Spring? Hah.

Backyard is under a foot of snow. One corner of the fabric greenhouse is groaning under a lump of snow I’m too short to dislodge. I’m shocked the fabric made it thru the winter, fifth or sixth season? There are micro tears where it crosses the support structure. I’ll be replacing the fabric or building a roof for it this year. The backyard apple saplings are barren sticks with sad brown leaves clinging drunkenly to sagging limbs.

Front yard is enduring “break up” and the sins of winter are emerging. Front walk is the childhood game of lava – skipping from stone to stone to avoid the shoe sucking mud (gleefully created by three no no bad dogs and their ring leader my daughter). Getting the dogs out and back in involves a LOT of towels to wipe down their muddy paws and undercarriages.

The only glimmer of hope lays beneath the front overhang, shielded from doggy predation by a garden fence. Intrepid tulips, daffodil, crocus and snowdrops are emerging. Green whisps of optimism pushing up thru frigid ground. The bleeding heart and other perennials are dormant for another 4-6 weeks. The evergreens are taking on a subtly greener vibrant hue as they wake.

Alaska spring is not for the faint of heart. It can be a singularly miserable experience as the snow rots, melts, and smells. You have to work hard to find the budding pushy willows and bulbs and actively ignore the mud, poop, blackened snow and cavernous pot holes.


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To be

He is 14.
My heart will surely break when he leaves this planet.

But let’s not think of that.

Tonight I sink my fingers in his coat softened with age. I whisper stories into his ear about his herding prowess. His intelligence. His courage. I thank him for helping raise our human child. I tell him love stories of our years together.

He noses my thigh and licks my cheek and tells me not to worry. That he is my friend and my partner. To be.

And teaching me “to be” might be the best thing he has done.

I love my Bing so terribly much.


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Medical costs

I was reviewing my claims under Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield for my recent medical emergency during my ‘help mom out’ visit to California.

My out of pockets for the six prescriptions was $36.71. I am very very grateful indeed for good medical coverage. The ambulance bill to be transported 13 miles in the dead of the night was $2,589 and change – I am waiting to hear what my portion of that will be. No word yet on the emergency room charges.

While I was reviewing the pharmacy stuff, it caught my eye that CVS  Pharmacy in Healdsburg CA (store # 1173) charged my insurance $223.93, the retail prce printed on the informational sheet was $57.99, and my out of pocket was $8.65. What? I looked deeper. 10 Ondansetron 4 mg tablets cost my insurance company $223.93. Over $20 per tablet charged by CVS to Blue Cross to grant me relief from nausea. I want to emphasize I was NOT responsible for the huge dollar amount, my cost was less than a buck a pill.

Still – The charge to my insurance company was completely outrageous. I wanted to know if an error had been made, or if they were being scalped.

So I called Premera. I spoke with John, who listened to my story and seemed to understand my concern was not that I’d be charged anything extra, but that this cost seemed out of line with what was provided, especially in view that the retail price was printed on the medication sheet as a still expensive $57.99.

John called Express Scripts (the branch that deals with pharmacy stuff for Blue Cross in Healdsburg). They confirmed the $223.93 was customary and correct.


When I encounter things like this I can’t help but wonder how long it takes for that $223.93 takes to get magnified and passed down to you and me as monthly premiums for our insurance, if we are so fortunate as to have insurance. Because somebody, somewhere, is eating that charge. And I have a very difficult time believing it costs $22 per tablet to manufacture Ondansetran (generic for Zofran) and still turn a healthy profit.


Ouch. I think our out of pocket for the mom-stress induced medical emergency is going to be in the neighborhood of $3,000. About 20% of the total bill which is nearing $15,000. I am indescribably grateful we have health insurance.

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Kate is 11



Happy 11th birthday to my sweet natured barky girl Kate.
She is my fighter jet on a kite string sheep herder, snuggle buddy, lazy – smart rally-er (Down. Dooowwnnn. Doowwwnnnn, Kate, pat pat pat), pretty conformation girl.

We have had an awful lot of fun from your Best of Breed at our first Conformation show, realizing you had no clue what Down meant at our first Rally trial, your fair weather herding where we worked so hard to finish your AKC Started Course A title which included a Reserve High in Trial with our friend Suzanne.

You helped Bing become a better more confident boy with your puppyhood shenanigans. You are such a dear sweet girl.

Here’s to many more years of snuggles and surprises. I’m so grateful Kat entrusted you to me.


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14 years

Thank you Kathy Seube and Floyd for trusting me with my first Cardigan.

He is 14 today. We’ve had such adventures.

I imagine you watching us from Heaven, Kat. I think you’d approve of how far we’ve come.


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I enjoy seeing the harebells bloom.

I painted our door to match them a few years ago, and Es door to match this year.


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And done

Mercy I’m tired.
Floor, baseboard, door trim all done.
Remaining: light switch, room reload.

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Floor is down. 

I’m feeling proud. I thought Scott would do this part of the project but he is run down and his energy is very low. I’m grateful for the work he has done – several hours each night. But – I have done 85% of this project on my own. Not quite what I’d planned for, and put me waaay behind schedule. E will be home in a few minutes. She will sleep in the living room tonight, and probably tomorrow night, as her room is full of the contents of the spare room. 


-Scrape bead off wall left behind by old baseboard

-Install new baseboard and door trim

-Caulk top edge of baseboard / trim

-Replace light switch

-Reload room

Figure about another 12 hours of work. Phew. I’m getting tired. 

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Fiddly bits

I like how the bits around the closet came out.

Plus first coat of paint is in the baseboard and trim.


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Finish is in sight

Almost there, with the ‘easy’ part. 

Last two rows will be time consuming. I have to rip at least 5 boards, notch two for pipes, notch two more for the closet bump.

Hard parts to come. Clean up wall where old baseboard and trim left their caulk residue. Paint new baseboard and door trim. Cut and install baseboard and trim. 

Then the Herculean task if reloading the room. Four book cases and more. 

Ok. Quit procrastinating. Drink of water and back at it. 


E returns home this afternoon.

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