Saturday, December 24, 2011
The day before
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Grandma's Christmas Present
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Going home tomorrow
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Our book has been published!
Thursday, December 1, 2011
The Bag Lady and the tenant
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Bud, part 5 of 5 - autumn leaves
I worked for a few minutes, creating a satisfying pile of crisp yellow and orange leaves. I'd gathered them about six feet behind a parked vehicle so they'd be sheltered from wind gusts.
Bud appeared. As I worked on the leaves, he snouted the rake curiously. I chided him and continued working. He stood still - usually a sign that he's getting ready to take an unexpected action. And he did. He snouted around in the pile of leaves. Then, suddenly, he grabbed a mouthful and raced off. He tore around the yard and back, leaped into the pile of leaves, whirled around, and tore off again.
Alarmed at his frenzy, I reraked the pile, moving them away from the vehicle lest he hurl himself into it and injure himself. He raced back, leaped into the pile again, and fell over into it, rolling and snorting.
Several rerakings later, Bud lost interest in the proceedings and wandered off. I called a family member to come and watch, but Bud refused to repeat his performance. Naturally.
For the next couple of days, I raked that pile of leaves periodically. Bud displayed no interest. BUT each time, I noticed that when I returned to the area an hour later, the leaves were scattered on the ground. There was no wind, so I knew Bud's secret. He did his leaf jumping when no one else was around.
Monday, November 28, 2011
Bud, part 4 of 5 - whistle stops
So, in search of greener pastures, Bud has become an escape artist.
Household members are never home when Bud escapes. They return to find fencing that has been knocked down, dug under, wiggled under, or jumped over. The pig is found, sometimes with fence scratches on his back. The site of the escape is immediately blocked off, restaked, raised, or otherwise strengthened.
On his next escape Bud uses a different route.
Fortunately, he forgets immediately about the greener grass if there is something else interesting to eat instead. That means he can be lured back by the promise of food.
If Bud obeys the command "come here", he gets a treat - usually a piece of dog food or a bit of Oreo cookie. He's pretty good with that command. But there is another one that I didn't know about until recently. One of the kids had been whistling for Bud for months and rewarding him with a jelly bean or a piece of fruit when he appeared. It was done to establish a friendly relationship rather than to teach obedience.
One day, when the whistler arrived home for lunch, she looked around for Bud. He was nowhere in sight. She whistled. She heard a distant snort. She whistled again. Another snort, not so faint. One more whistle.
Then she saw him. Bud was sprinting up the street of our residential neighborhood, toward her. At her final whistle, he arrived at her feet, his 100-pound body heaving from exertion.
He got an apple that day.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Bud, part 3 of 5 - the camping adventure
that will be roaming around?" After a few more questions, we decided to buy a large dog kennel so that Bud could be restrained when necessary.
As I pulled into the driveway at the end of the weekend, I could see that Art had gotten home before me. He'd pitched the tent in the front yard to dry it out, as it had rained on the last day. I was pretty impressed with his efficiency. As I headed for the house, I noticed a tear in
Inside, I asked Art about the tear in the tent. He recounted the following story.
While Art was putting up the tent and organizing the campsite, he had tied the pig to a tree with a long line. In the space of 15 minutes, Bud rooted up all the grass and ground cover within ten feet of the tree. Since he'd already destroyed all the vegetation in his area on our property, fresh vegetation was a treat.
When the campsite was set up, Art untied the pig and let him explore the area while he went to get water nearby. He was gone less than a minute.
Finished with his initial rooting, Bud explored the campsite. There was a grocery sack inside the tent, full of food, but the tent opening was zippered. A loaf of bread stuck of the top of the grocery sack. Bud bit through the netting close to the sack, poked his head through the hole, and grabbed the loaf of bread by the wrapper. Just then Art, returning with the water, saw the pig doing his dastardly deed and shouted at him to get away from the food. A fruitless shout. Bud pulled the loaf of bread through the hole in the netting and started running. By the time Art chased him down, the bread was half gone.
Bud had an excellent time on the camping trip. Art has decided that next year he will get a pigsitter.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Bud, part 2 - the lad and the motorhome
At points north we stopped to visit a teenage son. The son came aboard the motorhome. This particular son was not familiar to Bud, and furthermore, he was a smoker. As we chatted with him, Bud whined and moved around the cramped space in an agitated way. We reprimanded him and he retreated to parts unknown.
He was back within a few minutes, quietly using the litterbox and doing his usual snouting around in the litter material. We continued to converse with the teenager. Suddenly, Bud made his move against our unwelcome guest. With his weight on his hind legs, he put his front hoofs on the teen's leg, barked, and rubbed his wet litter-laden snout on the boy's jeans.
The kid leaped to his feet and retreated down the steps of the motorhome. Since that time, when the boy comes to visit, he sits with his feet and legs tucked under him when Bud is around. The pig gets respect from the teenager.
Friday, November 25, 2011
A week later, Nalyn stopped by again. This time she had an apple box in her arms. The box squeaked. She put it on the floor and opened the lid. Inside was a four-week-old black piglet with a pink nose. He must have weighed about six pounds. He immediately tipped over the box, clambered out, and set off on his own exploration. I found some cat food in the kitchen, then called the piglet. He came to me. The teenagers were thrilled. They begged to keep him.
I am pretty cautious about acquiring pets. We had NO idea what a pig ate or what its habits were. Nalyn assured us that a pig's care was easy. She told us about a vet in Woodinville who specializes in potbellied pigs. We were faintly encouraged. We agreed to keep him overnight and see how it went.
I set up a makeshift bed in the bathroom and found bowls for water and food, while the piglet entertained the kids in the living room. When I returned, the kids were lying on the rug on their stomachs and there was no sign of the piglet. I looked closer. The pig had found a warm, comfortable spot for a nap - between my son's legs, nuzzled up against his backside. The perfect "V" - just like a pile of piglets at home with their mother.
We were done for.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
More than I expected
Thursday, November 17, 2011
The Bag Lady thinks about money
Thursday, November 10, 2011
The Publisher, the Veteran, and the GPS
Art: "It hasn’t been easy, not one bit. It’s going back there over and over and over. Remembering is not like it was at first, but it still has its trigger points, barbs, and head rushes.
I went on a retreat recently. It was one day dealing with Viet Nam, but I had a lot of backup, texting to friends at home and letting them know how it was going. And Ed Tick was on the retreat, and there were a lot of vets and other men who were very helpful. But this revision process was just a constant day after day going back there, and not debriefing, and it adds up. So I’ve been pretty wired. One night I was so agitated I punched the GPS in my Prius too hard and broke the glass! Then I talked to another vet, and he shared his experience with me, and it helped.
In spite of that, I’m glad we have written this story. The main purpose was to help other vets. I hope that talking about this journey of healing and how it has helped me – if even one person can get some good out of it and stop the nightmares and gain some peace, it will be worth it."
The rest of the story on the GPS incident is that I was busy making revisions so Art drove to a nearby community to pick up the beef we'd ordered from the butcher. When Art pushed the glass to get the GPS activated, the glass cracked. He pushed other options, and the glass cracked more. Now the glass over the electronic features looks pretty much shattered - like a frenzied spiderweb.
Art called our Toyota dealer. They said the part would be $4800!!!!! We had a quiet chat about how hard the last month has been on both of us as we refined the manuscript about our 2005 return to Viet Nam, where he saw combat back in 1968. We talked about what we could have done differently so he didn't get so stressed out over the process. We discussed canceling our planned trip to Norway in March so we can pay for the replacement part.
This morning Art confirmed that all the features no longer accessible under the dashboard glass -- except the GPS -- can be operated from the steering wheel. Since we're planning on driving the Prius into the ground over the next ten years or so (it's a 2005, so it's already six years old), and since he's the main driver, he may decide to just leave the shattered glass in there. Appearance doesn't matter a whit to him, as long as something is functional. We can take a hand-held GPS with us on trips.
So who knows about Norway?
At this point, I'm so thrilled not to be talking about Viet Nam every waking moment that I don't care.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Blogger in the Sky with Laptop
Sunday, November 6, 2011
New Author's Rant
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Busy, lucky me
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Taking my own advice
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Retirement, Year 2
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Return to Vietnam - journey of healing
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Sliding into fall
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
On Turning 63
Saturday, September 17, 2011
A rooster crowed!
There are 16 hens in the coop. When I went over on Tuesday, the first day, three were outside the coop. I caught two of them, but the third - a large white one with a black tail - eluded me. It had returned to the coop by the next morning.
Yesterday - Friday, the fourth day, I was picking green beans in my garden and I heard a rooster crow close by. I thought it might have been a neighbor boy imitating a rooster, but it sounded very authentic to me. It was repeated three more times in ten minutes. I noticed my Jennie's husband Jason had come home and wondered if he'd stopped by someplace and bought a rooster to join the hens.
Today when I was walking home from the library I saw Jennie in the yard. We chatted about her trip and then a rooster crowed! Turns out the large white hen with a black tail who escaped the coop wasn't a hen after all. Jennie and I discussed how eggs get fertilized - something I wasn't familiar with. As we stood there, the rooster mounted a hen. It was very fast - like maybe two seconds - and then it was over. Jennie and I laughed about what a quick thing it was, and how easy for the hen. Then she said the rooster might only be practicing. Remembering its robust crowing, I wondered.
So, for you keepers of chickens out there, is it really that quick? I told Jennie I'd post a blog entry and ask.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Talking me down
I'm on my own this week - my husband is at the Minnesota Men's Conference until Sunday. I'm the waterer and animal feeder at my house until then - and at our neighbors' until Friday night. I'm also up to my usual schedule. So I have plenty to do.
But I've had positional vertigo for a couple of weeks, which I last had ten years ago but is still as disconcerting as it was then. I saw my doc on Tuesday and he prescribed meclizine, an over-the-counter med that appears to be working. Unfortunately, I've also got allergies that have hit my ears from time to time for the last 30 years, for which I take antihistamines - and they give me that "my head's too big" sensation. Then I start worrying about the size of my head, and I don't want to get in the car and drive, or take a walk, so I don't get out and I don't get any exercise. I've posted about the dark alleyway of my brain before, so it's a little embarrassing to bring it up again. But it's on my mind, if you know what I mean.
My sister Alyx has talked me down for the last couple of days. She's in nursing school, and she says her conversations with me help her practice her critical-thinking skills! Plus, she has a dark place in her brain also, so she gets it.
She reminded me of a couple of things this morning. First, that I shouldn't take a medication that was prescribed for me for something else. So I shouldn't be using the nasal spray at night that was prescribed for post-nasal drip just because it's also an antihistamine, unless I have post-nasal drip - which I don't now that I've changed the blood pressure medication that was causing it. And, if I am using the nasal spray because it's an antihistamine, I shouldn't also be taking Allegra, an over-the-counter allergy medication - because it's an antihistamine also, and I don't need to be taking two.
I should have thought of that myself. I'm overmedicating. Another embarrassing thing.
For the last few years I've taken amino-acid therapy (Zen) for winter blues. I take it from October 1 to March 31, during the dark times in the Pacific Northwest, along with light therapy. This summer I found an herbal remedy for mild anxiety, which I've been taking as a supplement for a couple of months. On a visit to the naturopath last week (for an issue related not to allergies but to being postmenopausal), she read the contents of the herbal remedy, noted it contained amino acids, and said, "Don't take this if you're taking the Zen." I figured, well, she wasn't familiar with the herbal remedy, and I take a very low dose of Zen, so maybe it will be okay. My sister said, "Linda, the doctor told you not to take both. Do what the doctor recommended."
I should have thought of that myself, too.
Fortunately, I heard my sister. So I won't use the nasal spray, and I will use only the Zen - even if it's two weeks before October 1.
And then, with less medication of any kind in my system, I'll walk to the library this afternoon and then drive to the post office. Oh, and get the strawberry bed ready for winter.
Know what Alyx says? That I'm retired now, and I haven't got things going on constantly that require my mental energy, even though I've got a busy schedule. So my head comes up with things. She may be on to something.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Where did the time go?
How did I get to have an 11-year-old granddaughter with her own Facebook page, where she posts my picture as her grandmother?
How did I go to the pharmacy to ease the seasonal allergies that swells my Eustachian tubes and tell the pharmacist I found a med that worked 30 years ago, and have her tell me they don't make that product any more?
How did I get to have hair so gray that my hairdresser says it looks better now that there's not so much of my natural dark brown left in it?
How did it happen that when I made zucchini bread this week I realized it had been 20 years since I last baked it?
On the other hand, current time can be very sweet.
We're having a September heat wave in the Pacific Northwest. It will be close to 90 degrees today, with low humidity and over 12 hours of sunshine. How fortunate for all the garden's tomatoes, striving mightily to ripen before the cool fall weather begins and the green ones get stored in paper bags to ripen in darkness instead of sunshine.
Now that my granddaughter has her own Facebook page, I can communicate with her directly. Yesterday she requested a picture of our cat "so I can show my mom what Larisa looks like". She's a twin, and the other granddaughter doesn't have a FB page yet, so I get to have an online relationship with this one girl apart from her twin. Always a lovely opportunity!
I luxuriated in a three-day read of Ann Patchett's new book "State of Wonder" without concern for reading into the night because I don't have to get up to go to work in the morning.
I attended my first mediation observation this week - one of six I have to do before I take my first practical exam in the process of becoming a certified mediator - and was able to sign up for a session in the middle of the day because my days are my own now.
We had a couple staying with us via the Evergreen Club, and we'll be able to visit them in January, in their community south of Tucson, because we'll already be in Sedona for two weeks anyway, and we have no restrictions on when we need to get back.
I note with pleasure that, when doing plank exercises to strengthen my core and my back, I can now hold the position for 45 seconds rather than the 30 seconds I started out with. The personal trainer says I don't have to come back until I'm at two minutes. I think I may actually get there - and in the two weeks I've been doing this I haven't missed a day.
I figured out how to create multiple calendars, with different colors, on my online iCal calendar. I see my days are busy, and that's a good thing.
We have almost enough miles on our credit card to buy two tickets to Quito, Ecuador for a February visit. We may even be able to fly on Alaska Airlines and its affiliate LAN to enhance our chance as MVP flyers of getting a first class upgrade.
Most especially, when I started this blog in January of 2010, I called it "Thoughts from a Bag Lady in Waiting" because, before I stopped working, I was scared I'd be a bag lady. Somehow, in the 14 months since I quit my job, that fear has been removed. Time does work wonders!
Saturday, September 3, 2011
Doing our part
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Three years ago yesterday my mother died in a nursing home in San Bernardino, California. I was with her when she took her last breath.