Friday, September 29, 2006

Picture of our newest arrival! Born yesterday, on my birthday the smart girl- and a lovely little thing she is.
All in all it was a great birthday, I got a female cria- and hubby got a job! Woo-hoo and pass the sparkling cider!!

This is the last cria of the year for us. And just in time for fall- which can get mighty cold up here.
I thought I would share a couple of funny email stories I have shared with others over the years.
As for the sari incident referred to here, that will have to wait for another day :))

This happened last year- seriously...
Okay Kat, so I will share yet the latest story in a series of embarrassing moments in my life...
The other day, the dogs start barking and my daughter says she sees a truck in the driveway. The main driveway goes all the way around our house, and we get lost people at our place all the time. Usually they pull up to the beginning of the drive around, see the house, and say oops! Then back down the road they go. Sometimes they drive up, see the alpacas, and decide to stop and looky-loo :)

This time they drove to "The Blind Spot"- the one spot on my driveway not visible from any windows in the house. So I go out the front door, after throwing on some thongs (in my jammies), and start the walk down the drive. No one there! So as I start walking back, yes, I was just WALKING, I promptly do some strange foot-slip-off-the-side-of-the-shoe thing and down I go.... all the way to the ground. Not one graceful bone in my body have I, and when I go down, it is a sight to see (so I am told, having just done a face plant - literally- off my bike in the stream a couple of days ago riding with my daughter...)

Seeing as how I was really surprised, having let out a whoop that made the machos in the boys pen run away in fright, and not too sure I was all in one piece, I lay on my back just making sure there were no compound fractures, and thinking "Boy, I am sooo glad there wasn't anyone here!" when a shadow falls over me, and this very tall, very handsome guy, trying hard not to smirk too much, asks if I am all right... Seems they got out of the truck after parking around the other side of the house. See, they saw the 'llamas' from the road and just decided to drop by.......

This wouldn't be too bad if I already hadn't lived through the wasp in the sari incident, or the visitor at the sliding door with me in my towel incident....
I have decided I have suffered enough humiliation and embarrassment in my life and falling down is getting to be too hard on my body at my age. My children can't believe I say that! I mean, where will they get all their belly laughs if not from their clutzy mom???

And this one, written last Spring after I quit my job -and in response to someone else who just had- to raise alpacas full time:
Why Chris of course you are a nutcase!! We all are! Don't you listen to/read everything out there about alpaca owners? You have to be nuts to spend every penny you have on a bunch of fuzzball long necked sheep!!!
We are all looney to spend hours laying on the ground just to get a glimpse of a preggo's udder.
Crazy we are to await our cria births with as much anxiety as we (the women) did our first born child!
Bonkers we are to call and write to everyone we know telling them about the birth of our first (or 100th) cria!
Off our rockers are we who, instead of pictures of our own flesh and blood, carry multiple photo albums with 'baby' pictures of our herd!
Wacko are we who, instead of working our tails off at some high paying job drop everything to live the alpaca lifestyle!!
Yep, I quit my day job Tuesday, it is official, I am certifiably a nutcase.

Here is one that was a bit more serious. Asked why we do this by an actual breeder who was going through some trouble at the time, the original email sparked a furious debate among other breeders and wannabe breeders about the pros and cons of alpaca ownership. This was my response- also last year right about this time:

Hi all,
Just back from an exhausting turn at the Kern County Fair. The older I get the harder it gets to hold up well at these long events :)) Reading all of the anxiety and questioning of everything and everyone, so thought I would share some thoughts, forgive me if I ramble a bit.

After setting up our display tables, hooking up electric fans for our displaced mountain pacas (got down to Bakersfield and the heat was back up to 100 degrees, well, they call it Bako for a reason.. LOL) hanging up product, putting out educational literature and the ever present all time favorite editions of Alpacas Magazine, trying to answer attendees questions at the same time, I again get my fix of what this business is all about.

Never mind the drunk guy banging on the panels calling to the alpacas, when he started spitting at them he crossed the line and I had to let him have it, politely of course. Never mind the hundreds of times I had to say: "No, they won't spit at you. No, they aren't baby llamas. No, they don't bite. No, they aren't camels (exactly). They don't like to be touched on the head. Please don't climb on the panels. Please don't feed them anything but our pellets." (the last 2 were lessened a bit by signs we made and placed all over this year)

Never mind the heat, the stress, the expensive food, loud music, rodeo dust, and bleating sheep, allergies and asthma, the losing of one's voice from speaking to thousands of people.... let's get to what it's really all about.

Getting to spend the days hands on with my best group of paca boys, with one new 'trainee' in the mix is worth it. Rebonding with my boy Gil-Galad, first cria born on the ranch, and best PR paca in the world. We share a special bond he and I. He is able to derive comfort from my presence, to calm himself and ease any anxiety he might be feeling, and I too am calmed by his presence. Our routine is for me to ask him to stand still so I may approach him, then he nuzzles my neck until he is ready to go on and be handled by the public. If he doesn't want to be handled, he will turn himself away from me after the nuzzle. Sometimes I am able to turn him around by a series of command and touch sessions (I ask him to touch, he puts his nose in my hand, repeat) but, there are times when he has had enough and it is someone elses turn, I can respect that.

To think that he remembers this routine even though he might sometimes only attend 4 or 5 such events a year is astounding to me. That he respects me enough to trust me totally with his care and handling at noisy, crowded, stressful times like these is something to wonder at. That he is such a good example to the other pacas there, who try as hard as they can, but just can't quite be as good as he is at this, is amazing. That he responds so well that he moves into the exact position I ask him to without even touching him is amazing to me.

Perhaps something rubs off, our new suri boy went to the fair for his first event, he too was able to derive comfort from me and bolster himself for all the attention. By the end of the event he had even stopped being so 'kicky' and enjoyed head rubs from everyone to the delight of all the very young children who really think they are just big doggies. Our youngest 14 month old Earendil was able to stand for me without running 4 out of 5 times, good odds for only his second event. Rewards are offered of course for good behavior. Time outs and a 'talking to' for anyone who gets spitty when it is time for kids to feed.

Sitting in the pen with my boys cushed all around me is one of my most favorite things. Hmmmm............... Better than crias pronking all around me? Hard to top sitting with my home girl Osita and having her labor at my feet and give birth right next to me. The sight of a special needs child so afraid to touch a paca, finally reach out and make that first contact, then the joy spreads over their face at their accomplishment. The toddler laughing hysterically as one of the pacas eats pellets from his stroller tray. That new cria who braves the fierce and wild jungle house cat and chases her out of the pen to leap and dash back to tell mom, "See what I did mom?!" The young man we met at the fair this weekend who came back day after day, asking new questions all the time... he wants to start FFA with a paca, he was hooked. That man who spent an hour perusing through AM, asking great husbandry questions and talking with me about breed standards and the crazy fads the cattle and sheep industry have gone through. "Not that I'm gonna ever have any, but what about....?" he would ask, over and over..... yep, he's caught the fever, he just don't know it yet! Seeing all your moms nursing and clucking to their crias all at the same the dinner bell rang.... pretty cool stuff. Wouldn't trade it for anything, not blue ribbons, not a full page spread in the FRG, not the Binford 3000 sure shot grand champion maker, not nothin.

Someone asked, why are we doing this? I'm sorry you don't know already, and I will rejoice with you when you figure it out.

Okay, enough for now. LOL, this is getting to feel like a "best of" show and I am certainly not talented enough for that!

This has been a very trying week. Someday, when my heart is healed a bit more, I will share the story, but for now, thank you for being out there, and letting me share a little bit of my life with you.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

lost posts and Mondays

Here are the pictures to go with the blog below...
Oy, the blog that was deleted somehow from the drafts file........
For some reason I can't upload pictures in the morning, or when there is text in the box on a regular basis, maybe it's Monday in cyberspace all the time.
It's Monday here today for sure. I will repost the original post (now I'm getting confused!) tomorrow, tonight I need to sleep. Sleep without dreaming of some guy who rubs lotion on my feet while I'm eating lunch.... weird and kind of creepy, but it didn't seem weird in the dream, just a nice thing for him to do.
Hubby got a real kick out of that one!! I told him perhaps it was my subconscious desire for foot rubs that manifested itself in my dream. He says maybe I just woke myself up by rubbing my rough dry feet together and that segued into the dream sequence..... tonight I'm gonna wake him up in the middle of the night, but not with my dry feet, I was thinking maybe an ice cube would do the trick.

So, in case some bug eats my post tomorrow, I will explain who these cute critters are. The little on is Myrdd- means Merlin in Welsh. His paca family thinks hay is great fun to carry around all day. Seeing as alpacas don't have pockets, where else do you carry such a valuable and precious item but in your mouth? Seriously, 2 sisters, a brother and a cousin all did the same thing. Too cute. I have one where all you can see is his eye. I think he was trying to look through the camera lense, the wrong way! He is home with his momma now as he was just visiting whilst his momma got bred. Talk about a farm education....

The other is my Hally-Boo. Born on Halloween and a special girl to me. Had a rough start in life and came to us doing very poorly on account of her momma didn't wanna be a momma. So we bonded and even though she didn't belong to us at that time, she does now. So here she is in all her "after my haircut" glory. Of course that would be the hair on the rest of her body, not her head. She brushes up against the street sweeper brush in the pen and creates this lovely doo. Once I swear she was looking at old 80's magazines because she had managed to get her topknot into a Flock of Seagulls look that totally rocked! She is due to give us a second female (think pink, think pink) the beginning of October. I can't wait for that one, she finally got a date with her childhood sweetheart and that breeding is gonna create a beautiful cria.

Speaking of the 80's, why isn't there music like that now? Okay, I'm old admittedly, but I really miss those cool one hit wonder 80's bands. I am really glad my son who is 15 (in a few weeks!) likes the same kind of music I do. His taste is really as eclectic as mine- but doesn't include Black Flag or the Violent Femmes thank heavens (what was I thinking??) DO you know I once got my hair pulled at a Dead Kennedy's concert? I wouldn't cut it short, so I got it pulled a lot. I had this great friend whose name was Corky and he stood behind me after it happened enough times so I wouldn't go bald! Too funny... witch boots, cammo and gold hairspray... sigh... those were the days!
My daughter would have fit into the 80's perfectly. She is totally related to me, she has the coolest most unique sense of style. If earrings still came one long and one short she would be all over them. :))
BTW, I was wearing them like that before that was even cool! LOL

Well, enough rambling. Take good care and see you tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Pictures of the smoke from the other day... yuck!!

a dog's life

here is a picture taken from my dog's perspective. Fatty Lumpkin on the chair, his momma Tequila (didn't name her don't write me letters) and Jack "The Dog" who's actually a cat.

Don't I wish I could be like them? Laying in a sunbeam, nothin' to worry about. I would trade with them in a heartbeat right now, just for right now.

Note the look of consternation on Lumpy's face, "Should I go down there and lay with mom?" I am mom, his biological mother merely serves as a chew toy and romper playmate. He is the dog of my heart, knows when I am sad and blue, whenever I cry, even if I am at the other end of the house and he can't possibly hear me, he is there. Uncanny really.

Sad I am. Hard life is right now. Yoda I sound like...... a light saber he would smack me with if heard me he did. Okay, totally too corny, but I do tend to sound like the Jedi master when I am depressed.

Life is difficult at the present time, hubby laid off for the second time in 5 years. Getting older and it isn't so easy to bounce back. Also, what do you do? Take the job that pays you 60% less but has health insurance? Or stay on unemployment for a little while longer (which pays better) and hope something better is found? 26 years in the printing industry, and now your job is becoming obsolete. What do you do when you are 48? Start over? Difficult that would be.

My biggest fear in life is that I will wake up and all this beauty and loveliness (read, my life here in the country) will have disappeared and I will be living in the city again without my beloved animals.

--sigh-- depressed I am.... tired I am too, and I hate whiny people -myself especially- so I am off to play Final Fantasy X-2 and forget all about my troubles for a while.
Tell me my friends across the pond; does "woot!" mean the same as our "Woo-hoo!"? Curious in CA....
Love to you all,

Monday, September 18, 2006

smoke & ash

Oh boy....
Today the Day Fire doubled in size, and crept back around to sneak up on our mountain from behind.
You can see the sky turned a lovely cancerous sort of yellow brown, and turned the sun orange, then red.

Tonight I went for a walk with my 2 dogs, but came back in the house right away. Ash is falling heavily, covering the ground and blowing through the air like tiny snowflakes... but without the charm.
This is like Halloween Town snow- demented and dry and sort of creepy.

I feel so badly for the poor wildlife. They have gotten it from all sides this fire season, and they are slowly being forced into a very small area. They will have the fire on one side, and people on the other.

My dogs are now giving me "The Look"... you know, the one that tells me what a bad dog owner I am for not taking them for their walk. Only dogs and children can inspire that kind of guilt. Wait a minute! Moms are really, really good at that too. My mother is the best, she has gotten even better in her advancing years.
I have to put on my "mom proof armor" if I plan on talking to her for any length of time. Even the phone doesn't provide any long distance protection anymore.

Short blog tonight, I didn't sleep much last night. I sleep, I do, but I dream a lot. I mean- A LOT. And not just ordinary dreams either. For as long as I can remember I have had huge, dramatic, apocalyptic dreams. Steven King dreams... save-the-world-while-armed-only-with-a-toothpick dreams. I sometimes wake up exhausted, it's no wonder, I mean I just saved the whole village from a volcanic eruption- that I predicted of course, but no one listened to me did they.... no sir. I had to rescue every last one of them and hide them in a cave high above the village in the mountains.

Last night I dreamt that my alpaca due in October decided to have her cria early. In fact, when I came outside there were two black alpaca crias next to her. (for some reason, oh I know- It was to make my dream job more difficult!!- we were at one of our huge National alpaca conferences)
After I figured out that the kids were hers, I looked around and saw a little white cria laying up next to the tent wall. No momma was around her, and she was still wet and obviously not doing well.

So, my job should I choose to accept it (what choice do I have, I'm dreaming for petes sake!!) is to find the owner, to find the momma alpaca, to save the cria's life.... trouble is, seems like everyone is in seminars and I can't find any of them.
After 12 hours I find a vet, we save the cria and....... I told you my dreams were tough..... I am suddenly wading through mud and trying to round up a whole herd of alpacas at a friends ranch to get them all in a barn out of the freak snowstorm that's on it's way. No herding wands, no extra help, just me.... trying to herd many, many alpacas....... by myself..........
Is there a hidden meaning here somewhere???
---sigh--- YAWN.....
Off to bed, to sleep, perchance to..... don't even think about it.....

Saturday, September 16, 2006

why I was up all night- and other scary stories

Okay folks, I didn't post yesterday, wonder why? Well, I spent all night browsing through blogs.

All I can say is.... wow. The internet is just full of losers whining about everything, and letting the whole world hear about their pathetic problems. I mean, have they nothing better to do?? What kind of person writes everyday about what they do in every boring detail??....... um, okay, so just ignore that last paragraph because I guess I fit into that category now. I am going with the following excuse: it just tells me I haven't remained stuck in the latter century and I just *feel* old. Besides I am having fun and isn't that what it's all about?????

Really, there are some very talented people out there blogging, intelligent and witty, artsy and passionate.
Lady Heather you were the best I came across last night, curtsy to M'lady.

Then there are the ones who just scared me to death.... *cue Psycho music here* Boy, talk about having to turn on all the lights in the house so you don't freak out, I was calling the neighbors and telling them to turn their lights on. I even turned on the light in the momma paca pen.... then I seriously thought about sleeping outside with Osita, she would protect me.... or step on me in the middle of the night in either case it would take my mind off the strange things I had seen. --- shudder----

I guess anything goes under the guise of 'freedom of expression' but I seriously wonder about the future of our species at times.

Take for example the headline speeding across the top of my monitor news ticker. It reads:
Murder Suspect: Goat Turned Into Corpse
LAGOS, Nigeria - A Nigerian murder suspect accused of killing his brother with an axe told police investigators he actually attacked a goat, which was only later magically transformed into his sibling's corpse, officials said Thursday.

Hmmmm....... nuff said. Life is weird, but people are even weirder.

Weirder still is the fact that today for some strange reason known only to me as "The Mysteries of Cyberspace" (cue echo sound effects) all of the pictures I have been trying to post all week suddenly posted today with this blog. So, the little white cria with his mouth open is the little guy born on our ranch 2 days ago. In case you were wondering he is shouting, "Look out world, here I come!!" Stay away from blogging little one.....

The blackened landscape is the contrast between the fire we had near our house and the pristine untouched yellow grass and oak mountain we live on. And the clouds were a stunning phenomenon seen often up past Frazier Park when the clouds crowd in below in the valley along the foothills and 'get stuck' - - - I hope my technical terms don't throw you here - - - I just happened to have my camera one day whilst taking my son to seminary. Cool huh?

I think I'll try to post some more! ---- type, click, paste, @#%* (kidding!!)

If they come through, our road last year and our attempt to drive down the mountain with no chains to get to church..... the subsequent failure and the humiliating trudge home 2 miles uphill in the snow & ice (no,,,, really!). I of course didn't go, I stayed with the car. Hay!! Someone had to document the event!!! Trudging, I really like that word 'trudge'.... Chaucer had it right in A Knights Tale (great movie btw)

Osita with the sun behind her, my ray of sunshine.

The mist as it creeps from the San Juaquin valley up into our canyon.

And last but not least, my dog Fatty Lumpkin and our little deer visitor we cared for a total of 2 spectacular days. I will write that story one day for you, it was a wonder.

Well, off I go to check on our newest arrival- smart kid, he was born while the weather was still warm. He got 2 full days of balmy 80's and now fall has arrived with a bang and it is 50 out there right now at 9:30 am.
Next one's due November 12th.
Brrrr.... aint life grand?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

smoke in the canyon

Well, the wind has picked up today in advance of this storm system that is moving in -cooler weather, can you give me Hallelujia??!!- but it has just pulled the smoke from the fire in Castaic right down the freeway and now our canyon is full of smoke again.

The day after the fire started, and for a couple of days after that we had choking smoke all through the mountain. Frazier Park was filled as well and we had to close the house up because of my asthma. The kid's schools were on rainy day schedule, no one was allowed outside. Looks like we will be in the same boat again.

I always worry about the alpacas, I mean it's not like they can go in the house and close the doors! It is so hard as a ranch owner to worry and wonder about them, and not be able to do a darned thing about it! This makes the fourth fire this year that has been too close for comfort. Hmmm.... can we get ARF to do a study on the effects of long term smoke on alpaca's lungs? They work with the Phillip Morris Foundation after all....
-- woo hoo and she's off and running!!--

This year has been a particularly bad fire year. We had a very scary one right in our canyon in July, where the fire fighters basically said, "Go in your house, close your windows, and we'll make sure your house doesn't burn down."
First we were going to have to evacuate, then we couldn't because it was burning right up the road. What's scarier? Having to evacuate, or being told you can't??

Ranch ownership puts a whole new kink in evacuation. In the beginning......
we only had a few alpacas, they all fit into our tiny trailer and between the pacas, the dog and the cat we were fine! It went like clockwork in our practice runs....

Fast forward to now, over 20 alpacas, 2 dogs, 5 cats, a turtle, various fish, 10 chickens and a partridge in a pear tree and our "practice runs" look like a Laurel and Hardy movie!
Hem-hem,,, it went something like this:

"How many alpacas did you say would fit in the back of the truck?" asks my hubby.
"Well, in theory we could cram about 5 in there, but add Luxor to the mix, and the number drops to 2."
"What group does Osita go in??"
"She has to go in the 'pacas- that- are-under-4 -years- old-and-play-well-with-others group!!" I ramble out, "Can't you see I'm busy trying to figure out where Jack -aka: The Dog (who is really a cat) will fit? He can't go with Diane, she hates him, Shadow's too fat, he takes up a whole carrier by himself and the dogs won't let him ride in the front seat with them they say he hogs the window!!"

Oh yes, we are looking forward to the 'dry run' we have set up for October.... I'll have a friend video tape it. We should be able to make some big bucks off of that one......

Last week my daughter asked me if she could get a parakeet. I think she has forgotten that idea though, I heard her calling out a while later: "Daddy!!! Mom's scaring me, she hasn't blinked in 20 minutes!!!"

I was just trying to figure out what group 'Budgie' would fit in!!

Here's a picture of the fire on our road this year- we just tell people they are visiting a previously unknown volcano site....

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

September 13, 2006 new babies and interloping adults

Well, we had a baby today! Looks like I will get some sleep after all! Woo-hoo and pass the tylenol p.m.... :)

Born by 7:10 am, this momma really likes to labor all through the night and pop 'em out early let me tell you.
He is a little boy, pink champagne in color with a brown spot on his chest. Curly, curly fiber! Out of our boarder's female Rawnie, and our own Pacifica's Eclipse. Good job guys! Especially you poppa, color out of two whites, know it came from your side! Okay, nuff braggin- on to the good stuff.

He weighs 14 lb, and had a bit of a slow start. I think he was just trying to wake up, I mean sheesh momma, not *everyone* is a morning person... He is up and getting around well, but............

I go outside to check on him a few hours later and lo and behold, there is a 4 year old female trying to steal his milk from his momma and shoving him out of the way! And this isn't even her mom! She is just trying to get that good stuff that comes in the first day. Boy, 4 years old and still a milk thief... can't wait till she has her first next year, will she tey to milk off herself?

So, out of the pen she goes and into the 'seasoned moms' pen. Yeah, just try that with Osita honey, talk about your mean green fighting machine. Sure enough, she tried to nurse on two out of the three moms in there and promptly got green in a hurry. Think she got the picture, aint cool to sneak, and I think I saw Poca shake her toenail at her, scolding her and telling her to "Grow up and act your age!!"

I am sure this newest momma is just distracted, because she is the boss hog of the pen and under normal circumstances she would never let anyone get away with something like that... I think I'll forgive her on her son's birthday :)
New babies, is there anythin in the world more sweet and perfect?
Slainte~ and may all your days be a wonderful

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

figuring out bloggin....

Okay, so I finally have my own blog site... now to learn how to use it!! Thanks for puttin up with me everyone :)) I will master this if it's the last thing I do, and knowing me, it just might take that long!

For example, to solve the mystery of why the word "God" was in black, while the rest of the post was in white in 9/11's post. How about, how to use the spell check?? Or, how to cut and paste the link into a message so it actually works (wasn't that in computers for dummies 101???? Who knows, I sure wasn't paying attention)

Well, no cria today yet. It is heating up again in CA, we are up into the high 80's again. Funny, by Thursday it is only supposed to get to 70 during the day, and low 40's at night. Last week it was the same.
The alpacas don't know what to do, wear the sweater, or the bikini!! LOL- okay, the really pregnant ones wear one pieces in public..... you know, the ones with the skirts that make you look like even bigger than you really are?

The two most pregnant gals are grumpily consuming all the available space in the shelters under the misters. (BTW, there is room in the shelter for at least 6........ and there *is* other shade in the pen, but not *shelter shade* which all alpaca owners know is a special, magical sort of shade)
Growling and looking extremely menacing at anyone else who even *looks* like they might want to get out of the sun in "their" shelter.... the others are forced to circle the den of lions in the hope that perhaps they might get lucky and one won't look as they slip in quickly. Must I build a 'preggo shelter' and a 'non preggo shelter'? What would the ACLU have to say about that? "Alpaca segregation!!!" I'm sure the cry would be. "We can't have this sort of thing happening, what's next, segregated feeders and waterers?!?!"

Oy! Please don't tell them we already *do* have two feeders.... one for the piggies, er, I mean preggos, and one for everyone else. I just don't need that headache right now.

Posting a picture one of the fires here in CA. taken yesterday. Our cousin lives smack dab in the middle of it. This is one of his outbuildings. Fire fighters on all sides of their ranch home. All the cattle and the family are well. The fire fighters saved their home, but their idyllic oak forested pastures, the beautiful natural habitat they have preserved for over 80 years in their family has been destroyed. Fire is the great destructor, and this one they think- as well as one started the day before- was deliberately set.

Could the whackos not find something better to do? I personally think when they get caught, they should be chain ganged into the nearest fire station and into forced labor. But that's just my old fashioned opinion.

Hmmmm..... maybe it's the suits that have the preggos so cranky........

Monday, September 11, 2006

September 11, 2006

Wow, September 11. Can you believe it has been five years?
The song from Alan Jackson comes to mind, "Where were you when the world stopped turning?", I will never forget what I was doing that day.
I remember my sister, who is 17 years older than I am, telling me that she could remember exactly what she was doing the day President Kennedy was assasinated. I remember thinking, that's weird, how could you remember *exactly* what you were doing so long ago?

Well, I understand now. Some things that happen in your life are just so profound that they burn the details of that event permanently into your mind. The only thing I remember with such clarity and emotion are the births of my children, and the death of my brother when I was 15.

I was getting the kids ready for school. My son was 10, and my daughter 7. It was about 6:26 am when I got a call from my husband, turn the tv to a news channel he said. He sounded funny, speaking in hushed tones.
I remember thinking he was probably being watched by a boss, and wasn't supposed to be on the phone.
I turned on the tv and sat in shock at what I saw. The first plane had just hit tower one, and newscasters were saying what a shame it was, and wow, how could anyone miss seeing that big tower in front of their plane?

Nope, I thought, that isn't damage from a little private plane, and there was this strange feeling in my stomach. In complete disbelief I watched as this huge, huge plane crashed into the second tower. Now the news talk turned much more serious, was it an act of terrorism? I remember being completely terrified, and when the talk turned to just how many people might actually be working in those towers, heartbroken.
"Why are you crying mommy?" my son asked. What do I tell him, I thought.... what could I say..... what was happening.....

Soon after, I had to take my kids to their bus so that I could go down the mountain to Bakersfield. See, I was getting fingerprinted that day for a new job I was supposed to start in three days. Impossible! I couldn't possibly send them off to school and drive like a normal person all that way. What if something happened to them, what if Los Angeles was next? Or one of the air bases that are out near us?

I can't believe it now, but somehow I managed to get them to school and found myself on the freeway. I was listening to the local news stations, feeling so lost. I distinctly remember looking around at other drivers, seeing them laughing, singing.... didn't they know what was happening? I realized tears were just pouring down my face when I heard that the Pentagon had been hit. What?? There were at least 4 other planes targeting other major cities? Rumors were flying, it was shear panic out there. L.A. was next, the White house had been evacuated, a plane had been shot down by the military over D.C.....

I entered the underground parking area and parked in a daze. I walked outside my car and there were a few people standing around someone who had his door open and his radio blaring near the guard booth. We all stood there and listened together in horror as we heard the anchorman cry out in shock that tower two had just crumbled. We were all crying, all of us strangers, reaching out for each other and looking for some comfort on a day when the world went crazy. After hugs and whispered prayers, we went our seperate ways.

Fingerprinted in record time, I flew home, intent on picking up my children and taking them home to safety with me. But, I decided that perhaps it was best for them to be at school, in a normal routine, just another school day for them. Time enough for reality to intrude on their little lives...

After reaching home, I turned on the news and watched in horror with the rest of the world as terrifying images filled the screen. I was so glad that my children weren't home. It gave me time to absorb some of it, to try and grasp the immensity of the tragedy. By now my husband was home, their plant had shut down- in honor of their NY division, housed in the World Trade Center.

So many memories, so many terribly images, so many tears shed for the lost ones and their families....

September 11, 2001 brought out the very worst, and the very best in us.
The worst being those who lived on our soil and worked alongside of us day after day only to betray us so heineously. Those who bring destruction and death to others in the name of religion.

The best being the millions of US citizens all over this wide country coming together in our time of crisis and uniting... turning our broad, vast country into one small community that circled the wagons and cared for our own. Our allies weeping and mourning with us, then standing beside us as we sought to bring justice to those who had committed this devastating crime upon USA soil. Our brave, brave, firefighters, policemen and rescue workers who tirelessly worked day after day in unimaginable circumstances, forced to witness horror after horror, all to bring someone out alive. Even after losing so many of their own.... Then, when it was clear there wasn't anyone else coming out alive, continuing to work to bring something, anything, out to give closure to grieving relatives. God bless them.

I wish we could be so united all the time. I have never been so proud to be an American. So proud of our leaders, our president who led us through this time of crisis with quiet strength and dedicated faith. Of our servicemen and women, our firefighters.... Remember the flags? Everywhere you looked, there was an American flag flying proudly! Remember how we honked and waved, brought cookies to our local fire stations, just to do *something*? Remember standing in line to give blood? Remember choking up while singing our National Anthem? Why can't we be so united at all times......

Never forget, always remember. We did not bring this on ourselves. This was not brought about by our foreign policies. This was not caused by our actions abroad. This was a crime committed against our country, unprovoked, unprecedented, and unforgivable. It is not a matter of *if* it will happen again, but *when*.
Will we be so united the next time? Or will there be the same finger pointing, blame shifting, and division then, that there is right now? I can only hope we will remember....

I will never forget this day.
God Bless America.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

my first post

Well, I've gone and done it. People have been telling me forever to just do it, and I've done it.
Here you will find my musings, done mostly in the pasture with my beloved alpacas here on my ranch. Thoughts that will range from the day to day ranch operation, from the silly to the sublime.
I will also post my own personal thoughts on just about everything else in life, seeing as how I have so many thoughts they sometimes hurt my head. Hopefully they won't hurt yours! I promise I will be honest.
You may agree or disagree, it's up to you, but as I don't have a pensieve at my disposal, I admit this to be a wonderful way to clear my mind.

Today is a cria watch day. A cria is a baby alpaca, and I have a mom whose due date was Friday, so that means she could have her cria at anytime..... in the next 30 days.....
Up every three hours at night to check, as this momma had her little one last year about an hour before dawn.
Lets see... three hour checks all night every night x 30 days = one incoherent, babbling, bumbling fool. This should be fun!!!

You'd think I would be used to it, after all this is the 30th or so cria born here on our ranch, and I'm the one up since papa bear works, but I'm finding out that the older I get, the longer it takes to recover from an all nighter- heck, even a part nighter! Gone are the days when I could party all night and go to work all the next day only to start the whole thing over again that night after an hour nap in my car at lunch. Yep, I'm old. Hitting 42 this year, but that's a whole other page.

Oh well, it is worth it when that bouncing cria hits the ground and we start watching it's personality develop. Then we get to start playing "The Naming Game".
Take good care of yourself- til next time.