Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Who is Bravest of Them All?

When fourteen and fifteen year old girls descend a cliff on ropes because they believe they have to do it to fulfill a Girls' Camp requirement courage manifests itself.
The Question: Who is most courageous?

It is important to note that none of the girls had rappelled previously. One young lady asked, "Can I go Aussie my first time?" "Aussie" a term apparently coined after Australian rappellers, is the act of descending the rope face first while eyeing the fast approaching ground beneath. This is opposed to the other option, "seat first." This is done while staring at the rock face, only viewing the ground below when one chooses to look down. Miss Aussie took her chances and reappeared later atop the cliff smiling from ear to ear. She loved the experience!

Another young lady never mentioned how afraid she felt. She dutifully strapped on her gear and just as dutifully descended the cliff - very slowly. Tears poured from her terrified eyes as she continued her descent. When she returned atop the cliff later, tears still streamed. She said very little.

Others went through the motions and declared, "I am never doing that again!" Some stated, "That was fun, but I think I want to go Aussie next time." Still others could take the sport or leave it. They felt neither a rush of adrenaline nor paralyzing fear.
So, who is bravest? She who embraces the danger head on, or is it she who faces the danger despite an overwhelming fear? Have you ever descended a rope in such a manner? I think they are all brave!

Hoorah for Level Four!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I Believe in Angels

While I was running errands, an angel visited my house and left me the most beautiful strawberries I have ever seen. They were from her garden and she chose to share them with me!

They were too pretty to smash up into jam. Considering my recent shortcake mishap, I was reluctant to pursue that project. When I reported the lovely gift to the man of the house, I was certain he would say, “You could make me a little shortcake!” That’s what I thought! Rather, he offered, “I guess you could burn the house down trying to make another cake!” Harrumph. I determined to show him!

I can still bake shortcake from scratch!
Guess who ate all the shortcake?
Guess who showed whom?

Back to the subject of angels … I don’t know if she is an actual angel, not yet anyway, but I am pretty sure she is a saint. How blessed I am to have people in my life who make good days great, who make my life better just by being a part of it, and who make me want to be more like them. Thank you, my lovely angels!
For the recipe, Click Here.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I Miss My Cat

I had to put my cat to sleep. I cried. He was so old he had arthritis and his kidneys were failing. He lost half his weight and was having trouble just being a cat. Roger had been a good cat – stuck up and aloof – killing mice for food and birds for fun. He was easy to have around. Roger could come in the house or stay out, and he didn’t really need people for company. I miss him.

I doubt I would miss a dog. Dogs need people. They can’t feed themselves nor are they much good at creating their own entertainment. Dogs need someone to throw a stick or a ball for fetching. They slobber and they don’t catch mice! Dogs sniff stuff.

Some dogs are barely even dogs. Smaller than cats, they have to wear bells around their necks to signal their presence otherwise one might step on them! If a dog has to be carried around in one’s arms, I don’t see how he can qualify as a dog. A canine should be able to scare away intruders or in the least alarm a passing pedestrian. Ironically, it’s those little dogs that make the most noise, an action that never ceases to make me laugh. “What? You think you’re a dog?” I ask. I am answered with more yipping, the effort causing the animal to bounce up and down as if blowing that much air out of his lungs actually made him weightless for a moment.

Big dogs smell bad. Maybe it’s because they roll in manure or eat their own vomit. It could be from their obnoxious habit of sniffing things that are rotten. Dogs don’t possess the same personal hygiene skills as do cats; therefore, their people have to groom them. Yuck! The only thing that smells worse than a big dog is a wet dog!

Canines can’t be very bright. Unlike felines that soon tire of one’s efforts to trick or entertain, a dog will fall for the same game over and over and over! Just throw a ball or a stick a few times. Rover will bound happily after the item and return it for yet another throw. Pretend to throw it and Rover will bound stupidly after it then return anticipating another throw – over and over and over! A cat would get bored and saunter away.

Dogs are tramps. They crave affection so fiercely that they lavish theirs on anyone willing to return it – and frequently on those who don’t. A cat is more choosy, remaining distant to allow time to study her companion to determine whether his attention is worthy of her notice.

Dogs, and cats, are lazy. However, while a cat will nap the day through, she’ll find a quiet spot in a corner so as not to be disturbed. A dog, on the other hand, will park his smelly frame in front of whatever door is used most, often one with steps, thus creating a hazardous situation for anyone attempting to enter or exit said door.

Dogs bark. Cats purr. Dogs jump. Cats leap. Dogs sniff. Cats hiss.

Dogs don’t even look intelligent what with their ears flopping and tails wagging as they go. A cat carries herself in a dignified manner, head still, tail erect, confident and sure. A cat is patient and stealthily rids her home of rodents. A dog couldn’t sneak up on a turtle! Which reminds me, I’ve got to go set a trap. I miss my cat!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Way We Are

Yesterday’s lunch with two “old” (and I use that word loosely) friends was both enjoyable and enlightening. It has been many years since we all sat around the same table. In fact, the last table we sat around may have been a used McDonald’s table in the foyer of our high school. Having graduated children of our own from various high schools, it was time to sit down together once again and catch up. Here is what we discovered…
Although we have all taken different routes to get where we are, those roads occasionally lead us to the same place. Yesterday, for instance, three of us arrived at the same place - by design. We discovered that despite our many differences, we are very much the same. We laugh at the same things. We love the people in our lives for the same reasons. We are plagued by the same effects of aging. We even enjoy the same foods and beverages. In many ways, we have arrived at the same place. Most importantly, we still love one another.

Relationships are our greatest treasures. We should take them out of their storage boxes and polish them off more frequently.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Mine's a Boy!

Once upon a time an odd plant hung in Grandma Nelson's front entryway in Driggs. The Wells Nelson kids knew this plant as Grandma Nelson's Hoya. I discovered the real story behind the Hoya at Grandma's house. When Wells and Esther lived in Montana, Esther received the plant from a friend. When they moved back to Driggs, Esther took the Hoya to town and hung it at Grandma's house. There it remained until after Grandma had passed away. Then Esther took the Hoya to Idaho Falls and began making starts from it.

Occasionally, and in some cases rarely, and in my case never, the Hoya will bloom clusters of tiny pink stars that appear plastic and artificial. I have a Hoya that is the grandchild of Esther’s original plant. He’s a boy.

Kaye claims there is no such thing as a boy Hoya. I disagree. Kaye claims my boy Hoya was a girl Hoya until I stole it from her. It bloomed at Kaye’s house. That was ten years ago! It hasn’t bloomed since. Mine’s a boy.

The sad thing is … I made a start from my boy Hoya for my niece. Hers blooms. It’s a girl!

Kaye tired of my complaining and gave me a girl Hoya. I think she can’t tell them apart. No blooms. It’s a boy!

I stole a start from a Hoya hanging in a restaurant. Guess what? It’s a boy! No blooms – not in six years!

Skeptics will argue that my plants aren’t getting the proper light and hydration. Wrong – O! I’ve tried scorching them by the window and hiding them in the dark. I’ve drenched them and dehydrated them – all to no avail. They’re boys and they aren’t going to flower!

My sisters, all successful Hoya bloomers, continue to give me advice.
“Put it in a window.”
“Don’t water it.”
“Water it a lot!”
“Put it in an East window.”
“Fertilize it.”
“Put it in a South window.”
“Let it dry out.”

Yeah, I’ve tried all that. I used to search for blossoms, signs of blossoms, or little nodes where blossoms might appear. Every new leaf bud was scrutinized as I watched with anticipation until it produced exactly what it intended to produce – another leaf. I’ve given the poor thing haircuts, trimming it back to stimulate growth and with luck, flowering.

There are other indications of gender – for instance, my Hoya is happy sitting by the recliner, looking out the window. He isn’t sentimental – after all, he did come from Conrad, the place of my birth. That ought to be motivation enough to produce lovely blossoms. But, alas, he is a boy. He cares not for ornamentation or sappy foolishness. I’ve talked to him. He doesn’t listen!
I’ve given up hope. I’ve simply come to the realization that my Hoya is a boy and I’m not going to change him!