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So.

The ending of that last post really wasn’t fair. I’m not feeling that life is very fair right now though.

Just a few days, maybe a week, after Tilly arrived Don broke out in a serious rash. It was around his eyes, down the front of his face and on his arms. He went to the doctor and she said, “It’s either shingles or an allergy, we’ll have to wait and see.” Well Don is not allergic to anything that we know of so we worried and watched – mostly we worried. It did not progress like shingles, which was good, but it did not go away either. Don began walking around the house with Calamine lotion smeared all over his face and I began to suspect we knew the culprit.

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Here’s Don taking Tilly for her (almost) daily walk. Why you might ask? Because the clover in her pen wasn’t as nice as the clover outside. Or more likely because she’s a lovable animal and he just can’t help but love a lovable animal. After each walk he would scratch her face all around under her halter.

Then he would come in and itch and itch and itch.

Finally he was able to get in to see a dermatologist and sure enough he’s allergic to cow dander.

To be honest we found out about it probably a month ago. We just weren’t ready to give her up. I began cleaning out her stall and putting her up in the evenings but Don still had to let her out in the morning. We have big tubes of Alclometasone Diproplonate cream that he was smearing all over and still, itch, itch, itch.

Even though I am a selfish bastard I do eventually give in and two weeks ago I finally decided that this wasn’t fair and there was no practical way to keep Tilly on my work schedule without Don being part of it. Not to mention the fact that it broke his heart that he had to try to stay away from her. So I put an ad on Craigslist and Facebook and we sold her to a very nice young couple who lives about 10 minutes away.

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They were kind enough to send us a picture of her in her new home. They offered to let us come visit her but that would just be too pathetic. But I will tell you, we have mourned her. I honestly, seriously had not realized how quickly and thoroughly she had become a part of this place. At 5 o’clock if I’m lost in thought or otherwise distracted I will still slip on my jacket intending to head out to the barn to put her up.

So that’s where we are and why we sold the cow. It’s just one of those things.

Many things seem to be converging on us these days. Don will be 60 on his next birthday. I will be 52 and somehow we are starting to feel our ages more than before. It’s also been weighing heavy on my mind that we will have to move into retirement with a mortgage if I continue to pursue this dream. I’m not sure I want to do that and without the cow we really don’t need so much space. All the other things I want to do can be done on a much smaller piece of land.

Right now all of this is just contemplation.

 

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I didn’t proofread this post

A little stream of consciousness writing to help me clear my head.

My early religious upbringing has been on my mind a lot recently. More specifically the guilt I think my mother carries for it. I grew up as a Jehovah’s Witness. I was one of those people who knock on your door on Saturday morning.

My father wasn’t one of those people. He was a true American protestant. Translation: the only time I remember going to church with him was when he was mad at my mom. (You can laugh at that joke, I do.)

There was a lot of crap that came along with belonging to an outside the mainstream Christian denomination. There was a lot of cognitive dissonance that came along with having parents that did not share a single belief system. Christmas? Is it good or bad? Saluting the flag? On one hand, blasphemy, on the other patriotic. Birthdays? Joyous celebration or remembrance of Salome asking for John the Baptist’s head?

Wow, you might say, how did a young child process all that? Well you’d be giving my young brain far too much credit if you believe that the dichotomy of my life even registered in my consciousness. Mostly when I think about my childhood I remember watching Uncle Zeb’s Cartoon Camp after school. It’s usually only in retrospect that you notice the dysfunction of your childhood.

Before we go any further I should probably clear up some things about the JWs. Everyone seems to think they just appeared one day and that they somehow are like Jim Jones’ cult. Neither is true. They are actually a splinter group that grew out of the Seventh Day Adventist movement. Their founder was a nut, that’s for sure, but no more of a nut than any fundamentalist christian who believes the bible is literal. They are no more of a cult than the Amish or Mennonites or any other fundamentalist sect that practices shunning. AND I will tell you this, they take being a “great multitude of many nations” very seriously. I remember in the early 1970s interracial marriages not just being tolerated but celebrated as much as any marriage.

An intolerance for racism was just one of the gifts of my young religious training.

I have never had a fear of hellfire. Never. I can’t fathom what a life based on avoiding Hell must be like. I can’t imagine assigning anyone that fate. Actually I think that’s probably why so much of mainstream Christianity finds it so necessary to malign Witnesses – they can’t be frightened into obedience. That must be so frustrating.

I grew up being trained to question. When your belief system is different from most other people’s you have to justify it so you ask uncomfortable questions of those trying to convince you you’re wrong. The thing about it though is that eventually, if you’re a thinking person, you start to ask those uncomfortable questions of yourself. That must be so frustrating as well. Hahaha. What goes around, comes around.

I’m actually grateful for that early training because it allowed me to ultimately leave it all behind. The Pope has never held any significance for me. Preachers and pastors have never been above question. Interpretation of scripture has never been beyond challenge in my life.

So, if you’re reading this mom, you can let any lingering concerns go. Your kids are fine – Well, relatively speaking. Hahaha!

Along this journey, and it has been a long and circuitous journey, I realized that what I was searching for was not God but peace, a way to live, a way to order my life, a way to assign meaning where there is none. Have I found it? Eh, some days it seems so, some days it doesn’t.

I don’t believe things happen for a reason although I do believe we can learn from everything that happens.

I don’t believe in any kind of after-life. I believe in a now-life.

I think that any set of ethics or morals should begin in an earth-based reality.

I think that Madonna has always been overrated.

Ok, I think I’m done. Next post I’ll tell you why we sold our cow and may be moving and downsizing.

<Cliffhanger music>

Flying

Several years ago I developed a short fascination with flying. I even bought a sport pilot training kit. It had books and mapping tools and a really, really cool flight bag.

The fascination passed and luckily it didn’t cost me much money.

The only thing I really remember is a short quip that I read somewhere during that time.

“How do you land a plane?”

“You don’t. You fly it until it’s on the ground.”

There’s no such thing as landing a plane. As long as your wheels are not touching the ground you are flying. Even if that gap is a small as half an inch you are still in the air.

Life is a lot like that.