Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Time has come, the Walrus Said...To talk of Many Things. Of shoes and ships and ceiling fans, of cabbage slaw and.....possible death....

This is a Random Post.  Yeh...I'm sitting here alone while garage sales are selling all their treasures. It's been raining all week, so the garage salers must be out en masse today in this Sunny Day in Cherokee County. I should be out discovering bargains you cannot get anywhere else... But I am ALONE this morning. Alone in the house.  All  By Myself.  Alone.

Alone is Good for me a lot of the time. I like being alone in a noiseless (no TV) house with no one to talk to. I love the "zone" of quiet and the uncluttering of the mind.  I come and go as I please, and read and answer to no one.
I have always carefully guarded my Alone Time. Even when the children were little, I would steal away to the bathtub for Moments Alone. Some of my children's friends even remember my ritual of closed doors and 30 minutes of Peace....I Like being Alone. Give me an hour or so, and I am back and ready to face the world and solve all of its problems.

Bikeman is gone for the day. He's off to visit his mother, about 2 hours away near the Kansas line, via the Bicycle Store in Tulsa, and probably an ice cream cone at McDonalds. Lately we have discovered that we hate to leave each other.....Our days are so full of one another and familiar with each others faces in our view, that being with each other is the "norm" now, and not the exception. There's not even very much "Hi Hunny! I'm Hoooome" any more because we are Together most of the Time....And it is a Good Thang.....I like his face. I like his friendship. I love his voice and the way he cherishes me. I love the comfortable-ness he brings to me. And the coffee...And how he smiles so sweetly at my "Border Collie" ways.

But it is Good to be apart as well....If nothing else to be able to hear the "Hi Hunny! I'm Hoooome!" once again....

We bought two ceiling fans last summer, kind of on a whim....Well, they were a Very good price, and Bikeman said he would be able (and willing!) to install them quite easily. Summer rolled by, then Autumn...When Winter came, we decided to tackle the project, and it actually went quite well. We put one fan up in our bedroom, and it is wonderful. I love it! I love the convenience of not having to drag in a fan from the storage barn each Spring to stand in the way of the chest of drawers. Our ceiling fan even has a remote control switch, and that comes in very handy.  No divorce lawyers were involved in the installation at all. This is a huge step for us, for after 39 years of blissful marriage, we still do not work well together....Two very independent souls vying for the Alpha Dog status...We worked as a team, and completed the task in harmony.

The second ceiling fan lay dormant in the garage all these months, almost a year. It goes in the Guest Room, and when installed, there will be no rooms in the house (with the exception of the bathroom--hey! There's an idea!) that does not have ceiling fans. I thought this project would be similar to the last ceiling fan project. BaddaBing, BaddaBoom, and we have coolness, Houston!

No home improvement project ever goes like the ones on TV. On TV there is no cursing, no divorce lawyers, no yelling at the cats, no spilled boxes of glass thangs (it was an accident!), no fan blades put on upside down and backwards, no swearing that the instructions are all "written by people whose primary language is not English."  So, when I mentioned the Guest Room Project to Bikeman, he stalled for only a few days before declaring that this electrical job was way too complicated for him to deal with. Something about this particular room being a "hub" of all things wired in this house....

In his defense, I will tell you that this past spring we had an electrical problem that stumped not only me, Bikeman, and three electricians before they brought in the owner (Kelly Grant--if you live in this area, I highly recommend him) who quickly discovered the problem (well,yeh! after dozens of folks had eliminated other possible causes), and...BaddaBing, more "weird" circuits going on and off in this house. The problem was, in fact, traced to said Guest Room.  So you can understand a little bit about Bikeman's hesitancy to risk becoming a Crispy Critter in attempting to wire a ceiling fan in that room. It wasn't your usual "put her off until she forgets about it"......And so, we called th' man.

The very FIRST thing they discovered was that the bracing in the attic would not support the fan. So, they had to shore that part of the ceiling before they even began any installation.

If any of you are wives who have "reluctant" husbands, you can certainly understand the next statement I am about to write.....

Had Bikeman been performing the installation, and had he come to me with that "discovery," I would have only thought that here was yet another excuse for him to delay the project. 

But, sigh....when the professionals encounter such delays, we trust their judgment and their decision to "go get a board" and lay it across the rafters.  Sorry, Dear Bikeman, for being so quick to judge you all these years.....

While the electricians were up in the attic, they discovered that the vent pipe that leads from the furnace to the vent on the roof was disconnected! They fixed that problem for us......and that is why I listed "possible death" in the blog title.....So, now, whatever they charge us will not be enough....I am eternally grateful that Bikeman saw to it to drag his feet on the problem and call in the pros.....We needed that fixed and didn't even know it...

Here's Kelly, putting the finishing touches on the project.

Don't you just KNOW they are so relieved to be finished with this whole project! What very nice men they are!  Just need to add the light cover, and they can head for the shop....

And, so, when  older daughter comes to visit (all by herself! while her children are at camp) tomorrow, she will slumber in the cool oasis of her former room, now the Guest Room for oh, these 18 years. Hope it doesn't fall, Em!! If it does, you'll be the first to know!

And then, onto Cabbages.  Here's a wonderful recipe for ya. I get a daily email from a really great low calorie/healthy eating company called Hungry Girl. The other day, she sent this wonderful recipe for German Potato Salad,. I made it, and Bikeman and I literally fought over it!  You can go to the link, or read "my" tweaked version here. Points value for only 3/4 cup is ONE

German Potato Salad
1 head cauliflower, chopped
10 oz red potatoes, chopped
3 cups dry coleslaw mix
1 cup chopped onion
Microwave cauliflower and potatoes for 6 minutes (I did not add the water that HG's recipe suggests). 
Put coleslaw and onion in a Pam-d (that Pam spray stuff) skillet, and cook, about 8 min.  Add cauliflower and potatoes. Toss with dressing. Top with chopped green onions.

   1/4 cup rice vinegar (Oh! My! this is good vinegar!)
   3 bacon strips, cooked
   2 T. low fat Mayo
   one pkg Stevia (or sweetener of your choice)
   2 T. water
Microwave this dressing for one minute

Serve it on a table as pretty as this, with some sliced tomatoes, and you will feel like a Queen.  Thus ending most of the quote from the above title.....You'll have to fill in the part about ships and shoes....


Monday, July 5, 2010

Tour de Payne...or The Weekend About Nothing

Do you ever watch Seinfeld, the sitcom set in NYC. It is described as the "show about Nothing." We watch it every chance we get. We quote it often, and sometimes all it takes to get a laugh out of each other is just a few words from any of the episodes. 

(I was in th POOL!....I mentioned the Bisque..... yadayadayada...... It..OUT...Man hands....Festivus!.....Maybe the dingos ate your baby....)

This week DH Bikeman and I decided to get away for a few days. Looking for a destination, we came upon the annual bicycle ride in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Payne County, Oklahoma. The ride is sponsored by the Red Dirt Pedalers which is a group of bicyclers in and around Stillwater.

The Plan was....Bikeman bikes, and I shop. Works for me.

We reserved a room for 2 nights at the LaQuinta. They welcome dogs to their motel, and it is totally smoke-free. Plus, they have a wonderful free breakfast for guests in the morning, complete with waffles and fresh fruit. A little more pricey than Motel6, but, well, this is Vacation, and we won't have to pay a dog sitter.

Nice digs, and we had a room on the ground floor. No lugging crates up the elevators.

Stillwater has a very "famous" beer joint called Eskimo Joe's. Supposedly the coldest beer in the state...Their tee shirts are coveted all over the world. THE most "popular" tee shirt after Hard Rock. Our first night in Stillwater, we opted for Eskimo Joe's "brother" restaurant,  MEXICO Joe's, and filled up on wonderful salsa and nachos and tamales. Pretty good tamales. 

Now, here's the reason we suggested that this weekend would be "about nothing." The rain was moving in to Payne County, and, well, Bikeman said he didn't wanna ride in a downpour. I convinced him that "you gotta live somewhere, so it might as well be Stillwater for the next 2 days." So, the weekend getaway would not be in "vain," -----just "about nothing." 

And I could still go shopping in the rain......

Our tummies full to bursting, we returned to the motel, fed the dawgs, and then walked them in the rain. Nice thing about Collies...they don't even notice that it is raining. They just consider it "hydrating" their coats.....

We slept until 5 am, and woke to......Clear skies!!! Grabbed a quick breakfast at the lobby, and took off to the ride site. 

Here's Bikeman coming out of the bathroom. It's always a Good Thang to get all that taken care of before you sit on the bicycle for 62 miles...

Loading up his water bottles....

And strapping on his raincoat to the back of his bicycle seat....THIS will assure us that it will not rain anymore today.....

Have you ever SEEN a happier face?! This guy actually LIKES doing this....

That little square thang on the right side of the picture is actually a rear-view mirror.....Lets him know when anything is approaching from the back. How many fingers am I holding up, Dear?


I think he must be about 12 years old......

Here's a Cute Old Couple.  Taken at arm's length....

All gear on, saddled up, raincoat strapped on....Let the rolling begin!

And they're OFF!!! That's his cell phone in his back pocket, along with a TON of Lara Bars....

All except one.....But don't worry....he caught up quickly enough....

While the Bikeman rode, I went back to the motel and took a nap. Later, I hit a few stores and found a few treasures....INcluding a really cool thang that drills holes in rocks! All the thrift stores were closed today, so we'll have to hit them tomorrow on the way home.

After only about 4 1/2 hours and 62 miles (100 kilometers), Bikeman made it to the Finishing Line. 

He was fairly coherent and able to carry on reasonable conversations.....

Like what IS Farm Diesel???

And, yes, I do believe I would like to eat at another Eskimo Joe's "brother" resturant.... Joseppi's....

Tomorrow we head back East. To Home, the Best Place to Be.....

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Camp....Last Two Days

Wednesday at Camp is Purple Day. Everyone wears purple and plans for the festivities after lunch that involve contests and parades and general silliness out on the soccer field.

It all starts with awards to dogs who are rescued, to the senior dogs, to owners who have rescued. Then there's the Costume Parade, with some of the craziest dog get-ups you have seen. I didn't participate in the Hot Dog Retrieve Contest this year. Even tho we did try to practice for it earlier in the spring.....My boyz ALWAYS promise that they will go get the hotdog and bring it Right Back, but they always lie. Always. And the Whole Hog Contest...where dogs are offered many different kinds of food---James will eat ANYthing that I hand to him. If I want it, then HE will want it. Kissing Contest...My guys don't do PDA, so I don't enter That contest, either. But it is always fun to watch others participate! Especially those who have never done it before! By Wednesday, everyone has gotten rid of any hang-ups or apprehensions they might have had if their dogs do not behave "perfectly," and join in with complete abandon.

 For some FUN Camp pictures you can go to Facebook page of 

Leah Porfido Caracino

She is an AMAZING photographer, and seems to get right to the Heart of what is in each subject. Her stuff makes me cry, it is so poignant.

Evenings brought some wonderful activities as well.  Great lectures on The Origin of the Dog and Comparative Anatomy, Saying Goodbye to our Animal Friends, Dog Park Etiquette, Dog Body Language, to name just a few. There are also games to play, guided walks in the evening, dog dance group practice, and Drill Team and Lure Coursing, and, of course, a little bit of wine and cheese in the individual dorms.....

Drum Night is Thursday at Happy Valley (the dorm that has all the Crazies in it), and we bang on anything from empty Coke bottles to expensive bongos to plastic buckets we use for Canine Freestyle.

So, passes the week, and we come to Thursday. Prosper and I had a Freestyle lesson in the morning with Linda Blanchard. Linda just seems to take whatever it is that I present to her and make it into Gold. Currently, I am looking for a Royal Blue cowboy hat to complete our if you happen to see one...toss it my way!

Lunch on Thursday was taken al fresco, because it was Vendor Day, and Baden and I were selling leashes outside the Dining Hall. 

I sold a lot of my handmade leashes and the dog toys that I made earlier this spring. Sold completely out of the toys, and quite a bit of the leashes. It almost paid for my gasoline for the trip! Thanks to Roger Woodward who helped me make the dog toys in his incredible workshop.

That Baden exudes Proprietorship, don't ya think?

Brenda (in the pink shirt) brought things to sell for the Collie Health Foundation. Here she is with Amee and Amee's beautiful white Collie, Loki. 

Friday is the last "full" day of Camp. And even tho the schedule is full of the same activities we've had all week, I find myself winding down and drawing in.....Someone told me it is the Slowest and the Fastest week in the year.....

And so we walk.  All four of us. We take a walk in the Vermont Woods one more time before we have to leave.

We walk and we breathe in the cool air, and we forget that tomorrow....tomorrow we leave this Heaven on Earth for a few months.....until next Spring brings us running back.