Blueberries picking 101

Link  —  Posted: May 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

Follow Me…

Posted: May 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

I’ve decided to move my blog to a self hosted url, I hope those of you who have followed me here will follow me there. I’d appreciate it, as I would miss you :). Comment if you would like the link:)

 

Passion

Posted: May 6, 2014 in Journal, Writing
noun: passion; plural noun: passions; noun: Passion; noun: the Passion
1.
strong and barely controllable emotion.

At this point in my life, I want to sit back and decide… what is it that I really want to do? One hears so much hype about following your passion, it has become the mantra of many self-help authors and entrepreneurs and life coaches and would-be experts.

But what is passion? Does everyone have one? And how do you explore and find yours if you don’t know what it is?

Am I handicapped in some way since I am of a “certain age” and yet I have no f’ing idea what my passion is! I can never shake the feeling that I am born to do something grand… but I haven’t. I’ve lived a life where I flitted from one thing to the next, have I always been searching for what is my passion… even before it became a hot buzz word?

When someone listens to an accounting of my life, they respond with words like, “interesting, exciting, adventurous, brave… funny how when I think of my life, it was none of those things. Is it that I expect so much that nothing can quite live up to the hype?

I ask myself sometimes when I hear my self talk… “my goodness, I wouldn’t speak to my worst enemy in those terms.” Why am I so hard on myself? I used to think it was just me. I see people whom I believe to be successful, and for whom everything seems to come so easy. They have a clear path. They move along in from point A to point B achieving every goal seemingly effortlessly. Is this because they are doing what is their passion? Mark Cuban says What a bunch of BS. ”Follow Your Passion” is easily the worst advice you could ever give or get.

 “Don’t follow your passions, follow your effort. It will lead you to your passions and to success, however you define it.”
I think I like his definition the best. I have tried many things in my life.. I’ve been a student, a tennis player, Bartender, Meat Wrapper, Waitress, Lab Technician, Musician, Phlebotomist, Human Factors Engineer, Technical Writer, Ranch Manger, Personnel Assistant, small business creator… with the exception of the last, I followed through on every one of those jobs and became fairly proficient, enjoyed the work … but still somehow I found it lacking. I didn’t feel fulfilled.
So here we are at the present day. What will I do? Write? Start a Business? I just don’t know. What waits out there for me this time. I’ve never really taken the time to think about it before. A door opened and I went through. This is the first time in my life, at least that I can remember, that I am faced with the proposition of ferreting out that which will be meaningful to me. And I’m scared to death that I’ll never find it. Then what…

Hard Work

Posted: February 14, 2014 in Uncategorized

I saw your team is in first place. After having such a tough season last year, this has got to feel good. Even as you work hard in the weeks to come, I hope you are savoring where you are!

LIttle Black Dress

Posted: February 13, 2014 in Miscellaneous
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I remember when I was a young girl wearing a black something one day. An older woman, I don’t know, or remember rather, who she was told me I should wear something colorful, that I was too young to wear black. Funny the things you remember and how they take on new meaning and diverge from the original as you travel on your life’s journey.

Today I say this to you, I’m still young enough to wear black for the look and not for the purpose!

As I look into my closet for something to wear today to a very important meeting, my choice will likely be, that perfect little black dress!

gertiesold

Mount Saint Gertrude’s Academy for Girls
970 Aurora
Boulder, Colorado
circa 1966

It was my first time living away from home. I had been banished from my mother’s house in Denver, Colorado and sent away to an all girls catholic boarding school 30 or so miles north-west in nearby Boulder, in the hopes they could do something about my incorrigible behavior. It was a tough time in my short life, I was 14 and a freshman in high school. I hadn’t done anything horrible, especially when measured by today’s prism; but I was having a tough time in school… bored; in friends… wrong crowd; in love… dazed and confused. I remember as we drove up to the school that cold winter’s day and I laid eyes on the old building that was original completed in 1892, that I thought there were bars on the windows.

I felt dwarfed by the impressive building that housed the school which was founded by the Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary from Dubuque, Iowa. Originally built to serve students from all over the world, particularly those with tuberculosis, it had become a refuge for parents who needed some place to send their “difficult” girls. The school also accepted “day students”, girls who did not live at the school, but came each day from their own homes somewhere in the local town, their parents expecting them to receive a catholic education in an environment with no distractions… code for no boys! We were affectionately known as “Gerties Girls” who under the guidance of the BVM sisters, would receive a first class education along with the discipline that our parents were unable to instill in us; I doubt it some of the things we learned was quite what that the nuns and the parents had in mind!

Everything at the school was difficult and disciplined. We lived in dormitories, usually  6-8 girls,  in curtained alcoves that contained a twin bed and a dresser, nothing more. Each dormitory also had a supervising nun, whose alcove was slightly more permanent. It had a locking door attached to four wood paneled sides that stretched upwards but stopped short of the ceiling by about two feet. This allowed the resident sister, who would serve as a supervisor to her dorm, to hear everything taking place, yet have a little more privacy than was afforded the students. Each night the girls would retire to their alcoves, pull the curtains and wait for lights out at 9PM. We sometimes would play tricks on our supervisor like removing the piece that held the door to the hinge… we were rebels, all of us! By today’s standards though, quite tame.

Along with our school work, the girls were encouraged to participate in the school sponsored social activities which ranged from field trips to functions held on the school property. The  trips into town were most often to the Hill, a neighborhood just on the outskirts of the campus of  University of Colorado (CU), to shop in the college book store, try to sneak into the Sink or the Hub, both of which were bars popular with the university students,  or to sit in the Gunslinger, another local hangout, drinking our cokes and watching the college kids cruise up and down the main street. The organized social functions held at the school were typically in the form of dances, chaperoned usually by the nuns themselves.

During my first year there at Gerties, the first school dance was to be a Valentines Day dance. Typically the day student’s would invite their local boyfriends, but the boarder’s had to find other ways to invite a boy to serve as her date for the function.

I invited Earl Jacobsen. It was my first blind date.

I don’t remember where I got Earl from, all I remember is I was thrilled that I had a date for the dance! Somehow I ended up with a red dress to wear, don’t recall if I went shopping for it or borrowed it. The day of the dance was filled with the usual preparations, hair done, make-up applied, but barely… catholic school you know!

Earl arrived promptly at 7:30. I met him in the main entry hall and he escorted me into the Gymnasium where the usual basketball activities and sounds of balls bouncing were replaced with red and white streamers, a table full of refreshments and distorted music blaring through the PA system. My dress was a simple A-line red velvet dress, with a black bow gracing the neck line, white lace trimmed the edge of the fitted long sleeves. Our dress length for the uniforms we wore daily was determined by the “Gertie code”, the hem of the dress must brush the floor when in a kneeling position. Inspection of school uniforms for length was common. We, of course, found a way to still wear the shorter skirts that were in style – after all it was the time of the mini’s – by rolling the waistband until the desired length was achieved. Then all one had to do when a surprise inspection took place was to tug on the sides of the skirt un-rolling the gathers from the waist as the knees bent towards the floor to assume the inspection position! See what I mean about education?! My dress for the evening, however, could not be rolled at the waist and so it was the appropriate length to pass inspection.

Earl had brought with him corsage for me as was customary. It is the first time I remember getting flowers from a boy, He fumbled nervously as he pinned it to my dress just below my left shoulder.

As we walked to the gym, Earl, a tall lanky blonde haired pimple faced charmer, leaned over and whispered in my ear. “Don’t you know you shouldn’t wear red on a first date? It excites a guy!”

I blushed hearing those words. I was embarrassed and flattered all at the same time! But mostly I was shocked that he was so forward as to even say that to me!

We stood there together most of the night, and after a time he took my hand in his.  I felt a warm glow spread though my body and a genuine sense of excitement and embarrassment filled my heart.

The next morning I was called into Sister Mary Ann Regina’s office, the principal and mother superior for our school. She chastised me for my behavior at the dance. We did nothing but stand together holding hands, no dancing, no kissing.  “It is not appropriate to hold hands until the 5th date!”.

I had many experiences at Gerties. But this one will always stand out. I remember hearing Duke of Earl playing sometime during that night and my friends and I would laugh in the coming days about Earl, and always sing the familiar intro “Duke duke duke, duke of earl, duke duke, duke of earl…” chiding me about Earl and we would laugh and laugh. The details have become a little fuzzy and I often wonder whatever happened to Earl, he wasn’t the first boy to hold my hand, but the comment about the dress and the chastising for holding hands holds a special place in my memories… another lifetime ago, when life was simple.

© 2014 Kitti McMeel
Submitted February 14 to Writing Challenge
Image courtesy of Electronic Library of Colorado Architecture, Landscape and Planning

Photo courtesy of Jorge K Furniture

Salon Design Ideas

Love this style

Image  —  Posted: February 6, 2014 in Uncategorized

Protected: Emptiness

Posted: February 3, 2014 in DPchallenge, Writing Challenge
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Sometimes You Just Need One More Day!

Posted: February 3, 2014 in Writing

swallow

 

It was a beautiful spring morning. Hugo was becoming accustomed to the routine. His mother, a very stylish and dedicated young swallow, had  just left the nest to gather breakfast for Hugo and his two sisters, Alisa and June. Their father, Joseph, had left earlier that morning as had become his habit. They never seemed to search for food together. Often one of them would stay behind, guarding their babies with diligent observation. But now that their babies were almost grown and nearing the time that they would be leaving their parents’ nest, they would often both fly away from the nest on the hunt for the families food.

Joseph was a dedicated family man, even more so than most dad swallows. Small in stature, his brown and black tufts made him look much larger than he was. His short bill had a small chip off the end, a remnant from a fight with a predator when he was a young man. His principle concern in this life was his family; his wife Vanessa, and his three babies, June, Alisa and Hugo. He had left the nest earlier this morning. The kids were getting big and the amount of food needed to sustain their lives was growing larger and larger every day. They would soon be ready to go off on their own.

“What a glorious day!” June chirped as she awoke from a restful night of sleeping. She was not an early riser like Hugo, but she did enjoy watching the sun peak from behind the horizon. She just didn’t get to see it very often!

“I’m hungry,” moaned Alisa as she stretched her wings behind her, her eyes still heavy with sleep. “When did mom leave?”

“You’re always hungry!” June laughed as she watched Alisa open her bill and crane her neck to the sky. “You know mom will be back soon! It never takes her very long. Stop complaining.”

Hugo never took part in this early morning banter that made up their morning each day. He flapped his wings and began to shake beginning with his head and gurgling down his body till it reach his very tail! He so enjoyed the morning sun and the soft sweet breeze that swirled through the barn aisle and just below where they were nestled.

“I’m not complaining, Alisa sulked as she continued her routine dialogue. “It’s just that it’s been such a very long time since dinner and my tummy is making noises. I just know mom is not coming back, she has been gone a very long time!”

Alisa was a bit of a worry-wart. She was what the little girl who lived in the house would call a “Phessimiste”. Hugo often wondered to himself, “Why is Alisa always so sure something bad will happen?” Every morning it was the same thing. Natalie, the girl from the house, came to the barn every morning to visit the horses. Sometimes she was with her mother, and sometimes she would come alone.  She would always glance upwards to the gable of the barn aisle where our mudded home nestles in a small corner just above the eve the spanned the width of the barn aisle.

Hugo was sure that mom would return with a mouth full of freshly gathered insects, ready to drop into the mouths of her eagerly waiting brood; bills clambering and flapping their wings, their cries begging for the food she carried. It was dangerous out their, Hugo knew that. Many times in his short life, he had seen other nests apparently abandoned by their previous occupants. Alisa had once told him that she could see  evidence of the family that had lived there. Hugo did not know what had happened to them, and when he had asked his mother, she had told him that sometimes bad things can happen to good swallows. He hadn’t pressed his mother for more information, he hadn’t wanted to know. Alisa had told him that she had seen small bit of egg shell fall to the ground.

“Here they come!” June cried!

Through the back-lit opening that was the entrance to the barn, Hugo could see the darkened figure of what he knew was his parents. They were returning with the mornings rations.

“See I told you Alisa, they always return!”

Alisa puffed up her chest, shook the tufts at the top of her head and began the begging cries that would let her parent know she was ready for the food they were bringing.

© 2014 Kitti McMeel
photo courtesy of  Wikipedia Commons

 

My Last Ride…

Posted: February 2, 2014 in Journal

For all of 2013, I worked very hard to reach a goal I had set 10 years ago. It was 2003 when I found the sport of reining, bought my first reining horse, and set sail on a journey that would have amazing ups and downs. Many obstacles stood in my way. But in 2013, everything came together;  Randy Paul, 2010 Worlds Greatest Horseman and NRHA Million Dollar Rider came to work at the ranch I managed. Together we rode down the path and followed my dream to achieve that goal: Rookie of the Year. Each January brings a new season of horse showing. At each skill level, from green-as grass to open rider, reiners try to qualify for various year-end final competitions. For me, a relative new comer to the sport, it was the Rookie division, and the finals held in Oklahoma City every year beginning on Thanksgiving Day. Each NRHA region holds a yearly affiliate final where riders who have accumulated enough points at the qualifying shows to score in the top ten are invited to compete. The top eight from each regional affiliate final is invited to compete in the NRHA  Affiliate Championship Finals. I had tried several times to qualify for the regional finals, but did not make it until 2012. That year I was unable to make the top ten. But in 2013 I placed 6th in a very hotly competed field to earn my spot in the championship finals.

The day of my ride, I had come down with the flu and was not feeling very well. For that an other reasons, I made a few errors. But I am still very proud of the ride and what I accomplished that day. I finished 18th out of a field of 60. It is my belief that the judges were a little hard on me with their scoring, and I think I should have been scored to finish at 8th. But hey, I’m not complaining. It was a wonderful last ride and I’ll never forget it!