Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Morning Time

Traditionally, Dennis and I do not give one another Christmas gifts. Sometimes, we take a nice trip, but since we can fly for free and stay in hotels anywhere in the world for free, that isn't a splurge. Usually there is nothing we need or want, so we try to take the money we would spend on gifts to each other and either spend it on other people or find a worthy cause and make a donation.

But this year, we made an exception.

To preface this story, I need to tell you that I am not a coffee drinker, but I do enjoy the Starbucks, or any coffee shop experience. The idea of the uberchic people sitting around engaged in quiet conversation, reading the newspaper or surfing the Internet while sipping some three-to -seven word coffee blend as new age music is playing softly in the background is very appealing to me. So, I have acquired a taste for a well blended latte or cappuccino as sort of a "means to an end" excuse to insert myself into this environment.

However, as he is a wine connesiour, my husband is also a coffee connesiour. He loves all types and all kinds, and Dennis being "Dennis", has researched the subject thoroughly. A cup of coffee in it's rarest exotic form or straight from the Mr. Coffee machine is a part of his daily routine.

So, it is with all of these things combined that this past year, we came to purchase the joint Christmas present you see above......a beautiful espresso machine that automatically does everything a coffee shop can do, just without the perky barista. The traditional coffee pot sitting to the left is for nights when Dennis is working late, writing reports and does not have the luxury of stopping to make an individually stylized cup of latte or cappuccino every 30 minutes.

This is where you will find me every morning........even if it is just for a little while.

If you can dispel the preconceived notions you have (with good reason) of my life here in the mountaintop woods of rural Arkansas, complete with snakes, bears, animal body parts appearing on my porch, 7 rescued dogs, water problems, snow, drought, and other issues associated with moving into a house that was abandoned for 17 years..........please know that I DO have moments of extreme civility.

Each morning begins between 5:30-6:00am when I let all of the dogs out to run, feed and nurture the older more frail ones, check on the water level and do whatever other chores that might need immediate attention.

But after that, I set aside an hour or so of "ME" time. I make a beautiful cup of cappuccino (like the one I made this morning pictured at the top of this page), I turn on television and the computer for the latest news and world events, and along with a piece of almond biscotti, I am transported to a quaint little bistro in Tuscany, Seattle, Toronto or San Francisco..............that is until Bob the Beagle whines and tugs on my pant leg for a Beggin Strip or the trash tuck comes and all seven dogs howl in ear drum rupturing unison and I am brought back into reality.......otherwise known as LIFE.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

How Much Snow is Enough?

If you think all I have been writing about lately is dogs and snow, you would be right! That seems to be the center of my existence these days.
However, I am beginning to feel I have landed in some alternative universe. When I was growing up in this place, if we got a snowfall every five years or so, we felt very lucky to see it on those rare occasions. As of today, we have had FIVE snowfalls in the past 30 days! This is Arkansas......we are too far south for this sort of thing.

I was sitting in bed this morning with Bob the Beagle, checking my email and listening to the news when I looked up saw this beautiful wonderland just outside my bedroom window. I put the laptop down, turned off the television and just sat and took it all in.
It didn't last too long though because Bob was missing his daily does of current events!

When I took Bob out for his morning ritual, (he buried up to his tummy in the snow!)I was surprised to see my car, which had been in the carport for several days, completely covered in snow and ice. It took some serious wind to blow all of that into a covered area.

Around noon, I was just too curious, so I measured. Compared to the two feet of snow the good folks in the northwest corner of the state got, this is pretty puny, but it was plenty for me.

I decided, given my proclivity for accidents, venturing out on the uncovered section of the deck probably wasn't the best idea.

This is the view from my upper deck of the small town below. It snowed so hard for most of the day, it was after 3:00 this afternoon before I could even see this.

This is the uncovered deck on the other end of the house.
The snow is beautiful and as long as we have water, heat and electricity, I don't mind it at all. But I am just having a difficult time wrapping my head around the fact this is ARKANSAS. Definitely not the same Arkansas of my youth.........but then, I guess neither am I!
Stay warm out there.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Dogs in Winter

If you get tired of looking at pictures of my rescued dogs (all but Bob), you can by-pass this post.

But I do love them and never cease to be in awe of their uniqueness, their individual personalities and the fact that despite coming from difficult beginnings, how they have persevered and flourished in a loving environment.

There are a lot of articles and even a book written about how everything you need to know about life, you can learn from a dog. I am someone who can verify that no truer words exist. I have learned so much about my own life, forgiveness, redemption, the natural order of things, and how we can all triumph over adversity just by observing these guys for the past seven years.

I suppose it is sort of late in the day for me to be learning some of these lessons, but as it is with the examples they have set with their lives, it is never too late........and you really CAN teach an old dog new tricks!

Rudy snuggled into his sleeping bag, inside his house


Bob the Beagle tracking big game.

Maggie, tucked into her house and sleeping bag.

Mary, out for a brief stroll in the snow.
The miraculous thing about this is that on Wednesday, Mary could not walk. Her back legs would not support her so she was completely immobile. Thanks to my good friend, Dr. Bob in Hot Springs, and a lot of TLC and a completely controlled environment, she is up and around again.

If you had any doubt about the depth of the snow here, Amber (120 pound chocolate lab) is knee deep into an adventure.

This is Teddy.......I do believe sometimes this boy poses for the camera.

Friday, February 4, 2011

February Snowfall

I wanted to share with you the things I saw when I walked outside my door on this first weekend of February. There is nothing I can write that would adequately describe the beauty of these scenes on the mountain. Feel free to add your own commentary.

I would stay outside in this fairytale land forever if my fingers weren't so numb I can no longer click the shutter on my camera and my feet weren't so numb they can't feel the rocks, disguised as snow drifts, that I keep stumbling over.

Stay warm my friends!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Amber and Bob the Beagle

"Could we PLEEEEEZZZE have another treat?"