Thursday, July 31, 2008

Steppin Up to 12 Step

There was a time when I just thought I liked using them... I was pretty sure I could give them up if I really found a reason too. Those days are a memory, now. I've decided I have an addiction to them! I use at the VERY least...a dozen a day. I know there are better things to use. There are things that will last longer, be more beneficial both to me and to the environment, and be far more cost efficient. I know it intellectually. But, I just can't seem to kick the paper towel habit.

I keep them in the kitchen, the bathroom, my potting shed, the laundry room, the garage, and all of the cars. I use them to wipe up the sink and counter tops, to polish and spit shine the appliances, fixtures and my shoes. I wrap up orange peels, apple cores and egg shells before I dump them in the compost crock. I use them to dry my hair, lay sweaters and other finery on to soak up excess water, and to dry dishes, my hands and fresh fruits and vegetables brought in from the garden. I use them underneath cooling racks full of cookies to catch crumbs, on the bottom of the microwave to keep "yuk" from dripping in it, and to clean the car, four wheeler, patio furniture, and barbecue. I could go on, but you get the drift. My only contribution to the "Green" movement is to dry used ones for starting fires in the firepit in the summer months, or the fireplace in the winter. I have plenty of rags and wash cloths. They're pristine. Well, as pristine as a rag can be.

I have a wierd type of love affair going with the Brawny paper towel man, and I can't seem to bring myself to call if off.

Do I need marriage counseling? Would a 12 step program help? Should I just remind my husband how fortunate he is that the only man he shares my interest with is a bodiless, cellophane, mini man? I could nearly afford a new pair of flip flips with what I spend on paper towels in a month. Do I need to wean myself off of them with "Handi Wipes", or just go cold turkey?

If you have the inclination to advise or chastise, feel free to do so. I'm beginning to feel like I'm killing as many trees as the bark beetle and quickly becoming a one woman deforrestation nightmare. helllllpp!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I'm in Heaven

Lin reminds me that it's been a while since I've posted. I'ts due to the fact that I've been enjoying the best of times with my family the last week or so.

We played at the Hollow, had midnight picnics under the stars, and went camping just up the canyon from our home... see the view from our very private campsight........pretty, huh?

My eldest son, Dustin, spent a good percentage of his time fishing. Urp, gag! I can't stand the smell of fish, or the thought of taking a hook out of a slimy fish mouth, or cleaning them...yuk! I don't even like eating them. But, it seems to be theraputic for him. He LOVES standing still for EVER waiting for Tony Trout to bite. He think's they're beautiful! (So, why slit their belly, I ask?) And he thinks they taste like food for the Gods.

My second born son, Dallin, and Dusty's boy Davin, took the fourwheeler out and rammed it into a tree. Oops!! They did a fair amount of damage to it, too. We all lounged, and hiked, toasted hot dogs and marshmallows and sent Davin tubing down the river. Good times!

After they left, my daughter, Chandelar and her hubby and three boys came for a visit. We drove back up the canyon to the same campsite and did some more fourwheeling, (after Wayne and John spent a morning putting it back together) We did more lounging, eating, hiking, and skipped rocks in the lake. My son-in-law, John, is a world class rock skipper. A fairly useless talent, you say? Okay, maybe that's true. But, it was so dang much fun to find the perfect rock for him to chuck, and even more fun to watch him chuck it! If it hasn't seemed obvious to you as yet, I really like the simple life with simple entertainments.

All in all... I can't think of a more joyful way to spend time. Nothing else brings quite as much contentment as seeing your grown children play together and take care of one another. And when you can do it in a beautiful location.... well, let's just say, I'm not looking forward to Heaven, I think I'm already there!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Do I stutter?

It's amazes me how many of the youth of today seem to have hearing deficits. Take my ten year old grandson for example. We love having him come to stay with us at the Hollow. And he seems to enjoy being here. There are very few rules for him to follow when he visits. Let me list them:

1: Your father's rules at home apply here.
a. no sleeping in after 8:00
b. there will be a maximum of 90 minutes of television or computer games a day, unless watching a Jazz game, movie, or other programming with an adult
c. 1/2 hour of football training is to be completed each day. (running, sit ups, etc.)
2: You will have assigned farm chores.
3: They are to be completed before t.v. or computer games are watched.

Now, he can have free run of the Hollow, the four wheeler and the refrigerator. He can call his mother whenever he wishes, read any book in the house, and take showers as long as he wants. He can have the dog sleep with him, get wet and muddy, have a friend come stay with him, and stuff himself on the contents of the nut bowl, cookie jar and candy dishes placed around the house.

His chores are:
1: Let the chickens out in the morning, in at night.
2. Gather the eggs.
3: Feed the dog morning and night.
4. Pick the peas twice while here.
5. Water the veggie garden twice while here.

Am I sounding like I'm breaking any child labor laws yet?

Here's the part that astounds me. Well....okay, maybe astounds is to strong, but it does leave me somewhat befuddled.

8:00 arrives. I can be heard sweetly calling, "Davin, time to lift that handsome head of yours from the pillow and greet the day." 8:15 arrives. My soft and tender voice calls, "Davin. Are you in a sitting position yet? Time to rise and shine." 8:30 arrives. My slightly agitated voice can be heard, "Davin, do I stutter? Time to get up, bud." I get busy making breakfast, sweeping the floor, putting in a load of laundry. 9:00 arrives: My clearly irritated voice resonates upstairs and down, "DAVIN. UP!" I forgot what it's like to get boys out of bed. It would take less energy to single handedly clear the Manti La Sal Forest.

Then it gets good. As he enters the kitchen, I say, "Hey. Good to see you in the land of the living. Want to let the chickens out and see if we have any eggs while I wash Pogo's dish? Then you can feed him when you come back to the house." I wait for a reply. No words come from between his still unbrushed teeth. " want to take the egg basket and gather the eggs after you let the chicks out of the coop?" I smile as I turn to face him. And there it is. The STARE. "Davin? You with me?" "What?" "You with me?" The STARE... "Hey, goodlookin... take the egg basket off the counter, go outside, let the chickens out, and check for eggs. Okay?" "What do you want me to do?" I hate to be redundant, here... but, Do I stutter?

Now, I ask you. (I ask you, rather than my grandson. From you... I may get an answer, From him, I will get the STARE.) Is this sounding more difficult than it ought to be? The entire day can go this way. It is not merely a morning affliction. It goes on all day... ie:

"Davin. You ready to go swimming?" "Where are we going swimming?" "Uhh... I thought we might try the pool." "What do you want me to wear?" Okay... this is getting ridiculous. But...we actually had this very conversation. "Davin. You may wear whatever you like. What do you think might be a logical choice to go swimming?" "Whaddaya mean?" sigh

"Davin. You want french toast or Dee's Cereal for breakfast?" "What do you mean?" "What do I mean? I mean, I'll go slowly this time, Do.. you.. want.. french.. toast.. or.. Dee's.. Cereal.. for.. breakfast?"

This is pretty straightfoward stuff. What's out of whack? Is it a problem with my speech? With his hearing? Is it a generational thing? Is it a "ten" thing? I forgot. Or did I forget? It really seems like I used to be able to just talk to my kids and they'd respond with English. We didn't have to constantly reconstruct our sentences for one another. We weren't forever repeating and explaining. Maybe that's because there were four of them and they acted as translators for one another. I don't know.

For the record. I generally don't re-act with the amount of sarcasm idsplayed in this short epistle. But....ahhhhhh, it felt SO good to be able to express what runs through my mind at times like these.
And we do have coherent moments. I just asked him to pick the peas. He went to the kitchen, grabbed a bowl from the cupboard, and left for the garden. Easy pickins for both of us this morning.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Mended dreams... Kept Promise

Our eldest son called and let us know he was planning to visit with us last week-end. He wanted to come down with his beloved son, and his beloved dog, and spend a few days fishing. He casually mentioned that he found something at his house the day before that he thought I might like and he was going to bring it down for me. It all sounded perfect. I got to see my boy.. and his boy.. and I got a present to boot. I admit it without shame... I LOVE presents!

He arrived, unloaded the car, and walked to the hammock to "rest a spell"... "Where's my present?" I asked. "Um. I dunno. Must be in the house somewhere, I'm guessin." "Okay. I'll see it later." "No. Why don't you go in and see if you can find it?" "Uhhhh.. that would be because I have no idea what I'm looking for. Why don't you go find it for me if you want me to have it now?" "Cuz I'm in the hammock... You're standing up. You can't miss it. It's probably by my suitcase."

I decided I could wait, so I stayed outside visiting and started to water the flowers.

"Mom. Would you please get me a drink? Please. Puhleeeeeze."

I'm a sucker for, I went to the house to pour him a tall, refreshing glass of cherry limeade. I opened the door, looked straight ahead, and there sitting on the couch was my second born son, who I was under the impression was still in Virginia. I reacted like a sophmore who was just asked to the prom by the senior captain of the football team. I giggled, I jumped, I squealed. I ran to the couch and hugged all 6'4" of him as best as my 5'2" frame could muster. Everytime I see this young man in my home, my heart does back flips!! He's my charmer, my most sensitive spirit, my "Pied Piper".

Perhaps I'll share one of the few pieces of "semi, sort of, unintended poetry" I've written. It explains the reason why it is such a gift to have him with me. It was written in the early morning hours, during a blizzard. He was 17 at the time, he'd been gone for weeks. He had walked in earlier that evening just after dinner dishes had been done. I can not express the relief and joy that settled over me when I saw him.

We sat on the heater in the living room, under a blanket, and remembered good times together. We were there until about 2:30 in the morning. We shared a few subdued laughs...and shed a few tears together. He finally held me close and said he was tired and wanted to go to bed. He went downstairs and I folded the blankets we had been snuggled under and climbed upstairs where I thanked God for his safe return. About 6:00, I went to his room just to watch him sleep. He was gone. And I wrote....

"The light from the streetlamp sliced through the low lying mist and shone in slivers on the freshly fallen snow. I saw the young scrub oak in Julie's yard that was already forming Rhine's Ice...that wonderful layer of ice that makes everything it touches resemble finely hand carved crystal. I saw the cottonwood that sheltered my front walkway with the snow settled on it's branches as soft and delicate as a soap bubble. I saw the untouched, clean, blue-white road leading away from my home and down the hill into town. Untouched, that is, except for his footsteps. They began where I stood in the open doorway and traveled down the front walkway, across the street, and through the neighbor's front yard. They continued to lead down the hill...away from home...away from me...away from the life we had tried to provide for him. I stared at the imprints and wondered what time it was when he left. How long had he been gone? How long would he stay away? I suppose I stood there staring, not feeling the cold chill in the air for a half hour or so before I could bring myself to close the door. I allowed myself to walk into the living room and sink into the cushions on the couch, and into despair. I wanted to cry or to scream, "I love you." loud enough for him to hear me wherever he was. I wanted to run after him, but I just sat in a room full of shadows and memories and let my mind drift.

Wasn't it just a moment ago that he came crashing in the back door full of Huckleberry Finn mischief? I cradled thoughts of him as a toddler, his eyes, fringed with long, lush, dark lashes, forever searching my soul. Then as a small child, wandering off to find some little known nook where he could discover a world of his own making. And as an adolescent, bursting with an eagerness to know and experience all of life. And as a teenager... What was he as a teenager? Tender, loving, deeply spiritual, witty, lonely, angry, confused, reaching out for understanding and a sense of belonging.

I wanted another chance to hold him and rock him as he slept, safe in my arms. I wished that I could take him on a picnic later that day...that we could photograph butterflies and set helium balloons free to disappear into the clouds. I wanted to watch him fill his plastic pool with pollywogs and giggle with complete delight when he caught a running chicken. All I could do was sit in the dark and feel the tears fall. ...They were hot. It seemed so odd. Everything about me was so cold; the house, the air outside, my hands, my heart. Yet as the tears fell down my cheeks, they were hot.

I stood, and walked to the door again. I peered through the side windows for some sign of his return. Perhaps, unable to sleep, he'd just gone for a walk. I flicked on the porch light and resolved to leave it on until he was home again. It would remain on a long, long time."

The porch light has been turned off many years, now. He did come home. We've had some rocky times, to be sure. He made his life so much harder than it needed to be. But, he found his way. He has mended most of the dreams I had for him that had been tattered so long. (I'd still like him to find a woman to love and protect.) And he is keeping his promise. Not a promise made to me, or to the universe, or to God. His promise. The promise of what he could be. He's a beautiful, generous, intelligent, caring, magical, young man. And I am SO HAPPY that he is downstairs this very minute watching some boring sport program. All is well

Friday, July 18, 2008


Three things to know:

1: I am a realtor
2: I love perinnial gardening and have some lovely flowers beds
3: We are the proud caretakers of a rooster and five hens

I tell you these things so that I can try to make a point which SHOULD tie them together if you have the patience to stay with me for a minute.

1: Can I just tell you what a frustrating time this is to be in Real Estate? I quite like my job. It's always a good thing to be a part of the solution and not a part of the problem. Realtors help to solve problems. We build foudations under dreams. But, there are so many variables in my work. There are always half a dozen contingencies in a contract that can blow it up at any moment. So... my days are spent walking down the fairway, being disappoionted at losing money when a carnie cheats me, consoling myself with a sweet treat from the concession stand, and being on a constant roller coaster ride, with all it's ups and downs, twists and turns, and the ever present fear we could possibly derail.

2: My flower gardens bring me such pleasure! I like nurturing them and taking them from infancy to beautiful, blossoming adulthood. They are always gorgeous. But, when I know we're expecting company, I find myself wishing for the Asiatic Lilies to hold on for just a few more days. I beg the clematis to open quickly so thier breathtaking blooms will be on full display for our guests. My flowers are in a constant state of flux. Always lovely, true. But, I can't count on the hydrangeas, pansies, or foxglove to flaunt themselves on cue.

3: Our rooster, however, is a never changing constant on our land and in our lives. He can be relied on to herd the hens out of the coop in the morning. He always, always, always leads them back in at dusk. He wakes us every morning with his cock-a-doodle-doo, and keeps the "music" playing throughout every day. He has since the first night he spent here, and I know he always will.

I so often long for days like my rooster. Days that will not disappoint me, surprise me, catch me with my perverable drawers around my ankles. That sounds so restful....for about a minute and a half. What would a life be like that? No changes. Nothing to catch us offguard and force us to be creative and stretch our minds. It would be a vegetative state.

So, I have forsaken my dreams of cock-a-doodle-days. I think I'll buy a roll of tickets for the roller coaster, grab a cone of cotton candy and enjoy the butterflies, thrills, and let downs that are a part of living a carnival existance. When I grow weary of the clatter and confusion of the Fairway... I'll stroll through my gardens, lap up every ounce of newness and let myself be warmly surprised by what I find has given birth since my last visit.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

You want me to do WHAT, again???

Okay... Here's the scoop! I'm old, well... not ready for the compost pile ripe with age, but probably a little past prime for a good salad bar. But, I have a pretty good energy level for a fading diva. I may not be the hummingbird I used to be...but being someone, and being around someone, who flits from one project to another like that can get annoying anyway, so I'm okay with slowing down somewhat.

I digress... as I was saying, I'm in pretty good shape for someone who eats too many sweets, has a semi-sedentary job, and comes from a long line of chubby people.

I like to work around the property at the Hollow. I plant and transplant and weed and mow and change the water lines. Not a problem. The grandkids come to visit and I run from one end of our four acres to the other playing games with them. When we camp, and I love to camp... I go on the river runs, the hikes, and make an attempt at frisbee golf. I'm lousy at it, but I'm a good sport.

BUT... when Wayne came home and told me he wanted me to accompany him on a 45 mile UPHILL trek wearing pioneer garb in the middle of July, I thought he was was suffering from mild heatstroke. He continued to show me pictures of the area he wanted me to climb. There were a dozen rocky ridges that rose suddenly to the heavens at angles that were totally perpendicular to the earth. I could barely stuff my laughter at how preposterous it all seemed to me. THEN, he proceeded to tell me that he wanted me to pull a loaded handcart up one of those ridges...WITHOUT his superman strength to help me. WHAT!!!??? I figure if God had wanted me to climb those rocks, He'd have laid them flat.

And THEN... to frost this little cup cake of information just perfectly, he told me I'd only be allowed three potty stops, at assigned destinations, daily. ha ha ha ha ha aahhhhh... ha ha ha.

So, he packed his little sack with some granola bars, extra clean socks, and a pair of suspenders and left for his "adventure" without me.

He came home and regaled me with stories about what a good time he had. How proud he was of the hale and hardy women who pulled and pushed those handcarts over that blasted pile of stones. He almost choked up when he shared the fellowship he felt with the group of modern day "pioneers" that he walked, ooffed and sweated beside, sang with, and shared victuals with on the journey.

Dang! I could have done it.

So whaddaya think? Was I being stubborn? A weak kneed fraidy cat? Practical, insightful, and oh so wise? And what difference does it make now anyway? He went. I didn't. The opportunity has passed. He still likes me. I still like me. But a part of me really wishes I'd have grabed my apron and sunbonnet and made the trek. I wonder why we sometimes let apprehensions, some serious - some silly, talk us out of building a memory.

I Love US

I have a small cross stitch in our bedroom that says, "I love us". I was thinking about that this morning while looking for a missing left shoe.

I love my husband, Wayne. I love him like breath. I love all 6"4" of him, his blue eyes, his broad shoulders and cute buns. I love his mischeivious sense of humor, his calm voice, his work ethic, and for the most part the way he loves me. But, even more than I love his own personal character traits, his virtues and his foibles...I love US.

I love the way we have intermingled with one another. I love the way we laugh together, the way we bouy one another up. I love the conversations we have sitting on the patio, the private jokes, the looks across the room. I love having someone to finish my sandwich, someone who's back I can scratch...and who occasionally scratches mine. I love holding hands in bed, knowing one anothers favorite kind of ice cream, and sharing the agony and ectasy that has been part of being parents to our four children. I love that we conceived, bore, and raised them together. I love feeling protected, worried about, mostly understood, and at times having him shake his head in bewilderment and mutter, "Why would you DO such a thing?". I love being asked, "Where's Wayne", and I love knowing where he is. I love belonging . I love US!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

"If Only", "I Wish" and other forms of make believe...

My mother passed away 15 years ago this month. The fourth of July, actually. I remember thinking that night as we watched the fireworks explode into splinters of light in the sky, how quietly she had died. The life went out of her as smoothly as a lamp ceases to burn when the oil is gone.

She has not left my heart nor my memory that easily. And I don't want her to. So often, as I walk through the day I think, "If only mom was here to see this". "I wish mom was here to talk to about this." "If only mom could have heard that story. She'd have laughed herself into mild hysteria." "I wish...." "If only...."

I wonder what she's doing? It's certainly not hard to envision her as an angel. I never saw her as anything other than that. She was always, each and every minute of every day she breathed, doing something for somebody. But, she can't be baking pies to take to the sick. She can't be writing letters to lonely widows. She can't be crocheting little dolls to give to the "mentally underdeveloped" Not if there's a heaven. Because if there is, she is definitely in it. But the sick, lonely, and handicapped will not be. So what is she doing?

Oh yeah... that could be one of the reasons that Iris grew were I planted Columbine, and Day Lilies are where the Sweet Peas are supposed to be climbing. She's been in the yard switching bulbs and re-arranging my flower beds just so she can giggle watching me scratch my head and wonder, "What in the heck happened?". That sounds like something she'd be doing. She's probably putting a fat leaf over random solar lights just so she can clap her hands and tee hee while we try to figure out why one of them just won't shine for no apparent reason. She must be the phantom friend we see the dog playing with in the yard from time to time. Yup! She must be around enjoying life at the Hollow with us. At least, I like to make believe.....

Tangled Lilies, Intertwined Souls

I am constantly amazed at the ever changing beauty of our flower gardens this year. The delpheniums have been magnificent! The daisies, vibrant and full. The verbascum has seemed almost magical in it's old fashioned daintiness.

We have a few solar powered spotlights that we place in the garden here and there to allow us to see the blooms after nightfall. We live in the country, so it get's quite dark around 10:00 p.m. The only light is from the stars and the few lanterns on the pathway or under the cluster of Oaks.

Last night, I walked out onto the patio to sit in the Adirondack rocker our daughter gave us for Christmas and soak in the serenity. I noticed a tangle of lilies reflected in the soft, solar, light. There were several plants with varied shades from pale pink , to a tender magenta hue, that had been planted in what is known as "square foot gardening". The blooms had interspersed with one another and the effect was almost startling in the dark with one small spotlight shining only on them. They seemed to blend together effortlessly, yet each blossom highlighted another with it's contrast in form and color. Each individual flower was the more striking in the companionship of the others. And each flower seemed to be pointing to another as if to say, "Look at my friend. Isn't she beautiful?" And I was in awe.

As I sat there, the friendship between women came to mind. I thought of Lin. I reflected on how she draws people close to her, let's her mind and soul mingle with theirs. I thought of the other colorful women who's thoughts she has helped plant close to mine, and the way our souls have entertwined. Our ideas seem to blend so effortlessly as we share in one another's lives. I was struck with how each new friendship has highlighted another with the contrast's between us. We have been formed and colored by differing cultural upbringing and life experiences. As I pondered, I became aware of how each individual has become more striking, more stunning because of our differences, and in the companionship of one another. And then I realized how often Lin has pointed to one among us and said, "Look at my friend. Isn't she beautiful?" And I again, I was in awe.

How blessed I am. I have gardens of flowers with tangled lilies , and gardens of friends with intertwined souls.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Garage sales and Angels...

I stopped at a few garage sales this week-end and came home with an armful of books. I am a garage sale NUT! I don't know that I like buying other peoples cast offs as much as I like rummaging through other people's lives. I can be so nosy. I was saying... books.

I think that you can tell a lot about people when you see the books they've read and the movies they've watched. The varied items set out on tables and blankets on the lawn speak volumes about the lives that have been lived by the people that either carefully placed their belongings for display... or just tossed them out to be rummaged through. I have a great time striking up conversations with the temporary "shop owners" selling their wares. I love to ask questions and sort through their responses. Nosy, remember?

Anyway... as I was saying... books.

I was drawn to some "Life After Death Experience" and other semi-religious or spiritual writings. I usually pick up motivational books, self help books, biographies, murder mysteries, a recommended novel, and children's books....I have a special affinity for children's books. I'm not interested in paperback love novels, text books, cook books, craft books - ie: Flower Arranging, How to make Window Boxes from Rusty Pots, How to Make Hats out of Old Kitchen Curtains and Empty Toilet Paper Rolls, and other do it yourself books.

I read one of the "Life After Death" books this afternoon while laying in the hammock and sipping a tall glass of iced tea. It got me thinking, and I guess I'd like to know what some of you think about angels, the spirit world, an after life...
and what you feel is your purpose here. What legacy do you want to leave behind?
I'm deeply rooted in my religious upbringing... but, I'd love to believe that Fairies really exist. I don't believe in re-incarnation... but facets of it seem so logical to me. I beleive in guardian angels and answers to prayer. I also believe in serendipity. Anyway, if anyone out there has an opinion, a thought, or some insight... Please share it.

For once... I'd so much rather listen than talk.