Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Oh, what a night!

Around 3am, Rick and I were both awoken by a thunk on the deck outside our bedroom. I immediately think "BEAR!" and get up to look. I tell you, I'd have given anything for a bear to be out there over what I saw. One of the window screens was lying on the deck. DENNY!

Rick and I both ran out. We weren't sure if Denny knocked it off or if an animal was trying to get into the house. Trust me, that's not an impossibility here. The screen was intact and had no markings on it at all. After a frantic search around the house, we couldn't find the cat. Panic set in. Rick and I were both outside in our bare feet with flashlights looking for him. Nothing.

We searched the house again, and by now, Nichelle was up helping. Denny has all sorts of sleeping and hiding places, so we thought he could have bumped the screen, got scared, and took off somewhere in the house. Then I heard what sounded like two cats fighting up the road. My heart sank. We walked up and down the road, but couldn't see or hear anything.

After awhile, Rick was poking around one of the neighbor's house where I'm sure the original cat sound came from. One of the owners came out, so Rick told her what was going on. He said our cat got out of the house by accident. Now ... this particular house has a cat that comes on our deck every damn night and torments Denny. He stays up all night waiting for him. I'm am 99.9% positive this cat had something to do with this. Anyway ... the lady sees her cat on her deck and then starts rambling about how they used to have three black cats, but two got eaten by something. She goes on and on about things like fur, deer legs, body parts, mountain lions. What the hell?!?! By this point, I'm in tears already, so I just have to walk away.

I go back to the house hoping to find him inside still. With my luck, we'd wake up the entire neighborhood and the goofy cat would be hiding under the bed or somewhere. I couldn't find him, so I go outside again and Rick starts calling my name. He yells that Denny is over by another house that is two doors down from us, and one house over from where the rambling lady is. I go over to the house and find Denny wedged between a wall and a watering can on the deck. The house is owned by some Canadians and they're renting it right now, so we probably scared them to death going up on their porch like that.

We got him home and the look on his face said it all. He was terrified. He didn't seem to be hurt, and eventually he got something to eat and took a long drink. Needless to say, we shut all the windows and cranked up the air conditioner. He stayed in our room for a few hours before finally whining to be let out. It took me forever to go back to sleep. The adrenaline rush triggered massive nausea for me, so that wasn't fun at all. Denny is downstairs sleeping right now, and I imagine he will be for most of the day. 

I don't know what happened. I don't know if he just jumped up on the windowsill and the screen gave out, or if he deliberately pushed on it. But I do know that other cat is in our yard every damn night. It drives Denny nuts. I don't know if Denny tried to chase him out of the yard, or if the other cat chased him. I do know there were cat sounds, so there was some sort of confrontation. I'm just glad it wasn't with a bear or a mountain lion. I'm also glad it was the living room window and not the one in the hall. Had it been that one, he would have fallen two stories down and probably wouldn't be here today. Anyway, he's okay and he's home, so that's what matters. Rick's looking at ways to clip the screens on better so they can't be pushed out so easily. In the meantime, I don't think we'll be sleeping with the windows open for awhile. 

And to top the day off ... I get up to find one of our fish has passed away. She's been sick for awhile, so we knew it was coming. It was just sad to see it happen. We have a tank full of fish and this is the ONLY one that the boys gave a name to — Becky. She was Rick's favorite. She would come up to his fingers when they were in the tank, and she loved swimming in the bubbles when he added fresh water. We think she had what's called Swim Bladder Disease. It was sad to see her go, but ... at least Denny is safe and sound.

I seriously need a nap.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Red-naped Sapsucker

At least I think that's what this bird is. We have many woodpeckers here, including my favorite, the Pileated. The other day a bird hit hard on one of my windows. It had the same exact markings at this bird here, except all the red color was a rusty brown shade. After some research, I believe it was a juvenile. The poor thing hit hard. I didn't think he was going to make it. I sat outside with him for about five minutes. Yes, I'm weird like that. Just call me The Bird Whisperer. Anyway, he was really dazed and wobbly, but eventually he flew off. Right after that, I got this picture above, which makes me think they were the same species.

I really wish there was a way I could prevent them from hitting the windows so much. Our house is U-shaped and it has a 'great room' with a combined dining room, kitchen, and living room. Because of that, it's all windows. There are ten windows and three glass doors. The poor birds don't have much of a chance. I know there's a special film you can buy that allows the birds to see the glass better, but it's really expensive. With so many windows, I haven't been able to afford it. I'll have to look around some more. I hate having them hit the windows.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

New Website

I have a new website for my books. Imagine my surprise when I was working on some book related stuff today, only to go to my website to find it no longer existed. Huh? Rick called the company and apparently they took down the service a few months ago. Great. That just goes to show you how long it has been since I was on it myself. No worries though, as I got a new one up for the time being. It's a Weebly one, but I have my own domain. I was dreading having to relearn that web design program of mine because it's complicated. If you wouldn't mind checking it out and letting me know if everything is working, that would be awesome.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Got Eucalyptus?

It seems the local stores can't seem to keep it on the shelves ... that's one thing I know! Awhile back I was reading that eucalyptus is said to repel mosquitoes. Being one of those people that can get a hundred bites just walking from the car to the house, I've gotten to the point where I'll try anything. Most of what I've read online talks about lemon eucalyptus oil. I haven't been able to find the Repel brand of this specifically, but I've been using anything else I can find with eucalyptus in it, including all of this junk pictured above. 

The body spray is from Bath & Body Works, but the Dr Teal's stuff came from Walmart. They can't seem to keep it in stock either, so I don't know if others heard the same thing I did and are willing to try anything. Even though these aren't actual repellents, I figured they were worth a try. And besides, I love the smell. We had a eucalyptus tree at my childhood home. I remember how fragrant it was and how the bark always peeled off the trunk. So, I decided to try these products this summer and see if I got bit a little less than usual. So far, so good. I still use the heavy-duty stuff when I'm in the backwoods. Sometimes the mosquitoes are thick as fog.

How about you? Any tried and true remedies you use to keep the bugs away?

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Creative Blogger Award

On the 29th of June, Bish Denham presented me with the Creative Blogger Award. It was such a nice surprise, especially since I've been so bad with my blog these days. I'm trying to get better at keeping up, but due to some stalker-like incidents, I've been a little leery about what I feel comfortable posting. Screw them, huh?

The rules for this award are simple:

1. Thank and post the link to the person who nominated you.
2. Share 5 facts about yourself to your readers.
3. Nominate 5-10-20 blogs and notify them.
4. Pass on the rules.

So anyway, I want to say thanks to Bish for nominating me for this award. I've done quite a few posts in the past with random facts about myself, so I apologize if I repeat any here. My five random facts are as follows:

1. I used to have Ondontophobia, which is an irrational and overwhelming fear of dentistry. After finding some very good dentists, I no longer have the fear. I have none, whatsoever. In fact, I'd rather be at the dentist than doing a lot of other things, even something as simple as an eye exam. {{{shudder}}}

2. I'm not a picky eater at all, but three foods I despise are dates, salmon, and Brussel sprouts. If something has dates in it, I simply won't eat it. Salmon is one thing I really wish I liked because it's so good for you. I recently tried it a sample at Costco not too long ago, just to see if my tastes had changed—nope—it's still nasty.

3. I have reoccurring dreams about bears in my yard. In the dreams, I'm always trying to get a door or window shut, thinking the bears are going to break into the house. Most of the time, the bears are just meandering in the yard, and not caring about the house. In one dream I was so panicked I was trying to hammer a screw through a glass window. How that's for logic?

4. I'm horrible at reading directions. It doesn't matter if it's something like a kid's board game or a complicated origami project. They might as well be written in Swahili. However, I have a good sense of direction, which has helped me get out of many Las Vegas casinos. Go figure.

5. And finally, I have an unusually high interest in the Holocaust. If I could go anywhere in the world, Poland would be on the top of my list. I'd love to visit Auschwitz sometime. I also want to see the Holocaust museums in DC and Los Angeles. Most everything I watch on television these days is about the Holocaust. Last night Rick asked if we could watch something a little more light-hearted. I guess I've been bombarding him with sad shows lately. So, I compromised and said, "Hogan's Heroes"? I know, I'm a lost cause ...

My nominees for the Creative Blogger Award are:
Kelly Polark
Kaylyn's Blog
Kim Kasch - A Writer's Blog
Janet Smart @ Writing in the Blackberry Patch

I know that's only four, but I'm so out of touch with the blogging world. No pressure for any of you, but I do enjoy your creative blogs!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Three Ingredient PB Cookies

It seems there's another recipe on social media I had never heard about -- peanut butter cookies using just three ingredients. Why have I never heard of this before? No flour? No butter? Seriously? I decided to give it a try. Since it only uses three items, I figured I wouldn't be out much if they ended up terrible. The cookies are made with 1C sugar, 1C peanut butter, and one egg. That's it. You blend it together, roll into balls, press with a fork, and bake at 350 degrees for 6-8 minutes. That's it. I made mine very small, so I got about 30 cookies from this recipe. There are many sites online for these cookies, but you can check this one out at All Recipes -- Three Ingredient PB Cookies. Tasty little things ... and so easy!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Love this sign ...

I wish I could hang this sign up at the state park I walk at. There is a sign that people must clean up after their pets and keep them on leashes, but this one is better. People either can't read or they're just assholes. I wish I could blame this on the tourists, but the people I see with dogs are on the trail all the time, so I'm pretty sure they're local. It's so rude. I wrote to the park manager, but I doubt there is anything she can do about it. The sign is up there. Perhaps if it's not enforced, she should go out and clean up the trail everyday. This is why I prefer national parks over state parks. It's not that I'm a dog hater. I love dogs, but I shouldn't have to watch every damn step I take while trying to enjoy a local park.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Morris Has A Cold

I found the book Morris Has A Cold at a thrift store the other day. I was thrilled because we have another one called Halloween With Morris & Boris that we really like. I love finding other books in series like that, especially when I can find them for a quarter. I don't recall ever owning any of the Morris & Boris books as a kid, but I believe I read some later on. This one is funny because Morris catches a cold, and Boris tries to help him get better with various remedies. The only problem is, Morris takes everything literally—his nose isn't running—it's walking. When Boris asks how his throat feels, Morris tries to reach inside to touch it so he can see how it feels. It's a cute story, and I'm glad to add another to our collection.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

More GNP photos

We encountered a very large grizzly bear while hiking. I only got a photo with its head down (above), so it's just a clump of fur really. Some other people we met up with got some good pictures. Every time I tried to get a shot, they'd get in front of me. And besides, they were getting way TOO CLOSE, so I was more concerned with safety than taking pictures. They said they'd email some to us. We're hoping they do. It was a very BIG bear ... the biggest bear I've ever seen ... like a freaking Smart Car with fur! So, if they do send us some photographs, I'll be sure to post them.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Happy 100 Many Glacier Hotel!

Rick and I spent the night at the historic Many Glacier Hotel this past Friday. We've been to the hotel before, but we've never stayed there. It was kind of a spur-of-the-moment trip, mostly to check out the hotel more and do a little hiking and kayaking. The hotel is celebrating its 100th year, so that made our first stay there even more special.

You can choose from a variety of rooms—from newly renovated rooms to entire suites—but we specifically wanted one of the older, non-refurbished rooms overlooking Swiftcurrent Lake. The hotel is old, so that itself makes it delightful to be in. It's one of those places where the wooden floors squeak when you walk on them, and you can hear the wind howling through the pipes.

Our room was very simple, but charming. It did have a telephone, but there were no televisions. We didn't even have Internet connection the whole time we were there. They have it, and say it's best in the lobby, but we could never get it to log in. That didn't matter one bit though.

Pictured below is the view from our room. We had a balcony that we shared with the people next to us, although I only saw one of them once, and very early in the morning. She was standing outside taking a photo of the view, just like I was about to do.

I love really old hotels, especially ones that still use real keys.

Below is the view from the bathroom. Not too shabby, huh? For some reason, we ended up with a handicapped-accessible room. I'm not sure why, but it didn't really matter.

The two pictures that follow are of the dining room, which is huge. The food was absolutely wonderful, as was the staff, who were all brand new employees. The hotel just opened for the season on Wednesday, so everyone is all fresh and still learning the ropes.

Below is a picture from the table we had lunch at. You can't beat a view like that. We had three meals in the main dining room, and two of them were right by the window like this.

This is a fireplace in the main lobby. I didn't take too many pictures in here. It was pretty quiet when we got there around noon on Friday, but by late afternoon the place was hopping.

Below is a picture of a different lobby area. This is actually just one corner of it, and it's more like a walkway lobby that leads from the main part of the hotel to another wing. I believe it's called the Breezeway Lounge or something. There were tables and chairs set up everywhere, and many of them had puzzles. There was a china cabinet with a variety of games in them. The cool thing was that most of the time we saw people sitting at these places working on puzzles, talking, and so forth. That was such a nice change from seeing everyone staring at their cell phones. Having no Internet makes people act differently — they socialize.

I'll try to post some photographs from our hike and kayaking next time. For this blog I just wanted to concentrate on the hotel. Normally, we stay in our trailer in the campgrounds, which I love, but staying at the hotel was a wonderful experience. Rick and I both had a blast.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Blurrrrrrrry ...

No, you don't need glasses. That's how my pictures look right now. I'm sitting here waiting for FedEx to show up. The other day the camera on my phone decided to just stop working. Well, it works, but the pictures are blurry. They are especially blurry when I take something far away. When the camera is in reverse (like when you take a selfie), it focuses just fine. Rick called tech support, and went through all the process of emptying my phone to my computer so he could restart it. None of that worked, so we think it's a hardware problem and not a software one. Unfortunately, I had over 5000 photos on my phone, so those all had to be transferred over to my computer. My poor laptop is on its last legs, so it wasn't happy with 5000+ new photos. I had to go through it yesterday and delete quite a bit to free up some memory.

It's sad how much I depend on my phone for the camera. The camera is what I use it the most for, whether it's for all the photo challenges I do or taking a picture of something for reference. I just went out to get some pictures of our kayak seats for Rick. They were a little blurry, so that was frustrating. It's just stupid because I have a really nice Canon PowerShot camera that takes awesome pictures. Still, who carries big cameras around all the time? I also have a small, water-proof Olympus that I take kayaking. It's not like we're lacking cameras here. Even so, I've gotten to where I depend on my phone so much for the camera. The iPhone 6+ has a really good camera too -- when it's working, that is! Apple is replacing it, so I hope it gets here soon.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Kayaking in Two Medicine

Last Friday we headed back over to the Two Medicine area of Glacier National Park. We had lunch when we got there with a view of the mountains and the sound waterfalls. Then we got in the kayak and traveled all around Two Medicine Lake. We were greeted with a bit of headwind on the first half of the trip, but luckily the winds were at our back later. In the photo above, you can see Sinopah Mountain. We kayaked right up to the base. This picture doesn't do it justice.

Unfortunately, as we were driving home, I noticed my FITBIT was missing. We had stopped about halfway around the lake and sat on the shoreline for awhile. That's the last time I noticed it, so it must have gotten knocked off while paddling. I'm always hitting my wrists and fingers on the side of the boat. I wasn't too upset over it, but Rick has already replaced it for me. I guess I won't be taking it kayaking anymore.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Morning hike ...

The other day Rick and I walked on the loop trail that goes around Wayfarers State Park. It's only a few miles from our house. We've been to the park many, many times, but for whatever reason, we've never gone on the trail. It's only about 1.5 miles, unless you venture off and go to the shore of Flathead Lake, which adds a little more distance. I went back by myself this morning and did the trail in less than a half hour. I only had my phone for photos. Next time I'll take my camera because I saw a few really cool birds. I pretty much had the trail to myself because I went pretty early. It was nice -- up until right at the end when some lady appeared out of nowhere yacking loudly on her cell phone. I don't get that. But anyway, it's a fun little hike. Hopefully, I can get the boys on it soon. It's nice it's so close to home.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Click, Clack, Moo ...

Oh my goodness ... I didn't realize that I didn't have this book in my collection until today. I came across it at the thrift store. I stood there staring at it, thinking for sure I had to have it. I bought it just in case, and sure enough, I didn't have it. How could I not have this treasure? It's such a funny book. The fact that I got it for a quarter makes me pretty happy too.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Swan River Nature Trail

Yesterday Rick added a hitch to the front of our van. We have one on the back already. We use it for the trailer or the bike rack. Thing is, we can't do both at the same time. Either we pull the trailer and leave the bikes home (or stuff them in the back of the van), or we take the bikes and leave the trailer. So, he ordered a special hitch for the front. I can't even imagine what we're going to look like with four bikes on front, two tandem kayaks on top, and the trailer behind us. Anyway, to make a long story longer, he wanted to test it out so we drove over to the Swan River Nature Trail. It's here in Bigfork, and it's only a couple of miles from the house.

The trail is two miles one way, so we only rode four miles total. Even so, it's all along the Swan River, so it's a really pretty ride. Here's a link that tells more about things to do in Bigfork.

This area of the river is also known for the Wild Mile during the Bigfork Whitewater Festival. Apparently, it's a Class IV section of the river. I believe the festival was just a few weekends back. We've watched it before, but we didn't go this year. I live on top of that hill, by the way.

I almost stepped on this pretty, little thing while getting on my bike. One thing I'm going to buy this summer is a Montana or northwestern book on butterflies. It's so hard to find them online. I'd also like to get a local book on mushrooms, but that's a post for another day.

And finally ... here's is the tail-end of the snake that I accidentally ran over. Trust me, I didn't mean to. I felt just awful. I only saw it right as my tires were right on it. I had no way of swerving or avoiding it. I stopped and turned around. It coiled up like it was totally ticked off, and then it slithered off the road and into the bushes. It seemed to be moving okay. I hope so. I don't really like snakes, especially super ugly brown ones that look just like sticks. Even so, the last thing I want to do is hurt one. On the ride back, every darn stick looked like a snake. Eeek!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Glacial Muffin

Rick and I drove over to the Two Medicine location of Glacier National Park on Friday. Of course, Muffin Top felt she had to go. Here she is above standing with Sinopah Mountain behind her. This is my favorite location in GNP. We also hiked to Appistoki Falls.

She also got lugged around went on a hike, did some modeling by a few Cut-leaved Daisies, and she balanced in front of Running Eagle falls (above). If you look closely, there are actually two waterfalls coming into the same spot. It's hard to see though, because as always, Muffin Top always makes things about her.