Monday, December 31, 2012

This Year Was Good - Next Year Will be Better

      It is New Year's Eve, and although I have never been a fan of celebrating this night, preferring always to stay in, to just be with family, and even, in the past few years when the kids were off to other places, going to bed long before midnight, tonight, this year, will be different.  This year is the beginning of the 50th year of my life. I don't actually turn 50 until early February, and it seems as though, if I were being technical, I'd wait UNTIL my birthday, and plot the year from February to February, birthday 50 to birthday 51. But, I like the idea of this new YEAR being my birthday YEAR, so I'm choosing, instead, to begin tonight/tomorrow. Tomorrow is a new beginning. A trite and traditional one, to be sure, but in some ways,  I like that. If my birthday weren't until later in the year, I probably would wait, but since it is close enough to January anyway, I'm choosingto begin celebrating having lived on this awesome planet for nearly 50 years,  now.
     I have big plans for this year. 50 of them, to be exact. Well, ok, so that's a bit of a lie. I don't actually have all 50 plans yet, but this is going to be the year of  "50 Things to do the Year I Turn 50," so I'm working on the list. It's not a monumental list. It doesn't have things like "Vacation in  Peru"  or "Build a School in Nepal" or "Stop Global Warming."  A lot of them are pretty mundane. But they are important goals to ME, and that's all that matters. This year, I'm focusing on me. That's not to say I plan to be selfish, or that I feel I am some sort of princess or that other people aren't important, even far more important. But, I'm important too, a fact that I seldom, if ever, give voice or creedence to, and I intend to, this year. And since the number one thing on my list is something to the effect of "Be alive - be alert to as many moments of life as you can, don't waste any more moments than you have to feeling sad, mad, angry, frustrated, irritated, etc. and instead, make it a point to just be open to life, to not take a single minute of this year for granted..."  well, I decided I'd best start with TONIGHT. I wouldn't want to sleep through the beginning of something this big. That would be a very inauspicious beginning to this most awesome year of my life.
     So, we've a bottle of champagne for later, I'm making some really delicious homemade caramel popcorn (because I love it, because it's kind of a pain to make and I don't make it often  just because it takes "too long" but now, that excuse is just not going to be a valid one), and we are having a fire in the fireplace. I intend to read, maybe do a little embroidery, a little crocheting, possibly even doze a little on my really comfy couch in this super quiet house as I wait for midnight to toll. The kids are all celebrating elsewhere with friends. At midnight, I'll toast to another year past, but more importantly, I'll toast to 2013 - the most awesome and meaningful year of my life to come, because I intend to make it so, to live with purpose, and clarity and intent. Of course, I know full well not every minute will be like that. There will be plenty of not-so-memorable moments, hours, even days this coming year. I'm sure of it. Because that is life, no matter how we plan and hope for that not to be so. But in choosing to TRY to live a meaningful year, a year full of purpose and enthusiasm and a year of motivated, authentic living, I am already ahead of more than half the people on this planet who simply exist, drifting from day to day like their life is full of an endless supply of them that they will appreciate later. Later is now for me. This year will be the best of my life. I choose to make it so.

Monday, November 12, 2012

I am the Queen of Unfinished Projects...

...so why should a plan to blog, or at least post a photo with a few words for the Instagram Challenge, daily, for an entire month,  which got derailed after only two posts, surprise me?  It doesn't!  It's me. It's who I am, completely. I have the BEST IDEAS EVER, and often even get all the materials (or thoughts...) needed for them, only to have them sit... and sit... and sit some more. SOME of them get finished, some never do. But, at least I know it's me, totally and completely  me, and can kind of chuckle at it. If I can't laugh at myself, at least at knowing myself so well that this doesn't even surprise me, even thought I REALLY wanted to do it, and really MEANT to do it, then I guess I'm just taking life far too seriously.
     Too bad. I had a GREAT one for purple!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Grateful Challenge: Nov 2, Sunset

Big Lake, Alaska   May, 2012 ,  10:30 pm

 
    There was never a question in my mind about what sunset picture I am most grateful for.  The sunsets last spring in Big Lake were phenomenal.  I know I have some that show the sun better, some that are more typically golden as the sun sinks in the west behind the trees at 11, or 11:30ish at night. Those are beautiful.  But looking at this one, I remember just being STUNNED at the colors on the mountains to the east of the sunset as they reflected back the light. The pink is not as vivid in the photo as it was in real life, simply because I lack a lot in both camera equipment and photography skills. I stood behind the house, outside the kitchen window near the Birch tree, with my heart in my throat, not from fear, but from simple awe.  The sun was dropping, slowly, oh-so-slowly out front, golden, fire-orange, blazing reds, but in the back, across the valley, the mountains were turning pink on their snowtopped caps. It was beyond beautiful, so beautiful. I had never noticed this before, and I will always be thankful that I was there, at that time, at that place, to see and appreciate. I am forever changed by having watched the pink on the mountains sink into a slightly darker, less vibrant but still beautiful, twilight.  I am, by nature, a sunset watcher, and appreciater, but this one made an impact like no other. For that, I am grateful.

Grateful Challenge: Nov 1, Leaves


A year ago, October, somewhere in Massachusetts along the turnpike.  Youngest daughter and I took a 4 day trip from NY to Maine to visit a potential college, and it was just one of the best trips ever. I spent four deliriously happy days, soaking in the changing leaves, the colors and feel of fall, traveling with my girl, seeing new sights, revisiting familiar places, everything. It was just a perfectly wonderful four days of traveling, and the palette of leaves throughout Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts was in full color.  When I came across this picture, it was an instant, visual reminder of that short trip, and how full my heart was those four days. I'm grateful for that time, that exeperience, shared with my beautiful girl, who is now attending that same college we went  to visit last October.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

November is a lot of Things

 
 
     November. Month of Thanksgiving, above all else. At least, that is the first and most important thing that comes to mind for me. It is also Veterans' Day.  And it's some NaNoMo thing - I don't know the correct acronym, but it is National Write a Novel Month, with a 50,000 word goal, I think.  All of these things coelesce into some sort of perfect "thankfulness" storm. 
     I'm thankful for Thanksgiving, because, for me, it is all about being with my family, whatever family is able to gather that day.  The food is the centerpiece around which the people I love gather, and talk, and laugh, and inevitably argue. But just a little bit. Not enough to ruin the day.  And I miss family that day, too, but I'm still thankful I had them, or still have them but they just can't be at MY table that day. 
     Veterans' Day, while I am definitely grateful for the day off from school it gives me, has come to mean a great deal more than that to me, with friends and family who've sacrificed their lives, or years of their lives at least, to serve our country so that I don't have to. So that I can do all the things I do, all the things I take for granted.  I will never find the words to express my deepest and most sincere gratitude to our country's veterans, both past and present. And even future - my next door neighbor just signed her papers to join the Navy after this year of college is done, and one of my favorite guys from this year's Senior Class long ago signed up for the Marines, leaving right after graduation.   
     Lastly is that writing thing. I don't intend to write a novel this month. Even if I wanted to, and had the time (I don't), I don't have a novel in me right now. I DO, however, have some very specific writing targets for the future, bigger ones than I've tackled ever before, and those excite, challenge and scare me, just a litte bit. But I've decided I'll use November to work on accomplishing the steps to those goals that I can, so that they become slightly more tangible by the end of this month. 
     SO...what does all of that have to do with the Instagram 30 Day Challenge I posted for November?  I've decided to use those photography prompts and tie them in with the month's theme of Thankfulness. So, Day 1, (which was today by the way - yeah, not exactly starting out on the right foot, I know, since I didn't even remember to look for that challenge until tonight), for example,  asks for a photo of "Leaves."  I'm going to challenge myself to photograph leaves in such a way that they remind me of something to be thankful for, and to write a few words about it when I post it. I'm going to try to look at EVERY prompt for a photo as an opportunity to think of a reason to be thankful. I guess what I mean is, I'm going to try to be "creatively grateful" and to show that creativity and gratefulness through pictures and words this month. 30 days of them.  Day 13 has me a little worried...but hey, that's the point, right? To be grateful for things you don't necessarily FEEL grateful for right now? We'll see how I do!  Starting tomorrow, with "leaves" AND "sunset" to make up for today and get back on track for the month. 
    

New Month, New Possibilities


Not a Real Post...





...just some random thoughts.

  •  I took the day off from school today. I finally had to. I broke a couple bones in my foot on Saturday, found out on Monday, tried to take a few days off this week to rest it, since he didn't  cast it,  just told me to stay off it and baby it, but we had NO SUBS Tuesday. They were going to pull another teacher, a remedial teacher, to cover my class. That's not right. He has his own kids to teach who need him, and so, I went in. I hobbled out to recess on the athletic field Tuesday, then decided I wouldn't do that again. I will switch and do "work room" indoors for a little while. Yesterday I didn't feel right not being there, leaving a sub to deal with Halloween madness, since our5th and 6th grade kids put on games for the younger kids all afternoon. But that involved a lot of up and down the stairs, and a lot of walking. By last night, I could barely walk at all. Several days of trying to walk on my heel, or the side of my foot, to avoid putting any pressure on the toe area has really hurt my heel, and my ankle, and my calf muscles. So, I finally decided I didn't care WHO my sub was, I wasn't going in today. I think it was a good decision. My foot really hurts this morning. I will just rest it and stay off it as much as possible today. Tomorrow most of the kids are going on a field trip with me left behind as the "work room" all day, so I won't have to actually use it much tomorrow, and then I have the weekend at home again. Hopefully by Monday, it will have started to heal a little bit.  He suggested crutches, but... that's just a recipe for a broken leg, or arm, for sure!
  • My oldest called me at school yesterday to tell me the security company he works for was looking for volunteers to come work in the areas hit by Hurricane Sandy (long Island and NJ) for up to a month, at double the rate of pay he makes here. Plus anything over 40 hours will be time and a half. Given that he will be working 12 hour shifts, 7 days a week, he stands to make a little money this next month! I encouraged him to take it.  Actually NOT for the money, although that was the key for him. I encouraged him to take it because I think it will be "something different," and could lead to other things (who knows what it could lead to, or not, but he'll never know if he doesn't go) and I think it looks good to the boss he works for now, which might also lead to new opportunities in the future.  He needs those. His job currently is not very exciting, not great hours, and not great pay. It COULD lead to something better at some point, which is what he is hoping for, so I thought accepting this challenge for the next month might well work in his favor in that regard. Not to mention that they have to keep his current job open for him, same hours/pay etc. when he returns. I told him last night, "It's an ADVENTURE!"  By his response, I don't think he thinks you can find adventure in New Jersey. Especially when working 12 hours and sleeping most of the other 12!  I will miss him, but I am proud of him for taking the chance.
  • SO, because he is leaving today for a couple of weeks, at least, we did a quick shopping trip last night to get him a few necessities he will need.  We also stopped at Applebees and had dinner together, just he,his father and I.  He liked that. Because we were gone, unplanned, from home on Halloween, I told my 19 year old to just turn out the front light, "unless he wanted to hand out candy."  If you knew him, you'd know that I said that jokingly.  He's not the "handing out candy to little kids" type!  We came home and the candy bowl, and bags, were empty, and the chair on the front porch had been moved to make it easier for kids with costumes to get around. My 19 year old sat outside last night and handed out Halloween candy. I was shocked. But in a good way. 
  • So, I guess my "great thought" for today, along with my randomness, is that kids really DO grow up at some point, don't they. Some take longer than others, for sure, and sometimes its in bursts and spurts, not steady over the long haul, but I have GOOD KIDS. All four of my kids are really GOOD KIDS.  It's just nice to see some tangible evidence of that every now and again. I just hope the surprise of it all, when it happens, doesn't kill me. Probably not. It would seem that my weakness is my foot, after all, not my heart!  :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Samhain-The Night of Thin Places

      Tonight is one of my favorite nights of the year. I love Halloween night. Not for trick-or-treating. Not for the jack-o-lantern carving, or the noise, or the excitement, or the mess. And I SURELY do not like it for the way it affects my students, today OR tomorrow.  But I love it for the ancient Celtic traditions it is founded on, and the ways I am still able to practice some of those traditions today that make me feel connected to people and times and places of long-ago. Halloween, or Samhain (Sow-in) was originally a very pagan celebration which had much to do with the end of harvest and the time of year it was held. It became Christianized, and then again secularized, and has undergone much change, until what we call Halloween today has very little to do with its ancient beginnings. I don't much care about today's version, now that I no longer have little kids  excited to dress up, go door to door asking for candy, or stay home and hand out candy to the ghosts and witches and vampires of the neighborhood. What I do like, what I can hardly wait for tonight, is that this is the night that I can be connected to all those who have gone before me, generations and generations of wise, ancient and ordered people from the lands of thin places, of doorways between worlds, of traditions and wisdom and spirituality.
     When my children were little, it was a challenge to me, one I took seriously, to never speak their names after dark. Legend has it that to call out your child's name leaves them vulnerable to being taken.  Tonight is one of the nights when the veil between worlds is thinner, thin enough to allow beings from the other side to slip through, unnoticed.  Naming your child out loud is to give those beings who might wish to take one back with them the advantage; they, too, can call your child home with them, call them by name, and just like that, they've slipped away through that doorway between worlds. It's hard to take four small, overly eager, excited children trick-or-treating around town and never say their name out loud, but I worked hard to maintain that every year.
     I also make sure our house is blessed on All Hallow's Eve. I am not sure why it is done in this particular manner, but I do know that I have always circled the exterior of our home thrice, blessing and silently naming all within, all who reside there.  I don't feel that it's pagan to ask a blessing on my home and on my family. I feel it makes sense and it gives me a sense of "tucking in" my home and family on the night that ends the light half of the year.  Usually on the day following, All Saints Day, I bake "soul cakes."  I guess, traditionally, in Ireland especially, those were handed out on the night before, tonight it would be, which is where, it has been said,  the tradition of going door to door began. But for me, time-wise, with costumes and trick-or-treating, and parties, there was just never time to do those ON Halloween, so I've always made them a day later. Perhaps not so typically traditional, but traditional to MY family, in my own way.
     So, tomorrow begins the "Dark half of the Year."  I love it, because it is when I "hunker down" inside my home, and work on projects that can be done by evening's light inside. My goal for those dark half projects are to work on something of value, of worth, to create and be able to leave behind things to show for those hours spent indoors. It is the time of year I get out my crocheting again that I put away in the summertime, and work on a couple of blankets at a time. I focus more on trying to quilt, and sew, and complete projects I've let go over the summer in favor of time spent outdoors. I write more, read more, think more, create more. I intentionally use more colors, work a little harder, try to make our home a little more warm and comfortable. The Dark Half of the year is time spent indoors without guilt, working on leaving something of a legacy behind.
     I really do love this time of year. Every month, every season, has its own gifts, to be sure, but I really do love this evening the best of all, I think.  Happy Samhain, everyone.

         THIS IS A REALLY WELL_DONE, SHORT VIDEO - WORTH THE WATCH!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaVK0aslArE

Soul Cakes

Ingredients

    1. 1 cup butter, two sticks American
    2. 3 3/4 cups sifted flour
    3. 1 cup fine sugar
    4. 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
    5. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    6. 1 teaspoon ginger
    7. 1 teaspoon allspice
    8. 2 eggs
    9. 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
    10. 4 -6 tablespoons milk
    11. powdered sugar, to sprinkle on top

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Cut the butter into the flour with a pastry blender or a large fork.
  3. Blend in the sugar, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon and allspice; beat eggs, vinegar, and milk together.
  4. Mix with the flour mixture until a stiff dough is formed.
  5. Knead thoroughly and roll out 1/4-inch thick.
  6. Cut into 3-inch rounds and place on greased baking sheets. Prick several times with a fork and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  7. Presentation:.
  8. Sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar while still warm.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

2 Cups of Hot Coffee

     It is dark this morning. Not just the time of the morning it is, but the sky has a darkness to it that won't be repelled by sunrise in another hour. It is grey, and chilly this morning, but not yet cold. October, right now, seems hung by a fine thread, a balancing act, between leaving summer and committing to winter. It's indecisiveness, it's inability to decide where to put its mark most, is something I can identify with right now. So, fight it or embrace it, it is a dark morning. Accept it might be the best middle ground.For October. For me.
     I am up, dressed and ready for work an hour early this morning. I'm not sure why. What to do with it. I could go to school. There's plenty to do there, always an extra hour, or twenty, needed. But that would mean leaving the dogs an hour early, and I hate to do that. They're such good company, and I believe they need mine too. I stand at the front shutterless, curtainless, windows,  still bare of any coverings since I haven't finished painting the trim yet, and look out at the dark world in front of my house. The house across the street, where there are two good parents with two good kids, is lit enough so that I know they are up and getting the boys ready for school, and themselves ready for work. I know both boys will be fed breakfast before mom takes them up to school, and I know their lunches are packed, and their clothes will match, and their hair will be combed. And I know mom will kiss them goodbye in the car, at least the little one, and wish them a good day. She'll probably tell them to be good, too.
     The house next to theirs is dark. No one is up and around there. It is a different house, a different world, right next door. Those kids have it rough. No one will feed them breakfast, check their clothes, muss their hair, or tell them to have a good day. When all six kids from both houses are out on the sidewalk after school, on weekends, the playing field is level. They are all kids. When they return indoors to their respective houses, long after dark for the kids in the house on the right, they return to different countries, one at peace, the other at war, and the four kids in that house have been the casualties since their births.
     A school bus decelerates down the street to the left, and leans into the corner turn, off to pick up children from good and bad houses, and bring them to us within the hour. Another car makes the turn, its headlights piercing the gloomy dark morning, and I wonder, idly, where it is going, and whether I would like to be going there, too. Where would I like to go this morning? I don't even know.
     My second cup of coffee is poured, and I'm grateful that this extra time this morning means that I will get to drink it here, at home, with my dogs for company, and while it's hot. Most mornings I take the second cup to school with me, and by the time I'm able to drink, it's already lukewarm. I'm used to cold coffee, but it doesn't mean I like it. The sky is lightening a bit, enough to see that I was right, and heavy grey clouds are hanging grumpily above the almost bare trees across the street. There is now a light behind the two upstairs bedroom windows in the other house across the street, which means someone is awake over there, at least. Most likely the kids have their own alarms, and have gotten themselves up. I hope they have a good day. I hope they get enough to eat at school and it fills them up for awhile. I hope that someone loves them, just a little bit, today.
     Sparticus, the rooster, the king-of-my-coop rooster, for there are three, has just begun to crow. I guess the darkness of the morning has led him to a late start this day. Soon, he and his harem of hens will be out scratching in the dirt, looking for cold worms.  I hope they find some this morning. One of the cats has given herself a bath, and curled up in a tight little ball, wedged in to the back of the couch, where I would bet she will be most of the day. It is that kind of a day today. The dogs are busy chewing bones I gave them when I sat down with my coffee, and that will keep them all busy for at least another few moments. Then, as I begin my day again in public, with all the noise and chaos that I hate, they, too, will curl up and snooze the rest of the day away. Oh, they'll guard the house occasionally with their frantic and ferocious sounding barking, but when the squirrell on the Birch scampers off, or the errant stray wandering through our front yard has gone on about his business down the street, they, too, will curl up and go back to dozing until I return home eight hours from now.
     It's only been an extra hour this morning, but what a gift for my thoughts, and my heart, it's been. An hour spent with hot coffee, dogs, and my own musings, makes me realize there really was no other way to have spent this hour. Silly that I stood at the window in the dark so long looking for one, looking for some other way to have filled it. Some way that mattered more. I don't think there could have been one. At least not today.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Castle Building

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.
Henry David Thoreau
US Transcendentalist author (1817 - 1862)
 
     I went to bed last night angry, irritated and depressed. I have been chasing a dream the past few months, nearly a year now since it began to take shape. It's a big dream. A HUGE life-changing dream. It is big, and terrifying, and exciting. It makes me happy, and scared, and feel alive, finally. And yet it seems, sometimes, the closer I get to it, the more elusive it becomes. One day, it all seems possible and doable and I feel close. Yesterday, I even added another piece to it which only seemed to complement and complete it. I was "up" and excited. So excited. I've never been THIS CLOSE to something that means so much to me. JUST me. And then, piece by piece, reality starts to take it apart, and I look at the obstacles that people point out. It's ok that they do this. It is. It's reality. And you can't REALLY go off chasing dreams without some dose of reality too, or those dreams will not have any foundation to them. They'll crash and burn. I know this. I do. That part, at least, comes with age and maturity.  I've never been a big fan of reality. I PREFER dreams that seem easy!  Don't we all. Last night when I went to bed, I was ready to just say "forget it. It's impossible. It isn't going to work, and there's just no way I can make it work." That's depressing. But this morning, when I awoke, I realized that that is exactly what people WANT me to do. Even the people, some of them, who say they think it's cool, and oh yeah, you should do that... but then point out the things they see that are so impractical... in a way, I think they WANT me to say, "Yeah, you're right, it won't work," and settle back in to my singular existence here and now. I don't think they MEAN to be dream killers. I think they just PREFER reality, without the complications of trying to reach a dream. I honestly don't think a lot of people even really have dreams; at least not ones that are really important to them that they reach. I think too many people just live, day to day, in the reality they've built, or that has been built for them along the way. That's ok. I'm not criticizing that at all. It just makes me understand that because of that, people like me who DO have some sort of "out there," crazy idea of what we need to do or accomplish for our own well being are not well understood creatures. I am the oddity to most people. I get that. Sort of. I don't really understand how life can just be so boringly normal and so many people are ok with that, but I accept it. I wish there was a little more acceptance for people who DON"T fit that mold as well.
     I realized, though,  this morning that I'm NOT ready to give up. The Thoreau quote popped into my head and as I lay there in the chilly light of morning, as the day tried to begin, I realized that dreams - in order to make them work - might take hard work, might take planning, and maybe even some creativity to figure out how to put them all together, and to pull them off. I was actually kind of offended by myself this morning. "Really, Laurie? This means so little to you that you're going to let someone throw up roadblocks and you're going to back down from them that quickly? Wow. Grow up. Figure out another way. Do some more  thinking, and planning. If it's that important to you, you WILL make it work."  It would be easier with a cheerleading section, with a team to support me, to help me, to dream WITH me, without all the negatives. I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't love to have that,  but that, apparently, is not how my life works.
     So, I have the dreams. I have brought them into VERY clear focus lately, way up there in the air. Now I need to get busy laying the groundwork under them to make sure I can reach them. I have lots of practical work to accomplish today - cleaning out the chicken coop and closing it up for winter, cleaning the rabbit hutch, taking a trip to the dump, sweeping, vacuuming, folding laundry, doing the dishes, hanging up clothes, etc. Those are the things that keep me grounded, today.   I'm grateful for the busy work for my hands today, so my brain can keep spinning in and out of those castles. I WILL make all this work SOMEHOW. Maybe, by the time I finish the last chore today, I'll have some new ideas. THAT'S more like it, more like the me I like, the me I believe in. I'm not opposed to practical, "get your hands dirty" work while my brain spins on, trying to add the reality element that is so needed to those awesome dreams I have. Watch me make this work!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I'm Still Here

     I'm fine. Sorry to make anyone think otherwise. I sometimes forget that although I keep a blog just for my own sake, for my own outlet, that occasionally others do read it too.
     Cardiac issues are non-existent. Had an EKG, and a stress test, and all is well. Most likely related more to pulmonary/breathing/lung function issues, which, of course, is now the next avenue to pursue. When I get around to it. I do have pretty bad asthma, and I do end up with lung issues with every time I get a cold - if not full blown pneumonia, then crackly lobes and bronchitis.  I'll get it looked into as I have time to put that at the top of my list.
     I just haven't felt like writing. Plain and simple. No time, and no motivation.  At times I think I will just STOP writing, but then, eventually, the need comes back. As it is now. So, hopefully, if I can make some time soon (ha ha ha ha ha ha.... I crack myself up!), I have a couple of posts to write up and "get back on my game." 
 

Monday, August 6, 2012

I AM Invincible (aren't I?)



Limitations. I suppose we all have them, but I have never thought that I, personally,  did. I have never said outright that I think I am invincible, or immortal, but I guess I must, deep down, think I am,  because I’m pretty much surprised by my own reaction to events this morning, in particular, and lately, in general.

I was awakened early this morning, probably about 5ish, by a pain in my left middle side. It felt kind of like when you have a pulled muscle and can’t take in a deep breath. And I could not. I tried. I rolled over, hoping that by laying on my right side, it  would ease the muscle and allow me a few deep breaths and be able to go back to sleep. I couldn’t. It still hurt.
Restlessly, for an hour, I tried lying flat, propping myself up on pillows, lying on my back, my stomach, any way I could think of, trying to get rid of the pain and catch a little bit more sleep.  The pain got worse, and then I started coughing, and I almost wondered for a couple of minutes if I had pneumonia again. It could have almost been that kind of pain. Almost. But this was different. By 6, I was having a harder time breathing, and the pain wasn’t as sharp, but more like pressure, a vice-like pressure pushing from the front and back. All I could think of was being in the middle of the wooden flower press my dad made me years ago, like a flower from my summer garden I had wanted to preserve. Weird, how pressure is pain, but isn’t really.  I used my inhaler and it seemed to make it easier to breathe, but I still couldn’t go back to sleep no matter how hard I tried.
What to do. I’m not a “rush to the dr.” kind of person. In fact, truth be told, I'm a definite "foot-dragger." I thought about going to Urgent Care, but it seemed kind of odd to, not quite the right thing to do, and I was afraid I would sound like a hypochondriac. I was afraid they would think it was just indigestion, or something similar since it isn’t a really BAD pain. I guess I've gotten too used to ambulance "emergency" calls that aren't really emergencies at all.  I got up, got dressed, made my coffee, and sat, reading for awhile.
It seems to have gotten a little better, but there is still definitely SOMETHING there. I have no idea what it is. I know it must seem strange NOT to go to the hospital, but when I think of the long wait in the ER, the lack of PAIN, actual searing, down my arm or pinpointed to my chest PAIN, it seems not worthwhile.
I have a doctors appointment tomorrow morning anyway, for a rewrite of a prescription. It is one of those “waste of time but necessary” dr. visits, in order to get several prescriptions renewed. Now, I’m kind of glad I have it.  There is a huge pressure on my chest, still, not like an elephant, but more like, hmmm, a fat dog? is sitting on it. I can breathe deeply, but my chest still aches, when I do, and even when I don’t. I also have a headache now, which is probably from worrying while pretending not to.  It’s one of those murky murky areas I just don’t deal well with. If only it were more clear cut, I would know what to do. If only I weren’t “only” 49, and generally pretty healthy, and… immortal. It could not POSSIBLY be heart trouble, or worse, a heart attack because, well, I’m ONLY 49, I AM in good health, I’m only a little bit (ok 30-40 pounds) overweight, not grossly obese, I DO have a family history of heart trouble, but none at my age, it ISN”T outright sharp or searing pain, and… and… I have many things I want to do soon, including, I just found this morning, an 8k I want to run as a fundraiser for Wounded Warriors. Never mind the current issue I’m having, there’s also that damn foot thing I have yet to decide what to do about. Technically, I have surgery scheduled for September 27th, for that, but I haven’t REALLY made up my mind what to do. There are so many reasons NOT to have it done.  And now, there’s that 8k I want to train for, and run, in November. Could I run it first, and have surgery later? Next year, maybe? Do I really maybe not even NEED to have surgery for it at all?
Yeah, I don’t really feel like going out to begin training today. I really just want today over with, and want it to be 8:15 tomorrow morning so that I can be sitting in my doctor’s office, and say to her, oh so casually, “oh yeah, besides the prescription re-writes, there’s also this other issue… yesterday morning I woke up with pain in my chest, and it lasted all day, but I didn’t really know what to do about it, so I’m checking with you now…”  at which point, she will laugh with me, and maybe schedule me for an EKG or something in a few days, when it doesn’t inconvenience anyone, and no one will think I’m foolish for having it done then, because it is “just to rule things out,” and “yeah, my doctor MADE me come for it, even though we both know nothing’s REALLY wrong.”   Yes, 31 hours from now I can ditch the headache, the niggling worry, and one of the limitations I am surprised to find I have today, and go back to dealing with the other one, that silly stupid FOOT limitation. Somehow, today, that seems far and away more preferable. At least I know what THAT pain is.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Berry Picking Time



     I've been channeling Esther the past few days. That is, I've picked blueberries until my fingers were purple and pruny, and I've frozen blueberries, and fresh peaches from the Amish, and made fresh blueberry-peach crisp and cobbler, and plain peach cobbler, and blueberry muffins, and peach scones.... well, you get the idea.
     Esther- my mom -loved picking blueberries. I don't recall a single summer that we didn't head over to Peppers, outside of Franklinville, at least once in August, often more than once,  and pick and pick and pick. She LOVED picking blueberries, and I loved eating them.While she picked, I ate.  I did NOT like picking so much, or for very long, nor did I love waiting around once I wanted to leave, which was always WAY sooner than mom wanted to leave. I so clearly remember whining to go, and she would assure me that we would, just as soon as she finished THAT bush. But then, she'd move a foot, and there would be other tempting berries, and she would have to stop and pick those, while I ratcheted up the whining to unable-to-ignore status, and FINALLY, we'd have our (her) stash weighed, pay for it, and head home. There would always be fresh blueberry muffins the next day, sometimes a pie, sometimes crisp or cobbler. Mostly I remember eating them, fresh, and freezing them for muffins over the winter. She was not a huge, or notable, baker, but she did put fresh fruits into crisps and cobblers that were pretty good.


     On Tuesday morning, before the temperature here climbed into the high 90's, I went with two friends to pick blueberries. While I picked out in the warm summer sunshine, listening to crows jawing back and forth across the field, I thought fondly of my mom. I also thought about my nephew, 34 now, whom we used to take berry picking with us, often. I remember his sweet  little face smeared purple as he ate way more than he picked.My mom used to tell me when I was little, and then  Michael P as well, that they weigh you on the way in, and on the way out, to see how many pounds of berries you've eaten!  It seems to simply be a right of passage for kids. I felt bad that picking berries is not a yearly tradition I have undertaken with my own kids. I'm not really sure why I didn't, other than simply being busy meant I often have not gone berry picking. In fact, I was pleased with myself that I actually did so this summer. It's been awhile. 
     On the way home, we stopped at one of the Amish close by who have produce advertised,  as I wanted peas and my friend wanted peaches. No peas yet, not for a few more days, so I took half a bushel of peaches home as well.


And a couple of ripe red tomatoes made for some awesome BLT sandwiches for dinner that night.


 Another one of my mom's favorites. I miss my mom and dad, sometimes more than others, but I especially missed my mom in the blueberry patch today. And while the peach cobbler bubbled away in the oven. But I'm grateful to have those memories and glad she she passed on to me a love for berry picking that has grown much more developed over the years. This time I was the one so unwilling to leave, without filling my pail. And those blueberries on the end of the row, on the way out, I stopped to pick, topped it off just perfectly


This Amish sign always makes me laugh. First, whited out now, underneath  Peaches,it used to say Home GROWEN, which, probably a tiny bit unkindly, has been the local joke for many years. Someone obviously told them, bc they did paint over it last summer.  What makes me chuckle now is that they advertise Pug Puppies at the bottom of their produce sign, and I always picture a garden full of planted Pugs... wandering down the row, picking out the best looking one, and plucking it up, like a bunch of carrots or a ripe beefsteak tomato!




Wednesday, June 27, 2012

NO! I don't WANT to.

     Are 49 year olds allowed to have selfish little temper tantrums every once in awhile, or is that not acceptable at all at my age?  Because right now, I very much want to. I want to just cross my arms, stomp my foot (my left one, not my right) and say "NO! I WON"T have surgery. No, No, No. I don't WANT to."  I don't have TIME for this inconvenience in my life.
     Awhile back, I don't even remember when it began, my right foot/ankle started to hurt occasionally, if I overused it with excess activity, or by wearing an uncomfortable shoe. I ignored it. I am NEVER one to rush to the Dr. at the first sign of pain. My philosophy usually is, wait and see if it goes away, or gets worse. Usually things go away. If it gets worse, then I'll check it out.
     The weekend I was at Glen Highland Farm, back in April, or May, whenever it was, I had to wear my Bogs (barn boots) a lot, because the grass where I was walking the dogs was pretty wet. I noticed that my ankle hurt a lot that weekend. Especially when I was climbing an uneven bank near the end of the route, to get back up to road level.  In fact, it hurt and burned so badly that I was afraid, for a little bit, that maybe something was broken.  But, then, once home, it seemed to settle down again.  It didn't bother me much in Alaska, not even in the same boots there. Only the day I climbed in and around the pond, jumping from tuft to tuft, it hurt some. But I went barefoot a lot there, too, in the house.
     Back at home, wearing flip flops 24/7 (every podiatrists nightmare, I know... Sorry, Dr. Scott), it was usually pretty good. But the day I wore sneakers for Field Day at school, and played a fierce game of kickball with my 5th and 6th graders, it burned so badly on my way back over to school that I was convinced, finally, there was something wrong. I made an appointment and went to see my favorite podiatrist on Monday. (He did my first foot surgery 26 years ago this fall... we've both aged a bit since then!)  He sent me for an immediate MRI, which confirmed what he suspected, and told me: my right peroneal tendon is torn, and needs surgery so that it doesn't rupture completely.
     His office, and a surgeon from there whom I don't know, called and talked to me this morning about it. It is a pretty big tear, there's no way that anything OTHER than surgery will work, and it should be done sooner, rather than later. That's when I began my denials.... "no, I CAN'T do it. There's no way. I can't be off my feet that long. I have things to do. It's SUMMER. It's my summer VACATION. From school. You know, that place I hate? I look forward to this ALL YEAR LONG..."  UGH.  I said I'd let them know.  Well, reasonably, I really have no choice. I can't NOT have surgery. The obvious conclusion is, if I don't, it WILL rupture, and it's not like I can have any kind of an active life with a ruptured tendon in my foot. So, obviously, I HAVE to do it. It's a matter of WHEN, now.
     So, truly, I CAN"T do it this summer. I am the only ride my daughter has back and forth to work 15 miles away every day, and I'm not having her quit her job. She needs it and I need her to have it. I also have that vacation in Maine in August. Selfish, I know, and I could skip that, but I don't WANT to. I really want to go. And we have to take her to college in Maine on Labor Day weekend. That would be pretty uncomfortable to go in a cast, or a boot and crutches. And what if I couldn't go at all by then? That would stink. So, now, I'm thinking, OK, yes, I'll do it, but I want to wait until September.( Or October?) I want to get my daughter off to college, get the school year started, and THEN I'll do it. I'll have to miss a month of school, at least, and I was reading a bunch of posts on Runners World from people who have had this surgery and it isn't pretty. The recovery time is not exaggerated. And it involves a lot of PT afterwards as well. S**t. I JUST don't want to do this. I hate pain. I hate pain meds. I can't imagine being laid up. I don't want to have my legand foot cut open. No, no, no, no, no. NO!!!  I wish I could go back in time, figure out when and how I did this, and NOT DO IT.  How do you get to the bathroom, or make your lunch, or let the dogs out, if you have to literally be off your feet for two weeks or more? How do I go upstairs to bed, and downstairs during the day? I will NOT use a bedpan. Don't even suggest that........
     I'll be off looking for acceptance, and trying to lose the desperate need to refuse and cry that I feel right now. I know it is not, in the overall scheme of life, more than a darned inconvenience. I do know that. But at the moment, I am feeling, selfishly, like I just don't WANT this painful inconvenience to be happening to ME. Fear and annoyance are not good companions. I'll lose them soon, and replace them with perspective and acceptance. But probably not today.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Summer-Happy

     Summer is just gettting started here. I know that, in the blink of an eye, it will be September again, and I will wonder how it happened, but for now, I just want to live day by day, hour by hour, enjoying, not looking too far ahead.
     It is positively amazing to me what not having to get up and go to school, of being relieved of all of school's paperwork and stress for two months, does for my mood. It is like having the world lifted off my shoulders, all at once. I could float, I am so relieved. 
     Things that often are just as good, but go unnoticed, or at least are not nearly as celebrated as they are when I am this much happier, made their way into the start of a "happy list" on Sunday.
  •      I HAD a broody hen for a week. I was ecstatic, because I've never had one before, and the thought of one of my own hens, raising her own baby chicks, not to mention the cuteness of new baby chicks peeking out from under a protective mama hen's wings, was thrilling. Unfortunately, no sooner had I listed "broody hen" on my list of happy thoughts than she was off the nest and her eggs cold. I watched her all day, and by Sunday night, when she was roosting with the rest, rather than sitting, I removed the eggs. It still makes me happy to know that she has the potential, so maybe someday she will raise some babies of her own.

  • And, also on Sunday, I had 8 "nearly teen-age" chicks delivered to me, all hens.  My friend Steph and I ordered them, and they came in, to her house, on June 4th or 5th, so she's kept them for me til I was able to see her Sunday. I missed the cute fuzzy baby chick phase, but it's ok. I know that these 8 are all females, no roos to have to dispose of later, and I also handpicked the breeds, so I'm pretty excited to have them. And I was also able to put them right out into the little tiny coop, not have to have them in the house except overnight. That's a HUGE plus!

  • Two days before school was done, I got a text from a friend I work with, asking if I wanted to go to Maine with them for a week in August. It will be her family (mom, dad, two kids I know and like a lot), her brother whom I also like a lot, our mutual work friend whose child committed suicide on Easter, and her other son, and me. It's at a cabin, or camp house, on Mattawampkeag Lake, near Island Falls, that she has described for me before, and there will be fishing, and campfires, and boating, and hiking. I'm REALLLLLLLY excited. Not Alaska-excited, but still, Maine excited. That's a good thing! 
  • My youngest graduated on Friday night. I'm not thrilled about that - she doubled up and did her Jr and Sr year together, AND she has a late birthday to begin with, so she will be going off to college, 12 + hours away from here,  even before her 17th birthday. I have a lot of reservations, even though I am proud of her effort and success (she still managed to be 3rd in her class, and was only 1/100th of a point off from the Valdictorian and Salutatorian) But what I AM happy about it that her graduation party is done. And was a relative success. I do not do parties well. I was super stressed. But now, it's over and done with, it isn't hanging over my head for the rest of the summer, and I'm happy!  AND, to top it all off, I was able to chat with her boyfriend's parents for a few minutes, and they were very nice. I really liked them. They were the ones I was most worried about, having at my home, because I feel like there is no way I can live up to their nice home and all, but they did seem much less scary by the end. Whew!
  • My fireweed is growing!  It is an Alaskan plant, which grows wild there, and is truly more of a weed than anything anyone there cultivates. It grows wild and reproduces like crazy. I love it. I love the folklore that accompanies it: since it blooms from the bottom up, when the very tip has bloomed, it is claimed that the first snow is only two weeks off. Any snow that coats the mountain tops while the fireweed is blooming is called Termination Dust, and it simply means the "termination of" or end of, summer. Mine is blooming much earlier here than it does in AK, probably because of the difference in temperature here, and probably also because of when I actually planted it. No matter to me. Just simply glad that I was able to find some (Thank you, Prairie Moon Nursery) and plant it, and that it grew. It is growing WELL. I am hopeful that in a few years, I will have such an abundance of it that I can transplant some of it to the fenceline in my back yard, and have it grow and spread back there as well. Not to be greedy, or push my luck, but the other thing I'd LIKE to try is wild lupines, like I also saw a multitude of this year. Prairie Moon carries those, as well, but is out of stock at the moment. They are supposed to be planted in fall, so I'll just keep checking. (I tried to bring a blue poppy home from Big Lake, and it sort of was alive when I got it here, but I promptly killed it off. I think I know my limits...

Wild blue lupines. They grow everywhere!

  • And, last but not least, it's time for the summer "I'm out of school" coffee mugs to be dug out of the cupboard. Yesterday was the yellow one, today it's the blue...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Night Flight, or "How to Save a Life"




Not great photos. From my phone camera, in the dark last night. But I like the feel of them, and what they represent. Ambulance call last night - motorcycle accident, single victim. Wearing a helmet, but face like hamburger anyway.  Life-Net called in, landed in a field just around the corner, and whisked him away. I am in awe. Every time. Mercy Flight and Life Net. Saving lives that would have been lost in another time and place. I love that my fingers reach out and touch the very tip of a miracle every time they are called in. Saving lives, one flight at a time.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

If You're Bringing Worms, We Aren't Fishing!



Today is one of my very favorite days of the whole year: the last day of kids at school! YAY. It's not the "last day of school," not the last day I have to show up. I have two more of those. But I have always said school without the kids there would be a great place to work, so the next two days, I don't even mind that I still have to get up and go to work when the entire rest of the western world has been out of school for at least three weeks. (Some places have been out for more than a month. And yes, they go back in August, but not that much ahead of me. I guess we simply must have more vacations during the year than other places. I do know we all basically have a similar number of required teaching days, so that has to be where the discrepancy lies.) Anyhow, one day last week, this guy, who also happens to be the father of one of our 5th graders, came in to show the kids more about fly-tying. Our 5th graders go to an outdoor camp for three days in early June where one of the things they do is learn to tie a fishing fly. But theirs are very basic and simple. So one of my co-teachers had this guy come in to show a little more about it. Since I don't go to camp with them, AND since learning how to fly fish (of sorts - I learned that what I really want to learn is not necessarily true "fly fishing") is on my bucket list, I went over to watch and listen along with the kids.





It was truly fascinating. There is a whole entire language devoted to the sport of fishing that I simply was unaware of. I really had no idea what he was talking about most of the time, since I've never really fished, other than putting a worm on a hook and dropping my line in a lake.  (I did catch one fish when I was 12 and my dad took me fishing, but I haven't spent the rest of my life pining to repeat that experience) There is a science, an art, to the whole hobby, and I loved his complete absorption in it. He is a SERIOUS fisherman.
I know I found it far more interesting than many of the kids did, but it goes along with something one of my other co-workers mentioned a couple of weeks ago. I think I was extolling, at the time,  on my education  while in Alaska on  dog poop, and what the sled dog's poop SHOULD look like, and what to do if it didn't look like it should, and what could account for it NOT looking like it should, etc.etc .About the time her eyes glazed over, (well, that happened when I first mentioned dog poop, I guess, but bless her heart, she continued to listen anyway)  she remarked, "You really do love learning new things, don't you?"  And it's true, I do. I LOVE LOVE LOVE learning new things. ANY new thing, really.  I eat up new 'languages', new ways of doing things, new hobbies, new experiences.  I would be very unhappy to feel that I had ever stopped learning things, or stopped being excited about learning something new. So, watching him talk about the equipment needed, the types of feathers and furs he uses,and why,  watching him talk about the science of creating a fly that has a tail, a body, a thorax, wings, a head and antennae, and watching him demonstrate so easily how he creates different flies was totally cool.



I think it is a hobby I might enjoy doing, someday. Not right now. It's not tops on my list, because I still have too many other things I enjoy, currently. But it is almost like a craft, the making of the flies, and I enjoy crafts. But it takes a lot of skill and practice to get them to be good enough to fool the fish. I think that's cool, too, because the more you make, the better you'd get at them. And, since I do have an interest in learning how to fish with flies, it is related and connected for me.





He is the one who said that THIS is fishing. He said if someone new asks him if he wants to go fishing, he says, "Are you bringing worms?"  If they say yes, he replies, "no thanks, that's not fishing." For him, FISHING means you cast the line in, jerk it just so, skip it along the water, or sink it, depending on many things. Then you pull it out, and do it again. It seemed to be a lot of casting, pulling, constant walking along in the water. THAT sounds way more fun than what I THOUGHT fishing involved. My only experience with fishing was spearing a worm, throwing the line in the lake, and then waiting, waiting, waiting. BO-RING. I really didn't understand why people enjoyed that. AND I had no idea there was any other way TO fish, except maybe FLY FISHING, you know, the kind we all watched in A River Runs Through It?  With this new knowledge of fishing, I now also understand why people who TRULY fish also do "catch and release." It's a sport. I was under the impression that after all that time sitting on a bank with your line in the water, if  you actually managed to get a fish to eat your worm, why would you throw him back? But now, now I get it. So, all in all, it's been a pretty good week, after that one rough patch early last week. It doesn't rank right up there with my all time coolest things to do or learn about, (dog poop is FAR more fascinating, honest) but I did find it interesting, and am looking forward to learning more about fishing, about fly tying, about anything new, really, as life goes on. To be a life-long learner. Trite, but it really does fit my goals, I guess.
(PS Two more days until summer vacation...  :)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Ups and Downs

Tuesday was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad, day. It was a terrible day at school, and I went home and it was a terrible day at home. I was angry. Furiously angry. And when I'm angry, I say things I don't want to say, and I cry. I hate crying. I went upstairs because that was the only place left to retreat to. I laid on the bed and sobbed, and sobbed, and sobbed. Every time I would stop crying, and think I was done, I would remember that "oh yeah, and tomorrow is FIELD DAY."  For some reason, not a very rational one, I hate field day at school. HATE it. I always have. And it seemed to me to be the ultimate insult, that on top of everything else that was wrong, I also had to endure field day the next day.
Yesterday, Wednesday, is over. Field day is done. And, apparently, so are many of the other things that were plaguing me on Tuesday. By 5:00 yesterday, I was in such a good mood I actually came home and did the dishes, just because I felt better, felt SO much better from 24 hours before.  Its funny how one day, everything looks black and gloomy and sad and bad and awful, and yet, just 24 hours later, so much can be better that you even feel happy, actually HAPPY, again. Life is just strange sometimes.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

GONE FISHING (well, more like poop scooping...)



For the next two weeks, I will be posting from Big Lake, Alaska, where I will be kennel sitting for 14 + beautiful sled dogs.

If you have any interest in knowing what I'm up to, you can check in here:

http://tailsfromanalaskandoghouse.blogspot.com/

Today is Wednesday. I leave in 64 hours.....
I'm a LITTLE excited!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Dog Love

Busy weekend ahead. Fun, though. Looking forward to some hard work, and some GREAT Border Collie time.  Spending the weekend volunteering at Glen Highland Farms, Sweet Border Collie Rescue, which is about 3.5 hours away from my home. I have been fascinated and intrigued by this awesome looking place ever since I got Bramble. I feel a little badly that I'm leaving my own 5 dogs this weekend to go play with and work for others, but... these dogs do not have a forever home yet, like my own 5 lucky dogs. So, if my own are a little lonely this weekend, and not quite as spoiled (by my kids who are taking care of them) as they are used to, for two days, I think they'll survive. I hope I can spread some warm fuzzy love to the babies living at "The Farm," and come home with loads of Border Collie love.

http://glenhighlandfarm.com/lifeonfarm.htm

 I made sure that I would get to spend the nights with at least one BC in my bed, and tonight, I get Kye (below).



Not sure who I will get tomorrow night, but if you look at the "Dogs Available for Adoption," there are tons of them there, and all are beautiful. I can't wait to go throw some balls, feed some babies, scrub rooms, and just love on some pups, or whatever it is that needs doing this weekend. The work, physical outdoor work, will be an awesome change of pace from sitting home doing laundry and lesson plans all weekend, and the solitude of a weekend on my own is also inviting...(although I AM missing my niece's baby shower, which I didn't know about until after I had already committed to these plans back at the beginning of March, and that makes me sad to miss...)

I also have been asked to bring "Alfie" from the Farm to meet up with his adoptive parents, meeting them half way on my way home. 

That means this little guy will get to keep me company for two hours on the way home. Looking forward to that as well.


I will take lots of pictures this weekend. My Border Collie love is different from my husky love, waaay different, but I seem to have a "thing" for the more challenging breeds. Much like I frequently seem to click with the more challenging kids at school a lot of the time. I wonder why, since patience is not necessarily one of my greater virtues, and I can tend to be on the lazy side, almost, at times, preferring sedentary pursuits... you'd think a lazy aging old mutt would be more my speed!

Border Collies and Alaskan Huskies really both just speak to my heart, to my dreams, different dreams, I guess.   Love them both, for different reasons, at different times. I feel fairly certain there are MANY breeds I COULD fall in love with, given the opportunity. In fact, I'm really not sure there is ANY dog I couldn't love at least a little bit, and, most likely, a lot.  Dog Love. It's just a good thing. <3

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

UPDATES


Monday's Snow (last week)...April 23, 2012.  Notice my lilacs blooming next to the porch on both sides?


The Birch tree had already begun to leaf out...


Poor little birdies...  :)


Annnnndddd, now it's Spring...less than a week after our late-April snowstorm!



Tried REALLY, REALLY, REALLY hard to find her home. DID, in fact, eventually find out she was an Amish dog, came from one Amish farmer, given to another Amish farmer, from whom she promptly ran away...


It was made clear to us by the person who knew where she had run away from that it would NOT be in her best interest to be returned there. The Amish around here are not known to be particularly good or loving toward their dogs. Disposable property would be putting it nicely. So, I guess "Hannah," or "Little Bit" as she is often called, is home.  I'm not crazy about owning 5 good-sized dogs in the middle of town, but, we'll adjust. She's a good girl, and deserves a good home.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Do You Know This Dog???

So apparently, while I wait for my life in Alaska to become clear to me...my new job in the meantime is "puppy rescuer."  A week or two ago I saw on Facebook a post from Death Row Dogs of a gorgeous little Husky girl in a shelter in Brooklyn who was going to be put to death the next day. I spent HOURS and HOURS for the next 24 hours, trying to rescue her. No good explanation as to why she jumped into my life as a necessity- she was just little, and pretty and I didn't want her to be put to sleep. Her face just went immediately to my heart. To make a very long story short, she was, thankfully, reclaimed by her owners in time. Well, must be that started something. Because Thursday night, I was sitting here on the couch, running through the day's Facebook postings (hmmm, see a connection there? Maybe I should just get off Facebook!), and I see this dog below, who is currently a "lost dog." Well, again, to make a long story short, I "rescued" her - with the plan to foster her temporarily until her owners can be found. I have literally done my best to honestly find the real owners, lest you accuse me (as all my friends have) of planning all along to keep her. I'm really not planning to. I don't need 5 dogs. BUT, she's beautiful. She's an Australian Shepherd, and she is SOOO tiny. She's adorable, soft, and SO good natured. She never ever barks, is house trained, is calm, and best of all, she's a snuggler. She has slept on my bed for the past two nights, and I've gone to sleep holding her paw both nights. She follows you all around the house, always wanting to be where you are. If you're peeling potatoes into the garbage can, she stands on her hind legs, front paws on the garbage can, watching you. If you go the bathroom, she goes with you, and lays at your feet. As I type this, she is two inches away from my feet on the living room floor. She loves riding in cars, and follows you out the door if you go. I did have to draw the line at getting into the shower with me, as she would have happily done, but I really didn't think that was best for either of us today.
She is a very, very tiny little copy of my Border Collie, Bramble. I thought, in fact, when I went to pick her up that she WAS a Border Collie. But she has more brown in her, and different fur,different ears and a very different tail. She's definitely an Aussie, and I can't believe someone is not missing her. I have contacted all the Dog Control Officers around here, the Humane Societies, have had friends from different areas repost on their FB pages, have posted her picture in two different On line County Garage Sale pages that TONS of people from my county and the nearby counties use. I don't know what else to do. I feel good about all that I've tried. I honestly have. I'm taking her to my vet Monday to see if possibly she has been microchipped, and I'm contacting a radio station Monday that lists lost and found animals.
That's not what worries me. What worries me is there are a number of people who have already volunteered to give her a home if her owners can't be found. It's one thing to give her back to people she belongs to. It's another to give her up to someone else... why them, why NOT me? But so far, I'm still committed to NOT keeping her. No matter how sweet and snuggly she is. Sigh.





The new little puppy is the one closest to the bottom of the picture. Bramble is farther away, guarding her bones. Don't they look like twins from this angle? She is SO much like Bramble, See the heart shaped white patch on Bramble's head? This little girl has an almost identical one on her head too.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

It's Time for a Change






 
     It's time in my life for a change. 
I feel it is time for a BIG change.  I am a believer in the premise that if you want something to happen in your life, REALLY are SURE you want it to happen, you have to MAKE it happen. You have to sign yourself up to BE THERE for the opportunities to make it happen. You have to take some risks, put yourself out there, take some chances, gamble a little, be willing to do things that many people think are crazy. 
Early on in my life, say for the first 30-35 years of it, I was not a gambler. I preferred the sure thing, the known, even if it was less, to the unknown, even if it might have been more. No more. That person is SO gone I don't even really remember WHY I was that way. No, wait, I do. But, maybe, it's a longer, more convoluted reason, or set of reasons, as to why I've changed. I don't think it really matters. I know the reasons. I understand them. And so, I'm not really frightened to wake up at age 49 and realize I'm just not the same person I was at 20, or 25, or even 30. I LIKE who I am. I LIKE who I've become. I have a long ways to go still, but I'm excited to get started.  I'm trying hard not to be selfish, or to look at my own needs as selfish. I have been anything BUT selfish for the past 25 years. There are still those who will see me, or hear my ideas, as selfish. That's ok. I'm mostly just avoiding them. I'm seeking out the few people who DO understand, who cheer me on, who "get it," and who are willing to say, "It's time for YOU."  
Alaska is calling... I'm answering, in May, for two full weeks. I'm excited about that. What's beyond those two weeks there for me, I don't know. Lots of question marks.  But I can tell you the questions, can state them VERY clearly, if you'd care to ask, care to listen, care about me. If not, please don't be offended if I just avoid you a bit for now. I just don't have enough energy to carry my thoughts in too many more directions right now than they already are.   I hope I come home with clothes full of dog hair, a rejuvenated heart from so much sled dog love and never enogh sloppy doggie kisses, and a clearer direction for my future. I hope I come home with answers. A friend of mine has assured me that I will be coming home with more questions. I don't know if he means more questions than I already have now, or simply more questions than answers. Either way, it doesn't matter. Either way, it will be a good thing. I need a change. In 30 days, 4 weeks from Saturday, one of the best things that has ever happened to me, one of the best things I have ever drawn to me, one of the best opportunities I have ever had, will begin. I'm grateful for that. I'm excited. I can't WAIT. 

Yashi-No-Mi = Coconut
 

Sweet Miyuki
Kristin's Team, earlier this winter/spring



 Fireweed - the flower that calls my heart to come home.