Sunday, September 21, 2014


Well, I didn't tell that story right.  Just goes to show, facts can be represented correctly or incorrectly.  I represented the Tarantula story like it happened the other day.  I stand corrected.  Apparently, this was over two years ago.  I'm losing it, I guess.  The memory is still pretty vivid.
While I'm coming clean, let's talk snakes.  Chief and I lived in the country for about 15 years.  We lived in a couple of antique houses that had been renovated, added onto, and had porches closed in to make the homes larger.  After all those updates, certain openings may have been created by chipping away at  the foundation, new cracks may have formed, a variety of different things could have happened.  Before we ever moved in, we knew there was the possibility of varmints getting inside.  

Let's just say it doesn't take a city girl, and I use that term loosely, very long at all to figure out how to get a handle on mice, spiders and snakes.  Oh, yes, the snakes.  Just walking from the house to the car, you had to look down as you walked.  I don't know how many times I almost, or actually did, step on a snake.  Yes, some were rattlesnakes, and those are the most dangerous snakes we have in our area.  I was easily spookable at first, but I suppose I have built up a tolerance.  I have reached a level of okay-ness with them all.  After all, the weirdest things can happen, and you never know when they will.

We pulled several snakes, okay something more than 60, out of the basement of that first ranch house.  With the addition of central heat and air, the foundation had to be broken through in a few places under the house to make room for the ducting.  Apparently................... snakes began to sneak down under the house, into the foundation area.  It was cool and dark there.  Great place to winter if you are a snake.  Or possibly live year round...?  

Chief knew he had seen a snake or two down there.  He sealed the door to the room that had the air conditioning and heating equipment in it.  Then there was another door that completely sealed off the stairs and whole basement from the floor level of the house.  I felt pretty secure.  Additionally, those snakes must have been helping keep the mouse population down, because I only recall a few in 15 years.  But one day he was working on the hot water heater down there, and he had a flashlight.  As he was leaving the room, he decided to point the light back up under the tiny crawl space created by the running of the "new" heat and air conditioning ducts.  When he did, he saw eyes.  Yellow eyes.  Tiny yellow eyes, and a whole lot of them.  He was pretty calm when he came upstairs and said, "Come with me downstairs, I want to show you something."  Since I had only graced the basement with my presence a few times, and it never ended well -- I said, "Okay, hang on a minute."  I went to put on sweat pants, a hoodie and shoes with socks.  There are always spider webs, crickets, something.  
Photograph by Chris Johns -- National Geographic
When he put the flashlight up to show me the snake eyes, I think I screamed.  He calmly explained to me why screaming wasn't the best idea.  I gathered my composure, and from that moment on, I was the "Flashlight Holder."

The resourceful Chief grabbed a piece of pipe, now he tells me it was about a 5 foot telescoping pole for a volleyball net.  And of course, weed-eater string.  You know, stuff everyone could have in their basement.  The Boy Scout crafted a large loop coming out one end of the pole.  So, holding the pole with one hand, pointing the loop toward the snakes, and holding the weed-eater string firmly with the other -- we gave it a try.  Remember, I am holding the flashlight.  Chief is able to keep his distance, and within seconds, we have our first snake.  He has a firm grip on the weed-eater string after pulling it back and cinching it around the snake's head and throat area.  So he pulls it away from its buddies in the den.  It's just a racer.  Nothing venomous.  Nothing to stay awake at night over.  But there is an exit from the basement straight to the outside.  Chief knew that thing wasn't going to be walked through the house through the front door.  It didn't live.  None of the 7 snakes we pulled out that first night did.  At this point, we didn't know how many more were down there.  We got all we could, and we must have scared the others back further into the darkness, because they disappeared.

Guess what?  They were back the next night.  And the next.  And the next.  This was a spring through summer project, and seriously, we lost count after we pulled out the 60th-some-odd snake.  Yes, there were some rattlesnakes.  Not many, I would say less than five.  Hopefully, you can see how I would get used to things like this.  I didn't want to accept it as normal.  You can imagine why I am sometimes offended to be called a "city girl."  My tiny hometown is not a city.  And just because I didn't grow up milking cows and driving a tractor doesn't mean I am incapable of being a decent "farm girl."  Don't pigeon-hole me.  There are a lot of things I don't like, but that doesn't mean I can't take care of them.  In the words of Kelly Clarkson, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

My Tarantula Story

This is my tarantula story, with no pictures.  But this happened in my house in town (city limits).  Within the last year.
I swore I would never admit that a tarantula was inside of my house.  After all, how could that even happen?  But I feel it is time to come clean.  Honesty is always the best policy.
One morning this past spring, I am getting ready for the day.  My bathroom, bedroom and closet are at the far end of the house.  They are not near a door or entrance.  I look in the mirror, and behind me, on the tiffany blue wall, there is a tarantula.  It is the size of my hand.  It is about 4 feet up on the wall -- just clinging there.  I am the only one home, but I scream anyway.  I keep my eye on it, and grab my phone, while climbing up on the bathroom counter.  From eight feet away, I call Chief on the phone.  He doesn't answer.  I leave a desperate message.  I sit still on the counter.  I will not leave without one eye on this arachnid.  It feels like 30 minutes.  When he calls back, I beg of him, "I have never asked you to do this before, but I need you to come to town and deal with this tarantula in our bathroom."  He hears the fear and anxiety in my voice, and he says he is on his way.  I say, "THANK YOU!!!!!"
I remain on the counter, eyes glued to the tarantula on the wall.  The phone rings.  It is my friend, Mel.  I tell her I really can't talk, I am dealing with an unusual emergency.  When I tell her what is going on, she says, "a tarantula?  I love tarantulas!  Do you want me to come get it?"  I scream into the phone, "YES!"  And she is on her way.  When she arrives, she is carrying a canning jar and a flyswatter.  She strolls in, takes the flyswatter, gently encourages the tarantula into the jar like a turtle, and puts the lid on it.  I stare in awe.  I say, "what are you going to do with it?"  She says she will take it home and let it go.  
Okay, fine, bub-bye, talk to you later.
I have no idea how a tarantula could get into the house.  I mean, it's not like our doors stand wide open.  We don't open our windows and leave them unattended.  The best I can tell is that Chief brought in a pile of undesirable farm clothes, and this fellow was hidden amongst them.  We don't really have mice -- it's because I let those nice snakes live and inhabit my yard and neighborhood.  But there is no explanation for a tarantula sneaking into the house.  It's not like a mouse that can squeeze under a door or through a small hole.  A tarantula is large and hairy.  My guess is that they aren't very limber.  And my theory on how the tarantula got into the house is that Chief, being the considerate guy that he is, brought in a pile of clothes and boots from working cattle earlier that week, and he laid them in the garage for a few days.  If you don't know what "working cattle" is, there is a lot of stinky stuff involved.  Then he carried them into the laundry room to be washed separately from everything else.  Yes, it's that bad.
Then just this week, I have killed two scorpions.  Inside the house.  Throughout the past year, probably seven.
Call me tough.  Call me an idiot.  I am afraid varmints are everywhere.  But they are not the boss of me.  And they usually don't win.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Time To Catch Up

I haven't felt like I could put together a complete blog post in almost 3 months, but how about I let go of trying to make it perfect and just chat?

Normally, I try not to stir up any stuff by talking politics.  It's not my thing.  I will never run for office, and I don't have the answers, so my stance is silence.  But a couple of months ago, a political person, I guess that's what you would call her, took a shot at soccer.  Whaaaaat?  Was it a slow news day or something?  I'm going to put the link to the whole article here.
You can read it yourself and draw your own conclusions.  Clearly, she isn't soccer-savvy.  I consider it just wrong to tell people a bunch of random things that are your observations and based on nothing.
Here's the part that set me off:

--- If more "Americans" are watching soccer today, it's only because of the demographic switch effected by Teddy Kennedy's 1965 immigration law. I promise you: No American whose great-grandfather was born here is watching soccer. One can only hope that, in addition to learning English, these new Americans will drop their soccer fetish with time. ---

Wow.  She promises you.  
I watch soccer.  I watch almost all the major sports.  I watch golf.  I was born before 1965.  I had eight great-grandparents that were born here, and I WATCH and LOVE soccer.  Doubt I'm the only one.  I have Native American blood and am a card carrying tribal member, which probably means my soccer-loving heritage and relatives were here before hers were.  Puh-leez!  Learning English?  I would challenge her to any form of English language competition or flipping spelling bee.  Oh. My. Gosh.  
And lastly, "these new Americans"????    

The only reason I read the article was because it had the words 'hating soccer' in the title, and it was on a major news feed.  It was around the time of the World Cup.  I feel like some people just can't talk about anything unless it is negative.  Well, I'm not riding that train.  

I thought it was hilarious (jealousy, perhaps -- sarcasm) that she wasn't impressed with that handsome David Beckham.  You know the one who is trying to establish a MLS team in Miami?  He wants to build a ginormous stadium, (just like soccer stadiums all over the world) maybe on the waterfront, but he is flexible.  He just wants to make it happen.

We live in a nation of immigrants.  Could we possibly get along?  Could we possibly be happy for others?  Could we possibly act to improve things instead of complaining?  
So here's to being positive.  Here's to being nice.  
Here's to not wallowing in whatever you want to pout about.  
(Improper use of a preposition -- I know, CLB)  


Sunday, August 24, 2014

I. Am. Exhausted.

We lead somewhat normal lives.  Only two people live in our house.  Our days fly by, and I feel like I am going to miss out if we don't travel here and yonder before we can't.

Here are my reasons, excuses, whatever you want to call them, why I have been unable to blog for several days in a row.

1)     I am busy.
2)     I try to relax in the evenings, but if anyone of us needs clothes, as in the clean variety, things have to be done.
3)     I've been working on a Fantasy Football league for rookies.  OMGoodness.  I know a little something about football, but this is a whole new animal.
4)     Personal upkeep.  A girl needs to have her hair done from time to time.  She might need a pedicure.  She might have a doctor's appointment.  Just regular stuff.
5)     School.  You'll never believe it.  I can barely believe it.  I am taking Legal Assistant classes at one of the finest LA programs in the country.  It will take a lot of Saturdays.
This includes homework, not a minimal amount.  No need for a lot of details here.  I'm totally buying in...
 Lots of fun things going on here.  I'll clue you in as things develop.
Looking forward to a mountain retreat soon.  
Hope it's not 102 in Denver, as it has been lately.


Saturday, August 9, 2014

She is Perfect

I get asked a lot about my relatively new role as "Lily," the grandparent.  I am still having a hard time putting strong and accurate enough words with my answers to all the questions.  Writing this blog, I find myself trying to make sure that I am relatable.  I am fully aware that I am not the first grandmother EVER.  Just like I wasn't the first mother EVER.  Conversely, do I love my kids more than anything?  Sure do.  Do I believe that this precious Baby O is the most darling baby girl ever born?  Dang right!  
Can I get the perfect picture of her?  Not on my life.  One of those regrets I was telling you about, that I never have my camera, requires me to use my phone.  And the fact is, I am not all that great using the camera on it.  She is not a wild or busy child.  You really don't realize she moves much until you try to take a picture.  Every picture I have is somewhat blurry.  
Or I didn't remove the slobber.  Or she blinks.  
Surely it isn't me moving while I take the picture...
She is far from a cranky baby.  But she makes funny expressions, and we would love to know what she is thinking...  This punkin is a great sleeper at the moment.  I would love to tell you how many hours she sleeps in a row at night.  Would it be polite to say that there are two digits in the number of hours she sleeps?  Or is that bragging?
Gosh, she is such a little dumplin.  I can honestly tell you that I had no idea what fun this new role would be.  We haven't been able to spend as many hours as we would like with her due to "life" -- but we are so fortunate that she lives within 20 or so minutes from our house. 

Back to being relatable.  I want to talk about how I understand how others feel about their grandchildren.  I never want to make anyone think we love ours more than they love theirs.  It's just that "we get it."  As our kids were growing up, I always tried to not brag.  Not to say I didn't, but I tried to be aware, and the goal was to be polite.  This is where I just want to quit writing, because I know I can't express what I really want to say.  I think all human beings are equal.  We are no better than the people that will never read this because they don't have access to a computer.  I never, ever want to hurt anyone's feelings.  But I do love my family, just like I hope you love yours.  
We are blessed.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

My Disneyland....

I teased so many people into the blog yesterday by pretending that I was going to reveal my life's biggest regrets...  Sorry.  I won't very often go deep here on the blog.  Kinda depends...

Looking through pictures today, I found my happy place.  Happiest place on earth.  
My Disneyland.
Maui, Hawaii.  Why we can relax there like nowhere else, I can't explain.  But I am not headed there any time soon, and I kind of regret that.  Well, maybe I am not too unhappy we didn't have plans to go in the next month or so...  we hope the hurricanes headed that direction are not as serious as expected.  You know, I've been in the weather business long enough to see more wrong forecasts than right ones.  

One day I was on the phone with a person at American Airlines, and I told them that.  This was when I was trying to tell them that my flight was cancelled, and they said it wasn't.  I had this super cool weather app that also gives flight information.  It told me the flight was cancelled 3 hours before the airline admitted it.  By them stalling, I was unable to make my next connection, and the travel tumbling began.  Lucky for me, I like to travel so much, hiccups like that are nothing new.  It never fails that you see someone yelling at the gate agent about how they "are never going to fly XYZ Airlines again!"  The same thing always comes to mind, and someday I am actually going to say it to the screamer.  "Hey, when you find the perfect airline with perfect people, perfect planes, and that can control the weather, please let me know."  *sarcasm*  I can't help it.  
Calmly, I want to say, "People, people...... Flexibility....... Thank you."
The landscape kind of reminds me of home.  Well, not the green part.  
Nor the mountainous part.

Okay... the next picture is me being silly.  I hope it is perceived as such.  I am wearing a swimsuit.  I am on the beach.  Listening to my iPod, sometimes I break into song.  Other times, I even move like I am dancing.  This photo is untouched.  It shows that I truly do not have abs of steel.  Clearly, this is not a selfie.  
Pretty sure I was showing my "moves like Jagger."
Thank you, Lord, that my knees are together.  Otherwise, there would have been no picture posted at all.  I fully expect some boy from high school to comment on my most famous body parts -- my thumbs and my toes.  I was an anomaly.
Time to let the sun set on this mini vacay.  I hope the Hawaiians stay safe, and I hope that the weathermen are wrong -- again.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014


After getting a call from a travel magazine in Indianapolis a few weeks ago, I thought I would just take my camera (my good one) and hit the open road.  They are publishing one of my pics from the European Christmas markets we visited last year.  It's really amazing the comments, responses and funny things that happen to you when you blog about random things.  I didn't make it very far.  Life got in the way, and I found myself back in my house with not many photography subjects.

When I have quiet moments in my day, or when I am driving down the road, I tend to let my mind wander.  Today I got to thinking about some regrets I have.  Nothing big and serious, in fact, several funny things crossed my thoughts.  I wish I had continued playing the piano.  That's probably on a lot of people's lists.  I wish I hadn't been so afraid when I was younger.  Afraid of failure, afraid of grouchy adults, afraid of the unknown... I remember being fearful about things that don't even cross my mind now.  I always regret not having my camera with me.  When I do grab one of them, the battery is dead.  My phone is not the best camera.  But it sounds like approximately September 19th, that could all change.  Let's see what Apple says on September 9th.    :)

And I am craving Mexican food.  Really delicious, authentic Mexican food.  Specific things that are not available here.  I keep begging Chief to take me to New Mexico and feed me.  That's all.  Here's what I want. 
That's right.  Here's where you get it.  And I think I am available next week.
I just don't want to miss anything.  For nearly 10 years now, I have been in this "life is short" mode -- and I think we need to go and do everything before it is too late.  Right now, we are healthy enough to travel easily.  We can sit in airplane seats for long periods of time.  We can drive anywhere.  We can walk long distances.  We like to golf, but we rarely make time for it.  We don't have to worry about getting too far away from our doctors.  We have energy.  I don't limp, and I don't have any back problems.  We should roll.  Soon.

Other than the fact that next week is "Shark Week" on the Discovery Channel, there's not much to look forward to on television.
I did pass on both Sharknado and Sharknado 2, but I have to admit, I am a little curious.