Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Fairy Tales or When World Collide

I used to think after seeing my favorite musical movie "South Pacific" that when I was first in love with my husband that "happy-talk" was really something true and we were both filled with hope and we were setting-up self-fulling conversations of dreams and planning our future together.

  Happy talk, keep talkin' happy talk,
Talk about things you'd like to do.
You got to have a dream,
If you don't have a dream,
How you gonna have a dream come true?

Talk about the moon floatin' in the sky
Lookin' at a lily on the lake;
Talk about a bird learnin' how to fly.
Makin' all the music he can make.

Happy talk, keep talkin' happy talk,
Talk about things you'd like to do.
You got to have a dream,
If you don't have a dream,
How you gonna have a dream come true?

Talk about a star lookin' like a toy
Peekin' through the branches of a tree;
Talk about the girl, talk about the boy
Countin' all the ripples on the sea.

Happy talk, keep talkin' happy talk,
Talk about things you'd like to do.
You got to have a dream,
If you don't have a dream
How you gonna have a dream come true?

Talk about the boy sayin' to the girl:
"Golly, baby, I'm a lucky cuss"
Talk about the girl sayin' to the boy:
"You an' me is lucky to be us!"

Happy talk, keep talkin' happy talk,
Talk about things you'd like to do.
You got to have a dream,
If you don't have a dream
How you gonna have a dream come true?

If you don't talk happy,
And you never have dream,
Then you'll never have a dream come true!

 Finally, at age 62 reality has set-in and I'm surprised that it's taken this long.

Fairy tales equal "happy talk."  When Steve and I were imaging what our future was going to bring, I should've counted on exactly the opposite of what was actually going to come to pass. I'm not saying that about our love for each other. Our love hasn't diminished at all. Actually, it's very much the opposite. Of course, we love each other more. I can see I love him more in very bit of time-span. I just have to think about it just a little and my heart knows, I love him more than I did the day before. More and more I miss him the days he's on "fire-duty" and I worry about him more than I have in the past, even though I know he's more wise and makes decisions based on lots of experience and training. Steve's choices seem to me that they're never wrong. I quit arguing points with him a long time ago on anything and everything. I think that's called trust. Steve just left to go visit his very best friend that was taken by ambulance to the big hospital in Ventura, just a few minutes ago. I know his heart is racing just like mine. We're about the same age and we've only known him only three years, but he is such a kind wonderful man and really a part of our family. I want to draw a sad face on my blog.

My life and Steve's has not panned-out nearly in the pattern that we had set-out for in life. I guess things have changed so much in this world. We've had so many unexpected events blossom into a bush full of crisis'. I'm not exactly worrying about disaster. Both of us have had enough disaster training through my husband's CERT instructions and has had training meeting for many years and  I never thought my illusions and "happy talk" of my life would be filled daily with "all happiness and wonderful events."  I knew there would be challenges and trials, that's just part of life. I just saw me in a gingham dress, out in the yard and meeting him at the flowered, white picket fence gate each evening as he came home from work. Duhr, he's a fire-fighter and Steve hates gingham anything. Must've been that huge, pink gingham dress I made when I was first pregnant. I wore it completely-out.

 The reality is that trends in my life alone, have not changed since I was a teenager. I get notions (crazy ideas) and each changes somewhat with season of the year ( I do hang-on to them) and the whole plan or event can be put into Act I, Act II, scene 2. Sometimes they all have the same title just different players, or the opposite. The headings under each act even have real names. The whole focus each time is my family, our home and ranch, and on me and how I maneuver all of the storyline.

Honestly, I'm a one-track person, I can't juggle a lot of problems or even a lot of chores at the same time. Sometimes I try and change everything around including activities, conversations, and reactions from others, maybe to make a challenge easier? I'm not at all a controlling person or I don't think I am, because nothing ever, EVER turns-out like I had it figured. It's like a giant knot of string in a whole bunch of colors that are so tight that cutting it away seems the only answer. I could fill journal page after journal page with events that run this very course over and over like a old worn, meandering, cow-path down a hillside.

"In a Nutshell" the scoop: Life is not like chocolate in a box because I've already memorized all the pieces and there's reference information already on each box. I can count on that everyday has complications. Honest, this place or where ever we are, there's something that happens. I really do try and make fixes and put Bandaids on them all. Whoa, that explains a lot--really we do use way too many of those, "for reals" and have since I was a little kid. My dad always said a Bandaid would make it all better. I need a big Bandaid all the time. Oh, my gosh, I hate using metaphors and that seems to be my M.O.

So, even now when I'm my writing a post as a way to try to clarify my feelings, the more I write words about it, the point somehow gets smothered my effort to explain it. IT! Another is "Beating around the Bush" I'm so totally there. Even the online dictionary has an explanation for that particular saying that is to avoid coming to the point; delay in approaching a subject directly. The only clear point in this post so far is that when you have lots of money and means, a person or corporation can have a huge problem(s) that I can't even fathom. We have the same headaches, but were not running IBM, but the result and enormity of the problem(s) seems to us as serious and the headaches are the same.

My Favorite Bush (Tree) A Manzanita

Honest, I'm not really in trouble. I know it sounds like I am, but I'm just trying to put some light on how when we were a lot younger we perceived our life to go a whole different direction and it's absolutely nothing like we had imagined. I can't think exactly of specific problems that needs solving. Well... I can, that's not hard. But you know how ya' hear people say,  "I don't know how to get there from here" or even, "You can't get there from here?" Simply all our problems seem to fit in  that category of, "I can't do that, until this is done." Right? Have you ever been there? We can't paint the kitchen until the broken refrigerator is moved-out. It's too heavy for Steve or I to take down the stairs and the porch probably won't hold it anyway. If we do move it, I have to sand, then put new whatever that plaster is called where it leaked through the roof and cracked, but we can't do that, until we re-roof the house. I do have the color chip that I want to paint the kitchen though.The one easy step that makes all the others insurmountable. This is not a metaphor, this is real life!

If I think about all that we've gone through in our lives. Holy cow! Truly, it even involves real Mafia people. Crazy things happen and there's sometimes we have zero control over all of it.

Story Time and it's downfall:

 The Ventura County Fair

I can give a simple example. I wanted to paint a barn cut-out and some animal cut-outs, make a fence and paint every single tool we take with us to the fair, including and I know I'm missing something-- the broom, scoopers, rakes, little brushes, chairs, buckets, a small wheelbarrow, and stanchions to decorate for Fair. I wanted to really upgrade the look of our livestock area to be super cute and a little girly for Kiely. I had made a long pendant banner of yellow flags to hang across our pen areas. I sewed the whole time we were at the beach house. I had a long bunch of sections of short picket fence painted and antiqued, two goat cut-outs and a little hen sitting, bigger than life-sized on a nest. It would be there when the barn window was opened, a chicken would be sitting on a nest tucked inside and fastened with tie-wraps. The door even had an old barn door handle. I'm always tired at the fair and I had a new bench painted and decorated with the FFA logo, for people visiting the livestock section of the fair. So many people were desperate to sit somewhere and need a rest from walking so far. The first place they would sit on was on our straw bales (the bales by the end of fair turn to mush, even if they're covered.) The bench seemed to be a great idea. I had hay baskets in yellow, water buckets in yellow, coats to cover the clean goats in yellow with even matching socks for show day. Oh, and name cut-outs to hang on the fence painted to match each dairy goat. I really over did it. But my daughter did too. All her posters were framed and she bought some easels if we didn't have room to hang on the fences with her money from working after school. Steve bought five live hanging ferns to put down the center isle. We were moving in.

Our Farm Sign High in The Top Left Corner
I painted and painted and decorated the little red barn with white cross-hatches. My two goats were perfectly painted with shading and matched our best goats in our barn that were going to be shown in fair. They looked so much like the goats, you could tell who they matched. They were almost life-sized. I drilled holes in the barn and decorations so that we would never have to nail anything. I didn't want the wood to split. We decided to use tie-wraps to hold everything in place, even the feed baskets. The big newly painted tack boxes, if placed just right, are used as a bed and my grand kids can rest between shows or just take a nap. Kiely especially needed a place to sleep because she was Junior Fair Board President and worked almost all the shows they put on, clear into the night.

Those events that Kiely participated in were though-out the fair 
and included stuff like: "mutton-busting" "hog-calling"
 "pie-eating" "karaoke" and the rest of fun stuff. 

Our Grandson Jake Won! 
 Aunt Kiely wasn't able to vote so she was the announcer. Very fun!

Of course for her rest area, I had matching pillow cases and blankets. If you think I'm way over the top-I'm not the only family that did all those things. All of us did it and in every color, even purple. (I think that was Piru's color) We weren't looking for a stall award, just wanted to have everything just right, especially her last time at Fair as an FFAer. The next year I knew Kiely will show 4-H again, but everything's still going to get repainted yellow. I hoped the other things I made stayed nice and ready for the next year.

I worked all summer at getting these ready while my Kiely worked on her shaving and washing her steer and doing all the shaving of the dairy goats. And trust me, all of this is not easy in humid 90+ weather. She also made all the posters that were required for teaching the younger 4-Hers and public about the animals. I'm thinking that we could use all of these decorations from year to year and when Kiely was done showing the goats my grandchildren could use them. The decorations looked professional and I even put lots of clear protective seal on everything even the posters were laminated, so it all would last with little touch-up and we even made a farm banner from a canvas painter's dropcloth. I hand painted and then Kiely stenciled yellow checkers in the background and oak leaves around the letters. The farm name was in a cute and readable font.

 We were done a week before fair and everything had completely dried without any tacky places anywhere. Only the two little doe kids needed shaving and that had to be done the day before we had to leave.

Here's the end result. We were finally were assigned the first five stalls. Kiely and I knew it was our turn. But unexpectedly (my middle name) we had to move away from the end of the barn because it was too close to the vet testing area and a new place for Dr. Mike. We had worked years to get up to that area in the barn. All exhibitors start at the end of the long narrow barns and work their way to closer to the show arena. We had to MOVE after Kiely and I had set and decorated everything. So, with that move it crowded the goat stalls. The barn was put against the wall in the back in someone else's livestock area with not one place to put any of our decorations. Our picket fencing was used by Kiely's employer, Dr. Mike who did all the animal testing for the fair.

 Dr Mike G.

 He needed a pathway and thought the fencing was cute. There was just one little section that he threw to the side. How could Kiely say no to him, she was working for him during the next school year? Kiely was able to use the extra small picket fence for her steer and it did look good over on the steer-side.

All our goats were put in only two stalls and I had to beg for that. It was the open and windy, cold side. The goats went from 90+ degree weather to well under 70 degrees because the fair's right on the beach.

Right-off  our goats were bunched together from four pens and a milking and feed storage area, to two pens in the front, so cold and damp. The baby goats were sick by morning. The complete layout all changed, the little hen was stolen out of the barn and vandals broke the legs off the goat cut-outs. I had so carefully sawed each one out of quarter inch plywood. I didn't want it to be too heavy. Our farm sign was perfectly set-out in the top of our pens, but had to be put on the fence closest to the public. We had graffiti artists visit our site during the night and ruined my sign after only two days. A run-away steer caught the edge and ripped the top half when the kids tied him to our fence. Ripped, dirty, and painted ugly, our sign went into the trash.

Grand Daughters Adree and Hannah
The sick baby goat kids were treated by Dr. Mike, but the day of judging and showmanship was so upsetting because the goat show wouldn't wait for the steer show to be done. Kiely couldn't show in two rings. Why couldn't the show wait? My little grand daughters jumped-in and tried to show our goats. All they knew is that the feet needed to be straight under them. I just watched and figured all of this is just what the fair is always--not fair. The baby kids had been shaved just the day before fair and during judging they seemed a bit hunched-up, but not completely sick. Our judge knew that they were so cold but she placed both really high and gave the goats great reviews. I could see that the judge was really bothered by kids showing the goats without knowing how to do it. She rolled her eyes and would slap her head like my grandchildren were toddlers. I think they did wonderful. Kiely gave them all the ribbons, even the Champion and Reserve. She would've paid them if she had the money for it.


Champion judging ribbons. Honestly, the little girls were darling!

Back Pocket Full of Ribbons

 I wish Kiely could have done the showmanship class she would've done beautiful, even though the steer judging was over Kiely's clothes were a mess.

My bench was in a different place in the livestock area everyday that I arrived in the morning. It was like parents and kids thought it belonged to the fairgrounds. Ugh. My barn cut-out fared pretty well, but inside of another goat pen pen the wood was chewed all around the edges. I suppose it was out of sheer boredom of goats being in small pens. The parents of the children that had those other goats in the "other" club didn't care about my painted barn. I just squinted. I'm sure it tasted nasty, but the goats chewed on it anyway. It was never, ever meant to go inside of anyone's pen.

I still have the banner my Tressa gave
 to me as a present for fair and I hung
 at the end of the long isle of the barn and loved it.

 The garden flag is still in our barn after we brought all the yellow junk home. It was the only thing that made it without damage. It's a flag banner of  honey bees and a hive, it was brought to the fair, brand new and it said,  "Bee Happy!" I was so grateful for the garden flag back then to remind me to be happy. My "Bee Banner" is a private treasure. I'm so grateful for the sign, dear Tressa!

The Garden Flag Stayed There The Whole Fair!

At the end of fair the missing chicken was never found. I still have the picket fencing although the pickets are a little loose. The barn still looks okay and could just use sanding on the edges and a bit of repainting. The one goats should've been completely trashed but I brought them home for a patterns. (like I'd do this all again?) My bench came home and is in need of another paint job but  it's still strong and we use it all the time.

Those Brown Bat-looking Things Are Sycamore Leaves In Our Shavings

My thoughts were always that my grand kids will love this when they go to fair, having all decorations already made. The whole fair area has now been remodeled and there's no walls, just pens and no where to put decorations, a farm sign, nor livestock poster information, or interactive learning designs that have always been required by the fair pen judges and livestock superintendent.

If anyone ever has a play or needs farm props for a parade ... I have them! Even a palm tree that goes with it all. This stuff I made was only used one year and made to be used for years. Kiely didn't want to do dairy goats her last year and I didn't force the issue. I understood.

Being Happy!
As I walk down the isle of our barn I always look at Tressa's banner, shades of yellow and black with cute bees working around a hive with sunflowers in the background and the words, "Bee Happy". I can honestly say I gained a lot from that experience. Hang high your farm sign. Never put a removable chicken inside your barn -- tie wraps come off with scissors. My fence looked great over by Dr. Mike, in the vet's area next to our stalls. If the barn never, ever is used again just seeing it in my barn reminds me that I tried to do my best to help my child. The "Bee Happy" is the greatest. It still looks new, but has lots of cobwebs and dust. It's never been outside the barn and hasn't moved since we brought it home from fair in 2008.

My blog post wasn't going to be about my decorations or about the Fair. It was about me working on something that didn't work-out exactly like I planned. I know life isn't perfect or fair and I wouldn't want it to be. We wouldn't learn anything, but just a few times can't there be successes? A job well done? We worked so hard. So all of this is "par for the course" it's how we roll. I never thought all this would be so hard and I'm not writing of the decorations, there's worse, a lot worse ... but the experience at The Fair that year went like the bad stuff was all planned. Okay, I know the goats, kids, and grandchildren did wonderful and I was smiley amused by the judge impatience, actually and I'm glad I took pictures of the children showing the goats and also the first day when we had the pens all up, decorated, clean and it looked so good. I have proof.

 So, I'm just trying to look in the barn and "Bee Happy" whatever happens, even when it's a flop, skip, break, fizzle or no pay, very sick, or even a pet or someone leaves us to go to Heaven. I need to visit the barn and look at Tressa's garden banner. Like a couple weeks ago: "Oh no, my bread maker jumped-off the counter, busted" Great, I need to relearn to mix and knead dough the old-fashioned way, again. Ta da! I'm taking a walk to the barn.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love the pictures Susan. :) Great post. Really. Did you do the "Susan Laz" thing at the bottom? I'm looking for a header for my blog - do you know how to do that kind of stuff?