Things to do today

  1.  Cat:   a) Medicate b)call in for refills c) feed  d)make appointment for a sonogram.   Sounds simple enough, right?  One week of poking stuff down her throat, it is no small feat with a cat of whom 3 people are needed to clip her claws.  She stopped eating on her own a week ago; now we are using an urgent care food forced into her mouth with a syringe.  The way my Tabatha aka Toots aka Sweet Pea II  fights, there is going to be another load of laundry to do as a result of the drama.  She and her sister rescued us after we lost our Maine Coon, Buster aka Bud aka My Boy lost his short life to cancer.  Toots deserves the best we can give her. That includes the sonogram although her $300 blood test came back in the normal ranges and her mouth (where many problems start) indicate the need for feline dentistry.  One whiff of her breath assures me my intuition should not be ignored.  But I’m not the Veterinarian, just the one paying the bill.
  2.   Plants:   They need repotting so they can thrive and provide the herbal remedy they are intended for.  That is all I’m going to say about that.
  3. Be here for the internet Technician coming to fix our intermittent internet outage.  If the issue is not that of the ISP,  its the modem.  Another intuitive/work experience guess that is going to cost.  I’m a woman and not male so the willingness to be listened to is equivalent to nil.  I’d best not get started on that diatribe…
  4.  Send you a ps.  to the ps. email I sent last night.  When the internet is “fixed” again.

I’m going to do the ps., skipping over #2 and 3.  I often write when the muse pushes me.  Today I feel like I’m being propelled to do ps. by the muse driving a steam roller.

More than once in the past week I have read and heard the philosophical thought  it is truly virtuous  to do something good yet not advertise the effort.  There is something I believe you may be worthy of knowing as it only involves myself on a minor level.

My late father-in-law built a family cabin so his children and grandchildren and on and on would have a nice place to go to in the mountains of Colorado.  I am married to the youngest of his children, the one he designated as Custodian (which has been confused to mean Janitor, handyman).  The title was meant as someone to oversee its use and care.  When I fell in love with him, I fell just as deeply for the ideal of the cabin, a family place, the  inclusive idea of family.  My siblings have ‘dissed’ me, and why I have given the place 110%, the idea I might be welcomed into his family.

My own father did the best he could leaving a small inheritance with the rental properties he built,  not leaving any debt for us to cover.

Built by hand, by their own hands.  Something the two men have in common aside that the youngest of their children are married to one another.  Oak, my late father-in-law, made a record of the cabin’s progress in photographs.  The pictures are in a photo book at the cabin which seems only to collect dust.  A dear friend of ours came up to the place last weekend and she too, fell in love with the place.  Rand, my husband, showed her the photos and told their stories of how Oak put the place together.  Oak was a retired Air Force Colonel who worked at a hardware/lumber store to fund its construction so his children would not be burdened with any debt.  It is a place outfitted as best described as eclectic.  Somethings have been replaced such as the mattresses dating back to who knows how far back but long enough some of his descendants chose to sleep on the floor instead of those awful beds.

Oak built the cabin in two locations: on its site and in his backyard.  He prefabbed structural components, took them apart and then drove the pieces and parts uphill 50 miles to put them back together permanently. Oak’s brother Paul helped out too, because that what those brothers did.   Rand was a teenager during the process and was more than happy to help out.  My husband has been infatuated with Architecture and construction since he was knee high to a toadstool.  When other siblings showed they were put off at their dad’s insistence they lend a hand to its completion, maintenance. They felt it was their entitlement to simply chill.  They still do.  What they do not see is their contribution would be/would have been a contribution to their own offspring, their own legacy.

Oak, as per the stories I have heard from his other sons and daughter-in-law was an alcoholic, mean, abusive man, overlooking anything positive about him.  For them the cabin is a place of  bad memories.  They have every opportunity to make new ones.  Oak died in 1996 yet they choose to hold on to their anger, often directing it at me, the outsider.  I would love for them to hear me out, to let me tell my own story of who I am, who I was made from and what I have done in my life and for the place.  On my nightstand at home I have a reminder for the nights I wake up tossing and turning in frustration; the note tells me to remember the others direct their anger at me because that is what they choose.  It’s not me it’s them.  They not only give me the silent treatment; during the past seventeen years of loving my husband none of them have taken a bit of interest to find out anything about me.  I would bet everything I have none of them know where I moved from to Colorado, or even where I grew up.  Not having had children there will not be any grandkids to be share my tales and adventures.  It is their loss, however I doubt they will ever have an inkling to what they missed out on.

My intentions are not to throw a pity party.   What I hope is you will take away with this an insight as to the love that has gone into the place.  I digressed, I fell not just for Rand and the cabin, but the idea of a family cabin, family.  I threw myself at the place, joining Rand in his efforts.  Circumstances in the past few years got pretty ugly, and I fell out of love with the cabin.  I’m working to regain my love, slowly it is coming back.

It has been said and I have tested it myself, if you truly love someone or something you have to be willing to let it go.  If it is meant to be, it will return to you.

With all due respect,

Janet

ps.  The tall chest of drawers in the cabin’s larger bedroom holds sheets and towels.  Of course they are there for the family’s use. Oh, and the beds sport new mattresses that are so very comfortable I wish I had them in my own home. Forget about sleeping on the floor.

Blowup doll

I am not a blowup doll

Not in a box at a shopping mall

Won’t wait for you against the wall

Can’t look amazed when I’m appalled

For I am not a blowup doll

I am not a maid et all

Won’t clean this place from wall-to-wall

Change the sheets and leave them neat

As if you think you are discrete

For I am not your blowup doll

I’ve eyes and ears, a brain in all

I live I breathe and Even bleed

A heart you broke assuming me

Nothing more than a blowup doll

Adventures with Giraffe or are we great yet?

Please excuse me, I couldn’t help myself.

Most of the people I encounter at my place of work are really fine to be around.  All of us are there for the animals.  The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has 700+.   The favorite are the Giraffes.  We have sixteen of them, the largest population of Giraffe in North America.  They have a face one cannot help falling in love with, unless of course their tongues, a purplish black muscle and the gluey slime coming off of it strikes you as repulsive and you allow that to rule your ideal of the world’s tallest mammal.   The tongue was the impression I was left with for years until I have gotten this wonderful opportunity to work around them.  Now I am fortunate to have a moment or two each day to watch them.  I have come to know when four in the afternoon is approaching without looking at my watch (yes, I still wear one).  The herd, then outdoors are starting to cluster further from the lettuce baring humans and closer to the entrance to their barn.  When they go indoors they get fed, some more.

Their faces are adorable.  When you are nearby in the barn or outdoors they approach easily and with a large-eyed look that says one thing:  Do you have lettuce for me?  Most of our visitors feed them one small piece of Romaine at a time.  Yesterday I had about three cups of romaine hearts in my cupped hands.  None of them showed interest.  They can be picky.   One of the herd turned their head just enough to pick up in their extraordinary peripheral vision the best part of the lettuce awaiting a taker.  In one swipe of their great tongue they took every little bit of it .  We were both happy.   I smiled and he or she chewed with their head straight up in the air.  Just as quickly as they licked my hands clean two or three other Giraffe were at the railing with a Muppet like look that said, “What about me? Where is it?”.

Yet we still have some misunderstandings.  It is not uncommon for a visitor to drop their smartphone over the side into the Giraffe area.  I like to give the humans the benefit of doubt, however one such visitor had something close to a child’s melt-down when I had the unfortunate task of informing her she would be able to get the phone back after 4pm that day, some five hours later, and the phone most likely would not be in the same condition it was before it fell to the ground.  Others had witnessed the phone biting the dust and informed me not to feel bad as she was standing on the railing leaning out as far as possible to get a photo.  Maybe even a selfie.  Probably a selfie.  Fortunately the phone was retrieved before one of our precious giraffe stepped on it and crushed the glass creating a very troubling hazard for the animals.

Yesterday was smartphone free, however a youngster threw their red balloon into the area and the parents thought it ever so cute.  I haven’t had a chance to ask the animal keepers exactly why it’s a problem.  I know balloons inflated in their area are a very bad thing.

Visualize one stepping on it, the baloon burstng (doings like a gun, yes?) and the herd getting spooked. You take it from there.

Also dropped was a plastic milk bottle which by the time I saw it and reported it to the keepers was splintered at its base, creating another potential problem for the Giraffe and the keepers.  I haven’t mentioned it,  working around their feet is dangerous.  One kick of a Giraffe hoof is powerful enough to take off the head of a lion.

A sippy cup dropped in the elephants’ outdoor enclosure became of dire need for a visitor to regain.  Yup.  A sippy cup.  I want so very much to say, “Give it up, toots” but I do what I can to help them.  The Elephant keeper I spoke with over a radio had a bit of exasperation in their voice as they asked, “Does the person know it may not be in the same condition as before it was lost?”.  I understand why animal people may not have a great deal of patience with all of us humans.

I’m rained and snowed out of work today which is just dandy.  As I was exiting the Zoo grounds after work yesterday, the battery light came on my auto dashboard.  The drive home was even longer than usual as I realized it could very well be the alternator.  Oh monkey poop.  I’ve got it on a charger so I can get it to my favorite mechanics.  It probably is the alternator and the battery.  I had charged it up this morning and took it for a spin around the block.  Lo and behold in the middle of the street was a plastic shopping bag and a green plastic bottle inside.  My first thought:  Free mouthwash.  Free Palmolive dish soap.  I did a quick U-turn, opened my car door to retrieve it and saw an empty Gin bottle.  Most likely some alcoholic had guzzled the whole half liter down and threw out the evidence in the middle of the street before they got home.  What I wonder is who they think they are fooling?  Not many mouthwashes are Juniper flavored.  And what I also wonder is why people fool themselves into such a sense of self importance. Throwing trash on the ground makes no difference to the rest of us ?  Like that million dollar sippy cup left on the ground with no consideration for the animals and nor their caretakers safety.  Oh turning yourself into a giant selfie stick so you can show the world however small it is and that you spent a day in the presence of giraffes.

Excuse me.  I couldn’t help myself.

 

Judging a Book by its Cover

This weekend I am participating as a human book at the Penrose Branch of Pikes Peak Library.  I’m transforming myself into ink and paper, large font for those of us without 20/20 vision. I will be a nice thin volume sitting on the “Must Read” shelf, my illustrated cover depicting wildflowers, little blue birds holding a banner the title on it in golden gilt letters.

It would be a sweet dream come true for this wanna be a writer.  That isn’t how it’s going to play out.  A dozen or so of us have been chosen to tell our stories, personal stories about a part of our life which makes us each a bit unique.  Patrons and others will make 20 minute appointments to speak with us and have a conversation, leaning towards the interview side of things about ourselves.   We have amongst us Human Books a 1960’s Unwed Mother, a 90 year old, someone with Autism, Campus Assault Survivor, Christian homemaker, a person with Depression, Disability, Felon, Female Merchant Sailor, Homeschool Parent, Native American, Refugee & Serbian concentration camp survivor, Schizophrenia, Self-harm, Sexual Abuse Survivor, Single Mom-3 kids 3 dads and a Transgender.

The library held a training session for us books.  At a point they had us count off, one two, one two, to break into groups of two to practice answering and asking each other questions.  Our individual identities had not been divulged although it was a drop-kick to pick out the Ninety year old man and the Disabled.  I wondered if anyone would want to group up with me having been accustomed to be the last kid picked for the teams in phys-ed and largely ignored at recent family functions.   Sure enough, I was left standing alone until a staff member directed the Disabled to wheel themselves over to me.

One of the objectives is not to judge a book by its cover.  The lines in my face are a long shot from a pretty floral picture.  I’m a short woman shrinking annually.  The lines in my weathered face show some disappointment, a map of the road less traveled, not a party invite. I’ve gotten accustomed to being overlooked or misunderstood.

These days I work at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.  Last weekend I was stationed to sell Romaine lettuce for visitors to feed to our Giraffes.  Three bucks for a “feeding”, five for two feedings.  One guest appeared at my window and asked if I could break a large bill.  Expecting to see Ben Franklin or Ulysses S. Grant on the face of a piece of currency, I was presented an oversized, overvalued $2016 piece of a joke with a thinner, younger combed over President Trump on it.  I wasn’t humored.   “Sorry,” I responded, “only valid currency please.” Politics is a subject I avoid at my place of work.

“Aw, come on.  You are a hard-core lifelong Republican voter, I can just tell”, the customer joked to me.  “I can read people pretty well.  You voted for him, admit it.  And you drive a Subaru, too.”

“I voted against him.  My candidate wasn’t on the ballot.”

“Who was that?” he pressed on.

“Bernie.”  I gave the guest his appropriate portion of lettuce. Smiling I thanked him for his purchase, and before he turned to the Giraffes I finished, “and I drive a Miata.”

 

After our group encounter at the training we reconvened in our original places.  We went around the room stating which ‘book’ we are.  I will remind you no one was interested in speaking with me at the get-go.  When it was my turn to say “What’s My Line” most of group overwhelmed me with surprised admiration. Suddenly I became the star of the show.    Some of you having been familiar with me for most of our lives know my title, most of you not.  I will close this only by adding I was elected by my High School Class as Most Athletic and an “Ahoy.”  I’m the Female Merchant Sailor.

 

 

 

 

No, my darling. I did not poison you.

I luxuriated at having the opportunity to drink half the pot of coffee before my husband appeared to greet the day.   Normally he is up and at ’em when I appear groggy and barefooted at the coffee maker, stumbling in semi-darkness to secure what might remain of the brew.  Sometimes he gets up so very early the remains in the carafe are somewhat ‘aged’ and the delicate taste of burned coffee leaves me speechless.  In all actuality the dregs is usually what I awake to.

Putting aside my selfish desires  I decided it might not be a bad idea to check on him.  I found him lying flat on his stomach, blankets pulled over his head with only his mouth and nose peeking out.  He was breathing.  “Are you feeling ok?” I asked.  “I think I had food poisoning,” he responded, ” It must have been what we had for dinner last night.  I was up every hour on the hour spewing my guts out and then blowing everything out the opposite end.”

I hesitated before taking the fall for accidentally attempting to murder my spouse with food.  It has been my unfortunate experience to have had food poisoning on two separate occasions.  If the food had been bad, and I did eat it, I would have been up all night doing the same revolting activities.  But I hadn’t. I’d slept peacefully through the night, so soundly I never heard a peep much the less  a call for ralph from the bathroom.

“No my darling, I did not poison you.”  Despite that knowledge, I still felt suspicious enough to throw out the leftovers.  Too bad, it was a very tasty pork stir-fry.
I love my hubby very much.  Yes, there are times when accidental poisoning might seem convenient, but I would never be so careless that I could hurt him.

While I was clearing the refrigerator of potential harm and giving the kitchen a good go round of sanitizing, and yes, I was singing to myself, it struck me:  I will be next.

I lived in the Florida Keys for eighteen years.  Not just paradise for the weary, that part of the country seemed to gift me with numerous cases of dysentery and stomach flu.  Tourism was my trade and I received what ever bug our visitors brought with them on vacation. I have been left with reminders of my stomach pounding to the rhythm of the bass drum in a military march. I’m fairly susceptible to every gastrointestinal distress floating around the near atmosphere.  I avoid the tuna salad in a buffet as if it were time to pay more taxes.  I wash my hands.  I avoid contact with those afflicted with tummy woes. When I worked as a conductor on a train traveling to the top of Pikes Peak I handed out the barf bags like they were candy on Halloween night.   When it comes to feeling lousy, I sure can empathize.

Despite avoiding the mister like plague for a day or two, I found myself up in the middle of that night reliving the agonies of my past life and begging for it all to stop.  It was pretty groddy and I will dispense with the sordid details.  The heavens were kind to me and it did seem to cease sooner than I am accustomed and mentally prepared for.  I spent a day in bed feeling the rhythm of John Philip Souza’s crashing cymbals and trying to forget away the discomfort.  Still reeling and not at all hungry, I spent another day recuperating with full command of the  remote control and a good dose of Netflix.  I sipped water, and didn’t attempt eating until the following day.

Neither my husband nor I cared to cook, so he took me out to breakfast.  I was a bit shaky, certainly not clear headed enough to make good choices at the restaurant.  He must have known what he wanted to eat when he asked me out.  I was empty and the selection plentiful.  My decision was French toast, comfort food and what I estimated to be easy on my practically virgin insides. Trying to recall if oj contains any electrolytes I ordered that, too.  I still don’t know for sure. What was for sure was the sloshing I felt on the post breakfast Sunday drive up the curvy pass towards the mountains.

I gave forgetting the mistake of a meal a go and tried to make the best of the beautiful Colorado  Sunny day with views right before me of both the Sangre de Cristo and Sawatch Mountain Ranges.   The mountains soaring to heights above fourteen thousand feet were topped in pure white snow, impossible to look at without the help of some good sunglasses.  The mister took up a conversation with some visitors from New Jersey and before I knew it we were heading to their newly purchased property.  We hiked up their ‘driveway’ a cut uphill of about a nineteen percent grade.  The snow was deep, the newly exposed soil soft, but I made it to the top without falling over or asking for a hand.  I was astounded at their property, a good find with a private reservoir and access to a public one. I spotted either Sheep mountain or Sentinel peak on Pikes Peak south face, pretty proud of my local knowledge even though I wasn’t so proud to have eaten French toast with syrup.

When we hiked down their hill I spotted different piles of animal scat. I really did not plan to be amongst the animals leaving a mark.  Fortunately, I made it to the car and the hour drive home without incident.  At that point I was actually hungry for spaghetti and meatballs.

I had a relapse that night.  I began to think I was dying, never to recover, never to eat again, never to get off the pot and stay off for an extended period of time.  I had a great time envisioning my send-off, making peace with myself for my faults and trespasses, seeing my beloved spreading my ashes as I have directed.  Sometime during my rerun  he called up the stairs, “Do you want me to save you some coffee?”.

And so another day has come and gone.  I am on the mend, my plans to  meet up with the loved ones who have gone before me are shelved.   I’m not going to have to make dinner, the mister is having rerun pizza.  There is are a couple of  bright spots in all of this:  I’m still not very hungry and I did lose six pounds.  And no, my dear, he did not poison me.

Knowing Better

The problem I’m having, so soon in this Administration’s life, is to keep my mouth shut my thoughts from whirling out of control.  We have a new President, and I am patiently willing to give them a chance.

Frustration sets in nearly every time they speak out.  I wonder if they understand the general populous of the United States is not suffering from memory challenges.  Some of us actually take notes.  I remember what he said in regards to an important agency connected to our safety, and what was stated was not pretty.  If “what was stated” showed up at my door  without so much as a bouquet of posies or a decent bottle of wine, I wouldn’t open up the door.   Based on past behaviors of blame without shame, they aren’t going to change.  Nor will it do us any favors.

In my life I’ve had to eat a lot of crow for mouthing off.  It did not taste like chicken; instead like skree infused slippery mud clinging to a steep uphill slope.  I hate eating Crow and while I give it my best to be real, be myself, and strive to live truthfully, I make mistakes.  Living in truth is so much easier than that little white lie, or the twisted tale difficult to retell with all the same details. Are the untruths so all encompassing they live in a twisted heap of deception so tangled and dense they cannot see their way out?

During his show at the CIA,   an”Oops” would have helped me to feel like we have some humility in the White House. Why can’t he  own up to what he spit out? Why don’t they just put on some new big boy pants and wear them honestly?  A commentator ( and I am sorry my note taking fell short of jotting down their name) who walked often into  CIA headquarters stated from where the podium/microphone was placed, the new President faced a wall in which a scripture was inscribed:  And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free   John 8:32-36.

They don’t know how.   Do they know to speak with forethought?  I doubt that, too. Spontaneity on steroids? Yes.  Flying by the seat of their pants ?  Absolutely.  It’s exciting, however a risky way to operate. Somebody be sure to record the moment he states something unusual like: Beer will be free from now on!    I know more than the brewery! Lets all go on a picnic!  KFC will feed us all for free!  I know more than the chickens (Thank goodness for that much).  I know more than the weather!  It’s going to be a fabulous picnic.

May God Bless the people of the world, and may God help us all.

 

I THINK IT’S OLD BALDY

The above photograph was taken on an Iphone 4s.  The location is above treeline, at approximately 12 thousand feet.  As usual, we didn’t take enough hiking stuff (water, food, stick, map, yada yada) and found ourselves breathing hard with headaches from not drinking enough water along the way.  We wanted to walk further, amongst the giant mountains surrounding us, thinking better of it in our state of discomfort.  Hurry spring., we’re coming back.

I believe the mountain to be known in Breckenridge, Colorado as Old Baldy.  I’ve lived in Colorado since  1998.  There are many references to Mt. Baldy in different areas I have been to.  We have one on the front range outside of Colorado Springs, the one on Boreas Pass and I am sure there are others.