31 May 2007

Maiden Voyage

It has been a little over two weeks since my Mil was released from the rehab center. It was confirmed that she had diabetic nueropathy, and that her nerves were dead. When she left she was able to climb stairs and walk about for minutes at a time. We went over to A's folks house this weekend. Bud said that Mom hadn't been out of the house in over a week. So before he was able to pose the question, "Would you like to go out to eat?" She said, "NO!!" We then spent a good fifteen minutes trying to encourage her to come out with us. She reluctantly agreed, but expressed great concern as she had fallen the day before, as well as on the stairs the last time they had left the house. She struggled down the stairs and fell once, then had a miserable time at dinner worrying about getting back in to the house. Unfortunately, she fell trying to go up the stairs as well. We ended up pulling her up in her wheelchair. She said she felt trapped in the house. So, it was decided that it was time to build a ramp. I thought off the back deck would give the gentlest slope with the least modification. So, Monday we went over came up with a plan and did our shopping for lumber etc. Tuesday A was booked all day, and Wednesday we went over early and pounded it out! It turned out great! A is amazing at construction. It is as solid as a rock and looks like it was in the original design. Mom had the biggest smile when Dad took on her maiden voyage down the ramp to dinner! Such a good day, and that smile made it all worthwhile!

29 May 2007

Sweet Gabriel

Long ago, when A and I were living in Greeley after recently moving back from NY, we were getting married in a few months, and my folks were getting ready to move in to their newly built home. They had Nimbus still, who was a super cute Norwegian Elkhound, but onery as could be and getting old. I knew my dad wanted a BIG dog for his new home. So, being young, anxious and a little dumb I thought I would go out and get him one for X-mas. I knew my Mom would not be so happy, but she would learn to love the little pup. So off I went to the animal shelter. I found a cute little Rottweiller. We brought him home with us a few days before the holiday. The dog was cute allright, but he did not seem to notice the humans in the room. Very aloof. He kind of creeped me out. So, back to the shelter we went. They had a new addition. Described as a "Husky Sheperd" mix. He had an adorable little face, with droopy ears, and the cutest little paws. I picked him up and he just licked and licked and licked me. I knew he was the one. A always thought the perfect dog would be a Husky sheperd, or Malamute Sheperd mix, and Dad wanted a big dog. We presented him to my dad who thought he was pretty cute, and mom grumbled but she was patting him quickly enough. They christened him Gabriel. Over the next few months Gabriel adapted to life in my folks home, but he didn't seem to grow much. By summer he had put on a few pounds, but it was pretty clear that this was not quite the BIG husky sheperd we had all expected. His body seemed to stretch out a bit and he had a nice big tail, but his little legs never grew more than four inches tall! Our husky sheperd, had turned into a Corgi mix just like that. He still had an adorable puppy face, but the tail grew more and more out of line. Then one day something happened. Gabe used to go out in the field to chase bunnies, and generally tear around. One day he came back without his big tail! It had "shrunk" to a size fitting his little body. The little dog was pretty content, even if he had picked up a few grumpy behaviors from his big dog brother. When my folks started traveling after retirement Gabe was always ready with his bags packed. He was a great car traveler. He always seemed to have a good time at my house playing with Po. He even went to Mexico with them the past couple years. Although for some reason he did not like the grass down there. Too pointy or something?? In the last couple of years he had problems with his paws, and he was on special food for an out of whack thyroid that made him resemble an overstuffed sausage. Last week, just a few weeks after returning home to CO from Mexico he passed away. I don't think he was what anyone ordered as far as size and shape, but he managed to steal our hearts and fill our lives with love. 1995-2007

24 May 2007

Chip 'n Dale or Wicked Good Lobsta!

I couldn't decide which title to use for this post so I went with both. On Monday or Tuesday of this week ( I never know which day it actually is so it's better not to commit to one for sure...) we went out to the coast for an open house. We have decided to go with a new distributor, so we thought a good way to start would be to go out and see what they have and meet everyone. Of course, in our "it's a small world" way one of the main people running the show is Dale. A went to high school with her. We were in the airport waiting to go to the hearth show a few years back when a gal screamed and practically tackled him in the airport. She is so funny- and loud! Not loud obnoxious, just loud volume wise! No microphone needed! She is always happy and bouncing around hollering "HHhheeeyyy! Good to see ya!" to everyone. They had many of their vendors throughout their warehouse with displays and sales reps on hand. Very nice display. We got to see some people we knew, sales reps and peers alike. It's a hard life- sunny day out on the coast chatting it up. Then of course- lunch! Lobsters, sausage and grilled squash on smokers they sell with flavored wood pellets for fuel-(Lobsters boiled of course). I am not a lobster fan usually. Other than the fact that they stare at you throughout the meal, and "scream" when they get tossed in the boiling water, they also have a fishy taste, and a slimy texture- EEeewww! But, I thought I would try to eat one since I have a limited menu at this point and A loves them so much. I gnawed my way through both claws. I quit when A said "Stop (grimmacing) and smile :)" I tried. A was thrilled though- he ended up with two Lobsters for lunch! I loved the sausage smoked with maple pellets- YUM! Then we met up with our sales rep (wait for it .....................no really, it's good. What? You already guessed?? Allright then) Chip! Chip was a good guy, and managed to kipe some paint samples, and gave us a box of flavored wood pellets to boot. We picked up a new vendor that is a little further away but they have the pipe we are switching to, it's run by people we know and like, and they offer a new product (new to us) that we are excited to branch into this year- more on that later I'm sure. Chip and Dale throw a Wicked Good party.

18 May 2007

Stargate Atlantis Video Challenge-Promo

This should be very entertaining!

100 to see/do before I die.

I have enjoyed the winter at home. We have only had one (business) trip since last July. At this point we are starting to see the next year's travels on the horizon. I am so excited about Nova Scotia, and we have the usual work trips but all of the planning got me thinking... Where do I want to go? What would I consider my 100 trips to do before I die? The following is what I came up with. Many things I have done, but at 35 I should hope that I have visited some of the places, and done some of the things I would like to have done! Where would you like to go?
1 Coral Reefs of Australia.
2 White sand beaches of New Zealand.
3 Grand Canyon
4 Niagara Falls.
5 Drive on Autobahn in Germany.
6 Visit Eagle’s Nest.
7 Travel by high-speed train in Europe.
8 Glacier Bay, Alaska.
9 Denali National Park
10 Summer Solstice in Fairbanks.
11 Chichen Itza.
12 Hoover Dam.
13 Zion National Park.
14 Victoria Falls in Africa.
15 Amazon Jungle tour.
16 Belize.
17 Madiera.
18 Canary Islands.
19 Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii
20 Cable car in San Francisco
21 Fish Market in Seattle.
22 Old Faithful in Yellowstone.
23 Houseboat on Lake Powell.
24 Opryland in Nashville.
25 Zion National Park.
26 Rocky Mountain National Park.
27 Hike part of Appalachian Trail.
28 Tenochtitlan.
29 Cruise Panama Canal.
30 Louvre in Paris.
31 Great Wall in China.
32 Bike trip in Ireland.
33 Statue of Liberty.
34 Top of Empire State Building.
35 Riverboat on Mississippi.
36 Buckingham Palace.
37 Double Decker bus ride in London.
38 Amsterdam.
39 Carnaval/Mardi Gras in Rio De Janero.
40 Ayre’s Rock in Australia.
41 Mt. St. Helens
42 World Cruise.
43 Singapore.
44 Machu Picchu
45 Pearl Harbor
46 Biodome in AZ.
47 Alamo.
48 White water raft Colorado River.
49 Golden Gate Bridge.
50 See a concert at Carnegie Hall.
51 Smithsonian Museum
52 Octoberfest in Germany.
53 Sauna in Sweden.
54 Stonehenge.
55 Roswell, NM.
56 Bermuda
57 Visit Antarctica.
58 Dogsled in Alaska.
59 Four Corners (CO, UT, AZ, NM)
60 Taj Mahal.
61 Pyramids in Egypt.
62 Greece.
63 Stargate set in Vancouver.
64 Istanbul
65 Baseball game at Fenway Park.
66 Virgin Islands
67 White House
68 Watch Space Shuttle launch.
69 Sunset in Mexico.
70 Saguaro National Park.
71 Tombstone.
72 Abydos.
73 Fjords in Norway.
74 Kremlin
75 Fiji
76 FAO Schwartz in NYC.
77 Montreal.
78 Eat Belgian chocolate in Brussels.
79 Archeological dig in Mexico or South America
80 Fishing in Gloucester
81 Block Island
82 Nantucket.
83 Gondola ride in Venice.
84 British Museum
85 Georgia Acquarium in Atlanta.
86 Disneyworld
87 Sailboat tour to anywhere.
88 Spa in Monte Carlo
89 Moab, Utah.
90 Bar Harbor Maine
91 Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
92 PEI
93 Coloseum in Rome
94 Metropolitan Museum of Art
95 Vienna
96 Highland festival in Scotland
97 Bay of Fundi
98 Newport, RI
99 Redwood Forest
100 Bavaria
(Italic- done/been at least once.)

17 May 2007

Hiring Woes...

Firing an employee is definately a miserable job. Even more miserable than the job the person about to be chucked is doing/or not doing as the case may be. One of the dreadful side effects of letting someone go is that it tends to lead to hiring. Hiring is in many ways an even more miserable job than firing. Start with House's cliche "Everybody Lies". This seems to apply double for people interviewing for a new job. When we first started getting employee's some well meaning friend's said, "You have to check the references." But, really, think about that for a minute. How big of a loser do you have to be to not have one or two people who will say you're o.k.? We decided that it's pretty certain that if you don't have two people willing to vouch for you in a reference that it would be obvious to any and all conscious that you are a Loser! Calling old employer's sounds like a good way to go. Except we are in such a litigious, entitled time that no employer with half a mind will say anything other than start date, end date, and last pay.
We are currently hiring. We pick now because all of the training sessions are over the summer and we have the summer to teach the newbie the stoves and ropes before people start using them to stay warm. A second trip in July, not such a big deal! Second trip in January, really big deal to whoever's backsides are popsicles!
The question of where to look for prospective employee's eluded us for a long time. We first started with a temp agency. Wow! I can't believe that I used to get jobs through one of those places! Talk about bottom of the barrel pickings. We did that twice and were spectacularly un-amazed both times! We spent ridiculous amounts of money on newspaper ads for years which seemed to most effectively attract the druggies with no driver's license. One guy actually called me to have me figure out the bus schedule for him to be able to come down to the store for an application! We have had a thief, a drug addict, an alcoholic, a tattletale, a wimp, a rebel, and a mouse all slip through our radar. We now try to post our position's on the state's web site. This is not without its flaws but we are hopefully getting a little better at this!
We do have a good core group of guys that have been with us quite a while. One for a little over a year, one just at a year, one over three years, and one at six. It is like picking out a new family member for this group. Someone who will do their share of work without someone having to stand over their shoulder all the time. Someone who will show up on time, and stay until the job is done. Someone with a good head on their shoulders as we have some pretty intelligent customers, and high tech stoves. Someone who will blend into the personality pool that already exists. Lord help us!

10 May 2007

Yard Work- Bobcat Style

It was a gorgeous day today. Must have been 80 degrees and sunny with the cooling afternoon shower. Art is off on another fire call. This isn't supposed to be that busy a time, but it sure has been this year! We worked in the yard all day today. A's friend St loaned him his excavator for a while. St helped clean up the pond since it was a tricky angle, then A has dug a trench so we can plant a drain pipe in the field between the stream and the greenhouse since I want to make it into my garden, and right now it is pretty much swamp land. We also shaved back the hill in back of the house and filled in the yard where the stream has washed it away in the all of the flooding we have had the past few years. In a joint effort between the excavator and the bobcat A moved some beautiful boulders up front for a rock retaining wall in the front yard. It used to have a pretty severe slope down to the road, but now I am backfilling so it will be nice and level. We still need to plant some rocks on the other side of the rock steps we put in last year. and pull up the burm so we can plant some grasses, and maybe phlox. I want to keep it soft because we keep backing up onto it. I thought rocks would not be such a good thing for the back of my car! The dog thoroughly enjoyed himself today. He was catching frogs in the pond and swimming all day. Since the pond has been dug out he has decided he likes to swim in there. There is a little "island" of sand that was deposited during the last storm that we couldn't reach all of to remove with the excavator. Po uses this for his home base. He is dirt and wet to the core! Also extremely content with a dopey malamute grin on his face!

06 May 2007

Fire House Favorites!

Here it is at last! I had never done a press ready item like this before. Most of the groups we advertise with do most of the dirty work for me. I think I did allright.

A big THANK YOU! to everyone who submitted recipes.

If you would like to pre-order one of these gems, I will gladly pay the shipping cost to get it out to you when the books arrive in June/July. They are selling for $12.50 US. Check would be made out to Temple Volunteer Fire Department, and is tax deductible!

There are about 300 recipes in all laid out in a nice three ring binder (~7" x 10") with categories including Appetizers and Beverages, Main Courses, Side Dishes, Soups and Salads, Cookies and Candy, Desserts, and a This and That section.

There is of course a recipe for the tempting cover pic- Cilantro Lime Chicken Kabobs! Yum! We of course had to taste the recipe and it was everything you'd expect and more!

Thank you!

04 May 2007

The Night the Lights Went Out

It was a beautiful day yesterday. Sunny and 65F degrees. Early enough that there are no bugs. We had a productive day. A was working hard in the yard, cutting back the saplings and brambles that had grown along the stream. I went out and raked a few beds, and pruned the pear and apple trees. A then noticed that the power had gone out. It isn't uncommon to have a power outage this time of year. A's pager went off. Medical call. 81 year old having a heart attack, Charlie level call. A few minutes later we hear the ambulance. Little did we know that this was but a taste of things to come... We continued working for a while, then went inside to get a drink and to relax. We decided that we would go out to dinner since we had no power. So off we went to Greenville and the Panda Wok. Surprisingly good food, for such a pitty little town. We had just driven past the fire department a few moments before A's pager went off. "That's you," I said. Sure enough it was. So he screeched on the brakes, whipped a 180, turned on his lights and off we flew to the fire house. There were a couple of guy's in the parking lot. "Where's the fire?", one of them asked snarkastically. "Applewood Lane," I casually replied. Since the power was out the family decided to cook dinner on their wood stove. Pizza to be exact. Problem is they didn't remove the cardboard from underneath the pizza before putting it on the scorching hot stove. voila- Fire! Easy out. So an hour later we tried for dinner again. It was almost 8:00 but we were hungry! We got down to Greenville, and about 80% of the way through dinner when we again heard the familiar Bee-Bee-Bee-Bee-Beep of A's pager. Chimney fire. So we got the bill asap, and flew out of there. On went the lights. I just ducked down and held on knowing I was in for the ride of my life. Our guys are pretty good. They generally leave the station within 5 to 10 minutes of the initial call. That is impressive for an all volunteer crew. Knowing that driving normally we were almost 10 minutes out, A was going to make time! It is amazing how some people just don't pull over for emergency lights, don't think it's important, or think that it's not for safety. Most people were pretty good last night. They pulled right over to let us through. A few coming the other direction thought the lights didn't apply to them. I just shut my eyes and flashbacks of the time A and I went from some friends house in Pueblo all the way to Denver in about an hour and a half in the Porsche. Usually a two plus hour drive! A has amazing vision, and drives really well luckily. Unfortunately, we were in the Avalanche which doesn't corner like a car on the narrow winding roads... We made it there in less than five minutes! The chimney fire was right up behind the station. As I was driving home I saw the Chief arrive on scene. Whew! Did well. About an hour and a half later I went back to get A. A few minutes before we left the power came back on. We came home, unwound, and peacefully went to bed.

02 May 2007

It's All Relative

It's a small world. Ironically, the first time this dawned on me I was visiting Disneyland when I was a little girl. It was our big family vacation to California, and boy was I surprised when I was standing in line for a ride. I saw two girlfriends who went to my school back in Colorado. I couldn't believe it was possible to be that far from home, and still see people so familiar.
A and I got another taste of how small this world and town really are yesterday. We were visiting A's Mom (who is now in a rehab clinic btw) when we received a phone call from our store. A's Aunt Anita was passing through and thought she would stop in. (This isn't the small world part- she knew we had a store...) Anyway she asked A if we were looking to store pellets up in the town we live in. A said, "Yes, at the C Bros. Dairy." Mike drives a truck for our us delivering pellets. Anita then asked if we knew Chris C. and his wife Jen? Well, of course we do. He is the oldest brother, and she ran for town secretary this year. Then she said, "Well you must also know Patrick and his wife Jill, too?" Again A replied yes. Jill is on auxiliary with me, and Patrick is on the fire department with A. It turns out that Jen and Jill are cousins, and their Mother's Sister is Anita. Anita's sister's have girls named Jill and Jen, and they both married C Bros.! Anita married A's Mom's Brother.
So in a weird sort of way A and the C Bros are related.