You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2010.

Maybe this summer I’ll get lucky … I said, then thought, how close to dead am I that “get lucky” means that I might get photos of baby killdeer. I’m not even a bird watcher jonesing for photographic evidence of a rare feathered friend to gain fame in the birder world.

I’m just simple folk, in love with the White Trash Estate and all its flora and fauna.

killdeer adult
stunning killdeer specimen, working the moves

This killdeer and its mate are nesting near the horse’s water trough, so I see it, or one of them, every day.

The males and females are marked the same. so who knows at any given time which one of them is on watch, rattin’ me out with its high-pitched whistling.

Their babies look like puffballs on shishkabob sticks.

Oooh, look at me. Ima broke down and busted birdie.

The second photo is of the killdeer pretending to be injured.

We don’t eat no stinkin’ squab at: pam(at)viewfromthenorth40.com

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When you’re doing hard physical labor that tends to put a physical strain on your physical person, stretching makes you feel better and sleep much better. I’m not bragging, just saying. I feel rested today.

On other, widely varying notes:

I was saddened to sit at my computer and read via my wireless Internet connection that one of the last true Luddites in the world has died.

IdahoStatesman.com reports that Richard Zimmerman, aka, “Salmon River Caveman” and “Dugout Dick,” who lived in a home he’d integrated into caves along the Salmon River in Idaho, died of natural causes at 94.

I couldn’t live like he did without electricity and indoor plumbing, but I admire him for doing so and hope that somewhere in the U.S., someone — not affiliated with a whacko, end of world, living on the fringe, biggotry-inspired splinter group — will follow in Mr. Zimmerman’s footsteps.

Like the homeless-by-choice people, he chose to live outside of societal norms, but unlike them, he carved a home out of the wilds, testing his resourcefulness and his pride of place. Rest in peace, man.

And lest you think I’ve gone all sentimental and soft, I give you “Pitates of the Caribbean 4: “On Stranger Tides,” and its creators’ insistence on recapturing a look that is au naturel, ah, natural. In the long line of auditioning requirements, which include height, clothing size and age, for female extras in the movie, they are requiring that women “must have real breasts.”

The women must pass a standard Hollywood practicum that will most likely involve jogging to ensure that the women have floppage appropriate to the natural size of their native breasts. I infer from the wordage that implants don’t jiggle. Creepy.

The things one learns when one lives long enough.

And I applaud the creators and Disney for the “go-organic” approach to this theatrical endeavor, which they fully expect to gross millions, making their own floppy bosoms heave with greed.

I love it.

Living like a pirate at: pam(at)viewfromthenorth40.com

Be careful what you brag about.

While talking to my friend The Redhead last night, I told her about how my back is feeling really good and I rarely have trouble with hand numbness during the night anymore — because I’m being so gosh darn good about taking care of myself.

We got off the phone between 9 and 9:30 p.m. then another friend called to chat and make arrangements for some horseshoeing. By the time we got off the phone, it was time I started wrapping up the evening and getting ready for bed by 10:30 p.m. — because that’s what people who take care of themselves do. Go to bed at a respectable hour.

Of course, they also take the time to do some exercises and stretches before the end of a day that included, among other work, almost two hours of lugging a backpack sprayer around spraying weeds. Because, of course, people who are so gosh darn good about taking care of themselves that they brag know that packing the sprayer’s weight on their shoulders while bending their head down constantly to look for weeds on the ground puts a strain on the neck and upper thoracic — the area from whence flow the nerves governing the numbness of one’s upper limbs and shoulders.

Braggarts know these things, really.

And yet, I didn’t stretch. I didn’t even take ibuprofen. I just went to bed. Then woke up two hours later to change position. And again every hour to 20 minutes after that until I got up at 4:30 a.m., in the morning, before actual daylight, because by then I could only toss and turn.

This is the bad thing about not being sick: totally couldn’t sleep during the day to make up for the sleepless night which was due to working too hard because I felt good. Makes your head spin a little, doesn’t it.

From now on, I’ll only brag about my humility at: pam(at)viewfromthenorth40.com

I don't know what they are, but they make me feel beautiful.

I don't know what they are, but they make me feel beautiful.

How brilliant do I feel right now? Look at my gorgeous flowers … that I stole.

I would have flowers and magnificent trees and a beautiful yard and a jungle of greenery in the house, but I suck at plant stuffs.

Seriously, I can’t make the good ones live, and I can’t make the bad ones die. I water and fertilize (or forget to for extended periods of time, my bad), and my lovely plants die. I spray herbicides, and my weeds green up and flourish.

I don’t get it. I don’t get plants. They don’t interact with me on a level that I am cognizant of. A horse will walk over to me and bump me with its head, it’ll blow snot on me or step on my foot. I get that.

I do something to the horse, and it responds. I. Get. That.

A plant droops or ekes out a bud over the course of several days. I do something to it now, and the effects don’t show up for days or even years. Who has the attention span for something that subtle (aka, friggin’ slow).

That said though, I long for green plants and bright flowers. I’ve learned through the years to get plants suited to my type of care … or neglect as it has been called by some.

Ironically, I had an aloe vera plant some years ago, and it thrived under my lack of care. When I turned 40 I went through a freakish obsession with growing things, not uncommon for women during that milestone year (OMG, I’m a stereotype!). I started planting things, watering them. They grew. I had a delightful herb garden. I killed my giant aloe plant deader than a rock, though it was slimy, with all the watery attention I lavished on it. I’ve been guilt-ridden since then.

Yet I persevere.

Last year, my father-in-law dug up some plants left behind in their garden here, and he took them to his new apartment complex. It dawned on me that the flowers had survived for two years without a lick of care. Nary a drop of well water nor an ounce of effort to till, prune or cover them.

I nabbed the remaining flowers and planted them next to my house. I dutifully watered them for a couple weeks to help them take root in their new home. Then promptly forgot all about them.

Until the other morning when John pointed out that I had a couple beautiful, purple blooms.

This is what they look like today. I feel awesome!! I have flowers!! And please note that the clover from seed I toss out along the side of the house is looking particularly lush this year.

I am, like, a wild, green-thumbed, mini-Mother Nature.

Now, if I only knew what kind of flowers those are at: pam(at)viewfromthenorth40.com

No funny business tonight, just this link to photos of Iceland and the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in all its awesomeness. Who knew an erupting volcano would cause so much lightning. For reals. There’s spewing, billowing, glowing, sparking, flashing, ka-zapping, flooding, choking, running for your life, waiting for delayed airline flights, cursing. Trumps the hell out of a lava lamp.

Um, not that lava lamps aren’t totally rad at: pam@viewfromthenorth40.com

You know how when you don’t feel good for a long time, I mean so long that you don’t realize just how sick you you’ve been until one day you wake up and you’re just awake — I mean, like, really awake! — and then you feel so good you can’t stop doing stuff, so you’re tired, but you still feel awesome because you’re, like, alive.

Yeah, that’s me.

Don’t know what I had for three weeks, but I couldn’t get enough sleep. I woke up sleepy. I slept during the day. Me. Without earplugs. It was freaky. One afternoon I slept for two solid hours, zonked out in my recliner. No earplugs. I would’ve been there longer, but Cooper was sleeping on my lap, and my legs were getting sore enough that I had a dream about kicking him off my lap. Eventually, my fruitless struggle woke me up. I’m sure Cooper woke too, but he wasn’t moving. He was overcome with sympathy exhaustion.

Since the awakening, I’ve been bustling around the property and the house and working with my horses and cooking and working with horses and walking. It’s been fun.

And to celebrate the foudroyance of life, I give you: Jacoby Laquan Smith and Unnamed Girlfriend.
(original articles in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Pioneer Press no longer available)

Perhaps by now Mr. Smith has turned himself into the St. Paul, Minn., authorities who had a warrant out for his arrest for beating up his girlfriend. Seems, Mr. Smith became enraged because the unnamed girlfriend had blocked his direct line of sight to the television, then she refused to move and threw something at him, therefore, he felt justified to beat the crap out of her and take her phone away. It was a good TV program, after all, and the thrown object was disturbing, and he was already a little peeved at her to begin with. Phoneless and wounded, she asked him to take her to the store for some ice for her injuries and, while there, got the clerk to call 911. Mr. Smith fled the scene.

Right, you want the other details — you know me so well. Unnamed girlfriend is a wheelchair-bound quadruple amputee, as in one amputation of the appendage of each limb, not four amputations of one limb. And in his defense, Mr. Smith said she threw her full bedpan at him, and she often beat him up and tried to choke him with her nubs, plus girlfriend was fooling around on him with another man.

Alright. Yes. Of course. Mr. Smith, cuckolded or not, you are bad for beating up your girlfriend. Bad, Mr. Smith, baaad. Now that we got that over with, can I just say that Unnamed Girlfriend should be the new poster mama for handicapable people everywhere.

It’s safe to assume that Girlfriend does not live a glamorous nor well-funded life, and, if I may paraphrase Kermit the Frog, it ain’t easy being freak. Yet she’s getting her grove on with two guys, has some self-defense skills and gots herself wit and brass enough to stand up for herself, figuratively speaking. Now if we could only channel her moxie in positive directions.

It’s a big, wide world out there at: pam(at)viewfromthenorth40.com

The weekend was a bust. Not like my bust, I mean a substantial bust. Like a Dolly Parton/Sumo wrestler embryo transfer love child into Pamela Anderson kind of bust. (FYI, try Googling “man boobs” some day. Just saying. It can be done, and you can find 10.1 million possible sites — including this one, now.)

Friday, high winds — I won’t subject your eye-brain accord to the torture, so just imagine that two-word descriptive in all caps with occasional gusts of italics.

Saturday, lovely day, me inexplicably exhausted and just a titch, shall we say, crabby. And by titch I mean that, if my crabbiness were the bust, it would’ve been in “Attack of the 50-foot Woman” proportions.

That evening I read a job posting for an online, three-month humor-writing gig. Sounded interesting and a bit twisted, so yeah, it was attractive. The two downsides were: 1) They wanted a writing sample on a specific topic and the deadline was end of day Sunday, as in just a little over 24-hours. 2) This is the start of riding season, do I really want a third job when I could be on horseback?

Sunday dawned cold and gray outside, warmer inside. I kind of had an idea, so mulled it over as I went about chores … and digging post holes. It occurred to me that in some dream world vision in which I could beat out roughly a gazillion people for the gig that I could hire someone to grunt their way through my corral project. Awe-some.

I was an idea machine after that.

So, throughout the day amongst my duties, both horsey and domestic, I worked on the project and my resume refresher. By 10:30 p.m. I folded the last load of laundry and left John to slumber as I wrapped up the last details with a hit-send-and-in-bed-by-11 objective. Tweak the text, twist, plump, retie, resave, copy/paste, recopy/paste, attach, delete, reattach, blah blah blah … because I. Can’t. Stop. Re-editing. Until you pry the work from cold, deadlined fingers. It’s an illness,

In the brief blah blah blah email about the purpose of this blah blah blah, I said something to the effect that I had pasted the writing sample below, but it also was attached as a Word doc. (Because the filing directions didn’t say which way they wanted the info to come, so do both, right? Cover all the bases. Smart, eh? Now I’m thinkin’.)

At 11:41 p.m. I was tired and totally ready to be rid of the burden of my OCD-related codependency on this fledgling writing sample. I copy/pasted the text one last time and just hit “send” for cryin’ out — Noouhaaarghhh! I didn’t reattach the final draft of the writing sample into the email.

At that point, Sunday officially became a complete bust. Not only am I certain that the company can and will find people of = or > caliber writing skills, I’m quite certain at least one of those witty geniuses will be thorough enough to make sure that all attachments promised are, in fact, attached. I’ve heard that it’s a simple thing to check, but I don’t know, and I certainly couldn’t swear to witnessing or practicing it.

I was in bed at 12:03 a.m. By going past midnight, I pretty much assured that Monday would be equally bustfull in a flat-busted sense of the word. Broke down and low down. Bust-er-o-roony.

I want to dig those post holes myself, really, at: pam(at)viewfromthenorth40.com

We have a photo of this glacier that is now gone, fini, kaput.

John was reading the article and realized that we have an old black and white photo of that glacier that we nabbed purchased in the days of yore when his mom had a nice secondhand/antique store. We didn’t know until now where it was located, or if it even had a name. Now we know both, posthumously.

Oh, sorrow, thy name is Shepard Glacier. You will live on only in photographic and digital imagery. And in memories and stories. And maybe in movies. And probably some artwork. But that’s it, other than the fauna that you feed. But then that’s it.

I have warring feelings about the issue. Not the global warming issue. The glacier identification issue. I’m excited to know more about the photo, but saddened that I got the information because the glacier is gone.

Reminds me of the time we were driving back home from Billings through the CM Russell National Wildlife Refuge, and I had added viewing capacity provided by new eyeglasses. I was ecstatic to see a 6×7 bull elk through the trees and brush, but that excitement felt a little awkward because the bull was actually dead. Not pretty. But I saw it first (!).

Is anything ever straight forward at: pam(at)viewfromthenorth40.com

All last week I was stressing because I had to report to US District Court in Great Falls for jury duty. No call to say my date with the Feds would be cancelled. Spent the weekend getting my house in order just in case, y’know, the experience turned out to be a nightmarish 6-week ordeal, or I died on the road, or I was thrown into prison for life for contempt of court because I laughed at the wrong time or said got caught saying something inappropriate.

OK, well, my preparations consisted of scrubbing the toilet and laundering all the clothes. Whatever.

I did spend lots of quality time with my husband and dog and horses and had to get all the horse matters in line for John to take over chores.

I packed for five days away from home spending time at an activity that required me to dress respectably and comfortably — two mutually exclusive conditions. I so wished I could wear sweats to sit there all day. Monday morning I was up by 4:40 and on the road by 6 a.m.

After the strip-search entry into the federal building, and the 20-minute welcome-to-jury-duty inspirational video starring justices Sandra Day O’Connor (ret.) and Samuel Alito, I won the lottery to rise from the common rabble to be one of the pre-selection jurors. I was, in fact, the last of 32 names to be drawn. When the clerk read my name, I said, “score,” under my breath and stood. The kid next to me laughed. I could tell he was a nice kid when I sat there. Good taste.

There’s me in the hot seat, being good, being good, being goo— just a wee bit fidgety to keep my back from seizing up. I was polite about it. No big, groany stretches. Give me some credit.

The judge asked a bunch of questions meant to eliminate unacceptable potential jurors who were excused because they felt that they couldn’t be fair and impartial — along with the guy who decided he wanted to go back to the hospital to finish having pneumonia. Friggin’ wimp.

At some point in the questioning, I imagined saying something like “I think the defendant should have a fair trial, followed by a first-class hangin'” just to see what the judge would say. Obviously, my internal editor was scared into being fully functional. There was me being shut up, being shut up, being totally shut up.

After the judge was done, the prosecuting attorney asked a bunch of questions to get a handle on our worthiness. Then the defense attorney had at us.

After all this, the legal counsels formed their respective huddles and, in some sort of reversal of the grade school nightmare of team-choosing, the attorneys indicated to the judge who they didn’t want on their team. I was totally kicked out of the court room and sent home.

Yes, it was better than being sent to jail, but I was, by then, primed to be a worthy citizen through the dignified execution of my fair and impartial jurorish duties. It was not to be, I just had a long drive home, with my wrinkle-packed clothes and a diet coke.

Oh, and the fond memory of a scrumptious, giant, mega-croissant with a dark chocolate topping that I scarfed down during our brief break. mmm-mm-m-m-mmmm.

I may dream of croissant-filled civil duty again tonight at: pam(at)viewfromthenorth40.com

Finally, John and I have been married long enough to start enjoying the occasional abbreviated conversation:

This morning he approached me with a shirt in hand declaring that he hated to bug me but the shirt needs a button replaced. It was up to me to decide if I wanted to do it.

No, it was up to him I said. Do you want it replaced or not.

Well, he said, the shirt is a little old. But still good for a work shirt. And he doesn’t have very many light ones. Summer is coming up. The black one he was wearing yesterday is heavy. And a little scratchy. He has plenty of shirts, but not all of them all-season. Or ones that he particularly likes. But there’s a lot of them … etc.

I sat waiting for a “yes” or “no” on the button issue, patiently, staring, … still no definitive answer, just more etc.

I don’t know if the stare finally registered, or if it was his own words and the memory they prompted, but he turned away and said, “So I guess I need to get my ass to the store to find shirts I do like. Thanks. Good answer. Good reminder.”

He wandered down the hall to the bedroom. Nary a “yes” or “no” about the button replacement in this dialogue.

When I went to the bedroom for the next load of laundry, the shirt was hanging with another one in need of a button, so “yes” he wants it fixed.

And score one for me that he totally remembers my response to any complaints about needing clothes: Not my problem. Hie thee to the clothing store.

I will hie me to the button stash and make much-needed repairs.

21 years is a great start on a worthwhile marriage at: pam(at)viewfromthenorth40.com