Friday, June 29, 2012

Proud mama

             The only thing better than having two little boys is seeing them grow into two fine men!
                                             I mean, really, could they be any cuter??

Thursday, June 28, 2012

I'm back!

I guess I should just be grateful it lasted as long as it did…

I should have known noon would be a stretch.

Maybe it was because I’d just come from the land where people have last names like ‘Her Many Horses’, ‘Red Kettle’, ‘Running Enemy’, “Standing Soldier’, “Bad Milk’, “Crazy Bull’ and ‘Kills In Sight’; maybe names like Smith, Jackson, Johnson, Black, Green and White are too mundane to remember.

But when folks bring in a toddler they’ve supposedly had physical custody of for the past two years but can’t tell me his last name, where his mother is, her birthdate or anything about her and then go on to say they ‘dropped  him off’ at the home of the grandmother of his oldest brother (who, of course, they can’t name or provide an address for either), “lost track of him for a month” and were then called by a person they only know as ‘Big G’ to come pick him up (at an address they can’t remember) after he sustained an iron burn to his arm… it makes me crazy!!

This kid had no fewer than 15 caregivers in the past month; none of them related to him; none of them with any permanent address – or last name apparently – and none of them with the ‘legal rights’ to be involved at all in his care.

And, not surprisingly, not a single one had any explanation for how there came to be the imprint of a steam iron on his arm!

Good grief – I’ve seen rez dogs treated better.

Welcome back to our healthcare system!

And there's NO provision in Obamacare that will begin to address the hot messes that come to our ER every day!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Where did it go?

How can a week pass by so quickly?
At the risk of sounding like my grandmother, the older you get, the faster time slips away!

It was a week of hard work under the unrelenting South Dakota sun, complete with temps of 90+ and a constant wind (think open oven door with the blower on), soaking in the beauty of the reservation and trying to adjust to the 'new norm' of being there without Andy's energy and presence, although his spirit was everywhere!

Every Mission trip is different.

This one seemed to be a year of regrouping; we had fewer contact with old friends and partner families than in past years and more time with each other; less time reaching out and more time looking within.

We even chose a different route to get to the reservation - reminding ourselves that there are many ways to get to the same destination - each with its own advantages and drawbacks.
A return trip of just under 14 hours and pulling into the church parking lot while it was still day light was a HUGE accomplishment!
We even passed several state troopers (in 4 different states) and not ONE pulled me over!

Now back to work tomorrow.
I can feel my blood pressure rise just thinking about it...

I'm just hoping to hang onto my vacation 'zen'  until at least noon!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Woman on a Mission

I'll be back...if you miss me, you can always follow along @

and, for all you thieves and ne'er do wells, of course, the house is guarded by a friend with a gun and a large attack dog; I might be Christian, but I'm not stupid!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Taming the Caretta

I saw it as metaphor about 20 minutes into the task… I may be slow, but I’ll get there eventually!

Last months whole bobcat-digging–up-the-front yard-so-they-could–replace-old–water-line thing was the perfect excuse to re-work the front jungle garden.

Only trouble was that meant tackling the wild roses that have been growing unimpeded for about a decade.

 I’ve written before about how much I LOVE my 'Caretta' rose, named for the town  in WV where I dug up a shoot.

Its native habitat is the rocky shale of West Virginia highways and hollers, watered only by mountain run off after a rain and, at other times, either ignored or mowed down by the WV DOT.

In other words, it’s tough; it’s a survivor - and that makes it perfect for a yard like mine where plants have to thrive on benign neglect.

Our hellish hot summers, droughts and a gardener not prone to babying her plants made the ‘Caretta’ a perfect fit for me.

The fact that the plant blooms in three breathtaking shades of pink was just icing on the cake.

However, what I’ve discovered - although those pesky botanists at the Botanical Gardens refuse to confirm it - is that it’s also a mutant variety of a flowering, thorned kudzu intent on taking over the planet.

My appreciation of the lush, flowery, breath taking and car stopping show it puts on only ONCE a summer has been completely out weighed by the fact that it’s smothering out any other plant growing within a 10 mile radius – and since it’s so heavily thorned, it makes tending to said other plants nearly impossible.

Apparently there’s a difference I’ve never appreciated before between exuberant and wild ass, crazy, out of control – and Caretta crossed the line.

Trimming her back and imposing order hasn’t been easy: she’s headstrong and has been on her own for a long time.

The job has to be cut down into manageable pieces or it simply won’t work… but, it didn’t get that way overnight, it won’t go away over night either!
I WILL get there!

I am ‘bloody but unbowed’.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Get your mind out of the gutter...

is it all the way out?
Good, then I'll say it...

I LOVE prickly things!

There's such beauty in things which appear all spiky and dangerous to be near - and, no, this isn't a segue-way to discussing Motorcycle Man!

This is just to admit that I've had a wonderful time with my camera lately taking pictures of the wild thistles growing down by the RR tracks. And, while I think having them in MY yard is not a good idea with a dog who's basically made of velcro, it makes them all the more appealing to only see them sporadically - and usually from afar!

I've settled for a domesticated version in my yard - Cleome, or spider flower.
Same effect, similar color hue - a gorgeous substitution.

They're NOT good cut flowers since they have an odd smell, but they self seed, come back every year and are very showy!


Monday, June 11, 2012

Root cause analysis

I can tell you exactly what caused this problem...


As a single parent with sole responsibility for my children, I NEVER had the luxury of thinking 'the other parent' had my kid with them.

It was all me, all the time...
and I can guarantee neither of them were ever left behind when I took them to a bar!

Clearly, married couples are dangerous to a child's well being!

Morning walk...

and giving 'Thanks' to God for the beauty that surrounds me.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


They were seated at the dinner table last night as we celebrated the milestone birthday of a mutual friend.

New acquaintances for me, yet easily engaged and freely sharing more than the usual minutiae generally exchanged on occasions such as these.

A couple married for over 50 years; veterans of wars, depression, parenting, service in the military and careers in medicine; she now battling cancer again, having beaten the odds twice before.

I was envious of their devotion to each other.

I have lived singly for a very long time.
It's difficult to even conceive of the intimacy and depth of that amount of shared history
I don't usually cry after being reminded that a lifetime commitment is possible; some lucky few do have this as their reality. (And by 'lucky', I don't mean to minimize the hard work and effort that goes into maintaining such a long term relationship.)

I rarely waste time thinking of all the "might have beens" and "what ifs".
Yet I was tearful all the way home and have continued to feel a deep sense of loss, loneliness and sadness that things in my own life have worked out so differently than I ever would have predicted.

A poem from The Woman's Book of Uncommon Prayer speaks directly to my feelings tonight.
I'm grateful to the author (whose name I have misplaced) for articulating so clearly my longings tonight.

Kindergarten teaches that race is a fiction,
first grade that gender is a made up thing,
but there are no classes about the differences that are real,
like the differences in how people love and feel.

But out of school the lesson we learn first,
is of the dialects of love.

Calamities abound,
we're taught of violent uprootings, cities overrun,
people conquered and dispersed
by Mongol hordes and Hun,
peaceful folk turned into Gypsies.
Jews, Greeks
set searching for a home, a place to roost.

But of one great Diaspora, they never talk,
the scattering of those who shared
the same vernacular of love,
the breakup into twos and threes
and set to wandering, looking for their kind.
Of the splintering of that clan they're silent.

Spirit, send me a lost member of my tribe,
someone who needs my kind of love,
who speaks my dialect of love,
someone who recognizes my gestures as a familiar idiom.
Spirit, send me a member of my tribe,
who wants to be loved as I can love them,
who needs to be loved as I can love them.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Full disclosure

I leave for Mission trip in two weeks - and for the first time in over a decade, I'm not ready.
I haven't prepared this years devotional booklet, T-shirts aren't done and I'm just not motivated.

Obviously I have mixed feelings about this years trip...
and knowing I'm not alone in that feeling isn't much of a help.

It's hard to do something 'wholeheartedly' when a piece of your heart is missing.

This will be the first trip to the reservation without Andy beside me - at the wheel of the van, as well as in so many other ways! Driving solo being only the 'first' of so many things that will reinforce that a profound change has truly occurred... a change I'm not happy about it at all.

There's something so uniquely personal and, at the same time, so universal about grieving the loss of someone you love.

No matter how many times you've traveled the road before - and think you know the territory - there are still things that catch you by surprise; things that are unique reminders of the person who's died because they were unique - and then you remember, again, that each grief is unlike the one you waded through before.
Each loss feels like a fresh cut because it is.

You're gone,
leaving me stunned
by the suddenness,
the finality of your departure.

Last year
we were teasing each other,
cruising down the highway
like two shopping carts
with all the wheels going in the same direction

Now, the awkward, clumsy
wonky wheeled cart, 
the one abandoned within feet of being chosen,
is noisily pulling me in different directions...
none of them where I want to be going
because they're not with you.

A part of me has been ripped away without my permission.
I am angry.

A part of me is lonely,
knowing I will never see your smile,
except in my memory.

Yet part of me knows
that you are alive somewhere beyond my reach.

Lord, even though I'm incredibly angry at you for allowing it to happen,
I know my friend is with you face to face even now,
with more happiness and love
than I could ever hope to have given.

My friend,
I miss you.
I will see you again someday.

In fact, I'll see you everywhere I look on the reservation.

Damn, it's hard letting go.

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Office...

will be getting a mini facelift tomorrow, thanks to another artist exhibiting at Art and Air.

I've long admired Kays work and have bought and given both her book and several of her prints to various friends over the years.

Kay's a mixed media artist out of Columbia, MO; a wonderful storyteller who uses her words and lovely handmade papers to create pieces of art that speak to many of us, I'm sure.

This time around, I found two prints  that will be absolutely PERFECT for the office...

one over the 'hospitality bag' which is filled with, you guessed it - chocolate -

and, the other, a wonderful reminder for all of us as we stare down evil every shift!

Won't they be great?!!

I haven't decided, but I  may even share the magnets I bought too!

Oh come on... I can't be the only one who thinks this??? !

Nahhhh; they need to stay home!

check out Kay's website for more of her designs and cards... you'll love her too!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

I admit it...

 I like having discretionary income!
I feel SO shallow saying that.

I don't need much - just enough to periodically go to garage sales on weekends and support the arts - both of which I got to do today...
and I scored some sweet deals!

I found a small set of industrial drawers AND an old quilt - in near perfect condition.
I got both for under $20.00

When I asked the blonde "20 something"why she was selling the quilt for so little, 
she blithely responded her grandma made it 
but it had two yellow spots on it 
and she didn't like old stuff.

                                            Really, child, that's why they invented prewash...
                                               those spots will be history by Sunday night!
                                                Can't help you with the whole 'taste' issue - 
                                                                          you either have it or you don't. :)

There was also an old metal child's doll chair
which I originally thought would hold a plant on the deck,
but I think I like this instead!

From garage sales to an outdoor art show in which Art Boys high school art teacher had a booth.

I've always appreciated her style and this book of her paintings of buildings around town will be the perfect gift when I visit Art Boy in KC next month!

She even inscribed it for him - "for one of my favorite students; I've always believed in you!"

I also got GI Joe a small ceramic plate - which I'll fill with homemade chocolate chip cookies and take to him next week when he gets home from his back surgery. :(
This should cheer him up!

Don't worry, I also found something for myself... as if I hadn't already treated myself that morning...
but I loved this painting;

it reminds me of my old 'penny rugs' and it immediately went up on the 'happy wall'!

All this goodness before noon - leaving time for Pearl and me to go for a long walk, appreciating all the beauty that doesn't cost us a dime!

Pearl and I had a GREAT day -
                                                     hope the same is true for all of you!