Friday, November 8, 2013

Pure Joy

I was working on my photo wall collage today, so obviously I was going through pictures on my computer to print and hang in frames. My computer is full of photos from the crystal clear waters of St. Croix, USVI. As most of you know we just returned from living there 6 months ago. I lived there for one year and and thirty six days.

That's it.

I claim a year and half, it's easier. Some days it feels like we were there forever, and days like today it feels like I wasn't there long enough. As a whole I loved it there and really enjoyed my time there. Best part for me was that I could load up and be at the beach in 15 minutes, and let me tell you some of those beaches are the best places on earth. I ache for Isaac's Bay today, literally I could use the surf hitting my feet, the sun on my face and my children running down the beach. God, I miss that.

The Caribbean isn't all beaches and sun tans, that's for sure. However, we have the gift to only remember the good. I don't reminisce about the roaches, centipedes, ticks, exhausting heat...all I remember is the beauty and priceless moments.

In time I grew incredibly anxious to return home, I missed my mountains, my snow, and my horses. Don couldn't remember what it felt like to hold his gun, and he was hating his job more and more. Upon our arrival "home" so much happened so fast, that I simply didn't have time to feel much of anything. Our summer was filled with running here, moving there. Seeing old friends, making new.

As Fall approached (my favorite time of year) I was so excited and breathlessly happy to be home in the high dessert I've come to love. We busied ourselves with hunting and camping adventures, and I was surrounded by the beautiful blanket of Fall.

Now today as our adventures have timed out for awhile, Don is away working and I am left to tend the girls and our house. I find myself realizing that in the islands, even with all its un-charming amenities, held an idealistic perfection.

The pace was always one, the people were so unique and unabashed, the lifestyle was richer and everyday held a new adventure. Ah, life on a rock.

I am a horse trainer, it is my gift from GOD it is what I do. I love the Fall and Christmas must always have snow. However, if I win the lottery (which I really need to start buying tickets) I think I will divide my heart between the two permanently, then I will have found pure joy.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Forsake All That Does not Fully Embody the Realm of Fall

I have failed to blog the last few weeks due to an illness I have called, "forsake all that does not fully embody the realm of Fall" or FATDNFERF for short. I am pretty sure I mentioned that I love fall, if you missed that post you should go now, read it, it may make this a little more clear.

It is the afternoon before Halloween. One of my favorite times of year, not for the candy, costumes, and tricks. For the simple fact that it is the beginning of the end. I LOVE the fact that we end each year in a cascading celebration of all that has passed. We start it with Halloween a fun party where we race about in silly costume and parade about the night until dawn. Then we wait a few weeks and feast on the most glorious feast of all and fill our bellies and hearts to total contentment. Next we celebrate the gift of our Great God above, his gift of everlasting life, as he sent his son to be among man. The true wonder of it all is too great to fully understand, but the simple idea that a Great Man was born in a barn, and worshiped by so few, attended by nature herself should say enough. Then as if that is not all, we have on last amazing night where we drink and are merry with tears among our joy as we remember the year past in all its glory and demise, and we look to the horizon as to what the future may bring.

Tomorrow is where it begins. I think that my anticipation for such grand awe and wonder is what boosts my love for Fall. I know what is coming, and I look forward to it each year. All my holiday memories are not bright and wonderful, but the fact that they still shine in my mind as my fondest memories stands for much.

However, before we get on to that great celebration that awaits us, I want to share with you exactly what I love about Fall.

I just finished a book, that I highly recommend everyone reads, it is a true story that will inspire anyone to be a better person. For me it had a deeper resounding pull in that it has to do with mans infinite connection with animals. I have always had a strong connection with animals, and they have taught me more in my life than any school or book. This book shared a lot of insight to me, one of the quotes has struck me quite strongly; "But just as there are many rivers that lead to the same ocean, so are there many paths that lead to God."  Modoc, The True Story of the Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived.

In the fall I try to spend as much time as I possibly can outdoors. Nature enriches my life, and her wonder and beauty capture my heart. To see the sun rise over the mountains and fill the valley with warmth and color is awe inspiring. To watch the changes of the season spread through the trees, fields, and mountains is more than words can say.

We are hunters, an intimate connection to the earth and all that it provides for us fills my heart and soul. I am grateful for the opportunity to fill my families table with food, and I am grateful for the animals that provide it. The opportunity to see a wild animal react in its natural habitat is so mesmerizing, to watch in a blink of an eye their reaction to the world around them. Their instincts are raw and unaltered. They do what their ancestors have done for eons of years. To see the beauty of these creatures is surreal. I am grateful for their gift to me, that I can feel an even stronger connection to our Mother Earth. As I stalk, work hard for what I harvest I truly feel that I have earned the gift of such a magnificent animal.

Often we ride high into the mountains in the fall on horseback. That time spent on the back of a horse is treasured more than most things in my life. To be on an animal and feel their every response, their breath as it comes in and out. Horses are ever alert, and will put your needs before their own as long as a bond has been created. Any horse carries this in their heart, it is our responsibility to find it and bring that bond into our own heart. They rely upon us to have faith in them as much as we rely on them to have faith in us. This is not just a tool or mode of transportation it is a higher spiritual connection and a bond that few will ever know. If you have felt it, you understand.

In the Fall the Earth is in full swing, all things come alive preparing for what lies ahead. Every living thing feels the need to prepare for survival. Hunters and gathers storing for the long months ahead. Trees go dormant to survive the winter. Many mammals are in full swing in their breeding season, their need to complete the circle or life. Without the Fall we would never have the Spring, rebirth and a new fresh start. If nothing was prepared all would perish and then the cycle would end. It is a beautiful ending, to a new beginning.

As the snow begins to fall and blanket the earth, the animals will sleep and brave the harsh winters, just to begin anew. We too should look towards the beginning, enjoy the coming celebrations of the end of a wonderful year, and strive for perfection in the next.

And if in your travels an animal is beside you, you days will be lighter and your heart more full.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Not to be bragging, but...

Look closely, yes that's a horses tail!
Life is good.

Cute little slogan that has appeared somewhere in the last ten years on t-shirts, and hats, and everything else. I liked it a lot at first, then it got redundant and trite. Especially the time I was at line at a ranch and everything else store, and the lady in front of me was wearing a "Life is Good" t-shirt/hat ensemble. She was not living the creed and instead had the attitude of a bitch in heat. She yelled at me, the clerk, her kids, and then smacked her kid hard for crying over a dropped bottle, yes a bottle folks....she was under two. I got yelled at because I told her exactly what I thought of her supposed "Good Life".

At that point, I started to be annoyed with the "Life is Good" clothing line, and never bought any of it. However, recently I realized that my life, was really good, actually more like great. Nothing is perfect, we all know that. I am dreading the day that my husband packs a bag and heads out of town to work. I have days that my children literally drive me into my room for sanctuary, even though they are usually just sitting on the other side of the door, going "mom, mom, mom, mom..." you get my point.

On the other hand, my husband makes enough money to pay all our bills, plus the fact that I am currently paying off debt, and the bonus on top is that I do not HAVE to work. Do you know how good it feels that Monday through Sunday I am never filled with that dreadful feeling of "I have to go to work tomorrow, and I don't want to." Never crosses my mind, don't miss it, and honestly enjoy staying home with the kiddos. I get a little bored (see Idle in August), but I go looking for work, find several jobs I am sure I could be hired for, contemplate it for a minute, and then decide... nope don't wanna do it. It is great to be able to decide that!

Blissfully happy, if you've forgotten
I have come up with a couple of ideas to keep busy, and am always excited to  make a little money. I do feel a little guilty when I buy things specifically for me, and know that I didn't earn a dime of the money I just spent but that guilt disappears quickly as I relish the fact that I spent years earning money and have back charges on my account. When you work like a dog, you never have time for you, I am making up for lost time.

I have time with my family. It is a beautiful thing, I love them so much and can't get enough time as a family. We all really need to focus more on spending time with the ones we love. I have more time to devote to my friendships. I swear I have spent more time with my friends in the last four months, than I did in the last ten years. My house is clean, my animals loved. I get to stop and smell the roses, I can bake, clean, and create. My life is really good right now and I want everyone to know that I know it, and am so grateful for it.
Now don't be jealous...find your own greatness, and if you don't have it go out there and get it. Sometimes it may seem scary, it may not be exactly what you think it would be. Mine sure wasn't, but when you find it you will know and you will be blissfully happy.

Go now, find it.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Chai, Pumpkin, and all the rest that makes this the best.

Can you feel it?

I have always been a fall girl. Some of my oldest and most favorite memories are in the fall. I can still feel the leaves crunch beneath my feet on my Grandpa's street in Chicago as we trick or treated his neighbors a lifetime ago.

I love summer, being tan long days, ocean breeze. I love snow piled high, and the quiet of the darkness as you walk out to feed the horses, flakes falling silently all around. I love Christmas morning in all it's glory. Tulips are my favorite flower, and I love all the baby animals come spring. But is home, my sanctuary, my blankie in life.

It was the one thing I missed the most in the Caribbean. It has it's own smell, its own feel, and its own distinctive resounding change in the atmosphere all around us. I think some of it is the forager and gather instinct in us. We know something is coming, not certain what but that we must prepare. I don't know about the rest of you, but there is something about Fall that slows me down. I realize the little things. Big changes, our children are all of sudden older, moving forward. All that I accomplish in the summer, is no longer important. The Fall is the part of nature that brings us in, slows us down, and makes us prepare for the year ahead.

I often think that September should have been the beginning of a year instead of January. So many things end and start in September, it would be easier.

Well as I sip my Chai, and snuggle in my blankie I can say simply I am grateful for Fall and hope that this season you all reach your goals, make memories, and find your dreams.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Good morning, Good Afternoon, & Goodnight

Recently it has been brought to my attention by several unconnected events that our world is small and we are not embracing this fact and using it to our advantage on so many levels. I am not a global marketer, or a big oil sheik. However even them have forgotten how small this place is, and that kindness goes a long ways.

I had the opportunity to take a small trip this week. I went 150 miles from my front door to the front door of a complete stranger. We had made a deal and were completing our transaction. Making small talk it came up that I had recently been in the Caribbean. Of course people are always excited when they hear that so she wanted to know more. I explained that we lived there briefly. We visited about it for a bit, she too had been many years before to St John on her honeymoon. She then mentioned that ironically her neighbor had recently moved to one of the Virgin Islands but hated it, only lasted a few months and came home. I said that sounded familiar a common occurance, and asked which island. She wasn't sure but thought St Croix. I asked their name, and of course it is a small island, I knew them.

This past weekend we went camping, we had no cell service. It was a beautiful thing. On our way home we hit service and both our phones started chirping, and tweeting away. On of my husbands texts was from a buddy he worked with in the islands. It said "Guess where I am." Don said reply "Walmart, he must be in the states somewhere." (Island joke) I replied and he comes back with "Close, Bozeman, MT." Just over the hill from us. We made promises to connect soon.

It got me thinking, I have thought a lot about the people I met in de islands, many of them I wonder if I will ever see again. Of course now I realize that anything is possible. In the islands the way we live life is completely different than how I live it here in Idaho. Things are similar, but more simple. One of the things I can't get over is here as I drive down the streets I hardly ever see anyone walking or riding their bike. Early mornings no one is waiting for a taxi. It's sad really. I miss seeing people, and more then that I miss the connection to the world around me. The beep, beep to say "hello" or "no you first." No one honks, no one waves, hell no one even smiles at you.

We live so disconnected from the world. We think we are connected with our iphones, and computers, we can watch eight news channels at once, every second we breathe we check Facebook, or Twitter, or other social media to "stay connected". But the truth is we have surrounded ourselves by technology and no longer people.

I go walking at night for exercise. The girls are in bed, it is nice and cool and I enjoy the dark. The other night I was out walking and a man was walking towards me on the sidewalk. As we approached out of habit more than anything I called out, "Goodnight". He stepped as far away from me as he possibly could, choked on his cigarette, and mumbled "uh..." cough, cough, "ya, nite." I kept walking and shook my head. We are failing this planet, in my opinion not by melting the polar ice caps or killing the ozone. We are killing humanity and failing to have a connection with all our brothers and sisters surrounding us.

In the islands you say Good morning, Good Afternoon, or Goodnight depending to everyone you meet. YES EVERYONE, and if you don't you get schooled. Perfectly good strangers will smile at you and say Goodnight. You acknowledge each others existence and in doing so validate each others importance here on this earth. How hard is that, how hard is it that every time you encounter a human being smile, say hello, say good morning. Perhaps there would be less hatred, less depression, less violence.

Now don't get me wrong. De Islands are filled with crime. It was one of the things we liked the least about living there, and was a major roll in us leaving. So it is not Utopia and everyone is not singing and dancing (although they do that a lot down there). But no place is perfect, I awoke to gunshots outside my bedroom window last Friday at 3am. This world is going down the drain as I see it, but while I am here I will validate you.

Good morning, and have a beautiful day!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Idle in August

I have been struggling lately with idle time on my hands.

For the first time in years I haven't had a job. Honestly I don't know exactly how long, but I was working for my dad in his office at twelve. A long time. But in the last thirteen years I have been working thirty to fifty hours a week. The days I wasn't working at one job, I was working at another.

I don't have a college degree. I started but never finished. It is not my cup of tea. I went to college with great aspirations to become a Marine Veterinarian. It lasted 3 semesters, and one College level Chemistry class and I realized I didn't want to work that hard. So what did I do, I entered the field of manual labor.

I have been a lifeguard, a swim instructor, a burrito maker, a department store clerk, a survey crew cheif, a rodman, draftsman, a stall cleaner, a horse trainer, an equine manager, a Secretary and accountant, a finish carpenter, a framer, a framing foreman, receptionist, farmer, and a Veterinarian Technician.

Quite the resume really. Most of that, actually all of it is not what I intended to do. However all of it suits me, and fits with my personality. I learned a lot, I did things I never thought I could and things I never want to do again. Some things I will tell my grandchildren about, some probably not.

So now what? Most of you are saying, you forgot the most important thing. You are a mother, that in itself is a full time job.  I haven't forgotten anything. Yes, I am a mother to two of the most amazingly unique, talented, and loving girls one could know (see there is the mother in me shining through). I am a firm believer that being a Mother is not a job, it's a lifestyle choice. It's like getting a tattoo (much more painful though), and dressing in bohemian fashion. I chose to be a mother, and will be a mother forever. It's not my job, it is way to enjoyable or painful depending on the day. If this was a job, I know for a fact there are days I would have quit already. So my search must continue.

I have been looking on the web at job postings for a few weeks now, in indecision. I am torn, I don't really want a job. I have to admit I am enjoying laying on the couch with my BFF's and watching Disney movies. I like that I can stay up until one, and sleep until eight. I don't have a kitchen full of dirty dishes, my bathrooms are cleaned more than quarterly. My laundry is done, and put away. But when all the chores are done, the counters clear and the kids are sleeping I feel like my day was unproductive and my self worth is equal to zero. Never been one to grade myself on cleanliness or amount of crafts completed. I have always enjoyed looking back and seeing a house built by my hand, or a dog alive because I was there at that moment and made it count.

I have been writing. That is something, but I often feel like it is an indulgence. You never know if anyone besides you will see any value in your story and help you breathe life into it. I hope so, but until then it is like sipping fine wine, and eating fancy chocolates. It makes me feel fantastic, so I will continue to indulge. 

I would like to teach again. I always enjoyed that. Even now when I can successfully teach my children something new with very little struggle, that is an accomplishment. I am passionate about many things, but the one thing I love to share the most is my love of  Equine companions. There is much to learn and be learned in the realm of the equine species, I never tire of it. It has always been my strongest passion, so I guess for now I will dust off the business cards, find some students, and go ride.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Blood, Water, & Wine

"Blood is thicker than water, but in my profession I have found blood will often run quicker than water when leaving a wounded heart."
                                          a moment at work, chaos surrounding my observation

This life is about learning to let go, growing into perfection, and building relationships. Not necessarily in that order. Family is the only relationship that is given to us, and it is often the one we learn the least about, work very little at building, and almost always have the hardest time letting go. 

Eleven and a half years ago I met a man that was not family. I thought him funny, peculiar,
honest, and often grumpy. He was nothing more to me than water. I saw him on occasion, a couple of times a week. He frequented one of my hangouts at the time. 

He would make small talk with me as I waited for a ride, and he complimented me often on my ability to "ignore the obvious", his words not mine. I figured it out eventually, but not by myself.

Blood mixed with water, it created a river that today is the root of my soul. 

This man was named Donald Monroe Thorp. He is my father in law, and one of the two unyielding forces that brought me and my husband together. My mother is the other one, but today this story is about Don or "Senior".

One day while waiting for a ride, he caught me by surprise and offered me a job. It was odd, because it was a job that sounded trivial, and honestly something he or his boy could handle. I was intrigued and accepted. He had hired me to halter break a filly, a yearling Quarter horse filly. Easy enough, I hopped in his truck and he drove me to his house where the filly was kept. This was not your ordinary filly, she was bred by the devil, conceived by a horse. As we leaned on her pen that was bent in seven different directions, fire breathed from her nose, and her eyes were rimmed with red. I couldn't back down now, I had something to prove. I was a cowgirl and nothin' scared me. 

There was more to the story. See Senior bought this mare with a filly by her side, he did it without the consent of his business partner, also know as his ranch hand/halter breaking/son. So in turn that partner refused to see the beauty of this package deal, and would not lay a hand on either of the horses. 

On day three or four of my frustration I was making progress but it was slow, and I had a bruise the shape of Alaska on my shin. The business partner came out to see how it was going. I remember he leaned on the pen, beer in hand and watched me sweat for twenty minutes or so. Then he said something along the lines of "she's a real bitch." Not wanting to let him win, I decided to win him over with this filly. 

It never worked...she really was a bitch, her mother even worse. I sold them both actually and did a dance when I did..that is a whole other story too. 

The point wasn't about these horses, the point was to bring Don (junior) and I together. It worked and it has lasted. 

Senior was a sneaky devil, he always had a twinkle in his eye, and a dry sense of humor you couldn't help but smile at. He had a heart as big as Texas, and the love he had for his children was eternal. He was honest, to a fault. He had a work ethic that could put the toughest men to shame. He was stubborn, and very insistent sometimes to a fault.  

I was disappointed that I only got to know this man for a little over a year and half. However as coincidence would have it I got to work side by side with him for that entire year and a half. Not to mention live within thirty feet of him. I will never forget the morning he came with coffee and the thrifty nickel to find me in the kitchen. The look on his face was priceless as he mumbled something about coming back later, and so much for weddings. 

So although I don't know him like I should I got an opportunity to see a part of his soul. He left to early ten years ago today. His son and two daughters miss him dearly. I wish my daughters could have met him, he would have loved them with all his heart. I figure he is watching over us, and sometimes I can see him with his hands in his pockets, toothpick in mouth, with just the hint of a smile thinking damn I did something right. 

 Blood is thicker than water, but we need that blood to run with water to slow it's pace in this great race of life. Stop, sit back and drink a glass of wine. Remember those who have raised you, and remember those who have raised the ones you love. Blood, water, & wine nothing richer, more life fulfilling, or sweeter. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Zip Snoopy Thorp

i lost a bet some 9 years ago, I saw spots and couldn't let go.

From the beginning I have called him many things, but first to roll off my tongue has often been the phrase "his dog". Today I realized he was always mine, and my heart belongs to not one but two of the most stubborn, brave, and intensely loyal dogs I have ever know.

If you know me, and know me real well these two dogs came into my life, long after a trail of other dogs. Big dogs, little dogs, smart dogs, loyal dogs, brave dogs, and mysterious dogs. Some were with me long, others just a brief moment in my life. I dreamed and dreamed of the day to come when I could have a dog for keeps, to call my own. To create that bond of love forever there. I knew I found one in the eyes of Gunner, but today I realized I had another...

Long story short Zip lost one of his lives today...apparently he has a few more. He apparently robbed the cookie jar of life because he is beyond his fair share, thank God. This venture was not his fault (not this time anyways) but merely the fault of his stupid humans. Don came to bed after me, closed the doors and shut off the lights. He failed to count heads. How he missed Zip's click clack across the floor into the bedroom after him, I don't know.

Being a dog, he gave up on his stupid humans somewhere through the night and went exploring. Or perhaps a cat caught his fancy. Whatever happened, he was gone when the sun rose. Don woke me, and in panic said that Zip was gone the door was open. "WHAT" I said as I leaped up in bed. Panic filled my chest as I thought of my sleeping girls. Quick to reply Don said he'd been upstairs, and then explained that the door was open when he went to bed, he closed it but failed to check for Zip.

We checked the neighborhood, with no luck. Don went to work and I promised to be at the shelter tapping on the window. I got a call shortly after. A lady had found Zip lying in the road, she was able to approach him read his tags before a vehicle startled him and he bolted with an impressive limp. At least I had a location, just a mere 5 miles away, as the crow flies. WHAT THE HELL!

He is fine recovering on the couch with his watchful brother on the floor beneath him. He is sore, in pain, but appears to be free of broken bones. (his brother woke me at 2am last night, something he never does, unfortunately I dismissed him.) Alls well that ends well, but it made me reflect about lifes tiny moments, and how they measure up to be something really important, and meaningful in the end.

Zip was a gift to us, from dear friends. We had recently lost a dog who showed up on our porch. Don is a big fan of Heelers, she had been a red heeler. Our friends on their way out to our house to BBQ, came across a box of puppies at Albertsons. Heeler/German Shorthair cross, they picked a pup and brought him out. They said they would keep him if we didn't want him. He was adorable, he fit in two hands. I said no, Don said yes. I agreed to a sleepover, he still sleeps on the bed, under the covers or at least on the covers on the floor as a dead weight.

Zip was destined to be his name. Don knew it from the start, and somehow I did to. He had that look of awesome intelligence. I have come across many "Zip" Heeler dogs in my profession. Few have met the name with as much respect and authority as ours. Recently at the last place of work I had to explain to a born and bred Montana gal about "Last of the Dog Men." I still think she didn't get it. "You have to see the movie!" I said. It explains why all owners of heelers wish and hope they have a Zip. I failed to mention that I had a real, true gem at home.

Zip has had an annual trip to the vet from the very beginning. Stitches, a metal pin in his leg, you name it. He is a dog that just won't quit. His heart is as big as gold, his eyes are the color of it, and his intense personality is one to match. I haven't met a person that doesn't like him, in the early days when Don took him to job sites he turned down money for his wonderful dog Zip.

Today as I was driving around, calling out his customary "zip, zip, zip" high pitched like he likes it, of course, I wondered if I'd lost the bastard forever. He had really won a big spot in my heart, and I wasn't ready to say good bye. He is the kind of dog that takes it all in stride. Even in the islands...a close bet to Hell for dogs if there is one, he was happy. Balls grew on trees, bees tasted like passion fruit, and he would dig you any size mote for your sand castle. I needed him, he still had some babysitting to do, and my feet would get cold this winter without him. When we finally found each other, he knew me the moment my feet hit the ground. You could see it in his eyes to: "Where the hell have you been?" he asked.

He works cattle, he sleeps with my babies, he will die fetching a rock, and his soul is right there in his eyes watching you, never judging. Waiting for you to throw it one more time. I've met a lot of dogs so far in my life, but not one like him. He has captured the hearts of many, and will be immortal in our hearts forever.

Live long good buddy, we need your wisdom, heart, and soul.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Born Again

No I didn't change religious beliefs, or join a new cult. I didn't change my moral compass or find a new demi god.

Although I believe all of this is quite possibly related to divine intervention, fate, and most likely Destiny.
I started a long journey a ways back, most of you have been with me on that road. Reading my blog, seen the pictures, some of you even traveled and met me halfway, or walked by my side. For those of you who are new to this story, go back a few chapters it will make a little more sense. 

I thought I was done when we arrived back in Idaho. I thought I had come full circle. My trip isn’t over yet. My parents, who also lived on "de rock" with us, moved shortly after we did. Simply because of me...they might argue that, but I know the truth. We were leaving, and they didn't want to be so far apart again. It isn't the first time they have ripped up their roots and moved for me...I hope it's the last. I love them, and their undying devotion, but I want them to be happy and full fill their own adventure, not have it cut short because of me. 

My parents relocated to Incline Village, a small town that has population swells based on the seasons. It reminds me of my childhood, the buildings look like old town Frisco, and Breckenridge...nothing like it looks today. This village is on the shores of the most magnificent lake, Lake Tahoe. It really is breathtaking and I hope they stay there a long time. 

They asked if I wanted to and come visit, on one condition, bring a truck and trailer load of their belongings from their storage unit in Idaho. They were happy to see us, but I think for once their belongings even trumped the girls. They had been living for five weeks with very little. Basically thrift store belongings, and the clothes they carried off the island. 

It was a great trip. Beautiful scenery, and beautiful company. Sadly the time went too fast, and we loaded ourselves up and traveled back across the Nevada dessert. If you have ever traveled that path you know how long, lonely, and desolate it is. As we coasted down I-80 the girls sound asleep exhausted from their fun at Grandma's, I popped in my new Kenny Chesney CD Life on this Rock. I fell in love as I listened to the soundtrack of the past 14 months that I had just spent living on a rock very much like his own. I am guessing that there are some Kenny fans out there simply up in arms as he breaks out in lyric “jammin' with the Wailers”....but let me tell you.  You can't but help embrace the lifestyle that surrounds you. One that sings of lifting up, joining together, and saving the world with love and peace. It really is an appealing idea. 

As I listened to Kenny, I started driftin' I thought a lot about my time on the "de island", I really began to miss it. I did a lot of complaining, and God knows I was homesick really missing my steeds, he heard me every night. But, I loved the lifesytle. I loved the fact that I could take my children to the beach bar and we could chill all night long. I miss the people...all of them. 

I changed CD's halfway across the dessert to my all time favorite artist. Chris Ledoux. As "Life is a Highway" rolled on I remembered why we even went to the islands in the first place.  I wanted to ride the wind, see the world. We can't see anything if we sit on our own porch. We can't meet new people if we stand at the back of the dance floor. 

On our way home we had one stop to make. Friends of ours that we met years ago in the horse business lived just outside of Elko, NV. They really wanted me and the girls to drop in and say hello. I didn't want to. Nothing personal, just when we were leaving for the islands we had to sell the majority of our herd of horses. These friends bought three of the horses that I held most dear to my heart. Two of them were horses that we had raised out of our beloved stallions, and one of our most prized and favorite mares. The other one was a dear friend who we really didn't want to sell, but it was the best thing for him to go somewhere and be loved and used. 

I suspected the fate of my dear friend, and didn't want to deal with it. However, we stopped. The babies we had raised had grown into beautiful horses, and they were well taken care of. A small mound of dirt and rocks was all that remained of our beloved King. I didn't say much, I didn't want our friends to feel like they had failed me. They hadn't, they took care of him, and made his last moments precious. I knew we had made the best decision in letting him go, as did they in the final moments. 

As I climbed back into the truck and headed North, I began to reflect on the past 10 years. I realized I had come a long way in life, that my family had taken paths I never dreamed of. That because of those decisions we are not the people we once were, and I am absolutely ok with that. I am grateful for our changes, and I can see that we have become a strong unit. That we, as a family and as individuals, are ready for whatever is waiting around the bend. I saw that the life we leave behind us opens doors for things to come.  I am ready, I am excited, and I know it is not going to be what we expected.

It’s a great feeling.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Number Streets

"All the sounds, all the right places....all the right moves, all the right faces."
                                                                                                   All The Right Moves - One Republic

In 1992 I rolled into the state of Idaho. I was impressed at first, as we came out of Hoback Junction, this looked a lot like where I was coming from. I could like this place. Then we made a sweeping curve onto Highway 20, and headed Northeast. As I watched out my window, disappointment settled in. I did not like this flat land, it was grey and dead. The few trees I saw where bare of their leaves, and the sky was a foreboding grey October bleakness. I did not like Idaho, not at all.

We moved to Chester, Idaho from Breckenridge, Colorado. This was not my first move, as a matter of fact it was close to my 10th. I was not a rookie, and had always embraced moving. I did not like this flat, mountain-less dessert. My parents were quick to point out we had a view of the Tetons.....that seemed to be a million miles away.  I never complained about it, I really didn't say much at all. We moved into an amazing house. I had my horse, my parents went to great efforts for me to be able to continue to learn to ride, I could ride out our driveway into the foothills and disappear. It was turning into a cool was the first place I ever skinny dipped with someone besides myself.

We moved a lot in Idaho. I went to four different schools in Idaho, the final change my personal choice. My entire youth I would tell people I was "from" Colorado. I learned to like, not love, Idaho. There are some amazing things, like jumping off a bridge into the snake river, swimming in the Buffalo river, climbing mount Jefferson, summers in Island Park, Jefferson County Stampede, wind surfing in Blacktail, Hiese Hot Springs....ok I admit it was growing on me. But I was from Colorado, still vowed to go back. I was the typical college kid gonna blow this pop stand. Couldn't wait to leave, the first chance I got a one way ticket to California....I took it. Never made it, ended up in Western Idaho....didn't like it came back to Eastern.

A few years later met a boy, raised in Idaho. He owned Idaho land, I didn't like that...but he was charming and special. There really was something about him that kept drawing me in. We dated (rode horses in the mountains of Idaho), I don't think he ever took me on a real date....except for that time at the truck stop. I don't think a truck stop and chicken fried really counts. Nine weeks into this whirlwind, he was not what I imagined, it was never how I wanted it. It was perfect, and I said Yes.

Married and living in Ririe, Idaho on owned land. We lost land and bought land. We raised horses and cattle, and a goat. Then we had a baby, and then another. We lost a business, and we struggled through life. Things were getting difficult, and I started to blame the fact that I never got out of Idaho, I never saw the world I had planned on seeing. I never got back to Colorado.

An opportunity knocked and I jumped after it, he came along with me because he loves me. He saw we needed something different, a change of latitude really does change the attitude. It saves the soul, heals wounds.

A week ago to this moment we crossed into Idaho.....GOD it was beautiful. Island Park is gorgeous in the spring, and I had so many fond memories in that valley with my father, and many friends. We came down the hill passed thru childhood memories. As I watched out the window, the Tetons came into view and my eyes welled with tears. I can't tell you how beautiful they have to stand in their presence to really understand.

We were more ways than one. Often in my youth I had to come through the number streets in Idaho Falls to get to my second home, the aquatic center now just feet from my door. I loved these streets, I would drive down them before the world awakes, and they were beautiful in their silence. I always thought if I had to live in Idaho Falls, I would live on one of those streets. Full of history, life, color, and beauty.

We are home, I am from Idaho.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The path you walk, always leads somewhere

Well, we made it to the mainland.

Landed in Salt Lake City, UT May 3, 2013.

We got into Utah at 11pm, friends were waiting to pick us up, we loaded all our crap (minus 1 stroller, story for another time), 2 kids, and 2 dogs into their pickup truck and headed North. We cruised into Idaho Falls, Idaho at 2am. Exhausted we crawled onto couches, and air mattresses and passed out.

I woke up at 6am. I knew we had so much to do in 24hrs before we were on the road again. We cruised Idaho Falls, and surrounding all day Saturday looking for wheels. At 4pm we agreed to disagree, I lost this one and Don got the big diesel truck his heart was set on. I was so exhausted at this point I probably would have agreed to a Jet Airplane if only his credit would allow.

Sunday morning we loaded everything up again, headed to Ririe, Idaho to empty our storage unit. It is amazing how much dust collects in 14 months. We put all that we could into "monster truck" and our rented Uhaul trailer, and hit the road.

200 miles later the poor girls, who just spent 1+ year on a 26 X 8 mile island, wondered if we were ever going to stop driving. We coasted into Bozeman, MT at dusk. Finally we made it.

That was not the end of the adventure....I wish. Don started work the following day, and me and the girls started house hunting...kind of. The "monster truck" was with Don, so I was limited to calls and appointments set for the following day. That evening when Don arrived home, me waiting anxiously to hear about his first day. I greeted him at the door (of yet, another friends home) and was met with a shake of the head, and he mumbled "same shit, different day." Great....he hates it.

The next morning all my appointments from the day before were cancelled due to the places already being rented. So I drove around Bozeman and made new appointments. All I was finding was over priced apartments and contaminated mobile homes. The day ended in stress, and no promising answers. I did have one appointment for a Condo that sounded good, but I suspected that before we could make it Wednesday night it would be rented. Don was assingned to the "420" crew, and his day was brought down a notch. Hate was not a strong enough word. Neither of us said a word to the other, but you could read between us, and we were both thinking: "What the hell have we done."

Wednesday was filled with more time wasting home inspections. We did get to keep the condo appointment. Turns out, after all the "junk" I had seen, it was an awesome place "for a condo". We filled out the application on the spot and crossed our fingers.

Thursday morning after I dropped Don at work in Big Sky....yes lots more driving around for the girls, I was sitting in the Bozeman Burger King, and I got a call from the landlords of condo. They took pity on us and our story....we had a home. Of course it wouldn't be ready for a week, but we had a place to hang our hat.

We moved into the hotel across from my new job Monday morning. Being that I was going to be working nights, with only "Monster Truck" it didn't make sense to be round tripping 4 times a day. This would be the third place we would sleep at in the past week Macy pointed out less than impressed. At least "this one has a pool" she added. And I could walk to and from work. Two days and we had a home I promised, this was the final stretch.

I met the landlord Wednesday at the crack of dawn, signed the contracts and got the keys. I unloaded all our luggage into the garage and was thrilled I wouldn't have to move those bags again for a long time. I took Macy to school and began moving our things for the 3rd time from our friends shop. Finally our new adventure in Belgrade, MT could begin.

And now it's over, we're moving again. THE END

I could leave ya hangin'....but that would be mean.

So long story short. We hated our jobs. I worked 34 hrs in two and a half days. I am exhausted, and although my children are not in daycare, they are being attended to by a ZOMBIE! Don is working as a Journeyman carpenter, he took the job to get him back into the states. He knew thought it was a stepping stone, just turned out to be a stepping bog.

Last week, outta the blue Don gets a call for an interview from a company in Spokane, WA. One of our many applied resumes had been found, and they were really interested in Don. Even more so when they found out he was no longer in the USVI, but right next door in BIG SKY country. They called again the next day and scheduled a phone interview for the following week. We couldn't stop thinking about it all weekend. Trying so hard not to get our hopes up. I was so excited, but on the second hand I didn't know if I should unpack, or start packing.

Phone interview was last night. Prayers were answered, they love him and are really excited to meet him. The owner of the company is coming down Friday and Don is meeting him in Butte, MT. If it all goes well he will be a new member of their team as a Working Superintendent!!!!

The best part....the project they are starting him on is in...IDAHO FALLS, ID. Then the next one is in Rexburg, potential one in Pocatello. Apparently they do a lot of commercial construction in SE Idaho.

Of course we hung the pictures on the walls this past weekend. That always cinches things, right? So I guess I'll stop unpacking. I can't complain, we love Montana, but Idaho is home. Funny thing, if you let yourself you really are guided in life. Not always in the direction you are expecting, but you will be led to water you just have to be willing to drink.

SO....I guess we are not done moving. Please if you've been praying for us, keep it up. I would never turn it down, and this ain't final yet. I always do the same for all of you!!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes

"Mother, mother ocean I have heard you call.....You've seen it all, you've seen it all...Yes I am a pirate, 200 hundred years to late."
                                  Jimmy Buffett - A Pirate looks at Forty

 I love this island. All of it. The rawness, the beauty, the riches and the poverty. If it was any other way, it wouldn't be my island. We are all so grateful for the experiences, opportunities, lessons, and blessings we have received here. Our lives will be forever richer for our time spent in the Caribbean on an Island at the exact point of:
 17.7500° N, 64.7500° W
However, all that said we are officially moving on to a new adventure. A location very close to our beginning destination. Bozeman, Montana:
45.6797° N, 111.0378° W

Overwhelming all of it is.

I am amazed at the fact that in 14 months we were able to make such an impact on people, and those same people made such an impact on us. I find myself sad again to leave behind friends, people who I grew close to and became dependent on their smiles, and laughter. I feel saddened that Macy has to leave behind her first "Best Friend Ever" at school. I am sad that she may never again attend a school that gathers the entire populous every morning for a prayer, pledge of allegiance  and the VI March. THEY ARE AN UNINCORPORATED TERRITORY and they do this with vigor, valor, and respect. 
I will miss my Mangos, Avacados, Vine Ripe Bananas, Carambola, and so many rich treasures the island has to hold....OH AND CARIBBEAN LOBSTER my mouth is already aching at the unquenchable thought of it. 

And then there is the ocean. The perfect shades of blue, grean, and white. The feel of you on my skin, the splash of you at my feet. The treasures you hold, including my heart. I'v wanted to live by your waters since I was captured in your trance at the age of 5. I can hardly believe that I got to live that dream. To swim in your wake, to see your creatures live and breathe. To hear the sound of a whale calling through your blue. I will be back again. I can't stay away forever...but I have mountain fever, and I've got to see them again. But, I have to say thankyou. You healed my soul, and the soul of my mate. Forever grateful for that blessing we will be. 

No regrets, no rocks un-turned. We came, we searched, we found, and we are forever changed. 
Mother, mother ocean until we meet again.       

Saturday, March 30, 2013


I recently took this picture (above) while standing on the shores of Buck Island. Buck Island is a small island that was made a National Monument in 1961, it is surrounded in the waters by several species of coral several that are on the verge of extinction, including the magnificent Elkhorn Coral, my personal favorite for many reasons. You can only reach Buck Island by boat, and it is regulated by the National Parks as a preserve. The beach is as Virgin as it gets, the water is unreal, and for us "locals" it gives you a unique perspective of the rock we call home. 

In the last month we have had two sets of visitors. It was a blast, full of fun times and memories. A pleasure to share our Island with these people, and in a way it was nice for us to have witness to what we experienced day in and out on this crazy spot. Although I try, some of our experiences are not easily put into words, and best experienced in person. With our guests here it was fun to once again see our Island through the tourists eyes. It is a place that should be visited often, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT FOR A VACATION. If your thinking of moving here, you haven't been listening and  need your head examined!!!

The first time I arrived on the island of St Croix, USVI stars were in my eyes. I loved the bright, beautiful, bold colors. The architecture was unique and everything I had hoped a pirate town might be. The what dreams are made of, and a sight and feel I know will never be matched or recreated again other than on the Islands of the Caribbean. My trip was not long enough, and I couldn't wait for my return.  
 I wanted my children to have the experiences of the ocean in their lives, I wanted them to have the lesson and adventure of being in a place where the people were as diverse as the colors on their buildings. The second trip I took to St. Croix my mother, who missed her grandchildren and daughter dearly, strongly encouraged us to consider relocating here. I was tempted, but uttered the simple threat that my husband would never come here....not in a million years. 

We have officially lived here for "more than" a year. Our lives will be richer, our minds expanded, and bucket lists shortened. Although a lot of our experiences have been less than we expected, and we were not prepared for some of the reality of living on an island. How can we complain about the opportunity few will ever take to see the other side of heaven. Mountains are our home, but the ocean heals the soul. Something both Don and I needed dearly. 
I felt strongly on two occasions while our last guest was here that our time here on the island, as a family, is truly coming to an end. This realization should have been a celebration but it actually came with mixed emotion. On one occasion I was greatly saddened at the thought of not standing in the exact spot I was standing ever again. I love that beach, and I love the sound of the ocean beating the sand as the sun kisses the water. Heaven on earth, well one of the places I've found it anyways. The other spot was a place I have often gone "looking" for "personal" direction. Fitting that it is also the "Most Eastern Point of the United States of America". I thought that theses feelings would fill me with joy, but I found them to be mixed emotions of gratitude for my experiences, sadness of leaving, and excitment for adventure and familiarity. My perspective had been renewed through the eyes of guests. This island is magical, and we have been truly blessed to share in the moments of "Lost in Paradise". It was a much needed vacation, like a retreat where you find yourself. 

After she left Don and I sat down and discussed my feelings and we mapped out a plan. We decided to make some changes financially so that we could pay our land off a little sooner. With that debt gone from our plate our needs are greatly reduced. We decided that once that was accomplished we could and would leave with or without the perfect job. We planned to be leaving island by Fall 2013. I liked the idea of that, it gave us time to do the last few things we wanted. Where will we go? Who knows? We know better than that to plan out much of our lives. Sooner is still our prefrence, but financially without a perfect job to go to, we are going to stay here and finish off our land mortgage. All that said.....Don has a very promising interview next week.

Figures, our family motto...."Life is what happens, while your making other plans!"

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Positive Vibes

There is a a Senator (the first elected Rastafarian in the territories) here on Island. His given name is Terrence Nelson. However, a big part of the Rastafarian culture is to take on a different name. Terrence is well known throughout the territory as "Positive" Nelson. Part of his campaign was a great slogan of: "Positive is how I live". I have met him, and observed him on several occasions  He truly does appear to live a very positive life, and when living in these territories, watching as your brothers suffer, and struggle. As they choose to live lives that drag them under in currents they cannot swim through. I can only imagine, that this makes Terrence struggle even harder for his brothers. I hope so.

So, as a direct result of this man, everywhere you go on island you see the slogan above. EVERYWHERE! Car bumpers, people, buildings, trees, benches, trash cans. Hell one of the A/C units at my work has this sticker slapped on it. It is a constant reminder to be Positive. Smart campaign, smart idea.

I haven't caught on I guess, I know I tend to be negative about my current state of mind, and residence. This island makes it difficult. I guess that is why someone thought it such a good idea that we have one-thousand reminders daily. I had a friend share something on facebook today, that simply stated: "For one minute walk outside, stand there in complete silence, look up at the sky and contemplate how amazing life really is."

I did this today. I did it yesterday too, as I had a rather cool experience. One I hadn't had in a while. 

I was rushing as usual trying hard not to be late for work and to get out the door with Rozi in tow. On my way to work I need to stop quick at the Post Office to mail my check back to my bank in Idaho. Quickly I rolled up the windows all but an inch or two, locked the doors. Then I unlocked the drivers side because it has the uncanny knack of refusing to let you back in, even with a key. So we don't lock our drivers side door. Promised Rozi I would be a flash, and I ran into the Post. Checked my mail box, empty. Dropped the mail in the slot and was back, a minute if that. Grabbed hold of my door to throw it open, and about ripped the handle off. LOCKED! I stood there a moment in shear amazement. Then quickly I grabbed the key out of my pocket....please work I silently pleaded. Nope. 

I stared through the window at Rozi who had a look of concern and wonder. Also I was staring at my cell phone sitting in the console. Just perfect I thought. Instantly I got mad, I wanted to know why everything had to be so damn hard on this rock. Why I can't just have one thing work as planned. I began to try and convince Rozi to unbuckle herself, which up to this point I was so proud of the fact that she HADN'T figured that out yet. She knew I wanted the door open, and was so intent on trying to reach her door latch while still buckled she couldn't focus on me to listen about the unbuckling instructions I was pleading at her through the window. I stood up looked around, not a soul in sight. I didn't dare walk away from her and I didn't know what to do. I was so frustrated I leaned forward, put me head on the glass closed my eyes and asked. I just needed a little help, just a little.


I startled and stood up to look at a tiny white car sitting behind mine. GREAT, I figured just what I needed some good old Cruzan schooling. (They really love to do that here, any chance they get to let you know you done wrong you get it...humbling and infuriating all at the same time.) I assumed the gentleman wanted my parking space and the courteous honk was for me to hurry up. So I ignored him and began again with the unbuckle instructions. I jumped as he spoke, standing right next to me like he materialized on the spot. 

"Locked out?" he asked. I quickly explained my predicament, and he suggested I run to the lumber store about 200 yards away and get a stick to reach the other side door lock. That was when he noticed Rozi, and realized I wouldn't want to leave. He then tried to reach his hand through the window, not a chance. I suggested he push down on the window and I would try my luck. It worked, we popped the window out of the frame, but I got the door open. He stayed with me until the window was fixed good as new. He suggested I leave the window down a little more next time, to which I laughed and replied "No Shit" he laughed too. 

I told him I would pull out so he could have my space. "No mom, I go other way. I turned round to find you," he says, "I be going now." I was shocked, I had been heard.

"Positive is how I live" was plastered on his bumper as I watched him drive away from me in my rear view mirror. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Goodbye's, linger in my soul

Never an easy task, saying Goodbye.

I find that I am becoming quite emotional as I get older, I am getting more and more attached to relationships, and finding it harder and harder to say goodbye. I feel the distance that escapes between me and the people I love to be more vast and empty.

I personally felt this for the first time 3 1/2 years ago as I stood in an airport in the middle of the night watching my parents get checked in to board a plane 3500 miles away from where I stood. It hurt like hell, my baby cried, clear back into Idaho where sleep finally took over.

A year ago I did the same exact thing to my friends, saying goodbye to some of the best people I have ever know. It hurt a little less, because only days before had I said goodbye to the love of my life, and my final destination would be in his arms again.

Now, as I float in the middle of the Caribbean. I feel the loss of those people so much more. It's the little things that you forget, or don't even bother to notice. Extra help on a weekend, or unexpected visits. Little things that often times seemed inconvenient or poorly planned. I miss them immensely  and realize the gifts that I had. You come to realize how much you relied on those people, and how good they were to you, and how much your truly love them when they are gone.

Recently we had company, two of our dearest friends (more life family really), and we had a blast. Life long memories and moments to share over and over again. Adventures, and laughter filled our days. It amazes me how quickly you rekindle old flames, and how small children become attached to a complete stranger in mere moments of time. Before we could prepare, days slipped by and it was time for them to go. We arrived once again at that tale tail place of arrival and departure. Goodbye was seamless, I didn't want them to regret the fun we had shared. The hugs were warm, and appreciated as a chance to show gratitude and love to last until next time.

As I drove away a tear slid down my face, and then another as I questioned the length of our stay on this tiny mirage in the ocean. Wondering when I would see our great friends again.

Today, we arrived again at that gate of Goodbye. Friends we met a mere 6 months ago were once again leaving our lives. Friends from Don's work, a couple with three charming boys who despite their shrill Puerto Rican voices, and wild antics had found a way into our hearts. They are moving on to bigger and better. Texas their final destination. As we kissed, and hugged, and kissed again. I couldn't help but wonder if I ever will see this family again in my travels of life. Tears welled up, and I washed them down again wanting no sadness to spoil their excited departure.

How can I help you say Goodbye. I don't think there is any easy route to this moment. I would like to do it a lot less than I have in the last year. Yet, in two weeks I will be right here again. Life is full of hellos, and goodbyes....mine seems to have more goodbyes just like sometimes you have more blueberries than cobbler.