Saturday, February 28, 2009

First of Many

Baby girl had her first trip out to the beach yesterday. In between storms this week, the sun yesterday morning appeared like the debut of a contestant on American Idol. How could we ignore it's brilliance? We had to get outside to experience this winter performance. The best place to do this is by going to one of my favorite places in Humboldt County; Table Bluff Beach.

Although Miss T. looks vaguely uninterested, I had to assume she was having a wonderful time. Considering she slept the entire time would confirm that assumption. She was completely captivated by the warm gentle breezes that brushed her cheeks as she dreamed.

The dog kept bringing us sticks to throw but E. and I were too busy taking photos of our pretty in pink package.

When we got her back to the car, E. took off her blanket to reveal Miss T's sentiments on our excursion. I love you too, baby girl!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Birthday Reflections

As February comes to a close, I thought I would just post some old photos that are in my family archives. Just for smiles :)
The month brought lots of reminders of our love for one another. Between flowers, chocolates and kisses, the winter days are warmed by the tenderness that flows between us as we each express our grateful appreciation of our love.

Nick had his 27th birthday.

Happy Birthday, Nick!

The Anchor Coffee house; circa 2003

His sister tried putting corn rows in his hair once. It looked even funnier when she took them out

Baked potatoes with all the trimmings for dinner.

Mmm. This looks yummy. I'm not sure just who invited these two, but they seem to think dinner looks pretty good, too.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Tracks and Scat

In addition to my degree courses, son #6, ( Arbiter as you know he likes to be called), and I are taking a course in North Coast Mammal Identification. We had our first field trip this past Friday, where we went out to the local sand dunes to track small mammals and make casts of their little paw prints. Our instructor brought along all the necessary items for making the impressions of the prints. Just like we used to do in grade school - plaster of paris, water, beakers for mixing, etc. We were encouraged to hike down the beach away from most dog tracks in order to find evidences of small mammals like raccoons, opossum, rabbits and the like. The weather was so incredibly nice. On the front edge of a warm rain storm, the tepid wind blew gently from the east as the clouds floated softly by, allowing the sun to peek through enough to give us a enjoyable 65 degree temperature. It felt sooo good to be outdoors. I had been wanting to get to the beach for days!
The first thing we noticed was just how busy these little critters are. We saw tracks everywhere. Before today we would just walk right on by these prints, walking over them without even noticing them. But now that our mission was to find some worthy of casting, we carefully and gently moved about, being precise in our steps. We saw lots of rabbit droppings and poo of other sorts.

Before too long we stirred up a Black tailed jack rabbit that dashed off before I could get a photo! We tried to follow it to find some cool prints, but he was moving so fast that his tracks were nothing more than a dip in the soft, dry sand.

We were able to make some casts of a few prints.

I think most of them were coon prints.

Just as we finished up and got in the car, it started to rain!

The next morning, Gus and I took the dog out for a run and we decided to go back out to the same beach to do some exploring. I was thinking that after a light rain, the sand would be a little moist and the prints would be easily recognized.

These are oppossum tracks in a shallow mud puddle. I discoverd that oppossums have an opposable thumb on the hind foot as you can clearly see here. I brought along my casting kit and made a quick cast of this, but in my excitement in lifting it out, I set it down and then promptly stepped on it while retrieving my backpack! But the photo turned out great, so I can put this in my tracking journal.
This is a drift wood teepee that we came upon. We often find evidences of human mammals out on these dunes as well!

The skies were filled with a symphony of cackling Aleutian geese as they migrated to their annual nesting grounds here in the Eel River bottom lands.

If you look carefully, you can see them in these photos.

Gus was kind enough to come along on the adventure and even carry my pack. He tried to be as interested as possible, but truth be known, I think he was a little bored! Another adventurous day squeezed between winter rain storms.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

February Musings

During this month of February, the view outside my window has vacillated between thrashing hail storms and pummeling rain to sunshine bursting through billowing white, puffy clouds. Each and every moment seems to reveal an exciting display of creativity in the heavens. Indeed, the atmosphere outdoors has been dramatic. Much like my own moods here of late, actually.

It seems that just as the storm rages outside and inside the house remains a haven, my emotions have had these same similarities. Although I have also experienced the storm raging on the inside as well! Ugh. Sometimes I feel like such a jerk. A lot of my emotional swings I know are from being locked in the house more than usual, but another cause is from my weakness to adapt to being locked inside said facility with individuals that I should be able to get along with. You know, people that I love and care for. Why is it then, that I notice the messes they make when I am inside more? Why does their slothful early morning routines of rising and waking and eating and flopping seem to be more noticeable when I am confined to the house? Do I not notice them when I am running around trying to get my day off the ground? Or is it just because there isn't a lot to do all day long inside the house so I begin to notice things.... And then I begin to pick... pick, pick pick. Chiseling away at the very fabric of our relationships. This, I confess, I do. I begin to point out this shortcoming or that display of laziness or that lack of self control. So when I begin to get this way, I know I need to get out. Get outside into the fresh air in order to get a fresh perspective of my situation. Sounds simple, I know, but recognizing it while I'm in the midst of it sometimes remains cloaked in a veil of pride. I seem to think that this would be a good time to fix these broken character flaws; you know, while we are all inside with not much else to do. But then a lack of co-operation begins to unfold amongst my comrades. "What do you mean I'm being to harsh?" aghast I cry. It seems like a perfectly good time to deal with all of this!
So, to make a short out of the long of it...... I get outside even when it's damp and cold and rainy and drippy. My family thanks me for it, I'm sure!!

Yesterday Gus and I went for an adventure into some old logging areas just north of our city park. We had never been onto these particular roads so we really didn't know just where we were going! We climbed over berry vines when the road narrowed, forged raging creeks to get to the other side, just for fun. We even dragged logs out of the brush to make small crossings when we couldn't jump our way across. I felt like a kid again traipsing through the brush in the rain getting all muddy. So after an hour or so of this, my kinks were all worked out and it was easier for me to navigate around all the nuances of my interior existence. I don't particularly like winter, but I am learning how to appreciate its challenges.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Gross? Or just ......necessary!

It's not that Anatomy is gross, though sometimes it is..... It is a class that I am attending. I need to take this class to further my pursuits in nursing. Jo and I are taking it together which is an entirely separate blog altogether! Jo seems to have some weird attraction to the human body after it's original occupant has departed. As a matter of fact, she just took on a job as a pathologist's asst. at the county coroner's office here in town. She is disturbingly giddy about it! Anyway, I guess someone has to do it, though not just anyone can. I guess you could say that it would have to be a special calling to actually be able to perform such a job.
As you can see from the photos, she actually would think of bringing the camera to class to record our prodding and probing of these specimens that have been generously donated by their previous owners who no longer will need them. I never realized just how generous it is to donate one's body for the use of scientific research. Apparently UCSF has a program that you can sign up to that would allow you to give your self when then inevitable time comes that you go on to meet your Maker. (For those of you that happen to be interested , FYI).
So, this being just another way to wile away the winter days...... That and intermediate Algebra. My kids tease me that I am experiencing a "mid-life crisis" but I like to think of it as a mid-life surge. I'm not ready for the rocking chair and the crocheting just yet!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

First Visit to G'ma's

This was her first trip to G'ma & G'pa's house. After going in for a check up with the pediatrician, the little family stopped by for a visit and to pick up a gift that came in the mail. Thank you, Julie!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Long Hours Indoors

With the weather turning to from a sunny, warm January to a cold, damp February, we have had to stay indoors more than I would like to. Outside the thunder pounds and the rain pours as the ground is saturated in a heavy winter storm.
So, I visit my little grandbabies. I can't think of a better way to spend my indoor hours than to snuggle up in the rocking chair with a little bundle of baby on my lap!

Jo and I enjoyed Little Miss Tally while momma took a much needed nap.
Back at home, ACJ helped me with the dishes.

Love the little tip toes!

Little mister decided that he wanted to get in on the "fun" as well. When does dishwashing change from being fun water play to a dutiful chore? Perhaps it is the nuance of it all that keeps the grandkids so entertained!

After chores comes tea time with Dad and G'pa. Hard to tell just who is having the most fun here!

When the tea is done we play some more. ACJ has fun with Jo's ipod at Friday Nights in Ferndale.