Wednesday, December 29, 2010

EMPs, 2012, and Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

I was reading a blog called Food Storage Made Easy and they had a little something about a book called One Second After. I got curious and read the summary of the book on Wikipedia (the wiki article was enough, reading the actual book would be WAY too scary for me!)

The book basically describes what life would be like should an electo-magnetic pulse happen and everything electrical is wiped out. We're talking power, anything with a computer chip including vehicles, water and sewage facilities (think pumps and such), the list goes on and on, and how we as humans no longer have the knowledge of living/surviving independently of our community infrastructure. We don't have the same skills that people born 100 years ago did, like preserving foods, raising crops, making our own supplies, aquiring fresh water, etc.

Well, with all that rattling around in my brain, I searched for info on an EMP attack (or natural occurance through a solarstorm), which led to a blog called, which led to this interesting bit about "magic":

The science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke once said: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

This statement is commonly known as Clarke’s Third Law. Many people have heard this quotation, but few people really think about its implications.

We now live in a world that is so completely immersed in advanced technology that we depend upon it for our very survival. Most of the actions that we depend upon for our everyday activities — from flipping a switch to make the lights come on to obtaining all of our food supplies at a nearby supermarket — are things that any individual from a century ago would consider magic.

Very few people in industrialized countries do work that is not directly assisted by electronic computers, although that computerized assistance is often quite invisible to the average person. Few people think about things such as the fact that whenever we buy some food item at a supermarket (and many others are buying the same item), the next time we go to that same supermarket, they still have about the same supplies that they had before. There are invisible infrastructures all around us that are made up of advanced technology. Most of us just take the magic for granted.

Few people stop to consider what would happen if, in an instant, the magic went away. If our advanced technology were suddenly and completely destroyed, how would we manage to survive? A nuclear EMP could make the magic go away. I hope it never happens, and I don’t think that it is at all inevitable. It makes no sense, however, to be blind to the danger. It is both much less likely to happen — and also less likely to have a catastrophic impact — if, both as a civilization and as individuals, we are prepared for an attack on our advanced technology. A nuclear EMP would be a seemingly magical attack upon our advanced technology, the technological infrastructure upon which our lives depend.

click here to read the rest of this article

(I also found good stuff on Modern Survival Blog)

Other research revealed how vulnerable our country's power grid is and that something of this sort could actually happen. Hmmm. (And I really don't buy into the whole "2012" thing, but there is good info on the blog regardless.)

I've been trying to sock away canned goods, but I feel I need to expand my thinking: Long term food storage, water storage, communication devices (and protecting them from EMP so they would actually work afterward (just found out about Faraday cages), ammunition (yep, ya gotta go there) and many other things.

Being Mormon, food storage is no foreign subject and I'm thankful that my church implores us to have food stored away to provide for our families, and gives us resources and information to do so.

Then I also have to think of my older kids who don't live close by. (Guess what kids? Your mama is probably going to show up with some weird things and tell you to store them. Appease her, ok?) And even if an EMP weren't to happen there are always natural disasters, and other kinds of attacks that would more temporarily make life difficult.

So, what do you think? Am I paranoid? A bit crazy? Or are you with me on this? Do you have a plan?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Un-Brace Your Face Day

...aka "The Great Brace Erase".
Yesterday I got to leave work early and meet Sis at her orthodontist for the great unveiling. This has been 3 1/2 years in the making, with nearly every orthodontic appliance known to man installed in her mouth.
(Ya know why they call them "appliances"? Because you could've bought brand new appliances for your kitchen with what it costs to straighten your kids' teeth, that's why! I guess it's some sort of sadistic orthodontic joke or something. At least that's my take on it.)
At any rate, I've gotta hand it to Sis, because first she had to have an expander put in the roof of her mouth that not only made her talk like Sylvester the Cat (thufferin' thuccotash!), but that with the help of me and a handy-dandy mini allen-wrench, broke apart her palate to make room in her mouth to start her treatment.
THEN, she had to have oral surgery and they went up into her gums and hooked a CHAIN on a tooth that never emerged, for lack of room, and they basically winched the sucker down into place like you'd winch a Jeep out of a rock slide. (The winching took months, mind you, as teeth are more difficult to move than Jeeps.)
Then it was power chains, and rubber bands in all kinds of wacky configurations, molar bands, springs, wires and any other kind of contraption they could think of that would help rearrange her teeth into a proper and attractive alignment.
And ya know what? Not once did she whine or complain about it. Seriously, I can't think of a time. She REALLY wanted her teeth fixed and she was so good about everything.
We knew at her first appointment it was going to be a long haul, because her ortho declared her one of the worst cases he'd ever seen (and he's a specialist that teaches orthodontics, so I don't think he was exaggerating.)
It was hard to believe the day was finally here, and she was finished! Done! Complete!
The last Brace-Faced smile.

And...they're off! (Took only a minute. They just popped them right off.)
The retainers. She got to choose colors and design them. She brought in a little heart sticker that they embedded into the one on the right (her top one) in which she chose clear glitter as the base. The bottom one is glow-in-the-dark green.
(I just couldn't get over the retainers. When I got my braces off they gave me a big rubber mouthpiece retainer (kinda like a sports mouth protector)to wear at night, and it was horrible. I gave up on it after about a week. Had I got to design my own retainer and had something reasonable to wear like Sis' wire ones my teeth would still be perfect.)

The orthodontist gave her some gift certificates for ice cream so that's how we celebrated! Look at that beautiful smile!

Friday, December 3, 2010

A Wake Up Call Dream

I hate it when I have one of those dreams where I wake up with my heart pounding.

Last night I had one of those.

I dreamt that some "bad guy" was trying to get into the house and only me and the little girls were home. I got to the door and locked it just as he was turning the knob to enter. I was yelling at him through the door that I was calling 9-1-1 and getting a gun, however I knew that was just a threat (9-1-1 never works in my dreams for some reason.)

I wanted to get us out of the house and run, but I realized that there was only one door we could get out of and that's where the bad guy was.

I went back to my room and was trying to figure out how to open the gun safe and realized I didn't know the combination. I thought I knew where Mike hid it -- in another little locked box, but had no idea where the key to that was. About this time the bad guy was there with me insisting that I open the safe for him so he could have the guns. I was trying to tell him I didn't know!

Somehow the girls and I ran out the door and past the bad guy's idleing car in front of our house, I decided against stealing it and we ran through the streets of our neighborhood instead. I remember we were barefooted and the pavement was icy and cold (as it really is right now.)

We ran around the corner and I realized that we didn't really have anyone in the neighborhood that we knew really well who I could run to in this kind of emergency. That felt pretty scary. I finally decided on a lady who babysat the girls a few years back. Just as we were getting to her house, the bad guy came down the hill in his car and spotted us.

That's when I woke up.

As I lay in bed trying to recover I realized that all the scenarios from my dream were true: two of our three doors are currently blocked with snow, I didn't know how to access the guns, we are so far flung that actually getting help from 9-1-1 in the form of a sheriff would likely be a very long wait (thankfully if we needed the fire dept. they are only a mile away), our feet would freeze if we had to run out of our house in an emergency, and we don't have anyone in the neighborhood that we know really well.

I thought about all this and decided we need to sleep with our snow boots next to our beds in case we need to get out of the house in an emergency. The girls can go out the back door from their bedroom, but wouldn't be able to go far in several feet of snow with no boots.

Then today I told Mike about my dream and he showed me how to get to the guns if I should ever need to. That made me feel better.

I can also start getting to know the neighbors better.

My dream taught me that we need to have a plan. It's unlikely that a "bad guy" would come in and attack us, probably more likely we would need to evacuate because of fire, but ya never know. It's good to have a Wake Up Call Dream.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

What Game?

Well, the day I visited my friend in San Francisco happened to be the same day the Giants were playing some sort of big game. I hadn't really been paying much attention, honestly, and if it hadn't been for carpooling to work with my sports-crazy friend I would have been completely clueless.

I called Cam to see if he and Cass wanted to meet us for dinner, then remembering about the World Series I added, "Do you need to stay home and watch the game?" And my son, in all honesty asked, "What game?"

My thoughts exactly. How I love that kid!

On our way to dinner Cass received a text from Sis asking if they were watching the game. When she texted back that they weren't Sis' reply was, "You guys are horrible San Franciscans!"

We went to a little hole in the wall Indian restaurant and of course the game was on. About halfway through our meal the other diners in the restaurant erupted in screams scaring poor Cass almost out of her chair. We looked at the TV screen and figuring that the game was over we then debated amongst ourselves whether they still had another to win or not. None of us were brave enough to ask one of the revelers.

Thankfully the players were soon wearing their World Champions gear, so that little mystery was solved.

As we were leaving we noticed that the folks from the bar down the street had spilled out onto the street where they commenced hooting and hollering and had stopped traffic. Luckily our car was parked facing the opposite direction.

Cam drove us up to Twin Peaks where we could overlook the whole city. We noticed that the dome of City Hall was lighted orange along with the other landmarks. From our vantage point we could hear sirens, horns honking and see illegal fireworks being lit off.

As we drove back through the city people were on the street corners celebrating while others, I think, just got in their cars and decided to drive around honking their horns. We saw one faithful reveler out in the street waving an orange and black bandanna. We obligingly honked for him. We were kind of afraid not to.

All in all it was pretty exciting to be in the city on such a momentous occasion (that I couldn't have cared less about). There's something infectious about city-wide enthusiastic celebrating.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Old Friends Are The Best Friends

Ah, old friends. There's nothing like them. They're the ones that know you best. They knew you when. They've been through it all with you. I was lucky enough to reunite with one of my best old friends yesterday.

I met K way back in 1975...(go ahead and say that in an old lady voice in your head). She was out from Wisconsin visiting her big sister (my neighbor) for a month. We became fast friends and spent a lot of time together during her stay. She was 14, I was 11. When she left we became pen pals.

Pen pals was much more popular back then. Long distance calling was only for very special occasions, and of course this was looooooong before email! We were very devoted pen pals. We wrote on a regular basis, probably at least once or twice a month, and never forgot to send a birthday or Christmas card.

I had 2 other friends that I also wrote to. I remember sitting down some days and writing out 3 letters, one to each friend, similar in content, but personalized to them. I can't even imagine my kids doing that. My girls have a friend that moved to Oklahoma about a year ago and I have to really encourage them to sit down and write and then to write more than a few sentences. I think it may be a lost art. Sigh...

So, doing the math, K and I have been friends for 35 years! Imagine that! (Dang! I'm getting old!) We've seen each other a total of 3 days during those 35 years. The first time was in 1996, when she was again visiting her sister (who was now in San Francisco), then 2 years ago, and again, yesterday.

For some reason we have a really strong bond, and we don't feel awkward when we see each other. It's like seeing a friend I just saw last week. Strange but really cool at the same time. It's never a feeling of "I need to get to know her again", we just start right in chatting and catching up on each other's lives (because we don't write as often as we should anymore!)

It was a beautiful day in the city yesterday, and we had a great time window shopping and visiting the beach. It was fantastic.

Funny when I arrived, her sister commented on how similarly we were dressed.

Hoodies, jeans and black boots. Yep, there's some sort of wacky bond going on with us for sure! What a blessing old friends are!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Apple Bowling? Apple Rolling? Apples to Applesauce?

I got the honor of walking the girls to school today. I'm usually out the door and on my way to work before they leave in the morning, but with Mike out of town, I had the job of getting them there.

I didn't realize there was a whole morning ritual to it, but the best part was the Apple Game. Here's how it's played: Everyone chooses an apple from a neglected overgrown tree that sits on the side of the road. Then everyone takes a turn rolling their apple down the very steep hill that leads to the main road. You get points for your apple making it to the main road, and bonus points if a car happens to run over it.

First up: Miss Moo
She chose a plump apple with a promising shape and cut loose bowling ball-style. Her apple was looking good till it hit a bump and veered left. While it made it all the way down the hill, it stopped before it hit the main road.

Next up: Me
I chose an apple from the ground with a nice worm hole in it. I did my best underhand pitch and watched it bump and roll all the way down. Did it make it? It veered right so we wouldn't know until we got down the hill.

Final Contestant: Nat
Nat chose a very small green apple in which I held very little hope. She gave it a toss and that sucker rolled straight and true all the way down!

Once we got down to the main road we looked for my apple, and lo and behold it had made it to the road! I also noticed quite the pile of bruised and beaten apples lining the roadside from past day's games!

Neither apple had been hit and squished by the time we got there, but on my return after dropping off the girls I found that Nat's was now a pulpy mess on the pavement. I guess that means she won.

Our neighborhood is very circa 1938, and this bit of fun this morning reminded me of something that children back then might have played too. (Is there such a thing as deja-vu nostalgia? I get that a lot living here, if there is such a thing.) I can hardly wait for tomorrow's game!

Monday, October 11, 2010

10 Terrific Things on 10-10-10

We met Cam and Cass at a pumpkin patch to celebrate Cam's 23rd birthday. (I had him when I was weird to think about that!) What better way to spend 10-10-10 than by doing 10 terrific things. (Not all 10 are illustrated below, I just chose the ten best photos for my post. And I'm sure we did more than 10...)

Zip line ride.

Cam and Miss Moo were the only ones who wanted to do it.

Shooting the pumpkin blaster was definitely a highlight!

Miss Moo and Nat both rang the bell in the nose of the pumpkin and were rewarded with a button. Here is Miss Moo with her button and her ammunition!

On to the corn maze. We were told, "Don't pick the corn, don't eat the corn" when we entered. Yeah. Notice the delinquent in the back with an ear of corn.

It was a perfect day for a pumpkin patch picnic. We had pasties (that's the Cornish pass-tee, not a paste-y, which is a completely different pronunciation and thing), pears, Pringles, peanut brittle, Peeps, and popcorn balls. Fortunately the water was labeled "Premium Bottled Water", otherwise I would've called it purified water.
(I didn't really plan the whole P thing, I just decided on pasties and pumpkin-pecan pie, and then Sis and I were shopping and she suggested the P theme, and we got all excited about it, and the next thing you know I got carried away and there was an embarrassing incident in Rite-Aide in which I yelled out, "Peeps!" at the top of my lungs.)

The birthday boy had pumpkin-pecan pie.

Sis and Trav joined us a little later (just in time for pie of course). Here they are at one of the bridges in the middle of the corn maze.

Snowcones were refreshing. It got really hot! Here Nat shows off her blue raspberry tongue and lips.

And my favorite bunch of pumpkin pickers. (I took the picture and then noticed Nat was absent. She took at least another 20 minutes trying to find the perfect pumpkin in the hot blazing sun.)
Here's the run-down on the Ten Terrific Things:
Zip Line/Pony Ride for Nat
Pumpkin Blasters
Haunted House
Petting Zoo
Train Ride
Corn Maze
Pumpkin Picking

But a great day with my family is always a "10"!

Friday, October 8, 2010

By Gosh, I'll Make A Man Of You!

My dad called today, and as usual he went off on one of his old stories. Don't get me wrong. I love his stories, and he has a lot of them. That's pretty much what he's famous for. I prefer his stories over his end-of-the-world "Doomsday Dad" predictions. And that's pretty much your two choices when you talk to him. I definitely like to steer him towards recalling the old days.

Today he was reminiscing about the time his father dropped him, his brother and their friend off to go camping. He was 12, his brother 13, and the other boy about the same age. Their dad didn't drop them off at a campground mind you. He dropped them off at a spot where they would hike into a lake. He even gave them a rubber boat to paddle around. They camped by themselves for 3 nights and 4 days.

Dad said in all those days they never saw another person up where they were.

Of course he looks back now and thinks how dangerous it was to leave them there alone, and all the tragedies that could have, but fortunately didn't befall them. Burns, accidently amputating fingers or limbs with axes, drownings, were just a few of the scenarios he came up with.

My dad's dad was German, and very "Old World". He would sit down to dinner and expect to be served by his wife. She could eat after he had been taken care of. The family consisted of 2 girls and 2 boys, and my grandfather told my grandmother that she could raise the girls, but he would raise the boys. He wanted them to grow up to be MEN, after all!

So this story about the camping is just one of the many stories my dad has about how his dad tried to make a man out of him. Dad said his mother must have been worried sick about them the whole time, but she didn't dare go against anything my grandfather did.

Dad said the reason this event stands out so distinctly for him was because at the end of the four days when his parents arrived to pick them up, they had with them his first pair of glasses.

He says he remembers taking them out of the box and putting them on and he just couldn't believe it! He said he kept putting them down his nose and looking over them, then looking back through them in comparison. It was a memory he'll never forget.

It wasn't until his grown-up years did he look back on the trip as yet another risk his dad took with he and his brother all in the name of making men out of them.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Ever Wondered About Adoptive Breastfeeding?

My friend started a new blog and her first post is about just that. She's an awesome mom with a wealth of knowledge---and the cutest darned baby girl. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Miss Moo's Birthday and My Swan Song

Miss Moo turned 11 on the 24th. She didn't get a party and a bunch of presents this year because she went to 6th grade coast camp and we had to fork out a chunk of money for that.

As her birthday was getting closer I told her we could do a special birthday dinner for her, but it would probably have to be done on Thursday because I would be working at the restaurant on her birthday.

She thought and thought about it, and as it got closer I asked her what she wanted to do for her birthday. She said she wanted to come to the restaurant and have me wait on her! Perfect timing since it was going to be my last weekend to work there.

Mike brought the girls in and Miss Moo ordered the three cheese raviolis:

Nat ordered chicken dinosaurs, but instead of French fries, mashed potatoes:

The thing Miss Moo was really looking forward to was dessert. She knew she wanted Chocolate Lava cake. (That's my girl). Me and the other 2 waitresses and my friend Mary (who was washing dishes that night) came out with the lighted cake and sang to her.

It wasn't too long before we could hear everyone in the whole restaurant join in, with a couple of "awww, she's so cute's" thrown in. (I swear if it had been me at that age I would have crawled under the table.) As you can see, she loved it! (She's wearing big Sis' special tiara for the occasion).

On Saturday night it was my last night at the restaurant. The chef's gave me a hard time when I served my last dinners. They love to tease. I'm gonna miss them.

The chefs always make us an employee meal at the end of the evening. It's usually pasta with leftover prime rib and veggies or sometimes they make us pizza or nachos.

On Saturday they asked me what I wanted for dinner. I said, "What do you mean?" They said, "Anything you want off the menu." I was kind of taken aback. I've never seen them do that for anyone on their last night and I honestly was really touched and got a little teary eyed.

Then I pulled it together and ordered Filet Mignon. Mama didn't raise no fool!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Yes, Teacher!

I swear, if my little Nat doesn't grow up to be an educator of some sort I will be shocked. I've never seen a kid who likes to play school so much.
Miss Moo, being a couple years older doesn't really like to be taught by her sister, so Nat has taken to teaching the dog. Suey can stay quite attentive when there is a treat involved, and barring that, she will stay in one place when she's napping and Nat brings the lesson to her.
Here is "Mrs. Berry's" lesson on the brain along with doggy vocabulary words.
The diagram on the lower left is Nat's estimate of the actual size of Suey's brain. Notice how she added "or smaller", as a disclaimer.
The other day I spotted an old style school desk on display in front of a thrift store and just had to get it. (When I say "old style" I mean it is exactly like the ones I used to have in school when I was growing up. Aww...nostalgia.)
At any rate, I figured both girls would enjoy it, and maybe Miss Moo would even play with Nat if she had an official desk to sit in.
Here is Nat on the phone to her best friend, telling her all about her desk.

The desk has definitely been a big hit for my little teacher! Let the lessons begin!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Keepin' it Short

My little Nat made me laugh so hard yesterday. She kind of reminds me of a comedian who states the obvious and makes it funny.

Anyway, some backstory first: My husband is a known "talker". He's Mr. Social. When he goes to the dump (which is 10 minutes away) with 3 bags of trash, we aren't surprised when he doesn't return for 2 hours. He's obviously found someone to talk to. He's never met a stranger, and will strike up conversation with anyone anywhere anytime. For the most part it's nice, but sometimes it gets annoying (to either those of us waiting on him to come back from a short trip to the store, etc, and sometimes to the listener.)

So yesterday Nat says, "I don't get why people call me Mini-Mike." And I told her maybe it's because their personalities are similar. She is also known for striking up conversations, and I told her that maybe it's because she likes talking to everyone she meets.

She says, "Yeah, I guess you're right. But I keep it SHORT!"

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I Did It-I Quit it

I quit my second job!

That was not an easy decision to come to, I tell ya.

When I thought about the wages I was going to miss and the tips I was going to miss it was a very difficult decision indeed!

But when I thought about the evenings I would now be home with my family, the extra hours in the week I could spend with them, the weekends (actual FULL weekends!) that I could take off and do go see my 81 year old dad and see my sister...I think I've seen them twice in 2010 and they only live 2 hours away...and having time to visit my son...

...well when I thought about those things, it was an easy decision. My heart felt lighter just thinking about it!

So, I'll finish up September at the restaurant, then I'll only have one job! I've been working two jobs for over 2 years now, and I'm so excited! I'm a little nervous about our financial situation, but hubby has a house to build so that should get us through the winter.


Go Here-Read This

So I don't have a new blog post....yet, but go over to Momza's House and read her post "Of Rocks and Families". Her perspective on life is amazing!

Friday, August 27, 2010

More Scenes From My Wildlife Camera

I’ve had my camera out again with limited success. We have a very friendly doe that frequents our yard and surrounding area. I refer to her as “that crazy doe” because I’ve seen her trying to play with the neighborhood cats, and she doesn’t seem fearful of anything.

One night I hung the camera up just across the street and sure enough the next morning I had some 30 shots of the doe. It was very reminiscent of a fashion shoot. As I clicked through it was almost like watching a stop-motion film. She apparently loves the flash of the camera. This has done nothing to diminish her "crazy doe" reputation, I might add.

Towards the very end I saw a little something else pop into the frame.

Then he was gone. Camera shy, apparently.

And another night we got this handsome fella:

Of course he must have heard from the dogs that the rear view is the preferred pose.

Last night we again put the camera across the street. Our cats followed us, and I figured they would turn around and follow us back to the house. Ha! The ensuing cat herding is very meticulously recorded on film.

This is when I went blind. I swear I had an imprint of the flash on my eyes for an hour!

Success at last! You can see Bitty-Bit's rear tucked under my arm.

Today we brought the camera in and relived the frustration of chasing stubborn cats around in the dark...

but then...
wait for it...

Oh, yeah! (By the way the two small rectangles you see in the distance are our livingroom windows.)

Ok, so it's only part of a bear, and a not-so-exciting part of a bear, but at least we're getting closer to a great shot! We're definitely trying again tonight!

Anti-Christ Like

I got some disturbing news yesterday. It seems the large community church in our town, the one who's parking lot is filled every Sunday, has for a topic of their adult Sunday School class, Mormon Bashing.

Now I don't think that's the actual title, but that's essentially what it is. They spend an hour every Sunday discussing how horrible the Mormon Church is. Really. There's a website and everything for their parishioners to learn more, including hateful cartoons and misinformation. That's fantastic, isn't it?!?

In contrast, we at the Mormon Church spend our adult Sunday School time learning lessons from the Old Testament, and how we can apply those teachings to our lives. Hmmmm. We spend absolutely ZERO time bashing other churches. I know, amazing, huh? In fact I've never heard any disparaging words about other faiths in a lesson or in casual conversation at my church.

The really discouraging part is that this lesson isn't only taught at the community church in my town, but other churches around the country. Is this really teaching people to be "Christ-like"? Is it uplifting to go to church and listen to hate? Are they really this threatened by the LDS Church that they need to spend time convincing others that we're a bunch of whack-o's?

I'm so thankful that I attend a church that focuses on the teachings of Christ and not hate-mongering.

What Would Jesus Do, indeed!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Touched By An Angel?

I was working the snack bar one afternoon at the lodge, and my co-worker Linda, said to me as she was finishing up handing out soft serve ice cream cones through the service window, "I'm tearing up."

I had no idea what she was talking about and then she said, "See that lady?"

I did see the older lady who was in the group just at our window walking away, enjoying her ice cream cone.

Linda continued, "She looks just like my mom. And when I handed her the ice cream cone she touched my hand and it felt just like my mom's touch. She touched me real gentle like my mom used to and it gave me the shivers."

Amazing, right? That little old lady gave my friend a piece of her mom that day and she didn't even know it.

An Independent Dog is a Good Dog

It was back to school for the kids this past week and back to my special ed classroom job for me. I wasn't looking forward to the kids going back, but I was looking forward to me going back.

I was working all week fostering independence with the little one that I'm a 1:1 aide with, and getting us both back into the swing of things.

Apparently I took my work home with me, because on Friday I went to feed my dog, and had her dish in my hand. She was at my side, and we headed for the door so she could eat on the porch per usual. The door was cracked open just a little, and without thinking, I told my dog Suey, "Open the door!" She kind of looked at me and I repeated the instruction very enthusiastically and added, "You can do it!"

Being the smart dog she is, Suey nudged the door open with her muzzle, and I stood there laughing at myself when it dawned on me that I had treated her just like the kids in the classroom.

Now that she has the door opening figured out, I guess I'll build on her skills until she can fill her own dish and feed herself! Good Dog!

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Thousand Words?

Time off from work

last week before school

visiting all my favorite people

Japanese Tea Garden


Taco Salad, Cupcakes, Panda Express

Then Camping

baby catfish, granite islands, Uno in the tent

dirt, filthy feet, bear raid, time with cousins

Red Vines, giant marshmellows, dark chocolate

Dakota smoked sausages

chipmunk friends, potty promenade, corn rockets
sand castles

kayaks, ready on the beach
A beautiful end to summer...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wildlife Camera--There's Just No *End* To The Fun!

We are always seeing wildlife in our backyard, from deer to skunks to bears, so I was excited to get a game camera. I think these type of cameras are generally used by hunters, but I thought it would be really cool to get pics of our wild neighbors with it.

You strap the camera to a tree and it has a sensor that is triggered by motion. It has a flash for night photos too.

So far this is what we've captured

Dog butt--center of picture, tan, curled tail

Dog butt---black and white, possible border collie mix

Dog butt--our dog's. Checking out smells from other dog's butt left in her yard.

But wait, there's more. Here are some shots of me and the girls trying to herd cats. We always make sure all the cats are in at night, but last night two of them were being very "playful" and wouldn't come in. I'd just get within reach, and they'd take off. It was such a fun game to be playing at 10 at night, and then add to that the flash from the game cam going off every time I moved.

The glowing orbs are Princess's eyes, and just to the right you can kind of see a gray Jo-Jo running away from me. I'm pretty sure he's laughing. And because no photo is complete without a butt, we have a picture of mine this time.

Here the girls came out to help me. I like how Sis has glowing eyes in this one, and of course we have the obligatory dog butt again.

I think our next plan is to put the camera up in the forest across the street from the house. Hey, we may even get lucky and get a picture of a deer butt! Wish us luck!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Favorite Wildflowers and Stick Horsie

This is my favorite wildflower

the Leopard Lily.
I'm fortunate to have them growing in my backyard right now.
I have fond memories of seeing these flowers on hikes with my dad. He was big into identifying plants and flowers, and I think this was one of his favorites too.
Dad always called it a Tiger Lily, or "tagger lily" as he would say. I still call it that as well, and was kind of disappointed to know that it had a different name.
And here is our little Nat. Our friend had this old broom when we were camping and told us just to throw it away when we were done with it. That was all well and good until Nat saw the potential of a stick horse in it.
She gave the broom a bath and then created the face, mane, tail, reins and even a saddle out of paper, and transformed it into Cupcake the stick horse.
I was proud of her ingenuity. What a funny kid!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Camping, Finally!

I swear, with my schedule it is so hard to go anywhere, but we finally were able to make a camping trip.

Such a gorgeous lake!
My friend made Pineapple Upside-down Cake in her Dutch oven. It was fantastic!

And no, my dog isn't dead, she's sunbathing. I'm surprised there weren't buzzards circling! She's such a freak!

Of course we did lots of kayaking. We explored the granite islands, and saw a bald eagle and lots of osprey. The waves and wind challenged our paddling skills which was fun too.
And we went for a hike. What a wonderful few days.