Friday, September 21, 2012

Slowin' Down

Since we found out the copy editing hasn't begun quite yet, I think
we're slowing down even on the blog. Are people going to get tired of
reading our scribbles when nothing much seems to be happening? Let us
assure you, dear reader, progress is being made, so don't give up on
us! Here's what Anne Lamott says: "One of the gifts of being a
writer is that it gives you an excuse to do things, to go places and
explore. Another is that writing motivates you to look closely at
life, at life as it lurches by and tramps around." Right now, I
(Judy), am looking closely at life as my husband prepares enter the
hospital this afternoon to get blood clots dissolved. The doctor says
he's "lucky to be alive", so life again is put into perspective. But
isn't this exactly what our book is about? Peaks and valleys. Peaks
are fun, but God teaches us more in the valleys. Kind of comforting,

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Next Time, Swallow the Gum

I loved the story of your foxes. It's a little terrifying that
they're right there in your back yard, though. I can't imagine going
out in the autumn sun to read a book or eat my lunch in relaxation
mode. I''m afraid I'd be constantly glancing around wondering when
they were going to make themselves visible. What if they wanted my
cheese and crackers? And where did they get a chicken in the city? I
think I'd like watching them from the safety of my kitchen window
best. Fortunately, my experience with wildlife was when raccoons
walked into our kitchen when the back screen wasn't latched. They
went directly to the cookie jar and politely took an unopened package
of Mother's Oatmeal cookies outside to the back porch and ate the
whole thing as I watched!

I showed Don the pictures we decided to use on the back cover of our
book ...the ones we took of each other in Red Feather a few years
ago? As you may recall, that's the trip I forgot my make-up case, so
I had no eye liner, no mascara and no brush or comb. My only lipstick
was dug up from the bottom of my purse and it was what I used to keep
my lips soft, but a shade you'd only put on a corpse. Kind of
brownish-grey. Nothing that brightened me up or made me look
glamorous. You can even see gum in the side of my mouth! I asked my
very objective, analytical husband what he thought. "Well," he said
after much pondering, "you're both better looking than 75% of women
over 50, and 99.9% better than women over 65!" So, what do you think
about that? Shall we get 'purddied' up and seek out a real
photographer to take our pictures? We can't believe anything an old
scientist says, can we? On second thought, let's not. We are who
we are. (But next time, tell me to swallow the gum!) Judy

Friday, September 14, 2012

There's Animals and Animals


Growing up on the farm brought us a reverse safari of animals; they came to us, wild and not-so-wild.  Skunks scented the air and once peeked in at our kitchen window.  My mother woke me late at night to see him.  Luckily he was a baby and hadn’t been to a scent seminar.  Deer wandered in the wheat fields; laid down and barely escaped going through the combine.  A few elk plodded indiscriminately, not caring if they smashed the barley.  Errant neighbor’s cattle left huge soggy imprints in my mother’s carefully tended lawn.  Horses whinnied in the pasture.  Cats appeared from nowhere and the neighbors, making me the happiest of cat aficionados.  Mice aplenty rounded out our menagerie; I remember seeing a string moving next to the refrigerator and stepping on it I heard a squeak.  My mother dispatched him with a big spoon, perhaps the same one used to encourage us to better behavior.

When we came to live in the city I thought myself free of bothersome critters.  Not so.  Cats and dogs go unmentioned, unless a catfight interrupts my sleep or the dog next door barks at…but wait!  What could he be barking at?

Any number of animals.  Perhaps a deer family.  They are merciless, rapacious predators of roses and all things tasty.  I have seen one pawing at our big dog.  No longer do I admire their swift sleekness.  Another animal?  Perhaps a skunk.  Why does a skunk family, the grandchildren now as well, find on Google Maps that our yard is the best route to the next waterhole?  Next come the raccoons.  For years they have been my husband’s personal enemies.  It does disturb us when a group of them have vocal confabs and even fight on our roof at night.  It does disturb us that they eat the grapes the night before we plan to harvest them.  It does disturb us when the mama crawls up to the humming bird feeder and tips it over for a delicious snack for four, yes four, babies down below.  It does disturb us when they menacingly advance though we are four times as big as they are. 

The raccoons are gone now; decimated by a plague, a distemper epidemic. 

We have had bear sightings near by, and a mountain lion was caught six houses away.  We have seen coyotes lurking in the tall grass by the high school.  Are they stalking a short freshman for dinner?

                                                              Baby Fox visits us

Last spring our neighbor called excitedly.  “Come over and see our cute fox babies?!"  We grabbed our four-year-old granddaughter; we watched four dear fuzzy babies cavort, jump, roll, bite, play just like kittens on the back deck.  Our neighbor just couldn’t shoo them away.  Would I have?  I don’t know.  But knowing what I know now?  Oh my.  Those little fox kits had the nerve to become wild teenagers that stayed out late at night decorating our yard inappropriately, smashing bushes, scattering decorative bark, leaving their scent all over the driveway, leaving remains of squirrels and birds and even part of a chicken on our front porch right beside our front door, stealing garden gloves and knee pads.  We almost despaired.  But it is several months later now, and the teenagers have turned into young adults roving far and wide to fill their tummies.  We see them perhaps twice a week. We watch them disappear into their den up high in our back yard, and they love to escape the heat by laying under our summer squash or peony shade.  Mama Fox still strolls through our back yard even in the daylight.  How long do foxes live?  Are they territorial? Where will Mama’s grandchildren be born?  And perhaps even more important, who next will invade our back yard?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Advice from Madeleine

I've been reading again Madeleine L'Engle's Walking on Water,
Reflections on Faith and Art. I could eat that book! She died in
2007, yet her words resonate with even greater clarity today.
"The writer does want to be published; the painter urgently hopes
that someone will see the finished canvas; the composer needs his
music to be heard. Art is communication, and if there is no
communication it is as though the work had been still-born." Isn't
that why we've written this book? Isn't that why we desire comments
on our blog? Isn't this why we anxiously go to Letterscribblers each
morning, not desiring recognition, simply hoping someone else will see
our take on things and think, "Oh, isn't that the truth? I feel like
that sometimes, too."

Just thinking out loud, again, Julie, and agreeing with what Madeleine
put so wisely and well: "Yes, Madeleine, I feel that way, too!"

Thursday, September 6, 2012


I guess I haven't sewed for a long time.  When I went to the store yesterday to buy fabric for the backing of two small table toppers, I couldn't believe the price!  Two yards of the cheapest, most simple, plain colored material I could find cost $10.00!  One spool of thread was almost $3.00.  And that was just so I could finish a project that only cost me pennies to begin with.  Remember that sale we went to last winter where we could stuff a whole plastic grocery bag full of remnants for a mere $3.00?  Julie, those two beautiful quilts you're making for your two beautiful granddaughters must have cost a mint, because I know you do everything well and aren't nearly as chintzy as I am.  I've quilted now for 11 years and am beginning to wonder why I buy fabric, cut it into small pieces, only to sew it all back together again.  Oh!  Because the end product is a fantastic piece of art and I enjoy the process?  OK.  I understand now.  Just had to write-it-through so I could unravel my motives.  Isn't quilting fun?  Judy

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Skitteryier Still

September 3rd seems almost as much a time of reflection as January 1st.  This past eventful summer, full of heat, fires and drought, travel, out of town guests and weddings, has worn me out.  Could I actually be anticipating fall and winter with joy?  I have never looked forward to winter in Colorado before, even though I'm a native.   I'm not a skier, though I've tried.   Cold chills me to the bone and I don't warm up until June.  And I'd rather do anything than drive in the snow.  Because this summer was one of the hottest on record and we have no air conditioning,  I feel I've accomplished nothing.  I can't think when it's hot!  I can't quilt or paint or knit.  Or even write, which is what I love most.  No ideas cross my mind, no clever phrases brush my brain, not a single light bulb moment.  

So today my desire was to at least clean up the files on my iPad, I came across this picture from our trip to Moab in May.  It's The Three Gossips in Arches National Park.  They look like I've felt...unmoving, unknowing, turned at last to stone.  Then I looked down at the first entry at the bottom of the message column and the date is 12/31/69.  What?  We didn't have a computer in '69, let alone an iPad that hadn't been invented.  My son would have been 7 days old and now he's 42.  After the date, it reads:  No Sender, No Subject, No Content.  Ahhhh.  Just as I've felt this summer, but where did that message come from?  I wanted to show it to my husband when he came upstairs, and it was gone!  Where did it go?  I don't make these things up, I'm not smart enough for that.  A total mystery.

Well, Julie, the point of my 'skittery' message is that I'm still scattered.  And possibly losing my mind, since the message from no one, that had no subject or content is gone.   I can only pray that the cooler weather that surely will come soon will once more melt my mind of stone, and words will flow as once they did.  (At least, I have more hope than The Gossips!)  Judy

Monday, September 3, 2012

A skittery mind

                                                       Harvest time near Dusty, WA
My mind has been extremely skittery these days, perhaps like the fly that escaped from the closed-in window space.  I could write about my 17-year-old granddaughter, who last night wowed the high school audience as the lead in “Becky’s New Car.”  (How did she get to be so grown-up?)  Or I could write about the peaches we were given, and the pie my husband loves; or another granddaughter’s quilt top that I finally finished this week.  Or I could write about the farm, where we were again this summer.  I will not give any particulars about this last because our book is full of them, probably ad nauseum. 

It is indeed a vivid, so satisfying experience to be on the combine with my nephew or my brother, looking at the header slurping up the wheat, checking the level of grain in the bulk tank, watching the hilly skyline shimmering in the heat, and then seeing the wheat dump plenteously from the combine auger into the truck.  And still strange and beautiful, to know this particular ground is mine and Darrel’s, given by my father, representing many years of his hard work, and his love for his children.  I have done nothing to deserve it.  I now understand a bit better the great gift our God has given us.  At least I can explore the same feelings of having done nothing to deserve the gift, except to receive it.  What if I had been stupid enough to say no, I won’t take this land as mine.  I would not get any money from it, nor be a part of the family enterprise.  I think it would be the same, in microcosm, as saying, “No, God, I don’t want to be your child, don’t want your love, don’t want your riches, don’t want to an heir in your kingdom.  I’ll just go on without you.”  It would be a terrible chance to take, wouldn’t it?