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Daily News and a disclaimer

I want to write an official “thank you” to those who sponsored me for the 3 day, 60-mile breast cancer walk. I also need to voice an apology. I should write everyone a personal thank you, but as yet, I haven’t. The fact is, I’ve been feeling low over all the FLEX business (the new owners went bankrupt yesterday –I can say that because it is in the papers along with the eviction notification – so anyone who wants information can get it through public notices, it’s no secret). And when I am feeling low, I tend to distance myself and become non-interactive. I don’t feel social.


One ex-student and friend wrote me to say he was worried that I might be mad because I haven’t written. Not mad. Sad. Big difference. Every once in a while, I muster up some energy and write something for the blog, like my peacock entry, hoping to focus on the good things in my life and wanting to make my friends smile. I probably come across as flippant or as if I don’t care about what is going on back in Sarasota, but it is just that my dance interests and my backcountry adventures are unrelated issues. I work hard to keep it that way. And just because I am depressed doesn’t mean I want to moan about it in my blog. And then, there is the fact that I am considered a “hot-head” and Mark and my Dad say I “go off” in an instant over the dance school thing. Considering that, it is wiser not to air my thoughts without censorship. I don’t come to the keyboard when agitated. Ha. That explains all those weeks I don’t post.


While I’m on this subject, I want to mention that a few people have sent responses to my blog and I don’t post them. They think this is a sign that I am angry or disapproving. But it’s not. I simply won’t post responses that talk about FLEX or our ex-employee’s new school because I don’t want this blog to be a forum for dance debate. And I don’t want people to come here to grandstand or thinking they need to publicly validate their friendship to us or announce their feelings about others, negative or positive. I simply don’t want to invite these types of discussions here. But I do read your messages, and often, I am very touched. I like to think these comments are written to me, not to the world, and in that case, let me assure you friends, that I appreciate your responses even if I don’t post them.


Now, as for thank you’s – I have to tell everyone that when I moved, I thought I had made a hardcopy of my address list from my old e-mail account, but it was somehow misplaced. When I got my new e-mail account set up and running, I was stunned to see I lost all information formerly saved on the old one. A serious mishap considering my MFA contacts were on that list as well as a way to keep in touch with wonderful friends. Since December, I haven’t had a single friend’s address, unless they’ve written me and I was mindful enough to save the address. I only have about eight addresses in my address book now. Oops. I haven’t been writing anyone for the last 6 months(for various reasons from mood and MFA work overload, to wanting to keep business information private – it is awkward and unnatural for us to censor our conversations with friends.)


Anyway, now that I have an occasion to send a message to privately write and thank friends who gave support , I can’t. (So, George, my dear friend from middle school, who lives in a tree house and grows peppers and is a world winning barbeque king – well, I couldn’t write to thank you even if I wanted to.  So this is my official public thank you. Leave it to you to be the first to donate, and to be so generous it makes my eyebrows pop. Ha, you always had to be the best! If it makes you feel better, I do feel very guilty at this no-address discovery because it shows how lax a friend I’ve been and how long it’s been since I’ve sent a letter. My-bad.)  I am slowly gaining the addresses of past students and friends who occasionally write to keep in touch. If you are one of those friends who are offended that I never drop you a line, don’t take it personally. Just take the first step remembering how forgetful I can be– Vhendry@etcmail.com.


OK, that is my “thank you” and my friendship disclaimer.


Now, on to daily news.
Kathy and I were on TV on Friday night. She looked amazing. It was a lovely interview. I have a huge nose. I am convinced no one watching could possibly pay attention to what we were saying because they must have been focused on my snozzle thinking, “How does she keep her head up with something so big stuck in the middle of her face?” Mark say’s I’m an idiot. Well, that may be true, but then, I am an idiot with a huge nose.


I bought my bee suit today. I didn’t know what size to get. I asked Mark his opinion, saying,” I just want it to be big enough for anyone who might want to use it.”
Mark looks at me as if I’m crazy and says, “Ginny, there isn’t a soul around who is going to be putting on that suit to go visit your bees without you. It doesn’t have to fit anyone but you, trust me. Buy your size and leave it at that.”
I tested that theory. I said, “Hey Neva, they have children sized suits. Would you like to get one so you can visit the bees with me? You’d be protected.”
She looked at me crossed eyed and said, “No way. I’ll NEVER want to go near the bees.”
“Aren’t you even interested to see what they look like up close?”
“No!”
OK, no takers. Not even my nature-loving partner in animal crime. So I bought the suit in my size. So much for sharing the fun. Ah, it is lonely being Eve when Adam is afraid of bugs.


Mark has been back and forth between Florida and here for almost a month now. He was home for a few days last week.  While planting, he got stung by a wasp. He shrieked and pulled his hand back and glared at me.
I threw up my hands and said, “I’m innocent. I haven’t brung home a single baby bumble bee, yet!”
“It was a wasp,” he said, as if I somehow conjured the creature up just by thinking about bees.
“Bad wasp!” I yelled. Gallantly, I killed it for him. Squashed it with my shoe like the daredevil I am. The fact is, wasps attack beehives. I will gladly join his I hate wasps club.


I now have a ten-hive beekeepers starter kit, a smoker, a bee suit, and all the trappings of bee rearing. No bees yet. Soon, I will seek out my queen and lots of boisterous boys to attend to her. Lucky queen.  I have a nifty honey grader to check the quality of my honey, a birthday gift from Mom. All I need now is a bear siren to scare off marauders. Unfortunately, we’ve determined that will be a necessity. Mark made arrangements to buy a gun from a friend. He is using the fact that I am placing beehive bear bait in the backyard as an excuse to arm the family. I better watch my step now, because if I annoy him too much he might shoot me accidentally on purpose. I’m told we will be going out together with Ronnie for a shooting lesson. I have no idea how I feel about that.


My peacock eggs arrive tomorrow. Fun.
Mark comes home from Florida tomorrow too. Relief.
I checked the post office today to see if my eggs arrived early. There was no slip in my PO box, so I went in just in case to ask if I had gotten a package. I told Vicki, the postmaster, that I was expecting eggs.
She said, “I have eggs here today, but they aren’t yours.”
I thought that fascinating. Someone else is the neighborhood is buying fertilized eggs for incubation? I told her I was expecting peacock eggs and asked what kind she was holding for the other person. She told me it was quail eggs.
Hey, quail was my other consideration! I’m so jealous.
The idea that a package of eggs was back there (not mine) made me grin. The fact is, I feel as if I am trying unusual and unique things nowadays, but to be perfectly frank, my interests are common – nothing I do is unique around this neck of the woods. The funny thing is, when a friend went downstairs into our workout room and saw all our dance pictures, he whistled under his breath and said, “Wow, I’ve never known anyone who could do that. It’s remarkable.”
And I thought, “Heck, Everyone I know can do that. . . but I haven’t a single friend that can milk a cow or trap a raccoon the way you can. Now, that is an interesting talent.”
Just goes to show that nothing we do is really original except when it sits in contrast to the world around us. “Normal” is a relative term. Anyway, what counts is that my interests, while mundane and common around here, are interesting to little former-dancer-New Yorker-suburban me. I am having fun seeing life from a new perspective. My only regret is that life is so short I’ll never have time to experience all the grand diversity that’s out there. But I’m determined to see and do what I can with my time from here on.


When I told my mother about my peacock eggs, she sighed on the phone and said, “You’ve always had to do everything firsthand.”
I don’t think that is true. I always enjoyed reading about lots of things, but I don’t think of myself as someone who jumps in to try everything. Some things. But not everything. For example, I’m 48 and I’ve never mowed a lawn. I’ve had lawns and a lawn mower but I never felt inclined to crank the machine up to try it myself. I don’t know how to use power tools or jump-start my car. There are lots of things I’ve never bothered to try.
But she said, “Even when you were a kid, you were always doing – wanting to learn for yourself what something was really like. I taught you to sew, but the next thing you know, you were learning to quilt, embroider, tat lace, knit, crochet and everything else connected. You dive headfirst into something that intrigues you.”
I was surprised to hear myself described that way, but maybe there is some truth to it.
I don’t know if this is a new element of my personality or a latent one I have unleashed in a midlife crisis explosion, but I am in a state of doing now.
After years of wanting – doing feels good.
Enough about that.


Some animal grabbed one of my chickens through the bars of the cage and ate it yesterday. I arrived to find an empty feathered carcass with one leg attached pulled halfway through the fence. I took a shovel and discarded it, racking my brain to consider what I should to do to protect the pen from more attacks.
I called Mark in Florida to tell him what had happened.
He said, “Wow, you have really gone country. Remember when you used to cover a dead mouse with an upside down bowl, waiting until I got home to get rid of it because you couldn’t face dealing with anything dead?”
Sure, I remember. Good times.


I walked 7 miles on the treadmill today. Gotta begin training.  I never believed I’d say it, but I love my treadmill. I watch movies while I walk – probably the only time I stay put long enough (and awake) to watch TV. Today I watched, “A very good year.” With Russell Crowe, my new best ever dream fella. Gosh, he’s cute. The movie is about a guy who inherits a wine vineyard. Made my heart go aflutter, I’ll tell you, and not just because of Russell Baby. I went to visit my own grape vines after the movie. They look downright dead. Probably are. Ah well, we can’t all inherit a dream. Some of us must work for years, overcome the learning curve, and wait to grow a dream from scratch. It’s a long haul from my five dead grape vines to a vineyard. But it is fun to imagine. . .


I’ve been reading a great deal. Like a flood when the reading-barrier-damn gives. You might wonder just what a girl will pick when she finally gets a chance to read something that isn’t mandatory for an MFA. Don’t ya know I ended up reading a collection of short stories called “Where Love is Found” -Literary stories – formerly published in America’s leading literary magazine, Glimmer Train.  Literary stories? What the heck!  They ruined me! Brainwashed, I tell ya.


Here I wanted to pick some smutty, casual romance novel with absolutely no merit, lots of sex, a few corny clichés and pages and pages of bad dialogue, but alas, I found myself unable to follow through. I’m reading what turns out to be the best writing ever about human connection, profound and beautiful, all the while thinking about how each story is  constructed. That isn’t brainless entertainment!  What’s happened to me? I’ve evolved as a reader against my will!


Since the concept of my becoming a sophisticated reader is so opposite to my self-definition, I also picked up a memoir written by a columnist who moved from New York to the country. It’s called “It Takes A Village Idiot” and it is filled with wry humor about both New York and rural USA. Since I can relate to both, it makes me laugh. That is better. However, this book makes me consider a memoir of my own and I start thinking about writing again.


I remember how, when I was young, I loved to watch dance. But when I was older, I was always watching it differently, analyzing, critiquing, studying. I guess that is to be expected after you study an art and become involved. You can never be just a spectator again.


I am also reading a book on beekeeping and a collection of thoughtful essays called “If I live to be 100.” These are more in tune with relaxing, but I only read them in small doses, like when I am killing time waiting for appointments or something. For quiet reading, like at night, I keep returning to that literary book. Sad but true.
Nevertheless, freedom of choice is a very inspirational thing. I am enjoying everything I read, grateful for the diverse material in the world and my ability to cross over between interests and genres.


Time to go. I’ve got animals to feed and a house to clean before I can turn to a book to enjoy.


Again, thanks to my friends and sponsors. I’ll think of you today when I walk.

About Ginny East Shaddock

Director of Heartwood Retreat Center, Ginny is also a writer. This is her personal blog with essay form writing about life and reflection. My entries are often lengthy and random, because I'm not here to promote or sell anything. I'm not expecting followers - just find this format a good place to think with the pen.

One response »

  1. Ginny, Its hard to believe. I am so sorry and I know that you are deeply saddened, I am too! Just know we are here for you and will always be and look forward to the bee-keeping and the peacocks. By the way growing up in Texas before we moved to Sarasota our neighbors had peacocks. They are beautiful but their cries HELP ME, HELP ME are funny! Good Luck! Lots of love and keep your chin-up.

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