Thursday, November 30, 2006

A Hunting We Will Go

Hey there. I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving and all.

This post is just an attempt to get one more post in before we start on that speedy slope to the end of the year.

Tomorrow is December.

Can you believe it?


So, as most of you with ties to PA know, this past Monday we observed that most holy of holidays - The First Day of Deer Season. Well, the first day you can shoot a deer with a rifle as opposed to an arrow or the bumper of your work car.

I kind of left it up to the last minute to finally decide that, yes, I suppose I'll give it another go. Especially since it was shaping up to be an unusually balmy November day. And I'm all about warm weather hunting because it's not cold. Sure you sweat a little bit more and the deer can smell you from a mile away but, really, a good hunter can get past that. A pansy hunter can't get past 10 degrees. And that's what I am. A pansy hunter.

I will end the anticipation right now by telling you that, no, I did not manage to score a deer. Which is ok by me because I'm really a c'est la vie kind of hunter anyway. I guess you can say that I wasn't concerned at all about actually getting a deer considering I drove my car.

Now that I look back on it, what was I thinking? What if I did actually get a deer? I just vacuumed the inside of the car so it wasn't going to go on the back seat. And, although I keep my trunk full of all sorts of oddities, even I have limits when it comes to a fresh, bloody carcass. So I guess I would have to tie it on the trunk or the roof of the car. And I guess I wouldn't even tie it since I didn't think to bring anything like...uh...rope. I suppose I could have used the wire in my trunk that I keep for hanging real estate signs.

So there I would be, driving my car home with a fresh deer oozing blood all down the windows and doors. Kind of like Carrie. "They're all going to laugh at you!"

I guess it's a good thing that my lack of preparedness is balanced by my lack of seriousness. Or, perhaps, could one be a result of the other? Maybe.

I left shortly before dawn with plans to meet my uncle, cousin and cousin-in-law at the designated spot in the New Boston strippins (non-yonko translation = strip mines). It was a wet ride there, complete with loads of black mud. Good thing I washed the car two days before.

Pause in story - This is exactly why I rarely wash my car. Because I will wash it and vacuum it and clean the windows and get it all sparkley and such and then some emergency will come up where I have to go off-roading. It's just easier to keep a dirty car I tell ya.

So I got to the spot and parked my car. I looked around for my group and spied a Jeep on a hill. I had no clue what kind of vehicle they would be in and, what with hunters being the gun-toting types they are, I was a little hesitant to barge in on someone else's territory.

I would never have made a good wild animal. "No, no. That's ok. You can go after that herd. I don't need to eat this winter... I'll just go over here and eat some of this black dirt."

I stood outside my car and listend. Yes, it definitely sounded like my group. I started to walk toward them and my cousin-in-law met me half way. We exchanged "Good mornings" and some small talk. Then I asked "What are Uncle and Cousin doing?"

Cousin-in-law: Oh, they're both up there taking their heart medicine and stuff.

A real lethal bunch we are.

As it turns out, the only deer I saw on that outing were two running across a field waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay off in the distance. So far away that my bullet would have had to stop for directions if I had bothered to take a shot. Other than that, I saw a lot of little birds. And a chipmunk. Which didn't have a legal size rack so I couldn't shoot it.

In the afternoon I was sitting on top of a dirt bank trying desperately to stay awake.

Hunting is very exciting.

Finally I decided I better get up and walk around before I end up rolling down the hill. With a loaded gun. Always a good time.

I walked a bit until I found my uncle.

Me: See anything?
Uncle: No, you?
Me: No.... I was starting to doze off on the hill.
Uncle: I did doze off. All of a sudden I woke up and didn't know where I was. Then I saw your car and thought "I must be hunting."

And the real crazy thing is people like us are allowed to wander around with guns. Real guns. With bullets in them. You gotta love America.

I decided to pack it in around 3 o'clock and head home. About two nights previous, my hubby and I saw some deer on a lane on our property and my hubby said one looked like a decent sized buck. I figured I had about another hour to kill so I could take a walk up the lane and just sit there until sundown.

I slowly and quietly made my way up the lane - very careful not to make unnecessary noise. Watching, watching. Always scanning the woods up ahead for any sign of movement. Up towards the end of the lane I could see flourescent orange through the trees. Someone had beat me to the spot. I was curious as to who it might be but I didn't want to go any further and spoil that person's last hour of the day.

I just stood quietly where I was for a moment watching and scanning...when all of a sudden I heard crashing through the bushes behind me.

My mind raced. How many were there? Definitley more than one. Did they see me yet? Try to turn slowly in case they didn't. Hold the gun at the ready. Now...slowly...slowly...turn...look...slowly...

All the while the crashing noise is getting closer. Obviously the deer didn't see me yet. Mayby this was my chance! Maybe it was the decent sized buck! Maybe...

I turned to see...


four goats.

And how I managed not to shoot them is beyond me.

They all trotted up to me like "Yay! We're going for a walk! Yay!"

And I'm thinking "Well, the big one is probably legal..."

And then it dawned on me that there are other people out in the woods - people on heart medication - people who roll down banks in deep slumber - people who tie bloody carcasses to the tops of their cars - people who are disoriented - all of these people with guns! All waiting to see some sign of horns before they let loose with a barrage of bullets. And here I am in the middle of it all surrounded by FOUR GOATS WITH HORNS!

I quickly slung my gun over my shoulder and set off toward the house. When I rounded the driveway - with all four goats in a line behind me - I thought my hubby would wet his pants.

So there it is. My not-so-mighty hunter story. I guess, in the end, maybe I was meant to be more of a gatherer. Or maybe an observer. Or, perhaps, a purveyor of fine goods. Whatever. I'll give it another go once or twice before the season is over.

Weather permitting.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The rising world of waters dark and deep.

Till taught by pain, Men really know not what good water's worth; If you had been in Turkey or in Spain, Or with a famish'd boat's-crew had your berth, Or in the desert heard the camel's bell, You'd wish yourself where Truth is--in a well.
- Lord Byron

Or, perhaps, in my basement.

Yes siree, my basement is full of truth right now. Truth is just a-flowin like a river.

Truth, truth, truth all over the place.

Today, in Schuylkill County, and quite possibly elsewhere but who really cares about that, there was rain of Biblical proportions. Bucktes and buckets of rain. It rained the equivalent of 40 days and 40 nights in about 5 hours. Ok, I exaggerate - maybe 7 hours.

I kept delaying leaving work, hoping to catch a quite time in the deluge but it was not to be. So, by the time I reached my car, I was already soaked. Then I had to get out of the car to pick up a hoagie (sub, long-ish type sandwich for the non-yonkos among you) for my daughter and then get out of the car again to drop it off at school so she would have some supper on her way to county band auditions. By the time all that was done, well, I didn't even care all that much.

I pulled into my driveway which was about 6 inches deep in water, got out of the car yet again to get the mail, had my back tidal-waved by a passing car (yeah that was real funny, jerk!) and drove up my washed out driveway. Meh, like I haven't done that before.

I decided to stop at the horse stall to pay a quick visit to Lil' Dozer who hasen't seen a day of dry ground since he arrived in Pennsylvania. I patted him on the head and assured him that it isn't always like this - soon it will be frozen solid. Poor little guy.

Then I braced myself.

For I knew.

Rain = wet house.

And remember when I said this was Biblical?


I walked in the dining room to find the usual drip pans. One, two...oh and there's one with a large plate of glass to catch the drips falling too close to the wall and run them into the pan.

God! I live among geniuses!

Into the hallway to hang up my soaked rain coat and find something a little more suitable to wear for the inevitable unclogging of roof drains.

And let me stop here to make a little public service announcement. INTERIOR ROOF DRAINS ARE A VERY BAD IDEA!!!!!!!!!!!! Why, oh, why would the thought of bringing the water INTO THE WALLS OF YOUR HOUSE on its way out ever seem like a stroke of genius? Hmmm? Can someone tell me why?

No, I didn't think so.

While haging up the soaked coat, I peeked into the laundry room.

All over the floor. A big puddle of truth.

I got the mop and soaked up the truth and indifferently squished it down the drain. I gathered two buckets and strategically arranged them on the floor.

The truth dripped in.

I then went into the kitchen and asked my hubby if he got the note I left him about the water pipe with a veeeeery leeeetle hole in it that I found in the basement today. He said he did and...

All of a sudden our son came in from outside saying "There's truth spilling over the roof!"

For the unknowing among you, let me explain our set up here. There is the main roof of the house which is peaked. This roof is about, oh, really big. All of the water that dumps off of this roof goes on to a flat roof which is, oh, also really big. From the flat - well, not exactly flat because it pitches IN TOWARD THE HOUSE at various places to the stupid, stupid interior drains - roof, the water goes down the interior drains to God only know where because we certainly don't and that there isn't a can of worms we even want to think about opening.

Doncha just love old houses?

So one part of this flat but not exactly flat roof is over the dining room. This roof is about a 18 x 33 foot expanse that pitches toward an itsy bitsy drain hole along the outer edge. But! It is not so far on the outer edge as to allow the water to just go off the roof. No! There is a little wall about 18 inches high so as to give the illusion to someone who might be standing on the ground that it is, acutally, a flat roof. Which it is not. Follow? Good.

But Oh! what an illusion it creates! For instance, the innocent passer by might have looked at the roof today and might have seen water spilling over the edge and not have given it much thought except to maybe think "They really ought to put a gutter on the edge of that roof and direct the water all to one spot."

What that unkowing individual doesn't realize is that on the other side of that false flat roof facade is a lake.

A lake deep enough to spill over an 18 inch wall.

Let's just stop a minute so you can take that all in.



Do you all recall that this is happening on top of my dining room?

Which might explain all the truth dripping through the ceiling.

So, no sooner were the words out of my son's mouth than I was grabbing an umberella (what? why?) and sprinting upstairs and out onto the roof.

The lake was deeper than my boots were tall. I had to scoot around the edge, get onto the false flat roof facade wall and make my way to the drain. I sqatted down and reached into the truth but it was too deep.

Big sigh.

I kneeled down, rolled up my soaking wet sleeve so as not to get it wet in the lake, and reached in. I groped around in the truth until I found the malicious blob of leaves covering the drain and pulled them out. Then I made my way around the rest of the roof, cleaning out the other blobs of leaves from the other drains.

Most people would do this when it isn't raining but I find that to be rather uninspired.

I was now thoroughly soaked - glad I brought the umberella! - so I made my way inside and down to the basement.

I think I have mentioned by basement here before.

If you are seeking truth, it is in my basement.

How about a fountain of truth bursting forth?

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Um...truth spilling out across the floor?

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Roger that.

Let's we have any truth bubbling up out of a pipe that comes from some place beyond our foundation walls and very possibly this dimension?

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How about a truth so deep that it forms a whirlpool, almost sucking you in along with all the flotsam and dried up dead mice?


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I think I also might have...well, maybe just possibly...yes, yes I'm sure of it.
I looked down and saw a raft float by...

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...and then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a young boy in a calico dress and a big black man dash behind the coal stoker on their way to Illinois.

After we made sure all the drains were open and flowing, hopefully fast enough to keep pace with the influx, my hubby and I were left with only one more thing to do. So we donned our waders and ponchos and went for a hike around the neighborhood.

Just slogging through the truth. Because, you know...

Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.

Yeah. Me and Norman Fitzroy Maclean. Haunted.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


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November 22, 1993 - November 15, 2006

Sometimes I wonder why it is that certain folks are destined to cross our paths. For years you have been the picture of loyalty and the embodiment of unconditional love.

Today, as the shadow of sleep that would spirit you from this world darkened your eyes, I realized what it means to put trust in and find comfort from the hands of one's Master.

Good-bye old friend.

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Monday, November 13, 2006

Here It Is! The Very Exciting News!

Well folks. I finally have something exciting to post about.

Let me rephrase that.

I am finally going to take some time to write a post about something exciting.

You see, it's not that some exciting and/or cool things have not been happening. It's just that I don't sit my butt down and write. Lately, I have gotten into the habit of laying on the couch to watch a movie (rented, mind you, since we have no tv) before bed. I'm not really crazy about watching movies. More often than not I'm disappointed with the use of my time when it's all over. The only reason I really do it is that my hubby likes to unwinde by watching a movie and sometimes it's the only time we get to spend together in a day.


So, if the one or two readers of this blog who are not my sister or couzint (see side bar for links) have checked their respective blogs out, you would be up to date on the news of all the new babies in the family. Big news in the family indeed. Three new bouncing baby boys. They also have blogs for their babies specifically so one can go check out pictures of cuteness and cuddliness. Chubby little cheeks, tweakable little noses...sigh.

Add to that all the hoopla on celebrity adoptions. Why everywhere you turn it's Angelina this or Madonna that. Baby, baby, baby.

It's almost enough to make a peson who is a mere less-than-two years away from Emptynestdom do something drastic.

Ok, it is enough.

Guess what?

We've adopted a baby.

We've ADOPTED A BABY!!!!!!!!!

What? Am I crazy?

Yes. But crazy like a fox.

See, after reading about the family babies I was all "Awwwwww they're so pinchable" and stuff and thinking how my own two are almost grown and they're such cool kids and all and soon they'll be GONE and WHATAMIGOINGTODO!!!!.

And then.

Then I got the email.

It started off innocently enough. I sent out an email to my cousins (the ones with TWIN newborn boys) to see how everyone is doing and how are the babies and all. The dad of said twins sent an email back that...let me see here. How can I put this? I don't know if the fact that I watched Behind Enemy Lines 2 the night before had anything to do with how I interpreted the email but it seemed a bit...uh...disjointed. Almost desperate.

So then I was all like "Babies. Wow. No way."

But stil...

That maternal urge kept vexing me.

So, I went ahead and did it.

I mean "We". Since it's now the politically correct thing to say. (ie, "We are pregnant", "We are giving birth", "We have gas pains, are retaining water, have hemorrhoids, have back pain and want to kill the father". Oh, that last one isn't a shared part of the process? Oopsy.)


So we went on line and picked out a baby and mailed out our check. About three weeks later a rather interesting man dropped him off and it's been pure parental bliss ever since.


What do mean "No way".

That is too how it happened. No, really. It was that easy.

Ok, well maybe there was a little bit more involved what with picking out where he would stay and all that but, really, it wasn't as hard as Madonna makes out to be.

She's so dramatic about everything.

So now, being the new parent and all, I am going to post a crap load of photos.

Are you ready?

Will you be able to even stand all the cuteness you're about to behold?

Get ready...

Here he is....


Lil' Dozer

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OH. MY. GOD. He's so cute!

Isn't he? Isn't he?

Here's his little nose.

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Look at it! Can you stand the freaking cuteness that it is?!!!

Here's another one.

His little ear.

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Gah! Make it stop! I can't take any more!

How about...

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A little foot! Look how cute that little foot is!

And guess what? He is such a good boy. He even helps my hubby. Look, here he is helping to put some metal sheeting on the outside of the stall.

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You thought I meant a human baby.


What, are you nuts?

Ok, ok. I'm teasing. I know I misled you all. I'm bad like that.

So, anyway, now WE HAVE A HORSE!!!!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!

I've only waited for this for, what, 30 some years. And, truth be told, it is really my hubby's doing. I was all "We're not ready for a horse" because, um, we weren't. And he was all "We'll never be ready so let's just get it."

And, whaddaya know, we did. I gotta hand it to him, he pulled it together. Well, I helped too but you know what I mean.


Take a look at this stall and little corral.

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See it?

Look again.

See it?

Ok, you're not too impressed. But! It was made with stuff that we salvaged off our own property. It DIDN'T COST ONE CENT!

How about that? Impressed now?

Although, I'm not too sure what, exactly, that might say about us...

Anyway, the lack of cost of the stall and corral was somewhat balanced by the cost of the electic fence.


Yes, I know there is no electric fence in the picture.

I don't want to talk about it.

Oh fine.

When I called the horse delivery guy - THE NIGHT BEFORE THE HORSE WAS TO ARRIVE - to go over all the details, I said "Can I ask your advice on something?"
HDG: Sure, what's up?
Me: Um...electric fe-
HDG: Won't hold him.
Me: ...
HDG: You there?
Me: Yeah, uh...
HDG: They have to be trained for electric fence. He's too young. Doesn't know what it is yet. You have a spot with a wood fence, right?
Me (lying through my teeth): Uh, yeah. Sure.

And so, at about 5 pm, we had to salvage more wood and build the corral. (Reminder to self - buy lots of wine and beer for hubby's brother and friend for helping.) It was pretty much done by 1 am and, wouldn't you know, there was a glitch on the HDG's end and it wasn't until the day after that the horse showed up.

But, in the end, it all worked out.

Just like my hubby said it would.

He's so freaking smart sometimes.