Monday, December 14, 2015

The Butterfly

For quite a while now, we knew that we were going to lose my friend Jenny's husband, Peter... and our hearts were all breaking...  but stubborn man that he was, he just kept hanging in there.
And part of me - part of all of us - thought that it would never happen.

But earlier in the week, Jen asked me to call her.... and she told me then, that they were bringing Pete home from the hospital, for the last time.

I cried after I got off the phone, and I immediately started pricing plane tickets to Australia, but no matter how we crunched the numbers or where we looked, the facts is, these weeks leading up to Christmas are definitely not the time to start looking for international flights. So I decided to try later.  Closer to 'the time'.

Then this morning, I got a message from Jenny asking me to call,  and even though I knew Pete was nearing his time,  I fully expected her to tell me something funny that he had just said or done...

But all she said was:

"It's over, Katie"

I was too numb to say much of anything, and I know that she was having a hard time saying anything coherent too, so we cut the phone call short, with promises to call each other in a day or two.

So there I was, standing outside on the frozen deck at 7am in the morning, with the morning sky just beginning to lighten,  phone still clutched in my hand, and with the tears falling,  my mind just whirling and my heart breaking in two, because I wasn't there with my Jen and her family, where I needed to be.

Then something caught my eye...

It was a bright blue butterfly, swooping and darting around me in the icy air and half dark morning, and I said out loud, 
"but it's the wrong time of the year for butterflies!"

And then I heard 

"But not for Angels... it's never the wrong time for Angels."

  Goodbye, Peter... we will always love you.

Jenny, Emily, Ben, Matt, David and Tammi ...  I love you all.

Monday, May 25, 2015

But it's not for them...


Memorial Day.

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States of America.

Now, back in the day, Decoration Day was originally started because of the Civil War - as a special day set aside for the sole purpose of honoring those who had fought - and who had died - on both sides - during that war.

Here's a little background:

 Columbus Mississippi was a small town of about 6,000 people during the Civil War. Since Columbus was  near a rail line, they received many mainly Confederate casualties of war, including those from the Battle of Shiloh in April, 1862, in nearby southwestern Tennessee. During the two days of that battle, a total of almost 3,500 soldiers were killed on both sides, and over 16,000 wounded. Columbus's share of the casualties led to its becoming well known as a hospital town.
 By the war's end some 2,500 Confederate soldiers are thought to have been buried in the Friendship Cemetery in Columbus—along with, according to the National Archives, 32 Union soldiers as well. (As part of a nationwide effort to relocate Union soldiers to national cemeteries, those soldiers were later re-interred at Corinth National Cemetery, in northern Mississippi.

 A year after the war's end, in April, 1866, four women of Columbus gathered together to decorate the graves of the Confederate soldiers. They also felt moved to honor the Union soldiers buried there, and to note the grief of their families, by decorating their graves as well. The story of their gesture of humanity and reconciliation is now told and retold in Mississippi as being the occasion of the original Memorial Day.

As far as I can tell, the stories (and there are many of them) differ in who actually started Decoration Day, or even where it was started... but the gist of the story is that the men who died, were offered respect for their sacrifice, no matter which side they had served on.

Even though Decoration Day later became known as "Memorial Day",  the purpose for which it was originally started, has never changed.

It's sole purpose is for honoring those men and women who went away to war, and who never came home alive

I hate to be a nit-picker, but those words 
"those who never came home" 
is the whole point of the "holiday" now known as Memorial Day.

This isn't a day for remembering your Uncle Joe, who served in the Korean War, and then came home to marry his sweetheart,  raise some kids, and who then continued to live on for another 30+ blessed years.

This day isn't for someones daddy or someones husband, who were good and decent men, who fought valiantly and honorably in Vietnam or WW1 or any other war... but who still managed to come home. Even if  he did have physical or emotional wounds that he was forced to deal with, until he died some 40 years later.

This isn't for my Grandfather, my Dad my Uncles, or even my  neighbors, who made it home from whatever war they fought in.

This day isn't for any of those men who managed to return home, and who then managed - successfully, or sometimes unsuccessfully -  to get on with their lives  and who eventually married, had jobs, those  who could come home, and hold their mothers and fathers tight, as well as their sweethearts, their wives, their children, and eventually their grandchildren.

I mean none of those men and women any disrespect whatsoever, or any lack of honor.
Because they ALL did a noble and honorable thing by fighting for their country
Even if they didn't always get the respect that they so richly deserved.

But "their" holiday is Veterans Day - when we as a country honor them for their service, and to celebrate them coming home.
They are well and truly Veterans of War... but they survived.

But "Memorial Day." ??  Well,  this day is set aside for the sole purpose of honoring those men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Those men and women who came home in caskets.

Those men and women who came home in body bags.

Those men and women who were never found, who were MIA, or who were never identified by their remains.

Memorial Day is their day.

Give them their due.

Give them the respect that they have earned, and please set aside this one day a year, to respectfully remember them.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

It's the Little Things that make me smile...

I love Hummingbirds.


I can sit outside on the deck for hours each  morning, as well as on and off throughout the day, just watching these little guys and observing how they interact with each other - and with me.

I love the Anna's
and the Rufus'
the Ruby Throats 
the Allen's
and another little guy (or rather 2 of them) that I have yet to identify.
Maybe they're Black-Chinned Hummers?

(Click on the photos to enlarge)

 The ones in the photo above, remind me of tiny little Orthodox Jews... with their black Yarmulkes or skullcaps, and their "side curls", but I'm not sure what species they are. 

We've got adults, and young 'uns and I guess you would call some of them fledglings... Little tiny ones straight off the nest anyway, who are way too tiny to perch and drink at the same time.

The  Anna's Hummingbird is the most common hummingbird found in California - although there's nothing at all  "common" about it's beauty - and it's also the largest of the species.

Resting my weary wings...

Aren't they gorgeous little guys?

 Female hummingbirds of every species lack the gorgets ( the colorful throat patches) that the males have, and are usually a softer green/gray in color.
Females also have slightly rounder tail feathers with white tips on them that look like tiny little ruffles.. The female  Rufous' will have some coppery-orange coloring that shows on their mainly buff colored sides (especially on their wings) in the right light., whereas the Allen's will show more  a slightly greener tinge.

The coppery Allen's Hummingbird  live here year-round, and can be easily confused with the seasonal Rufous Hummingbird... but Allen's have a green back, whereas the Rufous has a much more coppery back, and the males have a bright iridescent orange throat patch.

When the Rufus' appear at the feeders, everyone goes on guard, because these little pint-sized guys are aggressive as all get out!
I can fill the feeder 2 or 3 times a day, and if it's empty when I get up in the morning, the Rufous's are the first to let me know about it!
They've knocked my glasses off my face, dive-bombed me, and have even flown close enough to actually poop in my coffee cup, because when they're HUNGRY,  they just don't let up!
Humming bird poop is about 90% liquid sugar, but I sure as heck don't recommend taking a sip of that pooped in coffee, because it tastes like
shit poop.

Or so they tell me, anyway.

They'll swoop me, and dive bomb me... flying back and forth from me to the feeder, and chirruping as loud as they can, to let me know that I'm failing in my duty.
And when they're really ticked off, they'll give a "tail snap" to let you know that they're reaching the end of their tether!

Your duty is to feed us... so don't bother wandering too far away.

C'mon!  Hurry up with the food, will ya?  We have places to go, and things to do!

I love these little guys!!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Face Book vs Blogging

Or Junk food vs Home cooking.

Like most of y’all, I like to have the occasional fast food meal or even some junk food now and then.  It’s nice.  It’s a treat.  Okay, so maybe it’s not too healthy, and it’s not exactly nutritious, and I probably eat a little more of it than I should…but we’re not going there, right now.

Look, I enjoy face book.  I really do.  I’ve made some great friends, kept in touch with others, and enjoyed their posts, and laughed, cried, and shuddered at the shared meme’s and all that.
I’ve prayed for folks, and high-five'd them when high-fives are needed, and I’ve actually remembered birthdays, for a change.  
 Okay… so face book reminded me of the birthdays, but I’ve always said that I need a keeper. 
And FB became “it”.


It came with a price.

My blogging fell by the wayside, and at first, it wasn’t too bad.
I didn’t miss it too much.
But slowly and insidiously, it crept up on me, that something was missing in my life.

Go figure… with an almost brand new husband whom I absolutely adore, 9 kitties that make me smile, and who warm my heart on a daily basis, 2 dogs that cause me to smile, laugh, cry and occasionally curse because I've fallen and can't get up… and 4 adorable chickens that know how to lay eggs to beat the band. 
Not to mention my new-to-me little house that I now know will never be finished, or even completely livable.  Or even vaguely photograph-able… by Better Homes and Gardens magazine,  or any other magazine for that matter.
Unless it's MAD..
So, really…who has room for anything more than that, in their lives?

I do.

My blogging was “my” thing.
A place where I could vent, share, share pictures, open up, bitch, moan and question my sanity – and the sanity of half the entire human race. 
And then I got to share it with complete and total strangers and a few good friends.   
Bloggers or not.
Some of whom then questioned my sanity, and then others who knew me well enough to know that there was really nothing left to question.

It didn’t solve any world problems, and it’s not ever going to… but it gives me a much needed outlet for the bits and pieces of “stuff” that lodge in my brain.
Kind of like pieces of broccoli lodged in my teeth. 
It may be a little unsightly, but it’s proof that I do indeed eat my veggies.

Okay, so that analogy makes absolutely no sense, but this is my blog… so deal with it.

Once I got back into this blogging, (and then figured out what seems to be a whole new set of blog set-up and posting criteria) one of the very first things I did, was check my Blog List.

For you non-blogging people, that’s the list that shows all the recent posts by other bloggers that I follow – and the blogs that they write.
Now, there are millions of blogs out there, but I had my favorites pared right down to the crème de la crème of the blogging world.
In my eyes, anyway.

So imagine my chagrin when I realized that about half of all my old blogging buddies have basically quit blogging as well.
“Last posted 2 years ago”
“Last posted 8 months ago”
"this blog cannot be found".
It was almost enough to break my heart, because I LOVED those blogs - and the folks who wrote them.
So when I ran across a few of my favorite bloggers, and they still had fairly recent posts, or were still posting  regularly, I practically fell to my knees with joy.
I could have kissed the computers they wrote on.
I could have kissed them.
I could have done a nekkid *happy dance*.
I could have gone to jail.

Okay, so maybe with some of us, blogging was just a phase.
Maybe with some of us, more important things ended up taking us away from something that we loved, but then again, maybe that was the one “something” that we were actually good at, or that brought us joy.
Something that I for one… needed to do.
Not that I'm actually "good" at it, but it's a wonderful outlet for me.

I may not be funny like some, or as educational or as crafty as others, but the simple act of putting my thoughts down on paper screen, did my heart a world of good.

So I’m back.  I may not post as regularly as before, because of all the aforementioned husband/animal issues, but I pinky swear that I will make a darn good attempt to continue to find time for this much needed outlet.
 Man cannot live by facebook alone, and I for one, am ready for something a little heartier and "stick to your ribs" than FB.

                  I'm ready for some "home cookin' "again.

If you’re a past blogger, and you're on my list (you know who you are) won’t you please consider throwing a   bone blog post, our way, again?

Because, you’ve been missed.

AND... I've still got that "Feedjit" thing on my page.
So I'll know, if you even just poke your head in, and then don't bother to comment.
So do me a favor and at least say something.
My sanity and the future of my blog may depend on it.

But no pressures, of course.  

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” – William Wordsmith

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Something for nothing... or Good Eats for FREE!

There's a reason I love Estate Sales...

Just look at this stuff on my pantry shelf! 
Probably a good 30% - 40% of it was free, from a local estate sale, some of it was ours already, and another little bit was purchased from another estate sale - at vastly reduced prices!

It seems that with the last sale, the Mom had recently gone into a home, after her husband died... and rather than try and dispose of the food themselves (the children were from another state)  they just gave it all away - containers and all!
Everything is well within the use-by date, and a lot of it is stuff that we usually can't afford.

Still sorting through things, and trying to get everything organized.  So don't look at the mess.  
Just keep your eyes on the goodies!

There are some very pricey Wolfgang Puck spices here somewhere, but they might still be in another bag. 

And every one of the spices, are completely unopened and still sealed.

Sugar and spice, and everything nice.
The sugars have been opened, but they'll be used for Hummingbird food.
The Hummers will love me.

Enough beans to keep us tooting our own horns for months on end, and the containers will come in so handy!

And here's the  reward, for when all the unpacking, sorting and stocking of shelves is done!

Now if I could just find those blasted Water Crackers, and some cheese, dinner would be ready!

With this kind of reward to look forward to, I better get back to sorting...

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Letting go… and letting God.

noun: catharsis;
1.       the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions.

For me... it simply means prayer.

It’s time.  In fact it’s well past time, but just like any grieving process, things don’t always progress like we think they should.  Because as a Mother, you figure that simply loving someone will eventually and magically “fix” things. 
And this is especially true when it’s your child who is hurt.
As a Mother, you want and need to fix things…   not only for their sake, but for your own as well.  Because when “all’s well with their world”, all’s well with yours too.

But sometimes things are un-fixable, and no matter what you do, nothing is ever rectified, or resolved or even forgotten.
It’s like taking one step forward, and two steps back, until the day comes when you realize that instead of moving forward –and beyond the pain – all you’ve been doing is some heart breaking, never-ending cha-cha, and the pain is still just as raw today, as it was on the day when “the ties that bind” were broken.

Every single night for coming on two years now, my final thoughts before sleep are of my son, and the hurt and heartbreak that he’s caused me.  And every single night, after tossing and turning, while my mind whirls and spins with the “what if’s” and the “if only this hadn’t happened” I ask God to take this burden from me.
And every single night, He lifts my burdens.

Night, after night, after night…

But this is no way to live.  I can’t do this anymore.  There comes a time when you know that you just have to move on, even if nothing has ever been resolved between you… or if you’ve  never even fully understood why it happened in the first place.

This is that time.

There will be no more asking God to take the burden from me tonight… only to pick it up again the next morning.
This time, I’m asking God to lift this burden from me, for good… so that I can live out the rest of my days without the excruciating pain and heartache of my only  remaining child cutting me completely out of his life.

It hurts that he’s forgotten all the good times, and the battles that I fought on his behalf.  

 He’s forgotten that I never ever considered him to be a  f*** up that has always screwed everything up... as he so eloquently put it.

He’s forgotten that I used to drive all the way into Angels to pick him up after his shift at Taco Bell, when I could have been in bed and sleeping,  but I did it, because I loved him.

I lent him my car… even when he didn’t always bring it back on time, or even in the same condition that it was in before he left.

But if he asked, I gave.
If he needed, I was there.
From rides, to money, to help with school projects, to parachute pants even though I couldn't afford them.
His favorite Green Onion Cakes...
 Even as far as bail money, when it was necessary. 
I took his side, no matter what stories I heard from other family members.

Because I love him.
Not loved him. 
But  because I love him still.

But I’ve finally given up on sending him face book messages asking him to contact me, or even to just come down and talk to me… because I just get ignored, and that hurts me right down to my core.
He ignores me until he wants something from me, and then if I don’t respond like he wants, the sarcasm and attitude come out, yet again.

All this, because he's listened to self-serving lies from his step father.  I'm not just hurt because he listened in the first place... I'm hurt because he never even considered the source.

I’ve lost 2 children to death… and all I had left was my third child.  But if he won’t speak to me, or interact with me in any way, it’s high time to say “enough is enough”.  
I need to do it, before it breaks me.
God got me through the loss of my other 2 children, and I know that he will get me through this heartbreak as well.

Lord,  please take this burden from me… For good. 
You know that I’ve tried and tried, and you know that the fight has now gone out of me.  I can’t do this anymore.  As painful as it is, I need to move on with my life, and I can’t do that with this weight  around my heart.
You know what you're doing, Lord, even though I don't.  It's time for me to turn it all over to you, and for me to fully place my trust in you.
I'm so very tired of crying.
Lord, please give me the peace that surpasses all understanding, and please, give comfort to this mother who mourns the loss of yet another precious and well loved child.


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