Our weekend out of town; The Story

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Our weekend;   The Story.  I have a peridontist appointment about every three months, in a town about 2 + hours from where we live.  So we have turned it into a weekend getaway, and a visit with my mother who lives in a nearby town to the town where my peridontist is located.

Had my peridontist appt Friday and the report was good – some small improvement actually.  Not much improvement, but far better than deterioration.    Then we went to my mother’s home, spent the weekend. and then came home to our animals.   Our cat and dog remain at home, and so our time away is limited to a safe duration for the cat and dog to fend for themselves.

Now that my cat bite is healing and the cat is healing, life is returning to normal.   (A couple weeks earlier the cat was bitten by an animal, and in not knowing she was bitten, I picked her up, more rather tugged her out of her hiding place and she bit me…not at all her usual behavior, she is a very loving cat.   We didn’t see her wound at the time, but knew something was wrong with her.  Arthur spotted her wound, and we took her to the vet, who gave her a vaccine, and told me was more concerned that I get myself to hospital to treat the cat bite.  I did, was vaccinated and given antibiotics, the incident reported to County Health, the cat quarantined at our home for 10 days and we are both mending without incident, the primary concern being exposure to rabies).

When we returned home, our dog Jake resumed eating again.  He misses us when we are gone and gets sad – depressed.  Dogs have feelings.  Oh, and our cat too, she has feelings, misses us and glad when we return home.

After my peridontist visit on Friday afternoon we drove to my mother’s home, picked her up and went out to eat.  We live in a rural town, and there aren’t a lot of restaurants or places to eat, so we enjoy the opportunity of eating out at different restaurants on the days of  my peridontist appointments.  It’s an eating out together date we look relish.  Choosing a restaurant in the town where my mother lives proved not to be as obvious as it might seem.  We kind of scoured what we knew to be restaurants in her neighborhood, opted to go further away, settled on Black Angus, since I was hankering for a nice steak lunch.  We got there and it no longer has lunch, open for dinner only.  Must be the economy.  The hour was growing late into the afternoon, I was hungry now, and we had not eaten breakfast that day,  or at all, so we wound up at (oh yuck!) Old Country Buffet.   My husband likes the many choices of buffet restaurants, and sometimes so do I, but Old Country Buffet is not one of my favorites.  We both really enjoy the buffet variety of primarily healthy choices at  Sweet Tomatoes restaurant, but there were none the town where my Mom lives.

Saturday husband spent the day home, defrosted Mom’s freezer for her because it had become so full of ice that the ice on all the shelves were touching each other, no room for food.   He took care of some other taskings for her, then spent the rest of the day fooling around with installing stuff in his old fashioned computer.  Not the laptop kind, the big bulky kind.  Some guy he knows had given him some Linus software to download or told him about it.  Anyway, it was a dead computer (not working) and when he finished the download it sprung back to life, installed Windows XP and is sort of functional again.  He was delighted.  Still needs an audio driver and something else that would permit it to link to internet.  He was just intrigued that it started working again…kind of like a guy tinkering in his garage with his power tools, only Arthur likes to tinker with puter.

Saturday I took Mom to Farmers Market in Proctor area of Tacoma.  It is a district that more resembles Portland or some Seattle districts; organic, green living, conscientious choices – that sort of thing, and an amazingly cool, fun grocery store with very upscale item choices.  For a mere $309.00 you can purchase a wheel of gourmet cheese!  An experience in itself.  (I’m being a bit snarky – it would be very unlikely we would ever spend that kind of  money on cheese.)  We visited a new consignment shop in her immediate neighborhood – delightful items, colorful, fun, upbeat, cheerful.  I liked it.   But I didn’t buy anything, because in truth, neither of us need another thing!

And more for the hunt of treasure than because either of us need anything more in our homes, we went to a few garage sales. What was being offered wasn’t the kind of garage sales we were looking for – more like junk sales.  We had fun anyway because we toured many of the University Place neighborhoods, the million + $$ homes with breathtaking views of the Narrows water, Narrows Bridge, the outlying island.  And alongside the million + $$ homes, are more modest ranch style homes.  You can be on a ‘house of dreams’ street and turn to go down the the next street which could well be a quiet and modest street of different ranch style homes.    University Place neighborhoods are in interesting mix of income levels.

After our tour of neighborhoods,  I took her to visit Charlie at cemetary where his ashes are placed.  It is a beautiful, peaceful cemetary, a place of quiet serenity amidst the hubbub of getting from here to there.  Nice place to quietly reflect on life.  I know, it may sound like a strange juxtaposition to reflect on life when at a cemetary where the dead are buried…..but that is how it works for me.

We went back to Proctor district that evening to have dinner at a niche Mexican restaurant (not a restaurant chain) because Mom said she heard good things about the food and atmosphere there.  Lively atmosphere with mix of old and young people dining.    I had a Taste Assault dish called Chicken Mole, although it would be better named Chicken in Mole (pronounced molay) Sauce, because the sauce was Outrageous –  6 ingredients, and I can remember plums, almonds, mole (an unsweetened chocolate), and some other ingredients.  It wakes up your taste buds like wowza!   Not hot or even spicy, flavorful would be the word I would use to describe it.  Flavorful with each bite.  My husband took a menu and will experiment at home with making the mole sauce because I liked it so well.

Sunday we took Mom to her church (St Andrews Episcopal Church).   A bit of history here; my mom lost half her sightedness recently and is vision impaired now.  Mom had been saying she felt she needed something inspirational amidst all the doctor appointments and bad news.  We are lay preachers at our local Episcopal church, and along the way, I decided to call the Priest at St Andrews to talk to him about Mom.  When she was a child, she attended Episcopal church in Spokane.  I explained to him her childhood church exposure, and her current medical condition with being sight impaired, being told by her doctors not to drive anymore. He agreed to visit Mom immediately and arranged for someone to pick her up and take her to church on Sundays.

She has been to St Andrews now, a few times, and wanted us to visit her church.  We wanted to visit it also, as I enjoyed the upbeat conversation with the Priest – he was energetically young, even though he isn’t young.    That Sunday they had special guests, a singing group who livened up the entire worship service with renditions of the hymns done to foot tapping music.  Guitars, tambourines, horns, and one of the gals playing guitar was barefoot!   Felt like we were at a campfire gathering!  Geesh!  But the worship service having a combination of traditional liturgy, the laying on of hands for healing, the Eucharist, and the lively music with a welcome invitation to all does reflect ‘The Emerging Church’.

We loved the church, it had accommodations our little church building isn’t equipped to have, and if we lived in that area, we would likely attend that church.   Afterwards we ate at a restaurant in her immediate neighborhood that she is fond of – an old fashioned restaurant left over from approximately the 1950’s era.     So lots of eating this weekend, way too many calories, and Mom had a nice weekend.  So did we.

Oh and at the Farmer’s Market I bought some snow peas that were priced below what is usually charged for snow peas, so I bought enough to freeze.  Bought a couple of tomato plants already bearing tomatoes, and a basil plant.   I didn’t plant a vegetable garden this year, and haven’t spent much time outside with the herb and flower gardens, so keeping it light this year.   Weather hasn’t been too cooperative where we live – cold, rainy, then unseasonably blistering hot, then cold again.   At the market, I found a growing salad bowl planter that I wanted and Mom bought it for me for my birthday gift.  The planter has growing  lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro plants  – salad ingredients, and that is the extent of my vegetable garden this year.   Except all the herbs I have been growing for a few years now.

And I was delighted to learn about a lovely tasty sauce called Chimchurri  – tasted some at the market, and just had to buy one – lime Chimichurri.  Great to use as braising sauce for grilled vegetables, on meats, or just straight on healthy chips or fresh veggies.   Taste delight!

It was a rather sweet weekend.  Last year around this time, we had visited Mom and she and I went to Lavender Festival on Vashon Island, ferry ride over and back, a beautiful, clear, sunny day, making the waters deep blue and picturesque. There was a Farmer’s Market there too, and we visited that Farmer’s Market.


Our dog, Jake, Australian Shepherd

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Our wonderful dog, Jake – Australian Shepherd breed – which means NOT that he is a shepherd breed, nor from Australia. These dogs likely got their names because bred in America, they were most often used by Basque shepherds to do sheep herding.

thumbnail Jake

Thus the Australian part of the name and the shepherd part of the name. They are working dogs, guarding dogs, and are bred to be working dogs, herding dogs. While our guy doesn’t get to do near the amount of taskings and jobs he would like to do, we can attest that he is a spirited, working, herding dog. He is likely to herd cars if there are no children or critters around for him to herd.

And we know this would be Jake if he ever had a chance to be around a real herd of anything.


Our dog, Jake, ACL surgery

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Our dog, Jake, had  surgery on his ACL (anterior cruciate ligament). Didn’t realize it was going to be such an invasive procedure. He healed, never fully, and has a permanent limp, and we are grateful the veterinarian who performed the surgery did as well as he did. Prior to the surgery, Jake couldn’t seem to walk at all. It took about a year of recovery, and now Jake bounces in excitement when we ask him if he wants to go for a walk. He walks and will walk forever, but he does suffer some the next day.

What a great dog, we love our Jake. He is Australian Shepherd with some collie mix.


Rising to the morning routine, simple pleasures

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It is one of those crisp winter days this morning. We wake up, immediately turn on our respective computers, catch up on what’s new or better said, more of the same, and as the sun comes up, we are drawn like a magnet to beginning the day. Husband goes about the business of morning preparations to go to work. I, on the other hand, mentally lay out the plans for my day. I send him off in our usual morning routine. What that looks like is stepping out on the porch into the bracing chill, calling for our dog Jake, to make sure he is around and not off chasing an adventure somewhere in the neighborhood, and locating our cat, Lance.

Jake, as usual, comes trotting out of where-ever he chose to sleep for the night, sometimes on the porch, sometimes outside. Lance is either inside, curled up someplace or outside and ready to come in. I give Jake his morning “treat” and he waits patiently, wagging his tail. He knows the routine…Daddy will go get in the truck and Mommy will give the dog a bone.

Our little entourage then waves Daddy off as he heads down the street and I take in the morning sights. I take a look at the sunrise to see what kind of day we will have, look over to the bay water to see what color it is this morning and how the water is moving or not moving. I look to the neighbors’ houses to see who is up and about, who has left for the day. I check to make sure the cat has food in his dish and then am reminded to remember whether I fed the two beta fish last night. I often forget to remember to feed those two, as it’s hard to have a relationship with a couple of fish swimming in vases. The two beta fish and the cat are inheritances, acquired when my daughter’s family was finally able to move to Germany.

So quietly my own day begins. Which is exactly the way I like it to be, for the most part. I used to be part of that morning preparations to get ready for work and remember well that “morning rush” which I rarely enjoyed. The hair, the grooming, the make-up, choosing the clothes, putting on what I called the “uniform” constricting the flow to focus on the taskings as set forth by employer/employment. Rushing to the car, checking the time, flying down the road so we wouldn’t be “late” and then arriving, stepping into the office, and that whole aura of 9 + hours and this place owns me.

This quiet and leisurely way to start the day is a contrast which I still relish and savor. As the sun finishes it’s rise, I now know the tone of the weather for the day. I decide if I will open the blinds and curtains or let it remain awakening time a bit longer. Today it is sunshine, and light streams in, so the blinds and curtains are opened. We get a fair amount of rainy days here and sometimes I like to open the blinds where I sit at the computer to watch the rain fall and listen to it hitting the metal roof.

Lance isn’t sure what he wants to do, and Jake has a strange gift to attend to outside. I closed up the porch last night, meaning to keep him in only long enough to eat his food, since he likes to share it with all the neighborhood dogs, and forgot to open the porch door last night before going to sleep. Jake then was rather locked in then last night, not his usual routine. So I know he could not have brought that hooved deer leg into the yard, yet there it is this morning. Where did it come from? Which dog brought it and now, of course, Jake is seriously interested.

Meantime the birds are busy on the metal roof making a racket and doing whatever they do on the roof. I take Lance outside to do his bird-monitoring thing and he is busy now prowling on the deck railing trying to keep up with the movement of the birds. And I thought I’d just blog about how our mornings begin. I’m so weary of blogging my other blogs and the war and the politics which have highjacked my daily life simple wonders in my own consuming focus to try to influence getting our troops home, thus hopefully ending some of the carnage and destruction that go on daily in Iraq. See how those thoughts creep in even as I write to the simple pleasures of my morning wake-up routine.Well time to start the day…………..


Feed me, Feed me – Neopets online and many blogs

Wow, been feeding all my other blogs, and overlooking this one. Well ya know, if the President would just shape up, I wouldn’t be so busy with all the other blogs. Enough about that, see my other blogs for stuff like that. Here is where I try to post family stuff. Which is not to say that the war deeply affects our family, but once in a while, I gotta take a light break…..it’s such serious business, the war, the troops, Iraq, our country.

So Lance, the cat, has made himself at home, is doing real well, adapting well and has rather taken charge of the house. Now Jake, on the other hand, is just still pouting over the whole business. We put a pillow and the food dish for Lance on top of the freezer on the porch. He likes that cause he jumps up there and can lord it over Jake, who looks at me with those sad eyes and an expression of “Why, Why, why me, what did I ever do to you?”.

When I take ol’ Jakers for a walk or better yet a drive, he is all excited once again and knows I love him best. Lance doesn’t seem to know though, that Jake comes first, he thinks he comes first. Now Lance follows me around everywhere, including when I walk Jake…what kind of cat follows you around like a dog does? But no car rides for Lance. That is special only for Jakers.

Our small village entertainment: We threw old bread out for the birds, well, okay, the crows then. There are a lot of crows that live around here and they won’t let the smaller birds get to the bread. We threw out three loaves, not torn up. So Jake goes over and sniffs them and decides they are not edible for him. But he somehow thinks they are his, so he sits down in the road and stands guard. The crows won’t come down with Jake sitting right there. We are watching out the windows, and it’s getting pretty amusing as Jake takes his job of guarding the bread loaves very seriously, it seems.

Along come some of the other dogs that live on our street, sniff the bread and decide it’s not for them either, and walk off. Jake continues guarding the loaves. The crows hover all around but won’t fly down to snatch the bread. After a while, another stranger dog (means doesn’t live around here) came along, sniffed the bread, decided it was for him and picked it up in his mouth and walked off with it. Well Jake is seriously offended and puzzled and looks at the stranger dog and then back at the loaves and is confused about what to do. If he leaves his guard spot the crows will fly down, but he also wants to retreive the bread loaf from the stranger dog.

In his confusion, he decides to get up and go after the stranger dog, and the crows start circling downward. The stranger dog drops the loaf about 50 feet down the road, decides he doesn’t want it after all. Jake, meanwhile has drifted over to the neighbor’s place across the street as one of them has come out of the building and Jake knows they give him real and fun food treats. While he is over there begging for a goodie, the crows then spot the loaf the stranger dog dropped and see that Jake is occupied, so they swoop down and start having a feast. We are watching out the windows, laughing and being thoroughly entertained, wondering what Jake will do when he turns around and sees the crows are at the bread loaf.

Sure enough, Jake turns, sees the crows, dashes after them and chases them off, picks up the bread loaf and isn’t sure what to do with it. He wanders back to the other two loaves, wanders back to the neighbors with the loaf in his mouth, wanders back home, just carrying that loaf of bread and not sure what to do with it. He decides then, that the best thing to do is to bury it. So he digs a hole and buries one loaf. Meanwhile the other two loaves are sitting on the road and the crows are still hovering, waiting. We are by this time laughing as we watch from the windows as this drama of nature unfolds. Lance has taken an interest by now and has been running from window to window trying to keep up with the birds.

It had all the markings of being a long afternoon’s entertainment for us dull, boring people in our dull, boring village. The neighbors decided to take a walk, and Jake usually accompanies them, so he was delighted to go for a walk, and after all that careful sentry work guarding the bread loaves from the crows, he just walked off as if it never happened, and the crows then were free to feast. But no, two more stranger dogs came along, sniffed and decided to eat the two remaining loaves which they proceeded to do in short order, leaving nothing for the crows.

And that is life in the Village.

Now, about me and my blogs. I have, let’s see now, 8 blogs at blogger, and 6 blogs here at blog-drive, 1 blog at live journal, 1 blog at blog city, another blog at bloglines, another at msn spaces, so that is 18 blogs. Plus I have also a few websites that I have built. And I have a list of about 6 more places where I could build other blogs. So …… that is tooo many blogs, for sure, and I have to feed them all. That is why I call them my online neopets, cause I have to feed them and some get fed every day and some don’t get fed for weeks at a time and lately, some don’t get fed at all.

Lastly, let me recommend 2 movies for ya to watch. 1) Open Waters, it’s an independent film and very unusual…different and we enjoyed watching it. 2) The Village, M. Night Shymalan which we enjoyed watching this one because the ending surprised us and it’s nice to be surprised. There wasn’t much in the way of clues along the movie to tell us what to expect for the ending, which is why it was a surprise. We liked it. Now, if you watch these two movies, let me know what you think, ok?

Till next time………….this is Gram offering up a gem…….