Monday, March 31, 2014

Of broken hammocks and bloody noses

DH found my old Skychair in the garage this past weekend, and set it up in the globe willow out back as a surprise for me.  I hadn't see it since we moved to Texas, so I had forgotten how comfortable it could be.

The Monkeys are not allowed to play in the Skychair.  Being children, they felt this was totally unfair!  So Sunday, they decided to make their own hanging chair, out of a plastic tarp and some cheap paracord knockoff.  I knew this was inherently not a good plan, but in trying to allow my kids some of the freedom to both fail and learn like DH and I enjoyed in our own childhoods, I did not ban the activity.  I did however tell them to remove the pungi stakes and buckets from beneath the contraption!  This proved to be a wise decision.

The kids were fond of laying down, horizontal, inside the suspended tarp.  Then they would have another child spin them around and 'round, winding up the nylon cord.  This was done to the point you couldn't spin it tighter and then you let the spinnee go, and with a couple pushes to make it go faster, they'd unwind!  I remember having fun like this as a kid...but as an adult, I am well familiar with Gravity.  It's not just a good idea, it's the LAW!

So, when the nylon cordage gave up the ghost, our youngest, Monkey3 was inside the tarp spinning merrily around, approximately 3ft off the ground, lying on her belly.  When physics and Murphy took over, of course she fell.  Not content to do a belly flop on the hardpacked Texas soil, no, not her!  She opted instead to do a face plant, landing on her unscarred facial appendage (the nose, not the chin).

Thus erupted the fountain of red hydraulic fluid, otherwise known as blood.  Some howls of A-GON-EEE were heard by DH inside, and another Monkey came in to confirm the injury.  By the time DH got there, the hydraulic fluid was leaking at a high rate of speed, though not the arterial spray one would assume from the howls of A-GON-EEE!  Wisely determining a neck tourniquet was contraindicated, he led her inside to get inspected, and repaired as needed.

The trail of blood led across the back yard, across the new paver patio, through the kitchen, past the play area and living room, down the hallway (yes that is a bloody handprint from Monkey3 on my wall), across my carpet in the bedroom, and finally all over the master bath floor!  Thank goodness for linoleum and laminate flooring.  Apparently it was all quite dramatic....and red.

By the time I got home from my ride, most of the mess had been cleaned up.  Oh there's still splatter here and there to be found and scrubbed I'm sure.  But the important thing is, my Monkey3 is ok.  No busted nose, no chipped or broken teeth, not even any real bruises to show for it all.  She wasn't even crying when I rode up.

DH was happy to sing her the family injury song too.  For those who haven't heard it, here is Rex Wells doin' it proud.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Random 5 Friday 03/28/14

Linking up as usual with A Rural Journal and Nancy for Random 5 Friday!  I am getting an early start on this entry this week, beginning it on a Monday...why, you ask?  Because this week is off to such an ouch-standing start!
1.  DH does not like to go to the dentist.  So of course, the CPAP has been drying things out, orally, and the result was some tooth pain.  A four-figures $ bill and two crowns later, he should have the issues fixed.  I had planned to schedule the Monkeys for their checkups, but I think I will wait a month now....

2.  A gutter along the back of the house got installed last weekend, to protect the paver patio from runoff.  We will also hook up some water storage barrels, to catch the water and store it for landscape watering use, assuming it rains again.  A pity though, as our town does not offer any financial incentives to reduce water usage, unlike our neighboring town which waves cash at its residents for using rain barrels, high efficiency washers and dryers, and smart irrigation systems.

3.   Still dealing with various medical issues this week beyond the dental ones.  Hopefully, everything will sort itself out for the better, and soon! 

4. We have had some rain this week--not a lot, but enough to make the dogs' paws muddy, and make a mess in my kitchen.  Even with using towels to clean paws, it still leaves a mess to sweep and vacuum up.  If I could get grass growing out back it would cut down on the mess a lot.  If...

5.  News reports make it look like they are close to recovering debris that is probably from MH370.  Satellite photos indicate at least 2 large fields of something floating in the water--some 400+ objects of various sizes.  Hopefully they will get some aircraft over it soonest, and then some ships in the area to see what it really is.  For the sake of the families involved, I hope it gives them some answers, and some closure.  Perhaps their final legacy will be a better aircraft tracking/reporting system...

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Spring blush

Today dawned cloudy, chilly and with a good chance of rain.  Not a good day for a ride or much of anything outdoors.
So, here is a pretty shot from a recent ride with the Monkeys on one of the local MUPs.

And now...with more Monkey!  Thanks to DH who forwarded me his pictures of the Monkeys on the MUP.

Monkey2 aka MonkeyBoy


Yours truly, in headache green with the slow-moving vehicle reflector!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A boy and a Dog

The Joy of Old Dogs...
Hard asleep by 9pm last night...though soon after this was taken, Old Dog swapped ends, leaving MonkeyBoy with his nose on the dangerous end of Old Dog!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Random 5 Friday 03/21/14

Linking up with Nancy at A Rural Journal for Random 5 Friday.

This has been a decent week I think.

1.  Spring has arrived it appears here in NTX.  Thursday, the official first day of Spring, was sunny and in the mid seventies for temps, with fairly mild winds.  Hopefully there will be more spring rains to come, as the lake levels are sadly low.

2.  DH has been sleeping better with the CPAP.  he has even been reaching  REM sleep, and has told me that he has been able to remember dreaming.  Even though he is still in the CPAP learning curve/adjustment period, he IS doing better.  I am so relieved!

3.  My replacement new smartdumbphone is not working a lot better than the old one.  Its problem seems to be Android 4.3(Jelly bean) more than anything.  My carrier, has just released the software update to 4.4 (Kitkat) for my phone, but I am leery of jumping aboard too quickly.  Last time I did that, I got stuck with 4.3 and all of its inherent problems.  I think I will wait another week maybe, before trying to update to the newer software.

4.  Friends, I'd appreciate it if you would say a prayer for my friend, Six and his wife Lu( and Angus of course!), over at The Warrior Class.  Their dog Angus, a young black Lab, has to have surgery next week to try to clear up a bone infection that developed around a plate and screws that held his leg together when it broke last year.

5.  Seems I was remiss in posting a couple pics of our storm shelter.  So here you go!  Note they are old pics, as there isn't much grass left on the mound these days...
Charlie, back when he was in his prime...
Looking in, feeding peanut butter to Cody and Charlie.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Shelter Cleaning Day

Since the weather was nice today, and I had already de-stinkified the van with baking soda, it was time to tackle the annual storm shelter cleanout.  After all, it might rain again this year in Texas!

Back in 2006 or so, right after the Westminster tornado here, we installed an in-ground storm shelter.  It's a converted NEW septic tank, concrete and complete with an F-5 rated door, and stairs down into it.  But over a year, it tends to gather dirt, dry grass and a few bugs and spiders.  So it needs cleaned out, preferably before we need to hunker down in it during a storm.

We removed most of the gear and supplies--it does tend to get cluttered with stuff that needed a place to live--and then swept it out.  The shop vac did cobweb duty on the storage containers, and we hooked the batteries up to the Battery Minder make sure they were charged.  They run the LED lights, 12v fans and the communications we have installed there.  It's darned handy to be able to listen to the Skywarn Net during a callout.

We also cycled some of the stuff out of storage, in order to use it up, and later replace it with fresh, like Coleman Fuel.  We learned a hard lesson one year, when a can of pasta sauce, and a can of pineapple juice decided to explode together, and run across the cement floor of the shelter...what a nasty, stinky, moldy mess that was to clean up!  Bleach is my friend...  We don't keep canned acidic foods in there any more, and what foodstuffs are there, are all dry goods.  Plus it is all stored in plastic tubs now.

It's not likely we will need the shelter this year, but boy howdy, when we have needed it in the past, I was SO glad we had it! 

Readers, do you have a safe room or basement, or some sort of storm shelter?  Is it ready for the 2014 storm season?  And to all you good folks on the Hurricane Coasts, are you ready for the upcoming hurricane season?

Here's a quick list of things you might want to have ready.
  • Fresh batteries
  • Flashlights and headlamps
  • Toilet paper
  • Snack foods
  • Battery free entertainment for yourself or kids (card decks, dice, books etc)
  • Water
  • Tent (in case your house is no longer viable)
  • Camp stove and fuel (you can make due with Sterno but you can't boil water with Sterno, it doesn't get hot enough.)
  • A cook pot, bowls, utensils
  • A contact list of friends/families to call
  • Phone charger and a way to power it
  • Lantern or area lighting of some type (I like the 12v LED strip lights we got off Deal Extreme)
  • Work boots/leather gloves for protection from debris
  • Assorted hand tools/nails for debris removal or temporary structural repairs
  • Tarps
That's just a partial list off the top of my head as I sit here.  You may or may not want to have something to protect yourself from looters and other like-minded opportunists in the event of a disaster.  I'm not going to suggest any particular items, as I think that is an individual choice, and I suspect most of you have already made your decision one way or the other regarding defense of self and property.

You'll notice most of the items are essentially camping gear.  It's a handy way of having supplies do dual duty--the fun of camping, and the necessity of life after the event.

Don't get caught flat footed and unprepared my friends!  Being prepared for life's little curve balls isn't hard, and needn't be expensive either.  The veneer of civilization is thinner than it used to be.  Don't think the .gov will be there to save you--they're at least 3 days away, if not longer.  Self reliance....this country needs to encourage greater self reliance. 

Just think how much better you'll feel, knowing you and your family are squared away in the event of a disaster.  I know I sleep easier knowing we are squared away.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Luck O' the Irish, and all that...

So today is St. Patrick's Day...and I can't seem to make the font show up in the Orange I was seeking.  Blast!  I can't have fun if I can't do the Orange thing on March 17th.

Oh, I'm Irish, and all that.  Belfast, Harland & Wolff, Ulster and Antrim, runs deep in the blood, and the blood has been poured out like water in that place.

My father's father was an Irishman, an Ulsterman, proud Protestant was he...(yes I DO know all the words to that song and understand it--I grew up on the Irish Rovers, luv.)  But my father's family moved across the sea to Liverpool when my dad was a very young lad, thus escaping the Troubles of the time.

I grew up knowing more about Northern Ireland than most kids my age in the Midwest.  Having a mildly contentious streak, I took to wearing orange on St Patrick's Day, during High School, just to see who could figure it out.  Sadly, I only recall two teachers understanding--Art Sloan, and Mrs Bogart.

I am glad that the Troubles are mostly done with over there.  I never got the chance to visit Belfast, though I wish I had, when we vacationed in the UK in the late 70's and early '80's.  The closest I have come is Google Earth and Street View...  I feel the pull of those roots, made stronger by the release of census data from Northern Ireland for the early 20th century.  I can use these things of technology, to "fly" there and look at their houses, little changed but for new paint over the decades.

With the storm that passed through here Saturday eve, we got a rare treat.  In honor of all the Irishmen out there, be ye Orange or Green, here is a double dose of good luck to ye!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Eisenhower and camping

A friend of ours from church organized a camping trip for what was supposed to be 3 families to Eisenhower State Park.  Alas, one family had to bail, when 3 of 4 kids came down sick, and one parent got swamped in work at the last minute.  Then DH (yes Darth of the breathing mask fame), was so exhausted, that he knew it would be better for him to stay home also, and that way he could get his new CPAP and some quiet rest while I wrangled monkeys at Texoma Lake Creek.

So off we went Thursday, after I ran out to the dog ranch to drop off a new power washer for the kennel.  On the way to the dog ranch, I ran across this flying low overhead.  They were so low, I almost got to see them land on a nursing home.  Oops!  Luckily they regained altitude and found somewhere else to set down.

Up at Eisenhower, the camping area was fairly crowded, though the spaces are far enough apart to not be too noisy or smoky.  Being the end of Spring Break here, it was expected to be crowded.

I had never been to Eisenhower Park.   It is nice, and being up on Texoma, tends to have a breeze, lots of trees, and occasionally water in the lake...  There are also some lovely hills and cliffs, rocks and shallow caves to explore.  Three are a number of hiking trails to use too, and we ended up trekking down and back on the Nature Trail on our last morning there.

Our camp was set up quickly, with 3 tents, which was easier to manage alone than the huge family tent we often use.  Our friends, used a large family style tent.  We did the cooking in our area, and ate over in theirs.

With 6 kids and 3 adults, it made for a pleasant time.   The kids all are close in age, except the youngest, who at 3y.o. was not quite as able to keep up with the bigger kids, though it didn't stop her from trying!  The bigger kids all played well together, with lots of made up games, Capture the Flag, digging in the dirt, jumping out of swings, etc.  All the fun of childhood, and with as little supervision as we adults were willing to allow.

Lots of kids strung out along the shore

The rusty post is part of the fishing pier.
We tried fishing, but with the water so low, the fishing pier was well away from the water.   Also the Ranger said the crappie weren't running yet, so after a brief time, the kids all gave up fishing and began hunting the shoreline for fossils.

You can see how low the lake is...

The main fossils found at Eisenhower are ammonites and other aquatic shelled creatures.  The ammonites are everywhere!  We really liked finding them.
Fossil ammonite.
Later we went to the swim beach area, to see if we could get to the shallow caves there. 
This really is the swimming cove.
Swim beach?  Doesn't that usually require water?  Sad....that's how low the water levels are here in North Texas.  But on the plus side of the low water levels, we had no trouble walking across the dry sand to get to the caves.  They are of a soft stone, sandstone I think, with a limestone cap rock.  They have been carved on by visitors for years.

If you look closely, you can see the periodic water line in the caves.  That line is about 20-30' above the sandy cove bottom shown above.  Still, the area is interesting, and the rocks are fun to climb on, especially if you are a kid!  There was one rock that really caught my eye, as it has been eroded into an odd shape.

Our last day out at the park was Saturday.  I was ready to get home, and the weather was getting ready to turn stormy.  We did a mile-plus hike along the park's nature trail.  Unfortunately the trailhead was out of the interpretive maps, so we just hiked, and didn't get to know any of the history of the area. 

There was one strange rock along the trail.  Someone had upturned it, showing a strange branched formation on the rock.  I think it is a fossil coral, but am not certain.  Readers, do any of you have a clue on this rock?
Can you identify this rock?
So in all, we had a great time, and made it home just before the storms hit.  We got over an inch of rain Saturday evening!  It was if only it would rain like that once a week, for the whole summer, Texoma might fill up.

For a look at the fishing pier and what the level of the lake should be, click here.  The pier is the same one we fished under, and you can match up the large stone blocks across the inlet in the picture with mine above.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Luke....I am your father!

The Force is strong in this one...

Somebody had part two of his sleep study last night.  Of the three mask options presented by the clinic, the full face mask was the most comfortable apparently.  This surprised me a little, but DH said it was easier to exhale into the mask than to try to remember to keep your mouth closed all the time, with the other nasal-only styles.
I love you, Darth.
You can't really see it in the picture above, but there are a bunch of wires, and the hose there, all readily available to get tangled up in.  We were not optimistic of a good night's sleep, but you never know.
When I went in this morning, at 05:30 to collect him from the clinic, I was expecting to find a miserable DH, like last time.  Instead as I knocked on his room door, I thought I heard the sound of a heavenly choir!  Yes! Somebody slept well last night!  Thank you Lord!

I guess we will get the final results tomorrow probably, and pick up the prescription for the CPAP and gear.  CPAP, it's what keeps the air going in and out, so the blood keeps going 'round and 'round.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Unseen faces

15 years ago I married this face, and the man attached to it....but I have never seen it all before today.  DH has had this moustache for 19 years--longer than I have known him.   The beard is only slightly younger.  It is the only face of my husband I have ever seen, until today.
With his diagnosis of apnea and his concerns over being fitted properly for a mask, my better half decided it was time for a change.  Something had to go...
It was sort of like Extreme Makeover--husband style!  After all, it was only a year or two ago when he shaved his hair off (it was departing on its own at a high rate of speed anyway).  It didn't take long for me to get used to it, though Cody-dog was spooked the first time he saw DH without hair.
Keep going, love...that mask still won't fit well over that 'stache!  Meanwhile, I am trying to get used to the 'naked face' look.
Hmm...I wonder if he can trim that back into Marine Corps standard?  I can see he's trying! 
Nah!  Shave it all off!  Oops, watch out there on the upper lip!  There's no guard on those clippers.  I'd hate to have to break out the Celox!
Somebody has to check out how it feels to be fur-free.  He says his face is cold now!

These pics were all shot before he got showered and shaved this morning.  So, he did in fact shave properly before church today, and I have to say, he cleaned up good! 

This is a face I haven't seen until today, apart from one old picture of him when he met Greg Lemond.  Back then he was clean shaven and had a full head of hair.  This is different. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Random 5 Friday 03/07/14

As usual, I am linking up with Nancy at A Rural Journal for Random 5 Friday, where you share 5 random thoughts or observations about yourself, the world, your kids or pets, whatever.

1.  DH  had part one of his sleep study last weekend.  He hated it, being wired up again.  We made a mistake of not requesting a bed that had the equipment on the left side, (his side of the bed).  This meant he was also sleeping on a possibly cracked rib...  Does this look like a happy face?

2.  The recent cold weather trashed my daffodils.  We only got to enjoy them for a day before they froze.  I am hoping the remainder will bloom, since they were not blooming when the hard freeze hit.

3.  Welcome to the new Cold War!  The Bear is back, and I betcha the KGB is ecstatic.  And we're stuck with a neo-Carter in the WH, and the Ketchup King as the Sec. of State... I think we are doomed.

4. Has anyone seen a good film lately?  I could be persuaded to see if one was on Uverse, or out on DVD yet, but it seems every time I go into the DVD rental shop, I've either seen it, or don't want to see it.  Let me know your suggestions in the comments, and I will try to let folks know what I have seen already.

5.  It seems to be a bad time if you're an alligator or a crocodile!  As witnessed by these two stories in the news this week...
Snake VS Crocodile 
and Otter VS Alligator

Honestly I was surprised at the outcome of both battles.  Kind of puts a twist on what most folk would think as the top predator in those environments...

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Hmm...mildly better news.

From my doc that is.  He still says I do not need meds for cholesterol or blood pressure.  His orders were to get back on the bike and ride!  Oh, and keep trying to eat better.  So YAY!

I did tell him I had added resistance training with the Bowflex this past week.  He agreed it was a good plan in tandem with the cycling.

Now, if only it would warm up so I don't have to go out dressed in the cyclists version of Nanook of the North!

Yeah I know to you Northerners, it doesn't look that cold.  But I have to ride in the evenings/night, so the high's aren't so high when I get on the bike.  If I could ride in the light of day, it wouldn't be so bad.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Monday Musings 03/03/14 Daffy dill!

It's bloomin' weather!

Or rather, it WAS bloomin' weather...the ice came in the form of sleet and hail  yesterday.  Poor Shiloh had just gone outside when the hail hit.  We let her in right away, but she was not too pleased at being pelted by small,marble-sized chunks of ice! 

This morning's weather, while essentially clear skies, was a wee bit chilly for the 3rd of March.
I want my 60's back!  No, not the decade, the temperature!

Over the weekend, we added a Bowflex resistance machine to the mix of exercise equipment in the household.  It was a used machine, which made it imminently affordable, and is one of their former high end units.  It will allow all of us, kids included, to get some resistance workouts in a safer-than-freeweights format.  Weight work is something DH and I agree we both need, and all the kids will benefit from some strength training too.

What is going on in the Ukraine right now is getting a bit scary.  First the civilian population successfully ousts the pro-Russian government.  Then "mysterious" armed force descends into the Crimea and occupies key areas like airports and sea ports.  These men are in unmarked black uniforms.  Then non-Ukrainian troops in Russian marked transports show up at various Ukrainian military posts.  The new government in Ukraine, begs for Europe and the US to honor its treaty committments...and we sit around and fiddle, while the Ukraine burns.  It's hard to believe that in some 30 years we have gone from the Big Dog on the block, able to put the Bear in his place, to a yapping little punt-dog...


Saturday, March 1, 2014

It wasn't supposed to hurt...

It was supposed to be a fun ride on the MUP with the Monkeys on bikes.  DH would ride to the dog park on the trike, and meet us there while I ferried the Monkeys and 4 bikes in the van.  The when we were done on the MUP, DH and I would switch, with me riding the trike home, and he would drive the van with kids and bikes.

The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men
Gang aft agley,
An'lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy! 
--Robert Burns

Ever seen those motor-vehicle denial posts they put on wide sidewalks?  They tend to put them at both ends of a bridge on the Multi User Paths around here.  The Monkeys are still working on bike handling skills.  I suspect most of you can imagine what happened next.  About 4mi into a pleasant and uneventful ride with the kids, our youngest, Monkey3, in a moment of distraction or inattention, ran into the immovable object at speed.

I heard the crash, I heard the screams behind me.  I feared the worst from the sounds I had heard.  I stopped, and hopped off my bike to rush back to the scene of the accident, and promptly nearly fell over.  Hamstring decided it was time to be pulled, hard.  Ouch.  I hobbled on over to her to help assess damages.

In the end, Monkey3 proved resilient, and while sore, and sporting some scrapes and bruises, is moving around just fine.  I on the other hand, can't seem to walk properly now.  Leg just doesn't want to move like I want it to.  I pulled something in there, right badly!

And thus our pleasant morning on the MUP, which I had hoped would garner the kids some 8-16 miles of flat riding, barely managed 4 miles and quite a bit of pain for two of us.  I think I am going to bed with an ice pack, a heating pad, and some ibuprofen!  Oh, and to add insult to injury, the weather guessers are calling for another ice storm here