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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Oscar's first birthday

Happy Birthday Oscar

My Husband Tony reminded me this morning it was our dog's Birthday. So on the usual morning drive to drop Tony off at work our dog Oscar got a chunk of bacon from his "Daddy's" burrito. At the dog park we played Frisbee and then socialized. Once home the cat has been in a hide n' seek mood, those 2 just roll and ran all over the place this morning as I share this! I am planning to head out here again soon with Oscar. I am taking him to his most favorite park, Katherine Albertsons. For it has such wildlife with nice pathways through out all the colorful trees. It was the park we took him the first day he joined our family.
This evening I may just hook him up on his long lease outside in the yard while I read. No matter what I need to do this is an all Oscar day, He may just want to nap on the couch while I do some baking. He really isn't demanding or picky about his time, in fact I think he realizes I will keep him busy so he takes his nap time whenever he can get it! Some mornings if we just stay home while I am up painting door frames he is happily snoring from under the messy bedding. It could be almost noon by the time he actually stretches at the door and we go out to see what birds are hanging in the lilac bushes. It is hard for me to realize how fast the time has  gone by, Oscar is 4 years old today! WOW! I wonder bewildered just how did I use to spend my time before he came along? It must have not been all that great if I can't remember.:-)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

my protective instinct

It was just the other night as we settled into the couch to watch an episode of "Madmen" on our computer. I had just handed my husband Tony a small bowl of mixed nuts before the show started. A knock at our door had us all up. even the dog Oscar knew this wasn't the time of night for visitors. Our neighbor sharing our condo wall was really upset. I have grown to know them like all my neighbors, I am outgoing while almost always outside in our big shared yards and gardens. On this night when my neighbor asked for us to call the police, she couldn't get to her little girl as some big guy was locking her out of her own home. Now I was alarmed knowing this little girl who plays with my dog all the time. I was right beside the Mom demanding this guy to let her in to her daughter. My husband was explaining to the police this new situation from his cell phone on the couch. When I glanced back at him I could tell he was trying to wave me back inside our home, it was just at the same second that this guy opened the door and a crying scared little girl ran right into my arms. I went directly inside my own home, to avoid the battle between this guy and the mother. When I put this little girl down next to Oscar he leaned into her as she giggled at him, then she was alarmed saying someone needed to help her Mommy. As I moved towards the door my husband stopped me by shaking his head, looking very stern. So I just stayed with the little girl, comforting her, petting Oscar. We talked about what a sweet dog he is. It really happened so fast this next door drama, when the Mom came to claim her daughter she said they were heading the police station but the cops ended up at her front door. Now my husband had a few things to say to me about my reckless involvement. He said we broke every rule by having them in our home when we don't know anything about the situation. I have no doubt he thinks these things through logically, but I reacted emotionally. I thought if I was a single Mom and couldn't reach my daughter then I would seek help from my neighbors and if they just talked to me through the crack of their door I would still feel so helpless! 
I do put myself into the shoes of other people so quickly that I forget to protect my own feet. This whole situation came into our lives very quickly and everyone is safe now. But I am still pondering my actions, my protective instinct could get the better of me. Why do I just assume I know right from wrong, that I am so sure I have some invisible protection? Why do I worry over the things I can not control? For in my relating to my neighbor I just assume that if I was her I would want someone standing at my side. Yet if I was her I wouldn't even be in that situation because I have never allowed a man to bully me. So really where does this quest for righteousness come from?  Why do I always think it's up to me? Perhaps in these next few days I will take the time to reflect on these questions. First I should humble myself to say I am sorry to my sweet hubby who worries this is just the beginning of the trouble I will get myself into. I understand I can be fearless, I need to learn how not to be mindless. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Words of the song, "Wherever you will go" by The Calling

So lately, I've been wonderin
Who will be there to take my place
When I'm gone, you'll need love
To light the shadows on your face
If a great wave shall fall
It would fall upon us all
And between the sand and stone
Could you make it on your own


If I could, then I would
I'll go wherever you will go
Way up high or down low
I'll go wherever you will go

And maybe, I'll find out

The way to make it back someday
To watch you, to guide you
Through the darkest of your days
If a great wave should fall
It would fall upon us all
Well I hope there's someone out there
Who can bring me back to you


Runaway with my heart

Runaway with my hope
Runaway with my love

I know now, just quite how

My life and love might still go on
In your heart and your mind
I'll stay with you for all of time


If I could turn back time

I'll go wherever you will go
If I could make you mine
I'll go wherever you will go

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My Pride and Joy

My Pride and Joy

My brother's birthday is today. Douglas, he is 15 years old and I remember when he was born so clearly like it was yesterday. I have 3 blond-haired, blue-eyed brothers born after I turned 13 years old. Daren was born 3 months before I turned 14, Dougie was born in the fall when I was 16. Davey came into the world just a month after I turned 20 years old. Now, I can recall the day each of them being born in every detail, every conversation and every schedule. I can see the weather, the time and the people who were around at the very moment in announcing after 9 months of waiting anxiously for my new sibling to arrive.

The 9 months leading up to Dougie's arrival were the longest months of my life, I struggled as a 16 year old wanting to get out into the world. Longing to meet new people and see new places. Yet I was always home changing diapers, reading the alphabet books and chopping up food finely for my 2 year old brother, Daren. He was everything beautiful in my world. I didn't ever blame him for growing up on my hip, I just would crying silently while rocking him to sleep at nap time looking out the window to a world so scary and so far away from me. It really didn't help that the country radio station played Reba's popular song “Is there life out there?” every hour at that time. Now my closest friends knew of my struggles through my letters, and in my Sunday prayers with them, I felt like my tears fell from me daily. I had such overwhelming fears realizing I was growing up, but I wanted to just be a silly carefree teenager before my 16th year was over. I was panicking in my own thoughts, in my own feelings for I didn't want to grow up. Even though my world had already changed. In my sadness, in my self-pity I had to gave up my 16th year as a teenager, I understood the right thing to do was live like a mother. I delighted proudly over Daren, his cute little legs running down the hall or his giggling when we danced to the “Babe” movie in the living room. At the same time the battles my father had with my sister were growing worse, there was so much stress over mom's scary pregnancy with Dougie. mother lived in bed for the first four months, I fell into a dark place of sadness. I was lacking in love, in conversation and most importantly laughter. I would ask myself when I stole away for a walk around the farm, “What if I let myself fall into that canal drop off? Would I instantly drown in those scary waves? Would I even be missed?” I wondered for the first time in my life that if death was were Heaven was, why am I wasting my time on earth? Wouldn't it be a wonderful escape to see Jesus face to face? I could see myself happy again after I died. Now these are selfish thoughts, I understood this during my struggles with life. I knew if I did actually drown, a 2 year old little boy I called “Dude” would miss me. I loved him more than all the glory of heaven. I knew in my heart and soul I would always be there for him, whose high fives and thumbs up made my life actually worth something. So I had deal with my loneliness, my rejection head on. I often watched the skyline for any sign of God, I whispered “Are you there?” looking up. It was obvious to me, that we were all heading to the future as a new family. Just like a time bomb it was all going to blow up in our faces. I started holding my breath but I took note at that very moment God sent some birds flying over my head after my question. I took it for the promise I desperately needed. I was never really alone. Our home was honestly so strange, when Doug came into it we were the most messed up people, the most unstable of personalities. My sister challenged everyone, she was in her own way dealing with the same situation of stress. But not interested in making a friend in me. We had some horrific fights, Though I have to admit when mom barked orders at me from her confinement, I then would turn on my sister barking orders at her to help me around the house as well. Our mother was so sick, so miserable that she was constantly running to the toilet to throw up over any unfriendly smell, or she was crying out over any bed movement. A few weeks, or months went by where our father slept on the couch. I remember hearing him grumble “It's going to be a long nine months.” as he threw a blanket on the couch when our mother was sobbing from their bedroom. Now Mom never had a good nine months in any pregnancy with the 3 boys, But Dougie was by far the worst ever!

Then one day during the pregnancy of Dougie, when the 3 of us older kids could sense it. The approaching storm, just like a dark cloud over the valley around us. Our father finally snapped. He was sleeping on the couch for a long time. He grew very moody, He came very impatient. We watched him in fear, we avoided crossing paths. If we were lucky like my sister who built a tree house platform for her own place in peace. We all looked for a place to hide. Our dad was about to boil over at any second, I knew time was against us. Yet I was caught off guard the day he exploded. Having just gone into town with friends to roller skated that morning, I came home so happy from being hugged by my best friends, and getting to laugh like the teenager I wanted to be. I walked happily humming to myself on my way to my bedroom when dad appeared in the hallway with his eyes flaming and his nose flared. “Where have you been?!” He demanded. I froze with a candy sucker in my mouth. “See this laundry?! See this kitchen?! It's all disgusting! What have you been doing all morning?!” I tired to move quickly out of his way, but he caught me by my arm and dragged me across the living room to point in to the kitchen of dirty dishes. I was glancing back at my brother and sister, who wasted no time dodging into hiding. “We went roller skating...” I choked in fear. He came unglued. “Oh sure leave your poor sick bedridden mother to suffer while you go roller skating instead! How selfish can you be?? Who was watching Daren?! It's lucky for you he was just coloring on the floor by your mom's bed, for she is napping and she can't care for him! You are so focused on yourself, You should be ashamed! If Daren had gotten hurt it would have been YOUR FAULT!” His screaming words stung me as hot tears fell silently, I held on to a kitchen stool. He was enraged, I was the one who stepped across his path at the wrong time. He continued while kicking up the pile of dirty clothes. “This had all better be cleaned up when I get back!” His slamming of the door shook the whole place, I slid down on to the floor on my knees just letting myself have a really good cry. These battles with my father were really just beginning, I wasn't as strong as my sister who never cried when living in a moment like that. Instead his words ate away at me for days. I began to believe that I am so selfish. That I am so stupid and lazy, I am without a doubt the worse big sister ever. With the lack of a mother, with an angry father, back in those days of waiting for Dougie to be born I had never felt so all alone in the world. God was either out to kill my spirit or teach me something profound.

On the day Dougie was born I saw a glow of my parents bedroom, I was startled by it. I laid there wondering what was going on, I looked at the cutest little sleeping Daren tucked into all my pillows. Every night Daren comes across the hallway to my bed, I never rejected him. I never even said a word to him, he always knew he could slip into my arms safely. I was determined never treat him like I had been treated. I understood from being truly forgotten, right after my big 16th birthday celebration when My mother put on such a big party for me. It was so wonderful and fun! Then a couple of weeks later, She announced she was with child. My world changed AGAIN. So my shopping date, my ear piercing, my own time with mother was gone. Now I knew what to expect in that second pregnancy. Though I would have never imagined she would get as deathly sick as she did. When Dougie was born, I was so relieved to finally make it through all those long horrid months.

One night I melted down to one of my closest friends during a rare sleep over at her house. She prayed with me, she inspired me to seek God when I was facing such dark thoughts of death, and loneliness. She told me I was the shining light God needed. Through my gift of a clean home, my parents would be able to relax when everything was just as stressful for them. God gave me strength to face the screaming battles in our family. My gifts were being used to help people, though it hadn't seemed like that to me, I felt like I wasn't worth anything! Yet she understood me, she said she wouldn't trade places with me for anything. She just knew I was walking through fire, but would come out looking like a diamond in the end. I felt so refreshed, safe, strong and happy when I left her place the next day, though Dad and Dana had began another battle when I arrived back home. I walked by them like they couldn't touch me nor bring me down. I thought about how God was using me for his Shinning light in a dark world. And I could smile again.

My dad called through my bedroom “Debby, we are heading to the birthing center. Watch Daren.” He was moving quickly, he was right behind my mom when I got up to look down the hallway, she was whimpering while waddling towards to kitchen.
Good luck.” I replied but I am not sure they heard me. When dad accidentally bumped into her, she squealed. He quickly apologized, I watched in awe at how sweet he really was with her. A few hours later the car lights would bring back a new baby boy at 6am. mom always called each pregnancy “Darcy”. For she believed each boy was going to be a girl.
I would always feel uneasy when she said “Darcy is really hungry.” “Darcy is kicking so hard!” She would also exclaim “LOOK! Darcy's foot print!” Or “Come feel Darcy move.” I would pray long into the nights that Darcy wasn't a girl. The last thing this family could handle was another girl. The pecking order in our Christian family was dad, he who was directed by God to rule the household, His Son next in line to God's kingdom. His wife who bares children for the service of God, and then his daughters (he happened to have 2 of them both rebelling to his authority) But the daughters did all the manual labor for the family. Now I wasn't a fool. I prayed every day during each pregnancy “Dear God please give us a boy, For a girl is the last thing this family needs.” Turns out..... God isn't a fool either!

Now, years later while dinning out with my sister . We began talking family memories again. She was amazed when I told her I had only ever prayed for brothers during those crazy days of all those pregnancies. She exclaimed “Me too! Could you imagine what a horrible sister we could have had? Talk about spoiled rotten! Not to mention she would be the bottom of the totem pole! Though Mom would never even looked at another one of us kids again. Even Derek would have been forgotten! Thank God, we weren't cursed with a girl!” I later reflected on if there was such a thing as the power of prayer?

That night when I waited for Dougie to be born, I sat looking up at the stars from my bedroom window. I prayed for my mom and for her baby to be okay, I cried over all the things I had learned in the last 9 months. I saw true HOPE in welcoming Dougie to our lives. “I once was lost, but now I am found” I whispered to the starry sky.

It was so fast how they returned by 6am, How tiny purple/red this newborn was. Watching Daren wake up with spiky blond hair. He rubbed his eyes while I carried him to see our mom and baby brother on the big bed. “Look Dude, it's our new baby brother Dougie!” Daren had been “The Dude” for the first 5 years of his life. We would high-five him sticking up our thumbs saying “Hey Dude!” He did it too, and it was oh so cute!! I loved that wonder over the new family member. Our Dougie was a new person in Daren's life. When the greeting time was over, we teenagers found our way back to bed. Only to have seconds later our father turn on our bedroom lights commanding us to get up! We were told who was to cook breakfast, who was to clean the house and who was to serve our mother breakfast in bed. Naturally we obeyed, for our father wasn't anyone to mess with. When I would looked down at Douglas sleeping so peacefully, I smiled knowing he was my true joy. For out of THIS very messed up family, he was born to save us all! Daren was my Pride and now Doug was my joy. So as they grew up together we would sing “Sugar Sugar” and dance our way to happiness. I would swing them up into my arms for they made my life truly complete!
They will always be.....MY PRIDE AND JOY.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I am not afraid.

For I am not Ashamed of anything I have done in my life. Every action has a reason, every situation taught me about who I am. And I am a Life force for everything GOOD.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Dating Game

One evening when I was in the 6th grade, I was driving around the farm with my Dad in his pick-up.  We had been checking sprinklers through out the orchard trees, It was dusk, the sun was setting when we were about to head home for the night. Then my Dad began talking about Dating. I giggled as he started "Someday you will start dating, and you really need to know how to play the game." I snorted uncomfortably. He nodded smiling and watching me out of the corner of his eye while driving around the Apple Orchard. "See Debby when you like a boy you need to act like you don't like him and play it cool. Then he will be interested in you and excited for the challenge of getting you to like him." I let out a huge laugh replying "That is the stupidest thing I've ever heard!" My Father's surprised glanced made me stop speaking. I knew I had to watch what I said carefully for Dad was really looking serious. "It's not stupid. You need to learn how it works, If You have a boy you like then you need to keep him interested by acting like you don't like him. Guys like the chase and the challenged. You need to not show your emotions and feeling so easily. That way it will keep the boy guessing." Dad finished with a nod like that is it, he had that on his mind for me and decided now was the time to teach me. I frowned looking at him suspiciously waiting on what I wanted to say. He asked "Well does that make sense?" I gave a quick "NO." folding my arms. Dad was chuckling while shaking his head as he steered the truck home. "So what do you not understand?" I hesitated awkwardly looking at him, I was wondering if I should speak honestly. I felt like I was going to rattle on with all my racing thoughts. He looked at me when I didn't quickly answer. Maybe to see if I was paying attention, "Go ahead, what?" he ask. I just sighed thinking to myself "Okay here it goes." 
I stammered quickly "IF I liked a boy(Which I don't)" I lied. "Then that is the stupidest way to get him to like me! By acting like I don't like him!? Think about it... so this boy sees me acting like I don't like him, Then he will come around closer because he suddenly likes me, So let's just say he tells me he wants to "Go Out", I can then tell him I like him after all?  So now he is suddenly my boyfriend because I treated him badly Pretending not like him?! What will happen when he is bored because I really DO like him? and then he starts chasing after a new girl who is acting like she doesn't like him? I would be so sad and hurt, THAT is why I think it's stupid, dating must really be stupid if this is how you play the game." I folded my arms over my chest really annoyed at my conclusion. My Dad's expression was frozen in total surprise, then he laughed till he wiped the tears from his eyes. We were getting out of the vehicle when I finished sharing my thoughts on what Dad was trying to warn me about in the world of Boys. He half hugged me as we walked into the warm glow of the house while night fell around us. He took a deep breath saying "I don't think I have anything to worry about with you." He kept chuckling when the door close and I went off to bed. But I would remember this conversation through out the years as I realized I couldn't play the dating game, it really wasn't in my nature.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sweetie pies!

KITTY-LOVE story 3, Derek's Tammy

                        Now the 3rd story of my Kitty-Love memories, Is the hardest one to write down because I am so full of 
emotion when I recall it.
When I was 11 years old, On the fourth of July in 1990. My Mom had her family over for a big red, white and blue bbq. When my uncle Robert asked about our new kittens, We kids realized he hadn't seen them yet so the three of us ran off to the Cat haven room. I was going to be so proud to show off my Cally, she was just a rolly polly kitty. So she comfortably took her place on my shoulder. At that very moment when my excited Sister Dana came blowing past. I backed up against the wall to avoid slamming into her, what I saw next.... I can see so clearly in my mind like it was yesterday. She in turn slammed into Derek as he was bending down to pick up his black kitten, the crunch sound made me run out pass everyone with a burning scream caught in my throat. I had barely reach the patio where everyone else sat and I gasped out "Derek fell on his kitten, it's dead.....I know, I heard it, I saw it." I quickly handed my kitten to my Grandpa whose eyes show his horror and he took the kitty so gently at the same moment my Grandma shot up from her seat exclaiming "Oh Mercy, God save us!" She started off out to the rest of the family gathering around the storage room. But I raced to my bed and since cats were not allowed inside I knew my Grandpa would keep my kitten safe. I couldn't grab my pillow fast enough. I knew that with my eyes everything I saw, everything I heard would haunt me forever. It's the curse to bare when you know there is nothing allowing you to forget, with my memory nothing leaves me. Today I even call it the curse of the gift. For it can be so wonderful to remember everything good, but you have to deal with remembering the bad. 
After that day when we were left with only 3 kittens, Our Mom gave Derek her kitten that she named "Tammy." Soon it came with great laughter that we realized Tammy was really a Tommy.
Now I had a deep fear of tom cats after watching a PBS "Nature" program about the cat's life on a dairy Farm. I was horrified to see a tom cat kill all but one kitten, which had escape and was rescued by a neighboring Mama cat. I made sure that Derek's cat Tommy was the most loving cuddling sweet tom cat, by carrying him around and spending extra attention on him. He had a dark gray face, tail and paws but was mostly white. My Dad said that Tommy was the laziest cat he had ever seen. I explained that I wanted Tommy to always stay nice and not kill any kittens. Dad stop to watch the tom cat laying sprawled out on the lawn chair, "Hard to imagine he even knows how to kill anything." I nodded happily "He isn't into going on walks with me right now, so I just carry him." My Dad rolls his eyes mumbling "Oh Good Grief." 
When the evening came that Tommy never showed up for dinner, I remembered my Dad saying that the day would come when Tommy would leave us for the calls of other female cats. So I asked my Dad why. Why do male cats leave home looking for female cats? He explained that it is their natural instinct. I was feeling really worried as I said "I don't think he is going to make it out there." My Dad laughed while listening to me saying "I bet he is only gone a day." Sure enough a few days later Tommy was back and He was not interested in any females. Come to think about it, He really was never that interested for the rest of his life.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I love these Dogs!

My Homemaking

Tony said to me last night over a late night visit to the Thai restaurant, "We haven't been here in a long time!" As we sat down relieved to get in 45 minuets before they closed. I was craving fresh spring rolls, with that yummy peanut dip. When I took a sip of the Thai ice tea, I smiled "This drink will always reminds me of our dating years!" I laughed. He nodded while drinking his, and looking across the table. We talked about all things on our mind, About how we have really out grew our Condo. It's more for our changing perspective on life. We use to live cozily in our tiny place, actually hardly being home. We would hang out in Book stores, the Coffee shop just around the corner. We filled our lives up with working, movies and trying new restaurants. In those first few years in our condo, we lived in a 5 mile radius. Occasionally we would entertain, we could have 6 people over but it was still a bit tight. In these last years we have turned our place into our actual home. Now with a cat and a dog, with my love for pets just exploding! Along with all our new hobbies. I have found as a Homemaker, there is only so much I can do with this space. Tony's slogan is "Build up, not out." and I have taken him to heart with bookshelves on bookshelves, dishes on hooks which we had to declare we could not buy another "Pampered Chef" item. Or just one person could enter the kitchen at a time.
Tony said he loves having me home. He wants me always be just a phone call away. It was hard on him when I worked odd jobs in odd schedules, He loves how I am making our place so wonderful. When I am there it is our home, when I am gone it's just another condo. He has stated many times, that I have blossomed into Homemaking along with all our lavender bouquets like our life was always this way. He made me smile last night when telling me that he can not get over how lucky he is in having me right by his side. Our marriage is the best thing to ever happened to me, my love for him can move mountains, so dealing with our condo is really nothing!
I know this is just a changing time, to sale, to be ready for the future. I will think on the things I love when frustrated with my home, for I love my apron, my garden hat, my sewing machine and my home when it reflects me. I love my fat cat, my clever lazy dog and my Handsome Husband who everyday makes me laugh sometimes to tears, "He's a Funny Guy":-) 
With last night's conversation, it made me realize the time is now, the "someday we will move" is currently unfolding. and I am actually very ready, very happy. In my renewed energy, I am excitedly getting back to my homemaking, back into my home so that it will be beautiful when the sale sign says "Come buy me." And I will be proud to see how far we have come. Maybe all my reading about Bedlam Farm in these last few years has sparked a fire in my daydreaming.....Maybe the grass really IS greener on the other side!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

KITTY-LOVE Story 2, The Mighty Misty

In the Summer when I was 11 years old, When my sister's cat Merry had her first and only litter of kittens. The year was 1990 and on our Grandparent's Orchard Farm slopping down a hillside to the most amazing view, we lived a childhood of magical adventures. In those summer evenings my Sister and I would walk up the steep hillside to our Grandparents house, where we would sit on their front lawn. We often watched the sunset, or went just a few steps down in to a small apple orchard filled soft green wild grass. Now in this summer our kittens would follow us. While we sat relaxing watching the sunset. Misty was my sister's second cat, one of those adorable kittens with bright blue eyes, white soft short fur and light brown stripes. She had gray ears and a gray tail. Along with the softest "meow" a cat could ever make. Gentle was her middle name, though she was my Hero when catching a mouse inside the house during the day. Since the mice were a daily visitor and I greatly feared them. Misty was a Goddess in my eyes! She never wasted any time coming in to catch the rodent and she happily be right back outside. One evening my sister Dana and I sat on the grassy hillside watching the sunset with our kittens all around us, Dana said holding her Misty up to her face, "She is the sweetest cat I have ever seen." I agreed "I know, I wish she could teach Cally." Since my Cally and her Misty were sisters they were as opposite in personality as 2 cats can get, really much like my sister and I  come to think about it. Snobby Cally did whatever she wanted, Gentle Misty always stayed close to us. There was just something so beautiful about holding a kitten while watching the Sun set on those summer nights.
Almost a year later while my Cally was going into labor, I closed the window to the "Cat Haven" storage room. I made it quiet and dark while she gave birth to 6 kittens all afternoon. I wrote letters to my Auntie Val, to my Cousins and to m Grandparents when passing the time. All the while when I was sitting right next to my crying cat saying, "Oh Honey I know." For I felt so helpless watching her pain. Now Cally was a drama queen, a self-center cat, but she loved and trusted me. So I would pet her as each baby kitty was born. "It's okay Girl, I am right here." I would sometimes sing songs that I knew to comfort her with the sound of my voice. While we were in this ZEN like room, a crashing sound outside startled me. I saw Misty throwing her whole body into the window like it would help her get in. "Oh NO you don't." I said at her looking through the dirty glass. "This room is closed, Cally is IN LABOR, GO AWAY." She had such desperate eyes when she saw me. I was unsettled by her. "Misty Girl have you lost your mind!?" I quickly went outside through the side door to look around. I was worried she was being chased by a coyote. She was meowing so much, so I knew something was wrong. For months Cally has been walking around like she swallowed a basket ball, I was all ready for the birthing time with towels, bedding and a cave like corner in the storage room. "You need to calm down now, Cally is okay." I thought to myself how adorable that Misty thinks Cally is in trouble right now. I carried her over to the open playhouse, thinking if she needs to be inside somewhere she could hang out here. As I went to set her down a gush of liquid came out of her, "DID YOU PEE ON ME? Oh Gross! Go on now!" I said to her as I set her down. Now I knew this stuff wasn't like pee, but I was so distracted over my kittens being born to think about Misty anymore for the rest of the day. She was a skinny little thing that was acting hysterical. As the evening arrived with 6 kittens fought over Cally's nipples. I became alarmed that not everyone was getting enough milk. "Okay fatty let the new guy in." I would say while gently putting my finger under the small belly of the newborns to move them slowly around. How funny it is to quietly watch kittens nurse and their mama pur. 
That evening I feed the other outside cats, noticing Misty wasn't there. I walked into the playhouse so surprised to see her still there, over in the corner on an old deflated inner-tub. I just slowly feel to my knees shaking at what I saw, She was purring while watching me closely. "Oooh Miss Misty, I am so sorry. I am so sorry I yelled at you." Tears soaked the neck of my t-shirt. Misty licked again the lifeless kitten, she was hoping one of the only 2 kittens she gave birth to would live. But it's impossible with no legs. I move the deformed kittens around to be sure I wasn't dreaming. Then I realized why she was so panicked, why she wanted to be inside the Cat haven and be safe. I picked her up quickly because I knew what she was meant to do. In the opposite corner of the Cat haven room from Cally and her many kittens, I setup a new bed with cave like blankets and towels. Misty laid there cleaning herself when I set 3 all white kittens in her bed, She went right cleaning them. "There we go Mother, These will be your Babies." She was instantly at home again. Now with my Cally only having 3 kittens and Misty with 3 I felt like everything was perfect after all.
My Dad helped me clean up the playhouse. He said chances are the kittens were never alive so they didn't suffer. It can happen when cats of the same litter mate and have misshapen kitties. When I told him that Misty had adopted some of Cally's kittens, He was impressed that I had thought of that all on my own. Misty was a Mighty cat, a Mother hawk always feeding and cleaning her babies. In time Misty's kittens ended up being the biggest, fattiest things of the whole litter.
My Dad would say "your cat is a horrible Mother! after 2 weeks she refuses to feed her babies! Thank God for Misty or your kittens would starve to death!" Upon realizing this I took extra time through out the day to find my cat and hold her down to nurse. She hated me of course but she still played "Mother" a couple hours at least. So I admired Misty's love, her overall understanding of her job raising all the kittens. Once she chased a tom cat  clear up to the ditch, My sister and I cheered her on "GO Misty! Ya tell 'em!" 
On one fall day she didn't show for dinner when I called. My sister Dana and I search everywhere for her, we knew she liked being inside when it got cold. So this wasn't like her to just disappear. When the days turn into months we really thought she was forever gone. Now Dana loved Misty so much she even painted a ceramic cat in honor of missing her Misty. 
3 years later I was helping my friend feed her neighbors pets, This was 4 or 5 miles from our farm, so when I saw Misty again she was a fatty happy kitty. "Misty!" I watched in awe as she sat on a big fluffy pillow in the house. She had the scare on her ear from lord knows what when she was a kitten. "This was my sister's cat! WOW she really hit the jackpot! Does she get to live INSIDE this house?" I asked my friend looking around the beautiful home. She replied while dumping out more cat food "They said this cat was rescued,  2 or 3 years ago. She was a really mess too. They took her in and now she owns the house, and the dog owns the yard." I cuddle with Misty until we left, I was just so happy to hold her again even if she weighed 20 pounds more. I whispered to her "Don't worry I will tell Dana that I saw you and that you now live happily ever after! Wow this is just so WOW!" 
Dana listened to me describe everything about that afternoon. She asked me in wonder "How you know for sure it was Misty?" I said without hesitation "Her face it has those unique stripes, along with her scared ear and she is living like a Queen, I'm tellin ya!"
We both nodded in agreement that our Mighty Misty still lives on!

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Master Gardener

While I watched the door as I worked this year at the Fair. I waited for him. My usual folding chair was waiting for the second he will arrive along with his amazing produce, He has the most yummy home grown walnuts, even got national recognition. 
Every year for the last 5 years that I have worked this Fair job, Ross Hadfield always won blue ribbons! Sadly this year I just knew by the time the afternoon came on entry day, 
We really don't live forever.
When I made a comment yesterday while in our Fair Meeting, That I had really missed him. Someone said "I remember reading his Obit a few months ago." Another person asked "Wasn't he almost a hundred?" I stared off into the trees of our patio table, Now I wasn't in tears because I already knew in my heart that this was why he never came. For when I went to put his chair away after that long awaiting day. I looked out over setup of the Fair grounds in that blazing sunset, I Felt so sad. I patted the chair I had for him saying to myself.
"Goodbye Ross, your message wasn't lost to me."
Having confirmation on his death though I was lost once again in a flash back to how much I loved chatting with that old guy, with passion He LOVED gardening. His home for over 50 years was in the Heart of town, Meridian. Yet when he first moved there it was mostly a country side.
When his wife died he continued teaching gardening classes, He had a very important message about food, How our homes need to have gardens or we will struggle in the future. 
In my Master gardening class, He was the special speaker for the day. He made me laugh so much with his common sense, dry sense of humor and the spark of love he had for the Earth, in that easy way he could talk to anyone. He had such a fear for the future of our great nation. So when he asked "Who is under 30?" The class rippled with laughter, He added with a wink at me as I looked up "Because the rest of you are doomed! hahahahaha" It took me a second to stop writing notes in realizing my hand was the ONLY one up, instantly I jerked it back down and everyone laughed again. I laughed also pointing to some of my new classmate friends "You look under 30 come on raise your hand with me No one will know!" Then laughter filled the room.
When Ross put his hand on my shoulder during his speech about how we don't know where our food comes from anymore, how much the cost will sky rocket one day, then it will be a scary time to live. It will be the under 30 year old people of this time to have a calling in growing a garden and to lead the nation into a new age. I adore this man! he saw the future in need, he understood how far from nature our society has come. Yet he loved his life, he didn't hide under a cave or stop laughing. Life was beautiful for him even in his deepest understanding that the lack of a garden, leaves us desperate for food. Someday when I am a leader at his age I hope to have the gift of not loosing heart among such negative events. 
The class tour of Ross's home was like walking on to the "Candyland" board game for kids. My fellow Master Gardeners were in awe, pointing out all sorts of things and snapping pictures. I found myself lost, lingering in the peach trees with a grape vine growing through them. Ross walked by me saying "Those are Alberta trees." He smiled pushing up his glasses and trucking off in his overalls with his white hair sticking up in the back a bit. but at the very word "Alberta." I took a deep breath for I knew these trees. THIS was such a magical place, I was at peace in my mind. Ross's best discovery was a huge walnut tree mixed with 2 different types, A squirrel planted this tree he saw over 30 years ago. Now he had the best tasting walnuts I have ever eaten! He was so proud of that tree, for you could eat all the walnuts in the bucket and never once get a canker sore, I called them "the Miracle Walnuts", when he arrived that following summer for the Fair in my Agriculture department to enter his goodies, I hugged him gently as he was a bit out of breath, "Here Ross, a chair." I set it up by my table. I began visiting over his entries. "Wow look at those carrots! I have never seen such size!" and "How did you get corn like THIS? It's so beautiful!" He would then explain how he grows everything and I would eat up all his wonderful information. The second in command Boss came over to me, she rudely interrupted me. "Don't offer him a chair! or he will NEVER leave!" She hissed. I had already gone the rounds with her that day on rudeness, she just had no shame. Needless to say she doesn't work there anymore. But this was my first year working so I respectfully replied "I have all the time in the world." I went back to visiting with my new Friend Ross, earlier that spring his class on gardening was wonderful to me, with his views on the future he just captured my heart. The old lady still hissed behind me, "He will never shut up, so stop asking him questions!" I bent my head down to rub my forehead telling myself "Don't lose it Debby because punching her in the face right now only sounds like a good idea:-)" If Ross could hear her, he ignored us while displaying his items. When he looked around a bit unsteadily "Hope I am not holding up the line." My heart was melting again. I chuckled "Oh No I am here ALL day, You are just fine. Want a soda? I have extra and it's going to be a hot one out there." He sat drinking, laughing and talking to me as easily as if we had been life long friends. When he commented on other people bringing in their garden goods, he was also so nice, helpful and friendly. Once a young woman looked at him like he was an idiot as he said "That's a pretty big Zucchini." She snorted rolling her eyes "It's a cucumber." He stood up to get a better view "Oh you are right." he chuckled gently sitting back down and I glared at the fat ugly woman. I directed her down away from us, since I have the badge I can flash it instead of flashing my fiery through my words. As she wobbled way with her rudeness reeking like her B.O., I asked myself "Why do I hate my generation so much?"
Soon every year from that afternoon I gladly greeted him, sent him up as VIP to the front of the line, we chatted away even when I was busy doing a few things at once. But last month I waited, working while watching for him, when it was a slow time around mid-morning I said out loud "I hope Ross can get here soon, for this perfect time to chat without interruptions." My close friend, also now my second in command Boss. Said "Oh that guy! he is so funny about having extra walnuts to taste!" She walks away laughing, so I called back to her "Those are Magical Walnuts by the way, I named them that!" She let out a louder laugh. "I am sure you did, that sounds just like you!"  
When people die, it isn't the end of all things, it's just a change in the world, like with the wind moving over the earth. I will miss his Gardening soul, I know that someday the wind will claim my own.

Friday, September 17, 2010

KITTY-LOVE story 1, My Cally

My Cally, this calico cat was born from Merry, Who was my Sister's cat. I was allowed to have a cat of my own from this litter. It was in the spring of my 11th year. Naturally, I was the perfect age for a companion. For on that very second, when I saw her patchy colored tiny body nursing on her Mom, I claimed her as mine. It took a bit more discussion with the family on who got what kitty. I was very proud to own my long haired, white pawed cat. Her eyes were yellow, and with random pattern colored fur. My Cally really was the most beautiful of all the cats on the farm. 
"She smells like soap!" Said a friend of mine carrying my Cally around. I smiled proudly at this comment. Cally did have the softest coat of fur I ever felt, She also laid over my shoulders like a bag of potatoes. I loved how she trusted me, never to drop her. 
When our Mother turned the storage room into the cat haven, we loved it!  With a sloping built in half shaped wooden box to the window. The kittens could be outside then run through cinder blocks to safety. With screened sides and a strong wooden roof, this place offered great protection from all the coyotes around. The little slants of wood inside went all the way up to window were these kittens could pop inside the storage room. Now the window was always open just enough for cats to enter. It was protected by the leftover roofing, some extra shingles. I thought it was the coolest cat stairway I had ever seen! It was there for them to go inside to eat, to drink or sleep. Once my sister and I rolled out a stored bed, it became the common place to find all the cats napping together. That storage room also became our little hide out as well.
Now My Cally was spunky, adventurous and a total snob. She would walk swinging her hips, like she knew she was superior to any other creature on the farm. We would often laugh just watching her. She also had it out for my Dad, he would walk right up to her yelling, commanding her to move. Even once He came close to actually kicking her, yet she stood her ground. She had no problem hissing right back at him! It was like she knew he had no right to disrespect her. My Dad would turn to me saying "That Cat is not Normal!" 
I would smile in agreement, then rush in to pick her up and get her out of his way. She would still be growling deep down in her throat, while watching him with challenging eyes even as I carried her away. The first time I did this, my Dad freaked out, For He was so sure my Cally would attack me in such a state. But I knew she wouldn't even nip me, for I was like her Mama. She really trusted me and I trusted her.
While picking peaches way up inside a tree on one afternoon. I was way out into the orchard, Cally was sitting on a branch watching me work below, I knew I was all alone at the time, so I just kept chattering away with her. Whenever she could follow me around the farm she did, when she was looking for me she would make a different sound while meowing. I could always tell when she called for me. So as I was picking those big juicy "Improved Alberta" peaches, she suddenly put her two front paws on my shoulder in alarm, looking right over my backside then growling. I was both startled and amazed by her actions. "What is it?" I asked as if she could humanly reply. Then I crouched down while hanging on to the three legged latter, looking through all the branches and leaves. Peach trees are full of itchy fuzz during harvest time, I also wore a scarf around my neck to keep from scratching it raw. What I love the most about Peach trees is the shape of their leaves for they look just like little bananas curling around the big blush peaches.
I saw a shadowy figure moving, stopping among the trees. It was a man, I quickly got off the latter, setting my basket to the ground. Then unhooking my shoulder straps, holding my cat. She was really growling now, I waited wondering how fast could I run if I needed to make it home?
I bent all the way down in the soft dirt, looking through all the trunks of trees...."Grandpa!" I exclaimed then giggled. He was just a row over now. "Yeah?" he asked while inspecting more leaves. My Cat ran over to him with her ears back. "Cally thinks she is a dog! she was growling long before I ever saw you! So I got worried because I am the only one out here right now." I explained.
Grandpa chuckled while softly petting Cally. She soon relaxed, went back to climbing up more peach trees. As I also climbed the latter with a new empty peach basket, I looked down to see Grandpa passing by still inspecting the trees, he commented "She is a really good cat, she just wants to protect you." I was so very proud of her!
When my Cally came in heat, it was as if she was going to die. Her howling was so loud, so long and she threw herself on the ground in desperate drama, I would look at her annoyed mumbling "Oh Good Grief!" Since I didn't want her to have any kittens yet, I would carry her around outside in a duffel bag. She would stick her head out but the rest was zipped up so that her body wasn't attracting any male cats. 
I thought I was so clever!
When my Cally went missing, I called all over the farm for her. She was gone 2 full nights, when I made the cat call for dinner she never arrived, I became so frighten for her. My cat call was only used at dinner time or if the cats were in danger. What a powerful thing to produce a sound that had them running to me from all over the farm. I began my searching for my Cally right away, but with bedtime in the way I would just lay awaking worrying. God always answered these kind of prayers for me, So I prayed my heart out.
On the 3rd morning I was getting desperate, unsettled and even more worried. I had walked all over farm land, I had asked every family member, I stood up on the top of the hill of my Grandparents front yard and yelled out over the valley below my distinctive cat call. Late in the afternoon as I stood in the summer heat, looking down the Plum orchard rows, I heard a cat reply off in the distant, I called again. I moved quickly across the land, jumping down slopes, running up rows of trees. Then passing my Grandpa who was fixing a sprinkler head. I stopped next to him while catching my breath "I hear my cat! she has been gone almost 3 days!" I exclaimed. He stood to point towards the big open field on the hill side of a neighboring farm, "It's coming from over there." He said calmly. When I called out again, this cat replied. I was amazed, really so excited. Grandpa was chuckling as he went back to work. At the very sight of her My Cally, was like in a movie! I couldn't believe it! she so far away on that hillside, yet she coming home to me. I was crying by the time I had reached her. I will always remember holding her messy, muddy, weedy body up to my chest, I will always remember her pouring like a motorcycle. When my Grandpa check her over, he noticed me wiping away my tears as I laughed. He hugged me saying "If only she could tell us about her adventures!"
Then I walked all the way home with her laying on my shoulders.

Sweet Kittens!

"And they call it.... KITTY-LOVE"

I remember the days of my Sister loving her cat Smokey, this all gray stray, she rescued it on the orchard farm. In that first summer we were moving from our trailer park home in Meridian.
"Will he bite?" I asked my Sister Dana, "I don't think so." she replied holding the messy fur up to her face. 
I was under the impression at that time Cats were mean, Our Father often threw things at the Cats, to get them out of our boxed garden, or out of the trash cans. Once there was a cat inside the big trash can. One early morning Our Father walked the trash cans out to the road, He was the only one up going to work. When he opened the lid a cat flew out to escape! When he told us the story later he shot his arm out into the air. "This cat flew out like a bomb! I was so startled! stupid cat!" we kids were giggling while listening and thinking how funny that would have been to see. When ever our Father was being funny, joking or teasing us. In unison, we kids would say "Daaaaaaaddeeeee." Like we knew he was completely silly.
And He could see, saying "NO" to Dana's new cat wasn't possible. So as long as the cat never came inside the house, and never touched him. Then We could keep it!
My ideas of cats began to change, that fear of these alley sickly looking things hissing, biting had left me. I paid attention to that soft loving animal, who could save you from the evils of mice. 
When I was maybe 2 or 3 years old I was scratched on the face by a big Tabby Cat. It had ran under the wooden steps of our single wide gray trailer home. Parked on a small hillside in St.Maries, I had a babysitter telling me to leave the cat alone. But I am fascinated by it while playing in my sand box. In the bright sunny morning when I saw the animal, I cornered it under the stairs. I watched in wonder and awe getting right up in it's face of those bright yellow eyes....The 3 stinking red stripes over my eye to the center of my cheek was shown to me in the bathroom mirror. (A scare I have even to this day for when getting a facial, it was pointed out to me that my eye brow has a perfect line through it)  
I remember all of this so clearly because my babysitter said "That is what you get, for disobeying." 
I was 10 years old before I ever trusted a cat again.

Smokey died shortly after our new home was in place on our Grandpa's Orchard farm. Dad said she died from Leukemia, 
I never forgot that word.  
When Dana was given another stray cat called Merry, short for Merry Christmas. It was a snowy season when our Grandpa was feeding this cat in his big work shop, keeping her warm and she lived in there after awhile before He thought she was ready for us kids. 
Grandpa Graber had a caring soul for all animals, He always saw the importance in caring for all of nature. He would leave bowls of water out on hot sunny days, or keep the wood stove going in the shop for the dogs in the winter cold. 
My Dad really cared about animals also. His biggest thing was he HATED to see any animal suffer. These Men were  great role models for me, I watched everything they said or did when caring for the creatures.
Dana's Merry was not the most loving cat, but she was the best hunter I have ever seen! She just had one litter of kittens, then we had her fixed. She lived for years as Queen of the land. She was our Dad's favorite cat, His type of animal. They had this mutual respect for each other, going to work everyday and never asking the other to touch. 
Merry, was the first cat of my Cat family tree. The records are still in my notebook today...
for my Kitty Love had JUST begun!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Chosen One

Now that I am in my 30's I feel like I have a better understanding on my childhood. I am not distracted by children, by a stressful job or the usual issues that can come up in a person's life during their early adulthood. I walk my dog by the Boise river, every morning I throw his Frisbee, work on his training, or just lay on the grass looking up at the bright sky with him. The most stress I have is talking to my Hubby about chores of the day when he isn't such a morning person. I understand that without a doubt, I have a very happy life. But it wasn't always like this....As a Child growing up with 2 other siblings, then as a Teenager having 3 more baby siblings. My life was very different, I have many memories of it. Which have taught me something about who I am and where I come from.
My sister and I are a year and half apart in age though most people just assumed Dana was older by her very strong personality. Our brother Derek is 3 years younger then me and He was always Dana's playmate growing up. My Sister was a "Tom-Boy" the polar opposite of me in my love for pink lacy girlie things. So while her and Derek made outside forts and carried long sticks to sword fight, I had a baby stroller that I pushed around demanding them not to whack my baby doll. 
My Mother's Name is Deborah, Debby for short and since she hated Deborah so much she allowed my Father to name me just Debby. When I asked why I was named the same as her because it was so frustrating to have people start talking to me on the phone only to have me interrupt them asking "Do you mean you want to talk to my Mom?" my middle name initial became my signature trademark, something of my very own.
My Mother replied so casually "I thought you were a boy." I was confused, she explained "When I was pregnant with you I prayed for a boy, and I was so sure you were a DEREK."
I was stunned "Derek!? you called me Derek for nine months!" She chuckled and shrugged. So I sat 14 years old, stunned at the kitchen table realizing that I....through the power of prayer ....should have been a boy. At that moment Derek walked right by me unaware of my new understanding in why he was such a favored child. Since my Sister and I always got into trouble growing up, my Brother Derek would take personal notes on what NOT to do, or how NOT to get caught.  
He had a sense of entitlement, a sense of knowing he was the Love of our Mother's life. 
Now I remember him being a very sweet likable child so little and always cuddling. But when he became the model family member, hardly getting spanked and always referred to as the only good child in a group. It also became very clear that he was a spy for our Parents, most of the time we would ditch him, ignore or tie him up. 
One summer night when my sister and I tied him into a lawn chair, he was very upset because he had been telling us what not to watch on the TV while our parents were out. It was really funny to have him stuck outside yelling at us. when he jumped up and down the chair broke in half, my sister and I were laughing so hard at the tangled sight of him. He became scared that he would get in trouble for braking the chair, so he never told on us for tying him up! Derek was the chosen one in our family where both Mom and Dad would stop talking to smile proudly at him. Then Derek would brake out into an arrogant speech while many times my sister and I would look at each other as if to silently the say "Oooh Brother!"
Now I look back to those days realizing to Derek the whole world was so stupid starting first at home. He knew what was best, what was right in God's eyes. He had good intentions for most of the things he did, his people skills took along time to arrive. When I was 19 years old I had a new friend over, she was hanging out in my bedroom when Derek appeared. He didn't even say "HI" he just looked her up and down skeptical then asked "Are you another one of Debby's stupid friends?" She flew up to meet him in the eye, staring at him in shock. I went scrambling to push him out of my bedroom thinking if ever there was a woman who would take him down, it would be Benny. 
She often said I didn't give her time to retort, but really I feared if he got mad, he would report to my Mom that my new friend couldn't hang around me.
When Derek was driving me home from work one evening while we had to share the car until his pickup was repaired. He wouldn't let me listen to a Cher song. The on and off button battle for the car radio went on until I took a loose fresh farm egg out of my box of groceries only to smash it on his head, he was totally surprise as he drove down the dirt road. The egg fight began, the power struggle of wills  through the throwing of yokes and the smashing of shells. He had this fight with my sister a couple of years earlier, only they were in a kiddie pool holding each other down. I hated watching that fight turn so ugly. My Mom watched also shaking her head commenting "Don't mess with Derek, he will win every time."  I nodded in agreement hoping the bloody nose my sister got would make her stop.
The egg fight was more a Debby style fight, no blood and no screaming, mostly just laughing so hard tears mixed with the egg on my face. I realize I had such hostile feelings towards Derek, maybe because our Mom called me him before I was even born.
Maybe because he was a "Know-it-all", a preachy kid.
Or maybe it was just natural to compete for power as siblings. I enjoyed the moment when I was visiting a friend, who talked about our church's softball team. She was so upset at this guy named Derek who would acted like he was the coach, like he owned the softball team. She turned to me, asking  
"Have you noticed that guy? He is such a jerk! last week he was even chewing you out! Who does he think he is?" 
I just nodded, smiling, understanding then answered "He is Derek (insert our shared last name), My brother." She was instantly embarrassed  "Oh no! I am so sorry!" I just laughed, while reassuring her everything she had said was right. 
In fact obviously if people who knew me, and didn't know he was my brother, then I was so proud I did a good job in keeping away from him.  
I think the life of my Brother as "the Chosen One" isn't as easy as it use to be. Now he gives out hugs at the family dinners, he laughs kindly at our Nephews and Niece. He leads our teen aged brothers in school. I am proud of him for moving out on his own, for enjoying his college time and new friends. I understand as my Brother I always enjoy his jokes, his stories and his new kinder self. For my parents I realize they need a Hero, a bragging story of the one child they can be proud. I am not threaten anymore, nor jealous of living in the shadow of the Chosen one. I just tip my hat when passing by my brother in the same town of our different lives.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fabric Frustration

When I began painting our bedroom this summer, I had it out for those window blinds. They were always so dusty, often slanted and if the cat stuck her head through them to look out the window, she would panic in trying to get her head back out. "Tinker, you Crazy Cat." Is what I would say while helping her keep from hanging. If we just had curtains then she could quietly sit in the window. So it was easy to wash my hands of those noisy window treatments. BUT the big issue now is what fabric will I sew to make curtains? Curtains are the best way to bring color to your room, or give a cozy feeling to the home. I am very new to sewing, this curtain project will be fun to create! 
I just can't choose a fabric......I want bright bold colors, I always gravitate to them in any store. Realistically, my Husband reminds me that the re-sale value and over all display of this Condo needs to be considered. He is thinking of a simple white or a soft color. Since I am ready to move tomorrow, I guess I will sew boring colored curtains. When we move to a new place then I will put my own colors back into the home. That means Granny Smith Apple Green or Pumpkin Orange! I love ALL the varieties in Red, even when I repainted this place and it had to be white, I choose that bright white, looking like snow! 
I want my home to be fresh and clean. To have all colors of the rainbow and smell of nothing but lavender! I am in a frustrating place right now having to guard my color choices.  
Since my Husband's favorite color is Purple, I had our bedroom wall painted in such a wonderful fun purple, but years later.. it needed to change. With Our shared passion for Lavender, We both had enjoyed that purple color!
Unfortunately most people when looking to buy a place don't want a Crayon box.
I am still at a lost to what fabric I should use in making these new curtains. The bedroom is freshly painted in soft gray and white trim, and I was just looking at some bright yellow fabric with a big flower print!?!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

BEHOLD! This is my Heaven!

And I will share it with YOU!!!

Remembering Nine-Eleven

On September 11th in the year 2001 my morning started off at 6am when my sister's TV came on automatically. In my quiet 2 bedroom apartment the TV turning on with no one around often scared the shit out of me! Especially when my Sister Dana wasn't even home. "THAT has to be the Creepiest Alarm setup ever!" I explained to Dana who was laughing so hard as I acted out my first encounter with the big noisy TV from her room. "So it's 6am the TV comes on and I knew you weren't home so I jump out of bed scared to death, wide awake and grabbed my tennis racket!" She stopped laughing to catch her breath only to ask "How will a tennis racket save you?." I threw my arms up in my defense "I wasn't thinking clearly, I had an intruder watching TV in my home at an ungodly hour!" Dana just kept laughing. That TV and me NEVER really liked each other:-)
So on 9/11/01 at 6am that very morning my sister's TV turns on, so I call out "Dana? are you home?" she opens her bedroom door to reply "yes." She leaves the TV on while I showered for work. My current job at the time was in home interior design. I spent my days driving all over the Treasure Valley setting up, painting, rag rolling, staining, wallpapering in new homes. My Boss called that morning saying she was to busy at home so I could just take the day off. That was just how this job went, with all kinds of random hours, late mornings or long nights. After realizing I didn't have to go paint, I went right back to bed, fully dressed falling asleep to Dana's big loud TV in the background.
Almost 1 hour later Dana called down the hallway then ran into my bedroom. "Holy Shit! Debby, the world is coming to an end!" I rolled out of bed in wrinkled clothes protesting that I wanted to sleep more. "How can you sleep when the world is ending?!" She asked waving her hand towards her TV. I was bewildered watching the Twin Towers smoking, hearing the alarm in the reporters voices. After a few minuets of starring at the TV I realized that all I wanted to do was call my Boyfriend Tony, my Mom, my Grandma to make sure everyone I loved was okay. With my phone to my ear and my eyes on the TV screen. I felt like time stood still, like the tears rolling softly down my cheeks wasn't going to be enough to save the world after all.

"While the events of September 11 might seem to be about religion, they were really about Anger."-Pastor Don Mackenzie

The Interfaith Amigos came together on 9-11 as they shared in that historical tragedy. Rabbi Ted Falcon, Pastor Don Mackenzie and Sheikh Jamal Rahman. They understand how important it is to listen, respect and connect with each other in their friendship. It is very rare to find men like them, sharing their faith and their religion without any particular agenda. I am inspired by these men, The Interfaith Amigos. I know that on September 11th when the buildings came crumbling down, when people died, when people cried. These 3 men found in each other a balance for hope. 

"The Torah, the New Testament, and the Quran
all contain exceptional teachings instructing us to love God,
to love one another,
and to care for all people. And in each of these traditions,
here are teachings promoting an exclusivity that belies these very universal teachings." -Rabbi Ted Falcon

America, the Exclusive Nation was attacked on 9-11 and many people still live in fear over it. Now the time of the Elite, the Chosen and the Untouchables has come to an end in order for us to realize we have always lived in a country full of variety. 
I would think this could allows us to have an amazing honorable homeland, embracing all souls and all things. 
When I saw the towers fall I understood things were never going to be the same again. We can't keep living in this consuming way forever, sacrificing everything else in this world. 
To just assume God is on our side, making those who attacked us pay, creates such endless, reckless hate. 
Then everything else becomes war....
I don't know the name of the Pastor who was going to burn the Quran this last Saturday as a memorial, I honestly don't want to waste my time worrying about him. I have often allowed those loud mouth bulling people to get in my face, making me sad. I listen to them, I wonder how can I help them? I can see clearly how such bitter evil eats away at them. I realize living here in the USA, where this culture believes Justice is on our side, and the rest of the world just needs to get out of the way. We will let out our anger, our fear through burning something, hatred is just the beginning of hell.

As for me, I shall find myself an Amigo to share in the joy, in the hope of this new life over 3 cups of tea<3

"The time for covering up and ignoring 
the difficult conversations has passed.  
It’s time to get real with one another."-Rabbi Ted Falcon

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Knock Knock "Housekeeping."

I was entering the Hotel through the hidden side door. Pulling my messy bed hair into a pony tail. I caught the cozy warm glow of the fireplace and the empty couch in front of it, As I walked on through the Lobby thinking "I wish I could drink my coffee right there." But instead I clocked in. It was almost 8am I always got to work early to fix a cup of coffee to take on my cart. This job allowed me to wear jeans and tennis shoes but the polo shirt with "Best Western" embroidered on it was my uniform. Checking in with my Supervisor for all my charts and keys. These keys were sliding cards on a springy chain. 
"Good Morning!" I always came in with a happy smile though deep down I wish I could stay in the office and just visit. "Have you learn to speak Spanish yet?" My Supervisor asked and I laughed. She has been looking for a spy to know what all the Housekeeping Ladies are saying about her. I can easily feel the mood over lunch time when they are NOT happy, But speaking Spanish was hard for me when feeling very shy.
"No, not yet but I will let ya know, It's pouring rain out there and that fireplace in the lobby looks so perfect. I wish I had a fireplace in my apartment it would be a perfect way to spend these winter nights..." My Supervisor looks at the clock and my list all ready. I understand the concern so I start to leave as she asked "You haven't came across anything bloody yet have you?" I reply over my shoulder "Not on the bed sheets." She lets out a loud laugh and I shrugged on.
When we do clean a bedroom there is a bright red bag that we put anything dangerous in when we drop our laundry.
Shouting down the shoot was always fun to me. Like when we yelled down "Heads up, Bedspread!" The Laundry crew would reply "Hold on" or "Okay"
From the top of the 3rd floor I always watched my stuff fall. Suddenly my Supervisor followed me to the elevator. "Oh and I almost forgot, You are dropping way to many bedspreads Debby." I stood surprised "REALLY?" I had thought I was taking a huge risk not dropping them all! She nodded looking at her charts and holding the elevator door for me. "We only wash them once a month if they are REALLY bad, but we try for at least 6 months in between washes... just so you know." The door was closing as I nodded "Okay Thanks." then I did a little shivering dance at the very gross thought that these bedspreads went so long with out an actual wash!
My Cart was my work horse, with my rainbow colored name I took pride in how clean it was. My cart was super organized so everyone came to borrow stuff from me because I didn't fight them about it. Some women would have started swing the toilet brush if you asked for a Kleenex box. I also emptied and cleaned my vacuum cleaner every morning, even though that was just a weekly chore. Some mornings I never saw any co-worker until lunch time, so it was a lonely job especially for me. I kept trying to purposely bump into someone so we could chat.
One morning I was asked to train a new person, and you would have thought I had gotten a big raise! "REALLY someone to actually talk to while working?!" I responded. My Supervisor didn't mind my hug but she did tell me that my cleaning time should be cut in half. An average hotel room 2 queen size beds or 1 king should take a seasoned Housekeeper just a half hour to clean. I was in that job for only 6 months but they thought in 6 weeks I should be that fast. My average time was 55 minuets, 1 hour and half if it was a jacuzzi room. Have you ever seen a Jacuzzi? 
With all that hair getting wrapped up inside those jets, the wide tub ring can feel just like butter, never wiping clean. So I was determined to leave a sparkling room. Though it would cost me extra time. Once my trainer timed me to encourage saving minuets but under the stress I was racing around to clean in 37 minuets. She was very impressed until she saw a hair on the floor and I suggested it could have been mine. 
How ridiculous to put a time limit on cleaning. One room can be dirtier then the other....Oh and how dirty they can get just made me work harder to clean all the more.
One afternoon my Supervisor stop into my room to tell me that all my rooms have been looking really good. "You honestly understand what being clean is." I sarcastically reply "Wow, I am really smart." She stopped writing to look thoughtful at me. "No, I meant it. You would be surprise how smart you are and how many, many people out there don't get it." I ponder her compliments, realizing I did have a gift, but I knew I couldn't ever be an under 30 minuet cleaner.
My first room once I was on my own, was the most impressionable. My voice sounded faint when I knocked "Housekeeping." I cleared it and took a deep breath. "HOUSEKEEPING." There, I can in confidence speak clearly. Opening the door to the dark damp room was like a scary movie. The tooth paste on the mirror reveals that a child was there. With crumbs all over the bed, they must have had pizza while watching TV. The bathroom was soaking wet like they splashed water on the walls just for fun. But it was the toilet, that was the most shocking. So just like a Rookie I didn't know what NOT to look at....yet. 
"OH MY GOD!" I stumbled out of the bathroom, relieved that I have a stomach of steel. 
"Naturally, these sonsofbitches would leave me with a room that I will NEVER forget." With the fresh air from the window I got my the strength back. While wondering How is it that some women just never learned the responsibility of cleaning up after themselves when on that "Time-of-the-month"? 
I mumbled to myself "WHO lives like this?" just because a trash can is in the other room doesn't mean you throw your personal toiletries on the floor in the corner with water pooling a inch deep. I stopped to look at myself through the greasy mirror understandingly saying "Welcome to HELL." 
The Hotel job had all kinds of adventures, but my first room to clean was almost unbelievable.
While I was training the new person I exclaimed "Don't open that lid!" she looked startled stopping in action and I showed her "Always flush first. it's better to fix a plugged toilet then to try and understand how is THAT humanly possible." Also I showed her the very first step in cleaning is to open the window, just let all that fresh air come in with the light taking in whole layout of the room .
The morning I found a used condom was the moment I realized I was VERY under paid. I was just like Rob Schneider in that "Deuce Bigalow." movie with the scene he laid on the perfectly made bed next to a used condom and then screamed!
When he took a garden rake to the bed I was laughing so hard, tears were rolling down my cheeks! For I really could relate.
In One room with 4 empty boxes of Budlight beer, There was every empty can laid out all over the whole place, I even found cans under the pillow. I said "I hope this wasn't just one person because they would STILL be trashed."
When the girl I was training came up to me saying "I think...I am not sure but it looks like poop is on the wall." 
I just handed her the spray bottled and nodded. 
Making the bed alone was a heavy job I always lift the mattress for fresh air and to check for bed bugs. I liked to leave the mattress for last so it had all that time to breath out under the sun light, smelling freshly clean.
I always asked myself if I stayed here what would I want in a clean room? The coffee pot alone took time to soak in vinegar. 
"Debby, I smell vinegar again. You know we only do this once a month." I stopped working to look at my Supervisor, brushing my sweaty hair out of my face. I walked over to her as she drained my coffee pot. "But if I stayed here I would except a very clean almost brand new coffee pot." She shook her head at me saying this room was taking me almost 2 hours. I explained that with shit on the walls I don't feel like the room is ready for me to leave. She turned to me when she left and looked me in the eye as she said "It can't be Brand new everything, everyday or you will always run late."
So on the last room of our list with my girl in training, she went boldly up to the door. Knock knock "Housekeeping." the dogs on the other side of the door erupted. This little Hispanic girl threw herself against the wall like she was being robbed. I was surprised while watching her,suddenly realizing she was deathly afraid of dogs. "It's okay." I explained while getting in front of the door as it opened with 2 huge golden labs, I was down on my knees in a second laughing and loving up those dogs. They were all about to go out for a walk and I was full of fur. I came alive again laughing, talking and eating up those dogs. Looking up at the new housekeeper she was crying with such fear so I hugged her. "Oh now it's okay you are safe. those dogs wouldn't hurt anyone." She looked at me with a frown, "I thought they were going to bite you in the face! Who keeps a dog inside?!" I laughed realizing that in Mexico, dogs are treated so differently. "I do. I would. I love all kinds of dogs! someday I will have a big house full of dogs and My dogs will really like you too!"