Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Cabin

Her heart was at the cabin. She longed to feel the cool October air and to smell baked apples in the oven. Sitting on the padded bench near the window, a soft wool scarf wrapped around her shoulders, she let her imagination take her there. Closing her eyes and listening to the crackle of the fireplace, she willed herself to go to the cabin. She could almost taste the apple crisp.

It was October 31st, 1975. They were nestled in a tiny little cabin, just outside the town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Mom and dad had found this place while roaming the countryside on a weekend road trip during the summer. Mom had the nerve to ask dad to knock at the door and ask the folks if they would mind renting their cabin for a long weekend with the kids. The little elderly couple kindly obliged, saying they needed to visit the grand kids anyway. So, in the blink of an eye, a dream was born.
 Mom and dad were city kids who loved country life and did all they could to share their love of the great outdoors with us. This included nature walks, gardening, camping and the occasional story about how things were, back in the "good ol' days". Nothing could compare to the weekend at the cabin. You see, this cabin was all natural, electricity or running water. Being kids, we didn't really think about all the times we turned a light on, used the faucet, or flushed the toilet. Those things had always been there and it was just the way things were. Things were different at the cabin.

I had first been introduced to an outhouse during a camping trip and had pretty much decided that I'd rather piss in the dirt. The thought of any creepy crawly thing just waiting for a nice bite of my behind, was enough to make darn sure I didn't need to go number two for several days. That was during the summer, when we could take a shovel and dig a hole and cover it up. Now, it was October in Wyoming and the dirt was frozen like a rock already. There was no digging holes. I had to get friendly with the outhouse. I decided that, if wild animals didn't like fire, then snakes and bugs probably didn't either. So, I brought myself a candle, nestled in a jar and set it on the ground next to me. Sure enough, the little buggers scattered.

Since there was no electricity, that definitely meant no TV or radio. We were forced to entertain ourselves. Luckily, mom had thought ahead and brought some yarn, a crochet hook, some books, and all of our musical instruments to keep us occupied. My Gramma had taught me how to do the chain stitch, years before and that's as far as it went. I decided to make the world's longest chain. I figured I could string bells on it for a Christmas decoration or something. While I had the yarn and crochet hook in my hands I could almost feel my Gramma next to me. I sure wished I had been more patient and learned more. Maybe I could have made mittens or a hat. There was something therapeutic about working with my hands in front of the fire. I knew this must have been what my Gramma had felt like when she was a kid.

I soon realized that being at the cabin wasn't some form of Chinese torture, but actually kinda nice. I had always loved a fireplace and since we didn't have one at home, it was special. The fire was magical. The warmth, the smell, the crackling sounds and all the colors seemed to warm my entire being and calm me like nothing else had before. I wanted to sit near the fire and look at it for hours.

After a while of creating the worlds longest chain, I began to lose interest and decided to dig through the box of books mom had brought. I found one that I had started, but never finished called, "Little Women". I re-positioned myself in the window seat and wrapped a blanket around myself.
I sat mesmerized by the beauty of what I saw next. There was a deer about 10 yards from the door. She seemed to be looking for food, nuzzling the earth. I had never seen a deer so close before. At this distance, I could clearly see the thick frost on her whiskers and her foggy breath shoot from her nose as she snorted at the air. Oh, how I wished to go out and touch her. But, I knew that the squeak of the door would have scared her off, so I watched quietly from the window.

Then out of nowhere, there was a shot. My head rang like the clanging of a dinner bell. I clasped my ears and closed my eyes, fearing the worst. My brain raced around like a mouse in a maze, lost. Somebody must of broke in, wanting food or money. "Oh poor daddy! I hope he's not hurt!" My eyes saw what had happened, but my heart could not believe it. The beautiful deer that was standing before me, was now laying down in a red snowy blanket. I couldn't believe my eyes. My dad stood over it, shotgun in hand. My mind ran out of control. “I didn't know he could shoot! Where in the world did he get that gun? Why did he have to go and kill her?” I wanted to puke.

I felt my feet running, but my head was somewhere else. Racing to the woods with tears pouring out of my eyes, like an endless faucet, I screamed. "I hate him, I hate him! Why did he have to do that? I'll never eat deer as long as I live! Never, never, never!"

I ran till my legs would no longer take me and I fell on my knees and clasped my face in my hands and sobbed. Nobody I had loved had ever died before and now, in an instant it had happened right before my eyes. I was mortified.

My heart ached and pounded in my chest. Slowly I scooped up some snow and washed my face with it, trying to calm myself. Shaking from the shock and the cold, I looked down and realized that I was barefoot. I wrapped the blanket around my frosty feet and leaned back against a giant pine tree that must have been there for a hundred years. I closed my eyes and inhaled the sweet scent of the pine. Just then, I heard a twig snap close by and opened my eyes. It was a baby deer. It looked at me and snorted, as if to say he was ok. It was beautiful and serene. I wondered if I could give him a hug with my eyes,and if he would understand. In an instant, he bowed his head and turned, skipping up the hill, as fast as he'd appeared. I knew then, that this was the way life was in the wild. Mother Nature shared her bounty with us and we were to be grateful and respect the earth.

I stood up and followed my own footsteps back to the cabin. I knew that daddy would be looking for me and it would be dark very soon. I started to run, like a deer in the woods, scampering over the rocks and the snow, feeling freer than I had ever felt before.

Monday, May 13, 2013


It was six weeks to the day, when Mama Kitty ran off. It had started sprinkling outside and my Darling Love ever so gently, scooped up her box and moved it out of the rain. That did it. She was miffed by all the commotion and took off like a shot in the night. There was much to do and all she wanted was to not be disturbed.

Three days later she showed up, skinny, hungry and thirsty. We were all relieved to see that she had born her babies, but a wee bit concerned as to the whereabouts of them. My Darling Love assured me that nature had run its course and Mama Kitty would share her babies with us, when she saw fit. I waited, not so patiently, day after day, week after week.

Each time a storm would come I would fear the worst. What if she had those babies in the dry creek bed, past the field? They would surely be swept away with the quick current brought on by the rain. We also had owl's in the tree belt out back that would be hankering for a tiny morsel, such as a new born kitten, I'm sure. They weren't too picky. To them a field mouse or a kitten would taste just as sweet. Oh, the things my ever loving mind imagined over the weeks of not seeing or hearing any kittens.

I was sure that they were alive, at least a few, after close inspection of Mama Kitty's underbelly. She had definitely been suckled by at least three, maybe six, muddy babies. That was good news! They were alive! So I waited...and waited.

Then, night before last, my Darling Love said he heard kitties in the darkness. Blame it on too much loud music in my younger years, but Lord, I heard nothing but the hoot of an owl and the makings of a feline love-fest in the distance. As much as I peered out my bedroom window and cocked my head to listen, I heard nothing other than the leaves of the pear tree rustle and those hungry owls in the tree belt. I fell asleep, thinking he was sweet, but crazy.

Yesterday, I had opened the shades to the French doors, like I always do before getting the dog on the leash to go out and do her morning wiggle and romp in the grass. Poochy went crazy, whining, barking and hitting the door with her paws. Oh my Lord! There were three baby kitties sunning themselves next to their mama on the back patio! At least I thought there were. They ran so fast, at the sight of the dog trying to bust the glass to get to them, that it was all such a blur. I screamed, "Kittie's! We've got Kittie's!"

Heaven only knows why it was such a surprise to see three beautiful baby kitties snuggling so sweetly with their mama on my patio. We all knew they would show up, eventually. At least, I had hoped. There was always the possibility that some neighborhood rugrats would get their hands on them first and we wouldn't even get a sight of their cute, little, fuzzy faces. Of course, we had planned to give them all away, except for one. But the truth of the matter was, we weren't sure if we would even get the chance to do that. Lord knows, we don't need another mouth to feed around here. But, my oh my, the site of a kitty sure does bring a smile to one's face!

Here I am, giddy as a school girl, giggling and sneaking up to the window to catch a peek at those cats rolling around and batting at each other's noses. I just can't get enough! Mother Nature is so clever and wise. The way Mama Kitty knows just what to do to take care of her babies is really quite remarkable. After all, it wasn't so long ago that she was just a wee baby herself. Now look at her, all grown up with little ones of her own.

I could sit here and watch them forever and a day and never be bored. Now I understand why people get fed up and move to the country. They've figured out that it's the simple things in life that are so sweet.
Sitting here on this Mother's Day, I have laughed more and smiled much at the joy and wonder of a new Mama Kitty and her three precious babies. Life is good.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


Although the day is cold, my heart is warm
Glowing like the embers of a fire, red hot
Burning deep inside, consuming my every thought and breath
My mind spins as I find myself in your arms
Knowing if we are miles apart,  inside my soul, you are with me
Space and time can never part us
Our love roars like a fire
Nothing stands in its way
The universe has never seen a love such as this
Together our hearts are entwined, like a vine
Growing together, stronger than ever
Your gentleness and strength encompass me
In sweet embrace, my heart overflows

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


He sat and stared at the distant window, restlessly looking to and  fro. His crying almost inaudible to human ears. He waited in hopes of catching a glimpse of life from inside. His meal dotted with snow, he huddled over it, trembling, attempting to finish it, not knowing if this was to be his last. His hollow stomach quickly  filled, he continued to gorge himself, knowing survival was all that mattered. He glanced around in haste, perking up his ears at every noise. An owl hooted in the distance, as if to warn him of a nearby thief. Breaking the ice with his frozen hand, he watched the freezing water rush by. His tongue, swollen like a dry, hot sponge  touched the cold, icy wetness, waking him out of his stupor. A stray dog bounded toward him. He knew her well. The neighborhood ruffian, who would leap at the chance to rip a small animal  to shreds. She had the nose of a bloodhound and the heart of a lion. But he was faster, or at least he hoped so. Suddenly, while he lapped at the creek, she stopped in her tracks as his scent hit her nose. His heart skipped a beat as he watched her fur bristle, her low growl starting to resonate through the creek bed. He knew this was it. The time he had been waiting for. The time to run like a gazelle in the wilds of Africa. He gulped a quick breath before racing through the trees, leaving her barking at the wind.

He imagined himself going to a sweet young thing, snuggling in the night. Quickly, he wiped the image from his mind. He had many friends that had been caught in that net and he liked his freedom. He was a wildcat, after all. He really didn't understand what all the fuss was about. Of course, the warmth of a cuddle would make his nights more pleasant. But, was it really all it was cracked up to be? He thought not. Being on his own had its perks. As he shook off the cold damp night, he continued to talk to himself. Going solo he could come and go as he pleased, not answering to anyone. He liked that sort of thing. Being his own boss, so to speak. Maybe someday he would think differently, if the right sort of gal came along. But at this stage of the game, he was the Lone Ranger. Who needs Tanto anyway? He surely didn't. Life was complicated enough, without worrying about a sidekick, anyhow. Food was hard enough to come by. Why worry about splitting it with another hungry beggar? No sirree... Not in your life. Not if he could help it. At least not for now.... maybe someday. He stopped to catch his breath and sit for a spell. He had survived.... again.

In the days and nights that followed, the temperatures rose and fell like the notes in a carousel song. Dreaming of the soon-to-be spring, he slept. In what must have been a week's time, he slowly came to. As if to awaken from a foggy coma, he saw a bright, warm light. He let it shine on him and warm his being. He could see it through the slits of his eyes, so bright, so warm and beautiful. He slowly stretched and opened his eyes to the sound of  baby birds piercing his ears. Spring had finally come, in all her glory.


This camping business wasn't all it was cracked up to be. When she was a kid, she used to  love huddling deep inside that old red sleeping bag and sleeping on a lumpy, old army cot. This was nothing like that. She had made a make-shift tent out of an old bed sheet and a broom handle. Thank God she was crafty. Mom had always said she could make something out of  nothing. That was in the kitchen, not in the woods! In all of her wildest dreams, she never imagined that she would be making her bed on a pile of newspapers, like a bum. Where did she go wrong? 

 It all seemed like a blur. The bills, the marriage, the house....all swirling above her head like a silent tornado. Now she was left holding the pieces of her broken life, with nothing but her beautiful blue-eyed, girl. If it wasn't for her, she didn't know what she would do. She had to be strong  for her, if nothing else. After all, she would always be her baby's mama and nobody could take that from her... nobody. 

 When they had talked about camping out at the park, they didn't have grandiose plans. They just figured, it was free and relatively safe. She had always told her daughter about the fun she had as a kid, camping with her family. She forgot to mention how she buried her head in her pillow as her dad bounded up the mountain in that pink International 4-door pickup, deathly afraid that she would somehow fall off the edge of the cliff. She had been petrified of heights, but that was nothing like this. She tried to put herself back there, reading her Seventeen magazine, without a care in the world. Life was so simple back then. Now all she could think about was, how dark this place was. Didn't they have street lights at the park? Every little snap of a  twig put her on alert. She felt like a soldier on guard duty. She decided that she wouldn't sleep tonight. Instead, she would watch over her little girl and make sure she rested. Looking down at her face, she saw an angel. Her blonde hair glowing in the moonlight, resting peacefully. She was so brave and strong. She knew in her heart that they would make it through this together. This was just a minor setback, a hitch in her get-along.  Everything was gonna be alright. She kept telling herself that. She had to. 

She started to tremble as her mind followed every sound in the night. Trying so hard to not let it break her. She thought about her dad's scrape knuckle breakfasts. Those were the best! Her dad was a great cook and breakfasts were his specialty, with eggs over-easy, hash-browns, bacon and toast. The thought of it made her stomach growl, like a big dog. She began to think of places she could go for a cheap breakfast in the morning, seeing those golden arches glow in her mind's eye. All she wanted was a 10 cent cup of coffee. Did they even have those anymore? She thought of all the places she might be able to find a scrap of food discarded, haphazardly. In her mind, she was a squirrel foraging for food. Not for herself, but for her precious baby. She would never let her go hungry. At least, not for very long. She thought of God and wondered what she had done to deserve this punishment. No, she could not blame him. This sort of  thing happened to a lot of good people. It was the sign of the times. She didn't know exactly what put her here, but she knew she needed to find help. She would set out to go to a church tomorrow and see if there was anyone that could help her find shelter for her and her darling daughter.

In this thought of peace and the hope of promise, she let her eyes and her heart rest, even if just for a little while.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Food Glorious Food

I have to say that I have been recently obsessed with food and the makings thereof. How in the world did it get so complicated? In my quest to better my life and habits, I have realized two things. Number one, I'm getting older. Big surprise, I know. But hey, life is short and as a person who has had no health insurance benefits for the last year and who quite possibly could be in this boat for quite some time, this concerns me.  Also, I realized that my physical health is greatly improved by making changes in the way I eat, drink, sleep, etc. For instance, I have bad knees. Ok, well they aren't so bad, but they seem to talk to me quite a lot and not in a friendly voice. So, I started to listen. I also started asking questions to people that knew a bit about this little conversation I was having with my knees, like my mom and my mother-in-law. Then I started doing my own research, if you will. Turns out, there's a lot of things you can do to avoid "cranky" knees. I tried to break it down into simple bites, so that it wouldn't be so overwhelming. I gave myself two things to do; avoid wheat and avoid dairy. Not hard, right? Ok, I'm not gonna lie. At first, when I was doing my shopping and looking at the ingredient lists of everything, I sort of panicked. Really? Tortillas? Cream of Mushroom soup? The list of wheat packed items was growing and growing....But, the funny thing was after about a week of not eating wheat or dairy I started to feel amazing. I mean, like my knees were not even my own anymore. Those 90 year old knees that invaded my body had taken a silent vacation and my uhmm...30 something, ok 40-ish knees, had come back to see me, if only for a moment or two. So, it wasn't such a terrible thing when I read on a box of crackers that it had wheat, because I knew if I just found an alternative, I would continue to feel better in the weeks, months, even years to come! So, yes my shopping trips took three times longer than before, but I left feeling good about my decisions and knew that I could eat anything that I purchased and know that it was good for me and it would nourish me and make me whole again. I will say in all honesty, that I have had some serious cravings for cheese. But, I have found that a little bit of the taste of cheese from my nutritional yeast flakes takes it away, as well as using olives and olive oil. I also try and find at least one thing healthy for me, that I have never tried before, each time I shop. This makes eating an adventure in healthy living and I feel pretty good about it. Now, the realization of getting older, isn't quite so scary and I look forward to growing old with style, grace and in good health.

If you would like to check out some of the recipes I've pinned on Pinterest, feel free to follow me here..
You will see that my tastes have changed quite dramatically.

Bon Appetit!