Sunday, March 31, 2013

Dreamboat Annie

Heading out this morning into the sun... 

Most likely not every family has a cow for a pet. But we do. It wasn’t a planned endeavor but when a mother cow died after giving birth, we found we had an orphaned calf to raise and care for. I should clarify that there really isn’t a lot of ‘we’ to this story. I didn’t do much at all. The care and the duties of Mother Cow fell to my husband, Alan, and Ray, a family friend. Being the creative souls they are, and because she was an orphan, the pair named the little calf Annie.
Little Orphan Annie...

Annie was spoiled from the beginning. She had to be bottle fed, of course, so Alan would feed her and talk to her two or three times a day. If he was tied up for some reason, Ray would come out and give her a bottle. Besides the food, Annie got a lot of personal attention from both, in the form of petting and chatting. Annie hung out with the chickens and played with the sheep. She had the whole place to herself and explored freely. One of her favorite places to sleep was in the chicken house. I think she really just thought she was another hen. She’d back in and barely fit, but that was where she wanted to be.
Where's Annie?

Annie and her ear bling

I came home one day and Annie was a ways down from the gate in the middle of the road to the house. I drove up slowly hoping she would move. She just stared at me. I honked my horn and she still didn’t move. The stare was becoming a glare. Suddenly she turned, kicked up her heels and galloped a little way down the road. Then she stopped. We had to play the whole game again. After the fourth or fifth time I wasn’t having fun anymore!

You talking to me???

Annie and I weren’t friends. I don’t think she liked me for some reason. Maybe it was the honking horn; I don’t really know. I’d call her and she’d ignore me. She was at the edge of the driveway when I parked one afternoon. I got out, called her and she just stared. I moved towards her and she moved back. I returned to my previous position and she resumed hers. It was like a bovine waltz with one step forward two steps back. I gave up. Annie walked away and mooed. Then she kicked up her heels and bolted off.
She looks so innocent.

Although I don’t know the ratio of cow years to human years, I’m pretty sure that Annie was a teenager. She acted like one anyway. One day she was a nice docile cow and the next she wasn’t. Sometimes she was really naughty! She ate all the chicken’s food and made herself sick. She’d hide and no matter how much Alan or Ray would call she wouldn’t come. She’d get mad, too, and sulk. When she got her ear tag she wouldn’t look at or acknowledge Alan because he was the meanie who stuck her with that thing. She didn’t even care that she had the best tag ever because it was blinged out! Sometimes she’d nose around and get into things, like the trash barrel. She’d knock stuff over and scatter garbage around and leave her calling card of a nice big pile of poop. That’s what cows do.
Nosy old cow...

I was skeptical and really didn’t believe it would happen but the day came when Annie had to go live with the other cows at the ranch. Not only did she have to leave but she had to get branded as well. It was by the luck of the draw Ray got the privilege. You can imagine Annie’s reaction to a hot branding iron!
Annie knows how to snub...

After her first night away from home we decided to check on her to see how she was adjusting to her new digs. We arrived at the location of her new home and looked around. There were other cows, calves and even a bull around, but no strawberry blonde named Annie. So we drove. And we drove some more. We called and looked but alas, no Annie. Was she hiding because of the outrage she’d suffered at the upheaval from her loving home? Was it the anger over the indignity of receiving a brand? Or was the poor silly thing just lost in her new surroundings? Searching unsuccessfully until dusk, we returned home.
Annie, Dreamboat Annie

The next morning, early, Alan headed out again. Just to check. After all, it was a new place and Annie might not know where the water was if she got lost. I didn’t go. When he came in, a little before noon, it was with the good news that Annie was with the other cows, doing whatever it is that cows do all day. And she was still her flighty cow-self. She’d come when he called her but she snubbed Ray. After all, he was the one with the branding iron!

No one knows the lonely one whose head's in the clouds… 

For something different I’m working on a project called kumihimo. It’s a form of weaving and the end product is a cord. It looks complicated but it’s really simple.
The bobbins holding the different threads
The threads on the disk
The woven cord.

Did you ever make one of those vinyl woven key chains when you were young? It’s the same thing but instead of holding it in your hands it’s on the round disk. Of course there is a lot more you can do if you really get into it but I’m just doing a simple 8 strand cord. I’ll put a pendant on it when I’m finished. It’s really kind of relaxing after you get going!

Oh, Annie,
Dreamboat Annie, my little ship of dreams...

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Shut up and Drive

I've been looking for a driver who's qualified,
So if you think that you're the one…
traf•fic (tr f k) noun 
a. The passage of people or vehicles along routes of transportation.
b. Vehicles or pedestrians in transit: heavy traffic on the turnpike; stopped oncoming traffic to let the children cross. 
For the most part, traffic, out here where I live meant waiting for three vehicles to pass before attempting a left turn. But that was before the ‘boom’. Now, travel is a living nightmare.
The usual traffic out my bug splattered windshield. In the good old days!

According to the United States Census, between July 1, 2011 and July 1, 2012, Midland and Odessa placed first and fifth respectively on the Census’ list of fastest growing metro areas in the country by percent increase. The oil fields (source of the boom) offer generous pay, leaving other businesses scrambling for workers because they aren’t able to match the wages and/or benefits. Housing as expensive as New York City’s has become the norm in the area. That is, if one can find housing. And traffic has increased and placed a strain on roads and highways. Statistics show vehicle crashes are up 40%, with fatalities up 58 %. All the while the growth continues.
Another view. Not much traffic now but it gets hairy.

I’m fortunate that I don’t live in either of these cities. I live in a small town south of Odessa. However, like many, I commute to the city for work. My office is located between the two municipalities, which are rapidly becoming joined, at the airport complex. There are approximately four ways to get there from my house, and all but one includes a stretch on a road heavily traveled by trucks. There are two routes I would take to reach the interstate or other highway to get to that road. One is a narrow, two lane oilfield road and the other is a four lane highway. I choose the four lane. It’s fairly decent until I reach the…Abyss.

The Abyss, as I’ve callously termed this hellish stretch of highway, is a daily challenge at its best. In this Abyss, traffic signs have no meaning. Residents of the area regard them as decorations, disregarding any significance they may have. The octagonal red sign embellishes most intersections to the highway. In some places the ornament lays on the ground instead of standing upright.

Besides the customary white lines most highways are adorned with, this stretch has the added attraction of dark skid marks sideways to both shoulders. Guardrails or posts with heavy wire strung between indicating no crossing are broken and mangled.
Residents in this area have no idea of physics. I never took physics in school but I do have a concept of force. Whenever two things interact, a pair of forces is always involved. Therefore, pulling an almost inanimate object (resident’s car) into the path of a vehicle moving at the least, 75 miles per hour, could create a problem. Like death. Similarly, coming upon a vehicle, such as an 18-wheeler, who did pull out at an appropriate time but hasn’t made it up to highway speed, and not changing lanes or decelerating causes the same trauma.

Math story problems were also overlooked in this region. Nobody had the privilege of experiencing such annoyances as: If you drive 40 mph instead of 30 mph, you save 30 seconds per mile, but if you make the same 10 mph increase from 70 mph to 80 mph, you only save 5.6 seconds per mile. Why? Moral, that number on the speed limit sign actually means something.

I often wish law enforcement had a more definite presence on this section of the daily route. However it would take a policeman at each intersection and there’s not enough man power. Besides, I don’t know if they’ve developed a fine structure for ignorance.
In the meantime I’ve adjusted my route, trying to avoid the most heinous areas. I’m on alert, braking, slowing, avoiding, every mile of the way. To say it’s stressful is a misnomer. But it looks like, if anything, it’s going to become worse before it becomes better. So I’ll don my crash helmet, have my new car customized with roll bars and count down until I no longer have to make the trip during the peak hours. Someday.

Now shut up and drive.
Drive, drive, drive.

It was my lucky week! Actually these came during the spring break week but I was gone so got to celebrate them this week. First is a lovely Scentsy pot I won. It came with two kinds of scent bars to go inside. It’s smelling better here by the minute!
My new Scentsy pot and bars!

Next is a cute little girl I named Pinelope.


She’s created by my knitting friend, Pat! Her note said she didn’t know if she (Pinelope) would hold my double points but her main duty was to make me smile! Pinelope did her duty! Thank you Pat!
Pinelope with double points. Reminds me of a voodoo baby!

Shut up and drive.
Drive, drive, drive.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Whoever You Are

Whoever you are, 
 I hope you don't have to travel far… 

It’s interesting how kids simply say what they feel or tell it like they see it. Sometimes they speak about things you don’t want to know and sometimes it’s just to figure out a situation. That’s what happened the other day.

It was spring break and a trip was planned to Utah, hopefully to meet the newest grandson. The littles were on spring break too so we decided to take the boys if they wanted to come. The minute we asked, the youngest started packing!

We had an additional passenger as well. One of the men working for my husband has a daughter in Colorado who is very sick and in intensive care. He’s out there and since it’s on the way to Utah, he asked if his friend could hitch a ride with us. We had room so it was no problem at all.

It was dawn, the truck was loaded and we headed off. First stop was to get the boys. We went in, they inspected our guest, and I told them Miss Dorothy was coming with us. All seemed fine, and we bundled into the truck again and set off on the journey.
Ready to go!

We rode along for miles, gazing at the mostly non-existent scenery when Caleb asked, “Mamye where did you find Dorothy? Where’d you get her?” We all laughed and I told him we were taking her to meet her friend. That seemed to satisfy his curiosity and he went back to his games.

It was McDonald’s for lunch, because it was quick, there was a place to park the truck with the trailer attached and there was a playground to let two little boys blow off some steam. After their romp we stuffed ourselves back into the truck for many more hours of travel.

Not long after, Caleb looked over at Dorothy and said, “Who invited you?” Again we laughed, because he wasn’t being rude. He was only trying to figure out who this lady was that he’d never seen or heard of before, in the truck beside him.

More than halfway to our destination and weary from the ride, we stopped for the night at a local hotel. The hours passed too quickly and we happened off again. We were meeting Dorothy’s friend then continuing on to Utah. About an hour later we arrived at the designated meeting place. Suitcases were switched and Dorothy went with her friend. Caleb leaned over to me and said, “Aw, she’s gone. I liked her!”
Out the Utah

It was interesting how he’d gone the full circle. After he figured out, from as much information as he had, that Dorothy was okay, he liked her and was sad when she was no longer with us on the trip. His honesty and acceptance was refreshing. She’ll remember the trip and that little boy, whoever you are.
Boys acting silly.
As I ride down that long lonely highway without you,
I can't keep myself from wondering about you...

Finally! Baby George made his appearance. And if I may say so myself, he’s perfect! He has dark, silky hair, and he’s a sturdy baby at 8 pounds, 5 ounces and 21 inches long! I’m sure there will be more about him along the way!
Complete awe.
Fresh from the oven!
Three generations.
Feed me Seymour!

Here’s his blanket, ready for him to come home to. I think I may have enough yarn to add a teddy bear!
George's rainbow.

And for baby George, whoever you are, and wherever you go, I wish great things. I love you sweet baby boy!

My baby boy's sweet baby boy.

And I know heaven is in your smile.
Whoever, whoever you are…