Sunday, December 13, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Now, I have time to read, write, create some crafty doodads and gifts, and get some indoor projects finished. When the sun is warm and bright, and long in the summer sky, I have a hard time being inside the house....so the chores have piled up.
Fall changes are everywhere, the trees are beautiful in such bright colors. The moose are around more, even had a big bull running around in the horse pasture a week ago. The elk herds are here in the hills, they know that snow is coming and have left the summer graze in the higher elevations. Wild turkeys that we watched grow from little poults are all full sized and noisy. There were about thirty in the middle of the road as I pulled out of the driveway yesterday.
Every season has it's own beauty. There is a rhythm and a routine that I look forward to as the changes unfold.
The sun is shining as I write, and even though it is cold, it is drawing me out. Horses and cows to feed, water tanks to top off, and I have the gift of another day to experience the beauty that surrounds us here on the ol' Brand X.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Cooler weather has arrived. The days are shorter, the air is brisk, I enjoy a little wind and a little rain.... after a summer of sunny sameness. Fall is my favorite time of year. We are working around the ranch, getting ready for winter; hard to believe it is right around the corner. All the summer toys are put away, flower beds mulched, fields cleaned up, and fences tightened.
So, I returned to my blog. I realized today that I am a foul weather blogger. It's not that there is a lack of things to write about in the summer, it is just that the outdoors holds me captive and it's difficult to sit inside and write when there is outdoor fun to be having.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
I have an ad on Craigslist, fliers at the grocery store, and an agency actively trying to recruit a viable candidate. This has been going on for several months now. The results??? One person that is actually willing to try it out.
Quite a few people contacted us and several actually showed up for an interview, but the vast majority decline the offer of a job. They have such rigid parameters for employment; no weekends, evenings, need this, that, or the other thing. It seems that we were being interviewed, not the other way around.
Here we are offering a good, steady job, and no one wants it. The reasons don't make sense....this is health care, not banking. Weekends and holidays are a given part of the program. Don't go into the field if you want Monday through Friday, nine to five or if you don't want to care for other people and all of their daily activities.
So, here we are with an opening, we have been interviewed over and over again, and I continue to hear about people who are out of work, and unable to find a job. I now believe that many of these folks really don't want to work. They are content to collect unemployment and watch NCIS reruns all day. I now look at the unemployment numbers that have been rising steadily a little differently, with a bit of cynicism born of meeting way too many people of late who are out of work, but not really interested in work.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
He saddled up a good horse
His faithful companion
They rode across the prairie
Headed for the canyon.
He’d never come this way before.
This trail was not well traveled.
He left a broken heart behind
With a life that had unraveled.
The trail was steep and narrow
As it crossed the great divide.
There was no other way to go
To reach the other side.
The canyon walls grew high and dark,
They closed in like a prison.
This journey wasn’t in his plan,
It wasn’t his decision.
They rode on through a cold, dark night.
And he began to pray.
He asked for strength to make this ride
And for a brighter day.
All at once a still small voice
Seemed to fill the night.
He was suddenly surrounded
By God’s love and peace and light.
Keep looking up, Buckaroo
This trial is nearly over.
Ill lead you to clear water
And green pastures of clover.
Keep looking up, Buckaroo
You will never ride alone.
I will always be right by your side
And lead you safely home.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
He was always larger than life; not in the physical sense, but in his presence. He was blind in one eye from a birth injury, and polio left one leg a little smaller than the other. He had overcome a stutter to become a gifted preacher and teacher. He never saw these as disabilities, so no one else did, either.
He was charismatic, articulate, brilliant. He was also alcoholic, bipolar, narcissistic. His childhood was dominated by an unyielding tyrant for a father and a very talented, but oppressed, passive mother. His only brother hanged himself one winter day. Dad told us stories of the cruelty inflicted upon him by his father in an effort to mature him, make a man out of him.
It is no surprise, then, that he parented rather poorly. Rules are rules. "Look at me when I talk to you." and "Don't make me take off my belt." still ring in my ears. I was the unruly one, his challenge and his trial. Lacking a role model for fathering and given a wild child for a firstborn, it was a "perfect storm" in dysfunction. He drew lines, I crossed them; he set curfews and boundaries, I broke them . He demanded good grades, I failed miserably. I was afraid of him, he was a huge, intimidating figure to me then. He was the Wizard of Oz and I was Dorothy. I needed his love, he didn't know how to give me what I needed.
We were out of touch for many years after I left home. I didn't make an effort, nor did he. He went through his own hellish seasons, divorces, losses, rehabs for booze. His life seemed to smooth a bit in later years, but then health issues appeared. A pacemaker, prostate cancer, and post polio syndrome beat him down a bit. He continued in his calling as a minister, and somehow had maintained a circle of friends that supported him through the hard times. I know that his life has not been a bed of roses, but I hope he has found some happiness.
I took the high road a few years ago and contacted him when Jim and I travelled back east. It was to clear my slate more than anything else, and to make whatever amends I could on my part. It was good, and we now have a relationship that, if not loving, is caring and respectful. I have a father, he has a daughter. I am no longer afraid of him. I see the man through my grown up eyes now, and he is not the big, scary Wizard. He is small, elderly, and frail. The image I once held is the opposite of the reality I face today. He needs care, and love, and comfort. I can hold him in the way he was never held a child, accept his frailties as he never did, love him in the way I would have liked to be loved by him.
So, who let the air out of Dad? I did. I grew up. I learned forgiveness and acceptance. I battled my own demons and in doing so destroyed some of his. I will make the best of what time we have left to make some memories, to love him without condition, to be the best daughter I can be. Healing runs both ways.
I wish these young friends of ours the best. I wish them success in this partnership. I hope they are able to remember the joy of this day when the dark clouds loom overhead, and they recall the promises made to each other to love and respect and honor one another for a lifetime, when leaving seems like the only option.
My happiness for the newlyweds is dampened by an equal number of couples we know that have ended their marriage this summer. Lives are torn apart, so much heartbreak and anger, friends and family divided and saddened. These same people had their day in the sun once, the music, the flowers,the champagne, and the promises. What happened to them? Where did it go wrong?
Marriage is not for the faint of heart. It takes commitment, compromise, courage, and care to make it last. That Love that brought our happy young couples to the altar, ebbs and flows through the years, becoming more the action verb than the heart-fluttery noun. Feet must be planted in facts and rooted in those vows, not to be led astray by feelings. There is little room for the "I, Me or My" mentality.For a marriage to succeed, each party must give 75% and take 25%..... at least.
The happiest couples I know, are each committed to the fulfillment of their spouse, through the good times and bad. They pull together over the rough spots, ease each others burdens, respect and encourage each other; they complete each other. They are committed to making it through whatever comes their way; together.
It takes such hard work, but is so worth the reward. I see the result of such commitment in our friends, Jay and Janey. Their marriage of forty two years; decades of changes, joys and sorrows, held fast by perseverance and commitment. I love the way they look at each other, smile and connect on a very private level. The love they share is not an accident, they have cultivated something special.... something that is rare in this day and age of throwaway marriages, but, by the same token, available to anyone willing to make the effort.
My hope, my prayer, for the young couples making promises to each other this summer, is that they live a long joy filled life together, loving and learning and growing closer, where ever the road leads them. And for those who would like to erase the vows they made, I hope they are able to step back in time to a better day, remember the dreams and the plans, and perhaps heal the hurts and dissolve the disappointments that have pulled them apart.
I wish forty two years and more for us all.
Friday, July 3, 2009
There are lots of plans to keep us entertained all weekend. I'm looking forward to the rodeo tonite. It feels more familiar and more Me. Karen and I went into Ketchum yesterday and wandered around the shops with other tourists and some locals. Too ritzy and too crowded for my liking. We did find a secondhand store that was fun to search through finding a few books and other treasures.
Well, off to the rodeo with this crowd of family and friends. Yee-haw!!
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
I want to make this journal a priority, no matter what the season. It is therapy, prayer, confession, supplication..... It allows me to connect with a bigger world than I would otherwise know. It helps me think more clearly and objectively, more creatively.... like living in high definition .....because I have been exposed to so many other thoughts and ideas through this medium.
So, I have lots to say; but won't do it all today. This is to get back on the horse, to post something to start to close the gap that has grown silent and wide since May when I was last here, to check in with friends I have missed, and to touch base with family who read the blog, too.
It's always nice to come home.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Along the same vein, the Internet and it's ability to connect me to places like Facebook and Classmates, has provided an opportunity to renew and maintain relationships with friends and acquaintances from days gone by. As with my music, hearing from folks from the past brings back such a flood of memory. It is such a treat to compare notes on our families, our travels and our life's' adventures. We shared so much together. We are who we are today, in part, because of each other .
Although we are scattered all over the country, indeed, the world, we can touch base, share photos, instant messages, and chats whenever we choose. The memories of the past abound and bind us; but our days are spent in the here and now, as we continue to cultivate our friendships ....tappin' the keys on the laptop, and tappin' my foot to the old tunes on my Ipod.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
I have no need to receive the Hallmark cards, diamond earrings, boxes of candy, or a vase of flowers . Oh, they are nice, but not necessary. I don't need recognition one day in May every year. Every day is Mother's Day. Each day brings a gift from my family if I look for it.
I am Mom. I have answered to that name for over forty years from over twenty children. That, alone, has been such a privilege.... most of the time, anyway. There have been joys and sorrows, good times and bad, lots of laughter, some tears. The learning curve has been steep. I have made mistakes, felt angry or frustrated or scared. I have occasionally wanted to hand in my resignation.
My family has a front row seat to the worst of me.... the "mean mom", curfews and chores,yelling and grounding, saying "NO" more than I needed to. I threw Thanksgiving Dinner in the garbage one year in a fit of anger over something stupid. I still feel bad about that. They have loved me in spite of me. They still love me! That is the only Mother's Day present I will ever need.
My children and their children...scattered all over the country... . are my diamonds. Watching them live happy, successful lives are the flowers in my life. The memories are the "sweets" that are as satisfying as chocolate!
I am Mom, and it's been a heck of a ride! On Mother's Day I think I will thank each of my kids for the privilege and honor that being their mother has been. I will thank them for all they have taught me and for all the memories they have given me. They have made me the the person I am today and I love them beyond measure.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
My friend is turning sixty. A wonderful event. Another decade to explore and experience.Some feel it means a membership in the Over the Hill Gang, others see it as a license to retire to the recliner and collect crumbs on their chest.
Here we are, my Friend, at Sixty. All that we have experienced has prepared us for today. Some of us know that these are the best years, and we welcome the new decade with open arms. We are at the top of the mountain. These years are the reward, the prize we have won for making the climb.As we plant our flag on this Summit, the vista is clear in all directions; past, present, and future. The path has been uphill, it has been costly and demanding. There have been storms and setbacks, we thought about turning back, but pushed on in spite of it all. We now stand in the warm and healing light of the Sun. We continue to learn and grow. We will know love, loss, laugher, and tears. We will develop our wisdom and wit. We have earned our place at the top, and the joy and sense of pride and accomplishment that go with it.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
The Flu pandemic of 1918 that killed fifty million people, was a similar strain of H1N1. Swine are the petri dish where the avian, human, and swine flu mixed and mutated, then it jumped to humans, now it is spreading more rapidly than we could have imagined. In 1918, it was spread through the WWI soldiers in the trenches in Europe, then coming home. The virus then ravaged the country. It killed young, healthy adults; unlike the human flu that we see every winter that have higher mortality rates in the very young and the very old.
The CDC and World Health Organization have long been aware of the probability of another pandemic, they are watching this illness spread with increasing concern. The world is watching and waiting, virtually helpless to stop the rapid spread of this deadly virus. There is increased concern because of the ability to travel so far and so fast; not so in 1918, when the GIs came home on ships. We can - and have - spread the virus around the world in about two days time. The next few days and weeks will tell the tale. Is this going to be the one that Virologists have predicted? Is this flu going to wipe out a large portion of our population?
The biggest problem I see, is the apathy that is greeting the news of this virus.... no one seems to care. We are in a cloud of oblivion and are not heeding the warnings that a big storm is coming... and we will all be so surprised when we find ourselves in Kansas!
The CDC has compiled a list so families can prepare for a pandemic. It has been on their website for a couple years, and I have given it to many friends. It is worth looking at, if not following in light of the events of the last seventy two hours. Here it is, Let's all hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.
You can prepare for an influenza pandemic now. You should know both the magnitude of what can happen during a pandemic outbreak and what actions you can take to help lessen the impact of an influenza pandemic on you and your family. This checklist will help you gather the information and resources you may need in case of a flu pandemic.To plan for a pandemic: Store a two week supply of water and food. During a pandemic, if you cannot get to a store, or if stores are out of supplies, it will be important for you to have extra supplies on hand. This can be useful in other types of emergencies, such as power outages and disasters. Periodically check your regular prescription drugs to ensure a continuous supply in your home. Have any nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins. Talk with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick, or what will be needed to care for them in your home. Volunteer with local groups to prepare and assist with emergency response. Get involved in your community as it works to prepare for an influenza pandemic.To limit the spread of germs and prevent infection: Teach your children to wash hands frequently with soap and water, and model the correct behavior. Teach your children to cover coughs and sneezes with tissues, and be sure to model that behavior. Teach your children to stay away from others as much as possible if they are sick. Stay home from work and school if sick.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Mom was a secretary back when they were still called "secretary", when pencils, shorthand, carbon paper, little eraser wheels with a brush on the end, and typewriter ribbon were still in style. She took all the classes in High School that would enable her be competent. Back then, there weren't many choices for the girls.... College preparation for nursing or teaching, or Home Economics and Secretarial classes for the girls who were not college bound. Since she was a middle child of a small town Minnesota Meter Reader, higher education was not an option. She learned the skills that were taught in school, then took them into the world to begin a career. Her abilities were excellent, her attitude was exceptional. There was no room for error or mediocrity. She could type sixty words a minute. ... on an old manual machine. She took and transcribed shorthand, ran and repaired the mimeograph machine, addressed and stamped envelopes, and answered phones, taking messages, since voice mail and answering machines had yet to be invented.
Mom and Dad were married just as World War II had begun, and she went with him when he was stationed as a guard in a POW camp in St. Joe, Missouri. She worked as a civilian for the military commander, as his secretary. I remember the stories that she told later that sounded like episodes of MASH. Those simple skills were important; she felt that she contributed her best to the war effort.
When Dad went to Seminary a few years later, she put him through school and supported the family, working at Bell Aircraft, secretary to Larry Bell, himself. We lived with Grandparents to save money, since her wages were disproportionate to her skill level and work ethic. She never complained and we never felt that we lacked anything.
Dad became the vicar of a small town church, and Mom became the "church secretary", transcribing his sermons, mimeographing the Sunday bulletins, answering the phone and the mail, as well as being the pastor's wife and our mother. It was all done with the same level of excellence and personal pride in her work that set her apart from the average secretary.
Years later, when she was left on her own with teenagers to support, Mom went back to what she knew best, and until she was nearly eighty, worked for a doctor whose practice grew through the years to multiple offices and providers and staff. She ran the clinics, made appointments, answered calls, greeted patients, transcribed dictations, and ironed the Doctors' coats. She didn't like the way the laundry service did them. She brought the billing home, along with the coats, and would stuff and stamp envelopes while watching game shows. She changed with the times during those years; learned to use computers, copiers, and multi-line phone systems. The only thing that didn't change was the one hundred percent effort she gave to her work. After three attempts to retire, returning each time to clean up the mess, she was finally replaced by three newly trained Receptionists and Administrative Assistants, and the doctor had to wear wrinkled coats once again.
As I look at my Mothers' life and her work, I know that these are big shoes to fill. Not only because of how hard she worked, or the lack of technology, or the lousy wages, but also because of the integrity, work ethic, and personal pride that were the intangibles that gave her purpose and satisfaction. . She didn't have to have a fancy title, a briefcase, or a laptop. It was about a job well done, as a Secretary.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
In Medicine, especially Emergency Department medicine, coworkers form a unique bond as they deal with life and death, major and minor ills in the old and the young, all of them in a crisis of one kind or another. We have learned to work together to stop the bleeding, start the heart, lower the fever, raise the blood pressure, stop the pain, or find the infection. Then we comfort the dying, the families, the staff, and each other. Our friendships are not ordinary, they have the characteristics of the Brotherhood of the Battlefield. We are the Old Soldiers, we have stories, battle scars, and even some shrapnel to remind us of the way it was. So now, we must give way to the young guns, the new generation full of youth and enthusiasm and knowledge, who will take Medicine on to greater heights.
I sat with my Friend yesterday as he told me about his newly diagnosed, rare disease. His life is ending, sooner than he planned. My other Friend fights, without complaint or bitterness, a relentless autoimmune disorder that would knock the sap out of a lesser woman. And, ugly MS symptoms try to take me out of the race, as well. What a team!! But we were really something, back in the day....
We three, the Healers, have become the patients. And so it goes, the wheel keeps turning. It is hard to watch my friends go through this dark valley. They are both so vital, so full of love, life, and faith. They still have so much to offer the world; they are needed by their families and friends, and coworkers, and patients. It seems horribly ironic. Healers should be healed. But, we know too well that life is unfair, we have seen it over and over again in the ER these last two and a half decades. There are no guarantees for any of us.
We are the "Bucketeers". Our "Bucket Lists" are real. We will live with no regrets, we will do the things that we have always wanted to do, say the things that need to be said, visit old friends, write letters, take pictures, build memories for our families. We will laugh and cry without reservation, feel every feeling that comes our way, watch the sun rise and then set as many times as possible, each time with the same awe and wonder as the first. We will live until we die. Then, we will get together in the Hereafter, and do it all over again..... with wings.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
It was a little piece of Americana. It was hot and dusty. It was hard work and fairly dangerous as well. This was a weekend of Bull Riding. For the men and women who raise and train the bulls, it’s life.
Days are long, but they own their time. Chores never seem to end, especially when they have hauled bulls to a bucking competition far from home. Twice a day, they fed, watered, and exercised the bucking stock. Over one hundred two year olds bucked on Friday in a competition that took most of the day, but showcased some amazing athletics. The top ten went home with prize money. Following the Futurity, they moved the three and four year olds to Lone Star Arena from a nearby ranch. No easy task, since these animals aren’t docile!! It takes skill and courage to deal with them; it helps if you can jump up on the rails really fast, too. This was all a treat for me to take part in all of this , but for these Cowboys and their families, it is all in a days’ work.
The Bull Riding event took place over two evenings, a total of eighty Classic bulls were ridden, or tried to be ridden. Again, the focus was on the animal athletes, but those bull riders are just as athletic.
Each event began with the Star Spangled Banner, a military color guard, and prayer. The crowd stood, hats over hearts, patriotism and faith are an integral part of this life.
Cowboy Church early in the morning draws a smaller crowd, but again, there is heartfelt prayer for the safety of men and beasts, for our Country and our President, and for the weather to improve in the Midwest, where so many of these folks were losing newborn calves in a blizzard. The preacher, an old bull rider and rodeo clown himself, answered a call from God, and now holds church in rodeo arenas, ministering to the young cowboys and stock contractors. A small group gathered following the service, and prayed together on the arena floor.
These folks are what this country is made of. These are happy families who work and play and pray together. These are men who never shrink from hard work, who are humble and kind to animals and small children, who’s word and handshake are as good as any contract, and who are not ashamed to pray or have a Bible on the dashboard of the truck. The women, wives and daughters, remain feminine and lovely, but work side by side with the men to realize their dreams. Horses and dogs and pickup trucks, boots and spurs, cowboy hats and chaps, the smell of manure and sweat…..
It was a grand weekend, a taste of America; an America that is fast disappearing under the cloud we call progress. Progress has given us an easy life, but it complicated. The life that these ranchers and rodeo competitors live is difficult, but it is simple. Wonderfully simple, full of faith and love and hard work. It is America at it’s best.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
The “haves” think they are entitled to bailouts, tax breaks, free checking, low interest, and, like this guy, have no regard for rules that should apply to all. Of course, this a generalization, but it something I couldn't stop thinking about. It led to the question, “Why should I foot the bill for folks who already have so much? “ I certainly don’t begrudge them their wealth, but I struggle with the fact that we, the middle class, are being drained by rich guys in Mercedes, driving in the wrong lane, who have their hand out to the government for another break or bonus or bailout.
On the other hand, the entitlement mentality of the “have-nots” is equally disturbing. We are a great society. Unlike most countries in the world, we care for those who cannot take care of themselves. There should be access to medical care, housing assistance, food stamps, and all the other programs in place to help people help themselves. Theses are designed to be a stepping stone, but in many cases, are stopping stones. Just because someone has medical coupons, it is not a free pass to bring the whole family into the ER or a clinic just because one child is ill. Then there is the prescription drug issue. There are poor controls in place that track the activity of someone with “U and I” insurance as they hop from doctor to clinic to ER and are given multiple prescriptions for narcotics, that are finding their way to the street for enormous prices. More on this topic later. Suffice to say, the abuses are beyond belief, without much watch dogging, and those of us who work hard to maintain health care benefits for our families, and have huge copays and deductibles, I might add, are paying for them (check your pay stub) .
The end result is that those of us sandwiched between the two are struggling with higher costs, fewer jobs, foreclosures, loss of insurance benefits, or increasing co pay costs, and have despaired as our little retirement funds that we worked so hard to accrue, have shriveled away.
It won’t be long before I need a bailout or a handout, but there won’t be anything left. We, the middle class, are shriveling, too. There won’t be anyone left to foot the bill for me. So, I guess it’s a good thing that I don’t think I’m entitled to anything more than what I earn, and that being here in the middle has taught me self-reliance. I am thankful for what I have, I am grateful for adversity that makes me stronger, and I will never drive in the commuter lane when I am alone.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Before the others in the house began to stir, I had experienced something that is hard to explain. But it will stay with me, and continue to encourage and revive me until our Spring mornings can fill me with the same joy and wonder as this did today.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
I could see the scene as he told the story, the meeting; a performance review...... talk of budgets cuts, he being the last hired, the so sorrys, and the long, lonely, sad march out to the parking lot.
He has a family to feed and shelter, bills to pay, a need to do the right thing. He sounded empty and lost. There is too much pain right now to even think about what comes next, he's so overwhelmed. He can't receive comfort yet, can't hear that "This, too, shall pass", that when a door closes, God opens a window.....
I am feeling his pain. That which hurts him, hurts me. I cried for and with him. I want to fix it, to go and yell at those bastards that have wounded him so badly. My Son, my pride , my joy.... I want to hold him and make it all better just like I could when he was small. He is an adult now, and the bruises and scrapes are adult sized. I can't fix this one. All I am able to do is tell him I love him beyond reason, and I am so very proud of him. I will be by his side through thick and thin, I am Mom..... that's my job.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Monday, March 2, 2009
This is a very powerful group of people. I think we have yet to realize just how much power and influence our combined opinions/thoughts/observations have in this community, and in places far from here when one of us is discovered and leads an unsuspecting blurker to the lair.... where the rest of us lie in wait!! It's like The Hotel California..... check out any time you want; but you can NEVER leave.
We are a family in other respects, too. We didn't "choose" each other, but we love each other. We don't always get along, and Dad will send us to our rooms if the arguing gets out of control, but at the end of the day, all is forgiven and we go off to bed..... " 'Nite Jon-boy, 'nite Grandpa, "nite Mary, 'nite Pa..."
Can't wait for the next Blogfest. I think we will have a mini-fest this summer up on the Ranch, just because a year will be a long wait to see everyone again. This is an amazing group of people, I am proud to be a part of this Family.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Here is my email:
Thursday, January 29, 2009
I had been alone for five years, prior to that, happily married for twenty years to my best friend since old Hippie days. We were growing up and planning on growing old together. His loss was sudden, devastating, life changing; but I had adapted well. I wasn't interested in another relationship or dating, wasn't looking, wasn't interested! In fact, this cold January night in 2000, was the first time I had ventured out socially... outside of church or work or Costco.
This cowboy was relentless. He wouldn't leave. He took my hand and we danced to some country song playing on the jukebox. There was no dance floor. I had never danced like that before and tried to protest that I didn't know how, but he just said "Hang on to me now." and we waltzed between the tables.
I tried to tell him that if he really knew anything about my life, he would not be interested. He wouldn't drop it, so a couple of weeks later we met for coffee at that same spot. I wanted to explain that my life wasn't mine, I still had eight of our twenty kids at home..... kids with disabilities, some quite significant, and I would be responsible for all of them for life. And, if that wasn't enough to send him packing, I told him that I didn't drink, dance, or date. Since he didn't run away screaming, we decided to turn coffee into dinner. Here comes the acid test. We went to my house, where the care providers were helping the kids finish a spaghetti dinner... it was everywhere! This man was greeted like a long lost rich uncle by all the kids, they shared handshakes and hugs and spaghetti sauce with him. He never flinched. He acted (and I'm sure it was an act) like he loved every minute of it. At dinner, I answered questions about the kids and their lives and how they came to be part of my family.... he told me about his kids. We both talked about our hopes and our heartbreaks. It was a nice dinner. It was a beginning.
Jim came back to the house the next day, although we had made no plan. He remembered every one's name, they remembered his! I think that was the moment I thought I might have a keeper...
We took long drives, he taught me to dance, we met each others' families, we learned each others' ways. We spent the next year and a half talking and planning, learning to trust, being cautious, neither of us wanting to err. We looked at homes, wanting to have space for our families and for a garden and some horses. We finally found our little ranch, spent six months remodeling and building fences before we could move in.
We tied the knot quietly, privately at the Hitching Post in September 2001, the day after 9-11. We laughed and cried, we exchanged bent up old rings that made the minister laugh when he looked at them. We went to our new home and sat on the porch..... everything was the same, but everything was changed. Once, one of the kids had asked Jim if he was going to be her Dad.... he explained that he would be her step-dad when we got married. That night, we sat on the deck, following the news of the Twin Towers tragedy, all the more painful, since Jim had worked there some time before. We had been married less than six hours, the kids were getting ready for bed when a tentative little voice called through the screen door, "Goodnight, Dad." Oh yes, that shy whisper put it all in perspective. Nothing matters more than family. We can get through anything, as long as we are committed to each other.
One year later, we finally got a honeymoon. Over dinner, Jim took my hand like he had on the night we met, looked into my eyes, and said, "It hasn't all been good...." It didn't quite come out the way he wanted, I know what he meant, but I couldn't help but laugh at him all over again.
So, that is our story .No, it hasn't all been good, most of it has been great! Not a day goes by that we don't marvel at the road we walk and the life we live. Our wonderful children, our little Ranch, and the love we found in each other when we weren't even looking. We laugh, we cry, we work hard together, we can argue a bit, too. We will grow old together, surrounded by our forever-children, who will remind us each day and each evening, that nothing in this world is more important than this.
Friday, January 23, 2009
I remember getting our first TV.... the world came int the living room, a little grainy in black and white, but it is how I first remember "News".... history, now.
I have a vague memory of Eisenhower, the Rosenbergs, and Rosa Parks on TV, but clearer memories of Mickey Mouse Club and Superman. Jonas Salk gave us the Polio vaccine, not soon enough for my cousin Cindy, though. We tried to see Sputnik fly over outside late at night. That ushered in the Space Age, and we all watched the rockets take off, and held our breath until the astronauts came back through the atmosphere without burning up, and cheered when they were picked up... bobbing in the middle of the ocean in that little capsule.
Things began to change in the sixties. We were changing. We began to discover a communal voice. We were so smart, so sophisticated, so wise in the ways of the world.
I remember the flag being lowered outside my Latin class window, and the Principal announcing the death of JFK over the PA system. We were excused from classes, sent home to be with our families to grieve as a nation as we watched the funeral on television. There were other assassinations... RFK, MLK, Indira Gandhi, John Lennon. And attempted assassinations... Regan, John Paul. The Apollo astronauts were killed in the rocket. Elvis died. Janis Joplin, Mama Cass, Jim Morrison too.
Vietnam took my friends away after high school, some came home, some didn't.... some were never the same again. Woodstock and Bob Dylan and the Beatles and Betty Friedan changed even more of us.
Civil Rights and Activism and Marijuana and LSD became a focus. There were wars in Israel and Vietnam and riots in Watts. Students just like us were killed at Kent State. Watergate reinforced our mistrust of the government. The Olympic games in Munich were ruined when the Israeli athletes were murdered. Roe v. Wade was a bright spot for Feminists and we burned our bras. Nixon told us he wasn't a crook.
We put a label on HIV/AIDS, and were very afraid. There were hostage crises, and spy plane problems, oil spills in Prince William Sound, and tanks in Tienoman Square.
I remember the day the Challenger exploded in midair, and again we watched it over and over again, but there was a difference..... we were not the kids in bobby socks anymore. Emotionally, we had hardened, become cold. The Gulf War, Waco, Rwanda, Bosnia, and the first attack of the World Trade Center, and the OK City bombing were all met with less feeling or outcry than OJ and his low speed white Bronco chase.
There have been more wars, countries have come and gone, the Berlin Wall was torn down. There have been witnesses to Moon walks and mad cows, Jonestown, Hale Bop, The Y2K scare, tsunami waves, earthquakes, volcanoes, and now global warming.
We gathered again as families when the Twin Towers and the Pentagon were attacked. It was like before, we were vulnerable once more. There was another shift in our direction, we began to turn back to an old memory of who we were.
We have been searching for something, we carry a remnant of the untarnished children we were when we searched the night sky in awe looking for Sputnik. We want to believe and hope and feel we have a voice again. I think the inauguration and all it's pageantry has allowed us to believe that perhaps, as a result of this historic event, we will reclaim what we have lost .
I need to ponder on what all this means to me..... does it just reflect my years? Is there a message in this bottle? I think I am a little wiser, possibly more cynical, and I eat dessert first. I value Life, and I treasure my memories; the good and the bad; and look forward to the next chapter.... with hope and faith.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
The people in power are out of touch with real life here in the trenches. There are so many areas where money can be saved with out increasing taxes or reducing services. Since Health care is my home, I have some strong opinions and see where small changes would save a ton of money, as well as make a more efficient system. There is a large population depending on medical care through the government; Medicare, Medicaid, Healthy Options, etc.... in all but Medicare, this is "free" medical care, and I don't want to deny anyone care. But, the system is so abused. Not by all, but it only takes a few to screw it up and make it look bad. Thousands of dollars a day are spent / wasted because of an inefficient system. If the government asked anyone of us in the office or ER , we would be able to save a ton of tax dollars!!! For example: With regular insurance, there are limitations as to what doctor, pharmacy, a copay, a deductible, etc. The You and I insurance would be well off to have a one doctor/one pharmacy protocol and to have a copay ... even one dollar.... for an office visit, more for an ER visit. This small measure would save us a bunch and stop a great deal of abuse and drug-seeking behavior.
Another area that is concerning is the abuse of the welfare system by young women having babies because it's easy and free!!! U&I will pay for it!! I am beginning to sound like my mother.... but, I have had more than a few girls (15-25) in the clinic who are sexually active, without birth control, already on a welfare medical plan of some sort, who tell me that she and her "fiancee" (of about 3 months) would like to have a baby..... It's hard for me not to groan out loud. I do try to smile and encourage waiting a bit.... finish school, get married, have an income, have some fun before starting a family.... my face is about to crack.....
I will get in trouble if I say too much to either the drug-seeker or the teen aged mom-wannabe, because they have rights. Well, fellow taxpayer, we should have some rights, too.... after all, we are the ones who work every day to pay taxes to support this behavior. I would like to see a little reform in the system to protect us and the people who need the help. Reform that will identify and control the abuse a little better. I think the money saved, would balance the budget.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
The term Chinook Wind is also used in British Columbia, and is the original usage, being rooted in the lore of coastal tribes and brought to Alberta by the fur-traders. Such winds are extremely wet and warm and come from the southwest, and are also known as the Pineapple Express since they are of subtropical origin, roughly from the area of Hawaii. The air associated with a west coast Chinook is stable; this minimizes wind gusts and often keeps winds light in sheltered areas. In exposed areas, fresh gales are frequent during a Chinook, but strong gale or storm force winds are uncommon (most of the region's stormy winds come when a fast westerly jet stream lets air masses from temperate and subarctic latitudes clash).
Typically a weather forecaster in Vancouver might say "the Chinook is going to last for another five days, so expect heavy rain for the next week. The mountains [i.e. for skiing] will be rainy to the alpine, so expect lots of slush on the slopes." When a Chinook comes in when an Arctic air mass is holding steady over the coast, the tropical dampness brought in suddenly cools, penetrating the frozen air and coming down in volumes of powder, sometimes to sea level. Snowfalls and the cold spells that spawned them only last a few days during a Chinook, as the weather blows in from the southwest. The snow melts quickly and is gone within a week.
The effects on the Interior of the province when a Chinook is in effect are the reverse. In a rainy spell, most of the heavy moisture will be soaked out by the ramparts of mountains before the air mass reaches the Canyon and the Thompson River-Okanagan area. The effects are similar to those of an Alberta Chinook, though not to the same extreme, in part because the Okanagan is relatively warmer than the Prairies, and because of the additional number of precipitation-catching mountain ranges in between Kelowna and Calgary. When the Chinook brings snow on the Coast during a period of coastal cold, bright but chilly weather in the Interior will give way to a slushy melting of snow because of the warm spell more than because of rain.
I love the Chinooks. It is one of the best weather events we have in the Northwest. Everyone has been waiting for it, and this one is long overdue. But today I stood outside and smiled in the wind listening to the snow melt run like a river.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Well, the roads are terrible. The drive to and from work has turned into a white knuckle rodeo, taking 2-3 times longer than usual. I haven't had the truck in two wheel drive in weeks!! Last night on my way home, the sign on the local Ace Hardware store caught my eye... ICE. No kidding, as I watched car after car after bus slide through that busy intersection!!! I can't believe the throngs of folks still out in this stuff. We have had so much snow up here on the hill.... about 4-5 feet, we are trapped, can't see out the lower level windows, hot tub is buried, the horses are all standing under the lean to like high school hoodlums smoking after school, looking like they are dreaming of green pastures, instead of the path they have made to the water tank and back.
The sun is shining today, tho, and even with the temperature just above zero, it is great to be able to go outside and bask in the light! It is too cold to last long, but every hour or so, I am taking a break from inside chores to go play outside for a bit.
The Christmas tree is coming down today. All the decorations will be back in the loft in the garage until next year. I am STILL wrapping and shopping, however..... and haven't shipped anything off to out of town family. I think they are all used to my bad habit of procrastination, I never send anything on time. Maybe that should be my New Year's Resolution; to get gifts and cards to their destination on schedule. Or not. I love the decorations, but now I'm starting to get a little claustrophobic and need the open spaces back inside. Off I go to pack and pack away...