Friday, October 23, 2009

Shh...I have to whisper..

I have to whisper...I can't let my captor know I am trying to contact the outside world on company time.  You read it right...I am at work.  Wait a minute, you don't have a job do you? Aren't you retired?  YES, yes I am..or I was, it would seem. Now here I sit, trapped in this office.

Time is dragging by.  No, it's crawling. Actually, it doesn't seem to be moving at all..  I keep acccidently looking at the clock. It's like poking something dead with a stick. It's disgusting, but I can't stop myself.

How did this travesty happen you might ask? Well even if you didn't ask, I'm going to tell you. And since I don't know how to do one teeny, tiny little thing that would be even remotely helpful to anyone here at this office, I'm going to start at the beginning and give you the really, really long drawn out version.

Many years ago, in a land far, far away (Cooper Michigan) there was a happy mom with four VERY rambunctious little boys that took up all her time and energy..

Oh rats, here comes the boss.

They grew up. Her husband forced her out into the work world..

The End.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A "novel" endeavor..

No, no, no,no, nooo!!! Why, oh why?! I can't believe it! What was I thinking?? I'm doomed!
It all started last night. There I was minding my own business. Reading a blog, choosing another from the ones that commented, going to their blog, picking another from the commenter’s, going to their blog... I was so far into the deep recesses of Blogdom, I could NEVER have backtracked my way out.

Suddenly up pops a little message on my screen. I have a note from Tori.  Ah Tori,  a dear friend and fellow blogger, she has been most helpful in guiding me through the do's and don'ts of blogging. Well let's see what "The Tor-ster's" up to tonight:

Hi Pam,
I don't know if you've ever heard of this:  You write a novel in a month. It starts November 1 and ends on the 30th (duh) . I am seriously considering doing this. I'm wondering if you'd like to take this crazy journey with me.

Let's see what I said:
Gee Tori, I’ve never even considered writing a book, I've got no ideas. 50,00 words? Wow. That seems like a lot of time and effort to put into something that would be awful. (See? See my response right there? I am using my deductive reasoning skills. It doesn't happen often. It's my inner-self quietly telling me no. No Pam, don't.)

Tori: Most of what results is CRAP, but that's half the fun. They expect crap. I have no idea what I would write either. I think that's part of it, just letting go, concentrating on hitting the word count goal w/o worry about the content.

Me: Hmmm ...I don't know...the time commitment.. the fiction thing. I wouldn't even know what to write about... (See, here again, that inner voice of reason)

Tori: We could encourage, commiserate, celebrate, procrastinate with each other! We could set small rewards for goals met. We could celebrate huge if we succeed. It would involve carbs....lots and lots of carbs...and alcohol {and maybe strippers}

Me: drooling slightly..Carbs? Oh my. Dang it all, she KNOWS I'm in the carb-less hell of Phase 1 on the South Beach Diet! (This is when I start to hum  a little. My inner-voice is still talking but I can't quite make out what it's saying. )

Tori: Maybe something surprising would come out of it, ya know. Bragging rights that you wrote a novel is one! No pressure really... I could do it alone I guess...I'd still luv ya...

Oh no! Poor Tori, I can't let her be alone in this.  (My inner-voice is now screaming bloody murder, "She LIKES being alone! She WANTS to be alone! Let her do it .. ALL alone!!!)

Me humming loudly..Well,  I guess it might be fun...and if there's carbs involved and they really just expect drivel... then, ...Okay, I'm in.   (My inner voice is now crazily rattling around  in my mental cupboards looking for a VERY sharp knife with which to cut off my two typing fingers.....)

I am not really a writer, I am a yammerer (this probably isn't a word, but you get the idea). My mind flits around like a butterfly, never landing in one place for too long. I think that's why I enjoy blogging. An idea comes, I ruminate on it for awhile, spit it out into the blogosphere and viola! I'm done and it's gone, never needing to be thought about again.

But another thing about me..I'm faithful. Once I tell ya I'm there, I am (just usually 15 to 20 minutes late).
I told Tori I would do this, and so I will. I will write a REALLY crappy, confusing, jumbled novel in 30 days time. So here I go:   "It was a dark and stormy night..."

Sounds fun... doesn't it? :-/
Care to join us?

Friday, October 9, 2009

He just doesn't get it. Why I Blog...

Last night in bed, my husband turned to me.  I could tell by the look on his face that this was not going to be the usual bedtime question (you know the one I mean). "Oh no", I thought, "here it comes".  I had been dreading this elephant in the room for weeks, dancing around it, all smoke and mirrors. He leveled his gaze looked deep into my eyes and asked...

"Why do you blog?"

I was a deer caught in the headlights. "Well, I blog because I...because it..." I sputtered. "Ooohhh, I don't know why!!" He just looked at me. "Oh" was all he said poor guy. But how can I tell him why,  when I don't even know the answer myself?

I have been spending a lot of time on my laptop lately...I mean A LOT of time...hours...days..weeks. I felt a little obsessed and slightly out of control. Sitting here tapping away with the dishes and laundry piling up around me. Still in my pj's at noon. It's been my guilty little pleasure, my "new love".

I have a better handle on my priorities now. I'm showering regularly again, the house is back in order. But still, even with the house sparkling and dinner in the oven, I have a tendency to jump up from the computer the minute I hear his truck in the driveway. (I have no idea why I do that.)

But back to the other why.  Hmm... blogging...why.. Well, it started by chance. An adorable, young college friend of mine began blogging and I really wanted to know what was going on in her gifted mind.  I read her blog, loved it and wanted to tell her so. To do this it seems, I had to have a bloggy thingy of  my own. No problem. I filled out the form, came up with a name off the top of my head, and posted a comment to my darling friend. There. Done. Wait...

My blog looked so empty compared to hers. All of a sudden it was like getting a new apartment. I had an empty space to fill, colors to choose, little gadgety furnishings to place here and there.  SO FUN! I loved it.

When I was finished, I thought it was beautiful. But now what?  What would I do if this really was my new apartment? I'd have some friends over! I'd invite them. But to what, a blog with no blogs? No words, no thoughts..oh, I couldn't have that. That would be like having no wine in the fridge! I decided then and there that I'd better write something.

I sat down at my computer with a nice hot cup of coffee, put my fingers on the keys and ....nothing, not one word, thought or idea. Eww. I found this a tiny frightening.. I tried harder...still nothing. When did I stop thinking, I wondered. Trying not to panic,  I was finally able to bang out a few words strung together. But the fact that I couldn't come up with any thoughts profound or otherwise worried me. Was this the start of my downward slide toward slack-jawed drooling in front of the TV??

I needed to do something to get my my mind ruminating NOW! So every few days I sit down to write. At first, thinking was a challenge (I can't believe I am even telling you this!), but I'm finding, the more I do it the easier it becomes. Kind of like exercising...only for the brain..

 As a somewhat newly empty-nest mom, blogging has helped me get through some tough times. Times of family moving,  hormonal issuesMichigan winters and having my only grandchild live far away.. But in reality, more than anything else, I blog to keep my mind humming on all cylinders.

And to keep this from happening to me:

Wouldn't you??

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

You've Been Warned..

This is your daily "what to wear" update from the good folks over at WWMT Weather:

Good morning West Michigan! How can they always be so lively?
(Massive amounts of Water Street Coffee me thinks!)
Anyway, back to the forecast: "We're all waking up dry this morning, by the end of the day though, we will all be much wetter.

A strong, fall storm will spread rain into West Michigan this afternoon. This rain will get steady during the evening and may bring a thunderstorm or two. Another big story will be windsWinds will rip across Lake Michigan tonight. Gusts could easily reach 40 mph; with a WIND ADVISORY expected for us."

Have a nice day. (What??)
WWMT Weather Team

This is very clear isn't it? It plainly states "There is a storm on the way. You've had fair warning, get ready now."

If I were like most horse owners, I would  spend the rest of the day bringing horses in to put their rain sheets on them, securing the barn doors and making sure all hay feeders and water tanks are full. But that's not the way I operate. I am wired (or miswired) so completely different, that MUST wait until the storm is emminent,  (lightning flashing on the horizon) before I even begin this process.

Then when the time is right,  (wind, rain, thunder, darkness perhaps), out I'll go with an armful of rain sheets whipping in the wind behind me. I head out to the field, talking softly and cooing to my herd, offering a bucket of grain to their leader, Marq, the oldest and most docile of the bunch.  The wind, however, has a way of making horses spooky. It can turn a 25 year old, slowpoke into a fiery  race-horse running for the roses.  Additionally, this behavior is catchy. All you need is one horse cutting loose, to turn the whole herd into a wild mob of mustangs trying to out run the Bureau of Land Management helicopters.

It's exasperating to say the least. As I begin the chase, my mood is one of calm, it deteriorates rapidly however, to one of frustration, then anger and finally near panic. Soon I am running after them screaming their names, throwing things and yelling that I hope they ALL get struck by lightning.
(I know. I'm not proud of it.) Ultimately I will collapse in a wet, exhausted, chest-heaving heap.

That's when it happens. First I'll hear a soft snuffling sound behind me. Then a fuzzy nose will touch my shoulder. I'll turn around and he'll be standing there all wide eyed and innocent, with the rest of the herd on his heels. It melts my heart everytime.

Rooted there in the wind and the rain, he will look at me with those soft brown eyes as  I hand over the bucket of grain. With the storm whirling about us, he will let me halter him and head toward the barn, the rest of the brumbies single file behind us. I'll lead them into the warm bright barn, where bedded stalls and fresh hay wait.  So satisfying; the warmth of the barn, the soft snorts and nickering, the sweet smell of hay..

I wonder what makes me tick. I could save myself so much time and frustration if I would just do things in a timely, orderly fashion. But I don't. Not ever. I know it baffles those who love me. Is it some weird control thing? They don't get it. I am equally disgruntled about my behavior, but seem to have no ability to change these extremely odd quirks I struggle with.  I would change if I could, wouldn't I? And if I could, I should...right?  Hmm..

Well looky there, it's hailing...gotta go, it's chore time! ;D

Monday, October 5, 2009

Beauty is in the Eye...

A week ago I went to Chicago with a friend to celebrate her birthday. As we were primping and preening to go out to dinner one evening, I began to bemoan my lack of eyelashes. She turned to me, cool as a cucumber and remarked, "What's the big deal about having eyelashes?" What?? Now you have to realize this question was posed by a woman who looks like she has a black  butterfly wing attached to each of her upper lids.  What's the big deal?? Hello!!! On the left is a photo of my eye. On the right is hers. See any difference between the two???

I am English on both sides of my pedigree. Descended it would seems from the Royal House of Hairless. I believe my lines are simliar to say that of the Chinese Crested in the canine world. These guys aren't actually hairless, but are covered in a fine fuzz over their entire body. Like this:

Sure I can blow, curl, spray, paste and laquer my hair into a style, but I will never have long, luxurious, run your fingers through it locks. My friend on the other hand, has a mane like this to go with her lashes:

Want to see us in another species? Once again me on the left, her on the right:

I am also a direct descendant of "Ferdinand of the Big Feet", but that's a story for a different day...

Friday, September 25, 2009

When did I become a butterball?

Actually I am  more likely a wine and cheese ball, but either way, these last few years I have let the pounds sneak on and my middle thicken. I think am beginning to resemble a member of the Pillsbury Dough family. Either that or my arms, legs and neck are getting shorter.

To make matters more complicated, for the last month or so,  I have been travelling almost non-stop. Weddings and birthdays are such fun and  I love gathering with family and friends. Lots of yakking, lots of food, lots of drinks. And speaking of travel, what about those hotel "all you can eat breakfast buffets", aren't they awesome?  Though I doubt you are actually supposed to see how much you can pack away, I act like it's a contest or something. Bleah. I'm starting to feel like I may  pop. ENOUGH with the eating already!  I will never run a marathon and I do not really hibernate, so there is no reason to eat as if I do.

I have always gained weight in the winter, lost it in the summer. I've been my own personal sundial. Long days equal slender and fit, short days equal chubby and subdued (read fat and lazy). But somehow my metabolism changed when I wasn't looking and now I gain weight in the winter, don't lose any in the summer, gain weight in the winter, don't lose any... You get the idea, and guess what, winter is coming. If I don't get a handle on this now, you won't be able to see my limbs at all by Spring. 

So yesterday I ate a goodbye Whopper (not the junior), fries and a coke. This morning I signed up for the South Beach Diet online. I didn't have a lot of the ingredients needed for today's meals so I had to modify somewhat, but my body got the point...the "carb party" is over. Although the first two weeks will be pretty tough, (no bread, potatoes, bread, rice, bread, beer, bread, wine or bread. Did I mention no bread?),  I like the over all looks of the diet, very balanced, satisfying amounts of food, some sweets.
Here's a problem though, I don't usually cook, I graze. So today was spent shopping and chopping and prepping so it won't take me hours to make my meals, because when I do cook, I have a tendency to nibble (read: gobble) while I work. 
Another problem? I haven't been getting any exercise. So today I went back to the gym...Wow have things changed there since my last visit. New machines, an awesome coffee bar, a ..WATER PARK?  Cheez! How long has it been since I  worked out last??  If you know the answer to that, please don't tell me, I don't really want to know.
I went to a class called BODYPUMP. Each person grabs a barbell and then weights it up according to their abilities. The instructor then puts you through hell, a full body workout,  yelling insults encouragment while she attempts to kill you  works you for 45 minutes to an hour. There were little bitty grey haired women with more weight on their barbells than me. I looked like I was holding a really long silver Q-Tip, and I still struggled to get it over my head. Tomorrow I will be so sore I won't be able to use my pudgy little arms at all.  Sad.
 I have always taken my health and my slender frame as a given, like the color of my hair (don't go there..that's a topic for another day) or the color of my eyes. It seems pretty arrogant when I look back on it, but here's the cold hard fact, it isn't easy anymore, and now I'm scared. 
I want to be active and healthy for the rest of my life, but in reality it's not going to a breeze like it was before. Now it's going to take hard work and sacrifice (Goodbye curling up on the couch with a good book for hours. Goodbye double bacon cheeseburgers, great big beers and DQ Turtle Sundaes..hello aerobics classes from hell, water, veggies and lean meat in all it's forms...boiled, broiled, baked, stewed and shoe leather). 

Changing my lifestyle for good? Wow, that's daunting, but you know what? I'm okay with it,  I just have to be. Hey, I'd better get to bed, I've got to work out in the morning..  :-}

Hanging tough!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Boy's Gone Crazy

He seemed normal enough. An all-American rough and tumble kid, baseball in the summers, football in the fall. Yes, he was normal. Normal, that is until he got bitten by the bug....

The way I heard the story, it all started innocently enough. An easy phys-ed option for a homeschooler. It was his mom Jewel's idea, his dad was fine with it. Oh, if only his parents had realized the firestorm that would rain down on their lives, their time and particularly their finances from that point on, they would have run kicking and screaming from the idea.  If only...

They tell me I had something to do with the craziness that followed. I don't remember it that way at all. I am sure they sought me out. I didn't even really know them. I was just trying to be's not my fault...really... I am some degree...

Here's the way I remember it: Jewels to The Boy: "Would you like to take riding lessons with some really cute blond girls?" The Boy: "Yes." (See? I had nothing to do with it.)

So off they went to the farm of The Darling Blond Girls for lessons on one of their show horses. It was great,  The Boy discovered that he really enjoyed being around the beautiful, fiery Arabs and The Darling Blond Sisters. He also found he had a lot of natural ability and soon became a very capable rider. (Bitten, and I was nowhere around.)

Once young people learn to ride, the next step is usually showing. I don't know why, I'm just telling you, that's what happens. Darling Girls to The Boy: "Would you like to show our horse, Financial Firestorm at the county fair? We'll be there, we can share him." The Boy: "Okay."

Showing sounds like a fine idea. Let's say you want to show western, you''ll need to get an outfit to show in. You need boots, leather chaps, a belt with a HUGE silver buckle, a hat, gloves. If you are a guy, a western shirt and black jeans. For girls you need more, so much more and so expensive that all horse show mom's are sworn to secrecy about it. And this is just the rider, the horse needs stuff too, a western saddle and bridle (usually loaded down with silver) and a fancy saddle pad.

Okay, fine you think, although showing Western is expensive, we can swing it... but wait, there's more. Most kids don't want to show just Western. They want to show English too, and maybe jumping, saddle seat, speed and action, dressage. It goes on and on, each discipline needing it's own outfit, boots, saddle and gear. If only they'd known.

So The Boy shows, and The Boy wins, and The Boy is hooked. It is now too late for Jewels to put a stop to this.  The stage is set, and the madness ensues.

The Darling Girl's horse is old, too old it is decided,  for The Darling Girl and The Boy to share it  anymore. This is a problem, a big one, because The Boy is hooked.  The Darling Girl's mom mentions to Jewels that she knows a person that has talented equids and maybe, just maybe, one might be available for The Boy to use. Here is where I entered the picture:

I've got ponies. Wonderful ponies. I also have beautiful horses. Too many really. I LOVE them, I NEED them! I CAN'T live without them!!! (I know, I'm working on this area of my life...) So Jewels called me up out of the blue and tells me The Blond Girl's mom has given her my number.. I repeat...I was just trying to be nice.

You know what? I didn't know what I was getting into either. You can't just say here's a pony, have fun. They didn't have any stuff. No saddle, no bridle, no barn, no fence, no trailer. So The Pony would have to stay on my farm and The Boy would have to come to her. But... He wanted to show.

Before I knew what hit me I was taking The Boy, The Pony and Jewels to 4-H meetings, riding lessons, horse shows and the county fair. I didn't mind. Jewels is an amazing cook and I'm not. She often paid me in food. She is kind of like a tightly wound Martha Stewart and her husband is the Energizer Bunny Man. Soon my flower beds looked amazing, and my parties and family gatherings were  planned, complete with food prepared and delivered. It was AWESOME! (I miss that.)

Another thing, it is impossible to stay a stranger with their family, before you know it you are on their Christmas list and invited to Easter dinner. I can't even BEGIN to explain them. It's like a modern day Walton Family vortex. I have never seen a family that has so much fun together or likes each other so much. I think they make up holidays just to be together more. And there are so many of them.  They pull you in with a tornadic force and tumble you out the other side well fed, laughed out and loved up. You find yourself thinking "Goodnight John Boy, goodnight Mary Sue, goodnight Jewels, goodnight Energizer Bunny Man, goodnight Boy.   Anyway..

So the Boy's father caved in and built some fences and shelters. The pony went to their place. Eventually they bought a horse trailer and they were on their own. The Boy grew. He moved up from The Pony to one of my horses.

In the course of time The Boy's  parents bought him his own horse. Not too long after that, his dad even built him a beautiful riding arena, and The Boy proceeded to transform his young, untrained horse into a muscular athlete, competing with him and winning at show after show.

Now though, The Boy is a boy no more..he is a young man, tall and handsome, an amazingly gifted rider. Today he sold his horse for many times what his parents paid for it, a testament to his talent and his training abilities, as well as a nice nest-egg for college. And guess what. He needs another horse.

Hmmm, I wonder what Jewels is making for dinner..

Where is love?

Love is patient.

Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

Love is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love covers offenses.

Perfect love casts out fear.

True love cannot be quenched.

Love always builds up.

Love is God is...LOVE.

Truth. Fo sho.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Facebook Floozy

Last month I was fine, happy, innocent if you will. Practically an internet newlywed. I didn't mean for it to happen...but goofing around on the web when I should have been busy doing something productive (like arranging my Tupperware according to color and size), I met someone online. Actually, I met 75 someones...I discovered Facebook.

I didn't mean to fall in love, I couldn't help it. They make me laugh, encourage me when I'm down, remember my birthday. We've just become so close, my 105 friends and I. There is no way I could give them up, don't ask me to. I'm hooked, practically addicted. I went from innocent to Facebook party girl in two short weeks. These days I'm forever wondering when and where I'm going to get my next Facebook hit. I think about it even when I'm nowhere near a computer. Usually I can't wait to get home to check and see if anyone new has "friended" me. Last time my friend Tori visited from Chicago we sat our laptops side by side at the counter, me checking my Facebook, she writing her blog.

I bet this is how any addict feels. The anticipation, the thrill, the score, the satisfaction and then of course the remorse and guilt when realizing how much of myself I've wrapped up in this endeavor. I'll sit down in the morning to just take a quick peek at the new posts before starting my chores and when I next look up from the computer three hours have passed..

Check this out. F.A.D. There really is a Facebook Addiction Disorder, I KNEW IT! Great, another acronym to add to my collection: A.D.D, P.M.S, and now F.A.D. I hope there's a 12 step program for this or I'm going to end up in marriage counseling as the dishes and dirty clothes pile up around me. So...

Hello, my name is Pam and I have F.A.D...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Whats the matter with me?

Today I mailed a high school graduation card to a darling girl, whose family I have become close to over the years. Sweet right? Yes, well...the only problem is this particular girl graduated from high school last year. What's up with that? Did I know she was graduating last year? Yes. Was I invited to the graduation party? Yes. Odd? Yes. I had her card, I just never mailed it.

You are probably thinking, oh that kind of thing can happen to the best of us on occasion. But therein lies the problem...this isn't occasional, it is constant and on going. My regular mode of operation. I once bought my sister a birthday card saying how she looks good for someone old enough that she wore bell bottoms. Then I waited so long to give it to her that bell bottoms came back into style and the joke became pointless.

Usually though, once it had been too long after the event, I will just bag it and try to pretend it never happened. I would be embarrassed for a gift to show up six months after the couple is married, the kid is born, etc.

Wait, it gets worse..the lack of gift doesn't usually stop me from going to their wedding, toasting the bride, doing the chicken dance with their family and bellying up to the bar...crass aren't I? Horrible.

Paralyzed to change maybe. Not that I haven't tried. I'm sure Dr. Phil would have a field day taking this quirk apart. What goes wrong? I buy cards by the lot. I have darling birthday, graduation, bridal shower, wedding, baby shower, baptism, first communion, anniversary (including a 50th), retirement, get well soon and this is horrible, sympathy cards. A person's whole life could be congratulated and comforted from my card stock alone...

Is there any hope for me? I'm not sure, but I'm going to keep trying...

So anyway..

Happy Graduation Shelby. The card is the mail... well not in the mail, but in my purse ready for the post. Okay that's a lie. It's still in the drawer, but I'm getting it out now..really...

Love you Kid.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Wild Fire

I guess she thought she was retired. That would explain her stubborn aversion to anything that even resembles work. She probably assumes that after raising all those babies she deserves to meander around at a relaxed pace, enjoy her leisure time and eat continuously. Hmm, this sounds kinda like me..

I am however, talking about my faithful steed Maravilla Del Rey, "The Wonder of the King". This is the Andalusian mare our farm is named after, and in her prime, she WAS a wonder to behold. At one time, athletic, high-spirited and full of life, the years and the babies have now changed her shape forever. She sways and swings in places she never used to. Gosh, this sounds like me. Anyway...

A dutiful mother, Mara has birthed and weaned her last sweet baby, and so is retired.. from parenting. Now she needs something to do (my opinion, not hers). Something to fill the time, something so she doesn't just stand around getting fat and creaky (again this could apply to me). A "job" if you will..

Therefore, today I decided to ride her.

I went out to the pasture with a halter and lead rope hidden in a bucket with a tiny bit of grain in it. (Brilliant right? This trick has been working since people started riding.) Well, she didn't fall for it. Just as she was within my reach, she sensed the danger I posed to her very existence and bolted. With all the other horses standing and staring, I chased her around and around until we were both wheezing and gasping for breath. She eventually realized that I wasn't giving up and let me catch her. After haltering her, I basically had to drag her up the hill to the barn.

Even though she seemed practically lifeless, Mara hadn't been ridden in a few years, so I thought I'd better work her in the round pen prior to riding. Finding a girth big enough to go around her giant hay belly was challenging but again I persevered. After grooming and saddling, I lead (read: dragged) her out to the round pen, where I tried to get her to move in a circle around me at anything beyond a lumbering walk. She looked like a small elephant, a very old one, wearing a monkey saddle. She was without energy. It must have drained from her body during our earlier "chase scene".

Well okay, I guessed she was ready to ride. I lead (again read: dragged) her over to the mounting block, which in her view had morphed into a crouching bear intent on eating her, and eventually hopped straight out and miraculously landed on her. Tada! After much encouragement, we walk, trot and finally even canter a few strides around the pen. This quickly becomes BORING.

I decided to "cool her out" by taking (forcing) her on a trail ride. Every step away from the barn is like walking through deep mud. We were barely moving forward. She shuffled and schlepped her way along. It took forever to get down to the end of our drive. Finally, we made it. I gave her a pat on the neck, told her she was a good girl and slowly turned her back toward the barn.

That's when it happened. My 20 year old, over weight, sway-backed mare suddenly turned into Seattle Slew at the Derby gate waiting for the bell. She chomped the bit, danced sideways, she even hopped up and down a little.

Alrighty then. I have a few tricks up my sleeve too. Let's do circles, a sure way to bring an agitated horse back under control. Circling, circling, circling. I'm starting to get a tiny dizzy. I turned her away from the barn and head down into the woods. With her veins popping out, she is a sweaty, prancing, bundle of nervous energy. Nostrils flaring, ears flicking, she is GORGEOUS!

The trail twists and turns. I can tell she's no longer sure of the way back to the barn. I let her trot, she becomes lofty and animated. A fallen tree is across the path ahead and I start scanning for a way around it. No need, she's over it with a foot to spare. Who knew she could jump? A turkey darts out from the brush, scaring the heck out of me, but Mara doesn't even flinch. What happened to the carnivorous beasts laying in wait behind every bush?

Who is this brave and fiery equid? I feel like I'm in a scene from "Lord of the Rings" or "Blaze and the Forest Fire".  Finally, with the barn again in sight, I slow my beautiful mare down. Even her walk is huge and ground covering. What a ride. What a horse! My mind is spinning with plans, the fun we are going to have. Oh, the places we'll go! Now though, Mara is a hot sweaty mess and really does need to be cooled out.

As I turn her away from the barn however, she transforms into an ancient heavy-footed behemoth from the times before time, slowly inching her way toward the tar pits.

Moving once again, like January.

Ah well.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Hard Look in the Mirror..

This entry was difficult to write, so I know it will be uncomfortable to read. It may make you squirm a little. But man or woman, parent or spouse, I pray if you see yourself here, even a little bit, these words of mine will encourage you to change and to grow.

I know of what I speak. This is a lesson learned in the hardest possible way, by wielding my words as a weapon and seeing the injured fall under the weight of them. It is an offense I detest in myself. Oh, to unsay a lifetime of thoughtless words that have pierced my loved ones. But no. Once airborne they cannot be drawn back, and they echo into eternity.

Like a blade, harsh words lay the victim wide. Yet we throw them about with no regard to the pain they cause. Apologize as we might, the damage is done. The wounded, though they forgive us, will nonetheless bear a scar.

If I can enlighten one person to the devastation of this, then these words are not in vain. So dear friends, this is my love letter to you:

I heard you today. You and your little family enjoying a mall lunch at the food court, your children playing in the fountain. So entertaining to watch, such a perfect little family. Then it happened.

I saw the daggers fly from your lips. Straight toward your wife's heart, they hit their target full on. Her shoulders sagged. Your words knocked the wind out of her, visibly crumbling her self-worth. I don't believe you realize the power of your words.

Like a snake, your criticism wrapped around her, crushing her spirit. Your assessment of her inadequacies was like a knife. You were probably trying to motivate her, but you shamed her instead. Though only a onlooker, your words stung me too. I'm sure you love her, I can see that you love her, but you wield your words like a club. I fear you will beat her to death with them.

Still, behind the hurt in her eyes, I could see that she adores you. She thinks you hung the moon. Young man, prove it's true. Be the person she thinks you are. Walk in grace and integrity, curb your tongue.

You are called to be her protector, her safe place, not her judge, not her jury. Not one more voice in a world of voices that tramples her down. A gift to you, she was created from God's own heart, made beautiful inside and out. He knows and loves her as she is right now, just as he does you.

I'm sure it would shock you, if someone told you how you sound. But, be it adult or child, if there is little feeling of acceptance, understanding and respect between two people, if one is hurting, is belittled or mocked by the other; "can't you do anything right?", "you're so lazy", "are you an idiot?" that person is verbally battered.

Some would justify, "Being nice doesn't work. They've got to learn to take it. I'm doing it for their own good, to help them become a better person." But another might ask, does verbal abuse ever make someone a better, healthier person? Does it ever enrich the relationship? Does it ever show love?

For some unfathomable reason, we seem to be the hardest on the ones we love the most. To our family we often speak with severity, using words we would never utter to a friend, an acquaintance, or a even a stranger. Why do we have this need to be judge over another? Why the desire to "fix" our loved ones, to point out their shortcomings, when we should be working our own?

How confusing, the heart. How devious the tongue. (you can read more on this: James 3:2-12)

But of course, thankfully, there is a wonderfully redeeming flip-side. The tongue can speak joy and peace as healing as any balm. Soothing, they bless both the hearer and the speaker. Sweet words make our hearts sing. Words of affirmation and acceptance build us up. They help us stand taller and make us feel loved and appreciated, safe and warm. They beget kind words in return. They teach our children the power of kindness.

Something harshness can never do, words of encouragement easily accomplish, for they cause us to bloom. Like spring rain, they create in us a desire to grow, to reach for the sky. To be our best. And it's in this process that we all become richer, fuller and more complete.

What a contrast. Words can cut or they can heal. Bring pain or comfort, sadness or joy. Death and life it seems, are in the power of the tongue.

Choose life.

'Nuff said.

Chubby Club

Future members of the "Too Chubby To Ride Club" (TCTRC), met at 1 pm today at Zeb's. Our President, insisting that we refer to her by her Native American name "Many Horses Come This Way", brought the meeting to order.

The meeting was opened for discussion and oinky animals noises while perusing the menu. The first order of business was fried fat balls for all members, followed by deep fried lard rings and batter encased sea urchins. Treasurer, "P Dub", made a motion for salad and diet coke, which was strongly voted down. However, a vote for giant oily sandwiches, wine and the monstrous chili dog, passed unanimously.

The ceremonial pouring and re-pouring of wine from one glass to another was observed, with all members participating.

The meeting was officially adjourned when members, grease dribbling from their chins, had reached Jaba the Hut like proportions. Zeb's staff assisted by rolling members to their cars and stuffing them in.

Next month's TCTRC meeting is scheduled to be held at the nearest All-You-Can-Eat Buffet. Date and time to be announced.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Butterfly Love, the waiting game.

Hello? Tap, tap. Is this thing on? Excuse me, young people, your attention for just a moment please. Pam feels the need to yammer..

If I could impart one thing I have learned about love, it would be this. Guard your heart like a treasure.

Also, don’t rush to give your heart away...protect it from being dulled by casual encounters and...BELIEVE THAT LOVE IS WORTH WAITING FOR. Whoa, all that just sort of tumbled out, sorry. It was WAY more than one thing. But really..
I know, I know, Valentine's Day is practically here. Don't get me started.. Okay, I'll say it. I don't believe V-Day is a real holiday. I think it's a marketing creation. A total Hallmark shakedown.
Worse than not being Irish on St. Patrick's Day, it's a "holiday" that can leave you feeling remarkably unloved if you aren't in a relationship. Or if you are, but your significant other believes that when you say "Honey, you don't need to get me anything", you really mean it.

Love. It's everywhere. Love is in the air, in our hearts, on our minds. In movies, books, magazines, TV, billboards, argh! "Love" is crammed down our throats at every turn. Beautiful, sexy people throwing themselves at each other left and right. Of course we want that. We want that NOW! Don't we? We should HURRY! Shouldn't we?

The answer is no. Wait. What? That's right, I said no. Easy does it, darlings. I know "love" sounds wonderful and we SO want romance in our lives, but "real" love is a pretty serious pursuit. Because boiled down to it's essence, true love is sacrifice. But that's a story for a different day, for now let's talk about the waiting.

Consider the butterfly, (lets make it a girl butterfly, although this totally applies to guys too. They can be moths, practically the same thing, a little more macho and not nearly as cute. Obviously.) So. The butterfly goes through all sorts of stages before she is ever ready to fly. As an egg, there she sits, waiting. Caterpillar, growing and waiting. Pupa, more waiting.

Finally she emerges from her cocoon as a gorgeous winged being and off she soars on the breeze, right? Wrong. If she steps off the branch too soon, she will crash to the ground, most likely injuring herself in the process, perhaps permanently. So, guess what she has to do. This is the hard part. She waits.
But she's not sitting there twiddling her antenna waiting for Mr. Right Breeze to come along. No, her waiting is purposeful. She's busy, very busy. Maturing. Because, even though she is fully grown, her parts are all there and she has everything she needs to fly, she's a baby. A baby butterfly, one that still has a lot of developing to do. She's engaged in strength training for flight that takes time and effort.

She needs time for her wings to unfurl, time for them to mature and dry. She'll need to try her wings out a little, fluttering them while still holding tight to the branch. All this HAS to transpire before she can actually lift off. Only once she has patiently prepared herself, can she leap into the wind. It's the same with our hearts.

Sound boring? Lonely? It shouldn't be. Just the opposite, it should be a seriously appealing endeavor. You've got time on your side and you've got freedom. Time to figure out who the heck you are, and who you want to become. That will keep you busy for a decade or so anyway.

You should have the freedom to let your adult personality unfold and grow without the pressure to "act" fully mature that a serious relationship brings with it. You need time to have CAREFREE SHENANIGANS! My wise little Ellakins once advised me that "fun is everywhere if I would just see it".

The same holds true for friends. Future friends are all around you. Before you get too busy with being all grown-up, get out there and forge a few friendships that will last your lifetime. The opposite gender is an intriguing species, and I've heard they can make wonderful friends.

This is your time between times. Please value it. You are obviously no longer a child, but a relationship is NOT what makes you an adult. It should NEVER define who "you" are. Try not to run so fast from your youth that you leave your innocence behind, or rush blindly into the complicated relationships of adulthood with your wings still damp. If you do, you may tumble to earth, perhaps to struggle broken-winged and broken-hearted just above the ground.

Patience my precious friend, enjoy getting comfortable in your own skin. Then when your wings are fully dried and Mr. Truly Right comes breezing in, you can turn your eyes to the sky, take the leap.... and let your heart soar!

Thank you for your attention. Have a lovely day. <3