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Saturday, July 22, 2017

I am not Superwoman.

I woke up this morning at my usual 3:30 and laid in bed reflecting on life as it plays out here on South Road.  I have a dumpster in my back yard and it is about 2/3 full.  I really need to either finish filling it or just call the pickup man and have it taken away.  That is when it dawned on me the reason for my indecision about a lot of things is that I am trying to save everything as well as everybody that I come in contact with in this world. I function best when I make lists and check things off as I go.  So here it is a little after 4:00 AM and this is my black and white list.

1.  I can not save the world.  The world can not save me.
2.  I can not change people.  I can change my perspective of people.

And here my list peters out.  Not doing so good, am I?  #1 is a given.  It is simple and to the point and there is no room for arguement.  I run myself ragged trying to make sure that everyone has a roof over thier head and a belly full of food, but I miss the big picture.  The world exists outside of my little realm. There are more homeless kids then just the few I see at Posada.  There are more immigrants then the few I see at Los Pobres.  And they change.  The ones I saw last year or even last month have moved on and forgotten about me.  New ones have come in their place.  I hope some where something I did or said helped someone, but I have no way of knowing.  So I move on as they have moved on.

Now as to my perspective of people.  I tend to project on people  I deal with the personna I want them to have.  Most of my friends have become my friends and stayed my friends from the first day I met them.  Frank and Clifford have been my friends since I came to this place from Kansas.  I go years without even speaking with them, but they are there and when I need something they are the first to respond.  I like to think I serve some pupose in thier life as well.

My circle of  friends changed from when I first came here and again after I divorced that husband and again after the stint in college and working at Liz's cafe in Bessemer, and another divorce.  I settled into rather a loose routine when I married Kenny.  That was when I began working in the  LGBT  and later in the AIDS venue.  After the loss of Kenny and then Mark the circle of friends morphed into the immigrant and/or the homeless sector.  I did a stint at Hospice and dabbled in the indigenous sector.  Along the way I picked up a (for want of a better word) "boyfriend".

Now what I was thinking on that little trick, I will never know.  I, once again, projected on him what I wanted him to be, which was a fine Christian believer who would not tell a lie and could always be depended on when I needed someone.  As that turned out he seemed to morph into someone I did not even know.  So while that one is dying a slow, painful death, I am re-evaluating and giving serious thought to selling everything in my garage in a yard sale.  I guess, if the people who stored it there, wanted it, they would have it.  Right?

But all that is neither here nor there and has naught to do with my life today.  Since I seem to be the "on call" person for getting donations from point A to point B, I am going to pick up a load of clothes for Sister Nancy and then come home and get out in that tin shed and get to sorting.  One pile is going to be garage sale stuff and the other is going into that dumpster.  Then I am going to start on this house.  I  have 2400 square feet of floor space crammed with stuff  I never used, will never use, and have no idea why in the hell I drug it all in here anyway!  I have 2 floor looms, for godsake!  I have more sewing machines than Singer!  I have boxes of thread for sewing, weaving, knitting, crocheting.  I have boxes and boxes of books for weaving, knitting.....you get the picture?


So there you have my life in a nutshell!  One passing thought.  Years ago I gave a plaque to my first husband.  It read "If I had known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself."
When he died I inherited that plaque.


When next Spring comes, there is going to be a "For Sale" sign up on South Road and there is going to be an empty garage and an empty house here on this little acre.  My little Honda Fit is going to hold everything I need to finish out my days on this big blue ball.  I am trading my purse for a billfold with a debit card.  My dogs are old.  My cat is mean and I keep remembering "He who travels fastest travels light....and alone."


Sunday, July 9, 2017

And the journey began with just one love.

When I was 19 years old, my brother had a friend named Earl Duane Seeger.  I took one look at that man and life was never the same.  As soon as I met him we began dating and 3 months later we were married.
 
For our first anniversary he gave me a puppy.  I named the puppy Jakie after my brother.  It was a little brown Chihuahua.  At the time we lived in a third floor walk up so potty training was a real challenge.  That dog was a real challenge.  If I left the house without him, he got in the hamper and drug all my dirty clothes out and strung them through the house.  I would take him for walks and he would go wild wanting to get back to the house to pee on the floor. 

He did have redeeming qualities.  He would stand in the middle of the floor and talk to me.  I could never understand what he was saying, but he sure tried!  He even made paw gestures which I never understood either.  But he was a lot of company when Duane was gone.  Not so much company, as work!  Damn dog was into everything.

Duane was a tree trimmer and so we moved around a lot.  The first year of our marriage we lived in 14 different cities in Kansas.  When I learned I was pregnant we were living in a hotel in Toronto, Kansas.  The doctor was located in Yates Center.  When he told me I was pregnant I asked him where the hospital was located and he told me,  "Around these parts folks have their babies at home."  Well, that scared hell out of me and we moved back to Hutchinson where mother lived.  But the best part was there were also hospitals there!

We found an apartment  on Sherman Street.  It was a ground floor apartment with a fenced back yard. There, 2 years into the marriage the inevitable happened and we were blessed with our first little bundle of joy, Debra Louann.  The dog hated her.  He hated that I held her.  Hated that I fed her and we often joked that if we did not watch out he would drag her out the door and bury her in the back yard.  By then we were living on Sherman Street in a ground floor apartment with a fenced back yard.

She was born in February and that spring we decided to "Make the circuit" again.  For some reason we were in Salina, Kansas and it was hot!  I was in the car with Debbie and Jakie.  Duane had gone into the bar to pick up a 6 pack.  When he came out we drove off down the street and did not miss Jake until we had gone a few blocks.  I do not know when he jumped out, just that he was gone.  We drove around and walked around and called him, but we never laid eyes on him again.  I advertised in the lost and found and got nothing.  Jake was gone and that part of our life was over.  I cried for days.

So we were alone with no doggie.  Just Duane, me and Debbie.  It would not stay that way for long.  I set here 55 years later and apparently I survived.  There would be 3 more kids in the next 3 years, a short break and then one more.  There would be lots more pets, but I will always remember Jakie.  There would be lots more husbands, but I will always remember Duane.  He taught me to speak in alpha-alpha.  His name was:   Duansie ka bansie ti alago fainsy; tee legged tie legged bow legged, DUANSIE!  I remember lots of things.  Not sure why, but I do. 

It is funny the things we remember, isn't it?  The good part is that as the years pass, our memories alter just a little bit in our minds.  The gut wrenching memories that threatened to destroy us many years ago become just memories.  Maybe they are factual and maybe they are not, but they are mine.  I have good memories of 75 years of living and some not so good, but they are all mine and they made me who I am today, and for that I thank the God above for every moment it took to make every one of those memories.

See this?  This is the new hydrant I installed early in the spring.  The old one quit working completely .  So we dug down, took out the old one and installed the new one.  Worked perfectly until day before yesterday when the pump went south.  
So now, if I want to water I have to hook a hose onto this spigot on the side of the house.  Not thinking that is going to happen with that spider web down there.  I am scared spitless of spiders so I must decide if I want to spen $500+ to fix the well or touch that web!  Oh, wait a minute.  
What is this just inches from the web?  It is a hornet nest.  Damn the luck.
The choice is becoming very clear.  I am going to call the pump man.  He will come and have me running very quickly and the spider web will be a moot point as will the hornet nest after I spray it in the morning...Live sure does get tedious here on the Mesa on my little acre.  The quiet nights and lazy days are what it is all about after all.

I sometimes think I should sell this place and move into town.  Then I go to town and I hurry home to my little piece of  heaven.  It is secluded and people can not even find the house  when I give them detailed directions.  So here I will stay all by myself until they carry me out feet first. 

Spider webs, hornets, weeds, snakes, centipedes be damned


Thursday, July 6, 2017

Silly me, I thought I was going to have some currants!

Way back on Strong Street we had a row of currant bushes.  As I recall they were green when they set on, then as they grew bigger, the turned red, then maroon and finally black.  When they were black they were "ready" and momma would make them into something.  I really don't remember what, but I do remember the ripening process.  Of course we always had to eat one that was just turning red so we would remember why we didn't eat the red ones.  Then we would eat a maroon one and while it was not sweet it at least did not choke us like the green and red ones did.  As I remember, the bushes had little stickers on them.  I may have forgotten way more than I remember about those damn currants!
See, a couple years back I found currant bushes growing in the wild area behind the house.  I was thrilled beyond words that the birds had planted them their for me, and I anxiously awaited the first black currant.  It did not happen that year.  I got one red one and by the time I quit spitting the birds had eaten the others.
So another year came and more bushes appeared and it became clear that if I wanted a currant I was going to need to sleep on top of the currant bush.  Not wanting to do that, I devised a plan this year that entailed netting, sticks, and and mouth ready for a juicy, black, sweet currant.  Sadly, I missed looking one or two days and when I next checked, it was too late for netting.
Now the plan is that NEXT year, I will be more vigilant.  I will check the bushes every day and I will be rewarded with sweet, black currants.  Wait!  I now recall that I went through this same crap when I remembered the black, juicy Mulberries that also grew on Strong Street!  Every time I got ready to harvest them, they were rotten.  The only thing they were good for was squishing up between my toes and getting me a paddling for tracking them in the house.
Maybe I am learning something about life in Nickerson.  I remember it as a Utopic place.  A place where I was always happy, but perhaps that was not the case.  Maybe the bitter currants and the messy mulberries were just that!  Maybe escaping to Nickerson was my way of escaping the reality of life.  It was all so easy when mom and dad were responsible for me, but now I am old and looking back mother really was on to something when she used to tell me "Hind sight is 20/20."
I guess I will think about that for a while and see where that leads me.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

See that cat? That cat will be the death of me yet!

See how innocently she is looking at me?  That is because I just grabbed this side of that 7 feet tall china cabinet and pulled it out from the wall.  Why did I do that, you ask?  Because she was on the other end trying to see behind it.  Why was she doing that, you ask?  Because she brought a mouse in and turned it loose and it ran behind there.  This is not my first rodeo with the china cabinet and the cat and a mouse.  
The way this works is she gets on this end of the china cabinet and tries to peer behind it.  At this point I usually begin to scream at her and beg her to get the damn thing and she looks at me like I have lost what little sense I had, and walks off.  But today I decided that she was going to catch that damn mouse or I would know the reason why.  It is just a matter of mind over mouse, after all.
So I barricaded this end so the mouse could not come this way.
And then I went to the other end and pulled it out so she could saunter in and catch said mouse.  Looks likely doesn't it?
Well, sadly, while I was pulling this out, said mouse ran between my feet and under the table.  On a quest, I got the broom and scooted him out from under the table, causing him to run behind the dog food dishes.  The cat was a quiet observer, not of the mouse, but of me.  I could see she was confused and could not understand English.  I am sure she knew something was going on and seemed content to watch as I chased Mr. Mouse from one hiding place to another until he was in the open space at which time I used the broom like a golf club and send him soaring out the back door.  This seemed to upset Icarus who ran out the door to catch him and bring him back in.  That did not happen!
I am proud to say that to the best of my knowledge my home is mouse free tonight.  Unfortunately, I do not have enough strength to slide the china cabinet back where it belongs.  Adrenalin or something is lacking.Tomorrow I am going to purchase a small shotgun which really should make my life easier.   I do not know if I will use it to hunt mice or the damn cat, but I guess we will see.  In any case, tonight I sleep except for when I wake up and wonder just when that cat may decide to bring me breakfast in bed!

Friday, June 16, 2017

The morning after.

Before bed last night I soaked in a tub of hot water with some Epsom salts added.  I just wanted my poor body to stop hurting.  It took me maybe 6 minutes to fall asleep and then I must have woke up 4 or 5 times to the vision of the last 400 feet that I could not make.  Ever see a log jam?  Ever see a log jam that consisted of railroad ties?  That was what the last leg had been.  As I visited with Karen today I told her that when I looked up the incline to the top it looked like everyone was crawling over the ties.  She told me it looked like that because that is what they were doing.  Praise God I had sense enough to quit when I did!

I am still sore.  I have chunks of skin missing with no explanation of where it went.  My left hip is still not completely back in the socket and my right knee will probably never bend again.  Most of my hearing has returned and my vision is almost back to normal.  I am beginning to think rationally about whether or not to try this again.  And would I recommend it to my friends?  Let me be very clear. No.  Not only no, but hell no!  And not just hell no, but HELL NO!!! I would rather be put on a Chinese water torture table and have my fingernails pulled out slowly by a drunk Chimpanzee.

Now that I have cleared that up for you, I am going to my garden and see if I can remember where I planted those damn beets.  Then I will come in and rip the rest of the carpet off the stairs.  Just nice clean therapeutic work to clear my mind and prepare my body for bed where I will sleep with no dreams of stairs that climb straight up to a log jam  4 feet from Heaven.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Gonna just shoot up that Manitou Incline and be home before 1:00!

Oh, the day started out beautifully.  I picked Karen up at 8:00 and we headed North to Manitou Springs.  I had done my research and I knew the Garmin was ready with the address in and go punched.    Now something you should know about Manitou Springs and that is there are 6, 000 streets all a block long that go straight up hill or straight down hill and they are all one way going the wrong way.  Not to be deterred we finally found the place with free parking and a free shuttle to the base of the Incline.

I had carefully packed plenty of water and toilet paper just in case.  My debit card was in my back pack along with my identification and my insurance card, just in case.  I also had rain gear, just in case.  Even took a pair of socks, just in case.  The shuttle was a little full, but free and he knew where he was going.

So off we went full of confidence that the next stop would be the top.  Just hop from one board to the next.  Yep, a piece of cake.  Well, it would have been nice had that been what happened, but sadly, the steps were not all the same size, nor were the of the same height.  Started out real good, but then the got further apart and taller.  It was hot.  The sun was bright.  The flies found me most tasty.

Karen cheered me on with "We got this!"  "You can do it!"  You know how optimistic a preacher can be.  I think the whole trip up was 2,000 steps.  After 300 I told her to just go ahead and I would plug along until I got tired and meet her later.  So off she went with her bouncy little air and I began plugging onward and upward.  Soon I had lost sight of her so I took a break.  Then onward and upward with the steps getting further apart and taller.  Damn!  This was not going well at all.  Several times my life flashed before my eyes.

I met a couple girls from the Philippines.  They were very sweet and this was their first trip up.  I told them this was my first trip and also my last!  They offered me words of encouragement and told me how proud they were that I had come this far.  I was, however, well past the point of being cheered on to go higher.  I was now putting one foot in front of the other because I could think of nothing else to do. 

Finally after about an hour or so of crawling up steps, fighting off flies, drinking lots of hot water, a very nice man pointed up the hill and said, "See that boulder in the middle of the path?  If you can make it that far it is the "bail out point for the Barr Trail."  Yes!  There was a God!   There was hope that I could make it that far and then get off this God forsaken piece of hell and start the downward descent.  Now I do a lot of walking so that is no problem.  This was different.  I walked bent forward with my knuckles dragging and counted 10 steps.  Then 5.  Breathe.  Then 7.  Breathe.

The phone rang and Karen was on top!  She was coming back down.  Great!  Meet you at the exit to the trail down.  And then there she was.  Damn!  That was fast!  I still had about 30 steps and the the little steps and there I was! 

Well, not quite saved yet.  We still had a 2.6 mile hike down the hill.  It twisted and turned and before I began to hallucinate, we reached the parking lot.  I would have fallen down and kissed the earth, but I would not have been able to get back up.  I ached in every muscle I had.  My head was throbbing.  I was sunburnt and I just wanted my mommy!

The Manitou Incline is not for the faint or weak of heart.  It will rip you to shreds.  There were times I was crawling to get over a series of tall steps and God had long since ate me up  and spit me out.  I regret that I was not there to take a picture of Karen Howe at the finish line.  I regret that she could not take a picture of me, but I learned a very valuable lesson today. 

I have spent the last month telling everyone that would listen that I was going to hike up the Manitou incline.  No doubt about it.  It was a sure thing.  A done deed.  Today I learned that I am not invinceable, and there are things I can not do.  This is sure as hell one of them!  I have learned that I best be for remembering how old I am. The Manitou Incline is a cold, unforgiving, hot dry, piece of Colorado landscape that I am going to keep my feet off of for the time being.  There was a time that I would have gone back again and again until I conquered it, but for now I just want to conquer this glass of ice water and think how proud I am to go to a church where the minister can march up into the clouds and not look back.

Congratulations Karen Howe, minister at First Congregational United Church of Christ, Pueblo Colorado