Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Those Texas Folks

So what’s the deal with folks from Texas?  When you live in Colorado, it seems you can’t cross the street without tripping over someone from Texas.  They are everywhere.  As if there is some magic portal that transports them here, but then helps them disappear just as quickly.  The tricky thing is that if you spend too much time with them, you fall in love with them, because Texas folks are the best people there are.  I mean that.  And not just because I know a few Texas folks will read this.  Problem is…………..they always go back.  To Texas.  I get it, family, friends, roots…………..all that.  But then they take a little bit of us every time they leave.

This Memorial Day weekend was Texas in Colorado holiday or at least that’s the way it ended up.  For the first time in FAR TOO MANY years, ScooterGirl and The Marine made an appearance.  A long overdue appearance. ScooterGirl first showed up here At Altitude years ago. She and The Marine were celebrating their 10 Year Wedding Anniversary this weekend, and honored us by coming to Casa Rancho and sharing it with us.  It was lovely and much too short a visit.  Someday, we’ll all be retired and the stays can be longer, but for now we relish what we have, though it makes us long for more.

In the years since ScooterG
irl and The Marine left the neighborhood, another batch of wonderful folks from Texas moved in and we not only got to know them, but their parents as well.  It’s the same deal as before, they move right into your heart, and pull up a chair, and I’m hoping they feel right at home.  Sure feels that way on my end.

All the way from Giddings, all the way from Hondo, everyone showed up at my house and food and fun and fellowship followed.  There were kids and dogs, ribs in the smoker, hot wings in the kitchen and people everywhere.  We even had an unexpected visit from the twins who lived across the street with their mom.  They’ve since moved south of us after Mom took on a marriage and FIVE more kids.  But we hugged and kissed and oohed and awed at how big they’ve grown.  How perfect.

While I know that the real meaning of Memorial Day is a somber one, there were a few days of fun as well.  I still made sure we flew the Marine flag along with the Stars and Stripes.  And I managed to watch Saving Private Ryan.  Still makes me weep every time.
Couldn’t have really asked for more.  In this year of new beginnings, it was a great way to launch the summer.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Adventure Begins

Today was the day.  Today was the day that it all suddenly felt new.  New and exciting.

It comes on you in a moment.  I was standing at a counter ordering a coffee.  Then I realized that the many years of dreading going to work,  dreading what the day would hold……………have all been replaced with excitement and anticipation. I had butterflies in my stomach like a kid. Looking forward to spending time doing things I love and working WITH people I like.  People who value me, care about me, WANT my opinion.

What a concept.  Working for something other than a paycheck.  The paycheck I was getting was big enough that it became the sole purpose.  The sole end game.  There was no creativity or adventure.  Just endurance, and drudgery.

So yes, I started a new job last Thursday.  The first few days felt awkward and unsettled.  New commute, new surroundings, being introduced everywhere as the new person.  Even though I’ve know some of these folks for years……………..still the new kid.

But today was the day it felt natural.  Like I can make a difference, make an impact.  Being part of a team is a new feeling as well.  My last job cast me in the role of the Lone Crusader.  The lone person standing for truth, justice and the American Way.  And being foiled at every turn.

I’m not starry eyed enough to think that there won’t be challenges and trials.  But I am free of  a future that I couldn’t bear the thought of living through.  A job I hung on to, far too long.

So I snapped a picture out the office window.  It faces west and I can see the spectacular Colorado mountains every day I'm there.  Not bad.......

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tunesday - An Oldie but Goodie

Sunset is an angel weeping
Holding out a bloody sword
No matter how I squint I cannot
Make out what it's pointing toward
Sometimes you feel like you live too long 
Days drip slowly on the page
You catch yourself
Pacing the cage

I've proven who I am so many times
The magnetic strip's worn thin
And each time I was someone else
And every one was taken in
Powers chatter in high places
Stir up eddies in the dust of rage
Set me to pacing the cage

I never knew what you all wanted
So I gave you everything
All that I could pillage
All the spells that I could sing
It's as if the thing were written 
In the constitution of the age
Sooner or later you'll wind up
Pacing the cage

Sometimes the best map will not guide you 
You can't see what's round the bend
Sometimes the road leads through dark places 
Sometimes the darkness is your friend
Today these eyes scan bleached-out land 
For the coming of the outbound stage
Pacing the cage 
Pacing the cage 

Thursday, April 09, 2015

I Hear Her

Oh my.

Where do I begin?

I keep hearing her.  I swear I do.  I hear a rustle.  I hear her tags clinking when she stirs and gets up and shakes.  I hear the sound of a muffled bark, very quiet.  The sound she made when she was having her magnificent doggy dreams.  When she was tracking whatever she was tracking, or protecting us from whatever she was protecting us from.......a common, nearly every day or every night sound.  My beloved Bessy having her nighttime dreams.  And how crazy is it that that dogs dream??  I mean really.  They dream. I heard her bark in her sleep hundreds of times more than she ever barked while she was awake.  What a good girl.

In the middle of the night I stir, as many of us do at my age.  My first thought is to get up and go check on her.  Often just creeping out of the bedroom quietly and looking to see where she was.  Usually she was curled up in a circle, on a lumpy old bed we bought her at Costco in my home office.  In the faint light, she'd lift up her head and her tail would give a few wags, and I'd tell her "good girl Bess, good girl".  Then she would settle and so would I.  If it was windy or stormy, she'd curl up next to my side of the bed on the floor, and I'd have to be careful not to step on her when I got our of bed.  Now it takes a few moments to remember that she's not here anymore.

When I wake first thing in the morning, I get still and listen for her sounds.  Is she still asleep?  In these recent weeks I'd been attempting to be as quiet as I could, so she could sleep as late as possible.  Hoping she was pain free in her sleep. Then I remember she's gone and I don't have to worry about waking her, or worry about how much pain she's in, or worry about how all this is going to end because a week ago tonight, my wonderful furry companion went to sleep.......

It was peaceful, and when I have the strength I can write about that, but for now all I can bring myself to say is that God created these incredible furry creatures, that creep into our hearts and lives and give us just what we need, just when we need it.  And right now it feels like I will never love one of them as much as I loved Bessy.

 But perhaps that's not true.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Day 7 - A New Week

I'm sitting in my office, no, not the grey box.  That box will be a distant memory in years to come, I'm thinking.  And perhaps even someday, I'll be able to tell old Boss stories and laugh at how crazy he seems in the rear view mirror.

But for today, I'm still angry, hurt, scared, and just trying to get through each day.  Last week seemed easy by comparison to this week.  Last week I was able to spend each day with a dozen small tasks, feeling like I was making headway.  But now a week later, it all crashes in on me every few hours or so.  Keeping busy certainly helps, but the days seem so long.  Talking to people helps, but most everyone just wants to talk about things that are going on, and that's just like wading back out into the muck and trying to find my way.  I come out with boots full of mud.

I've been working on a home office for years.  Literally years.  Fancied myself a spot where I could sit and write, maybe the next Great American Novel would suddenly come flying out of my fingers and on to the screen.   A place to curl up in a cozy chair and read a book.  I certainly have stacks of them around here waiting to be read.

For the near future, most writing will have to be here.  Venting actually.  Not the writing I intended.

But for now, no grey box for me (at the "Speedway" code name, I had grey walls, grey carpet, black desk and no window).  Here I have two windows and light and loved objects.  Surrounded by birds, both inside and and out.

And the chickadees showed up yesterday.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Day 2 - Turning Right

This Tuesday seemed like every other day.

And then it wasn't.  By 5pm that day I no longer had a job.  Didn't see it coming.  Completely blind sided.  Completely.

Into the later hours that night I was in full panic mode.  Seemed unreal.  Frantic phone calls to family and close friends, and like me, everyone found it unbelievable. Sleep became literally impossible.  In spite of a double dose of Unisom and a melatonin tab for good measure, sleep evaded me all night. and all day the next day as well.

As the initial panic faded, I started taking defensive measures.  Cancelling services, cutting every expense I could think of.  That kept me busy.  Made some calls, set some appointments.  And finally, last night, I collapsed in exhaustion.  And slept all night.

But what happened all through the day yesterday, and again today.................were texts, emails, and phone calls from the people around me that care about me.  I only let a few people know, and yet that blossomed, and I've been contacted by at least a dozen different people.  Prayers, scriptures, lyrics from songs, tonight, a box full of "goodies" from a neighbor.  I'm frankly overwhelmed by it.  Humbled by it.  After 17 years of working somewhere, and giving everything I had to make that place work...........and so very very seldom feeling supported.............well, to feel this love and concern has brought me so much hope.

Turning right.

So I jumped in the car this morning to head out of my neighborhood, heading to see my parents, then to an appointment.

And as I left the neighborhood...........I turned right.

I always turn left to head to the office, but today I turned right.  The minute I did it, it felt so different, and I chuckled to myself.  It seemed symbolic that I was heading a different direction.

 I will probably never head to that building again.  And sit in my grey box, and endure the day.  Some days better than others, but almost always coming home full of stress, turning around and heading there again the next day.

Today I turned right.  I went a different direction.


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