AG Expression

August 26, 2012

For those of you who think that loving up on puppies and kitties all day long is what I do, I need to fill you in on some not so glamourous that happens “behind the scenes” at the Vet’s office.    I still absolutely love my job and enjoy going to work every day.  But, there are times when I would “rather not” perform the task at hand.  Hand being the operative word here.

There are obvious things that go on in the Vet’s office.  Much like going to your own doctor, there are examinations and vaccinations and “procedures”.  The “procedure” part of this includes x-rays, spay/neutering, wound cleaning, stitches/staples, nail trims and AG expressions.  

Pets can also be dropped off for a “Spa Day” which includes bathing, nail clipping, ear cleaning, sometimes a trim (A little off the top please!) and AG expression.  I can perform pretty much all of these but am still in the “learning phase” when it comes to expressing the anal glands.  (Hence..”task at hand”..because hands play an important part in the process.)

I am determined to get better at all the things I, as a member of the staff, should be able to perform.  With that in mind, my new goal is to be able to master the are of anal gland expression.

Those of you who have pets may have seen them “scooting” along on the floor or over you very clean and expensive carpet.  Said pet, more times than not, is trying on its own to express anal gland material from its rear end.  Some times the glands get blocked or the material gets too thick to easily come out on it’s own.  That is where the experienced Veterinary Assistant or Groomer comes in handy. (No pun intended…Well maybe a little)

When little Muffy/Scruffy (or sometimes BIG Muffy/Scruffy) has difficulty…they should get the needed assistance in “feeling” the relief they are desparately searching for by dragging their butts.  The only way to do that is to release the material.  Otherwise, you could end up (get it…end up) with an impacted or infected gland or even a rupture…These are way worse than the procedure I am about to describe.

In order to release anal gland fluid, one much first get the doggie/kitty up on the table to examine the rear end.  The anal glands sit at 4:00 and 8:00 around the anus.  Most of the time, you should not be able to “feel” them with an external examination.  If you can “feel” them, they probably need to be expressed.

Let me digress here and say that 99.9% of all dogs and cats do not have an issue with their glands.  They sit on either side of the “hiney hole” and are expressed when Muffy/Scruffy “does his business” and takes a poop.  This said poop presses on the glands which are then expressed as the poop evacuates.  That is whay all dogs and lots of cats go around smelling poop they find in the grass…That lets them know “who” has been there because the gland material smell is unique to each animal.  (We with our puny noses just smell “yuck”.. Each cat or dog can smell the difference and know exactly who took a dump in their territory)

Anyway, back to the matter.  In order to express the glands manually, you can first try from the outside by finding the glands on either side of the “hiney hole” and pushing up with a gentl but firm movement.  Success will be met with a fluid coming out of the hiney which smells “really fishy” and really strong.

If the outside part does not work…then you have to go inside to get results.  First you must don a surgical glove on the “operating hand”.  Then you “lube” your index finger.  Remember, we already have the doggie/kitty on the table with his/her rear facing you.  Said index finger is then “inserted” up the butt of the animal.

The glands are still at 4:00 and 8:00.  Depending on the size of the animal and how full the glands are, they can feel like anything from a really firm pea to a cherry tomato.  Said index finger needs to locate the back of the gland and with gauze or something in you hand to catch the fluid, you gently squeeze from the back of the gland to the front to release the fluid.  If you do not have something in place to catch this fluid, you will be wearing it.  And, believe me, you do not want to wear it…It is very, very stinky!  Just read “How Many People” that I wrote several months ago to learn about how fun this experience can be.

Most animals…heck most people…will not stand still for you to do this procedure.  (No people don’t have scent glands in their hiney.)  So, you need an assistant.  Most of the time, so far, I have been the assistant.  Now, I plan to get “certified” in ag expression…

Most doggies/kitties will thank you after the procedure is finished.  It is such a “pressure off” if you get what I mean.  So, before you sign up for the glamourous job of Vet Assistant, just remember and ask yourself, “Am I willing to stick my finger up and animal’s butt?”

Invisibility Part II

May 27, 2012

So, since I have recognized that I am the one who has made myself invisible, I have been trying to throw off the “cloak of invisibility”.  It is no longer needed nor is it practicle.  I want to be “a part”  not “apart”.

I have been praying about this.  I asked God to help me find a group of people with whom I could commune.  And, true to His word and promise, He led me to an awesome community group.  There are literally things going on with this group every week.  Lots of advantages to be a part of a group.

So, I have been going to the every other weekly meetings and sitting with this group and listening to them share how they are “doing life together”.  I see them interact and feel how special is the bond they share.  And, I want very much to be a part!!!

I am convinced and determined to do this.  I need to know how to come out of my shell.  Just sitting among them, I can feel myself fading, which is something I do not want to do.  However, I really don’t know how to take part. 

As I stated in part one, invisibility was safety for so long.  At least what I thought was safety.  If you are ignored you are not picked on or abused in in any way.  And, writing that seems so sad.  That anyone, much less me, would choose solitary confinement to being with others.

Now, I choose to be with others, but I still feel as if I am in solitary.  I have made such a job of being plain and un-noticed that I have such a hard time turning it off.  I actually don’t know how.

I have always been socially awkward because of my choices.  That often makes me an easy target for those from who I should shy away.  I really have a hard time reading who has good intentions and who does not.

I really can relate to pets who have had rough lives and who have been rescued.  They really don’t know how to act because they have never known love and kindess before.  There was always a catch.  Now, when there isn’t, they can’t just let go and enjoy the benefit.  They are confused and don’t know how to reach out to those who are kind and good to them. 

Socialization is the key.  The more they learn they can trust, the more open they are.  I only hope the group I am with will give me the time and the grace to learn how to be a part.  I want so much to interact…I just need the practice.


May 27, 2012

There is something that has been rolling around in my head for a while.  I really don’t know if I can express it precisely enough.  But, I am going to give it a try.

All my life, I have wowrked really hard at not making waves, not causing problems, being the good child, blending into the woodwork….  I can come up with any number of terms that mean basically the same thing.  I made myself invisible.

I have lived in this world where it was better to be un-noticed that it was to have attention.  It has not always been a fun place to live.  And, while it may be safe…because I am usually by myself, it can also be very cold and lonely. 

Oh, I can interact with others.  I can see and be part of the outside world.  And, lately, I have been trying really hard to “make myself seen”.  Not by me, but by others.

You see, I have gotten so good at being quiet and unassuming and unforgetable that I find it hard to reappear.  I just don’t know how to do it. 

I started being quiet and withdrawn at a very young age.  I was four when someone said to me at my father’s funeral…”You have to be a good little girl. No acting up.  No actingout.  No making waves.  No being noticed.”  So, I took the words to heart and tried really, really had to disappear.

I worked at that for a very long time.  I always lived on the prerifery.  Never in the forefront…never drawing attention to me.  I did it well.  When I set my mind to it…I was amazed at how easy it became and how easily people could look right over me.

Again, being un-noticed is safe.  When you get noticed…bad things can happen.  You get hurt.  You have emtions and things…Being in my own little world, I am safe…but as I stated above, I am alone.

I essentially have gotten so good at this that I can be in a room full of people and not be noticed. Oh, a few people will say some pleasantries to me when and if I am noticed.  And, I reply in kind.  But, if I try to engage anyone in conversation, firstly I feel awkward…it is new ground for me…secondly, it appears they are polite to respond but then go on to someone else.

I honestly some times don’t see another soul when I am home away from work or away from church.  Part of it is my fault because I am afraid to make the effort to go out.  One, it’s scary out there….I have been hurt in my few forays into the world…Two, I am not good at it because I have not been properly socialized.

I am basically a loner.  Not personally by choice…at least not now by choice.  I want to interact and be a part of a group or a pair or a crowd.  I just simply don’t have the skills to fee comfortable at it.

I work with animals every day.  Some are shy.  Some are very gregarious.  Some want to please.  Some are fearful.  They all have one thing in common…they want to be a “part” of something. How they interact depends on how well they are socialized.  I am the same way.  Maybe that is why I am pretty good with them.  I understand.

But, the question is…after so long of being invisible…how to I appear again.  How to I engage in the world and become vibrant and colorful again?  How to I get myself noticed and asked out?  How do I stop standing on the edge and become a part of the group?

Literally, I can go to an outing and not be noticed.  I can sit.  I can talk.  I can eat and I can leave without anyone really taking notice.  I have done it so well for so long.

I don’t want to be invisible any more.  I am lonely!


April 22, 2012

This morning, I awoke, if anything more tired than when I went to bed last night.  I had numerous dreams during the night.  Almost all with the same theme…my ex-husband and his antics.  If I was totally superstitious, I would say that the “hag” rode me all night long.  You see, there are stories from the Carolina Low Country about an entity called a “hag” that slips out of it’s skin to enter your house and torment you during the night.  You have horrible dreams and thrash about as if being ridden by an useen force.  The only way to keep the “hag” away is to either paint blue around all your windows and doors to prevent entry or to sprinkle salt at every entry way into your abode.  The “hag” cannot cross the salt as it is out of  it’s skin and the salt will burn the raw flesh…

Since I have done neither to my apartment, I guess I have to take my chances with being ridden once in a while by that old and horrible creature!  Thankfully, nights like the last I spent do not come often.  While I dream each and every night, mostly, these day, they are benign and harmless mish mashes of snippets of things that do not tire or cause distress.

When I was still married and especially after I separated from my now ex-husband.  I had nights such as last night each and every night.  If I actually got into the bed for rest, that was exactly what I did not get.  I was constantly dreaming of fighting, blood letting, violence, fear, terror….you name it, I dreamed it.  It was horrible.  I could not get any rest at all.  The only times that were relatively dreamless were those spent on the couch. 

If I sat still for very long during those times, my head would droop and my eyes would slowly droop to half mast and I would catch myself heading towards crashing my head on my desk or falling out of a chair.  I dreaded heading off to bed for I knew what awaited me there and it was not sweet slumber. 

Oh, I would fall asleed easily enough.  And, usually stay asleep.  But the dreams!  I still shudder when I remember them!

I am not a violent person.  When I am me.  But, during the time I was married and immediately after that time….I was not me.  I had to work hard to find me.  I was some petrified frightened person who lashed out at the slightest provocation.  I was protecting myself and destroying myself at the same time.  It was a huge blessing that I finally extracted myself from that person and that place.  Oh, I miss the “stuff” I left behind but not as much as I treasure my new and less complicated life.

So, it came as a surprise that I should actually dream about him.  He was planted firmly in all of my dreams last night.  What I felt most was anger…down right indignation and anger.  Here was this person who was suppose to love and cherish me who caused me such grief and pain.  And, for last night at least, I could not get away from him.

I awoke this morning unsettled.  As my grandmother would say…”I felt like someone has rubbed my fur the wrong way”.  (You know how if you ruffle the fur on a dog’s or a cat’s back in the opposite direction, the will shudder and immediately try to right the fur?  Well that is how I felt…except there was no physical fur for me to put back in the “right ” place.

The very last tidbit of the very last dream was me saying to my ex that I had won and that I was not cowing or crying or afraid of him any more.  Now, that is what I should hold to.  I endured the night of terrors to say in the end I won and was not longer in his grasp.  He no longer controlled how I acted or felt.  I am better than he and his antics.

Maybe this was my subconcious was of finally ridding him from my life.  Maybe something I saw on TV triggered the dreams.  Maybe the dinner I ate last night caused the bad dreams…There are any number of reasons one could purpose for the dreams.  I simply hope that they are the last of the ones where he is prominent in my dreams.

Good riddance.  If not, I will have to seriously think about investing in some blue paint and some salt!!!

Working In You Life Or On Your Life?

March 18, 2012

Actually we need to do both.  Working in your life means taking time to manage the daily things that happen.  Bills, work, health, daily neccessities and a plethora of other things…those are working in your life.

Working on your life?  That would be changing a bad habit, creating a good habit, taking care of anger issues, planning what will happen “in” your life going forward…and also a plethora of tother things.

I have recently been spening more time working in my life than working on my life.  I have been been trying to make it from day to day without much thought about “where I am headed” or “planning for the future”.  Some times we can get so tied up in living that we forget to actually take time to actually live.  I am hoping this is making sense.

The Minister today did a way better job at describing how to “do” both work in and work on than I ever could.  But, I can tell you what it means for me.

Due to circumstances in my life, the big ones being divorced and rebuilding, I have spent a lot of time working in my life to get on firmer ground without so many fears.  This has involved finding a full time job when I thought I could retire and maybe  either volunteer or work part-time.  It has been filled with making ends meet and trying to pay down some on the debt that was acquired in my attempt to get “free” from a very harmful situation. 

I have been getting up, going to work, paying bills, eating and sleeping.  These are all necessary things and I have been managing to do so without too much stress.  I still worry…who doesn’t?  But, I found a job I love.  A less stressful work life.  And, support from friends and relatives.  I will never be rich but I never wanted to be.  Just wanted to be able to “pay my own way”.  I am getting there (that is where the planning and working on comes into play)

I have plans…to eventually pay off the Federal Goverment, to pay down my Visa bill, to put some money away for a rainy day.  But, I also need to plan time for fun and frivolity and community and friends and whatever else not being a “sole” person involves for me in the future.

I have been spending too much time alone.  I need to get back out into the world.  Not just going out there to work and return home.  But, out there to enjoy the sunshine and people…

I spent almost two years diligently working on my life just recently.  The counseling I received has freed me from so much of the baggage I was carrying around since I was very young.  I have learned not to be on “red alert” all the time (though I think I stay in Orange a little more than I should).  I can truthfully say I can learn to trust again.  I also learned that I had worth over and above what I could “do” for someone else and true love and friendship do not involve the “use” of another person.  I have found friends who have reinforced that for me.

I have been able to release anger and forgive.  (Although, I have felt some of the anger trying to take hold in my life again…Takes work on one’s life not to let that happen.)  I am not a violent person and when I found myself lashing out…I knew I needed to work on me!  I found help and did the work.  With God’s providing the counselor and she providing the road map…we made a really great team in getting me back.

The Minister asked to day “What three things in your life do you need to work on?”  Mine, community (I spend too much time being alone), fun (I have to find some disposable income and also some “free” things to do), and being less shy (I am still a very timid person).  What are yours?

Hello Out There

February 4, 2012

I can’t believe it’s been two months since I have posted anything to my blog. Well, I need to be more deligent about posting more often.

Fact is, life has been going right on along. One day after another work, eat, sleep…work, eat, sleep.. So, I haven’t had much time to sit down to put my words on the screen.

Thought I would add some stuff that has been happening at work. I love my job. I really enjoy the people with whom I work. (Heard from my boss that they are now no longer teaching in High School that you should not end sentences in prepositions. My…My.) I enjoy most of my tasks. Although, I have to say I would rather not have to wash dogs. I will take collecting poop and pee over washing a dog any day of the week.

This past Thursday must have been “one of those days”. If you have had one, you know from whence I speak. Seems that oddness came from everywhere. And I wasn’t the only one that experienced it. I have heard from several of my friends that they day was weird also.

Anyway, we had two dogs who came into the office after having eaten chocolate. Chocolate can be deadly to dogs. There is somthing in the cocoa that the dogs cannot process and it can literally cause a dog to die.

Well, we were lucky enough to have two on the same day. One had eaten Valentines chocolate the other had eaten a chocolate brownie bar.

At this point, you may ask…”What do you do for a dog that has eaten chocolate?” And, I would be able to tell you that you have to induce vomiting. Well, you can’t stick your finger down a dog’s throat to make him vomit…he does not have a gag reflex like a human. So, there are two ways to cause vomiting. One is to give a huge dose of hydrogen peroxide (just like the one found in most homes) and the other is a shot of morphine. Morphine will make a dog yak if he is not in pain. Go figure…Doesn’t get high…he yaks…

One dog was a huge Setter. He had eaten the brownie bar. He came in first. It is important to make them vomit right away to get the chocolate out before it is digested and reaks havoc. So, we gave him 30ccs of peroxide right down the hatch.

It was my wonderful job to sit and watch him. If he did not throw up in a certain length of time…morphine would have been added to the mix. The doggie was really sweet. His name is Slider…big goofy dog.

Anyway, I sat and talked with him. Watched him pace the room. Watched him burp quite a good bit. You know the burping…like a person would do who is trying to hold down his bile…Then Slider started heaving. Poor pup…he must have yaked up not only the brownie bar, nuts and all, but his breakfast and probably some of his dinner from the night before.

I am sure those with weak stomachs or faint of heart have stopped reading by now. But those of you who have chosen to continue, be warned, the mental image is disgusting. Huge blobs of yak around the examination room. I would clean up one just to see another appear. I knew we were out of danger when there was nothing solid left to come up and bile of the most slimiest kind started coming up.

The other dog was a Pomerainian named Jazzy. He had gotten into the Valentine’s candy by ripping open the sack and helping himself. He ate chocolate covered marshmellowy stuff. But not to discrimanate, also ate some milk and dark chocolate for good measure.

When is “mom” called, we told her to give him some peroxide. First I heard our receptionist asking if she had some. Then telling her it was in a brown bottle (peroxide comes in brown plastic bottles). I was hoping that they did not have any other brown bottled liquid in their medicine cabinet!

Well, Jazzy took the peroxide in stride. He burped a couple of times but refused to vomit. So, he also came in to the office.

The vet prepared a morphine shot for him and injected him. It wasn’t long before Jazzy was yaking too. For such a small doggie, an awful lot come up. All gooey and marshmellowy smelling. But, at least he yakked…

So, here is a lesson for you. Always put chocolate very far out of your doggie’s reach. And, if they happen to get some, call your vet to determine how much peroxide you need to have forced down their throats…(They won’t drink it for you people. You will have to use a turkey baster or something to get it into them…) Watch and see if the vomit. If they don’t withing 10 minutes of being given peroxide…a trip to the vet is warranted.

Reminds me of the time my mom thought I had eaten something I should not have…here we went to the doctor…I was 4 but I remember them pumping my stomach. Took 4 adults to hold down a screaming smaller version of me….

Cindy’s Most Scariest Adventure

November 30, 2011

Most of you know that I work for a Vet.  Well, one of my duties is going in on the weekends to feed what animals are boarding.  This past Sunday was not different in that aspect.

I got up at dark thirty, grabbed a cup of coffee and got myself ready for the day.  After feeding and walking animals, I was planning on going to church.  Always being an early riser, I like to make it to the early service…Then I have brunch and enjoy the newspaper.

Well, this past Sunday, I pulled into the parking lot and started my day.  I walked in, disarmed the alarm and clocked in.  I had 5 dogs and 2 cats to feed and walk (doggies only get walks).  So, I started right in.  It is important to remember this all started around 7:00AM. 

I had walked three of the four dogs.  I had two little dachunds to walk (Forest and Jenny).  They had made a mess of their kennel.  So, I made sure the back door was securely closed and I let the pups out of there kennel to run around in the area while I was cleaning.  I had the door to the office area closed so they were confined to the kennel area.  The back door was unlocked as I had just walked back in and kenneled Cotton.  I did not expect any company so I turned to the job at hand.

I hear a beep from the disarmed alarm, alerting me that the back door had been opened.  I turned around to see a man standing there.  Needless to say, I was frightened and alarmed!  The pups ran right through his legs and out the door.  The animals in the kennels were barking and I was face to face with someone I did not recognized who had no business being there.  My heart was reved up and my flight or fight reflexes were on edge.

I first looked at his hands, which at the time were empty.  We were still a distance from each other but I was already assessing what to do next.  All sorts of thoughts ran through my mind…some of them primal.  Really, I could feel my body tensing for either flight or strike.  I quickly thought about whether I could get past him or if I could knock him down.  He was standing in the doorway so there was no way I could reach out and slam the door to protect myself or the other animals.  Meanwhile, the two pups were out in the yard running around and barking…free as could be.  (The yard is not fenced.  So, if they chose to do so, they could be gone in seconds…)  All of this was running through my mind in split seconds.

I yelled…not sure of the words I used…but feel some of them were not “church words”…I demanded he tell me who he was and why he felt he could just open the door and come in.  Still my body was ready to spring into action at a moment’s notice. 

This person who was unshaven and scruffy looking stated that he missed his little dog and had come to pick him up.  He stated he was sorry for letting the dogs out.  At that point, not knowing whether he was lying or not, I buzzed past him to see about rescuing the pups from the yard.  Forest and Jenny were dancing about barking along with the other dogs in their kennels.  I tried to get them to come to me.  But, this man wasn’t finished ruining my morning, he started trying to chase them down.  Well, they just kept getting farther and farther away.  I yelled at him to stop “trying  to catch” the pups and let them come to me. 

Well, Jenny finally ran up to me.  I snatched her up and ran for the door.  I got her in her kennel and went after Forest.  They are bonded well to each other so he came running after his sister.  I grabbed him up too and got him to saftey. 

Then, I turned my rath on the intruder.  I demanded to know who he was and why he thought he could just walk in to a building to which he had no ties.  He apologized only to the point of saying it was an honest mistake and that he wanted his dog.  I am sure my voice remained raised when I told him in no uncertain terms what I thought.

You see, the policy is no pick ups on Sunday.  So, how had this man just happened to show up at 7:00 AM to get his dog?  He never explained that little bit of information.  He just kept insisting that he had missed his dog, Tassil, and wanted to take him home.  Since he knew the name of the dog,  and I was starting to calm down a little, I knew then that I was not in immediate danger.

I stated strongly that he should have called or at the very least knocked before opening the door.  A door which has a sign on it at eye level that states “use front door”.  He knew the policy…but just missed his dog.  He was sorry that he let the animals out…but it was an “honest mistake”….  Honest mistake my A**.  

Well, I got his dog, the dog’s leash and other things and shoved him at his owner.  Then I shoved them both out the door and locked it. 

I finished up what I needed to do all the while thanking God for protecting me and for keeping me from harming someone else (who might have deserved it a little….).  I realized just how lucky I was that it was not someone who was intent on making trouble.  I made it to church and my heart finally slowed down some time later.

I shared my most unexcellent adventure with my co-workers and my boss on Monday.  There are a couple of take aways from this.  We periodically leave the door unlocked while walking our charges…(keys sometimes get put down or misplaced and it is rather embarassing having to call your boss or walk to his house in order for him to come let you back in).  So, keys should be on person and doors should remain locked.  I learned where the panic button was on the alarm keyboard.  Plolice come quickly in Davidson.

This is not the end of the story.  The owner brought the dog back the next day for a dental procedure.  When he came in he never once made any reference to the incident on Sunday.  When he came that evening to pick Tassil up, I gave him his dog…he never once apologized to me for scaring me so badly on Sunday….That really burned my butt!

There is one question….what was he doing out at 7:00AM anyway?  And what made him think he could just show up to get his dog?

ThanksGiving Memories

November 23, 2011

You know you are getting older when you can sit back and remember ThanksGivings past.  No this is not like the Ghost of Christmas Past full of regrets.  These memories bring a Mona Lisa type smile to my face.  Wonderful times out in the country.

I remember drawing and cutting out turkeys made with the outline of an outstretched hand on construction paper when I was in Primary School.  I remember lessons about the first ThanksGiving in Grammar School that included why we have ThanksGiving to begin with.  I remember learning about relicious freedom and trials and tribulations….that caused people to come to the New World.  But that is not what this is about.

When we were kids, we would congregate at my grandparents house which was a little more than two miles away from ours.  ThanksGiving morning would dawn with the wonderful smells of food being prepared to take over.  Pumpkin pies would have already been made…cakes and other types of pies would also have been prepared.  But, the main food of the day….turkey, dressing, and various vegetables would be on or in the stove cooking and bubbling away.  It was wonderful to wake up to all the various scents emanating from the kitchen. 

I would climb out of bed (never sure why they use that phrase climb out of bed….but sure it is for a reason) and walk sleepy eyed down the hall to see what was going on in the kitchen.  My mom and my grandmother would be busily stirring, chopping, basting, and chatting about the day.  The aroma from the food would be mouth watering…I could hardly wait to dig in to the wonderful food prepared with love.

I really don’t remember what breakfast would entail on those days.  I do know that the TV would be tuned to the channel to watch the ThanksGiving days parades…we like Macy’s because of all the balloons, etc. 

Some ThanksGivings the weather would be cold and clear, some would be cold and cloudy, some would be warm and sunny, or warm and cloudy….One never knows, in the deep South what the weather will be.  Regardless, we were always anticipating who we would see at my other grandparents house.  There would always be a gathering of Great Aunts and Uncles, Aunts and Uncles and cousins of all ages.  Mostly the cousins were older than we were, my mom being one of the younger siblings of seven.

I could hardly wait for the car to be loaded with us and the food to travel the short couple of miles to Mama (pronounced with short a like in math) and Pops.  We were usually the first to arrive.  Not to be outdone, Mama would have wounderful aromas emanating from her kitchen too.  Usually sweet potato caserole, macaroni and cheese, rice…etc  (You cannot have a dinner with my family without it being heavy on the starches!)

Soon, other members of the tribe would start showing up.  All would bring in a dish or two from their own homes.  The food would be arranged on the counter and over the kitchen table.  We kids would be running in and out of the house stealing the occasional bite of what ever we could get our little hands on.  Cookies, celery sticks, a bite of turkey skin, a piece of ham….it all went down as quickly as it was offered.

The adults would congregate in three places, kitchen, livingroom and porch (if the weather allowed).  Some of the men would walk in the woods with a gun or two between them…while the final preparations were made.  Then….we would all be called to the livingroom to hold hands and say the blessing.  Pop almost always gave the blessing.  Some time Uncle Paul would be called upon.  Never a woman….wonder why?  Anyway, I can remember when I was really young, it seemed like that blessing went on for ever!  After the Amen, we would all line up to fill our plates with the most wonderful food I had ever eaten….

After the main mean….the cleaning up started.  People sat around appetite sated for the time being.  We were never a family that had dessert right along with the meal.  There was always a lull before the desserts would hit the table.  During that lull, I would usually get one of my family members to tell stories about their youth.  Or, if I were lucky, I could get Uncle Henry to tell us some ghost stories.  I would sit and listen as long as they would talk. 

Then, after a respectable length of time, it was time for dessert.  Cakes, pies, cookies, etc….would come out from the back porch.  The table would be laden with all sorts of wonderful desserts.  My favorite by far was the pumpkin pie with coconut cake running second.  Others went straight from the pecan pie…

When evening drew close, family members would start packing up to go to their various homes.  We always shared food from each others homes.  Why take home what you brough?  Get something from one of the other family members….  Hugs and kisses were passed around. 

As I got older, I was allowed into the kitchen (or drafted) to help with the clean up between dinner and dessert and then after dessert when all the food was finally cleared away.  Those were sweet times too.  Women talk differently when they are working together in the kitchen…They really do.  Confidences, old family secrets and other things were discussed.  Hands in dishwater, others drying dishes… 

Sweet, sweet memories.

This Time

November 5, 2011

This time last week, I was with several of my friends and about 50 other women at a Women’s Retreat for the women of our church.  We drove up to Black Mountain on a dreary, rainy and cold Friday morning and came home on Sunday afternoon.  We stayed at Ridgecrest Conference Center.  I roomed with my very best friend.  It was a good and much needed rest and a wonderful time spent in reflection.

This time last year, I was struggling with being recently divorced.  I was also working myself into a lather about how my ex had not complied with his part of the mediation agreement.  I was barely getting by on my 30 hour a week job that was soon to be turned into 20 hours.  I had to find a place to move to since the rent on my then apartment was going up more than I could afford.  I was miserable….

It is amazing how time can change so quickly.  On minute, you think you are going to fall into the chasm never to be seen again.  The next, you are amazed at how much you have been blessed.  I am so very thankful for all of the blessing that have come my way in the past year!  (Guess this post is appropriate since ThanksGiving is just around the corner.)

Blessed I am, though some times I don’t see it.  I ask God to show me and He does.  He often reminds me of where I was and where I am now.  Life is not all rosy…(I still have that pesky ex trying to “mess” with me over the house.  Believe me that is a long story not to be gone into right now.)  I wake each day with a song in my head.  Most of the time, they are songs of praise.

I have a wonderful new job…well 6 months new.  I absolutely love going to work.  I am thankful everyday for the chance to make a difference in some small way.  I enjoy the people with whom I work.  My boss is kind and willing to teach rather than preach.  He does not raise his voice but gets his point across.  I am so eager to please because of the encouragement I receive.

My job…well, some people would say that it’s not much.  A lot of people would not want to do what I do.  But, I have been in the corporate world and would rather work where I am now than to go back and make mega bucks doing something I hated.  You see, money is not, nor has it been everything to me.  I need only enough to tithe, pay my bills and have a little left over for saving.  (The saving part is still a little difficult since I am still busy paying off huge debt…But I am getting there.)

Back to my job….I get to be around animals all day long.  It is great!  (Until we have to send one to heaven.  But even that can be a blessing.)  I get to love on puppies and kitties.  I get to pet and scratch ear on dogs and cats.  I get to meet a lot of people.  And, most of all, I get to help.  What little I do makes a difference.  I clean cages.  I scoop poop.  I feed animals on the weekend when they board.  I help collect blood and urine.  (Literally I walk behind a dog with a ladle waiting for it to pee.  Looks funny to the owne and to the dog.)  What I do makes a difference!!!

I am sure that most people leave there and don’t remember me.  I am sure most of the animals leave there and do remember me.  I don’t need to be famous or be singled out for an important award.  I will never win the Nobel Prize…but I make a difference.  I am not just a cog in the corporate engine.

All of this came about through God’s blessings.  I know from whence my help comes….It comes from the Lord.  And, I am so very, very thankful to Him and to all my friends who have stood beside me around me and behind me. 

Sure there are bumps in the road.  Insecurities always spring up.  What if’s and only if’s can cloud any day.  But, I don’t stay in the pity puddle long before I realize that I should sing songs of praise rather than wallow in my sadness.

It is another gorgeous Fall day today.  I hope I had the chance to lighten someone’s load a little.  It only takes a second to smile or say a word of kindness to someone.  Try it….

One Man’s Trash

October 25, 2011

This morning as I was leaving to go to work, with coffe in hand, I exited my apartment to find a bag of garbage standing by my front door.  Yes, a bag of garbage.  Well, needless to say, I was a little perplexed.  You see, I had not put it there.

I did not quite know what to think.  It was just standing there by the door.  My doorbell had not been rung so, I did not think it was a prank.  Although it could have been since it is only a few days from Halloween.  I honestly did not know what to make of it.

I hoped whoever the garbage belonged to would come back some time during the day and pick it up and deposit it in the trash bins.  But, when I arrived home tonight.  The garbage was still by my door.

So, I began to pursue to owner of said garbage.  I asked one of my neighbors I saw out walking his dog if he knew anything about the “gift of garbage” that had been bestowed upon me.  He stated he did not know “who would do a thing like that”.  Also a “how rude” was said before he entered his own apartment.

So, I began a door knocking campaign.  I knocked on my immediate neighbor’s door and received no answer.  So, I moved on down the hallway to the next door.  Before I got there, I was greeted by a little boy who “with eyes as big as saucers” told me he did not know anything about the garbage and it did not belong to him or his family.  When asked if he was sure, he adamantly stated that he did not know from whence the garbage came.

So, I went back to the bag and noticed there were envelopes in the garbage.  One was addressed to the very apartment to which I had just been.  So, I went back and knocked on the door and spoke this time with the mom.  She said that yes, she had told her son to take out the garbage this morning.  I told her that said garbage had made it as far as my front door and no farther.

This is where I was expecting her to apologize and say that “it will not ever happen again” (even though it should not have happened this time).  That she would speak with the young man and have him apologize to me.  I got neither of those.

You see, it states in the apartment “handbook”….you are not to leave garbage outside your door.  And, here today, garbage was outside my door all day.  Making me look like I am disobeying the rules….

Also, the apology I got was less than sincere.  She did, however, have her younger son remove the bag from my doorstep. 

I guess I am going into this because I am disappointed in the mom and in the son.  The mom because she acted like it was “no big deal”….Well, she did not have garbage deposited outside her door….  (Bet she would have changed her tune then).  And, disappointed that she had not taught him better.  I would never have been allowed to do anything like that when I was a kid.  And, if I did, punishment would ensue with me also having to apologize.

Where are manners and good breeding.  You don’t have t be rich to have either.