Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Time Management


 It's what we all want, need, beg for, but never seem to have enough of. Most of us have at least some sort of time management skills. I have none. Zero, nada, zip, a big old goose egg, no time management skills. I did when I had a "9 - 5" which was actually never really a nine to five at all. It was more an 8 - 5 or some odd variation of the normal definition of a workday. Now that I'm "retired," and I use that term loosely, because as many "retired" people work harder when they retire than they ever did while they were working, it seems like I never have enough time. Ever. Because I cannot focus on one thing unless I visit my sister.
 This is why I lovingly embrace those times each year that I get to go on vacation. Which as it happens I'm getting ready for now. A long vacation. A month long vacation. But in getting ready for said vacation I had a hiccup, a glitch, a gremlin, a time warp. I was gone for four days doing the impossible task of getting my Mother's things ready for a yard sale. My sister, whom I love, is a slave driver. We crammed four weeks of work into  24 hours of work.

 Since my mom is in an assisted living facility and is moving into an efficiency apartment, we had a great deal to go through. It was hard for my sister and myself to do it. Because even though our mom is still with us, we had to let go of memories of our very separate childhoods. My sister is 21 years younger than me. I was already married when she was born and since we weren't raised together we don't have the same attachment to the same things. So we both had things that meant so very much to us in different ways.

 I wanted things that I remembered from my childhood. The Christmas ornaments that my mother lovingly put on our tree every year, or the garland that hung on the mantle. These items are as old as I am and mom used them faithfully every year.

 My sister, the more practical of us, wanted things she would use. So when it was all said and done, my Santa Fe was loaded down with treasures and my sister put her things in her cabinets as we went along.

 It was when we got to the clothes that the tears fell. It wasn't because we felt any attachment to the clothes, it was the scent when we opened the plastic tub they'd been stored in. It was the scent of our mom. I know that scent is the most powerful of all the senses, but to have it hit you in your heart when you weren't expecting it, that's when it becomes real. So we cried a bit, hugged a bit, and then laughed a bit because mom is still here.

 My sister is my greatest joy. Her children are my second greatest joy. I love them beyond measure. But my sister is still 21 years younger than me. I'm old, slow, and have lots of artificial body parts. Some days I get up and think to myself, I wonder what part is going to fail me today. Thankfully we made it through the sorting and pricing and got to the actual yard sale. At 11:00 I needed to take a small break. I was so exhausted I fell asleep at the sink in the bathroom washing my hands. It was when the hot water ran out and started running cold, that I came awake enough to go to my bed and tell myself, five minutes, I just need to lay down for 5 minutes. Right. Five minutes turned into almost three hours. When I finally came back from the dead, everyone else was asleep and Lance was loading our car. Bless him.

 The ordeal was finally over and we finally rested for the first time in three days. Lance and I came home the next day and he lovingly unloaded our completely packed car. The next day I decided I would get everything washed, dried, and put in it's new home. Always the optimist of course I failed at my self imposed task because it seems as if I have the squirrel syndrome. You know the movie UP by Disney/Pixar, (if you don't you are missing a national treasure), the dog loses all focus when he sees a squirrel, that's me. I lose all focus every time I try to do something.

 Tonight was a great example. I was unloading the dishwasher. No big deal right? Yeah, you don't live with me. It could take me 5 minutes or 5 days to unload the dishwasher. It really depends on how many squirrel moments I have during any given task. I took some flatware to the dining room and remembered that I had't finished the sorting of the canning rings that needed to be discarded from the ones that I can keep. Since I can so many things in the summer months I go through this process at the end of the season so I can start out fresh the next season.

 That job got interrupted by another job, then another task, and then something else, and well you get the picture. I like to chase squirrels and my husband wound up emptying the dishwasher. I think I'll keep him.

Til next time,


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Tears for the Fallen

It seems like every day on the news we hear of another school shooting, or another sniper attack on innocent drivers on interstate 10 in Phoenix. Not to mention the soldiers that defend us whose lives are taken in battle or due to tragic accidents. Bad news seems to dominate every aspect of our lives.

I am always so sad to hear of another fallen due to negligence or pure evilness of another. Tonight I was face to face with another senseless slaughter, sadly, in my own home.

I guess I need to start at the beginning.

I love dogs. I love all dogs. I love all animals. Animals are non-judgmental. They don't care what you look like, what religion you belong to, or who you vote for. They love you because you love them. I have always had a very special relationship to all animals. My dad was the same. Animals have a sense about people and can tell when you mean them no harm. There were always animals coming up to my dad to eat from his hand. Little chipmunks, squirrels, butterflies and even the odd caterpillar. (But that's another story.)

I inherited that trait from him as animals have always shown me the kindness that I show them. I have numerous birds land in my hand to be fed, so many butterflies have landed on me I have lost count of the number. I have gotten vicious dogs to lay down at my feet with nothing more than an outstretched hand and a soft voice. The same for insects. I have never had fear of them because if they see you coming and you aren't invading their space, typically they will leave you alone. Any animal will defend itself if cornered. From the smallest insect to the largest elephant. I always approach with caution and care. I have taken some amazing photos because of the caution and care.

I took some amazing photos of an insect that because of his coloring, thought he was dead. I was saddened by the loss as he was a praying mantis. Praying mantis' are what are known as beneficial bugs. They, like my favorite insect the lady bug, eat other not so beneficial bugs such as aphids. I'm not sure what the diet of a praying mantis consists of but I know that as an organic gardener, I'm glad to have both species in my garden.

This praying mantis however wasn't dead. I know this because when I spotted him I thought he was trapped in a spider web and was going to dislodge the spider to greener pastures instead of my garage door. When I bent down to move the web and said praying mantis, the mantis moved. I could't get my camera fast enough. This was my chance to photograph a juvenile mantis.

This is the mantis. He is sitting on my husband Lance's hand. As you can see he is not the bright green color that you would normally associate with a mantis but a dull tan color. He was also completely happy to be sitting on this odd surface. I got multiple photos of him but this one was my favorite. He just kept moving his head and followed me as I photographed him.

This was a photo of him a few days later sitting on a rock in the planter for my hibiscus tree. He was just starting to turn a lovely shade of green.

This is my beautiful girl Laci. She was rescued in March of 2014. She is my Boston "Terror" and I love her unconditionally. She is one of the lights of my life. She is also an exterminator. An unpaid exterminator. A sometimes, like today, unwanted exterminator. She committed murder on my poor praying mantis. I knew she had a bug when she came in because of the way she was acting. I was thinking it was one of the usual suspects, probably a June bug or a cricket. No, it was my lovely praying mantis who was finally the beautiful green color of an adult. I hadn't seen him in a couple of days and was hoping to see him again when he finally turned his adult color so I would have a completed set. Sadly he was missing his head when she finally dropped him. I couldn't bring myself to scold her because it's what she does. But I was still saddened at the loss of my beneficial insect. 

So here's to you dear mantis. You were well loved while you were alive and sadly, you made a tasty snack for my sweet exterminator. 

Until next time,