Friday, July 27, 2012

My Beloved Riley James

Yesterday was a day that I have been dreading for a very long time. Maybe even for 15 years. The day I would have to say goodbye to Riley. His death was not a big shock for me, as his health has deteriorated a lot in the past few months, but I was not prepared for the depth of the grief I would feel when the end actually came.

Riley came to live with me, back on a September day in 1997. He was one among a litter of puppies, left at the Bangor Humane Society in Maine. He weighed barely six pounds, and I could carry him in one hand. I had a boyfriend at the time, and we thought it would be a good idea to have a dog. The boyfriend didn't last, and thank goodness I got Riley in the break-up. 

Riley and I have been through so much together over the past 15 years. When I was certain my heart was broken, Riley was there for me, always concerned and willing to cuddle. When life didn't seem to be going the way I'd hoped, I knew I had my pup. It is hard to explain, unless you have experienced it yourself - - the extreme bond that is possible to have with a furry creature. I know there are "animal people" and "non-animal people" in this world, but it has always boggled my mind how a human being can deny the sweetness and innocence of an animal whose only goal in life it to love and be loved. 

Yesterday was a hard day. Riley died in my lap, snoring loudly as I stroked his sweet face. Riley's vet, Dr. Howlett, came to our house so Riley could be spared the stress of the vet's office, and was able to pass on my bedroom floor, one of his most favorite places to sleep. When it was over, Steve carried him out to Dr. Howlett's truck for me. I did not feel comfortable having the boys here, or knowing that he had to be euthanized. They were out spending time with my parents, and when they returned, we told them that Riley had died. That was the hardest part of the whole experience. I have known and loved that dog for 15 years, but my boys don't know life without him. They are obviously heartbroken, and Camden is taking it especially hard. 

I think the above picture is one of my all-time favorite pictures of Riley, with his best buddy, Roy. A few months after Sadie died, five years ago, we brought Roy home. Riley was a little lost without Sadie, and I thought maybe a kitty would perk him up. I've always suspected that Roy is actually Sadie, reincarnated, because he basically picked up where Sadie left off. I think Roy realized that Riley wasn't here last night. He usually likes to stay outside at night, but he came in and proceeded to meow a lot in the hallway and do some wandering around. Then, he came into our bedroom and spent the night on our bed, something else he rarely does. He is going to miss his pup.

This morning, I got up, made myself a cup of coffee, and started poking around on my blog for pictures of Riley. There are so many, posed pictures as well as glimpses of his tail, or head, or whatever, lurking in the background of so many pictures over the years. He was always there, and that will be the part that will be hard to get use to. I caught myself so many times yesterday, going down the hall to my bedroom to check on Riley. I am just so conditioned to do that - - find where he is in the house and check to make sure he is okay.

I also came across so many Riley Stories on my blog, and I am so thankful to have them! He was such a big part of our lives - - the big things and the everyday things. Oh, how I am going to miss that sweet, sweet dog!

I'm really glad that my parents are in Idaho right now, and that they got to have lots of quality time with Riley this summer. Next to my own family, my mom and dad are the two people in this world who loved Riley the most, and he loved them right back.

Riley was a sweet, simple soul. He loved me unconditionally, he loved and protected his boys, and he loved his Roy. He loved to beg for food, and I think in the past year he got a lot of mileage out of the fact that he was stone deaf and could play the "I can't hear you telling me to quit begging" card. He loved to sniff the air and roll in the grass. He loved peanut butter, and he loved to search in his Nana and Papa's suitcase for presents. He loved to ride in the car, and he loved to go for a walk. He brought a lot of joy to my life, and I will miss him forever.

Friday, July 06, 2012

A Vintage Makeover

My sweet neighbor Anisa moved to Boise recently, and as she was weeding through her possessions and getting rid of some things, she asked me if I might want this vintage Juice King juicer. She had bought it with the intention of giving it a bit of a makeover, but never got around to it.

Of course I said yes and took it off her hands, for I love all things vintage. I also juice a lot of lemons it seems, so I thought it would be a perfect addition to my kitchen. It was pretty cute as it was, although the base of it had lots of chipped white paint on it. I did a little Internet research and learned that in original condition, they were either white or orange. I just so happened to have some orange spray paint in my collection, so I got down to business. I dismantled it and then scrubbed it with a abrasive sponge, which took of all of the loose paint.

Then end result? A happy little juicer that will sit proudly on my kitchen counter, and will remind me of Anisa whenever I use it.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Camping at Sagehen

Even though I spent less than 24 hours at the campsite last weekend, we managed to pack quite a bit in. I think I mentioned that the boys actually went up the night before I got there, so they got a little more accomplished than I did!
Canoe time!

I prepared some food before I left home so could bring a nice dinner up with me. The little boys were happiest with hot dogs and beans!
The pasta for our dinner was actually in my gift bag from MaryJane Butters. She has a line of organic camp food and I have always wanted to try it. The bag stands by itself and you just add boiling water, fold the bag over, wait ten minutes, and it is ready to eat! This pasta was delicious. I will definitely be getting some more, for our next camping trip. I assumed it would be loaded with sodium, being a convenience food, but was pleased to see that it wasn't. Yum!


When did this kid get so big?

Camping is not camping, without Jiffy Pop.

Cam caught this cute little guy at our campsite.

Warming up by the fire in the morning.

Colossal marshmallows. Another must.

These two love being on the water.

One of the best things that happened on the whole trip was when Camden announced he was going to read poetry to us by the camp fire,  from his Shel Silversteen book. Doesn't get any better than that.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

The Maiden Voyage of the Glamper

Remember my little camper? After its initial 3-mile trip to my sister-in-law's house a couple of years ago, it never moved again, sadly. While Steve was deployed, the boys and I only managed back yard camp outs. Then, last summer, my beloved Glamper* sprung a leak. Leaks would be more accurate., So, we tilted it up, covered it with a tarp, and I went about my business. A couple of weeks ago, when the threat of any rain vanished, I uncovered it. I did some research on how to repair the roof, and that will be tackled this coming weekend.

In the meantime, we had reservations at Sagehen Reservoir this past weekend. The boys left on Friday with the Sweet Dream in tow, and I stayed behind for my date with MaryJane and Meg on Saturday. After that was done, I packed my bags and headed out to meet up with my boys.

I got right to work unpacking my things and getting everything nice and cozy. I just love this little camper! Kudos to my manly husband for not saying anything, if he thinks I am a total nut. I think he realizes my need for girly things, in this life I lead that is overflowing with testosterone at every turn.

Steve tells me that it towed nicely, on the windy, narrow roads up to the reservoir. I got a chance to practice towing it on the way home, and it was easy-peasy. See that pink chenille bedspread? It use to belong to my beloved grandmother Violet. I think it is a perfect addition.

See that bizarre ramp? Well, I got this trailer for next to nothing - - it was previously owned by someone who traveled the state, selling jewelry at flea markets. This was what he used to haul his wares. The inside was completely empty for storage, and he had installed this ramp so that he could wheel his carts of items in and out of the trailer with ease. While I would prefer that it wasn't there, I use it to my advantage. I hung a sheer curtain in front of it, and when there is a need for some cross-ventilation, I just drop it down. Works like a charm!

We had the best time camping (more about that, tomorrow), and I can just tell that this little camper is going to get lots of mileage.

FYI:  Glamper = Glamour + Camper  :)

Monday, July 02, 2012

Meeting MaryJane and Meg

Megan Rae, me, and MaryJane Butters

This past weekend, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet a couple of women I really admire - - MaryJane Butters and her daughter, Megan (Meg) Rae. They were in Eagle, ID on Saturday at the new Fred Meyer store, where they gave a talk, answered questions, and spoiled all in attendance with some wonderful treats. I am so very glad that I got to go...I had the best time!

MaryJane Butters is an author, a magazine editor, and organic farmer, and an inspirational woman, in my humble opinion. Her daughter also writes for the magazine, and manages the MaryJanesFarm wall tent bed and breakfast.  I have been subscribing to her magazine for a couple of years now, and I am also a member of her 'Farmgirl Sisterhood' - - which inspires me to be creative, seek out the things that I love, and to enjoy the simple things in life. Even though she lives here in Idaho, I never thought for a minute that I would ever get to meet her, or Megan, for that matter. I am so very glad that I did! My mom came along with me, which made it even more fun. I think she may be a convert now too, and I wouldn't be surprised if Mum is a new subscriber to her magazine.

Next on my MaryJane wish list is to be able to stay someday at her bed and breakfast near Moscow, Idaho. I hear it is hard to secure a reservation but I am hoping that next year I will be able to get a spot. What a great adventure that will be!

**Edited to add:  I just wanted to add a link to MaryJane's blog, Raising Jane - - today's post had a recap of her visit to Fred Meyer over the weekend, and I was so excited to see my mom and myself in a couple of the pictures! I also feel compelled to add that I have been kicking myself for the past few days at the fact that when it came time to actually "meet" MaryJane, I don't think I said a word. She was so kind to give me a special necklace (for being a Farmgirl Sister), and she hugged me and kissed me on the cheek. I did the same back, but I am pretty sure I didn't utter one word after that. I'm afraid I was a bit starstruck, what can I say. How embarrassing! I did manage a nice little chat with Meg though, so all was not lost.
Blog Widget by LinkWithin