Sunday, March 25, 2012

Two Old Geezers on McCullin Road

In our quest to undo some of what the natural aging process has inflicted on us, Tommy and I recently began walking each evening.  We are only up to a two mile walk , but we feel like Olympic athletes.  We quickly surmised that walking on Highway 151 might permanently end the aging process, so we drive the quarter mile to Salem Church and park in their parking lot.  We walk up the much more docile McCullin Road one mile in and one mile back.  In just the few days that we have been doing this, we have seen some interesting things.  I’m sure the cars that have encountered us have shared an equal sense of wonderment, or possibly just bewilderment. 

I have noticed how beautiful the creek that runs along the edge of the road is.  The sound of the rushing water as it tumbles over the small ledges and rocks, is soothing and peaceful.  The way the light filters through the woods is a testament to the ultimate beauty of nature and the power of God.  We shared our first walk with a couple of good natured hound dogs.  Their final destination was one house up the road from ours.  I can only assume they have also decided to work in an evening stroll.  Yesterday it sounded like a train was headed right for us.  There wasn’t a cloud in the sky so I ruled out a tornado.  There are no train tracks anywhere near us.  It remained a mystery for about three minutes until a caravan of about 15 four wheelers passed us right on the edge of the woods.

A few cars and trucks and motorcycles occasionally pass us.  One man stopped and asked if our car broke down, but mostly the drivers just stare us like we are crazy.  The younger drivers are the funniest.  They hang their very tattooed arms out the window and watch us behind their very cool shades.  It is almost like they are looking at something they have never seen before.  Here are a couple of tips if you are one of those young drivers who happen to encounter us on our evening walk.

First, we are from earth.  That halo thing you see over our head is not devine.  It is just the glow of the evening light reflecting off our graying hair.  Those long white columns rising out of my shoes are just legs.  Yes, it is possible for human skin to be this ghastly shade of white.  Give me a little time.  I’m working on that one.  I know it confuses you when you see two people our age holding hands.  The only explanation I have is that my husband and I love each other.   More than that, we are still “in love” with each other.  I remember when I was your age and saw 50ish people walking hand in hand.  I thought to myself back then “Look at those old geezers”.  What goes around comes around.  Now I’m that old geezer just taking a walk, up hill and down, on McCullin Road.    

Monday, June 27, 2011

Age Old Question

For as long as I can remember, people have pondered the age old question - What came first, the chicken or the egg?  Well, in Shawn's Barn the answer is easy--the chicken.  The question now is "Where are the eggs?"  I have been running a small little "fresh egg" business.  I have a few regular customers but word is spreading.  My six older girls have been pretty good about supplying me with merchandise but it was easy to see they were going to eventually need some help.  Soooooooo.......I bought 12 new little baby girls early this spring.  I raised them and named most of them because that is just what I do.  I name my chickens and my goats and anything else that will let me love them.  I have even noticed different personalities in the flock.  There is just one thing that I haven't noticed --EGGS.

Okay, ladies, time to squat and give me some eggs.  You girls are HUGE.  Yes, HUGE.  You are eating me out of house and barn.  I now know what a wattle is and the many different combs a chicken can have.  I have pampered you and talked to you and cleaned up after you.  Time to do your part.  Please, please, please give me some eggs.

In the meantime, the six old ladies in the barn are getting tired.  They look at me with their little round chicken eyes as if begging for a hyster-chicken-ectomy.  They have worked hard, but hey, we're a team.  I'm probably the only person in Lincoln Parish that would be really, really sad when I eventually lose a chicken.  Tommy has threatened a couple of times to make a big pot of chicken and dumplings.  Don't worry girls, mommy has your back.  Just lay me a few eggs, please.

The pictures are of two of the old ladies.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

What Makes a Family

Anyone who knows me well can tell you that my favorite TV show is “The Waltons”.  Last night as I watch the final show of the final season followed by the first show of the first season, I began to think about what it was that I liked so much about this series.  I know without a doubt that it is the family.  I was blessed to come from a good family.  I had parents that loved me and sisters that were close enough in age to become my friends and playmates. When I left that safe cocoon that was my first family, I began a search for my “second” family that would take me down roads and lead me in directions I could never imagine I would experience. Getting married and having children was the easy part, but I found out that family extended beyond those wonderful beings that God allowed me to bear.  Family is about love, sharing, listening and caring.  It has nothing to do with DNA.  I have a wonderful “second” family.  It is full of people that don’t share my genetic code as well as those that do.  I have a husband that completes me like the missing piece of the puzzle I have been searching for most of my life.  My third child was born to another woman, but I love him and care for him like my own.  A day isn’t complete unless I know where all three of my children are.  My daughter married the person she loved since the first grade and I love him too.  I worried over him when he was sick and stressed for him when he had exams.  My son-in-law and I come from different worlds but he is a comfortable fit in my family.  Our son Joe has brought another member of our family to us.  I cannot imagine my life without my future daughter-in-law.  When I think about a family gathering, she is always in my mental picture. 

I had the most wonderful mother-in-law in the world.  I loved her deeply.   We were different and she didn’t always approve of me or my decisions, but she didn’t judge me.  We shared the end of every day together for over three years and I miss her more than words can say.  Today, when I tend to her grave, I still feel her.  She was family.  My family extends in many directions. There will be more additions someday.  My children will marry and hopefully there will be grandchildren.  As I think about where I am today, I think the thing that I have learned is that biology has nothing to do with being a family.  It is more about being there and showing love and understanding.  It is about making time for those we care about and showing an interest in their lives.  I thank God each day for my family.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Then and Now

This was/is me.  I was younger then and as I remember it, very content and happy.  I have been doing some reflections of the different phases in my life.  I guess I am a lucky person.  Even though there have been times that I regret, decisions that were wrong, and choices I wish I could redo; I went through each phase much like I did as a child, content and happy.  There were does dark periods in my life when I was sad but at the end of each day I found a place inside of me that got me through and in that, there was contentment.  I think that I am just a happy person.  I don't like being around negativity because it feels foreign to me.
These are my kids minus Joe who became my son later in life.  So much of my life was devoted to raising them and loving them. This phase was such a great phase because being a mom is the best job I ever had.  I had to work very hard while they were growing up so I didn't always have the time to do everything I wanted and we did not have much money, but I loved every minute of raising my kids.  It wasn't always easy but it was always wonderful.  I loved being a danceline mom and a band mom.
I have so many passions in life.  My kids and my husband are two of them.  My photography business and my little farm are two more.  I have always been a tomboy.  When I was little my mother paniced because I asked for a football and a full set of pads for Christmas.  She was worried about that.  I got the football and a Barbi.  Hey I love dolls also and have a nice size doll collection. Here is me intently watching a high school playoff game in New Iberia.  I am a passionate Ruston High School football fan.
Now I am in my latest phase but hopefully not my last.  My kids are grown.  I don't just love my husband, but I am in love with him.
Life isn't always easy.  We face problems each day.  There have been illnesses, legal matters, hardship, loss, etc.  All of these things are the things that make me realize that I am alive.  Yet I have loved moving through the phases of my life and waiting to see what adventure tomorrow may bring.  Life for me has been a complex tapestry of events all woven together into a wonderful experience.  Without the bad times I would never have appreciated the good times.  I have kissed the cheek of my daughter on her wedding day as I handed her to the care of the man she chose for her great adventure. I have watched a jet fly overhead knowing it carried my son to a distant land.  I have transitioned over and over and I would not trade one moment of my life for anything.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Anchors A-Weigh

So I have been faithfully following my diet plan for a week and a half.  I have lost a little weight and have now graduated to stage two which means I get to alternate my solid protein days with days that include select veggies.  The funny thing is, I like my solid protein days.  I've gotten used to them.  I am supposed to weigh myself every morning.  This goes against the conventional thinking of only weighing once a week.  I'm not sure that I like this every morning thing, because my scale really isn't budging right now.  Losing weight is very difficult for me.  I haven't been able to get my walks in this week.  This is a big "no no" for the diet.  With my summer hours, I now work until five each day and have to be at work earlier.  I don't get home to after six and by the time I feed the chickens and goats, there isn't time to do much of anything.  I have a list a mile long of things I have to do.  I have picture orders to send in and pictures to work on.  I have to practice my piano because I am sure I'll be called to play in church any Sunday now.  I don't understand these people who sit around with nothing to do once their children grow up.  I know I was busy back then but I am much busier now.  I only get about five hours of sleep a night and that is usually interrupted so I don't think getting up any earlier is the answer. 

The good news is that the diet is "sort of working".  If the scale moves downward, even slowly, that is better than it moving upward.  I have discovered that the Dukan Diet is the You Can Diet, because it is doable.  As long as I don't confuse it with the Dunkin Donut Diet, I should be okay.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Fairwell to Spring

Today was my second wedding anniversary and it was the warmest day we have had this year.  Tommy and I didn't do anything special.  We were just very thankful to both be here together.  There but by the grace of God, things could have been so different.  I needed to do more outside but the heat convinced me that indoor activities were more important.  I did go spend time in "Shawn's Barn" and as always, found a sense of peace out there.  It was hot, but I love sitting in my barn.  I am making progress with my baby goats, Gus and Myrtle.  Gus will eat out of my hand and though neither wants to admit it, they are beginning to trust me.  Gus is so darn cute.  I could just hug him for hours if he would let me.  Myrtle is cute but in a different way.  She was described to me before I got her as "the bad little goat".  I knew at once I had to have her because that's how my mom always describes me.  Well, she doesn't call me a goat, but I'm the bad daughter.  I'm sandwiched inbetween the smart daughter and the baby daughter.  Maybe it is this middle child syndrome that makes me so fascinated with watching my chickens develope their pecking order.  Hey, who needs therapy.  Just go sit in a barn and somehow you begin to figure things out. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Happy Birthday Baby!!!!!

Today was Tommy's 54th birthday.  Happy Birthday to the most wonderful husband that a girl could have. This birthday was extra special because it is the first one since I almost lost that wonderful man to pancreatitis.  This is a birthday I wasn't sure, at one point, we would see. I took the day off so we could spend it together.  Unfortunately, we did have the unpleasant business of going to Green Clinic first thing.  Tommy had to have a CAT Scan of his pancreas to monitor some pancreatic cysts that have developed.  I pretended that we got to sleep late even though we got up at our usual early hour. 

I put on a bright yellow shirt for the first time this morning.  When I looked in the mirror, I looked like a giant lemon sitting on top of a pair of blue jeans.  If I had been wearing yellow pants, I would have looked like a summer squash on steroids. Lordy, I hope this diet works.  I notice when I look in the mirror I squint my eyes.  I look thinner if I squint my eyes.  Note to self--keep eyes wide open and see the real picture no matter how painful it is.

Well, back to the day.  We celebrated Tommy's birthday by going to Bass Pro in Shreveport.  Bass pro...where a man feels like a man and a woman is just sort of bored.  I amused myself for about 30 minutes in woman's apparel and home decor, but there are just so many camouflaged dishes and rugs with deer on them that one can look at.  I found Tommy in the fly fishing shop.  He had a great time examining every fly and hook in the place.  How I love that man.  Now here is where the day got interesting.  We decided to go eat lunch.  That's right, Miss "Can Only Eat Meat and Eggs" had to order something from a menu in a restaurant.  The good news is that I somehow managed.  I chomped on a piece of sausage and chicken while Tommy sat across from me enjoying potatoes and onion strings.  Interesting enough, I was delusional all day and felt thin.  Yes, that's right.  In spite of looking like a lemon sitting on top of blue jeans and in spite of being on a diet for a mere three days, in my little fantasy world I felt skinny.  I made sure to avoid all reflective surfaces so that reality would not crash in on me.  Maybe there is something in meat that causes insanity.  OMG-Mad Cow Disease :(