Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"Ask not for whom the bell tolls"...

I've chosen not to write of some of the sadnesses of the past few months, but another loss in our little town compels me to reveal a heavy heart.

It's been a winter of many losses: from the nonegenarians who represent the pillars of our community, to toddlers, teens, and babies born too soon...all gone too soon, by our estimation.

I believe God is in control. I believe all those I refer to are safe in His care -- but I admit I don't understand His choices nor His timing oftentimes...

Yesterday, a wonderful, middle-of-her-years woman was taken in an illness that ripped her from her family in a matter of hours...How could this happen? How could this husband, sons, and daughter now be left alone, without her gracious, wise, loving ways. The center of their world is gone...

And sorrow upon sorrow as their Grammie passed only days before...

Today our little town is full of heavy hearts for the sadness of people we love, respect and admire. It is hard to see any beauty in this situation, but it comforts my heart to see so many gather round this entire family in prayer, and love, and support -- holding on to them in their broken-heartedness.

All of us carry a little of the sorrow, the bell is tolling for us all...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Current Regime...

The Little Usurper surveys her newly acquired kingdom...


Daisie: "That used to be mine..."

The times, they are a changin'...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spring Tease...

It's been a bit of an unusual winter here, in that it has been winter ALL winter! That doesn't usually happen...We usually get a bit of spring somewhere in February -- even January sometimes...Everyone gets excited; the farmers get out in the field -- and then winter comes back. Last year it came back and stayed until...oh, about June!

But this year, winter has been winter. I've heard rumors that it has been one of the coldest on record, not for depth of cold, but for average low temperature...lots and lots of frosty days.

A lot of days lately have looked like this:


We've had a lot of storms blowing through...And there have also been plenty of days that were just gray, rainy, not-so-pretty days.

But this week, we've gotten a little tease of Spring -- which is about right as the first day of Spring is tomorrow. How strange would it be for Spring to come at the appointed time? For here, that would be unusual!

Beautiful skies...especially the blue!

Buds pushing out on the raspberry canes...


The canes are all tied, and the robins are in residence...

The sun is shining again today, and it's actually tempting me to get out in the yard. {SHOCK}
I know that if I succumb, I will be sorry tomorrow.

Perhaps I should check the ibuprofen inventory first...

Happy Spring!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I'm a grandma!...well, kinda...

I mentioned earlier that our daughter Caitlin acquired a puppy...so now I have a GRANDPUP, and I am a grandma, of sorts.

I don't mind at all!

I have a fond affection (make that FOND, FOND affection) for puppies -- especially those of the short-hair type...Can't get enough of 'em!!!

So Caitlin brought home her little "Frenchton" -- a designer breed, I guess, as she is half FRENCH Bulldog (my favorite kind of little dog) and half BosTON Terrier (my second favorite kind of little dog.) A perfect combination! Caitlin named her Olive Oyl.

She is ADORABLE!!
But then, I am her Gram -- I would think that...

When I told Randy that Caitlin had bought a puppy that had to come by plane from Arkansas, and that she would have to also find a new place to live, he frowned deeply. Oh! The lack of consideration for convenience! Oh! The inefficiency and impulsivity!!

Now he drops crumbs on the floor for her to eat, and asks if its his turn for her to sleep on his lap.

But he refuses to be called Gramps, just as he refused to be called "Dad" for Daisie...He is, to both of them (and sometimes me too) The Boss.

The Boss who's wrapped around their little toes...but you didn't read that here.

As for Daisie -- Randy was convinced that she would not tolerate another dog in her world...But she has more than tolerated The Little Usurper. They like each other -- except for when they don't...which is usually at the end of the day, or after a particulary irritating bout of rough-housing.
Like most little dogs, Olive doesn't know that she IS little, or that Daisie, should she so choose, could hurt her badly. Apparently, Daisie doesn't know this either because she is regularly assaulted by Olive's needle-like puppy teeth on her jowls. Not once has Daisie put a tooth on her in return, though she bats her about with a swing of her head quite regularly...It's painful, having fun -- and very noisy too, I might add...

It's the equivalent of dog heaven to them...

...and afterward, they are tired, cozy friends.

Being a grandma now, I get to puppy-sit -- 5 days per week! Olive is too small to stay alone for the hours Cait's job requires, so we get to have her at our house everyday! Oh yeah, and Cait too!

For all my wisdom via hindsight about child-rearing, I find that I have fallen back into the same old bad habits of years gone by. I fuss, wondering if she is doing alright...I worry whether I am leaving her in the crate too long...I hate to wreck her good times when she is doing something that we will later regret that she knows how to do...I wait for her to "tell" me what she needs, rather than deciding for her -- and you know what that means -- CLEAN UP!

I'm a puppy-centered whuss.

I was with Daisie too...still am...and I love it.
But someday, I'm going to have to get some work done...
Someday...


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Reflecting on Maui...

Oh, Maui...{sigh}a wonderful 9 days...a true vacation, where we relaxed and enjoyed the luxury of being unhurried...

There's just something about Hawaii for me...I relax there like no other place! What is it?

I think because it's just so different from home, but still wondrously beautiful... Whatever time of year you go there, you are instantly transported to summer, the season of vacation...And, of course, there's sunshine and the beach...you know, SUNSHINE...BEACH...

{Sigh}

We WILL be going back.

This trip, we arrived a bit more savvy about how to negotiate the wonderland. We knew what we wanted to do...we didn't need to read lots of brochures about our options.
Kamaole 1 Beach

We headed straight to the beach where Lon (aka The Farmer's Brother or Farmer 2) and his wife Deb, taught us the art of Beach Bummery. We were quick learners.
Our instructors, hard at work...

The Farmer embraced the lessons, and spent hours practicing!

Me, on the beach -- my good side...


We spent the next 4 days on the beach...doing nothing, and enjoying everything.


That is The Farmer, bobbing/noodling in the water...our favorite form of exercise.

Farmer 1 and Farmer 2

Beach Bum Instructors and Students

Our daily encampment...


Pale and white, in a matter of days, we were transformed to pink, red -- and hey! a little bit of brownish-ness...My anticipation of Maui had included some grave concern about the state of undress I would have to display there...Uh, I know that clothing is my friend --and I feared that the exposure a swimsuit requires would engender some...well, surprised looks, and, perhaps, uh, some heckling...

I need not have worried! As I traversed the beach in my comfortable, but modest, swimclothes, I became aware that there are many people on the beach who seem to suffer a sort of backwards body dysmorphia...They think they look better than they really do -- especially in a two piece! And, apparently, these people had thought this for many days as all manner of rolls, and folds, and...and...uh, volume, were deeply tanned. {Gulp} I was thrilled to find out that I was unremarkable in every way. Pure joy!

As for these backward dysmorphics, I gently remind: Yes -- a tan will make things look better, but a tan still may not elevate things to the level of looking good...But thank you for erasing my worries about hot weather dress!

Interspersed with our beach bumming, was the need to eat food -- which we did at some lovely restaurants...oh, the life! Besides, we needed to celebrate Deb's birthday, which we did at every opportunity!


Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi Mahi...

...at the beautiful Five Palms.

Scrumptious desserts...

...after the best steaks of our lives at Ruth's Chris Steak House.
Amazing food and service!

The Farmers, 1 and 2, took a helicopter tour of the island...marvelous!


After our Beach Bum Instructors had to return to the mainland, we did our best to bum as they had taught us...but we also explored the island a bit.
We drove past sugar cane fields...
...toured the Sugar Museum...

Headed further south to Makena...

...and ended up in the moonscape that is Ahihi Kinau Natural Reserve.

This looks like clods of dirt, but it is all lava rock of various sizes.
It is a lava flow from probably the 1790's that came from a fissure on the side of Haleakala.
It's a wasteland, in the middle of verdant green -- surreal!

Power lines and a water line go through (over!) this area...no way to dig in a line...probably no need for a water heater either!

Ho'okipa
We drove through a bit of the upcountry to Makawao, and the Hana road, then back tracked down to beautiful Ho'okipa, and around through Paia -- hippy town, and back to Kahului. Ventured a little ways up the Iao Valley, but then back to Kihei. There's so much beauty everywhere on the island!




We did NOT do 2 of the most famous drives: Haleakala, and the road to Hana...Well, we did a bit of the Hana road...And if you are wondering why we did not do all of it, the reason is simple: The Farmer is not interested in going someplace that you have to drive the same way back. He prefers to take a different route home, to the point of skipping the whole trip to avoid this dilemma.

All I can say is it's a good thing we don't live on an island...It could be problematic.

We moved from Kihei, to Kaanapali for the last 3 days of our stay, where we joined the other members of the Co-op Board for meetings...Well, the guys had work to do -- the rest of us created our own agenda of meetings: "Meet you at the beach..." "Meet you at the pool..." Meet you at the Starbucks cart..." Meet you at Whaler's Village for shopping..."

Our resort in Kaanapali...

It was a beautiful place!
The beach...and Black Rock, the snorkeling spot...

Fun times! It's always a treat to spend time with this group as we have so much in common as farming families. A lot of our experiences are unique to this vocation, so it's great to have some concentrated time to commiserate, confab, and laugh a lot.

Dinner at Kimo's in LaHaina with the Co-op Crew...
I believe this was a committee meeting...

It's always too soon to leave Hawaii, but it really was time to be home...We sat on the beach in the morning...Drove down the coast with the windows open, the wind blowing our hair, the ocean brilliant blue, the sun hot...Then we got on the plane, and after 5 hours arrived in snowy Seattle, where we spent 15 minutes scraping the ice and snow off our windshield so we could see to get home.

It was a bit of a shock.

But it didn't diminish the wonderful respite that we had enjoyed...and the memories I keep mulling over on these last days of winter. It's just nice to know that it's always summer somewhere.




Friday, March 4, 2011

It's March -- and I'm still tired from February...

It's March, the month of Spring's arrival, and it doesn't seem like it.

Though we have a beautiful blue sky this Friday morning, it is frosty and cold, and follows a week of occasional snow, a memorable windstorm, and generally wintry weather.

It's all good to me. I'm not ready for Spring yet. I'm too tired from a busy, but very good, February!

January ended with the very good news that Tiffany (dear daughter-in-law) was granted her permanent residency (aka green card) in the US! Hoorah!! She now has no worries about expiration of visas, and she has employment authorization for the US, should she choose to work down here. The issue of her legitimacy as a resident here as been put to rest...and that is a relief!

We celebrated!

The next event of note was Caitlin's purchase of  her dream puppy -- which she found online, and whose birthplace and current residence was (drum roll) Arkansas! Perfect pup is a Frenchton, which is a French Bulldog/Boston Terrier cross...and adorable! This purchase for Cait was a big deal because (bigger drum roll) it meant she now had to find a new place to live as her current abode had a "no pet" policy...And the day after her purchase, and commitment to move, her friend Abby called to say she was ready to take up Cait's offer to be roommates...Which Cait was enthusiastic about, but had to admit to Abby that she didn't know where they would be living anymore.



A frantic concerted effort ensued to find a pet friendly home. Fortunately, when Cait responded to a craigslist post about such a home, she was emailed by her former piano teacher, who was excited to have Cait apply (despite the fact that years ago Caitlin abandoned her music tutelage for riding lessons...forgiving woman!) Whew! One problem solved...

The next week, my dad reported to the hospital for his ankle replacement surgery...4 hours of surgery, and a long day of waiting, but we were blessed to see him doing well at the end of that day, with no pain...(nerve blocks are a gift from God!) He was in the hospital only 2 days, but then began 6 weeks of no weight-bearing on his new ankle...a test of endurance! And even more so as his ankle now feels better than it did before surgery, despite the incision and trauma of rebuilding it...Whew! Lots to be thankful for...

We were able to move Caitlin's furniture into the new place the next weekend before we left for our vacation to Maui. This just happened to coincide with the rainiest, windiest day of the month. (U-haul, we love you!) Caitlin moved to our house to take care of Daisie, and wait for her pup's arrival...postponed for a week due to bad weather back in Arkansas.



We left for Maui, the day before the puppy arrived -- I was quite disappointed that I would have to wait 9 days before I could meet the little bundle, but for some reason forgot all about that once we hit the beach...Oh, Hawaii, how I love thee!!! 9 days of relaxation in the warm sun...while Caitlin cared for 2 dogs, finished moving her stuff, cleaned her houses, dealt with winter weather conditions and was generally as exhausted as a new mom with an infant...I must admit that the sand and sun of Maui made me quite callous to her plight...



Soon enough, or maybe too soon, it was time to return to the Great Whitish North. We sat on the beach in the morning (80's) and that same night, we scraped the icy snow off our windshield and drove recently snow-plowed roads home. (20's!)

Were we really in Maui?

It WAS great to greet our girl, and her darling pup,Olive, and our Daisie...I do love home (more than Maui!). It was just a little cold here...



After 3 hours of sleep, it was time for me to get up and assume puppy duties for the day...which consisted of many naps, thankfully! 2 days of zombie-like behavior, and then it was time to make sure Randy was ready for his annual trip to DC.



We drove the poor guy to the airport on Sunday, and then returned to Cait's new house to unpack and help her settle in...

And since then, I've been puppy-sitting daily, which gives me good reason to sit with a sleeping pup on my lap for hours...Daisie, Olive and I are really into napping...and we're good at it. We'll work on that other stuff, like "sit" and "no" and "leave it" later...but not too much later.



Today, I get to pick Randy up at the airport. He'll be so glad to be home!! And I will be glad he is too...time to get back to normal life on The Farm...if there is such a thing!

And hopefully, we'll be recovered from February before April comes around.

About Me

Needing an outlet for various thoughts rattling in my head, I've created two blogs -- One about my real life (leslieisverbose.blogspot.com) and one where I can vent. (leslievents.blogspot.com)