Thursday, October 27, 2011

Path of Destruction

Last night it was a drinking glass.  I came home to find that Jip had somehow pulled a juice glass off the counter, broke it, and splattered pieces of broken glass around the the kitchen floor.  I'm surprised I didn't find any bloody paw prints.  Sometimes I just don't know what I am going to do with him.

This morning he ate 3 funfetti cupcakes off the dining room table, paper and all. And when he noticed I realized what he was doing, he went into shark-mode, claws scratching the top of the table, sucking down cupcakes as fast as he could.  Daisy ate the crumbs that littered the chairs and floor.

Jip is going to be a path of destruction for Halloween.  And he doesn't even need a costume.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hedgepigs and Howlets

Slogging through the week with a lingering cough.  Just can't wait to get through the Halloween library event tomorrow night so I can go home and visit with family...somehow I got a few last-minute volunteers, so it looks like I will have enough for the event.

And if all else fails, there will be cookies and cupcakes and one volunteer said she would bring Halloween marshmallow peeps on a stick, which sounds like a pretty good time to me.  And I'm mixing up a "Witches' Brew" and reciting a passage from Shakespeare's Macbeth about the three witches that chant "Boil, Boil, Toil, and Trouble..."  The ingredients for the witches brew consist of a bunch of random things I thought up like mini marshmallows, frozen berries, sour gummy worms, and canned pineapple.  It will probably taste weird, but it will have lots of sugar so the kids will like it.

At least I'm not using eye of newt and toe of frog, wool of bat and tongue of dog...or adder's fork and blindworm's sting, lizard's leg and howlet's wing.    This edition of Macbeth explains that a howlet is a small owl.  I love owls and a howlet sounds cute; I would not want to make a punch out of a howlet's wing.  The passage also includes a hedgepig, which is Shakespeare's way of saying hedgehog.

As always, I'll let you know how it goes. Happy Halloween hedgepigs and howlets.

Monday, October 24, 2011

He's baaaack

Joey's back.  And I survived managing household and farmyard fairly well by myself for 5 days.  I was quite pleased with myself.  As much as it was reassuring to know that I can handle things alone, I was pretty lonely.  You can only have so many conversations with a black lab and an aussie before you realize you are quickly slipping into cat-lady territory and need some human contact.  

On Thursday, I bowled as usual, and I actually got my highest score ever.  Probably because I was playing with 3 guys since Joey wasn't there and neither was the other woman on my team.  I had to keep up with the boys.  I even got a couple strikes.

On Friday, I started feeling like a cold was coming on, so I picked up a pizza after work and snuggled in with the dogs and Netflix on my computer.

On Saturday, I woke up with a cough, but wanted to get out of the house so I threw some Ricola throat drops in my purse and went to an auction.  It turned out to be a gorgeous, sunny day and I knew a few people at the auction from the library.  Being auctioned was a house and most of its contents for an elderly lady who was downsizing to an apartment.  There were a few things I wanted to bid on: an antique dresser, a green McCoy mixing bowl, and a funny little antique doll in a shoe that I thought my mom might like for her birthday.  Of course, the things you want to bid on are always auctioned last, so I was there for a few hours.  I enjoyed being outside for the day but I think I over-did it by standing for hours to watch the bidding because by the time I got home my back was aching and I was ache-y all over.  I spent the rest of the day lounging and watching movies and made a banana nut bread.  The nice thing about not having to cook for two is that I could eat a slice of banana bread with butter and a mug of cocoa for dinner.

Sunday, I was a little productive and boxed some things up for Goodwill and took a nice Sunday drive through the countryside to get to the Goodwill 1/2 an hour away from home.  I spent the rest of the day cleaning house and spent some time outside on my front porch to enjoy the last of the warm weather for the year.  

Joey got in around 11:30 pm last night and we are both back at work today.  I am still feeling sick, but I don't have anyone to cover for me at work until tomorrow afternoon. I have to get better soon because I am going home to see my family from Texas this weekend and then coming back and entertaining the in-laws for a few nights.  And Thursday I have a Haunted Library event that I planned totally last-minute, have a severe lack of volunteers for, and may end up being a disaster.     

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Why Jip, Why???

Oh. My. Gosh.  I literally stood for a minute, jaw dropped at the sight of what I found in the kitchen this morning.  I did the thing where you blink a few times to make sure you are actually seeing what is in front of you.  I wished I was sleep-walking and still dreaming.

I don't know if it was the flour, or what it was, but there was doggy you-know-what (poo) EVERYWHERE.  And I mean EVERYWHERE.  It was horrific.  I was speechless.  I felt terrible for my poor, sick puppy.  He had to be a sick puppy to make that mess.  I went through two (!) rolls of paper towels.  I gagged a lot.

Then I had to mop the floor.  I spent 30 minutes in rubber gloves, with my pajama pants rolled up at the bottom, while Jip was locked in his crate so he couldn't walk around on the wet floor or go into the living room and recreate the kitchen massacre on the rug.

Joey is lucky he is out of state without cell-phone service.  But since I couldn't call him to whine about my disgusting morning, you're the lucky ones who get to hear about it.   You're just lucky I didn't take a photo.

I just hope you didn't read this while you were eating lunch.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Just a few more ingredients and Jip is just about ready to be baked into cookies.  Yesterday morning, he got into a bag of brown sugar. Today, he played with a bag of flour while I was at work.

I think I need to get some child-proof latches for my cabinets.  They say Australian Shepherds have lots of energy and will get into stuff if they get bored.  Well isn't that the truth!  And it had to be my expensive King Arthur bread flour...

The scene I found when I got home from work

What, that bag of flour? I didn't touch it...

Flour all over his face and paws.  It is all crusted on his fur.  He is such a mess.

Why are you making me sit next to this bag of flour that I so obviously did not play with?

Ok, I will admit, it was me...will you stop taking my picture now?

Woman Homesteader

Joey is in North Dakota for the rest of the week, hunting with his buddies.  This leaves me to find out if I can take care of an old house, 11 sheep, 4 chickens, 1 rabbit, and 2 very mischievous dogs with selective hearing all by myself.

I already take care of both dogs, the rabbit and the chickens, as well as the cooking, cleaning, laundry, dishes, grocery shopping and pay the bills.  When I think about it, Joey pretty much just looks after the sheep and takes the garbage out before work on Friday mornings.  And brings home (part of) the bacon...and the deer meat (which I don't eat.)

Sure, I couldn't pay the mortgage on my librarian's salary, but I can keep the house running.  And the animals fed.  But I like having Joey around.  So even if this week tests my ability to live alone and run a small farm-yard, and I find I can handle things pretty well solo, I'm still counting the days until he comes home.  After all, I'm still terrified of getting knocked down by the ram, a little scared of the rooster, and I couldn't pick up the dead mouse I found upstairs last night.  (Good thing Joey was still there to pick it up and throw it away.)

So I'll pull the blinds tight and tremble whenever the dogs growl or bark at something in the dark and and try to summon the courage of the pioneer women I have read about who settled their own homesteads alone on the prairie.  And hopefully I won't find anymore dead mice.   

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Remember last week when I dropped a can of Coke on the floor at the gas station and it exploded everywhere?

Today it was my sandwich.  And yes, it came out of the paper wrapper and landed on the door mat.  And yes, once again, I was embarrassed.  I had already paid for my sandwich and was just about to walk out the door when juggling a can of pop, a sub sandwich, a wallet, and a set of keys became too much for my clumsy hands and the sandwich was the thing to go.  It was one of those slow-motion moments too, where I could see the sandwich paper slowing unwinding in a spiral down to the floor and the shredded lettuce flinging itself to freedom.

Luckily they made me another sandwich and didn't make me pick the pieces of lettuce out of the spikes on the rubber floor mat.  But once again, I had an audience to my sandwich shenanigans.  At least this time, there was no outward heckling, just some muttering and laughing, which I chose to ignore...mostly.  After I got my new sandwich and was heading for the door (this time with my sandwich in a bag) I dropped my keys on the ground and had to pick them up in front of the guys who'd already gave me weird looks once.

Today is not my day for keeping a hold on things.  I hope no one hands me their baby, expensive china plates, or flat-screen TV today, because I'd probably drop those too.

Just what he needs...

When I woke up this morning, I was surprised to realize that Jip did not wake me up with his usual hour-long barking routine.  Instead, I woke up in my warm bed to the sound of my phone alarm clock.  This put me in a significantly better than usual just-rolled-out-of-bed mood.  Usually I wake up feeling like Cruella D'Evil. 

 I am not a morning person.

This morning, however, I sleepily stumbled my way into the kitchen to let the dogs outside and found the reason why Jip was not interested in barking this morning.  He got into the cupboard and had been licking the contents out of a bag of brown sugar.  When I found him he was sitting in his bed, the soggy bag of sugar across the kitchen, looking at me with big innocent eyes.  He was practically saying, "I don't know who took the sugar out of the cabinet and somehow rolled the sides of the bag down and licked it all.  It most certainly could not have been me."

So now he is going to be all hopped-up on sugar all day.  Just what a dog with an already excessive amount of energy needs.  

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Shout-Out to Mom and Dad

Thanks to my parents for painting, hanging wainscoting, installing a new toilet, washing my windows, sweeping my front porch, doing the dishes, taking the recycling to the recycling bin, and raking leaves this weekend at my house...all while I laid around and felt sick.  Also, thanks for putting up with my dogs and helping me carry that antique iron bed I bought around the flea market on Sunday.  I don't know what I would do without you.

Hope to have some house updates photos soon.

Joey is supposed to go on a five-day hunting trip this week from Tuesday - Sunday so maybe I will have extra time to write and work on the house.  If taking care of the place by myself doesn't kill me.  

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Last weekend, I took the train home and drove with my parents up to northern Wisconsin to visit my sister, Madeline, at the semester school she is attending.  Conserve School is an environmental-based school in Land O'Lakes for high school students.  It's the first time I actually wished I was back in high school, because this place was awesome.  I am so jealous.

English Class

Interpreting Henry David Thoreau

The school converted the old baseball field into a vegetable garden and the fence protects it from the deer

Sign on the boathouse at our rental cabin.

My parents and I stayed in a cabin on a lake about 15 minutes from my sister's school.  The fall colors were gorgeous and the weather was so warm, I wish we could have stayed longer.

View from our cabin in morning.  I walked out on the dock in my pajamas.

Porcupine right outside Maddy's dorm

Basically, this trip made me want to move to the Northwoods.  I don't know if the sheep would like living with porcupines.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Real Life

It's back to reality for me after a long weekend away from home and back to my daily life of chasing dogs, cleaning up after dogs and husband, and generally being frustrated with both the chasing and the cleaning.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Have a Coke

Today during my lunch break I walked across the street to the gas station to get a sandwich for lunch.  Now don't get all grossed out because I bought a sandwich from a gas station, 'cause it's not like that.  I'm not getting any old plastic-wrapped egg salad sandwich that's been sitting in a refrigerator for weeks on end.  They have a deli in there that makes sub sandwiches and hot pizzas.  There are no hot dogs endlessly rolling around on a heater next to a slurpee machine.

 So anyway...back to the story.  I was about to order a freshly-prepared veggie sub sandwich and I was reaching into the cooler and grabbed a can of Coke, and I dropped it on the ground.

 And it exploded everywhere.

And I was extremely embarrassed.

And then a bunch of construction workers came in a heckled me while I mopped the soda off the floor with wads of napkins.

And then they cut in front of me.

Finally, an older guy who was joking around with the ladies that work in the gas station let me go in front of him to order my sandwich.  And it was interesting because I've never met him before, but he asked me how things were going at the library.  He wanted to know if I could find out what year Frank James (Jesse James' brother) died because he had been arguing about it with his buddies.  I guess it's just another case of everyone knows everyone else in town (or it's because I drove the library float in the homecoming parade?)

After lunch I reopened the library and the gas station guy came in and handed me a cold can of Coke and asked if we could look up Frank James, if it was not too much trouble.  So today I can say I learned a little about history and a little about people.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

What dreams reveal

I may have unknowingly stumbled upon my calling in life when I became a country librarian last year.  Take this morning for example.  Jip's barking shuddered me awake from a bad dream.  The dream that I was having was that I was in a bookstore that had a clearance rack with extremely discounted books.  And there were books for sale by all of my favorite authors, even some that I had never even heard of, had never been published before.  And then I turned around and I couldn't find any of them.  I was so flustered, frantically trying to find these books on the shelves, and my dad was there saying, "I can't spend my whole day here..."  And then I woke up.  What a nightmare.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Welcome to October

For some reason, this is my crazy-busy month.  Every weekend is packed with invites and activities, the weeks are full of board meetings and the beginning of bathroom remodeling at the library, and Joey's long hours in the field get even longer.  And somehow in the mix of everything, I am trying to get in a little time to work on updating my house.  It's going to get crazy, people.

Friday night, I picked my mom up from the train station (about 25 minutes away).  Saturday morning, we went on the Spoon River Scenic Drive, which is a two-weekend-long event in my county where all the small towns hold events and everyone sets up tables of crafts, junk, food, and antiques to create flea markets.  It is a beautiful drive through the country, past golden cornfields and red-orange trees, and did I say, flea markets?!  My mom and I had a lot of fun driving around and picking through all the stuff.  We bought some pumpkins and Halloween decorations, jars of homemade jam, and vintage table cloths.  I got a painting for my upstairs bathroom for $2 and some little owl figurines, because I cannot resist a cute owl.  We also had a few laughs about the interesting assortment of fried foods, such as fried butter and deep-fried pb&j sandwiches and the "homade" pulled pork.

After a few hours, we stopped at a diner to refuel and get some sandwiches (not deep-fried).  My mom took out a little notebook she carries in her purse so she could write down some of the things she bought.  After we left the restaurant, we were commenting on how our waitress was so concerned about getting our food out quickly, and the fact that she gave us free drinks to go.  My mom thought maybe she owned the restaurant, and then she thought about how she was writing in her little flip notebook and wondered if the waitress thought we were restaurant critics and were jotting down notes!  Or she could just have been a really good waitress.  Maybe we're still not quite used to country hospitality.

After our jaunt through the countryside, we worked on repainting one of the upstairs bedrooms and then tried to fix the dryer.  One hour and several YouTube videos later, it is still not put back together.  Don't ask.  My mom had to catch a 7 am train the next morning and I spent the rest of Sunday painting the bedroom and started priming the cabinets in that room for paint.  I hung some artwork in the bathroom and stripped peeling paint in the hallway.  Little by little, it is coming along.  My goal is to have the upstairs finished by Christmas.  We'll see.  All my pictures are on my mom's camera, so I'll post some after she emails them to me.