Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Another year older

Today is the big day, I'm officially 61 years young now.

I'm still catching up with my weekend trip with the garden girls, I don't know where they get their energy!

This was one of the gardens we toured and I just had to add poster edges to it.

It looks like a good place for an old woman to go and sit a spell, doesn't it?

Then I just had to try it again with adding some textures and a different frame for it.

It is so addictive to play with the Photoshop Elements and I could do this all day long.

But that would interfere with my Facebook games and we can't have that!

I realize it's hard for people to recognize the number of years I've packed into my life, but really...you'd think my friends wouldn't be so astounded.

But as you can see from this photo they were stunned to find out how old I was.

Yesterday my daughter and her posse came over to help me celebrate and I had the honor of sharing my birthday with a lovely little girl who was turning 6.

Stephanie and her friend, Wendy came bearing food and drink for all of us to enjoy.  The chicken salad was unbelievably good....thank you Wendy!  They also had a yummy cake for us to share to end the meal after we all did some swimming at the lake.

The koolaid explosion was another story.  Let's just say Steph learned that adding a flavoring to a two liter bottle of carbonated soda was NOT a good move.  You know she was the one that did it as she was caught "red handed"!

Today was a quieter day.  I did laundry and then Left Brain and I headed to a farmers market for fresh veggies and Cub for groceries.  We had a great supper of kohlarabi, cucumbers, and tomatoes.  Later tonight I will attempt another batch of popcorn in my new popper and cut some of the zucchini cake we picked up at the farmers market.  Boy can these old people party or what!

Long Live the Queen....many more years please

Monday, July 30, 2012

Catching up before the big day

Sixty is the decade of wisdom...because I say so.
Today is my last day for being sixty years old.  I've been gone over the weekend with lady friends touring gardens, shopping and enjoying fine dining so have not been at the keyboard for a while.  There is so much to catch up on!

On Friday I had my follow up visit with Dr Casey (not Ben) to see how the CPAP machine is doing for me.  He went over the results of my sleep study again as a refresher and I saw the number 75.5 listed for the number of times I stopped breathing.  When I commented on that being a lot of times during the night to stop breathing he looked gently into my eyes and again repeated that I have severe sleep apnea.  That was the average number of times AN HOUR.  Even with my limited math skills I understood that more than once a minute it was as if someone had choked me by the throat to the point of not breathing.  Left Brain swears it wasn't him, so the doctor must be right.

He then explained how the fight or flight reflex kicks in at that moment (and each one thereafter) to regain consciousness in order to breathe.  It's no wonder that with this going on, added with the last couple of years dealing with my mother's death and then our decision to radically change our lifestyle to a mobile one, I may have been just a little out of it.  I attributed my walking dead routine to  being stressed out and depressed.  The Prozac has helped immeasurably but finally getting restorative sleep....amazing.

Inside the CPAP machine is a little disk that records all the activity and I could see very plainly the interrupted usage in the beginning when I had the full face mask that often got tossed off in frustration.  Once I got the pillow (nose only) mask it showed consistent usage of 8 hours or more each night.

The other thing I've noticed is the absence of pain in my hands, arms, shoulders, back and neck.  This is probably partly due to no longer gardening or dollmaking, but I'm sure has a lot to do with the lack of oxygen from not breathing.  It's no wonder I've gotten to where I dread nighttime.

The dreams have returned in full force again and I wish I could recall them better.  I plan to keep a tablet and pen by the bedside to make notes as I could certainly write short stories (at the least) if I could recall them.  They are vivid with full technicolor and sound, it's like watching a movie.  This has been refreshing, I've missed my dreams.

After the appointment I went to Pickermans for my favorite loaded baked potato soup while I read and relaxed totally alone....one of my favorite things in the whole world.  Then I hooked up with the Divine Miss M and we went to Barnes and Noble where I got the Cooking for Two magazine  put out annually by America's Test Kitchen and the Spring issue of Writing Basics put out by Writer's Digest.

When we returned home we sat out on her deck surrounded by tropical flowers and overlooking the masterpiece of her gardening skills and chatted some more.  It was so good to be able to speak "womanspeak" to my friend again.  Left Brain is a good listener, but there is just no substitute for the company of woman friends.

For supper she and Bob took me to Red Sails to sample their favorite pizza - the Hawaiian Punch.  This pizza has Canadian bacon, pepperoni, pineapple and jalapenos.  You know with the Divine Miss M there's always going to be jalapenos.  It sounds awful but is the best thing I've ever had.  Now I must try to recreate it because I don't know where else I'd ever find it again.

Having a belly full of food and the satisfaction of laughter and conversation I went to bed to read for a bit before going to sleep.  On the dresser sat the tiny alarm she set for me.  This sounds like an act of consideration but if you could have seen the evil smile and the way she said "this will scare the hell out of you when it goes off" you'd understand my desire to wake before it did.  And I was successful.  I'd heard the demo of it in the kitchen before it came to sleep with me and had no desire to be in the same room when it went off again.

There's something about her guest room that is just amazing.  I don't know if it's the comfort of the bed, the soft snuggly comforter, the quality of the sheets or what; but I always sleep like a baby there.  Maybe it's just the exhaustion of talking and laughing for hours before hand.  Whatever it is, I like it.

So I enjoyed my peaceful evening and good night's sleep before jumping into the weekend with Le Jardiste the next day and our trip to the Tangletown Garden Tour.

This is where I will end my blog for now as I have not downloaded the photos from the tour to do that justice.  That and I need to clean up the place before the kids come with their mother and her friend and her two kids for the picnic lunch at the campground.

Long Live (and sleep deeply) The Queen

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Minnehaha Falls

It was a hot and sticky day yesterday, so I decided we should go hike and bike at Minnehaha Falls.  So we packed up the young uns and headed out for a full filled day of adventure and possible heat stroke.

There are many places tucked inside of the city and I believe Minneapolis has more "green spaces" than any other big city I've visited.  It's always a shocking contrast to have towering concrete buildings and then lush green parks with water features.

this is before we started...notice the smiling faces in the beginning
They rent bikes here and I've always wanted to try out one of those "surry styles" that accommodate four people.  It looked like such a leisurely way to cruise through the park....it is NOT!  At least not in the rig we were using.  My right foot pedal was bent down and in so I could barely use it.  I had to switch places with the eleven year old because, sigh...her legs are longer. 

this is more what if felt like to me!
Then later on after going through areas I'm not sure we were even supposed to be on, the right foot pedal in the back fell off...twice.  I spent much of the ride walking behind the bike and pushing, especially going uphill.  This was much more work than I had bargained for!
I also demanded a refund for the crappy bike we were stuck with, so it was a free ride at least.

After the bike ride from Hell the kids and I walked down the steps to view the waterfall from below.  I knew there were a lot of steps and really didn't need to know there were 98 of them...thanks Emily. 

There were a lot of kids ignoring the Danger Keep Out signs and walking down by the falls.  I probably have the Meanest Bubbe Award now for not allowing this.  I did let them get into the water where there were no signs,however.  I am not completely without a heart....not to mention I wanted to dip my feet into the cool water also.

After we climbed back up the 98 steps (much harder than going down) I wandered over to a lovely butterfly garden to admire the setting created with ornamental grasses and kale.  The girls sat down by this old man we found in the park.

It would have been a restful setting if one didn't need to be on the watch for small creatures stirring in the grass trying to sneak up and scare you. 

They just love to spring out suddenly and get our hearts revved up.

There were more trails to walk and possibly more to see, but we had hit the highlights and it was time to honor their request of "can we go home and relax and watch some TV?"  It was hot. 

We were tired.  We didn't argue, that plan sounded good to us also.

But we managed to create some new memories and possibly burned off a few calories.

Long Live the Queen of Bikes

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Speak from the heart

My newest poster created just for this blog
In our endeavor to simplify our lives we have freed ourselves of many material possessions.  But in addition to that we have also let go of old behaviours that were confining to our soul.

We're Midwesterners, taught to be polite and not make too many waves.  We were both raised to always consider what the other person wants....sometimes to a fault.

As we are learning new ways of living, I decided it was time to shake up the mental part of our lives also, kind of a mental reorganization.  Too many times in our lives we have allowed ourselves to be manipulated into things not of our choosing and then harboring quiet resentment.

I realize consideration of others is important and necessary to live in a civilized fashion, but a good deal of it is just bogus.  Here are some examples of our new attempts to live our life this way.

Our daughter and her family had planned to attend an air show in Sioux Falls last weekend and invited us to go with them.  I bowed out right away as someone needed to stay home and give medications to our aging feline and Left Brain has a strong interest in airplanes and would enjoy it more. Such a noble sacrifice!  As the weekend approached he told me he really didn't want to go with them.  It was just too much, too many people and we don't do well with this kind of chaos.  But he was hesitant to tell her because he didn't want to hurt her feelings.  How many times has THAT got you into a sticky wicket?

Being the good wife I am, I pushed him to discuss this with her.  She expressed disappointment that he wasn't going to be with them and he vacillated and said he would go.  However, as the time neared I could tell he was not looking forward to this.  So, again I urged him to just tell her how he really felt and that she'd appreciate his honesty.  So, once more he broached the subject and although she was disappointed she understood.

When the weekend arrived he had planned to go over to their house and work on the garden shed since nobody would be home and he could accomplish a great deal of work.  He decided to check his email before leaving and good thing!  He found out that they had decided it was just "too much" also and they were staying home to have a quiet, restful weekend.  We had served as inspiration to them to make a different choice. Had he agreed to begrudgingly go with them would they have pressed on and embarked on this trip with no one being thrilled about it?

Another example of this involves our staying with some friends on the next leg of our journey.  We had an offer from my cousin to use her cabin two miles away where we would have plenty of room to park the RV and a bit more privacy.  Left Brain was worried that if we didn't stay right with them they would be upset with us.  This had been an ongoing discussion for a long time and I finally decided to just email the wife and ask her "woman to woman" what the verdict would be.  The reply was "absolutely no problem!" and I got the sense she was just as relieved as I was to know that we wouldn't be on top of one another.  Now I'm looking forward to our next stop knowing I'll have some solitude that we both need so much to cope and we will have the ability to invite them over to "our place".

My last opportunity to use this new skill was when my daughter emailed me that the kids school could use someone with a green thumb to plant some shrubs and some help putting together desks.  I had to let this ruminate in my brain for a while before writing a reply.  I'm sure she was thinking I would enjoy this as I had done so much gardening in the past.  But I've realized that my body is okay with rest and I don't need to take painkillers to get through the night.  When I stopped the heavy duty gardening and dollmaking my hands stopped hurting, my neck and back are not tight...who'd a thunk!?

So I told her "thanks but no thank you" and that I really am enjoying doing absolutely nothing but my little daily activities of cooking and cleaning at this time.  I'm sure (mostly sure) that I'll get bored with just this at some point, but for now it feels really good.

Likewise I'm sure Left Brain is mystified as to why I don't want to help him haul bricks, cut lumber and assist with building the garden shed for the kids.  What he has failed to consider is that I've hauled tons of bricks, soil and mulch in forming garden beds, putting up fences, building steps into the yard, adding raised gardens to the vegetable bed and the like.  Most of this I've done alone while he was off driving and it was fun and interesting figuring out how to make it happen and how to do it by myself with no physical assistance. But as they say...been there done that.  I'm tired and just not interested.

So while I try not to be abrupt or rude with anyone, I am making an attempt at speaking my mind and choosing only that which fulfills me in some way or helps me be the person I endeavor to be.  I've spent too many years putting others ahead of me and doing their bidding instead of charting my own course.  I figure at sixty years of age I'd better decide who I want to be when I grow up.

Long Live the Queen of Hearts

Monday, July 23, 2012

Oh the Shame of it all!

Its name is “The Flamingo” but there’s nothing to indicate that species has ever lived here.  There’s been no attempt to beautiful the surroundings or clean up the parking lot.  An aura of desperation and fatigue hangs in the air and I approach the door with loathing.

I don’t want to be here, but yet I find myself here again and again against my will. I simply am not able to stay away for very long.

As I enter the door the honkytonk music washes over me. I weave my way over to a row of machines that are unclaimed.   Why do I need to do this over and over and over?  Will this need ever end?

Slowly everyone’s heads turn my direction and the furtive glances begin; with heads lowered, sizing me up as they protect their stations.  Nobody greets me or speaks.  They don’t want to be here either.  It is true…misery loves company.

The coins hang heavy in my pocket, but I dare not set down a purse in this kind of place, so I keep my money close to me.  To play these games you need a steady stream of quarters…..but there are no winners.  We’ll all return again sooner or later.

Sweat oozes down my back, plastering my shirt to my body.   I wish I had thought to put my hair up; it’s sticking to my face and neck in sweaty discomfort. The others lose interest in me as I start the process and they return to their own machines. 

There’s no relief in this cramped, steamy cinder box building.  Everyone’s face looks as blank as mine as I numbly go through the motions, plugging quarters into the machines like zombies, and waiting for the pay off.

I just want to get it over with and get out of here.  I’m only here for a brief time and at best will have a cold drink and if lucky, a quick tumble.

A sign forbids the washing of any horse blankets…..I’m hoping cat bedding is okay.

It’s laundry day at the Flamingo Car Wash and Laundry

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Full range of emotions

One of my Einstein quotes using my dragonfly photo
Like everyone, I have an extensive bucket list.  I thought with our new lifestyle that I'd be able to just check things off one after the other, but that doesn't seem to be the case. 

 One of the top items for a year or so has been to try kayaking. 

 So I was thrilled when the meet up group here in the cities set up a beginners kayak outing and was the first to sign up!

This had been on my mind ever since and I couldn't wait.  I had everything set out for the morning, along with the directions on how to get there.  Then I settled in for a good night's sleep to be rested and ready for my day of adventure.  The rumbling of thunder didn't even bother me.  I figured there was plenty of time for the storm to pass before morning.
However, in the morning it was still raining.  What do I do?  The meet up location is about an hour to the east...it might be better weather there.  It was just so dark and gloomy I couldn't bear it.  The idea of driving for an hour to arrive and find it cancelled was unbearable.  I tried checking the Internet but the connection was so slow and crappy it was barely functional.  I decided to just skip it and give up the money I'd paid for the trip, figuring it would be cancelled.

one of my favorite photos of a little boy ready to cry
This seemed rational to my mind but apparently my heart didn't agree and soon I was in full fledged tears.  I found this shocking as I am not a "cryer" by any means and with the medication I'm on I wasn't sure I was capable of tears.

It appears I was more than capable....I was in full mode, like a five year old whose ice cream just fell off the cone onto the sidewalk. 

Especially about 10:00 when the weather cleared and it was a lovely cool morning.  They would be gathering at 10:30.  There was no possible way to get there.  I'd made the wrong choice.

Poor Left Brain was bewildered.  I've faced far worse tragedies than this and now he's watching this sixty year old strong woman with a quivering lip whimpering.  So what was going on here?
It took a while to process it and I think I finally understand.  In my mind I was ready to have this brand new life and become this strong, fit outdoorsy woman and it just wasn't happening.  But I forget that it takes time to recover from the transition of everything we've done and I'm still adapting to the new life and finding my way.  There's nothing magic.  I can't just snap my fingers and become this person I envision, it's going to take some real work. 

another one that I applied filters and textures to
Apparently just changing location and lifestyle isn't enough.  It's going to be a daily chore of changing habits and remolding myself into this new lifestyle.  Damn.  It's just like when I joined the health club and found out automatic withdrawal of my money didn't do a thing for me...I had to show up and sweat.

So, I'm using this weekend to reflect and plan and just be gentle with myself.  It's a long process, not a bootcamp. Part of me just wants to leave the area and "get on with it" and get started.  But that's the impatient part of me.  I need to relax and savor the journey and let the transitionary part of letting go happen before I can move onward.  Everything will happen in its own due time.

Left Brain is off to work on putting up the garden shed for the kids and has been trying to inspire me with how much fun it might be, but I decided to stay here and write for a while and sort out my thoughts.  Let's see, the internet is up....where can I find kayaking lessons?

Long Live the Queen

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Po Story

Po is a Teletubby.  I've never understood what that really was.  He has a strange growth coming out of his head.  Is he an alien?  They only talk in gibberish, or so it appears to me.  But, it could just be a language I've never heard.  I've been accused of talking in gibberish myself, so I guess I shouldn't be so quick to speak ill of their language.

Don't ask me what they are or why they were so popular on TV, I've never understood the fascination  There was a time not so long ago that Kiersten and Po were inseparable.

Po came with on all her visits to us and slept with her.  She'd forgotten him one time and we had to ship him to her poste-haste!

And then Po disappeared.  His departure is shrouded in mystery.  Was he lost?  Was he sold?  Was he given away?  Only one fact remained...he was GONE.

Kiersten got over it and soon Po was just a fond memory, until recently he resurfaced at a friends house.  The stories of how he got there were varied.

Some believe he was sold at a rummage sale by the mother who believed she was done with him.  There were rumors of the sister giving him away to another little girl.  There were wild speculations about being sold into white slavery.  The truth may never be known.

After finding him, Kiersten was required to pay the $2.50 rummage sale fee to buy him back.  A small price to save an old friend.

So Po is back in our lives again and we're trying to convince her that he really needs to be our mascot for trips we make and it would be a great learning experience for Po to travel, but our words fall on deaf ears.

However, I did get some photos of him when we first regained his return from captivity, so he may still be our mascot in a Photoshopping sense.

So, that's the story of Po and his Re-PO-ssession.

Long Live the Queen of Teletubbies

Friday, July 20, 2012

Too Hot for Butterflies

no filter used....I liked to see things from his perspective
There is a wonderful online group called Meet Up that is nationwide.  By going online and entering your zipcode you can "meet up" with people who share similar interests.

this butterly is about the size of a dime
My first adventure was last Sunday when a group was meeting at the Springbook Nature Center in Coon Rapids MN. 

The naturalist met with us and after a short power point demo of what to watch for we headed out into the hot sweltering heat to pursue butterflies.

The group was very informal and friendly and we chased after anything that had wings or held our interest. 

this has a watercolor filter added to it
It was a gorgeous nature center and I'm looking forward to returning again on a cooler day to explore more of the trails.

no filter used but it still has a dreamy quality to it
It seems dragonflies are what appeal to me lately, or at least they presented themselves in large numbers to be photographed. 

I managed to get a variety of shots and have had fun manipulating them with various filters to create a painted look.

Many of the shots have such a dreamlike quality to them.  Using a large apperature gives a nice blur to the background and since things were moving I kept the apperature quite open for more shutter speed.

Our next event is a Japanese drumming concert in one of the parks nearby.   I really hope the weather is better by that time.  We'll meet early to get fairly close to the action so I think I'll be okay with my new favorite lens.

Since we didn't see a lot of butterflies on our shooting, I figured I should at least put in my photo of butterfly weed...it's one of my favorites with its cheerful bright orange flowers.
Maybe it was too hot for them to be out there also, but they had enough sense not to show up.

Long Live the Queen of the Lepidoptra

Monday, July 16, 2012

Drink water!

buzzing around all day just like this bee

While trying to beat the heat recently we went to Bunker Beach to play on the waterslides, float along the lazy river and ride the wave pool.

I had a blast running around with my grandkids like a ninny and doing it all. 

Only they had the sense to drink water throughout the day....I did not.

I never felt hot, being in the water all the time.  Until the end of the day.  My head started to hurt and I was very dizzy and starting to feel nauseous.

needed to stay cool and moist like these guys instead!
I quickly downed a bottle of water with vitamins and electrolytes (nasty tasting stuff if you ask me) and we put the AC on in the car on the way home.  After laying down until the room stopped spinning and it appeared I would keep my lunch down things got better.

I've not had a reaction like that in a long time.  So....if you're old (and even if you're not) keep yourself hydrated during these hot spells!

Long Live the Dried Up Old Queen

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Meeting new people

Friday the 13th was a lovely day for those of us parked in the shade.  I did a little cleaning and headed out to run my errands.  First step, read the meter and pay for last months usage and for next months rent.  Our mail had arrived so I got the wash started and delivered the mail to Left Brain to start the slitting and sorting process.  I returned to the office to reserve our site again for two months next year and as I was leaving, Cookies and  Cream had just gotten into the corn bucket.  She was kind enough to wait for me to take the photo,so I did this very slowly so he could really pig out....we're a team.

On the way back to the laundry I met a couple out bird watching and struck up a conversation.  Found out that they were Escapees members and we hugged each other right there in the driveway.  It's what we do...it's an Escapee tradition.  They invited us over for drinks at 4:00 at their RV and I continued on to the laundry to shift things from the washer to the dryer.

While there I met a nice lady that half time RV's between here (her home area) and Phoenix.  We talked of our travels (we all seem to have travel lust) and I've now added Savannah to my bucket list of places to visit.  My main calling is Charleston SC since that's the only state I've not yet been to and after chatting with her I think we'd better allow about a month there to see everything.

She left and since she was waiting for one of my dryers I put her sheets in as soon as my dryers opened up, started it up and left it to surprise her.  There.... one Random Act of Kindness completed for the day.  What a great feeling for only $1.00.

After returning with freshly done laundry I headed out to Cub Foods for some grocery shopping.  Such a busy day!  I assembled a bowl of fruit to take with us to the neighbors and got that odd bottle of wine cooler and beer out of the fridge.

We were there for about an hour chatting and getting to know each other.  They've been full timing for about six or seven years and showed us their solar panels as they boondock often, something we are looking forward to trying.

But as soon as we heard the rumble of thunder we started to pack up, even though it was a short walk away and it was a good thing.  We got in just as the rain started to come down.  Left Brain still grilled our pork chops under the awning for supper and we enjoyed a lovely night listening to the pitter patter of rain as well as the cooler temperature and good sleeping it provided.

We do enjoy the simple life but I see I've started to schedule things with the Meet Up group here in the cities to try out some different things.  There's so much to do up here, and much of it is free.  Maybe we need to stay longer next year?

I couldn't figure out why I have been so tired but looking back I think we're resting up from the frenzy of selling the house and moving on to our new life in a two month time span.  And it's hot....that saps the energy also.  And we're old....well, enough said.

Long Live the Queen of Aiding and Abetting Goat Misbehavior

Friday, July 13, 2012

Dancing like nobody's watching

I am not a dancer.  Sure, I wiggled around in school like everyone else and shook my bootie, but it's never come easy to me. But I found out recently that I can dance...with the proper motivation.

Lesson learned and motivation for my midnight dancing: open ceiling vents and a thunderstorm equal soggy carpet and a wet toilet. 

After enjoying the glorious sounds of raindrops on the roof I was inspired to use the bathroom....all those water sounds I guess.  When I stepped into the bathroom area I was greeted with wet carpet.  Yuck.  The ceiling vent is directly over the toilet, so that was wet also.  It is a strange sensation to sit on the toilet and feel water dripping on your head.  Okay, Too Much Information.

Being vertically challenged, the only way to reach this vent is to step up on the higher level (that the toilet is on) while grabbing the underside of the cabinets with my right hand and stretching up with my left hand to reach the knobs to close the vent.  This isn't normally such a bad job except for when it's dark and wet.  Now picture this:  as the knob is turned and the vent begins to lower, it shutters and shakes and disperses yet more water that has pooled there.  It was a bit like the shoilet of yesteryear as I received a shower perched in this strange position.  Having accomplished that I decided not to dry anything off so that Left Brain could enjoy the thrill also.

One down, one to go.  The ceiling vent in the living room is the same height, but with no little step up it is almost out of my reach.  Usually I stand on a little folding stool but I couldn't find it in the dark and didn't want to turn on lights as the blinds are all up to allow air flow and well, I'm not wearing any pajamas.  Sorry, again TMI.
So I stretched my 5'3" as high as I could and reached for the knob.  Memories of an old Richard Simmons video swept into my mind.  The cold water drizzled down my neck and shoulders and I dropped my right arm back down.  Yuck....meaning the water, no reflection on Richard himself, although instead of sweating to the oldies I have become a sweaty oldie.

But, this must be done...so I stretched upwards again in my best John Travolta "Staying alive" dance move and tried it again. once more.  Eeeeuuuuwwww!  The water is splattering down on me and I'm trying to look up to see if it's shut.  I can barely reach it and I was losing my balance, causing a bit of a pirouette. Only a Norwegian such as myself would be spinning my whole body to turn the knob.

Now I'm wide awake due to my nocturnal showers and considered how this must look.  Naturally, this caused a case of the giggles and I gave my rendition of "singing in the rain" while adding some spins as I splashed barefoot on the wet carpet.  It's a good thing Left Brain can sleep through anything and the neighbors aren't able to observe this.

By this time She Devil has joined me since I'm standing in proximity to her food dish.   It's hard to read disgust in the face of a cat, but that's the best way I can describe her expression.  If she could talk I'm sure she would have muttered "seriously?"
So, mission having been accomplished and musical number completed,  I toweled off and returned to bed.

Long Live the Dancing Queen

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Loving this new lens

I never thought I could shoot well without a tripod....but I can!

When the salesman said he felt the Tamron VC (vibration control) was more powerful than Canon's IS (image stabilization), I thought it was just sales talk.  He may have been right. 

This photo is with the Tamron 18- 270 zoomed all the way out and handheld.   I couldn't believe the detail in the wings and twig.  There has been no enhancement to this shot, just the basic adjustment of the levels and cropping.  The background blurred beautifully with the lake and lily pads.

I'm loving it!  And now that I'm getting comfortable making the adjustments in Lightroom 4 I'm excited again about getting out there to shoot every day.

It is a goal of mine to take my own photos and add quotes that I admire to create motivational photos/posters.  It would be fun to see mine being shared on Facebook by everyone.  This is why much of my cropping is done to allow some text in the background for future use.

Long Live the Queen of Her New Lens

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Life in the Shade

No filters or effects used - this is how it came out of the camera!
It's quiet here in the shady confines of northern Minnesota.  The heat wave finally broke and it is once again bearable to be outdoors.
It's the quiet I love the most about our new lifestyle.  We go to bed listening to the owls and wake to the sound of the loons.

His face makes me laugh...but mine probably has the same effect on him.
Now that it's cooler I can get out more with the camera and work on becoming familiar with my new lens, the Tamrom 18-270.

I am so glad I was willing to choke back on my own words about not buying something new and getting this lens.

I really do think the vibration control is better than what I had on the Canon as the photos seem sharper to me.  Using a tripod always results in better photos, but I'm basically lazy and hate to drag it out and set it up, so handheld is my prefered method.
Our complete set up, RV, scooter, car, screen tent, Left Brain....
We've added a couple of new things to our set up.  While we love the shade, the mosquitos are fierce...of course, this IS Minnesota after all.  So our first investment was in the screen tent.  It is super easy to set up and not terribly big and heavy for hauling.  It also adds a splash of color with the red sides.  You can see the bright blue scooter in the front that we take for rides to catch a breeze when it's hot.
Since using the plastic folding tables tends to wreck them, we bought a special cookstove table that has wire on one side for the cooking part, and the other side is handy for plates and food.

It folds in half just like the other ones so it makes handling it very easy.  Now we'd like to find a folding picnic table and bench seats for inside the screen tent.
We had our cousins, Joel and  Anne, over for supper Sunday night and served our meal in the screen tent. 
It's very comfortable for four but I'd like to have the bench seats instead of the larger folding chairs.  But after a few beers and margueritas nobody seems to mind it at all.
Supper was a simple affair - beef and chicken kabobs on the grill, deli salad and angel food cake with cool whip and lots of berries for dessert.  It's all about the people and sharing stories...not the fussing with the food and fancy set ups.

Long Live the Queen of the Shade

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Rodeo Fun

I've always loved rodeos.  But that's probably a given for a little girl growing up on Westerns and cowboys in her formative years.  I wanted to be a cowboy (note...not a cowgirl) but ended up marrying an Indian instead.  I guess I figured that way I could always play cowboys and Indians.  But....I digress.

During my first marriage to my Indian husband I became a member of the Koochiching Tribe and lived for a while on a reservation.  This brings up too many memories and stories to begin to recount at this time or the blog would become a book.

Anyway, while married and living on the Canadian border I had the pleasure of owning two horses, Pete and Ginger.  We didn't have central heat or running water, but we had two horses, two dogs and two cats.  Pete came to me already trained and I used him to barrel race until I was far enough along in my pregnancy that I posed a bigger threat to knocking over the barrels than he did.  Ginger was only rough broke and I had the honor of training her to use leg commands in the true Native American style. 

To refer to my lifestyle as being "Indian" is in no means a belittling term.  This is what they called themselves in the early 70's and many prefer this to the white man's term of "Native American".  This was in the same vein as being called Chippewa by the whites, but we refered to ourselves as Ojibwa.  My son's first language was in Ojibwa to make up for the fact his father was never allowed to learn his own tongue in the Indian Boarding schools.  But again...I digress.

After the marriage headed south, so did I.  I lived with my cousin and her two children for a while and let's just say Bonnie's passion for horses may have exceeded even my own.  She lived in Spooner Wisconsin where they have a large rodeo every year and I often went with her to each performance and then we'd chase men in tight jeans and cowboy hats at the bars afterwards.  Oh the fun and memories.  Now they would refer to me as "ma'am" as I'm too old to chase them.  Moreover, if I caught one I don't remember what to do with them any more.

The rodeos were larger than life for me, these men were heros in my eyes.  In hindsight I see I've always been attracted to insane men, but at the time they exlemplified the Marlboro Man and were gorgeous.  Who else would get on a bucking bull with their fractured ribs taped up so they could compete.  Dislocated shoulder from the last bull ride?  No problem...just get someone to pop it back in for you so you can compete again tomorrow.  Ever wonder sometimes why their boots don't quite match?  That would be a sprained or broken ankle that has swollen too much to fit.  Crazy men...crazy times....crazy memories.

But I never thought I'd ever see a woman bullrider.  All we were ever allowed to do were the barrel racing and trick riding.  Little did I know that barrier had been crossed and that I would get to see a woman riding a bull at the rodeo with my family and grandkids watching. 

Her name is Maggie Parker.  She's a 19 year old from Shaftsburg Michigan and became the first woman in PRCA history to earn a check in bull riding competition on June 2, 2012 at the Bennington PRCA rodeo.  She now shares history with another woman (a saddle bronc rider) as the only female contestants to place in any roughstock event.

I've attached a You Tube clip here to show the June 2nd ride that made history.  I am so proud of this young woman and grateful that my granddaughters could see this woman ride.  She didn't manage to stay on long enough that night to place at the Hamel Rodeo, but then nobody did.

I think they just sums up how well women have adapted to handling bull in their life.

Ignore the following thing - it wouldn't load properly and I can't seem to get it deleted.

Long Live the Queen of the Rodeo

Monday, July 9, 2012

What's in your wallet?

When we were at the Science Museum exhibit on Pirates with the grandkids recently, all I could think of was the commercial with the pirates asking "what's in YOUR wallet?".

This reminded me of a couple of things.  Not everyone uses a wallet.  Some people (mainly woman) prefer to carry a purse or a little wrist purse instead.  And then there are those woman who like to keep it really light and use their cleavage instead.

I am not one of these women and not because I wouldn't, but I can't.  You need to have considerably more assets than I was born with to pull this off.  Sure, I've tried it...but when things just drop straight through enough times I gave it up.

It's amazing to me what women will store in their "chest of drawers".  Just follow around some at Wal-Mart and see what I mean.

I recall the time that the Divine Miss M and I were plant shopping and we wandered into this little Mom and Pop Garden Center and were browsing around.  Neither of us gave much thought when we heard the cell phone ringing but both were astonished by where the phone was.

The lady for whom the bell tolled calmly pulled her blouse up bunching it under her chin and fished the phone out from her amble bossum.  What really flabbergasted us was that she proceeded to then have a lengthly conversation with the blouse still resting on top of her bra.  Thank goodness she was wearing a bra!  This didn't seem to bother her at all and we tried not to stare....or laugh.  It was all we could do to contain ourselves until we both convulsed into giggling the second the car doors closed.  Could this have been Ma Bell? Yikes.

I have seen women whip out pens, makeup, kleenex, pacifiers and other sundry items from their Victoria's Secret Storage Locker.  So what happened the other day shouldn't have surprised me...but it did.

My daughter and I were enjoying some bonding time and had just finished a lovely Indian cuisine and long conversation.  While we were driving back home I thanked her for the lovely lunch since she accepted the bill for both of us.  Such a sweet girl!

Her eyes got huge and she swooped into her cleavage and yanked out her credit card while shouting "I didn't!"   Oooops.  We were so engrossed in our chatting that we walked out of the restraunt without paying.  Uh oh.  Talk about feeling like a Boob...pun intended.

But due to the beauty of cell phones (regardless of where they might be stored) we were able to Google the restraunt, call them and make payment over the phone with the Visa card.  She gave him a very nice tip for his inconvenience.

So, perhaps we need a new commercial with a theme of "What's in YOUR cleavage?"

Long Live the Queen of Purses