Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Mourning 2

This last week I haven’t been able to get much done, if it wasn’t one thing, it was another, but I’ve spent most of the week having to relax, or stay off my feet. And I guess I could have been writing, but I couldn’t concentrate (oh the joys of ADD).

So what did I do? Well, I thought about watching a movie, but then my eyes fell on my Star Trek collection, reminding me that we recently lost Leonard Nimoy, so as a tribute to him, I decided to watch my DVD’s, and boy do I have them.

In the last couple of years of my husband’s life, he, for either my birthday or Christmas, gave me boxed sets of the first through third seasons of the original series, plus boxed sets of the original series movies and the TNG movies, not everything in that universe, but enough.

I have now worked my way through the entire first season and am into the second season, but I also took some time to watch the commentary and extra features available in the set. Including the piece about Nimoy discussing all the trouble they’d had fashioning his ears, and the casting changes made between the first pilot (The Menagerie) and the pilot featuring Captain Kirk.

All interesting stuff, and certainly stuff I already knew since I’ve owned the DVD’s for some years now, but it’s nice to be able to look back, and see it all again, and to remember what we’ve lost, but it’s also nice, just to watch and remember how much my husband enjoyed giving me these sets. He loved me a lot.

Sometimes it’s the little things, which make life easier to bear. Don’t you think?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


Okay, it’s time to write my blog post for the week and I’m avoiding it. Big time.
The bills need paid and groceries bought, and the towels need folded. And I have to check my email accounts.
Then I can waste some time on Facebook, which will last for about an hour, unless of course I’ve checked it every day this week, which I have, so there is really no new posts to read. I rarely post myself so now I need something else.
Well, there is always that notion of making all my Christmas presents this year. I could work on that. Ideas for presents I can make for my kids, husband and sister would be a good start. Or I can just work on a couple of handcraft projects I started months ago, maybe even finish one.
Then there is always games. No I’m not a gamer. But Sudoku puzzles are always good for an hour or two. Or talking my kids into a game of Life, Clue or better yet Monopoly is a fantastic way to while away some time. We do have other games, but those get played the most. Monopoly, that’s a great idea. That will take up the most time.
But then it’s the middle of the school day and most of my game playing kids are, well, in school.
Next idea.
Oh look, my sister is online. Let’s talk to her.
Okay she’s focused on her own writing right now so what else can I do.
What time is it?
Oh, snail mail.
That should be good for a few minutes of distraction. First I have to get someone to fetch it. Then of course there it sorting through it and chucking the junk, dealing with the bills. Unless of course it’s one of those day when we don’t get much.
With that done I have to find something else to do.
My husband lost something important, should I drop this and help him find it?
Never mind. That was solved quickly.
Let’s see, what time is it? Not lunch time. What is there for lunch? Um, who needs to do the dishes? Who is making dinner? Oh never mind that. Tonight half the family won’t be home for dinner so its catch as catch can.
Well I’ve used up twenty minutes.
Now if I were vain I could spend time doing my nails or makeup or something. I don’t even own any makeup, and I did my nail care the other day so don’t really need to right now. (See, not vain.) I could always brush my hair. I haven’t done that yet today. It’s long and likes to snarl so it should take a few minutes.
Well, now what else can I do?
Ah, rescued by the phone. And never mind again.
Okay, I’m really wasting time here.
Some people think writing is so easy but most days it’s really like this. Trying to focus on the task at hand with distractions all around you and its worse when you have no clear idea what you want to write about.
That’s why I posted this quote on my screen.
"If you really want to do something you will find a way. If you don't, you'll find an excuse."  Jim Rohn

I don’t always focus, but at least I always try.

Do you ever have days like this?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Jim Boy

The first time I saw him, I yelled for Dad to come help and hollered at my brother, Bryon, for allowing that beast to follow him home from the park. I’m not a dog person. I prefer cats, and I definitely don’t like big dogs. This brute was the biggest German Shepherd I’d ever laid eyes on.

Bryon maintained the dog followed our little half-brother, Benji, not him. I considered myself rather brave to dive forward, grab the toddler, and haul him to safety onto our porch. Bryon may have called him a dog, but all I saw was a monster, a menace, and he was huge. I stood on that porch secure in the knowledge that Dad wasn’t a pet person.

Dad came out, took one look at the beast, and ordered Bryon to take it back to the park.
I thought that would be the end of it, until the dang critter had the audacity to charge forward and stop Benji from falling off the steps. I doubt there is a man in the world that wouldn’t cave if his wife looked at him the way Mom looked at Dad that day and said, “The dog stays.”

I groaned, but then pointed out that there was no way anyone was going to get a collar on that thing, let alone a leash.

Bryon happily dubbed the beast Jim Boy and rushed out to buy a collar. The stupid creature didn’t even fight it. My prediction that he’d never accept a leash never even got tested. Soon after he followed my brothers home, we moved out to the country.
I did learn however that I wasn’t the only one who thought he was too big. Our neighbors thought he was a wolf. More than once I overheard one neighbor telling another neighbor, “I couldn’t believe my eyes, there was this huge wolf chasing a rabbit across my field and, as I watched, I realized that beast had on a red collar!”

I told each one of them that Jim Boy was the gentlest animal on God’s green earth; of course, by that time he’d grown on me. I’d even petted him a time or two.

Jim Boy came to us trained, too. He was housebroken and answered to Bryon every time he whistled.

Jim Boy also stopped Benji, and later Danny, from falling off the front porch more than once, and kept them from falling into the nearby canal at least twice that I know of.

He also kept strangers out of the yard, not that we had a great problem with that out in the boonies as we were. Whenever someone came to our place the first time, we had to go out and introduce him or her to Jim Boy; otherwise, he wouldn’t let them out of their car.

I’m sure he loved living in the country, but one day Dad announced he found a better job in Tacoma, Washington. I looked it up. Tacoma was bigger than Boise. I pointed this out, and pointed out that a huge place like that definitely had leash laws. I even mentioned how long a car ride that would be. Jim Boy loved to ride in the car, but for that long?

We debated it for weeks, in the end Dad took Jim Boy to the vet, made sure his shots were up to date and got some tranquilizers for the trip. The vet told us Jim Boy was indeed half Timber Wolf and gave Dad a small packet of pills. He instructed Dad how to give them to even a reluctant recipient. I watched Dad give him that first one. Not only did Jim Boy not fight it, he lapped it right up, no problem.

On the morning of our third day on the road, while we loaded the car, I remembered the pills and reached for them, only to discover just one missing. We’d forgotten to give him the regular doses and he’d remained as calm and complacent as with the medicine! We teased Dad about wasting money. Jim Boy was too good a dog. We finished our trek feeling we would have no problems having such a large beast for a pet in the big city.

Our first problem arrived when the US Postal Service notified us that we either pen our so-called dog or lose services. We thought no problem. The house Dad rented had a large back yard with nice six-foot high fence around it. Jim Boy didn’t like the backyard. He took one flying leap and sailed right over said fence. The second he soared over it, it dawned on me that any dog who was over six foot on his hind legs wasn’t going to find that fence a challenge.

I even joined in on complaining that it wasn’t fair to confine him to the house. We particularly hated that the postman delivered mail anytime between nine thirty A.M. and half past four P.M. We never knew when he would show. Jim Boy took his confinement docilely.

But that lead to another problem, or rather Konnie and I had a problem. We had a split entry house and Jim Boy took to lying across the head of the upstairs hall, right at the end of the railing overlooking the stairwell.

The three youngest members of our family had no problem crawling over him, and Jim Boy never so much as twitched when they did. The three tallest members of the household could step over him even when he was standing up, but Jim Boy’s shoulders came to about waist height on the two not so tall members of the family. Of course, if he remained recumbent we’d have no problem expect he didn’t remain so.

Ben, Dan, and Patty could crawl all over him, Mom could step over him laden with a baskets of clean laundry, but, if Konnie or I attempted to step over him laden down with homework, he’d stand up!

And I don’t mean he’d yawn, stretch, and languidly get to his feet, after we’d managed to step over his hulk, I’m talking as soon as we had one foot over, he’d suddenly get to his feet, each time sending us to the floor and our books flying. It never failed.

And despite Konnie saying it never happened to her, I remember at least once when it did. I clearly remember one day after school entering the house through the garage (to avoid being the first one the little ones greeted home) only to witness Konnie’s books to go sailing down the stairwell while she yelled at Jim Boy. So it happened to her at least once.

Then one day I sat and watched him. He didn’t move a muscle. All three little ones were crawling back and forth over him like it was a game. Mom stepped over him several times doing chores; he looked sound asleep and totally unaware of what was going on around him. I risked it and stepped. I went sprawling!

The next time I tried asking him to move. He ignored me. I thought for sure he was asleep that time. I was wrong, again. After that, I started grabbing him by the collar and moving him out of the way. He sulked away giving me a look that seemed to say, “You’re ruining my fun.” I didn’t care.

I started taking walks when we lived in the country. I did it as much for the exercise as to get away from our noisy crowded house, but I was afraid of Jim Boy going with me. We still didn’t own a leash, and even we if did, I doubted I’d have been able to hold him. I knew he would come when Bryon whistled, but I can’t whistle. I didn’t think Jim Boy would come back when I called to him. He fooled me again. I called; he came romping back. It got to the point that all I had to do was pat the side of my leg a couple times, and he’d happily sprint toward me.

Jim Boy looked forward to my walks as much I did because I never tried to stop him from snooping around or chasing rabbits. I let him do whatever he wanted as long as he stayed in my sight. But after we moved to Tacoma, I thought going for walks would be a problem, we still had no leash, and I’d seen several people walking their dogs on leashes, though none without. I didn’t know what to do, but I wanted to go for walks.

I resisted for as long as I could, but finally I set out — Jim Boy happily romping along.

It made me smile when I saw a fellow walking a couple of big Rottweilers. Those dogs took one look at Jim Boy, turned tail, and dragged their master away.

The first time I saw a cop coming my way, I called to Jim Boy, except I didn’t know any commands like “heel,” so when he reached my side, I grabbed his collar. Jim Boy sat down. The cop, our next-door neighbor, stopped and told me that technically, I needed a leash, however, as long as Jim Boy was so obedient, it was okay. That helped.

Jim Boy particularly liked walking along the main road in our area. There was no sidewalk and the ground fell away from the road into an overgrown ditch. He would explore around down there while I walked above. I could see him dodging in and out of the bushes, but I doubt anyone driving by could. It was fun to watch him enjoying himself like that, almost like when we lived in the country.

Then one day, as we enjoyed our walk, a fellow in a pickup stopped and offered me a ride. Kids at school may have called me a country bumpkin, but I’d lived in a city until I was fifteen, and I wasn’t naive. The driver and both his buddies were leering at me, and even if I had wanted a ride, I’d never have accepted their offer.

I explained to them that I was taking a walk for the fresh air; they continued leering and pressed harder. As I politely told them again that I was just taking a walk, I tapped my leg. I knew Jim Boy came running instantly, not only because I knew the dog so well, but because of the looks on the faces of those three men. They stopped leering at me and stared wide-eyed with fear over my shoulder, then the driver hurriedly put his truck in gear and sped off as Jim Boy nuzzled my hand. I gave him a big hug. He licked my face. I miss that dang dog!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Canine Nanny

I’ve probably mentioned this, but we have dogs in this house, and one of them is a Black Lab. Being now a senior dog she is often sprawled out on the floor somewhere. Sometimes she’s in the way.
Whenever I have to step over her I’m reminded of another dog, a long time ago.
Jim Boy, a German Shepard (mixed, because he sure looked like a timber wolf) came into our lives when he followed our brothers home from the park and proved he was very protective of little kids. The youngest boy back then was only a toddler.
The dog stayed and we kept him through a number of moves. It was in the last house he lived in with us that I think he found his greatest joy.
The upstairs hallway led to three bedrooms and the one full bath in the house. By laying across the hall floor at just the right spot it was impossible to get past him by side stepping into the kitchen/dining room so you had to 1) step over him, 2) crawl over him or 3) move him somehow.
The three youngest in the family, all under 6 or so, all opted for the second option. Great fun for them and he let them crawl all over him all the time.
The three tallest family members, could grab his collar and move him or simply step over him. Even if he decided to stand up they were tall enough to straddle him, though he never seemed to do that to any of them.
Bonnie and I were the remaining two family members.
We were too old to crawl over him and not big enough to physically move him. I personally never liked the idea of waking him up, but then I didn’t have to. As with the tallest family members, he’d often just stay still, but sometimes, just for me, he’d get up and move as I approached him.
No. Jim Boy’s fun was with Bonnie.
For her he wouldn’t move. Not ever. She couldn’t even wake him when she tried.
But the second she was straddling him, he’d stand up.
Now you have to understand, between our lack of height and his sheer size, his shoulders came to our waist, so standing up toppled Bonnie. 
Jim Boy adored her.
She got mad at him and eventually refused to step over him ever again, but I really think he enjoyed it. Bonnie was the only who could never get him to move. So I’ve always assumed it was his way of having fun, at her expense.
But I’ve got enough dogs now to recognize that they each have a unique personality. I simply can’t imagine Jim Boy not liking her.
I mean he always sprawled on the floor and let the little kids crawl on him. He jumped to protect the biggest of those three kids (since following him home from that park) enough times to know he adored little ones. So how he treated each family member was a reflection of how he felt about them.
And he wanted Bonnie to crawl on his back like the little kids he adored and protected, and yeah, he protected her too. Dog are pack animals and their family is their pack. Bonnie was one of his puppies.

At least that’s how I see it. What do you think?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Generational Gap part 2

Unlike my sister, I don’t have kids, so I don’t have any experiences about people thinking I’m a grandmother. Though the other day I stopped by where one of our cousins works, but she wasn’t there. When one of her co-workers asked if she could help me I informed her I was still thinking then I asked after my cousin.

She informed me said cousin had gotten off early that day, then asked me if I was my cousin’s mother. I mean, dang, I am older than her. I am in fact older than all but one of my cousins, however, I’m not that much older than the one in question.

Considering I have cousins who were in grade school when I finally got married at the age of twenty-four, I can see where I could be mistaken for their mother, but the cousin in question isn’t that much younger than me.

But I figure the woman needed her eyes examined, since more often people don’t believe me when I tell them my age.

Like an incidence, admittedly a few years ago where I had arrived at church for a dinner just for the women, which hadn’t started yet, and a bunch of the women not on the committee to set it up were just sitting around visiting.

Most of these women were older, and somehow the topic turned to the joys of menopause. Then the daughter of another cousin of mine entered. At the time she was a newlywed, and one of the ladies looked from my cousin’s daughter to me then said, “This isn’t something you have to worry about, this is something your mothers are going through right now.”

I was dumbfounded. I mean I’ve never been able to spout off any witty comebacks on the spot, but this time I didn’t know what should I tell the lady. Should I say that my cousin whose daughter had just entered was younger than me? Or that said cousin’s daughter was not quite seven months old on my wedding day? Let alone that my doctor had informed me I had officially entered para-menopause earlier that very day.

And yes, the lady who made that comment knew the young lady was related to me. I just couldn’t figure out how she thought the granddaughter of my aunt, who was also present that day, was of the same generation as me.

Of course, not looking our age is something my twin and I have always dealt with, much to the annoyance of our older sister.

Once, when we were teenagers, our sister and our mother had been downtown shopping when they ran into someone our mother knew from work, and that someone asked our mother if our sister was her sister. Way back then our sister thought it was funny while our mother fumed.

The tables got turned a few decades later when said sister was helping me run some errands and we ran into an old acquaintance of hers. I stood there waiting as these two caught up on old times. When the woman finally took note of my presence, she asked my sister if I was her daughter!

Man was my sister mad. But I couldn’t stop laughing. She’s only sixteen months older than Konnie and I.

And since my husband died I’ve received tons of comments on how sad it is to be such a young widow, and few of those have even said something along the lines of how it wouldn’t be so bad if I were over fifty. Such a statement would make better sense if they’d said over sixty or over seventy, because I am a young widow, just not that young. :)

And I can certainly come up with a whole lot more stories where people thought I was younger, sometimes way younger, than I really am. So far, just my cousin’s co-worker has considered me older than I am, so I’m guessing she isn’t a good judge of age. What do you think?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Generational Gap

In recent months I’ve had a couple of funny experiences with my kids. One time I took my youngest to the eye doctor’s office to get his new glasses. The technician took him back to fit them for him and when he returned to me he look rather perplexed. He said the woman had said something about him going back to his ‘grandmother’.
He asked, “Do I even have a grandmother?”
The simple answer is yes, everyone has two. For my kids the answer is, they’re all dead. My youngest can’t remember those who died in his lifetime. But it got me thinking about how old I really looked.
Then I had the second experience. I was at the store with my youngest adult daughter. At one point as we neared the entrance she must have stepped past me without me noticing. I looked around to see where she was and couldn’t find her.
Then a young man nearby said, “Ma’am, ma’am. Your granddaughter is over here.”
I think I gave him a nasty look as I spotted my daughter getting a cart.
Do I really look old enough to be a grandmother? Of adults?
Okay, grant it most people wouldn’t assume any of my daughters are adults. So we’ll assume they thought I was the grandmother of a high school aged girl. Do I really look that old?
Okay, so I have visible grey hair. Not as much as I always thought I’d have at this age and I’ve earned every strand. I am in my fifties after all. And that’s probably the point. I was nearly 39 when my youngest was born. My three youngest all tell me about classmates with grandparents my age.
Assuming you waited to be an adult (18) to have children, and your child did the same, you could still be a grandparent at 36, and therefore at my age have grandkids in high school. Nowadays kids aren’t even waiting that long.
I got married at 28 and my oldest was born when I was 29. So yeah, I guess I am old enough to be a grandparent. Only thing is, unless you count those covered in fur or feathers, I’m not one.
So the whole situation got me wondering. When I’m out running around with my grandkids someday are people going to assume I’m their great grandmother? Or, since my kids aren’t rushing into marriage and family either, will people assume I’m their great-great grandmother?
Then again, even with the grey hair, people assume I’m younger than I am, though it’s been awhile since anyone has told me what they guessed my age to be. Although a couple of years ago a gentleman I know said something about his old body and I responded saying something about having arthritis in my back for over 40 years.
He said, “How can that be if you’re only 39?”
He may well have been teasing me, but I was over 50.

Now ask my identical twin about people assuming she was closer in age to our cousin’s adult daughter than to our cousin. Our younger cousin.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Momma Bear Part 2

I have mentioned in the past that I grew up protecting my shy quiet twin, and after her post of last week, you might be a little confused, since shy and quiet doesn’t seem to coincide with a momma bear personality, but I can attest they do.

The first hint I had of this side of my twin was in our early teens. At the time, we had several cats of various ages and sizes and one day Konnie got mad at one our bigger cats that kept attacking her kitten.

At the time, I was heading toward our front door to enter the house, when suddenly the door flew open banging against the metal siding of the trailer and the offending cat in question went sailing past my head while from inside came a rather loudly pronounced swear word. And I wasn’t the only neighborhood kid staring, stunned. One of the boys nearby turned to me and asked, “Was that Konnie?”

I answered, “It wasn’t me,” which only added to the oddity of the event, you see, me swearing in anger was pretty common back then, but to this day it’s the only time I’ve heard Konnie swear.
Though it isn’t the only time I’ve seen her lose her temper. The next time was in our late teens and the victim was the oldest of our brothers. He deserved it, but instead of helping, I decided I was safer to let her have at it. Meek and mild Konnie is scary when she’s that mad!

And I found that very confusing, since I’m known for flying off the handle. Back in our early teens, one of my tirades was a fairly regular thing, generally about once a month.

In fact, I knew my husband was the perfect man for me when he took one of my tirades all in stride – before we were married. He didn’t run and hide, but he didn’t try to stop me, he just calmly waited until I took a break then he’d ask me if I was finished, feeling better, or whatever fit the situation, which did get annoying sometimes, but then so did his approach to unsatisfactory service. Instead of voicing a complaint, he just never returned to that establishment. My opinion was they can’t improve if you don’t tell them what they did wrong, but sometimes that isn’t needed.

A case in point is an incidence, which happened while he was stationed at Great Lakes. We decided to go out and found a local branch of a national chain. The host seated us and a couple minutes later seated a family of four not too far away from us.

And we waited. A few minutes later, a waiter approached the family and took their order, passing right by us without stopping. After he’d served the family their drinks, I stopped him and informed him no one had taken our order yet. He informed me we weren’t his table and that he’d tell our waitress and we waited some more.

When that family of four got their meal, Tom announced he’d had it and we left. Which is when I learned maybe Tom’s way did work, as we left the parking lot I spotted the manager storm out the back of the building and start to berate a waitress having a smoke break, and I learned to calm down.

Of course, I also don’t have anyone who needs my protection anymore. I think that helps.