I have a 7am physical therapy appointment twice a week in town and until last week my shoulder was immobilized. It meant I needed a chauffeur with all the wicked weather and nasty road conditions we have had as of late. It mean RangerSir and I I have been spending lots of time in the car together. Road time is often spent by couples listening to the radio, talking about friends or family and sharing the trials of the job.
Since I don’t enjoy driving RangerSir and I developed a different road routine long ago. We did this partly because driving long distances can become monotonous and memorizing. Many of the places we have traveled have no radio coverage over the years, so all we have are one another. We ask “What if?” It is a game of sorts where you ask questions. It has allowed us to keep in touch with one another’s wishes, dreams, thoughts and evolving opinions. We have asked everything you can imagine. In nearly 38 years some of our answers have stayed the same while others have evolved with our lives. It never gets old and the questions never quit coming. Some of the things that we have asked over the years.
- You won the lottery and have to travel abroad where would you go?
- Money no option where would you retire?
- Who was your best boss ever?
- In our present reality where would you like to retire?
- Which relative of your spouse do you most enjoy chatting with?
- Who would you invite to dinner who is dead?
- Worst president since you have been alive?
- If you could give me any gift what would you give me?
- What place have you visited that I haven’t, do you want to take me to?
- Which house/condo/apartment we living in had the best neighborhood? (Since we have been together we have lived in nine places)
- Who did you vote for you wished you didn’t in retrospect?
- What would be your perfect meal?
- What food did not not expect to like but do?
- What is your perfect vehicle?
- Worst US city you have visited?
- What is your favorite book?
- Best stupid gadget.
You get my drift. It is a most amazing insight to a person you have lived with and think you know. One would think not much would surprise me after all the years and all the questions. In many ways it has helped us to stay in touch and on the same plane as we evolved. When it came time to transfer with the Forest Service, we both knew it was coming and where we wanted to go and why. When we bought vehicles we were on the same page, no discussion. It made it possible to each of us to buy a house sight unseen for the spouse. When I changed jobs, RangerSir knew it was coming long before I talked about it. It makes gift buying much more insightful and personal, but makes it possible to find that perfect quirky gift.
Yet occasionally there are still surprise answers to questions. I asked RangerSir last week, what secret goal are you likely to not achieve? He told me it was to go into space. That was a “Boy Howdy” moment. I knew my husband was fascinated with space, and he considered the walking on the moon a pivotal moment in his life. He has been a sci-fi, the space kind, TV and book junkie all his life. But I would never have guessed that like old Walter Cronkite he had aspirations to travel into space. I am not sure that there is anything I can do to support that dream, but it just go to show that there are some dreams we hold on to nearly forever. It also reminds me that when you have a committed relationship you always need to be listening to your partner. You never know what you don’t now and there is always time to learn more.
I have always been a type “A” personality with a little bit of Lutheran guilt thrown in. That has always made an outstanding employee, devoted, hardworking and driven. Unfortunately those traits also make it hard for me to balance work and home life.
Lately I have been reading a collection of spiritual books. They have been really challenging me to realign my way of thinking more importantly the way I live. I read a book published by Pope Francis, when he was still a Cardinal, another by the Dalai Lama on happiness, a book on wisdom and compassion with a Buddhism bent, and couple on woman’s empowerment. They have given me so much to think about. It has been lots of fun, challenging my point of view, and full of many of moments of reflection. I am not sure where this will all end up but I have created lists of ideas I want to revisit. Quotes that really hit home and provided inspiration.
I have been looking at my lists everyday; reorganizing them, deleting some of the items, and moving others to the top with a high priority. Some days I move an idea from one list to another. I don’t know what all this means with these lists, but I am starting to see some changes. I am starting to recognize some of my short comings and what I might want to move toward.
All this reading exploring different points of view and ways of looking at life and the world has reminded me that I want to enjoy my time here on earth. Enjoyment comes from so many sources, but most of all it comes from being true to yourself, and being a giving member of the human race. Being comfortable in your skin is not easy to achieve but letting going of things that you can not change or control and embracing those you can move you toward that inner peace. Setting limits, so that you don’t get lost in that desire to satisfy others at your expense will give you the time and energy to work on those things you have never found time for before . These books were full of things I have heard and read so many times before, but like so many of you I said yeah, yeah tell me something I don’t already know. What is difference this time is I am actually trying some of this out now….today… not waiting for tomorrow. Hold on to your hats as I actually try to embrace life find my true self more often.
I have been thinking about this alot lately. This whole concept of quality time. You hear people talking about wanting to spend quality time with the kids, their spouse, their parents. People near and dear to our heart + time = quality time.
When does quality time happen? Is quality time a certain hour on the clock? Does it only occur on even days? Maybe quality time only occurs on the Sabbath. Maybe quality time only happens when you are good or do good. Possibly it only happens when you are in the company of loved ones. May be you can only experience quality time if you are right with your spiritual higher being, God.
I think that the concept of quality time is an euphemism for not wasting your time on this earth. Time is neither good nor bad. It has no value of quality. What we do with our time is what makes a difference.
Much of our time is taken up with things that are part of your survival. You sleep away about 20% of your life. Maybe you sleep a little more or a little less, but sleep is nonnegotiable. You spend about 40 or so hours a week at work so you can have the basic necessities of shelter and food. If you are lucky your job is not too much of a drag, and you don’t spend your hours at work in misery. Most of us enjoy some portion of our work day, and other parts just drag on. Our ancestors spent part of their days as hunter gathers and that was their job. Our jobs may not seem so directly related to life’s necessities, but it in may ways is not so different than our ancestors, we seek to have food in our belly and not be out in the elements. Jobs make that possible.
Once you take out the hours you sleep and work, you are left with discretionary time. Just like any money you have left over after your bills are paid, you get to choose how you will spend it. This is the time people often call quality time. It is not of any more quality than the hours we have spent at work and sleeping. Often we waste our quality time. We choose to fritter the quality time away like we do that the pocket change and small bills in our wallet or purse. We wasted minutes that turn into hours, the same way spend a dollar here and there that turns into $50 or $100 . We choose to use that quality time in ways that don’t bring any enjoyment or make a difference. It isn’t quality at all. We need to decide that we will enjoy our free time in the company of others, doing things that we have always wanted to do, spending it alone in reflection or making the difference we want to do so. We need to resolve to use our free time to improve the quality of our life.
A sign of the times…Chick Days.
This week a colleague shared here joy in stopping by the local post office and hearing boxes of baby chicks peeping away. She shared how much hope it gave her that indeed spring was coming. It made me wish they were on their way to me. Instead I will be picking this year’s chicks up at the local ranch supply.
Chick days are just starting in Montana. For those of unfamiliar with Chick Days, it is when baby chicks are shipped in mass to farm and ranch supply stores for purchase by the locals that don’t order their own from hatcheries. The weather here is just beginning to be warm enough for the little critters to make their way to the great white North.
Planning for the baby chicks is definitely a process that has to take place before you bring home your little ones. You need to make sure that your equipment is all in good working order to keep those babies draft free and warm. Here is my check list. It is good for seasoned chicken wranglers and first time chick raising alike.
- Food and Water I need to pull down all the little-size feeders and water fountains for the bundles of fluff. The little critters can actually drown in adult sized equipment. So you need chick sized equipment that they will outgrown in a month or so. Be prepared if you are new to the chick raising you will need both sizes.
- Heat I always have two heat lamps, but they need to be plugged in and the bulbs need to be tested. I always keep a spare bulb in the box on the shelf in the chicken coop. The first week your chicks need to have an ambient room temperature of 90-95 degrees. You lower it approximately 5 degrees a week. I have never seen a big jump in my electric bill from baby chicks, but until they are feathered they really can not keep warm, the light does it all.
- Housing/Brooder Your brooder needs to be set up before you bring your peeps home. It should be a warm draft-free environment. I use a dog crate those first few weeks, with cardboard zip stripped onto the sides to prevent drafts I cover the bottom with paper towels the first few days and then move over to shavings. People have everything from fancy special made brooders to a washtub in the basement with heat lamps on the top.
- Growth As your chicks grow you will need to expand the size of their living quarters. Each of us does it in our own way. My chicks move from the house to a shelter separate corner of the coop no later than the third or fourth week. It requires all sorts of modifications to the coop to get the heat lamps set up, protection from the big girls, ensuring they are draft free and more. It sounds worse than it is because after years of doing this I know how to make it happen. Some of the hooks that are set up to support this each spring are already there waiting for this year’s flock.
First and foremost is planning is the key to success in. Chick are not and should not be an impulse “oh so cute” purchase. If this is your first time there is a host of purchases that needs to be done before you get your chicks. If you are like me and a seasoned chicken wrangler then this process is another of the rights of passage into spring you do each year.
I have been offline for the most part recently. I traveled away from home in January for work and then I broke a shoulder. I had lots of personal things going on and really did not feel sharing. When I blog, I want it to be something more than woe is me. I want each post to give at least one person who reads it a one moment of pause, reflection, inspiration, a smile, a laugh, jog a memory, or shed a tear. I never want you to feel the time you spent on my post was a complete waste your time.
I was laid up with the fracture such that typing was slow and cumbersome. I was ready a few days into the discovery of my broke shoulder to have my life back. I did online research and talked with my orthopedic surgeon about my type of break. Together with the doctor, I examined two options and I elected the most restrictive option initially, but with the shortest period of restrictions and most complete physical recovery. I will freely admit that it has been rotten being so restricted. I have been on restricted movement for four weeks and have two more to go until the intense restrictions are lifted. Or at least that is the plan and so far things look to be running on schedule.
During the time I have been laid up, we have had four contemporary colleagues and friends who have passed away. It has caused a lot of reflection here. RangerSir and I have started to reexamined our end of life directives. We are making updates and making sure everyone is on the same page regarding our wishes. We did them when we moved to Montana and not have reexamined them in too long. Not only have we started looking again at our end of life plans, but we also looked again at how we were spending our current lives. We left the high stress, competitive lifestyle of Fortune 500 companies behind for a reason. We are again talking about those reasons. We were raised with the good Midwestern work ethic, and Lutheran guilt. It makes us great hard-working employees, and we easily find self-induced guilt to make us work longer and longer hours. We have been reminded time is short. We need to do our best job; give 110% and the go home and embrace the life we want to live. Here is to working towards that goal