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Monday, November 2, 2015

The Upside of Disorder's Backside

Community Party
"You are going to dance with me Daddy"

Feisty "Elf Like Warrior"

Crafty Kay and her little one dressed as Glenda and Dorthy

Shopping with Crafty Kay
 I seem to be getting into a lot of trouble lately and I'm not exactly sure why.......It may have started on a recent "girls day" trip to town involving Krafty Kay, Elasta Woman, her mama and all our little girls.  We embarked on this adventure quite early in the morning.  Elasta Woman had insisted on leaving no later than 7 am in the morning.  This would have been possible had it not been the day that I was supposed to be ovulating.  This delayed my ability to find something suitable to wear quite substantially and I ended up panicking, wearing nothing but underpants as they pulled in the drive way, surrounded by duds.  Actually, I was not wearing underpants as I'd been unable to locate a single pair - instead I had dawned a binkini bottom in my rush.  The girls marched into the house while I frantically pulled on my 6th and final ensemble. 
    After the long and mostly uneventful trip to Sandpoint, we lounged about Starbucks until our girls began reacting to the sugary cocoa.  It was quite apparent when it was time to make the exit.  I had to make a quick trip to a large farm type store to pick up some stuff for my husband.  Since the women had Miss Moonbeamer, I didn't want to be gone for long.  I had selected my wares in record time, when the racks on the way out the door pulled me in.  Just like a giant invisible vacuum, sporty type girls stuff just pulls me in.  Soon I was racing back into to the store with a handful of stuff to try on.  Nobody seemed to be monitoring the dressing rooms and they were locked.  Being pressed for time, and having on leggings, I took it upon myself to displace my skirt and start trying them on in front of the dressing room mirrors.  A store clerk showed up quite mortified, but did not ask me to leave the store.  There are a lot of girls running around in just leggings - right?
   Once we got the preliminaries out of the way, we began trying on clothing at a nearby thrift store and that's where the chaos really began.  5 or 6 of us were all crammed into a dressing room, laughing hysterically with literal piles of crumpled up clothes thrown in every direction.  I honestly couldn't even find what I'd originally brought in with me, but since we were all trying on each others items, it didn't really matter.
     Miss Moonbeam and Miss Elf Like Warrior were running back and forth from the clothing racks to the dressing rooms and they were having so much fun finding clothes that we just let them.  They had settled on some cheaply made matching dresses and we were having all we could do to convince them that the dresses were not a good buy.
    Just as I got out of the dressing room pit, laughing hysterically, I was pushing my cart toward footwear when I heard the little girls running and calling out to me loudly.  They were white and terrified and yelled "someone just tried to take us!!"  "he tried to trap us!!"  I had never seen such terror on their collective faces and the terror hit me like a ton of bricks.  What was I thinking?!  Why was I so stupid to let them go to the racks by themselves?  I said fearfully "who tried to take you?"  They pointed at a man a few feet away and said "Him!!"  A man abruptly turned around and started walking the other way.  Rage exploded in me and I lost the capacity to do anything but pursue him, still clutching my little girls hand.  I started yelling at him and he started walking faster.  Then I started walking faster.  Soon I was yelling louder.  Then he was running and I was running.  Right through Goodwill you could see me snarling like a bear as I wildly chased this would be pervert.  My very strange behavior attracted the attention of the entire store.  Workers came from every direction and cornered the man.  As it turned out he was mentally handicapped.  I felt a little sheepish, but I stood my ground.  Soon a worker came who was supposed to be responsible and profusely apologized.  He kept his head down and didn't say a word.  I looked around imaging the scene I had probably made getting back to my girlfriends who were standing there perplexed.  All of them were upset, but none of them fathomed that I was going to go bananas, turning into the incredible hulk and go chasing after him.   Elasta Woman decided that it was time for us to go out to eat.  The store was unusually quiet and I couldn't help the feeling that people were still in a state of shock and horror at my pursuit of a mentally disabled individual.  It was definitely time to exit stage left.  The mortified, pale faced worker came to apologize to me again for her client's behavior.  I hugged her and told her I forgave her and was sorry for the situation.
   The little girls continued to cling to me and I honestly don't know if it was an honest mistake or not, but it shook them up.  They wouldn't let me out of their grip as we entered the Mexican Restaurant.  It was a rather odd sighting , me dragging along two children clutching each of my arms.  We were not there long before I proceeded to spill a glass of water all over the table.  It was a delicious meal.  Once the kids began drinking complimentary salsa, I knew it was time to leave.  I exited into a bathroom to stuff my leggings into my purse.  The weather was getting nice and I wanted to really feel the breezy warmth. 
   We went walking down the street and wrecked havoc in a yarn store.  I spent an unsightly amount of money on the yarn both as a de-stressing technique and also because I couldn't bear to put any of it back and I had formed a large mountain on the side of the counter.  As we waited for the rest of the gang to make their purchases, the little girls and I walked along the sidewalks of down town Sandpoint.  I was in all my glory, coming out of a candy store with fine chocolates.  The girls were excited to try them and I was caught up in the moment of rushing to get to the rest of the group and the beautiful day.  I may have missed any unsaid cue by the drivers and passers by.  I was flouncing around in my new thrift store skirt and the warm breezy fall day felt glorious.  Apparently I was enjoying the walk too much to notice that my new skirt was some how stuck to the back of my underpants - er swim bottoms, and I was displaying my backside to all of Down Town Sandpoint.  The women began laughing hysterically as Crafty Kay made this discovery.  I tried to distract them with the fine chocolate, but it didn't work.  Well, being unable to locate anything but swim bottoms that morning turned out to be a good thing.  Next time you mourn your lack of organization, remember that sometimes disorder all works out better in the backside of things - that is The Upside of Disorder's Backside.
The infamous Cheap Material Dresses

My husband's self storage unit in Yaak goes up

Drinking Complimentary Salsa

Girls Shopping Day


Sunday, October 4, 2015

What to Do When The GREAT Donut of Temptation Comes Knocking On Your Door (and What Not To)


Rule 1 : Don't go shopping when you are not altogether mentally stable. This includes sleep deprivation and hearing voices, especially Miss Belly Fat voices.

Case in point, I was kind of "set up" by my own adipose tissue. It often rebels against my better judgment, floats to my brain and takes over my ability to reason out of good shopping decisions. In this case, I had worked a 12 hour night shift after going to town early and running allot of errands. I was tired and she knew she'd have that edge on me. Cunningly, she started whispering "donut" ever quietly in my subconscious. Valiantly, I shopped with the utmost honor. Okay, I am lying. I started off with a sugary latte and felt too guilty to add a donut to my ever expanding hips. The latte, I reasoned, would keep my brain in check. I had a birthday party to grocery shop for and that would require a lot of brain power which was sadly registering "low" on my meter of brain activity.

After spending over an hour trying to figure out what to buy and finding the best deals, I realized that I was going to end up paying waaaay too much for ice cream if I didn't go to the other grocery store in town. I just can't stand to spend too much on anything and with great reluctance, I knew I'd have to drive over there. I congratulated myself on leaving the store without a donut. Lurking in the back of my subconscious was Miss Belly Fat reminding me that donuts could be had at the other store. My accomplishment was short lived.

After successfully finding a great deal on BREYERS ICE CREAM, I gloated across the store to the end, waltzing if you will, past the bakery section until my eyeballs almost popped out of my head. Sometimes I wonder if my love affair with sugar, salt and fat is as bad as how men feel about curvy women. There, across the store, my heart began doing flip flops. I saw an ENTIRE SHOPPING CART LOADED TO THE TOP WITH DONUTS OF EVERY VARIETY. A baker boy was throwing in more by the minute. I sashayed up to him and asked him nonchalantly if these were samples. "Nope" he said. "Sale?" "Nope" he replied again patiently. I was losing my patience and charm a bit. There was an edge to my tone which I tried to cover "well what are they for?" I demanded. "Pig Farmers" he explained, going on to tell me that he could only give them to people with livestock. He said day old donuts were not for human consumption by order of the store policy. Wheels were turning in my head, and after convincing the boy that I, too, was a pig owner, the wheels of the donut overloaded shopping cart were wheeling right out of the store toward my Tundra!!!!

Once I got there, a large sticky problem presented itself. I did not have the strength to lift the gigantic bag of pastries into the truck. Every time I tried, the bag started ripping, which was the last thing I wanted to happen. After making a big scene trying to tip the cart into my passenger seat, a kindly man noticing my dilemma rushed over to help. I informed him that I was having an " I Love Lucy Moment". He smiled and helped me lift the gigantic donut of temptation into the Tundra where it took up the 2 front seats which I was not sitting in. As soon as I thanked him, Miss Belly Fat strategically took over my entire brain for a very short time. I morphed into one of my pet pigs and well, something very disturbing happened. Minutes later, I woke up with sticky fingers and realized I was attempting to drive down the road in a sugar coma. I hurriedly pulled over not wanting to explain to an officer that I was euphoric on the mother load of day old pastries. Sitting in that church parking lot was a sign of the 10 Commandments, and I was pretty sure that I was in some state of transgression. This was bad, really bad. There was no removing it either. It was going to ride ALL THE WAY HOME with me and I knew I was a gonner for sure.

I mused, as I hit the open highway. Sadly and Ironically, I had spent a fortune on Fancy Smancy Non GMO feed which was taking up the entire back of the truck. Only the best, healthiest stuff for our pigs. On top of that was a futon which I found at a thrift store for my son's birthday. Again, the Great Donut of Temptation riding shotgun. Try to picture me driving down the road in a sleep deprived state, with all of this going on.

I busted in the door like a mad woman demanding my husband grab the camera quickly. He was quite leery, being well versed in his wife's "Lucy Moments". He did not look pleased. For the past hour, I'd been practicing facebook profile pics with my mother load into the rear view mirror. He rolled his eyes and asked me "WHAT DID YOU DO?!?!" He had envisioned worse and didn't seem too disturbed. My children went berserk and stayed berserk. Since I went to bed shortly after posting my new facebook profile pic, they were free to help themselves to the spoils. My husband did feed the pigs, but I fed myself, the kids and the neighbors kids, a visiting friend or two, my dog, and quite unfortunately added some thick winter padding on my rapidly expanding hips.

Today, a few days after what Moonbeam calls "one of my favorite childhood memories", I begged my husband to give the rest of it to the pigs. I could no longer take having it in the house. The sugary smell never stopped calling me and Miss Belly Fat kept reasoning that they'd still be good if I warmed them up in the oven. Thankfully, I never stooped to such dastardly deeds, largely because Catman's left over birthday cheese cake seems to beckon louder from the refrigerator with most passing moments............................

Every Tuesday, I run with a pack, just like a wild dog. Its a pack of very wild women who kick the crap out of me. I am huffing and puffing and Miss Belly Fat trembles in fear and agony. My hips remind me that I am only getting older. My gut wretches. My bladder threatens to let loose, BUT, oh yeah, and my butt, well she jiggles into oblivion. My wings rub and chafe. I sweat what smells like an old bakery. I could go on, but I'll try not to give you any more mental pictures of such atrocities. As I was saying, EVERY TUESDAY this doom awaits me. Days beforehand I consider what my diet is consisting of and I am reminded that if I eat crap, I will feel even crappier on that day. I am hoping that this and the sight of myself in a bikini will whip me back into shape. After my donut binge, I am making strides toward healthier eating and less fat on the horizon......... Case in point, rule 1 addendum : Do Not Attempt to Secure Grocery Carts Full of Donuts for Your Live Stock

Pregnant Summer Days.....

May, June, July and August awakened some kind of life back inside of me. Archer, his Ali Cat and baby "The Big Y" along with Saphira arrived full of energy and passion for enjoying The Yaak. They'd been cooped up in frosty Minnesota for 9 months in college classes and all they could think about was camping and hiking and playing in the forest.

We hiked hard, camped hard, played hard all summer. We enjoyed many fine dinners with good friends. We spent endless summer days at the little local lake and embarked on many adventures to Lake Koocanusa, which is like a tropical paradise except for being in Montana. Saphira and I snuck away some evenings and came back stinking like fish after sitting outside in the dark gutting them. Then we'd fry up the whole mess and eat a late night dinner of lake trout. We helped with an elegant wedding - I served tables while Saphira was a stunning maid of honor. We also hosted the event of the summer with Art Dog's Home School Graduation/Birthday Party. Over a hundred people showed up and it was quite the shindig complete with kids playing music, wrestling tournaments in the dirt and a really shocking array of individuals.

Archer and Ali Cat cut wood for locals to make a little spending money and I got the privilege of watching Big Y. He came to MT with a sweet disposition, barely toddling around and left running and screaming and had developed a lot of attitude. He is the most monstrously built 1 year old I have ever seen. He's not just chubby, he's like a solid tank with pretty blond hair and big blue eyes. He scans for food constantly, almost as if he is on the prowl. Anyone attempting to eat anything must conceal the matter quite privately or you must reckon with him. I also have never seen a baby that loved to eat like him. I could always count on him to pack away smoothies or fresh bread or whatever I happened to have on the stove. The only fickleness he showed was to greens which he spread about the house as if for decoration.

Saphira and I did a little running and we halfway trained for the Long Bridge Swim, but for the most part we enjoyed good food and joked about getting "beer bellies", though we really didn't drink all that much beer. By the end of summer my weight had gotten completely out of control, but I figured I could work on it after the kids left. Suddenly, none of the pants in my drawer would snap and I felt about as bloated as a blow fish. I frowned in the mirror and wondered if I'd really eaten "that much". Then I started cramping my brain to figure out when my last period was. I drew a blank........................ There were several times when I thought it might have been, but no clear memory to go on. Frantic to justify my newly acquired belly, I bought a dollar store pregnancy test - just thinking I needed to get that idea out of my brain. Hurriedly I rushed into the thrift store bathroom to find out. It never registered anything. Next I borrowed a test from my already expecting Ali Cat. She laughed and gave me an extra one she had. I accidentally peed on it backwards and the control window never showed up. Finally on the day the kids were leaving back for college, in desperation, I had rode in to town with the Archer to help him pick up some car parts. This time I bought 2 tests just to be sure. This time they both worked and left me in a state of shock and disbelief. Maybe my big gut was really justifiable!!! What if a large baby was growing in there? What if I'd been pregnant half the summer? What if it was twins, triplets or an alien from Mars? Soon my mind was reeling and I was speculating all kinds of scenarios unfolding.

At long last, a week later, my patient husband drove me to the big city to see a midwife and get to the bottom of this shocking surprise. By now I'd taken 5 HCG tests and the ones that worked were ALL POSITIVE. The midwife was very kind and diplomatic. My husband seemed to know more of the answers to her questions than I did. At long last she sent me into an ultra sound to get to the bottom of the big mystery surprise. There in the 7 year void which I thought was going into early menopause was an ever so tiny 5 week old 2 day home which a tiny baby was forming in. The staff all smiled at me patiently. We all laughed about me not being able to justify Miss Belly Fat and celebrated that once more I would partake in motherhood................................

I guess the summer was good for me in many ways. Where I started out feeling really purposeless and lost, I ended up feeling enriched with the time I got to spend having my whole family together again. I turned cocoa brown in the sun and felt content to feast on fresh trout and swim the waters I've swam so very many times. I laughed hard, lived well and ended up full of life on many levels.

At our girls group, the girls came unglued and began laughing hysterically when they heard the news. Everybody seems to be thoroughly shocked but joyful about the whole thing. The idea is still sinking in for me, but I know this is God's surprise gift for me and that He always has a good plan with a hope and a future.

A few weeks after I wrote that post, I miscarried. I really liked writing this story, so I am going to go ahead and post it anyway. I just needed some time.................

Thursday, May 28, 2015


   "Mama, the pigs are all dead!" my husband exclaimed loudly as he bust in the door this past Sunday Morning.  There was a mixture of anger and grief in his voice that made me feel like I'd been sucker punched.  I had to be hearing wrong, surely there was some mistake.  I started thinking back to my German Shepherd barking early that morning in the house and to the barking I'd heard outside earlier.  Suddenly the sickening realization hit me that dogs had come in and decimated our beautiful piglets.  I felt weak and had to go get on my knees to pray.  I didn't know what else to do.  I knew my boys were mad as hornets loading up their guns having seen the dogs inside the pen and I was afraid a war with some neighbor was going to ensue.  Our beautiful, wonderful, sweet piggies - there one day and gone the next.  My cousin, visiting for the first time - what a horrible thing for her to witness.  All the money we'd had to come up with for them and for the feed.  All these things just made me feel like I was drowning, but I quickly took the matter to God.  The next thing I did was start calling prayer warriors - my mom and my girlfriend.
   My mama reminded me that my boys and man would look at me and that I needed to be an example to them.  She also reminded me that they were only pigs and not my 6 year old.  That was some great advice.  As I prayed and interceded loudly, played worship and kept a good attitude, my husband paced back and forth.  He attempted to contact several neighbors.  He photographed the dead corpses.
   My cousin's husband woke up and confessed he'd heard the pigs being killed, but he was afraid to come out of his camper for fear that it was a bear or some such wild creature lurking about.  He just wasn't sure what to make of them squealing like that.
   7 am turned into 10 am and I decided my cousin and I should get out for a walk before she went on her way.  There was no point in ruining the visit.  My husband had a lead that the neighbors down the road may be the dogs owners.  As we neared that property, I felt like I really needed to go see them.  When I saw the black dog in their yard, I just knew, it was them...........
    A kindly man sat on the porch with his bible.  His wife sat there at his side.  They seemed like nice people.  I asked them if they had another dog.  They both looked worried.  They'd just sent one away with their daughter who left.  They confessed what the dog looked like.  It had the same orange collar.  It was the same pair of dogs.  I had prayed that God would prepare the owners ahead of time and I was so relieved when the man said that he "knew something was wrong" about them and that they'd been out running.  When I told them about our pigs, they felt just terrible and immediately got a checkbook out, writing for more than what I told them it would cost to replace them.  I was so grateful that the ordeal was over, but more than that, I was immensely relieved that we'd had such a good interaction with them.  They were honorable and did the right thing and I forgave them and that's how things should be between Believers.
   Every day seems to be a new party of sorts since my kids arrived home from MN.  We are all finally back together again and I feel like I'm alive again after being dead for a very long time.  The long hard grief is finally dissipating just like the snow melting off the mountains.  My red headed dreadlock daughter came home bringing life to everybody around her.  Half the time Archer, his wife and my chubby grandbaby are around too.  Its such a wonderful time and the party never seems to end. 
   Today they worked on Saphira's espresso booth which will be opening this week.  They had so much fun sawing and nailing and measuring.  We all went backpacking deep into a string of lakes which was amazing, exhausting and exhilarating.  Before that we all went camping at our "turtle safari" lake.  We've had bonfires and visits with friends and picnics, fishing outings and the list goes on.  Its been like a vacation that never ends.  The kids were determined to get the most out of their summer and I was determined to get the most out of being with the kids.  All in all its been a wonderful marathon of fun filled days.
  I especially LOVE the characters we've been enjoying - The Oklahoman Family who bought our house on the mountain have some real grit.  The boys wear cowboy hats and boots and talk with a drawl.  They have so much character you can't help but smile every time you see them.  We had a big ol' picnic with the entire family down at the lake one day and it was such hoot. 
   Everyday our house and shop property bustles about with a constant flow of traffic.  My husband is always busy and a week behind on fixing somebodies something.  From tractors to chainsaws and everything in between, he's earned quite the reputation for being the one who can fix anything.  I'm thankful for the goodness of so many here in our valley, who all seem to love my husband.

Friday, April 3, 2015

"Your Belly Looks and Feels Like Bread Dough"

   Spring seemed to come out of no where, but it was more than welcome.  I never really got the tranquil winter I wished for.  We didn't end up with much snow.  There was always another gun show, another place to go or thing to do and I never ended up feeling "settled".  The snow left as quickly as it came giving us a record early spring.  My cross country skis traded for running shoes, I began pounding the pavement haphazardly yelling at my dog every so often as I tried to keep tabs on her.
   Part of me rebelled daily against living in the main part of Yaak feeling like my life was on display for everybody to see, but the other part of me forced myself to take advantage of being around people.  Many of the days I was home, I worked out with my eccentric neighbor lady in her "girl cave".  She lives on a heavenly 40 acres of river in a log house overlooking a long stretch of waters.  She has elk, deer and turkeys all over her yard, along with her horses, dogs and cats.  She doesn't like to leave her home much, and welcomed having a friend to exercise with. Having almost every exercise dvd known to man, or so it seemed, she always had something new to mix things up with.
   Skiing with Elasta Woman and Gracie was fun, but the snow never stayed ideal for long.  In truth, putting away my skis was kind of a relief.  I flirted with the idea of signing up for a run, but lacked the motivation.  Still it egged the back of my mind until I felt rather yolky.  Finally, I couldn't hold back any longer and caved, signing up for Bloomsday.  Strangely, I found my Bloomie recruits at the local bar, no kidding.  I just so happened to end up dropping in on just the right days when somebody remotely my age was there.  The first time was at Crafty Kay's Good Bye Party.  After that it was at The Saint Patricks Day Party.  The conversation would go something like this "I never go here do you?  Do you run?  You do?  Great, lets FB".  Before long, we had a good little group of runners of whom I was the eldest and likely the shortest.  When I met our last recruit - a 20 something blonde - half my age and twice as tall, I really began questioning my sanity.  "What the heck are you thinking?"  I argued with myself.  "I don't know" I argued back.  "Maybe the challenge is good for me"  "Maybe you are just not all there in the head".  Usually the fight ends when I realize that arguing with myself only enforces that last idea.  In the end, she proved to be a kick butt runner and a sweet girl I would never in a zillion years keep up with, but I didn't care.  It makes me happy just to motivate others, and that is sometimes enough to motivate me. 
   And so it was that we had developed an informal girls running club.  Elasta Woman and Mist joined us as much as they could which made it feel like "the good old days" to me.  Tall Blondie of course paces ahead, but I'm good with that.  Then there is another girlfriend to add to my stories, she's still 10 years younger than me, but thankfully a little better matched to my pace.  I'm going to call her Belle.  We have an awful lot in common and that seems to make the miles go by a little faster.  She also knows a lot about yoga and those post stretches really make a difference.
   The other less than sane activity of which I pioneered is my new Facebook group "April Crunch and Munch" where I elicit a bunch of women to do crunches daily and eat more veggies.  Putting that kind of pressure on myself to preform crunches seems to be the only way I can motivate myself to faithfully do them.  Again, back to the above argument.
      In wrapping things up, I was enjoying a lazy, hot bath after pounding pavement, minding my own business, when Miss Moonbeam busted into the bathroom, stripped off her clothes and shamelessly bounced into the tub poking and prodding my belly.  It was then that she made that profound observation "Mama, your belly looks and feels like bread dough so I am pretending to knead it".  "Great just great" I thought.