Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Christmas surprises and traditions

I would be willing to bet that many of you have never heard this family story of mine.
I giggled aloud today when I saw my special Christmas ring on my dresser.
It prompted me to write this just in time for Christmas. My husband and I
celebrated our first married couple Christmas morning with his family in 1980. In his stocking, he had the normal chewing gum, tic tacs breath mints and some other "stuffers", but I had the gift that beat all Christmas stocking stuffers to come in my stocking.  I pulled out a black velvet ring box. You can only imagine what was going through my mind at this point, I joyfully opened it as the entire family gathered around me. It was a LARGE, very ugly, horn of plenty costume jewelry ring with about 8 small rhinestones. He excitedly asked me if I liked it and the other family members oooed and awwwed at how lovely it was. My head was spinning! I was then prompted to put it on and then more compliments came. I was numb. Were they all blind to how ugly and bizarre this choice of ring was!? I could barely breathe as I thought and wondered what I could have the ring made into. I only thought diamonds as I pondered, maybe a necklace or bracelet? Oh dear Lord, I will have to tell my husband privately how sorely wrong his choice for me was! Thankfully they all couldn’t stand to put me through anymore torture and as the living room filled with belly busting laughter my husband grabbed my gawdy adorned ringed hand and took me to a closet where my new set of golf clubs was wrapped in a big red bow! Such sweet relief! We still laugh about what a good sport I was that day and in true Christmas tradition I wear the ring every Christmas morning to remember how thankful I am that I married that man who gave me golf clubs our first Christmas.

Merry Christmas my friends and Happy New Year.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Learning to speak raccoon language from my new BFF

   My new best friend is James, known locally as the "Critter Getter" guy. Our relationship began a few weeks ago. We've been spending lots of time together at different hours of the day. He's so smart! He knows raccoon sign language, and he's been teaching it to me. I am so lucky to have a friend like James. He texts me to tell me when he's coming over. I gave him my home number too. One night James sat out in front of my house until after midnight. Everyone needs a friend like James.

   Several weeks ago my husband, I will call him John for now, confessed that he had found a pried open vent on the foundation of our house several weeks back, and had repaired it. Husband John knows his wife doesn't like the open freeway under our house for rodents.Wife Lorrie realllllly hates rodents. Good husband John dutifully fixed it and was placing traps to catch any unwelcome intruders. The vent and all subsequent vents were all getting destroyed every night now.Very perplexing so my heroic husband said he would replace each vent with brand spanking new vents to fix this problem once and for all! He worked for hours on this project. I love John. That night one of the vents was pulled open like butter and we weren't sure if something was coming or going out! Husband of the year announced it was time to call in the professionals. This is a great quality of my hero husband John, who knows when to throw up the white flag. Other men could learn this redeeming quality from him! It's my husband's fault though that I now spend so much of my free time with James. He made me call him and told him to come over to our house.

   James is teaching me allllllll about raccoons. He knows them very well as he learned about raccoon language from his father. He says I have a mama raccoon under my house and she has babies now there. James has a special camera he placed to record her coming and going from under my house. I love James. He's so techie. James tells me stories of his adventures with raccoons. He has a large scar on his hand from where he was bit once. James is so brave.

   Everything James has told me about this mama raccoon is true! She is a good mama and returns to her babies after going out late at night for water and food. James says she is the best one to take care of those babies. James says after we separate her from the babies, he will then reunite them (the kits) back to her. She will move them to another safe place. But first he has to fix all the vents with super duper special made vents he has made just for him. Then he puts in a special door that locks behind her at night when she emerges. He made sure she would go in and out it one night just to be sure. James is so patient and careful. He records everything so he can know for sure what mama raccoon is doing. I'm so proud of my new friend who is taking good care of me and my foundation house-guests. Yesterday Mama raccoon,let's call her Rhonda now, after my best friend in college. Rhonda was locked out and tried for hours to break into my house foundation but James made a mistake and didn't screw down the crawlspace door completely! Rhonda then pried it open and found her way back to the babies! Hooray! Wait, this is not good. James feels very badly for his mistake but I forgave him because after all he is my new best friend. James is letting Rhonda recover from the trauma and hopes she will move her babies this weekend. Rhonda is being recorded on camera thanks to James. I love James.

   James is teaching me about a mother raccoons unbending love. He is also teaching me to be very very careful with my dog around  Rhonda. So far they haven't met. He is teaching me about being patient. He's trying to save me money too by hoping she moves the babies herself and he won't have to go searching for them under the bowels of my home. One thing he didn't teach me, but I  gleaned on my own... is for me to give his business card to my neighbors. Rhonda will be moving in next week to their house!

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Monday, February 20, 2017

Sibling love

   This past fall season we said our long slow goodbyes to our mother Shirley. She was the last cog of the family wheel that connected us siblings together. When the story of my life was written by God, I didn't imagine myself grieving the loss of my mother and the loss of my oldest sister 4 years earlier to leukemia so close together. We were siblings of a count of five, but here we were as a clan of four stinging from the loss of one sister and honoring our mother at a graveside. The loss was huge to me.  I truly wasn't prepared for the compounded grief even though I saw it coming. 

       Here I am months later and I can honestly say healing can and has washed over me in wonderful unexpected ways. OK, So, I've been thinking about my siblings quite a bit these days. I recently saw all of them at my mother's funeral on those chilly days in late October. I felt moved and I did tell them, (but I didn't think anyone was listening to the #4 little sister) that now that mom was gone we would need to become more intentional about spending time with one another and communicating better. I am the lone black sheep of the family living in God forsaken land of crazies in California. They all live in the vast and lovely (and too cold for me) Big Sky Country of Montana. The gap and travel chasm has many miles between.

    As I write I've glanced over at my calendar and I smile because my older brother Ken and his wife Paula arrive tomorrow for a visit during a trip they've planned. One week later my oldest brother Ron and wife Nancy arrive and are bringing some of my mom's belongings to me that I chose for myself after the funeral. Then 2 weeks later my youngest sister Terri and my two nieces AND great nephew come for a week! So in one month I will receive a visit from allllllll my siblings! I am so thrilled beyond what you can imagine. Even if they just came for dinner and drove off that night I would still have felt like the King of England had just stopped by for tea. 
   Now back to the part where I said I'd been thinking about my siblings. I had a memory this past week as my friend Denise taught a women's bible study and she recalled a story about sharing a bed with her sister growing up. She as the younger one wanted her sister to just "talk" to her at night. I suddenly remembered sharing a room with my older sister Cheryl and some of our "sister antics" flooded back to me.  She always got the top bunk. Think BIG sister and pecking order for the top bunk rules. So, I never got the top bunk as a little sister. Nightly I laid in the lower bunk below and would push my feet up on the springs and bounce her on her mattress. That turned into a giggle fest or she grew weary and got mad at me, or my legs got tired but most often our dad came in to scold and tell us to knock it off and go to sleep. Those memories triggered something I'd forgotten. I remember we talked a lot. Well, maybe it was me doing most of the talking back then, but I recalled the sister dialogue that took place between the bunks. Conversations that grew us up together. What stayed with me all these years is that she listened to me. I recall a sense of love and belonging because she did. It was a familiar and strong emotion then and  I felt it again as my siblings have made their plans to visit me this month.They listened to the words I communicated from my heart AND they really must love me!? How incredibly blessed am I!? 

    Each one of these brothers and sisters made a unique impression on my life. My oldest brother Ron defined his moment in my life in the early 70's when our father Gene left for several months as he checked into a rehab center for alcoholism. My father left my oldest brother Ron in charge as man of the house during his absence. Ron took it very serious. He also ran the household while our mother worked full time. I recall eating A LOT of spaghetti since that was all he really knew how to cook. Bless his heart.

 Older brother Ken is most famous for rescuing me from bully boys on the playground when I was in first grade and he was in fifth grade. My hero. I won't forget him helping lace and tie my ice skates as a little girl and then "allowing" me to play hockey for a few minutes with his buddies on the far end of Gibson pond in Great Falls, Montana. He always kind of humored me,but kept a protective eye out for me too. I knew how to duck his brotherly punches, but I wasn't quick enough to elude ice cubes down my back and constant teasing though.

    My youngest sister Terri was the family favorite as she was added into the Marks clan 7 years after me. I don't ever remember having an argument with her.I loved her so deeply. Her strawberry red hair and creamy complexion was the envy of  all. Her pretend friends (Dougen and Ricken) and playful personality was our family entertainment and still is to this day. Most of all, she always made me laugh. I thank God for her daily and wish we lived closer to one another. We plan to soak up some sister love time during her visit.   I am blessed they are all visiting me here during our soggy rainy California winter. Hopefully they won't see my tears of joy running down my face then.💗


  Brother Ken and Lorrie February 2017