Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Our Own Private Dust Bowl

We watched "The Dust Bowl" by Ken Burns on PBS November 18 and 19; it was one of his best films since "The Civil War" if not the best. If you didn't see it, you should find a way to watch it. It's available for download on iTunes or you can buy the DVD or Blu-Ray at PBS. You can watch the trailer here.

What those people had to go through was unimaginable. We complain about the dust that constantly filters into the house, but it's nothing compared to what they had to deal with. The dust outside the houses piled up in drifts as high as the roof. And the dust invaded their bodies, filling their lungs, causing illness and many, many deaths. We complain about the wind that blows all through the month of April, but at least we don't get the "black blizzards" that they did. And it went on for 10 years, the storms growing more frequent as the years passed. No one in Washington, DC seemed to care about the situation, until the "Black Sunday" storm, which eventually blew the dust into New York City, into the Oval Office in the White House, and onto a ship out at sea. Finally people back east took notice and they started up programs such as the CCC and the WPA, which put people back to work, doing productive things that the country needed, such as building roads and bridges. The government also sent people to the dust bowl area to teach the farmers other ways of plowing that wouldn't harm the environment as much as the way they had been doing things. Gradually things got better and the dust storms stopped.

The "center" of the dust bowl was Boise City, Oklahoma, which is in the far western panhandle of Oklahoma, very close to the border with New Mexico.

The dust bowl was long ago, but it could happen again; sometimes it feels like it is happening, or at least starting to happen. No one is plowing the ground under, but we're in severe drought conditions and have been for years.

Ron and I were talking about it last night and we couldn't remember the last time it rained here. So we checked the handy-dandy weather station and saw that a month ago, we got a quarter of an inch of rain. The last "significant" rain we got was on September 12 when we got 0.68 of an inch.

We've only gotten 6.39 inches of precipitation this year, which I knew was extremely low, so I compared it with the precipitation totals of all the years since we got the weather station and created this graph.

As you can see, it's been a very dry year. Granted, the year isn't over yet, but we're not going to get very much precipitation in the next three weeks. There is supposed to be a storm here this weekend, with snow, but we won't even come close to what we got in our very driest year.

2005 - 11.64
2006 - 10.15
2007 - 12.16
2008 - 9.91
2009 - 8.96
2010 - 9.05
2011 - 10.38
2012 - 6.39 (as of 12/5/12)

And of course a dry winter means less snowmelt in the spring, which makes for a very bad fire season next summer. Sigh.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Time Change

I don't have to work weekends anymore (except maybe one a month), so this was the first time change in three years that I got an extra hour of sleep instead of an extra hour of work. That extra hour of sleep was always touted as the consolation for it getting dark so early, and it was always difficult for me to hear that. I never got an extra hour of sleep; an extra hour of pay just wasn't the same. So this year I finally got to enjoy the time change.

It's been hard on the cats, especially the strong-willed Satchmo. He's used to getting his dinner between 4:30 and 5:00, and this afternoon when he started yowling, I looked at the clock and said, "Hey, it's not dinnertime; it's only 3:30." Then I realized that for him, it was 4:30. I waited until 4:15 human time to feed them, giving them a gradual change. Of course I was outside between 3:30 and 4:15, so I didn't have to listen to his incessant yowling.

Ron fed the dogs a little earlier than usual, too, but they're not as vocally demanding as the cats are; it's just another gradual transition.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Vote Early ... And Often

Well, not too often. Only once per election. But if you can, vote early. We're fortunate to live in a state where early voting is encouraged. I've been voting early for years. Ron always preferred to vote on election day, going to our neighborhood polling place, and seeing some of the neighbors. But this year he decided to vote early, hoping it would stop some of the political phone calls we've been getting almost nightly.

So we voted today at the county administrative building, where early voting is held for all county residents, no matter what precinct they live in. Business was steady, with three or four people in line all the time.

It feels really good to have voted. Go vote, quick before they make it more difficult.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Weekend Work

On Friday morning we had 12 tons of "clean fill dirt" delivered so we could do some home maintenance.

We had to put some all around the base of the house in the back courtyard, and also the two back porches, creating a slope so the rain that flows off the roof and the porch overhangs would flow away from the house instead of toward it, which would damage the foundation.

So we spent a few hours on Saturday and a couple of hours on Sunday doing just that.

And we're almost done; we still need to finish up a little bit next weekend. And we'll still have plenty of dirt left over for future projects.

Today while we were working, the next door neighbors had two of their horses in their yard keep us company. One of the horses is the loudest, most talkative horse I've heard since the horses in the movie "Young Frankenstein."

Except the neighbor horse was MUCH louder.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Black and White and Dead All Over

I understand that magpies eat roadkill. But around here, it's usually prairie dogs. When I see magpies pecking at the remains of a skunk, I keep thinking that either they're really desperate (really hungry) or they have absolutely no sense of smell.

For the uninitiated, magpies look kind of like crows wearing tuxedos.

When I lived back east and came out west on vacation, I saw a black and white bird flying against a deep blue sky. I remember thinking, "Oh, how exotic! How beautiful!" Then at the first opportunity (a National Park bookstore) I looked in a bird guidebook and found out it was a magpie and part of the crow family and considered filthy.

They're extremely common here, so I don't think of them as exotic anymore, but they are still beautiful. Except maybe when they're picking at the carcass of a skunk. And for some reason this time of year we always have an abundance of dead skunks ("in the middle of the road, stinking to high heaven" to quote that old song).

Friday, August 31, 2012

The Lizard

Well, that didn't take long.

We came home from our dinner at the Chinese restaurant (best Hot and Sour Soup in the world!) to find a motionless lizard on the living room floor and Satchmo sitting nearby, looking very pleased with himself. Having fallen for the lizard's game of playing dead before, we were skeptical. But this time it was true; the lizard was dead.

Ron scooped him up, using a paper towel, and put him in a box and we took a closer look. There was a small spot of blood on his body, possibly a cat-inflicted wound (we didn't take that close a look).

Ron was about to toss the body out in the grass, near where he had seen the lizard before it ever came inside. But first I said, "Wait, let me take a picture!"

So here is the picture of the lizard

Yes, he was missing the end of his tail when he first came in the house.

We'll see what Satchmo hunts next. Anyone want to place any bets?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Of Mice and Lizards

A couple of weeks ago, Satchmo caught and killed a mouse. He didn't eat it, but generously left the small furry carcass near the bedroom door, which was closed, so we would find it when we came out in the morning. Ron picked it up, using a few thicknesses of paper towel, and disposed of it in the garbage.

For a few days, Satchmo was on full alert, either prowling around for mice, or staking out a couple of places and sitting there, staring intently and not moving at all. One place is the laundry room; we think the mouse got in through the hose from the clothes dryer.

Yesterday when I got up, I saw a "blob" of indeterminate shape and color on the rug in the hallway, just outside the guest room. I hadn't put in my contact lenses yet, which is why the shape and color were so blurry. Once I had my contacts in, I took a closer look.

It wasn't a mouse; it was a lizard, about 5 inches long and of medium girth. Ron came and took a look, too. It hadn't moved at all, and we thought Satchmo the Sentinel had struck again.

But it was playing dead; when Ron reached out to grab it, again, with paper towel in hand, the lizard moved like a flash. I couldn't believe how fast it ran! It was like the roadrunner (from the cartoon) on amphetamines.

The lizard stayed out of sight for the rest of yesterday. Today it made a couple of appearances. The first was in the guest room (which is where it ran yesterday), but it disappeared again before we could catch it. The second appearance was in the living room; again, it played dead and when Ron tried to catch it, it ran away. But this time, Satchmo saw it and even pawed it a few times. So Satchmo is on alert again, but not full alert, not with the same intensity as he was with the mouse. I guess lizards aren't as natural a prey as mice are.

And if you're wondering how the lizard got in, he came in through the garage. Sometimes we leave the garage door open a couple of inches at the bottom. When you run swamp coolers, there always has to be an open window or an open door to relieve the pressure of the air that blows in.

He looks similar to the photo below, which is of a lizard called the plateau lizard.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Life With Dogs

They say having a dog is like having a toddler. Even my blogging sister said that in her blog after I'd started writing this post in my head, including that first sentence. Great minds think alike!

Having three dogs is like ... well, you do the math.

When we first got Champ, we were amazed that he didn't have any bad habits. Then, gradually, one bad habit began showing itself. He liked to stick his nose in the kitchen trash can. We discouraged him, but all the smells coming from there were too enticing for him to ignore. If there was anything at all in there when we left the house or went to bed, we put the trash can up on the kitchen counter.

But Champ is a tall dog, with very long legs. One time we came home to the trash can on its side on the kitchen floor and trash scattered all around. Certain plastic bags and other containers that had held food were empty.

Another day when we were home, I saw him with his front paws on top of the kitchen counter. There was no food there; he was just looking.

Things came to a head on Sunday. I made scrambled eggs and turkey sausages for a late breakfast and after we finished eating, Ron and I went to the grocery store. I put the trash can on the kitchen counter, of course, but I didn't wash the skillets from breakfast or even put them in the sink. Not even thinking about it, I left them on the stove.

When we returned from the store about 45 minutes later, we smelled a burning smell as soon as we came inside. One of the stove burners had been turned on. I didn't leave it on, because it wasn't one of the burners I'd used. It was a burner that is the semi-permanent home to the heavy cast iron skillet, and I'd used non-stick pans for the eggs and sausages. We figured that in trying to get to the pans to lick them clean, Champ's paws had accidentally turned on the burner. We're lucky he didn't start a fire! New rule: clean all pans as soon as you're done eating. At the very least, put them in the sink and then wash as soon as you can.

Oh, yes. He'd also knocked the trash can off the counter and trash was scattered all over the floor, including the coffee filter with coffee grounds. Sigh. The plastic bag that had held very stale bread was empty. 

We found a new, secure place to put the trash can. Inside the pantry closet. I didn't think it would fit, because the bottom of the lowest shelf is only 24 inches from the floor, but it turns out the trash can is 22 inches tall, so it's a perfect fit!

I don't know if we're one step ahead of him or one step behind, but he hasn't figured out how to turn the knob and open the door to the closet, so he hasn't been able to get to the trash can.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Deja Vu All Over Again

This is the afghan my Great Aunt Mary made for me when I was a teenager. She had made a similar one for my mother, using up leftover bits of yarn, and I liked it so much, she made one for me. She surprised me with it when I went with my parents to New York for a brief visit.

Fast forward many years.

Our first cat Panther loved that afghan. She loved to curl up on it and sleep or sit on it and watch the world go by. We used to put it on the floor next to the sliding glass door so she could watch the birds in the backyard.

When we took her to the vet for the final time, to be euthanized, she was so weak we didn't bother with the cat carrier. I wrapped her in the afghan and held her in my arms while Ron drove the short distance to the vet.

Our kindhearted vet offered to have Panther and the afghan cremated together, but we told him we wanted to save the afghan for future cats. When we got home, we placed the afghan on what became the memorial shelf. It was where we gathered photos of Panther, placed the tin containing her ashes when we got them, and placed the tins containing ashes of other pets as the years passed.

Then a few months ago, we decided to bring the afghan back into the land of the living. We washed it and folded it into a good size and then placed it on the dining room table (one of the places the cats like to be when we're not eating (or even when we are, come to think of it)). It didn't take long for Satchmo to discover it. He curled up and went to sleep, looking happy and peaceful.

It was so great to see another cat sleeping on that afghan, especially a black cat. It was almost like having Panther back. Our other cat Princess discovered the joys of sleeping on the afghan, too. On one or two occasions, I saw the two of them sleeping side by side on the afghan, but usually if one cat is on it and the other one wants it, a catfight ensues.

After one too many catfights (more than just fur was flying), we moved the afghan from the table to the couch where it remains today, usually occupied by a large black cat.

Life is good. I think Aunt Mary would be happy to know that her afghan is still used and loved after all these years.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


For quick weeknight meals, we love our Foreman Grill (thanks, Barbara).

Salmon steaks in six minutes! Boneless chicken breasts in nine minutes! T-Bone steaks in nine minutes! It's fantastic.

But on the weekends, we like to do batch cooking so we won't have to cook for a few days. On the weekends, we use the Weber Grill.

Charcoal! Mesquite charcoal! Such fantastic flavor!

As you can tell, it's well-used. We've had it for years and it's never failed us yet.

Yesterday we grilled/barbecued two cut-up chickens and they just fit on the grill.

I sprinkled them generously with Mrs. Dash's "Table Blend" and Ron the Grillmaster grilled them, sometimes over direct heat and sometimes over indirect heat, turing them and moving them as needed, but always with the cover on (except for the turning and moving).

When they were almost done, he brushed on barbecue sauce, a combination of two different kinds.

Then he grilled them a bit longer, until they were crispy and very slightly charred in a few places. And they were delicious! They had that perfect mesquite flavor enhanced by the barbecue sauce.

And we won't have to cook for days!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Champ's Story

Champ's integration into the family went much faster and smoother than we ever anticipated. He and Brutus sleep right next to each other sometimes and Wolfie has stopped growling every time Champ comes near him. We're giving all three dogs lots of love and affection and treats.

And Champ has made himself right at home.

Yes, that's a Queen size bed.

His original owners gave him up when they moved. The first couple to foster him had a problem. Right after they got him, the husband had to go out of town for a week for work. When he got back, the dog (then known as Cheup) had bonded with the wife so much, he saw the husband as a threat and was overprotective of her, giving the husband a nip. That didn't go over so well and they returned Cheup to the shelter. The next people to foster him raise chickens and they discovered he liked to chase chickens. Well, what dog wouldn't? As Ron said, if he were a dog, he'd want to chase chickens, too. But fortunately for us, those people didn't see it that way and they returned him to the shelter. So we got him, and we think he's fantastic. He's bonding with both of us equally and we don't have chickens.

He's very smart and what he doesn't already know, he learns quickly. He came to us already knowing the commands "Sit" and "Shake." The other night, I saw he had a plastic jar lid in his mouth that he'd gotten out of the trash can and I told him, "Drop it" and he immedately dropped it. So either he already knew the command or he knew he shouldn't be getting into the trash can.

And of course he's quickly learning Guard Dog Duties from the other dogs. When they're all inside and they hear a noise outside, Champ is sometimes the first one to reach the sliding glass door, ready to go out and investigate. And of course he's learned tapping on the door to come in or go out.

He's very sweet and loves giving and getting affection. He's also very calm and laid back.

We've come to the conclusion that he's half Newfoundland and half Black Lab; Ron Googled pictures of dogs of that mix and they look exactly like Champ. Also Newfs and Labs tend to have very calm demeanors.

Satchmo is taking it all in stride.

Princess still spends a lot of time on top of the cabinets over the refrigerator so she can keep an eye on things.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Dog Hunt Saga Continues

We decided we should get a new dog sooner rather than later. Wolfie is 10 and Brutus is 8, so we need to get a new one they can train before they get too old. The dogs have always trained the new dog and the results have always been very impressive. Brutus has the bark of a much larger dog and is very alert to sounds outside. It wouldn't be such a rush if they were younger, but Wolfie is already starting to stumble occasionally. Plus the house seems empty with only two dogs, if you can believe it.

We went to the animal shelter a week ago and as of a few days ago, we thought we were going to be able to adopt our first choice (really, our only choice), Roscoe, a very sweet, young German Shepherd. We showed up there yesterday, checkbook in hand, ready to take him home, but due to miscommunication and no communication on several levels among the staff at the shelter, he'd already been spoken for by the Search and Rescue people, who have first dibs on all German Shepherds there (and are allowed extreme flexibility when it comes to deadlines, but that's all I'm gonna say about that).

Mad and sad, we took another look at all the other available dogs there, accompanied by one of the workers there who was sympathetic and not at all surprised by the lack of communication that led to our situation. She knew all the dogs and their personalities, pointing out the ones who were sweet; a lot of them were sweet. It's sad that there are so many dogs at the shelter, and most have been there for many months, but they didn't meet our requirements. One of the major requirements is that they have long, or at least medium, fur so they can be outside in the cold weather for extended periods (during the day when we're at work).

So we left the shelter without a dog.

But there are other places to find a dog, and we'd already started looking online when we left the shelter the first time (a week ago) and knew there was a strong chance we wouldn't get Roscoe.

Petfinder led us to German Shepherd Resuce of Central Colorado and we found several good possibilities. Ron filled out the extensive application form today and then we called the three people we'd put as references to let them know. It's a good thing we did, because the rescue people didn't waste any time! They called us not long after, and they had already spoken to two out of three of our references as well as someone at the vet's office.

After speaking to Ron for a little while, the woman was ready for us to drive up to Buena Vista today to pick up Osa. Another one of our picks, Liam, is not good with other male dogs and Thor has a very strong prey drive and would kill the cats instantly, so those two were definitely out. But Osa sounds perfect; she's only 8 months old (so she'll live a long time) and is already spayed and housebroken. Her former owners had to give her up when they moved to an apartment that didn't allow dogs. She has the same dark coloring as King did, and she looks like she'll grow up to be as big as he was; just look at the size of those ears!

Unfortunately, Ron is on call this weekend, so we can't make the drive up to Colorado (when he's on call, he has to stay within an hour of Taos, preferably less). But we had already planned a trip up to Denver next weekend and it's not too far out of our way to stop by Buena Vista on our way home on Monday; we'll just take a different route, down 285 instead of I-25. We take a risk that someone will adopt her before then, but they seem to have an abundance of German Shepherds available. Wish us luck; we'll keep you posted

Monday, February 27, 2012

King's Story

It all started in late March of 2006. One Saturday morning, Ron and I were sitting at the table drinking coffee and planning our day. The phone rang; it was someone at our vet’s office. “This is a strange question, but do you have Wolfie there with you?” she asked.

“Yes, he’s right here.”

“Oh, good. Animal Control just brought in a wolf-shepherd mix. His foot was caught in a trap. He looks like Wolfie and we were afraid it’s him.”

“No, he’s right here, but thanks for checking.”

We didn’t think any more about the phone call until a couple of weeks later. Ron was petting Wolfie and noticed a hard, bony lump under his jaw. Concerned, we made an appointment with the vet for the following day. Dr. A felt it and took an X-ray. We took Wolfie home and later in the day, Ron and I went back to the vet to get the results. Dr. A showed us the X-ray and talked to us; the prognosis sounded bleak. She was certain it was bone cancer, but wanted to do a biopsy to make sure. She would send it out and we wouldn’t hear the results for a few days, but we were pretty sure of the outcome.

Devastated, we walked out of the exam room and into the waiting room. One of the receptionists behind the desk told us that the wolfdog they had called us about in March was still at the Animal Shelter. She also said he’s bigger and darker than Wolfie. “Bigger?” I thought to myself.

The Animal Shelter is only a block from the vet’s office and Ron insisted we go right away to look at the wolfdog. He was certain Wolfie had bone cancer and wouldn’t live long and he wanted to get a replacement right away. We went over to the shelter to see him and oh my goodness, he IS bigger than Wolfie. Longer by about a foot and taller by about a foot. He was in one of the biggest cages, but it was much too small for him. He could barely turn around in it. There was no natural light; it wasn't anywhere near a window.

We took him for a walk around the parking lot. The paw that had been caught in the trap was still bothering him and he couldn’t put any weight on it at all, so he walked on three feet. He seemed happy to be out of the cage and in the fresh air and didn’t pull on the leash or struggle at all. It was hard for us to put him back in that small dark cage, so we talked to one of the shelter workers about taking him home to foster him until they could find a permanent home. She was concerned since he was probably part wolf, but we told her about our experiences with Wolfie, who is half wolf. The biggest issue with wolfdogs is containment and we had already solved that problem (building the courtyard wall 8 or 9 feet high). So she let us take him home.

The first thing we had to do was fatten him up. Although taller and longer than Wolfie, he was much skinnier. His hip bones were sticking out and so were his ribs. He only weighed 75 pounds, even though he was 7 feet long, from nose to tail. We gave him lots of dog food and ground beef, and to help build up his bones, we gave him lots of milk. This was the start of a lifelong addiction to milk, but it built up his bones and muscle.

The second thing we had to do was change his name. The shelter had given him the name of Shadow, but we already had a cat with that name. For awhile we called him Big Wolf (although we had a dog named Big). Eventually Ron named him King; as a boy, he’d had a German Shepherd named King.

We took King on walks to help rehabilitate his damaged paw. One of the toes had been amputated and the paw pads had been worn away completely. He licked that paw constantly and we wondered if it would ever heal.

We don’t know if he ever lived with people before us. He was half wild, but quickly became Ron’s protector. Unfortunately that included protecting Ron from me; he growled if I got too close, which didn’t exactly endear him to me.

After we’d had King for about a week, we got a call from the vet and learned that Wolfie did NOT have bone cancer and we didn’t have to worry about him dying anytime soon. That was wonderful news, but what would we do with his “replacement” now that he didn’t need replacing?

We now had four dogs and for some reason, that bothered me. It was the idea of “four” more than the reality, but I resisted having four and I kept asking Ron what his exit strategy for King was. Someone he worked with knew someone who had lost a dog in the general vicinity where King had been found. They said their dog was really big, but when they came to see if King was theirs, they said, “Oh, no; ours isn’t that big!” Ron called the shelter, but they said they were full and we couldn’t bring him back.

So we officially adopted him.

His paw pads grew back and his foot became strong enough to put weight on it. That foot became tired before the other three, but we were amazed at the comeback he made.

Of course I grew to love him and I found out that having four dogs isn’t much different from having three. And he grew to love me, too and didn’t see me as a threat (giving him lots of treats and lots of love helped). And the other dogs taught him how to be a dog.

And now we just miss him so much.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

R.I.P. King

We came back this afternoon from a wonderful weekend with our close friends in Amarillo to a sad sight. King had died, probably during the night or early in the day. There was a little bit of snow on his body, but he wasn't frozen solid.

He had been in declining health, ever since his Night of Many Seizures as we call it. Medication stopped the seizures, but there were other side effects. He had trouble using his rear legs, and the trouble ranged from minor to major; it was a constant roller coaster from one day to the next. It was hard on King and it was hard on us. We had a feeling he wouldn't last much longer, but we didn't want to face the Big Decision yet. So, in a way, it was better like this. King died peacefully and he wasn't alone; he was with his packmates, Wolfie and Brutus.

Someday soon I'll post King's full story. I think when I posted the stories of the other dogs, I stopped before I got to King's. He had a lousy life before he came to us and a really great life after he came to us. I'll post that story in a couple of days.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Crackhead Kitty

For many years, we used canned milk instead of cream in our coffee (evaporated milk, not the sweetened condensed stuff). Then a few years ago, we switched to half-and-half; I’m not sure why we changed. Then several months ago, Ron decided he wanted to go back to canned milk; I think it’s a little lower in fat than half-and-half. I tried to switch, too, but I found that after using half-and-half, I couldn’t go back. I just didn’t like the taste of the canned milk anymore.

Satchmo joined our family during the time we both used half-and-half. He enjoyed the occasional spoonful or so of it, but he wasn’t demanding or anything. That all changed when Ron went back to canned milk. Satchmo had a little taste of it and he was an instant addict. It was like crack, or maybe meth; one of his nicknames became Crackhead Kitty. A cat can never have too many nicknames!

When anyone opens the fridge, if Satchmo is anywhere in the vicinity, he hops up on to the counter next to his food bowl and begins yowling incessantly. If Ron is getting out the canned milk or even if I’m getting out the half-and-half, the yowling becomes louder and more insistent. And of course, enablers that we are, we give him a tiny splash, a spoonful or so. When Ron is finished using the canned milk, he has to put it back in the fridge immediately, or disaster will strike. We use the type of can opener that leaves two triangle-shaped holes in the top of the can. Satchmo doesn’t knock the can over like the late, great Winston did (a less yowly crackhead kitty). No, Satchmo manages to pick up the can by the edges with his teeth and shake his head a few times, sending the milk flying. He licks up the damage, then takes a nap until he hears the fridge open again.

Satchmo Sleeping It Off

Sunday, January 22, 2012


This past Friday night was my last regularly scheduled weekend night at my hotel job. From now on, my schedule is Monday through Thursday nights, unless Frank, the other night auditor, or I need to make changes for special occasions. It feels so good to have weekends off like a normal person.

Ron and I are planning lots of weekend trips to make up for lost time (I figure that in the last 2 1/2 years, I've had about 4 weekends off TOTAL). Most of the trips will be fairly close (Colorado, Texas, elsewhere in New Mexico) and staying with family or friends. But there is a very special long weekend coming up; I'll be going to Virginia to see my mom and nearby siblings. I can't wait for that! Other longer trips are still in the planning stages and include Moab, Utah, one of our favorite places in the world.

Let's hear it for weekends!!