Last time I promised to tell you about alpacas spitting. Generally, if they have anything to say, they just hum. Some say that’s because they don’t know the words.
This picture shows Chloe giving the warning signal that a spit is on its way, and Champagne giving it back. When Chloe puts her head up in spitting prep and her ears flat against her neck, she’s telling Champagne she better back off or there’s going to be trouble. She growls at the same time she raises her head. Now, she won’t spit at me, but her spit can fly ten feet. Therefore, an intelligent, focused human will back away that distance.
However, there’ve been times when my back was turned, I missed the growl, and I got the wet green regurgitation all over me. Alpacas have three stomachs, so the smell of this stuff isn’t Chanel #5. In Alaska, if you’ve seen the ice break up and go out to sea on the Yukon, you’re called a sourdough. I guess since I’ve worn alpaca spit, I’m an alpaca sourdough.
Just to make sure you don’t swear off the sweet deer/teddy bear cross of an alpaca, up against spitting are:
Elegant, peaceful, calming movement
Warm soft fleece with multiple uses
Sweet pasture buddies
Poop that makes the best natural fertilizer around
One day,, I believe alpacas will make their way into one of my novels. In the meantime, they cush in my field.
I could hardly believe it when I looked at my blog page on janecarlilebaker.com and realized I haven’t said a word since February. Part of the reason is that I’ve revamped the page to add my editing business, which took a while. Click on over and look. There’s an opportunity to get a monthly email from me containing fun adventure, animal, and other stories. Please sign up. I won’t sell your email address, just share my writer life with you.
So what’s that got to do with alpacas? I’ll tell you. I have a giant backyard even though I live in town. If there are no animals, somebody has to mow. I can’t mow and write at the same time. So my alpacas’ first identity is lawn mowers. However, this is not a short story. I was drawn to alpacas at first because when their fleece is grown out, they look like teddy bears on four legs with these gorgeous eyes. Then I found out they don’t tear grass out like sheep do. But that’s not all, dear friends. They also eat elderberry trees like mine which is trying to take over the world.
And that’s not all, either. Alpaca fleece is some of the softest there is. People compare it to cashmere, and yet it’s strong and warm, and even wicks water away from your skin. It’s hypoallergenic and dust mites (which I’m allergic to) hate it. So far, I have a sweater and a pair of socks made of alpaca fiber, and they are lightweight, too. You can make so many things out of alpaca fiber–dryer balls, hats, shawls, blankets, rugs–I could go on. In about a week, I’ll have a bed pillow made from Champagne’s fleece. Ask me if I’m excited. Yes, yes I am.
But that’s still not all. Alpacas poop all in the same place because they want their owners to have easy clean up. No, really, they do. And not only that, their poop isn’t hot. That means you can put it right on your garden, or if you’re a purist, you can compost it first. Some people make alpaca poop tea, but I prefer to just water it. You don’t even have to rake it in, for cryin’ out loud. Some folks call alpaca poop magic beans. No surprise there.
Now for the best part. Each alpaca has their own personality. In our herd, and by the way, if I’ve talked you into getting your own, you have to have at least three. In our herd, Chloe is the leader. She is aloof and her ears go up first when there’s a noise. Nevertheless, she’ll eat alfalfa pellets right out of my hand. She’s also the oldest. Champagne is next, and she’s a foodie. I have to put rocks in her frizbee feeder to keep her from eating too fast, or she’ll choke. Just the other day she gave me a nose kiss. The youngest and littlest is Mocha (the dark one, naturally) and she’s had a little trouble with comfort in the transition from the farm to our backyard. She hums the most. That’s the sound alpacas make, humming, peaceful humming.
And that’s not all. Next time I’ll tell you about spitting.
Be careful about buying stuff or accepting stuff. I suggest this because I am becoming gray haired, and there’s no place else to put all these things I’ve acquired over the years. Don’t buy me any stuff, please. Alot of the stuff I have, I bought. A lot I didn’t. Either way, it takes up space and because what I haven’t already thrown away has memories attached, I keep it.
I have old stuff. Like the little pink ceramic cradle my dad gave my mom when I was born, in the last century. I have congratulatory stuff, like the courtesy trophy I won for being nice to bus drivers and cafeteria ladies in high school. I have pictures of relatives who were born in the century before the one I was born in. I have boxes full of stuff I wrote here and there. I have the black velvet dress with the oriental writing that Bake brought me when he served in the Navy in Vietnam. I have phony flowers and a phony otter statue that commemorates my first novel. I have more jewelry than one woman could wear in a lifetime. I have hurricane lanterns just in case the lights go out, which they haven’t in a real long time. I have trinkets kids gave me when I was a teacher. I have pillows I saved for company, left from the ones I gave away to immigrants. I have an inukshuk we brought home from our trip to Alaska, and you probably don’t even know or care what that is. My hutch is overflowing with china, crystal glasses, blown glass and tea cups. I even have the ashes of a dog I loved in a box with her picture on it.
Some stuff I’ve thrown away. Like my wedding dress, yellowed with age. I think I threw away about forty tons of old clothes and shoes. I threw away my tennis racquet since I can’t run on phony knees, and the shoe skates I bought with my first babysitting money, for the same reason. I’ve thrown away great loads of writing I thought was so good at the time. I’ve donated a whole library full of books. And that’s only counting my stuff. If I get started on Bake’s, this will be a tome instead of a blog. (Boxes and boxes of cds, just sayin’)
Now you may wonder why I even bring this up. Well, there’s the dusting and washing. But that’s not the lion’s part. One of these days I’m headed for heaven. After that, I can envision our Laura, holding up my Helen Keller/Annie Sullvian hands figure to the tune of “What in the …. is this?” I can see our John toss my little angel from Chewy into the dumpster without a thought. I can watch Maryann hoard fishing poles and delve into the myriad of journals in my study looking for the gold that I’m not sure is there.
Gosh, maybe stuff’s not that bad. Maybe that exercise will be good for my progeny, or at least a lesson in not procuring stuff.
I’m studying Exodus. Moses was a reluctant spokesman for God to the pharoah of Egypt. I suspect he may have started out as a people pleaser, as opposed to a God pleaser. I have been called a people pleaser, by others and by my inner voice, Weezer, who is a … bitch.
I have this issue. Here it is. God created us to need each other, to be relational. We need to give and receive love. So when does that become people pleasing?
First, I looked up what a people pleaser does. This is adapted from Psychology Today.
we disobey what God says, or our own moral code, to please a person
we never evaluate the availability of our time or inclination before we say yes
we’re unable to manage our health because we’re overcommitted to others
we make all the plans
we do all this because we live in anxiety from early relationships, and that causes fear of failure or rejection
So, I hit that list on all five points. Great, what do I do? Hebrews 11:27 says this about Moses: “By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing Him Who is invisible.” He kept checking in with God, again and again and again. And as he did, he became a God pleaser instead of a people pleaser.
So I made a longer list of how I can do this in practicality. Here you go:
Put time with God early in my day
Track my food
Exercise before I start my “to do” list
Speak up for myself, and remember, the outcome of speaking up is not the issue
Attend events less frequently and use the time to recharge
Identify one responsibility I can cancel to gain free time for myself
Teach people how to behave toward me by rejecting behavior I don’t want
Say no to something small
Express my opinion and learn from people who disagree
So there you go. Next is, practice, practice, practice. And tell your Weezer to shut the hell up.
January has been so full and a classic example of bittersweet. Taking the Christmas decorations down is bitter, but not having a credit card bill is sweet.
Bake the Hubs had his shoulder replaced. Bitter slogging through insurance companies, but sweet when it all worked out. Bitter painful going in, hopefully sweet range of motion coming out. I was living two lives for a while, his and mine, bittersweet because he lives an interesting life, but I grow tired faster than I used to. He asked me once why I was so willing to help him, and out popped, “Because Jesus isn’t here.” Where did that come from?
I’m training to become a Court Appointed Special Advocate for foster kids. Bitter hours studying, but sweet to be the voice for a kid who’s experiencing one of life’s toughest times.
My little dog, Aime, is coming to her first birthday on Valentine’s Day, and so her test to become a therapy dog should be the end of February. All sweet!
Our anniversary was last weekend and we took a trip to the California coast. Sweet! Tide’s in, and we ate seafood like a king and queen. Visited the aquarium, rode the Cannery Row trolley for the first time (I can’t believe it, in all these years). Had Ghirardelli coffee while we watched the ocean, my husband’s mistress.
All sweet, except it wore him out a little, minor bitter.
Not only that, but I found out Charles Martin, my favorite living author, is keynoting Mt. Hermon Christian Writers Conference in April, and I’m going! Sweeeeeeet!!!!
We even ate sweet and sour chicken this week. I guess that about covers it. See you in February.