Saturday, May 31, 2008
Friday, May 30, 2008
Cara is the last teenager. She's actually a pretty easy kid to get along with, when her eyes are not rolling and she is not heaving dramatic sighs, and being a sarcastic know-it-all. She doesn't like rap either, which greatly reduces the stress level in the house. She does not favor me in looks, lucky girl, but there is one trait that we share. We are both kind of oblivious. I actually think that Cara might be more oblivious than me. Once, our truck suddenly burst into flames in our driveway. Tim was dashing around trying to put it out, dashing in to call the fire department, and then racing back out to move the rest of the fleet out of danger. The firetrucks arrived. The fire was being fought. My mother had heard the whole thing over the scanner, called the house all in a panic. The conversation was reported as going something like this: Mom: "Cara, is that you? What's going on? What vehicle is on fire? Is everyone all right?" Cara: "Nothing's on fire." Mom: "Cara, it was on the scanner." Cara: "Here?" Mom: "Look out your bedroom window, Cara. Are there fire trucks there?" Cara: "(Gasp!) Um, hey, Gramma, I gotta go, okay?"
Last week, we witnessed yet another example of this. Tim and I were in bed. I was stretched out, in that wonderful half asleep, half awake state. In my fog, I heard the garbage cans. My mind registered this as 'Cara taking out the garbage.' Moments later, I heard the back door. I registered this as 'Cara coming inside.' What did not register logically was the pounding and crashing on the back deck and the baying of a dog gone crazy. I leapt up, grabbing for my robe in the dark. Tim was doing the same thing on HIS side of the bed. (Why it did not occur to either one of us to turn on a light is beyond me.) I was yelling, "Cara, Cara! Are you all right, what happened?" As I flew to the top of the stairs, she was standing at the bottom, looking up in amazement. "What?", she asked. "Did you just take the trash out?" She answered that she did not, she was watching 'CSI', and the dog wanted out, so she let him. Mind you, the dog is still roaring and carrying on like crazy from the back yard. I said, "Cara, I think the bear is in the back yard." Full of teenager know-it-allness, she sarcastically says to me, "There's no bear out there. The dog barks all the time. He's just stupid." To prove her point, she storms out the back door to yell at the dog.
I heard a shriek. A very loud shriek for a girl who prides herself on her level headedness. The back door slammmed so hard that the vibration rattled the stairs that I was coming down. Cara was standing there with her eyes bugging out of her head shrieking over and over and over again, "MOM! MOM! MOM!" Nothing else. "Just "MOM! MOM! MOM!" Tim and I both tried to find out what was going on, finally gave up and went out the back door to assess the situation ourselves, not knowing whether we coming up against man or beast. And there it was. A long legged, lean looking bear standing in our backyard. Buck, the amazing wonder dog, was racing circles around him, puzzled by the fact that, unlike all other bears he'd encountered, this one was standing nonchalantly looking back at him instead of running for the woods. I yelled at the bear, and at that point, he did amble to the brush, maybe 50 yards from the house, and sat down, waiting no doubt, for the hubbub to die down, and for his chance to tear into the bags of trash that he'd pulled from the trash cans.
Well, that left us in a quandry. The bear wasn't budging, and the trash was not picking itself up and moving to a secure area. Finally, we decided that the bear was not behaving aggressively. We got lawn bags, and went off the porch to gather up the scattered trash bags, while watching Mr. Bear closely with a spotlight. He was, in turn, closely watching the dog (instead of us) which was okay, too. I told Tim a couple times that I thought that I saw a second bear down there, farther behind the star of the show, a little to the right. Cara thought so too. But Tim, who has a bit of know-it-all streak himself, impatiently told us that we saw nothing. We took the trash and locked it over night in a stripped car destined for North's wrecking yard. Dummy me walked right past my bird feeders on the way back. My eyes were on the spotlighted bear and my crazed dog. I called the dog off, and he reluctantly came back, shooting reproachful looks at me and confused, frustrated looks at the bear still sitting on his butt in the brush. We went into the house, got the dog settled, and went back to bed.
It was not five minutes before it all started again. Tim grabbed the spotlight, shone it out the back window and said, "Well, your birdfeeders are toast! Man, that is one huge bear..." I was not there to hear the rest. One of those bird feeders had sentimental value. I tore out the back door yelling "Get now, go on, leave them alone..." and was rewarded by the immediate view of the backside of a bear making for the woods. Pressing my advantage, I dashed off the deck, grabbed my prized birdfeeder from the ground, and unwired the other one before it registered that the bear leaving the yard was not the same long legged beast that had ambled to the brush by the zucchini bed. This bear was bigger and heavier, more matching Cara's description ("biggest brute of a black bear I ever saw...like a furry Volkswagon on legs....") Clutching my rescued bird feeders to my chest, I turned to see the first bear still patiently sitting in the brush, waiting for the hubbub to die down.
The birdfeeders were saved, and no animals or people were wounded in the making of this drama (although I did break a nail). Cara learned that just sometimes parents can know where-of they speak. Tim learned that when the oblivious claim to see shadows in the dark in the brush they are not always full of beans. We learned that cool-as-a-cucumber-Cara can lose her cool completely. Buck learned that not all woodland creatures acknowlege his position as lord and ruler of the back yard. The bears apparently learned that there are quieter places to visit in the neighborhood, because they haven't been back, either one of them.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
I love birds. I feed them, all year around, although I know
that I shouldn't feed them in the summer.
We have an abundance of housefinches.
The indigo buntings seem to be hanging around the tall hedges in the side yard.
Maybe one of the nests there belong to them.
And I watch all these colors darting back and forth. There is so much discussion in my backwoods area about color, what with Obama running for the democratic ticket. This area is pretty homogenus, and bigotry is common, especially among folks who have never been anywhere else. Why should it surprise us that the same God who created birds in all different colors should create His people in different colors? Why does this bother anyone?
And I've noticed that the birds all get along.
Just a comment.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
A local black bear family apparently decided to make its Memorial Day travel plans a day later than most folks.Residents on Connecticut Avenue and Alexander Avevnue woke up Tuesday to discover that a pack of bruins – a mother and four cubs – had ventured out of the woods and meandered through the neighborhood, eventually finding their way in a tree above a swimming pool.There the bears stayed, the mother sprawled over a large branch, the cubs investigating the foliage higher up in the tree while a crowd of spectators with binoculars and cameras gathered below.Pennsylvania Game Commission officers were called in to supervise the situation.The bears seemed to be in no hurry to leave.“We’ve been here watching them all morning,” a unidentified woman said from her spot along Connecticut. “(The Game Commission officers) are trying to push them (to the east) back into the woods. But the bears seem to have other ideas.”The uninvited guests finally disembarked their morning hangout spot around 1 p.m. They ambled into the yard next door, then quickly scrambled back up another tree while Game Commissioner officers kept a close eye on them.According to Cheryl Miles, a resident of the neighborhood, the bear family finally vacated the area by late Tuesday afternoon.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Yesterday was a busy day. I hauled my indoor plants to the back deck, and set up the deck furniture. It looks very nice.
I also helped with firewood.
Weeded my strawberries.
Cleaned my ornamental pond.
The small frog living there had a nice visit with me. I carefully set him aside while I cleaned, so that he would not be injured, and then set him back where I found him when I was done. He watched me rake for awhile and then *plop* he was back into the water.
I took a look at the blueberry bushes. Blooming.
The apple trees. Blooming.
Noticed that my potatoes are coming up.
Azalea, peonies, rhododendrons, heavy with buds.
And when I was done with my work, I took a few moments to smell the lilacs.
My photograhic skills are minimal,
so you cannot, unfortunately, see what I see.
Unfortunately, you can't smell the rich scent,
or hear the drunken bumble bees lurching about their business.
Feel the wind blowing in a rain storm.
The sun on my face.
The joy in my heart.
I wish you could.
I wish I had the words so that you could.
At the end of the day, Tim and I ate grilled hamburgers on the back deck and watched the nuthatches, chickadees, goldfinches and indigo buntings fly in and out to the bird feeder.
Memorial Day was very memorable.
Can anyone's life be richer than my own?
Monday, May 26, 2008
In these days of rising fuel prices, we are glad that we have Bertha. Bertha is a Danish woodboiler, and she is hot. She lives down in the basement. Given a choice between me and Bertha, Tim would have to stop and think about it. I keep him warm at night.
I spend the day outside weeding my strawberry patch.
Looks like I'll have a lot of strawberries.
I wander over to the blueberry bushes.
Looks like we will have plenty of those as well.
I go take a look at our apple trees.
They've even got blossoms. I did not expect that.
They are young trees.
I've got a small garden going. It's all we need. It will be just Tim and I next winter.
I keep hearing all these dire warnings of where our economy is headed. It brings me great satisfaction to think that once Tim gets our venison this fall, our land will have fed us and warmed us.
How fortunate we are. I worry for people in cities.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Saturday, May 24, 2008
(Buck is neutered. Never been in Arizona. Just saying.)
Again, her dogs
Isn't that uncanny?
Right down to the eyes.
Isn't that freaky?
Jeanie should have never taught me to link.
This is so kewl.
Friday, May 23, 2008
I never fail to find God in the details.
I never fail to find this comforting.
I also wonder this.
When the new church is done,
when we have all the extra space in our pews
will there still be room for me?
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Look at those sweet eyes.
Size comparison: about the size of an American football.
Can you see why?
Monday, May 19, 2008
Sunday, May 18, 2008
We were the only ones calling her that.
Tim is playing a different game now.
He likes it.
He's also darn good at it.
The man can shoot.
I love Mexican food.
Then the old folks headed north.
The soldier headed south.
Even though we headed in different directions,
we're sharing the journey.
Life's funny like that.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Colleges continue to call and write wanting to know what college you've picked and why. My answer: "All you need to know is that she will not be attending yours." No particular reason for this, other than they are spending lots of money to 'court' my daughter, when really, they could use that money wisely, and provide a cheaper education. Allbright College is still calling, weeks after being told that Cara will attend college elsewhere. They are also very high priced. Coincidence? I don't think so.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
Sunday, May 11, 2008
What was I doing 10 years ago?
Oh, my gosh, that is so easy. I was having a hissy bird fit. Tim and I were due to get married, and I'd decided that I must have taken leave of my senses. I was in a panic, because I decided that I was a woman that men fall for in a really big way, but only for a really short time. I just knew for a fact that even though he was was dead certain that I was the woman of his dreams, he'd change his mind. So really, the only logical thing to do was to change mine first. Only I was afraid to tell him that I'd changed my mind. Ten years ago, I was a basket case. Ten years later, I'm glad that I never quite figured out how to tell him that I didn't want to get married.
What are five things on your 'to-do' list?
Disappointingly, I don't have a to do list.
I want to live to be a hundred.
I want a 50th wedding anniversary.
I want to write a book.
I want to see my children settled happily.
I want to be remembered for good.
What is my favorite snack?
Cottage cheese with peaches. Vanilla yogurt. Dark chocolate. Pistachios. Oranges. Asparagus. Avocados. Artichokes. Popcorn. Heck. I don't know. I'm indecisive that way.
What would I do if I had a billion dollars?
I'd travel. I'd be looking for ways to help people. Especially kids. Since having a billion dollars doesn't seem real likely, I don't spend a lot of time figuring out how to spend it, so my plans are kind of sketchy. If I suddenly fall into a billion dollars, I'll be giving it some very careful attention, though.
Places I've lived.
New York - Fredonia, Watertown
Pennsylvania - Irvine, Youngsville, Warren, Starbrick, Scandia
Missouri - Ft. Leonardwood
Texas - San Antonio
Hawaii - Honolulu
Virginia - Alexandria
Maryland - Baltimore, Gaithersburg
Michigan - Midland
I bite my nails.
I really talk down to myself. Serious self esteem issues.
Jobs that I've had.
Gads. Keypunch operator. Soldier. Mom. Writer. Customer service rep. Snack bar manager. Waitress. Cashier. Right now I'm the county mosquito/West Nile Virus Coordinator. Basically, I trap mosquitoes. Teach. I'm a Episcopal Layminister, which means nothing now that I go to a Methodist Church. I apprenticed as a midwife for a short period of time in Michigan, until they told me that I had to remove the Dukakis bumper sticker from my Honda Accord. I figured that if they were that narrow minded, the whole thing was bound to derail at some point over some other issue, so I just left, with the bumper sticker intact. Jack of all trades. Master of none. I've enjoyed almost all of my jobs, except the whole customer service gig. Surprisingly, the pissed off customers were not the problem. I was pretty good at that part. The supervisors were a constant pain in my nether regions.
I'll tag anyone who wants to answer the questions. Go!
Happy Mother's Day, everyone.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Family Day did not begin until 9, but we wanted to be in the front. We wanted to see Stacey. So we got there at 7:45. On the way over, we passed a company of new recruits marching in the heat in full battlegear. They looked tired, hot, scared, and hopeless. I'm sure that we would have seen the same look on Stacey's face just a few weeks ago, had we been able to see her.
We visited with another family, while we sat in the bleachers waiting for the ceremony. The DiMaggios from Boston. Their son/grandson/nephew, Carmine, was in the same unit. The DiMaggios were pleased as all hell that Carmine would not be going to Iraq. Since Stacey was telling us that she expected to go, we were a little interested in how Carmine got this little 'perk'. "Well, his recruiter told him that the Army had their quota filled for the next three years. He's safe for three years. After that, they'll send him, but he's done after three years." I knew from personal experience, recruiters will lie like rugs until you sign all the paperwork. I couldn't stand to burst their bubble. They seemed like awfully nice people, but we did exchange e-mail addresses, because I sure as heck want to see how this story plays out.
The festivities began with an 'insurgent vehicle' driving on to the field, amidst explosions and colored smoke bombs. Ominous rock music blared over loudspeakers. Suddenly, our troops burst on to the field and began firing weapons with blanks. We were assured that our children, these soldiers assure success in the war on terrorism. People cheered and stomped their feet up and down on the bleachers. Man, it was a great day to be a patriot.
I felt like I was the only one in the whole crowd to have this one thought flash through my mind: "This is not real."
Am I proud of Stacey? Oh, yes. All of them. They all worked so hard. But in the hot sun at Fort Jackson, watching the graduation of Company F, First Battalion, 34th Infantry, saluting my country's flag, awash in my own memories, caught up in the throngs of the cheering patriots, all the 'Hoo-ah!', I felt a little sick. Now I've got a kid in it. Now it's personal. And I felt afraid. And my own military training came in handy yet again, because my fear did not show.
I saw a road killed bob cat in West Virginia, veins of black coal ribboning through the mountainsides exposed when a path was blasted through them for the highway. I saw an woman who must have been 70 or 80 years old waitressing at a small mountain restaurant, and I wondered why, but she seemed happy as could be. A southern granny walking with her grandaughter shocked me when she spit a stream of tobacco juice. I smelled jasmine again, and heard myself talking southern with another elderly lady working in a a little dollar store. (Some bimbo left her sunglasses at home, not being used to summer sun yet). I used to live in the south, and had a southern accent, lost it after living life as a yankee, and then, to my surprise, heard myself say 'faaaaahr' for 'fire'. Tim shot an M-16 and missed once out of ten shots. He threw a hand grenade three times and hit his target three times. He enjoyed playing Army very much. His twisted back (scoliosis) never allowed him to enlist, but I think that he would have liked it very much. I discovered that as I passed an officer, still, after nearly 20 years out, my arm still started up to salute before I caught myself and adjusted my bra strap instead.
Stacey was glad basic was done, we had a great time, lots to do, lots to say. It was a nice trip. Will write more later.
PS...I hate not being able to center my posts. Blogspot, if you're listening, this stinks.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
It's strange, this getting only the smallest chance to be with your child. Brianna's 36 hours. When Dylan made it home from Allentown for Easter, we had a three day weekend. He was back out the door and heading home before the dishes were cleared from Easter dinner. Mike works shift work, so we get our glimpses of him when he stops in as he's passing by for whatever reason. It's so exciting to see them, and then, just as quickly as they came, they are gone again.
I wonder sometimes if we managed to use our time with them wisely. Do they leave knowing they are loved? Do they know how much the 'old' folks look forward to these visits? I also find myself thinking about the exasperating child we do see on a daily basis. The one that won't help around the house unless she is made to. The one that will not speak in a civil tone, unless she is made to. My sister says she once heard that teenagers are so perfectly awful so you won't cry so hard when they move away. I guess it's true. Cara's chomping at the bit to head off to college, I'm just about ready for it to happen. And when she's gone, I'll sit in the empty house and wonder. And wait for the next visit home.
I will be gone from the computer for a few days, celebrating with one of the country's newest soldiers.