End of a perfect day

End of a perfect day

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Lesson learned from Lou

I lost a faithful friend yesterday. Louie. Affectionally known as Moody Lou.

His last few days were tough on him and on me, yet he remained a good old buddy. Apparently he had a giant mass on his kidney and sometime last week it burst and caused him to bleed internally. It's these kind of days that you wish you could talk to the animals and find out what's bothering them. I knew something was wrong when he hesitated to join me and the boys
on our daily walk. He came along but slowed his pace a few minutes into the walk.

So I've been thinking about him, and yes, crying for our loss, and realized that in his "Louie- way," he taught me a few things.

Louie was the runt of the liter. His mama, Tilly was a stray dog that made our home her home, just long enough to deliver her 7 puppies. The firstborn was Fern, ( Named after the Fern bushes where they were all born.) We were all excited about the puppies and allowed this experience to change our life. At the time we had 3 other dogs, so adding 8 more was total chaos. I still remember wearing clothes stained with puppy paw prints and not thinking anything of it. It was an unusual day for me to get out of the house without a print or two.
Tilly wasn't too interested in her puppies so we had to encourage her to feed and care for them. Our dog Cody served as a nanny for the puppies and was often found sleeping with the pups laying in the bends of his legs and neck. Louie, being the runt, was usually by Cody's foot, farthest from the warmth and companionship of his siblings. This was Louie's bend of independence. Stay close to the pack, yet define your space.

Over the years Louie taught himself many tricks. Not the usual dog tricks that every dog-owner likes to show off at the park, but tricks that got him what he wanted. He had a natural ability to hear the sound of ice cream. I never knew there was a particular sound to dishing up ice cream, yet Louie could be out in the field or sound asleep upstair and he heard "ice cream." His timing was perfect too. He waited until the ice cream was scooped and about half eaten before he made his appearance. Louie would place his paw on my leg to let me know he was there waiting for his dessert. Patience pays off.

Moody Lou was also know as Garbage Lou. He could open almost any garbage
and trash can in the time it took him to walk past it. This was probably his most famous trick and brought much delight to the other dogs. Sharing is always a good idea, especially if the blame gets shared too.

Our dogs learned how to come and go on their own by re-constructing the back door. Jim hand-made our screen door to match the 8 paned glass door. When the puppies were little they learned to jump through one of the screen panes. After several attempts to repair the door, we eventually gave in and let the screen flap for the dogs. As the dog grew the one pane wasn't big enough for them, so they enlarged it to two panes. All of the dogs learned to sail through the screen, coming and going as they pleased, except for Louie. He opened the door. If he wanted to go out, he nudged the door enough to open it and pushed his way out. When he wanted to come in, he used his left paw to reach inside the screen and pull the door open. Of course this drew much attention from visitors. Always make an entrance.

One of my favorite times with Louie was singing with him. He definitely had to be in the mood, but we could usually convince him to give a deep throated howl. When Louie sang base, Beuford sang tenor. And everyone else howled. Make a joyful noise.

Louie's last days were not so different than most days. He ate ice cream, he sang, he barked at the neighbors, he slept under my desk and at the feet of my bed. Be consistent.

Louie was good friend. His departure came too soon and fast. Leave them wishing for more.

I miss you old Louie, but thanks for the memories!

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Secrets Men Keep

It's not too unusual.... he's over there... I'm here, and something breaks, wears out, disappears, or flies away. Most of the time I handle it. I'm a fixer. My father's daughter. Perhaps it's not the the exact way something should be done... but I don't like being told "to wait until I get back."

Poor Jim. He's had to live with my sense of adventure, and most often, had to repair my sense of adventure. But sometimes it's not so bad.

This particular spell has been par for the course.

The tires on my 4-runner were near bald. Where did we travel in that 114,000 miles? Really. I've bought big purchases without Jim before; bought cars, cameras, dogs, so tires are easy. True to myself, I visited the local Costco to inquire about the best deal, smoothest ride, and longest tread wear. "Ricky" was a bit taken back by my questions, but soon was showing his computer screen to me, comparing tires. We settled on "touring tires," instead of the "all-terrain, hit as many bumps as possible" tire that I previously had. And oh what joy I have found in driving without feeling my teeth clatter. Jodi 1 point.

Gilly our bird of 16 years flew away. It was sad, yet I was dealing with it.... except she stayed in the neighborhood calling out to me every time I walked outside. "Here I am.. Save me." I listened for her location, ran through the field and found her settled in a Pepper Tree.... 3 fields away. After trying to coax her down from afar, I drove around the block to the nearest driveway, knocked on the door of the house and explained that my bird was in their backyard. The lady said, "Whatever. Do what you need to do." I smiled and ran to the backyard, calling out "Gilly, Gilly." She responded with delight and a few chirping sounds. She even puffed up her feathers like she was ready to fly to me. Then stopped. I got back in my car, drove home, found a bunch of extension poles and drove back to encourage her down. She squawked at me andstarted her decent toward me. I dropped the pole and was ready to run to her, when a dog barked and she swooped up to a 60 foot Eucalyptus tree. Aughhhh! If she is going to fly away....why doesn't she just go without all the noise? For the next 3 days she notified me of her locations. Each time I introduced myself to the homeowner and strained my neck for a few hours trying to persuade her to come down. Austin even climbed a tree in attempt to catch her. He lost his shoe and hesitated to come down after he realized how high he had climbed. I finally had to say "bye bye birdie" and make a lot of noise everytime I walked out the door to muffle her sounds . Jodi Minus 1 point.

Our dog Louie has been sick. I'm not sure what to do for him... even ice cream isn't drawing him out. Poor Lou. Jodi Minus 2 points

I noticed that a headlight was out on my 4runner. Of course, I have the "super bright, see everywhere in the dark" kind of lights - so I asked Jim and JT exactly what I need to replace the bulb. They both said just go to Autozone and tell them you have the super, ultra bright lights and they will help you out. I scouted Autozone out, waiting to stop when there were just a fewcars in the parking lot, hoping I would get a guy that would see a damsel in distress and offer to change the bulb. No such luck. The inventor of the automobile must have been my sales associate. He was very helpful and found the bulbs I needed, stating "that these are great, but they don't last long because they are so bright... but if you can afford them, they are great."
I forked over $53.00 and decided it couldn't be too difficult to do. I found the owners manual and the page where it clearly states how to change the bulbs. Step 1. Remove the rubber boot, pulling on the top tab. Step 2. Relase the hold-down spring. Step 3. Pull out old bulb. Step 4. Insert new bulb. Step 5. Carefully reinstall rubber boot, being sure Top tab is on the top.

mmmm. Step 1. The top tab was off to the side. I guess JT/Jim didn't realize that was important when pulling it off. After a little struggle the boot came off. Step 2. Spring was tight as a tick. About 13 minutes later and a bloody finger, the spring loosened, and I was able to grasp the old bulb... for a second. It then jetted into the headlight.... just millimeters from the reach of my fingers. Aughhhhhhh! I found a piece of wire and was able to lasso the bulb, but could not get my finger into the tiny opening and pull it out. Darkness came. A few more tools were tired, but nothing seemed to give me the clearance, movement, or ability to reach, grab and pull at the same time.

Then I remembered Jim and JT's car musuem.... where they gather tools that are absolutleynecessary, but are often used for one particular purpose. I braved the dark, eventually found the master switch to turn on the lights and spotted "The Tool. " It was laying on the counter, guarded by a masage spider web with a black widow nearby. I attacked with a broom and battled the web and spider, grabbed The Tool and ran out. I had no idea what I held in my hands, but it was flexiable, long, slender and had a little grabber on the end. As I practiced the technique, I discovered a bright light on the end of the grabber! What an amazing tool. It took only seconds to retrive the bulb, pull it through the impossibly smallopening and install the new one. Even the rubber boot slid on without incident. Turned on the car. Lights! Bright lights! - Jodi 3 points! ( Extra points for discovering the secrets men keep!)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Music to my ears

Every house has it's quirks. Squeaking floors, dripping pipes and moaning walls, yet I think our house has a different standard of bumps and pings it emits.

Having our office in the house certainly adds to the harmony of all the noise, as the fax machine beeps randomly in the night and the postage meter changes it's date at midnight, but it's the "sorrels-made" noises that bring a smile to my face.

The snoring of three dogs who are usually sound asleep by 8:15 have a way of providing our own "white noise." Although their snores are often drowned out by the man of the house and his night sounds, I can usually fall fast asleep between the sighs and yawns they produce.

Most days you will hear the "hum" of the vacuum, along with the prrrr from our irobot cleaning upstairs. While moving furniture, a favorite chair in the TV room shouts out "Hey, you're
making me angry!" No joke. Come and listen!

Then there are the look-alikes that grace our home. The Jodi-doll ( who is currently missing in action) squeaks out a little "Merk" when you squeeze her tummy. The newest addition of look-alike dolls is the JT-doll. Anna created this doll for me to help with my empty nest syndrome. Squeeze his tummy and he says, "Are you going to REI... can I come?" and squeeze his head and he repeats the famous, "Mother-mom, Mother-mom, Mother-mom" chant. All this in JT's own
voice. JT claims that he was tricked into recording these precious words, but I think not. I'm sure that JT was a willing accomplice for my listening enjoyment!

Gilly the bird adds her special voice to our home. She begins her day with ten to fifteen minutes of squawks and screeches, and a few times each year she adds clucking and clattering sounds before she lays an egg.

All of these special sounds are heard within the house, but just step outside to catch the braying of the neighbor's donkey or the lou - lou of the party of peacocks that live up the road. (They sound like a cat mewing at a very high decibel) As the sun sets, the band of Coyotoes play their songs too, yelping and yipping as they race down the driveway.

For all this, I give thanks.
"Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!
Psalms 150:6

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Be still

For the first time in probably 20 years I had the house completely to myself. Okay, not completely, I shared it with 4 dogs, a bird and the fish in the pond, but there were no other humans talking back to me.

I loved it. Listening to the sounds of the house, the creaks and groans that usually go unnoticed because of all the activity that transmits from this house. I stayed up late and cleaned closets, vacuumed spiderwebs, washed woodwork, and then stayed up a little later to read myself to sleep. At the crack of dawn, Brody was ready to begin his day, but I was able to pet his head and massage his eyes into a few more minutes of sleep. But even getting up to let the dogs out was delightful, as the morning sun filtered through the fog and gently warmed the day.

My morning coffee was consumed either in "Little Italy" in our backyard, or as I watched Nora and Brody leap through the fields from the front porch.

Other than a few "good dog, bad dog" words, I probably only spoke to a handful of people. Interesting point, our house phone has been on the blinks for several months, so I didn't deal with any telemarketers or annoying calls.

As these quiet days were coming to an end, I realized how good it is to be still. To be where you want to be and to know that in these moments of solitude, God stirs. He reminded me of His presence through the whispers of the trees, through the puppy dog eyes that followed me, through the flowers that lighten to the morning sun. Be still and know that I am God.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


It's amazing what that word implies.  It makes me think that there is something better although I was perfectly satisfied with what I had.  

I try to contain myself when I go to pick up my rental car and the counter-person informs me that I have been upgraded from a compact to a economy at no charge.  The shrivers run down my leg with that word... I'm getting something that I did not pay for.  Whoohoo!  Even though I notice that all of the cars are economy models and there never were any compacts, I'm thrilled to receive an "upgrade." ( but the truth of the matter... the rental car is a Ford Focus ... not a BMW.)

But better yet is to hear that word at an airport check-in.   I'm  a seasoned traveler and have a fairly good understanding of seat selection on most airplanes.  It's only taken me 14 years to unravel the code of the airlines.  ( You know, the secret codes that represent the rules of the airlines.  i.e.  If you purchase a Y class on Tuesday and want to travel to Toledo, the fare may be $350.  But if you purchase a K class on Tuesday you may travel to Toledo and Chicago for just $99, but you must return through Dallas before 5:00 PM on Saturday or you will be penalized.)  After figuring out the best possible route and fare the challenge begins as I attempt to claim one of the coveted "exit-row" seats.  I'm not going to tell you what seat number that is f because then I'll be competing with you too.  

I've confirmed my seat and can now I rest knowing that I will be able to get on and off the airplane in the early boarding group.  ( Why you ask?  I'm not sure.... it has something to do with the rush of it all!)

And then it happens.  A minute before boarding my name is paged. Oh dear.  I hope and pray that there isn't a family emergency, but that always crosses my mind.  I bravely walk to the ticket counter and identify myself.  "Mrs. Sorrels, we have a seat for you in business class, but it is not an aisle seat.  Would you like this upgrade?"   I can feel my legs begin to wobble but I constrain myself trying desperately to act as if this is an everyday occurrence. "Sure, that would be great. Thanks,"  But inside, I can feel the cheer begin.  I won!  I get something better. Something that I didn't pay for.   I won't need to cram into that old exit row seat, I'll lounge in a "pod."  I won't be eating just airplane food, I'll be served better than average airplane food.

 Although it's free... it really isn't.  I've flown over a million miles to get this free upgrade.  Once.   

 Jesus asked me if I wanted an upgrade.  "Would you like forever-lasting life, along with grace, goodness, kindness, peace and righteousness?  It doesn't take a million miles and it is available to everyone.   Would you like this upgrade? "   "I tell you the truth, anyone who believes (in Him) has eternal life.  Yes, I am the bread of life!"  John 6:46-48   I constrain myself, yet the cheer has begun!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Happy in Hawaii

I've said it for years to Anna and JT...  When I get old (okay, older) and unable to make rational decisions, just drop me off in Kauai along with my uniform and a few pairs of reefs.  Now I'll add a few things to that list.  Don't forget my dogs and my Toyota 4Runner.  I guess I'll need a little money for gas and dog food too.    

I do love Kauai. The pace is slower here, but that probably has a lot to do with the fact that I'm on vacation.  My favorite spot on the island is Tunnels Beach on the North Shore.  Tunnels is a favorite spot for the locals to surf and scuba dive and is one of the few places in the Hawaiian islands where one could find a "Hawaiian Sunsrise" seashell and the tiny puka shells.  On my very first visit to Kauai, I remember an older Hawaiian woman sitting on the shore sifting sand through her hands in search for tiny puka shells.  At the time, I wondered how anyone could sit for such a time gathering shells, but over the year, shelling has become one of my favorite "sports" of Kauai.  And someday I will find that perfect little Hawaiian Sunrise.

Today we stopped for lunch at the famous Bubba Burgers.  There are two of these hamburger joints on Kauai and almost every tourist to Kauai visits Bubba's at least once.  To be perfectly honest, the burgers are okay, the service is slow, and the french fries are always cold, yet a vacation on Kauai isn't complete without a visit to Bubba's... where they relish your  buns.

 We've learned the secrets of Hawaiian souvenir shopping.  No, it's not Hilo Hattie, the Store of Hawaii, but Wal-Mart, the store of America.  Jim and I usually make Wal-Mart one of our first stops on the island so we can pick up a fresh bottle of sunscreen, a few postcards, and a handful of gifts that we can lavish on our friends.  What we don't find at Wal-Mart, we're almost sure to find at our second stop... Costco.  

So when I get older... drop me off in Kauai...  but don't forget to give me my Costco card!

Monday, March 2, 2009

In like a lion... out like a lamb.  It's March, yet in Southern California we welcomed the month with summer-like weather.    

My brother and sister-in-law from Colorado(coloooradooo) are here for a few days. If there every was a person who lives life for each beautiful moment... Todd is it.  Out of 4 brothers, he is most like my dad.  Todd savors the simplicity of life, even though the life journey he has taken has not been simple.  He has a deep love for Carole, his wife of 25 years. They truly smile at each other and find pure joy.  And he has the cutest little grandson this side of the Rockies.  (I can say that now, because I don't have any grandchildren... just grand dogs!)  
So back to the perfect California weather.  Todd arrived sometime during the dark early hours on Saturday morning after spending the day and evening hiking around Lake Mead.   

After a few cups of coffee and a couple hours of catching up, we packed the cars and headed to the beach for a day of kayaking and hiking.  JT met us along the way, so Todd had a paddling buddy.  Carole and I walked the beach for about 3 hours, re-discovering the tide pools, sea urchins, shells, sand dollars and even a few star fish.  It really was a perfect day.

Sunday morning plans were to visit the "famous Kolby's swap meet" and then the beach. Todd and JT didn't have much interest in bargain shopping so they loaded the car again - this time adding a bike, unicycle, and a little sunscreen.  

Carole carefully picked out a few California t-shirts and a couple Mexican bobbing-headed turtles to bring home to family. The bargain of the day  was a skim board for Todd.  Just another toy to add to his already full car.

We met Todd and JT at LaJolla shores ... actually just JT. Todd was off surfing!  He always wanted to learn to surf, so he found a surfboard rental shop and took to the waves.  JT enjoyed paddling up and down the California coast as he avoided playful seals swimming by.

I wish each day could be so perfect, yet maybe they are.  Through the eyes of the beholder...  I hope to start each day with a word or two of thanks and praise to God, my creator. I hope to take the time to notice how blessed I am to wake with few aches and pains, and be able to stand strongly on my own.  And as my "perfect" day unwinds, I pray that I will be an instrument of God's hands.  Loving and giving in His name for His glory.