Friday, September 30, 2011

Dream Walking (Part 5)

October 26, 2001
Arzua- Santiago de Compostela (sunny/cool)
24.0m/38.4km - 467.6m/748.2km

Santiago draws us like a magnet. We were going to walk as far as Arca today but when we get to where the Camino crosses the N547 near Santa Irene we see our first road directional sign that says Santiago. It is so intoxicating that we don't stop at Arca but keep going.

We are so giddy with the thought of being closer and closer to Santiago that we get a little goofy. J puts his right fist up as if he is holding a microphone and interviews me. I answer in a high pitched hesitant voice.

J: How do you feel, knowing the walk is almost over?
Me: Umm, OK.

J: Are you going to ask for absolution for your sins?
Me: Umm, yes.

J: Are you happy you will receive absolution for your sins?
Me: Umm, yes.

J: So, how many sins do you need absolution for?
Me: Umm, I don't know. I haven't gotten there yet.

We reach the airport and then the stone signpost that marks the outer edge of greater Santiago. We reach Monte de Goz, over looking the city. We can see the towers of the Cathedral. It is after 700P when we reach Santiago proper, to late to get our passports stamped but we head for the Cathedral anyway. We feel our walk is not over until we step into the church. We walk through the city and then pass through the Puerta del Camino into the old city. We walk through the maze of streets in the old city to the Cathedral.

When we reach the Plaza de Inmaculada outside the Cathedral, J give a big yell and rushes toward the side door into the church. B has been walking a little ahead and she yells after him that we should walk in through the main doors but by then J has gone through the side door. I tell B I will walk with her to the main doors but she says we should stick together and we walk to the door J disappeared through. When we get inside the church it is quiet, cool and dark. We drop our packs next to J's against a large pillar. I walk over to a pew, kneel down, and say a prayer. We have been in a lot of churches during our walk and this is the first one that has a spiritual feel to it. All the other churches were like being in an empty barn but this one is different. It is filled spiritual power.

After my prayer I get up and go look for the Tree of Jesse. When we find it there are two women standing at it. One is touching the marble column, while the other one waits to be next. We get in line behind her. When it is my turn I walk up and, when I am close enough, reach out my hand. At the same time I reach my hand out I see a spirit hand and forearm floating above my hand and forearm reaching out too. When my fingers are a hand's length away from column, the spirit arm moves forward and touches the column and it's fingers slide into the finger holes in the marble. When this happens I hesitate and stand with my hand in the air because I know that to touch the marble column I will have to put my hand through the spirit hand.

Then I am horrified by the realization that the spirit hand is not the only one. There are hundreds of hands and to touch the column I will have to put my hand through those hands too. I know I need to put my fingers in the finger marks. This is what I came here to do. I move my hand forward and it feels like I am putting my hand in a glove made of flesh. The instant my fingers touch the marble, the hands disappear. I stand there with my forehead against the marble, my hand resting on the column, my finger deep in the holes and wait for something miraculous to happen. You know, the sound of harp music, angels singing, a celestial beam of light illuminating me, but nothing happens. I stand there oblivious to the fact that what has just happened is miraculous. I am so naive.

After we leave the church we walk through the tunnel that leads to Plaza de Obradoiro and the front of the Cathedral. As we walk we look up at the Cathedral. It is so majestic. We need to find places to stay and none of us want to stay at the refugio. B has read about an inexpensive hostel off the Plaza on Rue Raxoi so we head over there to see if there is a room available. J and I sit and wait for her on the steps outside the hostel as she goes inside to check. While we are sitting there I pull my whistle out and start playing a song. It is Ode to Joy and when I finish J asks if I had planned all along to play that when I got to Santiago. I say no and start playing it again.

When B comes back out she hums along and then says she is all checked in. Now J and I have to find rooms. We make plans to come back and get B for dinner after we have all rested, showered, and changed clothes. J and I walk down another street that is just off the Plaza and look for hotel signs. We find one that looks good, is not too expensive, has rooms with their own baths, and check in. No more sharing for me. After we check in we walk up four flights of stairs to our rooms and the first thing I do after putting my pack down is fall face up on my bed. I have done it. I walked across Spain and lived to tell the tale.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dream Walking (Part 4)

October 13, 2001
Sahagun- Religos (cloudy/humid)
18.9m/30.2km - 256.7m/421.8km

I found out two things last night that made me happy. First, 7.8m/12.5km after we left Carrion de los Condes we officially reached the half way mark between St. Jean and Santiago. Second, T is here. When I came out from the showers I found T sitting at the table in the kitchen area. I was so happy to see her I gave her a big hug. We all started out walking the Camino together but we kind of lost T after Granon. I think she decided to do most of the walk alone at that point, which is OK, but I do miss walking with her. I was delighted to hear she is sleeping in the same cubicle as us. Just like the good old days.

This morning I'm not sure if I want to go on, yesterday took a lot out of me. We are walking through the streets of Sahagun and I am agonizing about whether or not to keep going or to quit. In my head I plead for someone to tell me what to do. Do I go on or do I stop? A couple of minutes later, on the back of a stop sign, I see a yellow arrow pointing up with the initials of my name written underneath it. I take this as a sign to keep going.

Today we go slow and make sure to eat at all major stops. I still hate this plain we are walking through. No matter how long you walk it feels like you have not made any progress. The path we are walking has benches lined up along it and they are spaced so far apart it looks someone put a bench out in the middle of nowhere for reasons know only to them. At one rest stop we are sitting on one of these benches when I glance up the path and see a man about three city blocks away walking toward us.

When he gets closer I see is a big man. He is wearing a pilgrim's hat (a black wide brim hat with the front of the brim folded up and fastened to the crown by a cockleshell pin), a dirty "I walked the Camino and only got...." type of souvenir T-shirt that stretches tightly across his belly, a pair of shorts, and sandals. He is not wearing a backpack but he is carrying a shepherd's staff with hourglass shaped gourd (used for carrying water) hanging from it, in his right hand. He is also surrounded by a yellow glow that shimmers around him like heat coming off a stove. I also "see" sparks shooting off him in all directions like a lit sparkler. As he gets closer I mentally beg J over and over not to talk to him. The look on this man's face is one of either extreme bliss or craziness. J is very gregarious and loves to talk to people but I do not want anything or anyone stopping this man.

When he reaches us he looks nine feet tall to me and I glance down at his feet to make sure they are touching the ground. He walks past us with his eyes focused off in the distance and without saying a word. Whatever he is looking at we can't see. I don't think he even knows we are here. As I watch him walking away from us I know he is walking all the way back to St. Jean and that when he gets there he will turn around a start walking back to Santiago. He will never stop walking. I look at J and B and see that he has disturbed them too but I don't say anything about what I saw because I am not sure what they will think. I haven't told them anything about yesterday for the same reason.

Later, when we take another break, we hear a train whistle and then see a train streaking across the plain off to our right. We know there is a town up ahead so we climb up on the bench to see if we can tell how close the town is by watching the train. Maybe the train is going to the town. Maybe we are closer to the town than we think we are. No such luck. The train just keeps traveling across the plain until it is no longer in our sight.

I hate this. I hate this. I hate this. When is this torture going to end? I am turning into the Glowing Man and will be walking in this nothingness for eternity.

Another rest break at a bridge over a small creek that has widened into a pool. I lean over the bridge and look at the water, I am sure I can see tiny fish. I spit and watch as the spit droplets hit the water. I create a tiny fish feeding frenzy. I tell B and J there are fish in the water and they drop small rocks and pieces of gravel in. Each time they do the fish come up and check to see if what hit the water is food. B goes down to the pool, finds a stick, and starts poking it into the mud. J follows her and starts chucking big rocks into the water to see how big a splash he can make and I keep spitting off the bridge and watching the fish react. We have a great time acting like kids for ten minutes and then reluctantly put our packs on and start walking again.

We finally reach the Refugio in Reliegos where we are rewarded for our perseverance. We have a room that sleeps 26 to ourselves. Tomorrow we will be in Leon.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dream Walking (Part 3)

October 12, 2001
Carrion de los Condes- Sahagun (hot/muggy)
26.9m/43.0km - 237.8m/391.6km

Today I had a meltdown. This was the hardest day yet. We are still walking through what seems to be endless plains and the air is so clear distances can be deceiving. My period started yesterday and add that to a cold plus hurting feet and you have the definition of misery. I was doing fine until the last 4.5m/7km.

I am walking so slow B and J are at least a quarter of a mile ahead of me. I can see them but I cannot seem to catch up to them. I feel like Alice in Wonderland, moving as fast as I can but getting nowhere. Pretty soon B and J are so far ahead I can no longer see them, and when I look around I see there is not a living soul in any direction. No people, no animals, just land. I am frightened because although I am walking by myself I am not walking alone. I am surrounded by ghosts. I can feel them brushing by me in both directions as I walk. I can hear the mummer of their voices. What the hell is going on? I want off this path as soon as possible. I walk faster. After a bit the sensation of being surrounded by other people passes. I now have B and J within sight.

I just want to stop walking. I want to quit. I want to lie down on the ground and curl up into a ball. Why don't B and J stop and wait for me? Don't they care about me anymore? Don't they understand how hard this is for me? The more I think about it the more unhappy I am. I am throwing myself a good size pity party here; all that is missing are the balloons. I want to cry but when I try no tears come just a feeling of weariness.

After a while I am no longer mad at B and J. It's not their fault I am stuck out here walking in the middle of nowhere. It's God's fault. I didn't want to come here. I didn't ask to be here. I don't even know why I am here. The more I think about it the angrier I get. The angrier I get the harder it is to walk. The weight of my anger presses down on me, and with each step I take the weight gets heavier and heavier. I have to get this weight off me before it crushes me. I stop and scream at the sky. I scream at God.

"God d**n you! I hate you! I don't want to be here you b*****d! F**k you! I hate you! Why did you make me come here! I didn't ask for this! F**k you! F**k you"!

I look around on the ground for rocks to throw but I can't find any so I yell one final f**k you and then stand there looking up at the sky. Slowly I come back to my surrounding and feel a great sense of peace and relaxation. After standing there for a minute I start walking again. I feel lighter and each step is a little easier and almost bearable. I plod on until I reach the edge of Sahagun where B and J sit waiting for me.

We walk, strung out one behind the other like beads on a string (B first, then J, then me), up the street that leads to the refugio. I am walking with my head down and concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other when I hear a voice screeching up ahead. I look up and see a very tiny old woman standing in the middle of the sidewalk and screeching at B while pointing up the street. As B gets nearer to to the old woman she steps out into the street and makes a wide half circle detour around her, while nodding her head at her. The whole thing is so bizarre I start laughing. I cannot understand a word of what the woman is saying. It does not sound like any language I have ever heard.

She turns, and seeing J, starts screeching at him, and when he gets close to her he also steps out into the street and makes a half circle detour around her while nodding his head. I am laughing so hard at this I feel myself rising out of my body. My spirit-self floats above, with only the spirit-toes of my left foot touching my right shoulder keeping me connected to the rest of my body. As I float there I realize that the reason I cannot understand what the woman is saying is because she is really a cat and the strange language she is speaking is cat. This thought frightens me and and I feel my spirit-self sink back into my body.

When I reach the woman I am looking straight into her face. How can this be? She is only about four feet tall and I am five feet five inches. I should be looking down at her. I say, "Buenos tardes", but she ignores me and then, very quickly, her eyes flick sideways at me and then away. She knows. She knows I know she is a cat. That's why she won't look at me. I walk away with a feeling of satisfaction about not being fooled by her.

The refugio in Sahagun is in the Church of La Trinidad upper floor. The lower floor is an event center. The upper level is divided into cubicles that sleep eight. Each cubicle has four sets of bunk beds, two buck beds set end to end on each wall of the cubicle. They are all enclosed on three sides like railway bunks. There is a large storage area for backpacks at the rear and the first thing J does is string a line across it so we can hang laundry. The next thing he does is head for the showers. He is back within two minutes and seething. The French girls are here. He just met one of them leaving the shower area. How can that be? We saw them this morning in a bar as we were leaving Carrion de los Condes. They never passed us. How did they get here before us? J says the girl told him some story about catching a ride on an airplane. I start laughing. All that agony for nothing.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Dream Walking (Part 2)

October 1, 2001
Puente La Reina- Estella (sunny)
11.9m/19km - 67m/107.1km

When we reach the Refugio we check in, pick out our beds, and take showers. Then I go with T to the local library where we check our e-mail. T is having long distant problems with her boyfriend and is upset by what he has written to her. When we get back to the Refugio she starts crying when one of the wardens, after seeing the look on her face, asks if anything is wrong. T answers in Spanish and he takes her into the Refugio office to talk with her in private. Sometimes you just need someone who speaks your home language to listen to your problems. J, B, P, and I wait for T but we are not sure when she will be done so we leave a message at the front desk and go out for dinner.

We find a restaurant with outside tables on the Plaza de la Fueros directly across from the Iglesia San Juan; a beautiful cathedral. Sitting just behind and to the left of me is an older local woman. She has pulled one of the restaurant's chairs over to a pillar and sits looking at the church across the plaza. She is a heavy-set woman with swollen legs and feet and she is wearing a shapeless, colorless dress. Two shopping bags sit on the ground beside her.

When we first sit down I notice that a full moon has appeared above the church and when I point it out to the others at my table the woman starts talking to me. She says, "La Luna. La Luna," pointing at the moon. I nod. She then says something I don't understand and gestures to the moon and then back to herself repeating, "La Luna. La Luna." I am not sure if she is telling me the moon is hers, or if she is telling me her name is Luna but I nod again. She continues talking to me and I shake my head to let her know I do not understand. She then ask me (I know enough Spanish to understand this)  if I speak Spanish. I shake my head again and reply, "Un poco" (a little). She repeats, "Un poco?", and I nod, smile, and turn back to my friends.

As we eat our meal the Luna Lady talks to herself, the moon, and me. When she directs her words at me I turn to her and smile and nod. Half way through our dinner the Luna Lady pushes herself slowly up and out of her chair, reaches down to pick up her shopping bags, shuffles her way over to me, and pats me on the right shoulder. She speaks and thinking she is telling me good night, I say goodnight back and watch her as she lumbers her way across the plaza toward the church. I feel a touch of sadness as I watch her. After she leaves B tells me that when a lunatic touches you it is considered lucky. I like that. Now, if a lunatic touches you during a full moon is that twice as lucky?

On our way back to the Refugio we meet T. She is feeling better and walks back with us. When we get to our room the lights are off and people are sleeping so we try to move around as quietly as we can. T and I go to use the bathroom and after we finish we happen to flush our toilets at the same time. The water noise is deafening. It sounds like someone turned on Niagara Falls. We find it so funny that we start giggling like a couple of little girls as we wash our hands. We are so out of control we have to clasp our hands over our mouths to smother our laughter. When we are giggled out and finally subdued we make our way to our beds.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dream Walking

 Ten years ago today I was in Paris with my sister and ex-brother-in-law at the start of an adventure that would end, after 500 miles of walking, one month and one day  later in the Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela.   Looking back, it seems a lifetime ago. This week I will be reposting some of the entries I wrote about my walk in celebration of this major accomplishment in my life.  Each repost begins with the date,  the segment of the trip the post is about, a short weather report about  the day,  the number of miles/kilometers  I walked that day, and the total number of miles/kilometers I had walked up to that entry.

September 26, 2001
Paris - St. Jean clear/warm
0/0 - 0/0

After breakfast we take the subway to the train station. My sister and brother-in-law wait with me until the train's departure track is announced and then walk me to my car. I can see my sister is upset and saddened by my departure, something I understand since I feel a little anxious myself. Watching them walk away makes me feel very lonesome.

Train travel in Europe is marvelous. The train I am on is a high speed TGV that travels at around 186 mph. Five hours after I leave Paris I am in Bayonne. When I step down from the train I panic. What am I doing? I am by myself in a country where I don't speak the language and heading for another country where I don't know the language well enough to feel comfortable speaking it. I have never felt so alone in my life. Change in plan. I will take the next train back to Paris and spend the next five weeks hanging out at my sister's house.

By the time I walk into the train station I have calmed down enough to know that I am not going back to Paris. When I get to the ticket agent I realize I don't know how to ask for a ticket to St. Jean in French. I pull out my guidebook and find the page that has the words St. Jean-Pied-De-Port written on it and point to them saying, "Por va vor?" The woman nods and hands me a ticket for St. Jean. I say thank you in English and she says you are welcome in English and we both laugh.

I sit down thinking I'll have to wait awhile for the next train to St. Jean because there is no one in the train station except me. I look around for the train information board and see that the next train is at 3:04P on Track 2. Then I look for a clock and see that it reads 3:01P. Yikes! I get up and start hurriedly for Track 2. I have to go through an underground tunnel and when I reach the top of the steps to Platform 2, I see a small single car electric train that looks like it was designed by Warner Brother cartoonists in the 1940's. It is plump with bulbous corners and painted bright red.

The car is full and I end up sitting on a jump seat facing all the other passengers. I sit there looking at but not seeing everyone else and wonder where they are going. I suddenly notice that everyone else is wearing hiking boots-just like me, have backpacks-just like me, and are dressed-just like me. All of them are going to walk the Camino. I am surprised because I did not expect many people to be walking this time of year. The ride up to St. Jean is great. The warm weather (all the windows are open) and the mountains we are travelling through remind me of cruising through the foothills outside Denver on a summer day.

When we get to St. Jean, one of the buckles that hold my backpack straps tight falls to the ground as I get off the train. I pick it up, take it and my pack over to a bench behind the train station and fix it. When I look up I am alone. Jeez, this day is just full of little panic jolts. I rush to the front of the station and see two backpacks disappearing around a corner, across the plaza and up the street. By the time I get there the people connected to the backpacks have vanished. A woman is walking down the street toward me so I ask her (in my simple Spanish) where the tourist office is. She does not understand me so I repeat the words tourist office and her face lights up in understanding. She walks me up a narrow street and points up another street to a stone archway and then gestures to the left. I understand that I am to go under the archway and then turn left. I do as she tells me and end up in front of the Association Amis Les du Saint Jacques office; meeting some of the people from the train.

At the office I get a Credencial del Peregrino, which is a pilgrim passport, and pay for a bed at the Refugio. The passport is a long strip of thick paper accordion folded into seven pages. The front page has a drawing of a cockleshell, while the back page has a map of the Camino route. My passport is number 5580. Each Refugio I stay at will put a stamp in my passport.

B asks me if I have a sleeping bag. Everyone else has a large backpack with the sleeping bag tied to the outside. They are carrying the kind of pack I used when I did wilderness backpacking and planned on being gone for a week. To show B my sleeping bag I have to pull everything out of my pack, the sleeping bag is at the bottom. I pull out a pair of pants, a long-sleeved shirt, a light fleece pullover, a hat, two pairs of undies, two sports bras, two pairs of socks, a swimmer's towel, a plastic bag with toilet articles, a rain poncho, my ultra light sleeping bag, and my ultra light sleep mat. I also have a pair of sunglasses, a pair of flip flops, a tin whistle, a throwaway camera, a school notebook with half the pages torn out, a pen, a small flashlight, a water bottle, a few little packs of high energy goop, my guidebook, a Spanish phrase book, my passport, a credit card, a ATM card, and some money. B is worried that the sleeping bag won't be warm enough but I think it will be fine. Keeping the weight down was very important to me, and I even plan to tear pages out of my guidebook as I go alone. I know the pack is going to feel heavier the longer I carry it.

In the few hours we have before the door to the Refugio is closed for the night we go out to buy food for the walk over the Pyrenees tomorrow, and to eat dinner. Later, as I lay in my bunk, comfortable in my sleeping bag, I think about how far away from home I am and wonder why I am here intending to walk 500 miles across Spain.

Friday, September 23, 2011

You Shake My Nerves And You Rattle My Brain

Walking is complicated.  We don't think it is since we have been doing it almost all of our lives but walking is  balancing act. Did you know that when you walk only one foot  is in contact with the ground as you move along? It's true and when you walk your torso moves slightly back and forth from one leg to the other as you move forward.  This is something any woman who has worn a necklace with pendant on it knows since the pendant will annoyingly swing back and forth with each step you take.  So when you are walking you are actually in a very precarious position every time you lift one foot off the ground.  I found that out yesterday.

I took the dogs up to the cemetery yesterday and since it was a crisp, cool  morning they were very frisky.  Both ran around sniffing the ground searching for rabbits, mice, and the scent of birds.  When they got tired of  that they began playing a racing game that Little Sally Pumpkinhead had invented when she was a puppy.  The game started with Little Sally Pumpkinhead  crouched down in the grass watching Duke intently as he went about searching for birds.  When Little Sally Pumpkinhead felt the time was right she leaped up and raced straight at Duke hoping to slam into him with her body before he noticed her.  Just at the last moment Duke wheeled away and  ran to the left,  Little Sally Pumpkinhead right behind him.  When Little Sally Pumpkinhead drew even with Duke he turned sharply and ran in the opposite direction and Little Sally Pumpkinhead  followed.  Since Little Sally Pumpkinhead did not know when Duke would be turning her turns were a little sloppier, causing her body to slide a bit before she completed her turn.  This game always goes on for a while with both dogs making quick changes in direction many times before they exhaust themselves and quit playing .

I usually do not watch them as I walk along and yesterday morning was no different.  I was in mid-stride when Little Sally Pumpkinhead's body slammed into my lower right leg just under the back of my knee.  This was the foot that was on the ground so when her body hit me it knocked that leg up in the air and, since my other foot was off the ground and her body in one of her sliding turns,  she also pushed my other leg up in the air which caused my body flip up and back. I felt my upper back and shoulders hit the ground and then, even though I instinctively pulled my head in,  the back of my head bounced off the dirt.  I lay there stunned for a few seconds.  I had hit my head hard enough to cause pain and I wondered if, (1) I had hit it hard enough to cause a concussion and, (2) if I had hit it hard enough to not cause a concussion but instead to cause a hematoma to form between my skull and my brain.  The second option was more frightening since I knew that  would  lead to a stroke and/or death.  Then I realized Little Sally Pumpinhead slamming into my leg had been more painful than the blow to my head so I was probably fine.

By this time I had laid there long enough for the dogs to think my being on the ground was part of the game and they started licking my face and jumping over my body.  Both of their tails were on high speed wag.  I pushed them away and sat up.  I slowly stood up and walked over to where I had parked the car,  put the dog in the back seat, and then drove home.   I took it easy the rest of the day and went to bed last night wondering if I would wake up dead this morning since I was still worried about a hemotoma.  Today my muscles are a little stiff and I have good size bruise just below the back of my knee on right leg.  My head and brain seem to be fine but I made the mistake of reading up on subdural hemotamas and found out symptoms of a subdural hemotoma may not show up until two week after the injury.

I've got to stop reading.  I won't really stop reading,  I'll just stop reading about subdural hemotomas.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

That Dog Will Hunt*

When dogs are allowed to do what they love they are almost delirious with joy.  My dogs love to hunt.  So much so they act out when they are not allowed to do so.  Dove season started at the beginning of the month but the first day of the season my husband left the house without the dogs since he was worried about rattlesnakes.  One day last season when my husband went to retrieved  a downed dove that Duke was pointing he found a rattlesnake coiled up right next to the dove and very close to where Duke stood. That was the end of the season for the dogs.

This year after three days of watching my husband leaving the house with shotgun in his hand but without them Little Sally Pumpkinhead started digging holes in the yard.  She does dig holes but the ones she usually digs are cooling holes dug to find relieve from the heat. Those holes are wide and shallow.  The "you didn't take me hunting so I'll show you" holes are true holes being about four inches wide and almost a foot deep.  Duke's reaction to being left behind was different; he no longer understood English.  I would speak to him and he would stare at me as if I was speaking Martian.  This behavior continued until my husband deemed it save to take the dogs  with him as the weather conditions this year have not created the same ground conditions as last year.

So the dogs went back to hunting and both were filled with joy and no longer felt the need to dig holes or pretend they no longer understood English.   Little Sally Pumpkinhead loves dove hunting so much she has become a little obnoxious about it.  The procedure for hunting doves is for the dogs and the hunter to sit and wait in a field for the doves to fly over.  When that happens the hunter shoots one or a few doves and the dogs run out and retrieves them.  We've had  several cold fronts move through our area pushing the doves farther South which meant that each time my husband went out there were less and less bird overhead.  This displeased Little Sally Pumpkinhead greatly. 

The last and final time my husband went dove hunting this year no doves flew overhead.  Little Sally Pumpkinhead was so disgusted by this development she ran out under a flock of swallows that happen to fly over and barked her demand that my husband shoot them.   This, ladies and gentlemen, is the action of either a true hunting dog or the action of an almost full grown puppy who thinks hunting is the best game in the world and wants to play as often as possible.   I wonder how many holes Little Sally Pumpkinhead will be digging between now and the day pheasant season opens in November.

*Play on the American phrase " that dog won't hunt."

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ten Things You Will Do If You Wear Glasses

1. Forget you are wearing them and knock them off your face while pulling a garment down over your head.

2. Forget you are wearing them and knock them off your face while pulling a garment up over your face.

3. Set them down somewhere so you don't knock them off your face while pulling a garment over you head and then not be able to find them.

4. Set them down on your bed stand, dining room table, coffee table, or kitchen counter and then search frantically all over the house looking for them because you forgot where you left them.

 5. Knock them off your bed stand.

6. Knock them off your dining room table.

7. Knock them off your coffee table.

8. Knock them off the kitchen counter.

9. Carefully clean them and then have a smudge mysteriously appear right in you line of sight within 30 seconds after putting them on.

10.  Wear them into the shower at least once.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Here Be Dragons

So far presidential candidate Rick Perry has called Social Security "a Ponzi Scheme," global warming "a hoax," and Obama's policies "Socialism."  The Socialism remark is not that surprising as Republicans during the Roosevelt administration called Franklin Roosevelt's policies Socialism, too. I am getting tired of Republicans playing on the fears of ignorant people who unquestioningly accept whatever they are told as long as it lines up with their own beliefs and prejudices. The only thing that keeps me from giving up hope that these people will see the light are the words of another Republican, Abraham Lincoln, who said, "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time."

The problem is  I'm not sure the light is bright enough yet so that people can see beyond their own fears. Right now many people would still  rather curse the darkness than light a candle. God forbid they light a candle and find our there are no dragons out there.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Life is a tragedy full of joy. -Bernard Malamud

We seem to forget or not know that when those planes flew into the World Trade Center towers it was early enough in the morning so that only half the people who worked there were actually in the buildings. It is still unknown just how many people were in the buildings that day, estimates range from 10,000 to 14,000 souls. Two thousand six hundred-three people died in the towers while 7,397 to 11, 397 made it out. Seven thousand three hundred ninety-seven to 11, 397 walked out of a living hell. In death there was life. This too should be remembered.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Woo Hoo! Let's Party!

Early yesterday morning I went into the hospital for a routine screening test that included sedation.  At 8:51 AM I signed a discharge form that contained the following:
3. Instructions following monitored anesthesia care.
    a. DO NOT drive a motor vehicle or operate any machinery for 12 hours.
    b. DO NOT drink alcoholic beverages for 12 hours.
    c. DO NOT  take sedatives, narcotics or tranquilizers for 12 hours unless specifically  permitted  by your physician.
    d. DO NOT make any binding legal decision within the next 12 hours.
At 9:00 PM I downed a Bloody Mary, jumped into my car, drove over to a Military Recruitment Center, and enlisted in the Navy WAVES. I also talked to my doctor but, unfortunately, she refused to give me any medical marijuana. How can I completely follow official hospital instructions when my own doctor won't cooperate with me? No wonder our health care system is in such bad shape!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

September Days Are Here

With summer’s best of weather
And autumn’s best of cheer.

-Helen Hunt Jackson (1830-1885)

Lets see...Labor Day has passed, the nights are cooler, and the kids are back at school. The sun is getting out of bed after I do instead of before me as it had been doing most of Summer and when it finally does decide to get up it rises in a more northerly spot just behind my Ornamental Pear tree instead of the Red Maple. This change along tells me Summer is fading fast.

This brings me to my unplanned Summer blog break. I found other things more interesting than writing, although I did somewhat keep up with my facebook page, leaving a comment now and then, but my writing muse seems to have taken the Summer off. Instead I worked in the yard early mornings, kept out of the heat at much as possible, read nine books (see Book Room list on blog sidebar) , and watched most or all of the episodes of Weeds, Kings, and Deadwood that are available on Netflix.

I also received the information I was looking for from the Illinois State Archive about my grandfather's family. The people who I thought were my great-grandparents are my great-grandparents and lived in both Illinois and Arkansas. I also found out my great-grandfather had three other children besides my grandfather and, after searching, that I have distant cousins living in Illinois. Sill, some gaps in my paternal family history which may only be filled in by going to Illinois and Arkansas and searching local records in each state. Looks like a road trip may be in my near future.

Summer's ending and, hopefully, so is my unplanned blog hiatus. It's time to catch-up with other bloggers and get back into the rhythm of writing everyday. Now that Summer is ending it should be easier.