Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I'm a Nature Lover

This is a Tree Swallow.
About 6 years ago, my Dad made me a bird house out of old fence wood from my grandpa's farm. Then about 4 years ago we had a pair of these gorgeous Tree Swallows move in, have their babies and move out. They've come back every year since. I love watching them. They spend several days in and out just checking the place out. Then they start going back and forth with dry grass and feathers they find other places. It takes them about two weeks to get all of that done.

I can always tell when they have eggs in the nest because they start switching places in the house. One comes in and the other leaves to go eat. They trade places like this for about two more weeks. The baby birds hatch and the parents spend all day bringing them bugs. Once in a while, I get a chance to peek in and there are 4 babies this year.

This is what we saw going on about 3 days ago.

That little guy kept sticking his little head up. His eyes weren't open yet and his little neck seemed kinda wobbly. Link and I parked our camp chairs in the grass and just watched him. Funny, but he reminds me of the little bird from the book Are You My Mother (one of my absolute favorites). Remember that??

Today, I took a few more pictures. It's so dang hot and the house just sits in the sun all afternoon. I don't know how those little birds don't cook to death in there.

Their eyes are open now and they sit and watch the sky for one of their parents to come back.

With bugs.

And then the mama posed for me a second. Actually, I think she was checking me out, trying to decide if she needed to be worried or not.

I don't think she was.

Isn't she cute?? The dad is a little more shy and doesn't hang around long. But she will go in and feed them and mess around for a little while before she leaves. This whole process seems so quick. One of these days, very early in the morning, these little birds will just fly off and then the house will be empty. We've never seen them leave. Only woken up to find the place deserted. Amazing they can hop out for the first time and just be able to fly.

I Loved It

I loved it. I LOVED it.

I. Loved. It.

I didn't expect to feel the same way after this movie that I did after New Moon.
But I do.
And I have to see it again.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Summer Vacay

Today starts the planning for our only summer vacation. It seems odd to me that we are only going on one family trip this summer. Usually there's at least another. But we've decided to postpone our visit to NJ until October. I guess cause Honey has been gone so much. I might walk out the door when he gets home from India and be gone for a couple of days. Can't do that. Anyway - the main purpose for this post was to share with you the hard work and dedication that comes with our trip to the cabin in WY. Here is some stuff about the last time we were there.

Darn it if I can't find a single picture of the front of the cabin. It's mind-boggling. I've been there a million times.

So I asked my mom. She says the cabin was built in 1943. I believe her dad and her grandpa built it together. We went there a lot when I was a kid. I loved it when all of a sudden in the summer, my mom would say - let's just go to the cabin this weekend. And we'd pack up and leave in the evening and get there just before dark.

The cabin has a lot of niceties, but it's still rustic. For instance, it has carpet and electricity. Running water, a tv, and heat. The rustic comes from; no cable, no internet, no phone. The water runs, but it comes from the creek behind the cabin and you can't drink it. Giardia. The toilet is an outhouse about 20 feet from the cabin. Wait!! Before you make some face over the outhouse, I'll just tell you it is the cleanest, best smelling outhouse EVER. Seriously. In fact, I'm just gonna get a picture of the thing for you this year and I'll be posting that later. ::grin::

We share this cabin between three families. They branch from my mom and her two sisters. Collectively there were 12 grandchildren and we are all grown up and mostly married with children. So my mom keeps the calendar and we have to call her and schedule our time to stay. The rule is that you only get to take up one weekend per visit. We usually leave here on a weekend and come home at the end of the week, but this year, we're leaving on a Monday and coming home on a Monday. am I talking so much? I haven't even told you what I have to do for this trip yet. My mom lives only 45 minutes from the cabin, so it's not too much trouble for her to take care of laundry and get it back to the cabin. However, she doesn't want to do it for everyone who stays there. Can you blame her?? So, we take our own towels and sheets. Aside from a few staples in the cupboards, the kitchen is always kept bare. Nobody wants stinky old yucky stuff in the fridge or ants in the kitchen. So, I have to pack every single food item, including water. Then, I have to plan and pack for myself and the three kids. Honey takes care of any camping supplies we decide to take up, the ATV and his clothes.

Every year I get out a sheet of paper and I write down the days we're going to be there. I plan three meals per day. Then I have to break down every meal into ingredients and build my grocery list from that. For example, if we're going to have Landee's awesomefantasticamazing German Pancakes for breakfast, I would mix up the dry ingredients at home and put them in a ziploc bag, then I have to make sure I have the eggs, milk, butter and syrup. So, like camping. Except that we drive 8 1/2 hours to get there. We generally only get to go once a year. Probably good though because it's SO much work.

Remember that Spongebob Episode where he's supposed to write an essay about what not to do at a stop light? And he spends ALL night coming up with other things to do so he won't have to work on it?? I guess that's what I'm doing right now. I need three more dinner ideas and I'm drawing a total blank. I guess I thought if I did this, they would come it me in the process. Not so lucky. Dang!

P.S. I hope you all are planning on going to the movie Tuesday night. Whoooohoooooo! Eclipse better be good. It just better.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I’m getting old. Yes. I am. I’m still 5 years younger than Honey. (sorry Honey) And still not in my 40’s. I shouldn’t be complaining, I know.

I’ve always had 20/20 vision. Always been kind of happy about that. All of a sudden this year I learn that I need bifocals. Bifocals????? I foolishly went for two different pairs of glasses instead and now I regret it. I should have just swallowed my pride and accepted my fate. Now I have to wait until the insurance swings back around before I can get a new set of frames.
The other thing that tells me I’m old is my shoulder. Although, to be fair to myself, it’s my shoulder that’s old. I broke it when I was twelve. Flew off the front of my bike racing down a hill, landed on my face, slid for who knows how far, rolled over and snapped the ball of my shoulder in half. Also messed up my growth plate, so if you spend a few seconds and really look at me, you’ll see that clearly my left arm is shorter than my right. Plus, the bone healed kind of rotated a little off and…well – it’s lame. I remember my grandfather telling me at the time that it would never be the same. He was very, very right.

It actually seemed like not a big deal until the year I turned 30. All of a sudden, it was like something snapped and I was in pain all the time. I lost about 75% of my mobility. My regular dr sent me to physical therapy.

(I learned some interesting things there, btw. For instance, she thought I was a swimmer because my shoulders are broad, but I’m not. And the reason is because my ligaments are naturally really loose, and my muscles have to make up for that. Thus, bigger muscles in my shoulders to essentially hold my arms together. Groovy, huh?)

Anyway, after several weeks of therapy and getting worse instead of better, I went to an orthopedic surgeon and had an MRI. Apparently, I had several bone spurs, a torn labrum (the thing that professional pitchers tear) and very little cartilage left in my shoulder. The ball of my shoulder is shaped more like an egg, instead of being nice and round. He shaved off the bone spurs, repaired the tear and tried to fix it up as best he could. He gave me 8-10 years before needing a full shoulder (ball and socket) replacement, but said I’d be very lucky to make it to 8. Titanium body parts! Awesome!!! He also told me it would take several years for me to completely heal and recover from that surgery. He was right. I spent approximately 7? weeks in physical therapy, which was just voluntary torture. After that, I did stuff on my own at home and over about 4 years I noticed very slow and gradual improvements. I went from >25% mobility to about 80%. I can finally lift my left arm up above my head and get something off the shelf (as long as it only weighs a few ounces) and I don’t have to use my right arm to help it back down afterwards.

Anyway, everything seemed pretty stable, but a few months ago, I noticed it starting to kind of hurt. Sometimes for a couple of days. Sometimes for a full week. More recently, I’ll be totally fine and reach for something and get a big zing. Today, I folded a towel and tossed it up to hang it over the top of the shower door and ‘wham’. It really stinks. And now, I’m very sore. It hurts to just sit here and type. Dang it!!!

I’ve read about shoulder replacements. We want to wait as long as possible because they’re only good for about 10 years. But if we wait too long, and I lose a bunch of mobility before the surgery, I won’t restore that mobility afterwards. They do a large incision across the front of the shoulder, cut off the bone partway down and drill into it to place in a new top with a ball. I don’t really know how they replace the socket. I’m not very excited to find out. The fun part is that I’ll get to carry some cool thing when I go to airports so they don’t freak out when I set off all of the alarms going through security. The part I dread is the pain. Pain from the surgery. Pain through recovery. More than anything I dread physical therapy. It’s bad you guys. Bad! Plus I have fun memories from the first surgery, like waking up partway through and hearing him working. I even asked him questions about what he was doing. They very quietly shuffled around and knocked me out again. When I got home, I was very sick to my stomach and couldn’t keep anything down. So, I had no pain meds in my system. The block they’d put on my shoulder started wearing off and it felt like a combination of superduperbad pins and needles combined with a really intense burning pain all the way down my arm. I felt like all I could see was red and orange and red. I think I even told Honey several times that it was all red. Pain like a 25 on a scale of 1-10. The pain only made my nausea worse. Eventually, I was able to take something, and after too many hours I finally got it mostly under control.

Gosh, I’m excited. I’m old. My dr told me my shoulder is like 80, even though the rest of my body is in it’s mid-thirties. So, before long, I’ll have a titanium shoulder to match my bifocals and who knows what after that! Maybe cataracts. Maybe arthritis. How did this happen? My brain still thinks I’m like 25.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fun at the Pool

George isn’t the best swimmer. He can dog paddle and stuff, but he still needs a lesson or two. We keep an extra eye on him. Yesterday we decided to try out a different pool. George wanted to go off the diving board, but was too afraid to do it without his noodle. He waited in line, got up there, and the lifeguard told him no. I was close enough to watch, but far enough away that I couldn’t hear anything. I saw George pull out some fast tears and wipe at his eyes. He said something to the lifeguard about not wanting to go without it. Then, like something snapped, he spun around, tossed the noodle off the end of the diving board and ran off the end into the water before anyone could say anything to him. Honey went over to get after George and apologize to the lifeguard.

George then moved to the slide. He’d already been down it about 10 times. Luckily, the pool depth at the bottom was shallow enough for him. However, I looked up to see him stomping away from the slide. He’s crying, wiping his eyes, lifting his swim shirt to wipe his face off. And best of all, he’s muttering to himself. I’m thinking, ‘Oh great. Now what?’

Me: “What’s the problem now?”
George: (still crying) “They won’t let me go off the diving board and they won’t let me go down the slide!”
Me: “They won’t let you go down the slide?? Why??
George: “Because of my shirt.”
Me: “Well then…take your shirt off.”
George: (crying immediately ceases and he looks at me with wide eyes) “Won’t chlorine kill you?”
Me: (trying not to laugh) “George……….it’s all over your arms and your legs. It’s not going to kill you.”
George: “But won’t it burn me?”
Me: “No, George. It won’t.”
George: (bursting into a fresh set of tears) “Link is always lying to me!!!!”
Me: (realizing in it’s pure form, chlorine probably would burn you) “If it were sitting here all by itself and you touched it or something, it probably would hurt your skin. But they take a teeny bit of chlorine and put it in all of this water and it won’t hurt you. Okay?”
George: “Okay.”
Me: “Take off your dang shirt and go down the slide.”

George bravely peeled the shirt off and went down the slide. At the bottom, he stood up, shot both fists into the air in a big ‘y’ and yelled, “Woooohooooooooooo!!!!”

How did I not know that every time we went to the pool, my kid thought the chlorine was going to kill him? He never acted afraid. I guess he thought his swim shirt would save him. The liberation on his face after that slide though, was fantastic.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

"You Owe Me BIG......"

We just came off Memorial Day Weekend. All I can think is that it's lame we still have 4 days of school after that. Lame. Honey was gone to NJ for the weekend. I was basically on vacation. We neglected the dishes, we played lot's of Wii, ate Sonic outside in the sunshine for lunch, played in the street with the neighbors, stayed up way too late. We had a swarm of honey bees move into the backyard. The boys got a rash all over their faces and Link got sick in the middle of the night and stayed home from school yesterday. So you can imagine how thrilled I was this morning, as I'm getting ready to run to the airport to pick up Honey, when the phone rings and it's Link from the school.

"Mom. I forgot my invention."
"I forgot my invention."
"When is it due?"
"What?? ::long pause:: When is the convention?"
"In about 10 minutes. At 8:40."
"What??? Where is it?"
"I think it's under my bed."

This is where I cut away from our lame conversation to tell you that now I'm walking up the stairs holding the phone, to look under Link's bed.

"It's not even put together Link. There are a couple of things here, but I don't see the pulley or anything. Where is that?"
"I don't know."
"What do you want me to do?"
"I don't know. ::very long pause:: I guess I'll have to tell Mr. C that I don't have it."

:: major mom-failed guilt ::

So we hang up and I start digging around in the lego box. After a lot of searching, I finally have his invention put back together, functional and by 9:00 we're headed out the door.

Link's invention is a ramp that runs along the stairs to our back yard with a little cart on it. The cart is attached to a pulley. The point of the cart is so our dogs can go up and down without having to use the stairs because they're old and their little extra long old lady backs can't handle it as well as they used to.

Anyway, I ran his little contraption over to the school and while all the other kids are in the classroom showing off their conventions, Link is sitting in the hall alone, retaking some math test. I gave him his invention and said one thing.

"You owe me Big!"

How does this happen? Where do you draw the line? He had two or three weeks to work on this thing. Is it my fault because I forgot about it and forgot to remind him? Is it his fault because he forgot about it and his mom never reminded him? Is it his Dad's fault because he's the engineer in the family and I was really really really hoping he would entirely take care of it? Sadly, I see Link's interest in getting good grades the way I was when I was his age. I went to school because I had to. I did the work cause they told me to. I didn't care less what the work looked like, or what my grades were. I just did not care. Heaven help me if he's exactly like that. Heaven help his father, because his father was NEVER like that.