there you are, my heart,
stone captured, frozen mid-beat
how to get you out?
stone heart by Angie Quantrell
Join the Haiku Challenge. Write and share a Haiku poem about stones or hearts. Thanks!
3 grands arrived at 7:30. 1 grand forgot her shoes for P.E., so we had to make a quick return trip to apartment to get shoes and socks. But before that…
Grand 4 (surprise mama!) was not ready to leave home yet, due to unexpected need for early departure. But quick she was. Footie jammies, breakfast bar in a baggie, jacket, plastic princess jelly shoes, baby and kitty, and curly golden locks adorned the youngest.
After car seat number 2 was buckled in, the 2 youngest clambered in and were secured in place. The 2 oldest took their places, smushed with backpacks and jackets.
To the apartment. Retrieve socks, shoes, and reheat cup of tea.
To school. After all of this, 15 minutes early! So the Nana bus went on a road trip. Cook Road is very scenic.
To school, still 5 minutes to spare. Nana and the 4 visited then dashed through the drop off line, sending the eldest off to school.
Then the 2 youngest plus Nana made a quick trip at the store to purchase yogurt for grands, yogurt for Nana, nuts for Papa, cans for kitty, and spinach because it has sounded good.
Never mind slippery plastic princess shoes, colorful footie jammies, and two helpers chattering away nonstop. Food on faces? Please ignore. Hair undone? Curly locks is too cute to bother, all those ringlets. Harried adult guiding two littles? You never know what HAS been going on (hence jammies and slippy shoes) before shopping trip.
Despite the crazies, a grand time was had by all, the list was checked off, and the Nana bus made it home with time to spare before loading up to go back to school to pick up the 2 oldest grands and race home to meet number 5 who waited in driveway with auntie. Alas, Nana bus only seats 4 grands.
Early release week=adventures! Nice weather and all afternoon outside playing and using imaginations? Wonderful.
So whenever you visit a store and see an elderly woman (OK, not that elderly yet, but older than a teen) with messy bun, mismatched clothing, jammie-clad kiddos, and a crazed look in her eyes, don’t judge the book by the cover. One never knows the events leading up to a shopping trip.
And the grands? Perfectly adorable and helpful the entire way.
No. I’m not talking about the trail of mangled body parts, a bit of liver, a tiny furless skull, a cluster of feathers. Though walking through a feline hunting graveyard is not for the weak of heart. Quick steps and eagle-eyes are necessities.
I’m also not talking about the catch and release program of yesterdays when we had a kitty door. Catch a rat? Bring it inside and let it go. Find a rat in a trap? Bring in the decapitated corpse and play toss and catch in our bedroom in the middle of the night. Live bird? Shall we see the damage we can cause by releasing it in the living room. Not those downsides, though they are quite entertaining. One particular birthday will always be quite memorable because we all screamed, stood on the couch, and simultaneously hunted a terrified rat. With kitty help.
No, this downside I’m shuddering about today is what happens after a feline hunter is successful. I’m not sure about the total timeline, but a week or three after eating wild mice, mysteriously little bits of straw appear. No big, UNLESS they happen to be beneath the tail of said hunters. Or along back haunches. Then we have a problem.
Let’s all take a moment to scream EWWWW!
Can tapeworms be any more gross? I mean, sure, dead stuff is gross. But for the most part, they are not in my bed, on my couch, on the cat tree, littering blankets. Ick.
Miss Monet, resident exterminator and feline hunter extraordinaire, is a repeat offender. Last summer was our first encounter with ‘straw.’ I think I’ll call tapeworms ‘straw’ from now on. It’s less offensive. Straw sounds nice and cozy, like in chicken coups or horse stalls.
Last summer, I noticed straw on Monet’s backside. We scheduled a vet visit, particularly after some straw was moving. Once confirmed by the vet, Monet was duly treated for a straw infestation. And a nice little vet bill we received from that visit. Cha-ching.
The silver lining of this mouse and cat game, the coup de grace of being a hunter of mice, is the benefit of repeat offenders getting a free pass from visiting the vet. Little did I realize how this law would line the pockets of my wallet with a lower bill for removing a straw infestation.
December. Again with the straw. AGAIN.
We called in and they advised us to come on over and get a dose of straw medicine.
End of January, beginning of February, we saw warm spring-like weather. And mice. Oh, mighty huntress Monet was witnessed gobbling some poor hapless rodent. We thought nothing of it. She had just been treated for straw.
And then. Snowmageddon. Everything was snow and ice locked. No hunting, no fun runs through the pasture, no live prey of any type. Until this week.
I kid you not. This week. We still have piles of snow! But plenty of open range greening up areas RIPE with straw infested rodents. Opening day for Monet included 2 voles, 1 mouse, and 2 birds.
You can guess, can’t you? Today I welcomed Monet into the house and noticed straw on her backside. Noooooooooo…
Yes……. Back to the vet I went for straw medicine. Which, apparently, only lasts 30 days. Is there not something that lasts LONGER than 30 days? This is going to get expensive, this live rodent extermination.
The answer was no.
So, if you need some rodent control, let’s make a bargain. $25 bucks a pop for the good stuff. Maybe needed once a month. Rent-a-cat for one month will cost you. And me.
Back to vacuuming and washing blankets. Which I just did last week before we discovered straw.
And you? Do you have a problem with straw infestations?
And just like that, click. The flip is switched and spring is here.
The snow is mostly gone, where last week we were path-bound to specific routes by mountains of snow and ice. Mud reigns supreme and small streams become floods. Smashed grass gasps in surprise to be free and under the sun. Spring came roaring in with the flip of the switch.
And we sit at night, bundled in our flannels, suddenly realizing we are sweating and why in the world is it so hot? Oh. It’s warm outside. The 40-50’s do not allow flannels and heaters and electric blankets. Those winter settings set our skin to blazing and must be forced down to a dull roar. Winter jammies are tossed aside for cooler, thinner fabrics. Spring thundered in, showering us with unexpected warmth. Our minds are too slow to acclimatize.
The winds blows. Wind? Why is it windy? It was just snowing last week, and gray skies permeated our days. OH. March is here. The true March, with roaring winds and warm days, leaping lambs and shamrocks. The blustery breeze helps clear the snow-winter fog from our bodies.
The cat. She was long confined to one narrow, winter ice-packed lane of travel. That went, well, nowhere except to other narrow, ice-packed lanes. It was better to sleep away the cold, day and night. When explosively, spring is here! The pasture appeared as if by magic. Birds called, frogs croaked, bugs hatched. The cat’s life is renewed. The hunter is re-energized with wide open spaces and plenty of sun-deprived prey.
Record setting opening day of feline hunting season set by one Monet. 2 voles, 1 field mouse, 2 birds. We sat, strolled, walked outside. Oh, there is another one. OH, watch your step, there’s something else. In the plant pot, hiding on the gravel, on the flat grass. Be careful where you step.
RV windows need screens to let in fresh air, keep bugs out. Condensation woes drop to an irritation instead of mildew concern. Overnight heating sources are neglected, one by one.
In the blink of an eye, winter clothes must be swapped for spring, leggings, short sleeves, light jackets, sun-blocking hats. Sun block! Roadways are clear enough for walking, and though the body protests movement, efforts are made. And the realization comes that, well, spring is really here. Sweating, thirsty, hot. Add hat and water to next trip. Remove sweater and coat.
The sun! Seemingly overnight, with the gray clouds of winter gone, the sun seems to be coming up much earlier and going to bed later than our expectations. Let’s not even talk about daylight savings time and the big jump forward.
Change is hard. Even seasonal changes. Gentle is normal, but this year the leap from winter to spring happened overnight. This body reacts in slow motion. Oh, get out my spring/summer clothes, put away my snow/mud boots. Where are my slip-ons? The heavy coat remains hanging on the hook. Even socks change from thick warm to short athletic.
Each day, less snow, more spring-thinking. Spring exploded right in our laps, and I, for one, am racing to catch up.
How about you? Have you made the leap into spring?
poised, hunting, ready;
snow melts, rodents rise, meals live-
planning snack attack
snack attack by Angie Quantrell
The snow has indeed melted, though not all of it. Snacks appear, bursting from earth, leaping into the jaws of death. Cat treats for Monet.
The evidence is all around us.
Happy first day of spring! What signs do you see?
This past (YAY) winter has left this bod in serious cabin fever shape.
It’s true. Being cooped up inside with record snowfalls does nothing for a hiking physique. I did spend quite a bit of time shoveling, but that exercise was offset by hiding inside away from frigid temps.
Take my walk today, for instance. Huffing and puffing, sweating and trudging at a snail’s pace, the summer hiking season seemed far from my grasp. After all, actual hiking is done up and down, over hill and dale.
That’s when I realized my self needed spring cleaning. Some sprucing up, working out, and trimming off the fat.
Spring cleaning is coming to this future outdoors woman.
Walking around the yard, I noticed several casualties of the heavy snow and resulting compact ice. Funny smiling face? Busted. Sage in clay pot? Needs repotting to an undamaged pot. Siberian irises in a similarly disintegrating pot? Same treatment. Gravel strewn every which way due to shoveling of snow.
Spring cleaning extends to the garden and surrounding yard.
It also includes the cat, Monet, who is sporting more of a tummy due to forced lack of exercise, and her favorite pastime-hunting. It’s hard to hunt or pursue any fun activities when snow accumulations are higher than your head! The one time she tried, well, it was hysterical and a very fast trip. Monet is in much need of a tune up.
Spring cleaning has arrived for the cat.
The good news is she caught her ‘second’ first mouse of the season today. We thought spring was on the way in late January and early February. That was when she ate her first mouse of the year. And then Snowmageddon. There was much lying around, racing through the RV, climbing the walls, and sleeping on fuzzy blankets.
Inside the RV, blankets and rugs have been washed. Carpets love their new vacuumed look and floors appear a shade lighter after being mopped. Excess items are disappearing from cluttered sight. Spring cleaning is happening all over the place.
Let’s chat just a bit about the honey. In his jammies. And plastic shoes. Right now. Out smashing down mole hills all over the pasture. This mole has been a busy beaver, leaving a winding lane of black dirt mountains across the field. Soooo, honey does his spring cleaning by paying attention to signs of the season.
Spring cleaning comes to the Yakima Valley.
How about you? Have you enjoyed spring cleaning? What’s your favorite spring cleaning task?
For us, motorcycle adventures take place in two seasons: spring and fall.
Occasionally, like yesterday, the blue skies call us despite snow-laden hills and fields and cool temps. Technically, it is still winter. So we started early this year! Most years we can squeak in a ride in February as long as we are well covered with warm layers and roads are clear.
We are kind of like Baby Bear in The Three Bears. We need the weather to be not too hot, not too cold, but just right. The best time for us to ride is spring – not too cold, not too hot. And fall – not too cold, not too hot. Winter? Snow, ice, frigid temps. Summer? Sun and sweltering heat.
It could be perfectly fine outside for wearing shorts and tank tops. But we prefer to cover up when riding to protect our skin from bugs, sun burn, heat, road rash (if we crashed). Plus the helmet, oh the insulator of heat it is, keeps us nice and sweaty. Unless we are moving down the road and creating our own breeze, it is hot beneath the blazing sun. Stop lights are my least favorite!
In winter, it goes without saying. If four tires play slip and slide over mogul-like roads, imagine two tires. That’s a motorcycle recipe for disaster!
Yesterday we grabbed the perfect opportunity to take a short test run. Glorious blue skies, blinding white hills, brisk air. And quite a few others who succumbed to motorcycle fever! Just enough right to whet our motorcycle thirst for adventure.
Our trip was a short loop out Ahtanum Road, going right on Slavin, and then right on Cottonwood Canyon, which lead us back towards home. Lots of folk out cleaning up and enjoying sun and blue skies.
How do you welcome spring? What are your favorite things to do in spring?
winter’s still present-
won’t melt; snow castles are us!
white lemonade fun
go winter by Angie Quantrell
The winter snow melt in our area is unseasonably late. Parents, drivers, workers, gardeners, spring sports players-even school children-are hoping for blue skies and warm temps to thaw the concrete ice mountains and fields of white covering our valleys.
We LOVE snow. But it is time for green and insects and baby animals and flowers.
Snow lemons? Making white lemonade.
A Vow to Cherish, 25th Anniversary Edition
Written by Deborah Raney
Raney Day Press, 2019
A special thanks goes out to Deborah Raney for gifting me a copy of A Vow to Cherish, 25th Anniversary Edition. I receive her Inspired by Life and Fiction e-newsletter and won a copy by commenting on one of her posts. Thank you, Deb!
Blurb from Amazon:
The battle they face will either ruin them or bring the deepest fulfillment they could ever know.
When his precious wife receives a devastating diagnosis, John Brighton feels his world has fallen apart. As Ellen slips away from him day by day, their love is tested as never before. Desperately needing someone to confide in, John meets Julia Sinclair, a young widow who seems to understand his pain as no one else can. Torn between doing what he knows to be right and what his heart tells him surely can’t be wrong, John soon discovers that the heart cannot be trusted where true love is concerned.
A Vow to Cherish has impacted three generations of readers—first with the book from Bethany House Publishers and then through the World Wide Pictures film inspired by Deborah Raney’s novel. This newest edition of the novel brings home the profound message of the sacredness of marriage and the importance of the commitments we make in marriage.
This novel was originally published in 1996 under the same title.
Why I like this book:
25 is NOT old! I’m more than twice that age, and I think I’m still pretty interesting. Most of the time. Sometimes. Occasionally…
I enjoyed reading A Vow to Cherish. The writing is clean and easy to read. The subject matter was a little harder to digest-facing the loss of a spouse due to health issues. The long, slow health decline is so hard to read about. Part of the reason I had a hard time is my increasing age and the uncertainty of how I’ll continue to age (health wise). But that has nothing to do with the quality of the story and the writing.
As the title suggests, marriage, commitment, vows, promises, and choices play a huge part in this story. Regardless of the emotional events in this tale, life is lived and the characters find a wonderful peaceful resolution. Without giving too much away, marriage vows are a key conflict in A Vow to Cherish. Reminders of the sanctity of marriage vows are skillfully woven throughout this story.
Thank you, Deb, for sharing this beautiful story.
Everyone who is anyone has read about the dangers of sitting long hours. Not that a numb backside, crinkled shoulders, and achy knees will kill you, but sitting and being sedentary just might steal your health and shorten the days you expect to be around to do anything.
As a writer, well, sitting at a computer desk, coffee table, work table, research desk, or any other writerly space is sort of a job requirement.
The challenge is how to stand and write but also be able to access (ergonomically) the keyboard or laptop, mouse, and assorted resources and supplies.
Living in an RV adds additional space challenges. Where would I store a standing desk? How could I use the tiny dining table if a portable standing desk were in place? What about the bump between the slide and the RV floor? Do I need to stand on the hump to work at a standing desk?
After literally spending years contemplating, researching, and giving up the idea of a table top desk, I finally threw up my hands after a particularly long (sitting) writing day. I did a quick Amazon search, found the perfect portable standing desk, checked for size for my 17″ laptop, and ordered it. All within 5 minutes.
I should have done that ages ago!
This wonderful office accessory arrived a few days after placing my order. It took me a few minutes to figure out the legs, but after that, I realized what a treat it will be to use my new standing desk.
My 17″ laptop fits securely on top of the adjustable angle table, held in place by a shelf. My mouse and pad rest to the right of my laptop and are also held in place by a softened shelf. If you are looking for one for yourself, this is definitely for a right-handed person. Look to see if a left-handed version is available. Coloring is pretty nondescript, but I’m not in it for looks. Purpose is my main goal. It is neutral in color and is sturdy enough that I don’t worry for the safety of my laptop. It does wiggle as I type, but not the kind of wiggle that tells me it’s going to crash down. I love being able to angle the top of the tray, and my wrists appreciate the easy angle when working.
Storage is not an issue either. This tray folds flat. The two shelves that hold up the computer and mouse are a bit raised on one side, while the folded legs are raised on the back. But I found a perfect spot to rest my new work buddy.
I now have the option to stand and work or sit and work. Hurray!
What took me so long???
Details of my portable standing desk: [Large Size] Neetto TB101L Adjustable Laptop Bed Table, Portable Standing Desk, Foldable Sofa Breakfast Tray, Notebook Stand Reading Holder for Couch [Personal Computers]