Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Joys of Suburban Life

Ah the joys of suburban/semi-rural life where you can experience the pleasure it is to have a well and a septic system. Lovely. OK, just as a warning the words "pee" and "poo" and possibly "#@**&^$$#$@#!" might come up in the following post. I am just giving you time to click away to some other page (don't you DARE!) so that your innocent eyes don't injest bad words. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED..........

What is this thing you are asking yourself? Ooo, Ooo, I know, I know! It is a pod from like Invasion of the Body Snatchers right? Or maybe the top from a missile silo, you know like NORAD controls. Or how about, maybe a random piece of plastic that landed in the yard? No? Hmmmm, well if it isn't any of those things then what is it you ask yourself. Well self, I will tell you.....it is our septic system. To be specific our "Nayadic waste water treatment plant". It sounds like we are a small municipality but if we were that then we might be seeing some revenue from taxes and that isn't happening. Hmmmmm, taxing the neighbors, now that is an interesting idea. But perhaps not workable since at least one neighbor reads the blog. Oh well.

I digress. Yes this is our handy septic system. We don't have the traditional septic field because we have no field. We have lots of trees and lots of ravine and lots of woods and lots of stream but no field. That means that we couldn't put in the traditional septic system, we had to go to the city, hat in hand and say, "Please, please, may we put in this MORE EXPENSIVE system. Oh please, please?!?" They graciously granted our request and away we went.

This handy dandy system uses a pump to bubble all the "waste water" (I am not going to explain what that is cuz you KNOW what it is) continuously helping the bacteria to break stuff down so that it can be pumped into another series of tanks and then out into the stream. At that point the water isn't potable but is clean enough so that we don't have the EPA screaming at us and slapping us with fines. Got the picture? Good.

So Saturday evening, after a lovely dinner and dessert on the deck with our friends, just as we were taking the dishes back into the kitchen where there were loads of things to be washed, #3 progeny, with boyfriend in tow, comes up and says, "Uh Mom, the alarm is going off in the basement." Nuts, that is not good. You see, our nayadic system has an alarm on it. Why an alarm? Well, because if the compressor isn't working right or the pump fails and isn't bubbling the goo then the alarm goes off. It is saying to you, "Hello, hello, hello, I am not working and you have to take care of me because bad things are going to happen and the bacteria are going to die and then the system won't work and you won't be able to poop in your bathroom when you want to so take care of it right NOW!" (the run on sentence was intentional by the way although I am the comma splice queen).

So, down to the basement we go and sure enough the piercing wail of the alarm greets me. Now I know that all the things I am planning to do are going to be futile. I know it because we have gone through this routine several times before, but I do them anyways. Hope does spring eternal. Flip circuit breaker....nothing. Reset system....nothing. *(%)#*#*&@&)%*). Yes, I said something that I can't print on the blog, and then I realized I said that bad word almost in front of my daughter's boyfriend. I am trying to keep him in the dark about what I am REALLY like and I almost blew my cover! Whew! Or, if they did actually hear it they didn't say anything.

Deep breathing, deep breathing, let's work the problem people (I have watched Apollo 13 WAY too many times).

Back up the stairs I go, mumbling about how these things always happen at the most inconvenient time, wondering if there is any way that there would be someone at the septic repair place (yeah right!) and thinking about all the things that I all of a sudden just had to do, like pee, but that I couldn't do because with the system not working you can't add any significant amount of water into the tank. Our neighbors were standing there, with that "deer in the headlights look" (sorry Lauren but you were). They quickly exited but before leaving, being the excellent friends that they are, they offered their shower for use in the morning and said that they would leave the door open so we could come in and use the bathroom if we wanted to. What! Use a bathroom when we can go out and pee in the back yard! Are you silly or something?

Called the septic repair shop, no reply, left message. Called the president of the septic repair shop (hey I KNOW people you know), no answer, left message. Rats (that isn't what I said but....).

Took stock of the situation. Saturday night with no prospect that this thing will be fixed until at least Monday, sink full of dishes, need to pee, no chance of showering in my own bathroom in the morning. What to do? Why go to bed of course. In the immortal words of Scarlett O'Hara, "tomorrow is another day." So, we got ready for bed and tromped out to use the facilities in the yard, making sure that you walked CAREFULLY because we have a dog after all and we don't police the yard much. Can I tell you how creepy it is out in the yard at night when you are doing something that makes you slightly vulnerable. My neighbor wondered how I would feel if the other neighbors could see what I was doing. If they were taking the time to look all the way over here to see my shiny, white, a** then they would get what they deserved and be scarred for life. I had to go to the bathroom and I wasn't going to worry about it. I was more worried about the rabid racoons in the area thinking that they had stumbled upon something edible. I haven't "done my business" that quick in a long time.

Sunday dawns and I go back out to "use the facilities" thinking with fondness of all the outhouses that I have used in my life. Mom, remember that great one in Colorado that had all the walls papered with great things to read! Oh, I guess that is another story. Anyways, after The Neighbors left for church progeny #3 and I drove over there to use their shower. Drive! Why drive 300 feet down the road? Because I didn't want to walk down there carrying an extra set of undies, towels and my shampoo. THAT is something that I don't want the neighborhood to see I can tell you. Also, can I tell you that it is very strange to use someone else's shower. I was glad to be clean but it was strange.

Back to the house to contemplate a day that wasn't turning out like I had intended. I didn't get to go to church because, really, I like those people and didn't want to subject them to my bed head on a Sunday morning when we are supposed to be singing worship songs. Did the dishes in a bucket and threw the water on the plants in the back garden. Man do I feel pioneer like but with internet access and electricity. And then, just about the time I was thinking that we could definitely do this, Lou the Septic Lady called. Yes, my septic person is a woman, and I have to say right now she is just about my favorite person in the world.

Lou: Hey Debbie, how are you doing
Me: (suppressing maniacal laughter) Hey Lou! I am doing OK despite the fact that I have to channel my inner dog and use the great outdoors as my natural outhouse. (I didn't really say it like that)
Lou: (nervous laughter) Well, we will have someone out there to fix the unit at about 4p.
Me: 4p.....today???
Lou: Yup (she is a woman of few words)
Me: Lou you are my favorite person at the moment.
Lou: We aim to please.

And so fans, at 4p on the dot the repair man showed up and at 4:30p he pronounced the compressor fixed and gladly handed me a bill for $150. Gee thanks.

Can you guess what the very FIRST thing was that I did when the system was fixed?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Better Than a Harlequin Romance

For some time I have been checking out the Pioneer Woman blog. I don't remember where I actually found it (isn't that always the way with these darn blogs) but I love it. However, I had never gotten around the reading how she met her husband "Marlboro Man".

I have to say that right now, in my life, I have A LOT of things to do. We have company coming today (Hi Tim and Ardith), I am still getting my act together after being in Utah for 5 days, it is Monday and I go grocery shopping on Monday which means I do my planning on Sunday, the gardens need weeding BAD, cleaning, cooking, laundry......you get the picture. So what do I do for HOURS yesterday afternoon and evening? I sit at my computer and read all GAZILLION chapters of "Black Heels to Tractor Wheels". OK, OK it was only 45 chapters and some of them are short but some of them are long. I was totally hooked after the first chapter. I mean hooked. Ree Drummond isn't kidding when she tells you to have a box of Kleenex and a fan handy!

Let me assure you that there isn't anything in these chapters that you couldn't read to your kids but still the whole story is "fan worthy". You must find the time to sit down and read through the whole thing. I may have to do it again, in fact I know I will.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

National Chocolate Pudding Day

People how did we miss it!!!! Yesterday, June 26th, was National Chocolate Pudding Day. I will now have to go and make some chocolate pudding just to compensate. Not that instant stuff mind you, the cooked pudding. There is nothing better. The anticipation is enormous.....is it done yet......do we REALLY have to wait for it to cool......where is the whipped cream for the topping.......yum. Oh yeah, we are definitely going to have to have pudding and soon.

Thanks to The Nibble for cluing me in on this.

Friday, June 26, 2009

7 Quick Takes (Vol 27) The Reunion Addition

Wow, I haven't blogged for an entire week. WAIT, WAIT, I have an excuse, I really do. You see I was in Park City, Utah for a family reunion. So, without further ado here is the "Reunion Addition". Make sure to go over to Jennifer's site to see all the other "Quick takers".

Some explanation is probably in order. Every other year members of my husband's family meet for a family reunion. This tradition started 12 years ago when we were together for an impromptu reunion in Hawaii. We had so much fun together that the idea of meeting more frequently seemed to be a good idea. In the intervening years we have met in Alaska, Idaho, Ohio, Virginia, Illinois and now Utah. In 2011 we will be in New York City. The next reunion site is picked on the last day of the current reunion and it is usually based on someone in the group saying, "Hey, I want to put in the work to get this all arranged and there are fun things to do around where I live." It is sort of like how they pick the place where the Olympics are held, only with less outlay of money (we hope). We have some planned family activities and we eat most dinners together but we also have time to explore the area and do things in small groups.

I had WAY too much food to eat this week as well as some stellar regional beers. In no particular order this week I consumed salmon, kobe beef burger, pizza, salads (but not too many of those), massive amounts of french fries, eggs, biscuits and gravy, cereal, perhaps a few grapes just to have something healthy, bacon cheeseburger, BACON, BLT and much more. And there might have been a dessert or two thrown in there as well but my brain is still recovering so I can't be sure.

Why are these crazy people twisting around in the air? Well, they are demonstrating Aeriel Freestyle skiing at the Olympic park. And I suppose they like twirling around in the air and landing in a large cold pool of water. Every Saturday during the summer months there is a freestyle skiing demonstration at the Olympic ski venue. It was very interesting, even if I did have to sit outside in the rain to view it. Also had to buy a fleece jacket because I would have frozen otherwise. Thank goodness I love fleece jackets because otherwise I would be very mad at myself for forgetting my sweatshirt at the hotel and not realizing that it would be cold.....in June.

Women after a certain age just shouldn't wiggle in public. I'm just saying a little bit of decorum or perhaps more clothing would be appropriate in certain situations. This lovely lady was performing at the Sunday street fair that is held in downtown Park City. I wish that all of you could have been there for the WHOLE experience like I was, and at street level too as I was sitting on the curb. Up close and personal you might say. She and her fellow dancer were trying to encourage audience participation but not having much luck. I wonder why?

This intrepid group of people had just finished a trip through the Timpanogos caves. Loads of fun, tight places, wierd stalagtite formations, all that good cave fun. When my SIL made the reservations for the tour she said, "Well, we need to be there at 3p and our tour starts at 4:30p. That gives us enough time to do the 1.5 mile hike up to the caves." An hour and a half to do a 1.5 mile hike? Will we be moving at a glacial pace or something? Well, you see I missed one small word in what Laura told us. I missed the word "up". It isn't just a 1.5 mile hike, it is a 1.5 mile hike with a rise in elevation of 1100 feet. Oh yeah, can you say huffing and puffing at 6500 feet above sea level. Of course Joanne (in the white sweatshirt) didn't even break a sweat but then she thinks it is fun to do a 35 mile mountain bike ride every morning. The rest of us were a tad more winded by the time we got to the cave entrance.

What is a trip to Utah without a stop in Salt Lake City to tour the Mormon Temple Square, to hear an organ concert at the Mormon Tabernacle and to have the nice young guides try to explain to us that we should be interpreting what the Bible says through the Book of Mormon. Um, no thank you to that. I will have a longer post on the proselytizing aspect of the tour at a later date. The organ concert was great though. Oh, I wasn't supposed to be taking any pictures inside the building but.......I just have to take a picture when someone tells me that I can't.

Can't you just hear the Fifth Dimension singing "Up, Up and away in my beautiful balloon..." One of the highlights of the trip was a hot air balloon ride on a beautiful Tuesday morning. Not a cloud in the sky. It was very cool to float over the Utah landscape looking down at the animals, people going out to get the paper etc. A great way to end our trip, and no one fell out of the balloon basket so it was a success. I was amazed that they didn't have us sign any kind of waiver to say that we wouldn't sue them if things didn't turn out well. Of course, if things don't turn out well with a hot air balloon ride then there might not be anyone around to instigate a lawsuit.

See you next week.

Friday, June 19, 2009

7 Quick Takes (Vol 26)

Oh how the time does fly and here we are again for Friday and 7 Quick Takes. Remember to click on the picture above to go over and see what the other "Quick Takers" are doing.

Summer is upon us but it certainly hasn't been all that warm I can tell you. I know that it isn't officially summer yet but close enough. I miss the summers when the girls were little. The last day of school was great and then it was three months of fairly unstructured time. They played outside, we went and did stuff, I tried not to get mad enough at them to kill them. Ah the good old days. Now everyone is gone for the summer or a portion of the summer and it isn't the same. But then that is just a part of life.

Just a very short political rant. Um...if GWB was still president, or if we had a president who had a spine and didn't have a severe need to "be liked" by one and all, do you think that North Korea would be rattling their nuclear saber at us. I don't think so. President Obama can't seem to make a strong statement about anything. Strong statement on all that is happening in Iran...nope. Strong statement on North Korea....nope. Oh I feel safe with the new Hope and Change!

This year is the bi-annual family reunion for my husbands family. This is a crazy bunch of people I can tell you and I love going and spending time with them. We will have family from all over (NYC, Virginia, Ohio, Texas, Idaho, Alaska, Hawaii, Tennessee, Arizona, Maryland and other states that I can't remember) gather for 5 or so days of doing stuff together and eating more than our fair share of food and just generally having fun. The family used to get together infrequently but then in 1997, at an impromptu gathering in Hawaii, we all decided that we like it so much that we would gather every other year. It is a time to catch up with everyone and just hang and have fun.

I am finding that the more time I spend on the computer the less ability I have to sit down and read for long stretches of time without getting distracted. Now some of that might be because I am an adult (generally) and just have more things that need to get done and so less time to just sit and read. But, I think that part of it really is that when you are on the computer and flitting from one thing to another eventually your brain gets "re-wired" so to speak and you just can't concentrate for longer periods of time. I see the same thing happen when I watch too much TV. So, I am trying to spend less time just wandering the internet and more time in the pages of a book.

So I finally got to go to one of Dan's baseball games this season and all I could think was, "Oh please don't let him slide and break something!" I think it will take some time for me not to cringe every time he goes sliding into second base!

There seems to be another racoon who is visiting my feeders. That will have to be taken care of soon I can tell you. It doesn't give me pleasure, or too much pleasure, but it is what it is. I have a long way to go before I can reach the bar set by my father in the deracooning of the woods but a girl has to have something to strive for!

I am out of things to say so I will say good by until next week.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sometime you need a laugh

Sometimes you just need a little laugh in the afternoon. Enjoy.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Big Picture

We all know that I love pictures and photography. One of the sites that I check on a regular basis is "The Big Picture" which comes out of the Boston Globe. It is well worth the effort. The most recent photo essay is on the disputed Iranian election. Striking.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Happy 50th Anniversay Mom and Dad!

Aren't they just the cutest couple! This is my parents on their wedding day, 50 years ago TODAY! A 50th anniversary is rare in these days of 5 minute Hollywood marriages, or no marriage at all for that matter. They have been together through thick and thin, sickness and health, children and no children.
So a very HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!! Mom and Dad. It couldn't happen to a nicer couple.

Friday, June 12, 2009

7 Quick Takes (Vol 25) The Other Graduation Addition

One of these days I will stop doing these "themed" quick takes. But I still have several more in me and this is one of them. Be sure to go over to Conversion Diary and check out the rest of the "Quick Takers" to see what we have all been doing.

Our youngest progeny graduated from high school on Sunday. I can hardly believe that we are finally done with that phase of life. We have been very blessed to be able to have all three girls at CVCA. It has had it's ups and downs as any school does, but they have received an excellent and rigorous education. Now it is on to college.

We were treated to an opening song by this young man who is a friend of Bethany's. The guy sings like Josh Groban (which I already knew) AND he sang one of my favorite Josh Groban songs, "You Raise Me Up". Who needs to pay tons of money to see Josh Groban when I can have Forbes sing the same thing. When he was done I wanted him to sing it all over again....but that wasn't in the program so no go. Sigh.

This is the largest class that CVCA has ever graduated, 168 students. They will be going all over the country to various schools and military academies. Loads of scholarships and loads of talent. 78 of the kids graduated with honors and 24 maintained a 4.0 or higher GPA throughout their high school career (Beth was one of those). This was also the 40th year that they have had a graduating class.

Singing praise and worship songs at the end of the graduation ceremony. Most of these kids went on a missions trip to the Dominican Republic last year where they all say their lives were permanently changed. It has been awesome to see I can tell you.

Hurrah!! They are finished. This group will also be leaving this week to participate in the National Forensics League Tournament. In case you missed it, here is my explanation of what we mean by the term "forensic". Don't be thinking dead bodies, be thinking speech and debate.

The daughter and the boyfriend. Aren't they cute!

And so we are smiling as we think about no more high school, and monthly tuition and......oh yeah, now there is college tuition. Never mind.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Dave Cullen

I was undecided as to whether I was going to read this book. What would I learn from it, of course we all know everything that happened at Columbine right? If you think that you have a complete understanding of what happened on April 20, 1999 at Columbine High School then you would be wrong.

This is a sobering book and one that had me thinking. The motivations for the killers, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, were not what I thought they were. My perception of what happened that day, played out on the national stage (as the killers hoped it would be), isn't correct. In fact, most of what I though about this wasn't correct.

The book is well worth the time to read it. I would also recommend that you go here and watch the short book promotion video.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Just Shaking My Head

I don't know whether to believe that the woman is a malicious nut or just a plain idiot. I am not sure which would give me more comfort, neither probably.

Captain Crunch Sued

Thanks to Right Wing News for this.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Acquisition of intruder is complete. Disposal will commence later on today. Bird feeders are safe for now.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Battle of Midway

Well, it is time f or a short history lesson ladies and germs. Today is the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy. For my post on that please go here. However today we will be looking very briefly at the Battle of Midway. Man I sound like a boring history professor. Sorry about that.

June 4/5 is the 67th anniversary of the Battle of Midway. I am amazed at how many people know nothing about this battle that many feel was the actual turning point in the War in the Pacific. I know that most of you will skip this particular post but for those who might be interested here we go.

A bit of background is in order. The attack on Pearl Harbor was not a distant memory at this point in history, it had happened 6 months previously and the intervening time had not been a good one for the US forces battling Japan. The Japanese had made steady advances across the Pacific Basin and were making plans to strike Port Moresby in New Guinea which would put them within easy striking distance of Australia. The Battle of Coral Sea (May 4-8, 1942) was a direct result of this plan. During that engagement the carrier USS Yorktown was heavily damaged, in fact the Japanese believed they had sunk her. But they were wrong. She was towed slowly back to Pearl Harbor, arriving on May 26th where the damage repair estimate was that she would have to be in dry dock for at least 3 months to effect repairs. They didn't have that long. She was given a "down and dirty" repair over 4 days and then shipped back out.

Admiral Isoruku Yamamoto's plan was two fold. A feigned attack on the Aleutian Islands would draw the US fleet away. That would give the Japanese invasion forces the opening to invade Midway Island. When the US fleet returned to fight the invasion forces the Japanese Northern Fleet would surprise them and wipe out the US fleet. The plan had been in discussion for several months without a final decision. The Doolitle raid on Japan sealed the deal. The Japanese felt that they had to cement their line of defence as far east as possible so the attack on Midway was given the OK. What the Japanese didn't know however was that on March 13th American cryptanalysts had broken the Japanese Navy's "general purpose code" thereby setting in motion the events of June 4/5. By May of 1942 they were able to decipher that the Japanese planned to attack Midway Island and that the date had been set for June 4th.

On May 26th the USS Yorktown arrives in Pearl Harbor to begin repairs. On that same day the US fleet leaves for Midway and the Japanese Northern Fleet with the four carrier Kaga, Akagi, Soryu and Hiryu leaves for the area north of Midway.

Early on June 4 patrol planes spotted the body of the Japanese task force and the battle was joined. One of the most interesting things about this battle is that the ships in the task forces never actually saw each other, the battle was conducted by air with some submarine involvement. If you want an hour by hour description of the battle there are many sources that you can go to. In a condensed and abbreviated version here is what happened.
  • The Japanese launch air strikes on Midway, where heavy damage is inflicted
  • US carrier aircraft groups are launched and sustain terrible losses but are able to draw off Japanese defenders thereby leaving the way open for dive bombers from the carriers EnterpriseHornet to hit and sink Kaga and Akagi.
  • Planes from the Yorktown wreck the Soryu
  • Planes form the Hiryu inflict terrible damage on an already limping Yorktown
  • Planes from the Enterprise mortally wound the Hiryu
  • All four Japanese carriers are sunk outright or scuttled by the Japanese. Admiral Yamamoto abandons Midway invasion plans and withdraws from the field of battle.
  • Desperate measures are not enough to keep the Yorktown from rolling and sinking on June 7th.
The Battle of Midway was won because of good intelligence, good carrier tactics, a whole lot of luck and the courage and determination of many pilots who lost their lives. Japan lost all of the carriers which were responsible for the attack on Pearl Harbor and which represented 2/3 of her carrier fleet. She also lost over 100 well trained pilots who would be difficult if not impossible to replace. The Japanese advance was halted permanently and the balance of power in the war shifted to the US and her allies.

And that is your history lesson for the day.

Friday, June 5, 2009

7 Quick Takes (Vol 24) The Garden Addition

Here we are again friends, Friday has rolled around and I am posting a Quick Takes. I perhaps may be in a rut with the different "additions" but I like that rut so will stay there for a while. So here is my 7 Quick Takes: The Garden Addition. Be sure to go over to Conversion Diary to check out the rest of the "quick takers".

This is the back garden and I love it. It is my place of peace and serenity at the end of the day. It is also the place where I work out frustration through weeding. I am one of those people who actually likes to pull weeds.

Morning is an excellent time to be in the garden. It is so quiet and peaceful and damp and just excellent.

I have written before about my love for clematis. You can find that post here. The Nellie Moser clematis is almost done blooming and this one is next. All the vines (there are 8 of them) have staggered bloom times and lengths. That way I get clematis joy for much of the growing season.

Can you tell that I sort of have a "thing" for hostas too. I am not sure how many different varieties I have, I stopped counting after 20. I don't know what it is about hostas that make me just so darn happy. That is until the deer start to munch on them. It is the hostas that cause so much work in the garden because I have to spray them with stinky stuff so the deer won't eat them.

You never know when you will find a cat in the garden, or a gnome for that matter but I didn't take any pictures of those. We do have a feral cat that inhabits the woods and we occasionally see her/him zooming this way and that. I welcome her presence unless she starts eating the birdies.

Of course, all is not rosy sunshine all the time. This is why I hate deer, because they can't seem to stay where they are supposed to ....IN THE WOODS. They insist on coming into my yard and eating things. This just has to stop!

Of course, quirky things can be found in my garden. I love the old work boot that is filled with hen and chickens. There is a toad that lives just beyond it in the shadow of the hosta and there may be a mouse building a nest in the boot itself, I am not sure.

Have a wonderful week all and take the time to sit in your own garden and contemplate all the beauty that the Lord has given us.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Cat videos

For your viewing pleasure, various cat videos. I am missing my Zachy Boy today I guess.

In this one the cat doesn't know whether to lick the bunnies or perhaps eat them.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is your birthday mom (I won't mention the actual number). Below you will find a video that represents a round about gift for you. The video is not too long, only 7 minutes or so but you will understand when you view it how much we love you....and how much we loved Grandpa Pringle. Any inaccuracies in history are just my limited recollections of events.