Tuesday, December 29, 2009

the evening shift

As a hospital employee I've worked every shift that there is and some combinations that were invented to patch things when a crisis occurs. I first started in '77 on the day shift and soon moved to 3-11 when I got married. He worked it too so it was normal to have somebody to chat with after work. For about the first ten years I was there, the techs shared call on 3-11 and 11-7. With no day off afterward. Weekends were the worst because it was two days in a row of it but, hey. We were young...in our twenties and anything is possible when you gotta. Our boss was a man who knew exactly how to manipulate his "harem" to take care of things while he went out visiting office to office. The only other guy in the lab was one that everybody loved and he left soon after I started. We were county owned first, then sold to a non-profit and finally to a corporation.

My friend was always one to compete and be obedient and I'm just not like that at all. Obedience is a word I find not only offensive but scary. Anywho...when our boss got shipped over to another division, she accepted his job and did it for two years without getting paid for the extra work. But then, we had been doing it all anyway so what the hell! Over the years, I have had rounds with her like the disobedient child that I can be, but only over matters of principle and justice, not what piddly stupid little thing he said/she said. I could kinda sorta see how the whole thing was going to play out, and with a young child I just didn't have it in me to commit that much to work. So I became her supporter because in my opinion it's just easier for everybody to find some middle ground and get along. It was tough for awhile, because she was very unsure of herself and insecure about the strength of her decisions. I remember silently praying in staff meetings that she wouldn't break down while trying to keep the heatherns in order. Several very STRONG willed women, I'm just saying. Hey...I'd have been scared too.

As the years passed under her leadership we learned to be a more moderate caring sort of team. We were terribly understaffed and the instrumentation was out of date and she worked hard to put flex scheduling into place so that the horses wouldn't drop dead before they reached age 50. We moved from a cramped corner cubby to a spacious new lab. I'll never forget the night that we moved. She and I had been chatting about the transition and she was all dreading it and I suggested that everybody be required to be there for the middle of the night move. You know....share the joy, so to speak. Since then we have morphed into a group that is willing to work together by trading shifts when necessary or covering when there's something that just can't be missed with the family. We are a much kinder gentler version of who we were 30 years ago, and I love it.

Our shared history is rich with both high points and lows. Babies get born, parents die and sometimes even a co-worker. For me, the freakiest thing that ever happened was when one of our young pathologists had a wreck and was killed instantly, her son surviving to call his radiologist dad by cellphone. Her Christian Egyptian funeral was at the methodist church and I've never seen anything more unique in my life. I was recently divorced and we attended the same church. There's a playground there now in her memory.

When my friend's Dad was killed in an accident with a log truck, it was somewhat of a turning point in our relationship. I watched her change from a devoted Daddy's girl, still respectful, but no longer willing to take people's crap. And that's when most of us said "HECK YES" and jumped on the bandwagon full force. By the time Gracey came along, she was prime for a big dose of getting her head out of the job and more into enjoying life. Let's hear it for the party cocker!!

We are a middle aged group, the youngest of the techs is in his thirties. Having men in the mix has been very good for us. The healthcare professions have long been populated by women who tend to get a bit testy without some other brain thinking in there to calm things down. The same thing is happening in nursing and I think it's fabulous. The really disturbing thing about lab folks is that statistics show that the bulk of the workforce will retire within the next ten years. Not ME, of course. Not without Sugardaddy ;) Nobody wants to go into the field because of the hard work involved to get there along with the lack of respect and recognition for the profession. We're all nurses to the patient.

My shift with Beck tonight gave us an opportunity to catch up with each others' lives in between clangs of the tube dropping from ER. She's an animal lover like me and has given free vet advice over the years. Speaking of which.....

Daisy from Kentucky will be coming to live with us this weekend, Lord willing and it doesn't snow a foot. Will there be pictures? You bet your sweet ass.

Monday, December 28, 2009

a new year looms

I don't know about ya'll, but I'm about ready to put this one out of its' misery. The challenges of 2009 for me personally and the world in general have been pretty intense. Something tells i need some more fun. Like a LOT more. I'm already working toward my goals of getting organized so that I'm not constantly looking for something or for a place to put it. The first seed catalogs arrived today and there is finally a bird at my feeder on the porch. Life is good on the lane.

My youngest brother's family got literally snowed into their mountain valley home for about a week. Their package to us arrived today complete with pics of Adam sittin' on Santa's lap smiling like the joyous little kid that he is.

Just talked to my friend Sue for the first time in weeks and she's in Colorado! Plenty of snow there too. She said it's the biggest warmest fuzziest feeling to see her kids and grandkids play like that. We work together on occasion but love each other all the time.

Gotta go take the ornaments off the fire hazard of a tree. It's been up for a month and there's needles everywhere!

^j^

Saturday, December 26, 2009

poopie's law

We always give Daddy one of the Murphy's law desktop calendar so he can rip off a page a day to find some axiom of amendment to the basic truth that "If anything can go wrong it will." Hey...I've learned a lot from the law about how to not lose the proverbial cool over any little thing. Pick your battles, self. It's the only way to halfway enjoy being alive! I knew today was going to be a bitch when I walked into an IS downtime halfway through. On the day after Christmas...with the ER filling up! Can you say "Noel"? That's not quite what I said but it kinda rhymes.

The day went from bad to worse when the air went out with all of us middle aged women scurrying about trying to keep our heads above water. *sigh* My feet hurt and that's the extent of it right now. I'm about to kick off my tennis shoes and wiggle my toes until they relax like these lazy dogs on the couch.

After all, it's still a holiday.

^j^

Friday, December 25, 2009

EDO

That's shorthand for offering the old heads a free day. Normally I have about six hours of vacation to cover my luxury of working nine days out of ten in a pay period. I mean, gah....it costs so much to pay me to be there to watch over all that donated blood. No overtime allowed...not good for productivity, and certainly not for the investors. If there's one thing my boss can do it's crunching numbers. Lord ya'll...I wish I was smart like that. Most of my old school co-workers have husbands to help with the bills. The other half of my rent went packing about seven years ago. It's a long story...remind me to tell you sometime.

Me and BG and Bubba smooth cooked an excellent Christmas breakfast down at Mom and Dad's place today. His sausage? The best I've ever eaten. I did Gaga cheese grits and splashed some half and half into the scrambled eggs while Lauren and Bubba fried homemade sausage, bacon and country ham on the griddle. Before we went, I ran by Aunt Granny's to pick up her gift for Mom because she's bad sick with the epizootie. Granny made friends with this escape artist named Eddie who can draw people's faces like nobody's business. We told her it was a composite of she and Nancy's and Bill's senior pics, drawn by Eddie and re-created by Johnny. Looks just like 'em.

Don't even consider coming to our emergency room this weekend unless you're on death's door. My senior citizen butt is totally tired of listening to that tube system go off like a tornado warning every time it drops. The chillers don't work very well these days either. I think I'll dress light tomorrow because even though it's cold outside, it's hot up in there amongst all the blood countin' gadgets.

More later....it's almost bedtime ^j^

Thursday, December 24, 2009

then one windy christmas eve

This week's weather has been a real strange mixture of frozen fog and now very gusty winds, ushering in the REAL winter. Like the kind that buries the mid-west! Work was steady enough not to be boring today and I've got tomorrow off before heading back in on Saturday. That sound you hear is me taking a big sigh of relief that I'm right where I am at this point in time doing what Big Ernie expects of me. She told me so.

BG and BF are gone to visit her Dad for a few hours so it's me and the animals for a bit. My thoughts have wandered back over the years when BG was growing up and Christmas was a hUGe deal for all of us. Kids make all the difference, with their wonder and awe at the magic of the season. Believing in Santa Claus is a little bit like believing in God in that your practical side says "no way" but your faithful side says.."well, it could happen."

I hope that you all have wonderful family filled moments from now until next Christmas. And I sincerely hope that nobody told Santa that I've been bad because it's simply not true. Not that I didn't try..........

Keep the Christmas faith ^j^

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

the almost nurse/pharmacist/doctor/social worker

Our village has come to the point where things must be condensed and simplified...any system that has a chance of success depends on day to day commitment and an understanding of the big picture. Oh hell...sometimes you just have to grow an idea and that is exactly what is happening with the fam. We run errands and count pills and figure out which trips are really necessary. The team gets smart and realizes who's milking Medicare for the bucks and who's in it to "help people."

Our census is really low right now which makes for shorter hours and much less scurrying. All the ER patients are at Wallyworld picking up last minute stocking stuffers and they won't even begin to think about getting sick until this weekend. When I'm working. Oh happy day! For this I went to college? Not bitchin', mind you. Just making a well informed observation from the hospital employee standpoint. My company gave me a big old honeybaked ham and a raise so I'm committed to making a difference,at least until the new year.

I'm on the Christmas eve shift this year and have been put in charge of cheese grits which I shall double tomorrow night for work and our family gathering on Friday. Gaga made them every year but I've learned that you don't have to have those little expensive rolls of garlic cheese to make it work. Hey...we watch the food network up in our crib.

I wish for all of us, peace on earth. The practical side of me feels that it probably won't occur in my lifetime, but has sincere faith that it can happen.


^j^

Monday, December 21, 2009

one day at a time

Twelve steppers will tell you that it's the only way to go. I became one of them back when I was in therapy and battling all sorts of demons from the past. Oh, it was nothing bad like physical or sexual abuse, but it was pretty tough work all the same. I'm still learning, if you know what I mean. Take today for instance.

Mama called me at work today and she was crying uncontrollably...you know. The UGLY cry. She went to the doctor last week and told him that it was happening pretty often what with her disabilities and daddy's "mental status". Evidently he failed to hear what she was saying when she called me today..."I feel like I'm coming apart!" I don't know about ya'll, but when my mama calls crying I'm outta there and going to see what's up. For the first time in her 76 year old life, she told me that she thinks she needs help, meaning someone professional to spill her guts to. Something more than a hug and the grocery shopping will take care of.

As with your family, there are things that were never discussed because they were shameful...like feelings. She grew up as the overweight oldest child of three in a household that had plenty of money for extravagance like household help. She married just about the poorest sharecropper's son she could find because he was honorable and loved her to death. Daddy has spent his life busting his farmer ass trying to make her happy when only she can do that. Too bad she grew up in the fifties because she would have made a very nice hippie :)

BG and I met up at the shelter today to visit the dogs and cats for Christmas. They barked and sniffed and looked at us longingly but Butterbean wasn't there. I gained a whole new respect for the staff of this volunteer organization by coming in as a repeat customer. No...it's still two dog night around here. But that might change this weekend.

^j^

Sunday, December 20, 2009

fa la la la la

BG and I did something yesterday that we rarely do...we shopped together! We both tend to put things off and all of a sudden we looked at each other and realized that it's a week away. Oh.Shit. Nothing like a deadline to get some girls' butts in gear. We had a blast with our list and our (limited) money, finishing up what we started under my mother's direction a month ago. It is hilarious how much effort we've put into making sure everybody has something cool. But we've done it. It's a wrap and under two trees...ours and theirs.

Spending a day and looking at life through my daughter's eyes was the most special thing of all. We visited my aunt and drove around the old 'hood where my mom and dad's family lived right across the street from each other. As we entered the feed store downtown we ran across an old friend or two and heard the crooning of a live guitar player over by the rakes and hoes. She has a way of seeing people and appreciating their smiles which naturally leads to a lot of smiling back. Nah, I'm not biased at all ;)

So, you better be good and you better NOT pout.

^j^

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

the christmas cake

Over the years, I have piddled with and somewhat perfected this absolutely decadent chocolate chip pound cake with fudge icing. The thing is rich, extravagant and a bitch to make so it only happens for special occasions. Like Christmas. I delivered the first one today to an old friend who has watched my back through the legal system for the past twenty years. We met at church when he was married to his first wife and they were the "perfect couple." When things went south, she went home to NC and he pretty much got the stink eye by the brotherhood, if you know what I mean. We didn't see his face for months and months! I was friends with both of them and stayed neutral so it wasn't a big deal to me. I gladly paid him...TWICE..to divorce the same man. I'm really not a slow learner...just loyal to a fault.

I could tell when I walked in that the receptionist was sniffing the icing, even though she's a size 2. The legal assistant hung over the rail to give me a shoutout for chocolate and we chatted a few minutes before I made my way back onto court square. One time when a credit card company sent one of their assembly line guys to squeeze me a little bit, he did a pro-bono visit for moral support so I wouldn't cry in front of the judge. Man, those were the good old days.

Slowly but surely, with the grace of God and the prayers of many, our situation has begun to look like something other than constant struggle to make ends meet. I'm not talking vacations and clothes, just paying the bills on time. Much of that has to do with the fact that good friends and neighbors have extended credit over time with the knowledge that when things get straight, they will be repaid in full. The guy at the grocery store gets a cake too when I get some half and half for the icing. Not gettin' out of this house again today!

There are two others that I intend to deliver....one to the propane guy and the other to the folks who deliver lunch for my parents everyday. They have all gone above and beyond what people would do to help out someone in need, like ME. So, let them eat cake. With fresh holly on top!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

not much to say

One thing about getting a cold that's good in a way is that you get to sleep a lot and not feel bad about it because, well...you just can't help it. This has been a very hard lesson for me personally because I have enough of my mother's niceness and father's temper to have kept me going on adrenaline for about fifty years. Trust me, it can be toxic to be afraid of not making people happy and dodging the runnin' fits. My brothers tend to have those as well, by the way.

Work is busy enough not to be boring which about all I could handle this week so thankyouverymuch Big Ernie. Only a Methodist like myself could just as moved over the Adam Sandler Hannukah song as by The Messiah. I'm funny like that.

Peace and love and jingle bells. ^j^

Sunday, December 13, 2009

deck the halls and all that jazz

I'm not sure what day of Christmas it is right now, but in my world it's a gray Sunday afternoon on the lane except for the white lights draped on the window above my desk. We have done the breakfast thing which now happens at Mel's Diner and everyone is tucked in for a Sunday afternoon rest. It wasn't too very long ago that I was afraid to relax in fear of the next phone call about one of my parents having a car accident. My goodness how life has changed since then!! It takes a village, as you all know. I'm not sure we could manage without the kindness of others who pitch in with a ride or a meal. Both of them have been faithful members of the UMC all of my life and that's their big outing each week. I got a very dirty look from an old lady in a big ass expensive car when she tried to back out while I was waiting for pick-up today. I just smiled at her like Jesus would.

I had the opportunity on Friday to take part in something at work that was kind of unusual, in a team-building sort of way. A procedure that we usually perform with minimal assistance at the bedside turned into a big old group hug for those of us who were in it together with that patient. I was impressed enough that I even sent emails to bosses about it. Trust me, it takes a lot to impress this old gal.

Sam has some kind of puncture wound on his hind leg and is forced to hop around in the field behind Faith on their mole hunting expedition today. We had an offer to adopt a miniature beagle this weekend but had to turn it down. It has become very evident that dogs, like kids, do better in pairs. With three, there's always an odd man out getting picked on.

This will be a full week at work for me and the crud has kicked my butt pretty well. Managing to get to bed by 8 two nights in a row..ON A WEEKEND...means you know your limits.

Keep the faith and pass the torch. ^j^

Friday, December 11, 2009

wtf day is it anyways?


Oh yeah...it's Friday. And i'm off the weekend. See ya'll next week.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

thank the lord for small things

Mom and I were all set to head to the next city over to get her vision looked at and lo and behold, the heavens opened up. Neither one of us do the "get in and out of the car with an umbrella" thing very well, and the Camry isn't always so trusty when road tripping with the elderly. So we both said "nah" and stayed at home, rescheduling for later. The dogs are ecstatic to have me as company for another day.

We are taking this season in baby steps, partly because that's all we can handle but largely because we know that there are memories that need to be shared between the generations. Mama insists that we know where everything came from. LP came home with some hundred year old school slates that belonged to my great grandmother's baby brother! His name was Faris, by the way. He died of TB as a teenager.

I inherited most of my grandmother's linens when she died many years ago. Some of them still have the original creases that someone put on them. I have decided that maybe my cousins might like a piece of that so I'm working to make a collection for each of them to have and pass on to their kids. That is how family history stays alive when the ancestors are long gone.

My Dad started researching his roots about 15 years ago and found everybody except his grandpa Joe that ran off from Mississippi. Mama's Agee roots have been traced to France where her mother, Gaga, visited during the sixties as a young widow. She went to her grave apologizing that she didn't get to take me to Europe for high school graduation. It never mattered to me. She was my grandma and I'm the oldest of ....hmmm. I've lost count now. As we have aged we meet more often at the funeral home than at family gatherings. That's why Mom's birthday was so special.

We have this recordable book for my nephew in Virginia so BG and I played with it a little bit today but couldn't quite figure it out. Yeah, we're blonde, and proud of it. She told me the other night that I was very much like Gaga because "you just don't give a damn." And you know what?

She's right. ^j^

Sunday, December 6, 2009

'tis the season

There is something very heartwarming about walking into a house where the Christmas tree is lit up. I don't normally do that because I'm the first up and the first home so I do the plugging in and out thing. Today was an exception because the roommates were home first. Sweet! There are enough candles lit in here to have a wake and strings of lights hanging haphazardly on windows in the style of prom night. And I love it.

The sawmill this weekend was the usual blend of really sick people and idiots of the year....just another day in paradise. The really sad part of being a practitioner is seeing how much of the resources available are not effectively utilized because nobody is on the same page. Communication is key when building an effective team and many times there are interdepartmental issues ( yes, many personal ones ) that inhibit a smooth flow in the delivery of patient care. I could go on and on but I won't because life is too short to spend whining about something you can't fix.

We have our office "holiday" party tomorrow afternoon and I signed up to bring to bring deviled eggs. Man..do I love those people or what!

Ya'll have a wonderful week. If you see Santa, tell him I'm still looking for a Sugardaddy.

^j^

Friday, December 4, 2009

in the office

I have turned the living room into my little private place to play because nobody ever comes to visit anyway..you can tell that by the stack of stuff on the dining room table. There are raggedy couches and a computer plus an old filing cabinet. This is my "command central" where the bills get laid out and stuff gets taken care of. It's been a real challenge for me to organize things because that's just not my strong suit. I guess it's just the part of me that wants to stay little.

I have an African violet that I've managed to nurture for a few years, a birthday gift from a friend. The coffee table is space to spread things out and actually work. I'm not sure yet what the next step will be, but I feel a creative mood coming on for the Christmas season. One of my most treasured gifts was a pair of hand painted cups and ornament from a fellow blogger last year. That is what the spirit of the season is all about, in my book. After helping Mom put their tree up this morning, I came home and plugged mine up in the corner of the office because hey..you don't get to enjoy it very long when they're live!!

Peace out. ^j^

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

coming up for air

I am off for two days now prior to a weekend at the sawmill and it never ceases to amaze me how those days off come at just the right time. Usually they're spent chasing my tail...or somebody else's. This time, I don't have that much to accomplish which can only mean one or two things on the to-do list. Like sleep in. And piddle around the house with no mercy. I remember back when I first became a single gal I spent about 90% of my time looking for a guy...back then it was in Yahoo chat rooms. I never did find a keeper, and kissed a whole bunch of frogs along the way. Now I just leave room for the spirit to work.

BG's cat Lily has been surprisingly not interested in the tree. In the past we've had to tie trees to the WALL to keep them from being ravaged by curious kitties. I suppose it's much more fun for her to knock everything off of my dresser so I'll wake up and feed her. Lily does have an evil side. When we were growing up, we never had pets in the house so naturally any cat that came around was too wild to play with. When BG was real little, we got her first cat named Screamer ( guess why!) and we've never been without since. At one time we had close to 20 which was ummm...bordering on "crazy cat people." That was after I picked one up in the parking lot at work who proceeded to have kittens and then one of the kittens had kittens. They all went to laugh and play in a dairy barn where the mice are easy game.

I read today that Senator John Tanner is retiring and that makes me quite sad. His level headed leadership and representation of the citizens of our state have been a great gift to all Tennesseans. I don't say that about many politicians, by the way. There will be a mad scramble for that seat in the near future and I pray that Big Ernie sees fit to bless us with another person of similar integrity. As for the Afghanistan push, I'm sure that Obama will continue to take the heat for the mistakes made during Dubya's administration, i.e. not blowing the shit out of Afghanistan and Pakistan to begin with....after all the innocents are evacuated, of course. That side trip to Iraq cost a lot of American and Iraqi lives and now we're signing up to do the same thing where we should have been to begin with. Go figure.

Mom and I will be taking a road trip next week to an occupational rehab center to have her visual problems assessed and look for possible ways to make life easier for her. Macular degeneration shows no mercy. Once an avid reader and creator, she is now confined to books on CD for entertainment. While Daddy's dementia has somewhat shielded him from the hardships of getting older, she is keenly aware of her surroundings through her other senses. Very frustrating for a former do-it-all-myself gal like her. I would be the same way, only not nearly as nice about it *snort*

It is gray, wet and cold....typical December weather in our hood. For now, there are snoring dogs and a warmly lit tree to keep me company. And that, my friends, isn't a bad place to be.

^j^

Sunday, November 29, 2009

let there be light

I have been seriously pondering the advantages of fake pre-lit trees while untangling dollar store strands to wrap around the live fraser fir. This is when it sucks to be a single smartass gal. Maybe some favorite ornaments will help the mood.

Went to Mel's Diner today for breakfast with the grands and the hay guy. He always shows up right about the time we're being served and Daddy comments...calls him by name. Sometimes they have to cook more biscuits and that takes awhile, but his waffles came first so he was pleased. Needless to say, we'll be puttin' up their pre-lit tree this year. And doing their shopping as well. Mama is headed to the funeral home one more time in the AM to pay her respects to Miss Janie and her recently deceased husband. One of the Sunday School ladies is picking her up for the viewing and service. Sort of reminds me of Grandma Mazur at Stiva's.

We had drama on the lane this afternoon with a multitude of cop cars down at the end of the road because the neighbor refused to take his bi-polar meds and wifey called the cops to try to persuade him to be compliant. There was an ambulance and all...seems he had to be subdued and is headed for the nearest mental institution. Sometimes real life just wears me out. Ya'll know what I mean?

Rent's going up because it's a "country home" and the owners think that it's worth it for city folk who need some peace. I'm gonna make the best of it while I can afford the price, but I do believe this will be my last winter on Pecan Lane. That will make all the heirs ecstatic what with the increased income for their collective futures. Nothing is forever, ya know?

Time for the ornaments. Ya'll keep the faith ^j^

Friday, November 27, 2009

a boy and his truck

Bubba and I went outside after our Thanksgiving feast today so he Bandit could perform his newest trick...laying down. He's so young, at eleven months, that it's hard for him to be still but when Bubba says down, he goes all the way...eventually. It's a border collie thing, he says. So is circling after retrieving the plastic bottle that is his favorite toy. That's how they know and learn to herd cattle! The fur on Bandit's legs is stained by the aluminum rail on the truck that he leans over all the time...it's a hoot. The day we picked him out in that mudhole of a breeder's place, he had a special place in my heart.

I came home yesterday after work to find the on again roommate tinkering with his new/old truck. It's got the special kind of engine that he wanted and it's a fixer upper. This guy has needed a hobby for a looooong time. And I think he just bought one :)

We gave thanks for all sorts of things today as we ate. For microwaves to warm up apples and the fact that Bandit is still alive to be a doggie after his great escape on Finley highway. He went missing for two days and I thought we were gonna have to bury Bubba. Then, as he was driving through a local neighborhood, he spotted him lying on somebody's carport. This is the first time my mom hasn't done much cooking and it was nice to see her sit and visit instead of running her ass off. We tried not to mention the negatives, just for a day, and be thankful to sit down together at one table and enjoy a family meal. We were successful at that, even though the news came on shortly and that's Daddy's favorite thing.

As Old Hoss would say, "And so it goes."

^j^

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

for all of this, i give thanks

You could literally feel the mood at work today shifting into holiday mode because we only saw the really sick ones. The cafeteria is closed for FIVE days so we had to scrounge for something to eat. We tend to always have things stashed in the locker or frig so we won't starve. The ones I feel sorry for are the patient's family members who are camped out there. Stopped by to drop off some OJ for Daddy and ended up watching my mama cry again. The short version is that I felt her pain and told her to put on her big girl panties. Yeah, ya'll believe that one??

We are scattered and working just like most other families so we gather on whatever day works and blend the seasons, so to speak. For instance, I bought a Christmas tree during lunch today. I've never in my life bought one before it was almost time to take it down. This holiday season will be different.

I sat outside and watched the sunset, snapping pictures and slapping Sam on the nose when he jumped on me. Faith rolled in the leaves like a kid. She's really been missing Butterbean, like the rest of the household. The sometimes on again off again roommate had to take Sam out and explain to him what happened. Faith knows...she was there with us. Only Lily came out of the whole thing feeling like the queen B that she is. That's more attention for her kitty self.

I have three days off this weekend and you can put your money on the fact that my black friday won't be spent at department stores. The Dollar General will do just fine. Ya'll be careful out there amongst the masses. It can get violent!

I'm leaving room for the Spirit to work. Hope you do the same ^j^

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

bucksnort

Anybody who has traveled the state of Tennessee very much knows that it's a famous exit in the middle of the state. Famous because it's one of the few and far between places to stop and pee around the Tennessee River area. Loretta's dude ranch is somewhere close around there too. I've never been...but then I've never been to Graceland either and I lived in Memphis for several years. Let's just say I'd rather visit somebody's shrine that I REALLY adore..like Jackson Browne or The Eagles.

Seeing deer around here is not uncommon but usually it's the babies and mamas out prancing. The other day I saw this dude with a huge rack standing in the bean field by my road and I slowed down to take it all in. He stared me down for a few minutes, then went on over across to the thicket by the river where they hang out and party. I can't help it ya'll...that's freaking amazing to a nature girl.

Still gray and misty here on the hill. I made a big time grocery store run this afternoon and it was a nightmare. They're installing a new "fuel center" which cuts the parking lot in half. Not to fear kids...I managed to snag what we need for a Thanksgiving day after feast. Sometimes you just play the cards you're dealt ;)

There are several old CDs lying out here on the desk, waiting to remind me where I've been during the past few years. If I didn't write it down or burn it, don't ask. I've slept since then.

Ya'll have a very happy holiday time, whenever you choose to celebrate with family and friends. That's what it's all about. That and keeping the faith.

^j^

Monday, November 23, 2009

notes to self

Written on a rainy dreary misty Monday afternoon following an exhausting couple of weeks:

Never EVER run out of Celexa again. A couple of days that feel pretty okay will be followed by an extreme need to slam pots on the tile counter and break into the ugly cry.
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Always remember to take ownership of your own issues and do not, by any means, let other people try to project dump theirs on you. There is a line drawn in the sand that one occasionally gets weak and forgets, especially when it comes to memebers of the opposite sex for which one has a soft spot. People don't change their basic character traits unless they want to do so themselves. Put on your big girl panties and deal with it.
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Generation X is a whole different ball game from the Baby Boomer deal. Most have never known the type of responsibility that we assumed at quite an early age. Many of them, even the ones who didn't "have it made", feel entitled, just because. As parents and grandparents we have shielded them from real life to the point that many have a very erratic work ethic and others just simply don't know how to deal with the realities of day to day life. Thank goodness, my daughter is not one of them. Well, maybe just a little bit :)
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True inequality and/or persecution based on race, gender or creed is wrong and illegal. This does not give you the right to scream "foul" and lawyer up every time something doesn't go your way. Call your mother instead. She'll probably tell you it's all their fault and you're her baby. It's much cheaper, and just as effective. See above: big girl panties
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A pet can be your best friend and there are way too many without homes or loving keepers. Support the local no-kill animal shelters or start one if there is a need. Hey...I've learned from experience that there's somebody for everybody out there and that includes the animal kingdom and people.
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Somebody once said "Home is where, when you go, they have to take you in." I've got to admit that I've had many homes besides the one that I live in, especially during dark times when the ugly cry busts smooth out of nowhere. I almost got fired one time for crying during a high level very intense hospital meeting because a teenage obnoxious BG and myself had just had it out on the phone before I walked into the boardroom. Notice I said "almost." Still there, after 32 years and I adore the family. There are tons of dedicated compassionate healthcare workers who never once win employee of the month/day/year.
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November and February are very dreary months, but this too shall pass.
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Art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Something that looks like a piece of crap to one person is a precious gift to someone else. That's why they make strawberry and vanilla. And Moose Tracks! The expression of oneself in that art is the important thing, whether it be music, photography, cooking or canoe carving.
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Friendship waxes and wanes over the years, sustained by periods of closeness that compel us to stay in touch even when life gets crazy...and perhaps especially so during those times. I couldn't tell you my best friend if my life depended on it because I've got way to many to count. We just seem to keep finding each other over and over again during the course of the journey. I love it when that happens.
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Leaving room for the spirit to work is the only sane way to live because, hey. It's a big job taking care of the entire world and this old gal is way too lazy to tackle it. I'd rather spend my time playing with the dogs or walking the yard with a beer. Or both!
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"No matter where you go, there you are." Mary Engelbreit

Saturday, November 21, 2009

in spite of ourselves

I don't know how it happened, but suddenly my mother turned 76 and I turned 54 and BG got to be twenty five. We're all still in the village, thank goodness. Today we celebrated her birthday down at the log cabin that was built in the 30's. As the story goes, it was a hunting lodge for the Ferguson family back in the day. There was this big old cottonwood tree that stood guard over the cabin while me and brothers were growing up there. It died a few years ago and had to be cut down. Fortunately there was another little tree that wrapped its' branches all crooked like up and around the trunk of that ancient cottonwood. Pardon me for not knowing the name of it. I'll have to ask Daddy tomorrow after breakfast at Mel's.

A good time was had by all at the girl party. We ate fattening stuff for lunch and drank fruit tea. Me and Yaya even managed to sneak out to the patio for some state of the union chat. The blended history within the group that showed up at our log cabin today would fill an entire shelf at the local library.

I'm considering a restful night's sleep on the couch because it's early and I'm tickled to death to be at home with Sam and Faith, listening to my kids discuss things rationally in the kitchen. As much as I hate drama, this is the closest thing to heaven for a smartass country gal who is an asparagus and tomato farmer. And terrified of snakes! There was a six month period where that wore out faded couch was my bed. What the HELL was I thinking?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Willa

I couldn't tell you how old she is exactly, but I'd bet it's over a hundred years. Her daughter and my mama are old time friends and her grandson was one of the great loves of my life, back in the day. Football star and all that. Their family's land kind of criss-crosses around the municipal airport, golf course and the southeast side of Pecan Lane. Her son and I work together at the sawmill but I've never seen him out driving his mama around. Too busy making money, I reckon.

Miss Catherine used to load Willa up and drive slowly down the lane, taking in the sights of whatever season happened to be in place. One spring afternoon, they ran over my pup as we were taking a walk. Thank goodness they were going slow! Pepper just dropped and rolled into the ditch like a good dog. I think I did have to carry him up the hill that day, though. Maybe not...my mind seems to be slipping these days. Ah, yes. Blue heeler mix with a belly full of worms, compliments of my sister-in-law and her mother if I remember correctly. On more than one occasion, they had a designated driver...one who was willing to get behind the wheel and go up memory hill. More often than not, it was a nursing home employee giving that old lady one last ride to paradise.

Jim still works at the hospital too as an advisor to the few docs who dare to set up practice with the healthcare industry as we know it today. Most of the hospitalists are foreign and educated in other countries. Our company pays their company to keep them there so that the regular docs can rest and have family time. *cough cough* Ya'll would probably never understand what I'm saying unless you were there day in and out.

My good friend sent me a story from her work the other day that absolutely captured my heart. Seems there is this little brown terrier mix that some crack headed idiot drug behind a car on a rope, just for fun. The place where C works took this puppy on and she is doing well at last update. This happened two days after Butterbean died. Don't try to tell me there's no puppy heaven..I believe.

As Jerry would say "ya'll have a wonderful wacky Thursday!"

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

attitude plus

I've been off for a couple of days, trying in my piddly half-assed way to make piles and get things in some sort of order. There's not nearly as many bills as there used to be back in the day, but it's enough to require daily monitoring, if you know what I mean. Things should look rosy by next week. Thanks Big Ernie.

While I've been busy with my own life, a dear friend has been blindsided with multiple fires to TRY to put out. He has every reason in the world to say to hell with it and feel sorry for himself. Yet he managed, for two days in a row, to write things to some friends that gave a true perspective on his inspirational talent. Being the easily distracted person that I am, I totally forgot that he had emergency surgery last week.
And then the damn really broke!

This one's for you, Cowboy. Big hugs all around ^j^

Monday, November 16, 2009

I was eating lunch in the breakroom that day when Bubba called me from Hornbeak. "Daddy's had a wreck and I can't get there. Will you go check it out?" Off in a flash, I headed toward the highway crossover that had been the scene of many more accidents, two with my mom and one with a teenaged BG. When I got to the scene, Daddy was in his truck, minus the bumper and stuff getting ready to cross back over. I eased up next to him and asked him where he was going. " To pick your mom up at the beauty shop" was his reply. The cop was over on the road to our houses, talking to the other driver. She turned out to be real shady, by the way. Had a TV type lawyer call them later. Daddy told Bubba he had been in a hit and run. He didn't warn him that HE was the runner!

I convinced him to head toward home and let me pick mom up. As he pointed the banged up truck westward, I tried to get a word with the cop. "I've gotta catch him!" he said. So he cut him off in the parking lot of the car shop and read him the riot act about improper registration and leaving the scene and whatnot. Dude looked kinda like Billy Bob Thornton, only without the sex appeal. As fate would have it, daddy's doc was with Bubba and he found out about the whole deal. Two letters to the state resulted in his license being pulled and we all breathed a sigh of relief. It's a long story, but he had been hittin' things for awhile.

That's when we became a village, of sorts. Since neither of them can drive, Bubba and BG and me are their personal shoppers/daily visitors/taxis. As a family, we have grown because of this with bonds being forged that will never be broken because we've been on this journey together. T and the grandboy are far away, and that makes mom sad sometimes. That and being in the house all day with an ornery OCD dementia patient. We're adapting our routines now to blend with his so that he doesn't get mad and break the recliner again. Hey...sometimes you gotta laugh :) Cousin Deb's husband Ronnie and he get along really well so they're going to ride the farm this Saturday while we celebrate mom's birthday, all girlified. Gaga's china will do real nice, I think.

^j^

Sunday, November 15, 2009

lord willin' and the creek don't rise

If there's one thing I've learned from becoming an elder, it's that nothing is forever and sometimes that's a good thing. Every ending and each rainbow contains a bit of hope and faith that when the house lands in Oz, there will be munchkins galore singing that goofy song and shaking a leg. Yes, I am a fan, even though I have no ruby slippers. Tennis shoes work better on concrete floors.

Have I told ya'll lately how much I appreciate my family? They are an eclectic bunch with a lot of warts, but dammit...you just can't help but to adore the ones who adore you back just because you're you. Not all of them are blood kin but it works the same way with friends. Some of them we work around, and with others we manage only a heated game of phone tag or Facebook picture swapping. I became a blogger many years ago, inspired by my sister-in-law, a reporter with a keen eye on the future of news via the 'net. She and T are both eat up with it, but their stories have shifted away from murder number 4,800 and the IED count and toward a much more gentle and loving way of storytelling. I admire that. He once told me that my writing style reminded him of Peggy Noonan. I read many of her columns before I finally understood what he meant by that. Thanks, bro.

At 54,I find myself wondering if I've left anything more than a carbon footprint here. Oh, I know I've made people smile and given them hugs and listened to snot slinging sessions full of pain and angst. I've kissed and cuddled my share of babies. I've been a good wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend to many. But what, exactly, have I done to change the course of world history in a positive way? Ya'll KNOW how I bitch about that whole middle eastern sacrifice of human lives for no apparent reason. I mean look...they hate us from way back in biblical times. This generation and the one coming up is well trained in the art of terrorism with nothing to lose and lots of virgins to gain. Give.It.Up. Focus on homeland security and all those meth heads cooking in the backseat of the car that the baby rides in.

I'm disgusted with what this country has become...a virtual herd of voters who follow party lines and don't take the time to actually LOOK at what government is doing with our tax dollars. It affects a whole lot more than your refund.

*end of rant*

^j^

Friday, November 13, 2009

all business

We moved here as a young family when BG was four, mainly because of my desire for her to grow up in the country like I did. We sold a house that would have been paid for three times by now and used the small profit to buy furniture for our country home. Over those 21 years I/we have paid 75k in rent on a house that has absolutely NO insulation and windows that (used to) open with ropes built into the frames. I have planted perennials on top of annuals and harvested asparagus and tomatos. I have fed the birds and otherwise been good to mother earth.

Last month, one of the kids of the guy who owned it and who had a sentimental attachment to the place came down from Michigan in response to our request of one year ago that somebody come and see what's up because my Daddy certainly doesn't know due to his dementia. He managed their property for 53 years, carefully filing farm reports and delivering calves in the dead of winter, all for the rent free log cabin where we were raised and a little bit pocket change on the side. This was in addition to his day job with the US department of agriculture.

These people, the family who owns it all, have no idea about the history of the place and probably don't care. My goal has been to record that in case somewhere down the line, somebody actually does give a damn. As I sit here typing, gazing out at the dairy barn that should be on the National Historic Registry, I'm trying to figure out how the hell I'll pay the extra hundred bucks a month that will be added to my rent come January when the new and improved leases kick in. My guess is that I'll be moving somewhere else where the utility bill isn't unreasonable due to drafts and cracks in every wall and window. And that will kill my soul.

Mom and Daddy can stay per the original agreement, so that's a blessing. I've made many mistakes over the years regarding love and money and simple day to day decisions. Who hasn't. But you know what? I've always done what I thought was the right thing according to the what-would-Big-Ernie-do rule.

What a shame that others don't live that way.

^j^

Thursday, November 12, 2009

countin' sheep

Today was the annual event called "employee verification audit" where we all show up to prove that yes, indeed, we do still work there and need insurance like everybody else. As healthcare practitioners, we have an opportunity to get an eagle's eye look at the dysfunctional system. And by the way, I don't think the bill will help that. The technology has been available for years to link doctors and facilities by computer yet many many small hospitals don't even have a lab with IS capability. Therein lies the problem. We could have our entire medical histories on jump drives by now if somebody thought less about competition and money and more about patient care.

Things have calmed down a bit following a tumultuous couple of weeks in our hood. Conner got out of the hospital after scaring his poor mom and dad to death. We celebrated her birthday last night at the mexican place, complete with sombrero and song. She loved every minute of it!

The leaves are mostly gone now, with just a few patches of color hanging on. The next rain will finish them off I believe, giving way to the true color of November....gray. Like many families we are flexible on holidays due to somebody almost always working, so we're doing Thanksgiving on the day after when I'm off. I remember when BG was little and she tearfully told me to tell them I couldn't come because it was Christmas. Gah.

Sam and Faith and the humans are getting used to Butters not being here, but we don't like it. At all. That grin of hers could light up a room quicker than anything I've ever seen. If I can figure out how to get it off of somebody's phone, I'll share.

Over and out from Pecan Lane. ^j^

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

the view

We're tossing around options here on the hill and there's a good chance that one of us will get to camp out live on the bluff with the best view of the farm. It's just a little shack, roughly built on top of the concrete ruins that are the Ferguson farm, circa 1920s. The plumbing freezes every winter because nobody lives there long enough to light a fire, much less make the place look like home. If I get an electric blanket from Santa, you can bet your ass I'll be there by spring.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

family tradition

As my parents have aged, BG and I have bonded in a way that cements family ties. A whole BUNCH of people love them and lots of them help out because, well..that's what Big Ernie would do. There is a calico cat creeping through the red and gold leaves of dusk that lie outside my window. I planted the oxalis on Butters' grave today and watered it really well. Also managed to chop a few tree limbs as well. It was extremely too hot in July to prune trumpet vine off of the siding without having a middle aged heatstroke. I kid you not.

Mama and Daddy attend their Methodist church faithfully on Sundays, both morning and evening services. It is where I was raised, and where we as a village raised the babygirl. Bubba always takes them at eight, then somebody either gives 'em a lift home or we go out to breakfast together. For months on end, it's been Perkins because they have waffles for Daddy and a waitress who patiently remembers if it's blueberry or strawberry day. Today was different though. Lauren took the wheel as we headed to the church and later we enjoyed half price pancakes, biscuits and eggs with jelly and sausage plus bacon at Mel's Diner. Thank God somebody's in charge here :)

To all of those who have listened to me whine and cry and bitch and piss and MOAN about life, all I can say is thank you for hanging with me over time and trouble. The happy moments are the ones that I try to remember, but the sad ones are always in the back of my mind. My faith comes from a mixture of the two, blended with a whole lot of day to day sameness with people who understand me and will miss me when I'm gone bossin' them around at the nursing home, 93 years old and still a smartass country girl.

^j^

^j^

Thursday, November 5, 2009

fields of gold

I remember now why I like autumn so much...it's always been my favorite season. The colors and shadows blend in a way that look like Norman Rockwell painted them just for me. The pecan trees lining our lane are almost bare this year, but I still had a bag in the freezer from the end of last year so they're cracked and ready to roast. I tend to *never stop* during the longer days so it's a real treat to switch gears and ease into darkness at 5PM. Old Poops could easily become a bear :)

I've been working on the house some. Now that I know I'll be staying here for awhile it pays to insulate window frames and hunker down for the winter. Mama's seventy sixth birthday is coming up and we're planning a girl party for her. She does so enjoy the finer things about being female like luncheons and such. That is something that the BG and I can certainly handle without breakin' a sweat. If we can just keep the place clean for two weeks!

The sunsets on this hill when the leaves are gone tend to be breathtaking as it sinks down below the river. There is a bean field across the road that hasn't been cut yet and the fading rays do this strange little pattern over them like a golden prism or something. My favorite sunsets are the ones in winter with all those pastels plastered across the sky. See. Low maintenance.

BG and the sometimes off again on again roommate are talking about leaving the nest together in the spring...something that I knew would happen eventually. The timing seems right, and they've worked through a boatload of issues during the past couple of years. I think they're ready, and I think I am too. I opened the mailbox today to find a small package from the vet's office to our family. Inside was one of those little clay handprint thingies like you make in kindergarten, only it had a paw with Butterbean's name below it. The tears welled up again, but I saw it as an angel thing. The oxalis I plant over her will bloom in the spring. That, my friends, is faith.

^j^

^j^

Monday, November 2, 2009

puppy heaven

Well ya'll, she fought the good fight and enjoyed her last days here on Big Ernie's green earth, munching on hand-fed alpo chunks and giving kisses to all three of us while we nursed her through the end. We looked for any little sign of improvement but today the respirations went south and it was time to do the humane thing. If only people could do that for their loved ones and not have to jump through the hoops of the medical/legal system.

In puppy heaven there are lots of free cookies like the ones that cost a buck and a half at the vet's office in a basket on the reception desk where they settle up the bill. There are squirrels and birds galore to chase, and a brightly lit harvest moon to bark at. And there is a quilt that some loving person lifts up so that the puppy can crawl under and sleep firmly against the backside of a human who loved her from first glance. There is a soft pillow to sleep on and a fuzzy blanket to wrap up in. There is a chocolate sister who stands by the grave, lit with headlights, while the people cry and hold each other and Eva Cassidy croons. There are fresh flowers laid gently on top of the plastic casket while the people find some closure by remembering that brilliant toothy grin and pray to Big Ernie for blessings on our family.

Ya'll won't believe this though! As me and BG were headed out to the vet's office with Butters wrapped up in a blanket, Sam darted out in front of the car and we smooth ran over his ornery ass. He took off running through the soybeans and at last sight was close to the barn. Being the team players that we are, BG headed to the vet office and I went looking for Sammy D over by the golf course. About the time I pulled into my terribly muddy driveway, he jumped out from under the front porch and scared the crap out of me. Bosslady was mighty glad to hear that news.

He's laying on the couch licking his wounds as I type. If I were a bettin' gal, I'd say that he'll probably be sore tomorrow.

^j^

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Saturday, October 31, 2009

butterbean...a love story


Once upon a time I was gettin' my hair did up at Headlines where my favorite people do their magic. Miss Rhonda was trimming and we were looking at the paper and there was just the CUTEST pup featured in the weekly humane society deal. Faith was grown and I needed a puppy for Christmas. Being the poor gal that I am, I posted that baby's picture on the bulletin board at work, asking for donations to go toward the adoption fee of $40. Alas, there were no takers except for my good friend, the little general. She forked over the money and away I went to check out the cages. For the life of me, I can't remember that puppy's name, but he or she was smooth gone when I showed up with cash in hand. They're all so damn cute when they're little, but one in particular caught my eye...a tiny little brindle rat terrier mix. She peered at me with those really sad eyes that say "pick me!" and so I did. She wore a red plaid ribbon around her neck for Christmas that year, a gift to me from Big Ernie and little Sharry. Faith, who was also a Miss Rhonda pick, didn't take kindly to having a younger sister. At some point, Hope fell got pushed off the steps and broke her leg right smack in the middle of our brokest times as recently divorced mother and daughter on the lam. Baby Hope slept with me for many months until she regained her doggie legs and began to hold her own with Faith, the runaway chocolate lab. This was way before Sam came to live with us, by the way. That's a whole 'nother story.

Terriers are notorious for being nervous and Hope was no exception. She shivered constantly when the temp dipped below 60 and barked at the moon and the critters and just because she could. That was when BG changed her name to Butterbean and it stuck. When I picked her up from the vet's office Friday, some guy in the waiting room remarked about that name being unusual. Not in the south, ya'll.

Faith and Butterbean LOVE to ride in the car. Faith hangs her head out the back window lappin' up the breeze and Butters mounts the console, looking straight ahead at life whizzing by in the trusty old Camry with her mama at the wheel. Three hubcaps, no driver's side door handle, lots of bumps and scratches and almost paid for after eight years of hard labor with only 60K miles and a new engine thanks to cousin Kenny and the big fat honking oil gel settlement against Toyota. Yes, that is a run-on sentence, thank you very much. Sue me.

Anyway, I'm rambling. A few days ago, Butterbean began to look "funny" which is a red flag to a pet's best friend. I kicked the other two to the curb, and focused on her. She slept next to me on the pillow, breathing in my ear like when she was a pup. And then she couldn't get up.

That's when we started the journey to the vet's office where they run all sorts of tests and make a clinical diagnosis. Cassie Rae drew her blood for free and we ran the labs on instruments designed for human blood to save a buck. Two hundred thirty dollars later, she was diagnosed with a ruptured thoracic disc. BG had dropped her off and I picked her up several hours later in the pouring rain to come home for a few more days. We have puppy drugs that seem to keep her out of pain, but she still can't get up. Her sister and brother are keeping watch on the couch beside her, giving her kisses and not the least bit jealous anymore. They know, according to C.

It's almost med time.

^j^

Monday, October 26, 2009

outside of the box

Our lives here in this old house have consisted of lots of going through and pitching onto the fire pile. The heirlooms are safe and either displayed in china cabinets that were passed on or packed in tissue paper for the next generation. Being the non-organized person that I am, it's been just lately that I've begun to make piles and sift through things. When you live in one place for fifty plus years, things tend to get helter skelter. Daddy and I did the remodel of my house, circa 1918, over a six month period after Mr. Council moved out but it took about fifteen more years to clean up his mess in the attic and basement, bless his heart. There were rabbit feed bags on every floor and little bits of history everywhere. Slowly but surely, they have been touched and archived. Except for the wood burning stove in the basement. It's way too heavy to move so I might as well load it up with wood. They say that heat rises.

The intent of my writing and photography from day one has been to patch together the stories in some form or fashion for a book about the history of this farm and my life. All of that is in boxes that include mounds of paper and one dead hard drive, thanks to a computer geek in upstate New York who cared enough to keep this old PC going back in the day. Thats where blogging became more than just what-poopie-ate, as Gilda would say.

As funerals go, Mr.Bruce's was a great one. No rain, not too hot and a nice breeze. There was a small but faithful crowd, and thankfully the message was not real preachy. Allen did a superb job of telling the history of Dick and Peg and their entire family. At the cemetery, two young marines flanked the flag draped casket as another played taps in the distance. The flag bearer kneeled before their only son and spoke on behalf of the president and our country, presenting him with the stars and stripes that his purple heart decorated dad defended at Iwo Jima as a 19 year old marine.

There are boxes of fabric, waiting to be cut into quilt pieces for Annie to work her magic. A ladder sit propped against the ancient window in the living room where there are two offices...one for me and the other for Conner. Mary Engelbreit's calenders remind me where to be and whose birthday is coming up. And God bless Butch...there is propane in the tank and he hasn't even given the first courtesy call for payment. Dude knows that when it gets cold, I'll pay him what I owe and then some.

Just another day in paradise ^j^

Saturday, October 24, 2009

ode to oscar

We've had a lot to handle here on the lane this week what with the visitor and Mr. Bruce's passing yesterday. I cried off and on yesterday, not for him but for all of the good times our families shared together. There were three of us kids in the same grade. On holidays and sometimes just for the heck of it we'd all get together at somebody's house and celebrate our lives.

Mr. Bruce was the principal of one of our elementary schools, the one that my brothers and I and his son attended. He once told my mother that I had an exceptional IQ but he often caught me staring out the window. Go figure that one! I never really studied hard the entire 12 years, and did it ending up as average in a pool of over and underachievers. Over the seasons, my parents' other friends have taught me as well. Many of the ladies play bridge together and some attend the same church. Mostly, they've been drawn together through work or getting to know their kids' parents. Ms. Peggy Bruce, his wife, died a couple of years ago. After recovering from that, he set his sights on taking care of my ailing parents with meals and visits. He was a godsend, and he knew he was dying. That's true love folks.

He and Peggy have made me who I am today along with many other parents who weren't my "blood kin" and I think I've done that with BG's friends as well. They are fine people who will live on in our hearts forever because of what they teach us to be as adults, even if the process is sometimes a bumpy road. Hey..I'm used to that. I'm a country girl, remember?

We'll be at the cemetary if you need us.

^j^

Friday, October 23, 2009

transitionally speaking

The unanswered questions that have been swirling through the family's collective head got some answers this week. My parents will be able to live where they are, as long as they wish. The rest is just details. I feel blessed, to say the least. Sitting cross-legged on the floor of my daddy's home office, I marveled at the mess that had grown from a once highly organized ag business into a huge pile of papers. We hauled it all up the hill and sat down at my Ethel's kitchen table to sort through. The cleaning ladies warned me to watch out for spiders and I ran across one soon after spreading it all out at my house. He's dead.

Colors are peakin' here now, a gorgeous array of autumn hues strutting their stuff while the opportunity is there to shine. Mother nature always makes me smile, even when it's gloomy . Because, ya know? Sometimes there's a rainbow on the other side.

^j^

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

pride and arrogance


I remember watching this Brad Pitt movie called "Seven" where all the people who sinned got punished with a quadruple dose of what they sold their souls for. Pride stands out in my mind as a biggie, unless one gives Big Ernie the credit for the state of what's happening right now in your life. Must be the methodist coming out in me, I dunno. It's been a typical day off here on the lane...lots of errands and covert chats about the state of our union. Right now, it all looks iffy. All I can say is "til death do us part." After that, I'm outta here.

Daddy bought Pride when the renter's girlfriend couldn't pay for his pasture. He and Trapper got chased by many of my dogs over the years, always kindly not kickin' the shit out of their stupid little barking heads. I probably missed my chance at sugardaddy right then and there. They were an odd couple, one a mississippi boy and the other from east tennessee. The sawmill hired them to come do anesthesia at our place and somehow they ended up as my neighbors for a few years. I think Toni was responsible for that :)

There are so many of my friends out there who need prayers right now. Let's just call it faith and name it "unspoken."

^j^

Monday, October 19, 2009

the other place

Like I said, I'm trying to gather up the gumption to be an honest to goodness NanoWrimo participant this year. There's another side of me that writes with abandon (um, sometimes ) over here Now, before anybody I work or drink beer with gets all huffy about recognizing their character, just remember that it's a novel meaning it's FICTION. Names are changed to protect the innocent, umkay? So don't do anything mean like they did to Doose. I promise, when the royalties start rolling in, you'll be the first one I take out for a drink.

My plate is full with work and family just like everybody else. Right now, they come first.

Peace out kids.

^j^

Sunday, October 18, 2009

desperate housewives country girls


Praise the lord and pass the cheap sunglasses....the sun shone brightly here on Pecan Lane today! Me and my parents passed on Perkins and went to Mel's Diner instead. A whole lot cheaper and better too :) Daddy recited his savings all the way home. We talked about Mr. B and his homecoming in a couple of days. Dick and Peg were their best friends over the years. She died a couple of years ago, and now he's on the way to see her real soon. After they became homebound, he took up cooking and delivered meals on wheels...good stuff too! I think he knew then that he was sick, but he did it anyway because it made all of them happy. The last lengthy conversation that he and mama had was about religion and such. That's a natural for a COC preacher and a lifelong Methodist, don't you think?

I've been busy caulking windows and vacuuming the ceiling with mama's brand new super dooper electrolux. Have to keep moving to stay warm because the heat is out. Again. That's where the three dogs come in mighty handy at bedtime, if you know what I mean. Sam crawls up under the covers and Faith lays on my feet. Butterbean can't ever seem to find a comfortable spot so I end up opening the door for her at the buttcrack of midnight so she can bark at the moon. Or the squirrels. Or the raccoon family across the road up in the pecan tree. Terriers are high strung like that, I've been told.

Still undecided on my Halloween costume. In high school I did a kickass impersonation of Janis Joplin singing Mercedes Benz for stunt night. Over the years I've been a cotton bale, an angel and a stealth news reporter up at the kudzu bar. Those gals at the gas station wouldn't even turn the pump on when I stepped out to fuel up, and they know me by heart. I've heard through the grapevine that we will be burning "the pile" on all hallows eve. I certainly hope so because I'm tired of looking at it and can't be trusted with matches and gas.

I'll be mostly absent in November, working on a novel over at Nanowrimo. More than one person has told me that I've got stories to tell and now seems like a good time. Hell, I might get hit by a bus tomorrow and then what would the world do?

^j^

Friday, October 16, 2009

the office



Today was one for the history books at the sawmill. All Some of the characters who show up day after day at the sawmill gave our boss a little party in honor of her advocacy for us as worker bees in the hive known as our lab. She has a few bosses as well, and we thought about them as we chowed down on oven baked sammiches and crunchy lava cakes. We're way past bologna and 'mater season, if you know what I mean.

Thanks to Dubya Big Ernie, we all got vaccinated for the swine flu so we can show up for work when the pandemic episode occurs, totally without warning. Poops sees a class action suit in the future of the CDC. And that? It's Bush's fault too. What were they thinking????????

I'm an idealist...one of those people who see the big picture but doesn't have a clue how to grow the idea. At this point in time, my focus is on caring for my parents during their last years here on the farm. Thank God I'm not alone ^j^

Thursday, October 15, 2009

long may she wave

Daddy is an Air Force veteran of the cold war, so he's all about what service to country means. He flies a flag on this big ass pole next to the flower bed and lights it up at night. The poor old stars and stripes have been lookin' like they got taken straight into battle on horseback lately, so he was past due for a new one. Ya'll know how I hate to go to megastores and prefer to shop local because, hey. There's only so many hours in a day and at least once every few I pass through court square. There's this little family owned hardware store on Main Street that has one of everything you could ever imagine, but only one. We ran into the owner at lunch the other day and he assured us that he had just what Daddy needed. Dude is not always there, so I stopped by when I saw the sign burning up front to pick up the flag. It was a bargain, to say the least. The look on my Daddy's face when we raised it up into the cold October breeze told me that it's all good. Really. Back in the day, that store was THE place to go for all your hardware needs. The rest of court square consisted of the drug stores, lawyers offices and dress shops. There was an underground barber shop and a feed store.

My maternal grandfather owned a service station across the street from the Methodist church, down and up a hill from where he raised the family on College. To this day, I still run into people who remember him as a downtown businessman. I was three when he died at 45 from heart disease, something that would be a two day stay now with the technology that is available to fix innards and save lives. There was a little diner next door called the Silver Castle, and Roberts Chevrolet was on the left. All of that is gone now...and a bank claims that corner. Not even mine, by the way.

I feel very sorry for those who haven't taken the time to learn about their roots even if they're good bad and ugly. There's only one life here on God's green earth and I believe there's a reason that we're here. We live and learn from others' diseases and weaknesses. We chant "couldashouldawoulda" when discussing decisions that were made that impacted several generations. But in the end, it all plays out according to what BE has in mind.

I'm not sure what that is. But I have faith that they will guide me. You know...him and his other half. Now pardon me while I finish cleaning my room so that the weekend can be a time of rest.

^j^

Monday, October 12, 2009

angel wings

My vocation as a med tech doesn't lend itself to many glamorous moments. That only happens on CSI, ya know? Most days find me hip deep in blood and other body fluids, crunching numbers and reviewing printouts so that the doctors can treat their patients, based on the results that we generate. There is very little room for error, because the clinical treatment plan hinges on test results from various lab and radiology procedures. We serve an in-patient population plus a very hefty ER load, considering our rural location. That is because many of our clients have no insurance, so that's their only option. Hordes of drug seekers clog the rooms and resources that are needed by legitimately ill patients. It's not a problem that is unique to us by any means. Healthcare at home has one advantage and that's having somebody you know to keep an eye out for you. I've done it a kazillion times for friends and family.

That part makes up for all the gross stuff we have to handle and smell. Remind me to tell ya'll some stories about collecting sperm for fertility studies back in the day. That was one time I honestly blurted out "this AIN'T in my job description!" Congratulations to my lovely friend and her hub on their pregnancy. This girl is a flat out down to earth true christian cowgirl. I love it when she glows :)

Leave a message at the *beep*

Sunday, October 11, 2009

view from the porch


Back in the day, my house was party central when meal time came for the farm hands. There's this little tiny porch of a thing on the northwest side of the house that's just about big enough to step out on and say "come and get it folks." If I ever find a Sugardaddy, there will be a deck from there to the back porch even before I buy new socks and underwear. Hey. At least I know my priorities.

The weather is typical Tennessee October, cool with low humidity and enough colors for anybody to get off on. I was walkin' the yard earlier and stood like a little kid, neck craning upward to watch a pair of hawks glide and swoop. I call them golden days, the ones where you just get lost in the moment and enjoy what old mother nature blesses you with because, hey. It may not be here tomorrow.

Ya'll have a lovely week at work in the corporate world. I'm right there with 'ya, keeping the faith.

^j^

Friday, October 9, 2009

rainy days and fridays

Well, at least there's the Friday part to make it better...like, not a Monday. This has been a pretty rough week for me emotionally because a lot is hanging in the balance with what happens in the next few weeks here on the farm. All three of us kids grew up here, as did my own daughter, covering the 50 year span that my father has been the go-to guy. It was a totally cool place to grow up, even though there were no girls to play with. As soon as I got to be a pre-teen I was on the road to figuring out how to get outta' this place and to where the action was. My life outside of the farm consists of four years in college and about 10 more in different apartments and houses. When old Mr. Council the horseman moved out of the house on the hill, it took me and daddy the better part of six months to make the place livable for our little family. BG was four at the time. Needless to say, her childhood was filled with horses and scratches and fishin' holes. Good stuff. No matter how bad my day is or how tired I am, when I come here and concentrate on the beauty surrounding me season after season, it all gets better. My sanity, so to speak.

One of my brothers who also rented here left the state several years ago with the parting wisdom that "if you don't own it, you can't defend it". We talked about the beginning of the end of our family's life as we knew it, with all of us tucked somewhat closely within easy driving distance. He hauled rubber totes to Rockfish Valley on trailers until i thought he would run off a mountain in WV trying to get all that stuff moved. Since then he has become a father and a partner in another thriving business with his wife. Their lifestyle is relaxed, fun and full of deadlines. And they wouldn't change a thing, I'm sure. They are happy with life and well, that makes me happy too.

Other brother is the well known keeper of things around here since Daddy has become unable to focus on anything other than his watch and the TV. He has timber cut and dirt hauled and trenches dug so that the crops will have proper drainage. He rides the pastures, checking cattle and wrestling them down to the ground to tag 'em. He even feeds the babies with bottles sometimes, and I helped once. It definitely ain't a girl job, though I could probably get into some of that hay raking like the girl with the long hair does.

I used to be a chronic worrier but learned long ago to pick my battles, thanks to SRUIs and therapy. Life is just too short to waste time on anguish when the outcome will be what it is. I've turned it over to Big Ernie and he knows what's best. Sorta like Hoss did :)
This is a biggie for all of us. Ya'll keep the faith ^j^

Thursday, October 8, 2009

my generation


So you think you can sing? Yep, so do I...especially when I've got classic rock blaring in my ears. There's a primo station here in West Tennessee that I start and end most days with. At work I have to listen to that sicky sweet sixties stuff or country. I have on occasion on a weekend, snuck in a hand burned CD to brighten up my weekends. Miss Ellyn always says " I can tell that's YOUR music." Gotta love it.

My aspirations to be a groupie has been an interesting journey what with my brother being a former nightclub owner. When he booked Jimi Jamison (formerly of Survivor*) the folks from the station were all.over that opportunity to open for a superstahhhh! The venue is excellent with great acoustics and lights plus a huge dance floor. And that stage!!!!

Anyhoo....that's how I met the drummer/DJ over at rock 92.3 and I've followed that band through several uh, shall we say, changes in personnel. Last time I saw them was at the biker bar up across the highway and I was the only paying customer. No shit. I still can't believe that dude at the door had the balls to take my three bucks. His mama would NOT be proud.

Here's a shout out to Gregg, Grant and Rick. And whoever else is currently on board.

Where's my my official groupie invitation?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

faith of our fathers

Pawpaw was my mother's father. He was a big time businessman back in the day, owning not only the 555 corner service station but the greasy spoon next door called the Silver Castle where you could get a burger for not much of nothing and hang out with your friends between school and home and church. Miz Larson asked him to manage her property out here where we still live. Sometime before he died of heart disease in 1958 at the age of 45, Pawpaw suggested that my ag-educated daddy might do a good job with this particular parcel of land. He learned the hard way, bless his heart, as a sharecropper's only son back during the great depression. I never knew that tale about the reference until just recently, when we began to talk more about the history of our place. A rich patch of God's great green earth certainly deserves a turn of good stewardship if one is faithful and all like the Bible says to be. Check both testaments....they say the the same thing.

There is more to this story and I'm saving it up for a project that just might offer a bit of escape from the reality of everyday life as I know it.

More later.

^j^

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

it's my life


Dealing with everyday reality is not the funfest it's cracked up to be, ya' know? My parents are elderly and gettin' by, thanks to Big E. Neither of 'em smile much anymore unless you tickle them mericlessly like I did to Mom this afternoon. Once again, she let me cry on her shoulder about the beginning of the end of our family life here on the farm. Daddy notices every little patch of purple and pink, naming each vine and flower after a few false starts.

The family that owns this particular piece of paradise consists of a group of four siblings who must all agree on the future of the farm. A couple of them own a bank up North and I'm not sure what the others do, but that's not the point at all. The point is that it's a landmark positioned in a rural America where family farms are passed from one generation to another via probate court without a thought to the history of the place. This old gal crawled around on hands and knees back in the spring lookin' for colored glass and bits of old pottery. There are pieces of fabric folded on every surface waiting to be cut and added to the quilt pile. 53 years and countin'. It took me ten years to get the freakin' basement cleaned out but by golly I did it.

Pardon me..there's a horse in my yard and the dogs are going nuts.

^j^

Saturday, October 3, 2009

the drummer

My favorite uncle Jimbo was our music teacher when I began elementary school. Imagine how neat that was for me as a first grader! He would swoop through the door singing "Good Morning Mrs. Green's Room" like he was the happiest man on earth. And he was. The joy that came to me from him of seeing music make life easier to deal with is a gift that I will always cherish. He did a lot of woodworking and made Christmas presents for us over the years.

Later on he was the director of jr and sr high band and I got to go along for the ride on that one too, even though I never could learn to blow into anything and make sound. That's where my piano training from he and Aunt Granny kicked in and I found my home with the chimes. Gigs were few and far between so mostly I just hung out with the band kids and enjoyed the ride. Cousin Debbie played the flute and her younger sister Millette was a majorette. During off times from band and choral stuff, he and Granny bought old houses and remodeled them. Those poor folks moved no less than 6 times over the time the girls were growing up. The man was a master of many things, and loved every minute of it.

At the age of 50 he was diagnosed with cancer of the prostate with bone mets. For four long years he traveled to get radiation treatments and continued to direct yet another band, which was to be his last. Obion County LOOOOOOOOVED him because I don't think they'd ever had someone with that fun sort of spirit to lead the way. When the drugs suddenly stopped working and he died four years later, their spirits were broken. Almost.

They were present in full uniform, by section, in the overflowing church come funeral day. I remember walking down that familiar carpet in the sanctuary thinking to myself "This can't be real." I almost forgot to hold BG's hand and she was only four at the time. There were people everywhere. And it was on that day that I realized how many lives had been touched by his spirit and ambition. Thirty years worth of students and parents turned out to pay their respects to Mr. G, as he was fondly known. I did a little pro-bono for the family and kept a check on his blood counts which dropped steadily during the last six months. I watched him turn into a weary traveler to the hospital from home to get blood and platelets. During the last hours he was "making platlets" with his hands.


When Deb and Ronnie stopped by after I got home from work, the conversation turned to the band once again. I was describing a particularly obnoxious old friend who thinks that the whole freakin' world twirls around him and she quickly said " the drummer." Uh, huh? "Daddy always told me that guys who act like that are always drummers." We started going through the list and by golly she/he was right. They're like crackheads without the smoke, which is pretty high maintenance for a woman to deal with. Especially a laid back one.

Every year there is a band contest held in his honor, right on the field where he directed for so many years. His family presents the James M. Godsey trophy to the winning marching band, as judged by the ones who know. Tonight there will be not only wife, children and grandchildren, but a couple of great grands too. I know with all of my heart that he will smile and sing over that.

This one's for you Jimbo. I'm keeping the faith ^j^

Thursday, October 1, 2009

the placebo effect


My daddy and I have a kinda' sorta' appointment with his primary care physician tomorrow to discuss the current state affairs in regards to his frontotemporal dementia. Let.us.pray.

^j^

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

confessions of a good girl

Somewhere along the way from childhood to becoming an adult, I dropped the attitude that life is all about pleasing others. It was probably during that time when my personal masochistic therapist Beverly kicked my ass from Dyer to Shelby county and back a few times. On my dime, no less. The sawmill covered a lot but the co-pays came out of my underpaid pocket. I knew that I was sick and that I needed help. The diagnosis turned out to be codependency, something that Melody Beattie made famous with her books and that I hold onto for dear life. In a nutshell, codependency is a state where you live your life for others and what they think or feel about you as a person. There's a lot of shame based behavior in this world of ours simply because the "client" doesn't feel like doing the work to find that inner child dancing baby. You know...the one that has a rosy future where anything is possible. Old Poops read a lot of John Bradshaw and such back in the day. Help us to help ourselves, and amen!

What I learned is that I am who I am and you can love me or leave me. Mostly they leave because folks don't appreciate a strong willed opinionated person with passion for a cause. Or maybe they're just all caught up in their own agendas. Who the hell knows. At my age, the bucket list is becoming more of an addiction than people pleasing ever was, so I'm making notes and adopting the attitude that when opportunity knocks, I'm ready to answer.

My parents are elderly and homebound and I'm sworn to taking care of them 'til death do us part. The homestead situation is complicated what with the owners living up north and our lives in the balance. Mostly, they've lived their lives on faith that next year the crops and the cattle will do better and that their kids will kick in when times get hard. We're doing our best.

We're giving dyersburg electric a break with windows thrown wide open and curtains flying in the breeze. That should help on October's budget. Maybe I can pay the propane guy something. And the doctors. Got a big fat honkin' collection service call from the neurologist who proved without a doubt, for $535 dollars, US, that I had carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands. Sent a couple of letters to he and his business office that times were hard and the bill would be paid but he was impatient to get back to his yacht in Destin so there ya go. Fuck me running.

BG is doing much better with her ex-teeth. The chipmunk cheeks are gone and so is the penicillin, bless her heart. Today is my nephew Adam's first birthday...haven't seen him since February except online and in print. He talks to us on speakerphone when T calls for a chat now and then. Such is life in the fastlane.

Pecans are not falling here on the lane. Considering last year's bumper crop, I'm not surprised at all because mother nature seems to work that way. Maybe next year.

^j^

Sunday, September 27, 2009

go figure

Me and the grands stopped by the store on the way home from breakfast this morning so that Daddy could pick up a few things. There was this guy zooming back and forth on the parking lot on a motorized bicycle...probably weighed 300 pounds at least. While Daddy was shopping, I stepped outside to smoke and we struck up a conversation about his bike. Dude knows exactly how much battery power it takes to get to the electric company and water plant to pay his bills. Said he had to walk it up hills because the motor tends to burn out. Of course, I didn't get a picture. What a slacker I can be.

My great escape was wonderful and loads of fun, thanks to Sue Kathryn, George and Bubba. Ain't nothing like 24 hours in a casino to convince a girl that there's no place like home on Pecan Lane. A great big shout out to Bluesville for hosting two of the most kick ass blues guitarists I've ever been honored to hear. I could be wrong, but I think I saw Eric Clapton at the snack bar while we were eatin' bacon cheeseburgers.

Bandit is alive and well and riding in Bubba's truck again thanks be to Big Ernie. BG is now 25 and recovered from that horrendous tooth extraction drama. The house is semi-clean and the dogs are asleep. Just another day in paradise, ya know?

^j^

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

the birthday girl

I first posted this video on another one of BG's birthdays, probably her 21st and TO THIS DAY I still cry when I watch it. I thought I'd share it again so that you can cry with me!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

missing dog


Bubba called me a couple of hours ago to tell me that Bandit had jumped out of the back of his truck somewhere along the highway. His collar broke loose and there he went! Some lady pulled him over to tell him the dog had taken a flying leap into the middle of the hood that is southwestern D'burg. My brother has trouble bonding so it was a giant leap of faith for him to drive down to Lauderdale county and pick this pretty red border collie pup out of the muddy pit where he lived with his siblings. He's 8 months old so I reckon it was January when we drove down there and scooped him up to take him to his new home at the junction. He came and picked me up this afternoon and we went cruising around all the nooks and crannies in that area but...no Bandit.

While we were driving and lookin', I told him about all the many times I had given up on finding my pretty girl Faith, only to have some angel give me a call and tell me that she was safe and sound. I asked him not to give up, and I meant that in more ways than one. He is my partner in caring for my parents and that has drawn us closer together in so many ways. If I had to go it without him, I'm not sure I could maintain what little sanity I've got left.

Anyhoo...if ya'll see this beautiful boy roaming around the neighborhood, please call one of us. There just might be a reward.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

what goes around comes around

This week has been, for me personally, one of those hectic puttin' out fires sort of marathon. Flu season plus all the other drama makes it hard to unwind completely. That is what today is about. I see a camera and beer in my future as soon as I deep clean de-clutter this old house. Maybe even a little early fall gardening. Leave a message at the beep, ya'll.

I ran into an old friend at the gas station/chicken and beer store and we hugged and chatted while the petrol flowed. Her husband has had a stroke and is unable to work but has been denied disability many times. That's the sort of thing that makes me really REALLY mad at the ones who abuse it and work the system to their advantage. Dollar General was next and lo and behold the church next door was having a party on the parking lot making disciples of children with inflatable jumpy things. A young man came over to offer me a sack lunch, and added two more when I told him I was going to see my parents. I just love it when Big Ernie pulls one like that.

BG's jaws are still lookin' a little like a chipmunk but the pain is better and that's what counts. There was a cyst wrapped around the nerve under one of the teeth so she's still got some numbness in her jaw from all the manipulation. Yikes! I've gotta hand it to her....she's been a trooper. Unlike her mother, she knows her limits. She laughingly called me the "non-compliant" patient during my recovery from hand surgery. Poor thing has always believed I have ADD.

It's football time in Tennessee and for the first fall in years, I can't tell you who's playing, much less what the score is. And I'm okay with that. Really.

Ya'll be careful out there. And keep the faith ^j^