Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Look

Anyone who thinks cats can't learn things hasn't lived with one. It took Theo maybe a month into his diet to figure out that I can ignore his whining, but this gets to me every time:

Friday, April 14, 2017

So Much For Spring

I planted a few flowers in pots yesterday, so it's snowing today. Let's hope pansies are hardy plants.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

End Of An Era

When we first moved into this house, we added some "temporary" garden boxes in the back yard, thinking eventually we'd figure out something better.  Now, almost 11 years later, we haven't come up with a permanent idea, but
 the boards had thoroughly rotted, some had broken apart, and all of the boxes were overrun with weeds and voles.  So this year we're taking them out, and if the ground EVER dries out after all of our rain/snow this year, we'll till this all in and hopefully solve the drainage problem as well.  It's heavy clay soil and there's a slight slope, so if it rains, part of the yard turns into a swamp.  As you can see, grass has already mostly taken them over this year anyway, so we don't have very far to go to put this all back into grass. Apparently, we just need to stop interfering with the progress of the grass.  That's easy enough!

Monday, March 20, 2017


I kicked off the first official day of spring by taking the cats in to the vet for their annual shots.  Whew, do I know how to celebrate! 

The vet has given (by which I mean sold for a surprisingly high price) me some de-stress drugs to sprinkle over their food to help them cope with stressful situations--such as vet visits.  Where the heck is the human equivalent?  I mean really--how about an open bar at the dentist's office?  Maybe some nitrous oxide at the gynecologist's office?  I'd even settle for chocolate at the DMV. 

We have so much to learn from our pets.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Happy Holidays from Chateau Sutton-Goar

Happy Holidays from Ch√Ęteau Sutton-Goar!

2016 marked our 10th wedding anniversary, and we celebrated by buying new rings. While it was tempting to do the traditional tin/aluminum, we thought they might be more meaningful if they DIDN'T come out of a gumball machine (if they still have those). It also shamed me into sorting through more of the garage in case any of those remaining boxes were ALSO celebrating a 10th anniversary, though I'm not sure what a box buys to celebrate. New packing tape?

While “done” with physical therapy seems to be something I'm never going to really ever achieve, my hip/back does continue to improve, and we were able to go cross-country skiing this year, which was very exciting. Even bigger news—I was able to go back to work for most of the year. For about 7 months, I worked as the store manager at Dunkley Music's Nampa store, which was fun—except maybe for what is known as “rental season,” which is a three-week period that is the source of all nightmares for music store employees. Music retail is a bit weird. During my first week, I had a lady call me on the phone, play her violin into the phone, and ask me if it was in tune or not. Then there were the steady stream of people with musical “treasures” they had gotten a great “deal” on through Craigslist or via Amazon. Luckily, I own a thesaurus and know a lot of synonyms for “junk.” It is interesting to see how determined people are to believe in something they want to believe, even if it means a bright green trumpet or a plastic violin. I had to eventually leave because working Saturdays and later into the evenings really didn't work out for us, but it's exciting to know I can cope with a work schedule (okay, with help from my physical therapist), and hope to find a Monday-Friday non-retail job in 2017.

Since I worked most Saturdays, Andy did all the traveling this year—camping and motorcycle trips both solo and with friends, visiting Trinity Lakes, eastern Oregon, and the Sawtooth Mountains. He got some new lenses for his camera, and has been out exploring with them. He also visited his parents in southern California for a week and had the decency not to gloat about any of it. Not to be outdone, I did add a new level of uncertainty to his vacations by landing in the emergency room during one of them after losing a tussle with a wine glass stem while washing the dishes, requiring 7 stitches and some emergency follow-up when a nurse opted to cut off the circulation in my hand with her bandaging. I don't believe he has any of our friends checking on me while he's out of town—I think they're doing it on their own. Can't say I blame them.

We didn't attempt much of a garden this year, which was just as well. We did end up with a large crop of voles, and at least a few of the ones that ended up in the house were dead. Most. I didn't even get our garlic planted for next year, but as there's some that went wild a couple years ago, I think we'll still probably have fresh garlic for next year. And lots and lots of lemon balm, which I didn't know was in the mint family until AFTER I planted it. Sure, the mint family has choked off pretty much all the other plants in the herb garden, but that part of the yard DOES smell fantastic, so there's that.

Since I sew and knit, I decided 2016 was a good time for a challenge called Me-Made-Mondays. It's also been done as Me-Made-May, but that's a bit more challenging for someone with a lot of wool socks and sweaters. It truly made for inventive Mondays, and it turns out that if there is appropriate work attire that works with funky hand-knitted socks in screaming colors with pompoms, I don't own it. Andy's woodworking year was dominated by 2016 being his turn to make Christmas gifts. We always get great ideas from the Idaho Artistry in Wood show in February, though by October there's usually a shift into “realism” and simplified (can be finished by Christmas) projects. Deadlines are marvelous for that. Sort of like with holiday letters..........:)

Things I learned this year:
  • There is no “five second rule” when it comes to a hot iron landing on carpet.
  • Until you are married to an engineer, you cannot understand the importance of Star Trek stamps
  • Taking a break from gardening isn't really conceding to the squash bugs. It's just a temporary tactical retreat that gives one a break from zucchini
  • I should not have complained about having to medicate a cat with stress issues. Now I'm medicating a stressed-out cat on a diet.
  • You'll never know when adulthood will sneak up on you. I was watching the Christopher Reeve “Superman” movie when I found myself thinking, “You know, I'll bet they really could have just immediately landed that helicopter and avoided that whole crisis.” Because realism IS what matters most in movies with flying men.
  • After working in it for 7 months, it will amaze me forever that those who work in retail AREN'T among the highest for alcohol abuse or mental breakdowns.
  • When we finally replace the upstairs carpet, I'm picking something that closely blends with cat barf stains.
  • The best thing in a music store is the electronic drum set with head phones. The worst is a real drum set.
  • In case you were wondering, it takes about 10 days of working in a music store before you learn to spot middle-aged guys who can't actually play, but want to tell you all about their buddy who owned a Stratocaster or Telecaster guitar. And 11 days to figure out how to outrun them.
  • Judging by the ferocity with which my cat digs up my spring garden, one would think HE was the one forced to eat canned spinach as a child.
  • This year I read the Hunger Games series. Clearly “Young Adult” doesn't mean what I thought it did.
  • People can actually ask music store employees if they carry “that song” by “that guy” with a perfectly straight face.
  • Now the vet thinks both cats have stress issues. I had no idea Andy and I were so hard to live with.
  • Very few things are important if you haven't seen them in 10 years.
  • Even if you haven't done it in many, many years, people will never forget that you CAN raise money for charities—even if you want them to.
  • I'm almost embarrassed by the amount of satisfaction I got when one of those “just under the wire” customers showed up right AFTER I'd locked the store door. Because I was SO wanting to have to stay late without being paid for it.......
  • No matter how much you love your spouse, it's impossible to NOT be relieved when your cat runs into your spouse's closet to throw up and rather than into yours.
  • Having had the rudest interview experience EVER with the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, I have been eagerly scanning the want ads for anyone calling themselves the “Outright Jerks of America.” It could work.
  • When your long-haired cat is waiting in front of an air vent, it might be time to consider turning the heat up just a little.
  • There are no points for starting a holiday letter early—only FINISHING early counts.

Wishing you a wonderful holiday and a healthy 2017,
Toni & Andy

Sunday, December 18, 2016

It's 13 Degrees Right Now

And that is apparently the temperature when one cannot leave a heating pad for even a second:

Thursday, May 12, 2016

I'm Back to Work!

Honestly, there have been times during the hip/back struggles that Andy and I both wondered if I'd be able to go back to work, and in fact I will not have the physical strength for outside sales or fund-raising ever again.  BUT I was browsing help wanted ads to try to get ideas of what I might be able to do, and found an ad for a music store manager/sales person.  So, I sent in my resume and 9 days later started at my new job.  :)

So, when one hasn't worked in quite some time (years), it's a big adjustment.  I have been ordering clothes and shoes like a mad woman because I'm too tired at the end of the day to go shopping, and Andy is picking up a lot of the slack--dinner, grocery shopping, etc.  And I'm learning a lot--or trying to.  This week I've been researching whether the music books are from bands I've never heard of, movies I've never heard of, or television shows I've never heard of.  Last week was restringing violins.  Tonight is a "petting zoo" at a local junior high, which to my understanding is a chance for students to find out about the different instruments and see which ones they might be interested in playing. 

Andy has been very relieved that my employee discount has not yet gotten me in any trouble, although this beauty:
might have.  I loved this piano.  Luckily, I sold it 2 days after it arrived in the store, so I have not had to figure out where we would put a SECOND piano in the house........

The Look

Anyone who thinks cats can't learn things hasn't lived with one. It took Theo maybe a month into his diet to figure out that I can...