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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mother Nature Seems a Bit Miffed

The 200 year old tree that fell in our back yard during a strong storm
December 21, 2012, I turn fifty years old that day. Fiftieth birthdays are supposed to be a big deal. Something huge to celebrate. A day to remember. At least for that person.

Oh, yeah, it seems something else may be occurring that day, too. The Mayans, the IChing and a few other sources seem to point to that being a pivotal day in human history. Perhaps the end of life on Earth as we know it.
A sycamore branch taken out by the fallen pine

It, of course, all seems up surd that the Mayans could be correct. There is an alignment of the planets due at that time that theoretically could change the axis of the Earth, but most scientists are down playing that. Are they down playing it because they believe it or because the government told them to? Hmmmmmm?

I'm not a conspiracy theorist. I don't believe that George Bush or Dick Cheney had anything to do with 9-11. I do believe that President Obama was born in Hawaii. I don't believe that rap music is a terrorist plot against our nation, (it just feels like it.) Would they though, if they had the intel that the world truly was coming to an end, tell us?

Not a creek or river, field run off
I am, starting to consider the idea, that if nothing else, Mother Nature is just a bit pissed at the way we are taking care of her planet.  I know that active weather periods have come and gone throughout history.

For instance, there was a period of global warming during the time of the Vikings. During that time, the Vikings flourished in Greenland. (That is when Greenland got its oxymoron name.) They lived happily and well in a warm country, perfect for farming and livestock. Then the weather patterns changed. Livestock died, farming became impossible. For the Vikings, life as they knew it came to an end. They couldn't adapt, they didn't survive.

More water run off from farm fields
Could our weather patterns be changing in preparation for a global event yet to come? Could the changes be beginning already? There have been strange weather events in abnormally increasing strengths in the past few years. Are they a sign of the end of the world? I don't know, but it does seem that Mother Nature is unhappy, and perhaps using her power to fix what we have broken. She uses weather to thin herds, hard winters to decrease over populations of deer, for instance. Is she using weather to decrease the over population of our heard? Have we poisoned her planet to the point that she feels she has no other recourse? Is it time to stop ignoring our planet and start taking care of it?

Ummmmm, Duh!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Crayons and Rakes

 After a week in Des Moines spent mostly at the VA hospital hoping for the best with my dad, he got to go home. Which meant I, too, needed to go home. Happily, for Willie and me, I got to bring Kahlen home with me. Her babysitter had a baby of her own on Tuesday, so I get to help fill in the gap.

We came home yesterday. Somehow, Kahlen slept for four hours of the drive this time. That made the trip go quite a bit faster. When we got here, Kahlen went running through the house calling Papa! Papa! Grandpa maybe changing to a Papa. Only time will tell. He wasn't here yet so she had to wait patiently. Once footsteps were heard on the back deck, excitement ensued. Hugs were to be had by all! Playtime was mandatory.

After a little bit of a bumpy night, Kahlen started a very busy day. First up, The rearranging of the cupboards. Her exasperation evident when she opened the door and found that her careful organization had been left in disarray by myself and Grandpa. All of her hard work had been ruined and she had to do it all over again! Heaven to Betsy! How will she ever get us trained properly!

Next on the agenda, some serious coloring. All of the crayons needed to be dumped from the box so careful examination could be done. If the wrong color was chosen for her masterpiece, the whole process would be for not, and the day would be left in ruin.

Now, it seems that Bazinga found a wonderful use for brightly colored wax sticks as well. As Kahlen and I were busy with other pressing projects Bazinga had been busy stealing crayons. Who knew that they were so tasty. Tomorrow's trip outside could produce another colorful masterpiece, as Bazinga ate about six crayons.

As a break from her hard work we took a long walk in the stroller to the park. Swings were swung and slides were slid upon. Time slipped by much too quickly and soon it was time to go home and get back to work.

Grandpa needed help in the yard. What a mess it was! Kahlen had to spend much too much time showing Grandpa the proper way to use a rake.
She wonders just how we even begin to survive with out her. We just don't have the skills to make it on our own. It's a good thing she can make the trip out here once in a while to get things straightened up for us.

She worries about us though. It concerns her that we can't seem to maintain her improvements. Why we don't understand that tomato paste belongs under the couch cushions is beyond baffling. Perhaps this time she will help us understand the simplicity of her ingenious system.  Maybe she needs a label maker. She will have to check to see if it will fit into the budget.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Perfect Mother

My brother and I were talking about our mother the other day. This is not a good subject.  In 1960's standards she was not a physically abusive mother. Using a belt or hair brush on a child's bottom was not frowned upon the way it is now. It may have even been encouraged, honestly. "Spare the rod spoil the child." A well known and even revered way of child rearing in those days. I don't know if I was ever left bruised, I couldn't see the part of my anatomy that had frequent dealings with Mom's wrath. I do know I was sore for a few days after. Again though, it was more normal back then. Even some schools used corporal punishment in those days. I remember rumors of a spanking machine at my elementary school, all false of course, but you know, it kept some of us in line, just in case.

My mom's issues were more of the emotional kind. Those are the ones that left the deepest scars. I really, truly believe my mom never really wanted to be a mother. If she had been becoming a twentysomething today, I think she would make the choice to be childless. In 1950-1960 America, that wasn't a choice. If a woman went to college, it was mostly for finding a suitable husband, not as the beginning of a career path. I think she would have been a lot happier as a career woman. There was no choice for her with that.

To sum it up, we did not have the perfect mother. She was flawed, she was human. It is so easy for people, including me to get all wrapped up in their parents' flaws. To play the blame game when our lives don't work out quite the way we want. Really, though, is there a "perfect mother?" I know I wasn't one. Is it right for me to blame my mother for not being perfect at something I could not perfect? Do I think I was a better mother than she was, yes, I do. I know I was. Maybe that's the trick, each generation needs to do a little bit better than the last. The point is I guess, to try your very best, and hope it all works out. My sister and brother might argue that Mom did not try her very best. Maybe that is true, but maybe it isn't.

I do believe that my mom did her best in her way. It took me a long time to come to this. When your mother  is angry at you on your high school graduation because the auditorium was hot, and the speaker droned on for an hour, it takes a while to forgive. You kind of want your mom to be proud and happy for you on such occasions. Do I think she could have handled that better? Yes, do I think she meant to make me as miserable as she was? Yes, but do I think that she still did the best she could? Honestly, yes, she showed up. I'm sure she has no desire to be there, but she showed up anyway, that was the best she could do. Now, it isn't that she wasn't proud of me, (and this is what it took me a long time to figure out), she was, but she hated social things, with large groups of people. So, the fact that she was there, was a big deal. She never went to anything my entire high school career. If she wasn't afraid of being judged cruelly for not going to my graduation, she wouldn't have been there. But she was there.

Maybe it sounds like I'm rationalizing for her. I believe with all of my heart though, that she did the best she could. Was it the best other people's parents could, no. I do believe she loved me, she just loved herself a little bit more. She wanted her life to be about her. Today, she could have done that, back then, no.

It is easy to dwell and blame. Here is the thing though, she had control of the first twenty years of my life. What she did then, was then. I have had control of the last thirty. How my life turned out is how I made it. Whether I had the perfect mother or not, I made my choices. Blaming Mom for my mistakes is as ludicrous as praising her for my accomplishments. I made my choices!

My mom passed away twenty-two years ago, yet her shadow still lingers. How her shadow lingers is up to me. I like to remember the good things. There were a lot of them. Others choose to remember the flaws and lay blame. I did that for a long time, not any more.  My life, is mine. I made it what it is today. If I was influenced by her flaws, I was also influenced by her good traits as well. Her love of the arts. Her dedication to her friends. She had a wry sense of humor, that I think I have inherited. She loved wild flowers.

Is there a perfect mother? Absolutely NOT! Are there great mothers and bad mothers? Absolutely! Even great mothers can end up with a child who turns out to be an ax murderer, because of the choices the child made. In other words, once we are adults, we call the shots. What we make of our lives is up to us.

I love you, Mom!

Monday, April 25, 2011

My Dad

My dad has been pretty sick this last week. He had been back and forth to the emergency room several times last week. They kept sending him home saying it was all gall bladder related. Some of his symptoms could have been mistaken for gall bladder issues, but he also had shortness of breath and swelling in his foot and hands. These are not  gall bladder symptoms. His blood pressure had been spiking, which yes, can be pain related, but it was spiking pretty high. Friday, he was having the pain and shortness of breath and BP spikes again. My brother and sister got him to the ER again, and this time had gotten a hold of Dad's primary care doctor at the VA. She was not happy. Dad had been basically treated and streeted, all week and she had never been informed. It turns out that he was having an exacerbation of congestive heart failure. There was fluid build up not only in his extremities but in his lungs as well. My sister called me and told me this and all I could say was "DUH!" I was so angry! My dad didn't deserve to be treated so thoughtlessly and sent home. Even if it was "just his gall bladder," he was in pain, a lot of it. He didn't deserve to be brushed off.

My dad is 84 years old. He grew up in a small northern Iowa town called Algona. He speaks fondly of his time growing up there. They had a hard life, his dad died when he was still a teen, and he had three brothers and a sister. Dad was the youngest. As hard as life was for them when his dad passed away, you would never know it talking to my dad. Dad has a way of looking at the world, he doesn't really complain. He finds a way to remember the good stuff.

A few years ago when I was at work, we had a guy come in and throw a royal two year old tantrum because for whatever reason, we hadn't been able to fill his prescription for prilosec. He started threatening our pharmacist, and yelling that he'd been shot in the foot in Vietnam and that he deserved better and so on and so on. All I could think of the whole time was my dad. My dad had his leg ripped off of his body, as a Sea Bee in World War II. He almost died that day, and he had never in his life acted the way that man did.

Dad joined the Navy before finishing high school toward  the tail end of WWII. He was sent to the Philippines and helped build air strips. One day he was working on a scaffolding when a pilot turned his plane the wrong direction. The propellor of the plane hit Dad. His right leg was ripped from his body, he had other severe injuries as well. His doctors were amazed that he was alive when he arrived at the hospital. They had to give him tremendous amounts of blood. He had several surgeries and a long long road to recovery. He spent a long time in a body cast. He was in a hospital where he shared a room with rows and rows of other sailors and soldiers who were also amputees. He made it through all of it. When he talks about it, he never complains. He never talks of the pain and agony he must have experienced. He never longs for a life that he may have been cheated out of.  He is very matter of fact about it. It was something that happened, that's all. He even jokes of how when he and his buddies would get leave for a night out of the hospital they would pull pranks on people using his wooden leg. Walking along and letting his leg "fall off" in front of unsuspecting passers by. When he talks of his days in the hospital it is always of things that were funny or amusing. The Navy nurse that wouldn't take crap from anyone. The hospital officer's wife who gave him and some buddies a great night out on the town, things like that.

My dad is a good, decent man. He worked hard all of his life. He never expected people to feel sorry for him, mostly because I don't think he ever felt sorry for himself. He has been a kind, gentle, generous father to me and my sister and brother. If he has a way to make sure we get what we need, we get what we need. He never spoiled us, but we never went without. He put up with a lot from my mother, but was loyal and loving to her to the very end. He looked after his brother when he could no longer take care of himself. There are few true heroes in this world, but my dad is one of them.  He will never be famous for his acts of heroism. He will never be rich because of them. But he is very loved and adored for each and every little thing he has done.

My dad has taught me that being a good decent person is reward in itself. That, maybe life gives you hard knocks, but not giving into them is a victory. That little victories are the important ones. The little things need to be celebrated because the big things don't come around that often. Sometimes little victories add up to a big victory so you need to keep pushing forward. I'm sure that he learned all of this while he was recovering. He was told at one point he was lucky to be alive, and I think he took it to heart. Each incredible milestone he made in his recovery led to a new challenge for him to conquer, and conquer he did.

My dad had a small life. A life he enjoyed. To him, paying the bills each month was a small victory, not a burden. We never had much money, but I never remember him getting mad at bill paying time. Putting food on the table, a small victory. Each of these small victories led to children and grandchildren that love him and are very proud of him, a big victory. He has never been cruel, he has never been dishonest, he has never hurt another person. He has lived that way his whole life and will always live that way. He is my inspiration to be a good person. He makes me proud. I hope I make him proud. He is my hero. He IS the good stuff!

My dad's small life is a HUGE victory.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Josh and Caitlin Day Two

No specific plans in place day two of Josh and Caitlin's visit started out uneventfully. I got up and decided to make cinnamon  rolls for breakfast. Seems like a simple idea, I've made them before, they turned out ok despite a boo boo here and there. I started making them but when I had the dough all mixed together it was very runny for bread dough. I looked at it, I looked at the box, and looked at the dough again. I picked up the box and reread the directions. Turns out, I put a half a cup too much water in it. No wonder it was all runny. I figured it was already ruined so I had two choices, I could throw it out or I could try to fix it. I decided to throw more flour in it until it got firm enough. The worst that could happen is that it would come out gross. 2/3's of a cup of flour later the flour seemed stiff enough and I followed the rest of the directions. Believe it or not they turned out great!

After breakfast we tried to decide what to do with the rest of our day. We finally chose to go to the Indianapolis Zoo. We got in the car and headed on our way. We stopped at a welcome center in Indiana and picked up some pamphlets for some other ideas and were on our way again.

Ninety miles and an hour and a half later we got to Indianapolis. Traffic was awful due to a lot of construction. We made our way through it and finally got to the zoo. It was three o'clock and we figured if they closed at six or so we would have time to enjoy the zoo and then get supper. We walked up to the gate and couldn't figure out where to pay. All of the gates were closed. There were plenty of cars in the lot, the zoo wasn't closed. We looked around and found the hours, the zoo was closing at four. We decided that an hour at the zoo wasn't worth the forty-five dollars it would have cost to get in.

We got back in the car and headed toward downtown. We figured we'd find something to do down there. We saw a sign for the USS Indianapolis and decided to go there. We followed the signs making several turns until we ran out of signs, but never found a boat. I don't really know how we could have missed it, boats are pretty good sized and all, but we did.

We decided to just park the car and then see what we could find. The only place we could find to park was at a meter. We only had enough change for a half an hour. We set off to find something to buy so we could get change. We found a post office, I figured I could by a stamp and then get some change. We walked into the post office and the line was ridiculous. We left and wandered for a while. We finally found a Phillips 66 station and bought some pop and got our change. We got back to the car just as the meter was about run out.

Josh decided he was hungry. We got into the car and figured we would find a restaurant. This did not work out well for us. Finally we gave up and decided to go back toward home and eat at The Beef House in Covington, Indiana, about twenty minutes from my house. All in all, the lack of planning did us in. If we'd decided the night before we could have left earlier and been sure to make up for the time change. We spent about three hours in the car for a half hour walk around downtown Indy looking for change. Change that we ended up never using, it is still in my car. Maybe not the best adventure in the world but it was fun anyway.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Weekend With Josh and Caitlin

Josh and Caitlin came for a visit this weekend. They brought there dog Talula. On the drive here they drove through a snowstorm, they hit a couple of birds, but no damage to her car, and they got here safe.

We didn't have any specific plans, except that if there was a nice day we were going to take the dogs to Shades State Park in Indiana. Sunday was a nice day so we did just that.
We spent hours on the trails. We went down to the Devil's Punch Bowl, and Bazinga seemed to recognize the route from our previous visit. He tried to lead the way and kept looking back at Talula to make sure she was going the right way.

This was Caitlin's first time to the park and first time in Indiana. She loved all of the wild flowers, stopping frequently to take pictures.
 We went farther than Bazinga and I had gone in February. We got to the to the water fall. The waterfall at Shades is a convex waterfall instead of concave like most. It has something to do with the frost line bowing the ground out or something like that. I can't remember for sure, but it is really cool. We stayed at the bottom and let the dogs get dirty for a while.

We were all getting hot and thirsty and decided to take our sweatshirts back to the car and get something to drink. Bazinga figured out how to drink out of a faucet we found, Talula seemed to have trouble with the concept. We tried making a puddle for her, still no luck, no one said she was bright.
 We started down a different trail. One of the really fun things about Shades is that the trails aren't all boardwalk and well traveled. They have several different ranges of difficulty, from rugged to easy. The rugged trails can take you through creeks and ravines. You may have to walk across logs and stepping stones to get across a creek. It is not a place to wear good clothes or new shoes.
 This trail even had a ladder to climb down. Caitlin went first and then Josh had the honor of being the dog elevator. He got halfway down, I handed him Talula, he handed her to Caitlin and then we did the same with Bazinga. I was the last to go down. At first I thought maybe not such a good idea, and almost told the kids to come back up. Then I got brave and just went down. I survived, no major damage.

We continued down the path until it took us to what is called Sugar Creek. It looked a heck of a lot more like a river to me, but who am I to judge.

Josh and Caitlin spent times skipping stones as the dogs played in the mud. We spent a lot of time watching the "creek" rush by.

We walked back to the car, stopping often for pictures and the occasional rest stop (for me). I think all enjoyed the day. The dogs were filthy and exhausted by the time it was over. Both slept all the way back home. Bazinga had to have a bath, thanks to his dust mop tendencies. Josh, Caitlin and I, exhausted as well got home and ate dinner and made non specific plans for the next day.  That would come back to haunt us.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Five Reasons I am a Horrible Housekeeper

 I am a horrible housekeeper. I admit it. I am rarely ashamed of it. It does drive Willie a little nuts though. I have often thought that I should try to change this behavior, but decided I needed to study it first to learn the how to fix it. So, I have come up with the five reasons I am a horrible house keeper. Perhaps knowing the problem may help me to change.

1. I hate house cleaning. By hate, I mean, I absolutely positively abhor house cleaning. This I think, may be the most important reason for my lack of housekeeping ability. See my dining room table, look fast, you won't see it looking like this very often.
2. I'd rather hide it than clean it. Thus, the roll top desk. If there is one thing a roll top desk is good for it is hiding big messes that you'd rather not deal with. It efficiently hides everything from unpaid bills, to junk mail, to that strange thing your spouse brought home that you aren't quite sure what to do with.

3. I'd rather do anything than clean. By anything, I mean.... anything! I'd prefer getting a total body wax followed up by a colonoscopy followed up by a pap smear, which it seems I can conveniently have done at Walgreens according to Fox and Friends. (Thanks Colbert.)

4. I have more important things to do than clean my house. You know, like watch TV, or sit and stare out the door with Mia and Bazinga. This is a very important activity. If we don't do it regularly our eyes will burst into flames and fall out of our heads.
5. I just don't care that much. I am basically a lazy person and cleaning is work.  Left to my own devises, I would likely let dust accumulate until I could plant crops in it. It's probably a good thing that Willie is here to keep me in check. I guess I'll have to hit rock bottom before I will ever recover. Good thing I took the time to study my behavior, however, otherwise I would have had to do the dishes. Whew, that was a squeaker. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Basement Door

 To the untrained eye this may look like an ordinary, functional but boring basement door. Tragically, we have all been misled all these years. I have come to find out that there is a secret, little known truth about the so called basement door. All this time we have been led to believe that this is merely an entrance to to the lowest level of the house. Ours is an unfinished basement. It has 3 rooms, plus one scary room. I haven't ventured more than a head peak in there. I may get brave sometime this summer, but thats another story.
Bazinga and Mia have let me in on the unknown truth of the basement door. Bazinga's version is that it is a gateway to a horrifying place full of danger and mystery. It is a place to be avoided at all costs! One of our backdoors also leads to the basement. I made the mistake of bringing Bazinga into the house through that door. He let me know, in no uncertain terms, how very unacceptable this was! He squirmed and shook and whimpered until I got him back into the kitchen. Apparently, and I had forgotten this from when I was a child, the basement is full of ferocious monsters ready to eat little white puppies in one big gulp!

Mia, on the other hand thinks that it is a portal to a wonderful universe, devoid of little white puppies. I kind of think that perhaps she is the one that told Bazinga about the evil monsters the lurk at the bottom of the stairs.

Mia, believes that at the bottom of the stairs is the worlds biggest litter pan. It always smells of lilacs and roses. It never gets dirty. On the beach of this magical litter pan is a treasure trove of her favorite cat food and cans and cans of tuna! She also knows that there is an abundance of pork chops and baked chicken just waiting for her to find.

There is always someone to sit on, always someone to comb her and always fresh catnip toys to play with to her hearts desire. And the sunshine, oh the sunshine! Plenty  to bask in and roll around in. What a beautiful place it must be!

When I come up from the basement I am always greeted by Bazinga and Mia. Bazinga making sure that I have not been eaten and that I am not being followed by the evil evil monsters. Mia trying to bolt past me to get to the magical wonderland that she knows is down there.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Live and Learn

On the "You learn something new everyday" front, this is what I learned today.....

1. I have been paying way too much for my toothpaste at Pamida. I have suspected this. The last two times I bought toothpaste I bought it at Pamida. We have just recently changed the kind of toothpaste we get. So, when it was over five dollars for a medium sized tube, I thought it might be the change, but wasn't sure. I went to Target in Champaign today, and even though I didn't need it, went to the toothpaste isle. A large tube was just over four dollars. I got two, Champaign is a long way to go for toothpaste.

2. Caffeine and menopause don't mix. I love ice tea. I drink quite a lot of it. The last couple of days I have been at home all day, without any caffeinated beverages. My hot flashes were a lot less severe. Today, I went to Panera for lunch and had ice tea. After that the hot flashes wouldn't stop. Makes me sad. I really love ice tea, but will try going without for a while to see if anything changes. Oh, yeah, the caffeine isn't so good on the mood swings either. Just saying.

3. Mia, while she may never win a beauty contest, or be accused of having any wits about her, is the best behaved cat I have every had! We have one of those automatic scooping litter pans. It is supposed to scoop the litter every time she uses it. It usually works great, helps keep the smell down and keeps the litter pretty clean. It also has a counter on it so you have a good idea when to change it. Mia usually needs it changed around 35 to 40. Yesterday, I noticed an aroma. I went to check the litter box and saw the light blinking and it was on 29. If the light is blinking it means the cat just used it. I figured the aroma was because she just used it. Today, I went to fill her food bowl and noticed the light blinking again, and it was still on 29. This is not a good sign. I looked in the box and it was DISGUSTING. The scooper thing was stuck, and I had no idea how long it had been stuck. Despite the foulness of the pan, Mia had not made any messes anywhere else. Any other cat would have revolted and probably peed on our bed. Mia is a really awesome cat.

This is what I combed off of Mia yesterday. 
4. We all know Mia sheds like no other. She is a poof cat, no not a puffy cat, a poof cat. You look at her just right and her fur will poof off of her like a porcupine throwing its spikes. (Ok, I don't really know if porcupines "throw" their spikes, but you get the idea.) Most cats, that I have ever had, when you pet them, the fur they shed congregates down by their tails. Mia's just flies everywhere. Anything she sleeps on will be plastered with her fur. She sleeps on our bed - A LOT! This leads me to the last thing I learned today. Never ever wash Willie's good black work pants with our sheets, unless you like washing things twice. I think that your imagination can finish explaining this.

Yup, you learn something new every day.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Birds Know Mia

We have a tulip tree in our yard that we have been looking forward to seeing in bloom. For days we have been watching its buds swell bigger and fuller. Yesterday, we had very windy day, followed by some pretty crazy strong storms last night. We saw a lot of the buds flying away, so we weren't sure we would get to see it in full bloom.

This morning I woke to happily see this outside my bedroom window. I have never had a tulip tree before. I have always loved the color and thought the trees were beautiful in full bloom.

I was not the only one who was admiring the view outside the window today. Mia was thrilled to have the windows open and the cool breeze coming in. She has her own way of doing everything. As far as cats go, she doesn't act like a cat. Maybe that is because she was raised by a dog, that was raised by a cat. She is a happy soul, and very kind hearted for a cat, probably because she also is not a smart cat.

She watched the birds and chattered at them. I suppose she was telling them that they were lucky she was behind the screen or else she would be eating them. This does not tend to fool the birds, though. When we had a fence we would let Mia out to bask in the sun and chase bugs. Quite often she would "stalk" the birds in the yard. She would "hide" in the grass. (Now, the fact that she thinks she can hide in the grass, is all the statement you need, to know how bright she is. I mean look at her. She is not a small cat.) The birds, they knew her, and they knew she was pretty stupid, not to mention a coward.
The birds knew exactly how to exasperate her. She would start her stalk routine while they were in the yard. She would hunker down. Her massive bottom wiggling as she set herself for her coming sprint. The bird would eye her, but not budge. Mia, would wiggle more, getting her feet into just the right position. The bird would turn to Mia and look her straight on. Her bottom now going up and down as she shifted back and forth on her hind legs, deciding which foot was better to propel her forward at the speed of light. If birds could sit cross legged and yawn, the bird would be doing that now.

Mia now ready, starts her sprint, but then stops, and hunkers back down. She thinks the bird may have seen her. Perhaps, her first clue, the bird is now rolling on the ground laughing at her. "Clever bird," she thinks to herself in her tiny little brain. "You enjoy your last laugh, soon you will be my lunch." But then she is distracted, she tries to figure out just what the clever bird is laughing at. She sits up and looks around, and sees a butterfly. She starts chasing the butterfly and then remembers the arch enemy bird is still laughing. She quickly hunkers down again. "Oh, silly bird, keep laughing at the little butterfly, as it will be your doom!" In stealth mode, Mia slinks toward the bird, the grass her camouflage. The bird stops laughing and stands up. Mia sprints into full speed and runs across the yard. The bird, not flinching holds its ground. Mia, (who moves pretty darn quick for a big girl,) gets within five feet of the bird..... and stops, dead in her tracks. Mia has never been any closer than five feet to a bird, and they know that. Mia, sits up and looks at the bird. She is very confused, why was the bird not terrified by the mighty huntress? She sits perplexed and looks at the bird.

The bird, about to burst at the seams, slowly flies up and sits on the fence. Mia bursts into action, and stops, about five feet from the fence. The bird flies slowly, and calmly three feet down the fence. Mia, bursts, stops, bird flies three more feet. This can continue for hours. The birds know Mia.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Garden Time

 I was out in the yard this morning waiting for Bazinga to do his thing. The light was so beautiful. I couldn't resist going in and getting my camera again.

Later in the day I saw a post that my daughter had put on Facebook. It was a link to story on The Onion. It basically said that if you haven't reached your potential (for everything) by the age of 38 you never will. So, if you haven't gotten that dream job, you never will. If you have not met and married your one true love, you never will.
Now, it seems I was a bit slow and that it was all fake. But until I found that out it was making me really angry! It reminded me of the sixties when the saying was "never trust anyone over thirty." Made me want to go and ground what ever little piece of poop youngin' wrote the silly article.
 Why, was it making me so angry, you may ask? Because... I am still hoping to find that one job that I love, and that I will be great doing. I have a long lost, high school hope that it may involve photography in some form. I don't have the perfect camera, but I have definitely re-found my love of photography.
So, having some "study" tell me it will never happen was (excuse me) pissing me off!!!!! Ok, yeah, I felt a little stupid when I found out it was fake. I'm still a little perturbed though that someone thought 38 was old enough to be hopeless, even as a joke. After all, how old are all of the 25 year old's that ran around preaching to distrust anyone over 30? Hmmm, older than me. The author of that very "clever" article, will be 38 one day, I just hope some kid writer shoves the article in his or her face. I hope there are a lot of camera's around when it happens.

Anyway, these days, I find that if I don't have my camera with me I feel almost naked. I look around and see the pictures I am missing. The sunsets that got away, the clouds formations left behind. Just wish I had a camera with better resolution. At this point though, I am just taking them for my own pleasure and for this blog, so mine will do.

And I'm not letting anyone tell me I can't do it! NA NA NA NA BOO BOO!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Open Letter to All of Congress

Dear Representatives,

This budget thing is a mess! It is time to blur political lines and get something done! I am so tired of seeing congress play games at the expense of American families. And not paying our military personal is UNACCEPTABLE! They are fighting for the freedoms that make your power and position possible. They are putting their lives on the line for all of us, including YOU! If they are not going to be paid, if their families are going to suffer because CONGRESS cannot get off your high horses and make a budget then I say CONGRESS must go to the middle east and fight! After all CONGRESS is still going to be getting PAID! Go figure!

I pay my taxes to KEEP GOVERNMENT GOING! I pay my taxes to help PAY the men and women that are SACRIFICING for me! They don't have trust funds and investments and the many other financial resources that most members of congress have to keep their bills paid. Most make it paycheck to paycheck. Not paying them is inconceivable!

If congress were paid on the basis of performance it would not have made a single cent in the past 10 YEARS! Yet, congress gets paid no matter what, because congress makes the laws. INFURIATING!

EARN THE MONEY WE PAY YOU! GET THIS DONE! Or go to the middle east and fight!  MAKE A BUDGET! Stop being the worthless drains on the American budget of the past and be a congress that can GET SOMETHING DONE! It is no wonder, people like me, have basically given up on the whole political process. It is time to represent the AMERICAN PEOPLE! Not the deep pockets that got you in office! It is time to GROW UP and stop fighting like six year old siblings fighting over a drumstick! I am so sick of it all!

I don't want to hear any more excuses! Just get it DONE! If military families don't get paid, neither should YOU!


Rebecca Berry

New information, CNN reports that DEATH BENEFITS FOR FALLEN SOLDIERS not to be paid during shut down! UNACCEPTABLE! UNBELIEVABLE!

I can't even imagine being the parent of a fallen soldier and not being able to give him or her a decent funeral because the federal government can't do the job they are still going to be paid to do. It makes me cry to just think of it.  Grieving parents, a child who has given all for country,  no money for a  funeral, and our congress still get paid.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

White Cat, Steeler Fan and Spring Cleaning

As you may remember from my Super Bowl post, Willie is a huge Pittsburgh Steelers fan. And of course the Steelers team colors are black and gold. He is also a huge Iowa Hawkeye fan. Colors, again, black and gold. As such, he has a lot of black apparel and fan paraphernalia. Including, but not limited to a black Steelers rug in his "man cave." 

Mia, our very white, very thick haired cat loves this rug. She lays on it often. She rolls on it leaving a multitude of evidence behind. The rug is never completely black even after a good vacuuming. She also leaves evidence of her existence on a lot of Willie's clothes. This does not make Willie happy.

We have been doing some spring cleaning. I was cleaning the hard wood floors upstairs. As I swept the floors to prepare to clean them, I swept up enough Mia hair to make a whole other Mia. Mia is a big girl, so that is a whole lot of kitty fur. That is when I, the dictator, decided that it was time for a cleansing of the massive, (the massive being Mia, as she is one massive cat.) Bazinga was getting a bath today anyway, so Mia would be getting one as well.

I, the cruel, evil, sadistic dictator,  captured the poor, helpless and unaware massive. Bathtub filled, my terrible plan went into action. The massive was thrown into the chamber of horror. The water torture implemented, the massive had no recourse. She would not cry or tremble, she would not give me, the evil dictator, the satisfaction!
 (She actually did very well.) All the while the massive plotted her revenge on the dictator. Mia was taught by her guru Sierra, that when put in such horrific situations that one should plan careful revenge to be carried out at later time when it is unsuspected. The dictator, wondered what plot may be going through the massive mind. Then the dictator remembered the massive mind is not a clever one. Even if a plot of mass destruction was being hatched in the freakishly small head of the massive, it would be forgotten as soon as she got out of the torture chamber.
Once released from the grip of the dictator the massive fled to the front porch where she finished plotting her revenge. She would show me, she would turn on her shedding machine and set it on high, and then sit on one of the freshly vacuumed chairs.
 Bazinga, was well over due for a bath. He was next to feel the wrath of the dictator. He was not as cooperative as the massive. Being a much younger and less experienced fellow, he squirmed and fussed about the water torture. Had he any state secrets I'm sure I would have had him spilling his guts.
 After it was all over, Bazinga found it necessary to investigate the scene of the crime. Certainly, there must be an escape route for future reference. Or perhaps a way to sabotage the torture devices so that they may never again be used to harm little white puppies.
Although, even Bazinga himself must admit, he does look much nicer. Oh, and that strange stench that was lingering in the air around him, gone as well. He doesn't think there is any correlation, though.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Bazinga Gets a New Look

So, I was looking at Bazinga today and he was filthy and dirty and no longer the pure white little puppy I brought home. I figured since he was halfway there anyway, why not dye his hair black? A black Maltese, who else would have one? I could make a fortune!

Bazinga, was not excited about the idea. When I told him what was about to happen he ran and hid. Mia, my ever faithful snitch led me right to his hiding place. He begged and begged to be left white. "What will the other pups say?" He whimpered at me as we went to get the towels and hair dye.

"Don't worry," I reassured him. "I am going to use the expensive dye, not the cheap kind that will make you look like a freak." I went to the cupboard and got the box of dye, Bazinga shivered in terror. I put him in the bath tub and opened the dye. I mixed it up as he whimpered helplessly.

As I applied the dye Mia watched with an ever so pleased look upon her cat face. She giggled as only a cat can giggle. She taunted and teased Bazinga, she was very enthralled with the entire process.

I rinsed the excess dye from his fur at the appropriate time. He thought to himself, "well at least it is over." Then I pulled out the highlight packet. "Oh, my dear Lord," he mumbled under his breath. Mia, was now rolling on the floor.

The highlights applied we again waited the appropriate amount of time. Bazinga thoroughly mortified sat in the tub, head hanging low, eyes looking down. "Cheer up," I said, "now your tear stains won't show."

Mia, meanwhile, walked around the edge of the tub, brushing up against me in delight. Looking down upon the pathetic little beast that has made her life a complete lesson in terror. She was thrilled to see him getting his come-up-ins. That is until she slipped and fell into the wet dye stained bath tub. Now it was Bazinga's time to laugh. Mia jumped from the tub, stained with the black dye on her white fur. She snorted and crawled on to a towel and moped. Her whole day ruined.

Time up, we removed the foil from the highlights and rinsed Bazinga's fur. He looked at himself in the mirror. First frightened by the black dog with perfect highlights that he saw, he barked loudly and ferociously. Mia, jumped to her feet and then laughed again. "Stupid dog," she hissed.

Once he realized it was just his reflection, Bazinga studied his new do. The deep black color, contrasting with the carefully placed highlights glistening in the sun that came through the window. "Not bad," he said to himself, "not bad at all." He admired his new look. Soon he was thrilled with it and decided to chase Mia around the house in celebration.

Mia, her day completely ruined, ran off and hid. Humiliated with the black stains all over her, she was not seen again for the rest of the day. And I realized, I spend way too much time with just Bazinga and Mia.
What do you think of the new look?