Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think if you only try !

- Dr. Seuss

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Khandi from Kandahar

Becoming a foster mom to a puppy I never met. To some people this may not seem like fun, but for me it is an incredible journey that I wouldn't trade for anything.  A sweet little girl named Khandi entered our lives last Thursday night.  She was within hours of being put down due to military orders in Afghanistan.  Somehow a chain of dog lovers, many whom I don't even know and will never meet, took her and four other dogs through a series of dangerous maneuvers through Afghanistan and Pakistan, bringing them to safety. Then, she was boarded onto a plane in Islamabad.  Someone lovingly placed towels and cushioning in her crate and sent her across the world. Whose hands were those?

Waiting for her to arrive at the airport cargo area was exciting; like waiting to unwrap a present.  When they transported the two crates to us, we eagerly welcomed her and her travel buddy Jake. We had no idea what this would be like and how she would act.  I wish she could tell me what she has been through on her journey.  I know she was scared and hungry.  She seemed to like people and craved attention.  She rode on my lap on the drive home, all curled up in a ball.  When we arrived home, she was aggressive and nippy towards the other dogs. She barked at anything that looked scary to her.  I can only imagine what she had to compete with over there just in order to survive.  She is one scrappy little gal.

It didn't take long and she is becoming attached to us and our way of life.  It is surreal to think about what she has seen in her short four and a half months of life and that she is now lying on a bed in Colorado, safe and loved.  She has certainly won the dog lottery; she is one of the lucky ones who have made it out of war-torn Afghanistan.

I know I will need to give her to her soldier when the time comes, but for now I am just loving her like she's my own.

Welcome to the U.S. Ms. Khandi !  

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NaNoWriMo again

Here I go again.  Trying to write the 1,667 words per day which will equate to 50,000 words by the end of November.  National Novel Writing Month.  It is billed as 30 days and nights of literary abandon.  I picture the scene of mysterious caped writers leaping through medieval cobblestone streets, dancing with words spewing from their fingers onto paper.  Coffee houses filled with literary characters coming to life and artsy types brimming with creativity.  

For me, it goes more like this.  Sitting at my keyboard with its three missing keys, the left tab key, the left shift key, and the zero key, I stare at the missing keys.  I then stare out the window.  That leads me to thinking about the dog poop to be picked up.   The my mind wanders to which vegetables I will plant in my garden next year.  Whoa!  Hold on, back to the job at hand.  Feeling no inspiration to either write or pick up dog poop, I sign on to Facebook.   I check in with all my Facebook friends and realize they are nothing but procrastination.  I force myself to open back up my word document, look at my novel waiting to be written...and I re-read what I have already written, hoping for divine inspiration.   I type some words.  I hit the word count function.  I find I have only written 579 of my daily 1,667 requirement. 

I begin to rationalize why for me it is more about quality than quantity.  It sounds reasonable and gives me an excuse for my poor performance in this competition.  All of a sudden, the competitive spirit in me takes over.  I WILL write these words today even if it kills me!   Dawdle, dawdle, dawdle.  Suddenly, the begin taking shape and my fingers start humming on the keyboard.  Day one down, only 29 more to go. Give or take a day lost here or there for Thanksgiving, I realize I need to shoot higher than the average, so that I can give myself a day off now and then.

Two years ago I was enthused about trying this, and I think I only made it to 25,000 or so words.  Last year I didn't play the game even though I felt guilty the entire month of November for not even trying.  This year I am trying again. God only knows why, but I like the idea of it.  I figure if I only make 25,000 words again, it is at least 25,000 more than I had written prior to November.

NaNoWriMo gives me the tools: write-ins, motivational emails, message boards, and more.  But the thing about writing is that no one can do it for you.  Sometimes a little inspiration from other NaNos helps though, and sometimes just feeling like there is something worth saying is important, and knowing that in a living room somewhere else in my town, someone else is struggling with words too.    

Monday, October 24, 2011

Everything going right right now

After a few weeks of tragedy, sadness and stress in my life I knew that things would have to start looking up soon.  It started with little baby steps...tiny moments of optimism...such as visiting my neighbor's beagle puppies last week.  At three weeks old, they exude innocence and pure love.  You simply can't be sad when holding a puppy and snuggling it's little black nose in your neck.   That was step one.  It made me smile.

Then came my day in Denver on Saturday with Alicia and Colton.  Alicia was truly excited to see me, which is a miracle in itself considering some of the moments of the last few years when she wished I would leave her alone.  We had an amazing day full of campus strolling, college kid meeting, sorority house viewing, Indian food eating, lacrosse and hockey spectating, and a parade!  Colton had a sip of my beer at the hockey game and proclaimed how much he now likes hockey and that Molson Canadian beer wasn't too bad.   Colton and I rocked out all the way home to a medley of tunes of his selection and my toleration.  Although the low fuel light came on, we made it as far as the gas station, averting a disastrous end to the night.  Walking the last five miles home at midnight, while certainly an adventure, would not have been my choice.  

Sunday I was glad to welcome Rachel home to do her laundry, and I now have an adult child to go to dinner with who can order an alcoholic beverage while I have my glass of wine.  She got asked for ID, I didn't.  I guess I'm starting to look my age way too much.   The waiter could have really made my day and just pretended to check mine, but he wasn't fooled by my youthful appearance evidently.  After dinner, Rachel and I walked across the street to see our neighbors and those adorable beagles of joy.  Rachel needed the puppy fix this time, and the puppies never fail to deliver on providing happiness.  They did, however, enjoy chewing on my flip-flops. Upon arrival back at our house, our four dogs (including Shinook) mauled us with smelling noses.  I'm not sure what information they pick up from this interrogation, but maybe they learned something about the puppies we visited. 

Today it is supposed to be 80 degrees.  A gorgeous October day in Colorado.  I think the rest of the day I will work at cleaning out my garden in advance of the snowstorm that is threatening to steal these last days of Indian summer from us.  We live in the Rockies after all.  Today 80 degrees, two days from now, 6 inches of snow and 34 degrees for the high.

Bill gets home from hunting today or at least that's what I think.  He always tries to surprise me, but with Kyle posting his facebook status for all to see, I know that they are coming back as I type this.  No elk again this year but that's good with me.  It will just be nice to have my husband back.  

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Change is a word that we hear a lot.

Embrace Change.  Change the World.  Change is Good. 

I feel like my life is changing again.  Change is not as easy as it is cracked up to be.  Even when it happens gradually, I struggle with it.  It tries to grab me, and I feel like a dog on the end of a leash, pulling back with a stubborn frown on my face.

Even when the change is something which I know will lead to other adventures, it is still hard to give up the routine, the ordinary, the customary. Life as I knew it. .

For years my life has been consumed by kid activities.  I really had no life of my own that didn't revolve around the kids.  Now that one more is leaving the nest, I find myself at a crossroads.  It has been easy to let others around me live their lives for so long and for me to play the supporting role.  It has been my norm for the past twenty plus years and I don't know any differently.

Now what do I do?  I am finding myself with more time to devote to myself and I am a bit lost. 
If I have a free day, something I have dreamed of for years, I can hardly sit down and read a book for pleasure.  I want to read, but that little voice in my head tells me that there is something I probably should be doing for the kids, and I actually feel guilty for spending time doing "nothing",so to speak.  I have to keep convincing myself that nurturing myself by reading or daydreaming is not "nothing". 

I'm just beginning to give myself permission to allow some ideas into my brain.  Thoughts are taking shape as I figure out what this new life will look like.  A little more "me" time.   A little more "us" time for Bill and I.  The thought that I might find some things to do that I will enjoy, and that the enjoyment will come from within.

Changes are a-coming.   

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Here I Go Again

After a vacation from posting on this blog, I am going to try this again.  I realize that I like to play with it and it is relaxing.  Hey, even if no one reads it, I enjoy it anyway.   It's been a busy summer.  Lots of changes in store for my household with the school year starting.  I know that we are supposed to "embrace change", but honestly sometimes I would like things to stay the same.  Oh well, onward and upward.  More to come soon......

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Delving into Poetry

One of my goals for my writing class is to push the envelope a bit, so to speak, and take a risk in my writing.  This piece was written from the prompt: "What does winter sound like?"  I tried to write this piece as prose, but it just wasn't working for me.  I then tried writing poetry, first time ever, and this piece was born.  It quickly wrote itself without much prompting from me.   I read it today in class and it was received well by my fellow writers, although I admit to almost hyper-ventilating while reading it.  

The Night Wind

In the darkest part of the night, when no one else is moving,
Is when I listen.

With the window open, I hear the sounds of life outside,
Coyotes crying, wind howling.

I lay motionless, careful not to awaken
Those who are sleeping.

Alone with my thoughts, I lay silently
And I listen.

Eyes open, ears open, black room. 
Silence, then crashing.

I hear the whiplash of wind as it
Whirls and twists the leaves
Into a pile which I will find in the morning
Huddled together for warmth. 

I don’t know why I like to lay in the dark and listen.
Is it the only time that is mine and I belong to no one?

The wind and I are alone.
It does not demand an answer.
It does not ask for help.
It simply breathes.   

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Writing With Zest

I just started taking a writing class with the CSU continuing education arm known as "Osher Lifelong Learning".  It is specifically for people over 50 to enroll and keep their minds sharp.   I'm only 49 for a couple more months but they let me enroll.  Not sure that I would normally be jumping up and down to be categorized into the 50+ group yet, but darn it, I wanted to take the class, so I swallowed my pride and signed up for the old folks writing class.  

It is not so much a writing class as really a writing seminar.  The word "class" would denote to me that we are being taught fundamentals and mechanics.  This is really not the case.  What we are being taught is to put our pencils onto the paper and write whatever we feel like writing.  Our teacher is an inspirational leader, not in the over the top loud and motivational speaker type of way.  Rather, she is a small kind grey-haired woman, a published poet.  She speaks softly but I find myself hanging on her every word.  She reads us poetry and memoirs in class, and she makes me realize that the art of reading out loud is truly an art.  We all sit enraptured by her voice inflections and pauses.   When she reads, there is nothing else in the world that matters.  Our group of old writing folks sit in silence and listen, like kids gathered around the storyteller at a campfire.
Then she gives us prompts.  Simple ideas to write about for ten minutes.   Some of us feverishly write our thoughts, some of us stare at the walls before writing our thoughts, but we all get something down on paper.  Here is the best part:  We can volunteer to read out loud to the group, and most of us do.   No one makes fun of anything that is written, we laugh and we sympathize.  Some have cried as they read their difficult pieces, and some have made us all smile. It is an accepting group and every one there has a story to tell.   It is actually a pleasure to read to the group because as soon as you finish, there are words of encouragement and praise and a sense of community.  Our teacher always picks out something unique about the piece, maybe just one striking scene in it, and highlights the positive, what we might expand upon.  

Each week we have an assignment to turn in the following week.  This is the best type of school - there are no formal grades, and if the assignment doesn't interest you, she says "write about whatever you want".  Her only rule is that each piece must be titled, or she warns that she will pick the title for us.  I've always been an eager student to please the teacher, so having the assignment in place is the only prompt I need to accomplish it.  

When I leave the class each Tuesday, I actually feel like I have taken a yoga or meditation class.  I leave with a sense of well-being and calm.   It feels good to share some of my inside thoughts and experiences with my group of old folk writers, and therapeutic in a way.