Monthly Archives: February 2012

Winter Beauty Discovered Right Under My Cold, Red Nose.

Winter Beauty Discovered Right Under My Cold, Red Nose.

Its winter here.  The snow says so.  The leaves have left the trees, letting the birds show their nests and warbling posts. It is winter, as the streams gurgle, letting ice stay over and under and around the flow. The water doesn’t melt the ice, but gives strength and length to it, and it stays even when the sun is at its highest in the sky.

Winter In The Water I woke up knowing that I couldn’t possibly go outside today. It was gray and overcast and no birds were singing. That was proof enough, right?  But today was New Year’s Day.  My New Year’s Day, anyway. The 15th of February signifies that the year can get nothing but closer to warmth and gardening and smiles.  So I donned my alternate pair of tennies (the main ones are lost somewhere under my daughter’s bed. I don’t know why, but I’m not going under there.) I rummaged around and found a soft, clingy pair of yoga pants (I know no one else will be seeing me walking on a cold winter day), and decided to walk.

You should know this about me.  I despise being cold.  My nose is cold even when I’m in the house and I end up holding the warm power supply of my laptop to it when I watch movies. I wear socks to go get warmer socks that have percolated on top of the dryer, just for such occasions. I sit in my hot tub in the middle of summer, for heaven’s sake.

Having said this, I went out for a walk.  I’ll tell you this:  There is a lot of goose poop out in Colorado.  It’s like all the people go inside for warmth and the geese say, “Finally! I can drop a load. Come on, Bob. Pete. Jainy. It’s safe. Just don’t do it in their yards because THAT would be over the line.”

So I started walking and I realized that I don’t have to be in a sunny place to have a beautiful experience.  I walk in suburbia, and I see the large trees that have shed their leaves and leave no place for the squirrels to disappear. No place for them to secretly eat their nuts and berries and bits of trash that Old Mr. Paul left out.

I start to meander with my head down, in a slight, yet cold, breeze.  I usually would see nothing in my mind until I would hit the edge of the neighborhood.  I would see nothing because I would assume there was nothing worth seeing, out here in the cold, sun-less day.

What struck me this time was the lumps and piles of snow. I said it before and I’ll say it again…I see it as OOBLECK, the imaginary type of thing falling from the sky in Dr. Seuss‘s land of Bartholomew Cubbins.

This stuff is ooey and gooey.  It lands in puffs or shards or streaks. It sticks and piles up in corners of patios and hangs around on tree branches. It hides bushes and small bumps and trash and paths to mailboxes. It is something to be played in and thrown and dug up and shaped and smiled at. And. And, it does get old. Unless I am looking for the good in it, like today. Today it sparkled and smiled back at me. I saw birds frolicking around it, and squirrels chattering on top of it, and dogs prancing through it.

All of that distracted my cold nose and hands as I moved through the neighborhood and out into the open space. All of it let me love winter today and let it be another place that I can live. I do not need to wait it out in the living room, or bedroom, all huddled up and waiting for the sun to come out.  I can love it like it is, being a part of the beauty that is …Winter.  


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So Many Crossroads. I’ll Go Left…No Right…

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

 I love to wander. And I love to walk. However, not all my choices happen in a thicket outside.  My mother likened this poem to daily choices, and I still have that tendency. For instance:

Well-off or not. Left-wing or Right. Fit or Fat. Heels or Flats. Spanxs or Flab. Gray or Color. Stay or Go. In or Out. Happy or Sad. I imagine all of these decisions as a road with a fork in it. (Not an actual fork.) And I am Robert Frost, coming to the 2 roads that bring me to my daily choice. They add up to a lot of energy spent, and sometimes I am exhausted by 8 AM.

Some of these roads are pretty recent.  And they are a bit disappointing. The choices of age just stink.  Why would I care if I went natural or fixed my body artificially? At 27, I was not in the least bit interested. But at 38… they need to be considered. Heels or Flats? At 9, it didn’t matter, because my mom would have none of that anyway. FLATS. The choice was made for me.
OOH. HMM.  I want my mom. To continue just making choices for me. Now lets be clear that at teen-hood, I just wanted her out of my life because she was ridiculously dumb. Because I was always right, and knew all the answers. I just needed her for food and money. NOT ADVICE.  But now… it would be nice to wake up and have my clothes laid out, my shoes next to my clothes, and my breakfast made again.  Even if it was oatmeal. 
She could make my choices in clothing, but the consequence to that is she would also make my money choices as well. (NO, Sharon, You may not have unlimited funds for the night as you leave the house, looking for something “fun” to do.) That might work as a teen, but definitely doesn’t work when I have my own household. Oh well. It was a thought…
Oh, the money thing. To Spend or Not To Spend. The daily road of choice. Now, most fork-in-the-road spots I do myself,  like trying on 5 outfits to get the right combination for the day. This includes the thank-you-for-trying-but-you-didn’t-make-the-cut-today outfits being flung over my bed and dresser, with my husband looking on in wonder. (He gathers them up and puts them in a basket for me to put away later. I just keep them there, and bring them out the next day.) Most are my individual choice, when it comes right down to it, but the money thing, well, that brings in my partner. To Spend or Not To Spend looks like this:
Husband: Oh yeah. It’s on sale. We have to get it.
Me: Is it on the list?
Husband: Writes it on the list with the pen he has kept for just such occasion. Yes.
Me: You just wrote that in!
Husband: So? It’s on sale and we have to get it.
Me: You’re right. It IS on the list….
And that’s the decision. In fact, it is what all my choices come down to. Self Control, or Live In The Moment?  I’d say it is a 50/50 split right now.  I do wear high heels without Scholl’s gel inserts (see a prior story for that), so I practice self control wearing them in spite of the pain, all day. They go with my outfit, after all. BUT, I don’t wear SPANX as often as I could (or should, for that matter. I do have limits in my daily dose of discomfort.). I choose salty pickles and chips on my sandwiches every time, but will skip eating ribs, steak, or red meat, usually, and choose a salad instead. Does it balance out? the teeter totter of  having both control AND indulgence? Not really, but I am currently in the place where I pick the choice that makes sense at the time.
My mom would groan and turn away if she knew. (She doesn’t currently read my blog, I don’t think.)
Mom told me, once, to make a choice, make it once, and live with the consequences.  Then you never have to make it again, and you are free to do other things. (My mom got along with Robert Frost on a few things.) Sound advice, really. It is how she balances her checkbook. It is how she knows when to iron shirts, and darn socks, and what time to make dinner or breakfast. Or make her bed. And when to send out birthday cards, I believe. She is amazing!
She used it, she said, for choices like, “Does she date young, or at 16?” and “Will she pray before a big decision, or not?” and “What type of companion will she marry?”  I agree with her philosophy on the life changing things. And, I wish I would have listened. MMM, I listened. I just didn’t emulate a whole lot. 
Oh how I envy that woman sometimes.  She came to the forks of her life a long time ago, I believe.  She sat in the dust, or the pavement (or she just brought one of those folding chairs that she got in a Church auction, with her), and, with a legal pad and pen in hand, would write down the pro’s and con’s of the decision. Then, she would keep the pad with her in her purse, to be referred to when needed, and would simply take the road that made most sense. And keep on down that road.  ( I am pretty sure she has the legal pad to this day.) Did I say she even taught me how to do it? I saw her balance her checkbook every Monday and iron Dad’s shirts on Tuesday. 
 So why do my choices still look like me running, pell-mell down the road and then screeching to a halt at the last possible second, only to put a foot in both directions, walking it out until I do the splits?  It’s because I want it all. I am a road dweller because I want both Self Control AND Instant Gratification.  Can it be done?
My legs hurt.
I do know this. I have started to pick myself up and go down one tine of the fork in that road. And then, cut across and go to the other side, knowing that I will probably run through prickles and milkweed sap and tumbleweeds. But when I get to the other side, I get to experience … more.  Even if that …more… is the wrong way after all, so I have to book it, double-time, back the way I came.  Even if, when I get to where I was in the first place, I look a bit sticky and dirty and tired. 
Usually, though, I am smiling because I got to see both sides. I got to look at both roads and THEN pick. Again, my mom would groan. So would Robert Frost.

I am not my mom. I will take her lessons and use them a lot of times. But sometimes…SOMETIMES… I will pick up my chair and my legal pad and just fling them into the weeds, running fast for the other road.  Sometimes in my heels, never in my SPANX, and when I get to the problem of whether to go gray or natural, I may wander, then, as well.  

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Posted by on February 6, 2012 in boys, humor, Life, Mom, Peace, Walking, youth


Today, I found a friend. Crap.

Deutsch: Zeichnung Boxerhund mit Welpen von El...
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Then, I left him behind.  At the adoption place.  The puppy adoption place.

   What stinks is that he wasn’t even a puppy!  Ok, granted he was a dog,  but not one of those dorky, needy, peeing puppies that any self-respecting Colorado adoptee would pay 600 bucks for.  No,  he was the “Granddaddy” of them at a whopping 7 years old. He was my favorite. His name was Jackson, and this reassured me that I had good taste.
   I told myself that if I was going to move forward, out of the phase of crying about my newly deceased dog, Millie, and into the phase of ….well, moving forward, then I would AT LEAST have a few rules this time.
1. No stupid names that are not real names.   No “Frufee” or “Punkin” or “Diddums”.  It had to be something I wouldn’t get glared at when calling him/her (by the dog, as well as neighbors and family.  I hate that.)  So I was looking for something more like “Ted” or “Lilly” (if i had to go with flowers, i mean), or “Sam”.  “Jackson” was close enough.
2.  No shedding.  AT ALL.  Not kidding.  Nothing worse than walking though the house with a plate of spaghetti, going from the kitchen to the dining room table, and knowing that there will be hair on my meatball.  Yark.  I am unmoving on this.  Period.  ew.
3.  No No NO NOOOOOOOOOOOOO SLOBBER!!!!!  It is my 3rd and final, and most sacred rule.  It’s common sense.  I won’t spit on them, and they don’t spit on me.  That’s just good manners.I just went in for cat food, I reasoned.
  This was my reason to myself that not even I believed as I walked into Pet/smart/club/ville, or whatever they are calling this particular chain that is closest to my house.  It also happened to have a pet adoption center.  I went in for cat food, mind you, and just thought I would browse.  Mosey on over and have a look-see.The nice lady walked me straight away to the puppies.  Apparently she didn’t see my nose wrinkle in distaste.  Oh.  That’s right.  She didn’t notice because I wasn’t wearing a sign for my 4th rule:
4.   NO PUPPIES.  Meaning, No Pee or Pooh on, around, or in my living room/kitchen/bathroom/hallways/bedrooms/stairs/… you get the picture.
   Pee and Pooh are meant to be contained, either in a throne that is dedicated to it and you can flush away, or to some distant part of the yard that I never mow.  That’s it.  Puppies don’t follow the rules well.
  I let her show me the furry things anyway.  They were cute, and mewling like they were taught to, just graduating from The Cute And Fuzzy Academy of Pets On Display.  I looked, and then asked if there were any other dogs.  Dogs that were not cute and fuzzy.  She had no clue what that meant, so I looked around on my own, and found him.  Jackson.
  A Boxer that was quiet and looked pretty dad gum intelligent.  More intelligent than me, on this particular day, because he simply looked at me and then at the locked door, and then at me again.  A clear message that it was time for us to get to know each other.I caved.He came out and we both got a room at the Try them, you’ll like them…room. (You know the ones, the 4 foot square rooms with a half wall, all made of concrete that lets you “Relax” while you get to know your new investment) And this guy was amazing. Strong, quiet, knew what he wanted (which was to go home with me, obviously, as he went over to the outside door and simply started pushing the bar to open the door.)
  And this guy slobbered. And shedded a bit, for a short-haired dog. And I was ready right then to break all my rules because I simply fell in love with him. I became the Colorado Pet Owner. The I MUST HAVE HIM AT ALL COSTS owner. The I’ll Deal With The Consequences And Let My House Go Downhill owner. The mushy, CALL HIM POOPSY owner.
  I took him for a quick walk, just to seal the deal.  And he totally ran me. He trained me to walk him on my left side, not the right. He let me know that we would be stopping 3 inches from the road, not 3 feet, thank you very much. He trained me that we would be going a brisk clip, instead of a fast meander. And I loved ever second of it.I took him back to the store, pronounced that he was mine, and (after a casual call to my family to come look at our new pet before we walked out the door), asked a simple, almost whispered question to the lady at the front of the store.
  It was the smartest, (possibly the only smartest) thing I did all day.
  As my family rushed in to see this rash decision I made, and were petting and loving on him, I asked, “How does Jackson get along with cats? We have a cat, and she has ruled the roost for a bit.”  A look of confusion crossed this woman’s face as she looked down at Jackson and said, “I don’t know. Let’s find out.”  She then brought out a cat in a cage. Her reasoning, as she did, was that the cat would be safe. It sounded reasonable to me. What happened next went like this:
  Cat: Hanging around, looking like a cat. Aloof, yet relaxed.
  Jackson: Being an amazing dog, Being petted and standing tall and proud.
  Jackson: Looks at cat, and pops in demon eyes, large claws, and enormous, venomous teeth.
  Cat: Brings out long, bristled hair and shoots each and every one into the sky, at least 18 inches from its skin, making it the Halloween cat that is on the back of any candy wrapper in the month of October. (It wasn’t October.) It’s claws extended and it’s teeth became needle-like fangs.

  Jackson: Breaks from our hold with no regard for our muscles or calls to him, or any other normal form of stopping a dog. He then grabs the cage with his enormous teeth and claws and proceeds to mangle the cage, venomous goo raining on the Halloween Cat.
  Security: Runs down the aisle, slips on a bit of bird seed, recovers, and joins the hysterical woman at the counter that caused this hullabaloo.  They both wrangle Jackson from the cage, and yank him back into his kennel.
  Us: Shocked and terrified.I had found my pocket pepper spray in my bag, not even knowing I had it out. The kids had taken on the defence stance of their only 8 Judo lessons.. Husband had put on his cape and rubber boots, ready to take on the thing in our honor.
  Cat: Melded itself with the farthest wall of its cage and looked much like a taxidermist had finished it off.We didn’t get Jackson.I don’t think I will look for another dog for a while. They drool. And shed. And it will take me a while to get over that pesky demon side they could have for cats.  I need a drink.

Posted by on February 5, 2012 in boys, family, Kids, Life, men, small town, Uncatagorized


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Stop the words! I’m drowning!!!

I grew up with words being coerced, coaxed, pleaded and applauded out of me. As a baby, adult faces would frown when i didn’t do what they asked, and shine when i got it right. Words let me know which paths were the easiest and the hardest, which food was hot or cold, which items were off limits, and what happened to the bad guys in fairytale stories.

As i grew, i heard more complex phrases which, put together with the correct punctuation, let me know when to come home for dinner, which friends i could hang with, and why my soup was too bland.

In teenhood, words became everything. EVERYTHING (along with the right eye liner) could be accomplished with words. Add an essential eye roll, a few facial expressions, and world peace could be solved.

All through life, words have been my companion in making my world vivid. I couldn’t have have this vivaciousness about words without my elders. I was fortunate enough to have fine arts and liturature imbued into the very air i breathed. But, i do enjoy being lax, thanks to texting, facebook, and looking out the window as i tap away at the keys. Also, i like to write as i think, lately, and that is anything but high-falutin.

Which is why it is particularly silly when i get words, phrases, and even punctuation wrong, by accident.

I was corrected about a few phrases, this afternoon, by a woman whom i could barely understand. She had no accent. She was from the same region as i. Yet i struggled mightily to let her words (and the blueberry muffin i was eating at the time) fight it out in my mouth for room. (I was saved by milk.) “You know, the correct term for ….blah blah…….bleetily blow, bliy bloo bloo…” and she sat there haughtily, waiting for me to do something. Bow down and say, “I’m not worthy!” or maybe “You have changed my life! I will now be a blow-torch guy!” (The term is welder.) Her eyebrow was pulled up to an almost Vulcan-ese hight, and the left side of her lips had been scrunched, while at the same time being pulled down slightly. And there she was. My grandma. Ouch. (And Ba Ha!!! She even had the mole!)

I am not clear what she wanted from me, except for me to immediately stop offending her with my hill-billy ways, and move around her. This put me in mind of Dr. Seuss’s story where two furry yet naked beings came across the sand, one from the north, and one from the south. Instead of either of them moving to one side so they could continue their journey, they found ways to share with the other about how important they were. And how IMPERITIVE it was that the other move, simply because of how important they were. The words got more self-important. Words like “Sir” were traded for “Young Man”, and then on to “You couldn’t possibly understand how important it is that you move aside so I can move forward, Simpleton”-ish attitudes.

And a freeway was built around their haughtiness.

It was like that, but the woman had clothes on and was slightly less furry. I believe she simply corrected me as she had been corrected by her elders, and wasn’t even aware that she did it, honestly. And I was schooled. I said “Thank you.” And moved aside so she could get her own muffin.

To anyone that has been corrected, or even looked at, by me, in the oh-you-poor-creature way that she had given me, i apologize. It’s hideous. For the next 2 weeks on Facebook, or texting, you have my permission to correct me. But only if i get to see the eyebrow-raising gesture at the time. Or the lips pursing together with those crinkly lines making you look 30 years older than you are. Send those pics in! Just the flaring nostrils and eyes and lips, mind you. Cause that would make one heck of a montage (homage? mobile?…) to the elders that have started turning over in their graves at my lax use of their lessons lately.

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Posted by on February 4, 2012 in Life

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