Thursday, October 29, 2009

Village Shopping, Pumpkin Carving and a Pretty Puppy

While in Utah we visited Gardener's Village. It was a really fun place to go. Everywhere you looked it was Halloween in all it's fun fantasy-ness. (is that a word?) Here are a few shots from our stay:

Joni and I carved pumpkins today. I did a cat and she did something else. I think it looks like an alien, she thinks it looks like a devil. Mike thought it looked like a cow, ha ha. Whatever it is, its cute!

We had Oscar clipped a few days ago and he's been freezing ever since. Today Joni bought him a sweater. Now he is one happy puppy.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


I don't know who puts these things together.

I don't know how it works.

I just know that when I find places like THIS,

I have way too much fun.

And spend way too much time.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Tree Art

These are so cool! I love the people. They are surreal. I would probably be a little bit spooked if I walked in this garden after dark though. Enjoy!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Get Creative!

I found this website.

A total waste of time.

....but it's fun!

You should try it.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Big Scary Baby Mouse

We have a doggy door.
One of those little openings that our puppy can use whenever the urge-to-go-outside hits. I love it. I can work all day and not worry about Oscar dog dancing around with his legs crossed. We also have a underground radio fence, so I don't have to worry about him running away, or getting lost, but that's another story.

That's the good side about having a doggy door.

There's also a bad side.

Cats can also go through the doggy door.
We currently have 2 cats. How we got those 2 cats are also other stories for other days.

Cat #1. Named "Spider-Slayer", "Spike", "Gandalf Salrong Blah Blah the Grey", or more commonly called "Kitty". He is young, easily spooked, and very soft to the touch. He loves to sneak out the doggy door and park himself underneath the bird feeders out on the deck. The good news is that he's not a very good hunter. The bad news is he's getting better.

Cat #2. Named "Burns", not to be confused with "Mr. Burns", another cat we had until last winter. Burns is a pretty old warrior cat. He's been through many a battle. He's had his back leg totally shattered, broken off tooth that abcessed through his lower jaw, has urinary tract disease, and had his eye poked out. (The vet was able to put the eye back in and fix him up pretty good, but we're pretty sure that eye is blind.)

He's also a master hunter.

Every evening like clockwork Burns will announce his arrival with the nightly kill. His meow takes on a different timbre and we immediately know he's got a mouse. We run for the stairs, his favorite mouse eating spot. If we're really fast we can usually grab Burns and throw him outside before he gulps it down. He's learned he needs to eat it really fast before we take it away from him. I don't think he even chews. It just slides down in one long slurp.

We've learned to close up the doggy door every evening about dusk. Once in a while, though, we forget.

The little mouse critters are usually very dead before Burns brings them in, but once in a while he will bring one with a little fight left. That's when things get interesting. Burns has usually wounded them enough that its fairly easy to plop a bucket on top of them and wait until Mike comes home to remove it. I should rephrase that and say it's wounded enough that Joni can plop a bucket on top of it, I'm probably standing on the dining room table cowering in fear.

Me and mice don't jive.

A couple of nights ago I was home alone and I heard "the meow".
I run upstairs and don't see Burns anywhere.
I go outside to see if he's ingesting his meal outside (he's learned to do that sometimes so we won't take it away from him).
No Burns.
Oh well, I think, and go into my bedroom.
Burns has a tiny little baby mouse on my carpet in my bedroom and it's VERY MUCH ALIVE!!!
I'm torn between running down the hall screaming in terror and nervously watching from the doorway. I swallow my bravery pill and watch. Burns lets the mouse run around and then pounces on it. It was a very tiny baby mouse. I just knew Burns was letting that thing have way too much freedom. He was going to lose it. I couldn't take it any more, so I went to close up the doggy door. (Why didn't I do it 15 minutes ago?) I turned around and there was Burns. He really wanted me to let him go back outside.

Wait a minute. Where's the mouse?

I knew it. That mouse was so little Burns didn't think it was worth the effort.
I threw Burns back in my bedroom and shut the door. I really wanted him to catch that mouse! He had totally lost interest.

I didn't think I'd be able to sleep in my bedroom knowing there was a rogue mouse loose, but after putting everything up high and making sure none of my blankets were anywhere near the floor, and, oh yea, after taking a sleeping pill, I managed to sleep pretty good.

Fast forward to the next evening. Joni came into my room and said, "mom, come here". I followed her out to the living room where she pointed at "Kitty". He had his nose buried under the recliner, his tail swishing rhythmically back and forth, just as it does when he's under the bird feeders.

We had located the big scary baby mouse. Mike, Joni, Andy, and I were all home, so I did the sensible thing and retreated to my bedroom. Mike, Joni, and Andy are all experienced mouse catchers. They threw Oscar in my room with me and went to do the deed. (Oscar is no help in mice catching.)

I heard shouts, felt thumps and bumps, and more yelling and shouting. At one point Mike yelled through my bedroom door, "WHATEVER YOU DO, DO NOT OPEN THIS DOOR!"
Like that was going to happen.

Finally the din quieted, Oscar quit barking, I heard the front door open and shut, and then Joni came in.

"we got it."

I knew they would. I thought about helping them, but I would have just gotten in the way. *grin*

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I'm Getting Cranky.....

Andy's sick and I'm tired. Together we're sick and tired of the Swine.

and the pneumonia.

Andy's been on antibiotics for the pneumonia for 48 hours now and he's no better. He had a temp of 101 a couple of hours ago. If he's not better in the morning I'm calling up the Doc. Maybe he needs some breathing treatments or something.

The Swine came a calling 14 days ago. Blecht.

At work I'm having an issue of another sort. I am in charge of 20+ student employees. When they don't do their job I feel like it reflects on me. Tonight I'm quite unhappy. I just sent 2 buses full of students to hike the Menan Butte. Normally I have 2 of our more senior students lead each bus's field trip. I couldn't get enough to sign up, so I only had one student scheduled per bus. The busses leave 1 hour apart, so as one group gets done, the other starts. The rest of the time is driving to and from the Butte. Well.....I had a no-show student leader on the second bus. One student had to handle 2 busses normally handled by 4 students. I'm disappointed in them. I feel like kicking some butts. It's a good thing I have all night to calm down. By tomorrow I will just be ticked off. By tomorrow I don't think I'll draw blood.

Monday, October 5, 2009

An Apple a Day Doesn't Work

All Andy's eaten for about a week is an apple a day. According to folklore this is supposed to preclude any doctoral visits. Not so.

We ended up taking Andy to the doctor this afternoon. They poked, prodded, listened to, asked questions of, and gave him the royal once-over and stated that they believe he has the Swine Flu. It's just what we believe he has. They had to draw blood for a confirmation. Andy said, "good luck with that". Doc asked him if he was afraid of needles and Andy said, "nope, I just don't have any veins". I think the doctor thought he was exaggerating. After all Andy is a huge 6'3" 230 pound guy. Usually guy's his size have veins that virtually pop out. 30 minutes, 4 tourniquets, 2 warm wet cloth wraps, and 3 needle sticks later they believed. The Doc and nurse both said he was built for self preservation. If a bear attacked he probably wouldn't bleed much. He veins would just dive for cover under his bones and cower there until it was safe to come out. But the Doc did perservere and got a blood sample. We'll find out tomorrow whether or not he has a confirmed case of the Swine.

While doing the body check the Doc noticed he had one lung that was not sounding too good. He sent us for x-rays. Before we got home we got a phone call telling us the x-rays showed pneumonia. Now he's on antibiotics for that. Poor Andy. He's not liking the Swine.

He hates the Swine,
It ain't so fine,
Can't work his job,
Feels like a slob,
When will it end,
When will he mend?

Sorry. I got carried away........

Sunday, October 4, 2009


How long can the flu last? I keep thinking he's over it, but no dice. I guess he needs to build back up his strength. He hasn't had anything but apples for days. Don't ask me why he just wanted apples. He said it was the only thing that appealed to him. I did manage to entice him to eat about 2 ounces of steak tonight. He also had a heaping bowl of jello.

Well, that's not quite accurate. He heaped his bowl with jello, and then ate about half of it. I think his eyes were bigger than his tummy. And this is the kid I could never fill up.

It was my kind of day today. Rainy! I went for a walk in it. It was invigorating. Then I came back to a stifling hot house. Joni got at the thermometer again. I swear that girl needs to move to Arizona. Or the equator.

I enjoyed conference. The last two days were full of peace and comfort. I'm glad I could listen to most of it. I finished a necklace I started making yesterday. It's pretty good I think. Joni liked it and she's my fashion consultant, so I guess I did okay. Maybe I'll even post a picture of it. Maybe.

I decided to tackle my drawing again and turn it into an illustration. I scanned it and brought it into Photoshop. Wow! I really forgot how to use Photoshop. I worked on it for an hour, cleaning up the lines and designing it a bit better. Then I printed it out. My big plan was to transfer the pattern to a piece of Bristol paper and ink it. Then I was going to watercolor it. Now that it's on the paper and inked I almost think I might put it back in Photoshop and paint it in there. Who knows, maybe I'll do both. I'm just plugging away at my art, trying to get my groove back. I guess it will get easier, but right now I feel like I'm stuck in mud, straining at each step as I pull my galoshed boot from the sucking mud. I can't wait to get back on the little forest path that winds around in effortless and interesting ways.

Friday, October 2, 2009

It had to be Swine

I found out how they keep the Swine Flue numbers so low for this area.
They don't test anyone to see if they have it!

Andy has been sick for over a week. I've never seen anyone so sick for so long. He really got bad last Friday and Saturday. On Sunday morning we decided we'd better take him up to the hospital. Mike called first and was told, "we wouldn't do anything for him that you can't do at home, and we'd just cost a lot more money".

So we kept him home.

When he first got sick I asked him how he felt.
"I'm dizzy everytime I stand up, I can't quit sweating, I ache all over, my stomach hurts, and it feels like I have tobacco in my throat."
Huh? I said, "I didn't know you knew what having tobacco in your throat feels like."
and he said, "I do now!"

He's had a high fever and a hard time breathing all week. He's sweated buckets. One night he lost 7 pounds. All the blankets sheets, and pillows he's used have been washed and rewashed. Every time I touch something I think, "Andy probably touched/breathed on/coughed on this" and I go wash my hands. My hands feel like dry sandpaper. The house smells like Lysol. I've got 4 cans that I continue to use in copious amounts everytime I think Andy has probably touched/breathed on/coughed on anything. I'm not known for my stellar immune system, but so far I haven't caught anything (knock on wood).

He's looking a lot better this afternoon. I'm glad. I just hope his fever doesn't spike again tonight. Just one morning I would like to wake up and not see a pile of sweat-soaked blankets and Andy-sized clothes strewn all over the bathroom.

Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to go wash my hands and spray down the keyboard.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Just Start

I was in a group of people. We were waiting. I had a pencil and a pad of paper with me. I looked around. There were some very interesting faces. They hardly moved as we waited. I started to draw. It felt pretty good. It's been a long time since I've drawn anything. I was quite startled to realize that what I was drawing was really good! I thought to myself, "why haven't I been drawing for so long? I'm pretty dang good at it!" The faces were captured on my pad, one after another.

The waiting ended. I hurriedly put away my pad and pencil and stood up.

and then I woke up.

I think it was a sign. I need to start drawing again, whether I feel like it or not.

So tonight, after cleaning up another vomit mess and feeling drained that after a week my son was still sick, I went in the studio.

I got out my pad, and my pencil, and I started to draw.

and I thought to myself, "why haven't I been drawing for so long? I'm pretty dang bad at it!..........but I'll get better."

And you know what? It felt pretty dang good.