Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Burrito in Paradise

Today was a great day. For one, I’m off work, but even more so, I actually feel a sense of accomplishment. A feeling I rarely have at work.

I have taken a two week vacation to prepare for the lavender festival and lots of other little things that need tending to when you live on a lavender farm. Yes, I’m thrilled to be taking some time off from my real job, but the jury is still out on how thrilled I am to be using my vacation time to, well uh, work… No island jumping, yacht sailing, or beach lounging for me. But, regardless, it doesn’t matter. I’m home and feeling a sense of accomplishment.

Today I had an appointment at 1:00 to get my hair done. Highlights, cut, style, the whole enchilada. Because this would be a good 2 hours in the beauty shop, I called my long lost friend Kimberly to come visit with me during my appointment. After all, I WAS in a beauty shop. Is there not a more perfect place to share your gift of gab?

Kimberly and I go way back. I mean way, way back. We had a rough spot for a few years and became a bit Paris'd and Nicole'd. I suppose a more mature way to describe this would be to refer to it as 'estranged'. It happens. But, now we’re right back where we left off, and this could be dangerous, quite dangerous y’all.

Kimberly met me at the beauty shop and we immediately dove right into full-fledged gab. We laughed about ridiculous stuff and finished each other's sentences. You know how it is when you’ve grown up with someone and you can practically read each other’s minds? You don’t have to stop and explain why something that was just said was funny to you. You don’t have to explain what you meant when you used a silly term. These are friends that just know. It’s so nice to not have to explain your warped sense of thinking to people. Friends like these understand. I actually have several of these good friends; friends of mine for almost 30 years. Yes, I just said it. 30 years. Wow this makes me feel old. But the funny thing is, when I’m with these friends, I don’t feel any different than I did 30 years ago!

For those of you coming out to the festival in a couple of weeks, you’ll get to meet two of these friends. But, back to my friend, Kim. We were both starving and hadn’t eaten lunch, so she went to get us each a burrito. She said it would be a surprise burrito. When she returned, it was a surprise alright! She didn’t have just any burrito, but a Mando’s burrito! Now see, here I go. Now I have to explain what a Mando’s burrito is to you. If you were one of my friends from 30 years ago you would know. This is exactly what I was talking about earlier, having to explain things to new friends (but, I really am enjoying all my new blogger friends, well, all 2 of you).

A Mando’s burrito is just the best ever kind of burrito. I have searched the world over for a Mando’s burrito; it’s a true obsession. Today is a monumental day, and a day I will rank right up there with some of my greatest days, because today I found the 2nd best to an original Mando’s burrito. Mando’s was a restaurant in Marfa, TX that closed several years ago. When Mando’s closed, an era ended. It was devastating. Since then, the search for the 2nd best Mando’s burrito has been a mission of mine. Today, mission accomplished!

I’m a connoisseur of 3 things in my life: Mando’s burritos, bathing, and chicken salad.

What’s so great about Mando’s? It’s hard to explain, but I’ll give it a try. It’s shredded beef in a spicy gravy, topped with real good chili. Yes, chili. Not, salsa. Also, I feel so very triumphant because the little cafĂ© that has warmed my soul forever with their rendition of a Mando’s burrito, actually calls it a BURRITO. Not a taco. Another big beef I’ve had since living east of the Pecos.

I know you may think I sound extremely flippant to be carrying on about a burrito. I realize this may sound strange. But I am just so completely at peace right now. Kim is back to her normal self, and Mando’s is re-born.

Life is good and lavender is blooming!

Monday, May 28, 2007

We're budding baby!

This field is so close to being in full bloom. It's only buds right now, but a few more days of sunshine and the purple haze is going to knock your socks off!

I just love this life of lavender!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Mind games

When the phone rang this morning, for a quick second my inner voice said, “It’s her.” Simultaneously, while that little voice was matter-of-factly informing me of who was ringing my telephone, reality rang through my head like a 3-alarm fire telling me to snap out of it.

Of course it’s not her.

It’s odd how I don’t miss her as much on the typical milestone or landmark days like birthdays, anniversaries, or Christmas. It happens when I’m caught off guard; on just any ole’ ordinary days.

We’ve had a lot of rain here the last few days. It’s actually been quite extreme. I guess this is why my subconscious told me it was her on the phone at 0 dark thirty this morning.

I can’t quit thinking of her.

She was the granddaughter, daughter, and wife of a farmer. For 3 generations her livelihood revolved around rainfall, late frosts, early freezes, and hail. When it rains, I think of her.

She never went to bed without getting the weather report first. For 40 years I could predict her nights like clockwork:
9:00 p.m. Take a bath
9:30 p.m. One last clean up in the kitchen before bed
10:00 p.m. Local News & Weather
10:30 p.m. The Tonight Show

All my life, no matter where I was living, I would randomly get calls from her at 10:30 p.m., “Just wanted you to know that there’s some weather coming your way tomorrow. I’ll be worrying about you, so be careful.” Or, I would get a call in the morning: “Heard y’all had some weather last night. Just wanted to call to hear your little voice and be sure you're okay.”

I sure do miss her.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Faaarm livin’ is the life for me

It’s raining cats and cows here today. In fact, we’ve had so much rain, the water is all the way up to the dock in the tank. As luck would have it, or maybe I should say, as Mother Nature would have it, we’re open this weekend. If it keeps up, we'll be having a Mud Fest instead of a Lavender Fest. So much for experiencing a day in Provence. I can hear it now: “Thank you for visiting Hummingbird Farms. Oh, you drove 150 miles to enjoy strolling the fields and cutting lavender? Did you by chance bring a pair of Wellies?"

Looks like a definite wellie week at Hummingbird Farms. Of course I just hate the wellie weeks because I don’t have anything cute to wear with them. My ability to accessorize with Wellies is just so, well, limited.

I will just have to channel my hero and see what she would do. Her ability to accessorize is simply astonishing. I know I’ll never be her, but oh, how I’ve gained my strength from her. Not just my accessorizing strength, but all my strengths.

She’s every WOMAN to me. I just wish I could crawl up my telephone pole and call her to see how she dealt with the everyday struggles of farm life. She had such class, such strength, and such style.

Not 10 minutes ago I found myself in a quandary. It made me wonder what she would do… How would she handle this dilemma?

I had finally finished up my work and actually found myself with time to spare. Due to the rain I couldn’t go outside, I didn’t want to straighten up the house because muddy animals were running in and out, and of course cleaning in my house is pretty much useless. So, I decided to do what I always do when I have a moment to spare: lounge in my tub, you know, it’s my favorite hobby. I will take some much needed time to lounge about and channel my MENTOR for a bit.

I go upstairs to get prepared. I put a little lavender oil in my diffuser, get a clean fresh towel, get my HF No. 152 Body Wash off the shelf, have my miracle in a jar No. 9 Lavender Spa Treatment next to the tub, lower the lights for some ambiance, and just when everything is completely in order for my moment, I reach down to turn on the water.

What’s wrong? Nothing’s coming out. It’s a slow drip at best. It’s a trickle, trickle, drip, drip. Are you kidding me?

I stomp downstairs to yell at Jack for a bit. “What have you done to the water? Don’t you know I’m getting ready to take a bath?”

It’s just another typical Green Acres moment. No water. It looks like we’ve had so much rain that mud has gotten in the filters in the well and clogged everything up. How in the world am I supposed to look like THIS, while wearing wellies, and greeting customers when I can’t even bathe?

Darling I love you, but give me Park Avenue …

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

It's a disease

Since I’m on a picture taking roll, I thought I would share these pictures with you. I took these on Saturday, but like always I was an hour late and a dollar short.

All day long this gorgeous monarch butterfly (not the one in the picture) was fluttering around the lavender. There were lots of other butterflies, but this was the only Monarach, the Grand Dame of butterflies. She was as big as the palm of my hand! Just gorgeous. She was the text book picture of a monarch butterfly, and of course I didn’t have my camera with me. It was at the house.

Every couple of minutes I kept reminding myself to run to the house to get the camera, but then my disease kept flaring up which prevented me from getting to the house. Oh, don’t worry; it’s a disease I’ve been dealing with my whole life, notintheknowaphobia.

It’s a minor illness, no big deal. There's no known treatment and I've been forced to self-treat. It can really get out of control at times, especially if my girlfriends are around. You know, I might miss something good. I just can’t bear to miss out on something that might be said; especially if it’s really juicy. That's why I couldn't risk the 3 minutes it would have taken to go to the house and get the camera. It could have been a critical 3 minutes of missing something really good. Due to my illness, missing something really good could result in a flare up that could potentially overcome me, probably leading to hyperventilation or something.

As luck would have it for someone dealing with this dreadful disease, by the time I ran to the house, got the camera, the monarch butterfly was nowhere to be seen. But, a few of her little distant relatives were still fluttering about the fields.

Hope you enjoyed the pictures. I’m going to go lie down – my disease also causes me to need lots of rest. It’s very exhausting having to process all the information that never leaves my brain. I'm probably going to have to self-treat this evening. What is my special regimen? Well, you know how I'm into all that's natural - I've found a great natural treatment that involves special grapes that have aged for years in special oak barrels.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

We're Sprouting Kids & Lavender

I just have to share this picture of Joan's cutie-pies with y'all. I can't believe how big they are getting! They are sweet kids and I love them like my own. I took this picture 3 days ago on Saturday, the 19th.

We had a great weekend! As always, my face still hurts from laughing all weekend with Joan!

We had several visitors come out and see the lavender, and even had a fancy shmancy photographer out here taking photos for his line of greeting cards! We're just sprouting up all kinds of great things at Hummingbird Farms!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Buck, Blooms, and let's just hold off on The Bang

Since I haven’t checked in for a couple of days, I thought I would just get in a quick message. It’s a super busy time for us, so I don’t have a specific story to tell you because I haven’t caught my breath yet. It’s been a typical whirlwind week at Hummingbird Farms.

Buckaroo is doing a lot better. He went for 2 days without eating and it was really concerning us. We’ve always heard the stories, and even our vet told us when they stop eating you usually know they’re nearing the end. This kept ringing in our heads and we were just so upset. The vet had sent us home with a new special low-protein diet due to his little failing kidneys. For two days he didn’t eat a bite. Then we decided to just tempt him with some of his favorite food to see if he would at least take a bite. Jack gave him some lunch meat and he practically ate the whole bag! That's when we realized, he's not nearing the end, he just hates this new food! After he ate, he was back to his little sweet self. So we talked about it and thought, heck, why should we restrict him from all that he loves when we know it’s inevitable that we’re going to lose him? We’re not going to deprive him of one thing. No more dried, low-protein dog food for Buckaroo! If he wants bologne, he can have it! If he wants hotdogs, he can have it! If he wants ice cream, he gets Blue Bell! He’s practically been acting like a puppy for the last two days because he’s eating and his energy level is up.

Yes, I know it may sound like bad parenting, but if I knew my time was up, I certainly wouldn’t spend it eating bland, dried meals everyday. I would want to celebrate my life with all things I love. And of course, just about everything I love involves food! So, Buck is getting whatever he wants, and being his Mother’s son, what he loves most is food.

One last note before I close: We’re attempting to be open this weekend. The good news is WE HAVE BLOOMS! The bad news is WE’RE NOT READY! The construction at the house has taken up so much time. We won’t know how to act next year during blooming season when all the distractions of the house are behind us and it's all about lavender. Well, all of this construction better behind us! For those of you that have been coming out every year to cut lavender, you know that this will be your 3rd year, yes I just said 3rd year, to see a big construction mess at the house.

I know this is what you’re thinking: “Is that poor girl still living in that mess over there? She must have the patients of Job and her husband should be shot! She probably has to wear a hard hat to bed every night. I think that mess has been going on over there for 3 years now! That poor thing, bless her heart.”

Yes, please feel sorry me me; I feel sorry for me. I do accept your pity and empathy. I thrive on it! But, uh, the shooting part, well, that just wouldn’t be nice. Plus, I might need to reserve that for my own pleasure if the house is still under construction next year…

We really do look forward to the day when all our focus is on lavender and we can just enjoy knocking your socks off when you come out here!

Have a great weekend to all 4 of you that are actually taking the time to read my ramblings!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

An Officer and A Gentleman

and a Farmer, and a Pilot, and a Scuba Diver, and a fly fisherman, and a Conservationist, and a Ham Radio Operator, and an Athlete, and an Oceanographer, and a Wall Street Stock Trader, and a Sailor, and a Cowboy.

Yes, I’ve just described a few things that add up to my Miracle Man. Because it is our anniversary today, I just have to tell y’all the story of us.

Exactly 9 years and 2 weeks ago, Miracle Man and I had a blind date. It was a Friday night, and the first night of May. But, before I get into all the romantic details about our first date, I have to tell y’all how we got there.

It all happened because of my great friend of 25 years, Joan, who lives in Dallas. At the time I was living in the Los Angeles area; I’ll never forget the day she called and said, “I’m going to set you up on a date with this new friend of T’s (her brother-in-law). When are you going to be back in Dallas? He’s THE ONE, he LOVES dogs (she knew this would reel me in), and even T agrees the two of you need to meet.” So, of course I said, “if he’s so great why is he single?” She ignored that and went on to say: “T’s been ropin’ with this new guy, you just have to meet him, he’s got your name written ALL OVER HIM, and he’s real tall, I mean real, real tall." (Joan is 5 feet nothing when she sucks in her gut and holds her head up high, shoulders back and wears high heels; so everyone is real, real tall to her). She went on, “He’s a Texan, I know you’re going to think he’s not a Texan because he spent a long time on the East Coast and worked in New York, and went to school up there somewhere, too; I think T said it had something to do with the Navy or something, but now he’s livin’ in Dallas, and he’s just so glad to be back in Texas, because, you know - he's Texan, and he got tired of livin’ up there in all that cold weather with all those women that wear those pant suits and little inky dinky jewelry, my God, why don’t they get some style, you know, get in touch with their inner flair?” (Joan is from Dallas; so she is - you know, Dallas-y.) When I could finally get a word in, I asked her what he was doing in Dallas. She said, “he owns his own company, he transferred here with some Wall Street outfit, but now he’s ventured out on his own, you know, seen the light after being up there with all those people drivin’ those little bitty cars and honkin’ at each other all the time”.

Okay, I’m just going to have to stop here and get to the blind date story. Joan is a whole entire book with several sequels. So, I’ll skip straight to the blind date story and do my best to not get distracted with Joan’s sidebars.

Several weeks went by after Joan enlightened me of the guy who has my name written all over him. During this period in my career I was in Dallas quite a bit. I lived in the L.A. area, but my corporate office was just outside of Philadelphia. I was flying back in forth from L.A. to Philly a lot; the frequent time zone changes were wreaking havoc on my already sleep deprived life. It was draining to fly out of L.A. for Philly on Sunday to be at the corporate office for an 8:00 a.m. meeting Monday morning. The 3-hour time loss was brutal. So, I got to where I would fly to Dallas on Friday, stay the weekend with friends, and then fly to Philly Sunday evening out of Dallas. This allowed me to acclimate a bit better with the three time zones I would buzz through. Plus, the best part of all, I got to see my girlfriends and laugh all weekend in Dallas.

I actually went through Dallas a few more times before Miracle Man and I had that first date. Each time Joan would tell me I really needed to meet this guy. I just never saw the point in making the effort when I lived thousands of miles from Dallas. What was the point? Plus, whenever I was in Dallas, I just wanted to hang out with my girlfriends. My time with them always felt so limited as it was, so the last thing I wanted to do was spend my Dallas weekend on another miserable blind date. I had sworn off blind dates after my 465th bad blind date about 6 months earlier. Oh, the stories I could write on blind dates!

After weeks of Joan driving me crazy about the guy with my name written all over him, I finally said, “okay, if he’s so great, tell him to call me and ask me out on a date like a normal person”. He called the next day.

I was so intrigued with his voice. It was deep and sexy, but also intellectually nerdy. A little bit Marlboro Man, a little bit chemistry high school teacher. We talked, and we talked, and we talked. Every day for a couple of weeks before I had my next trip to Dallas, we talked. How could I have so much to say to someone I’ve never met? It was weird.

Even though we seemed to really hit it off on the phone, I was very specific with him about how BUSY I would be while in Dallas the weekend we would have our first date. I had to have my out. After all, why would this date be any different from the other 465 bad blind dates? I was very specific that we could go out on Friday night, but I had plans for ALL DAY Saturday, and there was just NO WAY I would have any time available to see him the rest of the weekend...

He came to pick me up at Joan’s on Friday, May 1st, 1998, at 7:00 p.m. I was still upstairs when I heard the doorbell ring. Joan’s boys, who were two and three at the time, ran to the door. I could hear Joan say, “Well, Hiiii! Come on in”. About this time her 2 boys (whom I adore, by the way), immediately get down on all fours at his feet and start petting his size 13 boots! They’re touching, and patting, and talking to his ostrich boots like they’re long lost pets. Then Joan looks down at the boys petting the boots and says, “Oh, are they Lucchese? I just LOVE Lucchese! My husband has a pair of Lucchese’s and he looks SO HOT in his Lucchese’s, he’s so lucky I saved him and showed him the way, before he met me he didn’t even know that Lucchese existed, can you believe it, no idea!” At a complete loss on what to say, and standing very still because if he moved one inch he was going to step on a kid, my future Miracle Man politely answered, “yes, they’re Lucchese”.

The boys are still petting his boots when I come down the stairs. I’m wearing a pair of little black skinny pants, because at the time y’all, I could wear little black skinny pants, plus they were all the rage then, with a real cute dressy bomber jacket kind of thing, and real, real cute stiletto heels. I’m coming down the stairs, Miracle Man looks up at me, and he blushes y’all! You could see this red flush that started on the top of his head that slowly seeped down to his forehead, to his face, and down to his neck. Then he smiled at me. I melted. I fell in love right that very second.

The entire drive to the restaurant I was thinking to myself, “this is so weird, I’m in the car talking to the man I’m going to marry. I have finally found him. There really is a lid for every pot!”

As we pull up to the restaurant there are limos all over the place waiting for the valet. My first thought is, “wow, this must be the fanciest restaurant in Dallas!” Then I start seeing all these girls wearing gorgeous gowns stepping out of the limos. I’m beginning to get nervous, thinking I might be under-dressed for this establishment. Have I been in L.A. too long? Have I forgotten my Texas roots and how to do it up big, especially when I'm in Dallas where everything is BIG? I’m wearing a casual California guy gittin’ outfit, not a Dallas debutante do you know how much I paid for this outfit. As we get closer, we realize the occasion: It’s prom night! We had the most fun watching these kids and reminiscing and sharing stories about our own proms.

As we laughed and talked while having cocktails before dinner, I began realizing that this was the only night I was going to get to see him! I had boxed myself in with my firm stories about how busy I would be the rest of the weekend. I had no choice but to start backstroking: “Oh, did I tell you how disappointed I am about my plans for Saturday kind of falling apart? Gosh, I was so looking forward to my plans with my friends, but, well, it turns out that everything has been postponed. Looks like I’ll just be hanging out at Joan’s all day. Yep, all day… just sitting around”. He didn’t take the hook, so I continued, “Yeah, I guess Joan’s husband might have his boss in town, they might have to go out to dinner or something.” Miracle Man just listened, didn’t say a word, except, “I have a lot going on tomorrow”. Now I’m panicking. Is his “having a lot to do” sincere, or does he not like me, and dishing out the “oh, I’m just so busy” line to me? Is he going to ditch me? Am I already getting the dogbone? This isn’t the way it’s supposed to go. I’m the only one that can use the “I’m just so busy” line. What am I going to do? Then he went on to tell me about a pool party he’s going to on Saturday. Pool party? What if he goes to this pool party with all these beautiful Dallas women and finds the Dallas Barbie of his dreams? Oh my gosh, he’s going to spend an entire day with girls in bikinis, Dallas girls in bikinis, what am I going to do? How in the world am I going to get myself out of this dilemma?

He let me squirm and backstroke all night long y’all! He never gave an inch! For a total of 3 hours we stayed in that restaurant having pre-dinner and after-dinner drinks. That whole time I was backstroking and he never backed down from his ‘pool party’ story. When we finally closed the place down and had no choice but to leave, we were waiting outside for the valet to bring up the car, and out of the blue he tilted his head down and gave me a kiss! Then he laughed and said with a grin on his face, “Why don’t we hook up for some lunch tomorrow?”

Now we begin our 9th year of marriage. In so many ways it seems like our wedding was just yesterday, but in other ways, it’s hard for me to remember what my life was like without him. This, I know for sure: Nine years ago, I would have never in a million years thought we would be living on a lavender farm. So much has happened. We both moved, Jack from Dallas, and me from California. Jack started a business in San Antonio, we built a house, sold it, closed a business, bought a farm in the Hill Country, had a health crisis, started construction on another house, figured out (actually we’re still figuring out) how to farm lavender and distill essential oil, developed a bath and body line, and had many, many bumps in the road, but here we are, living right down the road from the LBJ Ranch and Lady Bird’s home. Something I dreamed and wished for 25 years earlier. Again, another story. (you can read about it here.)

Here’s to my Miracle Man, and all our wonderful memories, and the many more to come. He makes me laugh, spoils me rotten, puts up with all my quirks, loves animals, and likes how I look with no makeup! This is true love y’all!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

Although I didn’t have the opportunity to raise a 2-legged son, I did raise a delightful 4-legged son named, Buckaroo. He has grown up to be such a respectful and well-behaved young man.

Buckaroo is 14 years old, and we received the dreaded news yesterday that his little kidneys are only functioning at about 25%. We know what we’re headed for, and we’re just crushed. He is our baby boy. We're going to cherish each day we have with him.

My Mother-in-law always refers to Buckaroo as a “gentleman”, and I like to think that if I had raised a human son, he too would have grown up to be as much a gentleman as my baby Buck.

Buckaroo was an only child, raised by a single mother until he was 6 years old. At 8 years old he became big brother to 2 kittens, and a few more years later 4 more kitties and 2 dogs. He’s the best big brother anyone could have, always protecting his siblings, letting them always eat first, and even allowing them to go through the doggie door first, just stepping aside until they all have exited and when the last one is out, he adoringly follows wagging his tail the entire time.

When Jack and I first met it was love at first sight for me, but for Jack it was a bit delayed until he met Buckaroo. Meeting Buck just sealed the deal for Jack.

I’ll never forget walking down the aisle on my wedding day and there at the altar stood Jack with Buckaroo! Buckie just stood next to Jack, so proud and smiling. During the ceremony he got a bit tired of standing and spotted his Aunt Lisa on the 2nd row and went and jumped on her lap to watch the rest of the ceremony. But when the nuptials ended and Jack and I walked back up the aisle, Buckaroo promptly jumped off Lisa’s lap and in perfect timing, followed us up the aisle just wagging his tail, as if he was saying: “I now have a Daddy!”

Buckaroo is our child. I know for some people that aren’t dog people this is difficult to understand. But at the same time it is difficult for me to understand how people can’t love dogs. I truly believe God made me a dog person because He knew I wouldn’t be able to have children of my own, so He gave me the love in my heart for animals which would suffice any feeling of loss for not having the 2-legged type.

Before Jack entered our lives, Buckaroo and I traveled many, many miles and lived in various places across the country. However, being the protective Mother I am, I never let Buck fly on a plane. He would be far too nervous, or maybe I would be far too nervous for him to be left alone in a cage, treated like nothing but cargo.

When I had to move from Little Rock to Los Angeles I found myself in a real dilemma. My company was managing all the packing and moving of my belongings, so I just needed to get myself to L.A., and get there QUICKLY I might add, to start my new position. I had no choice but to call the airlines and check the protocol for flying with dogs. Because Buck was too large for a kennel that would fit under the seat, I was told I had no choice but to ‘check him in’ with my luggage.

I pleaded and explained that he was perfectly behaved and would quietly sit in my lap not bothering a single person if they would let him fly with me in the cabin. They said, “No”. I even asked if I could travel with Buckaroo in the belly of the plane. I said I had absolutely NO PROBLEM just checking in with all the other dogs. In fact, I preferred to just travel down below with the dogs rather than the humans. I would even pay full fare; they could just slap a cargo sticker on my forehead and I wouldn’t say a word. They still said, “NO”.

So, like all good grandmothers, my Mom came to the rescue. Bless her heart. She offered to drive Buck from Texas to Los Angeles! All I had to do was drive 13 hours from Little Rock to Texas to drop off Buck, and then catch a plane from Texas for L.A. No problem. Mom then drove the even longer two day drive from Texas to L.A, by herself, with Buck sitting next to her in the front seat the whole way.

It took such a load off my shoulders! I was completely in distress over the thought of Buckaroo having to fly. No, Mom didn’t offer to do this because she, too, was so worried about Buck, but because she loves me and that’s just what Mom’s do.

To this day, if Jack and I have to be out of town for any length of time, Mom will travel 6 hours and take off work to come baby sit so we can enjoy our trip. Like parents of the 2-legged type away on a trip, we would fret and worry and not enjoy ourselves one bit if we didn’t think the babies at home were being loved and having all their little needs met.

My Mother-in-Law has even flown all the way from Florida to obligingly pay her Grandmotherly dues and keep the children while Jack and I are away.

Both of our Mothers just get it. They understand that we’re animal people, and that these are our children.

Happy Mother’s Day to both of my Mothers! Thanks for understanding how much Jack and I love our animals and for always going above and beyond to help out. And thanks for raising us to respect and love all creatures great and small. You made us what we are.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Please let me clean before you clean ...

Guess what I did today? I took a day off work! But, wait. Don’t get too excited for me wondering how I spent a blissful day free of e-mail, voice mail, conference calls, and deadlines. I didn’t spend a day at the spa or a late morning just lounging and drinking coffee. I didn’t even get to watch Oprah. In fact, I am just as drained right now as I am on any other typical workday.

I used one of my sacred vacation days from work to enjoy a wonderful day of cleaning house. Yep, house cleaning. Well, that was my intent, anyway. But, it’s now Friday evening and I have not done one thing. I haven’t put a dish in the dishwasher or a load in the laundry. I can’t even find my can of Pledge.

I won’t go into all the details, but the bottom line is I just got too caught up with all the distractions that always occur around here when it’s close to harvest and festival time. Don’t feel sorry for me. It was good stuff I was doing. I helped Jack get out some lavender orders, talked to some customers on the phone, worked on some details on the new products we’re developing, walked through the fields to check the bloom status. It was all the things I love to do, it’s just that time completely got away from me and now I’m sitting here looking at a mile high pile of laundry. I keep waiting for that laundry urge to hit me, it just hasn’t happened yet.

I know you are now going to ask: You don’t have a cleaning lady to help with the house? No, I don’t. Why? Because my house is too dirty for a cleaning lady y’all. I would be completely humiliated for anyone to witness our living conditions. I’m going to have to take a 2-week vacation just to prepare for a cleaning lady! Is this not a sad situation? I could never subject anyone to this mess, no matter how much I paid them. If I ever am able to find anyone to help, provided they don’t turn around and run as soon as they see it, I would probably have to order them to have a tetanus shot before entering. With all the construction that surrounds us, cleaning my house is pretty much just transferring dirt and rearranging clutter.

I’ve mentioned before that our house is under construction. There’s no easy way for me to explain what we’re doing other than explaining it this way: We’re basically building a house that is being attached to the old, existing farmhouse that we’ve been living in for 4 years. Due to the construction, we are pretty much crammed into a small area in one corner. That means lots and lots of clutter, and just stuff everywhere with no place to put it. Until we can spread out, we’re just crammed in a small space like sardines. Cute little sardines, of course. Sardines with lots and lots of cute little shoes with no place to put them.

Yes, it’s all going to be worth the pain, because the house will be just beautiful, but I will NEVER build or remodel again. This is it. If an idea ever pops into my head again, and I mean even 20 years from now, to knock out a wall and expand that, or replace the tile with this, or even update that, SOMEBODY PLEASE SAVE ME!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It has Fangs!

Okay, you know how Jack and I feel about our birds. In fact, Jack had to take a special trip to San Antonio last week to buy another Purple Martin condominium. We have quite a few Purple Martins right now, and Jack is getting worried that the babies won’t come back next year with their new spouses to set up housekeeping if they think there won’t be room for them. His logic is that if he goes ahead and puts up a new condo next to the existing condo, the babies will realize it’s there when they take their adventurous first flight, and come back next year for their honeymoon and happy nesting. So until dark, he was digging a hole and setting the pole in concrete for his grandchildren to return next year…

Earlier that day, I was in the house and Jack came running in with his hands cupped together and yelling, “honey get some hummingbird food, fast!” In his cupped hands was the tiniest little hummingbird, which he had just saved from the locked, mighty jaws of our sweet little kitty, Button Girl. How can such a sweet little kitty be so ferocious? It’s hard to get angry her because we know it’s just her little instinct to conduct such brutal acts of violence.

So I’m in the kitchen mixing up sugar water and Jack is holding this little precious feathered gift of life, telling me to “hurrrrry”…. Jack thinks if we get this little hummer to get a drink it will somehow get energized to gain the will to survive. Its little eyes are just staring at us with the most startled look. Is it thanking us for saving its life, or begging for mercy? He begins flapping his wings wanting to fly, but not going anywhere. We decide to take him outside to one of the feeders and see if it can get a sip, and at least, stand on his own. Jack placed him on a feeder and we both sighed with relief when we see that he is capable of keeping himself balanced on the feeder. A few more flaps of his wings, and he’s off. He was able to fly! Jack and I both start running with him as he’s flying, cheering him on with well wishes. The rest of the night we kept talking about that little hummingbird and hoping he had been reunited with his family and sleeping soundly.

Then, later that night, we had another winged-friend experience. It’s really late, and I’m on my laptop in front of the TV finishing up some work. Jack is in the chair next to me, asleep. All of a sudden I hear our other kitty, Festus, fly through the kitty door into the house. I can tell something is going on the way he rushed in and ran straight for the dining room, not even acknowledging my existence as he rushed past me.

In the dining room I can hear strange noises, thumps, and drags. I go into the dining room to see what the ruckus is about. I bend down over Festus to get a look. I can’t see; I get down closer. I still can’t see and bend down even closer, my face in Festus’ face and yikes! He has a bat, yes a bat, in his mouth! I start screaming for Jack…. I scream again, and again…. Finally, my Miracle Man comes wobbling in from his easy chair slumber, looking dazed and confused, and says, “Why are you yelling at me, what did I do?” About this same time the bat flutters up to the ceiling. I’m yelling and pointing to the ceiling, “Festus brought a bat in the house!” Jack is scratching his head, still trying to figure out if he’s dreaming or if this is real and Festus is giving me his evil eye look because I’ve just ruined his moment. I’m in freak-out mode, pointing and shaking my finger at the bat on the ceiling asking Jack how in the world he’s going to get it off our ceiling, which by the way is 20 feet high. And just what is my Miracle Man’s response? “It’s just a bat, leave him alone; it’s late, I’m going to bed.” I'm stunned! “What??? You can just go to sleep at a time like this, with a bat in the house?” As he turns toward the bedroom and walks away, I say, “You’re not going to do anything?” His reply as he keeps walking toward the bedroom in a half asleep stride is “The bat’s safe; Festus can’t get to it from the ceiling”. I’m thinking: he’s concerned about the bat’s safety, but not the safety of his darling bride?

It’s not 20 seconds later and I can actually hear my husband snoring from the bedroom! Literally, 20 seconds y’all! How can he get back to sleep so fast? So what do I do? I run as fast as I can to the bedroom, slam the door shut, jump in bed and cover my head for the rest of the night!

The next morning I get up and Jack is already drinking coffee and planning his day. I ask him if the bat is still in the dining room. He says, “Oh, I forgot all about that; I sort of thought it was a dream.” He takes a peak in the dining room and says, “Don’t see it anywhere.” (As if he’s referring to a ladybug or butterfly). I ask him, “Well what are you going to do about it?” He takes a sip of coffee and says, “it’s just a bat in the house, don’t worry about him, he’ll find a safe place to get”.

Good Morning ...

This picture was taken early in the morning when everything was waking up. It's a chilly Spring morning. Notice the steam coming off the tank. Sometimes it's so hard to leave for work in the morning and trade this peacefulness for traffic, noise, and crowds.

Okay, some of y'all are asking: What do you mean, chilly? And, what's a tank? Please allow me to clue you into some Texas lingo.

Chilly is not to be confused with 'chili', which is a stew of spicy ground meat.

Chilly should also not be confused with 'chile', pronounced cheeleh, as in chile sauce, a hot sauce made with tomatoes and spices. Depending on what part of Texas you're from, this spicy condiment is either referred to as chile or salsa. I realized after leaving west Texas, that 'chile' is not a universal term once you are east of the Pecos River. If you're not in west Texas and ask for 'chile' in a Mexican food restaurant, specifically one of those large franchise restaurants, the gringo waiting on you will likely say, "we just have Mexican Food, not chili. You'll have to go next door, over to Chili's."

Okay, now for the 3rd definition of Chilly, and how I was using it to describe the photo above: 'Chilly' is a coldness in the air, or of your person. i.e., "I'm chilly," or "It's chilly out here". It's a great word.

Now you ask, what is a tank? Well, a tank y'all is what some may refer to as a pond. I have no idea why West Texans call a pond a tank, we just do. When we have visitors out here and I need to point them a certain direction, I will say: "You will see the lavender field to the east of the tank". I always get a perplexed look and have to say, "I mean pond".