Friday, December 20, 2013

Balls and Smiles, Give

Big balls, little balls. Hard balls, soft balls. Red balls, green balls, white balls, blue balls, pink balls. Shiny balls, fluffy balls. Whats a guy to do...

There I was searching shelves and racks for a gift I wanted to buy. Well there were two ladies looking at balls and discussing them. Holding some in their hands and remarking on them. Now tell me, how could I not laugh when one said, these balls are so soft and fluffy?

With them giving me strange looks I said, I only have old Shiny Bright balls. They too busted out laughing.

I haven't even gotten my tree and decorated it.
I did set out other decorations, did hang decorations, even my glass balls in the windows. Not the tree though.

After starting to buy at least one new glass ornament each year years ago, I'm now finding it hard to find and purchase glass ornaments. This year even Hallmark didn't have much of a selection.

Used to, when I started out, hang them in the tree. I managed to gather so many over the years that it became too much for the tree. So the old fool that I am thought how nice they would look hanging in the windows when the sun would come up and shine on them. With ornaments of clear glass and colored glass they twinkle and glisten as the suns rays shine through or reflect off of them.

Sadly I guess I may have to find a new hobby for the holidays if the stores are not going to carry them or someone doesn't start making them any longer...

Another holiday hobby I have is to buy a gift for someone I really don't know. This year a little girl who has a single mother who doesn't have a very good job but at least makes an effort, will be receiving a gift from Santa.

We can all do that.
Spread the joy by making sure some child has a toy or something that their parents just can't afford. We all know people in bad situations who have children and struggle to keep them in the things they need but really don't have the money for extras.
Heck, how much would it hurt you to spend and extra forty dollars or so to get that child a gift that will make them smile?

When I drop that gift on their doorstep, I also intend to drop off a ham and some groceries for a Christmas dinner. After all, with the store specials even a small ham and the fixens don't cost that much.

I'm not wealthy. Some months I struggle too. There have been times in my life I've had to do without or accept less than I wanted. There are times over the years that a Santa would somehow grace me. People who just helped because they saw need and poured help from their hearts.
They put a smile on may face.

Now I find that doing things like I mentioned before puts an even wider smile on my face. A warmer smile, a smile from sharing and caring.
A smile that spreads smiles to others who are having a hard time smiling.

People don't believe in Santa anymore. I say Santa lives on in the hearts and souls of all of us who are willing to put forth a little effort. Who are willing to part with a few dollars and a little time while we're already out shopping anyway.

There are people in every community who are having a tough time. Finding them is just a matter of opening your ears and listening.
Please join me.

Give one child at least one day of a year, a smile that will last in their heart for their entire life.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Snowstorm in my mind

I certainly wasn't the worst snowstorm I can recall. Maybe a little early in the winter for a snowstorm, maybe early for it to be so cold, but we only got about seven inches of snow over the weekend.
It was enough to keep many shoppers out of the stores though, as I suspected it would. Not me.

In the end of October I bought a new four wheel drive SUV. It's a Nissan Pathfinder. It's so loaded with electronic junk I wasn't sure if it was good or bad. I've had it for several tries through dry and wet fields. Tried it and played with it in a light snow we had during November. I picked up a new trailer with it so I can haul the bigger things I used to haul in the pickup. It even handles that well. I think I have all the electronic gadgets figured out.

This weekend the roads were covered with slick snow and some ice. I went ahead and did my Christmas gift shopping. I kinda thought the weather may keep many from venturing out to the stores and where I went, I was right. The parking lots were only about a quarter full. One could walk the isles without ducking for cover because of inconsiderate people. Being not a huge fan of shopping I certainly appreciated that. The few people I did speak to were full of happiness and smiles just like me. What a relief.

I climbed up and over the mountain on the slick snow covered roads just fine. Not once, but twice in the same day. Traveled some four lane highways that were slick with snow and ice. Traveled the back roads covered with up to six inches of snow and even had to bust some small foot deep drifts on my own road. Navigated my long drive that has all the snow that has fallen with about two inches of ice underneath. That Pathfinder did a wonderful job. And that's coming from someone who drove big pickups during the winter! This thing did less spinning and handled better than any of the huge four wheel drive pickups I've owned and driven over the years. I do doubt though that it will bust through six foot snow drifts. Doubt too that I will even try.

So now that this new fangled buggy of mine has impressed me and put my mind at ease and the Christmas shopping is almost done. My thoughts are turning to my intended trip in February.

It'll be interesting to try that buggy on the highways from here in the snowy mountains of Pennsylvania to Southern Indiana where I'll spend a week or two. Then on to Nashville for maybe a day, maybe longer if I see some place I'd like to fish. Then to Chattanooga for a day or so. And then on down to see a dear old friend I haven't laid eyes on in fourteen years in central Florida where I intend to spend a week and am sure I'll do some fishing.

I've told my kids I'll be gone at “least” three weeks.
Hey, I have nothing better to do but get out and about since it's nasty and cold here during the winters. If I find places where it's a little warmer that I feel like fishing, I'll stay longer and fish. If the back gets to bothering me along the way too much, I'll just check in somewhere and stay a few days and relax.

Kinda wish I had someone to take the trip with me, but... What's meant to be will be.
I'm sure I can find people to laugh and smile with. I do that every time I'm out anyway. I'm sure I can find people to just sit and talk with along the way and hear some stories about their lives. I do that too when I'm out.

These plans are all just loose plans. If I should meet someone I'd like to hear more stories about life from I just may linger longer. If any of the people I've had the pleasure of getting to know on line who live within reason of my planned route wouldn't mind meeting me in person I just might pay them a visit.

It may get cold in the south, but it's no where near the below zero weeks we have here and I'll be more than happy to extend my trip.
What might be tough to do is return here if I hear it's still below zero cold with snow measured in feet.

And I just may have found someone, or my son has, that I can coax with a few dollars to start my garden seeds for next spring so that won't be eating on my mind while away.

Yup, there are loose plans to be made, routes to be determined and fishin waters to be seeked out.
And I'm sure many smiles to be shared along the way.

I'm not going to live forever, so why not.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Rambling Cold Thoughts

Twenty degrees below normal...
That's where the temperatures here lately have been hovering.
I think I need to build a sauna! Big enough to have my entire house in it.

Rowdy, remember Rowdy? The bed stealing monster that was such a cut little puppy two years ago. The one who now has grown into a snack begging horse.
Well it's so cold that even Rowdy doesn't want to venture out the door into his huge yard to take care of business. Even the opportunity to bark at deer, bunnies, pheasants and the chickens won't entice him to spend more time than absolutely necessary outdoors.
Even Lakai the red nose pitt bull and cohort of Rowdy refuses to wonder out for more than a few minutes at a time.

When I feed them during the mornings and then open the door and tell them to go they just look at me with that are you serious look. Begrudgingly, with tails hanging low they pass by me and onto the porch. Before jumping off of the porch into their yard they turn and look with a please don't make us do this look in their eyes.
I told them though that if they learn to use the toilet I won't make them go out.

Their water bucket has been frozen for a few weeks now.
I had emptied it but some rain had filled it one evening and overnight it froze solid and has stayed that way ever since.

Now when I put them out they don't wonder their yard searching for critters and things to bark at. Instead they quickly take care of business and scurry into the hay filled dog house. Yes house, not houses.
About an hour later I open their gate and they come rushing back in like lightning.

They have two houses filled with hay, but they both cram their huge bodies into one dog house. Not a dumb move when you consider they help keep each other warm that way.
It'd be nice if I had someone to help keep me warm too. Instead I have to rely on the electric blanket...

This is the time of year when being single does get to be it's loneliest.
Less daylight, we're down to about ten hours a day now. Less time outdoors working or wondering through the fields and woods.
More time to spend looking at walls and wishing they could talk.
More time cooking much more food than one person can eat before having to toss moldy masses and globs into the wood burner. Darned wood burner won't even tell you it tastes good...

This weekend though with more snow predicted, maybe six inches, it may be time for me to get it in gear and do that thing I dread. Christmas gift shopping. With a snowstorm predicted for tomorrow there may be less people wondering out to the stores.

Probably by next weekend the sales will be close to their highest and the prices close to their lowest, but the weather might get nicer and bring out more people to shop for the last minute deals. So paying a little more this weekend instead of dealing with hordes of people next weekend just might be my best option.

That way I can keep my smile while I get the gift buying for the grandkids done.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Come Back Santa

Just why is it so many people say they don't want to lie to their children by telling them Santa is real?

Some of those same people wear push up bras. Some wear padded bras. Some even go to a surgeon and get implants. Some have surgical procedures done to make them look younger. Is any of that real?

Some wear shoes which make them look taller. Some spend more than they can actually afford to buy fancy cars so they look well off. Some spend ridiculous amounts on clothes that make them look like something they're not. Many purchase expensive fancy jewelry to make them look like what they are not. Is that real?

At least Santa was based on fact of Saint Nicholas. He had a reputation of secret gift giving which led to the role model of Santa Claus.
That is much closer to real than people who live fake lives.

Maybe the reason we have to spend so much wasted time shopping at this time of year is because we have hurt Santa's feelings. Possibly he's sitting at the North Pole sobbing in his depression because so many people are denying his existence.


I don't like trekking to the stores over snow and ice covered roads to toil for hours to find gifts I think someone will like. I dislike the bloodsport of holiday shopping. Don't like the gladiator event of finding a parking spot and having some ignorant, I don't care about nobody but me, butthead steal that spot just as I'm about to pull in.

I disapprove of the feeling I get seeing people capable of walking take the disabled spots close to the door just because they are lazy and feel so entitled. I am disabled. Yet I know many who are much more disabled than myself. Even I don't take those parking spaces set aside for those who have not got the ability to get around well.

I for one would love to see shopping centers and malls buy their own tow trucks and hire full time employees to man them, who would tow the vehicles of those who can walk without difficulty when they park there.
Would appreciate if those ignoramuses would have to pay for the towing, the storage of their vehicles and have to pay a thousand dollar fine. The fine could go to paying for the tow trucks and employees who man them.

So maybe if we all apologize to Santa, maybe if we all leave him an extra large plate of cookies, maybe if we send him some love, just maybe he'll start bringing more gifts so I don't have to wonder out in this nasty weather to the malls to find gifts.

It's worth a try isn't it? : )

OK, I've got to start making a list now.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Baby it's cold outside

Winter seems to have moved in early this year and I am not happy about that.
Normally we get a few light snows but it stays warm enough that they melt and it's still nice enough to want to work outdoors.
Want being the key word.

I certainly recall early snows that would accumulate up over the knees. Even then it wasn't this cold. Or, am I just getting soft in my old age...
My joints in my fingers ache. My knees ache. My right hip is almost too much to take.

I recall days of hanging siding in a snowstorm that closed the state and local governments down. I can remember having to break ice and sweep snow from scaffolding while working to be able to keep working. I know of a time we had to sweep snow as we laid shingles on a roof.

I have fond memories of taking hikes in the snow. Cross country skiing. Coaxing the kids out and building snowmen and women. Digging tunnels in the snow. Sled riding, toboggan riding, laughing and playing in the cold as if it didn't exist.

Now it seems all I want to do when the cold comes is hibernate indoors.

So what does one do when they refuse to wonder out into the icy chill?
For me over the weekend it was reading recipes for many kinds of stuffed mushrooms.
I like stuffed mushrooms, so it just made sense to me to play with them and come up with ones I could call my own.

Well I had to make a trip out in the cold so I could pick up a few things I didn't have and some I don't normally keep around here.
Even trying to handle the steering wheel was painful for my aging fingers, but I toughed it out recalling days before power steering and wondering how that would feel on old fingers that have been abused over many years.

Remembering some vehicles that blew no more than tepid air when the heater was blasting. Thinking how many times I had to scrape ice from the inside of windshields just to be able to see the road while driving. Even remembering the time a side window got broken and I had to drive with snow falling and high wind blowing just to get home to the garage so I could work on it.

It never seemed rough back then. Matter of fact there were many laughs while doing those things. Times of looking for reasons to venture out in the cold in search of adventures to thrill the mind.

Now! I'm looking for any excuse NOT to venture into the cold and snow.

Heck I'm even beginning to think about starting a pick up and delivery service for groceries and stuff and hiring people just so I can have someone to do that for me while I sit at home and languish in the heat from the furnace and wood burner.

So here I am, dreaming of a green Christmas and seriously thinking about just driving south past all my usual haunts and not stopping until I get to some place with a warm climate where people don't know what a winter coat even looks like.

Anyway, I tried three of my ideas. Sausage stuffed, Cheese and spinach stuffed and beef and spinach stuffed mushrooms. I even invited my daughter and the grandkids over to sample them. My son was already here, I swear he smells me cooking from 20 miles away and always shows up when there's something tasty to eat.

Well they all liked my latest treats. I was the only one slightly dissatisfied with them. So I'll keep on playing experimenting and perfecting them and then I'll post them here for your opinion.

What do you do during nasty cold weather to keep your smile shining?

Friday, December 6, 2013

Rough Summer, Rough Times = Discombobulation

Hmm, I haven't been here for awhile have I?
Wish I could tell you I was on an exotic vacation. Even on a safari. I wasn't.
Life was just routine and maybe even stuck in a rut.

In July when I last posted I was struggling. I was so burned out that it was a loosing battle to when trying to write. I was fighting the weather, fighting weeds in the garden and was honestly becoming very depressed with a rough turn my life had taken.

A huge business deal was taking much, much longer than I was ready for. Things were breaking down and the cash flow was way down. Just as in the past I was alone and didn't even have anyone to discuss the disgust with. No one to help take my mind off of bothersome things.
The dogs just are not into profound conversation. Heck, the only time they listen is when I mention food...

When I wasn't busy working I'd try to write. Well all that happened was senseless thoughts chasing each other all over. I couldn't compose an entire paragraph and stay on a subject. I was a mess.
I'd try to write about one thing and ten other things would be eating at my goofy mind.

Weeds, rain, broken down tractor, broken down me, more rain, more weeds, crops not getting enough sun, crops getting too much rain, lawn needing mowing but it's raining again, more equipment needing more repair, the house needing repairs and on and on...
Top that off with me becoming the full time babysitter for my two youngest grandchildren.

Now let me tell you, when you get older you begin to realize just how energetic kids are. Just how much they need fed. Just how hard it is to keep them busy so they don't find trouble to get into. Heck, I have enough trouble keeping me out of trouble.

As for food, I eat when I get darned good and hungry. I have no set schedule for meals. Quite often I'm busy enough that evening comes and I realize I haven't eaten all day. Not that missing a few meals hurts me at all...
Well that eating schedule does not work with growing children.

Energy? Well lets just say this guy is in a perpetual energy crisis. Somewhere around noon I just fall into trying to keep one foot in front of the other so I don't fall down and become Rip Van Winkle.

The garden did well in spite of the rain and the war of the weeds. The crops did well. Finally the business deal went through! There's still a lot of work to catch up on before the winter gets too bad, but things are getting back to their abnormal normal.

I've been able to slow down, calm down and take a breath.
I'll try to get back to my normal blogging. It still may be hit and miss for awhile, but I am on my way back.

One thing that never left me during this time of angst is my continuous daily search for smiles. I even managed to laugh at the predicaments I was in.
I certainly hope all of my wonderful followers were able to keep finding their smiles over the past several months.

And to the few who cared enough to e-mail me, Thank You and Bless You

Friday, July 5, 2013

Alone Isn't All Bad

There I was sitting on the front porch Wednesday evening watching the hummingbirds and chatting with them like I usually do in the evenings. Enjoying the cool breeze in the air and unwinding at the end of my day. Preparing to make that next journey up the stairs to my bed for a good nights sleep.

I watched as two female hummingbirds seemed to take turns at the feeder while preparing for their night. A male flew in and chased the girls away. I asked him just what the heck was wrong with him. Having the chance to be with two nice ladies and then chasing them away like that. Next I asked him if maybe he didn't know how to love.

That made me stop in my tracks and get lost in a sorta bad train of thought.
After thirteen years of being alone, do I even know how to be in love...
Maybe after thirteen years I wouldn't know how to treat a woman, let alone how to really love a woman.

Many things in life are like riding a bike. You never really forget, yet I find one can get very out of practice, rusty, unskilled. Shaking and even falling on your face trying to relearn. Then it takes practice once again to get a sense of balance back.

Yup, maybe I've been alone too long.
Heck what woman in her right mind would want some old smiling fool who doesn't even know how to love!

So I guess maybe it's really best I just go on gardening and farming a little like I do. Taking my walks and talking to the birds and wild critters. Pondering people and life as I wonder the fields and woods. Having my fun, smiling and playing as nature makes me shake my head in wonder and often making me laugh. Enjoying that love between two as shared by other creatures and the people I see here and there.

Oh there is that twinge upon the heart when evening comes and there is no one to share it with. It's not like the birds can do a good job at carrying on a conversation. The dogs are bored with listening to me go on and on. Heck they just fall asleep!

There is that awkwardness when invited to things and I'm always the one to go alone. Yet I always end up in good conversation and having a good time. I can even stay as little or as long as I want. Heck I can stay until I bore the host's to sleep if I want. Though I never do because there are mornings and things at home to deal with when mornings come.

When I get the itch to take time away and travel, I can do that without worrying that it might not suit someone else. Again I can stay as little or as long as I want.
The only thing I have to worry about if I'm away is finding someone to feed the critters while I'm gone and keep them in water.

So there may be moments of feeling lonely and wishing for someone to share with, but it's not all bad.
If your alone too, find what you like doing the most and do it. Smile about all the little things you find silly and funny.
Heck you can even start a blog and share what you find that makes you smile so others can smile along.
If you do be sure to tell me here so I and others can share in that smile.

After all, maybe the love we share with all the world is even better than love shared by only two...

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Weather or not

Wow, it's been well over a month since I last wrote.
Things around here have been hectic. Spring was totally against me and the garden. The cold would not let up and it was too wet. Seeds planted in the garden, drowned in the garden which made some replanting necessary. Just last week I had to again plant more seed.

The sweet corn is looking good as are the pumpkin plants. I had to battle to get the cucumbers to finally grow without loosing them to cold and drowning.
My tomato sets died about a week after planting them because of the cold. Then I had to buy sets from a garden center and put them in. Same for my bell peppers. Only the few hot peppers I plant survived.
Green beans which I've never before had problems with had to be replanted. Not once, but several times.

Even fields had to do some waiting. But again this year the hills will be covered in corn.

Not only did I have to battle mother nature but I also had to battle what I'm pretty sure was walking pneumonia. I never did get to a doctor to find out for sure. I didn't have time for the luxury of taking time to see a doctor. So I started eating foods, herbs and spices that were rated high as natural antibiotics. And uhg, I even started taking a shot of cider vinegar every morning because it's rated so high as a natural antibiotic. Hey, it worked. I'm still alive a kicking. I think...

Then on top of everything else I had to watch the grandkids while their mom went to work.
When I'm really busy I sometimes don't bother to eat, but when you have two hungry kids around eating is no optional. And wow can they eat!

Heck I even broke a tooth and suffered with that for several days before I finally took time to go to the dentist and have what little was left removed. Luckily I made it just in time to head off an abscess that was beginning to grow.

Add all that to this messed up back and neck I live with and you have an old guy about ready to give up. But no... I'm to dumb to surrender.

Instead I just keep doing what I can, when I can and resting in bed a lot.
About the only planting that did go right was the gutter planters I hung on the porch railing last year. The herbs and flowers I planted there are doing nicely.

Even the long long wildflower garden I plant along the road is doing badly. Some seeds sprouted and many seem to have succumbed to the mixed up weather this year. But I am not replanting them. What grows and blossoms into beautiful flowers will.
I even dug up some ground in a corner of the yard and planted some perennial flowers. They too have not made it.
So until next year those two will have to wait.

Hopefully I'm back now.
I have continued to smile right through this mess. Maybe I'm looney but even when things go bad I can always find something to smile about.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Doers and the Mouths of Don'ters

You just have to love the people who never have time to do who then have all the time in the world to do nothing but criticize those who make the time to do.
They have all the perfect ways and solutions, yet never have an extra half hour of their lives to do.

The lucky people who know everything and have the perfect ways how everything should be accomplished. Yet they can not accomplish squeezing time into their lives to do.
Yet while others are busy and rushing about frantically doing they are sitting on their porch taking it easy.

An old line comes to mind.
If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.”

If you have all the answers you should not be sneaking around behind others backs and bad mouthing them for what they are trying to do. You should be doing or in the least putting your ideas in front of the appropriate person who is putting forth the effort to do.

When what you do is talk about how someone else should be doing, saying they are doing it wrong, they will fail, you are doing not a thing but hindering that person who is at least trying.

Your words always get back to the person who is willing to try and often even discourages them. Your words hurt the people who give their time and make them want to give up and quit.
Sad for you, your words also make you look like a fool...

Others who you do your talking and back biting to have eyes. While they can hear your words, they can also see that you do nothing to be part of the solution. They can see the bad effects your words are having on the ones who try to do.

I recall hearing some good words from an old soul years ago.
If you now so much and know how to do it then get off your rear end and do it.”

Actions do speak much louder that words.

I see mothers who also hold down a job making time to do things to help others while their homes suffer with little cleaning that gets done around midnight.
I see men who instead of staying home and resting or enjoying their families who are out coaching T ball and other sports.
I see men and women who are Volunteer Fire Fighters who never get a penny for their time or gas, who spend more time away from home in their non working hours than they do at home.

Yet all the critics of how these people do, are all setting on their rumps. Talking about how it should be done.

If you really know how to do then do it. Too busy? Well, if you really know how to do, it shouldn't take you very long at all to start doing, get the projects going in your perfect way and then step aside and let someone else do.

If you can't put forth the effort and squeeze a little time from your precious life to do, then at least keep your mouth shut. Allow those who will dig the time from their lives to do. Quit making them feel regrets for trying because of your hurtful, discouraging words.

It's you who talk but do not do that I see smiling the least.
Doers I tend to see smiling more often. So do yourself a favor and do!

And to all those who mine the time from their lives to do, I thank you with all of my heart and soul. I for one do appreciate you.
You doers are the greatest!
It is you who is making the lives of others better and are allowing them to smile more.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sorry Love Friend

Why is it some people are in the habit of always saying I'm sorry?

You say your back or something hurts. They say I'm sorry.
You say you're not feeling well or are sick. They say I'm sorry.
You say you've worked yourself so hard you're exhausted. They say I'm sorry.
You mention you are having a hard time at something. They say I'm sorry.

Might be it's their way of being sympathetic. Trying to sound kind. But it's not their fault any of those things are going on in your life, so why should they be sorry? There are many words to express sympathy other than I'm sorry. Sorry should be reserved for when you really are sorry for doing or not doing something you should have or shouldn't have.

Seems about the same as the word love being used when someone only likes something very much.
When to love something you would be willing to go to bat for it, fight for it, even be willing to die for it. Or them.

Now I really really like steaks. But I am not willing to die for a steak.
I'd walk a mile when hungry for chocolate to get it and spend my last dollar to satisfy the hunger. Yet I can't see myself ready to fight to the death for a piece of chocolate.

Kinda like the word friend when the other person is at best an acquaintance. Even people that some hardly know by anything other than a name they call a friend. I've even known of people who recognize a face but can't remember the name, call the person a friend.

Then they stand in wonder when that so called friend lets them down. Some even cry when their so called friend robs their house or steals from them.

It takes time to know the good, the bad, the ins and outs of people. The trustworthiness of people. The willingness to help. The important things that make someone a friend.

And before saying you love someone you darned sure want to know they are a friend and you are willing to go to the ends of the earth to fight for and possibly die for them.

These are just three of the words that get tossed around so much that their true meanings have been confused and lost. Brought almost to the point of being meaningless.

What over used words bother you?

Surely with our vast vocabulary we could find other words to express the true meanings we have while preserving the heartfelt meanings of words which are important and shouldn't be used to death.

Or have we become lazy or so small minded as to no longer have the ability to choose words that would better describe what we are trying to say...

Monday, May 13, 2013

Serenity and Acceptance

I had a guest towards the end of last week. As we went for a walk they noticed how beautiful and serene it is here. With the endless views from the tops of the hills, the calming effects of the walks through the fields and woods hearing nothing but the chorus of the birds and having no busy rushing about people to intrude upon your thoughts.

My guest and I had time for chatting and sharing many of life's interesting stories thanks to a badly needed break from work because of the recent rains.
It was fun for me to have someone to talk too besides the dogs and chickens and wildlife.

Friday I saw the first hummingbird of the year as he flew above me on the front porch and checked out the empty feeder. I filled the feeder and on Saturday morning when the dog and I got up and I took him out for his first relief of the day I was waiting for him on the porch. A male hummingbird came in for a drink. He checked me out and when he felt I wasn't a threat he went about his business of having a meal. After a good long drink he then flew about two feet in front of my face and hovered there. Went back to the feeder and then back to me. As if to be saying thank you for my meal.

It had rained again Friday night as I slept and once again the ground was too wet to do much of anything. So I went about cutting up some winter broken branches off of some trees. One of the trees is close to a fence post where years ago I had put a bluebird nest box.

As I was busy cutting the big branch from the tree a male and female bluebird chattered at me. They didn't appreciate me so near to their nest. I spoke with them and said I just had a job that needed done and I wasn't hungry enough to be a threat to them. Finally they calmed down.

As I went about my work I saw mamma come with a meal in her beak. She sat on a post and watched me, but wouldn't go to the nest. Then papa bluebird came back with a meal in his beak. He flew to the nest as mamma watched. When he was finished feeding their little one or ones, he flew to another post and watched me. Mamma then went to the nest to feed. Then they were both off again in search of more insects to feed their little one.

It was interesting to me how they both watched out for each other while they fed and had their backs turned to me.
Too bad more human families don't watch each others backs...

Humans it seems can be the most self centered creature on the earth.
Instead of helping and watching out for each other they find ways of stabbing each other in the back.
Instead of listening to their spouses worries and problems and watching out for them, they say hurtful words like shut up and get tough.

People need to learn from nature.
Learn how to be calm and serene. Learn how to accept others doing their thing and going about their life. Learn how to care about each other and watch out for each other.

That I'm sure would increase the smiles on peoples faces.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Am I the only one who can see in this house

Why is it that when I'm busy outdoors the house still gets dirty!
I think that since I'm not in here making a mess that the house should stay at least somewhat clean. But no.

So since it rained so much finally and it's too wet to work outside I thought I'd do a quick cleanup of the house. Yah, I thought...
Think again. Seems some grinch has been in my house while I was so busy playing catch up from winter and getting a start on the spring planting.

I could see the carpets and floors being dirty. I'm not always perfect at getting the dirty shoes off at the door. But where did this disaster come from...

I guess when I'm spending most of my waking hours outdoors and only hurriedly come in and make an excuse for a meal that I am blind to the mess the house is becoming.

Then there is that son who seems only too happy to live with a mess. Leaving shed clothing anywhere and everywhere. Papers and mail piled up to the ceiling on an end table until they are cascading onto the floor. Then instead of picking them up and putting them away he just kicks them under a chair.

There are the grandkids who find ways to lose toys and crayons under chairs, sofas and anything else junk will fit under.
Two dogs who are only too happy to shed their hair all over the house. At least they don't leave food scraps laying around. Matter of fact I guess I should be happy they search them out and devour them or the scraps from the son and grandkids would begin to reek.

Wonder if I could teach the dogs to vacuum and dust while they are wagging their tails...
Nah, every time I turn on the vacuum these two big brave pittbulls run and hide. The older one will set and watch for awhile, but as soon as I turn and start vacuuming in his direction he's gone like a streak of light.

All I have to do is start mentioning that I'm thinking about cleaning and the son disappears too. He doesn't even take any time to ask for a few dollars...

So I bagged up his pile of papers and junk all in one big bag. I'll set it on his bed so he is sure to find it. Probably sometime during the night when he rolls over on it and it makes him uncomfortable...
Hope he has fun sorting the old bills from the due bills. If he gets mad at me so what! I'm angry at him for allowing that pile to lay there for the past month growing from a few envelopes to a mountain of crud.

A few weeks ago my daughter got the vacuum and was going to do a quick cleaning. But did I let her! No. I said I had to do a really good cleaning and if she did the quick clean I'd probably out it off longer.

So I guess it's back to a day of cleaning, complaining and smiling at my own laziness.

Hope it rains for another day or two so I can get some rest!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Tough Love Of NO

Sometimes motivation comes from just knowing that tasks need done and no one else will do them. Or in the least it would be a struggle to get someone else to do them.
Sometimes motivation comes from need and just having to do it yourself.

Isn't it odd how so many people will ask for your help, yet when you need help there is no one available. Everyone you know suddenly has something else to do. And then when you are too busy to help them, they get angry with you.

Seems they can't recall how you asked for their help and they were busy...

Then you also have the people who always ask for things like cash and you give. Then they never once, even for a second consider making at least an attempt to pay you back.

You watch as they go on about their life having a good time, out running and spending every week. Then all of a sudden they are strapped for cash once again and they don't hesitate coming to you and asking for more.

Could it be that turning them away without the help they ask for may teach them to become motivated to save for their hard times?

If you are always there for them when they need help, but they are never there for you when you need, do you even need them in your life?

By telling them no you may be losing them from your life. But one day they just may return to your life as a better person. If not you may find yourself better off without them.

You'll have less aggravation caused by them. You'll have more time to search out new and better friends. You'll have you own tools and equipment where you need them when you need them. So you will be able to do the things you want or need to do! You will have more cash in your own pocket...

Constant takers never make good friends. Constant takers lose friends.
Constant takers who are family need to learn through tough love and the word no that they need to change their ways.
After all who will be there to help them once you no longer continue to exist...

Give a kid a dollar and they blow a dollar. Teach them how to earn their own dollars and they will have the ability forever.

If there is always that someone who is taking your smile away, you may need to teach them how to do for theirself. Even if it means telling them no and putting a frown on their face. It's the only way they will learn to find their smile and keep it.
And your smile will stand a better chance of remaining on your face.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Hatred Murder and Destruction

I see spring. I can smell it in the air. I can feel it in the heat from the sun as I go about cleaning up from winter and working at starting this years garden and crops. The time when life begins once again.

Seeds that have lain dormant over the winter begin to sprout and push from the earth reaching for the sun to blossom with wonderful flowers. Trees begin to grow their leaves. Grass begins to turn from brown to green.

All the different plants growing and getting along in their quest for life. Living and thriving amongst each other peacefully creating beauty.

Wild animals coming from their dens in search of food to fatten their bellies. Playing in the sunshine while searching for love and companionship. Starting new families to nurture and teach.

People begin to come from their homes and tend to their lawns and gardens. Playing and working in the heat of the sunshine. Stopping to chat and catch up with their neighbors. Learning new things from one another. Sharing and caring...

Sadly this spring I am not seeing the caring.

I've been troubled and quieted by the hatred, killing and destruction.

Is it so impossible to see and understand
That it doesn't matter our skin color
That it doesn't matter our nationality
That it doesn't matter our religion

That what does matter is we all have so much to share and learn from each other.
That instead of hatred we can all enjoy playing on this big playground while learning from one another.

It's love and compassion that has given us the great inventions from people of every different race, each and every different religion and nationality to make our lives as we know them since the days we lived in caves, better and easier lives.
It's togetherness and acceptance that has allowed us to share all the good things.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Draw me a picture

When did this happen? Why did this happen? Did this have to happen to me?

Somehow my body is choosing to get stiff and sore. No longer does it seem to have the ability to do the work it once did without turning against me. It's either revolting against work or it's rising up and paying me back for all the damage I've done to it over the years while having fun.

What do you do...
Well I just keep plugging away at what needs done and what I want to do. I've learned over this life that the only way past aches and pains is through them.

Just like work. The only way to get it done is to do it.
I can ask someone else to do it, but that seldom works. If it does work at all, it only works when it fits the other persons schedule. Not my schedule. If it works it seldom seems to have quite the outcome I want.

Possible that could be from others not caring about the things I do the same as I do. Maybe because they don't care about what I do at all.
Possibly it could be that they see things differently than I do. But maybe they can't see at all.
Maybe they don't feel or sense the same value of the given project quite the same as I do.

As I learned when I was running my construction and remodeling business, if you want someone else to get the results you want from doing the project, it's best to come as close to possible to writing a book when you tell them what you want as an end result. Complete with pictures!

I learned also to spend plenty of time with the customers to learn as exactly as possible what they expected as a final outcome.
There was nothing worse to me than proudly finishing a project and showing it to the customer and then seeing a question mark in their eyes.

Much of the bones of construction is cut and dried. It's the finish details though that make or break a happy ending.
A customer that has a really good sense of what they want in the end makes things more likely to have a good outcome.

Just like anything else, when left up to the other person you'll get what they see as right. An easy example is paint. The other person may think purple is the best color. You may think a pastel yellow.

You can ask someone to dig you a patch for a new flower garden. The digging is bare bones and any able bodied person can accomplish it. But the size and shape you want is not. So if you lay a hose out and decide your final shape and then draw that shape by spraying some cheap spray paint or laying a line of lime along the hose, the other person can see the shape and size you want to plant your pretty flowers.

In the end it's your personal choice or like that is important.
The closer you can come to showing an exact picture to someone else of what you want, the closer to what you want you will get. And when you are pleased with the outcome you and the help are left with smiles.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Wish The Lawn Had My Lack Of Energy

It's been a very long week with all the clean up, preparing of the ground, planting seed, and doing last minute, unexpected repairs.
It's the weekend, I'm tired and could use a break. But do I get a break? A little time off for some rest or fun.

There is that darned lawn that is almost tall enough to make hay. So that needs mowed.
Don't know why I decided to keep so much mowed and looking nicely trimmed. It now takes a good eight hours to do all the mowing. Eight hours and over five gallons of gas. With the price of gas so high I'm beginning to give all that nicely trimmed grass some second thought.

Some might just look very nice if it were planted to wildflowers and only needed mowed once a year when the flowers are done blooming. Some could be included as pasture. All I'd have to do is move the fence rows a few feet.
Along the road I could do like many neighbors do and just let the grasses and weeds grow. The township mows that once a year.

But no. I like to keep things looking nice.
It's so pleasant to see when I come home after being away shopping, visiting, fishing or just out for the day. It's a full days work every week though trying to keep it looking nice.

That's the problem with cutting grass in the spring. Once you begin you have to keep doing it until winter!

As I get older and spend more evenings sitting around that yard than I do running out and about I can now see places I should have planted some trees for shade when I was younger. But when I was younger I didn't think about the days I'd be older and spending more resting time here. And sadly neither did the five generations of family who were here before me...

Wonder if I should do that for the future generations of my offspring.
They too, while they are young, will never imagine the day they get old and want to spend time at home when not working instead of going out and about.
The days when you realize it takes as much or more energy to do that as it does for work.

I have made a resting decision.
There is that old swing set I built for the kids when they were younguns. I thought about building a two seat swing and hanging it on there. Well as I was looking at it one day and thinking about that I changed my mind.

Seems there are times I don't want to swing but instead just sit and relax. Then along comes someone and sets down beside me and darned if they don't want to swing. So I'm building two separate comfortable seats and hanging them both on there. Then I'll build another two seater to set nearby for those that want to sit and neck.

Heck I'm even beginning to think that necking is another big expenditure of energy one could do without.
By the end of my days I'm too sore and too tired to do any of that lovey stuff. Although some nice chat would be nice I fear that if there is any necking to be done it will have to be first thing in the morning when I feel full of energy!

Of course then I may get nothing else done throughout my days...

Monday, April 22, 2013

Summer smiles are on the way

The weather broke and spring is finally here. I've been very busy with the winter cleanup, getting the garden ready and planting seeds and getting the flower gardens started.

It's been almost perfect weather for getting that start. It's warm enough to be outdoors and yet cool enough to work without suffering from the heat. Every few days it rains enough that I don't have to spend too much time watering.
But... There have also been a few nights that got down around freezing. That may not be well for the seeds if they've begun to sprout.

There were hedges that needed trimmed and that also is well under way. Some fields are underway for the planting. There are some trees along the fields that need some trimming too. Keeping them from making the fields smaller is a never ending battle.

The beginning of fishing season is here, but I just don't have the time to go and get a line wet. With the late arrival of good weather I'm too busy playing catch up with everything else.

But such are the ways of life.
When there are responsibilities and work that needs done, fun things take a back seat.
There will always be time for the fun things and taking it easy after the work is done.

The blog suffered a little last week also. Not because of being busy, but more so because I was so tired. By the time my busy days ended I only wanted to drag my exhausted body to bed. Even my son noticed I was too tired to even think. He noticed that because of the lack of my mouth going. Something I'm positive he appreciated...

After the long drawn out winter my body has grown a little weak. There are aches and pains where there never were before. Even a few aches and pains on top of aches and pains!

I was hurting so bad one day before an upcoming predicted rain that I even laid down on the ground and finished working on a flower garden. My nearly useless back just would take no more bending. But the seeds got in and the rains came that night to water them in and get them off to a good start.

It will all be well worth the effort and the sacrifice of missing a good time fishing when summer gets here and the welcoming blooms delight my eyes and fill my nose with wonderful scents. Not to mention the smiles I get from watching people drive along the road real slow while looking at the one hundred and fifty foot long flower garden I have been putting along the road for several years now.

So there are goodies starting in the garden to make my belly happy and flowers starting to keep my eyes and nose happy. Soon things will be caught up to where they should be and I will find some time for some fishing to make me happy.
Until then I'll just keep smiling and planting. Hope you are smiling too!

Friday, April 12, 2013

New Normal / Disabilities

This is a rather long post, yet it's a post I really feel I want to share. Feel too that I must share.
But I do not want one word of sympathy. I've overcome and so can anyone.

From somewhere around 1976 until 1999 my back was in deterioration. The pain started getting bad in 1980. I found though that when the pain got real bad I could visit a chiropractor and he could get that back straightened up enough that I could carry on day to day.

That was an honest chiropractor. He told me the truth. I was a construction worker and I farmed. Both were very hard on the back with all the lifting and carrying of things by one person that really should be done by two or more. Also the nature of that work was hard on the back, twisting and turning into positions that are not normal which cause injury to the back.
So life went on. I adapted to what I could and learned to accept the pain. I also began taking mild pain killers when needed.

Add to that choice of work the wild things I did for entertainment when younger and through those years it all caused more injury to my body and back.
I kept working at both construction and farming and the back kept getting worse. Kept doing things and daring myself to do things to push any fears I might have felt aside which kept pushing the body.

Then in the beginning of 2000 a series of events happened.

First I'll say I'm a man. Limits? BS I have no limits.
There was this very long drive. A twenty hour drive. Two twenty hour drives in a week. Sleep? Who needs sleep? I'm a man...
Yah, and those straight through drives led to deep vein thrombosis. Never even saw it coming of felt it. Until... the blood clot in my calves began breaking up and small clots got caught near my lungs!

All I felt was tremendous back pain. Now I had lived with back pain, gotten used to severe back pain. Even pain that cause difficulty breathing.
So I found myself not able to lay down to sleep. I spent a week and a half sleeping in a recliner just barely leaning back which was the only position that eased the pain a little. Thinking in my man mind that it would soon let up. Wrong! It didn't.

Finally called a friend (an uncle actually who is more of a friend) and asked him to run me to a hospital. I told them of my back problems. Maybe a mistake...
They ex rayed and checked me out. Came to me later and said they found nothing serious but yes my spine was a mess and sent me on my way with some really powerful pain meds.
My expressing the major back problems and how I thought I had messed my back up once again did something to cause the pain had them looking only at my spine.

Well back to my chair. Popped the pills and they never began to touch the pain.
Another week and a half sitting in that chair. Not breathing, but panting. Couldn't take a deep breath because of the pain. Couldn't really sleep either. Just nodding off and my head would fall to my chest for a few minutes at most. Twenty four hours a day of that. Yes, three weeks of that. Couldn't take the pain any longer. Called for a ride once again because there was no way I could sit to drive. This time to my usual doctor.

When he saw me attempting to lay on his exam table he immediately backed off. Asked me if I had a way besides driving myself to the hospital. I did, the same ride who took me there. He said I was to go straight to the hospital NOW.
Hmm, OK. I did what he said and was in too much pain to ask why or fight.
This was now three weeks of this pain and very very little actual sleep. I had no fight left in me whatsoever.

By the time I got to the hospital emergency room the doctor had called and they were waiting. Scared? No. I was too out of it to feel fear. I just wanted any relief possible. For god's sake, ease this pain or kill me now!
Well, this time they knew what they were looking for and it was not my back. But a tiny little blood clot in my lungs. They gave me an injection of who the heck cared at the time and kept me in that emergency room for darned near ever!

Well they had given me something to begin dissolving that clot and wanted me near an operating room just in case. But I didn't find that out until the next day when I was in a room as a highly charged guest and was bitching and moaning about that. Man I had nurses and doctors checking in on me so often I wanted to scream at them to get the heck away from me and leave me alone in my agony.

It was a very old doctor who came in with a young intern who finally explained what was going on in a way I could understand. See if that thing decides to start moving it could move towards the brain and cause a stroke. OR it could move to the heart and cause a heart attack. Either way you lose. He might as well have added dumbass. Cause that is exactly how I felt...

So another week and a half there which! Included one night of me and a very high fever. One that made them pack me in ice. All I can remember of that is my brain told me I was cold. That is when I complained to a nurse and she pulled out her thermometer and shoved it in my mouth. Next thing I knew people were scurrying everywhere around me. Don't even really remember them packing me in ice. All I remember was feeling warm. Next day a nurse said I was cute when they packed me in ice and I said how nice and warm it felt before I passed out. The mind does some really strange things...

Well at the end of that week and a half I was beginning to feel like myself once again. They really were not ready for me to leave but yup, had my fight back. I told that old doc. I go peacefully or someone gets their uhh, butt kicked and I may well take someone out when I'm walking out.
He came around to my way of thinking. Made me promise if I had even the slightest pain or problem to get back there fast. But he saw I was not the type to stay laying there any longer.

Well, I guess from all the head dropping I did for the first three weeks two disks in my neck decided to do a complete rupture. Now not only could I not breathe worth a crap, I had no feeling in my right hand and lots of numbness in my entire right side.
Over the following several weeks they poked and prodded almost every inch of my body and x rayed and MRI'd and all other kids of nasty expensive tests. One doctor even hooked me up to some electronics and started checking the connection between my brain and my hand.
Well after being sure I hadn't had a stroke they finally settled on those ruptured disks pressing on a bundle of nerves which ran the right side of my body.

Nothing but surgery would help. And that was only a 50/50 chance. 50 that I would walk out a few days later. 50 that I'd be wheeled out. Now I have no luck with gambling. So I asked. I understand that I could end up in a wheelchair, but what if I allow the surgery then? The doctor looked me straight in the eye and said, 50/50.
Well I may not be in good shape, but I'll see ya then.

Now mind you, over this time I still never really listened to those dumb a-- doctors. I'm not the type to sit around taking it easy. Just can't do that.
I started tearing my old porch apart to rebuild it finally. Well what I once did in a seven hour day, now disgustingly took me seven days...

It got worse from there.
Every thing I did took me much longer than it had in the past. There were also many things I simply could no longer do. Returning to my construction business was one of them.

My lungs were a mess and I could only barely breathe. My right arm, hand and leg were very weak and numb which cause them to be close to useless. I couldn't work at my job even though I had a lot of work already lined up for the spring. I couldn't do many of the work and chores I normally did here on the farm. Heck I couldn't even go fishing by myself!

In all honesty, over the next several years I secretly hoped to die. I was useless, couldn't even have fun as I knew it and there was no purpose to go on.
Except... I had a daughter and son who were still in school. Still to young to fend for theirselves. Their mother who had left when they were very young had passed away. They really had no one but me.
I couldn't hardly leave them on their own.

For the next few years I just woke up, did what I had to do and could do and went to bed. Feeling useless and not a man at all. Just carrying on being the best parent I could.

Very, very slowly I began to find ways to do many of the gardening tasks I did before. Even tying a rope to a bale of hay and tying the other end around my waist so I could drag it to the cows. Loading that hay in the fields and then stacking that hay was now a job my son had to do or I had to pay someone else to do. Loading and unloading sacks of feed was something someone else had to do.

Many of the lawn and garden chores I once took for granted I had to find other ways to do. I couldn't handle a wheelbarrow because they tip. But I bought a four wheeled wagon I could toss stuff in and then pull to where it needed unloaded.

Even household chores I had to find new ways to do. Picking up a laundry basket full of clothes was out of the question. I needed my good hand for the cane to balance myself and the weak had wouldn't support much weight at all. Laundry baskets had to be drug along to the washer. Across the floors and down the steps. Drug to the clothesline so the wet laundry could be hung to dry.

Everything I had to do I had to find ways to do them. Many times I'd lose my balance and fall when trying to do things I once did without a thought. Even fishing was a mess. I now had to learn to walk around many obstacles instead of going over them. Had to learn to walk down banks by walking along them instead of straight down them or I'd fall. Had to learn to sit on steeper banks and slowly lower myself down them instead of just jumping down. Had to learn first to look for ways to get myself back up steep banks before going down them and getting stuck there waiting for help to wander by.

I won't say I'm totally satisfied with my life today. Yet I've found ways to make it bearable and ways to once again enjoy the life I have.
It's thirteen years now of living and learning this new life. Thirteen long, long lonely years. Years of doing everything at a snails pace. Years of still not feeling like a real man. Years of holding off interested women at a distance because of not feeling like a man.
Will that ever change? Only time will answer that question. I've grown comfortable being alone.

For now I've found my new normal.
Every day I have reasons to smile.
Every day is a new adventure whether it's work or play.

Sometimes I overdo it one day and spend the next three or four days in pain. But that is still the learning curve and I will continue learning and smiling at my sometimes stupidity.

The point I'm making here though is never give up!
I easily could have, except for those two little ones I had at the time. Even later after they were grown I could have.

But day after day I learned my new normal. Learned to accept my new normal. Even learned how to laugh and smile again.
And ya know what?
Life isn't half bad.

If you or anyone you know is in a nasty position of having to find a way to rebuild a life after losing the life they once knew, find a way to be as supportive as possible. Don't waste a lot of time feeling sorry or sad for them.

Help them find new ways to create their new normal.
Look and help them find simple ways things can be adapted so they can do. Look and help them find different ways they can do what they did before.

Be patient! Very, very patient.
Impatience can lead them to pull even further into their sadness. It did me and I'm positive it will anyone else. Heck it still sometimes does.
If one day they don't want to do something don't get upset. They may be in pain and only want to rest until the pain eases. They may just be having a sad day and need to deal with that.

Help them find their reason to smile at the asinine things that life has thrown in their path.
I find myself now laughing about what happened and what I go through on a daily basis. Heck it's not a disability, it's an adventure! Some of the dumb stuff I have to do to complete even simple tasks makes me laugh like a fool!
Even having forgetful days or dumb days and ending up in pain that takes me out for a few days makes me smile now.

Always remember,

Anything the mind can conceive and believe in, can be achieved.”

Life can be good, and can be full, once you find your smile.