Monday, September 28, 2009

What's That Smell?

Something smells in the neighborhood. What a wonderful fragrance to start the day. I had not even had my coffee. The smell is giving Annie a headache. She says it smells outside. Intrepid adventurer that I am, I decided to check things out.

I had seen Annie's labs, Bailey and Landry, watching something intently in the shed/chicken coop. There are no chickens here. The dogs like to hang out there in rainy or cold weather. They kept looking around, but refused to go near.They did voice their opinions loudly. What do they see? Nothing seemed amiss as I walked toward the shed. Then I saw something move. No, not a snake or a buzzard which I had seen a few days ago. In the back corner, behind the bicycles was a skunk.

First thing we had to get the dogs out of the way. I'm surprised they hadn't already attempted to battle the real life "Pepe la Pew". But they had apparently kept their distance. Annie herded the labs into the house. Then we looked for a number for some kind of animal control. It's not an easy number to find in the local phone book. Annie ended up calling a number in Ft. Stockton to find out some information. Thankfully since Ft. Stockton is about 1 1/2 hrs away, they were able to give her some numbers of local "animal" people. Most of her calls went straight to voice-mail. She did finally get hold of a guy who happened to be near. He was working on something in a pasture and said he could be here shortly.

So I spent the time waiting for him babysitting a skunk. First it moved around in the shed. Then it got out and wandered around, but could not figure out how to escape. Well, actually he did escape through the fence but when he saw the big dogs across the alley he decided I was better than them. Back into the shed he went. Then he got brave and tried to run to freedom along the side of the fence. Not the brightest animal in the world, I thought.

As he ran around the back of the yard, I wondered what he thought. Apparently not much I guess. As I followed him around the back yard he ultimately trapped himself. He made a mistake of crawling into a length of pvc pipe. As I stood watching the pipe, the animal control guy came in. He was the "substitute". The official animal control person is also the local bailiff and was in court. She had all the traps. Naturally. So the other guy and I decided to leave the skunk in the pipe which was 8-10 feet long. He blocked the ends with cinder blocks which Annie got a couple of garbage bags and some duct tape.

I had to wonder how safe all of this was. The plastic bags were thin and tore easily.But he managed to seal the ends of the pipe and took the unwanted guest, pipe and all away in the truck. He said he'd release it out on some farmland a couple of miles down the road. I hope the farmer doesn't mind. Then he asked if Annie wanted the pipe back. A resounding "NO!" was the answer.

Such is life in the hamlet of Ozona. I thought buzzards were looking at me for a meal the other day. Grasshoppers bounce all over the place. The one thing I have yet to see are the turkeys that walk around town unmolested. Apparently they are a common sight. Wonder what I'll find next?

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Re-birth of Me

The last few months have been a roller coaster ride for me. Up and down, over and under, my feelings and thoughts have been on a wild ride. At times it has been easy to feel defeated. Then there have been moments of peace. Those moments which were few have now moved in with me. I think they are here to stay.

Call me crazy. I don't care. A few weeks ago, before I decided to visit Annie, I was sitting in my bedroom in Waco thinking.Too much time on my hands? Some would probably say yes. Me, I was struck by a thought. How I came to this thought I can't really say. This thought, oddly enough, left me with a good feeling. To explain or describe this feeling is difficult at best. It's as if someone spoke to me and said, "You'll be ok, I have a plan for you."

This feeling was spooky to the skeptic in me. The more I thought about it the more I questioned myself. Yet this feeling would not, and has not changed. I know, somehow, there is something out there waiting for just the right time for me. Is it my fertile mind dreaming or it this some sort of an epiphany? I don't know. I can't shake this feeling. I can't explain how or why I have this. How do I explain this to anyone? How do I not sound nutty.?

I've heard that God sometimes speaks to a person's heart. I've never really believed it before now. Trying to explain this hasn't be easy. So Annie suggested I talk with Chris, the Pastor of their church. Well... I'm not sure about that. What good would that do? I'm like, eh? Well, ok. It couldn't hurt, right?

Yesterday I had a meeting with Chris who is a very nice, very young, and very tall man. He and his wife are a nice couple and have two adorable little boys. His wife teaches the women's study group. I've gone a couple of times with Annie and Jason to church. He brings out good thoughts in his sermons. So I thought, what the heck. I'll give it a shot.

I told Chris about what had happened to me and my current, unshakable feeling. I asked him all sorts of questions. He was thoughtful and gave me some insight into things. We talked for over an hour. He listened and offered suggestions. Messages or feelings such as mine can be true. I must continue to listen. Yes, he told me I will be all right. I am in the right place and with continued study and faith, the plan will happen. I must be ready. When will the plan come to fruition? That question will be answered when the time comes. Not my time - His time.

I'm ready. Sling all the arrows you want, throw all the rocks you have. I won't be defeated. I only need patience. My time will come. I have the Power with me.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Zen Sarcasm

1. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me either. Just pretty much leave me alone.

2 The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt or a leaky tire.

3. It's always darkest before dawn, so if you're going to steal your neighbor's newspaper, that's the time to do it.

4. Don't be irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.

5. Always remember that you're unique. Just like everyone else.

6. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

7. If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments.

8. Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

9. If at first you don't succeed...Skydiving is not for you.

10. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fall Has Fell - Maybe

We all woke up this morning to a cool breeze. Obviously the cool front has now arrived. It should be nice around here for a few days. Then toward the end of the week it will be back up to the warmer temperatures again. Gotta love it. This kind of weather keeps you guessing about what to wear each day.

This weather also made Annie and me think of stew. So we put some stew meat in the crock pot. Hopefully we'll make enough to put some in the freezer later. Throwing stuff into the crock pot is not hard. Now yesterday was a time consuming candy time. Annie made peanut butter cups. That takes a little time to make the peanut butter balls and melt the chocolate. Pouring it over the balls can be a little interesting too. But we did it.

Now that Fall is officially here, it's time to say good bye to Astros manager Cecil Cooper and good bye to the Astros chances to get into the playoffs again. I'm surprised that Cooper lasted as long as he did. There many people who wanted him fired earlier in the season. All things considered,
I feel a little like singing "They're breaking up that old gang of mine..." Next year could see a different Astros team.

Now we can move on to the real sport of fall, football. I was not happy with the Texans first game which they lost. I was a little worried during the second, but they came through in a street fighting style. That will teach the Titans to start a brawl with us. I hope we'll continue to improve. My college teams are doing well. Texas is #2 and Alabama is #3. I find these high rankings a little worrisome since it is still early in the season. One loss could ruin chances for a national championship. We shall see.

I'm looking forward to this fall. Who knows? Maybe this will be a good season for me. Seasons of life change just like the seasons of the weather. I haven't seen much in the way of color yet. The leaves haven't changed yet. But I know that with each season there is a new beginning and new challenges. I'm ready. Of course I have no intention of raking leaves.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

How Do You Get To Heaven?

"If I sold my house and my car, had a big garage sale, and gave all my money to the church, would that get me into heaven?" The teacher asked the children in his Sunday school class.

"NO!" the children all answered.

"If I cleaned the church every day, mowed the yard, and kept everything neat and tidy, would that get me into heaven?"

Again the answer was, "NO!""Well, then, if I was kind to animals and gave candy to all the children and loved my wife, would that get me into heaven?" I asked them again.

Once more they all answered, "NO!"

"Well," I continued, thinking they were a good bit more theologically sophisticated than I had given them credit for, "then how can I get into heaven?"

A five-year-old boy shouted out, "You gotta be dead!"

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Well That's One Way To Open A Can

Right now I am smelling the aroma of pot roast as it cooks in the slow cooker.Ummm. I love roast done in a crock pot with veggies. We're gonna eat good tonight.

But there was a small crisis this morning as Annie was putting the ingredients into the pot. Obviously the roast and veggies were easy. Then she got the cream of mushroom soup ready. One can went in easy. Sure you say. How hard can it be to open a soup can? In this case, it was maddeningly difficult.

I'm in the bedroom when I hear Annie call me to the kitchen. Apparently one of the soup cans had an idea that it would not give up it's contents without a fight. When she pulled the tab,instead of opening the can, the ring came off. Guess that can is just wasted. That's what Annie thought. Oh ye of little faith - Mom is here!

Have you ever battled a can? I mean really battled? I asked Annie where the electric can opener was. She pointed to it, but said it didn't do very well. True, as I discovered. Ok. Where is the church key opener? That didn't work either. Let's try a knife - no luck. I did manage to get a small opening but since the soup was thick, it was all but useless. Now, I'm ticked off. No can of soup is going to get the best of me! "Do you have pliers or a screwdriver?" So we get both from the tool chest. I manage to get the hole a little bigger, but not enough. Now I am really irritated. I hate to waste things. So I got the hammer from the tool chest. How could one little can cause so much trouble. The war was on! Ever take a hammer to a soup can? It's not pretty. But a mom on a mission is dangerous! Mountain get out of my way! Ha! after a few less than delicate pounds with the hammer, the can gave up it's contents.

That should teach any can of mushroom soup not to do battle with me! Of course it wasn't pretty. But what war is? I will not be denied. Yeah, it probably would have been easier just to throw the can in the trash. On the other hand I am stubborn when it comes to some things. Just ask any member of my family. Obviously I would not recommend opening a can of mushroom soup this way. It can be messy. Yes, it was an odd way to open the can, but it worked. Now when do we eat?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

He Was Going to Get the Family Dog

Eight years ago Christopher C. Newton got on American Airlines Flight 77 to California. He and his family had moved to Ashburn, Virginia so he would not have to travel so much. He was head of Work/Life Benefits which was founded in 1982 to provide work, life training to corporations for their employees. He was educated at California Polytech University and the Anderson School at UCLA. His wife Amy, son Michael and daughter Sarah were happy that he would not have to travel so much.

Christopher Newton was a very private person who loved his family and a good game of golf. He took American Airlines Flight 77 on September 11, 2001 so that he could go back to California to get the family dog. He never made it there. Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon that fatal morning.

We all, as Americans, remember that day. Many of us watched our televisions as the horror of the attack on our country began. We watched helplessly as the Twin Towers fell. We watched as the Pentagon was breached. We learned of the heroism of passengers who fought off the hijackers and probably saved more lives by crashing the plane in that empty field. We remember. The images are seared into our brains. Let us never forget those 2996 people who lost their lives that day. Let us always remember what this country has stood for and why we must honor these brave people who lost their lives on 9/11/01.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Joint Custody? Of Me?

Annie has wanted me to come visit her at her home for a while now. Since I don't have a car I've had to wait until she had time to come get me. She decided that she would take me when she came back Sunday after the birthday week-end in Houston. From what I understand, blackmail could be an issue after what I heard and saw about the party. Ahem, we shall just leave it at that.

An interesting thought crossed my mind due to something Annie said to Traci. Granted it was a little odd but, this is my family. Most of the time we think of joint custody as between divorced parents with kids. Mom usually has the kids most of the time and dad has them for a time.We've all known someone in that situation. For some reason I found it funny when Annie spoke to Traci about me going home with Annie. I guess it now can be said that Traci and Annie share "joint custody" of me. Huh? Well, it could be thought of in that way. I'll be here with Annie for a few weeks. Then I'll go back to Traci's...

Oh yeah, apparently someone even mentioned "joint custody" to my son Pat. Alas, he has no room for his dear, darling, demented mother. That's ok Patrick. I know what is important to you. Snicker...

Joint custody of me - what a concept. Then again, this could get interesting. Bobby said he would miss me. Guess he'll miss talking to me. And oh dear, Aryn cried and cried when we left. Brad and Aryn didn't want the dogs to go. Sigh. Wonder what Skylar and Michael will do when I go back to Waco. I am reminded of when the kids were growing up. Maybe I should start plotting to get Annie and Traci against each other?? Shades of when they were in their father's custody. Be still my evil heart. Payback? Who me?

Saturday, September 05, 2009

With Apologies to Secretary Clinton

Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, and Al Gore were in an airplane that crashed. In heaven, they found God sitting on the great, white throne.

He addressed Al first. "Al, what do you believe in?"

Al replied, "Well, I believe I won the election in 2000, but it was your will that I did not serve. I've come to understand that now."

God thought for a second and said, "Very good. Come and sit at my left."

God then addressed Bill. "Bill, what do you believe in?"

Bill replied, "I believe in forgiveness. I've sinned, but I've never held a grudge against my fellow man, and I hope no grudges are held against me."

Again, God thought for a second and then said, "You are forgiven, my son. Come and sit at my right."

God then turned to Hillary and asked, "Hillary, what do you believe in?"

She replied, "I believe you're sitting in my chair."

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Shut In, Shut Out, Forgotten

How many people do you speak to on a daily basis? Sure you speak to your family, friends and co-workers. You probably speak to your neighbors on either side of your house. You wave to them as you leave or come home from work. But what about that old lady down the street? Do you know anything about her? Have you noticed that she rarely gets out? Does she even have a way to get out?

We are so caught up in our daily lives that we may not even think of the people we don't see often. They may not live near you, but they are there. One day you could be one of them. These are the people who for any number of reasons could be called shut ins or maybe even forgotten. Maybe through no fault of their own, they are single, widowed, or divorced and have no-one to turn to in a time of need. Maybe they are poor and hungry. Maybe the only contact with the outside world for them is the people from Meals on Wheels who bring them food. Just imagine that the only human contact you have is a person bringing you a meal. On the other hand, maybe they don't need the Meals on Wheels program. Maybe they have a neighbor or relative who occasionally stops by to take them to buy groceries or just to walk the mall. Imagine how good that must feel, just to get away from the confines of those four walls, even if only for an hour or two.

There are a lot of people who are alone. They are not all old or shut in. Some feel shut out because it seems that nobody cares. No one seems to want to take the time to stop by and say "Hello". How much would it cost to stop by and ask, "Do you need anything? Can I take you somewhere?" or even just "How are you today?".

Some day we will all be alone. Some of us will have family that we can depend on for help, love and security. Some of us will not have that luxury. Some will not know where to go or who to call. Yes, there are outreach programs thanks to some religious or state and local governments. Still, some people will either not know how to reach for help or will be too proud to ask for help.

Remember when you know someone who is alone, or see someone who is alone, that could be you. Give them a smile, or a helping hand now and then. Talk to them. Don't let them be shut in, shut out, or forgotten.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Odds & Ends, In and Out

It is hard to believe I've been here almost 6 months.

Happy 14th birthday to my granddaughter Cheyanne.

I guess we Astros fans will have to be content to wait 'til next year, again. Have you seen Roy Oswalt's website? He's also on Twitter. Yes, really. I would like to commend another Astro, Aaron Boone. He has been activated and is ready to play, barely 5 months after having open heart surgery. All I can say is- Amazing!

Did you know that there is a Twitter soap opera? It's called "Chicago to Coronado". I guess it had to happen. It even has a black lab as one of the characters.

This week-end should be interesting for some of the family. Traci, Cheyanne, Brad, and Annie are going to Houston for a birthday bash. Annie and Pat, Cheyanne, Amanda and Aryn have birthdays close to each other. Of course Aryn is grounded, yet again, and won't be able to go. That is unless she gets ungrounded. That remains to be seen.

So this week-end it probably will be Bobby, Aryn, and me here by ourselves. I was looking forward to some peace and quiet, but with the "Drama Queen" under house arrest I don't know how much "quiet" we will have.

I've been waiting for some inspiration but I guess it got lost. So, what should I do first? Sneak attack the dogs for a bath, or go play on Facebook? Hum. Hey Daisy...