Run. Dog. Cat. Cat. Me.

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Archive for the tag “hiking”

Heartfelt

Good cheery sunny wintry day, my friends, Boy and Girl, I know you’ve been bereft and probably devastated at the dearth of chatter over here at rundogcatcatme.  I’ve missed you both terribly, I thought of you at least twice in the past three weeks or so and by this you can tell that I am very torn up.

Chunker is currently hauling her poor ratty baby (formerly some fuzzy squeaky toy) around, mewing at it as though it will somehow animate and become the baby her un-baby-making body is apparently yearning for.  Who knows why, maybe she has some hormones still hanging around?  Years ago I had a cat whose ovaries grew back.  What the hell?? I asked the vet, can she get pregnant?!?  He rolled his eyes slightly; pointing out that her uterus no longer existed even if the ovaries were trying to make a comeback.  Well, the damn ovaries are growing back, how do I know the missing uterus might not suddenly become sentient and return to sender?  For the rest of her life, several times a year, she hauled her little babies around for a week or so, mewing sadly.  Just as Chunker, she was a poor mother, leaving the helpless and hapless babies strewn about the house in high traffic areas, ready to be stomped deader.

Munkerandbaby

Chunk and (soon to be abandoned on the stairs so I can nearly break my neck trying to avoid slipping on it) Baby

Speaking of slipping on the stairs and not breaking my neck, that is exactly what I did a week and a half ago, and I’m still hurting and still have a good-sized bruise for the experience.  Suddenly I wish we had carpeted the stairs.  The one thing I’ve been most worried and cautious about – and of course it happened.  Why did I not spend all that effort worrying I would win the lottery, if that’s how the gods are going to handle my life?  Just as I got to a point that my foot was mostly pain-free I returned to constant pain – the first couple nights it hurt so much that I woke every time I turned (or tried to turn) over.  I managed to land on two treads at once so mid-back to upper hip were one large pain fest.  But, hey – sh*t happens, right?

The first of December, bored out of my un-exercising mind and needing something to focus on (not that I’m OCD, I just have a one-track mind at times which, oddly, Hubs pronounces “stubborn”) I had the brilliant idea of knitting scarves for some of my progeny.  Five, in fact.  Five 7-foot long scarves.  Hey, easy breezy, right?  Four-five hours per scarf, gives me something to do in the evenings while repeatedly scanning 573 channels for something – please Baby Jesus, anything – to watch on TV, an effort I quickly abandoned and set myself up, instead, in front of Netflix where I watched three seasons of Chuck, finally surrendering even that attempt because my match-maker heart could no longer stand the ever-dangling relationship with Sarah.  Unfortunately it turned out it was more like 10-12 hours per scarf but I’ll be damned, I started it, I’m finishing it, so my life faded into a tunnel-visioned knit 2 purl 2 with some life crammed in around the edges trying to get ready for Christmas.

While getting ready for the holiday was a bit of a rush, the week of Christmas was great as we did something we’ve never done:  the entire family met in Gatlinburg for the week, except for number 1 son and our great new daughter-in-law, whose work schedules prevented them from coming.  We had a 4-1/2 bedroom cabin in the mountains outside Gatlinburg, beautiful views of fog covered ridges; Christmas Eve it snowed a bit and we woke Christmas morning surrounded by snow frosted mountains.  We’d agreed no gifts except for the B’ster and did Dirty Santa instead, although as mom I felt compelled to give a few little gifts such as the aforementioned marathon scarf knitting.  Later that morning we hiked, even the B’ster and I were able to go along for a couple miles of easy trails to a waterfall and an abandoned cabin.

Thanks to T-1’s girlfriend I have become a jigsaw puzzle convert and while I am not OCD I did spend several hours peering through my trifocals at the brightly colored shapes, feeling a bit like a little kid getting a piece of candy every time I managed to complete a section.  Very self-rewarding, at least for a while.  I brought along knitting, Christmas cards, two books and several movies as though I were going to have time for all that; I managed to knit about six inches of an attempt at a boot cuff, read three paragraphs one night before collapsing into a dreamless sleep, and the only movies we watched were B’sters – which were more fun anyway.  We played games, hiked, shopped, went site-seeing and ate about every 3 hours.  It was perfect.

Yesterday morning we woke bright and early, the twins and girlfriend were heading back to Chicago; T-2 will spend the week there and fly back to NYC January 1st.  I watched them drive away, tears rolling down my cheeks, my heart and my heart driving down the road.  Everything changes, everything stays the same.

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It’s a beautiful day

It’s a beautiful day
Don’t let it get away
It’s a beautiful day

After the day-long rain yesterday we have an almost-chilly breeze this morning.  The phone just rang, a little voice chirped asking if Moggie and Papa want to go to Panera?  You bet, little buddy!  I have the windows open and put on tights and a sweatshirt, after breakfast I will go sit on the patio and think about life and goodness and try to put a little back out into the world.

I hear crickets (although it’s no longer dark) and birds chirping loudly across the cove.  Does the chill air make their squawks louder?  Or do they carry better on the cool dry breeze?  I sit with my fingers suspended over the keyboard watching the branches sway, the rustling leaves shushing, the little waves on the lake running into each other appearing to flow into and out of our cove simultaneously, trying to take it all in and hold it in my heart and mind to pull back out for the next hot humid run, the next complaining email.  But those are far away now and I don’t need to consider it.

Smelling my hot coffee and feeling the breeze through the window I am remembering the times my family spent camping with my parent’s friends and their families.  We would drive up to the Mogollon Rim (which we pronounced Mug-ee-own), all the kids piled in the back of someone’s station wagon or camper with two designated adults who’d apparently drawn the short straw, the rest of the cars driven in the caravan by adults incredibly pleased to be in a car sans children.  Most of them smoked at the time so we all sat, crammed together, windows open, hot Phoenix air slowly turning cool as we drove further north.

At Payson we turned off, east, heading upward, trying to scare each other with tails of the Mogollon Monster.  Zane Grey’s cabin was a little off the highway and we stopped there at least once, tiny little cabin up in the woods all alone.  It was destroyed later in a forest fire.  I liked to think of him alone on the side of the hill, tucked away in his snug cabin, fireplace blazing, writing the stories my dad loved to read as a child.  I felt connected to a stranger who’d made my father happy and this in turn made me happy.

We’d turn of onto a narrow dirt road and drive until it ended somewhere, piling out of the car, our parents throwing up tents and throwing down sleeping bags while we kids stampeded all over the forest, whistles around our necks, climbing, exploring, playing in streams for hours until our internal clocks returned us to camp just as lunch was being laid out.  Cramming our faces full we ran back out into the woods.  At some point the fathers would holler for us and we’d head out to the meadow where a hill rose over the other side.  The dads would line cans up against the dirt berm and teach us gun safety and how to shoot.  We learned north from south, east from west, we learned if we didn’t know where we were to immediately sit down, stay there and blow the whistle until they found us.  We learned the smell of pine forest and campfires, and the feel of cold clean streams on bare feet.

In the evening after dinner and a final hike we all settled down, kids in sleeping bags in tents or under the stars, millions of shining stars no one can see from their backyards over the glow of cities, millions and millions of stars stretching forever and I’d stare until they seemed alive and moving, thinking of all those worlds out there.  Did someone out there look up into their sky and wonder, too?

Our very sober and hardworking parents would pull out a cooler of beer while we all huddled in our sleeping bags, the oldest of us valiantly trying to stay awake because as soon as Mr. Marquardt pulled out his guitar we knew the fun was starting.  We faked sleep until we heard him start singing the Rang-dang-do song, my dad – MY DAD – loudly singing the chorus as they all laughed.  Bret and I looked at each other, no need for words:  mom and dad are … human …

And we would fall asleep in the cool night under the stars, content and safe with our very human parents.

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