Sometimes when I am going about my day, this blog writes itself in my head.  It’s not a planned thing.  The words just start appearing.  And then they start multiplying and rearranging themselves in proper order.

Sometimes there is a rabbit trail of thought which I store for another day.  Sometimes I remember the alternate post, but sometimes not.  I don’t worry too much about it.

I’m learning to trust the process and believe that the important stuff will reappear at the appropriate time.  I rarely sit down without a piece already started in my head, but do occasionally if nothing has presented itself for a while.

I think those times of writing “drought” may be an indication that I’m too busy and not listening to myself…not allowing enough time for thoughts and dreams and ideas…or that they are being drowned out by too much busyness and reality.

And that thought has led me inadvertently to my slogan, theme, or plan for the next year…

I started making an intentional focus for the new year a couple of years ago.

The first idea was “to be the change I wished to see in my world”.

Last year was “turn my cants into cans and my dreams into plans”.

This year I think I’m going with “Re-think, Re-imagine, and Reflect.

These are the words that have been running through my head the last couple of days.

Now I have the words I’m going to use.  The exact details aren’t clear, but I’m going to spend some time with a journal this week and think about and imagine the possibilities…

As for today, I’ve decided to start my new year now.

It is a beautiful day…warm and spring-like…it feels like a beginning.

The bees are busily buzzing on my front porch looking for any jasmine flowers that made it through the last freeze.

Lots and lots of tiny birds are flying from a thicket that edges my yard to the bird feeder hanging by my front window.

As I was standing quietly on the porch the bees and birds flew past me going about their business.  The buzzing bees and humming wings were the only sounds I heard.

How many times have I missed this scene outside my own door?

How many times has the noise of my life been all that I’ve heard?

It bothers me that my focus is so much on what is going on right around me and that I don’t spend enough time looking and listening and being still…

Today is a new day.

It’s a good day for beginning anew…for thinking, imagining and reflecting.

Today will be spent creating order from the chaos that is leftover from the Christmas festivities and creating pages in a new journal.

Today will be spent ridding myself of some clutter…both physical and mental.

Today will be spent in some busyness and some idleness.

Seeking balance.



Alliteration is Good…unless it’s Saturday’s Snake

We’ve had a very wet spring season following an unusually warm winter.  As a result, the news has been full of dire snake warnings and reports of snakes in homes.  Ugh.

Kind of everyone’s worst nightmare unless you are one of those weird people who like snakes.  Some reptiles are okay – even interesting – from a distance.  One or two are even okay up close.  Snakes are horrible.  I’m not going to apologize or try to understand snake lovers, at all.  I understand, intellectually, the necessity of snakes in the whole ecosystem thing.  I don’t want to exist peaceably with them.  I want them to live somewhere else.  If they venture into my world…they will die.  They have their space – somewhere else.  I have mine.  I really, really, really don’t like snakes.

Last night, when my youngest went out to lock the chicken house, she heard a rustling in the leaves and saw a snake.  With relative calm, she came to let me know.  I encouraged her (shrieking) to go tell her Dad.  There are, after all, women’s jobs and men’s jobs.  Snakes – definitely man work.

Husband deftly shot the head right off of that 5+ foot rat snake.  End of story, right?

Tonight, youngest daughter quietly suggested that it might be my turn to shut up the chickens.  Sure, no problem.  Son bravely volunteered to accompany me armed with his sword:  A Dunedain chieftain’s longsword that was used by Aragon.  Not the actual sword, but a replica.  Inwardly I was laughing at him.  As I was locking up the chickens, he asked why we had left the snake in the netting surrounding the chicken yard.

I replied that the snake had been thrown way across the yard to be part of the ecosystem – to be eaten by some kind of predator farther up the food chain.

He replied that this had obviously not happened as the snake was right there in front of him.

Sure enough, there was another snake.

Oldest daughter comes to the rescue with the shotgun.  Son and oldest daughter argue over who will shoot the snake.  I will spare you the ensuing lengthy discussion (argument) between siblings.  Oldest daughter shoots snake with the double barrel shotgun.  Son claims she missed and she claims she winged him.  To be fair, the snake had a very small head.  It was dark.  It is unclear whether she mortally wounded the snake.  Son hacked at the snake’s head with his sword.  Son’s friend removed the snake’s head with a bowie knife.  I’m pretty sure the snake was dead at that point.

During this process, I have called husband at work.  He is listening to the play-by-play commentary by youngest daughter as she sits in the house watching through the window.

He repeatedly asks what kind of snake it is.  It was hard to tell at this point.  Remember, it was dark outside and the snake was not in one piece anymore.  Closer examination of the corpse revealed it to be another rat snake.

A cleansing ceremony with fire has completed the evenings’ events.  The snake has been doused with lighter fluid, cremated and finished off with a fire extinguisher.

Oldest daughter is online looking for ways to discourage snakes from taking up residence around here.  A brainstorming session came up with numerous possible solutions including ordering mongoose urine online.  I’m encouraging further research.

Decluttered today:

  1. a snake
  2. more construction left-overs
  3. a shirt
  4. a pile of cardboard boxes saved for some unknown future use
  5. a bowl

The Great Chicken Massacre of 2015

Sigh.  Yesterday was a really hard day.  I didn’t share the tragic event (not sarcasm) because I wasn’t sure if it was something to share.  But it happened and it sucked and it relates to my circle of life posting and to my life as a parent.

We shall refer to this event as The Great Chicken Massacre of 2015.  (Great as in large and not awesome.)

Yesterday morning I went out to open up our chicken coop and to let our eight chickens out for their day.  It was pretty quiet.  That’s unusual.  I don’t get up as early as chickens do and they are usually not happy about that.  I opened the door and only two flew out – Raptor and Savage.  (Yes, they all have names courtesy of the children)

It took me a minute to figure out what the hell had happened.  I even poked one of the chickens to wake it up.  Chickens don’t lay down to sleep.  Sometimes we just don’t want to believe what we are seeing.  Two alive.  Two dead.  Two missing.  Two injured beyond the possibility of recovery.

I hate raccoons.  I understand the whole circle of life thing.  I understand that chickens will be chickens and raccoons just gotta be raccoons.  I hate them.  I’ll never understand killing for killing sake.  Just because.  Not for hunger.  Not out of need.  Just because you can.

By the way, the pacifist in me was quashed by the maternal, protective instinct in me.  Said raccoon has gone wherever dead raccoons go.  Around here it’s an open field away from the house where he can become part of the freaking circle of life and be buzzard breakfast.

The coop has been fortified.  Chickens have short memories.  The surviving two are no longer looking for the rest of the flock.

And, after having to explain the whole mess to my twelve year old who spends time reading to, talking to and hanging out with her birds, we ended up with 15 chicks.  In the house.  At the beginning of winter.  Chicks who won’t be able to go outside to live for months.  Chicks that chirp – all the time.  Chicks that eat all the time.  Chicks that poop even more than they chirp and eat.  Chicks that have to be under a warming light that warms up said poop.  Probably sufficient explanation of the insanity of getting chicks in November.

They are really, really cute though.  The naming process has begun. I have no idea how the kids can tell them apart to know which is which.  Chickens aren’t very good at responding to their name when called so it’s probably a mute point.  Come to think of it, kids aren’t very good at responding to their names and we name them.

On the decluttering front for today:

  1. 3 shirts that do nothing to make me look like a supermodel.  (I’m aware that none of my shirts have the ability to make that happen, but these three are serious fails)
  2. an inflatable cowboy costume that includes a horse that you appear to be riding on.  No explanation for the declutter really needed.
  3. a sweater that has more pills than my medicine cabinet
  4. a fitted sheet.  I already have two sets and although I can fold a fitted sheet (thanks Mom), I don’t want to so I just wash ’em and put them right back on
  5. an oscillating fan that doesn’t oscillate.  It just sits in one place and clicks incessantly as it tries to move.  Annoying to say the least.

As I read back over this list, I wonder why I ever kept these things to begin with.  Sometimes I have no words.

And if you are better at math than I am – 6 chickens gone and 15 coming in means that I actually now have more today than yesterday.  I’m coming to realize that the numbers aren’t so important.  It’s having only what you need and want that counts.

Nature Girl, I’m Not.

Ah, springtime in Central Texas.  It’s surprising that at my age I am still learning who I am as a human being.  This spring I have definitively learned that I am not “Nature Girl”.

I like the outdoors as much as the next person, I suppose.  I don’t like weather extremes…meaning that I don’t like shivering and sweating.  I enjoy a beautiful yard and garden more than I enjoy the work that goes into making it happen, but I’m willing to labor (within reason).

However, there are some aspects of nature that I can do without.

I was okay when the bat fell onto my shoulder from the ceiling of my local “big box” retailer.  It had found refuge during our last cold spell and found the high ceilings to its liking.

I’m learning to live with Cornelia the bird.

Yesterday’s brown recluse has been safely dispatched to wherever “smashed and pulverized beyond all recognition” dead spiders go.

Today’s creature has driven me back inside to safely watch the less scary “Supernatural” series on Netflix.  I would rather battle a demon than the snake my son found slinking and slithering through our yard.  We do live in the country, but enough is enough.  The only good snake in my world is a dead snake.  I know, I know.  Snakes are an important part of the world’s eco-system.  They are essential to the balance of nature.  I don’t care.  They need to live somewhere else.  This yard ain’t big enough for the both of us.

Farewell, Mr. Rattler
Farewell, Mr. Rattler

Luckily my next door neighbor is an excellent shot.  She shot that sucker dead.  Three times just to be sure.  She may be the only person who hates snakes more than me.  She is a very good neighbor indeed.