Tabatha Deans

Bringing Integrity to the Written Word

Responsibility

It was another exciting Grammy day with Petra, and the playland at McDonalds was hoppin’ with activity. Most of the older kids had gone back to school, so the place was full of grandparents and smaller children. My little charge was sporting a new dress, compliments of her Aunt Mihyun and Uncle Nathan. Unable to decide which pair of flip-flops best completed the ensemble, she was wearing two different flip-flops, and was adamant about placing them neatly in the shoe bin.There was another young girl with an equally puffy dress, and she and Petra took turns jumping off the step and watching their dresses fly up. I think they believed they were flying. A trio of older children showed up, and the girl, about seven or so, immediately took to Petra and the other young one, and as happens with little and big girls, they quickly formed the dynamic of the older girl helping the younger ones scale the slide, crawl over the fences, and generally being at their beck and call.

I relaxed and sipped my diet Coke and took the chance to do some people watching. The older girl had two brothers, pretty close in age, with the older boy being around eight or nine. I think they were involved in a child exchange, as the mom sat in the lobby and the father came in to have lunch with the kids. After eating, the man stood up and announced he had to get back to work, and the kids hugged him and he left the playland.

A few seconds later there was an incredibly loud wailing sound coming from the back of the playland. Myself, and several other Grammies, instinctively covered our ears as we realized someone had breached the security of the playland doors, and the increasingly loud sound was that of the emergency alarm, letting us know someone had tried to escape. The kids scattered like rats, each one running to their guardian with scared looks on their faces. Petra immediately took a seat next to me, and looked at me with eyes that said “I didn’t do it.”

None of the kids seemed afraid, but they all seemed to naturally know that someone had done something wrong, and it was important to them that it be known they hadn’t done it. They looked at each other wide-eyed and accusingly. I noticed the young boy I had seen with his father earlier stood nervously by the door. His cheeks were red with embarrassment, but he didn’t flee. His eyes darted around to all of us, probably looking for whoever was in charge. I expected him to split as soon as no one addressed him, but he nervously paced back and forth in front of the door. I finally made eye contact with him, and he seemed relieved to confess his sin. He was clearly afraid of whatever consequences came with opening a security door.

“I did that. That was me.” He said, on the verge of tears.

“Aw, well, it was bound to happen. No worries,” I tried to make him feel better.

“I was saying good bye to my dad,” He explained as the alarm continued to blare. He stood his ground even as he looked around, waiting for the authorities to come take him away for committing such a horrendous crime. Finally, the lobby guy who cleans the playland, an elderly gent, sauntered into the playland and slowly worked his way across the room to the door. He inserted a key, turned it and the alarm ended. It clearly wasn’t the first time someone had opened the forbidden door, and I don’t think he even cared who did it.

But that young boy did. He was adamant about owning up to his mistake, and equally adamant about taking any punishment that came with it. He stood directly in front of the  older man and confessed again.

“That was me. I did  that. I was trying to say good bye to my dad.” He waited silently for his punishment.

“Well, don’t touch the security doors.” And with that, the old man went back to work and the young man breathed a sigh of relief and a big grin spread over his face. He had owned his crime, confessed to his sin, and was let off with a warning. He had to feel pretty good about himself. He had done the right thing.

Our country’s leaders, celebrities and athletes could learn a thing or two about maturity and integrity from this young fellow. And he wasn’t even ten years old yet.

August 19, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Family Traditions

I don’t remember how old I was the first time my parents took me and my siblings camping at Spirit Lake. I do know I can’t remember ever not going to Spirit Lake in the summer when I was a kid. So I’m going to say it’s been about 40 years that I have been participating in this family tradition. For the past 20 years I have been taking my own daughter,Jessica, and the past two years have included the attendance of my granddaughter, Petra.

Spirit Lake is not for everyone, as the air is thin, there is no running water and cooking breakfast can be a morning-long event. Coffee is made over Coleman stoves or an open fire, dinner often involves a stick and some sort of processed meat, and the main source of entertainment is a trip to the lodge to see what everyone else is up to. There is no reason to rush at Spirit Lake, and the altitude has been blamed for killing brain cells, thus removing any thoughts of stress, angst or irritation of everyday life. Life is good there, and sometime in my life Spirit Lake became “my” place. All of my friends have made the trip with me to experience the magic, at least once, although apparently not everyone is as enchanted with the place as I am.

This year’s trip began with some mild drama, as Jess and I vehemently argued with the navigational app lady who sent us circling the I-70 on ramp rather than just getting us on our way. After a little cursing, wondering and a few blocks, we turned her off and relied on Jess’s atlas. We had a relaxing drive across Colorado, en route to pick up my childhood friend Kathy. Kathy is one of my trusted “Grand Council” members, and has had a great influence on Jessica’s life. I knew this trip would not only be entertaining, it would be epic.

This trip was a “girls only,” at least for the first four days. After which time Robert and Jess’s significant other would be joining us. After stopping in Vernal for food and provisions, we headed to Spirit Lake in separate cars. I had Petra in tow in hopes she would nap along the way, and Kathy and Jess tied up some loose ends in town. As soon as I turned off Highway 191 onto the road to Spirit Lake, I rolled down the windows and inhaled the fresh air.

The next few days were pretty much the ultimate Hen party, full of hours sitting around the fire, hiking through the woods, cooking, cleaning up and generally doing a whole lot of nothing. Petra made friends with the little girl whose parents were running and living at the lodge, and we made friends with just about anybody who passed our campfire. We took our annual boat ride, which involves me protesting loudly and adamantly about my fears and the lack of safety of boats. Jessica won, as usual, and I found myself with a death grip on Petra as the four of us rowed about the lake. Naturally Petra was not okay with me holding onto her life jacket, and insisted I “move away” so she could sit by her mom and be a big girl.

People from all over the world come to Spirit Lake, and most of them begin their conversations with “last time I was here.” One morning I was taking a short cut along the stream toward the lodge to get some water, and as I came around a corner I came within about ten yards of a giant male moose. Moose are a common sighting at Spirit Lake, and my family  has had several run-ins with them, but this was my first up-close encounter. I slowly backed away and headed up another trail, which took me directly through another camp. As I reached the edge of the camp I came upon two young boys, about eight or nine I would guess.

“Sorry,” I said. “But there’s a moose in my path so I have to go around.” The oldest of the two got a scared look on his face, his eyes got big and he looked toward where I had just come from.

“When I was here last year there were 50 mooses.” He said enthusiastically.

“Oh wow, that’s a lot,” I said.

“Yeah, and I wasn’t scared at all.” He said proudly. “But this year, I asked Siri about moose,” He paused and blew out a breath dramatically as he ran his fingers through his hair. “And Sheeeesh. Sheeeesh.” It was clear Siri had taught him about his previously unknown dangers of moose. He quickly went the other direction, back toward his camp and the safety of his father’s supervision.

The trip gave me plenty of time to ponder. Mostly about my life. My life now, my life when I was younger, and my life when I was young. There was a moment when Jessica and Petra were standing out on the dock looking into the lake, that it was clear to me each phase of my life, at least vicariously, was present at Spirit Lake this year. I remembered being there as a child, then as a young mother in charge of a child, and now as a grandmother in charge of a young mother who is in charge of a young child. The dynamic kind of blew my mind, and brought tears to my eyes. It’s long been said that “the minute we are born we begin dying,” and naturally as I grow older I can’t help but fear my ultimate future, which, like everyone else, ends with death.

But watching those two–my child and my grandchild–standing on the dock, I was overcome with a sense of peace, almost joy, as I realized that ultimately I will never be completely dead. I caught a glimpse into the future, and saw generations upon generations standing on that dock. Parents holding their children’s hands, and the little one saying “Mommy, tell me again about Grammy Deans…”

 

 

August 11, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Real Courage

Every time I take the 66 bus I can’t help but ponder the meaning of courage. Or, more specifically, my lack of courage.

The 66 serves a route that is heavily populated by blind people. (Or visually impaired for the PC Nazis.) Nearly every stop from where I board on Broadway to the Littleton downtown light rail station involves a blind person getting on the bus. They all seem to know each other, and which stops they get on, because they greet each other and take seats in the front as they discuss their plans for the day, politics, tell jokes or even trade friendly insults with each other. When we arrive at the station, they all pile off the bus, thrust their white canes in front of them, and march across the busy street to get to the light rail. I used to be frightened for them, now I am just in awe of them.

And I can’t help but wonder if I would have the courage to wander out into the world without being able to see my surroundings. I’m pretty sure I would not. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a strong person. I can get stuff done and I can handle a lot of situations, but I really don’t think I would prosper if I ever lost my vision.

Today I boarded the 66 bus an hour later than usual, and the blind people had already been delivered to their destinations. I sat alone on the bus, wondering about their daily lives and a little sad I’d missed them. Then we pulled up to a stop on Littleton Boulevard, and I saw the tip of a white cane come through the front door of the bus. The woman who stepped up was one I’d seen before. She was pretty and usually laughing. She carefully tapped her cane along the seats before settling in the front.

Today, there was something different about her. It struck fear in my heart, while at the same time bringing a tear to my eye at the thought of her courage. She had her usual heavy backpack on, but strapped on her stomach was a baby of about 8 or 9 months old. The baby was facing toward me, and was adorable. I noticed the woman took a little more time settling in, mindful of the precious package she was carrying. The baby had a lot of dark curly hair, and large brown eyes that seemed to take in everything around her. She was seeing everything her mother could only hear.

I immediately had mixed feelings. How safe was it to take a baby out into the world when you couldn’t see? What if they got lost? What if she stepped out in traffic? How could she possibly keep that baby safe? What if?… Well, obviously my prejudice was showing, and I reasoned with myself pretty quickly that like any other mother she was capable of taking care of her child. Perhaps she was even more aware of the goings on around them, due to a heightened sense of hearing and smell. Perhaps she was even a superior parent because she could sense dangers long before we ever would. She nuzzled her nose in her baby’s hair, and the baby smiled and cooed. Obviously they loved each other. I wondered if the mother knew she and her daughter didn’t share the same color of skin.

When we exited the bus at the station, I was worried about them crossing the street. I hung back and followed them off the bus. This time, instead of the woman sticking her cane out into the street and heading boldly into traffic, I followed her as she walked down the sidewalk to the crosswalk. She stopped, unaware that I was stalking her. Where I would look both ways for cars, she did the same, only with her ears. She tilted her head slightly toward the left, then toward the right, listening for the sound of cars. I sensed her hesitancy, and jumped at my chance to help.

“Are you crossing here?” I asked. She seemed relieved.

“Yes. Funny how the cars never seem to stop.”

“Yeah, but we’re good to go now,” I said and she followed the sound of my voice into the street. “Your baby is adorable. She’s made my day,” I said.

“Thank you,” She said as we hit the other side of the street. She was beaming like any proud mother, and I was suddenly just a little bit jealous of the adventure they would be having for the day while I reported to the office for mundane labor.

July 27, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Holy Hail!

It was another scorching day in Denver. Thankfully I spent the day inside the air-conditioned donation center, and reluctantly left the cool comfort to begin my journey home for the day. The temperatures had come down a little as the clouds rolled in, and I was enjoying the change as I stood on Monaco waiting for the 65 bus. Clad in shorts and a tank top, I began to worry a little as the clouds got darker and the bus officially became late. Summer storms can roll in quickly, and I cursed myself for having switched bags and not putting my rain jacket in the bag I was now carrying. As the first rain drop fell it became a race against time. If the bus showed up immediately, I would still have time to make it to the Hampden light rail station, where there was a tunnel and shelter from the rain. A young girl with big hair joined me under the tree as we waited for the bus, and just as the rain began to really fall we saw the bus pulling up to the light.

Less than a quarter mile down the road the rain turned to hail, and within a half mile the hail was the size of my thumb. The pounding on the top of the bus sounded like the ice balls would come right through, and outside the scene was a white out, but with hail so thick we couldn’t see. The hail grew bigger and bigger, and the bus driver began pulling over to pick people up who were not waiting at the bus stop, but were just trying to get out of the brutal hail. One woman was dressed only in a small sun dress, and when we stopped for her she was crying and nearly hysterical. We stopped to pick up two women, one older and one with special needs. They had several suitcases and a rolling cart. As soon as the driver opened the doors two male passengers jumped off the bus and rushed out into the storm to help the women with their luggage.

The sound was unlike anything I had ever heard before, and as a collective people we were all stunned and unsure of what to do as we pulled into the station. Other travelers boarded with looks of fear and dismay, and one gentleman was rubbing his shoulder where the hail had hit him. We all had a hard decision to make. Should we get off the bus? Or just stay on it and keep riding around until it stopped. Myself and another young man decided to make a run for it. We had a few yards of open space, then down two flights of stairs, and at the bottom was a tunnel where we could take refuge to wait for the train. He looked at me and I looked at him and together we ran off the bus.

And Holy Hail! The first few seconds were not that bad, but then I felt the chunks of ice hit my shoulders and the back of my legs. It was a searing hot pain where they hit, and some of them were jagged so I was sure they were tearing through my flesh. Halfway down the stairs I regretted my decision. As I hit the bottom of the stairs and the entryway to the tunnel, it was like a scene out of a horror show. Dozens of people were standing just inside the tunnel, ankle deep in water and hail. They encouraged us as we ran toward them, and the masses parted to let the newest refugees into the space of safety. Some of them had looks of sympathy for us on their faces, while others clearly thought we were fools. An older man offered me his handkerchief to dry off with, and as I wiped down my arms I noticed huge red welts where I had been hit. Others gathered around to tend to our wounds, or more accurately to see the damage.

We huddled in the tunnel as the carnage continued above us, the sound was so loud we couldn’t hear each other speak. Body language was all we had to communicate. I saw young men helping the elderly people, and business men huddling with the families and little children. Two people had taken up post at the top of the stairs, and hollered down to us below whenever a train came along. As soon as they announced the E line to Lincoln was pulling up, myself and dozens of others ran up the stairs to board the train. Once again safe and moving in the direction of home, we laughed and shared our horror stories with those on the train. Despite the welts and one small scrape on my leg, it was a great experience to see my fellow humans come together, especially after all the violence that has occurred in the world lately. There was no race, sex or age in that tunnel. There were only people. People being beaten and held hostage by hail.

Amazingly, as is common in Colorado, when I hopped off the train at the Arapahoe station to wait for Robert, the sun was shining and the only reminder of my harrowing ordeal was the sweet smell of wet earth and warm summer sun.

July 16, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Slip Slidin’ Away…

I saw a thriller movie many years ago about the past being erased. As it was erased, somehow people and the planet began to disappear. I don’t remember the entire plot or outcome of the movie, but I do remember it made me really think about what the past is. It was breathtaking to me to realize that the past is merely memories inside our own heads, supported only by photographs and written words. It was disconcerting to me at the time, but Jessica was still young and I lived in the constant chaos of surviving, without much free time to ponder. I buried the thoughts in my mind and carried on.

And now I find myself at an age where I probably have more past than future in my mind. Don’t get me wrong. I’m healthy and plan to live another forty years at least, but from what I understand about the mind there’s only so much room for data, so eventually memories and knowledge will be pushed out to make room for new. Are we able to determine what stays and what goes? How do we preserve our most precious memories?

On a daily basis I visit memories of Jessica throughout all stages of her life. I remember when they first laid her in my arms. I remember when she started walking and ran into the corner of the wall, giving herself a huge goose egg in the middle of her forehead. I remember when she was four and would only wear dresses, and I remember running through the mall minutes before closing time to shop for her prom dress. It seems like just last week I walked into her hospital room after she had given birth to her own daughter, Petra. As I looked into the face of my granddaughter for the first time, it was like looking at Jessica for the first time. A new lifetime of memories had begun. A lifetime that I know I will not be around to see to the end.

Now I enjoy a stable life with little chaos, but which allows me plenty of time to ponder. Which is more important, preserving my past or creating my future? Is there a way to do both? Is it a simple fact of aging and evolution that some things will be forgotten?

During my youth all of my struggles were physical, tangible things. Paying the bills, getting the car fixed, raising Jessica and dealing with whatever life threw my way. It seems my middle-age years are destined to be full of internal challenges, which in a way are much harder for me to handle. I’ve never been really comfortable dealing with myself, in my own mind, it’s easier to focus on others and their struggles. So I suppose the time has come. I can’t deny it any longer. I’m officially middle-aged. It’s time for me to start doing brain exercises and crossword puzzles.

Forever the optimist, I can think of a few positive things about entering the second stage of life. Thanks to Mi Amante I am now a card-carrying member of AARP, which gets me discounts at dozens of places. I’m also able to pull off wearing brightly colored pants. I can get away with being as contentious as I like, or eccentric as it’s called at my age. And the accessories possibilities are endless!  I will be able to wear macaroni necklaces made my Petra, and funky earrings and trinkets just for fun. And let’s not forget the gaudy holiday sweaters.

June 4, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

To Pee or Not to Pee

To pee or not to pee…That is the question that is dominating the internet, news programs and dinner conversation this week. I understand that some may have concerns, and I won’t judge or speak to their convictions, because I truly believe everyone is entitled to their own reality. Even if it includes being creepily concerned with other people’s body parts.

And, to be honest, I have had concerns about the bathroom situation in the United States for quite some time now. Peeing is something we all have to do.Most of us are lucky enough to have access to a bathroom, but I often wonder about the homeless man who gets a ticket for peeing in the corner of a parking lot. I have no answer for managing bodily waste from homeless people, but should it be illegal to perform the most basic of human functions?

As for discrimination, I think all women can agree that we have suffered from unfairly long lines for the ladies room. Especially at any kind of large event, when we start plotting before half time/intermission. Should we leave a few minutes early and try to beat the rush to the bathroom? Or should we wait until the break is almost over and hope the line has dwindled? There’s something disturbing about standing in a long line, doing the pee pee dance, waiting for the next stall to open up, all the while seeing that there is no line for the men’s room. I don’t think it makes any sense to have ANYONE doing the pee pee dance when there is an empty toilet anywhere within use. Why have we segregated ourselves this way? Why are there not just bathrooms. Bathrooms for peeing and pooping. No matter who you are, when a toilet opens up you should be allowed.

And then there’s the dilemma of the handicap stalls. Going into the handicap stall often brings judgement, even if there is not a handicapped person waiting. Should we leave that toilet empty, just in case? I do not. No disrespect for the physically impaired, but I think standing in line is part of life, impaired or not. So, given the chance, I will use whatever toilet is available, as soon as it is available, and the only situations I’ve ever encountered in a public bathroom is the errant toddler who breaks away and peeks underneath all the stall doors, or the newly endowed drunk woman who feels the need to flash her new breasts to every woman in the bathroom. I wouldn’t necessarily call either harassment.

I remember the bathroom on the hit show Ally McBeal was a unisex bathroom, and that seemed like a radical concept at the time. Now, I think it makes perfect sense. No his, hers, theirs or others. How about just “bathrooms.” Doing your business next to another person with just a thin wall separating you is pretty gross in general. Does it really matter if it’s a woman or a man doing the deed next to you? I think not. If everybody used the same bathroom it would cut down on the concerns of many. If mom, dad and child were all in the same bathroom, there would be little chance for abuse. If we were all in it together we could police ourselves, and cast out any pervert who may be lurking in the stall next door.

So, instead of using bathrooms to divide us, let’s use them to unite the poople, I mean people.

 

 

 

April 30, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Shame on Me

It is a common occurrence when venturing to downtown Denver to be repeatedly asked for money by panhandlers. When I lived downtown the first person who asked me usually ended up with the little change I had in my pocket. I used to write profiles of homeless people who were vendors for the Denver Voice newspaper, so I have come to not judge anyone, since many of their circumstances were tragic and unavoidable. There are of course always a few youngsters who are clearly on the streets because they can’t be bothered to get a job, or are living “free” like America promised them.

This day was no different. I was headed to Longmont to spend the day with Jess and Petra, and boarded the free mall shuttle to take me to Union Station, where I would catch the L bus. The shuttle has a row of seats that run along the back, allowing riders to look toward the front of the shuttle. I took a seat near the back, but along the side, and made myself comfortable. Shortly into the ride, an older man who was sitting in the back seat, looked directly at me and I prepared myself for my defensive response.

“Do you have anything to eat?” He asked quietly.

“I’m sorry, I don’t,” I responded automatically. He gave the tiniest nod and looked away.

The problem was I DID have something to eat. I had a whole lunch bag full of homemade pizza with chicken and artichoke toppings. I had an entire baggy full of fresh grapes, and I had a couple of cookies and a yogurt. I had plenty of food, and it certainly wasn’t the only food I would have access to that day.

I felt horrible. I watched as he lowered his head to his chest and appeared to fall asleep. He hadn’t asked me for cash. He had only asked me for the most basic of human needs–food. I tried to remember the last time I was hungry. It was a few weeks ago, and I was certain I would faint doing the most mundane tasks around the house if I went another moment without food. I wondered if sleeping abated the pains of an empty stomach, as I watched him and fought back tears. His clothes were mostly clean, as well as his gray hair and face. He didn’t appear to be homeless, perhaps he was just hungry.

Even after these thoughts, I am ashamed to admit that I still debated at all whether or not to give him some food. I thought about what I was willing to part with. The pizza was not that great, but was homemade and looked impressive. The grapes are natural fruit, so that seemed like the best idea. The yogurt and cookies I intended to share with Petra so I ruled them out.

I continued to watch him until we were two stops away from Union Station. Sad and ashamed, I moved into the seat next to him, and pulled the pizza out of my lunch bag. I touched his hand lightly and he lifted his head, opened his eyes and looked at me. They were the watery, cloudy eyes of an old man, like those of my grandfather. I fought back tears and tried not to think about what circumstances had brought this man to the point of asking for food from strangers.

“I have some homemade pizza,” I handed him the bag. “I’m not the best cook, but it’s fresh.”

He took the bag eagerly, and carefully opened the ziploc.

“Thank you, it looks really good.” He took a bite and looked at me with those watery eyes, and praised me as if I had just served him some filet mignon. I was a fine cook, he said, in between bites, which he truly savored–I like to think it was really delicious, and not just his extreme hunger that fueled his compliments.

We chatted as he ate a piece of pizza, then it was time to get off the shuttle. He thanked me again and disappeared into the crowd.

 

 

April 21, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blasted! How embarassing

Today was a perfect day in every way. I was enjoying the incredible Colorado sunshine, with temperatures hitting above 70. The sky was clear, with a smattering of fluffy clouds, and I had been incredibly productive with my morning. I had filed stories, done some paperwork, cleaned up around the donation center, and had finished  my lunchtime errands with time to spare.

I was driving up Hampden on my way back to the office with the windows rolled down. The cool breeze was blowing my hair around, and I just got a  nice  haircut a few days ago so I was enjoying the hair blowing more than usual. I was feeling great and lookin’ hot, and to make things even better, the Pina Colada song came on. Actually, it’s a 1979 song by Rupert Holmes called Escape, but most people refer to it as the Pina Colada song because of its lyrics “If you like pina coladas, and getting caught in the rain…”

One of my favorite songs, it brings tears to my eyes then makes my heart swell every time I hear it, which isn’t often. I turned the radio up so I could hear and sing along with the lyrics as I cruised along. I wasn’t disappointed when I hit a red light, it gave me that much more time to listen to the song. I pulled to a stop alongside a garbage truck, and saw that the driver was getting back in his truck, after stepping down to give the homeless guy on the curb some change. The garbage truck didn’t have doors, and I thought he must be lucky to get to enjoy so much fresh air on a beautiful day.

Life was good as I sat waiting for the light to turn, halfway through the Pina Colada song. But then, I suddenly heard the sound of loud, thumping rap music. And it was coming from the garbage truck. Immediately offended, I considered rolling my window up, when I realized, the garbage man was “blasting” me. He was doing to me what I had thought of doing hundreds of times whenever a young “Punk” pulled up alongside me with his music blasting, having absolutely no consideration for me or anyone else and forcing us to listen to their horrible music. He was overriding my music with his own.

Aw Crap. I was now the “punk.” Only I was blasting sappy, 1970’s love songs for everyone else on the road to hear. I nonchalantly reached over and turned my music down, then, without making eye contact, slowly rolled my window up and waited for the light to change.

 

 

April 13, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t Touch Anything

The great thing about being a grandparent is that I can take the time to appreciate and marvel at everything little Petra says, as opposed to when Jessica was little, when I was always in a hurry to get somewhere. Petra is a mini version of Jessica, so in a small way I feel like I’m getting a second look at what I missed as a busy parent.

Recently Petra and I loaded into Jessica’s car for our Grammy day errands, she climbed into her car seat and started shaking me down for a treat. She had a direct line of sight to my purse, and knows that’s where the treats would be. I quickly tried to stuff the chocolate bark into my bag and zip it up.

“What are you hiding in your purse grammy?”

“What?” I played dumb.

“In your purse, what are you hiding in your purse?”

I told her it was a treat for later, and she let it slide until we had finished our errands. We got back in the car and she remembered.

“What about the treats in your purse grammy?” I couldn’t put it off any longer, so I handed her a piece of chocolate coconut bark. She took it eagerly and kicked her feet in joy, then silence set in as she enjoyed her chocolate and I drove down Main Street. Soon I heard her confused voice from the back seat.

“What happened to my hands Grammy?” I looked in the mirror to see the chocolate had melted in her hands, and she was wringing them in confusion, fun and general curiosity, watching the chocolate smear even more. Her face was covered as well.

“Oh sweetie, the chocolate melted,” I explained. “We’re almost home, just don’t touch anything.” There was silence for a few seconds, and we were literally blocks from home. Then I heard her mischievous little voice from the back seat.

“Grammy…I’m…touching…everything!”

I looked back in time to see her grab her car seat, leaving chocolate hand prints. Then her legs, then her chest, then her face and lastly, her hair. She giggled and bounced her legs in delight at her new-found power of leaving prints wherever she touched, and I couldn’t help but laugh at her antics myself.

We got home and I climbed into the back seat with tissues and a bottle of water, insufficient weapons to battle the mess that was now Petra, but I started wiping the chocolate off her face. She wasn’t done yet.

“No Grammy. I want to go touch my Mommy!”

Hehehehehe. It is great to be a grandma.

April 6, 2016 Posted by | The Corset Chronicles | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Judge Not

After a few months of withholding eggs due to cold weather and ill tempers, our chickens, four total, have been blessing us with three to four eggs each day. One has only recently started laying, but her eggs are a beautiful light blue color. We have filled egg cartons for friends and family, and have counted our blessing in the form of omelettes, quiche and boiled eggs.

With beautiful weather we spent last weekend cleaning out the coop, then re-fenced the chicken yard in preparation for summer. While the chickens are social animals and everyone likes to interact with them, left without boundaries they run rampant and leave their droppings everywhere. The new fence cut several yards off their world, and being temperamental, the girls immediately began punishing us for this transgression by denying us eggs. A trip to the egg box began yielding one egg a day, maybe two if we were lucky.

Robert tried bribing them with treats, in the form of dried worms, but to no avail. I visited with them from the porch every evening, watching them judge me. I judged them for judging me. Silly birds. There was nothing to do but wait until they were done being mad and started laying again, and I was slightly perturbed at the thought of having to go buy eggs from the grocery store again.They squawked at me, I glared at them, and we silently agreed to keep our judgments to ourselves.

Yesterday I ventured out to do a perimeter check of the fence. Specifically a small space between their house and our house, where I had re-located the woodpile to form a barrier behind their house. I was concerned they had weakened the pile from their side, so I peeked over the wood to see if it was still strong.

And what to my wondering eyes should appear? Nearly two dozen eggs, just laying there. Obviously they had not stopped laying eggs at all, but had merely found a much better place to leave them than in the designated egg box. They danced around me as I stood back in wonder, then shame at the ill thoughts I had harbored toward them.

Needless to say they have been feasting on guilt-ridden worm treats since, while I have, almost literally, been wiping eggs off my face.

March 23, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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