Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wednesday, June 30

Wednesday, June 30, and it's another Dr. visit day. Another trip to Iowa City. For some reason, I am very tense about this visit. I don't know why. Things are maintaining. He did have to have additional blood tests last month because his kidney numbers were up. The concern of course is having GVH (graft vs. host) in the kidneys. Mac thinks that the GVH in his mouth is a little worse. His throat is more tender so maybe that is worse also. But then again, his perpetual drainage/sinus/allergy condition could have caused that soreness as well. His stomach is markedly better. Not even a hint of nausea this month and he is finding foods that taste good.

Can't say the same for me this morning. I have full out nausea myself. It is almost as if the trips to Iowa City are getting harder and harder for me. I don't want to leave the little farm. I know that any trip to Iowa City may not be a round trip. This is my safe place. This is good karma central. I really don't want to go today.

I'll just keep my mind on my to-do list.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Beauty in Life

I read an article in Mother Earth News newsletter last week. It set forth the proposition that the real fall of the Soviet Union was from the lack of beauty in their lives. The author sited that after the Wall came down and you drove from West Berlin to East Berlin, that you went from a beautiful cosmopolitan city with public art and amazing architecture to crumbling facades and apartments that were great, grey squares resembling a prison complex.

Okay, I think his hypothesis is valid. His conclusion I think is a bit dodgy. First off, not everyone benefits from public art in the cities, so you can't assume that everyone is suffering from the lack of it. There is no consideration for art in the home. There is no consideration for the beauty of nature.

But then again, what if a part of what this fellow is saying is true?

Our country was a rich place for art from it's inception until about the thirties and forties. I say that because art was a part of peoples lives then. Homes were decorated, not in a pristine way like in the magazines, but by the homeowner. Theorum painting and stenciling floors walls and ceilings.... murals! Traveling craftsmen that did every kind of wood working, building and carving, and much of their work was heavily ladened with art. Likewise there were traveling portrait painters. Folk art was everywhere! The Adirondack style of architecture was basically a blown up version of the folk art of the area.

But since WWII it seems all of the art has been stripped away from us. It has been placed in the hands of those who "know"
, like museums and galleries and universities and bank lobbies. And the artistic hole that has been left in the home has been filled with pictures of the grandkids and the family dog and velvet paintings of Elvis.

I have to say that the Mother Earth News guy isn't all wrong and I think that is why I am approaching the little farm the way I am. I am malnourished from the anemic life that I was told I was suppose to have. I can't stand how we are all getting squeezed in to this little box of uniformity and productivity, and if we don't fit then we have no value. I want everything I build to be beautiful and unique and fulfilling. I want to test my metal. I want to exercise my hybrid vigor. We are in a rough patch now, but as we come out the other side, I want to see that I have created something beautiful.

We'll see how that goes.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Level one

A miracle of sorts has happened or I should say will happen. According to the weather man, we have a five day forecast with no rain. Knowing that there will be some open windows of opportunity makes my to-do list become absolutely shrill! As usual, there is a hiccup. The great weather comes during the week and not the weekend. I will have to figure out how to do everything on my own. A couple of items will be a real bugger, like hauling around big 6x6 beams and tipping them into holes for the corner posts on the outdoor kitchen. Trying, yet again, to get the hobbit playhouse footing area ready. It would be far easier to work in the mud hole and have someone else on the top getting the stuff I need and sending it down to me. Hauling yourself continually out of the bog is extremely difficult .... and it tends to pull your pants off.

This morning while waiting for coffee, I perused some notes from the Kristi Smith clinic I audited. It jumped from the page for me. "Level one is about getting the task done---after level one, the goal is to get it done with RELAXATION!! That is what you need to get to upper levels---don't tolerate the brace! Brace will build up and fester!" Now I have found that a great deal that I learn from Parelli transfers to others parts of my life. I am definitely level one. I am definitely about getting the task done. So, now I need to find relaxation. If I don't my mind will never settle down enough to find a way to accomplish everything that I need to accomplish.

So, I just need to breathe, relax. Take the time it takes...and hopefully it won't take so much time. Once I do relax, it will come to me how to lift a 6x6 inch ten foot long post. Because if this doesn't get settled it's surely going to turn into a brace and it will fester. Just keep breathing.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


I need some things here on the little farm. No surprise there , eh? But just the other day one of my neighbors came tooling by the back of the property. We took a little time and visited. John is a busy fellow and thinks he might be downscaling his horses soon. He also has some fence panels laying around that he isn't using. He will loan them to me.

I was so surprised ... and glad! Fence panels aren't cheap and he might as well have said, "Here, I have some gold laying around. Why don't you use this gold for now." "Yes, I would love the use of your panels", I answered.

I have not often been a victim of generosity. It leaves me speechless. Well, almost speechless, I usually keep some spare words for such moments. But the last few years of my life have been .... incredibly strange. My neighbors, my Parelli friends, my kids, I have an embarassing wealth of generosity of spirit.

And my children will be glad to know that we are down to about three chores that I need assistance on. Then they are off the hook. I think that their generosity of spirit is getting a little tired.


Friday, June 25, 2010


Yesterday was a bad day. It had started out in a typical fashion. It was even productive. But it is amazing how quickly things can go south.

I have to say how fortunate I am that when things go so badly, that I have a horse to turn to. So as the day was winding down and the air was turning cool, I headed toward the pasture. There was Pip. My plan had been to grab a bucket and sit by the fence and spill my tale of woe to my favorite "bartender". That wasn't going to be enough. I walked around the fence and Pip was with me every step, every corner. She hovered, in the way, as I released the bottom strand and ducked under the gate. Then I rubbed my hands over her face and down her neck and over her wither. The butt and I are still cautious friends so I just walked closely there and called it good.

I had committed a cardinal sin and had come into the pasture with inadequate footwear. Generic crocks are great and I love shoes that can be hosed off but I don't think they will stand up to Pip's hooves. I walked to her big plastic barrel and her nose was practically on my shoulder blade the whole time. I stopped and she stopped. I thought, "I wonder if she would follow a back up?" So, I started to slowly back up. No, she didn't back up with me, but in stead, as I moved back she wrapped her big ol' head and neck around. I moved forward again and she unwrapped from me. I started back again slowly and as I moved back I reached out and tapped her chest lightly as I went. She didn't understand and I lost her. She walked away to graze. I gave her a moment, then walked up beside her. I dipped in a little closer at her shoulder and scooped her up, so to speak and she was back with me. We walked along and got to her stump. I tried to think of something creative and brilliant there but she saw I was coming up short. She went back to grazing.

I almost left the pasture , but the birds were lively, the sky was beautiful and I couldn't bear the idea of going back into the house. I decided my evening's first option was probably best. I went to the barrel , knocked it over and had myself a seat.

Pip couldn't handle being ignored so she was soon all over me. She seems to have this thing for sniffing every inch of a person. It's kind of un-nerving. A bit like visiting a friend with one of those small, horny dogs and you don't feel at home enough to kick it. Once the sniffing was done she introduced her teeth in the smallest way and I used my fingers to do a little bitey action on her nose. She sulked. which is funny because she really does have a large lower lip. Then she decided she wanted scratched. So, the scratching began. You cannot really sit down and scratch a horse, especially when you hit the right spot and the ecstasy begins. I stood up. I was working my way down her neck. She stepped over hard and pushed into the scratch, knocking me back a step. I pushed against her shoulder to get her to move her foot back. I was pushing pretty hard by the time she finally pulled her foot back. The pressure stopped, I sighed loudly and gave her a smile. The scratching resumed. A moment later the wayward hoof returned and we went back to pushing the shoulder. The hoof moved immediately. End of pressure, big sigh, smile and return to scratching. It usually just takes twice for her to get it. She is so smart!

After I had covered everything from the barrel forward, I thought it was time to call it a day. Pip had other ideas. As I turned to leave she swung her ass around to me. When you see an ass of that size coming at you, it's good to know whether or not it's a "friendly". I watched the feet, which stayed on the ground and away from me... way away from me. Her feet were at safe distance and she was leaning her butt as close to me as she could get it. I really don't know how she kept from falling down. While I am laughing I scratch her sweet spot, around the tail head. She gets a little on her toes. No small feat in this position! She squats slightly. She stretches out her neck and gets camel lips. My day is gone and for a little bit, I know that my amazing digits and I are loved.

The sad thing was that I had to go back into the house. But I am so glad that I have a horse.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

My Bed

For some reason, I seem to be back on hospital time. I am waking up about four times per night.. After a couple of weeks of this, I am starting to feel ... well, awful and stressed. Last night, actually this morning at about 2 a.m., I was laying awake and thinking about how much I missed my old bed. Mac said it wasn't going to follow us to the new house. As I was doing all of this house building stuff for Mac, we went bed shopping. I have to admit, it is a beautiful bed. We had finally upgraded to a queen and this great plateau of furniture is one of the favorite places for the grandkids to play, but at 2 in the morning I miss my bed..

We bought it at a yard sale as newlyweds. We had to borrow the forty dollars from Mac's little sister as we were a week away from payday. When we bought it, it was covered in badly chipping white paint, had a heavy exposed spring, and a mattress that looked like it predated the B-52 bomber. We took it home. Rolled up our sleeping bags. I was soon puking up my guts, pregnant with our first daughter.

I would wake up in labor in that bed.... three times.

I eventually got tired of the chipping white paint and I stripped it off.. The detail of the old cast iron showed through, as did the flaws. When the paint came off the old brass knobs, I polished them up til they sparkled. Then we hauled it back upstairs and put it back together and got the loud, heavy, awkward springs back on, topped by the B-52 mattress. The springs were getting dangerous in that mattress. So , I went down to a used furniture store that resided across from the railroad tracks and found another that I could afford. I think the word mattress would be an over statement. It was thin. I think I saw it before rolled and tied to the top of a car in the movie "The Grapes of Wrath". It was too thin to just go on the old metal springs so it became a mattress topper. I can't complain, it got us through another five years or so.

The next upgrade was my mom's used mattress and box spring. She wanted to "re-do" her guest room. I did some carpentry work for her and she paid me with the new bed set. I should say it was new to me. It was still a B-52 mattress but it was new enough to have a real box spring. It was old enough to have something resembling a pin up girl on the Serta label. We would have that mattress until, once again, springs were coming through the fabric and assaulting our bodies. It was not unknown to wake up with red welts, and occasionally, a bit of blood after a spring attack. I would get my revenge by light of day. I would tear the hole the spring made a bit larger and push the spring tip back down then take strips of duct tape and tape the tip back down to the spring coil. If the spring tip had created a very big wound then it would get a LOT of duct tape.

However you can only enlarge holes in your mattress so much. Eventually the poor thing looked a bit like the moon's surface, pock marked with craters. About five years ago, we bought a new mattress for the bed. It was $189.00 for the set from a local furniture store that specialized in crappy furniture, hotel style art and lamps with ugly glass shades, stenciled in "authentic" victorian designs. It was a decision we had to make. Either get a cheap mattress set or get to the Dr. for tetanus vaccinations. The cost was the same so we went with the mattress set.

The old bed is currently at my daughters. As I helped her get it into the apartment and put together she informed me that my mattress and box springs were really crap. I was torn between being offended and wanting to laugh, instead, I just told her,"But Katie, this is my GOOD mattress" She just rolled her eyes.

Sometimes at 2 a.m., I miss my bed, my boon companion.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Guilt should be a bigger word or maybe a whole phrase. That short little monosyllable doesn't capture all of the soul mutilating essence the makes up it's meaning. Guilt racked is better. Still doesn't really encompass the feel but it's closer.

This is the problem.... we are hoping that some time this summer Mac can go to visit his brother and squeeze in a bit of a vacation. During that time I hope to be able to do some catching up an projects that have been put on hold because of husband and rain. Last night I was fiddling with some yard work and as I was getting started he rode up on the lawn mower demanding, "What are you doing?! You can't do that now!" Well, it was something he told me that I should do as soon as we got home from town.

As he rides away, I am trying really hard to not lose my temper and I thought, " I can't wait until your gone!" Of course, I meant on vacation, but I knew that it didn't sound like it. Even though it was still just in my head, it didn't sound like it! Then there was this flash of fear, panic and GUILT. What if I had let some karma based genie out of it's bottle? What if I had set into motion some sort of cosmic repercussion? Thoughts become words and then become deeds, so control your thoughts. I hadn't controlled my thoughts and I feel like I opened Pandora's box.

No, guilt definitely needs to be a bigger word.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I'm not afraid of looking stupid.

Actually, I have had a lot of practice looking stupid. But that's okay, because so far when the smoke has cleared I have ended up being right. When you go into a situation knowing that you are going to look stupid, you tend to spend the extra time making sure you ARE right.

Well, writing this blog has kind of lubed up my creative side and I have ideas for four books. Two are for children, one a merging of fantasy and reality and the last, kind of a guide to becoming a hippie. Unfortunately, they are trapped in the maze that is my mind. They just keep banging around and messing with everything else, but when I try to get them out, I totally seize up. It's not writer's block. Usually once I have my first sentence the rest just falls out. But, when I start to put a word on the paper, I realize how much I have riding on the effort. I'd have to compare it to when I buy a lotto ticket. I take forever to check and see if it's a winner. As long as I don't know, there is hope.

It's time to step up to the plate. I need a kick in the pants and I don't care if getting it makes me look stupid.

Yesterday afternoon, I e-mailed I asked if someone there could read a little of my blog and give me a critique. It certainly made me feel stupid. But if it makes me better... if it gets me started... if I can get Mac and the little farm to be safe, then stupid is just fine with me. Stupid means you're actually out there risking something. Standing back and looking cool tends to be pretty worthless.

So, everyone, please, cross your fingers for me ... by the way, Oprah also publishes.


Monday, June 21, 2010

I was thinking.....

Last night while we were driving home from a father's day visit with our oldest girl, I got to thinking. I had to do something was an hour and a half drive. So, anyway, I was thinking about the little farm. No surprise there, but I was again toying with the idea of how to pay it off in five years. That's the goal, five years!

First concept is, of course, winning the lotto. The problem seems to be that when I buy a ticket, God or fate, or karma, or the guy rolling the little balls out of the chute don't seem to have an interest in me winning. Which is a pity because this would be the fastest most pain free method of getting the job done. And then I would have extra to pass along. I could indulge in my concerns for Habitat for Humanity or the Heifer project or micro lending. It's a long line and we are all still waiting.

Then I was thinking that if I had a hundred thousand friends, well, they would probably just be acquaintances, wouldn't they?, anyhow, a hundred thousand friends and they each sent me a gift of $1.78 then the little farm would be mortgage free. But to be fair, when another one of the friends had such a project then we would all send to them. Where the logistics turn nasty is by the time a person's turn came up they could possibly be dead. So, I kind of ruled out getting a hundred thousand friends... er, acquaintances.

If I had thirty-five thousand , six hundred friends, okay they'd still be acquaintances, and they each sent me a gift of five dollars, then again it wouldn't be a burden to anyone and the little farm would be safe. Now we are much closer to being in the realm of the possibility of every one having a turn at the money mill. Now if I thought this through correctly, it would take two thousand, nine hundred and sixty-seven (rounded up) months for everyone to have a turn. Which would be a little over two hundred and forty-seven years.... okay, scratch that plan.

If I had seventeen thousand, eight hundred friends, acquaintances....... well-meaning onlookers, and they each sent me ten dollars then the little farm would be safe. Now if everybody got a turn at ten dollars per week, instead of a month, then it would take roughly three hundred and thirty-six weeks for everybody to have a turn. Which would be about six and a half years. Okey-dokey, now we're talking! This one could work! Now I just need a group of seventeen thousand eight hundred well-meaning onlookers. Let's see, I live outside of a town of about two hundred people. The two nearest county seat towns number around four thousand each give or take a little, and I feel relatively safe in saying that they aren't all well-meaning. Hmmmm, I think I have another logistics problem.

Let's see, If I had eight thousand, nine hundred total strangers give me twenty dollars for my birthday and I didn't give a rat's backside about ever reciprocating then the little farm would be safe.

Okay, next time I'm in town, I'll pick up another lotto ticket ........ unless, I could get a grant from the government to fund this as a feasibility study! That could work!


Saturday, June 19, 2010

It got me thinking...

I have an extremely analytical portion to one of my brains. Just about any time I analyze a situation it makes me want to come up with a more convenient, or a more eco, or a more economical way to handle the situation. Housing is one of those brain candy topics for me. On the whole it allows me to think all I want without doing anybody any harm what so ever.

I think about McMansions a lot.... first off, how stupid!!!! You can find entire developments of people who think that they are better then everybody else. It's amazing!

There are people living in spaces less then a hundred square feet. This boggles my mind as well. I know this one won't catch on though because there just isn't room for a La-z-boy recliner. However it does engage my brain. I wonder if this micro house on a garden plot could be an answer for homeless populations. Cities are often stuck with derelict lots. Around here a city lot often measures 50-60 feet across and around a hundred feet deep. Imagine breaking the lot into ten foot wide strips with a common walk going down the side. The majority of the land would be garden space... enough garden space to raise enough food for a person for a year if you knew how to preserve. It makes me think that it could be an awesome social experiment.

I think about bathtubs, especially for small living. Actually I want to reinvent the bathtub. I don't have any money to do that with, but I can guarantee it would be so cool. I can see it now. I'll have to make the first one out of cardboard.

I also wonder when americans stopped being builders. Our grandparents were house builders. When did building your own house become a bad thing? Probably when Wall St. started making annual projections based on housing starts. Stupid Wall St.

I think about how small can a person live and be comfortable. I suppose comfort is relative. People are different.

I think about how the U.S. kind of got a handle on clear cutting but now great expanses of forests in Canada are being mowed to the ground for our insatiable McMansion appetite. I think about how those with more then a few bucks in their pocket are allowed to burn through resources while others are left wanting. I don't care if you can afford it, do you have the right to more? Because it isn't about you, it's about the earth, it's about others and it's about what is possible. But then sometimes, maybe I just think too much.


Friday, June 18, 2010

The to-do- list revisited

I had a plan going into summer. You all know how good I am at planning! It seemed like a good plan. I was going to put Mac on a plane and send him away to a visit with his brother and while he was gone I would get a butt load of work done. Sounds simple. As per usual, it didn't work out. Expected money didn't come. The Dr. scheduled an extra visit. My plan fell apart like a sand castle in high tide.

So what I am left with is a to-do list of herculean proportions. Part of the reason is that I wanted to get all the tasks done that cause Mac to say," Well, why do ya' want to do that?" Which is shortly followed by, "Have you given any thought to what you want to make for lunch?" I just do not get anything done when he is around. I really love him, but I tend to trip over him.

The to-do list is mocking me. I read over it's contents and I can hear a quiet, throaty mwa-hahahaha. Getting the outdoor kitchen closer to completion could actually take the entire two weeks of Mac's contemplated vacation. I don't want to be dissuaded. I know that somehow in someway I could get SOMETHING done!

I could burn the to-do list.... but that would be murder. Besides I WANT to get that stuff done. It would make me feel all bubbly, giddy inside. I would feel like such a truly competent person if I could get something FINISHED! I get all happy inside just thinking about it.

Just so you can feel my pain, here is the to-do list for Mac's vacation....
paint front door
get arbor up
block work on hobbit house
garage slab poured ( I have no money for this but I thought it needed to be on the list anyway)
wardrobes built and installed in bedroom
double bed built in upstairs
Outdoor kitchen
1)fireplace and grill
2)gas grill wall
3)bread oven
4)finish roof structure
finish flooring detail downstairs
kitchen shelves
oven cabinet constructed
dining room countertop
30 minutes of horse work daily (each horse)
living room window seat (constructed, stained and the seat covered)
finish upstairs flooring
build shed... move contents of closet to shed
install coat hooks on stair landing
make a picture frame for the Stubbs horse print
finish building the electric fireplace surround

There were a couple of other things that I wanted to get on the list but I thought I had better just stop there for now. I don't know... maybe I'll still get the coat hooks up. Well, damnit anyway.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

More Rain

This morning I woke up and looked out my bedroom window and saw blue skies! Laid there for a moment and thought I heard that pitter-pitter sound of a shower.. I went to the window and sure enough, I could see the rain hitting the ground. So got on a jacket and off I went to investigate. There was sunshine all around us but directly over us was a menacing black cloud and it was raining. I went ahead and fed the horses and I continued to watch the cloud. Despite the fact that the wind was coming directly out of the east, the cloud slunk off to the north and settled over another house and barn. We apparently have a neighbor as evil and in need of punishment as we are. Rain!! God's version of Chinese water torture.

In the meantime... I have pumped out the garage trenches for the sixth time this spring. SIX!!! I tried shoveling some dirt back in but with all the rain even the clay up on the banks is incredibly wet and heavy to handle. It's exhausting work and I don't last long at it. I was wishing that I could call Bob up and have him back fill the trench, but I just don't have the money. Of course, having heavy equipment on the property is heady business and the temptation is great and the next thing you know... "Bob, I have a rock sticking out of the yard that I can't get with my shovel..." and "Bob, could you move this dirt pile?".... and "Bob, could you take this bump out of the driveway?" I tell you, it feels almost magical having equipment on the property and you see things get done! Well, If the rain continues, I will need that kind of intercession. I don't know how I'll get it, but I'll need it!

FYI, pto powered post hole diggers are magic too.

But for now, the birds are heading back out to the front yard. The weatherman says the real storms won't start until tonight, so we will go and try to appreciate every moment.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Well, the internet/satellite repair dude made it out this morning. With any luck, I will actually be able to get on and post when I choose. Such luxury!!! My schedule has been thrown into disarray with not knowing when I can get on. Most days I am up between five and six in the morning. I spend an hour or so here and check my e-mail, make coffee, plan my day, make my list, scare myself with my list and am out as the dew is getting dry.

That hasn't been the case for over a week or more. Too much rain and the rain seemed to be killing the satellite dish for the computer. Don't feel like I can accomplish anything. My mind is bogged down with what should have been accomplished, and hasn't been. On top of that my train seems to be off it's track and my thoughts are scattered.

It's after nine and I have just come in from carrying water to the horses. I chased a couple of deer. Okay "chase" probably isn't accurate anymore. We'll just say that I defined my territory to them. Then I stood with Pip for awhile and watched the sun drop behind the tree line. Moments that are suppose to be sublimely peaceful. Instead I thought, this is what it is all about, this is why I want to be here, which brought me right back around to ... here are all the things I have to do to make sure the little farm is safe.

Then I am thinking about drains, rocks, garbage, gas for lawnmowers, fence, money, money, money... I make myself crazy, really I do. But tomorrow is another day. Hopefully I will know my mind and have a grasp of the plan. We'll see.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fortune Cookie says......

I love fortune cookies!! They are like lotto tickets. They are tiny bits of transient pleasure that inspire hope and keep us going for a bit longer. I save my fortunes. I don't think I have ever had one actually "happen" but I'm patient. I think my favorite fortune cookie was one I received about twenty years ago. It sticks in my mind... obviously. The fortune said, "You will be the next one in your place of business to be promoted." I got laid off that week. That's okay. It was a foundry and I think the only way up was out. So, maybe that one was right.

I have a small stack of fortunes telling me that I will be a success. That I have creative Ideas that will turn the tide. I have special abilities that will see me through. Oddly enough, most of my fortunes seem to be business related. I wonder if that is normal? I only recall one about my love life and it told me that I would soon meet my soul mate. Considering that I was already married and had three kids, I kind of thought that one could be trouble. I saved it anyway.

I'm looking at a fortune on my desk that says,"This year your highest priority will be your family" Got that one right after Mac's leukemia recurred.

Yesterday, we made a trip to Des Moines for an extra blood test. In total defiance of financial responsibility, we went to the China Garden for lunch. Mac loves their pho soup. I ate looking forward to the fortune cookie. The tough decision is always which one to take. Which one is destined to be yours? I usually take the one farthest away from me. Yesterday I had to take the one that was closest and no, I don't know why I did. My fortune read, "Appreciate every moment, especially this week" To be honest, it kind of scares me. It didn't help that I put the fortune in my pocket to save it and when I got home it was gone. I realize that I probably pulled it out when getting my keys out of my pocket but it just makes it feel that much more weird and eerie. I am fully aware that any given day can change your life forever, but to have it written down and brought to my table gave it additional weight.

This weeks goal is to appreciate every moment and I will try to not cringe too much as the days tick off. You never know with fortune cookies.


Friday, June 11, 2010

J.K. Rowling

I remember shortly after the second Harry Potter book came out. It was apparent that this Rowling person wasn't going to be a flash in the pan. Kids loved Harry Potter and were all wishing that they were orphans and they could be taken away from their parents so they could be sent away somewhere cool... like Hogwarts.

For me, especially recently, it's the back story that holds the interest. Miss Rowling sat day after day in a local coffeehouse with her baby boy scribbling away pages of a children's story that she had no reason to believe would ever be published. I wonder at her tenacity. I wonder how she warded off the nay sayers and critics. In my life, the rule has been a full bank of people telling me that I just needed to get a job. No one or almost no one makes it big. If someone is going to make it... it won't be you. Who do you think you are anyway?

Unfortunately, you can't make someone hire you. Aging, used up old broads with over active imaginations are not a popular commodity.

Now, after everything that has happened this last year, the recurrence of the leukemia, the stem cell transplant, what was laughingly called a disability insurance payment, survival loans made, savings gone, I have reached the place where I have been afraid to go my whole life. I have lost control. Then I thought of J.K. Rowling. At that moment, I felt like all of the weight just fell away. All of the crap going on. Trying to sell the old house. Worrying about the stuff that I can no longer do anything about. All of the bullshit in my life. Let it go... it will compost. The dream is the reality. Where I am going to is the worthier part of the journey.

As of yesterday, we are next door to penniless. As of today, I am okay with that. The dream is alive and well.


Thursday, June 10, 2010


I had an opportunity to visit with a group of bloggers yesterday. It was kind of fun and it was interesting. I learned stuff. But it kind of made me wonder. How many are there!!? You can't go anywhere without running into people that blog. And what do we do? We, that is to say bloggers, are probably as socially necessary as , say, mimes. I have always believed that if there was anything that the world needed less of it was war, famine and mimes. And why are mimes in the backgrounds of all the romantic comedies filmed in New York? Why can't they do something useful.... like rat catcher?! Or maybe pick up some garbage?

Speaking of socially useful... Oprah Winfrey is having try outs for talk show hosts. Hhmmm, a talk show host. I could do that. I know how to talk and i know two jokes! And Oprah has money so I would like get paid and that would be handy. Actually, I'm thinking about it. There are some problems though. I don't have access to a video camera to do the 3 minute try out. That, and I couldn't do a talk show there. And the "there" that was specified was L.A. I would have to do it here. This is where my life force comes from.

It could be interesting though. It would give the stars some new opportunities. A bit of an outing. I could take Robin Williams down to the woods and let him run off some steam and climb some trees. Arnold Schwartszenegger? well, I'd put that boy to work lifting some hay bales. I just know that Merryl Streep can weed! George Clooney could help put in some fence, but he'd have to take off his shirt and wear lots and lots of shiny sunscreen. Hell! He wouldn't even have to talk!

But then I would only be as socially useful as a talk show host. I suppose it's bad enough that I'm a blogger. What can I say?... thank God I'm not a mime!


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

We Have Today...

I am absolutely exhausted today! Didn't sleep last night. The weather report has again frozen me with some fear. We have had rain for the last several days. When it wasn't raining, we have had stifling humidity. I haven't been able to accomplish anything outside because it has been too wet or because the air is so thick that you have to cut it into bite size chunks before trying to inhale.

There is thirty to fifty percent chance rain on Thursday and Friday. Lately even a ten percent chance of rain has actually been a one hundred percent chance. So, we have today. Unfortunately even getting the trenches pumped back out today does not allow time for drying up. There are tasks that I need a second set of hands with.... but there won't be a second set of hands. Whatever I start today, I need to finish today, because I will lose it in the rain tomorrow if I don't.

I have today... I have me.... I have a fair amount of rage building.

On top of the weather issues, the need to make money becomes more urgent on a daily basis. I need to find ways to make money with the farm. Working on the little farm comes as naturally to me as breathing. Sharing the farm is joy. And when I try to work on business I feel like I have been pummeled until bloody. It isn't a matter of doing. It's a matter of roadblocks. It's almost like a mystical, unseen force stops my efforts and leaves only one way for me to move. If I try to fight it, it surely knocks me right back on my ass. The only way forward is through the farm. I have to believe that somehow the farm will save me. It is the only road that is open to me. The only way I know to travel. I don't know what the next step should be for me.

I have today ... I have me .... and I'm alone.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Oftentimes the best gifts are in the smallest gestures. A heartfelt response that is too often ignored. I received such a gesture today and almost missed it. My darling girl, Pip and the occasionally evil pony Chloe were in the pasture waiting for breakfast. A day like any other day. When the two saw me crossing the yard to the feed can, the excitement began.

First the nickering and then the lower hoo-hoo-hoo. Chloe went and took her dominant feed me first stance, waiting and calling by the fence. Pip on the other hand, went clear up to the west end and stood by the gate. She waited and watched. First looking at me and then turning and facing the gate. Only after getting their rations ready, heading to the feeding area and giving her a call did she come down for her breakfast.

Now anyone that knows horses knows what a big deal it is when the invitation to come in and play is bigger then the desire to get your morning corn. It has been one of many gifts that this little mare has given me. Her heart is as golden as her coat. Her generosity of spirit is often my driving force to keep at it when everything else in my life says it's time to quit.

Some gifts just can't ever be repaid.


P.S. Sorry for my lateness.... another night of rain last night followed by another day of no internet service.

Monday, June 7, 2010


Lately things have seemed to be a matter of excesses....... really, really irritating excesses. I had gotten my one week of no rain but now the skies have once again opened. This weekend a town just south of us received around seven inches of the liquid stuff. The internet was down for the most of the weekend and when the internet wasn't down, blogger was.

The trench that we have given up on and now are just trying to get filled in had to have the water pumped out again... for the fifth time this spring.

Every effort made on projects that would make money have come to zero! The efforts that have been the most successful, have been the ones made in the cause of future aesthetics. Which really don't help the situation right now.

However, I have gotten a message from several different people. It is giving me some balance in the middle of my excesses. It was best expressed by my USDA officer Bonnie, "No matter how tough things get, hang on to this place. This place is special."

I think maybe she is right. I have noticed that the first thing people do when they get out of their cars, is to stop. Then they tend to turn around and just look. Then they breathe. I like to believe that they breathe in the specialness of the place... the magic.

Just gotta keep my balance.


Friday, June 4, 2010


I spend a lot of time on my own and as a result I tend to do a fair amount of thinking. Most of it has absolutely no value whatsoever. But a recurring theme for my contemplation is my personal worth, or lack thereof.

My feeling is that as a result of my no longer being able to hold a job, that society dictates that my worth is highly diminished. Jobless and without health insurance and unable to drive the economy then what value do I hold? I suppose that for now my value is as a caregiver. I keep the one going that does have a job and healthcare. I am support staff.

Isn't it just too bad that we aren't measured by the size of our dreams? Why aren't we measured by how much happiness we share? Why isn't the person that can cook a really moist turkey as valuable as a data analyst? Why is it that certain anti-abortion sectors scream just as loudly that an adult life is valueless.

Why is it, that society's message to me is that I shouldn't dare to exist? Why do I feel that I have to defend my right to being... especially during election years?

If I take what is left of my damaged self and try to make myself a better person, then shouldn't society try to do the same?

It's a good thing I have the warrior woman. It's good to have someone I can count on.


Thursday, June 3, 2010


Years and years ago I read an article in the newspaper. It was a question to a columnist. A woman had gone to a ladies luncheon... back in the day when there were ladies luncheons. And at the end dessert was served. Dessert on this day was fresh peaches served with cream. The woman received her serving of peaches and cream and after she had taken a bite she noticed in the bowl off to the side, a small worm. You know, the little inch worm looking kind that invade fruits. She didn't know what to do. She didn't want to cause a scene with the other ladies. So she quietly ate her peaches and avoided the area with the visitor.

So her question to the columnist was, how do you handle a situation like that? What should she have done? The columnist replied that the woman certainly didn't need manner lessons from her. The woman couldn't have behaved in a more mannerly, kinder fashion. She caused discomfort to no one.... and she didn't eat the worm!

This woman , who I have never known, has become a standard for me. Yesterday at the doctor's, things were mainly on keel. There is a pesky problem with the kidneys. His number is up.. It could be he hasn't been drinking as much water, or too many sodas. One possibility is that his kidneys are getting tired of his anti-rejection drug. Then Dr. Silverman checked his mouth where he has been maintaining some Graft Vs. Host disease. Again, everything seems about the same. The kidneys could also have a touch of GVH, but we are going to choose to not eat that worm. Today we begin getting a rest from the Tacrolimus and it is time for me to go on sentry duty so to speak. Any worsening of his GVH symptoms and the Dr. wants to know posthaste. GVH in the organs is deadly, but then so is slowly killing them with drugs.

Mac will try to double his water intake. His kidneys will feel fresh and happy. Our worst fears will be unfounded. We will hope that this is just another corner that we are turning, finding our way as far from this disease as we can get ourselves.

We choose peaches.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010


The last few days I have felt like Alice in Wonderland. It seems the faster I go, the behinder I get. I've been trying to work my butt off and I see little come from it. For instance, I borrowed a fence puller from neighbor Dan. I then spent three hours in the woods. There wasn't a breath of air. Buck brush, gooseberry and raspberries were all chest high. Humidity was so bad that it seemed like a jungle more then a woods in Iowa. By the time I came out of the woods, I was sweaty, filthy, ragged (I had torn my shirt even) and had little to show for the effort. My prize was nine fence posts. I had gone in hoping for forty.

I have gotten all two hundred of my trees and shrubs planted. You can't really tell by looking though. After all they are very small trees and shrubs.

Most of the flowers are in. This took significant work as I had to move a fair amount of topsoil to create the bed first. This I did with Edgar's red wagon and two buckets. If you stand in just the right place and tip your head just a bit and squinch up your eyes just so, you just MIGHT see some difference.

The hit of the week was the act of bathing outside. The water actually got hot! Yeah for solar water heating!! And somehow there is something rejuvenating about bathing outside when you are just too exhausted for words. The sun was bright and not a cloud in the sky. There was a light breeze from the east and the water was blessedly hot. I was buck naked except for my orange baseball cap. Across the front of the hat swooped in large letters "Wheaties" and across the back "breakfast of champions". The outdoor, solar shower is now officially on the to-do list!

I hope my hat is prophetic. I would much rather feel like a champion then I would Alice. When I wake up in the middle of the night, I worry about this.