Friday, March 24, 2006

A week of milestones...

This week marks two significant events...


Eight years ago, on March 22 we brought Rumbeau home.  It happened all so innocently really and that Sunday morning neither Sam nor I had any notion that we'd end the day with a puppy in our home. 

After losing our beloved Benson (aka Bennie the Mooch, photo right) we decided he would be the last.   Benson's finalweeks with us were heart wretching; his back legs were paralyzed, making him unable to walk or even stand without assistance.  The decision to end his suffering was difficult and it was made just days after I lost my father to cancer; that week in late November/early December 1997 was literally the week from hell.   In the months that followed, Sam and I both felt the void--Dad and Benson were a huge part of our lives and trips to the cabin without them just seemed empty.  We carried on, knowing that everything must change, but neither of us could deny the overwhelming sadness in our hearts.


While skimming through the Sunday newspaper on a quiet March morning, I saw an ad for black lab pups; I'd seen the same ad a fews days before, but had told myself No, I'm not going through that again.  But, seeing it that morning, well, something just came over me and so I mentioned the ad to Sam.  A phone call followed and soon we were driving down the highway headed for another town thirty some odd miles away to see the pups.

"What if we get there, and the pups are ugly?" Sam asked from his place behind the wheel.

"Then we leave and just enjoy a nice Sunday morning drive," I replied.

The pups were farfrom ugly and we must have spent over forty-five minutes on our knees watching the pups behaviors and personalities, trying to choose between three males.  All three looked the same and we tried but neither could keep track of one or the other.  This one, no...wait...that one....I think.  The pups were running all over the yard with the owner's two children packing them here and there, leaving Sam and I siting on the lawn, confused and undecided.  Rum made the decision for us.  Apparently he'd had enough and decided he wanted to come home with us, so Rum walked right up to Sam, placed his paw on Sam's knee, looked him right in the eyes and the rest, as they say, is history.

(PHOTO: Sam and Rumbeau on the day we brought Rumbeau home.  All puppies are adorable, but there's just something  about the face of  a black lab pup...)

During the next year Rumbeau became very well known at the local vet clinic.  I made at least ten visits to the clinic with Rumbeau in tow and that's not counting puppy check-ups; he just had this knack for doing things that required medical attention.


On every visit he'd swagger into the clinic on his leash, approach the receptionist counter and then stand on his hind legs with his front paws propped on the counter as if to say "I'm here for my appointment."  Dondie, the receptionist would lean back in her chair and holler "Rumbeau's here" so everyone in the clinic would know he had arrived, and soon the reception area would be full of clinic staffer's fawning over Rumbeau's latest escapade.  Personally, I think he just had a puppy crush on his vet, Dr. W, you know.

Life with Rumbeau is never boring.

The other milestone this week happens tomorrow; ten years ago I went to work for my current employer.  That's a first on two levels: I've never stayed with an employer this long--heck, three and a half years was the maximum length I ever stayed anywhere; and, no other employee in the 38 year history of the organization ever made it ten years.  So, it's a double dose of celebration for me this weekend.

Well, that's it, for now.  Tomorrow we are off for a weekend at the cabin.  It's been a long winter...I've got some doors and windows to open.  ;)

Hope yours in a nice and relaxing weekend.

Lawlessness in Idaho

It's safe to make love while parked in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Police officers aren't allowed to walk up and knock on the window. Any suspicious officer who thinks that sex is taking place must drive up from behind, honk his horn three times and wait approximately two minutes before getting out of his car to investigate.

Idaho state law makes it illegal for a man to give his sweetheart a box of candy weighing less than fifty pounds.


In Pocatello, Idaho, a law passed in 1912 provided that "The carrying of concealed weapons is forbidden, unless same are exhibited to public view."

Yep, sounds about right. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Methodical matters

I keep a lot of things to myself.

The reasons I do are as numbered as the stars in the sky and these days I find myself hesitant to say this or do that.  I get so preoccupied, wrapped around my internal dialogue, questioning the purpose and trying to anticipate the outcome...time ticks away on the clock and soon I realize the moment has passed--whatever point I wanted to make is no longer relevant.  Through my own resistance I have squelched my own opportunity.  It's an ability...a which I excel.

I've been struck lately by change.  A shift in my own character.  For the better or the worse is undecided.  Perhaps time will tell.

But there was a time when I did not feel so compelled to measure every word, if I had something to say, I said it.  I burned with a desire for knowledge and discovery.  Continuous improvement was my personal mantra and interaction was the key.  Always respectful of differences and mindful of opinions, I found it easy to flow into almost any dialogue, overjoyed with content and instantaneously touched by the fresh air of gentle breezes that rushed as doors and windows opened in my mind.  Fueled by an instinctive need to grow and reach new heights of understanding I said what I felt, had my peace and was content with just the expression of the words; I was free to interact. It was enough for me and I moved on.

Now, I feel stuck.

Sunk knee deep in mire oozing with discontent so thick I don't want to move for fear I will lose my balance. It's a precarious hold I have on myself.  How did I get here?  What happened?  Something is wrong.

That's just it.  It's that word.  Wrong.

I know I wasn't always right all those years ago, and if someone said I was wrong, the words often bounced right off me.  I was learning, expanding, growing and reaching.  I knew being wrong could teach me what is right.  But now, being wrong, or being told I'm wrong, petrifies me..............................................................................................................................................into silence.

For someone who thrives on communication it feels like a death sentence.

Sometimes I think too much emphasis has been placed on two words, politically correct.  Where did that come from anyway?  Was it really necessary to label common decency and courtesy and sense with, of all things, the word political?  Political?  What in the world does political have to do with these nuances anyway?  From it's very inception, in every suggestion of what is politically correct I have read or heard, some part of me always wanted to scream out  It's called social conscience, moral compass, empathy, and cultural awareness.  Minding your manners.  In my mind, putting together the words politically correct created one more oxymoron and, yet another joke.

I believe the values, morals and beliefs instilled in my character from my life experiences are more meaningful and socially relevant now, than ever before.  I don't believe being politically correct has accomplished anything positive; on the contrary I get the sense it has pulled society apart, rather than drawing us together.  Years ago I felt free to speak my mind; guided by an innate understanding of what is right and wrong, I knew certain words or expressions were offensive to others.  For those words I had no use.  I knew to avoid them.  Period.

Sometimes I wonder if being politically correct places too much emphasis on preserving the individual at the expense of the community.

My mother always warned me to use my words with care, for the meaning of words can easily be misconstrued by another, and good intentions can be twisted into something else.  Even now writing these words I sense my intent may be lost, hastily misconstrued into some unbalanced diatribe for the amusement of another; the essence of my feelings filtered into something else--something they are not.

I've been told I am very articulate and yet I feel dumb.  I am an open-minded person and yet I feel so closed.  The quest for growth that ignited improvement seems burned out, the flame sputtering, as if from a lack of oxygen.

Twenty years ago I heard Dixie Carter's character on a television show say something that struck adeep chord in me, so much so that I felt the words were actually Dixie Carter's own, written into the script.  She said "The purpose of etiquette is to put people at ease, not make them feel uncomfortable or socially lower than others."  Proper etiquette puts us all on the same level and allows civility to flourish.  And to breathe.

I need to breathe.  I want to breathe.  Maybe I should throw caution to the wind.

Fresh air cannot circulate where obstructions block the flow.  There are doors and windows to be opened, again.


Be who you are and say what you feel,
for those who matter do not mind,
and those who mind do not matter.
--Dr. Suess

Friday, March 17, 2006

Wishes for the day...

  Hello my journal friends! 

 Hope you all have a great day and don't drink too much green beer!


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

I, Create


I've been playing again...snaggable, if you like.  :)

In a river of gold...

Allie and Rumbeau awash in the Clearwater River, doing their version of syncronized swimming in honor of the Summer Olympics, July 2004.  The dynamic duo are about to swim under a bridge, the vantage point from which I was able to capture this moment. 

On a historical note, gold was found in this river in the 1880s and thus another gold rush of the west took place.  A handful of modern day gold miners frequent this river during the summer months; it is truly a river of gold.

This was my first choice for John's Monday Photo Shoot, but after going back through our pics from the new year trip to the cabin, I changed my mind.  This morning, I changed it back.  What can I say?  It's one of my favorite photos.


**We have not inherited the earth from our fathers, we are borrowing it from our children. --Native American saying **

Monday, March 13, 2006

Your Monday Photo Shoot - Pets at Play

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Get a shot of your pets at play. A new shot is good, or if you have an older shot (that you haven't already used for an earlier photo shoot), that's good too. Humans can be in the picture, but it can also be of your pet (or pets) by themselves. The important thing is to catch them at play.
New Year's morning walk.
A moment from one of our morning walks at the cabin.

What the ....?
Moments later Rumbeau is caught in mid-air trying to catch a snowball.

Got a photo of your pet at play and want to join in?  Click >here< and John will tell you how.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Easy -- #39

Last weeks question may not have prompted lot of responses (doesn't anybody want to redecorate?), but Christy, the first and only person to reply really delivered the goods.  And after reading her entry, I think it's safe to say she's a little tired of living within white walls.  She is a woman on a mission and I love her ideas.  You'll see what I mean if you go to visit her.

Now, I have a bit of a confession to make.  I've been a tad on the pouty side lately...feeling kinda sorry for myself, doing the ol' slue foot shuffle while wondering what am I doing wrong?  I felt neglected and unnoticed because all around me journals were getting noticed and recognized on some level or another; journals I love to read and some I've never read at all.  There is a lot of talent out there, and I began to wonder where I fit in.  (Warning: Departure of character...exit stage left).  Maybe I'm just not good enough.  I considered stopping, taking a break, stepping back, reevalulating, and as I often do I analyzed every angle I could see.  All the while my inner voice kept nudging me like an over played Nike commercial...just do it.  Keep it because you enjoy it, keep it for the sheer joy of writing, keep writing and sharing a part of who you are.  (Re-enter character...stage right).  Hmm, good point there self.  I got back my momentum.

Then, AOL Journal's Editor Joe came up with a grand idea; The Blog Six-Pack Picks.  Oh, really?  Hmmm, I can do that!  Maybe this weekend I'll have time to sit down and make my own Six-Pack; shine the light on someone else.  Yeah!  Time for a little light shining.  Next thing I know I got a message from BoiseLadie and guess who she included on her Six-Pack Picks?  Thank you Cheryl.

Yay!  Silly as it sounds a part of me felt vindicated and relieved.  I felt like someone noticed.  And it felt good.  Time to pass it on...

So, tell me...

Have you done the Six-Pack Picks yet?

I call mine, my forest friends.  No they don't live in the forest per se, but rather it's their persona that gave me the idea.  Each one is unique and in one way or another, reminds me of the elements I have seen during time spent in the mountains.

The Evergreen:  These are the Days of Our Lives - we all know her and love her, our special Robin.  She's honest, funny, loving and caring...a real people person.  Her's is one of the first journals I read here in J-Land and I have often sought shelter beneath the vast umbrella of her friendship. 

The Fern:  Picture Window - I discovered Cathy...or maybe she discovered me...last summer.  She's got a great sense of humor, loves to 'putz' around in her garden which she uses in her photography and she shares her life with four rather interesting snoopervisors. She loves to play in the sun, thrives in the shade, and has an intricate yet delicate foilage.

The Air:  Welcome to My World - She's a former Californian living in Idaho, just like me.  She loves photography, her family, and keeping in touch with an ever expanding list of journal friends.  Say hello to my neighbor to the south; she's a real breath of fresh air.

The Doe:  KBears Heart - warm and friendly, curious, inquisitive and recently retired, Karen is a real outdoor person.  She has a heart of gold and is a giver, through and through.  She has a way of blending into her environment, quietly taking in her surroundings with ever watchful eyes.

The Reflective Pond:  Grains of Sand - Marc has a way with words and a perspective that draws you in, head nodding in agreement.  He can take the simple and make it magical. No slight of hand here, it's all in his words.  Still waters do run deep.

The River:  In My Opinion - Kelly hasn't written in a while, (hey, she's a student and a single mom) but she's got enough entries accumulated in both her journals to keep things flowing.

Now, having completed this task, I have acquired a new perspective on this whole list inclusion thing.  It's not easy; there are so many to choose from and to narrow the list down was no easy feat, for me anyways.  Guess I'll just have to find another kind of light to shine on my future selections.  :) 

Hats off to those of you daring enough to tackle this list. 

Try it youself, I dare you.









** It is the nature of the spirit to give, and that of the ego to take. --Native American saying **

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Big boys and their toys

He's been wanting a Jeep, for quite some time.

We have a Jeep, I pointed out to him.

I know, but you drive it.

Then, we can swap and I'll drive the pick-up.

This is followed by one of those looks.  You know the kind.

The dialogue continued and by the end I knew it was just a matter of time.  Each time we went anywhere, I knew a Jeep was somewhere close on the road; each time he saw one I'd hear the words I ain't got no Jeep  which was immediately followed by his pouty face complete with the pouty lower lip.

Until last week.



A set of new tires, and wheels I'm sure, are in the works.

And...what has become of my jeep?  well.......

he's not amused, but It's just amazing what graphics programs can do these days.

Behind Those Doors

When you visit someone's home, do you peek inside their bathroom cabinets?  Can't resist, can you?  What is it that compels us to look?  It's not as if anything behind the doors of their cabinet belongs to us, so why do we do it?  Is it curiousity, the need to see that which is hidden, maybe human nature.  I once heard you can tell a lot about a person by what they keep in their medicine cabinet.  Well, I don't know about that, but here's a peek into ours.

There was a time when my stuff took up two of the shelves, but since Sam had the stint placed in his heart, his stuff takes a lot more space in the cabinet than it did before.

The lower cabinet, with Ki the inspector getting ready to hop in for a looksee.

The last time I went to Bath & Body Works was during their 2 for 1 sale, so I stocked up.  Haven't had to go back since...well, except maybe for a gift for someone else..


** One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats. -- Iris Murdoch **

Cabinets, Jeeps, and Saturday stuff

I do have several entries all ready to go, but right now I'm off to watch Walk the Line  on DVD.  :)

Okay, Robin? 

Friday, March 10, 2006

The 5'er - 3/10/06


It's Friday and it is time for what Robin calls "THE 5'er!"     

If you want to play all you do is visit Robin's journal by clicking >here< then follow her precise directions.  She's a stickler for perfection.  ;)


This week's theme is Green! Ya know...for St. Patrick's day and all.



1. What is your least favorite GREEN vegetable?

Brussel sprouts!!!!!  TOO BITTER!!!!  Yuck!


2.  Did you ever wear GREEN on St.Patty's day so you wouldn't get pinched?

Yes..I hated being pinched because some people pinch just a little too hard.


3. If you have grass in your yard is it GREEN in the winter or brown?

Little of both, but leaning on the faded green side.


4. Ever have GREEN beer?

You betcha!!!  Which probably led to me being a little green in the face.


5. Have you ever been told you had something caught in your teeth that was GREEN?

Yes...I havea dental bridge, upper front and I hate it.  Remember the Christmas song All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth?  That would be me.  You'd never know to see my smile that I have a bridge, unless I'm eating and then at times it's very obvious.  So, I carry a toothbrush with me at all times, just in case. 


*Bonus question*

Do you know who GREEN Day is?

Yes, in fact I just heard Holiday in the radio.

Thursday, March 9, 2006

Animal House

It's official.  My home has been taken over by animals.

Dogs, to be exact.

Three of 'em.

There are days when I feel I exist solely for the purpose of serving their every whim and I live at their mercy.  God I love them, but sometimes having three large dogs in the house is akin to living with three hairy bundles of happy, follow you everywhere, four-legged love.  Heavy on the hairy bundles.  There is Missy (the Rottweiller) constantly showing us her butt, demanding an explanation as to the whereabouts of her tail; and Allie, who has a tail which she wags with such enthusiasm at times I think she's going to break it off, and then there is Rumbeau.

Earlier I was vacuuming the carpeted stairs, making my way up from the basement, commenting to myself at the endless supply of dog hair seemingly wedged into every nook and cranny.  With each step the hair multiplied.  Hell bent in the seriousiness of the task, my inner dialogue went something like this:

I just vacuumed this weekend!  Where is it all coming from?  Gawd, I'm so sick of all this black hair.  It's everywhere!   Clearly, I wasn't in a good mood at the time.  I more big time it's a pappy or a westie.  Or something hairless.  Completely and totally hairless.  I'm so sick of all this black hair!  Argh!!!  They mass produce this stuff...I swear it's going to ruin this vacuum!  Maybe we should have got the industrial model.

There I am, swearing, cussing, and vowing to never allow another hairy four-legged, slobbering creature into my life, my house and my home...ever again!...when out of nowhere a fuzzy, squeaky toy drops on the step right in the path of the vacuum head.  I stop and look up.

Perched above, with both paws strategically dangling over the top step, is Rumbeau, resting his head on his paws.   Looking right at me with that face. 

You know the face...





That look...







That's not my hair on the stair.

I'm a horrible, horrible person.


And my dog can read minds.

He knows...he always knows.


.·:*¨¨*:·. Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened.  --Anatole France .·:*¨¨*:·.



Tuesday, March 7, 2006

High rise...low mist

High rise low mist

Driving home from the cabin, 2006.



** The critic roams through culture, looking for prey.  --Mason Cooley**

Monday, March 6, 2006

Monday Photo Shoot -- Your Bookshelf

So, what are you reading? John wants the visual evidence:

Your Monday Photo Assignment: Show us what's in your bookshelf right now.
That's right, right this very second!

Two bookshelves...the family room and the office.

It's a real mish mash of books.  Fiction, non-fiction, reference, Disney, and even some of my college textbooks.  The oldest is a copy of The Facts of Light About Indoor Gardening by Ortho Books purchased in 1976.  The newest is a copy of The Goodbye Summer by Patricia Gaffney, a 2005 birthday gift. 


.·:*¨¨*:·.  My words fly up; my thoughts remain below.  Words without thoughts never to heaven go.  --William Shakespeare .·:*¨¨*:·. 

Sunday, March 5, 2006

Easy - #38

AOL Music: Irish Descendants: 'Catch the Wind'  <---click to hear


It was no surprise to read the replies to my question last week.  J-Land provides the perfect place for us to surround ourselves with either a few or many friends.  Thank you Robin, Karen, and Sharon for answering.

Now for the question this week.

Home improvement projects not only brighten up and revitalize the places we call home, they also give us insights into ourselves and help us discover just how deep, or shallow, our inner wells of patience can be.  I'll be glad when my kitchen project is over for many reasons, but mainly because it involves my kitchen; the constant shifting of the stove and frig, not being able to walk on the floor or even go into the kitchen, the smell, the DUST! all adds up to a major inconvenience.  Temporary I know, but I do live in the here and I want it done, now!  One thing I have learned, when it comes to kitchens, everybody has an opinion. 

So, tell me...

Is there a room, or place, at your home that you would love to change in a major way?  Maybe the colors are wrong, or it was decorated by the previous owner.  Even if you can't actually do the project, what would you do?  What changes would you love to make?  Would you go for the sleek lines of a contemporary look, the richnessof a traditional style, maybe the down-home comfort of Americana, or those wacky shapes and colors of a retro look.  Go wild, get creative.  Tell me about that special place you have and what you wish you could do to make it really yours!  Use your imagination...after all, in day dreams money is no object!  Use photos, either yours or something from the internet, to convey the colors, the styles, the lines, the textures, the feeling you are going for.  Some of you have expressed a wish to change your home, so tell me about it!


 Home is a place where the small are great and the great are small.  --Anonymous

Friday, March 3, 2006


AOL Video: 'Boondocks' by Little Big Town   <----click to hear Sammy's current fav song and video


I've been playing with PSP9 quite a bit lately; the above is one of my newest creations.  :)

And, it's not too late to respond to the Easy question this week.   Click >here<.




 It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.  --Ursula K. LeGuin