Monday, February 28, 2011

Hello, Spring!

Ahh, the last day of February! It was a little chilly today -- if temperatures in the 40s are chilly for those of you reading this from up north! But spring IS on its way, if the daffodils, tulips, irises and alliums popping up in my yard are any indication.
This still qualifies as a tulip picture, honest! The dog just wanted to be in the photo and, well, I'm a sucker for that face. Look behind his right front paw! See -- tulips!

Of course, it wouldn't be spring without a snake "incident." I'm proud to report that a) I didn't scream or even squeal when I saw it and b) I even took a close-up photo of the little bugger I found in my front patio this afternoon. Apparently this guy hitchicked in through one of the potted plants I moved inside for the winter. At least, that's what I'm telling myself (because alternate scenarios include that snakes can get IN my house on their own or there are a whole bunch of baby snakes in there...shudder the thought).
A snake is a snake, and I ain't touchin that thing.

Friday, February 25, 2011


I should be writing magazine articles right now. But I keep finding other things I "need" to do. Laundry. A glass of water. Give the dog a bath. (That one was a necessity -- I simply can't work if my house reeks of the dead animal and cow poo Baxter rolled around in!) A chat with my adopted soldier on Facebook. A nap. This blog. Hopefully my self-discipline will kick in soon, because my deadline is looming and these articles don't write themselves.

The March issue is at the press and will be available for readers sometime next week. It looks like another good one. There's a picture of a blonde, curly haired little girl with a horse on the cover -- no, it's not me, but it sure brings back memories.

Happy Friday!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Oklahoma City

Writing from Oklahoma City! I've spent the weekend at the Prairie Classic quarter horse show with friends. It's been quite a while since I've been to a horse show -- and it's reminded me how much I like the shows, even if I'm not showing. It's made me want to think more about how I could make another go of it with the equine massage. The combination of horse shows, road trips, friends and work is a winning combination. If only I could make enough money, on a regular basis, to more than break even! If I had the upfront cash, I could invest in an acuscope machine and broaden my scope of practice (pardon the pun). But I don't. The cold, hard fact is that you need cold, hard cash to make more. So right now -- unless a stellar opportunity comes along -- I'll settle for going to a show here and there for fun. No pressure to make ends meet, just go and cheer on friends. If I get horses to work on, that's the icing on the cake.
Off to the show!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Full Moon

Yep, it's the week of a full moon. They say bad things happen in threes, and I hope I've reached that magic number. Between dumping dog food all over the kitchen floor, nearly setting a bagel on fire and now getting two trojan viruses (disguised as Antivirus System 2011) on my laptop, it's been one of those 24-hour slots where all you can do is take a deep breath...and laugh.

I'm not sure exactly where I picked up the virus. All I know is that one minute I was pricing plane tickets to MSP (can you say Grrrrls Weekend?), and the next my laptop went haywire -- and not just from airfare sticker shock.

A popup -- oh-so-cleverly made to look like it was a virus protection program from Microsoft, complete with altered logo -- came up. Then every single page I tried to open after that automatically redirected me to a page claiming my computer was vulnerable to attacks. Thankfully I'm suspicious by nature AND have an Android that I could Google things from. I wonder how many people have fallen victim to this thing AND have had to take their computer in to the geek doctor to get it fixed. Thanks to Google, the Spyware Doctor and the computer geek genes I inherited from my dad, I had new software and a solution installed and the problem wiped out in less than two hours.

Sometimes it pays to be a geek!

Monday, February 14, 2011


Happy Valentine's Day! I have a hot date with two guys named Ben and Jerry tonight, so this will be short. Just wanted to pop in and share a few photos from the weekend.
And it was a beautiful weekend -- we went from having more than a foot of snow on the ground to snow that was perfect for snowball fights, to slush, and now mud! The pile of footwear in my front porch goes all the way from sorels to hiking boots to pink rubber boots. My floors are going to be covered with muddy pawprints for the next few months -- I have priorities, you know. The sun has been shining and the temperatures have been going up. I'm getting spring fever.

Saturday's sunset was gorgeous.

(The new phone takes pretty high-quality shots!)

It was prime eagle watching weather this weekend. I'm getting a little closer to getting THE eagle shot. Not quite there (especially with only a 200mm zoom lens), but closer.
This is a crop of the actual photo and I didn't run it through any image software (yet). Love it, though!

Friday, February 11, 2011


My heart is hurting for a friend tonight. My college roommate, Nikki, lost her husband earlier this week. I just heard about it -- via Facebook -- this afternoon. John passed away suddenly on Wednesday. He was only 45.

I was a bridesmaid in John and Nikki's wedding. They were such a cute, in-love couple, and even though we fell out of touch for a little while, we caught up with each other. Through blogs, email and of course Facebook, I got a glimpse of Nikki's incredible family. She and John kept their crazy sense of humor through 17 years of marriage, two kids, Vikings games, South Dakota winters, summer camping trips, below-zero jaunts to their new hot tub and more.

I clearly remember when Nikki came back to our apartment after Valentine's Day 1994 (I think it was 1994, but it might have been 1993) practically screaming and squealing because John had popped the question and asked her to marry him.

I can't even imagine what Nikki is going through right now. My heart skipped a beat and the tears fell when I read the news. John had just celebrated his 45th birthday. And Nikki's story is coming around full circle as she has to say goodbye to him on Valentine's Day, the day that was supposed to be a celebration of their love and their engagement.

My thoughts & prayers are with Nikki and her family as they say goodbye to a wonderful man. May God bless you and wrap his arms around you and give you some comfort, love and strength. And Godspeed, John.

Hug the ones you love. You just don't know if it might be the very last time.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Big Chill

Now that was cold! Thankfully, the sun came out and the temperature rose 37 degrees from this. It turned out to be a beautiful day, and Mother Nature (and the weatherman!) are going to ease us into warmer weather. 30s on Friday, 40s on Saturday, 50s on Sunday. I can't wait!

We ventured out to play in the snow. The snow plow went by this morning. Well, it's not a snow plow--they use the road grader to move the snow. Hey, it works! I'm pretty sure the mailman wasn't too impressed, though.
Since tennis balls just sink in the snow, I sent Baxter to play with his red "Jolly Egg." This $14 toy gives him hours of OCD entertainment. He can't bite into it and deflate it (like he has numerous other toys), and ends up scooting it everywhere. The snow made it way more fun for him.
But not for me. He somehow got that thing over the snowbank, through the trees and into the creek. Great.
I waded into the snow and down a path we use in the summertime, and with some "help" from Baxter (he got into the frigid water!), the current and a long stick, I retreived the egg. I was pretty proud of myself for not falling into the creek. That would have been really fun.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

snowcalypse 2011

Ten inches. That's the official measurement for McDonald County's snowfall. In one day! I know, Minnesotans are snickering but that's a LOT for southern Missouri. My friends just to the south in Arkansas got 20 inches or so! Schools here have been closed for seven days straight and will probably not resume until Monday.

The good news? We're going to hit the 50s by Sunday and there's a hint of 60 for later next week. Kind of hard to believe all this snow will be (hopefully!) gone soon. Baxter has been enjoying playing in the deep powder -- he's practically swimming in it. It's pretty, and everything was glittering when it stopped snowing and the sun came out for a short time. Now it's just cold, with temps in the single digits and a below-zero windchill. Brrr. I'm ready for spring!

Photos tomorrow! Snow liked this only comes around once in a while and doesn't usually linger long. Thankfully!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Still waiting for the snow (and temperatures) to start falling out here. Per my friend Sara, it's still a good 30 degrees or so warmer here than it was in Minneapolis this morning. Brrrrrrrr.
Since it's chilly and icy outside, I've been spending a lot of time in the craft studio upstairs. I'm catching up on scrapbooking and some other projects. I've added to the paper stash with not one but TWO trips to two different scrapbook stores. Nothing like some fun, new paper to light that creative spark. Here's a couple of pages I've finished over the past few days:

A collage of photos from the Chicago Botanical Gardens in spring 2010. What I wouldn't give to visit their tropical garden paradise right now!
Girls night out on the same Chicago visit. Cheesy, but WAY fun.
A few shots from my garden in summer 2010. I was gone for a few weeks in June and it got a little out of control while I was gone. I'm getting excited to start planning my beds for 2011!
A chronicle of how Brenda and I kicked off 2011. Can you believe we didn't take any photos of us together or anything? Fail. Guess I'll just have to head back up Chicago way soon.

Monday, February 7, 2011

testing, 1, 2, 3....

Just a quick test blog to see if I can really blog via the new toy. From the couch. While watching Hawaii 5-0.

Made a trip to Northwest Arkansas today. The roads weren't too bad once we got out of the holler. Schools around here are still closed. And the best part? We're getting more snow. Yay.
More tomorrow. Blogging, that is!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Hello, February!

I now remember why I moved south. And why I don’t think I want to move north again. I’m not sure what happened to some of my hardcore winter gear – I don’t own a snow shovel, warm gloves, ice scraper or snow pants. I do still have my warm down coat, cozy Sorel boots and a pair of silk long underwear. I forgot how much work it is to put all that stuff on so you can go outside and “enjoy” the sunshine. How to walk on ice without going ass-over-heels. That walking in 10 or 12 inches of snow is an awesome cardio workout. That below-zero temperatures and windchills are, well, COLD.

The powdery snow we have is perfect for snowmobiling or cross-country skiing. I do miss those activities! The sun is shining today and I’ve gone out for two walks with Baxter today. It’s a whole 11 degrees warmer than the weatherman said it would be. The snow will (hopefully) be gone by next week. And the groundhog saw his shadow, so spring can’t be too far away.

I’ve been enjoying being at home. We knew the storm was coming – the weather forecasters were causing mass hysteria about it. Here in southwest Missouri, we seem to have been right on the edge of things – we got a lot of snow and ice for around here, but not as much as other places. Like, say, Chicago. I had plenty of time to stock up on books and chocolate, plus I had a stash of new scrapbooking/card-making supplies to play with and a few ideas for new horseshoe beading designs.

Since I just finished a mess of deadline work, I’m content to “waste” the day away with a good book, work on some craft projects, make up a pot of chili. I have to force myself to work out, though – my body is also content to just sit around and relax and it would be so easy to slip into that mode. And a 15-minute stroll down the icy road doesn’t count as a work out, as much as I would like it to.

I am not quite finished scrapbooking January's goings-on. This project is a take-off from Project Life, using a calendar I found at Michael's and then scrapbooking photos, souvenirs and events from the month. It's a fun project to document the year. I'm also printing off blog posts on a monthly basis to include in the calendar binding. It will be neat to be able to look back! Life is what you make it!