Sunday, January 25, 2015

Winter Blues: Overcoming the Negativity

     January.  Blah.  Nothing happens in January.  The last quarter of the year is filled with activities, parties and lots of food and then it just comes to a complete halt.  Deadness.  January is statistically the most depressive month of the year.  Not much to celebrate, no parties and we have gained ten pounds from always stating, "one more chocolate ball won't hurt."

  Last January, yours truly came down with a case of  the winter blues.  Again, I found myself in that all too familiar place after surgery.  That two week slump I could see coming, yet somehow managed to slip into each time.  I can say I never wallowed around in it, but I was partially coated in that dreary muck that lived in that slump I was speaking of. The anxiety I feel each time I pull myself down from the pain meds, the frustration of repeatedly losing the ability to walk and my coveted independence.

     To make matters worse there must have been a beacon over my home for negative individuals to come cast their spell of pessimism.  My goodness, I know by now that each person we come into contact with teaches us something about life, but why at that singular crossroad did they have to be sent?  I was already down and why send a couple of those gloomy souls so close together in time?  Those people need to be spaced out some.

     Near the end of my two week despondency, lying in bed around eleven thirty at night, feeling so low, so tired of going through this, so fed up with counteractive personalities, yet not willing to give up, words of my own began controlling my attention.  Those words met up and assembled themselves into an oppressive poem.  Writing poetry had been a past time, before kids, before a career, before my life became so entangled into the business of making a living that it came as a surprise to me that my mind conjured this up.

 Distrust in the Darkness

The stress is killing me
softly as I sleep

The stress is eating at me

slowly as I weep

It's there every night and every day

I beg. Please, please...please go away

Do I let it consume me

or do I keep fighting til the end?

I'm tired, so tired

do I have anything left to defend?

I do, I know this to be true

I'm tired, what more do I have to prove?

To myself, to others?

They don't realize I can be weak

I can do no right

so I turn the other cheek

Do I stand and fight

or do I give in?

I know the answer

I just don't know if I can.

     You can view above the exact conversation I was having with myself that night, only I did not talk to myself in a rhyming fashion.  Why were those gloomy souls introduced into my life at that crossroad?  Exactly that, because I was at a crossroads.  They were going to push me toward one side or the other.  It was up to me which way I let them push me.  Do I wade into the cold waters of misery with the group of cynics that dwelled there or do I grip the muddy sides of my slump, get a little dirty and claw my way out?   I knew the answer to my question, I believe most of us do, it's just do we have the strength to keep doing it? 

     Telling myself that everything is seen better by the morning light, I  promised that I would awake with a strong determination and a renewal of faith in my person.  

What did I learn from those prophets of doom?

They taught me to believe in myself the most, that life is always my choice and that inspiration can even come from them.  It sparked me to fight against their dismal outlook, to shut out the nay sayers and they motivated  me to write this poem that will now be published twice.  

Ninety-nine percent of the time I take the high road, but there are times you just want to look at those wishing for your failure, stick out your tongue and say, "Watch me" and maybe


Showing Ass

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Amazon Shopping: Butter Bell Crock and Norpro Garlic Keeper

     If you do not shop on you are missing out.  Any product you can think of is listed there and some products are a unique surprise.

     I have two products that I would like to share with you that I use and enjoy.  My son watches "How it's Made" quite often.  One particular day I watched with him and now understand how margarine is manufactured.  We both decided if a fly refuses to eat it then we probably should also.  Instead we use stick butter, but to the dismay of our daughter, and I agree, it is difficult to spread right out of the frig.  Who has time to let it soften on a school day?  Over the Christmas holiday my SIL introduced me to the Butter Bell Crock  and I immediately surfed Amazon for this product. 

     The crock holds one stick of butter(1/2 cup) and it is soft at all times.  How does it stay fresh?  Here's the kicker, you put 1/3 cup cold water in the bottom of the crock, pack the softened butter in the bell shaped lid, turn the lid over into the water and it creates an airtight seal around the butter!  You must keep it out of sunlight and change the water every few days.  There are many colors and designs, I chose this one because as it sits on my counter at all times, it also becomes part of my kitchen decor.

     Now I kept perusing the site in the crock category and came across this next product that also works perfectly for me.  Amazon is too interesting to just order the one product you need and exit, right?   Coming into my search feed was this Norpro Garlic Keeper.  I cook all of the time and use garlic quite frequently.  So much that I purchase the big bag of garlic at the grocery store that includes about ten to twelve bulbs.

     This do dad can also hold mushrooms, ginger, chili peppers and onions.  I loved this idea because I was tossing my onions and garlic in the same bin in my pantry and I am thinking this is not the
correct way to store them.  Also available in many colors and designs I chose a simple white crock with a garlic design on the front.  It has vents to keep the items fresh for weeks and also became part of my kitchen decor.  

     My kitchen has shelving above my sink for knick knacks and such, which I dislike because I do not enjoy dusting around them or dusting at all, really.  I did add this to my shelf since it looks nice and it is a large item that is easily moved for dusting and within reach of my cooking space. 

     So here are two items to add to your kitchen decor that are actually functional at the same time.  Enjoy!

                                                                  Butter Bell Crock

 Norpro Garlic Keeper

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Revelations from a Tractor Cab

      Tractor Time.

       Listening to the BS stories in the feed store, I hear many "good ole time" stories about driving the tractor down by the river, in the fields, hauling hay or the tractor unintentionally ending up in a location not normally meant for large machinery.  Then there are others that view it as a place they must spend time while they finish yet another task on their To-Do list.

     There are so many things that little space does for me.  It can be an escape from the daily grind.  From house chores, whom no woman/man thoroughly enjoys, I don't care how much you say you do, we know you are fibbing.  It is time alone to think or not to think at all.   Most of the time there is minimal signal on my phone, therefore, the calls asking or telling me what I must do when I leave my voluntary confinement, have to wait until I end my day and drive up the hills when the cell signal will reach me.

     My husband had a fit when I started attempting farm chores directly after finishing my time in a wheelchair of sixteen months.  He also noticed the determined set of my jaw.  He closed his eyes so he could hide how he rolled them all the way to the back of his skull and sat down with me to form a safe plan.  We now have a tractor with a cab(thank you!), one that the clutch is easily pushed to the floor, easily shifted into a new gear, has heat/air and an air cushioned seat.  I did not ask for all of these amenities, but if this is what my husband concludes is safe for me, then by all means I will accept.

     Because I did not walk much until my third year of recovery, my time in the tractor was limited.  Once I got there, I could only climb in and out two or three times before my ankles would collapse.  We practice rotational grazing on our home farm, so this was a challenge as I would have to open and close gates to reach my destination.  Many of my adventures were me sitting, looking out the back window, then at the cows, estimating if I could complete my duty before any cows found the opening, which meant I could mark one climb out of the cab off my list if I did not close the gate.  There was a time when I estimated every length of a walk and how many steps it would take to get there, so saving any amount of extra effort was mulled over.

     My farm pardners are inexplicably patient with my injuries and amount of time it takes me to complete my endeavors.  They are also patient when it doesn't work out so well and I send them a picture of my "Oh shit, this happened today".  Amusement at my texts while they are in meetings, me questioning why I simply cannot figure out how to hook certain machinery together or understand why it will not start because a particular lever must be in a certain position beforehand.  I have flipped off every piece of farm machinery we use.  When you have been performing these functions for much of your life, you take for granted the elementary check list you go through each of these times, but for someone like me who is in the field alone and I remind you, very little signal ( no "how to" YouTube videos) it can be purely exasperating!  I grew up with a 1936 Continental tricycle tractor, then to my husbands 1970's John Deere and I was always deemed the driver not the hooker upper.  

     Today though, I can almost always figure things out and am at the point that I can utilize my hours to rid my mind of any conflicts or use it to interpret those conflicts.  There are days when I just
want to sit in the silence of the cab, let the drone of the engine or swish of the tedder, take my thoughts to nowhere specific.  Plugging in my iPod, I may sing anything from Alabama to Nelly to White Snake, inadvertently conducting my own concert right here in rural America.  I do not know what the cows think of me or my singing, namely because I do not speak cow, but they say the same dang thing every time they talk anyway, so who really knows.  

     Those other days, I speak to myself from the time I enter to the time I leave that tiny space.  Working through my personal struggles, praying for peace and understanding and hoping my life continues in the wonderful direction it is traveling.  Society conveys that we must look to others to be the hero in our life, while I agree that life is made easier with the support of others, I believe we can all be heroes in our own lives.  We, as individuals, are at the helm, right?  We ultimately decide what direction we are going to take, whether we will get up and make it a great day or drown in the sorrows of our dark thoughts.  Hardships are put in our way, not to stop us, but to call out our courage and strength.  Our character is always up to us.  As I sit in the middle of a field, I smile at once again having a focus besides recovering from my injuries.  There is one thing that I crave the most from these times, one thing that I must have in my life to survive and that is accomplishment.  I cannot live without it, I must have a purpose.

      Whether I have a grand revelation or not, at the end of my farm day, I always appreciate that I am going to be A-Okay.  If there is one piece of advice that I will  pass on to every farmer, man, woman or child, it is:

Always. Close. the Gate.


Sunday, January 4, 2015

Four Years in the Making

     Never has four years moved so slow and so fast at the same time.  Turning around to look back at my life during those years, it has sped by.  How can four years have passed so quickly?  Breaking the years down into each of eleven surgeries, those days passed at a crawl.

      Reflecting often during my days working on the farm, I ask myself, " Now that you are at the end of your recovery, what would you change regarding your experience?"  This is not a quick answer to be spat out, it requires digging deep within, to a place usually reserved for those few times in our lives when something rocks us to our core.  So I sit and get real with myself.  

     Would I change anything?   Of course I wish the collision would not have happened, but that was not in my control.  I am well educated in pain, but it keeps me humble.  The journey was long and hard, but look at the life lessons I have reaped.   My family has endured this time with me as I healed my broken body, but they have learned how to pull together when times are tough.  This one single event has caused incredible amounts of pain for many, but for myselfit has given me a better home in life.  

      Physically I am handicapped, but emotionally and spiritually, I am in a area that I have never been before.  God is not one to pass up opportunity.  He has given us freedom to choose so he could not stop the collision, but he took the time to present to me an opportunity to work on myself, my relationship with others and my relationship with Him.  Again, it was my choice to accept this convenience, but I know He tugged at me diligently to walk in His direction.  

     The year has closed and a new year has just begun.  I have no idea how I will write this next segment of my life and for once I am not going to plan it out.  I will live and learn as I go.  I will appreciate the gift of my own life and I will believe in myself.  Not having an outline will be a contrast for me as I am letting Him lead me, but I do feel a bit of excitement at the unknown.  With Him as my escort, I am no longer afraid.  I guess my answer is, no.  Even I shake my head at that conclusion, but this is what I feel.

      Although I have never asked the question, "Why?" this happened to me, while recovering I did not understand why the path had to be so difficult.  Until now.   
We would never listen unless it was.