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Saturday, August 8, 2015

And who will eat my cinnamon rolls, asked the little red hen.

I woke up this morning in my usual why in the hell bother mood this morning.  First I made a batch of cinnamon rolls just because.  Then I checked out facebook and found the usual drama and who gives a damn anyway.  Then I pulled on some rattier than usual clothes and headed out back to drag the limb from the Apricot tree to the back to burn.  I remembered how the limb got on the ground.  I cut it with my little bow saw.  Oh, I had lots of friends who were going to do it.  Sure, it was no problem.  But in the meantime it kept rubbing on the gutter and the roof.  So I cut it and let it fall.  And there it lay.  Until now.    
Now it is in the back to be destroyed.  Of course my mind was working all the time my body was dragging those heavy limbs and I did sustain 5 new wounds in my leg and a really big one in my arm, which did not help my mood at all.

I have set a date of September 30 as some of you know, but few know what it means.  I will now tell you.  October 1 is my birthday.  I will be 74 years old.  I have spent the first half of my life doing for others in one way or another.  I have been a wife, mother, friend, confidante and whipping post.  I have cooked, cleaned, listened, wept, laughed, and sacrificed for anyone who asked.  I have loaned or given away a small fortune to anyone who needed it for what ever reason.  I asked nothing in return.  And usually that was what I got.

I know in order for me to live the last half of my life doing for myself, I will need to live to be 146 years old and we all know there is not much chance of that happening, but I am going to give it one helluva shot.  If not in a blaze then at least I am going to remember to thank every body for all they did for me.   I have a few minutes before I have to be through the shower and in to town, so I shall do that now.

To the men in my life who unloaded goose food out of the back of my car over the last 12 years, thank you.  Oh, wait!  Never mind, that was me.
To the kind soul who mowed my grass on this acre of greenery, thank you.  Oh, wait!  Never mind, that was me.
To the people who shovel my walk in the winter and break the ice on the pond out back, thank you.  Oh, wait!  Never mind, that was me.
To the people who eat my cinnamon rolls and then help clean up the kitchen, thank you.  Oh, wait!  Never mind, that was me.

To the people who tell me I do too much and I should learn how to say no, what if I had told you no?

To the friends who pick up the phone and call for no reason except to hear my voice and tell me to have a good day, thank you.  You know who you are.

If you borrowed it and brought it back, thank you.
If you borrowed it and did not bring it back, keep it

If I offended you, I apologize.
If you offended me, I forgive you.

Some of you will read this and assume I am nuts.  So be it.  We all have opinions.  They are just like butt holes, we all have them.
Some of you are sure it is not you I mean.
Some of you will think, oh, I should call her for no reason.  Don't bother.  Just write it off to Lou having a bad day.

Some of you will have no clue what I am talking about.

Whatever, just wait and see if October 1 brings a change.  If you call and I do not answer after that day, you will know you did not make the cut!

Friday, July 31, 2015

R-E-S-P-E-C-T spells what?

As I zero in on the end of my journey, I am beginning to get pretty excited about the next mile or so.  I look around at my world and wonder what in the hell happened.  All of my life I have been taught and knew as a fundamental law that my elders were to be respected.  And the elder they were the more respect they were due.  My mother worked all her life to give me life.  I owed her respect for that if for no other reason.  My father did not work, but I still respected him for the simple reason he was my father.  When I was young, that was my world.  I would never have dreamed that the day would come when I would watch young people elbow in ahead of me in a line at the grocery store.  If someone opens a door I am planning to go through I fully expect to walk through it, not be knocked out of the way by some snot nosed kid as he passes me on his way in or out.

Seems like this all pretty well started back in the '60's when Vietnam was in full swing.  It was then that people began to dig into our government and find secrets that were being hidden.  I can remember hearing Vietnam when I was a mother with only 4 kids back in 1965.  How long it lasted is beyond me because when I moved to Colorado in 1973 they were publishing the death count on the news every day.  Jane Fonda was making waves and flags were burning.  The government lost all credibility.  From Richard Nixon and Watergate to  Ted Kennedy and Chappaquiddick our leaders turned out to be mortal men.  Televangelists were not immune either.  Bobby and Tammy Faye Baker and their falling empire led to Jimmy Swaggert and and a host of others.  Seems like every one had a secret to hide.  It has not stopped.  The few honest politicians are few and far between and have given rise to the saying, "You can send an honest man to Washington, but you can't get him back."

Seems like the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.  Honesty does not count for anything any more.  An honest day's work for an honest day's pay is non-existent.  We used to get hand me downs from the people on the other side of town, but now Goodwill, Thrift Shops, Consignment Shops are the norm.  Those and yard sales.  Days of sewing our own clothes are history.  Fabric to sew a garment costs more than going to Walmart and buying  something that was made in Tiawan or China.  That is sad.

The information super highway lets us watch the news as it is happening.  That really came across when we were bombing Baghdad.  The rockets red glare has a whole new meaning.  Schools will soon be obsolete because kids are blessed with a smart phone as soon as they can grasp an object.  Want to know something, just type in your question and the answer will appear.  Is this a good thing?  I don't think so, but no one asked me.

So I am going to work on my bucket list and let the world go by at the speed of light.  I will still respect my elders, though they are getting harder to find as I get older.  Guess I am just getting soured on life as I miss the days when deals were sealed with a hand shake and lawyers were used to write your will.  For now I am going to set on my deck out back and look for the Blue Moon which is supposed to be very bright.  At least the moon is still something I can count on seeing.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Hot days make me remember Momma.

Seems we are enduring another 100 degree day.  I can hear the central air and feel it blowing on my legs.        Makes me wonder what we did back home on Strong Street.  I do not even remember us having a fan.  I can remember going to Bull Creek and wading.  I can remember running down a sandy road to a sand pit somewhere.  I knew how to swim up until the time I was 15 years old and I fell over an underground ledge in Sterling Lake and had to be resuscitated.  No more swimming for me.  I did go to the YWCA and take swimming lessons just long enough to learn how to save myself.  I have never overcome my fear of water, but I have learned how to live with it.  I do not get myself into a situation where I am going to need to do the roll over on my back and float technique.  I just stay out of the water.

So what did my dear mother do to cool off on hot days?  Back in those days she cleaned houses for ladies in town.  She walked to work and then walked home.  Pretty sure she did not stop off at  the sand pit for a dip.  I can recall laying by the window and hoping for a breeze.  That did not happen often.  I remember in 7th grade she had a hysterectomy and she had a bed in the front room.  Seems back then if you were ailing or had an operation you could not recuperate in your bed, but had to be in the front room in case company came.  You never entertained in your bedroom.  It was for sleeping, not visiting.

For those of you who do not know, Kansas and Colorado are different in the way the temperatures fluctuate.  See, here in Colorado, when it starts getting evening and then night, the temperature goes down.  Colorado is not real humid so nights are cool.  In Kansas, the only thing that happens at night is it gets dark.  If it was 90 in the daylight, it is 90 in the dark   And humid!  On a hot day you can climb out of the shower and never know when you got dry.  And that towel you use might as well be tossed in the hamper because it will be sour before it ever air drys.

We cooked on a wood stove so that was added heat.  We did heat the wash water outside in a 3 legged kettle.   When we moved to the big city, that thing was left behind because we were going where there was hot and cold running water and we would never need that again.  Man I wish I had one of those today!  Don't know why, just wish I did.

We did not have dogs growing up.  I know we had a cat because momma had a canary and the cat ate it. A chirping canary can still send me into flashbacks.

I do remember setting on the front porch a lot.  We had two big Catalpa trees out front that shaded the house and gave us something to climb.  The bottom branches were worn smooth from our climbing.  Besides that the beans were what we used for cigarettes when we were playing movie stars.  That and climbing on top of the pig sty's next door and jumping from one to the other was our sole entertainment.  Momma had a fit when she found out we were doing that.  She told us in no uncertain terms that we were probably going to be "et by a hog."  But we weren't.  Would I do that today?  Hell no!  And there was a BlackWidow Spider that lived behind the door of the chicken house.  That could have bit us, too.  We did learn to recognize the web which crackles when you poke it with a stick.  The male is small and the female eats him or feeds him to her babies.  That is creepy.  Oh, and when the Preying Mantis mates, she eats his head.  Learn a lot growing up country.  Glad I never picked up any of those habit.

For now.....

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Wouldn't it have been much simpler to educate the populace?

I am so disappointed in our city fathers that all I can do is shake my head in wonder.  Pueblo is now on the cutting edge because we have bicycle paths painted all over our fair city.  We now have bicycles going both ways on a one way street and cars parked in the middle of the same street.  We are accomodating the people who ride bikes, but guess what?  The bicyclists are afraid to ride in those lanes because they can see a disaster waiting to happen.

When I was young I rode my bike every where.  The first thing I learned to do was think of my bike as a car.  I must ride on the ride side of the road, just as if I were a car.  That way if a car came up behind me and wanted to pass me, the driver would adjust the speed so when the left lane was clear he could speed up and pass me.  I stopped at stop signs and yielded the right of way.  I pedaled fast enough to keep up with the flow of traffic and all was well.  I did not ride on the sidewalk.  So now what?

I was going up South Road on my way to town the other day and came around a curve and was face to face with a very old man on a three wheeler.  He was in my lane headed straight for me.  Unfortuneately there was a car in the left lane so I could not dodge him.  My only choice was to stop right there in the middle of the street.  His solution was to wave his fist at me because I was now impeding his forwar progress.  What was I supposed to do?  He was clearly in the wrong place which apparently made him mad at me.  Wouldn't it be nice and wouldn't it make life easier if motorists were actually allowed to use the roads?

The only way to make a right hand turn off Elizabeth and onto 24th is to run over whoever is in the bike lane.  And 5th street is a one way.  It should me a one way for everyone.  I don't remember many bicycles being hit necessitating the need for the bike lanes.  Someone said it is really to make people slow down.  Wouldn't it have been easier to post speed limit signs at a slower speed?  Not enough police to enforce the speed limit?  Last week three policemen showed up at a friend of mines house because animal control said he had too many cats and he would not let her come in to count them.  Priorities may be a little out of whack here.

Education is the key here.  Give motorists a quick course in bicycle etiquitte and give all the bicycle riders a lesson in riding like driving a car.  Should me simple.  If a car hits a bike and the bike is in the wrong, give the rider a ticket.  If the car is in the wrong, give the driver a ticket.  The way it is now, we just confound the whole mess and we never will get it right.  Rules are rules.  We all have them, we just need to obey them.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

What a wonderful week it was!

Obamacare, commonly known among those in the know as "The Affordable Care Act,"  stands as is.  After a massacre in Charleston of 9 Blacks in a church, the Rebel flag has been removed from the flagpole at the Capital.  And discrimination for my gay comrades has ended and they are free to marry.  Imagine that!  I took up the banner of gay rights over 30 years ago, so this was a real victory to me.

Of course, with the SCOTUS ruling, comes the "Bible Thumpers."  Relax!  I am one myself.  I tout the Bible to anyone that will listen.  I preach love, understanding, forgiveness, acceptance, kindness, and truth.  But being on social media, there is always an opinion and a lot of links to prove a point.  So it upset me yesterday when a link was posted to "prove by the Bible" that gays can not only not marry, but as near as I can tell, not exist and will burn in hell!  To this I will hit the unfriend button every time.

I have lived and worked along side some of the sweetest people in the world who happen to be gay.  30 years ago, when I took up this banner, I knew there would be no turning back.  And I haven't.  My God made my gay friends just exactly as they are.  My God does not make mistakes.  The Old Testament is full of all kinds of things you can not do.  You can not eat shell fish, nor the cloven hoof, and if your brother dies without leaving any children you have to marry his wife and carry on his seed.  But that is the Old Testament.  All things are now new.

I was a care giver through the height of the AIDS epidemic and still volunteer with Southern Colorado AIDS Project (although it has a different  name now).  I was there when the Privacy Act was being implemented.  I was there to hold frail bodies as they left this world.  I was there when they thought AIDS could be caught by touching.  I was there as a shoulder to lean on or as a whipping post for someone lashing out at mans inhumanity to man.  I was there when the medicines were being introduced that have now changed the death sentence of AIDS to a manageble condition.  And through it all, the one group we could always count on for support of a financial nature or a shoulder to lean on when we were tired was the gay community.

The gay community that was called names because they were different.  Because a woman loved a woman or a man loved a man.  Hated in the name of love!  Does that sound like a Godly person to you?  "Judge not lest ye be the judge."  I am proud to be who I am, a straight woman with a whole lot of gay friends.  I am proud to set beside my gay friend in church because I know if I need something, he will be there!

So today I will go worship my God.  My God who accepts me as I am.  My God who loves all people and I will thank the Surpreme Court Of The United States for being unbiased and showing me that , yes there is justice in this world and right does sometimes win.

Monday, June 22, 2015

A wolf in sheeps clothing is still a wolf!

It is amazing how the adages that I learned at my mother's knee come up in my life 65 years later.  And they are still true.  You know the ones like "Never look a gift horse in the mouth."  When buying a horse you always check in it's mouth, but if someone gave you a horse you did not.  Just be grateful for the gift. If someone gave you something and it was not exactly what you wanted, it was still given and it was free so don't complain.

"A stitch in time saves nine."  That meant if you had a small tear in a seam that if you grabbed the needle and took 1 stitch it would rip no further.  This also applied to many things in life.  If you hoed the garden regularly the weeds would not get ahead of you.  Same with dishes, wash them after every meal and you never ended up with a sink full of dirty dishes.

"You can not make a silk purse out of a pig's ear."  This also applied to many things.  In baking you needed to use good, fresh ingredients.  If you wanted to have a quality garment  you had to use quality fabric.  In dating exercise due diligence and not choose a man/woman that was lazy, dishonest, or a drinker.  You could not make a good marriage with someone who was not what you wanted.  Marriage does not change a person so if a person was a player or lazy, they would remain so.  That also fell under the adage "What you see is what you get."  and "Be careful what you wish for because you might just get it".

Some of grandma's favorites in the dating department were "Where spider web grows, no beau ever goes,"  and "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach."  She was a firm believer in the woman marries man, man supports woman, they live happily ever after and die a peaceful death within moments of each other.  Well, granny was a wise woman, but life does not always work out that way.

I have a few personal favorites that I tend to use in every day life, like "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts."  "All that glitters is not gold." and a personal favorite  "Beware of the wolf in sheep's clothing."

Ah, yes!  The pastor gave a sermon on Sunday about David and Goliath.  If you recall that story it was about a Shepard boy who slew the giant.  She told how as a Shepard boy he tended the sheep and had to protect them from the predators.  Mountain lions and bears would attack the sheep and his job was to protect and save them.  Hence he was very strong and very adept in the use of his slingshot and that was how he killed the giant.  But, he had to know that the sheep were in danger.

How many cartoons have we seen where the Shepard is tending the flock and the wily wolf dresses as a sheep and goes to the middle of the herd?  There the picking is easy and the Shepard only knows that sheep are disappearing and he can not find them.  He could feasibly loose the whole flock if this continued!  Kind of like life, huh?

 Remember back over time how people have appeared in our life and we followed them blindly?  Seems we had several evangalists that were wolves in sheep's clothing and we were not alone in our blindness.  The Jim and Tammy Faye Baker come to mind, but they are not the only ones.  Religion is not the only venue of the wovles.  We read of political greats and we watch thier fall.  Newsmen embellish thier stories and then fall from thier pedestal.  Money is embezzeled by charities and the poor suffer.  Famous people draw wealth to themselves, but with fame comes power and with power comes corruption.

Not sure where I was going with this when I sat down at the keyboard this morning, but here I am.  My words of wisdom.  Do I have any?  I guess they would be, "Never let your guard down" ".Believe half of what you see and none of what you hear". " Learn to be a cynic.  Trust no one." But those may be words to live by, but they are not how I will live.  I will go on trusting and beleiving and following that small voice inside me that says, "This person needs you.  This person is different."

The world may be full of wolves in sheeps clothing but the world is also full of goodness and kindness and understanding.  I will continue to bring the sheep into the fold and if a wolf happens to wind up in our midst, we will deal with Wolfie on his level.

"You can not sprinkle showers of happiness on other people without getting a few drops on yourself."

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Yeah, what she said.

Happy Early Father's Day to my dad, who for years wore the hat of both mom and dad, who bought me tool sets and training bras, taught me how to fish, curse, and say excuse me, who gave me the courage to stand up for what's right, and the compassion to help others. Dad, you raised some kick ass kids! We love you!

Just read this on face book and since the world has seen it I assume it is alright to put it on this blog.  I would hope the girl who wrote it would add a comment here.  It is always wonderful to see the love between a parent and child at any age.  I know this gal's situation and that makes it even more special. I confess it also made me sad.

My mom and dad were separated in age by 20 years.  That may not mean much in this day and age, but back then things were different.  The father's job was to earn the living and the mother was supposed to stay home with the kids.  It did not work that way at our house.  Momma helped with the farming when Dad share cropped.  The 2 littlest kids were carried with her and the rest of us ran wild at home.  Well, technically, Josephine was supposed to watch us and she did.  She watched us play in the mud.  She watched us chase the chickens and torture the cat.  Donna poked her finger at a turtle and she watched us try to save her.  But that was 65 years ago.

My father was a man who lived in our home.  He had no patience for us kids.  He was just there.  I always envied the kids at school who could be seen around town walking with their father.  Or walk past and see the father figure mowing the grass.  A real sand and shovel memory if you get my drift.

It was not so with my father.  I knew none of his relatives although I was named after his mother.  He had 5 children from his first wife.  A son and daughter died as infants from sand pneumonia and 3 sons  were placed in an orphanage when his wife died.  I assume she died. Two of the 3 surviving sons were adopted.  Gene was not.  I have letters he wrote to my father from the orphanage that tear at my heart.  From the letters I learned that my father was never a caring man  to any child he had.  So it was never personal.  Just one of those "It is what it is." things.  Richard served during WWII and came home shell shocked.  Today we call it PTSD.  Earl married and had 3 children.  Gene spent most of his life in prison and finally just disappeared off the face of the earth.  He left a son named Billy who I remember only as a fact, but not a person I ever met.

My father never attended my wedding or acknowledged that there ever was one.  But he surprised me.  When I had my first baby, Debra Louann, he came by the apartment and looked at her.  When he left I found a bib in her crib.  For her 1 year birthday he had my sister Josephine make her a pretty red dress and bought her a pair of red patent leather shoes.  I have a picture somewhere.  I had forgotten all about that until   I started this paragraph!  He died before my second child was born.  I wonder if things had been different if we could have actually been friends?  Maybe....

But I can not think of that tonight.  It makes me too sad.  Life is just so full of missed opportunities.  So full of roads not taken and choices not made.  As I get older I think of all the things I should have done and all the things I should have said and I wonder if the good Lord let me live though all my past just so I could finally get it.  Lizzie, I am so glad you have this time with your father and I envy you so much.

That having been said,
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!