An Unexpected Visit from Wild and Wonderful Old Man Winter

An Unexpected Visit from Wild and Wonderful Old Man Winter

We drove up to Breckenridge last weekend, expecting wonderful weather and golden-hued fall color. I couldn’t believe it when the snow began to fly as we approached the Eisenhower Tunnel. I had wondered when Old Man Winter would pay us a visit, but I figured he might wait until the middle of October.

Only a day after the official start of autumn, he surprised us.

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I have been predicting an early winter. I’m gifted and talented in that way. There’s a slant to the light and the birds have been flocking together for weeks now. The perennials died back early, I’ve never seen so many owls hunt during the day, and the squirrels have been in hyper-drive. What does that have to do with an early winter? I have no idea. I’m not even an amateur meteorologist. Someone told me pinecones packed high on the tops of trees indicate a cold, snowy winter. YES! Must be a Farmer’s Almanac thing. Why would trees do that? Maybe if there is a megaton of snow, the pinecones won’t get buried and rot in the spring melt. Who knows? I’m ready for snow.

Wonder why I’m excited? The photo says it all…

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Yep. Those are ski runs in the hills out yonder.

It melted today (moan), but I think the Old Man is lurking. I bet there will be more surprises on the horizon. Winter will arrive early this year.

Are you ready for winter? Has the Old Man surprised your neighborhood yet?

Dodging Bullets and Creepy Crawlers

Roxy is a hunter. If you looked at her body, you’d say, “Nah, I don’t believe it.” She’s pretty puny with front legs about eight inches long.

Believe it.

Dodging bullets and creepy crawlers

She has been known to take down grasshoppers and the occasional mouse. In the beginning of the summer, she had been outside for quite a while. I became concerned. There were plenty of rabbits around, so I wasn’t too worried about a repeat performance with the Coywolf. In fact, I haven’t seen him or his kin around all summer. Instead, there’s been an owl, who (no pun intended) has hung out for months. Anyway, I worried Roxy’s radio collar’s battery had died and she was off gallivanting somewhere. It happened to be trash day.

I found her all right. She stood over something furry and freshly killed judging by the blood in the grass. A young rabbit. Euww! I ran inside for two grocery bags, picked it up and tossed it out. What could I say? Bichons are known for their mad hunting skills. I couldn’t punish her. I checked her coat, but she was as white as the pure driven snow. Hmmm. I wondered about the owls.

A few weeks ago, I found her in the very same place, right on the edge of her dogwatch system standing over her rabbit prey. The owl flew from the thick green canopy when I walked outside later that day. Aha! Roxy must have scared it off and stolen the owl’s dinner. Then I stole it from both of them and into the bin it went.

Dodging bullets and creepy crawlers

Flash forward two weeks. I returned from a quick trip to California and arrived at midnight on Monday. All I could manage the next day was a quart of black coffee and the newspaper.

There it was. An article about Tularemia. I had seen a sign posted at the trailhead last summer when I went on an epic waterlogged bike trip around the Boulder reservoir. It warned (and I paraphrase), “Contact with dead rabbits with the disease could cause high fever and swollen lymph nodes. It can be treated with antibiotics if caught early.” The article suggested we call animal control for any dead animals in the yard. If we insisted on removing them ourselves, we should use a shovel and cover our bodies with long sleeves and pants.

What??? I’d been in a t-shirt and shorts every time. It had been two weeks since the “incident.” I looked at Roxy. Her eyes were clear and she seemed to be her old high-spirited self. The rabbits must not have been infected.

Bullet dodged.

I took a nap in the afternoon and Roxy cuddled with me. I scratched her fur and found a speck of dirt. She must have rolled around while playing at the kennel. She needed a bath and a haircut, so I made an appointment for 10:00 on Thursday.

When I dropped her off, the groomer said, “It’ll take about three or four hours.” I returned home and caught up with writing. I planned to get a lot done since it had been a short week.

At noon, the phone rang. “I have some bad news,” she said.

I thought about the tularemia symptoms and wondered if she detected the disease somehow.

“She has fleas.”

Her words struck me like shrapnel. “No!”

“We found a few eggs. They’re just like specks of dirt.”

I just about fell on the floor. I flicked the egg I found in her fur onto the bedspread!

She would give Roxy a flea bath and give her some kind of treatment. In hyperdrive, I asked about a zillion questions and she finally directed me to the Internet. Of course, that’s always a reliable source. Ahem.

The top search was a first hand story about a lady in England who had an infestation problem of monstrous proportions. According to her, I needed to vacuum everything that couldn’t be washed and then repeat it every day for two month. She used flea powder everywhere. I had cancer thee years ago. I don’t want to be anywhere near insecticide.

I imagined how many times Roxy had run through the house shaking flea eggs all over the place. It grossed me out.

It took seven hours to do all the work. Is this what my next month would look like? I’d have no time for anything else. I went to bed that night exhausted and depressed about all the cleaning ahead.

The next day, I caught up on writing and blogging, and planned on cleaning in the afternoon.

The phone rang. It was another groomer from the same place. “I see that Roxy is due for a visit. Would you like to book an appointment?”

I laughed and said she’d been in yesterday. “She has fleas.”

“Oh, no.”

Her reaction added to my already heavy heart. “So I guess I’ll be cleaning every day so I don’t get an infestation.”

She explained that soap and water kills them. “She got the Advantix treatment, right? You won’t have an infestation.” She explained that the eggs stick to their fur and she wouldn’t have shaken them everywhere. I was somewhat relieved since I washed all the bedding the day before. Hopefully that  tiny little sucker I found in her fur didn’t roll under the bed…

“So is Advantix a repellant or insecticide?”

“Insecticide. Don’t worry, she won’t get bites from fleas, ticks or mosquitos. August is the last month for treatments, so you won’t have to come back until she’s ready for another grooming.”

Oh, God. Apparently, I will have a freakin’ bug bomb running around the house on four paws for the next month. I hate insecticide. At least she can’t be infected by anything and I don’t have to spend seven hours a day cleaning.

Another bullet dodged, sort of.

In the meantime, I’m reducing the size of her yard. Her dogwatch radio fence can be changed by the twist of a button.

She’ll be only hunting for a warm spot to cuddle.

You’re welcome, owls.

Owl Thanks You

Have you ever dealt with fleas or other pesky pests? Have you ever seen an owl?

Bulldog Caption Contest Results are in!

Roxy had a tough time picking out a caption. There were so many good ones! She finally gave up and chose one from my hat.

A very intelligent dog.

There was another contest of sorts. Which photograph was the best one for the caption? The bottom photo won paws down.

And the winner is? Drumroll please…. dumdumdumdumdmudmdudmdudmdm…

Lisa from Life with the Top Down with:

“If Monday had a face.”

When Lisa takes a stand, it’s with a hilarious sense of humor. Check out and follow her blog. You’ll be glad you did!

This will be a monthly feature so there will be another chance to win in September. Thanks to all who participated!

His tongue knows how to hang loose on a Friday.

National Dog Day Caption Contest! Bulldog tongue hanging out

If Monday had a face. – Lisa from Life with the Top Down

 

 

Roxy has a quite the story for you on Wednesday. She almost got us into BIG trouble. See you then!

Click  for more adventures on the Wild Ride. I tweet tons @susielindau and love Instagram because photography.

How is your Monday going so far? Any big plans today or do you feel like my little bulldog friend?

National Dog Day! Caption Contest

While in Vancouver, I met this little guy on a water taxi. Once he settled into a spot on the floor, he let it all hang out. His tongue. The entire ride.

First, pick a photo. I couldn’t choose! Leave a comment and the best caption will get featured here on the Wild Ride. I’ll link you up.

Which photo do you like the best?

National Dog Day Caption Contest! Bulldog hanging out

Or this one?

National Dog Day Caption Contest! Bulldog tongue hanging out

Can’t wait to see what you come up with. Have a Wild Weekend. Yeehaa!

It’s Not too Late for a Weekend Getaway Like This One!

It's not too late for an end of summer getawayThink summer is slipping away? It is. Mental lists of activities planned for the summer will fade as days shorten and cooler air rolls in. It can be stressful to think about fall if you haven’t enjoyed your summer. You might think it’s too late for a weekend getaway.

I stressed out about two weeks ago. I had made a list of everything I wanted to do this summer and then conquered less than half of it. The list was written on a note. It must have gotten tossed out with the morning paper. Been there?

One activity stuck in my mind. I wondered if it could recapture summer. There was only one way to find out.

My son, Kelly, moved to Burbank, California and has been attending Icon Music Production School since July. He’s heading home between quarters, but I thought a beach trip might be just what I need to get my end of summer fix.

With less than two weeks before leaving, I wondered if the flights would be astronomical. I booked roundtrip flights to LAX for $140 through Southwest. Whoa! My daughter, Courtney, joined me.

I used VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner) and booked a place in Venice Beach. I’ve rented many through the years, but poor location, lack of air-conditioning, hard beds and pillows can add up to a not-so-great experience. I’m usually pretty lucky.

This one was the bomb. Super modern and a few blocks from Abbot Kinney, I wanted to move in permanently. We were more than pleased.

We spent a lot of time on the beach. Being landlocked, I appreciate the rhythmic thrum of the waves breaking on shore, the sandy beaches and am always awed by the ocean.

I had seen The Easy Lay on The List and bought one on the beach two days later!

Plan a Weekend Getaway

It’s as comfortable as it looks.

We ate like Kings and Queens at Killer ShrimpWater Grill and brunch at The Tasting Kitchen. It was hard not to overeat.

Killer Shrimp

It’s a good thing we visited. I walked into Kelly’s apartment and it looked the same as when I left. He and his roommates hadn’t bought any furniture for the living room or kitchen. There was no place to eat or sit down.

A trip to IKEA was in order. For just under $500, we bought a sleeper couch, table and four chairs, a side chair and a coffee table. Thank you IKEA!

Two guys and a woman in front of IKEA with furniture boxes

I hope everything is out of boxes and put together by the time I need another summer fix around November. UPDATE: Three more chairs to go. Yes!

The best part of my end of summer getaway? Hanging out with my kids!

Collage of Lindau family on vacation in Santa Monica

Yes, I recaptured summer and just in time. It’s not too late for you. Check something off your list.

What’s on your end of summer list? Where would you go to getaway? Have you used VRBO or AirBnB?

How I learned to fly!

wanderlust yoga festival learning to fly

I learned how to fly. I let go. I trusted. I flew by being, not doing.

Yesterday, I returned from Wanderlust Yoga Festival in a peaceful state of bliss, feeling renewed, refreshed and very sore. From meditation to slack lining, this four day adventure blew my mind.

I had worried about my first class, acroyoga, mentioned in my last blog post. As I sat among sixty others waiting to become fliers, I wondered how my mending body would perform. Partial knee and broken wrist notwithstanding, I hoped I had the strength. I wasn’t worried about my own body crashing as much as face planting someone else. My mind jumped from doubt to regret that I hadn’t worked out enough. I worried my body wasn’t strong enough. That I wasn’t enough. As I sat under blue skies with the breathtaking mountains in the backdrop, my heart raced and my palms perspired.

Our instructor said we couldn’t fly without one, three letter word. Yet. We couldn’t fly, yet. He said we would all fly by the end of the class.

No way, I thought.

How did we practice? Through grounding trust exercises. We would have partners and had to learn to let go.

Looking back, this was the perfect class to start the festival.

supporting a flyer

That’s me on the bottom as the support system.

So much of the festival was about letting go. Letting go of the same negative thoughts. Letting go of old wounds. Freeing our minds to create space for new thoughts to grow. Learning to listen so we could trust our soul to guide us along the way.

Did I fly? In many ways, yes, I did. Old wounds both mental and physical reopened, so they could be released.

Was is painful? Yes! I was close to tears for three days. On the fourth, I felt stronger, lighter, happier. When I came to Whistler, I had planned to solve problems by doing. When I left, I had made a decision. Being and letting life happen was enough. My body was enough. I was enough.

I could fly!

flying high in acroyoga
Have you ever gone on an adventure that changed you in some way? Would you consider going to Wanderlust? Do you want to open your mind to new ideas?

Summer’s Race for Stillness

three daisies

Summer fun includes a wide range of activities. Some can be enjoyed at breakneck speeds while others require taking a moment to be still and take in the surrounding beauty.

It’s wildflower season in the high country. Summer is so fleeting at high altitudes, it’s hard to find them at their peak. I went on a quest.

While hiking Baker’s Tank in Breckenridge, Colorado, I shared the trail with others on a different sort of quest. It was part of a race course for mountain bikers. I was surprised they took the time to say hello, smiling and chatting as they passed. Later, I found out the race was 100 miles long! I don’t know if you’ve ever biked in the mountains, but sometimes you can walk faster than you can bike when trails become treacherous.

On the way back home, I found this amazing field of flowers. They were backlit by afternoon sun. Time stood still while I stopped to take in this magnificent sight.

In stillness we find beauty.

 

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As I headed to the car, a bike racer road up behind me on the trail. He was a couple miles away from the finish line, all downhill. You can see the relief in the smile on his face.

“How many hours have you been biking?” I asked.

mountain bike racer

“Nine hours. Almost done,” he said while whizzing by.

Amazing. We both succeeded in our quests only mine required complete stillness.

Do you have plans to go hiking this summer? Is it winter where you live? Have you ever mountain biked or found a huge field of wild flowers?

This is a response to the Weekly Photo Challenge – Details.

Click for more adventures on my Wild Ride. You are welcome to share my photos on Pinterest!