My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Random Celebrations (& other stuff!)

This post is all about

starting with also celebrating...

Yep, published my very first blog post six years ago today, and was it ever a barn burner. Took the blogging world by storm. But why take my word for it when you can spend seven seconds reading its ground-breaking and witty insightfulness for yourself? ;-)

And this random post is also about celebrating BW's birthday, which is coming up on Thursday. Just a few days ago, BW could have said this is all* honesty...

*only not quite, since he doesn't own an Etch-a-Sketch, either. But we were out of wine!

But then his birthday present arrived last Friday...

and of course he opened it early (because no matter how old he gets, he's still like a little kid in all the best ways) and it was, of course, an iPad. Which he knew all along, since we'd researched and ordered it together. :-) And on Saturday we finally bought a bottle of wine AND he started a week of vacation, so the stars were once again aligned properly. 

We wanted an iPad to take on our two-week road trip to the Pacific Northwest later this month since we don't have a Smart Phone or laptop. But mainly BW wanted it because let's face it, I monopolize the computer (hey, you don't reach the impressive milestone of a sixth blogiversary without logging some equally impressive computer time!) :-)~ So now he can enjoy his favorite online pastime, looking at boats for sale, full-time liveaboard cruiser blogs, marina web sites, sailing videos (you seeing a theme here?) to his heart's delight. Except for when he's using the iPad to take photos of our dogs and emailing them to me from two rooms away. LOL...

Josie's clearly as unimpressed about being photographed with BW's birthday gift 
as she is about being photographed with mine!

Speaking of the girls, they had their annual checkups, heartworm tests and vaccinations yesterday, and everyone did great. Our vet can't believe Willow is 13 - except for some hearing loss and hazing of her eyes that comes with age, she said she looks like a much younger dog (acts like it, too!) We told her it's because her favorite foods are raw kale and red cabbage! :-) Tess was complimented on her very white, sparkling teeth, while Josie had to have some extra tests (Josie is famous for running up big vet bills!) to see why she's been crapping out on our walks recently. She starts out enthusiastically enough, but after about three or four blocks she starts demanding frequent lie-down breaks in the shade no matter how cool the day is. Since she's always had couch potato (and diva) tendencies and picks up the pace again when we turn for home, it's a bit suspicious - but we thought it best to get her checked. Her heart sounded good and looked good on her X-rays, and she had no radiological signs of arthritis (another surprise to our vet since Josie is at least 10 and probably older, but again I credit their vegan diet). We're having some blood tests run to test her heart function, and the vet said it's possible she has hypothyroidism (she has two or three of the symptoms) or that maybe after all these years, her crippled back leg that makes her work harder on walks has put enough extra strain on her muscles and tendons to cause her discomfort. Depending on what the heart bloodwork shows, we may test her thyroid or try some pain meds and/or acupuncture, but we certainly can't yet rule out a severe case of Couch Potato-itis. ;-) 

So we may just have to get her this collar charm to wear. :-)

In other random news, while running errands last Saturday we spotted this fun car in a full church parking lot (we reckoned for a June wedding, another cause for celebration) and since I happened to have my Rebel with me I took advantage of the photo op. Turns out it's a reproduction (of a Ford Model A), but it's snazzily fun even if it's not the genuine vintage article...

I loved the "ahooga" horn and etched glass side windows, and also enjoyed giving this photo a bit of an old timey feel!

Much less fun lately and has been our very strong and relentless wind. Blowing 25-40mph most days and nights for two weeks, with frequent gusts to 50-60, it has everyone feeling tattered, tired and cranky. We've wanted to get our front flowerbed planted and BW took advantage of a rare calm morning to prepare the soil, but as soon as he'd finished the strong winds kicked back up. We fear if we try to plant the flowers we've bought for it so far we'll just end up looking like Letty, Lillian Gish's tormented character in the 1928 film, "The Wind"....

I saw "The Wind" (and you can too, by clicking on that link) in a silent film course I took in college, and it keeps replaying in my head as our own winds roar around us and rattle, bend and shake everything without mercy day after day. Letty (transplanted to the west from her gentile eastern life and made an unwilling bride) had a lot more to contend with than just the wind. But the wind definitely played a major role in driving her batshit crazy, and that's one of her challenges I'm beginning to seriously relate to!

Quit blowing, dammit, or else!

I have to admit, though, it has created some beautiful cloud art in the skies....

On the rare evenings that it's calm enough to hear them, we've been serenaded by frogs just beyond our back fence. They're very loud, and so between their lusty nightly performances and the wind, we've been unable to sleep with our bedroom windows open. I took this video (for its audio) from one of those bedroom windows a couple of nights ago so you could enjoy one of their concerts for yourselves....

This week is busy with projects, errands and appointments, but mostly with putting the final touches on our big three-family yard sale we're hosting here Friday and Saturday. Let's hope the wind doesn't blow like stink for at least those two days!

Have a great week, and I'll pop back in for SkyWatch Friday before the swarms of locusts - uh, I mean garage sale patrons - descend on us! (I don't know about where you live, but out here the garage salers can be hardcore, voracious shoppers!)


  1. It seems that lots of random congratulations are in order here. First, on your blog anniversary. There aren't many bloggers who have been around for six years. Here's to six more! And happy birthday to BW, and welcome to the present! Now that he has an ipad, it's just a matter of time before he'll want a smart phone, too.

    I hope Josie doesn't have anything seriously wrong. I wish dogs could talk. I have the same dog cartoon on one of my posts, though none of my dogs has ever not been allowed on the couch.

    The wind sounds awful, and I sure hope it doesn't come whipping around your garage sale.

    1. BW and I both thank you for your happy wishes and congratulations! I have to admit, I took a blogging sabbatical for most of '08 and '09 as we dealt with trying to get our house ready to put on the market as we dealt with the aftermath of the wildfire, remodeling, damaging hailstorms, plumbing leaks, asbestos - that was a rough year+ and I was in no mood to blog about it, even if I'd had the time. I wasn't sure I'd ever resume, but I'm glad I did.

      I'm sure Smart Phones are in our future, but probably not before his retirement.The iPad and Tracfone will have to do in the meantime!

      Josie is very stoic when it comes to discomfort, and has always been asymptomatic with her UTIs. Makes it tough! We'll see how her blood test comes back and go from there. I'm thinking if it's anything, it might be her thyroid. I think that cartoon's a hoot, especially since the couch has always been a "no zone" in our house too.

      The forecast for our garage sale days was just awful at the beginning of the week (rain, cold and wind!), but has improved greatly as of this morning! Still a bit breezier than I'd like for Saturday, but sunny and warm and not nearly as windy as it's been. Hope that holds true! Thanks for your good wishes!

    2. What do you feed your dogs? Callie was extremely resistant to V-Dog and I eventually gave up after she refused to eat and then started vomiting. And yes, I did a very slow introduction with her old food.

    3. We used to feed them V-Dog (the old formula) but switched to Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Vegan dog food, which we could get from the local feed store. Then recently the feed store ran out and failed to order more, putting me in a real pickle, so I ordered the new improved V-Dog and the dogs really love it. They've been eating it for over 2 months now and are doing well on it. Their poo isn't eye-wateringly stinky like it was on the Natural Balance! How odd that Callie reacted to the V-Dog like she did. What are you feeding her instead? Robyn's daughter Ashley feeds her vegan dog Ani the Ami (ha, that's a bit confusing!) dog food, and she loves it and does great. That would break the bank with our three 45-65 pound dogs eating twice a day though!

  2. Happy Birthday. Happy Birthday.
    Kisses for the furry family. We just got back from the vets,almost $700 on two check ups meds and food.I feel your pain.
    You are in a prime position right now to help the universe...stick your head out of the window....listen to the wind. Did you hear the answer?
    Jane x

    1. Holy crap, your new maple syrup-scented polymer money must be expensive! All three checkups, two heartworm tests (Josie had hers in April), three vaccinations, Josie's 2 chest X-rays and her heart function blood test, and toenail clippings all around came to $330! Your meds and food must have been rather pricey.

      The only thing I hear when I stick my head out the window is the roaring wind or the bellowing frogs! Am I supposed to hear something more profound than those things? :-)

    2. The answer,my friend,is blowing in the wind!
      Jane x

    3. Well it's going to have to speak up to be heard over the frogs and wind noise!! LOL

  3. Happy birthday BW!! Also, congrats on 6 years of blogging!

    I'm glad to hear that BW got an ipad for his birthday. That's a great present! Just as great is that you actually got a bottle of wine. ha! Love that graphic.

    That's wonderful that all checked out at the vet okay (I never would have guessed that Willow is 13!!). Hopefully Josie just is more of a couch potato, although if it is her thyroid you can tell her that I know exactly how she feels. I've been dragging again this past week or so...... ugh.

    Such a gorgeous car! I would have been all over that with my camera, too. Those frogs need to find another place to sing their nighttime serenades to each other. SO loud!

    The wind has been nasty here lately, too. My ears hurt from the walk we just took because it was cold, as well. Is it really June? Here's hoping it calms down enough for you to make the garage sale decent.

    1. Thank you, Molly!

      BW is really enjoying that iPad - now he's sending me real estate listings in Maine. LOL We just opened the wine for the first time tonight and enjoyed it with BW's homemade pizza. Yum! I love that etch-a-sketch graphic too, it's what inspired this whole post (I'd forgotten about my blogiversary till this morning!)

      Everyone says that about Willow when I tell them her age! She's kept herself very fit, too. :-) I'm sorry your thyroid is misbehaving again! That's got to be so frustrating - though at least now you know what the culprit is!

      Those frogs are cray (as Dirty Duck likes to say!) I keep trying to figure out how many of them there are, but it's impossible. At least two, but surely it's more like 200 to reach a volume like that?

      It barely hit 50ยบ today and the wind never quit. What a strange spring we're all having! At least we're supposed to be back into the mid-upper 70's by Thursday. Hope your weather improves too!

  4. First, congrats on your way it's been that long, and still going strong ;-). Did I just rhyme? ;-). And...a very Happy Birthday to BW! I bet he'll love the new iPad....lucky guy!
    Good luck on the garage sale. We had one a couple weeks ago and did a nice'll feel good, believe me!
    Glad the pups are well and aging gracefully ;-). xoxoxo

    1. Thanks, Spudly! I never thought I'd still be blogging at this point, but I don't seem to run out of things to blather on about (or take photos of!) :-) Figure I'll keep doing it as long as it's a fun creative outlet.

      BW thanks you (and everyone) for your birthday wishes, and is enjoying the iPad a lot, though he's still figuring some things out. But he's figured out the things he mainly wanted it for and is enjoying playing with his new toy. :-)

      Oh, don't those purges feel great? The incoming cash feels good too, but it's seeing that flotsam and jetsam flow out that REALLY feels great! I was surprised at how much we've got in the sale, since we just had one the year we sold our place, but at that point we didn't know yet if we'd be selling it or when, or where we'd be going, so we hung onto a lot of stuff that it turns out we don't need (lots of stuff we needed for living on acreage or having Mocha with us, etc). And there was stuff that was buried in our basement storage that we just threw into boxes in the flurry of moving and are just now hauling it out and unpacking it all and asking each other why the hell we dragged this or that whatsit with us from Big Horn?! LOL I hope we're left with very few things by the end of the sale. There's more we'll try to sell before we leave this place, too, but it's not garage sale fodder or we're still using it for now. :-)

      Our ageless pups all send you kisses! xoxo

  5. Congratulations. On so many fronts. Six years! Such stamina, such drive. Thank you. And I liked your very first post too.
    Happy birthday to BW - here is to yet another year of happiness.
    Congratulations on the most excellent vet reports. Speaking as a person with an underactive thyroid, couch potatodom has rather a lot of charm. Fingers and toes crossed for you, and her. I would much prefer a lazy pooch to a not entirely well one.
    I loved the frog serenade. Not precisely lullaby material - but beautiful.
    Good luck with the garage sale. Such drive, such stamina...

    1. Thank you, Ellie Sue! We hope it's just Josie being Josie and not Josie being in pain or unwell too. We'll try to get to the bottom of it and deal with whatever it is, just as we always have with her! (She's somethin' else!) :-)

      No, those frog serenades are definitely not lullabies, but fun to listen to (if sleep isn't critical!) lol

      I'll need all the stamina I can get to make it through the next four days. Way too much going on, way too much to keep up with this time of year. I thought summer was supposed to be lazy?!! Haven't had one of those since I was a kid!

  6. Happy anniversary and b'day to BW. I'm sure he'll enjoy that new toy. Who doesn't like a new toy I say! Glad to hear all the compliments from the vet's place. My 3 dogs ago dog Tavi used to take her walks that way-stopping for a respite under a tree for a bit. She had bad hips and I think she legit wanted to take a walk but tired easily....and she did have thyroid issues which were easily managed for many years with meds.
    Batshit! Too funny. Hope you don't reach that level of insanity...wishing you calming days ahead.

    1. Thanks for the happy wishes! BW is indeed enjoying his toy, and now it's become apparent that it was my being on the computer that had kept him from being a total internet addict! I had to pry him away from that iPad Sunday night at 11:30, reminding him he had to get up early and go back to work the next day. He's like a little boy, always wanting to look at "just one more boat!" (Surfing boat listings and real estate listings in places we talk about maybe living some day are his porn, so I should complain? LOL)

      Josie's heart test results were inconclusive, but since she did so much better on our last two walks (including our leash-free uphill hike on Sunday in pretty warm temps) the vet wants me to just keep a log of how far we walked in what kind of temps and how she does before we do anything. She's thinking it's less likely to be her thyroid, and may be due to muscle/tendon pain (since Josie's got that bad leg from having been shot and has to walk awkwardly because of it). So I'm now keeping a "Josie Crap-Out Log" for every walk!

      Now that the yard sale is over, things are should be calmer for a bit, until we have to start getting ready for our 2-week trip to the PNW and get this place all ready for Robyn to stay here while we're gone. I figure I have about a little less than two-week respite!

  7. Congrats and thank you for your blogging! Josie is beautiful.

    Wind? Hmmm...I remember my mom sometimes screaming about the wind when I was a kid. Now my wife sometimes does. I have to admit sort of enjoying it, one of my objections to Florida when I lived there was that there wasn't as much wind as in Oklahoma. :-)

    1. Thank you - on both counts! :-)

      I'm relieved to hear that I'm not alone in screaming about (or in my case, often at the wind!) But I think you're the crazy one in this bunch. LOL I love a nice, freshening breeze, but I've never cared for strong winds.

  8. Six years of blogging! Wow. Well done you.

    1. Thank you! It's hard to believe it's been that long.

  9. Happy six years! Enjoy your voyage and future celebrations!

  10. I actually started to read this last week, but it was so chocked full, I needed a second day to finish it.

    Congratulations on a whole year of blogging. I would have actually thought it was longer than that. It's so much part of who you are now, I fell like you've been doing it longer. I did go back and read the 1st post and I can say "you've come a long way baby!" You were so tentative and now you're such a pro!

    You could probably tell by my e:mail on Friday that I had read the BW part of the post since I knew about his opening his gift early. I love anticipation as much (or more) than anyone but since he KNEW what it was, I totally agree that waiting would have been just plain silly. I hope he's enjoying it. I'm glad Michelle's review helped. I think using an IPAD to take photos looks so odd - like the person taking the photo is looking at the scene through a magic mirror. But lots of people do it and the photos do turn out nicely. However, I agree that "unimpressed" is the perfect description of Josie in her IPAD photo debut!

    Thanks for an update on the girls' last checkup. I can't believe there's a collar charm for couch potatoes! But then again, I know a lot of couch potato dogs!

    I didn't have an hour and a quarter to watch "The Wind" but I blew through a few parts and there's a pretty windy scene at about 45 mins into it. I hope your winds have died down lately. It's been much calmer here.

    Hope the garage sale went well. Looking forward to hearing about that.

    1. My posts that celebrate randomness do tend to be pretty chock full of, well, randomness!

      Thanks, but I feel a bit like that bird looking at the single candle on the cupcake and wondering, "WTF? Where are the other five?" LOL Maybe you thought it was longer than a whole year because it has been! (Now Jo, you KNOW I've been blogging longer than a year - the posts about the fire in '07, our rendezvous in Boulder in 2009, BW and my trip to Maine in 2010, the building of this house I'm sitting in all last year... ??? You must have been majorly distracted on both your blog visits, girl!) You're right about my first post being so tentative though! I had no idea what I was doing or what to talk about. (Still don't most days, lol). I think what got me over that in a hurry was my friend rift talking me into participating in that Blogathon the very next month (you remember that, I raised money for Norbu's American Himalayan Foundation and you were one of my sponsors!) I went from not knowing what to blog about to having to come up with something to post every 30 minutes for 24 straight hours. Talk about baptism by fire! :-)

      BW is LOVING his iPad and has already logged tons of miles on it. :-) And thank you again to Michelle, whose help and advice was really valuable. I didn't see BW using the iPad to take photos so I still don't know how it's done, but it does seem to take pretty good photos - despite Josie's disdain for the whole thing (it takes a lot to impress her!)

      You can read my reply to Susan's comment for the latest on Josie, since we just got the results of her heart function blood test yesterday afternoon. I plan to post an update later this week, when I blog about our Sunday hike and Mocha visit.

      I'd found a much shorter clip of "The WInd" that started out with some great wind scenes and almost posted it here, but didn't figure anyone would spend the 17 minutes (or whatever it was) to watch it, so I went with the still shots. But the movie clips are so much better! I've seen that film described in reviews as a "Dust Bowl film," but it predated the Dust Bowl by a few years! That was one of my favorite silent films during that class, at least in the drama category (the other was "Broken Blossoms," which is available on Netflix Streaming - to my surprise!) But the comedies were always my favorites, especially Buster Keaton's. :-) Do you remember going to a Lillian Gish film festival with me at the Kennedy Center when we were in DC on spring break???

      As for the yard sale, your wish was my command. LOL And in a few minutes, I'll be posting part 2!


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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