Thursday, January 21, 2010

50's a pretty big number...

That's right! I am 50 years old today! I can hardly believe it myself. Just where in the world has the time gone? I guess I can honestly admit to being middle-aged at last. Ha! In a lot of people's opinions, I'm surely a lot older than middle-aged depending on just what you think of as old...or when you expect to kick the old bucket! But...I'll let you in on a little secret. Just don't tell anyone...kay? I plan on doing a whole lot of livin' in the next half of my life. That's right! The next half! I've decided that as of today - I'm middle-aged and I need to get busy livin'. Uh-huh, that's right! Like Morgan Freeman said in the Shawshank Redemption..."Get busy livin' or get busy dyin'". This gal's gonna get busy livin'!! So, I have no idea what is the acceptable protocol for ones' 50th birthday, so I'll just do what I wanna do. Sounds good to me!

As might be expected, I'm feeling a little retrospective today...about a lot of things. I've got a lot of memories stored up and a lot of adventures in my memory banks. Some are amazing, some are funny, some are sad, and some are just plain enjoyable. So, in honor of my 50th birthday I have decided to ignore the fact that it's January and only about a third of the way through winter...and reminisce about some wonderful times I've experienced just this past summer.

There are a lot more pictures here than words. You see, I happen to enjoy taking pictures and because of that...I have a quite a few photos to choose from, and it's no easy task just picking one or two; and if I were to add everything that I could or wanted to say about each one, well it just might be the longest blog posting ever. I could have called this post "blessings" because every single picture here, to me, represents a blessing that I have enjoyed or still enjoy immensely...and, God willing will never forget and with God's blessing, will have a whole bunch more to add to my ever-growing list of life's beautiful and bountiful experiences.

Last summer my hubby and I got to go to Hawaii. A dream come true for us. And while in Hawaii, we got to go swimming with dolphins and snorkeling with turtles and all kinds of amazing ocean critters. It was phenomenol!!! And, I will truly never forget it...and hopefully will get to do it again someday.

Like totally cool old do you think this guy is? Turtles are actually kind of shy, but if you're respectful and quiet, they let you get pretty close for a really close look. Amazing!!!!

Spinner dolphins that we got to swim in the ocean with and respectfully observe. This was so cool that I was brought to tears...and nearly drowned because I forgot to remain expressionless so as not to let water into my snorkeling mask. Oops!! Very, very cool. I actually had a family of dolphins swim right in front of me, about 6-8 feet away and they turned and looked right at me! I felt so honored! And, in their eyes I saw so much intelligence. Not at all like a fish, but indeed an intelligent and compassionate animal. I will never forget this as long as I live.

A beautiful whale. I can't even imagine being in the water when one of these big guys swims by.

More spinner dolphins. These shots were taken about a half mile off the coast of Oahu near the southern tip of the island towards the west coast or the leeward side.

My hubby snorkeling in the Pacific Ocean. Way cool. I'm very thankful for this guy.

Some pretty fishes doing what fishies do best in the coral reef of Oahu.

This picture was taken on the boat just before we headed out. My hubby looks great. Me? Not so great. But, what the heck...I am after all a 50 year old mature woman. I cannot be expected to look like some perky, skinny-assed little teenager. Am I right? Still. This picture does indeed cause me some pain.

Pineapples growing in the beautiful, red, volcanic soil of interior Oahu. This is part of the very large, Dole Pineapple plantation. We were on our way back to our beach cottage after having spent the day on the eastern shore of the island...where the big waves are. The surfers hang-out. I met a gal working in a shop there who was from a tiny little town in Eastern Oregon. Very small world we live in.

This is actually the moon shining through a palm tree just outside our beach cottage. I thought it was pretty.

A sunrise shot taken from "our" beach, just down a sandy little path from our cottage facing towards Molokai.

This is another shot taken just a few moments later, still looking towards Molokai. You can rent kayaks and paddle out to the Molokai islands. I stood there on the beach in total amazement at the beauty and the gorgeous colors that just kept changing...beautiful!

Same beach in the daytime. We were taking a little stroll. The Molokai islands can be seen in the distance behind us. This is Kailua Beach. The water is always a very comfortable, warm temperature...just right.

This is a gecko. Flighty little things. This little guy let me get quite close because I moved very slowly and quietly. They were everywhere...not on the beaches, but in the yards and one morning when I was in the outdoor shower rinsing my hair, I opened my eyes to see a little, tiny voyeur watching me. Eeeks!!

An orchid from the yard of the beach cottage.

This was our beach cottage where we stayed on Kailua Beach. The bed is straight ahead in the loft. At night we could crank open the skylights and let in the cool, ocean breeze and watch the stars. You can't see it in this picture, but on the left is the kitchen area and a wall of windows that faced the ocean.

This picture is taken from up in the loft looking out at the mountains.

From the deck of the beach cottage looking out at the mountains of Kailua town.

This is a sunset shot taken from the cottage. The ocean was on our east side, so the sunrises were more spectacular. I still like this shot though, there had been a torrential downpour shortly before.

This is a beach shot taken from the car. Sorry, it's a little blurry. We had gone from Kailua town along the shore to Hanauma Bay and spent the day snorkeling and sunbathing on the beach. This was taken on our way back to the cottage. What a gorgeous drive with spectacular ocean shots!

Here we are after our day of snorkeling and baking in the sun with Hanauma Bay in the background. The pictures just do not do justice to the exquisite beauty of this place. It truly is breathtaking. There is a rather steep walk down to the bay from here. We were fortunate and got a ride back up and were thankful that we didn't have to make the climb carrying all our stuff. We look a little fried huh? Fantastic snorkeling though...although my preference would have to be from a boat out in the ocean. The coral reefs are torture on the knees!

Another ocean shot somewhere between Hanauma Bay and Kailua town. Gorgeous color!

Arriving back home at our little cottage all tuckered out. Ready for a shower and a little relaxation (nap) before heading to Kailua town for dinner.

I forget the name of this beautiful bay, but this is maybe 10-15 minutes south of Kailua. I just loved the way the sun was streaming through the clouds and upon the water. Again, the camera cannot convey the beauty of real life.

Here we are back in port at Ko'Olina after our adventure of swimming and snorkeling in the ocean with the dolphins and turtles and fishies. To say we had a blast is an understatement. And, don't you just love our hair!? That's one thing I would totally love about living in one gives a rip about their hair. You just put it up and go!! My kinda place!!

Day 4 of camping at the Flying M Ranch over the 4th of July weekend 2009. We are lookin' good!! Probably smelling pretty good too...just be thankful that there is no smell in pictures!!

A pretty sunset seen from our campsight at the "M" - I remember wondering if we were in for a little of God's fireworks that night. Those clouds look a little imposing...

Relaxing after a long, dry, dusty and very hot day of horseback riding in the Cascade Mountains at Flying M Ranch outside Yamhill, Oregon. We are very thankful to be able to load up the horses and in 30 minutes time be up here in complete wilderness, camping and enjoying nature. We love it up here.

Here's my beautiful boy and trailhorse extraordinaire...Harley.

Looking out from our campsite. 4th of July weekend and we had the entire place to ourselves. Ya just can't beat that!

Me and my boy returning from a ride. Those are Ladde's ears you see in the foreground. My hubby is my favorite trailriding partner. Again, one of my blessings that I'm eternally thankful for.

The little creek that was just behind our camper. What a great place to soak hot tootsies after a day of horseback riding. Annie spent a lot of time in the creek playing. That's her favorite place!

I'm very thankful for these spots!! This is Harley. He's a totally adorable package!!

And...every cowgirl knows to give thanks for their boots, right? My toes have been spared more times than I can count because of these boots.

Here's the boys. Ladde and Harley. They are the best of buds when they're on a camping trip. At home...not so much. I count these two as some of my most very special blessings ever. You just couldn't find better horses. We love these guys!!!
Well, I guess that's it for now. It's been a nice birthday. My friend Beth took me out to lunch today at the Thai restaurant. Yummy!! Thanks Beth!! I've gotten many wonderful birthday wishes from some treasured friends, and what's better than that? This weekend my hubby and I are celebrating my birthday with my family at Marco Polo in of my favorite places to eat, and then are finishing up with dessert at Konditerai's in Salem. If you've never visited there - you need to. They have nothing but desserts and trust me, there's no wrong choice at this place. Everything is to die for good!!! 50 is a pretty big number alright, but's just a number. I'm thankful to have made it this far, and God willing, I'll be honored to see what's lies around the next 20 or 30 or 40 or...
Happy Birthday to me!! I'm 50 years old today and absolutely okay with it!!
Blessings everyone from cingspots!! :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

It's a dog's life...

We've had Jasper, our newest canine companion since New Year's Day. He and Nellie enjoy each other's company. This is definitely more entertaining than watching tv.

Jasper is a 4 year old Golden Retriever who we adopted from Golden Bond Rescue. We've had him for a little over 2 weeks now. He's amazingly patient and playful with Nellie. She's the small, black pain in the butt on the right. Too bad we don't have sound with this post. Nellie's constant growling is hilarious.

He's a very handsome boy.

Jasper and Annie in our backyard. If you don't want it destroyed, then you don't want to let Jasper near it. We sometimes call him "destroy boy". He and Annie are good companions as well.

I apologize for the posts in the middle of our picture, but I was inside the house shooting these across the deck.

This is Nellie. She's the little throw-away pound puppy I adopted in early December. She was one of 4 that someone had discarded on a little country road. I can't imagine anyone doing that. But, the ending is a happy one. They were rescued and taken to our local dog control shelter and have all been adopted out. In fact, they went like hotcakes! She's definitely Lab, but who knows what else might be thrown in.

Here's how Annie spends her time while Jasper and Nellie go at it for hours on end. I told you she was a smart dog. :)

He's very photogenic. I enjoy taking pictures of him, but it's hard to get him to look at me.

If he's not playing with Nellie...he's keeping track of what she's doing.

Sorry for the glowing eyes here, but it was fairly dark in the living room and I had to use the flash. She regards herself as the princess. She's proving to be a very smart little dog. So far, she has been very easy to teach.

Nellie has no problems posing.

Meanwhile...mustn't forget about Annie. She had a very long day apparently. Poor little thing!

Destroying a weed...

Patch doesn't approve of the puppy. Not one little bit.

This flock of geese took flight from the field while I was snapping pictures. This was only a portion of the total flock.

Yow Yow doesn't approve of Nellie either. I'm sure he's coming up with a grand scheme to get rid of the puppy.

The chubby, hairy, dirty, but happy horses. Harley was somewhere else at the moment.

This is how they spend their days at the clinic. It's a tough job...but somebody's gotta do it.

Little Nells Bells.

Annie makes a very cushy place to rest a weary puppy.

When do we take her back mom??

She's not as innocent as she me.

Nellie's got Annie's "precious". Oh no!

And last, but certainly not least...our beloved woodstove who we love very much!! Pay no attention to that lovely linoleum. One of these days hopefully, very soon, it's going to be replaced.
We have decided to take Jasper back to Golden Bond. He's a great dog and we definitely have mixed feelings about our decision, but 3 dogs in our little home is a wee bit too cozy if you know what I mean. I regret having to put him through another transition in his life, but I'm certain that he will be in his forever home very soon. He's a totally cool dog and we'll probably regret giving him back, but we believe it's the right decision for all involved. Annie sort of disappears into the background a lot of the time while Jasper and Nellie are playing. And, getting a companion for Annie was my original plan when we decided to get another dog. Nellie will fill that slot, and with Annie as her mentor; she just can't help but turn into a wonderful, sensible dog. Golden Bond already has a family in mind for Jasper. This family has 2 little boys. Jasper will be in "hog heaven", I'm pretty sure. He has been a pleasure getting to know these past couple of weeks, and I'm sure we'll miss him for a while.
That's it for now from cingspots...