Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Exercise with drama!

On our morning walk today, I caught sight of a couple of dogs cavorting, far ahead of me next to the Rodent Condos, aka piles of old posts. These piles create lots of nooks and crannies where mice, bunnies, and probably some rats too, find shelter from the weather and nice cozy spaces for making nests. In our business, there is always a pile of posts somewhere, waiting to be returned to a replanted field. Prime rodent habitat. This particular pile belongs to the neighbors, though we do have our own up by the buildings.

But, I digress…which, come to think of it, I haven’t done for a while. Hmm, must be getting better at that…

Except that now I have, and twice too…

Anyway, I was far enough away that I couldn’t tell if Daisie was one of the two dogs running around the pile, barking and yipping at its occupants, and then  she popped out of the row beside me. We both stopped and assessed this new situation. Who were these dogs? Friends or foes? She cautiously made her way closer, stopping every 20 feet or so to reassess.

I could finally discern that they were two fine specimens of the Springer Spaniel breed, chocolate andwhite. They seemed pretty happy, and were not even aware that we approached.

Daisie decided that these happy pups must be friends, so she jogged on up to meet them.

When the first spaniel caught sight of Daisie’s approach, it began to yelp and yowl as if it were being mauled. Daisie was not even close enough to touch it, and it was yelping as if in pain, and went on a tear to alert its co-hort.

Daisie jumped back and forth with a look that said, “Wait, wait…you misunderstand me!” But when the second spaniel got the message from Yelper, they both started to run. Daisie was a bit confused at the outset of this behavior. When she tries to chase Olive, Little O turns around and bites her in the face. Here, she only had to look at these two spaniels, and they ran and yelped in fear.

It became a heady feeling for our put-upon boxer, and she decided she might as well oblige and join the chase. She ran after the spaniels, the one yelping and yowling all the way out of our field, through the neighbors, and on into the next. No matter that Daisie never was near enough to catch them, it just kept up the racket until all three dogs disappeared out of my sight.

Of course, my next concern was that Daisie would be so consumed with her newfound power that she might end up at a faraway neighbor’s field before she came to her senses. But I worried needlessly -- after just a few hollers from me, she appeared in the distance, making her way home, breathless from the run and the thrill. Good dog!

Before we could go on, she had to do some scouting around the Rodent Condos to get as much info as she could on the intruders, and, of course, she left some “no-trespassing notices” there as well. I must say that we both concluded that these were displaced city dogs who didn’t have the experience to know that you don’t go barking up to a Rodent Condo. Every country dog knows you must use your best powers of stealth. Good grief, amateurs!

And then we continued on our walk, Daisie trotting ahead of me, still heady with the exercise of power, and so proud of her accomplishment.

You don’t get this kind of drama walking on a treadmill.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

It's too bad I have such a good imagination...

Monday morning as Daisie and I went outside for her duty run, I could hear voices, talking loudly…Familiar voices, like the voices I hear on KGMI…Ah-ha! It must be the radio in the shop, but why would the radio be on so loudly? No one was supposed to be in there…

Suspiciously, I crept up to the window of the shop, but did not need to peek in because now it was obvious that the radio noise was coming from the Kenworth truck. The Kenworth? No one has driven the Kenworth for ages, so how did the radio get turned on? And then I could see that the lights were on too…

I hustled into the house to report to The Farmer this strange occurrence…

“Well, did you go look to see if someone was in there?” he asked.

Right…oh that was my first thought! Maybe I can make a new friend today and meet whoever is hiding in our Kenworth truck!

I informed him that, as the man of the house, it was his job to check out strange occurrences and the possible presence of real-live boogeymen, even if I did have the dog with me when I became aware of the incident.

 So he did…

No one was in the truck, but someone obviously had been. There were ashes and the lingering odor of cigarettes, and, of course, the radio and lights were on. The Farmer still likes to believe that we are living in the 60’s and leaves the keys in his old truck, so someone helped himself to some shelter, heat, and a little entertainment overnight.

You’re welcome. Now please go away and never come back…

And, to relieve your minds and mine, the keys are no longer in the truck.

At this point, the incident was over for The Farmer but my mind was still going…And in reviewing the history of the past day, I remembered that Sunday night there were Law Enforcement vehicles and officers in the neighborhood for a couple of hours, just north on the Halverstick Road. The thought occurred to me that perhaps a fugitive had used our Kenworth to hide out…

I almost blurted out my deduction when I remembered the mocking comments I often get about my “over-active” imagination... so I kept my thoughts to myself.

And tried to forget them.

A little later, Daisie and I went out for our morning walk. We were on our second loop around the field, out in the glorious sunshine, heading south when I suddenly saw a big burly dude running in our neighbor’s raspberry field.

No one in our neighborhood runs…and he was headed west toward the buildings…where had he come from? And – he was wearing shorts (It was freezing!), and his shirt was long and looked kind of like a bathrobe…

Immediately, it came to me! This was the guy who ran away from the police (or Border Patrol) the night before and hid in our truck to keep from freezing to death, and then when it got light, he had to go hide out in the neighbor’s field, and when he saw me coming, he decided to act like he was jogging in his bathrobe around the field and move to another hiding place!

It just makes sense…

So I decided that I would not cross paths with this guy, and turned around to re-trace my steps back to the house. He could be armed and dangerous…and I needed to get Daisie to change course and come back with me so that he would not feel threatened by her and do something to her…

I walked fast.

And when we got to the house, I told Randy about my deductions, very calmly of course, and he smiled, and told me to quit watching so many crime shows in my spare time.

And then I thought about calling my son, the newsman, and see if he could find a police report about the fugitive that must be on the loose…I hadn’t heard anything about it when I was listening to the radio.

And then a little problem with my theory became obvious…No one but me seemed to be looking for a fugitive.


And we did get some new neighbors recently…maybe they are fitness buffs.

And we do know some neighbors who have no means of travel except on foot, and might have decided we wouldn’t begrudge them a little warm-up in the truck we left open so conveniently.

(I think I’m being very gracious on THAT one…)

But maybe I should quit watching those crime shows.

Monday, February 27, 2012

I went and got me some learnin'...

Yessir, I went off to college on Saturday to take a community education class about Photoshop Elements. I've had this software for many months now, and didn't know what to do with it...

When I would look at this screen, it meant nothing to me, but now, NOW, I know what I'm looking at, AND what to do with it. My regret over purchasing it may even go away!

Oh it's a wonder what some learnin' will do for you!

Next week, I'm going back to learn some more...and now that I've broken the ice, there will be more classes in my future. I still love long as no research papers are involved. I'll draw the line there...but being in class, and having mysteries revealed, and, okay I admit it, "getting it" more quickly than other students, well, I just love that.

Apparently, I am an inveterate suck-up, always hoping to be the star student and teacher's pet.

It's a sickness. I know that now...but it served me pretty well through elementary and middle schools, so it's hard to give it up. REALLY, I should grow up.

I'll try.

It was a busy weekend all the way around. Jess came home, so I made sure that I cooked. You know, fill the boy up with food not heated in a microwave, which seems to be what he eats mostly. Home-cooking makes him happy, which makes me happy...and a few other family members didn't seem to mind either...And Friday night before Jess arrived, I experimented with a Mongolian Beef recipe, recruiting my other children to be guinea pigs. And they were happy guinea pigs. So was I! It was delish, and someday I might share it with you...Or you can go over to and find it yourself. I must say the internet has improved my food preparation immensely.

Sunday night was Honcoop Sunday right here at the Northwood Ranch. Honcoop parents, siblings, cousins descended bearing pans of food which were consumed amidst much conversation and laughter. And we were entertained by the antics of the small ones who are precocious and excellent combination!

We are blessed...

And now it's Monday...Maintenance Monday, and there's plenty of that to do...But it's all a bit easier after a weekend that was full of good things...and more to come this week too!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

"The problem with discipline is that it's so daily..."

I left the house at 8:30 this morning, and didn't return until 1:15pm, and rushed into the house to find some lunch, for which I was overly-hungry.

Whenever this scenario occurs, it is the death knell of productivity for the rest of the day.

Does that happen to you?

I don't know why, but if I have to leave the house at some point during the day, I just can't get any motivation going for doing anything the rest of the day. I'm not even interested in my usual time-wasters, but in an effort to APPEAR as if I am doing something, I check Facebook...then email...then the parade of daily blogs I like to check...and then I go get something to drink while I think of something else to check on the internet...

And then, some time on Pinterest...until I realize it is after 3pm, and the guilt hits hard...

But I still can't think of anything I WANT TO DO, though there are dustbunnies floating around behind me, and laundry to be folded, and bathrooms to be cleaned...

I finally write: "Finish reading book" on my to-do list, and go sit down to accomplish something...the kind of something I can tolerate on this no-motivation day.

And then I fall asleep twice while trying to reach my goal.

I should have written the truth on that to-do list: Take nap. Wake up and feel like crap. Wander around the house and eat stuff trying to make myself feel better. Feel guilty. Consider taking a walk, but rationalize that sciatica symptoms make that a poor choice. Eat more food, but it is fruit, so don't feel AS guilty.Wait for dinnertime to come, thankful that it is a left-overs in the microwave night.

Finally, I realize that whether I feel motivated or not, we have only stale chocolate chip cookies for our supply of baked goods. So I force myself to bake some mini loaves of raspberry quick bread...and remember that while I spent the whole day looking for motivation, I should have been doing discipline.

Oh, don't feel good, but you are the way to get things done. I'm much too prone to wait for fickle motivation to come around...

I need to do something about that...

Tomorrow...and just to be on the safe side, I'm not going anywhere.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I think it's Spring!

It's a gorgeous day here today, and a bonus, as it was supposed to rain. The sunshine is making us think thoughts of green and growth...

I think I can even SMELL Spring...
...and I actually think I might be ready for it.

But then again, maybe not...

Rufus says this: "a much colder pattern than recent weeks with the occasional chance for low elevation snow. Threat for sub-freezing temps reaching all the way into central valley of Calif remains probable in the Feb 27-Mar 9 time frame...all indications are for March to start out well below average in the temp dept, with chance for some of the coldest wx on record."

I love winter, but by this time of year, I'm over it...
Snow in March? I'd rather keep thinking it's Spring!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A little late for Love Day...

I tried to get a picture of the dogs for a Valentine's Day card.

Operative phrase being "I tried".

It's pretty hard to get a picture of 2 dogs who don't love sitting next to each, because she has ants-in-her-pants, and the other because she doesn't want to sit next to a dog with ants-in-her-pants. Add to that a novice photographer, and the obstacles are many.

As a result, no card was made, but there were a couple of cute shots I'm going to share...And Edward, Sadie and Charles, one of these days we'll get you a card. I'm not going to promise which holiday it might be...Hope for Christmas...

Caitlin: "Olive! Get over here!"


Daisie won't get close enough to Antsy Pants to be in focus.
Amatuer photographer doesn't notice...

Olive needs a break to go chew on her now faceless Valentine Bear.

Daisie: "We're gonna be here all day..."

The Boss coaches Olive on proper behavior...

...and gets the only genuine display of love we see all day.
Olive: "Next to Girl, The Boss is my favorite."

Monday, February 20, 2012

Adventures at the Thrift Store!

I worked at Lynden Christian's thrift store, Second Chance, on Saturday. I love working there! It's always so entertaining, and I get to play store. Remember how much fun it was to sell stuff to your siblings, and ring it up (if you were so lucky to have a toy cash register), and bag it up, and sometimes even write out bills. Oh! I loved that! And now I get to do it once or twice a month with real stuff, and real money, and real bags! It's my retail fix on the other side of the counter.

And usually it's a retail fix on the buying side as well...

I came home with this little lovely last Saturday:
Isn't she sweet, and whimsical, and Spring-y with her little duck at her feet?

I'm always looking for yellow ceramic stuff, older stuff that is...It wasn't the most common color, and it looks vintage and is a nice contrast to all the navy in my house...

{sigh} This was a particularly good find for me!

Another benefit of working at Second Chance is that you get to meet people you probably wouldn't otherwise meet; and for the most part, this is fun.

But there are always a handful of...uh...especially quirky ones in attendance...

The Quirky Customer of our Saturday shift came up to my co-worker while I was elsewhere in the store. (In the interest of full disclosure, "elsewhere in the store" means I was taking a turn shopping for myself while it wasn't too busy. Hey! I'm helping the profit margins in SO many ways when I work there...)

This big ol' elderly man came up to Kristin at the counter, set down a miniature bottle of baby powder (you know the kind you get from the hospital with all manner of other sample goodies) and said: "It says right here on this bottle that this is NOT FOR RESALE but it has a price tag on it."

Kristin politely thanked him for bringing it to our attention, and said she would let someone know {placate, placate}. As she reached to pick it up and put it behind the counter, he snatched it back and said, "But I want it!"
Kristin, a little taken aback, hesitated and said, "Okay..."
"I'm not going to tell you what I need it for, or how I'm going to use it," he interrupted. Then he put it in his coat pocket and walked back into the store...

Well, okay then...

Believe me, we did not want to know what he was going to use it for!! Neither did we wish to take issue with him over a 49 cent bottle of baby powder...We're not sure if he thought that because it was NOT FOR RESALE, that he didn't need to pay for it, or what? He disappeared back into the store, and we never witnessed his departure, and he never checked out before our shift was over.

Some mysteries are better left unsolved, and this is one of them. We both kind of had the urge to use the hand sanitizer after that encounter; and I didn't even see the man!

Next month I work a couple of Saturdays, so perhaps I'll see Mr. Baby Powder again. {dread} Undoubtedly, there will be some other interesting character present, so stay tuned for more

Friday, February 17, 2012

So we went to Arizona...

...and it wasn't very warm there. Highest temps were in the 60's, so no reading my book by the pool with occassional dips to cool down. But the sun was shining most of the time, and we got fooled into thinking that when we came home it would be Spring.

Uh, not so much...

Nonetheless, I am glad to be home...because I always am, and I'm not a big fan of metropolitan Arizona. Seems like the main entertainment in AZ is to be hot, or go shopping. When it's not hot, that leaves shopping, of which I am a big fan, but can't do continually because of the financial consequences.

But that was the best part of my trip because: I got to go to Stein Mart for the first time in my life!! I've always wanted to since seeing their ads on TV...and they are as good as the ads portray. I bought myself some clothing that is suitable for enduring the special tropical moments that seem to come to me without warning. I didn't allow myself to look at the decor items because getting them home would be so problematic...but there was MUCH there to see...Oh, the missed opportunities!!We need to put a Stein Mart in the Delft Square building downtown...In a word: revitalization! It would be awesome! People would come from all around...

I don't know why the City Fathers don't ask me for ideas...

Anyway, the other fun part of our trip was spending time with the farmers and their wives and talking about the peculiarities of farm life...Not everybody gets the farming lifestyle when you talk about it, so it is always a welcome gabfest when we are gathered...And the Co-op board is just full of good people, fun people. I always look forward to spending time with them.

We stayed at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort, which is a 40 acre, privately-owned resort that is beautiful! The grounds are meticulously kept, as are the rooms, and all the facilities. The staff is friendly and very accomodating. The family that owns and runs the resort has done so for 30 years -- and you can see they take pride in it. I would definitely stay there again.

At this point, it would be good if I had some pictures of this lovely location to show you ...but I don't. I must be in some kind of mid-winter mood because this is the only picture I took:
And aren't you glad I did! Everyone just loves to see a Mercedes with eyelashes...

I don't know what my problem was...We did see some lovely Arizona landscapes as we drove about the area -- tall Saguaros, medium size branchy tree cactus, little barrel cactus, and all manner of succulents...and some pretty spectacular homes...But I didn't take any pictures of those...

It's gonna be hard to scrapbook this trip with a single picture of an eyelashed Mercedes...I should at least  have taken a picture of Stein Mart! Oh well, with my current scrapbooking schedule, I won't be dealing with 2012 until sometime in 2014, so I have time to make stuff up...

Did I say that out loud?

Anyway, we are glad to be home again, despite the return to mid-winter. There was a package for me when I returned, and it's contents should go a long way in helping me with the wait for Spring.

Oh, Downton I love thee.

Witness my to-do list for Thursday. After a 1AM arrival at home, these were my plans:

As you can see, I accomplished each task...thanks to my DVR, my couch and my Keurig. I did miss them while I was gone...and Daisie, of course!

Today I should probably add a few things to the list, like laundry, and buying milk, and showering...and I better do it before I take a wrapper off those dvd's...because I am a Downton Abbey addict...

...who is very happy to be home.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Are you sitting down?

The Farmer got an iphone…an iPHONE!!

After having an old flip style dumbphone for years, he finally began to wish he was in the world of smartphones. I think the many times he would ask a question at dinner, and the kids would whip out their smartphones to get an immediate answer, began to have an influence. And then when he found out they had maps on them…well, it was all over! A smartphone it must be…

Next thing I know, he has ordered an iphone…straight to the top, it seemed to me. But then this is the same guy whose first purchase on ebay was a Kenworth…Go big or go home.

Of course, the fact that The Farmer got an iphone meant that I would be learning a lot about it…And, in fact, for the next several evenings hours were spent trying to figure out how to run the mumble-mumble thing! We were under pressure, as The Farmer was about to fly to Ohio for meetings, and he would need to know, at least, how to answer his phone – and he wanted to get his email – and he wanted to use all those maps.

But first we had to learn a new language: Apple. We know some PC, but are not fluent in that either. We were looking for buttons to click that were not there. We couldn’t find our folders, or categories, or whatever they are, and even had to go looking in the clouds for our information.

We had severe spelling problems as we used the touch screen. When your fingertip is approximately the width of 3 letters, typing is a challenge, and you say things you really don’t mean…And call people you didn’t know you were going to call…And select things that really mess up your phone usage.

And then there’s Siri…

Of course, when we would get stuck, I would tell Randy to ask Siri how to fix the problem. Siri knows a lot about the world, but she doesn’t know much more about how to run an iphone than I do. Sure, she can tell you what the capitol of Kenya is, but how to add a contact? “I’m sorry. I don’t know ‘contact’.” Yeesh!

We found out that she didn’t know The Farmer either…She started calling him “Spik-ee-wheel”.  Spik-ee-wheel? The Farmer asked her straight out, “Who am I?” “You are Spik-ee-wheel.”

Houston, we have a problem…

A little investigation showed that somehow (think touch screen typing with Farmer hands) a business called “Spikewheel” on The Farmer’s phone contacts list had been selected for the identity of the phone’s owner.

Our lack of fluency in the language of Apple had us certain that from now to forever, The Farmer would be known as “Spik-ee-wheel”. It was already obvious to us that Siri could be pretty stubborn, and when we asked her how to change identity, she thought we were planning something illegal.

At this point, there was some serious buyer’s remorse going on…and a bit of complaining about why a smartphone can’t be more like a dumbphone…And why were all the contacts mixed together, and not sorted…And how can anybody type on these things…and so on, and so on…

I let The Farmer vent, and then encouraged him to persevere! And persevere we did…We found out how he had become “Spik-ee-wheel” and corrected the problem. We got the contact lists sorted out. The Farmer got so comfortable that he bought a few apps, and he drove all around Sandusky, Ohio with the help of Siri and all those maps he coveted.

I still have not been able to give The Farmer a clear picture of what The Cloud is…I’ve explained servers, and storage, but he still thinks that his contacts are floating out there somewhere, not sure they are tethered to earth well enough to stay safe…

Siri can’t explain it either, and we’re both giving up. Just use the phone, and don’t ask too many questions…

Fortunately, the buyer’s remorse is gone, and The Farmer is using his iphone all the time, and I am going to get mine in August when I am eligible for an upgrade...because I want to buy apps and answer questions at the dinner table too!

Hey! Go big or go home.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Greats were here...

...and I took not a single picture.

But we had a great day, and they were very entertaining.

Colby has entered the "why" stage of life...He'll wear you down until you scream,"I don't KNOW why!"and get you wondering about the meaning of life.

Or you can just say "Because..." -- be sure it has the 3 dots after it -- about 50 million times until it becomes unrewarding to ask why every 3 minutes so you ask only every 5 minutes.

Fascinating times for him at Aunt Weswie's house: The toilet handle broke and it wouldn't flush. Bet you didn't know the inside of a toilet tank was SO amazing! And worth approximately 2500 WHY questions...

Miss Brielle is starting to use her words, but sparingly...She continues with emphatic nods and shakes of the head to do her most succint, and effective, communicating. She is so sweet and quiet, and yet can bellow "NACK!!!!!!" (which being interpreted means SNACK) when there is a need.

Unfortunately, Colby told me that they had already eaten breakfast before they came, even testifying to what was on the menu, so NACK!!!!!! became very important early on in the day.

I fear it was my repeated failures at making instant oatmeal that caused this fib on his part. Who can mess up instant oatmeal? Apparently, Aunt Weswie can -- so an early snack of many goldfish and juice is a better option than being subjected to HOT runny oatmeal, which then becomes HOT sticky oatmeal, which eventually becomes cold oatmeal worthy of industrial strength adhesive applications.

Eggs, kids -- next time we'll do eggs...even if you tell me you already had pancakes.

Their mother isn't going to like me either, because I let them take the goldfish crackers and smash them into many succulent foods -- "peetend"-- that they cooked on my coffee table with the new kiddie dishes I purchased. There were crumbs everywhere...but they were having so much fun! And of course, I told them that only Aunt Weswie's coffee table was available for this sort of activity...really, I did. There was the inevitable transfer of plates pile precariously with goldfish crumbs that flew everywhere as one or the other tripped while bringing me a fresh meal.

Bless their little hearts, they wanted to clean up, so I brought them 2 whisk brooms, and the spent the end of the day spreading little gold crumbs left and right as they tidied. They learned quickly that the best clean-up tool we had was Daisie. They spent a lot of time pointing out the crumbs for her, and she was so obliging. Miss Don't Waste Words actually said, "Wuv you, Daisie!"

Be still my heart...

The day ended with great finale as Colby helped "Unko Wann" put the new part in the toilet, and rejoicing of rejoicing, it flushed again!!!! "Weally fast!!!"

Auntie Cait came over with "Ah-iv" (Olive), and Brielle, who is no judge of dog character, wanted to love on her at every opportunity...though she can be hesitant around the gentlest dog known to man,  Daisie. Colby is the opposite -- loves the big dog, but had to sit on my lap because Olive was in the house...If you have questions about dog character, my recommendation is to ask Colby. Olive for her part seems to understand that these kids are which I say, and I say it so rarely lately, good dog!

Of course, the best part of the day was when Daddy came to pick them up -- and they didn't want to go -- {insert big smile} and were running up and down the hallway, yelling like banshees, until we finally convinced them that Mommy was missing them and making a dinner they would like and then they ran around outside before their dad could get them all buckled in the carseats, while they blew kisses and yelled, "BYE!!!!"

I got out my shovel and cleaned up the toys, and vacuumed up the goldfish crumbs 'cause Daisie couldn't eat any more...And then I went out for dinner.

It was a good day...

About Me

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