Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Obsession. Compulsion. Whatever.


It's berry pickin' time.

Some people look forward to Fashion Week. Some to Rodeo Week. Others to Spring Break.  Me? I look forward to berry picking. Dewberries. Or for the uninformed, what you might call wild blackberries.

Last year was a huge disappointment. The long-term lack of rain did a number on the berry production. I eventually picked quite a few, but they were small, hard, and seedy. The druplets (the individual little globes that make up the "meat" of a berry) were stunted and shriveled.
This year the berries are plentiful, huge, and tasty.

The druplets are plump. Really, what more could one ask for?

Lord, may their druplets be plump. Amen.

I do 99.9% of my essential berry-picking at the farm, although on occasion I pick a few here and there when I go walking around here. Several years ago during an especially banner berry season I was walking my regular route here at home and just couldn't bear to pass up the gorgeous berries within easy reach right along the path. Finding myself without any kind of "proper picking container" I finally spied an empty and clean plastic grocery bag stuck in the woods. I happily filled it almost 1/3 full in just a few minutes.

I was so proud of my bounty.

All I could think of was the delicious Berry Pie (most people call them cobblers, but in my family they are simply called Berry Pie) that I would make and the Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla that I would need to dash to the store for.
Because it is against the laws of nature to eat Berry Pie without it.

You can be fined.

Anyway, I'm walking back toward home when I approach a very well-dressed "walker" lady headed in the other direction. She looked at me and my plastic bag and then announced in a very loud voice "Oh my gosh! That is the most dog poop that I've ever seen anyone pick up!"

"And you're not even walking a dog!" she added.

And honestly, I just knew in my heart that there was no point in explaining. She wouldn't understand. Her clothes were too match-y and her hair and make-up too perfect- she just wasn't going to get it. The berry-picking thing.

So with a big smile, but without a single word I waddled off with my precious cargo.

You see, around here in the Suburbs, it's the proper and polite thing to do. Pick-up poop, I mean.

But let me tell you right now, if someone saw you picking up dog poop anywhere around the farm they would forever label you as "off".

Farm Neighbor: "I hear tell someone saw that Sims Girl picking up dog ____ (because I assure you they would not say poop) down there around the Old Sims Place."

Other Farm Neighbor: "Sad isn't it? You know she's from off somewhere..."

And friends, for the record, being from off somewhere is so NOT a compliment.

Anyway, I had a delightful time at the farm picking berries over the weekend. Here is how it all went down in a handy numbered format.

1. I found the best berries about a mile up the road from the farmhouse at "Mama Sims' Old House". You see, my paternal grandparents, Mama and Papa Sims, had 13 children. And at some point Papa Sims packed a bag and went about a mile down the road (where the current farmhouse is located) and built himself a little shack to live in.

By himself.

I suppose no explanation is necessary (they remained married forever and ever.)

Anyway the berries around the old house were big and plentiful and I was simply beside myself.

2. I was wearing one of The Chief's big denim shirts over my t-shirt as it was a little chilly and I promptly got the shirt caught in upteen places on the extremely rusty barbed wire fence as I tried to crawl through.

3. Approximately three trucks drove by while I was suspended helplessly from the fence. All the drivers smiled and waved.

4. While I was trying to disengage myself from the fence, I punctured my right index finger deeply on a barb. Now I was helplessly suspended from the fence AND bleeding profusely

5. After about 5 minutes of struggle I freed myself only to determine that the puncture wound was so severe that it was absolutely going to cause me to bleed to death.

6. Now I was inside the fence, bleeding like a stuck pig and unable to find anything to wrap around my wound. The blood was dripping down into my berry-picking bucket. Something had to be done. I figured I could go back through the fence, walk to the truck, get something for my finger, and at the same time I should probably get my phone in case I began to feel weak or faint.

The necessary call might go something like this...

"Hello, Chief? Could you come pick me up? I'm bleeding a lot and I seem to be stuck in a fence, but the berries? They are fabulous..."

7. I did think clearly enough to take off the big shirt before attempting to go back through the fence and was then able to find an old Sonic napkin to wrap around my finger. I got my phone and then went back through the fence. This time I just ripped a gash in my ankle-but otherwise no harm.

8. I spent the next hour or so wandering around the old house, down to the cattle pens, climbing over three or four locked metal gates and generally just having the very best time ever.

9. I picked the most beautiful berries.

10. I also lost my phone. But miraculously found it the next day. Seriously. A miracle.

(The whole experience of me, The Chief, and son Nick re-tracing my steps the next day to try and locate my phone truly deserves it's own post.)

Let's just say The Chief had a few questions about the logic of my berry-picking operation.

11. Best of all I didn't have to get a tetanus shot. I'm thrilled to say that my propensity for getting caught in rusty barbed wire, stepping on rusted farm implements, hanging up my finger on old fish hooks or impaling myself on various pieces of old baling wire tends to keep me current on all the various and sundry immunizations.

So Score.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I Really Didn't Need to See That

***This post contains some unpleasant images. I pre-apologize.

Do you remember the snake in my chair?

A sign? A warning?

A coincidence?  I wouldn't begin to know.

But I had kind of gotten over it. Been moving past it. Putting the memory in it's place so to speak.

Of course, I am no stranger to the snake. They're everywhere at the farm. You could see one (or twelve) at almost any time.
Let's say you're with The Chief and he decides to hook a winch to an old stump to pull it up out of the ground. Mainly because he can. Not only do you unearth the stump, but also the nesting area of approximately eleventy hundred Copperheads.

It just happens sometimes.

Animals that are alive. Animals that are dead. All a part of the Circle of Farm Life.

But this?

This I didn't need to see.  At all.

Or a little closer...

Just a pleasant evening kayak ride on the lake at the farm.

You just can't take it back.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Intergalactic Therapy

“The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.” -CS Lewis

I love this quote by CS Lewis. It's so, well, obvious, in a very deep and insightful way. We all get where we're going at the same speed. Worry (as much as we seem to think it helps) is a waste of time.

I just love CS Lewis - I do.
Don't you sometimes just hate it when someone says something so simple, so logical, so dadgum factual? And I don't mean hate it like hate it, I mean hate it like well DUH?

I think I've mentioned before that The Chief and I are a little different in the way we, you know, think. And by "a little different" I mean from alternate universes. He's from The Universe Where Everything Makes Perfect Sense. Where A=B and B=C and therefore and forever A=C.

I, on the other hand, hail from  The Universe of "Well, We Just Really Can't Be Sure About That, Now Can We?"

Welcome. I come in peace.

Like you might expect from someone from the other place, The Chief has a tendency to to throw out these factoids, these bits of allegation and stipulation on a regular basis. It's really irritating.

"Lu, it is what it is."
"Lu, we only have so much money."
"Lu, I bet a shopping list would work better if you actually took it with you to the store."
"Lu, there's nothing wrong with the lawnmower that a little gasoline won't fix..."

Seriously, it just gets irritating. All The Logic and The Thinking. If I wanted logic I would have listened to all that talk about theorems and proofs in Geometry. Or paid attention when that teacher showed me how to use my nifty slide rule.Linear cognition (I know, pretty fancy) simply exists to suck the fun out of everything. 
I, myself, personally believe it's a lot more exciting to think that someone is breaking into our garage and sabotaging the lawnmower thereby making it impossible for me to mow. (Without the whole scary breaking-in part of course.)
And so what if I can't remember to buy any of the things that we actually need.  I mean if we were really doing our part to "go green" we wouldn't even need toilet paper would we? That's what yesterday's newspaper is for.
And what happens if something really isn't what it is? Huh Chief? What then? That kind of blows that theory right out of the water now doesn't it?

And as far as the money thing goes? I still think there's something fishy about that-I just can't put my finger on it. Really. What exactly do you mean by only so much...? That leaves an awful lot open to interpretation.

I'll admit it's exhausting sometimes being responsible for all of the "alternative thinking" in this household. Sometimes it gets just downright discouraging. Those of you who know The Chief personally can likely attest to his lack of progress in breaking out of this stronghold of logical thinking.

Yes, so far I have failed.

But I'm no quitter y'all. 

I'm moving on to Phase II: Hypnosis

It won't be easy. It'll be just like his kind  to start asking questions when I start swinging that watch in front of his face.

But I know y'all are counting on me. It's for his own good.

The good of all Mankind.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Evidently I'll Be Hitting The Sauce Soon

Two things:

1) I went to Zumba for the first time in about 3 or 9 weeks today. Surprisingly, I did not miraculously get more coordinated during my slacking- off period. The regular instructor, Mariana, is back from her extended South American vacation.


I thought for a while I was going to have to hop on a bus and go down there to fetch her. She somehow came back with an even more beautiful golden tan and looks more fit than ever. The last time I went on any kind of tropical vacation I returned with a third-degree sunburn, chaffed thighs, and some kind of nasty rash between my toes.

This is not what I'd call fair. Equitable maybe, but not fair.

Apparently she also was EXTREMELY ENERGIZED by her little south of the border jaunt, because today she came awfully close to working me into some sort of exhaustive seizure (or "spell" as my Mom used to call them).

Bless her heart. She's just an adorable little thing. An adorable, tan, perfect little thing.

2) The Chief announced this morning that we needed some "breakfast stuff" from the store. One of the symptoms of the little funk I've been in is a total lack of desire to go to the grocery store.

I don't know who I am anymore.

Typically I can make a day of a grocery store trip. I'll first hit the HEB, then venture down to SAM's for all kinds of things in very large quantities that I don't need at all (and have absolutely no place to store) and then stop by the Meat Market to buy various and sundry meat and poultry products that I have no idea in the world what I'm going to do with.

(I'm sorry I ended that sentence with a preposition. I know it's wrong.)

But lately I don't want to go. I KNOW. Please bring me some type of medication.

Anyway, I dragged (drug) myself to the HEB where I was delighted to find that I still felt right at home. The adorable little guy that greets you as you walk in was there to say "Hey, Miss Lady, you not work today" and I answered as usual, "No, I not work today".
It's just always seemed easier to go along and let him think that I have some kind of cool job that typically keeps me uber-busy with all kinds of nifty and covert things.

And also I may have one day accidentally and completely and totally by mistake told him that I was the founder and CEO of a Fortune 500 company. But I don't really remember.

Like I said. Even I don't know who I am.

I might as well be the founder and CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

But back to the shopping. It seems I got a little hung-up on the sauce aisle because I found all these in one of my green bags when I got home.

Really. Everyone needs 3 kinds of Chili sauce.

Perhaps this is a clue to my current identity crisis.

Maybe I'm an Asian short order cook.

What do you think?


Monday, April 9, 2012

Sorry. This Seat is Taken.


You may have picked up on the fact that I've taken a little bloggy break. Little, though, might not be the best descriptor. How about extended? Yes. Extended.

I've taken an extended bloggy break.

But I'm glad you're still here.

(I'm sure you've been checking in here every 5 minutes or so for the last couple of weeks just HOPING that I had something to say)

(You must have gotten very worried)

(And called the bloggy police to check on me)

(You must have been incredibly bored...)

(And really, don't you have anything else at all to do?)

Just kidding. I'm a kidder.

The only way I can describe the last two weeks is that there have been incredible highs (my girls trip to NYC!) and some pretty low lows (some other stuff) and it has really been all I can do to just have a complete thought once or twice a day and maybe cook some eggs or look at red sandals in a catalog.

Do you ever have times like that?

Do you ever just decide that at the very, very least it would be so terribly nice to just sit down and not worry about something for 11 or maybe 17 minutes?

That's really not a lot to ask is it?

And then you open the front door of the farmhouse to do just exactly that and this is in your chair?

I KNOW. My whole week.


It can only get better. We should make a pact or something.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Probably Just a Coincidence

Thanks for all the nice inquiries about my absence...I've been in NYC.

A new post is coming soon, but you see I'm not feeling all that great.

The monstrosity in the above picture may or may not have something to do with it.