Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Male Bonding ~ Illustrated

It's important --- when you're a guy --- to bond with your fellow man. This can be done in different and effective ways.

You can huddle together, eyes narrowed as you concentrate...as one of your team describes how best to remove a hook from a small-mouth bass. A small-mouth with a big-mouth when he swallowed the hook and the hook made itself half way through the digestive system before it lodged. It's important to hold your arm just so, as the fish bides it's time and waits for you to remove the hook. I wonder, do they hold their breath while doing this? (Oh, I mean the fish, not the guy.)



You must travel to the place of maximum male bonding quickly. Training your eyes not to watch the speedometer helps, so does massive quantities of diesel fuel. A speeding citation is just part of the cost of the male bonding experience.

It's essential to own an efficient and classy lodge for the night. Any guy can buy new but a real man finds a lodge for free and "updates" it. It should be appointed with the finest accessories, all necessary for upholding the bonding experience.







Watercraft are important when you're a guy. Necessary for bonding is a boat to carry fellow fisherguys, all intent on the Quest. The Quest is two-fold: #1 "limit out" and (more importantly) #2: capture the "record".







If this doesn't happen, you name your boat appropriately.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Back from Paradise

Being completely serious now ... I've returned to work after four days in paradise and can deal with the world, again. Well, at least for this work week. I'm sure I'll need another break by then.

In the middle of the state the desert is filled with surprises. Below Grand Coulee dam lies 27-mile-long Banks Lake. A mecca for power boaters, water skiers, personal watercraft-ers (is that a word?) it's more beautiful when all those folks have hung it up for the season.

Then it's time for the quiet sports: fishing, cooking, eating, reading and sleeping. (I know sleeping is a sport because it's something I work real hard at, and don't get enough of.)

The Canada geese sat on their sand bar and 'thumbed' their beaks at me, daring me to wade closer for a better picture. Nope, too deep. These fellows were the advance guard for the hundreds who'll arrive in October --- on their way to southern climates filled with beach parties and day spas.



Unless you're a geologist you might not understand how beautiful rocks can be. I'm not but I do. They change hues as the bright sun crosses the sky. From, uh, rock-color to pinks and warm browns, they're stunning.



Steamboat Rock, the park's namesake, rears out of the desert. It's a kick to climb!





This colorful, little guy held his wings open long enough for me to immortalize him on my blog. I think he's a moth...does anyone know what kind?



After three sunsets it was time to go home. Someday I'll leave Washington and move to my ranch in New Mexico. I'll miss this place.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dude --- You're in Charge

Quaker, dude! Just wanted to let you know Dad and I are headed over to the dry, sunny part of the state for a few days of camping.

I plan to sleep in late, cook huge breakfasts and eat everything. I'll hang out near or on the lake, snatch some bass and read the last book in the Twilight series. I'll ride my new bike around the park and hike back to the old homestead if the rattlesnakes don't get me first. More than anything though, I plan to relax. Except, of course, when I'm roasting marshmallows for my s'mores. Can't relax then, oh no! It takes the utmost concentration to get those mallows just the right shade of brown with the inside ooey-gooey and not to torch the suckers!



So, while we're gone, since you have seniority on the place, you're in charge. I know, I know...you're the smallest horse here. But you stand a mighty 31 inches at your shoulders and you have a command presence about you. That should be good enough to hold you for the next 4 days.

If not --- kick 'em, hard....in the ankles.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tell Me It Ain't So!

Hey Pete!

Did you know yesterday was the last day of Summer? Did you know the warm days and rain showers that make the grass grow are toast? Did you know the serious weather will soon start...torrential downpours, snow piled high in the pasture and boring days spent in the barn sheltered from those blasted Chinook winds?



Do you hear me, Pete?


Huh?



I'm telling you...the weather is changing. Summer ended yesterday. It's Fall now. Then Winter comes. No more luscious, green grass. The end of balmy days munching your way around the pasture.

Winter will mean nasty soggy weather, muddy and icy footing, freezing, blowing snow, howling winds. Pete, you need to know about things like this.



I know, I know. I know you mean well, but...


So Pete, where are you going now?



Bad news makes me hungry.

Monday, September 21, 2009

No Grunge Here!

The "Seattle Sound" emerged less than 50 miles from me in the mid-80's. NOT my cup of tea. Heavily distorted electric guitars, disheveled performers and angst filled lyrics were the tune-du-jour.

This weekend, in honor of the indie rock, heavy metal and punk rock movement...we decided to reduce the grunge level at our house. No, not that kind of grunge. Our kind of grunge.

First, supplies. Soap --- with wax thrown in. (How do they do that?) Sponges to clean and sponges to clean sponges that clean. Scrubbing Bubbles for fizziness and involuntary inhalation therapy. If that fails, a natural bristle horse brush to assist in the time honored version of elbow grease.



Good help is so hard to find these days. Thank goodness hubby is my resident truck-and-trailer-washer-and-polisher. He's always full of tips like, "Wash from the top, down." "Don't do the sidewalls 'til the end. They'll get the water dirty." And, honors of honors, he allows me to clean the wheels all by myself, with a toothbrush. I'm so fortunate to have his guidance.



I've waited at least two or three lifetimes to own a horse trailer made of ahhh-luminum. No rust, no peeling paint, none of the big time ugly that comes with steel trailers. It was a delight (yeah, I know, I'm sick) to wash this baby 'til he shined. Oh, you're so stunning, you gorgeous hunk of glistening metal!



Up front and personal. I shudder to think of horse slobber coating the sides again some day. Of hay sneezes sprayed over the smooth metallic skin.

Oh, let me count the ways I love aluminum and Plexiglas...one-million and one...one-million and two...



The finished product, a thing of beauty once more. Green slime removed, dirt scrubbed off, bug guts obliterated.



Kurt Cobain would have been proud.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I've Led a Sheltered Life

I've led a sheltered life. My parents didn't raise me correctly nor did they care if I had the skills to go into the world and become successful. When this subject came up, my higher education came to a screeching halt. I begged and pleaded. Still, no one would teach me how to do it. Finally, on my own, last weekend, I rose above all the intimidation. I decided to stick my neck out, suck it up and be an adult.

I picked my own blueberries!



Just down the street from my place is a field. For four years I've watched the little plants in the field grow into shrubs. Last summer the mesh netting went up, barring the local deer from an all-you-can-eat buffet of delectable blueberries. Bad for the deer, good for the humans.

Saturday I drove to the blueberries. I was equipped with everything I thought was necessary for an attack on a blueberry bush. Rubber gloves, check. A stool for sitting and snuggling up close to the harvest, got it. And sunglasses, so no one would recognize me when I asked stupid questions about picking berries.

I nonchalantly asked the farmer how he would like me to pick his berries. I didn't want to let on I'd never picked. I hoped he might have a particular technique, a method. He didn't. Crap, so now I had to either walk into the field and ad lib my berry picking or pretend I knew how to do it and possibly make a terrible life-altering mistake.

He gestured to the little blue (berry) bucket with the non-biodegradeable plastic bag liner. (Did I mention this was an organic blueberry farm?) "Oh, very nice," I said, thinking complimenting him on his choice of collection receptacles would loosen his lips. It didn't. "So should I just...," I said, nodding over my shoulder toward the field.

"Uh, huh," --- he elaborated.

I entered the field through the mesh with bucket in hand, tentative about where to start. I saw others crouched over shrubs so decided to join them. They didn't look too scary with their blue hands and blue lips. At least they were talking to each other.

I sat down next to a shrub chock full of the frosty blue delights. I smiled to the pensive pickers to calm their nerves and my own. I gloved up, pushed my sunglasses firmly up to the bridge of my nose and exhaled. I reached toward the first little branch and held my bucket beneath it. As I grasped the first berry, it and it's neighbors jumped off the branch and into my waiting container. Cool! How did I do that? I looked around to see if anyone else was having the success I was. I tried not to smile too widely as I relaxed my shoulders and reached toward the next branch.

Four more berries fell into my bucket. Then five more. I smiled and said something, hardly audible like, "This is one of the nicest blueberry fields I've visited in a long time." My fellow pickers heard me I guess because their blue lips moved and they nodded their heads.

It was contagious. I was hooked. The picking pace picked up and I soon had over 3 pounds of blueberries in my little blue bucket. I must stop, I must. Just one more pound, one more. I backed slowly away from the shrub and the field and my fellow pickers. I approached the farmer and his scale. He smiled and weighed my loot. I gave him a very, very small amount of money.



As I drove away that day, with a big grin on my face I waved to my fellow pickers. Their blue hands waved back. I thought to myself, "He didn't charge me near enough money for the honor of picking his blueberries."

I'll be back.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Good Hair Day?

We primp, we fuss, we tease. We spray and scrunch and highlight...and some days, we spend time on our own hair.



A good hair day? Oh, my goodness --- YES! Isn't she lovely? Eat your heart out, Jennifer Aniston.



Some play it safe and go with the Minimalist approach. A Black and Tan Coonhound is a no-muss, no-fuss Wash 'N Wear type of dog.



Unless you've seen a Puli before, you wouldn't know what appears to be a "bad hair day" is actually a "really, really, really good hair day". She knows her dreadlocks have star quality because she's been to Madison Square Garden and proved it!



Does the Cardigan Welsh Corgi know what color she wants to be? What a fashion statement, trying different contact lenses too! Either way, darling, it's a fantastic look.

Is that Juicy Couture I hear knocking at your door?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Hey Moms --- Can You Relate?

I know, I know...Mother's Day was months ago. But once a mother, always a mother and I think other species feel the same way as we human types.

Sometimes, as much as we hate to see 'em strike out on their own, we have to say, lovingly, "That's enough buster!"



We teach them what we can, knowing there will be rocky times.



Eventually, the little buggers learn to "maintain" and they set off on their own. (And we hope it stays that way.)



We're so proud of them and wish them well.

Then we move to a smaller house.

One without a guest room.

With a very nice, inexpensive motel just down the street.

Friday, September 11, 2009

It's a Lovely Day in the Neighborhood...

Oh dear, dear Mister Rogers. I miss you so much. Your smiling face, your positive attitude. Your daily declaration, "It's a Lovely Day in the Neighborhood!"

The same goes for our neighborhood today, my friend. It IS a lovely day. It may be summer's last hurrah with temperatures expected in the mid-80's so we'll savor every lovely minute of it. We'll bite at the flies knowing they'll only be around for a few more weeks. (Here they drown before they succumb to the cold!)



We'll graze the new shoots of green grass that have reappeared after our dry, dry summer.



We'll buddy up with other four-leggeds, sharing our neighborhood with those who are lucky enough to live here.





In our little corner of the world life continues at a "lovely" pace because we care for each other.

Pretty simple, huh?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

He's Finally Moved In!

Thank goodness, he's finally moved in with me. I never thought it would happen, that I would someday be so fulfilled by his presence. I'm so thrilled he chose me. Of all the women in the world he could have had, he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. I can hardly contain myself thinking of the good times we'll have together.

He's your basic "tall, dark and handsome". No, not that basic. He's tall but still easy to embrace. He's dark, a glistening onyx black hunk of darkness. And he's (oh, be still my beating heart) handsome. A powerful, ravaging kind of handsome. A handsome that will take your breath away and leave you, well, panting for more.







OH..........MY.............GOD. Please meet my new Kitchen Aid mixer!



Whew. Before I go further I need to address my dear, gasping readers. Hubby and I just celebrated our 36th anniversary yesterday (yeah on 09/09/09) and are happily married. But, don't you think having that gorgeous beast in my kitchen might make the next 36 years a bit more easy? You bet!

For three-and-a-half decades I've used my Oster Kitchen Center. It's so ugly I decided this last decade I wasn't going to clean it anymore. It's Harvest Gold, need I say more?

It was high time and I deserved something new, more modern. So I shopped. I spent hours on the Internet, days in the stores ---agonizing on a model, the power of the mixer, it's features and finally, the blasted color of the beast. I needed something to knead my bread (I make bread?), mix my cookie dough and whip my egg whites...with style and fervor and did I mention, POWER?

This baby has 575 watts of power for making my life easier. When it isn't mixing for me I can use it around the place to do mechanized farming. In New Mexico I'll live 72 miles from the closest grocery store and I'll occasionally be expected to feed hubby and myself --- something. So I'll summon my stallion of a mixer, fill his stainless steel bowl with a glut of ingredients and bring forth a world of culinary delights. Or, uh, somethin' like that.

I started out slowly this weekend with a recipe for Banana Bread. I found a terrific recipe on my favorite food site. Simple Sour Cream Banana Bread at "Tasty Kitchen". I'm trying to pace myself so as not to get too good at this cooking thing before my time. Almost before the bread was out of the oven, I buttered it and ate it --- both loaves, at 375 degrees. I exaggerate sometimes, but this time I'm really, really telling the truth. Well, most of it anyway.

I was lucky to get a picture of the last remaining slice, just before it was devoured by hubby.



Shhh...Hubby doesn't know how I feel about my Kitchen Aid mixer. Can we keep that our little secret?

Pleeezzz?

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Un-Labor Day

I sit at work today with very, very few folks around me working...in King County, Washington. Our county government, in all it's wisdom, has pretty much followed the lead of the rest of the country and over-drawn it's checkbook. Millions and millions and millions of dollars in debt the County Executive had an idea. (He didn't have to ride out the outcome because he was headed to Washington, the D.C. Washington, to be an assistant to an assistant cabinet member or something.) He decided the people he left behind would have 10 fewer pay days this year.

So today, the Friday before Labor Day weekend, all but the "essential personnel" (firefighters, health department workers, etc. including cops, like me) have to take the day off, without pay. There are 10 of these days this year and in 2010 they're thinking of pushing it up to 20 days. That will amount to one whole paycheck not being in some one's checkbook, or attached to their mortgage payment or being used to buy fuel to get to work, if they still have a job.

So this afternoon I eat leftover, microwave-warmed chocolate cake at my desk. The supervisor brought it in a few days ago to boost morale. I don't know if it worked. All I know is, the people who ate the cake are home right now without having earned a penny for today.

I guess I CAN have my cake and eat it too.

You should see me when I'm crabby.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The View From Here

A tour of my place in New Mexico wouldn't be complete without throwing in the most important building...to the "four-leggeds" anyway...the barn.

I feast my eyes on it as I walk from the kitchen or mud ("dust") room of the house to the barn. We'll do a full circle drive so I can turn the truck and horse trailer combo around, the hay can be delivered easily, etc.



Look right and I see the mini horse side. Each little horse will have his own back door. It'll open into a run and the run will open into a big pasture or two.



On the left side of the barn I have an area for parking carriages, a big space for hay and a stall for "Big Horse", as he's called now. I don't know what else to call him since I haven't met him yet...what I mean is, I haven't bought him yet. He'll have a good home waiting for him when he comes to live with me.



The back of the barn opens east to the morning sun and more pasture area. From there I can drive or ride forever. The national forest is my next door neighbor and totals over a million acres. I'm guessing it'll take me awhile before I have it all traveled.



I met this little guy the last time I visited the barn. He said he'd take care of things 'til I get moved there, permanently.



Thanks, neighbor.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My Daily Fix

At least once a day I find myself daydreaming about my place in New Mexico. Hubby and I designed it, found financing for it (!!!) and had it built during this lovely recession and now it sits...and waits for us. (Sigh, big sigh) We spent six wonderful days there in July camping out, in our new house. The house doesn't have little things like furniture or dishes or towels. No problem, it was heaven anyway.

Some of you have asked for a tour...no need to wipe your feet cause we're just going around the outside today.

Here's our entry with my drop-dead-gorgeous front door...all 8 feet of it! I love the full leaded glass done in a Craftsman/Frank Lloyd Wright style with the typical "wheat" pattern at the top. No wheat on the ranch but it could pass for the blue grama grass we do have. The indentation in the wall is called a nicho and is named after the South American decorative boxes ("nichos") that hold religious icons. The nicho has a little light at the top of the dome and will probably house a funky folk art coyote or somethin'.



I think this is the prettiest side of the house, the back. It faces south/southwest so windows will bring low hung winter sun into the house during chilly months. The master bedroom is on the far left, living room in the middle and dining area on the far right. The view from any room is of the Gallinas Mountains and is to die for.



Did I mention we put some windows in the house? Tons and tons of them. They're Andersen Low-E windows so will serve us well for the next couple hundred years. They're casement on the bottom and tilt out on the top. Open wide during the day keeps the house comfortable in 90 plus heat. The tilt out portion brings in cool nighttime breezes.



On the far right is the garage and shop. This time around hubby wanted the shop IN the garage and I relented. But, there was a trade-off. "My" 1 ton truck gets a parking spot too and it'll be IN the garage.



The "ah-ha" moment came when we thought to add a fireplace to the outside of the house. The master bedroom, kitchen and dining area are all convenient to the fireplace. Hmmm...now where did I put the margarita glasses?



This is my view of the mountains from the bedroom, on the bed, laying on my right side when my eyes pop open in the morning. We'll thin the junipers some to open up the view after we move in but, anyway you look at it, it's a great way to start my morning!

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