Heard from the other side of my cubicle wall:
“I’m so busy, I forgot to mail my bills. They’re still sitting on my kitchen counter. I need to find out how to sign up for auto pay.”
Response from an adjacent cubicle where a new mother of twins sits:
“I need to find out how to sign up for auto diaper.”
Katie here. Hey! Did you know I got to go camping with my mama? A lot? I bet you saw it on Facebook. I swear, she needs to get me my own page, she’s always letting the cat out of the bag on that thing. And I hate cats! All cats should stay in the bag, I’m sure there’s a law about that somewhere.
So anyway, today I got her to take me to a park, because daddy said she owed me cause she went to work this morning and Saturday’s are supposed to be about me! I used to go to school and everything and now she says I’m ‘retired’ whatever that means so I don’t get to do anything! You believe me, right? That I’m a poor abused ignored dog? They never feed me and I have to stay at home all the time. You should probably send help.
Oh. You don’t believe that? Well it was worth a shot.
So today I made my mama feel guilty and she took me to a big park nearby. We walked down the bike path and I was very good, didn’t bark at any bikes or cars or anything. OK. One car that was hauling a noisy trailer…but really who could resist barking at that!
But I bet what you really want to hear about is the camping my mama and I did a couple of weeks ago! We went to a real park and I got to sleep in my tent for two nights! There were lots of kids there and mostly I sat in our camp site and watched them go around and around and around the campground on their bikes and scooters. And I did not bark at any of them! Not even once!
The best part of our camping trip was when my friend Peep came to visit and we went on a long walk through the woods. Actually Peep and I don’t care particularly if the other one is there, we just like that when our mamas get together we get to go on long walks!
Sometimes one or the other of us finds a particularly good smell and then the other one of us will go check it out, but mostly we walk our own walk. We’re very good together because we pretty much ignore each other. Mostly Peep went ahead and I brought up the rear. I like to take really long sniffs of stuff you know. Plus I have this big heavy coat to drag around.
Anyway, mama and I had a really good time. She read a bunch of books over the weekend and I got to go on a bunch of walks. Sometimes we walked on trails in the woods and sometimes we walked around the campground. Lots of people said I was pretty. And cute. And really good. Cause I am.
The mosquitoes weren’t as bad as our last big adventure, but there were still enough that sometimes we retreated to the tent. That was OK, just meant another nap. Naps are a very important part of camping. I take my napping responsibilities very seriously.
The weekend was perfect!
Then last weekend mama and I camped out three nights in a row in the backyard! The moon was full and she didn’t put the rain fly up and we got to sleep under it and stars. It was wonderful! I only barked once when that mama deer snorted at us. It was her fault for waking us up anyway. A dog has to to what a dog has to do. Right?
So all in all I guess my mama really does love me. And yes my daddy loves me too, he feeds me right on schedule and sometimes early if I make my sad dog eyes at him. And I get to go on adventures almost every weekend. So I guess my life’s not so bad, but don’t tell them I said so, OK? I like to keep them feeling guilty.
I get more treats that way.
Katie (The Adventuring Sheltie-girl)
If I could have one hour to spend with anyone, living or dead, I’d spend it with my mother.
I woke last night at 1:00 in the morning with that sentence running through my head. I slowed my thoughts down a bit and explored the concept. Was I sure it would be my mother? Out of all the people in the world, back through all eternity?
Yes, if it could only be one, than she was it.
I’d sit across a small table from her, out on a bluff above the ocean on a pretty spring day with seabirds floating on a breeze that made the grasses dance. I’d ask her questions. How long did it take you to grieve your mother; when did you start to feel better? When grandma died, so long after grandpa, did you feel like an orphan even though you were an adult? What’s heaven like anyway? Is dad there with you every day? Did you get to see your folks, and your own grandparents? Your brother? Can you really see us down here? All the time? Or just when we want you to, because sometimes I do stuff I’d rather you didn’t know about. What’s the secret ingredient in your potato salad?
I’d ask questions, but mostly I’d just sit and listen and look. I’d memorize her face and her voice, soak in the ‘momness’ of her. File it away to be taken out and examined later. And when the hour was gone saying goodbye would be excruciating. But no more excruciating than these past ten years have been, no more excruciating than the next ten will be. I’d hug her tight until she disappeared – until she became nothing but a wisp of sweet air.
And then I’d find myself hugging only me.
I’ve been thinking a lot about retirement lately. To be honest I’ve been thinking a lot about retirement for years. And years. But I’m really considering it now. What it would mean to us financially, emotionally, as a couple, to me individually. It’s hard not to dream of the freedom that retirement advertises.
But I wonder.
Will it really be freedom? Or will it come with it’s own set of worries and frustrations? Perhaps the grass is greener. But am I sure?
Certainly there are folks in retirement wishing for a good job. One that would ease up the crush of bill paying, make giving gifts easier, allow them to donate to their favorite charities. But there are other retired folks who wake up happy every day choosing how to spend their waking hours. Work in the garden or cook? Take a nap in the middle of the afternoon? Stay up till midnight? Head out on an adventure and visit friends?
I think that’s what I’d want to do first, head out on an adventure. Pack up Katie and come visit some of you, explore a little, relax a little, see a little.
Smile. A lot.
Sunday night Katie and I camped in the back yard. We’d done that on Friday and Saturday nights as well, no rain fly on the tent, sleeping out under the stars. Last night’s huge moon hung over the yard all night.
Occasionally I’d wake and gaze up at it. The soft light that flooded the yard, and the tent, was lovely; I wish you’d all been there for the experience.
But it would have been a bit crowded in the tent, and Katie likes her space.
Don’t you know.
I enjoy reading Judy’s blog – she’s a full time RVer and a volunteer this summer at Tamarac Wildlife Refuge in Minnesota. This week she and another volunteer are assigned driving the back roads of the refuge looking for purple loosestrife. It’s an invasive plant that spreads quickly and chokes out the native plants in low lying, swampy areas.
If you live around here you’ve seen a lot of it. Judy says she and her volunteer partner didn’t see any this time, and I told her we had it everywhere over here in Michigan. So when Katie and I went for a walk yesterday afternoon and we saw all the loosestrife we thought of Judy. We decided you need to see this too.
The first glimpse we had was from the overlook. Down near the water you can see the purple sheen in the late afternoon sun. Looks pretty doesn’t it. And it is pretty, that’s probably part of the problem. When I drive home from work and the sun hits that purple I can’t help but smile.
Then I remember that what is beautiful is also deadly to everything native that used to live there.
Katie and I found more of it, up close this time near the pond where people fish.
Spreading across the hillside above the water.
The park people have planted other wildflowers there that are just as pretty and not invasive.
Katie and I spent a long time in the lingering sun photographing the beauty.
In hindsight I should have pulled up that loosestrife along the pond after I was finished photographing it.