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Friday, July 29, 2011


Seth stayed home with me yesterday.  He’s a sweetheart, even if he is so full of energy and orneriness he drives him Mom and Dad crazy.  I’ve had too many years of really naughty kids in day care; he doesn’t bother me.  And if he does there’s a ‘school teacher’ voice that usually works. :o)  

 We played Battleship and Seth made paper airplanes which he flew out side my window for a long time.  Then he played ball with Thain.  That dog would have chased tennis ball all afternoon.  He is so graceful when he runs after it—not at all like the full tilt gallumping style that Maxim uses.  And he doesn’t do a Victory Lap like Maxim.  There is not much that I enjoy more than watching kids and dogs play.

 Notah called Kerra in the afternoon and wanted to go eat dinner at Sopa’s; so that was good too.  I was tired but it was a good tired, not a depressed can’t-do-anything-else kind of tired. I slept good last night too—went to bed with the light out around 10:30 and slept till 1:30 when I woke up to go potty, then back to sleep till 5:30 this morning.  That’s really good.

So now I’m sitting by my window.  There’s a cool pleasant breeze blowing and the sky is overcast for as far as I can see.  I guess the sun came a a few minutes ago, but all I can see of it is a few bright rays shining through breaks in the cloud cover.  That’s pretty amazing for New Mexico. 

 Thain just came and stood in the window checking the breeze as it drifts through.  His long German Shepherd nose twitches as he stand perfectly still.  Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have such a sensitive nose; he certainly seems to find a lot of interest in the scents that are carried on the breeze.  What is he smelling, I wonder.    Cattle, horses, sage, juniper, coyotes, of course, and maybe even a cougar (the neighbor said there had bee a report of one sited just recently down here on the flats).  Whatever they are, Thain finds them fascinating. 

But we still need the rain those clouds might dump out. The two or three days when we had an hour of good soaking rain (our courtyard actually flooded!) helped the vegetation tremendously.  All of the dry bushes and trees are putting out leaves.  Our locust trees along the road are finally looking like real trees.  There are a couple which might not recover from the hard freeze last winter and the following drought, but most of them are putting out branches full of green!

The morning feels so good. I could probably go back to sleep.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Catching up

I haven’t been here for a couple weeks so it is time to catch up on things.

First off and most amazing, I now have beautiful golden salmon colored TOENAILS.  This is thanks to my grandson who thought that I really needed to have my toenails polished with Keva’s nail polish.  After 15 minutes of wrestling with him to prevent it, I finally gave up and let him do it.  They are a sight to behold!

I never could understand why women polished their toenails anyway.  Most people’s feet are not attractive enough for someone to want to call attention to them!  Mine are not an exception to that standard.   And now they have a pretty golden salmon paint on them, with a generous amount smeared on the skin.  Consider who did it and that part of them were painted while Grandma was vigorously protesting.

How long does it take for nail polish to wear off?  I figure that by the time Rachael comes after me in October it should be gone… I hope.

New Mexico has had a very dry spring and early summer.  When I first got here, Albuquerque weather men were saying that it had ben the driest first six months of the year since the late 1800’s with only two tenths of an inch of rain.  Every day we would watch as dark clouds gathered over the mountains and then moved on without giving us any rain.

Then a little more than a week ago the storm clouds began dropping teasing drops of rain from time to time.  And this week we have gotten two days of good rains during the night and one during the afternoon.  The desert is responding with enthusiasm.  Our back courtyard now has all kinds of grass sprouting; the rose bushes are putting up new sprouts and the wild flowers are popping up everywhere—no flowers yet but the stems and leaves are growing like mad. The sage brush, most of which has been brown and gray looking is getting green.  Many of the trees which had no leaves and only dead looking branches are sprouting leaves and some even have blossoms.  I’ve always been fascinated with how the desert responds to moisture. 

Seth stayed home with me today.  He had been going to work with Kerra this week and I was getting really depressed.  I only have my camp chair to sit in but that makes my knee hurt after using it for a while.  I can’t use the sofa because it is too low for me to stand up from.  Chairs and sitting surfaces have to be at least 22 inches high for me to get up comfortably.  The normal sofa may be 22 inches high if no one is ON IT but when you sit down the cushions compress and you end up 18 inches off the floor!   So I was spending 16+/- hours of the day closed in my bedroom.  I couldn’t open the blinds because I wasn’t able to reach the cord so it was very dark.  I am not able to sit in my camp chair very long at night when everyone is home so I am going to the bedroom shortly after supper.  (That was all right when I first got here and was tired, but when I caught up on my rest, it was different)

Most days this summer, Seth has stayed home and he has kept me entertained, but this week when he was going with Mom every day I was getting really depressed.  I struggled to keep from crying when anyone was around.  Evenings were okay because I went to my bedroom not long after supper and no one except Seth was bopping past.   Yesterday morning it was a real hard thing to do but I managed.  This morning, I went back to the bedroom because there were not people walking past all the time and if I was leaking tears there was not much chance of anyone noticing.  Keva was in and out but she is wrapped up in her own world so she didn’t notice.  Seth was in once and sat down beside me on the bed, so he wasn’t looking straight into my face; he didn’t notice.  I was almost home free till Kerra came in.

 As soon as she saw I was crying and asked why, the flood gates opened.  She first attached a cord to my blind. Now I can open it in the afternoons.  Being able to see the mountains will be a big help.  (Pretty soon the kids will be back in school and I’ll have to cope.)  She talked about figuring out a way for me to be able to sit in the living room where there’s the TV and dogs to distract me. :o) 

 And then my Seth came and said he would stay home with me!  Bless him!  He is very tender-hearted and loving.  So this morning he was outside for a while and came in discouraged because he wanted to build me a box for getting in the cars but the drill wouldn’t cooperate with him!  Then he came in and we figured out how to fix his baseball game.  He glued the ramp on and I figure out how to attach a piece of cardboard to the one guide so it wouldn’t keep catching the marble. 

Now he is playing the marble game and we are both watching a game show.  

 And I was finally able to stop crying. 

Tomorrow we all have eye appointments.  I needed one before I left Ohio, but we didn’t have time, what with my therapies and doctor’s appointments and Rachael’s work schedule.  I think my reading glasses are okay but my distance lenses seriously need replacing.  When Notah said they all needed to get their eyes checked, I asked Kera to make an appointment for me at the same time.   So tomorrow’s the day.

Chloe looks like a little blimp. Her puppies are due on August 8th.  We have a small problem because that is the weekend of camp meeting. So I don’t know what we will end up doing.  We all think she is going to have four puppies.  Her ‘hubby’ was a slender long legged tan Chihuahua so her puppies should all be tan with black points. Rachael said I can have a baby girl.  I seriously hope she has two girls, because I’m afraid the owner of the little male may want a girl!   We are waiting anxiously.  This is her first litter and with any luck she will not have any problems.

So that is all the catching up there is to do today!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


 Notah has a friend; he is such a good friend that the kids call him “Uncle Pat.”  For the last several years, ever since Notah moved out here, Pat has been aiming at getting moved himself.  This year when Notah came after me, Pat came too.  He shipped his belongings and brought enough in his car to live a few days until they arrived.  He brought his dogs; we brought his cats. (surprisingly good cats, considering they had never been confined to a travel kennel for any length of time at all.)

We left at nine am on a Friday morning.  Pat still had stuff to do so he didn’t get started until later in the afternoon.  We didn’t exactly travel together, but he and Notah kept in touch as we went.  By the time we got to Oklahoma, Pat was only about 3 or 4 hours behind us. 

Now there are only two legs left to go from Oklahoma City.  You go Ok. City, Amarillo, Albuquerque, then cut down to Belen.  Simple eh?  I mean there is only ONE ROAD west.

If I hadn’t been so tired I think Notah would have driven on through that day; it is only about 5 hours more to Belen.  But we stopped in Amarillo.  (Remember, we wanted to eat at the Big Texan?)  We were all relaxing in the motel when Notah’s phone rang.  It was Pat.  “Okay, I’m here where do I go now?”
Last exit on I-44 before it ends.  See?  A-b-i-l-e-n-e!

I-44 ends 1 1/2 miles

It turned out Pat had neglected to switch from I-44 to I-40 in Oklahoma City.  Where was he?  WITCHITA FALLS, TEXAS!   Fortunately I-44 ended there.  Pat didn’t know where to go and wanted to know the route to take.  If the route hadn’t ended the man would have ended up in Mexico!   Passport?  I didn’t need a passport the last time I was out here!!

Notah said, “You were supposed to follow the signs to Amarillo and Albuquerque.”

Pat said, ‘I did.”

Notah said, “No, you went south into Texas. You were supposed to be going west to Amarillo.”

Pat said, ‘Well, I was going to Albuquerque or Amarillo or something like that.  The sign said, A-B-I-L-E-N-E”

Notah nearly swallowed his teeth laughing, “Pat!  That’s Abilene!  You wanted  Albuquerque!”  These southwest place names are gonna be the death of Pat.

So instead of catching up with us in Amarillo, as he would have done if he had stayed on route, he was still four hours behind and south of us.  Luckily Notah was able to find routes to angle him back up to Amarillo instead of his having to backtrack to Oklahoma City.   After doing a little online research, Notah told him the routes to pick up and even which little Texas town had motels.  Pat traveled about another hour, found a motel, got a few hours of sleep and managed to find his way to Albuquerque the next day! 

Seriously though, we are really concerned about him losing himself in the desert.  The southwest is a really BIG place and the roads are few.  Pat is as much of a “herpe-phile” as Notah and likes nothing better than to roam around back roads looking for snakes and other such things.  Notah developed a sense of direction when he was just a kid, but Pat—no.  He doesn’t even read maps!  The first thing we encouraged him to do was to get a GPS so he could at least give Notah the coordinates of his location if he did get lost! 

Oh, I have visions of that!

Saturday, Notah had to work a few hours in the morning and when he came home at noon we all loaded up and headed for Wal-Mart.  I was sitting in the truck while Notah and Seth hustled around looking for something. 

Pretty soon here came Seth dragging a huge logging chain.  Seriously the links were as big around as my thumb and the thing was 15 feet long at least.  He had to drag it.  There was no way he could have picked it up.   He put it in the back of the truck and Notah came up, still hunting for something else.  When they both got in the truck, he laid a smaller chain on the center console. 

I said,  “WHAT are we doing with that?”   Pat was stuck in the sand!  He had been able to describe to Notah where so the chain was to pull him out.

Notah has this big four wheel drive pickup that is a powerful machine.  We bounced over some nasty stretches of road (and I say that as someone used to NM roads.)  and found Pat.

The man was well and truly stuck.  His front bumper was about an inch from a hump in front of the car and Pat was on his hands and knees digging.  He had dug out a space to get his jack under the frame, hoping to lift the car high enough to clear the hump. 

Sand can be really deceptive out here.  It can look smooth and solid, but bury you in seconds.  That’s what happened to Pat.  When he told Notah where he was, Notah knew exactly the sand hole he was in.  There were only two or three choices on that road!

Happily it was on our way to Wal-Mart.  We bounced over a couple miles of rutted road—Pat was looking for snakes and  reptiles, you don’t find too many along paved roads.   When we got to the second sand hole, there was Pat!

 Notah hooked that big old chain to Pat’s little Honda.  The first time the chain came off the frame before the pull started.  The second time Big Red Truck just backed up like he was on a smooth road pulling a Tonka Toy.  The Honda came out of that hole and over the hump without a stutter.

I told Pat that I’ve lived out here quite a few years and many of those years traveled back roads, but he had done the Best Job of getting stuck in sand that I’d ever seen.

I hope he is able to afford that GPS soon!

that's entertainment

What do people do who don’t have a pet to bring them chuckles and laughter?  As god’s people most of us don’t spend inordinate amounts of time watching foolishness on television.  We don’t waste our time being distracted by ungodly music and other programs on the radio.  Hopefully we aren’t bringing that same music into our homes on CD’s.   And yet the Lord sends us simple and wonderful things to ‘entertain’ us.

This morning when I finished, or actually as I was finishing, the dogs came to see if there were any scraps they might be interested in.  Bella is so big that her chin can rest comfortably on the table; her shoulders are even with the top. Thain is so big that his chin can rest easily in my lap and with a little bit of a stretch he can see what’s on the table.  Poor Sadie has to settle for stretching her neck to see if I’ve dropped a crumb or two in my lap.  They are all very good though and wait patiently until after we have eaten.  They aren’t allowed to beg.  And things can sit on the table or the counter all day without being stolen.

This morning, though, they were so funny.  Bella came first.  She made it in time to get the discarded white parts of my egg.  When my kids were little I always made them eat all of their egg.  (Sun up!  It’s 6:40 AM!  )  And even though I don’t care for the white of a boiled egg, I generally eat it.  But this morning Bella was starving.  So I gave her a couple bites of my egg.  Then Sadie came but by that time everything was gone except my cherries.  Bella thought those might be good, but after a couple sniffs she decided, no, that wasn’t dog food.  Sadie didn’t care though.  She gobbled hers.  Thain came along and saw Sadie was chewing something and HE wanted some too.   Now HE didn’t really think dogs should be eating cherries ( sweet, ripe Bing Cherries) but Sadie was eating hers and if he spit his out, she would eat it.  So, strange taste and all, Thain ate his little piece of cherry.  The expressions were priceless.
Yes, dogs do have expressions.  Bella was calm and serene through the whole process.  Sadie was ‘oh yes, I’ll try it.’  Thain was “are you sure this is good to eat?”  I loved it!

And then there are the late night calls from Rachael. . . 

My kids grew up with us doctoring all sorts of ailments in kitties, puppies, baby bunnies and what have you, so their first recourse when there is an animal problem is to call Mom.  It doesn’t matter that Mom is 2000 miles away, call Mom. :o)

Sunday night about nine thirty here, ten thirty in Ohio, Rachael called and said, “MOM!  What do you use to get skunk smell off dogs?!!”  LOL  Gabriel and Sebastian had tangled with a little skunk in the back yard.  And of course, Maxim had to go help them.  Fox terriers have NO concept of size or danger; they tear in with flags flying.  Well, their flags flew and so did the skunk’s.
They don't look like skunk killers, do they.
I knew that the one ingredient for removing skunk smell was hydrogen peroxide in dish soap (preferable Dawn) but I wasn’t sure of the other one.  Notah and Pat had gone on a late snake hunt, but I knew Pat had been talking just a few days ago about getting the smell of his dogs so I tried to call them.  Phone service in NM is dicey, especially if you are back up a deep canyon looking for black-tailed rattlers or cruising between mountains.  After a few tries to both of them I finally connected with Notah.  He got the other ingredient from Pat—in between gales of laughter!  Why is it when something happens to someone else it is worth a few chuckles, but when it happens to your sister it is hysterically funny?  Never did figure that out in 60 years.

Anyway,  hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and Dawn dish soap—in generous proportions of peroxide and baking soda will remove the skunk smell from dogs, give ‘em a bath in it!  

At about 1:00 AM Ohio time, I got a text: “dogs bathed, going to bed.” 

I asked Rachael yesterday if they both smelled like skunk when they went to work.  She said no but they did make the dogs sleep in my room instead of with them.   Oh yeah, when I get home in October my room will probably still have a lingering odor of eau de skunk! 

Throw out your TV and get a Toy Fox Terrier or a Labrador Retriever, or a German Shepherd, or a boxer/pit bull mix.  Or even a beautiful, graceful, serene Great Dane.  You will never lack for entertainment.  Or love.