Monday, December 19, 2011

Wooooohoooooo let the games begin!!!

Last year at this time we were getting ready to travel to North Carolina to attend the birth of TJ....almost a year old now ( yes, I know, my math skills are truly underwhelming ) and nothing was ready for guests. We were delayed by snow there and didnt get back to Angel Fire in time to do any preparation for incoming family. Not good, to say the least.

This time we were almost, pretty much, dang near ready...sorta, mostly. That being said, so far is has been wonderful. The Heldt and McKenna familys are here...Wyman (Josh, Liz and preborn babe ) and Hebert familys to follow shortly. It is crazy but crazy good. The grandkidlets have grown so much and matured ....well mature for 7 or 5 yr. olds!

At the moment we are "enjoying" the 6th or 7th snowstorm since October but this one actually qualifies as a blizzard, according to the weather people. inside, snow out.

Life is not only good, it is truly a blessing. A bit tiring and a bit loud...but a blessing!!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks

On this day I am so very grateful for so many things....

For a Lord that loves me
as an imperfect and frustrating wife who gave me a wonderful husband, knowing my faults and loving me anyway
as an even more imperfect mother to children who are spite and not because of me
as a grandmother who is no longer there....
as a worshiper who is only a part timer
as a friend who does not call nor seem to care
as a daughter who is distant and should not be
as an idiot and a loser in my own mind

Then again.....He loves me, in spite of all, so how bad can it be ? I can convict myself a thousand thousand times and He still loves me...
I WIN....out of all the things in life, when it comes to the biggie ( eternal life ) I WIN and I am grateful

Thank you Lord for all I am blessed with and thank you for the things I take for granted.
I am well and truly blessed.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Did I mention the car.....

Alrighty then.....

In the last exciting installment baby Rottie, aka Thud, and I had an adventure walking and it was not much fun ( at least for me ). Cracked ankle and all , I drove myself to Taos and got it x-rayed and splinted. Fine so far, sorta. I am pretty sure I was in some kind of shock but I managed to get home or at least to the driveway in one piece.

I have been backing down this drive, in all weather, for over a year and up until 11-11-11 I did fine...meaning I hit nothing and did no damage. The drive was pure ice and this too I had dealt with in the past. However, comma, ( yes, you know what is coming ) when I backed down this time I slewed sideways, hit the "planter" area, which is bounded by old railroad ties and popped the side thingy off the car in the front. Out came all this baby blue liquid, which I was sure was anti-freeze fluid and which all the dogs were immediately interested in licking. In addition to the pain of trying to hobble on crutches ( which by the by made the ankle worse and not better ) I was hysterical thinking I would have to explain to John why we had 4 dead dogs...have I mentioned I have an over active imagination? If not, let me just say now "worse case scenario" is my forte.

To my immense relief ( and with my undying gratitude ) our friend Tom showed up and checked under the hanging thingy and it was the windshield wiper fluid and not the anti-freeze ( dead or dying dogs ) and he snapped it mostly back into place then duct-taped it up to make sure the tire would not hit it, should I decide to drive again. I have seen cars duct-taped together and thought " ghetto!!" but just let me say now, never again will I make a snap judgement about this sort of auto repair. May God forgive me for being so judgmental...but doesnt He always have ways to make us understand how wrong this is?

I continue to learn and grow and it most certainly is not always easy. Here is my ghetto car...which still runs and did not poison my dogs.

Thank you Lord for your continued protection and your lessons in both humility and knowledge.

( I did not know Stryker was in the photo when I took it but you tell me, doesnt he look guilty?)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Interesting times....

Friday afternoon, after being asked by John if I had walked Stryker, and after having said no.....tooo slick from the snow turning into slush, into ice....I decided to do just that....thinking "poor dog, he needs this". I have been lax regarding exercise since the snows started, his not mine since I think it is an exercise in futility regarding myself, but still..... so off we go.

The walk up the road was fine...he is learning heel and sit and stay well. However, comma.....when he is headed home, he knows it and wants to get there faster than when he was leaving. No problem...he is a good boy!!! So I decided to give him his head and let him dash a bit, also ok, but my left ankle decided it was not. Twist, turn and a bit of a crack. Funny how you can feel a bone breaking from inside your body, isn't it ?

Hoping and praying it was not a break, I did the RICE thing ( rest, ice, compression and elevation ) . Hurt so bad I could not eat anything for dinner, tried to sleep with the ace bandage and an ice pack--only a cold, wet sheet and no pain relief resulted, and decided to hit the Taos ER first thing in the AM on Saturday.

Praying nothing was broken I did find the Taos hospital but could not find the ER. Oh joy. Walked through the entire place and finally found it, whereupon the check in lady had me stand for at least 15 minutes at her window trying to fill in the most simple of forms ( funny how the easy stuff isnt so easy when you are in pain and alone).

Good thing is , when the nurse finally did take me back to the exam room, it was fast , friendly and really efficient.

The ankle is fractured, dont know what will happen when I see a follow up Orthopedic doc on Wednesday and have no idea how I am supposed to shop for the turkey and fixin's for Thanksgiving which is expected of me.

Please pray for me.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thank you to our Veterans

I am grateful and blessed to have been born in this country. So blessed to live where there are men and women willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in the name of our collective freedoms.

Since the birth of this country there have always been those who believed she was worth protecting and fighting for. So many who have gone to battle for us never returned home....many buried in lands far away....some never recovered.

My Mom used to quote Milton, who said " they also serve who only sit and wait " with regards to the families of those serving in the military. She knew whereof she spoke. For two years while my Dad served in Viet Nam she waited and waited and waited. She did not "only sit" and I would posit that none who have a deployed service member do. My son in law Joseph, home now on leave from Afganistan, is married to our eldest and sitting is something she cannot do. The sacrifice of family is something civilians will never truly understand nor really appreciate. Those of us who do know the true cost of freedom.

To not only those who serve or have served, to their mothers and fathers, wives and children, brothers and sisters, my heartfelt thanks. May God bless those of you who have loved this land throughout the ages, in every branch of service, and have served her with honor.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Freaking out about November

I am thrilled and terrified about the coming Christmas season. Although I have gotten over the " eeeekkkkk everyone is coming here and the house is not perfect" stage, there is still much that concerns me. And no, the house is not going to be perfect so that is not it. The head count so far is 31...give or take a few. There will be many cooks and at least three ovens and stoves so the food shouldn't be a problem...maybe, depending on who brings what, who does NOT bring what and what we will need to provide.

I have no idea what to get for gifts since most of the family will be traveling elsewhere after Christmas and any and all goodies need to be small and/or easily packable. John has said that the airline tickets are the "gift" but try telling that to a small child. Ummm no, that will NOT cut it. So the hunt is on...wish me luck on that front.

Will there be enough blankets, coats, gloves, and boots? Will there be altitude sickness ( there usually is ) and how many over the counter meds will I need for ages varying from almost 1 yr to ancient ( us ) ? Do I have enough tissues, toilet paper and should I buy diapers? Who will be sleeping where ? Will there be enough cars to get everyone everywhere, whenever they need to go?

Then there is the dog issue. The poms are not a problem since they are yappy but small. Thud is a different story. He has done "meet and greet" but it has been awhile and small kidlets will definately get knocked over ( with joy in his heart, not a mean bone in his body ) and maybe sat upon. He doesnt know he is a "big dog" since he is still a puppy and I worry that he will do I going to end up sleeping with him in the garage? He does not do well when left to his own devices ( empty garbage cans, chew contents and other fun activities ) so leaving him out of the festivities is not an option.

Usually I do all the worrying prior to any event and in this John and I differ. He does not waste time like this but I figure if I do all the worrying and wondering in advance I might just get things worked out before they happen.

Pray for me.....I am losing it and it is still over a month away!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Baby it's COLD outside

Yesterday we got the 4th snow storm of the season ( it is still fall, right??). Probably 10 inches. This winter we are better prepared to deal with the white stuff because we have an ATV with a little shovel on the front. John is back in Hawaii so I had the dubious pleasure of doing the driveway, not all by myself since all 4 dogs were there with me. I am pretty sure if they could laugh, they would have. This was only my second time driving the ATV and I am not a pro, to say the least. It has a wonky gas lever and "smooth" is not the word to describe my driving. I did manage to get most of the snow shoved up to the road and cleared a path up the driveway....not 20 minutes later the Village snow plow shoved most of the snow right back into the drive.


Fortunately I had no need to leave the shoveling experience a day is more than enough, thank you very much!! Still...since it costs $60 every time someone else has to shovel it, I guess today will be another attempt. Shovel ready job? I got one right here!!

Also had my first fall of the season ( last year there were 4 ) but it was cushioned by all the fluffy white. I guess for an old broad, I still bounce pretty well.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

38 and counting.....

It doesn't exactly seem like yesterday....but it doesn't seem like 38 years married to the same amazing man, either. So much has changed ( I certainly don't have the body much less the mind I had back in the day!! ) but so much remains the same. I love John more than I thought it possible to love and he still has the ability to tick me off more than anyone else.

For our anniversary we went to Phoenix...hoping to see my Dad and our friends, Mike and Sheila. Dad was at the NMMI homecoming and Mike and Sheila were in Kansas. What struck me about Phoenix ( aside from the killer heat...seriously, why would anyone who is sane live in that kind of heat!???! And I do not care that it is a "dry heat " : it is a precursor to hell. Hot is hot is hot, period. Ack.) was the shopping possibilities. Every block has every store ever known to man or woman. Over kill ? Yes, and while I do admit to missing some variety to the good ole' Valley Market, our one and only store aside from those meant for the tourists, I could not wait to get home. Phoenix is a nice place to visit ( did I mention HOT, HOT, HOT???)but I am so blessed to live where I do. After 40 odd years in a place touted to be paradise, which it definately is not, I have found mine and it is here in the mountains.

My Dad arranged for us to visit the most famous and oldest steakhouse, The Stockyard. We got to sit in the booth made famous by John Wayne and it was an amazing dinner. Dad suggested we try the "calf fries" but I had a bad feeling those fries are the same as mountain oysters. Bingo!! No thank you very much. I will try just about anything when it comes to food but bull balls are NOT on that list. I would rather starve. Fortunately there were better options on that list...and the beef was amazing. Have I mentioned that I am very glad we are not vegetarians??

Thanks Dad, for a great evening and a much appreciated gift certificate !!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Into the loving arms of God

Our friends were expecting another grandchild. They are with their daughter and her husband and family, not celebrating a new life but planning a funeral. This was a baby who was diagnosed with trisome 18 early on in the pregnancy, a condition that is fatal for the baby.

The question put to me was how could a loving God allow this to happen. God did not do this. We are not perfect...not internally nor externally. Our genes are not perfect....a healthy baby is not always the outcome of a pregnancy. What has been amazing is the response of the mother, knowing she was carrying a baby she would never see live through his infancy. The father, a Navy man, was at sea for most of the pregnancy and only returned in the last few weeks. Though it is his loss too, he has not had the priviledge and the burden of carrying this child, has not dealt with it daily as she has.

This mother knew from early on in the pregnancy that her baby would probably not survive to term and if he did, he could not survive outside the womb. The only thing keeping him alive was her body and her heart, beating for his damaged one. She was offered the option of termination.

She decided to love him every moment she could, to do everything in her power to give him a chance, however slim, at life. She carried him under her heart until he was nearly full term. Two days before she was to be induced, his heart, which had developed normally on only one side, stopped. She still had to endure labor and delivery. When Andre was delivered his family was there to hold him and to say goodbye to him. To cuddle him and to kiss him. The only time they will ever have to touch him.

How did she do this? How could she deal with this and not become bitter or angry ? This woman is a Christian Catholic... a woman who knows that her son now rests in the loving arms of Jesus. She has turned her son over to God knowing she did the best she could while she was blessed to be carrying him. And she did see it as a blessing. She is grieving and torn, her heart is still broken, still shattered. Yet God in His goodness and grace will heal this because she has done what she knew was asked of her. Love this child, honor life and have faith.

I pray for His mercy and peace for this family, especially this mother, and I ask you to do the same.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Oh well.......

John called this morning at 2am and by 4am I had decided there would be no more sleeping since Thud was awake and whining. I knew there had been some snow during the night but not how much. The aspens are not faring well....too much wet snow and still too many leaves....even the big ones are bent over with the weight of it. The small ones are breaking. Out of the three in the bottom picture, one has already snapped.

Friday, October 7, 2011


I was only yesterday glorying in the beauty of fall. That may not last long. When Stryker needed to make his potty call at 5:50am this morning it was snowing. I am not quite ready....ok, I REALLY dont want it to be full on winter yet.

There are some advantages. You can live in sweats and nobody thinks you are crazy or just too lazy to get dressed. Makeup is definately optional since you dont see anyone. You can live in your houseshoes...again pretty normal. The dust dies down...some. Fires in the fireplace are toasty and lovely. Stews and hot soups.

Some disadvantages too. Wet dogs and muddy pawprints. Frozen showers ...and I dont mean freezing in the shower, although that happens too, no...I mean the shower literally freezes and cant be used. Icy slick driveway, ditto for the roads. A husband who thinks fishtailing the car on ice is a winter sport. Winter blasts coming in under the french doors. Chapped lips. Critters sheltering in the garage ( there is another one out there : Bikki has been losing her mind since yesterday, again by the woodpile inside the garage door and she is never wrong on this count ).

At least for the moment the snow has turned to rain. You wouldn't think I would be thrilled with rain but I am. I am just not quite to the winter place yet.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The middle kingdom

There are times here when my location seems suspended between earth and sky. Times when earth and sky are unbounded by the limits of physics...when I am witness to the simple glory of light, falling like grace on all. None is just falls, covering and uncovering all.

What a blessing to observe the wonder of His creation....

I am grateful.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Compare and contrast

Same bed....same dog. Need I say more?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The fog creeps in on little cat feet.....

It sits on silent haunches....

Everything goes still. No birds sing, nothing moves in the trees. Truly ethereal.....wonderful, beautiful and so different from what I am used to.

Thank you Lord, for every new thing.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A birdie with a yellow bill

hopped upon my windowsill
cocked his shining eye and said
"aint you shamed, you sleepyhead"?

Ok, not exactly. We have huge windows in the living room and dining area and birds fly into them. When my son in law Joe was here a hummingbird smacked the window then fell into Jessica's lap. I think she was channeling the Hawaii B-52 cockroaches because the screaming that ensued was the same. Joe gently scooped up the little guy and stroked his feathers to calm him ( the guy is basically the animal whisperer...ALL animals adore him!). After a few minutes the bird ruffeled his wings and Joe lifted him several times and off the lil guy flew.

This little yellow bird was sitting on the deck table looking stunned. All the dogs wanted to go say "Hi" but considering that fact that Stryker eats things bigger than the bird I decided this was probably not a good idea. I went out solo and scooped it up and did the Joe thing with the wing stroking....there didnt seem to be any damage to his wings. I think he just knocked himself silly and needed a minute to recover. I put him on the birdfeeder and a minute or two later, off he went.

I am not a big bird person....I love watching them but have absolutely NO interest in touching them. Thanks really wasn't as icky as I thought it would be.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Oh baby...look at you now!!

Stryker has been with us 6 months now. In that time we have dealt with loose stools because of a rampant bacteria, normally found in the IG tract of dogs but only activated when they are severely stressed. I do count his trip to Denver where we picked him up as a qualifying factor. He missed his plane because of human error ( of course ), arrived many hours late in not only thunder, lightening, hail but also a tornado then had to ride in a car 2 hours back to Colorado Springs...antibiotics.

Then Tess and the kidlets and the two dogs and cat came to visit.....and Stryker got either bitten or scratched and one side of his face swelled up. Antibiotics.....

Next we found a marble sized swelling under Stryker's chin...which between a Friday and the following Monday went from marble to abscess for which no reason could be found.... more antibiotics after a "stab" incision ( yup, exactly what it sounds like ) that drained blood and pus. Lovely.

About 6 days ago Stryker started shaking his head ...repeatedly. One ear was petal pink and lovely and the other was a red-hot mess. Do not ask me why ...its not like in this part of the country he is finding water to dunk his head in and it was before his bath ( see earlier blog ) so there is no apparent reason for this either.

Delicate health aside, he is a WONDERFUL dog. He is funny and bright and very enjoyable most of the time. I say that, thinking of the last two mornings when the whining to go out started at 4:45 am and 5:50 am, respectively. At those times I am tempted to just open the garage door and let what happens, happen ( wolves, bears, mountain lions.....). But I do not.

As to the bright part....after bathing him, he decided he LOVED the bath. I have to keep the bathroom door closed now because he wants to get back in the tub and he now knows how to turn on the water......

And "baby", the one who weighed a meager 13 lbs when we got him is now a whopping 75.7 lbs...but that was yesterday. I am pretty sure he has gained more since then!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Out of the night that covers me....

Black as the pit from pole to pole...
Invictus was one of my Mom's favorite poems. I love it too and this morning at 2:30am I got to see just how black it could be. Our power company left a message on Monday saying the power would be out from 2:30 to 3:30am but when you are stumbling to the bathroom at that time of night, rational thought is not present.

I thought "here we go again"...another circuit breaker shut down. I felt my way into the living room where I had left the flashlight after trying to find the non-existant black box for the tv the day before. Found it and trekked out to the garage where the circuit breaker box is located. All seemed ok. Sigh.

Headed back to the bedroom and that is when I noticed that there was no light coming from the village, at all. Then the light in my head went on ( the only dim bulb in the valley ) and I realized what was happening. It was the darkest dark I have ever seen, the only light coming from the stars. With no ambient light there were thousands and thousands visable. Beautiful but strange. So very quiet...

Unfortunately, when dawn finally came this morning everything that has a time set was blinking and had to be reset...not a big problem but a little irritating. When I tried to turn the lights on in the living room, nothing. Ok, thinks me, now it IS the circuit breaker and sure enough it was. It will not stay in the "on" position so the lights still dont work in there. I have no idea who to call since we dont know any electricians.

I KNEW when I posited the question "what next" that I should not have. It never fails.....

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bathing a rottie "pup"


Start by preping the bathroom....turning on the space heater on floor so the poor pup doesnt get cold. Rethink said heater and move it to a counter since said pup will probably soak bathroom, thus turning the whole floor into an electrocution risk.

Remove clothes and put on swimsuit. Fill tub. Try and coax 60+ pound baby into bathtub. Drag baby into tub....head and front paws make it, other 50 lbs do not. Soak, lather, rinse, rinse, rinse and repeat. Try and get dog out of tub ( good luck ). Try again. Try again. Try and dry said dog off....again, good luck. Use all 6 towels on floor to dry dog. Now use same towels to dry floor, mirrors, walls and self. Dog is still wet but happy. Try and keep dog out of empty tub. Try and keep dog from turning on faucets, located on outside of tub instead of at either end. Smart dog. Drag semi wet dog OUT of tub and try to re-dry. Again turn off damn faucets. grrrrrr.

Try and catch wet dog. Good luck. Mop floors, dry walls, dry self, repeat. Change to dry clothes. Repeat after said dog leaps with joy into lap. Turn off bleeping FAUCETS, AGAIN.

Next time wait for husband.

What is next....

That is a question one should not ask, I know.

It never fails...when John leaves something always happens. Whether this means critters, dead or alive, in the house or garage or mechanical things going on the fritz, it never seems to happen when he is here.

Last night I went to bed, watched a bit of "Sweet Genius" ( a mind bogglingly stupid show, by the way ) and turned off the tv. Prior to that I had watched a bit of tv in the living room....both tv's working fine.

Woke up this morning and VOILLA neither work. Called Direct TV. Lady said to find black or gray box on the floor. Moved entire entertainment cabinet trying to find said box. No box. Unplugged and replugged every blasted plug I could find. Nothing.
It is not so much that I need to be actually watching television, its the sound of other human voices that it provides.

This means no voices ( we wont talk about the ones in my head ), no music since we dont have a CD player, turntable or even radio, it means silence. They will be out to fix it tomorrow for a hefty fee ( of course!!)
And no, silence is NOT golden.

Did I mention the garage opener didnt work an hour ago? The circuit breaker connection clicked off....something that happens with several of the connections here and for no apparent reason. Somehow I dont think this is going to be the best of days....just one of the quietest.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Wanted : dead NOT alive

Last year we had an issue with a rat in the garage. About this time of year the lil fuzzy critters start looking for their winter home and apparently our garage fits the bill. Last year I put out sticky traps and caught the rat. I felt so sorry for it that I got out my 2ft tongs and carried the rat and trap outside, poured oil on it to release it, helped it get under a rock and left about half a pound of birdseed so it would not starve ( talk about crazy!!!)

About two weeks ago, before John left for Hawaii again, we had another invader ; not a rat, it was a mouse. This time we put out poison. Bikki, our hunter knew it was out there and she sat by the wood pile in the garage, waiting and waiting. To no avail. The poison does eventually work.....which I found out when I went into the garage night before last. There on the garage floor was a dead mouse and had I not been looking down, I would have stepped on it. AKKKKKKKKKKKK. Once again I got the tongs out and dumped him into the trash. Had to check the next morning to make sure it was A) still there and B) still dead. Needless to say I took the trash to the dumpster ( we dont have garbage pick-up here...we have to drag it down the mountain ) totally creeped out and fully expecting a miraculous resurrection with the mouse perched on the back seat, laughing at me.
I do have a very active imagination....

It isnt that I am less compassionate about His creatures...but as I found out with the snake, I have limits. This now extends to rodents and I really do prefer them dead, especially if they have the temerity to try and live inside.

I also have to wonder....why this stuff only happens when John is gone. Just lucky, I guess.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Spring has sprung...fall has fell

Well...sorta. The seasons here are a bit different than I expected. Winter was cold ( check ), spring was muddy but not warm ( check ), summer was rainy and gray ( check ??) and now that John has gone back to Hawaii, after experiencing the wet/gray, it is sunny ( huh?). Not to say it is warm....almost two weeks ago the overnight temps started dipping to the 40's and have stayed there ever since. Of course this started two days before hubby left so all he got to see was the blahs.

I am a little confused but have come to some conclusions. First, planting stuff ( flowers and tomatoes ) when we are past the last frost, is too late. The tomatoes are wayyyyyyy too much trouble, take too much time and water and produce too little to be worth the effort. The flowers never flowered and down in the valley they had their first frost this morning. They look like weeds growing in the flower beds and nary a single bloom ....ok I lie...three weeks ago there was a tiny white flower but it could well have been a weed and they seem to do just fine up here. Maybe next year I will plant least they grow.

Maybe growing stuff up here, with the exception of very large puppies, is not in my future. Oh does go on and the Valley Market has great tomatoes.

The learning curve continues but somehow I always seem to be behind it....

Monday, September 5, 2011

Purple potatoes

I have been cooking a looooooong time. At least 40 years...most of the time with reasonable success. Many have eaten my food and gone on to lead relatively normal lives. Sometimes, though, I manage to suprise myself, as happened last night.

We have friends who live close to Angel Fire. They have 18 acres and an amazing vegetable garden. John went out there last week to rotate his tires ( they have an hydrolic lift and that made things a lot easier ) and afterward Tom took John over to the vegetable garden for a few gifts. Fresh dill and cilantro ( which tastes like Ivory Soap to me ) fresh lettuce, turnips and an enormous head of red cabbage.

The only way I have ever had red cabbage is as sauerkraut and not knowing how to make that, I decided on corned beef and cabbage. I mean, how different could it taste ? Still cabbage, right? Well....

It did taste ok but it also dyed the potatoes, onions and, to a lesser degree the carrots, a funky purple. Purple is not the color you want potatoes. At least I dont.

I really do appreciate the kindness and am grateful for such lovely friends. I still dont have a clue what to do with the turnips and I dont think I have ever tasted one. After the cabbage experience ( did I mention the tops of the turnips are purple too??) I think I will gently toss them and just thank our friends profusely when next I see them....and stick to green cabbage.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Then and now.....

When we got Stryker he was a baby.....13 lbs and smaller than all but the chunkiest of the poms. Now is he is over 55 lbs. and still a baby. Not a small one...but still.....same bed...different dog. And its only been 4 months ( he is just over 5 months now ). Cant wait to see what he looks like in a year.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It's been awhile.....

It is mama/baby season here in the mountains....but I digress.

It has been awhile. Not just since posting, although it has been awhile for that too. What I am talking about is that one year has passed since we moved to the mountains. One year.....a short time in the grand scheme of things. One eternity in others.

There has been so much learned...and so much letting go. Letting go of the constancy of family. Letting go of a church family I fell in love with. Letting go of the "let's go shopping" spur of the moment times. Letting go of manicures and pedicures ( silly, I know but I really did enjoy those ). Letting go of my husband half the time ( but the hardest, all of the time). Like brushing your teeth with your "other" just feels wrong.

The experience has had a huge learning curve, to be sure. Ice inside the house, frozen shower, fear of being alone and doing it anyway. Snakes and bears and elk and deer...not to mention my favorite...hummingbirds!

Another digression....They are going through almost a quart a day of their sweet snack and sometimes there are too many at the feeder to count but I love them. Why, I have no idea. As has been mentioned to me, they are almost the same size and make almost the same sound and the flying B-52 cockroaches in Hawaii but they do not creep me out. Ok, they are MUCH prettier and they are birds not bugs. Anyway....

I have had the smoke of an enormous wildfire engulf the house and packed what few valuables I could into the car, prepared to flee. And now we have the monsoon rains. I laughed when I was first told that is what they were called, since in the beginning they lasted all of 40 seconds, literally. Having lived in Bangkok I had an entirely different idea as to what that monsoon meant. That has changed, although they still do not measure up quantatively or qualitatively, to those rains...nevertheless. For the last couple of weeks we have been having rain and the accompanying thunderstorms daily...for which I am so very grateful. If its wet, it wont burn. Thank you Lord, for rain!!!

I guess what I have learned is that although I am by myself here I am not alone. He is always with me. The Lord has seen me through, has been here, will be here and "we" can do this. I am so blessed to be loved by a Savior who is ALWAYS here. I can do this. And, hard as it sometimes is ( thinking SNAKE here ) I would not change anything. I do love seeing all the wonders of creation right in my own back "yard" though I do use the term loosely. What a blessing this is and what a gift.

I am mightly blessed and I am so grateful to Him for seeing me through it all.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


That is the only word I have for the current occupants of the White House and I have seen quite a few "first families" come and go, not all pretty.

I remember JFK...mob connections, womanizing. Nixon and his disgrace. Ford and his uselessness. Carter and his spinlessness. Clinton and his " I did not have sex with that woman".
GW and his inability to strin together two words without messing one of them up.

That being noted not ONE of them ever gave the impression they hated this country. Never was there a hint of disrespecting the office they held. One did not see pictures of them with their feet on the Resolute Desk, chewing nicorette gum. Their wives upheld a standard of class and propriety, even in the face of horrid things going on with the men they were married to.

And now we have the great pretender. He pretends he is intelligent but cannot speak without the aid of a teleprompter ( he took 12 of them on his trip to England ). He has no clue about the economy nor how "normal" people live, having been priviledged his entire life.

All the crap about his disadvantaged early life is a flat out lie. He attended Punahou, THE most expensive school in Hawaii, went on to Ivy League schools ( not that we can see his transcripts and I guarrantee you that had there been something to brag about we WOULD have seen them ), became a "community organizer" whatever the hell that is, became a one term Senator who voted present but never committed himself to a stand on the issues, and then became president on the vision of "hope and change". Brother has it changed.

He is married to a woman who has said she is just now proud of this country yet she lives her life like Marie Antoinette on the taxpayers' dime. She is a bigger embarassment to this country than he is. Not low class...NO CLASS. Whomever compared her to Jackie Kennedy should be shot. I am sick to death of her Target wardrobe and her false eyelashes. I am sick of hearing about her "toned" arms and even sicker of seeing them. I am sick of the "boob-belts"....does she not realize they only make her fat butt look bigger?

And how about those vacays???? Spain for a few dozen family and friends...a tour of Africa with the same gang. How about Utah last week and Oregon today? and How about flying on AF-2 just to see her brother. Wouldn't you think, with the horrid employment rate, the crash of our AAA rating, the price of fuel and the general downturn of every economic indicator that she could have flown HIM out to DC to see her??? Noooo boys and girls...she takes her mom, one kid and who knows whom else to the other coast on OUR dime.

We wont mention the $500 dollar sneakers she wore to feed the homeless ( seriously?? yup ) or the $1000 purse we saw her carry exactly once. We will not talk about her eating "fried fat cakes" in Africa while lecturing us on what we may or may not eat ( has she taken a good look at her youngest kid lately ? I dont think so ) nor about her penchant for 1700 calorie cheeseburger meals at a Washington greasy spoon ( like the world class chefs at the White house cant do that ??). But I do digress.

It is none of these things, taken individually, that would have pushed me over the edge. It is, indeed, cumulative. After all, Jackie K. loved fine French clothes and loved to shop but she looked and acted the part of First Lady with decorum. No matter what was going on, she had class. She dealt with her personal problems quietly and with dignity and maybe that is what I am missing.

All the former presidents and their wives handled themselves with class for the most part, even if we found out later it was an act. The public face presented rarely humiliated or embarassed us even if their politics did. There were a few notable exceptions.
And now we have what the press calls " Obozo and the First Wookie".

Personally, I think its an insult to wookies.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Limits on loving all of His critters

It never seems to fail...John leaves and the most "exciting" things happen here. I am ok with deer, elk and once in awhile a bear. I am ok with the occasional racoon raiding the hummingbird feeder.

I am NOT ok with snakes. Here at the lower end of the Rockies we are not supposed to have any. Cough. So today prior to church ( we dont have enough priests to celebrate the Mass on Sunday so its Saturday for us ) I go out to clean the garage. This is a good thing because Stryker has learned to do his business there when he cant get outside - not that I dont try to catch his times but he has a delicate digestive system and gets the hershey squirts frequently. And I will not go into the size of the business he does except to say that compared to poms, its a weeks' worth every day. I am sure you get the idea.....

I open the garage door to spray "things" out and watch in horrified wonder as a snake slithers ( and yes they DO slither ) over to a small wood pile John put by the stairs in front of the house.
OMG...seriously??? Yup. Seriously. I am neither brave nor stupid but my first inclination was KILL IT.

Ok....however it had disappeared into the wood by this time ( seconds, not minutes ).
Quick thinker that I am, I grabbed the watering hose and tried to flush it out. Um no. There was a 3 ft. piece of rebar close to hand so I started moving the wood. Bingo. Snake. It tried to slime its way into the railroad ties that make up the walls of our "flower bed" area. I struck and stuck it with the rebar. It tried to wind its way around the rebar. By now I am close to heart attack, having already gone through the palpatation phase. Every hair on my body is standing straight up or out, as the case my be. Snake wins....although wounded, and makes it into the walls of the flower bed.

I retreat to the house. Legs shaking, heart pounding, I just know 50 of snakey's little brothers are probably already in the house waiting for me. I call my daughter in Colorado who tells me it was probably JUST LOST. Really??????

I did Google and find out that there are only 7 deadly snakes living in New Mexico, 6 of which are rattlers. Peachy. The 7th is a coral snake ( really.....we have coral here ??? who knew...) and its colors are vivid and unmistakeable. Meaning I probably did permanent damage to one of the only creatures here who eat rats and mice and other little nasties who would love to get into the garage and eat the dog food. Not that I will try and find it nor will I do a "catch and release" like I did with the mouse I caught last year. All I could think of then was the cute Disney movies about rodents ( I crazy??) and I did not have the heart to kill it..long story.

To the best of my knowledge even Disney doesnt think snakes are cute and I have found my limit when it comes to compassion for critters. Instinct kicked in and the Bible says we will strike the serpent with our heels....and had I been in stilettos maybe. However.....for the time being I will stick to rebar, the longer the better, and literally pray for no repeat appearances.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Morning visitors

Maybe I should get used to having those who actually live in the forest surrounding my home....but it is still an amazing gift to see them here.

And I am a coward when it comes to the daily dog drag....sometimes it is me dragging them away from some grass they dearly want to nibble or ( Thud ) a rock or log they want to bring home but more often than not, it is they who want me to go down a slope to investigate "something" that moved. Ummm, no.

Monday, August 1, 2011

On my own....but not alone

It was one thing to be here with only the poms as company. Having Stryker has added a new dimension.....ok several.

Poms do not need a lot of exercise. They are short of leg and tire quickly. Stryker, not so much. It was a blessing having John here to do the daily walk. I had been faithful to take Thud to the country club to walk the trails there until hubby came back in early July. John took over and I did the happy dance every day I didnt have to go ( exercise is not something I look forward to, even going so far as to avoid it whenever possible ) and I so enjoyed the break.

If Stryker does not get his exercise, he tries to eat the poms...most notably Lady. She is a complete flirt...stealing his toys, playing chase with him, even trying to play tug-o-war with him ( she really has no chance but gives it her best!) He has a real crush on her and if she isnt careful " crush " is exactly what will happen. Not cute. Thud has already grabbed her by the tail often enough ( never hard enough to make her complain mind you ) that she is almost without tailfeathers. Poor dear. Sooooo....walking is not an option, its mandatory.

Yesterday I walked Thud alone. The poms were pissed for hours. Today I walked them all. We have two double-lead leashes and the only question was who to leash with whom. Since Bikki is the undisputed Alpha she was with Stryker. She can still take him down, literally, to the floor by biting his lip or ear. She does not play and she IS the boss. Stryker does not dispute this very often and is always sorry if he does. Keep in mind she is probably 16 lbs and he is approaching 50 lbs. Then the little ones.....Lady and Loki. Lady will not walk with anyone other than me ( although if Lisa were here, she would...) and Loki just tries to keep from getting stepped on by all the others.

We did pretty well. No tangles, no squirrel or chipmunk chasing ( Stryker never even sees them...he is busy looking for good chunks of wood to carry home, which he does without fail) and now they are all sleeping. I know its good for them and suppose it wont hurt me either. (Muttermumblesigh)

Stryker has checked every door, inside and out, to see if John is hiding somewhere. How do you tell a dog his favorite person is gone? At least I know what is going on and I dont like it either....Stryker doesnt know but he is much more managable tired. Guess we will be walking every morning for the near future. Peachy.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

It's getting better....but not all the time

Next month makes a year that we have been doing this back and forth thing....John goes back and forth to Hawaii and I sally forth, mostly to the post office, the local ( and only ) grocery store or to Taos. It has been an interesting year, to say the least.

I have dealt with wildlife, both inside and outside the house. I have had an inch of ice on the inside of doors. I have had the shower freeze and moved upstairs in self defense. I have had wild fires close enough that the air was not fit to breathe and no place to run except Colorado...4 hours away. I have had people with backpacks stroll to the house next door and stay, knowing the owners are not there and had to wonder who they are and why they are there. I have slept with a gun in my side table for months. I have had a bear on my back deck who destroyed one of my bird feeders. I have had elk in the "back yard" who are the size of short giraffes.

I have gone to sleep for months with panic attacks...heart pounding, wondering if it will kill me. Feeling the arrhythmia, knowing it could.

I manage to stay downstairs now, when he is gone. I dont often have the irregular heart beat now....just on occasion. I know I can do this...I can handle it....mostly.

Then comes the few days before John leaves and it is all I can do not to drop to my knees and beg him not to go. I have begged before....and I know he will still leave. And I know he must. If there is to be a Jade Painting, it must be left in hands that can handle it and at this point, none of those hands are completely ready. Nor may some of them ever I wait.

And I pray. Someday....he will be here and I will be more sane most of the time.

Please God.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

I am about to become politically incorrect

Screw that crap. Remember when you could tell a joke about your own or another's ethnicity and not be hung out to dry? That is back in the day when a "wop" or "frog" or "cracker" could still be funny ...not up to and including really insulting and derogatory jokes...but a time when we could make fun of ourselves and others and not face a lawsuit or be called "racist".

This president has done more to divide the races and make things worse than at any time in my life and at 57 that is a long time. Not that there were not divides in the past.....there were. But I grew up with a mother who continually told me that we were all equal. That race did not matter. That we were equal in the eyes of God. The "n" word was never uttered, period.

I am SICK TO DEATH of the crap that passes for correctness these days. In fact, the only ones EVER accused of being racist are whites. Kindly tell me that blacks do not hate whites and do not abuse and assault and denigrate us on a daily basis...which according to the DOJ is JUST PEACHY. No problem...not an issue.

Not when Black Panthers threaten white voters, not when blacks are guilty ( the Ft. Hood shooter maybe...but dont judge even though he killed 13 and wounded 29 others ) And not only white but white Christians. You can make fun of us till the cows come home but say one word about a muslim and you are toast.

You are a r.a.c.i.s.t and that sould probably be in caps. How DARE you insult a fake, wannabe saviour who got his info about God from a passing Monk. A Catholic monk. Who then fabricated his own religion, based not on forgiveness and love but on retribution, hate and destruction. Seriously???

Oh yes, we must bow low ( our current president is good at the bow thing ) before all these other religions with the notable exception of those based on Christ. And if you think this wannabe emperor with no clothes is Christian, think again. Remember that for 20 years he sat in a "church", led by a "pastor" who, along with his own wife, hated this country. Duh. A real man of God. Ummmm not. close Gitmo ( not done ) , to bring the troops home (not done ) , to improve the economy ( are your food prices and gas prices ), to stop the partisanship ( hahahahasnorthahaha), to have a transparent govt ( choking here ), to implement DADT ( and nope, its not in place is it?...not that the troops want it to be...), to secure SS ( wait, he is the one threatening it ), or medicare ( remember its his ad on tv that shows granny being shoved off a cliff) and telling our elected reps to " stay here till the job is done"- meaning in Washington and meaning congress, both houses mind you... ( except he is planning a big birthday bash for himself in Chicago the DAY AFTER THE GOVT IS GOING BROKE.) And, boys and girls, he is charging $38,500 per couple for the dubious honor of having dinner with him. Dont know if Michelle is planning the menu but after her eating 'fried fat cakes' in Africa after lecturing us on our eating habits I would doubt it is a vegan menu.

If he calls us the "folks" one more time I swear I am going to throw up in my mouth. He even lies about his own folks....he was not at his mother's deathbed and she DID have health insurance. Liar, liar, liar.....well at least he is consistant.

(Banging head on keyboard )

I am this jackass ( Dem symbol, doncha know : ) one more chance for Hope and Change. My response is NOPE.

Stick a fork in him, he is DONE.

Friday, July 8, 2011

A really tense dog.......not

As you can see, Stryker is rather laid back, literally. Bikki, our pom matriarch, is ever vigilant.....could be a chipmunk coming up to the deck for water or a deer grazing down below. She sees them all and would be more than willing to give chase to any of them. Stryker, on the other hand, is not that interested. Lighting and thunder? No problem. Poms losing their collective minds over the doorbell ringing? Who cares.
He is the calmest dog I have ever known, barring none and its not like he doesnt have plenty of bad examples ( three to be exact ). Not even the parade bothered him, although he did sit up when they ran the sirens on the big Fire Dept. ladder truck.

Only one time have I ever heard him seriously growl. There were hikers on the old logging road down the hill on our property and he let loose with a chest deep grrrrrr, the likes of which I had never heard from him. I was definately suprised since all I have ever heard him do is play growlies when he is rough-housing. I do think he will be pretty convincing as a threat when he is grown....even if he still thinks he is a lap dog.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Small town, big heart

On the 4th of July we went to Eagle Nest...its the village closest to us, about 9 miles up the road. Every year they have a parade. I didnt really know what to expect except that there were "floats" and that its very well attended. I had no clue.

Not only was most of Angel Fire there, it looked to me like everyone from Cimmaron to Black Lake were there. More red,white and blue on people, dogs and buildings than I have ever seen in one place at one time in my entire life and at 57 thats a lonnnnnnng time. Wow.

Maybe the coasts of this country have lost it when it comes to heart-deep patriotism but here in the southern rockies its going strong.

As you can see...from the Angel Fire ladder truck to Grandmothers with their grandkids....some mounted on horseback and some on bicycles...ATVs and trucks...if you can trick it out in the colors so dear to us you are welcome to join in. I will take Independence Day in the mountains over the New York "gala" every time.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Fourth of July....on the Third

I love this country. Sometimes, even though I know it is not the case, it feels like most of my fellow citizens are "too busy" to care...about our troops, about the state of the union, about so many things that are vital in keeping this country strong.

Then there are the city fathers ( and mothers ) of Eugene Oregon who have decided that saying the pledge of allegiance need not be a regular part of their meetings, except 4 times a year, since they are not citizens of the USA but citizens of "the world". Lovely. Or the idiots at Westborough Baptist who protest at the funerals of our soldier-heros. It not only hurts my heart it totally pisses me off. Who are these people? If they hate this country so much they need to leave. Yes, I know about freedom of speech but if this stuff isnt hate speech I dont know what is.
But of course hate crimes only apply to what whites say about minorities.

Which brings me to yesterday. We went to another Baptist church .....Angel Fire Baptist, which is where John goes when he is here. We go Catholic services on Saturday evening and his on Sunday morning. We walked in and at the front of the church...stacked 7 deep in 4 piles, were boxes to be sent to the troops. Specifically, Joseph, my son in law's unit. 1-67th...a Combined Unit Task Force in Afganistan.

I burst into tears. We are only "part timers" at that church...when John is gone I dont attend yet this amazing group of people have adopted Joe's unit, all 30 of them. Sitting there was proof positive that they not only care, they put words into action. They dont just talk the talk, they walk the walk. Put their money, time and effort where their mouths are. I was undone.

Printed in the bulletin was the list of what to send. Dont have the time? Just donate and they will do the shopping. Want to do a box yourself? They have the flat-rate APO/FPO boxes. Have goodies on the list but no time to do the shipping? Just drop your things off at the church and they will pack it up for you.

Then they put up pictures on the projector. Joe's unit. My son in law. They asked for the little extra's he has requested. They read part of the letter from the 1st Sargent. They are in it to support the troops for the long haul and they are serious about doing it. God bless them.

Just when you start to feel that as a country and people we have lost that special something that sets us apart from the rest of the world....look deeper. It will not make the evening will never be on the front page of the newspaper...but it is still there.

Love this country? You are NOT alone. I am NOT alone. We will never give up, give out, give in. Stay strong America....our men and women in uniform are counting on us.

God bless those who serve and God bless those who wait.
God bless America.
And for the record:

I pledge allegiance to the flag
of the United States of America
and to the republic for which it stands
one nation under GOD
with liberty and justice
for all.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wind, water and fire

Before moving to New Mexico we had our share of interesting weather. Tropical storms and their big brothers, hurricanes. A few earthquakes....some tsunamis that didnt amount to much. Still, when you dont know how bad a hit you will take, you prepare as best you can, stay glued to the news and wait.

We didnt think much about wildfires prior to the move. That has changed. We have been breathing Arizona smoke for weeks and now we have wildfire of our own. It is threatening Los Alamos...home of the National lab and repository for all kinds of nasty, radioactive chemicals. The smoke here in Angel Fire was so thick yesterday that Wheeler Peak was not visible and there is ash everywhere.

I asked John, if it gets close and I have to evacuate, what besides the dogs should be taken. Important papers says he and his TV. HAHAHAHA. That sucker is the size of a kitchen table and is mounted about 15 ft up the wall. Uh-huh....that would be my first choice too....NOT.
( I have visions of it strapped to the roof of the car...though how it would get there is beyond me, literally!)

I have to admit that moving here has been many things....but never boring

Monday, June 27, 2011

Oh deer....and other "tails" on the trail

Truth be told we dont really live on a trail. It just feels like it. Until the potholes were patched three days ago it would have been possible to drive a mini cooper into one and never be seen again. A slight exaggeration.....but not by much.

I have been taking Stryker, aka "Thud", down to the country club's playground to hit the walking trails around it. Dont be impressed by the whole "country club thing...its much less impressive than it sounds, is open to the public and membership comes with owning a house or condo here.

Driving home it is often "dodge the critter" time and for the most part they are small, furry and very fast. I have yet to hit anything, for which I am truly grateful. Yesterday was a bit different. I caught movement on the passenger side in my peripheral vision. I looked over and lo and behold, keeping pace with the car was a mule deer. I slammed on the brakes, thinking it might try to cross the road. Sure bounded ( mule deer dont really run, they sorta bounce) across the road right in front of me. I thought " wonder if she has friends...." and sure enough, out came a little friend. Both disappeared into the woods while I sat there trying to breathe.

Guess the post should have been headed "OH!!! Deer!!!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The ugly truth about butterflies

For the most part, I do love all of God's various creatures with a few exceptions. I have plans to ask, when I see Him, the why of mosquitoes and cockroaches. The latter I have had extensive contact with, in the form of flying B-52 roaches in Hawaii that invariably fly at a person instead of away. Matter of fact, I am a screamer when they get too close and have daughters and at least 2 granddaughters who scream in the same key when confronted with them. The neighbors in Hawaii thought it was hysterical...and so did we, but in different ways. They thought it was not so much.

Which brings me to butterflies. Bright yellow ones with black borders are flitting and fluttering here. Yes, I know, they are supposed to inspire delight and joy. When their likeness is printed on something...anything really, they do. However, comma, ( those who read this blog on a regular basis know what is coming) they are BUGS. They start out as creepy slug like things who web their creepy selves into also creepy cocoons, then they hatch, chew their way out or whatever, and FLY IN YOUR FACE. From a distance, great. Up close, its a butterfly death wish as I will do whatever necessary to get them away from me, including smush them to a fine paste.

I know it is not a good thing but seriously...I dont fly in butterfly faces...the least they can do is stay out of mine, if they want to live. Its not too much to ask is it? Ok, I know they have a brain smaller than a grain of rice, but still......they are bugs, pretty ones but BUGS!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Pom-Rottie war

In addition to my Dad's visit, we also had our eldest daughter and two of her kids visit this week....and they brought 2 dogs and a cat, bringing the total canine population to 6. The cat was not impressed....but did manage to find places to "hang out".

Stryker does play well with others but likes to play tug of war. So far its an even battle but given a few months, Stryker will prevail.

One for the decades.....

That is how long it had been, decades, since I spent time with my Dad. We have visited occasionally when in Phoenix but they were short visits and most of what we discussed was superficial.

This visit was different. Dad and his friend Rita were here in Angel Fire for the 22nd Annual NMMI Trailride. They stayed at our condo, a 10 minute ride from the house, and they visited with us every day.

Dad is the man who was, in every way except one, my Father. He was and is one of the most honest, honorable and moral persons ever to have crossed my path. He taught me those things, not only with words but by his actions. Never just talking the talk but walking the walk. Not that I always listened during the teen years.....

Sometimes it takes the perspective of age to see what gifts we have been given. My Dad was and now is again, one of the biggest blessings in my life. It has taken me a long time to realize that the relationship between my Mom and Dad was not about me. Yes, it was painful and yes, I was an up-close-and-personal observer but it was not MY relationship.

How lovely, after all these years, to be able to say "Happy Father's Day". I love you Dad!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

New babies take time.....even canine ones

Its been awhile since I blogged but I do have a good excuse. Stryker has ( finally, finally!!) started sleeping past 0'dark thirty in the morning. Not to say its dark out when he gets no. As soon as the sun is up, so is he. He is crated at night and does not want to "mess" his sleeping quarters soon as the sun is up ( or as soon as I make a trip to the bathroom ) sleeping is OVER.

Having a pom yelp at you is one thing....having a Rottie baby do the same thing is an entirely different story. They are very vocal and very LOUD. If we actually had neighbors they would have called the cop ( ok, in reality we have three ) on us.

Now a picture of our high-strung, really tense Rottweiler (coughsnortcough). A real tough cookie.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Our visitor this morning.....

Think I will check the back deck for visitors before I go out from now on. This adolescent was balanced on the back deck railing when I looked out the window this morning. I wasn't fast enough to get the balancing act , just his rear-end as he took off.

The pictures are backwards in order...first is actually the last taken.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Teething....Rottweiler style

For several years the only puppies I raised were pomeranian. They don't really do much shoe chewing since shoes are signifigantly larger than they are. You might find a pom baby in the shoe but he won't grab it and gallop off with it. They have tiny mouths and even tinier teeth. Your furniture is safe and they are rather discriminating in what they will and will not nibble on.

Rottweilers....wellllllllllllllllll. They gnaw; they don't nibble. Even this little guy has an amazingly powerful bite and he is willing to try just about anything. Rocks ...yum. Metal table legs....sure why not. least at this point I am faster and not quite as clumsy ( that wont last - certainly not the first and probably not the last either) and can retrieve them prior to destruction. Leaves are particularly attractive and seem to taste pretty good as do any size twigs. He isnt what one would call discriminating and is willing to try just about anything that doesn't move and a few things that do, including me. I spend half our time outside digging non-edibles out of his mouth.
We did stock up on variously sized chew toys but I have the feeling we seriously underestimated his ability to chew.

You can tell he really has a nose too...the poms dont really rely on smell ( it's all about cuteness with them ) but this guy is on it. We have serious wildlife trekking through the yard on a regular basis and he knows it. Wow.

We are already working on socializing him..he went to a gift shop owned by a friend yesterday and won the heart of everyone who met him. The owner is terrified of Rotties so it was a good experience for both of them (she loved, loved, loved him) . The problem here is that we live in such a small village there is no real place where people congregate in large numbers so we will have to be creative when it comes to meeting folks.

I am determined that this puppy live up to all the good things about this breed and not the bad. I also know its not the breed that is the problem....its moronic people who don't take the time or make the effort, early on, to train up their puppy in the way he should go. Yes, a biblical axiom regarding the rearing of children but equally applicable to dogs. Also, dogs don't take 18 years to get the basics of civilized behavior down pat. Thank you Lord for giving us dogs !

Friday, May 20, 2011

Stryker has arrived

It's not a great picture but this puppy has every reason in the world to be tired.

He missed his first flight because a human from the airline wasn't there to check him in, arrived 7 hours late in tornadoes, thunder, lightening, hail and rain in the Denver area, endured another hour drive back to Colorado Springs. We wouldn't have made it home till after midnight and the breeder definately did NOT recommend that after his punishing day! Yet he was still calm and had a sweet demeanor. I am pretty sure, had I been through all that, I would not have been so people friendly.

The last really young pups I had were poms and to say there is a difference would be understating it just a bit ( cough ). He is still such a baby, just a rather large, kinda clumsy - ok, honestly? seriously klutzy baby. If he shakes his head with a toy there is a good possibility he will fall over. He has rolled off his bed too many times to count....usually it doesnt even wake him up. Oh, and did I mention teeth ???? WOW. This baby has some serious chompers and cant at this point distinguish between toy and finger ( or really doesnt mind chewing fingers...after all he had 10 siblings to chew on till just two days ago ).

I have never in my life had a dog who so literally stuck to me like glue and this pup gives a whole new meaning to under foot. Also, when a pom runs into your leg, it kinda bounces off....when a rottie pup hits you its more of a thud. And to think he is an infant.....

We are working on house training - this means the minute he wakes up or whines I have to be on it - and his business is already bigger than the poms. I think I am definately going to need a bigger pooper-scooper in the very near future. I also am pretty sure there wont be much down time ( or sleep ) for the next few weeks as I need to start work on socializing him with others. He is already such a calm, mellow dog that he can be a real ambassador for the breed with the right training.

Yeehaw....let the games begin!!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A new baby!!!!

No...its not a miracle....I am not with child. (Thank you Lord!!!!). But we are getting a new baby. I already know its a boy (yay) and I know he has brown eyes and amazing brows. He is so beautiful : )

He is a Rottie pup, coming all the way from the South. He has impeccible bloodlines, both German and Serb and he has "certified" hips, which is a good thing...too bad we humans cant get that kind of certification!! He is gorgeous....coming from a gentle giant mother who is a therapy dog ( again certified ) and a Serb daddy who is a Champ. My kids dont have that kind of pedigree unless you count one of the very early Kings of England....way too long ago to count for much.

I am so excited. Its not like I dont have enough to do here ( actually, I dont ) but I do need a new baby, just not one that walks on two legs and will eventually want to borrow the car, phone, and need college money. Bless my children ...I do love them to the utmost. But this "kid" will love me no matter what I look like, smell like and be by my side as long as I feed him well. And that I can do : )

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

It all depends on where you look

The back deck of this house is where the "view" is. The mountains and the village. Vale and hill and nothing there is blooming.

The sun ( or Son, depending where you are looking ) hits the front of this house where there is no view. Or is there.....

The Aspens from the back deck have no green....yet the ones in the front...barely 100 ft. from the back are solid green. Mind you, the green is just starting and its pale and fragile...but its there and the difference is startling. One side, that does not face the sun/Son has no visible life. Yet the other..has bloomed.

Isn't that the same with our own lives.....when we face away from the Son/sun....we do NOT bloom and even the slightest shift in our tragectory changes EVERYTHING???

Face Him...look to HIM to make your life bloom.
I am still mostly on the dark side , waiting and praying for His light. I know it is there....I stand in the shadows.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

My Mom

This is one of those days that nearly kills me , emotionally. My mother died 10 years ago and I still mourn her loss, heart deep.

I am an only child. My mother was my best friend ( husbands are a different sort of friend...more intimate and less knowing than a mother ) and to this day I mourn her passing. And I mourn what I did not know and what I did not do. I did not know how miserable her life was, how miserly she was made to live and how little she had in the way of love and support.

I did not know she was being physically, emotionally and psychologically abused. She lied to me and told me everything was "fine". How could I have been so self involved and removed that I did not know. How could I not have known.....

I was busy raising my own kids...I was involved in my own little life, I did not "see" what was going on with her until the phone call telling me she was on death's door step. I had 10 days, before her time on earth ended, to be with her. It was not enough.

She was in Montana and I in Hawaii. I did not know she was dying until the very end. She was positive and hopeful and lying to spare me. I did not know all the stupid stuff I sent her for "Mother's Day" wasnt needed. What she needed was another nightgown....a feather bed to ease the cancer pain, help going to the bathroom...taking a bath....all the little things I would gladly have done for her, had she asked. She never did. She never asked for one thing from me except love.

And what I remember is being 17 and standing at the top of the stairs and yelling at her " I hate you". To this day, this is what I think...that she never knew how much and how dearly and how deeply I did love her. And now it is too late to tell her.

I miss my mom.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mother's Day.....all due to great Fathers

It is so easy to take credit ( or blame ...depending ) for children...especially on Mother's Day. And really, isn't it basically a Hallmark holiday ? Not to say that as a mother, I dont appreciate the acknowledgement...however ( you should know by now that at least on this blog, however has huge implications).....

How in the world would I have ever survived 5 kids without their dad? No way.....I would be bouncing my head against a padded wall somewhere. Without such a great Dad, my kids would never have turned out as great as they have.

Yes, he was at work more hours than I care to count, and yes, he is often the one who says a resounding " NO" when asked for help. But after mumbling and muttering, he is the one who says yes, too.

God bless this man who allowed me to be a fairly decent mother.....I would never have made it without him.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Standing tall

We have trees outside the back deck that are almost 40 ft. tall. Huge. Swaying in the wind.

There is only one tree that does not move. It stands tall and proud. Never moving. Never a sway.

It is the dead one. No life in it at all. Makes me maybe it should you....the only one that "stands tall" is the one that has no life.

If we never bend, never sway , never give....are we really alive? Jesus "gave" when the Jews would not give, not bend, never sway. Are we dead when we dont ?

Lord, let me never be the "standing strong" one....especially when He and i both know it would mean I am spirit.

Please pray for me......feeling rather like dead wood at the moment.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Mixed feelings

I have to admit I have mixed feelings when it comes to Osama dying. Not any regret that he is dead....I have no mixed feelings about that.

I know as a Christian that killing, in and of itself, is wrong. I also know God Himself used human warriors to take out bad guys. Am I throwing a party and dancing in the streets? No. Am I relieved that someone who wanted to harm this country is taken out of the picture ? Yes, absolutely.

What shames me is my own reaction to the way we treated his body. When I heard we had "buried his body at sea, in accordance with Islamic tradition" what went through my mind is this : did we behead him, drag his naked body through the streets, burn his corpse and hang it from a bridge????? Isn't that what we have come to know as " Islamic tradition" ?

Is that who America is? No. Is that who I am? I wish I could honestly answer no. I may not be "better than that" but I am glad someone is.

I am not above the initial, animalistic response of blood lust and the wish for revenge even though I know it is wrong.

God help me.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Thank God.

Adventures in Baking, Part 3

Part 1 : Pre-new cookbook was the "never fail" chocolate pound (flat-as-a-pan)cake. Which failed in spectacular fashion.

Part 2 : Post new cookbook, while John was still here, was a "Classic 1,2,3,4 Cake". Personally I am old enough to be considered "classic", at least age wise, and had never heard of this cake. I used the modifications listed and made it a Santa Fe spice cake. Yummy cake, it didnt fall but I used marscapone in place of the traditional cream cheese so the frosting tasted good but was a bit soft ( read sloppy and mushy ).

Part 3 : John is gone, I am bored and decide to try a Swedish butter cake, flavored with lemon. All goes well in the beginning. All mixed, baking, rising.....lovely. Until I tried to take it out of the oven. I had inadvertently set my hot pads in water. Wet hot pads do a really amazing job of heat transfer.....straight from the pan to my fingers. In the process of dropping hot cake onto the counter to stop fingers frying, I hit the rolling pin ( its made of marble and is very heavy ) which rolled off the counter and broke...not the marble and not the floor...but the handle. Naturally with the dropping, the cake broke into several pieces. BUT.....the cake did not fall so, all things considered, its a success, right????

One of my children suggested when I first moved here that perhaps adult supervision would be a good idea. I have no idea what she was talking about.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I was warned.....

Baking at sea level is easy. No adjustments necessary. Apparently that is not true at high altitude. Angel Fire, at the village level, is 8,382 ft. The resort is 8,600 ft and the summit ( which we are close to ) is 10,677 ft. Aside from the fact that there is very little oxygen up here ( putting on your shoes causes shortness of breath and activities like mopping make you feel like dialing 911 just to borrow their oxygen tanks ) its a beautiful place to live.

I had no idea cakes had issues with altitude but a friend from Church tried to tell me they did. Cindy is a good cook and baker but she has been here 18 years. She can tell you about exploding pecan pies and flat cakes from experience but basically I ignored this information, thinking my chocolate pound cake would be different. I wanted something yummy when John came home last time and thought this cake....heavy thick batter, lots of eggs and butter....would hold its own when it came to sky-high baking.

Wrongo!!! Things started off well enough....batter looked the same, in the oven it started to rise beautifully, good crust forming....all the hallmarks of success. Cough. When I took it out at the appointed time it looked fabulous. For about 30 seconds. I stood there and watched in horror as my success deflated ( not just ego.....) like a tire with a fast leak. Within minutes what had been a lovely tunnel cake became a dense, flat, heavy crusted pancake with a hole in the center. John, to his credit, did eat it....but I was crushed. This pound cake is my "go to" cake because it never fails. Right.

Google. And a new cookbook ( seriously, just what I need, with close to 100 prior to the new one) that addressed my altitude issues. "Pie in the Sky...Successful Baking at High Altitude" is amazing. I immediately had to try again and this time no cake crash. Yayyyyyyy.

For the next three weeks, till my love comes back, I will be baking. I plan to take goodies to Church for taste testing because I dont want to look like the Goodyear blimp when John returns. Unfortunately people dont deflate at this altitude, only baked goods.

Monday, April 25, 2011

My how things have changed

Last Saturday was the 39th anniversary of giving birth to Tessa. The oldest child and the one ( in years past ) who was the most challenging.

Her birth is not one I would recommend, although it no longer happens this way. Tessa was born at TMAC....Tripler Army Medical Center. In those days it was called "Crippler" and not Tripler and for good reason.

I waited until I had been in labor for 5 hours.....pre-eclampsia and all. By the time I got to the hospital I was 5 cm dialated and was put in a room with 3 other laboring women. All screaming, moaning and otherwise being loud. Fathers were allowed short ( 2-3 minutes) visits. Eventually all the other women left to deliver. And eventually so did I.

They strapped my arms down and my legs. They had ( eventually ) given me a "para-cervical block"...administered when I was 8 cm with an 8 inch long needle. Meaning I had no clue when to push....and this at the tender age of 18.

When Tessa was born she did not breathe. I worked one hand out of the restraints and was working on the other hand when she screamed. Thank God.

My mom was waiting outside delivery and was the first in the family to hold her...wrapped in an Army OD green blanket and wailing. Blonde ( read almost bald except in bright sunlight when you could see her hair ) and blue eyed and gorgeous. I was thrilled.

Still am, although I must admit I am happy none of the other kids were born at Army hospitals.
Thank you Lord for our oldest....she ROCKS!!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011


That pretty much says it all.
Have a blessed Easter, knowing Jesus died for your sins and that you are FORGIVEN!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter is not about a rabbit

When did we lose the meaning of Easter? When did it become focused on a rabbit bearing chocolate eggs? Or new clothes? Or the big family dinner? Yes, I know historically the eggs do stand for something but even that is lost, isnt it?

For those who do not believe in the Resurrection of Christ, let us ponder for a moment, mathmatically, the probability of Him being the Messiah. If I want to send you a letter, no matter where in the world you are, I can do so (with a few exceptions). I need to know your name, your street address, your city, your state or provence, your country and its numerical code. With those 5 pieces of information I can find you. If you are living in the bush somewhere it may take longer and come by general delivery but you will eventually get the letter.

Jesus fulfilled 57 Old Testament prophesys. 57. Not 5. The circumstances of his birth, his lineage, his virginal mother, even the manner of his sacrificial death and resurrection. What are the chances of a mistake? Zero. To exactly match all the information given over hundreds of years and think there might have been a mistake is simply not rational. Jesus IS the Messiah. Period.

My heart goes back to Advent...when God incarnate lay swaddled in an animal feed box. How He humbled himself for us. Born to die for us, His life a gift we have never deserved. Love in measure we cannot even comprehend. Loving us even while we crucified Him.

And dont we still put Him there on that across daily? I do. With our failure to walk with Him, talk with Him, live the life He wants for us? Locking and blocking the summons of the Spirit when it calls so we can "control" our own lives. A thousand ways to NOT hear Him. For me its hardest to "be still" in the heart, mind and spirit.

I am awed and grateful for what He gave and continues to give.
Thank you Lord, for the gift of my salvation.
Blessed be God Forever.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Spring fever...or not

This seasonal thing is new to me. Hawaii has no real seasons....unless you count hurricane season, June through November. I am not sure what spring fever is but if it includes washing windows and scrubbing walls, I know I dont have it.

It's not like I dont ever clean : I do. I would not, however, put a crawling baby down on my floors most days. There are muddy paw prints. There are dust bunnies and fur balls breeding under most of the furniture and they dont really make for a nutritous addition to the diet. (My Mom, God rest her sweet soul, used to say that a child needed to eat 7 lbs - give or take - of dirt to grow up "normal" and while my kids definately got their fair share while growing, precious little came off the floor. The jury is still out on the "normal" part).

That being said, I do keep the toilets scrubbed, dishes done, wash folded and clutter picked up. I just cant imagine being excited enough about tubs or toilets or wall washing (much less blogging how-to instructions on the subject) to call it a fever. Ever.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Spring in the Southern Rockies

Spring is still trying to arrive. Buds are budding and birds that migrated are back ( and probably wish they weren't ) and the fauna is stirring. And night before last we had snow again. The snow that comes now is really a blessing...moisture in an area that is a fire waiting to happen. It melts quickly....of course not quickly enough that the poms dont still come in covered in mud...and the temp rises and "voila" its dust. Also, now that its spring, we have wind. I dont as a rule mind wind, having lived with the Trade Winds for 40+ years, but this wind carries a little ( very,very little ) gift.

Dust. Dust that is the consistancy of talcum powder, so thick it blankets the view of the mountains and shimmers inside the house like falling gold. Gold it aint. Its a pain in the .... Dust Monday morning and by the afternoon there is a layer on everything. Sigh. Like I ever did dusting with any enthusiam anyway??? Um no. Bigger sigh.

The fauna is now in the process of crossing every road they can find. Don't ask my why....but they all seem to want to cross the road and it is not proverbial. They get hit by cars. Its one thing to see ( as I did regularly in Hawaii ) a small bird get windshielded but a deer? And one hit repeatedly? Wow. All I can say is that here you best focus and pay attention while driving.

May I also just mention that allergy season is a bit different here ? Imagine, if you will, diving face first, eyes open, into a sand box while ants climb up your nose. Waking with eyes crusted in salt and a nose that wont stop running. And the sneezing doesnt stop either. I am pretty sure I like winter better.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

It's Spring.....and then it's not : (

By yesterday all but the barest drabs of snow were gone and the temps were in the high 50's, low 60's. Sunny and beautiful. The mud was limited to the places where the snow drifts had been deepest and John got to take his new toy out to play. We got an ATV (used ) with shovel and winch. You can hear that sucker coming a longggg way away. That might be a good thing since it gives our fauna a chance to leave and quite frankly I dont want to meet an elk or bear who is seriously hungry on a vehicle that has no sides or top. Call me crazy. Today we woke to a sullen sky and snow. Wet, sloppy, drippy ( temps just over freezing ..35ish ) and melting almost immediately. Almost. Ok, not really. But melted enough for the poms to get muddy. The lilacs we planted in the fall seem to have survived. Tiny little barkish buds have appeared on the tips of all of them. Wonder of wonders...miracle of miracles ( dancing around the loft ) as I expected them all to die and they did not. We could not grow lilacs in Hawaii since we have no freeze time and they are probably my favorite of all flowers. Yay. Except for the continuing snow. It is pretty but I am so over it for the year....come on SPRING !!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Drowning in words

There are times in this life when so many things are going on, that words themselves threaten to become a torrent, unstoppable, ready to sweep you away if you let them loose. Silence is the better choice...if only I could always ( well , not always, just mostly ) choose that. I don't. This Lenten season is not easy...all I can do is pray.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Our Bicentenial Baby

My children's birthdays are always so special in my mind and heart and this is one of those days. Tia was our first Lamaze baby and practice was the name of the game..for weeks on end, every single night with very few exceptions. Back in the day the idea was for the husband to inflict enough pain ( there are pressure points that accomplish this quite nicely without leaving marks ) to simulate labor. There were several types of breathing to be used in the different stages of labor and since the first labor was uneducated and not alot of fun, I was game to try a different strategy. Very late on the evening of April 4th I started having contractions. We lived in Wahiawa at the time and Noni and Nono had to drive from Mililani to pick up Tessa. By the time they got to our house the contractions were bad enough that I remember thinking..." if it gets worse than this I'm gonna need to change breathing.." We were supposed to drive from Wahiawa to Kahuku...a hospital that allowed "rooming in" with the baby...something very controversial in those days....and a good hour plus in the car. Um no. I got to the front porch and baby crowned. John says " you can make it to Kahuku...just blow". Um seriously NO. Wahiawa General Hospital was 5 minutes from the house and thats where we went. No doctor actually awake and on duty but the nurse got her gloves on and woosh, like a creature from the deep, bursting into the air, Tia was born. John's immediate response was to look lovingly at me and say " we have to do this again ". I could cheerfully have choked him at that moment. The doctor did eventually wake up and show up to stitch me up...apparently wooshing isnt the most intelligent way to push a baby out....and then issued dire warnings about leaving the hospital. There was no rooming in and I was determined to have my baby with me so we went home. Poor Noni came to the hospital looking for us and we had already left.... Those times are etched forever in the heart of every mother so we celebrate not only the person that child has become but also and always, the moment we one became two. Thank you Lord for sharing this child with us and bless her, now and always.