Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The big day approaches and we are all still sane ...

Four days to go!

Pedicures and manicures are scheduled. Dresses are in their final alterations. Shoes have been purchased (both for the ceremony and for the dancing afterward). Fake tans are coming out of their bottles.

I'm forbidden to post a picture of the bride's gown until after the wedding day. But I promise pics as soon as I get home again to the States.

As of Sunday, my girl will be a missus.

Where did the time go?

- Catherine

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Yes, I know it's Wednesday

It's Wednesday and I didn't get the weekly Hodgepodge completed -- or even started for that matter. It's been an entire week since I last blogged, as you can see. And that's not because the week was full of drama, it's just that it was so busy with everyday life!

Yard work has begun!  Tim and I have been outside on as many lovely evenings as possible. A special delight for me is the little bit of woodland area that is located between our lawn and our side fence (it runs nearly the entire length of our front and back yards). Old tree trunks, purple wildflowers, red tulips, yellow daffodils and as yet unidentified bushes all reside together in that area, and it reminds me a great deal of where I grew up in NJ.

There IS a section of this woodland that needs major clearing because it has developed into nothing more than a dense thicket of thorns -- and I have the deep scratches to show for my efforts so far!  I hope to have that cleared by the middle of June, with an eye to planting some graceful bushes in that section (no thorns allowed!). 

I have a thing for garden gnomes, and there are now four of them situated at random in the woodland area. To my eyes, they fit right in. Indeed, you need to walk along the border to spot them in their little hiding places.

My aunt continues to adjust to her life here, and I have taken to running up the hill to see her during my lunch break. Yesterday I took her with me to do some errands and she enjoyed the outing. I know there are times that she misses her old home and her old ways, but I also know that she loves having us nearby and that she is much less lonely than she was before. The pain in her knees has decreased significantly with her daily exercise class and she can walk much more easily than she could before. Best of all is that she is safe, with people monitoring her medications and making sure that she eats properly. I'm thankful to have these last years with her so close by, I must say. We talk about the old times as well as what is new.  Although the conversation sometimes goes in an endless loop due to my aunt's impaired short-term memory, I enjoy it. And I know it does her good.

So that's it in a nutshell -- garden gnomes and all.

- Catherine

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hodgepodge Wednesday

The Gang of Seven staged another prison break this morning and this time they headed for the road. Thankfully there was a cop coming in the opposite direction so he turned on his flashing lights -- whereupon the Gang of Seven turned tail and thundered back toward our place. By standing in the middle of the street I was able to herd them into our driveway.

We need to replace a couple of gates it seems. Soon.

Now, on to the Wednesday Hodgepodge, hosted by Joyce!

1. How many times in your life have you moved house? I'd never thought of that before, but the total is nine. Wow!  This last move was truly the last move, though. We're here in this house to stay - we leave either feet first or by Rapture.

2. What subject would you study if you had a year to devote to it?  British history. I'm part Brit by birth and I've always had something of an affinity for their culture. Love to read the history, and if I had the time, I'd delve into the period of World War I and how the aftermath affected England.

3. What in this world breaks your heart?  Too many things, that's for sure. Some are personal to our family, others are broader. One broad thing that breaks my heart is the political climate in our country. The loudest mouths are at one extreme or the other, vilifying each other with every petty thing they can think of. Too much time and money is spent digging up dirt on the opponent. And the voice of the center is nowhere to be found.

4. What is one item that symbolizes the times in which we live? Why?  The cell phone. It rules us all, and I must admit that I am as much a willing subject as anyone else. The vacation that my family and I take at Wade Lake every year -- with no cell phone service or internet service -- proves it. Only in that time do we relax fully and deeply without the constant intrusion of the world.

5. Share a favorite bumper sticker or t-shirt slogan. Of all the things I've ever lost, I miss my mind the most.

6. How do you like your spaghetti? With meat sauce or meat balls -- preferably with my homemade sauce, thank you very much.

7. What is one piece of advice you would give a recent, or soon to be recent, graduate?  Assume that life is long and that seasons of life will come and go.  Don't make impulsive choices when it comes to the direction of your life. And do NOT get into any kind of substance abuse. EVER. Your abilities as an employee, as a functioning adult, as a parent, will be significantly diminished, and your quality of life will suffer.

8. Insert your own random thought here.  Randomly speaking, I really like the assisted living place where my aunt now lives, and I am consciously making an effort to connect with more of the residents each time I visit.

Happy Wednesday all! If you wish to join in the Hodgepodge, you can click on the "hosted by Joyce" link above and link your post with those of everyone else!

- Catherine

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Rainy Days and Mondays

Yes, I know today it is Tuesday.  But we had both a rainy day and A Monday yesterday.

I was driving down the street toward my house around 1:00-ish. In the last couple of blocks, I noticed the police cars. As I neared my driveway, I noticed the Sheriff's car. As I started to turn into my driveway, I noticed the cop with an assault weapon, strolling out the front of the drive, followed by a cop in a car who was turning around near my garage.

Let me also note that I had the Charley-Monster in the back seat and my aunt in the passenger front seat.

Because unexpectedly, I was taking my aunt to the Emergency Room.

But first I had to stop at our house to drop off the dog and pick up my hubby.

Back to the assault weapons.

Seems a mountain lion was spotted resting in the window well of one of the houses in my neighborhood.  See the story here in the Idaho State Journal. Be sure to click on the little thumbnail pictures underneath the big photo -- so that you can see the living breathing mountain lion who was more than a little irritated by the flash of the homeowner's camera. That is a face I would not want to encounter up close and personal.

So, there we were, having to take my aunt to the ER because her blood pressure was doing crazy, scary things and she was very unwell. Not a good situation at all.  And we also were worried about the Equine Gang of Seven out in the pasture. It's unlikely that a mountain lion would attack horses in a neighborhood, but it isn't completely unheard of.

On the way to the ER, I suddenly remembered that Charley was out on his chain in the back yard. I panicked. We couldn't turn back so I started praying.

Five minutes later our next door neighbor called Tim to ask if we'd heard the news and to see if she could return Charley to the safety of indoors. Bless her!!

Assault weapons done.

Three and a half hours later, it was determined that my aunt had a severe potassium deficiency.

Two mega-sized "horse pills" of potassium later her heartbeat and blood pressure were back under control, and she was feeling much better.

Thank you God, I breathed.  (We will go to the family doctor this morning for the follow-up and some instructions about her diet and potassium needs.)

Tim came to pick us up at the hospital and reported that the mountain lion in question is an old tom who wanders through this outlying part of his range once every couple of years. He's more than likely already back in the hills by now, but we'll all be careful for the next little while.

And it's still raining!

- Catherine

Monday, May 9, 2011

The rivers are rising and the horses are wet

It's raining again -- the third straight day.

The Portneuf River, which runs through our town, continues to rise from the Spring runoff, with less than a foot to go to the official flood stage.  In fact, it has already overspilled its banks in one or two of the city parks.

Rain, of course, breeds mud, and my kitchen floor is a lost cause. The sweeper never gets put away, nor does the mop. 

Only it looks like they have been left out just for show because the floor stays clean for only, oh, 15 seconds or so after I get done with it.

Watching out the kitchen window this gray morning, I could see a few of the horses standing disconsolately under the overhang of the loafing shed (a.k.a. The Barn, but really, it's a glorified loafing shed). I observed two of the sorrels, Rusty and Ritzy, move out from under the overhang and make their way slowly and gently into the alcove of the shed.

Only to come rushing out into the rain milliseconds later, ears pinned.

Stretch, barrel-racer non pareil, is in the alcove and doesn't want to share it with anyone else in the Equine Gang of Seven. The dominant male of the Gang, Stretch always has the last word. If he doesn't want to share the shelter, it ain't gonna be shared, folks. Even in the rain. Even with the mares whom he "protects."

There is no gallantry in the equine world.

May you stay dry today.

We won't.

- Catherine

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Rainy Randomness

It's a rainy Saturday morning here -- the kind that makes you want to stay in bed. Alas, we have two dogs and so there is no staying in bed.

Tim is recovering from having his gall bladder out on Thursday. He's had more pain than we had anticipated, but all seems well in general. And he is MOST thankful that the nonstop nausea he experienced for the last several months is now at an end.  Yay for that!

Today's to-do list includes vacuuming and tidying up, just in case we end up having a Mothers Day lunch/picnic at our house tomorrow. For some reason we are doing things on the fly this year, which is fine with me.

Our local Farmers Market has resumed its seasonal business now that we are in the month of May, and I intend to make a trip there this morning.  Although there aren't many vendors this time of year, it's a fun 30 minutes or so to see what's available. Probably I can pick up some organic root vegetables (last season) and see what the crafts vendors are offering.

In 22 days, Number 4 will be a married woman. There are several festivities planned during the two days before the wedding, including a bachelorette party, a bachelor party, and a BBQ dinner. Should be great fun! I'll be singing at the wedding, which means that a part of today and every day until then will be spent practicing. The choice is a song performed by Celtic Woman:

- Catherine

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Transitions and jungles

A jumble of thoughts for today:

My aunt is still transitioning to her new life out here, and I continue to pray that she grows to love it more and more. She thoroughly enjoyed going to church with us on Sunday, even though our services are pretty far from the traditional church that she is used to. She greeted my friends, enjoyed the pastor's sermon, enjoyed the music(!), and ate a very healthy plate of our potluck lunch. A good day.

My hubby and I are reclaiming our back yard little by little from the years of semi-neglect.  It has been fun to figure out what is growing and to start making decisions about where there should be bulbs planted next Fall. A goodly number of the bushes and trees that line the side of the property are dead (or more than half dead anyway), so a clearing operation is underway there. I've made it to the halfway point, measuring in linear yards -- however the worst of the jungle is nearer to the front of the property, which means that I still have more than halfway to go in terms of sheer volume.

Hank and Charley have been outdoors a lot more, which makes for healthy appetites and good sleepers.

Comes to that, the same applies to hubby and me!

My muscles are sore from yard work -- apparently racquetball is not a suitable substitute for squatting on your haunches, trying to clean out debris from inside the cluster of stems that form a bush. My "glutes" have been protesting.

I can't decide which is sweeter here at our new place -- mornings or evenings. The kitchen is completely flooded with beautiful sunlight in the morning, which makes me want to get up and going. But then the evenings spent outside with my hubby are incredible. And the lawn just glows in the long evening sunshine (darkness doesn't fall until about 8:30 this time of year).

All in all, it's sweet and serene here and I am drinking it in.

And now, although the sunny kitchen beckons, it's time for the kind of work that brings in the paycheck.

- Catherine