Tuesday, December 18, 2012


This is the view as I walk the girls down our driveway for carpool.

Life is good.  Confirmed.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Something Good

About a month ago, something happened out on the ranch.  Something big.

We got cattle back on the property. And in a way, we got the property back, too.

You may recall that last spring, my folks got out of the cattle business.  I toyed with keeping a few head, but there were a few too many hurdles, and I ended up letting the idea drop.

So the cattle all left, and the grass grew.  And grew.  And grew.  It was so thick and full of foxtails, and later tarweed, that it was neither fun, nor really safe to wade out into the fields.

But just a month ago, the man who bought my father's herd brought back a herd to graze down the pasture.  Around the same time, we got a rain, and my father used his tractor on the softened earth to make a path.  And things changed.

We started taking walks again.

And appreciating our home from different perspectives.  Then, something even better happened.

The cattle started having babies.  Lots of them.

They run and play right outside our back fence.

And we appreciate these sights now more than ever. 
In fact, it is a beautiful morning.  I think I'll take a walk!

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Had to add this photo of the rafters.  Mark was so excited, he got rafters up half-way across the porch!
You can really see the porch taking shape.  And now we'll have a handy place to hang some Christmas lights!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving weekend is always wonderful, but this year was really special.  

I know...I say that every year.  Maybe I should just start saying "unique".  Or extraordinary.  So, here are the extraordinarily unique things we celebrate this year:

1.  We started work on the porch.  Mark's brother John came up to help with the heavy lifting.

Yes, I'm armchair quarterbacking, but doesn't this looks like a candidate for the "Never never do this" lecture on how to lift heavy things?  Check out Mark's back!

And yes, once that first beam was up, we were all thankful and relieved.  And also motivated to set up the scaffolding that would make lifting subsequent beams a lot less sketchy!

Meanwhile, Zach was thankful for Mark's new toy...the jackhammer.  And we were thankful for his enthusiasm!

And I was REALLY thankful for a visit from my 93-year-old grandmother, up all the way from San Diego.

Here she is...holding court, as every great-grandmother should.

"The Boys" made a lot of progress this weekend, getting all the big beams up, and starting on the ledger that attaches the roof to the house.

I wish you all a special, extraordinary, unique, and very thankful weekend as well!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

When I Grow Up

Recently we had "Career Day" at Foothill Elementary.  Mae was her perennial favorite--a veterinarian.  She is nothing if not consistent.  And she does seem to have a real gift with animals, so it does really suit her.  We even put a splint on her little dog's leg!

Abigail was much less settled, but finally was inspired by the lanyard, which caught her eye and made her think of being...a scientist.

She does look like she means business, doesn't she?  I couldn't be more proud!  ;-)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Soccer season

Actually, soccer season came and went. Yesterday was the last game. We DO have All Stars, which the girls will play (by default...top 4 from each team, and we only have 3). But they are still psyched by the "All Star" label. And Mark, despite his earlier self-proclaimed hiatus, will coach. But here they are, Coach Schlaefer and his girls.

I am one proud soccer mom. And wife!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Halloween

Yes! I am actually going to post something WITHIN 24 HOURS of its actual occurance! Yesterday, as you know, was Halloween. Big doings when you have 8-year-olds. This year, as has happened every other year, the girls came up with a costume idea, which we then built together. For the past two years, the costumes have been "paired"...they go together in some way. Last year, they were a cucumber and a pickle, which I absolutely loved. We made identical costumes, but had a sign on each. Such a fun idea for identical twins, isn't it? So here is this year's winner:
Abigail is "Homework", and Mae is "The Dog who Eats the Homework". Abigail actually copied her math facts homework from the prior night, making a few wrong answers, just for authenticity (although she rarely gets one wrong in real life, notes the bragging mother).
Mae had many offers for a new home, especially from the older children. What more could you ask for in a Halloween costume? We did our normal routine, driving around the neighborhood, looking for signs of Halloween. In such a rural setting, trick-or-treating is pretty low density. We ended up visiting about 10 homes. And that was just right. It was a very Happy Halloween.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

My Fifteen Minutes

Here it is...I'm on the ballot right NEXT TO the President of the United States. Yep, Sierra Unified and the leader of the free world. Just one column away.
Now...who to vote for? ;-)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Deep Fried Twinkies

Guess where we went?

I think you probably already know. Because there is nothing synonymous with deep-fried Twinkies like FAIR. Specifically the Big, Big, Big Fresno Fair, in our case. And guess what else they have?

That's right...racing pigs. All-Alaskan racing pigs. They looked like normal pigs, but they were wearing little jerseys. And running super-fast.

They ran so fast, this is the best picture I could get...their rear ends.

They also did hurdles. So now, as I'm sure you've already guessed, we have seen pigs fly.

This woman is holding an emperor scorpion. Mae was duely impressed.

The kids enjoyed all the hands-on exhibits.

It also warmed my heart to see all the prize winners from Sierra High! We visited the Sierra FFA in the livestock barn as well. And then, we went to the midway.

Because along with fair food, and animals, the RIDES are an essential part of the fair.
I'm happy to say...it was a day well spent!

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Banner Month

Here we are, putting up a couple of banners for my campaign for school board.
I also set up a website at connieforsusdboard.weebly.com . C'mon by and check it out!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Tri Hard

Last Sunday, I ran the Shaver Lake Triathlon for the 4th time. Well, I ran most of it. OK, two-thirds. It was my bike's fault.
I had no business doing this in the shape I'm in, but darn...it was great to be up there! Note that I am the only one wearing a wetsuit. I needed the extra buoyancy, just as insurance!
And the best part was sharing the experience with my sister, Karen, and nieces Casey and Megan. All of whom kicked my butt. And yes, those are our ages on our legs. You know what is inspirational? The overall winner was 52! A Sunday well spent.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Out of Order

I tried so hard.

I really wanted things to be tidy and structured.

Because this blog is archival. It is something that we will someday print up and look at once in a while, and review our lives in neat, chronological order.  And I'm still chronicling the summer.

But life doesn't always happen that way.

Sometimes life just overwhelms time and chronology and neatness and order.

Especially when it is tarantula season. Because that is just TOO good to miss!

Now, tarantulas, they DO have a sense of time.  Every fall, they come out of their hidey holes, looking for a mate. 

And MY mate loves to investigate and play with them.

And he is passing that little trick along. At least to Mae. Abigail wants nothing to do with it.

Yep, that little nut didn't fall far from the tree.

Happy Autumnal Equinox!

Friday, August 31, 2012

More Holes

Lady's Bathtub was a wonderful swimming hole because it was deep, and clear, and calm. But there were other holes with other attractions. Next, we went to "The Old Hole". This place was a step up on the excitement scale, with sections of white water surging over slabs of smoothed rock. Which, of course, everyone jumps in and rides like a water park ride. Yes...even my precious babies.

The third hole we visited was just gorgeous. It was called Aggasiz.
  It sounded like Aggasi, as in the tennis player, which I thought was unusual.  When I was researching to confirm how to spell the name, I found this little tidbit at northeastwaterfalls.com:  "This formation is named for noted Swiss scientist Louis Agassiz, who observed and described evidence of glacial activity which suggested the Ice Age."  Having been there, I'm still not sure of the link, but also I found that the hole is also called "Indian Leap".

Yes, one of those. Despite the gorgeous surroundings, it was not my favorite.

I mean, I love leaping just as much as the next guy, but the tiny little target hole just freaked me out a bit.  It's the deep, dark spot (with a visible rock right close to the middle!) at the bottom of this picture. 

My niece, Hannah, taking the 20-foot plunge.

Some of our intrepid family members in the hole.  And here goes Mae.

Oh yes she did.  Not off the top, but she was in the mix. 

She gets that part from Mark.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


New Hampshire in the summer is a thing of beauty, filled with lush green vegetation, and clear bright sunshine. And a fair amount of humidity, which is not as pretty. The summer weather makes the local swimming holes very important. We visited several. The first was Lady's Bathtub.

"Lady's" is a wide, deep, slow spot in the Pemigewasset River ("the Pemi"), which flows through Lincoln, NH. Lincoln is a small, ski town in the middle of the White Mountains, and it is Mark's hometown. This was our destination for a big family reunion and memorial service for Mark's father. Mark has many wonderful memories of growing up in this amazing setting, and was so happy to share it with the girls.

But the relaxing and floating didn't last for long.  Because there are things to be done at Lady's Bathtub.

Like building dams.

Mark and his brother, John, set to work on one of their favorite pasttimes at the river, which of course is building the biggest, best damn dam they possibly can.

They put everyone to work.

During the course of our stay, the water level in Lady's rose a foot
Of course, the day we left, it rained, and I'm sure the dam was washed away.

How's that for some good, clean, summer family fun?!