Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Winter Chronicles

On this third day of official winter, I had an easy time taking breakfast hay in the cart to the barnyard for the horses. 

Bill went out early, fired up the Kubota and, before cleaning out the driveway, he plowed a couple of nice circles around the barnyard as well as swath to the manure pile.   

In the case of the manure, that path makes it easier for me to dump the newest deposit of overnight horse apples from barn stalls and, maybe more importantly, much easier for the dogs to get at 'em for their morning treats. 

After last winter, spring and summer's sore shoulder, et. al., I requested a few weeks ago that when winter comes if he  would he do just that for me, I would not have to shovel snow in the early mornings.  

As many months as that mysterious, stubborn and painful injury lasted, I decided that this ol' tough girl was gonna turn a bit wussy and do whatever possible to save my body. 

In following that approach, I should be able to continue taking care of horses the year around.  There was actually a time last winter that I was thinking I may have to give up on them. 

Happily, whatever my shoulder, back and neck problem happened to be, it has gone into remission.  I'm figuring, however, that it would happily return if I started shoveling snow again. 

So, with Bill's help with the tractor or the snowblower, which I greatly appreciate, I think we can manage. 

Ain't fun having a body start getting old, but if we find ways to compensate, all will work out. 

Yesterday's day-long and into-the-night snowy slopfest had a few elements that reminded me of my favorite seasonal cliche "why we hate winter," and that includes the dogs.

Dogs have to spend more time in the garage drying out.  They would much rather come into the house, where Liam usually unmakes a bed, crawls under the covers and takes long winter's naps, while Foster hangs out on the couch.  

Kiwi seems to prefer the garage as her personal "dog cave."  

BTW:  she's back to being Kiwi, which includes successfully begging for at least ten biscuits a day as I walk through the garage to and fro from the house. 

The wet-weather dog inconveniences, however, are not nearly as frustrating as yesterday's intensive advent of cleaning off satellite dishes. 

Wet weather tends to keep folks inside, where playing on the computer or watching TV fill up the recreational hours. 

There must have been a special mixture in yesterday's winter slop cuz I went outside to clean off the two dishes (TV and Internet) at least 15 times:  a record!

And, at least a couple of those times, I talked out loud while slogging back inside with my broom and my wet head. 

"This is why I hate winter!" I grouched to myself, as if I've never told myself that before.  

When we get old, though, we have a right to repeat ourselves, even if only snow-laden trees are listening.

I'm really hoping that yesterday's frequency of satellite dish sweeping was an anomaly.  

Otherwise, we'll have to do as my friend Helen and I agreed:  set up a schedule where family members sit outside near the dishes with brooms so they can do dish snow maintenance every five minutes. 

That strategy could surely alleviate a couch explosion from whoever happens to be inside the house watching a compelling program where the instant the most crucial part of a program unfolds, the television screen turns into a dancing jigsaw puzzle. 

This very scenario actually happened to me last night while watching a documentary about former Indiana basketball coach Bobby Knight, and I had not pre-recorded the program.

My situation of missing the exact moment an old video clip in the documentary showed Bobby Knight putting his hand on a basketball player's neck during practice made me realize that the idea of putting someone on dish duty is not practical when only you and the dogs are home.  

Bill had gone to choir practice so I could not call upon him. 

Speaking of dogs, though, and especially Border Collies, maybe I could start training Liam to go out and clean off the dish. He loves his jobs and he has already demonstrated his jumping ability with the town squirrels. 

Just stick a broom in his mouth and let him go at it.  

Once he masters the chore, I could even video him in action and then add the video to all those others I see on Facebook, clearly demonstrating that Border Collies sure are smart dogs.

Anyway, today looks like a kinder, gentler winter day, especially after having an easy start in the barnyard. 
We had stars in the sky this morning, and the precip has stopped for at least a day. 

In other good news, Willie's basketball team won their second game last night in Priest River.  So, we're all happy and proud of the coaches and the girls. 

With that, I'll get on with this better winter day. 

Happy Wednesday.  And, do spread the love here in the season!  

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Tuesday This and That Fuzziness

It's snowing again.

I saw a weather report yesterday that we'll be on a winter storm watch today. 

It may have just begun. 

First day of snow has passed and the following has happened:

Horses survived their first night in the barn.

I've survived my first morning of shoveling.

Yesterday I baked bread and carmel nut rolls.

Bill and I had breakfast for dinner last night---fresh rolls, bacon and scrambled eggs.  Yum. 

Seattle Seahawks won a tough-fought 8th game to continue their way toward the play-offs.

Gonzaga fell to fourth in NCAA rankings.

Mow's Jayhawks rose to first. 

Gotta keep the gang happy! 

The Subaru has new brakes after getting four new tires. 

Safer driving again. 

I threw snowballs at the horses yesterday.  

With hay all eaten for the day and grass hidden beneath the snow, horses get bored, so why not eat a board!

Three stood at the fence west of the kitchen window, looking my way and chewing to their hearts' content.

I came outside and yelled.

They kept on chewing. 

I ran toward the fence and yelled.  

They kept on chewing. 

I threw snowballs. 

They ran away. 

I walked away.

They came back.

They chewed.

I threw. 

This interchange went on for about five minutes.  

Finally, they decided to retreat and stay retreated.

Today the horses are in the barnyard.

Today the electric fence is on. 

For several days, they may not chew. 

I'll plug in the fence from time to time, in hopes of salvaging the barnyard boards, which have already provided ample entertainment for idle moments of winters past. 

Like Bill said this morning.  Usually in the winter, they can't get to the fence because of the snow.

I really don't blame them because I know how boredom brings on the need to do some sort of chewing.  With humans, however, we can go to the candy jar or the refrigerator for something to chew on.

Or, our finger or hang nails!  

For horses, it's either their own frozen droppings or the fence or each other.  Kinda limiting.

Maybe I need to get an old refrigerator and put it out in the barnyard with some carrots inside. 

In other earth-shattering news, I went to the Dollar Store yesterday, just to see what kind of inexpensive (not cheap, mind you) stuff I could find to add to my garden-fence display. 

I found some cute little wreaths which could go under the garland.  While walking toward the counter, I saw a lady looking at me.  I did not acknowledge her stare.

Later, while waiting in my cashier slot, I looked back at the lady and realized I had not been very friendly. 

It was Rachel, whom I've known since she was a small child.

Later, I got her attention and said hi, apologizing because "I don't have my glasses on." 

I know I've already mentioned this focusing phenomenon in a "Slight Detour" posting from the other day.  

As the Christmas season shopping gets more intense, I find myself in settings with lots of people walking to and fro. 

Sometimes I remember my glasses.  Sometimes I don't.  Sometimes I have my glasses around my neck but forget they are there. 

So, again, I must mention that people look like pretty fuzzy creatures these days, and that's NOT because they're growing winter hair like my horses.

It's totally on this end.  My eyes, without glasses, especially under inside lighting, seem to prefer fuzzy over clear. 

The other day when I was at Yoke's, I saw a woman at least ten aisles away withOUT my glasses AND I knew who she was.

"Hi, Julie," I yelled, with a quick proclamation,"I could even see who you were withOUT my glasses." 

Julie, another retired educator, said that situation was becoming a problem for her too.  She's maybe one year younger than I am, so it's understandable. 

While chuckling about this new dimension in not aging very gracefully, I told her there was an added benefit to the fuzzy figure syndrome.

"If it's someone you know you should know but you don't," I explained. "Just use that excuse.  That way they may just even save you from the embarrassment of not knowing their name by providing their name."

There is one caution to go along with that tactic, though, I advised Julie.

"Make sure you don't have your glasses on when you use the excuse.

Which brought further laughter and the rationalization that at our age, people probably expect pretty much any kind of strange behavior.  

So, we're safe, even if the people don't look to fuzzy when they're up close and personal and we don't know who the heck we're talking to. 

Which brings to mind, I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me when I saw who I thought was the star of one of my most favorite television shows ever.

But when I this ol' English teacher saw clearly that the spelling was wrong, I felt much better.

My eyes don't play tricks on me all the time. 

Happy Tuesday.  

We'll see what happens on this second day of snow, and I'm betting that I won't need to throw snowballs at my horses today. 

Monday, December 10, 2018

Season Hath Arrived . . . .

At least for a while, we can say good bye to scenes like the one above.  

No more green grass in December.

Snow has fallen.

A blanket of white has covered a generally bland landscape.

 Today marks a dramatic transition into winter as we commonly know it.

Snow shovels have replaced rakes.

Boots will be the norm rather than the exception.

Bill put the rear blade on the tractor yesterday.

Tonight will be the first night of several months when horses come into the barn and stay in their box stalls all night long.

I'll be shoveling horse apples in the morning and listening to music on the radio.

The pile of black gold next to the barn will begin to be replenished for yet another season of gardening. 

Dogs will go through toweling off moments before coming into the house. 

The broom next to the entrance into the house will get more use, sweeping snow from boots. 

And, often, vehicles will require broom work on wind shields and roofs. 

Yup, winter is here.  

Don't know how severe it will be this year, but we've had plenty of time to prepare.

And, happily we'll have a lot less time than usual to groan about the extra work it brings. 

I'm actually welcoming this first snow because it will cover up dead grass and leaves, which have gradually led to a feeling of visual blahs for the past several days. 

It's a change, so far not too bad.  

With only a couple of inches of snow on the ground, I did not have to shovel pathways to feed the horses this morning. 

So, I'm not complaining.

And, I'm excited for daylight to come because I hung my wreaths and some garland on the garden fence.


Every time I'm working at the kitchen sink, I can feel a bit more festive, especially today if the decorations have a dusting of white snow.  

Yes, the element needed to help usher us into the true nostalgia of the Christmas season has arrived. 

A little extra work, yes, but for now a most welcome sight. 

Finally, last night, I watched the CNN Heroes program, which was beyond inspiring from start to finish. 

This year's program had a special touch.  The first recipient of the ten CNN heroes is from Kimberly, Idaho, near Twin Falls. 

Luke Mickelson started an organization called "Sleep in Heavenly Peace."  Its purpose:  to make beds for so no kid has to sleep on the floor. 

I was so excited to see someone from Idaho receive the award that I connected with Luke and might just have some more to add to his story.  

So, stay tuned.  

Luke and his team of volunteers, along with the other nine recipients, could certainly fit among the ten thousand points of light concept coined by President George Herbert Walker Bush. 

That's all for now. 

Happy Monday. Hello, Winter. 

CB eating breakfast. 

Sunday, December 09, 2018

Generous Cold

Hack, hack, hack. 


Drip, drip, drip.

Blow, blow, blow!

Hack, hack, hack. 


Drip, drip, drip.

Blow, blow, blow!

And, occasionally nod off!

Got that??????????????

If you don't, you will. 

I tried every possible tactic to avoid getting THE COLD.  

Stayed far away from my sisters who got started with it before Thanksgiving.

Washed my hands way more than usual. 

Took Airborne every day for several days.

Mid-week, I started on Zycam, the expensive spray drug which supposedly shortens your cold IF you spray at the first sign of a cold.

Who, the heck knows precisely when the first sign of a cold is going to hit ????? 

Imagine wanting to make sure you don't miss that moment, so you turn into a Zycam" concealed container carrier."

You're sitting in a meeting.  Suddenly, you feel a sneeze coming on.  

Never mind the it could be an allegic reaction to the perfume permeating under your nose after wafting your way from the person next to you. 

Suddenly, you sit up at full alert.  

Just as everyone is supposed to say "aye" on an important motion, you interrupt the proceedings.

 "Okay, got this!" you yell out. 

Suddenly, you become the object of a roomful of stares as you pull out that spray bottle which you've been "carrying and concealing" for several days.  

Wasting not one second, you stick it inside your mouth, pull a cheek out----spray.

Then, pull the other cheek out---spray.

Lift the upper lip, spray your top gum.  BTW: this gets a little messy as some of the spray may miss the target and will dribble down your face. 

Next, pull down your bottom lip, spray.

If that isn't enough, then, with your colleagues watching in total amazement, you turn that bottle upside down and spray the roof of your mouth. 

That done, you put the bottle back into its pocket, stare straight ahead, swish vigorously inside your mouth for 15 seconds and then swallow. 

Finally, you can say "aye." 

Then, you can also let everyone in the room know that they're gonna get THE COLD.

And, then, the vote goes down cuz in unison, everyone who's heard about the cold, yells out, "NO!" 

Apparently, I miscalculated on my exact first sign cuz my cold-----that I tried so hard not to get----feels very much like it wants to stick around for a while.  

After listening to me sneeze, blow and cough for several hours, Bill asked if he could borrow my Zycam. 

Well, those folks know how to make a profit cuz everyone's gotta get their OWN Zycam unless they think it's a good idea to stick the same spray bottle inside their mouths that has been operating inside a mouth that has caught the cold. 

Plus, I don't think Bill's so convinced that Zycam is gonna insulate him from THE COLD after watching my pre-cold efforts. 

After getting well into the second day of my cold (they call it a 'viral cold'),  I went down to Yoke's Pharmacy in search of relief.  

Fresh off from a week of remembering President George Herbert Walker Bush, I posed a question to the pharmacist.

 "Do you have a kind and gentle cold medicine," I began, adding, "one that doesn't make me feel all drugged up?"

After asking about my symptoms, she said Alka Selzer Plus would probably suit me just fine.  

That was good news because in my vast history of trying to get over colds, I do remember Alka Selzer with much more fondness than Coricidin and Vicks 44.

I do believe that cold medicines are designer drugs, made in individual fashion to suit individual noseblowers, hackers and sneezers. 

Today is third day in for THE COLD.  Yesterday the Alka Selzer gave me enough edge in the afternoon to get back some of my desire to do something else besides slouch on the couch.

Later, after watching the Kansas Jay Hawks come back to beat a feisty New Mexico, I took my second batch of "plop, plop, fizz, fizz----oh, what a relief it is," and slept like a baby clear through the night. 

Upon awakening this morning, I felt "zesty," almost like a new woman----well, in comparison to yesterday morning when attempting each individual movement from bed to bathroom took extra thought.  

This morning's burst of energy now seems to be rather short-lived, just as my sisters had told me the day I finally went to visit them, same day Laurie had sprayed their entire house with Lysol. 

I felt relatively safe sitting there in their living room as they told me about each day during the two weeks prior when, thinking they were finally cured, they went to do barn chores, only to return to the house worn out and eager to collapse.

So, I guess the only recourse in this state of sluggishness and slurping is to grin as much as possible and sneak in the projects right after the plop, plop, fizz, fizz portions of the day. 

Yesterday's misery was not a total loss.  

Willie's Bulldogs won their first game last night (55-29) in Bonners Ferry.  It has taken time, patience and learning.  Happily, last night a player who had sat on the bench all season with an injury came back and made a significant difference.

I was both amazed and proud of my son when I sent him a note of encouragement a while back after a loss.  

First, I wanted to let him know I was very proud watching him coach during that night which had to be total frustration. 

He never lost his cool.  He kept on calmly coaching and educating along the bench throughout.  Toward the end of that game, the lessons learned from the first half started turning into little victories. 

He wrote in his response to my note:  they're good kids and the best part, he wrote, they want to learn and get better. 

Looks like the strategy is working, and it's definitely a page out of life. 

Congrats to Willie and to the Bulldogs.

During couch slouch time, I also shed a tear or two, and I know Bill did too as we watched a Home Depot commercial during the Army-Navy game, featuring Sandpoint's Army Sgt. Brandon Adam, recipient of a Smart Home through the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation. 

Brandon and his family attended the game, and I must say that both Brandon and my brother Mike (West Point grad) were quite happy with the game's outcome as Army won for the third consecutive year.

All in all, yesterday was a day I don't care to repeat, but it had its good moments, and in the midst of this yucky cold, that is always a good thing. 

If I've gotta keep sneezing and coughing, I'm hoping for another day of good moments when the ZAGS (No. 1) take on the Tennessee Volunteers (No. 7) in Phoenix on ESPN at noon PST.  

Bet I don't nod off during that one!

GO, ZAGS!  Let's make it 10-0.   


Saturday, December 08, 2018

Good Peeps and Creative Goodies

Not So Plain GLASS by Ronald Seider of Moyie Springs. 

Slowly but surely, I'm putzing along on writing and sending out my Christmas cards.  

With another little stack completed yesterday afternoon, I decided to put them in the mail.  Knowing the little post offices where I usually go were closed, I drove to the Bonner Mall where there's a blue box near Staples. 

The mall parking lot was packed.  

"What could this be?" I thought to myself.  

Then, I remembered days gone by on a December weekend when my mother and I would set up tables with displays of her artwork and my books and then sit for three days at the annual mall craft sale. 

Good memories.  

Mother and enjoyed lots of laughs, occasionally brisk sales and good times with potential customers strolling through, hoping to find stocking stuffers or just the perfect present for a friend or family member.

Mother's cards were always popular, and I still hear story after story from folks who took them home, did not give them away.  Instead, many framed them and kept a collection in their homes. 

So, the moment I realized it was mall craft-sale time, a tinge of nostalgia took over as did a need to park, walk inside and see what happens these days at the sale. 

I ended up spending about 45 minutes strolling through the area, surveying the tables to see what looked interesting. 

My route took me among soaps, glass fusion, dolls, an array of knitted and crocheted items, stained glass, various levels of decorated wreaths, even a set of lovely barn paintings closely resembling my mother's.  

This experience was almost immediately enhanced by the rich and soothing voice of a cowboy singing and playing the guitar inside the spot where my daughter Annie once worked for Nancy Meyer at Sport Tees. 

This crooner reminded me a bit of Marty Robbins, one of our family's favorites, especially my dad's.   

So, memory lane was truly intensifying quickly, and when I spotted (without my glasses) Terri and Phil Oppermann seated at a table with their personal creations, 'twas old home week, for sure.  

Terri and Phil attended my mother's 85th birthday party a while back.  

Terri and I have experienced some interesting horse-related adventures over the past 50 years or so, including my nervous moment when a Canadian mountie stopped me south of Calgary and told me "we frown on speeders here in the province."  

After scaring the beejeebers out of me while Terri sat in the passenger side enjoying a good chuckle, we moved on to Calgary and the Canadian National Arabian Show where we were to help out the Balch family who were showing a horse at the Nationals. 

We slept in a stall, and the vivid memories of that trip did not end with Marianne's brush with the Mounties.  

Early in the morning, I felt the need to leave my sleeping bag and head to the lavatory.  As I stepped out of the box stall, I could not believe my eyes. 

There stood entertainer Wayne Newton, talking to his trainer outside a barn door where Mr. Newton's horses were staying. 

I saw the sight, refocused to make sure I was really seeing what I was seeing and then stepped back inside the barn door.

"Terri, Wayne Newton's out there," I whispered, nudging her to wake up.  

For some reason Terri didn't seem nearly as impressed that moment as she had earlier when the Mountie was lecturing me alongside the roadway. 

I think Terri went back to sleep, and, uncharacteristically for me, I simply went to the bathroom without walking up to Mr. Newton, whose trainer later showed the national champion stallion at the show.  

So, yes, Terri and I have many a good memory through our years as family friends.  Her hubby Phil, a forester and quite the wooden toy crafter, also knows Bill.  Today I'll probably head back to the craft sale for one of Terri's wreaths. 

By the way, if you ever want a gorgeous arrangement of flowers for a very reasonable price, look up A Floral Rainbow.  Terri's talent with flowers is astounding. 

After visiting with Terri and Phil and the crooner whose name is Chuck Wasileski and who sings occasionally at the Farmhouse Silo Kitchen Restaurant AND who does paint cards that look a lot like my mother's, I moved on with a bit more speed. 

Just as I was leaving, though, I stopped at Barbara Gustafson's table where her hubby's crafts with horse shoes and her beautiful jewelry and scarves are all exquisite. 

Turns out, as we talked, I did know Barbara a long time ago when I was still teaching at Sandpoint High.  She worked there for a time, and she also spent a few years at Farmin-Stidwell. 

When she mentioned the name Bob Posey, I suddenly felt a hint of recognition.  Bob, at the time, was her son-in-law and our school parking lot supervisor, among other duties. 

It was fun to catch up on Bob and to learn that his son/Barbara's grandson graduated from Boise State and now works at a kindergarten teacher. 

As I walked out the door, I heard someone call my name.  

Apologetically, I announced, "I don't have my glasses on," which is becoming a new and common phenomenon for me whenever I go into stores and people whom I used to recognize with clarity are now blurry figures until I'm almost looking into their face.

This person happened to be a former student, Kelli Whitman, who, often with her sister Carrie, sells soaps and accessories at the craft sale.  

I think I like that soap dish in the photo and could maybe use several for all the trinkets that lay strewn around our house. 

Anyway, I enjoyed Memory Lane at the craft sale.  Once again, the event gave me a nice feeling about some wonderful times spent with my mother. 

The sale continues today and tomorrow, with today's opening at 10 a.m.

I do believe other entertainers will join Chuck throughout each day.  Definitely a festive happening with some fun gift ideas and good peeps. 

Happy Saturday.  

UPDATE:  In the "this just in," I just saw the following on Facebook:   Checkout the Adam crew on CBS today for the Army Navy game!! #GoArmy! #T2T.  

That would be our Sgt. Brandon Adam, a 2003 Sandpoint High School graduate and his adorable family.

That's all I know, but whatever it is, it will be fun to see this remarkable American hero.   

Phil Opperman and Terri Greene Opperman. 

Chuck Wasileski. 

Glass fusion by artist SL Yeager.

Kelli Whitman, always a regular at the mall craft sale. 

Barbara Gustafson