Tuesday, March 30, 2010

That Dog

Baxter. Yeah, I talk about him way too much. He's a goofball.

He has an obsession with tennis balls that I thought would get better with age. But it hasn't! Now, he not only bounces around when he figures out we're going outside to throw the ball, but he won't give up the ball when we're done playing.

I've pretty much given up on fighting him. It's either play a tug-of-war I will not win or bribe him with his current favorite treat: peanut butter. Sigh. Who's getting trained here?

Sure. he's fairly good-looking now. But he used to be so cute.

See how he was two years ago:
And now:

Yep, I think he finally grew into those ears. Not that I was really worried! He's not really quite as interested in the camera now as he was as a pup.

He hasn't been very good at stepping into the big shoes Kona the wonder corgi left behine when it comes to being a hearing dog. In fact, he's pretty much failed. When someone comes to the door, he goes to the door to greet them, forgetting all about me. Ringing phone? Forgetaboutit.

Maybe once I get my brand-spankin'-new speech processor for my cochlear implant (that's a whole 'nother blog, two years or so in the making), I can focus more on training him. In the meantime, I have no fears that he would be very protective if the occasion ever presented itself.

I have a deadline calling, and there's a plane seat with my name on it on Thursday! I will try to blog from my destination, but no promises. Pictures are sure to pop up on Facebook, though!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Drying Out

Things are finally drying out here! I even have my car back in my driveway (what a novel idea). I spent the last few days walking through the creek to get to my car -- the water was just at the tops of my boots. I did venture to Walmart with wet pants one afternoon. Classy.
I'm thankful for pink rubber boots, dry socks and sunshine. And ziploc bags -- for sealing up my camera when I cross the creek on foot. I learned a lot from my $200 lesson last fall and am not taking any chances when it comes to water and cameras.

The daffodils are in full bloom around here. It's pretty cool to be driving in the country and see bright clumps of daffodils springing up on old farmsteads -- even in places where a house no longer stands. The tulips and planting season aren't too far behind. The greenhouse is chock-full of gorgeous plants, and it just hit me last week that we have to plant all of them in just a few short weeks! Down here, the goal for planting is April 19. Up north, they could still get snow.

Life is good and getting busier by the minute with a social event tonight, work, a magazine deadline and -- best of all -- my upcoming long weekend in Chicago! I'm headed to Springfield this afternoon for a group dinner with a deaf group. It should be an interesting evening with good food, new friends and zero communication gaps.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


All that snow I was complaining about? Gone! That's the good news.

The bad news? This:

My regular readers know what this is (and they know I complain about it a LOT). New readers: this is what we call a "low water bridge" in my neck of the woods. When there's a snow melt or a measureable rainfall, chances are there's water over the "bridge." (As opposed to under...as it is in about 99.9% of the rest of America.)

Sarcastic much?
Since I'm blocked in on both ways out of the hollow by these "bridges," I have to be a little creative with my travel plans sometimes. This year, my patience has worn thin already. I don't know if it's a new respect for moving water that stems from my inadvertent swim in the cold Buffalo River back in November, or if it's just a raging case of PMS.

Weather.com and any insurance website will tell you NOT to drive on a flooded road. Six inches is enough to reach the bottom of most passenger cars. A foot of water can float most vehicles. The warnings and no-nos go on and on.

Here's what the creek road looked like today -- much lower than it was on Tuesday. Of course, Baxter was an unwitting model to demonstrate scale:

It's raining as I type this, and is supposed to rain on Thursday, so the creek will be back up higher & faster Thursday and probably Friday morning.

I should be just fine in the meantime, as I've stocked up on Diet Coke, milk, coffee and a treat I don't want to share.

I'm not going to worry about the water level again until next week -- because I have a plane to catch, God willing and the creek don't rise.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Hopefully, this will be the last of the winter photos for a while!

I got lucky and shot this one through the patio window. (I guess my windows are cleaner than I thought.) The birds seem to appreciate the birdseed I've been putting in the feeder. They go through it a little bit too fast!
Johnny likes to ham it up for the camera:

And (hopefully!) the dogwoods will be starting to bloom in a few weeks. They're my favorite. But not today with the snow: Thankfully, the snow melted today! The creek is up (of course -- and I barely have enough milk for my morning coffee), but at least the sun is shining again.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring: FAIL

Mother Nature is quite mixed up sometimes! Saturday was the first official day of spring -- something many people were looking forward to.

We were teased with a gorgeous 70-degree day on Friday. Cold, rain and some white stuff on Saturday.

And Sunday morning, I woke up to this:

Baxter thinks it's awesome. I'm not quite so impressed.

Friday, March 19, 2010


It's spring -- according to today's weather & the calendar, at least. Ask me again tomorrow (Saturday), & you might not get the same weather or season. It's nearly 70 degrees today, but the weather forecast promises 100% chance of rain, thunder and...snow. Nice, mother nature!

I got in a great trail ride today. Even Baxter got in on the fun and he was a very good boy. He didn't even chase the cows we came across in the Bailey's pasture.

Soon, this view will be full of green. I still think it's gorgeous -- this oak tree has to be at least 100 years old.

Settling in for the nasty weather -- it means moving my perennials back inside, tucking away my seedlings in a warm spot, and curling up with books! I have a great read on my nook -- it's keeping me up late. "The Girl Who Played with Fire" is even better than the first book of the trilogy. I'm glad I discovered this Swedish author.

And if I finish the 1200-plus nook pages (entirely possible, with this weather), I have a free book to read! I never win drawings (I'm currently in the running with tens of thousands of other folks for a cherry-red KitchenAid mixer on Tasty Kitchen and a $1300 camera on Pioneer Woman, but I know I won't win either) -- but I somehow scored a free book from Doubleday via Goodreads.com!

Have a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

May your neighbors respect you,
Troubles neglect you,
The angels protect you,
And Heaven accept you.

Whether you’re indulging in green beer or Guinness, watching a parade or eating some Irish food, I hope it’s a green day for you!

I just finished the book “An Irish Country Village,” and that Irish dialect is still rolling around in my head, so. (Sorry, one of the main characters in the book, Mrs. Kincaid, usually ended her sentences with a “so,” and I just couldn’t help myself, so.)

St. Patty’s Day is probably the only day everyone and their grandmother can get away with wearing an unflattering shade of green – and drink their lunch without professional repercussions.

I’m not doing anything special for St. Patty’s Day, other than living vicariously through others, the news and some random Facebook posts.

Everywhere you look, Irish themes are everywhere today. There’s Google’s uber-cool Celtic symbols on their home page. Cities like Chicago, NYC and Boston offer full-fledged celebrations. Kieran’s Irish Pub in Minneapolis chose yesterday as the day to move to their new location – by having a parade of 300 people led by bagpipes from the old location to the new one. I’m sure they’re doing lively business today. Ahh, I do miss some things about working in downtown Minneapolis!

I’d love to see Chicago with its green Chicago River! Or just sit in an Irish pub and soak in the atmosphere. But neither are close enough for a day trip. I’ll just have to get my Chicago fix – minus the river green – in two weeks.
Even Cake Wrecks is getting in on the fun with this classic wreck:
(how can you not know how to spell “Patrick”??)
Or this one (above). Wonder who picked up THAT cake!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

More Horseshoes

I finally listed my horseshoes on Etsy.com -- and sold one within a few hours! So excited. I plan to have my favorite one featured in the Showcase sometime next week. Just want to have enough inventory on hand. All "proceeds" go toward THE new camera I am lusting after. I found the one I want...sigh.

Here are two more. Can you tell I am in love with the turquoise-purple-silver color combination?

I have another green-copper-butterscotch shoe in progress & plan to do a blue-themed one after that. Then...who knows?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Totally Random

Where did Wednesday go? I didn't even blog but I have a good excuse: severe thunderstorms and a tornado warning. Yep, it's officially spring in the Ozarks.

We were blessed with temperatures in the seventies yesterday, which means less time in the house. Went on a great trail ride with friends in Flag Springs (two hollows over) and Johnny was a doll! He hasn't been out in a group since the Buffalo River ride back in November. I can't believe he's 11; my baby is finally growing up.

The sunshiny seventy-degree day had a tornado weather chaser. Our county was under a tornado watch for a little while last night -- but we didn't even get any rain. I usually book it over to the neighbor's when the warning comes on because I don't have a basement or what my cousin fondly calls a tornado trap. There's a saying around here that "tornadoes don't come in a hollow" (or a holler, to use the native tongue), but I don't really want to be the one to find out that's just an old wives' tale. Of course, one of the hazards of deafness is that a tornado could blow through when I am sleeping and I would sleep through the whole thing, no matter how loud it was.

I love spring -- to me, it symbolizes new beginnings. I'm getting my flowerbeds prepped for spring planting, which is about a month away. Getting ready for Operation Armadillo 2010 -- I have a nightly visitor who seems hell-bent on tearing up my lawn & I don't want him (or her? oh gosh, that would mean baby armadillos!) doing the same to my gardens.
Some people think armadillos are simply awesome. Huh? To me, they are almost on par with opossums, which are worse because they carry EPM. Google it; I'm just too lazy to go into the finer points of equine protozoal myeloencephalitis tonight.
Stay tuned for armadillo updates. I'm sure it will be an adventure. And don't worry, I won't post any photos of the resulting carnage. What -- you thought I would live trap it so it would come right back? Sorry to disappoint.

I've been transplanting seedlings out in the Hamiltons' greenhouse. It's like plant paradise in there right now, and I love it! Impatiens, begonias, marigolds, petunias, you name it, they're raising it in the nursery. I'm putting in a few hours tomorrow, as the weather is promising cloudy skies and lower temperatures, which are perfect for working in the greenhouse.

21 days to Chicago! And about 20 until my first magazine article is published -- I can't wait!

See -- completely random blog post.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Coming soon...

Spring is slowly but surely making its way to the hollow!
It was another gorgeous (albeit windy) day today. Baxter and I went for a great hike.

Extra credit if you can spot what I didn't when I took this photo. Answer is on the bottom of the post.

For my Northern readers -- two big signs spring is here:

Answer: You probably can't quite see the spot of red and somewhat hidden person in the lower right-hand corner! I didn't know it, but my neighbor & his son were exploring the creek below me. I never saw them; they said Baxter did, but since he knew them, he didn't care too much. Maybe I better start paying better attention when I'm out hiking!

Monday, March 8, 2010

What a weekend! We could not have asked for better weather -- sunshine and temperatures in the sixties. That's one of the things I adore about living in the Ozarks. Spring arrivers here much, much earlier than other parts of the country (apologies to my readers up north!).

Saturday night was another great farm-to-table dinner at the Wardlaw's.

(Don't worry -- I didn't have the apple pie so my Lent resolution is still intact. I even passed on some dark chocolate Reese's peanut butter cups today -- just barely.)

And, of course, music is always part of gatherings around here.
Yes, you did indeed detect a slight bit of sarcasm there. See, I have this problem. My deafness really gets in the way at these social events. Often, things revolve around music. And dark campfires. It's hard.

It puts my handicap in boldface and ends it with a big, fat exclamation point. And I don't think anyone can really understand the feelings that it brings up -- even if they tried. After 30 years of silence, you'd think I'd be "used" to it, that my emotional armour would be tougher.

But it's not. It still cuts to the heart.

Helen Keller said it best: "When you lose your eyesight, you lose contact with things. When you lose your hearing, you lose contact with people."

She sums it up perfectly. It's not so much the loss of hearing, but the isolation that comes along with it. There's no feeling more lonely than being alone in a crowd.

That's why I write. And why I love the horses so much. They really could care less whether I can hear or not. They've always been my refuge.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Impulse purchase

I got a new area rug today! It was not really a planned purchase. I've been thinking about buying another area rug, since my hardwood floors tend to get cold -- a perk in the summer but definitely not in the winter. But every time I went shopping, I never liked what I saw in the stores.

Until today! And at 60% off, I just couldn't resist.

As you can see, Baxter has already claimed it -- he thinks I bought it for him and has already spread his chew toys all over it. I need to teach that dog to put his toys away.

My living room/reading nook is slowly but surely inching toward a southwest theme. When I win the lottery, the old sofa is out the door, in favor of a sweet, soft & comfy leather one. (Hey -- Dream On IS the name of this blog, you know.)

Short blog tonight. I have a magazine deadline!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Olympic Hangover

It started this morning when I turned on the Today Show. I’d grown so used to watching Matt, Ann, Meredith and Al hamming it up on Grouse Mountain or in front of a rustic fireplace somewhere that I forgot it was temporary. And tonight I just realized that House will be showing a new episode, something I’m normally happy about. But somehow it seems so dull now.

Seventeen days! It went by so quickly. From the snowboarding to the crashes at Whistler, to the tremendous amount of mental & emotional strength displayed by Canadian Joanie Rochette, and to the USA-Canada gold medal hockey game, the whole experience could not have been better. Well, it could have – if I had been there in person like some lucky, lucky people I know. And if USA Hockey had won the gold.

But nowhere is the hangover worse than in Russia. I am curious to see what happens in 2014. Heck, I’d love to be a fly on the wall at the training centers throughout Russia as they prepare their athletes for Sochi 2014.

The pressure is tremendous. Russia ended up a disappointing (for them, anyways) sixth in the run for the medals.

And now Russia’s President Dmitri Medvedev is reportedly furious. He not only cancelled his trip to the Closing Ceremonies (where Sochi 2014 was prominently touted) but he is also calling for the resignation of the officials in charge of training his country’s Olympic athletes.

This could get interesting. New coaching staff. New athletes, perhaps? (Would you want to be a Russian athlete with your eyes set on 2014?) Add to that the pressure of building a $7 million infrastructure from scratch within the next several years and making sure it all works. Currently, 16,000 workers are busy building the venue, with test events planned for 2012 and 2013.

Do vstretchi (see you) in Sochi!