Earlier Today

The salesman said that the service guy dropped the bed liner in earlier today (yesterday).  I noted that the General Manager said that they could drop in a bed liner in the truck for me for the same selling price.  There are 2 problems with this:  1)  I had just gotten off the phone with the GM about an hour ago and 2)  the bed liner the salesman was showing me was DIRTY!  There would not have been enough time to install it and it should be at least as clean as the truck in time for my test drive, right?  The salesman said that they often had old bed liners left lying around.  And since I wasn’t born yesterday, I didn’t believe him.  I took a test drive to Steve’s workplace for him and me to have a little fun with it, accepted the man’s business card, and parted ways.  It wasn’t even the year of vehicle for which I had asked and the cheap air freshener smell had given me a headache!

We are not sure if we are in the market for a new truck or not.  The added expense comes at a time of a few life transitions, the biggest one being the visit and possible moving in of my Aunt Lori very soon.  Transporting her across the country in our Nissan Frontier, towing a travel trailer, has challenged several logistical parameters even our  German shepherd pup traveled in a kennel in the bed of the vehicle.  (The cage is on order, just in case!)  Renting a full-sized truck proved to be extraordinarily expensive and it’s a bit late to arrange airline tickets.  The latter involved staging a car at a local airport, a fair amount of expense that would come from the purchase of two air fares (since she is unable to travel alone), and my hubby returning from Florida separately with the pup and Camplite.  Doable, yes, however not so easy to implement when my Aunt couldn’t decide what she wanted to do about any of her affairs.

And so we are making decisions based upon prayer, speculation, clinical judgement from my experience as an occupational therapist, delay/disinterest from my Aunt’s adult children to act on their Mom’s behalf, already considerable costs-to-date, and reading between the lines of communication with extended family at a distance.  Sadly her health continues to fail, that is for sure.  We will be in her home State soon for my next medical appointment so it made sense to begin her trial visit with us with our return trip home.  I have been very stressed attending to all of the details of this process.

Regardless, plans are still coming together except for one big one:  deciding if our Nissan Frontier King Cab 4×4 SV is adequate to make the trip.  Can we tow a larger travel trailer that is just within the specs of our tow vehicle even with the new Anderson load bearing hitch?  Can I survive in a jump seat of a King cab for a cross-country trip, modified with pillows and a step stool?  Will Elle survive alright in the 90+ degree heat in a kennel in the open air, if shaded from the sun?  I have my concerns for her!  She was born and lived as an “outsider dog” before we got her 10 years ago.  A lot has transpired since then, including her becoming a lovely house pet and indoor companion for me!  Sorry pup!

dog in truck, jump seat, German shepherd, woman and dog, travelling, Nissan Frontier, pet dog

The expense of a larger truck is considerable.  Stay tuned.  I do like the 2017 Ford F150 Super Crew 4WD . . . but I won’t be visiting salesman Jim anytime soon!  Ugh.  Next!  JJ

UPDATE 6.29.18:  No new truck at least for now!  We considered last minute airline tickets for me and my Aunt and staging a vehicle at the airport to get us home from there.  But it is time for us to come together as a family for this 3-week visit and it was my hubby who decided the best way to do that was a road trip together.  Low and behold with one day to spare, a full-sized rental truck with towing capacity became available in our city.  IT IS EXPENSIVE yet the right thing to do.  For now anyways.  :J

 

The Life of Dogs

She probably thinks I don’t want to go with her today but I do.  I always do.

Put me near water or mud and I’m a happy pup:  the messier, the splashier, the better dontcha know?

When my paddler goes off without me my heart just sinks like I’m GONNA DIE . . .

Until the ground rumbles, that big door opens, and here she comes in the little door just to see meeeeeee!

I try to be good but I just can’t help myself sometimes

Things need to be chewed, mailmen scared off (especially that one in shorts dressed in BROWN), and anything soft covered with my furry bum.

Don’t get me wrong, I know I have it good and all that

“But why can’t I go with you like all the time?” say my big brown-n-black eyes.

“Or give me a bite of that hamburger that smells so good?”

You big people just aren’t as nice as those little people like me who drop crumbs all the time.  Yum!  Yum!

I’ll wait for you here, I’ll wait for you there, I’ll wait for you anywhere.

‘Cause you are just the best, scratch my ears some more, and give me one of those crunchy things in that bag you just opened, k?

You think I don’t know what you are up to but I do . . . I watch you all the time and it’s not even weird.

Just bring me with you in the car, on the boat, in the tractor, or maybe for a ride!

Thank you for being my bestie.  Sniff, sniff.  I love you more,

Your dog

Pictures are from the 2017 United States Canoe Association Nationals in Dubuque, Iowa except Gary and his German shepherd in the kayak.  Paddlers love their dogs!

 

It isn’t camping unless something goes awry

This trip was much like any other in terms of the massive preparation it takes to go camping!  There is always lots of kayak paddling gear to gather, packing, meal preparation for 2 distinct dietary requirements, mega supplements and meds to pop into pill boxes, “just in case” remedies to pack, and so on.  The miles go quickly as we travel most of the day and into the night, with destinations generally east of the Mississippi.  I’m especially grateful for the opportunity to catch up on the little things with my beloved Steve as he drives us along since it’s crazy busy getting everything else done before we leave!  Add the last minute deliveries of my hubby’s side business as a Stellar Kayak rep and you will see how we usually get about 4 hours of sleep beforehand but alas, I’ll let him tell that story!

Our German shepherd got sick after taking herself for a swim in Lake Michigan when delivering a kayak on our way home.  Two vent covers on the Camplite either blew off or severely cracked, respectively, on our way from Indiana to Wisconsin requiring a series of duct tape-style repairs.  The placement of water and electrical outlets on opposite sides of the campsite required a creative workaround in the dark when we arrived at our destination.  Sweltering heat and humidity nearly wilted me into a pile of mush until we found shade underneath the belly of a DC3 (airplane) on display along the air strip at the EAA AirAdventure.  In addition, my usual pattern of nightly/morning convulsive spells continued every night and morning yet were no worse considering the increased activity level and exposures related to all of our activities.  Two friends flaked on meeting us for dinner during our stay.  Bummer dude.

But wait.  There’s more!  We ran out of propane and overflowed our gray water tank at the 2-day mark.  A mysterious water spot left us sleeping on the bare mattress cover our last night that might be condensation outsmarting the air conditioner + dehumidifier combination we employed.  And lastly, the rain chased us home a day early, allowing us to deliver the aforementioned kayak for Steve’s customer who was unable to catch a flight to meet us to pick it up.  That became the reason for a 2-hour side trip to Door County from Oshkosh and the fateful swim for our pup, Elle.  But hey, the landscaped gardens of their lake home were better than the magazine photos I had brought with me to pass the time . . .

DC3, air show, Oshkosh, 2016, Air Adventure

Enjoying cool shade under a DC3

So when you decide to take up camping you also decide to take up flying by the seat of your pants!  Little goes as planned!  We have come to expect always arriving later than expected to our destinations, spending more on gasoline than meals/souvenirs/camping reservations, and getting out the tools or duct tape at some point before returning home.  If you ask me, it makes the trip more fun!  I’ll take the crazy stuff of life on the road any day to the ravages of battling a serious illness and am grateful that I get to do so with my River Bear in the Tin Can Ranch a few times each year. Now that the 9 loads of laundry are done, I just have to clean the CampLite.  Soon I’ll be ready to pop the question again like the old Microsoft commercials use to say,

Where do you want to go today?

Maybe one day I’ll meet you on the road Gentle Reader.  Please bring your own duct tape, just in case!  JJ

EAA, Air Adventure, air show, wife, husband, travel

Steve and Julie at the 2016 EAA Air Adventure

 

Up the driveway she sauntered

I only had a few minutes to run to the mailbox before my friend would arrive to take me to the hospital this afternoon.  Elle loves to “get the mail,” so I summoned her and we were out the door on this sort of warm, Spring day.  The junk mail in that box got me outside!  I would be indoors for most of the afternoon and evening with treatment and waiting on my ride home.  Thank you Lord for this wiff of fresh air!

Wiff indeed.  Or is that woof?  With the envelopes and flyers still in my hands, I turned around to see Elle in what you might call the “pointer” pose of a hunting dog.  She is a German shepherd yet I know that pose means that something is awry.  Her head dropped as her eyes fixed on her prize:  a bunny?  a squirrel?  Nope.  A puff ball!  Elle had spotted a light brown-and-black ball of fur no larger than a 16″ softball sauntering toward our driveway!  That little renegade was out for a stroll, strutting like she was the queen of the court!  Elle waited for my command to advance for the customary sniffs and shoves of yet another potential playmate.  But hey, I would have to leave in another few minutes and there was no one else . . .

Just then my friend, Jane, drove up in her mini van.  I had scooped the ball o’ fur into my arms and was trying to figure out what to do.  Jane immediately jumped out onto the driveway ready for action.  She has 2 Pomeranians and LOVES little dogs!  I placed Rene into the bed of my truck for a moment (still filled with soft pieces of sod from a late night gardening project 2 weeks ago!) while I ran into the house to get my phone.  I would need to notify our housing addition in hopes of a quick reply from her rightful owner.  Unfortunately, no such luck bequeathed us this day . . .

Jane and I figured out a plan to place Rene in a garden pen in my backyard until I could return home in a few hours.  The Yorkie would have a towel-bed, bowl of water, and plenty of room to roam around surely before the rains came, right?  Yes, no worries!  The only problem was that our hopes that the owner would come forth never materialized.  I hung tight to my phone during my afternoon treatment and the only person who responded to my post on our Association’s Facebook page was the owner of another Yorkie.  Katie could keep our little Rene overnight and take her to the vet tomorrow during her own dog’s vet appointment to check for a chip ID.  And so that’s what we decided to do.

Later that night I heard that Rene was adjusting well with her new roommates with a belly full of Yorkie foodstuffs.  No one came forth on behalf of the old gal even from my post on the adjacent housing addition’s Facebook page.  Oh dear. I guess Jane, Katie, and I will figure out what to do by tomorrow afternoon.

In the meantime, Steve and I had a great laugh.  Neither of us are “little dog” people.  That puff ball huffed and puffed, snorted and sneezed almost continuously!  Jane said that she was probably the pet of an older person who fed her too much, causing all of the wheezing sounds.  Good golly!  Her fur was mottled, eyes caked with gunk, and body odor suggestive of the risk of nervous piddling (which are exactly the things that are yucky to me about little dogs!)  Steve joked about Rene making a great snack for Elle.  Whaaat?  Rene was quite fat and would add too much cholesterol to Elle’s diet, he conceded.  So maybe not.  Oh my!

It’s a good thing that Steve wasn’t home when I found the little brown and black puff ball that sauntered up our driveway this afternoon!  Us gals did the right thing and little Rene brought us all some smiles on a day definitely in need of a few.  Lord willing we will find her owner soon.  In the meantime, carry on everyone.  :JJ

UPDATE: After a night at Katie’s doggie B & B, trip to the vet, and her owner’s little girl confiding to a friend on the school bus that her doggie was lost, Nikki is home! Woofie, woofie, snort, snort!

Rene the Yorkie 3.23.16

 

Anatomy of a Garden Bed: Luke 7

While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up.

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Nothing going on here at the nursery: barren ground and a dead stump provide a perch for this lone feline.

Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants.

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In the absence of compost and amendments, nothing would grow in this soil!

Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”

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Compost, Canadian peat moss, hardwood mulch and fertilizer should give these newbies and transplants a head start in their new home.

When he said this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

When we do not heed the Word of God all our efforts waste away, crumbling back to the earth like the dead plants in this compost pile.  How better to thrive in the Word of wisdom!

This passage provides important lessons for our lives.  When we do not heed the Word of God all our efforts ultimately waste away, crumbling back to the earth like the dead plants in this compost pile.

His disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10 He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.

Without the counsel of the words of Jesus Christ our lives are like chasing the wind.

Striving in our own strength, is like blindly chasing after the wind.

11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.

Barren ground shall not awaken without the light of our Lord and Savior.

Barren ground shall not awaken to the truth without the light, the Words of our Lord and Savior.

13 Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.

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Plants weaken and become subject to pests and diseases when choked together.  Perennials that mature properly require care, division, replanting, water, sunlight, fertilization, and time to grow in due season.

15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

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The newly pruned and divided stella d’oro daylilies will flourish next year, finishing this season well and providing plants for the new garden bed too.

 

Resting in God's creation

How glorious it is to rest in God’s creation and plan for our lives!

Finished well.  Thank you Lord!

Finished well. Thank you Lord!

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P.S.  I’m thinking of putting together a group Skype devotional and prayer time once per week with others who are largely isolated for whatever reason.  The focus would be open and based upon belief in God through the person of Jesus Christ of the Bible.  Please leave me a comment below if you might be interested.  I’ll do a separate blog on this soon!  Take care, JJ