Thursday, May 21, 2015

Secret places

I’ve always been fascinated by tree houses: the Berenstain Bears’ little house in the tree with the gingham curtains and little staircase that wound down the tree, Winnie the Pooh’s buddy Piglet’s house in the base of a tree both were places that I would have loved to live as a child. 

As an adult, I’ve always love the idea of gnomes and sprites and fairies (of the TinkerBell variety).  I’ve always loved fairy rings, sparkles, glitter, fireflies – all of that seems magical to me.  I love the idea of green man and tree spirits; the elves of Iceland – all of that stuff.  Needless to say, the Spiderwick Chronicles is one of my favorite movies.    And I’ll always remember the mention of a grotto in the book Raggedy Ann and Andy’s in Cookie Land.  I just loved the series of books - I wish I still had them.

And sometimes I wish that places like these, things like these really existed.  Because I would really like to open a little gnome door and climb inside a tree some days.  Sometime life really hurts in a way that just doesn't make sense.  Last night a fox attacked our two ducks. Big deal, some people say. But it is a big deal.  These ducks were a couple. We never saw one without the other close by.  And they adopted us.  They just showed up one day a couple months ago and never left.  I called them Daisy and Donald, my husband called them Aflecks.  There was something fun and goofy as well as comforting hearing them quack outside the window every morning.  Every time they saw my husband, they would come running, I mean waddling.  He always gave them a treat.  They made us smile.

I'm just sad.  It is nature, I know.  But I'm just really going to miss those ducks. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

My other self.

One of my favorite walks on campus.

As I was walking to the library to pick up a book that was being held for me, I noticed a man all dressed up in a ratty, dirty old suit jacket, stringy hair, a face that obviously hadn't seen a razor or a washcloth in a very long time. He stood out to me among all of the well-dressed college aged students waiting for the bus.  He stood out to me because he was trying with great difficulty to bend over and pick up a half smoked cigarette that was half-buried in dirt on the sidewalk. I complain a lot.  About the heat, about the cold, about the rudeness of humankind, about my lack of money……and I think to myself, at least that’s not me.  Seriously, that could have been me – a dejected wreck of a human standing along side the road picking up other people’s trash.  It could still be me.  Some days I feel as if I am one bad decision away from being a homeless throwaway person.  But I walked away from that man. What could I give him? I live from paycheck to paycheck.  But at least I have a paycheck and at least I can pay my bills even though I regularly rob Peter to pay Paul.  Me, in my cute little gray dress, with my cute little purse, my library card, on my way to the bank and then back to my job – my really good job.  The one that requires a master’s degree and people skills and the ability to problem-solve, communicate and all of the other stuff I tell students. And where is that stinky old man going?

So tonight I’ll hop in my car and drive home to my house, I’ll be ignored by my family and loved by my dogs.  But I’ll be at home.  I wonder where that man will be.

A beautiful day on campus.

Sunday, May 17, 2015


This winter when it was below zero for seemingly days on end, I promised myself - I swore - that I would not complain about the heat this summer.  I was so tired of wearing my green winter jacket and  being slapped in the face by the icey wind every time I walked out the door, that I was sure that I would welcome whatever warmth Mother Nature threw my way.

It is not yet summer and I have already complained about the heat. Several times in fact.  I hate to be sweaty and sticky, I hate not being able to cuddle up under a quilt at night.  I try to remember how much I hated smashing the ice in the animal's water every morning and night.  I hate that more than anything.  But right now, sweating like a pig with a fan blowing on me which I know will make my neck hurt and my head ache by the time I wake up in the morning, I would gladly smash the ice in the goats' water trough.

Apparently I am high-maintenance.  Give me low 70's, blue skies, a light breeze and I am happy.  Really I am.  I love to have all of the windows open so that I can hear my windchimes at the front of the house and the gurgling creek at the back of the house.  I am happy to sit out on my bench underneath the blooming lilac bush - reading a book, watching the goats and chickens.

Maybe tomorrow. In the meantime I'll take advantage of the heat and make some bread.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

I am. I am?

I am: not really sure, pretty old, pretty ugly, lots of things.  I am not: mean, without empathy, lots of things. my spirituality search, I've tried to see if I am pulled in any direction.  If I have a purpose. I have come to the conclusion that I have none.  Well, actually I did have a purpose - and that was to raise great kids.  Which I did.  Mission accomplished.  But what else is there for me?

What is my purpose? What is my passion?  The problem is, there are so many things that I like to do and I can't decide on one thing on which to focus my abilities - or lack thereof.  I keep thinking that I will receive a sign. That something will be glaringly obvious. An aha moment that tells me, this is what I am meant to do.

So what do I like to do?  I like to take naps. I like to sew and make quilts. I like to bake bread.  I like to cuddle my little dog.  I like to read cozy mysteries.  I like to listen to birds.  I like to think about riding my bike.  I like to play the piano.  I like to walk in the creek below my house.  I really like to do many things.

So maybe that is my purpose.  Maybe my place on earth - or at least in this little valley - is to show that it is just fine to be mediocre and to be good enough in many things.  I think that many people feel like if they aren't the best in one area, if they aren't 'A+' humans, then they aren't worthy.  But really? Since when isn't it perfectly alright to be a 'B' or even a 'C' human?  And who is doing the grading anyhow?

So my message to myself is, be kind to others, don't be so damn sensitive, and embrace your exceptional mediocrity.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


So I’m fat, so what.  In the past two weeks, I’ve had to deal – on the periphery-with a young student about to graduate who had a stroke, another student in his last semester, who had a psychotic break and ended up a thousand miles from home, yet another student who can’t bring himself to tell his mother that he has failed a class and won’t really be graduating, and another student with a similar story.  It ain’t easy – that’s for sure.  When it comes to health and brains, money doesn’t make a whole lot of difference.  The prestigious positions held by two of the students’ parents didn’t help them one little bit.  Didn’t save them from mental or physical breakdown.  Won’t guarantee them mental or physical health in the future.  No amount of money can buy a happy ever after.  And I’m worried about a few extra pounds? Shame on me.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Tired ears.

Part of my job as an adviser is be one of the faces of the college to prospective students and their parents.  During this time of year, advisers sign up to mingle during lunch with the families and answer any questions they may have.  Because the mingling occurs in a dining hall, sometimes it is hard to be noticed among all of the various other people who are there. Solution: bright yellow T-shirts with ADVISER printed in black across the back.  Which is fine. If you are skinny. And 25 years old. I’m neither.  I felt conspicuous which, I suppose, is the purpose. I always felt embarrassed for the old gray-haired cashiers at Kmart who were forced to wear cutesy little red bows or elf ears or Santa hats during the Christmas season.  You could tell by looking at them that they sure as heck would not have chosen to wear that crap. I think that it is disrespectful and rude for an employer to require employees to dress like fools for the sake of the store or for the sake of the holiday.  I kind of feel like that when I wear this shirt.  There really isn’t anything wrong with it. I like T shirts as much as the next guy – it is the writing on the back that bothers me.

  Anyhoo……I guess if that is the biggest complaint I have, I’m doing pretty good.  Besides, I just love talking to prospective students and their families.  It is the best part of my job except for talking to students on a daily basis - which even for an introvert like me, is really appealing.  But there is where the line is drawn. Talking to people who aren't students, who aren't part of my job, is draining. Crazy draining.  I have a friend who likes to verbally unload at the end of the week and I just can’t do that.  I can’t listen to one more person’s issues.  At the end of the week, actually at the end of every day, I need some time to collect myself and to re-energize.  Sometimes that doesn't happen.  The act of quilting helps quite a bit.  Using my creativity helps to re-charge.  I've always been that way - I remember from the time I first had kids, the time after work was sacrosanct.  It was for the sanity of the family.  

Cat hen?

I can only believe this cat-hen (who surely appears to have fur rather than feathers) is a descendant of  some Silkies that I had several years ago.She certainly makes a striking resemblence to a cat - named Prickles - that I had around the same time.