Friday, July 22, 2011

Once Again

I've found myself.  Actually I just found my password and was able to log back in to my blog.  I have a mental list that begins "I feel old when...." and one of the items high on the list is how incredibly ancient I feel when I can't make my computer do what I want it to do.

Yesterday, I finally caved in and asked the server to help me out and they cheerfully email a new password to my Yahoo account which would be dandy except that I have a gmail account.  I went to bed frustrated but finally remembered that little icon up in the corner of the screen that I can click on to search for items lost in the computer.  So this morning I typed in 'password' and magically it appeared.  Where was it, I wonder? Anyway, I'm back.

That makes two of us at our house.  Mark says Pretzel is the Lazarus of dogs.  She is now back to her normal, slightly daffy self.  I know this for sure because yesterday, in the heat of the afternoon, she somehow snuck into the garage and managed to tip over the food bin.  I found the hot little dachshund trying to eat her weight in dog food.  Really, she has no self control and, obviously, no memory of how sick she was just days ago.

After all the heat, rain blew in this morning and I think all of Omaha heaved a sigh of relief.  I don't mind the heat as much as some but tempers were growing a little short and everything needed a good drink.  Maybe we all feel a little revived. Em has been helping us out with the weeds and went out to work in the rain.  She said it was better than weeding in the heat.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sweet Pretzel

We came home from the lake a few days early because of reports that Pretzel, one of our aging dachshunds, wasn't doing well.  Em, who has been Pretzel's pal for more than 12 years, was home caring for the dogs so we knew she was in good hands.  However, anyone who has ever had a dog knows that they are a part of the family and to face loosing them is a tough go.

Our two dachshunds came from the same breeder.  We always said Ernie is the smart one and Pretzel is the pretty one.  From the beginning Ernie figured everything out.  When he was hungry, he nosed his bowl around or barked until the noise drove us to get up from what we were doing and supply dog food.  Pretzel just sat and looked at us like "gee, I wish I could tell them I was hungry."  I won't say who is more likely to leave a puddle on the floor but her name begins with P.
On the other hand, Ernie can be a little neurotic and unwelcoming.  Pretzel never met anyone who wasn't a friend.  She wags her tail and sniffs hello to kids and adults alike.

Our biggest concern as the dogs age is how one would do without the other.  They are great buddies, often napping together.  This morning Pretzel looks just a bit brighter and she is curled up next to Ernie on their cushion.  Whatever happens, we think they should get to spend these days together.  I think that's what I would prefer when I am old and ill: to be at home, resting comfortably next to the person I love the most, with plenty of people around to rub my back.  

Monday, July 11, 2011

Haiku To You

I love both the discipline and the surprise of haiku.  Those little poems that satisfy, usually with a single image. They are the deer that flashes past you near the side of the country road as you drive past, the ground squirrel that manages to climb the six-foot pole to perch triumphantly on the bird feeder.  Something catches your eye, makes you smile and pause for a moment before you move on.

This little nest caught my eye this morning.  I was out puttering and I noticed it lying in the yard.  It fit easily in the palm of my hand.  I'd like to think that it served it's time as a home for a tiny family and then the rain last night blew it down.

An empty nest, lacy
and alone, like a glove left
on an oak church pew.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


An early morning kayak ride put me in a philosophical mood.  This is amazing since I set out before my coffee.  I was nudged because my husband and brother-in-law had a nature extravaganza the other morning.  They were out early and came back with descriptions that sounded like something from the Discovery Channel.   Eagles were swooping, loons were swimming, osprey were feeding babies.

What caught my eye this morning was that when it is calm, everything on the bank can be seen in the water.  It is a perfect reflection.  It all seems in balance and it all supports the same system.

If there are insects and plants, the fish can feed.  If the fish feed and grow, there will be loons, eagles and osprey living near by and building nests because they can fish.  If we can manage not to muck it up, it will go on and on and on.

It's easy to be proud of what we own.  This is my little piece of the world, we like to think.  I'm sure the eagles and the loons don't care who owns what.  I'm wondering this morning what reflects back from our ownership of land and lakes.  I hope it is something good, something that leaves the land at least no worse than when we came.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Rainy Day

Today is a rainy lake day.  We use these days to catch up.  The loon parents can take their babies (two right now) out for some swimming lessons without the competition of jet skis and other fast watercraft.  The geese don't seem to mind activity but the loons are shy. On days like this everything takes on a more subtle beauty.  The sky is filled with clouds that change from moment to moment and the water on the lake sends small waves our way.

All of our company is gone and Mark and I are back to puttering.  I feel my stack of books calling.  It really isn't good to work too hard.  I may dig into 'Old Cape Magic' by Richard Russo.  That seems like a good fit for a lake read.  He gets the family thing right.

So we will miss everyone who came to visit but we have lots of good memories to store away.  Even as we finished up this year's visit, we talked about 'next time'.  The best adventures never end,  they just wait for new chapters.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Pancake Pajama Party

The pace of life picked up at the lake.  My sister and brother-in-law are easy visitors, they move at our pace.  The boys do a few projects and Janie and I walk, knit and kayak on the clear days.  My brother and his seven-year-old daughter are also here and she likes to keep a little busier.  Lots of Go Fish.

We decided a party was in order and since there is a gaggle of darling kids at the cabin next door, we concocted a pancake pajama party one morning.  At 8:30 a.m. we had eight kids show up.  The little girls had braided their hair prettily and they were all in their 'best' p.j's.

We are no dummies so we had all the pancakes made and warming in the oven, the table was set and we had enough adults around to keep everyone served and catch any spills.

After breakfast, they made a fort on the front porch and a few of them played cards out there.  We had one art project ready and for a while they all colored together at the table, happy voices all around.  Before long, some of the construction paper became airplanes and those flew beautifully off our balcony.  Who knew.

By 10:30 a.m., they were all off for a wild flower walk with our niece in tow.

In a few days it will be quiet again.  Both ways are fun.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Turtle Bay

We got off early in the kayaks this morning, trying to beat the weekend boat traffic on the lake.  We paddled down to Turtle Bay, one of our favorite destinations.  Right down the bank from our cabin, you can loose yourself in a world where bullfrogs chirp and fish swim only a finger's length below the water.

I wove my way back in among the reeds and lilly pads, savoring the loveliness of the morning.  For a few moments I just sat there, soaking it all in.

Later the day was filled with the fun of big families enjoying a beautiful sunny day on the lake.  We applauded kids who got up on skis for the first time and listened to fish tales from a young fisherman who caught a one-pound bass.  We paused during his description to watch an eagle fly overhead.

This evening, it's quiet again on the lake. A breeze is coming through the screens and it's about time to pick up a good book. It's the contrast that makes it fun.  No day is without some adventure.

It seems like a good place to celebrate America's birthday, which we will do quietly tomorrow.  I'm not sure the loons are big on fireworks.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

My New Neighbor, Bartholomew

When I stepped out of the cabin this morning, I was swept up in the excitement of two barefoot kids next door. They have a new pet, Bartholomew the Turtle.  This box turtle was rescued from the road by one of the adults in their cabin. (I was wryly informed he's on suicide watch because any turtle who tries to walk across the road on the July 4th weekend must has a death wish.)

Anyway, Bartholomew has a new tupperware home, nicely decorated with rocks and water.  He has lettuce to munch on and two new owners to admire how fast he can walk and how quickly he can retreat when anyone gets too close.  His under-shell is a lovely orange and he seems friendly enough.

The policy up here is generally catch and release, which could be re-interpreted as survival of the fittest. It's hard to be a critter loved by a seven or eight-year-old, even for 24 hours.  On the other hand, there is a lot to be learned from watching a frog or a turtle or a giant warty toad.

And let's face it, Bartholomew might have been good for nothing but soup if someone hadn't come along and pulled him off the road.  Life is a game of chance, even for turtles.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Uncle Tom's Cabin

Yesterday, in a fit of productivity, I ran around Omaha doing all my pre-lake errands.  One of the stops was the County Treasurer's Office.  I was dispatched to pick up new plates for our car.  Of course, silly me, I didn't give a thought to the fact that it was the last day of the month and the day before a long holiday weekend. The line that greeted me was daunting to say the least.

I gritted my teeth and took my place, feeling my blood pressure rise as I was sandwiched between conversations and perfumes that held no appeal for me.  Then I remembered my phone has an ap called 3D Classic Lit.  It was free and I downloaded it on a whim.  I'm pretty much a book person.  I like the feel of a book in my hands but in a pinch, any medium will do.  I read a review last Sunday in the New York Times  of "Mighter Than The Sword",  a book about Harriet Beecher Stowe and the influence of "Uncle Tom's Cabin".  It struck me at the time that I had never read that book.

Right there in line I pulled it up on my phone and for the next 50 minutes, I read "Uncle Tom's Cabin."  It was amazing.  I barely looked up.  I just shuffled along with the crowd, tuning out all the noise and chaos of the room.  I may get the actual book at the library to finish but in that moment, I was saved by the electronic version.

I guess the moral is that you should always carry something to read.  A friend once told me she keeps a copy of "Pride and Prejudice" in her car for emergencies.  That works too.  I still like paper best but words are words. They rescue me from uncomfortable places.