Sunday, July 26, 2015

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Horse Camp

 This morning my son started horse camp.  We live in a city of about 100,000 people, but we are surrounded by farms and open spaces if you drive about 10 minutes.  Well, if you walk out my back gate, there are cows in the field.  That's one of the reasons we bought our house, because it sits on the very edge of the city and I really doubt they will build next to it because we have a drainage creek right next to us and then a hill with a drainage pond in between.  I think we will be on the edge of the city for a long time.  But, I'm sure that's what other people thought before they started building like crazy a few years ago and expanded the city in all directions.
 So, my son has seen horses before.  But for his birthday I asked him what he wanted to do.  He said he wanted to go horseback riding.  He's never really shown an interest in outdoor things.  So, we searched all over for a place to go horseback riding.  When we were in Colorado, I found a place close to my dad's and sent an email through Facebook.  They got back to me the next day and said to call them, they rarely checked their Facebook page.  No problem, I called and left a message.  They then called me back and left me a message saying they rarely answered their phones because they were always out with the horses, but to keep calling them.  That really didn't make any sense to me.  Since they had emailed me back, wouldn't it have made sense to just answer my questions via email since they said they rarely answered their phones?  I didn't really have time to call them over and over hoping to catch them in the office.  I guess they really didn't want my money.
 So, we got back and found this local horse ranch that was having a horse camp.  They promised to teach the kids to ride and take care of a horse.  They even promised to let the kids pick up horse poop!  What could be better?
 There are three kids in the camp and it runs from 9-noon, which is good because it got over 100 today, but not too bad in the shade.  The kids learned the colors and markings of the horse, how to catch and bridle a horse, how to get a horse ready to ride-that took forever!  They learned how to walk a horse (or have the horse walk you) and how to ride.  Then, putting the horse away also took a long time.  You have to do everything in reverse.  It isn't like driving a car where you get in and just go.
 My son said he really liked the way it felt to ride the horse.  He liked the rocking of the horse.  I guess going to 74 different places looking for boots and ordering the riding helmet online with express shipping was worth it.
Maybe we will have to get our own horse.  I could keep it in the spare bedroom.  I doubt my husband would notice another pet. :)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

My latest obsession

 So since my quilting machine is broken and has no hope of getting fixed in my lifetime, I have become obsessed with these key rings.  My embroidery machine has been going almost non stop since summer began.  I found the dogs and then cats and horses and the minions were free (the yellow guy).  I got some pants and leather jackets at the Goodwill outlet for almost nothing and cut them up and have been embroidering like crazy.  What am I going to do with all of them?  Well, I hope to be able to sell them for my local animal rescue group.  I'm thinking of taking them to my local SPCA to see if they want to put them on the counter.  I figure people would pay $1 for one.  So far, there are 53 of them in the basket and I have plans to make about a thousand more.  I think I have 24 different dog designs and have started collecting other things as well.
These are the different designs I've made so far in lots of different fabric choices.  I've used denim, corduroy and leather.  The yellow is a poly fabric like the cloth grocery bags are made from and it doesn't tear or fray.  It has a layer of felt in the middle to make it thick enough.  I used a white chihuahua on my luggage when I went to Colorado and it made it easy to spot at the airport.  Kids could put them on their backpack, or you could use them for Christmas tree ornaments.

Yeah, I can never do things in moderation!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Happy Anniversary

51 years of laughs, love and stories.  Two of my favorite people.  Happy anniversary mom and dad.  I hope you have a great day and get to enjoy your favorite things.

Drive by shooting (photos, that is)

 So yesterday on my way to take my little guy to pay for the horseback riding camp he will be going to next week, I decided to take some pictures of my neighbor's yard.  He recently tore out the lawn and did a really neat landscaping in the front.  I know he isn't finished with it but I love it so far.
 He has a dry riverbed with iris plants all around and this big mound of daylilies.  Yep, his are in full bloom.  Of course, he and his wife are almost always out there working on the yard, pulling weeds and probably putting fertilizer on it.  I'm sure they put soil amendments in it before they planted everything and that's why he has flowers and I have poor dying bits of brown coming up out of the ground.
 But, I can achieve greatness too!  Or, maybe not, but at least give it a try until I get bored, or go back to work in a month and get so busy I forget what I was trying to do.  what do people do with their time who don't have hobbies?  Clean their house?
 We went out to the Horse center and met the instructor.  She is a very nice German lady with a thick accent.  She was working on an arena, putting up a roof and talking to the workers, who all spoke German as well.  It was pretty funny, since my mom is German and also has an accent.  Reminded me of her.
 We got to meet some of the horses and they were all very friendly.  This one had this eye cover on.  Not sure why, but it had about 1,000 flies on it, which didn't seem to bother it at all.
 My son is pretty excited about taking lessons next week, but like any other hobby, this is going to be expensive.  We have to get him a riding helmet, a bike helmet won't do, and shoes with a heel (Goodwill here we come) and tighter pants.  He's going to try and wear jeans.  We looked online for riding pants and they are $50.  I was surprised they didn't have a helmet you could borrow for the week camp.
See you next week horses!  I hope it's fun.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

How does your garden grow?

 Well, here in California, the garden isn't doing so well.  I'd like to think it is because of the drought, but I know that it is partly because I'm not that good of a gardener.
Found this guy while watering today.  Nice to know the garden is being protected!
 You can see our golden hills in the background.  Coming home from Colorado where everything is so green, we flew into Sacramento and everything is brown and dry.  I'm attempting to grow things in the front yard, but it isn't looking very nice.  Maybe if I give it more attention, I can get it looking like the neighbor down the street.  I wonder if he would mind if I took some pictures of his yard to show you?  Maybe if I do a sneak attack and drive by really slowly :)
 So, the rose bushes bloom without much thought and there are a couple of geraniums that are trying to get established, but not much else is doing anything here.  The irises did nothing for me this year.  These ones are the common purple ones and they usually put on a good show.  This year I didn't get one bloom.
 I got a few blooms from these and I know I need to cut them back.  I usually wait until the neighbor with the nice yard cuts his back.  I follow his lead.  Happens in August some time.  He probably thinks I'm a creeper, watching and then copying what he does.  But of course, my yard looks like a weed patch and his looks like a botanical garden.
 I have 6 redwood trees that the former owner of the house planted and so I know the soil is very acidic.  I'm sure that does't help things so yesterday I went out and got a 50 pound bag of lime.  You should have seen me trying to spread it out in 40 mile an hour winds.  I could have waited until the winds died down, but they rarely get below 30 miles an hour around here, so it really wouldn't have made much of a difference.  Of course on the days where the wind does slow down it is 300 degrees.  So, take your pick.  Get lime blown all over the neighborhood or cook in the heat :)  It kind of looks like snow on the ground and makes you feel cooler if you let your imagination go wild.  Well, sort of if you've never seen snow before.
 My poor geranium plants really haven't done much since I planted them.  Probably not enough water.  They get sun for about 8 hours a day and you can see all the leaves from the redwood around them.  Hopefully the lime will help with the soil.  Or, I just killed them.
 Here I have canna plants.  They are so pretty in Hawaii and in other people's yards.  We have a Weinerschnitzel's that has some gorgeous ones, so I know they can be grown in my city, but for me they grow 7 inches and never bloom.  Again, probably not enough water and the wrong kind of soil.
 My poor day lily plants.  The first few years they did well and bloomed nicely.  Now they look like they want me to put them out of their misery.  The last two years they have looked like this.  I think I got one bloom out of the three plants.
 Even the grapevine on the fence didn't produce grapes this year.  Last year I had a bumper crop and this year not one grape.
California Gold.  That's what they are calling our front lawns here.  You can pay a company to come out and spray paint them green for you.  At least they don't need mowing very often.  Only the weeds seem to like no water and will grow up 3 feet tall overnight.  Then you have to drag out the mower or pull them up.  I'm lucky that my neighbor has a riding lawn mower and will mow his, mine and the guy next to his lawn all at the same time.  Of course, he does it about once a month because nothing is growing.

If what the scientists predict is true and we have an El Nino year coming, things will be changing.  Will we be ready for all the rain?  Probably not.  I'm sure we will find something else to complain about!

This morning I watered everything with some Miracle Grow plant food.  I know you aren't supposed to test more than one variable at a time and yesterday it was the lime and today it is plant food, but I'm an impatient gardener.  I need to see results.  Hopefully with a little more attention and some extra plant food and water, I may get a couple of flowers.  Of course I could always go out and pull a weed or two, that's hard and I'm on vacation :)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

home at last

 What a great trip that was.  It was so nice to have such an extended stay with my dad and to see that his health is so good.  I was really surprised that he recovered so quickly from the new pacemaker surgery and is back to his old self again.  I loved hearing the stories again (and again, and again) and getting to spend time with my daughter and son was great too.  But, now it's time to get back to cleaning house and doing chores and getting ready to go back to work again.
 Oh, if only vacations could last a little longer!  I came home with a renewed interest in gardening and am hoping to get out there today and get started.  I woke up early this morning and started watering things.  I sure hope we get some of this rain the scientists promised us with the El Nino weather pattern this fall.  Everything in the Sacramento area is dead and dry, including my front lawn and it is a shock coming from the green Colorado area.
 My sister gave us a ride to the airport and on the way we discussed our growing children.  Her oldest had his first year of college this past year and her youngest is starting high school.  They don't stay babies very long.
 We had to go to the Salvation Army Thrift store yesterday to get a couple extra bags to take home all the treasures we found.  We went to the Goodwill Outlet in Englewood while my dad was in the hospital and I found lots of treasures.  I got 5 leather jackets and they sell things by the pound at the outlet.  In California, it's $1.69 a pound and in Colorado, it's $.99 a pound.  So, I got 22 pounds of clothes for $23 (tax).  You see the little white tag on my suitcase?  It's a little chihuahua and I'm making different dog tags out of the leather and denim and corduroy.  Yes, I can now make 1,000,000 dog tags.  I plan to donate them to the local dog rescue group and hope them make a million dollars off them.  At least it will keep me busy for the next 20 years or so.

The little guy slept about half the way home.  You know how you get when you have an empty seat next to you on the plane and you watch as people come down the isle.  You say a little prayer that they will walk past you?  Yeah, well, the praying worked because nobody sat next to us and I was able to move over.  He was able to lay down, but then chose to sit up and fold into a pretzel for about half the time.  I should have taken a picture of how he was sleeping.  I have no idea how this guy can sit up with his legs crossed up by his neck and his arms wrapped around them and then fall asleep.  He is very proud of this talent!  He is double joined and can wrap his leg around the back of his neck comfortably.  I'll get a picture of that and hope it doesn't gross you out :)

I came home to a very clean house, fresh flowers on the counter and some happy dogs.  I think I was missed!

First order of business today is to get some pool noodles so we can go swimming :)

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Final full day in Colorado

 Today we went to the wildlife Museum in Parker.  I love this place because it reminds me of the LA Natural History Museum.  It is filled with stuffed animals and has lots of interactive exhibits.  Outside there are lots of brass statues.  If I lived closer, I would get a season pass and come here often to sit and grade papers.  it is so relaxing.
 My daughter's favorite animal is the elephant.  Unlike a zoo, here you can get up close.
 These guys talked to you and you could 'ask' them a question by pushing the computer screen.  They moved and their eyes blinked and mouth moved.  They looked so real.
 We watched the 3D movie about a chipmunk and a mouse.  It was really well done, but made me feel bad that I am killing off all the mice that get in my house.  Sorry guys, you should live in the desert or forest, not in my house!
I am so thankful for all the time I got to spend with my dad.  My mom got home this afternoon and then the kids and I went for a final swim at the local pool.  Tomorrow will be spent packing and getting ready to get home.  My mom has a very swollen knee and ankles so hopefully we will be able to get her to the doctor before I go home to find out what's going on.  Too much hiking for her is probably the diagnosis.  Soon it will be back to the normal routine.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Testing out the pacemaker

 Imagine yourself 2 days after surgery.  Think about what you'd like to be doing?  Got it?  Probably picture yourself laying around, taking it easy.  Especially if you were 83 years old.  Well, I'd like to introduce you to my dad.
 2 days ago he was in the hospital, getting a new pacemaker put in.  Today we hiked to the top of Castle Rock in Colorado.

 It was a 1.35 mile hike up and down the mountain.  We started on the harder portion of the hike, with lots of steps and steep terrain.  I have to admit that about half way up the trail, I started to think that maybe it wasn't such a good idea.

 We stopped every little bit to take a rest.  My dad kept apologizing for having to stop so often, but I was thankful for the rest breaks!  And I'm only 25.
 My 20 year old daughter and 11 year old son decided they were ready to head off to the summit and left us in the dust.  We continued on holding hands, to keep ourselves from slipping and  to make sure we didn't get lost.
 We had great views of the city of Castle Rock all along the way.
 The two young ones zipped up to the top and climbed the side of the cliff with no troubles.  It was a pretty warm day and there were several shady spots to take a rest.

 These two made it all the way to the top.  In order to do so, you had to be like a mountain goat and climb the rock formation once you got to the top of the path.

 My little guy had complained this morning how he didn't want to go hiking.  He sure had a great time once we got out there.  He is making plans for more adventures once we get home.  There are several climbing and hiking paths that are pretty close to home and he has decided that getting out of the house is pretty fun.  He isn't convinced that shopping is so much fun, but at least sunshine won't kill him now!

 This is what it looked like on the way to the very top. My dad couldn't have made it up this sheer cliff and I gave it a try, but had some trouble with my slippery shoes.  I chickened out and decided that I had made it far enough so we headed on back down the mountain on the easy side with the wider path.  I was glad there was an easy way down because I wasn't too sure my dad was going to make it back down the way we had gone up.  He has diabetes and was starting to shake a little from low blood sugar.  He had brought along a couple of candies, but I didn't think those were going to make it for him.

 My son was so proud that he had made it all the way to the top.
 My son had to bring his stuffed penguin along for the hike.  He made a nice pillow for my dad to take a little rest while we explored a little at the top.  There is a nice wall to lay on at the summit, but no cushions to lay your head on.

 No steps or handrails to get to the top.
 I think I've got a little mountain goat for a child now.  He's discovered that hiking is fun.

 The huge rock formation above this crevice stuck out 30 feet or more.  Good thing they don't have earthquakes or that whole thing would be coming down on top of us.

 There were beautiful wildflowers all along the trail.  Yellow, red, white, purple, and all just there for me to enjoy!
Yep, to the top and back.  What's your excuse for sitting around today?  If my 83 year old dad who just had surgery can get out there and climb to the top, surely you can too!