Monday, May 20, 2013

Driving Cattle and Other Things I Do on My Days Off

It all started innocently enough.  I was tooling down the back roads of Kentucky on my way to my writers group meeting.  It was a gorgeous Sunday afternoon, and I will be honest.  I was gawking at scenes like this one.

Or like these ... 

There was one particular creek that I was captivated by, and I really wished I'd gotten a photo of it.  But, see, here in Kentucky, things aren't like they are in other states. 

You know.  Straight roads.

Appropriate widths for road shoulders.

Or, if we want to be really picky, appropriate widths for roads, period.

A bridge can actually be nothing more than a beefed up wooden deal that is somehow fashioned on a curve.  Not even joking. 

Curved bridges!  I'd never laid eyes upon such architectural feats until I moved here.

Such was the case with the particular bridge I was crossing when I spied an amazing limestone falls where the creek was trickling down in sun-dappled brilliance.  It was breathtaking, and I slowed down to take it in.

Good thing I did.

As I looked up to continue to make the curve, I was face to face with a bull!

Again, I am not even joking. 

You think I am, don't you? 

I knew he was a bull because he had a ring in his nose -- who knew they still did that!? -- and he had big ... well ... he was a bull, and he was being accompanied by a rather confused female cow. 

I suppose they thought they were on a lovely Sunday afternoon stroll down the lane, just a boy and his gal, and dag gone it, if they weren't interrupted by this big, red truck. 

It was one of those surreal moments where I just sat in my truck in the middle of the road and thought, "I need to post this to Facebook, because no one is going to believe me!" 

I mean, isn't that what everyone does?

By the time I'd snapped this photo, he was sort of over me staring at him, and I suppose he told his gal, "Come on!  We're blowing this Popsicle stand!"  Because down the road they went ... at an ambling pace, mind you. 

Meanwhile, back at a ranch ... just up the road, stood a neighbor watching the whole thing transpire.  At this point, there were three motorcyclists behind me, and I knew that if this bull decided to charge (and he kept giving me sideways glances that were none to friendly, folks), I would have a better chance at surviving said charge than the poor Harley Dudes behind me. 

You know, it's funny what pops into a person's head when they are in the midst of a cattle crisis.  For instance, on this particular sunny afternoon, I was reminded of a story by friends that had, at one time, lived in Greeley, Colorado.  Apparently, up until recent history, cowboys drove cattle down the middle of town.  Just like that. During cattle driving season. 

Now, I am not well versed on when and if there is a cattle driving season here in Kentucky, but having also read a lot of The Pioneer Woman's blog, I had a pretty good idea of how I needed to get this bull to a spot where I, and the line of traffic now backing up behind me, could safely pass. 

So, I placed my pick up truck squarely in the middle of the road, and I drove that stubborn bull down the middle of the road to the drive that you see on his right.

Then I proceeded to call two friends and leave the following messages on both voice mails:  "Hey!  Just calling to chat.  Wanted to let you know that I just wrangled a bull.  Yeah, I'm good like that.  Just another day in the life down here in Kentucky. So call me sometime."

I was late to my writers group meeting, and as I am sure you would have been, I was both shocked and dismayed when everyone gave me The Look following my, "Hi!  Sorry I'm late.  I got caught wrangling a bull down on Devil's Hollow Road."

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Things My Mama Taught Me

I meant to do this .... like ... a bunch of days ago ... well before Mother's Day, but listen.  I managed to get my mom's gift out BEFORE Mother's Day, and she received it before Mother's Day, so lets not get all crazy and go over the top by actually getting a written ode to her on her actual day.  I mean, that would be so very crazy, right?

Nevertheless, I did have every intention of crafting a piece of all the things my Mama has taught me.  Here's what I am thinking:  Better late than never!  After all, her little golden nuggets of inspirational wisdom never goes out of style.

Just sayin' ...

  1. You WILL be disappointed.  Count on it.  Yep, she was sooo right on this one.  People disappoint all the time.  Here's the deal, though.  She also taught me that you can let that disappointment eat at you.  Or you can turn it around and let it be a motivation to achieve.  She's soooo smart!
  2. Escalators are evil. She doesn't do escalators because she believes that they are evil.  She has almost met her maker on an escalator ... as well as embarrassing herself and one of her daughters ... the eldest one ... 
  3. Raw chicken can sit in the fridge for a solid week, and you can still cook it.  "Gassy chicken never hurt anyone."
  4. To go with #3, "I just always said a prayer before I served it to you all. 'Please God, do not let anyone get sick from this gassy chicken'."  It's a faith-filled woman that prays over the food BEFORE she serves it!
  5. Rolling your clothes up in the suitcase allows you more room to pack stuff.  This fools your father, who, every year, complains about the amount of stuff we bring with us on a trip.
  6. Stop whining about it and just get to it.
  7. Recycling is good!  My mom was a recycler before recycling was cool.
  8. Reading takes you to places you can never go in real life.  She treated/treats a visit to the public library like a religious experience.  It was always sacred ground.  In fact, having a library card was soooo important to me, that when I moved here from Michigan almost seven years ago, that was the first place I visited here in Frankfort!
  9. Pray without ceasing.
  10. Homemade is ALWAYS best.
  11. Never make a dessert from a box.  In our family, that is just plain against religion.  Ann and I never knew there were such things as boxed brownie mixes until we were way too old.  
  12. Kill 'em with kindness.
  13. When the going gets rough, fall to your knees and pray.  
  14. Clean sheets make a world of difference in terms of a good night's sleep.
  15. Nice young ladies don't use foul language.  Oops!  I might not have always followed this rule very well.  
  16. Nice young ladies don't belch out loud.
  17. Be kind to those around you.
  18. Respect those in positions of supervision.  
  19. Follow directions.  Unless they suggest you doing something immoral or illegal, you need to do as you were asked.
  20. Flowers make you happy.  
  21. A little wine for thy stomach's sake ... or thy soul's sake ... or just to save your sanity.

Facebook Whining

I have been absent for a while. 

I've left you hanging.

I am sorry.

I wish I had a really good excuse for you, but mowing the lawn, while a very valid reason, probably doesn't sound like much of an excuse.

I have forgotten how hard it is to get a 3-mile walk in ... and do dinner ... and clean up from dinner ... and make lunch for the next day ... and set the coffeemaker ... and pick up the house ... how hard that all is when you add the outside chore of LAWN WORK to the mix. 

Considering all the rain we've had in the last few weeks -- and that we're getting in the coming days -- this adds a certain degree of difficulty to the whole thing.

That does not negate the fact that I have had A LOT on my mind lately.  I have ... really. Stuff I have wanted to get into my blog. 

Currently, my biggest beef is with this ... Facebook Whining.

Raise your hand if you are soooooooo very sick of Facebook Whining.

I will pause ... and wait ... take a drink of coffee ...

Yep, it's just as I thought.  A lot of you are.

Now, I preface this semi-rant by saying that I am so very guilty as the next person of using Facebook to rant about what I now realize is inconsequential things in my day.  One of my biggest rants was attempting to defend my profession.

I am not doing that any more.

I have decided, a few weeks back, that if it wasn't some how uplifting, inspiring, or humorous, it wasn't going on my Facebook page.


Well, I think for the very basic reason that no one cares.  Facebook was put into place, at least in my mind's eye, to connect with people.  When I connect in person, I much prefer to hang out and enjoy their company, not whine and be political and be cutting and vindictive. 

Now that I think of it, I have a list for this whole business, and second on that list is that my validation SHOULD NOT come from 415 "friends."

Lately, I've seen far too many people attempt to get people on their side of seeing things.  I don't know, if you have to publicly ask for validation, you perhaps need to rethink what it is you are validating.

And really, when you think about it, how many of us would actually CHOOSE to hang around with a whiny butt?  So, why would I subject myself to the whinings of a person on Facebook that is searching for his or her self-worth with the masses of individuals that spend their days posting 100 plus memes on their page?

Rather, it should be my job to pray for that poor person that must get onto their Facebook page and seek validation for their parenting skills or friendship skills.  Clearly, this person has some deep-seated issues from which they need freedom. 

It is one thing to be an encouragement to people.  It's another thing entirely to get on your Facebook page, day in and day out, seeking canned compliments about your parenting, your dedication for your job, or your worth as a person. 

I've been toying with the idea of unfriending those individuals that are repeat offenders of said Facebook whining.  I am pretty convinced some have done that to me in the past.  I wouldn't blame them, to be quite honest about the whole situation.

I think the whole thing rests on the idea that our world would be a much better place if everyone worked toward kindness and compassion and encouragement rather than finding ways to make themselves feel better.