Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Killer Wyman....not so much

There was something rodential in the garage.....and yesterday the deacon from my church came up with a co-worker to put a trap in the garage to catch it. Peachy.....used some of our peanut butter to bait the trap and left . Thank you deacon. However, comma, this morning when I checked the trap, the peanut butter was completely gone ( and I mean immaculately clean ) and the trap had not been tripped. Which is mostly fine since I spent most of last night waiting for the "snap" which would have indicated the death of something.

But it kind of pissed me off too...so down I went to the hardware store to find something that would either give it wicked snow shoes or kill it. And I put not one or two but four sticky traps next to the cache of seeds it had stashed next to the waterheater.

Then I checked it.....not even two hours later.

And there, stuck by a hind leg and looking totally terrified, was a mouse. Not a rat. A scared little mouse. It had tried to chew off its own leg. I nearly died from shame. I dont kill things ( except for bugs). I had read that should I stick myself to this trap, oil would free me. Soooooo.

I got the oil out and some long tongs and took mousie out the garage door. Poured oil on it, shoved it under a big rock then brought it a cup of sunflower seeds, which I also shoved under the rock.

I hope it survives but I also hope it does not seek shelter in my garage again. There is poison in there.

Monday, November 29, 2010

All creatures, great and small.....which begs a question

Something is living, uninvited, in my garage. I saw it scurry behind John's golf bag and I did not see a cute fluffy tail. Which probably means its not an adorable squirrel or precious little chipmunk. No. It was chocolate brown and looked for all the world like a rat.

Not cute. I found the new bag of sunflower seed for the birds open, with at least half a pound shelled and eaten. I found feces and the stench of urine behind the waterheater. What I have not found is the critter. I have removed all the food and only hope if it gets hungry enough that it starts eating my golf bag since I have little use for it.

Now for the question.....I know God is great and He knew what He was doing when it came to creation. But seriously....rats? Mosquitoes? Gnats? Fleas? Ticks? Giant flying cockroaches???? And I have to ask why....when I see him.

Its just more than my small human brain can handle at the moment. I guess I should be grateful its not a racoon or something larger that has moved in.....

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Giving thanks for Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving I drove up to Colorado Springs to spend the day with Tessa and family, with whom I have not given thanks on this day for over 16 years. What a gift and what a blessing to be able to do that.

Not that the day before, when i did the actual driving, was without challenge. The dogs (yes, all four) and I headed out around 11am....early enough to get there before dark but not early enough to miss the incoming dark clouds and snow that was once again approaching. Once again the wind had picked up and swirls of the white stuff were just hitting the ground when I headed for Cimmaron pass and Colorado. Tessa promised me that once we cleared the mountains, it would be clear sailing. Which it was....and she was not kidding about the sailing part. The wind was even stronger and there were warnings if you were driving a "high-profile vehicle". Huh? I did not know if I was or not but I have to think they meant the 18 wheelers, who swayed like drunks, from my side of the road (whoa, big fella!!) to their own.

I got lost once we got to the Springs...which is not like me. I am the navigator when John drives and know how to get to her house. Always. Except not this time. Took an exit a few too far and had to pull out the GPS to find my way. Finally did arrive safely and took a deep breath..then we started cooking. We got the cornbread made for dressing and Noni Hilda's "red stuff" and finished defrosting the turkeys. Then it was off to the hotel with the dogs for a well deserved rest.

May I just say now, for the record, that traveling with 4 dogs and only one human leaves the human vastly outnumbered. Even with split leads that hold 2 dogs, its still barely possible to manage dogs, purse, bag and an electronic key. I did get them, their beds, food, Tonka the baldy's clothes and my stuff into the room and discovered that with every sound in the hall the four part harmony began. The only way to keep them quiet was by keeping them on my bed. No problem.

Early Thanksgiving day we headed back to the Hebert house. It was truly a wonderful day....and such a blessing to have been able to be there. All the humans really enjoyed it...way too much food, starting with Cinnamon rolls in the morning, yummy snacks till the meal was done then Turkey and all the sides. We were all stuffed and happy, knowing that the following day the food would be even better since we didnt have to do any cooking.

The dogs were more ambivalent about the experience. Tess has a husky....looks like Demon in the movie Snow Dogs but not in the same intellect catagory. He is a sweet, sweet, gentle dog but he is not the sharpest crayon in the box. Eason just wants to play. He doesnt know he is at least 6 x bigger than my dogs. Bikki absolutely cant stand him, period. No playing about it. Loki tries to ignore him, since Loki thinks he is the alpha male. I didnt have the heart to tell him the truth. Lady flirts with him, stealing his toys and chewies and prancing away from him every chance she gets. Tonka tries to bite him, stands on his back feet and attacks for all he is worth. Poor Eason just looks confused when this happens. I think, given enough time, Tonka would be his best buddy ( or partner in crime, whichever ) but they are never together long enough for that to happen.

Tessa also has a cat. Said cat was also not amused. He was pissed. Bad example too....said cat feels free to sit on the dining room table and, wise dog that he is, Tonka followed suit. That is where Tess and I found him when we got back from the grocery store. Joe took pics and Tonka looks quite at home there. I am sure, since he saw the cat do it, he felt it was ok. Fortunately our table is higher here at home and he does not have that option.

I stayed an extra day as the thought of driving back this far, as tired as I was just seemed out of the question. The kids were gone so it was just adults and was very relaxing and peaceful. It is something new to have only adults and such a small group but it was wonderful to have time to talk to Tess and Joe and I really did love it.

The drive back was exciting too ( sensing a pattern here>) since I got lost in Trinidad. A blinking sign said "merge right" and since I write left handed, I am pretty sure which way that means....usually. We lefties do tend to get them confused from time to time but not THIS time. And I found myself on Main Street with no clue how to get back on I-25. Out comes the trusty GPS again and after a brief tour of downtown found the freeway again. By this time Tonka had gotten car sick and I was ready for the trip to be done.

We made it home safely but I can honestly say I HATE traveling without John. Every muscle and nerve in my body was as tense as a violin string and had anyone tapped me with a tuning fork every one of them would have shattered. My legs were shaking and I was dizzy with relief just to see the driveway. I can and will do this again to see her and the grandkidlets but I truly would not like to do it again solo.

I cannot speak about what it was like to be away from John for the first Thanksgiving since we married, except to say it hurt. The blessing was having family I could go to and for that I am truly grateful.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

And the weather report is.....wrong

At least there is a comforting consistancy, no matter where we live, that its a pretty good bet the meteorologist report on incoming weather will be wrong. Very wrong. I dont know if that is universal but at least in this country it seems mostly like a guessing game.

There were reports that snow would be falling north and south of us but the Sange de Cristo mountains weren't supposed to get anything but a dusting. That howling wind brought alot more than dust...it brought inches and in some of the drifts it climbed to feet. I was afraid of getting stuck so for the first time in my life I shoveled. I have shoveled other things but never snow.

Who would have thought that such delicate tiny flakes could weigh so much when they get together? Snow is heavy. This morning my shoulders and arms are aching. Usually its my back that goes out of wack but I think it has to play second fiddle to all the other body parts that don't want to move.

The girl dogs love, love, loved it. The boys not so much. Bikki and Lady practically danced in it...digging and rolling around on their back, dashing back and forth with doggie glee. The boys.... ummm no. Loki is a skinny lil' thing, lots of fur but no body fat so he came out to investigate then headed back to the garage. Tonka, he of no fur, had to wear both a fleece and a snowsuit and he still wasnt warm enough. He did bound out into it, kinda like a jack rabbit, then bounded right back into the garage to sit by the door. "That was fun now let me back in the house" attitude. Maybe he is the smart one ?

Today I am going to try and get the rest of the house cleaned....I did at least get my room and the bathroom done yesterday...providing I can still push the vacuum and the mop. My arms feel like over cooked spagetti noodles so this should be an interesting day.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Three dog night.......no

Four dog day. All of us huddled in the bedroom...not just because of the temp of the house ( yes, cold, very cold ) but also because of the wind.

Today I have heard every sound that humans connect to wind. It has howled, shrieked, whimpered, whined, whistled and every other descriptive that starts with "w". It has moaned and cried. It has wailed then dropped to a whisper. Things have hit the house with enough force to make all 5 of us cower...then four of us barked. Fortunately one of them was not me, yet.

There has been no sound of human voice, save mine. Good thing I have the dogs otherwise I would be talking to myself. OK, I do that anyway but it would be pretty scary if I talked to myself that much. At least I have the dogs and they count, right?

I have to admit that since John left..and even before, I have not cleaned. My dust bunnies have married, had children and they have children. The floors are probably dirty but since you cannot go without shoes and avoid hypothermia here and since I dont stick to one place very often I have not mopped. Until last night I had not "cooked" unless you count the micro dinners and the boiled eggs I made a while ago.

Now we go back to the dogs.....its not like there is much else in my life at this point and they do keep me from being obviously insane ( I prefer the subtle approach to insanity, dont you?). We were almost out of dogfood. No, I havent dropped to that level when it comes to sustenance although its been tempting at times....but I digress. A person in Taos sells this stuff called "Nature's Select" super premium dog food...their description, not mine. So the dogs not only hate it but reject it from every orifice they have excepting ears and nose. You get the picture. Now multiply that by 4 ( or 8 , depending on how and what you are counting). Soooooo not cute.

Which brings me to the kitchen. I may not cook for myself but when my dogs are having digestive issues and I have to deal with them I can google and find out how to make dog food at home. Should be a no-brainer. They, like humans, are omnivores. A protein, carb maybe some dairy. They say add veggies but if there is one thing my dogs can eat around and never touch, it is a vegetable. So chicken and rice and a bit of cheese. Smelled better than the micro crap I had but I did resist.

With the wind battering the windows and coming in under the doors everything was different. For the first time in a very long time I did not make the bed. I stayed in it. Every single dog...and usually its just one or two....was asleep, on their backs with legs skyward, for a good part of the day. The wind apparently doesnt bother them as much as it does me or maybe with the howling and whining they think its a relative. I read some and then did something almost unheard of...I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich. Just not normal. Then, as the dinner hour approached ( who really knows when that is since its getting dark so early now ) I decided to cook. Real food. Wow. We all enjoyed it and I think they like the Jasmine rice better than the plain stuff.

I think I might be getting really, really sick because I want to clean the house tomorrow. Unless its still windy...then who knows what might happen.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Getting involved

When we moved here it was a hard thing. Not just to leave family and my church but also moving to the unknown. Yes, we have visited here for years and had the condo for over 20 years but it is simply not the same as being here 24/7. So much I dont know and so much is different.

What I prayed for was that He would lead me ...to do what He wanted, to become a part of the Body of Christ here. And He is faithful in answering prayer. He also seems to have a good sense of humor.

It is pretty well known how I feel about ironing. I do it well but realllllly would rather not. So ( you know where this is going, right?) I volunteer to do whatever needs to be done. Ahem. Guess what I got asked to do? Uh huh.....ironing.

The altar cloths ( basically big tablecloths ) have been being taken care of for over 2 years by the same sweet lady and she asked would I...how could I say no. Tons 'o fun. They are large and by the time you iron all the way around the side drape, the first part you ironed is wrinkled again. Also, Loki decided when I was almost finished with the last one (there are three big ones and one HUGE one) to claim it as his own. Yes. Peachy.....rather, pissy. Sigh.

Maybe I should have been more specific when praying but honestly I find it ironic that the one chore I thought I left behind is the very one that followed me here. Kinda makes me shake my head but it makes me smile too. Thank you Lord that I can serve and that it was not toilet scrubbing you chose for me.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The flue.....who knew

After my initial trial and error fire, I have avoided the fireplace. I figured I had enough excitement and would just use the house heating system to stay warm. Or try to stay warm. No matter what I set the thermostat on the heat level never changed, meaning I have been trudging around the house in long sleeve shirt over sweatshirt, sweat pants, socks, slippers....everything short of mittens and ear muffs. Quite the fashion statement, I know, but in the interest of not turning into a solid block of ice, I haven't really cared.

I have considered sleeping in the bathroom where we have a small space heater that actually warms the room. It has not been pleasant. To understand this one must realize I have always been the type of person who sleeps with the window open, no matter how cold it is. I dont like heavy covers on the bed and generally am too warm, no matter what. Ha.

Guess what? After said fire, I never shut the flue. All the heat was getting sucked up and out of the house, via the chimney. Duh. Now that it is closed the house is a balmy 72....which doesnt sound all that warm but compared to being in the 60's, its positively a hothouse.

I dont know whether its been the cold or some stray germ but this morning at 3am I woke up with a sore throat and swollen glands ....now I look like a bundled frog. It could have been a reaction to shoveling several inches of partly cloudy off the deck and front porch in the middle of the night ( it gets dark here at about 4 in the afternoon so "middle of the night" might be a bit of an exaggeration...) but the drippy nose and red eyes dont add much to the look I sport.

Hot tea and a good book sounds pretty exciting right now, when I can get up the energy to put water on to boil. Does that count as cooking?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fire and Ice

Living here has definately increased my learning curve. All my life I have cooked with electric stoves but was excited about using gas since its so much more immediate...faster heat, faster cooling once its off. What I learned yesterday is that its a good idea to check to see if the flame is actually lit. There is a little clicking sound that means the starter is working, so I set a pan on the stove, clicked it, not checking for flame, and put my sandwhich in to toast. After a few minutes I wondered why it was not heating....clicked the thingy off and back on and WOOSH, I got a gas ball of flame about two feet high. Wow. Good thing I had leaned back to see underneath the pan...otherwise about now I would have no eyelashes or brows. It was definately exciting. I have to wonder if I almost blew up the house.....Live and learn, right??

Later in the day I decided to start a fire in the fireplace....better than one in the kitchen and how hard could it be ? It too has a gas starter....oh joy. Stacked the wood just so, put some paper underneath so the gas would have something to catch easily, struck the match and voila...fire. Also smoke...lots and lots of smoke. Thinks me to myself "this probably isnt right" and sure enough, the flue was shut. Fortunately I found the little ring thing that opens it and by this morning the house is a bit less pungent than it was last night. Still learning.....

The ice part was not nearly as exciting. A few posts back I extolled the virtues of cold poo. As a mother who has dealt with bodily excretions most of her life I am excited by the little things like ease of dealing with said poo. However I have found that if you actually step in it and squish it onto a surface, it becomes super glue. You cannot scrape it off no matter what. Ok, so I will spray it off with the hose.

Let me take a short break to explain something I did not know about hoses when it is below freezing. Although I had disconnected it from the house, I had not drained it. What you end up with is 20ft of frozen water inside the hose. Not knowing this, when I hooked the lil' sucker back up (no easy feat when hands and hose are both frozen) and turned on the water, what I got was sprayed in the face by the hookup and not a drop out of the hose. Several hours later, after hanging it off the deck, it did drain and I got to repeat the hook up fun and games. Then the real fun started. It was above freezing ( mostly ) so I sprayed the super-glued-poo off and did the rest of the deck for good measure. It immediately turned into an ice skating rink...and I admit it is rather amusing to see all the dogs legs heading in different directions. I also learned that when wearing slippers with leather bottoms my legs head in different directions too. Not nearly as amusing.

One of my daughters has suggested that I need adult supervision. It is a distinct possibility that she is correct but it wouldnt be nearly as entertaining.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day....God bless them all

A veteran is defined as someone who served...in the Armed Services. Someone who served. Me, my children , they were willing to lay down their life for us. Who deserves a gift like that? What have I ever done to deserve that?

The truth is that nothing I have done or could ever do would be worth that kind of gift.

This is not an impersonal "thank you" ...for my country or for us, a collective. This is a thank you from my heart because it IS personal. This gift was given, first by God for His Son and for his blessing in being born in this country but also for those others who gave their lives for me. That I could live in freedom, here , now.

May He bless those who have come home and especially those who did not....they paid a price that can only be repaid by God.

May He bless them and their families.....

Some of us will never forget.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Extremely random thoughts....

Some things about living here in Angel Fire alone are very cool....also cold and dry.

For example....when dogs crap here, if you wait a few hours, the poo is so dry and maybe also cold, that it does not stick to whatever surface it has been deposited upon. This is great...beyond great : ) For those of you who do not understand this, oh well.

When you are the only one living in a house you do not ever need to turn on the bathroom fan. No explanations necessary.

Cooking is optional. Another example...I boiled eggs today for eggsalad and consider that "cooking" while John is gone.

I can answer the door in sweat pants at 3pm and I do not get a strange look from the UPS guy.

Mail does not get delivered here....which means if I really want bills, I have to go pick them up at the Post Office.

I have learned that I cannot shower in the bathroom without the blinds pulled, never mind that the only thing that could possibly see me naked is a bird perched 30 feet in the air, in the middle of the night....Thank you Sister Mary Emma!!!

Also, no matter what the temp is, I cannot, for the life of me go to " church" (even though there isn't one here in Angel Fire and no matter that mass is held in a community center with basketball hoops) in anything but a dress with hose and heels. See above.

I have become an avid bird watcher...how can I not be when there are so many on my deck??
I have identified Stellar's Jay and Clark's Nutcracker..both of which are amazing birds and are frequent visitors. There are smaller ones who visit more often and in greater numbers that I have not identified ...but will in time.

I am blessed to finally be here. Although Hawaii is a wonderful place to visit...I am SO VERY GRATEFUL to not live there anymore. I hated it. Maybe someday I will want to visit again....but I rather doubt it...at least not in the near future (20 years might do it...maybe)

It is quiet here. I got sick to death of the constant sirens in Hawaii. Who knows, maybe there are just more people dying in Hawaii but I got sick of the constant drama of sirens. The dogs loved it....howllllllllllllll, howllllllllllll etc,ad infinitum, ad nauseum. Now, and only if I listen, can I hear the soft step of whatever is in the woods. Mostly, I prefer not to know.

While I know I am blessed to be here, I can not wait for my love to return. Even though I am grumpy and grouchy and not anything near perfect....I hope he knows I am a better, more whole person when he is here. I miss you my love....and wait for your return.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Silence may be golden....but it is lead too

Another month started alone. Ok, not alone but certainly lonely. The house is too quiet, even with all these yappy dogs. The wildlife is abundant....two days ago I saw the "girl" mule deer. Two mama deer and three babys. All of them look well fed and healthy. Then yesterday the "boys" came through. Four males...one young one with 4 points, two 6 pointers and an 8. The eldest came last...meandering his way through the woods. Absolutely gorgeous. And I heard rifle shots, here in the Village. Makes me crazy....they are supposed to be safe here but ovbviously they are not.

The sky today matches my mood.....gray, gray, gray and cold. It feels like snow outside and inside my heart is frozen solid. I know I can do this....having survived the first month on my own I know I can do it again. That is a blessing. But the knowledge alone doesnt ease the sorrow. Knowing there are years of this yet to come makes it harder.

Maybe later I will start a fire...and pray I dont burn the house down.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A little of everything....

This past week has been unusual...at least for me. It is entirely possible that its totally normal for this part of the country at this time of year but since I havent seen fall in 40 years its not like I would know.

On Tuesday we woke to near darkness....clouds roiling and boiling, wind whipping with gusts up to 50mph and the temp near 40. Felt much colder than that and as the day progressed the temp started dropping. Then came the rain...which turned into hail...which turned into snow. For the next day or so the mountains were hidden...only the foothills visible.

It stayed cold for the next two days then presto chango....warming weather, melting snow ( just love slush, dont you??) and yesterday I nearly fell off the deck from suprise. What should float by but a monarch butterfly. Not that I am up on monarch breeding but I am pretty sure freezing weather isnt one of their favorites.

Now all that is left are patches of ice where the sun doesnt reach and mud where it does. I dont know what tomorrow will bring but it is never boring.