Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Where the Forest Meets the Sea

This summer Wayne and I spent a week at a beach house on the Oregon Coast. We tromped and traipsed through hill and vail, bays and beaches. We climbed forested paths, heavy with ferns and trickling water, to photograph lighthouses. We rummaged through the produce at country fruit stands, and gathered fresh flowers from fields ripe with dahlias and sunflowers. We dined at some of the local pubs and cafes and tasted some mighty savory dishes.

There were days that the shore was lost in the fog. On a day when the drizzle turned to droplets, we spent the afternoon sharing a picnic of cheese, chubby pretzels, and peaches under a canopy in the rain. The weather wasn't always perfect, but it was all delightful.

I am in awe of that lucious land. I love the motto for the Oregon Coast..."Where the Forest Meets the Sea". That is perfectly descriptive. Giant pines and oaks do come to the very edge of the cliffs where the salty ocean sends great sprays of water to mist the feet of the trees.

I was thinking last night as I watched my husband sitting in an overstuffed chair reading the last few chapters of a book, how like the forest and the sea he and I are.

Our lives are not intermingled. They touch nearly everywhere, but each of us has remained individual entities with our own strengths, our own flavors. What beauty can be found in us is our own. But, neither of us would be as complete without the other. I move towards him constantly throughout each and every day, sometimes with a mood of tranquility and peace, sometimes with turbulence and a spirit of unrest. He always accepts me however I come to him. While I seem to be constantly changing, he is always stalwart, standing steady, slowly and continually growing toward the heavens.

Like the time spent on the coastline, my analogy isn't perfect. It is as many faceted as the prisms that gleam from the Heceta Lighthouse. I don't intend to delve into it too deeply here...although I did spend a good deal of time milling over the similarities this morning in that space between sleep and awakening.

Let me just repeat how entranced I became with Oregon, and how I enjoyed the slow motion days spent there. And let me also say, how entranced I am with this giant of a man who shelters my life... and how I gather something from the shores of his soul every time his forest and my sea meet.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


In my next life I want to be a camera.

Cameras are full of memories. Well, so am I, so that can't be the reason. What is it then? I know. It's because cameras only need to focus on one thing at a time.  No need to juggle this flower with that child on a swing, or with the car racing over the finish line, or with the dog chasing a butterfly. A camera takes one picture at a time. If a picture isn't perfect, it's placed on photoshop and worked with until it is exactly right....one photo at a time.

I want to be able to truly focus on ONE thing until the reason for my focus has been caught and completed. I want the time to see the measure of it's character, capture it, be able to hold it in my hands until I'm ready to put it down. I want to work with it until I've accomplished exactly what I wanted to with it, and then move on to the next venture.

As it is I am constantly trying to focus on my husbands desire for dinner or help in the pasture, with a client's need to be called with a counteroffer, with my daughter's need to have me send her a recipe, with my youngest son's need for me to talk via e-mail with him about where he should work next year, with my oldest son wanting help with painting and decorating his bathroom, with my neice needing to cry over her boy's drug related incarceration, with the church wanting me to visit the woman three blocks down the road, with another client wanting to be shown property this afternoon, with yet another client wanting to buy the same home that I just sold, with a good friend needing someone to tend her dog and water her plants. I tend to lose focus and after a while everything becomes blurred.

I know, I know. Prioritize. Take things one at a time. Easy to say... not so easy to do. How do you tell a child, or a friend, or the love of your life...or, yes, even a client who is trying to build foundations under his dreams, to take a number? How do you really focus on and feel the essence of each moment when your mind is spiraling in seventeen directions?

But a camera? It's whole purpose is to concentrate on only one thing at a time. Yeah, I want to be a camera.

(The good news is, I got some of the angst off my chest and I feel much better now)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Stumbling Blocks

A lack of confidence is the heaviest anchor we can put on our creativity." I heard this comment made by one of the judges on "So You Think You Can Dance" q few years back and thought it was flowing over the brim with wisdom. I think it applies to all of living. A lack of confidence is the heaviest anchor to much of what we experience.

There is a trait that I admire so much in others and strive every day to increase the capacity for in myself. Wild abandon. I have a son who laughs with wild abandon...no inhibitions. I have a husband who plays with wild abandon...no fear. I have a daughter who loves with wild abandon...no holding back. I have a son who races toward every goal with wild abandon...no hesitation. I have a son who jumps into life head first with wild abandon...no restrictions. I have a son who protects with wild abandon...no thought of consequence. I love it!

All of this speaks of confidence to me. Confidence that what they believe in is right, who they love will love in return, who they protect is worthy of any sacrifice, that stretching the limits of their capabilities is a worthwhile way to occupy their time and expend their energy, that they can reach the goal and win the race, that life will hold them by the hand or grab them by their hair, fill their memories with bright moments, and fill their minds to the brink of genius.

Me? Where do I fit into all of this? I used to be a lot like that. Somewhere along the path, I took a turn and ended up sitting on the bleachers. Too often I am a happy spectator. I am an easily contented person. And I'm learning that there is a fine line between contentment and complacency, and that it is too easy to believe that a lack of confidence is not hiding behind a veil of contentment.

I so admire my family and others who live with a pinch of recklessness, who let the adrenaline flow freely and step into each day's activities with gusto. I look up to those among us who don't always think through where an adventure will lead them, or stop to consider who will pick up the hat they toss in the relationship ring. I love it when I see my children offer their hearts to friendship without expectation of being given as much as they are willing to give.

I spent too many years being a tad too fearful, being overly concerned with the reactions and opinions of people who were merely passing through my life. Now that I am on the twilight side of the hill... I yearn to feel the excitement that made my heart beat faster when I was younger. I think it's time to toss the restrictive bonds that a lack of confidence has bound me with in the last not so few years, kick off my shoes and run through the wildflowers in my barefeet... without thinking about the spiders that may be lurking in the grass. I want to feel the sun on my face and not worry about what wrinkles it may cause. This fall I will inhale the aroma of burning leaves and not be concerned with how smoky my clothes will smell, or if a spark will sputter out as it bleeds through my shirt sleeve. I will approach strangers with a smile, and an interest in what they have to tell me...to teach me. I will laugh till tears fall, dance in the aisles of the grocery store, and sing to my waiter when he delivers pizza to our table. I will taste more, hear more, see more, be more.

Because of all things we attempt to create while mortals, the creation of lasting relationships should be of highest import, the list of friendships we create should be long...very, very long. And, even as a woman of "artistic" bent who has made heirloom Santa's and nutcrackers and other "artsy, crafty" things for my posterity, I believe that our own characters, our own life stories, not just well written... but well LIVED, should be pre-eminent in those things we create. We will, after all, take only our character and intelligence with us when we step through the veil. And of all that we leave behind as a legacy to those that loved us, our life stories will be held most dear.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What's in a word?

What's in a word? What does that mean, anyway? Lots of things are in a word. Words evoke emotions in us and can spur us to action or lull us into inaction. ie: emotions and actions such as love, anger, regret, forgiveness, anxiety, excitement, comfort, sorrow, laughter...

A favorite word of mine is "amae". It's a Japanese word (pronounced ah-mah-ay), which means "the expectation to be sweetly and indulgently loved" Is that beautiful or what? And isn't it really what we all wish for?

I came across this expression and the ideas that accompany it years ago in a magazine article. I wish I could remember what magazine. At any rate, the article discussed the way we in America put such a high premium on "independence", how we're taught to strive for the supreme acheievement of being able to stand on our own. Not that that's an entirely bad thing. But, it does close us off somewhat to the possibility of being "sweetly and INDULGENTLY loved". The way a baby is loved, the way we love our babies. The way nearly every woman on the planet dreams of being loved by her husband. The way women so often express love for one another in time tested and time worn friendships.

What's in a word? In the word "amae" I see hope. A vision. A way of loving to aspire to.

I watched my daughter sweetly and induldgently love her husband last night. It was so touching. He had surgery yesterday and was in such pain... he suffers from anxiety and his pain meds made his heart race to the point that his anxiety, coupled with the side effects of Lortab, kept him up all night. She put a cloth to his face, rubbed his shoulders, helped him take deep breaths, repositioned his newly pinned and wired leg on pillows... she spoke softly, played his favorite music for him, and gave up sleeping herself to see him through the night. When she came dragging out of the bedroom this morning, it was to bring him some juice and fresh fruit, to call his doctor for guidance in how she could bring him more comfort....and to mow the lawns so he wouldn't worry about it not getting done while he was laid up.

I've watched the way he sweetly and indulgently loves her since the day they first met. He has been the answer to a mother and father's prayer that their daughter would be protected and cared for throughout her life. They have come to depend on one another for this exchange of tenderness. They each feel precious and cherished. They experience amae in their lives.

So... what's in a word? Ahhhh..in amae I see fulfillment, security, and contentment.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ugh! Whoof! Ouch! Whump!! Ahhhhhh...

I grew up in California...the greater Los Angeles area to be exact. My family was reasonably well to do, lived in the biggest house in an upscale neighborhood, drove fancy new cars, had the first television and garage door opener in our community. You get the picture.

A favorite family activity was going for a Sunday drive. We did this only from time to time, not on a weekly basis. Enough to keep it really special. We'd pack some cheese and sweet pickle or tuna sandwiches, a jar of homemade peaches, a big bag of chips, and mama's decadent brownies or hot baked apple pie. When it was safely tucked into the trunk of the car...we'd hop into daddy's Cadillac, mom's Buick convertible, my aunt and uncle's Pontiac, or my sister's Edsel and hit the road. We'd often drive up "El Camino Real", better known as Pacific Coast Highway, or down the coast to LaJolla. We'd sing songs and play those silly games that you play to keep kids entertained while driving.

I loved going for those drives!! We'd see cows grazing in grassy fields with the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop. I'm from Los Angeles, remember? Where else would I see a cow? We'd stop to stretch, and submit to nature's call at a Shell Station where daddy would make sure the gas tank was full and treat us all to ice cream. Then we'd be on the road again, looking for the ideal spot to lay out a quilt and enjoy lunch. Yes... he did let us have ice cream before eating our sandwiches. He was a cool dad. These were happy times spent with my family. I hate to repeat myself, but, I truly loved those drives!

In 1972, at the age of... well...older than I care to remember, I moved to Utah...met a small town country boy, and fell head over heels... I was completely bonked on this guy.

I remember how excited I was one Sunday when he asked me if I wanted to go for a drive after church. Perfect! Fond memories welled up as I packed a couple of sandwiches, some cookies and juice, and waited anxiously for him to pick me up.

Little did I know that this would be unlike any drive I'd ever been on before.. anywhere, anytime.

We wound our way up some godforsaken hilltop, through scrub brush and sage dying in the heat. We bounced over rocks and fallen trees... we slogged our way across muddy riverbottoms. If nature called... we looked for something almost large and remote enough to hide behind. When it was time for lunch, we pulled the dust covered blanket from the back seat and opened our dust filled sandwiches. blecchh!!

And that has remained the way we've done it in all our days together since.

"Want to go for a drive?" he says... And I grab oranges, granola bars, wheat thins, water... lots of water...a lil packet of t.p., hiking boots, a jacket, some branch cutters, a small shovel, clean socks for both of us, an extra pair of sunglasses (he always forgets his), some work gloves, chewing gum, hand sanitizer, and a flashlight. And off we go.

We have had to dig our way out of mud...build a road to get us out of a ditch...and hike for help. I have had a fourwheeler land on me after a failed attempt at keeping it upright over slippery boulders, and nearly had the jeep tip on us while trying to take it up an incline that was meant only to fly over. We don't really go for drives. We have a four wheeling "experience", or go for a jeeping "adventure". It's exhillarating, scary, infuriating, fun, oddly fulfilling, and ... it has very often been peaceful. We've seen gorgeous views from the tops of mountains that we would have seen no other way. We have stretched our capacity for enjoyment, and honed our "He-man survive in the wilderness skills". Well... I've mostly just peeled an orange, or gathered tree branches to place under the wheels of the jeep to help get us out of muck and slime that threatens to swallow our transportation. Wayne does his "Superman", "Mr. Incredible" schtick and pulls, hoists, or lifts us out of whatever mess we find ourselves in, and gets us on our way again.

Last Sunday we got lost and beat our backsides black and blue exploring some rocky wasteland...I was beginning to mutter, "I'm too dang old for this!! My bones are going to pulverize any second. I'll have to be swept into a dustpan and carried home in a sandwich bag"... and then... omagosh!! We suddenly found ourselves in a lush forest that led us to the tip of the Manti LaSal Mountain Range with views that spread from here to eternity. It was breathtaking! It was a delicius treat for our eyes, and for our souls.

The drives of yesterday were wonderful, but those I take with my hubby today are beyond my wildest imaginings. They are absolutely, completely, memorable ...from wading through ice encrusted water to search for help, to the mosquito bites on our hineys received while lying on a blanket by a secluded, sunlit stream renewing our vows... Our drives may most often make me want to sit in a hot tub for an hour or two to soothe my aching and aging bones... but, my spirit is always refreshed.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Parable of The Pincushion

When I was a young girl, fifty some odd years ago, my mother gave me a large red pincushion for a fifth grade sewing class. It was shaped like a tomato with three green leaves on top, and was filled with sawdust to sharpen the pins and needles as they were placed in it and then withdrawn for use. I've stubbornly held on to that tattered old sphere for decades. It had developed a small hole and begun to leak it's contents into the basket I kept it stored in. It was definitely time for a replacement. I looked for another just like it and found one about half it's size in a dollar store.

A couple of weeks ago a friend stopped by with her 9 year old daughter. I gave Elisa the two pincushions and asked if she would transfer the pins and needles from the old to the new while her mother and I visited. She entertained herself for some time making designs with the pins.

After they left, I took the old cushion in my hand and, knowing that there would be several needles that had worked their way into the sawdust, began to push and massage the worn remains. After more pin pricks than I care to remember, I had released close to three dozen needles. I decided there would be less pain involved in the project if I sliced the cushion open and simply poured out what was inside. As the sawdust spilled onto the table, a forest of needles fell with it, nearly a hundred needles in all had been hiding there, sharp and capable of mending tired and torn items...waiting to be taken in hand and used to create heirloom quality beauty with them.

I began to think of the needles that had been trapped inside my old pincushion, and I wondered... How many women have been hiding the talents that are theirs in the sawdust of day to day activities and the responsibiities that lie at the heart of being a wife and mother, holding a job, keeping a home? Am I the only woman who has allowed her God given talents to slip unnoticed into tattered and worn old habits? Maybe I need to take a sharp instrument to my life and cut away the tired and torn fabric that covers my spirit and let my thoughts spill free. Maybe I need to pick up the words that have been wedged inside for so long, unused, unexpressed, and create something with them.

I am not alone. There are hundreds of women like me...like my needles. Women with talents that are tucked somewhere out of sight, sharp and capable and waiting to be set free, waiting to leave an heirloom quality legacy of beauty behind. What a tragedy it will be if their gifts are allowed to remain hidden from view. The greatest sorrow is for what might have been. Who they might have become who they might have entertained, lifted, and inspired. And again I begin to wonder...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I Don't Know... I'm Asking.

My good friend, Lin, taught a class this past week where she asked those attending what we wanted to do to improve ourselves this month. She pointed out the importance of spending each minute, every hour, in a quest to become more than we are... Dang! That stings! I am not a well educated woman... at least, I have no formal education worthy of mentioning. I love language and am always enthralled by those who use it well. I enjoy wrapping myself up in the wisdom of a large variety of authors and individuals who have crossed my path. But, I just don't seem to have the clamoring desire to expand my universe the way so many do. The truth of it is that I'm too easily entertained. Everything and nothing fascinates me. I find even the most mundane aspects of life, and most unnoticed and unnoticeable people, interesting. I've read somewhere that "wisdom lies in gathering precious moments". I like to think that I recognize precious moments as they happen and always carry a folded apron in my mind to gather as many of them as I can. And I only see one major reason for life and that is to grow in love, understanding and compassion... for ourselves, and for every other creature on the planet.

I don't plan and study and work at "becoming"... I often wish I had that kind of motivation. But... I really don't. I just sort or meander the hillsides and alleyways of life and often find that as I return home after each "walkabout", I have evolved in some way into a higher, or deeper, self.

If I plan to carry a great book and a bright green marker out to the hammock to read and underline and post some goals... I usually become distracted by the dog that wants to play "fetch" with me, or the peonies growing along the edge of the blackberry patch, or the sunshine that becomes dappled as it sifts through the leaves...and my mind begins to carry on conversations with all sorts of imaginary companions. Are they garden fairies? Guardian angels? Remnants of friends and mentors who's memories are nestled in some niche of my heart? We share ideas and philosophies with each other and invent activities to make us giggle or send us into deep wells of thought. My plans to re-invent myself are shattered, once again, and I can generally be found puttering and dawdling through another afternoon. But, somehow... I'm rarely disappointed by the way I've spent my time. I have few regrets. I discover that one of the invisable friends that I've shared my day with has opened new vistas and enriched my soul.

Is this wrong, do you think? Should growth be a subtle thing that creeps up on us? Should it be the result of wide awake efforts every day to learn something more about ourselves? My guess is that it should probably be a melding of the two. I don't know. I'm asking.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Did you bring the "Joseph" C.D.??

Seven days on vacation in Southern California with Chandelar...

I'm happy to report that we didn't forget anything. We brought lively, silly CD's to sing to and keep us alert for the long drive. We had plenty of underwear, our bathing suits, hair doodads, toothpaste, toenail polish, "chick flicks", our favorite pillows, comfortable shoes (although not quite comfortable enough... we bought new ones), sun hats, sun dresses, light weight sweaters, and chocolate. The only thing we left at home that we could have used is the muscle power of our hubbys, and perhaps a small hoist, to lift and carry our luggage.

It was another happy, carefree time with one of the brightest jewels in my crown. We ate some really good food, soaked our feet in fountains after a day of traipsing through some beautiful buildings and gardens, watched (and danced to) some girlie movies, checked out the ancient, rickety, wooden roller coaster on the Belmont pier, shopped some little boutiques, and strolled the street festivals in the beach cities. We stayed up too late, sat in the hot tub too long, drank too many Vanilla Bean Frappacino's, and ate too many In N' Out Burgers. But, mostly we talked, and talked, and giggled, shed a few tears, and talked some more.

I relished and treasure every minute if it...
I hope we get a chance to over pack for another week away together next year.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Now... THAT'S a Tulip!

My daughter bought some tulips a couple of years ago that knocked my socks off when I saw them growing in her yard. I searched the world over... okay, I exaggerate... I drove to CostCo to see if I could find any of the same bulbs. I found some that looked pretty close to what she had and gladly handed over the necessasry cash to make them mine. I took them home and planted them in one of my flower gardens. This spring, I couldn't wait to see what they were going to look like.
Voila! Here they are... I have never seen such enormous heads on a tulip. Mine are not as tall as hers, nor do I have the variety of colors that she does. But, I'm happy with what I have. Kinda cool, huh? I plan on making it a quest to find more and plant them EVERYWHERE I can find a spot at the Hollow.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

"By Their Fruits"...

So many pictures... I wonder why...

I just finished reading a post written by my niece. It was titled with a scriptural reference, "By their fruits ye shall know them", and in it she expressed the love she has for her family. Not just her parents and siblings... but for her extended family as well. For her cousins...my children among them.

I've been thinking about her words for a while now. We really do have a remarkably good family. I'd use words like spectacular, phenomenal, magnificent... But, it occured to me that God created this entire world and everything in and around it... and the word He used to describe it was, "Good". And that is exactly what the members of the Stott clan are.

I've also been thinking about the title of her post. "By their fruits ye shall know them." Oh, how I hope that people, seeing my children, would believe that they were looking through a window into my soul. Nothing could speak better for me than the young men and the young woman they have become.

I need to say the same for Wayne's brothers and his sister. They have brought large quantities of sweetness and light into this world with the birth of every child. I love my nieces and nephews more than I can express. I love the memories invoked when I wander through old family albums. I love the stories we share when we gather together anywhere. I love the laughter and silliness that surrounds our table as we share the best home made food on the planet with one another, but most of all I love who they are as adults. I love their depth of character and the indelible love they have for one another. It's unquestioning, it's unshakable, it's forever and always and no matter what. I have a daughter and several nieces, and now and then a nephew, who have shared the details of their days with their hubbies and their little ones. The parenting baton has been passed, and I have no doubt that they will carry our family traditions and teachings to victory at the finish line. I so want to be known as a branch of the tree that bore such delicious and nourishing fruit.

I love tending my flower gardens. Wayne tends his vegetable garden and to his rooster and the brood of chicks. We had four beautiful children who have given us 6 beautiful grandchildren. Why so many pictures you wondered? Because this is my fruit.

If in fact, we shall be known by our fuits, then many of us have lived our lives well, indeed.

In my opinion, we are known as much for the company we keep as by the children we raise, and the parents who raised us. We have recently discussed the importance of face to face conversations. I have been one of the most vocal about how I worry that it may become a lost art. But, this form of communication has opened vistas I never dreamed of. My circle of teachers, mentors, friends, and on occasion... influence, has become so much wider than it would have been had I not made contact with you this way. And my life would have been so much less. It has more depth, a richness of color and thought has been added. Your comments are the fruits of your hearts and your souls, through them I have come to know you. You are the fruits of my planting a few thoughts, and I am ever so hopeful that I may be known by, and through you...

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Turn Around...And Hear the Echos

We raised our children in a four level split home at the mouth of a canyon in Northern Utah. It was in many ways a marvelous place to raise our four little ones... in others, not so great. It wasn't a neighborhood that was friendly toward kids. But we backed up against orchards and mountains that seemed to be our private domain. We were surrounded by open fields, were walking distance to creeks and ponds full of pollywogs.

The house itself was easy to live in. Roomy and open, with room to hide and read in peace. It had nothing but windows and doors on the east side that opened out to flower gardens, a fire pit in the backyard, and the canyon yawning wide just beyond the border of the orchard.

Lots of memories were made there. Toasting marshmallows around the firepit with friends who sang and talked with our kids into the wee small hours as their hopes for the future mingled with sparks from the open flames... sleeping out under shooting stars on the trampoline with only the sound of the crickets and our stories. Walks through the orchard with my daughter and our dogs, sitting on a cement slab among the cherry trees day dreaming.

There were birthday parties and family re-unions and Christmas trees that took up a third of the parlour. There were midnight runs through the sprinklers, and hockey games in the cul de sac, and banana splits for breakfast. There were Easter baskets to be found at the end of yards and yards of string woven throughout the house. We sat in the sun in front of the french doors during the summer reading from a stack of books from the library shelves. We sat huddled under blankets on the heat vents in the parlour during the winter months...talking and warming ourselves with the blowing heat and each others laughter.

We sold this family home to our son a fews years back... I can't remember if it was three or four. I went to visit a week or so ago and walked into that parlour. I grabbed a blanket and sat on the heater and let my mind drift back in time. Gone are the sounds of the incessant chatter about school, football games, dates, and wedding plans. Gone are the times when we treated hurts from tummy aches to heartaches, and kissed and cuddled the way to feeling better... Only the walls echoed back the voices of that era. It was a haunting visit.

We all take such joy seeing our children grow into adulthood. Yet, there are those moments when our arms ache with longing to hold them on our lap one more time. I walked into my son's room one night while visiting, and watched him sleep. I reached out to touch his cheek and tried to remember the little boy who slept in that house so many years ago. He's grown into a fine young man with a son of his own, now. The song is right... I turned around, and all three of my boys were young men, capable young men, who had moved into their own lives. I can't hear them run through the back door bursting with excitement at some adventure or escapade to tell me about. I can't tuck them in at night and sing, "I Found a Friend" softly, and always just slightly off tune...and have them beg me to sing it again. But, I remember...

On my last stay up north, I sat in my daughters kitchen and watched her prepare a meal for her three sons. I tried to recall the tiny girl of five or six making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich all by herself. She was so proud. Just as I am now proud. I love the woman she has become... but, I long for the little girl she once was. I miss the girl of sixteen, seventeen, nineteen and twenty who took so many precious walks among the apple blossoms with me.

Memory is a savoury thing, to taste with relish, and dwell on with delight.  Memories also often bring an aching longing for just one more day setting helium filled balloons free to soar on their own.  And no, the analogy, the irony, is not lost on me.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Deep Sighs and Big Slobbery Sobs

I'm generally a pretty upbeat type of gal. It's not my M.O. to get too down for too long. But, I'm making an exception today.

Have I mentioned how much my hubby and I love life at the Hollow? We have a fair sized creek on the west side of the property with the covered bridge crossing it. There's a little babbling stream on the east side that runs alongside our vegetable garden. Both are just the right size to splash in safely. We have a grove of trees to hide in and have easter egg hunts in, and pick the little individual boxes of breakfast cereal that my daughter and I hang from the branches. We have three pastures. The lower one has plum trees with such tasty fruit to fill tummies with. It's the ideal place to shoot pvc pipe bows and pencil eraser tipped arrows, and play kick ball. The upper pasture is two and a half acres up a slight incline and is great for our annual HUGE bonfire and riding four wheelers. We lease out this fun upper pasture to neighbors who keep four horses there during the fall that are available for petting or riding. We have chickens to chase, a great dog to play with, a cool hammock to swing in, a play house to climb on, slide down and jump from, and a fire pit for gathering around listening to Poppy's Uncle Zedekiah stories while toasting marshmallows... it's a kids paradise. Wayne and I were so excited to find a place so perfect for the grandkids to come and stay and be safe while exploring and doing all of the adventuresome things little boys can dream up to do in a setting like this. Have you heard about the "best laid plans of mice and men"?

taking deep breath... exhaling slowly...

My daughter called today. She was on her way home from taking my five year old grandson to the allergist. She learned that he's allergic to our dog, (we knew that) and horses, and tall grasses (ie: the pastures), and probably our chickens. This is only a partial list of his allergies. Chandi and her boys will NOT be able to come and visit us here any longer. Can I just tell you how bad she and I are feeling about this? It stinks! Not to mention how hard it's going to be for that sweet child to keep away from everything that can send him to the emergency room. Oh yeah. I forgot to mention that he doesn't just get itchy eyes or bumpy, red blotches on his cheeks. He can't breathe...as in trip to the emergency room to be put on a respirator, can't breathe. He has an anaphylactic allergy to peanuts. And we're not sure how extreme his re-action to some of the other allergies could become.

Rats! That's something else he's allergic to....mice and rats. His doting uncles, my three sons, bought the boys three pet mice for Christmas. Who knew? They were a big hit. They named the white one Crisco, the gray one Rhino, and the brown one with a white strip around his middle, Oreo. Chandi noticed Ryson's eyes would start to swell when he held the one that was his pet...Oreo. So she's kept him away from them for the most part. Fortunately, since we just found out how the little nibblers can effect our boy, the last of them just died Tuesday... (guess which one lasted the longest... Oreo, of course)

If I still had a tub, I'd give some thought to taking my next bath face down in the water... Okay. I exaggerate. I'm not that depressed. But, I am so, SO sad!

Well, that's my sorry tale. Thanks for letting me vent. I wish I could say it made me feel better. I know it's supposed to help to open up the pressure valve and let off steam. But, I'm sorry to say...I don't feel better. Although it did feel good to spit out my aauugghhhh's and grrrrr's and CURSES while visually shaking my fist at the sniggering gods on Olympus.

another deep breath... I will not hold it until I turn blue. I'll let a big slobbery sob escape as I exhale slowly with a deep sigh and say good night.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Posies in My Heart

Anybody else out there itchin to get out in the dirt and plant a few bulbs, weed a garden, dig a furrow for snap peas? I can't wait one minute longer for this blasted snow to exit stage left and let apple blossoms and hyacinths take their turn center stage. I got so antsy that I dug out every silk flower I could find and stuffed them in every corner of my house. They're displayed on my loft, in vases, and on top of my kitchen cupboards. If mother nature won't let them dazzle me outside, I'll produce and direct my own flower show inside.

It's a poor substitute to be sure, not as good as posies in the garden... but, it does help keep the winter doldrums at bay. Flowers make me smile.

Speaking of smiles... have you all seen the incredible video of the 47 year old woman from Scoltand who made Simon Cowel's jaw drop on British Idol? I was smiling and laughing and crying. What a remarkable, uplilfting story she has become. I'd love to have that video piped into my home and play it over and over many times each day. Her voice is powerful, that's for certain. But, her spirit even more so. She is a gift to all of us who flounder in fear and self doubt. Those of us who have allowed ourselves to think "It's too late", or "Life has too many other plans for me", or "Who's ever going to notice anything I do?" There is just no reason for any of us not to follow our dreams, not to become whatever it is that we want to be or develop and showcase any talents we may be blessed with. She brought spring posies to my heart... and somehow, a spring to my step.

She may even be better than posies in the garden.

Monday, March 23, 2009

I think about it often, but

I think about it often
And I'd post here everyday
But there's so very little
That seems worthwhile to say

It either rains, or doesn't rain
It's either hot, or cold
The news is all uninteresting
Or else it's all been told.

What can I say... That's exactly what my thoughts are.

It's not that my life has been boring. It's just been...
how do I say it? Even...running smoothly...no ups and
downs, no roller coaster rides. My mind has been at rest.
I haven't been wondering about the secrets of the universe
the way I so often do. I haven't been looking for that
elusive "more" that regularly seems to nibble at my contenment.
For the moment, I seem to be wrapped up snuggly in all I've
ever wanted.

I suppose there are things out there that I would wish for...
my sons to have women to love and to love them being the primary
thing that comes to mind. But, I do know that isn't something
I'm going to be able to furnish them with. They are bright,
generous, witty, hardworking, honest and handsome men. They
are the jewels in my crown and they bring their father and me
such joy. When they visit the Hollow the hillsides and rafters
ring with laughter. There are cuddles on the couches, and hefty
appetites to be satisfied. Milk, fruit, eggs and cookies, seem
to consistantly and constantly disappear. They love working and
playing side by side with their father, and my heart swells when
I see them enjoying one another's company so completely.

So... even though I know that they are a little lonely now... I
also know that they will eventually find mates to share their futures.
That no longer is the worry to me that it once was. I will always pray
for companionship for them and I still wish on the occasional star for
them, but, I no longer obsess.

So, life is even, running smoothly, and my mind is at rest. There
just doesn't seem to be anything pressing to write about.

Know that you're thought about, respected, loved and appreciated.

Monday, February 23, 2009

He's Outta Heah...

My son Cordell, my youngest child, my beautiful baby boy, has hopped a plane and moved his guitar, his laptop and his long board to South Korea. He's left behind his business suits, his books, his beloved DuCati motorcyle, and his family.

He left just last Saturday and I miss him already. It's going to be a looooong year to 15 months before he comes back. He's my poet, my free spirit, my adventurer. Well, truth be told, they're all a little on the adventurous side, and without children, jobs, mortgage payments, etc... they'd all be more inclined to let their free spirits soar into the wild blue. But, he's untethered by such responsibilities at this stage of his life. So... he's gone to find new caves to spelunk, more cliffs to dive from, more mountain trails to explore, more cities to shop, more languages to learn, and cultures to absorb. The great event of the dinner that we went out for the evening he left, was his FIRST BITE OF MEAT in over thirteen years. He decided that he ought to be prepared to try some of the abundance of local seafood while living in Korea, and thought he should share this big step with his family. That's shrimp that he's talking himself into lifting to his mouth... and that's my fork ready to take it off of his plate if he didn't hurry. It was great tasting stuff! He preferred his veggies and tofu. I knew I should have grabbed it.

So long, sweetie... I'll keep your latest picture on my desk until I hear your footsteps coming up the walk, and see your broad shoulders filling my doorway again.
Be well, stay well....

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Uhhhh, No Thanks.

I don't want to be-labor food issues here, but I loved this response...just had to share it. My daughter, Chandelar and I went for lunch at one of our favorite eateries yesterday, The Old Spaghetti Factory in Trolley Square. When the waitress came to take our order, I ordered a small salad and asked Chandi if she was going to have the same. She flashed a bright smile, winked, and said, "Uhhhh, no thanks. You graze...I'll eat." Perfect.

Made enough sense to talk me right out of a salad. I changed my order, we donned our clown noses, and dug into some REAL Italian food with gusto. It was so good, I didn't know what to put in my mouth first...hearty Ministrone soup, or a chicken, bacon, and pesto Panini sandwich.

For dessert, we stopped at See's and bought a pound box of assorted caramels. (That's quite a departure from salad) We spent the rest of the day doing some power shopping, having "mini makeovers" then got a room for the night at the Comfort Inn where we spent what was left of Monday enjoying our chocolates and watching a late movie. It was great! No kids to do homework with and bathe...no hubbies to make dinner for. The morning brought a slight skiff of snow... but who cared with complimentary Belgian waffles and fresh fruit for breakfast, and a full day ahead of us of trolling the stores for pretty dishes, some fun, feminine, funky clothes, and Christmas bargains. We just threw oursleves into giggling and having fun trying on pretty things with wild abandon. I love girlie days like that!! And I love being married to men who want us to spend time together doing girly things like that (enough to take care of the kiddies and underwrite the fun).

Life is SO yummy! Especially when we leave grazing to the California "happy" cows, and indulge ourselves with gusto every now and then.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Eenie, Meenie, Mynie, Mo

Can you guess which one of the panoply of items I grabbed off the counter and took advantage of having available to me? It was a tough choice.

If you guessed the Pilates tape, you're dillusional. If you quessed the measuring tape, you obviously haven't seen my backside. I'd need more than a measuring tape to determine size.

If you guessed the do-nut slathered with whipped cream and sliced strawberries...
Bingo!! Well... I did make a New Year's resolution to treat myself well this year, afterall.

Have you heard these familiar platitudes that have been passed around every self help seminar in the last decade?

1. "Half of knowing what you want is knowing what you have to give up to get it."
2. "The biggest cause of unhappiness and failure is giving up what we want the most for what we want at the moment."
They're old and over used, but they're good... and absolutely true.

What I want the most is to wear some "stylin" size eight capri's this summer. What I wanted at the moment was that tempting, and mighty tasty chocolate covered pastry. I threw my visions of wearing cute size eight pants this summer out with the empty do-nut bag. Ahhhh well. I shall get myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again. I am such a fan of second chances... and third, and fourth, and seventeenth. Some things need forever and always, til death will I stick with it, diligence. My attention span appears to be too short for most of those things.

But, I am finding that life is as delicious as my do-nut at any size. A little harder to navigate perhaps... but scrumcilicious just the same. I am however, snacking on fresh orange slices and rice cakes the rest of the week.