Farming · Humor

Rendering

I was bent over, harvesting asparagus yesterday when my sweet neighbor walked up to the fence and chuckled, “So… you might want to shut your windows tonight. We have a  stallion visiting for a couple of weeks.” I laughed, gave her a “wink, wink” and made small talk.

Well, I am not laughing or winking  now. That animal was at it ALL night looooong! And the noises were other worldly. The grunting and crashing, the galloping and whinnying, the snorting and screaming, ALL night. What on earth!

He is thinking, “My owner is getting paid by the minute for services rendered and I aim to… render… services… every… freaking… minute.” I for one am ready to render the darned horse.

And we’re going to have 13 more nights of this??

Did I mention that from 8am – 9am this morning he was fast asleep? Lucky for him I didn’t have a stick long enough to poke him with through the fence.

And “You might want to shut your windows,” is that code for “You might want to move 20 miles away for a while”?

He has been cornering and herding the poor mare ALL day looooong. I take that back, he also spent significant time attacking and posturing at the resident gelding, running into the gate that separated them and hoofing at the air like a majestic wild horse on the open range. Surely he can’t last 2 weeks like that. He will undoubtedly die this Saturday at this rate.

So I’ll go ahead and call the renderer and make arrangements to get some sleep this weekend.

culture · Humor · language · Uncategorized

Clazy Making

I belong to the Kikuyu tribe which is notorious for many things. Among it’s highlights is what Kenyans used to call shrubbing. Shrubbing is taking English words and Kikuyunizing them (or converting them so they contain distinct traits of a tribal language.) It is no fault of mine that I frequently say “clazy”. It’s one of my favolite shrubs.

Kikuyus swap most of their “r’s” for “l’s” and vice versa, hence, “the rion is at the liver,” doesn’t mean that the king of the jungle is now eating the organ but that he’s slaking his thirst.  The trouble for outsiders trying to decipher our speech is that some Kikuyus swap the  letters 100% of the time while others are part-timers. There are also words or parts of words that remain unchanged, for example, “I leally enjoy brogging.” It’s always “leally”. Never “learry.” That would be lidicurous.

Of course one can never tell exactly what the admonition “Ret us play” is. If the minister says “Prease play,” you watch to see if he brings his hands together before you jump up, whooping and horrering; whereas if the teacher says, “Ret us take a blake and pray,” she’ll probabry open the door and ret the students out for lecess.

The most faburous thing, of course, is that we are notolious for doing this with full confidence and autholity. We are tluly an amazing tlibe. We lerish the aduration and adolation of the world and they are tickled pink at our verbal plowess.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/pink/

 

 

Family · mothers · sad · sons · Uncategorized

Even Ever!

My sweet Paul was very articulate at a young age. When he was three, Nana took him to her house for a weekend. He loved her cabin in the woods and came home full of stories of his imaginary friend, Ima McGack. He also had frequent encounters with his pet zebra and the zebra’s dolphin friend who lived in the woods by Nana’s house.

He was smitten with Thomas the Tank Engine and we had inherited a fabulous wooden set with many of the trains. Every day, he spent hours with Thomas and friends in our sun-room constructing intricate railroad designs. He chatted happily with the various engines and laughed at their funny responses; he’d raise his pitch when he talked to Emily and growl deeply at Diesel #10. His tracks went up and over, in and under, round and round. He had been working on the current elaborate design for several days before he left for Nana’s.

Dust bunnies had accumulated around the set and I took the opportunity to clean up while he was away. As I tore up the set and put it in the clear plastic bin, I felt a tinge of guilt knowing how much time he’d spend putting it together. I justified it with the fact that we had agreed he would clean up all the tracks and trains every night before he went to bed.

First forward to Sunday afternoon. He came home and gave me a cursory halo.  I was standing at the kitchen counter prepping dinner. My eyes widened and I bit my lip nervously anticipating his reaction as he walked past me and bee-lined for the sun-room. He walked into the room and I peeked around the corner. He’d stopped short in his tracks and was inspecting the room, aghast. He turned around and marched back towards the kitchen, huge-eyed. I jerked my head back and pretended to keep chopping vegetables.

“Mum,” he swallowed hard and gasped, “Did you put Thomas away?”

“I did,” I said nonchalantly, staring wide-eyed at the cabbage.

“Mum.” He was quiet. His little heart was breaking.

“Don’t-ever-do-dat-again.” His bottom lip was quivering as he thrust his chubby index finger at the floor, accentuating each word. His little chest was rising and falling pathetically.

He turned on his heels and approached the sun-room as a lone survivor approaches a killing field. Shaking his head like his father, he threw his hands up in the air in frustration and defeat. The tears wouldn’t come.

I was devastated and my heart sank. I heard his little feet heading back for the kitchen and hastened back to my vehement chopping.

“Never ever!” He stated as he strode towards the TV room, the tears finally coming. “Even ever!”

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/fast-forward/

Photography · Poetry · Uncategorized

Look Again

So yellow the yellowness

So black the polka dots

So green the  mowed lawn

One beetle per blossom

Each six bright spots.

I was struck by the sunny dandelions in the lawn and stooped to admire their  delicate unfurling petals. Nestled in the first one was a pretty ladybug. I looked at another, and another, and each one had a pretty beetle in it. I looked up the unusual form for the ladybug and learned that it’s actually a cucumber beetle, and unlike a ladybug, it’s a pest. It’s still marvelous…

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/measure/

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/surprise-2/butterbug

Family · Humor · mothers · Uncategorized

The Unravelling

My mother raised five girls, God love her.

Towards the end of her life, all five of us snollygosters were regularly cracking up at her fashion sense. An ounce of wisdom shared among us would have warned that things were falling apart and that our lives were about to unravel with the ending of hers. But no, there wasn’t an ounce of wisdom to be found among us, we were too busy trying to catch our collective breath and recover from a new round of side-splitting laughter. Sometimes we laughed till we cried.

I could count on the others to burst at the seams, convulsing on the floor when I wore her clothes, in mockery, in the most clashing combinations possible and imitated her walk and mannerisms.  It was all I could do to remain upright. Ours was uncontrolled buffoonery beyond compare. Did she dress in the dark or was she just feeding this foolishness frenzy?

She’d chuckle quietly and call us idiots. She’d shake her head and watch us carry on, incredulous that she had allowed any of us to live to adulthood instead of eating us as babies, like many other species do. She’d look down at her attire and smile. We knew what was coming next: she’d pat and straighten the outfit  with her pretty hands. This was a gesture of approval and a sure statement that she had no inclination to go back upstairs to change. This led to a fresh wave of howling and hawing among the idiots, slapping at the table in disbelief.

It was only made worse by the fact that she was extremely fashion-forward in her hey-day. She was famous for stunning outfits worn with grace and elegance. So really, she brought this upon herself. Sure we felt sorry, but for crying out loud, where on earth does one go to buy a skirt like that? Har, har, har! Oh, that was good.

I am filled with guilt and a desire to make atonement as I write this. To mock one’s own mother, God rest her soul, is truly unforgivable. My eyes start to tear and I feel a surging deep within me. I bite my trembling lip, and shake my head pensively as I try to compose myself. But this heaving is not remorse! It’s a memory of the time she wore the black and yellow striped sweater with the…

Here we go.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/unravel/

Uncategorized

Santiam Plash

IMG_4252

 

Let’s cut the scut,

Say goodbye hoi polloi

And head for a favorite spot out south

Where I gambol on weekends

With some folks I love.

 

It is quite a schlep but it’s worth every mile.

And the sight of the Santiam makes my soul smile.

There we doss, and we nosh,

And we prate funny tosh.

Building cairns between naps

taken floating downstream.

 

It’s a crack of a time

On this river sublime,

Stoking wet wood and ash

Tending poison oak rash

At my favorite, irenic

Santiam plash!

 

IMG_4230

I took these photos of amazing cairns that my husband stacked on the Santiam River. I was certain the second one could NOT be done and was transfixed and in awe of His Royal Highness when he did it!

 

 

 

 

culture · Humor

“When I had Jury Duty…”

Last week I had jury duty for the first time. We were there from 7.20 am to 5.07 pm. I was enthralled with the process though I ended up sitting in on a rather petty case. What a thorough, involved, and fascinating process. And to think this happens every day across the country.

An army of citizens, some licking their chops, others outraged reorganized their lives: childcare, work, carpools, co-workers, school. For me, all this because Her Majesty walked out of a J.C. Penny with $64.00 worth of make-up.

It was the second time I had  been summoned. It’s my privilege. The first time, I called the night before and was dismissed. I had mixed emotions and felt somewhat rejected. I consoled myself, “Better to be dumped now than to show up for nothing tomorrow.” Four phone calls later, my life was back on track. This time after tiresome instructions on the voice-recording, numbers 160-299 were ordered to show up. I was number 299. Again, mixed feelings.

I’d received a sweet text from a  friend I hadn’t connected with for a while and I carried some writing paper with me to court. She got a twelve page hand-written letter.  Why don’t we hand write letters any more? It must be amazing to get one!

After a tedious check-in and registration process, a judge came in to speak to us for ten minutes. He thanked us for putting our lives on hold. “Even the brain surgeon who tried to tell me he had a surgery scheduled couldn’t get off the hook,” he said. “No one is more important than anyone else.” I got a mental picture of myself on a literal meat hook, flailing hopelessly. Is that what this was?

The throng was whittled down to  about seventy people for 3 cases. As expected, some were relieved, others miffed. I couldn’t look any in the eye, unsure if I was fortunate or condemned to hang. Twenty four of us headed to one courtroom, up three flights of stairs, down long cold hallways, around corners. All marching in tense silence.

We had to stand in order and not swap positions. We had to sit in order. We had to scoot along the bench in order. The case was quickly introduced: the state of Oregon vs. Her Majesty. Why the state of Oregon I will never know. J.C. Penny must have been busier than the brain surgeon. My tax dollars at work.

6 potential jurors were called up to the jury box (I really should have learned what the technical terms here are, now that I am an expert in the field.) The defense attorney stood and immediately tried to put us at ease. It wasn’t working. Her Majesty sat beside her twirling her hair and trying not to look nervous. It wasn’t working either. The attorney spent 30 minutes getting us to relate to the client.

“Have you ever taken something that’s not yours? Of course you all have. And what really, is stealing?” She wore an ill-fitting suit. She looked like she’d be more comfortable surfing or bungee-jumping in a jungle wearing an old t-shirt, cut off jeans, and worn Tevas. She looked like the fun big sister who’d vouch for you and save your hide. Mr. Prosecutor, on the other hand, was serious, well coiffed, eagle-eyed with a hooked nose to match. He meant business and had plans for the royal snollygoster who was smacking her royal chewing gum.

They both engaged us and made sure we all responded to various questions and scenarios they set up. The judge thanked and assured those that would not be selected that we had not wasted our time as this was an important part of the process. Presently, they began to choose jurors.

The lawyers write something on a small piece of paper and the clerk shows each of their papers to the other. Each nods and the clerk walks it to the judge who excuses one of those in the jury box. Yup, he’d wasted his time. The next potential juror is called up to the box so there are always 6. I pick  my back-pack and jacket up off the floor and scoot to the right.  The lawyers write on another piece of paper which is then showed to the other. They nod and it’s walked to the judge. Another is excused. Pick up, scoot. And again. And again. I’m called up to the box. Pick up, walk. Juror number 5. All the rest that haven’t been called up are thanked and excused.

The non-committal mugwump beside me is elated to go home.

Specifics of the case are presented. We are sworn to secrecy and to not touch our cell phones till after the case. More instructions and it’s noon. Lunch time. We will reassemble in an hour. Really? I have never felt less productive in my entire life. It had taken 5 hours to get to this point. In my mind, this could easily have been about thirty minutes worth of work.

Lunch feels like it’s four hours long and we’re all sitting on our hands in anticipation with thirty minutes to go. We’re prohibited to say too much to each other about the case.

The afternoon goes like I thought a jury duty shivoo should. Rapid-fire questioning. Witnesses, cross-examination. “For the record, please pronounce and spell your first and last name.” Objection, hear-say. Sustained. Her Majesty whispers repeatedly to Jane. Being a documentation Nazi, I am appalled by the store security and the shoddy work they did and reported. They omitted important details. We watch surveillance footage. Eagle-eye is on his case and the case is clear. Theft III. Correct person, correct date, intent established.

Back in our chambers, we deliberate for close to an hour. There are strong feelings and opinions. I am not convinced about intent as some are. We turn it over this way and that. The physician in the group is also unsure. The ex-marine is bumfuzzled. The nurse and manager are certain she meant to steal the merchandise. The retiree would really like to go home. It’s 4.54 pm. We can come back tomorrow. This isn’t majority rule. That would be easier. But we must all agree. Did she intend to? The store could easily have done a much better job convincing me of her guilt. They did not. They punched holes in their credibility. We wish that along with making our decision we could wag our jury finger with some strong words for Her Majesty.

We buzz the clerk at 4.58pm. At 5.03pm the judge pronounces her not guilty. I feel sorry for the prosecutor. Of all the people, he actually did the best job, but he could have done better.

I can’t wait to share this day with the world. I quickly learn that everyone I tell I just had jury duty immediately says, “When I had jury duty…” and launches into a twenty minute tale of woe. I guess they didn’t get to tell anyone their story when it was fresh.

I suppose I’ll have to wait till someone tells me they just had jury duty and then I’ll jump in and say, “When I had jury duty…”

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/record

 

 

 

 

Uncategorized

Trunking

I am notorious for making up words. I understand that there are more than enough words around but there are times when existing ones just don’t cut it. Take “terribility” for instance. That’s a spectacular word and it needs to be in circulation among smart people. It is a terribility that that word is not used more frequently.

Then there is trunking. (I hate how red underlines pop up when I use my favorite words. No thank you, Microsoft.) If you observe elephants for any period of time, you notice they are constantly touching each other with their trunks or bodies. Isn’t that wonderful? I think I’m part elephant. I call it trunking.

(photo courtesy of Sciencenews.com)

 

I hung out with some American friends in Africa this January. It wasn’t long before I noticed them being trunked by some locals. It couldn’t have been comfortable at first but I hope they miss it now that they are back home among non-trunkers.

When I went to my chicken coop to fetch eggs today, lo and behold, my chickens are part elephant too! There were 3 empty laying boxes and these three broody girls were trunking in one small box.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/pattern/

Uncategorized

This was a Sex Intense Week

giraffe

Ten year old James and I have had ‘the talk’ in one capacity or another over the years. This week we’ve had it a lot. I aim to be candid and matter of fact with my boys when they ask sex-related questions. (Husband!! Don’t tell them the animals are wrestling.)

I’ve also learned to answer what they are asking. “Mom,” James once said, “where did I come from?” I told him he came from my body. I took a deep breath while I paused chopping vegetables and started to explain. He stopped me and said, “I mean which city?” Well, that’s an answer I didn’t have to stop chopping vegetables for!

This week he wanted to know how twins come about. What a great subject. We talked about ovaries and the uterus,  sperm and zygotes and placenta. Such fascinating things to geek out on. Then we went online and looked at pictures of multiple births. This amazes me to no end.

Did you know:

  • fraternal twins are the most common type of twins
  • females are informally called sororal twins
  • the Yoruba have the highest twinning rates in the world with about 50 twins for every 1,000 births (0.05%) compared to about 15 (0.015%) in the western world
  • about 10% of all pregnancies start off as twins. One dies early and is partially or completely absorbed by the other fetus (resorption). This is known as the Vanishing Twin Syndrome. Sometimes the dead fetus will be compressed by the growing one into flat remains called fetus papyraceus (like a papyrus parchment)
  • a chimera is a person who has some parts that came from a twin. There is a fascinating case of a woman who, mysteriously, was not the genetic mother of her children. Turns out they were concieved from eggs derived from cells of the mother’s twin!

Later we had a great laugh at the news as “giraffe mom” Erin Deitrich of South Carolina did a gorgeous-prego-belly dance in honor of April, a real giraffe at the New York Zoo’s greatly anticipated birth. Did you know that Swahili for giraffe is Twiga? Such a great name.

Incidentally, on the same day, my beloved forwarded me a news clip that claimed that orgasms make us happier and more productive the next day. Doesn’t that just make you want to wrestle? 😉

What is it, Spring or something?

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you becasue I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139: 13, 14.