Sunday, March 29, 2009

Muttering - week 322

  1. Road trip :: Route 66

  2. Pool hall :: Trouble, right here in River City

  3. Extraordinary :: Amazing

  4. Jackson :: Michael

  5. Heartfelt :: Sincere

  6. Wet :: Dripping

  7. Strangle :: Choke

  8. .com :: Internet

  9. Touched :: Crazy, "teched"

  10. Insipid :: Shallow

Try muttering yourself, it's fun!

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I discovered muttering on a friend's blog, I think it's interesting and fun.

  1. Studio ::
  2. Art, a place of my own where I create and no one will bother my "works in progress"

  3. Meetup ::
  4. Huh? Never seen this word, assuming it's another new creation.

  5. Ostrich ::
  6. Comical bird with insanely big eyes.

  7. Jokes ::
  8. Comedic stories whose retelling can be an art form.

  9. Estranged ::
  10. Sad result of a relationship failure.

  11. Random ::
  12. Unexpected and unpredictable.

  13. Slap ::
  14. An awful thing to do to anyone.

  15. Hotel room ::
  16. Luxury, someone else will make the bed and clean the bathroom. Ahhhh!

  17. Inscribe ::
  18. To adorn a loving gift with a note of intimate sentiment.

  19. Polar ::
  20. Cold!

Try muttering yourself!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Quotes - Thoughts On Learning

"I never teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn." - Albert Einstein

"Try to learn something about everything and everything about something." - Thomas H. Huxley

"I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it." - Pablo Picasso

"Personally, I'm always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught." - Winston Churchill

Bully For Them!

I just saw a new report about two people spotted, in differing areas of Portland, standing at busy intersections and holding signs. They weren't asking for money, they were asking for jobs. At least one of them was handing out resumes to passing motorists.

The man was interviewed and stated that it was a "little humiliating" but he was gonna do whatever it took. Why should he be humiliated? Here is the picture of a person who really wants to work and is taking the responsibility and initiative to to get a job.

If I were an employer these people would be first on my prospect list; they've already shown they know how to work. They have every reason to be proud, not embarrassed. I just wish I had a job to give them.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Sweet Story

This little fawn followed the family's beagle home, right through the doggie door and into the house.  When the family got home they found it settled right in and making itself at home.
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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Roses And Those Dang Ol' Thorns

Friends are a blessing, a reason for life and a safe harbor from the storm...usually. I guess it is the nature of all things that blessing come with risks and friends, like family, carry the ability to take the wind right out of you. It has been rare and I know I've been guilty of the same but the sting is the same.

For some time now I have been dealing with the hurtful actions of a friend. She is actually dealing with the backlash of her own choices and deflecting it to me. Mind you, I know what is going on and have broken off regular contact but the pain doesn't seem to go away. Every once in a while it all comes rushing in and I get laid out again.

The worst of it is that it has hit my kid as well. Her child was my daughter's best friend and somehow became a target as well. I understand that it's hard for a child to avoid being caught up in her parent's mind set but I wish they could have been able to stay beyond the fall out. Any pain I felt was multiplied many times over when my girl was hurt.

Okay, I know all the usual things; being open can mean getting hurt. And it doesn't mean I shut down but I still have those days where it all seems to float back to the surface.

The very best lemonade I can make from this? Be more honest with myself, try to recognize when I'm mad at myself and not throw that stinking mess on someone else. And, finally, hope and believe the best from other and future friendships.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Oh Spring, Where Art Thou?

Perhaps it's due to the long and cold winter, the extra snow or empathy for my chickens living outside but I am impatient for spring. After enticing my imagination with several spring-like days, in typical pacific northwest fashion, the climate took a cruel turn and dumped about 4 inches of snow on our home. *sigh*

Having spent most of my life in southern California I am new to the strong border between seasons. Spring here seems dwarfed by the intensity of the other seasons, especially winter. Those first days so warm I can finally open my windows are precious; if only I could bottle them for use on days like this.

Now I must calm my impatience with holding fast to the knowledge that spring WILL come. Then I must remind myself to cherish each day as they are short and too few.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

How A Chicken Changed My Life

I remember reading "The Egg And I" a few years ago; a decidedly less romantic book than it's inspired movie. Hollywood sexes up another great story, go figure. I'm not sure why I still wanted to raise chickens after hearing what Betty MacDonald lived through but I did.

My daughter decided, after hearing me talk about them, to buy me some baby chicks for Mother's Day; I was tickled pink. Off to the feed store to buy the bits of fluff where we discover they only sell a minimum of 6. Silly people, they have me confused with a serious farmer.

We pick two barred rocks, two rhode island reds and golden orpingtons. Now, I know that the reality of caring for chickens will be more of a jolt than the image of myself as a country girl has prepared me for. I also know that if I find I have too many or I hate chickens in general, there are many good people who will love to have them.

Raising baby chicks was easier and stinkier than I had anticipated and I was right, 6 was too many. A wonderful woman who adores chickens and the eggs they provide took three of them home to her flock when they were about half grown.

What I hadn't planned for was how bolstering this experience would be. I can adopt elements of a new lifestyle that will lead to greater self-sufficiency! Now we can add providing our own organic, free range eggs to building our own coop and pen.

With this success under our belt we have planned, for this summer's weather, to build a greenhouse, compost bin and earth worm bin. I'm so caught up in the excitement that I'm cooking more and more from scratch, making my own bread and creating recipes.

A ball was set in motion by these little birds and this path feels so right! Our economy and world condition certainly make sustainable lifestyles a good idea. Who would have guessed such momentum from such a small choice, well, besides God that is?

Parentood By Choice

Please keep in mind, while reading this post, that it is my first and very rough draft of an article I am working on. It requires much more structure and polish so be kind. LOL


I am forever grateful that my long wait for kids afforded me the chance to really choose parenthood. One of the wisest women I know said that if you can't imagine your life without children then you should have them. Having children should be an option, a path one takes with purpose and excitement.

I never married and would have had a happy life had they never come along but I would have missed so much, the blessings and the worry. Only a parent can realize that constant, on the edge of panic, feeling that you have or might forget something. The unrelenting awareness that they could so easily be harmed or lost, it's a wonder any of us make it through.

I remember the moment when I knew just how much I wanted to be a parent. While riding the train to work I noticed a teen boy and his mom across the aisle from me. I couldn't hear them but they were talking; an easy, relaxed conversation that comes with intimacy. The way they laughed together and enjoyed their bond made me realize that it was, for me, about more than a baby to love. I wanted to parent a person, someone who would become an adult; I wanted to be a part of that.


As a single woman I had choices, while they were all mine to make the impact they would have on my child was my first consideration. I could undergo artificial insemination but that would leave my child's genetic heritage a mystery. I could adopt but it was an expensive and iffy proposition. I could become a foster parent but it would mean a bond with a child who might would leave; a noble choice but not something I think I could cope with.

Every choice has a consequence and I had not been able to get beyond any of them. I prayed and read and waited; I was confident in God's awareness of my desire.

Then one day a friend called and told me about a mutual friend who was in need. She had just given birth to her second child and was in an emergency situation; she had to leave her home and had no permanent place to stay. Friends had offered temporary help but a woman with a newborn needs something stable. I had a place with an extra bedroom and, for me, it was a no-brainer. I told her to come stay with me and for as long as it took to find something permanent.

Patricia, Michael (11) and Lanora (5 weeks) moved in. All of us were surprised at how easily we fit into my tiny place, I worked full time and attended college part time so they had run of the house most of the day. We all got along so well, Michael was a great kid and very patient with me and Lanora began to worm her way into my soul.

I knew my growing bond with Lanora was from God because, unlike her charming brother, she made no effort to endear herself to me. She screamed bloody murder every time I tried to hold her, unless she was asleep, but I fell in love. When Patricia began to tell me about her search for a house we both began to cry, we learned that our dread of the day they moved out was mutual.

God had created a family, definitely not the model others could easily identify with but there it was. Our church owned a small house nearby which had been sitting empty for several months, now they were going to have renters and we were going to have a bigger place for all of us. For a while we were still basically roommates, I worked, attended college, Patricia took care of the kids and we helped one another as best we could. This, however, would change.


Lanora grew and let me hold her more and more each day. As she grew in awareness our bond became stronger and she would greet me with excitement as I came home. Eventually she was crawling at full tilt to the door as she heard my car pull into the drive. She expected me to play with and dote on her until she was too tired and had to go to bed; and I was a willing playmate.

At work my patient fellow workers listened to my daily updates on her progress and looked through many pictures. It was at this point that Patricia and I had begun to talk about how the two of us were in the exact opposite role we seemed best suited for. I was a homebody, loved to cook and keep house and she wanted to be out and around people. She loves to work and being at home was like a prison sentence; God was at work fixing this problem already.

My work was with the welfare department and my clientele were primarily homeless and mentally ill. The stress of dealing with people so impaired and the danger of my work environment began taking their toll. I had struggled with depression and anxiety since early childhood but I understood very little about what was ailing me. I coped as well as I could until the job helped bring it to a head. After several weeks with little more than an hour or two of sleep, nightmares, clinical depression and frequent migraines I was convinced by friends to see a doctor.

My doctor ordered me off work for several months and this afforded Patricia the chance to go back to school and work. Of course, this arrangement worked beautifully and it has remained such to this day.


Society gets little opportunity to see women collaborating without jealousy where children are concerned and this leads many to ask how it works. Some people got it right away and saw the strength of two women who supported each other and loved children without regard for who they "belonged" to.

The most common question we got was whether we were "involved". Patricia once answered that it would probably be easier if we were but we both liked men too much. As Lanora got older she would proudly announce to that she had "two moms", the parade of looks that passed over folks faces after that were priceless.

At first I was quick to make it clear that we were both heterosexual but eventually realized that I didn't care too much what they thought. Besides, watching them try to steer the conversation in order to determine our "situation" was not to be missed. For those who became our friends it was evident, soon enough, who and what we were. And although I think raising the kids was the primary reason we became a family, Patricia and I have become like sisters and will always be the others best cheerleader and empathetic ear.


Patricia eventually met and married Martin, from that came a BIG surprise named Jonathan. Lanora and I were at his birth and I have been his primary caregiver since day one. For a while Lanora and I shared an apartment downstairs while Patricia, Martin and Jonathan were upstairs, with Jonathan staying with me during the day.

Eventually Patricia's marriage ended and this meant Patricia, Lanora, Jonathan and I shared one place. Martin relocated to another state and shortly after died unexpectedly. About two years later Patricia met her current husband, bought a house for the kids and I while she and Darran live a short way from us in order to be close to their work. Lanora met and married Sean this winter and, like her mothers, she is opting for the unconventional. They don't plan to have children and are happy to share a home with Jonathan and I. Both are hard working, honest, wise with their money and prudent with their time and resources.

Needless to say, I am thrilled that they want to stick around. Our near future includes plans to find a lot with more acreage and and build at least two small homes. We are all excited about a venture into homesteading and sustainable living; Sean is talented in all areas of construction, electrical and computers. We also hope to build housing for other members of the extended family so more of our resources can benefit the whole.

It's still not the usual family arrangement but it's every bit as real and provides a safe environment to learn, grow and pursue happiness.