Friday, October 21, 2011


I have always known that I was a tilde ( ~ ) kind of gal.  I just had not put the word, the symbol, and my persona, all together in the same conscious thought stream. But now that I have, I can see that it could never have been any other way.  
I grew up with the hyphen a.k.a. the dash (-); dashes were ordinary.  I flitted in and out of a fascination for ordinary. Elementary school is kind of a blur; all I can remember is my love for reading and recess – rather ordinary.
By junior high I dreamed of looking like most of the other girls = normal = ordinary. I was haunted by my parent’s out-dated sense of a proprietary dress code ~ they were stuck in the middle ages and I was walking the halls with thigh-high skirts and tight sweaters over padded bras. Well, mine was padded.  I lusted after well-shaped bangs and the wonders of caked on mascara. I wanted so badly to be ordinary and look like everyone else.
In high school I read the poetry of e.e.cummings and adored the fact that he had thrown away punctuation entirely.  The rules of punctuation seemed trite … vulgar even. I could a diagram a sentence till the cows came home, but “who cared”. Punctuation after all, was devised to assist a reader in following the thought process of the writer. For me, the use of ellipsis ( …. ) and my dear tilde (~) were much more expressive, and please pardon my fascination for multiple exclamation points ~ I am a highly excitable gal !!!

It was in my junior year of college that I found a book about Edgar Casey in the closet of my new apartment. I dove deep into the ideas of a planet of free will. The unrequited romantic in me continued to write poetry; it allowed me to mess with the rules, follow my true spirit, and meander with the meaning of my muse. Lost my virginity, but not my heart, to a husky Phi Sig junior who wrote me love poems ~ it seemed only fitting.

So imagine my surprise last week when I sat in a real estate appraisal class to prepare us for yet another over-haul of our regulated-to-the-max-no-room-for-free-thinking way of doing business with yet another round of federally-mandated-standards-of-professional-practice. It makes a sane person want to scream and believe me I have ranted till I am sick of hearing it myself. It is the reason so many of my peers, all very good appraisers, have thrown in the towel and ran away from this drowning profession. But I digress.
In the new UAD, Uniform Appraisal Dataset, effective September 1, 2011, the ( ~ ) tilde has now become the symbol of approximation.  As in, "if the year built of the subject property cannot be determined or is unavailable, “a tilde (~) must precede the estimated year built”.
There it was ~ on Page 30 of 58 pages of strict rules and definitions guaranteed to constrict the normal blood flow to arteries and cause inadvertent spasm-ing of various sphincter muscles in older, decrepit appraisers ~  I was actually liberated. My beloved tilde ( ~ ) had come to my rescue.
I will use my guidebook until I have memorized the definitions of C-1 through C-5 and Q-1 through Q-6. I can play their ridiculous game until they tire of this one and some moron gets paid a million dollars to come up with another set of rules that will allow the readers of these reports to become even more brain dead than they obviously already are. Poor dears. I will set in front of my computer, naked if I want, and continue to do my job in the restricted format now dictated, and pray the UPS delivery man doesn’t notice my tilde state of undress.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Barbed Wire Writers

Well, we have the first writing adventure under our belt and a good time was had by all.  Were some of the writers slightly challenged?  Yes, I think I heard a couple of big gulps ….. but did they all rise to the occasion? Absolutely!!  If you are remotely interested, give me buzz and we will get you the information about this NEW writing group. 

We have the room at Barbed Wire Bookstore reserved for the second Thursday of every month and would love to have you join us.  An RSVP would be appreciated so I can have the room set up and now we know, you can bring in your own coffee!!!
Here is what one of the participants had to say the next day. 

 “I wanted to give a shout out to Annette for offering and leading an awesome drop-in Writers Meet-Up at The Barbed Wire Book Store in Longmont last night! I had a great time and discovered that I am a pretty good writer outside my journal entries!!! We really had a great time and I can't wait for the next one! If anyone is interested in being more creative in your writing or to clear the cobwebs please come to the next one! They will be held on the 2nd Tuesday of each month from 6-7:30.  Don't forget that this is a great way to network!”
Next writing adventure:  November 10th 2012,  6pm to 7:30 pm, Longmont, Colorado!

In-joy and have a great October.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Recently I was given an incredible and unexpected gift.  It was not a gift the giver was totally ready to give but the circumstance was not to be avoided.

It began with a phone call at 8:45 in the morning from a dear friend of mine, an accomplished horse woman who has spent her entire life in the company of horses.  There was an edge to her voice that hinted of urgency.  “Zevon is colicky and I can’t get a hold of my vet.  Can you call yours and see how fast he can get over here?”  “Of course,” I replied, already flipping through my day timer.  “Is Richard home this morning”, I continued, wondering if she was dealing with this by herself.  Not that she isn’t competent to deal with the situation; she’s told me dozens of colic stories and helped me out twice with my own horse.  “He’s here.  He’s out riding horses.  He’s not really helping me.”  There was that tone again.  Her housemate Richard knows as much about horses as Molly, but I thought she might need a girl friend.  I told her I would come up for a little while.

On an impulse I threw a tamale in the microwave and took it with me for the short drive to her house.  I prayed between bites as I hurried down the country roads.  I have never seen a full blown colic before and I was as curious as I was worried.

I have known Zevon for several years.  He is a handsome fellow, a tall dark bay gelding with a friendly face and a kind eye.  A few years ago he came to my house to babysit my little mare when I was between house mates and Lakota had lost her herd.  Horses are herd animals, most prefer not to be alone ~ they are too vulnerable.  As Zevon liked the ladies, he took his new assignment in stride.  He was a natural born leader and took control of every herd he was in.  He had been retired by the time I met him so I never saw him under saddle, but I knew that in their twenty-seven years together, he and Molly had covered many, many miles. 

When I pulled into the driveway, Richard, still riding, waved me over to the barn.  Zevon was lying down in his stall with Molly kneeling by his side.  She had finally connected with her vet who was now on her way.  Molly told me how every thing had appeared fine this morning but he had deteriorated quickly.  Zevon would lie still and then kick his legs and swing his head around to look at his stomach.  He would sometimes try to stand and end up sitting with his front legs straight in front of him like a trick pony, but this was not a show any of us wanted to watch. 

Richard joined our vigil and shortly after that the vet arrived; she was marvelous.  She told Molly that she was very concerned with the situation, especially as Zevon was not a young horse.  She left us with medications and a time line to follow.  At one point in the early afternoon it appeared that Zevon had turned the corner.  Richard, Molly and I commented over and over how much better he appeared to be feeling.  We walked with him, stroked his beautiful neck and Molly gave him sponge baths.  But our optimism was short lived and Zevon grew more restless as his pain intensified.

It was time for Molly to make the hardest decision an animal owner ever faces.  With tears in her eyes she looked at Richard.  Through the years I have heard them discuss this very moment.  She always told him, “I am going to have trouble making that call when it’s time.  I need you to be honest with me and tell me the truth.”  Even though the words strangled her, she squeaked out the question.  Richard studied the toe of his boot and nodded yes.  I drifted back and tried to get a grip on my trembling chin; I had no intention of making this harder for my dear friend.  The call was made, the vet was on her way back over and we each paid homage to this outstandingly gorgeous being. 

As I drove home later that day I thought what a precious gift Zevon and Molly had given me. I will never forget this day, which was to be his last, and the memory of their dignity will be with me forever. When it is our time, I pray that Lakota and I will have friends to hold us up, to ease us through the transition, to answer the question that can’t even be asked.  What a marvelous example they had presented me ~ filled with Love and Grief and Grace and Tears and Tenderness. 

Such a gift.