April 30, 2013

Honey Bees in the Trees

Once again, I should be posting pictures of the flower pots, but at this rate you'll just have to come over and see them.  Tea's on.  =)

The honey bees have been doing their work in our apple trees. Such humming!  This little one kept climbing higher and higher but it finally came close enough to photograph.  My camera does not have the capability of zooming, but since it has a very high quality fixed lens, I can digitally enlarge photos to get closer.  It's not National Geographic, but it's still pretty cool!

A little closer with some cropping...

And a little more...
Look at the light on those wings! And I'm still trying to figure out how delicate blossoms turn into real apples.  Isn't it all amazing?

April 29, 2013

Playing in the Grass

It was a glorious weekend and we couldn't soak up enough sun!!  Saturday was spent digging the pots and hanging baskets out of the garage and planting fresh flowers.  I should be sharing all kinds of flower pictures, but the one below holds so many possibilities!

With just a little imagination, this could be a rabbit's view eyeing my strawberries.  (Beware, little bunnies - I will win this year!) Or a kid's view playing hide and seek.  Or what Miss Elsie sees when she's running down the hill chasing her ball (for the thousand kabillionth time).

It was good to roll in the grass and look up at the sky.  Sometimes we all need recess!  =)

April 26, 2013

The Gardening Frenzy Begins

It promises to be the sunniest, warmest day of the year, which means the neighborhood will come alive!  Garden shops will be packed and there will be a ferocious effort to get flowers planted and gardens tended.  Next week it will be cold and rainy again, so the pressure's on.  =)

My goal this weekend is to weed the strawberry patch.  Last year we started a new bed, and the bunnies were very grateful!  Unfortunately, they carefully left every weed and thorn as they munched their way to happiness. I'm hoping to find at least a few starts left to tend until they grow into bigger plants and become a little less tasty to the four-footed friends.

If you are buying flower seeds for the spring, don't forget Love-in-a-Mist!  They are beautifully delicate flowers that reseed themselves and come back every year.  Looking for a gardening gift? Collect a few extra seeds, seal them in cellophane packets, and save them for your next batch of Valentine's Day cards.  Very fun!

Happy Friday to you all.  =)

April 25, 2013

Goodbye to a Friend

Goodbyes are always so hard.  Abbi was a sweet, furry companion and friend to someone I love.

I'm convinced she's now playing with Ozzie, Snuffie, Blackberry, Skipper, Patrinka, and all of the others that brought us joy through the years.

April 24, 2013

Surprise in the Sink

When I returned from Missouri, I found the house in good order...everything was clean, vacuumed, and dusted.  And what a loving welcome I received!

There was only one tiny surprise in the sink.

Seems there was a problem with the morning's oatmeal.  My mind raced in a million directions, but my Top Three training kicked into gear along with a good laugh!  For the record:

1.  Our smoke alarms are all functional.
2.  Wire scrubbers are my friend.
3.  Apparently the oatmeal tasted just fine! No picky eaters in this house, no sir!

April 23, 2013

Textilers in France

Well, my friends, sometimes life is just so unbelievably crazy that you have to laugh!!

I learned that a friend's daughter has found her calling, and she is headed to pastry school in France.  How fun is that??!  If I had nothing else to do in life, I would seriously consider doing the same!

What's hilarious, though, is that the particular school is just city blocks away from a large nudist colony.  And apparently it's not full of athletes.  Just regular people with sags, bags, bellies, and wrinkles.  Ackkkkkk!  I can't think of one thing that would make me want to even sneak a peak.

So to the daughter, I warn, "Avert your eyes!  Avert your eyes!"

I have learned that in places such as these, citizens without clothes are referred to as "naturists".  Those with clothes are called "textilers".

So enjoy your Tuesday.  As a textiler.  Hahahahahaha!

April 22, 2013

Look Closely

We spied Mr. and Mrs. Mallard in a nearby swale.  From 30 feet away they were nearly invisible.  I've blown this picture up for your viewing pleasure. =)

It was kind of an insignificant thing, but we could have easily missed missed them.  The few moments of beauty felt like a small gift.  

April 19, 2013

Friday Flowers

Happy Friday!  Hope you have fun plans!

April 18, 2013

Hello, Friend!

Eager to see me, she moseyed on over for a scratch.  She couldn't resist the taste of my coat sleeve. And my camera strap.

A little neck rub, some sweet talk, and all was well in the barnyard.  I thanked her for her day's work.  The milk was delicious.  =)

April 17, 2013

Chicken Talk

Her:  Treats? Do I see leftover rice in that bowl????!!  I'm here, and you have something in your hand, so it must be for me!

Me:  Yes, Helen.  Rice for you this morning.  And some day I may actually give you a real name, but you live on a farm, dear.  Well, almost, but not really.  So maybe we can fudge a bit.

Her:  I do love chatting, but could we talk about rice?  Cluck! Cluck! Rice!  I may only have 17 taste buds, but rice suits my fancy.  An egg for you today! 

April 16, 2013


It was a GREAT weekend at the Investigator Conference in Missouri!

And my apologies to all Missourians, but it wasn't because of the scenery!  We flew into the airport and stayed at an airport hotel.  My view included industrial buildings out the front and a man-made pond to the side.  And based on the smell, it was likely a treatment sewage pond.  Hmmm.  We did get shuttled to a restaurant in a nearby shopping village, which was definitely not what I had hoped to see!

The first evening there was a military ball going on, with the women dressed in formal gowns and the men in their full military regalia.  Now THAT'S the picture I should have taken! If only I'd had my camera on me!  It was beautiful.

But the great part of the weekend was the conference itself.  I was in a room with of some of the best medical minds in the country, working together to discuss and train for an upcoming neurological research study.  We will be testing whether a new intervention will extend the lives of our patients, and it is truly exciting to be a part of that!  I realized that I love talking about outcomes, ethical considerations, budgeting, monitoring, MV, FVC, MIP, MEP, SNIP, phrenic nerve conductions, AEs, screening visits, and programming.  Magnificent!  And I laughed as I called Sir Bradley, letting him know that he is really married to a geek.  I know he didn't realize this when we got married.

I do have a couple of fun pics of tubes and things in people's noses, but I understand that as a nurse my idea of fun and laughter may not be shared by all. So instead, I'll leave you with a picture of the shiny water glasses.  =)

April 12, 2013

Almost Paris

Almost.  Not quite.  But Missouri will do for now!  I'm off to attend a research conference...at a hotel a mile from the airport.

It's good practice for packing lightly and getting my travel routine down.  This time I will leave my passport at home, but next time...

Enjoy this little spot of color and have a great weekend!

April 11, 2013

Remembering Dad

Yesterday would have been Dad's 80th birthday.  Oh, how I miss him!  He taught me many things, including how to be thankful, how to give, how to laugh, and how to use every tool in the boat shop.

It will be a happy reunion some day in heaven, and I'm convinced when I see him again he'll give me his huge, familiar hug, say, "Hi hi, dear one! Sooo good to see you!" And then he'll urge me to join him at the finest pie shop imaginable.

I'll chose chocolate cream, along with another hug.  =)

April 10, 2013

Are You Wealthy?

On the way home last night there was talk on the radio of an upcoming segment to be aired, "How to Know if You're Wealthy!"

I thought of a rich man who recently died.  Best I could tell, he was loaded with money.  But his wife hated him, his family was thoroughly dysfunctional, and he was so very unhappy with everything around him.  Nothing was good enough.  In my book, he was far from wealthy.

Admittedly, money does make life a little easier. I am so grateful for the roof over my head and a pantry full of food, which is more than most people have in this world. I'm convinced, however, that it's the intangibles that make us rich and elevate our quality of life.

A man who's stuck with me for 27 years and still thinks I'm beautiful.
A dear, dear family.
Dignity and grace.
Gentle kindnesses.
Laughing so hard you cry.  And laughing again just thinking about it.
A hot cup of tea with friends.
Taking a deep breath and smelling the woods.
Arms and legs that work...

By ignoring these riches we can miss the finest things in life!

What's on your list?  How wealthy are you?

April 9, 2013

Best Cupcake, New Cookbook

The bookstore gift card was finished off with a purchase of something quite out of the ordinary.  I have a weakness for bakeries, and how could I resist a cookbook from one that won a prestigious award for Best Cupcake from New York magazine?? (I've never read the magazine, but it sounds exciting!)  The awarded cupcake just happens to be vegan.

Sir Bradley, a meat-eating, gluten-loving man, is not happy with the whole idea.  And I can't really blame him, because I am the same, with the added misfortune that I also adore sugar.

But it is a bit of a personal challenge to see if I can create this work of wonder.  And based on the number of people that have already offered to be taste-testers, I think many will be available to help celebrate my victory!!

April 8, 2013

Flying Blossoms

A squall made it's way across the Northwest, just as the trees and bushes started flowering. The wind blew branches into the road and sent blossoms flying.  There is one azalea bush down the street that is now completely bare, surrounded by petals on the ground.

I had to rescue a few tulip tree flowers along our walk.  They were a little battered, but still too pretty to pass up!

April 5, 2013

Almost as Good as a Jungle

The dreams never end, but for now there will be no jungle explorations in Costa Rica.  But today we went for a nice hike here in our own back woods, laughing together that although it's all very familiar to us, we'd be willing to bet it's every bit as beautiful as those exotic destinations.  =)

The fiddleheads on the sword ferns are unfolding everywhere.

We spotted several salamanders on the path.  It's been awhile since we've seen them.

The trilliums are out in their full glory!  Sir Bradley the Botanist reminded me that trilliums have 3 leaves, 3 sepals, and 3 petals.

There is an abundance of moss and fungi.

So it was a great time together enjoying nature, getting a little muddy in the process.  =)  I think we'll head back up the trail again this weekend.

Happy Friday!  Hope you have fun plans as well!

April 4, 2013

Travel Books

I've been bitten by the travel bug in a big way.  I'll gladly go any day, anywhere!

An editor by nature, I have to say that How to Travel the World on $50 a Day, while not the best literary work of art, provides some extremely practical, nuts and bolts info on traveling on a budget. Nomadic Matt begins by chiding the travel industry for keeping up the false image that a luxurious holiday is the only way to go.

And then there's Mr. Steves, who prefers making a visit more personal and less a part of the economy.

Both of these books are worthy of purchase and I would highly recommend them.  If nothing else, they will fuel your dreams!

P.S. Going anywhere?  I make a great sherpa, and my rates are very reasonable.  =)

April 3, 2013

Stuck On the Floor

Health, nutrition, and exercise...I'm all over it.  Interpretation: I love reading about these things, teaching others about these things, and thinking about these things.  Doing it all myself?  Well, it's a constant challenge. If only I had inherited even the smallest, most infinitesimal speck of athletic ability.

Now something new has popped up in the research world...a simple test of musculoskeletal fitness that appears to be "remarkably predictive" of mortality.  This is one study, one center, and one publication, so no one should lose sleep over it.  But it's food for thought.

All you have to do is sit down on the floor without using your hands or knees - just sit down smoothly.  And then stand up without using your hands or knees.  The links are here:

www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121213085202.htm   (Review, plus link to actual study)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCQ2WA2T2oA (Short video showing how to do the test)

Easy peasy.

Of course.

EASY, THAT IS, IF YOU CAN ACTUALLY DO IT, AND I'M NOT ONE OF THEM!!  But I won't give up, no sir.  Anyone care to join me in the venture?  We can do squats and planks in front of the computer together, without the video cam!!!!

April 2, 2013

To India

Consulate General of India.  Love the sound of that!

It's true, as soon as the semester is over my daughter is headed to India to volunteer in a school there.  During May it will be 120° and dusty, with no visible ankles allowed.  Electricity and air conditioning sometimes work. It will be a month of dogged heat, hard work, and an unforgettable adventure!

We worked together to finish up her VISA application over Spring Break, and it took so much longer than expected.  We knew it would be bad after reading on the website, "With patience and persistence, the application form can be completed.  We appreciate your understanding."  Persistence, indeed!  It's amazing that so many people actually figure the system out.

I almost did a dance in front of the FedEx guy when everything was finally shipped off!!  Woohoo!!