15 May 2010

Extreme Make Over, Cat Edition

Meet Sandman. Our handsome, ten year old fuzzy friend. He loves the outdoors, hunting, bird watching, and sleeping. He eats lap dogs for breakfast, despises big dogs, other cats, raccoons, and small children. Despite his best efforts, he has never caught a gray or a red squirrel. He has however dragged plenty of other critters into the house; chipmunks, mice, garter snakes, birds, and once even a flying squirrel.

When I first flew out to Washington for a visit, Sandman and I hit it off immediately. However, after I moved in permanently, we fought a little tug of war over Ryan. Every time Ryan and I would sit down together, Sandman would squeeze himself in between the two of us and laid his paw on Ryan's leg, telling me Ryan was his. It didn't last very long. As soon as he realized he now had someone to keep him company during the day, he warmed up to me. We have been buddies ever since.

His gorgeous long locks protect him from the elements in the colder months of the year, but can be a bit of a burden during the summer. Not only does he get very hot on the warmer days, his hair tangles to dreads, especially on his belly. And if you value your life and limbs, you keep the brush away from that belly. His fur is also a haven for fleas and lately, for ticks. The little buggers frequently hitch a ride in his pelt, sneaking their way into the house. The obvious answer to this problem is a haircut.

Ryan had Sandman's hair cut once before, about five years ago, a buzz cut of his body. His head, tail, and paws were left untouched. Evidently Sandman put up a bit of a fight, because the groomer never wanted to see him again. Last week things went very smooth. In addition to the haircut, he received a mani/pedi and a bath. His groomer loved him, and took the haircut a step further than simply shaving his back and belly. It's a bit of a change, but he has never looked more dashing, albeit very skinny! To avoid any self consciousness on his part, we have given him lots of love and attention. He revels in it.

Are you anxious to see what he looks like? Of course you are. Without further ado, I give you The Lion King...


I just love his tail! What do you think?

10 May 2010

Creepy Crawlies

Source
Ryan and I went out for breakfast the other day, just the two of us, taking advantage of my parents-in-law's return. When our delicious looking eggs were set in front of us, I tucked my hair behind my ears in preparation. (Old habit; I just cut my hair short and in no way does it interfere with my eating.) As my fingers slid over my head, I felt it. A tick. Embedded just behind my right ear. I froze.

"Ryan," I whispered, "there's a tick behind my ear. Please remove it. NOW!"

He sat down beside me and in one smooth motion, pulled out the tick and tossed it on the table. He's very good at it. Not surprisingly, since he has had quite a bit of practice lately. He has removed three ticks from Lola's head already and several from Sandman, the cat. They were all dog ticks, not to worry. It's the deer ticks that carry Lyme disease.

I know this because I did extensive research after the first one we found on Lola's head. I know more about ticks than I ever wanted to know. I was at work that first time. Ryan called me after he had removed it and I immediately took off into cyberspace and looked up Lyme disease symptoms, the occurrence of ticks in Wisconsin, types and sizes of ticks, and so on and so forth. Nothing to worry about, really.

Later that day I was talking to a co-worker in the break room about ticks and other fun topics, when I felt something itching on my leg. I softly scratched my leg and it stopped. Just to be sure, I checked under my skirt when I got back to my office. And sure enough, there was a tick hanging on for dear life in the seam. I flicked it away, making sure to spot where it landed.

Then I closed the blinds, locked my door, and stripped naked right there in my office. I checked every inch of my body and every garment inside and out. Nothing. Phew. It would have been really awkward to have to call on a co-worker to assist me with tick removal in my nearly bare-naked state. And no, there are no surveillance cameras in my office. I checked.

Of course after getting dressed again and unlocking my door, I was no longer able to find the tick on my boldly patterned brown and green carpet. Housekeeping was kind enough to come and vacuum my office on the spot. I did not see the tick again, but the rest of the day I was itching all over. And now you are probably too. Sorry.

21 April 2010

Bogeys, Birdies, And Eagles

Our little family went golfing on Sunday. An interesting choice for a family activity since I can't golf and Lola is too short. But we had fun anyway.

The upside to not being good at golf is that there is room for improvement. Lots of room. I turned out to be a surprisingly good putter. The rest, not so much. Lola divided her time between holding the flag and exploring the golf cart.

The decuple bogeys were all mine, Ryan scored a few birdies. And eagles? Out of reach for all of us.


17 April 2010

First Time Flyer

Last week I went on my first official business trip for the casino. It took me to San Diego for five days, to the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) Trade Show and Convention. I had a wonderful time. It was just the right combination of work and play. I was there with our General Manager, her Executive Assistant, the HR Director, and the Cage Manager. We stayed at the luxurious Omni Hotel, right across the way from the Convention Center, bordering the historic Gas Lamp District and with a view of the harbor and the San Diego Padres stadium.

I picked up a few pointers on Casino Marketing in general and the use of Social Media in particular, and had a chance to get to know my co-workers better over a cocktail or two. Of course, the lovely San Diego weather and the abundance of restaurants and bars with an outside patio helped tremendously in that respect. Not to mention the San Diego Harbor cruise we took on Wednesday afternoon, compliments of a company that offers all inclusive cruises for high rollers.

I almost didn't make it, though. We flew out of Green Bay's Austin Straubel International Airport. Quite the mouthful but in reality a small airport with friendly people. Fortunately for me. You see, my husband had surprised me the day before my departure with a new bag for toiletries, the roll-up kind ideal for travel. Not only did he surprise me with the bag, he had also filled it with assorted travel size necessities, including a brand new camera!

Now I know all about the rule stating anything liquid cannot exceed three ounces and must be presented in a clear plastic bag. Nothing in my bag was over three ounces, I had made sure of that, and the inside of my bag was made of clear plastic. I assumed taking my toiletries bag out of my carry-on and opening it up would be enough. It wasn't. I had forgotten one thing: the clear plastic bag cannot be larger than one quart and mine definitely was. I was bringing on far too many containers with liquids.

While the TSA officials were debating what, if anything, they were going to make me toss, I walked through the metal detector and set it off because I had forgotten to take off my belt. After a second, silent run, I was cordially invited to step aside for a manual pat down. As I was standing there with my arms stretched out, palms facing up, another TSA official held up my purse, asking to whom it belonged. She had to scan it again. "Sure," I replied, "no problem." The second scan still did not satisfy her and she informed me a search of my purse was necessary. Did I have anything sharp in there? "No," I answered her in earnest. Only to see her walk off moments later with my brand new pruning sheers in her hand. Oops...

While my co-workers were laughing their heads off, I explained to the TSA what on earth I was doing with gardening tools in my purse (gardening, what else?), and I was allowed to proceed to the gate. Without my shiny pruning sheers but with all of my toiletries to compensate for my loss.

You'd think I had never traveled on an airplane before...

10 April 2010

Cake For Breakfast

When I came home from my business trip in the wee hours of this morning I tiptoed upstairs to wish my sleeping baby a Happy Birthday. Lola did not wake up when I softly whispered "I love you" in her ear. When she sleeps she is still my baby. But when she's awake, not anymore. She's three. A big girl.

This morning at 7:00 AM, I was awakened by my now three year old, proudly proclaiming "It's MY birthday." Still half asleep, I stumbled out of bed to decorate the kitchen and her chair, and do some last minute gift wrapping. And then we had cake. For breakfast!

Three years ago today I met this creature for the first time, after nurturing her in my womb for nine months. It's hard to imagine how tiny she was, how helpless. Today Lola stands three feet something tall, and grows more independent by the minute. She is definitely not a baby anymore.

She's a biker chick...

Happy Birthday, Lola! I love you. A little bit more every day.

04 April 2010

Felices Pascuas

The Easter Bunny, though she insists it was Santa, brought Lola a little basket filled with treats and treasures this lovely Easter morning. Stickers, beads, play money, little wooden eggs and cows, and chocolates! After generously sharing a couple of hundred dollars and some gold coins - but not the chocolate - with her parents and the cat, she counted what was left.

"... Quatro, cinco...," I heard her softly muttering. I was impressed and amused. Thank you, Dora. I told Lola it was high time she learned how to count in Dutch and showed her how.

"Een, twee, drie, vier..."

"Quatro, cinco," she chimed in.

My child is becoming bilingual alright, just not the language I had in mind. Though much more practical, I'm sure.

Happy Easter! Vrolijk Pasen! And Felices Pascuas, too!

03 April 2010

Judy's Garden

Dear Judy,

For weeks I have been looking at your flowerbeds out front, itching to get out and do some spring cleaning in there. But I restrained myself, because I know the dead leaves and other debris covering the dirt provide a protective layer against the elements and I was still waiting on that blizzard I was sure to get now that I live in northern Wisconsin. No such luck. Instead the month of March was the first March since 1871 without a single flake of snow.

The last of the snow is gone now. The lake is free of ice. A couple of weeks ago the load limits for the roads went into effect, protecting them during the spring thaw. Due to the drought, all burning permits have been revoked until further notice. And for the third consecutive day, it was sunny out with temperatures in the mid seventies. In addition to numerous robins, I have encountered too many mosquitoes already, bumped into a bumble bee, and spotted the first butterfly. Upon inspecting your garden earlier this week, I noticed I was not the only one itching to get out.


So instead of scrubbing toilets and cleaning grubby fingerprints off your windows, I put on some shorts and a tank top yesterday, grabbed my pruning sheers and a hand fork, and went to town. Miss Lola assisted in hauling off the yard waste. The both of us had a wonderful time. First we cleaned up the large flowerbed in the curve of the driveway. Next we took on the long flowerbed by the side of the house leading to the garage. Then we tackled the hosta beds out front and to the side of the house.

I was delighted to be gardening again. I didn't realize how much I had missed it. To dig my hands in the dirt, pull out the weeds, free the hyacinths and the tulips (or Lily of the Valleys - not sure what they are) that had grown three inches in three days. There's more to be done still. The flowerbeds in the backyard, and the fenced garden up by the road. You'll have to tell me what's in there. What are annuals that I can remove, and what are perennials that need to stay and receive some tender loving care.

It rained last night and will continue to rain over the next couple of days. Perfect timing! And since I will be in sunny southern California for the week, I won't get wet myself. Like I said, perfect timing. To top it off, I discovered the daffodils you planted. I have not been able to find any in the stores to fill my L E N T E vases with. And now I don't have to. I'll just wait until I can cut them from the garden. Thank you.

Happy Easter! Love,

29 March 2010

Like Riding A Bicycle

It was lovely weather this evening and we decided to go for a bicycle ride around the lake after dinner. It has been maybe five years since I have ridden a bike. They say once you learn, you never forget. It's true. I still know how to get around on a bike. I have not forgotten.

Nor have I forgotten what it is like to walk home with a flat tire. I made it all the way to the boat landing, about 0.75 miles up the road, when my tire went flat. I walked the same 0.75 miles back home with my bike at my side.

But my father taught me well. Tomorrow afternoon, when I come home from work, I will prove I have not forgotten how to fix a flat tire.

As soon as I find my bicycle repair kit, that is. Because I may have forgotten where I put that.

28 March 2010

Toddler Talk

She will be three in two weeks. Her language skills are improving every day. Sometimes there are so many words exploding in her head, it makes her stutter. We patiently wait for the words to come out. And what comes out can be pretty funny...


To Ryan as he is leaving for school:
"Bye papa! Don’t pee in your pants, don’t poop in your pants. I love you!"

Whilst reading the adventures of Dora the Explorer and being corrected on the use of he versus she:
“He is not she, he is Dora!”

“Lola, I have had enough. Can you please be a normal, good girl?”
“No. I want to be Lola.”

On ignoring the ‘No Running in the House’ rule:
“But mom, I am not running. I am pretending to run.”

Asking to look at the pictures and movies on my digital camera:
“I want to look at Lola, The Movie!”

The girl likes to dance:
“I need some music.” (And by music she means The Black Eyed Peas.)

When I try to dislodge myself from her grip after kissing her good night:
"You can't go anywhere. I am keeping you." Followed by her 'evil' laugh "Ha, ha, ha, ha..."


27 March 2010

Waiting For Daffodils

For a while now I have wanted to play around with etching glass. I think it's a wonderful way to personalize cookie jars, storage containers, and vases. Last week I finally did it. I actually managed to start and finish a project. I adorned little 7 oz. beer bottles with L E N T E, the Dutch word for spring. The "How To" can be found on my other blog, Dutch Girl Originals, my show case for all things crafty.

I am very happy with the result, if I do say so myself. Now all I need is daffodils, my ultimate spring flower. Until I find some, fake Dollar Tree daisies will have to do.

Of course now I want a set of vases for every season. There's only eight bottles to a case, though. We're just going to have to drink for the cause...

16 March 2010

Spring Fever

I knew it! For the past couple of weeks I have been telling myself not to give into the feelings of Spring Fever that have started to surface. "Don't get swept away by this lovely spring weather we're having," I told myself, "this is Northern Wisconsin where it snows in April, sometimes even in May. Yes, it is 60F degrees (15C) outside and sunny but that does not mean a thing."

But it was stronger than I was. When the cold sunny days turned to warm sunny days and the snow started to melt, I decided to help it along by cleaning off the back deck so we could sit outside and bask in the sun. Much nicer than sitting in the driveway. A completely pointless effort it turned out to be, because there was so much snow melting from the roof, it was like sitting under a waterfall.

With daylight savings time taking effect last Sunday, there is even more sunshine to be had. Almost all of the snow is gone. The grass is showing, the bears are up, and I have heard the odd robin has been sighted. My husband is already sporting a suntan and we have been enjoying cocktails in the backyard together after work. I am so over winter. As far as I am concerned it can go, take the snow with it, and not come back until December.

But what does our forecast predict? You guessed it. Snow! And naturally on my day off. Life is so unfair sometimes. Perhaps I can reschedule?

15 March 2010

Danger Talk

Like every parent, I dread the day I have to tell my daughter the world is not as nice a place as she thinks it is. That there are people out there that hurt other people. On purpose. I don't think the time has come yet, though, she is not yet three. Let her be blissfully unaware for a little while longer. And in the meantime we'll keep a close eye on her.

However, today I did have a little talk with her. Early this morning, I spotted a black bear, leisurely strolling along the shoreline of Lake Lucerne. Or Mud Bay, as we have come to call it. I was absolutely thrilled by the sighting. I ran over to the bedroom to wake Ryan up in true City Girl Sees Wildlife fashion. Ryan being a veteran bear-spotter, wasn't nearly as excited as I was.

Lola and I had been feeding the eagles leftover meat yesterday, thinking the bears were still hibernating, though not for much longer. The unseasonably warm weather woke them up early it seems. This morning the meat was gone. I doubt the bears ate it, judging by the prints in the snow where the meat used to be. I am certain the eagles didn't, though. Oh well. As long as some critter enjoyed it.

While we were on our way to daycare, I told Lola I had to talk to her about the bears. That even though they look really cute and cuddly, they are in fact very dangerous. Bears are not like baby deer. And highly unlikely as it may be, if she should see a bear, there was no walking over and saying "Hi". Lola repeated everything I said and then told me she didn't like bears anymore. Since she loves all animals, with the exception of elephants and crocodiles, that was not what I was going for. But for now, I'll take it.

03 March 2010

Find Your Way

May you always find your way, wherever it leads you. And then find your way back home again. That is not where we live, it is where I am.

Happy Birthday, Ryan!



p.s. I got him a GPS...

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