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.