Monday, October 31, 2011


Samson Says:

Happy Halloween, everyone! Here are some creepy, crawly,  scary critters I saw last summer. I saved them up for you for Halloween:

This one was so ugly, I didn't even want to chase him. Truth be told, he scared both me and Mommy -- she let out a big squeal and ran to fetch Daddy. He said it was just a potato bug, or if you like a better name: a Jerusalem Cricket. And that's where the bug should have stayed if you ask me, in Jerusalem, wherever that is, and I hope it's very far away.

This one takes the prize for warts. And he has some poison he sprays in your mouth if you try to bite him. Soldier got it, but I learn fast and stayed far away. I think he's after us dogs because Mommy moved him to the garden where there is water and he kept coming torture and poison us, I bet. At least this time he couldn't get in, but he sure kept trying.

Then one morning we found this little snake and two others in the road, all three were dead. Good, I said to myself, but Mommy was sad because they were just babies. I sometimes don't understand the person race. Then the ravens came and ate the snakes! Personally, I'm glad my food comes in bags and cans! From the store.

This last bug was the only pretty one. It was beautiful as it flew all over our yard, like a helicopter. It had a gorgeous blue body and orange wings. Mommy was running after it with her camera, trying to get a picture. Of course Mommy wasn't fast enough, but the critter was kind and sat down and posed so Mommy could get her picture. Then we rushed in the house and looked it up in Mommy's book: A Tarantula Hawk it's called. Persons are so strange: This is neither a tarantula nor a hawk... Well, guess I lucked out to be called a Samoyed, from the people my kind originally lived with. Called a Tribe. In Russia. On the Tundra. In Siberia. Yep, that's me.

Bobbi, you better give Gracie lots of treats for Halloween or else I may send you a creepy crawly critter in the mail. He, he, he....


Posted by Samson, the Samoyed Pup

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday Morning Reflections

Soon the sun will rise over the mountains to the east and another day begins. I take my picture and stand for a while, in the early morning silence.......

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Warm Breakfast For A Cold Morning

I woke up freezing this morning -- 22 degrees outside and cold in the house as well. After I let the dogs out, I fixed my breakfast and as I looked at the oatmeal, nuts, ginger, bananas and milk in my Fiesta ware bowl with coffee in the Winnie and friends cup that Rachael gave me, I thought it looked so pretty that I had to take a picture and share.  

Today, I have to do some work I really don't want to do but that has to get done. One project is dealing with this 90-day pharmacy our health insurance requires us to use. I'm having a dispute with them involving just a small amount of money, but they are so screwed up that I am not letting them get away with it. I also have this urge to show them how dumb they are. Have you ever experienced that? I'm not so bright either, acting on it, because it will take a few hours of my time, but still. The urge is there. Then, or rather before that, I have to do some work on a project for my husband that also involves analyses and letter writing. In the old days, I used to love projects like these. Now, however, I much rather clean house! Or blog, of course.

Have a great day everyone!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wednesday's Book

The Hour I First Believed
by Wally Lamb

Difficult to read, yet impossible to put down, this book tells the story of a horrifying event and the lives ruined by it. But the book is about so much more: Family, loyalty, family  history, chaos, and ultimately about faith. This powerful book weaves in and out of the main characters’ lives, while documenting real life events as if the fictional characters were in the middle of them. High school teacher Caelum and his wife Maureen, move from Connecticut to Littleton, Colorado, where on April 20, 1999, Maureen gets caught up in the horrifying events at Columbine high school. She is severely traumatized after hiding in a cabinet in the school library as several students are killed there. Afterwards, Maureen and Caelum move back to his family farm in Connecticut, believing the safety of the farm environment will help her heal. It does not, and the book takes more tragic turns before Maureen in a roundabout way finds herself again. But that’s not the only story contained in this wonderful book. At the farm, Caelum searches for his family history and discovers who his real mother was, as well as secrets and mysterious events that took place at the farm. It also follows the story of a strange young girl, who also was caught in the Columbine shootings, as she shows up at the farm and in the end brings a great deal of joy.

In the afterword, Wally Lamb tells his readers that he was guided by the ancient myth of the Minotaur as he challenged his main character, Caelum, to locate, at the center of the maze, the monsters he would have to confront in order to save himself and others. I never looked at my life as a maze before, but the author gave me something to think about.

I know this sounds a bit heavy, but if you think about it our lives have been, in a sense, full of monsters since then. On April 20, 1999, I became a US citizen. It started out as such a happy day, waving the flag of my new country together with thousands of other new citizens. Afterwards, my husband and I went to our favorite restaurant in Marina del Rey to celebrate. When we got back in the car, we turned on the radio and learned about the Columbine shootings. 

I read She's Come Undone, the best known of this author's earlier books, and liked it. This book is very different, not easy to read, but well worth it in the end. One of the best books I have read this year.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Tennis Anyone?

Of our three dogs, only one knows what to do with a tennis ball.

Soldier -- Doesn't have a clue. Keeps it in his mouth for a while then loses the ball.

Samson -- Finds the ball, has no idea what to do with it either. Drops the ball.

Samson -- Picks the ball up again. Faces off with Angel.

  • Angel to Samson: OK, you got the ball, now you're supposed to give it to Mommy so she can throw it. 
  • Samson to Angel: Then what?
  • Angel: Then you're supposed to run after it and fetch it and bring it back to Mommy.
  • Samson: Then what?
  • Angel: You're supposed to drop it at Mommy's feet.
  • Samson: Then what?
  • Angel: Then Mommy throws it again and you chase it and bring it back to her.

Samson: You gotta be kidding me!!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday Morning Reflections

We looked in wonder and amazement as the seeds we sowed so casually in late May began to grow.......

Every morning, we went to our garden to check on the progress of fruits and vegetables; a blossom turned into a squash, another into a baby watermelon.....

Our little garden became such a joyful experience for both of us and enriched our summer immeasurably.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

We Make A Spicy Veggie Soup

Right before the first frost (it came on October 7 this year), we harvested most of the remaining veggies from our garden. 

We didn't have any chicken or veggie stock, so we just cut them up, and put them in water in our big gumbo pot. My husband added a large can of tomato sauce, some celery, garlic, and red onions. And salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and maybe some other spices too. I don't know what he does to make food taste so good. 

The soup came out great, hot and spicy, even though we both forgot to put in the potatoes. I guess the more cooks .... The large freezer is full of soup now that will keep us warm when winter comes and potatoes can always be added later.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Diabetes Support Group and Turkey Vultures (Missed Them Again)

Yesterday, I woke up to a foggy morning and rushed out to wash the Jeep. It was too dirty to take to town, but it's such a tiny little car so it was a fast and easy job. Then I took off to town to attend the Diabetes Support Group meeting. When I came home, my husband asked if I had seen the hundreds of turkey vultures on the hillside by the road. No, I had not. Darned, I am so in love with these birds, but I didn't notice them at all. He said there were about 200 of them. The sky was black as they flew over our house and settled on the hill behind us. I imagine they decided to spend the night in the canyon before moving on to points south.

At the meeting, the subject was: Food, Fat, and Feeling Full.  Eve, the diabetes nurse educator who runs the group, does it on a volunteer basis, and she is wonderful. Love her and I have also made some, if not friends, but good acquaintances there. And you always learn something.

In this meeting I learned how genetics and hormones influence the way we eat:
  • Obesity has doubled in adults and tripled in youth since 1980.
  • Your mother's genes determines whether you will have a weight problem or not. This was news to me.
  • Appetite is the desire to eat. Hunger is needing to eat.
Eve's handout listed many other things; these were interesting:
  • Leptin is a hormone that is released by fat cells. It modulates food intake and energy expenditure. It also regulates bone mass. And - it makes us feel full.
  • Ghrelin is a hormone in the stomach that makes us feel hungry. It also increases digestive system movement, lowers blood pressure, and lower insulin secretion. Ghrelin is stimulated by the sight and smell of food and goes to the brain to give the hunger message.
  • Researchers are looking for ghrelin blockers and leptin sensitizers.
  • There are also hormones in the small intestine that make us feel full and tell the brain to put calories in storage. 
  • Fewer dopamine receptors in the brain can lead to carbohydrate addiction because the brain isn't getting the message that the body is satisfied. Exercise will help with this problem. 
We talked about a lot of other food related issues, but I found  genes and hormones the most interesting and new to me. A very good meeting, as always.

I will end by saying that the obesity problem in children and young adults scares me. Type 2 diabetes has increased in tandem with the increase in obesity in young people. Diabetes is a horrible disease and the earlier you get it, the worse your prospects for a healthy, happy, and long life will be. 

Finally, while my husband wondered in awe how hundreds of turkey vultures can fly and soar together without colliding, I wondered what they eat as they migrate. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Samson's Summer Adventures: Samson Meets the Cows

Samson Says:

Hello everyone, I hope you all had a great summer and  missed me lots. I had a great summer except for Mommy not taking me to the library so I could blog. (I still don't believe  dogs aren't allowed in there; most likely she's just jealous cause I get the nicest comments on my posts,)

My Daddy was here almost all the time and took us for walks every morning. After that he got very busy with his veggie garden and ignored us...but we had some adventures and here's one:

OK, so I know there are cows in the field by the road where we go walking, but they're usually far away. Then one day, they came closer and closer. Angel was her curious self and pulled me up with her to check them out.

This one looked kind of friendly at first, but hey, do you know how big a cow is?

Huge, they're huge! So when he put his head down, Angel flew in front of me to protect me and I jumped back and up in Daddy's arms. Daddy almost went flying on his rear end, you know I'm a big dog, but he managed to steady himself. Yeah, so I got a bit scared, I did. My heart was beating real fast! But Angel was very brave though, I must say that for her, old as she is and all. 

Then Angel went to barking and barking and I soon joined in. But instead of scaring the cows away, we got another one coming. Just as big, but black and white. 

Here they all are, but I really would prefer they stay at the other end of the field so I won't have to bother with all that barking and stuff. 

Have a nice day everyone!

Posted by Samson, the Samoyed Pup

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wednesday's Book

The Postmistress
by Sarah Blake

In 1940, while bombs rain over London, a reporter on Edward R. Murrow's radio program asks her US listeners to pay attention to what is going on overseas.  Being in the midst of a terrible war, the reporter knows that friends, children, families, shopkeepers and others she sees one day, may be gone the next. And that, of course, holds true for her as well. 

In the US,  one man in a small town watches diligently for German U-boats off the Cape Cod coast while most of his friends and neighbors are sure the war in Europe will never touch them. But when a letter from London arrives in the small town's post office, the postmistress reads it and finds herself unable to deliver it and the sad news it contains.

A wonderful book that truly captures the fragility of life and the horror of war in a very up front and personal way. 

Many thanks to my friend Judy who gave me this great book for my birthday.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Happy 13th Birthday, Angel!


Imagine that you are 13 years old now. It seems like only yesterday when you came up on the steps by our gate in Los Angeles and refused to leave. That was in June 1999 and the vet estimated you were around 8 months old. You choose to come and live with us and decided early on that you would be the leader of our pack, taking such good care of all of us, but most of all of your mommy. 


Many fine dogs have lived with us, but no one so clearly decided to be my dog, to love me and protect me for all these years. You know when I'm sick, when my blood sugars are unstable, you know when I'm happy and we can play, and when it's best to stay out of my way. You have been my rock all these years and I have felt completely safe living here alone, so far from everyone, with not even a neighbor in sight.

I'm so glad you are still healthy, playful, and strong and I hope we can go hiking together for a long time to come. OK, not as far as before, but there are still roads to be explored and hillsides to climb.

Dear Angel, we all wish you a very Happy Birthday! Daddy, Mommy, Soldier, Samson, and Pippi Birdie!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday Morning Reflections

Clouds lift my spirit and bring me joy

and as a jet flies through  my imagination stirs 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

We're Back, Samson and Me!

Hello from Samson and me! We are both very happy to announce that we are BACK! My husband picked up Fran's computer on Monday, I think it was, and we hooked it up yesterday with no problems at all. Thank you so much Fran and Bud! Look for that first e-mail, Fran, and while your Swedish may need some work, boy are you picking it up fast.

Rabbit Brush in bloom in September.

I have over 200 photos from this summer and early fall, so I will have a lot of fun posting as many of them as I can.

Samson has had some fun times he wants to share with you too. So, laissez les bon temps roulez! See, we have spent some time with our New Orleans relatives this month, with good times and very, very good food, indeed! More to come soon from the canyon.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Final (I hope) Update From The Library

First -- thank you all so much for reading and commenting even though I haven't been able to read and comment on your blogs for so long. You truly make me feel welcome here.

Then -- I have the computer at our house now. Thank you so much Fran and Bud. You are the best! And, Fran, those jokes are priceless. My husband will help to connect the wires and I have to talk to AOL about transferring their service to the new computer. I have talked to the satellite people and they said I may need to do some configuration after I plug them in. I can call them and they will help with that. I'm a bit more worried about AOL -- I have no idea why. Hopefully, soon, soon I can read your blogs again. I have gotten used to living without a computer, but I miss reading blogs so much and staying connected to my blogger friends and email my friends as well. And writing and taking photos too. I have a ton of photos to share once I get connected. 

To answer the Samson question: Yes, Samson does howl, but only if he feels left out or left behind. He's got a great howl, actually. He leaves the protection to Angel and Soldier with their German Shepherd genes and barks when he is happy, excited, and also not so pleased with things. He is the only dog I have ever had who actually goes: "Woof, woof, woof." Sooo cute!

I can't believe how much people talk in the library these days! And now there is a woman opposite me who is talking on her cell phone -- about a complaint, no less. I just told her to shut up and now I'm trying to not get into an argument with her. Ewww!

OK, all is well, I guess she didn't want to make more noise either.

I haven't seen any more turkey vultures and wonder how they are affected by all these windmills. Thanks for the info about them, Rachael. I think they are just wonderful they way they soar in large flocks like that. So beautiful.

For Bobbi: Samson misses Gracie too. He still chews on Gracie No.2. FYI, other readers: Gracie No. 1 is his blogger girlfriend and No.2 is his toy dog -- amazingly they look just so much alike.

Nothing much else to report. I'm off to see if I can find some good books while I'm here.

Have a great day everyone!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Another Update from the Library

Soldier: I sleep, I sleep and then I'm happy.......

If all goes as planned, I will have Fran's computer real soon. It will be ready for pickup next week and after my husband picks it up we have to set it up. Hopefully, that will go without any problems.

Thanks for your comments on my last blog entry. Fran read them to me over the phone the other day so I know about the request for photos of the buzzards. Well, yesterday, I missed a huge opportunity....yes, one should always have the camera in the car, I know, I know. I went to see my new doctor (I think I will like him)and as I drove up to his building, I saw them! The turkeybuzzards! Wow, there were so many of them, maybe one of the largest flocks I have seen here. And, believe me, they could cause a car accident! I seem to always see them while driving and can't help looking and admiring the ease with which they soar on the wind. So beautiful.
Angel: I watch, I watch and then I bark........

Fall was supposed to arrive in the canyon today. I enjoy the local weather forecasts since I got TV, but they are not always correct. But colder weather is on its way and I heard snow is expected in the Sierras to 6,000 feet next week. Now that I have the garden to worry about, I hope the freezing weather will wait just a little while longer. Probably won't though.

Pippi Birdie: I sing, I sing and keep an eye on everyone....

The dogs are doing as well as can be expected with two old one and one young one to bother them both. We walk with them and they keep us in good shape. I feel really well for the first time in a year and a half and really, really appreciate it.

Samson: I howl, I howl and then I bug everyone......

Now let's see if I can find some old pictures in Picasa to upload. I couldn't believe how fast that went here in the library the last time I did it. At home it seems it takes forever. I have a camera full of new photos to share once I get set up at home again. I am so looking forward to reading your blogs too. It just doesn't work well here at the library. Miss you all and I'm excited about getting in touch soon.


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