The First Day of Fall 2016…


A couple of nights ago, I noticed that it is getting dark way sooner than it has been – the lovely coming of Fall. I hadn’t really noticed it getting darker sooner before then. I guess I’ve just been too busy to see, or, perhaps I just didn’t want to see that another Summer has run its course.

Today is the first day of Fall. Though I end up really being discontent with the weather during the less sunny seasons, the beginning has always been something I have looked forward to. Yes, Spring and Summer are my favorites, but there are things to enjoy about Fall and Winter, beauties to be awed by.

Fall, of course, has the beauty of the changing colors of leaves, but there is more. The lighting is a bit different than in Summer (obviously), providing a different visual perspective on the world around you. As the leaves fall from the trees, exposing their tentacle and tendril-like branches, new art is created in front of the sky backdrop. And the skies! Blue is bluer, grays have more depth – even the rain changes to more of a moving partition, creating an atmosphere akin to a comforting isolation.

As the temperatures drop, Fall provides the ability to cocoon in warm, cuddly blankets, the warmth of fuzzy socks, new pictures to be taken with gloves on, and hot tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches after a nice, chilly walk. At least, this is how I feel at the start of Fall, before the cold just becomes too much.

Summer’s beauty is somewhat flashy and bold with flowers blooming everywhere, the trees fully dressed in rich, green leaves. Fall is a bit less flashy, though the changing of leaves from the beauty of Summer to the stunning array of colors of Fall is an amazing spectacle itself. Then Winter comes along with its beauties a bit more subdued, making it necessary to calmly observe what it has to offer. I know I have said that I have come to dislike the snow over the years, but there is a unique beauty in it. The hush it creates is surreal and, for me, at least, somewhat calming with a touch of leftover childhood excitement . That is, until the signs of civilization make their black marker hatch marks all over everything, snarled together like the twigs and branches of a slash pile – not so pretty.

The advent of Fall always brings up memories of the holidays from my early childhood. So many Thanksgivings and/or Christmas’ were celebrated at my Grandma and Grandpa Hite’s house. At least, that is how it comes together in my mind. I loved those gatherings. Everyone was there – aunts, uncles, cousins — EVERYONE.

I had always dreamed of carrying on this tradition with a family of my own, bringing together the different generations in celebration, but this has not happened. I have walked a different path, one that has not been conducive to what I had planned in my head. It saddens me that I am watching a tradition die. I do not believe that there is anyone in my family that has been trying to keep the tradition alive. I know I have not had that kind of Thanksgiving or Christmas since I was little. Granted, my families of origin are spread across the US, so that definitely is a contributing factor, I believe. I miss it, to say the least.

I think that as the comfort of my memories has worn off a bit over the years, being replaced by a sense of loss, is one of the main reasons I have come to dislike Fall and Winter as much as I have. Perhaps the child that still lives inside of me, in my memories, is pouting, heartbroken, disillusioned. I understand that the choices I have made over the course of my life have brought me to here, but this knowledge does not alleviate the feelings of loss.

When my kids were little, I still loved the holidays. There was a new type of excitement added for me because I was trying to give a piece of my childhood to my children. Now that they are grown, it has changed. I think kids really make the holidays because of the complete innocence and level of wonder and awe they still possess. Sometimes, I wish I could go back to being a kid, un-muddled by adult life, still capable of finding so much joy in the simple things.

How does your family celebrate the holidays? What things about fall and/or winter do you love? I’d love to get some feedback on this from all of you out there. Maybe it will help me find more of the beauty and joy of these seasons. If nothing else, I will get to see things from a perspective other than my own, which is something I absolutely love.

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Can I Go Home Now?

Yesterday was not a great day. It was not a horrible day, but it was definitely one I wish I could get a “do-over” on – a day that didn’t feed the soul at all. I made it through and, overall, I don’t believe there was much scarring.

I’ve sort of been in a funk for the past few days. I’m sure it has to do with Lance and Achilles being gone, but my mood and motivation have been less than wonderful. Yesterday morning, my motivation to do much of anything at all was pretty low, and I was grumbly about it a little bit. I hate being in a funk, especially when it doesn’t seem there is much to do about other than just ride it out. It can get to the point where I can’t stand myself.

Anyway, I headed out the door to renew my Costco membership, buy some dog food and paper towels, then go finish my buildings at the condo complex. A simple, relatively easy day planned, right? That was my thought, anyway.

The trip to Costco went just fine. Membership renewed, dog food and paper towels bought and loaded in the car, all is well. Off to go do my buildings.

The cleaning of the buildings went fine, as well. I have some opinions of the people who live in various buildings that are probably best left to myself, but nothing went wrong or was out of the ordinary. I had planned to head to Y to shower after my buildings, but I just wanted to go home, so I started to head that way.

Not too far from the condo complex, as I’m driving done the road, another car coming from the other direction, I see something that looks sort of like a black plastic bag or something streak across the street. It wasn’t until it ran into the tire of the car coming from the other way its body crumpling, then flipping up against the tire, that I realized it was an animal. As I watched the animal, laying on its back, its legs twitching and flailing about, I thought, at first, that it was a possum or something like that. As I drove by it, I realized it was a cat. I turned around. I couldn’t just leave it there suffering.

I pulled into the turn lane, grabbed some cardboard that just happened to be in my car, and a towel, and went to collect the cat. The poor guy was twitching and trying to get up, but I could tell it was quite broken. I carefully slid the cardboard under him, put the towel over him to try to keep him from moving and hurting himself more, and put him in the car. I know where there is a vet relatively close to where we were, so I headed that way. If nothing else, they could end his suffering, and possibly find a microchip so his family could be contacted. Somewhere between getting him in my car and reaching the vet, the little cat died.

I rushed into the vet, told them I had just seen him get hit, thought he had died in the car on the way there, but wanted to at least scan him for a microchip. Their emergency team rapidly collected, checked him for a heartbeat a couple of times, finding none. They then scanned him for a microchip – nothing. Darn. The cremation company they use said they would cremate him for free and spread his ashes over Commencement Bay when they make their monthly ashes run. Slightly defeated, I headed out to my car, more than ready to just go home and be done with this day.  (I had to euthanize one of my cats on Monday, so this added to whole experience. Poor girl’s abdominal region had a number of tumors.)

I get home, start to relax, snuggling in with my Mr. Enzo, when I hear someone, a woman, asking if anyone is home. “What now” was my reaction to this. I went out to find a woman, younger than me, with a little girl on her hip about 1 year or so old. She had stopped across the street to change her daughter’s diaper and her friend had accidentally closed her keys in the truck of the 95 Lexus they were in. The truck button on the car didn’t work so she was wondering if maybe I might have some tools and could help her.

I’m going to be honest here. I didn’t want to help. I don’t know why I felt this way, but it was how I was feeling. I know what it is like to be stuck without anyone to help. I grabbed some tools and we went to see what we could do. I ended up having to dismantle the bracketing behind the back seat back in order to get into the truck at all. This was after trying to knock out the lock (her idea) with not a whole lot of success. Keys were found and retrieved. Her friend then reached through the truck with a metal bar, dismantled the lock from this inside, and popped it open. I collected my tools and went home.

I’m really not sure why helping this woman get her keys out of her trunk bugged me, but it did. Normally, I am more than willing to help someone out in a pinch and feel grateful I was capable of helping afterward, but I was nothing but irritated by it this time. Not good.

Anyway, I spent what was left of the day before dinner hanging out with Luna and Enzo, just trying to stay out of the mix until this day could run itself out. Dinner was made and ate without a hitch. About an hour after dinner, I hear a strange noise in the trailer. After listening to it for a minute, I realize it is the water pipes making that I’m hearing. The sound is sort of like a hissing. Uh-oh. There is a leak somewhere. Crud.

I run outside to shut the water off and find the leak. The little extension hose I have to hook up the 4-way water outlet to the spigot with broke – water is spraying everywhere. Of course, it’s dark over there, so when I rush in to shut the water off, I face plant a huge spider web. Great. I get the water turned off then check myself for spiders, thankfully finding none.

So, yeah, it was a day. I know it could have all been so much worse, but it really taxed me. My fingers are crossed for today to be a much better day than yesterday. Wish me luck!

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Lance is Off to Arizona, Freestar Update…


Tomorrow, my husband leaves for Arizona for 3-4 weeks. I am going to miss him a lot, and that is compounded by the fact that he is going to be taking Achilles with him. My heart is just heavy. I’ve never been away from my pups, Achilles and Enzo, for any length of time since they were born almost 5 years ago. Separation anxiety? Well, yeah, a bit.

Lance’s parents are buying him new teeth. We both have horrible teeth from running through life with an imaginary invincibility cape that not only blocked a lot of self-care but took away the feeling of passing time,as well. Yes, depression has factored in to the lot, as well. At any rate, they found a dentist down by them that doesn’t charge as much as a rehab house to give him new teeth.

I’m super excited for him, and to see his new teeth when he gets home, but I have to admit that I am a bit jealous. I guess that is something that I am just going to have to make a plan for, which I had planned on figuring out for the both of us, anyway. I’ll figure it out, eventually. The fact that at least one of us is getting teeth is really great and I’m so happy for my husband.

Now, about Lance taking Achilles with him. I am anxious about it for so many different reasons. One of those reasons happens to be that he is going to drive down so that he has a way to get out and do things while he is there and he wants to stop by to visit one of his sisters. She lives in Ashland, OR, so it’s basically on the way down. I get his desire to do so and I guess maybe I’m a bit jealous over this point, as well. I’d love to go drive around the US and visit with my family. Thankfully, for him, his family isn’t too far away to get to.

Lance driving down causes me some anxiety for a number of reasons, the biggest being the car he is driving down. I’m not sure I trust it for that kind of drive. He is certain it will be just fine and I should be good with that since he is the one that drives the car so, hypothetically, knows how it’s doing, but it doesn’t lessen my anxiety at all. He’s driving a 98 Saturn SL-1 that burns oil and has a couple of other things going on with it. My fingers are going to be crossed to the point of hurting until I know he has made it to his parents’ house.

Another thing that causes me anxiety about Lance taking Achilles with him is that my Mr. Achilles is a nervous Nelly, super not sure of people he doesn’t know and unknown situations. He is going to need a lot of extra attention paid to how he is reacting to all of the new things and people he is going to encounter on this trip and Lance just isn’t as observant as I am. Lance also tends to be a bit more aggressive in his corrections than I am, or that I am comfortable with. I have determined that Achilles does so much better with positive reinforcement and gentle guidance rather than strict enforcement and corrections.

Maybe I am just freaking out because it will all be out of my control. I’m willing to admit that this is probably half of the reason its causing me angst. I’m in charge of pretty much everything around here, something Lance has willingly allowed me to do. I’m not saying it is necessarily a bad thing, completely, but it may not be such a great thing, either. I guess I am just going to have to figure out how to let go on this one. Maybe it will teach me to let go on a bunch of other things that don’t necessarily need me to death grip them.

I haven’t been working on the van over the past week. Funding is at the low end as we approach my next pay day so I’m holding off. My next steps, as I mentioned in my post about the van, are to check out the fuel injectors and replace the intake manifold gasket. Since one or both (probably both) are more than likely going to need parts to complete, I don’t want to open up the engine (remove the intake manifold) and leave it open until I have everything to close it back up, again – no moisture or dust getting inside the engine.

If the fuel injectors and the intake manifold don’t fix the problem, my guess is that I’m going to have to look into having the catalytic converter replaced. This is most definitely beyond my abilities so I’ll be pricing that out. I don’t weld nor do I have any desire to learn how to. I’m just hoping that cleaning the fuel injectors, replacing their o-rings, and replacing the intake manifold gasket fix the issue. Wish me luck!!

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My Love of Old Houses…

I have a really intense love of old houses. There is just something about an old house that speaks to my soul, as if the soul of the house is connecting with my own soul. And old farm houses…ugh. I’m completely sunk over those.

This is not a new love. I can’t remember not loving old houses, or at least looking at them and having my soul/imagination get lost in the possible life stories of the house –  who lived there, what life looked like for them, the years and years of life lived in that house, and – if the house has been abandoned – the loneliness of the house with only old memories and no new ones being made. Yes, I do understand that the house is an inanimate object, without feelings and all that, but I also believe that a house develops a soul of sorts from the life/lives lived within it, over time.

Anyway, a few months back, I stumbled across a site that speaks to my love of old houses: CIRCA Old Houses. I could spend hours and hours on this site. Ok. I have spent hours and hours on this site. There is a menu option on the CIRCA site called ‘The Magazine.’ If you hover over it, a drop down menu appears. There are 13 options in this drop down menu – Houses Under $50,000 is the one I get stuck on.

Each month, the site puts together a list of about 10 houses for sale for under $50k, written by Elizabeth Finkelstein, the founder of CIRCA. Yes, these are fixer uppers, but some do not have too much to be done to them to take them out of fixer upper status. Oh, and the imagining my brain begins to do and run with. With the right funding, there isn’t a single thing in any of these houses that Lance and I couldn’t do ourselves.

The houses shown are pretty much all on the East coast and in Mid-west, which means they are too far away for me to even go look at them. Yeah, I get it. I don’t have the funding to even embark on such an adventure as fixing up old houses and then re-selling them, but…oh how the mind creates such a beautiful picture. If I could figure out the funding, I believe this would be what I would be doing, with the biggest bonus being that I would end up finding the one that my soul calls home.

At least, that’s the story I’ve been telling myself and it feels so close as to be almost attainable, just barely out of reach. This, of course, gets me trying to think of ways to make it happen. Of course, there are the kids to think of. I know they wouldn’t want to cruise around the US with me, rehabbing houses, and I’m not sure I’m good being that far away from them. Yes, they are adults, creating their own lives, but…well, I still have one at home with me as he figures out what he wants his life to look like. I also think about things like ‘what if things go wrong for one of my kids and I’m across the country from them? How do I help them?’

I get it. They are adults. Part of being an adult is figuring out how to rescue yourself, if/when needed, but I guess I’m just not that type of parent. I have an open door policy with my kids, they can always come home and have a space available to them to collect themselves in and move forward, whether that is with me or moving back out into the world. Being across the country from them makes that so much harder for them to attain, if needed. So many considerations with this ‘old house rehab’ idea/dream, but, as my mind won’t let it rest, I’m sure I’ll continue to try to figure out how I would make the idea/dream come to life and not feel like I would be abandoning my kids in the process of chasing a dream.

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2006 Ford Freestar, 4.2l, Acceleration Hesitation project…


So, a couple of days ago, I picked up a 2006 Ford Freestar SEL with about 120,000 miles on it and an acceleration hesitation issue. The hesitation problem worried me a little bit, but hey!, I know how to work on cars. I’ve owned enough beaters in my life that I have had to work on to keep them moving forward. Since it seems that every vehicle (except for the Jeep and the Prius) I have bought over the last few years has been a problem child, to say the least, and not lasted very long, less than a year (The Jeep lasted a year for me), I might as well walk into a vehicle that has a known problem that I can chase down and fix. In theory, this sounds like a solid idea, but the van gave me a reason to doubt myself and my plan for a bit.

The day before yesterday, I got to work on chasing down this hesitation issue. The younger guy that I bought the van from had already been trying to track it down, replaced a few things and such, so I decided I would just recheck the things that he already did. Just because he did them, doesn’t mean he did them right or that things didn’t go wrong with what he had done – it happens. Worst case scenario for me was that I would find that everything he did was just fine and I have used up some time to check it. I could live with that.

The EGR valve was something the guy had said he replaced, and you could tell by visual inspection that it was a new unit. Good. I still had to try to remove it because one of the common issues with 2004-2007 Ford Freestars and acceleration hesitation is a carbon build up where it connects to the engine and at the exhaust return pipe (not sure that is what it is called, but it is what I am calling it). I couldn’t get the EGR off of the exhaust return pipe and didn’t feel like going and grabbing Lance for help with it, so I put it back together after checking the engine side connection for carbon build up, which there really wasn’t much of anything there. I will come back to that. On to the spark plugs…

The plugs and wires had been replaced, according to the guy I bought the van from. The wires look to be new so should be good. As I checked each spark plug, it became apparent that this guy did not check the gap before installing them. On the 2006 Ford Freestar with the 4.2l engine, the spark plug gap is supposed to be at .054. Each of the plugs were way off – .060 to .070. Well, that won’t work right. I regapped each plug to the proper width and reinstalled them.

I decided it would be good to check the connection of the plug wires to the coil, since this guy says he replaced the coil pack. Most of them were secure, as in the ‘snapped’ onto their proper post (yes, I checked the firing order and that was right). Two of them were loosey goosey, so I re-crimped their ends and got them to actually snap on. I may just end up replacing the wires since they aren’t that expensive (around $25). I’m not going to worry about that one right this second. I think I’m ok for at least chasing this issue down.

I called a really good friend of mine that is great at vehicle diagnostics. I explained everything to him with the van. One thing with the van is that the oil smells like gas, pretty badly. With this info, he believed that I had a bad cylinder or two and suggested a compression test, if I wanted to do that, but his opinion was that it was best to just cut my losses and move on. I put the van all back together and threw it on Craigslist. Talk about disappointed, depressed, defeated. But, my mind just couldn’t let it go.

I rented a compression tester from O’Reilly’s yesterday. I marked each plug wire so I knew where it went, removed them, and then removed all the spark plugs. Do you know that working on a minivan is a challenge for almost everything you want to do to it due to the position of the engine in the engine compartment? Having a convenient, extra joint in between your wrist and elbow would be extremely helpful in this situation. Getting the compression tester screwed into each spark plug port was challenging, to say the least, extremely frustrating and aggravating at its worst, but I made it work and each successive one was a little bit easier as I developed a system for it. End result: the compression is good and I have a solid, base engine to work from. Thank goodness. I was not going to rebuild this engine or find a rebuild to install in it. No. Not happening.

Today, after the clean I have scheduled, I will come home and reinstall the plugs and wires, then move onto the next thing: checking the fuel injectors. I’ve never done fuel injectors before but I have access to a couple of people who can walk me through it and I can also look it up on YouTube. Ok. Before I start on the fuel injectors and after I reinstall the plugs and wires, I am going to drive the van up to O’Reilly’s and have them hook up the OBD or OBD-2 reader to see if there are any codes coming up. No, the check engine light isn’t on, but I have had codes come up without it being on in other vehicles, so its worth a shot. Worst case scenario, I’m right were I am right now. Best case: it points me in a direction of what I should handle next.

Well, I had better get going so I can get back home and get to it. Wish me luck, People!

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Busy-busy, Real Estate School, and the Winding Down of the Gardens…

Oh my gosh, am I sore!! Two weeks of 6 day weeks with overlapping cleans…I am so grateful for today, my one day off. There are no plans for today set in place, none whatsoever. Sure, there will probably be a whole lot of sloth-hood going on, but what that is going to look like, I have no idea. I’m not saying I’m going to watch Netflix or sleep the whole day away. I’m just going to let it unfold the way it does and see what happens.

I have been toying with the idea of Real Estate school, again. Yeah, I know. There are no guarantees, it’s a risk, but hey! That seems to be my life. Everything is risky and without guarantee, but how does one move forward without diving, head first, into the unknown? If nothing changes, then nothing changes, and I’m a bit sick of feeling stuck in the same path I’ve been in for way too long.

Real estate is something I have always been attracted to. I’ve lost count of the times I have considered real estate school and allowed the opinions of others to influence my decision to not move forward with it. What do I have to lose? Some time, some money? Worst case scenario, I take the time and spend the money and I have more knowledge about real estate and am right where I am right now. In my opinion, nothing is lost and so much could be gained.

So, this is my plan. Once cleans slow down for the year, I am going to go ahead and get the real estate learning going. My thought is that I’m going to have a lot more time on my hands once things slow down, and this will give me the time to get myself back into the learning mode. Once things start to pick up, again, next Spring, I’ll be firmly seated in the discipline of learning and be able to stay on top of my courses while being super busy with work. Since cleans don’t go from being super slow to super busy overnight, I’ll have the ability to slowly integrate learning with cleaning. Yes, I have given this a whole lot of thought and have found absolutely no reason not to move forward. Change is coming.

Speaking of end of season things, my gardens are definitely winding down. The beauty they were is now very subdued. Most of what is out there is just the foliage with a few flowers speckled throughout, almost like fairy lights, which is its own subtle beauty. The sunflowers are done, the bergamot ready to be clipped back, the catnip has bloomed and gone to seed, the hollyhocks have their last blooms on, and the blazing stars have their last fluffs of blooms on the very bottom of the flower stalks. The Dahlias are still blooming but it seems as if the blooms are not quite lasting as long as they were. Yep, fall is definitely getting close. My Lupine, though. Those are blooming quite nicely.

There are still a bunch of things that need to be done in the gardens, but, true to me, I am putting those off as long as possible as I try to hold onto the last vestiges of Summer. I’m really bad about that. A plant can have all the signs of calling it for the season, but there is one little bud on it so I will wait for that last bloom. Sometimes I get it, other times the plant wins out and quits before that bloom can happen. When I win out and get to see that bloom, it always makes me smile, of course. How I hate letting go of garden season.

My tomato plants were doing so great!! Huge plants with big, beautiful, dark  green leaves, and a bunch of green tomato clusters. I noticed, yesterday, while I was watering, that all of the tomatoes had end rot on them. Talk about disappointing! I plucked them all, though I am having a hard time ending the plant. I know it is done for the season, but…I guess I’m just not ready, yet. I have to warm up to these things. Its like saying good-bye to a really great friend, almost. Over attachment issues? Maybe. So what? There are worse things to be over-attached to, that’s for sure.

Well, I think I am going to go read for a bit (one of the only creative outlets I’ve been able to filter in to my busy, financially focused brain these days). Life is good. Have a great day, Everyone!!!

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Financial or Creative Brain, The Gardens…

I still haven’t been writing as much. I’ve been super busy with work, and I’d love to blame it on that, but I don’t really believe that is the real story. I think it has more to do with finances.

You see, this is the time of year that I get things done, financially. It’s when I have the most money coming in, so it makes sense. Unfortunately, it appears that if I am in a financial state of mind, that whole super responsible state of being, I seem to lose touch with my creative side. I guess I just haven’t figured out how to have both in my life at the same time, yet. This makes me even more grateful for my garden.

I’ve come to realize that having something creative in my life is sort of like taking vitamins every day. I don’t have to take vitamins every day but, when I do, I feel better, have more energy, am a bit more focused. When there is nothing creative in my world, it just makes it that much harder to trudge through the sludge of every day living. Again, this is where my garden comes in beautifully (pun intended) at this time of year.

I haven’t been quite as active in my gardens, this year. I water them every morning, occasionally do a little bit of weeding (not as much as I should), dead head spent blooms, remove things at the end of their cycle, but…well, I feel like I have been way more active than this in the past. I’m more in the ‘just enjoying it’ mode, which I think is ok. It brings me smiles and, since I walk my gardens every evening, I find that much-needed time away from the have to’s. I know this is not really actively creative, but, for now, it’s just going to have to be close enough.

I’ve been working on rebuilding my credit over the past year. It’s a slow, mentally arduous process, but I’ve been making headway, which is the real pay off. I have to admit I’ve become a little bit obsessed with the whole process, too. I have two credit tracking apps on my phone, that I check daily.

I’ve started picking at the lower amounts on my credit report and paying them off. Since these are at the smaller end of things, there isn’t a whole lot of visual confirmation when I look at the total dollar amount on my  credit report. The visual payoff? Seeing my score going up – over 100 points in the past year. YAY!!

I went and looked at a car at a dealership yesterday. I wanted to see if financing a car is a possibility. I found out it is, though the payments that would be set at this point are more than I’m comfortable adding to the budget, at this point, especially with the slower season of work for me just around the corner. Maybe I’ll check back into this next spring or summer. It sure would be nice to be driving a car, again, that doesn’t cause me angst every time I get in it. I’ll get there.

wp-1471442917408.jpgThe gardens seem to winding down. The radiant beauty they were a couple of weeks ago is gone, though I’m still enjoying the blooms that are left and happening. I even had a gift this morning while watering: a sunflower, incredibly stunted in its growth, that’s had a bud on it for quite some time, finally bloomed. As you can see, it is quite small, only about a foot to a foot and a half tall. Those are Gladioli looking like giants right next to it.

My pumpkins have been turning orange and are now more orange than green. They are very big and I even have one that isn’t even as big as a baseball…lol. Its cute. There are two pumpkins that are white, and I haven’t expected them to last, but they are almost as big as the orange ones, so I’m thinking they will be part of my pumpkin harvest. Yay!

My Mammoth sunflowers are ready to be cut down. I would normally hang the flower heads on the fence so the birds could come get all the seeds, but there is no need this year. The little winged beauties have already eaten all the seeds. I have wanted to catch them doing this, just to watch, perhaps get a photo or two, but they are sneaky about it. Well, plus I haven’t really been home much to catch them in action. Oh well. Maybe next year.

Well, I have a clean today. I had better get myself together and get going. Have a great day, Everyone!!

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One Year Later…


So, its been one year since I sent my beautiful Tru-dog over the rainbow bridge, and I have to admit that I miss him so much more than I thought I would a year later. There are days when I just want to throw a big temper tantrum, screaming “I want my dog back!” That dog really was my rock and I’m still a bit lost without him. I really did not expect it to hurt so much a year later, but it does. I am crying as I write this.

Now, I know many would think that, since I have three other dogs still around me, that the pain of Truman’s absence would be lessened a bit, but it’s not. I love my three dogs, but I do not seem to have the same connection with any of them, despite Enzo making it quite clear that he has decided he is my dog. Tru was a special dog, we had a special bond. There was never a moment of indecision with Truman. He was my dog, period.

I’ve caught myself looking at German Shepherd puppies a few times over the past year. One ad on Craigslist for a female German Shepherd, 6 months old, even popped up when I was looking for a car when I had to return the Prius. Part of me wanted to look at a puppy showing up in a car search as a sign, but I know better. I’ll admit that there were a few minutes of my mind trying to justify spending $600 on that puppy instead of putting that money toward the much-needed vehicle. I have three dogs. My living situation is less than optimal. I do not need to bring home another dog, and I most certainly do not need to be putting $600 toward a fourth dog, no matter how much my heart hurts.

I have spent time working on my connection with Enzo. I’m not saying we don’t have one, it’s just not what Tru and I had. I’m not sure Enzo and I will ever have that type of bond, but he is a goofy dog, pushes everyone out of his way to love on me, sleeps next to me most nights. I guess Truman spoiled me.

I want nothing more than to curl up with my three puppies today, to just be near them, but I have to work today. I could push my schedule back a little but, well, I think it is probably better if I just keep moving forward. Maybe I will light a candle in Tru-dog’s memory tonight.

I really want to have a fire but I haven’t finished sanding and re-spraying my fire pit, yet. I guess I really need to get on that. Fall is coming and I’ll want to be able to burn a few fires then, for sure.

Today, I will hold my memories of my Tru-dog close to me, and trudge through my day. Thank you, again, Tru, for being the best dog in the whole world. I love you and miss you every single day.

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Super Busy, The Gardens, and Writing…

The past couple of weeks have been so busy!! Busy means money, which is good, of course, but my hands, arms, legs, feet, and ankles are ready to talk with their union rep (if they had one) about the grueling work conditions. The last two days have been back to the normal pace, but I’m not quite there, yet. My whole body just says “NO.” Thankfully, I have the weekend off to participate in some much-needed self-care.

We picked up another car for Lance this past weekend. His Subaru Legacy wagon gave up a couple of weeks ago and I had been driving him, and two of his co-workers, to work and picking them up every day since. I don’t really mind doing so, it just eats into time a lot, time I would have used for some daily self-care. Thankfully, that’s done for now. We found Lance a 98 Saturn SL1 for super cheap and it seems to be doing ok. As with any car we buy, fingers are crossed. Man, I miss the Prius sometimes.

The squirrel is eating my sunflower heads. I busted the little brat this morning when I saw one of my Autumn Beauties dancing away when I walked out. Since there are other sunflowers right next to this one and it was the only one doing a jig, I knew it was the squirrel. I walked straight out there and had a talking with her (I think the squirrel is a girl). Ok. It was more along the lines of an argument. I exclaimed that I thought we had come to an agreement, and she yelled something back at me. I told her she really needed to knock it off, and she yelled something back at me that I have the feeling was along the lines of “make me.” Yeah, she is a feisty one and very verbal. Here is one of the Mammoth Sunflowers she has been snacking on:

wp-1470233676987.jpg It wouldn’t be so terrible if this was the extent of her damages. Unfortunately, the sunflowers tend to look more like this, or worse, when she is done with them:

wp-1470233889687.jpg  Oh well. You can’t win them all and my gardens are still gorgeous, so I guess I can’t be too upset.

I came home from work the other day and found the bonus color of Gladiolus, the salmony colored one, bent over. I think the blooms got too heavy for it and, well, it bent their stems. Very disappointing, but I cut them and put them in a ‘vase’ (Big Gulp cup) with the red carnations that my son’s girlfriend bought me. I wasn’t sure the two would look all that great together, but I was so wrong. I think they look beautiful. One of the Dahlia branches was bent over yesterday, so I added it to the mix:

wp-1470234518075.jpg I’m definitely going to find some Gladiolus bulbs in this color for next year. It’s such a pretty color.

I can tell I haven’t been writing very much, lately. The flow just isn’t happening. I’m back to having to think about what to write, stuttering along, instead of just sitting down and writing. Now that I’m no longer having to take Lance to work and pick him up, I really need to get myself back in the habit of writing everyday, re-discipline my mind. I’m distracted by everything…’was that a dragonfly,’ ‘ why is that car going by making that noise,’ and it goes on. I’m thinking that writing needs to be a part of my self-care plan for this weekend.

Well, its Friday and I have buildings to clean. I really don’t feel like doing them, but, again, its money so…  I’d better go get myself ready for work and get going. The sooner I get the buildings done, the sooner I can get my weekend started. Have a great day, Everyone!!

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Stepping Out of the Chaos and Into My Gardens….

This whole life review process I’ve been going through has gotten a bit intense. I think it’s a good thing, probably, but that doesn’t always mean that it is a fun thing. I guess I’m going through the whole mid-life “spiritual awakening” Brene Brown speaks of. Or, at least, I think that is what this is.

I’m finding that I am less emotionally involved with the thoughts/words of others, though their actions seem to be something that is even more annoying, sometimes. I mean, words are words…whatever…but actions, well, I think they say a whole lot about the core of the person and I am feeling a whole lot less tolerant of people’s actions than I feel I have been before, especially when I see the damaging effects they have on those around them. Good thing or bad, I’m not sure. I know I have been speaking up for myself more than I ever had, and that’s a good thing.

I’ve noticed, also, that I have become a lot less tolerant of generalizations. Just because it applies to one, does not mean it applies to another, even if the situations are extremely similar. It seems as if generalizations seem to be ruling a whole lot of the conversations about so many different current events. Oh, how the desire for that cabin in the woods away from the middle of it all has grown.

I’ve started basically ignoring anything I see that has anything to do with the presidential candidates, anything with references to this ethnicity or religious belief or that one. It all just seems like such antiquated debates about things that should have been dealt with so many years ago. Sure, the presidential canidates are the newest ones, and definitely something to be in the know about, but the arguments I see, the debates between opposing opinions, just seems so…well, juvenile, somewhere along the lines of “I know you are but what am I?”

Anyway, that’s the discontent of the day. I can’t wait until the elections are done and the whole world becomes skin color blind. Just saying.

I went to my friend’s birthday dinner last night. She has eggs hatching, again, so I stopped by her house afterward to see all the babies. Want to see something incredibly cute??


That’s a baby quail I’m holding. It’s only a couple of days old, and so incredibly tiny it almost doesn’t seem real. You can’t really feel is in your hands, other than its little toe talons. And this little one has some spunk!! Jumped out of my hands the first time I was holding it. Thankfully, it landed alright on some of the bedding, though in the wrong bin. I reached in a grabbed it out, rather successfully. I have never been great about grabbing the babies. I’m always afraid I’m going to hurt them.

The gardens seem to just get more and more beautiful every day. I love walking out in the morning, coming around the garden shed to the radiant beauty of the garden by the hanger…breath taking. The Lily Trees have started blooming, which is so wonderful, though they aren’t the 4 feet tall I had complete faith they would become, so they are planted in the wrong place for optimal viewing. That’s ok, though. I can still see them, and have captured a few photos of them. Here’s one:

wp-1469381079522.jpgAs you can see in the photo, the catnip is blooming, as well.

This morning presented me with a gorgeous garden bonus!


I didn’t plant any Gladiolus (Gladioli?) that were this color. It’s so beautiful and stands out from the crowd. I love it.

I officially have two pumpkins growing. I have started taking it upon myself to be the pumpkin plants’ cupid, pollinating the female flowers by hand. This can be difficult sometimes, since it seems that the male and female flowers are a little out of sync with each other. Females only bloom for a day, with the males usually blooming a day or two before them. This is how pumpkins work, so I’ve read. With mine, the males bloom all over the place, but, when I have a female bloom, its seems to be just after the males are done. I’ve been lucky enough to usually find one male with mature pollen to use to fertilize a new female. Fingers are crossed.

Well, its laundry day. I’m so not looking forward to it today, more than usual. I want nothing more than to hang out at home with my husband and our dogs, maybe nap a bit together, watch some Shannara Chronicles on Netflix, escape from adulting for the day. Oh well…onward I go. Have a great day, everyone!!


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