16 December 2010

Kurious Kitty's

It's a week before Christmas and all through the apartment boxes are scattered... Pictures off walls...cabinets, drawers, and closets emptied in preparation...

Kurious kitty's investigate each new box as it's put together ...
Where are we going? They look at me with questions in their eyes... Today, tomorrow the next day...when? Soooooon, I tell them, soon. I tell them they won't get left behind, they will like the new place. It's bigger, new places to explore, more places to hidey-hold up and snooze the day away. And yes, zoom, zoom during their 'after we go to sleep' play... Their playground is getting bigger and so is ours.

They go about their usual daily business with an ever watchful eye... they hover in anticipation, wait and watch... assured they will be going too. Nilly has brought me the bathtub stopper...dropped it in the box I've set on the floor to load pots and pans into. Puzzle's contribution and gift today is a hairball.. EW yuck! Paper towels here I come. I accept graciously, I know she wants me to have it. Nerves, I'm assuming her tummy is twisted in knots.. we'll have to take care of that. Gibby has plunked down and rolled over on his back for a nap.. when I get done with this box, I know I won't get close enough before he jumps out of the way with a scowl in his eyes as if to say, 'you've disturbed my nap....' Ooooooo what's this? A new box? He has a good sniff and wanders off.

Assistance from Curmudge? Just a teeny-weeny bit? Well, maybe, I can hope can't I? Gotta love procrastination. He's been sleeping in the last couple of mornings, hard to get him moving. Hard to get anything done this way.

He says 'there isn't that much to pack up .... you're getting way ahead of yourself.' I say 'better to get it done, just in case of we get some work unexpectedly...' He perks up and says...'that would be nice, my phone isn't ringing, is yours?' Nope mine isn't ringing either...We both know it's wishful thinking....It would be a pleasant diversion and wonderful surprise, too.

Dear Santa,
I'd like to wish you a merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Here's my 'wish' list kind sir.
Do you think you could bring me a job?
I'm not little like the children, or your elves, but this is my one and only wish for 2011. Thank you, Santa for all the wonderful gifts you've brought me over the years.

15 December 2010


Another day is beginning. There's a nip of chill in the air this morning. I can feel it ... my nose is cold and so are my toes, even though I'm toasty under the covers. Chilly is nothing unusual this time of year in the desert. It's mid December after all. It's dark thirty outside, an hour before daylight. It's supposed to be a balmy 73 today, though forcasters are prediciting rain for tonight and tomorrow ...a cool down comes along with that.

I have the kitchen window is open to circulate the stagnant air. It's not quiet outside. The hum of early pre-rush hour traffic on the freeway, the sounds of the city coming awake. Zoom, Zoom. Dogs up and down the street are barking, I wonder what's set them off this morning. How I miss the peace and quiet of the neighborhood I used to live in. Soooon. We've found a place in that old neighborhood ... more on that in another post.

Stumbling to the kitchen for that first jolt of caffeine. I left some in the pot from late yesterday. I don't have to start a fresh pot just yet. It's defninitely on the agenda, though. I try to be quiet.

Curmudge is still sleeping, I've closed his door in an effort not to disturb him. He'll be up shortly though. Like me, he's an early riser, just not a fast mover, wakes up slowly.

Gibby is under my feet. Nilly is on her perch (my saddle) watching closely and Puzzle waits patiently on my bed. This is not a patient time of day for them. They want to eat! I'm not so quiet moving around the kitchen as I wash out their dishes and get their food ready.

I set food down for Gibby and Nilly and fetch Puzzle from the bed. She doesn't usually walk from the bed to the kitchen. When she does try it, it's a mad dash, stuff gets knocked over, she misses what she's trying to take flight to, and Gibby chases, then she scoots into hiding and waits. It takes a while to coax her out when that happens. I don't understand her reluctance to walk by him, but then maybe she just doesn't like him. It's a cat thing I suppose.

The two neighbor kids are getting ready for school. Like clockwork, their mother showers by 700 AM, most mornings the running water is my wake up. They walk the three short blocks to their school eveyday and have to be there by 810 AM. They're not quiet, but what can I expect? Just wish some days they would use 'inside voices' outside Curmudge's window. Children quiet? Not happening, they're children!

I'm surprised the washer isn't running, too. Our laundry room is communal. It generally runs 24/7. It's on the outer side of our kitchen wall. I/we hear everything when it does run. I should gather up my wash and get it done while it's not occupied.

Computer booted up. Duh! I wouldn't be doing this if it wasn't. Ergh! Blonde moment. Yep I have them, at least one a day and I'm allowed. I've made the quick stops to all the sites I visit, scanned the pages and moved on. I've done a quick search of 'new job postings', too. Nothing of interest this early, rest assured I'll be checking these sites throughout the day.

Routine ... nothing spontaneous about it, even if I'm working and have to get up at an ungodly hour. Have a great day!

12 December 2010

Last night ....

Dang! Dang! Dang! IT'S A BUG ....
Sitting at my computer occupying myself playing a game on line ... No, no this is what I do when there's nothing I want to watch on TV. Nope, I don't have 'on demand', I'm behind the times.

Engrossed in the playing when out of the corner of my eye, I spy ... bold as could be .... a large bug blatantly moving across my desk. I know what it is! What gall this prehistoric insect has to sashay into my space!

Needless to say, I had to swat, smush, kill it! Smash! Thwack! I got it! They don't smush easily. Looked around, no evidence of a dead body. Dang it! Nope, guess I didn't get it after all. I hate when that happens. Spooked the cats, they scattered, guess they thought I was after them. Curmudge asked 'what was that?' COCKROACH!

Now I gotta go through everything (and I mean everything) in search of ... In the six months or so I've been here, there have been a few sightings of creepy crawlies, I know they're here, I wish they would stay out of my sight. I have spray and roach dust powder to combat against them ...but the stuff is toxic to me, Curmudge and the cats. Time to get the stuff out again...I did it when I first got here, just in case of.

This is not good!!! If they're running around my desk, it means they've gotten into my file cabinets ... into the oodles of files and paper to nest. Must have disturbed them moving stuff around the other day to wash the kitchen floor. Not happy!

Once they're here, they're nearly impossible to get rid of. They multiply fast, they nest in the walls or anywhere they can find where there's a source of food and water. I seem to remember reading somewhere they multiply enmass in 10-14 days. Dang scavengers! Where there's one, there's likely hundreds more ... disgust.

We're getting ready to move ... they're not going with us! I hate cockroaches! No, I don't hate them! I dislike them! They can't occupy my home either! On the up side of war with the unwanted .... the perfect opportunity arises to go through everything (and I mean everything) stuff no longer needed or wanted can and will go away. A project long overdue as the packing gets done.

They've invaded, the war to eradicate has begun ... at this point anything I do is preventive, and I can hope they don't hitch a ride-along when we do move. Not going to try and figure out where'they're coming from, it's too late for that.

Maybe this is a good thing,maybe not. Now, getting Curmudge to cooperate and be aware of the situation? Well, I don't know about that. Pack his stuff for him? Not happening ... Getting him to part with stuff not needed? Going to be a chore. Likely it'll get plunked into an unmarked box and shoved out the door the day before we start loading stuff up.

I'm a pack rat! I shouldn't talk! He's not so bad in that respect but there is stuff he needs to get rid of (and most of my stuff is in storage). It's just that.... Well, I want it all packed up before we even begin the process of loading for relocation. Makes the whole process go smoother and faster. 'Nuf said, I'll deal...

Assuming they are here (in numbers), they are going to get into whatever I pack. There's little space to stack and store as stuff is packed. Oh crap! What if they migrate into the boxes, find new homes in them? I hate to think ...

What a pain this is going to be. No time to consider ... too late to worry over it, just have to do what needs to be done and hope for the best. Two weeks and counting..... Bummer. I dunno. I'll have to bomb storage too just in case of that's where they came from.

Well, better get after it. We're not overrun yet. Prevention is the key now.

08 December 2010

Target date

January 1, 2011. What is significant about this date, you ask? Hopefully, Curmudge and I will be moving into a bigger place. Yay!

In October, I posted 'We need a bigger apartment'. The goal is to find a larger space to suit us, bring us closer to our jobs, and closer to my horse. In these down economic times, this is a workable financial solution for us. We're both too old to be buying into something that will probably outlive us.

I do not like inner city living, never have liked it. I'm a peripheral dweller, like wide open spaces and access to trails for riding my horse. Curmudge has lived in his apartment for ten years (inner city). The freeway is right outside the front door, icky yuck!

A month ago, we looked at a 2 bedroom 2 bath in an apartment complex. It was decent, bedrooms big enough and would have worked with our budget, too. There were things about the complex and management company Curmudge did not like.... said he felt like it was a hustle, nickel and diming. For this reason, the complex was shoved to the bottom of the 'possibility' list. Neither of us is or ever has been an apartment community dweller.

We procrastinated through Thanksgiving... though, I kept my eyes peeled for likely places. Basic needs are a must. The general area/neighborhood has to fit, access to grocery shopping, convenience store, post office, banking, our jobs, etc.

I make lists for everything. Good habit, bad, I don't know, it's what I do. I have scraps of paper littered around my desk, posted on a bulletin board and on the wall. I know where to find everything on these scraps of paper. I'm not messy, it's organized chaos.

On Sunday past for lack of something better to occupy our time, we took a drive into the neighborhoods around where I used to live. As we drove through these different neighborhoods, I could see Curmudge was not impressed. When we got home, he was clearly disappointed and so was I. Moving to a bigger place is something we both know we need to do soon.

I did drive by one mobile home community, twice. I didn't do it intentionally. A little history is in order. In 1998, I bought a double-wide home in this very park. I lived there 4 years. It wasn't my intention to influence Curmudge's thinking at all. I hesitated mentioning I had lived there.

In our conversation the next morning, he suggested we have a closer look at the trailer community 'at the bottom of the mountain'. I was surprised. Who'd a thunk? I wasn't convinced the community would meet what he thought he was looking for, so we went to have a look see and ask questions.

Whisper ... I don't usually admit to being wrong, but in this case I will. I was wrong.

The property manager was friendly and informative. She answered our questions and offered to take us around to look at a couple of units she had available. The monthly rental cost meets our budget, easy 'move in' terms too. After our tour, we came home with the necessary credit application. Ooops, I forgot to ask what amount of income is necessary to qualify, so we're kind of sketchy on this.

Different things to consider with each unit we looked at, specifically kitchen and living space, bedroom sizes, roof condition, awnings, water damage of any kind, the surrounding neighbors, etc.. I've been a mobile home dweller for 9 of the last 12 years. I've a pretty good idea what to look for and Curmudge's eyes were helpful in some things I did miss.

Our tour included three units. One we couldn't go into, it had just been set and wasn't completely ready. Liked the layout of the older 3/2, but it had water damage. The newer 2/1 was too small. Curmudge's bedroom suite would not have fit, and the second bedroom was little more than cubicle sized.

Any kind of water damage screams at me. Red flags! Mold and mildew in/on the walls or under carpet or flooring! I firmly believe excessive mold and mildew (in another place I lived) were big contributors to the health issues I've had this year. I'm highly sensitive and allergic.

We agree pre-qualifying is a good thing to do. As Curmudge put it, the property management will have to work to fit our needs once we're qualified. Curmudge is optimistic we will get pre-approved on his credit and income. I hope he's right. He's also of the opinion ... we don't jump at the first thing we see, we leave our options open, and take time to decide.

I'm getting hyped. Target date ... January 1, 2011. We have time.

02 December 2010

Work in progress

I want to be an accomplished blogger. Curmudge says practice makes perfect, but I think practice makes better. You could say I've been 'practicing' on this blog for more than a year, and yes, I think it's getting better.

In the beginning, blogging was a way to vent feelings, but then things happened I wanted to pass along to others. When you read my older posts, you will see I've been unemployed since 2009. I'll leave it at that.

There's not much traffic to this site. I do know why, too. I haven't been visiting other blogger sites and leaving comments. My bad. Can't drive traffic if you don't do that. I kind of felt like I was invading the privacy of people I literally don't know.

Maybe what I had to say wouldn't be important or interesting? I guess I'm insecure in that respect. Then if they did come... What would they think of what I've written, put out for the entire world to read? I was scared, I am scared! It's the unknown. Traffic to this blog will never change if I don't do something about it. Changes are about to take place. It's a resolution I've finally made up my mind about.

I'm building a list of blogs I visit frequently, whether or not I comment, I've been there. I'd post the list but I think I need to ask first before I post links. I also need to figure out how to add the links .... I'm still experimenting.

I suppose I'm making progress. I'm reserved about what's next to post. I wonder if it will be interesting enough to garner attention, let alone interesting enough to leave a comment. Uncertainty. Many times, I've visited other sites and not left a comment for a days post.

Occasionally, I can make off the cuff comments, but mostly I have to think about what to say... Sis says I shouldn't think, I should just write and let it go. I wonder if I have spontaneity?

Being a Virgo, I like everything in it's compartmentalized place. No one is perfect. I know I'm not perfect, and they say patience is a virtue.....

Disclaimer and Disclosure

I want to post a disclaimer and disclosure policy to this blog page, but I guess I don't know how to cut and paste. I've never had a need to use these options (if thats what they're called). I'm running Windows 7 in this new computer I bought in July. At the same time, I bought a book "Windows 7 for Dummies" as a companion reference guide.

I'm baffled and befuddled. I can't make heads or tails out of the section on cut, copy and paste. This should be a really simple and easy process, and this book is designed as an easy to read guide for semi-intelligent people. Okay, I did manage to follow the instructions to cut what I needed to cut to move it to my blog page, but when I went to paste it, I couldn't find it. The book says its stashed on clipboard. Okay, where do I find the clipboard? (or is it notepad?) I'm so confused. Where to look? I don't have a clue.

Whoa! Wait a minute here! I don't have a problem cutting or pasting in Word or Works documents...that's really easy...I do it all the time when I'm prewriting these posts. Maybe because it's because I don't have that nice little tool bar (when I'm on line) with all the cute little icons...most of which I have no idea what they are or what they're for. I don't know why I'm finding it so difficult to do this on line. It's the same process isn't it? I dunno. I think I'm out of my league here.

Okay, so Windows 7 is different than XP and Vista, but not so different that this process should be beyond my intelligence. In fact, with all the new stuff in Windows 7, it should be easier and less confusing, right?

I don't have anyone close who is more computer litterate than I am, so I depend heavily on my sister for techniques and different ways to do things...I can only ask questions while we're chatting on Google chat or if I happen to catch her available for a phone call on a Saturday when she's not working.

With this said, I need some help figuring out how to cut and paste this disclosure policy and disclaimer. Maybe someone would be so kind to 'talk' me through the process. You know I only have to do this one time then I'll remember how to do it in the future. I'm still tweaking the page, so it's a work in progress. Be prepared...more changes to come in the next few weeks.

01 December 2010

Headache! Blinding headaches!

I woke up with this THING this morning. Neck aches, too.

Wonder what I can attribute this one to. Been having a lot of them recently. I'm getting plenty of sleep, so I don't suppose that needs to be the remedy, otherwise I wouldn't have awakened with it this morning. Eye strain? Maybe my eyes need checked again. It's been a little over a year. Maybe coming down with some seasonal bug or something? Don't feel crappy except for the headache. I didn't have a flu shot this year.

Doctor decided since I was allergic to eggs, flu shot was not a good idea even with a minimally compromised immune system after having major surgery to remove spleen earlier in the year.

There's a lot going on (and not going on) in my life, so lots of stresses. I know, (big sigh) I stress over things I can't control and things I have no control over. Sometimes, the mind works overtime and can't compartmentalize properly.

Apartment is fogged with second hand smoke. Yep, we smoke too much, that's a given. Want to open the door to air the place out. I've got the kitchen window open and the ceiling fan on to funnel the smoky air out. My computer is in a corner of the kitchen, so I spend a lot of time in here. It's a big kitchen for a small apartment.

Curmudge doesn't want the door open. He's been complaining he's cold. It's a balmy 70 degrees outside today. The thermostat inside reads 68..good enough. This is Arizona! It never ever gets cold here! I wonder what he would do if we lived in a place where it truly does get cold?

He's wrapped in a blanket watching TV being a couch potato. The lesser of alternative evils, he'd rather do that than get up and move around. I don't let him mess with the thermostat, he'd have it 80 in here if I did that. It's plenty warm enough in here the way it is. Sorry, but he'll just have to adjust. Healthier for both of us in the long run. Grandmother's old adage...put more clothes on, get up and move around.

Snapped at Curmudge earlier for not being able to see what was right in front of him in the refrigerator. Apologized after the fact. I have to keep reminding myself he's old. For whatever reason after cataract surgery on both eyes, lasik procedures on both eyes, and new glasses he still doesn't see well. I don't know what to think, it frustrates me. This is not about Curmudge though, it's about these damned headaches.

Could go for a walk, maybe? Not safe to walk in this neighborhood any time of the day. Maybe just sit outside? See what can be seen...not much to see... A big block wall cuts down noise on the freeway or watch the cars getting on the freeway. Both options are right outside the door.

Oh how much I miss living near the base of South Mountain and the Park. Outside that door or window were farms, cotton fields, our horses in the pasture at the neighbors place, and the mountains....

Yay! Took two Aleve a couple of hours ago. Finally beginning to feel some relief! Yay! It's going to be a better day....functional.

30 November 2010

Going to work!

What kind of work do I do? I'm a truck driver. I hold a CDL Class A license. Simply put, I drive eighteen wheelers for a living. Best thing that ever happened to me when I made this career change fifteen years ago. In the years since, I've been all over the United States, in every state in the lower forty-eight except North Dakota, and I'm told it's not much different than South Dakota... I'm partial to many places I've visited, but they're too numerous to mention in this post, so I'll save them for another time. Back to going to work...it's exciting, much anticipated, too.

I've been umemployed since mid-2009. Haven't had a particularly good year healthwise either, but all that is past me today. I am well and healthy and can still drive a big rig when I'm called upon to do it. It's like riding a bike, which I haven't done in years, or riding a horse after a long absence, and I do as often as I can. But in any case, it comes back quickly. Practice builds on experience.

Been working for a construction trucking contractor on a limited part time basis. Work days have been few and far between. It's been aobut six weeks since he called me to come in. Surpirse, surprise, got the call last week before the holiday, for a couple of long days hauling aggregate for a new road. We were in the yard at 330 AM to check out our rigs and warm them for the days work.

It was an hour and fifteen minute ride to the plant where we were loading. Load time was at 600 AM. I finally had my first load on the trailer at 640 AM, lots of trucks going to the same job. Had a map and limited directions, but didn't have a clue, so followed a couple of other trucks who were going to the same dump site. Another hour and fifteen minutes later we were there.

Whew! The sun was just cresting the mountains and in my eyes making it difficult to see where I was supposed to be dumping... was thankful the spotter was on the ground where I could see him. Flip the switch in the cab ... in less than thirty seconds I was dumped out. It was a done deal. Headed back for another load.

Back to the plant, got another load and was off running again to the dump site. Second load on the ground. Back to the plant for round three. Getting a little sore now...shifter in the rig is not cooperating, and I'm fighting it instead of letting it do the work for me. I know better. This is the first time I've driven this particular rig, too.

Concerned about fuel. Fuel tanks on this rig are small and I knew already I couldn't get the fourth load, dump it out and make it back into the yard. I would have to have fuel. Our driver truck boss assured me there would be a fuel meet after I dumped out the fourth load. I loaded my fourth load at 201 PM, the plant was closing. I held my breath and hoped I'd be able to get back to meet the fuel truck. I dumped out at 300 PM and headed for the fuel meet. Big Sigh! I made it and took on enough to get me back into the yard. By the time I made it into the yard, it was dark thirty and I was having trouble seeing anything in the yard, it's not well lit.

Scheduled to do it all over again tomorrow. Yay! Work!

25 November 2010

It's Thanksgiving

I'm thankful for the food for the table and the weather is comfortably chilly for AZ. I got up very early this morning since I didn't have a chance this week to do the 'do ahead' shopping, cooking and baking that comes with the holidays. I'd had a chance to work on Tuesday and Wednesday so I took the opportunity. So, today had to begin early.

I had my coffee and got right after it....baking pumpkin bread. When that was done, it was off to the store for much needed things for our meal. Things I hadn't shopped for the previous weeks.

Home again, it was time to get the bird in the oven... Made stuffing, yum. This year it's a combination of cornbread and turkey flavor with onion, mushrooms, and celery. Sorry guys and girls, I didn't make it from scratch, it came from a box, time was of the essence, here. Standard stuff for me. Traditional, too. Been doing this same stuffing for many years...

The bird went into the oven on schedule as I had planned. I plan to have everything ready and on the table by 2 PM. I was able to take a short break after I cleaned up the kitchen. Something I learned from my grandmother...it keeps you ahead of the mess, and there isn't so much to clean up after the fact. I watched a little of the parade. As soon as it was over, it was time to run the vacuum cleaner, dust, and spruce up the bathroom. We invited some friends for dinner, today.

Time to peel and dice the vegetables. First the squash, it's the hardest to do. This year, I chose a butternut. I plan to mash it. Then the sweet potato. I plan to mash them too. Curmudge likes sweet potato, so this was for him. He did the vacuuming for me today. Thank you. Had to wash the utensils again, they were so sticky I couldn't hold on to them. I peeled nearly five pounds of white potatoes, too. Everything was set on the stove and ready to turn on at the right time.

Got my new anti-virus program installed in my computer and the internet service changed over to Curmudge's service. This required buying a router and wireless USB adaptor. We had been out earlier in the week and bought what we needed, so I had everything I needed to get it done. It didn't take long to hook it up and voila it's running...Yay! I now have high speed internet. We can both be on line at the same time. We're a mini-network.

Turn the bird was the next order of business and turn on the veggies. We're getting there. Then our neighbors let us know they weren't going to make it over for dinner...short notice is always nice especially after the invite was offered a month ago. Another friend called to cancel too, but in this case, I'd already expected he would have dinner with his folks, since it's usually what he does every year. Their loss.

I'm thankful for what we do have. Plenty of leftovers. We'll eat turkey for a long, long time. It's a big bird 16.62 pounds...stuffed probably more like 18-19 pounds....and with all the other fixin's, I have enough to feed a small army if they're not hungry, eight to ten if they are hungry.

The bird is ready, the veggies have been mashed and are being kept warm in the oven, while I make the gravy and plate stuff up. We're close, so it's time to get away from here and get it done. Good groceries, better food, let's eat, it's finally ready. I'm running 7 minutes behind schedule. That's not bad.

I cooked up the giblets for the kitty's, their treat for today. They deserve it for not being under my feet while I've been trying to cook.

Happy Thanksgiving! To everyone who reads my blog, thank you, too.

19 November 2010

Care Packages and 'yummy' foods from the past

My sister sent me a care package! Woohoo!

In the box, I discovered a can of 'Boston Brown Bread'(yum, yum), a jar of whole onions, a small turnip, and some miscellaneous things she threw in to make the box look more stuffed. Why these particular things? I can't buy a can of brown bread anywhere in AZ. The same goes for the jar of small whole onions. Fresh turnip is hard to come by as well. I got a kick out of the empty soda bottle, too, but understood it was for packing material so the glass jar might not break in transit.

I like my brown bread with hot dogs and baked beans. If you don't care for hot dogs, subsitute kielbasa, smoked sausage, or bratwurst. Have to warm this bread (follow the directions on the can) and slather it with butter, or whatever spread you use.

I know, I know, slathering butter? Artery clogging thought, EW! Yep, makes the bread more tasty, but then this is my personal opinion. The bread is high in calories, 99% fat free and no cholesterol. It's pretty high in sodium, too. I wouldn't recommend it if you're on a low sodium diet or counting calories, but it's a wonderful addition to an otherwise bland meal.

When I was growing up, on Saturday's Mum would fix big pot of baked beans and we would have homemade baked beans, hot dogs, and brown bread for dinner that night. As I recall, it was a weekly staple in our house.

I've missed having these little whole onions on my Thanksgiving table since we moved to AZ. Just a little something for extra variety. They're not pickled, nor are they for putting into cocktails. Just warm them and add to any meal, but my preference is during the holidays especially at Thanksgiving. Good anytime of the year, though, with roast chicken, beef or pork complimenting mashed potatoes gravy, stuffing, squash, peas and cranberry sauce.

As I mentioned before I've had trouble finding turnip in AZ too. I don't know too many folks who like turnip, (it's probably the taste) maybe that's why they're not found out here frequently. I like turnip with my Thanksgiving dinner, I get my fill and don't think about it again until the next year. I cook turnip the same way I cook potatoes (for mashing), except I don't use milk, just a little chicken broth and some butter or margerine.

Six days and counting to Thanksgiving. We've invited a few friends to join us and I will do all the cooking. There's a lot to do, and I can and will get it all done...mostly before hand, except for cooking the turkey (the day of). Because of this little care package, dinner will be a success in a traditional New England way.

I wanted everyone to know what a wonderful sister I have. You've made my life better in so many ways. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

10 November 2010

It's a tad nippy this morning....in Arizona

For those of us who live in Arizona, this is a welcome time of year after the summer heat. Yes, it's the middle of November almost, too. The thermostat reads 68 degrees, and I've just gone to find my slippers, my feet are cold. Yes, cold! I put a sweater on too. It's just before sunrise, the coldest time of day.

Curmudge remarked he was cold an hour ago when he was getting ready for work. He was all bundled up when he went out the door. I had to laugh, though I'd never admit to being chilled. Time to get out the blankets and comforters. This is Arizona after all, it never really gets cold here, right? Bah! Yes it does get 'chilly' after you've lived here as long as I have. This is the desert, too!

I've had the AC shut down since early last week, though temperatures have been hovering in the lower eighty's in the daytime, it's off. Before you know it, Curmudge will want the heat on. I can live without the heat, don't need it, don't want it. Put a sweater on .... get up and move around, get that blood pumping and circulating. Mother and Grandmother would remind us all of this fact when we were growing up and complaining about the cold.

I haven't lived where it truly gets cold for more than thirty years, so this is a wonderful welcome time of year for me. I look forward to it, welcome it. BIG SIGH, it gets here later and later every year it seems. I'm reminded of the 'heat island' effect of this sprawling metro area. This is why I live on the outskirts of the city where there are farms and ranches. It stays a few degrees cooler.

It's going to be a nice, nice day. I'm not going to spend it inside, though I haven't quite decided what I will do outside.... I'll figure something out. What a gorgeous day!

06 November 2010

This doesn't work...

I can't work with Puzzle sitting on my desk! It's an absolute impossibility! I started this project more than an hour ago. Had to chase her off my desk finally. Then because she walked across my keyboard when she departed....

The pix I was downloading from my camera disappeared. Oh no! Then my new computer told me that there were no new pix to download. They're still on the 2GB memory card I have....but I don't know how to get them off it now! I'm so confused!

I still haven't figured it out either. BUT, they weren't really lost! They just went somehwere else, not where I'd intended them to go. Anyway, after some searching, I finally found them. It took a while to restore everything she'd so innocently tried to help me with. Now, maybe I will remember where to find them when I need them again. My picture folder system isn't the best.

I'm still trying to figure out this Windows 7 Operating System. I have a book for reference (for dummies like myself), but sometimes even that isn't giving me what I'm looking for.

They say patience is a virtue. Apparently, I don't have much this morning. I got really frustrated and had to walk away for a few minutes. Of course, it probably doesn't help that I'm not quite awake, haven't had enough caffiene, and have too many things going on in my head either.

Now, I can't remember what I was going to post about. Oh well, I'll think of it later....

02 November 2010

How did I get my CB handle?

In the late 1980's and into the 1990's I was an electrician's apprentice. I didn't do well bending pipe so the boss put me on the wire pulling crew.

The wire pulling crew pulled all the wire on our jobs. We were a small group. Usually only three or four of us in the crew. Once the wire was all pulled in an area we went back and tied the wire together for the devices that would go in the walls and ceilings. Usually, I was the one first sent back to tie wires together with 'wire connectors' aka wire nuts.I kept my supplies in a grocery cart and it went everywhere with me on the site. The wire crew always knew where to come when they needed more wire nuts. So, they started calling me Wirenut. It stuck.

I started CBing before I went to truck driving school and I was looking for a unique handle to use. Someone on the crew suggested I use 'Wirenut'. Eveyone thought I was nuts when I told them I was going trucking. Ironically, they were mostly retired over the road truckers. They would be sorry to see me leave, but wished me well and success. I took the handle with me. To this day, I'm known as 'Wirenut' on the road.

Elk Mountain, Wyoming

The first flurries of the season were beginning to fall in the higher elevations of Wyoming and Utah. It was the middle of October, my first winter out as an over the road truck driver. This would also be my first expereince driving over a mountain at night. We were just outside Evanston, Wyoming where we had swapped drivers. I was nervous, but I knew I could do it. My co-driver had gone to the bunk for some sleep.

The road was wet and mostly deserted. I had set the volume low on the CB so I wouldn't disturb my partner's sleep. It wasn't long before I heard a voice call out .... 'Hey Covenant, where ya headed?' I keyed up to say we were headed into Oklahoma City. 'Whatcha ya doin' way up here if you're going down to Okycity?' That's how our night long conversation began. Four hours into the run I was starting to get a little sleepy. I said as much to my faceless companion on the CB. I was assured he wouldn't let me fall asleep as we kept on trucking.

I don't remember drifting off to sleep. When the steering wheel whipped out of my hands and I felt the rumble of the wheels...I knew I was headed off the road. I was awake now! I could hear the panicky voice on the CB, too.... 'Wirenut!!!!Wirenut!!!!!' My co-driver was instantly in the passenger seat. He'd heard the tires hit the rumble strips.

In a calm soothing voice he said, 'Careful now, don't jerk it, nice and slow, ease it back onto the road...' I pulled the steering wheel gently to the left and the rig righted ittself returning to the roadway. I glanced in the mirror to see the trailer follow me. 'Good job....the road's getting slick, so don't gun it, okay?' My co-driver said. I sighed a big sigh. This scenario was one of my worst nightmares, falling asleep while driving.

An hour later, my faceless CB companion and our two co-drivers were having breakfast and coffee in the big truckstop in Laramie. My faceless CB companion's handle is 'Jersey'. I wouldn't see him again for a long time after that. We would meet again in the Covenant drop yard in Phoenix, AZ.

Posters note:
The elevations of Elk Mountain in Wyoming is 11,156 feet above sea level. Interstate 80 runs east and west through there. I estimate the roadway is probably somewhere in the vicinity of 8,000-8,500 feet above sea level. Snow comes and goes from those elevations from mid-September to mid-May, sometimes earlier and sometimes later in the year. Elk is also known for high wind and ice advisories throughout the year. The handle 'Wirenut' was and still is my handle when I'm trucking.

30 October 2010

NASCAR is coming to Phoenix...the week of November 12-14

Phoenix International Raceway, also known as PIR to locals, is nestled in the foothills of the Estrella Mountains southwest of Phoenix about twenty miles. The surrounding neighborhood is quiet except for the two times a year NASCAR comes to the valley of the sun to visit.

Zoomtown is one of the largest fan based RV parking areas on the circuit and is within walking distance to the track. Zoomtown swells to more than one hundred thousand on race weekends and is the safest place to stay. It has it's own Urgent Care Facility and supermarket, so once you're there, there's no need to leave the track to go into town for gorceries, beer or whatever you need. It's all there for you. Turn out is always excellent. The last two years, PIR has lowered spectator seat prices to bring the fans out. The concept has worked well even in this poor economy, the fans come in droves.

There's always something happening in and around the track and Zoomtown during race weeks. You can choose from a variety of venues, pretty much anything you could want to spend money on, and it's not inexpensive either. It's simply what one would expect for any sporting event. NASCAR is no exception.

I haven't spent a weekend at Zoomtown, though it might be fun to do with a bunch of people just once. I generally get to the track early enough to find a decent parking space close enough to where my seats are and have time to wander through the all the vendors looking for something I might not be able to live without. In the past I have bought a few things to put into a scrapbook with other race week memorabilia. Yep, anyone who is a fan of NASCAR has favorites. I'm no different, I have mine too.

Funny thing is, NASCAR isn't like other sporting events where you want to be closer to the action. Tickets for other 'close to the action' sporting events are premium priced. At NASCAR, you want to be higher up from track level action to be able to see all the action. This is where the cost gets pricy. The higher up you go in the stands, the pricier tickets are.

I've had seats nearly at track level and right across from pit road, and I've had seats on turn four where most of the wrecks happen when they're racing in Phoenix. Not that I'm a fan of wrecking, mind you. I could see more from this postion. Next time I go to the races, I think I'll opt for turn four again and splurge to get a seat higher up. It will be worth the extra dollars to be able to see almost all of the track.

The chase is on. PIR's November race is the next to last race of the season before a Chase winner is crowned in Homestead, FL. This one mile track offers fans a great deal for the money, and it's always an exciting race for the drivers too.

Welcome race fans! Have a safe and fun weekend!

29 October 2010

What's it going to take?

The American dream? America, land of opportunity, of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The opportunity for a good education, the opportunity to work in any sector you want to work in. Where has the American dream gone? It's not in my back yard. I was born here, I was raised here, I was educated here.

What American dream....I should be having the time of my life. I should be looking forward to retirement. I shouldn't be worrying about where my next meal or shower might come from. I can't retire, I'm not having the time of my life. I'm screaming inside....I'm homeless! I'm unemployed! I need a job! I need insurance to cover medical expenses! "Who can help me?" I certainly don't have a clue anymore. What's it going to take?

What's it going to take for you to realize our elected officials are not only paid from our tax dollars, but also from excessively large donations paid through 501-C not for profit entities that don't have be reported because the Supreme Court ruled these 501-C contributions don't have to be. You wanted clean elections? Not happening!

So what's next? The rich get richer and the middle class slides into the abyss to become poor, and those that were already poor to begin with get poorer. More and more become homeless right along with those of us who have been under employed for more than two years, or have already lost jobs, lost their health care coverage, and are now loosing their homes.....

And they say times are tough? Who made times tough? It certainly wasn't me or or you? Who was it then? My opinion...Corporate America, the need for absolute control and power over the government! I don't care much about political party affiliations. I don't have any. I want fairness within the system.

I do care when I haven't been able to buy health care coverage for over ten years, because employers I've worked for haven't been required to offer it, and haven't paid enough wage for me to afford to buy my own. I certainly don't live above my means in anyway shape or form, either.

Then I lose my job and apply for unemployment. I get sick, too. I ask for help to cover catastrophic medical expenses and do you know what I was told? You make too much money to qualify....denied!

After all that, my unemployment benefit gets delayed while the Congress (republicans and democrats, house and senate) debate where the money is going to come from to help states pay for extended benefits, because more and more people are becoming unemployed.

Wow! I'm homeless now! What a shock that was, especially since it happened just before I went in for major surgery (I did get medical coverage because of this catastrophic illness). I still don't have money coming in, my health will suffer because I have to jump through hoops to get medical services...pretty sad state of affairs for someone who is close sixty years old, and should be looking toward retirement. I'm still looking for a job, too.I will have to keep working past retirement age, too.

I pay taxes every year, faithfully. I get taxed on the limited amount of money I receive from unemployment, too. I earned the right to have this benefit, and it's a pittance of what I could be earning if I could find a job. I'm not asking for much.

To hear some extremist say people receiving unemployment are lazy, makes me crazy! It is so not true! Who are these people and where have they been? Have they been hiding in their cushy offices, not paying attention to what's happening in their districts, getting paid to look the other way by some special interest lobby group while a 'mega' corporation can reap in ridiculous profits in a recently past quarter? To hear another say they will work (if elected) to raise the retirement age, to do away with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid (I'm sorry privatize Social Security and Medicare). What are they thinking?

Aren't these people in D.C. are supposed to be working for 'main street' America? They're not working for me! They aren't working for my district! They aren't working for the state I live in! They're working for special interests and the lobby's. My tax dollars pay their salaries, pay their health care, and pay their retirements even if they're not re-elected. Your tax dollars pay for that, too. This kind of stuff really, really makes me angry! Who are these people? What's it going to take?

25 October 2010

We need a bigger apartment.....

I've been staying with a friend since the end of June. I've been unemployed and had major medical issues for about a year. When the Senate delayed passing unemployment extensions for thousands of unemployed in the United States, I was one of them. This forced me to reconsider how I was going to make ends meet and keep a roof over my head. Because of the lack of income, I moved in with my friend a scant three days before I went into the hospital for major surgery. I've recovered sufficiently to look for work and go back to work. Many applications later, I finally landed an interview last week. Having been unemployed for so many months is an issue with the prospective employer, because there's no current experience for him to draw from, or that I can prove I can do the job at hand, and he doesn't know me. There is one plus in my favor. I've been a 'casual' driver for the company a number of times in the last few years. I know their system.

After that interview, I commented we needed to find larger accommodations. My friend has agreed in principle, but suggested we wait to see where jobs land us. My point was that while we're not working we should be scoping out potential places, have an action plan in place, just in case.....we do get back to work full time and aren't able to arrange to have time off together to get a move done. Pretty logical stuff here. He's lived in this apartment for more than ten years and has admitted that he hates to move. Well, okay, I hate to move too. I get that.

We all know the economy is poor. Jobs are tough to get even as truck drivers. Neither of us wants to go back over the road as drivers and be away from home weeks on end, that doesn't equal quality of life for us anymore. This apartment is one bedroom, so my bedroom is in the living room. My bed is a queen sized fold up air bed with a collapsible frame. It's a pretty neat thing. Works well because it can be collapsed and pushed out of the way. The new job (if I do get it) will take me away overnights for twenty-four hours at a time, and I would have to sleep between runs when I am here. Logically speaking, the best case scenario is we share a place until (if or when)the economy improves. I'd already started scoping places out because when I came to stay here it was gong to be a temporary thing. I wanted a place of my own with my 'stuff' around me. Selfish thinking, I suppose, times have changed.

I had a starting point anyway when I made the suggestion we go looking. Unfortunately, the economy is not cooperating and is forcing us to combine our resources and share a place together. It will be beneficial for both of us for the time being. I have priorities. First is a budget. I've lived on a tight budget for so long it's just something I do. Affordability is a must in a new place (two bedrooms). A new place has to be a place that either of us can afford if something happens to one or the other of us. Second is location, location. It has to be convenient to our jobs and a short ride down to where I keep my horse. After all that is shopping, banking and paying the bills. This complex has all that and then some.

So off we went to look at Southwest Village where a friend of mine has lived for five years. It has the location and it has affordability. What we save in fuel consumption, will be absorbed in slightly higher rent from where we are now, and splitting expenses will actually help in the long run. We looked at a 2 bedroom 2 bath unit, which had apparently been upgraded, and would cost $50.00 a month more than she'd already quoted us. Strike one, the appliances were black and the cabinets had been refinished poorly. Strike two, the parking left some to be desired, my friend wouldn't be able to look out the window and see his vehicle. Strike three, there were small children next door. Not that we don't like children, we just like them quieter than these were....

I do have to say the views were nice. I could see mountains from the front porch, something I have missed since staying where we are now. The yard in front of the building was huge and overlooked a large alfalfa field. The exposure is to the southwest which might be an issue when it comes to keeping the place cool. The kids would not be a deal breaker but $50.00 a month more for black appliances would be. We've decided that this particular unit will not due for us not because of the parking or kids, but because of the black appliances and poorly finished cabinet upgrade.

On the flip side, we have decided the complex is suitable for our needs. It's affordable and meets the rest of our criteria. Next order of business is to finalize the deal and set a date to move. We don't know when that would be, they will have to find us a unit in a suitable location in the complex for us.

Apparently, my enthusiasm is infectious. He's caught up in it too. One of his concerns is that he has big furniture. Yeah, so what? I've been there before with big furniture. I took a tape measure with me to measure rooms for just that reason. One look was all it took for me to know that it would work his furniture and us. I know how to make furniture work! I already have in mind where stuff will go. We don't know when the move is going to happen.....stay tuned.

16 October 2010

Grandmother taught me...

I'm again reminded of some advice my Grandmother imparted when I was young. This also from the pix from my sister's blog @ www.tildentalks.com

Grandmother had lots of advice. For instance, she washed dishes by hand, because we didn't have automatic dishwashers back then, and I was learning how to be 'the dishwasher' in our household. She said, 'do the pots and pans first. That gets them out of the way.' Then she said to wash the plates, bowls, saucers, etc. I wondered why she had left the silverware and utensils for last, so I asked. She said to change the wash water in the sink and replace it with the hottest water to be found. She went on to explain that doing this would get the gook and grime off the silver and utensils faster and at the same time kill any germs on them. In essence sanatizing them. She said a light scrubbing after the water cooled down would see them shinney clean and after rinsing in hot water they would be ready to use again.

In this case, she had heated water on the stove to boiling. She poured the hot water over the silver and utensils and squirted a tiny bit of dish soap into the mix. Then to my amazement she dried her hands, walked away and poured herself another cup of tea. She had to explain (I was really young about five or six at the time) the water was too hot to put her hands into, she would wait a little for the water to cool down before she finished. Made sense, I wouldn't want my hands burned either.

It was much later in life when I was reminded of another piece of advice she'd given me. When she prepared Sunday dinner or holiday meals such as Thanksgiving, she used to spend much of her time in the kitchen. She always seemed to be a the sink, too. Once I asked why she didn't come and sit down with the rest of us. She explained that as she prepared meals and used utensils and things she would wash them and put them away to keep the kitchen more orderly. After she put a roast in to roast, she would get out serving dishes that had not been used in a long time and wash them for the table setting. She said after the meal was over there wouldn't be so much clean up especially when everyones belly's were full. The clean up would take less time. It made sense, and today I still use her method when I'm preparing a festive meal.

I think we all had grandmother's who tried to teach us things when we were growing up. Today those lessons are probably a lost art. Many of us have dishwashers in our kitchens that are used religiously. I've always hated doing dishes and I have a dishwasher. I have to admit, my dishwasher is used to store stuff I don't use often. I wash dishes by hand as my grandmother did. I do this because I live alone and leaving dishes in the dishwasher unwashed for a week isn't healthy. I don't care how well they may have been rinsed. It's just not healthy. Besides if you're going to rinse them profusely, you might as well wash them and get it over with. Running a half load of dishes in a dishwasher is costly in hot water and electricity. Yep I'm penny conscious. Sage advice from long ago.

Grandmother's pearls

I'm going to add a link to my sister's blog; www.tildentalks.com just because the 'picnic' pix she posted reminded me. This pix had my sis, that's the first place your eyes go, and she wasn't smiling. Then there were my brothers, my mum and Grandmother dressed in black and wearing pearls. Yep, sure enough pearls and a tiny hat. I suspect they had been to church before they had that picnic and I don't remember where I was when it was taken. I do know the picture was taken at my grandparents summer home in Wolfeboro, NH. It's a vague memory, but I remember Papa building that table and painting it that horrible green. Anyway, I thought it was a horrible color, turns out it was a common color, forest green.

Grandmother always had advice for accessorizing or dressing up whatever you might have in your closet or dresser. She was definitely a penny pincher. In the thirty's, forty's, and fifty's pearls, gloves and lacy handkerchief's were a lady's inexpensive accessory to any outfit. I don't ever remember a picture of her without those pearls around her neck.

Pearls will compliment most any type of dress. Excellent for an evening out dancing with friends, going to the movies, going to work, and to church on Sundays. Yes, I also have a set of pearls and I'd wear them if the occasion arose, and yes, I'd wear them with blue jean's and boots, too.

Blue jean's and boots are my favorite attire on any given day, 'cause I'm working around the horses, or driving a big rig. I wouldn't consider wearing pearls to do daily around the house chores like Grandmother did. The work I do is much harder on a string of pearls than what Grandmother's lifestyle was. I've been known to dress up which is not often, mind you, but always blue jean's and boots. I've put pearls around my neck, on my fingers, and in my ears, and then I have topped it all off with a dressy cowboy hat for the occasion.

When Grandmother dressed for the day, she knew what she was going to do for that day, whether or not it included dong housework, going to the grocery, or whatever she had planned. She never went anywhere without her pearls. She definitely did not go out of the house without them, her gloves, or that lacy little handkerchief poking out of her handbag.

I wouldn't dress like that today, and I'm a grandmother, but I'm not your average 'stay at home' grandmother either. I still work. In those days, grandmother's and moms stayed at home raising children and taking care of the home. Men brought home the sole income. Times have changed seventy-five plus years later, but I still have 'my' pearls.

14 October 2010

8 years later....it's finally done!

Yeah! Hooray! The Hoover Dam Bypass project is complete and set to open...(as reported by the Associated Press) I saw this blip on a local media outlet website this morning.

WoooHooo! Finally! The project began 8 years ago. It was originally designed to remove thru traffic from the dam, which is a tourist 'must see' if you're in the area, and to keep the dam safe from would-be terrorism attacks (after 9-11).

The dedication is today and is expected to have dignitaries from both NV and AZ as well as media crunch and who knows how many tourists. I liked the idea of the bypass from the get-go. The dam has been closed to big truck traffic since 9/11/2001 and this new bypass route is opening ahead of schedule, too! Yeah!

I've been over the dam in a big rig one time, and many other times in a four wheeler. I don't quite know how to describe the experience in the big rig, or the roadways leading to and leaving from the dam. But I'll give it a shot. The evening I crossed the dam in my big rig, the sun was going down and hindering my sight. It was hairy. I just crept along hoping and praying. A CB radio was a good tool to have on board. I had one and it was on. I could listen to the chatter and maybe miss the guy coming at me in another big rig, by not crossing paths at the same time on one of the tighter turns. It was nighmarish and nerve wracking. The roadway was/and is narrow and twisty. Traffic was slow, moving at a snails pace and sometimes stopped all together. This of course due to the tourists walking along the dam taking pix and the 25 mph speed limit. There was no getting across here in a timely manner. Two fifty-three's (a truckers term for two rigs with long trailers) couldn't pass each other at the same time on a tight turn without scraping sides, never mind a four wheeler who thought he was in a hurry and trying to pass where there just wasn't enough room to do so. Scary stuff this.

Anyway, I'm sidetracked again with musings from the past....

The new bridge will open next week according to the media report. The dam ittself will be closed to auto crossing traffic. There will be parking avaiable to stop and take pix.

I've been up to the construction site a number of times over the years, but have not worked on the project...wish I had, but that's beside the point... The new bridge is awesome and high above the Hoover Dam. I'd be just one of many who might not be able to use the new bridge because of it's height. I'm terrified of high places and this definitely meets the criteria for that fear. This new span is 890 feet above the Colorado River, half again higher than the Hoover Dam is already. Yikes! I might not be able to ride/drive across the new span because of this, which would ultimately be a shame because the views will be spectacular! Although, hopefully authorities will not allow traffic to stop to take pix on the new span.

I'm sure there will be more media coverage the next few weeks as things get back to normal after the official opening.... Maybe I'll even make the trip and have a crossing for myself. Shudder! I'll keep you posted.

Note: Pix in this post were taken by me.

13 October 2010


Curmudgeon is old...not as old as one would think, but old...I've heard old people don't sleep much. I can attest to that fact. Curmudge, as I call him for short, lived alone for a long time before I came to stay with him the end of June. The place was a disaster area! I had to wonder how on earth he hadn't gotten sick. I shouldn't even go here, but I have to. Anyway, back then I only had a few days to spruce the place up before I went into the hosptial for major surgery. I was away for six days and came back to find the place disasterized again. It was awhile before I could get about and after the cleaning again. I was pretty slow moving. The place needed drastic attention! Today, my chief complaint is he's stopped doing anything for himself.

Curmudge hasn't been sleeping well at all. He hasn't been feeling well either, for about three weeks now I guess. I've been trying to reason with him...he just can't hear me. No, no, it's more like he doesn't want to hear the truth, so he turns a deaf ear. Stubborn, very, very stubborn. I get that he might be hard of hearing, this is what he tells me anyway; but I think his hearing is selective, especially when I'm trying to explain something he doesn't want to hear. He's copped to not listening once or twice. Now that's a milestone. I win! Or do I? I wonder.

I'm concerned he may have developed type 2 diabetes. His feet are so swollen. He insists he doesn't have diabetes, and his reasoining is that the docs would have found it in July when he had a physical prior to having surgery on his wrist. His asumption might be correct, but I think not. Anyone his age can develop diabetes of the aged. It's common in folks over 60, and he is that, over 60. Nag, nag, nag. That's what I do...I suppose. The point is, I'm concerned about his feet and his overall health. He hasn't been taking care of himself.

I've finally managed to get him to call his doctor...he did that this morning. He's on a waiting list. If another patient cancels they will call him to come in. I'm a little miffed. He told the nurse he'd been sick about a week. That's just not true! It's been almost three weeks. But what do I know? He's known to have indulged in excesses of alcohol, he might well have alcohol poisoning. But then I can't make that determination, only the doc can. I don't want to go into too many details, it's not supposed to be my business anyway. He wouldn't be a happy camper if he knew I was blogging about him.

I've been after him for about a week now too, to get himself into the shower, wash his nappy clothes, and the soiled bed linens. EW! YUCK! GROSS! My reasoning was and is, if he cleaned himself up he would feel better? I dunno, maybe, could just be wishful thinking on my part. 'Nuf said on this point.

Wooohooo! Hooray! Finally some motivation! Everything is getting washed! The stink will go away, maybe? Here's my thinking on this...if it is odorous enough that I can smell it with my dysfunctional sniffer, then others can too. It's worse than my kittes litter boxes and that's pretty bad, 'cause I take care of the litter boxes every day faithfully. They're parked next to my desk.

......and the latest good news is, he didn't wait for the docs office to call him in. He just announced he was going to the office to wait to see someone. Hooray! Wooohooo!

06 October 2010

Are these cats goofy or what?

This is Puzzle, she is mama to Nilly and Gibby. She is kind of timid most of the time and finds herself anywhere she can to either hide or sleep. Lots of times I have to rescue her from under my friends bed, because Gibby chases her there, and I guess she doesn't much care for him anymore.

This is Nilly. She is Gibby's sister. She too likes to sleep in unusual places. In this pix she found herself a place behind my friends laptop computer and just before I snapped this pix she was laying her head on my book as if it was a pillow.

This is Gibby. He sleeps like this alot. I wondered if it was unusual for cats to sleep like this, but come to find out, it's not all that unusual. Recently, I took him to the vet and had him neutered...something absolutely necessary after I came to stay with my friend and his all night caterwalling made it nearly impossible to get any rest. My friend was close to letting him out just to get some peace. Since his neutering the caterwalling and carrying on has stopped and he's become a pretty good guy to have around. He will even sit in my lap (but only for a few seconds) or sit patiently beside me on the couch...something he never used to do.

I'm often surprised how kittenish all three can still be. They love to zoom around the apartment, especially after we've settled in for the night. Puzzle rarely enters the game, but will sit and watch at a descrete distance. The weather has finally begun to cool down and we can leave the front door open for a short while in the morning and early evenings. I've witnessed all three of them sitting side by side looking out the door. They remind me of guard cats, which I'm sure they are not! If someone were to even come close to the door they would scoot away and hide.

In the evenings, the neighbor cats will pass by to say 'hello' and have a good sniff. Mine will sometimes fluff up aggressively, but all is well when the outside neighbor moves away. There is no hissing or spitting through the steel screen door. I know my kids would love to go outside, but I just can't let that happen. There is too much traffic here and I'd be afraid they'd get chased into the streets by the other cats possibly to get hit or lost. Are they resigned to being kept inside? I don't think so, I think they're hopeful one day their human Mum will let them out again....

I don't mind that they romp and zoom at night (only occasionally when they land on me as they go by). I don't mind spending fifteen minutes every morning after the food is put down recovering kitty toys that have been pushed out of paws reach. At least I know they're doing what they like to do best...they're having the time of their lives. Zoom..zoom.

03 October 2010

Sunday mornings

Sunday mornings are for sleeping in. Sunday is the first day of the new work week. A day for rest or relaxation or whatever you want to do with it. BUT, it's not for getting up at the crack of dawn especially after you've finally gone to sleep three hours earlier. I'm sitting here in a fog nursing a massive lack of sleep headache even the coffee isn't curing this morning....

I couldn't get to sleep last night. Even the usual routine of reading didn't relax me enough to fall asleep. Usually it doesn't take long to fall asleep after reading for a few minutes...not last night! I've been stretching the waking hours the last few days because my roommate has been watching TV until the wee hours...the lack of quality sleep is catching up with me I suppose.

Still trying to clear the fog. My roommate got up early early, a rarity on any other day. But, I sleep in the living room and when you sleep in the living room, it's not cool to turn on the TV and disturb the other person trying to sleep. I went off! He didn't go to bed until after midnight and then he bumbled around the apartment all night...he was trying to be quiet but didn't quite succeed. I'm sure he thought about turning on the TV again, to sit and stare into nothingness, but at least he had the courtesy not to do that. If he had, I think I'd have gone over the edge and would have hastily exited taking myself and the kitty's to a motel which I know I can't afford. Yes, I'm complaining!

"But I thought you wanted to get back into the routine of getting up early?" He said (sort of contritely)....I bit my tongue to avoid making any comments that would bring on a loud disagreement between us, we have too many of those as it is...Yep, sure, I want to get up early and get back into a routine, but hell I don't want to do it at the expense of my rest! And I was thinking; 'Yeah the routine would be great if you'd go to bed at a reasonable hour and go to sleep'. (Early to bed early to rise....is that the old adage?) They say older folks don't sleep as much as they did in their younger years....My roommate is old! I guess that accounts for the lack of sleeping he does....maybe not.

I apologised after the initial outburst and so did he, but it doesn't change the fact that I'm probably going to stay a grump all day. He'll stay out of my way, I'd guess. He watched as I stumbled around picking up my bedding, folding it up, and breaking down the air mattress...I sleep on a queen sized camp air mattress on a sturdy frame, in the living room. It's way cool and convenient. This is a small apartment and we are cramped here.

With all this going on, in the background and under my feet there's a kitty voice calling 'feed me, feed me'. It's persistent and an everyday occurrence. They wait patiently until I get up and make it past them without stepping on them, then the one voice becomes three chiming all together. Routine. They get fed first even before I get my first cup of coffee.

Used to be, before I came to stay here, I had all sorts of big and little kitty voices talking to me as I made my way to the kitchen first thing in the morning. Fortunately, I only have three now. Back then sometimes the multitudes would come in and play the zoom game over under back and forth to wake me up. It got my attention. Back then, too after the kitty's were fed, there was at least two cups of coffee, then out the door to feed the horses at the neighbors. That used to be the 'usual' routine. I haven't had that routine for more than three months now. It's way past time to get back into some kind of practical routine.

Anyway, I've never been one to go back to bed after taking care of the necessary feeding of the animals, unless I was truly not feeling well or confined to bed with some sort of ailment. I couldn't do it here anyway. The sun shines into the living room where I sleep and wakes me. With the summer officially over, daylight comes around five fifteen, sunrise occurs sometime just after six fifteen, and doesn't make it's bright 'light bulb' presence known until around seven AM, after that I am unable to sleep. In the back of my mind, too, there's this niggling feeling, I might miss something if I don't get up and get functional.

I can always find something to do...I've been in recovery mode for a number of months now and not been on any kind of regular schedule or routine. In general, I can get up after six or seven hours of rest without the assistance of an alarm clock. There are days when I can (and probably should) take a nap, but I really don't like to nap, it's screws up the rest of the sleep pattern. Regular routines are supposed to happen during the working week and not on weekends! And of course this is my opinion.

In any case...SUNDAYS ARE FOR SLEEPING IN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(if you can ha!) Not in this house!

01 October 2010

Getting ready...Woohoo! It's riding season again!

October 1st. Riding season is finally here!

This week I had Traveler trimmed. In other words, I had the farrier/shoer out to trim his long unkempt hoofs. It was way beyond time for this to be done, and something I can not do myself. Horses hoofs grow like our fingernails and if they're not cared for by someone who knows what they are doing, it can be devastating not only for the horse, but for the owner as well.

Anyway, the farrier says his hoofs are in excellent shape and in a few weeks we can trim again and shoe. This farrier is new to me and to Traveler. He comes recommended and I was impressed how he handled himself around Traveler. He took his time and didn't in anyway abuse my horse. For that I am very thankful, and Traveler seemed to like him too. A big plus in my book.

I haven't been riding in nearly two years. Traveler has been standing in his pen, always ready to go, or in the pasture with the other horses. I wouldn't take him off property right now without another rider with me. This is just common sense, and also I don't need to get hurt.

There are no good excuses why I haven't been riding, though I can think of a couple....Maybe because there's been no one to ride with? Maybe because I've had a myraid of health issues?...In truth, my laziness accounts for most of why I've not been riding. But for whatever reason(s) I haven't been riding all this time, it's time to get my butt in gear and get ready to ride!

Safety first. It's going to take some work on my part to get Traveler ready to leave the confines of the property where I board him. I'm not fooling myself that he isn't going to be a handful and unruly when we do go off site....But we can start in the pasture and work there until I feel comfortable and relatively secure that we can leave the site without unjury to myself, to him or someone else. It's just common sense. He needs some muscle tone and I need the sore muscles before we can head for the trails in South Mountain Park. I figure it's going to take about four weeks of work, three to four times a week to get him and myself ready, so the timing is good. He will have new 'nike's' by that time and we'll be ready to go.

It's finally starting to cool down in Arizona. I don't ride during the heat of the summer. It's too hot for the horse and too hot for me. Some like to ride at night during the summer months. I stopped doing that a few years ago, when I couldn't get a good handle on things in the dark. Traveler has excellent eyesight in the dark and he would never allow me to get hurt, but you never know what is lurking out there.

Am I a wus? Probably. I'm getting older and so is he. Neither of us needs to get hurt, me especially, and I'd be horribly upset if he did. We are a team and have been since he was three years old. There is complete trust between us.

So, I'm gong to storage today. My saddle and other tack for Traveler have been there since I moved earlier this summer. It needs to be cleaned and checked out. Again safety first. Heading out on the trails with tack that is in disrepair is a recipe for disaster. I suppose one could liken it to ski season. You wouldn't head out for a day of skiing without first checking your equipment. The same applies here. Hopefully, there won't be any accidents or incidents on the trails this season.

Wish me luck! 'Cause I'm getting ready to ride!

26 September 2010

An insiders' point of view

"Trucking down the road" by Quilly @ www.quildancer.com

Quilly and her guy were out visiting family last week, and when they returned she posted this little blip about trucking. I don't know Quilly, but she and my sister are friends. Her site is varied and very interesting. I'm truly envious of her talent. Quilly is right...there seems to be plenty of freight to haul, and if you want a job as a truck driver it's easy enough to get one. But I'm getting side tracked.

Trucking isn't for the average John or Jane Doe. Trucking is hard work! Let me tell you this from my fifteen years of experience in the industry. Driving and maneuvering one of those big rigs down the highways ans byways of the United States takes practice and skill. They say practice makes perfect. In this case it isn't the perfect you're after, it's being a highly skilled professional that you're after. It isn't as easy as it looks.

Today, if you don't know someone who is already in the business and is willing to teach you, going to one of the many truck driving schools is about the only option one has to get into a big rig. The school is 160+ hours of classroom, skills learning and road practice. Unfortunately, the road practice time is never enough and basically all you learn in the school is enough to pass state and federal complaince guidlelines and laws to hold a Commercial Drivers License.

The real learning doesn't start until the day you climb into the rig with the driver mentor or driver trainer who is going to be your constant companion for the next six weeks or so. A driver mentor or driver trainer is the guy or gal who has spent at least a winter on the road, hopefully more experienced than that, and been through the training program with their company and has been certified to mentor/train and assist you in refining the skills you have already learned, teaching you the rules of the road, and the company policies. This second phase of learning can be an excellent experience, it can be mediocre, or it can be disasterous. Fortunately, while I was learning, I had excellent mentor/trainers, and I learned a great deal. I have a short story to share, too.

I've rescued a number of lady drivers from ill fitting situations with their driver mentor/trainers. These scenarios have many faces, from verbal abuse, lack of hygeine, the second logbook syndrome (this is someone who is in it just for the extra money they earn), and lastly to the driver who really doesn't have the necessary skills or mindset to do the job they've been certifed to do, which is to mentor and train new drivers entering the industry. This is a huge, huge issue within the industry, one that is difficult to remedy. I won't go into it here and will save it for another posting.

There are excellent mentor/trainers, there are average, and those who do it just for the money as I noted before. Add to this the stress of the time spent away from family, the lifestyle, and the fear of being in a confined space with someone you don't know 24/7 for at least the next six weeks. It's an emotionally charged situation, and this can be just the beginning. If by chance or by fate, you get one of the good guys or gals as a mentor/trainer you have a good chance of beating the odds and becoming a decent operator. So you're on your way, good luck!

The next six weeks .... what to expect

Okay, so now you're headed for California on your first trip, but you have to get loaded.....Get loaded, what's that? Well my friends, it's what you're going to be doing for a living for however long you have chosen to be an over the road truck driver. You're going to be moving all kinds of commodities all over the United States.

Hopefully, your partner is going to give you a break on this first run, so sit, watch and ask questions. While you're at the dock getting loaded you might take a nap, it would be a good idea. It's probably going to be a long night. It isn't long before the shipper knocks on the door and says it's ready to go. You follow your partner inside and watch while the shipping documents are signed. Whew! That was not so bad, eh? Down the road you go in the passenger seat. Piece of cake. Not so fast. Hopefully, you had questions during the loading process. Ask questions, if you don't ask then you can't learn. Hopefully, you grasped some of the idiosyncrasies of backing into a tight space. Probably not, that will come, so don't get frustrated just yet.

The load gets delivered the next afternoon, but whoa you're really tired, hungry and need a shower. But your partner tells you 'we don't have time' and 'you need to get some sleep, I'll be driving us out from the next shipper, but it will be your turn to drive very soon'.

Into the bunk you go. Sleep? What's that? Nope, not happening. The rig is moving, can't sleep behind someone you don't know or trust, or whatever it is, you just can't get to sleep, so you get up and sit in the passenger seat again. Your partner looks at you sideways and asks what's up? Answer, can't sleep.

Okay, the rig gets pulled over to the side of the road as soon as it's safe. Partner says, 'Your turn to drive...not going to sleep you drive!' Shit, it's pitch black out there and you have to have flashlight in hand to inspect the equipment. Partner says, 'no just get under the wheel and lets get after it'. Red flag! Reality check! Harsh! Do something that wasn't drilled into your head at the school? What's this? Partner reminds you, you will do safety checks and inspections, but since he/she has already done it...it's not necessary. The rig needs to get down the road.

There's no point in arguing, they're the boss, so it isn't going to be a partnership at all. He/she assists you with your logbook and settles you into the seat, reminding you to check the adjustment of the mirrors, reminds you to have cigarettes, lighter, drink, and anything else you need close at hand. Scared? You bet. Hands are shaking, you don't know if you can shift this rig, it isn't the same as the one in school. Panic sets in. Then the crowning blow, he/she suggests you're going to drive 350 miles before you can swap drivers again. Mind is spinning with what ifs ....ask questions.

Okay, your partner has relented with instructions and tells you they're going to be right behind the drape if you need something or feel like you're going to fall asleep. Waits until you get the rig rolling and into the flow of traffic. Fortunately, the traffic is light, but it's pitch black outside and you can't see anything around you. Fear, major fear! Grinding gears as you struggle to get up to speed with out getting run over by another big rig, or run under by some little four wheeler. Down the road you go, hands with a death grip on the steering wheel. White knuckles. Partner reaches through the drape for a pillow and settles into an uncomfortable position in the passenger seat with one eye open...you get the message that that person is not going to sleep either until you prove you can get down the road. This is just the first lesson of many you will learn in the days and weeks to come. But you've made the start and you're on the road.

The weeks fly by...and before you know it....

Finally, you get to take a break for a couple of hours. In the first hour, you get a shower and then have the opportunity to have something decent to eat. You sit with your partner and talk mostly of inconsequential things. He/she wants to get to know you and is willing to share parts of their life with you, too.

Your driver mentor/trainer now has a chance to critique how you did on your first time driving. You get some praise, because he/she thought you did a good job getting down the road for the six hours it took you to move 350 miles, especially since you didn't fall asleep or wreck the rig. Don't let the praise go to your head, you're no where ready to fly by yourself. Theres' still a lot to learn.

Your logbook is beside you on the table and together you work on finishing the previous days entries and getting current. It's important that this becomes a regular routine. The penalties for not having your logbook current are.... well you really don't want to know. This will get drummed into your head, if your driver mentor/trainer is any good at what he/she does. They will be thorough and patient with you every step of the way while you learn and refine the skills you have learned and will learn from this person.

I can warn you, there will be days or a time when your driver mentor/trainer will not be in the best of moods...sometimes from the lack of sleep. But in any case, you will do something so trivial that he/she will go off. Take it in stride, it's all part of the learning process, especially if that person is good at what they do as I noted before. Hopefully, you've gotten one of the best to get you where you've chosen to go, and that's to become an over the road truck driver.

It's been a pleasent enough couple of hours, but you're really tired and want to go to bed. Your partner is going to hang out a while, maybe talk with some of the other drivers around. You are free to do what you need to do, you have a set of keys for the rig and can get in/out as you need to. The suggestion is made if you leave the rig, you leave the overhead light on above the passenger seat. This is to ensure that he/she will not drive off and leave you behind. In the reverse, if you've gone to bed, leave your footwear on the floor in front of the passenger seat. That way your partner will know you are sleeping and will try not to disturb you. You're reminded again, there is no smoking in the bunk area. It's a safety issue.

The days and nights begin to fly by and you learn at a rapid rate. Eventually by the end of the second week you're out during this segment of your training, you and your partner will be running 'team freight'. That means that you will be driving at least a ten hour leg and your partner will be in the bunk getting their rest. There will be trips where you will not have time for a shower or to eat a decent meal, but you will adjust, and the good thing is after the load has reached it's destination, you will more than likely have time for that shower and a decent meal. It can be a hectic pace. It becomes routine, a good working routine, and you will also like the pay check.

When it's all said and done, six weeks have past and you're on your way into the terminal to test out of your mentor/trainers rig and be assigned to your own. What a feeling! Pride! You're going to be responsible for your own equipment! Wow!Hopefully, you've learned how to manage your logbook, take care of all the paperwork, inspections and fueling, learned what to do in an emergency or during a breakdown, learned how to operate the communications device, have a good relationship with your driver manager, and have learned how to back that big rig into tight spaces, laugh! It's been worth it hasn't it? You feel pretty good about yourself and the accomplishment. You should feel pretty good, you've earned it and some time off.

A few final words of caution, don't let that pride go to your head, it can cloud your judgement, you still have a lot to learn. Going solo in your own rig is an adjustment, but you've been well prepared. So go home and enjoy the time off you've earned. Come back and make some money. We look forward to seeing you out there on the road, sometime. Welcome aboard.

23 September 2010

just thoughts

It's time I drew some attention to this blog and I haven't a clue where to start of where to begin... I'm not much of a writer I suppose, but I do give it a 'good ole college' try every time I post something. Good or bad, its here for everyone to see.

I've been looking at other bloggers sites. I am impressed with what they do. I think I'd have to work really hard to have sites like they have. I'm envious and I wonder if I have the energy.

It's been a helluva a year for me. The company I worked for closed it's doors in 2009 and I've worked a sum total of four days since that time. I've had a myraid of medical issues this year as well. I'm pleased to announce, I've received a clean bill of health and will go on living.

I'm frustrated and often times even angry about the state of affairs in this country. Never mind the state of affairs in the state I live in. I'm ashamed to admit where I live, and I don't want to live here any more.

Today's politics during the best of times is confusing. In today's age of real time media reporting, it becomes more confusing, more frustrating, and in my opinion more convoluted. I'm not political by any stretch of the imagination. I tend to sit back and adopt a watch, wait and see attitude. I try to stay informed so I can make a reasonable choice when the time comes to vote. Yeah, I get that if I am not at least a little vocal about how I feel....I might not motivate someone else to get out and vote. It's not important who or what you vote for, the bottom line is to get out and vote. The choice is yours and not mine.

I've wanted to relocate for a number of years. Unfortunately, I find myself in the untenable situation of not having the funds to make it happen, let alone the assets to cover living expenses until I find a job in the new location. Yeah, yeah having a job before I leave where I am presently would be the best course of action. On the flip side, the move, when it happens is nearly 3000 miles. A five to six day driving trip across country with three cats and a horse. Logically having that new job to go to before I move is the best case scenario. Since the moving part of the trip is so long, it may be necessary to get there first and establish myself. It's a coin toss. Both ideas have merits. In any case, I'm frustrated because I can't make it happen today! So, I dream, wish, and strategize. It makes me crazy sometimes.

What else bugs me? I'll have to think on this question some. I'm sure I'll think of something sooner or later. I'll post it another time. Have a wonderful day everyone.

15 August 2010

I couldn't sleep

Sunday, August 15, 2010 0259AM

I don't know if it was something outside that woke me or a combination of things. But I couldn't sleep. It's just after 0300 MST and my roommate is sleeping soundly. So I'm trying to be quiet and not having much luck.

Already, I've made a list of things I need to do today mostly comprised of things I didn't get done yesterday. I've booted up the computer, checked email, and did a short search for jobs that might be interesting to apply for. I've been looking for months. No one answered any of the emails I sent this week, so there was nothing to answer. The jobs I could apply for require applying on-line.

I did do one of those on-line thingy's on Friday. It took nearly two hours to get it complete and right so it would be accepted by the prospective employer. I can only surmise if you don't do it exactly right, even if it's accepted, you probably won't ever hear from that prospective employer. I have to wonder what an 'on-line application' looks like when it reaches the other end. I guess these days employers want to know you can use the computer or at least have some literacy about using it.

I hate to try and clean the apartment even when my roommate is home even if the hour is more normal. I know I'd be irritated if someone ran the vacuum around me (awake or not). I'd be irritated if someone loaded the dishwasher and set it to running a cycle especially in the wee hours. And I'd be pissed off if someone was cleaning in the bathroom and I desperately needed to use it. I can get these things done in a timely manner sometime later today. I hope. For now, I'll just put them on the bottom of my 'to do list'.

It's even too early to go to the store for the things I forgot yesterday when I was there. Apparently, they were either not on my list or I forgot to walk down the aisle to find them. The store I've been shopping at lately is not my usual neighborhood store, so I have to literally walk all the aisles to find stuff.

I could go for a walk, but I won't. This neighborhood I'm staying in isn't the safest. I'd be concerned not about getting mugged, but more about getting hit by some impaired driver trying to find his/her way home after a Saturday night out. It's still way dark outside.

Mind you, I'm not complaining. I'm awake and up. I feel like I should be doing something productive. I actually have energy this morning. I hate to do housework but it's something we all have to do.

I did get the kitties fed, they're happy for the moment and I did make a small pot of coffee which is nearly gone already. So, in lieu of being 'housework productive' at this early hour, I punch away at these keys rambling on about what I can't do, should do, instead of laying down again and trying to go back to sleep for a couple more hours. Maybe I'll give snoozing a try after all....after I clean the litter boxes! More later.

12 August 2010

Oreo -- Part Two

The Forest Lakes Incident, summer 2000

I have family in the Forest Lakes area I rarely get to see. I thought sending Oreo to Forest Lakes the summer of 2000 would be a good idea. I wanted him out of the excessive valley heat. I might also get to see this part of the family a little more often, too. They live about a mile from the summer stables.

I arranged for Oreo to be used as a wrangler horse. The guy or gal who was staying with the horses at the stables would use him to lead the rides they took. I made the trip every weekend to spend time with Oreo, collect the cash receipts for the owner, and take the wrangler gal to the store for groceries. It was how Oreo's feed and board would be paid while he was there. I would enjoy getting out of the excessive heat for a few hours, too.

A group of us decided to take off Fourth of July weekend and spend the weekend in Forest Lakes camping. Our camp area was about a mile or so east of the stables where the horses were kept. It's a secluded area nestled among the ponderosa pines with a small pond and an area where we could bring the horses if we wanted to.

The day after we arrived a friend and I decided to take a short ride to my cousins home for a visit. The horses made the trip in short order and we visited for about an hour. It was on the way back to the stables we were in for what would become the story of the weekend.

We were about half way back to the stables and coming at us was a small miniature horse drawn cart. Oreo balked, spun around and bolted in the direction we'd just come from. I had to keep telling myself not to panic as I sawed on the reins trying to get him to stop. I watched as the end of the road got closer and closer. Just beyond the end of the road was a big wide ditch. I knew Oreo wouldn't make the jump across it. If I couldn't get him stopped, I might be able to get him turned, but in any case we'd be in serious trouble really soon. I could hear my friend calling from down the road. He was having an issue with his horse, too.

I fnally did get Oreo stopped. We were less than a hundred feet from the ditch and a neighbor had run down his driveway to see if he could help in any way. I was shaking so bad I got off Oreo, and walked on wobbly legs toward the man. He asked if we were all right, and I told him we were fine except for the case of nerves. He chuckled and I did too as he held Oreo for me so I could mount again. Oreo hesitated as we moved forward again.

The little cart had disappeared from sight, but I could feel Oreo's nervousness under me. He knew it was somewhere close by. I could see my friend had control of his horse, again and was waiting for me. He was with the man who had been driving the little cart. They were talking together when I joined them.

The man looked at Oreo's bridle and suggested I find another bit for him, perhaps something with sweet iron in it. I had to agree. I'd already planned to address the situation when we got back home to Phoenix.

I later found out, big horses are sometimes terrified of little horses. I guess Oreo was one of those big horses. When my friend and I got back to camp we told the story and everyone had a good laugh. No one believed Oreo could have that much stamina. In truth, Oreo always seemed to be one of those lazy laid back type of horse that never balked, jumped sideways, or spooked at anything. He had this Eyore attitude most of the time.

Needless to say, when the weekend came to a close, Oreo came home to Phoenix with us. I was afraid if he'd balked with me he'd do it with someone else, and I didn't want anyone hurt, especially since I was more than a hundred miles away.

That year and the next Oreo and I went on three other trips. Two trips to Wickenburg, and another camping trip to Forest Lakes. The two trips to Wickenburg, Oreo dumped his rider into the sand of the Hassayampa River bed. Fortunately no one was hurt and everyone laughed at his antics. Oreo wasn't the only horse on either of those rides who decided to have a roll in the sand rider, saddle, and all. On the last trip to Forest Lakes, Oreo's rider took him into the water to let him drink after a particularly long fast ride. Oreo did drink, then began to paw the water, a sure sign he was going to splash himself. None of us said anything to warn the rider and we waited....sure enough he did splash himself and his rider right into the cold water. Poor rider...he swore he'd never get on another horse after that. He walked back to camp instead of riding Oreo back.

Oreo had his moments when he surprised all of us. I'm so glad to have had him in my life. I'm so glad he came into my Mum's life, too. I sold Oreo to a friend in 2002, who has given him a good home and good life. At nearly 25 years old, he's 'King of the Barn and Pastures' where he lives with his mule friends and is retired.