Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Three Women...

Do you have anyone in your life that you look at, and have for years, and think, "This is the way the world should be."  I do.  I have 3 of them.

I've taken some time recently to look at my life.  I'm incredibly lucky - and grateful.  However, I have a rather "strong" shall we say, personality.  I tend to get into "bidness" that I shouldn't.  Actually, maybe that's wrong.  I should say I tend to react to some "bidness" improperly.  Rather than being encouraging I can be judgemental.  Not out of meanness, but rather out of "I've done that, don't be a dumbass and make the same mistakes I did."

So, let talk about these 3 women.  I will call them Pam, Abbie, and Kelli - a mother and her daughters, my sister-in-law and nieces.  I can honestly say I have never met anyone like them.  They are a joy to be around whether it's for an hour or a lifetime.  I can honestly say I have NEVER heard them say an unkind word about anyone.  I'm sure they have, but I've never heard it.  They allow everyone to have their own opinions and lifestyles,  their own politics and religion - their own distinct personalities.  They are in one word "accepting."

After reflecting on myself lately, I need to become more accepting.  Not that I think everyone should be "my way," I've never felt like that, but as I said, I tend to try to save everyone I know from making bad choices and I need to realize that I can give encouragement without giving advice.  It's something I'm going to have to concentrate on every, single day. 

I only have good people in my life.  I've weeded out those that I don't believe have good hearts.  I don't allow anyone in that isn't somehow special to me and I need to let them know that they are special to me instead of making them feel like I'm trying to change them.  I will be working on that.  As I do, I will think often of these 3 special women and ask myself, "how would they handle this situation."

I'm almost 56.  It's not too late, but it's certainly time...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

This Is Next...

I'm going to try to do this real quick before the auction in April. If not, I guess I'll have to keep it!  We'll see...

I think she's adorable and I love her dress!

Cougar Kittens and Cross Stitch...

While cleaning out some drawers recently, I came across this picture taken in the 1980s when I was working at Fish and Game.  Someone had rescued 2 cougar kittens and they came to live with us for a few days before being taken to a rehab gal in Garden Valley.  They were so darned cute!

Remember this?

Here she is so far.  She'll look better once she's done and outlined in black.  I think she's turning out pretty ok.  That fire and pot have been a bitch!  Lots of color changes.  I purposly did it on orange so that it would look like a sunset.  I didn't want to have to cross stitch the entire background in blue.  But, I'm not so sure I like it.   I should have just bought blue material but I thought I'd like the orange.  Actually, it was supposed to be more of a yellow color.  Should I do the background in blue? 

Jacki thinks I should finish it and donate it to the silent auction for the hillbilly gatherin'.  I could never get enough for it to compensate for all the hours I've put into it and I'm actually not sure anyone else would really appreciate it.  I just happen to love old pin up girls.

Monday, January 23, 2012

On the Market...

We officially listed the house Friday.  We removed even more of our belongings, had all the carpets cleaned, refinished the hardwood floors, and had the counter tops in the kitchen and both upstairs bathrooms measured for granite.  Wow, it's been a busy few weeks.

So the house was listed Friday, we had an open house Saturday, and a realtor called to show the house on Sunday.  There are only 12 houses listed in Hidden Springs right now and I have a feeling we'll probably show the house at least 4 times a week with the inventory so low.  That makes it hard to "live" but it will hopefully be worth it.  It's priced right so - it's time!

I only wish it was spring.  The yard is so beautiful in the spring, summer, and fall...

In other news, my sisters are coming this week!  I can't wait to spend some girl time with some of my favorite people in the world. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Winter That Wasn't...

Every year we buy a season ski pass for Adam at Bogus Basin.  He and his friends love getting up on the mountain and enjoying some great skiing and I loved the fact that last year he was able to drive himself up the mountain.  No more bus rides!  Last year, Bogus was open on Thanksgiving Day.  This year however, is different.  I think they have 4 inches of snow at the base and I've never seen anything like it. 

Until now, the latest Bogus had ever opened was January 6th.  We're now a week past that and while they're saying that the mountains could get snow starting Wednesday, they say it won't be enough to open the resort.  Bogus is losing $100,000 a day in revenue.  Then, when you think about the ski shops, the restaurants and convenience stores on Bogus Basin road that also depend on skiers, plus all the employees at Bogus, it's just another horrible tragedy for our economy.  We certainly didn't need this.  Brundage Mountain opened 5 runs in December but haven't really gotten any new snow since.  I'm sure it's been hard on their economy too.

I wonder, will we skip our typical winter all together, or are we going to get dumped on in March and have snow on the ground in May?  I'm at the point now where I don't want snow.  I'm ready for spring!  And as far as skiing goes, I suppose the boys could drive over to the Bruneau Sand Dunes...

This is the oddest winter I've ever seen and I bet it's something we're never going to forget.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Hillbilly Website...

I never thought I'd see the day, but my sister Linda has made a website for the 2012 Hillbilly Gatherin'.  We are now officially "big time."  It's still a work in progress, but it's up and running and she did a mighty fine job!

I'm really excited to be helping out Wish Granters this year.  I remember so many times when I worked for Wishing Star, having people call me to ask if we did wishes for adults.  It was incredibly hard to turn them away.  Now with Wish Granters in existence, they have already done 30 wishes and have a lot more that they're working on.  If we raise our goal of $10,000 it will be the biggest fundraiser that they've done since their inception.  I'm determined!

So, check out the Third Annual Hillbilly Gatherin' website (can you believe how lucky we were that that domain name wasn't taken?!) and tell us what you think.  Any changes we should make or suggestions on anything we need to add?  We're still looking for a few sponsors ($250) to cover costs and lots more items for the silent auction.  If you're crafty and make something, or work for a company that might donate something, let me know as the more items we have, the more wishes we can all help make come true for adults with terminal illnesses.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Why I Love the Internet...

As I've mentioned before, several years ago, after much searching I found one of my best friends from third grade in Winnemucca via the internet.  Jaci and I talk often on Facebook and she, her husband and brother even came from Portland for our last Hillbilly Gatherin'.  I just love that I found my old friend.

A few weeks ago, a nice southern young man from Missouri sent me a message via Facebook.  He wanted to restore a truck to look like an Idaho Fish and Game truck in honor of dad and Conley.  We've talked via mail almost every day since and  I feel like he's an old friend.  He did however, call me ma'm.  I asked him not to do that, it made me feel old.  He told me that being a southern gentleman, that would be difficult, but so far, Kev has done pretty well with it.  He's a cop and was featured on COPS a few years ago.  I love COPS!

I discovered that we had some eerie similarities.  He's from Missouri, dad's family was from Missouri.  He has 2 sons - Jake and Adam.  The truck he's restoring is an old Dodge Ram Power Wagon - that was the first truck I drove as a teenager that dad had bought new.  Remember, I put 700 miles on it in one weekend when mom and dad had gone to Boise?  And, it's tan - ours was tan.  He and his wife and kids love the Denver Broncos, and they love the BSU Broncos.  But this was just too much - I just found out tonight that he eats the hot dogs off those rolley things in convenience stores.  Is that creepy or WHAT? 

He loves Rush Limbaugh and I love Rush Limbaugh~!  Just kidding, I hate Rush Limbaugh.

Kev, I'm so glad we've connected.  I love finding new friends and I think we'll be friends forever.

Then, I had a comment on my post about putting the house on the market from Victoria.  She and I are obviously kindred spirits as well.  She's hilarious and we've had some good conversations.  She's looking to buy a house in either Eagle or Hidden Springs and wanted some information about the area and our house.  I told her that she'll be my best friend if they buy our house and that she could come and ride horses when we get them. 

I just find it so fascinating that I've met two wonderful people in just a few short weeks.  How cool is that?  However, if I find out that Victoria has 2 sons, named Jake and Adam, I'm going to pack my bags, climb onto the roof, and sit there waiting for 12/21/12.  I wonder how many sweatshirts I should pack...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My First Elmer Story of 2012...

I stopped at the Stinker store yesterday to get gas after running my hiney all over town pricing appliances.  Sheesh, that sucked. 

As I was getting gas, I realized I hadn't eaten anything all day and I was hungry.  So I went inside thinking I'd get one of those delicious hot dogs that roll around on those rolley things for gob-only-knows-how-long before some stupid sucker like me buys it.

Then, I noticed the counter with chicken in it and it reminded me of something Elmer had said not too long ago.  We had stopped at the Stinker store and he mentioned that they sell "Chester's Chicken" and how good it is.  Then he said something that even I couldn't believe came out of his mouth.

"We'll have to come here for dinner some time."


My dear, sweet husband, to whom I've been wed for 25 years, wants to take me to the friggin' Stinker store for Chester's Chicken for dinner some time.  They don't even have a table in the Stinker store.  I guess we'd sit in the truck by the gas pumps and dine.

Chester the Chicken

I looked at their website and they call it "chicken on the fly."  I'm one lucky gal don't ya think? 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Time to List the House Again...

We've had 2 realtors over to give us their thoughts on the house.  The first was a new realtor who suggested we replace the kitchen appliances with stainless steel, replace the counter tops (kitchen, and both upstairs bathrooms) with either granite or something comparable, and refinish the hardwood floors.  We both liked him and he seemed like he would be anxious to sell our house.  However, he's never listed a home in Hidden Springs. 

The second was our last realtor.  I like him because he knows Hidden Springs.  He was one of the original realtors up here.  But, our house didn't sell last year.  He also knows our finances and suggested we didn't need to replace those items (although if he thought we could afford it, I'm sure he would think it would be a good idea).

They both told us that things with buyers have changed immensly.  Buyers don't want to negotiate any more in order to fix things the way they want them, like counter tops, appliances, etc.  If they don't like those things, they'll just go down the road and find something for the same price with the nicer appliances and counters.  So, it looks like if we want to sell, we're going to have to make some changes.

Tonight we'll have our third and final realtor here.  It will be interesting to see what she has to say.  We're determined to sell this year.  Both realtors said we need to get the house on the market by February.  There's only 18 houses on the market in Hidden Springs right now and that includes the short sales and foreclosures.  That's unheard of here.  When we had it on the market last summer, there were usually about 35 homes available.  I'd list it tomorrow if we were ready!

So, we begin our journey again.  Can't wait to build our new home, whatever it may be.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

We Miss You Dad...

"If there is a future for wild things, then it is the burden of those who have reached farther than me, to save them for the rest of us. It will be done by those whose convictions were forged in campfires,


You were a good Game Warden...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Very Troubling...

I've thought about writing this post for months.  But, out of respect for my son and his job I decided it was best to leave it alone.  However, after reading this article about the shooter in the Park Ranger killing in Washington, I knew that this just couldn't be left alone.

On Sept. 4th, 2011 my son, along with the other members of the 116th, returned from Iraq to the relative safety of the United States.  They had spent a year there, most working 12-16 hour days with no days off except for the 2 week leave they were allowed during their deployment. 

I can only imagine the fatigue and occasional despair they endured.  I can't imagine working 14 hours a day, knowing I would be doing it for an entire year with not a single day off to look forward to.  How do you wrap your brain around that and not feel like it's going to be the longest 12 months you've ever had to live?

But, there was an end.  They did come home.  But, not like many had hoped and imagined.  Some had injuries and were "forced" to remain at Lewis-McChord Air Force Base in order to have their injuries assessed.  I hated that this was happening to my son.  He had a wife and children in Boise who had desperately missed him and wanted him home.  We had all watched the news as most members of the 116th arrived back in Boise after a short stay at Lewis-McChord, but not my son.

He had been told that if he wanted his injuries to be taken care of, he would have to stay in Washington and have them taken care of there.  I hated that, but thought that after a few weeks, he would have an assessment, could then complete treatment, and would be home within a few more weeks.  That was not to be.

After a few weeks at Lewis-McChord, my son was told that he wouldn't be seeing a doctor until late October - almost 2 months after arriving there.  To me, that didn't seem reasonable.  I decided to see what I could find out about it, without giving my son's name.  I then set on a short journey to discover how our military takes care of our soldiers. I was astounded, shocked, and disgusted. I believe that you should all know what is happening to the men and women who leave their homes and families to serve our country.

I started calling my Legislators and Representatives.  Each one listened to my story, or at least the first few minutes of it, then told me I needed to go to their website, download the proper "form" and my son would have to submit it before they would look at it.  The process would probably take 3-6 weeks.  I know my son.  He's a soldier and he would not complain.  I, however, am a mother and wanted to find out more.

Finally, I contacted Rep. Labrador's office and found the most wonderful woman.  She is in charge of his dealings with the military and was very open and honest with me.  She basically told me that my son, and all the others there were being held "hostage."  Yes, she used that word.  She said this happens all the time.  The military holds the soldiers there as long as they possibly can (without treatment) - in hopes that they will tire of being away from family, then will eventually decide to leave without treatment so they can go home.  Once they sign the release to leave the base, they are no longer the responsibility of the military.  They can choose to be treated at the VA Hospital but that can take years and the chances of them actually getting their medical problems taken care of there (due to the fact that they left "treatment") are almost nil.  She told me what a shame it is that we treat our soldiers this way and how disgraceful it is.

Needless to say, I was shocked and appalled.  How could we possibly, as Americans, allow this to happen to the men and women who volunteer to protect us?  I decided to contact the person in charge of "Family Readiness" for the 116th to see if he could help me.  Again, without giving my son's name or medical condition I told him what was going on.  He began by saying how "smart" my son was to be sticking it out in Washington to get treatment because "a lot of people end up coming home without treatment."  I asked him about why it was taking so long for him to even see a doctor and asked why our soldiers are treated this way.  I told him about the conversation I had with Mr. Labrador's office.  He got really angry and ended up hanging up on me!  I couldn't believe that the "Family Readiness" coordinator would act in such a horrific manner to a family member.

So, I come back to the article above.  The shooter had been stuck on this same base for God-only-knows how long.  Yes, he had a troubled past but I can't help but wonder if he had been hoping for help and treatment as well.  Waiting, waiting, and waiting.  I know that you all understand that I am horrified at the murder of this Ranger.  She had a family, co-workers, and friends.  She had small children.  Yet I wonder.  If we had given this soldier the treatment for PTSD that he needed, in a reasonable manner, would this have happened?

From my experience, I think it may not have.  PTSD is a horrible illness.  I had my own experience with it for almost 20 years after dad was killed.  Horrible panic attacks, horrible thoughts.  I was finally diagnosed and given medication and after several years of taking it, felt like I was going to be ok.

I am proud to have another son who plans on joining the Army when he graduates this year.  I'm tempted to have him talk to someone with PTSD before he joins.  Not to scare him, but to help him understand that if he's deployed he won't come home the same person.  He will be different forever.

We can't send our men and women to kill other human beings, or be linked in any way to those killings, and expect them to not suffer any ill.  It's human nature, we are not born killers and can't be expected to return to normal life and not be properly cared for.

I should mention that my son was not diagnosed with PTSD.  He was waiting for treatment for a physical injury.  Although I think his personality has changed a lot since his first deployment, he may disagree.  I don't care what your job is in a war, I don't see how you can return in the same mental condition that you left in. 

Yes, my son came home. Without treatment, just as the military had hoped.

As a mother, I'm sad.  As an American, I'm disgusted.  How can we stand by and watch this happen to our soldiers?  What can I do to change it?  I'm not sure yet.  But, after reading that this soldier was being stationed at the same base that chose not to take care of my son, I'm going to start doing some checking.  My first phone call will be to Rep. Labrador's office.

Monday, January 2, 2012

2011, The Year in Review...

As the new year of 2012 begins I'm taking a look back at some of my favorite posts of 2011. 

I began the year finishing my "30 Posts in 30 Days" to remember the 30th anniversary of dad's death.  It was bittersweet, yet awesome.

My son came home on leave from Iraq

My brother-in-law Joe, drew up our preliminary house plans for our barn house

This was just too funny not to share - my brother had business cards made (he's truly one of a kind and I just love him)...

Just for fun, we had some picnics on the property - can't wait to do more in 2012!

We celebrated mom's birthday with a wonderful long girl's weekend in Oregon

I took some cooking lessons from The Pioneer Woman.  I'm not so sure she'd be proud...

I lost an old friend..

My son came home from Iraq.  This made me very happy and made my life so much more peaceful.

We started planning for the Third Annual Hillbilly Gatherin'.   This will far out-do the 2 previous.  Just wait until you see what we have planned!

Some "mystery friends" left us a Christmas gift at the property.

and, Adam got a tattoo.  I haven't posted about that yet, but will.  Not that it will be news any longer, but I want to have record of it on my blog.

As I look back on 2011, I'd have to use the word "interesting."  We had the house on the market most of the year.  I hated that.  We had the property and Ival spent every spare minute up there enjoying it - I loved that.  Our youngest turned 18 - I have mixed feelings about that.  I can't believe that in just 6 months, we could potentially be "empty nesters."  It's a whole new chapter in the life of a mother.  We spend all of our time taking care of our kids and husbands - they are our top priority, as they should be.  What the hell will I do with myself!?

I've made new friends, and "divorced" some family members.  Not that I wanted to, but some relationships are just toxic and I guess we needed a break from each other.  I hope that eventually these relationships can be mended because family means so much to me.  But until then, life will be more peaceful and I don't hold a grudge.

Well, thanks for coming along for the ride.  I'm so grateful for all of you and look forward to an interesting and exciting new year!