When you are reading here whether you found me intentionally or accidently, please take time to leave a comment and let me know where you are and what you are thinking. I love feed back. Vondi

Friday, May 28, 2010

desert rain

It’s getting ready to rain in the desert. An hour ago it was hot. When Kerra and the kids came, they brought a blast of hot air with them.
Now there is a cool wind blowing in my window. The sky is covered over with big gray clouds and only the far horizon shows light. The air even has moisture in it.

It did the same yesterday. I love it. In Ohio rain is something everyone dreads. Here it is a blessing.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

another morning

I love mornings! I love being up before everyone else. I love the quietness and the solitude. I’m really almost a hermit by nature I guess. Give me my dogs and my books, maybe some pencils, paint and something to draw on, and, of course, my laptop, and I’m happy.

When people begin getting up and starting their day, even though they aren’t doing anything especially noisy or upsetting, it messes up the day. The bustle of life makes ripples and little swells and finally splashing and crashing and finally tidal waves in the smooth current of the morning. It is all normal and even good, but it isn’t the quiet of morning.

I guess that is why the psalmist and the preacher speak about rising early to worship God. It is a blessed time. I’ve seen programs and books and heard preachers who mandate getting up early to read the Bible. They make it seem almost as though you really aren’t saved if you don’t do it just at that time. They call it their ‘quiet time’ but I think if it is a mandate, it takes away from the blessing of it. I don’t wake up early because I have to. I do it because I love to. I don’t spend the time visiting with the Lord because I have to. I do it because I love to.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

saturday morning

I woke up this morning with no pain! Not my knees, nor my elbows, nor my shoulders. Not my back or anywhere. Now that may not sound like much to most people, but to me it is a wonderful blessing. My knees hurt almost constantly, just having to stand up usually takes a couple minutes of building up my nerve and then actually standing is dependent upon whether or not my knees decide to work at the first try. Sometimes they won’t straighten out. Sometimes they straighten out but don’t want to hold me. And sometimes it is all three. If I’m standing for any length of time, I rest on my crutchtops, which presses on a nerve or blood vessel or something in my underarm and consequently makes my hands tingle or go numb.

By evening most times I am seriously hurting. And most times the pain will slacken off to an extent over night. It is still there in the morning, but usually its’ less. But sometimes in a wonderful blessed day it is not there at all. On those days I don’t even want to get up. I just want to stay perfectly still and revel in the freedom from hurting.

Today is another gorgeous day. It will be hot later on but right now it’s cool and cloudless. There is a great cool breeze coming in the window and everything is quiet. Notah and the boys, Seth and his friend Zack, have gone into Belen to get some stuff at the hardware store. Kerra and Keva have gone over to decorate the church-hall for Sunday afternoon anniversary celebration. They took Chloe with them so it’s just me and the big dogs—well, Gable is here, too. He doesn’t qualify as a big dog, but he’s a ‘grown-up’ dog.

Thain is lying here under my foot rest dreaming. He has yipped a couple times and grunted. Wonder what he’s chasing. Gab is curled up in his bed. I can’t see Huck, but I believe he is in the corner of the loveseat closest to me and Sadie is in on Notah and Kerra’s bed. It is all peaceful. For so many houses around here it is surprisingly quiet for a Saturday morning.

This afternoon, everyone is going over to the new house to check things out. The tenant is gone and the house is empty at the moment. I believe we have possession on Monday. All the paper work was done on Tuesday or Wednesday and the house was officially ‘ours’ then. I say ‘ours’ because technically it’s Notah and Kerra’s house, but I think of it as mine too.

It is a wonderful place. Don’t assume it is all classy, cuz it isn’t. But it is a nice stucco house with a walled courtyard on the westside and a fenced courtyard on the east and south. The southern side off the fenced yard has a big fenced area that was once a vegetable garden so the fence is to the ground with a varmint guard along the bottom (small grade fencing in the ground) It is a perfect place for the dogs to run—large area and Chloe can’t get out! Neither can a coyote get under to eat her! Of course there are always owls and hawks who would like to snack on a tiny dog. But Thain and Sadie are there. That should discourage anything that’s thinking about swooping down. I doubt if Chloe is going to be any bigger than Spider. (And a hawk tried to take her once!) Our little biscuit-toasted twinkie really is a tiny dog.

In front of that garden space is another section that once had fruit trees but now only has a couple and in front of that along the road is another section of trees.

Behind the house on the north side is an almost attached garage, then a big open field. And on top of all that all long the north side if the parts I’ve described is a big pasture field! Wow. “Eleven acres of peace and solitude” as Notah says. He is a country boy at heart!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

company and Pizza del Rio

Notah’s friend, Petey, came to visit for a few days. He is such a pleasant guy and as crazy about snakes as Notah is. :o) He arrived on Thursday morning but Notah had to work all day so he picked up Petey and dropped him at the Rattlesnake Museum in Albuquerque. It is just across the street from Old Town. The two of them were almost guaranteed to fascinate Petey for the day. And they did. I’ll bet he spent hours in the Rattlesnake Museum alone.

We all had dinner at Sopa’s restaurant in Belen that day and then Notah took him on a quick road cruising session. Unfortunately, it was too cold and they didn’t see very many things at all. They were home by ten o’clock if not earlier. On Friday Petey spent much of the morning catching up on his rest from a very late night and early rising on Wednesday before his departure. He had stuff to get done Wednesday night and didn’t get to bed until one or one thirty then had to get up at 3:30 to be at the airport by 4:30 Thursday morning. He was pretty beat when he finally got home after the road cruise.

Friday morning he did get up around ten thirty or so and after breakfast, set out on a walk around the area following Notah’s hand drawn map. I was a little worried. If you walk too far out you can get lost in the desert. We are civilized, but only along the main highways. And Petey is a city guy from Ohio! I made sure he had water and his map and his cell phone when he left. ( I thought if worse came to worst, he could always call Notah and say, “I’m lost!” LOL) I have to admit I was relieved when he came back!

We chatted in the later afternoon and after supper he and Notah went road cruising again.

Yesterday Notah and Seth took him on an all day hike through the desert and up the mountains. Actually they came in about 4:00 just after Keva and Kerra had stopped painting the house. Kerra had to run into the store before supper, but Notah suggested we go to Pizza del Rio instead of Kerra cooking. I was glad of that because I’d been worrying about her having to cook after working outside most of the day painting. So she ran into town while Notah and Petey set out for another short sally into reptile country. When Kerra returned (with a cup of no carb ice cream for me!), we headed on out to meet Notah and Petey at this little tiny pizza place called Pizza del Rio.

This was absolutely the neatest restaurant I have ever been in! Notah calls it a ‘mom and pop’ place and I guess that is the best description. Let’s see… there were probably only six tables in the whole place. They were a variety of styles. We sat at an old pedestyle style dining room type table. The one opposite us was a four-legged type wooden kitchen table. The one on the other side of the room was a 'dinette' style chrome and formica table from the early fifties. The others were a similar type as these three! Most of the chairs were those molded plastice kind from WalMart or Target, but there were some faux-bentwood type, too. They all had 'oilcloth' tablecloths on them. I believe the flowers-and-fruit pattern on that matched on all the tables.
At the back of the ‘dining room’ there were a piano, an organ, sound equipment for electric guitars and a couple microphones. A nondescript young cowboy/student type man was playing a guitar and singing when we went in. Notah said it was generally open mic so anyone could play or sing. We wanted Petey to play. The guy can play just about anything, but his tastes run to forties and early fifties big band harmonies, rather than country or bluegrass. The music in this little place, or at least the guys singing and playing, was a kind of eclectic mix of country, bluegrass and old, old rock.

There was no one there when we first arrived except three or four Socorro county sheriff deputies! And a couple more pulled in after we arrived. Notah said that we could rob northern Socorro county blind and they’d never catch us! All the deputies were in Pizza del Rio! I think they must have been at a training in Albuquerque and decided to stop by our little eatery on their way back down to Socorro.

Oh yeah!!! I forgot to say that when you went directly across the dining room there was a little rectangular wood burning stove against the far wall. (It was just like the one nihi’ ma cooked on in Rock Springs. I’ve fried a lot of potatoes and stirred a lot of stew on a stove just like that—not to mention stuffing a lot of wood into it!) That little stove is the heat in winter! Unbelievable! Only in NM would you find that in a public place.

Anyway, there was an older guy that looked like Uncle Crazy-Pat behind the counter when we went in. He was wearing a Willie-Nelson type head band and had a mostly-white beard- kinda like what you’d expect to see on Willie. His hair was long but just on his collar, not real long; the thing was, he didn’t have a collar, just a tee shirt with an apron on over that and his jeans. He looked like an old hippy that had cleaned up just enough to fit in society. I thought he was the general owner and waiter, but Notah said he’d never been there before. Go figure.
People behind the counter said hello when we went in but we were left to find our own seats and get situated. Keva carried my chair along with us because the ones there were the cheap-y plastic ones that I can’t sit in. That was fine, nobody cared. Can you imagine carrying your own camp chair into Pizza Parlor! They would fall over! We got me situated at the big table over by the wall closest to the musician. I sat comfortably in my chair with a good view of most of the restaurant and the ‘stage’ area.

I thought we were kinda close at first, given the volume of the music, but I soon got used to it. A nice lady with pretty brown and gray peppered hair came and asked us about drinks. Then she brought us our iced teas in big Styrofoam cups that were made to feel like nubby ceramic on the outside. Neat. When the guys arrived, Notah went up and ordered our pizzas. There was no menu, only a chalk board with items written on it. I don’t know if they were always the same or not. They served pizzas, and strombolis and something else that I can’t remember now.

The young guy kept singing. Some of the songs I recognized from my teen aged years—old rock and roll. Others were I can’t think what it’s called, not quite rock and not quite country, but that area in between that hippies liked—‘Folk’ maybe? Yeah, Joan Baez and that crowd of singers-- those were the songs!

We listened and talked for the length of time it took to make our pizzas. Then just after our Stromboli came (Neat Stromboli—it was about two inches thick and shaped in a long moon shaped curve. Notah cut it in six pieces each about three inches long. It made a good muchie until the pizza was done. ), just about that time the big guy with the beard that I’d thought was the waiter came out, picked up a guitar and began playing and singing with the young guy. He led off on some old country tunes that I didn’t recognize and some old Eagle’s songs.

Just as he started playing or maybe a little before this old couple walked in. There was an old thin, thin cowboy with a scraggly beard and longish gray hair. He wore beat up jeans and a worn, shapeless plaid western shirt. He had on old boots and a cowboy hat. His wife/ girlfriend was pleasingly plump and wore jeans with a plain muslin-colored shirt under a brown vest. She had short hair and a cowboy hat with boots on, too. I thought the cowboy was in his seventies at least. I still think that, but Kerra thought he was just a well worn fifty or sixty year old. The woman was definitely in her mid sixties. She looked like a jolly person. Both of them sat at the table just opposite us closest to the musicians. They seemed fairly familiar with the older hippy type guy because they talked to him between songs. (Later, just before they all left, I would bet money that the two of them, the old cowboy and the hippy guy, snuck out behind the building for a couple of quick hits on a joint! They both disappeared. )

They sheriff deputies finished their strombolis and left. Another old couple came in and picked up a pizza. Other older men came in from time to time for coffee or to pick something up. I mean old older men, sixties at least. There was one old guy, who fiddled with the sound system and sat around talking to the people who came in but other wise didn’t seem to be doing much. We were the youngest people in the place.

Our pizzas came and we chowed down for a while. Petey finally got up nerve, or maybe the kid played something he knew, and he went up to accompany him on the piano. Everybody clapped big time for that. When Petey came back to the table he told the guitar player (the old hippy guy and the cowboy had already gone out for their marijuana hits :o) ) that if he wanted him to accompany him on the organ to let him know. Of course, the guitar player said, “Oh yeah! Come on.”

It took them a couple minutes to get set up and in sync then they played several pieces together. Some I didn’t know, but I did recognize ‘Crazy’ and ‘Lay your head on my pillow’. Those two the kid knew the words to well enough to sing them. They got enthusiastice applause when they finished.

Finally, suddenly, it was ten o’clock and we had to leave. It was a fantastic evening. Such a tiny restaurant, but so packed full of atmosphere and friendliness, ‘camaraderie” I guess you would call it.

If you are ever in Albuquerque on a Friday or Saturday night, make a special trip to Belen and find out how to get to Pizza del Rio. What a mix—Italian food, Mexican décor, country atmosphere, and an incredible combination of eclectic music. And it’s ALL LIVE!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

random thoughts

It’s almost dawn on our hill in Belen. The sky is gray outside my window. I can see the lights in the valley. I love watching morning happen. In Ohio we are surrounded by houses and trees. It is pretty but there is something very special about seeing the sun rising over the mountains with miles and miles in between me and the light. Sun actually rises today at 6:08. That’s what the weather people said. Sun-up is neat but so is the slow lightening that comes just before it.

My days here now are limited. I’ll be going home the second week of June. My blood sugar readings have been elevated off and on for several weeks now. When I talked to my doctor she said she needed to see me before the fall, when my appointment is scheduled. I have to call today and get the actual date changed. Rachael can come for me in June, but after that she will be in Management Training. So I'll be home on June 18.

I just discovered this morning that I absolutely can’t deal with stress any more. The other day, Kerra was talking about a TV documentary series they follow called “Ice Road Truckers” I used to watch it with them last year. She asked if I followed it in Ohio too. I told her I’d watched a couple episodes but had stopped because it was just to nerve-racking for me. We both laughed and went on to talk of other things.

This morning early I saw a program that had some sort of suspense involved as I flipped past on my way to the four AM news. I paused and watched a minute and discovered that the threat of danger and anxiety made me nervous. I flipped on past it quickly. That made me begin thinking-- I DO avoid stress today. Now that was a surprise. In any situation, I can not face any kind of nervous tension.

Thinking back, I came to the conclusion that I had lived with constant pressure from the day Louie died. I didn’t notice it particularly because the Lord was there to help me deal with it and it was necessary all during the years of raising my kids alone and working to support them. For almost all of those years I was a day care director and the multitude of decisions and disciplinary difficulties (for both kids and staff) were always present. I dealt with them as they came and although I nearly bought stock in the Tums company a few times, I managed it with general serenity. I raised my kids with all the decisions and complications involved in the lives of active children. I faced the dangers accompanying my son's skateboarding and an accident prone daughter. I trusted the Lord to take care of them even when I knew the hazards involved. It was part of life.

NOW, however, I become very nervous and ‘quivery’ inside when any kind of conflict is apparent, or there is any need for confrontations or any situation where there is serious possibility of physical hazard or where involved decisions are required. I take almost any avenue available to avoid it. I will let people be rude to me. I will let people take advantage of me. And I will even cry in private at other people’s pettiness or wounding actions, but never call them on it. And I most particularly refuse to watch a stressful movie or documentary or cartoon! I don’t even read deeply controversial books or even get too involved in today’s politics! I could never manage to deal with the stress of running the day care. How strange
* * * * * *
Every week I get an email from the Pharo Cattle Company. The author of the devotionals is Kit Pharo. He and his family have developed a line of range raised, grass fed beef cattle which thrive without the necessity of additional grain and silage feedings. These smaller range fed beef cows cost less to raise, have heavier meat ratios and result in higher profits per pound. Facinating. Anyway, he is a sincere child of God and sends a weekly devotional and also an update on his ranch production. This Wednesday he posted a little personal experience that I thought I’d include here. His thoughts reflect mine. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Enjoy!

Listen To The Birds –

Every morning, I wake up to some of the most beautiful music in the world. This spring, like most springs, there are at least six different varieties of song birds just outside our open bedroom windows. They all have a different song to sing – but for some magical reason they sound really GREAT when they all sing their individual melodies at the same time.

The singing gets off to a very soft and soothing start around 4:30 am when there is just a hint of light in the eastern sky. By 5:00, as the volume is increasing, the mourning doves and ring-necked doves will join in with their cooing. Soon after that the grackles will get started. I very much enjoy listening to the large great-tailed grackles – but you cannot classify the noises they make as music. They have at least five unique and different sounds. If you didn’t know better, you would assume that each sound was being made by a different type of bird.

Early morning is a special time for me to talk to God while I listen to His beautiful creation. It is hard not to wake up happy. The singing usually lets up considerably by 7:00 in the morning. I assume this is because many of the birds have dispersed to look for food and/or to tend to their nests.

If you are interested in knowing more about his cattle raising practices or you want to receive his devotionals and emails Here is the contact information. Kit Pharo Pharo Cattle Co. Cheyenne Wells, CO
Website: www.PharoCattle.com

I just enjoyed his thoughts on listening to the birds.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

early morning

View to the east from our house toward the Manzano mountains.

It is just after six in the morning here. I’ve been awake for an hour or more. It was four o’clock when I first woke up and told myself it was too early to be doing anything. I dozed off for a little while and woke up again about five to enjoy the morning. It is so wonderful that I haven’t even moved except to reach my laptop and begin this. I hate to think about moving because that will put an end to the peace.

It is cold here this morning, probably in the forties. I have the window open here beside me. I’m the only one in the house that enjoys the cold desert air. Everyone else closes the windows and complains. But it is the perfect desert morning breeze now, the kind I love. It smells of sage and sand and that other indefinable fragrance that makes the desert morning like nothing else on earth. Heaven must smell like this. I know for sure the part where Louie is does. And that’s the part I’m gonna be in, too.

There are absolutely no sounds except the birds outside. And they just woke up a few minutes ago. I wish I knew enough to tell what birds have been singing. At four when I woke up the first time, there were no birds but a couple coyotes howled and got all the dogs in the valley harmonizing down there too. That was neat. I dozed off before they stopped singing. Now the birds have taken over. I don’t know of anyplace else in the world that is this quiet and peaceful in the morning. White people may have moved into the desert, but they aren’t up and around this early in the morning and for these couple hours just at daybreak it is as quiet as it was four hundred years ago when only the Apache and the Navajo were here to ruin the peace.

I wonder if the road runner is out in the yard patrolling his territory. He’s a big guy! And he struts around like someone important. His wife is slender and dainty. She zips past like a little racer. I’d stretch over and open the blinds to see if they are around but it would be too much effort and noise, it would probably make all the birds stop singing. I can see it all in my mind anyway: It is s little cloudy in the east and the sunlight is diffused behind them. Every once in a while it shines out above them across the tops of the hills. The sage and rabbit bush are enjoying the moisture in the morning air and the tamarisk tree is stretching up to reach the rays of light. The birds are hiding in the bushes and that tree and the road runner is going about his business, either here in the yard or over the hill among the sage.

I just heard the train far down in the valley. The noise made all the birds quit chirping about their morning business. Now it is absolutely quiet. Not even the refrigerator is running. The only sound is the tiny pattering of the keys on my laptop.

The dogs think it is time to be up and around. Every day of the week they get up at sunrise and go outside to the potty. Thain slept in here with me last night. Seth is doing an over night with his friend Zach so Huck stayed here with me too. Everything was good until Peepers decided she wanted to look out the window in the middle of the night. Then Thain had to go see what it was that attracted her attention. Then Gable had to come see too and that put him and Thain too close together and they grumbled at one another. I whapped my grabber on top of the tray table and told them to settle down. Gabe went back to his corner of the couch and Thain curled up on the floor. Every thing was quiet again.

I think Notah is getting up. Thane and Huck have migrated in that direction. I just heard a truck down on the road a long ways off. And a car just went past here. I guess Saturday morning has started.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

heart hurts

I am having another problem with my computer. I attempted very foolishly I guess to post on the wall of Facebook and NOW my page is ‘encrypted’ just like my yahoo email. Oooh! It is so frustrating!!

So anyone from Facebook who happens to read this: That’s the reason you haven’t seen anything of me. And please, take my warning! Facebook is a very dangerous place to be, even if you are only posting on the wall!

I’ve had a very complicated few days or week. My blood glucose, since a just after I arrived in NM, has been steadily climbing. My readings in March were generally below 110, often in the 90’s. In the last three or four weeks, they have risen about 20 points. I see a trend developing that will put me into the diabetes range soon, if not already. And I can’t seem to control the readings with what I’m eating…and keep in mind I’m NOT eating mashed potatoes and doughnuts, etc. The numbers shouldn’t be climbing.

I’ve also been excessively tired. Some days it has seemed like too much of an effort to even go and fix something to eat or wake up to go to the restroom. This is unusual too. My sleep patterns have been erratic for years—ever since before the day care moved to a new location. At that time there were so many problems involved that whenever I tried to go to bed I’d begin rolling all the lists over in my mind and I couldn’t sleep. So I got in the habit of sitting up in my recliner and running the late night tv info-mercials and home shopping network. That was minimally interesting and would distract my mind from the daily problems involved with getting everything done at the day care. After a little while I would fall asleep, but lots of times I would wake up with other decisions to be made running through my mind.

Often I wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep, even in the face of faces exclaiming over the wonders of the newest wrinkle remover. So I would be awake for several hours. This became so much of a routine that it persists to this day. I no longer have things to worry about but I’m just wide awake at 230 or 300 in the morning. Or I fall asleep at ten o’clock and wake up at three all read to go and stay awake for the rest of the day. As long as I slept for about six hours I felt fine.

This has never made me exceptionally tired—from time to time I would take an afternoon nap, but it was never a regular happening. But for the last couple weeks I’ve been so tired that it worries me.

On top of all that Rachael’s training date has gotten fudged around and the dat she would be able to come after me changed. Finally she said she could come and get me in June or not till November first. We talked about whether Notah could take me home sometime… All of that with the blood glucose and tiredness has had me in a real emotional turmoil.

Finally when my blood sugar reading hit 140 fasting, I told Rach to come along and get me. Now I’ve cried until my eyes were swollen and sore for two days even when I’d run out of tears. I hate to leave NM, but for a lot of reasons I guess it will be best.

I hate it because I worry that Notah will be upset at me or Rachael for me going home. Or think I love Rachael more than them. Or whatever… I had thought I’d be here till September, and not I think it will be better if I go in June and see my doctor. They are also in the process of moving and selling this house and I think I’ll just be in the way here while they have other things on their mind… I know they have things to do and I think it will be easier if they don’t have to think about getting special food items for me and when they will get home to check on me.

So I guess, I’m going back to Ohio. At least I was here for these past months and saw the sunrise over the Manzanos and sat in the sun and played with Chloe and saw my grandkids. And got to go to church with them for a few services… And sat the new house they are hoping to buy.

That will be all right until next year.