Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Need I say more? Hehe!
Bless her heart! :)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I kept moving here and there the last two days. Made progress in this bookcase area. :)

Leah is coming by this afternoon with the labelmaker.

I discovered that I had forgotten that when I bought those paints from Donn in Florida that he had sent a couple of American Journey greens, too. So I added them--hehe!
Glued in a couple of half pans into the Sucrets container--and voila!
Haven't been getting much sleep with the nose running and the coughing (especially when you try to lay down, of course). Karma is fit as a fiddle, tho. :)
Leah has added items for me to her errand list today and said she'd get my mail for me, too. God bless her!!
I have come to a standstill. Doing the blog is it for me today. :)

Monday, January 26, 2009


At least somebody is sleeping well around here--hehe!
My sore throat has been compounded now by a full-blown head cold. I have been working on sorting through the satchels. I always seem to make a lot more mess when I am cleaning--hehe!
As I was moving things around--guess what I found? Another stack of Ann's paper cut to use on cards--ROFL!!
So, I have a lot more cards I can make later.
I have plenty of cards for now, tho. I need to keep working on the cleaning avalanche if I do anything--hehe!
Today--I rest under a blanket on my chair with my box of tissues. Was 16 below last night. We have had wind chill warnings all weekend--30-40 below.
Stay warm!

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Still have a mild sore throat. Don't feel like chatting much, so thought I'd let you read a poem I wrote as a freshman in college back in 1999. I didn't go to college until I was 48 years old and twice divorced--to put the poem a little in context--hehe! :)

The Corner Cubby

She was curled in his lap like a kitten
He stroked her blonde curls with one hand
As she nestled upon his thin chest
With the other he searched inside her blouse
Their eyes were closed
More from fear than passion
She lifted her rosy face
Slowly licked her lips
And cracked her eyes to kiss him

That is when she saw me
Ambushed by new love
Attempting to retreat quietly
After striding around the library stack
And being suddenly transformed
Into an intimate transgressor
An unexpected voyeur

She bolted upright with hair askew
Snatched her blouse together
Smacking him alongside the head
With her indignant elbow
Snapping his head back
He nearly tumbled the chair
But fumbled his way upright
And gallantly stood to block my view
From her buttoning fingers

I cast my eyes upon the floor
And scuttled off
Relieved to find an empty table
Three racks down
Unloading my backpack
Echoes of haste traveled
Along the wall
Panicked whispers
They vanished
Before I had even caught my breath

I became accustomed
To the sounds
Of tender budding
Afternoon rendezvous
Three days a week
After my Spanish class
And before English 101
I sat three racks down
My table spread with books
Papers and class notes
Straining to concentrate
I learned to filter out
The sweet murmurings
Encouraging giggles
Whispered conversation
Soft low moaning
And the sharp snapping creak
Of the wooden chair
As she shifted in his lap
Followed by the flurry of departure
I’d smile to glimpse them
Cross my sight
Framed in bookracks
Hand in hand

Now spring is hinting its arrival
Final papers and exams
Have become an undertow
I trudge to my table
Three racks down
Spread out my books
Papers and class notes
And pause to listen

So quiet
They’ve been missing
For over a week now
Poised over my studies
Fists bracing my chin
I wonder what happened
To the hope and promises
To the blinding faith
Of new love

As I pick up my pen
And open my book
I feel them like an
Empty pocket

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Saturday-1:15pm--cogitation on my soul and GA

Thought I'd put some old pictures in--all the paste paper that Ann sent me that are now mostly cards. This was the first batch she sent for me to sample and see if I could use them.
Karma thought they made a good pillow--hehe!
I told Ann--Yes!! And she sent me the rest!
I went back to look at them because now I see them differently. I can pick out which big sheets I still have, which ones have been turned into sketch journals, and all the ones that are now on the front of cards. Kind of fun!
I worked a long time journaling about the Soul Coaching book yesterday. Finished the first lesson--tada! A lot of thinking and contemplation about who I am, my goals, who I want to become in this life. :)
My main goal has always been to work on becoming a better person--to work on my soul. I remember having my first "spiritual crisis" when I was five years old. I have not always done that well and I have been very slow to learn, but I have always picked myself up, dusted myself off, and gotten back on my path--eventually. I have had long lapses where daily life and survival were at the fore and my soul seemed to get pushed to the background. Times where I felt overwhelmed with negatives and world weariness--where I thought myself the fool for wasting time and effort on my sorry soul. But I am so glad I did not give up on myself--on life--on humanity. :)
From my first serious crisis of soul when I was five, I have been blessed with guidance (if I bothered to listen--hehe!). Didn't realize for many years that the "God-feeling" I had of somebody over my shoulder when I wrote (to ponder & wrestle with the whys of life from the age of nine)--that those words and the rare picture that would pop unbidden into my head--that the intense belief I have always had that if I offered myself up as a conduit that God could always use me to help calm people or animals in crisis--that I actually have a guardian angel (G.A. for short). He's been my conscience--my goading, loving, joking, nagging, compassionate, butt-kicking spiritual guide. GA has never given up on me.
Those of you who know me--you all are very familiar with GA and have heard all or many of my life stories. :) Feel free to skip over anything you've already heard--hehe! I am giving you fair warning--this feels like the year of my soul. I've been "getting" for some time that I should reveal more layers of myself--here--online. That is why I started the "cogitations". I have been happy and contented here these last four years. I was totally drained--exhausted--beaten down--world weary--when I moved here. Spent these last years readjusting to and accepting my new limited life. Searched out some "food for my soul" activities--painting, papermaking, cards, polymer clay--light reading, movies, chatting on paper to my friends. Just basking in the peace and calm--licking my wounds, so to speak. Learning how to cope with and accept the endless pain, a perpetually tired body, and the foggy brain.
But I reluctantly agree--I don't feel I have been doing as much as I could be as far as working on my soul. Not that I have totally neglected it--hehe! And not that I know why GA has been nagging me to be more open online--but it has never been in my best interests to ignore my "guidance". I have learned that the hard way--ROFL!! All of you who have heard my stories--you know I am more a one-on-one or very small intimate group storyteller. I've been trying to figure out who I can imagine myself writing to--in my head, you know--while I write my blog? And which stories do I tell? Maybe none of that matters. Maybe I could start as if anyone reading this already knows me?
Hey--I had to have somebody else read Soft Breaths for me in college at the public reading thingie! No way could I get up in front of the small auditorium!! And, besides, it makes me get all teary to read it out loud. I write close to my heart. And opening myself up online feels like standing in the front of an auditorium to me. So--be patient with me. Fear fuddles my thoughts. I can be empty and clear as a bell in a crisis--but this makes my insides shake. :):)
I have had a sore throat since last night. I wonder if that is some kind of fear manifestation--ROFL!!

Friday, January 23, 2009


Started out as a usual calm day yesterday. Miss Karma was watching the rabbits in the field and the people in the parking lot.

I finished the "framed" cards over the course of the day--tada! I can't thank you enough for this paper, Ann! :)
I had set this big empty plastic bin in the hallway when I was moving things around--because it is the perfect size to use up the the hall closet. Karma had been pawing at it all day off and on--trying to get it open.
Last night, as I was sitting at the computer here, I could hear this muffled cat whining. I hadn't seen Karma for a while--thought she had crawled under the covers of my bed for a nap. I called to her, as I usually do--what's the matter, Karma? Then she got a little louder, but still sounded like she was under the blanket or something. She usually comes waltzing in the room here to exclaim her excitement or disgust about something or another (she tells me everything, of course)--but she didn't show up?
I got up and look what I found in the hallway!!
How in the world did she manage to open the plastic bin, get inside, and shut the cover on herself!!?? I raced for the camera and took a quick picture. (Hey! She was whining, so she was breathing, okay--hehe!)
She bolted out of there--rather warm and almost sweaty. She must have been too embarrassed to call out to me for a while, eh?
My reverse Houdini spent a good half an hour cleaning up her ruffled fur--and then she slept on her chair for hours and hours. She was obviously drained from the experience. ROFL!! Karma was lucky I am almost always home so that I was here to save her from herself!! When they say curiosity killed the cat.....

Thursday, January 22, 2009


I found this website that had the pretty 12 X 12 inch paper--most were .39 and .59--a few were .65 cents. Wow! Just arrived yesterday! A lot of them have different prints on the backside, too. :) Awesome!
I decided that I can't do any kind of projects or painting or work on the SCing book decently if I didn't clear off the table. Just me--can't work and concentrate well in the middle of chaos.
I figured if I piled things neatly...
...and randomly stuck things on the bookcase shelves...
...and behind my usual chair--(so I can't easily see the mess--hehe!)...
...that then I could at least work on finishing up all those cards from Ann's paper. And I did get quite a bit done yesterday--tada! These are the ones I wanted to "frame" before I put them on the fronts of the cards. I got the frames all picked out and attached--now am taping the backs and then will stick them all on the fronts of the white cardstock. Making progress. :)
Miss Karma is in a grand and frisky mood. It has been above zero for several days--in the teens mostly, but enough to melt some of the snow on the porch so that she can walk straight out and not have to step in the snow--chuckle!
Happy, happy girl! She's been asking to go out several times a day. It's the little things that make us happy, eh? All Karma wanted was her carpeting back--ROFL!
Me--needed to at least semi-organize the unorganized and unsorted. Pre-organize? ROFL!!
So--we are happy campers over here today. I will work on the cards and Karma will take in the warm weather while she can. It's 13 degrees right now, but by tomorrow we are supposed to dip below zero for a few days again. It has been nice to crack open windows for some fresh air. :) The rabbits have even been out in the field beyond the garages in the afternoons. Great CatTV!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I spent most of yesterday watching Obama's Inauguration. So exciting to feel hope for change--brings me back to the 60s! There has been so much fear and corruption for so long and that "every man for himself" and "I'll take what I can while I can" mentality, it was wonderful to hear someone speak of "us" and "we" again. We the people. :)

The sooner humanity realizes that we are all on this blue boat together--and we quit feeding each other to the sharks, beating each other bloody, stealing from each other, and paddling in all different directions--the better off we'll be. Our survival depends on us--all of us together. We are connected. We all sink or float together--whether we want to believe that or not.

There's a joy, unity, and purpose in the air that I haven't felt since Kennedy was elected. John Kennedy didn't win by a huge margin, either. But he, too, spoke of the original ideals of the United States. Ideals--goals--that were lofty, true. We may not have reached them yet--but that is not to say we won't or we can't. We get closer and closer to figuring out this freedom of ours. :)

This is a huge task to try and change the path of a country. But in order to walk a new path you have to change direction and take that first step. And if you just keep moving and taking steps, however small, or even stop and rest sometimes but you don't turn back--then you are on a new path, however slow the progress. Hope is a precious thing. Freedom is a precious thing. The American people have always had big hearts and big dreams. :)

Anyways, besides me and my box of tissues watching the Inauguration--I made a pot roast, have been working on the Soul Coaching book, and today I am washing clothes. Leah passed on Crafts this week. Caroline came and cleaned yesterday. It has been above zero. Life is good! :):)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Okay--Karma is four years old in February. Ever since she arrived in my life her food and water dish have been right here in this spot next to the shoe rack in the entryway.
They have been moved into the pantry--which at first was fun and exciting to Miss Karma just because it was different, of course.
Apparently she thought this was a temporary thing. Every morning she heads the wrong way for her treat of canned food--out of habit, of course. (I have done so myself a couple of times--hehe!) Yesterday I even gave her extra canned food--and realized I was actually trying to entice her into the pantry--hehe! And--just like a toddler who's been asked to do something they don't want to do, she collapsed to the floor and lay there whining in protest. By the time I grabbed the camera she had lifted her head because she could smell her favorite--salmon!
She ate it. But showed her protest by having her ears back the whole time.
Today she was just fine. Maybe she has given up the protest? She may as well. This is where they are going to be now. :)
Why did I move them? Leah said this summer she can make me a wooden shoe bench for right there in the entryway. Moving Karma's dishes makes for a larger bench--hehe! We have all wished there was a place to sit down to take off shoes or boots. Because of the light colored carpeting you really can't go walking into the apartment with shoes on. So everybody usually takes off their shoes at the door. I have wanted a bench there for--well, four years--hehe! But I don't have much room and can't find one that is small enough and still has storage. Leah said she can make one!! TaDa!! Awesome!
Today we have a new president!!! I have to turn on the TV. I imagine it is on all day long.
Yup! On all the main stations--none cable ones. Just swore in the Vice President.
Caroline comes today. And Leah thought she might be coming on Tuesday this week? I am off to watch some of the inauguration. What an event this time!! History being made!! So exciting to feel hope and change in the wind!! :):):) Blessings to one and all!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Monday-5:30am--Flower Child

Trouble sleeping. Am going to see if I can actually copy a story into my blog. I have never tried to copy anything this long in here. We'll see if it works. If it does, I might copy my few stories and poems in here. :)

Looks like it is working! I lost the paragraphs--no surprise! That happens a lot on blogger, as you know, but I think you can still reaonably read it. This was never really a "finished" story or a final draft--but this was the last draft. We were talking about bunnies and rabbits in the Chinese Brush Painting group. (I was born in the year of the rabbit. The year of the Ox is coming up on January 26th.) Bunny talk--got me thinking of the baby bunnies...and this story I wrote about eight years ago in college as an English Writing major.

Let me know if you liked it and if you want to read the rest of the few things I have written? Happy Monday!

Flower Child

I was cleaning cages in the garage. I had to clean half of the twenty-seven cages and aquariums every day to keep the smell down or my folks would start evicting my critters. Various rodents, lizards, and amphibians lined two walls in the garage and a corner of the basement. No animals were allowed in my room. Mine was next to theirs and Mom, especially, was personally affronted by pungent odors. It wasn’t easy to maintain control of the odor because I didn’t have store-bought bedding for my rodents and had to use hand-shredded newspapers. Selling babies to the local pet shop kept me in seed and pellets, but I couldn’t afford bedding. The manager preferred buying his rats, mice, hamsters, and guinea pigs from me because mine were all gentle, hand-tamed, and less likely to be returned for biting. He saved cracked aquariums and gave them to me for free. Neighbor kids brought me their folks’ newspapers and were on trash alert for great stuff like a bruised apple, wilting lettuce, or a pile of carrot tops and peelings from dinner. A couple of moms even wrapped their critter salvageable garbage in waxed paper for their kids to deliver for my “zoo.” Kids always popped in. All those little hands helped keep the babies tame and I taught them how to be gentle with animals.
As I softly poured a hamster family from the ice cream pail back into their clean cage, I heard a small troop of feet come up short by the open garage door. “I’m cleaning right now. Can’t play with ‘em till I’m done, okay?”
As I slid the cage cover on, they all started talking at once. “No. Rita, look! Look what we found.” My heart sank. I turned and saw two kids with hands cupped gingerly in front of them moving forward. One of the red-headed boys had something scooped up in his t-shirt and there were several observers anxiously circling.
“We saved ‘em, we did. From where they’re diggin’.” The foundation for the new Senior High School had begun about a block and a half away, just across the road from Moore Lake.
“You’re not supposed to go over there, ya know. Better not let anybody catch ya,” I warned. They knew I searched The Flower Field after the workmen went home. I was second to the oldest in the neighborhood. Besides, nobody would bother to tell my folks, anyways.
“We were watching from the backyard over there across the street.”
“They shut the machines off. They’re gone- eating their lunch.”
“Yeah! We snuck out. Only on the edge. Not by the big hole, ya know?”
“I didn’t go. I stayed in the yard,” said a little girl in back.
“Me, too. I stayed in the yard, too.”
“They chopped the Mom rabbit!”
“Yeah! They chopped her!”
“Well, most probley it was the Mom, ya know. She wasn’t way far from the babies.”
“It was the Mom,” pronounced the little girl with wet eyes.
“Yeah! Really icky! All blood and stuff.”
“This one’s leg is broke, though, Rita. Can ya fix it?” Hopeful hands raise the baby like an offering. A white bone stuck out of the rabbit’s back leg and the splintering of the wishbone at Thanksgiving jolted to mind.
“You didn’t see a cat or a dog by there, did ya?” I wondered about the facts.
“Lookit! You can see the bone right there.” One of the girls stuck her pointing finger too close.
“Get away. Don’t touch it.” The boy shouldered away from her.
“I wasn’t!”
“This one here’s got a bloody nose.” Another offering.
“Just a minute. Let me get a box for them.” I scrambled up the big ladder leaning against the back wall and found the smallest box I could in the rafters where all the forgotten junk was piled.
“Hey, Rita! Rita! He’s got three more of ‘em in his shirt.”
“Just a minute. I’m comin’.” Stealing an old hand towel from Dad’s rag-bag near the foot of the ladder, I headed back over to the group by the door. They hovered as I fixed up the box.
“Remember,” I warned, “I found those four baby rabbits last week that were way bigger. They had their eyes open and could hop and everything and didn’t look hurt or nothin’, but they all died.” I took the broken-leg bunny from the dirt-encrusted hands. Being ten, I could fit it pretty much in one hand. It never made a sound. I laid it carefully in one end of the box. It just laid there, flat on its side with its legs straight out and was barely breathing. It never tried to move. “Don’t think this one’s gunna make it. Sorry, can’t do nothin’ ‘bout the leg.”
“Here. Lookit this one.” The bloody-nose bunny was placed in my hand. I lifted my palm up and tried to see it from different angles. The blood was just kind of sitting in its nose making little blood bubbles. It was trying to sit up and I saw blood in its mouth, too.
“It musta got hurt inside.” When I set it down there was a little airy-squeak and it pushed its clotting nose up next to the broken-leg one, wobbled and fell over. “Don’t look good,” I sadly diagnosed.
The red-headed boy had inched forward and pulled his shirt out. A clump of bunnies swung in the bottom of his t-shirt hammock. These looked more normal, so I picked them right up, one by one, and looked them over and put them in the other end of the box. “These ones look good, but don’t know if I can save ‘em. Lookit. Their eyes aren’t even open yet. But, I’ll try, okay? But don’t be surprised if they all die like the last ones. Remember -these ones are even littler babies.” I pulled a corner of the towel up over the three good ones who had curled up together in a ball.
That done- I turned, put my hands on my hips and eyed them all good. “You could get hurt over there and I don’t want any of you kids gettin’ hurt, ya know? You hear me? What if you fell in that big hole and could never get out? What if you got chopped up like the Mom rabbit? Huh? What about that?” I stared them into silence. “If you see somethin’ just come and get me, okay? I will go out there, not you. Okay? Promise?”
Heads bobbed.
“You guys, The Flower Field is gone. You’ll have to play over in The Grass Field and The Sand Dunes, ya know. And, you guys stay away from The Big Sand Dune and The Dead End so those bigger boys don’t push you down. You know you can come get me if you need me, okay?”
Heads bobbed.
“Okay. I gotta try and get ‘em to drink something now, so you guys gotta get goin’. You should be eatin’ lunch, anyways. You can come and ask me every day how they’re doin’, ya know.”
With bright eyes and confident hearts, they scattered.
Carefully carrying the box steady, I opened the back screen door. Silence. I scooted through the backside of the house into my bedroom and quickly shut the door. Kicking everything over to one side of my closet floor, I scuttled the box into the corner, hauled the lamp in there, flicked the light on over them, and hunched cross-legged over the box. They had tiny ears lying flat to their heads and they reminded me of newborn kittens. At least I had learned not to use the heat lamp Dad used for his bad back. I, literally, cooked some Mallard eggs the kids brought me last year. My eyes still sting every time I picture the warm, wet feathers shining through the small hole I had delicately picked with shaking tweezers when I checked one of the eggs after it was cool enough to handle. Ignorance is no excuse for murder.
I wondered if the workmen thought about the animals they killed every day. It was spring, 1961, and there were babies everywhere up on The Flower Field where they were digging. Baby rabbits, thirteen-striped ground squirrels, gophers, mice, moles, killdeer, garter snakes, meadowlarks, and skinks were the ones I could think of right off. That’s not counting the salamanders, frogs and toads who wandered across the road from the lake. The best part of my own personal sanctuary was being plowed under. The prairie grass was shorter there and you could twirl and twirl about, arms raised to the sun, amidst the wildflowers. Tiny yellow, clumpy purple, small violet, yellow beady, and purple thistly flowers grew there. There were white flowers that grew in clusters like parachutes and orange daisies we made wishes on while we plucked them naked. I just could not believe that teeming, flowered meadowland was being replaced by a stupid old school. I hoped as many critters as possible had escaped either to The Lake on the one side or to The Grass Field and Sand Dunes on the other.
The bloody-nose bunny quit breathing. Not the one I thought would die first, but I was glad it wasn’t suffering anymore. I wished the broken-leg one would die soon, poor thing. It’s hard to tell how an animal feels when you can’t see its eyes.
I grabbed a couple of Kleenexes out of the box on my headboard, wrapped up the dead one and shut my bedroom door on my way out. I peeked in the living room and Dad was asleep in his chair. Saturday afternoon. I went out the back way to the garage, put the dead bunny in the ice cream pail and covered it. No time for burying. There’d be another soon, anyways, so I went back and stashed the bucket in my closet. Then I located the doll bottle in the basement, even though the last bunnies hated it and had kicked scratches all over my hands and forearms in protest. I needed to find something else. I searched the basement. I scrounged through the garage and quietly through the kitchen, so I wouldn’t wake Dad. In the bathroom medicine cabinet was a bottle of old eardrops with an eyedropper.
Down the drain. Hot water and soap.
“What on earth are you doing in there? That water’s been running for five minutes!”
Mom! I hadn’t seen her when I went through the house. She must have been in their bedroom with the door shut. Not good.
“Nothin’. Just washing my hands. Been cleanin’ cages. I’m almost done.”
“Well, good.” Oh, great! Dad was up. “Money doesn’t grow on trees, ya know. We pay for all that hot water.” He was backing her up. Not good.
I hid the bottle in my underpants. “Okay, okay. I’m done,” I said as I was already shutting my bedroom door.
The broken-leg one hadn’t died yet, so I covered it with some Kleenexes to keep it warm and, to be honest, so I wouldn’t have to look at that bone for a while. It puzzled me why it was hardly bleeding. I tried to give it some warm water where it laid, but it didn’t move. Arranging a t-shirt in my lap from my dirty clothes on the closet floor, I proceeded with the careful task of coaxing the three good bunnies into drinking some water from the eyedropper. I didn’t want to fetch milk for them until I knew whether Mom was working herself up to one of her filibusters or if this would rate as a minor skirmish. She sounded testy.
We moved to Fridley, Minnesota in 1956. We had been living in a duplex in South Minneapolis. My world had been; sidewalks, traffic, squirrels, tall trees, and a fenced-in back yard with patchy grass. I remember when we drove out one day after a rainstorm to see how the house was coming along. I thought the new housing development was an awful place to live. Flat. Sand. No roads- just rutted paths and mud puddles everywhere. Everything had been leveled and lots were paced off with stakes and string. Houses were in various stages of development. Basement holes were dug, cement floors poured, cement block walls were raised, and the dirt was filled back in around the basement walls and window wells when the blocks were dry. The timber foundations were braced for the main floor, the floor bases were laid, and then the outside walls would go up. Our house had gotten to the skeletal wall stage when we came creeping up the rutty road and Mom and Dad pointed out our new home.
Dad was going to park where it looked like the driveway was supposed to be. Mom said it looked like a lake there and he should park wherever he wanted. Always alert to authority, Dad was sure he would get in trouble if he didn’t park in the proper place. Mom said it was all just sand, anyway. There may have been no defining lines yet in the naked suburb, but there were always defining lines between my folks.
I don’t remember where we parked, but I do remember walking a wobbly plank over a mud puddle to get to the stacked basement blocks that formed the temporary front steps, climbing halfway up and Dad grabbing me by one arm and hauling me up onto a vast wooden platform. I stood on that plywood floor with the breeze blowing my jacket, looking through the wooden frame in all directions and thinking this was a terrible, empty, dead place as far as the eye could see. There was not one living thing. Not one tree. Not one blade of grass.
“I don’t want to move here,” I whined, tugging at Mom’s coat.
“Lots of kids will be moving here. You’ll like it.” She smiled.
She was all happy on the way home.
That night she cried. She was afraid the new neighbors wouldn’t accept her. She cried for three days.
We moved.
Mom was right. There were, quite literally, kids everywhere. Every single house had toddlers and babies. Witnessing the magical transformation of the neighborhood was an adventure that mesmerized our puerile minds and convinced us we had moved into a place of eminence and grandiosity. Awe-inspiring machines graded and paved the streets with smelly hot tar and giant roller machines. A procession of giant dump trucks visited the bare yards, leaving mountains of black dirt that the moms had to keep the little kids out of all day until the shirtless, sweaty dads could shovel it into wheel-barrels and scatter the dark, loamy lumps to the staked edges of their property lines. Next came the huge flatbed trucks filled with rolls of grass.
The city planted a slip of an elm tree in everybody’s front yard by the street. The sandy soil was an unforgiving host and most of them died. There were no curbs or sidewalks. Garages went up- mostly doubles. Driveways appeared- with the kind of tar that would burn your feet and sink your kickstand in the hot summer sun. Flowers, shrubs, and trees arrived. The whole neighborhood went from brown sand to green manicured lawns in what seemed the blink of an eye and another suburb of Minneapolis was born.
We lived about a block away from the untouched Minnesota prairie land that surrounded the end and side of our part of the Vern Donnay housing development. We lived on the tip of, what seemed to us, an endless stretch of blocks of houses and on the opposite side was Moore Lake. I lived for summer. My heart and soul thrived at The Dead End, The Creek, The Grass Field, The Sand Dunes, The Big Sand Dune, The Flower Field and The Lake.
Take The Dead End, for instance. The short tar road just stopped on the top of a small incline. The rain had gradually undermined the artificial tar horizon, cracked and crumbled the edges of the road and dropped it off into a miniature, swirling ravine that fed The Creek that advanced across The Grass Field and carved through the base of The Big Sand Dune. The Dead End was my favorite place to be during the thunder and lightning of a hard summer rain. Waiting in anticipation for the dark swirling water of The Drop Off to rise high enough to overflow, being peltingly caressed with warm water, staring into the darkness of the unknown depths, being privy to the rushing birth of The Creek, staying ahead of the creation all the way to the oak tree at the base of The Big Sand Dune, laughing at my footprints in the sand, appreciating the true beauty of wet rocks, floating leaves, wiping water out of my eyes, and opening my mouth to the rain with arms spread wide was definitely worth the random possibility of being electrocuted by lightning. The sun came out and the creek dried up. Left in memory were the imprints of the moving water against the sand and the flattened grasses. I learned about the power of God at The Dead End.
The third good bunny suddenly stiffened in my cupped hand against my chest. Silently the little legs stuck out and it trembled. I hadn’t even gotten the eyedropper out yet. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t see what was wrong. Its mouth had opened and the tip of its tiny gray tongue stuck out. I knew it was dying. I just held it, kept it company and waited.
I wrapped the bunny in Kleenex and put it in the ice cream pail. Mom’s voice was louder and higher. The broken-leg bunny was dead, too. I wrapped it and put it with the other two in the pail. The remaining two had damp faces and they felt cool, even with the lamp on them. The bulb was too far away, but after the Mallard eggs I wasn’t pressing my luck. I could still hear Mom in the kitchen. I dashed out and grabbed a hand towel and two baby pins from the hall closet. I put the two in the towel, folded it in half and pinned it to my shoulders with the big baby pins. Cradling the bundle with my left hand, I put the lamp back where it belonged, moved the box and pail to the other side of the closet, sat in the corner and slid the closet door not quite shut. Now I could relax. They wouldn’t know I was here and I had enough light to use the eyedropper. I could hear Mom crying and shouting in the living room. Three dead already. It got hard to breathe and a tear fell off my face onto the towel.
When I was trapped in the house and couldn’t get away to my wild sanctuary, I could always go there in my head. I leaned my head back, propped up my legs, wedged my hands beneath the bunny bundle and remembered saved animals. One of the older girls came over one evening last spring to tell me that there were some birds in a tree trunk beyond her back yard on the edge of The Grass Field. “My mom and dad say they haven’t seen them get fed since yesterday. My mom watches the woodpeckers from the kitchen window- now she’s all sad because they’ll die. I told her I would come and tell you…that maybe you could do something for them?”
There were a few abandoned basement cement blocks on the edge of The Grass Field. Sandy helped me haul one over to the tree and put it on end the tall way. By this time it was dusk. I wasn’t tall enough to see in, but was close enough to just tentatively reach inside the hole. Beaks lunged at my fingers. I snapped my hand back so fast that I teetered the block. They were awful strong and were obviously better off in the tree trunk. We caught some grasshoppers. The birds actually pecked them out of my hand when I held them in the hole. They hurt my fingers, so I knew I couldn’t get any of the kids to help me.
Sandy and I spread the word and the kids brought me all kinds of bugs. Their initial enthusiasm waned in a couple of days, but by that time there were only a couple of beaks in the hole. Those birds ate so violently that I couldn’t believe they were dying in there, but they were either dying or leaving. I wasn’t tall enough to see into the hole, but I could see their heads sometimes and they had feathers. It smelled bad enough that I thought maybe they were dying in there!
That last week I only felt one left, which was actually good because by the second week I was getting tired of catching bugs all by myself and my hands were raw from beak abuse. Coming to the tree with a jar of juicy grasshoppers, I was just about to stun breakfast by snapping the jar back and forth as hard as I could, when I was stopped dead in my tracks. There was a grown bird sitting in the hole - just watching me. It took me a moment to realize it was the last baby, because it was a regular-sized bird, just a little fluffy looking. Seeing the whole bird, not just the bobbing top of the head and the flash of an eye, was enlightening. I wasn’t sure it was even a woodpecker.
We just stared at each other. Then it leaned forward and took off like it had always known how to fly. It flew low along the waving blanket of tall prairie grass and then rose up and circled the tree three times and headed toward The Lake. I let the grasshoppers go. I waded through the grass until I found a level spot without too many rocks, laid flat on my back, stared up the tapping straw walls in the narrow hole my body made, and watched dragonflies and clouds until lunch. Despite my total lack of categorical or labeling interest, I must confess that I searched bird books at the library until I found a picture of that up-close meeting.
We saved at least one baby flicker last year. I smiled to myself in the corner of my closet. The two babies wiggled in the towel. They were warm now, so I reached for the eyedropper. There was a physical pain in my chest when I thought about The Flower Field. Now, even The Dead End seemed pregnant with ominous intent, poised as it was over The Grass Field. I could not even imagine my life without startling a basking skink on a dune and watching it whip its stubby, snake-like body across the sand with its furious little legs pumping; or ignoring the male Killdeer’s pleading, broken-winged, pied-piper performance to walk softly in the opposite direction so as to glimpse the frozen female guarding her grass nest; or sitting on the crest of The Big Sand Dune and looking across the top of the oak leaves; or hearing the familiar rustling of the tall prairie grass that billowed in the breeze like a mom shaking out a clean sheet over a bed; or enduring the rough bark on the back of my thigh for the perfect, perching crook of the gnarly oak tree in The Flower Field; or twirling in the sun amidst the wildflowers. I couldn’t imagine my life without it.
By some miracle, one bunny lived. The neighbors complained about Juniper for years, because she grazed in their gardens and bore babies under their bushes. She had to live with us… in the housing development. The remaining prairie land was transformed rapidly into more housing and Little League softball fields.

For the past forty years, when life cuts hard, I can still close my eyes and escape into my sanctuary fields…arms splayed, face to the sun, I twirl and twirl…where wildflowers brush my bare toes and baby bunnies are safe.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


First--the BIG news. Now Leah got her notice and she is out of a job February 2nd. :(
This is her main job--overseeing the call center in India for FoxRX Care prescription drug company. She still has her second job with ValleyVideo. So now she'll be looking for another job, too. We just went thru this with Dagan. The thinking positive really worked for Dagan--along with all the prayers and good thoughts from all of you. Could sure use some again for Leah. :)
We still all feel like this year is going to be a really good year--with shifts and changes, to be sure--but a good year in the long run. :) Maybe Leah will find a completely different type of job that opens new doors for her? Or she will temporarily have a new job experience? You learn from everything you do, right? Who knows what might happen? :)
Dagan is getting used to his new job and things are going well for him. Life is just full of surprises, isn't it? I will be praying for Leah to find a job quickly, too. There are so many people being laid off--prayers for everybody!!
So many people are enduring strange weather, too, it seems. I wondered why it had taken so long for my border punch to arrive from this new company I ordered So I emailed them a few days ago. Here the company is in Seattle and they had such bad flooding that the roads were closed for four days!! My goodness!
The border stamp arrived yesterday. :)
Karma and I have just been hanging out...
...stretching (helps my back)...
...and taking it easy.
It's 26 degrees!! I have the bedroom window cracked and a couple inches of the porch door screen open! Like spring up here--hehe! :):)

Saturday, January 17, 2009


A thank you card from Ann! So delicate! I love the color you used and how you touched around the torn edges of the paper with the green, too. This is just beautiful, Ann!!
Inside is XieXie, Nin--she said it is a thank you, thank you as to a friend or family.
Thank you, Ann! You were more than generous! :):) I'm so glad your friend liked her journal!

I forgot I had this in my camera from the 40 below wind chill day. We had a few vehicles that wouldn't start and needed to be jumped or plugged in--but this one....
....ended up going bye-bye to the shop.
I think I forgot to report on Leah's car, too. The jumping it with the cigarette lighters didn't work. So they pushed it into the garage and used a space heater to warm up the garage. It started up after it had warmed up. Just plain had frozen to death--poor thing! Maybe this person's car just froze to death, too?
All I really got done yesterday on the reorganizing was to made an initial attempt to find spots for the satchels we had labeled and ready to go. Can't really make any final decisions until they are all filled and labeled--but at least I removed one pile from the floor--hehe! And then I started another one there on the floor in front of my rubber stamp cabinet that is a "waiting for labels" pile. :)
I watched this movie that was so funny (to me, anyways)--called Ghost Town.
British funnyman Ricky Gervais ("The Office," "Extras") stars in his first feature film lead as Bertram Pincus, a hapless gent who's pronounced dead, only to be brought back to life with an unexpected gift: a newfound ability to see ghosts. When Bertram crosses paths with the recently departed Frank Herlihy (Greg Kinnear), he gets pulled into Frank's desperate bid to break up his widowed wife's (Téa Leoni) pending marriage to another man.
Just cracked me up! I loved it! Ricky Gervais is this dentist who really hates people in general and then ends up being followed about by ghosts who are just dead people he can't stand either. Was really cute! I saw it a couple of days ago and it is one of those movies that when I think about it later it still makes me chuckle!
Have a great weekend! We were supposed to hit 30 degrees, but now I see it is expected to be more like 20. Well, I'll take 20 degrees! Feels comparatively warm and Karma has been out twice already! :)

Friday, January 16, 2009


This is the view coming off the elevator to get the mail in the lobby. The artificial trees are from the other building. They moved them over to our building because people were messing with them, I guess.
Used to have artificial plants on the tables, but they've all been stolen. Have the one large picture left on the wall by the front door. Most of the pictures have been stolen. We had four chairs that sat around a huge glass-topped coffee table when I moved in here four years ago. The glass was broken twice, so they had to remove the coffee table. The back of one of the chairs was broken--so that was removed, too.
Here's the other tree with all the shrubbery basically in tact. And the mail boxes... to the elevator door.
I thought it looked bare in our lobby--because I had seen how it used to look, I suppose. But I heard that the lobby in the other building now has nothing in it whatsoever. Somebody stole every single piece of furniture, picture, plant--all gone--completely bare. Must have just taken it with them when they moved out.
I just don't understand people sometimes.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Made my trip to Federal Housing for my annual appointment yesterday. This is my view from a chair in the waiting room.
Right behind me thru the window--PitaPaseo!! Got an excellent parking spot, eh?
I love the old buildings in Fargo. This street is Broadway--a main street in the older part of town.
The waiting area. No one else there. Probably because my appointment was right before lunchtime--hehe!
Met my new lady. She was very nice!
Since I haven't driven in years and haven't had the car out since it snowed a couple months ago--I drove very cautiously and kept a good distance from other vehicles. Good thing! I came up to a stop light and hit one of those patches of slick icy snow that you have no traction whatsoever and as I gently pumped the brakes I slowly slid to about a 45 degree angle before I stopped--turning the wheel had no effect whatsoever--chuckle!
If I had been going any faster I would have slid right into the back of a bus! Thank goodness there was no car in the left lane for me to nudge--hehe! I was going so slowly that I don't think there would have been much damage if I had slid into anybody, but thank goodness my fishtailing dance was unobstructed--hehe! I was sure glad to be home! Way too slick out there for me. Everywhere they haven't sanded is slippery because of the extreme cold--so the side streets can be rather dangerous. Makes me extra grateful I don't have to be out in that every day of the week any more. :):)
Anyways, the shovel that Leah bought me works so well for me to push the snow with one hand or my foot--nice! Had to shovel before I left yesterday, too. Was exhausted, sore, and in bed early and slept late. No surprise. :) It was expected to get down to 31 below last night. I imagine it must have if it is 28 below right now--but a sunny, beautiful day to look at--hehe! R&R noodle day for me. Good thing I have some Netflix movies to watch I haven't gotten to yet, eh?