Archive for April, 2014

Bumming and blogging

Here is a total bummer:  Scott went to Albany where it was cold enough to snow three inches in April.  He brought back a cold and then shared it with me.  It gave him an incredibly sore and scratchy throat, but it gave me an incredibly sore and scratchy throat, a nasty cough, way too many asthma breathing difficulties, a headache (caused by packed sinuses that refuse to drain despite large and frequent doses of Sudafed), a virtual inability to breathe lying down, ears that haven’t yet unstopped, body aches, and a possible low-grade fever.  I’ve been called an overachiever. . .

And tonight is church (!!!), and tomorrow is a slew of errands.  Sigh.  I’ll be gone from 7:50 AM to about noon, then from 1:00 to 2:00 PM, and then from 4:45 to 9:20 PM.  Other than the very first one, none of those runs is optional, and I obviously have to feel significantly better than I do in order to pull them all off.

Which is why I am sitting here in the green chair under an afghan blogging instead of being at church, where I really want to be.  Sigh.  Well, actually punt the sigh.  It just makes me cough more.  Our pastor just wrapped up a GREAT “Final Countdown” (to Jesus’ resurrection) series, and I can’t stand the idea that I’m not there to experience whatever she and God serve up next.  So there.  Frustration expressed.

Accepting what I cannot immediately change, my goals for tonight are to:

1.  Write a blog post

2.  Practice my choir music (our final rehearsal is tomorrow night and the concert is Sunday afternoon), or, since I really can’t pull together enough breath to sing even an octave low, at least play the tough sections of the alto parts on the piano.  Embarrassingly, I’m not too secure on a number of these pieces.  There are quite a few places where I still don’t sing the right notes at the right time.

3.  Put away the clean laundry that Andrew carried up to our room for me.  He’s such a gentleman with stuff like that.

4.  Take a hot bath.

5.  Figure out and take the right combo of OTC meds, cough drops, inhaler, and sleeping aid to render myself breathing, drowsy, and comfortable all at the same time.

6.  Go to bed

I hope to accomplish all that before Scott and Andrew get home in an hour.  Well, yes, I do often struggle in the area of setting realistic goals.  = )

But #1 is done!

A tale of two turtles

A week or so ago, as peered intently down from the bridge, I did indeed spy one of the teeniest, tiniest turtles have I have ever seen.  From some 30 feet up, size estimations are challenging, but I approximated him to be about the size of a half dollar.  He was floating at an angle near the surface, occasionally paddling a few strokes, but basically at the mercy of the then fairly swift current.

No turtles – indeed no other reptiles at all – have been spotted (or striped, for you ultra-critical proofreaders and die-hard grammarians) since that time. . . until this morning.

Today, I saw not one, but TWO turtles, feeding and swimming in tandem.  The one I will assume to be the mom was large (lunch plate sized), and her adolescent son was about the diameter of a (women’s) softball.  I watched them for a minute or so and smiled deeply.

Hooray!!!  The turtles are back!

The lake is not a creek

We went kayaking on Bull Creek a few weeks ago.  I blogged about our scraping through Zone 9.

Then Scott took Andrew and Zach kayaking on the upper Buffalo last Saturday.  They had plenty of water and a grand time, including jumping off cliffs and hiking to the waterfall at Hemmed in Hollow.  Zach was using my kayak, and got, in Andrew’s words, got quite a few (explicit) compliments on my dashing Dagger.  I suppose we must cut such folks some slack.  It was the first nice Saturday in spring, the Buffalo was crammed with people, and wild men on the river do tend to drink.  Anyway.

Some friends borrowed our kayaks yesterday (on Saturday, the Saturday before Easter).  I assumed they were going to the Buffalo; there clearly wasn’t enough water in any of the creeks around here.  When we completed our float/drag last month and pulled out at the bridge, I made a mental note of the depth of the water on a certain rock.  (As in, “That amount of water is NOT enough for floating!”)  Every morning, when I pause on the bridge, I check the rock, and so far, only one day has it been what I would consider floatable.  That was when it was about two and-a-half inches deeper than it was the day we went – and it happened to be on something like a Wednesday or Thursday, when Scott wasn’t even available.

But it turns out our friends were going to float Lake Taneycomo.  really?!?  Who ever heard of such?  For one thing, Taneycomo’s ice cold and full trout.  It’s a fishing lake, not a floating lake. . . at least, that’s what I thought.  For another thing, where would you put in and take out?  For yet another thing, Taneycomo’s basically a dammed-up river.  What would be be like to kayak on a river?  And for still yet another thing, how deep is it, anyway?  Deep enough to float?

Our friend said that you can put in at the fish hatchery, just below Table Rock Dam, and that right after they left water out of the dam (either for flood control or to generate hydro) there’s plenty of water for a nice, one and-a-half hour float, or you can do a longer three-hour one.

Hmmm. . . If you know Scott, you know that this meant that we would be kayaking Taneycomo sometime soon.  And that sometime was today.  = )

We drove both vehicles to the public access take-out at Cooper Creek and left the Honda there.  Then we drove up to the fish hatchery to put in.  I will spare you a description of the One Who Almost Tipped Trying to Get Into the Kayak, and just say that we all embarked into water that was numbingly cold and very swift-moving.  In fact, I suggested we go upstream a bit to get close to the dam, and we tried, but only momentarily.  Paddling upstream as hard as humanly possible we only managed to keep ourselves. . . moving steadily downstream!

Because we assumed from the drive up and from the strong current that we would get to the take-out very quickly, so we didn’t paddle.  In fact, basically all we did for two hours was sit back, coast, and occasionally dip a paddle in on one side or the other to steer.  It was the laziest I have ever been in a canoe or kayak in my entire life!

The scenery was lovely – especially with the redbud and dogwood in bloom – everything was peaceful, and we had a good time.  But I realized something key about myself.  I’m not a lake girl, and I’m not a river girl.  For the past seventeen years, I have lived a tenth of a mile from a creek, and I guess it has done something to me.  I’m a creek girl through and through.  I want my water to move, and I want it to make creek-ish noises while it does.  I want to be able to see the bottom, and I want to see rocks and gravel down there.  I want it narrow and I want it to have riffles and rapids.

And if I’m going to kayak it, I want my water to offer at least a little bit of challenge – some twists, some turns, some overhanging branches, some poorly positioned rocks or logs.  And I want to see turtles plopping off those logs.

Now, although it is technically a river, in its defense, the Buffalo River is small enough to meet my criteria for kayak-worthy water.  Taneycomo is not.  As far as I am concerned, you can have Table (Lake) Rock and (Lake) Taneycomo and Bull Shoals (Lake), but for kayaking joy, give me Bull Creek any day.



Time, times, and half a time

I’m still here.  really.  I took a little blogging hiatus mainly because a health issue made life difficult for a while, but I am much better now – actually back to about 90% strength and climbing.  = )

One of my biggest challenges is time management.  It’s gratifying to know that people read what I write, but the truth is that I don’t blog for my readers.  I blog because it’s fun and relaxing and energizing to me – and because I want there to be some record of the interesting stuff that goes on in our lives.  As my neighbor with the pet turkey who sometimes roams the neighborhood likes to say, “It’s never dull in the ‘Shade!”

I’m in a curious season of life.

Two and-a-half of our kids have moved out.  Unfairly, it takes just as long to cook for three as it did for six.  That takes time.

Tourist season is upon us, and thankfully that means that Roberts Vacation Rentals is in full swing.  Since Andrew helps clean two of the houses, it also means he is frequently gone for most of the day.  This puts me home alone a lot – which is wonderful in one way, but it also means that Yours Truly is now responsible for most of the housework around here, and you’d be totally amazed at how frequently dishes need to be washed, floors need to be swept and mopped, laundry needs to be done, and bathrooms need to be cleaned.  All that stuff takes time.

Scott and I are actively working on improving our marriage, and that takes time.

Andrew has lots of places to go – worship practice, homeschool co-op, piano lesson, tumbling class – and even though we’ll switch seats next month, I’ll still “take” him to and from all those activities.  That takes time.

I have several church responsibilities, and they take time.

Andrew does most of his schoolwork independently, although with biology, which he started today, I am reminded that for one of our kids it did work best for me to do daily biology “lectures.”  That was a first for me; it meant I actually had to read the book, too!  Even though I’m down to one homeschooling kid, for whom I need to (prepare biology lessons?), check math and writing assignments, do long- and short-range academic planning, and do record-keeping, it still takes time.

I am continuing to work on personal growth stuff, and reading and discussing and processing issues and principles takes a lot of time.

We like to do fun things as a family – notably right now for the three of us kayaking and playing “Dominion” – and carving out availability for family activities takes time.

I’ve been doing a bit of contractual editing work, which I truly love.  It takes time.

I need time alone to think and I treasure time alone with God.  Those both take. . . um. . . time.

When I do find myself with 30 minutes or an hour free, I think, “Hmmm. . . what could I do with this time?” and “What should I do with this time?” and finally “What will I do with this time?”  I’d really like to write more, but since I only do it for fun, I tend to push it farther out and hold it as a reward – as in, “When I get the checklists printed and Scott’s lunch made and Andrew’s math checked and the life group ladies contacted, then I will treat myself to a little writing time!”

To write, more, I have to figure out which of the above to do less, and in my black-and-white way of viewing things, they all seem to be pretty important, but I’m still here, and I’m going to stop writing now, so I can go play.

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