Sunday, October 31, 2010

Writing for Fun

When the chills of October and November hit I turn inward from the outside and start using my imagination.

With my grand child stories, it hasn't been hard to come up with stories. I'm writing to please myself and children.

It all really started with a stupid and crazy idea.

The Big Adventure, The Big Woods, The Big Creek...they were ideas that occured with visits in from the grandchildren.
Why not turn their adventures into parallel adventures with Morris and his toys?
I only intended to do one story.

Really I did.
But then Morris and his friends began to take on a creative life of their own stemming from my own imagination.
I allowed Happy Hedgehog to become the steady 'thinking' character that almost always decides to follow logical reasoning and caution.
Crazy Squirrel~well his name just doesn't help him be sensible does it?

...and Morris.
He didn't enter into the series until The Big Creek, but this allowed the stories to take on more adventures and include other farm animals.
Who knew a dog could talk?

His character is him. The essence of him.
Sometimes he is silly, sometimes he is reserved, but he is always willing. Morris never usually thinks things through.

So last winter I was walking through Walmart with my husband when I saw a stuffed Tiger Dog Squeak Toy.
I swear, this story line hit my brain while standing in the dog toy section of a chain store.
I grabbed the Tiger and my husband said, *Oh like Morris needs another Toy???*

I said, *No, but...* I held up the toy, *this is the main point of the next Crazy, Happy, and Morris story. Don't you see? He's a Tiger that thinks he's a Snow Leopard!*
Of course it was crystal clear to me.

I thought my husband was ready to admit me to the first mental ward he came across. Then he slowly nodded.
*I see,* he said. He may not have, but he knew how my mind worked who played and photographed stuffed animals ... that talked.

So I'm working on the finishing touches of The Big Snow while one more is presenting itself to me.

The Big Road.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

When the creative bug hits...

I come up with wild edits.

When the wind is blowing, the temps are cold and chilling through to the bone...I stay inside and play with my 'big crayon and paper tablet' aka 'my computer'.

Well, it is that or go outside and get blown away by 60mph wind gusts...
I don't think so!

I've decided to go to the 'far side' of things...
From this:
To this:

And from this:
To this:
Am I having fun yet...Oh yeah!
Especially since this might give serious photographers an ulcer...this was all in fun!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Gone Fishin'

I said.
"Let's go fishin'."
He said.
"Don't have time."
I said.
"Hmm, give it up for one day and let us play. Let's go fishin'."

I put my hands on my hips and gave him a glance.

He said.
"Okay, let's go."

We were packed up in a jiffy and spent the afternoon and evening enjoying a warm October day on the banks of the Big River.

We caught enough to eat and were happy.

Good day fishin'.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

New Adventure Coming Soon...

The Big Snow coming soon. With Morris, Crazy Squirrel, Happy Hedgehog, and introducing for the first time ... Tiger [who thinks he is a snow Leopard].

The Big Snow:

*“Morris…,” the name was whispered. “Morrrr-issss.”

Morris opened his eyes. Crazy Squirrel, one of this toys was whispering at him from the toy basket in the corner.


“Do you want to go out and play?” Crazy asked.

Morris rolled over on his side in front of the living room heater.
“I always want to go outside and play,” he said, “but it is snowing outside right now.”

“Snow?” piped up Happy the Hedgehog who was Crazy’s best friend. “What’s snow?”

Morris sat up and looked at his toy friends. He could smell an adventure coming up.

“Well snow is um,…snow is winter rain sort of. It comes down in the winter and it is sometimes fluffy, cold, and tastes like water. It falls out of the sky. It covers the ground and makes it turn white.”

“Let’s go see it,” said Crazy. “I want to see snow!”*

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Putting it together

When my father died there was really only two things I wanted. One was the 'ugly' Hawai'ian shirt that I recalled he got in our first visit to Hawai'i.

The second thing was his music. I knew he loved the CD's that he had with something he called Slack String Guitar and IZ...and some miscellaneous CD's of music.

Today as I was putting together some music to go with a slide show of our recent trip I pulled out Dad's old CD's, not sure what I was going to find.
I had listened to them before, but had not given the music much thought.

Today I listened and began to appreciate the taste my father had in his music. The world of Hapa, Slack String Guitar, and IZ ...opened my ears and my heart.
I found a purpose and a love for his music.

I think I got the greatest gift of all...
his music.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Gone Ridin'

One Mule + One JRT + A nice day = Nice Ride.

Badger has been struggling with his Equine COPD the past week. It has been remarkably dry and dusty here this October.

His respirations were good today, plus Badger seemed just plain bored, so we saddled up and headed for an easy quiet ride in the woods.
...with Morris of course.

Easy, because when we climbed hills, he stopped [as a sensible mule would] and caught his breath.
Quiet, because we just ambled along looking at what the fall foliage brought to us. The leaves are down, and so we are able to see long distances in the forest.

I stopped more than once, just to sit and look at the beautiful sky and take in the crisp fall air.
This is what I love to do to relax.

Morris had to have his moment in the saddle. Badger was patient as ever, allowing him to crawl all over the saddle...then allowing me to mount up with Morris squirming around.
We went to the back valley and just sat for a while by the creek and listened to the water run over the rocks.
It was quite pleasant.
Morris enjoyed a 'romp' through the creek while Badger enjoyed some lush grass.
We rode...we enjoyed...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Future of Books?

Say it isn't so!
I hear people ranting and raving about their new kindle readers which are so handy...they can download books and carry them with them in a handy little tablet.

I like reading a paper back or a hard cover book. I like simply tucking in a piece of paper to mark my progress on a book.
I like to collect books from favorite authors and keep them...forever. Much to the disdain of my husband who is not an avid reader.

I suppose I could make an arguement for e-books. Heck, I suppose I could have as many as 100 books on a little e-book thingy.

I'll bet it wouldn't survive long out in a tree stand on a cold day [shhh, don't tell anyone that I take a paper back out with me while hunting!]
A regular book can be dropped, stepped on, used to sit on, have coffee spilled on it...and yet be read and transferred or shared with another and passed on endlessly.

Can you do that with a Kindle or one of those other electronic books?
Can you imagine a world without children's books?
I know my children had their favorite bed time story books. I could read the story over and over. My kids, or dogs, chewed the edges of the books. The most favorite books were tattered and worn from being slept with, stepped on, tossed in the toybox with trucks and what nots.

I think I still have the book titled 'Just Go To Bed' by Mercer Meyer. I loved that book as a mom and still love it.
When I hold it, it brings back fond memories of putting my boys to bed and reading the story over and over to my youngest son.

For me? I may resist the e-book craze and stick to the old fashioned books. I like the smell of a new book. I like that I can never worry that a book will have to be re-charged to read.

I am old fashioned perhaps.
But heck, I like the heft of a good book and the satisfaction of closing the cover, slowly when I've finished a great novel.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Move it!

I just finished the book 'Born to Run' by Christopher McDougall.

I am a fan of running, hiking, and walking. Of moving...
not sitting,
not watching television,
not planting my butt and watching the world go by.

The book has convinced me [not that I needed much] that I need to continue moving. It is what we were meant to do.
To sit around and do nothing causes health issues.

I read with interest the chapters regarding the nature of evolution of the running man and how the human body simply put, is born to move. He says run...I say move.

The barefoot debate?
Well many doctors and those who treat my husband's foot issues are against being barefoot to strengthen your foot, ankles and over all body.
I can say this.

I have been going barefoot or moving about now since April 22nd when I blogged about the purchasing the Vibram FiveFingers to try out.
I can say this from my own experience.
My feet are happy without shoes.
My feet are happy while wearing my odd little 'hobbit' feet aka FiveFingers.

My feet never hurt while wearing these shoes.

After a hard day of hiking in Hawai'i with the kids and the brutal walk in to and out of Wiapi'o Valley
and later Pololu Valley....
Certain muscles hurt and were a bit stiff. But I'm thinking that I'd had a *hill* workout like I've not quite experienced before.

And to tell you the truth, my feet never hurt.

Two days now I've run and hiked our new woods trail [which is soon to be lengthened]. My husband sees it as a way to fix fences and get his skid steer through the woods safely.

I see it as something else.
A perfect running, hiking, playing course for me. A wonderful work-out trail.
As I cruised down and partly back up the hill trail this morning, I noticed also that the local deer and other critters are enjoying it as well as I am.

So don't sit around on your butt.
Just move it.
...and be happy.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Diggin' It

Machinery, big heavy machinery.
Equipment to move the earth.

Big Cat.
John Deere 650H.

It moves things.
Guys just love these things. I think my husband is seriously 'lusting' after our friend's John Deere.

I know Morris is.
I caught him 'piloting' the big rig this afternoon. His gaze far off into the distance, the fall winds blowing his ears straight up as if he were actually going somewhere!

What he would give to get a ride on this piece of equipment!

Oh what joy for a Jack Russell Terrier!

Our driveway needed work after the wicked bouts of heavy rains we had this summer. Our friend was already doing dozer work for the neighbors at the top of the hill so we asked him to make a 'hill' road through our upper woods and perhaps the back woods so we could get the skid steer through the forest to repair some heavily damaged fence lines.

I can say up front that I wasn't actually thrilled over 'making' a 'road'. But after going back and walking the trail today with Morris, I must admit.
It was awesome!
How nice to literally be able to run down the hill like a child! [in my Vibram FiveFingers of course]
What a great exercise course!
Now I can race down to the creek in record time and explore further in less time.

The temptation to take the 'hill road' all of the time must be put aside so I can leisurely explore our woods as usual.

Monday, October 11, 2010

One Man's Junk is..

..another man's prize!

I got home from Hawai'i and my husband was ecstatic over an auction he'd gone to a couple of days before.
*Honey, do you want to go with me to help me load the trailer?*

He began telling me about all the really good 'stuff' he'd gotten for a real good price.
[My husband loves auctions, is not a good idea to let him go alone!]

Of course I agreed. I'd go with him and help him load up his flatbed trailer.
Some of the 'really good stuff' consisted of pieces of metal. Steel, iron pipes, angle iron, brass, and aluminum ~~ all these words literally cooed out of my husband's mouth as he showed me the prize possessions he'd ended up with.

I saw a pile of junk.
He did however explain to me what the price of scrap metal was good and I began to wonder if perhaps he did get a good deal on his 'stuff'.

Now I just have to convince him to separate the 'stuff' and get it to the scrap yard!

Note to self:
Don't let hubby go to auctions when no one is watching him!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Back in the Creek!

So ... the laundry is done, the house is picked up...well as picked up as it will get until the weather forces me to stay indoors...

Morris was anxious to get out and play. I was anxious to re-establish myself with the woodland.

I loaded up the pistol, grabbed a back pack, a water bottle, and a snack for Morris and I.
Rule #1 when hiking or riding:
Always bring a snack for your hiking or riding buddies, they appreciate it and seem to remember to ask for it at some point.

Morris started doing mad circles around me as I stepped outside. Poor fella, he hadn't been on a good adventure since I'd left for Hawai'i.
He dashed, skidding on the gravel driveway and picked up speed as I headed towards our mule and foot trail.

Down to the creek we went first.
I sat on a rock and opened the back pack and breathed in the damp smell of fallen leaves in the water.
Morris seemed to smell something else.
I set up my Nikon on a small tripod and did some experimenting with timed exposures and at a little water flow on the creek.
Morris walked into two of the photos which is why it is always entertaining to have a dog along.

Rule #2 when hiking or riding:
Things are not always going to go perfect, but that is part of the fun.

Rule #3 when hiking or riding:
Just go for the fun of it and enjoy...and refer back to Rule #2.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Home is where the woods are...

When I got groceries on my first day back from Hawai'i, one of the first things I did was to stop by Walmart and by myself the most hideous colored pocket camera for CHEEP. I even added $3 for a one yr warranty of breakage or malfunction.

I think that will insure that I will never lose or break this camera!

[My previous Sanyo Cheepo croaked in Hawai'i on the first day...but to its credit, I took nearly 4 thousand photos and videos with it in 4 months! The lens quit working and the metal ring around the lens fell off.

I destroyed the LCD on the Pentax is supposed to be indestructible but perhaps the Pentax folks ought to talk with me and design something tough enough to last a year with me?

Anyway, the golden sun was beautiful, the temps were beautiful.
Morris and I slid off into the woods for a look-see.

The Rose Hips are abundant and will provide for many photo ops:
We have mostly yellow maples around here and it was a delight to see them on the floor and above us bathed in golden light:
Rocks and moss always fascinate me. I did a 3 exposure shot of this ... testing out the pink camera or ugly camera as I shall call it from now on.
I turned out rather well.
...and lastly, a group of glorious Wildflowers, the Woodland Asters, shot...cropped...and slightly edited:
The leading photo of course is 'painted' with Topaz Simplify. I think it added a bit of beauty and atmosphere to the shot.
But of course, that is only my opinion.

It is nice to be home and enjoying fall while it lasts.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Horseback Rider Harassed by Motorcyclists

I'm not going to go into all the details. But this happened to a friend of mine.

Many of my blog followers are horse or mule people and I'd like to hear your opinions or outrage.

My friend was riding her horse and crossing a county road to rejoin the State trail on the other side of the road.
Motorcyclists [not Harley nor SiverWing types...more your 'crotch rocket types'] came up on her.

She tried to signal them to slow down or ease up and tried to get her horse into a field or to a distant trail out of harms way.
The motorcyclists rode up alongside of her keeping her on the road [the other side of the road is a rock outcropping].

As the horse got more frantic, they revved their engines and goaded her and her horse.

She recalls looking at the motorcyclist beside her...he gunned his engine to a screaming whine and stayed right beside her.

Her next memory is of a Park Ranger kneeling over her. She had landed in the oncoming lane of traffic and a bunch of Harley riders had stopped. They called the accident in and had caught her horse.

Had she not been riding with a helmet and safety vest, they told her as they had to Flight for Life her...she would have died.

Yes, we need to ride with others, but I am a lone rider too. Thankfully all of her emergency contacts were in her trailer [she was going to put a copy in her horn bag but hadn't].

This news infuriated me.
Outraged me.
Thankfully my friend is alive and recovering after a week in the hospital.

...and who pays the bills?
Who were these people?
Why did they do it?

I cannot answer the question~~ Was this avoidable? ~~ Because I was not there.

I am really angry.
I am riled.
I am in short, very very pissed...
I can only offer support and help to my friend as she recovers.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Destroying a Camera Class 101

Step One:
Learn to love the Hawai'ian shore line of lava rocks and respect the sometimes fierce waves.
Step Two:
Always carry a waterproof little camera, they can handle the salt spray so well!
Step Three:
Make sure said camera is strapped into a holder and clipped to your shorts.

Step Four:
Get over confident and decide to ignore Step Three.

Gleefully *prance* or in my case shuffle over the rocks for cool looking things in the tidal pools.
Get confident and forget the about the slippery lava.

Step on slick slippery algae covered lava in flip flops and do a lava dive...spread your hands out and let your prize little camera take the brunt of the fall.


Cracked LCD.
But hey, the Pentax Optio W80 still will work. It is just ruined because you can never again set the ISO or figure out what 'mode' you may be in.

Yep, I ruined my second Pentax Optio.
But at least it was only hours before I left Hawai'i.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Coming Home

It is a hard thing to return home after a long trip.

Some people say that they 'can't wait' to get back home.
Not me.
Not from Hawai'i.

I was surprised as I drove the last few miles up the gravel road into the setting sun. The colors were quite nice, actually beautiful.
But it didn't strike my heart quite that way.

I had a husband and Morris, a mule...and other animals waiting to greet me.
But this last trip had done something to me.

Perhaps now I can understand with definite certitude why my father wished he could be in Hawai'i forever.
Pipe dream, I suppose.

Reality bites.
My husband was ecstatic to see me. As was Morris.

I am slowly re-acclimating to Wisconsin.
The cold does not please me.

I miss the ocean, the musical sound of the heavy surf pounding against the rocks.

I long for the smell of salt air and brine.

I feel as though I left a small part of me there.

Back to business.
I have a life to run.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

So hard to say Goodbye

My Dad used to always say we needed to be home 'before' sunset. Sunsets were his love in Hawai'i among other things.

So this blog entry is for him.

Sunset over Puako...
Sunset over our rented house in Kialua-Kona:
This was on our second to last night. I watched in awe. It was as if Dad was putting on a display for me.
[Okay, maybe it was in my mind and it was really VOG, or Hawai'an Volcano Smog]

The last day we were there, we had to check out at 11AM. Our flight left the Big Island at 10PM that night.

We spent the day wandering and generally bumming around.
We found ourselves back at the Old Airport Beach in Kona.

For a while my son and I walked around exploring the tidal pools.

Then we all spent time on the picnic table watching the waves, enjoying the rain that Kona was having.

Through the cloud burst came sunbeams shining onto the ocean.
Joy captured it for me.

I felt as though I didn't really want to leave this special spot.

But I had to go home.
I had to say Goodbye.
I didn't want to.

I truly didn't want to.
As our plane lifted off into the darkness, I looked down on the lights and asked myself how long before I came back.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Hawai'an Adventures

Advice if you are traveling to the Big Island?

Go with an adventurous attitude. Don't be afraid to stop and smile and talk to those around you, whether they be Hawaiian or not.

Take that difficult hike.

S-L-O-W down and enjoy.
Do stop and smell the orchids, they are sweet.

Wiggle your feet in a black sand beach.

Climb a tree..
Be silly and act like a kid...

Sit down and watch a sunset over the ocean with no distractions...