for everything I "need" I also need to get rid of two equal sized, or priced, items. My latest search involved something to house me at dog shows. I would likely go to more if I didn't have to fork out for motel rooms and doggie camp for Henry. I blame this on my brother in law and sister as they planted the idea in my head as they were getting ready to roll out for a horse show in Oregon. Dear bro-in-law says"they make campers for the smaller truck, you know." Yes, I knew. I know that they also make itty bitty trailers. There are also camper vans. All would require insurance and licensing. Gas. Not to mention more entry fees. But I could do this...I try to convince myself. At that point I got away from the computer. "It's a trap," I tell myself. A trap that I am carefully fabricating in some fantasy world where living expenses don't exist. I must return quickly to my MacDougall roots. The easiest way is to get away from the computer. There is absolutely no reason to sit here for more than an hour or two. I can get all the news I want, keep in touch with those I need to write, and pay bills in seven hours a week. If I can't, I need to examine if I truly do have a life, doncha think?


So, I am off to the field with the pups, followed by a few miles on the treadmill. I will follow that up with a chapter or two of a book I am reading. Then sweet sleep. Tomorrow a day is planned with my daughter. She learned that REI will sell single shoes for half the price of a pair. That means I can get two shoes for the 3 Day. I don't need anything special for the left side. All that is important is the angle of the sole. I should be able to get the equivalent of two pairs of shoes for around $100. Now THAT is a deal!!


G2
Closing ceremony. Walkers filing into Memorial Stadium, Seattle Breast Cancer 3 Day. 2008

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hardship

One of those words that seems to fit almost anyone at some point. I looked up the definition and got some real interesting results, not unexpectedly.

The Free Online Dictionary: Extreme privation; suffering
Thesaurus.com: personal burden


I've been thinking about hardship a lot since the fundraising dinner last week. It has practically taken over my brain. We all have limits of what we seem to be able to endure; or what we THINK is our limit. I am constantly pushing myself; why? I cannot say for sure. I have always been one of those frustrating people that if told "You cannot" make sure that I darn well can. It surely drove my parents crazy. Yet following my amputation, I think that same trait made Dad proud. Mom was gone by then, but I hope she really was that angel I felt on my shoulder. Back to the topic at hand, and why I am obsessing on it. Why do we wait until we lose something, or someone, to appreciate and understand what we have? As a parent I wanted the best for my children. They did not get much of what I wanted for them, in a physical sense. They were up against kids that had a lot; and they were ridiculed. I hated that. I worked long hard shifts at the hospital that included holidays, so that I could get them at least a few of the things that kids hold as status symbols; the video games, the nice shoes, etc. There was not much laughter at our house back then. If there was one thing I could change it would be that. Laughter. A friend has sent me pictures of children from other countries that we see as "true" hardship cases. Yet, looking at those kids, I don't see hardship in their eyes. Yet they have no running water, many have lost numerous family members, food is scarce, and medical care practically non existent (by our standards). Then I look around me. Wherever I go I see people "suffering" around me, and I hear about how bad the economy is, and how many jobs are lost, homes foreclosed upon, businesses dying a quick death. Is their hardship any better or worse?

I have decided that, for me, hardship would be going back to my former life of no laughter. I cannot afford fancy things. I cannot afford to hire someone to fix a leaky sink. I am still paying on medical bills. Yet, I feel incredibly privileged. I live not only where those things are available, but I can find something to laugh about in each of those things. In reality, they are pretty funny; hardship? I think not. At least not yet. I suppose there will come a time when the leaky sink will get so old that I get out the Handyman book and fix the darn thing. It is not a huge deal because I have six other sinks. Now that's funny. What does one person really need with six sinks? (Gee, counting the trailer, I actually have seven...I am beginning to feel embarrassed.)

I wish I could do more for the suffering people in other countries, and in my own backyard. When I started thinking about this I felt angry at my fellow "countrymen/women." How dare they moan and groan. I heard my Mom's voice telling me to eat my peas because "children are starving in Africa." My heart hurts that I cannot give more financially. It saddens me to realize that what I make in one month is more than entire families earn in a year. Or two. Or more. Sadly, those folks in my own backyard that are having to return their leased Lexus, or pound the pavement at 50+ to find a new job, or have to cook at home instead of going out, they are suffering on a grand scale. Each of us has our own scale. Who am I to judge?

For now, until I find another way, I will do my best to find a lighter side to my own hardships. And I will work harder to give away a few smiles and a bit of laughter as I follow this path called "my life."



G2

Monday, May 11, 2009

Swimming in the sea of hugs

G2 asked the question (scroll down one entry), how was your weekend? Hers was exhausting just to read about! Mine was pretty much exhausting, as well, but very different.

I worked at the 'girl's group home' for four and a half days, returning home just before dark last night. It's emotionally exhausting, which is a very different kind of tired. I bring my own daughter, who has down syndrome, and living in the house are three more young ladies of varying syndromes of their own.

One is a diabetic, and on a new variety of insulin that you don't have to refrigerate (yeah!), but to my mind anyway, is not reliable as to what effect it is going to have each time you use it. She needs her blood sugar checked every couple of hours or so and fed and medicated as indicated by the number you come up with. Every evening she gets a snack before bedtime (usually anyhow, sometimes her sugar is too high) in order to boost her blood sugar high enough (200 or thereabouts) in order to ensure that she has room for it to go down again and still be above the danger line in the morning. The late night sugar check is between 11 and 12. Diabetes is certainly a dance to monitor!

Another one has obsessive compulsive problems among her diagoses. Her obsession is with telephone calls. One must keep telephones out of her reach, or at the very least, not leave her alone in a room with one that she CAN reach. Everyone has a cell phone these days, including her roommates. I've been joking about constructing a bandolero to sling over my shoulder, with enough slots to load all of the phones into. The theme music to "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" would play as I entered the room. I'd be resisting the urge to intone ominously "Go ahead, make my day", mixing my Clint Eastwood references wildly.

Number three is a very high functioning young lady who is new to the house. Beyond a penchant for dropping her stuff at the foot of the stairs and forgetting about it, she's a real joy to have in the house, so far. There has been a fair amount of jockeying for position since the new resident moved in, but all in all, it hasn't been too bad.

***Information necessary to explain all the hugs*** Before I had breast cancer, I worked at a certain place, running their programs for special needs individuals. After all my surgeries and other necessary stuff, I informed the person that was my 'new boss' that I was ready to return. Sorry he said, you've been replaced. I'd had the job for nearly ten years, so I was at the top of the pay scale, and I had been replaced by someone at the bottom. Plain and simple, that was what was happening here, and while somewhat po'd about this, there was nothing I could do, as our state is an 'at will firing' state. This means there is nothing the employee can do about the treatment, you have no legal recourse. They don't even have to give you a reason, they just say goodbye. Nice, huh?***

But life goes on, and being glad as I was that I WAS alive, I chose not to potentially hurt myself by allowing anger to rule here. Financially I am ok (except for the dental bills), many doors have opened since that one closed.

Sooooo, one night there was a spring dance (which is an activity that I would have been in charge of, hence the foregoing discussion). All four ladies attended. Near when it was due to over I came to pick up my ladies. The last song was playing. I went inside to watch everyone (I really, really miss these guys). The song ended, and someone noticed me there. Sandra! I have missed you!, and I walked forward to be engulfed in an ocean of hugs. It was incredibly intense and emotional and spiritually healing. I have missed them all so much! Then someone said, "Sandra, look behind you" and there stood a young lady, beaming from ear to ear, with arms outstretched. In the past she has often seemed somewhat detached or off in her own world, but not that night. I can tell you that any time henceforth, that I am tempted to feel unloved, I will simply picture her beautiful, beaming face and I'll feel all better. What a night, what a balm to the soul.

This morning, my Ramona took me out to breakfast, a late Mother's day celebration. We do love Lena's! The best neighborhood diner, and lucky we are to have it :)

S2

Of cats and hotwire

I just got back from my sister's place. While there I took care of twenty some horses (all but two are minis) five dogs (plus my two, so actually seven) two cats, and the beta fish.

Now, for the dogs. Two are LGDs. That stands for livestock guardian dogs. One, Alex, is a huge drooly Great Pyrenees, about two years old. Mattie is a very ancient Maremma, who loves to bask in the sun, but looks very dead when she does. The other three are border collies. Tessa is fourteen, and in heat. That means that Alex, really loves her. I mean slobbering, drooling, whining, loves her. Apparently mother nature was not nice to Tessa. She is fourteen! If that whole dog years for each person year is correct, and I know it isn't, that would be 98 people years!! Tessa is also deaf. She used to herd sheep, and is a wonderful dog, and very obedient, but she is now deaf. Nip is one of her sons. He is a very friendly doofus of a dog. I'm guessing him to be nine-ish. Then there is Emma. Emma is a miracle dog. She got Equine Ehrlichia as a pup. She was so close to death so many times, I doubt even my sister could count them. She has now saved a few lives as this disease was not known to effect dogs in the area. She was tested for the canine variety and was clear. A wise country vet requested the test and now Emma is on the data base at the vet school and the test is done along with the others on the panel when certain symptoms appear. Anyway, dear Emma is very small and fox like. She has severe arthritis and is completely blind. Since moving she has been able to go off her medication and has put on weight. I have yet to meet a person who doesn't fall for sweet Emma upon first contact. Then I had the two corgwyn.

The horses include Jessie, a retired, and 26 year old, Thoroughbred dressage horse, Zettie, an Arab, who is also elderly, but not quite as old as Jessie. Bandito is the mini stud, who is a wonder horse, and very easy to handle...and all the mares and geldings. The big girls are out in their area and only need feeding. Two young minis are across from the big girls in their paddock. Both areas stay out and just need to be fed. There are seven, or so, mares in a paddock in the far corner of the property, that also stay out and are fed twice a day as well. Bandito has his own area, for obvious reasons, and the remaining mares and geldings are separated by sex into their areas. They all, along with Bandito, come into the barn at night. Each have their separate routines as far as feeding, and stalls. To make it "easier" the stalls were changed around. Hmmmm,. Not easier. The horses know where they are supposed to be, but now it is changed. The good news is that there were only two that I wasn't sure of, and they had the same amounts of food and were housed next to each other. So, each night they came in and were fed, and possibly blanketed, and each morning they were fed and put out in their pens for the day. Piece of cake. Then, of course there was the cleaning of each stall, and the hauling of food to the equines that got to stay out. Here at home I wander the field each day and pick up the poo...but luckily that was not on the chore list.

So, here is the problem. Most of the horse areas are fenced off with livestock fencing and electric fencing. Some are just strung with hot wire. My dogs are not only dwarfs, but used to hanging with my horse. On the second day they must've been missing their horse, as I had a heck of a time trying to keep them out of the pens. I began to think that the bottom wire was not "hot." Kate spotted the sheep in with the big horses, and that herding instinct really kicked in. For the most part I just really needed to keep an eye on her and divert her attention elsewhere. Henry, on the other hand, was on a mission and would look at me and go wherever he wanted. On the morning of the third day he headed towards Bandito. Bandito is wiley, and he is smart. He is a stallion. Henry would NOT make it out of the pen if Bandito saw him. I bellowed at Henry. He stopped and looked straight at me, then turned and ducked under the fence. This time, however, he did not make it between the pulses. He got nailed big time. I would love to know what he thought got him. The fence? or perhaps "Mom's" incredible powers? He screamed and headed out. Once he screamed Bandito came at full charge. Henry hasn't a clue how lucky he is to be alive. He could have easily stayed away from the fence out of fear and would have died in the pen. Instead he jumped back under and to me. That time he made it back under without getting hit by the electricity. When he got to me he was shaking and wanted to be comforted.

Seven dogs means lotsa poo. Each day I went around with the wheelbarrow and picked up the yard. I decided it would be easier if I mowed. Out came the yard tractor and away I went. About halfway thru the transmission quit. I pushed the tractor back to the shop and then up onto auto ramps so I could see where the belts ran and figure out what the problem was. By now I am sweating big time. Into the house I go for a break. Water? No thanks. Their well water stinks. It smells like low tide. It likely tastes fine, but I cannot bring myself to drink it. After ten minutes I am back out, determined to get the tractor fixed. That is when I spot the cat. Oprah. The little back cat with the diamond on her chest. Steadman has been there; I think he lived at the new place prior to their occupancy. But Oprah disappeared shortly after they moved. I was so excited that I called my daughter. I gave lots of lovings to dear Oprah and decided that she must have taken residency with someone as she was looking quite good...even a bit pudgy. Back to the tractor. I found the belt and took off the back panel...hmmmm, only one bolt where there should have been six. It appeared that this was a regular problem with this, this SEARS mower. Gee, ya think? So lawn finished with just a bit of daylight left. Hose down the tractor and put it away. Fall into bed; I don't know that I even changed my clothes that night.

The next day, chores, dogs, and then I look around the place. All that mowing now means raking. I don't rake at my house. A mulching blade takes care of it, and I don't really care. Here it really must be done. This is a shoes off house. The little blades of cut grass were everywhere, as the dogs drug it in. It must be done. I cannot find a rake, so take a manure fork and begin carefully lifting the rows of grass piles. Then I see it. Piles. Everywhere. Smashed flat and buried amid the grass piles. How is it possible that I could have missed so many? I had a wheelbarrow full of dog piles, yet I missed a huge amount. sigh. It was a two day job to get the grass picked up. I was exhausted, but happy. I kept thinking that I was doing my training for the 3 Day. Who needs a treadmill when there are "chores?"

So, yesterday was a running kind of day. I needed to get the house cleaned up, laundry done, stuff packed into the truck, and the rest of the grass picked up. I spent the day alternating between those. After regular chores of course. I managed to find the vacuum (a Bissel Pet hair remover; I want one!) got my bedding into the washer, kept Tessa safe from Alex, and headed up with fork in hand to finish the grass. As I got to the point where I felt ill, I went in the house and threw linens in the dryer, and watched reruns of "Jockeys" on Animal Planet. I gave myself ten minutes, then began inside cleaning until ready to tackle the outside, once again. Oprah would make her appearance and I just felt happy. At two the call came in that they were getting something to eat and would get the horses packed up and be headed home. Outside I finished the yard and got the barn ready to house the horses as I had told her I would get the ones at home done before they got home. All were safely tucked in when they arrived at about 7pm.

And the cat named "Oprah?" Not Oprah after all. Harley. See the white on the back right toes? Oprah didn't have that. Bummer. Harley seemed to enjoy the love I showered on him. Darn cat!!

Long ride home and so many emails that it didn't give me a count. Just a smiley face. I deleted many without opening. If they were important I will get another, or a phone call. I was too tired to have to face them this morning.

Oh, and yes, we did celebrate Kate and Tessa's joint birthdays with a whole lot of loving and some hot dogs. I even sang to them and got them "singing" along. It was a great four days, and I would do it again in a second. Well, except for the corgi/fence thing. Sadly I didn't get a picture of the "pinto" deer. The resident herd is actually splashed with white patches. Stunning, and perfect for my sister's place, where she was breeding for loud color. We did find the paddock where they hang out, and Kate and Henry declare their "left behinds" delicious.

How was YOUR weekend?

G2
This barely qualifies as a one person job, wow! So, did Henry stay out of the corrals after his 'reminder?'. I bet he did.

S2

I really don't know that he realizes it was the fence. He had run under the rope so many times without getting hit. It was on a leash after that unless the horses were in for the night.
G2

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Contests: Money prizes

The title pretty much says it all. I've been watching for these the last few days, because I need money to fix my teeth! You know that cool stimulus package we're all getting? Well, $250 will just about pay for one good sized filling. Or one uncomplicated extraction (mine are NEVER uncomplicated).

Must remind myself: This is not about the stimulus package. The very mention, and I'm tempted to start talking politics...never the greatest of ideas. Let's just say I hope it helps the country and leave it at that.

This is about contests that pay off in real money. Not in a merchandise type prize that you must pay income tax on (I already know about the income tax). Just the money, please! We'll pay Uncle Sam his share (since there is no way out of that), and smile as we walk off counting what is left for us. Hey, it's still more than you had, right?

1. http://generalmills.promo.eprize.com/familydollar/
2.$30,000 grand prize: http://www.rd.com/rd1/sweeps/diy/tfh_issue_2/index.jsp?sep_id=21347&trkid=rdcom_sweeps_tfh30k
3. $20,000 from BD diabetes.com
4. $10,000 from Dockers
5. $2,000 from Excedrin

That was fun :)

S2

Money Makes the World Go around...

The world go around, the world go around...

You know I'm beginning to age, songs from Cabaret just jump into my head. I was feeling pretty flush, I had paid off every cent that I owe, my FICO score had become something to smile at instead of avoid, and I even had a little bit in the bank. Coming off the last three years of health challenges and occasional fights for my life, this is saying something!

It's either my own fault, Murphy's Law, or prescience. No matter which it was, the thought passed my mind a month or so ago, "I think they've removed everything they can remove, and leave you still vital and healthy". I'm serious, in the last, well, 2 1/2 years, I've been relieved of 1. Any organ that asserts that you are female. Yes, all gone, although two things have been reconstructed and are looking fine, the originals, like Elvis, have left the premises. 2. Gall bladder, gone. 3. Half of colon, also gone. 4. Appendix and tonsils were previously gone. While something else might be gone as well, I can't remember what it was, so who worries?

And then it began...I had what felt like a migraine for three solid weeks. Goodbye, tooth...it was nice knowing you. Of course, once the dentists have you in their clutches, they don't let go without a fight. Five more teeth will be leaving. OF course, they'd like to do implants, and I'd love to oblige, but I don't have dental insurance that is actually worth anything. We've developed a dental plan that is modest, only about $5,000 worth. Oh yeah...well what they'd really like to do would cost more like $40,000. Cough cough! Maybe I should just cut my losses and get dentures. It almost sounds good to me, cause my teeth have always decayed easily and show every sign of being that way more and more as I age. Dentures sound like a comfort (but they better fit!). I'm not really complaining...I laugh more than I cry about it. It's just ridiculous! And I'm thinking, I should keep some of the teeth around, so that I can offer one every now and again as a sacrifice.

I think I'm going to research contests that offer money as the prize. Before you laugh, consider this: When I wanted a digital SLR camera oh so badly, because I dearly love photography, I researched contests that offered digital SLR's as the prize, and entered quite a few. One month later, I say, ONE month later, I won the one I now use. True story. That camera really helped me retain my sanity during all those surgeries...

I'll have to write a separate post with all of the URL's that I dig up, we all need money, right? Perhaps one of us will get lucky!

Hope you are having fun with the horses, G2~

S2

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Which way did she go?

In the comedy which is my life I am often unsure of where I am supposed to be, and when. I have frequent "elder" moments; meaning if it doesn't get to the calendar, it likely will not be happening. Of course there is that other problem of being able to read the chicken scratch on the calendar. Luckily, after several years of having to read doctor scratch, I still can at least decipher MY scratch enough to get where I need to be.

This weekend the dogs and I are heading back to the farm down south. The dogs will be delighted to get back to the nice fenced yard. They do, however, need to learn about the electric fence that surrounds a couple of the horse fields. Unfortunately Kate is able to just walk under the hot wire and doesn't understand that those horses are not HER horse. Camera is in tow, in the off chance the weather is halfway decent. This weekend Kate can get as dirty and muddy as she wants. I think it will be a good way to celebrate her second birthday, which is today. While I have only had her here for six months, I cannot imagine my life without her.

*********************Happy Birthday, Castell Katelan. May 7th, 2007******************

Happy Mother's Day to all the Mom's out there. Do yourselves a favor and peruse through the tulip pictures another time or two.

G2


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Mt. Vernon Tulips have finally arrived !

Too bad the festival was already over when spring finally washed over the land. We were so looking forward to the salmon lunch put on by the Rotary Club (or was it the Kiwanis? Can't find the flyer, which I fear has fallen victim to kitchen cleanup). But when we arrived at the place where we knew it was, alas, there was a wedding, instead. Sigh. There is always next year.

But for this year, this rainy spring, the tulips may have been late, but they are most certainly gorgeous. I expect I'll be posting more of these (I took well over 100), but for now, enjoy!
S2









"tiptoe, through the tulips"

G2

Washington CASH

What an amazing organization. I cannot say enough about it. They put on a great fund raising dinner; my only regret is that I don't have the ability to donate.

If you were to "google" the group you would find that they help people that want to get their own businesses up and running. It's that "teach a man to fish" thing. They help with everything from a business plan to securing the capitol to get it off the ground. Before the dinner the folks that had benefited had tables set up to show, and sell, their products. There was everything from jewelry to disposable phone covers (the inventor had to use a public phone to make a quick call...ewwww), fancy woodworking to elder care. GTOPI/Dan had a great display and attracted a LOT of attention from some incredibly nice folks. I hadn't a clue what this was all about. Let me just say that I was quite happy being naive, as it would have been pretty hard to stand up in front of those cameras that put my face on screens that were about 12'x12', or maybe 120'x120', so all could see the people at the podium. I was also delighted to be able to chat with a number of the "guests" (donors) before the dinner/presentation so was more at ease. Three business owners gave a two minute talk at the end of the presentation. We gave the last talk. The emcee of the program was a popular television personality. I don't watch a lot of the local news and had met her before hand. I used to watch her a few years back...OK a lot of years back...and she always seemed "approachable."

Penny: Thanks for everything. It was a joy chatting with you, and my prayers will go with you on your many journeys. It is your heart that I think I saw all those years ago. Best wishes as you go to Nepal and help give a few kids a better life. Thanks also for sharing/introducing Ezra. I feel honored to have been in his presence. My heart aches for what is happening in Africa, and I am glad that we could get some ideas percolating for him. The world needs more Ezra's.

And Dan: I had no idea that being your first customer would give me so much more than my new leg. I think this really can go global. You are doing so much more than sprucing up a few arms and legs. We both know that the first thing to really healing is accepting the loss and getting on with life. A small fish painted on a prosthesis means that the drudgery of pulling the thing on each morning has turned the loss into pride. To be able to share my thoughts and feelings last night was an emotional experience, on all levels. Thank you. May you be continually blessed in your quest.

I got home late, and exhausted. I rode on adrenalin all the way home. After chores I fell into bed. My head, and my heart, were full; my body tired.

I am now going to go back to bed for another hour or so. While my mind is ready to begin the day, my body is really, really tired.

I may have to get a lottery ticket. If I won I would give it ALL to Washington CASH.

G2

I like the idea of creating a philanthropic organization when 'we' win the lottery :) I've always wanted to do that ...

S2

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Winter, part two

We are in the middle of a huge winter storm. All of the foot ferries that are meant to take the place of the Hood Canal Bridge have been canceled. I was without power from sometime in the night until 12:30 this afternoon. I have learned to call the power company numerous times as it keeps them on task. Seriously. Once the neighbor, who is on a different grid than I am, went for almost a week. When I suggested they call, as I was never without power, they got an argument from the company saying that they were not without power. It turns out they were one of only two homes that were out, and a tree down into the slough was the culprit. This morning the recording said I was one of only 114 customers without power. Not bad for this area. I took a drive and found the problem and there were crews working on the tree and downed line. Anyway, this is one heckuva storm. Much as is expected in November, not in May. The rain is pounding down; so hard that in the night I was worried about the sky lights. Now there are moments of quiet and stillness, followed by huge gusts of wind and pounding rain. It sounds like a hailstorm out there. I put on rain gear to do morning chores between the rain/gusts. As I stepped out a low flying eagle flew just a few feet above my head. He, or she, was headed to the nest with a kill, and I found that the nest is in a tree behind me. I am guessing that all must be OK since he was bringing food. They look HUGE when flying right above my head.

Tonight I have to go into Seattle for a dinner/presentation put on by Washington CASH. The man who did my "tattoo" is speaking and wants me to read a couple of lines of a letter I wrote to him that is to be used on a regional TV show. Anything I can do to support Dan, I will do. He is busy making contacts, getting a website set up, and hoping to secure a building and crew in the next year. He wants to get the business going on tribal land, and hire the locals. So I need to check ferry schedules and directions so that I can be there in four hours. I HATE driving in the city. I have always hated it, and now that I don't have to go there for appointments and all, I hate it even more. Rude drivers make me insane, and there are plenty on the streets of Seattle at 5pm. Last time I was in the area I tried to let someone merge and was afraid the guy two cars back was going to chase me down and beat me up. He followed for a short time and managed to pass in front of me after slowing down and driving beside me honking and prominently displaying his left hand. I guess he wanted me to see that he doesn't wear a ring on his middle finger. It made me feel both comfortable and uncomfortable knowing that my CCP was in effect at the time. Tonight? Possibly. I decide as I am walking out the door.

The sun is shining brightly at this moment. Thirty seconds ago the rain was pounding down. I'm thinking I won't have to water my gardens today.

The house is warm and cozy and I think I will take a nap instead of a walk. That will happen after I wander around and set clocks and plug in the rest of the electronics equipment. I think a quick trip out in the sunshine might be a good tonic as well.

Carry on.

G2


Closing ceremony, Memorial Stadium, 3Day 2008. Raising of the goal flag. "A World Without Breast Cancer"

Monday, May 4, 2009

Monday, Monday

Can't trust that day.

It seems there is a gale warning in effect until Tuesday afternoon. Hmmmmm, I guess it is a bit too quiet out there. sigh.

We are all happy to be home for a few days. The dogs are fast asleep on the couch, and I busy dealing with 88 emails that came through over the internet. I wish I could say that it was easy as they were all junk, but my filter seems to be taking care of that at this time. I have really had to read and respond to them. My time limit for computer time has now been exceeded and I must admit that I am almost hoping for those gale force winds to hit so I can have an excuse to stop. As you can see, I stopped and wrote this as a break from having to think and process the emails.

It was a good weekend. I am tired. The laundry needs to be done, but I need to unpack first. Grocery shopping is in order, but I don't want to go out.

More rhodies are ready to bloom. I have a bright white one that has pink buds. I find this very confusing. I hope those winds don't sweep through and hurt those buds, as I am now wondering if white blossoms begin as pink buds.

I just came in from a pasture break. It is raining now, but the wind has still not arrived. I will bring in some wood as soon as I finish this. I have found the more prepared I am, the less power outages seem to occur. The nice thing about this weather is that I do not need to water the gardens. My salad greens are quite happy in the bale of straw, as are the snow peas. The jury is still out on the cucumbers. I will be starting a few more bales next week, when I have a bit more time at home.

Like the third Grandma, I am in blog subject limbo. Have a few more pictures:

Some serious preschool singing


My salad greens ala straw bale



Song of the day? Nope, not Mamas and Papas "Monday, Monday."

I'm thinking perhaps "How Much is that Doggy in the...uhhhh


........window"?

G2

Friday, May 1, 2009

Yes indeed, and here is the proof!

Spring has sprung on the Kitsap Peninsula.

While this had nothing to do with spring, we are having very low tides right now, although unless you know the area it is hard to tell by this picture.This is looking from the ferry back at the marina here in town. Had I not minded the mud I could have walked from my place straight to the park by the ferry landing. I'm sure we have had low tides like this, but I think they are usually at night or in weather that has me inside.


THIS is evidence of Spring. I've got buds formed on this crazy wisteria vine, which I need to cut back or it will take over the grape arbor.


And here is one of my baby grape plants.

Then we have my neighbor's bee-you-tea-full lawns. Lush, weed free, and a joy to walk barefoot in.
Then we have his rotten neighbor, who's grand kids just love the pretty yellow flowers.

One of the Rhodie's gave me a gift as I am leaving. The first blossom of the year.


And of course the bumper crop of these. My grand kids have been well schooled to keep away, but I know that they will eventually touch them and find that Grandma really does know what she is talking about.

This picture was supposed to show how big the leaves are, and how tall they are, but doesn't but I couldn't figure out how to get rid of it. So there you are. See the Frisbee?

The best sign of Spring, however, is the ice cream social at the preschool, where I managed to snag a shot of all three girls under the table.

Life is nice.
G2

I hope you are going to frame this picture of the girls! Adorable! You lucky Grandma :)
S2