Thursday, April 30, 2015

Black Does Not Match Shedding Season

It seems the season of shedding is upon us.

The kitties, barely one year old, are experiencing their first time of spring shedding. Fur. Abundant fluff. Hair. Way more hair than is actually on the girls is racing in droves to be the first to depart their respective feline host.

Wads of gray, tan, and orange now mingle with other carpet bunnies. Oh, please, don't reproduce!

We had some loves today, Monet and I. Black is not a good color for this time of year. "But it felt so good," said a much thinner gray girl.

Amidst the floating pieces that caught the light and the lingering ones that settled on the furniture (and my black top), one would know that this house harbors not just one defrocking cat, but two.

If you come a-visiting, don't wear black.

And never fear. I have the sticky tape roller ready to go.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Harbinger of Preliminary Garden Success

As per the instructions from my gardening friend, Ann, I (with my 3 year-old assistant) carefully covered the bottoms of two IKEA blue tote bags with garden dirt.

This of course, was following the 48-hour curing stage of potato eye sections (or they will rot, said other directions).

We placed potato chunks, eyes looking up, on top of the dirt and covered them with another 2 or so inches of soil. Water and wait.

And wait. And wait. When the eyes were blanketed beneath warm earth, the temps were wonderful. Perfect. Even hot.

And then came the cold and colder spell. It is after all, April. Hello. I should have waited.

But look! The beginning peeks of potential potato plant success! Leaves are climbing from the mud and cat prints in the midst of the totes.

The rest of the directions are to recover the shoots once the greens reach 4-6 inches in height. Continue doing that. Ok, I really have no idea how long that part will go on. Will I reach the top of the IKEA bag and just have to stop? Or do the plants only get so high, bloom, and then give me some new potatoes?

(Shrugs shoulders). Don't know. When the blooms fall off, the potatoes are done.

Thinking this garden experiment is going to be very interesting.

The theory, of course, is that it's easier to find the potatoes when they are contained in a certain amount of dirt. Instead of an entire garden.

We shall see.

But for now? Perfection.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Pick Your Seat

My mom used to tell me that picking your seat meant I was digging my underpants out of my . . . uhm . . . they were stuck and I was helping them get unstuck.

In this case, picking your seat means that Mabel already has. And I'm not sure where I am supposed to sit to work.

One of us is going to be very comfortable. The other will probably slide off the chair.

Life with cats.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Joy in the Small Things

Sometimes we want the big events to provide buckets of joy. Or, like me, at times I am so focused on the looming deadlines or red letter activities that I build myself up on stress. Which immediately and perfectly robs me of the joy and peace I should be feeling as I go about my days. After all, each day is a prize. Only once will today be a part of my life. After this 24 hours, it will be gone and a new day will arise.

I choose to begin this morning with a focus on the small things (two of which are soon to arrive). May my slow down and introspection bring peace and joy overflowing to my heart and go from there to shower into the lives of those around me (even those 'other' terrible drivers or cranky salespeople - to them also).

A few 'little' items of joy . . .

~ it was only a moth which the cat brought in to our bedroom in the wee hours, not a mouse as I originally imagined

~ birds singing happily at o' dark-thirty

~ glistening drops of water throughout the garden

~ trees humming with bees

~ shouts of "Nana" and bangs of the front door

~ green strawberries

~ 2 butterflies

~ Donavyn kissing me through the glass door

~ Donavyn giggling hysterically at Papa's bald head (from his view on Papa's shoulders)

~ being a (10-hours worth) part of Kevin's work day during the weekend

~ kitty snuggled between my feet when I woke up

~ clean bathrooms

~ warm weather

~ warm maple oat nut scones and coffee

~ tiny thumps against my hand from baby Gage (in his mommy's tummy)

~ Mommy's big watermelon tummy

~ blond-haired grandbabies

~ me-go-first 3-year-old granddaughter's who take over meal prayer times and loudly say, "Thank you for Jesus. Thank you for Nana..."

~ sitting on the patio after a walk, enjoying the garden

~ candles

~ good chocolate

~ conversation with a friend

~ you, reader and friend, thanks!

Can you think of 5 small things that bring you joy?

Have a fabulous Monday, filled with joy and peace.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Thankful Thursday - Brought to You By the Letter Kk

It's Thankful Thursday!

I'd just like to know how it came to be Thursday already again? The days are just kicking by faster and faster.

Brought to you by the letter Kk, here are some things for which I am thankful:

~ King of kings

~ kids

~ kisses (especially those open-mouthed ones from babies who are just learning the art of slobbering)

~ kangaroos

~ kiwis and kale

~ kites that work

~ kittens

~ knitted stuff

~ KEVIN, my honey

~ kindergarteners - How can you not love this age?

~ kind people

~ kaleidoscopes

~ kilts

~ killdeer and kingfishers, both abundant in our area

~ kinsfolk

~ knees, all the better to bend and walk

~ knights (chivalry is not dead, is it?)

~ kooky antics

What kind of Kk things can you think of?

Keeping it real, friends.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Happy Earth Day!

A Psalm of David. The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, ~ Psalm 24:1 ESV

So today, I bid you a Happy Earth Day.

Not to be confused with Happy Birthday. Or Happy Anniversary, of which my parents are nearing the celebration of 55 years together and we took them out on this Earth Day to take photos. But I should say, it is Earth Day, my dad's birthday, and our taking notice of an anniversary. All three are tied up together for this family.

Because the Earth is the Lord's, and all those who dwell here belong to Him, thanks be to Him, who graciously made this wonderful world for us to inhabit. He has an amazing and infinite amount of creativity, which is evidenced by simple observations of His handiwork.

I never cease to be amazed, pleased, surprised, intrigued, awed, grateful, and excited when I pause to consider what He has spoken into existence.

Thank You, Father and Creator. Thank You.

PHOTO CREDITS: Angie Quantrell

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Hand-Me-Downs, Earth Day Solutions!

Donavyn, wearing Daddy's and Papa's red jacket.

I don't know about you, but I love hand-me-downs.

Don't get me wrong. I also love new clothes. But used outfits are broken in and feel so soft and loved. Ahhh.

Can't you just feel the comfort of a previously owned sweater? I have one that I wear almost ever day. I bought it at a thrift shop for a dollar or two. I'm pretty sure others are tired of it, but I do love that sweater. It's the prefect weight, warmth, and color. Ok. Maybe it doesn't match everything else I own, but I wear it like it does. Who cares? I'm over 50, so I can do things like that.

Reusing clothing is awesome! Why?

the price is excellent
used clothes can be used until they fall apart (guilty of this)
second-hand-clothes are not relegated to the trash (and landfill)
old clothes are broken in
reusing is budget stretching
sentiment on favorite items is extended to the new owners

Are you guilty of saving your child's baby clothes? I am.

Donavyn wearing Papa's and Daddy's (and auntie's) mail suit. It's showing the long years of use, so this outfit is more of a sentimental prize.

I kept all of my favorite outfits from both of my children. A good amount of boy and girl baby and toddler clothes stayed stashed in the garage. When the grands starting arriving, I dug out those boxes and started reusing favorites.

Let me warn you about stains and elastic though. Stains got worse (especially those formula and milk under the chin stains that never quite came all the way off). Elastic did not survive the heat and years in storage. Just an FYI.

The worn-by-all Mickey Mouse sweatshirt.

I loved most of the favorites just as much as the first time they were used. Oh, and many of my favorites were hand-me-downs, so we are talking some serious long-life-use of clothes.

A few of my supposed favorites? Ick. Why did I keep those? For emergency clothes. After the diaper leaks or the food exploration trashes an outfit, good old Nana has some spares.

But one of my absolute favorites? Holding on to something that used to be my husbands' when he was a little guy. Like the red jacket. It was worn by Kevin, and his son Taylor, and now Taylor's son Donavyn, who was recently photographed as he trotted around the backyard wearing it. I still have the matching hat.

Baby Hayden wearing the red hat that matches the red jacket. Sizes do not match, so I'm not sure how that worked in the olden days...

I also have a sweater set that my mama crocheted for Baby Taylor. It was worn by Baby Chelsie (Taylor's sister), Baby Hayden and Baby Khloe (Chelsie's kids), and for a short time, Baby Donavyn (Taylor's son). I will just keep putting that set on whichever grand needs warming up at the time.

This blog post was originally brought to you by Earth Day 2015. Let's add Nana's Trip Down Memory Lane as co-host. Thanks for joining me!

Papa holding Baby Taylor who is wearing the Christmas sweater set crocheted by my mama.

What kind of hand-me-downs do you hang on to and love?

Look who just showed up? Sister, not feeling well at all, but still willing to smile for Nana and her camera. Khloe is wearing the pink lamb sweater that her mommy wore many years ago. Hand-me-downs strike again!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Motorcycle Monday - Satus Pass to Horse Heaven Hills Loop Ride

The perfect weather last Saturday (and enough time) gave us a much needed refreshment break on the Honda Shadow. Here are some photos from our 6-hour loop ride. Minimal stops, maximum fun.

We went south on Highway 97 over Satus Pass. We always stop at Brooks Memorial Park for a potty stop. It is just enough distance from home that our bums are numb. And we need the break.

One of our wildlife sightings of the day - blue jay. Loud and squawky but gorgeous. The list for the day: turkey vultures, hawks, osprey, blue jay, swallows, deer (almost hit), wild turkey (was next in line to be hit), ground squirrel, deer ribs, wild horses, pelicans, ducks, coyote, and many, many other birds. Great day for seeing the critters.

One of four mountains spotted during our loop trip. This is Mt. Adams. We also saw Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens, and Mt. Hood. The sky was not totally clear, but beautiful none the less.

Wind machines. Cool in a mechanical sort of way. I'm fascinated with how LARGE they are in real life. The shadows and backlighting keep me taking photos, though I have many.

Columbia River Gorge, vineyards, and orchards seen from the Maryhill Winery, another of our favorite stretch stops. The warm weather drew a large crowd with children who ran up and down the amphitheater hills.

What's that? Mt. Hood, located in Oregon on the other side of the Columbia River.

We didn't stop, but Stonehenge is a great place. Wonderful views and intriguing rocks. The cows could care less. Heading east on Highway 14, we traveled towards Patterson, paralleling the Columbia River.

My new home. Seriously. I want to live in the barn.

Well away from Hood River, a lone para-sailer (para-glider?) circled above Highway 14. We had fun taking photos of each other.

The river was so calm, I couldn't stop snapping photos of the reflections. Beautiful.

Lots of train traffic for a Saturday afternoon. This swift railcar kept pace with us (we were doing about 65 mph). We watched trains on both sides of the river headed both east and west.

At Patterson, we turned left, and headed north, up and over the Horse Heaven Hills (Highway 221). I did not see ONE horse. Ok, there are three on the sign. What's wrong with that picture? (I thought God made the Horse Heave Hills, ages ago, not in 2005. ;)

That's me and my cowboy, riding our steel mustang. I'm reclining on the back, amusing myself with the camera.

Like I said, amusing myself with the camera. It is hard to get clear shots. Invariably, whenever I click the shutter, there is a wind sheer, a bump, a road sign, a vehicle, a tree, or a rock outcropping. Most of my photos are dumped in the trash.

And here we here we are, coming down from the Horse Heaven Hills into Prosser and the lower Yakima Valley. A beautiful sunset awaited our homeward drive. What a great day!

Friday, April 17, 2015

One Year Old - A Birthday of Sorts - What Do Cats Do?

Monet and Mabel curled up, twin sisters who always did everything together.

Just like human babies seem to sprout up before our very eyes, our furry kitties have done the same thing over the last year.

They were never far from mommy. This is on my sewing table, which is in the office. Again, back then, they spent all of their time side by side, regardless of the activity.

Two little girls, practicing their gym skills. So small!

Mabel helped me read the newspaper.

The girls celebrated their birthday. The nice thing is that I can remember their birthday. April 15. Tax day. Now they no longer do everything in tandem. Each has her own favorite napping spot, hiding den, and particulars about interacting with we humans. Going outside with us? Still a group effort. They love mom and dad working in the yard.

But what did they do to celebrate?

Monet slept. A lot.

Hmmm. I would say she did not appreciate her birthday hat.

Perhaps Monet was downright unhappy about her hat. Yes. I think that is what she is trying to tell me. Annoyance personified.

Mabel refused to even wear hers for a second.

Instead, she ate it. And hauled it around. And chewed on it some more.

Perhaps birthdays are not so exciting (or remembered) in the lives of animals. But we pet lovers who dote on our furry or feathered or scaled family members do like to keep track, don't we? How do your pets celebrate their birthdays?

Happy Birthday, Monet and Mabel!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Thankful Thursday Brought to You By the Letter Jj

Today is Thankful Thursday, brought to you by the letter Jj.

Things beginning with Jj for which I am thankful:

~ Jesus

~ jelly beans

~ jack-o-lanterns

~ Jehovah

~ jasmine

~ jelly

~ jays (birds)

~ jet planes (to take me places)

~ jobs (to earn money for living expenses)

~ joints (NOT that kind; the ones on my body so I can bend and move)

~ journeys = adventures

~ July (summer vacation)

~ junipers

~ John (the book of)

~ johns (as in toilets; I do love indoor plumbing - as opposed to outdoor)

~ joy

~ June, the month of our 30th anniversary

~ jokes

~ jerky, especially pepper and teriyaki

Just joking and jesting, but jiggling jello doesn't jump and makes a jubilant mess on my jeans. (My silly attempt to use lots of Jj words in one sentence.)

What are you thankful for?