Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Case of the Dead Ducks. previously reported news, it seemed as if Daisy and Donald Duck were both dead by the hands, er paws, of a fox.  By the amount of feathers strewn about the yard, the blood on Daisy, who, for all intents and purposes, appeared lifeless, I assumed she was dead. And with Donald nowhere to be found, I assumed that he was also dead - that the fox had eaten heartily that night.

So imagine my surprise, after spending a day in tears, frantically looking to purchase a pair of ducklings, when I came home and saw that we had two beautiful white ducks in the yard.  Really, they were beautiful albeit the one was missing quite a few feathers, still had some blood stains on her back and was walking rather stiffly........Daisy and Donald weren't dead after all.

I can only assume that Daisy was traumatized - obviously- and that is why she didn't move and appeared to be dead. And apparently when he saw trouble, Donald was no where to be found.  I have no comment on the similarities of the duck and human male gender.

Regardless, it is so nice to have the ducks alive.  Daisy is back to her old self and Donald has been keeping close to her side.  Every night we lock them in the barn to avoid any future attacks.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Why Memorial Day is so special to me.

There are a number of reasons - some that I can only pull from the periphery of memory, others that are up close and personal.  I can remember attending - every year - the Memorial Day service in Townville, PA.  That is where my father grew up and where my early memories are from.  I remember standing in the middle of the cemetery by the high school listening to speeches from, I assume, WW1, WW 2 and Korean War veterans, because that would be the time period in which I was that age.  I can remember the 21 gun salute - that went on and on and on - and I was terrified because I was just a little kid and at that time, my dad was in the Air Force.  I remember - vaguely - the later times - one, in particular, that my dad spoke.  Perhaps that was after the Vietnam war - I don't remember but I DO remember that I STILL hated the 21 gun salute.  I both love and hate that my dad had a 21 gun salute at his funeral.  And to this day, both taps and that salute make me cry like the 6 year old I was when I first heard it.

We have a new neighbor - a very nice 19-year-old man who was able to purchase a home, has a nice car, a sweet girlfriend and a very polite step-son.  My family and I are happy to have them as neighbors.  But I look at him and what he has accomplished and I think of my oldest daughter when she was that age.  She had been in Fallujah for a little over two months on that Memorial Day.  She was able to call me and I swore I could hear the crack of gunfire over the phone.  How different are those two lives.  All of those young men who were drafted or chose to enlist for the military, especially in Vietnam.  I didn't realize how those boys were mistreated upon their return until my father-in-law told me.  That is beyond anything I can imagine.

So this Memorial Day, I will try to keep it in the front of mind, the reason for this day.  Thank you to all who made the ultimate sacrifice and all who were willng to do so.

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.

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...