Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Happy Birthday to My Mom! (guest post)

Today is my Mom's birthday. Like most folks, she was born at a very early age. ;) She's documented many aspects of her life on this blog, and I am very deeply, sincerely proud that God chose her to be my Mom.

I'd like to share a story that was a turning point in my relationship with her.

I remember a big bump we had when I was 15 years old. My sister and I were staying with her that summer in Texas. I became really upset with something she had done that seemed unfair, or it was simply a culmination of things.

I was so mad that I yelled at her and ran away for awhile. I knew I'd come back, but I just needed to be away from her for awhile.

I wound up walking to the neighborhood church. After about 45 minutes of being gone, I went back to her home.

She was waiting for me. I knew I was in for a good talking-to, and I just resented her. But I wanted to be respectful, so I just glared at her for awhile as she rebuked me for running off like I'd done.

I don't really remember specifics. I just remember knowing that my Mom really cared for me, that I'd scared her by running off, and that whatever it was that I was mad at her for wasn't really that important.

I guess in some way, I'd worked out any resentment or bitterness I'd had. Ever since that moment in Texas, I've been really close to my Mom.

Even though she's lived thousands of miles away for most of my life.

I love you, Mom!

"If you'd never been born, well what would you be?
You might be a fish! Or a toad in a tree!
You might be a door knob! Or three baked potatoes!
You might be a bag full of hard green tomatoes!
Or worse than all that... why, you might be a
A Wasn't has no fun at all. No, he doesn't.
A Wasn't just isn't. He just isn't present.
But you... you ARE YOU! And now, isn't that pleasant!"

-- Dr. Seuss, from Happy Birthday To You!, via QuotesBlog

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Hummingbirds may be racists; finches may be sexist

In our limited experience and non-membership in the Audubon Society Bob and I have made the decision that it appears hummingbirds are racist and finches are sexist.
Some may say we have way too much time on our hands but it's what you do with the time that is important, right?

Let me give you some background. We have two hummingbird feeders, one off the back patio and one off the front porch.
There is a ruby throated hummingbird that I have named "little chit" instead of the other word. He has taken control of the back feeder.
He sits as a sentry on the chicken wire fence around the green bean plants from as early as 6:30 AM til dark. I mean, if someone needs to get a life, it's him. Seriously.

As soon as any other type hummingbird gets within 20 ft of that feeder he attacks them. It becomes an episode of Snoopy and the Red Baron.
He swoops in with racing speeds of up to 220 miles an hour (I admit I haven't actually clocked it) chasing away any other hummingbird, fly, bee or even a finch.
I have seen almost turf wars out on the patio; I might even be risking my life to do this research, I'm telling ya.
I think some of the Anna's are sort of on to little chit now though. This past week I've seen sometimes maybe 10 come in from different angles and fly around just to get him pi$$ed off.
He can't attack all of them at a time so it is amusing to watch. However, being on the patio while this is taking place can be hair raising or close to hair removing.
They swoop, swirl, sweep and make dive bombing strides at lil chit.

I have no opinion who is better, the Anna's or the ruby throated. I am only an observer.
I give kudos to lil chit for handling his turf so readily and without compromise.

However, the Anna's live by the motto originally made by Rodney King. You know the one, " why can't we all just get along"?
I see often 3-4 Anna's at the front feeder at a time. If even just one is feeding it doesn't get upset if another one comes by to feed. it almost seems the more the merrier in their little group of green chicks, I mean birds.
This is very scientific and I can only hope you appreciate the effort that went into this research; I know the Anna's are friendlier because science backs it up. The front feeder can empty in one day, the back one can take 3-4 days to empty.

Once in an occasional while the Anna's gang up and take over the back feeder for a little while( probably a clue the front feeder is empty now that I think about it). But don't think little chit is happy about it because he isn't-at all, and he makes himself clear.

Now, about the finches. We have taken the hard work away from all you who have to still get out to j-o-b everyday and don't have the time to research this as we do. No, really it's ok. OK, you're welcome!

Let me start with saying finches are one of the greediest animals I've met. You can fill a finch feeder and the next day it has to be filled again. Of course, if Lou next door would keep his filled maybe ours would last a few hours longer!

The real pretty yellow ones are males, right? Well, let me tell you someone needs to teach them about manners and how vinegar doesn't catch the worm or whatever the saying is.
Oh, you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar and the early bird catches the worm. Sorry Mom, I didn't think I'd ever forget them. I must be getting old.

Anyway, I digress. That happens when you get old. you also get more gas. Wait a minute where am I going with this.
The finches. OK so the females which are the less pretty but I'm sure more stable of the two are sitting on the perches feeding, minding their own business. Along come a flock of bad boys all pumped on well, finch food I guess, cuz I haven't read about any on steroids yet pushing the womanz off their perches.
I mean come on fellas, these are your baby Mama's after all.

Some females are passive and will just go to a nearby branch and wait their turn but there are a few that must be the bitches because they put up a fight. They get their wings in the way and move around and squawk like there's no tomorrow. I cheer them on.
Like who do those fellas think they are; I mean they aren't that and a bag of chips you know. If you've seen one or two you've seen them all in my opinion. I mean yeah, they're cute, tiny and all that yellow but come on.

Now some other late breaking news: our quail couple has given birth to 14 babies this week. They are just adorable. Mom struts first in line and clucks. then each of the babies follows and Dad brings up the rear.
Bob observed them a couple days ago. Dad was hanging around the garage clucking and finally went inside. Out comes JR running his tiny little 1/16 of an inch legs off. Dad kept shooing him back to the covey.
All total they couldn't be even an inch tall. Just as cute as you want them to be.

A couple weeks ago we had a Mama doe give birth to twin fawns. I have yet to see them but a couple neighbors right near the woods have. The woods id a couple doors down from me in the back. I did see Mama right after birth hunting up some grub but didn't know why she was out there. She was in the neighbors behind me yards eating branches and anything else she could get her teeth on or into. From the time line when I saw however we calculated she had just given birth. I guess I would be pretty hungry too if I were her.

So, that's springtime here in Oroville so far. Hope yours is just as rewarding as ours have been.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


Ok, again it's been awhile since I posted. I am really going to try to update more frequently.

A couple weeks ago we had Bob's cousins'(The Cuz) handyman come over and till up the back 40 here. Then we added horse manure courtesy of Star, Marty's horse.
I had a set of 9 heirloom tomatoes coming from QVC and was excited to get them in the ground. Well, only 2 made it after transplanting so we went to a local nursery and bought a bunch more.
I recommend in the future not to buy edible plants from anywhere but your local nursery.
Bob and Lou(next door) ordered a set of tomato/potato plants from another catalog place. They are surviving but not really healthy.
It's an interesting concept isn't it?; a tomato plant on top and red potatoes growing underground.

I've also planted about 35 green bean seeds and have a few more to start in a couple weeks. I staggered the planting so we could harvest in spurts. The first 18 are in a whiskey barrel we used before the back 40 got tilled.
Then I planted cucumber seeds, lettuce seeds and transplants I started in a container a couple weeks before tilling.
The cuke seeds aren't cooperating;I may have to get some more.
I saw a couple cantaloupe plants the other day I may just have to go get them and find some room somewhere.

I got a set of 3 rose bushes from QVC about a month ago and they are doing real well. Actually, I have two of them and gave one to Melissa to take back to Hayward. Jon will plant it in his Mom's rose garden when he returns from Iraq in June. It will be a memorial rose since she died in late January.
I still haven't decided where my roses will go. I'm thinking of making them memorial roses too,one for Bob's side of the family and one for mine.
They are a gorgeous pink color on long stems.

It's getting warmer here in northern California. It warmed up a couple weeks ago to low 90's then dipped into 50's and 60's for about a week to 10 days, not today it's going into the 80's again.
Spring has sprung methinks.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Visit to Cincinnati

It's been awhile since I last posted. I've been in a deep depression I figured out and was confirmed by my doc last week.
So much has happened since then.

The most significant thing that happened is that Walt didn't make it.He died November 28th. He passed away knowing he was going in for the transplant but he never recovered consciousness. His infections were fatal;a result of the mechanical heart being in too long.
If only a donor had been found sooner maybe he would be alive today.
I can't emphasise enough to sign donor cards or your drivers license,make your wishes known and sign a medical directive or as it's more commonly known, a Living Will.

It was heart wrenching when Ken called and told me he and Julie had decided to take their Dad off life support. We had all talked about it and Walt made his wishes known to the kids before he even went into the hospital and Ken and I had discussed it on the phone several times however when the decision is made and there is no turning back it's devastating.
I can't imagine the kids' feelings at that time. I support them 100% and no one could have had their Dad's interest at heart more than them.
What a wonderful legacy he and Janet left behind in Ken and Julie.
The most amazing brother/sister team I've witnessed.

I went back home to Cincinnati for Walt's funeral. He was buried the day after what would have been his 60th birthday.
I was shocked to see how much my brother suffered evidenced by the bruises left on his body.
He was so thin.And gray. My brother used to have the most full head of brown hair. I know we all age and get gray but his was almost white. Another witness to the suffering his body went through.

I admire we Mitchell's for one thing if nothing else. We pull together when needed.
Something Walt would be proud of but pass off as nothing he had to do with it is that we all came together and let bygones be bygones.
We became a real family again if not the first time in some ways.
I reconnected with my oldest sister and grown nieces. What an amazing,inspiring,awesome group of women they are.
They called me "the fun Aunt"! I guess because I smoked, drank, cussed, told jokes and don't take myself too serious.
Each one remembered something of their youth that I was part of and told me.
You never know what an impact you are having when you are doing but it is inspiring to know you encouraged someone so close to you.
My sister did an amazing job raising her 8 kids alone. And those kids love their Mom so much.

I got to see Dan,Jennie and Keisha while I was there and stayed with them one night. Dan and Keisha were in a play at church so I got to go see them which was a treat. Keisha has become so grown up.
No longer is she the little girl she was when I lived with them in Dayton.
I just love her to pieces and she does me.
Dan and Jennie have done a fine job of raising her through some difficult times.

The only dark spot on the whole trip was when Steph showed up at the funeral home. Looking back,I don't even know why she came.
She had told Mandy on the phone she barely remembered her Uncle Walt.She's had nothing to do with my side of the family including her siblings for years.

I actually got excited when I saw her; you'd think by now I'd know better.I'm the eternal optimist though.
I was talking to some family members and she walked up so I said hello. She couldn't have been more snippy if she tried.
It was not quite so much as embarrassing as it was disgusting. I no longer think that the actions of my children are a reflection of me now that they are all grown and adults living on their own.
I was sad that Steph didn't bring Hanna. Most of us haven't seen her in years. I last saw her when she was 7 and she will be 13 in a couple months. Really, really sad.
Steph probably wasn't at the funeral home more than 5 minutes. I'm not even sure if she properly p-aid her respects to Ken and Julie.
She really showed her butt though and family members who once thought I might be exaggerating her treatment of me and her haughtiness found out who she really was.
I have no idea why that child hates me or as much as she does.I wonder if she even knows anymore.
I told her at the casket after she snipped at me when I mentioned how Uncle Walt suffered I wasn't worth hating that much.
I did cry. I cried for the relationship I wished we had and for her because she apparently is so troubled inside herself. My family made the comment she appears to be a functioning mental health case.
She has always been delusional about ideas that she thinks happened to her.She manufactured things in her mind and then played the victim. She has done this since she was a toddler.
All I can do is pray for her.

Had the whole family not spent the brief time we had together reacquainting ourselves and moving forward it may not have so apparent how Steph was acting.
Little did she know she could have been a part of a bigger loving family if she would have let her defenses down.

Tom didn't make it because apparently he is a high functioning drunk. My oh my how the years can change things. At one time Tom was the poster boy.He was the one Dad wanted us to aspire to be. He was the "successful" one.
And Barb called me before I left California to say she couldn't be there. She doesn't feel like we are her family and isn't close like we want her to be.
I can't dispute her feelings but yet I know her perception is wrong.
I actually began suspecting she may have some autistic tendencies after talking with her.
It would explain some things.
Then there is Pauline. Who knows where she is?
I tried finding her the whole time Walt was sick and couldn't. I don't know where she is but I guess she doesn't care that we don't know because she hasn't contacted anyone for at least 5 years. If nothing else Mary and Dave live in the same house and have the same number and are listed so there really isn't an excuse.

There has been a lot to process and figure out since all this has happened. My doc says I'm still in the anger stage slowly moving into denial. I thought I was into acceptance but maybe I'm not.
I do know I am still mourning. Mourning for my brother and parts of my life that should have been different but aren't.

Spring is coming and that means new life and rebirth. A cleansing of the heart, mind and soul if you will.
I welcome it with open arms. I will get past this.I know that if I know nothing else.