Sunday, December 28, 2008

Surprise ??? Hmmm



I don't often talk about family here, but I will make a reference to an email I got from a female sibling.
She inquires as to where, when, and the date of my 5k race that I mentioned that I was trying to get in shape for.

She eludes around the fact that she may be interested in running it this summer?
I sent her the link.

However today I did get back to running. Well a different than your average every day running on the road thing.

Running with Morris through the meadow in knee deep crusty snow.
Sure enough, it was tough. But I'm not in as bad a 'running' or 'plodding' shape as I thought I may be.

Hopefully all the hiking I do keeps me in shape so I can actually 'hit' the roads when the roads become safe to run on [they are encased in ice right now].
Poor Morris tried to keep up with me but failed terribly.

He would run about 2 feet and plunge through the crust up to his chin in snow. True to his Jack Russell spirit of not giving up he did follow me.
He really was more interested in all the places that the deer had been digging ...under the scrub apple trees...he was looking at um, deer droppings.
[Jack Russell dining at its finest]

Rich and our neighbor were kind enough to get the driveway plowed. Then kind neighbor spread gravel part of the way down the hill while Rich spread wood ash around our nieghbor's driveway and down our hill so I can get out to work safely.

Both Mr. Neighbor and Rich like their wives going off to 'duty'. She is a deputy sheriff and well...me just a security guard. But the guys love to refer to us as their wives with badges!

See Ed...I AM going to run the 5k, I am not going to back out on it.
So there...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Trucking in the fog...



Well deserved kisses from Morris...
;-)

The snow was deep and WET yesterday when we took our hike in the snow~woods. Morris did try to struggle through the heavy wet stuff and a few times he even surged ahead using a deer trail.
Then he decided he'd had enough and literally climbed up my leg and into my arms. He was content for a while to attempt to ride upon my shoulder.
That wasn't very easy for either of us, with me ducking tree branches and trying to stay upright in snowshoes that were clogging up with WET HEAVY snow.

I got thoroughly soaked and enjoyed it. So did some JRT!
Today was an interesting weather day...heavy fog and rain to start the day out.

It was nearly 40 degrees!
By 4PM, it started to freeze, and now of course there are ice pellets hitting the side of the house.

It is winter and mother nature is sure tossing many things our way.
I work the next three days so I won't be out 'trucking' around in the woods I suppose.

[sad sad face]

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Day



Well my Christmas Day was spent at work.
Now before you all go feeling sorry for me...don't.
[Well okay feel sorry for me...it was -14 degrees and cold when I hit Viroqua]

I had Holiday Pay. Which is like working two days in one if you get my drift.
;-)

The family isn't getting together for another week to celebrate anyway. The weather has been awful for traveling, so why even bother?
I don't mean bah humbug.

Gosh, Christmas Eve we did open our gifts from Morris -- you know -- the little Jack Russell.
So kind of him to go shopping for us.
Rich and I sat on the couch with a little pile of gifts between us.

Rich said *I didn't get you anything!*
My reply *I didn't do it either...it was the dog!*
[Easy to blame everything on the dog, right?]

So from Morris, Rich got some bobbers for fishing. He was pleased.
I got a pair of flannel PJ bottoms, I was pleased.

From 'Santa Mule' [I'm thinking Badger?], Morris got 2 chew bones, of which one he ate promptly.

We had a beautiful night together.
Quiet, pleasing, and I listened to music and did my new favorite thing, which is play with a program called Bryce 5.5.

Oh yeah, this was a free download program...
So I played with my computer and my very fun coloring book ...
See?
A very nice Christmas.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

IN THAT LABYRINTH OF MYSTERY
WE CALL THE HUMAN HEART FOR THEY SAY THAT WITHOUT IT
NO ONE CAN TRULY LIVE
AND IT ALSO HAS BEEN RUMORED
THAT WITHOUT IT, WE CANNOT FORGIVE


That is one of my favorite portions of Trans Siberian Orchestra's Narrations.

Christmas Eve is always and has always been 'magical' to me. Silly coming from an adult I know, right?

It is a night where I simply sit quietly and look at the lit tree in the darkened living room. Sometimes the night is clear and I can look out and 'wish upon a star'.

On Christmas Eve I feel this empty place inside of me and swell up with hope. Is it the magic of the season? Is it some instinct I have [knowing that the days will now get longer ;-)]?
Is it a spiritual thing?

I don't know, only that on this night, I feel special somehow and think of people reunited, think of families and loved ones.
And yes...I dream too.


FOR HOPE NEVER DIES
AT WORST IT ONLY SLEEPS
AND ALL WE SURRENDER
CHRISTMAS SAFELY KEEPS

THROUGH THE COLD WINTER NIGHTS
OF THE LONGEST DECEMBERS
TILL HERE BY STARLIGHT
WE BEGIN TO REMEMBER

THAT IN THE VERY END
THE MESSAGE CHRISTMAS IS SENDING
IS THAT IT IS NEVER TOO LATE
TO CHANGE ANY LIFE’S ENDING


[3.5" + 28"= 31.5" of snow]

Merry Christmas~~~~

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Can Dogs Poop Saran Wrap?


Okay, gross topic.

But good question.

I had some meat that was going to go into the 'experimental' stage in my fridge. It was wrapped in Saran Wrap, so I chucked it in the trash and set the open trash next to the door to be disposed of.
[first dumb mistake with a curious glutton of a Jack Russell in the house]

So 'Garbage Gut' comes along [also known as Morris] and sniffs out the goodies!

Yum, nearly green meat!
Wrapped in shiny clear stuff.
No problem!
Grab it and run and begin to swallow it whole!

Next I am in a chase with a little dog...I grab the Saran Wrap ~~ a tug of war with growling ensues.
I reach down into his mouth to pry it open.

Being an obstinate JRT he opens to get a better grip.

I come away with half and he makes off with half...gulping as he dodges me.

[little shit]

He does get away with a small portion of Saran Wrap and a hunk of meat which he proceeds to swallow whole.
It must have hurt to swallow it whole because he yelped.

And I said 'Let that be a lesson you turd!'
Well time will tell.

I'm not exactly going to be searching each time he goes out to the bathroom, so we may never know the exact answer to the question.

What a bonehead.
[the both of us, me for leaving it there, and him for stealing it...]

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Thank you Mr. Snow Plow Man



I don't have any photos of my drive into work yesterday. Nope.
Too dang terrified of the road conditions to even consider it.

I left early for work. The county snow plows had made their last 'pass' at 4pm.

I nearly decided to turn around and go home and chuck the whole deal when I hit a drift on our gravel road and slid into the ditch.
Nope.
I called Rich thanking myself for the foresight to have bought a cell phone.

After Rich pulled me out of the ditch, I continued my journey. I knew that as the day ended the winds and snow were to pick up and I would lose any chance of seeing the highway I was to travel on once it got dark. [It was not a very pretty commute let's just say...white knuckles!]

The temperatures plummeted from 23 degrees to -9 in 3 hours with winds increasing, snow falling, and winds gusting to 35mph.

Throughout the night I listened to the sheriff deputy as he went from one place to another with reports of vehicles in hay fields, corn fields, ditches...

My drive home was actually pretty nice, considering.
There was a nice layer of ice under the snow, bright ... shiny...slippery. Sort of a 'fun' challenge to drive on.
When I got out of the valley and up on the ridge,
well you guessed it, the winds were whipping up the snow, creating beautiful deadly drifts on the road.

I was surprised though to find myself on a very clean part of the road.
As I rounded a bend, my surprise was a road grader...he was the reason for the clean road!

Well dang, I just slowed waaayyy down and followed him. After all, he pounded the drifts and I just followed along in his snowy wake.
He turned off the road and when I glanced in my review mirror I saw a huge orange county snow plow bearing down on me.
Well, welcome and howdy!!!

I eased my butt over to the next intersection and let him pass. Boy was I ever happy now.
I did have to stay way back as this big orange beast hurled down the road at 25-35 mph blasting snow sometimes 30 feet into the air.
I was warm, I was content, and I was happy. My truck had plenty of gas and I had the heater on high.

Thank you Mr. Snow Plow Man.
You have NO idea how good it was to see you and the grader on Hwy 82 this morning.
Thank you
Thank you
Thank you...



23" + 5 = 28" of snow.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I like winter cuz????




From today's National Weather Service...this says it all...
Yes I have to work ... and hmmm, I may end up staying at my workplace until
roads are safe again...


.DAY ONE...TODAY AND TONIGHT

A WINTER STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT THIS AFTERNOON
THROUGH SUNDAY.
ANOTHER WINTER STORM WILL AFFECT THE AREA THIS
AFTERNOON...AS SNOW
SPREADS INTO THE AREA. TOTAL SNOWFALL WILL
RANGE FROM 4 TO 7 INCHES
ALONG AND NORTH OF INTERSTATE 90...WITH 2
TO 5 INCHES TO THE SOUTH.
IN ADDITION...AN ARCTIC COLD FRONT
WILL PLOW THROUGH THE REGION THIS
EVENING WITH A RAPID TEMPERATURE FALL
FROM THE MID 20S INTO THE
SINGLE DIGITS ABOVE ZERO IN A MATTER OF A
FEW HOURS. THIS WILL BE
ACCOMPANIED BY STRONG NORTHWEST
WINDS TO 20 TO 25 MPH...GUSTING TO
35 MPH. BLOWING AND DRIFTING
SNOW WILL BECOME A PROBLEM...WITH NEAR
BLIZZARD CONDITIONS POSSIBLE...
ESPECIALLY OVER THE OPEN AREAS OF
NORTHEAST IOWA. WIND CHILLS WILL
ALSO DROP TO BETWEEN 10 BELOW AND
20 BELOW.

.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...
SUNDAY THROUGH FRIDAY

ALTHOUGH ONLY LIGHT ACCUMULATIONS OF SNOW
IS LIKELY ON SUNDAY...
THE WINDS WILL REMAIN STRONG WITH
BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW AND
BITTER WIND CHILLS OF 15 BELOW TO
25 BELOW. TRAVEL WILL REMAIN
HAZARDOUS THROUGHOUT THE DAY.
THE WINDS WILL DECREASE SUNDAY NIGHT
WITH IMPROVING CONDITIONS...ALTHOUGH
BITTER COLD TEMPERATURES WILL
REMAIN.

Ick....

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow snow snow...




Morris and I went for a walk this morning ... I think he is pooped out now. The snow was above his belly and once again he was snow swimming.
It is so much fun to watch him bounce like a rabbit.

The wicked weather has quit and as long as the snow doesn't blow hard, I shouldn't have too much trouble getting to work tonight. I'll be taking the GMC truck this evening it is a gas guzzler, but also a very healthy winter vehicle.

Some folks think I'm crazy to live in WI and put up with this weather.
Once you learn to get around in it, it isn't soo very bad.
It is the other guy you have to worry about.

Over the weekend the winds are to pick up, we are to get another round of snow and the blowing and drifting is supposed to get ugly.
Hmmm. Oh yeah, the temps are supposed to drop drop drop...again.
And just yesterday, I was walking around town doing my shopping in a spring jacket, no gloves, and tennis shoes...It
was
22 degrees and sunny!
[Don't say it...I'm nuts!]

Oh yes...
Happy Birthday tomorrow to a very lovely young lady...Lily will be 4 yrs old.

Last and not least.
My new graphics toy...Bryce 5.5
I'm learning....



Let's see last I kept track was 15" of snowfall this year...plus 8" last night!
TOTAL so far this year = 23"

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Snirt....


Driving into work the other night I encountered some wicked winds and very cold temps, that rocked my Cavalier around while high on the ridge above Harder Hill.

[Okay, the locals say a Harter or Harder lived on the hill and so it was thusly named...I think it should be Hard on the vehicles Hill ... but who listens to me???
Yes it is very steep and twisty.]

On with the saga.
At first I thought I was driving through smoke or fog. Ah, silly me, smoke or fog wouldn't be seen in 45mph winds! Nope,
it was snow and dirt driven by the wildly wicked winds.
[How's that for alliteration?]

Well then I heard something pelting the car. Debri from the roadside, sand from the road and dirt from the fields combined with the snow was hitting my car as I drove.
[I was positive that the vehicle would be sand blasted of all its paint by the time I got off the ridge and down *Harder Hill* into Romance. [Yes there is a place called Romance it is by the Bad Axe River populated by two bars.]

Well then it dawned on me. I was being *Sn~irted*.
Snirt. Snow~Dirt
How very clever of me at 11:30PM.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Mind Expansion...


Actually this is from a tutorial on planets:
http://dinyctis.deviantart.com/art/Planet-Tutorial-3131869#

And from a tutorial on stars....:
http://gallery.artofgregmartin.com/tuts_arts/making_a_star_field.html

These are things to do when it is 3 AM and it is raining and crappy outside and you have the house to yourself without anyone to disturb you as they...hubby and JRT are asleep.

Wild Weather Ahead



We are supposed to get rain all day...then this afternoon the temps are supposed to rapidly drop and we are supposed to get 'some' snow.
Then the fun begins...winds.
Sustained winds with gusts up to 45mph.

The 'fun' in all this?
I have a midnight to 8AM shift, when they are predicting -25 and below wind chill factors. Yikes.
Okay, so I'll get to see how my 'storm' gear works!
And with those kinds of conditions, I don't think contractors will be coming in....so maybe just maybe I won't have to stand outside and sign them all in???

In reality...I still am enjoying my job immensely. I work with one fellow who writes academic book reviews and sometimes we get involved in some very interesting conversations.
I look forward to working with all of them actually so...yes I still like this job even if I am faced with some awful driving to get there!

Today's activities?
Make cookies and watch the weather...rest and prepare for tonight's duty...
;-)

This is a quote from the National Weather Service...hopefully they are a bit wrong...

A COLD FRONT WILL SWEEP ACROSS THE REGION LATE THIS AFTERNOON AND
EARLY THIS EVENING. COLD AIR WILL SURGE SOUTHWARD IN ITS WAKE...WITH
NORTHWEST WINDS BECOMING STRONG AND GUSTY. THIS COMBINATION OF WIND
AND COLD WILL PRODUCE DANGEROUSLY COLD WIND CHILLS...ESPECIALLY FOR
AREAS WEST OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER...AND OVER NORTHERN WISCONSIN.
IN THESE LOCATIONS...WIND CHILLS OF 20 TO 25 BELOW ZERO CAN BE
EXPECTED AFTER MIDNIGHT. A WIND CHILL ADVISORY IS IN EFFECT FOR
THESE LOCATIONS FROM MIDNIGHT THROUGH EARLY MONDAY AFTERNOON.

IN ADDITION TO THIS COLD...WATER ON THE ROADWAYS COULD QUICKLY
FREEZE INTO ICY PATCHES TONIGHT. MOTORISTS SHOULD BE ALERT TO THIS
POTENTIAL HAZARD IF TRAVELING TONIGHT.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

PET peeves winter driving

I had to add to today's posting.

Pet Peeves!!!

Idiots who don't bother to scrape the snow off their car's/truck's back window.
Dingbats who don't bother to clean the snow off their head lights
.......tail lights.......outside mirrors........
Doodoo's who think since it is snowy they need to use the 'middle' lane [the double yellow line!] and scare the hell out of you when you are coming towards them.

The cell phone talker who is trying to see through an itty bitty section of their windshield as they drive down the road and talk.

The ding dong who thinks a snow covered road is the Indy 500. I'm happy to say that I waved at one such ding dong as they passed me and pulled back into the right lane only to continue into a big poof of snow on the side of the road.

Happy Trails to stipud winter drivers.
[I spelled that wrong on purpose...]

pheewww, I feel so much better now.

12" + 3" = 15" of snow

Woes of Winter


We had enough snow.... to warrant snow shoes when out and about.
I do not want a winter like last year...nope, no way no how no no no....
Have I made that clear?
100" of snow last year.
Too much.

Things strike in 3's right?
The starter went on the 98 GMC truck. It is now replaced and the truck starts.

The skid steer wouldn't work properly two days ago. After replacing the fuel filter and warming up the engine block [plugging it in], it worked.
Cause?
Biofuel.
The temperature change was so quick that the bio fuel became jelled and gubbered up the fuel filter. Normally we don't use bio fuel [soy fuel] in the winter. Some hubby must have put that in and not paid attention on his last trip to the gas station.

Sooooooo
Yesterday, he left with his diesel truck to head out to get round bales of hay before the BIG storm struck [it was sleeting and icing up the roadways]...the truck began to act up. He turned around at the blacktop as it was a sheet of ice, and came home with a sputtering truck.
[We bought some round bales from our close neighbor]

Okay today we replace the fuel filter in the diesel truck, add some 911 to the fuel and hopefully we should be okay for a while.

Sigh...

On a bright note meet Sweetie...yes that is her real registered name! I just love her eyes and her big ol' hound dog jowls. When she stands on her hind legs and puts her paws on my shoulders...well she nearly knocks me over. She is SO affectionate!

I watered the mules, and wandered about in the snow until it was time to come in and fix some lunch. Hubby is plowing the driveway and if he doesn't stop and yack with my neighbor at the top of the hill, we'll actually make town before all the stores close...

Last but not least here are the comedians putting on another act for me this morning.
I used a shot like this from last year to make a *Muletide* greeting card!

Snow to date this year:
12"
Yep I'm going to try and keep an official count...

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Teddy Bear Saga continues

It started out innocent enough right?
But I said 'Don't trust the Teddy Bears'.

Well I walked into the living room yesterday afternoon and found those little fellas [gals?] showing off acrobatics under the tree.
Perhaps trying to amuse the snowman.

This morning however, I came downstairs to this:

What the heck had gone on overnight???
Looks like the Christmas Bears and the Snowman got into it pretty hard and heavy.

An investigation was conducted.

I found a more likely suspect:

However the suspect is NOT talking at all. His eyes portray sleepiness and innocence.

The Jack Russell is suspected of tossing his Hedgehog into the Bears and the Snowman. I don't believe it involved any plotting or thought, as Mr. Morris is not capable of either of those things.

So I better fix the poor things!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Under the Tree...




Okay, I wasn't sure I was going to do this. But I had to clean out a closet and put the blaze orange hunting clothes away...then one thing led to another.
Soon I had boxes out and all over.

I figured if I just put up half of the tree no one but me would be the wiser. Less work right?
You just push it up against the wall.
Hmmm.
So I was unable to find the ornaments I wanted...
then I decided to forgo the red and blue glass ornaments...
then I found some ribbons I'd saved that Joy had put on our packages over the years with pretty ribbons...
the little hand made gift tags say 'Noel' and 'Joy'...they went in the keep pile.

I picked out a few special ornaments that always seem to get crowded out by having too many.
So I used just a few.
Hmmm.

I wasn't sure what sort of skirt to put around the tree [since I don't have one and never have]. For years I used a white baby blanket.
I rummaged in the 'linen closet' and came up with a lace table cloth.
Looks stunning!

Okay.
This is the weird part.
I took my hand made itty bitty button bears and started 'setting' them up around the bottom of the tree.
Suddenly what was going on under the tree became so much more important than what was on the tree itself.
The teddy bears are surrounding a snow man sitting on a bench. I'd like to believe that the little Christmas Bears are making the snowman feel welcome. There is even a small package there...
Yet the snowman is still holding his stick hands way up in the air.
I don't think the Christmas Bears are holding him up [but you never know with Bears].

I put everything away, satisfied that I'd done my decorating for the year.
When a pair of mittens caught my eye.
How had they slipped out of the bag I had them in?
Grandma Pearl's mittens.
It was destiny.
The brightly colored knit mittens reside under the tree too.

I don't know why, but I really like them there. In fact I look at what is under the tree more than the tree itself.

The Christmas Bears better behave themselves or back in the box they'll go!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

To Tree or not to Tree???


Oh my life shouldn't be so quiet. Hmmm, after the grandkids went home I feel sort of at a loss...grandpa does too.

I started picking things up and moving them around today to get prepared to put up the Christmas Tree.
I debated on that.
Do I really want a tree this year?
Where should I put it?
[Oh as if I have a BIG choice in this itty bitty house... ;-)]
Maybe I'd just put some ribbons on my Norway Pine.

Nah, I really DO like putting up the tree, it is just dragging all the stuff out of storage and then putting it away again that is a daunting task.

Well, I like taking pictures of the lovely ornaments I've gotten over the years. I always end up with a beautiful shot or two worthy to put on a Christmas Card.

Sigh. So I moved some things a little here and there. Then just left it unfinished. I'm quite undecided this year.
No, I'm not in a bah humbug mood either.
Just didn't have the umph today to go about doing it.

I'm sure the mood will strike me.
But about 3PM, I decided enough was enough.

I grabbed my camera and Mr. Morris began to leap wildly about. I needed fresh air, that is what I needed. [Morris did too!]

We walked out through the summer meadow staying somewhat close to the ridge top so that we could watch the sun set. I walked to where I could look down into the valley. It looked dark and very cold. The fresh air really put me in much better spirits.


Maybe I should just nipper a little bush and stick it in a pot...do the artsy fartsy thing I've seen in the stores. Bare limbs with ornaments.
Well, it is a thought.

I'll have to sleep on it, I guess.

Oh and I just checked the weather!
3-5 inches of snow coming!
Whoooo Hooo!

How does the economy effect you?


Well things have quieted down and are getting back to whatever you can call 'normal'. I've been reading the news stories this morning and they aren't very pretty where the economy is concerned.

Around here Black Friday wasn't a big success in our small town. I drove through main street early Friday morning and saw the empty streets and parking lots. Everyone had banners and signs claiming HUGE discounts!!!

The car dealership in town looks deserted with bright shiney new trucks sitting out in front at flashy angles, signs claiming 'The Best Deals Ever!'
And no one is looking.

On the other hand my friend who runs an Auto Parts store has his parking lot crammed full of people looking to 'fix' their cars and trucks and avoid buying anything new.
He has coffee on and cookies out for customers, who gather and discuss the woes of farming, the economy, the weather as they wait for service in the small packed store.
His business is thriving.

I heard from a sibling that things are not thriving in her field.
And I consider myself very lucky.
My job is secure in many ways.
It is not directly dependent on the economy, it is dependent on directives by Homeland Security and other gov't mandates.

Yet we are doing as all others. Watching our spending, buying only what is necessary.
[Today we will stop at the Auto Parts store and get a new starter for our old truck.]

We have a small niche that has actually allowed us to sell some equine this year.
Donkeys. Who would have thought that I'd get calls for donkeys?
Well, the guard donkey is a hot commodity for both sheep and cattle owners.

As for Christmas and the big spending? Well it has never been a big part of our world. I made most of our Christmas presents again this year on line.
Add to that some homemade jelly as a gift and you have it...a nice economical Christmas without going overboard.

So how are things affecting you?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Saturday to remember...

Here she is one year older~~~~...still a charmer with sparkling eyes and a smile that lights up a room.

Lily.

This is what I've been busy with for the past few days, taking as many photos of this little lady as possible.
And...
Well, she loves the camera and gosh if she isn't good at it too.

Her favorite thing to do while she was here?
Hike.

Draw, draw, draw.
I have lovely pictures drawn by her.

She also is a *kidder* with a wonderful sense of humor.
Hmmm.
I really didn't want her to go.
It was tough enough having to work straight midnight to 8AM shifts while she was here and try to have plenty of time to visit.

Saturday was a toughie. I was SO tired when I got together with the whole family. But Ariel, Dennis, and Lily hit it off like old pros.

Unfortunately, I had a shift to do and had to bow out and hit the sack to sleep before my night shift...er morning shift.

But it was a memorable moment.
Three Grandchildren all together in one place at the SAME time!

;-)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

So What is Thanksgiving??? Really?


Thanksgiving.
There is a definition for it. It eludes me...it is supposed to be about pilgrims and indians and such...but modern day has turned it into something else...

When my kids were little and Larry was on duty, we had the most exotic Thanksgiving dinners possible.
One year while we lived on Elder Court the kids wanted Hotdogs. And hotdogs is was. Yummy...we spread out a blanket and made it into a picnic.
So simple.
Me and the boys.

Thanksgiving means to me getting together and having a nice meal with immediate family. To me that was my kids, my hubby, and the dogs.
WHAT??? You say???
What kind of Thanksgiving is that???

Well it was...peaceful.
Not a lot of dishes.
...and everyone got to do pretty much as they wished. The kids would play [or fight occasionally], I'd go for a walk with the dogs, or we'd go out and play in the fresh air.

As a child my Thanksgivings were a mad crush of relatives all crowding into a house with tables and chairs scattered all over. Food fights with cousins were occasional entertainment until an adult stopped it.
One time my sister poured half a container of salt and pepper on her squash--she detested squash and hoped it would be declared un-edible.
Mom came into the 'kids' room and tried to make her eat it.

My sister led the barf brigade. We laughed. But her trick worked and she was never forced into squash again. [or was it my brother that did that??? my memory is fuzzy, but it was sure funny at the time]

Soon we graduated away from the BIG 12 hour drive to have a big family Thanksgiving. Things got a little more peaceful then.
It was just us ... our family, and of course the dogs.
We ate, we then did things all day that we felt like doing.

No squash barfing, no food tossing...
We spent the day goofing off, after helping with the cleanup of course.

Now as an adult I find myself being tossed back into the big family Thanksgiving again.
Okay, not a problem.
But I do think the kids ought to have their own room where they can have some good ol' fashioned food tossing. Perhaps even one of them will think to pull the salt and pepper trick on the yucky food they have been served.
Then the kids ought to dress up and head out to play ...

My aunts and uncles always shooed us kids out for fresh air. I think it was so they could talk adult talk while we were out of ear shot.
It was the playing with cousins that I liked best.

Well tomorrow is Thanksgiving.
Stay tuned to see what happens!

No squash barfing brigade.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Snow...snow!


Last night I got off at midnight and headed for home in our first real snowfall.

Yes, it was quite slippery and the snow was coming down so hard it was hard to see where the road was.
;-)

[This is my gravel road...I turn at that bright yellow spot, this was the only place I dared to stop and take a picture!]


Sort of a white knuckle drive. Although I think it could have been worse if there was a lot of traffic on the road. I of course drove sensibly and took my time. After all, who else is out there hogging the road at that time?

I awoke this morning to a beautiful winter landscape. I'll be out in it later today to enjoy it.
Today is my the beginning of my weekend, so I'm lounging a bit this morning.

Last night I was asked by my sarge if I'd consider full time if it was offered. I did say that I would have to take it under consideration and learn more about the full time schedule and how it works, along with the insurance and other benefits. He then asked me if I'd consider an NSO position. This is a step up in pay of $5 an hour. I'd be silly to turn that down.

I completed all of the company's testing and finished my final Saturday night with a 100% score. This makes me 'senior' to the other person that was hired at the same time.

Well that is all work related and not very interesting.

But I may get to go out riding today!
Yahoo! No one will be on the neighbor's 300+ acres of land. I'll be dressing Opal in orange and 'driving' up deer.
If nothing else, it'll be fun to photograph!
Have a sweet Monday.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Dad and Music


It was a dad thing. Dad loved music, but not rock n' roll, country, and other popular music. He loved classical, Hawaiian, Mexican, Slack String Guitar...
Well you get the drift.

Last night while 'on duty' I pulled out a CD from my backpack to take out to the guard house for some late night listening.
One of the other guards asked what kind of music I liked. I smiled and told him ... anything just about [except perhaps hard screaming rock and rap music].

Later on, with not much to do [my paperwork done], I watched out the window and listened to music and reflected on how I learned to appreciate more than just rock n' roll and country.

As a kid I can recall dad putting a record of Classical music on the turntable. One time ... he offered me his head phones and told me as I grimaced at the thought of 'boring' music, that I had to

*Close your eyes and see if you can find the story in the music*

I recall myself sitting cross legged on the polished wood floor of the living room, using both hands to hold up dad's heavy ear phones...eyes closed, conjuring up mythical creatures and horses [of course horses...every little girl imagines herself galloping away on a horse!].

It was then that I discovered that music could take you anywhere you wished to go and what a wonderful escape it was.

From then on, I never listened to music ... instrumental, quite the same again.

So you can listen... and you can imagine...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

My Oly Camera...



I went down to the creek yesterday to just do some *chillin* before going to work. Morris of course went with me.

We enjoyed sitting out of the wind and the quiet music of the creek. It was very relaxing to sit there and just NOT think of anything.

We shared some snacks....and he did his dog~thing running around smelling and of course *watering* all the important rocks.

I took some pictures with my handy dandy pocket camera whose time is coming to an end. The memory card slot doesn't always work. Sometimes it takes a bit of gentle tapping to be able to take a photo.
Sigh.
But the Olympus Stylus 410 has been with me for 4 years. It has taken literally thousands of great photos for me.
Nothing like having a 'camera' on you at all times.
It has withstood more than the company had advertized. Yes it has its limitations as a point and shoot camera, but some ... no... many of my very best photos have been taken with it.

I've had 4 magazine covers published with photos from this little camera. Professionals seem to pooh pooh the power of these little pocket cameras.
But it is far easier to drop a camera into your pocket or into a pouch on your belt and climb through the woods ... than try to carry an SLR along with a tripod!

And whoops, dropping it isn't a disaster. Yes, I've done that too.

I am looking to stay with Olympus to replace it in the future. I really hate to let this old friend go.
Jiggle, smack, open, close...sigh. Viola! I can take a picture!
Hmmm.

I am considering replacing it with an Olympus Stylus 1030 SW. I searched and drooled over SLR's but kept coming back to a camera that is waterproof, freeze proof, and shock proof. Something that will take my everyday hikes and rides and survive like the 410 did.
If I had my choice I'd have a new SLR AND a point and shoot.

But I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
Right now, I can get my old camera to work...still.
It will become an emergency when it fails...you know it will!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Oh My My

My November has been interesting so far.

Last night as I sat in the guard house somewhere around 10PM ... I began to notice that the chain on the green shaded lamp was jiggling.
It was the power from the Turbine...the Power Plant turbine.
My two way radio antenae vibrated...in fact the whole building was vibrating.
Hmmmm.

My supervisor explained to me that it was the 'monster' turbine that caused things to vibrate and pointed out that I wouldn't notice it so much during the daytime as so much was going on.

I felt the rumble throughout my body...
What power...Power Plant indeed.

The wind whipped up in gusts over 30 mph, dust obliterated the truck sitting in front of the guard house and an eerie whistle moaned through the windows.
I wondered for a few moments what it would be like to sit in the 'shack' during the middle of a viscious blizzard.
I imagine my chances of doing so are fairly good.

When the trains go by...the blow their horns. I was told I'd get sick of them, and I may, but they are a welcome distraction in the middle of the night.
By the way, the do go too fast for me to 'count' the cars'.





Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Night songs

Last night we spent some time in the cold cold cold woods. We were trying out a dog on 'loan'. A coon hunting dog named Rebel. We had tried a dog named 'Juice' who was young and showed some promise from the same fellow who is loaning us Rebel.
But Juice didn't have the Juice. He wouldn't bark up a tree and sing a song.

I guess that is one of the reasons I like going out hunting at night when the temps are 10* and the wind is blowing through you, chilling you to the bone.
I like to hear the night songs of a hound on a tree.

Besides it is great exercise and fun to try and locate a dog in the dark...in the woods...in rough terrain.
Of course we have lights, but half the fun is getting there.

Unfortuneatly for Rebel, last night he was 'tricked' by the racoon who had left scent on the trees but have vacated the area.
He found us 'slick' trees. Which means nothing was hiding in the branches.

But I still enjoyed the evening.
Cold windburned face, cold toes and fingers...but hey,
I got to hear
the night song...
Rebel has a pretty voice...
Okay, I liked it.


video

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Once upon a time...again



Well I've been thinking about it since last year on July 13th when I traveled to Kenosha to watch my oldest son run a half marathon.
I recalled how fun it running was, but that I really wasn't a marathoner, nor was I a half marathoner.

My distance of favor was a 5k or 3.1 miles. The area I live in now doesn't really have the opportunities I had when I lived in the suburbs of Chicago for competition and distance racing.

But the other night I decided that I needed a goal. I needed to get my body back into better shape, especially my shoulders and my elbows.

Ed pictured here:

Ed had suggested that I come back in 2009 and do the 5k race. Of course he will be doing the half marathon. But he planted a seed of 'inspiration' in the back of my mind.

This little voice kept saying...'Why not?'
This other one kept saying...'You are silly!'
And I decided to challenge the doubting voice.

You will notice that the photo of me is from 1986...eeeeks.

But today I started out again. I took the first steps. I ran to the tobacco shed [1/4 of a mile?] and back home.
I didn't push it because first, I'd forgotten how to dress for running in the cold. I got TOO hot too quickly.
But the strides came naturally and it FELT really fine. Yes it did.

Morris liked it too, he ran with me.

So begins another journey back to the races.
Gosh, I'm even psyched.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Color my world today...

I just got home from a midnight to 8AM stretch.
I had a blast.
At 5 after midnight a 'bottom ash' truck driver came in.

He was a smarty pants and knew of course that I was a new kid on the block.
Me: *Name sir?*
Him: *Dick Tracey*
Me: *You look more like hmmm....*
Him: *John Wayne?*
Me [catching on now]: *I was going to say Batman...but I think ... Elmer Fudd!*

Him [Big HUGE Grin]: *Can't fool you huh? Jeff is the name and I give everyone grief!*

A note about Fly Ash and Bottom Ash and how it is recycled in a coal powered plant:


'A byproduct of coal pulverization is fly ash. Heavier
particles, bottom ash or slag, fall to the bottom of the
burning chamber and the lighter ash particles, fly ash,
remain suspended in the exhaust gases. These fly ash
particles are removed by the electrostatic
precipitator.
Dairyland has taken proactive measures to recycle
this ash residue. Nearly all of the bottom ash is
recycled and used to help build rural township roads.
The bottom ash acts as a strengthener for the road
base and is then covered with a paved surface such
as asphalt seal coat or concrete.
Likewise, nearly all of the fly ash is recycled for such
uses as an additive for cement and concrete blends.'

Anyway I had a fun 'day' at work, enjoyed meeting some folks I hadn't worked with yet and was pleasantly surprised at how everyone helped each other out.

When I left this morning my Captain asked how it was going. I gave him the thumbs up...cuz you know...it really is going.

I watched the sun lighten the skies over the bluffs that oversee the Mississippi river. I enjoyed myself even while standing in the cold and checking in construction workers.

Now how crazy is that???

By the way, I'm making a trip to Cabelas tonight to get some more of those silk sock liners and some high tech long johns.


Oh I like staying toasty warm while at work.
Well it looks like it is time for me to take a nap so I can get on with my day.
These funky shifts put your biological clock out of whack.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I love my dog..


How cute is he?
Poor guy is so confused with my new work schedule...Friday night he panicked when I left at 11PM to go to work.
Hubby said he ran around the house barking and whining like a nut case. He thought Morris would come to his senses and go sleep on the couch like usual where I leave him my old sweatshirt to cuddle with.
Nope, he was not happy.

When I got home Saturday morning he was beside himself, wiggling, then taking off and running madly around the house.
One thing I CAN say about the little fellow...he is fantastically entertaining.

And he is a great 'napper'.
Around 10AM, I decided to go to bed to get my sleep from the shift I'd just done. I crawled under the covers, and shut the bedroom door to just a wee crack.
No sooner did my head hit the pillow...did I feel this warm furry body slide along my back. Then I heard a big sigh.

And both of us went to sleepy land.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Planning for our Christmas


I know it is early to talk about this...but I'm going to anyway.


Everyone seems fascinated with the events of today. No one of course is immune. People are afraid for their jobs.

The little mom and pop specialty stores on our Main Street who struggled before this economy are struggling harder now.

Will they make it the year?

I don't know.

People I've talked to are not spending money unless it is on something they need. Everyone is cutting back. Christmas may be more like Christmas was intended to be this year.

The gifts will be more heartfelt and not 'just unthoughtful spending'...at least in our family.

And why not?

Why not get back to a more meaningful Christmas, not a Christmas where everyone shops like mad to impress their family and friends.

What is wrong with jellies and jams, homemade breads, or little treats?
Or...Gosh, what about just getting the family together for a nice meal?
[NO reader, I have NOT forgotten Thanksgiving...but the stores are chock full of Christmas stuff already and it really aggravates me!]

That brings up the subject of Thanksgiving...well, I will address that in another post okay???

Work and play


Well I'm done with training and started the 'real deal' on Wednesday night. I got called back to work on Thursday morning and worked yesterday's busy shift in ever changing weather.
I'm sure the picture above may imply that my job is terribly boring. I can guarantee that it is not.
I have reports to fill out on the night shifts and all sorts of busy work.
The day shift is chocked full of activity in comparison...tonight I work the midnight to 8AM shift. Things are fairly quiet on that shift except in the early morning when construction workers come in.
Yes, I like it.
Yesterday I covered a day shift ... it was my first day with so many things going on and I was tickled when one of my supervisors who does things 'by the book' seemed pleased at my 'catching on' quickly.

One of the things I need to do it get a collection of music for those nights I have to spend 2 hours at a time by myself at 'the gate'.

That's one of the things I need to make a list of and burn off onto CD.
While searching today I came across this old classic from Mason Williams, Classical Gas:


Well, while the sun is giving a peek at us, I'm going to put on my mud bogging boots and get outside for some fresh air.
Then take a good 'afternoon' nap and see what the 'late-early' shift is like.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Just some more fun...


Kids books.
Well I always wanted to write one, so here is my chance at writing quite freely in the form I want and combining it with photography.
There...
I can combine two of the things I really love into one project.
And I have NO fear of a rejection slip from the publisher because it is a self published book.

Right now I am using Blurb for my books. I'm pretty happy with it, except I'm looking to have some more variety with my page layouts.
I've read the BlurbForum and there are useful hints and helps to do a layout yourself in the form of a PDF file.
Yikes. That might be a bit technical for me.

Maybe one day I can grab theses individual little 'bed time' adventure books and put them in a larger book with chapters.
Let the fun begin...
It started with
Crazy Squirrel and Happy Hedgehog's Farm Adventure
and
has progressed to
The Big Woods...

These characters have already plotted their next adventure...




Another Crazy and H...
By Val Ewing