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blueshoefarm at gmail dot com.... and that would be how to reach me

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Night Visitor


The kids were both off at overnights in Seattle. When I drove up to the house on my return from the city, there were two yellow glowing eyes waaaay bigger than my cats... illuminated in the headlights.

It was so big I was thinking it was a mighty small bear, but when I saw the ungainly lumpy walk and its relative fearlessness knew it was a raccoon. It was not terribly scared of me, and halfheartedly tried to move it's big hiney up the holly tree. It seemed like a very difficult task and Amanda wanted to go play with the slow creature. I grabbed the dog and cat and threw them in the house. I grabbed the flashlight to go count chickens. They were all in and accounted for. The dog and cat pestered me to go outside for an hour. When I finally let them out to go pee I told them to leave the raccoon alone. They came back in the house intact, so all is well. Now I get to figure out how to get rid of the raccoon before it figures out how to get into my unlocked and unsecured coop. Dangitall.
Public Domain Image Courtesy : morguefile.com

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

End of the Year

It has been a long dry spell for me for posting, or for that matter, email.
Our "new" laptop had a file sitting on it that went viral. It then went to the trusty trusted computer doctor to get cleaned up. He played a bit of bejeweled, watched a game, and fixed our computer. Yay computer doctor! Yay friend who married such a talented man! Yay me for knowing this couple!
Otherwise, I would not be online right now.
Xmas was fine. We are supposed to be having snow again tonight. The horses are in their blankets. Their fields and stalls are mud. My dog was groomed for Christmas, and then ungroomed herself outside. The kids, as usual, were spoiled by Santa and family.
MY Bathroom is Almost Done! But that will be another post.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Private schools

When our daughter was in elementary school she lost her voice. Not literally, but the power that she had all along up to that point disappeared. I first noticed it when she freaked out about giving a speech in 5th grade. This girl had not had a problem before, all of a sudden the pressure of being in front of boys, of public speaking, of being the focus made her hate school.
I had read about this stuff where girls become invisible, but did not think my spirited daughter would succumb.
She did.
Fortuitously, family helped us send her to a girls middle school focused on science and math. The school was amazing -- repeatedly told her (and all the gals) that they could lead the world, whatever that meant to them. There was never a question about if the girls could do it, the educators were dedicated and positive. Within a year she was presenting projects in front of doctors, surgeons and business leaders. She went back to public high school with alot of self-esteem regarding her ability to learn.
Our son is in his first year of middle school. His school is big, the teachers mostly don't even know who he is, I feel like he is a cog in a big wheel, and is being pushed through whether he learns or not. He always loved math, but hates it now due to how it is taught. Our finances are quite different, but I took Wilder to look at a local private school (I should be accurate, they call themselves Independent schools) to see if he could have the same benefit Ruby had access to.
When we were walking away his comment was " How come all the adults and teachers talked to me?" He said that was so unusual.
It made me sad to tell him that was what educators do-- they are interested in their students (or prospective students) and their learning.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Snow Pics - to remind us of crazy driving



Top to bottom: This is the type of snow that cripples our area. In our defense, there is a bit-o-ice under there....
Okay here is the story.
1. We are all driving along a whopping 3-11 miles an hour, if that fast. More like a fast walking pace. The car in front of me, in the middle pic is a rear wheel drive lexus(?) acura(?) type thing. The rear wheel drive was killing this car, it went up this little hill somewhat sideways, with very little traction. Had it had to stop, it would have been stuck. And me and the 30 cars behind me would have been stuck, too.
Note in middle picture the truck that is in the same lane as us. You know what that dweebie toyota truck was doing? Passing. Passing to nowhere. It is not like there was one slow car holding everyone up. There was hundreds of cars, all being slow. So this guy pulled into the downhill lane that the poor acura was barely making it up... to pass the car in front. He did not have enough room, so when he gunned it and turned his steering wheel to go back into his own lane, his car continued on it's slow and straight motion trajectory of impact with the acura. Since we were all on ice.... his 4WD vehicle cannot drive on ice any better than the rest of us. It was all so slow, that I could just sit and take pics, almost comedic driving. At the last minute, his tires must have gripped the center line where the snow was not smooshed into ice, and his truck swerved back into his own lane. the bottom pic is the acura putting on her/his brakes and cursing him out. The funny thing was, that the toyota driver was going to get all up in the acura's face... but he couldn't stop.

Dingbat.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Snow "storm" pictures

Pics courtesy Blue Shoe Farm: ~ Miss Amanda blending in with the white stuff. Good thing she has a brown nose and eyes.
~The chickens were unfazed by the snow.
~The horses looking around and asking me: Hey lady, where are our blankets??

If you don't know this already, us folks up here in the northwest are considered snow wimps. Can't drive in it -- all of western WA slips to a standstill, buses are sideways, people abandoning their cars on the side or IN the middle of the freeways when they get stuck, countless fender benders. When we get 2" of snow.






To our defense... we do have hills, and don't use salt due to our salmon habitat and whatever other reason. Oh yeah, it only snows 2" every third or fourth year here. This was the Monday before Thanksgiving.






Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ready for a new week of dust


I have been strangely silent on my house stuff going on.
That is because I was eternally pissed of the sideways progress made, then it snowed, the power went out for three days, then we had thanksgiving, then other stuff happened, and here I am, a much wiser calmer homeowner.
Tomorrow I have the plumber coming to finish up his work.
Please pray for me to be gracious, kind, and not tower over him with my cranky but sweet NW passive aggresiveness. Actually, it may be better to pray for him.
I will be shoveling horse manure tomorrow from stall to compost pile. It should do me a world of good.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

This is how I know I am getting old....

This is how I know I am getting old. To me, this is wrong, on so many levels. From when our kidlets were this age... when the babes have that alert tenseness about their body, it means they are very stimulated... and mine only got that way with people, or their dog. Why am I old? I don't think a kid needs to be in front of a 2d screen that flashes images every one to three seconds. And I know we are becoming more and more digitally oriented.
(The following is exerpted from kidshealth.org)
"The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids under 2 years old not watch any TV and that those older than 2 watch no more than 1 to 2 hours a day of quality programming.
The first 2 years of life are considered a critical time for brain development. TV and other electronic media can get in the way of exploring, playing, and interacting with parents and others, which encourages learning and healthy physical and social development."
I will bet you cold hard cash this wee baby will have a learning disorder or ADD/ADHD when older. If indeed they pop in a video every time the kid is in the car and this is just not a pic for advertising purposes.

When we carpooled with a group of kids, when we visit relatives, when we drive to somewhere, yeah, I get to hear bickering... but I also get to hear all sorts of other stuff. When they were this age in the car? They would fall asleep, or look at their favorite board book, or chew on something and drool.
Easy is not always better. This would be one of my cranky and feisty posts.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgivin' and readin'


Totally unrelated topic titles:
Thanksgiving was great. We were glad to have power back in the house in time to cook the bird. We have been without for three days. It is one of the hazards of living in an evergreen tree'ed community. When the wind whips it up a bit, they fall on the power lines. And houses, across roads, basically where they want to. Note to newbies who move to the NW. This is not open license to chop them all down. Go live in the desert if you feel that need for open spaces and not having things taller than you. It does not mean you cannot chop trees down, but don't be rash. I digress.
It was a great opportunity to find out that our monster generator does run well, does power the house, does keep our furnace running.
Gave me time to read a book I picked up at the library. "Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer" written by Novella Carpenter. I pick up books nowadays on fixing houses, farming, raising kids, house framing, roofing, rural politics... I am a reader. If I don't know something, I get a book.
Loved her name. The book was interesting. She is a bit 'hard-core' to me, but those are always the people that get things done, that start things going in new directions. She gardened on a vacant lot. Raised rabbits, chickens, ducks. She raised pigs in the city. Big, sloppy, aromatic pigs. That is quite a story. And how to slaughter. Which is still daunting to me. I remember that so much as a child... seeing the skinning rabbits, killing pigs, chopping off chicken heads. Someday, maybe I will feel the need to control another creatures life and death within our food chain. But not now. I don't need to do it to feed the family, and I don't honestly have the time. Have you ever seen how long it takes to prep a turkey? Even a chicken?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bathroom Page 2


I am waiting on the plumber. They said they would be here at 8am, it is 9:21. The contractor came as promised at 8 on the dot. To meet the plumber. Who is not here.
I am paying him an hourly wage, but he is doing work, I hear hammering.
He has raised my bathroom floor 1" so far, to even it out. That worries me a bit, but not so much that I am biting my nails. I am not a nail biter. This process of hiring and bringing in a series of worker type dudes through the house is strenuous. It has taught me I am a worrier.
Javier who came last week and accomplished my big list in a previous post, was a dream. I did not worry about him.
OKAY maybe a little, because I am a detail oriented type of person, and since I don't know how to do this stuff, rely on books to show me. And baby, much of my house stuff is not in any book I have ever seen. So when people do repairs that are not in any book I get worried. NOT wanting to add to this house any of the half-assed work that we are seeing.
BTW, I am ever thankful for the bloggers and website folk who give detailed accounts of how to do something. That will never happen here, I just don't seem to have my thinking cap on at the same time I have my camera with me. And need other people around me to do the linear thinking. I am a bit global sometimes.
Curt the contractor said it best when I was going global about we needed to do this and this and this and this and this....
and he said "let's start with this one project bathroom, here."
I actually called the kids dad and told him I needed some linear thinking done, could he help.
I blame this on my aging. I used to be a very settled straight thinker.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thanksgiving from Don

I have a friend who is a big sender of forwarded emails. He did not have a link to where this came from... but I got a kick out of it.

Greetings All,
>
> For those of you who are coming to my place for Thanksgiving dinner,
> Martha Stewart ain't gonna be here! I'm telling you in advance, so don't
> act surprised. Since Ms. Stewart won't be coming, I've made a few small
> changes:
>
> Our sidewalk will NOT be lined with homemade, paper bag luminaries. After
> a trial run, it was decided that no matter how cleverly done, rows of
> flaming lunch sacks do not have the desired welcoming effect.
>
> Once inside, our guests will note that the entry hall is not decorated
> with the swags of Indian corn and fall foliage I had planned to make.
> Instead, I've gotten the kids involved in decorating by having them track
> in colorful autumn leaves from the front yard. The mud was their idea.
>
> The dining table will NOT be covered with expensive linens, fancy
> china,or crystal goblets. If possible, we will use dishes that match and
> everyone will get a fork. Since this IS Thanksgiving, we will refrain
> from using the plastic Peter Rabbit plate and the Santa napkins from last
> Christmas.
>
> Our centerpiece will not be the tower of fresh fruit and flowers that I
> promised. Instead we will be displaying a hedgehog-like decoration
> hand-crafted from the finest construction paper. The children assure me
> it is a turkey.
>
> We will be dining fashionably late. The children will entertain you while
> you wait. I'm sure they will be happy to share every choice comment I
> have made regarding Thanksgiving, Pilgrims, and the turkey hot line.
> Please remember that most of these comments were made at 5:00 a.m. upon
> discovering that the turkey was still hard enough to cut diamonds.
>
> As accompaniment to the children's recital, I will play a recording of
> tribal drumming. If the children should mention that I don't own a
> recording of tribal drumming, or that tribal drumming sounds suspiciously
> like a frozen turkey in a clothes dryer, ignore them. They are lying.
>
> We toyed with the idea of ringing a dainty silver bell to announce the
> start of our feast. In the end, we chose to keep our traditional method.
> We'll just holler, "come and eat."
>
> We've also decided against a formal seating arrangement. When the smoke
> alarm sounds (remember - Robin is doing most of the cooking), please gather around the table and sit where you like. In
> the spirit of harmony, we will ask the children to sit at a separate
> table. .....in a separate room......next door.
>
> Now, I know you have all seen pictures of one person carving a turkey in
> front of a crowd of appreciative onlookers. This will not be happening at
> our dinner.
>
> For safety reasons, the turkey will be carved in a private ceremony. I
> stress "private" meaning: Do not, under any circumstances, enter the
> kitchen to laugh at me. Do not send small, unsuspecting children to check
> on my progress. I have an electric knife.
>
> The turkey is unarmed. It stands to reason that I will eventually win.
> When I do, we will eat. I would like to take this opportunity to remind
> my young diners that "passing the rolls" is not a football play. Nor is
> it a request to bean your sister in the head with warm tasty bread.
>
>
> Before I forget, there is one last change. Instead of offering a choice
> between 12 different scrumptious desserts, we will be serving the
> traditional pumpkin pie, garnished with whipped cream and small
> fingerprints. You will still have a choice; take it or leave it.
>
> Martha Stewart will NOT be dining with us this year. Next year is not
> looking good either.
HAPPY [EARLY] THANKSGIVING

Monday, November 15, 2010

Quick done list


I have been busy. Or, I have been keeping other people busy. I lost my linkup for my cam, so pics will be later.
1. Put a new screen door on. I did it! With Dennis helping lift it up while I screwed it in.
Two minor details. a) I was soooo careful putting the z-bar on. But moved the door at the last minute, so mounted the z-bar on the other side of the door. So my door opens on the other side from what I wanted. I am embracing it. b) I found a lottery ticket shoved in the old broken screen door we took down used as a shim. If anyone needs lucky numbers from 1994, give me a holler.

2. Put the marble backsplash behind my kitchen sink. The marble came !free! from Craigslist. Thank you Capitol Hill person who was giving it away. This is the backsplash that was wood. Ah yes. Wood. One inch behind the sink, where water sits. It was the second thing I pulled out of this house. It was rotting.

3. Fixed the barn. Again. Dang horses that try to shove their large bodies in one stall together. And then try to get out the door at the same time.

4. Replaced the living room window. Added new window molding, interior and out. While doing this, found an newspaper clipping from 1964 when the Queen of Norway visited Poulsbo. It is from the Kitsap Sun.

5. Had the roof cleaned off and treated. There was a whole lotta moss on this thing in one year. That is why northwesterners are sometimes called "mossbacks", we inhabit a wet clime. The two young men who scraped and brushed the roof... rappelled on our steep roof. It was rainy and windy. I felt so bad they were doing it in this weather so we made them cookies and hot chocolate.

6. Laid new carpet in the living room. Note: Sawzalls cut carpet REALLY quickly, but it will disturb your dog. If you have one.

7. Painted the living room trim.

8. Hired the plumber.

9. Picked out the marmoleum for the bathroom floor. I am getting screwed on the cost -- $560 for a (7 'x 8') floor. But there are not many people over here in Kitsap that know how to install (or want to install) marmoleum. It is pretty grueling.

10. Covered the bay window "bottom." I have no idea why it was uncovered, exposed, open to the elements, but it was. And now it is not.

11. Replaced the rotten garage door. Person size, not car size.

12. Replaced half the chicken coop roof. Am slowly doing the rest.

Still gotta do:
--Move dirt out of the basement (there is a pile of dirt in our basement, no clue why) It is where the plumber will be working.
--Replace crappy horse fence.
--Replace upstairs bathtub. Have the tub, need to move it in and build a frame for it.
--Move and replace house interior lighting. Not all, just a few.....

Monday, November 8, 2010

Interior door - concussion weapon

A bit more than a week ago my bathroom door that was removed from the hinges fell over and tried to knock me out. Luckily, I have a hard head, but did not feel too well for a couple days. First injury of the remodel has happened. I also got a completely lame blister raking leaves.
That door was going to cost me $150 to dip strip it in a methylene chloride based bath. My professional woodworking neighbor said my antique door could fall apart if I dunked it in a wet bath... the dunk can make the joints all fall apart. I heeded his advice and went to the paint store and for a can of paint remover instead. Took off the black glass door knobs and plates. Hauled it outside to the garage.
Already I see the door has been through several color changes. It is damaged, dented and needs some lovin'. That's what I am here for. I shall take care of you sad little door.
Pics to follow.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Bathroom - Downstairs Part 1 1//2

Curt sat me down. (Curt is my contractor) Sometimes he gets rather quiet when we are discussing, which can be disconcerting. I am sure it is because I am confidentally waffling on something, and he seems a rather straight-forward person.
He told me what we do first, and I dutifully wrote down the checklist of how we are doing the bathroom. Then called plumbers for quotes. The range for the work was $1300 - 2800. That is craziness in numbers. The problem is I liked the most expensive guy, and Curt told me to hire the least expensive because he knows the company.
Tomorrow is my day to quiz the plumbers. I will ask the most expensive : What the heck am I paying for and why are you charging more? And the least expensive: What aren't you doing? But in my usual friendly sort of way.
All the quotes seemed pricey for what I am doing. It seems like about a two hour job. (But then, really, am I a plumber? Nope.)
As an example of my negotiating skills (not really negotiating, just friendifying) I called the oil company to get a delivery for our furnace.
I asked Paul of my company what the rate was per gallon. He told me $3.24. I was quiet a while, and said wow it has gone up... he then said, let me get my price sheet and see if I can do any better. After a couple seconds he said how about $3.14. I said okay, but that would save me a whoppin' $8.00. He laughed, and kinda clomped around on his calculator and said, yeah, I guess that's not much. How about $3.10? I started laughing and told him I was a baker. How negotiable was this oil?
Too bad we can't do this at the gas pump.

Monday, October 25, 2010

My new job -


I haven't actually applied for any jobs. That may be a hindrance and even an obstacle to being hired for one. But what I am going to do for the next month is be the project manager for my house. That way, I can get (the big) cursed projects finished around here. And be a focused mom for a month. Get that lad of ours settled in his educational prospects, keep the teenage gal on her toes. And keep my house clean. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

John Deere lawn tractor - death and rebirth


This is the story of our cute little lawn tractor. I bought it from the previous owner with the house.
It takes over an hour to mow our yard. Back and forth, up and down, left and right, in circles, around things, through mush, over hillocks, next to fences. Rose has taken over this job, although with a more casual attitude around the edges. She is rather a speed demon over the property and finishes about 30 minutes sooner than anyone else.
I have hired a lawn maintenance fellow to do the yard since our mower quit. The little green machine started and then just stopped. It started again, stopped, and then would not even try to start. I rolled it under the big holly tree for protection and covered it with a tarp. That was about 3 weeks ago. Maybe 5. Since then I have taken the battery to be charged. It was fine. I have filled it with fresh gas. That was somewhat of a pipe dream because it had nothing to do with gas. But made me feel better. Put in a new air filter. Again, more to make me feel better since that would not stop it dead. Bought it a new starter solenoid after googling possible answers.
Today was strange weather, really really windy, rainy looking, then sun would appear. The mowers tarp cover was blown across the yard reminding me that the mower was still not starting and now exposed to the elements.
I had a cup of coffee and thought I would try to start it. Turned the key, no luck. Googled possibilities as to why it was not starting again.
The obvious answer I had been avoiding was to clean the battery terminals. I was actually ignoring that answer since it was so... 'duh.' Those terminals didn't look bad to me, they looked great!
The sun was shining down at that angle we get in October, I was outside enjoying the weather, and I thought what the hell. Got out my new box of baking soda, and my new brass brush I bought with the solenoid I didn't need. Scrubbed away, tightened the bolt back up, sat in the seat, turned the key and the engine started with a WHOOOSH.
Five weeks. Five weeks, 65 bucks for lawn service, and it sat next to my front door because I would not do the simple thing first. My life -- in a mini-mower size nutshell -- I seem to have difficulty with K.I.S.S. I will work on that.

Bathroom Update - Step 1 contractor talk

Today Curt came by to discuss this whole process with me. I believe I will be the project manager on this, and hire all the individuals as we go along.
He drew out the action plan for me:
1. Contractor Curt : will replace the floor and open any walls for the plumber.
2. Me: hire a plumber to replumb and move fixtures. (+ change out both water heaters, put in house water filtration system)
3. Contractor Curt: will come back and patch the walls, mud and smooth.
4. Me : will paint everything.
5. Contractor Curt: will put everything in - shower, vanity whatever.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Painting sheet overlayment on floor

When we moved in, we stripped all the carpeting out of the house. Under the carpet, pad etc in the living room was solid sheet wood. Not composite plywood or pressboard, but a smooth surfaced wood. Having my budget sucking dry by getting rid of asbestos tile, buying new (used)furnace, kitchen sink, stove, fridge, and new electrical on two floors of the house I could not strip that and refinish what is under there or foot the bill for new wood floors.
So I painted it.
I painted it a serious blue with a serious floor paint that stunk to high heaven but for two years has not scuffed or gotten ugly. Pretty good paint. One cheesey thing I did was I only painted the edges that would show outside the oriental wool carpet we had down. (There is a reason for this, mainly the hundreds HUNDREDS of carpet staples that were scattered pell mell and everyflippin' where on that floor.) Some of those staples were not totally pulled out. After tearing my fingernails ragged, cutting my fingers, going through two staple pullers, I was done.
We put down a new carpet yesterday, and it covers a smaller area than the old rug. SO I needed to add some more paint to the floor. That magnificent floor paint had not been sealed tight when closed two years ago.
There was a 1/4 inch solid surface that I peeled off. I stirred the paint underneath for ten minutes and then painted.
30 hours later it is still not dry. I think I figured out what that layer was on the paint. The dryer dried out of the paint and made that solid top. I have been painting the floor with the gooey tint base that is not drying. Hopefully not attracting dog dust bunnies to it, but I am fairly sure it is.
Note: Four days later, and with a little unintentional dog hair added, it is dry enough for the carpet. yay.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Laborers


The two fellows that actually got my bathtub out were genius. I found Mr. Stean on Craigslist, and he has previously over the last year hauled away the piles of garbage found/left on the property when I bought it. The tub took them a good hour to wrassle free, and then muscled it out the door and onto my truck.
Then they pulled all the layers of linoleum and wood off the floor.
Then they leveled our piano by lifting it. Literally. The piano that is so heavy I watched my living room floor bend as we rolled it in a year ago. (Just writing that gives me the heeby jeebies. Not sure I should be comfortable with that, I keep looking at my tree trunks in the basement to make sure they are doing their job of holding up the house.)
Note about Craigslist, if you hire off of there, be cautious. I have not had any issues, but have had a couple of hard drinkers show up for jobs (not drinking while working, just had very heavy very sour alcohol fumes wafting off of them.) I also let a neighbor know and a friend in Seattle who calls after a set amount of time to check in. There is also a risk of big danger if they are not licensed or insured and something happens to them doing a job on your property. So hire wisely.

1904 tub removal




This only took about a year. I began to strip the bathroom to prepare it for renovation but could not budge the tub. Tried this, tried that, nope... not me! So the bathroom was unfinished. (We do have another upstairs.)



This is the standard cast iron, claw foot, although sans feet and resting on wood. When we moved in the tub had an unfortunate surround of plaster to hide the claw foot sides. The plaster was then covered by a layer of stick-on wallpaper style TILE that was then painted.



For the 70 years that type of tub was not in fashion the sides were hid behind this strange addition. We now need a shower. And this tub cannot go upstairs... the weight alone with water and a person would drop us one story down into our dining room.



Anyone need a lovely, old tub?



Fencing - Horse







The big somewhat intellectually challenged horse Strider took out the old fence. Leaned over... and snap. Snapped wire fencing. It was crap and needed to be replaced... I guess he just put it somewhat on the top of my to-do list.


The pics attached are of what we are aiming for. We shall see what the $ comes to. That may change the resulting fence! http://lucky-days.blogspot.com/2011/04/fence.htmlTo see what I picked click on the above link! (Image : black round post with field fence courtesy Susan R. Stoltz, Top image left: www.declanlandy.com)



Friday, October 15, 2010

Ghosts!

Photo: Not where I work. That would be creepy.
I am so excited! Tonight we have ghost hunters coming to the museum to find any supernatural beings. I just hope it doesn't creep me out from being in the museum after hours.
We have three stories of (minor) terror while in the building, the hunters will do a survey and see what they can find.
I hope I get to use a plasma gun. My only experience with this sort of thing is the movie "Ghostbusters." I am pretty sure this will not be like the movie.
Two questions:
1. Why do we have to meet when it is dark? If there were ghosts here wouldn't they be around 24/7?
2. Why do we have to turn out the lights? Do ghosts really care if the lights are on?
I guess technically that was four questions.

Memory Loss and Photography

Is this your car? How about your garage? Why did I take a picture of it? And why do I have absolflippinlutely no inkling or iota of a smidgen of a memory of taking this picture?
Early onset alzheimers is coming my way. At least I have a lot of time to prep my kids.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

How do you find the blogs you like?

I was searching for blogs of similar situations as mine. To look for comparable stories, life-experience, jobs, challenges. To find a bloggy group of like minded or like situation or like project peoples.
Here is what I have searched: farm, mother, independent, house restoration (when you know nothing), horses, children, Kitsap, farmhouse, feisty.
I have not found that subset grouping yet. Let me know if you have found any interesting ones.
On the "about me" page I list the ones that I have found that are : about house restoration, about moms, about singleness, art, about being feisty, funny. Where is the one about stressed, happy, cranky, perimenopausal, independent, stubborn individuals who rebuild homes, navigate raising children, go to work, talk to people and then write about it?
I guess if they are male they don't have to be perimenopausal....

Crying in public over a job voluntarily given up

Since giving notice at my job, I have had a couple former board members call me asking why I am leaving. The one I answered today was while in Office Max picking up "Age of Empires" for 11 year old Wilder. This guy is an amazing advocate for history and the museum and always generous with his knowledge and skills. As I was trying to be subtle while talking on the phone in a store, I started crying. Some of the folks I have met in the last eight years have grown on me. It is not just leaving a job, it is kinda like leaving a family. Although without the drunken Thanksgiving stories or embarrassing childhood tales. I told him not to say anything at the board meeting tomorrow, since I didn't want to start crying. He told me it was good to cry, there was something wrong with people who didn't. STILL, I don't want to cry at the board meeting.
Yesterday, another gal gave me a farewell hug and started crying, and so did I.
CRAP.
One door closes, another door opens.
One door closes, another door opens.
One door closes, another door opens.

Texting Teenager Moment


Image courtesy motivatedphotos.com

I got my first big "I HATE YOU" from our 15 year old. I actually received it several times in a row while driving. And all I could think was "my little girl is growing up!"
What was the impetus for this outburst? I busted her chops in public for checking her cell phone for messages while she was in her piano class. I was pissed. She got indignant. It spiraled down into parental threats (I can take that cell phone away blah be blah etc) until she dropped into words of hatred.
About an hour later, while I was cleaning the kitchen, she pulled up a stool and we talked about it all. About 10 minutes later we were both hugging and crying. It is not easy on either one of us that she is growing up, but I think we will make it through. (I hear 16 is a whopper of a year, I was terrible at age 17, wish us luck)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Blogging Hurts

You know what is really sad? I set one of these up for work (a blog.) In two months, it has almost surpassed traffic totals that took me (almost) two years to build.
Sigh.

Ferry Ride

As I was driving toward the ferry last night and the sun was layin' long across the city, giving it a very fall-like glow, I thought : Holy crap, i will not be seeing this lovely city every week now that I quit my job! I will miss that.
On the ferry commute this morning I am behind a beautifully restored '65 mustang that has issues starting. This is the third time this month I have been behind a car with engine probs. I will not miss that. Or driving across Bainbridge! YAY! I will not miss that doldrum event!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Matronly lady Jumps a Battery


Driving out of our road onto the main highway. There was a truck smooshed onto the side of the road (not much room for a car before the road dropped off into forest) with battery cables draped over the sideview mirror. As I was waiting to turn right and zoom off to work a wee little lightbulb went off in my head. Duh, he wanted a jump. I threw the minivan into reverse, pulled up alongside and asked if he was waiting for a jump. Answering yes, I pulled in front of the truck, he hooked up the cables and it started right up. He looked up at me kinda awkwardly and stumbled over a very gracious thank you -- "an angel stopped to help me today... a beautiful ( lovely /somewordlikethat) angel." Now, to put this in perspective remember where I live. I bet never in a million years has a woman ever stopped to help that he wasn't directly related to. He was expecting the jovial man-talk of work and trucks etc etc and got this perky tall woman stopping. And, I never think of myself as lovely nor an angel, I am just a person that see someone needs help and I had the ability to solve that particular problem. I actually embrace the matronly, middle aged type lady I may be-- who drives the white minivan with the small dent because said lady backed her own truck into her own minivan.
Then, got taken out to a surprise dinner by a friend,
and then was told to have a --lovely evening, Miss-- by a stranger. (see matron reference above)


Photo credit : This photo is so appropriately from www.artofmanliness.com

Blogs - Soap Opera - Part II

So I got sucked into this online hissy fit between three bloggers. It is like reading those reality shows I won't watch, except there is no editing to make it more palatable for primetime television.
Only one was actually having hissy fits you could see online. Her sister and brother in law were having their own uncomfortable online blogging episodes and the point of all the brouhaha a) her attacks on a blogger who is one of the big bloggers with the aforementioned clean and easy-reading blog, visually appealing and supposedly well-funded by advertisers and b)she had a crisis of faith, as in, completely went away from the church. This may be fine and dandy to do on the West Coast of the U.S. but from reading her it sounds like hell on earth in her part of (Kansas? Iowa? anyway the corn and bible belt) She is pretty feisty. Reading her I stick by my "I think menopause is hitting her bad..." or else she has tucked alot of 'shoulds' under her belt without knowing why and when the hormones started changing she began to question things. Really really question things. I don't envy her one bit. She has alot of anger, although it is well-worded anger. Her stories of how her family is dealing with her make me sad.
Note: I am editing all the blog name specifics out of this and my previous post. I wanted to comment on the impersonal/personal nature of blogging and how we bloggers may or may not match our online blogging persona. What I don't want is to benefit traffic-wise just because I put some big name bloggers in my verbiage here. And I was. So now I am not.

Blogging Guidelines - 2

I am beginning to get this whole blogging thing. You wanna make money at this? Don't do what I am doing here. (obviously, this is one of those navel-gazing personal journal type blogs for my mental health)
My helpful hints:
1. Keep to one subject.
2. Don't go down paths of extreme crankiness or judgementality.
3. Have a focus to your blog so people can easily identify.
4. Use pictures.
5. Write well. And be succinct. Don't wander on and on and on in a story.
6. Be perky. Always. Be exuberant. And likeable. Don't air your dirty laundry. And... crucial... link into something others may want from you (covet) whether that be money, glamour, great marriage, cute kids, knowledge of some niche market, great house, rare autos, extreme profiency with a variety of sex toys, well-read, writer-ly mannerisms, artistic tendencies, this list can (obviously) continue.
7. Regarding that link: be humble. Whether a single parent, baker extraordinaire, GLBT southerner, or D.C. insider... vanity does not really catch the big populations within blogging.
8. Look at the 'biggies' for guidance, their blogs are easy to navigate, tastefully colored, short posts, colorful photos with a consistent positive message. ("you can do what I do... we can be friends....link to me") To find them, just see what others link to. There is pioneerwoman or dooce for starters. I don't really follow big ones because they are full of stuff I can read in magazines. Unless they do house restoration hints. Then I am all over them.
9. Reminder to blog readers: for some this is a business or a vanity piece. Even though we are all equalized in this media (anyone can comment, anyone can link) that does not mean it is a real world you are reading about. I have read such cranky posts from (mostly women) who have felt disillusioned by other bloggers. The bloggers weren't in real life like their blog presence. That would be hard. In real life you get to see the real person, not a built fantasy person which is what comes out of a 2-D blog posting. This is part of the reason I became hesistant about going to author readings. When a couple of my favorite authors turned out to be DUDS personality wise, it ruined me on their writing. They did not match my built personality for them that came out of their writing.
10. Have fun. Pick something easy for you to share with a bit of a spark.
11. Get your own domain name. (lose the blogspot or wordpress link) Watch out for the skanky domain manager companies.
12. Be patient. You are one of 126,000,000 blogs.

Results from Royal.pingdom.com
* 126 million – The number of blogs on the Internet (as tracked by BlogPulse).
* 84% – Percent of social network sites with more women than men.
* 27.3 million – Number of tweets on Twitter per day (November, 2009)
* 57% – Percentage of Twitter’s user base located in the United States.
* 350 million – People on Facebook.
* 50% – Percentage of Facebook users that log in every day.
* 500,000 – The number of active Facebook applications.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Story of a Wee Lad in a Corn Maze

Here is a story about the 12 acre corn maze in the shape of Washington. When our son Wilder was 4ish and I was still with their pop, we all went up to the corn maze. As we entered, with stalks way over even my 6' head, clear very clear instructions were given to both kids : Don't go out of sight of us. Don't go around a corner without us. This is huge, and there are many many routes and areas to get lost in.
The second we had finished those instructions, Wilder trotted a bit ahead and WHOOSH, gone. Like turned a corner, we were telling him to wait for his ol' parents to catch up, and ... gone.
When we reached the end of the narrow path, it split, and no son. We ran to the end of both paths and looked down them, no son. We freaked, but within reason. When you are in a GIANT corn maze it is not like freaking out and running around is going to help. Since you already don't know where you are (read :maze) you don't want to lose everyone in your group. We hollered his name. We asked people if they had seen a "little boy in a red vest" --he was gone about 10 minutes. Dennis and I split up, and looked down different paths. I had visions of him in tears huddled in some tiny ball between corn rows... bereft and missing his parents. Or some psycho had grabbed him (he was really really cute), or I would need to rent a plane to fly over and find him, or rent a boom truck to elevate me section by section over the corn, or.... (this is where my art degree comes in -- prone to elevating simple situations to creative global emergency levels)
Then all of a sudden, when we would ask about the red vest boy... people walking by would say "you mean Wilder? yeah, he was down there" or " I saw Wilder around this path"
We were getting reports of a self contained little kid, who was greeting everyone with pleasantries and introducing himself. As we were hollering his name, all of a sudden a voice came back through the stalks "Wilder's parents?"
Turns out, Wilder had calmly been walking around, and when he came upon a family, he put his 4 year old body facing them, legs akimbo, put his hands up and said : Stop, my name is Wilder and my family is lost.
Well, we found him. The rest of the day people of all ages would say "Hi Wilder" when we passed and he would greet them back by name. And every year we visit the maze since then Wilder has to endure this story over and over and over.............

Washington State Corn Maze



Photo: Corn maze photo courtesy : The Farm at Trail's End, Snohomish.
Photo : Wilder four years ago in the maze. Why I can never live in Kettle Falls. Oh the humiliation.



It is time for the family/friends trip up to the 12 acre Washington State corn maze outside of Everett. As you navigate the maze, there are hand-made sights and sites of landmarks throughout the state. The Olympia capitol building (looks like a giant birdhouse), Seattle's Space Needle, Peace Arch from Blaine.
When you get around Hanford, where our nuclear reactor is, they paint the corn stalks neon.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Jobs


I quit mine. Have been told it is somewhat insane to quit a job without having another. I will let you know when I am working at McDonald's. Last day of work : November 1st. Yes, I am looking for a new position closer to home, at least, not a ferry ride away. Or if it is a ferry ride away, one that pays so well that I can hire a house cleaner and a manure scooper. And someone to brush the dog and rebuild my bathroom. And one not afraid of ladders, like me, so my gutters are always clean. And, someone who can build fences. I am sure there is more I need done, but that is my short list.

Photo: Pumpkin carvin' at the house a couple years ago.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Busy Girl Week


Photo: horse and son munching apples. I couldn't find a pic of the pears, so you get apples. Oh, and I kept calling these apples "Clears" until a kind lady corrected me. They are called "Transparents." Always learnin' out here in Poulsbo.
Or, busy lady week. Busy woman week. Busy feisty mom week.
This is my third year of making applesauce with the overabundance of apples off our trees.
This was my first year of canning pears. If I was going to sell these, they would be $22 A JAR.
If I figure my labor and supplies. And using all the free pears on the property. I can't wait to taste them.
I thought for sure I was getting sick on Wednesday. You ever kick into overdrive right before you get sick? Wednesday was my overdrive. I went to work on Thursday and told everyone "I am sure I am getting sick, yesterday I made bread, canned applesauce, made banana bread muffins, was down on the ground scrubbing my kitchen floor, and then cleaned out the garage. Suffice it to say, that is not normal behavior for me. I do all that, but not on the same flipping day. Maybe loosely over the course of a week, a two or three.
Wilder was sick last week, then Rose got it this week. I figured I was next.
Saturday night report : Not sick. And canned pears. Four lovely jars for two hours of labor. NOT WORTH IT. But I will do it again, too many pears laying about the property. And not complain in the winter when I buy canned pears for $2.50 at the store.
Thank you blog http://www.paulnoll.com/
I have no idea what they are about but loved their canning instructions. Other than the red food coloring for holiday cheer. That may be a generational thing, but I don't remember red or green pears at xmas. It is also nifty that they help each other can pears.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

September and the Livin' is Livin'


I remember when I was startled toward divorce in my (what I thought was a) lifetime marriage ... on a subsequent doctor's visit about something else I asked her " Where is the book that explains how to navigate this? Is there a website to visit? " I had a similar reaction when the first wee baby Rose came to be... I went looking for a book, something like "Every Minute of Your Specific Baby's Existence" (couldn't find that title.) So in some educational assessment it would probably say I learn by the written word, not verbally, not by doing. You gotta give me something in text.
I have pulled out all my house books -- just to finish a flippin' chicken house roof. This is where perfectionism gets in the way of doing. We pulled off half of it, well half of half since alot is the nasty asbestos tile and I thought we could cover it.
On a similar vein. My chicken area fence is a comedic blunder of chicken wire and wood.
My house I would gently say is : in a shambles.
The horse fence is : dangerous.
I very much appreciate the housing blogs that tackle this stuff on their own. But I also realize they got someone in the background cooking, cleaning and if applicable, raising kids and taking care of animals that we don't know about. Or they don't sleep.
I have been canning applesauce, baking bread, getting educational stuff rolling for the kids, doctors, dentists, dump runs, hay hauling, garden mauling, chicken burials (don't even go there about eating them...), keeping the sheets changed and bathtub clean. Oh, and yesterday I cleaned the laundry room floor. Which means I can see it again.
I am tired right at the moment. Problem is I can't find the book that tells me if it is : female aging problems, weather related (it has turned cold and rainy here in the Pacific NW), or just that I have too much on my plate.
My solution is to hire someone to fix these things which is not at the moment feasible.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

School started

Photo: This wierd little building is in the middle of the horse field. No idea what it was, probably some sort of playhouse.
No, we are not in such a rural area that this is related to their schooling... for some reason this is just the picture I chose for today. Probably because it is another project for me to tackle. Sigh.
The kids are off to school. Wilder in middle school, Rose now a Sophomore. She calls herself an upperclassman with attitude. I guess it is not fun being a freshman? Who knew. I don't remember that sort of thing. The kids recently visited their great aunt and uncle who purchased them some snazzy school duds. Wilder has been wearing his new clothes with flair.

I have been trying to clean out their closets of unused, too-small clothing. I miss our former neighbors with the kids who were staggered ages so we would just hand off clothing to each other. Rose's too smalls went to Emily, Wilder was on the receiving end of Nick's.

That worked out so well I didn't buy a shirt for Wilder for two years! I have to work on my neighboring skills here. I have lost my steam and am in my own little world.

Hey! have tackled a new project, the chicken coop roof! I will share pics soon. I will also just note that nothing NOTHING I tackle is as easy as I think it will be.


Monday, September 6, 2010

Farewell to Sougan Cat

The kids dad took Sougan our eldest addled creaky cat in to be euthanized last week. I could not take her in, since Rose and I are still recovering from putting our aged dog, Sophie down six months ago. I am also not sure the vet has recovered from our sobbing.
This is why birds are good pets. They live for flipping ever.
Sougan tired and yawning from her strenuous days spent sleeping in happier, healthier days. She was a bit of a cat food overimbiber in her younger years.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Cursed book is done

Waving fans happy I finished my book... or a pic of the crowds listening to music at Bumbershoot, your choice.
I don't think I need to say more than that. But I will. This book that has taken over my life at intervals since January is finally fully off to the publisher. The proofs have been read, red-lined, corrected, the photos fixed and it all went out by fedex for $47 at 2:30 in the morn. And then I missed all the ferries home so drove around Puget Sound. So arrived when my paperboy was dropping off the morning paper just after 4 am. I didn't care, the Book is Done!!
What is funny, is I bet the neighbors think I am some sort of a party girl. Little do they know everytime I get home after midnight is due to work. I don't know whether I should really be happy about that.....

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Note from soon to be divorced woman to women who are not

Just because my marriage failed.... does not mean I hate men. It does not mean I am coveting your husband or boyfriend or girlfriend. It does not mean anything but that My Marriage Failed. It has nothing to do with anyone but my (former) husband and myself. It is not about you. I don't hate marriage. I don't hate commitment. Just because my marriage failed does not mean that you only tell me about when your marriage or partnership is having hard times - as if I am so much more receptive to hearing that sort of stuff or it brings me joy. Because I am getting a divorce does not mean that to commiserate with me you share "how you have considered divorce" or how unhappy you are with your chosen partner or "how you just can't stand your partner but can't leave for (insert reason here)." Take it up with a therapist.

Added Note: It seems this is a bit harsh. The base point I am trying to make is in a life, people are together, people fall apart, people pull apart. Yes, I am getting a divorce. But I was also part of a couple, (I thought happily) for 20 years. I was hitting a streak of people only telling me their crap stories about their (purported) loved ones. You all gotta deal with that. I understand being trapped, feeling powerless, getting stuck. But at some point you need to make a move, whether that be counseling with your partner, by yourself, or whatever. I can listen, but don't only pull negative stuff out of the air to think that will bond us. I actually like hearing the good stuff.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Off in the wild blue yonder

Just placed the two wonder kids on a flight to their great aunt and uncle. Not that I want to sound tragic or anything... but it was very difficult letting them fly off on the silver 'tube of sky death' without me. While the ticket was purchased I was fine. While they were packing I was fine. While we went over our manners and how to lock the airplane bathroom door I was fine. When I was hugging them and wishing them a good time and blah blah blah I was fine.
When the plane was pushed away from the gate, when the plane sat on the tarmac running through its systems, when the plane began rolling toward the runway I was not fine.
However, since you did not hear or see reports of a crazed mother breaking through security checkpoints and running after a departing plane down the runway yelling stop you can assume I dealt with it.
Crap. This growing up thing is going to be so hard on me.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Blessed neighborly neighborliness

Photo: Wilder pointing out the one true path to God Wilder has been invited to born-again christian camp by our neighbor. She stopped by today, and told me she had been praying for my mother and her brand new hip and invited Wilder to god training... I mean summer camp. In the context of a 2-D page of writing it does not come across that I actually like my neighbors. I do. People believe what they believe for reasons that are allover the map. I am always curious how they get where they get in the spiritual world... but really, as long as it is not the hate-spewing, fearandcrap-mongering religions I could give a rip what people believe. If it makes it easier for one to navigate an unsteady or uncomfortable world... go for it. My neighbors are gentle and open people, who will help me or the kids in a lickity split. We will never probably talk god or politics... that is why I have my Jehovah Witness, Poppy(!) but they are next to me and somewhat less judgemental than other various pyschotic passive aggressive NW neighbors I may or could have. Even with the god quotient. Plus, a bonus for me, I LOVE being told I am being prayed for, or God Bless Me, or whatever little religious bon mot (how do you spell that??) comes out of her mouth. I can handle her religion, because it is seamless with her life.
Re: Wilder... I am giving him the option for camp. His sister is flippin' out. She has had bad experiences with the more wicked (stupid) side of religious zealotry on her schoolbus, and now is anti-religion, as only a teenager can be. This too shall pass.
Re: Grandma. Two hips down, two knees to go. Everyone reading this: take care of your ankles, knees, hips. It is not FUN to do this surgery or recovery. On a lighter note, we are going to start calling her Grandma Bionic for all her metal and mechanisms at her joints. Wilder will probably call her Grandma Bionicle... gotta have boys to get that one....

Monday, July 12, 2010

Women and Menopause Talk


I am 45. As in, my body according to my birth certificate is 45. My brain acts like it is somewhere around late crazy puberty -- say 19 -- and in my minds-eye I think I look 25. I just had my dental hygienist tell me all about her menopausal excitements and physical ailments, etc etc. I truly love that women can just blather on about menopause. I am fairly sure that many women in the past silently suffered through it, or grabbed guns and committed crimes (oh wait, probably not that) how about Felt Like grabbing guns or sharp implements or even pinching people at random. They had no outlet to express why or how or have understanding friends around to say "I know what you mean, I too wanted to pinch so-and-so."
I am thankful many women around me are experiencing this. I used to think it was boring to be a man, same ol' hormones, day in, day out. No mad rush of estrogen, no wild ride of hormones, no small furies that fill the sky above your head with sparkly dangerous lightning. As I fall deeper into this magical menopause land, I am thinking the ability to "put a cork in it" when I am doing one of my insane sounding grump fests might be nice. Especially when I am doing it to a newspaper reporter. Sometimes my "off" button is misplaced on my mouth. And that is not normal for me. I know I am going to be one of those in-your-face 70 year old women that everyone rolls their eyes at. At least I am getting used to it since I have a teenage girl.
Image courtesy http://www.flickr.com/photos/the_dugghouse/2443605131/

Chicken Update

The golden-laced wyandottes that we ordered this spring are almost grown up. They are past the awkward teenage chicken years. Now they are pullets but sound like baby chicks. I had a friend take care of them when I was in Michigan, and she said she kept looking around for baby chicks and then realized these big pullets were 'cheeping.' We have five. One bit the dust when we first brought them home.

Our one year old welsummers are but two. The red-tailed hawks swooped on a couple, and a neighbor dog got the other. They are more cautious and smart about running loose, but obviously no match for birds of prey and out-of-control dogs. One welsummer has decided she needs to sit on her nest and hatch unfertile eggs. We can all feel somewhat motherly and withdrawn at times, so I am going to let her work through her broodiness. My neighbor told me to surround her with a cage including food and water, and after about a week she will want OUT. I am just going to let her do her chicken thing. Her former partner-in-crime hen has been hanging around the front door. I frequently pick her up and carry her around when I do my outside jobs, since she is alone due to her broody friend. She seems to like the company. I had no idea chickens were 'breedists'... they definitely hang with their own kind. I try to get them to integrate and be compatriots with all their chicken brethen, but some things are just not to be messed with. I do notice similar temperament breed chickens hang together happily. Such as the buff orpingtons and the wyandottes. Those slow round easy-going types. Should I be offended that the welsummer hangs with me? Omigod. Am I a pea-brained colorful feathered loud sqaukin' spotty-egg layin' chicken type? Dang.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Story of a Mouse Part III : The End

Not cute, huh?

I called my daughter, who was at her dad's. She was not available so I told Dennis "Tell her there are baby mice in my room." The mousecatcher Bella is her cat, that has taken over my bed, so I needed to share the responsibility with her.
When Rose and her brother were dropped off later that day, they all ran in the house. I was listening to a story by phone from my soon-to-be-bride buddy about a get together she was at... and all the intrigue present. Rose, then Wilder, then Dennis came in and out of the room asking "where are they?" "that wasn't true, right?" while I was trying to listen on the phone. They could not believe I had rodents, babies, in my room. Dennis actually bet the kids that I was pulling their leg.
HA. On them. They thought they were cute, once they found 'em. In case you have not experienced baby mice, and I had not before this moment, they are not so cute. Rather alien like in their nuditity (yeah, i know that is not a word) and lack of eyes, hair and recognizable mouse features.
Rose is a softie. A softie with a heart of a teenager, which means cute boy aware, attitudinally challenging, lousy-mannered, but who sobs when a motherless naked mouse dies and hugs her mother when her mom is grumpy. It is a cool juxtaposition.
Regardless. We googled. We sent their dad off for baby formula and hydration materials. The kids used one of my GOOD silk scarves ("but it was in the ragbin...") for a bed in a frisbee for the newborns. The heat lamp was retrieved from the chicken coop. ALL FOR RODENTS. I am telling you, we are an embarrassment to country livin'. But I wouldn't have it any other way.
The end: we found mom, Wilder caught her, we put her in with her babies, then set them all outside the next day. She left her babies. They died. Good thing those mice breed like rats! Have I learned anything from this? 1. Mice are cute 2. Baby mice are helpless. 3. I have good kids.
Image Courtesy:
www.natepaine.com/plog/images/48.jpg

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Story of a Mouse Part II

Part II:
In the middle of the night, I heard scrabbling around. And around. I would move in bed and the noise would stop. I figured that mouse was still in the house, and under my bed. All night. The next morning, after a biiiiig cup of coffee, I began moving my bed out from the wall in search of this elusive little creature. I cursed CURSED when I moved a newspaper and saw a cat "gift" that must have been left by our aged infirm feline. Except this moved. And I did a double-take. I was extremely freaked out when I realized I was looking at newborn mice.
To recap:
Cat catches mouse.
Alive mouse is carried in house by cat.
Mouse runs loose in my bedroom.
Mouse gives birth.
Human finds baby mice.
Human does not find mouse mom.
Baby mice are not cute.

Story of a Mouse Part I



When we moved out of the city, where rats are large and scary, to the suburbanish country, where mice are small and cute, our relationship changed.

Part I. I was coming down the blue farmhouse stairs and looked over the field. There is a window halfway down that you can look out over the garden, wetland, and front field. I saw Bella, our cat, traipsing across the grass toward the house with intent. She had something swinging from her clamped jaws and I thought : Good Bell, getting another rodent out of circulation. I went downstairs to let the horses back in their field, and Bella set down her conquest on the driveway. She sat over it. Then I noticed its tail move. I know cats do this. I know they have predator instincts and play with their food. All normal behavior. I just can’t see it done if the victim is still alive. She needed to kill her prey quick and then play with it, or let it go. (I seem to have all these rules of conduct for our animals—just to be clear – they don’t follow any of my suggestions)
Anyway, so she is beginning to “play” with her live captive and I told her NO. The wee mouse looked too much like our pet hamster, Chuck. I was tired, and not going to watch torture on the very small scale 12 inches from my foot. So told Bella no, and then Amanda, our dog was interested, and also mooshed the mouse with her nose. I told her no too, and Bella dove in to grab her mouse again. She looked at me with that dilated pupil crazy stinkeye, looked at our open front door… and ran toward it as I screamed NOT IN MY HOUSE! She ran to her hang-out room, which is my bedroom. Running after her, I slammed the bedroom door locking her and the mouse in my room. I was wanting her to finish the deed and get it out of my room. I was no longer in the saving frame of mind. I don’t want mice in the house. Noooooo way. I opened the door 10 minutes later, and both cats, BOTH cats are lounging on the bed falling asleep. There is no snippet of rodentia anywhere. Not a wisp, nor a whisker. I looked under the bed. (And found my missing books and two mismatched socks) I looked under the dresser. Dust bunnies. Looked under the other dresser. Found the case for my drill and reciprocating saw --why is that in my room?? No idea. First result, I should clean out under my furniture more often. Second result, no mouse.
I did what any normal person would do who had an exhausting work day and was pooped. I threw the cats out, closed the door, and went to bed.
Image Courtesy Hammielover123 http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3267/2553654823_9605524547.jpg%3Fv%3D0&imgrefurl=http://dailyhamster.com/2008/06/12/cutest-mouse-ever/&usg=__Ki30yNSbgV072EUyuQpgcyK4qLE=&h=353&w=500&sz=104&hl=en&start=1&um=1&itbs=1&tbnid=KLMRtFKWbYoHGM:&tbnh=92&tbnw=130&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dcute%2Bmouse%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26tbs%3Disch:1

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bein' a Bride


So I got to rub shoulders with the soon-to-be bride --this is her beaming with her god-daughter this past weekend. Regardless of any drugged up delirium I may have had that day, I learned a few things.
1. It is not easy being from a large family. Rose and I were talking about it and she likened it to being in a high school clique, although one that stays with you your WHOLE LIFE. The role you were assigned at a young age is the mantle you wear for the rest of your life. Ah yes, you may accomplish things, you may get married or not, you may be whatever version of success or failure they deem is success or failure, but in the end... it is easier for families to operate if you stay loosely in the role that everyone sees you in. Be that : the smart one, the pretty one, the stubborn one, the clumsy one... ever wonder why some children move as far as possible away from family? Or why the NW of the US is so dang independent? Ask people where they are from. Where their family is. We have a lot of escapees here.
2. Family is a comfort. The good side. They know your sadnesses, the reason for your happies, they know your life. There can be comfort in not always having to explain yourself, who you are, how you came to be.
3. Family can make you crazy. Innocuous simple words such as "Can you pick up that piece of cookie on the floor?" " What did you get from Aunt Mabel?" can send a daughter into fits of apoplexy that only the oh so special mother-daughter relationship can explain.

At one point Rose put her head on my shoulder and said "I am glad you are the type of mom you are... thank you."
I will try to remember these light and appreciative moments when my now 15 year old tries my patience, pushes my buttons, and rolls into her own special teenagerland in the next couple years.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

House - Painted stairs


Yes, this could be considered a rather bold color... and yes, I did really like the white that the owners had the stairs painted, it was very "original" but with KIDS and their FEET and DOGS and their MUD and CATS and WHATEVER IT IS CATS DO my white house interior does not stay very white.

Some parts of it are even a dingy sorta dirtish color.

Birthday story of long ago


Well, birthday story of three years ago. It is the season of birthdays in our house, Wilder on the 28th of May, Rose on the 5th of June. That makes for action packed weekends around our place. I lived through Wilder's party of boys, and one girl... plus his sister. Lots of yelling and sugar rushing.
This weekend will be at least a dozen fifteen year-olds whooping it up around the house. Yikes. But girls are easier? Or at least there are less fart and burp jokes.
I was wondering if they were all going to go out after hours to the gravel pit and get all dirty sliding around on their rears... and was reminded when we lived in Seattle next to a large park and beach. For Rose's birthday we thought we would go the park in the dark to the beach... such excitement for a bunch of 12 year-olds. My next door neighbor was walking down with us also. 12 year old girls being naturally squeally we thought they could get their hollering out of their system at the beach and through the forest before I was trapped in a house with them overnight. So halfway down the trail said friend disappears ahead of us down a trail. We head down the main road toward the beach, me and a dozen girls. It is dark. Evergreen trees leaning over the road. The gals are clustered around me as we hike down the hill to the beach. A truck drives by us heading uphill toward the exit. Then, a few minutes later, the truck is back... directly behind us a few yards. With their lights off. And shaded windows that I could not see in to who was driving. Once the girls noticed we were being followed, they began to freak out. Who out there is familiar with group psychology of girls? Not pretty, and we were about 1/2 mile from home. With no one around. And my neighbor somewhere down the trail and not able to hear me when I was calling her. Here we were out having an exciting evening of night beach visits and we are being shadowed by a truck of creepers. My inclination was to tear those truck boys a new somethingerather, I was that pissed that they thought that would be funny.
The main thing I have thought of since this is what sort of people in the truck thought it was funny to intimidate a gaggle of prepubescent girls like a scene out of a bad horror flick? They must have felt very powerless within their own lives to get a charge outta that.
The boring end of story is : called home and Dennis came and got the kids in the minivan, called neighbor on trail to go home, and I did not get to kick anyone's truck butt.
Wish me luck for this weekend. I think we will "do nails."

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Seattle story - "Getting in Touch with Nature"



Every day that I work, (all of three days a week) I go to Metropolitan Market in West Seattle to pickup lunch, dinner, or goodies for our volunteers.
I usually walk around in my own little bubble, as Seattlelites are prone to do, but today I stepped out of my bubble to poke at someone elses bubble.
While waiting in the coffee line for tea and to purchase a lovely tomato plant (one can never grow too many tomatoes it seems in May and June, UNTIL those tomatoes start ripening, and then I wonder what the heck I was thinkin' and start pawning them off on strangers...)
anyway, on topic....waiting in line. The fellow in front of me was talking to coffee gal, and saying he had been communing with nature. That he was getting in touch with nature by going to Green Lake and walking.
Let's visit Green Lake, shall we?
When he was saying how good he felt being out of doors in nature, I could not help but let out one of those nostril blows that is somewhat snortish. He turned around, and said, "you don't like green lake?" I told him I did not really think Green Lake was nature. (man-made lake, giant paved trail around it, that is packed on weekends, surrounded by a busy road on three sides and a highway on the other, and fringed with houses) As is usual when I blurt out these blunt-ish statements, he got a bit ruffled. If he would have been HONEST and said " I went to Green Lake to check out the babes" or some such, I would not have snorted. So sad that Seattle residents are beginning to think a paved trail and lawn is nature. You plant housing and condos like trees, and look what happens. People lose touch with greenspace. Used to be a goal of Seattle... now it is just "build-me-up-baby...make-mine-multi-use-housing-please"
I guess that is what balconies and lanais are for. Plants.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Refrigerators


If you have any good fridge recommendations, let me know. The other day I had some leftover soup I had put in the freezer. It tasted... "interesting" not bad, just a bit different.
About a week later I reached in the freezer and pulled out a bag of (formerly) frozen vegetables, squishy, leaking, somewhat luke-warm. Did a minor swear and started poking at the rest of the stuff in the fridge. Most things were still rock solid frozen. Thought.... "hmmm, maybe the kids left the door ajar a bit."
When I got home from work on Sunday, Dennis was dropping the kids off. He politely informed me that a cat or dog had went pee on the entry way carpet. Then, we noticed it was not animal wee-wee, but refrigerator wee-wee. As in, the fridge was no longer cooling. Our fridge is now located in our camping coolers. And last night I cooked all the meats, so we will be set with eating the leftover halibut, salmon, bacon and kalbi beef. I didn't want it all to go bad...

I just know my hot water heater is next. The upside of that is that it would ruin everything in the basement I have not yet unpacked that is in boxes on the ground. All that water damage would let me throw it all out without looking at it, or having to put it all away.
And have a clean basement, like the day we moved in.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Parents, kids, and public middle school

"When I was young" we were a sloppy yet consistently big group of neighborhood kids that went through elementary, middle school and high school together. There were not other options other than catholic school in my youth... so the public schools were a pretty all encompassing group of children and adults within a defined geographical boundary. Never mind that the PTA back then was scary and a bit Stepfordwife-ish. There was a set of unspoken and spoken rules of how children and adults behave, what was acceptable in school, yada yada. And if little Johnnie or little Stephanie was out of line at school.... geez-lou-eezie you did not want to be there when their parents heard about it.
Middle school back then was mean. No two cents about it. Anyone who did not fit the mold (whatever that was at the moment) was tortured verbally, and the beginning of the clique culture began.
When I was faced with middle school for our daughter, I found a girls school that took her in. Her strength in math and science was developed at this point, and continue to give her an edge in high school. At the end of her time there, I left her dad and bought a farm. We moved to a small town.
Our son is gearing up for middle school. It feels like a slap in the face to me, I took him away from his Seattle friends thinking I was returning to a version of my childhood (yeah, I know you can't go back) where similar kids from allover a geographical area attend school together. Where it is clear what is acceptable, and what is not. HA. Would that be where kids divide by cultural background and taunt the kids not in their 'group'? Would that be where a middle school girl can be raped on a full SCHOOL BUS with no kids piping up and the driver not noticing? How about 11 year old kids being thrown against lockers and things thrown in toilets?
Fear of this is what makes parents, who have the financial ability, to homeschool or head off to private school.
I could do that with our daughter, what do I do with our son? I have thrown him into a substandard educational system, that seems to have no teeth against bullying and flat-out criminal activity. My daughter gets in arguments daily on the bus about gays, christianity and people of color. She told me yesterday that she is beginning to hate christianity. I told her the Ghandi quote "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ". It is hard to show her the middle road.

Monday, May 10, 2010

No Complaint Day

Photos: Top:I know the reason this grows on my trees is because the spores of the forest that once stood here 100 years ago still live in the area. Bottom: The trillium are blooming, or they were when I took this pic three weeks ago.


I have no complaints today. Just thought that would drop in a bit of fresh air. I probably shouldn't type anymore, because I will roll into some sort of whine about something. This Sunday in Kitsap County...


my old cat snores,


it was close to 70 degrees,


I sat in a chair outside "doing work due tomorrow" so slowly...,


had a great dinner with the kids made by the soon to-be-ex at his clean place, not my messy place in honor of mother's day,


had nice things said to me by our 14 year old, (who is almost as tall as her dad!)


had sunflowers in a pot given to me by our 10 year old son, (who is under the weather)


and I got stuck behind Bainbridge drivers who drive so retardedly (I know, not a word) slow like 10-15 miles below the speed limit that I almost expressed myself potty-mouth linguistically all the way across that godforsaken island. If I ever live on Bainbridge, you will know I am either a)on serious medication and not aware of my surroundings b)had a brain hemmorhage or traumatic head injury and so again "am not aware of my surroundings or c) I have lived through menopause but with a complete reversal of my personality and hormonal drives and come out the other side a middle-class housewife with an audi, timeshare in Hawaii, white carpets and furniture, botox injections, and a new husband who uses more facial products than I do. Happy days.

Did I mention the father of my beloved children live on Bainbridge? And he loves it?

And that little diatribe is not complaining. Or whining.
Note to readers: (also called the Seattle Disclaimer) The above is only my version of hell. I have never lived with white furniture and will probably not ever be attracted to a metrosexual man, this does not mean that audis or Hawaiian timeshares are evil. (Although... they aren't in the BIBLE) I digress. Damn, those bible teachings are thrilling! I digress again. I love you all. If you embrace the middle class ways as I have been taught to do, such as the experienced joy at a fresh mowed lawn or a fine cup of coffee made by an impertinent coffee puller (oops, I mean barista) it is all good. Marriage is good, homogeneity (?) is fine. Heck, we can even be friends if you live on Bainbridge. But it will be so very hard for me if you drive 15 miles under the speed limit on the highway. But I can do it. I live for the thrill of a good challenge. And my retard comment should have been the 70's 80's version where you drag out the REEEtard. Remember? If you are too young for that reference, or too old, then we can go with "mentally challenged" instead. See, you can take the girl out of Seattle, but not the Seattle PC out of the girl.






Monday, May 3, 2010

Habitat for Humanity - how to put up siding sexily

Quick post.
1. Went for my first session of "how to build a house" so I can volunteer. Actually, just want to have those basic skills, practice them in a safe supervised environment, and then help build a house!
2. This is a specific class "Women Build" , all gals, I guess so we don't get all quiet and female-y around the "take-charge" men.
3. When I went to check in, the front desk gal at Lowes, where the class was being held told me I was early and I should go "look at some pretty flowers" while waiting.
4. The fellow leading the class asked me how old I was in the 80's to use as an example of black mold. (I guarantee my age has nothing to do with the prevalence of black mold in modern housing)
5. I can't stand any of that shit. How old am I? Go look at flowers? Argh.

Gardening weekend

Once I worked (slept) through my first ever two-day migraine I have ever had I bounded out of bed (dizzily, caffeine-bereft) and went outside. It was momentarily not raining, so I decided to hell with the broken lawn tractor....I would hire someone to mow the lawn. It makes me crazy not to have the lawn mowed. It is not like it can get so long anyway, I don't water it in the summer, and let the horses at it spring and fall when it rains. But it is an uneven field of weeds, sprouts, mosses, a few grasses and volunteer onions (no idea why those are there).
Looked on craigslist...picked up the phone. Within an hour two guys came over. One hour after that I am in mowed lawn bliss. See, big headaches are great for some things. I really appreciated such a simple act. And then I planted. And planted, and planted. A new peach tree, and a pear. Two roses. Shade and sun perennials. Two pots worth of annuals. All my lilies and plants I divided and took from our old Seattle house. I may be cursing myself in a couple weeks when I have to weed the six new beds I created... but right now I am loving it.
For mothers day when I was living the standard family life, I always asked for an undisturbed day of gardening. If only I could get paid to putter in my yard. And avoid the house and all its demands to be cleaned and organized....maybe I could just camp outside. I will work on that goal.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Modified To-Do List

This is just to get it out of my head.
1. Leave for weekend trip. Get food for crew.
2. Leave note for kid dad, animal maintenance staffperson in our absence.
3. Call bridal mother.
4. Finalize details for bridal shower.
5. Maintain positive and forward thinking attitude. Even in the depths of todo list hell.
6. Drink water.
7. Find out what "noxious dangerous toxic" thing happened near our house in the last 100 years alluded to by neighbor.
8. Get brakes done on van.
9. Clean out mystery spills in van.
10. Clean out van in general.
11. Do nightly yoga with daughter. And speedwalking around road.
12. Figure out 'take care of ma' week in Michigan.
13. strip bathroom. Or ask kid dad to do it this weekend! yeah. like that idea.
14. Fix barn horses tore off front of. Brutes.
15. Pet horses. Groom horses.
16. Chase dog around yard.
17. Start up Sunday night baseball games.
18. Make cursed doctors appts.
19. Including cursed dentist.
20. Write report for work.
21. Sleep.
22. Daydream.
23. Drink coffee.
24. Enjoy baked goods in moderation.
25. Look at new school for children.
26. Talk to Rose' counselor.
27. Transfer audio system for memorial.
28. Do this all in the next 3 days.
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