Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Spring Clean Ups

It’s that time again – the time when confusion reigns and it doesn’t look as if everything will possibly get sorted out in time for the real garden season.

I welcome spring with mixed feelings. I am pleased to see the end of the snow and the cold, but the first few weeks of the season are always related to a lot of work. So much work in fact that it doesn’t seem possible to even contemplate it all. As soon as the snow has melted and it is dry enough in the garden you just want to get out and get your hands dirty. There are a few jobs that need attending and I am trying to convince myself that I actually enjoy them. I imagine how nice the garden will look.

As I sit on the patio with grand visions of my yard, these thoughts of conquering and beautifying my yard quickly begin to fade as I think of the days I need to accomplish the task. Perhaps I could split the garden up into manageable sections and did a task each day, it wouldn’t be so bad. The lawn needs attending first as leaves and branches fallen during the winter storms need to be removed. Spring also reveals a horrific scene of unwanted weeds from last year that need sending to the trash Trimming back plants and shrubs to prepare them for the new season would follow. The garden however, who is easily ignored until seemingly over night the perennials are peeking through the soil and begin to push their green selves into the air for another year. Sights of tulips and daffodils pushing up like periscopes from the muddy depths are greeting me with fresh vibrant new growth peeking up through the ruins of last year.

Then of course there are the dogs who always want to lend a hand with digging in the soil and pulling out the plants They are quite vocal too and have a lot to say, so much in fact, that I better leave them in the house should I get enough energy to actually making my fantasy of a beautiful garden reality.

So the timing has not been quite right yet, my fantasy that I would putter in my garden has not materialized yet. How easy it could be to keep up with it all! Who am I kidding! It won’t happen. I’ll put it off until I am having people over for coffee, then I’ll fly into a frenzy and get busy attempting to give the impression that my garden is always easy to look after. Or maybe I should just call the gardener to do the task for me, but then again I could not brag that my garden is my labor of my love. I probably wouldn’t have calluses and an aching back and a deep feeling of satisfaction.

I carry on this procrastination as long as possible and finally cave mostly because I cannot stand the sight of it any longer.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

ASSA 2011

This years ASSA National was in Grey Summit west of St Louis Missouri.

The beautiful banner of the 2011 ASSA National

We arrived Tuesday and the plan was to pick up our rental car at the airport, which is a 30 minutes drive from our hotel, only to find out that all rental cars were leased out. We were quite disappointed and agreed to take a cab that charged us an astronomical price.

Our hotel was beautiful. Build in the early 1800 with its 36 inches thick limestone walls offering genuine midwestern hospitality, made for a comfortable stay. We even had a choice of firm or soft pillows, a first for me and a nice touch.

The event was at the new Purina Farms Event Center, a perfect location with a new state of the art indoor facility. Bright and large with cushioned flooring for the big ring and lots of grooming space. The surrounding areas of the center had plenty of grassland with picturess scenery.

We did our shopping right away, as the evening was set-aside for the visiting hour. Many beautiful dogs caught my eyes, especially the young puppies that placed so well in their classes and the top quality dogs I had admired from afar.

Here is a noteworthy, beautiful display.


Wednesday was the judging of the boys. For the evening we were lucky to scalp tickets for the BBQ. Our tablemates were from New York State, Manitoba and Missouri. An impromptu educational question and answer hour led by Rick Thompson followed. Many knowledgeable “Old Timers” participated in giving answers. Overall an enjoyable evening.

The remaining week was spent watching our beautiful shelties being judged, socializing, making new friends and visiting with old acquaintances. It was a treat to be on a little holiday.

I would have loved to see padded chairs or bleachers all around the ring. Negotiating getting up and down on them and sitting for hours was not easy to take. Many spectators had bought crate pads to sit on which alleviated the uncomfortable seating arrangement.

People working the show worked so very hard and all appreciated it. At the restaurant I had some great meals and of course the cake celebrating the 100-year birthday…was delicious.

It was good to sit at ringside to relax, no stress, following the dogs in the catalogue enjoying the beautiful shelties of the day and to pick my winners. The best part of the show was to see so many friends I hadn’t seen in a long time. It was nice to catch up.
Congratulation to all the winners!


It would be remiss of me not to write about my Friday Adventure to the Harrah’s Casino. Initially we had planned to take a riverboat cruise down the Mississippi river that evening, but as faith would have it, it wasn’t meant to be. Instead we joined a group who was headed to the casino.
I am not a gambler and my $20.00 had to last the whole evening. Lady Luck was on my side and I was on a roll when all of a sudden my one arm bandit froze and I could no longer place a bet I could only see a black screen. – No time to think and worry in what to do next. – No time to cash out, as I couldn’t anyway. - No time to place my chair in a tipped position indicating that this place was reserved. – At the same time I saw security personnel rushing into a certain direction when all of a sudden sirens screeched in a loud demanding call making you pay attention. Loudspeakers ordered us to proceed into a secure area of the casino. By this time word had got around that a tornado had touched down. Quickly and orderly we were evacuated into an interior, windowless area of the casino. An elderly man next to me was sitting under a table and by this time my brain was functioning again and I realized the magnitude a tornado could have. I was frightened worrying about my safety. I breathed a sigh of relief as I welcomed the call of the loudspeaker ten minutes later announcing the “ALL CLEAR”.
I returned to my one arm bandit were I had left a substantial amount of money earlier only to find a woman in my seat playing with my money. I cautioned her that she was playing with my money and that I wanted it back. Well… I got a nasty look and an even nastier reply. I am not the arguing type and I wasn’t about to argue with the woman who was twice my size. I motioned a supervisor explaining my mishap. He was more than helpful re-acquiring my lost money and then some that by the way was later spend in the casino anyway.
I want to congratulate the casino staff on their efficiency in handling this situation. It could have been a different outcome but all was well.
Our drive back to the hotel took a little longer than usual as many highways were closed because of the devastation the tornado had caused. Our GPS had to re-calculate numerous times!!!!

This National will be remembered for the devastating storm that spawned tornadoes across the region as St Louis and area took a big hit from a tornado that destroyed many homes and damaged many others. The best news was that there was no loss of life as a result of the heavy storms that moved through the area. As we were driving to the airport on Sunday we could see the devastation. Unbelievable to see first hand the power of a tornado as anything in its way was flattened or destroyed. Lambert Airport took a big hit as well and the airport was closed indefinitely as the status of the airport was unknown. The C concourse, which was heavily damaged, remained closed, and people were making other travel arrangements, but by Sunday the airport had returned to normal capacity levels. Airlines flew nearly 70% of scheduled flights and I was happy that we were one of the lucky once leaving.

There is no place like home!