Be Careful What You Wish For…

Yesterday in the midst of my Monday, we got a phone call.

My daughter answered (because it was her phone), got a weird expression on her face and said, “I don’t know.  Why don’t you ask my Mom.”  She then preceded to hand the phone to me.

I didn’t take it.  You know why?  Because when the conversation starts like that, I get concerned.  Her phone, her friend, and she wants me to handle it.  What could go wrong?  Remember, this is the Monday I wrote about yesterday where everything seemed to go awry.

Be careful what you wish for…

If you recall, I’ve shared on this blog about my desire to live a simpler, more intentional life.  I’m getting rid of stuff.  Living with less. We’re attempting to leave less of a “footprint” on the planet.  We’re recycling again.  We are transitioning to a more whole food diet that includes less chemicals, additives, processing and packaging.  Getting healthier, losing weight, exercising more.

The whole lifestyle reboot.  Sounds good, right?

Back to the phone call…

“We have a hog.  Do you want it?”

I reply, “Ummmmmm, a hog?”

There is silence.

“A friend of mine shot a wild hog on his property and doesn’t want the meat.  Do you want it?  It weighs about 60 lbs.”

I should note at this point that wild hogs are a big problem in these parts.  They are destructive, dangerous and have no natural predators.  They are overpopulating and just not nice creatures at all.

I ask tentatively, “Has he cleaned it?”

“Oh yea, he skinned it and gutted it.”

Now, I’ll add that my oldest daughter has been to culinary school and studies Food Service Mangement at College.  My husband majored and degreed in Animal Science.  I like pork.  Therefore, our family has the skills it needs to deal with this.

So now, we are off with our giant ice chest to go get a hog.  A whole, uncut, unprocessed hog.

I don’t know about simple, but you can’t get much more natural than that.  From land to table in I don’t even know how many steps…but I’m about to learn.

Addendum:  I’m not really into hunting myself.  I don’t have a problem with it for others as long as you aren’t doing it just for sport.  If you kill it, you better eat it or find someone who will.  We’re not vegetarians, but as a family we don’t eat much meat at all.  It’s too expensive and we have problems with the way animals are treated in today’s food cycle.  I guess this is our next step.

Equilibrium

I’m feeling a bit of balance returning to my life today.  The world has receded a bit and my focus is fully on my little life.  For many reasons.

Calamities abound today – doesn’t that often seem to be the case on Monday?

My daughter who sunburns under the light of a refrigerator bulb actually used sunscreen yesterday and managed to get it in her eye.  Said eye is now red and swollen.  I won’t share photos or her name because the photo is kinda gross and I wouldn’t want to embarrass her any more than I already am.

The dryer is once again making that thumpa, thumpa noise.

And the washer is joining in with a horrible, metallic, continuous grinding noise.  I’ve been informed by my appliance repair person (oldest daughter) that the springs that balance the drum are shot and need to be replaced.  Not happening this pay period or the next…

(You might be thinking…just don’t use them if they are that obnoxious.  That is a valid consideration EXCEPT that almost everyone is out of clean underwear and I do have certain standards that I try to adhere to.)

I’m not even going to mention the sound the refrigerator is making because I’m pretending that I can’t hear it.

All in all, my home sounds like the cacophony when an orchestra is tuning up.  Even my basset hound is having trouble sleeping through it and bassets can sleep through anything except the sound of food being prepared or served.

There is actually more going on, but I’ve probably shared enough as it is.

Someone posted on this on facebook the other day:  “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”

So true.

By comparison to some my problems today are small.  Not a big deal at all.  I can hand-wash underwear.  We’ve got health insurance now so my daughter can go to a doctor if need be.

There’s always going to be problems of some kind or another.

And there’s always going to be something to be grateful for…to celebrate.  You’ve just got to keep you eyes open (or one eye as the case may be) and appreciate the good stuff.

Equilibrium.

Making Art

First of all – since my husband so very kindly shared this on facebook already – the broom has been found.  It was right behind the very desk that I typed the missing broom post at.  It was leaning against the wall.  If I’d simply turned around, I would have seen it.

I suppose there is an entire post or commentary there:  what we need (or want) is often right there with us, but we keep searching far and wide for it, unaware of it’s proximity.

But, that’s not what today’s post is about.

Today, I want to take a moment to reflect on an important lesson I have learned (am learning) this week.  It’s a bit about who I am, where I belong, and what I need to be doing…

The world is a mighty big place.  There are a lot of things wrong in it.  There are a lot of things right about it.  There are unlimited causes to fight for.  Injustices that are great and small.  Some exist on a world scale and some are in our own homes.  Some we know about because they are “in our face” on the news, in social media, in conversation at every turn.  Some we never hear about for whatever reason.  Some we embrace and some we ignore.

Sometimes we choose to fight for a cause because it is deeply personal for us.  It affects us directly or someone we know.

We might be drawn to an issue for reasons we don’t understand.

In any case, I believe it is important to work for social justice – to stand for something – to work towards making the world a better place.  For everyone.

I try to do that in my own little way.  I often believe that I don’t do enough. That I should be doing more and trying harder.

But, we can’t all do great and powerful things.  We aren’t all going to make the news carrying protest signs.  We can’t all be heroes (for lack of a better word).

Kudos to those who do.  We need heroes.

It’s equally important to have those who work behind the lines.  Those who do the little things that make a difference.  Some will never be known for the work they did – a  small act of kindness that multiplied into something much more for example.  Every person plays their part – the laundry always has to be done, the dishes washed, the trash picked up, and the meals prepared.  I don’t know that there is any honest work that should be downplayed or deemed less important than any other.

My lesson this week is as follows…

I “jumped” into social media this week and made a statement.  The issue, the statement, the consequences or lack thereof aren’t really relevant to this discussion.  I don’t regret doing so.  But, I am suffering the consequences.  Maybe suffering isn’t the correct word.  Perhaps I should say, I am experiencing the consequences.  Old wounds have been opened and I am dealing with old hurts and pain that I thought I had already dealt with and put to rest.  This isn’t totally a bad thing.  I believe that we need to deal with our emotions and feelings in order to grow and fully develop.

I’m just weary, anxious and somewhat depressed. I’m tired and stressed.  Dealing with the emotions (mine and others) is exhausting.  Thinking carefully about what I want to say and making sure it is clear and to the point – and that it won’t be misunderstood.  Considering both sides of the situation and being considerate and compassionate about those involved.  Playing nice when others don’t.  Letting the angry words go because I understand the anger is rooted in hurt and pain. Dealing with the frustration when someone can’t see that their words are unfair and just plain mean.

Sometimes something will seem so obvious to me – and it seems like nobody else can see it.  I try hard to be open to the fact that they are thinking the same of me.

I’m feeling out of place, exposed and vulnerable.

I just want to wrap myself in a safe cocoon.

I just want to go into my studio and make something.

And that, more and more, seems to be where I belong. Behind the scenes making art. A more solitary existence.  Speaking through my work.  Sometimes it makes a statement.  Sometimes it illustrates a story.  Sometimes it makes me feel better.  Sometimes it makes a point.  Sometimes it just is…

I’ve been told that I write well.  That I speak well.  That I argue/discuss/debate well.  Maybe so.  I don’t know for sure.

I do know that just because you can do something – doesn’t mean that you necessarily should.

Just because you can say something – doesn’t mean that you should.

And it doesn’t mean that I never will again.

But for right now, I’m going to go into my studio and make some art.

The Broom

…is missing.  I know I have a broom because I used it yesterday.  Okay, maybe not yesterday, but I have swept a floor – in this house – since we moved in nine or so years ago.

Is the Guinness Book of World Records online?  I’m interested to know what’s the longest recorded length of time it has taken to find a  broom in a normal sized house.  I might be getting close – 46 minutes.  Yep, that’s right.  My house is a little bit lived in right now, but it’s not going to be featured on a hoarding show anytime soon.

I just can’t find the damn broom.  I’ve wandered through every room although I’m certain it wouldn’t be in any of the kids’ rooms.  Why would it?  That would mean that they attempted to sweep their rooms.  And that would be impossible because you would have to see the floor in order to sweep it.  (Love you all, but you really do need to clean your rooms)

It’s not outside in any logical place – like on the porches for instance.

Maybe it’s a sign that I’m not supposed to sweep today.  Yep, that must be it.

It’s official.  Housework is done for the day.

I did de-clutter our classroom (again).  I went through every single item one at a time and made a decision on it.  Planning has begun for the next school year.  My last child and she’s going into Junior High.  All the elementary stuff is going away to be shared.

Except the crayons. You can never outgrow crayons.  And maybe the construction paper.  And maybe a few (thirty) picture books that she’s not ready to part with yet.

But the rest?  We’re moving into the big time around here!

Three boxes to the thrift store.  One bag in the trash.  A ton of paper shredded to begin a new life as chicken and rabbit bedding.

Maybe the broom is under the clothes in the laundry room…

One of Those Days?

My dryer is making a really strange sound…a thumpa, thumpa, clank sound.  Almost like there’s a shoe in it, but there’s not.  I’m going to pretend like it isn’t making any sound at all.

I tried to balance my finances today.  I use an online program called YNAB (You Need a Budget).  I really like it (as much as I can like anything that has to do with numbers).  It reconciled yesterday.  There are two new transactions to deal with today.  I entered the transactions.  I can’t find any mistakes.  The numbers aren’t working.  It won’t reconcile.  Really?  I know I’m not good at math, but REALLY?  I’m going to pretend like it all worked out.  There’s enough money to cover the weird difference and that’s good enough.

I wasn’t supposed to go out of the house and work today.  I was excited about having an uninterrupted day at home to get things together.  Now, I have to go work.  I’m going to pretend like the plan was always to go out and work, and that my plans didn’t get changed.  I didn’t lose the time to get caught up because I never had it in the first place.

It seems like it’s going to be one of “those” days.

I’ve also gotten caught up in the “world” this week and seem to have lost my balance  (in a matter of speaking).  I’ve gotten way more involved and political then I like and have let events interfere with the things that bring me joy and peace.  Sort of like a giant step backwards.

Don’t get me wrong – I believe in standing up for what I believe in and that I should be involved in the world – I just can’t let it overwhelm me.  I tend to want to “fix” things and don’t always maintain a realistic view of what I can (or should) do.

So, I’m going to take a break from reality (the news) for a while and pretend like nothing much is happening.  The big ole’ world out there should keep spinning without me well enough.

I’m going to refocus on my little spot on the planet – my home, my family, my friends…and myself.

Thoughts on a Sleepless Night

I struggled with going to sleep last night.  Finally just got up and started jotting down the random stuff floating around in my brain.  Tired and underenthused about dealing with life today…

“Welcome to the innerworkings of my mind”…for what it’s worth here’s a sampling of my thoughts:

  • Just because you don’t agree with someone doesn’t mean they are wrong (or right) – it just means you don’t agree with them.
  • “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
  • How much money is it going to cost to try and remove Robert E. Lee’s name and image from schools’ and everywhere else?  Maybe we could find a better use for that money?
  • Not all racists are violent.  Not all Muslims are terrorists.  Not all “whites” are entitled.  Not all of Mexican heritage are illegal.  I could go on and on.  Maybe we should just start treating people like people.
  • Maybe some people just need to get over themselves.  Your childhood sucked.  I’m sorry.  That was then.  This is now.  When are you going to make it your life and start living it?  Sitting in the past and feeling sorry for yourself is stupid.  This applies to everyone including myself.  Get a life, literally.
  • Sometimes people can do great things in their life and bad things.  The bad doesn’t always cancel out the good.  That’s a good thing ’cause I can’t think of a single perfect person I know.  We can try to tear down our heroes by pointing out their flaws all day long.  All that does is leave us with nothing.  Maybe we could just acknowledge that a human can do something great and heroic and then screw up.
  • Speaking of heroes…let’s bad mouth Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee, Martin Luther King Jr., the police officer next door, and anyone else you can think of who actually tried or is trying to make the world a better place (whether you agree with them or not) and let’s exalt “celebrities” who are actually doing jack-shit except having a big butt or getting drunk or doing nothing whatsoever that is productive.
  • I like my chickens.  I could watch them for hours.  They have a very interesting social order.  They get along beautifully.  They may not be very smart, but they learn from their mistakes.  If you acquire two groups of chickens at different times (they weren’t grouped together as very young chicks), they will never really socialize together well.  They may hang out together and fight over the same grasshopper, but in the end, they prefer their own grouping.
  • Having the right of free speech doesn’t mean you need to exercise it all the time.  It’s also good to know when to keep your mouth shut.  There’s a difference between standing up for you believe in and just “stirring the pot” to get a response from people. While some folks are making a lot of noise, others are quietly actually doing something about the problem.
  • No matter how bad you think your life is here in These United States of America, you are still probably better off than a lot of others living somewhere else.
  • There is always going to be someone who is “better off than you”.  There is no such thing as having it all.  Anyone who is ridiculously wealthy or powerful  sacrificed something in order to get where they are.  They may be looking at your life and wanting something you have.
  • Why do some things ignite a passionate outcry among people – and other things just fade away in the news.  Thousands of garment workers die in Bangledesh factories and yet we keep buying cheap T-shirts.  Good men and women working as police officers die doing their job and we only make a big deal of their “victims”.  Soldiers die serving their country and we never hear their names.  Thousands of people die around the world because they are trying to worship as they believe, but nine seem to outnumber them.
  • We spend more time and resources arguing over terminology and semantics than we do really trying to solve the problem at hand.  Hate crime?  Terrorism?  Isn’t the taking of a life hateful and terrifying enough?  Do we have to define it further?  Murder is wrong.  No matter who does it.  Or why.  Wrong.

There you have it.  When it’s all in writing, I can see why I was having trouble going to sleep.

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that lots of good stuff happened in the world today.

An Idea

I’ve got an idea.

Let’s cut through the bullshit, the rhetoric, the politics, the divisiveness, the “funny” social media postings that are really just offensive….

And let’s just support one ideal.

ALL LIVES MATTER.

What to do?

What do you do at Faithacre on a sunny afternoon when the rain finally stops for a bit…and you get a great deal on a re-conditioned lawn mower?

Well, you start mowing down the knee-high grass that’s taken over your over an acre yard…

and you realize that the grasshoppers are thriving in the rain and wild grass…

and you think…hmmm, I have twelve chicks that are eating me out of house and home…

and you know that if you could let the chicks loose they would have a lot of fun chasing down those grasshoppers (but you can’t because they aren’t old enough to fend for themselves yet and they would be impossible to catch again…

so, you and your kids run around like crazy people catching grasshoppers (some might even have screamed when they touched the grasshoppers at first)…IMAG0843

and then you throw the grasshoppers into the chicken coop…

and settle down to watch the show!IMAG0853

Now, the chickens run up to greet me when I go to their coop.  I know they just want the grasshoppers, but I’m going to pretend they like me.

And, you have the satisfaction of practicing ecologically sound insect control, getting exercise and saving money – all at the same time.