Friday, July 30, 2010

Omega what!?

     I had an appointment with a dietician today and by the end of our visit, we came to the conclusion that I did not actually eat enough to lose weight. Don't you just want to be me?! While I was sitting there with a starry-eyed look in my eyes envisioning sugarplums dancing in my head, she was thinking something very different.
      I was counting gumdrops and she was counting EPA and DHA. I was picking out cupcakes and she was picking out whole-grain crackers. I was thinking about fried fish and she was thinking about fish oil supplements. I was dreaming of fresh farm eggs and she spouting off about Egglands Best eggs and what they feed their chickens.
     She was talking about natural peanut butter with no salt added and I was dreaming of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Make that PB&J on white bread, not whole wheat! She started talking about cauliflower and broccoli and spinach and about this time, I am thinking about gagging.
     Then, right before I could drag myself out of the chair, my dreams all but deflated, and out of the door, she handed me a Leah Chase cookbook. Now we’re talking; this may turn out to be an alright day after all!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Six items or less, could you do it?

     I found the coolest site - - where people actually wore a total of six pieces of clothing (undies, exercise clothes, uniforms etc. were allowed to be extras) for a whole month, just mixing and matching and accessorizing. It is a “global experiment examining the power of what we don’t wear.” I had to admit that it is an interesting concept, but definitely not one for me. I like variety and enjoy deciding what I am going to wear. Although, once I began thinking about it, I realized that is precisely what I do; I wear six items or less.

     I get up each morning and head to the closet – which I have to detour here and tell you how much pleasure it gives me when I open the door; it is my happy place. My closet closely resembles a well-stocked department store. All the hangars match and my blouses are all color coordinated and sorted by sleeve length. I have hung my jackets with care according to sleeve length and time of year wearage. My shoes are neatly lined up on their shelves, one back, one forward (hint-you can fit more shoes on a shelf that way, therefore, you may purchase additional footwear) according to purpose and color. Uniformly folded t-shirts separated by style and color line the shelves, the same with sweaters and pajamas. It is actually better than a department store. No one has been rifling through the shelves. Everything is perfect.
My Happy Place

     I know I digress, but if you are still hanging in there with me, I’ll be back on track in a moment. I have to sigh first and close the door so I can concentrate.
     I wear navy crops (my grandmother would call them pedal pushers) and a white tank almost every day. Grant you - it is a DIFFERENT one, but that is pretty much my everyday "uniform." It is a very serviceable uniform for me and I am normally home most days so it works. It works well for exercise, yard work, cooking - where even with an apron I always make a mess – and lucky for me, someone invented a wonderful product called bleach. If this were not my uniform, I have about 30 white blouses and several pairs of jeans that would fit the bill quite nicely; however, I might have trouble choosing only six blouses. A white t-shirt may be only a white t-shirt, but a white blouse is NOT just a white blouse. Should I even get started?
     Still, the six items for a month is an interesting concept for an experiment and on the web site are the comments from those who committed to the challenge. Some who took the challenge admitted there was difficulty in the beginning, but it became easier as the experiment progressed and they actually enjoyed it. They even said that on the first day “back” choosing their daily outfit was the challenge. At any rate, it is worth the skip over to the site to check it out. They are also having another challenge in the fall. It might interest you, but I think I will just sit this one out and read about it.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

So close, yet so far away

     You steel your feelings and paste on the happy face hoping that today will be different. You tuck the pain and anxiety into a place far within you and then try to fool yourself into believing that everything will be fine.
     How can someone be so very close and at the same time be so very far away? You can reach out and touch them and at the same time, your arm is not long enough to reach across the distance. How is it that you can feel emptier when someone leaves than before they arrived?
     You think you’ve handled it. You think that you have come away none the less for wear. Then, hours later you lay your head upon a soft feather pillow and close your eyes thinking you made it, you survived. You breathe in and out very slowly; over and over, concentrating on each breath. The quietness of the night settles in and your breath catches. That is the exact moment you hit the wall, just as the marathon runner hits the wall at mile twenty-one. The tears begin to silently fall and yet you still tell yourself that you are alright. You tell yourself over and over, “I will not cry. I am fine. I will not cry. I am okay.” It doesn’t matter how many times you repeat the mantra, your heart still feels the unbearable, heart breaking, soul wrenching, bring you to your knees pain and you realize you are not okay; you may never again be “okay.” You grip the pillow as though it was a life preserver and you are in the middle of the ocean. Your heart cries out in silent pain; yet that silence is so loud you think the world can hear it. Your heart longs for the time when it was filled to bursting with a love that was returned. It hurts so deep that it takes your breath away and the tears will not stop and you wonder how the mother’s heart within you keeps beating.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The School Shooting - 6/17/2010

            As I was walking this morning, as I do most mornings, my thoughts began to wander as they so often do. We’ve all had these moments; a time when our brain is searching for something to think about. Before my mind had time to settle on a topic, a police cruiser zoomed by, racing south on the highway; its sirens jolting me back to the here and now, thus causing me to cringe until I remember that my friend is no longer teaching down the bayou. But, for that moment before the present sinks in, the piercing sound almost brings me to my knees as I fight the urge to cower and cover my ears. As they tend to do, the painful memories that have been suppressed come screaming back to the present.  The memories of that day, one year ago this month, never fail to make me catch my breath when I think of how close I came to losing my closest and dearest friend.

            I realize these two words are synonymous, but I must use both in describing the special relationship I have with this young woman.  She is my best friend, my confidant, my mentor, my daughter, and without her, the void that would exist in my life and my heart is too vast to put into words.

            That fateful morning in late May of 2009, which started off as any other morning, turned into one of the most horrific days of my life, and I know, hers as well. It was the 9/11 day in our lives just as the people in New York that fateful day had their world shattered by terrorists; our world was shattered by a lone gunman.

            I woke up, made the bed, fed the dog, and began my walk. Sirens blaring as police cruisers speed up and down the highway are a normal part of the day, and this particular sunny day seemed to hold nothing unusual in its midst. A cruiser went by with lights and siren on; then, a second unit, followed by a third. I only thought that whatever was going on must involve a fellow police officer. I didn’t give it much more thought than that. Only a couple of minutes had passed before more sirens could be heard in the distance, and, as chills ran up my spine, I turned in my tracks to watch as Louisiana State Trooper units went racing by with lights and sirens blaring at speeds I had not witnessed before on our narrow two lane highway. A special force tactical unit soon followed then additional Lafourche Parish Sheriff Police cruisers as well as other unmarked units and ambulances. The air took on the eerie atmosphere of a haunted swamp.

            Still, I only thought that whatever was happening surely involved a Lafourche Parish Deputy or a Louisiana State Trooper, more the former than the latter; history just repeating itself.  You see, true excitement rarely happens in our community and they are all known for loving a good chase.  I also remember being grateful that my husband had retired from the state police two years earlier, and just to put my mind at ease I phoned him to make sure he was okay. I also wanted to give him a heads up that something ominous was happening. At this point, neither of us had any inkling how this day would unfold.

            As time has passed and as one would expect, some of the details have been forgotten, much like the scrawling in the sand as the water washes up and splashes onto shore to fill the crevices; and I cannot recall exactly how I found out about the shooting at one of the schools down the highway from our house. I remember making phone calls, calling first my brother, who worked with an ambulance service, and then a close friend on the police force. Both began their own inquiries, and eventually I received word that it was the middle school. I then heard from a neighbor that shots had been fired at a teacher but the teacher’s identity was yet unknown. One source reported a gym teacher had been the target, and I remember breathing a sigh of relief because the gym was located at the opposite end of the hall from my friend Jessica’s classroom.

            There are events in our lives that we are destined to remember. We are able to recall down to the last detail where we were, what we were doing, how sound around us ceased to exist, how the world stood still. This is one of those times that will be forever ingrained in the recesses of my mind. I remember exactly where I was standing on the driveway when I found out that the classroom the gunman had entered was indeed Jessica’s. Then, the realization penetrated my denial that Jessica had been the gunman’s target.  We have all felt this way at one time or another. Everything around us goes still, our body folding unto itself, blackness surrounding our perimeter vision, things happening in slow motion, the deafening silence. This was one of those moments; the moment that marks someone else’s life, not our own.

            Full-blown panic set in. My first thought was to call my husband. I remember thinking that he can fix anything. He can find out about her for me. I thought, “I need to get to school” but because I am not a blood relative, I knew that my chances of getting anywhere near enough to see or speak to Jessica were less than zero, and I was positive there would be utter and complete chaos. All my thoughts were jumbled together. I remember thinking I’ve lost so much in my life; I can’t lose another person so dear to me. I thought that after all Jessica had been through in her short life and survived, that it wasn’t fair for her to be taken from us; not by a gunman, not like this. I thought of her young children. All I could think was no, No, NO! God you can’t take her; she’s too special. No!

            As additional information became available, I was able to find out that Jessica was unharmed, at least physically.  It was a relief, but I knew that I would be filled with anxiety until I could look at her and touch her and speak to her.

            I had so many things on my to do list that day, but all I accomplished was turning around in circles. My mind could not focus. The minutes turned into hours, going by one by one. I remember thinking I have to go to the market to get bread and cold cuts for my husband’s work crew but I couldn’t concentrate enough to gather my things and go. My thoughts were consumed with Jessica. Was she alright? How was she coping? Did she need me?

            During the afternoon I was able to speak with her husband. Only then could I feel my breathing begin to stabilize. Minimal focusing became possible. I made the decision to go to the market so I could focus on something where I felt some semblance of control. I do not remember getting into the car and backing out of the garage, but as I rounded the drive, I saw Jessica’s car coming down her driveway, which runs parallel to mine. I vaguely remember stopping the car and getting out and going through the gate. But I do remember the look she gave me when she exited her car and turned towards me, it was the same look mirrored on my own face. Neither one of us is an outwardly huggy type person other than with our children, but we walked toward each other with our arms outstretched and then just held on to each other as though the other were an anchor keeping us grounded to the earth. I had no words to describe what I was feeling at that moment.

            I sometimes think of my own mortality, but before that day, I never thought of Jessica’s. The memories of that day will always be in the back of my mind; and they tend to surface at inopportune times. It was months before I could think of that day without breaking down and crying, and still longer before I could do anything other than listen to Jessica speak about it. I am still overwhelmed with emotion at times. I eventually worked up the courage to ask, but not without fighting my tears and emotions, if my fear about that day was true. And, it may sound strange to some, but before I could put the nightmare to rest, I needed to know the truth.

            The statement issued by the sheriff’s office led one to believe that the shot had been fired randomly above Jessica’s head. Having had experience with shooting a gun, I knew that a person, especially a young person, would be caught off guard when the gun was fired and the aim would not be accurate. What I believed to be the truth was the student had intended to kill her but due to his lack of experience with a gun, was unprepared for the kickback that in the end spared her life. This was indeed what happened.

            My days are peaceful now, but I still worry about Jessica.  She has her good days and she has her bad days. She is still caught off guard at times and is overwhelmed with memories and the bad dreams still invade her sleep. I am hopeful as new days dawn and her children fill her life with laughter, her good memories will always far outnumber the bad. As for me, I receive such joy from watching the three of them together that sometimes it’s easy to forget that day. And, as Jessica has told me on different occassions, you want to forget but if you do, then chances are, nothing will be learned from this horrible experience. 

The story you just read is my story. It is a story about my best friend, the teacher whose life was forever changed that day. Please visit the link below to read her story about the events of that day.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

What makes us do the things we do….

     I’ve been practicing the art of canning figs for many years. It’s a ritual that takes place every year at this time. The figs always ripen the first two weeks in July, no matter what is happening. I find that there is something about going through the process that brings comfort to my soul.
     First of all, I love being out in the orchard. I have six Celeste fig trees as well as LSU and Black fig trees. My Celeste fig trees range from my smallest tree at two feet in height to my biggest tree that tops out at six feet. I’d have more but my husband, being the wise man he is, put his foot down, and asked me how was I going to pick and can all the figs that they would eventually produce? Bewildered, I just shrugged my shoulders; I hadn’t thought that far ahead. I just stood there with another little baby fig tree in my hand that needed a good home. I eventually had to agree because even my three-foot tree produces enough figs to last the year.
     I remember the huge fig trees that stood guard along my grandmother’s driveway when I was a child. They were always the first thing I spotted as we rounded the bend in the road to her house. I never liked raw figs, but her fig preserves were another matter all together. I could sit and shovel in those lush, sweet figs soaking in sugar syrup by the mouthful until the jar was empty if I were allowed to. There was always a rival going on between my two favorites; fig preserves and a mayonnaise sandwich (and I still love both of them today.)
     Secondly, there is the ritual of the picking of the figs (kind of like the running of the bulls, only not as dangerous.) At the moment, two of my fingers are raw from picking figs; but it doesn’t stop me. There is something about plowing through the huge fig leaves to find those lush, purple, ripened figs each day that make you keep coming back for more. It’s akin to receiving a Grand Prize! Picking figs is not always the easiest of jobs. Sure, you commune with nature, but also with the dreaded wasps. So far, I’ve never been stung; my husband, on the other hand has not been quite so lucky (but I’d sting him too. He wants ALL of the figs!) I think they sense that I am not a danger to them. I am perfectly content to share the tree with them and the birds and I always make sure to leave the ripe figs at the top of the tree for the birds. It’s only fair; they eat the insects around the house.
     After filling up my bucket with figs, I usually head back inside the house to wash my hands. While picking figs may soothe the soul, the sap irritates and causes an extreme harsh reaction on my fingertips; in other words, my fingertips are raw. I fill my bucket of figs with water, and stand there swishing them around until all of the bugs have been forced from their hiding places and are desperately trying to swim for their lives. The harsh reality of death soon takes hold of them, grabbing them and sucking their last breath out (gee, but that sounds a little harsh.) The wasps are okay, these little juice suckers are not! I then continue my routine of spreading them out on a tray to complete the ripening process overnight.
     Thirdly, there is the cooking and canning phase. The first step in this phase is cutting off the top of the fig and then slicing the fig in half. After this chore has been completed, the figs gets tossed into the pot. Once the figs have all been prepared, the cooking begins. The cooking process takes several hours on a very low fire and as I stand at the stove and stir, my mind is transported back in time to the wonderful memories of my grandmother and her preserves.
    I look around my own kitchen, the one I modeled after hers. I remember as a child sitting at her kitchen table eating my toast with fig preserves and looking up at the glass-fronted cabinets that lined her kitchen wall. Her dishes were there for all to see; and also her prized preserves. When I commenced with the planning of my own kitchen, her kitchen was the one that my mind kept wandering back too. I’ve seen a lot of fancy kitchens but the simplicity of hers and the love that was always present made me long to replicate it. I have white painted glass-fronted cabinets in my kitchen today. My preserves and jellies occupy some of the shelves along with my Wedgewood China. To me, it has become a tribute to my grandmother and I love making memories in “our” kitchen.
     Getting back to my preserve making, after the figs have cooked and thickened, it is finally time to add the sugar and begin the process of ladling the preserves into the waiting jars. There is one more part of this ritual before it is finally completed. I refer to it as the “popping of the lids.” The popping of the lids happens as the hot preserves inside the jar cause the lids to suction down and seal. The process causes the lids to make a popping sound. If you have never made preserves, you may not know about this part. I never tire of hearing my jars “go to sleep.”  It's as though they are breathing their final breath before giving up their spirit. When I hear the pop, pop, pop sound coming from the kitchen, I know  that another batch of preserves have been completed and along with that, memories.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

We all believe in something....

      I’ve been following Leslie Sansone’s Walk in Faith exercise DVDs for the last few weeks. Her DVDs have always been favorites of mine; especially when it’s just too hot to walk outside. Her Walk in Faith DVDs are set to Gospel music. I, on my own, would never have thought to pop in gospel tunes for walking. It seems a little sac-religious; I’m quickly changing my mind on that though.
     When I first popped in a Walk in Faith DVD and began the routine, I felt as though I was being transported to a higher realm. There was something so uplifting about exercising to upbeat gospel music (especially with the volume turned WAY up.) It made the exercise almost like a prayer in itself. I’ve been exercising to this particular DVD for a while, so this morning I started my usual routine – I became the instructor (I’ve also been known to become Martha Stewart or Julia Child when baking or cooking, and resemble Lucille Ball at other times.) It breaks the monotony for me; I tend to bore dreadfully easily.
     While I was “instructing,” I began thinking that exercising is so much easier since I have been using these DVDs. I also started thinking that runners would probably run farther and more peacefully (they tend to scrunch their faces in pain, makes you wonder why they do it) if they listened to gospel music while running. Walkers would probably enjoy their walks better and benefit more (and smile more;) and who can gossip when you’re listening to praise and worship? Weight lifters would no doubt find lifting weights much easier if they were handing the weight to God (can you see their smiles at being able to lift extreme amounts of weight?) Exercising to uplifting music could possibly transform the entire exercising domain. How great would that be? Of course, this is my opinion. I realize this whole topic opens up to controversy, but, my blog, my opinion.
     We all believe in something, whether it is the light and good or the dark and evil; we all believe in something. I happen to believe – and in this, my beliefs are quite simple – that anyone who does a good deed or is kind to someone, believes in the good. You just don’t do good deeds without being good and believing in good. I think all people believe in something or they are searching for that something, whether it’s God, Buddha, Yahweh, their spirit. I know that there are those people out there who truly do believe in evil and act on evil, but, for the most part, I think most of us believe in good. We also have hope. Without the hope that someone is looking out for us and is working on making good happen in our lives, how do we get up in the mornings? Every time we begin a sentence with “I wish”, aren’t we hoping someone gives us an answer?
     I am not one to get up in the mornings and grab the Bible first thing to begin formal prayers. I operate on a “different” system, march to the tune of my own drummer; it’s my personality. I wish I could begin my day like that, but that isn’t what speaks to me. I’ve had a very rough life and most mornings, it is all I can do to think of a reason to drag myself out of bed and grabbing the Good Book just doesn’t do it. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Psalms and the Proverbs and when looking through my Bible the other night, I was amazed at how much of it I have actually read; so, when I happened upon these Walk in Faith DVDs, I decided to try one out. There is so much inspirational Gospel music accessible to us now and even some of the old hymns are being sung with new-fangled life; it is hard not to be inspired while exercising.
     So, I have found my morning prayer in exercise. I, yes ME, actually look forward to getting up and exercising in the mornings. I feel unsettled and deficient if I miss it. I have renewed faith and hope that my life just may work itself out – someday. When I raise my arms and wiggle my hands at God, I ask him to take this weight from me and I fling the unwanted pounds up to him (so far He keeps throwing them back, we need to work on our communication skills!) I also lob a few other suggestions up for his contemplation and I have hope that he’s listening to those too.
     We all believe in something and I can tell you that my newly found prayer time is doing wonders for my spirit. So, here’s to gospel music, morning exercise, and prayer time! (I am toasting with chocolate milk here, please use your choice of beverage!)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Buying furniture and all that jazz…

     I was reading a blog that I enjoy, and the author was writing about her fiascos in ordering furniture on-line. It brought to mind another adventure of my own. If you’ve been following my blog, you already know that I am prone to “adventures.”
     The author was telling a story about ordering the “perfect” lamp as a gift for her husband so that he could enjoy reading in bed. When the lamp arrived, the size of the box alone told her that the lamp was not going to work. It now occupies a prominent place in their dining room, the only room large enough to house it without creating suspicion. Her second thought was to shop for bedside tables and then purchase lamps. Her search of the local merchants proved futile and she once again resorted to the internet to order the furniture. Once again, after careful planning and measuring, she ordered the tables and lamps. The big day arrived and HUGE boxes were delivered. To make a long story short as the saying goes, she no longer orders furniture on-line.
     I had a similar fiasco myself a couple of years back. After saving money for a couple of years and carefully picking out the “perfect” furniture from Calico Corners, I then decided before ordering, to venture out and see what the local merchants had to offer. I happened upon a LANE furniture store with a sale going on. What luck was that! I was so excited that I forgot all about the perfect furniture with the perfect measurements that I had been dreaming about for so long.
     Like Calico Corners, LANE enabled me to order wonderful pieces in the fabrics that appealed to me. I forgot all about measuring and checking my detailed notes (remember this, it’s IMPORTANT!) I had measured for a sofa - more on the loveseat size - but decided that the FEW extra inches would fit fine. Then, I ordered a wonderful leather wingback recliner for my husband. It was an amazing shade of brown, just the color of Hershey’s chocolate (I wonder why.) I then ordered a smaller scale wingback recliner for myself in a beautiful yellow. I was pumped. My living room was finally going to be the room I had dreamed of; a room full of the perfect furniture.
     The big day arrived and the furniture truck pulled up the drive. I was on pins and needles and so excited. I was standing on the front porch ready to direct the delivery men on how to enter the front door – yes, I’m bossy and I didn’t want the perfect furniture to get messed up!
     The door of the truck was rolled up and my anticipation with it. The deliverymen disappeared into the recesses of the truck and then reappeared, dragging a huge box to the lift gate! The lift gate descended and they huffed and puffed as they carried the box down the walk, over to the steps and up to the front porch. The look in my eye let them know they were not to drag the perfect furniture, but carry it. They set the box down and pulled out their razor blade knives and begin to cut the box away. I could only hope that there was more box than chair. And, then I saw it! The monstrous perfect chair, I gasped!
     My only thoughts were, IF we get that chair through the door, wherever are we going to put it? We have a small cottage and this chair was as big as the entire living room! The chair now sits halfway between the living and dining rooms and when my husband reclines, he can literally eat at the table.
     The sofa is also a lovely FOCAL point of the living room. Need I say more? It stretches almost from one end to the other. My perfect little lady like chair is dwarfed by the Papa Bear chair and the Mama Bear sofa. But sigh, it is the perfect furniture.
     A year later, I am still chuckling and wondering what got into me!! I spent a lot of time carefully measuring and re-measuring so the perfect furniture would fit perfectly. So when the author had the same experience that I did, what else could I say other than, been there sweetie, done that, got the hat and the t-shirt, and still laughing as I sit on the perfect furniture!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Just another episode of I love Lucy

     Today has been a pretty normal day in my life; nothing out of the ordinary. First thing, it’s Monday. I sat down at the computer to pay a few bills for the business, and as I am known to do, I was knocking back and forth between QuickBooks and the internet. You can’t tell me that you are not guilty of the same. I got side tracked, which of course, is not all that difficult a task when you are ME! I found the cutest picture of a cupcake and since I am a baker, had to print it out. Nothing less would do. No big deal, you might think; unless, let me reiterate – you are ME. I quickly hit print and the pretty little picture came out – on a company check!
     I finished up with a few business transactions, tossed the sealed and stamped envelopes onto the “to be mailed” pile – the middle of the braided rug on my office floor. Now, this works for me because in order to leave the room, I have to step over them. Perfect reminder; unless you’re ME.
     With it raining everyday lately, the grass grows several inches overnight. The next task on my “to do” list was to mow the grass. Not a small feat since it takes me two and a half to three hours to mow the yard. I grabbed my bottle of frozen water and began my journey. I say journey due to the twenty-seven crepe myrtle trees that I have to mow around. By the time I complete that undertaking alone, I could be several miles down the highway. It is a job that takes a lot of patience – not my forte’. I have been grabbed by the tree branches and almost knocked off of the mower because I didn’t notice them – in my dream like stance – and because of my wide brim hat. Probably not a dangerous mission for most – unless you’re ME.
     That is only the front yard story! The back yard, better known as the orchard, is an entirely different undertaking. My husband will only let me spray the grass around the trees with poison to a certain diameter – not a safe one for ME. Soooooo, I have been whacked and tackled and discombulated and wiped out by cherry tree branches and bay leaf tree branches and lemon, orange, kumquat and grapefruit branches and ambushed by fig leaves; and, that is when the trees aren’t bearing fruit. Have you ever gotten smacked in the head by a grapefruit or an orange. Take it from ME, it doesn’t feel good.
     Having completed mowing the yard without any serious mishaps – or so I thought – I came inside for lunch. After washing the mower I was completely soaked so I stripped in the laundry room and tossed my wet clothes into the washer full of soaking clothes – close your eyes, you’ve done it too! I grabbed a glass of ice cold-water and looked around for my phone to call my husband. Imagine my panic when I realized that I had put it in my pants pocket before going out to mow grass – the very same pants I just pulled off and tossed into the washer! I had wondered why my pants were so heavy when I tossed them in with the rest of the clothes, now I knew why; panic begins to set in. I ran to the laundry room, stopped the washer, and began the task of fishing for my pants. I pulled them out and the phone wasn’t there; more panic.
     I began to frantically swish through the towels and shirts and undies to no avail. More panic. My only alternative was to grab the laundry basket and begin the tedious chore of wringing out each item and throwing it into the basket until I found my phone. I completely emptied out the washer, which was no small feat considering I had to wring and wring and wring everything out. That’s a hard job! No phone to be found; deep, dark panic. I swished and swished around in the water – with all the swishing I was doing, I could have finished the washing of the clothes and thrown them in the dryer. No phone. By this time, there was some heavy duty praying going on, and I was so disheartened that I turned around and just leaned against the washer. And………….what do I spot on the counter three feet away? The phone! Complete heart failure! Time of death – 3:30 p.m.
     It’s just another manic Monday. That’s my fun day. Whoa oh……..can’t wait for Tuesday.

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Fairy Tale Come True

Once upon a time, there was a little girl with big blue eyes and blond hair. She was a frail looking little child who felt lost and alone. This little girl suffered a great loss when she was quite young and desperately needed those around her to reach out to her. No one noticed as the little girl retreated into a shell.

If only the little girl’s older sister had not died. If only her sister had been able to fulfill her promise of taking care of her, maybe then, life would have been easier. The little girl needed her sister’s companionship and the safety that love had provided. But it was not to be. As the little girl struggled through life, she found other ways to protect herself. Carefully constructed walls were erected around her heart, like a castle protecting its princess. The drawbridge was drawn and the deep dark moat helped to fortify the walls.

All of her life, the little girl existed in a place of her own, void of the closeness of those who surrounded her. The few times when she gained the courage to reach out beyond her self-imposed barriers, she was greeted with pain. In the end, she found it easier to remain behind the protective walls that surrounded her heart.

Those protective walls helped the little girl survive her lonely childhood. They protected her through lonely teenage years. The walls protected her through tumultuous adult trials. But just as the walls kept the pain at bay, they also kept those in her life at a distance. And even as she nurtured those dependent upon her, she lacked the nurturing that she herself desperately needed.

Then, one day when the little girl, now grown up, was at her lowest, a prince on a white horse road into her life. He arrived in the form of a police officer driving a white patrol car, just as the prince arrived for Vivian in a limo in the movie Pretty Woman. For the first time since the death of her sister, the little girl, now a woman, felt loved and cherished. The prince’s love enveloped and warmed her; and as he showered her with love and affection, the walls that had held her heart bound for most of her life, began to crumble. In the end, the little girl found what she had searched for her entire life. She found unconditional love and someone to take care of her, someone to nurture her.
January 13, 2009

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Give a dog a bone.........

“This old man, he played one, he played nic nac on my thumb

With a nic nac paddywhack, give a dog a bone…….”

     Who knew that phrase could hold such truth; or maybe they did? At any rate, the saying “give a dog a bone” instills canine loyalty better than any other trick I’ve come up with. Should any further proof be needed, “the proof is in the pudding” as in the picture of Sentry fast asleep at the open front door. I guess watching me exercise is boring.

     I have often heard it said that people resemble their dogs (ever watch one of those shows where they feature a huge poodle and its owner – I rest my case, need I say more?) We also tend to choose our dogs based on certain traits, whether we are aware of it or not and sometimes those traits are those that mimic our own. The German shepherd is known for its extreme loyalty so I was not at all surprised that this is the dog I chose. Those who know me best know that my loyalty runs deep, so it makes perfect sense that I have always found myself drawn to the shepherd breed; a breed known for its fierceness and loyalty to its owner. Loyalty breeds loyalty, whether in a human or a dog; always remember that phrase, it’s very important. This dog is loyal.
     I have spent many years raising and observing my dog’s behavior. Dogs are truly like children. They listen when they want to, they are fond of “the look”, and they sometimes “bark” back. Sentry, like a child, has always had her nose stuck into whatever I am doing. She loves pecans and has quickly learned the fall routine of gathering them and then taking a much needed break to eat some of nature’s wonderful bounty. So much so, that I kept finding crushed pecan shells mixed with the meat (pecan) on the porch; her efforts at trying to provide for herself. I taught her predecessor to crack and peel his own pecans after finding the same mess on the porch so I decided that it was about time she learned to do the same. It is amazing how quickly they learn once you get them to just sit and watch what you are doing. She would look me in the face and then actually (for once) listen to me as I showed her to crack the pecan and then eat only the “meat.” Two pecans later, she was on her way to being self-sufficient in eating as many pecans as she possibly could.
     Sentry, for the past six years, has gathered (to my dismay) her own pecans and has been enjoying Mother Nature’s bounty all by herself. She has gotten so adept at gathering her own stash that when I wander out to the pecan tree with my bucket, she runs ahead of me to sit on her pile of pecans - which leads me to the question: Am I raising a dog or a squirrel? Now, if I can only teach her to share (wish me luck with that one-remember, a child?)
     She has also become quite friendly with a pony next door. They “talk” to each other. Being a dog, she does most of the talking and is the loudest of the two. They play their little game of running back and forth up and down the fence line. This particular game has been known to go on for a good twenty minutes or so at times. Each visit begins the same. First, she stalks her prey and then begins barking at an unbelievably loud volume. It amazes me that it doesn’t bother the horse. Then they run and visit, just as happy as two small children, well large children.

     There’s another saying, “let sleeping dogs lie.” As I snapped this photo, the flash alerted her to my presence and off she trotted after giving me “the look” to find another less obvious place from which to guard me; the sentry is back on patrol.