Wednesday, April 30

Seeds of Change

What a nice surprise I had today!
I just received these in the mail today from Eco Women.

Hopefully by the weekend--after the last final exam--
I can get out in the yard and find a nice spot for these treasures.
I have a tree and some bushes I have been waiting to plant, too.

But we've been getting lots of rain.

The rain has been leaving big, fat drops of water that glisten in the light.

Raindrops that reflect and catch the light just like
the crystal flower we gave Momo for her birthday.

Monday, April 28

The Last Ride

Jake left us today for greener pastures.

a place of eternal sunbathing on grassy hillsides
with an endless supply of big ole ham bones, I hoping.

He's been busy for so long watching over our little kingdom...

and escorting us up and down the driveway every day.

Bless his heart, he just wore himself out.

Now he can finally rest.

Sunday, April 27

The Sky Is Crying

It started raining late yesterday afternoon.

JB had mowed the immediate yard, as Jake lay on the porch complaining. If his legs were working, he would have found a vantage point on the hillside to oversee the operation. He's definitely not happy with the situation.

The vet had referred to Jake as a whiny dog. He assured us that
Jake was in no real pain and his cries were more from anxiety.

But isn't anxiety emotional pain?

Jake's been a lot more anxious the last 24 hours.
And now I'm beginning to feel his anxiety. What's next?

Anxiety about the future is now an everyday occurrence.
I wish I could make it go away.

I wish he would just get up already.

Thursday, April 24

Stop! Before You Bake...

Momo called this morning to let me know I had neglected to mention you must grease the pan before pouring in the batter for Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars.
But they still taste wonderful...

Tuesday, April 22

Chocolate Chip Oat Bars

I love these big chewy oat squares loaded with nuts and chocolate chips. These sweet bars are easy to prepare, and they cut very cleanly when cool.

1 cup flour
1 cup quick-cooking oats
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup cold butter
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup chopped pecans (or dry-roasted peanuts!)
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

In a bowl, combine the flour, oats and brown sugar. Cut in the butter until crumbly.
Press half of the mixture into a greased 13x9 baking pan. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven.
Spread condensed milk evenly over the crust. Sprinkle with nuts and chocolate chips. Top with remaining oat mixture and pat lightly.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool in pan on wire rack.
Yield: about 2 1/2 dozen.

Note: I'm doing a web page that highlights quick recipes for my Web Design final project. I've been lucky so far, as I have been able to copy and paste many from my blog!

Sunday, April 20

Lifeguards in The Gene Pool

I can still recall the excitement of Jeni's kindergarten graduation. She was adamant about wanting her picture taken with "Teacher Viola."

Jeni once confided that when Teacher Viola got down real close to talk to you, you could see her eyes were all cracked. Initially confused, I later ascertained that her cracked eyes were actually bloodshot. I have a great deal of respect for those bloodshot eyes, having spent time as a mother working full-time outside the home.

There were goody bags and a celebration very befitting this important milestone. And at the end, I loaded up my sticky, tired child and drove 10 minutes home.

When I hopped a plane for Jeni's high school graduation, she wanted to be photographed with her boyfriend (now her live-in fiance').

The graduating class was so large that it was conducted at the county coliseum. I was seated in the nosebleed section and strained to pick out my baby girl. As luck would have it, I was sitting directly in front of a man who kept pointing out my daughter and referring to her as "my Jeni."

After I introduced myself as Jeni's mother, I learned this was the boyfriend's father. He was just as proud of Jen and he was of his own son.

After graduation, we all went out for a nice lunch in celebration....

Daniel and his big sis, and Jeni and her big sis.

Yesterday, my Jeni graduated from college. Her ceremony was at 10 a.m.

Economics and obligations from school prevented me from attending. She and I have shared tears together many times because of this over the past few weeks.

I spoke to her Friday afternoon as she was in the final meltdown stage. Through tears she told me she had just finished giving a 20-minute presentation to 300 people. She was due to begin preparing the floral arrangements in a hour for the next day's ceremony. The apartment, she said, was a wreck and Daniel's mother was arriving to spend the night. The stress-level had reached an all time high.

I took this opportunity to speak calmly about how much she had accomplished. I reminded her that while JB and I may have funded her education--she did the real work--and that's what was important. She had accomplished this for herself through determination and tenacity.
I encouraged her to let go of expectations from family and friends and concentrate on herself. Prioritze.

She understands why I couldn't be there. Her sister (who lives in the same city with her father) was afraid to make the 5 hour trip because of complications with her car. It is upsetting that the sperm donor couldn't be human long enough to offer a ride to his eldest daughter. It would have meant so much to both of the girls.

I gave her the "you're from strong stock" speech that Momo always gives me. I know it well, and it always does the trick. I reminded her of times once perceived as challenging, that are hysterically funny in retrospect. By the end of the conversation, she was giggling.

I didn't phone her yesterday, as I know she was up to her eyeballs in houseguests.
But if I know my Jeni, I suspect she turned a few heads.

Wednesday, April 16

Tick Talk

Jake is still holding on. He's able to lift his head and wag his tail, but his legs still don't work. It's been a week today.

Bless his heart, he's fed up. I understand this. It's no picnic doing physical therapy with a 65 pound dog and changing out bedding twice a day. I can just imagine how he feels about it all.

During the course of all this, I have learned more than I ever wanted to know about ticks. I have read things that make me want to live in a bubble--and yes--miss the city somewhat.

I also got a bite from a Lone Star tick last Friday that has created a reaction. I was showering and felt something at the back of my calf. The nasty little bastard had latched on and created an an inflamed area as well. It took tweezers to remove the thing. It was attached as if it had been harpooned into my leg!

I'm guessing my jaunt down to the garden the afternoon before was when he got me. After researching all the fine details, I think I will live. The reaction, while still yucky-looking, is subsiding.

I've spoke with the "specialized veterinary representatives" at Frontline who have educated me further. I was told that typically it took a tick longer than 48 hours to transmit disease. It has something to do with their feeding patterns.

I'm really grossed out by all this tick-talk.

Thursday, April 10

A Woman's Work Is Never Done

Last night I worked until midnight uploading 3 web pages to the sever for my Web Design Class. I have this problem--I think web pages for assignments should look like magazine pages. It--more often than not--doesn't work out, but I try.

I finally decide I have had enough and head to the living room, exhausted.
Since I am one that has hot flashes to the point of wanting to shave my head, I gulp down two large glasses of water, trying to unwind.
I fall into bed at 12:30 a.m.

I awake at about 2:00 a.m. because JB is handing me the phone. He's doing his midnight snacking routine and the phone rings with the eldest daughter, Miss Jessica.

Bear in mind, my brain is FRIED. .. and I have been in the bed an hour and a half.

Turns out, her power has been off for an hour and there are tornado warnings in her area. She apologizes for waking me, but is getting claustrophobic hiding out in her bathroom and would like a radar update.

I apologize for being so incoherent and stumble to the computer. I pull up the radar and the storm tracking and tell her she is in the clear.

Bless her heart, she's had the light of her cell phone for an hour--in the bathroom with her cat.

I really can't wait until she is here with me... out of tornado alley.

Today has not been a good day. I am traveling on little sleep and too much pressure. My eyes have leaked at various points throughout the day, uncontrollably.

I call Momo to tell her of this rubberband that has enveloped my head.

She laughs, knowingly--almost hysterically.

I guess that's a sign that this is normal. And this too, shall pass.

The BumbleBee Dance

There's the unmistakeable buzzing in the air of Bumblebees.

I stepped outside to admire the Bridal Wreath, and wound up sitting
on the east stoop for a while.
Mother Nature has a calming, nurturing way about her.

The bees flew around chasing each other--darting and dodging-
and making all kinds of racket with their zooming.
In the quiet of the yard, the bees are as noisy as a freeway during rush hour.

I'd imagine they're pretty excited to see that everything has started to bloom.

I went out and picked about 12 pounds of Georgia Collards this morning.
I have lots and lots of greens.

And Mr. Jake is still with us...
What we had thought was old age has turned out to be tick paralysis. The vet said that Jake had just been bitten by the wrong tick. He's been poked, prodded, examined and tested... and medicated.
We're giving him water with a bulb syringe and babying him. We're hoping he snaps out of it within the next 24-48 hours.

Tuesday, April 8

It's Not Looking Good

I think Jake is on the last leg of his journey. He's been a tough one. We've clocked him running alongside the car at 22.5 mph. He's been my escort since I arrived at the kingdom, almost 7 years ago.

Last Christmas, he got worn down a bit. But it was nothing that 4 weeks of inconvenience didn't cure.

Yesterday, his back legs gave out.
JB apologized for interrupting my intense study period, while expressing his concern for the top dog. I needed the break--and we trudged up the 45 degree incline where Jake had decided was far enough.

We rolled him over on to a quilt and then decided it wiser for JB to drive the pickup up to fetch him, as opposed to caring his 80-pound mass down the hill and back up the other side.

It sucks. I hate to see the king of the neighborhood realizing his human frailties.

We deposited him into his bed--with a new quilt. He's moved slightly since then.

The one thing I can count on is the tail wagging in acknowledgement whenever I speak to him.

He crawled out of his bed today on to the concrete just a few feet away. JB and I--just now-- several hours later, picked him up and put him back in.

I had a Shepherd, that after 13 years, went through something similar. After three days, we put her down. Three weeks later, Elijah Blue joined the scene. The girls never bonded with Blue. I can't help but think it was was the memory of our shepherd, Sasha, that kept them from it.

Friday, April 4

Tell Us How You Really Feel

My little friend down the road has been shitting us off more often. She's taken a job at a local establishment called Clamdiggers. While we don't meet as often as we used to--the times we can, we enjoy scallops or a Shrimp Po' Boy--and it makes the absences more tolerable.

I left her a voicemail earlier today, to see if we could continue the get-togethers we've enjoyed for more than year. Getting no answer, I phoned her husband.
He retrieved the voice mail and spoke briefly with JB. As it ended up, JB and I were faced with entertaining one another.

I made Imperatix's famous pizza for our dinner, and we talked politics. It can get spirited.

But in the end, I always call the trump card. I remind JB that if it's so damned important, he should register to vote and attempt to make a difference.

Then we talk of the 60s and the 70s and the activism, and he tells me the protesters are probably now all Republicans. I refuse to believe that. Not for one minute.

I have slides (yes, slides) of Resurrection City-- set up between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. Time Magazine has this synopsis: "The encampment's six-week tenure afforded ample time to pressure a patently willing Administration to do what it could to help the poor."

It was 1968. Momo, I'm guessing, was maybe early 30s. Her sister was just 40.

Anyway these two chickies stroll through a--what would you call it?--a protest that lasted so long that people set up camp. They were living in tents and cardboard boxes, and cooking breakfast over an open fire. They were hanging out for a cause--and probably getting high and stuff while they were waiting.

But my mother and her sister wandered through, taking pictures with their Instamatic Cameras, with flashcubes, as needed.

I remember that vaguely. I do remember how relaxed and casual the atmosphere... and how it wasn't a big deal at all. No fathers were upset with the fact their wives had spent the day observing a protest like we'd stroll through a yard sale--with small children in tow.

And, as a result, I have pictures (slides!) taken by two crazy mothers in the 60s.

Its okay. I have a scanner that does slides.

Thursday, April 3

Aliens And Fairies

I have often noticed these dark rings on the hillside
and wondered what had caused them.

Turns out, they're fairy rings.

I imagine if aliens had caused these patterns,
my attack dogs would have swiftly scared them away.

And if my dogs had managed to catch any alien intruders, I'm sure
I would have seen the them gnawing on their bones in the front yard
--if aliens have bones.

But I think the deer would just look at the aliens
like they had two heads.
Hell, for all we know aliens may have two heads.

But we now have another theory, with the fairy rings.
And I much prefer fairies to aliens any day...
mainly because I've never seen a horror movie that involved fairies.