Sunday, December 29, 2013

"Get These Mutts Away From Me" --Paul Simon



I’m thinking again.


Ran DUI enforcement last night and got in at 4AM. So, when the dogs woke me up at 8:50…the lack of sleep created thought thinking I might not normally do…or well, at least think and admit.

I’ve devoted myself to focusing on the dog sitting. Having my Daisy, Gus, Lexie and Bishop. Only allowing work hours and a lunch with Ariel to interrupt the flow. I can’t tell you how many dog hairs I’ve eaten the past days. I’ve stopped trying to retrieve any that I feel go into my mouth. If I reach in to get one, I end up taking in a few extra during the effort. It’s not worth it. This morning, I found myself feeding small pieces of my boiled egg to each dog…as I ate it. My fingers just torn off a piece and let each of the four dogs take it out of the same hand with which I fed myself.  I’m not sure if I’m losing it or not. I do know that in a bind, one boiled egg can be split in many ways. Just saying.

But anyway, I’m focused. That’s hard for me sometimes. I’ve fought it wanting to get Emily over for a visit this weekend. I have not allowed myself to ask Craig. Because I know I need to focus on the task at hand. I’m teaching myself that I really don’t need to have several things going at once. To enjoy the moment. Stop squeezing multiple activities in at once. Live in the moment, Shep. Live in the moment.

I do prefer sunnier days though for dog sitting…Gus, a golden doodle, mostly white, in this rainy muddy environment…has been deemed a mud puppy. But they have to go out.
Rain can just cause glitches in this dog sitting.
Picking up soupy dog doo is not real fun…but necessary…if you leave it lay, they seem to run through it or Bishop (who must be on a tether at ALL times) will drag the led through every pile. Guess how may piles daily with four dogs…12+…poop machines…furry poop machines. Maybe all that tail wagging stimulates the activity…who knows. I’ve been conducting poo pickup twice a day. And it’s time consuming, you know…if you LOOK for it, especially if you haven’t had the opportunity to view the act in progress…and mark the area in your mind…it’s difficult especially since there are decaying leaves all over. I’m convinced if I really want to move quickly in locating the “stuff” I should put on my nicest shoes and venture out…then it’d be inevitable. I’d probably be stepping in every pile. But hey, I’m not complaining…life is a poopie business. Accept it and do the paperwork or end up with a stinky disposition.

But poor Gus. I have never thought anyone would be afraid of Paul Simon. When I put it in the player, he wants to hide in the closet. I turned the sub woofer off…and I don’t play it loud. I’m too old for that. Maybe, it’s the words…(?)  

“Don’t want to end up a cartoon
In a cartoon graveyard”
Bonedigger, bonedigger
Dogs in the moonlight
Far away my well-lit door
Mr. Beerbelly, Beerbelly
Get these mutts away from me
You know I don’t find this stuff
Amusing anymore”

Maybe if I were a dog I’d take offense to it…Who knows what goes through his mind. Daisy loves Paul…but again, her favorite song is the father/daughter song…probably cause he sings of loyalty…

I'm gonna
Stand guard
Like the postcard
Of the golden retriever
And never leave”

I have learned something so far in this round of dog sitting…you might want to practice, too…Get up in the morning…and eventually put your clothes on…over your pajamas (I have to do this to go outside and play ball and conduct poo detail). At any point during the day if you start stressing, just take your clothes off! Yep…there you’ll be in your jammies…and all will be good again.

 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Dog "Tails"


So, I dog sit sometimes…and 98.9% of the time I enjoy it…even though it’s a lot of work. I’ve just never been scared of work. ‘Specially if it produces good stuff. Daisy’s enjoyment percentage is quite a bit lower, but she’s not writing this, I am so it’s mine that counts right now.

I’ve blogged about different dog sitting experiences in the past. Including a nine day stay with Hampton and Reggie…and I would like to do this with every dog sitting experience but it’s exhausting keeping notes and trying to find the time to put it on paper. So I have just come to say a few things here and there on Facebook via pictures or blog about an incident that was nonetheless doggone scary as when Peanut was with me and the story “runs” away on it’s own. I’ve had Izzy run into the road, take a tumble with a car only scrapping some fur off her leg but this is not the only death defining act she has encountered. I heard the Georgetown by-pass has a sign up: WATCH OUT FOR IZZY! There are so many “tails” but my mind is seared with the scary moments and all the fun lessons and behaviors are easily forgotten. I know if I don’t get this down tonight I’ll forget and it was so funny…

I had fixed pancakes for my supper…oatmeal pancakes, with blueberries, with pecans served with applesauce on the side. I did share a few bites with the canines…this is a bed and breakfast,  you know. I started cleaning up and all the guys and gals went to find a place to rest. Daisy, who remember, I said has a lower percentage of enjoyment from dog sitting? Well, she went to the bed…Bishop followed her. Lexie went to her dog bed in the living room and Gus went to the couch. I loaded the dishwasher and since Gus had not finished his dog food, I poured it in a small baggie to keep it somewhat fresh. One piece fell out as I poured and landed in the floor. Now Bishop, who is in bed, in the other room…He comes running in the kitchen, straight to the dropped piece, eats it and goes back. Like some kind of sonar! It was a funny sight I want to be reminded of later…so I write.

Earlier this morning…we were headed to the dog park. Because Bishop likes to run and I’ve written about that before, too. I decided I was going to take him somewhere he can run loose and get his ya-ya’s out as much as possible this visit. So first thing this morning, not counting coffee, I did load Daisy, Gus and Bishop…Lexie won’t go with me…the thought of being crammed into the truck is just not her idea of joy. I get in the truck and drive…and noticed the door on Bishop’s side is not totally secured. So as I turn onto Winchester Road, I take the shoulder to secure it. I’m very concerned about fast close vehicles so I open my door just enough to get myself out…and BOOM! Gus is OUT!!!! On WINCHESTER ROAD!!!!! I am a fast operator, yes…but pleeeeasssseee!!! I yell, “NO GUS!” And look up at the white pickup coming toward him and throw my hand up and yell, “Stop!” Which he does and Gus stopped long enough for me to grab his tail, (so sorry but it was a desperate measure, I didn’t pull it, I just used it as a hold on tool as I reached for his collar—NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THIS INCIDENT). I put him in the passenger’s seat and yelled, “THAT… WAS… STUPID… GUS!!!!!!” Daisy was sitting behind him and her ears were pulled back looking toward him as if she were saying, “YOU ARE IN TROUBLE NOW!” But he wasn’t …he was safe and that is what mattered. However, I did experience an adrenaline dump…that took to the dog park to subside.

And so…the first full day …it’s close to bedtime…everyone is safe, fed, watered and worn out…and as I type…Lexie sneezes, Bishop sit up, Gus starts barking, Daisy gets up and looks at Lexie and I laugh. Lexie starts fusing at everyone like an embarrassed little ole lady…hopefully I can catch Lexie’s fussing voice some time. It’s very authoritive. Now she’s gotten up and left the room. We’re so juvenile.

 Video caught just minutes after my post...Gus suddenly decided to wrestle sleeping Bishop and even though Lexie is worn plum out...she took a few moments to get a little bossy.

video
 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Scarred


I shared with you

I placed in your hands

Fragile as it was

You tossed it up

Exposing it to many

You allowed it to fall

Breaking my confidence

Leaving sharp shards

To penetrate my soul.    
 
DLS / 2013
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

Proverbs 25:19

Confidence in an unfaithful person in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.

- King James Bible "Authorized Version", Cambridge Edition

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Driving Ms Juanita

Granny got her license when she was 55; I remember when she did. When she was here with us, I asked her why she decided to get her license then. She told me she got tired of having to ask others for rides. I’m so glad she did. She and Aunt Juanita would go for country rides as they got older. Aunt Juanita told me that Granny said it relaxed her. Familiar roads…they do have a way of easing your anxiety. They would go to McDonalds and Aunt Juanita tells me, as they left, Granny would say, “Let’s go for a ride.” And Aunt Juanita would tell her, “Well, Georgia, that’s what I was thinking.” Aunt Juanita told me when I asked her how often they would take these rides, that they did so “whenever we could catch a good day.” “Sometimes, we’d stop and get a coke and chips”, she reminisced, “I’d feed them to her as she drove.”
Their usual scenic route was Old Richmond Road, to Walnut Hill, to Delong, to Tates Creek Road, to Spears and into Nicholasville before heading back home. On Spears when they would past Liberty Road, Granny would say, “Well, we’re right back where we started, Sis.” You see Aunt Juanita lives close to Liberty Road in Lexington. These are the kinds of things we talked about today as we took the ride the two sisters had been riding for years. The first time this year. The first time since Granny last drove her. My heart was so full. I tried to fight back tears so I would be the safe Sunday driver I needed to be. But she melts my heart. When she talks about loneliness, when she speaks of missing my granny, her sis and my mother, her niece. Sometimes, she talks of her late husband, too. Her memories create a closeness to those she loved and as she reminisces, the heaviness in her heart is lightened. Her eyes sparkle and her words are clear in every mention of Granny, Moma and Leon.
I called her and asked what she thought about going for a ride and she said, “Let’s go!” I was expecting the usual, “No, it’s just not a good day for it.” “No, the weather might turn bad.” “No, I probably should just stay home.” But she had been doing laps in the yard, as she does every day the weather permits, and the autumn winds had called to her. I’m always so proud to see my 92 year old Aunt hoist herself up into my truck. “This is my obstacle for the day,” she said as she climbed in without the help of a step stool.
She came out of the house in Moma’s coat, a tweed short coat with red, purple, pink and blue. Immediately telling me how it makes her feel close to Wanda when she wears it. How she can wear any color pants with it and how she hopes to get a purple pair of pants to match the purple in it. Moma came up during the ride several times. As we passed a big red barn on Walnut Hill, Aunt Juanita told me how Moma got up in the yard across the street so she could take a good photo of the barn and all its glory. She talked about stopping at country stores with Moma on rides. And she talked about how Moma liked small towns. She was so precious as she explained, “Wanda liked what we liked. I guess you could say we were compatible.”
It was perfect lighting, perfect weather, just plain perfect timing. The colors on the trees, the sights along the way, I felt were there for her viewing. As if Granny  made the request and things were divinely taken to the point of perfection for “Sis” on her long awaited Sunday drive.
As we passed through Nicholasville, I stopped at McDonalds. You must know the two sisters were McDonald’s consumers that defies all “make you over weight” odds. Her request for a burger is always the same. A quarter pounder without cheese on a regular bun, cause you just don’t need to digest all those seeds. She torn the bag in such a way to make a drop cloth of sorts on her lap. She placed a napkin in the opposite side of the burger because, “Sis always said she didn’t like looking at a cardboard box while she ate.” She recognizes their peculiarity and went on to expound on several quirks. If they were given fries that had salt on them, they would get extra napkins and wipe the salt off of the fries before they ate them. Then as time passed they began to pull the ends of the fries so they wouldn’t choke on them. The inside of the biscuits, in their favorite biscuit and gravy meal, were always discarded before the rest of the biscuit was broke into pieces and the gravy, which is always ordered on side, was applied.  She knows she’s’ persnickety. She chuckled at the workers at McDonalds having to get used to all the quirks. Just part of her…I offered to take her to Frisch’s…but that was out of the norm for thier country ride. 
I asked if she was up to seeing the creek on the Hundred Acre Wood…and she was. I drove her down passed the plowed fields and parked closed to my thinking spot. She marveled at the little waterfall, the clearness of the water, the little island spot. I held onto her as we walked. Plenty of walnuts have replaced those I picked up last month. It’s like walking on marbles. I would so hate to be the cause of a fall that would render her dependent. I picked a walnut up, smelled it, saying, “I just love the smell of walnuts.” I handed it to Aunt Juanita and she smelled it saying, “I do, too!” Then looked up at me and said, “What in the world is wrong with us!?” “Not a thing, Aunt Juanita, not a thing.”

 

 

Friday, October 18, 2013

A woman, a dog and a walnut tree, the more you beat them the better they be. (?) ---Thomas Fuller (a churchman and historian)


I pulled into a little lot where the signage indicated tractor part sales. But I could tell I was in the right place to let go of these walnuts. There were orange bags stacked high on palates. There was a truck backed up to an area where a small crew was shoveling from the bed. At least five trucks of all sizes pulled in after me. I got out and went inside. The lady behind the counter acted as if I was on my own with this process and told me to line up outside.

I go back out to the truck and think everyone and his brother showed up while I was in there with my brief inquiry. Most everyone wearing flannel shirts and blue jeans with black walnut stain, work boots, missing their teeth, looking like hygiene was not one of the important elements of the day. And…most had a cigarette hanging from their lips. I backed up toward the area cause I knew I should be next and while they were still shoveling out of the same truck I noticed coming in, I walked over to one of the fella’s at the station.

“I’m foreign to this process,” I yelled over the noise of the hulling machine.

“You’re what?” He responded with a look of confusion.

“I ain’t done this before,” I yelled back.

“Oh! He said and pointed toward the line across the parking lot. “Go get in line.”

“I believe I was here before all those in line already, Sir.” Fortunately one of the fellow workers has seen me pull in, probably noticing me due to having a golden child hanging out the back window and he shouted, “She was here first, I seen her!”

So, I got my place and backed the truck in. Two of the fella’ s wearing flannel shirts and caps, one with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth started shoveling. I started asking questions…cause for one thing, I was foreign to the process having picked up walnuts as a child, but not been a part of the selling. For another thing, when you feel out of place, like you walked into another world, it helps with the anxiety level to chat someone up.  

The hulling machine had a belt that lifted the walnuts up to be hulled. As they were hulled it spit the refuse out to the right down another belt into a bed of a truck. To the left it spit out the walnut (still in the shell). A poochy bellied fellow wearing jeans and a white t-shirt stood there with an orange mesh bag catching the walnuts as they came out. His poochy belly was accented by the walnut stain on his t-shirt which seemed to indicate his belly’s frequent contact with the product.

Evidently, I was a threat…This is the second time this week I’ve been a threat but I’ll save the first experience for another day. This day, standing beside my truck, as the flannel shirt wearing country man shoveled walnuts from the bed of my truck into the hulling machine, with a partial cigarette hanging from his lips, I was treated as a threat yet again.

She was walking up behind me as I asked about the use of the discarded hulls. He slowed and explained they drove it "up the hill there", pointing in the direction, and "spread it out…it's like a fertilizer." She swoops in, refreshes his front flannel pocket with a new pack of cigarettes. He never stops working, they move together as if they have practiced this many times. Without stopping she picks the partial cigarette from his lips, plants it in her lips, glares at me and walks away. I was so relieved she “marked” him like that cause it would have been a real career changer for me if I had been given the opportunity to fall for him.

Three and a half mesh bags of walnuts. The fellow with the walnut stained t-shirt weighed my product and gave the blue memo note to the fellow that almost had my heart before Cruella stepped up. It read 177 …He told me to take it inside and the lady behind the counter would cut me a check. I thanked him for his help and pulled up to the door. The lady wrote out a check and handed it me. Yep, folks, $13.00 per 100 pounds after hulling…my truck bed almost full held 177 lbs hulled. The check for $23.01 was accepted with a smile and a thank you.

When I walked back through the door viewing all the trucks with the women and men waiting their turn to dump and gather a small check that will probably just cover their carton of cigarettes, their desperateness hung heavy in the air…and Me in my dark Gap jeans tucked into my snazzy orange rain boots, my clean black shirt getting into a nice Toyota truck, sporting a well feed, beautiful golden child…yep, when at all possible, I'm driving Ms Daisy… I felt so out of place and like I had mocked them.

Might seem nutty to you, but regardless, I did drive away with a feeling of accomplishment; for the life experience, the enlightenment, the connection with country.

 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From the Tree?




This year was the first year I’ve ever had a fruit tree produce and allow a harvest. I’ve picked up apples full of bugs, lots of bruising, with worms, attractive on the outside but rotten on the inside, some tart, some sweet, and small knobby and full of juice ones. My thinking has been stewing about “the apple falling” every since the harvesting started.
I’ve heard it over and over again…by people reading about problem children, about teens who are into troubled times and on call after call…as co workers have to start dealing with children of repeat offenders…saying, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”
Well, may I suggest, the fate of the apple…is not up to the tree.
I’ve seen great guilt over a child’s behavior as well, as the child embarrassed by a parent’s behavior. I’ve seen parents frustrated with their children’s behavior, embarrassed at times, and so put out that they are ready to disown them. I’ve seen parents not recognize the precious “fruit” they have produced and the joy they bring to others. I’ve seen parents just not care about the harvest.
And I have something to say…cause nature teaches us along the way if we pay attention.
Think along the lines of the apple tree…How can so many different apples fall from the tree? In the process of bloom to “the fall” many things can happen that will enhance or take away from the desired function. Fungus, bugs, birds, worms, animals, weather (lack of/heavy rains, heat/cold) to name some…So when “the fall” occurs…being produced by said tree or the short distance it falls from said tree, neither are responsible for the condition…or usefulness of the apple.
These “apples” that don’t fall far from the tree…mentioned by folks who think the parents are always responsible for the actions of the child…these “apples” are more precious than any fruit. So many experiences can determine the usefulness of these “apples”…that the parent tree cannot prevent or just didn’t see it coming so to prevent. Think about worms such as a sexual predator or the teen who is introduced to drugs by “a friend.” Think about media, the influences music, movies, television have on the developing mind. Think about nutrition and how the lack of can affect brain cell growth and health. Think about education, how the lack of it or the false teachings can affect the mind. Are these not just like the many causes that affect an apple on the tree?
Again I suggest, the fate of the apple…is not always up to the tree.
 “Train up a child in the way it should go and when it is old it will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) Notice it doesn’t say, “Train up a child and it will never make mistakes.” Notice it doesn’t say, “Train up a child and you are totally responsible for all of their actions.” It does suggest…there are choices involved…and they are up to the child…and all the parent is responsible for is the training.
When I was in first grade, I checked out the same book every week from the school library. It got so that the librarian said I had to wait in between checkouts to allow other children a chance. Rain Makes Applesauce  (Julian Scheer(Author),Marvin Bileck(Illustrator)). I loved the nonsense. I loved the illustrations. Now that I’m older I love the idea, that a life process produces beyond what you generally think. For those adult children that think their parents are rotten apples…for those parents who think their children are rotten apples…God makes Applesauce…doesn’t matter the tree…or the condition of the apple…He can make something good from it. I'm not just talking silly talk.
For those parents who feel guilt…for the disease your sweet apple may have, for the choices your sweet apple has made, for the predators that lay hands on your sweet apple…I understand the guilt…but it’s unwarranted.  Guilt is a nasty habit. Work at letting it go. As I’ve learned from a very wise lady… “Life happens and you are not in control. Let the choices of others belong to them. Own your own choices. Let God reign over the evil and wickedness of this world… help make a difference when you can.”
And too...many parents are often given credit for the inspiring behavior of their adult children. When in fact they may have produced the child but another tended the fruit. Which reiterates, my thinking...the fate of the apple…is not always up to the tree.
So consider stoping…stop comparing parents and their children whether it’s giving them credit/responsibility for good/bad behaviors…just stop, it’s like apples and oranges.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Capturing Life...Just Peanuts


Peanut has been with us since Sunday. His family was able to go on a trip so special with Sophia (Read about Sophia Grace on Facebook under Sophia's Journey). He was elected to vacation here on the 100 Acre Wood. He’s adjusted quite well. I learned right off when Peanut doesn’t get his way, he acts out. I’ve raised six children…I got this.
Peanut liked it here...right off...I placed him on the lead shortly after his being here and he did not want to come in. Just enjoyed lying out staring into the field, meditating enjoying the air.
 
                                                             Peanuts first hours here

Peanut’s insistent barking responded well to Mr. Squirt Bottle. This I didn’t figure in until after the second night of serious sleep deprivation. Once figured in, we sleep straight through the night Mr. Squirt Bottle on guard at my bedside table. Peanut’s crate within reach of, let’s say the long arm of the law. I’ve not had to use it during the night because the day I figured it out was Tuesday, when Cora and Grace were here. I used it once as Cora slept and now Peanut just has to see it standing guard and compliance comes naturally. The rumble mumble that took the place of the barking is so much more pleasing to the ear.

From Monday evening, the second day, I have let Peanut off his lead to play ball in the field. He enjoys playing ball just as much as Daisy and Autumn and his focus stays with it. In fact he is very aggressive and tries to catch all of Daisy’s throws and his. In this setting the barking is permitted…outside where there are no walls to bounce the sound around. I throw the ball to Daisy, he runs after her and it barking like crazy, “It’s mine! It’s mine! I got it! I got it! Most of the time Daisy has it before he gets there so he’s ready to see where his throw is going next. They will play over and over…and now I’ve added another to the line that stands looking at the top of the refrigerator at the “Chuckit” requesting ball time.


 

Peanut loves to ride and I take him with me somewhere every day. On a Starbucks run, to Papa’s, to the dog park, etc. He’s a good rider, too. It’s obvious he’s a “let’s go” kinda dog.



                                                              National Dog Day

Tuesday, evening we went to Coldstream Dog Park. Perfect gentleman…didn’t bark at the other dog that was there, in fact, for a brief time decided walking with them was more exciting than walking with the two blonds he arrived with. We played ball (hid the balls so we could chance venues) and then walked a lap. It amazes me the focus these canines have for a ball. When we completed the lap, all three lined up and were ready to get their leash.

Peanut understands the Pika rules here now. At 13 years old, this cat has a right to have a few expectations. “Stay outta my butt, and I’ll let you be in my company.” She told him…and now they even lay around together.

Wednesday, we went to the creek. Once down by the creek, I took off Peanut’s leash. Nothing about the creek concerned Peanut. He was off and playing…like a duck takes to water…Placing his whole face into the water trying to catch anything. Once it was time to leave, he came to me with what seemed like a request to put his leash back on, so I did. Further into the field, I took it off and let him run with Daisy and Autumn. He scouted and George and I put him back on the leash at the hay barn.
video
 
 
 

It’s all been a very interesting ride one I felt was going well. But I had gotten so used to Peanut’s compliance that I forgot the first thing I learned within 30 mins of his being here… when Peanut doesn’t get his way, he acts out.

The reminder came today, Thursday, at 8AM…after a great night’s sleep. They begged to play ball…”It’s too early,” I tell them. They insist. It was an odd start as Peanut started attacking Daisy for her ball and not paying any attention to his own. So I put him back on the lead…threw with Daisy for a bit and then it was Peanuts turn. I took him off the lead, threw the ball, he retrieved it and ran around the house. Wait this is not in the program. Never has been. So, Daisy and I go to locate. Yep, he’s just taking a dump in the front yard…pissed and marking…it’s gonna go bad…just then the hay guys pull in and Peanut runs to the truck barking like he might chew their legs off. Really, Peanut…all this time…really…while I’m in my pj’s with no over the shoulder boulder holder…(I’m clear I don’t have boulders, guys, but it rhymes, ok!?) And then with no reason whatsoever, as in a defiant manner, he runs to the base of the driveway into Hume road…with me yelling…and running after him. As I ran, I threw the ball down the drive…hoping the drivers who couldn’t see me yet would see a ball and stop…you know like…ball in the road, child may be close? Right….I get to the entrance the red truck that was in the right lane had three vehicles behind it; two were coming up on the overpass the other direction. And Peanut? Running back and forth in the lanes. I stepped out into the road…yes, in my pj’s…put both arms up with my hands indicating stop in both directions and wishing I had my traffic whistle instead, yelled at the driver of the truck, Stop!!!! He hit his brakes and everyone on both sides did…I walked the middle of the road so they were clear not to move and called for Peanut. He came to me…only about five inches from arms reach and then ran again. The lady who was in front to the line that stopped on the overpass, got out and Peanut finally went to her. I thank the drivers as they passed holding Peanut close to my chest…for several reasons.

Returning to find Daisy sitting at the entrance to the driveway (where she is not permitted to cross) holding the ball in her mouth. I wanted to capture that image…I love to capture life. But right now, it’s just Peanuts.

 

Peanut as I type this...Probably dreaming about his little run down the road.

 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Three Years Have Past...

 
Today...on this the anniversary of Moma's new birthday, I thought of how she wasn't supposed to have children...how with the rematic fever she so suffered from when she was a child taxed her heart in such a way the doctor advised her not to have children. I thought about if she hadn't been such of a fragile body, hadn't had four children whether she would have lived longer. How different things would be, huh?
 
I thought about how I must celebrate the life/lives she left behind. I made sure I noticed things throughout the day...the butterflies that danced along the fence line at the dog park as Daisy and Autie enjoyed their doggie adventure...I made certain I held the hand of the man she thought so highly of...I called her Aunt that was like a second mother to her...and I ate ice cream as that was the last thing she ate before she left us.
 
And at the end of the day, as I am alone, I cannot help but cry...but as I do I can hear the the birds singing...and notice the apples on the tree that have never been so present and recognize the life they represent...and when they are ready for consumption...I will make a pie...and give it away
...as "baking and sharing" was also something Moma wanted to do in her last days.
 
So, her giving will go on...not just in our hearts.


 
First I've seen these apples on the 100 Acre Wood

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

“For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), It’s always our self we find in the sea.” – e.e. Cummings

I’m not a science fiction kinda person. But I remember somewhere in a television show or a movie there was a person who appeared in a hologram kinda thingy. I always think it would be cool if God appeared to us like that. Cause I have so much swimming around in my head. That’s how it is when I’m “tripping.” Tripping on Marco Island this week…and even though George and I have brought a teen and a five year old along, I still have too much time to think. Probably more than usual. At home I can stay so busy I can’t make stops at the shelves in my mind where things are stored. But when I’m tripping…and it’s raining…and exhaustion makes me slow down I tend to pull the dusty boxes off the shelves and rifle through them enough just to stir up the cobwebs and create chaos.

George needs his sleep for his adventure coming up so I crawled out of bed as not to disturb him. It’s too early for the seasoned sleeper to arise especially while on vacation. So, I got the coffee brewing and decided to get some of these thoughts on paper. While watching it rain…from the fifth floor of the condo overlooking the vastness of sea. I want to settle some things before the younguns drag out of bed, before George texts me and requests his coffee. I set up on the balcony with everything I think I will need to complete this task, returning to the kitchen for the coffee.

What I found when I returned was a sight that made me squeal with  delight…and I ran back inside and got my camera. Stretched across the ocean in bright array was a double rainbow. You could see it from one side of the balcony to the other. Like it was framed just for my viewing. The full rainbow was sitting like a hologram on the waves. I had never seen any rainbow like it. Its colors were brilliant. The bow had precise definition. The movement of the waves under the end of the rainbow gave such holographic imagery. I had that wondermous feeling…I was where I am supposed to be.

To some readers you may think, “You are on a beachside vacation, of course you are where you are supposed to be.”  It’s not that easily decided in my complicated mind. I have to have holographic images, voices from heaven and signs to show me the way. There has been great guilt lingering in my mind as my granny passed only three weeks ago to this day.

And here I am. On the beach. Creating memories with George and two of my grandchildren. It seems terribly wrong in my head. Like her passing wasn’t honored. Like I went on with my life and losing her was trivial. And to leave Aunt Juanita at home alone after her sister had passed…and then her 19 year old cat…seemed insensitive and uncaring.

But seeing the rainbow in its holographic state…sends a wave of confusion to my way of thinking. What if…the All Knowing, seeing that Granny would pass on June 11th, after three long months of what seems like torture in my thinking, in which I would try with all my power to prevent these torturous days…what if All Knowing wanted to allow me a regrouping time after He took her from the pain and torture? What if He wanted me where I am right at this moment…

In early October of 2012, after picking Emily up from her mother we headed to the 100 Acre Wood. We talked about so many things as we always do and then it got quiet. As any experienced parent/grandparent does when it’s quiet you always make sure all is okay. I turned to look at her in the back seat. She was deep in thought. So, I asked…”Whatcha thinking about girl?” Her response was one I’ve told many times as it made an impression in my mind, as if I took video of the conversation. Her sweet little voice, her matter of fact manner, her simple desire exposed to her Mimi. "You know Mimi; I have never been to the beach. I haven't kicked and screamed. I haven’t cried and threw fits. I've just been very patient." Yes, in her little Shirley Temple voice, with her “r” and “v” sounding like “w” and “b” I thought my heart would melt. I told her right then I would see what I could do about that. To make sure before she’s six that she would see the ocean.

On October 27th, a friend posted at 11:27 “Hey There Friends -We have a FL timeshare ON the beach that we cannot use 6/13.I am contacting a few friends to see who may be interested. It will be first come, first serve. It is June 28, 2013 - July 5, 2013.” At 11:44 I responded, “I’ll take it.” I remember it well, as George was with me and he thought I was nuts for only thinking about it in such a short time. Just remembering that moment makes me smile.

Going back to 2000, the year after Silas was born, I had him with me at one of Scarlet’s family get togethers. One of my not so pleasant memories.  Granny and Aunt Juanita was there. His smiling little face so precious to me. He loved me so and I him. I introduced him as my grandson to Granny. She immediately said, “He is not your grandson. When Craig has children then you will have a grandchild.”  Ah, I thought, tell Silas I am not his Mimi…I may not be his Mimi by blood, but I am his Mimi by heart…and that is a stronger love than any can offer.

And here I am…fulfilling a grandchild’s dream, Craig’s daughter to be exact, making memories with her and my oldest grandchild, Silas…while wrapped up in thought of my Grandmother. I tried to have all the grandkiddos travel with me…but these two, Silas and Emily were the only ones that could.  In October 2012, Granny was living with Aunt Juanita. I had no indication of what was to come. She went into the nursing home on March 13th 2013 National Butterfly Day…As the time came near for this vacation week, Melanie who was supposed to meet me here in Florida, decided she could stay at my house and care for Granny instead while I was out of town. But Granny was called home before then. Melanie’s vacation days used for funeral leave instead.

So  here I am…missing my granny…enjoying my role as a granny…in Florida, where Granny loved to travel, on Marco Island where there are butterfly gardens…where God speaks to me through a holographic rainbow.

Where the sun is shining on the clutter in my head...

The Holographic Rainbow
 
 
My grandson, Silas and grandaughter, Emily
searching for treasure...
 
 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

"Life is short ... even in it's longest days"...--John Cougar Mellencamp


Grief.

After Granny's service I had Aunt Juanita, all of my siblings and their children in my house on June 14th. I didn’t take one picture. I had all of my children and their children in my house on the 15th. I took a few pictures of Meg and her newest niece. I don’t think I have ever felt like not taking photos. It was good to see my children and my grandchildren though. It gives me hope and a future.

I took George with me to pick up Granny’s belongings from Bluegrass Care and Rehab last night. The room was empty, her belongings packed and stored in the closet. I do not ever want to go back there again. I pray I never get dispatched there. I feel for the very few employed there that have a heart. I feel for the elderly that depend on this staff.

Walking to the creek and back feels like I’m trudging through mud.

I took Aunt Juanita some corn salad this afternoon. I had made it for my family the day before. I was so worried she might not like it…that she might be napping when I got there…that she might just be wanting her space. But when George and I got there she was standing at the kitchen sink and turned toward the door as she saw me walking up and said, “Why, there you are!” And again, I smile and this time when I do I don’t feel guilty like I have been when I smile. I give her the potato salad, ham and my corn salad. I take her trash out. She chats with George while she warms up a cup of coffee in the microwave…at 160 secs…”cause she likes it hot.” She wants to try the salad and does. And becomes so enthralled with it, she eats and eats and forgets about the milk and crackers she was getting ready to have when we drove up. She looked at me as she was enjoying every bite and said, “You make this again, you bring me some more.” She talked with us about when Granny lived with her before going to the nursing home. How she cooked good for Granny. How Granny liked to snack. And she was happy as she told us all about Granny’s appetite all the while devouring the corn salad.

I go through the day thinking I have to hurry up what I’m doing so I can go check on Granny.

It’s difficult to look at the photos I took of Granny in her last days.

I long to have captured moments like the one after the service when Aunt Juanita asked Emily to come to her and then lovingly explained that Granny went to heaven to be with Jesus and is no longer in pain.

I don’t have Granny’s laundry to keep up anymore.

I placed her two quilts on both couches and her butterfly throw on the chair…and my living room looks like a cozy Granny room.

I’ve gotten caught up in thinking about Granny’s age. 90 years old…that’s another lifetime for me. I just turned 48…

I have memories to make with my grandchildren…and hopefully, I can inspire them as I have come to be inspired by Granny.

Grieving doesn’t get easier. You perhaps just get used to it being a part of your day.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Celebrating our Granny....Georgia Virgina Haggard


 
 
On June the 11th, the good Lord looked down upon His child, Georgia Virginia Haggard, heard her cries of pain and gave her rest. She needed this rest you see because of years and years of giving and doing…of ministering to those in need…of ignoring her needs so she could provide for others. I believe He carried her home, welcoming her and proclaiming, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

I want to share with you the kind of strength and love my Granny displayed by sharing some of the many endeavors she embarked upon. It was after her death that each piece came together revealing a quilt that truly covers the realness of Georgia Virginia Haggard.

The quilt began when she married at fourteen and had her first child at fifteen. She went on to have two more children. One who would be very ill in her childhood because of rheumatic fever, another that was deployed to Vietnam. The giving wouldn’t stop with the child raising years for she was called upon to  provide again for her adult son who suffered such in a vehicle accident that it rendered him dependent. She provided and cared for him from 1975 to 1994. Even when she could not care for him full time, she picked him up from the Stewart Home in Frankfort  for holidays and weekend visits. She would later care for period of time for her adult daughter who was diagnosed with kidney cancer. And perhaps the most loving giving sacrifice that truly shows her heart was how she took her own mother into her home for 17 years so her mother would not have to go to a nursing home. Her family was her joy. Her obligation to her family did not waver. All of her grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren have been touched by her giving soul, her precious smile, her relationship with God. There is no doubt she blanketed them in times of trouble disregarding her needs and giving beyond measure.

Her tenacious spirit was not just with her family. She and her sister, Juanita Carter would visit the shut- ins and those in nursing homes where church members were residents every Tuesday. They would take them pumpkin pie, bananas and goodies. They would send cards and notes. They visited nursing homes in town and in Lancaster, Harrodsburg, Nicholasville and Georgetown. Aides at the homes would give them names of residents that did not have visitors and ask them to take them under their wing. It was on January 21st of 1990 Wallace York of Ashland Avenue Baptist Church honored them as the Barnabees—daughters of encouragement for their ministry to the shut-ins and the nursing homes.

Granny developed friendships with people everywhere she went… in McDonalds, with Marietta, her hairdresser of 25 years, with Pat, a housecleaner/yard keeper/genuine friend for 13 years. Her neighbors knew and loved her. Even the teen children across the street would seek counsel from Granny.

She had presence… and the people around her respected her. She worked successfully at FW Woolworths and at a drug store that is no longer on Maxwell and Limestone. She was a supervisor at Irving Air Chute selling Avon as a second income. Juanita talks of how the district manager at the Irving Air Chute factory on inspections would ask Granny if she would jump using one of her parachutes. And she would reply emphatically, “Yes!” She was that confident in the work of those she supervised. Not only was she successful in her supervisory position in the factory but also quite successful in the sales of Avon. She received many awards and accommodations for her sales. Her sincere love for people no doubt aided with her success in this role.

Now Granny didn’t get her driver’s license until she was 50. Once she did, there was no stopping her. She drove I believe until she was 88. And oh, the places they did go. Their first trip was to Virginia to see family. They made five or six trips to Daytona Beach, to visit family, to Gatlinburg TN driving in the mountains to country rides as frequently as they could. It was like a trinity, my Granny, her Sis and the car. They would pack coolers of food and just couldn’t wait till the time to stop and get into them. When it came time for Granny to stop driving, I believe a piece of her soul was taken.

I wonder if somewhere on the way to Daytona Beach, in a little bar and grill if there is still an irregular parachute that the owner on one of their trips asked Granny to bring…and she did next trip…and on other trips she would stop in and connect and find her parachute was still being used as a canopy…

Granny had talents …at making quilts, at painting ceramics, growing flowers, and bowling…for some of her talents she recieved trophies for others they became heirlooms.

She rocked all of her children and passed her rocker on down to my mother who passed it onto Scarlet.

The heritage she passed on is priceless…her heart was gold…her love for God was strong…

And I learned from her…so much about her and myself these past months…And I miss her so…

The night Granny passed I went to her sister and made sure she was okay…and I felt a piece of Granny was still here. The day after Granny’s last breathe I went again to see her Sis…and again the heart wrenching pain I felt eased a bit while sitting and listening to Aunt Juanita talk about her little sister. They were truly bonded…nothing could separate them. Granny helped Aunt Juanita through so many surgeries. They were the Golden Girls to me…because they were golden to each other. Granny and Aunt Juanita were a team. Their travels were together. Their stories include each other. The hearts melded together. In the final days, Granny’s pain was Aunt Juanita’s pain. And I watched as Aunt Juanita wanted to take it from Granny. I watched as she petted on her little sis encouraging her. And I am inspired to make certain my sisters and I have just a piece of what they had together, for just a piece of what Granny and Aunt Juanita had would create a wave of care that could cover us till the end of our lives.

Aunt Juanita loved her sister very much…the closeness they shared closed each day. And every night as her sister lays her head down to rest, I’m certain, Granny’s nightly conversation with her will replay in her mind:

“I’m going to bed now, Sis.”

“Goodnight.”

“I love you.”

“God Bless you!”
 

 

Friday, May 10, 2013

We Pray for Children.........




We pray for children

who sneak popsicles before supper,
who erase holes in math workbooks,
who can never find their shoes.

And we pray, for those

who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire,
who can't bound down the street in a new pair of sneakers,
who never "counted potatoes,"
who are born in places where we wouldn't be caught dead,
who never go to the circus,
who live in an X-rated world.

We pray for children

who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions,
Who sleep with the cat and bury goldfish,
Who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money,
Who squeeze toothpaste all over the sink,
Who slurp their soup.

And we pray for those

who never get dessert,
who have no safe blanket to drag behind them,
who watch their parents watch them die,
who can't find any bread to steal,
who don't have any rooms to clean up,
whose pictures aren't on anybody's dresser,
whose monsters are real.

We pray for children

who spend all their allowance before Tuesday,
who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food,
who like ghost stories,
who shove dirty clothes under the bed,
and never rinse out the tub,
who get visits from the tooth fairy,
who don't like to be kissed in front of the carpool,
who squirm in church or temple and scream in the phone,
whose tears we sometimes laugh at
and whose smiles can make us cry.

And we pray for those

whose nightmares come in the daytime,
who will eat anything,
who have never seen a dentist,
who aren't spoiled by anybody,
who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep,
who live and move, but have no being.

We pray for children

who want to be carried
and for those who must,
for those we never give up on
and for those who don't get a second chance.
For those we smother…
and for those who will grab the hand of anybody
kind enough to offer it.

We pray for children.

Amen

 

We Pray for Children, 1995, William Morrow publishers

 

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Blessings


The Last Supper...A meal of celebration…a gathering of family most not even aware of what was to truly happen, but a sharing so each one could remember His instruction to drink from his cup as they would later literally in the days to come. A reminder that they were family and the experience to come was to be reflected upon and respected.

The Bible tells us, Jesus knew what was to come, yet He bravely walked forward. The embarrassment of being stripped in front of so many, being mocked, stuck, spit on, made to wear a crown of thorns, hung upon the crucifix. He had a purpose and He fulfilled it…He could have called 10,000 angels…

Even in his dying moments He was true to the cause…and glorified God.

Easter…celebrate your family…your experiences together…celebrate your liberator…celebrate His willingness to provide what you needed at his expense…celebrate His God…celebrate that He allows you to be a part of His story…celebrate life…celebrate death… …may you be able to function past the dread of whatever you have lying before you because you know He’s got this…all wrapped up…may each day for you be as the child who with anticipation opens that egg looking to discover what special treat is hidden inside…May you remember that because He has risen, you can live triumphantly, too…and because He lives…you can face tomorrow.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Because My Tears Cannot Change Their Fate

“Come to me, I need you,” she said from the front seat of the state car. “Oh, Baby, let me get your baby brother in his car seat and I will come right to you.” As I am trying to strap the one month old infant in the seat in the cold dampness of the early morning, the five year old little boy beside his infant brother says, “Take me home with you, plllleeease…take me with you,” as he leans into me staying as close as he can.
 
I spent the past nine and a half hours in this house, with what started as a call about pit bulls fighting in  the back yard. When I gained entrance into the home, the five visible grownups were sitting calmly in the living room. As I walked out into the back yard, I felt as if I could explode but yet so helpless as I saw the four pit bulls chained to the fencing, and the brown one so thin, cowering, with blood all over his ripped face. He wasn’t showing any aggression toward me but silently requesting aid. I was so locked into wanting to help that it took me a bit to realize there was a chain and collar on the ground without a canine. After searching the missing dog was found, in the master bathroom with the owner. It’s leg ripped and bleeding heavily, it’s face the same, still wagging its tail as I approach. Animals and children can be so forgiving…
 
The time spent with the children in the time it took for paperwork to be completed by the cabinet allowed me to play, cuddle, encourage and support these innocent souls. Children who are not giving what they need by their caregivers often experience attachment issues. And these children were no doubt experiencing such. Their mother there with them after she had time to return from being bonded out from jail, the two older ones knowing they were waiting to be taken to a Foster home… choose to attach themselves to me. And I remained strong and encouraging until I got into my cruiser and drove home. Then I cried and talked to Daisy. She listened … I believe she smelled the fear and blood on my pants where I had helped load the dogs into the Animal Control wagons. She understood.
 
This morning…I woke crying again. I look into Daisy’s big brown trusting eyes and I cry. I look at my grandchildren’s portraits on the wall and I see their love and trust as they looked at their Mimi snapping the photo and I cry.
 
I was divinely given a video to view on this day…
 
 
On this day…a heavy heart…and was reminded that the video just shows that there is strength in numbers and if we have strong leaders such as me…to rally the troops, eventually we take our children back.
 
With that I can go out again tonight and face whatever comes at me…knowing He delivers just what we need at the time we need it most.
 
And so I’ll pray for the children…the animals…and I’ll continue to stand for the innocent because my tears can’t help…they just cleanse my soul so I can keep fighting new.
 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

On This...National Butterfly Day


After Ariel picked Grace up this afternoon, I went to pick up Emily from school. Then, I assisted with acclimating Granny in the “Rehab” center today. At least that’s what we call it. Emily went with me. Her son and his wife did a lot of paperwork in an office room. Aunt Juanita and I talked to Granny. She tried to be brave. We left and I knew it was not okay in her mind. Aunt Juanita knew it, too.

Today is 03/13/13….National Butterfly Day. Granny loves butterflies. Perhaps that’s where Moma learned to love them so. Today, a special butterfly landed on Bluegrass Care and Rehab. I only hope they recognize her beauty.

I took Emily to George’s house. Daisy, too…She had sat in the truck, Daisy did, for the two hours that we were in the nursing home. So patient. Emily played hand games with a patient who was rolling by in a wheelchair and by doing so made the lady smile and Aunt Juanita smile, too. She was terribly disappointed when a nurse came behind the strange lady and guided her away.

I ran by Aunt Juanita’s and picked up Granny’s Bible and glasses. Aunt Juanita was very worried about her sister. She expressed her gratitude regarding me stopping and talking with her for a while. This is not easy. And we decided that every time we worry about Granny, we will pray instead. She had me take pictures of her making a face at Granny hoping to cheer her. I did…and as she stuck her tongue out allowing me to take a photo of her, I thought, sisters…only sisters would do something like this to cheer each other.

And then I went back…to the Rehab…and as I walked in the door, my granny was in a wheel chair at the nurse’s desk and the looks on all the five that were standing there made me think Granny was conducting a “come to Jesus” meeting. She wanted to leave. She was angry. She wanted them to call her son. They had a wrong number and couldn’t. I gave them the correct number and they dialed and handed the phone to me. I looked at them like it was a dangerous object and handed it off to Granny. When he answered she set him straight, too. After a couple of minutes he must have asked if anyone was there with her…cause she looked at me and said, “What’s your name!?” “Donna”, I answered, “Granny, Donna.” She went back to the conversation and said, “Donna is here with me, Donna Lynn!!!” Then she went back to telling him how he needed to come pick her up and how she’s of age.

I asked they give her something to calm her as at night she experiences anxiety and confusion. And I got her to take it. She chased it with a bite of homemade chocolate cake I had brought in with me. She allowed me to stroll her back to the room and we chatted as the medicine began to work. But it didn’t work fast enough…she begged me to take her home. She told me of all the people she thought I would be the one to look after her. She cried and cried about being scared. She cried and talked about how lonely the room was. I scooted her close and hugged her as she cried. She begged me to get her out of there. And it went on for a long time as the medicine kicked in she was able to listen to what I had to say. And even though she refused me to help her prepare for bed, she started to calm. Then the nurses came in for the head to toe assessment. For 50 minutes Granny cried, screamed and moaned as they removed bandages and replaced them after assessment. She is a frail woman…her skin hurts so badly. I think since she’s 90 and had never been hospitalized her entire life till this past week, had never visited the doctor regularly…no series of tests in her life, etc, I think it makes this whole experience even more traumatic. She had hoped to avoid it. And for 90 years, she did. It was hitting her like a tidal wave now…and she just didn’t have the experiences to help her cope. She asked me repeatedly, after the assessment, “Who’s going to stay with me? You aren’t leaving me alone?” “I’ll remember this,” she told me. I told her I had to get Emily in bed. But I would be back in the morning. I told her about Aunt Juanita (Yes, I showed her the photos earlier and she made the face back at Aunt Juanita as if they were face to face….sisters) but I told her about how Aunt Juanita and I were thinking every time we worry we should pray instead. And I told her I didn’t want her to stress…”no more stressing, Granny. It’s not good for you,” I told her. She closed her eyes and said, “I know stress makes mess.” I wanted to take her home with me, but instead I bent over and kissed her forehead and told her I loved her and would see her in the morning.

And I left.

And I cried.

And I prayed.

I had to get it together to pick up Emily and Daisy from George’s. I didn’t mention…during the assessment, Granny cried out, “Don’t let the little kids see me like this.” I assured her Emily was at home that she was not in the room. Protecting. That’s what she was doing…that’s just what we do. Even in our pain.

It’s almost 9:30 and we are all three heading back to the 100 Acre Woods when I realize I have no milk for cereal in the morning. Too exhausted to get out at a store, I drove through the Wendy’s drive through and ordered milk. I realized I hadn’t had dinner, Emily had eaten with Papa. So I got some food, too, since I was there. Two vehicles in front of me. I just wanted to get home. My safe place. Finally when I got to pull up to the window, the big black truck in front of me slowly pulling away, the worker explained to me this:

“Ok,” he said, “there seems to be a string of good deeds going on here tonight. The one in front of the truck paid for the one in the truck behind him. The truck behind him paid for yours. So, you don’t owe anything.”

I immediately looked behind me, feeling desperate, as there was no one waiting. “But I don’t have anyone behind me so I can carry it on!”

He said, “That’s okay, don’t worry about it.” I sat there for minutes hoping someone would pull in. Emily was thrilled. I was grateful. Grateful that I had a gentle reminder that God cares. That He allowed me to be ministered to at a time when I felt so beat and spent. That I had to accept the gift and couldn’t repay it so quickly…that it was suppose to stop with me…to take care of me…to speak to my heart.

And tomorrow, I can wake up and began again…creating good, bringing happiness to others, using what I have to show I care….

Tomorrow, I’ll pay it forward. Tonight, I will sleep and remember He cares…and will go out of His way to show it.