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My Pond

One summer my niece and I went on a pond tour hosted by the local lawn and garden club.  The Pond Tour consists of people who are gifted in all things aquatic and horticultural (Warning:  Big Word Day) to open their back yards, front yards, rock gardens, and water gardens up to the public to tour.  Hence the name:  Pond Tour.  Come on Angel, don’t make this harder than it is. 

I was instantly enamored with ponds.  So I had to have one.  My husband, who hates all things aquatic and horticultural, except for wheat and hay and windmill tanks, was not agreeable.  If I recall, the conversation went something like this:

Me:  (sweetly) (batting eyelashes)  Honey, I’d really like to have a pond.  And I’ve thought about it, and I think it would look really great right here next to the fence.  And I’m going to put some green plants around it, and ivy, and we can have some Koi fish in it, and rocks around it, and lily pads.  All I need you to do is dig it out, lay the liner, run the water lines, and arrange the rocks.  What do you think?

Him:  (not so sweetly)  Are you out of your bleepity, bleep, bleepity, bleeping mind?

Okay, I exaggerated the bleeps.  There were only 3.

Or maybe only 2.
Or really none.  But the truth is he did think I was nuts.

To make a long story short, I don’t have a pond.  But much like the wizard who couldn’t grant brains and courage but rather diplomas and medals, Jason granted me what he could.

I don’t have a pond, but what I do have, is a whiskey barrel (which was extremely hard to acquire and my sister had to bring it all the way from New Mexico, and by the way Jo, your checks in the mail for that, thanks!), a pump, and two goldfish.  It’s just as good as a pond, maybe even better.
It’s called “a water feature”  Doesn’t that sound better than a whiskey barrel?  And it won’t be on the pond tour anytime soon.
We started out with four itty bitty goldfish. One died of shock. And one died from being sucked up the pump and spit onto the rocks in tiny bits of fin, scales and eyeballs. So only two remain. Survival of the fittest, that’s what it’s about. These two survivors must be of the same sex because we’ve never had any offspring, or if we did they feasted on them.

 Once my bratty sweet nieces commandeered my camera and took quite a few poses.  These were among them.

We’ve had these little goldfish for a couple of years now. And I’m downright proud of that fact.  We bought them a submersible heater for the winter months.  We remember to feed them everyday.  They’ve become a part of our lives.  I might even go so far as to call them fishy members of the family.  Well, they were fishy members of the family. 
Right up until this last winter storm came through.
And their heater broke. 
And their whiskey barrel home froze over. 
And anguish filled my soul, fear that my fish friends had froze . So Jason put on his snow boots and treaded out to the walmarts to buy another fish heater.  He broke through the 1/2 inch of ice to put it in.  But was it too late?   Did their little cold-blooded selves freeze to death? 

This morning the great melt down has begun.

  With trepidation, I peered into the whiskey barrel. 
Closer.
A little closer.  That’s a leaf on the right, not a belly up fish. 
I dug out some ice and looked a little closer.  
 Lo, what dost appeareth before mine eyes?
Could it be?  A slight movement of a fish?  Why yes, I do believe it is.
Both fish are alive and swimming. 

Survival of the “fishes”, that’s what I’m talkin about.

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"Posme Newborns"

We’ve had a harsh winter storm crash into our little town.
So you know what that means.  (Other than school getting cancelled, Yippee!!)  It means the outside dogs who are never allowed in the house because they drive me crazy, are now in the house with me.
As I was giving them their potty break earlier, I was reminded of a snowstorm last spring that traumatized me and nearly forced me into counseling.

These are the events that transpired April 2009. 

Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, so help you God?
I do.

Can you tell us what you witnessed last April Mrs. Wheeler?

It had snowed throughout the night.  The morning was beautiful, still, and crisp.  The sun radiantly shone through the newly budding trees. Sparkles glinted on the snow.  I hesitated letting the dogs out to demolish the glorious canvas left from the springtime snow. 
Rather than clean up their, you know, I memorized the portrait before my eyes and opened the door.

They bounded out, kicking up snow, sticking their noses in, rooting around, and turning it yellow.
It’s a dog’s life.

When I noticed our big dog Drew taking particular interest in the little wooden porch that we have around an out building.  Ears up, tail wagging, he began sniffing under the porch, peeking under the porch, whimpering, and  running from one end to the other, trying to fit his fat dog butt underneath.  It was obvious there was a little critter hiding.  Aw, he wanted to play.  A squirrel more than likely would run out any minute and scamper up a tree. 
What started as casual curiousity for Drew, soon became a frenzy.  He was relentless.  He would not settle with just knowing there was something under there.  He began to dig like he was on crack cocaine.  Throwing snow and then mud behind him.  I began to scream at him for tearing up the yard.  Because he is the most obedient dog in the world, he completely ignored me and dug faster, deeper, and harder.  Then as quick as a wink, he dove his fat head underneath the wooden porch and pulled this ginormous rat creature out.  He started to thrash his head about, shaking it violently, biting it, as it’s long tail hung to the ground. 

Go on.  Take your time.

I panicked.  I was not prepared for this.  I couldn’t watch. I covered my eyes.  I retreated to the house.  Fight or flight?  I think I’ll take flight thanks.  I was thinking he would surely quit.  But he continued to shake his victim.  It became limp in his mouth.  He would then drop it, then drag it around the yard.  Then pick it up again, biting its fleshy middle.  I watched from the window as blood covered his white neck and mouth and began to mix with the mud and the snow.  Puffs of hot dog breath rose in the cold morning air as he stood over this dead and soon to be mangled possum.  I just couldn’t take it any longer.  Enough is enough.  Killing it is one thing, playing with it is entirely another.  And if he started eating it, I was going to throw up. 

Still in pajamas, purple bathrobe, and furry snowboots, I threw the door open, stormed out, grabbed a shovel that was leaning against the house and ran towards him, my shrill screams breaking the silent morning.  I had become the hunter now, and he the hunted.  Seeing the shovel raised, the crazed look in my eyes, and my bed head, he quickly decided his playtime was over.  He dropped the possum and backed off. 

Have you had experiences with possums before?

I must tell you, I’m not a stranger to dead possums.  I’ve shoveled many a dead possum (never bloody) into the dumpster after my old dog would kill them.  This was not an unfamiliar task for me.

But Drew did not like me shoveling his fresh kill.  He kept trying to take it from me.  He was hampering my progress. I couldn’t put him back in the house with his muddy, wet paws and bloody muzzle so I had no choice but to lock him up while I disposed of the varmint.

Were you able to dispose of the corpse?

 I tried, but I couldn’t get it on the shovel.  It was like a ragdoll.   A warm ragdoll.  It may have helped if I would have watched what I was doing, but my head was turned and my eyes were squeezed shut the whole time.  I ended up scooting it across the yard 4 or 5 feet leaving a trail of blood.   Defeated, I put a bucket over it and left it for my manly husband. 
 
The pretty snow was no longer.  My backyard was now a battlefield.
Traumatized and scarred, I returned to the house and put it all behind me.  It was over.
Or so I thought.

And then what happened?
  
Days passed.  The snow melted quickly.  Springtime advanced.   Then on Saturday, while playing in the backyard, my niece wandered across two hairless baby possums, yet to open their eyes, lying under a tree almost side by side.  The tree where the possum had lain with a bucket over her.  They each were no bigger than a jalapeno pepper.  Feeling compassionate, and since they didn’t require a very deep hole, we gave them a proper burial, unlike their mother who was rotting in the dumpster. Ashlynn made a memorial headstone from a brick and decorated a rock in their honor.

I was disturbed once again by this.  I pondered it, and then I googled it.  I learned a few things that day.  Possums are marsupials.  They have a pouch that their babies stay in.  I pondered more, and am led to believe that on that snowy day in April, those two little babies were  in their mama’s pouch during her murder.  Mama possum’s only defense was playing dead.  Did she think of her babies in her last moments?  Realizing their mama was dead, the newborns attempted survival by crawling out, only to die later.  Whether by starvation or freezing, we’ll never know.  What a cruel, cruel world.

After hearing the testimony and based on the evidence, it leaves me no choice, but to find the defendent guilty as charged, to be sentenced to an undetermined amount of time behind bars. 

May God Have Mercy On Your Soul.

Drew (left) guilty of possum murder, Grace (right) guilty by association.

The defendent, Drew Miller and his accomplice Grace, have since been released for time served and good behavior.  The possum graveyard remains in tact.  Mrs. Wheeler is recovering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and relives this tragic event at every snowfall.

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Chasing Antelope

This is some serious fun right here.  Don’t believe me?  Just try it next time you’re in a pasture and a herd of antelope come to graze.

Jason saw the antelope coming under the fence.  I couldn’t even see them they were so far away.  He has an eye for stuff like that.

He decided to get me closer so I could get a better look.

Their flight instinct kicked in. With hearts pounding and accelerated breathing, they took off.

And we decided to pursue.

Oh it was fun!  Bouncing across the pasture on the tails of the antelope.  Thirty miles per hour.

They zigged.
We zigged.
They zagged.
We tried to zag.
Antelope are much more agile than Chevys.
Their feet pounded the ground.  Dust clouds billowed.  I felt like a lion on the savannah.  I pity the slowest prey, the last one.  The one you know is about to be pounced and feasted upon.  Its guts strung out over the prairie grasses.
I think I’ve watched too much National Geographic in my life.
We followed them for just a short while, giggling the whole time.

Then we stopped.
But not them.  They were getting the heck out of dodge, away from those crazy antelope chasers.

Off into the wide, blue yonder,
safe and sound.

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Friday Night Frolic

Sometimes, not real often, Jason and I act fancy. 

We dress up.
He loves that. 
I don’t.

We go out.
He loves that.
I don’t.

This past weekend we got all spiffied up and went to the big city to eat expensive food.  He had elk, the couple with us had halibut and ribeye steak.  But I chose the lamb chops.   I made the best decision of us all, hands down.  They were not good.  Good doesn’t even begin to describe them.  Even delicious is not the right word.  Succulent, delectable, now that’s getting close.  Drizzled underneath these lamb chops was a spicy, sweet jalapeno currant glaze.  Oh holy heavens, my mouth is watering.

 Pardon me while I wipe the saliva off my keyboard.

wujeioskluhisfdklp;zojkl

Sorry about that.

I’d never had lamb chops before but I think they have surpassed #2 on my list of favorite foods.

My List of favorite foods before Lamb Chops.
1.  Cereal
2.  Pound cake

My List of favorite foods after my Heavenly Experience of Lamb Chops.
1.  Cereal
2.  Lamb chops
3.  Pound cake

Not much can beat cereal in my book.  I love all kinds.  From Raisin Bran to Fruity Pebbles and all in between.  I’ve always imagined if I were an inmate on death row, what I’d request for my last meal.  I’m a simple girl.  I’d probably just say, Pour me a bowl of Cap’n Crunch. With whole milk.  But after Friday night, it just might be lamb chops, baby.  I wonder if the penitentiary cook can prepare lamb chops with jalapeno currant glaze?  Doubtful. 

After our fabulous meal, we ventured over to a symphony where we heard an instrument I’ve never heard of before.  It’s called the arumba,  arimba,  rutabaga, marimba.  Being the cultured one that I am, I can only describe it as a big xylophone with pipes. 

It was amazing how a tiny little woman could play this thing.  She used sticks with colored balls on the ends and held two in each hand and manipulated them in ways that was unbelievable.  She had to spread her legs wide to be able to reach both ends. 

It was like watching those girls at the circus who can do all those hula hoops.  Fascinating.  You just sit there and think, Now that takes some talent.

I think I only dozed off twice.  But I told Jason I was closing my eyes to experience the music, to become one with it.  Sshhhhh.  That will be our little secret, okay?

But what I really want to know is, what would you request from the penitentiary cook?

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Listen.

My niece called me.  She left the sweetest, most precious voicemail.

Before you hear more, I must tell you this.

“Mama” in the message works in bail bonds.  They were at the jail to bail someone out. Thankfully, not a member of the family…….this time.

My niece had been prostrate weeping and wailing for hours because her friend Pearla couldn’t come over after she had been planning it for a whole entire week.  She was devastated.

And lastly, Jesus is her homeboy.

Click on the play arrow below.  You must.  It’ll make you smile, I hope.

http://www.divshare.com/flash/playlist?myId=10255644-023

Authors Note:  It took me 17 hours, 904 online tutorials, and ten of my own dollars to learn how to post this to my blog.  I have yanked every hair from my head and am now forever changed, not to mention bald.  So it had better make you smile.

If for some highly likely reason, this audio clip does not work, here’s a transcription.

Me and my mama went to the jail, and I found a ten dollar bill laying on the floor and I think it’s because I was crying because of Pearla, and I think God felt sorry for me, so he laid that ten dollar bill right on the floor for me.  Anyway, thanks for listening.  Bye.

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Can you hear the angels singing?

Today. 
It has arrived.
Hallelujah sings my soul.
It is January 21st.
Which means it is the final day of my 21 day Daniel fast.
21 days of only drinking water.
21 days of no meat or sugar or bread or milk or cheese or coffee for crying out loud.
21 days of oil and vinegar and alfalfa sprouts with more oil and vinegar.

It has been unenjoyable.
There has been wailing and gnashing of teeth.
I have longed to thrust my head in a big ole bowl of mashed potatoes with butter, yes butter, lots and lots of butter.

Tonight, oh the anticipation,  I just might set my alarm for 12:01. I just might rise from my sleeping slumber and gorge on chocolate and peanut butter pretzels.  I could if I want to.

But I won’t.  Because I desire sleep more than I desire food.  And it would probably give me a tummy ache.

Saturday, as soon as I suck down 2 cups of coffee with french vanilla creamer,  I am baking this, and nobody can stop me.  So don’t even try.  It’s the Pioneer Woman’s Perfect Pound Cake.

Do you know how much I love pound cake?  If you don’t, now you do. 
If we are ever on a game show like the Newlywed Game (which would be way weird) and you’re asked my favorite food.  Say pound cake. 
Or cereal. 
It’s a toss up.

I would love to bake it Friday immediately after work, but we have plans.  We’re dressing up, then we are having supper at a ritzy joint and afterwards attending a symphonic presentation.  It’s like a date.  Sorta.

I only hope my gastrointestinal system is up for it.