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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Working Mom Blues and My Strange Clown Reasonings, The Lion Kill Saga Continues

Look who has moved in on the lions kill now! Can you tell what he is?
That's right! He's a lonely coyote.

Sorry, I couldn't resist this cartoon! You have to work in an emergency room to fully appreciate it, but sufficient to say, it's a regular occurrence where ever you go. I so relate!
Not all that long ago I had a nightmare about a freakish clown. Really, I did. Yes, the clown saga continues..... It was more like an answer to prayer. Yes, I'm going to be a little "out there" on this post, so don't read any further if you can't take "way out there" chicks ;-) Add to that, its 3am and I'm on my third shift in row. I had been really frustrated about some of the people that I have worked hard to reach out to. It seemed like no matter what I did, they were determined not to be my friend. I was feeling rather discouraged about it, and so I took the matter to God in prayer. That's when I had the strange dream. This funny clown looking person with a fake smile (painted on - not really real) wearing an Afro wig came up to me. It put its arms out to give me a hug. Just as I was putting my arms around it to respond to the hug, it reached over my shoulders and stabbed me in the back. Yeah, it was a bizarre dream. No I didn't eat too much pizza that night. I prayed about what the dream could mean, and suddenly I just knew. It was about some of the people that I was feeling frustrated over. The relationships hadn't gone anywhere, because they would be harmful to me. God was sparing me from troubles that would have developed. I had peace about not pursuing those people anymore. Yeah, I know its weird, but that's just how I process things.
Why I am tormenting you with my strange pondering? I guess because sometimes a lesson learned for me is one to be shared with all. We can't be everything to everybody, and when we try, we become exhausted, spread ourselves too thin, and ultimately fail. Some relationships are best let go of for our own benefit. For me, I was trying to make something happen that would have been detrimental to myself. I am always willing to reach out to whoever is in need of a friend, but my close friends are loyal, true and faithful. The inner core of friends I trust with my heart are true. They're the same person around me, as when I'm not there. They've always got my back. I hope as you're developing relationships with people around you, you'll keep your eyes peeled for clowns wearing Afro wigs. If you see any, you better not let them give you any hugs ;-)
Matthew 7:6Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.
Proverbs 12:26 (New King James Version)26 The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Perfect 10 Update and The Carnivorous Cannibal Clown Canvas

Perfect 10 Update and The Carnivorous Cannibal Clown Canvas
1. Exercise 6 days a week – affirmative (its more of an addiction anyway)
2. Sit ups/planks 5x/week – well probably not 5x, but I haven’t given up that goal. I am hoping that one of these weeks it will actually happen. Really, I’m up to 100 but more like 2-3x/week
3. Healthy Idea in my kids daily – big check yes. I am logging that daily now and pleased with seeing several things every day, HOWEVER, it also makes me notice how many times I do UNHEALTHY things that my family follows suit in. That part leaves me feeling more like a heel more often than I like to discuss!
4. Current
5. Water – mostly, Fruit – yes, veggies – mostly
6. Mostly, and more aware when I am.
7. Hair – Done
8. Done
9. Weekly workout this week was with Mist. Boy did we run hard! I thought I would collapse, but kept a stiff upper lip. Finally she said “I need to stop”, which was the first time ever on record we stopped for her and not me. Remember she is a beautiful, athletic woman that is 15 years younger than I am. I am thinking quite possibly I should be awarded with some sort of medal for this feat of super human endurance ;-)
10. Guilty and hilarious! As I had mentioned, I have bought several pairs of new jeans. On Sunday, I took the tags off a pair and put them on before church. I asked my husband what he thought of them. He said “I already told you I don’t like those”. I informed him disgustedly that they were a different pair than the ones he didn’t like. Frustrated that I’d wasted my money on jeans my husband wasn’t fond of, I drug him over to the Walmart dressing room with me a few days ago as I tried on some $3 clearance pants. The first pair he was noncommittal about, other than to say he didn’t care for the color. The second pair he didn’t like on me. The wheels of progress seemed to be turning rather slowly, but he did give me some idea of something else he liked which gave me a ray of hope. Then he took off faster than I thought he could possibly move to hide in the men's section with some such drivel about finding gloves. Really and Honestly, I was impressed that he stood outside the dressing room at all. This was a stretch for him, and I thought it was sweet. Thankfully I didn't have an episode like Paula Here!
* Something about me. Oh these are always so hard to come up with. OK, well how about this one : Clowns creep me out! Really they do. It all started with this painting of a clown and a shoe that was in the hall outside my bedroom as a child. Every night, as I drifted off to sleep, I could see that clown and shoe art piece. One day, as my Aunt Ducky came to say "good night" to me, she saw my gaze toward the clown. She said "See that shoe? That clown ate a small child and all that is left of the child is that shoe sitting next to the clown. Good night dear. Sweet dreams." and with that, she disappeared down the stairs. Understandably, I was fearful of clowns, and particularly that painting. When my grandmother found out how much the picture upset me, she burned it in the fire place. (My grandmother was known for burning objects of distain in the fire place often). My cousin swore the clown would come back to enact vengeance upon me for his fiery demise. This perpetuated my aversion to clowns. Yes, I never thought clowns were very amusing and no clowning ;-)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Another "Ferocious Beast" Caught on Camera

The neighbors trail camera today has captured a new "ferocious beast" that has moved in on the meal.
My burn pile.

My attempt at teaching the boys some table manners. As you can see, I may have a lot of work ahead of me ;-)

They think it's more of a joke......................

Super Catman is "working on his bike" while Moonbeam observes.

For the past week, the lion didn't drift far from my mind. My sleep was restless, and I didn't feel like myself at all. After schooling the children, I read "Ride the River" by Louie L'Amour yesterday which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was one of those books you can't put down once you've started it and I was lost in the adventure of a 16 year old mountain girl being pursued by bandits across early America. It was a great story. I had taken the children outdoors to play and didn't want to be idle so I raked up some old branches and then burnt them. After that, I had to watch the fire, so I started the book. I hadn't intended on going on a "scouting adventure", but the book egged me on and I still didn't want the boys going off by themselves.
One of the boys put their coon tailed cap on me as a joke and I left it on as we headed out, Moonbeam in her pack. We took to the woods and ignored the regular trails as the boys were in search of sheds. Art Dog's destination was up the top of a steep hill which I refused to pack Moonbeam up. In the end, I did it anyway, not wanting the boys to be out gallivanting around far from my sight. I had neglected my spikes, but had my Nordic poles handy, for which I was very pleased.
As I hiked, I began to think about living up here in God's Country. My son, the Archer, was stalked many a time by a catamount (lion) a few years back. We think it was probably the same small one, as the occasions were close together the same year in the same general vicinity. It was frightening for me, but in the end, my son came home unharmed each time. Neighbors have varying opinions about mountain lions. There is one common theme, of which everyone is agreed. No one wants the law up here. Years back, a problem grizzly was handled quite poorly by the authorities and it left a bad taste in the mouths of the locals. Add to that all the problem bears and wolves they have relocated up here, and you have many a local who will give you an earful. Truth be told, most predators want to be left alone. Generally, they don't attack. My family has run into grizzlies - once a grizzly with cubs, another time with a bloody sack of meat. Neither time did the grizzlies attack. The animals and the people both want the same thing for the most part, that is to be left alone. Of course, my freezer would probably tell you otherwise. The bulk of protein in our diet comes from bear, elk and deer. If you looked in my kitchen at any given meal, you'd find I was making some conglomeration of what we've picked from the ground or shot on the hoof. At any rate, I enjoyed the hike with the boys and I felt safe, though my gun was as always, handy.
The neighbor sent more photos from his trail camera today. It seems that our catamount may have moved on or found some other prey. As you can see, this new ferocious beast has found the left overs. When these came to us, we all cocked our heads, squinted our eyes, scratched our heads (so to speak) and tried to make out what we were seeing. Then the realization hit and we got a good chuckle. The camera captured our cat making good on the lions meal. It seems as though our cat visited the site last night and again this morning. Hopefully the lion has moved on, or he may have to make use of his 9 lives.

Monday, February 22, 2010

More Chilling Lion Shots

I wasn't going to post tonight, but the neighbor got a lot of action with his trail camera - 140 shots of the beast to be exact. Here you see our not so friendly neighborhood lion dining at around eight in the evening (we are guessing from the date and time on the camera). I have to keep a really close watch on the kids, and I choose to wear a gun anytime I'm outside. I've also changed my running routine. Now I'm driving to meet Mist on the black top about 5 miles away. I do hope this big cat will move on soon.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Perfect 10 and I'm Not Li'on Either

Its the dawn of a new week again, and I'm barely aware of what happened to the last one. Getting called in for a couple of shifts was something I wasn't expecting. Neither was closely monitoring the kids outdoor play. The lion's nightly appearance has had me struggling to maintain a residence of peace in the midst of an onslaught of opportunity for fearfulness.
Yesterday, The Dolphin Goddess, Mist and I went on a Nordic Hike together. It was great fun and a temporary distraction for me. We met at the end of my drive and hiked a good 4-5 miles together. We giggled and laughed as we discussed a wide variety of subject matter. The Dolphin Goddess had us really excited about training for a "Fun Run" until we later discovered it was 7 1/2 miles long. That put a bit of a damper on the "fun" of the run. Maybe we will find one not quite that far ;-) The idea of training together for something like that does excite me though. After telling about, OK, boasting a little about my recent date night, the girls began fervently discussing the Olympic Games. I hadn't really been keeping up on that, and rather than display my vast ignorance on that subject, I tried to add in a few wise comments (just to stay in the conversation). Here's a tip for my readers - nod your head and add "yes, they will probably make a movie about her". Smile, act nonchalant, and pretend you are well versed in whatever subject it is that you are painfully ignorant in. This works well among medical professionals as well. Say nurse Sally and Paramedic Freida are discussing the latest trends in cardiology. Frieda is the daughter of a Cardiologist and her mom is manager of the Heart Surgery Wing. Sally listens to all the latest medical journal lectures on line. She's single, has no social life and so well studied, she knows how to interpret cardiac rhythm strips blindfolded. I sit down with them in the cafeteria sipping a soda. They are in a passionate discussion. To save face, I must not say "?duh? and look ignorant. I must smile, nod and add in some trite, barely heard comment, agreeing for the most part about what is being said. Now if they begin discussing the subject in Portuguese, then I have no choice but to throw in the towel of stupidity. At any rate, The Olympics was a relatively safe subject to pretend to know something about. Truthfully, the only thought that came to my mind was "I wonder how Kim over at "Homeschooling a Handful" is enjoying it. "Am sure looking forward to her post." That's when I must acknowledge that I spend too much time blogging and not enough time in the rest of the world.
OK, enough of my corny humor! Here's my so late, I almost didn't do it Perfect 10 Post :
1. Yes, I ran or hiked on most days.
2. Sit ups - better, but still not 5 days this week.
3. Healthy idea in my kids daily - yes, mostly. Too bad my idea today was brownies and ice cream which everyone unanimously followed suit to (ouch)! Really, been logging that and so I am mostly feeling good about it.
4. Current
5. Water - yes, until a few days ago! Fruit - yes, Veggies - mostly
6. Burn rather than Binge - for the most part.
7. Hair - Done
8. As discussed above
9. Biggest Loser Challenge - Done
10. Done and then some!
* Something about myself - hmm..... this is always so hard to think of! Well, ok, when I was in kindergarten, I told my principal that I was going to be the first woman president. His wife never liked me much. I began my relationship with her when she interviewed me for kindergarten. She came and sat on our patio overlooking the lake. I brought up a "chicken a goo goo pot pie" (made of sand) and dumped it into the lap of her fancy dress. She was quite displeased and told my grandmother that I was not ready for kindergarten. My grandmother was distraught about the ordeal. Later on, when she finally let me into school, she popped up in many grades of my schooling. She was the substitute teacher. She continued to not like me much, and the feeling was mutual. She always wore brown, entertained a scowl and I was sure to get into some kind of trouble with her in charge. Despite my checkered past with the principals wife, my principal was a kindly man and he liked me well enough. I went to the same school Kindergarten through 6th grade. After that, they closed that little school house, never to open it again. It would serve as a place of many good memories for me. After that, I never went to the same school for more than 2 years at a time. I went to 6 different schools during my 7-12th grade years.
Recent Lion and Eagle shots courtesy of our neighbor

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Lion Feasts in BROAD DAYLIGHT

08:45 AM (right about the time I was getting home from my night shift at the hospital). He's dining in broad daylight in my neighbors front yard.
03:19 - I'm at work, my husband and children are sleeping peacefully. Under the cover of darkness the lion feasts.

The carcass this morning when I got home.

The carcass yesterday when I left for work.

In a shallow grave, at a distant place in the mountains lie the remains of a buck once full of life, strength and vitality. Just night before last, he was free to roam in the rocky terrain outside my home. His nostrils inhaled the fresh spring air and he playfully chased does across my yard. Last night the deathly predator returned again to feast on his remains…………….
As I drove the hour long stretch that lead to my home deep in the forest, I wondered if the lion had returned to unearth his prey and feast. He’s a brazen cat, undaunted by committing the slaughter in my neighbor’s front yard. He also wasn’t too concerned about covering his tracks. As you can see by the photos, he left the buck only partially buried yesterday. According to a neighbor’s trail camera, he came under the shadows of darkness at 3am to dine. Today, when I arrived home from my night shift, the carcass was almost fully covered, so I knew he’d been there. What I didn’t know was that I just missed him. Another shot on the trail camera shows that he feasted again just before or just after I drove in from my night shift. I switch vehicles about 20 feet or so from where the carcass is buried. If you look hard at the photos, you can see my green truck in the background.

Dressed to Kill and The Lion's Kill

On a dark, damp night lurked a rather large, magnificent lion hunting his prey. He moved swiftly and stealthily through the shadows, not bothered that he had found his way into civilization. His eyes were on a buck, and he followed it right into mans front yard. There he sprang upon it with all his brute force. His cunning maneuvers, his quick pounce, his deathly jaws and the buck was gone before it even knew it was dead. There the lion feasted on the bucks front quarter and there he partially buried it. He would have a carcass to feast on for several days to come, apparently not caring that it was in our neighbors front yard.
Some time that night, unaware that not 10 feet away was (or would be) a kill, my husband and I returned home from our date. As usual we unloaded the Suburban into a 4wd truck with chains on it parked at the bottom of our hill. Little did we know, that the lion was most likely near by......

"Aren't you ready yet?" my husband asked incredulously. I flitted around from room to room doing many small tasks that probably were of little benefit. I had spent the better part of the day preparing for our "date". I'm not sure I have spent that much time getting ready for anything since high school. I abandoned any idea of housework and took to painting my finger nails and toenails. Of course Moonbeam wanted her toenails painted as well! I tried on several combinations of attire which I modeled for my husband. I even dug out my old curling iron! After about 15 minutes of that, I got my hair stuck in it and panic stricken, brought the mess to my husband to help me get untangled from its searing clutches. I had loaded everything but the kitchen sink into the transport truck and set out some of Moonbeams favorite snacks. I'm not quite sure what took so long, but I was unable to accomplish anything but getting ready for my date the entire day.
My husband was incredibly dashing. He was wearing solid black pants and top. Something about it was very enchanting, though Artdog thought the ensemble resembled PJ's. He opened doors for me, and insisted that I chose a nice restaurant. When I picked a steak house, he thought it may not be nice enough. I felt lavished with romance and giggly like I was back in high school. Since he had some errands to run, I had him drop me off at my old standby, Porgies Consignment. I brought in some things the kids had outgrown. Old Porgie grinned and grinned when I asked him which restaurant he recommended. He told me to go to "La Mexicana Bonita Biga Bucka Spenda" He told me to order the garlic prawns. "That will knock a buck or two" he said winking slyly. "Its the only place I eat at in this town". Taking Ol' Porgies suggestion, we arrived at the fancy Mexican establishment. My husband insisted I order whatever I wanted. It's been a long long time since we've done anything like that. I decided to go for it and ordered the Prawns. Oh what a wonderful dinner they were! Some were spicy. Some were in garlic butter. Some were wrapped in bacon with cheese on top. It also came with rice and beans. It was divine dining, and the plate was about 2 - 3x the size of a normal dinner plate. I've never ordered prawns and seen that many. My husband ordered a steak. That was good too. Oh dear, I better stop talking about food, now I'm getting hungry. It was an incredibly romantic date. All I can say is WOW! It was a Cinderella experience.
The next day, as I was out running off all those prawns (doubtful), I had a strange, eerie feeling. I started praying that I wouldn't get attacked by a lion. Of course, by then, he was probably full. This afternoon the neighbor discovered the bucks carcass in his yard. I'd run right by it and not noticed. Its in plain view, not ten feet off our property. Tomorrow when I get off from work, I will be anointing our property with oil again. I do that every so often a symbol of dedicating it to God. The kids won't be playing unsupervised. I will be giving my best pitch about getting a dog again. In the morning, when I get off from work, I'll be getting out of my truck and getting into the other one to drive up our driveway. I'll see first hand how much the lion ate tonight. Its a creepy feeling knowing he's around. In the big city where most of you live, muggings, rapes, murders happen every day. Crime is all around and you can't get away from it. You buy security systems. You don't go certain places after certain times. Here crime is rarely a threat, but wild beasts roam unhindered. They are everywhere. More the threat are the ones you don't know of. What can any one do on this earth but pray and trust God? There is an element of danger every place on the face of this earth. I have come to find my only true reliance is in trusting God. Psalm 91 is one of my favorite chapters.
Psalm 91 (NKJV)
Safety of Abiding in the Presence of God 1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” 3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence. 4 He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. 5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, 6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you. 8 Only with your eyes shall you look, And see the reward of the wicked. 9 Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, 10 No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; 11 For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. 12 In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone. 13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot. 14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. 15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life I will satisfy him,And show him My salvation.”

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Who Can Find a Virtuous Woman?

After receiving her Louis L'Amour collection, she made some improvements to her bookshelf.

She's at over $80 in sales and it hasn't even been a week since she started selling her jewelry.

Reading to her cousins........ She's wonderful with children.

See what I mean?!

She's been teaching herself to play the guitar too.

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
Pr 31:10

Monday, February 15, 2010

Yogurt Bugs and Pretty Porcupine Prickles

Today was the first day the kids resumed school after their extended visiting break. It was a fun weekend full of excitement. My husband had a table at a "Gun and Horn Show" in the city nearby and the kids took turns helping him. Each of the kids have their own "investments" and "merchandise". Each spring, the boys go shed hunting and come back with spoils of deer and elk antlers which they later sell at their dad's gun show table. The Sock Fashion Expert also became an Entrepreneur this past weekend. She had the opportunity to acquire the quills off of a dead porcupine. I would have said "Ew gross!", but she had vision. She went on line, learned how to make porcupine quill jewelry and then pulled the quills off the carcass , cleaned them and made beautiful earrings, necklaces and bracelets. She put some out on the table and sold over $50 worth this weekend. She was thrilled. I was so excited and proud about her taking such initiative that I couldn't help but testify about it in church. After the service, sight unseen, she got several more orders for her jewelry. Instead of moping around complaining that there's no way to earn extra spending money around here, she proved to have vision, ingenuity and followed through! She's well on her way to the guitar she's been hoping for. After all of that excitement, it was hard to resume an ordinary school day.
Of course, not much was all that ordinary about today either. For one thing, I managed to get up at a decent time and get the kids started on devotions and school, for which I am quite pleased. I also tried my hand at making yogurt for the first time ever unsupervised. This was a quite a frightful experience for me. As you may be fully aware, I am domestically challenged. The idea of cooking up a bacterial concoction was quite alarming to me, especially with my medical background. Over the week at our moms, my sister Heather taught and supervised me as we made several batches together. By the end of the week, I had some confidence that I could really do it myself. At home, however, I was somewhat fearful. A church lady gives me raw milk from her cow every so often. I am always appreciative of it. I know that it needs to be drank quickly. Some people think raw milk is the healthiest thing ever. Others cringe and say "nay!" It's all in who you listen to I suppose. Anyway, I figured that I may as well learn to make yogurt so that I can put her milk to good use. If we're all going to consume raw milk, we may as well have the good bacteria to go along with it. And so, armed with my new thermometer and nothing but a crock pot to "breed the bugs in", I got to work. I felt quite good about this endeavor until I saw an eyelash eyeing me from the top of an odd looking film that had emerged. This was quite troubling and I thought to throw the whole thing out to the cat, but I decided to persevere. Finally after 5 hours, I scraped the film off (as my sister recommended) and put the whole thing in the refrigerator. It actually does somewhat resemble yogurt. If I can con my kids into consuming the stuff, perhaps I will invest in a yogurt maker. Yes, I know, all of you domestic women have been making yogurt since you were ten, yeah, well, I bet you never made it flavored with an eye lash, now did you? Yes, I have you all beat.
I suppose I must resume my "normal" day now. There is laundry to be done and scheming to do as well. My husband is currently walking home from the local mercantile, where he sold his latest investment project - a Toyota Truck. Hmmm....... a handsome man with some cash in his wallet. The possibilities are endless. Actually its a good thing he did since I haven't gotten any hours at the hospital this month.

Above photos include shopping with my sister, mother in law, nieces and The Sock Fashion Expert. Also Moonbeams first time feeding herself (yogurt) at my sisters house.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentines Day to My Love - Yesterday, Today and Forever!

My Junior Prom 1990

This morning as I got out of bed, I arose to find a dozen pink long stemmed roses on the table. I was so surprised. He's gotten me roses on many many Valentines days before, but just a few days ago he had told me that he is taking me out on a date some where nice this week, so I thought that was my Valentines day gift. I am so deeply grateful that God gave me such a wonderful man. I often wonder what I did to deserve such a wonderful life, then I remember that it's the Grace of God that He makes available for us all. I am humbled and awed by supernatural gifts so richly given that provided for us to enjoy such magnitude.
Happy Valentines Day to all my friends in Blogland :-) May the Love of God abound in your hearts and may you experience all the passion and joy a marriage made in Heaven has to offer!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Valentines Weekend (and Perfect 10 Post)

Happy Valentines Day Weekend!! Thought Everybody would enjoy these photos of my In laws :-) It seemed appropriate for Valentines. My husband's mom and dad met as teens and fell in love. They've had a happy and successful marriage all these years. The photo with the extra people in it is actually their wedding photo! Do you recognize that dress from the wedding photo on Sock Fashion Expert?!
Perfect 10 (Ug - late again!)
1. Exercise 6 Days a Week - yes, running or hiking most days.
2. sit ups - uhhh... probably not!! Will focus more on that now that I'm home :-)
3. Healthy Idea in My Kids Daily - Am switching from my food log to incorporate this more. I will spend the next few weeks recording that instead.
4. Current
5. Yes - water, Yes - fruits, Yes - Veggies
6. Yes - doing fine there.
7. Hair - Done
8. Weekly Workout with a Buddie - My Sis and I ran together several of the days I was visiting our Mom and Dad's. It was great fun and now she is running at the gym - a new experience for her :-)
9. Done (didn't win).
10. Goodness Gracious!! I've spent enough time trying on clothes to make up for all 6 weeks! I was pleased and surprised to see I'm down to my summer sizes. This gives me encouragement (and hope) that maybe by summer I'll be down to less that that! I found so many sales that fit well over the past few weeks, that I bought more than I probably needed to.
And Hooray!! This is the first time EVER that I went back to visit and didn't gain 5 or more pounds. I ate everything everybody did, I was just careful how much of it I ate.
*Fun Fact - It was fun being at my in-laws. I hiked into town several times while I was there on this past trip. For the first few years of our marriage, we lived not far from them, and visited there often. As I was reminiscing over those years, it dawned on me that hiking to town was something I'd have never done (or did so rarely that I can't remember doing it)! We biked there a few times together, and I thought that was exhausting even though, in reality, it was only a few miles. Then I wanted to get ice cream for my efforts!! That was about 17 or 18 years ago. I feel better and have more energy than I used to.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Toppling "Wall of Peace" and Our Return Home

As I walked into my basement for the first time in 2 weeks, an inviting citrus aroma permeated the dark atmosphere. The smell was tantalizing, yet foreign to my husband's messy domain. Then I remembered that Mist and Fiery had taken the time to pick up five boxes of golden grapefruit for me a couple of weeks before. The opportunity had come, and they didn't want me to miss it. They also built fires in our house daily and fed the cat. We had offered them money for that service, but they refused, insisting that "it was about time they got the chance to do something for us." What good friends they are.
The trip home was uneventful, other than that the children were sad to leave their paternal and maternal grandparents homes. They were equally sad to leave their cousins, Auntie Heather Feather and Uncle Ninja.
My husband had stacked the Suburban high with presents we'd gotten. When he ran out of room, he began to fill the seats in between the kids. In the seats of the old Suburban furthest back, Super Catman and Artdog had a "Wall of Peace" separating them, also dubbed as "The Punch Protector". This worked well except for the times it toppled over. Getting groceries also proved to be a challenge, and we spent the last hour inundated with grocery bags.
I have HUNDREDS of photos. I will be putting them up on my blog for some time to come! I'm thankful we're back safely, but we all miss our family there. I'm looking forward to reading up on everybodies blogs now that I'm home :-)
Above Photos include : "The Wall of Peace", The Trip Home, My Mom and Dad Outside With Grand kids, Baking Cookies, A Walk to The Barn.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Perfect 10 (On Vacation) and the Reprobate Greys

Perfect 10 - (While on Vacation)
1. Exercise 6 days a week - Without a doubt. Been doing really good with that, running 2 miles most days.
2. Sit ups 5 days a week - failure!! I've been so busy visiting and having fun that by the time evening comes, I'm exhausted and sleepy so I forget. Yesterday, I did do them in the morning, which worked better. Hopefully that one will be more successful next week!
3. Healthy idea in my kids daily. Working well even on vacation.
4. Current
5. More water - fruits and veggies. Water - yes, fruit - yes, veggies - working on it!!
6. Burn calories rather than binge - yes, really good.
7. Do something with my hair - see story below!!
8. Weekly workout with a buddie - check out the Midnight Moonlight March in the Marsh (posted below)!
9. Biggest Loser Challenge at work - done, but haven't called to hear results yet.
10. Try on clothes - force myself to buy them!! Yes!! I will blog about that next update.
* Something about myself : I have one sister. She's really cool. I'm visiting her now and we've been having a lot of fun together. My childhood nick name for her is "Hyper Diaper". She is a clean and organized neat freak while I am messy and often live in chaos. When we were little kids, she was a straight A, Valedictorian, perfect kid (and narked on me often)! I was the wild, crazy, rebellious kid who moved out at 16 and did things to annoy her on purpose. She met her husband in Bible College, and we all spent considerable time "fasting and praying" over the relationship. I met mine "out cruising" and was pregnant by 17. We are very different, but love each other lots!!

After scheduling and rescheduling hair appointments at the college beauty academy, my sister, Heather and I finally came up with an agreeable date and time. I got up early in the morning at my in laws and drove into the city by myself to meet her there. At first the idea of getting our hair done at a beauty academy by students seemed like a great idea. Lower cost was mainly the inspiration, but as the hour drew nearer it almost seemed foreboding. A whole host of scenes flashed before my eyes as I imagined the horrors that could happen within! It didn't help much that we'd watched some Earnest P Worrell skits where he pretends to be a beautician. Then I went back to my years as a student nurse and I was all the more frightened at the prospect of a student cutting and dying my hair.
My sister was a few minutes late, and they ushered me back into the bowels of the salon without her. I hoped that my sister's absence didn't have anything to do with sinister students, more than likely she was detained dropping off her angels at the sitter. My appointed student arrived on the scene and appeared confident in her abilities. She showed me a book and began comparing my hair with dyed samples. I noticed that most of the students working had varied shades of dyes in their hair, and none of it looked all that natural. I was beginning to imagine a spy movie type escape route when my sister arrived.
My student knew my student. Her prior job had been a waitress where my brother in law works. Heather's student was a young looking partially dyed blond. Both girls reviewed our choices of dye with their instructors. The instructors wrote codes on the mirror. As the students went into the back room to mix their dye concoctions, apprehensively, I hoped for the best. The mixing room reminded me of a hospital pharmacy. This was my last hope of escape. I supposed I shouldn't leave my sister captive there without me, so I decided to stay and risk it. Really, I've been wanting to cover those obstinate greys, but I needed a little push in the right direction. I even made it one of my 10 goals for Perfect 10, but change can be scary.
Our students began painting our hair from bowls of black slop that they'd carefully concocted. The stuff smelled of putrid chemicals and the texture and color reminded me of what I've guiaced from off a GI bleed. I told myself to stop fidgeting and worrying about chemicals. I brought up the time I tried using Henna and my student provided me with a some what rehearsed sounding explanation of why not to use henna. She also promised me that the chemicals used to dye my hair were not harmful. I don't have a very good poker face. Perhaps it was my ghastly expression that caused her to reassure me. My student had to go mix more color and I hoped she could duplicate the first bowl. She'd asked me what I liked in my coffee and when I told her cream and sugar, she returned with black. I feared that this little oversight could be an omen of evils to come.
Some clients had squares of foil stuck to their heads, giving them a robot monster appearance. I was all too glad to escape to the place where large dome dryers lurked. As she covered my head with one, again I began to panic, but tried to distract myself with the ladies getting their nails done. An elderly lady looked excited and I wanted to say something nice about her nails to make her feel good. I examined them as closely as I could from the confines of the drier, but couldn't tell which ones were "done" so I was at a loss at what to say. I began fidgeting as I imagined horrible chemical reactions occurring under the heat. "Is everything o.k.?" my student asked. I told her it was, but kept edging parts of my head out of the dome. She eyed me suspiciously and eventually just took me back to the robot monsters. I asked to go to the bathroom, thinking I might find a new escape route. In the bathroom, I decided that escaping now would not be wise, because she was soon going to be rinsing the dye out. I also imagined that I would look rather odd gallivanting around the city with black slime pasted all over my head. Eventually, my student had rinsed the stuff out and began clipping away to "put in some long layers". I began feeling guilty about my distrust and decided to try and imagine nice things. After all, she was a friend of the family.
The instructor came with a furrowed brow to inspect my students work. She stood me up and began clipping. My student's face turned red. I knew I had to do something drastic as the instructor began showing the student what she did wrong. I reminded the instructor that the student spent a lot of time coloring my hair and had done a good job. She nodded and said "um hummm". Then I told her my student was very confident. I continued on, shooting from the hip as the instructor continued clipping away. Finally, I told the instructor to give my student an "A" and she said "I think that could be arranged". I wasn't sure the instructor was all that convinced, so I said "hooray the grey is gone" and shocked the student by hugging her. Other students smirked. I supposed I'd gone too far, but the instructor was smiling and that was good enough for me. The entire ordeal took about 3 hours all told. My hair was close to my childhood color, as was my sisters. Her hair was gorgeous!! We took some "after shots", but they didn't turn out well with the flash, so I'll put one up later on.
As I exited the salon, I saw a frightening scene flash before my eyes as I walked by a mirror. It was a grey hair popping up from the bed of rich dark browns. A sinking feeling came. As I examined my head closer, I saw a few more. Then it occurred to me that examining the top of my head in the rear view mirror while driving was not an intelligent thing to do. Finally, after looking again and again, I had to make peace with the few remaining reprobate greys. "I guess having a few will make it look more natural" I reasoned with myself. At any rate, I do like the color and the greys are no longer overly obvious. The memory with my sister....priceless!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Midnight, Moonlight March in the Marsh

I've been gone on vacation now for over a week and been terribly neglecting my blog. I have oodles and galore of blogging material, but I'm way too busy to even consider going near the computer to begin. Here's my 2nd attempt at an excerpt from of our visit with my in laws. I won't be able to comment on blogs while I'm here. The internet dial up connection here is painstakingly slooooowwww.
On the night of a bright full moon, well after dark, a strange occurrence took place. In a frigid part of the Land of 10,000 lakes, as the thermometer dipped down below zero, family members embarked on an unusual adventure. This was no ordinary family, per say. This was an extra ordinary clan.
Everyone dawned at least 2 layers of clothing. Many of us also dawned special warm attire and head lamps. The night was cold and clear. A full moon shone bright in the sky. The boys ran ahead as the rest of us adults trudged onward into the frozen swamp land. My father in law had made trails with his snowmobile weeks ago, and we were following one deep into the woods. As we hiked, I felt giddy with anticipation. I'd already covered about 5-6 miles that day running and walking, but I didn't want to miss this midnight escapade. It looked like too much fun. I ignored the stiffness in my legs and kept trudging on. The boys stopped to wait for us and I seized the opportunity to start shooting photos. My father in law reminded me that this was the exact same spot where I started shooting photos of last years hike, one we'd taken during the day that is.
As we continued on, we kept a wary eye for the Sasquatch of their back woods. Though his threat wasn't overly likely, Super Catman kept pretty close tabs on the boys and adults not wanting to be too far from somebody "just in case". More real danger lurking about, was the fresh wolf tracks littered across the fields of new fallen snow. The Archer had just come in excitedly that morning having found that right across the back yard, wolves had chased a deer the night before.
We searched diligently for the porcupine, who lived in a den deep in the forest, but he eluded us for the time being. Then we passed "the spooky tree". Nobody was very interested in gawking at it, especially Super Catman. Grandma's hair (and mine) by now had frosted over and hung like icicles around our shoulders. The moon shone bright, though a little fog surrounded it. It was beautiful, yet just a little bit ominous.
On the way back, we marched through an open area along a frozen creek and the bitterly cold winds slapped at our faces. Archer ran ahead often, and we half expected to find him jumping out of brushy, unexpected hiding places along the way. It made the night all the more suspenseful.
When at last, we returned from our midnight moonlight march, we were all ready to collapse in the warmth of their abode and we left the frigid Forest to the lonesome beasts who dwell there. Most certainly, they were relieved that the strange man creatures had returned to their home to allow the rightful creatures of the night to resume their shadowy reign.
You may wonder what kind of grandparents attend a moonlight hike in subzero temperatures in the middle of frozen swamp land. You may keep on wondering. They are a pretty special lot indeed. I don't have them all figured out myself, but I can tell you that among the world of grands, they're a hard act to follow.