Friday, June 17, 2016

Follow a Negative with a Positive?

I was going to start this post out with the word Ugh, but thought better.

Who wants to read anything that starts out negative?

So!  I gave you two sentences, and now here comes the negative.

This week?  Ugh.  Summer.  Sheesh.  I hate sweat, I hate that trickle wherever it starts and wherever it is I can swoop in get it to stop.

I have become neurotic about Paul's kitten Julia (well, she's now about a year old), climbing into one of our cars and dying a pathetic, 120+* death.  So I am constantly on the lookout for her.  She, on the other hand, is prowling for anything that moves, and this is sort of a good thing.  Moles, you know.  The barn swallows have her number, and I think she has acquiesced on that note.

Neither Julia nor Sister Monica Joan (my pound cat) have much interest in entering our abode in this heat wave.  They have cat food and water, and they stare at me, unmoving, as I hold the door open for them, asking, "Do you want to go inside?"  Allthewhile, the AC is heading OUTSIDE.   Our dog, B., on the other hand, lies in wait for those six words.  She knows them!  And she knows where she is allowed in the house.  She is so gigantic (85+ lbs),  I had to make a few perimeters, lest I trip over a dog and end up in the emergency room.

The bugs are ugly this summer.  UGLY!  The gnats are on high alert.  Too, I hate the fact that, even though my child-bearing years are past, I am still arising at dawn and applying mosquito repellent even as I sip my morning coffee out of my dainty teacup, (which will follow me out the door as I tend to things outdoorsy).  And the tick population?!  Don't start the conversation.

I have been earnest in getting out and doing things during this, my least favorite time of the year.  If I do not hop on a bike, I have been walk/running a 5K before the sun fully rises and before those insidious flies (bot flies?!) attempt to cling onto my sweaty (ICK!!!) face.  I try to ride my bike in the way early mornings, and I diligently swing by the university's pool (the Natatorium.  Like our Viaduct: Rural Kansas likes Latin proper nouns, apparently.)  right after lunch.

I wear a hat that says "Go Outdoors."

I do.

I am trying.


Trying to cope with summer.


Next week:

Estes park and Breckenridge, Colorado.

Saints be praised.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

My Life, My Epitaph

I am 56 years old.  I am sort of an active person.  I like to walk.  Run.  Hike.  Bike.  Swim.  Play tennis.  Play chess!

In so many of the aforementioned, I come in last.  I lose, or am dead last, or somewhere slowly bringing up the rear.  I rarely win at chess or tennis.  I haven't won a running race since high school. My one crit (cycling), I was SOooo dead last.

But: I DID IT!

I still like to do all these activities.  Coming in behind the pelaton or pack or missing that volley? Hey, it really does not bother me.  Not one whit.  I wonder if it used to, back a few decades.  I don't think so.  I still remember running my first 5K, at age 31.  I was having a ball being part of the throng of runners, and it did not bother me when I had to stop and walk.

Last weekend that Spouse o' Mine and I spent time in the Colorado Rockies.  We invited friends to join us up a short hike of Hoosier Pass.  Once we got going, I found myself pacing about fifty yards behind the other hikers.  Altitude!  Deep snow!  Where were my snowshoes?

But I had fun, even though I did not make it as far up as the rest of the gang.

The following morning it was just that Spouse o' Mine and me, hiking up Loveland Pass.  This time we needed crampons for melted snow=ice, not snowshoes.  But, we had not brought those, either.  So we ventured forth as best we could.  Again, I was bringing up the rear by a significant margin.  Still, I got pretty darn high, and was pleased with my effort.  Heck, I did not slide down the icy side of the Continental Divide, screaming and raising a ruckus and pleading for someone to call 911 and a helicopter.  So: all-in-all, I had a good hike.  Albeit slow.

As the two of us were hiking, I remarked that I am always last in all my ventures.  We had a chuckle.  And then we came up with my epitaph.

"Always Last.  But Always in the Game".

I'll take it.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

June! June 1st!

"June's poppin' out all over..."

I love that song.  You shall have to YouTube it.            

I love it because my sweet older sister taught it to her class each year - either K, 1st grade, or 3rd grade, even a 5th grade, I think.  They all learned that song, and a multitude of others.

I sing a lot.  I sing in the house, and I REALLY sing outdoors.  I belt it out, especially going down the road a piece.  I assume no one can hear me.  Sometimes it's show tunes, or musical pieces.  Sometimes, it's Latin prayer things. "Te...ergo que...sumus...."  "I'm just a girl who cain't say no..."  "Zippadeedoodah, Zippadeeay..."

But: back to June.  It is indeed popping out all over.  Normally in rural Kansas, June means triple-digit hot and all our garden hopes hinge on watering schedules or cactus landscapes.  This spring has been fairly mild, but for the tornadoes, and even they have been...not awful so far???

Exciting, fun, sweet news:  Last Wednesday eve, I had already headed in to the bedroom and was nearly planting my head on the pillow, when the phone rang.

Oosh.  A phonecall at 10:30 pm means bad news.

BAD news.

And yet, I could hear that Spouse o' Mine, not in words, but his tone was uplifting.  And then, as he approached our bedroom, I heard him say, "Here!  Talk to Mom!"  And he thrust the phone into my sleepy hand.  But...sleepy, no longer:

"Hi, Mom!  I'm engaged!"


So sweet.

So, so sweet a conversation.  It brought tears to my eyes then, and does now, as well.

My baby.  She has no idea how this affects me.

My baby.

Here she is, calling that Spouse o' Mine and me, late that night:

 I love this photo.  It shows her happiness, talking to us, her parents.  It is not one of those posed engagement photos.  Clearly the photographer, her fiance, experienced and embraced her engagement joy.

As do we.

June's poppin out all over...

Saturday, May 14, 2016

A Good Day

What a great day.  Saturday, day of fun and games.  That Spouse o'  Mine left really early for a morning bike ride (7:15 am??), and I headed out the door myself forty-five minutes later.  Lots to do on a terrific, not hot, and not too altogether windy day.  (In rural Kansas, this type of day is graded A++)

Today, I:

Planted a boatload of lavender. (I have one more day and I will be DONE this spring!)
Planted twelve echinacea plants in the cutting garden. Perennial.
Planted twelve coreopsis plants in the cutting garden.  Perennial.
Weeded everywhere I walked.  I learned this from a lavender grower I visited a couple of years ago: we walked and talked and he weeded every step of the way.
Made up two strawberry pots full of snapdragons and petunias, for the Grotto.  No banana trees this year: I am going annuals and a few perennials.
I tore out almost all of the sedum in our front bed.  I toted it (by lawn tractor) down to the creek bed, and tossed it into an erosion site.  The lawn tractor then died on me (as it did two days ago), and so I left it and walked back to the house.  Miraculously, a few hours later, it was back in the barn.  Huh.

There is some backstory to this: two days ago, I filled the thing with gas, and proceeded out to the pasture to mow trails for that evening's Kite Flying  and Happy Hour with my fellow lady friends of rural Kansas.  The mower died after about 300 yards.  (Three football fields).  I left it out there.  The next evening, that Spouse o' Mine ascertained that I had filled it not with gasoline, but with diesel.  Hence, the inactivity.  But, my disclaimer is this:  someone neglected to label the red gasoline container as "DIESEL".  We somehow have acquired a million red gasoline containers in our fourteen years here in rural Kansas.  But we have never had a need for any diesel and so it never entered my mind that I should question, "I wonder if there be diesel in this red gas container??"  But that Spouse o' Mine bought a legitimate, if small, tractor earlier this spring, and lo and behold, it runs on diesel.

Well.  We both learned a valuable lesson this week.

OK, back to my glorious Saturday: I spent nearly all but one hour of this day outdoors.  I enjoyed the blooming peonies, irises, salvia, the baby bluebirds, the orioles which are indeed stopping and eating the cherry jam I set out for them.  We have hummingbirds just sitting around, surveying the space.  And I loved our silly cat Sister Monica Joan who thought the tippy-top of our roof was THE PLACE to be this afternoon.

Sister Monica Joan (named for a nun in Call the Midwife) is a black-and-white kitty I got from the animal shelter last summer.  I went there planning to spring the kitty who had been in there the longest.  It was a win-win-WIN!  Sister Monica Joan had been in there for three months, PLUS she is black and white.  My thinking, here in rural Kansas, is that not many wild predators (read: fox, coyote) go after black-and-white animals (read: most usually skunks?)  Our vet thinks I am hilarious.  And the other win?  Sister Monica Joan is the sweetest little kitty one could ever imagine.

One of our neighbors (he lives seven miles away) stopped by this afternoon to drop off some wonderful lettuce from his garden.  I, in turn, sent him home with four squash plants - all four different heirloom Italian winter squash plants.

I went out to my Darwinian garden, and ZOUNDS! The sweet peas I planted too many weeks ago are now up.  I think I just checked on them a few days ago and decided they were a loss, but, no!  Yippee for fun garden victories.

And so now I am showered and pondering dinner.  I mentioned to that Spouse o' Mine that I can't Pass the Peace with anyone at church tomorrow because my hands are AWFUL.  They are like sandpaper, even though I wore gloves all day.

* sigh*

I suppose that in the great scheme of things and days, mine was pretty wonderful.  I hope you had a nice day, too.

A turtle kite:

Monday, May 09, 2016

My Birthday Celebration!

I celebrated a birthday today.  Not MY birth, but one of several birth days I celebrate each year.  
This day is all about her:  
Claire Hilary.

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