Wednesday, August 30, 2017

When we are transferring Neil via the Hoyer Lift, sometimes the chains can dig into his arms.  So in addition to all the other things we need to keep track of, I usually have my hand wedged between his arm and the chain.  Yesterday the hospice nurse suggested using pool noodles, so today I captured a couple of the skinny ones - and now we have a much more colorful contraption!  We used it this afternoon, and the noodles seem to help a lot.

Terry made yet another delicious meal for my farewell dinner, and for dessert she baked brownies (from scratch, of course) that were scrumptious.  But that's only part of the good news... I'm getting to take the leftovers with me on my drive!

I'm here so long that I always worry about wearing out my welcome, but today Terry told Michael (when they spoke on the phone and he said she sounded a little down) that she's sad that I'm leaving.

This morning Terry spotted a "new" butterfly in the backyard.  It was black, with a row of white spots across its wings and an orange "triangle" at edge of wing.  Steve went for his phone to try for a picture, but it got spooked and flew away.  Even with a very clear description it took a lot of scrolling through pix to find what we saw:

Lorquin's admiral (Limenitis lorquini) is butterfly in the Nymphalinae subfamily. The butterfly is named after Pierre Joseph Michel Lorquin, a French naturalist who came to California from France during the Gold Rush, and made important discoveries on the natural history of the terrain.  The Lorquin's admiral has brown-black wings, each with a row of white spots across it. Its forewings have orange tips. Wingspan: 47 to 71 mm; females are generally larger than males.The Lorquin's admiral can mostly be found across the Upper Sonoran to the Canadian Zone, east to western Montana and Idaho. Known areas include southern British Columbia (including Vancouver Island, north of Emerald Lake), and Cypress Hills in southwestern Saskatchewan as well as southwestern Alberta. The butterfly resides mostly in forest edges, mountain canyons, parks, streamsides, fencerows, orchards, and groves of cottonwood and poplar. Usually the butterflies feed on California buckeye, yerba santa, privet, bird droppings, and dung.They are extremely territorial and will attack any intruders into their habitat, including large birds.

I liked a lot of the stickers on this car carrier, though it was the John Prine quote (blow up your TV) that initially caught my eye.

Speeding Kills Bears

Then in the parking lot saw a car with lots more great decals. 

As I was snapping my photos the car's owner, Leigh, arrived. 

She got a charge out of my take on her "never summer" sticker: no way!

When I explained I feel the same way about cold that Sam McGee did,
it turned out she needed an introduction.

Bumped into Mark (working hard?) by the apple pools.  He had a good laugh when I told him he'd made my blog yesterday after his comment about brushing my hair.  So here he is today, modeling his dreadlocks for me.

Books to add to my reading list! These were sitting on the rocks by the party pool while their people soaked. I read the blubs on their backs, and was intrigued.  But after I read the first paragraph of each book, I was certain that I wanted to read them.

Jonasson’s laugh-out-loud debut (a bestseller in Europe) reaches the U.S. three years after its Swedish publication, in Bradbury’s pitch-perfect translation. The intricately plotted saga of Allan Karlsson begins when he escapes his retirement home on his 100th birthday by climbing out his bedroom window. After stealing a young punk’s money-filled suitcase, he embarks on a wild adventure, and through a combination of wits, luck, and circumstance, ends up on the lam from both a smalltime criminal syndicate and the police. Jonasson moves deftly through Karlsson’s life—from present to past and back again—recounting the fugitive centenarian’s career as a demolitions expert and the myriad critical junctures of history, including the Spanish Civil War and the Manhattan Project, wherein Karlsson found himself an unwitting (and often influential) participant. Historical figures like Mao’s third wife, Vice President Truman, and Stalin appear, to great comic effect. Other characters—most notably Albert Einstein’s hapless half-brother—are cleverly spun into the raucous yarn, and all help drive this gentle lampoon of procedurals and thrillers.

A lushly written novel set in India at the height of the mango season–in which a young woman must decide to follow her heart or tradition.
Priya Rao left India when she was twenty to study in the U.S., and she’s never been back. Now, seven years later, she has to return and give her family the news: she’s engaged to Nick Collins, a kind, loving American man. It’s going to break their hearts.
Returning to India is an overwhelming experience for Priya. When she was growing up, summer was all about mangoes—ripe, sweet mangoes, redolent with juices that dripped down your mouth, hands, and neck. But after years away, she sweats as if she’s never been through an Indian summer before.
But Priya’s relatives remain the same. Her mother and father insist that it’s time they arranged her marriage to a “nice Indian boy.” Just as Priya begins to feel she can’t possibly tell her family that she’s engaged to an American, a secret is revealed that leaves her stunned and off-balance. Now she is forced to choose between the love of her family (and all that they represent) and Nick, the love of her life.

I crashed early last night (with Steve back I can do that on the evenings when I get tired) so I missed all the bed-time excitement with Neil.  

However, not to worry; this morning Terry and I had more excitement. 

Sure would be nice (for everyone)
if Neil would get back on his regular schedule!

Shortly heading up to soak, and this afternoon will do most of my packing.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Terry and I enjoyed our soak in the party pool, topping it off with a quick dip in the lower apple on our way back.  She's thinking today was her first soak since December (!) when Karen and Mark were visiting!

A doe was browsing around the pool, and someone mentioned that he had just seen her eat a sunflower - though Terry and I had our backs turned and missed it.  I did get out of the water and grab my camera just in case she'd decide to snatch one again to nibble on, but apparently one was all that was on her menu. 

And see that blue hat in the party pool?

Proof that Terry soaked today!

Kelly, experiencing his very first visit to Valley View (and quite happy to have 'discovered' it), mentioned seeing bears during his drive along the Al-Can highway, pigging out on dandelions.  Who knew?  But a quick search revealed there are a LOT of pix of bears doing just that...

as well as numerous articles.

Forgot to mention some good news that popped up in my e-mail this morning.

It was a reminder from EconoLodge about my upcoming stay on Thursday night, proving that reservation is (still) in a computer... at least somewhere!

I had some trouble falling (and then staying) asleep last night, and Neil kept Terry up much of the night, no doubt because he had taken a rather long nap earlier in the day. But despite that we still got the hoped-for early start to the morning. 

Neil, however, had been busy "excavating" during the night,
so his morning routine got rearranged to a shower before breakfast. 

Terry and I still hope to get up to the pools for our soak at a reasonable hour, especially since I will need to be back down here early in the afternoon.  At 2:00 I'll be picking up Elinor and driving her into Salida for her follow-up appointment after yesterday's cataract surgery - which (from her perspective, anyway) went well.  Of course it will be nice to hear the same from the surgeon!

Monday, August 28, 2017

My time here is winding down; I'll be heading toward home on Thursday sometime in the early afternoon.  My plan is to make it as far as Cortez (after that it's another 2 hours of nothing, until Kayenta) so with the holiday weekend looming I figured it made sense to make a motel reservation.  This morning I decided to take care of that on my laptop while Terry and Neil were still asleep.  After deciding on the EconoLodge, entering my information (and changing the default date from tonight to Thursday) I clicked and made the reservation.  However, would it surprise anyone that there were issues? 

I knew I couldn't get a confirmation via cellphone, but did pull up the e-mail for Terry to print so I'd have that with me on Thursday.  Good thing, because (maybe I went back to an earlier screen to check something?) the reservation had actually been made for TONIGHT.  Not only would I have been charged as a no-show, but could have shown up on Thursday to find no rooms available!

I did go to the screen to "check" on reservations, but (would you believe) there was NO option to change... or <gasp> cancel. 

Once Terry got up I used her cellphone, spoke to a real person, got the reservation changed, and received a new e-mail confirmation (yes it's printed and safely tucked in my purse) for Thursday.

After we got Neil squared away for the day (and I took my own shower) I detoured by the shop to pick up the wire brush.  Usually I like to scrub the steps/stone at the party pool on Tuesdays; since the algae runs down the creek, some could make its way into the swimming pool, and that's drained and cleaned on Wednesdays.  But tomorrow I expect to be 'busy' relaxing up there with Terry.

She has not made it up to soak since I've been here (not even when Karen was visiting) but she has promised to do that with me tomorrow. Wednesday is not a good day because with the swimming pool closed for cleaning the party pool is often rather crowded, and then on Thursday I'll be leaving.
Mark (the Facilities Manager, who has long dreadlocks) was in the shop, and when he saw me with the wire brush he jokingly asked if I was going to brush my hair.

Cute little guy, Bodie, up at the pool.  His parents, Dan and Jessie, were not having much luck getting him into the water.  Apparently the last time he'd been in it the garter snake had gone for a swim and  headed right for him.  He was obviously scared that would happen again. Bodie did enjoy sharing my trail mix (especially the craisins), watching me scrub the steps, and hearing the Prune Song, but no amount of coaxing seemed to convince him to get in that water. I was happy to see him eventually (an hour or two later!) change his mind.

When Suzanne (and Carol and Vickie) made it up to the pool, it turned out that Suzanne and Jessie are friends.  (And when I got back to the house, turned out that Terry knows the family also; Jessie has been coming here since she was a child, so Bodie is another 3rd-generation Valley View-ers!)

Carol used her phone to take a shot of Suzanne and me.  Once she gets back to civilization and has service, she'll send it on to Suzanne, who will pass it on to me.  She says it came out great, so I'm looking forward to seeing it.

I saw another cute A-line trailer on my walk back.

Also made a new "friend"; Mary was happy to let me take a picture of her t-shirt (until 6 years ago, she was on the paddling team) and hat ("stand strong in the wind".)

I swung by the Welcome Center to return the wire brush to the shop underneath,
and saw lumber being delivered.

I'm guessing they're going to use it for more picnic tables.

In the office I had a long chat with Rosie, and said goodbye until next summer; she's getting ready to head to Boulder for her son's wedding Friday.  We talked about my suggestion for a post by the apple pools; when stepping down off the flagstones onto the path it would be nice to have a little support.  That 'shortcut' is actually closed in the winter, and we talked about planting some native things to discourage people from using it at all.  Will be interesting to see what the Board decides to do.

Doug (it's wonderful that he's the Executive Director) came into the office with a yellow cottonwood leaf that had landed at his feet on his walk over.  If the leaves are already changing, can Fall (and Winter!) be far behind?

But the flowers on the Welcome Center porch know it's still summer!

We've just finished yet another delicious dinner (fish, potatoes, asparagus) with freshly baked cookies for dessert. Naturally I had to test them shortly after they emerged from the oven (to see if they were cool enough for Neil? lol) and now we are getting ready to watch a movie.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Mark came down around 7:00 last night,
and provided us with an hour-long concert.

It was definitely thoroughly enjoyed by all three of us!

We didn't know that Mark also plays the piano; usually that's John's "job".  

We also got to hear the story of how he and piano-player John
(they make such a wonderful musical duo!) met here at Oak House.

Afterward we had late dinner.  Chicken and rice are always a winner with me, but the yummy veggie to go along with them was zucchini, picked that day at the ranch garden, then sautéed in olive oil with various spices and herbs, with a little cream cheese added at the end. Topping off our nightly feast was a scrumptious dessert: peach and blueberry cobbler Terry whipped up that afternoon. 

I certainly enjoyed the snap peas, also picked that day.
Every time I walked by I grabbed one for a nibble.

It was too late to start a movie, so we watched an episode of Doc Martin.  Even though Terry was finishing up Season 4 (so I was coming in "at the middle"), it was definitely entertaining.  Going to have to put that series on my List so I can watch all 6 "surly" seasons!

To top off the evening,
we had another "exciting" bed-time episode with Neil.

Today was a late morning - we all slept in.

It was afternoon (though just barely) when I headed up to soak.  After seeing this, I now have a new raft to look for.  (I already have their 'seat' and 'float'.)

Julie and Kim had been enjoying the Party Pool for some time when I arrived.  I had no luck getting something (splinter? cactus spine?) out of Kim's finger - but did get a number of happy shots of them, and with friend Laurie.

Julie told me about her positive experiences with frankincense oil for her skin.  I'm definitely going to do a little more research on that, but it sure sounds good from the little I've already read!  No doubt Kestrel can tell me a lot about it, also.

Returning home, on the path coming down to the house I saw a grasshopper that at first I mistook for a butterfly... until it landed.  Though I followed it for a bit it was not at all cooperative for a photo. But I'm pretty sure that what I saw is a Dissosteira Carolina (also called the Carolina grasshopper, Carolina locust, black-winged grasshopper, road-duster, or quaker) "a large band winged species of grasshopper which ranges widely in North America inhabiting weedy grasslands."

"Dissosteira carolina is one of the largest grasshoppers in North America and is a conspicuous species because of its size, colorful wings, and because it habitually flies over dirt roads and other bare ground. They can be identified by their brownish-black inner wings with yellow margins and a ridge running down the back and because of its large size and rather lazy bobbing flight it is often mistaken for a butterfly."