Sunday, April 27, 2008

Each Day a New Beginning

From Ralph Waldo Emerson:

Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and some absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense. This day is all that is good and fair. It is too dear, with its hopes and invitations to waste a moment on the yesterdays.

A good reminder that goes with my previous post. Living in the past does us no good except to harm ourselves. Living in each moment, cherishing each day as it comes is all that we have.

True Peace and Serenity

I've come to believe that all my past failure and frustration were actually laying the foundation for the understandings that have created the new level of living I now enjoy. Tony Robbins

Often, I would like to have my life be a do over. I would do so much different. I have realized that my life is a do over. I cannot go back and have a new start, but I can start now and have a new ending (the quote above is so apropos). I cannot change my past failures, some of them seriously flawed, but because I have learned from them, I need not repeat them, I need not live in the what if, I need not live a woe is me life. I can take those lessons as part of the solid foundation that leads me to an extraordinary ending. I am truly grateful I have the ability to start my day anytime and find peace and serenity in this moment, this place, these people and this life.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is child abuse prevention month. The store I work at has a box to collect new stuffed animals for children who are the victims of abuse. Some people don't have stuffed animals but are giving us money to buy new stuffed animals for children. We have collected a lot of money and stuffed animals It has been a great success.

I was talking to a co-worker last night about it and my memory of the worst child abuse I witnessed. It was over twenty years ago now, I was working in the District Attorney's Office as a Legal Secretary. It was the coldest night in February and a three-year-old boy was taken to St. Mary's Hospital (the big hospital in town). He had multiple injuries and was brought in by his family. They lived in a semi and worked as OTR's. Very quickly the police were brought in. It was about seven hours later that one of the Deputy DA's was starting a warrant to search the truck when an officer walked by the truck and saw two pairs of little eyes peeking out the window. With probable cause they went into the truck. Two freezing little girls were removed and the truck was searched. That night the three-year-old boy died from his injuries. The mother and her boyfriend were charged with child abuse by a person in a position of trust resulting in death.

Evidence that was gathered was horrifying. The pictures of him in his hospital bed with bandages wrapped completely around his head, broken bones, etc. Incredibly sad. They had made a tape at some point of the little boy screaming at the top of his lungs and we could hear his mother's voice saying this was happening because he had been a bad boy. She had clipped his penis with an alligator clip for wetting the bed. There was a picture of him clinging to her boyfriend's arm from outside the window of the truck. The boyfriend was laughing, and the speedometer in the picture read 60mph, clear as could be. All attempts by any of us to maintain professional distance was gone. How could someone do that?!! The mother ended up pleading to a reduced charge and was sentenced to 30 years in prison. The boyfriend made bail somehow and skipped. It took two years to find him, by then I had left the DA's office and returned to the front range. I don't know what finally became of him, but I'm sure it was a tough sentence. The only relief that I get is that inmates are rumored to really hate people who abuse children. That's not very nice for me to think, but I hope justice was done.

My hope is that anyone who witnesses any kind of abuse reports it immediately. Children are as innocent and trusting as animals and absolutely deserve our best love and care. Sadly, those who have no business reproducing are doing so at a record pace.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Arts and Crafts (Rosie would be proud)

Ever wonder what happens to produce that can't be sold. I have the answer:
South American Apple Spider

Chief Yama-bahama pineapple

Colorado Yam Rat

Thank you to Alex and Treva for their creativity when they're bored!


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Long's Peak

This is a photo of Long's Peak from a distance in a spot in Rocky Mountain National Park that I've visited, sometimes several times a day (my Mom and Dad have owned a cabin in Grand Lake for almost twenty years). The Elk in the foreground are prevalent in the park and the towns on either end of Trail Ridge Road, Estes Park to the east and Grand Lake to the west.
I miss that part of the country, through I live in equally beautiful territory in western Colorado. The Rockies have always held me in absolute awe, and there is no end to territory to be explored that is just breathtaking. Long's Peak is one of Colorado's fourteener's, there are over 50 in Colorado.

I think it is probably the best known next to Pike's Peak, simply because of the view. Long's Peak can be seen from the far north of Colorado and viewed an entire trip south on 1-25 through Denver. Pike's Peak can be seen from Denver on a smog free day. I have not climbed either on foot. I've climbed Pike's Peak in a car twice. Spectacular drive! The Long's Peak summit can only be reached via foot trial, I believe. It would be a great goal for me to set to do it. I have done Gray's and Torres, other fourteener's in the state, but have never felt compelled to climb all 54 like some people do.

I can say for the back country hiking I have done, it's not a bad goal to hike certain trails or mountains, it often is the only way to see the most gorgeous territory this country has to offer. I feel so lucky to live in Colorado, I can't imagine being anywhere else!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Abbie in Wonderland

The picture on the bottom is my kitty, Abbie, hiding in pillows on my bed. She's a very sweet cat, very loving and affectionate. However, she is still a cat with cat habits. On the top is a picture of a great footstool my Mom bought for me. It really is fun. Reminds me of something out of "Alice in Wonderland". The issue? It is leather, and cats love to sharpen their claws on leather, or so I've been told and have since observed. I came home one day and caught Abbie on top of it sharpening with everything she had. Screaming "NO!" at her just scared her. And I've had to keep the stool protected ever since, and keep Abbie away from my Mom who would like to strangle her (not really, but she is disappointed).

Yesterday I went to PetsMart on the hunt for just the right scratching post for Abbie. She doesn't use the regular carpet posts. I've tried everything with this kitty. She's fussy about what she uses. Well, I found a scratch mat that lays on the ground and is made of sisel, which is a thick scratchy fabric used mostly for garden hats. It also has catnip in it to attract her. As I was looking at these, an employee asked me if he could help me. I said I was looking for a scratcher for my cat. He said, "what are you trying to do?" Good question, because people mostly get scratching posts to stop a problem or potential problem. I told him I was trying save my kitty Kat's life. Long story short, I brought the scratch mat home and Abbie took to it great, even hiding under it for a minute.

Here's the problem. The instructions said that the mat should be stored away from animals when not in use. What?! How am I supposed to know when she's going to use it. I can't remember Abbie sharpening her claws on a schedule, nor have I noticed a watch on her paw that she can look at to tell her when it's time to use the mat. Abbie has, and likely always will, operated on her own schedule. I think I'll leave the mat on the floor for her use as she sees fit!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

My grandparents

My grandparents celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary on April 4th. I often have wondered how people stay together for so long and remain civil. What I've been told, what research says, and what seems to hold true are the following things: They genuinely like each other; they have an honest respect for each other; they share common goals; they don't sweat the small stuff and it seems to all be small stuff; they share their lives, but give themselves space to be independent individuals; and above all they are in love through all that life tosses their way, good and bad.

Too often I see people call it quits so quickly without giving it an honest shot. Egos, fear, whatever seems to get in the way of the reason they fell in love in the first place. Life is not easy. We have to give ourselves our own breaks and be extraordinarily gentle with ourselves. A friend of mine says that it is also easier if we have a soft place to land when it gets tough. That soft place in the past has been our significant other. Partnerships that offer support stand the test of time over and over again. Congratulations, Grandpa and Grandma! Thank you for being a strong example of the power of love.

I Remember

When I was little, I went through the Barbie phase, as did most normal girls my age, even in the age of feminism and equal rights, we all wanted to look like her, have her seemingly endless money, clothes and, of course, Ken.

One Christmas I got a Barbie camper van. Being the late sixties it was painted flower power orange and yellow and had a big daisy on the side. My cousin lived next door, and at the time we were inseparable. My house had a sloping paved driveway, not a big slope, but big enough. Rapidly, we chucked Barbie and Ken and took that camper van for a spin ourselves. We spent hours...I mean hours...hauling that van up the driveway and climbing on top of it together...we were that little...and riding it down the driveway. I don't remember how long we did that, probably only a couple of days. Years later I remember how fun that was. No adult stopped us. They got a kick out of our antics. So much for Ken and Barbie on a camping trip, we were too busy racing!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Desert

This is not a great picture. As you can see, I took it from the road and in the car. I recently took a short road trip in my neighborhood. I live on the western slope of Colorado and if I leave town in any direction I am either in the high desert in five minutes or in the mountains in 15 minutes. For this trip I picked the high desert. This was shot behind Glade Park. two caves cut into the mountain eons ago by moving water. It sits on private property that is a cattle ranch. Notice none of the cattle are around it. Caves can be scary places...oh, my!
There is some real beauty in the desert. It hides in the details. If I look with a wide focus, I see indomitable brown with intermittent green. It seems very uninviting. But if I look closely, I see small flowers, a flat rock to hang out on for a bit, green green sage, and the occasional rabbit wandering its domain looking for seeds. Oh, yeah, and rattlesnakes!

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Great and Powerful Oz

This is my best friend. We've been friends for about twelve years now. I could tell about all that we've been through, but I want to celebrate my friend. I brought Ozzie home from Wheat Ridge Animal Shelter when he was almost two years old. Everyone at the shelter loved him, but I got to bring him home. Then I discovered what it's like living with a 75-pound two-year-old lab! I found a great trainer. Affection and Praise Family Training...the key is FAMILY. She believes as I do that it's never the dog, it is the owner. Ozzie and I learned a lot about each other our first year together thanks to Jackie's consistent help. We have been best friends ever since. He is truly devoted. My Mom has tried to take him for walks without me, he only goes so far and then stops. He did the same with my old boyfriend. He doesn't want to go far from his Mom. We used to hike for hours on off-leash trails south of Boulder. He got to interact with other dogs, and be a dog himself. He loved those hikes and would come home exhausted. When I traveled for business, I found a kennel that had doggie day care so he could get out of his kennel and play. He'd wag himself silly over those trips I took. I was always glad that I had good people to care for him in my absence and was grateful he was getting exercise. Alas, dogs age. I'm reminded of "Marley & Me". Thank God, the Great and Powerful Oz is still with me. He's not so powerful anymore, but he still is great. Our walks are short now, a block or two. I have to lift him on my bed to sleep at night, he used to jump up on his own. I give him massages a couple times a day to ease the pain of his arthritis, and special treats just because he is so special to me, and has been my best friend through good times and the very worst of times. He never questioned why things were so tough, he just stood by me, loved me and comforted me. Love your pets, treat them as the precious gifts they are, no one will ever love you more unconditionally, or make you laugh the loudest when you are sobbing, or keep your cold feet warm at night without complaining. They are our greatest gift from God.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Working with Blogs

I am trying a new blog dedicated to writing topics that I will work on as writing practice each day. This is a good place to do it for several reasons; easy access, sometimes its easier to type my writing practice than actually write long hand, and it will be there for me to review until I chose to move it or delete it.