Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sometimes it is hard

to accept, much less embrace, the scars

It takes a village... to get Mom put back together

To accept the pride of my children is an interesting twist as well

While this face shows the fatigue...

The other face says it all!

I want to challenge everyone to do something that you don't think you can do. The end result is well worth the pain.



Monday, June 28, 2010

The plot thickens

as does the algae.

So I go to the pool store to pick up my many pounds of bicarb and pot ash for the pool, which is greener than ever. I decide to take in another sample since I want to know for sure what I will need to add. This time the owner is there...yes!! He tests the water and says that the pH is really not that bad but the alkalinity is way off, but worse, the cyanuric acid level is through the roof. OK. Wait. Say what? There is no chemical cure for high CA levels?None. I must drain the pool and refill, which will fix the pH and alkalinity as well. Do not buy the bags yet. OK, we are talking 30,000 gallons of water in the pool. Drain at least half, says pool guy. Where will I drain that water? Right now there is a hose stretched into the woods. First I will water all my gardens. The rhodies should enjoy the acid water. It is not enough to hurt the plants, says guy, but will render the chlorine useless. AND, it is a by-product of the chlorine tablets. It is the stabilizer. sigh. Now my idea of getting rid of the pool is really burning in my head. There will be little if any swimming this year. I have had the pool pump running for almost three months trying to clean up the pool. I bought a new solar cover. I bought a box of shock. So far this season it has probably cost me about $400-$500 and I haven't been able to get into the thing. So I am contemplating listing the pool equipment. I must commit one way or the other first, however, because once I start selling things off it is a done deal. For now I have the small submersible pump slowly feeding water to the trees. I didn't figure I wanted to use the pool pump as it will dump a lot of water very fast and guarantee flooding. This will take hours, and hours, and hours. That might give me time to decide if I am going to fill it back up or continue to pump it down. Bummer!!


**Update: it has been four hours and the water level has dropped maybe three inches. It will be interesting to see how it does overnight. This may take a few days.**

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Nugget has decided that he really, really likes his new home on wheels. I have a small set of steps that he uses to get in and out. I am really hoping that he never realizes that he can just jump down, but I am sure it is just a matter of time.

As I was taking pictures he suddenly got a bit of a desparate look about him.

Oh, maaaannnnn!

I guess someone else wanted to check out the added height afforded by the new digs.

Sibling rivalry...age still rules.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Dog day afternoon

Yep. I can't get much done for myself these days as I am so enjoying taking the dogs out. If the dogs are worn out, the house is safer. If the dogs are worn out I can at least attempt to do something. If the dogs are worn out we are all just happier. Plain and simple.

I got a "new to me" camera yesterday and I am in love with it. I am still at the experimental stage, so no pictures to publish quite yet. When I was out in the field the last time I was happily snapping away, learning the ins and outs of the camera, when Henry delivered a wet sloppy tennis ball right to the lens. Session over, time to come in and find the lens cleaner kit. It was time anyway, the tongues were all hanging out around the balls. (Tennis balls; yeah, interesting picture, eh?) I wanted to put one of those protective films on the lcd screen anyway, so all is good. Hopefully in the next few days I will weed through the hundred or so and find a decent one or two to publish. For now I am having fun playing. Christmas in June!!

Meat is cooking on the stove for the pups. I haven't bought meat this often since...well, I have never bought meat this often. I was married to a man, for 28 years, who refused to eat "mammal meat." Really just typing those two words sends me into a bit of craziness. Mostly I cook up a mixture of ground turkey and ground beef. It goes with the good kibble and salmon oil and cottage cheese. They seem quite fine with the lack of variety, and I just can't get myself into the organ meat thing quite yet. I also don't have a grinder as of yet. One day it will likely happen. For now they eat their own version of burgers.

Kate is on tap for her DM DNA test. She must go an hour without eating anything that at one time had DNA. No problem, think I. I pick up all the bones and only leave the rubber toys out. It always happens. I sabotage myself. The dogs are bored so I will take them outside. Then I realize they are sharing spit through the tennis balls. (And, gee, the rubber toys I left out.) Kate is notorious for stealing the boys' uhh, tennis, balls. So it goes. It doesn't matter anyway. Time starts over as they have all three found a nice fresh pile of Windy poo. Perhaps I should set the kit next to the bed and my glasses so I can remember to do it first thing in the morning...At any rate, I will fret, once again, until the results are back. I never went through any of this stress raising three children. Then again, I had no choice on the breeding partners of them now, did I? I have no plan on making sure the human race remains fit and healthy; I can have a tiny say in my dogs. There is something to say about gene pools and numbers as well.

So I will go and clean out the camper which is being loaned to oldest son for the week. Last use was awaiting the birth of "Plum." It can use a good scrubbing out after sitting for the winter.

Speaking of Plum, it has been too long since the last "things I put on my sister." Here is yesterday's photo...

While she looks a bit like a biker baby, she is actually wearing a surgical mask on her head. Yep, Miss Mimi can be quite creative.)

Next week I will be going to Elma to farm sit. I will have twenty some horses to watch instead of just one. Twenty some horses that don't appreciate dogs wanting to "hang" with them. It's all fun, nonetheless and I look forward to it. I think it is good for the dogs to experience a lot of different things. I suspect the grass will be knee high and the pool green when I get back.

I love my life. Really, I do.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010


It comes in baby steps.

Yesterday I figured out the issue with the riding mower. I fixed it. What that means is that I can get, and keep, the lawn mowed in very little time. Time is so precious now. I always feel like I am going seventeen places at once. I figured out the mower while I was cleaning the carport and garage. I need to figure a way to get my truck canopy on and off by myself. I decided I will suspend it from the carport beams after I clamp it onto 2x4s. I need my carport to do it. That meant I needed to get the cabinets into the garage, which meant I needed to make a dump run so I can clean the garage. Once I clean the garage I can put away Dad's tools that have been scattered about for a couple or three years. I am about a third of the way there.

Then the pool. It is still very green no matter how much I shock it. It was time to take a sample of water to the pool/spa store and get it tested. Since the weather was decent I decided to clean the pool area. It always makes me feel happy when I get it cleaned up and get the pool swim-able. The pH is off and I am waiting for a big bag of pot ash and a big bag of baking soda. I stopped at Central Market and picked up 8 pounds of soda and put it into the pool. I needed sixteen, but I haven't a clue how they came up with that number as they never asked me how big the pool was. I will test the water myself tomorrow. I guess with the pH off as much as it is the chlorine is ineffective and the algae is very happy. Friday the shipment comes in, but I don't want to wait! As I was cleaning the pool deck I realized that it would be such an awesome dog area out there without the pool. Nice and secure. I am tired of the work and the cost involved in maintaining the pool for a couple of months of swimming. (Unless of course I could find myself a pool boy!) However, it is REALLY hot out there. I would probably need to just fill it in and plant a tree or two. Perhaps selling off the equipment would pay for getting it dog ready. It is all fantasy, but one that sure makes me go hmmmmmmmmm.

I love this picture of my house.

My dog crate cart came in. It is amazing, and I got a great deal, but this one came down to getting what I paid for. Pieces were broken, and pieces were missing. Thank goodness for my friendly little hardware store. I was able to figure out substitutes for the missing parts. Then there were the parts that just plain didn't fit. So I drilled, I sanded, I hammered, and I did it. It is awesome, and will make going to shows so very much easier. Now the problem is that my house smells like rubber. It might be a bit of overkill, until the first time all those folks with the little weenie carts get stuck in the dirt. This baby could go right over the top of them. It easily holds the 36" crate that I will use when I have both dogs showing. I need to figure out how to secure the crate on the cart, however. I am sure I can come up with something before Lacey.

I put the dogs out in the field while I was working in the pool area. When I went out to check there were only two. Nugget had gone under the neighbor's shed and escaped. So now there is another project. It is never ending. At least today he didn't find a dead rat to roll in and eat. For once I am grateful for my neighbor's yappy schnauzer. He alerted me to the fact that my pup was on his turf.

So there is now laundry going and the inside of the house is a disaster. I really need to vacuum and clean the carpet. There is always tomorrow...


Saturday, June 19, 2010

I did it!!

The first one is under my belt now.

I got up at 4am. I needed to catch the 5:10 ferry out of here. I hate setting the alarm because, for some reason, I feel the need to be checking the clock all night. As a result I got two to three hours of sleep. The more I checked, the more I got frustrated with myself and the longer it took to get back to sleep. Of course, as expected, I woke about five minutes before the alarm went off as well.

I headed for the ferry, deciding to forego any "big" breakfast. That particular ferry is the first out. No problem with late boats that early, right? Wrong! It was so frustrating to see the ferry coming from Bainbridge, Bremerton, or Seattle...somewhere south, at about 5:10. Then the crew changes, and NO ONE moves fast. It is a very slow meandering up the ramp, into cars and leaving. All the while we sit. (And the ferry system feels the need to cut runs because it will help the "on time" status. Yeah, right.

We finally get under way and I head for my son's house for a quick once over of the bike and a carpool to the lake. I can hardly contain my excitement. Seriously. We set up our transition area and I decide what to do about getting out of the water. I decide to park the leg down at the water line rather than crutches as the transition point is far enough away that I would be even more wiped out by the time I got to the bike. I invited my son to play McGyver on the left wetsuit leg, which is now short enough that I can get my leg on and off with the suit on. Yes!!

The water leg (uh, maybe "part" is better, eh?) was pretty uneventful. I am slow. Never under distress, just friggin' slow. Arghh. Coming toward the exit I began to cramp in the long side leg. When I got to the bike and tried to get the wetsuit off both my foot and my calf cramped up hard. Ow! Son helped remove the suit while I massaged the leg and got ready for the ride. Just under ten miles. I had the world's best coach following me telling me to "gear down two gears" or "gear up." A couple of times I needed to get off and walk up a hill. Towards the middle of the second lap it sunk in. Cadence. I needed to keep a rhythm going and shift gears accordingly. About that point I also realized that I had a run coming up. Would I have anything left to give the run? My legs were feeling a bit like Easter jello. The volunteers were amazing and kept me going. My kids and grandkids and family made me cry. I used that to keep going. I did the run, and finished the race. Not quickly, by any stretch, but not last either. I never heard my name announced as I was hugging my son and crying. I can't believe I ate the whole thing...

I haven't got the pictures as of yet and will share at a later time. The best part? While I am sleepy, I am not that tired. Time will tell what tomorrow will bring. It was a bit odd to be heading out at 10:30 knowing that "normal" people were just getting their Saturday going. I, on the other hand, had just done a triathlon.


Friday, June 18, 2010


is definitley setting in now.

I went to the venue and got my numbers officially painted on my arm and leg. Perhaps it is a bit like a toe tag? The leg number is F 56...as in 56 year old Female. Hmmmmmm. Normally painted on the left leg, had to be on my right. I like being different! Left arm: 278. I'm suddenly struck with the fact that I am doing this, and better, that I CAN do this! It is all very exciting, yet calming.

There is a steak on the broiler. That is dinner. Only that. The truck will be packed before I eat, and re-checked in the morning before I get going. The list will be checked twice.

If I can move tomorrow night I will update. I think I will be riding high.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

This and that yet again

First of all, it is Yardican Hurricanehunter that is Kate's sire, just for the record. Yep, I call him "Hunter" but there are numerous Hunters out there, so thought I would set the record straight. (Thanks to Castell Pembroke Welsh Corgis for the picture.)

Then, her mama is Castell Finnish Affair. I did the big bad and spelled it wrong in the archives. Amazing what fixing that did. Suddenly she has info that I did not submit. Cool!

That said, all is quiet on the doggie front. Bliss.

I had a melt down yesterday. Pre-race jitters I guess. I look at my wetsuit. My racing jersey. My number belt. My helmet. My funny little tri-shorts. My fancy running leg. All make me smile. Then I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror and my world comes crashing down. The whole REAL picture does not fit the fantasy in my head. It's depresssing. I'm scared. I wonder why the heck I am doing this. After the lake swim I literally fell apart in the parking lot. Lisa Bee picked me up. I guess that is why she does what she does. She is quite good at it. I just want my old body back. I can't have it. Nothing is spontaneous any more. Nothing is easy. Yet if it is so hard, then why am I not stick thin from the exertion involved in just doing normal day to day "stuff?" sigh. I won't go back and wallow, as that is not the point of this. The point is that I am me. Just that. No big "inspiration." No one to try to emulate. Just little, sigh, OK big, old me. I can't carry the extra stress that trying to live up to everyone else's expectations puts upon my shoulders. I have plenty of my own stuff to carry. Sometimes I need a hand carrying my own stuff, but will never ask. I am my father's daughter. I realized last night that I don't want this to be the day after the race. I just want it to be the day of the race. I don't want to miss out on that rush of crossing the finish line. I just want to be done with the pre-race jitters. I want proof that I can, indeed, turn those jitters into the energy that will carry me through the race. 72 more hours and I will find out. Thanks, Lisa, for being there for me, and all the other ladies that count on you.

With that I must go and do some work. Once again the pool is green as it has been on the back burner too long and the weather has been too nice. I think I need a pool boy...

Song of the day?

"Fly Like an Eagle" Steve Miller

Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin'
Into the future
Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin'
Into the future

I want to fly like an eagle
To the sea
Fly like an eagle
Let my spirit carry me
I want to fly like an eagle
Till I'm free...


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The tale of the tail

That would be Kate's tail.

I noticed on Sunday that she had an odd spot on her tail. A spot where the hair was parting funny, or shedding out funny, or something.

I have to go with the "or something." I also noticed that she wasn't too pleased when I combed it out on Saturday and Sunday. Perhaps I should have checked her closer. Perhaps it would have just freaked me out. Perhaps...Poor baby.

Yesterday the spot looked even bigger so I wrastled her down and took a closer look. It wasn't too hard as there is a pretty large bald spot now. There, clear as day, was the skin. And a bunch of little scabs. Creepy scabs that sent my heart a pitter patter as they looked a tad like parasites. Nope, they look like, are are, puppy tooth holes! Poor Kate.

I think I told you that Nugget likes to snare Kate and ride her, by the tail, down the hill in the field. She runs full speed for the ball and upon return he ambushes her. She is so fast that his only hope of keeping up is to grab her tail. Now it seems that the "ambush" is more of a de-bush. Poor doggy.

She is way too kind. I have now taken to getting a ball into his mouth so that as he runs so he can't grab her. I feared he would break her tail. He is so big and heavy and she runs so very fast, down hill, well, your imagination can take it from there. Ow! She will not put him in his place. He now is getting a bit of tough love from his human Mom. Most of the sharp little puppy teeth are now big boy toofers. He still has all the canines and they are the worst. Hopefully they will go soon. He has never been mouthy with me. He hasn't needed to, I guess. He has Kate to chomp on. My poor little pincushion. Lucky for me she is beginning to molt. I will soon be able to, easier, go over her with a fine tooth comb and see if there is any other damage. I suspect it is just the tail and the fact that she is running so fast when he grabs her and her momentum is also contributing.

So I will stop and get some tea tree oil today. I hope it tastes REALLY nasty and that the first run for the ball gives him a nasty mouthful. Poor Katelan....


Sunday, June 13, 2010


did really well. I am incredibly proud. While we weren't in the points, she was happy, showed great expression, and wagged her tail even when on the table. While I would have loved some points, I feel she has really come out of her shell and seems to be enjoying herself. I feel pretty relaxed as well, so perhaps she is no longer picking up on my stress. Whatever it is, it makes me smile when she smiles. I love the goober, and I just want her happy. I really think the biggest factor in her transformation is the Nugget pup. She really needed someone to mother. He really keeps her busy. I am also quite proud of Nugget as he was a very good boy locked away in the crate while I was in the ring with Kate. As a reward for all of us we got to go play with all the other long tailed corgis after we left the venue. I drove home with sleeping doggies. It was nice.

Mark Thorson took a couple of pictures of Nugget. No collar, no bait. His breeder really wanted to see an update of how he is looking. Thanks to Mark for doing this!

Next week I train like a crazy person. My first tri is this coming Saturday. EEEEK!


Friday, June 11, 2010

EEEEK! Tomorrow?

Gone are the days of panic before a show, I guess. Days? I think it used to be weeks! Tomorrow I will be rising at the crack of dawn to prep Kate for an 0845 ring call. In Puyallup. Close to two hours from here. It is now 1930. I need to be up in 8.5 hours. I haven't packed.

The dogs are clean. All three. Kate is losing her coat in her pre-heat shed. She got the first bath. I don't think I have told the number one son enough how much I love that grooming trailer. I vacuumed the house BEFORE bathing the dogs. The bath tub in the trailer was backing up from all the hair Kate lost during the bath. On Sunday I will stop her coat formula and she should shed out pretty fast. It will not be fun. After Kate was dry I decided it had been way too long since Henry was bathed. He has already shed, and there was no better time than the present as the trailer was set up and wet. Once he was done it was time for the pup. I decided to do him in the bath room as that is what he is used to and he is so easy. No drying. I had already traumitized him by grinding his nails and trimming his feet.

So I am now wet and itchy. I will shower tonight as Kate will need her "real" grooming in the morning before we leave. I printed out my check list and will load the truck tonight. Since it is only a day trip I can pare the list in half. It is odd not to be freaking out. Perhaps I am just too tired!!

For now I am off to load the truck and get gas and bridge and parking money. I don't figure on doing much at the show as Kate is not looking her best due to the hormones and hair loss. Perhaps that is why I am feeling so relaxed about it all. Whatever it is, I am liking it! We shall see how real it is when I try to fall asleep...


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I don't need no stinkin' wetsuit

and I hope "Nemo" is OK.

Today was our first swim at Wildcat Lake in Kitsap County. At 7:30 in the am. The pre-swim report was that the water temperature was a balmy 61 degrees. I carefully loaded everything, including crutches, in the truck last night.

Orientation involved meeting and loving the goldfish Nemo, then releasing him to freedom in the lake. The concept being that he is the friendly face of all the "scary" critters that our imaginations conjure up when swimming in murky water.

Nemo and his friends and family didn't scare me. Getting into the water scared me. The logistics of it all. Leg on bank? Crutches? Hop? Sand? Rocks? Yes, I do tend to over think things, but it is certainly not my nature to rely on others for help. Not even little Nemo, who likely is still trying to figure out where the heck he is and why he is so cold.

I opted to leave the leg up high on the bank and crutch to the bulkhead. Following all the other women in their fancy, schmancy, tri wetsuits. I believe there were three of us Scottish types, who just couldn't yet justify the expense. (Then there is the fact that those expensive wetsuits that I might purchase now would hopefully be waaay too big come the end of the season! Yep, that's the real reason.) So I crutch to the water and hop into the lake. It is nowhere near as cold as I think it should be. Perhaps it is the fact that the air temperature is much lower than the water temperature. Now comes the hard part. I must navigate from the just above ankle height water to the just above knee height water so that I can swim out to waist height water. On rocks. ouch! (Make note: buy water socks.) No thank you. I can do this myself. Funny, I hear my voice sounding like the grand kids' voices. Now remember, this is an orientation, right? That means lots of standing around listening, then a bit of doing, then more listening. I opt for sitting in the shallower water. At neck height when sitting. I look at all those wetsuit clad women standing at the bulkhead shivering, and smile...until I think about Nemo. Oh my gosh. Isn't this about where she released him? Suddenly my imagination takes off and I am sure that I can feel goldfish fins struggling under my less than svelte tush. Of course it is not real, I convince myself, about the time we go for another drill. I do, however, make sure that I feel around carefully before I plant aforementioned tush for the next round of instruction.

All is well. I survived and no one needed to be rescued this morning. I even made it in and out of the lake without assistance. It was nice to have the offers, however, and I need to make sure they all know that. (Another note made.) Same time next week. This next time there will be no fear of sitting on Nemo, or worse, swallowing the now flattened dead Nemo as I swim to the piling and back.

It wasn't that cold. Puget Sound on the first of January? THAT was cold.

Tri-Babes rock!!


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Does overplanning

lead to overachieving?

Oldest child, the one who I will be doing the Triathlon with in two weeks, calls and wants to come over. Grand-girls also want to come as school has made visits difficult, to say the least.

He is a kid who has always jumped into things with both feet...and arms...and head...you get my drift. Good, and bad, that has always been his style. Now that he is making good choices, it has served him quite well in all ways.

Anyway, he is very excited about this upcoming race. Oh, did I mention that I am frickin' crazy to be even considering this, much less with Mr. Davis Double Century (that is a 200 mile one day bike race in California)? Me, who is sore after doing five miles. He might as well be ready to just crawl alongside me if we plan on doing this "together." sigh. So he wants to plan the "transitions." On paper. On video. I think he really wanted to practice, but the logistics of getting his bike over on the ferry was just too crazy with two young kids.

I am so excited to see him and the kids that he is having a hard time getting me to focus. Focus? OK, dear. So we make a list of the things we will need for the swim. Then the things we will need for the biking. Then the run. Then he wants me to put them in order, because, you see, we need to "transition" from one to the next; we certainly wouldn't want the towel to be under the socks. Sadly, I think he figures to beat some kind of record; me? I just am hoping to be able to get the wetsuit off and the leg on, and be comfortable enough to be able to run after the bike ride. Focus, Mom. Sure, dear. Did you check out how light my new leg is? Sorry...

I settled down and got with the program, carefully numbering the order of objects for each transition. My teacher checked my work and I got an "A." Then we all went out to play with the dogs and the horse. A reward for a job well done.

I have a funny feeling I will be "transitioning" in my sleep tonight. Not a bad thing if it makes me even a tad bit faster, eh???

I love you, dear. Bear with me. We will make it across the finish line. That much I can promise.


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Three years later

As I was looking at the pictures of Henry three years ago, I realized that I was still in the throws of PG and the treatment. Now, three years later, it seems like a lifetime ago. At times, when I have the leftover headache, I look at some of the pictures I took and am in awe that I have a right hand. I thought about posting them, but they might be hard for some to take. I find them pretty interesting; an anatomy lesson of sorts.

So, this is your warning. Do NOT scroll down if you are not in the mood.


The wound first turns black and then begins to slough.

This was after the first infusion.

I cannot remember how many infusions I had, but a headache is pretty easy to deal with since it means I have two hands.

'Tis fascinating what modern medicine, good doctors, and research can do.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

It's your day, Henry

Three years ago you came into the world. I am better for it. You make me laugh and you make me cry. You brought a whole new world to me. For all of that I am grateful. Today you and I will have some quiet time together...just the two of us. I love you, Henry Long Legs.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

All Quiet on the western front

Henry is five days post op. Today is the first day since his surgery that I awoke with the headache. We are all much happier and easier to live with. He is a happy camper and doesn't seem to notice any change. I am a happy camper and notice a huge change. Nugget also had noticed a change and torments poor Henry just to hear him bark. The spray bottle on the computer desk now has Nugget's name on it.

Our first brick is this weekend. I have a patch behind my knee that is lacking skin. Biking rubs the area raw, because of the constant friction caused by my knee flexing. This must be fixed and I am hoping it is something simple. In three weeks I have my first triathlon with my son. I really need to train!! Today I need to shop for a shorty wetsuit. I suspect Cottage Lake will still be pretty darn cold in three weeks...

Nugget got his DNA test back on Degenerative Myelopathy. He is normal on both sides! Seeing so many Pembrokes suffer with this ugly disease I fear that Cardigans may be not too far in the future. I know that my boy will not contribute to the problem. That is a good thing!! I really wish that breeders would wake up and smell the roses, or maybe lilacs in this case, and routinely test their breeding stock. I would never buy a pup that has not been tested for this and a few other things. Until the buyers demand it there will be breeders that "let it slip by."

So I am off to the store for some meat for the pups and some chocolate for me. The headache is gone now, and life is sweet!