Saturday, December 07, 2013

When I Knew



There was a time when I walked through my life with a kind of crooked view, skewed to make sense of what I was doing. Or maybe just to rationalize the irrational. I chased my mortality with a reckless haste. But that is what comes of wanton youth - you think that either you've experienced it all or that you never will so why bother. That and it was the only contest that I could win...the only competition that attracted me.

But when death seeks you - why, then - it turns things around, doesn't it? Perhaps one isn't quite done with dull, dreary life just yet. And you fight back. You cling to the smallest things that speak of beauty and permanence. Thus, the talismans collected...the small tokens of fragile china, bits of lace, pictures, and silver chains. Everything to anchor a mind to the Now...and the music...the sounds of surrender.

I don't look back as often as I once did. A generous plenty to attend to these days...but I have never been one to let go of the past. It isn't to me a dragging leash but a lifeline across time. Still, there are times when that creature wriggles a bit against the constraints of today. I remind myself that I was not happy then. I was proud, yes. And brave, maybe. But awfully lonely and sad.

I am more angry today - angry at all the wasted time...the things I should have done - and could have done. I will never cross an ocean, now. There are views I will never see. I accept it as I do much else. My pride these days refuses to bow to the pressures demanded to make the journey. I will not surrender my security to appease a force that demands it while never assuring me they will make up for the lack.

Surrender...it is an ashen word for what I feel - it is an acceptance, really. This is how things are and no other. You cannot make reality into what it is not. So I reach back - movies from the `40's, carols that I sang when I was very young. A time when things were as dangerous as today but people were smarter and more capable. Not a nation of baristas and art majors.

I try to see who made it through and how they did it. I read historical reports, look at trends, look for signs like a witch scrying a future. There was a time I would look around me for hiding places - if I lost everything, could I lay there unseen, unnoticed? Water nearby? Scraps? It was a mentality of the desperate and it may serve me again one day. Unlike so many younger people I have known privation. I have been hungry and cold. And cruel...

As I get older I do worry more for the leaving - what I will leave behind and to whom...and what I may encounter after. I do not pretend to any worship but I have felt evil at my heels. I know that. I know that man can do evil without any unseen intervention. And I have felt grace...that, I hope, is what awaits me. A sweet draft of grace for all I've done and not done...a forgiveness for being human and inhumane.

And that is what keeps my feet moving forward, my turning effort into cash into goods and safety.
Someone once asked me what it was I feared and there were so many things to choose from...but after a time I realized what it was - I had never once, not one day in my life, felt safe. And it was then I understood that driving force...

I am safer now than I ever was. Perhaps more now than I ever will be again. I try to live within that beautiful moment, the touchstones holding less taint of the uncertain times, the lives I touch more meaningful to me...the desire to protect them from what I was, what I knew, and what I know - it aches within, sometimes, because I know there is nothing to turn the storm. But I can try to give them a shelter against it...I can try to hold it back from the door and let it pass to another. That cruelty again when one makes that terrible judgment - the better you than me sentiment. The price for that peace is high, though. Never think you won't pay for it. I just hope the bill comes due later, after everyone is safe, again...



Drawing your attention to all the thing that you ignore
And if I can’t be near you I would rather be adrift in space
And if the god deserts us now I’ll turn this chapel into flames
And if someone tries to hurt you I would put myself in your place

Friday, December 06, 2013

That Was A Waste Of Time

I swear...I have no idea how I wound up the only sane one in my family...so, we sent my father the "house rules" so that he would understand in writing the expectations and it would appear that not having any random stranger into our home was a deal breaker for him.

Excellent. Good luck with that. Ahem.

"But I like to have friends come and go...I am gregarious and outgoing..." yeah - read that as "I want to bring home any nutball I meet at the VFW..." and I am astounded that he thought this was a reasonable expectation.

And now I have rather a lot of furniture moving and whatnot. We use the guest room as storage for a lot of our acquisitions and we'd transferred it all to our room, etc. Anyway, Sarge says no problem - we'll move it back.

This would be a good place for me to note the absolute support, kindness, and patience he has shown in all this. Not only agreeing to house the man, but dealing with the back and forthing of my family and myself, and finally the task of ensuring Dad knew the rules...he has been amazing. Just amazing.

So I guess we'll be sending him a nice holiday meal delivery and helping as we can in whatever he chooses to do, now. He does want to move to our area and we did offer to help him find a place. Eventually, we'll have to deal with it all again. But not now...not for a time...

Time, instead, to get things organized again and maybe to get a tree...haven't decorated in several Christmases - maybe it will be the last time to do so with ease. Heck, I think this is what happened the last time we did it circa 2007. Ranger edited the garland to his satisfaction.


If there is a bright spot, it is that we found the engine heater plug on the Excursion so it is now happy. They are not fans of cold weather and it made this morning's chilly start a far easier one. Mind you, this is after the AC Compressor went tits up on us...that was an expensive experience and that is with a mechanic friend. I suspect some of the bill was a pain in the ass surcharge since the belt is a royal bitch to fit into the area. Suffice to say I am learning a lot about the spare parts we'll want to have and the repair manual to purchase. Sheesh.

I edited the linkage over there > and it was merely a matter of cleaning things up. No judgment passed, just slimming things down. I need to do more of that - around the house, around the belt, around the blog...time to get things in shape. And I was sure to add Commander Zero's blog FINALLY because he has the best gear recommendations. We have acquired a number of things because he has found them, tried it out, and offered comments on how to improve it. Someday we'll have to get up there and visit and let the dogs play.

Now, I need to actually earn my pay (work is feast or famine right now). It has been weird there - we had this amazingly profitable sector that was kicking ass. Then, suddenly, this absolute asshole executive of a sector that has been consistently over budget sucked it into his sector. And made himself the boss. And my sweet and kind boss may find himself replaced by a sycophant. I cannot tell you the level of asshole-ishness this guy has. Nor can I relate just how many resumes have been hitting the market - because no one wants to work for him. I wonder if the Big Cheeses have handed this to him so that he fails with a notably good sector and they can get rid of him. It's possible.

Just as an FYI - I think things are getting bad and will be getting a lot worse very soon. If you haven't done a damn thing to prepare, go at least to Augason Farms and order the easiest and most affordable package you can - they are having good sales all month. And get as much water as you can easily store. At least that way you have options. When this wheel spins off the axel you will have options and this will give you a few days more than most...

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Craftsmanship For Kindness

I saw awhile back a fundraiser for "Squeaky" and thought I'd jump in. After all, I didn't have much to lose - it was just a few bucks. And I won something!! And that something was a wee shield - decorative or for someone small to play with - and it could be customized per the artisan. Why, yes! Thank you!


And that was what arrived. Can I tell you how magical and wonderful and amazing it is?! We are big fans of such handwork so we know what it took to make that happen and I could not be happier.

It will make a lovely gift for our good friends for whom it is a kind of family emblem. (Read these with your kids to get the gist...)

What an amazing win/win...I am floored by how amazing the blog community it, sometimes...thank you, Sir, for such a wonderful piece of art!!

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Abstruse Affairs

Life just seems to be getting more complicated as I get older. I would have hoped I'd be generally settled, coaxing my days into retirement and relaxation but I grow more certain those days will never dawn.

My father (imagine a vaudevillian Mensa member) had a minor-ish stroke a month ago. He had been living on his own just fine, mostly...but now it is time to surrender that bachelor pad in Arthritis Acres and come to live with us. He is in a rehab facility (read Medicare thievery palace) for now but should return home in a week or so. Then, another week to pack before I send Sarge down to fetch him here.

I know, I know...our lives are going to change, there will be many tough times and my generally good nature will be tested. But as I've told the family I reckon he has between 1 and 5 years left. I can commit to that. I have shoes older than that. So...you do the right thing. No? You suck it up and, as you always have, be the responsible one in the family. You would think that your useless sister who hasn't any real job would take one for the team and move there to watch over him...but, no. Hell, maybe she has clearer memories of him being a really crappy father. I can't blame her, really. The middle kid is always the Fixer.

My brother and his wife tried this last year - or maybe 2 years, now. My father declared it a "gilded cage" which I immediately refused to accept. If he felt that way in their palatial offering, he will feel quite Dickensian in his small guest room home. With dog hair, gratis.

Sarge has been terribly ill for a week, now. Salmonella, I think. Don't know from where since I haven't been ill but...so it goes. Literally. Ahem. One learns to be thankful for things like the Lamp Berger. (Which, gentlemen, is a lovely gift - you can even get a nice masculine scented oil that pleases you both.)

The week ended on a rattly sort of note as the Excursion's batteries gave up the ghost (not unexpected and, yes, they take two). But not only that - the AC Compressor also decided that it was time to shuffle off this mortal coil. At least there was someone local who had a trailer to hold it - barely. Perhaps 4 inches to either side. Lord love him, he said he could cut the belt and run it long enough to get it up the ramps. Cut it, do! And it worked. So...there goes Christmas but, hey, this year I planned ahead...



I was making my list of acquisitions throughout the year and am astounded at the things I got and forgot, tucking them into the gift drawer for these coming weeks. Yay me!! Add on the few things ordered during these cheap deal days and I feel quite pleased with myself. The same thing applied to the supplies, moved from the guest room as we prepared for Dad...

It is true - if I left it all to Sarge, we'd be in a sad state but that is not his strength. No, he sees to the armaments and training - and connections. A fair trade, to be sure. Just...it sometimes feels like a burden too large for my shoulders, all this planning. We spoke of it all on the long drive to Thanksgiving dinner...of how it is all spinning wild, now, and what we have may be all we get. He is deep into Bastiat these days. He always understood the concepts but the deep philosophy is a learning process...so now, when I am ordering a case of this or that, he knows it isn't because I don't want him to have that pistol but that we have to eat...

And now...friends see the walls closing in and make their own plans, saying it may be time to concentrate forces in a less target intensive area. We agree, deeply. And so I look around me, at the walls needing paint, and floors to upgrade. Yes, yes - sell, leave, move...but I think there is no time left for it and, instead, start to look at likely bolt holes. Options.

There is a kind of mental exhaustion the planning brings - planning without any initiating of action. Complacency is a result, often. But not now - it is more just a tiresome waiting, watching, facts stored, and plans adjusted. I read the office chatter, the PR submissions to an eager investing public and stifle my laughter. I hear Ripley's voice in my head, "Goddammit, that's not all! [...] And all this, this *bullshit* you think is so important, you can just kiss all of that goodbye!"

You watch something like this and show it to your family - tell them that this is what people are doing when there are things to buy and money to buy it with. Now, consider what it will be like when that is the last of the bags of flour and no one has money and hasn't eaten in days. Good luck with that...

And now...the last of the stock from the ham and turkey has been prepared and vacuum packed for the freezer against just such an incident. Thinking ahead...thinking of so much these days...I wish I could slip into the soft ignorance of the medicated state, sometimes. Wander through my life as nearly everyone under 25 years is...but those days are over. And one day they, too, will harken back to their walking sleep. If they make it that far.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Stop And Go

I know better than to have that small cup of coffee at this hour...and the fine chocolate beside it...but one ought not to throw away good coffee and it was the leftover from his Thermos fix. It is a hazard of the night shift widow - making food at odd hours that you have to deny yourself, and brewing coffee you can't drink.

It has been a long few weeks, and challenging. We learned a few things - namely, that the Excursion won't fit on any standard rental trailer units. But that we had friends who had some that would work should the need arise again - and dear God let that not be the case...Sarge hasn't felt all that well the last few nights and I attribute it to a few causes but surely his lack of enthusiasm for the job of late isn't helping. It may change soon. But I think there is more. We shall see.

He left last week for a funeral at the homeplace - a 16-18 hour journey that we've made a few times before. I packed the Excursion with all he might need - the Thermos, the cooler for water bottles, and the one full of food he can eat since road food isn't kind in the gluten department. He was a bit more than halfway there when the vehicle did one of these numbers...the Reavers (2:50m) got nothin' on him...the local law dogs didn't appreciate it, either, since no one could drive east on 20 with any kind of visibility within 3 miles of him.

I get credit for finding a dealership within a few exits of his position in under 2 minutes time, thank you very much. And a hotel. Said dealership had to pull the cab from the frame to get to the turbo which decided to thrust all its vanes into the engine at speed with alacrity. Said vanes became a kind of metallic oil additive that went all through everything in its death throes. Essentially the stuff in this toy, rendered throughout.

Sarge got a rental, returned home, and about 4 days later he returned to get the repaired vehicle. The Excursion had every oil breached part replaced or cleaned. All seems well, now, but it was a trying time, and he missed the funeral. But we kept telling each other that there was obviously a reason for it. Perhaps only to save me from that critical failure while I was driving to work...who knows...

Otherwise...I've been trying to be the kind woman of the house, easing his irritation in all things. A lot of Christmas presents have been arriving (planned ahead this year) as well as a good deal...sweet fuel cans of large size and good manufacture. Zed got the heads up after I bought mine and he told the rest so...likely all gone. (Edit: diesels remain though I think I will be getting a couple more...)

Speaking of gifts...it is definitely worthwhile to go to Huckberry.com and set up an account. A kind of...edited offering of the best goods out there for the menfolk as well as manly tales...I have acquired a number of items from them.

Well, the coffee is wearing off, and I've an early day...so much going on and so little that I can do about any of it. Fight the good fight, as they say.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Marking Time


I think often of the photo in this book, capturing a man in exhausted posture, looking with quiet disdain at the photographer. So young, it is a man I never knew. I only met him decades after when he had already Been There, Done That more than a few times and had moved on to Goodbye To All That.

He has always brought that quiet interior to his job, hard to excite, and of general good will to all around him. When he took on the latest role, it was nearly the perfect match of need to experience. And so it had been until a few months ago. Sadly, as was actually stated today, the new regime was looking for a "yes man". Ahhh...good of them to be so crystal clear. It saves a lot of angst and concern that the difficulties of late may have been exaggerated in his mind.

There is a kind of ease that comes when a decision is made. We'd decided before that he would never again work for someone that wasn't honest and a plain speaking gentleman. The time has come again to move on...and I suppose in the end it is best. He could not advance in the current role. An option is possible but not optimal. But is it better than being somewhere hours away?

The worst part, I think, is that the men who work with him will know what it is like to work for a real leader and now be thrust into the care of someone who bemoaned the experience his subordinate has. The experience garnered across years of service, of tired eyes and limbs moving forward across ground hard-won. Another advance lays ahead of him. But perhaps this time his experience will be considered an asset, an opportunity to use it rather than demean it.

RLTW.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Breathing Autumn

My favorite season is sneaking around the corner, putting out tendrils of cool wind and scratching leaves. It makes me wish for that northern town...




But there is no chance of giving them my money anymore. It's hard, standing up for what is right...surrendering what you want for what is best. So I look at the local horizon with its green turning to brown without the pleasure of the colors so many enjoy.  Perhaps a trip to Lost Maples in a few weeks...

The hours roll by, trying to keep the house quiet as he sleeps off an overnight assignment. A few more hours and he'll wake up hungry - the venison tenderloins should appease that beast - and then an evening walk with the dogs and it all begins again...

I've been trying to find the small, good things in life lately...simple pleasures and just taking care of things that need cared for...planning, storing, editing...it is something to do with the hours that pass and more useful than paying attention to the world at large. I suppose it is a kind of acceptance. This is as it will be and my part in it is marginal at best. I have nothing to do but to care of me and mine anymore.

It is a bit cyclical, I think - a kind of seasonal repetition of spring-like hope, endless summer disbelief, autumnal acceptance and wintry desolation. I know there is a word for it - that being on-duty for so long that your nerves ache and you get complacent. It wears you down, all that thinking and analysis - the preparing and planning...the lists get longer, the checks smaller, and you just want to throw it all aside as so many in the world are - you see people getting away with it, for now. Blithely wandering through the chasm as though nothing was crashing through behind them. I wish I had that kind of blindness, sometimes.

Instead, I worry about what is to come...of children not born and what they will face, and require. What have I forgotten? Will it even matter? Can I keep it, if all goes awry?

So I take out maps and think about days afoot, of water and likely drop spots...I consider the worst of options available to me and look about as I drive - there, a likely marker, and there a treeline to slip through...I wonder, too, why I feel so compelled...what inside this psyche drives that sort of thinking? I think of it as a long line of characters as though in a very long book...each one an aspect of Me, and lending its abilities and flaws...which ones lie and which are true?

I take a deep breath of the colder air and it puts a dozen chores in my mind. The switch of gear, and gears. It will be a colder winter, they say. And I've a fire pit yet to build and wood to cut and stack...and propane tanks to emplace and fill, someday...someday...it all whirls in my mind and I snatch at each item in turn and try to pin it down to a date. But my hands ache and the grey in my hair belies the youthful face...no matter how much I plan, it is limited by my limitations. And that is what steals my sleep at night. That all of this work, all these scattered thoughts, and deliberate actions will be sealed shut with a final blink of my eyes.

Autumn comes. It is time to think of winter.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Briefly...

I still move about in the world, still here...just busy and more on the Book du Face than here or - yes - reading your words, kind friends.

Lately, it has been trying to keep Ranger from humping himself into a cramped wreck with Kota. Yes she is in heat and no she is not fixed. I had thought it might be wise to wait in case things went really strange since large and scary dogs might be of value - especially those that can pull their own weight, literally. But it may be time to stop that hope of motherhood.

At any rate, it might be faster to tell the story in photos. No, not of the humping. You're welcome.

I've been knitting my hands off...a bit of this (can you see my error?):

 
And then there is this one - did you know our pal was famous??


And there was an acquisition - much desired and quite welcomed:


There was a little summer training. She's a natural and one that Sarge is anxious to get on the 3Gun habit...bloody damned ammunition is still impossible to get at a reasonable price. It makes me very angry, indeed.
 

Lastly, a bit of traveling to pretty, small towns...
 

There you have it - the last 3 months, really. A lot of stressful goings on, some drama, much boredom, and boxes of Christmas gifty fun arriving because this year I really did think ahead. Yay me!

Oh...speaking of gifty goodness...look what a dear friend gave me the other day. An Emerson. Bloody damned sharp, perfect micro-grippage, and the size? Baby Bear's porridge. Lord love him...he's a good guy. Very kind. Now, I just need to work out the stiffness in it.

 
BTW, did you know LA Police Gear had its BOB on sale cheap? Sweet bag for the price! We got a couple and I've turned one into a purse because the 1911 fits very nicely. Get a couple, throw some rattle can at it, and you could easily tuck it away somewhere for later retrieval IYKWIMAITYD.

As for today? Go find the French documentary about the day. It says a hell of a lot more than anything on the TV today...

Onward...

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Shades of September (AKA House Painting)


Well, it will be a LONG project but a necessary one....the house when new had a vestigial amount of paint applied. Same for caulking. So...time to get cracking on the autumn chore - exterior painting. We'll yank crappy caulk out and add new, replace a bit of fascia but then it will be time to clean and paint.

This is what we're thinking - the red will be for the front and back door then just the edge of some trimwork (such as that inside trim of the garage door). The celery shade will be for the trim and porch ceilings and such. The cream is for the major part of the home. I think the red and celery hit the brick shades nicely. Some concern on the cream being too light in terms of maintenance but...I don't think we'll be here when it starts to get really dirty.

You can really see the trim color here...I wanted some sun and shade photos to ensure I was happy with the colors.

This is what I mean about the inside line on the garage trim. Still not certain about it. But I think it will be a nice shot of color in certain areas.

And the door...I like the idea of the red door though the sun does bake it in the afternoons and it would really cook in that darker color. Still...it pleases me.

Sarge has painted A LOT in the past so he is overly familiar with the task. I have only performed the task a few times - but I am fine with detail work. I suspect the trim will be best for me as he manages the rest. We have both declined the idea of spray painting it - I have yet to see a unit that functions well. Perhaps a professional version would but the average do it yourself brands have always clogged and been rather sparse on application. So...ladders and muscles for us.

August will be too busy to get much done (and too hot) but I think we can at least get wood filler applied, and fix grout. That should be pretty easy in the cooler hours. But there is a generous amount of it to do - blackland prairie ensures a lot of heave with the wet/dry weather so everything settles a bit over time. Well, we'll see how it goes. I have high hopes! And then...flooring...think tile...just not sure what kind. I crave some lovely stuff in the master - actually, I crave a master re-do into one of those walk-in shower rooms.

The current soaking tub has a crack (yes, dear, it does even if it "doesn't go all the way through" - this an on-going debate) so I am tempted to ditch it entirely for a large shower area but suspect most buyers will expect the soaker so I've my eyes peeled for a Craigslist construction leftover. You know - the ones that fall off the truck. Ahem. ANYHOO...like this:

That is actually quite like our bath format including the window so it'd work nicely. I want to get the window frosted so that curtains aren't necessary...the view isn't much but it is a large window...feel free to extend any comments, warnings, etc. about the above ideas and colors.

Anyway, there you have it - the rest of our year planned out. Sarge promises me a snow vacation which is what I'd really like. I wish CO hadn't gone full asshat...I am thinking Wyoming or Idaho might be the options. Utah, perhaps. Have to check the carry laws because I don't go anywhere I cannot do so. Now...some knitting and some Bones episodes. Feisty's daughter turned me on to the show and - though I know it is all hooey in terms of reality - I really do love the forensics thing and the main character's personality. Much like me,  she is very matter of fact and lacking some awareness of courtesies.

Now I just have to sneak out of the bedroom - her Royal Watchdogness demands her nap except she cannot do so in her favorite bathroom unless I am in view in bed. She gets very bossy about it and grumpy from being tired. I'll post a video of it later, perhaps. Time to make my escape.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Long Time, No Change

Ah, yes...the old blog...it was a comment from Old NFO that brought me back, reminding me that this place languished. Life has been a bit busy, of course, and August is likely to remain much the same. But the days have had highlights - Sarge's hand is healing very well. The knuckles are coming back from under the layer of swelling that has finally receded. He is back at work though next week he spends each day on a private gig so I'll be on my own to get the house cleaned for company.

That company will be a week of teen entertainments - shooting, Schlitterbahn'ing, and maybe a side trip west to show him the Texas of the old westerns...

An incredible storm rolled through last night, the line hustling southward and hurrying Kota into the bed beside me. She hates storms and I'd given her a sleepy treat to ease her a bit. But I was glad I'd unplugged my laptop - a rather strong bolt hit near as I held my cell phone and I could feel the littlest sizzle. It would have to make a dog fretful with their other senses bristling.

We had a nice, long meeting of the knitting club - HKB - and I was able to display my amazing shawl to those who could appreciate it for what it was - the hard work evident to those who could count the stitch-hours. A few errors are there but I'd had a terrible incident of stitches that fell off the needle and my recovery was a make-do effort.

 
Sarge called last night, having a lab around his heels as his owner was walking around the grounds. Marcus remembered him from the last meeting, I think - an auction for a non-profit. I wondered how his dog handled the storm that crossed their region.

We've been talking about the coming changes to the upper echelon and what we might do. Suffice to say, from August 3rd his studies begin for the Lieutenant role. Where that role might be is the issue...odds are he'd be in the Permian which means getting a trailer and parking it somewhere, coming home every other weekend, perhaps. It is just what one does, an accepted process. With any luck, we will have moved by then to a place with more privacy. We got screwed in the market collapse so it is a matter of waiting a time to get the market higher. If nothing else, we can always rent it to local troops - this a standard practice, too. They stay for their year and need someplace within a small radius of their area.

The mess that is American Politics continues to be an appalling failure. We just keep purchasing things of use, waiting for prices to drop on ammo. I need to get to the range but will not waste the good stuff on practice. I think in a few days we will be able to acquire a restock. I need to get the reloading materials restocked, too. I am in charge of The Great List so there is always something on my mind which makes Sarge nuts. But he has enough to think about so I try to deal with it...

We had a scare the other day. Our Godson is an amazing man. His beloved is an amazing girl. She was very unwell and he was diagnosing (he has ridden with EMT for years, now). Her parents (spit) were dismissive of the pain. He finally took her to the ER, which meant her anger being thrust at him and a stern lecture from her father. His concern was vindicated when they immediately admitted her for a bad appendix. The father did not apologize, of course.

Healing, she received word that the test of the organ showed cancerous cells. A long wait and some additional tests, lots of prayers...and word finally that it appears the cells did not migrate from the organ so she just needs scanned a few times a year. My relief was evident as the tears fell...the cells are known to invade the ovaries so the thought of her losing her fertility at this age, or worse losing her life was just a terrible thing. I am hopeful continued tests will confirm she remains healthy...

It is a strange time - that terror was bordered by very good news for the Godson's father so we were pulled from one emotional edge to another. Add in the birth of a lovely girl to good friends and you can understand that we've had so little time for the frivolous. Well, a little time, perhaps...I chose my anniversary gift (a new kitchen sink) and he chose his. We are not big celebration types - can you tell? Ha!

And now...he is awake and it's time to feed the beast. Enjoy your weekend, friends!


Monday, June 17, 2013

Chicks Dig Scars

That's what he told the doc, anyway, when they planned the surgery. And it looks like this one could be impressive!


And there it is swollen as can be - finally out of the cast, the first thing he did was scratch and then let his wrist circle about a bit. It had been aching terribly. Not a bad scar, really! Just need to ensure the scarring tissue doesn't try to adhere to the tendon and get his range of motion back. He is performing his exercises as directed.

Well, that and looking at vids from the base in Germany that he once served at...good times. Amusing him these past few weeks has been tough. Hell, keeping my own sanity has been tough. But it is all good - he will have a great story one day.

Me? It is back to the same ol' soon. Just as soon as he is off the meds and can drive himself, anyway.

Who wants to bet he is back on the bike in the house within the week? Uh huh.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

And the Next Day Dawned...

...and far too many held that pale light in their unblinking eyes...

Some color photos of Before And After D-Day to make it a bit more real...
Because there was another day, and more to be done.


Breaking Bad

It has been quite the trying year for Sarge...he'd been kicking ass, though, and powering through it all. He was getting in great shape, ready for his century ride. And then it was Sunday...

The weather was finally dry and he was thrilled to get the bicycle off the stand and onto the road. Perhaps too excited, he was gone for only 20 minutes or so before the TV showed an incoming call on the home phone - usually ignored, we don't even have one plugged in. But it was his number calling - I rushed to put the end in the jack but missed the call. I called back but the line was busy.

I waited a few moments when finally my cell rang. His voice made it clear - trouble. He didn't have to say a word as the quaking tone was sufficient...just the hint of tremble in his usually authoritative style told me...but his words were few - in essence, I am hurt, I am at this general location, get here now. I'd made the brief drive to the same area before for minor problems so I was familiar but his tone put the taste of iron in my mouth - adrenalin, maybe - and I just grabbed the keys and bag and launched.

As I made my way down the road, I kept looking for him, expecting the exasperated appearance of the past. It was the Horse With A House road - we name them to aid my feminine "mapping by characteristic" method. Yes, there is a horse that lives in an old house there. With a guard dog. At any rate, I knew the road was a favorite for his hill climbing practice. And it was just at the crest of the first gentle drop that I caught a glimpse of the yellow jersey.

He stood by the roadside, bike leaning on him and his left hand cradled against his chest. He had a swollen left eye, abraded left arm with an accompanying bloody slit near the elbow, and just a mess of dirt on his clothes. Before I could even put it in Park, he threw the bike into the bed of the truck one-handed and climbed in. He kept the hand out of sight as he tried to buckle in. I reached over, aiding him, and trying to see him more clearly. He spoke in a rush of how his wrist really hurt, and that he'd fucked up his bike, oh, the bike...he was angry but could not say much more about what had happened. Cognizant enough to give me the all clear in our backing up and turning around, I was fairly confident he was oriented but hauled ass for home, anyway. I asked him his pain level and he said a steady 6...

Once home, he leapt out of the truck and snatched the bike back out before I could even tell him I'd do it. He carried it in and leaned it out of the way then sat on the couch heavily, cradling the hand again and saying his wrist hurt pretty damn bad. I got the ice pack from the freezer and a towel - he put it on his hand, again keeping it out of sight. I ran for clean rags to clear the wounds with so that I could see the true extent of the injuries there - road rash, mostly but the thin short slit was deep at the elbow. A stitch or two, maybe, I thought. The requisite package of peas annointed his left eye and I glanced at his helmet - not much there for damage - some minor scratches at the very edge...but the questions kept coming - where's my bike? Right there. What happened? You had a wreck. Where's my bike? Yessss....concussion: confirmed. Wheel taco'd. Handle bar smasharoonie'd.



After Ranger came up and started cleaning the leg wounds, Kota got on the sofa and lay down very quietly. They could smell his injuries, of course. They knew it was bad when Dad wasn't moving. He tried to resist my looking at the hand but finally I managed to get him to reveal it - nothing horrific, mind. But the swelling was already pretty bad and I could see the malformed back of his hand. Yep, the Sunday ER trip was ahead. I found a button-up shirt and pull on shorts for him and began the job of coaxing him into the idea that he was not going to shake off this one. The pain finally made it clear - no choice.

We have a preferred hospital - nothing in our small town available - but it is a 20 minute ride at least. We considered the in-town trauma locale but I knew it'd be a madhouse. No, our efficient and clean option was best so the bag of ice was prepared and a towel wrapped around it and off we went. I did every bit of the 80mph limit on the toll road, too.

Once there, the process was quite simple and speedy - no waiting, really. But they did just have a software upgrade/change so everything was a headache to input. Fortunately, the ER seemed to be better trained in it...a shot for pain came after the doc peeked at the hand. Broken, yep. Our very good friend was on an assignment with only a day trip home - he had been on the road to get back to it when he got my message. He arrived at the hospital not long after we did and a good thing, too. Their brotherly affection and gallows humor kept things light. He really hasn't any idea what happened to him nor how long he was injured. He doesn't remember calling me nor the ride home. A blessing, no doubt, though he still wants to perform an accident reconstruction of the scene...sigh...

Would you like to see a sample pic of the kind of break he has? Look!

His is only the middle finger, not all of them, but the same splintered, lengthwise break is present. I believe it is far more splintered than this one but I only had a quick glance at the film. They did look at his head, too, - the CAT scan showing no problems. Phew! His side bears a large bruise akin to this. New word! Ecchymosis! And, yes, a black eye, too.

The repair? Oh, something akin to this per his surgeon...

Yes, permanent screws and whatnot. Poor fellow. So we wait now for the swelling to go down, then surgery early next week and another 6 weeks after to heal. But he may be able to work light duty - maintaining the paperwork and whatnot. No driving on the pain meds, of course. Which has meant his tolerating my driving which is VERY difficult for him. (He's a driving instructor, you know. Ask. He'll tell you. Ahem.)

Not only is he a forced passenger, he is a dictatorial one. I am not a bad driver at all but he is sensitive to my very cautious approach to the art. He is an offensive driver and I am a calm defensive one. I can change lanes after the guy goes by - no need to speed up and do so. But it grates on his nerves...

And that, dear friends, has been a small snippet of the goings on. I am very fortunate that my job permits great leeway in absence, home work and the like...so all will be well one day. Now, just a few more chores and I can get to bed. Another long day tomorrow...a chiropractor appointment that is likely to help. Now, if I can just get him to quit trying to scratch his arm beneath the bandages with a chopstick...

Friday, April 19, 2013

Follow Along

For anyone who wishes to listen in go here and look for the Framingham link for MetroBoston SOPS...

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Recovery

While the world watched the carnage replayed, I wrestled with my own internal pain for 36 hours, at one point restlessly wandering the house as the fever came and went. Whether it is my gall bladder giving a warning or just food poisoning, it was a horrible way to spend the night. Sleep would come with merciful relief but too brief...then the roiling and cramping and awful aching inside. Sarge was home for much of it, kindly fetching small things to help me, stroking my head when there was nothing else to be done. I think it scared us both, this mysterious ailment. I am still not quite myself, hesitant to add much food yet but hydrating as best I can. Nearly 6 lbs lost...

It is intriguing to see how much video and cam offerings there have been from Boston. I wonder about friends who might be en route, and how it drowned out other news. The First Lady of Texas has lost her father, and the DA murders are solved. Having missed much of the goings on, I try to concentrate on the rest of life...laundry to catch up on, dogs to love on...especially a big one that refused to leave my side throughout my sickness, sleeping within sight of me every moment that I remained in bed. She lays in the bathroom, her long legs hardly fitting in the space offered, and always her tongue too long for her mouth...

 

Sarge has made me a biking - cycling? - widow. He has lost 25+ lbs and thoroughly enjoys the sport. It isn't an inexpensive one but cheaper, perhaps, than the ammunition for 3 Gun which we can no longer enjoy. I suppose it is a match for my knitting expense, though - the stash is not an inexpensive acquisition...



 We each have our needs, after all...

At any rate, that is about all I have to offer - nothing stunning, or revelatory. Hardly even intellectual but it is all I have in me after these last few days. And now, the quest to get a bit more soup down my gullet when all I want to do is avoid all food. Thankfully, I had a good stash of homemade ham soup in the freezer so all I need do is reheat it. And, soon, sleep...


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Orange Barrels

For your Thursday evening earworm pleasure...a gift from Sarge that I pass along to you.


Monday, March 25, 2013

30 Days In A Hole

Damned if time hasn't run away again....I know, now, why for grownups the seasons changed so quickly. One holiday's ephemera barely packed away before another box is retrieved for the next. How did I get this old already?

Sarge is off on his bike - bicycle, I mean - for another long ride. He is working his way up to a 100 ml ride in a few months and is well on his way there. Between it and the gluten free diet, he is losing rather a goodly amount of weight. And his thighs...oh, let's just not go there, shall we? Ahem.

His job remains interesting - every day has a new challenge, or dictate, or pleasurable achievement. Never the same job twice, really. But he is doing well and his men like working for him so that is enough.

Had a rushed weekend so I am rather exhausted but it was good to get away - a road trip with friends that included many interesting conversations and my risking my life for their soda needs. Hey, anything for a friend, man! "Madame, your cola..." as I fly through the windshield...

I need to get upstairs and hit the rower but I am distracted by it all - the progressive plans are in motion and like some fucked up Rube Goldberg device, the gears and cogs spin faster and faster. Every digital breath is sucked in and analyzed, then spat out in 5.11 booted visitations. Rarely has the sentiment Fuck The Man been more ironic - The Man is the former hippy communist. It was Fuck The Man right up until they realized that they could wield that stick - then everything was turned around..".trust no one over 30" is reversed.

Ah, well - water under the bridge. It is all rocking and rolling to the end and it will get ugly. One wishes for a safe place to view it - a distance from the turmoil - but each doorstep will receive its visitor and there is not a lamb to be bled to prevent it. You are the lamb. The progressives may not believe in much but they do believe that you are expendable to their aims.

The lies, the twisted language, the absolute inability to be honest...the complete media acquisition...and the utter inanity of the youth...it is all just checkmarks on a long list. And I guess that is a long way to say that this spot and its meaning is pointless. Thus, my being rather unavailable of late and missing in the places wherein you dwell. I wish I had more time to annotate the fall. And more time to visit with all of them over there >>...but I haven't much time left, now, and will use it to try like hell to be in better condition to weather the storm.

All else seems like such frippery. Even my work is...foolish. But I try. I do my best to be valuable to them. I try like hell to remain useful. But I know it is a damned waste of time and my frustration with it grows. I could be putting in seed, or managing cattle. I could be learning things of value instead of being told that I must enhance my "engagement". Dear GOD the nonspeak language being thrust upon me there...

And, damn it, I miss Ed's take on things. It wasn't as though he made it all better - he just made it all make sense. I miss the logic. I miss someone slowing it all down long enough to make the connections. I'm just a punk kid who managed to survive her youth. I don't know a damned thing about anything but I have to see ahead, I have to understand things way beyond my grasp and use the information to set my own agenda...sometimes I just want to stamp my foot and yell that I'm a punk idiot. Stop looking to me to know what to do. Oh, to have the blinders that the majority wear...to not know and just succumb. I honestly don't know what would be worse...to See and Know or to wake one day to Collapse...

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Rebound

Long weeks, it seems, since last I came here...so much to do, so little time...

It is another night shift post, Sarge being off at the local - how does Ellison put it? - Red Sea Pedestrians' Purim event as security...they like him very much. He knows all the rabbinical staff by name and I, frankly, feel blessed that we can do anything to help the Jewish community.

I have been trying to avoid the worst of the news, to just keep trudging along against the rising tide. We all know where this is heading and the only thing cheerful is the vocal pressure against the 2A incursions. It gives one hope that perhaps it won't all slide off the cliff soundlessly.

My mind has been wrapped around a lot of things - losses - and I know, in my deepest heart, that my father will follow them all soon enough. I never have had enough time with him. Gone at 6 yrs, returning at 8 and then briefly at 16. And then the high holies every few years...He has survived longer than one ought on the gimpy heart he was born with.

 
Check out the lederhosen! He has always been a showboater...he was meant for the stage and I know that the large family cramped his flighty style. I've no idea how he was pinned down with ring and vows.

 
I am not certain how she did it...made it to the altar with a vagabond, and had him home often enough to have 5 children. She looks so vibrant in that photo...I never knew her in that way, being the next to last. I really only remember her when she was a bit younger than I am now. My hands are much like her own, then. The same motions as the lasagna noodles are caressed into place...the towels folded as she did - learned from her ages ago when she worked as a maid at a hotel. I never knew her to be happy, really. Tired, mostly. Desperate, often. The last to sit, the last to eat, the last to bed...only to be the first up to start it all over again.

Somehow, she managed it all with and without Dad. Not for so much better and for rather a lot worse. But for all the trials and travails, the dirty laundry and failures, they did always favor me...for whatever good it did. I know I was never the end result of their dreams and yet I managed to avoid their worst nightmares - though only barely.

The best, though, is that they both met Sarge, know the good man that he is, and that I am safe with him. It meant a lot to Mom, that assurance. She knew she was leaving, and wanted that promise for her heart's ease. And I know, truly, that she was at peace...the dream coming to me days later of her waving at me from the deck of a ship, myself in the wheelhouse looking down. She threw a leg over a railing, her pedal pusher pant leg showing a strong limb, the foot housed in her beloved Keds. She paused there, smiled and waved, looking much like she did when I was young but without the fear and exhaustion in her eyes. No, just sheer joy and revelry as she tossed herself off to the deck below and away forever. You can tell me that it was just a dream but I know better. It was her farewell, and her promise to me - I am well, no need to worry.

I wonder if I shall receive a similar message soon.

I know there is more loss to come and a part of me aches to make up the days with him. But there can be no replacing what is gone. You cannot tame a wild thing because it will no longer have that spark that made you love it. The old game of catch and release will have to continue to the end, and even then he will have the final word, the leaving without a look back.

Perhaps I need a trip to the beach...or him a last hurrah in his 2nd favorite place...a gathering of the tales before they are all lost. He is the only one left who knows them...there was so much I'd always meant to ask her...

Oh, to slow the world just a bit so that I could catch up...

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Another Set of Wings

It was with some pride (and some sadness) that I watched my stepdaughter take her final oath on the parade ground of Lackland AFB (JBSA, now). She was a flight leader, taking charge of a bunch of girls, and leading them to amazing records on BEAST week. And then...following them as they all marched around the field, last in the flight like a mother duck pushing her ducklings along.


The event also brought Sarge to thoughts of returning, himself...his prior role as Loadmaster, perhaps. Maybe Security Forces. So he has returned to his conditioning regimen, having been prevented from much exercise post-op until now. And I, as always, am on the ground, waiting, as everyone else takes to the sky. "They also serve who only stand and wait", eh? Yes, I suppose.

The entire event was tainted, though, with the revelation of a terrible lie - a falsehood hidden for a year that angers us deeply. It was a blow, hearing the words uttered casually and by accident. We strove to continue through the day's events and the next day's graduation with as much grace as we could summon. But having to break bread with the lie sitting at table...it was very hard, indeed. I wept as we walked the line of static display - so angry and having no way to thrust it at the target. Furious as I have not been in a very long time...there was only one thing that slowed that thundering heartbeat.


I wish I could have climbed in and left it all behind - the anger, the sadness, the disappointment...but I was grounded. Wings clipped and left tethered to it all...I tell myself that it will all resolve in time. That surely she will see the error...understand that our prior words of warning were accurate. But the fact is that it is her life to live - we can choose to support her and not the lie. And so we have...

And now, off to Ft. Lee for 6-8 wks for additional training. She scored high enough for any job, really, but she wanted rank ASAP which means fast tracking. However, she may find some better way - or all those stripes that watched her so closely over the last few months may seek her out for other things. She is a natural leader - not as common in women, truthfully. I suspect she will be valued by many...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Farewell, Ed...

It is strange, this ephemeral relationship we develop among bloggers. You may have never met and know intimacies their family do not. You can have their mind laid out like a map before you to admire, or disdain.

But disdain was never a word I could associate with Ed Rasimus. He had such a welcoming attitude. I admit to some pilot geek affection - readily. So it is with anyone who can force metal into sky. But it was reading his books that really drove my admiration to its breadth. He was able to bring complex aspects of war to life without losing you in the details. I had asked him to publish his early history and I have a Chapter 1, a kind gift from his friend given me the other day. But reading it reminds me that the rest of the story has left with the man. And so very many others...

Hell, there are a hundred things I could write about the man. He was very kind to me on his blog and mine. But nothing I can say will make a moment's difference compared to what he accomplished and the hole he has left. I take a great comfort knowing that he will not have to see his beloved nation crumble. But I could surely use his strong words right now.

As Billy noted on Facebook, "He once told me that he thought that he'd be 'checking out just about on-time,' meaning that there wouldn't be much left after he was gone. He was right."
He links to this interview offering some details one might not have.

Jethead also had a good interview wherein I noted Ed still had that midwest accent, having never taken on the Texas drawl.

As for me, it puts me in mind of that line in Out Of Africa when Isak is asked where Denys is - "He's off with Barkley", she says. But for me I tell myself , "He's off with Robin," because if there is a heaven, they are in it and raising all manner of trouble.

Hoist one in his name. His like will not come again soon.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Edith of The Mount

A birthday remembrance of Edith Wharton who wrote of love, life, and death...



Monday, January 21, 2013

To Ride, Shoot Straight, and Speak the Truth

Karen Blixen took on a motto for a time in her life that was similar to the title - she collected mottoes and  but that one always stood out for me across the decades. Amusingly, I see that it was also a Jeff Cooper book title. I suspect it is far older and edited.

But it is a kind of mantra lately. Time is short and I've been doing what I can this past month and more to try to get things squared away. Indeed, some last minute dental work attached itself to the Christmas budget but it was another thing I needed to get done anyway. Check, check. Sarge did much the same recently. Check, check and - also, too - fucking ow.

We watch the rabid purchasing of anything useful by associates whom we'd warned these last 2 years and fight the sad, ragged smiles that verge. Did we not tell you over and over what he was and what you ought to do? And now you ask me to find you that which can only be had for thrice its price a mere 6 months ago? Fool - oh, fool...

But it has cut into training - no one wants to spend good brass at the range. Even with reloading there is a hesitancy. The .22 conversion kits have been a blessing but even so - one looks at those bricks and wonders how many to expend. I have hopes that the 23 "theses" nailed to the Whitehouse door will be nothing but scrap paper blown down the corridors of history. I hope that the manufacturers and distributors will agree to at least supply us all with a few months of sales while the blood runs thinly through the Lollards considering the upside of revolt - it will take at least that long for anything to make its way through their bowels.

Meanwhile, there is nothing more to be done than the acquisition of whatever seems good and the organization of what is already there. Indeed, I've heard many people speaking of their actions to make things ship shape...of selling things less useful, of culling what cash they may from accounts. It causes some ease - perhaps people are not so foolish...

But then one need only look to the cities for that thought to be dashed.

~*~*~
It was the 17th when I first had thoughts washing over me about Ed, and Robin, and of wind rushing by...it was the evening and it was a kind of distracting set of images and sensations. I worry a great deal about him which is really rather silly since I've never met the man. But there is a kind of kinship when one reads the words of an author over and over. You feel as if you know them, and have had conversations...I pray he is merely tackling the worst of it with a recovery around the bend. But my fear is great...

~*~*~
Do not forget a kind thought and prayer for darling Angus who was too damned bouncy for his own good. I cannot imagine the horror of the moment nor the anguish following for each hour after. I simply cannot. But I also know that they are parents who can deal with it...strong, smart, ready to deal with what comes.

~*~*~
It is Sarge's first night back at work in a long while - since Christmas, really. It will be a long night but he is much improved and happy which means a great deal. If you've any health concerns, take care of them pronto. And ASK your doc about their politics. Try to find some who are sympathetic. And if they ask if you have guns? Why, smile, ignore, and find another doctor. In time, those who are of a like mind will be known in the smaller circles.

~*~*~
Valentines comes early here - Sarge fell hard for this jacket - an item that neither of us has any need of, jackets of all warmth ratings being strewn everywhere near the full coatrack. Still, it is a FINE one. And it ought to survive rather a long while. We love that fabric...as an aside, the sofa cover of the same fabric is AMAZING. Worth the money and then some.

Well, now - I suppose that's about it. I refuse to even consider the days' event. Instead, I've some research to perform on chicken/egg production. As in how many per persion...


Thinking about you, Ed...young, dumb, and full of - well, you know. Missing you...