Monday, June 30, 2008

Back to the Cemetery


Remember when I told you that I set a number of traps in cemeteries?

And remember how I said I was surprised to come upon the poorly attended burial service of a relative?

Remember that I told you I loved old cemeteries?

The tombstones have stories, and if they are no longer legible, sometimes you have to imagine your own stories.

But in this cemetary, the old graves are right alongside the new, and I realized that there are stories to go along with the new tombstones too. Like Raymond, here. You can tell that he was a country fellow, liked his woods, and the deer.

This fellow really liked his machinery. There's a bucket loader, a back hoe, and a dump truck there. So it's kind of easy to imagine a story for his life.


This is the one that kept my mind busy for the entire day.

You can't beat what?
Death?
As in, none of us gets out of this life without dying?
You can't beat it: heaven's just that great?
Just a happy guy walking this earth, smiling, enjoying every moment...
and that's how his family remembers him best...
by those satisfied words?
This boy died in 1996, at age 17.
The smiley face stopped me dead in my tracks.
The words say, 'The sun (maybe a pun - son?) is gone, but I've got a light.'
I guess he was a smoker?
It seemed disrespectful to laugh out loud.
Help me imagine a story for this one.

"Here, kitty, kitty, kitty...."

We have an abundance of wildlife in this area. I've always been glad that we live here for that reason. The Game Commission is supposed to have trapped a 600 pound bear from a populated area and relocated it here in the boonies, releasing it behind the Scandia Fire Department. We have coyotes and regularly hear them singing down in the woods. We have deer, of course, and a myriad of other birds, including bald eagles, and small mammals too numerous to count running about. The majority of the rattlesnake population is on the other side of the reservoir (which explains why I'm happy on my side of the reservoir). As far as cats, well, we have our bobcats, although I have never seen one in the wild.
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One animal that has long been the stuff of local legend is the mountain lion.
The Game Commission denies their existance in our area. Through the years, however, there've been the irregular sightings of them. My own aunt, coming out of her second shift night job with a group of other ladies was astonished to see a cougar race across the parking lot, bound on the hood of a car, leap up a bank and disappear into the woods. She's certain of what she saw in the glow of the lights that night probably 35 years ago. So, like I said, on and off, you've got the sporatic reports of cougar sightings, which the Game Commission is always quick to pooh-pooh, claiming that a bobcat has been misidentified. Me, I don't know. Never saw one, myself, and I tend to be one of those 'believe-it-when-I-see-it' types, but I know that my auntie is a straight-on kind of person, not given to flights of fancy, so I've never quite been able to say with all certainty that the Game Commission knows whereof it speaks. As my auntie will tell you, there is quite a size difference between a cougar and a bob cat. She'll also tell you that what streaked across the parking lot that night had a long tail.
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Tim went to his mother's 80th birthday party yesterday. There were a lot of people there who make their living in the woods, and some of them were claiming to have seen cougars in the thick forests of Cherry Grove, seen them with their own eyes. I know what the Game Commission will say, but some of these people are pretty straight-on kinds, not given to flights of fancy.
So.
I'm not quite sure what to make of this.
These forests are thick in some areas, and the mountains rugged. There are places where the roads don't go. Who can say, with any certainty, what has taken up residence in these secret places?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

GAAAAAAAAH!

I was working out in the garden today and stirred up a kind of large garter snake, maybe 15 inches long or so. Not big by Bush Babe's standards. Not scary by Bush Babe's standards. Stayed right on the ground where sensible snakes are supposed to stay, unless they live in Australia, where apparently common sense snake laws do not prevail. I don't know whether it was due to Bush Babe's concerted efforts to desensitize me to my reptile phobia using her photography, or Mikey sending a diamondback rattlesnake skin to Tim, but I do have to say that today I saw a kind of large garter snake, and I did not shriek and drop stuff. I took a deep breath, kept a close and wary eye on him, and went on with my work. And when I was done, I gathered up my things, and left him there, watching me with his wary eyes. I was quite proud of my handling of the situation, my maturity, my oneness with nature.
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My sister came back from taking a look at the not-ripe-yet blueberries. She let me know that a large blacksnake decamped our blueberries, and headed into our woodshed. Black snakes are bigger and faster.
Crap.
Desensitation has its limits.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Bad Words

Well, Scotty did a spot about the most functional English word right after Jeanie asked the question "What does your family say 'when the wheels begin to wobble'?" I'd like to say that, as a good God fearing Christian woman who goes to church every Sunday (out of choice, not obligation), that when I am annoyed, 'when the wheels begin to wobble', I say, "Drat." or "Oh, bother!" or maybe "Phooey." The sad truth of the matter is I come from a long line of cussing people. If I'm really pissed, I tend to say that. In those words. I'm better than I was pre-God, better than I was when I was in the Army surrounded by men, where I discovered that the best defense was being just one of the guys, better than I was when I was in my very angry family, and yelling was the best way to be sure that your point was made. Still, I imagine that God is not going to be happy with some of my exclamations during times of duress, and I imagine that I'll be wriggling with embarrassment when I stand before Him. I do try to watch my mouth, but, forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. More than usual lately, what with work and all.
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I guess I don't guard my tongue nearly as much as I used to, when my kidlets were small. I was pretty good back then. Let me tell you why. One day, when Cara was, oh, say, between 2 and 3, a cute curly headed little blonde haired moppet who looked like an angel, I was driving my Honda Accord to pick up her brother from pre-school. We lived out in the country in Midland, Michigan, and I was driving into the town. I came to an intersection, and even though the light was green, I slowed down. I don't know why, to this very day, but I'm sure glad that I did, because a car ran that red light at a very high speed. If I had not slowed, he'd have broadsided me. It was close, one of those heart stopping moments, where you're aware of the child strapped in her little car seat, and how close you all came to serious, serious damage/injury, but there is no excuse at all for what popped out of my mouth. None. "Stupid m------f-----!" Understand, this is one of those phrases which is so vulgar that no mother would dream of popping out with it. It certainly was not a phrase I used. AT ALL. I had however grown up with that sort of language. I'd been in the Army, and heard it, plenty. I just didn't talk like that. Seriously. Anyhow, I went on about my business, and forgot the whole incident.
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Fast forward. The following Sunday, we are headed to church. I'm a licensed Lay Minister, and the priest was not going to be there. I was doing the service, and nervous about it, trying to go over all the things in my head, afraid I'd forget something. My ex-husband was driving, and he was angry about something -who knows what?- and ranting. "Please," I said, "Can't this wait until after church? I'm nervous, and I need some quiet time." and "Brian, please, quit yelling. I am asking you please, please stop." and "I really can't do this now." He was really mad though, about whatever it was, and by the time that we got into town, he was screaming. Three children sat quietly in the backseat. Until Cara spoke up. In her piping little angelic voice, she said, "Mommy? Is Daddy a stupid m------f------?" I got my quiet time. Oh gees. The man of wrath was shocked speechless. When he did get words to speak again, the rant was taken to a whole new level, because now he was in the car with a hypocrite and a liar and he was quite sure that I should not be in a church at all, deceiving the people there, and he began threatening to turn around and take us all home, afraid as he was that I would embarrass him in front of God and God's people. It was not a glorious moment to hear your ugliest words burst from the lips of your sweet baby. I might go to hell for my language, but hopefully God will see how hard I tried. When Cara asked her question, I did not, as was my first impulse, turn to her and say, "Yes, darling. Why, yes, he is." Seems like God should factor that in, don't you think?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Charactor

While I was out and about, I ran into one of my favorite charactors. He's probably about 65 or so, big burly bearded bear of a guy, white haired, always wearing suspenders, looks like he would kick your ass in a minute. Looks like my dad did before he got sick and left this world going on eight years ago. Maybe that's why Mr. M. is one of my special charactors. I don't know. When Mr. M. speaks, it is in a deep rumble, like my dad, but Mr. M. is a quiet guy, speaking hesitantly. Like me, he talks looking off, glancing at you every now and again, catching your eye, quickly looking away. I'm not shy. I don't think he is either, but you can tell that neither one of us are quite sure of our place in this world.
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Anyhow, Mr. M. has a dog. Misty is a good dog, and she's devoted to Mr. M. It always tickles me to see him shuffling along in his big bare feet enjoying his back yard, while Misty keeps a good eye on him. I've got the notion that Mr. M. was pretty sick, maybe. He's got a heck of a scar running diagonally across his belly. He moves slowly, and his dog is never far from him. I carry dog biscuits in my truck for when I meet dogs, and I always bring one for Misty. I tell Mr. M that Misty is a fine dog, and he agrees. "Best dog, I ever had in my life. Smart as a whip and bravest thing you ever saw in your life. She'll take on anything, and she don't care. She won't have a bear in the yard, and she'll take on a coyote or a bobcat." Before I know it, he's in the house bringing out a photograph album.
***********************
Turns out he's a trapper. Big time. I have only run traps once in my life, and that was in the Army. I didn't have a choice. We trapped porcupines. Uncle Sam doesn't give a rat's butt if you are morally opposed to leg traps. I shut up and did what I was supposed to do. But Mr. M. had pictures of bobcats in traps, the dog taking them on. Coyotes with mangled feet. One picture broke my heart. Two coyotes, stretched out side by side, dead, one with a torn and bloody leg, the other with legs intact. The male had been caught in the leg trap, and the female refused to leave his side. Mr. M. dispatched both of them. The pictures were a bit sickening. I just don't understand killing something that you're not going to eat. I surely don't understand leg traps.
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Mr. M. flipped through his pictures, talking away in his quiet, rumbling voice. This is a free country, and you run into all kinds of folks, all kinds of beliefs. It's not my place to judge him. As for me and my house, well, we don't trap. He'll be judged on his life, I'll be judged on mine, and the One doing the judging will have the final say. I don't like trapping, but Mr. M. is 'good people'.
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Before I go, I invite him to see a program with Tim and I in July. A rattlesnake wrangler is coming to do a demonstration on timber rattlers. I'm allowed to invite guests. So I invite Mr. M. I think this pleases him. We walk across the yard talking. He pops open his garage door and there lays a half completed curio cabinet that he's building. I couldn't believe my eyes. He shows me the dragonfly inlay, and the little knobs for the three drawers, engraved with intricately carved dragonflies. This is the work of an artist and is breathtakingly beautiful. I tell him so. He smiles and rubs a big hand across the wood. "This is for my girl," he rumbles. "She got married two weeks ago, and all she wanted for a wedding gift was for me to make her something purty for her house." And he was proud of his girl. You could see the love for her on his face just as plain as anything, and that love had poured right out of his finger tips as he turned wood into an heirloom.
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I walked back to my truck thoughtfully. The same hands that set those traps were the hands of an artist. People are a real mixed bag, aren't they?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Quiet Time

This morning was a bit of a juggle. Cara had to be to work at 5:30. Tim and I get up at 4:30. I couldn't sleep so I got up at 3:45. Cara grumbled her way to the shower. That whole not-a-morning-person thing may be genetic. After she grumbled her way back to her room, Tim got up, in his bright and perky Tim way, and headed for his shower. We have two bathrooms. All of our stuff is in the downstairs one however. It's usually not an issue. This morning, however, it was. I was packing lunches, putting the dog out, pushing caffeine at my snarly daughter, letting the dog in, brewing my own coffee, handling the details of the morning. Cara left for work, still snarly. Shortly after that, Tim left, still cheerful. The house settled into quiet. This hour is my time, coffee time, computer time. My own quiet space before I head out the door to begin my own day. Usually. Almost as soon as my rear hit the chair, the door flew open and in walked Cara. "Guess who's working from 5:30 PM until 10 PM? Yes. You are correct. That would be me..." and she grumbled her way back to bed.
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I took a big sip of coffee while the house settled into silence once more.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Stevie Makes Me Cry

I like to read my comments. Yesterday's comment from Stevie Wren really made me sad, though. Stevie described herself as 'about to die from boredom'. I hope she doesn't mind me doing a blog about her comment, but really, it's been bothering me since I read it. If I had her phone number, I'd have called her straightaway just to liven her day. By the time I was done being bothered, I'd had myself a good cry, because I am a sap.
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I've been kind of stuck in this 'tween place. Between 'mom' and 'mature adult woman'. It's been a heavy thinking time, sort of a culmination of a 'thinking' that began a couple years ago when I was ill. I'm never ill so this was a real eye opener. This situation was a long term thing with multiple trips to the doctor, and every time I went, they'd find some other problem (see? you hang around doctors, and next thing you know there's something wrong. Avoid them). One thing after another, try this, try that. I mean, I really felt awful, like I could actually lay down and die. There was a breathless period of time waiting for biopsy results (benign) and surgery, and slowly but surely, I began to feel like a human being again. I guess that is where the 'heavy thinking' sort of began. What if this is it? What if it all stops right here? What I realized is that, if it all did stop right there, I was okay with that. I'd had a full and rich life. I had my ups and I had my downs, and I had my heartbreaks, and my joys. It wasn't perfect, but it was a good life, and compared to many people, I was very lucky.
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What makes my life full and rich? It's that I notice the details of it. The details are a glade of white violets, or rolling thunder, or the moment that a stray dog looked in my eyes and made a conscious decision to trust one last time. Seeing my children for the very first time. The joy of a book. Driving in a truck listening to Verdi. Or the Grateful Dead. Rainbows in Hawaii. A newborn fawn curled up in the forest. The joy of seeing signs of spring after a long winter. Small triumphant moments in motherhood, one after another. Lightning strike in the desert. Watching the sun rise in the mountains of Monterrey Mexico with a very vocal rooster. Being pregnant. My father's moment of death, the grief of that coupled with the grief at knowing there would be no more chances to 'fix' things. Hearing the sound of a bug chewing out of a 2 X 4 and realizing that Thoreau had described the very same thing. Making love. Watching a fire. Lightning bugs. Lilacs. Picking wild asparagus and eating nothing but asparagus until I could eat no more. Freaky people who will run out in the road to save snapping turtles. The day that God made his presence known to me. Hiking out of the woods in the middle of a downpour and meeting the nicest bunch of people while I waited for help. The list goes on and on. I truly could do this for hours, listing small moments that do not mean a dang thing to anyone but me.
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I don't know where this 'noticing' comes from, but I know that I've always had it. I remember being a child smelling the Christmas tree and knowing that I would remember that all my life. I remember reading Heidi and crying and knowing that it was good to cry over a book. Laughing over Tom Sawyer and knowing it was good to laugh over a book, and it goes on and on and on.
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Seriously, I hope that Stevie is not about to die from boredom, but if she is, I hope that she'll take some time to think. To ponder her life, the richness of it, her own small moments. And if she finds that even after that, something is missing, well, I hope that she takes some time to figure out what to change. Life should be full and rich and if it is not, something is wrong. I'm in the process of making changes to my life right now. It is never too late to re-create.
Never.
Go, Stevie!
(and let me know how it turns out...
because I'm not only a sap, but I'm nosy as hell.)

Cool



Icebergs in the Antarctic area sometimes have stripes, formed by layers of snow that react to different conditions. Blue stripes are often created when a crevice in the ice sheet fills up with meltwater and freezes so quickly that no bubbles form. When an iceberg falls into the sea, a layer of salty seawater can freeze to the underside. If this is rich in algae, it can form a green stripe. Brown, black and yellow lines are caused by sediment, picked up when the ice sheet grinds downhill towards the sea.
This is a picture of a wave, frozen as soon as it hit the air.
Aren't these pictures cool?
No pun intended.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Odd

You know that cemetery I was at, the one where I happened (unknowingly) upon the burial of one of my own relatives? Well, I was back there today to pick up my trap. I've been here before, but I never seen this before. How I missed it, I don't know, but as I was driving to the back of the cemetery, I saw a tombstone engraved with the words, 'You can't beat this'.
I'm intrigued.
Can't beat death? As in, it gets us all?
None of us will get out of this alive?
Or heaven is so wonderful, it just can't be beat?
Was he just a happy guy walking around this earth, saying 'You can't beat this' with a broad, satisfied smile on his face?
'You can't beat this.'
Huh.
I've been thinking about this one all day.
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Also saw something that I will take a picture of next week. I just stared in amazement. It was a tombstone for a seventeen year old boy. I'm not going to try to describe it, but I'm interested to hear what you folks have to say about it.
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I left the cemetery and was driving down the road, and suddenly a daddy long leg spider crawled from my hair on to my face. I'm not arachnophobic, but I screamed a little anyways, and knocked it off my face. It's in the truck someplace, but I'm sure it will die in the heat of the closed up truck tonight.
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It was a long day. I started early, and worked late. It was a bizarre day, full of strange things to blog about. On the way home, I crested a hill to see a turkey vulture flying square at my car and it didn't veer until the very last minute. I never really thought about it, but their eyes are on the side of their head. They probably can't see things in front of them. Even largish silver cars. That was a close one.
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I'm not superstitious or anything, but I'm in for the night.

Fifty-Foot-Comic

I was sitting on my friend's front porch, visiting for a while last night. We were talking about being 50 and on our own. Her only child, her son is getting married on Saturday. It is strange, after being a mother for so long, that suddenly our role has changed. I told her about my guilty feelings about spending money on myself. Since she was had been looking in the phone book for a woman's spa, having decided she wanted a massage, she was not able to understand this. I tried to explain, and finished it up with, 'but yesterday, Karen, I got a haircut, and then I bought the lotion that I like, and it wasn't on sale, and I bought some new stuff for my hair.'
She looked at me with great interest and said, "Oh. What salon did you go to?"
Me: "Well, it was the Walmart. Babysteps, Karen. Babysteps."
And two middle aged ladies laughed at their own foolish natures.
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Gees, you want to read a story that had me hunkered over the computer with my heart in my throat, read Megaloi.
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It was sad about George Carlin dying. He was not only funny, he was wickedly intelligent. I've always loved quick and intelligent wit. I've always thought he was profound as well as funny. He had a very good rant about celebrity deaths some time back. I imagine he'd not be impressed with all the hoopla at his own passing.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Freaky

Remember how I told you that I set traps in cemeteries, sometimes? And remember how I told you that I love cemeteries? I suppose it was inevitable. I came up on a small country cemetery today, and a graveside service was taking place. There were 4 people there, including the funeral director, the hearse driver, the cemetery guy who had, I'm supposing dug the hole, and would be responsible for filling it in. So there was only one fellow there who might have been an actual guest. But he was dressed in shorts, so I'm not sure that he was a mourner. But I looked at the little group and it just seemed so sad, really, such a small gathering. I sat in my truck doing the necessary site paperwork, and hoping that at the end of my life, I'd have just a few more mourners. Laughing at my own vanity, a little, because I'm sure when the time comes, I'm not going to be all emotional about it, no matter how it turns out.
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I wondered about this service, this sad little gathering. Much to my shock, as I was leaving, I read the name, recognized it right away. This person was my relative.

Poor Brummie!

Poor Brummie. On Friday, June 20th, she recounts the sad tale of the fickle nature of her beloved dog Sam. He's become a slobbering mass of adoration for her husband. She thought that perhaps it was because he was a man's dog. Until he fell, with a thud, for her friend who is "100% female".
So the Brummie thinks perhaps she should get a cat.
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Yeah.
Because cats are known for their loyal natures.
Brummie, you need a vacation,
You've been typing waaaaaay too much, my friend.



Given that the weather in our neck of the woods sounds much the same as the weather that's driving you crazy in Birmingham, it's probably wise that you've chose to visit 'The Wild West' on your American vacation, but I've a notion we'd have gotten along well. Cheers!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Fly Forgotten

Today in church we sang an old hymn, written in 1719 by James Watt:
'Time like an ever rolling stream
bears all who breathe away.
They fly forgotten
as a dream dies at the opening day.'
***************
Reminds me of 'Dust in the Wind'.
'Same old song
just a drop of water
in the endless sea
all we do
crumbles to the ground
though we refuse to see'
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Time has always captured my imagination. There are great names which will always be remembered. Kings and Presidents, rich folks, poor folks, writers, poets, musicians, even ordinary citizens who made a difference in their time. There are plenty of great names in the here and the now. There is also greatness not yet born or born, maybe, but not yet ready to step into the greatness that awaits. The vast majority of us, as it is written, 'will fly forgotten'. I'm just about sure that I'm not going to change the world. I can, however, work in my 'now', I can, however, work in my corner of the world, making a difference as best I can before I fly forgotten.
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I think on what was,
and I think on what is,
and I think on what is yet to come.
And at the very core of eternity, I catch a glimpse of God.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

I'm an Asshole

I had a bad day at work yesterday. The secretary is a difficult person, very good at her job, but overbearing, and sometimes malicious. She's bitter and disappointed. I think that she spends a great deal of time alone when she is not at work. She takes everything personally, even when it is not directed at her, and she's always flying off the handle about something. The thing is, the woman is never wrong. It is always going to be someone else's fault for her emotional outbursts.
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I have a mother like this, and I deal with it by stepping back. I will talk to anyone as long as we're making progress, but since this woman has never done a wrong thing in her life, since she's just as perfect as my own mother, I don't see the point to endless discussions with either of them. All that happens is that I feel like the most awful person on the face of the earth by the time it's all said and done. So I've been pretty much dealing with our secretary by simply trying to avoid ruffling her many, many feathers.
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Yesterday, I walked in and she let me have it. Both barrels. By the time it was done, she called me a liar, complained that I am unprofessional, recounted things that the director has told her about me, that the stress of dealing with me causes her to sob and shake in the shower hysterically each morning because she knows that she has to come into work and deal with me, went on about how sensitive she is, and how insensitive I am to her sensitivity. She ranted and raved for quite some time. She wants me out of the office. She told the boss this. The thing is I can't switch desks with anyone. No one else will work with her.
Everyone has had their no-win run-ins with her.
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I realize that I am not responsible for her mood swings. I realize that she was probably on 'nerve pills' before I started working there. She'll surely be on them after I'm long gone.
I can only control myself.
I know this.
Everyone there told me that I can't let it bother me, it does.
What makes people like that?
Why the heck do they keep crossing my path?
Is it me?
Is God trying to teach me something?
I'm lucky to be able to work out of my truck, and the garage. I am lucky that I can do my data entry at home on my own computer. It just makes me feel badly that I have to. I really like the people I work with, but I can't see any other way to gracefully handle the situation.
I just feel pretty badly about it.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Tagged

Lavinia tagged anyone who read her entries. Six unimportant things about myself. Trivial details. Man. There are so many. How the heck do you winnow it down to just six?

How about these:

I grew up in the country. We scarcely ever wore shoes in the summer because we never went anywhere.

I get seasick. Even in a canoe. I have never been on a boat without puking. Never. Which really made the ex mad. He liked his boat. I never once went on this boat. Puking is not one of my favorite things to do, and I avoid things that make me puke.

I was a juror in a federal case that nearly got declared a mistrial. One of the jurors was racist. After a very disturbing conversation and a very sleepless night, I finally decided that I had to tell. The judge let the black defendent (he was acting as his own attorney) decide what to do. He decided to settle for having the juror removed. Wise move. He'd confessed during his opening statements on the first day, so it really was moot. But the trial was being covered by television crews, and I was afraid this juror would say something just as shocking to one of the camera toters that would make all the jurors look bad. This was a hugely stupid Italian woman.

I once got sprayed by a skunk. I was trapping porcupines at Ft. Drum. It was part of my job. The porcupines were eating the buildings on the firing ranges. It was a Friday, and a trap that had nothing in it all week was my last trap pick up. I was running across the field (in those days, I ran just about everywhere), and I went to leap into the ditch where the trap was. I looked down, and there was a skunk in the trap. Unlike cartoons, you cannot turn around and run back in mid-air. I landed beside it with a ungraceful thud, and got blasted. It was awful. Everytime I broke a sweat for days after, people would sniff and say, "Do you smell skunk?" Shower after shower after shower. Each time I thought that I had the problem solved, I'd be in a crowd and someone would say, "Jees. I keep thinking I smell skunk..."

I once pinned a man with a gun at a bowling alley in Baltimore, Maryland. I had watched him, for no reason that I could see, wallop a man in the back of the head so hard his tooth flew out. The man went down like a rock. An immediate riot broke out. He raised a chair to hit someone else. I sailed across the snack bar (7 months pregnant, no less), and pushed him backwards against the back of the chairs in the pits. The only thing I can think of is that I had him pushed backwards enough so that he could not get a proper footing. (The chairs hit right at the back of his knees.) The chair was over his head. And we were stuck there. He kept saying, "Get back. Let me go." I kept saying, "No. I can't do that." The DJ caught sight and came over saying, "So, Momma, want me to take over?" And I said, "Yes" and so he did. Then I got the shakes, and I cried. I tend to not think before I act. Later when the police came, the man had a gun in his pocket. I got Employee of the Month.
Woo hoo.

I smoked, on and off through the years. I watched my dad die of lung cancer in 2000, on Thanksgiving Day. I quit. I haven't smoked since. Never been tempted. My dad's dying was the worst dying I'd ever seen in my life. He suffocated over the course of two days. He suffered terribly, and it was unbearable to watch. I never wanted to see my children looking at each other the way that my brother and my sisters looked at each other across my dad's dying body. I get a little sickish even smelling cigarettes. My mother thinks I'm over dramatic. My brother still smokes like a fiend.
He says, "Anyone can quit smoking. It takes a real man to die of lung cancer."
My brother is a dipwad.

There you have it. 6 unimportant facts about me.

Nature's Most Perfect Snack

I like coffee.
Start nearly every day with a cup made from freshly ground beans.
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I like chocolate.
My favorite is semi sweet dark chocolate.
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I don't know what genius first thought up chocolate covered coffee beans, but this individual should get a prize. A Nobel, or something equally as distinguished. I'd heard tell of these little nuggets of goodness before, but never tried one.
Yesterday, I had two.
I think that I heard angels singing.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Voices

Well, I must say, this is a strange time. I feel on the edge of something brand new, but find myself being pulled away by the voices in my head. I find myself restless and itching to try new things, but it feels almost...dare I say it...self indulgent. Since this blog is the closest that I've come to self indulgence, this is a new for me.
I suck at it.
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I find that there are things that I am dissatisfied with in my life. Yesterday it ocurred to me: "So change them." My knee jerk, immediate response was a shocked "I can't do that!" followed by 'Why not?" and the voices of others begin to tell me why. These voices are so ingrained after 50 years that it is hard to tell where I leave off and they begin. I'm asking myself why a lot, and it surprises me that the answers are very often not in my voice, but in the voices of others.
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Who are the others? My gruff father. My martyr mother. Grandparents, relatives, things that I've seen, or things that I've simply come to accept as truth. I blew out of here like my ass was on fire as a young woman. After I left, life burned me pretty badly. I returned home because home seemed like a good and safe place to raise children. Those children are now raised, and it is time for Tim and I to pull our dreams off the shelf where we carefully put them years ago. There was no time for our dreams...we were busy trying to raise up our children to realize their own. And now I'm looking at our dreams, and, surprisingly, I find that there is a huge resistance in me to trying new because I'm afraid to be burned. I've been playing it safe, and to step out and try new seems dangerous as well as self indulgent.
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So here I sit, navel gazing. I'm not depressed. I'm surprised a lot. I'm not sorry that my life was given over to my children. It's what a mother does, and if you can't put your children first, you've got no business having them. Sorry for my bluntness, but self indulgent parents raise self indulgent kids, and we're dealing with the fallout from that in America. My children are raised, and it is time for me, and it is time for Tim. While Tim seems able to move on to other things without a backward glance, I stew and fret and feel as if I am flirting with disaster. I feel ashamed and guilty as I think of actually spending money on myself.
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It will all come right, after I sort through this muddle, figure out what things I'm doing because I want to, and what things I'm doing because I have to. Or because I've always done it that way. Or because I've always been told to do it that way. I guess this is what is called finding your 'authentic self'. It's actually a little embarrassing. Whenever I heard others talking about things like this, I always sneered a little.
'Finding yourself' seemed stupid.
I knew who I was.
I was living my life by my own rules.
And you know, I believed that I was.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

I'm ashamed to say it, but apathy has got me.
What's up with that?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Cusp

It's really kind of reached out and smacked me in the face that my children are grown up.
I'm feeling kind of amazed by this.
Lovinia made a very Lovinia-like comment: she said I sounded melancholy.
Am I?
No. Not really. but...
There is a period of shock when you realize that it is done. While I am still a mom, my children are not still children, and so the relationship changes. They are not dependent on me. Watching them step out, knowing that they will be fine, that they are ready to live life on their own...there is a certain satisfaction about that, a chance to take a breath, a deep breath, and know that you've done your job. I am sure that there are still important moments where my kids will need their mom, but the childrearing is done.
So what's next?
I'm not sure.
I'm excited to see.
Right this moment, I feel like Gemini, the zodiac figure with the dual faces - one face looking back, the other gazing forward. This is a strange time. I wait, caught between the end and the beginning, watching quietly as my life unfolds.

Bon Mot

I should be up and moving. I've got an appointment in Tidioute at 8 AM. It's going to be a long day today. Won't get home until after 9 PM...if I'm lucky. I just have to have my morning coffee, so I'm sitting here in my robe, drinking coffee as fast as I can. Our county has lots of small communities, and Tidioute is one of the more independent ones. The school district closed the Tidioute School down a few years back. It was so small, graduating a dozen kids a year, that the school district felt it would be more cost effective to transport those kids to another school, an hour away. The residents protested, but the decision was made, and the school was closed. A year later it was opened again. Tidioute is running its own school, paid with money from its own community. So that's Tidioute...a town full of rugged individualists.
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One place where I set a trap is right behind the senior center. The last time I was taking down the trap, an elderly man came up and asked me what I was doing. I tell that I'm trapping mosquitoes. He proceeds to tell me that the mosquitoes were wicked bad where he came from, that he owned a big property and ran a nudist camp from it. He's wanting a shocked response. I said, "It doesn't seem very sensible to be running around naked in mosquito country. A certain amount of personal responsibility is called for, I think." Disappointed, he wandered off.
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I do have to say, I'm pretty good at snappy comebacks. In my past life, I gave a lecture on sexually transmitted diseases to every soldier coming in to Korea. Once I had an officer try to embarrass me in the crowd, asking, "Is it true that you can pick up STDs from a toilet seat?" Without missing a beat, I said, "Jees, sir, it seems like you could find a better place to have sex."
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Coffee's gone. No excuse not to be moving now.
Another day.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Cards

I love cards. I can spend a lot of time in the card aisle reading cards until I find the perfect one. I remember going to the store when the kids were home. We had a list of cards we had to buy for birthdays. We also had to buy a sympathy card. So we were reading the birthday cards and laughing, picking just the perfect card for each person, all of us laughing and having a good time. Cara was just a little pippersqueak, maybe 7 or 8. We finally had our birthday cards selected, and went to work on the sympathy card. We read cards for a while, and finally Cara said in a disgusted voice, "Well, this is going to take forever!" I looked down at her with a questioning look, and she said, "I've read every single one of these and not one of them is funny at all." Brianna, Dylan and I laughed until we cried. Cara got mad. Ten years later, she still gets ornery when you laugh at her. And being the riotous, horrible family that we are, we made up funny sympathy cards on the ride home.
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Anyways, Cara got a stack of cards for her graduation. There were profound ones, and funny ones, silly ones, cute ones, reminiscing ones, looking forward ones, encouraging ones, congratulatory ones. But one stood out above all others. It is no secret that Cara is a big fan of Icanhascheezburger.com. So Tommy got her this card:

Just about fell off the couch. It was perfect.

Family Party II

Like I said, I was grilling. And talking. And nuzzling children and babies. So the camera came out kind of late. Tim was showing a snakeskin around, and the menfolk just could not be bothered to take pictures. The dog was going nuts. He really can't stand that snakeskin, and when it rattles, he gets even twitchier. By the time it went back on the shelf, he sat in the middle of the room staring fixedly at it, just in case it spontaneously grew new innards and came alive.
Good news?
It didn't.
Here's more pictures though.
This is my sister Eileen. She's the one who told Tim she got him a concubine.
She meant columbine.
She's the one going to college this fall.
I hope they teach a vocab class.
Cara told her that she can become popular by being the person who buys the beer.
Cara thinks she's funny stuff.
She somehow found out that the school Eileen is headed too has the highest rate of STDs of any college in Pennsylvania. Cara really howled over that.
This is Sara. Sara is Jim's wife. We watched her with Rachel, and then we told Jim that we really thought that he and Sara needed to get themselves one of those. Jim said, "What store do you go to for those?" And Dylan said, "Well, go to Goodwill and see if you can buy one slightly used before you go out and pay full price."(That's my boy...) And I looked at them in amazement and said, "Wait! Nobody ever explained the facts of life...why, we have been remiss! Sit down boys..." and they ran from the deck. Dylan remembers the talk.
Apparently still traumatized.
The green stuff on his tongue is ice cream cake.
He was trying to gross people out.
Since we come from a long line of mighty strange folk,
green tongues aren't going to do it.
Dave got a farting Father's Day card.
He passed it around.
The card, I mean.

Cara made Dylan pose with her. "Pretend that you love me." They are actually very close, talk on the phone all the time.
And then she pointed out that maybe she could move in with Dylan.
He indicated that pretending to love her was easier when they didn't live under the same roof.
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We visited with the family yesterday. It was so much fun. Probably the thing that I heard more often was this wondering kind of "So why don't we do this more often?" Nobody knew.


I think that I will.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Party people.

As per usual, I was doing the grilling and didn't think about a camera until halfway through. People had already started to leave, even. *sigh* I suck. But the fellow above is Rae. Tim and I and Rae all worked third shift at the same factory. I ran a machine. Tim fixed the machine. Rae was a tool maker. Rae's a dandy, kind of shy, loves people and kids and animals. Funny as a hoot. Also single. Single women...leave comment.
This is my sister, Anna, with Cara, graduation night. She's a nurse. She couldn't make it to the party. She works 12 hour shifts Saturday and Sunday.
Her husband, Dave, came. Dave is the great bean meister. So Dave is always in charge of the beans. He's a great practical joker. Best to keep an eye on him.
The guy in the middle is Dave and Anna's oldest son, Jim. He was badly wounded in Iraq. He's back home now. His wife, Sara is just the nicest gal. Notice the male relatives all wear hats? All the time?
This cutie patootie is Becker. I didn't get pictures of Shawn and Angela, his parents.
I've offered to swap for Becker. His parents won't. I think his parents stink.
My niece Kellie. She is the mother of Rachel, who's sitting on Rae's lap in the first picture.
Kellie works at the paper I write for.

Her husband is Dave, not to be confused with brother in law Dave.
This is Mary and Danny. Danny is the 'big dumb Polack' who writes poetry to his wife. Hysterically funny people. Oh, my gosh. They brought pictures from their son, Luke's recent wedding in May. This was the reception that sparked the disagreement between Tim and I.

Here's Kristie, who is Kellie's sister. She's got her two boys, Connor and Justin. Her husband, Mike, has a large horse operation, supplying horses to a local summer camp. He's working pretty much 7 days a week during the summer.

Good times. Good times. More later. Blogger will not download other pictures. Too tired to argue. All night party last night for the kids, family party ran 7 hours today. I'm going to bed.

Happy Father's Day to everyone it applies to out there.

And people, find a reason to have a party. Invite everyone.

Celebrate!


Seasons

It's quiet this morning. It should be. We had a house full of kids last night. We left, seeking sanctuary at quiet homes. They're a good bunch of kids, and we've known most of them since they were pipsqueaks. We left Cara in charge with the same instructions we always give her.
No dope smoking in the house.
No kegs.
No orgies in the livingroom.
This is hysterically funny every time. You have to know Cara. She always pretends that I've just spoiled all her party plans. I always say something like, 'I mean it this time!'
These things aren't in the realm of possibility.
Therefore this is funny.
They went through the food. Cara said, "It was rather like a feeding frenzy." Me: "Was there blood?" Cara: "Not this time." When we got home, we tidied up a bit and went to bed, finally falling asleep to the sound of them running around in the front yard. I'd bought sparklers.
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I love the different seasons. Not just the fall, winter, spring, summer thing. I like those seasons. Well. Except for winter. Like BB, I'm not so keen on cold. But I like the other seasons, and I tolerate the winter thing fairly well. Except at the end, where I usually get a case of the blues that nothing can really cure. I endure it as patiently as I can, and try to keep my mouth shut, so as not to inflict my miserable nature on everybody else. Unless, of course, you ask everybody else. They'd probably tell you that I'm just plain miserable to be around at the end of winter, but that would be bullshit, and you should ignore them because I've discovered that everybody else exaggerates horribly at the end of winter. I don't know why. It's just something that I've noticed, at the end of winter.
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But I'm getting off the subject here.
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There's other seasons. The small seasons. Daffodil season has already come and gone. And so has lilac season. I saw my first lightning bug last night. It was very exciting. We only have them for about 6 weeks, and I love to sit on the porch swing and watch them at night. There's others, I suppose, but I can't really sit and ponder things today. I've got a broccoli salad to make for the second party, the family party today. But we sort of mark our lives by these seasons, don't we? I can't smell lilacs' rich fragrance, without remembering other lilac seasons. I can't watch the lightning bugs without hearing the echos of children -my own- running through the yard with jars to catch them for their rooms. I can't see daffodils without remembering Easters long gone.
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With the graduation of Cara, my own 'season' of children has ended. But today, at the party, my nieces will be bringing their children. Babies, toddlers, school aged. And I will romp with the kids, and nuzzle necks until they giggle. I've got 'poppers' and sparklers. I will have a great time. It's a little sad. My own season of children is over, and I cannot see other children without remembering my own children, now grown.
Shockingly.
Amazingly.
My children are now grown.
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Let me get started on that broccoli salad.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Cara and Karma

Last night, Cara and Dylan played chess.
They've both been practicing.
Cara whupped him.
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Then Cara, Dylan and I played Scrabble.
It was neck and neck for some time. Dylan got the 'q' and the 'z' and the 'j'. What's up with that? The Scrabble gods certainly favored him, last night.
In the end, however, Cara won, and rather decisively.
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Displaying the good sportsmanship that she is so well known for, she did a victory dance and repeated, several times, "Who won that game? Let's read those scores. Who got 202 points? Oh. Wait. HA! That was me. It makes sense. I'm the graduate. That silver cord around my neck in all the pictures? Not to hang myself with. I forget. Read me those scores again. Mom, you were dead last?!! Who won that game again? 202. That's a nice score. Who got that again? Who got that 202? HA! Wait. That was me."
It went on for some time.
Really. She was insufferable.

Today's party day. Her friends come for an all nighter with a bonfire starting at 4.

Outdoor party.

Ooh.

Friday, June 13, 2008

I DO has a happy

Yep. I'm happy.
Dylan's home, and asleep in his own bed.
He left right after work at about midnight and drove all night.
We've got him all weekend.
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Why? Party at my house this weekend, all weekend.
The guest of honor is Cara.
There will be kids to chase and babies to dandle, food to eat, lots of talking and laughing and a bonfire Saturday night.
You're all invited.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Amazing Moment in Motherhood

I read another blogger's post on teenage sexuality and the blame mentality. The 12 year old girl got pregnant and she blamed her school for not educating her. The blogger wondered about the responsibility of the girl's parents in this situation, about the responsibility of the teenagers.
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I remember the day when I went into Dylan's room to gather laundry from his floor. I pulled his wallet out of his pants pocket and set it on his dresser and was halfway out the door before it struck me: What was the circle embossed in the leather? I dropped the laundry in the hall and went back in. I worried about violating his privacy, but then thought, "If this is what I think it is, Dylan and I need to have a talk." So I went right ahead and violated that privacy and found exactly what I thought I would find and was hoping that I wouldn't. And I flopped down on the bed with that Trojan in one hand and his wallet in the other.
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The first thing I did was mentally curse his father for not being there to have that conversation. But then I resolutely began to rehearse everything that I wanted to say, beginning with teenage pregnancy, ending with my idea that no teenage girl feels better about herself after she has sex with a boy and the relationship ends, about his responsibilities to this girl, about being honorable, all of it. And once I was sure of everything that I wanted to say, I headed out to the garage where he was working on his truck.
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I said, "Dylan, come out from under that truck. We need to talk." which was all right, a good strong beginning. But then, to my horror, and to his embarrassed hysteria, the very next words out of my mouth were "Before you think about having sex, I want you to think long and hard..." There was an unforgettable moment in motherhood, all right. I think we were both traumatized that day.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Holes

I set a number of mosquito traps in cemeteries. As odd as this sounds, it's actually pretty sensible. Every community has one, and they are usually placed on the outskirts of towns, land that is not desirable for a living area, in a wetland, or a flood plain, etc. They are also places where you can set a trap up and be reasonably sure that it is not going to be tampered with. I love cemeteries, walking through them, reading tombstones, wondering about the stories of the people that lie beneath them. I sometimes eat my lunch at these quiet places, daydreaming, imagining a life for this person or that. I'm a terrible daydreamer sometimes.
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Yesterday, before the storm, when I was hearing the thunder, and relishing the wind, and smelling the storm, I approached an old cemetery. And lo, an elderly man was mowing. I waved in a cheerful way, and went about my business. I heard the mower approaching and I stood as the man cut the engine. "What are you doing, if you don't mind my asking?" Heck no. I'm a talker, so I began to tell him that I was setting a mosquito trap. Before I could get any further than that, his eyes were twinkling and he said, "I thought you were her! I read your articles all the time. You are a pretty funny woman." He went on to tell me that he knew all my husband's family. Not surprising. The preacher's family is kind of high profile. Especially when the preacher had 6 kids, some of whom were quite the hellraisers. So we talked, in a friendly fashion like two old friends, even though we had met only that very moment.
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He talked of his own family, and he tells me that his wife died earlier in the spring, after 58 years of marriage. He talked about how they had known each other even longer than that, because they'd promised to marry when they were still in school. He talked very matter of factly, but you could tell this was a grieving man. I leaned against my truck and said, "Oh, that must leave an awful big hole in your life, to have someone in it for that long, and suddenly they are gone." The thunder rumbled, and he looked at me with tears in his eyes. "You know, most people can't understand that, they just don't understand how lonely a person can be." I did. And because I'm a sap of the very worst kind, I got sympathetic tears for him.
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Before it was done, he had my address, and an invite to dinner. I drove off, to the west, directly into the oncoming storm, and I thought about it. You know, I think the truest measure of the value of a person's life may be size of the hole that (s)he leaves behind when they are gone from this world. Valjean left a gaping hole in one man's life. Though his children, and his grandchildren try to fill the empty spaces, he is still lonely. How sad for him, but I don't imagine that he would have given up the joys of his life to avoid the pain of her passing.
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I drive along, wondering about the hole that I am digging.
The heavens open,
and it begins to rain.

Storms

It has been hot here, wicked hot. As I went from site to site yesterday, I was glad for the approaching storm. You could feel it in the breeze, you could hear it in the rumbles of the distant thunder, you could smell it in the air, you could see it in the alarming black and purple clouds off to the west. The air was just heavy with the approaching storm. At one point, I was able to stand in the hot sun, watching the rain pummel the next mountains over. It was coming, it was coming. I worked on, keeping a wary eye on the sky.
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When it did come, it was a dandy storm. I love thunder and lightning storms, and this was a great one. The thunder rumbled hugely, rolling from one end of the heavens to the other, and the lightning flashed. The trees whipped in the wind. The rain splattered in great huge drops. I got soaked to the skin. My shoes would squeak for the rest of the day. (There's probably some dread foot rot that I will get from walking around in wet footwear for days on end.) It was just a soul satisfying storm. The strange thing about this one though, was that I saw it coming for ages before it hit, and then even when it did hit, I could look over at the next mountains to the west, and see that it was sunny and bright. I knew the storm would not last long. It did not. No matter. It was awesome while it was around.
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I drove the truck back to the shop, happy in my soul. I'd witnessed a metaphor. Not much different than life, is it? The storms approach, overtake us, and then pass by. There's always a bright patch coming right behind them.
I love life lessons.
Especially when they are illustrated by a mighty hand.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Changing Subject

Still don't get the 'baby talk' thing on this website, but the pictures are pretty cool. This particular picture is actually the real deal. This bear came across the tundra straight for his sled dogs. There was no way for him to rescue his dogs and he watched in horror. The bear played with them for a couple hours and went on his way. He came back for several days, and the man thought that the encounter was so unbelievable, that by the third night, he was waiting with a camera. He got wonderful pictures, and then the bear was never seen again.
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Monday, June 9, 2008

Dadblamed Bush Babe

I was keeping a very low profile on this one, trying to avoid the tag. But Bush Babe got me.
I'm supposed to share my beauty secrets.
*rolling on floor laughing*
*wipes tears, regains composure*
Okay, now, I was raised in a house where vanity was strongly discouraged. No make-up, until I just went ahead and started wearing it. Poor Dad could not look at me without pointing out I looked like a whore. Add that to several years in a bad marriage and what you have is someone who hates how she looks and can't stand herself in pictures. Do I wear make up?
Yes.
Each and every day.
But I hate talking about my looks.
I'm a team player, though.
And I'm planning to get BB back.
I will.
I swear.
So here goes.
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Foundation:
L'oreal Age Perfect.
Enough Said.
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Mascara:
Great Lash/Black, brown eye shadow for contouring
I have dark hair and dark skin and blue eyes.
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Day Cream:
I can't wear day cream. My anti-wrinkle cream gives me zits. How funny is that?
I have very oily skin, do not need any additional moisturizing.
I think I could probably solve America's oil crisis.
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Essential Beauty Product:
Tim.
Funny story: when we were combining households, I found a picture of an beautiful Indian woman with a wolf. I said, "What do you want to do with this?" I was hoping he'd say it was out the door. He said, "Oh, get rid of it. The kids got it for me for Christmas a while back." Me: (feeling guilty) "Well, don't get rid of it, if the kids gave it to you..." And he said, "It blew my mind when I first met you. You look just like her. Who needs the picture when you've got the real thing." Me: (squinting and tilting the picture this way and that) "I don't look like that." Tim:"Yes, actually, you do." So the most essential beauty product I've got is Tim. When you are desired and beloved, you can begin to believe that you might be beautiful. I never felt like that before I met him.
So.
I'm keeping him.
You all can find your own essential beauty product.
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Perfume:
Chantilly for the dress up times.
Otherwise I smell like Sandalwood and Cinnamon. Body wash, followed by huge amounts of lotion. I go through the lotion.
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Hair:
I always wore my hair very long until last year. Now it is shorter, but I like it. I color it once every six weeks. Nutrisse, medium brown. My auntie tells me that you should always go a shade lighter than your normal shade, otherwise you look like a punk rocker with wrinkles. Big fan of the Aussie hair care line.
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Nails:
Nothing. I work for a living. I also bite my nails when stressed. They grow long, and then they're gone. So nope, don't mess with my nails at all.
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Feet:
I just slather them with sandalwood and cinnamon lotion.
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Three things to bring to a desert island.
Bodywash, lotion, and lip balm and Nair Wax. Like all dark skinned, dark haired women of a certain age, I have a mustache. Once I introduced a speaker. He had a huge handlebar mustache. I said, "He waxes his mustache. I wax mine. Completely different results. Fascinating, isn't it?"
(And yes, I know it's four things, but I don't care.)
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Who I admire for her beauty.
Angelina Jolie.
Can't think of anyone else.
Don't especially sit around gauging other women.
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Don't read any fashion magazines.
Don't pay attention to style.
I'm a blue jeans kind of gal. Lately taken to flowy skirts.
Both worn with tees or tanks.
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How I define womanhood?
A woman is a caretaker, someone who does whatever it is that needs to be done for her family, however she defines that word. The very best women are strong, self reliant, principled, and courageous. I am a woman of charactor, and the women that I love best are women of charactor as well.

Commencement

Cara graduated from high school.
Magna cum laude.
She's not as depressed about the fact as she appears here.
It's just that she's stuck with a mother who's taking pictures.
Acting all excited and proud.
Gads.
Mothers suck when they get like that.

See. I told you.

As soon as the girl gets with her friends,

she's funny.

Bubbly.

Happy.

And what's up with that picture? It looks as if something nibbled off the corners.

Oh well.

Deal with it.

But see the difference.

No friends. Just parents.

Look at that sad face.

Here she is again. With friends.

Smiling.

Luckily I'm not a mother with low self esteem.

Otherwise, I'd feel bad.

Anyways, this is Sarah, and Cara, and Cole, and Johnna.

They have been friends since second grade.

Cole's mother and I met in the grocery store.

"I was getting pictures together for his album.

Remember how cute they were in second grade?'

And I smiled when she said that, because I did remember.

Cara and Cole were going to get married in elementary school.

This merry little group have had some adventures.

This is Tommy and Cara.

Ironically, I went to school with a boy of the same name.

He's this Tommy's father.

I like Tommy.


This is Jamie and Cara.

Jamie and Cara got 6 hours of detention once.

For playing scrabble during their lunch period.

Sounds pretty innocuous, doesn't it?

Unfortunately they were in the rafters of the auditorium at the time.

Jamie's father said "Well, now Jamie won't have anyone to lead him astray."

He was kidding.

I think.

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This chapter's over.

Yeah.

I cried.

But I can't wait to see what comes next.

Hunting

Hunting is a controversial thing, I guess.
Never gave it a thought, really. It's just what people do here.
Not just the menfolk.
My friend, Mary, is an avid hunter. Her husband gave her five 'special' shotgun shells for Christmas. They cost $35. She thought he was nuts. She went spring gobbler hunting. It was just before a thunderstorm, and every time the thunder rumbled, she could hear the turkey gobbling. It thundered, the turkey would gabble to one another, getting closer and closer, and she crouched there, tense with excitement. They got within sight, and she came up slowly and fired. The gun bucked, knocked her flat on her ass, bruised her shoulder and somehow she manage to screw up her finger. She thought it was broken. She missed a perfectly fine turkey. To make the matter worse, the turkey stood there staring at her, making alarmed noises. She couldn't do anything about that, because her gun was jammed. Oh. Mary was mad. She stomped home to call her brother to help her unjam her gun. He made terrible fun of her. She made him shoot one of the shells. "Gees," he said, "that does have quite a kick..." When Danny got home, they were waiting, and she was still pretty upset. She hasn't been this upset since the two of them had hunted together, and she got a stick in her eye. It was not on purpose, now, but it hurt just as badly as if it was. Anyways, she and her brother made Danny shoot a shell too. Danny had made the statement, "Well, gees, I didn't know you were going to use one of those..." as if he'd bought the shells as an attractive display for a window sill or something. So, like I said, they made him shoot a shell. He agreed they were pretty powerful. Maybe the other two would be nice to display on a window sill.
Anyways, we hunt here.
Well.
Not me personally.
Animals look at you. I couldn't stand to shoot something that was looking at me. I know that's hypocritical. After all, I eat meat. Even your grocery store meat comes from an animal that someone has killed. It doesn't make you a better person because you don't hunt. It also doesn't make you a sadistic monster if you do.
I heard Bob Barker talking once. I like Bob. My pets are always spayed, or neutered, just like he says. But here's where we disagree. He was on a show once, talking about his belief that there is no need to hunt, because nature controls its own animal populations. It's true. Nature does. A massive deer herd will die off in the winter. Not enough food. They starve. That strikes me as less humane than a shot in the head. Bob Barker does not wear leather shoes either. His choice. But I really don't see why the heck you wouldn't. The animals are slaughtered for meat. He may be a vegetarian, but many people aren't. I don't understand why you'd waste a perfectly good cow hide. But that's just me. On the same token, I won't wear most fur. We don't eat the meat. It's a waste to kill an animal for its fur. Or for its antlers. Or because its the ultimate trophy.
We hunt for meat.
I make no apologies for that.
It's our way.
And if by chance, Tim gets a trophy, the one thing I know for sure...it will be on our wall along with the other stuff.
I'm going to write a book. "Decorating with Dead Stuff".
It will sell well here.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Tim's Package


This is my husband Tim. He got a package today. The package was from Mikey, the Horseshoeing Housewife, out in Arizona. I'd link to her blog, like Jeanie so patiently taught me, but I can't. Mikey's offline for a while. This is sad news for Tim, because Tim has become addicted to her blog. He doesn't even read MINE. But hey, I'm not at all jealous of Mikey and her stinking blog. I'm kind of noble like that.


What could be in this box?
Tim is pretty excited.
This is Tim's excited face.

She even sent him a nice little handwritten card. Thank you for being such a loyal reader, it says. Has a cute little heart on it, and is signed by Mikey, the Horseshoeing Housewife. I'm not jealous, or nothing, even though I know that Tim really loved eating his cornflakes in the morning while reading about her latest adventure.


OOOooooooooh! Tim's getting excited here! This is his really excited face. Do you see what this is? It's a rattlesnake skin. Mikey did a charming how-to post. How to skin a rattlesnake, tan his skin, and boil down the meat off the bones so that you can sell the bones on e-bay (these are her only charactor defects, that I know of anyways). But Tim was intrigued. I showed him the post and he became infatuated with her blog. I'm not jealous though.


OOOOOOoooooh.

She left the rattles on. 7 of 'em. Oh. Tim's really excited now. To see his really excited face, refer to picture number three.


Look at the lovely pattern of the rattlesnake. And the skin is so soft and smooth. Tim thinks Mikey has done a wonderful job on this. He is honored that he has the very first rattlesnake skin she ever tanned. Speechless, even. It's hard to tell when Tim is speechless though. He's a pretty quiet guy.

Now, Tim is no stranger to decorating with dead things. This is his buck. When the kids were at home, we decorated him. He wore a red nose and tinsel around his neck at Christmas, a green hat on St. Patrick's Day, a birthday hat for everyone's birthday, all seven of them. He's really like one of the family, actually. Tim was very excited when he shot this big fellow. To see Tim's excited face, please refer to picture number three.

This is one of the other dead things in our house.

It is a brook trout.

It was a state ranked fish in 1984. That's why it has become one of the dead things that is worthy of decorating our home. Tim said that he couldn't believe his eyes when he netted it. He was very excited. To see Tim's very excited face, please refer to picture number three.

Here's another dead thing in our living/dining room. It is the feet from his first deer. These feet have a special purpose. This is where he puts his fishing pole. Tim went fishing and did not put his pole back. This particular dead thing is not my favorite. It looks like the deer is flipping us off. I try to be patient with Tim's hobbies, but I really think this would look nice hanging in the garage or something. But Tim still gets excited when he talks about his first deer. To see Tim's excited face, please refer to picture number three.

Tim carefully stretches this thing of beauty on the buffet, because it really lends a certain ambiance to the tea service he bought me. He's already talking about what sort of board we need to get. This will be mounted. Hung on our wall. I'll get a little plaque made for it.

"Presented to Tim, from Mikey, the Horseshoeing Housewife.

June 6th, 2008"

It will hang in our livingroom and Tim will show everyone who comes to visit.

Thanks, Mikey.

He's very excited about all of this.

To see his excited face, please refer to picture number three.

You made his day.

Mine too.