Sunday, December 22, 2013

Checking in.

It has been a busy week.  I've been cleaning and making things look nice.  By things, I mean the living room.  By nice, I mean that I've kept it swept, dusted and neat.  I'm not known for my housekeeping abilities. To me, keeping an immaculate home ranks right up there with, um, all that stuff that is so unimportant to me that I can't even remember what it is.

Honestly? I find that I really enjoy my living room being clean.  I enjoy that the coffee table isn't heaped with books and magazines. I enjoy that I've moved embroidery and knitting paraphernalia off the top of the entertainment center and now I can see my candles and pictures not clumped together.

Tomorrow I'll work on the bathroom and move some of my sewing stuff, my clothes for being with the animals out of the bathroom.  Or at least, put up a couple dedicated hooks to hang my coveralls and sweatshirts.

I've been working on Christmas presents. I've been trying to finish some of the books I've been reading.  I want to start my annual reading of Fannie Flagg's Red Bird Christmas as well as some of my other Christmas books.

Not only have I been busy but we had a snowstorm over the weekend.  Not really sure that it actually was a storm - just a heavy snowfall.  But it seems that over the past few years, instead of simply having snowfalls, every snow event is labeled as a snowstorm.  I guess that being dramatic is good for business.

So as the evenings before Christmas wind down, I'm completing my projects and not feeling rushed.

PS I forgot that I wrote this.  It is now 2 days before Christmas and I'm waiting for my oldest son to come home on the bus from Denver.  I have all of my projects completed. I have a couple things I still want to buy but overall, I am very happy with what I've accomplished.  And I am happy to say that all the things I wrote about above that I was going to do? I have completed them :)

Wrong note.

It is funny. More than 30 years after high school, I can still feel the shame and humiliation of being the least popular person in the school.  I really wish that certain situations were as quick to bring back good feelings as bad experiences are able to bring back feelings of loneliness, unworthiness, friendlessness..........

It is amazing to me how I allow myself to feel like an outsider.  I am an outsider.  I'm odd. I definitely don't fit in with most people.  But church?  I play the piano.  I'm not good at it but in a pinch, if I mess up, I'm able to pick out a recognizable tune with one finger.  Enough so that every one can keep singing because for some reason, even when I have my foot on the damper, you can oftn hear the piano over the organ.

It is true that sometimes I sit a little off on the bench and my fingers don't exactly line up where I am accustomed to them being and as a result, hit the wrong notes.  Because I can't see from the book to the keys, I play by feel.  My son and his buddy sit very, very close to where the piano is.  AndI can hear them laughing.  It is like my worst nightmare come true.  Flashback to nearly 40 years ago when I totally messed up playing the piano for a Christmas concert at our church and the humiliation I've felt ever since.  People don't think that it hurts when they laugh but it does.  I can't laugh it off. I can't shrug it off.  I feel like a failure.  Just because I'm an adult and should know better, I can't really make myself not let it bother me.  And it does bother me, which compounds my nervousness for the next time I have to play.

And then I remember the time that I laughed at a friend who sang in front of our church.  I was 16 at the time.  And she was incredibly off key.  And I laughed to myself but thank goodness I got up and left before anyone else could have guessed that I was laughing.  So I guess I deserve it.  But thinking back, I was really nervous for her. I was mortified that someone else was going to notice which really made me laugh.  I think she was incredibly brave for offering that part of herself.

So I'm a little bit sensitive.  But it hurts.  I don't want to be seen as someone who can't hit a right note.  Because at home I am able to play the piano.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Another gripe.

so here we are, 16 days before Christmas.  I've not had an anxiety attack, haven't felt as if my heart was going to pound out of my chest, haven't felt like passing out......nothing like that.  I'm pretty sure it has something to do with having not gone to the mall.  I detest busy places.  I loathe people-filled areas, not because I don't like the people, just that it is too much.    

Too much emotion flying around, too much talking, too much just plain noise.  I swore off Walmart years ago because in addition to all the talking noise, the narrow aisles and seasonal displays creating a labyrinth, all the millions of choices and the video screens assaulting my senses, I can't stand the thought of all the mom and pop type stores that have closed simply because price-wise, they couldn't compete.  That's not to say I haven't gone to Walmart at all, I just don't go often and only as a last resort.

 For my groceries, I have gone to the same supermarket for the past 20 years. . . a little local chain that through the years has offered a good variety of groceries and cashiers that actually seem to like people.   So........they just finished a huge remodel.  This comes a few years after the Taj Mahal of grocery stores was opened in a town about 15 miles away.  It was complete with a gas station, cafe and bottle shop. And aisles and aisles of canned goods, produce and other stuff that you don't normally see in a grocery store and that I can't see ever really needing.  

Anyway, now my little grocery store has grown into a store that resembles Walmart in many ways.  There is music blaring from speakers to greet you as you leave your car and walk into the store.  The first time, I couldn't figure out where the sound was coming from - I thought I was hearing voices.  There are tv screens and things inside the store blaring advertisements for the store the entire time you are walking up and down the poorly designed aisles.  There are self-check outs that never work, never dispense the right amount of change and  if I stop on my way to work, are sure to guarantee a frustrating start of the day.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

What I hate most about winter.

Although I've been known to gripe and complain about winter, the freezing temperatures, the icey roads, the way I have to cancel nearly all of my trips up north due to the blizzards that inevitably fall on the exact days I plan to travel, I don't hate winter all that much.
Snow is very pretty and if the moon happens to be shining brightly and the dogs haven't trampled down all the snow out back and pooped in it, the fresh snow looks a lot like twinkling diamonds.  And traipsing outside in my nighty to throw wood in the woodstove twice nightly in the frigid temps isn't really all that bad.   What I hate the most......what I just really, really loathe is breaking up the ice in my animals' water troughs.  And in the winter, it is a chore that needs to be done several times a day.  I have this big metal bar that we use to tamp the dirt around fence posts. It is the perfect instrument to break up the ice.  If I slept well, ate my wheaties and am able to lift it.  You need 3 boys and a man to lift the rotten thing but of course, there is only me.  I must say though that I will develop some pretty buff shoulders this winter at the rate I'm going.

I'm not sure how my goats, pony and chickens feel about winter - after all,  they do have warm cozy stalls to snuggle in, straw to insulate them from the cold and plenty of food.   And I'm pretty sure they enjoy the way they have clean - unfrozen - water every day.

At one time we had an electric water heater but apparently something chewed on the cord since the last time I used it.  I don't care how much electrical tape I use, there is no way I am plugging that in.  So my mission for the next couple weeks is to figure out how to keep my animals' water from without using electricity, without having to dig a hole (the ground is frozen) and without needing a degree in engineering.  Wish me luck.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Safe dreams.

 Safe dreams. I don't know why I put these words together. They don't fit.  I read the blog of a friend today.  This was someone who was injured by just participating in the usual duties of everyday life. Many comments to the blog post cautioned him of not doing things, not doing them by himself, be a little more careful.

I started thinking about this. I also started thinking about people I know - people who are younger than I am - who have started talking about some of things that their parents should or shouldn't do. As if it were their choice to make.  Honestly, the way some people treat their parents.  I understand the caring and concern of aging parents. But to prevent an adult from doing something just so they don't hurt themselves.....well to me, that is craziness.  I would rather die living my life and pursuing my dreams than wasting away, being preserved so that nothing happens to me and that I can be sustained as long as possible.  That's not a life.

 I really hope I've brought my kids up to respect my life and my lifestyle through the ages.  I like to care for my little farm. I love hauling buckets of water, fixing things, building things...... that makes me who I am and gives me a ton of enjoyment.  Hard work, sure - but I would never be content not this stuff.  I think of my mom who is around 80.  Honestly? I'm pretty sure she would kick me in the rear if I ever tried to foist my opinion of what she should and shouldn't do.

I've always had problems with rules and the ideas of things certain populations should and shouldn't do. I've been inundated with concern that some of the roads I've traveled have been, well....stupid.   I've made a heap of mistakes over the years and some of my decisions have turned out badly but that's the price a person pays to follow a dream. I know that a couple of my kids have been made to feel bad that the choices they've made haven't been the safe path.  I say good for them!

I haven't raised my kids to take the easy way out.  I hope that I've raised them as well as set an example to always challenge themselves.  I will allow and encourage them to follow their dreams.  I hope when I am (much) older, they will allow me to continue to follow mine.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Some of my favorite people are trees.

Some of my favorite living things are trees.  I'm like my dad in that respect. I am incredibly lucky.  I work on what I believe is the most beautiful university campus in the country.  Everything is beautiful there: the buildings, the lawns, the sky, the flowers, and the trees.  I feel as if I've met each and every one of them.

One day each week, I take a yoga class.  It is the first yoga instruction I've had and I enjoy it immensely.  But I do have to say that I feel the same kind of relaxation when I stroll through campus and look at the trees. Or when I'm running on some of the trails close to campus.  The tranquility of trees definitely rubs off on me.  I think it is fairly common to dream up stories about people with whose paths you cross.  In all honesty, I am more likely to dream about the trees.

When I walk through the mall near Old Main, I think about the grand American chestnut trees that used to line the side of the mall walkway.  I believe my parents were students at that time and I think that this particular path was called the 'ghost walk'.  I can imagine them walking toward the Corner Room through the leafy awning of the trees with the bell tower on the left and the obelisk on the right.  In the past several years, elm have been planted in the ghosts of those old Chestnut trees.  The walk downtown is breathtaking but I really would have liked to have experienced the Chestnut trees.

There is this very interesting tree outside of the Chambers Building that reminds me of the limbs of an elephant stretching out.  The bark of the tree, smooth and shiny, with little wrinkles in the crooks - just as I would imagine an elephant's wrinkly knees would look.  On the far side of the same building is an old oak tree with its branches spread out wide with whimsical little bends and corners in the lower branches.  A tall person would need to duck to walk under those limbs.  I imagine the day will soon come when those branches will need to be trimmed to prevent such an accident.

It is amazing how much a difference a few trees can make.  I so understand people who prefer the company of trees and other plants. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Autumn wind.

Seems like winter has blown in to Georges Valley this afternoon. And with it, the moods of the season.  This is the second autumn without my dad. And autumn has always reminded me so much of him. . .  the colors, the sounds, the smells, the trees.  Over the past year or so, I've had a changing in my mind.  I'm happier and more content.  But I don't necessarily believe all of things that I've been lead to believe all of my life until now.  It's not that anything is really different but more just a different perspective.

I've always liked autumn. Loved it even.  It has always made me a bit melancholy.  Melancholy isn't necessarily bad......and for someone who has battled depression most of her life, being able to feel anything, even melancholy is cause for celebration.  I think I wrote once before how depression isn't the sad, bittersweet feeling one gets that puts you in the mood to hunker down with a blanket and book.  Well for me, melancholy is just that.  It is a 'good' feeling.  It is a sign to me that I've won my most recent battle with depression.

So I'm sitting here at my kitchen table, all full of Elizabeth Berg who, if you haven't read her books, you really should because I were to be a writer, I would want to write the way she writes.  I'm sitting here looking at the gray-blue sky, watching the winds blow through the pine branches and I'm thinking about the upcoming winter.  One more winter.   My old dog sits beside me.  My not-quite-as-old dog sits staring at me hoping to be able to jump up on my lap.  Which he will whether I agree or not.  I listen to my husband harp at my son in the living room, the noise of the television in a room with no one to watch it.  And I wonder why I'm sitting here at all.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


A few months ago, I became extremely sick of myself.  I was tired of being grouchy, always in a rush and not really enjoying everything I was doing. Which was a lot.  It always is.  I started reading books about religion and attitudes, blessings and spirituality.

 I made up my mind to quit it. Just quit being so hard on myself on everyone around me unless I had a good reason for being grumpy.  One thing I made up my mind to do every morning was to look.  Just look.  It is easy for me to throw on my jacket, step into my boots and then head outside like an automaton and water and feed the goats, chickens and pony.  But I wasn't enjoying it anymore.  It had become a chore.  I still loved all of my animals but it was starting to feel as if caring for them was just one more thing to scratch off my to-do list.
So I started to pay attention to what I was doing.  To look at my goats when I took in their hay - really look.  I noticed how shiny their coats are and the size and depth of their goaty eyes.  I started looking out over the hill at the trees and the mountainsand how the fog rises up between the hills that border the highway miles away.  I looked at Clover, my pony. I saw how speckled with gray her chin and her main had become; how furry the insides of her ears are and she has big white polkadots down her
I've noticed all of that before but just hadn't thought about it in the while.  My head was too stuck into getting all of my work done so that I could go back into the house to do a little more work before showering and getting dressed so that I could drive the 17 miles into campus to work even more.

Since I've decided to take the time to appreciate my mornings a little more, I've noticed lately that I have been feeling much happier.  I only takes a little bit longer to get ready in the morning but I am much more content. It's a good feeling. It's about time.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What has been going down on the farm.

What's been going on down on the farm? Well my chickens have been behaving like chickens and I haven't been a very good chicken farmer.  For the first time in years, my chickens have started            roaming the valley.  I've always free-ranged my chickens - they seem to like it and I enjoy having a chicken or twelve waiting for me when I head out in the morning.  But early in the fall, I noticed that the neighbor's lawn was looking a little brown here and there and I wondered to myself what he had been doing.  After a couple of days, I realized that the reason why his lawn was so brown was because my chickens had been picking around for worms and yummy things-that-taste-good-to-chickens.  I was mortified.

I was mortified because I didn't ever want to be the kind of person whose animals bothered other people.  There have been a couple of occasions that my goats got out and ran over to the neighbor's yard.  My horse also got out one time and the neighbor was having a fit because Buddy was standing over in his yard.  This neighbor hates me and I was sure that he was about ready to kill me.  And my chickens.
So my youngest son and I began mission chicken catch.  First though, we had to put a roof on their pecking area so that they could fly out.  After that was done, we set out to catch chickens.  It took days and I must say, that I've become quite adept at chicken catching.  I've found that early in the morning darkness is the easiest time to sneak up and grab one.  At the high point in my chicken-catching career, I was able to grab 3 at a time and carry them to their new home.  

They have plenty of space to move around, walk, fly, and peck the ground.  But still, they are not free-ranged.  I think it would be very irresponsible of me to let them free and risk having the neighbor shoot my chickens.  So until I can figure something else to do, my chickens will have to stay penned in.  

Monday, November 18, 2013


 One of the things I struggle with most is not totally smothering my children.  It is extremely hard for me to stand back and have faith that they will be able to work through some of the horrible little things that life throws all of us.  It is hard not to hop on a train and travel across the country to be with my oldest son right now.

He says he's alright. He says he is fine.  But I don't believe him.  The counselor in me knows that like it or not, we have to deal with some pretty bad things in life.  I am a believer of talk.  Well....I don't really like to talk, I prefer to listen.  I believe that dumping nastiness into words removes the sting a bit.  I like to talk about what is bothering me. I don't like to talk to other people.  I prefer just to say the words aloud and let the bad stuff filter out into the universe so they can dissipate into nothingness.  Many times I talk to my goats when I go out in the morning or to Clover as I walk her up to hang with the goats for the day.  I make it a point to get the negativity out of me before I come back in the house and wake up my kids.  It has made me a better mom, daughter, and counselor.I realize (as impossible as it is for me to believe, that not everyone wants to talk about everything.  That sometimes, people just need to stew in their own juices . . . and that is how they deal with things.  But as a mom, it is hard. I just want to give my son a hug right now.  He may be old enough to live on his own, miles away from me, but he is still my baby. He will always be my baby.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Still kicking.

I haven't really felt much like writing lately.  So I haven't.  I haven't had anything to say.  Today was kind of bittersweet . . . one of my 16 year old daughters got her learner's permit.  I'm happy that she maturing and growing the way she should be but I can't be feel as if I've been ripped off.

Sure she's 16 years old - but I think those years were extraordinarily short.  I think somehow that we were giving short years.  Otherwise, how can it be explained that just yesterday she a newborn? How can I tell a 3 year old how to drive?  We didn't have time to do all things I wanted to do with her, with all of my kids.

I can remember when the kids were young.  I would wait impatiently for their afternoon nap so that I could have just a few minutes to myself.  It felt like freedom when the babies were asleep and I had a block of time in which I could do anything at all.  I would fantasize about the day on which I wouldn't have to hurl a car seat and then contort myself in the backseat to get them latched in safe and secure.

We told the kids and I told my two older kids the same thing......just stay small.  But none of them listened to me.  They are growing and growing.  My oldest son lives hundreds of miles away from me, on his own.  It is obvious he does not need my help to carry on day-to-day. My oldest daughter also lives very independently with her two kids - who, I might add, are the most beautiful children!  My three kids who live at home are rapidly growing up and away, developing their own interests, finding small ways to separate themselves.

So it will just be me here.  My and my dogs. And my chickens. The goats, too.  And Clover my pony.  It will soon only be One Old Goat and her little farm.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Back to the farm.

 Despite the long absence, One Old Goat has puttered along over the summer.  I'm currently getting over two quarts of milk from Leslie, my nubian.  My family has transitioned almost entirely over to fresh goatmilk.  We have milk in the freezer ready for soap, I'm using milk to make yogurt and will soon be making cheese.

I wish I could say that the garden has been as prolific.  Well, it has.....I guess.  I've lots of tomatoes - I just wish they would ripen.  It's a bit ironic that I've only made fried green tomatoes once this summer.  But this weekend when I go to visit my grandkids and daughter, I'll take some green tomatoes with me and fry them up.  I've already cooked some squash and put it in the freezer ready to be made into squash soup which I absolutely love.  I've had plenty of kale, plenty of cukes and it looks as if I'll have a bumper crop of potatoes for the first time ever!

Every year that I garden I learn something new to not do the next year.  Next year, I will NOT plant so many tomatoes!  But I say that every year.....there's just something about growing tomatoes!

Friday, August 30, 2013


I haven't had a whole lot to say the past couple months. Mainly because I've been busy. And haven't really had access to the computer thanks to my 3 teenagers.

I became the grandmother of the most beautiful little girl on Monday.  Add this to me already being the grandmother to the most handsome little boy.  And beings that I am already the mom to 5 of the most precious kids that have ever walked the planet. Well. That's true. And unbiased.

What I don't understand is how in hell can a father ignore his child? It's not like the baby is a surprise. It's not like he is being asked for anything other than a role in the child's life. Not even a monetary role.  What does that say? Normally, I would have a whole lot of things to say about this.  But I am flummoxed.  I like to see the best in people but it is getting increasingly more difficult to do so.

Screw him. That's what I say.  He's missing out on the best part of life.  The meaning of life.  His loss.  In the meantime, my grandkids have more love than they could ever know what to do with.  I sure hope that I brought my sons up better than this.  I know that I have.

Friday, June 21, 2013


One of my favorite things to do is to walk around campus, enjoying the idea that I am walking the same paths as my dad and mom, my brothers, my son and daughter.  I can almost make myself believe that it is 60 years ago and I can almost feel the presence of those long ago students. Until I see a girl with pink hair on a lilac bike with fuchsia tires and I realize that, without a doubt, I am in 2013.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Lost things.

Last night I went to our local high school's commencement. My son and daughter were both playing in the band and I went mainly because I didn't have enough gas to make the trip home and back but partly because I love hearing the band. And this is likely the last time I'll hear either one of them in the band because neither one of them will be in it next year. 

As I leaned against the fence listening to the English teacher announcing the names of the graduates, listening to the applause from the moms and dads and aunts and uncles and grandparents as the class of 2013 was officially graduated, my heart started to break a little bit.

I've always scorned those women who defined themselves by their children. But that was way back when I was juggling the responsibilities of a teenage daughter, a tween son, toddler twins and an infant son and I felt like I would never find me again.  I'll admit it freely, my life now revolves around my kids. I don't like it when I don't hear from my oldest daughter EVERY day at least once, I don't like it that my oldest son doesn't text me every day and when I ask him what he's been up to, he just says 'stuff'.  I don't like it when my three younger kids aren't home. 

My kids' graduations are not a joyous occasion for me.  When my oldest graduated, I thought I was dealing with postpartum depression from the birth of my youngest but when my next oldest graduated and I was in mourning for a week.......I realized that it was graduation and the marking of the end of their childhood, the end of our family as a 'team', that from then on, they could choose - or not- to include me in their day-to-day activities. 

So I started riding horses - lessons that I can't afford but I know that two years from now, when it is two of kids walking across the stage to receive their diplomas and enter the adult world, I had better have some kind of diversion. Something new and exciting to occupy my time.  Because it is true - you need to rock your babies 'cause babies don't keep.  They really don't. And neither do tweens or teenagers. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Have you ever seen such beautiful blue eyes?

Grey kitty's sister....or brother....
Tipper, Max, and Tucker - solving the problems of the world.
 I love being home at my little farm.  Even when my mouth feels as if I had been hit with a sledgehammer.  I love hanging with my family, my animals, my trees and my plants. It sickens me when the world intrudes on my little corner of the universe. In the way of gossip.  I've never really understood the purpose of gossip.  It has no value to me.  To talk about someone just because it is interesting, I don't get it.  Why spend precious breath telling stories about someone who will only be hurt if they knew they were being discussed? Why share negative information about someone at all? Especially if you don't know that it is true?  I really hope I've taught my kids that humans were given the gift of language to do good.  Not to hurt. Not to entertain.

Sebastian taking a swim in the creek.
This world can be a really unfriendly place sometimes. When words get thrown with the intention to hurt, I am quick to scurry back to my farm. Where I am safe. And happy.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Nice surprise.

 One thing I miss about 8mm cameras are those rolls of film that you happen upon years after taking the pictures.  It's almost like visiting the past.  I remember a few years ago during a move, I found a couple of undeveloped rolls of film in a drawer.  There were pictures of my then 17 year old daughter as a 3 year old.  I've found pictures of my family that I had forgotten I had ever taken.  In places I don't remember visiting.  But now, with our digital cameras and the ease in which we can upload pictures nearly instantly, we don't experience that surprise.  If we don't download our pictures, they stay on the camera until the memory is full. And then we risk losing them all.

But.....I have a little camera and a big camera.  The big camera takes better pictures but it is just that, big.  I lost the cable that fits it and I haven't been able to upload my pictures.  So yesterday when my daughter opened up her birthday camera, I gave her the memory card from my big camera. We found many not-so-old, but forgotten pictures.

A nice picture of our little farm on a wintry morning. A picture of baby Cookie Dough less than 15 minutes old.  Pictures of a field of day lilies on one of my favorite running routes.  These pictures are less than a year old, but it was still fun to look at them.

 My daughter was very happy with her camera and after charging it up, off she went to take pictures and to experiment with the different settings.  I found out a couple more things about that girl:  she knows had to take good pictures and she loves trees and animals. Just like her grampa.

Monday, May 27, 2013

A weekend to remember.

Memorial Day weekend. Tons of thought-provoking links and pictures being liked and shared across Facebook. Memorial Day can be viewed as lots of things: the bookends of summer, a day to get together with family and friends, the first camping trip of the season or simply an extra day to sleep in.  To be honest, it was nice to know that I didn't really have to get up so early. And I didn't. Well.....I did get up, toss some hay in for the goats, bring Clover out of her barn, make sure the chickens were good with feed and fresh water and then made sure that all the dogs got their morning chance to get outside and sniff.  Then I went back in and sat on the couch.

Memorial day weekend is also the weekend in which planting is done and I planted 16 of my tomato plants as well as carrots and some nasturtium.   Today is also my youngest son's birthday so as promised, I drove to Dunkin Donuts and bought him some glazed donuts - which is really a labor of love because Dunkin Donuts is 17 miles away.

But the best, most important part of the weekend was the Memorial Day service held in a local cemetery.  For the second year, my youngest son played the drumrolls as the roll of local soldiers was called.  Thanks to the help of our pastor's wonderful wife, we were able to secure a snare drum and a stand.  But 30 minutes prior to the start of the service, we realized that we had no drumsticks.  And he couldn't find his good white shirt.  And one of the cats had pooped on his good black pants. And we needed gas in the car.  A trifecta of calamities.

But we made it to the service in time. With an old pair of black, wedgie-inducing pants, a relatively white T-shirt and two twigs to serve as drumsticks.  And it was a wonderful service. One of our state representatives spoke as did a Vietnam vet from our local legion and there was the 21-gun salute which always reduces me to tears.  And then finally, Taps.  The drumroll was magnificent and you would never guess the boy was using sticks that he had picked off the ground.

And as I stood toward the back of the crowd and listened to the speaker, I thought of all of the men and women throughout the ages who had fought for my country.  Many of them paid the ultimate sacrifice and ALL of them were ready to die for us.  I thought about how I felt when my oldest daughter was in Iraq and how at times, I was extremely angry that she had offered up herself.  Not angry with her, but angry that I couldn't bring her back home safe with me.  How many hundreds of thousands of mothers have felt the same way?

It seems as if the audiences for these types of ceremonies has grown thinner and thinner throughout the years.  And I wonder if there will come a time when only a few old-timers will attend and will remember our fallen service members.  I wonder if I'm one of the last of a dying breed who stands in a cemetery on breezy, sunny spring day looking over a field of graves with flags flying in the wind.  I hope not.  Because if we forget the past, how will we ever know the value of our freedom?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

It's been a year.

 It has been a year since my dad left this earth.  To say it has been difficult would be an understatement.  To lose such a powerful force in my life.........well, it has been a hard year.  I'm still not better.  I still can't look at pictures, I still can't really think of him, I still can't cry.  I still have to hold my memories an arm's length away because I think if I get too close, they'll blow me away.  But I do think of him constantly. I feel him around me always.  I can't scratch an animal without thinking of my dad.  How much he loved dogs and cats and horses.  Just like my dad, my tendency with the camera is to take pictures of trees and flowers and plants.  I hear my dad in the whisper of the wind through the leaves of the trees.  I feel him around me anytime I'm out in the woods, which is often.
Because of him, I think I appreciate things a little more.  I realize that people who you love won't always be with you. That you better have fun while you can. That you better reach for your dreams while you are still able.

Today I am going to take some time off of work.  Rumor has it, that my dad always felt it was important to make time for a nap.  He was always telling me to take it easy, get more sleep.  So today, I am going to go visit the horses with apples for all and then go home, sit under the lilac tree, listen to the wind whistling though the trees and take a nap.  And think of dad.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A good day for hike.

 This was a great weekend! My oldest daughter and my only grandson came to visit! The weather was beautiful and we were able to enjoy a great weekend outside!  We woke up yesterday and set off to do a few geocaches.  I have to say that my oldest daughter is a geocacher aficionado. Or at least she was a few years ago. We all loved to geocached and ended up in some pretty interesting places as a result.  I'm not entirely sure why stopped doing it.  But that doesn't matter, the bug has bitten again.  It is always amazing to me that no matter how long you've lived somewhere, there is always someplace that you haven't visited.     For instance, one of the geocaches we did was in a local town.  A place I've been to countless times.  But the geocache took us to a part of the town we never would have seen - totally inaccessible by car.  The other geocache was relatively closeby but again, had we not been searching for the little cache, we never would have looked twice at this long ago cemetery and we certainly never would have noticed the mammoth tulip tree!

On the surface, geocaching probably seems like an odd activity to most: people looking for a little box - sometimes smaller than a matchbox.  But it is so much fun and combines so many things - hiking (you can do geocaches that take as much as energy and fortitude as a marathon), using your brain (sure, the gps guides you to the general direction of the cache but you have to use common sense and reasoning to locate it), and if you want, family time.  These things are so much fun to do with family members.

It is amazing the stuff you can talk about when you are traipsing through the woods or down a sidewalk or through a cemetery.  And the value of simply being with someone is priceless.  I feel as if I know my kids so much better after doing this type of thing.  I am so incredibly thankful that many of my kids like to geocache and to hike.  I've always hoped that I've passed along my love of nature to my kids and I think I have.

A torrid love affair

 I've written about the ducks quite a bit. It's a little like Peyton Place around here I think. A couple of months ago, the male d...