Sunday, July 29, 2007

Shades of Orange

Death in The Storm

The 'bee tree' has been a sentinel standing in our front yard since our house was built. It was one of the trees left on the property when the excavator put in the building site. Before we cleared the land it stood in the middle of the last set of dense woods in this area. Our home sits at the base of School House Ridge, site of a small battle during the civil war. We have often wondered if Confederate soldiers bivouacked on this land as they prepared for battle? Was the tree here then? If it could talk what stories would it tell?

We knew the bee tree was old, very old. It was one of the largest trees on the property. It was adorned it beautiful shelf fungus which indicated it was sick and probably would have to come down eventually but, it was way out in the front yard and leaning away from all structures. It was called the 'bee tree' because of the hollow in the lower trunk that was inhabited by wild honey bees every year. In the spring I would work the flower bed around it's base but, once the bees arrived it was left alone until fall.

Last night's storm witnessed the death of our aged sentinel. Around midnight as the wind howled and the thunder pounded we heard a loud crack followed by a crash. It was too dark to see into the yard and the house was fine. We assumed lightning, maybe a branch had broken in the wind. We returned to sleep. By the light of morning we found the shattered corps that was once our beautiful tree lying broken and smashed on the front lawn. The trunk broke off about 15 feet up and it fell towards the house. Had it come up from the roots the corner of the house would be gone. Branches still rest in the tops of neighboring trees. The shattered trunk has to be cut up and hauled away and the chunks of torn earth will have be to filled and reseeded with grass.

To most folks it was just an old tree, sick and rotting that needed to come down before someone got hurt. To the birds, squirrels and bees it was home. To me it was like an old friend, strong and powerful and always there. It had stood through heat and cold, storms and droughts, peace and war. But death being a part of life had to come, and so it has. Good bye old friend.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Dinner with the Tribe is never quiet or dull. Last night it was BJ and corn.

A neighbor brought us some home grown corn from his parents farm. The Tribe spent a good portion of the afternoon shucking and cleaning the silk and buggies from the golden ears. BJ couldn't wait until it was ready to eat and sat out at the patio table bouncing up and down in anticipation.

Once the dinner plates had made it to the table he insisted he wanted a bowl for his corn. Trying to prevent a melt down and not seeing what it could hurt I gave in and took him a bowl. He promptly took the hot corn, put it in the bowl and got up to stand in front of the fan we keep on the patio to help with the evening heat and bugs. When I asked him what he was doing with the corn he looked at me as if I were totally stupid and told me that the corn was hot and blowing took too long, so he would use the fan to cool it off. Geee, did I feel dumb!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Mice and Mom

Yesterday Mom and I decided to venture off on a quest for fabric and notions and pretty fun things. We skated out the door just steps ahead of BJ who had broken away from his dad and was making a mad dash for my leg. Thank goodness for kid proof door knob covers. I don't remember the last time my mom and I went out without a kid in tow. It was a great afternoon and we headed home with a candy bar for lunch and bags of glittery, shiny, silky things.

On the way home I pulled into a gas station to fill up. On the far side of pumps were two 18 - 20 something-ish men, I use the term men very lightly, in a beat up Honda sedan. The passenger door was open and the guy was swearing loud enough to make a sailor in the midst of a class five hurricane blush. He had a fairly large boa or python draped around his neck and a small white box in his hand. It took me a second to realize what the commotion was about. It seems that the guys had stopped at a pet store to get white mice to feed to the snake and the mice were getting out of the box. The guy set the box up side down on the pavement next to the car while he went into the gas station to get a bag to put the box in. The box was on the ground less than a minute before the driver came over to pick it up. He held is hand over the top to prevent the mice from escaping. A minute later his foul mouthed buddy returned with his snake and a bag and they drove away.

Back in the car mom asked what the fuss was. I told her about the snake guy and his mice and that I was sorely tempted to run over and kick the box under the car so the mice could have escaped. I am sure it would have been a really ugly scene, maybe even come to blows or a call to the police but, it sure would have been funny.

Mom in all her wisdom explained that it would have been kind of amusing but the pavement was hot there was no where for the little guys to go. She said that freeing them in a place like that would have caused them to suffer worse that if they were fed to the snake. She also pointed out to make it really funny I should have walked over the the driver, asked to see his cute little mice and then opened the box in the car with a ditsy giggle and an "oops, sorry", let them loose in the Honda. Picturing the snake guy's face with those mice running loose in the car had me in stitches half way home. I hope some day I am as wise and cleaver as her!

Monday, July 16, 2007

All in a Days Work

Music and motivational speakers on tape in the morning, coffee and a brisk cool shower, exercise, all of the ways I tried to get myself moving. Ways to get the mind and body focused and working towards completing something or in my case, starting something.

Todd and I sat out on the porch last evening and talked about all the things we would like to get done, the things we have to get done and the things we would do if a long lost relative left us a bunch of money. It was an amazing list, a wonderful list, an exhausting list. We both went to bed hoping the elves had heard the conversation and would come put in the walk ways, weed the front flowers and garden, seal the deck, build a new shed in the back yard and fix up the 84 Monte Carlo that he has wanted to restore for years.

When I rolled out of bed this morning I had every intention of taking on the world and getting a whole bunch done. I got a shower, my coffee and then the phone rang. I made breakfast while still on the phone, did the dishes, changed a diaper, got kids dressed and assigned morning chores. After two loads of laundry, getting floors vacuumed, feeding the cats, cleaning the laundry room I got three kids off for a visit with their bio-mom. Next came the rounding up of library books and a visit to the library and produce stand. I was home by 11:00 made PB&J for the remaining munchkins and headed for my office.

Now, here I sit thinking that another day is nearly gone and none of my projects are done or even started yet. Do I need to organize better, multi-task better, prioritize better? Maybe if I could grow a few extra arms or if Gyps would get on the ball and have some hours added to the day (she keeps saying she'll get to that). Then I think, who am I to complain? I have a Tribe of healthy kids, an awesome family, the best friends in the world and I get to leave all this house work fun to Todd tomorrow so I can play (oh, I mean work) with Gyps at the farm for a few hours. It will all be here when I get back, the weeds, paint, kids, dreams and plans. Maybe I'll get to it and maybe I'll just play Go-Fish with the Tribe.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Mmmm, Salsa

Maybe it's growing up in the Sacramento valley of California but nothing says summer to me like fresh salsa. Layla and I made a HUGE batch last night and it was wonderful. So good infact I had to brag about it. Bragging about food means.... sharing the food or at least the way to make it. So, little sister.... here it is. Enjoy!

Tink's Amazing, Wonderful Salsa

4 large vine ripened tomatoes
1 large green bell pepper
1 jalapeño pepper
¼ cup fresh cilantro
½ yellow onion
Ground black pepper
Minced garlic (optional)

Dice tomato, peppers, onion and cilantro and put in a large bowl. Add 2 teaspoons of salt and garlic if desired and stir well. Let sit for 15 to 30 minutes then taste.

Add more salt if necessary, more bell pepper if you want more crunch, more jalapeño if you need more heat. Grab a bag of tortilla chips, a large glass of iced tea or sangria and call me to come visit!

The Visit

So many emotions mingle together. Relief leads the pack but, it's closely followed by a nervous excitement. It's all okay, it's going to be okay and, well, maybe even fun. There will be ups and downs, hills not mountains I hope. There will be good days and bad days and things may get rocky sometimes but, I know in my heart it will all be okay.

She and are I are very different but, we do have some things in common. We both love to talk, tell stories and laugh. She is very funny and she has a good heart. She loves children even if she parents so much differently than I do.

How hard this must be for her. The feelings she has to over come, the anger and jealousy. I can't imagine what it would be to watch others raise your children. Four different homes, four different families with different ideals, values and boundaries. She has come so far, learned so much. Still, this has to be so difficult and so painful.

We greeted each other with a hug. Gypsy has the right idea about hugs. Then, we moved to sit at the kitchen table. The kitchen is my haven. I feel it's the heart of a home, not a house maybe, but certainly of a home. We sat, we talked and we laughed. I told her about the kids visit to the mountains. What they are doing there and the new friends they have made. She told me about the visits she had with the other the other children and their new families. Soon, the children's worker arrived but the conversation stayed about the same.

The visit lasted nearly two hours. The little ones watched a movie in their oldest sister's room with her supervising. I know it made her happy to know both her moms were below her talking and learning to trust each other. She came down to make sandwiches for lunch as the worker and her mom were preparing to leave. She gave hugs, chatted for a few minutes and said good bye. They will see each other again in a week. She seems content.

Hikes in the autumn to see the leaves turn, cookie baking in the winter and visits to the park in spring. So much to look forward to, a new member of the family. Like the children grew in my heart so too is their mother. The woman that gave them life and then loved them so desperately she chose to give them a family that she could not. I am grateful to her, in awe of what it must have taken to make the choice she did. The greatest gift she could, the gift of sacrifice that only comes from true and unconditional love.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Meeting of Minds, Meeting of Hearts

There is a get-together at my house today. It will be an interesting event. A meeting of minds and hearts that could impact the lives of many people. My family, my children, other falmilies and their children. The effects of this meeting will be both immediate and long term. So much is at stake.

Over the duration of my journey there have been many difficult choices to make. So much that can impact the lives of so many. Government leaders, corporate leaders, teachers and judges make choices everyday that have the potential to impact thousands. I do not posses the kind of power that will impact the masses. But, how I respond to, react to, and treat the biological mother of my soon to be adopted children will impact how they see me, how they view the world. All the lessons in kindness, forgiveness, respect and trust will be put to the test.

We don't have to agree on everything. We won't agree on a lot of things. We do have so much in common. Children, we have children in common. We both love them. We both want what is best for them. We will both fly into a righteous rage when we feel they are in danger and we both have that right.

She gave birth to them. They have grown in my heart. They call us both "mom". They love us both and they look to us to guide them as they grow. They will always know her, she will always be part of their lives. This makes her part of my life, part of our family. A family bound by love rather than blood.

Each word will be measured, each response weighed, body language and expressions evaluated. Time is short, the players in this life drama will arrive soon. The path is getting narrow and soon it will branch off. I will have to choose and my choice will dictate the direction of the next leg of the journey.

Tribal Art

Mouse is at Camp, JL and the Princess at the cabin with Grandma and Grandpa. The Tribe is now only four strong. Not that four of this tribe can't do some serious damage if left alone for a second or two. Bj's favorite is to finger paint on the play room rug with pudding. He prefers the tast of vanilla but the chocolate is so much more vivid on the light rug. A few sprinkles of red kool-aid from a sippy-cup adds a nice contrast. There is nothing I love more than tribal art!

Monday, July 2, 2007

I Want Bewwies

I am not sure how it is that kids find you and NEEEEDDDD you at the exact moment you most long for piece and quiet. It seems that not matter where I am or what I am doing if it's "me" time my really short shadow appears and whines, cries or kicks me in the shin until I give in give him some attention.

Last weekend my shadow found the wild black raspberries growing around the cabin. It mattered little to him that I had just sat down, put my feet up and opened my book. He wanted me to get him the "bewwies" NOW! No pretzel or crackers would do, it had to be bewwies.

Ok, fine, bewwies it is... I put down the book, put on some shoes and mumbled and grumbled as I trudged over the hill, hoping to avoid snakes and poison ivy on the way.

As is the way with small shadows, the reward is always worth the effort. "Oh, tank you" and a kiss in both cheeks just for a hand full of bewwies.

Battle of the Bees

Ok, "Racing the Weedwacker" was posted first but, my bee has a friend!