Christmas Eve 2016

The Girl and I decided to have breakfast out on Christmas Eve. I decided to take a Christmas Card to the folks who work there. They treated me well this year.

I woke early this morning, thinking about some record keeping that needed to be done. So, I rose, made some coffee, and sat down at the computer for a few minutes. Of course, the Girl rolled out and needed to go out, so I took care of her. She ran back indoors after taking care of business, then looked over her shoulder at me as she jumped back into the bed. She seemed to be saying “Are you going to come back to bed?”

I gave her a pat and returned to my computer work. It was done soon enough, so I elected to take a nap before we started the day. (This would be about 0530 hours this morning.) She was snuggled into her little bed, which I had repaired yesterday. The seam came undone (again), so I sewed it back closed. This time I hope that I got the stop knot tied a bit better. Regardless, the seam no longer leaks stuffing and I can always resew if I need to.

In any event, I crawled back into the rack and looked at her, looking over the edge of her little bed at me. I patted the bed next to me, “Come snuggle!” I had to ask twice, but she rose, circled once, and plopped next to me tight. I draped the quilt over us and settled in.

I love that warm next to me. She is very snuggly, especially when the weather turns cold. She likes to have some part touching me when she sleeps anyway. It might be her back or her haunches, but she likes that physical contact while we sleep.

The Girl began snoring before I drifted off… it’s a pleasant sound…

I woke for the second time about 0700 hours, rolled over, patted the Girl a few times, and rose. I woke thinking that biscuits and gravy sounded real good and that I might celebrate Christmas Eve by treating myself to breakfast out. It took me a few minutes to gather myself together — and prepare for walkies after breakfast. So I collected our things and we loaded out.

There was a scattering of snow from the storms that blew over last night and the clouds threatened more snow for the day. That’s all good. We need the snow and it is not bitterly cold, so walkies in snow would be fine.

Breakfast was a treat. I saved back some of my hamburger patty for the Girl (with a bit of gravy as well), enjoyed my coffee, and read some of the news. I was saddened to read that Carrie Fisher is ill after suffering a cardiac event on the flight from England to the States. I hope she recovers. It’s not wasted on me that she’s 60-something-years old. That’s a little close to home.

After breakfast, we loaded up and drove out to Riverview Park. I decided to walk part of that loop this morning. I wanted a nice outing and wanted the Girl to have a good, long walk. Tomorrow I’ll be busy cooking and might not have as much opportunity to get her out.

I met a funny dog there at the staging area. He was standoffish until he figured out I’ll throw a stick for him. So, we played while his handler talking on the phone. Then the Girl and I started on our walk.

The sun was shining on the mountains north of Carson City, but the battery in my compact camera was low (and cold) so I couldn’t get a decent shot. The wind was a little sharp, but I had enough layers on. The Girl had her cover on and is less exposed to the wind. She’s fine anyway as long as she’s moving. And, moving she was!

I heard a group of coyotes calling in the sagebrush. They would bark a little and then howl. I like the sound but was a little wary because there weren’t more than a hundred yards out. I didn’t want the Girl to get into the middle of them.

But, they never showed themselves.

As I walked along I visited with other walkers. I was reminded how good life is. I love to be able to get out to walk, visit with others, play with my dog, enjoy watching her run from sagebrush to sagebrush, sniffing and marking. I sing a bit when we’re out and about. I’m grateful, not just for the season, but for the gift of life. I’m thankful for warm summer days and gray winter days, with a bit of snow on the ground and the wind spitting snowflakes. I’m amused by the calls of coyotes floating on the wind, drifting over the sagebrush to tease me. And I’m thankful for my best friend who loves to run, to play, to eat, and to snuggle.

I’ll spend some time thanking God for the birth of the Christ Child, which we’ll celebrate tomorrow. That Gift is, perhaps, the most wondrous of all.

Cold Morning

It was frickin’ cold this morning… cold enough that there was ice on the windscreen of the rig.

I woke early this morning and took care of some bookwork that needed attention. The Girl came into the office and checked on me a couple of times, then asked to go out. She didn’t stay out long, though… just long enough to eliminate. Then she dashed past me back into the house to go snuggle up in a warm bed.

I laughed and returned to my chores and morning coffee. I wanted to get some things cleared from my list and I wanted a walk.

I fed us, knowing it was cold and wanting the sun to be a little higher in the sky before we headed for Silver Saddle Ranch. Between her asking and my antsyness, we headed out about 0900. When we got into the rig, I noticed the ice on the windscreen. It was about 20F out there. Fortunately, there was not much wind or it would have been a miserable day.

I parked the rig and got us out. She immediately commenced her sniffing routine. I put on another layer, got my gloves out, and dropped the flaps on my hat. We headed out on one of our common trails, the frozen ground crunching under my boots. I worried a bit about the Girl getting cold, but she showed no sign of being cold. We were moving, there was sun, and there was not much wind. So I relaxed and enjoyed the bright, cold day.

The desert vegetation is sleeping now. The cottonwoods have shed the last of their leaves and are in their winter regalia.

When we got to the Mexican Ditch crossing, the Girl balked. There was a bit of snow and frost on the board we cross at the irrigation gate. So I crossed, checking the footing. It was not bad, so I encouraged her across. Once I crossed, she decided she could too… although gingerly.

The Carson River was up. I don’t recall seeing it that high in a long time, perhaps last spring sometime during the spring snowmelt. We had a lot of rain and snow and it showed. The high-water mark was about a foot higher than the current stage, so there was even more flow a day or two ago.

We approached the Mexican Dam, but I pulled us up short. There was no way I was going to let her out on the headwall or weir. It would have been a disaster if she fell in today. Not only was the current much stronger than she’s seen it, but the cold would have hurt her.

So we paused at a pull out where I could get an image/video and she cold sniff around. We greeted a few other souls who passed us along the way.

It was cold, so we didn’t pause long. I wanted to keep her moving so she wouldn’t get cold. On the way back to the rig, there was a little breeze in my face and that was not pleasant. It was cold enough to burn a little. I need to stick a shemagh in my pocket, I think.

Back at the house, a cup of coffee and a treat were appropriate. Then it was time to get on with setting up my house.

What a beautiful day, if a bit cold.

The Messy Middle

The messy middle is that place in a project where everything seems to be moving in a different direction.

Every project has that middle time when one is in the thick of it. Michael Hyatt calls this phase of a project the messy middle. It is a time when momentum is difficult to keep and distractions reign supreme.

About two weeks ago I moved into my place. There was an initial flood of things done and then the task of unpacking and organizing became more difficult. After setting up a workable kitchen, bedroom, and workroom, I repaired my bookshelves (new shelf pins, which required drilling out the holes). Then there was a flurry of unloading a buttload of books, and getting them onto the shelves in a semi-organized fashion, and moving boxes from the storage unit to my garage (where I’m staging them).

Now I’m in the messy-middle of this project. I am greatly slowed by the need to process the material in the boxes. I don’t want to just put stuff away; I want to sort as I go and choose which things I will keep and which will go away. This is daunting because of the level of decision-making required. I have to look at each thing, then decide.

So things are now much slower. I have to keep my focus and keep my momentum. I want to get this done. Then I can enjoy my place and the things I elect to keep.

But the lesson about the messy middle is well taken.

An Evening Meal

While on afternoon walkies, the Girl and I came up a feeding Cooper’s Hawk (or it might be a Sharp-Shinned Hawk — I can’t tell the difference).

About mid-afternoon, the Girl began pestering to go out. She does that, usually beginning about 1430 hours. I decided I needed a break from sorting things and finding where I want to stow them. So, we drove up to the old State School to walk and play for a few minutes.

She loves to check all the squirrel holes. The area is infested with California ground squirrels, but they are cagey and don’t let her get close. Still, she’s a high-drive dog and wants to chase. So she can’t help but check all the holes and chase one if it presents a target.

After we made the circuit, I noticed a feather float by. A few seconds later, I saw another… and another.

“Something is shedding,” I thought, looking around. It took me only a few seconds to spot a hawk picking its kill on top of a power pole. Then I recalled that I carry a compact camera in my vest pocket.

The Girl poked around while I tried to find a good angle to make a few captures. I made ten or twelve images and like this one quite a lot. The hawk is either a Sharp-shinned Hawk or a Cooper’s Hawk. The two are difficult to distinguish and I am no expert. All I know is that it was fun to watch the bird feed.

The trip would have been worthwhile anyway. The Girl and I got outside and we got to play. That’s good enough. The interaction with the hawk was special.

Cold and Wet

This shot made me think of Saul Leiter, although in black and white.

The Girl and I got out early Saturday morning. I wanted to get a bite and this morning I wanted to visit Grandma Hattie’s, a favorite local diner. We also wanted a walk, but neither of us wanted to walk in the rain. I could have because I have good gear. But the Girl does not like to be wet and does not (yet) have a raincoat. So, we made a short walk so she could take care of business and then we hopped into the rig to run a few errands.

Breakfast was nice and she appreciated her purple shag rug (many thanks, Lucinda) under the table. She was warm and dry while I ate my breakfast and drank my coffee. I even set aside half my bacon for her (for later).

Breakfast over, we returned to the rig where I removed her vest and gave her her treat. She loves bacon, almost as much as chicken. She enjoyed the warm seat (I ran the bun warmers) on the way to pick up my mail. While I waited for the UPS Store to open, I noticed the rain on the window and made the capture.

The capture made me think of Saul Leiter, a wonderful artist and photographer whose work I admire. I’ll have to watch the documentary made of him again, once I set up my television.

I was pleased that there was payment for some work in the mail. We then drove over to Best Buy so I could buy a small microwave oven. I miss having an easy way to warm something. I found a solid unit for not much money and picked it up.

We drove home, where the Girl went off to nap away the rainy day. I worked on my unpacking for several hours. I’m clearing the garage of boxes and loading my bookshelves. A number of the books brought a tear to my eye, bringing memories of loved ones now gone. I shared a image with Daughter of one of her favorite childhood books, In the Land of Sniggl-dee-Bloop. I must have read that book a thousand times.

I would happily read it again, another thousand times. The language is fun and the story is interesting. It is a good book. Those times spent with my children remain precious in my memories.

Soon I will work through the bulk of my unpacking. It will then be time to organize my things and look at them once again to determine what I will keep and what will go. There is no reason to hang onto things unless they have utility or significant meaning. Everything else can go to someone who needs them or wants them. I am good with that.

Snowy Rainbow

On walkies, the Girl and I were treated to a gorgeous rainbow over Carson City.

We had snow night before last. I didn’t know how much there was, but there was enough to get the snowplows out — I heard their rumble and grind early in the morning as the crews prepared for the morning commute. I listened while I enjoyed my morning coffee.

When the Girl and I finally got out for walkies, I realized there was only an inch or two. So, there wasn’t all that much. But it set Carson City in white and turned the mountains into that mixture of white snow, dark rock, and brown vegetation that is the desert winter.

As we walked north on Roop Street, the large open lot near the DMV facility provided a wide view of a rainbow. It formed as blowing snow from the Carson Range drifted over the city into the morning sunlight, which set the droplets afire. I paused a few moment before moving on to take in the sight, offer a prayer of gratitude, and make a couple of images. I think that sight made my day.

There were a few icy patches along our way to Governor’s Field, where we walked along the drainage ditch. The ditch is full of cattails and Girl loves to run and sniff, looking for traces of other dogs (pee-mail) or critters.

We turned south on Saliman Road. After we crossed Fairview Drive, I noticed a small appliance store that sells refurbished washer/dryer sets. For $300, I can have my own washer and dryer. There is room in my garage, and hookups, so I think I’ll go buy a set of them once I clear enough of my garage that the shop personnel can get them to their stations. I do not really mind going to the laundromat, but I prefer the freedom that using my own equipment provides, particularly when I have work. It’s two hours from my day spent sitting when I could be productive. I think the cost is justified.

It was good to be back at the apartment, although it had warmed substantially while we walked. I had some work to get done and wanted to work on my house. I did both.

It was a good day.

Remembering Pearl Harbor 2016

The USS Nevada under way. By Public domain photo from history.navy.mil Photo #: 80-G-282709, Public Domain, here.

My bad… I intended to write something about Pearl Harbor Day on the day but was distracted by so many other things nipping at my virtual heels. So I will write a bit and post it ad hoc.

Every year I pause for a few minutes on several anniversaries that are important to me as a citizen of the United States of America. One of those days is 7 December, a day that will live in infamy. On that morning, 75-years ago, men, women, and children rose to a normal Sunday morning expecting the day to be, well, normal.

That assumption changed abruptly.

The USS Nevada was the only battleship that made a run for open sea, but was stopped by harbor command and beached to prevent the Japanese from sinking the ship in the main channel into Pearl Harbor. There is a brief story here.

A USS Nevada Memorial is located on the Carson City Capitol grounds. The Girl and I visit it when we walk that loop. I sometimes pause there to reflect on the sacrifice of those sailors (and others) when we walk. It is a hallowed place.

So, I remember… even when I do not take time to write.

Settling In

It was broken; now it is not.
It was broken; now it is not.

After my last post (seems so long ago) much has happened. Wednesday, Young Son and I moved all the heavy stuff from the storage unit to the apartment. By the time I turned in the truck, I was too done to go back to the unit and prepare to sleep there. So I returned to my hotel room and spent one last night there.

Thursday morning I packed my gear, loaded the rig, and drove over to the apartment. I dropped my gear, got the Girl out for a short walk/play, then returned to assemble a computer and participate in a conference call for one of my projects.

By noon I was able to get started on my place. The bed slats were tired, so I attempted a fix but elected to reject them and build some new ones. But that was too late for the day, so I decided to sleep on the sofa. That old leather sofa sleeps well, as my kids and many friends can attest. The Girl slept on her small bed on the Ottoman.

It was strange to sleep in my own space again. But it is good!

Friday morning I got my invoices out and was going to walk the Girl, but I had a morning webinar (to keep my certifications active) that cramped my time. So I grabbed a bite of breakfast and learned that I do not care for Jack-in-the-Box breakfast burritos. So the Girl played at the park while I nibbled my breakfast. Then the webinar happened and I was able to get back on task.

I built new slats for the foundation, assembled my bed, broke open the boxes labeled “bedding,” and then had a place to sleep. I started work on the kitchen, but made little progress. So that would be the Saturday task.

I was surprised when I started breaking boxes and came across some things Wife bought/gave me. There were some wine glasses we shared. There is a China teapot and Chinese cups for tea. There is a set of whiskey glasses that are fun. These things made me pause for a moment and reflect on Wife, the years we shared, the things, times, and places we shared, and her death. I still miss you, Old Girl!

That’s when I discovered I needed the drawer above. The guide rail was broken and the drawer unstable. The landlord mentioned it when I met her to get a key. I figured they’d get to it, but the lack of a drawer was impeding my progress. So I spent a little time on YouTube, learned how to replace the rail, and drove over to Lowe’s for parts. (I also needed some no-slip drawer/shelf lining and a new lampshade to replace one that died in transit.)

The repair was simple, but I’m unskilled so it took me an hour. But it works now and we’re good to go. When that was done, it was time to quit, go walk the Girl, and figure out some supper.

My best friend dropped by to visit and was ecstatic about my place. I will enjoy entertaining a few people again. I plan to cook for Christmas and have my friend and Young Son over to celebrate the birth of the Christ.

I should finish the kitchen today. The next task will be to tackle my workroom/office. I have a floorplan in mind that will give me good use of space and decent Feng Shui.

But I have to find the pins to my bookshelves! I have a ton of books (literally) and the job will not be complete until I stow my books.

Therefore, once the kitchen is workable (and I have a number of things to make go away), then I’ll start breaking boxes to search for my bookshelf pins.

There are still a few boxes in my last unit to bring over to the house. I might make a run at them today so I can get a sense for what remains to be dealt with.

I should be settled in after a few more days. My place won’t be like I want it (I’ll still have to figure out where wall hangings go and how to organize everything). But I’ll have made the first pass through my things. I’ll have a workable setup. Then I can begin on the next phase, which will be to continue eliminating things I don’t want/need until I get down to my essentials.

I could live with less (and might choose to). We will see…

Friends

The Girl made a new friend Saturday, Sandy. What a cutie she is and a great match for the Girl.
The Girl made a new friend Saturday, Sandy. What a cutie she is and a great match for the Girl.

Although the weather changed abruptly Saturday evening, Saturday morning was beautiful — cool and sunny. On our morning outing, we met Mike and Sandy. I’d watched Mike working Sandy a day or two before and he handles her well. They play a jumping game with a bird dog lure that is fun. Sandy can jump.

While we were visiting with our friends, Mike and Sandy drove up. She came over to the Girl and introduced herself. And then… the game was on.

Sandy has a bit of bull terrier in her. She’s has a gorgeous coat and color. Her personality is funny and she is engaged and interactive with her handler and her friends. Interestingly, she is laid back but has a no-bullshit side to her that the Girl discovered.

So, once that was sorted out (the Girl can be a real bitch at times), off they went to play. The Girl loves to chase the ball; Sandy loves to chase and tease. So for the next half-hour Mike and I took turns throwing the ball and playing with the two playful canines.

During one break in the action, I had the opportunity to make a few images of the girls together. They were relaxed and social.

What great fun the morning was. Life is good…

Snowy Morn

It snowed Saturday night for the first time this year. We had about three inches of beauty in the morning.
It snowed Saturday night for the first time this year. We had about three inches of beauty in the morning.

Saturday was a beautiful day here in Northern Nevada. The morning was gorgeous and the Girl and I were out and about early to walk and play. About noon the wind came up and our afternoon hike was blustery, to put it mildly. I knew weather was coming in — I could see the advance guard creeping over the Carson Range.

Sure enough, when I woke Sunday morning (the first time), I peeked out the window and saw the coating of white. The Girl had to go out, but we delayed our morning outing until the sun was up and shining brightly. After breakfast, we dressed for the cool and headed out.

The Girl, like many dogs, is frisky when it’s cold. She loves to play in the snow as well. She will dash about, kicking up snow and laughing. This makes me laugh (which is good) and it’s fun to chase her playing a little grab-ass and rough-housing with her. She loves play but I have to manage her energy or she can be a little over-excited. I have torn jeans and sweatshirts that will attest to that.

Over on the old State Orphanage property, there is a line of pines along our regular path. This Sunday morning they were adorned with a sheath of snow and ice. The morning sun illuminated that combination of color and texture with a beautiful light. So, while the Girl checked all the squirrel holes (uneventfully), I paused to make a few images before we headed back to the room for warmth and coffee.

There will be more snow, I’m sure. Perhaps we’ll wander up into the mountains this winter for some play and photography. That could be fun. But one thing I know is that winter is coming. It’s not here yet, but this little snowfall reminded me that winter is on its way.