coming home with animals

My plan was to get two kittens, siblings, so they could run around together. I didn’t want to browse for kittens, however, because that would make me cry and then I might end up with twenty kittens instead of two. I was waiting until the time when the kittens would appear in my path. One day, when I went shopping, there was a young entrepreneur outside the Food Pavilion holding up a cardboard sign about selling kittens to fund his trip to New York. He was hard selling these kittens. I had a peek at them and went in the store all the while texting the kids about the kittens and thinking I’d better hurry up and get back out there to get them. These kittens were crossing my path, it must be divine intervention.

When I got back out I went over to the kittens again. Two left. One fluffy tiger-striped and one black. Another woman and her three small children were also looking at the kittens and the kids really wanted one and were leaning toward the striped little beast. “Can we get one?” the kids asked her. “We have to call Daddy, we could use the pay phone.” she told them. When she asked which one I wanted I told her I would take them both if she didn’t want one. She said she had to call her husband first so I said I would wait. I told the kid I would be right back and went to unload my groceries. When I came back I saw the woman on the pay phone.  At the time she mentioned the pay phone I thought it odd and cool at the same time that she didn’t have a cell phone. Then there she was on the pay phone, for real. When she got off the phone said she had to go home to get money and would be back. I gave the kid his trip money and took the black kitten. On the ride home she walked around and kept trying to get on the floor by the foot pedals. It can be a challenge to drive and shift and stay on the road while a kitten is climbing all over the place. Perhaps it was divine intervention that kept me from driving off the side of Highway 9.

A few days later we stopped at the farm supply store to get a small plastic litter box since DC (the little black kitten) wasn’t using the shiny metal aluminum pan box. On our way into the store there was a car with the back hatch open and full of free puppies. The workers were hard selling these free puppies. “You just don’t find free puppies this good,” they told us. As we walked by I looked at the puppies but kept walking, following Liza into the store. Several people mentioned that we should get a puppy. There was a puppy sitting on the counter with one of the workers. I asked it if was the demo puppy.

On our way out Liza went ahead to the car and I ended up over by the puppies. The man holding a small black puppy asked if I wanted to hold him since his arm was getting tired. He also had with him the mother of the puppies, a Catahoula leopard dog. Liza had almost made it to the car when she turned around to see me holding a puppy. Resigned, she returned to the car full of puppies. NO, she said. NO PUPPY. No more animals. We can’t afford it. No. “We can do the shot here,” said one of the workers. Then Liza was looking in the side window and saw the white puppy with some black spots on the bottom of the puppy pile looking at her. “I like that one,” she said, pointing through the window.  She wanted to hold that one since he was cute and seemed to be the biggest and laziest puppy. I put the black puppy down and held this big lazy puppy instead. You decide, she told me. So, I decided to put the puppy down to see what would happen. Would he look at us? Then several other people seemed interested in him and Liza mentioned I had better pick him up again. Then we both wanted the puppy. Back into the store we went to get puppy supplies. It really didn’t cost that much and it seemed meant to be that he crossed our path. After much deliberation we settled on calling him Max. Now we are wondering which item he will destroy first.

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Alternative Heaven

I hope there is a place where they go. I hope it is a place not boring and pearly white but instead spectacular. May it be a place where whatever was broken about you becomes whole and where you can do what you love. If this place exists on the other side I hope to see some friends and family and beloved animals there. For Andrew, may there be no Democrats. For Grandma Clara, may there be no kitchens and for Beago-cat, may there be everlasting mice. For Randy, may there be straw bails for building homes.

Remembering Randy is what made me think of Alternative Heaven as he introduced me to the idea of alternative building using straw bails or rammed earth. This was when I was young and lived for a time in California where such building is possible. I have since returned to the northwest where it is wet and rammed earth would become mud.

I like to think I will see my friends on the other side. Last time I saw Randy was in 1997. Next time I see him it will be on the other side. It is a sad day when you find out that somebody who made the world a better place is no longer of this world. Thinking of heaven always makes me see white, everything white, on and on for eternity. Of course, I have no idea what heaven is like and I don’t imagine it would really be so boring and white.  I think that the part of us that belongs to God goes back to God and the part of us that belongs to Earth goes back to Earth.

Even with that being said, I think it is cool to imagine Alternative Heaven where we are no longer broken and can see our loved ones again and do all the earthly things we loved together. We can drink beer and watch football. We can climb to the peak of the mountain and look around. We can play with the dogs in the sunshine. We can rebuild the rock wall. I hope I see you all on the other side, alternative or pearly white.


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thoughts on the new year

The new year starts tomorrow. 2015 it will be. I will start my morning at work at 0600 so that thought will keep me from partying too hard tonight. Good thing, really. Last year new years eve resulted in me missing much of new years day and as I recall it was a beautiful sunny day much like today. It really isn’t cool to waste a day being extraordinarily hungover. You’d think I would learn but, apparently I don’t. Instead, I am easily led into the temptation of:  LET’S DO SHOTS!

I will spent some time contemplating my goals and desires for the coming year. Things like getting back into yoga, riding my bike more and being nicer in general. For today I have two goals: 1. Don’t do shots. 2. Go to bed mostly sober.

I think I will be able to avoid doing shots since the person who usually tempts me will be out dancing at another location. I certainly hope I can meet goal number two since I have to get up early to go to work and take care of people. I am too old to go to work hungover. It is not cool to puke at work, especially in the bathrooms of the residents. I learned this lesson on a November first several years ago after too much celebrating on the All Hallows’ Eve.

I have great respect for the people who tell me they don’t drink.  They manage to not drink when surrounded by a society of drunks. They never have a hangover. They probably remember everything and feel better in general. I come from a long line of alcoholics and addictive personalities. I like beer. I like wine. I am making wine in the basement. One of by goals for the coming year will be to drink less than I have this year. Please God, give me strength when the suggestion of “LET’S DO SHOTS!” comes my way. Help me to say no to shots.


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thoughts on mortality and spending money

I finally made it to my car after a difficult day at work and just sat there for a few minutes. It was a busy day making numerous phone calls to doctors and hospice. The man returning from the hospital didn’t have much time left and I was hoping hospice could come admit him today and that the doctor could order medication for him immediately so I could get it from the pharmacy before the dying man needed it. Hospice finally got back to us saying they would see him today instead of in the next few days (which would be too late) and the doctor ordered the medication needed. The pharmacy even delivered it before my shift was over as I requested and I sent them a return fax with a giant THANK YOU and a HAPPY FACE. Helping the dying and their families is rewarding but emotionally exhausting. Sometimes I cry with the family, sometimes it happens in the bathroom or in my car after work. There are days when I think I can’t do it anymore but, not today. I was exhausted but felt good about getting things in order for the dying man and his family.

Then I started my car. Then I saw the check engine light. Why is that on again? This almost made my cry since I recently spent about $3000 on my Subaru. As I was about to cry I changed my mind and decided to go to the store. I wasn’t planning to go to the store until payday due to my nearly empty checking account but, I was thinking about mortality and death could happen anytime so I should just get the kids some milk and a bottle of wine for myself and maybe a few other things. Sure, what the hell. At the check out I swiped my debit card. The machine was thinking and as I loaded a bag into my cart the checker said to me, quietly:  “it says to try lesser amount.” I sighed and said,”I know, I thought it would pull it from my other account.” So, I used my credit card to buy milk, wine and some other food, something I haven’t done in years. It reminds me of a time when I was much younger and my card was declined because I only had $7. I really did cry then as I had no savings account to speak of at the time. At least the machines now are nicer and offer suggestions.

I remember a time when I justified spending money I didn’t have because someday I will no longer exist on this planet and my debt will at that time become irrelevant. This is a kind of messed up faulty logic that doesn’t happen to me much anymore…only on special occasions when the culmination of the day results in one thought:  what the hell.



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wine bottle donations

So we had our family Thanksgiving before Thanksgiving celebration on Saturday (before the actual Thanksgiving that is Thursday). Prior to this event I sent out a group email indicating I would be accepting empty wine bottles. The reason for accepting these empty bottles is to refill them with new wine that is now in the basement racking. That means it is waiting around to be bottled.

I did not receive any empty wine bottles but was questioned about the request. The family managed to drink quite a bit of wine with dinner, before dinner and after dinner. I was also drinking wine and was not even irritated that the children were using the couch for gymnastics. They were also doing cartwheels and somersaults. At one point I considered getting in on that but, was advised otherwise. For some reason I listened to this advice and did not do a cartwheel in the living room with the children. If I had I may be writing this from the hospital.

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The good news is that although I did not receive any empty wine bottles I did acquire several. I won’t be putting any wine in that BV bottle…it will go in the recycling. Same with the beer bottles and cans and I will have to finish off the one with the cork in it.


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when my hair was awesome

hair (2)

…so in my last post I mentioned that my hair was not even awesome. Back when my hair was this awesome I had a crusty curling iron and I had to drive to school with my head tilting back to keep from messing up my bangs. Totally awesome and I had no sister to fight for the bathroom.

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where the hell is my mousse?

I went into the bathroom this morning around ten to take a shower. I noticed my mousse was missing. It isn’t just any mousse. It is Nexxus mousse plus volumizing foam styler. I need this mousse. It is MINE. So, aloud to myself I said, “Where the hell is my mousse?!!!!!!!!!” I probably also said DAMMIT as I opened and shut cupboards and slammed things around looking for it. The mousse helps my hair be less frizzy as does the Brazilian keratin anti-frizzy conditioner I use most of the time. What is funny about this is that there is nothing awesome about my hair. I just don’t want it to be frizzy. The only time my hair is awesome is on the day I get it cut and I let the hair stylist fix it so it is fabulous for that one day. Otherwise, I wash it, put too much conditioner for fear of tangles and frizziness and then I probably put too much mousse. By too much I mean more than necessary as I no longer have long hair but still use amounts needed for long hair from years of conditioning. (conditioning my hair and behavioral conditioning of putting too much conditioner into my hand)

So…I found my mousse. Lorie had my mousse on her table by her mirror and her make-up and other things that young hip women have. The only child in me was instantly furious. That mousse is MINE! I took it back to the bathroom so I could apply it to my totally not awesome middle-aged hair with natural highlights after washing it and applying too much conditioner. I briefly considered writing my name all over my mousse with a sharpie and leaving a note somewhere on the wall where the mousse goes. Then, I remembered that Lorie has siblings. She is probably used to sharing things with them and thought nothing of borrowing my mousse and leaving it on her table with her other youthful hip things. I said nothing to her about my mousse…it is only mousse after all.


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booze news #1

I have several fruit trees and time on my hands so this summer I started making wine. Then I became obsessed. One time I went to the brew store on a Monday to find it closed and I began to panic. I went back on Tuesday and got what I needed and there really was no need to panic. The problem was I only had one 3 gallon glass container and it was holding my pear wine that was going to need to sit for quite some time to clear up so I needed another container for another batch of wine.

Now I have 3 gallons of pear, 3 gallons of plum, one gallon of plum via a more organic method, one gallon apple and 2 gallons concord grape. Oh, and just the other day I got one gallon of hard cider going. The hard cider isn’t from my apples but from a gallon of tasty organic Gravenstein apple juice. Otherwise, all the fruit is mine other than the concord grapes that came from a friend. I do hope to plant my own grapes when it is a good time to plant them.

The bottles are fermenting all over the house. Those in the later stages are in the bedroom under the desk (including the pear wine indicated above) and those in the earlier stages are in the kitchen. I do plan to make a space in the basement for the later stage to occur so as not to take up all the extra space in the house with bottles of fermenting booze with a happy airlock hat.

There will be more booze news to come as I attempt making other types of alcohol and bottling wine. It certainly won’t be boring.


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killer bees

The dogs began barking as though a scary monster was headed our way. When I looked up to see what it was it was our neighbor. She came toward the fence dividing the property and asked me if I liked her outfit. I told her that she was scaring the dogs. Her outfit was a homemade beekeeper suit made up of many layers of clothing, tape, a hat with netting about it and she said she had even shoved some cardboard down her pants to protect her bottom. I saw tape around her socks and in her right hand some sort of kill-the-bugs spray. Then she told me about how the bees had stung her husband on more than one occasion and then chased him into the house. They swarmed him. They made a giant hole in more than one of the many trees on their property. Research showed their behavior and nesting to be like that of the killer bees. The hole in the tree. The swarming. She was out to kill them. She then announced she was too hot to chat any longer due to her many layers of clothing and went off to spray the bees.

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dead rat in a trap

My father said “it doesn’t matter where your body goes when you die.” I think my mother and I were talking about not putting the rat in the trash can.  Yes, that was it.  I got the rat trap out of the garage at Grandma’s house. At first, I said there was no rat in the trap, but upon further investigation I noticed there was, indeed, a dead rat in the trap. Grandma wanted to come out to look at it but I told her I would bring it around to the sliding glass door. She said I could just toss it in the trash. Mom said, “no, it will stink.” I said, “no, I’ll toss it in the bushes and it can decompose there.” To me, it seems like desecration of the dead to put a dead thing in the trash. I don’t even want to put dead bugs in the trash…I’d rather put them outside.

Perhaps it doesn’t matter where your body goes when you die since your soul moves on. But, to the living it does matter. To the living it matters that the dead are treated with respect. To the living it matters that the bodies are handled with respect. Death is for the dying. Dealing with death is for the living.

Recently, when I look in the mirror I see my mother and wonder what she is doing there. This past weekend when I looked at my mother’s eyes I saw her mother’s eyes and I was sad that I didn’t spend more time with her while she was here.

My mother and I were sitting outside in the last bit of sun of the evening. I looked across the street and saw the neighbor fiddling with his gutters. I thought he may have had a hat upon his head but it turns out it was his grey hair. It seems like not that long ago it was brown like my father’s was and I was younger like his daughter was.  Now, we are all older and getting closer to the time when it doesn’t matter where you go when you die.

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