Saturday, June 26, 2010

Riding into the Wind –

Our AV machines are street legal here in Montana.  I like my little red 4-wheeler, but, my husband is passionate about riding his.  I often choose to ride with him. 

Riding through the neighborhood, I like the alleys best.  They aren’t so busy.  As we go through there is always a cacophony from the neighborhood dogs.  The little rocks sputter and ping as the wide tires crunch through gravel.  Up ahead my husband scans for mud puddles. I hear the machine splish and splash. Brown mud plops.

He teases, and tells me I finally got to 25 mph.  He tells me he worries that someone will run over me.  He shakes his head and says; “Just give it the onion and go.”

I’m content putt-zing along.  The breeze kisses my cheeks.   Watching the cottontails scamper away.  The neighbors wave.  My students live in the area.  They wave and yell as we go by.  Sometimes I hear them call, “Hello, Mrs. Ferris” other times I hear them turn to adults and yell “She’s my librarian.”

Often we travel to a small park and watch the ducks.  They scurry from the water listing back and forth as they make their way to the top of the hill.  The adventurous ones come within a couple of feet.  All are honking and quacking loudly.  The brave determined ones peck at anyone in their way.  Pushing them aside, occasionally pulling out feathers as they try to reach us first. 

There are babies already half grown, others just starting out.  All are quick and move away from outstretched hands.  They are masters at quick deployments.  I’ve watched children run hoping to catch a duck to pet. 
The other day we watched a toddler in the center of a gaggle of ducks.   They were waddling, around her, concentrating on the manna falling from the sky.  Maybe she will grow up to be a duck wrangler. Mallards and hens tumble over each other as they again head for the diitch.   Ripples move outward, lapping against the rocks as the ducks float by.  The wind picks up my long hair and plays with it like a lover, as we ride.  I laugh as I hurry to catch up.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Where I'm From

This poem was inspired by George Ella Lyon's "Where I'm From"

Where I’m From
I am from double boilers, from Hershey’s chocolate and homemade bread.
I am from cheap apartments that allowed kids, crowded, chaotic, and cramped.
I am from the prickly pear cactus, and Lodge Pole Pine
I am from Christmas Eve presents and hammer toes, from Elizabeth and Melvin and Grandma Boice).
I am from stubbornness and hot tempers.
From “money doesn’t grow on trees” and “when God closes a door he will always open a window”.
I am from rosaries and holy water, and grandma’s boarding school memories.
I'm from Idaho- Irish peasants and laying railroad track; bread pudding and red eyed gravy.
From Katie Mulligan Boice who was 18 when she bought her 1905 Indian Motorcycle right off the line, the woman my grandfather never let drive, my mother who graduated college in her forties and started teaching in one room schools.
I am from black and white pictures most long gone, berry pickers, and pump organs – music that plays now in my memories.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Ticklish Toes

When we went to "Puppy School" the trainer told us to play with our puppy's feet so as she gets older she is comfortable with people handling her feet.  Making it easier to clip her nails.  We have been playing with her feet that is how we learned that her toes are ticklish.

I gently brush my fingers over the pads and she will kind of shiver.  I wonder if she will always have ticklish toes?
I don't remember the other dogs being ticklish.  They are not thrilled with people touching their feet.  I just love watching this puppy.  She will get up in one of the chairs, lay there for awhile.  Then put her front feet on the floor and slide down ending with a thump. 

She is a loving creature and very playful.  She plays hard all day and is just tuckered out and flops on the floor and falls asleep.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tornado Watch

Father's Day, June 20th,  Billings had its first tornado in 52 years.  Last night, June 21st, Dan and I were riding around on our 4 wheelers.  He was looking for mud to play in.  We topped a favorite hill and watched this cloud formation turn like it was deciding what it was going to do next.  

We watched it for about 15 minutes as it moved away from Billings.  In the 2nd picture you can see a tail that could be the start of something.  The cloud formation was incredible.  I took the pictures with my cell phone.

Thunderstorm Equals a Four Dog Night

There had been many an early morning when Baby fussed and Sammi or Max would come get me up to go take care of her.  I often wondered if they did it because they couldn't sleep or if they were worried about her.  I had my answer when Sammi, scared from the thunder insisted on me getting Baby from her crate before she settled down between us.
Sammi, our Great Dane/Lab cross, is afraid of thunderstorms and fireworks.  Monday night we had the first thunderstorm of the year.  I heard Baby fussing in her crate, but didn’t quite wake all the way up.  Sammi came into the bedroom all upset.  She nudged me and whimpered, jumped on the bed and kept trying to get me up.  As I got up she jumped around and barked her deep throaty barks.  She barked because I wasn't moving fast enough.  She wanted me to get Baby out of the crate now.
Once I released Baby from the crate, Sammi and Baby headed for the bedroom and jumped up on the bed.  Sammi settled down between Dan and me on our shrinking king size bed.  Baby lay below Sammi; Lady lay at my feet and Max was curled up by Dan.
The thunderstorm continued to rumble outside, punctuated by Sammi’s occasional whimpers. As the storm receded we could hear the thunder going from pounding, pulsing percussion to a quiet so smooth that you hardly noticed it happen.

Wrote this on April 18, 2010

Monday, June 21, 2010

Meet Me On Monday

I recently found Never Growing Old blog.  Java makes getting to know people long distance as easy as going for coffee at the local diner.  I thought I would give it a whirl.  She posts 5 questions each blogger is asked to write about. This week the 5 questions are:

1.  How many brothers and sisters do you have?

2. What is your favorite thing to do?

3. What countries have you visited?

4. Are you a morning or a night person?

5. What's your favorite cereal?

My answers.

1.  3 sisters no brothers.
2.  Read & eat chocolate
3.  Canada, Mexico, Germany, Luxmburg (sp), Austria, Switzerland
4. Night Owl
5.  Cream of Wheat

Questions are powerful.  You do get to know people by asking questions.

The Storm Made the News

This last weekend my husband and I were in Miles City, trying to get our rental home cleaned up as it was left a mess.  I have been very angry.  Unfortunately our recent weather reflects my inner feelings. Billings tornado yesterday, F-2 Rating. The Billings tornado touched down at 4:30 yesterday.  Thankfully no casualties.  Unusual news the last tornado to touch down here in Billings was about 50 years ago. Q2 has some amazing pictures from viewers.

We were driving home we hit some patches of rain between Forsyth, MT and Hysham, MT.  There was very little visibility and the wind just howled as it blew the rain at us.  Miles City is about 138 miles from Billings where we live.  As we came into town there were chunks of insulation everywhere.  I have seen many incredable pictures that were taken of the tornado as it hovered over the metra (sports arena).

As I watched the storm I thought about many things: the strong work ethic of my step daughter.  She is a very hard working ethical person.  I also thought of the many young people I know who do not have a good work ethic or integrity.  As parents, teachers and community members we need to give our children strong boundaries and teach them to be accountable for their behavior. The young people who have these tools seem to be better all round citizens have healthier relationships and better feelings of self worth .  We do them lots of harm when they don't learn these lessons young when the cost is cheaper.  At school I see young people who do not have this core sense of self worth.  They struggle with problems at school often lying and choosing self sabotaging behavior. We leave them to struggle to learn these lessons as adults.

If they are still acting irresponsible - not paying bills, leaving rentals a mess they soon destroy their own credit and that of  family members who try to make things right.  Sometimes like big storms there are minor casualties in their relationships with us, but over time there are bound to experience fatalities in their relationships, as the storms of life become bigger.  It saddens me that so many children grow up without these important foundations.  I do not know the answer, I can only hope and pray that they eventually become people with integrity.

We had taken Baby with us and our neighbor took care of the other three dogs.  Baby was not concerned by the weather and slept quietly in the back seat.  The other three dogs were very happy to see us.  It is good to be home and know that friends, family, and neighbors are safe and sound.  Lots of clean-up but no fatalities.

Friday, June 18, 2010

March 23 - Baby's First Cap

I came home from school and found Baby munching on her first cap.  I looked at Dan, "Your Cap?"
Sheepishly grinning, "Yah." he said.
It seems he had gone looking for his cap when it was nowhere to be found.  He looked at the puppy and said, "What did you do with it Baby?"
It took about 10 minutes, but Baby brought the cap in from outside and dropped it at Dan's feet.  He told me, "She looked up at me with those big eyes and sweet face.  She was just so tickled!"
She seemed to say, "See Dad, aren't you proud of me! I brought it back to you!  Then she wagged her tail and gave me a doggy grin, as she waited to be praised for her efforts."
I asked Dan "Well what did  you do?"
He shrugged his shoulders, "What could I do?  She looked at me with that sweet face, I couldn't stay mad at her?"
I questioned Dan further, "What's with the cap?"
Dan's eyes twinkled when he retold his conversation: " I told her she could have it. But, it was the only one she could have. No more."
Dan and I talked about the fact that by bringing the hat back to him seemed to suggest she really did understand what he had asked her.  This was the second time she had brought something back that she had taken.
When I watch Baby look sweetly up at my husband's grinning face.  I see her love reflecting back in his eyes.  I think they do understand each other.

March 16 - The Baby

Friday we joined some friends to celebrate Nicole’s birthday. I laughed as people asked Dan, “Did you crate the “Baby”?”
He would answer, “Yes. But I told “the Baby” it was her mother’s idea not mine.”
Saturday I went to an Art & Craft Show with Patty, Lori & Shelly. Some very talented people had their work on display. After browsing the show Lori and I went to have a pop, Dan joined us. I asked Dan if he crated “the baby”.
“No. She said she would be good.”
I had another errand to run before heading home. I called Dan and asked what “the Baby” ate in our absence.
He said, “Nothing. She had some empty bags out of the box from the oxygen place.”
I sighed, “When I left the box wasn’t empty. The new water reservoir and the attachments were in it.”
When I came home I started sweeping up plastic. It turned out to be the remains of a roll of scotch tape that bit the dust. The water reservoir was still intact and I located one of the attachments. Still missing was an attachment, a small funnel, and the cover connecting the attachment to the reservoir. None of the plastic pieces seemed to have come from the attachments. I didn’t think she swallowed them. But I couldn’t find any broken pieces.
Baby was bouncing around no worse for the wear.
I told Dan that he would need to go down Monday and replace the missing pieces.
“Can’t I just drive you there after school?”
“No. You decided not to crate her. So you can go get the replacements.” I told him putting her in the crate is for her own safety. “I know you would feel terrible if she got into something and got hurt.”
Both the puppy and Dan looked suitably chastised.
Later Dan and I were playing cribbage and “Baby” and the other dogs went outside. Pretty soon “Baby” came back with the attachments, cover, and funnel still in their sealed bag. She laid this bag at Dan’s feet. She seemed to be saying, “See I returned them. Now are we out of the dog house?”
Dan reached down, picked up the bag and said, “Oh “Baby” you just got me out of hot water.”
As “Baby” looked up at me she really did seem to understand.

Love Affair With Chewy

I originally wrote this March 12, 2010 on  I wanted to have a place to keep my puppy stories.  Guess I did this backwards.

One of the questions that the Vet asked me was the puppy’s name. Simple enough, except … “we thought Missy Miss sounded good. When she gets into mischief - I think El Diablo fits, but mostly we call her Baby or “The Baby”. Dr Berst nodded and wrote on her file Missy Miss or “What Ever”.
Baby has the softest coat and when you look at her face it just looks so sweet. She is actually a thief – A Thief of Hearts. Dan says it best. “How can you stay mad at such a little sweetheart even when her chews.”
He loves her dearly and he is such a permissive parent. He hates putting her in her crate. “When I ask him if he crated her?” He always responds, “She said she’d be good!”
Needless to say I have come home to a house that abounds with shredded paper, wood shavings from branches in the yard. The first week she lived with us she got hold of Dan’s c-pac mask. We went to the oxygen place and replaced it. The next day when he came to pick me up at school we were talking about the puppy. He admitted that she had gotten in trouble. I asked what she had done.
“She ate your mask.”
I was not happy! I told him he was very lucky. I had a spare because I hadn’t yet started using the new one. I reminded him what the tips on the crate said: “Pets should be supervised by a responsible person. I told him that would be you.”
The next day when he came and got me- he sheepishly admitted the puppy got in trouble and he crated her when he came to get me. Then he told me:”I told her that she was in trouble but I was probably going to get skinned.”
“What did she do?”
“She escaped the back yard, but was back in before I could get to the gate. AND she ate your mask again.”
I looked at him with disbelief, “Didn’t you crate her when you weren’t watching her?”
“Didn’t you close the bedroom door when you weren’t in there?”
“No. I thought you were going to put the mask up so she couldn’t reach it.”
Irritated I responded; “I did put it up.”
My husband was a lucky man – it was not the new mask but an older spare nose piece. I’ll wait to skin him later. Maybe we should just call the puppy –“Chewy”.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Storm Warnings

News breaks in showing the path of the approaching storm. Sammi comes to me whimpering and I know the storm will be here soon. I go to get the naturopathic drops for anxiety that a friend sent. Giving the drops to Sammi turns interesting. Baby jumps up and tries to put her mouth between the drops and Sammi’s mouth. The TV drones about funnel clouds and the moving Thunderstorms.

The sky darkens and sheets of water come cascading down. The branches bend and dance before the window shaking off water falling from the dark foreboding sky. Sheets of water cascade as I watch. Sammi tries to climb into my lap as I sit working at the computer. Baby is nibbling trying to figure out why big dog is upset. I massage Sammi’s ears while typing with one hand trying to keep her calm. The lightning is striking closer as I turn off the computer - unplugging it. I’m not a fan of fried mother boards.

Sammi whimpers and paces. As I put the gentle leader on her - she begins to calm. I continue to massage her ears from the area close to her skull down to the tips. I watch the rain buffeted by the wind as it pours from the sky punctuated by illuminating lightning.

The news gave warning of the approaching storm outside. Who will give warning of the storm that even now builds within me?