* * * * * * *

"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne

Happy New Year's Eve, Everyone!

I'm pensive this morning.  Contemplative.  As we all should be on the last day of the year.  It's exciting to start a new year, but then I wonder if we all shouldn't be spending more time making resolutions, new challenges for ourselves on May 23, August 19, November 1 . . . rather than waiting until December 31st?  Kind of a 'today's the first day of the rest of your life' thing.  No matter.  Whichever way ya slice it, today *IS* the last day of 2011!

I've been trying to think about the one thing I'd most like to go back and change in 2011 (if a woodchuck could) as well as the thing that I'm the most proud of myself over.  The proudest bit is easy:  I'm most proud of the way I handled the news that my ex had been cheating on me since the summer of 2008.  (Even tho our divorce was finalized in October of 2010, I didn't find this truth out until March of this year we're just closing.)  Specifically, it would have been MUCH easier to treat it as an "oh, well, that's in the past; que sera, sera" and continue to be friends with him.  But, I felt (and still feel) that a statement needed to be made:  behavior like that CANNOT go "unpunished".  There needs to be accountability.  Unfortunately, he wasn't the only one on the receiving end of that . . . it's just as hard for ME to forgo the friendship we had since 1996.  So, there ya have it:  I'm very proud of myself for sticking to my guns on that one.  Because it's not an easy thing to do.

The thing I'd most like to go back and change (aside from the above which would be great to not have been true!)?  Hmmm, I'm not sure.  Something with finances, certainly.  Maybe better planning with the last dollars of the settlement money?  Maybe am earlier start to job searching once the Big Plan of buying the local store fell through in August?  Yes, something having to do with all that.

Overall, though, I'm definitely not sad to see 2011 go!  It was a tough year.  The toughest of my otherwise pretty free-n-easy 40+ years on this earth, for sure.  I can only HOPE that 2012 will be better!  Which, I hope, will be inaugurated by finding a decent J-O-B!!!

* * *  A Lesson Learned & Fodder Earned  * * *

(Fodder for that book I'll one day write.)

The majority of my day yesterday was spent NOT how I'd planned.  Matter of fact, wanna know what stupid looks like?  This:

Actually, this is what I look like when I'm tired, sweaty, and completely disgusted with myself for being STOOPID!  Not the most flattering picture, but there ya have it.
As I earlier wrote, we got a wonderful dumping of snow a couple of days ago.  Here's what it looked like outside at the beginning of it:

11:48 AM on Wednesday.  Note the (lack of) snow on the vehicles in front of the garage.
10:19 AM Thursday.  I love Tucker's tracks (the circle on the left) from when he went outside to do his morning business.  He had to PLOW through the snow, and when he lifted his short stumpy leg, you couldn't even TELL he was lifting it!  Ha!

These three pictures above were taken from the bedroom window.  Purty, huh?
But, back to the story.  I didn't get out to plow on Thursday so headed out yesterday, instead.  At the bottom of my driveway / start of the winter driveway, I posted the caution sign I had made for the snowmobilers.

It reads 'WARNING - Snowmobiles Use CAUTION - Year-Round Road Use Next 4.5 Miles - STAY ON TRAIL'.  'Course, there's not enough snow for the groomed trail yet that runs parallel to the road, but still, they can't say they haven't been warned!
So, plowing on down the road I happily went.  Just over the bridge, I started plowing out the first 'pull-over'.  On my last push in, I backed up, and . . . the plow FELL OFF.  COMPLETELY.  Was left there in the bank.  A disbelieving "Auh!" slipped out of my mouth.

Yah know . . . maybe if I didn't always have my camera along to CAPTURE these moments, they wouldn't HAPPEN!  Hmmmm . . . !
Because the plow was NOT in the (ahem) off-for-the-year position when it fell off, the whole assembly was REALLY close to the ground, as you can see in both the above & below photos.  Not at ALL up near the truck attachments like it needed to be!
Hmmm.  This was gonna be fun.  (Not.)
As I was standing there, drinking out of my vodka water bottle and taking stock of the situation, I heard snowmobiles approach.  Great, I thought.  Just what I needed:  someone to see this.  The first zoomed past and then the second (I was off the road and into the "pull-off" enough that there were no concerns).  After studiously ignoring them (following the obligatory wave and hoping "please don't notice what I've done, please don't notice what I've done"), my attention was caught by their calling to one another.  I turned to look, and they were off their snowmobiles, parked on the bridge over the river.

Well, one of them was.  I couldn't see the other.  Then I realized that something had happened as the one (he was called Lynx - Links?) walked towards the steep bank of the river calling, "What did you DO?"

I'm not going to go back and change it (most specifically, wait for it to upload again), but obviously the above should read 'someWHERE down there'.
Yep, for SOME reason, snowmobiler #2 lost control, panicked, something.  He said that when he came around the corner, he saw my truck, Lynx parked on the bridge . . . and didn't know what to do!  Never mind the fact that Lynx was parked on the side of the road I hadn't plowed and the other side was completely open.  For whatever reason, the guy went off the road, and d-o-w-n the steep bank into the frozen swamp at the side of the river.  FORTUNATELY, he was clear of mind enough to steer juuuuust to the right to miss a birch tree.  By less than 12".  But, his sled was BURIED.

Seeing that something was amiss, I hollered down, "You guys need help?"

"Yeah!  Can you pull us out?  Do you have a tow rope?"

"Do I have a tow rope?"  Please.  I live in the bush.

Okay, so I couldn't find the tow rope.

But I DID find the steel cable.

Bad Driver was so embarrassed and angry at himself (and Lynx shouting out, "AND you're getting help from a woman!" didn't help) that I said, "Well, you should see what *I* just did!"  

So, we got the cable hooked up, and I pulled 'em out.  Bad Driver INSISTED on giving me money for it.  I, of course, resisted with my usual "Oh, heavens.  No no no!  I pull people out all the time!" . . . all the while another part of my brain was saying, "Shut up, Chicken Mama!  You need the money!"  ;)

 Anyway, a few minutes and $20 later (I think it helped restore his wounded pride a bit that he could compensate me for my troubles), they were off, and I was back to my plow.  Oh, and did they offer to stay and help?  Uhhh, no.  I don't think it even REGISTERED for them at that point.  But, really, that was just as well 'cause I wasn't sure how I was going to tackle the job . . . let alone have two strong, strapping men help me!

So, first thing to answer in order to begin again, HOW did the plow come off?  Was something major broken?  A quick look-see showed that nothing was broken . . . except my brain.  Seems that SOMEONE had forgotten to replace an exceptionally crucial steel pin when she put the plow on earlier this winter.  Said steel pin holds the locking arm in place that holds the plow onto the truck's attachment.  SOMEHOW, in the plowing I'd done so far this year, the locking arm had flipped 180 degrees (and it's long - at least 12") to the open position . . . and voila.  I am only (and EXTREMELY) grateful that it happened when / where it did . . . being at a "pull-out" was a HUGE relief!

I made a quick trip home to collect the tools I'd need - mostly some heavy 2x6s and 4x4s.  I already had the two Hi-Lift jacks in the truck.

Two hours later (yes, two), I was back in business.  Hmmm, I didn't stop to take any pictures during the 120 minute struggle?!  Imagine that!  Just that one of my stupid self once it was all said and done!

So, there ya have it:  the most recent of the regular fun & games at ye ol' homestead.

But, going back to the beginning of this post, will you tell me?  What are YOU most proud of in 2011 and what would you most like to have been able to do differently?

Have a safe and truly wonderful New Year's Eve!


  1. There is always an adventure here LOL! Can't believe those yahoos didn't help you our. I haven't even taken stock of the year yet, is it really New Year's Eve? Highlight is probably staying out of Bankruptcy Court LOL, low point is probably the fact that I actually thought about that... oh, I think I better get back to paying bills. Yikes, anyone else out there paying bills on New Year's Eve? I'm pretty lame :)

  2. I'm most proud that in 2011 I didnt commit murder on anyone, and believe me I have thought about it multiple times!
    I would like to change the above proud status but it still would be illegal (go figure).

  3. Happy New Year Chicken Mama:) And no worries, we all have days like that:)
    What am I most proud of for 2011? Staying true to my values.

    What would I like to change? The same as everyone I suppose, the financial situation.

  4. If that is what "stoopid" looks like, I'd say she's beautiful and seasoned. And with experienced eyes of wisdom along with a heart full of generosity. You're tough like the Chi masters say we are to be: "Strong like an iron rod yet wrapped in cotton". Life is like Samurai training disciplining the body, mind and spirit. And you are quickly advancing in the fullness of grace. The Tao Te Ching's wisdom also reminds that everything eventually turns into it's opposite. So the good news for you is that all of this stuff will someday be overcome by you. And you DO have a future that will be blessed with goodness and happiness. Look forward to this triumph when you have a quiet moment or when you wake up at 3 AM. Know that all of this hard stuff WILL pass, dear wise soul.
    Now, to answer your New Year's question. I am most proud of finally learning to be grateful for everyone. And to be grateful for everything, especially for my own hard experiences in life. I have come to realize that there are amazing gifts behind every person and every experience. And it is up to me to continue to mine the gold from life's ups and downs until the day I die. As for my resolutions for 2012, it is to deepen my gratitude and to continue to reach out to all. The human condition is so messy-whether in our woods or the big city-and we are all in this boat together. Therefore and in 2012, I hope to bring a little more laughter, encouragement, peace and practical help to all that I meet.
    CM, may you have a much better and prosperous 2012. You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.--"M"


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