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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Coopers Rock.

 I suppose I have to start blogging more again - lots to say but I don't want this to go on forever. The Buckwheat Festival was ok this year, David was working so I went by myself and it is not as much fun when you do these things alone.  But I saw all the 4-H cows, pigs, sheeps, etc -  I bought Ramp wine and buckwheat flour and did a little early Leaf Peeping on the way home. I stopped at the farm stand on route 7 too, I have not been there in forever. Today Molly and I finally made it to Cooper's Rock - my goal for us over the past couple of months. She has been progressing every time we go out - and I change it up every time we go so she can get used to different  situations. And she has done beautifully. Cooper's Rock is a huge state forest, not really a park. Very popular with hikers, bikers, campers and picnickers - there's tables, a play ground, an over look and trails, 88,000 acres in all. I brought my backpack and compass since this was really a practice run for both of us. There's a lot to transitioning a dog to being a good hiker - you're making your canine companion walk through a forest filled with animals while they're tied to a leash unable to escape if they feel threatened, bikes will come by whizzing and bumping on the trails, where people will suddenly appear in front of or behind them from nowhere, they can hear talking but cannot see anyone - she's expected to sit while we rest or eat and to come in in the pit toilets and structures. I make a point still to talk to anyone that stops and talks to us, letting them know she's being socialized - most people will stop and chat. A lot of people will want to know what she is, people that know what she is will want to stop and talk about that.  During our trek we sat and talked to a young couple that was taking a break from rock climbing, he sat on the ground five feet away from Molly and although she wouldn't go over to him, she didn't try to run. She just sat quietly and watched us talking. She may never get to the point she'll let someone touch her  - I'd like her just to be able to not be afraid and enjoy the whole shebang.  We also stopped and talked to  a couple of women with small dogs on leashes - she was afraid but not terrified. Most of the walk her tail was up and this time she relaxed to the point she was exploring off the trail, snuffling down holes and peeking in little caves in the rocks. My compass after a year of being stored worked fine. David and I had to switch out for new batteries and thank goodness I kept the instructions! but it worked perfectly. I got a new backpack and had to adjust what went where a few times - we were only in the park for a couple of hours but after about 15 minutes I discovered my metal thermos swung too much to  hang off the side, I couldn't reach my camera and the compass needed to hang on the side straps and not the back. I think we hiked for about an hour and a half, the rest of the time we did a few slow turns around the main part so Molly can just look and see for herself there's nothing to be afraid of. I'm glad she's finally turned the proverbial corner and is now looking forward to our walks. Today when I got her harness out she really knew what we were doing today - she ran in and bounced off David a couple of times tail wagging madly, then raced out to the kitchen barely able to contain herself. Life is good, isn't it?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Loose Ends

 Knitting wise I've been at loose ends - I pick it up, put it down. Start, stop, start again, different yarn, different needles, up, down, up down. My life has been following along, I am at loose ends at work, at home, what do I want? Some of it is outside my control - some of it is but I don't have the energy to deal with it. So for now I drift, letting it all go where it will, life is static ever changing. You need to change with it and not struggle against it. I've been channeling a lot of that unrest into dogs especially since that's a positive thing. Molly has been doing well on our walks, you can tell she wants to be social, how much she enjoys everyone but needs to get past that fear of the unknown. So it's step by step with her - a little more each time and being consistent. We went over to the Fairmont house a couple of days ago to start figuring out what needs to be done - the bathroom is a total gut, Stairway Of Death needs to come out, carpet of course needs to come up and the floor plan needs to be reconfigured to maximize the space and open up the living room. On the other hand the yard is lovely, the view better, the cabinets are in surprisingly great shape - just needs cleaning, new counter tops and new handles and they're good to go. We're figuring out our vacation - we're going back to Long Island for a few days, then off to see Ray of course. Adam will be staying home manning the fort, he has school so it will be babysitting the hooligans for now. I'm glad for vacation, I really need it right now. I often think per Diem might still be the way to go for me, I sometimes need to just take off for a couple of weeks, I am flighty - thank you for asking. At work they've let one of the nurses go so on call has gotten more brutal and we all know how much I love being on call.  David has been out all night two night in a row, the local festival is here and he was asked to do security. There is a lesson for you - don't say yes unless you know exactly what you're saying yes to. He thought it was a few hours each night but it's overnight. He was stressing but since he said he would, he did. He won't again. Not much else, it's been raining, the temps are dropping, perfect for reading and knitting. I've got plenty of books on my ereader of course. Not much going on, loose ends as I've said - a little of this, a little of that.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Fall Is In The Air.

 Fall is coming fast - I know we'll have a few more hot days but you can already see the leaves starting to change and the air is a little chillier. The dogs are loving it - it actually invigorates them MORE if you can imagine that, they're constant out out out and sling around the yard like it's no body's business. David and Adam have worked all weekend, with the cooler temperatures David is trying to get the roof completely done while it's comfortable. He's had an awful cold for the past week and was finally feeling a bit better the other day. We don't see each other a lot lately, just Wednesdays at this point. Adam can only help on the weekends so for now he'll be working the weekends and continue to have Wednesday as his day off with me. We closed on the second house out in Fairmont on Friday - by email no less! - David has pulled up the carpet in the basement since it was Uber- Yucky but that house will be on the back burner for now. He needs to get the Clarksburg house done and on the market ASAP, then will start flipping the other one. We're going back to Long Island for a week too, he's been carping but he will be going with me. Adam has classes so he'll be home watching the hooligans for us. Adam will be 30 next month and I'm not sure what he'll be doing for it. He's not overly enthused, I think this year has been very hard on him and it's been a difficult transition from the armed services to the life of a civilian. I think a lot of ex-servicemen struggle with this, it's not easy and he was ill prepared for it. He's mentioned he might keep it quiet this year and celebrate next year when he's a bit more settled - we'll see. I'm still trying to figure out what I'll be knitting next, my sister in law has requested a dog sweater so I may do that small project for now and put the Dress/Robe/Sweater on hold while I figure out what to do. I have not frogged the dress yet, I'll give it a little more consideration and research before I do that. But for now I'm on the couch with Molly watching DIY TV for amusement, the current show the budget for the kitchen re-do is more than we spent on an entire house!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Ode To Joy

The temperature dropped a lot last night - a lot! We woke to the air hovering in the 40's, when we took the gate down Molly bounced up on the bed and stuck her head under the covers, Reuben hot on her heels behind her. Some people are sad as summer quickly wanes but anyone that knows me knows that fall is my super all time favorite season. I love it! Pumpkins, apples, Halloween decorations. Sweaters, hats, heat on, chilly days, chilly nights. And it also means walks and hikes in the parks, the fun thing about here is there are parks all over. Actually, since it's such a rural area I think any land not being used or owned they stick a little fence and a sign - Voila! Park! Today David and Adam took off for work early, since he's in college all week David pays him to work on the weekends since we need to get a move on. Molly has been doing well with her little walks so today I took her all by herself and we went to Friendship Park. She did well, a little nervous but I notice each time we go it gets a little easier. I'm seriously hoping by the middle of October we can venture to Coopers Rock. If we can get Reuben past his car sickness he can come too but he'll be hunting so he won't be getting gypped on the activities! We don't know if Molly will be able to go hunting too but if not she can be the walking dog. It's still hard at times for me, Pearl loved that park so much and we spent many happy hours there. I took her there a week before she passed away and that day stands out in my mind when I think of her. It was a wonderful clear blue sky and we had such a nice time  - I was given one of those rare gifts of a last day. The one we always wish for whether it be a beloved pet or beloved person - that last day together, just like it's always been, no sickness, no pain, no grief. I'm grateful for that memory and like Molly I'm moving along a little at a time and we are both making strides.  I'm still reading daily, I've been going through the Sue Grafton novels, I'm up to D is For Deadbeat and will probably read a couple more then read something else for awhile. The problem with being able to have the entire series at your disposal instead of having to wait for the next one is if you read them one after another it gets repetitive. I have been knitting - but not so much. I'm seriously rethinking the dress thing. I have a pattern for a full length robe and if I can find it might do that. The sizing is defiantly off and even if I block it it will still not be big enough for anyone human. But the idea of frogging what I've done so far - that's hard. Because you keep thinking if you let it go a little more, it will be right after awhile. There's an analogy in there somewhere. So I'll hunt around for that pattern today and tonight I think I'll start - yikes! - ripping it back. Arrgh says my pirate heart.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Happy Hump Day!

 Things are moving along - or as the Buddhists would say "life is static, ever changing". Simple words that seem to cover most of my life. Adam has left his job at Wal-Mart, David has gotten busy enough that they can work together on the weekends. He needs help but not a full time helper and with Adam's college schedule he can work the weekends with David instead of Walmart. My Wednesday off has slowly morphed into a Saturday for us, we've moved the weekly shopping and errands to that day now. We are also walking the Hooligans in the park down the road together - this third time went very well for Molly. One of the park workers was there and he came over to chat - Molly was nervous but not pulling and barking. She even let him (quickly) touch her nose before hiding behind me. We are adding a little to her day each week and she's doing very well. I think she really wants to be social and friendly, she just needs to get a little more confident. This morning we went to Sears to get David shoes - and walked out with a receipt for a gazebo!! We walked by one that was exactly what we wanted on clearance, but not low enough for us. I asked the guy if we could do better on the price - he checked and it turned out to have been reduced again, they just hadn't marked it. I'm getting very bad at the haggling, both of us are actually. One thing that buying and selling houses has taught us is you can ask - even at Lowes and Sears - if they can adjust the price. Lowes and Home Depot often have returns or damaged marked down, what most people don't realize is you can make an offer on it. Nine times out of ten they'll drop the price just to move it along. So David will be picking it up on Friday which is also when the shoes go on sale for 40% - works for us. On call last week was horrible and that is an understatement. The on call at this agency is what really makes me consider my employment with them as I'm expected to both answer all calls and do admissions. I started with the admits on Saturday morning at 7:15 and did not crawl in the front door until almost 5:30 pm. The entire day my phone rang and rang and rang which is bad when you're trying to sort through medications or do any kind of patient teaching. Most agencies I've worked with have the managers answer the calls and the staff do the visits which I have to say is a lot les stressful.We started off that if we worked the entire weekend we would get a day off the following week but that seems to have disappeared as fast as it came Don't get me wrong it's not like this ever weekend but when it is it's overwhelming.
. I'll be glad to be off this weekend, I'm not planning on doing much at all. A little cleaning, Molly to the park, some knitting. I haven't been knitting too much this week and am rethinking the dress thing. I have the bottom part done and have started the skirt but due to the miscalculations I've performed it will either fit a ten year old girl or my cousin Amy who fits into very tiny clothes. On the upside it's at the point where I can watch TV and knit without screwing it up too badly so I'll have to decide this weekend. I've been reading a bit more, I'm on D is For Deadbeat by Sue Grafton - I am so hooked! I bought all of them except for V and W - Kobo had a big sale of her novels and I bought a slew of them in one shot. So I have my weekend lined up - sort of - and will have to live through the next couple of days of work. And I admit it, fall is looming right around the corner and that for me is play time!
The Foreclosure so far.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Beyond The Rainbow Bridge

When Pearl was alive one of our greatest joys was our walks. When we lived in Maidsville we walked the rail trail along the Monghelia River, Cooper's Rock and around town. When we moved to the Hideout in the Poconos we walked all over our development. In Lake Ariel we trolloped up and down the roads, Pearl occasionally visiting her friend Biscuit the terrier who you had to be very careful with as you could break him and then you'd have no more friend. In East Stroudsburg we hit the Delaware National Forest which was the first - and last - time we ever got lost. And that would be about the time I acquired a compass. We moved back here and it was Friendship National Park with Charlene and Pearl's besties Sophie and Libby and of course our beloved Coopers Rock. After Pearl died I hung her blaze orange harness on the back of the basement door, I would catch sight of it and could see her twirling and barking in such great excitement to get going. She would get so excited David would have to take her in the backyard while I got our backpack in the car - then she'd come in and see that harness and lose it. It would often take both of us to struggle her into it, the entire time she'd be straining towards the door, then explode out of the house into the back seat of my car, barking with her head peeking out - hurry up!hurry up! After she passed for a long time I would lay my hand on that empty harness and my heart would contract in such sorrow, knowing I would never walk amongst the trees, my happy companion enjoying it with me. I did take Reuben a few times - but it was not the same and as much as I love him, not very relaxing. Molly has been over time been getting better - it's been a slow process due to her fright of new situations and our lack of time. But with me having Wednesday off I've been trying to make a point of taking her out. At one point I was going to get rid of Pearl's harness - but didn't. I could not bear to throw it away and even if I did I would just have to buy the same exact one. Since we do a lot of walking in the woods it's important for the dog to be seen. So last week we noticed that Molly has been getting better with strangers, she was OK with Nancy and did very well with Janet and Diane visiting. So David and I took both dogs to the little park down the road from us. It's only about two miles so Barffles the dog can make it without exploding in a sea of vomit, although he still will not get in the car under his own steam and needs carried. Molly had no problem letting me put the harness on her, she was a little unsure but not afraid. The first time in the park she did much better than I had expected. She was still a bit fearful of other people and dogs but seemed to handle it well if we took her off the path while they passed. We made a point of removing her from the situation but stayed close enough that she could still see and hear the other dogs and people. Reuben is not a good walking dog - he's a good field dog, great hunting dog but the entire time we walk he's straining at the leash like there's a herd of yeti hiding in the bushes. Molly walks beautifully and today, the second time we went - she recognized the harness and stood there to let me put it on, then got right in the backseat of the car, poking her head out the window eager for us to go. David and Reuben have come on the past two walks just so she'll have something familiar but I think in the next couple of weeks we'll be trying a solo walk with a busier park and hopefully by fall we'll be hitting the trails.  I miss Pearl still  - but it's nice to know there might be more hikes in my future and a friend to walk those trails with.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Happy Labor Day!

Janet and Di came to visit for the weekend arriving Friday night - wine and cheese,dogs and cats. I had given them a couple of choices as to what we would be doing this weekend, an asylum or one of the greatest architectural wonders of the 21 st century - decisions decisions. They couldn't decide so I figured out how to do both. I called the Trans- Allegheny Lunatic Asylum first, a cheery employee told me the tickets are sold on site and since they run tours every hour it's not a problem getting a tour. They have quite a variety I might say including an overnight one that you can bring all your own ghost hunting equipment and according to the pamphlet you are "released at 5am". After that I went online to check the tour schedule for Falling  Waters - glad I did that at the beginning of the week instead of waiting! Saturday was already sold out and Sunday was going fast. You need to reserve ahead of time so I got us in for the afternoon tour on Sunday.  On Saturday we headed out,the asylum is 70 miles from here but it's almost all highway so we made great time. The staff is all dressed as the staff was at the turn of the century and the asylum is huge. The tour we took covers four floors and takes two hours but it only covers 20% of the asylum. The floorspace covers 9  acres total, originally built for 250 patients and at the height housed 2500. Our guide was wonderful -  it was a two hour history lesson starting with the civil war and ending when it closed in 1993 She told us at one time the inmates had been shipped in boxes, the staff would meet them at the train, transport the boxes back to the asylum and let them out there. The nurses were paid eight dollars a month and charged $12 a month for room and board . The tour itself was wonderful they gave you time to walk around look in the rooms, take as many pictures as you liked and ask questions. After the tour we went out to lunch then headed out to Clarksburg to visit David at the house he's renovating. On the way home we stopped at the local winery then back home to barbecue. We spent the rest of the evening sitting outside and drinking wine and catching up with each other it was really a very nice evening. The next morning found us back in the car on our way to falling Waters it's not as far though so it took us less than an hour to get there. We checked in at the gate where they ask your confirmation number and check that you have the appropriate amount of people. This tour was different than the previous day, you were told no bags, no pictures in the house itself, stay with the guide, no touching wood, pictures fabrics. Unfortunately we had the Jerk and His Wife who were of course taking pictures. The guide very politely reminded them no pictures and I swear that ass smirked at his wife and took another one! Wrong move jerk - the guide yelled and the next thing we know the security guard comes flying in yelling at the idiot and backs him up, he was right in his face. You can be assured that was the last picture he took. Falling Waters is amazing, my pictures don't even come close to doing it justice, if you're ever in the area make sure you do the tour. After we headed home and waited for Adam to get in, then went out to Ruby Tuesdays for dinner. They left for home after that as they have to deal with holiday shoppers and traffic in their neck of the woods. All in all it was a very nice weekend.