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Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Long Winter Ahead

Thanksgiving Afternoon, We took a winter walk before I was off to work

Super Catman Gallantly Volunteered to Pull Moonbeam

By The End She Was Tuckered

The Next Day, We Went Out To Find Our Tree. My Wonderful Husband with The Saw.....

I've been in denial about dreary realization that winter has hit full force and there is no end in sight. One to two feet of snow came fast and COVERED the land. Trees are bending low all over, telling tale to the fact that they've been taken captive to its weight. Today I stepped out to shovel the stairs and within a few hours, the roof let loose and covered the steps all over again. There is just no end to the white stuff.
In an attempt to cope with it, I've been getting outside on a lot of adventures with the kids. Today, Super Catman and I followed a blood trail by snow shoes for quite some time which we came across on an old logging road. It ended up in the neighbors yard and I am quite sure they were dragging a deer by sled from the back forest. It was a fun adventure anyway, though not all that exciting to end up next store in the end.
Today is the last day of hunting season, and the men have been out since dark this morning. It is now, again dark. They wanted to try and fill those last few elk tags. Cinnamon raisin bread is baking in the oven, and pitas are waiting their turn thereafter. Hopefully, I will have a lot of warm, delicious food awaiting their return. I'm sure they will be hungry. The Sock Fashion Expert has been working on various Christmas projects all day. Super Catman played outside for a long time and now he's hunkering down to some video games. It looks like a long winter ahead.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Adventures I Have Known

My Night In Shining Armour Shows Up To Clear The Way So I Could Get To Work

Sock Fashion Expert Worked Hard for this Non Typical Buck

i have had a lot of adventures lately. In fact, I'm getting backed up on sharing them. Tonight, its supposed to get to 20 below zero - record breaking coldness for this time of the year, and my men are out in the blackness up a mountain somewhere packing out Archers buck - ugh!!

Just getting to work the other day was a crazy adventure! The electricity was out probably due to the heavy snows. Its been out 5 or 6 times this week! I had to ready with a flashlight and an oil lantern. After my husband drove me down the drive way, I kissed him good bye and hoped for the best. Not far down the road I started seeing trees, heavy with snow drooping over the road. Then, all of a sudden a big bushy one was right in front of me and I couldn't stop! Breaks down, sliding forward I braced myself "Bamn!" went the truck with pine needles everywhere! I opened my eyes when I realized the truck was still moving. Some how I'd busted through it. It was almost as if I disappeared and reappeared on the other side. After taking some breaths and reasoning with myself, I had a look. A giant branch was protruding out of the deer guard. I pulled it free, hoping it hadn't punctured the radiator.

I drove over and under tree after tree until the ominous sign appeared. It was another big one across the road. I stopped this time and got out. It wouldn't budge. I shivered in the darkness. I would have to turn around.

The only house in the area was an elderly couple who have lived here forever. Well, that's almost true. The 80+ year old woodsman was born on his property and never left it except to fight in a war. It was home steaded by his father who was killed when he was mere boy. In a matter of minutes, I'd pulled into their drive and was banging on the door hoping he wouldn't meet me with a shot gun in hand. Relieved, I noticed he'd left it on the couch when he saw it was me. He let me in to use the phone. His wife pulled me into the kitchen near the stove, though it was more her feisty character that warmed me than anything else. Torn between my desire to hear her stories of yesteryear and knowing I was going to be late for work, I politely left and made my way back to the road to meet my husband who was coming with a chain saw. He was not impressed with the tree I'd smashed through nor with my camera for that matter and ordered it away. Almost effortlessly, with his powerful, muscular arms, he wielded the heavy chain saw. Within seconds he'd cut sections into the tree and was pulling it away. He didn't appear to be in a mood to be trifled with and I hurriedly got into my truck, thankful for his successful rescue mission. After the hour and a half drive there, and 12 hours at work, I made my way back up the same stretch of road only to notice that the power every where up there was out again.......
The day before the heavy snows came, I decided I had better get out for one last good run. As I headed down the familiar stretch of road to do my 4 mile trek, I saw something cross the road in front of me. It was a monster 4x4 white tail! I looked at him. He stared back at me menacingly and crossed the road again. He wasn't acting afraid. I knew he must be in the rut. Keeping my hand close to my pistol, I jogged by hoping he wouldn't charge me. He kept his head down, watching me as I passed. I could feel his challenge and didn't want to provoke him. After I'd gotten by him, I breathed a sigh of relief. It was a short lived breath because I suddenly heard a car. "Why didn't you at least yell at him?!" I started nagging myself. Road hunters seem to be every where and I knew they wouldn't pass this beast up. I heard the car slowing. I knew his immanent demise couldn't be avoided. Now I had to make speed. He'd crossed the road twice already and there was no telling which direction the hunters would be shooting in. I'd seen all too many reckless hunters in my day and I knew better than to think I was safe. I ran hard willing myself on. I heard a noise. I kept running hard. Then, when I was beginning to wonder how much distance I'd gained, I heard a shot ringing out. Relief and sorrow hit me all at once.
Its not that I'm against hunting. If you've ever read my blog, you know that's how we live. Its more the inconsiderate, who come here, without respect for man or beast that I struggle with. Its the men who shot toward me year before last when I was driving on a parallel road. Their gun, pointed out the window toward a herd of deer crossing in front of the car I was driving. Its the hunters who left gut piles and bowel moments all over the road I live on. Its the men on 4 wheelers who broke down forest service gates this fall and littered beer bottles all over the trail. Its the inconsiderate who left a doe to rot last year. As a matter of fact, they leave deer to rot here EVERY YEAR. Then grizzlies come down to feed on what should have been harvested or left to live and endanger us. Its all of that that frustrates me.
After hitting my turn around point, I began running back, wondering how I should act toward the road hunters. It didn't take long to discover that they were gutting the white tail a few feet from a neighbors drive way and on his property as well. I reminded myself that its not wise to oppose strange men with guns. As I ran up, they tried to make some idle conversation. The older one proudly told me it was the younger ones first buck. I tried to act friendly. After a short conversation, I continued on quickly. Then I ran hard, wondering what I should do. I don't think the Washington men meant any harm. We all are glad for our meat supply. We're all proud when we get a good one. It was pointless to tell him he was gutting on private land. I had a hunch he would figure it out. I ran home, eventually deciding, like I usually do that there is no point in calling the game warden. Why be a jerk? Grace is always a good thing to give others because there are many times that I am on the receiving end. As long as I make it home safely, it was an Adventure right? Consequently, I did get some good sprints in.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Elephants and Gizzards

Believe it or not, she was a grump the other day since we walked right before nap time. As you can see, we all took a turn with her :-)

"You may not have a pet elephant" my husband said bringing me out of my morning haze. I rolled over "What are you talking about?!" I asked sleepily. "Well", and he proceeded to tell me that he dreamed I had insisted on keeping a pet elephant. Just like the cat I brought home, it too, discovered it was fun to come in the house. At first, it couldn't get into the basement, but then it started breaking down the door. He hit it on the trunk with a stick and it moped off to pout. Then he wondered if it wouldn't like him when it got bigger for the discipline. He could see a lot of trouble with my new pet coming down the line.
You may think that that is a bizarre dream, but being married to an "I Love Lucy" type who always seems to get herself into some kind of trouble, the elephant dream really wasn't all that unusual. I have, after all, been asking for a dog for the past several years.
I rolled over again, this time moaning. I still had a headache. I was wet with sweat from my fever and a wave of nausea passed over. I began to wonder if I was going to have to cancel my "Hot Tub Party Accountability Group" today. After thinking about Mist, due to have her baby any day, I knew exposing her to this vile germ wasn't worth the fun. After another hour or so, I drug myself out of bed to make the cancellation calls. I was bummed.
I reasoned with myself that it was better to not be selfish in this case. I wanted my friends over, but not at the expense of every body's health, especially Mists. Still I pouted. Not long after that the power went out. It was out for hours. Probably all the heavy snows we've been having did something. "The hot tub wouldn't have done us much good today anyway" I reasoned. I laid around reading "Westward The Tide" by Louis L'Amour. If I couldn't have my friends over and I was FORCING myself to rest, I might as well have a mental diversion.
Super Catman asked me when we would see rocks again. I looked up from my book "probably March or April unless we some how go to Hawaii". "Why?" I asked him. "Well", he proceeded "the dentist told me not to use this tooth any more so he gave me a gizzard". I paused for a moment, digesting the information. Then I went back to my book.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tales of Woe, Ranting and.....Joy

Oh for the love of Pete!! Its been one of those days where I'd like to crawl up in a ball under an electric blanket and not come out for a while. Allow me the luxury of dumping my tales of woe upon you so that we may laugh together. Okay, maybe you can have a good laugh ;-)
At 3:30 am I awakened to bring Super Catman to his Orthodontist appointment. At approximately 3:30 am I had a headache, muscle aches and a fever. I drug myself out of bed. This appointment has been greatly anticipated and I wasn't going to miss it.
At 5 am, I emailed 2 nurse recruiters telling them that I regretfully could not take the jobs in Hawaii they were offering to submit me for - due to my husband not feeling good about them. He said "Honey, all we could do is live". He was right. Even though it was the Island I wanted, the 3-12 hour shifts I wanted, and the remoteness I loved, it would be hard to make it on those wages for a family of 7. Most travel nurses don't entertain such a hearty entourage.
Glumly, at 5:30 am, I headed down the fresh, snowy driveway to the truck parked below. At 5:40 I headed back up to unsuccessfully look for my cell phone. At 6 am I was praying fervently because the drive in fresh wet snow seemed terrifying to me.
After 5 hours of driving, we arrived in the big city, safely. The only stops we made were for gas and to enjoy a herd of bighorn sheep licking salt off the highway. Six of us were packed into the Toyota Tundra along with misc personal belongings. Feeling achy, feverish and weak, I kneeled over my section of seat to half curl on my section of floor and popped another Alieve.
At 10:30 we had a little time to kill, so we stopped at The Good Will. In the parking lot my husband announced to me that all money in the checking account was designated for other things and that any shopping done today would be borrowed from other funds. I discovered that Big City Good Wills are more expensive than smaller town ones. This one wanted $20 for men's boots and $10 for women's shoes. I couldn't believe the prices. As we started to walk out, a rough looking gentleman pushing a shopping cart dropped his pants to his thighs in the front of the store. Most likely it was accidental on his part, but it was disturbing none the less.
At 11:05 Super Catman saw the Orthodontist. Now that statement seems rather meaningless, but let me tell you, it is a sentence with incredible meaning. Beware! Here's where the ranting begins :
Clear back in May, I took him into the dentist because he had an extra tooth (a pointed fang) between his front two. The lady at the clinic told me that I was something like "at the lowest of low incomes". She pleasantly announced that my kids would qualify for a new program called "Healthy Montana Kids". I told her that we own our own house and vehicles. She said assets don't matter. This began my journey through the government health care system. After submitting my paperwork in May, and having the extra tooth pulled, I anxiously awaited my approval. It never came. Super Catman's adult front tooth, now free from the fang, began growing in at an 80 degree sideways angle!! I made multiple calls to the main office. No one called me back. I made the mistake of leaving a message with XYZ office telling them that I would call weekly to check on the application's status. That week, my children's file was transferred to another office. At the new office, I talked to the manager who assured me my file would be processed as soon as possible. The next week my file was "denied" due to a lack of supplied information. I called the clinic telling them my tale of woe. The nice lady re faxed all my paperwork to ABC office. ABC office told me to restart the paperwork process. I wanted to cry. The clinic again, faxed stacks of paperwork back to ABC office. The ladies in ABC office started getting mad, though my case worker continued to not return my calls. The clinic called XYZ office (the authority) multiple times complaining about my file being mishandled. Then one day, a case worker called me to tell me that a relative of mine was getting kicked off some program. I recognized the name and informed her that I had been leaving her messages. After all this time, I began imagining this woman as a slow moving, unpleasant woman. Another person, denied 3-4 times by her told me her tales of woe. Yet another tells me "she's got heavy metal posters all over her office". I don't know, maybe its the whole "wtfLUFF" attitude? Maybe she's over worked. Maybe she shuts the door and head bangs all day. Maybe she's an evil villain with green skin and snakes for hair cackling as she throws away peoples files. I don't know. I just know that without the help of the clinic multiple times re-faxing my information and putting pressure on higher ups, I don't know if my new file would have ever had a chance of being accepted.
Who then, in their right non-obsessive mind, can get on Healthy Montana Kids anyway?! Without a nice clinic advocate and without my obsessive personality, who, possibly can make it through the process? I just don't know. At any rate, none of the old dental bills were covered because I had to re-apply months later. Oh, and she wouldn't even accept the Healthy Kids Application. She insisted that another one was "easier for her". Arugh! Okay, so back to my dental nightmare. So I FINALLY get the kids approved with sweat, blood and tears. I bring Super Catman into the dentist with this crazy sideways 80 degree front tooth and he allows me a referral, though he said it would be better to wait till he's older. I call the Orthodontist and the referral Orthodontist tells me "No Orthodontist accepts Healthy Montana Kids Ever". Can you bear to keep reading? So after making an appointment with them, frustrated, I have no inner peace about the matter. I call Healthy Montana Kids Hotline. Of course they refer me back to the office who rarely returns my calls. I call another number. Shockingly I find out that one Orthodontist in City K (3 1/2) hours away takes Healthy Montana kids and 3 in City M do. City K Orthodontist is backed up 6 months for an initial visit. After making several calls to the Orthodontists in city M, and after receiving my paperwork, they are willing to schedule an appointment. Luckily, he's in the young enough category, because there is a cut off of age Healthy Montana Kids accepts for such work.

Really the Orthodontist is a good and Godly man. He's done a lot of humanitarian work overseas. He is knowledgeable and kind. The workers explain to me that each Ortho case like this one must be sent in as a "case" to Healthy Montana Kids. They determine individually whether they will pay for it or not. They also tell me that many kids just like Super Catman should qualify based on the criteria, but are denied for the work anyway. They tell me I will hear back in 3-6 weeks. They don't want me to get too optimistic. Then they give me an estimate of what it will cost me if Healthy Montana Kids Denies it : almost $3 grand with a mandatory $800 some up front for "phase 1". Yikes! So all I can do is wait and pray that his case is approved. (I could use some prayers in that dept).
As I was ranting, so we leave the Orthodontist, a good man, but expensive. We eat a $10 Costco pizza as I pine for the Olive Garden and Hawaiian weather. I shop on bare bones necessity. I help myself to some Costco samples. My samples fall on the floor. Art Dog announces "Maybe God knocked them out of your hand". Eerily I wonder if preventing more garbage food was an act of God? After all, it wasn't my day off from my healthy eating program. I am achy and feverish.
I know i know - this is becoming long and depressing. So anyway, I bust open a bottle of Tylenol at Walmart and keep on with my bare bones basic shopping. I start singing happy worship songs much to the dismay of the strangers around me. My husband tells me to spend more money. Okay, this is a first. Weakly, I make my way to the truck to pass out in cramped quarters. I see the beauty of the mountains and fresh snow. I see the crystal waters and the abundant wild life and how can I possibly feel down at all? I jump out of the truck and chase after a herd of big horn sheep to snap some shots. The fresh white snow crunching on the hillside reminds me that skiing and snow shoeing and other snowy adventures await me. Winters peace and quiet and tranquility beckon. Hawaii in her own time, teeth will some how get fixed, money eventually shows up when its needed. How could I possibly feel down in such beautiful surroundings? And so, at last, at home, I curl up in my electric blanket and type no longer frustrated, but awesomely aware that God has a good plan for me and for my family for the days ahead.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

This Year's Hunting Story

i have been on countless adventures in the past week since i've written, though many of which i am not at liberty to disclose. Sufficient to say, I have found my share of them. Its been another one of those weeks that, as usual, i've been given 3x as many things to do as I have time to accomplish. One of which involves Advanced Cardiac Life Support Classes tomorrow. I decided that I would take a break from studying and set my mind free with a little blogging.
We had a guest here for a few days in a liberating process. That took a share of my energies as well, though I wouldn't have changed it for the world. This morning, before the person left, we gathered around and prayed for Gods plan and for freedom. May God hold the person in the palm of His hands and may His angels remain charge of destiny.
I slipped out yesterday long enough for a refreshing 4 mile run and also for a hunt with The Archer. He, The Archer, was rather persistent. At 6:30 or 7am he poked his head in my bedroom door reminding me that I needed to get my deer. This was not his first morning invitation and I knew I couldn't pass up another. With the Archer on my case, I'd have no peace until a buck was hanging. I slipped on the silliest looking odds and ends of clean warm clothing and frowned at the growing piles of dirty laundry. After reading a "Sparkling Gem" to the kids, making some unsightly breakfast, I moped out the door to the truck.
Archer thought that I should drive around in the warmth of the truck with an eye for road side bucks, but I figured I should do it the old fashioned hard work way. Just kidding, it was the other way around ;-) So, as I was saying, we hiked, and hiked, and hiked. Finally, we arrived at a satisfactory spot of Archers choice and he set up a "rest" for my borrowed rifle. After that he commenced to "rattling" a couple of dead deer horns together, stomping his feet and pretending to be a buck in "the rut". This was all rather amusing, but the most amusing thing was when I noticed that my gun was sitting on the rest upside down. I stifled a laugh and flipped it up. After that, I just sat in the cold shifting position as motionless and soundless as I could. Suddenly, The Archer said "its time to be moving". As we got up, we shortly saw a doe we had rattled in. With his scope on 6x, it was revealed to be a tiny tiny spike. Overjoyed, he wanted me to take the shot. Just kidding, I was tempted, but Archer wanted me to hold out for a bigger buck. As it happens to be, some of the local women recently shot 1x2s and 2x2s. Because of this, the men of my family determined I must shoot something bigger.
After walking slowly and stealthily, like a native, in his very tracks for near unto eternity, he made his special deer sign. Noiselessly, we dropped to the ground and began crawling and scooting. He had me scoot from tree to tree, careful not to crack a single stick. Several times, he pointed out an unseen buck. Finally, after having me create a rest using my arm, balanced on the side of a tree, he again pointed out a couple of bucks ambling by. He said "wait till it stops". I studied a 3x3 through my scope as he walked along, aiming at his lungs. Archer blew a grunt call and the buck momentarily paused. At the same time, I fired off a shot which nailed both lungs instantaneously. The buck instantly dropped right where he stood. Archer seemed pleased. The other buck, a smaller one, stood around watching. I feared he might charge us, but after several minutes, he exited in a disgruntled manner. Sure enough, down there, in the clearing, was my buck dead as dead could be. I HATE killing things, but if I need to, for food, that's the best way. I was happy. Archer gallantly offered to let me "gut" him, and politely, I refused. After a long hike back to the vehicle and then back to the deer, I was SHOCKED when Archer threw the buck over his shoulders and carried it out of the woods. I guess he's really a man's man. Blood dripping down off him, immense weight shouldered, the kid smiles proudly as he makes his way the mile back out of the woods. I thought to myself, well, this really isn't my thing, but if my 19 year old wants to take me out to do anything I should count it as doing well :-)
Much busyness seems to plague me, but I continue to find refuge in my hot tub and at the computer. To read about my latest fitness and eating exploits see my other blog :

Until next time, may you find freedom, peace and joy in your life, but most of all The Liberator.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Announcing The Birth of My New Blog!!

I've been blogging for 2 solid years now and it's been pretty diverse. Sometimes I blog about Health and Fitness, Sometimes Family or Community, Sometimes a Spiritual Theme, and Sometimes I just plain old Laugh at Myself. Whatever I've done has been pretty diversified into one blog. It occurred to me that its probably hard for people to follow all of my different themes and writing styles, so I decided that I needed to get a little more organized. Hence this creation. I will continue to use this blog for family, community and my spiritual themes. I'll probably laugh at myself on both of them ;-) Actually, when I started blogging 2 years ago, it was my intention for it to be about health and fitness. It just evolved into a lot more. With that, I give you..........

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Announcing The CSN Gift Certificate Winner!

I got this back pack with my gift certificate from the blog give away that I won at Blessed Mom's Simple Home She's actually doing ANOTHER GIVE AWAY!!! So if you didn't win, check out this link and enter her drawing!! I can't wait to try out my new backpack!! Thank you Blessed Mom :-) And Thanks CSN Stores!!

Okay, what you've all been waiting for!!! Drum Roll............

My friend Paula drew the winning entry so we could make sure it was fair because I would have loved to give so many people this gift certificate :-) Lamb Around is the Lucky Girl!! She is a new follower. Congratulations!!