Young bitches

growling dog

I joined a local Facebook garage sale website yesterday.

On the home page it stated :

“This is a helpful venue to connect with others to buy, sale, give away, or find items and services, barter with others for goods and services… This site is open to everyone, and offers a drama-free place to conduct your business without having admins constantly police your posts, delete posts over arbitrary rules, harass you, etc. Please feel free to post what you need to, when you want to. The only real rules are to simply use common sense and common courtesy when posting and/or interacting with others and to keep the group free of personal drama and pettiness.”

I decided to list 2 metal clothes racks for $20 a piece. Daughter #3 had originally bought them a few years ago for around $35.

I got two nibbles within 20 minutes, came back a couple of hours later to check on the listing.

There were 7 or 8 additional comments.

Sweet!

Then I started reading the comments.

Brittany accused me of having a lot of nerve.. said I was a scammer.  Said  those coat racks could be bought new for $15 to $20 at Walmart.

(I had no idea who Brittany was)

Then a local girl I do know (vaguely) named Ann,  made the comment..“Why leave such a mean nasty comment?  If someone was interested,  why not just keep her nasty comments to herself.”

Brittany replied “I am entitled to my opinions and I am a “bigger person” for speaking up.”

Sara (another person I do not know) commented:“Because people need to be protected!”

Sara (then posted a link to a Walmart ad listing metal clothes racks for sale for $15.

Loretta, chimed in a few minutes later with “WOW~!!!

All of this was going on while I was installing a new shelf for my wife in the laundry room.

Pause.

I had several thoughts go through my head.

Delete the post.

I was not a “scammer!”

Words like “bitch” flittered through my mind.

There I was in a public forum, my reputation was starting to take a hit.  Compared to the stuff going on in the Middle East, this sort of thing should not have bothered me, but it did.

It was a test.

Then I got a private message from one of the first people who had expressed an interest in my listing.. she was still interested, in spite of the drama. 😉

In the end, I pulled the ad without responding to the snark.

I did send Ann a thank you note for sticking up for me.

Here is a portion of her reply:


“You are very welcome.
I don’t know you guys well, but I know you’re not “scammers”.
I so badly wanted to just keep going and keep commenting and try to put them in their place, but I knew I would be no better than them.
I even went online and I found racks nearly identical at Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond, and Lowe’s for up to $40 or more.
I wanted so badly to post links and tell them that they didn’t know where they came from, not everyone shops exclusively at Wal-Mart. 
Oh, I was so frustrated, but in the end I thought it best to just let it go, as hard as it was.
I really think people like this thrive on drama. I just don’t understand.
Just know there are that many more people out there that KNOW that’s not how you are Have a great day, and stay warm!”

I copied Ann’s note and put it on our  frig.

 

Musing on the brevity of life in word and picture

birthday breakfast with dad 2009

Out for breakfast with dad

I  (DM) celebrated another birthday recently.

I have never felt more comfortable in my skin than I do now.

Recently my mom wound up in the hospital with multiple health concerns.  There was a very real sense we might be loosing her.

I can still feel the chill in the air, even though she is on the mend.

Friday, we stopped to see our friend Helen in the nursing home. (I mentioned her in passing in the last blog post)   I noticed a marked decline in her physical health.

So between my mom, Helen, and my birthday, it feels like the pace of life has picked up a notch.

Then to top it off,  I came across the photo series of the Brown sisters.  Starting in 1975, right up to the present. One of the brother’s in law (Nicholas Nixon) who happens to also be a photographer,  created this beautiful series of pictures ..

They are my peers.

To see them age, literally before my eyes in that series of pictures was so powerful…

 

the brown sister 1975

The Brown sisters 1975

 

If you want to read the background and  see the whole series   here’s a link.   (I’d recommend it)

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In 2009 I  read  an article titled, The top 5 regrets of people who are dying.  It was full of good stuff.

( By the way, I am NOT trying to make this post a downer… 🙂

It’s just that I have always been intrigued by the brevity of life. I want to make sure I am living my life to the absolute fullest and pass along  what I’m observing to anyone who cares to listen.

Last thing I want to do is to wake up in my 80’s or 90’s and have regrets.

Why wait till the end of the race to discover I was running off course the whole time?

Here’s a link to that article about the top 5 regrets.

Quick question…Is it possible to take the sting out of a past regret? If so, what has that looked like to you?

 

 

Musing after my prostate biopsy

As we pulled out of the driveway  headed to the  Urologist’s office, a song was on my lips:“I’m off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of Oz….

because because because because..

because of all the wonderful things he does…” 

I looked at my  wife and we laughed . ..especially when we got to that  line about the “wonderful things he does.”

(We were both thinking about the “wonderful thing” the Doctor was going to be doing to me in little over an hour 😦 )

My PSA count has been hovering slightly above normal now for a couple of years, and at my last appointment in June , it  jumped 2 points.

Dr looked @ me and suggested we needed to consider taking a biopsy  to rule out cancer.   I told him  the higher # was  just a lab error! 🙂

He liked my attitude, but said  I needed to retake the blood work , just in case.

The next day I had  the blood work done again and when the results came back,  it had  climbed 2 more points.

When Pam the Dr.’s nurse  called with the new numbers, I  agreed I  would schedule the biopsy…..

reluctantly

The procedure is on an outpatient basis, no anesthetic.   Nurse and  Dr both said it would feel like “someone  snapping me on the rear with a rubber band.”  (keep that in mind)

That didn’t sound too bad going in….

Now that I’ve experienced it personally, I would  like to give you a different word picture….

It felt like the Wicked Witch  had taken  her broom handle, inserted  it  where it didn’t  belong and snapped it off!

I could still feel the slivers 8 hours later.

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After today’s procedure, I’m more  committed than ever to growing  old gracefully…..

We have a friend Helen, she’ in her early 90’s…

She is my role model.

She has the sweetest spirit.

Every time we see her, I come away encouraged.

She still has her mind, though her body is shot.

She’s been through enough  physical pain and heartache for 3 people.

(Within a year’s time she buried her husband, a sister, and a grandson who chose to end his own life.)

I asked her after the death of her grandson, how in the world she did it???

What was the secret of her resilient spirit?

It’s not that I don’t grieve, she told me, because she did.

She said, she’d learned that you have to let things go.

Sometimes, things will happen that  won’t make any sense, but you have to keep living.

She’d been through a lot and spoke with authority.

Writing this tonight, makes me want to stop and see her again. being around people like that gives me hope.

Well, time to hit the sack.  I’m supposed to lay low for a couple of days.

I’ll try.
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2-19-2015 update.
I wrote this a couple of years ago. Some of you may remember reading it on my other blog.  As of today while my numbers continue to be elevated, there is no sign of cancer for which I am thankful. Also,  I didn’t  experience the same level of discomfort the day after, that I did the first time around, which was awesome.  DM

This little piggy went to market

Things can happen around here pretty quickly sometimes….

Jim suggested to me on Wednesday  I need to start wearing one of those  go-pro video cameras.

I told him it would be  pretty boring.

He just rolled his eyes and shook his head “no” (ie. would not be boring)

Anyway,  Not going to unpack my whole day yesterday for you, just a short portion.

Wife and I were talking about how well we are doing staying on our food budget this winter. (We are still staying in the $175 a month range, which is WAY down from a year ago when we were spending twice  that amount.)

I suggested maybe we could think about buying a live pig off of Craigslist and have it butchered.  The cost per pound can be 1/2 of what you pay in the store, and if we looked for a pig that was pasture raised w/o a bunch of chemicals and hormones, so much the better.

Within an hour I found two farmers who were selling exactly what I was looking for.

Next step was to line up an appointment with a local locker and coordinate delivery.

Called a locker that we have used in the past and been very happy with.

I  was on my cell phone and the reception sucked.  It was  getting close to quitting time at the locker and I was concerned I might have to deal with someone who was tired and ready to go home.

I did.

Conversation started out OK, next thing I know she is telling me…”whoa- whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa”....(in that condescending tone that tells me she thinks she is talking with an idiot)

I asked about possible dates on their calendar to bring in a hog, as well as various cutting options.

I hung up, got a hold of the farmer, He tells me he is flexible on delivery, so I decide to call the locker back and get it over with.

Sure enough,  I got the same lady again.  Phone reception still sucked. I told her who I was and attempted to firm up the rest of the details on this pig processing gig.

You’d think it would be simple.

It wasn’t.

By the time we were finished, I felt like I had just been in a wrestling match with an octopus.

I did get her name….I’ll call her Janey.

Went to the locker’s home page and downloaded their “cut sheet.”  If you’ve never dealt with a locker before, a “cut sheet” gives all the possible options you have when it comes to types of cuts, size of cuts, smoking, sausages, packaging, etc.  You fill that out when you drop an animal off to be butchered.

I decided last night I am personally, physically going to stop by the locker next week and have another conversation with “Janey” and revise the cut list I gave her over the phone.

I much rather have those kind of interactions in person, eyeball to eye-ball than over a phone with a poor connection.

Growing up, my dad encouraged me to “look people in the eye” when I talk.

I love doing that.

I really do believe our eyes are a window into our souls.

Side note – I’ve looked into more than one set of eyes and wondered if there was anybody home. 😉

Couple of years ago I butchered a pig myself here  on the farm.  I’d raised it along with my pet pig Winston to keep her company.

I actually enjoyed the whole process of butchering (except for the killing part).

There is something about knowing where my food really comes from that is grounding.

The hardest part for me is when you raise an animal yourself and you allow yourself to become attached to it.

Some of you who are long time readers from my other blog would remember Winston..but for those of you who don’t, I’ll close with a picture of her and I…and no, I did not eat her.

Donated her to a camp for handicapped kids. (I was thinking petting zoo.)…. (they were thinking their annual pancake and sausage breakfast)

poster

My friend Winston the Pig.

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Update 2-15-2015

Thought I would include a couple of  Cut charts for those of you interested in knowing where your cut’s of meat come from.

pig-butcher-diagram-2

Pork cut chart 

Cuts Of Beef

beef cut chart

 

Road Rage footage you simply must watch ;-)! DM

I watched this 4 times in a row last night. 🙂  It’s only 1:32 long.

Back story. This was actual video footage from a dash cam.  took place in Russia.  Couple of guys are coming home from work, both talking about how tired they are, when suddenly this little pickup truck goes by them on the left, pulls in front of this camper and starts to chew out the driver…

Sink Holes

     florida sink hole

 

Mulberry Florida sink hole

“If my private world is in order, it will be because I am convinced that the inner world of the spiritual must govern the outer world of activity.”   from the book Ordering Your Private World by Gordon McDonald

 

I  DM read those words in 1987 as my personal world was on the verge of a sinkhole collapse.

I was 29 years old.

Just celebrated another birthday this week.

I am 20 plus years removed from that time in my life. Made some major changes in my life as  a result of reading that book.

Thought I would re-post this for those of you that are feeling harried and stressed.

There may be a better way.

Here is another portion from that book:

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“Sink holes occur, scientists say, when underground streams drain away during seasons of drought, causing the ground at the surface to lose its underlying support.  Suddenly everything simply caves in, leaving people with a frightening suspicion that nothing – not even the earth beneath their feet – is trustworthy.

There are many people whose lives are like one of Florida’s sinkholes.  It is likely that at one time or another many of us have perceived ourselves to be on the verge of a sinkhole – like cave-in.  In the feelings of numbing fatigue, a taste of apparent failure, or the bitter experiences of disillusionment about goals or purposes, we have sensed something within us about to give way.  We feel we are just a moment from a collapse that will threaten to sweep our entire world into a bottomless pit.  Sometimes there seems to be little that cane be done to prevent such a collapse.  What is wrong?

If we think about it for very long, we may discover the existence of an inner space 0f our private world about which we were formerly ignorant.  I hope it will become apparent that, if neglected, this private world will not sustain the weight of events and stresses that press upon us.

Some people are surprised and disturbed when they make such a self discovery.  They suddenly realize that they have spent the majority of their time and energy establishing life on the visible level, at the surface.  They have accumulated a host of good and perhaps even excellent assets such as academic degrees, work experience, key relationships and physical strength or beauty.

There is nothing wrong with all of that . But often it is discovered almost too late that the private world of the person is in a state of disorderliness or weakness.  And when that is true, there is  always potential for the sinkhole syndrome.

We must come to see ourselves as living in two very different worlds.  Our outer, or public world is easier to deal with,.  It is much more measurable, visible, and expandable,.  Our outer world consists of work, play possessions, and a host of acquaintances that make up a social network,  It is the part of our existence easiest to evaluate in terms of success, popularity, wealth, and beauty.  But our inner world is more spiritual in nature.  Here is a center in which choices and values can be determined, where solitude and reflection might be pursued….

….Our public worlds are filled with a seeming infinity of demands upon our time, our loyalties, our money, and our energies.  And because these public worlds of ours are so visible, so real, we have to struggle to ignore all there seductions and demands.  They scream for our attention and action.

But there is a private world in every one of us.”

 

Pretense

I was talking with my son on Saturday about his wreck of a car. He  had the passenger door torn apart trying to fix the lock.  He finally  got the lock to work but the inside  panel wouldn’t snap back on.  I joked that if he met someone who wanted to go out with him while he was  driving that car, then  she may be a keeper. 🙂

In the early 1990’s I had a young man named Dan  for me.    While were roofing my house  he began to open up.

He was  frustrated.

He said it was hard to establish a  relationship  not based just upon the physical.   Dan  was good-looking  and  had a great personality.

He said being too attractive was  a curse.

I’d never heard that from anyone before, but the more I thought about it, the more sense it made to me.

I believe it is hard wired into the human heart to desire significant  relationships with people who  love and accept us  for who we are.

At the same time, we  have good reason to be guarded and skeptical when someone shows an interest in us.

 

Pretense:   Mere show without reality; outward appearance.  Something imagined or pretended.  The act of pretending; a false appearance or action intended to deceive.

I hate pretense.

Hate it.

Kevin contacts me about building a house.   We meet, he is all smiles, seemed  like I was his long-lost buddy. He picks my brain about everything from who  to recommend  to which materials to use.  Later  he attempts to hire my employee  behind my back to save himself a few buck on trimming.  By the end of the job, I felt like I’d been played like a fish.  He used me for what he needed and then moved on.

Bloggers write for a plethora of reasons.

I blog for three reasons.

First as a  way to release this stuff that rumbles around in my head.

Secondly,  as a way to meet and connect with people in a meaningful way.

Thirdly, I’m hoping that once in a while , my kids will read some of the stuff I’ve written and it will make a difference.

WordPress encourages me   to comment on  blogs to build traffic.  I’ve been actively blogging on WordPress since 2007.

Now I love comments just as much as the next guy, but at some point I began to feel like I was playing Monopoly with pretend relationship money.   It wasn’t real.   It felt  shallow and superficial so  I  backed off from commenting just to build “traffic” over at my blog.   If I leave a comment now, it’s because you said something worth noting. 😉

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I leave you with two quotes by Emerson:

     “I do not wish to treat friendships daintily, but with roughest courage. When they are real, they are not glass threads or frost work, but the solidest thing we know.”         Emerson

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      “Our friendships hurry to short and poor conclusions, because we have made them a texture of wine and dreams, instead of the tough fibre of the human heart. The laws of friendship are austere and eternal, of one web with the laws of nature and of morals. But we have aimed at a swift and petty benefit, to suck a sudden sweetness. We snatch at the slowest fruit in the whole garden of God, which many summers and many winters must ripen.”
     Bashfulness and apathy are a tough husk, in which a delicate organization is protected from premature ripening. It would be lost if it knew itself before any of the best souls were yet ripe enough to know and own it. Respect the naturlangsamkeit which hardens the ruby in a million years, and works in duration.”
Naturlangsamkeit: a German word for a slow process of ripening
(DM’s translation:  Friendships take time to ripen…I  can’t  hurry the process….)
      “There are two elements that go to the composition of friendship, each so sovereign that I can detect no superiority in either, no reason why either should be first named. One is Truth. A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him I may think aloud. I am arrived at last in the presence of a man so real and equal, that I may drop even those undermost garments of dissimulation, courtesy, and second thought, which men never put off, and may deal with him with the simplicity and wholeness .”
       “We parry and fend the approach of our fellow-man by compliments, by gossip, by amusements, by affairs. We cover up our thought from him under a hundred folds……
 

take the mask off

I am thankful for a handful of relationships that have taken root directly as a result of blogging the past 8 years.  DM