Saturday, January 27, 2007

Of Houses, Roads, Cookies and Waiting

So we spent the day looking for this house (MapQuest being quite unaccustomed to Texas back roads...Roads Of TX will never be left at home again) that we're considering. For us, there are many different aspects to its selection. I want something fairly traditional - early Texas with hints of Southwestern style - and he does much the same but is more flexible in his mind about the end result.

Then there is the land. I want no less than 8 acres and he is willing to compromise if the house suits. For him, 20 acres or 2 are okay. I've reasons for this - most of which comprise fields of fire and a surfeit of sustenance. He also appreciates a vantage point and a bit of safe distance but has perhaps not fully appreciated the matter until recently. I had him read Lucifer's Hammer as a sort of primer - a glimpse of what humankind will likely turn to if things go as I fear they will. Not that I am some sort of survivalist - more like a stoic. Yes, a stoic and a realist. After all, look at what people will do now to get what they want. Imagine if it was all in short supply.

I've other concerns, too...there is a bounty of sorts, these days, for the badge he wears. His blood has value to someone who has little cash and less honor. In my mind, I can arrange scenarios - what I would do if I were they. And it's far too easy. Too easy to bring things to a...standstill. So for me limited access points, wide views and such matter.

The rest is negotiable.

The roads were rough here and there and my mind turned to how different it all was from what I've known. I had to pit in the shrubs and mesquite - not a problem, mind you - and my mind turned to the person I once was and this one here, kicking leaves to stir up rattlers and warn them of my approach. City girl, you see...city girl watching the glass windows for the reflection of approaching molesters and muggers. Knowing too well the weight of a knife in pocket and the fear of needing it as the bus moved from one zone to another - from a place of dire consequence to one of mere concern. That girl seems to be another person to me and I cannot help but wonder what she'd have thought if she'd seen a snippet of this life...space, distance, sky and road so long and straight that it is like a seam stitching pastures together. Well, likely enough she'd have nodded, turned up the bottle of sloe gin and turned slightly away to end the conversation but kept the mad woman in sight.

And now - the scent of cookies in the oven, a balm to the nerves of another Trooper. It amuses me now how my mind can settle to such normal tasks with deep pleasure. Once, it took extremity to stir me. I was like the waking dead, wryly smirking at the masses, as the meds made the pain fall away to depths that need never be stirred. But not now. A tide has rolled it all away, the waters are clear and the wry smile comes very rarely.

So now the waiting for him to come home to me. And I always believe he will. It never comes to mind that he might not. Well, that's not quite right, either. I simply refuse to believe that there is anyone who can best him. Or if they manage, that they will not last long either.

And I would, of course, ensure the loss counted. Someone would pay. Ah, dark thoughts for a midnight hour. I am, occasionally, melancholy. But it's tamped down, now, with the love for him. No need for self-indulgent morose tendencies.

Except that I do miss mommer. I miss her somethin' fierce. And the blanket smells just like her.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Children of Morning

Well, I thought it might be time to introduce the rest of the family - such as it is. Feline, fickle, and ferocious in turns, they are:
Princess Jonesy Buttercake
Ok, so we mostly call her Jonesy. She is the sweetest child. She lives for belly petting and treats. And meal times. And brushing. Otherwise, it's just sleep and snore. She's a Norwegian Forest Cat and was named Princess Di by the breeder due to her obvious crown. While she maintains her regal nature she never puts on airs.
Ah, sweet baby. Her belly is like the softest, deepest cashmere and I love to put my face in it.

This would be her adopted child, Smoky Doodlebug. She came from Slim Kitty who was a wild thing that lived near my previous residence. She came during an Easter ice storm and mom huddled up by the house with only the Doodle to suckle. I don't know if she abandoned the others or if they'd frozen already. Against my better nature I made them both come inside the covered porch area, a box made with warm snuggly bits in it. Doodle was hardly a palm-full.
When a baby, Jonesy would steal her out of the box when mom wasn't looking and play with her. I have a sweet photo of them that I shall post another day.
Now, she is finally filling out after a few years. Always slender and delicate like her mother, she can leap without disturbing a thing. Very finely carved feet, too. And the smartest cat I have ever known. Mind you, if you leave your paperboard nail file out, she will find it. And it will not be returned in its original state. She was always skittish until the Trooper moved in. Slowly but surely, he turned her fear aside and now she dotes on him. He says she's a Ranger kitty. I tend to believe him...
Now then - where is Mr. Maximus Fatassimus? Ah...here he is.
This fellow came with the Trooper. When we first met he was about twice that size due to boredom and eating. Not that he was neglected but that he didn't have other kitty friends so...he watched bad TV and ate. The thing about the Mouser (aka Mus) is that he is a hugger. He will put his front "pars" on your pants legs and beg to be lifted up and held like a child does. If you do, he will rub his face on yours and snuggle under your chin, his paws to either side of your neck like a big hug.
Trooper says that he'd gone to the pound for a dog, didn't see one he liked and was headed out by way of the cat section when this fellow reached out a paw and snagged his uniform sleeve. He removed him from the cage, got that trademark hug and it was all over. He protected me when the Trooper was in academy, never leaving my side and sleeping nearby each night. Now, the bed is a bit more full so he is relegated to sleeping over my head on a pillow, poor beasty. Still, he's my little man and I adore him.
And the other part of the morning and cats is this - the humble oatmeal bowl limned in the first light this part of Texas has seen in a month.

It was given to me as part of a floral arrangement - miniature red roses, it was - from my sister. I always loved the size and heft of it and the French language (which may be the only thing good about the French for another decade or so).
Me and my bowl, we greet each other every morning. It's the long cook kind of oatmeal, too. Jeez, people, that nasty sugary crap you nuke cannot compare at all. A few blueberries and some honey (that whipped honey with lemon is fabu with the berries, BTW) and it is a fine way to start the day. It does get other things started, too, of course. Ahem.
So that's about it. The light may have been brief but I actually got to enjoy it and I have to tell you - it was a beautiful thing. Thank you, Texas. I really did need that.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Where does the time go?

Dear me, but I have neglected this place, no? Cobwebs everywhere and garbled verbiage all over the floor. Sigh...well, it was holiday time and there was so much going on...eh, reasons but no excuses. I was taught that once by a fine elderly woman in a Chicago public school - perhaps the only thing I learned there.

There is a distinction between a reason and an excuse. Rarely is the latter actually excusable. We do things we know we ought not and then find a reason to substantiate it and move on, expecting the error to just fall away like a mote in the wind.

Right now, I have all manner of reasons for losing the shape that I was in at the start of my relationship. No excuses, though. And so I know it's time to start again...to try yet again to force this...aging flesh into something more tolerable. Oh, yes...time...it is not touching me lightly now as it always had.

Once, I was insanely free from it - I looked 16 well into my late twenties. And even then the changes were subtle and slow. But loss...it was loss that started the process, I think. I grieved. One heartache was tossed upon another, a double blow, and I bent forward under the burden of it. But with time and effort I stood tall again and managed to recover. And it was then I met the Trooper. Still relatively radiant though the lines were showing. But once again I let go the rigidity of schedule and duty, went for pleasure like a child to candy and lost track of myself. It is a long climb back.

As for the Trooper - he, too, lost himself after being released from the torment of academy. He swore he would not but the fact is that the extreme nature of the training and diet could not be maintained. We shall not mention his rather drastic condition that will require surgery sooner rather than later that prevents his running - it is his one major weapon against the flesh and it has been put away. It was that or crippling himself. No, a few more months and he can have it seen to. Damn his stubborn hide. I'd told him... Ach - water under the bridge. Why bother?

Do you know what I miss? My Sunday hikes in the woods. It was Sweetwater Park every dawn. I knew the trails, I knew the flora and fauna. I knew the overlook and the trees. It was almost four miles rain or shine - hell, the canopy was so grand that rain became hardly a drizzle under it. But I've nothing like that here, now. It is...frighteningly broad, that horizon. Lovely, yes - the expansive view is tremendous. But sometimes it also feels almost too exposed. I feel quite small and weak under that sky.

I spent much of this week buried by that same sky in ice for 3 days. At least I was able to remain at home, not bothered with venturing out. We were wise enough to get foodstuffs to tide us over. Here - I shall show you what I battled.

That is nearly two inches thick at the wipers. I didn't even bother to do battle with it. I waited for the Thursday thaw and only then chipped at it, sending large sheets rolling off the hood. I worried most for my already damaged windshield but it only had a wee bit longer crack for all that weight and cold. Thank goodness. I hadn't budgeted for its replacement yet - trying to get it through perhaps May or June.

At any rate, it was a time of staying indoors and drinking a lot of tea to keep my hands warm. Damned body is failing me left and right. Yet another thing to make time for - exams and prodding, histories and histrionics. I file it under the "I don't want to know" section and put it off again. Time later for all that...

I've a wedding to decide on, too. Full-blown affair or solitary and solemn? In TX or GA? Invite all or just a few? I've no idea, frankly. First one and then the other concept appeals. But I do know I have no stomach for the...oh what shall we call it? The frou frou bullshit. I am more and more tempted to make it local - to find a nice TX field and just have a barbecue (oh jeez - what is the colloquial spelling here?!) but then I think of his GA friends and how it would be for them to travel...we've not as many friends here. Hell, I've not many at all. LOL Oh, yes...THAT is simple enough. Who to stand up for me? The four gals I love most. There are no others.

Well...I suppose being away for so long has made me overstay my welcome here. Too much content, not enough contentedness. After all, there is a great deal awaiting me here - time enough to get the chores done if I were so inclined. I am most definitely not but I will do it anyway. And later, some puttanesca for dinner. Battle THAT, Febreze! You have met your equal!

Y'all be good. Be happy. Spring will come. It always does.

P.S. For the sweet Christina and family - hot damn but it's good to be home, isn't it? Congrats on making it through the impossible! Let the final decorating begin!