Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Well----------------We dit It

How am I going to deal with this change? How, will I adapt? Will I miss it badly enough to change my mind, or find alternative mans of replacement? As it is, on October 25th, an era will come to an end.
On October 25th, our subscription to the paper will end. That may not sound like any earth shattering event. To others, its a 'what's the big deal?' thought. To me, its a sad moment. The paper has been a part of our lives for as long as I can remember and then before that. On the 25th, that comes to an end, as a subscriber anyway.
As kids growing up here on this road, the mail and paper boxes were up on the main road. Someone has to walk up there and retrieve them. That was a big deal for kids who normally weren't allowed out of the yard alone.
The paper was this magical thing. It contained the news- not interested- it contained weather- not interested, it contained the obituaries- definitely not interested, it contained the comics- now you're talking. As I got a bit older I also loved reading Lewis Grizzard's columns. It broke my heart when I read of his passing away.
 For a long time, I would read the paper front to back and then at times, I'd go back for seconds, just because.
 When Hurricane Hugo came through I saved all of the newspapers that carried articles about it, and have them stacked safely out of the way. There have been other times when someone we knew was in the paper or there was an event that was covered that we would save, either for ourselves or for others.
 Yes, the paper had other uses as well. It lined birdcages, guinea pig cages and was down for the puppies. It also made a good fire starter during the winter months and I was out of kindling.
For a while I had op-ed columns that would run. Some times once a week, some times it skipped a week. The attention from those was great fun.
But, everything must eventually come to an end.
Yes, I can get everything online. Yes, I can watch the television for news. I can find other things to read.
There will no longer be those faint ink stains on my hands. there won't be the smell of fresh ink in the air when I pull that paper out of the plastic bag. There won't be that daily ritual of pouring a cup of coffee, grab  a snack and sit down for a few quiet moments.
The memories will remain. Even the one where we used the excuse of telling our grandmother that the paper was here, so we could sneak off down into the woods and play in the creek...
yep, even that one..

Can you stand a cuteness overload?

I think it is time to step back away from everything causing stress and enjoy a cuteness overload. I really hope to hear a nice loud chorus of "Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww" coming from the viewers of the following photos.

When I first located the kittens, I was worried about their mom moving them. I've had that happen before, once for the good, and once not. The good time, mamma cat brought her kittens around to the back of the house and introduced them to us. Those kittens (except for one, who we kept and is now curled up beside me) were all taken by a rescue group and adopted out. The not, mom took her babies and disappeared. I haven't seen any sign of mom or kittens since. Now, here we are again with kittens in the building. The one thing that is similar to the good outcome of before is that I am feeding this mamma cat as I was the first one. (I was feeding the one that disappeared, but she wouldn't allow me to get near her, ever.) I'm hoping that because of feeding her and showing her lots of love, her babies will remain accessible and safe in the building.

When I got home from work today I knew I was going to the building and visit with the babies. I was also going to find a way to make them something better to sleep on. In the closet was an old flannel sheet, adorned with a snowflake pattern, I pulled that out and headed for the building. In the building after a brief search I found a wooden box like contraption that was shallow enough, yet sturdy enough to hold up to five kittens. I carried it over to where the kittens were snuggled in a soft sided personal size cooler and carefully so as not to frighten them any more than I already was, I put everything in place.

Then, I put my plan into action. I slowly reached for the first kitten, continually speaking softly and gently. As it hissed and postured angrily I carefully picked it up and held it close, gently caressing its head and back. After a few moments it grew still and allowed the attention. As I placed it softly in the new makeshift bed, it snuggled in comfortably.

Then mom showed up. She jumped up on a storage box that was behind me and watched as I ran my fingers across the top of the head of her baby. Once she knew I wasn't going to harm her little ones she stretched out and pretty much went to sleep. 

Of course in the middle of all this my husband had to call, and talk for what seemed like forever. All the while the kittens didn't seem to know whether to be angry, confused, or content in the situation. When my husband ran out of anything to say we ended the conversation and I went back to the kittens.

One by one I picked them up, very careful not to startle or injure them. They each had their own special personalities. Each one was afraid at first but seemed to settle in and accept the attention. Even the one who had the most fear, or the biggest, big bad brave attitude, allowed my handling her for a while.
As each was placed in the new bed, they snuggled in with the others. They seemed content and happy to have a little more room than was available in the cooler as there was only room for four of them, one was left out in the cold. Now they were all together, snuggled up and after the major photo-snuggle session they were happy to see me leaving.
But I'll be back....

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Five Precious Babies

Currently in our storage building, there is a mother cat and her five kittens. I'm upset over this actually. However, it is not mamma cat's fault. Mamma is too friendly to be a feral cat. I cannot help but believe that someone, dumped this poor baby when she became pregnant. Their way of not dealing with kittens, dump mom out and let her fend for herself. That is what upsets me, even as I have no proof of this. The thing is, this has happened too many times not to be so.
She simply showed up one day seemingly out of nowhere. We saw her crossing the yard toward where all of the left over scraps were tossed out. The first few times I saw her, I actually thought she belonged to one of the neighbors. I knew every time she was crossing the yard thanks to our dogs.  They  hate her. She is an uninvited interloper that is stealing attention that is supposed to be theirs. There is also the fact they are dogs, she is a cat, and dogs and cats are supposed to be enemies. (Don't tell that to my dogs and my inside cats, because they currently get along fine.) Because of thinking she belonged to one of the neighbors I didn't pay her much attention. I sure didn't try to pet or feed her.
Then, one day, my son fed her. 

He said he couldn't not feed her as she walked right up to him crying, with this terrible begging, hungry, forget pride, meow. Once he fed her she followed him all around the yard. Not asking now for food for the body, but for the spirit. She wanted, needed to be paid attention. She wanted someone to rub her head and belly. She wanted a back scratch. She wanted to feel wanted.
                                                      (she didn't like the flash going off)
The next time I saw her, I fed her. Once again, once her belly was filled, she wanted her heart filled. Spending a little time with her was easy as she is so sweet and loving. I didn't try to pick her up as I realize she is still very cautious even in her easy disposition. I thought at first she was expecting, turns out, she had already had her kittens.

I found them today.
Five beautiful, precious little lives, curled up in the back of our storage building. Their eyes are already open wide. I had carried some food and fresh water out there for mom and my flashlight since I was planning on a little seek and find. It only took a few moments before I saw them. Originally I saw four kittens curled up tightly together. Two grey and two calico. I kept talking to them as I made my way over some of the stuff piled up out there. I also kept an eye on little mamma as I didn't want to upset her. She was happily eating and glancing my way occasionally. I got to a place where I could stretch out and barely touch the kittens. They were very nervous of my presence so I didn't push it too far. I pet them very lightly for a few moments and when I saw them getting agitated I stopped. In their agitation though, the calicos moved revealing they had been piled up on top of yet another calico. Five precious babies, Little Miss Mamma didn't look big enough or old enough to have born five babies. Obviously though she had, as here they were. 

Now what?
I have to find a way to tame this group and get them adoptable. As precious and adorable as they are, I'm hoping that won't be too difficult... hoping, really hoping. As all babies deserve and need a good home. One that won't dump them out at the slightest reason or difficulty.

I currently have two dogs and two cats as members of our family. They are family, not pets. They give love, they give companionship, they give protection, they give because that is their nature. They only ask that we love them back, give them the food and shelter from the elements they need and make them the part of our family they deserve to be.

Someone out there, dumped this precious cat and her unborn babies, and left her to survive or not. Once she was dumped, she was no longer their problem. They had no concern over her, or the fact that she could have been hit by a car. There are coyote in the woods and there are big dogs all in the area. This mother cat is small, she looks to be only six months or so in age. How could anyone, with any heart at all, have dumped this sweet baby out and left her? How could anyone do that to any animal? They are not just dumb animals. They have heart, they have spirit, they have a great intelligence. They have an amazing capacity for love, even for the humans who treat them so poorly.

This could have been avoided if this kitten had been kept inside. It could have been avoided if they had taken and got her spayed. Pets which are spayed or neutered have a better and longer life expectancy. They have less health issues. There are no unwanted babies. They roam less. They are not in danger of being taken out to some back country road and dumped out in the hopes someone else with more heart will take care of them.
To the someone who dumped Little Miss, I pity you. When you tossed this baby, you tossed away a very loving, very sweet lady who could have given you a life time of love, affection and companionship. I hope that I can tame the babies and find them and her a home deserving of such love.

Friday, September 23, 2016

A Few Questions, seeking answers

I have a question, or two, or more.. I'm genuinely curious as to answers.
 How, does burning an innocent person's business, bring about positive change?
 How, does breaking windows, bring about positive change?
 How, does stopping traffic on a busy interstate, bring about positive change?
 How does breaking into a truck, stealing the contents, and setting it on fire, on the interstate, bring about positive change?
 How, does turning over vehicles, police or civilian's, bring about, positive change?
 How, does throwing rocks, bricks, chairs, fireworks, bring about positive change?
 How, does attacking your fellow protestors, bring about positive change?
 How, does screaming, yelling, cursing, bring about positive change?
 How does forming an out of control mob and parading down roadways, bring about positive change?
 How, does attacking the police or any other first responder, the ones there to protect you, bring about positive change?
 How, does causing people to see you in a bad light, bring about positive change?
 How, does looting, bring about positive change?
 I do understand that there is great frustration and anger about things that are going on. Anger on both sides. I wonder, how many are really talking or listening to the other. People are dying, some innocent, some not. The Police are more prone to shoot first now, and ask questions later. Why? Because so many of them are being shot. If, you want the Police to stop being so quick to shoot, stop shooting them. Yeah, that's much too simplistic I know. But its a start. Yes, I know that there are some bad cops mixed in with the good. That is true in everything.
We need to stop the madness on all side. We need to stop, take a breath, sit down somewhere and talk. Calmly. All of the shouting needs to be over with. All of the mob mentality, needs to stop.
If you want positive change, really want positive change, it begins with you. It begins with me. It begins with each individual who must stop the hate, stop the ignorance, stop the us against them mentality.
We need to better educate ourselves. Make sure that our children get a good education. Make sure they stay in school. Make sure they understand the importance of a good education and furthering that education. Motivate them. Make them hungry for better, the right way. No matter if you are black, white, Hispanic, Native American, or any other nationality. A good education is a first step toward change.
 Get a job. Don't be picky, be a starter. Be determined that you are going to better yourself, in the process, you better the community around you. If you can't find anyone to hire you, become an entrepreneur. Learn to do landscape work, learn carpentry, learn handyman work, learn the best ways to do scrap metal/ salvage work. As you learn, as you earn, move upward. Keep educating yourself, keep improving what you do. Become in demand for what you do.
Take the time to help out in the community. Take time to work with the children, to help the homeless and hungry. Work in food kitchens or shelters. Help your neighbors with their needs. Show that you are determined to bring about that positive change. The right way.
Adjust your attitude. Throw away those racist, ugly, phobic, discriminatory ideas about others and take time to get to know them. We can all get along, if we try. We aren't really that different. We all breathe oxygen, we all must eat, we all bleed red, we all have a heart. Yes, there are differences, both if we take time to understand, we can take those differences and build on them to create and bring about that positive change. We can. If we try. If we stop the madness, stop the insanity, stop the hate, stop.... just stop...and talk. It can begin, by answering a few questions.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Hello Charlotte, where have you gone?

                               (This is not my photo. This is a photo being shared on social media, of a Charlotte, NC police officer during the riots)

While on a break at work today, I began writing a blog post. Unfortunately I was in such a hurry to leave, I forgot the paper. So all of the wonderful things I had written down, will have to wait until another day. Today though, today is from the heart.
My heart breaks for Charlotte and her people. My heart breaks, for those of us who reside in Charlotte's shadow. This is not the Charlotte we know and love. How could this, like a cancer invading a body, invade such a beautiful city? What on Earth or in Heaven, can be done to stop this?
Sadly, it isn't just the city of Charlotte that is having to face the riots and fall out of this invasion. In fact, a disease called ignorance. What are the symptoms of this? Division among the people. Find ways to create anger, disharmony, discontent, distrust, and amplify it to the highest level. Find a way, to make it a racial thing. Whether it is or not, find the loudest voice and set them to shouting without rest. Find a way, to make it about equality or rather inequality. Find a way, to feed the beast of discontent and anger. Find a way, to put guns in the wrong hands. People who will not listen and obey. People who are somewhere they should not be, doing something best left undone, or people who forget they and the people they are facing are human not animals.
 Charlotte, I'm watching what is going on there. My face is wet with the tears shed over what is happening. My heart breaks and my soul is weary over this. I fear, that somehow, we are all being manipulated into situations like this, we are pawns in a game created by someone who is sitting back safely watching as their match to the flame, flares and the fires lit, burn out of control.
 Charlotte, we are better than this. We are not an out of control mob bent on destruction. Or at least, we should not be such.
Is there in equality? I would be blind and ignorant to say not. Of course there is. Is this right? No, it is not. But rioting will not change that circumstance. Destroying the property of others, will not bring about the change sought. To bring about change, one must do so, in a positive manner. Even if it is by gathering in protest.. peaceful protest that does not devolve into riots and violence. Talking, calm, under control, rational conversation will help bring about change.
Is there a division among the people of Charlotte? Just as there is division almost everywhere else, I am sure there are divisions among the inhabitants of Charlotte. Just as each area of a city has a different quality, different feel, different life, such is the neighborhoods and the people who live there. Sadly, the quality of life in some areas is not good, is not perfect. Rioting and destroying the property of others, will not change that. Will not have others ready and willing to help you make changes. They will not be ready and willing to help create improvements toward a better more equal life.
At every opportunity, there will be those who shout gun control. As has been said before, passing legislation for stricter gun control will only keep guns out of the hands of the innocent ones, the guilty, the thieves and robbers, they will still find ways to get guns. I would not argue that there is a need for better education, more training, even stronger requirements before one can own a handgun, but that is only a possibility, not set in stone.
Charlotte, along some roadways, I can see you in the distance. Your high rise buildings glittering and reflecting the sunlight. You are the Queen City, you are a crown jewel of North Carolina, you are better than you are acting at the moment.
 Those who are angry, are not thinking, as they shout, "Black Lives Matter" that all lives matter. Everyone there, are humans. Whether it is the out of control rioters shouting and creating destruction, or the police, who are trying to do their job. When the police go home, when they remove that uniform, they are mere human just as you. Do not, for one moment forget that. Do not forget that they too, have families, have parents, have children. They are attempting to do their job, which guess what, is to keep you safe. But if you mess up and do something illegal, adult up and accept responsibility and the charges. If you can't do that, then do not do the crime. They are not profiling you unless you are doing something worthy of being profiled.
 The police, the firefighters, the paramedics, they are out there, every single day, some working very long shifts, to help you. to protect you, to make it better for you.
Bad things happen. People make incorrect decisions and bad moves. They act without thinking or don't think and don't act when they should. But just because bad things happen, we should not go out of our way to make bad- worse.
Charlotte, please, instead of starting fires, lets start conversations. Instead of throwing bricks and rocks, lets throw out ideas. Instead of gathering in mass to loot stores, lets gather to build that bridge to equality. Instead of destroying, lets us stand together and build and rebuild. As a society, we have come a long way, even as there is further to go, let us continue to move forward. Please lets not go backward.
Charlotte, you are a beautiful city, with beautiful people. Let us not sully that with the ugliness of anger, hate, discord and disharmony. Lets get up, dust ourselves off, clean up the mess and move forward.......together.

Let our anger, be as a river, flowing away, so we can move forward with faith, trust, improvement and change

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Two Different Protests, Two Different Groups, Two Different Everything

 Really Charlotte? No, not Charlotte, that's neither correct nor fair. Really, some people of Charlotte, Really? How could you do such as you did last night? Part of me wants to stand and scream, "are you out of your minds?" Part of me wants to simply shake my head and walk away. But this part of me, wants to climb up on a soapbox and speak my piece.
Yes. yes, I know as much as the media has shared of what happened. Yes, I know that a man was shot and killed. Yes, I know there are conflicting stories. Yes, I know you are angry, you are hurt, and you want change. I get it. You apparently do not.
What you did last night, will not bring about the positive change you claim to want. Going out and blocking the interstate and destroying property that belongs to someone else is not going to get you what you want. Setting fires, attacking innocent drivers on the roadways and trying to break into stores, will not get you what you want. You, in your actions last night, were not protesters, you were an out of control riot that in your path of destruction created anger, fear, and disgust. Nothing new there. Nothing changed there. You want change? Let it begin with yourself, your attitude, your actions.
        You claim that you are oppressed and that needs to change. You want to see real oppression? Open your eyes and look toward the west. Look and see how the Native Americans live. Do some research and see how life on some of the reservations really is. Look at those who do not even have running water in their homes. Look at how there are no jobs. Look into their faces and see the desolation, the depression, the hunger. Then, maybe you will understand oppression.
 But wait, They too want change. They want to stop an oil pipeline because they realize the dangers of this thing crossing a main source of water for millions. They understand the risks, not just for them, but for everyone and everything that depends on that water. That pipeline will also cross some of their sacred land. They want it stopped. So, they too are protesting.
Thousands of Native Americans are gathered and gathering in North Dakota. Thousands of people, a gathering of every Nation of Native Americans and more. A coming together the likes of which has not happened since Wounded Knee. But there is a difference. They aren't stopping traffic on the roadway and stealing from the back of trucks. They are not starting fires, breaking into the business of others. They are not relying on fear to get attention.  They are not calling themselves protesters, but protectors. They are gathering peacefully. They are holding meetings with officials. They are holding prayer meetings. They are communicating in a civilized and respectful manner. They are getting the right kind of attention and getting the respect of others. They are getting the support of many because of their ways of handling this.. where they want change.
Thousands of people...calm, talking, discussing, accomplishing things. Making an appearance, and making a point. Without fights, fires or violence, yet gaining on that change.
In Charlotte.....a small gathering of people, creating a path of destruction. Leaving a trail of garbage, injuries, anger, and people who are determined to stand strong in the stance they currently hold.
Do I know, if that gentleman had a weapon or a book? No, I do not. Do I know if he was waiting on his child, or waiting to create a diversion of some sort? No, I do not.
What do I know?
I know, that if you do a crime, any crime, you are guilty and you need to pay the cost. If your friend, your second cousin twice removed, your best friend since grade school does a crime, they are guilty. Do not, step in there and try to help them get away, let them pay the cost they earned by doing something illegal. Helping them get away with a wrong, does not make it right.
I know, that the police, firefighters, paramedics and any other first responder is out there every day, often working long hours, for YOU. They are out there trying to protect you. Trying to rescue you, trying to get you to the hospital, or to bandage wounds, or put out fires. Their job is dangerous, they are out there- for you. Respect them. Act in a responsible, mature, respectful manner and everyone will get to go home that night.
Every life is important. No matter the age, no matter the race, no matter the religion, no matter the profession. Every single life is important. We need to remember that, and we need to remember how to pull together. It is only by coming together, calmly, rationally, respectfully and talking, will change come about. We have to remember that no matter what, we are Americans. Stop letting tags separate us. Stop recreating segregation, we tried to get rid of that a long time ago, don't bring it back. Don't cry its us against them. Don't, don't don't. Because if you do, then there will be change, but it will be the wrong kind of change.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Count down to 60-------------------------------------------------Why?

Right after my fiftieth birthday, in 2007, I had a physical. I had not had one in a while and I figured it was time that I broke down and did something that is recommended to be done annually. It was at then end of the physical that my doctor told me I should have a mammogram. Up until then he had told me he didn't think it necessary, something about dense tissue..I didn't argue, I had heard and read  the reports about needing mammograms so I told them to go ahead and set up the appointment. Dang it if they didn't find cancer. It was so very small the surgeon was surprised they had spotted it. But, they did and she saw it and it all added up to surgery and radiation treatments with a couple of years following on medication.
Now here we are, all those years down the road and as far as I know now, I'm healthy as anyone can be. Every year I have a mammogram, every year I have a follow up with the surgeon and every year I've come back healthy and no signs of cancer.
I have changed my diet. I do eat healthier, more fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. My son has even convinced me that we don't need meat all of the time, it should be an occasional addition he is right and there are other ways to get protein besides meat. I've basically cut out drinking soda. The only time you will see me with any kind of soda is if I'm not feeling well and its the only thing that will sit on my stomach. I still drink my coffee (now black unless we're out somewhere and its too strong) otherwise it s lots of water.  I've even cut back on the junk food that I love so well-- that part is not easy. I so love chocolate, but I know that when I break down I can only buy one candy bar, if I buy more I will binge eat until its all gone. Right now the only candy I'm eating is the big reeces peanut butter cup after grocery shopping. Everyone deserves a treat if you survive walmart without losing control at some point.
I have a physical job, but I try, weather permitting, to walk. I love hiking our woods and seeking out photographic subjects. I have a manual treadmill and elliptical here in the house but they aren't much fun to be truthful.

I'm working on stress control. Deep breathing, prayers, calming music, videos or movies that make me laugh, writing, anything that will help keep me calm and in control of the moment.
Yes, I'm trying to keep myself healthy........ but......
so have many others, many others who battled cancer again and again.
Many others, who have left us, because of the cancer.
So many of these people had many more friends, many more who loved them and will forever have a hole in the heart because they are gone from this life. You see the proof of this, on social media, meeting others on the street, signs along the way. People are hurting, because of those lost. They were there, beside of them every step of the way, encouraging them, praying for them, lifting them up every single day. They were there, ready and willing to help in any and every way possible. Yet still, in the end, there was nothing more they could do and the ones they love, were lost.

So many people, going through treatment after treatment, surgery after surgery, trying all manner of medications, methods, prayers..fighting as hard as they could possibly fight every single time. Thinking, praying, believing that this time they beat it, only to have it return yet again. Returning, until there was no more fight left.
Am I still here
Am I still healthy?
When those who were loved so deeply and will be missed so terribly are not?
No, I do not write this seeking anything other than understanding. I don't write to try and get attention to me and away from others. I do not write this, seeing sympathy.. sympathy for being healthy?? no.
I seek only to understand why those who were loved so deeply, who had such beautiful lives, are gone and I am here..

Did they fulfill their purpose? Their lives of love, of strength, of courage, of hope. Their lives, being warriors against a fierce foe that seeks only to stop them from fulfilling their reason. Yet, every day, every single day, they continued until they could continue no more.
We all have a purpose, a reason for being. Nothing is simply by chance. We are not here, simply floating through life and then one day we're gone. There is something we are here to accomplish.
So I wonder, why am I still here, still healthy and what is it, that I am supposed to be doing? What is my purpose? Even as I think of those now gone, even as I sit, mourning their loss, applauding their courage and honoring their life. I only hope, that as I walk this walk, traveling this road of life, I can be as brave, as strong and as hopeful as I seek to find and fulfill what it is I am here for.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Count down to 60--Bella, just jump

Bella has learned something new that she can accomplish- and I don't think its a good thing.
Bella is our German Shepherd. She is going on four years old. She's proven many times over that she is highly intelligent, so much so that my son calls her obnoxiously smart. She listens when you speak, and up until just recently obeyed immediately. She is an inside, outside dog. This means that you can find her mostly outside during the day and inside in the evening and at night. She is spoiled, but I see no harm in that. Aren't all of our kids spoiled to some degree, whether they are of the two or four legged variety?
Bella has always respected boundaries. Our front yard is fully fenced, so when we let her outside there are no worries about her safety. Even fully grown she has, so far, not attempted to go over, around, under or through the fence in an attempt to escape. She has, if either gate was left open walked right on out, but always returned immediately when called. She has even turned around and went right back inside when she's been caught and asked, "and just where are you going?" I have an area of the yard where I plant flowers. As a pup she thought she was both carnivore and herbivore. I would plant the flowers, she would go over to the garden and eat the flowers. I had to put a fence up around that area. Its only three feet high, easily jumped, but only once has she jumped the fence. Then upon realizing what she had done, looked at us guiltily and waited for someone to open the gate and let her out. When I needed to confine her to a specific area of the house for what ever reason, I used a standard size baby gate. She would sit in front of the gate at times and cry, wanting out, but never attempt to escape. Partly I'm sure, was because this was a rare event. For example, if we needed to carry the groceries in and needed to leave the gate open when the neighbor's kids and dog were outside and we didn't want to risk her wanting to run over and join them. (She doesn't really like the neighbor's dog)
Bella is also incredibly strong. She loves to play fetch with twigs, sticks, tree branches, small trees, what ever you can throw, she will try and usually manage to bring it back. I would not want those jaws clamping down on me. I have been up on the roof cleaning off small branches and leaves. I would toss the branches for her to find. It was a bit unfair as she couldn't bring them back to me, but she would drop them at the base of the house and await the next throw.
Bella is incredibly quick. She can be stretched out on the porch one moment and the next all the way across the yard waiting at the fence for the vehicle coming down the road. She will bark insanely then run along the inside fence line to the corner to bark a bit more.
Bella is annoying in that she does bark........ a lot, and her bark is very high pitched meaning I keep waiting for windows or glassware to shatter. She barks at traffic. She barks at the neighbors, she barks at the neighbor's dogs. She barks at the squirrel or other wildlife that wanders up out of the woods. She even sits in the middle of the yard, looks straight up into the sky, and barks for no reason. she loves to make herself known.
Bella gets along with our two cats, but does not like the stray that has started wandering up on a regular basis. Our cats will tease her, pretend to be friends, rub up against her, then turn and slap her across the nose. Our cats have a mean streak.
Bella is always learning new things. I mentioned that Bella loves to chase sticks, but she will not chase a ball. Throw it if you want, all you want, but you will be going after it because she won't. She has though, recently learned to catch a Frisbee. It is amazing how high she can jump. I even toss the Frisbee in a manner that she will have to jump to try and catch it in flight. I should stop, but it may be too late.
Bella has shown me that she knows how and can and will open the gate. She loves to ride, as most dogs do. I was getting ready to leave for the bank last week when she decided I wasn't leaving without her. I heard the gate open, then watched as she ran past me and jumped up into the vehicle. Banks have drive thrus so up into the car I climbed and off we went. She loved every moment of it.
I had to go into work early this morning. I had let Bella out and for the most part she was being quiet. Right before I had to leave at 5:30 in the morning, she decided to start barking. I called her in, she ran into the bedroom, jumped up onto the bed and looked at me. I put the  baby gate between the hallway and the living room so that my son would know to let her out when he got up. Bella realized that I was leaving and she did not want to be left inside. She was sitting behind the gate crying and only got louder when she saw me pick up my bags. She then did the thing she had never done before. She ignored a boundary and jumped the gate. I knew it was only a matter of time, but her timing stunk. I managed to get her back into the bedroom even though she did not want to go back, closed the door and returned the gate to the position I had it, because my son would still need to know to let her back out.
So now Bella knows she can jump the gate, will she do it again? Probably. Especially if she doesn't want to be confined. What does all this mean for me? It means that I need to spend more time with her, continue her training and remind my husband when he is home not to undo what I had done. She is a baby, but she is a big baby that needs to understand rules. yes, she is a dog, but even dogs can be taught obedience.
The thing also about this gate? Bella could have jumped that thing a long time ago, but she chose not to, or didn't believe that she could. Or both. Now she knows. So it will be a matter of- once again- obedience, and training. I could just close the door, but I don't want to do that. The gate at least doesn't shut her completely away from family like a closed door would. Its also the fact, there are times, some of those things we think are blockades, are all in our mind. If we believe we can, or when we want to badly enough, we can jump those boundaries and get to the places we really want to be.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

count down to 60----don't be boring

The email read, stop being boring.
Well thank you, your opinion of me really , well, hurts, or it would if it were personal. It was, however, one of those mass generated mailings meant to get your attention and get you to do something like spend your money. I'll be honest, I didn't even read the entire thing, largely because what I read, I had read countless times before. The thing is, the information it was sharing, does make sense. if you want people to remember you, talk about them. When you talk about them, you make them feel special and important.
 Personally, I love talking with others and learning about them. Another I'll be honest, when we meet for the first time, I will probably not say a lot. It is not because I'm conceited or stuck up. It is not because I do not wish to speak with you. It has nothing to do with you and everything to do with me. I'm not really shy, I do tend to listen a lot more than I talk when I'm in a group, but that is because my conversational skills are greatly lacking. I also know that I have this weird sense of humor (thanks dad) and there are times that I have left people wondering if I wandered away from my keeper.
It has been my experience that the people I meet have wonderful and important lives. Even if their life is not the best, it is important. Wait, how does that work? If you have a chronic condition, if you have an illness, or have financial concerns, your life may not be the best, but there are always points and moments that make it wonderful. A person you love may come to see you, you may see rainbows when you love rainbows, or butterfly or humming birds. You may be to spend time doing the one thing that has special meanings for you. there is always something, you simply have to be receptive and see it.
 I don't feel that one must be famous, rich, politically motivated, or any of the many other ways that they would be well known to everyone, to be special.
We are each and all special in our own ways. We each and all have a story to tell. We each and all have something to share to make this life more interesting and better.
One does not have to put on a uniform of some sort and go out to save, to protect, to serve, to rescue. One does not need to be a doctor or lawyer to earn respect and attention.
One merely has to breathe to be interesting. We all are interesting in some way. We all have that something that makes us individuals and worthy of a good conversation.
What gets your heart stirring and for what reason?
Where do you want to go, why?
What is on your own bucket list?
What did you do as a child? Do you still know, see, talk with the people you grew up with?
Do you ride horses, bikes, motorcycles?
Do you write, do you sing, do you paint, do you sew- what?
What is the story of your heart?

I have friends who raise birds, friends who teach, friends who are police, in the medical profession, who crunch numbers and I love talking with them in some form or others. You never know what lessons you will come away with. You never know how your heart, mind and spirit may be touched and forever changed.
By taking the time to listen, and learning not to be boring..

Monday, September 12, 2016

Count Down to 60---- in stunned disbelief at the thought

              (Yes, I realize this is a photo of firefighters, but I don't have one of police officers that I can find)

 Late on Saturday I saw something about a local police officer who had been shot. While I hate hearing of any one getting shot, whether they are police or whoever, this didn't really register. I don't know if I was tired, distracted or what. On Sunday morning our Bible Study teacher told us about this officer, as he knew him personally.
Tim Brackeen, was only 38 years old. He was married with a young daughter. A young girl who will not have her dad to see her grow up. A young girl who will not have her dad to stand at the door and frighten dates. A young girl who will not have her dad to walk her down the aisle, hold her children, be there for her as he grows older. Tim Brackeen, was shot and killed at 38 years of age, he will get no older.
 At just after midnight on Friday, he was searching for a suspect. While the reports of what happened varies from news agency to agency, the end result is that police officer Tim Brackeen, was shot and today (Monday the 12th, 2016) he succumbed to his injuries. The individual's where abouts, who is thought to have done the shooting is currently unknown.
 From the moment that word got out that he had been shot, the community has rallied around the family, with the closest standing vigil at the hospital.
Now, as word of his passing is shared, the community rallies around the family. They are the ones who are in need of support now. A wife who has lost her husband, her lover, her friend. A young girl who has lost her world. A non-profit account has been set up  at Fidelity Bank  up for those who wish to donate. A business, MAKE Motorsports,  is making Team Brackeen decals, another, Flooise Girl Boutique, is taking orders for Team Brackeen shirts. Money, I know will help financially, but the loss of a special individual is obviously not going to be able to be replaced.
 Many individuals have come forward to speak on behalf of this officer. Everything that has been said, has been good. He was an individual who believed in giving to the community. He believed in the real reasons for wearing that badge and that was to protect, to serve and to know the people that he protected and served. Who, will step forward to pick up where he left off? No one will be able to walk in his shoes, or his footsteps, but they can take up the baton and move forward.
In the meantime, we need to find the individual who took away this family man, who silenced the voice of the one who stood in school assembly rooms and talked with the students. Who stopped the heart, of a very big hearted gentleman.
I did not personally know this man, but I don't have to. I've learned so much about him, through the words of those others who did. It is a sad day for all, when the voice of a special one, is silenced.
The thing is, this is happening more and more. It is all too often that we are hearing of another officer of the law being shot. Yes, there are bad police just as there are bad anything else. Being human there are human failings. That does not excuse it nor make it right. The police officer in pinning that badge on should recognize the responsibility that comes with that badge. The officer should realize that there job is to serve, not harm, not dominate, not intimidate, but to serve and to protect. Most know and do this. There are and will always be those who take advantage of the position and abuse that position and the trust that civilians have in them.
 The good officer dons that uniform and prepares to leave out to fulfill their duty. They strap on that gun and hope that on this day it will remain in the holster. They hope, that this day they will return home safe, sound and unharmed and will have harmed no one.
The good officer goes out into the public arena and attempts in every and any way possible to make a difference in their neighborhood. They interact with the adults. The interact with the kids on the levels of age and maturity. They teach, they share, they assist, they know their neighbors by name.
The good officer goes out and helps find lost children, or helps lost children find their guardian. Then finds out how they became separated.
The good officer readily and quickly walks into potential danger in the hopes of protecting or saving their neighbors. They seek out the fugitive. They seek the guilty.
The good officer does their job well and without hesitation.
  I have watched good officers in action. I have watched them surround a home and talk a person who was off their medication and becoming a danger to themselves and their neighbors. I watched them carefully and professional bring a situation to a good end for all concerned.
 I have nothing but respect for the good officers of this country. I know, that even as the good officers stand together, they realize that the potential for a good officer to turn is always there. Even they, are human and subject to human failings. But even with human failings, no one, has the right to take the life of a police officer.  No one should believe they have that right. No one should think, 'its just a cop'. They are human, they are family people. They are just as important as the next individual. They are here to protect and serve, not stand as a target. If you are doing wrong, they are going to come after you. If you are driving in a manner that is unsafe for the other traffic on the road, they are going to come after you. If you are stealing, fighting, have done harm to another, if you abuse family members, especially children, they are going to come after you. If you commit a crime of any kind, they are going to come after you. This means you are in the wrong, being in the wrong does not give you the right to shoot the police. If you do not want them to come after you, don't commit the crime.
To think that it is okay to shoot an officer of the law, leaves me in stunned disbelief. And it makes me wonder, just what sort of people we are becoming.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Count down to 60-- even as the hour grows late

I will be honest. Today,  I have avoided a lot of the things people have said and posted about the date. No, it is not because I want to forget. It is because I can not forget. My mind, that forgets names, forgets birthdays, forgets bills ever so often, will not allow me to forget that day. I wasn't in New York, I was nowhere near any of the areas where this happened. Not physically anyway.
It was, as those old enough to remember know, all over the news. Everywhere you turned, there it was. Over and over again it played on the television. Article after article was written about any and every aspect of what happened. Over and over you saw the planes, you saw the towers as they fell, you saw those who jumped or fell from the windows, you saw the fear in the eyes of those who were running, trying in vain to escape the cloud of smoke that enveloped them. I saw it whether my eyes were open or closed. I saw it during the day and in my nightmares. There is no way I could ever forget.
You saw the broken hearts, the tears streaming down the faces of those who finally gave in to the truth, their loved ones were not coming home. Not that night, not ever. You saw the children of the fallen as they said their goodbyes.
You could not travel anywhere without seeing the flags flying, proudly almost defiantly. The churches were filled. Everyone was discussing it. Even as they still had difficulties believing, that this, really happened.
Was it as it was claimed to be, a terrorist attack? Was it something our very own government created or in the least allowed? There will always be claims and counter claims. There will always be those who argue that it was one way or the other. I'm not discussing that here or in any of the other postings I have done.
My memories, are of the people.
The people who innocently and responsibly went in to work on that day as they normally would. They went to work at the World Trade Center. They went to work at the police department. They went in to work at the Fire Departments. What ever their job was, they were there.
The people who were on the planes involved. The ones simply traveling from point A to point B.
The people who witnessed it all first hand, and who have it fully embedded into the minds.
My thoughts are for the first responders who, when the first plane flew into the Trade Center, they rushed in to save anyone and everyone they could. They thought first of their responsibility to the public they served and not for themselves. Even after the second plane hit, even as the fires grew worse and danger more imminent, they kept going, kept looking for more, kept leading more out of the buildings.
My thoughts are for those who helped the people get off of the island. Those who helped by ferrying them across even though they had no idea what exactly was going on and if by being out on the water they were just another target.
My thoughts are for those who diligently searched the rubble for survivors.
Every time I see a flag. Every time I see a member of our military. Every time I see a police officer, member of the fire department or EMTs, I remember. I remember, and I whisper a prayer of thanks for those who sacrifice daily to serve. For those who rush in when everyone else is rushing out. I say a pray for them for safety from harm. I say a pray for comfort for the families, who even fifteen years later still miss those lost.
As this day or memorials and memories comes to a close. I have not forgotten. I will not forget. I do not want to forget, for that would be a dishonor to those lost, and those who bravely rushed in. For those who rush in every day.
No matter what or who caused it. No matter what one believes of why. What matters is the who. Who we lost, who we were and who we become. Who rushed in then, and who rushes in now. The day will end, the memories will not.

Count Down to 60---Cleanliness is next to---

Why have so many, become so lazy?
Why, have so many, become so nasty?

I'm at a loss, wondering how we have managed to reach this place where we are. I will say first, that not everyone is this way. Not everyone has forgotten how to act in public, but so many seem to have done this very thing.
I remember as a child being taught to pick up after myself. If I had toys out, pick them up and put them where they belong. When the laundry was done, the clothes were put away. After we ate, the table was cleared, any left overs put away, dishes were washed and put away and the kitchen cleaned. The house and yard was kept clean, neat and orderly.
Now, as a so called responsible adult, I will be honest in that I am not perfect. My house and yard are not as spotless as my parents or grandparents would have had it. I'm working on doing better. Especially after seeing how others are becoming. I want, if someone were to suddenly appear at my door, to be able to open it wide and welcome them in without embarrassment. That being said.
Can anyone explain to me why it seems that people have forgotten simple manners? Cleaning up behind themselves, is not that difficult. If you go out to a fast food restaurant, pick up your trash and place it in the receptacles provided. If you drop napkins on the floor, pick them up, it isn't that hard. Yes, I do know that they pay people to keep the tables clean, but there are times they are busy doing other things. That is the way of business now, more work with less people. It is unfair to leave behind your mess for others to have to deal with.
All along the roadsides you see people's trash, tossed from vehicles as they pass. If you don't want the sandwich wrappers, drink containers, bags, what ever in your car, don't take them in it to begin with, or be responsible and dispose of them where they belong. In the trash, not along the side of the road. Animals seeking food will come too close to the road or get their head trapped in a container. Trash can draw rodents or even larger mammals into areas that would not ordinarily be found. Trash can cause harm to those out trying to pick it the litter by causing them to get cut on any broken glass, bitten by insects or animals consuming the food remains, or even hit by passing vehicles with inattentive drivers. Besides the fact of it being very unsightly.
 I have seen tables with the trash left behind, individual packets of salt that have been opened and emptied on the table, napkins left on the table and in the floor. Packets of condiments are scattered about, empty drink bottles left. You look at that and wonder what their house looks like. Their house may be fine, it just may be that its out in public that they don't care as someone else has to clean up their mess.

 I've read and listened many times to the complaints of those who must visit truck stops. It seems that there are some (not all, but a few) truck drivers, who can be horribly unsanitary and nasty. Throwing trash out into the parking area that includes things I will not mention here. They forget or do not care that they are in a public place when nature calls. They act as if they are the only ones walking the earth and the earth spins around their walk. Sadly, they are not alone in this attitude and with these actions. I have been told that truck stops have trash receptacles available, that yes, there is someone that cleans the showers and restrooms, but to leave them clean makes their job easier and leaves it more sanitary for the next person who comes along. There are trash receptacles in rest areas and fast food parking lots, even walmart has trashcans in their parking areas.
 We are a people who worry about disease, and yet we act like this. We worry about what is in our food, but not what germs we may leave behind for others. We worry about who may follow us into a restroom, but not how we leave the restroom for the next person.
 This is just my opinion, but I believe that we could do much better. We could and should remember that line about cleanliness and follow it.

(The photo of the two people are my husband and granddaughter, not messy people but were sitting at a table before it was cleared. It was the only example I had of a table)

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Count down to 60--- My heart hurts

my heart hurts
my spirit weeps
memories remain
feeling the pain
my heart hurts
the sadness strong
because of something, so wrong
my heart hurts
from a wound still fresh
no matter the years gone by
my heart cries
never forget, never forget
never forget

(With trembling hands and tear filled eyes, I write this)

Tomorrow is the anniversary of horrors in this land, we never expected. Horrors that we never believed would happen here. Tomorrow is 9-11, fifteen years later.
 We, who are old enough know, that on September 11, 2001, planes were flown into the Twin Towers in New York City. Mere moments apart. We, who are old enough, remember vividly where we were, what we were doing at that moment. Myself, I was at work, blissfully unaware of the events going on until someone from the front office passed by and told me. I all but called them a liar, I could not believe any such thing could happen here. How many others like me, were in total disbelief?
When the first plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46am, it was thought to be an accident. People were scrambling to get there to help. Then the second plane flew into the South Tower at 9:03am, giving everyone the shocking realization, that this was no accident. Bridges and tunnels were closed, all flights were grounded, but that did not prevent more tragedies. At 9:37am hijackers flew a plane into the Pentagon. At  10:07 am –  a final hijacked plane is crashed into a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
All day at work, every opportunity I got, I was up  in the front office trying to learn what was happening. The television they had was small and the reception terrible, but it was enough to see. I spent the day in near shock. This could not be happening here, not in this country, but it had and it was. In my trips back and forth to the front office, trips that I would have been taking anyway as I carried paperwork, I couldn't help but notice the now eerily quiet and empty skies.
Over the course of the next few days, the coverage was nonstop and everywhere. Slowly more information became available, but that did not ease the great sadness. One thing that did happen, we came together as a nation. Where the terrorists thought they would break us, they made us stronger. Almost immediately you could not find an American flag in stores, but you could see them. They flew from manufactured flagpoles, they flew from makeshift flag poles. They were in trees, they were on front porches. Small flags were everywhere. They flew from cars on the roadways. We were standing together as one nation, one people. Race, age, religion, none of that matter in that moment. We were Americans and we were saddened by the loss of so many and we were angry that someone thought they could simply waltz right in and do this.
When the planes flew into the towers, first responders rushed to the rescue. They did what they had been trained to do, they went to work and they brought so many out of those buildings. Yet, so many of them, also lost their lives in their quest to save lives. The rubble that was left after the towers fell was searched for days in the hopes of just one more life found. Those who had lost loved ones kept a vigil, hoping, praying for that just one more.
How many years have passed, the time moving on, ever forward. How many days since this day in 2001? How many moments, have people spent missing one of those lost? How many hold that pride in what they know their loved one did, or attempted to do, on that day? How many, will watch the videos, attend the memorials, watch or read the news reports telling of this event, with trembling hands, tear filled eyes and wounded heart? How many, will remember, that sight of the planes as they entered into those buildings and remember the pain of loss?
That day, as strong as we became, we were changed. Taking a flight, became a lot less simple. Laws were in enacted and people became to some degree, a bit more fearful. What could not, should not have happened here, did. Could it, would it, happen again?
We are less naive now, but we are less trusting, less open. Even among ourselves. Where once we welcomed others with open arms, we now fear and villainies those we do not understand. We carry guns, pepper spray or other methods of protection, things we felt no need for once.
My dream and wish, is that we could find our path, the one we have wandered from. I wish, that we could remember that we are one nation, made up of many different people of many different types. We are Christian, we are atheist, we are young and old, we are rich or poor. We are many, we are one. Our skin color should not matter, our faith should not matter. The size of our home or the dollars in our wallets, should not matter. Our politicians should remember, this land and its people are what is important and should work to join and not separate us. We should stand strong, fly and respect the flag not desecrate it. Tearing things down, destroying property does not make us better, or stronger or make improvements to what we think needs improving. The only way to make improvements is to work together and build up.
The ones who we lost on this day not that long ago, those who have fought for this country, those who still believe in this country, would want that. They would expect that. In memory of them, I ask that.
Tomorrow, is the anniversary of a sad day. My heart, in its memories, hurts.

my heart hurts
my spirit weeps
memories remain
feeling the pain
my heart hurts
the sadness strong
because of something, so wrong
my heart hurts
from a wound still fresh
no matter the years gone by
my heart cries
never forget, never forget
never forget