Thoughts from a Bathroom Door

You just never know where you might find your next slice of life. Sometimes they blow in and land on you. Sometimes they crawl up from underground and invade your space. They even startle you as you calmly are eating lunch. As the title stated, you might find a slice hanging on the back of a bathroom door.

It was lunchtime, my husband and I were hungry, so we began the search for some place to eat. We were in Kansas, where the road was long and not very populated. Finally, a small town appeared and as we drove through we spotted a coffee shop advertising sandwiches. We stopped.

The menu was written on a board over the counter. The daily special was blank. I inquired if there was a special for the day.

The owner said, “Monday comes with it’s own set of troubles, we don’t need to add to it by having a special.” Interesting attitude I thought.

So we chose something from the menu. I went to the restroom to wash my hands and discovered a new way of looking at things.

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Once lunch was over and we were back in the car, the lists I had just read pushed me to think of creating a few phrases that were just for me.

Savor the sights around you.
Enjoy the company of the one(s) you are with today.
Relish relationships.
Dream big.
Bask in the delight of others.
Share a smile.
Make a discovery.

What thoughts would you add? You just never know where you will find a slice! :-)

 

Battling Bunny

A growl erupts from my husband and he flies out of his chair into the backyard. The first time this happened I wondered what horrible thing had occurred in the yard. I discovered it was a small four-legged creature taunting my husband.

Early morning, catching a few rays of sunshine

Early morning, catching a few rays of sunshine

 

If I sit really still, no one will notice me.

If I sit really still, no one will notice me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here I can keep an eye on what's happening in this yard.

Here I can keep an eye on what’s happening in this yard.

 

I need to check out this new land.

I need to check out this new land.

Running, clapping, chasing only sent the bunny into the bushes. This called for a new plan. The hose was brought into action. Bunny did not like the hose! It bounded out of the yard to escape the spray.

The dreaded hose!

The dreaded hose!

However, either it has a short memory or it is a new one who is back and exploring the patio. I guess the war isn’t over, yet.

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Fall Hazard

Fall has it’s own special delights that it brings to our world. Beautiful colors light up the landscape with the warm colors of reds, oranges, and yellows. Cooler temperatures allow us to add a layer, whether it’s to our bodies or our beds. We look forward to this change of season, but sometimes summer snaps its head and reminds us that it is not ready to depart.

The blue sky with billowy clouds called us to enjoy a bike ride down the paved path of the Frisco Highline Trail. The colors were just beginning to creep into the foliage. Sunlight caught the silver sparkle of web lines overhead. Humidity pushed its way into the ride and wrapped its arms around me, but I didn’t let that slow me down. Pedaling created a breeze to savor.

The world went into s-l-o-w motion when I saw it flying toward me. A teeny tiny, neon green worm (?) was riding the breeze and headed straight for my face. I turned my head and bike trying to miss it. Whew! That was a close one!

I pedaled on, but something was on my sun glasses. I thought it was a hair. As I pedaled, I pulled off the glasses and found myself gazing at that neon green worm frozen to my glasses. I guess it wasn’t a close call after all.

I stopped my bike, because of course I needed a picture of this little critter. Multiple shots were taken, but they all came out blurry as it scurried across and around the lens of my sunglasses. Finally I blew a puff of air and it vanished.

Look down along the bottom edge of the lens to see my hitchhiker.

Look down along the bottom edge of the lens to see my hitchhiker.

I looked down at my neon green shirt. There were several more little worms hanging on for dear life. A quick shake of the fabric sent them away. Fortunately I wasn’t that far from the end of the ride, I could just imagine/feel the worms crawling around on my damp skin and through my hair. I needed a shower to rid this creeping feeling!

I was not the only one with green hitchhikers. My husband had several spots of green stuck to his face and shirt too.  I just hate these hazards that Mother Nature sends my way.

Another Day

The day after the ant invasion (last week’s slice), my husband and I were hoping for a calmer day. We would not be meeting up with family, as they all needed to complete some work before we take off for our Catalina adventure. This day would roll out leisurely as we revisited places we had enjoyed previously. The highlight of the day would occur late afternoon. I was meeting up with a fellow slicer, Julieanne, who writes To Read To Write To Be.

Unfortunately, Julieanne  had quite a distance to travel to meet me at the designated shopping center after teaching all day. I didn’t mind waiting because this center has wonderful patio furniture for weary shoppers. I was able to settle into a comfy chair and people watch as I waited for Julieanne.

I pulled out my mini-notebook and began jotting notes of life happening around me. There was a large patch of astroturf, which was a magnet for toddlers, older siblings, parents, and grandparents. The children roamed free in this space surrounded by white adirondack chairs. Adults monitored their children from the comfort of the chairs, as the children discovered the joys of movement and each other. After a short time, they moved on and others came to take their place.

One phone is not enough for this little lady.

One phone is not enough for this little lady.

Humans weren’t the only creatures to watch. Birds stopped by to see if there were any crumbs left behind. A couple of girls began tossing pretzel bits out on the grass. It is amazing how many birds showed up to grab a morsel. The pretzel bit was snatched and they flew just out of reach of other birds to gobble their treasure.

Little beggars for crumbs

Little beggars for crumbs

It looks rather disgusted with me. "Well, aren't you going to feed me?"

It looks rather disgusted with me. “Well, aren’t you going to feed me?”

Soon, Julieanne arrived and we wandered away from my observation post in search of dinner. How quickly the hours passed as we talked of slicing, school, and blogs. Hopefully, we will be able to meet up again. It is such a treat to meet the person behind the words I so enjoy reading.

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I was basking in the joy of my conversations when my husband said, “I have something to show you,” as he handed me his cell phone. “This came from Blake (neighbor across the street) today.”

Slowly it dawned on me what I was seeing. “What happened?” I asked.

tree down

It seems that a freak storm came through with wind blowing out of the north (normally wind comes from the west). A huge portion of the maple tree in our front yard landed on the garage and driveway. Fortunately the neighbors reported that there was no damage to the house, but it did not look good for the tree.

The neighbors swooped in with chainsaws and cleared the broken limb away within a day. From California, we arranged for an arborist assess the damage to the tree. It could not be saved. This was heartbreaking, this tree always had the most beautiful colors in the fall.

I loved the way the colors seemed to slide down the tree. This is from last year.

I loved the way the colors seemed to slide down the tree. This is from last year.

We learned that the red maple is a hybrid and not a particularly strong tree. The limbs grow so densely that the air cannot get through, which causes them to break. We have two more of these trees in our backyard. The only way to ensure this won’t happen is to trim the branches and create open spaces. When the tree company came to remove the tree, they trimmed all our other trees.

The removal of the tree was monitored by all the neighbors, since we were not yet home. It was a sad sight to turn the corner and not have our tree to greet us.

All that was left of the tree.

All that was left of the tree.

This machine removes stumps and roots. All that is left behind is a patch of dirt.

This machine removes stumps and roots. All that is left behind is a patch of dirt.

Tomorrow a new tree is being planted. It is a Pacific Sunset Maple, the arborist promises this one will be strong.

 

Invasion!

At last, my husband and I made it to southern California to spend a few days with our son and his family and to celebrate my birthday. So far our trip had been great! We were looking forward to a few more fun days before heading back to the Midwest. After dinner we made plans to visit the aquarium on Tuesday with our daughter-in-law and granddaughter. As we pulled into the hotel parking lot, we gave a sigh of satisfaction. Life was good, but that all changed in the morning.

My husband is an early riser, so he usually gets to the breakfast area ahead of me. I wandered down and normally he is finishing up his breakfast, but he was no where in sight. I wandered over to the coffee, poured a cup, wondering where he was. As I was scooping up some eggs he came into the lobby.

One look at his face told me something had happened and it was not good. “The car is crawling with ants!” he tells me. “The front of the car is covered and they are inside too!” He had gone out to clean the windshield and discovered the invasion when they began crawling up his legs.

He pulled the car around to the covered area right outside the entrance. We emptied the trunk and car of all items. All the while wiping away, knocking off, smashing ants, teeny, tiny, minuscule light brown ants. We opened the hood and they ran for their life. He took the car to a car wash, but once he got back they began crawling out of every crevice.

We eventually pulled the car around back and the hotel had the maintenance man use the hose to spray the engine area because that seemed to be where most of them were. He sprayed the radiator and the water looked like it someone had poured five pounds of pepper in the water. As the water flowed away the ants pulled themselves out and scurried away.

There would be no aquarium this day. My husband stayed to battle the ants while the “girls” went to see The Giver. I think I got the better end of that deal.

What we learned was ants LOVE dead bugs. Our radiator and front of the car were full of tasty treats for ants. The sprinklers at the hotel turned on, which brought the ants out of the ground. Once up from their dens, they discovered a smorgasbord had been delivered to their doorstep. Eventually their numbers dropped off. Of course that could be due to the can of Raid we purchased.

Needless to say, we did not park near landscaping for the rest of the visit.

 

On the Road

Back and forth, back and forth, we have been driving to California for thirty-seven years. As you can imagine, this route is as comfortable as your favorite chair. We know when to leave, where we will be at mealtimes, what restaurants are available, and where to stay. Sometimes routine is just what one needs, but sometimes you need to shake things up a bit. That’s exactly what we did this year.

Our goal was not our final destination, but we created a plan to visit places we had never visited before. First on the list, Mesa Verde National Park in CO. However to get there we would pass through some interesting land.

Most of our trip was not on interstate highways, but rather two or four lane state roads. Even Kansas provided interesting scenery. We stopped in Greensburgh, KS at a coffee shop for lunch. This town was nearly wiped off the map in 2007 by a tornado. They have done an amazing job rebuilding with a focus on “green” buildings. It is the world’s leading community in LEED-certified buildings per capita. We drove around town marveling at the new buildings.

First night we made it to Pueblo, CO. The second day we enjoyed the scenery of the Million Dollar Highway in Colorado as we drove south of Montrose to Durango. At times I would have to hold my breath because the drop off was so close and there were no guardrails.

A sunflower with an interesting bug, cool clouds, views along the Million Dollar Highway

A sunflower with an interesting bug, cool clouds, views along the Million Dollar Highway

In Durango, we were able to spend an evening visiting family that we see rarely. It was an enjoyable evening chatting and sipping on the porch of their mountain log cabin.

Off we were the next morning to discover the wonders of Mesa Verde. We bought tickets for two different tours and headed into the park. I marvel at the ingenuity of the people who were able to survive. I barely survived the one hour tour. There was no way I would be able to do the second tour which included climbing a thirty foot ladder. We had seen enough, so we made our way out of the park. That is when my husband revealed he didn’t really have a route planned for the rest of our trip.

Cliff palace at Mesa Verde

Cliff palace at Mesa Verde

We looked at the map and determined there were two routes we could take. Once we checked hotel availability, we knew which route to go.

Vistas that intrigued

Vistas that intrigued

I always pack a tote bag full of books to read when we drive across country. So far, I had not taken one book out. I did not want to miss any of the new scenery.

We made it to Phoenix where we stayed a few days visiting my brother-in-law. He was happy to welcome us because we brought a box of tomatoes from our yard. It was great to be able to step away from eating out for a few days (I can’t believe I said that! I love to eat out!)

Soon we left for Orange County in California. If only we had known what was in store for us (beyond the change of birthday plans, which I wrote about last week). You will have to wait until next week for that episode.

Birthday Celebration

One thing I can look forward to every year is my birthday celebration with my best pals. They always surprise and delight me with the way we celebrate the yearly milestones. This year was no different, except they created an evening that pushed me out of my comfort zone.

After a tasty dinner, they drove me around to a place called RSVPaint. Inside was an evening of creativity. The project for the class was to create a circle painting with Kandinsky’s art as the inspiration.

circles

What follows is a collage of the fun we had. Thanks Tiff and Janay! You know how to make an old gal feel special.

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