Thursday, October 30, 2008

Forever Buddies

What is more special in life than a wonderful dog and a wonderful Mule to spend an entire long fall afternoon in the woods with?

Nothing that I can really think of ...
[well I could think of nice things like my grandkids, or the kids visiting...that would be nice]

But I found myself alone and time on my off we went.

We make an odd trio.
A dog
A mule
A person

But we were quite content with each others company.
At one point we stopped in a meadow, I dismounted and let Badger graze while Morris ran around filling his nose with scents...
I simply enjoyed the smells and the sunshine.

And the company of my animal buddies.

I came home relaxed ... and tired.
What a great day.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A dog Just a dog...

It' Just a Dog From time to time people tell me,
"Lighten up, it's just a dog,"
or, "That's a lot of money for just a dog.
They don't understand the distance traveled, the time
spent or the costs involved for "just a dog."

Some of my proudest moments have come
about with "just a dog."
Many hours have
passed and my only company was "just a dog,"
but I did not once feel slighted.

Some of my saddest moments have been
brought about by "just a dog," and, in those days
of darkness, the gentle touch of "just a dog" gave
me comfort and reason to overcome the day.

If you, too, think it's "just a dog," then you
will probably understand phases like "just a friend,"
"just a sunrise," or "just a promise."
"Just a dog"
brings into my life the very essence of friendship,
trust, and pure unbridled joy.
"Just a dog" brings
out the compassion and patience that makes me a
better person.
Because of "just a dog" I will rise
early, take long walks and look longingly to the
So for me, and folks like me, it's not
"just a dog" but an embodiment of all the
hopes and dreams of the future, the fond
memories of the past and the pure joy of
the moment.
"Just a dog" brings out what's
good in me and diverts my thoughts away
from myself and the worries of the day.

I hope that someday they can understand
that it's not "just a dog" but the thing that
gives me humanity and keeps me from being
"just a human."
So the next time you hear the
phrase "just a dog." just smile....because they
"just don't understand."

- Anonymous

I was sent this poem today via email. I read it and then began to think about it.
I've had many dogs in my life.
Of course there was Xena, my Princess Warrior dog who was so loyal to me that she didn't tolerate other people.
Xena my Princess Warrior

Today I thought about her and how much I miss her. Morris and I went out and cleaned the weeds away from her grave located in a special spot near the fence line.

Then I chuckled over the wonders of Morris.
How really special he is even if he isn't the intense devoted dog that Xena was.
In fact in many ways he is even more special.

He never objects to playing with the grandchildren.
He doesn't mind being 'bossed' around or dragged on his leash.
He is perpetually happy, although I'm not sure he even knows
what he is happy about.
He is a wonderful comedian.
He thinks children are his personal responsibility.

And then I thank the powers that be for the great dogs I've had in my life.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Long Week

Can you believe it is Friday???
I have 2 days of rest before hitting 'training' again.

I'm pooped...I feel like how Morris looks in this picture.
Last night I fell sound asleep with my glasses on and slept through a phone call from my son!

I was tired.

The job is interesting and diverse right now. So much to learn and get certified in. I like this sort of challenge and have enjoyed meeting the people I'll be working with.
I can see that at times a person has to be quick thinking and very organized.

It is different to go back to a method of handwriting everything and not using computers! But that is how the operation goes.
Much of what I'm learning has to be memorized and kept in the head...policies and procedures can only be studied on site.

This is a good challenge for the brain cells, I believe.
I've got to get out and play with my cameras...I cannot believe that I haven't taken any photos since Sunday....
I'm having withdrawals.

Have a good nite!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


October is nearly over.
I can't believe it.

This means the winter is not far behind.
I'm sure hoping that we don't have one like last year.

Well on Sunday we had a fantastic day. The weather was awesome and warm. We met up with our neighbors and went riding.
Judy got to ride Fred as this was her first 'real' ride. We stuck her in the middle and gave her basic training.
and the steering issues.

Fred was a super troooper. He never waivered nor took a misstep for Judy. He was however not happy with traveling behind Badger and had to pass him whenever possible.

Fred has been such a fantastic animal for us. Yes he is little but he has such a big heart. Okay, he does dislike being caught and pretty much ignores being curried [we know he likes it though].
He is the ultimate 4 wheel-hooved drive.

We enjoyed a special dessert afterward and apple cider!
I had to do a bunch of smiling as Judy kept saying *Wow!*
*Oh My!*
*Oh this is beautiful!*

I do believe she had a good time, and so did her husband who rode their horse Chaps.

Yep it was a *wow* day.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Job offer

My new job starts on Monday.
Yeah if you've been following this blog, you know I've been looking and had started at Wallyworld.
This job offers double the pay.
The bennies are better.

For me? No comparison.
Plus I get to see the sun rise over the Mississippi river as part of my job!

The job is in a whole new direction. Something I've never done before and have no experience in.
As I told my interviewer, ~ Consider this, I have no bad habits you have to break and I come into your company as a blank slate. You can train me the way your company wants me to be.

I had to compete with 36 other applicants.

So when I was told tonight that I was 'selected', I felt like I'd just won a prize.

My job? Security Officer.

Why? The hours please me and so does the challenge.

Besides, I've been a waitress, a teller,
a gas jockey, an insurance underwriter, a cashier,
a telephone order person, a transcriptionist, a babysitter,
a mom, a grandma, and an office worker...
why not another to add to my list?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

All things crazy...

Occupational Therapy.
This morning had me meeting with my OT person. She is a wonderfully nutty and thoughtful person.
She helped me get my elbow straight and the pain reduction has come to the point that I am released weeks earlier than my predicted 3 month plan. Good surgeon, good OT, and good hard work.
Considering that for the past few years I've dealt with constant pain [shoulders...and the elbow was always there, but not as bad as it had been for the past year and a half]...and now I was actually
[yes I am repeating myself, because I am pinching myself too...]
Pain Free.

Elana asked me what else would I like to accomplish?
I said, *Well handstands and cartwheels would be nice to work back up to.*
She looked at me~ *You are serious?*
*As serious as can be. I also would like to run a 5k in Kenosha next year when my son runs his half marathon.*
Elana's face broke into a wide smile [she has an infectious smile and wonderful attitude, she makes you feel darn right good inside].

*OhhhKayyyy...* Then she pulled me over to a table and showed me how to start some simple exercises to get my shoulders and muscle strength back. It would be a long process, but the process must be slow in order not to over use or re-injure the surgically modified tendons.

At that moment, my surgeon Dr. L. came out of a meeting with the Physical Therapists who treat his patients.

From my past 2 yrs of being Dr. L's patient AND from months of rehab on both shoulders...I knew most of them who stopped by to give me a high five.

Dr. L slid up to me and asked how it was going. I answered...and Elana piped up.
*We are working on cartwheels and handstands by next summer,* she said.

Dr. L frowned and looked at me.
I nodded, *Serious.*

*Could you do them pre surgeries?*

He dipped his head in thought for a moment, then looked at me and smiled. *Okay, I want you to do your handstands and cartwheels on your mule!*

All the PT stopped mid stride.
I grinned.
*Dr. L! You know I love a challenge! But gosh, I could fall...what, you want to do more surgery on me by repairing something else I mess up?*

He laughed and raised his hands, *The 4th one is free!* he quipped.
He waved at me and headed out of the department. The other therapists stood there with looks on their faces that said...
Did we just hear what we thought we heard?

Elana said, *He just said that in front of everybody!* Then she turned to me and said, *You are NOT doing that on are not. I do NOT give you permission.*

Just to get her goat, I replied: *Dr. L gave me the equivalent of a Double Dog Dare.*

Elana said~~~

I conceded and we began to work on a plan that would get me back into fantastic shape. And gratefully no one did say...
Handstands and Cartwheels AT YOUR AGE???

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fun fun...

You know, Happy and Crazy are getting under my skin.

You should have seen the look I got when I went out with the camera, the tonka truck, and Morris's toys yesterday.
Sure...another plot thickened!
When I showed Ariel and Dennis [grand kids] photos of the toys in the Tonka, Ariel said to me...

*Wow Grandma, I guess toys can make believe too and do things.*

So I traced the hike we did over the weekend to the BIG Ravine.
Silly enough, as I was taking fall photos along with story book photos, a funny little story came to mind.

What a fun way to introduce the grand kids to adventures that are not Dora, Diago, or TV based!

Of course, Grandma Val does have a strange sense of imagination.
Born with it ... I guess.

Well off to a day of being employed. I orientate at Wallyworld. It is an income, better than none at all.
Have a happy day.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

It's coming...

...and I can't wait to see it. I'm probably more excited than the grandkids who will receive this as a Christmas gift.
Of course you can look at the book preview too according to how this 'badge' is supposed to work from Blurb.

I'm waiting to see how this turns out before the follow up version comes along.
I've sure had fun with it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Let 'em run...

*Go out and play*

That is something every parent has said to their child for eons I think. I'm particularly lucky in that when we say it...they can do it...
Meaning my grand kids of course.

What better things can a grandma and grandpa offer the children than a safe place in the countryside to 'go out and play'.
We don't need playground equipment when there are round bales stacked end to end that make a perfect place to explore and have adventures on.

Of course Morris found it his duty to stick to Ariel like glue. She loved to boss him around and he loved to ignore her [mostly]. I must admit though, he really preferred her company to mine!

[Traitor dog!]

Our weekend was filled with fun and joy. The kids spent most of their time outdoors and played hard.
We had many walks in the woods.

My regret?
This doesn't happen often enough.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Making my heart sing...

My Grand daughter Ariel asked if she could learn to ride Badger.

Well she will be 5 yrs old on the 21st. So when her brother went down for a nap, we caught up Mr. Mule aka as Badger.
Ariel began to actually learn how to ride.
First there was brushing...
Then the most important lesson of the day.

How to properly get on and off Badger. Since I cannot lift her onto Badger who is 60" at his whithers and I am 64" tall with a bum elbow...we had to devise a way for her to get on without me lifting.

I had her step on my leg and then into the stirrup. She learned to reach the saddle horn and get her 'hind' leg over the back of the saddle.
She also learned how to properly dismount with an adult help.
She learned how to make Badger walk forward and whoa. How to turn him left and right and how to make him backup.
[This all done on a lead line for safety.]

Why does it sound like I am as excited as Ariel about this whole thing?
Gosh, maybe it is because I LOVE teaching kids?

'We' rode for over two hours. Badger ever patient, ever calm, ever quiet, and ever wonderful. How many ways can I say I absolutely love this mule?
Grand kids, mules, my sure makes my heart SING.

Friday, October 10, 2008


First, I am NO economic expert. But one can't ignore the news even if one does not have a TV in the house to watch the news.
Looks like things are 'going to hell in a handbasket' [I think that was a Grandpa Fred quote].

I was surprised to see my own state in 'dire straights'. I read an article somewhere that WI's unemployment funds will run out in 6 months.

Things are getting pretty serious all over. I guess I'm glad I didn't take the state job, as I'd probably get laid of right now.
The economy used to be a subject of mention during light conversations. Now, it IS the subject of mention.
Lots of shaking heads.
Lots of folks angry at Wall Street and the 'big fellas' with money.

Many folks in secure jobs who don't feel secure any longer.
The old folks in my area are crying 'Depression'! And for those who did live through it are glum with what is happening.

So far our home front hasn't suffered much. Being prudent folk that we are, we bought our winter heating fuel in advance. And have set our books in order.

Where months ago, I really didn't follow much regarding Wall Street, I am finding myself drawn with fascination to it now. I suppose I am like any other American, concerned and curious.

It is a serious mood that takes over as I read updates. A morbid fascination, I guess. And perhaps history in the making.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Who is this guy????

Imagine my huge surprise when some handsome-type fellow decided we ought to get out and go riding together!
This first picture is of Rich looking at places on trees where a 'monster' buck has been rubbing his antlers.
I really was a wonderful afternoon. I got to ride with my favorite partner and he patiently waited while I snapped pictures!
The afternoon was breathless with colors of fall. I kept 'oooohhhinnng' and 'ahhhhing' every time we came around a bend in the path.
We spend a few hours exploring and 'brush busting'. I took quite a few beautiful fall pictures.

We got home just before dark and things were really cooling off quickly.
I really do cherish our time like this, it is very relaxing and time well spent together.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Boy I'm tired...

What a long day.
Interviews, OT, errands, and then watching the debate tonight on line.

It was interesting.
The news though is depressing...

Makes me wonder what happens next?

On a happy note. The grandkids are coming on Friday! Yippie!
I bought shirts to tie dye with them, and of course there are so many fun things to do on Grandma and Grandpa's Farm.
Tomorrow is a 'no appt' day so I think I'll enjoy another fall day and head outside.
Thursday I'll be at GLHP for a job drug screening, physical, and [eeeks!] psychological test!
I'm sure you are wondering what kind of job requires all that?

If I get the job, I'll let you know.
Have a wonderful tomorrow...

Monday, October 06, 2008

Of Burrs, Bees, & Badger

The thermometer said 71 degrees. The breeze was light. I knew that we wouldn't have many more days like this, so I grabbed Mr. Mule and we headed out to the woods.
Well, we couldn't help it could we?

With the world 'gone mad' --- meaning the news regarding the global economy --- I decided to get away from it all.

I draped the back end of Badger with day glow orange, and tossed his English saddle on him. This is my concession to the weight restrictions that my surgeon has imposed upon me.

After about a quarter mile through some hilly terrain, I dismounted and 'snugged' Badger up. How can one mule swallow ALL that air??

I remounted and we walked along the trail, me searching the woods and trying to avoid burdocks and other kinds of burrs that were begining to adhere to Badger. He suddenly began to stomp his back feet and gave a short bunny hop.
Ground bees. We took off at a rather quick pace for the terrain we were in [downed trees, rocks, and a ravine]. I did however enjoy the rather quick pace, but once Mr. Mule decided he was safe he resumed his casual pace.

A bit further on we stopped to watch a bunch of Tom Turkeys trot through the woods. Now that the undergrowth is dying off, it is easier to spot them.
Next was some deer. We were riding quiet enough not to spook them.
Too far away for my point and shoot camera.

We headed down to the creek as the sun began to fade out of the valley.
The creek never fails to amaze me, I love the peaceful sounds it makes as the water runs over its rocks.

This evening brought one more surprise as the sky's golden light was reflected in the water. I was lucky to 'catch' this.
Badger and I stayed for a while, me admiring the water reflections and the forest sounds,...he enjoying the fact that I was letting him munch on the bright green grass under his feet.

We did head home through a semi darkness. But arrived at our driveway to see the last of the day heading below the ridge tree tops.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Fall is Here...

When in doubt, return to the forest.
...or when you need to recharge...get your trusty mule and go for a ride.

That's what I did this afternoon.

In fact we made more than one trip into the woods. The second trip was where I found this incredible looking mushroom it was about 10" tall.
Orange and beautiful.

We had a hard frost this morning. A 'killing' frost as they term it. Things are quickly wilting and I fear that this is the begining of the cold season. I welcome fall each year but with a bit of reluctance. I hate to see summer go, yet once the colors are into full swing, I enjoy fall.

Then comes brown season. Until 'white' season. Then 'mud' season. Well, I DO live in Wisconsin. It all can be very lovely.

Last night I took my dear sweet hubby to the ER. He had been sanding and grinding on metal and got a chunk of metal in his cornea.
That hurts.
Not to mention, it makes you very sensitive to light.

Well, I'm hoping he gets cured up soon.

Job market

In our area the job market is pretty tight.
There were over 100 applicants for 3 jobs at our local Walmart. I know, I was one of them. I have interviewed with them for a part time cashier.

I interviewed with another company that had 36 people applying for 2 jobs, part time also.
Over 40 people applied for a clerical position at a company in Gays Mills. The Walmart job has been approved and since I am not one to count my chickens before they hatch, I accepted.
The other jobs may or may not come through and at least I'll have some income.

The pay is not outstanding but it is better than pulling in a $0 paycheck. I can continue to look while I continue to work.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Visit with the surgeon...

Dr. L walks in the room.
Doc: So is this the free surgery or is it the next one?
We all laugh [remember the card? buy 3 get one free?]

Rich: Hey doc, how are yah?
Doc: Fine how are you?
[me--guys, uh, I'm the patient!]

Doc: So let's see what we have today, the 6 week follow up. He pokes and prods and asks questions.
Then says: Been riding?

Me: Yup.
Doc: I haven't said you could.
Me: You said I couldn't ride
'donkeys', I rode my mule.
Doc gives me the look.

Me: So you going to let me ride?
Doc: Wear your cast ...
Me: I burnt it.
Doc: [big sigh]
Me: I promise to be good and careful.
Doc: [bigger sigh] So in general how does it feel?

I tell him good unless I push it.
Then I ask him what he actually did in there.

He says he took out the tendon and cut off the piece that looked like shattered glass, and [some other things], then reattached it.
[OH boy,
THAT is why I need to be careful! It was re-attached!!!]

Rich: Doc, did you do a lobotomy on her?
Rich: Did you do a lobotomy on her? She's been canning, making jellies, applesauce, applecrisp, she made a cake, cooking, sewing....
Doc: She's being domestic???? [he looks at me as if mystified]... If I'd done a lobotomy on her, she'd be doing THAT at MY house!!!

Me: Ok, so I WAS going to bring you some apple jelly, but...
Doc: Oh YES please, I'll be looking forward to some in 6 weeks! In 6 weeks we should be able to release you to doing anything you want.

Me: [sigh]
Doc: Oh Val, you can go sky diving if you want. [he winks]
Doc pauses as he gets ready to leave...: Val, how ever did I know that you would go riding anyway?

So I am much stronger than he anticipated and doing awesome in his words. But since I cannot touch my right thumb to my right shoulder and have significant diminished elbow range of motion, I am returning to OT.

I had NO idea that he actually cut most of the tendon out and did reattaching to bone.
EWWW. Gross.

But I'm feeling better than ever.

Sky diving indeed!
Anyone know how much it costs???