Saturday, September 6, 2014

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

And the Tragic End of an Orange Named Howard....

It's September and school is back in session. Summer is over and it is time to hit the books again. This semester I am taking Speech and a class called Health and Human Function, where I will be learning the basics of anatomy and physiology. This class also comes with a lab, and Friday I set in to perform my first lab assignment.

Enter Howard, the very worried orange.

My job was to learn the various terms for dissection planes---fun words like sagittal, coronal, median, and transverse. And to help me learn them, I had to dissect poor Howard.

My first cut was along the sagittal plane, cleaving Howard right through the middle of his noble proboscis. I was pretty sure Howard was terminal at this point, but he wasn't allowed to rest in peace.

Pieces, yes. But not peace.

After that, I had to cut his left side along the transverse plane, separating his ear top from bottom, and his right side along the coronal plane, separating the front of his ear from the back.

 Gruesome stuff.

I had a somewhat horrified audience in the little homeschooling girlies whose house I've been staying at this week. Perhaps one of them will trace their future career in the medical field to this very occasion.

Perhaps not.

 Now that I have read a whole two chapters in my anatomy and physiology book, I feel I am qualified to speak on the topic of human health and function. The human body is an amazingly complex organism, dependent on such a wide variety of interconnecting systems, each one requiring the cooperation of the others in order to function.

It boggles my mind that anyone manages to survive without a PhD, let alone thrive! There are so many potential ways to mess things up! We don't think about it, but when we eat, we are actually performing chemistry experiments---adding elements to our body's chemical reactions---and hoping it somehow all ends well. 

And it boggles my mind that people devote their life study to learning about the amazing and complicated creatures we call "humans" and still take the premise that it all developed by chance with no input or organization from an outside source.

The human body amazes me. 

But people who deny the existence of a Creator amaze me even more!

Monday, September 1, 2014

A Few Random Pictures From a Random Trip

I am currently enjoying a wonderful vacation in California. So far, it has mostly consisted of sitting on my butt talking or taking naps.

So nice.

I did manage to change out of my pajamas briefly yesterday and go into Public. And as long as I'd gone to all the trouble of dressing, I took a few pictures here and there.

California is in the middle of another Historic Drought (they've been in the middle of one historic drought or another for approx. the last 200 years...) and I stopped by to see how low the local reservoir had fallen. I do have to say, it is impressively low. Hopefully California will some rain this winter and end the Historic Drought---just in time for the next one to start!

I love the California foothills---this is truly the Golden State.

As long as I was wearing actual clothes, I thought I'd have a little fun with the self-timer. Sometimes it's difficult for a photographer to prove he or she actually existed, since they are never actually IN any pictures.

Beautiful sunset to end a nice, lazy day. I am not convinced I will manage to find my way back home again when my vacation is over. I am sure my mom would love to fall heir to my various furry felines and cavorting canines.

Yeah. Sure.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Fair Time!

Yes, it's that time of year again. The time when I enter way more than my share of pictures into our county fair because I have no self-control.

This year I was determined to enter at least one art project as well, and though it nearly killed me, I actually got two done.

I had a hard time entering the artwork. My perfectionistic soul rose up in protest, since I felt my pieces was not as good as I am capable of. But my practical side told my perfectionisitic soul to shut up, sit down, and enter them anyway---that it's more important to participate in the things I want to do than sit around not doing anything until I feel I've gotten "good enough".

Personal growth is not always my favorite thing!

Anyway, here is a gallery of my photos----and ART----for your enjoyment.

My giant spool painting got a 1st place ribbon, plus a Special Award. Ever since the fair, It's Royal Specialness has been riding around in the back of my van. Someday I will actually get it out and prop it in my yard somewhere......

These first two photos got the dreaded "Thanks for participating" ribbon.

Category: Snow

Category: Beach

Category: Photo Editing/special effects---Third place.

Category: Storm---Second place.

Category:Western---First place.

Category: Landscape---First place, plus Special Award.

Category: Clouds/Sky---First place.

Category: Baby---First place, plus Best in Show.

Category: Trees---First place.

Category: Historic Architecture---First place, plus Special Award.

Category: Architecture---First place.

Category: Sunrise/Sunset----First place.

Category: Sun---First place.

Category: Animal with Person---First place.

Category: Inspirational---First place.

Category: Portrait---First place, plus Special Award and Sweepstakes Award.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Summer----Shorter Than it Used to Be

So I've been meaning to make this post since the beginning of  June---and that right there should tell you how my summer's been going! Here it is the end of July already and summer is almost over. In the spring, I was looking forward to school getting out so I'd have more time. Now I can hardly wait until school STARTS so I will have more time.

Somehow I doubt it's going to work out the way I think this time around, either.

But I have made sure to take the time for a few fun things, though sometimes at the expense of more mundane activities like washing dishes and tidying houses.

 I made a trip to Bozeman for campmeeting---this time only as a helper, so it was way less intense than usual.

I've been swimming---count 'em----THREE times already this summer. That's about an, oh, 75% increase over the typical summer.

And I've been going on a few bike rides. Not as many as the one-per-day I'd originally envisioned for my fitandhealthy summer, but still way more than I usually take the time for.

I've been experimenting a little bit using some of the local farm tracks for my routes. This "experimentation" would work better if there were more than one of them within my seriously limited range. Farm tracks are fun to use because they keep you clear of traffic (and when you have two dopey-doodle dogs as your companions, that's important).

And as an added bonus, they are adventurous. If you are looking for solitude, a farm track in North Dakota will definitely fit the bill.

I'm pretty sure this is the dictionary definition of Robert Frost's "the road less traveled by..."

My little prairie farmhouse in all its June glory...Picture taking is very important on bike rides. Every time I am gasping for breath and feel like I can't peddle another second, lo and behold, I find something I need to stop and photograph. It works great.

My favorite (read: only) route runs north for a time and then turns west.  I'm pretty sure the west-running track is in the dictionary as the road even LESS traveled by!

Maybe one of the reasons for the lack of traffic on this leg of the trip is the ridiculous drainage ditch someone cut right through the middle of it. I mean, sure the farmers want to be able to use their fields, but didn't they even stop to think what it would do to the casual cyclist?  I somewhat regretted my choice of white tennis shoes when I had to wade through that!

This is the pond on the other side of the ditch...

And here is the view of my prairie farmhouse from the backside. The frequent reader might recognize my famous sunset tree in the cluster of trees to the right of my house. The large, bare hill is where we like to go cross country skiing in winter.

The last hill before I reach my pickup spot!

Here comes the cavalry---otherwise known as my mom and my sweet border collie sister, coming out to rescue me so I won't have to ride all the way home. I hope to be able to do the whole thing myself at some point, but since it would double the length of the route, I will have to work up to it.

If I push myself, I think I might be ready in, oh, another 10 years or so.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Youngest Child's Guide to Father's Day Gift-giving

Sometimes picking that perfect Father's Day gift can be a real challenge.

You know the drill. There's only so many bad ties and barbeque-themed aprons that a guy needs. And then it's Father's Day and you're running off to the store and gift wrapping a jar of peanut butter (true story---saw it today).

It's too late for this year, but if you are a youngest child like me (and you know who you are!) here's a handy-dandy gift guide to keep that person from being YOU the next time Father's Day roles around!


If your dad is the Outdoors Type, give the gift of allowing him to take your kids camping for the weekend. Nothing makes ol' Dad happier than getting to spend quality time hauling your kids around in the dirt while you have a spa getaway.

Does he like to eat out? Let him have the pleasure of treating you to a dinner at his favorite restaurant. Because if you weren't there, would he really take the time to go for himself? I didn't think so.

Have a Handy Man for a dad? Well, how often does he get a chance to really use all those tools he's collected from previous Father's Days? Make a fun list of things you'd like fixed around the house---trust me, Dad will be thrilled to feel so needed.

Is your dad the type that has lawn equipment with the words "Turbo" and "Charged" in the title? He's probably in the garage right now running his hands over their smooth finish and wishing he had somewhere---anywhere---to take them for a spin. Don't be selfish!----Call dad up and let him know he can use your yard any time.

Sports fan? Everyone knows that football can get a little boring after a while---spice his routine up a  bit with tickets to a spectacular ice dancing competition.

If your dad is an animal lover, imagine his joy when you allow him to pet sit while you jet off to Hawaii on vacation! I mean, there is no better companionship than a Springer Spaniel who's been left home for a week....He'll thank you later, really.

Is Dad a cook? Does he love to barbeque? Is his favorite channel the Food Channel? Give him the opportunity to showcase off his best moves by letting him cater a dinner at your house. For an added bonus, why not make it a party and invite a bunch of your friends over so they can see what an amazing chef your dad is!

What about the Green Thumb Dad? Well, what's the only thing better than one yard to work his magic on? Two, of course! Buy a bunch of plants---don't hold back, go all out (this is for Dad, after all)---and invite Dad over for a planting party. If you send the kids out to help him while you stay out of his way, so much the better. They will make memories they will cherish for years!


These are just a few ideas to get you started. With a little creativity and thought, any youngest child can take Dad's hobbies and come up with a idea.

I know my dad is amazed, anyway.

Love you, Daddy! 

Happy Father's Day from your little princess...

Best Mother's Day Present Ever!

I have a certain, shall we say, fondness for receiving presents. Just about any occasion will do.

And just about any present will do.

But this Mother's Day, my mom really outdid herself in picking the most sweetest, most special-est present for my sister and me. Well, at least for me, anyway. My sister was kind of a dud about it, but that's OK, because it gave me a temporary edge in the favorite daughter competition.

Long ago (exactly how long shall remain undisclosed), my mom made my sister and me matching dresses out of a pretty white fabric with strawberries on it. I LOVED that dress and was very bitter when I outgrew it---that happened with a lot of dresses back then, really, since I tended to forge deep and lasting relationships with my clothes. These days, I'm happy when they pass on because it gives me a reason to go shopping.

Fickleness, thy name is Tina.

But this dress I loved with a passion. I felt cute in it. I WAS cute in it.

And my sweet mother hunted down the same strawberry fabric and bought enough to make my sister and me each a big girl dress out of it.

When I opened the package, my mouth dropped open and I gasped in delight. Instant recognition spanned the intervening years.

When my sister opened the package she went, "You're making us....curtains?"

Tssssssssssst. Score one for the Teenster!

What a Difference a Month Makes...

In one month----from May to June----we went from this.....

To this....

I love spring! Even if I do spend two months of it afflicted with ferocious allergies.

Spring is worth every sniffly, snarfy, sneezy moment!