Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Olive's got 'em!

And she really likes them!
Cait invested in this carrier so that she and Olive could venture further into the city than they usually do on their walks...
Olive took to this without hesitation, happily smiling as Cait toured her around the yard.

It's like her own little RV -- windows, vents, rain cover, cargo storage and a cushion that guarantees comfort...The only things missing are signals so Olive can indicate to Caitlin whether to go left or right.
I'm sure she'll have an opinion about navigation...
-- 'cause she has an opinion about everything.

I'm glad we didn't have to see what would happen if her opinion about her little RV was negative...
And I think Caitlin should gradually work up to longer rides...
just in case, you know, Olive's opinion changes...
and ALWAYS wear her helmet.

And that wouldn't be a bad idea for ANYTIME you are with Olive...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Happy Birthday to Daisie!

Our dear Daisie is seven years old today...Seven years of being The Best Dog in the World...

(Sorry Olive, you are The Second Best Dog in the World...or something like that.)

From the early days...

To the coming of The Little Usurper...

To these days as the gray starts to show up on your muzzle...

You have been a wonderful companion...You make us smile every day, and we consider you another of God's good gifts to us...

Enjoy your treats today -- a fried egg! (You've always wanted one!) And a biscuit every time you come in and out...which is a lot...And a new flying disk that we will hide from Olive...No hats, no clothes, no over-rich food to make you sick...because we all love you...

Yes -- even The Little Usurper. Happy Birthday!

Monday, May 28, 2012

We headed east... watch our nephew, Derek, compete in the 1A State Track Meet last week. And it was so much fun!
I think that every year since 1996, one of our kids or our nephews or nieces has been in track. That's SIXTEEN years of going to track meets every spring. Sixteen years of good memories -- of the triumphs of victory and the agonies of defeat...lots of effort, and lots of accomplishments -- some medals, and a lot of character-building.
This year when Derek qualified for State, we realized that we had reached the end of that streak, and it was on our minds that we would never get the opportunity again.
We had a hard time deciding to go because the two days we would be in Cheney for the meet were also, likely, the last two good weather farming days for the next 10 days. We tried to take the responsible route and stay home to farm, but in the end, we couldn't stand the thought of missing our last chance. Wednesday night we decided that the TRULY responsible route was to head east and take it in!
We planned to leave the next afternoon...Sister Meg decided she would join us. An avowed "track geek", she couldn't stand to stay home either. Thursday noon, Sister Erin and Brother-in-law Larry -- parents of the trackster -- called to say that they had decided not to wait to leave until Friday morning, and could they ride with us too? By 4:30pm we were on our way, scheduled to meet the Likkel's -- grandparents of the trackster, and unhesitating in their commitment to go east -- in Ritzville that night.
We arrived at Roos Field, Eastern Washington University in Cheney, shortly after the meet started. Derek was scheduled for his first event at 3pm, so in the meantime there was plenty of time to watch prelim races, pole vault, discus and pore over our programs for record heights, speeds and distances. The weather was very enjoyable: temps that had you comfortable most of the time, lots of sun to absorb, and wind. The wind was a bit of a challenge for the participants -- especially those who were vaulting or jumping. It was hard to keep the bar on the standards -- added drama!

Derek's brother Jeffrey,along with his girl, Kristen joined us in time to watch Derek compete in Triple Jump.

Derek's best leap was just 3 few inches shy of his personal record and, unfortunately, 2 inches shy of qualifying for finals. Still one can't feel too bad when jumping so close to the best you've ever done.

Saturday morning we returned to watch Derek in the long jump. Triple Jump is his favorite and his strong suit. He hadn't expected to go to State in Long Jump, so that was just a bonus. However, in his first jump, Derek popped off a 20' jump that was just 3/4" short of his personal record. It was good enough to get him in the finals, and eventually earned him 7th place in the State, and a medal!

It was a great surprise, and a perfect capstone to our families' ongoing fondness for track over the years. Thanks, Derek, for finishing out the family tradition so well.
It surely was fun for all of us!

Another era ends...I'm sure that next spring we will notice the absence of the weekly track event with some sadness. But all in all, Track & Field has given us more than we could have anticipated.

There are sixteen years of memories that will always be good.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

So purty...

The babies (first year of harvest for these) look so tidy and lovely, and with the rain leaving the ground chocolate brown...well, it does a dirt farmer's heart good! I had a picture of them from sunny Saturday -- but the chocolate brown dirt looked even better today!

Back in the rest of the field, where the grown-ups are, the grass is all mowed and tidy too.

And look at all the buds!

A few blooms have appeared...

Lots of growing occurred during last week's great weather, and lots of farming was done -- everywhere! It was a boon to the ag industry, and I don't doubt it did many other hearts good too.

(Daisie wears her heart on her sleeve...She has just figured out that Mom came out to take pictures...NOT to walk..."My life is crap...")

This week, with the return of rain, I had to bring my freshly planted pots to "high ground" -- that is, under the deck roof -- before they drowned...

...and I really didn't need to water the rose bed on Saturday night.

...and the lettuce seeds I planted on generously watered potting soil will probably rot before rooting.

I need to work on my timing. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

I continue to be impressed... the abilitiy of the human body to produce mucus. Very impressed...

...and annoyed, very annoyed.

But all in all, I am feeling better, and on Saturday was energetic enough to do a lot of work in the yard.

Well, a lot for me...

I trimmed the beech trees -- 4 wheel barrow loads worth of branches. I love my beech trees...They are perfect, natural art to me with their draping, reaching branches and graceful sway in the breezes. They always leaf out in early May. One day you can see the points of the rolled up leaves on each branch, and suddenly, a day later it seems, they are unfurled and complete! I love them!

However, their graceful draping branches were combing my hair, scratching my face, and impeding my view as I tried to mow the lawn at their base. I am proud to say that, though I love pruning, I practiced restraint and they look none the worse for my zealousy...And I mowed the lawn without injury and actually followed the line of the flower bed with accuracy.

I also planted my garden -- which took all of 15 minutes as my garden is small, very small...just the way I like it. I am lobbying The Farmer for more acreage though...and I've added urgency to the issue by purchasing pumpkin plants. Yep -- I want to grow my own pumpkins this year. (Sorry Stoney Ridge -- I will still come for pie, you know...) We have this large area that is uncommitted to any useful purpose right beside the garden, so why not fill it with some pumpkin vines? Perfectly reasonable...but it requires rototilling with the tractor, which means hooking up the tractor to the rototiller, which means the tractor must be unhooked from the sprayer, or mower, or whatever else The Farmer is using right now. It's an interruption to the money-making activities for hobby-ish activity, which The Farmer rightly recognizes as something I may lose interest in...The cost/benefit analysis is not good.

But I know he hates to see little plants die (unless they are weeds), so I went ahead and bought the pumpkin plants...heh, heh, heh...

I should go to Washington DC...I know how to work the lobby stuff...

Unless...The Farmer thinks of pumpkin plants as weeds...

Uh-oh...this could be a problem...

Stayed tuned for undoubtedly riveting drama from The Farm.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Shoe sadness...

After my recent post about my favorite shoe store, I received the sad, sad news that it will be closing.

{deep breath}

I would like to say much more about the company that has attacked my friend Kelly, and ruined her dream -- but it would get ugly. Suffice to say that they are have made it unprofitable for her to stay in business by making false accusations about her use of the name Sole Obsession. They claim that she took it from them with intent to impact their business.


I would say that whoever they are, they are not big on truth...or justice...or knowledge...Because what they assert has just not happened...Kelly intending to steal their name and business? PREPOSTEROUS! RIDICULOUS!

And it is costing my friend her dream, and our town -- a great business.

{mumble, mumble, GROWL...}

Today was the beginning of her close-out sale...

And I took full advantage of it...

Jerrie, my other favorite shoe saleswoman, took my orders: "I'll take a size 8 in that one, and that one, and add this to my pile, please..."

Buying shoes like they were going out of style...or stock, in this case!

Oh! What will I do with out my shoe store? After I became old enough to suffer injury from wearing cute, cheap shoes from Target, Kelly saved my hurting feet with well-made, supportive AND cute shoes...I will miss her, and so will my feet.

In the meantime, I have 3 new pairs of shoes, and 6 pairs of socks stashed away for the coming famine...Oh -- and a hat for each of my girls...I wanted them to have something from Sole too!

Best wishes Kelly on your future endeavors! I will miss dropping by to chat on my Town Tuesdays...

And the rest of you better get over there and get ready for the famine...I didn't buy all the size 8's!


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Birthdays and Mothers' Day...

The Ivan Likkel Family gathers monthly on the second Sunday of the month to celebrate family birthdays, and make an effort to stay on top of what's going on in the family. In May, that means we meet on Mothers' Day.

This dear girl decided that the moms should not have to prepare the food, so she coordinated the kiddos to make contributions to take care of lunch.

Bless her!

...and especially because she's usually pretty busy trying to keep her charge under control.
It's a full-time job.

They came up with a delicious lunch...
and a little delight for dessert: chocolate peanut butter cakes, baked in jam jars, then topped with ice cream and melted dark chocolate.

We were all so very happy.

And we celebrated birthdays...
of which there are FOUR in May... lots of presents.

And I just HAVE to show you what my mom made for me...

Isn't it pretty?

...a little more detail...

Mom has been creating a quilted piece for each of the girls this year. I just love the embroidery on these squares, and the vintage-y fabrics...goes perfectly with all my vintage finds.

And of course, something I will treasure forever!
Thanks Mom! 

With the sun shining, it was a very pleasant lunch time, and a very relaxing one for the moms.

Love those grown-up kids!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I still feel like...

...crap. And according to my schedule, I should not be feeling this way anymore. When I came down with a cold, I figured that I would feel poorly for 3 days, improved but symptomatic for a few more, and at a week, I would pretty much be back to normal, with maybe a little residual cough.

It seems the uninvited virus has other plans as, 1 ½ weeks in, I am still coughing and blowing my nose, and at approximately 2pm each day, I am ready to go to bed for the night.

Grrrrrrr…I’ve got stuff to do! Stuff! Lots of it! And the sun is shining for Pete’s sake!

{grousing, mumbling, more grousing, and a generally bad attitude ensue}

And then I noticed on the calendar that Randy’s cousin Kathy has a birthday this week…Doctors have told Kathy that this will likely be the last birthday she will have here on this earth. She has received the kind of news that would be devastating…Her cancer is not going to go away, and the symptoms that she endures are going to accumulate.

And in the midst of this, she is choosing to live…I mean, LIVE! Yes – all caps and exclamation point too!

She’s taken care of the issues that require due diligence, and then she is going on with her life, going back to work, enjoying “normal” days as much as possible. She planned and gave a baby shower for a niece whose baby she is determined she will hold. She keeps teaching her 4-H kids each week. She is focusing on what she enjoys, and is actively enjoying her life.

Add to this that Kathy has spent most of her life in a wheelchair – probably as long as she can remember – and has independently and cheerfully taken care of herself. Her accomplished goals include purchasing her own condo – prettily decorated and immaculately clean. She became a “runner”, training with other local runners until she was able to compete in some races – even a half marathon – wheeling as the others pounded the pavement. She’s a cherished friend to many, and a dedicated participant in her church.

She has always been a cheerful, positive presence – and still is. Cancer has not changed who she is.  Who she is, is changing my view of living in spite of cancer.

I have no claim on her accomplishments. I don’t even see her as often as a cousin should…

But I am just so proud of her…

And I know that GOD brought her to my mind as I moped about my very temporary illness.

{MAJOR attitude adjustment ensues…}

Kathy – I hope you have the best birthday ever. If anyone can do that in these circumstances, it would be you! We love you; we are so proud of you! The way you are living is creating a legacy that all of us will cherish.

I will do my best to follow your example of finding joy in each day.

Monday, May 14, 2012

You're not gonna believe it....

As I tidied up the house for Maintenance Monday I came across a little surprise...

I shouldn't be seeing this in the corner of the couch!!

The foam is torn; the zipper is broken!

I can't figure out when Olive could have done this...

And then I remember that we left her alone in the house, uncaged for a short while...

But I can't believe that she would do so little damage, and not go back to it at some point to continue...
None of us saw her go into the living room.

And then, I look a little further...

Deep in the corner of the living room couch is one of Daisie's favorite biscuits.
She's taken to hiding them very carefully, so The Little Usurper does not find them.

Apparently, this time she had a lot of trouble trying to get it out...
and my couch cushion was a casualty.

Unbelievable!! DAISIE DID IT!!!!

I have to give her credit for finding an effective hiding place...just a bit too effective.
When I brought Daisie this biscuit, she had a funny look on her face...and guilt was part of it.

Oh, Daisie...tsk, tsk, tsk.

Olive's gonna love this...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

I acheth...

...but in a good way. My aches and pains today are a badge of honor for all that was accomplished yesterday. I spent the entire day working in the yard, and I was especially proud of myself for the attitude I maintained.


It's a joyful way to work, I tell you.

No -- this time, I intentionally took my time, enjoyed the process, and pretty accurately presumed how much I would be able to accomplish...And then I was happy with it.

You know, work isn't so bad when you just do it, and don't torture yourself that you are way behind the whole time you are working...when you don't presume that you will be able to do a week's worth in one day and then are disappointed when that doesn't happen.

I could have used this knowledge about 40 years ago...and every day since. And I'm pretty sure someone tried to teach me that back then....Classic "too soon old, too late smart" situation.

Anyway, I got all the flowerbeds around the house tidied up, and planted too. I hauled out some of the deck furniture in hopes of an accurate forecast of warm weather for the weekend. It hasn't happened yet...but I'm ready. I got many of my pots planted, and plunked some perennials in the ground under my trees -- not sure I will have success there, but each year I know more about what doesn't work...Hmmm, that's true about a lot of things...

Everything looks tidy with the promise of cheerful color and lush foliage to come...
I love that!

And today, with my aches and pains, I can sit on my cushy deck chair and gaze upon it...
as long as I take a blanket with me...Still waiting for that heat!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Matchy-matchy no more...

Yesterday was Town Tuesday, and I went to my favorite shoe store to visit my friend Kelly, and because lately I've just not had the right shoe for the outfit.

I came home with these beauties:


To say this is a departure for me would be putting it mildly.

I have a tendency toward matchy-matchiness...and I can think of only one item in my wardrobe that will coordinate with this color.

I was just going to pass these by, then tried on, instead, some cute neutral flats...However, I thought I should at least see how the red ones felt. If they felt good, I would get them in the neutral bronze-y color.

And then, I loved them.

They felt good. They looked good (my feet are my best bodily asset these days, along with my wrists...). They were just so cheerful, and bright.

I wavered at the impracticality, despite Kelly's assurances that a "pop of contrast color" would be totally appropriate with much of one's wardrobe. Finally, she comforted me by bringing out a ceramic bead bracelet that combined neutral(brown) with orangey red.

"If you wear this, you will coordinate with the shoes..."


That Kelly is so clever! I got the shoes I really wanted while satisfying my practical compulsion to matchy-match... My best physical assets were both accentuated...I left there feeling quite happy, and anxious to wear my new shoes...

...and plunge into the world of contrast.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Second Half of My Century...

It was my birthday, Friday last. After a couple of weeks that seemed quite busy to me, I was quite content to plan and do nothing by way of celebration…that is to say that doing nothing WAS my celebration…

Well, actually, I did have a plan, and it was very simple: I would NOT HURRY all day, something I consider the height of luxury.

The day moseyed past with a few pleasant surprises; calls from my kids, a bed & breakfast visit from a nephew, a long chat with my sister, coffee-time with my parents… In between, I read my book and ALL my favorite blogs, of which there are not a few. The day was capped wonderfully when The Farmer took me for dinner at the Black Forest, and we both enjoyed our favorite, Schnitzel Champignon.

I’m a lucky girl…perhaps it is better to say a BLESSED girl…just make sure to say it the two syllable way; it sounds good that way.

My dad congratulated me on the completion of the First Year of the Second Half of My Century…That Dad! He knows how to make the mundane special!

I have to admit that I am still not accustomed to being in the Second Half of My Century. In fact, I recently confessed to my kids that, in my mind, I am parked in my early 40’s, a contemporary of all those mom’s with pre-teens and teens.

In reality, two of my children have reached the 10th anniversary of their graduation from high school…My “baby” is a quarter of a century old…I suppose that some things about high school may have changed in the last 10 years…And there goes my credibility and solidarity with the young women in their 40’s.

Even one year into the Second Half of My Century, I am not feeling comfortable with this stage of aging. I’m trying to find a balance between appreciating and pining for the past; recognizing limitations and finding opportunities; feeling like time has gone too fast and living in the moment without regret.

I’ve decided that I shall stop feeling sad regarding the changes about which I can do nothing; that I will do my best not to pine over time and limitations. I will live in the moment…No doubt goals that will consume a lot of effort throughout the Second Year of the Second Half of My Century…

As it did the first, because I think I have said this all before.
But I’m not sure…so I hope you can’t remember either, because I have a feeling it might be a recurrent theme during the Second Half of My Century.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Okay...something funny is going on here...

...and I don't like it!
Most of my tulips -- and okay, I only have about six of them -- look like this...

Somebody (or maybe somebunny) just came up and snipped the stem in half, and the poor tulip is upside down...But tulips, being the only flower I know of that grows after you cut it, are still being tulips, and the cups of the flowers just keep getting larger...

...and prettier? Well, except for the upside down part...

Whatever critter did this, please know that I would prefer you eat the flower than engage in this spiteful, and senseless destruction!

And if it is you, Brown Bunny, be on notice that next time you are in the yard, I will point you out to Daisie...

There, that should do it!

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. (