Sunday, November 28, 2010

Facing Your Fears

Have you ever thought about the things you are afraid of?

Do they seem silly?

Do you ever face them?

A few years back - I faced a few frivolous fears I had.

One was sleeping without covers.

Well - I couldn't do it.
I still can't.
No matter how hot I am - I need a cover.

I also tried to sleep with a limb hanging off the bed, and I managed to do that.  Well, at least I fell asleep that way.  I had fears as a child that someone was under the bed, and would grab the limb.  It may or may not have developed that fear after sharing a room with three ridiculous sisters.  How any of us got any sleep is beyond me.  My favorite maneuver?  Creeping out of bed with a naked baby doll and sneaking up to my sister Cindy's bed and slowly raising the baby doll up in  her face.  Oh the memories!  My poor mother!

Eating alone is another fear I've not been able to conquer. To walk in a restaurant that has a menu - sit down - order a meal - and eat it - without a book or a magazine in hand seems impossible. I've never even done it with a book. What an odd fear!

Another fear, perhaps not quite as frivolous, is a fear of horses.  They are just - um - so big.  And I have no faith that a little string in my hand is going to control them whatsoever.  I was thrown off a horse at a Christian Girls camp one time after a scarf that the girl in front of me was wearing flew off and spooked my horse.  A pony tried biting me at the County Fair.  I liked horses from afar.  I did conquer this fear about 15 years ago.  I went to a local stable and asked the horse nearest to death.  I got Amos - a retired Amish farm horse.  He was massive, but let me sit on him while he ate.  He'd walk a bit, and eat some more.  Perfect.

                                                            I've said all of that, to say this.
I'm taking a blogging break.
I'm planning on being back in January.
It scares me - to think of not blogging until then.
I fear you'll all forget about me.
Isn't that odd?
To be scared of NOT blogging?

Truth is I just want to close this computer up for the month of December and enjoy the magic of the season.
I want this Christmas to be different.
I want to slowly lick the candy canes, and take my time with the decorations instead of feeling that it's something to cross off the 'to do' list.
I want to savor it and not feel the need to photograph it and blog it.

I'm hoping I can face this fear!
If not - I'll be back tomorrow.

Merry Christmas y'all!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

When Oldness Happens....

I remember watching a movie a while ago.
There was an old frail woman with paper thin skin and sparse gray hair on her head, wearing a flannel nightgown.
I commented to Glenco 'Oh, I worry about looking like that one day.'
His reply?
'You don't need to worry honey - you will look like that one day whether you worry about it or not'
See what I have to live with?

When does this happen?
This oldness?

Lordy - look how gray I am - time for a touch up!

How is it that you can look in the mirror one day and your skin is soft and supple, plump and tight, and then what seems like the next week, it's thin and crinkly? Let's not even get started on the age spots.

It's like waking up fat.
Those of you that struggle with your weight will understand that one.
It's like you just wake up one day - and  you're fat.

I woke up old today.
And then it was noon and I was still in my flannel gown and I thought to meself, I thought 'Why not post some raw photos of yourself on the World Wide Web?'

Whilst putting on my makeup today I really noticed it.
Lots of them.
I don't remember this happening.

I felt I had a choice in that moment, and I needed to be careful of the choice I made.

With my giant brain, I'll rule the world!

I could choose to fight it - and worry about it - I could choose to spend money on trying to fix it and end up looking like a mummified old person anyway.  I'm not mentioning any names, but you've seen them on the cover of People.

Or, I could choose to look at each line like a medal of honor.
Badges - not wrinkles.

I chose the latter.
It's cheaper - #1, and doggone it - it's the only way you can look at it without getting downright depressed!

99% of my wrinkles are laugh lines.
Now, that's a lot of laughing.
Something to be thankful for.

I only have one 'bad wrinkle.
It's in my forehead.
I frowned for one year straight whilst recovering from a serious heart infection due to contracting the Chicken Pox at the age of 42.

It bothered me for a while, seeing that wrinkle.
Now I fondly caress it as a reminder of how incredibly fragile and beautiful life is.
I survived!  I could have died, but I didn't.
God knew you needed to read this blog all about chickens and shenanigans!

There's only one cure for old age - and that's dying young.
No thank you.

Oldness happens.
I'm gonna keep my face out the mirror.
I'm gonna keep my face to the sunshine and the wind.
I'm going to live life - wrinkles and all.
Oldness happens when you are busy living your life.
I'm gonna get busy.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Chickens in the Bedroom

I loved reading all of your comments yesterday.
The cold still hasn't taken a full hold of me - and I did spend most of the day cleaning and organizing...
I have much to say about it - but today's post is about the Great Chicken Show of Columbus, Ohio and related shenanigans.

I met Lynda through blogging and we got to know each other a bit through Facebook.
Kindred spirits.
She has bees, chickens, geese, guineas, a big garden and she likes words as much as I do.
What's not to love?

Girlfriend had a long drive from Alabama to Indiana.
She talks about it a little bit here.
Not knowing her driving history, and given my history of being a road warrior - I thought it would be funny to pretend she was a lost traveler in my driveway -
Oh my goodness - I realize now how not funny that is for someone that has driven over 500 miles to stay with a virtual stranger - to arrive and be pranked.
I'm so sorry I made you cry Lynda!

I'm sure at this point she had no idea what she was in for.
I have a bit of a big personality.
You may or may not know that about me.
I've been told I enter a room mouth first.
I run over people sometimes.
I try to control myself, I do - but sometimes it's impossible - and I frighten people.
And here she was - stuck with me for five nights.

Long story short - Lynda befriended my childhood friend Peggy via Facebook.
Really - where else but the Internet?  Wonderful things happen on the Internet.
On Thursday, Peggy came to pay us both a visit.
I'd not seen Peggy in about 25 years.
It was a day to remember.
I heart Peggy.
I heart her hard.

She brought me this:

I feel the need to apologize to everyone that I own this and you don't. 
Yes - it's that fabulous.

Photo by Lynda Swink

We spent the late morning and early afternoon jawboning over a pot of odd tasting Stuffed Pepper Soup and Dutch oven bread.  Flourless Chocolate Cake and Cherry Pie.
Reliving old memories, and making new ones.
I felt like the richest girl in town.
Mid-afternoon we drove to town to the thrift and antique stores.
Peggy departed.
Lynda was all mine again.  Bwaa ha ha!

Friday morning we headed out to Columbus, Ohio.
I promised her I'd let her stop to go potty, etc.
It was a five hour drive.
And stop we did - Crawfordsville, Indiana and Richmond...I think it was Richmond.  Wonderful antique stores in Crawfordsville! A few more potty stops along the way.  I really wasn't in a rush.

I've already told you all about the Poultry Show.
Here's the last video I wanted to share with you.
It's a call duck.
Again, I'd never seen anything like it - with it's short little bill.
It's not short on attitude!

I know you can't believe I didn't bring anything home.  I can't believe it either.
Truth be told - I didn't think they'd be selling birds - I thought it was just a show.
I wasn't prepared!
By the time I got through the show I was losing my mind, I needed to hold a bird.
I found a lady holding a lovely rooster and I got to play with it's waddles a bit.
I almost bought a bird just to carry around for a little while.  That thought actually crossed my mind.
"I'll just play with it, and give it back."
I just wanted to rub VO5 on it.
I wanted to kiss it and hug it and play with it's feet.

The most beautifulest rooster I ever did see.  Amen.

 I finally got up the nerve just to ask someone if I could hold one of their birds.
Oh sweet mother.  It was the cutest thing ever.  A little banty hen.

I immediately felt satisfied.
That's when I saw the look in Lynda's eye. 
She was bringing some birds home!
I got to pick them out for her.
A rooster and a hen.
An arranged marriage.

I did come home with a few 'traysures'

This sign:

And a few decals for the car declaring my adoration of all things poultry.

Sunday, we spent a lazy morning here at the house listening to her new rooster crowing in the bedroom.
Yes, the bedroom!
You didn't think we would keep the chickens outside did you?

My sister and Aaron met up with us early in the afternoon and we took a trip to the Buckley Homestead and the Indiana Dunes.
I always bring guests to the Dunes.
It's just something you wouldn't think you'd see in Indiana.
Aaron and Lynda chatted up a storm about photography and cameras.

These photos taken by Aaron

We also took Lynda on a little side trip through Gary, Indiana.
Scary Gary as my pal Shannan likes to call it.
It was actually then that her little Calvin called me and made my day.
Calvin - wanted to talk to me.
Does it get better?
I think not.

Dusk was descending, so we didn't really take her on much of a tour, but at least she can say she visited the Murder Capital of the World - birthplace of Michael Jackson.  Hee hoo!  *grab crotch*

                             It was hard to believe that Lynda's trip was about to come to an end.
I may or may not have traumatized her on Sunday.
When Aaron and I are together - it's mayhem.
Utter mayhem.
I can't wait to read her take of me in the kitchen trying to do the splits before supper.
If the ladybug and box elder bug infestation from unseasonably warm weather didn't do her in, my behavior on Sunday may have.

Speaking of supper - I cannot begin to tell you how much I enjoyed Lynda at my supper table.  Sunday night was extra special since Aaron and my sis were with us as well.
There aren't many things that make me as happy as a table full of friends and family breaking bread, sharing memories, laughing and enjoying each other's company.
It's a sacred time to me.

I'm so thankful to have met Lynda and know her now on a personal level.
She's an inspiration to me.
Her quest for knowledge, her intrepid spirit.
She's kind, funny, tender hearted, intelligent and insightful.
She'd make a mighty fine neighbor.

As I'm sitting here now - typing this to all of you - friends I know - friends I've met through blogging - family - 'virtual' friends that I email back and forth - friends that call me at 4:30am (Nancy - you know I just HAD to rib you about that one - please forgive yourself!) - and the friends I have yet to meet - it just seems so fitting that it's nearly Thanksgiving.

My heart is so full.
I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.
Thank you all so, so very much for reading my drivel - for leaving comments - for emailing me - for making me feel normal at times when I don't think I am - for challenging me to change - for laughing with me, and crying with me.

Thank you.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Just Wondering ....a Wee Survey

Ok, ok - I know my next post was to be a continuation of the Poultry Show.
I have one more video to share with you, and a few shenanigans.
I hope to have that post up later today or tonight.

I'm still up in my nightgown, here at 9:36 in the am - feeling like the cold that I've been playing dodgeball with for a month has finally whacked me right upside the head.

I'm off today.
As in - I have no plans, and no where to go.

I get really excited about days like this.
And I am wondering - what is your first thought when you have a day like this?

Mine is - ooooo - I can get the cannister vacuum out and get in the corners.
Oooooooo - I can organize my dishes.
Oooooooo - I can fold all my napkins so that they are uniform and put them in my new old buffet.

Is that normal?

Shouldn't I be all like ....ooooo I can knit, or read or visit a friend, or go to the mall or something else? survey is this...
When given the gift of day like this - what do you DO?
Not - what you'd LIKE to do - but what do you actually DO?

Cause I like the idea of reading or knitting or volunteering or something - but I end up cleaning and organizing.

Your turn....

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

National Poultry Show and Other Drivel...

Can I just begin by saying that it's 5:28am and I've been sitting up in my chair messing with photos since 4:15 and I'm starting to get antsy.
It feels like the day is getting away from me.
Yes - I know how ridiculous that sounds.

Another thing that is weighing heavy on my mind is the price of pecans.

Seriously?  $11.49 for 10 oz?
Pecan Tassies will be scarce this year I'm afraid!

Ok - now that I have that off my chest - let's talk chickens.
Here's a few more pictures of some fabulous birds at the show.
I still have to tell you all about Lynda - and our shenanigans.
You'll be happy to know I didn't subject her to a hell run.
We stopped.

I hope that in the video I shared on the last post, you got a glimpse of the noise level at the Columbus Ohio National Poultry Show.
I loved it!

The smell - not so much.  It wasn't as smelly as I thought it would be - but it was still fragrant.
For those of you that aren't familiar with chicken droppings - consider yourself lucky.

I have to begin by talking about these birds.
Modern Game Hens.
What in the name of me?
I was mesmerized.

This could possibly fulfill my hankerings for a crow.

Have you ever in all your born days seen such a sight?

I couldn't stop looking at them.

They are the super models of the poultry world.

In sharp contrast - welcome to my world.
The land of fluffy butts.

There was some serious butt fluffing going on in this place.

People were brushing the chickens combs with toothbrushes - oiling feathers - moisturizing combs.

It's madness.

Is it just me or does this bird look like it's wearing sunglasses?
I keep singing 'Can't read my, can't read my, no he can't read my POULTRY face - ma ma ma ma' - sung to the tune of Poker Face by Lady Gaga.

I bought a decal for the back of my Jeep that reads 'Crazy Bird Lady on Board' and 'Chicken Addict'.

Now I just need a magnetic yellow caution sign that reads:

'Stay back - show birds on board'

I know what you are all thinking - what did she bring home??
You are sitting, right?
I know!  I can't believe it either.

Lynda brought a couple of birds home though - and the pictures are on Aaron's camera!

Here is a picture of Lynda for now, just so you know she does exist.

I have to bring this post to a close now - the sky is beginning to lighten, and I have to go tend the birds.
I hate burning daylight!  On my next post I'll show you a few more photos of the show - more about Lynda - the meeting of a dear old friend - I'll talk about how I feel that I'm in sackcloth and ashes stage - my Starbucks application - and I know I still have about 20 questions to answer from 'Ask the CoopKeeper'

Never a dull moment.

Time for some moving and shaking.
Have a wonderful day!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Stay Tuned.....

                                                               It's 5:52 am.
There's a small rooster crowing in my bedroom.
My new friend is in the shower, preparing for her long journey home.
It's been a wonderful weekend here in Coopkeeperland.

Just a tease of what's to come.
I was here this weekend.
It was loud.
Rather odoriferous.
Some serious poultry adoration taking place.
Poultry heaven.
Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Join the Pie Gang!

Alright peeps...I've been lost in a flurry of flour lately....and preparing for this gal's visit.
Met her through blogging, and she's coming up to spend the weekend with me, as we embark on a road trip to the Columbus National Poultry Show in Ohio.
7000 chickens, geese, ducks, turkeys and God only knows what else up in one room.
Law.  I can't imagine the noise!  The stench!  The sheer joy!
I've promised her it wouldn't be a hell run...

Did you know my nickname is Pie?
Glen's been calling me that for 27 years now.

I'm not quite sure, but I think I've perfected pie crust.
I need a badge.
Pie crust to my liking anyway....

I was hoping to get a few of you to try it, and let me know the results you've had.
Real women roll dough.
That's all I'm sayin'.

You'll need four sheets of waxed paper.
This is a very unconventional recipe.
3 3/4 cups flour
7/8 cups peanut oil (I haven't tried substituting corn oil yet, but plan to try)
3/4 cup half and half
1/4 cup sugar
generous pinch of salt

In a smallish bowl, mix flour, sugar, and salt.
Pour peanut oil over it, then the half and half.
Barely mixing it with a spoon, folding it over on itself, just until it will hold together.

Plop it onto the wax paper, shape in a ball (gingerly) and cut in half.
Put one half in the fridge whilst you work on this half.

You are going to gently roll your dough inbetween the waxed paper, two sheets on the bottom, staggered, two on the top staggered.  (I'm just realizing I really didn't take enough photos!)

Notice the marbling in the crust?  You want to see that.

I like to roll the crust up on the rolling pin, carefully peeling off the waxed paper.

It's easy then to lift the pie crust and lay it over the pie pan.

Fill your pie as desired.....

Then top it, repeating the steps you followed for the bottom crust.
This is by far the flakiest, tastiest pie crust I've ever made, and easy.
I've tried Pioneer Woman's crust.  It was easy to work with - but the flavor was lacking.
I've tried an all butter crust.  I cursed twice making it.  Very difficult.
I've tried recipes with eggs, vinegar, etc....
This is by far my favorite!

Now, let's talk about flutin', cause a pie has got to look as good as it tastes.

This be how I do it.
I hereby declare this the official pie gang symbol, and pink the color.

Isn't she a beauty?
This one's apple.
I baked it a few days ago.

I beseech thee to bake a pie.
I admonish you to roll crust.
I beg you to try this crust recipe.
Pie making is quickly becoming a lost art....
say it ain't so.

Today I baked a sour cherry pie, and don't you know - an old friend stopped by - the scent must have wafted out the house and drawn her in.....

Friday, November 5, 2010

All That and a Bag of Cat Chow

This morning I awoke at 4:30 am in a wonderful non-hormonal mood.
Got Glenco off to work, and then attempted to lay back down for an hour before I really had to get up and get ready for a 7:30am meeting at the school for Aaron.
There was no more sleep to be had.  I tossed and turned and sang songs in my head.
"I'm alright - don't nobody worry 'bout me" - where did that song come from!?
Perhaps I am still hormonal.
I kept looking out the window cause it seemed like there was a light on in the camper.
I oftentimes think a bum will take up residence in The Squirrel unbeknownst to me.

After attending the meeting, I took off to Menard's, our local big box home improvement store.
I'm more of a Home Depot/Lowe's kinda girl, but today, I needed my Menard's fix.
Furnace filters and toilet seats were on the list.

Glenco is going to fuss at me for getting a new toilet seat, the one we have now is just fine, except for the fact that the little clippy things that hold the danged seat on won't stay down.  I've even tried hot glue. It feels dirty and weird, and I wanted a new seat.  $20.

Furnace filters were next - $20 for the best filter there.  I wanted the best filter there cause of dust allergies and touch of asthma I have.

Passing the cat and dog food, I decided to get a large bag of each and take to the Animal Shelter here in town.  $40

Y'all don't know that I found a huge German Shepard dog abandoned at the Jewel store in Chicago a couple of weeks ago.  I brought that stinkin' dog home in my lap while my sister drove.  She was gorgeous and the kind of dog that would be your best friend for the rest of it's life, or yours, which ever came first.  I wanted to keep her, I did - but it's just not conducive to my lifestyle.  Please don't hate.  I took her to the shelter, since it's a no kill facility. I felt that if Animal Control in Chicago had been called, she would have been put down.  I kept up on her progress at the shelter, and don't you know within two days she'd found a home.  That dog still tugs at my heart strings.  I can barely look at the photo.  Law.
*after the first couple of comments, I'm amending this to add that dog was indeed abandoned.  No collar, emaciated, matted fur and long nails - if she'd looked well cared for I would have acted differently*

Anyhow, all of that to say this.  When I got to the shelter I didn't want to give them the cat food.  I kept reasoning to myself that the dog food was enough, that I was low on cat food myself and I should keep it. I mean I'd just spent $40 on toilet seats and furnace filters.  I'm a frugal girl - yes, I am, I'm on a budget and I have financial goals. The more I thought about it, the more frustrated I became with myself that I was being so greedy.  All those poor little cats at the shelter.  I was determined to give that flippin' cat food no matter how much it hurt me.
And it did hurt me.
And I'm ashamed to say that.
I keep thinking about this, and realized that I must be afraid.
Afraid of not enough.
I scolded myself for having such little faith in a loving God that would surely continue to provide for me, and my cats, even if I had 30, and trust me - I could - it's not that far fetched.

Then I came home and read Shannan's post from last night.
More heart pricking.
More realizing that it's not all about me.

And so often, all I do is think about me.
What do I want to do?
What is my destiny?

Yesterday I decided that my destiny was to be broken and poured out for others.
To be available.
Maybe it's not being a missionary to the world, but to my family and friends.
Maybe it's not feeding the hungry in city shelters, but it's feeding the hungry on my own street, in the shelters of their own lives.  Hungry for food, hungry for love, hungry for acceptance and assurance.
I'm always waiting for the Aha! moment where I'm going to no longer want a new toilet seat and feel absolutely willing to give endlessly without fear - sometimes I'm there, and sometimes I'm not.

And that's OK.
Because I want to be there.
And I think that pleases the heart of God.