Tuesday, August 25, 2009

1,000 Words

They say a photo is worth a thousand words. Imagine the words I had when I saw the new landscaping in my yard.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Sometimes something happens that makes you take a step back and realize how lucky you are and how precious life is. This has been one of those weeks.

Last week, there was a big Texas welcome for little Avery Ann, my friend Nikki's new daughter. I can't wait to meet her -- and to see Nikki, who I haven't seen in about three years. I am very happy that August 10 can now be associated with a happy event (read the Ten Years Later blog).

At the same time Avery Ann was born, one of my Minnesota friends (another who I haven't seen in years) underwent successful surgery to remove a brain tumor. The tumor is not only benign, but is also one that rarely re-occurs. God definitely knows who Laura G. is if all the prayers that went up are any indication. I'm happy that she's on the mend with her family by her side. And Laura, if you read this, I really really wish I could make it to your celebratory party that I'm sure is on the horizon.

Yet, while marveling about these two ladies, I'm sad for my Minnesota friends, the Wilking family. The world has lost a great horseman in Jerry Wilking. Godspeed to Jerry -- and I know he is enjoying himself up at the big horse auction in the sky.

Joy and sorrow, all in the space of one short week. Life is precious, and there are things more important than brawls at horse shows and lively discussions about the old -- oops, I mean new! -- Vikings quarterback. But those are topics more suited for a "What were they thinking?" blog.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


I planned on posting a blog yesterday -- now that I'm back in the swing of writing. I had good intentions, really I did. However, Mother Nature had other plans for me on Monday.

It's been a fabulous summer, weather-wise. I even left my AC off for nearly three weeks in July. July! That is almost unheard of in hot, humid Missouri. My electric bill will thank me for it. We've also had regular shots of rain -- just enough to keep the gardens and patio flowers happy. (And enough rain that I have to mow that lawn almost weekly.) We've also been pretty lucky in terms of severe weather -- only one or two tornado warning scares. Now that I wrote that, we are going to get hammered, right?

If you've spent any time in Thomas Hollow, you know that the rocky ground (at least, I think that's what it is) tends to "attract" lightning strikes. I've had to have the phone company replace my phone jack at least once a year since I've moved here. I've fried two TDDs -- which aren't cheap -- and several phones. Yes, I know you can buy surge protectors that include jacks for the phone line? But guess what? I've invested in two, only to have them fry almost immediately. At upwards of $50 a pop, I decided to let it go and be extra-vigilant about unplugging the phone & TDD when I'm not using it.

Monday was another story. A storm was rolling in, but didn't look too bad. We needed the rain, and I didn't pay it much attention. Keep in mind that I can't hear the thunder coming in and can only feel the thunder that is loud enough and close enough to my house. So I'm messing around on the laptop (OK, I was wasting time on Facebook), and Baxter was sleeping on the couch.

Boom. Just as I was looking out the window, a big bolt of lightning was visible right outside. The house absolutely shook. I seriously thought the house was going to burst into flames or explode. Baxter flew right off the couch, which was directly in front of the window. I sat there for a minute and thought, now THAT had to have done some damage.

Then I smelled something burning. I moved the couch -- the lightning had been so close that it blew the cover right off the phone jack! The wires were black. It fried the DSL receiver, the TV receiver and the wireless router. Everything else seems just fine. Believe me, I checked!

One of the advantages of having a rural telephone company is that my services are bundled -- LeRu seems to be fairly advanced, considering its location! My services -- phone, internet and cable -- are bundled in one tidy, if expensive, package. My great neighbor put in the call for me late Monday morning, and the service guy came out at 5:45 pm. I had the internet restored that evening, although I was a little leery of having my new laptop plugged directly into the broadband line. A new wireless router is on the shopping list!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Ten years later

Ten years is a long time. Things change: addresses, occupations and friendships.

Ten years ago this week, my friend Mary and I were mourning the loss of our friend Billy. It was a life cut short way too soon.

Mary & I had just returned from an adventurous road trip to Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming. We'd just picked up my 12-week-old Corgi pup, Kona. Life was good. And life as we knew it was about to change enormously.

Suicide will sweep you right off your feet, break your heart and cause you to run a gauntlet of feelings. Loss and sadness mix with questions, anger and confusion. How could he? Why would he? What should I have done? What if? It's hard to find closure, peace and forgiveness.

It takes years to pick up the pieces, and yet your heart wrenches when you read about another young person who's taken his or her life -- because you know the pain that circle of friends and family is going through. Your heart still skips a beat when you glimpse someone tall and dark-haired who has a slim resemblance to your lost friend.

Here we are, ten years later. Mary and I have both changed and grown. But we haven't grown apart, despite living 700-some miles away from each other. Sure, we don't see each other as much as we would like to, but with Facebook and e-mail, we've stayed in touch. I'm so happy to call her my friend, proud of what she's accomplished in the past ten years. It's a long-distance friendship that I will cherish forever.

Today, take the time to call that friend you've been "meaning to" touch base with. Type up that e-mail you've been putting off. Smile at someone.