Thursday, August 27, 2009

They're everywhere!

This year hasn't quite equaled the bumper crop of last year, but there certainly is no shortage of thistles. We're after 'em though! Just when ya think you've got 'em, more appear. Actually, they're not so easy to spot at a distance until they bloom. They are kinda pretty.
The purplish flowers are attractive--love the color, but, according to North American Wildlife, "It is against the law in 37 states to allow the Canada Thistle to grow on one's land." Yep, it's noxious.

Maybe this isn't a Canada Thistle; maybe it's an Okie Thistle. Maybe this isn't one of the 37 states; maybe there's a whole lot of lawlessness goin' on. Hmmmmmm....

Anyway, I'm acuttin' 'em! Don't want any more of them.

Now, a neighbor, who's a farmer, told Larry Loved One that once they bloom, it's too late to cut them; they'll come back anyway.

The guy said that the buds are actually seeds.


Now, my undergraduate major was English, not botany; but HUH? I thought the process went bud, bloom, seed in that order.
These buds have seeds in 'em? Seed, bud, bloom? Really???? Never would have thought this guy was into alternative, illegal crops, but what's he smokin'? I just don't believe it, and I'm cuttin' 'em if I see 'em.
And what the heck is this thing? I was riding down a trail on the estate hunting thistles and spotted this plant. I'm sure it's noxious. Never have seen one before and have only seen this one. I looked in North American Wildlife, but didn't find it. The Loved One says it's a Yellow Tower Flower Plant.


P.S. Shortly after I started the blog, I read Jeffrey Deaver's Roadside Crosses. Deaver is one of my favorite authors. Features a blogger...Kinda scary...made me think about a few things I should be careful of. Highly recommend anything by Jeffrey Deaver!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Remember the ThighMaster?

I'm looking for mine.
Suzanne Somers plugged the device and testified that it would firm and reshape all those jiggles in the lower hemisphere. I was younger and more foolish then....thought there might be hope. I somehow convinced myself that if I bought one, I would use it. Learned nothing from the ankle weights, the exercycle, or the Nordic Rider. This contraption was simple and inexpensive, not to mention easily stored and portable! How could I fail?
How about by not using it? Despite the alluring visions of myself with Suzanne's bod, it was too Hard! Not FUN, WORK! She never grimaced when demonstrating the wonders of ThighMaster reps. What was I doing wrong? Nevermind, pitch it out in the garage! No, no! The Loved One might see it out there and give me grief. Under the bed! He'll never look there!
You know, I even think I moved it with all my worldly possessions more than once. But where is it now? The list of places it isn't is growing. Surely I didn't throw it out! A treasure like that? As soon as ya throw something out, you're gonna want it! I know better!
So, why am I looking for the darn thing? Well, I need it! No concern about jiggles, no illusions about Suzanne's bod. It's simple, really. I need to strengthen my inner thigh muscles.
No, really, I do! You see, every other time, I ride Flicka with a bareback pad, trying to make sure she'll ride with the saddle or pad. Good for her because there is less weight; bad for me because of the inner thigh muscle thing. Why? According to the saddlemaker guy, Flicka has narrow withers. That means I have to clamp on harder with, you guessed it---inner thigh muscles. Those seem to have gone the way of all flesh, and I need to build those muscles up. Right now I am only riding for a short while so I don't get too sore. Flicka doesn't mind at all; apparently, a walk in the woods is not as enjoyable when lugging me around. What sort of exercise builds inner thigh muscle strength? ThighMaster! Where is it? The Loved One thinks it's out in the garage. I looked, but obviously not as well as he can.
We'll see....

Saturday, August 22, 2009

...and a river runs through it.

Well, a stream, actually. Big Sugar Creek, to be more precise.

Wanderlust struck, reinforced by logic. Huh? School has just started, people are reeling from back-to-school expenses and are saving for that last Labor Day fling. What better time to go canoe floating? With Friday off work, a fresh pay day, and a beautiful weather forecast, it's the only logical thing to do. There had been some recent heavy rains in the area, and Larry felt that the rivers would be muddy. I have to bow to the expertise of anyone whose sender name on his email that he never checks is "River rat." Seriously, would you open an email from that moniker? We checked out a river or two anyway, and, yep--muddy. Then, a mere two hours from home, we found Canoe Sugar Island (CSI--what a catchy name!). There were several full-time campers parked there, but with the exception of the owner's son, who claimed illness and a need to get someone else to drive us to a launching point, there were no other canoers. Yea!! Private canoeing! It's not often you get the water to yourself unless heavy duty protective gear and a foolhardy nature are required. The water was crystal clear and the weather was absolutely beautiful!

Larry caught a few small mouth bass, and we saw a groundhog and these horses. Wonder why they don't wander off. The water is shallow and we never saw any fencing. I've had to take a four-wheeler to round-up goofy Dezi when he has gotten the urge to explore. What keeps these critters contained?
After about five glorious hours on the water with only one very short portage, we returned to camp. And some moron was using a leaf blower around his trailer. Really! Who takes a leaf blower to "get away from it all"? Obviously at least one guy does. We moved to a more remote campsite, easy to do with a motor home. We sat out listening to the water 'til dark, had a good night's sleep, and came home to take care of animals. Great outdoor adventures close by!
Next adventure? As soon as I post this, I'm getting out a four-wheeler and going thistle hunting! Despite my careful cultivation and subsequent destruction of 6' tall, tiny blooming velvetleaf plants, I am no lover of noxious weeds. Thistles are starting to bloom, and we get rid of them before they go to seed. Thistles and red cedars don't feed anything, so they are just taking up space--gotta go!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I am...

a walking, talking Larry-the-Cable-Guy joke. I went out to the swap meet last Saturday to "git me somethin' nice fer my birthday!" Found some treasures: a 16x20 picture frame for $1 and this lovely piece of furniture for $10. "Ain't it purty?" I think it was once a cabinet used for filing papers; there was one paper tray left in it. There was also a record album on the remaining shelf. Maybe there were too many records put in it, and the weight broke the shelves. Anyway, I'll be stripping it down and painting it. I'm thinking of staining the legs, painting the top to resemble marble, and painting landscapes representing the four seasons on the sides. Then I'll find it a home. I have no use for it; it's just something to do. I need projects!

The technological nightmare that lurks everywhere has surfaced at the pharmacy. The last two days at work have been horrendous. There is a computer system utilized at two stations to bring up customers' orders, get identification when required, obtain signatures for insurance, and check the medications out. Neither one worked! Most people aren't thrilled to be getting medications anyway; add a whole lot of waiting and inconvenience and things can get downright ugly. As the cashier, I'm the one in the danger zone, a target right on my forehead evidently. If looks could kill, I'd have been an early casualty. Good thing I was off work today because I'd have had a hard time making myself go in. Hopefully the stuff will be working tomorrow. This keeps up, I could have a meltdown!

Even when the equipment is working, there are plenty of unhappy campers. Sometimes doctors don't call in prescriptions in a timely fashion, or the busy pharmacists don't check the messages exactly when they come in. Many customers seem to be suffering from CoUD ( Center of the Universe Disorder) in addition to whatever malady took them to a physician in the first place. One guy yesterday gave me attitude in reply to my information that I had nothing ready for him. "Well, I was standing right there when he called. This is ------- isn't it?"

"No, it's the effing moon!" my inner self silently replied. My inner self could alienate a whole boatload of customers if it ran amok.

Just another day in paradise. One unhappy gentleman did seriously bother me though. When he first came to the counter, there was one prescription ready and two in the process. He said he would wait to get all three and come back. Unfortunately, one of the three could not be filled because we have had difficulty obtaining the med from the suppliers. When he came back, he unloaded on the target in front of him, me. " I am never coming back to this store. I'll take my business elsewhere. You people have done this to me for the last three months! I called the other day and was told my prescriptions would be ready. My daughter drives all the way to get me and bring me to town; I'm practically blind and can't drive anymore!" on and on... He refused the one vial of insulin we had and stormed off. His daughter was standing behind him and mouthed, "I'm sorry," before following her father.

I think Karen probably had similar experiences with Dad. I was 1200 miles away, but I do know that an incredibly polite, rational gentleman became irrational, aggressive and sometimes combative. So very sad. I hope Brian is spared the experience of his parents going through this, but what will be, will be.

Friday, August 14, 2009

40 years and counting....

It was the summer of '69, and a lot was going on. Heard that on the Today show the other morning. The topic was Woodstock, the event, the iconic photo, "where are they now?" and so on. A whole lot was going on for me. I got married, and less than a week later, I celebrated my 19th birthday. WOW! Now I'm turning 59, and Larry and I are into the 41st year looking for 50 (ya gotta have a goal!). It has been quite a ride. In 40 years we have only seriously approached dissolution once, which I have to believe if folks have clear unedited memories of their own relationships stands as a pretty good record. We got lucky. Different backgrounds, having known each other less than a year.... What were we thinking??? Whatever it was, it has worked out well. I could only wish equal good fortune to others. Though we have had disputes, we also have a wonderful son, the best thing ever in my life. I am currently reading Baldaci's new book, First Family, in which one character tells another, "...boys will mess with your heart and girls with your head." Not having raised a girl, I can't speak to that, but Brian clearly has my heart. I'm not sure what a "soulmate" is, but for 40 years, Larry has always been there for me. I can't say that of anyone else.

Lots of changes in 40 years! We have gotten older, wiser, heavier, grayer, and are missing important people from these photos. Our parents have all passed away, my Dad having been the last to go in January of 2007. We miss them. Truly have to stand on our own now. Larry and Steve have remained best friends, but Leslie and I have grown apart. Sad :(

Life is good. Working at the pharmacy, I see lots of older people caring for a spouse. I hope we can maintain good health. I was talking to Brian the other evening about living and working conditions, and he said, "Anyway, it's all temporary; enjoy it!" Pretty astute for a 30 year old. I'm going to try to live in the moment more.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Only Good 'Possum....

is a dead 'possum. I hate 'em. Larry is pretty proud that he has done away with 18 of the critters with two bullets. Why the attitude when it comes to 'possums? Well, before the animal rights activists hunt me down, it should be noted that no one minds if they are running around the majority of the 33 acres. However, when we have no tomatoes because they are pilferred from the garden, a number of ripening cantalope are clawed and chewed, broken eggs are found, AND a kitten has been taken, it's time to trap 'em. Using a humane trap set in the garden at night, Larry first trapped one 'possum, shot it in the head, and noticed movement in the belly area. Turned out to be 7 babies, which were bucketed. We were still losing produce, so the trap was set again. Caught another 'n! Once again, a shot to the head and movement. This time there were 9 little ones, which were immediately dispatched. Score 18 varmints for Larry. No more trapped, but there has to be a male around here somewhere. Fortunately, we are produce swapping with neighbors. Swapped peppers and cantalope for cherry tomatoes and squash, and eggs and cantalope for sweet corn. It'll be awhile before we have more tomatoes ripe, but we're eating a bunch of zucchini and corn, and Larry has already made salsa and some pickles. Yes, Larry has ventured into the wonderful world of food preservation. The produce was piling up, and Larry just had to do something with it. The man has too much time on his hands.

OMG! I got home from work the other night and went out to see the ponies, as I usually do. Now, little white Dezi did need his hair trimmed. We've had him and Lucy for two years now. When we got them, Dezi was really spooky. His forelock/mane hair was so long that only his little nose stuck out the bottom, but he couldn't see. If anything touched him, it startled him because he couldn't see it coming. He has gotten much better since we have kept his hair trimmed. It did need trimming,but sheesh! Oh well, it's just hair; it'll grow back.

Then Flicka walked around the corner. GASP! I gasped and Flicka startled. Typical of a prey animal, her first reaction to my alarm was, "What's gonna eat me?!!" Actually, it just looked as if something had chewed on her forelock. Larry!!!! Whatever possessed him? There was no vision compromised; in fact, she looked pretty. Did look pretty anyway. Into the house I went.
"Larry, why???"
"What?" Mister Innocence replied.
"Why did you feel compelled to cut Flicka's hair?"
"She wanted me to," Larry insisted. (???????) "I was cutting Dezi's hair, and she came over and kept rubbing her head against me. She wanted a haircut too."
" It'll be back the way it was in a week or two," he said.
Yeah, in a month or two! Larry now has strict instructions not to cut Flicka's hair...EVER!
Lucy apparently didn't want her hair cut. Good for her!
Dezi continues to dream the impossible dream. Little stud with two tall mares. You can see that the black mare is a bit taller. For two years now Dezi has chased her around with no resulting patter of little hooves. Now, Flicka is quite a bit taller, but Dezi tries anyway. She'll stand for him and chase him around when he's tuckered out. You can see a little nose on her rump occasionally, but as I said, the impossible dream. A friend of mine said I could dig a ditch for her to stand in. What???? I think not.

I went to see Wicked with some friends from Community Theatre on Sunday. I loved it, loved it, loved it. Live theatre completely absorbs me like nothing else. The sets, the lighting, the costuming... like nothing I have ever had the resources to participate in presenting. Drama requires only material to perform, actors, and an audience; and those basics are about all I've ever had to work with. But this...WOW. I found the story compelling (I hadn't already read the book; that comes next), and the acting convincing. The music wasn't ear worm material; I didn't come away humming a melody. But it was appropriate to the storyline and kept the focus on some very good messages. I enjoyed the dancing; the flying monkeys not so much. Hey, flying monkeys are scary! Larry says they're stupid, not scary. When I was a little kid watching The Wizard of OZ , those suckers were scary! Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed myself and should treat myself to this level of performance more often. If I can just find some like-minded folks ready to shell out the bucks...