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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

And still

I am still a flurry of crumpled Puffs Plus Lotion and ChapStick and Lycall and borrowed (XXL) sweaters and oversized slippers and heating pads and hand sanitizer and decontaminating/washing All The Things.

Gawdamn. I hate the tail end of colds. You know, the kind of Just Sorta Sick that hangs around after Officially Sick exits stage left? Just Sorta Sick makes you sneeze for no apparent reason. Cough unexpectedly while trying to have a phone conversation. Hovers around the top of your head, threatening headache but then dumps a metric shit-ton of snot into just your left sinus. Then walks away.

Just Sorta Sick is an asshole.

It has been a week. A week. And I’m still not 100%.

*****

Smoke has officially forgiven me for the trip to the vet the other day. My bank account, on the other hand, is all kinds of pissed off. It wasn’t terribly expensive. In fact, I was expecting much worse. I just wasn’t prepared to deal with an additional expense right now. Which begs improvement of my financial planning skills, such as they are.

*****

I need a job. Or a hobby that makes money.

*****

Playlist: Classical Chill station on iTunes

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Not gonna happen

On Sunday night, I was happily sitting in my chair, working through a particularly difficult spot in a crochet pattern, when the oldest of the five cats currently on the homestead horked up his supper on the dog’s bed, looked at me as if to say What? and sauntered away. Groaning, I set aside my work knowing I’d have to start over since I’d lost my place in the pattern, and went in search of paper towels. Damn cats.

I was thinking about how I’d have to get the foam sponge out of the liner on the dog’s bed so I could wash it and what a pain in the ass all of that is when I crouched down, paper towels in hand and got eye to eye, as it were, with the mess. And. It. Fucking. Moved.

I had to get Chad to clean it up because Christ on a Crutch there was no way I was getting within 20 feet of that…that…worm? It was long, white, flat, wriggling and about 10 steps beyond a line I’ve drawn regarding Disgusting Animal Scenarios I will not cross including things like blood-swollen woodticks attached to dog necks and half eaten headless birds brought as offering to my back porch door.

We’ve had cats on the farm since we moved out here and I do very little to maintain them except offer food and occasional shelter when the temperature threatens life and limb. I like when LT sleeps on my feet at night and I like how Olive occasionally attacks my boots while I try to write while sitting at the kitchen counter. I like cats, occasionally. Much the same, I’m sure, as how they feel about me. Except I do not barf up alien creatures and then casually walk away expecting the cats to clean it up.

So that incident prompted the adventure Smoke and I had yesterday.

After consulting Dr. Google first thing in the morning, I confirmed my research with our Veterinarian: worms. Probably tape. Medicine required - probably for all.

Ok. Fine.

And since I had her on the phone (and had to make a trip to town to pick up the meds anyway), I managed to snatch up a 4:20 (heh) appointment to get Smoke’s vaccinations updated. How efficient I can be! Smoke likes going places with me and when he sees his leash he’ll be all kinds of excited to go to town.

And he was.

Until I opened the door of the Vet Clinic. He got one whiff and put the brakes on. Hard.

If you’ve ever tried to wrangle a dog who is 100-plus-pounds of muscle and claw, it isn’t a simple task even when he is happy to comply. So make it even more complicated by scaring him out of his mind, adding some ice and snow to the parking lot and sidewalk, and trying to get him to go to the same location where he left his testicles.

It took three of us. One to hold open the door. One to pull on the leash. And me. I had the lovely job of hunching over him, lifting up his back legs, and pushing him into the Clinic, Smoke’s front legs still in full lock down, braking for all he was worth. It was a 10 minute battle of desperation and anguish. And I’m sure Smoke wasn’t happy either. Of course, this is on one of the busier streets in town.

Good times.

I think it took longer to get him into the Clinic than it did for the Vet to get him his shots and back to the rig. No need for any more trauma than had already been.

I drove home, each of us suffering our own versions of PTSD in silence.

Smoke finally acknowledged my existence again when I started making noises about going for a walk this morning.

That deworming medicine had better effing work.

Playlist: paused.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Found it

Last night I was bouncing around putting groceries away, getting laundry going again, putting animals in or out based on current demands, and figuring out supper when a brick fell out of the sky and landed on my face.



That is the best way I can describe it. I was fine. Totally fine. Busy and engaged, fully functional and coherent. Then suddenly not. My eyes started to water. My sinuses filled up with goo. My throat felt like I’d run it through a paper shredder. My ears crackled and snapped every time I tried just to swallow my own spit….(which isn’t much of anything considering the Sudden Onset Mouth Breathing required in order to maintain minimal brain/organ function, such as it is.)



I sat down, put my feet up and didn’t move from that spot until I dragged my sorry ass up to bed. Groceries be damned. Laundry can wait. Animals? I’m not the only person living in this domicile. And supper? That, my dear friends, is why I keep a freezer fully stocked with frozen pizzas. Co-habitants had to fend for themselves. I was informed that no one starved.



Despite the fact that I did take the dog out for a walk this morning - a much abbreviated walk because of the brick currently lodged in my face and because it is bloody effing cold outside - I’ve not managed to do more than throw supper in the slow cooker and stare at my laptop screen.



I’m on Alka-Seltzer Cold and Puffs Plus Lotion. I’m also currently in search of my ChapStick and heating pad. I doubt I’ll find either, since they are not located within arm’s reach of this chair.



~~~~~



Playlist: Paused

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Simple

I finished the second of two ‘crib sized’ crochet baby blankets last night. I think they turned out ok.

2015-01-29 Crochet Baby blankets

I don’t remember the names of the stitches. I modified the finished sizes from some notes I scribbled on a random scrap of paper stuffed in an oversized envelope where I keep most of the patterns and descriptions of crochet projects. I’ve considered selling crochet blankets, hats, mittens, various baby things on Etsy or whatever, but I’m not good at “on demand” production and god forbid someone actually ordered things from me. I’d have no idea what to charge or how to go about it. So, I reserve such things for special gifts and projects that challenge me. Usually, I just go to the craft section of stores and buy yarn based on what I like, how the yarn feels in my hands, the colors, etc., and then wing it. Modern manufacturing practices, standard sizes, mass production, or consistency of any kind never apply.

Next on the crochet list of projects include boot cuffs and fingerless gloves. I made a crochet hat that I wear when I take the dog walking.

2015-01-29 Crochet hat

I like it and since I have no intention of selling the thing or even giving it away, I guess that is all that really matters.

~~~~~

Yesterday, I went with Chad to town so as to do some phone swapping. We spent most of the day in town and the better part of three hours at the AT&T store. Good thing I like the kid who manages our account. He is funny, smart, honest, sarcastic, self-depreciating, a golf fanatic, and also engaged to marry his long time girlfriend this summer. Never a dull moment.

I am now getting my “new to me” phone set up. I usually take Chad’s hand-me-downs. Funny how I always manage to forget what a hassle all the set up is. Passwords. Linking apps. Ringtones. Notifications. Alarm settings. Pairing with my Fitbit. And my vehicle. And on and on and on. Good grief. Electronics are demanding.

~~~~~

Today is cold, windy and snowing. I’m ok with the cold part. (Still January in the Northland, so meh.) And even the snowing part. (The fields could use some cover. A fresh coat of white can be lovely at a distance.) But the windy part? No thanks. Smoke and I stayed in this morning.

He isn’t happy with me and shows his disappointment by pacing, sitting by the front door, and sighing a lot.

He has passive-aggressive down to an art.

~~~~~

Playlist:

Sons of Anarchy: North Country - EP
This Life (Theme from “Sons of Anarchy”) - Curtis Stigers & The Forest Rangers
Slip Kid - Anvil & Franky Perez
John the Revelator - Curtis Stigers & The Forest Rangers
Forever Young - Audra Mae & The Forest Rangers
Girl from the North Country - Lions


Sons of Anarchy: Shelter - EP
Ruby Tuesday - Katey Sagal
Fortunate Son - Lyle Workman & The Forest Rangers
Someday Never Comes - Billy Valentine & The Forest Rangers
Burn This Town - Battleme
Gimme Shelter - Paul Brady & The Forest Rangers


Sons of Anarchy: The King is Gone - EP
No Milk Today - Joshua James & The Forest Rangers
Bird On A Wire - Katey Sagal & The Forest Rangers
Traveling’ Band - Curtis Stigers & The Forest Rangers
Miles Away (feat. Battleme & Slash) - The Forest Rangers
Hey Hey, My My - Battleme
This Life (Celtic Remix) - Curtis Stigers & The Emerald Forest Rangers

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Ten feet away

This morning as I was walking down the gravel road, watching the dog run zig-zags following his nose around the dead cornstalks, I realized I don’t take an iPod or some other gadget with me for music or news or noise. One could justifiably guess I’m looking for peace, quiet, and solitude in the outdoors. I’ve considered, on more than one occasion, loud electronic entertainment to drown out my own thoughts, my achy cold muscles, my daily walking distance goal (and how bloody long it is taking me to get there), and whatever else is going on internally. And I do have several choices of portable devices I could shove in my ears to provide diversion and distraction.

But the quiet of the outdoors can be deafening.

I may sometimes feel as though I’m a million miles from civilization, but not so in reality. I can hear the fans on the grain bins behind the tree claim kick on and off in what seems a futile attempt to keep its contents viable. The passing train blares a warning horn and chugs by on the cold, stiff iron rails. The random vehicle crunches the ice, snow and gravel under its tires on a parallel road.

If civilization wasn’t noisy enough, the wind crashes around pushing the icy, brittle tree branches into each other. If I listen carefully, sometimes I can hear what I believe to be the Momma deer and her twins who live in the trees behind my house and along the road taking timid steps, sniffing the air, twitching their big ears. Usually, tho, they hide deep in the tree claim hoping Smoke doesn’t catch their scent. Of course, he is more afraid of them than they are of him, but if he manages to kick them up and out of their hiding spot, he gives chase for maybe 100 yards before he barks at their flagging white tails disappearing across the empty field, turns, and trots back, victorious, to me.

There is nothing peaceful or quiet or alone in the outdoor “solitude” surrounding my daily walking adventures.


~~~~~

Playlist:

“A Tribute Album To Keith Whitley”

Don’t Close Your Eyes - Alan Jackson

Ten Feet Away - Diamond Rio

I’m Gonna Hurt Her On The Radio - Keith Whitley

I’m Over You - Tracy Lawrence

When You Say Nothing At All - Alison Krauss & Unions Station

Charlotte’s In North Carolina - Keith Whitley

I Just Want You - Keith Whitley & Lorrie Morgan

Little Boy Lost - Daron Norwood

All I Ever Loved Was You - Ricky Skaggs With Shenandoah

I’m No Stranger To The Rain - Joe Diffie

I Never Go Around Mirrors - Mark Chestnutt

The Comeback Kid - Keith Whitley

A Voice Still Rings True - Joe Diffie, Ricky Skaggs, Sawer Brown, & More

Monday, January 26, 2015

Old and new

I managed to get the crockpot lasagna going in time that we may be able to eat before 8pm tonight. I’m going to consider that my major accomplishment for the day, despite my doing laundry, dishes, and also paying bills and taking a walk with the dog. Whew. It just ticked over 1pm and all that is behind me.

~~~~~

Sunny and (relatively speaking - it is still January, after all) warm but windy, again, today. I could easily be spoiled by such conditions. With the impending winter storm Juno heading for the northeast, I’m sending warm thoughts that direction.

~~~~~

On Saturday, my business partner and I traveled to Mandan so that we could clear out our training center and haul everything back to our respective homes. It was hard work, up and down a huge flight of stairs countless times with heavy, cumbersome furniture, totes full of books and supplies, and random detritus one tends to collect over five years of running a business. A sad and sadly necessary task, when shuttering a business.

My legs hurt from the stairs. My heart hurts from the ending of things. However, when one chapter ends, I suppose the logical thing to do is turn the page so as to start the next. My brain would feel better knowing what that next chapter is or how to start it.

~~~~~
Playlist:

Enya: A Day Without Rain
A Day Without Rain
Wild Child
Only Time
Tempus Vernum
Deora Ar Mo Chroi
Flora’s Secret
Fallen Embers
Silver Inches
Pilgrim
One By One
Lazy Days

Friday, January 23, 2015

January

I’m sure I’ve said it before here, but January is a tough one for me. So many things I can do, even more I should do, but so few I want to do.

~~~~~

January, in the Northland, brings cold and grey, with the constant threat of snow. Or worse, snow and wind. The air smells cold, crackling cold, if that is possible, like sticking your head in the deep freeze on a hot July afternoon. Jarring. Relentless. No quarter offered or given. Standing outside, even when sheltered from the wind and dangerous wind chills, exposed skin starts to freeze in just a few minutes, causing the uncomfortable tingle-sting of beginning frostbite on the cheeks and fingertips.

Unless it is today. Today the sun is shining, the sky is the color of a fragile Robin’s egg, and the temperature is flirting with 40F. Today is the exception to January’s frozen-fisted tyrannical rule. The ever contrary Northland weather makes me feel sorry for the weather man.

But if you don’t like the weather today, hang around for it will change - as if in just a few hours you traveled to another continent - or to another planet.

~~~~~

Playlist:
A Hundred Miles Or More: A Compilation
(Alison Krauss)

You’re Just A Country Boy
Simple Love
Jacob’s Dream
Away Down The River
Sawing On The Strings
Down To The River To Pray
Baby Mine
Molly Ban
How’s The World Treating you
The Scarlet Tide
Whiskey Lullaby
You Will Be My Ain True Love
I Give You To His Heart
Get Me Through December
Missing You
Lay Down Beside Me