Posts Tagged ‘sister’

Here you go – more photos of my vacation and then I promise I will get back to the things I know best – cattle ranching, gardening and family – you know – the ‘insanely funny because they’re true’ things.

But first more Puerto Rico…  We went snorkeling!!!  Those hours of practice in the kiddy pool in Rapid City were worth it.  Even if I did traumatize a couple of kids.  (Sorry about that)

We saw all kinds of fish.

Our friend and tour-guide extraordinaire, Wanda signed us up for a day on a catamaran named the Salty Dog.  It was just us and 25 of our best, new friends we met that morning on the dock.    And believe me after a couple of the boats’ signature drinks known as ‘Pain Killers’ we were all friends even if we can’t remember anyone’s name!  But I do remember this guy.

He is our favorite bartender, Jay and he had the longest eye-lashes I have ever seen.  We kept him busy all day making Pain Killers and Rum Punch. 

I have discovered that Rum is a wonderful thing.  That is for sure and certain. 

But back to swimming with the fishes…

They were everywhere!  We swam for a while off the beach of a small uninhabited island and then moved into a little deeper water just off shore.  There was a family on board who had obviously done this trip before as they saved some of the bread from their lunch and used it to feed the fish.

What a hoot!  They were everybody’s friends.

I even saw a few mermaids.  This is Wanda.

And here’s some more I won’t identify because they would kick my butt!

I can’t help it – I love these photos of people without heads.  I was like a lurking ‘camera shark’ out there with my little underwater camera.   I even did a self-portrait.

 Prepare yourself. 

You may wish to move small children away from the computer.

Yikes!  It’s the dreaded Crazy Ranch Wife Sucker Fish!!!  She’s a rare one. 

Here’s another shot I love of my sister, Jenny and myself.

Yep – that’s a Pain Killer in my hand.  We were feeling the Love and very little else.

One interesting point – I think I was the only person on the whole island with a cowboy hat.  I stuck out like a sore thumb but at least the girlfriends didn’t have any problem finding me in a crowd.

I love snorkeling.  It really was my favorite thing.

But now it’s back to real life.  This weekend we will brand the new calves, and the yearlings we bought.  We will also work the cows and bulls before turning everyone out on summer pasture.  So it will be a busy weekend full of work, friends, family and for me lots of cooking.  From the looks of the weather, I’m betting we will also be knee-deep in mud. 

 Don’t you just love spring?








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Even though it has been a while since I wrote on my blog, I want you to know I have been writing every day.  About what?  You ask…  About Puerto Rico of course. 

You see, I love to travel, but since I rarely get the chance I tend to go a little overboard.  For me, the days leading up to a trip are often just as exciting as the trip itself.   There is definitely something to be said for anticipation.  I look at the pre-trip days as a once-in-a-lifetime chance to learn everything I possibly can about the people and places I am going to see and the upcoming trip to Puerto Rico is no exception. 


 I guess you could say I am a tad bit excited…

Or maybe you could say I’m really looking forward to it…

Ok, you could say I’m thrilled right out of my Ariat boots!!!  My suitcase has been packed for 2 months and I now have a collection of swimsuits that I’m pretty sure will rival all others in a 5 state region! 

The main reason I’m soooo excited about this trip is because I finally have the chance to travel to a tropical island and snorkel in the Caribbean.  That has been right up there at the top of my bucket list since birth.  What can I say?  White sand beaches and large bodies of water have called to me my whole life.  I love the smell of the water, the power of the waves, the spray in my face and even the creatures that wash up on shore.  And strange as it may seem (since I live just about as far from an ocean as a person can get) sea shells have always found their way to me.  I find them everywhere – rummage sales, sandboxes in public parks, second-hand stores, in boxes at farm auctions, in antique stores and my all-time favorite –  fossilized shells I literally stumbled over in a road ditch while I my pickup was broke down beside a lonely Wyoming highway one night. 

I have inherited sea shells and found them while cleaning out my grandparents house.  You know, I never realized til right now just how many shells I have.  It’s amazing.


Not only have I filled a display case with these tiny treasures but they sit on shelves and window sills throughout the house.  They cover the soil in the houseplant pots.  I put them in terrariums and I send them away as gifts but I still have thousands more in boxes, tucked into cupboards and closets and under my bed.  Even my jewelery box is full of shell shaped baubles. 

And it’s not just shells.  I have brought home bottles of water from each of the oceans I have traveled to and there are bottles from each of the Great Lakes and Niagara Falls to back up the pictures of me barefooted and grinning like an idiot ankle-deep in the icy waters.  There are bottles of sand too – coarse sand, fine sand, white sand and one beautiful bottle of ‘singing’ sand, the color of brown sugar from a beach on Lake Superior.  My son, Dalton and his wife Dani brought that one home for me from a trip to her Grandparents home.  They also brought driftwood and fresh water shells – fragile little works of art worthy of any great art museum.  I love them all!  And I dream of someday building a huge glass fronted case that would cover one entire wall of the dining room to fill with these miracles of nature. 

Yes, I’m obsessed.  Maybe I am really a mermaid born by mistake in the midwest.  It makes perfect sense to me but then a lot of strange things do.

As if that’s not strange enough we also have a large collection of pirate/Caribbean/ocean themed movies.  My favorite picks – any of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, Cutthroat Island, Captain Ron and an oldie but a goodie Nate and Hayes starring Tommy Lee Jones.  When the winters get long in South Dakota my tropical movies have always gotten me through. 

 Yes, just 31 days and we will fly off to the Caribbean.  You can bet I’ll have empty water bottles on hand to fill with ocean water and sand.  I will probably have to mail home boxes of sea shells because I will pick up so many that my suitcase will be overweight by the time we head for home.  I am really looking forward to eating and drinking all the wonderful things I have been reading about and I know there will be several memory cards full of photos of everything from beautiful sunsets to the guy who waits on us at the bar.  We will dance to the beat of the local music and I will lay in the sand like a beached whale.  Best of all I will wear the bikinis a 50-year-old woman probably shouldn’t wear but damn – who’s gonna care anyway!  Life is much to short to worry about the little things like age.  50 is smack dab in the middle so I figure I am finally an adult and as such I have given myself permission to enjoy life more than ever. 

This should be fun.

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I’m Back!!!  And just check this out.


Here’s the main cooler at the flower shop and this is what I’ve been doing with all my free time – working like a dog & up to my eyeballs in flowers.

 It’s a tough job but somebody has to do it.

My sister owns Jenny’s Floral which happens to be the only flower shop in Custer, SD.  When you own a flower shop, Valentines Day is really more like a whole week.

Here’s my sister – sorry, I caught her in mid sentence. 

This almost looks like it could be the set for a television show.  All she needs is a string of pearls and a plucked chicken and she could be the next Julia Childs.

“Next you take this red carnation and stuff it up the chickens’…”

Sorry, things get a little weird by the end of the day.  I guess the whole flower/cooking show thing probably wouldn’t work out too well after all. 

We do have a lot of fun and we do a lot of talking, laughing, and giggling like school girls mainly because all the girlfriends come and help. 

Grandma said it best –

“Many hands make the work load light.”

She would be so proud.

Of course, we discuss important things like politics, the new tax laws, quantum physics and how to save the environment.  We have also solved the world’s problems and devised a plan for world peace.

OK – I’m full of compost – we really talk about the men in our lives, our kids, the things we’ve been doing and the things we want to do.  We also bring lots of food and wine and beer for after hours.  That’s when all the really good discussions start.  But I can’t put any of that down in black and white.  I’m sure you understand.  Just imagine it’s like Sex in the City without the city and the fancy shoes.

Here’s Amy.  She worked for my sister back when she was in high school and she’s still willing to come and help, amazing, isn’t it?

Amy has a blog called the Ranch Wife’s Slant.  She also writes articles for several papers and magazines about her life on the ranch.  I think she comes just to gather warped and weird ideals for her upcoming articles.  The flower shop is pretty fertile ground for ‘warped and weird’.

Here’s some more friends.  Denise is slaving over a hot cash register and Kelly (in the green) was working on a balloon masterpiece – a column of white and clear balloons topped off with a very large heart-shaped balloon.  It turned out pretty darn cool.  This was Kelly’s first time at the flower shop.  She made the mistake of walking into the shop before Valentines Day, introducing herself and even stated that she had always dreamed of working in a flower shop.  She’s lucky she got out alive.  I’m not sure we’ll ever see her again but you never know – she fit in really well with our strange little flock of flower groupies.

There’s usually around a dozen of us who descend on the flower shop for the big holidays like Valentines Day and Mothers Day.  Most of us have been doing this for years because it’s a blast and if you don’t show up to work, you know we’ll all talk about you.  Besides, where else can you spend a few days with the girlfriends and play with flowers in the dead of winter.  In South Dakota your options are pretty limited.

Life is just a bed of roses – at the flower shop.


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I’m going to be away from my computer for a couple of days.

It’s Valentines Day.

And when your sister owns a flower shop…

And it’s Valentines Day…

You pretty much get drafted into service…

For the duration.

So that’s where I’ll be – up to my eyeballs in flowers and loving every minute.

With my girlfriends,

Taking time from my real job to stop and smell the flowers.

Happy Valentines Day!!! 

See you next week.


If I had a single flower for everytime I think of you,

I could walk forever in my garden.

Claudia Ghandi

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